Loving and Divine Ones,

Let the choicest blessings of God and the masters be upon all of you. I take this opportunity to pray for you, and I send my best wishes on the occasion of our beloved Parama Gurudev Paramahamsa Yoganandaji’s 125th birthday.

As we all know, Yoganandaji was born on 5 January, 1893 at the foothills of the Himalayas in the holy city of Gorakhpur. This year is quite important for many aspects: It marks the birth of this divine child who became a great master, as well as Swami Vivekanandaji’s address to the Parliament of World Religions in Chicago. One might ask, "Are they correlated?"

If we study "I Return to the West," Chapter 47 in the Autobiography of Yogi, the incident of Mr. Dickinson, we will see that Swami Vivekanandaji knew a yogi would be coming to the West in the future, which was later proven true to Mr. Dickinson with the gift of a silver cup.

Swami Vivekanandaji popularised the Vedantic message of the rishis of ancient India; Paramahamsa Yogananadaji brought the dynamics of yoga to the Western world. These two great souls (masters) of India brought two beautiful aspects of ancient Indian wisdom, Yoga and Vedanta, to the entire world for a new awakening. To me, Vedanta is the theory, and yoga in general, or Kriya Yoga in particular, are the practice. Just as theory and practice in the study of science expands the horizons of our knowledge, Yoga and Vedanta can combine to reveal spiritual insights for us. The complementary effect has enriched human life in the modern world.

Swami Vivekanandaji came to the West for a short period like a spiritual whirlwind. Like a roaring lion, he completely changed the thinking of the world with his universal life wisdom. Paramahamsa Yoganandaji, on the other hand, was like a cool breeze that promoted calm and serene transformation, a result of his loving message of universal love.

During his more than thirty-year stay in the West, Paramahamsaji created real change in the Western world. His autobiography was an epoch-making writing, a spiritual classic, and a soul-stirring, life-altering text. It has been an inspiration for countless people.

As we complete this yearlong celebration, let us reflect upon one of his teachings and be motivated to follow him on the path of spirituality.

He said, "Let my soul smile through my heart, let my heart smile through my eyes, that I may scatter rich smiles in sad hearts."

Based on this quote, a few things should be understood:

1. Our lives are not for ourselves, but for others. We should increase the smiles on the faces of the suffering through our actions and words.
2. It is possible to transform ourselves by living with a spirituality that changes the quality of our lives.
3. Our lives will be enriched by transforming our hearts. Our lives can then reflect our love and compassion through our demeanor and outlook.
4. We should be rich in inner strength so that our smiles of love and purity will touch others silently and bring real change to them.

On this special day, I pray to God and this great master to bless each one us with love, kindness, and compassion in our daily lives so that we will be divine angels who can serve all with love.

With Love,
Prajnanananda

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