New Thought Library is an online public library with free eBook and audio downloads.
Links to downloads for Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramahansa Yogananda are at the bottom of this web page
This library should make your reading, research and writing projects easier.
Fully processed books have yellow page scan links to check text accuracy.
File numbers for .jpg and .htm files etc... match the original page numbers for accuracy and ease of use.
This enables writers to create reference links for research or publication. Use it, send in additions and keep in mind that your support means more free books, better processing and more downloads.
Outwitting the Stars
why don't you get an astrological armlet?"
I, Master? I don't believe in astrology."
is never a question of belief; the only scientific attitude
one can take on any subject is whether it is true. The law
of gravitation worked as efficiently before Newton as after him.
The cosmos would be fairly chaotic if its laws could not operate
without the sanction of human belief.
have brought the stellar science to its present state of disrepute.
Astrology is too vast, both mathematically1 and philosophically, to be rightly grasped except
by men of profound understanding. If ignoramuses misread the heavens,
and see there a scrawl instead of a script, that is to be expected
in this imperfect world. One should not dismiss the wisdom with
of creation are linked together and interchange their influences.
The balanced rhythm of the universe is rooted in reciprocity,"
my guru continued. "Man, in his human aspect, has to combat
two sets of forces --- first, the tumults within his being, caused by
the admixture of earth, water, fire, air, and ethereal elements;
second, the outer disintegrating powers of nature. So long as man
struggles with his mortality, he is affected by the myriad mutations
of heaven and earth.
is the study of man's response to planetary stimuli. The stars have
no conscious benevolence or animosity; they merely send forth positive
and negative radiations. Of themselves, these do not help or harm
humanity, but offer a lawful channel for the outward operation of
cause-effect equilibriums which each man has set into motion in
is born on that day and at that hour when the celestial rays are
in mathematical harmony with his individual karma. His horoscope
is a challenging portrait, revealing his unalterable past and its
probable future results. But the natal chart can be rightly interpreted
only by men of intuitive wisdom: these are few.
boldly blazoned across the heavens at the moment of birth is not
meant to emphasize fate --- the result of past good and evil --- but to
arouse man's will to escape from his universal thralldom. What he
has done, he can undo. None other than himself was the instigator
of the causes of whatever effects are now prevalent in his life.
He can overcome any limitation, because he created it by his own
actions in the first place, and because he has spiritual resources
which are not subject to planetary pressure.
awe of astrology makes one an automaton, slavishly dependent on
mechanical guidance. The wise man defeats his planets --- which is to
say, his past --- by transferring his allegiance from the creation to
the Creator. The more he realizes his unity with Spirit, the less
he can be dominated by matter. The soul is ever-free; it is deathless
because birthless. It cannot be regimented by stars.
"Man is a soul, and has a body. When he properly places his
sense of identity, he leaves behind all compulsive patterns. So
long as he remains confused in his ordinary state of spiritual amnesia,
he will know the subtle fetters of environmental law.
harmony; the devotee who attunes himself will never perform any
action amiss. His activities will be correctly and naturally timed
to accord with astrological law. After deep prayer and meditation
he is in touch with his divine consciousness; there is no greater
power than that inward protection."
dear Master, why do you want me to wear an astrological bangle?"
I ventured this question after a long silence, during which I had
tried to assimilate Sri Yukteswar's noble exposition.
only when a traveler has reached his goal that he is justified in
discarding his maps. During the journey, he takes advantage of any
convenient short cut. The ancient rishis discovered many ways to
curtail the period of man's exile in delusion. There are certain
mechanical features in the law of karma which can be skillfully
adjusted by the fingers of wisdom.
ills arise from some transgression of universal law. The scriptures
point out that man must satisfy the laws of nature, while not discrediting
the divine omnipotence. He should say: 'Lord, I trust in Thee, and
know Thou canst help me, but I too will do my best to undo any wrong
I have done.' By a number of means --- by prayer, by will power, by
yoga meditation, by consultation with saints, by use of astrological
bangles --- the adverse effects of past wrongs can be minimized or nullified.
a house can be fitted with a copper rod to absorb the shock of lightning,
so the bodily temple can be benefited by various protective measures.
