Heavenly Father, bless us that every day be a new year, a new cycle, of spiritual perception, until we feel Thee in Thine infinite expression.
A joyous New Year’s greeting to our dear friends in Paramahansa Yogananda’s worldwide spiritual family, with heartfelt friendship and love! In the hope-filled consciousness native to our souls, let us enter 2020 uplifted by Paramahansaji’s powerful prayer quoted above — knowing that this special time of year represents a divine opportunity for growth, for change, for transformation, for renewal.
Let me take this opportunity to thank all of you — from near and far, around the world — for your cards, gifts, and messages of love and support sent during the Christmas season just past. You don’t know how it touches my heart, how much it means to all of us monks and nuns serving in Paramahansaji’s ashrams, to receive your divine friendship; and most of all to see the sincerity and dedication with which you are making our Guru’s blessed teachings and techniques a part of your lives. God bless each one of you!
The past year has been a special one for Self-Realization Fellowship and Yogoda Satsanga Society — a milestone in the history and the unfolding of Guruji’s work — with the release of the completed SRF/YSS Lessons. And this new year will also be one of great rejoicing — the Centennial Anniversary of Paramahansaji’s founding of Self-Realization Fellowship. One hundred years ago, he arrived in America to bring to the West the highest sacred teachings from India’s treasured past on how to find and commune with God. Though alone and friendless when he stepped off the ship in Boston, he was soon surrounded by a growing core of seekers eager for India’s time-honored message of truth. Everywhere our Guru went, he made soul friends and drew followers and disciples as his work grew into the worldwide organization it is today.
You are all a part of that growth. I see you as shining jewels scattered over the earth, helping to illumine a divine dispensation, a world teaching that is gathering force and momentum, encouraging people and nations to turn away from ignorance, selfishness, and darkness toward the light of God and spiritual consciousness. From all over the world I have met devotees who have practiced the SRF/YSS teachings for five, ten, twenty, thirty years or more. Such love and goodness, such positivity of spirit and inner realization, radiates from their eyes, faces, and whole being! That is the promise practical spirituality can fulfill.
So this Centennial year will be a wonderful time of remembrance, along with renewed inspiration and gratitude for the soul gifts and opportunity given to us and to the world through Paramahansaji and his line of Gurus. I hope each of you will visit our SRF website to learn of the special events that are planned.
The greatest way we can express appreciation to our Guru is to be examples of his teachings and ideals. And the beginning of this new year is an excellent time to make that resolution. Let us resolve to weed from our lives the unspiritual habits — at least some of them! — that hold us back and prevent us from being and accomplishing what we are meant to be and accomplish, as souls made in the image of God.
To realize that image, we must meditate. Take a little time now, or this evening during your regular meditation period, to sit in silence. Practice the techniques taught in the Lessons; then talk sincerely with God, in whatever aspect or form inspires you. If you do that — keeping the eyes at the Christ (Kutastha) center and the heart tuned with faith and expectancy — you will feel the inner assurance of unfolding spiritual consciousness. Sometimes we may not get immediate signs and proofs of God because He wants us to develop greater faith, which like a muscle grows stronger with use. We wonder if He is really there. But Jesus said, “Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without the sight of your Father.” God knows about us; but we have to know about Him! And that comes through patient practice of meditation, plus faith and positive thinking — taking whatever comes as the next step in our spiritual evolution, always striving inwardly for attunement and right attitude: “Lord, what do You want me to learn from this experience? How do You want me to react? Bless me with the ability to walk this path with courage and Your love in my heart.” In that way you will surely find Him at the end of your journey.
In my meditations I pray for all of you. Feel God’s blessings flowing to you. Visualize a protecting shield of God’s love encircling you. Enveloped in that light and love as a united family of souls, let us make this year not only a milestone in the history of SRF but a personal milestone in our own spiritual lives. Remember these beautiful words from the Master:
The one purpose of Self-Realization Fellowship is to teach the individual the way to personal contact with God. Those who make the effort cannot miss Him. Make a solemn promise in your heart and pray to the Father that He bless you with the haunting desire to find Him, that you may not waste any more time….My prayer for each of you is that from today you will make a supreme effort for God, and that you never give up until you are established in Him.
May God bless you and your loved ones with His peace, love, and joy this New Year,