In the gentle embrace of today’s episode, we are graced with the wisdom and presence of Asha Nayaswami. A revered spiritual teacher and direct disciple of Swami Kriyananda, Asha offers a profound understanding of Paramahansa Yogananda’s teachings, embodying the essence of a life dedicated to spiritual awakening.

Asha Nayaswami begins by shedding light on her journey into self-realization. From her early days at Stanford University, where she was searching for wisdom amidst the intellectual rigor, to her transformative encounter with Swami Kriyananda, her path is one of deep inner seeking and outward transformation. She recalls, “Self Realization is a way of understanding, answering the question, ‘Who am I?’” This fundamental quest led her through the teachings of Vivekananda, Ramakrishna, and ultimately to the footsteps of Yogananda’s disciples.

Asha’s exploration of Yogananda’s mission in the West offers a unique perspective on the integration of ancient spiritual teachings into the modern world. Yogananda’s arrival in 1920 marked a pivotal moment, introducing the profound practices of yoga and meditation to a new audience. As Asha explains, Yogananda’s teachings were not merely about spirituality in isolation but about practical applications in daily life—how to find happiness, success, and inner peace amidst the chaos of modern existence.

The conversation touches upon the cyclical nature of consciousness on the planet, known as the Yugas. This ancient understanding, as relayed by Asha Nayaswami, describes how humanity’s collective awareness evolves over vast cycles, moving from periods of darkness to enlightenment. Yogananda’s role in this era was to usher in an age of energy and awareness, planting seeds of transformation that continue to grow.


  1. Inner Relationship with the Divine: Cultivate a deep inner relationship with your higher consciousness. This inner anchor provides stability amidst external chaos.
  2. Fluidity and Adaptability: Embrace the changes in life as part of the spiritual journey. Recognize that different times bring different lessons and opportunities for growth.
  3. Collective Awakening: Understand that we are part of a larger cosmic community. Our spiritual growth contributes to the collective consciousness, fostering a global awakening.

Asha’s reflections on the current state of the world resonate deeply. She acknowledges the tumultuous times we are experiencing but emphasizes that these challenges are part of a greater divine plan. The upheavals serve to shake humanity out of complacency, urging us to reconnect with our inner selves and the divine essence that resides within each of us.

The teachings of Yogananda, as articulated by Asha Nayaswami, remind us of the enduring truth that spiritual awakening is not confined to any one religion or tradition. It is a universal journey towards self-realization, where the inner light guides us towards greater love, compassion, and understanding.

In conclusion, Asha’s journey and insights offer a beacon of hope and wisdom in these uncertain times. Her deep connection with Yogananda’s teachings provides a roadmap for navigating the complexities of life with grace and inner strength. Let us embrace the spiritual wisdom shared today, fostering a deeper connection with our true selves and the divine.

Please enjoy my conversation with Asha Nayaswami.

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Follow Along with the Transcript – Episode 405

Asha Nayaswami 0:00
As Swami or someone who says i furthermore I renounce and traditionally you renounce personal relationship in the nice Swami order you don't have to, but nonetheless I live for I live for God alone. And, and it's between the traditional order and the non Swami order. There's been some shifts because the traditional order was based on a society that doesn't exist anymore. Right? Right. So the naive Swami order includes the same level of renunciation of formal declaration to oneself and to the divine.

Alex Ferrari 0:48
I'd like to welcome to the show, Asha Nayaswami. How you doing Asha?

Asha Nayaswami 0:52
I'm very happy to be here.

Alex Ferrari 0:54
Thank you so much for coming on the show. My dear, I am truly looking forward to this conversation. You as well as I are both devotees of Paramahansa Yogananda and my audience, if they'd been listening at all, they know I mentioned Paramahansa all the time, Autobiography of a Yogi. But I really have never had anyone on who has been as close lineage to Yogananda as you have, and has such a deep understanding much deeper than I am sure understanding of his teachings, and I wanted to kind of talk about your journey and your understanding of his teachings and how they affect your teaching. So thank you so much for coming on the show.

Asha Nayaswami 1:35
My joy.

Alex Ferrari 1:37
So how did you begin your journey into self realization? And for people who don't know what self realization is? Can you explain it?

Asha Nayaswami 1:44
Self Realization is a way of understanding, answering the question, Who am I? It's a way of answering the question, what really causes suffering and what really causes happiness. And it leads us inward, to deeper and deeper, oddly, the more you go inward, the broader your perspective gets rather than the opposite. And it it gives one gives me has given me a pole star, by which I can measure everything else. Is it leading me toward or is it leading me away from expanded awareness, greater enlightenment?

Alex Ferrari 2:30
And how did you start your journey towards self realization?

