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Dr. Lewis

(From a lecture given by Dr. Lewis on October 3, l954 at the SRF Temple in San Diego)
The mystery of what happens after death attracts man’s interest because that which is not known is enticing.

Knowledge of the after-death state may be acquired, however, by anyone who is willing to make a spiritual effort. Most people put off the quest thinking, “Oh well, when I die I’ll find out about it.” But when death comes such persons merely remain in a state of unconscious rest for a while, and then come back to another physical existence. They go through the experience of earth-life over and over again, knowing death many times without truly learning what is beyond.

Those who have attained some spiritual understanding during their earth lives, however, pass after death into consciousness of a beautiful astral world; but, at the end of a karmically predetermined period, they too must return to the limitations of a physical body.

God has sent the channel of Self-Realization Fellowship – its teachings and our Guru Paramahansa Yogananda – to help man to find out the purpose of life and what is in store for him after death – what will be the condition of his existence, his state of consciousness. If he learns those things now, he shall find nothing mysterious about death when it comes. Greatest of all, there will be no fear.

I give you two Biblical references on the subject: “…He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death” (Rev. 2:11). In other words he that overcometh worldly consciousness – attachment to worldly things, attachment to the body – will know the Eternal Consciousness behind the temporal consciousness of earth-experience. When one has died to mortal consciousness by establishing himself in the immortal consciousness of God, for him there can be no “second death.”

“…Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.” (Rev. 2:10). “…Be thou faithful unto death…” means that one should keep on striving, through one’s entire lifetime, to overcome the delusive mortal consciousness that is sensitive only to the world. The consciousness must become sensitive to God before one may realize life eternal. Then we can understand the words of St. Paul: “I protest by our rejoicing which I have in Christ Jesus…I die daily.” (I Corinthians 15:31).
St. Paul rejoiced in the eternal Christ Consciousness because by spiritual self-discipline he had “died” to worldly consciousness – he had regularly made the effort to overcome worldly consciousness until he could do it at will, daily. Like St. Paul, we should also strive to receive and be one with the light of God, in which is His omniscience and His love.

Lahiri Mahasaya was such a true Son of God. People came from great distances to see this Christ-like master of Banares. They would always find him in his little parlor, sitting immobile hour after hour, without heartbeat, without breath – yet fully alive and awake in the Eternal. He was dead only to worldly consciousness, but he was fully alive in the great eternal consciousness of God within. If Jesus could do it, if St. Paul and Lahiri Mahasaya and other Christ-like saints could do it, is there not hope that we may do it? We can accomplish what they accomplished by ourselves by becoming more Christ-like. The potentiality is there, for we are “made in His image.” We are children of God.

How we have lived determines what fate will be ours after death – oblivion and unconsciousness, or, if we so choose, soul-freedom, wherein the limitations of earthly consciousness, the sense of weight, the feeling of attachment fall off. The freedom of God can be ours because God is present in each one of us. But He is covered up somewhat! We have to remove the covering of worldly consciousness that we may feel and know our oneness with Him.

Cosmic Energy Links Matter with the Infinite

God is present in the body as Cosmic Energy. We feel it as life in the body, as love in the heart. Anyone who makes dynamic to his consciousness God’s presence in the body as Cosmic Energy may know what will come after death. If we merge our consciousness in that Cosmic Intelligent Energy of His and make it our own, here and now, we shall also be conscious of that divine link with the Infinite when we pass through the change known as death. Om, the cosmic power of that great creative force of God, has made all things; and through it His great love (the cosmic attractive force) is pulling us back to Him.

Our great Guru Paramahansa Yogananda gave this description of what happens at death: “When one dies, as the life force of the body goes up through the spine and out through the thousand-petal lotus in the top of the head to merge with the Cosmic Life Force, it enlivens all the little films of past experiences that are stored in the subconscious mind, and you see your whole life spread before you. If you have made God your own during this life, there will be no break in the continuity of consciousness as you go out of the body. If you have lived an undesirable life, you will have to review it all; but if you have developed your soul consciousness, you will slip through death into the great light of God, and that subconscious revelation of all you have done during this life will neither affect nor disturb you. You will realize that your life was only a part in a play and that you are and ever have been one with God.”

The important thing in overcoming death is to become familiar with that part of you which always was and always will be; which never had a birth and which will never know death – your immortal soul. It is only the mortal human consciousness that has had the experience of “birth” and must therefore “die.” Who wants to be mentally tied up with something that is destined to pass away? The world has its lures and attractions, but if you become engrossed in them there comes inevitably a time when you realize that they were only temporary and that you are left with nothing. If you want to have something you can take with you after you have finished playing your part in this earth-drama, obtain knowledge of your eternal Self. Be one with God who resides within you.

The worldly consciousness of every day living seems so familiar, so real, but in sleep, where is it? Where is family? Name? Position in life? Everything disappears, but still the reality in you is there. That reality alone transcends death. Those who become conscious of that reality – their immortal soul nature in this life will be aware of it, and awake in it after death. To understand something about the nature of death let us briefly analyze the state of sleep, which is very similar.

Sleep is a period of rest during which the voluntary nerves are controlled automatically. But you may develop conscious control of the voluntary nerves through right meditation as taught in the Self-Realization teachings. Instead of unconsciously resting, you will consciously experience the sleep-state, and you will feel a greater relaxation and joy than is possible in ordinary sleep. This is the first step in learning how to die consciously, as did St. Paul. If it seems terrifying to you to die consciously, it is only because the experience is unfamiliar. When you know what death is, you will see there is nothing frightening about it. You will be able, like St. Paul to “die daily” in a conscious, joyous way.

When people who have put all their trust in and dependence on the conditions of the material world face the end of life, they have nothing to comfort and sustain them through the experience of death when the changeable worldly consciousness is swept away. But humble people, who have realized that the first and greatest necessity of life is to know God, and who have put their faith in Him, find at death that when mortal consciousness departs, they are sustained by the Reality – the presence of God within themselves.

