Showing posts with label second coming. Show all posts
Showing posts with label second coming. Show all posts

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Jesus the Yogi Christ : Why Celebrate the Birth of Jesus?

Christmas is for Everyone

Perhaps You-Too have discovered You-Tube? There you can learn that Jesus didn't really die on the cross but escaped to either India (Kashmir to be exact) or, to the south of France (with Mary Magdeline, of course). You might be surprised to know that an exact reckoning determined that Jesus was born on March 2, 4 B.C. (They forgot to calculate the time?) Like the Never Ending Story of science (which blows our minds every few years or decades), who knows: maybe they are right!

But what novelists, speculators, con men, scoffers or archaeologists will never change is the fact that Jesus Christ changed world history. His message and example conquered the Roman Empire (which crucified him), and in the process changed western history (and by extension, world history). More importantly, given that such “conquest” proved a mix bag to say the least, he “conquered” the hearts of countless souls down through the centuries. Witnesses to his life and thousands of others who only heard about him have given their lives willingly and joyfully to bear witness to their faith.  

Never mind that atrocities have been committed in his name or that countless followers are glued to their unyielding and untested beliefs, for ignorance and ego can be found everywhere, and not just in religion and spirituality. Never mind the “miracles” described in the life of Jesus, though, are not the discoveries of modern science every bit a miraculous to us even today? Just because we use technology doesn’t mean we have a clue about how it works! Imagine a time traveller from, say, just two hundred years ago coming to Seattle. Has not science so opened our imaginations that we can imagine “raising” the dead? Why just consider the testimony of near-death experiencers!

Truth is more vital than facts. Truth changes lives. Facts soon get lost. Eyewitness accounts demonstrate the unreliability of our five senses, our perception, and our memory! In contrast to mere facts, what about the miracle of forgiveness? The miracle of returning love for hatred? I think of Gandhi or Martin Luther King. What about helping a neighbor in need?

The spirit of Christmas is the simple, but life-changing, recognition of our shared humanity. That tiny babe in a manger so long ago is but a symbol, for what new-born is unlovable? No matter what your beliefs about that tiny babe, the reminder and the affirmation that love can be (re)born even in spite of those who would seek to destroy it, is a truth that we resonate with on a deeper level than ego. That both common “shepherds” (i.e. ordinary people) and “kings from afar” would both come to a humble manger to bow down to this truth is a symbol more powerful than any platitude eloquently expressed.

Who among us would fail to welcome society’s celebration and a reminder of our shared humanity? Especially now in these times where “getting mine first” is elevated to a philosophy, a veritable religion. Yes, like all things, Christmas can be materialistically milked for money or mere feasting.  But this “greatest story ever told” (why the greatest? Because it’s your story and mine, too), is a truth worthy of celebrating.

How should we celebrate Christmas? With gift giving, Christmas decorations, and feasting? All of those have their place for many. Who doesn’t enjoy an exuberant show of beautiful Christmas lights? By the way, did you know that the very first time a nativity scene (a live one, by the way) was created was by St. Francis in Italy in 1223?

All outward celebrations aside, followers of Paramhansa Yogananda, author of the now famous book, “Autobiography of a Yogi participate in a tradition that he began which is to set aside a day of meditation on the “formless Christ”. By “formless Christ” he meant the universal divine consciousness, intelligent and wise, that resides in every person and, indeed, in every atom of creation. This divine Self, he taught, is the invisible intelligence and the pure and noble impulses that have their source in the Creator and Sustainer of all life. Yogananda taught that the “second coming of Christ” is an event that takes place in the human heart after first having been awakened by the “Christ” in human form (i.e., the guru) which can be designated as his “first” coming.

“Jesus” was the man’s name but “Christ” was the title bestowed upon him. “Christ” signifies that he had achieved realization of his innate divine nature. While we all possess this innate divine nature, few have sought it, and fewer have yet to “become One with the Father.” Whether this takes one lifetime or a thousand, it is for this purpose we were created. It is our destiny to achieve this oneness, but it is only by the free choice of our hearts that we begin the journey “home” to claim our royal birthright just as in the beautiful story of the Prodigal Son. (You might find it interesting to know that the title of “Christ” is etymologically connected with the word “Krishna” and carries the same significance.)

Let us, then, honor the tiny babe in a manger whose shining face is our face when we love all without condition. Let the purity of a newborn’s trust and openness be nurtured in our hearts during this holy season and in every day of our life. Love is the redeeming power of the universe and it never fails to resurface no matter how dark the days may get. 

Happy Christmas to all!

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Why Do We Celebrate Christmas at Ananda?

