Swami Yogananda’s Banquet Speech Convocation, 1937

Swami Yoganandaji brought the Yogoda Convocation banquet speeches to a conclusion with the following words:

“I cannot express in words my appreciation for all the kind things that you have said to me tonight. I am deeply grateful for your devotion and strength of spirit and the words which came from your heart. I pray that you all bless me that I may always be worthy to serve you all. I am proud to be with you all, and I am always happy to be reminded of my great duty to you all and my own brothers and sisters of the world.

“What has been spoken here of me is not of me but of Him that is within me. All I know is that you all are the images of Christ. When you watch the wave, you don’t see the ocean, but when you watch the ocean, you see that it is the ocean that becomes the waves. It is the same ocean beneath all waves. I see that ocean of Spirit beneath the waves of the lives of you all. I bow to you all.

“I am not worthy of all the wonderful things which you have said. Little as I am, I can only say it is the manifestation of the blessings of God which makes me so loving in your eyes. My life on earth has not been in vain. May God bless you for your words and may I be more and more worthy of what you said.

“I am overwhelmed by the many inspirations of this occasion wherein we have felt this divine joy, this divine understanding, this divine communion, wherein we have forgotten all limitations and differences. I pray that such communion through understanding and beautiful festivities and kindness reign all over the earth, that on the altar of unity, the kingdom and vastness of God may be expressed. By the pickaxe of such occasions, the rocks and useless crusts of our souls are broken—the Divine Spring gushes forth and brings to us new purity, new joy, new love.

New Consciousness

“We have begun the New Year with a new consciousness. Everyday let us weed out all wrong habits and supplant them with good habits. May we all realize the joy of such occasions and receive such experiences that the darkness of ignorance may be forever dispelled with the beacon light of joy. I am blessed to behold His inspiration in all of you. I am blessed to behold Him on this occasion. I am boundlessly blessed to have heard Him speaking through the lips of these divine souls. It was God who speaks to me His appreciation. You are all gods if you only knew it. Behind the wave of your consciousness is the sea of God’s presence. You must look within. Don’t look at the little wave of the body with its weaknesses but look beneath, close your eyes and you see only the vast omnipresence before you, everywhere you look. You are in the center of that vast sphere and as you lift your consciousness from the body and all its experiences you will find it is filled with the great joy and bliss that lights the stars and gives power to the winds and storms. God is the fountain of all our joys and of all the manifestations in nature.

“God has not to be earned. ‘Seek ye the kingdom of God first and all these things shall be added unto you. Nor be ye of doubtful mind.’ Awaken yourself from the gloom of ignorance. You have closed your eyes. Awake, open your eyes and you shall behold the glory of God—the vast vista of God’s light spreading over all things. I am telling you to be Divine Realists and you will find the answer to all questions in God. Meditation is the only way. Beliefs, reading books, cannot give you realization. It is only by meditating in the right way that you can have that great realization and joy. If you follow this you shall know that God is not a God who can be moved by blind prayer, flattery, but He can be moved by law and devotion and the love of your heart. With the following of the meditation technique you must surrender yourself to God. You must claim your Divine Birthright. Your constant prayer, your boundless determination, your constant desire for God shall make Him break his tremendous vow of silence and He shall answer you. Above all, in the temple of silence He shall give you the gift of Himself that shall last beyond the portals of the tomb.

Movie Drama of Life

“When you see a motion picture of a performance on the stage, if you know the play beforehand it will not be so interesting. It is good that you don’t understand this life because God is playing a movie drama in your life. It wouldn’t be interesting if we knew what was going to happen before it happened. Don’t be interested in the end. But always pray to God, ‘Teach me to play in this drama of life, weak or strong, sick or well, high or low, rich or poor, with an immortal attitude, that I may at the end of this drama know the moral of it all.’

“Do not waste your time. You are God’s greatest creation. Greater than all other creations. We are blessed that we can think. God says, ‘I gave you will, I gave you freedom and free choice. Perchance you will forsake all things and love Me who gave those gifts to you.’ I at last found all the silver streamlets of my desire leading to that Great Ocean of Consciousness. Many of you swam down that ocean but stopped by the shore. If you keep on following the good in life you shall flow down the river of desire into the ocean of God’s consciousness. All these realities which stand before you will be unreal. Today we are and tomorrow we are not, but we must remember our utmost duty to that great Power which is behind all our lives. In acting this drama of our lives we must remember our highest duty to Him. If you want to understand this life we must remember the fine work He is doing in the flowers, the flame of His mind that is burning in our thoughts, the thoughts that are pouring from our souls, and the worlds upon worlds that are spread out over the great vastness of the Cosmos. How vast is that God and yet we feel Him in our consciousness. Our lives are the reflection of that Spirit. No life can exist without the ocean of life behind it, so we must realize that great ocean of life throbbing behind our lives.

Mountains—or Living Souls?

