The Birth of Jesus and His Statement, “I Am the Way”


Hi, part of me lately has been gravitating towards Omnism. I have a question about the meaning of the Virgin Mary. If Jesus was considered a human, a wandering guru then how was he born a supernatural birth to Mary who was a virgin? Did Yogananda talk about this? I’ve also noticed that many Christians think that their path is the only path to God because of what Jesus said "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." Has this been misinterpreted?

—Mike, Canada


Dear Mike,

Paramhansa Yogananda explained that Jesus had achieved realization of his soul’s oneness with God both beyond creation and as the creation long before his birth as Jesus the man. In this, Jesus ranks with other historical avatars such as Rama, Krishna, and Buddha, to name a few. As souls made in the image of God, we, too, have this potential and destiny should we choose to pursue it with the help of a true guru such as one of these.

The story of the virgin birth is found also in the life of Buddha. Is it simply a metaphor or a fact? There are examples in nature of conception outside of sexual union, and, while rare, there are recorded examples of this. Yogananda said that in a higher age such a birth was possible. But whether a metaphor for purity and sanctity or whether literal, the message is the same. Nor does the birth of an avatar require such a conception.

In the metaphysical precept that divinity inhabits the essence of every atom of creation, all creation may be considered super-natural! The distinction is perhaps not as important as it might seem. For God-realization in a given soul is a difference from the rest of us only by degree, not by kind. Such a story therefore affirms that the birth was not an ordinary one but one infused with divine intention and consciousness. Do not parents of most children, too, rejoice at their child’s birth, considering it almost miraculous, as indeed it is?

Jesus’ use of the personal pronoun “I” is identical to that of Krishna’s use in the Bhagavad Gita. Pronouns, these days, are much in discussion and controversy. Yogananda explained that the use of the personal pronoun is a reference to the divine nature of the soul — Jesus’ soul being one with the Father — and not to his personality or human existence of a mere 33 years. The indwellng and universally present Christ consciousness is, itself, the doorway to the Father and Jesus the man.

At the same time, the Christian teaching also affirms the universal teaching of the soul’s need for a true guru to re-awaken that divinity in souls who are caught in ignorance and delusion. Caught as we are, it is not possible to work our way out of the labyrinth of our minds and karma by ourselves. This is the symbolic meaning of the fact that Moses could lead the Israelites out of bondage in Egypt but could not, himself, enter the promised land. The ego can lead us but must be relinquished before we achieve oneness in divine bliss.

So Jesus’ use of the personal pronoun “I” has a dual meaning: for his disciples, Jesus is their guru. But in the larger, universal aspect of a true teaching it is one’s assigned guru (Krishna, Buddha, etc) to whom the “I” relates. A third meaning is the the universal Christ consciousness within ourselves but that must first be awakened and then energized by the guru before it is strong enough to be the inner guru.

I realize these concepts are not the ordinary fare of Christian dogma or, for that matter, most other spiritual teachings. Yogananda had a way of clarifying these things recognizably and understandably, though others, too, have said as much.

I call this a “both-and” level of understanding: where the traditional teaching contains an element of truth but doesn’t contain all of it.

May the Light of Christ universal be born in you anew,
Nayaswami Hriman