Paramhansa Yogananda, author of "Autobiography of a Yogi," is the source of inspiration and yoga teachings for the Ananda communities, centers and groups around the world. Why, then, is Christmas, and indeed the life and teachings of Jesus Christ, such an integral part of Ananda?

Generally (though more so in western countries than in India), you will find that at Ananda during the Christmas season there are nativity scenes, the Three Wise Men, gift giving, celebrations, and the adoration of the Christ child. Why did Yogananda himself make a special point of celebrating Christmas, not just spiritually, but socially? 

There are a number of reasons. They include:
  •     A special relationship exists between Yogananda, Jesus and the three “wise men”
  •        A new dispensation of universal understanding has come to reconcile east and west
  •        A new understanding of the divinity of Christ is needed
  •        The time has come to affirm the Christ-potential of all people
  •        True communion is “inner” communion through meditation
  •        The “second coming of Christ” is personal and individual, not historical

Here are some thoughts and facts to share:

  1. Yogananda stated that the three wise men were none other than his guru-preceptors: Babaji, Lahiri Mahasaya, and Sri Yukteswar (in former incarnations). 
  2. He taught that the term "second coming of Christ" refers to the teaching and to the individual, personal realization (however slight or only intellectual, at first) that divinity is within each person, indeed, each atom of creation. (This is an extension of the Vedic teaching that in creating the world, God manifested it through "his" own consciousness, for there was no "thing" or no objects with which to "use" to create anything!")
  3.  "Christ" was not Jesus' name. It is a title. So, too, "Krishna." Indeed, the two words are linked etymologically. Each refers to the fact that these souls, and others, have fully realized their innate and eternal divinity and oneness with the "Father," the Infinite Spirit beyond and untouched by his consciousness manifesting the creation.
  4. Yogananda averred that Jesus himself, as a unique and individual soul, came to Babaji (the peerless master of the east) and asked him to anoint and send a "savior" to the West to re-ignite the teaching and how-to knowledge that divinity is "within you." This would be transmitted through the art and science of meditation: especially the advanced and nonsectarian technique of Kriya Yoga.
  5. Yogananda affirmed the Christian teaching of the Trinity: the three-fold manifestation of God and said it is the same teaching as expressed in India as "Tat...Sat....Aum." God, the Father, beyond and untouched by creation; God, the son, the "only begotten of the Father," reflected in each atom of creation and fully awakened in the greatest saints and avatars**; and the creation itself, in constant motion, or vibration, the primordial level of which is the "Holy Ghost" or Divine Mother in whose womb, hidden from casual view, resides the seed of intention and intelligence implanted by the "Father" to carry out the purpose of creation: Self-realization!

Christmas, then, is, for us at Ananda, an affirmation and celebration of our oneness as children of God. Our devotion to Jesus Christ rests upon our recognition of his realization of his soul’s innate divinity and of our own potential for Self-realization. It is with joy, then, and fellowship that we affirm and celebrate our own Christ-like potential: God’s promise to us of our immortality in Him.

As Swami Kriyananda, Ananda's founder taught us to say: "Happy Christmas"

Swami Hrimananda

** Yogananda uses the term "Christ consciousness" to express the "Tat" of the Vedas. Others might say "Krishna consciousness". It is universal and eternal and in every atom.

Monday, December 31, 2012

Cosmic Drama: the Final Chapter: My Redeemer Liveth!

The Cosmic Drama - Part Five (of Five)
"My Redeemer Liveth"

This is part one of a series of articles. It has its origins in a prior blog article entitled, "Who is Jesus Christ?" You may wish to read that first, though not absolutely necessary. This series attempts to describe the Trinity, or, how God can be omniscient, omnipresent, infinite, and immanent in creation at the same time. And, what significance this has for the reality we face as individuals. As the prior article on Jesus Christ noted, "Who Jesus is says a great deal about who we are." So, too, who God is addresses who we are.

Returning full circle now to the life of Jesus Christ, we see how “TAT” (the second of the Trinity: the “Son”) appears on earth in human form to awaken the “TAT” within those who are ready! Such awakened ones also sow seeds of awakening in many souls, perhaps for a future lifetime. Those many such “descents” (avatars) have a public mission of uplifting consciousness in a race, nation or civilization and a personal mission to individual disciples more spiritually advanced.