Asha Nayaswami 2:32
You know, I was one of those people who always was intensely interested in things that other people weren't interested in. From my earliest childhood, I just, I had this intense passion to be happy, which was paradoxical because I was very happy. I had very nice family, I grew up well. But I always wanted to understand the feeling side of life, I was very school smart, which in our society of your school, smart, that just sort of everybody thinks, therefore you have your life together. But I was, I was entirely conscious of the fact that nobody was really talking to me about the actual meaning of life, they were just telling me how to get through it in a way that would look like success. So I, I held on until I was admitted into Stanford University, which at that time, you didn't have to be a queen or king or something like that. I just really wanted to say this was a long time ago, was also 1965. When the whole American society was just coming apart now is right in the middle of it. And as soon as I got to Stanford, I sort of held out thinking if I got to a great university, I would actually discover wisdom. And in the first few weeks, I discovered knowledge. But I did not discover wisdom I had, I it was very clear to me very quickly that my teachers had no more of a clue than I did, about what life was about. So as it happened at that time, the Grateful Dead, was just forming and they formed right here they formed, you know, Robert Stanford is so they would have these house parties almost every Friday and I would find out where the party was and just go and I would dance all night. And basically, that was my college, I flunked out at the end. And almost as soon as I flunked out, I met a group of friends, and they were studying the teachings of Vivekananda and Ramakrishna. Ramakrishna was a great avatar of the late 1800s In India, and they handed me a book by Vivekananda very intellectual, very brilliant mind if I can underwears And I opened the book and it it for the first time in my life because I grew up in a Jewish family. And I grew up actually in Texas and then moved to California before I finished high school. I didn't know anything about India, India was just coming to the West. This was again, this was by now 1966. I opened the book by Vivekananda. It said, Actually, it was out of the Bible, but I didn't know it. Perfect love casts out fear. What you are today is the result of what you did yesterday. If you don't think about yourself, you'll be happy. All three of those were absolute revelations to me. And I it took me about five minutes to decide this is what I've been looking for. And then I spent the next three years and I inwardly developed a very deep relationship with Ramakrishna, which I still carry, he passed away before 1900. So there was no chance of ever meeting you. And so I studied, I read books after book after book after book. And then I started reading about saints, and Yogi's and mystics just everywhere. But I was I was Jewish, so I couldn't be a Catholic nun. Not that I wanted to be. I wasn't I didn't believe in Jesus. I didn't know Jesus at that point. So Christianity was out altogether. I didn't know how to go live in a cave. Going, going to India wasn't as common as it was, and I was probably too cowardly to do it anyway. So I got totally full of the idea that there's another way to live. And I was completely helpless. I just didn't know how to make it happen. And I literally thought if I just got up, went to work, came home with was with my friends got up the next morning went to work again. I would lose my mind. And I really thought I would lose my mind. And of course right into that. All of a sudden someone tells me about Swami kriya Nanda, who is an American with an Indian name, who is a direct disciple of Yogananda when he was 22, he met Yogananda. He lived with Yogananda for the last three years of Yogananda xlive. He was in San Francisco, I was in Palo Alto where I still am. And my friend said, he's a real teacher, you're like him. And he was speaking to Stanford plays a role in my life. He was speaking at Stanford. It was actually a fraternity had a big party tent, and they Wow, this is cool. We'll invite a Swami. This is again 19. This is 69 by now. So I go to that event. And Swami kriya Nanda walked into the room, it wasn't even a room, it was an attendee walked into the tent. Something in me said, he has what I want. He was the first person I had ever met. I was now 22 By this point, first person I had ever met, that, that I don't even know what the words meant me. But I could feel his consciousness. I could feel that he had he personified everything I'd been reading. There was there was joy. There was power. There was freedom. There was there was love, there was kindness. And he he filled the room. My friends, my friends were less interested than I was. So they insisted we sit in the last row. So I'm in the last row. And I felt like he was right in front of me like this. All of this happened without words. I hadn't even heard his voice. And I just thought, This is what I've been looking for. Then he talked. I don't remember anything he said, except that he talked to us about Yogananda. I had Autobiography of a Yogi. But it was too full of miracles for me. I was too. I was too intellectual. And I didn't go for all the. So I had read a few pages and put the books down. But he was a disciple of Yogananda. And after he finished talking, I thought, this is the most intelligent man I've ever met, which, for me was fun, because I like intelligence. It's kind of my hobby. Honestly, I would have gone to Antarctica, whatever he'd been doing, I would have done it. But that was nice. It was nice that we spoke the same language literally. We both spoke English and also his nature. And I made a decision at that point that wherever he was, I would be and I've never looked back. He had a computer and he had a community. He was starting a community and I just gave up everything went there never looked back.

Alex Ferrari 9:49
Well, that's such a beautiful. I've heard those kinds of stories before about about him and other Yogi's when they walk in. Yogi Swami to my understanding a Swami is more of a priest like aspect of of a of a philosophy while a yogi, isn't it am I wrong on that?

Asha Nayaswami 10:12
Swami has taken and I'm a swami also Sure. Swami has taken certain vows it's, it's more in the traditional Swami order as Swami as a monk. It was one of them as Swami kriya. Nanda himself expanded the idea of the SWAMI order to include, if you if you have if your partner and you and you both wish to follow the spiritual path, you don't have to separate in order to do that. So it's more just a declaration that a yogi is someone as Yogananda describes it as someone who follows a particular discipline in order to achieve realization, a Swami or someone who says, i Furthermore, I renounce and traditionally you renounce personal relationship in the nya Swami order, you don't have to, but nonetheless, I live for I live for God alone. And, and it's between the traditional order and the non Swami order, there's been some shifts because the traditional order was based on a society that doesn't exist anymore. Right? Right. That's the naive Swami order. That includes the same level of renunciation of formal declaration to oneself and to the Divine, that says, There is nothing else in my life that matters to me, except the spiritual life. But in our society, generally, people have to live somewhere. It's not easy to get along without money. You know, so it's, it's adjusted, but But inwardly it's just the same.

Alex Ferrari 11:54
When you said that, when you first read Autobiography of a Yogi was too full of miracles, I would have to agree with you. I read, I was introduced to me by my spiritual guide that I had, I've had most of my life. And she said, You got to read this book, and I started reading it and it was just, I was raised Catholic. So it was way too far out. For me this I just never heard of bio, bio location and levitation and and then I didn't even get into Baba Ji, like I would have, my mind would have exploded if I would have gone to the chapter that Baba Ji. But just those early chapters, it was just too far too much for me. It took me another decade before I was ready again. And then when I was ready, and it was like this big explosion just came through. I was like, Oh, I get it. It was just the book the book. I wasn't ready for the book yet. I wasn't ready for the teachers yet.

Asha Nayaswami 12:51
What happened to me is, first of all, because I had so much intuitive feeling about Swami kriyananda, I felt if he's dedicated to Yogananda, there must be something I don't know. But oddly, once I met him, I went back, I opened the book, it all made perfect sense to me. I mean, this was not a decade, this was a matter of, you know, even almost like months. It's just his vibration communicated to me. And because I had an intuitive experience of the truth of this, I didn't approach it with skepticism. I approached it with from the point of view of how, how could this be true? Not how could this be true?

Alex Ferrari 12:51
Thanks. Very, very nice distinction. No, it I mean, I wish I would have met someone like Swami at my age, but that wasn't my path. I needed to go through some stuff to get to where I am today. But before we continue, we're talking about Yogananda, because you and I both know who he is. His teachings. Can you explain a little bit to people who are unaware of who Paramahansa Paramahansa Yogananda what he did for when he came over to the west? I know, that's a very large question, but just the highlights of what he did and his teachings.

