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ers from Hazelton, BC, Canada,
said she was very moved by the
ceremonies. After she returned
to her home, she wrote: "I was
humbled and honored that your
people allowed me to come to
your region and participate in
such an important way. I felt
that this was the purpose I was
there... to honor your way, on
your land. I was there to be
shown and for me to learn in the
process... that your group would
remember the old ways. I think
it was beautiful."
The goal for the 13 Grand-
mothers Pacifica Council is to
assist in the creation of circles
of 13 grandmothers on each of
the Hawaiian Islands and even-
tually to all island cultures of the
In October of 2010, Grand-
mothers Robin Youngblood,
Kathy McDuff, Sylvia Cenzano,
Maile Orme and Lina La'anui
organized the council of 13
Grandmothers on the island of
Maui, for people to gather and
share ceremony, wisdom teach-
ings and to find solutions for
issues they face on that island.
And in November of 2010,
the council of 13 Grandmothers
was started in Aotearoa (New
Zealand), linking the North and
South Pacific in circle. Grand-
mothers Ma'ata Tukuafu, Susan
Stanton, Cynthy Sterling and Bil-
lie Schibler traveled to New Zea-
land to share the teachings and
help initiate these new Council
While most of the Grand-
mothers and Tutu Wahine are
from indigenous tribal lineages,
we consider `indigenous' to be
a state of the heart rather than
blood quantum. Our circle in-
vites anyone who cares about
our children, our elders, our
earth and our future, to join us
as we re-remember our indig-
enous ways and become more
The next 13 Grandmothers
Pacifica gathering will take place
at Kilauea, Volcano on March
31-April 3 of 2011, and a new
circle gathers on the island of
Oahu in April of 2011.
For more information, please visit: (13
Grandmothers of the Pacific); www. (Pacifica
Indigenous Grandmothers); (Ontario Canada In-
digenous Grandmothers & Elders) or (The
International Council of Thirteen In-
digenous Grandmothers).
I once had a very interesting
conversation with Yogananda
about my earthly father. I wanted
to know where he stood spiritu-
ally. I told Yogananda that my
father was very honest, honor-
able, and kind -- that he had
many virtues, but that he didn't
seem to think about God or to
seek any spiritual values.
Strength of character is not
And Yogananda's single com-
ment was, "The road to Hades
is paved with good intentions."
That was a rather harsh answer
but a true one, because if you
don't include spiritual realities in
your life, sooner or later some-
thing will come along that you
won't be able to transcend.
My father was very coura-
geous. He had great strength of
character and will power. But in
the last year or so of his life, he
experienced illness that left him
totally incapacitated. If he fell
down, he was incapable of lift-
ing himself up. He simply had to
wait until someone came. Once
he had to wait for quite some
I could never have imagined
my father weeping but he would
weep at his own helplessness.
What my father lacked was spir-
itual strength. He had strength
of character, but it didn't bring
him to a level of wisdom that
enabled him to meet the tests he
encountered later in life.
Saints are outstanding exam-
ples of spiritual strength. Their
inner joy is so great that they
simply don't care whether their
bodies are well or not. Yoganan-
da, St. Francis of Assisi, and St.
Teresa of Avila -- they all had
that strength.
Your life will always fluctuate
There's a point beyond which
your human strength fails you
unless you also have spiritual
strength. Don't think that your
life will always be on an upward
curve. It cannot be.
Creation exists on a principle
of duality. There will always be
opposites. Every plus must be
balanced by a minus, every gain,
canceled out by a loss. Things
will always fluctuate
from one extreme to
the other.
Inevitably, the time
will come when things
will stop going right
for you. The actions of
the past, or the mass
karma of the people
around you, will hit
you. And unless you
have learned to live
calmly at your center,
you won't be able to
meet those tests suc-
You can't do it on your own
Spiritual strength comes from
being in tune with God. You
won't gain this strength merely
by affirmations or trying to live
a good life. You can't do it on
your own.
You have to let God do it. Je-
sus said, "Whosoever will save
his life, shall lose it; but who-
soever will lose his life for my
sake, the same shall save it."
(Luke 9:24).
"Lose his life for my sake"
doesn't mean only being a mar-
tyr. Not many of us get a chance
to be martyrs. Jesus was also
speaking of the ego. You have to
reach the point where you can
offer your ego up to God and
allow Him to transform you into
Calm, determined self-giving
In meditation, after becom-
ing calm, you need to offer your
heart to God with the attitude
that your life belongs to Him,
that you want only Him, and
that you want nothing for your-
self. You need to say, "God you
take charge of my life and work
through me."
In this type of calm, deter-
mined self-giving lies the secret
of spiritual strength. It requires
meditation, devotion, and humil-
ity. And it doesn't happen over-
night. You have to offer yourself
But as it says in the Bhaga-
vad Gita, even a little bit of the
practice of this inward religion
will free you from
dire fears and colos-
sal sufferings.
An aura of
The more you can
give to yourself in-
wardly in this way,
the more you know
that everything works
out for the best, and
that things happen as
they should. An aura
of protection will
surround you and things won't
touch you in the same way.
The greatest tragedies aren't
anything once you have a divine
attunement. Yogananda said that
the martyrs who died in the Ro-
man arena, under the gladia-
tors and lions, with their faith in
God unshaken, didn't even feel
When you have divine attun-
ement, you have security -- you
have strength. When you have
Him, your problems are noth-
ing because you know that He is
Swami Kriyananda is one of
the world's most revered spiritu-
al leaders and the last still-teach-
ing direct disciple of Paramhansa
Yogananda (Autobiography of a
Yogi). Author of more than 140
books and composer 400 pieces
of music, Swami Kriyananda is
one of the world's foremost ex-
perts on meditation, yoga, and
spiritual practice.
Visit to learn
more about Ananda LA, an intimate
community that provides yoga, medita-
tion, classes, fellowship, guidance, and
a sanctuary from stressful living, and
to find out about Swami Kriyananda's
appearances and activities in South-
ern California. Check out Swami's
video home study course: "Six Weeks
to Lasting Success and happiness."
Human Strength
Versus Spiritual Strength
by Swami Kriyananda
If you want to
change the world,
BE that change.
-- Mahatma Gandhi