“It is the living example of souls that can give you the consciousness of God. Once long ago when I had developed two organizations I wanted to go away to the Himalayas but Master said, ‘You cannot get there what you will get in meditation.’ But I didn’t listen. I went away. One day I came back to my Master and I thought he would be very much displeased with me but instead, when he saw me, he said, ‘Let us see what we have to eat.’ And I asked, ‘Are you not angry with me, sir?’ And he said, ‘Why should I be angry with you? I never use anybody for my own purposes. You have come back and I have that same love for you, and you went away and that was your pleasure and I had that same love for you then.’ Then I knew the meaning of unconditional Divine Love and that he was a God on earth to give that Love to devotees. One day after I had returned and was meditating deeply, Master called me and I didn’t want to go. He called me again and I said, ‘I am meditating.’ Then he said, ‘I know how you are meditating. Come.’ And I went and as I looked at his eyes I saw he was looking at me with great divine compassion. And suddenly he touched my chest. I had heard of transmission of the divine perception but I realized it then. Everything melted. All was light—my breath went and I was rooted to the ground. I felt I was free, I was Spirit. I had a thousand eyes. I could see everything through the front and back of my head for miles around me. I could see through buildings, I could see even the sap flowing through the roots of trees and I could see through walls and everything. I tested myself to see if it was real and I saw that it was, for I could see all things around me with the eyes open or closed. Such a joy, for which I had hungered for years, Master gave me by that single touch. There was a tremendous joy of divine communion—no words can describe the joy and happiness that came to me. (I never appreciated my master’s greatness. I was so sure of him. I didn’t realize that he would work so many things in my life.) God has no eyes. But He sees through the pores of space—the same way I saw all things independently of the eyes. Everything happened to me. And after half an hour of enjoying this great bliss and wonderful visions Master touched me again and said, ‘Mountains couldn’t give to you what God could give.’ Master was the embodiment of God on earth to me. And he said, ‘Come, let us go for a walk now.’ He made me sweep the floor before we went to walk. What a contrast! And he and I walked by the banks of the Ganges in silence. He would be indifferent whenever I wanted to express my gratitude for the Spiritual vision he gave me. That was my great Master.

Resurrected Master

“My master is free like the radio vibrations which travel all around and this freedom of his presence is ever haunting me. He was never so real as he is now. Now and then I see him standing near. Everything that he said has come true. It was he that first said, ‘I shall go away when you come back to India’ and I shall never forget. So many years he had waited for me, and so many years I had been here, but he never recalled me until two years ago. Then I wrote to St. Lynn, ‘My Master is calling me. He won’t wait for me I must go.’ St. Lynn was very spiritually understanding and intuitive and he co-operated with me to send me to India. I went there and the Master fulfilled His tryst with Immortality. He went away, as I told you in the afternoon lecture, and then to my greatest surprise, he came back resurrected as I told you. It is not imagination, my friends. In these wonderful days of radio and so on, God has wonderful demonstrations if you will tune yourself to see these great manifestations of God. It is worthwhile to try. You must put heart and soul in meditation. If you give a couple of hours morning and evening to meditation you shall find that great God who is beneath all things.

“‘Out of many thousand one seeks Me and out of those few, only one know Me.’ ‘The last shall be first.’ It isn’t those that come first that shall find God, but those that shall last in the path that shall be blessed. They shall receive Him.

“More Tempting Than Temptation”

“I found God is more tempting than temptation. Side by side I compared Him with all material desires and I found Him more tempting than everything else. I am anchored in that Spirit. I can find my home in the auto or in America or anywhere. The joy of material things fades away, but the joy in God never fades away. It is eternal romance with the Spirit. It is joy indescribable. Although you find glimpses of the Divine, you must go deeper within and you will sit at the brink of eternity facing God. There, in the land beyond all our dreams, where the well of God is eternally springing, in the heart and soil of your soul, there you can go in the ark of silence. God is waiting. And you are dreaming about this dream. Turn your attention from this world into the vast kingdom of God which is within. I live in that kingdom. I am in this joyous sphere where stars and planets are floating in the vastness of my consciousness.

“‘O God, I see Thee painting Thy beauty on the canvas of the sky, on the canvas of nature and on the canvas of my consciousness. O how blessed I am! I, who am unworthy to utter Thy name.’

“I see Him with my eyes closed and I see Him with my eyes open. That eternal freedom you must find. You shall find if you make the effort. It is better to enter into life maimed than to live without God. Awaken yourself! Be anchored in the spirit of God and realization of the Infinite Being that flows like an ocean through all creation. It is worthwhile to make the effort to reap, in this short season of life, the rich harvest of God-realization. Joy will constantly flow. I feel this great ocean of life and I say, ‘O God, this little being Thou has blessed with that joy and I know now why Jesus bled for all. I know now why He gave up His life.’

“All must bring this body, mind and soul into discipline and pray with might and devotion to God, and if you follow meditation as we teach, you shall find one day, when you are least expecting it. He shall drop two hands to lift you up. It is not you who are seeking God, but God is seeking you more than you are seeking Him. But He has given you independence to cast Him aside if you wish. You must help your Father. Come back to your home and like the prodigal son returned home, He shall kill the fatted calf of wisdom, eternal bliss and Divine understanding for you and you shall find Him with you evermore.

“God, Guru, Masters, devotees, I bow to you all. I bow at the feet of all humanity, for all are the children of God.”

 

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