Asha Nayaswami 13:32
Well, you know, this world is not run, thank God, by the politicians. And they, they act as instruments for cosmic karma, for national karma. And and for a divine plan to be played out in autobiography, okay. It says Yogananda says that Jesus Christ as the spiritual leader of the West and Baba Ji, as the spiritual leader of the East, are in constant communion, and and have planned the spiritual salvation of this age. Now, these are the kinds of things that when you first read the book, you think, really, but after a while, it begins to make great sense to you, and that these two great masters are very concerned about right Shall hatred, religious bigotry, suicidal war, selfish, excessive materialism etc. So there's been this very long, I mean very long, you know, this constant process in which the conditions of the planet are constantly shifting, so that those of us who are incarnate are on it can have the experiences we need for enlightenment. And these changes go over a long period of time, and we're coming into a higher age. There's many factors here. So a little more than 100 years ago, Param Hunter Yogananda at the behest of Baba Ji came from India to the west. Now, India and the West are completely integrated. I live in Silicon Valley, 40% of the CEOs of the companies here are from India. And when I walk around here, it's very similar to walking around New Delhi. I mean, it's just, it's like that. But when Yogananda came, well, he was bringing to a to a new country, because the US is a new country, relatively speaking, the ancient teachings of India, and he was translating them, not just by language, but he was he was picking out those aspects of the ancient teaching that were applicable and relevant to the age we're living in now. He came to the United States in 1920, he landed in Boston eventually migrated to Los Angeles, where he set up his work. And he, because the United States was a clean slate, in terms of, of these teachings, we knew nothing about it effectively. And we're very practical. And we look to the future. We don't look to the past. And we have this belief that if it can be done, we can do it. And in fact, Yogananda himself said, when, when you speak of these teachings in India, especially at that time, people would say, Oh, yes, self-realization, but you know, my karma, it's so hard, maybe some lifetime, he would give the same teachings in the US, and people would say, God realization sure we can do that. And the whole teaching was completely unburdened by the, what by religion. You know, people think that self realization is Hinduism, but it is not. Hinduism is is a religion, self realization is what they call it, so not and dharma, it's which which translates that, which is, it's the nature of humanity. And so, in this age, and you can see it everywhere, we want to liberate ourselves from oppressive tradition. And we want to go right to the actual essence, and the essence is what causes suffering and what brings happiness. Yogananda brought with him a small book that he wrote the first book, he actually goes, somebody else wrote it for him, because he didn't know English that well, at that time. He called it the science of religion. But it and its theme was very simple, that there are we our humanity is made in a certain way, certain ways of being create suffering, other ways of being created happiness. And everybody, every decision you make, is always because you think it will increase happiness and reduce suffering. Many of these decisions are misguided and exceedingly stupid. But nonetheless, we do them, because we believe that so self realization is nothing, but an is only an ever deeper, more subtle understanding of what causes us to suffer and what brings us joy.

Alex Ferrari 18:53
And for people to get an understanding is that at that time, when Yogananda came, most Americans had never seen an exactly exact, let alone a yogi, yes, you know, with a turban, walking around his complexion. And then spouting these ideas. It was like, it was like an alien had landed, essentially.

Asha Nayaswami 19:19
But it's very interesting. He was he was, he was one of, if not the most popular public speakers of his time. He went on spiritual campaigns back and forth across the United States. He filled out literally 1000s of the largest halls in the largest cities, because, well, it's what I felt when Swami Kriyananda came in. He wasn't talking. He he was what he was talking about. And he was a marvelous I want to use the word showman, but I don't mean that in a bad sense, but he was very, he he just radiated this enormous power and he did miracles on the stage. he, and he did. He did miraculous healings. And so people just flocked he became. And he was so charming and so funny. And, and so warm hearted. And so practical. He he made what he was speaking about, extremely practical, because that's the American temperament. And he knew if it could take hold in, I mean, they knew Baba Ji knew that if it could take hold in the West, it could spread, which is exactly what we've seen. What happened, he taught people how to get how to be happy in their marriage, how to be successful in their work, how to make money, how to cure themselves of diseases. I mean, everything that people really wanted to know he didn't he, he also talked in high, elevated ways. But he took the highest teachings and brought them right down to where people were standing.

Alex Ferrari 20:52
Yeah. Isn't it interesting, and that's a really key point of his teachings. And for that matter of Jesus Christ, His teachings that they're at the level when Jesus was walking the earth, the consciousness of humanity was only at a certain level and could only grasp what he was saying to a certain level. And, and obviously, the the end of that story was not well didn't end well for Jesus. So what Yogananda did as well, because these Yogi's they are at such a high level of understanding and consciousness. What was so wonderful about Yogananda, he was able to bring it down to a level where it was very digestible, for people to understand and especially the consciousness and linked in the 1920s or so. Can you imagine and the roaring 20s talking about self realization when it was all material material material? Money, money, money, money, money. It's It's so amazing for people to also understand that Yogananda is in please correct me if I'm wrong. He introduced the concepts of yoga, and also meditation to the west. And am I correct with that?

Asha Nayaswami 22:10
Well, I would say, Autobiography of a Yogi has been the catalyst. And as the autobiography of the yogi started the revolution, it's the it's the handbook of the revolution. And, and, you know, again, things work on a subtle level. Yogananda by incarnating, he planted this, these this, you know, these waves of vibration, just like Jesus, if you'd looked at Jesus's life, he would have think this man is going to be forgotten. Nobody's going to pay any attention to this crucified, outsider. But over time, those vibrations keep building you. And I want to I want to clarify a single point here, one of the things that Autobiography of Yogi talks about, but only very briefly, is this is the cyclical nature of consciousness on the planet. And that's called the youth because because it's a tradition in many cultures, and it's also an Indian one. And we are emerging from an age of matter. It's called Kali, the Dark Age, we're coming into the age of energy, we're in the age of energy, and we're in is in an ascending cycle. Okay, we are in a transition, which is very turbulent and is going to remain turbulent. And so what we have both is we have a very powerful force that's trying to hold us to the past, fixed religions, fixed races, fixed cultures. And simultaneously, we have the age of energy, where people are realizing that it's all the same. So there is the revolution, that you're going on to help launch he's by no means the only one but he's certainly a major figure of souls who are beginning to come into a completely new way of understanding simultaneously you have this powerful force pulling in the other direction. So the world is getting lighter and the world is getting darker in a weird simultaneous way. And the light in this case is going to triumph. Because it there's a cosmic forces pushing us into a higher age, but now without a bit of a struggle. But what happens is that the masters, the avatars are fully realized myself they know the word avatars, assumed another meaning, which is highly unfortunate, but fully God realize masters, they always have the same consciousness, they are and their, their, their capacity is always to go from the infinite to the infantile symbol, they they move and are at home in all, it all aspects of of existence. And, but when they are sent, choose to come as soon as they incarnate in a particular place. They are limited by the culture. And by the the level of consciousness of the planet. However, their disciples are also there. And so they also come to serve those disciples and full realization can exist. At any stage of the planet, the planet has a certain level, but realization is independent of circumstances. But the response of those disciples is different. Like after Jesus's life, they all just left, they went out to the deserts, they went out to the caves, they went out into monasteries, society was dark and getting darker. And so there was no point in trying to build or do anything, because we were just going to get worse. So they isolated themselves, which was kind of nice, you just got to say, I'm, I'm here for God realization, I'm out of here. In the Age, and the age that Yogananda came into, we're having to build a new society. So those of us who are awakening to this are are building a new way of living. And so we can't run away, we have to walk into it. And that's why people are becoming less religious and more spiritual.

