How does the concept of samadhi agree with the Christian teachings? Most churchgoers, certainly, get no hint on Sunday mornings that the Bible promises them anything like cosmic consciousness. The best they hope for is eternity in the astral world, which they think of as heaven — in India, named Swarga — after death, in a body similar to the one they inhabit now.
No one, however, has “a corner” on Christ’s teachings, or for that matter on the teachings of any religion. The revelation that God gave to the world through Jesus Christ is the property of mankind, for it is truth itself, and it belongs to no church.
The mass of Christian worshipers is often referred to as “the body of Christ.” In fact, however, it is more like Christ’s family. For a body is responsive to the brain, whereas few Christians are conscious enough of Christ’s presence within them, or faithful enough to his teachings, to give much thought to being responsive to him. A body, moreover, is coordinated by the brain, whereas Christians — even those who seriously try to obey Christ — respond to his commandments by rushing off in innumerable, often conflicting, directions. Family, then, is certainly the apter metaphor, for even if family members revere their head, they respond to him variously according to their different temperaments and levels of understanding.
A certain lack of coordination, which in a body might be a symptom of functional disorder, is both natural and, to some extent, right in a family. At any rate it shows that its members can think for themselves.
Most Christians in the world are like the family of a great man, some of whose luster reflects on them by association with him. But it is also notorious how many great men have been thoroughly misunderstood by their families and close relatives. To be the disciple of a great master gives one an incentive, certainly, to tune in to him, but it in no way guarantees that attunement. Jesus accused the Jews of misunderstanding Moses. He even chided his own close disciples for misunderstanding him. We must conclude, then, from his own statements that Christians have never had a proprietary claim on his full, or even his true, meanings. A disciple’s understanding of his master’s teachings depends on his own capacity for understanding, and not on his outward status as a member, nor even as a priest, minister of the Gospel, or other kind of leader in any church.
Many times progress has occurred in human understanding when one civilization was exposed to the different insights of another civilization. Islam’s great early advances in mathematics were a result of her exposure to Indian civilization — a fact unknown by many scholars. Western civilization took a great leap forward with the Renaissance, owing to fresh exposure to the art and philosophy of Greece. The scattered earldoms of pre-medievel England were alternately swayed by invaders from Norway, Saxon Germany, and Denmark. They were molded into a single kingdom by the Norman Conquest of William, his conquest completed by his son Henry.
Religion, today, stands at the threshold of such an opportunity. The energetic influx of teachings from the East has already had a strong impact on Western thinking, causing many people to rethink their position on numerous basic issues. It has reminded them, among other things, of dormant traditions in their faith. The practice of meditation, for example, was once a vital part of Christian observance — particularly in the Eastern Church — and is being revived because of the emphasis given it by teachers from India.
Nor has the influence of Oriental teachings on Christians and on the churches been limited to reminders of forgotten Christian traditions: It has also shown many Biblical teachings in a wholly new light. For truth, like a diamond, is many-faceted. The teachings of Moses and Jesus Christ have received certain traditional emphases in the West, but other perfectly legitimate emphases are possible, and would reflect truths that, elsewhere in the world, have been cherished for centuries. Exposure to those foreign-seeming traditions might prove enormously beneficial to Westerners desirous of deeper insights into their own religious teachings.(1)
A visitor once asked Paramhansa Yogananda, “You call your temples ‘churches of all religions.’ Why, then, do you place such special emphasis on Christianity?”
“It was the wish of Babaji that I do so,” the Master replied. “He asked me to interpret the Christian Bible and the Bhagavad Gita, or Hindu Bible, and to show that the teachings of both are basically the same. It was with this mission that I was sent to the West.”
Many Westerners in this materialistic age have come to doubt the truth of Christ’s teachings. Indeed, many of them even doubt that Jesus ever lived. Paramhansa Yogananda, by his example as much as by his teachings, turned agnostics into deeply believing Christians again. His mission, indeed, was not to convert anyone to Hinduism, but to revitalize the Christianity of Christians. He taught, he said, “the original Christianity of Christ.”
One day in Boston, Massachusetts, Yogananda received a letter criticizing him for “sponsoring” Jesus Christ in the West. “Don’t you know that Jesus never lived?” the writer demanded. “He was a myth invented to deceive people.” The letter was left unsigned.