We find in the state of sleep that as soon as the voluntary nerves are refreshed we wake up naturally. However, there are involuntary nerves that control the vital functions of the body. These rarely receive rest because most people are not aware that the involuntary nerves can obtain rest by one’s right practice of meditation. But finally those nerves become tired and worn, and it is then that death comes to the body. By consciously giving rest to the involuntary nerves, as happens unconsciously when death comes, we have the experience of conscious death. That is the only way to attain immortality. It isn’t difficult, but it does take effort – right effort plus the help of a guru such as Paramahansa Yogananda, who held in his hand the keys of life and death. Once you are able to practice right meditation – i.e., once the heart and the breath cease their activity and you realize that you can live without breath – then you will know for a certainty that your true nature is immortal. When you are fully able to control the involuntary nerves and the organs of the body, you will realize that the physical body is nothing more than a subtle mass of light. In that light you will feel God’s great cosmic energy, His omniscience and love, and know that they are yours.

When you sleep or meditate the voluntary nerves rest, and so you have no trouble in awakening. You arise refreshed and life goes on as before. But when death comes, the involuntary nerves are put to sleep. When by such sleep they are fully refreshed and enlivened and regenerated, the consciousness fully awakens once more. But something different has happened. The material body has decayed and the consciousness is without a physical vehicle to come back to. After the astral-world rest, the entity must enter this gross world once more as a little baby and go through another physical life and physical death.

However, if we practice putting not only the voluntary nerves but also the involuntary nerves to sleep (as in death), then the whole body are recharged and new life comes from the Eternal Source. It is through this kind of replenishment from Cosmic Energy that saints enjoy such tremendous energy and power. They have not waited for death to recharge the involuntary nerves. They have done it while living on earth. Their lives are a beckoning challenge to us. We should not sit around lackadaisically if we would overcome death. We have to get busy with regular meditation, morning and night, with full, loving attention on God, full surrender, full humbleness, and full devotion in our hearts. Then we may know Him. Why wait for death in the expectation of His heavenly presence, only to be “cheated” out of it? Know Him now while you are in this body, and at death you will retain all your faculties and will have the consciousness of being one with Him.

Developed Yogis Know What Happens After Death

Master often said: “Those who know what happens after death are the yogis who, by devotion and the practice of meditation, try during their conscious physical existence to perceive and understand the phenomena of sleep and death. It is they who unbrokenly retain consciousness after death.”

There are two principal classes of men: Those who are spiritually advanced, and those who are spiritually undeveloped. The former are those who, as Master said, practice certain devotional yogic methods. They are the yogis, the saints, and the ordinary devotees like you and me who are simply striving to be “faithful unto death” in our efforts to overcome worldly delusion.

But there are various states of development among yogis, saints and devotees: Those who demonstrate the highest kind of self-mastery, middle class or ordinary yogis, and indifferent ones. A great yogi is fully conscious after death. Even an indifferent good yogi will be conscious of existing after death and will be conscious, to some extent, of God’s Cosmic Energy as Om, the Cosmic Intelligent vibration out of which all things are made. That Om vibration has two aspects: (1) universal sight, whereby the yogi who has merged his consciousness in Om is able to see all around, in front, behind, above, beneath, (Ed. Note – Dr. Lewis had achieved the No. 1 state), and (2) omniscient love and feeling. Developed yogis are blissfully conscious of Om and by independent action can merge in it more and more deeply, unhampered by the physical body, and thus continue to progress toward God. Just as when you are meditating deeply you are aware that you can go still deeper; so in the after-death state you will realize your freedom to progress more and more toward God.

Spiritually undeveloped men are those who have not felt devotion’s call to seek God; those who have not given any time for God each day; who have not realized their full dependence on God as the sole Doer. After spending their lifetime engrossed in worldly thoughts and activities, such beings may not expect at death to obtain all at once, the consciousness of the Eternal.

Everything in this world is delusory, hence it does not last. Those who cultivate only the worldly consciousness are naturally impoverished at death. Persons who have grossly identified themselves with the bodily senses find that when the physical vehicle is lost they have no consciousness of anything. They are out of touch with the only field of consciousness that they feel “at home” in.

Those who commit suicide because they have found worldly existence unbearable do not gain anything. They have to return to a physical body to work out the problems of earthly existence just the same. And what is more, they are detained on the path of spiritual evolution. They usually will obtain rebirth only after a long, long wait. God is just. He is not mocked. We get exactly what our actions “ask for” – just what we deserve.

So what we shall experience at death is up to us. We can float along on the slow evolutionary tide, being born and going through life-experiences over and over again; or we can follow a true guru like Paramahansa Yogananda, and find freedom from rebirth by merging in God. We can do it. Jesus said, “He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do…” (John 14:12).

When death comes, Master and the Great Ones will be there to greet us.
(Ed. Note: When Doctor Lewis left his body consciously, Sri Yukteswarji was there to greet him). If we have lifted up our consciousness in earthly life we shall see them and recognize them, and that surely will be Heaven! We have the potentiality, being children of God, to be absolutely one with the omniscience and love of the Master of the universe. When we learn to behave as true children of God, we may claim our birthright, oneness with Him.
By Brenda Lewis Rosser

In the early days in our home, the Christmas tree was not decorated until Christmas Eve after Bradford and I were in our beds. On this particular night, Mother had been baking her pies and cakes for the holiday, especially her famous apple pie. My brother and I asked her if we could have a piece of the pie to leave for Santa Claus, to which she agreed.

We set a place at the dining room table and mother cut a piece of her pie and left it for Santa. We were finally sent off to bed so that Mother could complete the Christmas tree.

After awhile my brother and I slipped out of our rooms and took up our vigil at the head of the stairs awaiting the arrival of Santa Claus.

Finally, Bradford said he heard the reindeer stopping on the roof. We kept watching the dining room table when all of a sudden a familiar face appeared at the table. It was Swamiji! He sat down and ate Santa’s pie – but what greater Santa could there be than a true guru.

Editors note: Brenda Lewis Rosser has now been a disciple of Paramahansa Yogananda longer than anyone else in the world. Master lived in her family home in the suburb, West Somerville , for three years. If you are ever in Boston , the address is 24 Electric Avenue . The current owner is always amazed at the number of people who drive by and look and photograph the house. Brenda followed Master from the very beginning and in his letters to the Lewis family from his lecture tours over the United States , he always asked about Brenda.

