Review of Sri Daya Mata's Book, "Only Love"
Sri Daya Mata
"Be Drunk with the Love of God"
As the time of his mahasamadhi (the conscious passing of the soul from the body of an advanced yogi) was drawing near, the great yogi Paramahansa Yogananda gave his disciple, Daya Mata, more and more responsibilities for the administrative work in his organization, Self-Realization Fellowship.
Then just days before the great guru's passing, he told Daya Ma that he would soon be leaving his physical form.
A bit startled by such a revelation, Daya Mata asked him how they would manage without the organization's leader. He answered, "Remember this: When I have left this world, only love can take my place. Be so drunk with the love of God night and day that you won't know anything but God; and give that love to all."
Only Love Could Take His Place
Until her own passing in 2010, Sri Daya Mata lived up to her guru's command superbly. She served as president of Self-Realization Fellowship from 1955 to give that love to all.
It is through Daya Ma's service and dedication that thousands and possibly millions have found a spiritual path that has comforted their souls as they confront the challenges of an uncertain world.
Daya Mata's first book is titled "Only Love" as her guru had instructed her that only love could take his place. And she has lived her life dedicated to the teachings of Paramahansa Yogananda.
Daya Mata always strove ever to be in tune with what the guru would think and do in any given situation. That is the goal of every SRF devotee, and Daya Ma served as a perfect model.
Travelogue of the Soul
"Only Love" might be considered a travelogue of the soul. In her dedication, Daya Ma has written: "To my revered Gurudeva Paramahansa Yogananda without whose blessings this devotee would not have found God's love divine—the perfect, all-fulfilling love of Him who is our one Father, Mother, Friend, Beloved."
The book's preface was written by Chakravarthi V. Narasimhan, who served as Under-Secretary General for the Inter-Agency Affairs and Coordination at the United Nations. The book's introduction offers an informative overview of Daya Ma's life and how she became a disciple of Paramahansa Yogananda.
The contents features 33 of Daya Ma's lectures delivered at such places as Bangalore, India, Encinitas, California, Hollywood, California, Calcutta, India; most of the talks were delivered at the various ashrams centers in California.
Titles of the talks include the following: "Why Should We Seek God?," "Man's Expanding Horizons," "Our Divine Destiny," "Qualities of a Devotee," which was the original title of this book, "Understanding One Another," and "How to Change Others."
Change Yourself and You Change Others
Some of these talks have also been published individually for the general public. At a recent SRF Convocation, a monk was lecturing on the topic of how we can change ourselves, and he stressed that changing ourselves is the way we change others.
Then the monk told us that he observed on one of his tours that offered a number of SRF publications, the one that was especially popular was "How to Change Others."
He mused about possible expectations of all those interested in changing others and that the surprise that might be in store when they learned that to change others you have to change yourself.
Following the 33 lectures is a section called "Divine Counsel" which consists of 23 short pieces with words of spiritual guidance and inspiration.
Most of these selections are from talks delivered at the Mother Center in Los Angeles. Titles include the following: "God is the Greatest Treasure," "God is the Answer to Every Problem," "The Psychological Battlefield of Good and Evil," and "Self-realization Is Found in Inner Silence."
The Teachings Attract Truth Seekers
"Only Love" is not only a fitting tribute to the great yogi whose teachings continue to attract devotees worldwide, but it is also a continuation of the love and inspiration Paramahansa Yogananda lived to share, coming to a foreign country and founding an organization that has long been dedicated to sharing these teachings with the world.
Through her books, lectures, and service to her gurus teachings, Sri Daya Mata has bestowed on the world a treasure of lasting and ever deepening value.
Scripture of Love: A Talk by Sri Daya Mata
Life Sketch and Publications of Paramahansa Yogananda
The great guru/poet Paramahansa Yogananda was born on January 5, 1893, in Gorakhpur, India. His name at birth was Mukunda Lal Ghosh. Always a spiritually advanced child, at age 17, he met his guru, Swami Sri Yukteswar, under whose guidance he flourished and became the spiritual giant and sacred engine that leads souls back to their eternal abode in the arms of the Divine Creator.
Paramahansa Yogananda came to the United States in 1920 to speak in Boston at the International Congress of Religious Liberals. His speech was so well received that he quickly gathered a following. By 1925, his organization, Self-Realization Fellowship (SRF), was well established with the purpose of disseminating and maintaining the purity of his teachings of yoga. He has come to be known as the “Father of Yoga in the West.”
The following is an excerpt from the introduction to Paramahansa Yogananda’s biography on the Self-Realization Fellowship Web site:
In the hundred years since the birth of Paramahansa Yogananda, this beloved world teacher has come to be recognized as one of the greatest emissaries to the West of India’s ancient wisdom. His life and teachings continue to be a source of light and inspiration to people of all races, cultures and creeds.