Yogananda prayed to be led to the writer. About a week later he was in the Boston Public Library. He saw a stranger there, seated on a bench by one of the windows, and went over, sitting next to him.
“Why did you write me that letter?” he inquired.
The man started in amazement. “Wh-what do you mean? What letter?”
“The one in which you claimed that Jesus Christ is only a myth.”
“But — how on earth did you know I wrote that?”
“I have my ways,” the Master replied quietly. “And I wanted you to know that the power which led me to you enables me also to know for certain that Jesus Christ did live in Palestine, and that he was everything that the Bible claims for him. He was a true Christ, a Son of God.”
Another time in Boston Yogananda received another remarkable corroboration of his experiences of the reality of Jesus Christ. In meditation he saw Krishna and Jesus walking together on a sea of golden light. To convince himself (as he put it), though more probably to convince skeptics, including sectarian believers who couldn’t imagine Jesus and Krishna sharing the same wave, Yogananda asked for objective verification of his vision.
A divine voice replied, “The fragrance of a lotus will remain in the room.”
“All that day,” Yogananda told us, “a lotus aroma, unknown in the West, lingered on in the room. Many visited me throughout the day. ‘What is that wonderful fragrance?’ they asked. I knew then I had been given proof positive that what I had seen was true.”
In St. Louis one day Master visited a Roman Catholic monastery. The abbot had seen Yogananda in meditation, and knew him for a great saint. The other monks were horrified to see this orange-robed “heathen” in their midst. When the abbot arrived on the scene, however, he hastened over and embraced Paramhansaji lovingly. “Man of God,” he cried, “I am happy you have come!”
The saints alone are the true custodians of religion. For they draw their understanding from the direct experience of truth and of God, and not from superficial reasoning or book learning. The true saints of one religion bow to the divinity manifested everywhere, including of course to the true saints of other religions.
When Paramhansa Yogananda visited Therese Neumann, the great Catholic stigmatist in Bavaria, Germany, she sent word to him, “Though the bishop has asked me to see no one without his permission, I will receive the man of God from India.”
Yogananda, far from undermining the faith of Christians in their own scriptures, gave many of them renewed faith. One day a Catholic monk, inspired by an interview with him, begged him that in his prayers he be vouchsafed a vision of Jesus. The next day he came back to Yogananda with tears in his eyes. “Last night,” he cried, “for the first time in my life, I saw Him!”
Oliver Wendell Holmes said, “To have doubted one’s own first principles is the mark of a civilized man.” By contrast, to hold any belief dogmatically is like saying, “This much I will have of truth, and no more.” Dogmatism is the death of true understanding, and is the very antithesis of enlightened civilization. Again and again throughout history, dogmatism has stood in the way of progress and even of common sense. Consider a few examples:
In 1728 potatoes were introduced into Scotland. The clergy declared them an outrage, unfit for Christian consumption, because no mention is made of them in the Bible.
Again, when umbrellas were first invented, clergymen in many lands denounced them as the work of the Devil — for doesn’t the Bible state clearly, “Your Father which is in heaven sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust”? (Matthew 5:45)
Nor is bigotry a monopoly of the West; as Yogananda often remarked, “Ignorance, East and West, is fifty-fifty.” In a pilgrim’s guide to South Indian temples I discovered this little gem of unreason: “Whosoever dares to spit on the temple grounds will be born for three successive incarnations as a tithiri bird.” (“What,” I asked an Indian friend of mine, “is a tithiri bird?” “Oh, some despicable creature,” he replied vaguely; “something you wouldn’t want to be.”)
“Other sheep I have,” Jesus said, “which are not of this fold.” (John 10:16) Might it have been of true devotees in other great religions that he was speaking? We read in the tenth chapter of the Book of Acts: “God has no favorites, but in every nation he who reveres Him and acts righteously is accepted by Him.” (Acts 10:34,35)
Christian fundamentalists, who insist that all authority rests in the Bible, quarrel endlessly over what the Bible really means. Luther and Zwingli, leaders of the Protestant Reformation, taught entirely on the basis of scriptural, as opposed to Church, authority. Yet the two of them disagreed on basic scriptural precepts. Their meeting at the Marburg Colloquy in 1529, which had been summoned to resolve these differences, resulted in a doctrinal clash between them. The meeting ended in failure.