Brenda came to Encinitas in l945 to help her parents. She worked for Master and Rajarsi and Sister Gyanamata. She drove her father, Dr. Lewis, up to Los Angeles every Friday from Encinitas (before the freeways) so that he could conduct a class for the monks and the lay disciples.

When Doctor conducted the all day meditations at Encinitas, Brenda stayed just behind the curtains to benefit form the high spirituality generated there. On one occasion, after the monks had gone, Brenda continued to meditate. She seemed deeply absorbed. When she finished, Dr. Lewis asked her to describe what she saw. When she had done so, Doctor told her, “You have seen the shores of Cosmic Consciousness.” Later, when she was meditating she told her father that she had seen a little saint sitting cross-legged in the center of the spiritual eye. Doctor said, “That was Lahiri Mahasaya.”

No wonder Master said to Doctor, “Her way is clear – now and throughout eternity.”
One of the great Christmas events that takes place yearly in the East is the re-enactment of the crossing of the Delaware by George Washington which happened during Christmas of l776. But again this year the crowds were disappointed that because of the inclement weather it could not be re-enacted.
Our Master had a great patriotic feeling for America, so much so that in the Autobiography of a Yogi he quotes the farewell address of George Washington.

The character of a man is evidenced by his strength. No general in history showed a greater strength than George Washington at Valley Forge. The English had 20,000 well trained soldiers. We had only 2,000 farm boys.

After he lost at New York and Philadelphia his generals felt the cause was hopeless. The British generals had practically written off the small band of patriots as not a threat so they felt the 1800 Hessians at Trenton could easily hold the area.
All the forces of man and nature seemed against Washington. The weather was freezing. It was Christmas. His soldiers had few guns and few supplies; many of them were barefoot. His generals thought him a madman to continue, but continue he did.

Against all odds he took his troops in long boats across the Delaware River. Hour after hour they rowed their boats. Finally, they reached the New Jersey shore and started the march to Trenton without rest.

Earlier, a Quaker farmer had been walking along the river nearby when he heard the murmur of a solemn voice. Creeping in its direction, he discovered a horse tied to a sapling, but no rider. Following the sound of the voice, he moved closer. There through a thicket he saw a lone man on his knees in the snow. It was George Washington. His cheeks were wet with tears as he prayed to the Almighty for help and guidance.
The farmer slipped away. When he reached his home, he said to his wife. “Americans will win their independence! George Washington will succeed.”
“What makes you think so?” asked his wife.
“I have heard him pray out in the woods today. If there is anyone on this earth the Lord will listen to it is that brave commander. God will listen. Rest assured. He will listen.”

The ragtag army fighting the best trained of professional soldiers won the day at Trenton. Not one of George Washington’s men was killed or wounded despite the savage hand to hand battle.

No wonder our Master quotes him again and again and tells us that we should be grateful to be Americans.

One of our Master’s major missions when coming to these shores was to bring us what he called Original Christianity. It is now available in the tremendous work, The Second Coming of Christ. But that poses the question, what happened in that part of the world after Jesus’ time?

Pilgrims started to go to Rome because they knew the Apostle Paul was there, but in 64 AD when Rome was burned, Nero blamed the Christians and subsequently had them thrown to the lions and crucified. One of those crucified was St. Paul.

But despite the forces against them, Christians continued to go to Rome where the first recorded gatherings dated some 40 years after Christ.

By the Fourth Century, however, a struggle was underway for mastery of the Roman Empire. In the year 312 AD, the Emperor Constantine faced his rival, Maxentius, just outside of Rome. The battle would decide the fate of the empire. Later, Constantine told the historian, Eusebius, about his experience. He said that with his own eyes while the day was already fading he had seen a shining cross in the sky, more brilliant than the sun. From that light a voice spoke and said, “By this sign thou shalt conquer.”

Constantine was stunned by the vision as was the army following him, all of whom had seen the vision. The battle was fought and Constantine was victorious. Constantine gave full credit to the Christian God and at once decreed that Christianity be the religion of the land. However, despite the new religion, the terrible contests with Christians, beasts and gladiators continued in the Coliseum.

One day during some vicious encounters with 50,000 Romans roaring from their seats in the Coliseum, a robed pilgrim from Gaul jumped into the arena and began to call upon the people to stop shedding innocent blood. Shouts, howls and cries broke in upon his words and Gladiators shoved him aside as they rushed to the attack. Nevertheless, the pilgrim continued his pleas until he was cut down forever by a Gladiator’s sword.

Suddenly, the people began to reflect on what they had done. It was obvious that the pilgrim was a holy man who had come to Rome to visit the shrines. And although he had died, his death was not in vain. He had done what he had come to do. The shock of such a death softened the hearts of the Romans. Suddenly, they saw the wickedness and cruelty to which they had blindly surrendered themselves.

Since that day, when the pilgrim died in the Coliseum, there never was another fight by the Gladiators. Yes, the custom was utterly abolished by the devotion of one obscure and nameless Christian.

Yes, as SRF devotees we each can make a difference.
Taken from a sermon given on August 30, l953, at the Self-Realization Fellowship Temple in San Diego by Doctor Lewis
Life is very much worth living. It is a glorious opportunity to understand our Oneness with the Father of all life. Such knowledge fills us with enthusiasm, exuberance and power. That is how God meant life to be. When life becomes boring, something is wrong. We have temporarily lost our connection with Him. If life is to be worthwhile, we must eliminate the conditions that prevent our feeling Oneness with God.

Thinking back over our childhood, most of us can probably remember how full of energy we were then; how joyful. We felt like doing things. We were fresh from God, and we brought with us a consciousness of His joy and bliss, the freshness of the Spirit. As adults some of us have lost that even though at times we bring back into our consciousness a little of His joy. For example, when we wake up in the morning from a good sound sleep, we feel joyous, until the distractions of daily living engross us.

In sleep, the life-force is partially withdrawn from the sense organs and bodily parts; the work of the involuntary nerves, the heart, and the lungs is lessened. The delusion of being a mortal, fleshly being relaxes its grip on our consciousness and a soul awareness of freedom and peace predominates. Hence, we wake up feeling happy and refreshed.

