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Great message of Jesus Christ is living and thriving in both East and West


The Second Coming of Christ (The Resurrection of the Christ within You)
"Truth, in and of itself, is the ultimate"religion."Though truth can be expressed in different ways by sectarian"Isms," it can never be exhausted by them. It has infinite manifestations and ramifications, but one consummation: direct experience of God, the Sole Reality.

The human stamp of sectarian affiliation is of little meaning. It is not the religious denomination in which one's name is registered, not the culture or creed in which one was born, that gives salvation. The essence of truth goes beyond all outer form. It is that essence which is paramount in understanding Jesus and his universal call to souls to enter the kingdom of God, which is "within you." "


"Christ has been much misinterpreted by the world. Even the most elementary principles of his teachings have been desecrated, and their esoteric depths have been forgotten. They have been crucified at the hands of dogma, prejudice, and cramped understanding. Genocidal wars have been fought, people have been burned as witches and heretics, on the presumed authority of man-made doctrines of Christianity. How to salvage the immortal teachings from the hands of ignorance? We must know Jesus as an Oriental Christ, a supreme yogi who manifested full mastery of the universal science of God-union, and thus could speak and act as a savior with the voice and authority of God. He has been Westernized too much. [1]

Jesus was an Oriental, by birth and blood and training. To separate a teacher from the background of his nationality is to blur the understanding through which he is perceived. (p.91) No matter what Jesus the Christ was himself, as regards his own soul, being born and maturing in the Orient, he had to use the medium of Oriental civilization, customs, mannerisms, language, parables, in spreading his message. Hence to understand Jesus Christ and his teachings one must be sympathetically open to the Oriental point of view—in particular, India's ancient and present civilization, religious scriptures, traditions, philosophies, spiritual beliefs, and intuitive metaphysical experiences. Though, esoterically understood, the teachings of Jesus are universal, they are saturated with the essence of Oriental culture—rooted in Oriental influences which have been made adaptable to the Western environment.

The Gospels can be rightly understood in the light of the teachings of India—not the caste-ridden, stone-worshiping, distorted interpretations of Hinduism, but the philosophical, soul-saving wisdom of her 'rishis': the kernel not the husk of the Vedas, Upanishads, and Bhagavad Gita. This essence of Truth—the 'Sanatana Dharma', or eternal principles of righteousness that uphold man and the universe—was given to the world thousands of years before the Christian era, and preserved in India with a spiritual vitality that has made the quest for God the be-all and end-all of life and not an armchair diversion.

In spite of the meaningless superstitions and pitiful provincialism in religious thinking that have crusted on both Hinduism and Christianity down the ages, each of them has done immeasurable good to mankind—each has brought peace, happiness, consolation to millions of suffering souls; each has inspired people to highest spiritual endeavor and granted salvation to many...

The community religious services of the West are marvelous if they turn the mind to God and truth, but they are not enough if they lack meditation and knowledge of the methods of actual communion with God. On the other hand, the East emphasizes direct, personal realization of God, but is wanting in organization and philanthropic social welfare work. (p.93) In order to understand Jesus Christ's doctrine, it is necessary to combine organizational efficiency and social welfare philanthropy with personal verification of Christ's teachings by metaphysical study and the actual contact of God in the temple of meditation. Then each one can, himself, realize what Jesus Christ was, and is, through the intuitive self-verification of his teachings.

Truth is the ultimate religion; sectarian affiliation is of little meaning

Truth, in and of itself, is the ultimate"religion."Though truth can be expressed in different ways by sectarian"Isms," it can never be exhausted by them. It has infinite manifestations and ramifications, but one consummation: direct experience of God, the Sole Reality.

The human stamp of sectarian affiliation is of little meaning. It is not the religious denomination in which one's name is registered, not the culture or creed in which one was born, that gives salvation. The essence of truth goes beyond all outer form. It is that essence which is paramount in understanding Jesus and his universal call to souls to enter the kingdom of God, which is "within you."

The great message of Jesus Christ is living and thriving in both East and West. The West has concentrated on perfecting the physical conditions of man, and the East on developing the spiritual potentials of man. Both East and West are one-sided. Granted, the East is not practical enough; but the West is too practical to be spiritually practical! That is why I advocate a harmonious union of the two; they need each other. Without spiritual idealism, material practicality is the harbinger of selfishness, sin, competition, and wars. This is a lesson for the West to learn. And unless idealism is tempered with practicality, there is confusion and suffering and lack of natural progress. This is the lesson to be learned by the East.