It should surprise no one that the Bible means different things to different people. For is it not obvious that it cannot be accepted as authoritative beyond each person’s unique ability to understand? Jesus said, “Therefore I speak to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand.” (Matthew 13:13) Even after explaining his parable of the sower, he still went on to say, “Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.” (Matthew 13:43)
And what is it that determines a person’s ability to understand? Far more important than native intelligence is his actual experience of life — especially of the inner life. How else can truth be fully absorbed? Truths cannot be learned: they must be recognized.
A certain American Indian in the nineteenth century, lacking experience with modern machinery, was convinced that a steam locomotive was being operated by a horse cleverly concealed where the boiler appeared to be. Many clergymen, similarly, lacking personal experience of God’s love, are equally certain that He is a God of wrath and vengeance.
Jean Danielou, the French cardinal-theologian, wrote, “That which saves is not religious experience, but faith in the word of God.” True faith, however, without some kind of experience or inner grace, is simply not possible. Reason alone cannot banish doubts for the simple reason that reason dwells in the realm of doubts. Inferences cannot but be tentative. Only the breath of God’s love in the soul awakens true faith in His word — as opposed to fanatical belief in it. The deeper the awareness — which is to say, the deeper the experience — of that love, the deeper the faith.
The great St. Anselm put it thus: “Who does not experience will not know. For just as experiencing a thing far exceeds the mere hearing of it, so the knowledge of him who experiences is beyond the knowledge of him who hears.”
The tendency of spiritually blind theologians and ministers has been to take literally what was meant metaphorically, and to define Reality in terms of their own limited human knowledge of life. A supreme need in Christendom today is a more mystical approach to Truth.
In Calcutta I once met a Christian missionary who had passed through the Holy Land on his way to India. A few months earlier I had visited Galilee myself, traveling in the same direction as he, and with India too as my goal. I feel blessed even today by the experience I had of Christ’s presence in the land of his birth. Imagining that this missionary and I shared a common bond in that feeling of blessing, I exclaimed, “Wasn’t it wonderful! Jesus seemed so real, I almost expected to see him come walking down out of the hills!” The man stared at me a moment as though I were mad. After a moment, placing his chair conveniently between me and the door, he muttered nervously, “Yes, a beautiful country. Wonderful history.” Communion with Christ, obviously, had nothing to do with his self-perceived mission in life.
The Roman Catholics, in their centuries-old tradition, have experienced the problems that can arise from individual interpretations of the holy scriptures. Their solution has been to insist that the Pope be their final authority in every such matter. Christ himself, they claim, gave him that authority with the words, “Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church.” (Matthew 16:18) Their argument, however, though spiritually motivated, is fatally flawed. For how do we know that Christ actually intended to delegate such authority to them? We have only their word for it, supported by their insistence that, having been given such authority, they must have interpreted Christ’s meaning correctly. Though this was the argument of Thomas Aquinas, and has been seized upon by Roman Catholics as the entire justification for their belief, it is in fact a perfect argument in a circle!
Paramhansa Yogananda’s explanation of that same Bible passage was altogether different. Jesus, he said, was referring to the inner “church” of divine consciousness. He saw that, in Peter, he would be able to “build” this “church,” for that disciple had recognized him as the living Christ, and had thereby demonstrated that his spiritual life was founded on the bedrock of divine intuition. Jesus’ words — here, as everywhere else — were not meant institutionally. The point I’ve made here is very important, for Yogananda’s interpretation removes the very cornerstone of Catholic theology.
Yet in one important sense the Roman Catholic Church is certainly right: Authority of some kind, in spiritual matters, is very much needed, lest the scriptures be misinterpreted in such ways as to reinforce, rather than banish, people’s ignorance. It should be the right kind of authority, however, and not a case of the blind leading the blind. The only valid authority on spiritual matters is true wisdom, based on true spiritual experience. For such experience, we must look not to the commentaries of learned scholars and theologians, but to Self-realized saints. I repeat: Only true saints can be the true custodians of religion.
“The words of the saints,” wrote St. Gregory of Sinai, “if they are carefully examined, never disagree; all alike speak the truth, wisely changing their judgments on these subjects when necessary.”
