Dharmadevi and I were speaking with my mother last week to wish her happy holidays. During our conversation she told us that she had dinner with her sister and one of their local parish priests.
Over the course of dinner my mother shared proudly (as moms do!) about Dharmadevi and me and our involvement in Ananda. With all the talk about how we teach meditation and yoga, the priest asked my mom, “Are they Christian?” My mother didn’t know exactly what to say. She responded, “I think so.”
When she was relaying the story to us, it was clear she wanted to hear how we would have responded.
Dharmadevi and I do not attend Catholic church service regularly (really only when we see my mother which is once a year at best). Can we still be considered Catholic? Are we even Christian? Or New Age Heathen? 🙂
More importantly, this experience caused me to ask: What does it mean to be Christian?
As Swami Kriyananda shares in Revelations of Christ, there is a big difference between the original Christianity as taught by Jesus Christ and “Churchianity” that is propounded by religious institutions:
A pressing need exists among Christians today for a fresh outlook on the holy mission and teachings of Jesus Christ. Too long have his supposed representatives—“authorities” in the churches, and scholarly theologians—offered pale platitudes as substitutes for the Truth. Christian belief has become centered ever-increasingly in concepts that are rooted in ordinary human understanding, and not in spiritual insight. It is urgent nowadays for Christ’s message to be proclaimed once again in its thrillingly deep, radiantly beautiful, and eternally wonderful Truth.
It was partly for this purpose that Paramhansa Yogananda was sent by his line of great gurus, and by God, to the West. They commissioned him to “bring back the original yoga teachings of Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita, and the original teachings of Jesus Christ in the Bible.”
Yogananda would sometimes remark wryly, “Jesus Christ was crucified once, but his teachings have been crucified daily for the past two thousand years by persons without spiritual understanding.” – Revelations of Christ
So what are the original teachings of Jesus Christ?
Etymologically, Christ means “the anointed one.” Interestingly, “Christ” is also connected to the Sanskrit word Krsna, more commonly known as Krishna, “the all-attractive one.”
Paramhansa Yogananda inspires us to discover the “radiantly beautiful and eternally wonderful Truth” of Christ in a chant called “Search Him Out in Secret Now.” The lyrics are:
Without meditation mind, hither thither wandr’est thou,
Adorable Him, Adorable Him,
Search Him out in secret now,
Search Him out in secret now.
Think of the Holy Season. We are celebrating the birth of Christ — Adorable Him! He, the Christ Consciousness (Adorable Him), is born in us through deep daily meditation and inner communion with God.
To resurrect the original teachings of Christ, Yogananda started the tradition of the all-day Christmas meditation.
Perhaps it is no coincidence that today a rare celestial occurrence is upon us. Not only is it the winter solstice but also what astronomers are calling “The Great Conjunction.” Tonight Jupiter and Saturn come together to form what will look like a “Christmas Star.”
May we form our own Christmas star at the point between the eyebrows. And may the light of Christ be born within us so that we all realize the original meaning of Christianity – to be anointed in the light, love, and joy of the universal Christ consciousness and to share Him with all!
In Christ Love,
Nayaswamis Narayan & Dharmadevi