Few and far between are the truly great teachers that have walked this planet. Naturally I make that judgment based on my own criteria. Simply put, there are a series of qualifiers for a master Teacher. If these are satisfied, then one can fairly well accept that the purveyor of wisdom is the real McCoy.
Qualities for Identifying a Real Spiritual Master
Here are a few qualifiers for Real masters. They:
- Are supported by public charity. This allows them to be free of attachment to monetary needs.
- Display humility at all times and never display their attainments.
- Never complain of their treatment at the hands of others.
- Find no blame nor fault in others for their own life experiences. They exemplify virtues and maintain silence and inner counsel.
- Proffer no punishment to anyone, even their worst and most harsh of critics and enemies.
- Do not suffer their body to hardship and austerities. They honour their physical vehicle as a gift and use it for the purpose of teaching and maintenance of a karmic present in this everyday world.
- Never beg.
- Never performs miracles for public acclaim, but rather as teaching lessons to bring forth the inner desire to stay true to the path and elevate one’s soul to the high path.
- Never claim to be the Supreme without relating that Supremacy back to the reality present in one and all. “I Am God and So Are You, the Difference Is I know It and You Have Forgotten It,” is their Truth.
Paramahansa Yogananda – Inspiring Talk on Happiness
Having listed the above, it brings me to one of my all time favourite masters. Paramahansa Yogananda. Well known in the Western world for his great influence, along with Vivekananda for bringing the Eastern thought to western minds, Yogananda has a way of cutting straight through the debris of mindlessness delusion and into the core of what we have taken birth. Here in the following article, you can follow his stream of thought. You will need to click past the end to complete the story line he is sharing which is to be found on the Yogananda (Self Realization Fellowship) website. This talk comes from November, 1936. This was a time of immense upheaval in Europe and just a couple of years after the resurrection of the US and world at large form the Great Depression.
Happiness is Your Birthright
“We can never be happy unless we are progressing and seeking satisfaction in doing so, and unless we are guarding our happiness from all the influences which destroy it. Happiness comes, not by helplessly thinking, but by living it in all the moods and actions of life. No matter what you are doing, keep the undercurrent of happiness, the secret river of joy, flowing beneath the sands of various thoughts and the rocky soils of hard trials. Learn to be secretly happy within your heart in spite of all circumstances, and say to yourself, “Happiness is my greatest Divine birthright — the buried treasure of my Soul. I have found that at last I shall secretly be rich beyond the dream of Kings.”
“Do not make unhappiness a chronic habit, for it is anything but pleasant to be unhappy, while it is blessedness for yourself and others when you are happy. When it is so easy to wear a silver smile, or to pour sweet happiness through your voice, why be grouchy and scatter unhappiness around you? It is never too late to learn.
“Happiness grows by what it is fed on. Learn to be happy by being happy all the time. John said, “If I get money, I shall be happy.” He became wealthy; then he said, “I shall be happy if I get rid of my acute indigestion.” His indigestion was cured, but he thought, “If I get a wife, I shall be happy.” Then bedlam started, for he married a nagging, tongue-lashing woman. He divorced this wife, and after many years married again, but the second wife was worse than the first one. Then he thought that he would be happier if he divorced his second wife, so he did, but at the age of seventy he thought, “No, I shall never be happy unless I can be youthful again.” In this way people try but never reach their goal of happiness. They are like the man who raced in anger to bite his own nose, but never could, of course.
“Ignorant people, like animals, do not heed the lessons which accompany pain and pleasure. Most people live a life checkered with sadness and sorrow, for they do not avoid the actions which lead to suffering and do not follow the ways which lead to happiness. Then there are people who are always consciously over-sensitive to sorrow and happiness when they come. Such people are usually extremely crushed by sorrow and are overwhelmed by joy, thus losing their mental balance. There are very few people who, after burning their fingers in the fire of ignorance, learn to avoid misery-making acts.
“Many people wish to be happy, and yet they never make the effort to adopt the course of action which leads to happiness. Most people keep rolling down the hill of life only mentally wishing to climb the peak of happiness. They sometimes wake up if their enthusiasm for happiness survives the crash to the bottom of suffering. Most people lack imagination and never wake up until something terrible happens to arouse them from their nightmare of folly.
“Stagnant people are unhappy, and extremely ignorant people scarcely know how it feels to be either happy or unhappy. They are unfeeling, like the stones. It is better to be unhappy about your own ignorance than to die happily with it. Wherever you are, remain awake and alive with your thought, perception, and intuition, ever ready, like a good photographer, to take pictures of exemplary conduct and to ignore bad behavior. Your highest happiness lies in your being ever ready in desiring to learn and in behaving properly.
“People seeking happiness must avoid the influence of bad habits which lead to evil actions, for evil actions produce misery sooner or later. Misery corrodes the body, mind, and soul like a silently burning acid, and cannot be endured long. That is why it should be strictly avoided.
Cure yourself of evil habits by cauterizing them with the opposite good habits. If you have a bad habit of telling lies, and by so doing have lost many friends, start the opposite good habit of telling the truth. It takes time to form a good habit or a bad one. It is difficult for a bad person to be good and for a good person to be bad; yet, remember that once you become good, it will be natural and easy for you to be good; likewise, if you cultivate an evil habit, you will be compelled to be evil in spite of your desire, and you have to pray, “Father, my Spirit is willing, but my flesh is weak.” That is why it is worth-while to cultivate the habit of being happy.
“The man sliding down evil paths finds no resistance; but as soon as he tries to oppose his evil habits by the adoption of spiritual laws of discipline, he finds countless temptations roused to fight and foil his noble efforts.
“Do Not Judge Others
Your individual happiness depends to large extent upon protecting yourself and your family from the evil results of gossiping. See no evil, speak no evil, hear no evil, think no evil, feel no evil. Most people can talk about other people for hours and thrive under the influence of gossip like the temporary influence of intoxicating poisonous wine. Isn’t it strange that people can smoothly, joyously, and with caustic criticism talk about the faults of others for hours but cannot endure reference to their own faults at all?
“If you do not like to talk about your own faults, if it hurts you to do so, you certainly should feel more hurt when saying unkind, harmful things about other people. Train yourself and each member of your family to refrain from talking about others. “Judge not, that ye be not judged.”
By giving publicity to a man’s weakness, you do not help him. Instead, you either make him wrathful or discouraged, and you shame him, perhaps forever, so that he gives up trying to be good. When you take away the sense of dignity from a person by openly maligning him, you make him desperate.” (The full article is found by clicking on the link below. You will also find other great resources for the journey)