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Review of Paramahansa Yogananda's Book, Scientific Healing Affirmations

Updated on February 24, 2018
Maya Shedd Temple profile image

Eastern religious philosophy is one of my areas of interest about which I write essays exploring the nature of reality and being.

Paramahansa Yogananda

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Introduction

Scientific Healing Affirmations: Theory and Practice of Concentration is a practical book by Paramahansa Yogananda, teaching concentration in service of healing.

One of the most valuable lessons the great guru Paramahansa Yogananda teaches is how to be practical. The spiritual life is grounded in intelligent practice, not merely ethereal beliefs and musings.

The Practicality of Scientific Spirituality

The great guru Paramahansa Yogananda explains that thoughts have power when deeply understood through words.

In opening lines of his valuable book Scientific Healing Affirmations: Theory and Practice of Concentration, the great guru sets out to explain the foundation for the science of affirmation healing practices:

Man's word is Spirit in man. Spoken words are sounds occasioned by the vibrations of thought; thoughts are vibrations sent froth by the ego or by the soul. The ego is apt to send out vague and even false thoughts, but the soul always sets forth truth and power.

It is through practice of deep concentration that each human being grows nearer her/his own soul. When individuals speak from the ego, they are speaking from shallowness, but when they speak from the soul, they speak the heart of truth, as the great guru says, "Speech without soul force is like husks without corn."

Theory and Practice Make Perfect

Scientific Healing Affirmations: Theory and Practice of Concentration is one of the most practical books authored by the great yogi.

It is a short eighty pages, divided into two sections, "Part I Theory of Healing" and "Part II Method of Practice."

Part I

In "Part I Theory of Healing," Yogananda explains why affirmations work in a subsection of that same title. He teaches how the mind is responsible for both illness and wellness.

Also in this section the great guru explains how life energy is the real cause that cures all diseases and how to stimulate that life energy to get it work.

Yogananda points out,

Each thought of depression or happiness, irritability or calmness, cuts subtle grooves in the brain cells and strengthens the tendencies toward sickness or well-being.

"Part I Theory of Healing" also illuminates ways to prevent physical, mental, and spiritual disease.

Yogananda also evaluates the various methods of healing, demonstrates divine laws as applied to matter, and tells his readers how to acquire power over the life energy, that force without which no illness can be cured.

In the last section of "Part I Theory of Healing," the great guru elucidates the connection between consciousness and matter. He shows how a comparison of our experiences of dreams can help us understand the reality of the soul, that is, the differences between reality and cosmic illusion, or maya.

Part II

"Part II Method of Practice" offers the practice itself. Reader are instructed on how to sit for practice and the progressive stages of chanting. They learn about the cosmic sound of aum and its importance.

Yogananda explains the function of the three physiological centers that impact all spiritual practice in yoga.

The last subsection in "Part II Method of Practice" offers the affirmations themselves; for example, "Affirmation for General Healing," "Affirmation by Power of Thought," "Affirmation for Material Success," "Affirmations for Spiritual Success," and many others.

Sample Affirmation

The following is an example of an affirmation for spiritual success:

Thou art Wisdom,
And Thou dost know
The cause and end of all things.
I am Thy child; I want to know
Life's true mystery.
Life's true joyous duty.
Thy wisdom in me shall show
All things that Thou dost know,
That Thou dost know.

A Personal Favorite

The following is one of my favorite affirmations:

My Heavenly Father is love, and I am made in His image. I am the sphere of love in which all planets, all stars, all beings, all creation are glimmering. I am the love that pervades the whole universe.

This affirmation helps one realize the concept of being related to everything in the cosmos as one affirms repeatedly: "I am the love in which all planets, all stars, all beings, all creation are glimmering."

It is through being one with this idea that one begins to understand how miracles work, how the avatars know our minds even when they are not on the earth.

These affirmations work, when we work them. Through our deep attention, affection, and determination, they explode from the soul like "vibration bombs" shattering the illness and instilling health in body and mind.

Life Sketch and Publications of Paramahansa Yogananda

The great guru/poet Paramahansa Yogananda was born on January 5, 1893, in Gorakhpur, India. His name at birth was Mukunda Lal Ghosh. Always a spiritually advanced child, at age 17, he met his guru, Swami Sri Yukteswar, under whose guidance he flourished and became the spiritual giant and sacred engine that leads souls back to their eternal abode in the arms of the Divine Creator.

Paramahansa Yogananda came to the United States in 1920 to speak in Boston at the International Congress of Religious Liberals. His speech was so well received that he quickly gathered a following. By 1925, his organization, Self-Realization Fellowship (SRF), was well established with the purpose of disseminating and maintaining the purity of his teachings of yoga. He has come to be known as the “Father of Yoga in the West.”

The following is an excerpt from the introduction to Paramahansa Yogananda’s biography on the Self-Realization Fellowship Web site:

In the hundred years since the birth of Paramahansa Yogananda, this beloved world teacher has come to be recognized as one of the greatest emissaries to the West of India’s ancient wisdom. His life and teachings continue to be a source of light and inspiration to people of all races, cultures and creeds.