Ages ago our yogis discovered that pure metals emit an astral light
which is powerfully counteractive to negative pulls of the planets.
Subtle electrical and magnetic radiations are constantly circulating
in the universe; when a man's body is being aided, he does not know
it; when it is being disintegrated, he is still in ignorance. Can
he do anything about it?
received attention from our rishis; they found helpful not only
a combination of metals, but also of plants and --- most effective of
all --- faultless jewels of not less than two carats. The preventive
uses of astrology have seldom been seriously studied outside of
India. One little-known fact is that the proper jewels, metals,
or plant preparations are valueless unless the required weight is
secured, and unless these remedial agents are worn next to the skin."
course I shall take your advice and get a bangle. I am intrigued
at the thought of outwitting a planet!"
purposes I counsel the use of an armlet made of gold, silver, and
copper. But for a specific purpose I want you to get one of silver
and lead." Sri Yukteswar added careful directions.
what 'specific purpose' do you mean?"
are about to take an unfriendly interest in you, Mukunda. Fear not;
you shall be protected. In about a month your liver will cause you
much trouble. The illness is scheduled to last for six months, but
your use of an astrological armlet will shorten the period to twenty-four
I sought out
a jeweler the next day, and was soon wearing the bangle. My health
was excellent; Master's prediction slipped from my mind. He left
Serampore to visit Benares. Thirty days after our conversation,
I felt a sudden pain in the region of my liver. The following weeks
were a nightmare of excruciating pain. Reluctant to disturb my guru,
I thought I would bravely endure my trial alone.
twenty-three days of torture weakened my resolution; I entrained
for Benares. There Sri Yukteswar greeted me with unusual warmth,
but gave me no opportunity to tell him my woes in private. Many
devotees visited Master that day, just for a darshan. 2 Ill and neglected, I sat in a corner. It was not until after the
evening meal that all guests had departed. My guru summoned me to
the octagonal balcony of the house.
have come about your liver disorder." Sri Yukteswar's gaze
was averted; he walked to and fro, occasionally intercepting the
moonlight. "Let me see; you have been ailing for twenty-four
days, haven't you?"
do the stomach exercise I have taught you."
knew the extent of my suffering, Master, you would not ask me to
exercise." Nevertheless I made a feeble attempt to obey him.
you have pain; I say you have none. How can such contradictions
exist?" My guru looked at me inquiringly.
I was dazed
and then overcome with joyful relief. No longer could I feel the
continuous torment that had kept me nearly sleepless for weeks;
at Sri Yukteswar's words the agony vanished as though it had never
I started to
kneel at his feet in gratitude, but he quickly prevented me.
be childish. Get up and enjoy the beauty of the moon over the Ganges."
But Master's eyes were twinkling happily as I stood in silence beside
him. I understood by his attitude that he wanted me to feel that
not he, but God, had been the Healer.
I wear even
now the heavy silver and lead bangle, a memento of that day --- long-past,
ever-cherished --- when I found anew that I was living with a personage
indeed superhuman. On later occasions, when I brought my friends
to Sri Yukteswar for healing, he invariably recommended jewels or
the bangle, extolling their use as an act of astrological wisdom.
I had been prejudiced
against astrology from my childhood, partly because I observed that
many people are sequaciously attached to it, and partly because
of a prediction made by our family astrologer: "You will marry
three times, being twice a widower." I brooded over the matter,
feeling like a goat awaiting sacrifice before the temple of triple
as well be resigned to your fate," my brother Ananta had remarked.
"Your written horoscope has correctly stated that you would
fly from home toward the Himalayas during your early years, but
would be forcibly returned. The forecast of your marriages is also
bound to be true."
A clear intuition
came to me one night that the prophecy was wholly false. I set fire
to the horoscope scroll, placing the ashes in a paper bag on which
I wrote: "Seeds of past karma cannot germinate if they are
roasted in the divine fires of wisdom." I put the bag in a
conspicuous spot; Ananta immediately read my defiant comment.
cannot destroy truth as easily as you have burnt this paper scroll."
