Excerpts from the writings of Sri Sri Paramahansa Yogananda
The greatest of all happiness, next to divine happiness, is to be at peace with one’s immediate relations, those with whom one must live every day in the year. When people try to handle the extremely complicated machinery of human feelings without any training whatsoever, the consequent results are often disastrous. Very few persons realize that most of our happiness lies in the art of understanding the law of human behaviour. That is why so many people are often “in hot water” with their friends, and, worse yet, at constant war with their own best beloved ones at home.
The basic law of right human behaviour is self-reform….Whenever any trouble occurs with our friends or dear ones, we should inwardly lay the blame on ourselves for getting into an unpleasant situation and then try to get out of it as fast and as graciously as we can. It is fruitless to increase the trouble by loudly, unkindly, discourteously blaming others, even though we find that they are to blame. We can teach quick-tempered dear ones to mend their faults a hundred times better by setting a good example than we can by harsh or self-righteous words.
Most of the time, people talk and act from their own viewpoint. They seldom see, or even try to see, the other person’s side. If, lacking understanding, you enter into a fight with someone, remember that each of you is as much to blame as the other, regardless of which one started the argument. “Fools argue; wise men discuss.”
To have calm feeling doesn’t mean that you always smile and agree with everyone no matter what they say — that you regard truth but don’t want to annoy anybody with it. This is going to the extreme. Those who try in this way to please everyone, with the desire of getting praise for their good nature, do not necessarily have control of feeling….Whoever has control of feeling follows truth, shares that truth wherever he can, and avoids annoying unnecessarily anyone who would not be receptive anyway. He knows when to speak and when to be silent, but he never compromises his own ideals and inner peace. Such a man is a force for great good in this world.
We should make ourselves attractive by wearing the fine garment of genuinely courteous language. We should first of all be courteous to our immediate relatives. When one can do that, he will be habitually kind to all people. Real family happiness has its foundation on the altar of understanding and kind words. It is not necessary to agree on everything in order to show kindness. Calm silence, sincerity, and courteous words, whether one is agreeing or disagreeing with others, mark the person who knows how to behave.
If you want to be loved, start loving others who need your love….If you want others to sympathize with you, start showing sympathy to those around you. If you want to be respected, you must learn to be respectful to everyone, both young and old….Whatever you want others to be, first be that yourself; then you will find others responding in like manner to you.
Spiritual Principles of Marriage
Two persons who unite their lives to help each other toward divine realization are founding their marriage on the right basis: unconditional friendship.
To develop pure and unconditional love between husband and wife, parent and child, friend and friend, self and all, is the lesson we have come on earth to learn.
True marriage is a laboratory in which poisons of selfishness, bad temper, and bad behaviour may be poured into the test tube of patience and neutralized and changed by the catalytic power of love and constant effort to behave nobly.
If there is a habit or quality in your mate that rouses unlovely traits in your disposition, you should realize the purpose of this circumstance: to bring to the surface those poisons hidden within you so that you may eliminate them and thus purify your nature.
The greatest thing a husband or wife can wish for the spouse is spirituality; for soul unfoldment brings out the divine qualities of understanding, patience, thoughtfulness, love. But each should remember that the desire for spiritual growth cannot be forced on the other. Live love yourself, and your goodness will inspire all your loved ones.
When the husband serves the wife, and she serves him, each with the desire to see the other happy, Christ Consciousness — God’s loving Cosmic Intelligence that permeates every atom of creation — has begun to express itself through their consciousness.
When two people feel an unconditional attraction for each other, and are ready to sacrifice for one another, they are truly in love.
To wish for perfection for the loved one, and to feel pure joy in thinking of that soul, is divine love; and that is the love of true friendship.
Meditate together every morning, and especially at night….Have a little family altar where both husband and wife, and children, gather to offer deep devotion unto God and unite their souls forever in ever-joyous Cosmic Consciousness….The more you meditate together, the deeper your love for one another will grow.