At death, the life-force is entirely withdrawn from the body; the senses and all the nerves and organs have complete rest. The soul passes into the astral world, where it is easier to be conscious of God’s presence as eternally existing Joy. If we have attained a degree of spiritual development, at death we become aware of that Joy, and are recharged with the presence of God. When we return again to earthly life, we retain some of that Joy and for a few years we feel wonderful, full of enthusiasm, free in spirit.

Then King Karma comes to exact his “pound of flesh.” We cannot escape the karma we had laid up in the past and the impulses we have brought over from previous lives crowd in upon us in adolescence. And so we start out doing just the “normal” things of life. Perhaps at high school age we go to a party and, looking around, we suddenly see a certain girl. A beam goes from her eyes to ours, back and forth, and the first thing we know we are in love. God has projected the idea of marriage through the law of karma that His drama of earth-life go on. (The children of this world marry, and are given in marriage: But they which shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry, nor are given in marriage – Luke 20:34,35)

So unless we have the wisdom to see in marriage the mutual responsibility of the partners to help each other to find God, circumstances come about to keep us from realizing the true happiness of Oneness with Him and we may even lose whatever soul joy we had previously experienced.

Lahiri Mahasaya said that in spite of all the complexities of earthly life and responsibilities, one may still remain inwardly detached, intent on the Lord.
(Ed. Note: Doctor Lewis was a magnificent example of that state). No matter how hard it may be to do so, we can rise above life’s confusions and disappointment and feel the joy of soul consciousness. That is when life is worth living.

We Must Learn This Wisdom: God Is All

Ordinarily, people are without hope; there is anguish in their faces because they don’t know the purpose of life, nor what is coming at the end. But each of us, as followers of our Master, should make the effort to find wisdom. We should understand why we are here, and act upon that understanding

We should try to retain the joy of living that we had when we were young. We instinctively feel an urge to do so because we are made in the image of God, who is Joy. We are His children. The scriptures tell us that we should always be enthusiastic, full of spirit, full of the joy of soul consciousness. “For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world (of material things) and lose his own soul.” (the joy of soul consciousness) – (Matthew 16:26) The scriptures also tell us what to do: “Seek ye first the kingdom of God ,” the joy of the soul. “And all these things (the material necessities of life) shall be added unto you.” (Matthew 6:33) The Bible says that not just a few things will be added, but everything.

In the Bhagavad Gita, we are admonished to contact God: “They who verily worship Me with devotion are in Me and I also are in them…Know for certain that My devotees perishes not.” The problem is that we cannot worship God with devotion unless we feel and know Him. If we realize that God is with us, we will know that we will never perish because we are one with Him and won’t we be exuberant, won’t we feel good, won’t life be worth living? That feeling – the bliss of soul consciousness, the joy of His love in our hearts – is the proof that we have contacted God. And in spite of worldly distractions we can possess that God communion if we if we will make the effort, by following the highway of scientific yoga mediation. God’s immanence may be understood through following the teachings of Self-Realization Fellowship. Master has given us the way by which it is easy for any persevering devotee to contact God and to feel the joy of Spirit.

In one of his letters, Master wrote the following about making life worth living. (There are no words like his to put conviction in our hearts!) “If you are despondent and give up hope, how can you receive God’s help? The Divine can only help when we unceasingly, uncomplainingly keep the windows of faith open. If one door closes, another will open, when we do not give up.”

But faith in God we must have. Come what will, we are His children, we are made in His image, He is in us; so how can we lose faith? And so Master said, “Keep the windows of faith open.” It is our age-long lack of faith that shades our soul opening and prevents the light of God from getting through.

God is in us. His light is there. When we can still the thought waves on the ocean of the mind, we will see His Infinite Light, we will feel His presence.
But Divine realization requires unceasing faith, in spite of every reverse.
The nearer we approach God, the greater the tests may be. Master said: “The trials seemingly appear very severe, but the man that steadily believes, and thus deserves God’s direct action and help, will find some magic wand dissolving all menacing mountains of testing tribulation.”

We cannot understand all of God’s ways, for He is too clever for us, but if we just wait, humbly, we will see His hand working in all our affairs, guiding us back to Him. I have found this to be true during many tests.

In another letter, Master wrote to me: “Why don’t you have patience? Financial freedom can help to bring spiritual freedom only to those who are constantly trying to be spiritually free and are on the watch. Otherwise, financial freedom is the cause of bondage and is a harbinger of false happiness.”

Of what value is financial freedom, if it will not give us true joy and make us feel that life is worthwhile? Look about you and you will see that trust in wealth does not bring peace. It is a false hope for material things that will surely pass away. And so Master continues, “Besides financial freedom, many other freedoms have to be sought; freedom from disease, accidents, and other misfortunes, separations, and lastly, death.”

People are uncertain in this life because they do not know what is coming after it. But those who have attained God contact through following Paramahansa Yogananda’s teachings, can experience all phases of consciousness while on earth. They do not fear death. Too them life is surely worth living..

“Of all the freedoms,” Master wrote, “spiritual freedom plays the most important part. For then “stone walls do not a prison make, nor iron bars a cage. Minds innocent, God-protected, make it a haven, a hermitage.”

A wholly worldly life gives nothing but trouble and hopelessness in the end. But we can live a happy life in the world if we have our center on God. That is what Lahiri Mahasaya meant when he said that in spite of the engrossing responsibilities of family life, one may remain non-attached.

The man of realization establishes himself in the different phases of transcendental consciousness while living here on earth. Experiencing the bliss and the joy of the soul, he finds his heaven on earth. Is that not making life worth living?

Avoid those thoughts and actions that are mean and petty. Beware of becoming wrapped up in the trivialities of worldly life. How can God
get into our consciousness if the mind is cluttered up with little things?
Once we perceive God’s infinite light and feel His joy in yogic meditation, the love of God becomes everything to us. Banish pettiness that keeps God out. We want Him; we do not want to be separated from Him: and we are not separated from Him except by the delusory state of consciousness that makes us think we are.

