Famous examples include the parables of Jesus. The context in which the Bhagavad Gita appears is another case in point. This scripture is a brief episode in the longest epic in the world, the Mahabharata. This epic contains numerous stories that are every bit as strange as any to be found in the Bible.
The only, or at least the most striking, difference between those two works is that underlying the Mahabharata is one continuous story, whereas the Bible is fragmented. The Mahabharata is at the same time a profound spiritual allegory. Taken as a whole, this epic, too, deserves to be considered a great scripture. So also does the Holy Bible, for the deep truths it teaches. The Book of Genesis was explained by Paramhansa Yogananda.
He showed it to be full of cosmic truths, relevant also to the human condition. Other portions of the Old Testament he cited as well, showing their deep meaning. For the rest of the Old Testament, and for some of the New—notably the Letters—such an in-depth study still remains to be made. Krishna, in brief but extraordinarily profound dissertations, explains cosmic truths, then relates them to human needs. The succinctness of his exposition is perhaps unique in all scripture. The New Testament by contrast presents its teaching more discursively through the life of Jesus Christ and his disciples, including in its account many deep teachings.
Jesus frequently spoke in parables, which he may have explained later on to his disciples but which the Bible leaves, for the most part, as Jesus told them publicly. Of the four Gospels, St. His Gospel begins with the grand issues. Matthew, on the other hand, begins with the genealogy of Jesus; St. Luke, with an account of the birth of Jesus and the miracles that presaged that event.
The Bhagavad Gita, having little or no story to relate that story is told in the Mahabharata , begins by describing the predicament faced by Arjuna, hero of the epic, as he and Krishna pass between two armies that are ranged against one another, ready for battle. Kurukshetra, the name of the battlefield, symbolizes human life, and the human body. On one side of this field are marshaled the forces of Good, whose warriors represent, so Lahiri Mahasaya explained, different spiritual qualities that are revealed in the Sanskrit roots of their names.
On the other side are marshaled the forces of delusion, or Evil. On that side, the warriors—their names, again, having Sanskrit roots—represent human weaknesses.
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Arjuna poses questions to Krishna that are personally meaningful to all devotees. They are part of my own self, after all! They define me as I am. By destroying them, unspiritual though they are, would I not be killing a part of my own self? Of what use to me, then, would victory itself be, if, by achieving it, I diminish myself? The decision to seek God seems, to the ego, a direct threat to its just and natural hegemony.
Human beings fear to renounce their lower nature, thinking that, by doing so, they would deprive themselves of everything that is right and natural: their habits and desires; the personalities they have long nurtured, so lovingly; even their consciousness of themselves as individuals. It is difficult for the ego to understand that, by renouncing its personal attributes, the result to it will be not loss, but infinite gain!
It is, indeed, the very fact that we cling to the ego that causes all our suffering. Rather, your nature will simply be transformed, and you will know all the happiness and fulfillment you have ever craved. It forms the background for the profound teachings that follow. In St. John describes Christ from the beginning as the universal Divinity, an infinite consciousness distinct from its expression in Jesus as a human being.
Indeed, Yogananda declared that both Christ and Krishna have the same etymological root. Both men, in their human bodies, manifested Infinite Consciousness. Christ, and not Jesus, is the Son of God. Jesus the man lived for a few years in a little country. The first sentences of John are particularly profound. The expression is symbolic. When human beings communicate with one another, they express their thoughts through the medium of speech.
Their words, as sound-vibrations, give expression to their ideas. The Word of God, similarly, is a vibratory manifestation of divine consciousness. That manifestation is the basic reality of the universe. What is vibration?
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It is repetitive movement in opposite directions from a state of potential rest at the center. In all creation, nothing exists except vibration. Even the rocks are insubstantial: Science has found that matter is only a particular vibration of energy. Were vibration to cease, matter would revert back to its essence, Spirit.