Alex Ferrari 26:16
It is, it is kind of remarkable that that is at least in I mean, since the 60s, I mean, the 60s was, was kind of like a bomb going off. You know, and it's, and it's rippled ever since. And it's now growing in ways that even in my lifetime, I was born in the 70s. And from when I was born to where we are right now, I mean, yoga was something that just kind of thrown in the background and meditation, you were kind of kooky, if you meditated. And now, CEOs are meditating, there's apps, doctors are saying, no, no, you should meditate. It calms you down, you know, all this kind of stuff. And even a show like mine. And I've said this on the show so many times is a show like mine probably wouldn't have worked. 20 years ago, people weren't people weren't ready to hear conversations like this conversations of near death experiences of other masters of these kinds of teachings. They just wouldn't have been ready. But it's been so I'd love to hear your point of your your point of view in this in the last 10 years. It seems like it's been, it's like a rocket launching more so than the last 30 years prior, there has been growth, without question. But these last 10 years, it just seems to be accelerating and accelerating and accelerating and accelerating. So, so fast, what's your thoughts on that?

Asha Nayaswami 27:48
Well, I've, I was born in the 40s. So I I've been full time in this since 1969. And full time living, you know, I've lived in a spiritual community all my life more than 50 years now. And 100%. I always prefer people talking about the cutting edge, I prefer the lunatic fringe that sort of tried to live with a lunatic fringe. And so I've been in the lunatic fringe for a really, really, really, really long time. Just being a vegetarian. When I say,

Alex Ferrari 28:24
Don't even get me started. I'm vegetarian as well.

Asha Nayaswami 28:27
My family required that I submit my entire diet to a doctor a doctor who pronounced it the healthiest diet he'd ever seen and said I would outlive them all. Fortunately, thank God, but even vegetarianism was weird. And it all of that. But the way the way things change, historically, is that a small group of people who are completely committed, most people in the world just drift with the tide. And a small group of people who are deeply committed, often always relating to each other. If you look at history, this way, the renaissance in Italy, you know, just wherever the transcendentalists and then in the eastern United States, the Russian Revolution, the disciples of Christ, it's always a very small group of people are the disciples of Buddha, you know, they they gather together, they create a vortex a little to the side of society. And if it's cosmically destined, then society moves and runs through their vortex. And then if they're, if they're wide awake, then they move over, and society moves over to it. So when I first moved to Silicon Valley, which was now 36 years ago, we were the only game in town if you want to meditation or yoga, the only game in town, you know, and now my comment about California is not everybody meditates but those who don't feel guilty because they don't. And that is mainstream and you know, meditating. Yogi's clearing their chakras is universal humor. or you could have jokes about about this, which is a very sophisticated level of understanding that you not only know what it is, but you know it enough to make a joke about it. However, we have a long ways to go,

Alex Ferrari 30:14
Yes. I was watching a show the other day, and they're like, they were making fun of I'm clearing my chakras. And I'm like, wow, but that it's there. It's there.

Asha Nayaswami 30:23
It's simultaneously the word avatar, for example, which is a great and beautiful word is complete and completely destroyed in certain ways. People don't know what karma is my favorite with karma. My absolute favorite was a Harlequin romance book, which I don't think they even have anymore. But and there's a picture on the cover. And there's this woman who's closer sort of half offer. And she looks very involved. And there's two pictures to the illustration. There's pictures of two men up there. And the words are, was it Elizabeth? Was it Elizabeth's karma to be with Henry, or what her karma take her to Robert instead? That's we've arrived, the new agers here. And I will tell you, honestly, oh, my God,

Alex Ferrari 31:16
A little off the mark, a little off the mark. But at least they're talking about it,

Asha Nayaswami 31:20
At least they're talking about it. And and I've traveled all over the world. That's what I do. Now I travel a lot. There's so much light, I used to be very pessimistic, I'm not at all, there's so much light, yes, from so many sources, and so many people are basically catching the wave, the wave is there. And, and in yoga, non does consciousness has planted a great deal of it and Kriya Nanda and the others who've done that, again, I don't want to be sectarian. But these are powerful forces. And these are, these are my life. So these are the ones I know. But just so many people in so many ways, are getting the idea, the power, the worldly power, is still in the hands of the people who are desperately trying to make the past the future. But they're not going to be able to.

Alex Ferrari 32:09
Right and I agree with you, and they're gonna they're kind of doing the death rattle, if you will, of, of all, and it's not just religion, but it's also every aspect of life, every aspect, different different levels of government, the financial systems, the food systems, the the medicine, the medical is all systems that have been around that are not of service and truly serving humanity. In this new stage of where we're all going. They're going to fight, but they're going to lose.

Asha Nayaswami 32:42
The divine, the divine plan is to let them do a lot and have a lot of destruction. Yogananda predicted very hard times, and we're just getting at the edge. But we still have these Mad Men, these rulers who somehow think that your country belongs to me. It's like why, but but we chose to incarnate at this point. So it seemed like a good idea at the time.