Publications of Paramahansa Yogananda

Paramahansa Yogananda's in-depth work, Autobiography of a Yogi, has become a spiritual classic worldwide. Many devotees have been drawn to the teachings of this yogi through that autobiography, and many of their stories about how they came to find that work include some of the most inspiring "miracles" of modern American culture.

Such world-renowned figures as Dennis Weaver, Steve Jobs, George Harrison, and Elvis Presley were influenced by the Autobiography of a Yogi and the teachings of the great guru. Weaver even became a lay minister and spoke often at many of the SRF temples in California.

In addition to the autobiography, the great guru has published many collections of his talks, in both written and oral forms. His audio collector's series of ten of his informal talks includes the following titles:

1. Beholding the One in All
2. Awake in the Cosmic Dream
3. Be a Smile Millionaire
4. The Great Light of God
5. To Make Heaven on Earth
6. One Life Versus Reincarnation
7. Removing All Sorrow and Suffering
8. In the Glory of the Spirit
9. Follow the Path of Christ, Krishna, and the Masters
10. Self-Realization: The Inner and the Outer Path

These inspirational talks reveal much information about the great guru that appeals to his devoted followers. Just listening to a God-realized voice offers an uplifting spiritual experience.

The Poetry of Paramahansa Yogananda

For my commentaries on the poems of the great guru, I rely on his marvelous collection titled, Songs of the Soul, the version published in 1983 with its most current printing 2014. Two additional collections of his poems are extant, Whispers From Eternity and Metaphysical Meditations.

Because the "poems" of this great guru function on levels that ordinary poems do not, they are often used in devotional services held by groups of devotees of the SRF teachings throughout the world in the Readings Services as well as their Special Commemorative Services.

Paramahansa Yogananda's poems are more akin to prayers than to the poetry of ordinary poets, whose subject matter often dramatizes only human emotion in its relationship with creation and other human beings, instead of with the Creator; the great guru's poems always invoke the Creator's presence whether directly or indirectly.

Other Publications

The great guru's organization, SRF, also continues to publish collections of his works. Many of his talks have appeared in the series of essays that include Man's Eternal Quest, The Divine Romance, and Journey to Self-realization.

Corrective Translations

The guru has also bestowed on the literary world three important translations of extant perennial works that have been grossly misunderstood in some cases for centuries. His new translations along with his explanatory commentaries are correcting that misunderstanding.

In Wine of the Mystic: The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam — A Spiritual Interpretation, he shows how that poet's God-realized effusions put on display a man in love with his Creator and not the wine sopped Epicurean that has been misapplied to the work.

In the guru's in-depth translation and commentaries on the ancient Bhagavad Gita, titled God Talks With Arjuna: The Bhagavad Gita — A New Translation and Commentary, the great spiritual leader offers not only the poetic translation of the work but also the relevance for humankind of the psychological and spiritual instruction offered in the ancient poem.

Most importantly for Western culture, Paramahansa Yogananda has offered a full explanation of the phenomenon known as the "Second Coming." Titled The Second Coming of Christ: The Resurrection of the Christ Within You — A revelatory commentary on the original teachings of Jesus, the work explains the true meaning of many of Jesus' words long misunderstood and mischaracterized, such as "The Kingdom of God is within you" and "I and my Father are one."

The Lessons

Of all the publications offered by SRF and the great guru, it is the Lessons that remain most vital. One could dispense with all of the other books, audio tapes, poetry, and other commentaries if one possesses those lessons.

The Lessons begin by offering physical exercises that prepare the physical encasement to sit quietly and still while performing the more advanced exercises that lead to Kriya Yoga practice.

The Lessons contains six steps that can be completed in three years, but each student is free to progress at his/her own pace. The Lessons include instruction in the following techniques: 1. Energization Exercises. 2. Hong-Sau Technique of Concentration, and 3. Aum Technique of Meditation.

After completing the first two steps, the devotee may apply for the Kriya Yoga technique.

Kriya Yoga Initiations

The Kriya Yoga technique features four initiations for a total of twenty lessons. The First Initiation, featuring lessons K1-9, includes the technique of Kriya proper, on which all of the other initiations are based. The Second Initiation contains four lessons, K10-14, and the Third and Fourth include the remaining lessons K15-20.

All of the Lessons, including the Kriya Yoga Initiations, include many explanations based of science, as well as on the life experience of Paramahansa Yogananda. These marvelous works are presented in such way to hold the student-devotees' interest with little stories, poems, affirmations, and prayers that enhance the purpose of each lesson.

Complete Works

In addition to all of the works mentioned above, Paramahansa Yogananda has published many others, including his Cosmic Chants, which offers musical notations as well as the lyric for each chant.

An annotated list of the works of the great guru is offered on the Self-Realization Fellowship Web site under the title, "The Complete Works of Paramahansa Yogananda."

© 2017 Linda Sue Grimes

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