We want to remove the erroneous idea of separation from God. Then life will be worthwhile. The freshness of Spirit will come back to us. Those who have their minds centered on God have the ever-newness of God’s consciousness within them, and a poise that cannot be equaled. This Divine awareness may be achieved through practice of the SRF Yoga techniques. Yoga simply means a scientific method of union with God.

The Soul Must Be Satisfied

We should remember that man is a spiritual animal. Much care is given to the animal side; we clothe it, feed it, entertain it, take it to the movies, ride it around in our automobiles. But what do we do for our spiritual side? More often than not we are apt to forget it. Yet we are going to retain our spiritual nature after the body is no more. He that is wise, therefore, nurtures his spiritual life diligently. We must “feed” our spiritual side with God contact. The yoga techniques of SRF gives us realization of God’s immanence. The pursuit of definite yogic action for God contact is the first, the greatest, and the only action that will satisfy our souls.

We are children of God, made in His image and this life should be full of something other than trouble. It will be joyous if we realize our divine nature. “I have said, Ye are Gods; and all of you are children of the most High.” (Psalms 82:6) We must instill that realization into our consciousness so that we never forget it and never neglect the effort for God contact. We are one with the great flame of God that is, was, and ever shall be. We must know Him through Self-Realization.

Master once wrote me: “Be not afraid, child of Eternal Lightning. March on with unperturbed steady steps, elbowing your way through a million darknesses. Why, what is the Body? What is this passing show? They are soon gone. But the candles you are lighting and burning in your Father’s house will show you the way here and hereafter.” (The candles we are lighting and burning in our Father’s house are our definite efforts to know God; they will light our path here and hereafter). “Stand by God and His servant, and you will see His hand working through all things.”

Master’s words show us how imperative it is that we seek God and that we loyally cling to the Guru. How do we do it? Through meditation. One aspect of meditation will give us contact with God as a Great Light, or we can experience His presence as the Cosmic Sound, the holy vibration of Om. But that is not the whole meaning of God contact – that is just a preparation for real meditation. First comes tuning in with the conscious, intelligent, cosmic vibration of Om , which is intuitively perceived to be the structure of the whole cosmos. But that realization alone is not the ultimate. The second state of deep meditation comes when His love comes and when our souls merge in the spirit of God for then we want nothing else. Work for that God contact. When you have it, there is no doubt that life will be worthwhile.

And so that is what the Guru will do for all who are loyal to him. He will do it for each one of us that strives to keep in tune. When God comes into us through the channel of the Master and we feel and are one with the eternal love of God through the Guru, we will find there is nothing else like the joy that comes into to us. No words can describe it. When He will come depends on His grace, but He surely will come. It is the romance of seeking and finding God that makes life worthwhile.


Member of the Board and vice-president of Self-Realization Fellowship from l946 until his passing in l960. The following talk was given by Dr. Lewis at the Self-Realization Temple in Hollywood, California on July 4, l954.
This is a formidable question. It has two answers: “Yes” and “No.” To understand why, let us examine the salient points. Personal wealth has one dangerous aspect that is often over-looked. The danger is that the consciousness of having material wealth may give us a false sense of security and power. It influences the direction of our attention and actions away from God. We may not be conscious that this has happened nor do we want it to happen, but it follows inevitably when one has wealth. Its effect is to concentrate one’s attention on material things. But there comes a time in each of our lives when we realize that true values are not found in things of this world, and that money cannot buy us those true values.

In a letter, Master once wrote to me he said, “In this momentary dream of life, when others are smiling with the material dream of success, only to wake up in a nightmare of suffering, we must dream for God and hold ambition for God’s work.”

When one has wealth, it is impossible not to feel puffed up to some degree. But as surely as the day follows night, he will wake up, as the Guru says, in a nightmare of suffering. This is because material values are based on changeable things, and in mutable outward consciousness, rather than in God’s eternal consciousness. We are all bound to be influenced and ensnared by this subtle effect of wealth unless we are very careful and watchful. We must not permit the mental and discriminative tendencies that govern our lives to be influenced by it, with its undesirable affect upon our freedom to seek God. I know wealthy people who recognize the fact that money in itself is meaningless, yet their actions reflect an unconscious predisposition toward worldly concerns.

Another effect of wealth is a feeling of superiority. This is a predictable reaction since money enables us to do so many things that cannot be done without it! But the feeling of superiority does not get us anywhere with God.

I remember when I first met Master, I was young and ambitious, and I felt, perhaps because I had a wife and two children to care for, that if I could first attain financial freedom, I could then find God nicely. I use to argue this point with the Guru. Then one day he wrote me these potent words: “Financial freedom can bring spiritual freedom only to those who are constantly trying to be spiritually free and who are on the watch.” You see, I had the cart before the horse. I wanted financial freedom first. “Otherwise,” Master continued, “financial freedom is the cause of bondage, the harbinger of false happiness and sense pleasures. Besides financial freedom, dear one, many other freedoms have to be sought: freedom from disease, accident, misfortune separations, and finally, death.”

See how wise the Guru was. We may have our pockets filled with money, but when a fatal disease strikes us, what good is our money? Or if circumstance forces us to be separated from those near and dear to us, what comfort is our money? Which would we give up more readily – our money or our loved ones? To those who are truly mated, as one, in love and understanding, these are critical considerations: separation, misfortune, and inexorable death. Freedom from death, of course, is the final victory. Watch those who have relied on wealth as the only necessary security; if you could see them as death approaches, you would not want to change places with them for anything. They see only nothingness ahead, for they have laid up no spiritual treasures in life. They have inculcated within themselves the delusion that money can buy anything, but facing death they are helpless. Money cannot buy them the realization of God, which removes all fear. It has to be gained in another way.

Master concluded his wonderful words to me, saying: “Of course, financial freedom plays an important part. Because when you have that you are free, even though in a cage.” Jesus had “nowhere to lay his head” (Matthew 8:20) in worldly terms, yet he freely roamed about the universe, because he had laid up spiritual wealth. “Seek ye first the kingdom of God,” he tells us, “and all these things shall be added unto you” (Matthew 6:33). It is all right to seek and acquire wealth. But the wise first seek and gain the kingdom of God; then if wealth comes, they can see it in its true perspective and thus handle it wisely.

