Paramhansa Yogananda came to earth with a dual mission: to unite East and West and to uplift human consciousness. In one of his recorded talks Yoganandaji declared, “We have started a great movement. I came for the special dispensation — interpretation of the scriptures and giving Kriya Yoga, that key to heaven.”
He explained that the Biblical expression describing Jesus Christ as “the only begotten of the Father” refers not to the man, Jesus, but to the infinite Christ Consciousness with which he was identified. The word “Christ” is not a name, he went on to clarify, but a title meaning “the anointed one.”
In the East Krishna is revered in the same way that Christ is in the West. Master said that both of these two great avatars, Krishna and Jesus, fully manifested the Christ Consciousness, or Kutastha Chaitanya. We can understand this state as the divine Intelligence present in every atom of creation.
Jesus tried repeatedly to get people to see him not as his human form, but as the divine consciousness that he had attained. Furthermore, he emphasized that this state was their own highest potential. The Christ Consciousness is called “the only begotten” because its presence permeates the whole of creation. It is the unmoving stillness at the heart of everything, and at the heart of you and me.
So how do we move towards Christ Consciousness? Yoganandaji taught a number of different ways, and here are two of them: sympathy for others and meditation.
Sympathy as a Path to Christ Consciousness
Yogananda said, “When genuine feeling for others comes into your heart, you are beginning to manifest that great consciousness.” Last week during Ananda Village’s annual Christmas concert, I had an unusual experience along these lines.
As I listened to the choir singing divine music, I felt deeply inspired. Then, as I looked at the faces of the choir members — some old and some new — I felt an expansion of my heart. I knew that many of them were going through life tests of health problems, or loss of loved ones, or uncertainty about the future. Yet they were transcending their personal challenges and producing beautiful music for us all.
As I continued to look at their radiant faces, I felt a shift in my own consciousness. I wasn’t looking at them with sympathy, but I was a part of them. The music, the choir members, and I — we were all one. I sat in silent wonder at this experience.
Try this yourself, especially now during the Christmas season. Let your heart reach out to feel others’ reality, and see how your consciousness expands beyond its present limits.
The Metaphysical Route to Christ Consciousness
Yoganandaji started the tradition of an all-day Christmas meditation, and this practice is observed in Ananda’s communities and centers throughout the world. (You can participate in our virtual Christmas meditation through Online with Ananda.)
It takes determination and dedication to keep your energy strong for an eight-hour meditation, but the results are well worth it. You can taste the joy of experiencing more deeply that greater universal awareness that is Christ Consciousness. And after the day’s prolonged effort, you can feel a greater depth in your meditations for months to come. It also awakens in you the desire for more frequent longer meditations, to hold onto and expand the states you’ve experienced.
Jyotish and I wish you Christmas blessings of inner joy, divine love, and expanded awareness. I’ll close with this prayer from our Guru: “O Lord! Make my heart big enough to hold Thee, that it throb with the Christ Consciousness in everything. Then shall I enjoy the festivity of Thy birth in my mind, my soul, and in oneness with every pulsing atom.”
With joy in God, Christ, and Guru,