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Where is perfection?

PTI | BySwami Kriyananda
May 20, 2004 12:19 PM IST

Our egos are a barrier to perfection of any enjoyment. They isolate us on islands of personal perception. That is why meditation is so important.

Swami Kriyananda is a direct disciple since 1948 of Paramhansa Yogananda, author of Autobiography of a Yogi. He is the founder of Ananda Sangha, and of seven Ananda communities in America and Europe. Now 78, he has moved to India to make his Guru’s teachings known in the land of his birth: to teach the liberating meditation technique of Kriya Yoga, and to establish communities where householders and renunciates alike can seek God in the company of fellow devotees.

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One of mankind's most persistent delusions is the hope that perfection can be achieved outwardly. It is why intentional communities are often called utopias, to suggest they don't exist. It is why most of them, so far, have failed. And it is one reason the Ananda Sangha communities that I've founded have succeeded: my acceptance that they'd never be perfect!

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Imagine a veritable Eden: a planet, perhaps, of ideal conditions: a temperate climate all year round; flowers and natural beauty everywhere, kindly inhabitants; just laws, justly administered; no unemployment -- indeed, every outward circumstance you can imagine, exactly suited to your tastes.

Would all this add up to perfection? It couldn't possibly. Why not? You would be there!

I'm not being offensive. You, yourself, may well be an ideal citizen. I've no reason to paint you as anything less so. Nevertheless, to be you you would have to possess an ego. That is where the rub would lie!

I remember a time many years ago, when a friend and I spent the night camping on Mount Waterman -- a fairly high mountain for that area, though absurdly small compared to the lofty Himalaya. We sat that afternoon watching the sun go down. In deep valleys to the west of us, the dimming light shone with a deep golden colour into misty valleys below. In the east a full moon was rising; it filled the misty valleys behind us with a wonderful blue light. It was one of those magical moments life -- alas, all too rarely -- gives us. As we sat there, my friend suddenly clenched his fists and cried, "If only I could feel it!"

Our egos are a barrier to the perfection of any enjoyment. They isolate us on islands of merely personal perception. That is one reason daily meditation is so important. It helps us to remove the koshas or sheaths, that enclose human awareness.

This is the meaning of a song I wrote many years ago, of which one of the stanzas states:

"What is it for?
Walking alone, alone!
What is it for, walking alone?
Must our lives ever be like the winds on the sea, 
Oh, oh -- walking alone!"

Truly to enjoy the universe, one must become one with it.

Swami Kriyananda's programme appears at 2200 hours IST on the Sadhna Channel. (For more, visitwww.anandaindia.org)

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