Warm greetings at Thanksgiving from Paramahansa Yogananda’s ashrams! This year—the centennial anniversary of his arrival in America to bring Kriya Yoga to the West—we have a special cause for thankfulness, for in that sacred science of the soul God has given us the means to reclaim the unshakable security and joy of our inmost being. And in Paramahansa Yoganandaji, God has given us a divine friend and guide to help us reach that goal.
Paramahansaji was a divine friend to America as well. It is inspiring to recall that the conference of religions that brought him here in 1920 commemorated the search for religious freedom that the Pilgrims sought when they landed in America 300 years earlier. It was they who celebrated in amity the first Thanksgiving—a deeply spiritual custom that our Guru was delighted to discover and join in from the time of his earliest years in Boston.
Today, when that sense of national and spiritual unity is threatened by divisiveness and mistrust of one another, let us take time to reaffirm and give thanks for all the good at the heart of America. Her true character and noble ideals, and the freedoms promised by her founding truths, are strong, deeply rooted, and enduring. Now, more than ever, let us resolve to strengthen our personal contribution to the spirituality needed to unite behind those values and make them a reality for all. “My mission in America,” Paramahansaji said a few years after his arrival here, “is to bring her multifarious peoples closer to one another, to bind them by bonds of universal truth and the highest spiritual discipline, so that, materially strongest as she is, America may serve also as the strongest spiritual example in the world; and thus avoid the pitfalls into which other powerful nations of history fell through their carelessness and pride.”
Our Guru loved America, and often stated that her greatness was inextricably linked to her reverence for God and Truth—a spiritual bedrock that goes deeper than the denominational forms of sectarian “religiosity.” If he were speaking publically today he would surely reiterate, lovingly and plainly, what he said many years ago:
“If everyone in this world were spiritual, not by religiosity but expression of soul qualities, the result would be perfect harmony. I love America and I pray that—along with India—she be a spiritual example. Goodwill to all—that kind of patriotism is real Americanism. Follow God and Christlike principles. Spiritualize the nation, and that will save many, many troubles for your country. And you will set an example that many other nations will want to follow.”
From all of Paramahansa Yogananda’s ashrams, loving prayers for each of you are pouring out on this Thanksgiving holiday. May the grateful acknowledgement of God as the Eternal Giver of material and spiritual bounty open all hearts in an ever expanding receptivity to His help and blessings, for ourselves and for the entire human family, now and always.
In gratitude for the divine friendship we share,