Alex Ferrari 33:09
Well, this is from my understanding of talking to other spiritual masters, they said this is if you are incarnated in this time period, you chose it. Because it's probably one of the most exciting times in humanity's history to see this transformation, it's never happened before. That's from what I understand this where we're going has never happened in our species. Evolution is from what I understand.

Asha Nayaswami 33:35
Well, that's not quite in keeping with the tradition of India, but it's close enough. And it's old. And it's always new, because it's always us. It's always a new, it's always a new batch of souls. So we're all we're unique, and we're living out our unique karma. So this has a unique, the the the Indian tradition is a 24,000 year cycle.

Alex Ferrari 33:58
Sure, sure. Let's put everything. So that so that the times and I've had a couple I've had a couple of experts in the Yuga's come on, and I've talked to them about it. And when they told us like yet, the Dark Ages was pretty much the bottom. Those those it was because there was nothing going on for hundreds of years. It was just just no movement in humanity's consciousness during the Dark Ages. And then we have now started to go the upward we're going up again. And then my question to them and my question to you is when we reach the opposite side of the dark ages. If we go back into another cycle of going down again, is that just cyclical nature of souls and incarnation, but aren't we? Are we moving step by step? So let's say Atlantis, I'll just use this as an example. Let's say Atlantis, or a society like Atlantis was the pinnacle of the top of an awareness of consciousness of spirits. Reality. We built the pyramids. I'm throwing this out there, please don't take it with a grain of salt. But then we start to do a downward, downward, we start going back down the other cycle. Every time we get to that cycle, are we kind of leveling up on the cycle a little bit and getting closer to enlightenment as a species?

Asha Nayaswami 35:20
No, because the premise, there's several premises that I believe now this I'm not making this up. This is what from from Swami kriya Nanda with whom I had a very active interactive, close association for 45 years, everything I learned, I learned from him, everything he learned, he learned from yoga nonde, so nothing is mine. But I've I've integrated I, I've come from my own experience to accept it. It's a but what now what I'm talking about is how Yogananda himself explained the cycle of the Hugo's, and it's very, there's first, the premise of we is a hard premise and that because humanity is not an entity, the the the eternal entity, is the word in Sanskrit is Jeeva Ji V A, which is more or less the equivalent word of soul in English, except soul is a little use that you're using it for your your titled soul is a little bit less exact. Jeeva is the unique spark of individuality, you might call it, the bubble in the ocean of infinity. And that individuality is eternal. Interestingly, that there that who I am, I will always be and always have been. And that Jeeva is that spark of divinity that comes in and out of many bodies over many incarnations, but makes it always the same. And it's the Jeeva who gradually becomes enlightened. And once the Jeeva becomes enlightened, it's over. But humanity never becomes enlightened per se. at an end, there are many physical material planets in creation. Yogananda said, he said countless inhabited planets. kriya Nanda asked him, Do we always come back on Earth? Yogananda laugh No, no, of course not. He said, There are countless choices. When you're in the non physical world, you look over the many choices and you find the place the culture, the people, the family that provides that matches your karmic pattern, that gives you the opportunity to learn what you have to learn. Now, in physical creation, the yoga cycle apparently, and I'm repeating what I understand to be true, is actually an an astronomical phenomenon. Not a spiritual one, not in just astrological. But astronomical. Our solar system moves closer and then farther away from the galactic center. And the closer we are to the center of the galaxy, the more energy comes to this planet, and therefore the more enlightened people are. And then the planet follows this elliptical orbit, a solar system follows the elliptical orbit and gets farther and farther away from that energy. And at the nadir. It's being activated with the least amount of energy. And then it makes a turn on its orbit. And it starts back up again. This is what St. cashmore created. There's, so we go forward. And there's there's for ages. And so we have an ascending cycle of the ages, then a descending. So we reach the nadir, and start up again, the nadir of this cycle was 500 ad. So Jesus was born at the lowest point, and it got worse. The it began to transition into the higher age we're moving into now, in 1700 Yogananda said and entered fully in 1900, if you look at everything that happened in the last century, from 1900, to 2000, everything was transformed. And we call these things inventions, but they're actually discoveries. Oil was always there. This system we're using to talk to each other was always there. It's just that nobody noticed it. And so people became aware of it. And so we keep evolving technologically. And in our awareness of unity, up to an apex, which is 2000 12,500 to 1000 years, we reach the apex, and then we start losing awareness. And then we go to the nadir again. And then we do it again. But it's the planet actually that's doing it. And so the souls on the planet come from an astral world where they have a choice. And we just choose because the, the drama of the planet is the backdrop for the real drama. We which is individual awakening. And an individual can be in the darkest age on the planet like Jesus. And he and his disciples, they were fully awake. They they weren't there, their awakening is not dependent on the on the relative awareness of the planet. Their response to the Incarnation they have is controlled by what's going on. Jesus was crucified. That was not special for Jesus. Everybody they didn't like was crucified. But now, now, we still have the death penalty, but people are horrified by it. And they do it way over here in the corner. They don't crucify people run on the sidewalk, like they did with Jesus. In countless other ways, you see that we're, that culture is refining, but there's still barbarians here.

Alex Ferrari 40:56
Well, we, I mean, there was public burnings, you know, burning witches at the stake, there was public hangings, public hangings, in the war in the 19th century. This they weren't people, you know, I think there's still one state that allows public hangings, you know, even it's still it's still a thing. In but a firing squad, these kinds of things that now you just like, No, it's not, that's not the way to do it. No, it is. It's evolving. And when we look for, I mean, look at the Coliseum. I mean, I mean, look at what was going on there and and where we're at now. It's It's fascinating. One of the things that was really interesting about Yogananda, his approach with the West, is that he put up Jesus right next to Baba Ji, right next to you to Shah and Lahiri Mahasaya, in the in the role of saints and masters. And for the West. That was the first time anyone had ever paid homage outside of a Christian faith to Jesus as a great master. And from what I understand, Jesus is renowned in India as a great avatar as a great one unquote, Yogi for the teachings that he that he was doing. And they treat Jesus very differently than the West does. Is that is a fair statement?

