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Physical Improvement

Excerpts from the Praecepta Lessons

Paramhansa Yogananda, 1893 - 1952




Bodily Health is a Magnet

I am entreating my students, in whatever walk of life, to devote some portion of each day to personal physical improvement. This will speed one's spiritual enfoldment. Nothing is gained by physical neglect; in fact, it retards spiritual evolution. Life itself is God-given and our physical vehicle comes from the same source. How, then, can we in good conscience abuse or neglect that which is lent us for our earthly sojourn.

The care we give ourselves enables us to render greater service to mankind. While we cannot force salvation upon another, we can do our best to set an example of overall well-being. Bodily health is a magnet that draws others to us. Whether we are blessed with it at birth or acquire it, good health is a symbol of spiritual progress.

Sometime, somewhere we have worked for it. If we are suffering now, then health is a treasure we have lost, and its absence points to an important lesson we came here to learn. In all things, moderation.

By doing so, you will begin to clean up your own little back yard of the accumulated debris that each soul comes into this life to overcome. On the physical level, it will pay you dividends beyond your fondest dreams; from the spiritual standpoint, you will have overcome a delinquency similar to selfishness, cruelty, and dishonesty. If you have been ailing physically, there is no more legitimate ambition, nor one that will pay greater dividends, than making the attainment of your health your one great aim.

Visualize the Physical Perfection

The earnestness with which you apply yourself will determine the degree of success. In your daily period of meditation, remember to ask God for the help needed to develop physically, mentally, and spiritually. Then, just as when we post a letter, forget about it and go about your other business, trusting in God's power to answer your prayer. Nature unaided fails. Remember the body is the link between our higher and lower natures, the cart which carries within it the essence of all we shall eventually be. Why not speed up the transition. Resolve to healyourself, whatever the difficulty. Supplant wrong habits with good, and adhere to them with all the power of will that you can muster. There is a maxim: Nature unaided fails. You must give attention and loving care to whatever you possess, whether talents or health, else they will languish and wither. Particularly is this true of health.

Paramhansa Yogananda, 1893 - 1952

Paramhansa Yogananda wasthe first yoga master of India to take up permanent residence in the West.  Yogananda arrived in America in 1920, and proceeded to travel throughout the United States on what he called his spiritual campaigns.

Hundreds of thousand filled the largest halls in major American cities to see the yoga master from India. Yogananda continued to lecture and write up to his passing in 1952.

Yogananda's initial impact on the western culture was truly impressive. But his lasting spiritual legacy has been even greater. His  Autobiography of a Yogi first published in 1946, helped launch a spiritual revolution in the West. Translated into more than a dozen languages, it remains a best-selling spiritual classic to this day.

Yogananda's message was nonsectarian and universal. Before embarking on his mission to the West, he received this admonition from his teacher, Swami Sri Yukteswar:

The West is high in material attainments, but lacking in spiritual understanding. It is God's will that you play a role in teaching mankind the value of balancing the material with an inner, spiritual life.

The Path of Self-Realization

The true basis of religion is not belief, but intuitive experience. Intuition is the soul's power of knowing God. To know what religion is really all about, one must know God The lasting contribution brought by Yogananda to the West is the non-sectarian, universal spiritual path of Self-Realization.



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