Because the “Son” (the memory of our divinity) has fallen asleep through many lives, it takes another Son to awaken that memory. A further “proof” of divinity in human form is the simple fact that without the possibility of becoming “One with the Father” in human form, there would be no evidence of our divinity (in human form). Giving a coin to a street person may be a nice thing to do but it doesn’t make you a saint and it doesn’t show the power of God over all creation, which, as his “sons,” is our potential! It is natural, therefore, that there have been demonstrations down through the ages of the power to even raise the dead. While this is not flaunted to the masses, it has been witnessed by individual disciples who were willing to give their lives for and to dedicate their lives to their testimony.

The fully-awakened “son of God” is not a God-made puppet, but a soul, like you and I, who has achieved that final Self-realization and returns in human form to enlighten his (her) fellows. While this is said to have taken place in a past life, the point remains that the incarnation of divinity in human form is the natural fulfillment (indeed the divine purpose) of the Christ Intelligence (TAT) in nature and in all creation taken to its penultimate manifestation. Indeed it is said that the drama of creation is that souls make the free choice to reunite with our Creator and become fully-realized “sons of God” as Jesus, and other world saviors in history, have done.

As Krishna teaches in the Bhagavad Gita (India’s revered scripture), this descent of divinity into human form (the “avatara”) takes place in every age and nation as divinely ordained by the call of human hearts. “God so loved the world that He sent his only-begotten Son.” The redemptive power of Jesus’ life and spirit lies in both the message and uplifting spiritual power of Self-realization which has its source and its manifestation in attunement with the will of the Father. The New Testament reveals that Jesus knew of his impending crucifixion and even briefly prayed that it pass, but that he accepted the will of his father. Thus must we all do in placing the ego (and body) on the cross that our soul might be resurrected in the Christ Consciousness of our soul’s eternal and immortal reality.

This is the means by which we, too, can ascend. “No man hath ascended to heaven, but he that hath descended.” The meaning of this odd sentence is simply that we are all children of God and have come from God. To God we must return, like the prodigal son, that we might be free. Jesus was not boasting.
But the deeper understanding of this precept is that the indwelling and universal Christ consciousness (son of God) is that which leads us upward or home to God. But first the child must be born in the manger of our humble heart, in the darkness of material delusion. Jesus, and all other great saviors of humankind, come into each culture and age to wake us up and remind us of our immortality and identity as souls (not mere bodies and personalities). “We are of old!”

But what is awakened is within us. Jesus said, “The kingdom of heaven is with you.” Thus Jesus was the personification (human incarnation) of the Christ which resides, latently at least, in every atom of creation. Christ-in-human-form comes to awaken the Christ within. Whether incarnate in human form or at the still heart of every atom, this, and this alone, is the “only begotten son of God” in creation.

We, too, are potential Christs. When we have “ears to hear” and “eyes to see” this reality, then it is the Holy Spirit (“I will send to you the Holy Spirit, who will bring to your remembrance all these things.”) that leads us back to perfection, back to our home in God-consciousness. God is not in some faraway place but is a state of consciousness, bereft of name and form, and “behind” every atom of creation. This is why meditation is so important and effective as a means of perceiving the God presence within and in all creation.

When the infant child of divine memory is awakened, it is the Mother that nurtures the child to adulthood. The living Christ, or guru, comes only for a short time and fulfills his role by re-lighting the spark of that divine memory in in our consciousness. The Holy Spirit, or Virgin Mother, is that pure vibration (or feeling) of God to which we then attune ourselves that we might grow in Self-realization.

This vibration is the conscious and divine motor or engine of creation. The Bible refers many times to the “sound of many waters,” “thundering’s,” and “lightning.” We chant “Amen” (or “Aum”) with our prayers as a deeper-than-conscious recognition that the “word” of God is neither in English, nor Sanskrit, nor Latin, nor Hebrew, but is an actual sound heard deep in the inner silence. It “knoweth all things” because all things have been created by it (see the first sentences of the gospel of John). We mimic this holy sound with prayers, hymns and chants and various incantations and rituals. The sacredness one might feel at Mass, at prayer, upon a holy mountain, in nature and gazing upon a field is the living, vibratory presence of God AS creation: the Holy “ghost” unseen but felt.
It could be said that the “first coming” of Christ (the TAT, or “son” of God) is when God gives birth to the cosmos. The “second coming” would be the appearance of TAT (the Christ consciousness) in human form (as the guru). The “third coming” would be its awakening in the individual soul. The “fourth” would be the individual soul’s final redemption, or Self-realization: Oneness with the Father.

When Paramhansa Yogananda titled his life’s work, “The Second Coming of Christ,” he was using the phrase from the New Testament. It is a play on words in the sense that he, too, is an avatar, but that what he brought, through meditation (especially kriya yoga), was the “keys to the kingdom” that allows awakened souls to commune with the Holy Spirit (as Aum). Patanjali, author of the famous Yoga Sutras, and other great rishis, have declared that communing with God as Vibration, as Aum, is man’s highest duty for the entire purpose of creation is, as the Baltimore Catholic catechism declares, to “know, love, and serve God.” And, by deeper understanding of this phrase, to “become One with Father.”

