“The master never counseled slavish belief. ‘Words are only shells,’ he said. ‘Win conviction of God’s presence through your own joyous contact in meditation.’
“It was evident in all miracles performed by Lahiri Mahasaya that he never allowed the ego-principle to consider itself a causative force. By perfection of resistless surrender, the master enabled the Prime Healing Power to flow freely through him.
“The numerous bodies which were spectacularly healed through Lahiri Mahasaya eventually had to feed the flames of cremation. But the silent spiritual awakenings he effected, the Christlike disciples he fashioned, are his imperishable miracles.”
Ostentatious display of unusual powers are decried by masters. The Persian mystic, Abu Said, once laughed at certain fakirs who were proud of their miraculous powers over water, air, and space.
“A frog is also at home in the water!” Abu Said pointed out in gentle scorn. “The crow and the vulture easily fly in the air; the Devil is simultaneously present in the East and in the West! A true man is he who dwells in righteousness among his fellow men, who buys and sells, yet is never for a single instant forgetful of God!” On another occasion the great Persian teacher gave his views on the religious life thus: “To lay aside what you have in your head (selfish desires and ambitions); to freely bestow what you have in your hand; and never to flinch from the blows of adversity!”
“Mind is the wielder of muscles. The force of a hammer blow depends on the energy applied; the power expressed by a man’s bodily instrument depends on his aggressive will and courage. The body is literally manufactured and sustained by mind. Through pressure of instincts from past lives, strengths or weaknesses percolate gradually into human consciousness. They express as habits, which in turn ossify into a desirable or an undesirable body. Outward frailty has mental origin; in a vicious circle, the habit-bound body thwarts the mind. If the master allows himself to be commanded by a servant, the latter becomes autocratic; the mind is similarly enslaved by submitting to bodily dictation.”
“But there are many kinds of tigers; some roam in jungles of human desires. No spiritual benefit accrues by knocking beasts unconscious. Rather be victor over the inner prowlers.”
“My rule of seclusion is not for my own comfort, but for that of others. Worldly people do not like the candor which shatters their delusions. Saints are not only rare but disconcerting. Even in scripture, they are often found embarrassing!”
“God plants his saints sometimes in unexpected soil, lest we think we may reduce Him to a rule!”
“Do not mistake the technique for the Goal.”
“People in general are more fond of Jala Yoga (union with food) than of Dhyana Yoga (union with God).”
“What rishis perceived as essential for human salvation need not be diluted for the West. Alike in soul though diverse in outer experience, neither West nor East will flourish if some form of disciplinary yoga be not practiced.”
“Sir,” I inquired, “why do you not write a book on yoga for the benefit of the world?” “I am training disciples,” He replied. “They and their students will be living volumes, proof against the natural disintegrations of time and the unnatural interpretations of the critics.”
Excerpts from the book by Paramhansa Yogananda “Autobiography of a Yogi”