Excerpts from the writings of Sri Sri Paramahansa Yogananda
“It hardly seems practical to think about God all the time,” a visitor remarked. Paramahansaji replied:
“The world agrees with you, and is the world a happy place? True joy eludes the man who forsakes God, because He is Bliss Itself. On earth His devotees live in an inner heaven of peace; but those who forget Him pass their days in a self-created hades of insecurity and disappointment. To ‘make friends’ with the Lord is to be really practical!”
Cultivate His acquaintance. It is possible to know God just as well as you know your dearest friend. That is the truth.
First you must have a right concept of God — a definite idea through which you can form a relationship with Him — and then you must meditate and pray until that mental conception becomes changed into actual perception. Then you will know Him. If you persist, the Lord will come.
There are people who depict their Creator as one who imperiously tests man with the smoke of ignorance and the fire of punishment, and who judges man’s actions with heartless scrutiny. They thus distort the true concept of God as a loving, compassionate Heavenly Father into a false image of one who is a strict, unsparing, and vengeful tyrant. But devotees who commune with God know it is foolish to think of Him otherwise than as the Compassionate Being who is the infinite receptacle of all love and goodness.
God is Eternal Bliss. His being is love, wisdom, and joy. He is both impersonal and personal, and manifests Himself in whatever way He pleases. He appears before His saints in the form each of them holds dear: a Christian sees Christ, a Hindu beholds Krishna or the Divine Mother, and so on. Devotees whose worship takes an impersonal turn become conscious of the Lord as an infinite Light or as the wondrous sound of Aum, the primal Word, the Holy Ghost. The highest experience man can have is to feel that Bliss in which every other aspect of Divinity — love, wisdom, immortality — is fully contained.
But how can I convey to you in words the nature of God? He is ineffable, indescribable. Only in deep meditation shall you know His unique essence.
“Bless me, that I may find Thee in the temple of each thought and activity. Finding Thee within, I shall find Thee without, in all people and all conditions.”
— Sri Sri Paramahansa Yogananda,