Showing posts with label wise men. Show all posts
Showing posts with label wise men. 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 23, 2013

That Night When Christ was Born!

What a wonderful story the birth of Jesus is! Did you know, however, that the custom of erecting a nativity scene in honor of Jesus' birth did not begin for a thousand years and was started by St. Francis near Assisi, Italy?

Now, two thousand years later, how relevant is it to assert or deny the virgin birth? Or, the appearance of the heavenly hosts? Or, the presentation of the Three Wise Men from the East?

Joseph Campbell, the famous "mythologist," has helped modern Americans reconnect with the reality that a story can be meaningful and true with or without being a fact. The Bible stories, the Hindu Ramayana and Mahabharata, creation myths and on on show us that "truth is greater and more true than mere facts."

The power of the nativity lies in its hidden message. Like art, including music, it affirms a reality that our intellect is too dull (or distracted) to comprehend (or notice) but which our heart and soul knows, embraces and celebrates.

Orthodox Christians, viewing the nativity story from the point of view of theology and belief, limit their understanding to a literal interpretation of what they believe are the facts of Jesus' birth. I don't have a problem with that but it doesn't address the real issue: the power of this story to uplift generations for centuries in the embrace of its power, love, and light.

Really, after all: millions go to Christmas Eve Services and many don't normally go to church or have an orthodox religious life at all. Is their attendance merely a well worn habit? For some, yes. But for all? No, I don't think so. Millions, some not even Christians, surely feel a special grace or blessing of kinship with all during the Christmas season. There is a famous story from World War I when the close-by but opposing armies in the trenches came out to celebrate with one another one dark and cold Christmas Eve. Stories of spontaneous generosity are so omnipresent during Christmas that it makes no special point to remember any of them!

It is true that babies always attract a fair amount of ooohing and aaahing but Gee Whiz, two thousand years ago? We wax wistful and brotherly (sisterly) at the sight or thought of this child -- his birth, his life, his death, and resurrection. We know this child has for us a message that is true. It is a message of hope, of reassurance, of safety, of security, of love without condition and without end.

The hidden message is, at least in part, said plainly in Sanskrit, from India, from the Chandogya Upanishad: Tat Twam Asi. This "grand pronouncement" of the eternal teaching (Sanaatan Dharma) means, simply, "Thou art That." 

We recognize ourselves in that child for we, too, are eternal and "Before Abraham, I AM." (John 8:15) Further, Psalm 82:6 reminds us that "I have said, ye are gods, and all of you are children of the most high."

None of this denies the divinity of Jesus, the Christ (the annointed). The Star of Bethlehem, "His star," presages and symbolizes that this one is a true "son of God" and "one with the Father." So, too, the meaning of the virgin birth. But the difference between Jesus' spiritual realization and our own is matter of degree not kind. We have yet to awaken fully to our sonship in God. And that awakening was the purpose of his birth, and the incarnation of every such son of God whether it be Buddha, Krishna, or any number of world teachers, avatars, who come fully awakened in God. They come for but one purpose: to bring prodigal souls, souls thirsty and hungry for truth and God-realization, back to their home in God consciousness.

This is the hidden message of the nativity. It follows, though more by deduction, than intuition, that the birth of the hidden Christ within us requires action on our part. We must imitate His birth in the meaning of the symbols of his birth: the manger which was but a stable represents humility. Humility is the first condition of our spiritual awakening. Humility does not mean self-deprecation but realization of the wonder of creation, the smallness of our ego, and our need for and desire to love God, that Being of Love who is Infinite and the essence of all Life. To have this realization is the perspective of Infinity and it must needs be a form of humility for the ego.

The quietness of the animals in the stable means that our animal appetites must lie down and render service to this inner Christ. We have need of food, for example, but only in the context of nourishment not food greed, and to keep the body fit as a temple of our God!

The shepherds who watch over the flocks are our thoughts which herd (direct) our actions. These shepherds must come and worship this Christ and in so doing become protectors of our thoughts and actions directed toward selflessness, toward nobility, and toward devotion.