Because it is necessary for the same fundamental truths to be presented according to the varying needs of the times, St. Simeon the New Theologian wrote, “A man who does not desire to link himself to the latest of the saints (in time), in all love and humility, owing to a certain distrust, will never be linked with the preceding saints, and will not be admitted to their succession even though he thinks he possesses all possible faith and love for God and for all His saints.” All who know God drink from the same fountain. Therefore to reject any expression of Him is, to that extent, to reject God Himself.
Yogananda once prayed to Jesus Christ for reassurance that he was interpreting the Gospels correctly. Jesus appeared to him in a vision, along with the Holy Grail, and the Grail passed from his lips to Yogananda’s. Jesus then, Yogananda later told us, spoke the following words of heavenly assurance: “The cup from which I drink, thou dost drink.” These words were omitted from Autobiography of a Yogi, no doubt at the editor’s insistence,(2) but Master himself often quoted them during his public sermons and lectures.
To return, then, to the question of Christian corroboration of the state of samadhi: It is to the saints that we must look first for guidance.
“The soul, when purified,” wrote St. Catherine of Genoa, “abides entirely in God; its being is God.”
“The soul must wholly lose all human knowledge and all human feelings,” wrote St. John of the Cross, “in order to receive in fullness divine knowledge and divine feelings.”
St. Catherine of Sienna stated that Christ had told her in a vision, “I am That I am; thou art that which is not.” In other words, the little vortex of her ego had no abiding reality of its own.
St. Veronica Giuliani, the seventeenth-century Capuchin nun, concerning her experience of the supreme ecstasy of mystical union, wrote in her Diary that she had received a conviction, far deeper than any intellectual concept or belief, that “outside of God nothing has any existence at all.”
The great St. Teresa of Avila wrote that, in this state, “the soul is entirely transformed into the likeness of its Creator — it seems more God than soul.”
Blessed Henry Suso, describing the enlightened soul, wrote: “In such a person God is the very essence, the life, energy, and vital force. The man himself is a mere instrument, a medium of God.”
St. Anselm wrote, “Not all of that joy shall enter into those who rejoice; but they who rejoice shall wholly enter into that joy.”
Do not these quotations suggest persuasively that state of oneness with God which is known to Indian yogis as the highest samadhi? There are Christian writers (Dom Denys Rutledge, for example, in his pretentious book In Search of a Yogi) who claim that to the Christian an absorption of the ego into God would be undesirable. But is this a Christian, or merely a quite normal human reaction? Similar, in fact, is an objection one sometimes hears from worldly people to the joys of heaven: “How can heaven be all that wonderful, when it makes no provision for sex enjoyment?” (They forget that, as children, they lived perfectly happily without sex.) But what do such ego-centered writers make of Jesus’ own words, “Whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it”? (Matthew 16:25) Paul Tillich, the great Protestant theologian, writing from the more expanded vision of a wise man, stated, “Endless living in finitude would be hell.… This has nothing to do with Christianity.”(3)
Let us see what Christian saints have said further on the subject of infinity as a definition of divine awareness.
Meister Eckhart, a great mystic, said of souls that are merged in God, “By grace they are God with God.”
“I, who am infinite,” wrote St. Catherine of Sienna, “seek infinite works — that is, an infinite perfection of love.”
St. Bernard wrote, “Just as a little drop of water mixed with a lot of wine seems entirely to lose its own identity, while it takes on the taste of wine and its color… so it will inevitably happen that in saints every human affection will then, in some ineffable manner, melt away from self and be entirely transfused into the will of God.”
“A man who has attained the final degree of perfection,” wrote St. Simeon the New Theologian, “is dead and yet not dead, but infinitely more alive in God.… He is inactive and at rest, as one who has come to the end of all action of his own. He is without thought, since he has become one with Him who is above all thought.” How closely these words resemble Paramhansa Yogananda’s description, in Autobiography of a Yogi, of his first glimpse of cosmic consciousness: “The flesh was as though dead, yet in my intense awareness I knew that never before had I been fully alive.”