The East can learn from the West, and the West can learn from the East. Is it not strange that, perhaps due to God's secret plan, since the East needs material development, it was invaded by Western material civilization? And since the West needs spiritual balance, it has been silently but surely"Invaded"by Hindu philosophy, not to conquer lands but to conquer souls with the liberation of God-realization. [2]

We are all children of God, from our inception unto eternity. Differences come from prejudices, and prejudice is the child of ignorance. We should not proudly identify ourselves as Americans or Indians or Italians or any other nationality, for that is but an accident of birth. Above all else, we should be proud that we are children of God, made in His image. Is not that the message of Christ?

Jesus the Christ is an excellent model for both East and West to follow. God's stamp," son of God," is hidden in every soul. Jesus affirmed the scriptures: "Ye are gods."[3] Do away with masks! Come out openly as sons of God—not by hollow proclamations and learned-by-heart prayers, fireworks of intellectually worded sermons contrived to praise God and gather converts, but by 'realization'! Become identified not with narrow bigotry, masked as wisdom, but with Christ Consciousness. Become identified with Universal Love, expressed in service to all, both materially and spiritually; then you will know who Jesus Christ was, and can say in your soul that we are all one band, all sons of One God!"

The Second Coming of Christ (The Resurrection of the Christ within
You) Volume 1, Discourse 5, pg. 90-94
Paramahansa Yogananda
Printed in the United States of America 1434-J881


Notes:

[1] Through the remarkable discovery of early Christian gnostic texts at Nag Hammadi, Egypt in 1945, one may glimpse something of what was lost to conventional Christianity during this process of"Westernization." Elaine Pagels, Ph.D., writes in 'The Gnostic Gospels' (New York: Vintage Books, 1981): "The Nag Hammadi texts, and others like them, which circulated at the beginning of the Christian era, were denounced as heresy by orthodox Christians in the middle of the second century....But those who wrote and circulated these texts did not regard 'themselves' as 'heretics'. Most of the writings use Christian terminology, unmistakably related to a Jewish heritage. Many claim to offer traditions about Jesus that are secret, hidden from 'the many' who constitute what, in the second century, came to be called the 'catholic church'. These Christians are now called gnostics, from the Greek word 'gnosis', usually translated as 'knowledge'. For as those who claim to know nothing about ultimate reality are called agnostic (literally, 'not-knowing'), the person who does claim to know such things is called gnostic ('knowing'). But 'gnosis' is not primarily rational knowledge....As the gnostics use the term, we could translate it as 'insight', for 'gnosis' involves an intuitive process of knowing oneself....[According to gnostic teachers], to know oneself, at the deepest level, is simultaneously to know God; this is the secret of 'gnosis'....

"The"living Jesus' of these texts speaks of illusion and enlightenment, not of sin and repentance, like the Jesus of the New Testament. Instead of coming to save us from sin, he comes as a guide who opens access to spiritual understanding....

"Orthodox Christians believe that Jesus is Lord and Son of God in a unique way: he remains forever distinct from the rest of humanity whom he came to save. Yet the gnostic 'Gospel of Thomas' relates that as soon as Thomas recognizes him, Jesus says to Thomas that they have both received their being from the same source: 'I am not your master. Because you have drunk, you have become drunk from the bubbling stream which I have measured out....He who will drink from my mouth will become as I am: I myself shall become he, and the things that are hidden will be revealed to him.'

"Does not such teaching—the identity of the divine and human, the concern with illusion and enlightenment, the founder who is presented not as Lord, but as spiritual guide—sound more Eastern than Western?....Could Hindu or Buddhist Tradition have influenced gnosticism?....Ideas that we associate with Eastern religions emerged in the first century through the gnostic movement in the West, but they were suppressed and condemned by polemicists like Irenaeus."

[2] The following was written in 1932 by Dr. W.Y. Evans-Wentz, renowned author and Oxford University scholar of comparative religion:

"Glorious are the spiritual legacies of Egypt and Greece and Rome, but even more glorious are the spiritual legacies which India is offering to the peoples of Europe and America through the agency of its Wise Men of the East, of whom Swami Yogananda, the illustrious creator of the Yogoda [Self-Realization] system, is but one in a long dynasty that extends unbrokenly to our own epoch from the dim prehistoric ages. The Swami has come to the nations of the West to expound the supreme science of life, which each of his dynastic predecessors, one after another, from century to century, has expounded.

"It has remained for the illuminated sons of India of this generation to free the Oriental-born Christ from the prison-house wherein the theologies of the Occident have kept him imprisoned throughout the centuries; and to proclaim anew, as he did, the ancient yet ever-new message of worldly renunciation and selflessness, and to reveal the One Path to Self-realization, to liberation and world-conquest, which all of the founders of the great historical faiths of mankind have trod and revealed...." ('Publisher's Note')

[3] John 10:34.




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