A selection from
AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF A YOGI
Narrated by John Lescault
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AN EXPERIENCE IN COSMIC CONSCIOUSNESS
"I am here, Guruji." My shamefacedness spoke more eloquently for
"Let us go to the kitchen and find something to eat." Sri Yukteswar's
manner was as natural as if hours and not days had separated us.
"Master, I must have disappointed you by my abrupt departure from
my duties here; I thought you might be angry with me."
"No, of course not! Wrath springs only from thwarted desires. I
do not expect anything from others, so their actions cannot be in
opposition to wishes of mine. I would not use you for my own ends;
I am happy only in your own true happiness."
"Sir, one hears of divine love in a vague way, but for the first
time I am having a concrete example in your angelic self! In the
world, even a father does not easily forgive his son if he leaves
his parent's business without warning. But you show not the slightest
vexation, though you must have been put to great inconvenience by
the many unfinished tasks I left behind."
We looked into each other's eyes, where tears were shining. A
blissful wave engulfed me; I was conscious that the Lord, in the
form of my guru, was expanding the small ardors of my heart into
the incompressible reaches of cosmic love.
A few mornings later I made my way to Master's empty sitting room.
I planned to meditate, but my laudable purpose was unshared by
disobedient thoughts. They scattered like birds before the hunter.
"Mukunda!" Sri Yukteswar's voice sounded from a distant inner
I felt as rebellious as my thoughts. "Master always urges me to
meditate," I muttered to myself. "He should not disturb me when he
knows why I came to his room."
He summoned me again; I remained obstinately silent. The third time
his tone held rebuke.
"Sir, I am meditating," I shouted protestingly.
"I know how you are meditating," my guru called out, "with your
mind distributed like leaves in a storm! Come here to me."
Snubbed and exposed, I made my way sadly to his side.
"Poor boy, the mountains couldn't give what you wanted." Master
spoke caressively, comfortingly. His calm gaze was unfathomable.
"Your heart's desire shall be fulfilled."
Sri Yukteswar seldom indulged in riddles; I was bewildered. He
struck gently on my chest above the heart.
My body became immovably rooted; breath was drawn out of my lungs
as if by some huge magnet. Soul and mind instantly lost their
physical bondage, and streamed out like a fluid piercing light
from my every pore. The flesh was as though dead, yet in my intense
awareness I knew that never before had I been fully alive. My sense
of identity was no longer narrowly confined to a body, but embraced
the circumambient atoms. People on distant streets seemed to be
moving gently over my own remote periphery. The roots of plants and
trees appeared through a dim transparency of the soil; I discerned
the inward flow of their sap.
The whole vicinity lay bare before me. My ordinary frontal
vision was now changed to a vast spherical sight, simultaneously
all-perceptive. Through the back of my head I saw men strolling far
down Rai Ghat Road, and noticed also a white cow who was leisurely
approaching. When she reached the space in front of the open ashram
gate, I observed her with my two physical eyes. As she passed by,
behind the brick wall, I saw her clearly still.
All objects within my panoramic gaze trembled and vibrated like
quick motion pictures. My body, Master's, the pillared courtyard,
the furniture and floor, the trees and sunshine, occasionally became
violently agitated, until all melted into a luminescent sea; even
as sugar crystals, thrown into a glass of water, dissolve after
being shaken. The unifying light alternated with materializations
of form, the metamorphoses revealing the law of cause and effect
An oceanic joy broke upon calm endless shores of my soul. The Spirit
of God, I realized, is exhaustless Bliss; His body is countless
tissues of light. A swelling glory within me began to envelop towns,
continents, the earth, solar and stellar systems, tenuous nebulae,
and floating universes. The entire cosmos, gently luminous, like
a city seen afar at night, glimmered within the infinitude of
my being. The sharply etched global outlines faded somewhat at the
farthest edges; there I could see a mellow radiance, ever-undiminished.
It was indescribably subtle; the planetary pictures were formed of
a grosser light.
The divine dispersion of rays poured from an Eternal Source, blazing
into galaxies, transfigured with ineffable auras. Again and again
I saw the creative beams condense into constellations, then resolve
into sheets of transparent flame. By rhythmic reversion, sextillion
worlds passed into diaphanous luster; fire became firmament.
I cognized the center of the empyrean as a point of intuitive
perception in my heart. Irradiating splendor issued from my nucleus
to every part of the universal structure. Blissful AMRITA, the
nectar of immortality, pulsed through me with a quicksilverlike
fluidity. The creative voice of God I heard resounding as AUM,
the vibration of the Cosmic Motor.
Suddenly the breath returned to my lungs. With a disappointment
almost unbearable, I realized that my infinite immensity was lost.
Once more I was limited to the humiliating cage of a body, not
easily accommodative to the Spirit. Like a prodigal child, I had
run away from my macrocosmic home and imprisoned myself in a narrow
My guru was standing motionless before me; I started to drop at his
holy feet in gratitude for the experience in cosmic consciousness
which I had long passionately sought. He held me upright, and spoke
"You must not get overdrunk with ecstasy. Much work yet remains
for you in the world. Come; let us sweep the balcony floor; then
we shall walk by the Ganges."
I fetched a broom; Master, I knew, was teaching me the secret of
balanced living. The soul must stretch over the cosmogonic abysses,
while the body performs its daily duties. When we set out later
for a stroll, I was still entranced in unspeakable rapture. I saw
our bodies as two astral pictures, moving over a road by the river
whose essence was sheer light.
"It is the Spirit of God that actively sustains every form and
force in the universe; yet He is transcendental and aloof in the
blissful uncreated void beyond the worlds of vibratory phenomena,"
Master explained. "Saints who realize their divinity even
while in the flesh know a similar twofold existence. Conscientiously
engaging in earthly work, they yet remain immersed in an inward
beatitude. The Lord has created all men from the limitless joy
of His being. Though they are painfully cramped by the body, God
nevertheless expects that souls made in His image shall ultimately
rise above all sense identifications and reunite with Him."
The cosmic vision left many permanent lessons. By daily stilling
my thoughts, I could win release from the delusive conviction that
my body was a mass of flesh and bones, traversing the hard soil of
matter. The breath and the restless mind, I saw, were like storms
which lashed the ocean of light into waves of material forms-earth,
sky, human beings, animals, birds, trees. No perception of the
Infinite as One Light could be had except by calming those storms.
As often as I silenced the two natural tumults, I beheld the
multitudinous waves of creation melt into one lucent sea, even as
the waves of the ocean, their tempests subsiding, serenely dissolve
A master bestows the divine experience of cosmic consciousness when
his disciple, by meditation, has strengthened his mind to a degree
where the vast vistas would not overwhelm him. The experience
can never be given through one's mere intellectual willingness or
open-mindedness. Only adequate enlargement by yoga practice and
devotional BHAKTI can prepare the mind to absorb the liberating
shock of omnipresence. It comes with a natural inevitability to
the sincere devotee. His intense craving begins to pull at God with
an irresistible force. The Lord, as the Cosmic Vision, is drawn by
the seeker's magnetic ardor into his range of consciousness.