People sometimes get a hint of it in places where there is complete silence. They may hear a soft hum, or a gentle murmur like the whisper of wind in the trees. The sound emerges from no discernible point in space, but seems rather to come from everywhere. Often, it is most easily audible in the right ear. To attune oneself to that sound, one must commune with it in the inner silence. Deep communion with AUM makes one conscious of the underlying reality of everything in existence, God. God manifests directly through the Cosmic Sound. When ripples develop on those swells, our awareness of an underlying calmness is slightly distorted; the calmness becomes less noticeable.
As ripples grow and become waves, that deeper calmness becomes increasingly overlooked in the mounting excitement. In a gale, the focus of our minds may be entirely on saving our own lives!
And yet, considering the ocean as a whole, nothing is really happening. The over-all ocean level remains unchanged. The Divine Spirit, like those ocean deeps, remains unaffected by the superficial vibrations of creation. The scriptures describe this sound variously. To return to our analogy: broad ocean swells suggest to the mind an underlying calmness. As small ripples of thought appear in our minds, however, they distract our attention from that calmness, which remains ever present in our depths of awareness. In meditation we can commune directly with the Cosmic Vibration as sound or light, or in one of its other aspects such as love, joy, or wisdom.
At such times, the soul knows that it is in touch with God. In restlessness, however, our awareness of calmness diminishes. With increasing restlessness, all awareness of our deeper reality is lost. When consciousness is calm, it is also benign, open to the needs and ideas of others, and loving to all. The more, however, our thoughts and emotions are disturbed and agitated, the more we find ourselves in the grip of emotions—sometimes passionate, sometimes even violent. In the upheaval of intense emotion, God, though never absent, is banished from human awareness altogether.
Hatred, anger, and similar negative emotions seize us as their own. Such emotions are not, in themselves, evil: They simply warp our perception of reality and cause us to lose touch with that which all of us most desire in life: true peace, true love, true happiness.
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Therein lies the evil of those emotions: They obstruct attunement to our own deeper nature. Without vibration, the universe would cease to exist. That which existed, WAS already; nor could anything have come into being except that which was. Once the creative impulse has been set into motion, it assumes a motive power of its own. The ocean analogy fails to clarify a fundamental truth, however.
Cosmic delusion is first set into motion by the Spirit. That motion is, itself, benign. Had only ripples continued to exist, the universe would have remained harmonious, serene, and beautiful. Of their own free will, however, they chose to excite themselves by responding to the wind of maya, allowing it to whip them to greater and greater excitement. Imagine a conscious wave setting itself in rebellion against its own inherent reality, which is the calm ocean beneath it. Seeking its fulfillment in restlessness, it increases in size, affirming with ever greater fervor its own individuality. Be proud!
Be different from all others! Evil has a magnetic attraction. Its roots grow, not in the individual mind, but in infinite consciousness. That universal impulse toward movement opposes the inward-drawing, magnetic attraction of divine love, reminding us ever silently that outward restlessness is not our true nature. Temptation draws us because it resonates with our subconscious tendency toward material involvement. In resonating with the subconscious, however, it increases its hold on us. Fortunately, the attractive power of delusion affects us only to the extent that we open ourselves to it.
By opening ourselves to its influence, we become agitated in spirit, proud, and increasingly self-absorbed. In sleep, we dream. Similarly, the Infinite Consciousness, dreamlike, vibrates its thoughts of creation into the great void. Nothing in creation is real, except as dreams are real. All is a mere seeming. The cosmic dream has a certain coherence, moreover, that is lacking in subconsciousness. The divine presence resides deep beneath the surface of restless minds, dwelling forever at their center, and, indeed, at the center of every atom. The divine consciousness runs unnoticed through everything, like the thread passing through the beads of a necklace.
For infinite consciousness is our deepest reality. Modern physicists are beginning to discover the existence of subtle interactive ties in natural phenomena. Every thought we think has a subtle influence on our environment. Since all life is one, the more sensitive we become to it, the more we find ourselves sustained by it, as sound is amplified by the sounding board of a musical instrument.
