Tag Archives: Paramahansa Yogananda

Yes…Jesus Was a Yogi

Jesus is Universal—

The great Yogi, Paramahansa Yogananda, once asked, “Many are the powerful churches founded in Jesus’ name, but where is the communion that he stressed…where is the actual contact with God?”

When Jesus spoke, he was imparting deep truths, which he himself, received through direct experience and genuine communion with the divine. We may refer to this state of consciousness by many names, such as Christ Consciousness, or God Realization, in which the oneness that exists among all revelations, regardless of name, sect, or geographical location, is perceived. Truth is Truth is Truth is Truth, no matter its name and irrespective of what costume or scripture we wrap it in. This means that The New Testament is no more Christian, than The Bhagavad Gita is Hindu. They are written records of enlightened revelations available to any seeker by any name for the purpose of upliftment.

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Not Through Rituals, but through Yoga—

Thus, Christ Consciousness is beyond category, and can only be known through experience, not by dint of ritual, costume or temple. Not even by the arrival of Jesus himself. As Paramahansa-ji put it, “A thousand Christs sent to earth would not redeem its people unless they themselves become Christlike by purifying and expanding their individual consciousness.”

Through the technology of Yoga—a word meaning, Union with Divine—a seeker can expand his/her consciousness to the frequency of the divine. Or, said differently, he/she can unite his/her finite awareness with the infinite awareness, often called God. The technology of Yoga was first revealed in written form, in Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, about 500 years before Jesus. In these sutras, it is said that through various daily disciplines, culminating with meditation, the omniscience of cosmic awareness may become known.

The Soul of Yoga has been Lost—

These practices, known by sages and Yogis…and by Jesus himself, have been held in secrecy and passed down with discretion, from teacher to disciple, for millennia, long before they were ever written. Unfortunately, through the commercialization of mainstream Yoga, through its importation to the west, this technology, as well as the original intent of Yoga—has been lost in the morass of poses, products and popularity.

The Hidden Truth in Jesus’ Parables—

And the disciples came, and said unto him, “Why speakest thou unto them in parables?” He answered and said unto them, “Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given….Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand.” 

Like the Yogis of old, who carefully guarded this technology of enlightenment, Jesus, too, selectively revealed the higher and more advanced teachings for those that were able to receive them, which is why he taught in parables.

When asked by his disciples, why he often taught through parables, Jesus said, “Because it is so ordained that you who are my real disciples, living a spiritualized life and disciplining your actions according to my teachings, deserve, by virtue of your inner awakening in your meditations to understand the truth of the arcane mysteries of heaven and how to attain the kingdom of God, Cosmic Consciousness hidden behind the vibratory creation of cosmic delusion. But ordinary people, unprepared in their receptivity, are not able either to comprehend or to practice the deeper wisdom-truths. From parables, they glean according to their understanding, simpler truths…”

Esoteric Practices—

As is taught in all practices, the ultimate truths of heaven, that Jesus spoke of, can not be grasped by the senses, nor the rational mind, but can only be known through intuitive awareness. In other words, only through direct experience, can we ever really know the reality that lies behind the trappings of logic and beyond the illusions of the senses.

Through direct personal practice in the myriad techniques of Yoga and meditation, transcendental consciousness may be achieved. For example, through the awakening of the energy centers in the spine, we open the gateways into what Jesus called “The Kingdom of God.”

When man is settled in that inner kingdom of divine consciousness, the awakened intuitive perception of the soul pierces the veils of matter, life energy, and consciousness and uncovers the God-essence in the heart of all things…. ~Paramahansa Yogananda

Resurrection—

An example of Jesus’ mastery over the materialistic laws of earthly life are seen in the act of resurrection, something that has been understood by accomplished yogis of India for thousands of years. These Yogis consider Jesus to be a realized yogi: one who knew and had mastered the spiritual science of life and death, God-communion and God-union.


Jesus Misinterpreted—

In his book, The Yoga of Jesus, Paramahansa-ji, points out that even the most basic principles of Jesus’ teachings have been distorted, while “genocidal wars have been fought, people have been burned as witches and heretics, on the presumed authority of man-made doctrines of Christianity.”