Publications of Paramahansa Yogananda
Paramahansa Yogananda's in-depth work, Autobiography of a Yogi, has become a spiritual classic worldwide. Many devotees have been drawn to the teachings of this yogi through that autobiography, and many of their stories about how they came to find that work include some of the most inspiring "miracles" of modern American culture.
Such world-renowned figures as Dennis Weaver, Steve Jobs, George Harrison, and Elvis Presley were influenced by the Autobiography of a Yogi and the teachings of the great guru. Weaver even became a lay minister and spoke often at many of the SRF temples in California.
In addition to the autobiography, the great guru has published many collections of his talks, in both written and oral forms. His audio collector's series of ten of his informal talks includes the following titles:
1. Beholding the One in All
2. Awake in the Cosmic Dream
3. Be a Smile Millionaire
4. The Great Light of God
5. To Make Heaven on Earth
6. One Life Versus Reincarnation
7. Removing All Sorrow and Suffering
8. In the Glory of the Spirit
9. Follow the Path of Christ, Krishna, and the Masters
10. Self-Realization: The Inner and the Outer Path
These inspirational talks reveal much information about the great guru that appeals to his devoted followers. Just listening to a God-realized voice offers an uplifting spiritual experience.
The Poetry of Paramahansa Yogananda
For my commentaries on the poems of the great guru, I rely on his marvelous collection titled, Songs of the Soul, the version published in 1983 with its most current printing 2014. Two additional collections of his poems are extant, Whispers From Eternity and Metaphysical Meditations.
Because the "poems" of this great guru function on levels that ordinary poems do not, they are often used in devotional services held by groups of devotees of the SRF teachings throughout the world in the Readings Services as well as their Special Commemorative Services.
Paramahansa Yogananda's poems are more akin to prayers than to the poetry of ordinary poets, whose subject matter often dramatizes only human emotion in its relationship with creation and other human beings, instead of with the Creator; the great guru's poems always invoke the Creator's presence whether directly or indirectly.
The great guru's organization, SRF, also continues to publish collections of his works. Many of his talks have appeared in the series of essays that include Man's Eternal Quest, The Divine Romance, and Journey to Self-realization.
The guru has also bestowed on the literary world three important translations of extant perennial works that have been grossly misunderstood in some cases for centuries. His new translations along with his explanatory commentaries are correcting that misunderstanding.
In Wine of the Mystic: The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam — A Spiritual Interpretation, he shows how that poet's God-realized effusions put on display a man in love with his Creator and not the wine sopped Epicurean that has been misapplied to the work.
In the guru's in-depth translation and commentaries on the ancient Bhagavad Gita, titled God Talks With Arjuna: The Bhagavad Gita — A New Translation and Commentary, the great spiritual leader offers not only the poetic translation of the work but also the relevance for humankind of the psychological and spiritual instruction offered in the ancient poem.
Most importantly for Western culture, Paramahansa Yogananda has offered a full explanation of the phenomenon known as the "Second Coming." Titled The Second Coming of Christ: The Resurrection of the Christ Within You — A revelatory commentary on the original teachings of Jesus, the work explains the true meaning of many of Jesus' words long misunderstood and mischaracterized, such as "The Kingdom of God is within you" and "I and my Father are one."
Of all the publications offered by SRF and the great guru, it is the Lessons that remain most vital. One could dispense with all of the other books, audio tapes, poetry, and other commentaries if one possesses those lessons.
The Lessons begin by offering physical exercises that prepare the physical encasement to sit quietly and still while performing the more advanced exercises that lead to Kriya Yoga practice.
The Lessons contains six steps that can be completed in three years, but each student is free to progress at his/her own pace. The Lessons include instruction in the following techniques: 1. Energization Exercises. 2. Hong-Sau Technique of Concentration, and 3. Aum Technique of Meditation.
After completing the first two steps, the devotee may apply for the Kriya Yoga technique.
Kriya Yoga Initiations
The Kriya Yoga technique features four initiations for a total of twenty lessons. The First Initiation, featuring lessons K1-9, includes the technique of Kriya proper, on which all of the other initiations are based. The Second Initiation contains four lessons, K10-14, and the Third and Fourth include the remaining lessons K15-20.
All of the Lessons, including the Kriya Yoga Initiations, include many explanations based of science, as well as on the life experience of Paramahansa Yogananda. These marvelous works are presented in such way to hold the student-devotees' interest with little stories, poems, affirmations, and prayers that enhance the purpose of each lesson.
In addition to all of the works mentioned above, Paramahansa Yogananda has published many others, including his Cosmic Chants, which offers musical notations as well as the lyric for each chant.
An annotated list of the works of the great guru is offered on the Self-Realization Fellowship Web site under the title, "The Complete Works of Paramahansa Yogananda."
Questions & Answers
© 2017 Linda Sue Grimes