Of St. Simeon’s experience of samadhi, his disciple, Nicetas Stathos, wrote: “Once, while offering up a pure prayer to God to be drawn into intimate converse with Him, he had a vision: Behold, the atmosphere began to shine through his soul, and though he was inside his cell, it seemed to him that he was lifted up high beyond its confines. It was then the first watch of the night. As this light from above began to shine like an aurora, the building and everything else disappeared, and he no longer believed himself to be in the house at all. Quite outside himself, as he gazed with his whole soul at this light that had appeared to him, it increased bit by bit, making the atmosphere more brilliant, and he felt himself taken, with his whole body, away from the things of earth.”
Saints, keenly aware of how impossible it would be to describe the Indescribable, usually speak of it in more or less vague terms. A few, however, have tried to suggest their experience in words.
“Divine darkness,” wrote St. Dionysius, “is the unapproachable light in which God is professed to live.”
And Basil the Great wrote, “Utterly inexpressible and indescribable is Divine beauty, blazing like lightning.… If we name the brightness of dawn, or the clearness of moonlight, or the brilliance of sunshine, none of it is worthy to be compared with the glory of True Light, and is farther removed therefrom than are the deepest night and the most terrible darkness from the clear light of midday.”
The Bible, too, describes God in many passages as a great Light. The thirty-sixth Psalm states, “For with thee is the fountain of life: in thy light shall we see light.”
St. Paul wrote, “For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” (2 Corinthians 4:6)
Christ is spoken of in the Bible as “the only begotten son of God.” Does this make us sons of God in a different sense from Jesus? Or has the term “the only begotten” a subtle, mystical meaning? On one side of this argument we have the judgment of orthodox theologians, but on the other that of great saints. Theologians contend that we are radically different from Jesus. But great saints have put it as a difference, rather, in the degree of Self-awareness. They say that we are, as St. Paul put it, sons by “adoption” only until the Divine Life courses through our veins. When that point is reached, “There is no difference,” quoting Meister Eckhart, “between the only begotten son and the soul.”
“The disciple is not above his master,” Jesus said, “but every one that is perfect shall be as his master.” (Luke 6:40) And, “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” (Matthew 5:48)
“If we are [God’s] children,” St. Paul wrote, “we share His treasures, and all that Christ claims as his will belong to all of us as well!” (Romans 8:17) Later in the same chapter Paul speaks of Christ in relation to his followers as “the eldest of a family of many brothers.”
In what way is Jesus Christ the “only begotten son of God”? Not as a man, certainly. Nor yet as an individual soul. The very word Christ is a title meaning “The Anointed of God.” Christ is part of the infinite Trinity,(4) an aspect of God Himself. Jesus was called “the Christ” because his consciousness was identified with God’s presence in all creation. The Christ is the “only begotten son” because Christ consciousness is omnipresent. It is not personal at all in an egoic sense. “I move my hand,” said St. Simeon, “and Christ moves, who is my hand.”
“God,” St. Paul wrote, “created all things by Jesus Christ.” (Ephesians 3:9) How could God have created the vast universe, with its billions of galaxies, through a single, little being? That kind of thinking was possible only in our days of ignorance as a civilization, when God Himself was regarded as a bearded old Gentleman seated on a golden throne somewhere high up in the sky. (Who, now, will attempt to describe anything as “up,” in cosmic terms?)
“Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods?” (John 10:34) Thus Jesus answered the Jews, when they accused him of blasphemy for telling them, “I and my Father are one.” He didn’t say, “My Father says so, and you’d better believe it or you’ll go to hell!” He said, “You are that, too,” and went on to explain that the only difference between them and him was that he had been “sanctified” by the Father, a fulfillment they had yet to achieve.
