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Swami Yogananda

Read About Swami Yogananda from Anuraga's Antaranga articles for SRV

One day at Dakshineswar he [Swami Yogananda] asked the to conquer lust. He was then young, about fourteen or fifteen years old, and had been visiting the Master for a short while. At that time, Narayana, a hatha yogi, lived in the hut of the Panchavati at Dakshineswar and was attracting some people by performing neti-dhauti. Swami Yogananda said that he had been among those visitors. As he observed those performances, he thought that perhaps unless one practised these disciplines one could not overcome lust and see God. So after asking that question, he expected the Master to prescribe for him a particular yogic posture, or advise him to eat a myrobalan or some other thing, or to teach him a pranayama technique.

Yogananda later said: "In answer to my question the Master said, 'Go on repeating the name of Hari, then lust will go away.' This answer was not at all to my liking. I thought: 'He does not know any technique so he just said something to pacify me. Does lust go away by chanting the name of Hari? So many people do that. Are they free from lust?' Then one day I came to the temple garden and instead of going to the Master I went to the Panchavati and eagerly began to listen to the hatha yogi talk. In the meantime, the Master arrived there. As soon as he saw me, he called me over and took my hand. While we were walking towards his room, he said: 'Why did you go there? Don't go there anymore. If you learn and practice those techniques of hatha yoga, your mind will dwell on the body and will never turn towards God.' At this, I thought: 'He is telling me this lest I stop visiting him.' I always considered myself to be highly intelligent, so my inflated intellect made me think that. It did not occur to me even once that it mattered very little to the Master whether I visited him or not. What a mean and doubtful mind I had! There was no limit to the Master's grace. In spite of my harbouring such erroneous notions in my mind, he gave me shelter. Then I thought: 'Why don't I do what he told me and see what happens?' So resolved, I took the name of Hari with a concentrated mind. And as a matter of fact, within a few days I began to experience the tangible result that the Master had referred to."

from "Sri Ramakrishna and His Divine Play" by Swami Saradananda, translated by Swami Chetanananda

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