Asha Nayaswami 42:25
Oh, it's a fair statement, you know, they Yogananda writes at great length about the quote, The so called lost years of Jesus, which are the 18 years, you know, Jesus was 12 years old teaching in the temple. And then he was 30 years old, and he just shows up again, what can somebody nobody apparently thought to ask him where he was for those 18 years, which there's, there's this is now becoming, this is not even esoteric. Now, this is becoming common knowledge, that Jesus went India, which is where it was. So, more of Jesus's life was in India than it was in the West. And he and he went to the foot of the masters to go according to Yogananda, which I believe is true in the tradition there. He went to the Himalayas, he studied with Baba Ji. And then he he preached, he preached all over India, he preached in Varanasi he preached in Pori did the Juggernaut temple there, he established an entire lineage. And he he was completely in the context of Indian teaching, which according to the Bhagavad Gita, whenever virtue declines, and vice predominates, I, the Infinite Spirit take visible form, in order to restore dharma. And so they knew exactly who Jesus was, oh, this is Jesus is a self realized master come to help us again. And Jesus left instructions for his disciple, Thomas. As soon as after Jesus died, the disciples all got together to decide what they should do. But Thomas already had his instructions from Jesus and His instruction was to go to India. And so as soon as Jesus died, Thomas went right to India, he went to South India, and he continued what Jesus had been doing because Jesus had only been gone for three and a half years. He just, he just, I am the disciple of the Master, you were following, they called him Isha. And Thomas established a huge following. And it was completely integrated into Indian culture. He was not separate. And it was that way for like three or 400 years. And then what happened was, the Portuguese came in this is in the south, and they were just stunned to discover that there was this whole other branch of Jesus's teachings, and it did not match what the church had established by that point. So this is also history. They basically burned all the manuscripts. They burned all the manuscripts and eliminated a lot of the people and then I took advantage of the devotion to Christ, but just turned it into Catholicism at that point.

Alex Ferrari 45:06
Yeah, they I always joke, I'm a recovering Catholic, and I still feel guilty about it. I mean, let's try and get started with the Vatican. Let's not get started with the Council of Nicaea. Like, there's so much I've dedicated full hours, to just the Council of Nicaea. Alone, to break to for people to really understand where the Bible truly comes from.

Asha Nayaswami 45:35
But yeah, and Yogananda came to just say, look, it's just one avatar after another and Your most Beloved avatar Jesus is, is, is blessing what I'm doing. And that's what that's why the picture was there wasn't a like a sop to the west. It was, let me tell you dizzy Yogananda stated mission was to was to restore the original teachings of Jesus and the original teachings of Krishna, because both Hinduism and Christianity have wandered way off. And to show that it's the same principles, whoo, revolution,

Alex Ferrari 46:16
Asha I have to explain, I have to tell you something I have a very unique perspective on on this topic, because I speak to so many different spiritual masters from all walks of life, spoken to over 100 near death experiencers from all walks of life, wonderful. I've spoken to, you know, people in you know, from, from mediums to channelers, to everybody. And I keep finding the same principles that keep coming up. It's not like one person is telling me apples, and the other one's telling me oranges. I rarely, in all almost 400 episodes I've done at this show. I rarely, if ever, have had someone say something. So off track that like, oh, karma? No, it's not right. It doesn't exist. No one has said something like that. They've said a version of it, they might have a little different flavor to it. But the core ideas of all of it seem to always ring true. And that's what I find so fascinating. Because if you study Yogananda, you studied Jesus, you studied Buddha, you studied Krishna, the core ideas are all there. But truth is a truth is a truth. Would you agree?

Asha Nayaswami 47:38
Oh, yes. You know, you're gonna understand self realization has to come to unite all religions. And he did not mean we he called his organization Self Realization, but that's not what he meant. He meant the principles of Self Realization, are going to allow people to understand and perceive the Unity Swami kriya Nanda took it another step, which is a very interesting career and and his job was to take the seminal ideas that Yogananda had so only wrote 140 books. And he took the seminal ideas that Yogananda had and stretch them out, brought them down into a clear understanding. So this one self-realization He's here to United Swami writes about that every every you start with revelation you haven't an avatar comes with a direct revelation. Over time it becomes religion. And religion is then is then we live the religion is our sincere, often very sincere, but they don't have the direct revelation. So they just make the best that they can do. And gradually, everything deteriorates, because that's the way it works. So what you end up with is this religion has Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, this one that worships Mother Kali, you know, this one has no images at all. They think the Buddha was an atheist, which is not true, but you know, it's because this is what's called Swami called The Way of belief and on the on the level of belief, you cannot reconcile it. You can be courteous, you can be respectful, you can say, wasn't that sweet? You have it you have your belief and I have mine, but you never come together. But but the way of belief is balanced by the way of awakening. And, and when when your consciousness actually begins to awaken, then everybody sees the same thing. They see love, they see kindness, they see where happiness comes from, they see what causes suffering, and you may still be devoted to my Lord Jesus Christ, or my dear Krishna. But that's not what defines you. What defines you is the way your consciousness has changed because of your devotion and your practice. And that's where the principles of self realization come in. Our consciousness will change because of my principles and practices. My ish today have a My chosen focus for my devotion may still be Krishna or Jesus. And I won't shift from one to the other. But my experience will be just like yours. And we'll recognize each other will look into each other's eyes and will recognize each other.

Alex Ferrari 50:16
It's, it's in a certain way, you're right, because not a certain way, you're completely right. But when someone like Jesus, or Krishna or Buddha or Yogananda show up, they are they have such a deep understanding of the teachings, they have a revelation, they have a revelation inside of themselves. So that is the key ingredient that they can't give to someone else they can guide to see if they can find it within themselves. But they, they that understanding is very difficult. So then the good, good. The the group after the master dies, starts the religion. And they say, Okay, well, Yogananda said that Jesus said this, okay. He said, this, this and this, and then someone will come along go, Well, did he say this? And what did he really mean? Yeah, I mean, you know, it thinks things along that. So it's the equivalent. And this is a crude example, but I'm a master chef. And in my recipe book, I lay out all the greatest recipes, and everything I cooked when I was alive was the most delicious things you've ever had in your life. But when I wrote a pinch of salt, or a dash of this, I know what that means. Now you have to interpret it, what my pinch and what my dash was. And did I put something else in it that I might have not put in the recipe, something that I brought in the crude example. But it's where it starts to get diluted. And that's only one step away from the master. Can you imagine hundreds if not 1000s of years, from the original teachers one of my favorite quotes of Yogananda is that Jesus Christ was crucified on one day, but his teachings were crucified for the last 2000 years. And it's just so silly. And to that example, almost all if not every single avatar master who have walked the earth, their teachings have been diluted, misunderstood, changed over time, not for malice, sometimes from Atlas, sometimes for power and other things, generally, not for malice, but just for lack of understanding, lack of capacity. Would you agree?