The sense of power that wealth gives creates an undeniable mental barrier that can prevent us from fully surrendering ourselves to God. We may want to; we may be quite unaware that we are being held back in our quest for God. But our consciousness of power impedes our independent action or free will, and makes difficult our full surrender to the will of God. It is substantiated here, in these verses from Matthew (l9:23, 24):
“Verily I say unto you that a rich man shall hardly enter
in to the kingdom of heaven. And again I say unto you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the Kingdom of God.”

No one can enter into the kingdom of God without first fully surrendering to God’s will, because God is the Master of the Universe. It is almost impossible for those who have wealth to do this, even though they may earnestly desire to yield to God. The unconscious delusion of security and superiority that accompanies wealth makes their quest for the kingdom of God doubly difficult.

Wealth, with its power and its advantages, operates in worldly consciousness, in outward duality, and in physical manifestation. Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world”(John 18:36), meaning that world in which monetary wealth is power. Jesus’ kingdom is in heaven, where spiritual consciousness alone is supreme. Heaven can be enjoyed only in spiritual consciousness, not in worldly consciousness where wealth reigns.

Therefore, in considering whether material wealth is a spiritual handicap, we can see it is less than an asset in man’s quest to attain oneness with God. Surely, one who has wealth can attain the Spiritual Kingdom; but his material status contributes little to his spiritual progress.

Nor is God impressed with our wealth, especially if we are worldly wise. In Matthew 11:25, we read, “Thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and has revealed them unto babes.” The “wise” here refers to the worldly wise, and “babes,” to those with the humility and trustfulness of little children are able to surrender themselves fully to God as an infant surrenders to his mother. This trust, faith and total surrender of self are qualities we must have to be favorable in the sight of God. This is expressed again in John 1:47, where Jesus saw Nathanael coming, an Israelite “in whom there is no guile.” That absence of guile is imperative to attain spiritual wealth and the kingdom of God. Jesus said to him in the 51st verse, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, hereafter ye shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.”

So, even with wealth, if like Nathaneal we have no guile, and are not driven by ego or attachment to wealth or material things, we can, with earnest effort, enter the kingdom of God. Indeed our wealth can do much good, for money is powerful. It can be used to support worthy societies, such as our own Self-Realization Fellowship, that raises people from delusion into the light and freedom of God-consciousness. Is anything more worthy than that? But unless we are without guile, and possess the trusting humility of the little child in its surrender to its mother, we will not desire to help others in these giving and selfless ways.

Once we achieve this total surrender to God, we will never again be a slave to money. Though money can do many things in the mortal world, it cannot buy the grace of God. Remember that. If we once feel the power, the presence, and the grace of God, we will never again be affected by money or its influence. And we can thank God for that. So, if you possess material wealth, realize how small it is in your spiritual life, and keep that consciousness. And if you possess no wealth, be thankful, knowing that the grace of God can be upon you even more readily, if you seek it. It is one of our greatest blessings that God, His power, and His love can be earned and attained through our humbleness of heart, our simplicity, and our earnest self-surrender to Him.

And so it becomes clear that whether or not wealth is a spiritual handicap depends chiefly upon the degree of our attachment to it. If we have it, without even unconscious attachment to the power, prestige, or pleasure it affords, it does not impair our quest for the Divine. If we can perceive that the role we are playing in God’s drama of life requires us to have wealth, and we use that wealth in this understanding, without attachment, then it is not a spiritual handicap.

Think what we can do with money when the power of God flows through us! To help lift others from delusion through our own giving affords satisfaction, joy and peace comparable to no other. To look into the face of one raised from delusion, iniquity, and ignorance into the realization of God is to know true wealth – the spiritual richness of seeing a child of God borne into God’s living presence. That is the greatest service we can render to God, bringing a soul back into His fold.

God has created universe upon universe. He has everything. How happy He is! Nor does He ever raise His voice when we disobey Him or when we have forgotten Him, incarnation after incarnation. He doesn’t say a word. But, after we have had our fill of worldly and material pleasures and turn toward His light, He is there, waiting. Such is His love for His children.

This eternal truth is expressed in one of Master’s letters to me,
written in l935: “So we have to do our best in this drama of life, playing our part in the role given us. God is playing His great role, and He wants us to play ours. When we do our best, He is well pleased; and then He takes us to live in His kingdom forevermore.” Isn’t it wonderful to know that it makes no difference to God what part we play -- from the humble role of a servant to that of the wealthiest man in the world. If we play our role well, doing our best, whatever it may be, God is well pleased; and then, from humble beggar to lofty millionaire, we go to live with the Infinite Father in His joyous kingdom forevermore. These lines are among the most beautiful Guruji has ever written, for they reveal the fullness, the greatness of God’s love for all His children, irrespective of color, race, creed, or status in life. We are all as one, and one with or loving Father.

In the Gita (VI:8) we are shown how to play our role in God’s drama: “That yogi who is gladly absorbed in truth and Self-Realization is said to be indissolubly united to Spirit. Unchangeable, conqueror of his senses, he looks with an equal eye on earth, stone and gold.”

Can we feel a lump of earth and a lump of gold to be the same? Yes, if we but lift our consciousness to the Christ Center and behold God’s Infinite Light. Then we will realize that earth and gold are truly the same, molded of one light of Spirit. The Gita concludes (VI:15): “The self-governed yogi whose mind is under ceaseless control attains the peace of My being – the final Nirvana.”

So the scriptures tell us whether wealth is a handicap or not, just as our Master’s wisdom does in his letters. Wealth is not a handicap, they tell us, if we but lift our consciousness from outward consciousness of duality and delusion and ignorance to the Great Light of God. *Once we perceive that light, it is immaterial whether we possess worldly wealth or not. For in that light, we are imbued with the greatest spiritual wealth and power, the overwhelming realization that we are one with our Father, God, protected by His grace, safe in His omniscient love.

*Doctor Lewis said that since that memorable Christmas Eve in l920 when Master showed him the Great Light of the Infinite it was always with him.