My brother laughed scornfully.
It is a fact that on three occasions before I reached manhood, my
family tried to arrange my betrothal. Each time I refused to fall
in with the plans,3 knowing that my love for God was more overwhelming than any astrological
persuasion from the past.
the self-realization of a man, the more he influences the whole
universe by his subtle spiritual vibrations, and the less he himself
is affected by the phenomenal flux." These words of Master's
often returned inspiringly to my mind.
I told astrologers to select my worst periods, according to planetary
indications, and I would still accomplish whatever task I set myself.
It is true that my success at such times has been accompanied by
extraordinary difficulties. But my conviction has always been justified:
faith in the divine protection, and the right use of man's God-given
will, are forces formidable beyond any the "inverted bowl"
The starry inscription
at one's birth, I came to understand, is not that man is a puppet
of his past. Its message is rather a prod to pride; the very heavens
seek to arouse man's determination to be free from every limitation.
God created each man as a soul, dowered with individuality, hence
essential to the universal structure, whether in the temporary role
of pillar or parasite. His freedom is final and
immediate, if he so wills; it depends not on outer but inner victories.
Yukteswar discovered the mathematical application of a 24,000-year
equinoctial cycle to our present age.4 The cycle is
divided into an Ascending Arc and a Descending Arc, each of 12,000
years. Within each Arc fall four Yugas or Ages, called Kali, Dwapara, Treta, and Satya, corresponding to the
Greek ideas of Iron, Bronze, Silver, and Golden Ages.
guru determined by various calculations that the last Kali Yuga or Iron Age, of the Ascending Arc, started about A.D. 500. The Iron
Age, 1200 years in duration, is a span of materialism; it ended
about A.D. 1700. That year ushered in Dwapara Yuga, a 2400-year
period of electrical and atomic-energy developments, the age of
telegraph, radio, airplanes, and other space-annihilators.
3600-year period of Treta Yuga will start in A.D. 4100; its
age will be marked by common knowledge of telepathic communications
and other time-annihilators. During the 4800 years of Satya Yuga, final age in an ascending arc, the intelligence of a man will be
completely developed; he will work in harmony with the divine plan.
descending arc of 12,000 years, starting with a descending Golden
Age of 4800 years, then begins5 for the world; man gradually sinks into ignorance. These cycles
are the eternal rounds of maya, the contrasts and relativities
of the phenomenal universe.6 Man, one by
one, escapes from creation's prison of duality as he awakens to
consciousness of his inseverable divine unity with the Creator.
my understanding not only of astrology but of the world's scriptures.
Placing the holy texts on the spotless table of his mind, he was
able to dissect them with the scalpel of intuitive reasoning, and
to separate errors and interpolations of scholars from the truths
as originally expressed by the prophets.
one's vision on the end of the nose." This inaccurate interpretation
of a Bhagavad Gita stanza,7 widely accepted
by Eastern pundits and Western translators, used to arouse Master's
path of a yogi is singular enough as it is," he remarked. "Why
counsel him that he must also make himself cross-eyed? The true
meaning of nasikagram is 'origin of the nose, not 'end of
the nose.' The nose begins at the point between the two eyebrows,
the seat of spiritual vision."8
of one Sankhya9 aphorism,
"Iswar-ashidha," --- "A Lord of Creation cannot
be deduced" or "God is not proved,"10 --- many scholars
call the whole philosophy atheistical.
verse is not nihilistic," Sri Yukteswar explained. "It
merely signifies that to the unenlightened man, dependent on his
senses for all final judgments, proof of God must remain unknown
and therefore non-existent. True Sankhya followers, with
unshakable insight born of meditation, understand that the Lord
is both existent and knowable."
expounded the Christian Bible with a beautiful clarity. It was from
my Hindu guru, unknown to the roll call of Christian membership,
that I learned to perceive the deathless essence of the Bible, and
to understand the truth in Christ's assertion --- surely the most thrillingly
intransigent ever uttered: "Heaven and earth shall pass away,
but my words shall not pass away."11
great masters of India mold their lives by the same godly ideals
which animated Jesus; these men are his proclaimed kin: "Whosoever
shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my
brother, and sister, and mother."12 "If ye
continue in my word," Christ pointed out, "then are ye
my disciples indeed; and ye shall know the truth, and the truth
shall make you free."13 Freemen all, lords of themselves, the Yogi-Christs of India are
part of the immortal fraternity: those who have attained a liberating
knowledge of the One Father.