Asha Nayaswami 52:23
Oh, yes. And that, but you see, the marvel of India is that they take that into account, you see that's in the Bhagavad Gita, whenever whenever it declines, the new avatar comes not to not to not to displace what came before, but to clarify what has been lost. And that is 100% What Yogananda said, I'm here to show you the original teachings of Krishna, the original teachings of Jesus, and through that, to show you that self realization is what everybody's talking about. And now that we see in the, in the age that we've just come out of form was fixed. If you look at the way the society has changed, what's happened is that forms are disintegrating. You know, gender, which I would never have thought of is fluid, gender has become fluid. Marriage is, you know, kind of iffy, a lot of times people still should and want to be married. But so many other forms of relationship exists, blah, blah, blah. And people want to be spiritual, but not religious, which is what they're actually saying is that I want it to be inside of me, not outside of me. And so, yeah, and so it's, I It's a very interesting time that we live in. And

Alex Ferrari 53:39
No it is extremely it's extremely interesting time to say the least. I have to ask you, the world is going through so much upheaval right now, as we've been talking these forces of the old systems want to continue to hold on to power while the new world that's coming up is going to happen but there's they're going to put up a fight and it's going to get it is it's already violent. You know, what's happening over in the Middle East what's happening over in Ukraine, or it's happening over all over the world. These old ideas battles for land arguments about this. It's It's It's It's insane. What's happening right now. What in Yogananda, his teachings, can you tell the audience that could help us move towards these next 5 10 15 to 20 years that are coming up ahead of us. Which, to my understanding, again, speaking to so many different spiritual masters, that it's going to get bumpy but it is going to get better. But it's going to be a bumpy ride. Not that it's going to be horrible, all the way through, but there is going to be some some turbulence in this area. way right towards consciousness.

Asha Nayaswami 55:02
Well, Yogananda said, it's gonna be really terrible. I have to just say that out loud. Okay. He said it's going to be really terrible. He spoke of World Wars. He spoke of massive depression. He implied Earth changes cataclysmic Earth changes. He He warned. He thundered his warning, Swami kriya Nanda carried out that warning to the point where we all got, you know, we got kind of got tired of hearing it every year as Swami would say, is this the year? Because he'd heard Yogananda declare it now, this what we have to understand the purpose of all this tumult is because, as, as as as a global culture, we are way off track. And we we have lost contact with with inner realities, and we need to be shaken up and come back. And the the answer was very simple. Develop an inner life, develop a relationship with your own Higher Consciousness, develop a relationship with God, develop the ability to, to draw your energy, from your inner resources, not merely be dependent on your outer circumstances, because outer circumstances, according to many prophecies, including Yogananda is going to change. And so if we are if we are capable, of of, of living from inside, in relationship to higher consciousness, then if the outside gets radically shifted, it won't affect what I think of as myself. The degree to which my self respect, my comfort, my security, my self definition, depends on everything staying just the way it is, we're going to be very insecure, Swami kriya, Nanda, he, he said, you know, now is the time to anchor yourself in an inner reality. And then the world can do whatever it wants, and it won't define you. And simultaneously, if we have inner strength, we'll be able to help others,

Alex Ferrari 57:12
And to touch upon the inner strength aspect of it. And for people listening, who are whose heads have exploded from this conversation. You and I have a year and I completely understand what we're talking about. But somebody's listening right now is, head has exploded. It's essentially how you and I were when we first read autobiography, or yoga, or when Swami walked into the room that day, this, that's hopefully what is what this conversation is doing to somebody, if not two, or three people out there, right now, the idea of religion versus Self Realization. And I want to make this a very clear idea. And I'd love to hear your thoughts of it. The second that we give our power away to a middle man, to talk to God, that is religion, religion, generally speaking is, especially from the Catholic perspective, it's the institution, that you give the power to the institution, because the institutions like you cannot connect, connect to God, or God's power, or God's knowledge or wisdom or love. Without going through us first, for forgiveness, again, I'm using the Catholic lens. Without without us, you will not be forgiven, you will not be able to get into the quote unquote, kingdom of heaven, all of this stuff. Were as opposed to the concept of self realization, is that the powers with in you, all the answers you seek are within you. And as you said, at the very beginning of this conversation, the deeper you go within, the wider your perspective goes, I just want people to understand what is going on there. Because if we are empowered ourselves, it's very difficult to control somebody. Yes. Powered themselves. Because they are free entity, they are free soul, they're free being and at the power that they have is within themselves. You can't take that away from them. Exactly. But if you're giving your power away to an institution, like a religion, then that is where control happens. And again, through the Catholic lens. Yeah, I'm being it's called the Roman. By the way, I don't know if I know this might be sound really funny to you. I was in Italy, and I went to the Vatican. And for the very first time in my entire life on this planet, I realized that it was called the Roman Catholic Church and I'm like, oh my god, the Romans created this. I had no idea. I just never connected the dots that it was Roman Catholic Church. If I've said it a billion times. Oh, yeah. I'm Roman Catholic, but never really understood that Oh, Rome, Rome made this The Romans made this. So the Roman Empire really didn't fall. It just turned into a church. Is that correct?