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~Donna Quesada

 

 

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Please, Call Them “Yoga-Inspired Exercises”



This morning, on my usual walking route with my dog, I noticed a new sign on the neighborhood gym that said “Yoga.” The word “Yoga” is everywhere, especially here in L.A., where, according to recent statistics, there are more people doing it than in its native India. The problem is, the activity that is actually being practiced is not exactly Yoga. More often than not, it is a simulation of the ancient spiritual technology, at best, thereby rendering the statistics irrelevant.

As Stated Elsewhere

Like many arts and sciences that are profound, beautiful, and powerful, yoga has suffered from the spiritual poverty of the modern world–it has been trivialized, watered down, or reduced to cliches. The deep and eternal essence of yoga has been misrepresented and packaged for personal profit by clever people. At the hands of some, yoga has been reduced to the status of just another exercise program available on videotape. In other contexts, yoga has been presented as a cult religion, aimed at attracting “devotees.” Such a haze of confusion has been created around the clear and pure concept of yoga that it is now necessary to redefine yoga and clarify its meaning and purpose.
~ Bhole Prabhu

While there are many holistic classes to be found, too often, all you’ll find in “Yoga classes,” are the postures, which are merely a preparatory part of the discipline as a whole. But this is the part that is most eagerly consumed here, due to our emphasis, or rather, obsession, on the body.

My Proposition

For the sake of maintaining the integrity of this ancient, and unbelievably rich tradition, here’s what I’d like to see hanging on the doors of these kinds of classes: a sign that says, “Yoga-inspired Exercises” in place of the sign that says, “Yoga.” After all, as Swami Bharati says, “we would not call a brick a ‘house’ even though it is part of the construction. Yet, this is what is often done with Yoga.” The postures are but a small part of the complete eight-part system known as Raj Yoga. So, the change would be done for the sake of clarity, dignity and truthfulness.

So, What Is Yoga?

It is not within the scope of this article to explain those eight rungs of Raj Yoga, nor the other ancient Yogic paths, such as Bhakti Yoga and Karma Yoga, since this information can so easily be found elsewhere (including via my own Youtube lectures). But, here is an overview of the inherent point and purpose of all the Yogas.

Yoga is about union. You could say that the goal of Yoga is…Yoga, since  that’s what the word means. It is the union of the self and the True Self, of the ego identity and the Supreme consciousness. It is a process of awakening to the divine reality that we were never separate from in the first place. It is the evaporation of maya, or, the delusion of separateness. It is the direct experience of the preexisting union between Atman and Brahman, or if you will, Shiva and Shakti. It is, as Paramahansa Yogananda describes it, Self-Realization. It is the awakened consciousness. It is God-consciousness. It is, as Sivananda has described it, Supreme Harmony. It is Samadhi—the final limb and crown of Patanjali’s eight rungs of classical Raj Yoga.

The many therapeutic effects of Yoga have been touted so frequently, that many people now realize that the purpose of Yoga is not to workout. But to think of Yoga as a form of relaxation is to still miss the point. It is to replace one misunderstanding with another!

Yoga Is Spiritual

On their website, YogaDayUSA.org listed the “Top 10 Reasons to Try Yoga” as, stress relief, pain relief, better breathing, flexibility, increased strength, weight management, improved circulation, cardiovascular conditioning, better body alignment, and focus on the present for health reasons. The authentic reasons for Yoga seem to be not even worthy of mention in their Top 10 Reasons for Yoga.

Yoga Alliance, the sponsor of Yoga Day, described itself as “the leader in setting educational standards for yoga schools and teachers.” However, while they claim this authority, they did not see fit to acknowledge or include in their Yoga Day promotions the fact that the roots of Yoga come from the ancient tradition of Sanatana Dharma, out of which has grown Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism and other traditions.
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The therapeutic effects of Yoga are many, but they are not the central intention of any of Yoga’s many paths, which are like the many rivers that all find their way to the sea. The different paths, or Yogas, intersect one another and often run in parallel. They accommodate the various inclinations and karmic propensities of the individual student who would find himself on a spiritual journey. Yet they all have the same goal of Self-Realization.

* In this article, as elsewhere, I have followed the tradition, as pioneered by the renown authority on Yoga, Georg Feuerstein, of capitalizing the word Yoga, just as we would capitalize Zen, or, Christianity.