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Steve Jobs with his favorite book — written by Paramahansa Yogananda

“You who are reading, and I who am writing, will exist a hundred years hence only as thoughts. Great and small, with highly sensitive bodies, must be buried beneath the grass or thrown into the hungry flames of cremation. We, who are so sure of our breakfasts, lunches, and dinners, will be unable to swallow or to speak. Our lips will be sealed forever.

We who love to listen to flattery, to the voice of the brook and the breeze, and to the sweet melody of music, and to the familiar words of our loved ones, must one day when absent, wax our ears so that we may never again hear any sound from this sad earth.

The roses and blossoms that you love, some day will send the messenger of sweet fragrance to knock at the door of your perfume-loving sense, but the door of that sense will open no more. You will never again be lured by the earthly perfume of Nature.

The day will arrive when all beautiful things and faces will stand mutely at the wisdom gate of your lotus gaze and will knock and knock to get into the chamber of your appreciation, but you will not see imperfect matter any more.

The chamber of wisdom will be left untenanted. The brain that controlled your 27,000 billion cells and your bodily factory will direct no more. The soft touches of the breeze and the warmth of the sunshine, the blessing of soft, kind hands, the raindrops, the ocean and the waves, and the cool and warm floods of water will soothe you no more, for your body will remain inert like a lifeless stone.

The day will come when you cannot see, when you cannot move your hands or feet, when you have no sense of smell, when your skin will not feel the touch of costly dresses, and when you will have neither good nor bad thoughts, neither success nor failure, fear nor bravery, life nor death, wisdom nor ignorance, excitement nor peace.

Since this must come to pass, why are you building so many bad habits and a conviction of permanent comfort around this melting butter-doll of a body? The heat of death will melt these frozen bodily atoms. Did you ever think that you have only this one life, this body only, this way to live just once, and that then you will join the shadows of millions of Souls who also have thought, hoped, lived, laughed, cried, and died with unfulfilled hopes?

If each and every Soul’s cheap garment of flesh must be discarded so that the Soul may put on the shining robes of immortality, then why should you cry? If great and small, immortality-declaring Saints and trembling-at-death small men must die, then why should you fear death? It is a universal experience through which all must pass.

Think what a mystery life is! It has its origin from the unknown, and into the unknown it merges. Think what a mystery death is! It swallows up the hard-working man and the idle man alike, as well as the good and the bad ones, and makes them change back into ether and the elements. Think how everybody fears death, and yet death comes only to give peace and relief when life’s burden seems to be extremely heavy with grief, ill-health, or apparently incurable trouble.

Why spend all the treasure of your wisdom trying to make this uncertain, perishable body comfortable? Wake up! Try to reap the harvest of imperishable immortality and lasting, ever-new Bliss on the perishable soil of the body. You will never find lasting comfort from a slowly melting body. You can never squeeze the honey of Divine Happiness from the rock of sense pleasures. Lasting comfort ceaselessly flows into the pail of your life when you squeeze the honeycomb of Meditation and Peace with the eager, powerful hands of will, and with ever deeper Concentration.

Why are you intoxicated with material desires during your death-like sleep of ignorance? Your present material activity is like walking and working in a dream of delusion during your sleep of ignorance. Why are you so sure of yourself, and why do you devote your entire time to building a material fortune which you must leave at the instant call of death? Why not prepare now for the last day on earth, when you will have to leave all the things to which you are so attached?

I do not mean that you should be a cynic and not enjoy the things of this life. All I say is, do not be so attached to anything which you enjoy here that you will feel mental agony when you are forcibly separated from it. If you do not grieve for earthly things when your bodily garment is cast off, you will then have better things hereafter.

Acquire the power of Meditation and the treasures of intuitional perceptions and ever-new peace and joy, which treasures will be of great use to you on your last journey. Forget the delusions of today.

Renunciation means the denial of the smaller things which you think are your own, for the attainment of the greater things that are truly your own. . . . If you only knew whose child you are and how much territory you own, you would give up everything else.

~ by Paramhansa Yogananda, East-West Magazine 1934

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