Revelations of Christ
Proclaimed by Paramhansa Yogananda
Presented by his disciple, Swami Kriyananda
Dedicating his book to “those sincere Christians whose faith has been shaken, ”Swami Kriyananda reaches out to those who find their Christian faith under attack from all sides—from such diverse sources as biblical scholars, advocates of a materialistic view of science, even some popular novelists.
I myself came to the book as someone who grew up in a Christian church, which, far from providing guidance on how actually to live my life, seemed fear-based and guilt- ridden. When I found Paramhansa Yogananda’s Autobiography of a Yogi, I felt here, at last, I was in the presence of Truth, and of a teacher who resonated with my inner being and provided clear guidance for all areas of life.
The original teachings of Christianity
In my enthusiasm I happily set aside my religious upbringing and dove into Yogananda’s teachings, and into the expansions and applications of those teachings given by his disciple Swami Kriyananda. Imagine my surprise (and chagrin) when I realized that, in fact, Yogananda’s teachings, were not other than Christian but were the expression of a mission to bring back the original teachings of Christianity.
Central to Paramhansa Yogananda’s life’s work is The Second Coming of Christ, divinely inspired explanations of the inner meanings, from a yogic perspective, of the teachings of Jesus Christ. And central to Swami Kriyananda’s more than sixty years of discipleship to Yogananda is Revelations of Christ, the essence of Yogananda’s commentaries presented in a way to lead the sincere but doubting Christian back to true faith, based on an understanding and experience of his own religious tradition.
Here, in part, is Kriyananda’s account of the origin of Yogananda’s mission to restore “Original Christianity”:
When Christ appeared to Babaji, the great yogi-christ living high in the Himalaya, he addressed these words to him: “What has happened to my religion? My followers are doing good works, but most of them have forgotten the essence of my message…direct, inner communion with God. Let us send again to the West the secrets by which they can achieve that communion.”
Jesus Christ’s meeting with Babaji, Kriyananda further explains, is an example of “the truth that God does intervene, sometimes, in human history. Jesus Christ asked Babaji to send to the West a true master, fully qualified to fulfill the mission they envisioned together.” That “true master,” we learn from Autobiography of a Yogi, was Paramhansa Yogananda.
Stepping stones to the Christ presence within
Swami Kriyananda speaks often of the intensity of his desire to bring Yogananda’s teachings not only to committed devotees, but to sincere seekers in all walks and conditions of life. And because Yogananda’s mission was divinely intended to bring the essence of all true religions to the Christian West, Kriyananda has devoted much of his writing and lecturing to showing the harmony between the teachings of Jesus Christ and the ancient spiritual tradition of India, especially as expressed through the “Hindu Bible,” The Bhagavad Gita.
Swami Kriyananda brings his tremendous focus of mind and heart to explaining as perfectly as the English language allows the reality of Christ’s teachings. Having led us as readers to the point beyond which language can do no more, he pours such a vibration of divine love and divine realization into his words that we feel inspired to experience in our own beings the Christ presence.
A careful meditative study of Revelations can be spiritually transforming. My own experience of three months immersion in this book has been so. I have found myself reliving, on deeper and deeper levels, my own upbringing in the Christian tradition (so little appreciated at the time)—seeing key moments not just as anecdotes from the past but as stepping stones to a true understanding and experience of the Christ spirit.
The “son of man” and the “son of God”
One of the most fascinating, and important, of Paramhansa Yogananda’s insights into the Bible concerns two expressions, “son of man,” and, “son of God.” Kriyananda tells us that when Jesus spoke of the “son of man” he was referring to his own human self: to his egoic I-ness. But when he spoke of “the son of God,” he meant the Christ, the “anointed of God” —the Christ consciousness, the only reflection of the Supreme Spirit in creation.
Swami Kriyananda urges readers of the Bible to try to apply this distinction. If they do so, he writes, that will gain a much deeper insight into the true meaning of what Jesus said and taught.
As a lifelong student of English usage, I was particularly grateful to read Kriyananda’s explanation that “son of man” should have been written with a lower-case “s” to reflect the fact that when Jesus used that expression, he was speaking of his separate human expression of Divine Consciousness, and not of the Infinite Christ. That simple confusion of “Son” for “son” by the translators of the Bible had long stood in the way of my deeper appreciation of the teachings of Jesus Christ.
Two prayers: the Holy Grail and AUM
Of his commentaries on the Bible, Yogananda writes, “I prayed to Jesus for confirmation: Was what I had written true to his actual meaning? Jesus Christ then appeared to me, after which the Holy Grail also appeared, touched his lips, then descended and touched my lips. Jesus declared, ‘The cup from which I drink, thou dost drink.’ ”
Kriyananda likewise prayed deeply for divine guidance in writing Revelations. Assurance came appropriately, as the Comforter, promised by Jesus to the faithful—The Holy Ghost or Holy Spirit—called AUM in the tradition of the East: Kriyananda writes:
When one hears the AUM…he knows with utter certainty that he could never tire of it through all eternity, for it is the vibration of his very being. Many times, while writing this book, I have been entranced to hear that sound within and around me, as if in divine corroboration and approval of what I had written.
What is communion with AUM?
Kriyananda concludes Revelations with a celebration of AUM, and leaves us, the readers, eager to learn the ancient techniques of meditation, techniques that open the door to communion with AUM, and through AUM, with the Christ Consciousness. Ever- deepening communion with AUM fulfills the mission that Jesus and Babaji together entrusted to the line of great masters of yoga, and ultimately to all of us who receive and practice these sacred teachings:
Communion with the Holy Ghost is, above all, a means of entering into, and flowing with, the stream of divine love. Love God, therefore. As a true Christian, love Jesus as your divine friend, who came down to earth for your upliftment. The more you tune into his deep message, the more also you will know that only one thing matters in life: selfless, divine love, like that of an eternal child for his heavenly Father, and for his Divine Friend.
Revelations, then, is a culmination of the line of descent from the original meeting between Jesus Christ and Babaji in the Himalaya. It offers hope for a lifetime of spiritual study and practice. A short review can only suggest the breadth and depth of the spiritual teachings contained in the book. Here, following, are some of the key subjects addressed:
- Why a mission to Christians from outside Christendom?
- Father, Son, Holy Ghost.
- “What does it mean, to be ‘saved’?”
- The Crucifixion.
- What is the “Fall”?
- “The Serpent Power”—Moses in the wilderness.
- “The need for a personal Savior”—Guru.
- Jesus’ mission to Judaism.
- “God alone saves”—what is Christ Consciousness?
- “What is it to be “born again”?
- The afterlife—Heaven and Hell.