The Three Wise Men who come to worship the Christ child reveal to us that to our aid will come, if we seek and let them, wise teachers, both living and now gone, whose teachings can assist us to develop wisdom, devotion, and self-control.

King Herod, or King Ego, stands ready to massacre this child, and indeed, this child as it is born in others around us. We must flee to Egypt until he dies. Egypt here means we must seek the company of other truth seekers and avoid the soul-killing company of worldly people and circumstances. Until the ego has died (at least sufficiently to no longer challenge Christ the (inner) King), we must remain in the protection of the like-minded. Indeed, spiritually speaking, only highly advanced souls can afford to live apart from society or, in any case, without the ongoing support of other spiritually mind people.

As any newborn child, this inner Christ will need protection and nurturing until he can be "about my Father's business!" We must have daily prayer and meditation, and develop right attitudes of servicefulness, devotion, and right living: compassionate and kindly.

This is the good news of Jesus' birth. What it does mean to be good news because we are "saved?" The appearance of divinity in human form and in one who has achieved oneness with the Father through many incarnations is good news because it means we can do it too. It's also good news because (the bad news is) we can't do it by ourselves alone. It is the ego that awakens to the possibility of soul freedom but it is already trapped. A true savior, or guru-preceptor, has the spiritual power to "lift up the serpent in the wilderness" and thus to lift the serpent of delusion up in the wilderness of spiritual purification, prayer, meditation and self-offering, and, to transform the base metal of ego consciousness into the gold (brass) of the soul.

The good news of the birth of such a one is therefore two-fold: one, "we can do it, too," and two, " And, He is here to help us." Some are more attracted and in tune with other such avatars, like Buddha, Krishna, and in our times Paramhansa Yogananda, or others like Paramhansa Ramakrishna, and even great saints who, while not entirely free, serve to help others spiritually. The realization of others is not our concern. We must walk the path to freedom according to our heart's direction: to Jesus, or to others. Thousands were disciples of St. Francis but he was, in turn, a disciple of Jesus and one of the greatest (and the first to receive the stigmata, the wounds of Christ on his own body).

Let us both celebrate and get to work on achieving soul freedom. "The time for knowing God has come" Paramhansa Yogananda declared. Meditation, including Kriya Yoga, is for everyone and is the greatest single aid to soul freedom through self-effort.

A blessed and bliss-ed Christmas and New Year to all,

Swami Hrimananda aka Hriman


















Friday, December 24, 2010

Thoughts on a Christmas Eve

This year the sense of silence, of an inner peace — appropriate to the holy season of Christmas — resting and watching just behind meditation and outward activity has been very tangible for me. Oddly, or so it may seem, it enhances, not detracts from my engagement in activities and connection with others even as this Presence witnesses all.

It has been a wonderful gift and I wish it for all who seek it, especially through daily meditation. Perhaps years of meditation have yielded fruits too subtle for me to notice or too slow to ripen in the chill of my own restlessness, but I am grateful for the deepening peace and wisdom that seems to be arriving like Christmas presents in the mail!

I believe that millions of people feel some measure of stillness and reverence at Christmas. Years ago at Ananda Village I used to love to get up very early and meditate on Christmas morning before our two small children would be up to see what Santa brought them. I drank in that blessed comfort and joy that hovers, like the Star of Bethlehem, over us.


What matter to us, today, if the events described in the New Testament are factual or only allegorical? At this distance in time and space, there is no difference for us. Do we not have, or at least sense, a message for the ages in this simple, beloved tale?


A dark cold night under the starry skies is the symbol of meditation. For only in the darkness behind closed eyes and in the darkness of withdrawal from outward activity can our divine nature be born. Jesus, though heralded as a King and, later as an adult, offered world dominion by Satan, was born in a lowly manger, an empty stable. So, too, can our inner divine soul-child only be born and first made manifest in the humble, quiet heart.