and Eve story is incomprehensible to me!" I observed with considerable
heat one day in my early struggles with the allegory. "Why
did God punish not only the guilty pair, but also the innocent unborn
was more amused by my vehemence than my ignorance. "Genesis is deeply symbolic, and cannot be grasped by a literal interpretation,"
he explained. "Its 'tree of life' is the human body. The spinal
cord is like an upturned tree, with man's hair as its roots, and
afferent and efferent nerves as branches. The tree of the nervous
system bears many enjoyable fruits, or sensations of sight, sound,
smell, taste, and touch. In these, man may rightfully indulge; but he was forbidden the
experience of sex, the 'apple' at the center of the bodily garden.14
'serpent' represents the coiled-up spinal energy which stimulates
the sex nerves. 'Adam' is reason, and 'Eve' is feeling. When the
emotion or Eve-consciousness in any human being is overpowered by
the sex impulse, his reason or Adam also succumbs.15
created the human species by materializing the bodies of man and
woman through the force of His will; He endowed the new species
with the power to create children in a similar 'immaculate' or divine
manner.16 Because His manifestation
in the individualized soul had hitherto been limited to animals,
instinct-bound and lacking the potentialities of full reason, God
made the first human bodies, symbolically called Adam and Eve. To
these, for advantageous upward evolution, He transferred the souls
or divine essence of two animals. 17 In Adam or man,
reason predominated; in Eve or woman, feeling was ascendant. Thus
was expressed the duality or polarity which underlies the phenomenal
worlds. Reason and feeling remain in a heaven of cooperative joy
so long as the human mind is not tricked by the serpentine energy
of animal propensities.
body was therefore not solely a result of evolution from beasts,
but was produced by an act of special creation by God. The animal
forms were too crude to express full divinity; the human being was
uniquely given a tremendous mental capacity --- the 'thousand-petaled
lotus' of the brain --- as well as acutely awakened occult centers in
or the Divine Consciousness present within the first created pair,
counseled them to enjoy all human sensibilities, but not to put
their concentration on touch sensations.18 These were banned
in order to avoid the development of the sex organs, which would
enmesh humanity in the inferior animal method of propagation. The
warning not to revive subconsciously-present bestial memories was
not heeded. Resuming the way of brute procreation, Adam and Eve
fell from the state of heavenly joy natural to the original perfect
of 'good and evil' refers to the cosmic dualistic compulsion. Falling
under the sway of maya through misuse of his feeling and
reason, or Eve --- and Adam --- consciousness, man relinquishes his right
to enter the heavenly garden of divine self-sufficiency. 19 The personal responsibility of every human being is to restore his
'parents' or dual nature to a unified harmony or Eden."
Sri Yukteswar ended his discourse, I glanced with new respect at
the pages of Genesis.
Master,' I said, "for the first time I feel a proper filial
obligation toward Adam and Eve!"
From astronomical references in ancient Hindu scriptures, scholars
have been able to correctly ascertain the dates of the authors.
The scientific knowledge of the rishis was very great; in the Kaushitaki
Brahmana we find precise astronomical passages which show that in
3100 B.C. the Hindus were far advanced in astronomy, which had a
practical value in determining the auspicious times for astrological
ceremonies. In an article in East-West, February, 1934, the following
summary is given of the Jyotish or body of Vedic astronomical treatises:
"It contains the scientific lore which kept India at the forefront
of all ancient nations and made her the mecca of seekers after knowledge.