Asha Nayaswami 1:00:09
No, that's very, very good. I completely know what you mean. And I can when would prompt that in your mind. Yes. But go ahead. No, no, no, you raise you raise so many different interesting questions. I want to I want to correct, okay. Please, the difficulty becomes when when we use personal pronouns, you know, when I speak of myself, but I say me or I, or inside of me or my power, we have many, many levels within us. And when we use that pronoun, it's not accurate as to what we're, it's not clear what we're referring to. Jesus actually called himself the Son of Man, sometimes in the Son of God. When he was talking about the Son of God, he was talking about his infinite consciousness, which was inhabiting the body but was not defined by the body. But he called himself the Son of Man, he was talking about the that infinite consciousness animating the body of Jesus and living through this birth and death of Jesus. So he made a distinction, which is often lost. And the reason people have so much trouble with the Bible is because of the pronoun I. And people think it means the individual, the consciousness, yes, but that manifested only through the body Jesus. So when we talk about developing our own inner power, we also have to realize that Who am I am I everything that makes us separate? starts when we identify with limited expression of my consciousness at that point, I have one body, therefore I have one set of parents, I have certain siblings, I have a culture, I have a language, I have a I have a religion I was raised in, all of that separates me. And all of that is true. On the level of this incarnation, am I only one incarnation? What is it that caused me to animate here when I die? Do I disappear? Or do I continue? And all these it's all interwoven, these near death experiences are telling us that you step out of this body, and you suddenly realize I was wearing that body, just like I was wearing a suit of clothes, and I'm no more the dress I'm wearing, than I'm the body I'm wearing. But I've been in it so long, I've forgotten. And so when we and as long as we're identified with the body, then we're vulnerable. Because this body can die, this body can be hurt, this body can be betrayed. If I identify with the infinite, who is just wearing this body, then yeah, if it if it gets ripped off, or burned up, or dies or something, or it gets his feelings hurt. Yeah, that's a bummer. But that doesn't. It's not me, it's just the part I'm playing. At this point. However, we do not acquire that higher knowledge just by becoming more and more intense about what you would call the ego self. The ego is the self identified with limitation. And this is where it discipleship and gurus really come into the picture. And there is a capacity on the part of the enlightened master to pass the power of that enlightenment on and this is where this is the the not yet understood aspect of this. People meditate people are interested in self awareness, but they're still I'm going to do it myself. And we feel that we're that devotion can weakens us. But it's not devotion that weakens us it's devotion to the wrong side of the equation that weakens us. Because if if there's somebody who knows how to do what you're trying to do, why would you not want to learn from if you're trying to learn something that is so subtle that you can't even grasp it with your mind, but they understand it? Why would you not try to tune into that energy? And so it's it gets very misunderstood. And this is why I deeply so deeply remit lament the change of the meaning of the word avatar, because it's an extremely important word, that there are individuals whose consciousness who, who can magnetize us, not that they do it for us. But you're when you're if you're trying to learn to sing, and you sing with someone who sings really well. Something happens to your voice. And it's your voice, but it's magnetized because they know how to do it. And how much more deeply is our awareness magnetized? When? So Christianity is absolutely true. Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior, is going to liberate me from all my delusions. It's actually true. It's got really confused but that the power of that love In the power of that relationship is a fundamental key to transformation. That's why Autobiography of a Yogi is all about gurus and disciples guru and disciple, Guru and disciple, very first sentence, very first sentence is about the disciple guru relationship.

Alex Ferrari 1:05:18
And the thing is that, like your example of a singer, we need examples. We need examples. So if, if now use the four minute mile, no one thought the four minute mile was possible until someone did the four minute mile. And then magically, nine other people, none other guys broke the four minute mile, within a year after that, but before then no one in the history of man, up until that point had ever done it. So it that that power of example, it is so transformative. And we just I use that as an example. And you could use it in singing in in athletics and intellectual and in science and spirituality, to see someone else at a higher level raises your understanding of what's possible,

Asha Nayaswami 1:06:07
It is true, but you have to also put in magnetism. And mist is not is not a physical entity. So magnetism is not limited by either time, or space, or death, or materiality, or the lack of it. And that's why, you know, because we're in a Western country, and, I mean, I was raised Jewish, but I have a deep relationship with Jesus now, as I understand him in a different way. But he's alive to me. Yogananda is alive to me. kriya Nanda left the body 10 years ago, but but their magnetism, it's, it's like they're, they're, they're consciously helping us. And they're, they're vibrating in a way that if you attune yourself to it, in the Bible, it says about Jesus to all those who received him. So very esoteric statement, to all those who aligned themselves with his vibration, just like the singer, all of a sudden, my voice is in tuned, because I can hear what the note is supposed to sound like. So it's not only once there's the example. But then there's the attunement with the example.

Alex Ferrari 1:07:19
Beautifully said, beautifully laid out very important. Now I'm going to ask you a few questions, ask all of my guests, okay. What is your definition of living a fulfilled life?

Asha Nayaswami 1:07:29
Understanding the definition of what success is, which is to live at a higher and higher level of awareness, to recognize that bliss, that joy is our true nature. And to measure everything by the capacity for joy, which is not the same as pleasure and happiness, but an actual awareness of the presence of bliss, and to be able to share that with others, to be able to look back and say, I did good work.

Alex Ferrari 1:08:05
If you had a chance to go back in time and speak to the little Asha, what advice would you give her?

Asha Nayaswami 1:08:09
And I don't be so worried so much. Just relax on it'll be fine.

Alex Ferrari 1:08:17
How do you define God?

Asha Nayaswami 1:08:20
Sat Chit Ananda is not original it's a Sanskrit word Sat, ever existing, ever conscious, ever new bliss.

Alex Ferrari 1:08:31
What is love?

Asha Nayaswami 1:08:34
Bliss. I think? Love is bliss in action. When you feel joy, you automatically feel love.

Alex Ferrari 1:08:41
And what is the ultimate purpose of life?

Asha Nayaswami 1:08:44
Infinite awareness to become one with the infinite.

Alex Ferrari 1:08:47
And where can people find out more about you and the amazing work you're doing in the world?

Asha Nayaswami 1:08:51
I should know Swami Google will just open the door. I have a website Ashajoy.com. Really, my name is enough. I have several books. I have 1000s of hours of classes on YouTube on every subject related to self realization. So just type whatever you're interested in in the question box. And I also have a notable Instagram account.

Alex Ferrari 1:09:20
You're so hip Asha, you're so hip.

Asha Nayaswami 1:09:22
I say that so casually. Honestly, the Instagram actually all of it is done by other people. I create the content they make it available.

Alex Ferrari 1:09:33
Do you have any parting messages for our audience?

Asha Nayaswami 1:09:35
Don't worry be happy.

Alex Ferrari 1:09:37
Great song. Great song from the 80s not original. Asha, thank you so much for coming on the show. It has been such a pleasure and honor speaking to you and I hope this conversation does help raise the awareness and the consciousness of humanity. So I appreciate your my dear.

Asha Nayaswami 1:09:55
And I greatly admire and I'm grateful for your work. Keep up the good work my friend yeah.

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