Shepherds keep watch over their sheep. Shepherds, then, are our conscious thoughts and conscious mind. Good shepherds watch protectively over the sheep of the subconscious body-temple, habits, duties, and outward activities. Shepherds who guard their flocks at night are those souls who remain vigilant in the night of temptations and whenever subconscious habits, predispositions and other pre or post-natal tendencies threaten to overcome their good intentions. Good shepherds also remain awake to await the angelic, intuitive promptings of their soul, through prayer and meditation. Thus the angels of intuition urge the shepherds to seek the Christ child in the quiet “stable” of inner silence.


The holy family is a symbol for the Trinity. In the story of Jesus’ birth, Joseph is not the biological father of Jesus. This symbolizes and reflects the truth that God the Father remains untouched by and uninvolved in the daily housework of the creation that he initiated. Mary, the mother of Jesus, is the sacred consort, the pure virgin, mother of creation, the Holy Ghost, out of whom all creation is manifested even as she, like the Father, is untouched or undefiled by creation's myriad manifestations, whether good or evil. In her womb, which is to say, at the heart of every living thing and every moving atom, is the silent Intelligence and Bliss which is the only reflection of the Son of the Father which is beyond creation.


Paramhansa Yogananda explained this complex concept of the Trinity in this simple analogy to the nuclear family. The son of God is "only begotten" because this indwelling Christ consciousness ("Kutastha Chaitanya" in Sanskrit) is the only reflection , or echo, within creation of the Infinite Spirit beyond all vibratory creation. "God so loved the world," the Bible says, "that he gave his only begotten Son." This means that God (the Father) implanted the seed of his Bliss-Intelligence in the heart of everything.


Indeed, yogis explain that God did not merely “make” the universe, He BECAME the universe through the agency of vibration first of thought, then energy, and finally form. All vibration moves from a center of rest in opposite directions. This illustrates how all things created only appear to be real, are always in motion, producing sound and light, always polarized (or neutral), and always in an infinity of oppositional states. This becoming is also the means by which God’s one nature becomes triune.


Manifested aspects of this seed of divinity, the only begotten son of God who is this Christ child, include intelligence, free will, reason, the power of procreation, creativity in all its forms, desire (the impulse to create for love, for joy), healing power, and all that we hold dear (and tend to misuse!). A tree expresses this intelligence by doing "tree" things. Cows don't write books but do cow-like activities. (smile) And so on!


Jesus — the Christ, or Anointed One — was one with the Father in that as a soul existing through countless incarnations he achieved final Oneness with the Father in some distant past life. Re-born as a perfected soul in a human body he, being incarnate, came as the universal Christ Intelligence in human form. No human form can circumscribe or limit this universal Intelligence but the soul of Jesus remained united with it. The difference between Jesus and you or I is one of degree, not kind. For most of us and creation, that only begotten son is yet to be born, or at least has not become fully realized.


The three Wise Men come from the east because the east of the body is in the center of the forehead, at the point between the eyebrows. It is here, in meditation, that the light of wisdom, of the spiritual (third) eye, appears and, in time, guides us to the promised land of the Father (Bliss), or put differently, to the humble stable of the cosmic heart wherein the Christ child is born.


Yogis teach that in meditation we can only reach the level of consciousness of the Christ Intelligence within us and then in all creation by FIRST communing with the Mother, the Holy Ghost, the primal or first vibratory manifestation of God. Thus we ascend back to Infinity through the Trinity by "reverse engineering" or by retracing the stages of creation: first we achieve Oneness WITH creation; then Oneness with the CONSCIOUSNESS (Christ Intelligence) of creation, and then finally with the Bliss of the Father beyond the creation.


Communion WITH the creation takes place by meditating upon the Sacred Word, or Aum (or Amen, Amin, or Ahunavar--all names for the same Vibratory experience of the Holy Ghost, or Divine Mother). This is experienced within ourselves in meditation and, in time and with depth, expanding outward into all creation.