Let us celebrate the coming of Christ as the awakening of this realization (of God’s presence) in our own hearts. And let us then share that presence by sharing the gifts of creation, and the greatest gift of all – God’s love – with all whom we meet.

Blessings to you this Christ-mas, and may the New Year bring us ever closer to Self-realization!

Nayaswami Hriman

The above is based upon and inspired by the teachings of the modern Yogi-Christ, Paramhansa Yogananda and the writings of Swami Kriyananda, a direct disciple and founder of the worldwide work of the Ananda communities. For additional reading, see “Revelations of Christ,” by Swami Kriyananda, available from Crystal Clarity Publishers, Nevada City, or the East West Bookshop nearest you.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Will Jesus Come Again?

Paramhansa Yogananda, author of the world renown classic, "Autobiography of a Yogi," spoke and wrote frequently in respect to the life and teachings of Jesus Christ. Many of his students and followers have wondered why he did so, especially in light of his emphasis upon respect for and the need to seek a deeper understanding of the underyling truth of all true religions.

He explained that there exists a special link between the lives of Paramhansa Yogananda and Jesus Christ. Though Yogananda himself gave little by way explanation about the nature of this link, his extensive commentaries on the Bible (especially the New Testament) strongly suggest it. At least once that we know of, he was asked directly why he gave special emphasis to Jesus' teachings. His only comment was "It is Babaji's wish that I do so." (Babaji is the Himalayan Christ-like sage who, indirectly, sent Yogananda to the West.)

In respect to his writings on the New Testament, he claimed to have received endorsement from Jesus Christ in vision for his interpretations. Yogananda would usually get a chuckle from audiences when he commented, tongue-in-cheek, that "Jesus was crucified once but his teachings have been crucified daily ever since" by dogmatic and ignorant followers. (He also added, however, that ignorance, East and West, is "50:50", meaning similar distortions of true teachings exist everywhere!)

But what has become of Jesus Christ since his incarnation in Palestine some two thousand years ago? Where is he now? Will he come again? When will be his second coming?

Curiously, Yogananda termed his work in the West the "second coming of Christ." Did he mean that HE is Jesus Christ? Many disciples of Yogananda report they have experienced a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ through Yogananda's teachings. During his lifetime, he was frequently "mistaken" for Jesus Christ by his American students and even passers-by.

When Swami Kriyananda (founder of Ananda) asked Yogananda this question directly to him, Yogananda replied brusquely, "What difference would it make?" When I commented to Swami Kriyananda that Yogananda could not have been Jesus in a past life since Yogananda had a vision (more than one, in fact) of Jesus, Kriyananda replied in a similar manner saying, in effect, "What difference would THAT make?" (Apparently, the ability to bring into manifestation the living presence of a saint of past times is independent of subsequent incarnations, including his own!)

Let us put aside, however, this question of whether Yogananda is a reincarnation of Jesus. For we cannot answer that and, as Swami Kriyananda put it, what difference would it make to us!

Yogananda explained that the term "Christ" is a title, not a name. It means the "annointed one." It is a reference, he said, to the God-realized consciousness that the soul named Jesus had attained through self-effort and grace over many lifetimes of spiritual effort. This indwelling, latent, and innate divinity which is our own soul's true nature can be called "the Christ consciousness." The divinity of which Jesus' consciousness partook is therefore infinite and omnipresent. When he spoke using the personal pronoun "I" ("I am the way, the life, and truth and no one achieves the Father but by Me.") he was speaking in the impersonal voice of that universal Christ consciouness, fully conscious and fully realized. It is the indwelling Christ that is our spiritual guide to the heavenly realm of Bliss in God.

This divinity is most realizable in human beings, with our highly advanced nervous system and energy centers known as the chakras. It is latent and can be reawakened by the touch or living presence of one who is an awakened Christ, or savior (or guru). So it might be said that the "first" coming of the Christ is in the form of the guru. The "second" coming therefore would be its consequent awakening in true disciples.

Thus any soul who has achieved this liberated, enlightended state is a Christ. The coming of Christ is as much true in one God-realized soul as another. It is not limited to the person known as Jesus, who lived only thirty-three years long ago in a remote outpost of the Roman empire. In India it has long been taught that God descends into human form via a divine incarnation known as the avatar in response to the call and need of souls in every age. But even accepting that such a one as Yogananda came to earth as an avatar, it remains true that his special mission was to give the "keys to the kingdom." The keys he offers are the techniques of meditation (as well as the spiritual power of grace transmitted through those keys).