A proud ego resembles in this sense a piano wire stretched tight but without the resonance of a piano underneath it. The more we isolate ourselves in ego-consciousness, the less power we have to accomplish anything worthwhile or meaningful in life. Successful people are attuned to a greater reality than their own. Unsuccessful people lack such attunement. It is these which produce the flow of abundance.
Is it not clear, then, why all the scriptures tell us to be kind, humble, and serviceful to others? Such attitudes are necessary if only because, by the openness and receptivity they engender in us, they help us to become more aware of all life. In fact, even islands are united by the landmass underneath them. True humility, therefore, is not self-abasement: It is self-honesty. As we treat others, so—invariably—do we treat ourselves. For the energy we project to them is generated first in ourselves. Our thoughts and energy create a vortex, which draws to us whatever vibrations out of the great ocean of consciousness resound in sympathy with our own.
Our task, ordained for us by Divine Will itself, is to harmonize ourselves on deeper and deeper levels with our own inner divinity. These in turn whip up the restless waves of likes and dislikes in the mind, and the emotion-driven currents of action and reaction. And the divine consciousness, permeating everything like the string that passes through a pearl necklace, is nearer to us than our most secret thoughts.
Holy Spirit in Christianity
The Lord calls to us unceasingly, urging us to seek Him, the Changeless Spirit, beneath all the storms of life. Inner communion with Him is the highest teaching in every scripture. It is the truth that great masters have taken birth to declare to us who, struggling in delusion though we are, seek the way to enlightenment. This was the book at the other end of the bridge, of which the first end was Rays of the One Light and the bridge itself was Rays of the Same Light.
Everything in this book is based on the teachings and writings of Paramhansa Yogananda, as were the other two. If time remains to me in this incarnation, I would like to write Volume Two, which will comprise the passages for the second half of the year. Each of these books would, I think, fulfill a special need, though I might decide at that point to drop Rays of the Same Light altogether. Swami Kriyananda shows us how the deep and profound truths within each wisdom tradition align beautifully with each other, and with our inborn creative gifts.
My own understanding of both Christ and Krishna has been greatly enhanced by reading it. The Promise of Immortality delivers on its promises! David Frawley , author of Yoga and Ayurveda. In reading his works, you feel like you are listening to a wise, good friend. During his lifetime, Yogananda wrote separate commentaries on each of these texts, but made it known that he hoped for a side-by-side comparison.
The Promise of Immortality transcends the apparent differences in these two texts to reveal the timeless, universal truth inherent in both. The Promise of Immortality is the most complete commentary available on the parallel passages in these two texts. The Promise of Immortality is a masterpiece of wisdom that both enlightens and inspires.
Canon Charles B. Atcheson , Episcopal Priest.
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In the process, Kriyananda sheds new light on the true meaning of many famous Bible passages, offering a fresh and compelling argument for the continued relevance of true Christian teaching. He addresses such important and timely issues as how to understand the deeper teachings of the Bible; whether these teachings are compatible with yoga and Eastern religion; the impact the yogic teachings can have on our Western religions and culture; and how we can bridge the teachings of East and West. Find Ananda Near You. Ananda Sangha Europa. Virtual Community. Treasures Along the Path.
The Education for Life Philosophy. Living Wisdom K — 12 Schools. What Is the Source of Life? Why Is the Light "Incomprehensible" to Darkness? The Incarnation 5. Receptivity: the Key to Spiritual Development 7. Divine Grace vs. Divine Law 8. Can God Be Known? How to Study the Scriptures Finding a True Teacher How to Relate to a Master Heaven Is Our Birthright!
The Way Beckons And all that is rational is real. David Frawley , author of Yoga and Ayurveda "Kriyananda is a modern sage and a master storyteller who writes with exceptional charm and intelligence. Atcheson , Episcopal Priest "In this new book Swami Kriyananda cogently explains why the yogic teachings of India have become so popular lately, and how those teachings are impacting our Western religions and culture.
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