Jesus himself distinguished between his human self and the omnipresent Christ consciousness, with which he was inwardly identified. In both cases he used the pronoun “I,” but the meaning differed according to his emphasis.(5) Speaking impersonally, he said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) And again impersonally, “The Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son.” (John 5:22) His reference here to the Son is to the Christ consciousness with which his own consciousness was perfectly identified. But when someone addressed him as “Good Master,” he replied, reflecting then that person’s consciousness of him as a man, “Why callest thou me good? There is none good but one, that is, God.” (Matthew 19:17)
It was in his overarching spirit that Jesus could say truly, “Before Abraham was, I am.” (John 8:58) It was from a consciousness of omnipresence that he said, “Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” (Matthew 18:20) It was of his infinite Self, not his physical body, that he spoke when he said, “Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life.” (John 6:54) It was to rebuke teachers who drew the devotion of their students to themselves, instead of directing it to the Infinite Christ, that he said, “All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers.” (John 10:8) Had he been referring, as many Christians imagine, to the prophets before him in time, he would not have said also, “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.” (Matthew 5:17)
“Thou art That,” say the Indian scriptures—“Aham brahm asmi (I am Brahman).” Christians who cannot imagine a higher destiny than eternal confinement in a little body would do well to meditate on the parable of the mustard seed, which Jesus likened to the kingdom of heaven. The mustard seed, he said, though tiny, grows eventually to become a tree, “so that the birds of the air come and lodge in its branches.” (Matthew 13:32) Even so, the soul in communion with the Lord expands to embrace the infinity of consciousness that is God.(6)
And Christians who imagine themselves inherently sinful, rather than sinning under the influence of delusion, would do well to meditate on the parable of the prodigal son, whose true home was in God. And, if those Christians aspire to heaven, they might ponder these words of Jesus, “No man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven.” (John 3:13)
Sectarian Christians have a difficult time explaining the Second Coming of Christ as an objective event in history. Consider these words of Jesus, “When you are persecuted in one town, take refuge in another; I tell you this: before you have gone through all the towns of Israel the Son of man will have come.” (Matthew 10:23) And consider again these words, when Jesus was discussing his Second Coming: “Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.” (Matthew 24:34) And how could “all the tribes of the earth see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory”? (Matthew 24:30) There would have to be millions of Christs on millions of clouds for all the nations to see him!
To great saints and yogis, these statements are perfectly clear, for to them it is obvious that what he was saying was that, in the cloud-like light of inner vision, he would come again at any time, anywhere, to souls whose hearts were pure and, therefore, receptive to his grace.
As Jesus put it, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” (Matthew 5:8)
At his Sunday worship services Yogananda would present deep truths from the Bible, then compare them to Krishna’s teachings in the Bhagavad Gita. He also wrote a long series of articles about Christ’s teachings, published in Self-Realization Fellowship’s magazine under the title “The Second Coming of Christ.” I have presented his teachings in two books of mine: Revelations of Christ Proclaimed by Paramhansa Yogananda, and The Promise of Immortality: The True Teaching of the Bible and the Bhagavad Gita, which consists of commentaries on parallel passages out of those two great scriptures.
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Laurie Pratt it was who changed his words, which I’d quoted exactly, from, “Wherever God is” to “Wherever a devotee of God is.”
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From his lecture “Symbols of Eternal Life.”
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Paramhansa Yogananda explained the Christian Trinity (God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost) in a cosmic sense. God the Father, he said, is the Infinite Consciousness from which all things were manifested. God’s consciousness was one and undivided (“Hear O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is One”); apart from that consciousness there was no substance out of which the universe could have been made. The universe is His dream. To produce the dream, the Creator had to set a portion of His consciousness into motion. You, I, our earth, the sun and galaxies, our thoughts and inspirations, our very longing to be one with Him again — all are products of the vibrations of His consciousness, separate manifestations of the vast primal vibration of Aum, the Holy Ghost.
The Son of the Trinity represents the underlying presence in all vibratory creation of the calm, unmoving consciousness of the Creator, so called because it reflects the Father’s consciousness. Vibratory creation itself is also known as the Divine Mother. The devotee must commune first with Aum, or the Divine Mother. Uniting his consciousness with that, he must proceed to realize his oneness with the Son. Only after achieving union with the Son can he proceed toward oneness with the Father beyond creation.
The Hindu scriptures name this eternal Trinity, Sat Tat Aum. Sat stands for the Spirit, the Supreme Truth, which is God the Father. Tat is the Kutastha Chaitanya, the Christ consciousness which underlies all creation. And Aum is the Word, the Holy Ghost, called also the Comforter in the Bible.
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In the Hindu scriptures, too, the first person singular is often used to describe both the infinite consciousness of a master and the limited, ego-consciousness of an unawakened human being.
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In what other way that makes sense can this passage be understood? Can anyone imagine an astral world, or universe, growing from a tiny seed “eventually to become a tree”? A literal interpretation, contrary to the very purpose of illustrations, would only obfuscate. It could not clarify.
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