Personal Peace in a Troubled World

Dr. M.W. Lewis

San Diego, 1-22-53

Subject this morning is, “Personal Peace in a Troubled World;” “Personal Peace in a Troubled World.”

Can we have peace, peace within our Souls, in this troubled world? This subject was suggested by a Bible reference, St. John, the 16th Chapter, the 33rd Verse. If you listen carefully, you will see, you will realize that you can have personal peace in spite of the tribulations of this world. "These things have I spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world." In other words, in spite of tribulation, "in me," which means in Christ Consciousness, which Jesus manifested, there ye can have peace in spite of all tribulation.

Now the title this morning, “Personal Peace in a Troubled World,” presupposes that this is a troubled world, and it is. There’s no question about that. It is a place of trouble, and tribulation. We see it all about us. We see the paradoxes in life. We see, for instance, I always remember over at the greenhouse on Paxton when we used to plant the nice little seeds. Up would come a beautiful little plant, and it wasn’t long before all the pests in creation, it seems, began to descend on that little plant, and cause it trouble.

And so it is with other things – children. Some children are healthy. They can stand anything. Others, from the day they are born, they are sickly. Some live a long life. Some live a short time. And, also, with grownups; some of the most intelligent people, finest people, find it difficult to make even a living. These are the paradoxes, which causes all the trouble. And then, on top of that, as if we haven’t enough trouble amongst ourselves, we have war. We have a world war, and then, in a few years, we have another world war. And after the Second World War there is no peace among nations. In all the countries we find unrest – especially, in Europe.

And so, this world is a place of tribulation, of trouble. I remember one instance that always stands out in my mind. It is this, that when I graduated from college I thought, "This is it! Everything is fine.” Then came the State Boards, and I said, "If I get by this, why I know everything. That’s all I care, long as I get, somehow, get by that State Board.” I got by it. Then I found out the troubles had just started. I had to set up myself, practice, and, of course, I had to get married. All those things came about. Not that I say that tribulation came with marriage, but it, it helped a little bit, as I remember. In fact, this world is that way, because it’s made up of duality of consciousness. It isn’t the consciousness of the Unity of God’s Presence.

Now, the point is this. All these troubles, especially wars, and so forth, come because of mass karma. That is, there are many boys that go to war, and they don’t want to go to war at all, but they have to go because of mass karma. Remember. And we suffer because of mass karma. And there’s not much we can do about it, because it is there. Nothing will, much will be done about it until you change the hearts of men, and that’ll take quite a while. But as far as individual karma is concerned, we can do something about it. We absolutely can do something about our individual karma. As it says in the scriptures: "These things I have [I] spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace." And so, we absolutely can surmount our individual karma.

And so, we should be rich, rather, in Spiritual Treasure than in material things. Now, in ordinary life, money grows by investment. You invest money properly, and it grows. And so, the Peace of God grows the same way, if you invest it in regular and proper meditation. We should have long, nightly meditations so that we can increase that Peace of God, which is the only Reality. God gives us everything, and He wonders why we love Him so little. He gives us everything.

And so it is with nations. What do they want? They don’t want Spiritual things, except perhaps America. They want material things. They want money. And that’s why they suffer war. And so, just these few words about mass karma; do not think too much about it, because you cannot do much about it. But, as far as your own individual peace and personal peace goes, you can absolutely do something about that.

Now, we hear about war. The fear of war is with us all the time. The threat of an atomic war, that is with us. We cannot escape it. It keeps us disturbed no matter how much we try to forget it. But we should remember that God, in an instant, can blow this whole creation back into Himself. Now, about atomic bombs; by boring into the uranium atom – just think of it – by boring into the uranium atom, such a tremendous power is released, power of the atomic bomb. We have illustrations of that at Hiroshima, in the explosion of the many atomic bombs, and the new atomic weapons. But, one thing we forget is this, that by boring into the Spiritual Eye, by boring into the Spiritual Eye, we can control the Energy of the whole Universe. Remember that. And when you do that, and unite yourself with God’s Consciousness, you will never worry about an atomic bomb.

And so, welfare, or rather, warfare, goes on all the time. Warfare goes on all the time; warfare continually, with pests and bugs coming upon us, all, all sorts of things. And in the body, it’s a terrific battle going on – the battle of bacteria. And we see evidence of this in the current epidemic, so to speak, of virus infection of colds, and so forth. This goes on all the time. And as I have said, to make matters worse, we have wars, periodically.

And so this thing will go on. Tribulation will be there, so, let us forget it, because as long as we have outward consciousness, as long as there is a duality of consciousness and lack of Unity of God’s Consciousness, these tribulations will go on. And that’s why in the [Bhagavad] Gita it says, Lord Krishna says, "Get out of my delusion.” "Get out of my delusion.” Get out of my Maya. Then you will escape the laws of birth and death, because, the delusion is in outward consciousness, not in the Unity of God’s Consciousness. But in that Unity of God’s Consciousness we will find Peace. As it says in the Bible, "In me,” in me, “ye shall have peace.”

So, the only escape from tribulation is in the Superconsciousness of God. We must realize God. Then you know. When you realize God, then you know these things are true. You know that the outward consciousness is changing and passes away. And when you enter into the Cosmic Sphere, then there is no danger there. And so, as the Master said once, he said, "You must realize God by throwing your body into the beam of light.” In meditation you see the Light, throw your body – forget the body – into that Beam of Light. “All bodies melt into His Consciousness, because God has created all things from His One Consciousness.”

So we suffer. We suffer why? Because we love the body more than the Soul; we suffer for that reason. And in the daytime, in the daytime what do we have? We have the memory of the body. We cannot escape it. It is a nuisance. Why? Because it keeps suggesting to us these things which cause tribulation – that the body may be hurt, that it may be diseased, that the war may come, and the bombs effect it, and that we may lose our house, and can’t have a place to put the body. All those suggestions are there. They come all the time to remind us that the body is transient. And so, the memory of this body is a nuisance. But when you concentrate upon the Soul, when you concentrate upon the Soul – remember, know the Soul – there is no death, because the Soul does not pass away. The Soul is Eternal.