Getting back to those three Wise men, then, we have another case of THREE. Three, in this instance, is not the Trinity of God, but our own, triune nature: a reflection of the Godhead Trinity. Our triune nature consists of our intelligence, our feelings, and our actions. Students of yoga know these as the paths of Gyana Yoga, Bhakti Yoga, and Karma Yoga. Our souls, encased in the three bodies of causal (thought), astral (energy/feeling), and physical (action), are three primary modalities or ways of relating both to the world around us and to the divine, higher realities as we ascend toward the Infinite state which, when we achieve it, is One and transcendent of these three states. The three planes of existence are macro-cosmic reflections of our triune nature which, in both instances, encloses and obscures our soul nature which remains pure and untouched by its ego and bodily mis-identities.


Thus the meaning of the Wise Men is that our triple nature should be offered up to and into a higher wisdom. Our intelligence should seek and give the gold of silence ("speech is silver; silence is golden") and thus go beyond the endless ramifications of reason and the intellect. By direct, intuitive perception born of mental stillness we begin to have "eyes that see," and "ears that hear."


Our feeling nature brings the frankincense of pure devotion, converting the emotional roller coaster of material and ego-affirming desires into the fragrance of love for God. Our active nature utilizes the bitter herb of self-discipline and self-control to entomb, or cauterize, the destructive habits of over-indulgence and identification with sense pleasures and harmful actions born of bodily identification.

As more of an aside: In the teachings of Paramhansa Yogananda, he said that the three wise men were from India and were previous incarnations of his three direct teachers: Swami Sri Yukteswar, Lahiri Mahasaya, and the incomparable Babaji. The specific importance of this revelation is that Jesus was recognized as an avatar by fellow avatars and that there existed a special connection between east and west.


The star which the three wise men saw in the east and followed is, in its turn, a symbol of the spiritual eye seen at the point between the eyebrows. Its two concentric circles of gold and blue (visible in the construction of our physical eyes as the white, iris, and pupil) encircle a white, five-pointed star. The gold and blue circles represent, respectively, the astral and causal spheres as successive stages of creation through which we must ascend in reverse order. Meditation upon the spiritual eye is part of the process of ascension and becomes the yogis guide.


Evil King Herod is the ego, or the satanic force, which seeks to kill the child of our soul's first awakening. One place that the story seems to me to stumble in its symbolism is the flight to Egypt. To the Israelites, Egypt symbolized materialism and ego identity from which the great master Moses once freed them. In scriptural allegories such as India's Mahabharata, Jesus' parable of the prodigal son, Dante's Paradise Lost and many others, the journey to the foreign land symbolizes the soul's fall from grace. This comes often at the onset of adulthood.


In the birth of Jesus story, however, the flight to Egypt is an effort to preserve the newly born spiritual awakening. Two alternative explanations occur to me: one, it might be that Egypt symbolized retreat to the metaphysical mysteries for which it had once been a custodian in ancient times. Two, perhaps Egypt was to have symbolized the desert which is often used to indicate the wilderness of inner silence. Thus the new-born Christ Consciousness is nurtured and protected from delusion (Herod) in the inner silence.


We have here, then, in this beautiful story an ageless allegory for life. It is this truth, and not tradition or mere sentiment that empowers the nativity story with ever-new vitality from year to year and generation to generation. For such reasons Christmas may, and indeed ought to, be celebrated by all seekers of eternal truth and lovers of God. Christmas symbolizes a universal truth, a timeless story, and an eternal promise. The power inherent in the art of storytelling that is based on deep spiritual truths is that people of all ages and temperaments, educated or illiterate, can be uplifted by them and naturally experience and express a fellow feeling of universal love.

For more on this deep subject, I direct your attention to Swami Kriyananda’s inspired and potent exposition of these metaphysical truths taught by Paramhansa Yogananda in his book, “Revelations of Christ,” available at an East West Bookshop near you (www.eastwestbookshop.com or through the publisher www.crystalclarity.com.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Jesus: the Yogi-Christ

As we enter now the Christmas holiday season, it is an opportunity to reflect upon its true spiritual meaning. Many a visitor to an Ananda temple has remarked upon the picture of Jesus Christ at the center of our altar. Some in horror, others with relief, and still others, indifferently, but many simply are puzzled by it. What is its significance? Why in the center of the other pictures (Lahiri Mahasaya, Babaji, Swami Sri Yukteswar, and Paramhansa Yogananda)?

