I’m excited to have received an Amazon.com gift certificate (thanks, Hawk!), which I put toward the beautiful new Paramhansa Yogananda box set called The Second Coming of Christ.
To whet my appetite, I’m extracting some quotes from the book’s introduction, written by the Paramhansa himself:
There is a distinguishing difference of meaning between Jesus and Christ. His given name was Jesus; his honorific title was “Christ.” In his little human body called Jesus was born the vast Christ Consciousness, the omniscient Intelligence of God omnipresent in every part and particle of creation. This Consciousness is the “only begotten Son of God,” so designated because it is the sole perfect reflection in creation of the Transcendental Absolute, Spirit or God the Father.
It was of that Infinite Consciousness, replete with the love and bliss of God, that Saint John spoke when he said: “As many as received him [the Christ Consciousness], to them gave he power to become the sons of God.” Thus according to Jesus’ own teaching as recorded by his most highly advanced apostle, John, all souls who become united with Christ Consciousness by intuitive Self-realization are rightly called sons of God….
In these pages I offer to the world an intuitionally perceived spiritual interpretation of the words spoken by Jesus, truths received through actual communion with Christ Consciousness. They will be found to be universally true if they are studied conscientiously and meditated upon with soul-awakened intuitive perception. They reveal the perfect unity that exists among the revelations of the Christian Bible, the Bhagavad Gita of India, and all other time-tested true scriptures.
The saviors of the world do not come to foster inimical doctrinal divisions; their teachings should not be used toward that end. It is something of a misnomer even to refer to the New Testament as the “Christian” Bible, for it does not belong exclusively to any one sect. Truth is meant for the blessing and upliftment of the entire human race. As the Christ Consciousness is universal, so does Jesus Christ belong to all….
It is an erroneous assumption of limited minds that great ones such as Jesus, Krishna, and other divine incarnations are gone from the earth when they are no longer visible to human sight. This is not so. When a liberated master has dissolved his body in Spirit, and yet manifests in form to receptive devotees (as Jesus has appeared throughout the centuries since his passing, such as to Saint Francis, Saint Teresa, and many others of East and West), it means he has an ongoing role to play in the destiny of the world. Even when masters have completed the specific role for which they took on a physical incarnation, it is the divinely ordained task of some to look after the welfare of humanity and assist in guiding its progress. Jesus Christ is very much alive and active today. In Spirit and occasionally taking on a flesh-and-blood form, he is working unseen by the masses for the regeneration of the world. With his all-embracing love, Jesus is not content merely to enjoy his blissful consciousness in Heaven. He is deeply concerned for mankind and wishes to give his followers the means to attain the divine freedom of entry into God’s Infinite Kingdom….
In all my years of reading spiritual literature, I can honestly say that I’ve never come across a sweeter, more inspiring presence than Yogananda’s. And the fact that he reaches back into my own spiritual heritage to show that Jesus Christ was onto something — well, this is a boon, and a reason to keep digging.
I can’t recommend him highly enough, and his Autobiography of a Yogi is the place to start….