And so, everything comes from the One Light of Spirit. Everything comes from that. And when you have that realization, that everything comes from His Infinite Light and Consciousness, then as the Master used to say, “A Great, such a Great Peace will come over you as you understand this ‘cowboy fight,’” as he called it. How, “cowboy fight,” it goes on all the time. But knowing that there is One Light of God, and from that all things come; then Great Peace will be with you.

And so, we should develop will power, that we may establish our stability in God. We must develop that will power; if we establish our stability that we do not lose our peace. Master used to often say to me, "Never lose your calmness.” I’d come home frustrated, he’d say, "Never lose your calmness. The yogis always watch that. No matter what happens they never lose their calmness.” So, we must do that, we must practice these things. And especially, self-control gives peace. Self-control gives peace. Why? This is important. In self-control, the mind is withdrawn from the creative impulse, and the Love of God takes its place. That’s a very important point. In self-control, it is that creative impulse which keeps us attached to outward consciousness. That’s the strongest thing. But, self-control, the mind is withdrawn from that, and in its place we find the Love of God.

So, you see how wonderful the teachings of Self-Realization are. They give you the methods whereby you can withdraw the mind from the things that keep us attached to outward consciousness, and prevent us from enjoying “Personal Peace in a Troubled World,” by withdrawing the mind, and allowing the Love of God to take its place.

And so, the work of Self-Realization is very natural. You follow the techniques, such as the Hong Sau technique, which separates the consciousness from attachment to the body; and then the Om technique, which helps you to place that consciousness on the Presence of God within you; and the Kriya technique, which is the highest, which helps you completely withdraw from outward consciousness that you may have the personal peace of the Presence of God within. And that’s why I liked, and do still like, Self-Realization so much, because it takes you away from the binding things, as the creative impulse, in a natural way, and it gives you something far greater, the Love of God, in its place.

You don’t have to worry about anything. Don’t get worried. If you have habits and lack self-control. Just love God. Do your exercises. You will find that He will come and replace all those things that tied you to the body. Self-Realization techniques are surely a special dispensation for all of us, that we may rise above those limiting aspects of consciousness, which keep us tied to outward things, and prevent us from realizing “Personal Peace in a Troubled World.”

Now going on; this Love of God must be paramount. Love of God must be paramount, because when that comes it transmutes, it transmutes the creative impulse into a great power of body, mind, and will. There is no question about it, because there’s no power on earth equal to the Love of God, and that’s what takes place within you. When you feel that; no one can take away your peace.

And so, personal peace can come, even in a troubled mind, to all of those, as it says in the Bible, who are stayed in Thee[1]. To all of those who love God, and are fixed in that, personal peace can absolutely come. We have one or two scriptural references I’d like to read. They’re most wonderful. Isaiah, the 9th Chapter, the 6th and 7th Verse, Verses: "…his name shall be called Wonderful…The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace." God is Peace. God is not something far off – intangible. He’s the Absolute, the Greatest Peace you can have. Then it goes on to say: "Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end…,” because God is Eternal. There’s no end to His Consciousness. If He is Peace, if He is Love, and you merge in that, there’s no end to what you can have.

Then in Isaiah, the 26th Chapter, the 3rd Verse we read: "Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee...” That’s the point. Not just a little flourish touching of God, but you’ve got to be one with Him – all the time – be one with His Consciousness. This is so, “…because he trusteth in thee.” We trust in all other things – people, outward things, money, and so forth – and we forget God, who is the Cause and End of all things. So, those who trust in Him, and are stayed in Him, He gives perfect peace.

And in Isaiah, the 32nd Chapter, the 17th Verse: "The work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance for ever." That’s the important thing – personal peace; not for the day, not next week, not this year – but eternally. When you feel the Presence of God, and you know He is with you – not just for now but always – you will feel Greatest Peace, Greatest Calmness.

And so, we have to rise above worldly consciousness into the Unity of Consciousness of God, because why? In worldly consciousness there will never be any peace. A little satisfaction from the satisfying of desires, that’s all. But there’s no peace, lasting, except in the Unity of God’s Consciousness.

And one other reference in [1st] Corinthians, 14th Chapter, 33rd Verse, and this is important. "For God is not the author of confusion…" That’s the point. People blame God for everything that happens. He’s not the author. The author of confusion is that we are attached to His duality of consciousness in this worldly creation. That’s the problem. So, "God is not the author of confusion, but of peace,” peace, “as in all churches of the saints.” That is, you find the Peace of God in the churches where they contact God. So you find the peace of saints, the communion of saints, that you find in this church.

Finally, St. John, 14th Chapter, 27th Verse, and this was most-loved verse of the Master. "Peace I leave with you, my peace, I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid."

And so, how to attain this peace? How to attain the Peace of God’s Presence? Master always said to me, he said, “When you are in the Om Vibration, at this point [Doctor points to the Spiritual Eye], when you are in this Consciousness, nothing can touch you; nothing can hurt you, because you are surrounded and protected by the high voltage of God’s Superconsciousness and Presence, right within the body. And when you have that, when you are in His Presence, no harm can come to you; nothing can disturb your peace.”

And in closing, I’d like to give you one or two of the Master’s words, when he says this. He says, “When one loves God,” and, remember, this is very important, “When one truly loves God, and is really serious, then not only personal peace, but glory to everyone; glory to your father, to your mother, to your wife, to your husband, to your brother, to your sister, to your friends – not only personal peace – but glory to everyone, who is related to you.” That’s the Power of God.

So you can see, “Personal Peace in a Troubled World” is possible, and can be, but not only that, personal peace can come, but you, can stand unshaken midst all disease; midst all atomic bombs; and as the Master used to say, "Midst the crash of breaking worlds.”

Closing meditation and prayer

Let us sit upright for a moment. Do not lose this Presence of God which you feel now.

Heavenly Father, I thank Thee for the realization that I can have peace in this troubled world, and I realize that to know Thee, to be one with Thee, to be stayed in Thee is my salvation. And I thank Thee, O Father, that the Beloved Master has brought the way, and is the channel of Thy Peace.


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