These keys include access to the special role in the divine plan for the Holy Ghost. Jesus taught that after his earthly passing he would send the Holy Ghost, or Comforter, to guide his disciples. For it is the role of the Holy Ghost to play a part in the process of the devotee's path to the Father. Once the preceptor has re-awakened the disciple's memory of his divinity, the disciple must seek to enlarge his identification with it within himself. For, as Jesus said, "The kingdom of heaven is neither 'lo here, or lo there.' It is within you."

In the yoga teachings, the Holy Ghost is referred to as the "Aum vibration." In the gospel of St. John it is referred to as the "Word." "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. All things were made by Him (the Word)." The Holy Ghost is that first appearance in the creation of God at the inception and as the essence of creating, sustaining and dissolving all things. In Genesis this is explained poetically when it says the "Spirit of God moved across the face of the waters." So the first, or virginal, or primordial vibration of God's creative intention is the Word, or Holy Ghost. It is this vibration that initiates the world of duality through which the seeming appearance and separateness of all things created from their Creator is maintained. This vibration has a sound and is called in various traditions "Amen," "Amin," "Aum," or "Ahunavar." From this vibratory stem cell of creation comes the multitude of differentiated objects both gross and subtle. Each is endowed with the innate intention of the Word to create and the intelligence of God to do so independtly, with free will.

This vibration has both an audible and visual manifestation which the meditator can perceive in the inner silence. The sound usually is generally easier to perceive than the light. God is referred to in forms of sound (lightning, rumblings, many waters etc.) and light perhaps one hundred times throughout the Old and New Testament. It is by inner communion upon the holy Word of God that the devotee begins, in earnest, his ascent toward God. The Aum Vibration is referred to as feminine in many traditions, as it is the mother vibration of the universe.

The meditation technique of communing with the Aum vibration was brought from India by Yogananda. It is taught in the context of discipleship, as the gift of the guru that the devotee might achieve actual divine contact and, by degrees, Self-realization. This technique involves using a mudra (position of the hands) and an arm rest. It enables the devotee to more quickly hear, with "ears to hear," as Jesus put it, this blissfully comforting sound which is the actual presence of God in creation. Communion with Aum reveals to us the remembrance of the truth (that we are children of God) that shall make us free. It also brings great comfort and joy.

Meditating upon Aum is a step towards the next level of Self-realization. By prolonged inner communion with Aum, the devotee comes to the next stage which is to commune with the vibrationless state of the Christ consciousness itself. This sphere of pure consciousness is the only "begotten son of God." It is the only pure reflection of the infinite consciousness of God which is otherwise beyond and untouched by the creation. It is first experienced at the quiet, still center of all vibration IN creation. It can only be accessed through communion with Aum, which witnesses its presence like the sound of motor which reveals that the motor is running. Yogananda explains it this way: the "Mother" of creation is the Aum vibration. In her womb, unseen by others, is the Son of God (whose Father is the Spirit beyond creation). This Son reflects the character of the Father. It is His only begotten because it is the only appearance of the Infinite Spirit which can be found emmanent (in the midst of) the creation itself. It is not Jesus the man who is the only begotten son of God, but Jesus as a Christ who manifests Divine consciousness in human form. As St. John writes in the first chapter of his gospel, "as many as received Him gave He the power to become the sons of God." We are all, potentially, capable of reacquiring our sonship through this process of ascension.

The final stage of liberation (after communion with Christ consciousness in all creation) is to enter the Bliss-state of God the Father that lies beyond all creation. In this way is the "son" (the Christ intelligence IN creation) reunited with the "father" (in the vibrationless sphere BEYOND creation).

So where is Jesus now? Within you, and in all creation. But he can be summoned at any time from the ether of eternity by the devotion and concentration of a true devotee. This has been proven time and again down through ages, just as St. Francis (among many others) walked with Jesus at La Verne, the mountaintop where Francis received the blessed stigmata, over a thousand years after the human life of Jesus.

Jesus can walk with us, too. And Yogananda and many other saints and sages.A true savior comes to earth and directly, or through the lineage of his disciples, to awaken us to the promise of our immortality in God.

Blessings to you,


P.S. I will conduct a two part class on the yoga teachings of Jesus, from 7 to 9 p.m., Thursdays, June 17 and 24 at the Ananda Meditation Temple in Bothell. Go online to to register. Prepay and receive a 10% discount.