FROM MILLIONAIRE TO SAINT

Yogananda describing his disciple Rajarsi Janakananda - “ You are the Hindu yogi of Himalayan hermitages of the past who was sent in this life as an American prince, a Western Maharaja Yogi, to light the lamp of yoga in many groping hearts. “ and “ I gave Kriya Yoga initiation to Rajarsi Janakananda shortly after I had met him; and since then I have never seen him when he was not inwardly communing with God. A Westerner has stepped forth to show the world the worth in daily life of yoga training. Through him the lives of many will be profoundly changed and turned toward God.” When James J. Lynn first met Paramahansa Yogananda in 1932, he was a self-made millionaire who had risen from a poverty-stricken boyhood to become one of the most successful businessmen in America. Yet, as he later recounted: “I was a totally frustrated man. I had thought money could give me happiness, but nothing seemed to satisfy me. I lived in a state of nervousness, a state of strain, an inward state of uncertainty.” That meeting with Yogananda transformed the life of this great American disciple, later known as Rajarsi Janakananda. Rajarsi is a spiritual title meaning royal rishi; Janakananda means the bliss of Janaka. Janaka was a great king as well as a fully Self-realized master of ancient India. Janakananda began practicing Kriya Yoga under the Master’s direction, and his rise to spiritual eminence was as meteoric as his material advancement had been. “I have learned to live by inward joy,” he declared. Paramahansa Yogananda often spoke of his exalted spiritual stature, and would say to the other disciples, “I hope you will all follow his saintly example.” Yogananda wrote in his Autobiography of a Yogi: "An American businessman of endless responsibilities (as head of a company with vast oil interests ) he nevertheless finds time daily for long and deep Kriya Yoga meditation. Leading thus a balanced life, he has attained in samadhi the grace of unshakable peace. His role in this life just as Lahiri Mahasaya had demonstrated, was to be in the world but not of it: to show the effect that Kriya can have in those who carry worldly responsibilities as householders." Such was Janakananda’s receptivity that at that very first meeting the Guru was able to transmit to him the experience of samadhi, ecstatic union with God. Yogananda explained that his soul was ripe for the experience. When Janakananda received the Kriya technique he said “ Life boils within my spine, I have found God. “ After practicing the Kriya techniques for a while he also said “ I became aware that I was able to sit very still; I was motionless; I didn't seem to be breathing. I wondered about it and looked up at Paramahansaji. A deep white light appeared, seeming to fill the entire room. I became a part of that wondrous light. Since that time I have been free from nervousness. Not until my experience of the healing light did I realize that I had found entrance into a spiritual realm previously unknown to me. Ordinarily man is conscious only of his thoughts and of the material world that he can smell, taste, touch, see, and hear. But he is not conscious of the soul deep within him. He doesn't know anything about That which is behind the scenes, just behind the thoughts and senses. One should learn to realize the presence of this Life, the real Life; and attain the union of his own consciousness with that Life. On the path of Self-Realization one becomes alive again. He actually lives. He feels the divine Life within him. He experiences the union of his individual soul with the universal Spirit. The Self-Realization path as taught by Paramahansaji is scientific. It is a combination of yoga and devotion to God. Together, yoga and devotion will bring man to a realization of his own divinity. Religion can have but one purpose: knowledge of one's own life as the omnipresent Life. That attainment is Heaven. Two things stay with us when the body goes: life and consciousness. We can get rid of everything except life and consciousness. Those are eternally with us. Self-Realization teachings show one how to develop a proper consciousness — an awareness and inner experience of Spirit. Practice Kriya Yoga and discover for yourself the glories of the soul within." Janakananda says about the Guru “ A master is like an angel of God, one who is the very embodiment of love and unselfishness. He is the possessor of divine joy. How heavenly it is to enjoy the company of a saint! Of all the things that have come to me in life, I treasure more than all else the blessings my Guru has bestowed on me.” Known for his humility and simplicity Janakananda was once talking of the experience of Cosmic Consciousness to a group of devotees and he said: “ One can never know all of God, he is ever new, always expanding. He just keep on expanding throughout eternity, ever new Joy. “