I, for one, do not consider myself a "recovering" Catholic. I was raised in a devout Catholic home. I even studied for a time for the priesthood, and completed, all told, sixteen years of Catholic education. I treasure my experience but somehow was blessed not to have either experienced or taken seriously any of its renown shortcomings: either in its priests or nuns, or in its theology. Yet, as for many like myself, it simply wasn't enough to satisfy my heart, mind, and soul.

Did Yogananda place Jesus on his altars to gain some measure of acceptance in this heathen (Christian) land to which he had come? Or is there more to it? For starters, there isn't necessarily any deep significance that Jesus' picture is at the center of the other pictures. In fact, that placement isn't universal at the various Ananda centers around the world.

Yogananda explained that Jesus appeared to the Yogavatar Babaji (an incarnation of Krishna of ancient times) and asked Babaji to send to the West someone who could resurrect the practice of silent, inner communion (meditation). This practice had once been prevalent among renunciates and monastics down through centuries but had been abandoned in favor of rationalism and in response of the Protestant rebellion against anything mystical or sacred (and beyond therefore reason). The church had wanted to seem modern and less secretive to the fastly shrinking world and clash of cultures and religions amidst the growth of science and widespread education.

But as Christianity in general turned toward conversion of the heathens in the many countries its culture had imperialistically conquered, and turned toward belief, the efficiacy of ritual, and the need for social activism, introspection and meditation all but disappeared.

Yogananda went further to state that silently Jesus and Babaji help guide the course of history through hearts and minds that are attuned to their vibrations of wisdom and peace. He said that he had telephathically conveyed to Adolf Hitler the idea to betray Russia by invasion and thus open up the needed second front that would ultimately prove his undoing. He made a similar statement in regard to the discovery of antibiotics which have saved millions from death and great suffering.

Two Catholic mystics appeared in the 20th century to give tangible testimony that Jesus lived, died, and was resurrected some two thousand years ago: Therese Neumann (Germany) and Padre Pio (Italy). Each bore the wounds of Christ and each exhibited other miraculous signs to affirm their guru's past and present reality in stark contrast to the materialism and scepticism of modern man. There are numerous books and even movies that detail their extraordinary lives and testimony.

But the science of meditation is for all peoples, all faiths, and no faith. It was, in ways unseen to our eyes, the divine plan that through the dark and destructive centuries of the last three or four thousand years, the East would retain, if even in relative secrecy, the knowledge of consciousness and the science of exploring it through meditation, while the West would specialize in the exploration of the natural world in which we live.

The time has come and the necessity to do so is clear that we unite the best of East and the best of the West for the general upliftment and benefit of our new and globally connected humanity. Religion, as we have developed through the last many centuries, has lost its elasticity and inspiration in its general decline into sectarianism and mere belief. A new "religion" or new expression of eternal and universal spiritual truths is needed and has come to the world from the east, like the three wise men.

In the life of Jesus much has been written and speculated about those missing years of his brief life of thirty-three years. The question of the identity of those three wise men and the possibility of the connection between those missing eighteen years and the wise men has arisen as well. Jesus' inexplicable relationship with John the Baptist wherein Jesus seeks his blessing upon his own ministry, lauds John's spiritual stature, while yet John himself deprecates himself as unworthy.

These and many more curious connections we will explore in an upcoming class at the Ananda Meditation Temple, Tuesday, December 14, at 7:30 p.m. To register online, go to http://www.anandaseattle.org/activities/BothellClasses. You may register and, optionally, you may prepay. If you prepay there is a 10% discount.

Questions have also arisen regarding Yogananda's own relationship to Jesus. Swami Kriyananda describes his private conversations with Yogananda regarding that relationship. Our class will explore these unpublished revelations as well.

Blessings and a holy holiday season to you!

Hriman