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Date Posted: 19:44
Author: Hendrik - 8 Jun 2001
Subject: Thoughts of the Day

A Strange-But-True Spiritual Journey

I just read this article. The lower half of it is what somehow comes unexpected after you have finished the first half. It is quite amazing to what extent the early religious impressions of childhood subtly condition one's mindset. After all her spiritual experiences, this lady eventually decided to 'believe in Jesus', and her tone is that of a 'confessing' person. But this belief is what makes her happy.

Here is her home page:

Christian Answers for the New Age

Please note that for further corroboration she lists the infamous book The Death of a Guru. I have once read this work, I honestly confess that it was indeed the greatest nonsense I have ever seen in my life, written by a Christian neophyte who originally was an exile-Indian from the West Indies.

Ms. Montenegro is not a fanatic though as I see from some of her other articles published on the Internet. She reminds me of certain SRF enthusiasts who write on the Yogananda SRF Devotee Message Board, only that there they have substituted 'Yogananda and Christ' for 'Christ'.

I have learned of other such cases. People raised in Christianity like to complain that they miss the touch of the Personal in yoga. What is common to them is that they do not have any guidance by a master who gives them authoritative instruction and who can act as a surrogate object for their psychological investment.

I feel that even those who are not affected that much by religion are still conditioned by the ideas inherent in Christian mindset; they adopt the negative stand on worldly existence and a feeling of futility of one's existence and as a result feel attracted by 'negative' denying paths like Advaita Vedanta or Buddhism which portray the world as an illusion. Whereas in India where most of the spirituality as well as the founders of Vedanta and Buddhism come from, only part of the spiritual aspirants feel fascinated with Vedanta, and almost no one in Buddhism. I am convinced that this fascination with the Impersonal is an indirect result of Christian teaching, a reaction like the Age of Enlightenment was against the corruption and make-believe of the Church.

Likewise in Kriya Yoga we can see those who are frustrated with Yogananda's SRF Church or are by nature unreligious turning to the mental paradoxes of Shibendu Lahiri, for instance. To some extent it is an intellectual approach and dry, the warm personal affection of SRF is entirely absent in this yoga, and it requires great discipline to stick with a yoga without belief system and emotional investment.

I ask anyone living outside Asia having children not to give them a religious education - pop music, a lot of attention, and playing with them will do much better work than sending them to church.

Is it possible for a spiritual aspirant raised in a Western country to conceive of a Personal God without getting sidetracked? Why gets everything to the dogs with so many people who believe in Christ, other than with Indians who believe in Krishna? Do they have a different relation to 'personality' down there, a more open and flexible one perhaps?

In India, Jesus is generally not counted among the real avatars, probably because he made a distinction between himself and "the Father" and is therefore not seen as a full manifestation of the Divine. In fact only on the cross he uttered, "I and my father are one". If we accept the possibility that Jesus really existed and was not just the product of contemporary Jewish mythology framework, he appears to have been a teacher of partial dualism.

Of course Christians won't accept such string of thought. Yogananda who by nature felt an affinity to Jesus recognized this and re-interpreted the Biblical teaching in such a way that aspirants raised in the Christian tradition could accept his teaching of Kriya. But he blurred all the differences, put Christ on top, and couldn't help justifying yoga by what Christianity says and what Science says. His writings on Christianity are highly subjective and should be taken with caution. There are many inner contradictions in his Bible readings - for instance he always puts Christ on top as an avatar but at the same time is always quick to explain that "Christ Consciousness" is not the final goal in yoga which he calls "Cosmic Consciousness". How do you resolve such contradiction? For a long time, Krishna was not placed on the SRF altars, because Yogananda felt his American disciples as a whole would not accept it.


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