The very ancient Brahmagupta, one of the Jyotish works, is an astronomical
treatise dealing with such matters as the heliocentric motion of
the planetary bodies in our solar system, the obliquity of the ecliptic,
the earth's spherical form, the reflected light of the moon, the
earth's daily axial revolution, the presence of fixed stars in the
Milky Way, the law of gravitation, and other scientific facts which
did not dawn in the Western world until the time of Copernicus and
is now well-known that the so-called "Arabic numerals,"
without whose symbols advanced mathematics is difficult, came to
Europe in the 9th century, via the Arabs, from India, where that
system of notation had been anciently formulated. Further light
on India's vast scientific heritage will be found in Dr. P. C. Ray's
History of Hindu Chemistry, and in Dr. B. N. Seal's Positive Sciences
of the Ancient Hindus.
Back to text
The blessing which flows from the mere sight of a saint.
Back to text
One of the girls whom my family selected as a possible bride for
me, afterwards married my cousin, Prabhas Chandra Ghose.
Back to text
A series of thirteen articles on the historical verification of
Sri Yukteswar's Yuga theory appeared in the magazine East-West (Los
Angeles) from September, 1932, to September, 1933.
Back to text
In the year A.D. 12,500.
Back to text
The Hindu scriptures place the present world-age as occurring within
the Kali Yuga of a much longer universal cycle than the simple 24,000-year
equinoctial cycle with which Sri Yukteswar was concerned. The universal
cycle of the scriptures is 4,300,560,000 years in extent, and measures
out a Day of Creation or the length of life assigned to our planetary
system in its present form. This vast figure given by the rishis
is based on a relationship between the length of the solar year
and a multiple of Pi (3.1416, the ratio of the circumference to
the diameter of a circle).
life span for a whole universe, according to the ancient seers,
is 314,159,000,000,000 solar years, or "One Age of Brahma."
estimate the present age of the earth to be about two billion years,
basing their conclusions on a study of lead pockets left as a result
of radioactivity in rocks. The Hindu scriptures declare that an
earth such as ours is dissolved for one of two reasons: the inhabitants
as a whole become either completely good or completely evil. The
world-mind thus generates a power which releases the captive atoms
held together as an earth.
pronouncements are occasionally published regarding an imminent
"end of the world." The latest prediction of doom was
given by Rev. Chas. G. Long of Pasadena, who publicly set the "Day
of Judgment" for Sept. 21, 1945. United Press reporters asked
my opinion; I explained that world cycles follow an orderly progression
according to a divine plan. No earthly dissolution is in sight;
two billion years of ascending and descending equinoctial cycles
are yet in store for our planet in its present form. The figures
given by the rishis for the various world ages deserve careful study
in the West; the magazine Time (Dec. 17, 1945, p. 6) called them
Back to text
Back to text
"The light of the body is the eye: therefore when thine eye
is single, thy whole body also is full of light; but when thine
eye is evil, thy body also is full of darkness. Take heed therefore
that the light which is in thee be not darkness."-Luke 11:34-35.
Back to text
One of the six systems of Hindu philosophy. Sankhya teaches final
emancipation through knowledge of twenty-five principles, starting
with prakriti or nature and ending with purusha or soul.
Back to text
Sankhya Aphorisms, I:92.
Back to text
Back to text
Back to text
John 8:31-32. St. John testified: "But as many as received
him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them
that believe on his name (even to them who are established in the
Christ Consciousness)."-John 1:12.
Back to text
"We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: but of
the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath
said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye
Back to text
"The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the
tree, and I did eat. The woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and
I did eat."-Gen. 3:12-13.
Back to text
"So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created
he him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them, and
God said unto them, Be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the
earth, and subdue it."-Gen. 1:27-28.
Back to text
"And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and
breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a
living soul."-Gen. 2:7.
Back to text
"Now the serpent (sex force) was more subtil than any beast
of the field" (any other sense of the body).-Gen. 3:1.
Back to text
"And the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there
he put the man whom he had formed."-Gen. 2:8. "Therefore
the Lord God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the
ground from whence he was taken."-Gen. 3:23. The divine man
first made by God had his consciousness centered in the omnipotent
single eye in the forehead (eastward). The all-creative powers of
his will, focused at that spot, were lost to man when he began to
"till the ground" of his physical nature.
Back to text
Links to Additional Media for Keep A True Lent by Charles Fillmore such as audio and ebooks are located at the bottom of this web page.