Archive for the ‘Christianity’ Category


Christmas is named after Christ. This is the birthday of Lord Jesus, the Saviour Christ, the Yogi of the East. He was born in a stable at Bethlehem, of Mary and Joseph, the obscure village carpenter. Mary and Joseph made the stable a home for Christ, the King, the Prince of Peace. The birth of Jesus is celebrated all over the world as the sacred Christmas.

Lord Jesus was an embodiment of mercy, love and humility. He was an apostle of non-violence and peace. His body was crucified, but his voice has been speaking through the centuries.

The message of Christmas is the message of universal love. It is the message of ineffable divine glory and splendour. The message of Christmas is the message of peace and goodwill among all nations.

Christmas is more than a day of rejoicing and festivity. It is a day for realizing the Christ-consciousness or cosmic consciousness. It is a day for remembering the noble deeds of Lord Jesus and his sacred life of pristine purity. Christmas comes and Christmas goes, but let the spirit of Christmas be ever with you all.

Merry-making is not Christmas at all. Christmas does not consist in ringing bells and singing songs, exchanging mutual gifts and sending Christmas cards, and in enjoying rich repasts and heavy dinners and eating cakes.

Christmas is a state of spiritual awakening. To realize the Kingdom of Heaven within yourself, to hold communion with the Lord in the chambers of your heart, to regain your lost divinity, to attain Christ-consciousness or cosmic consciousness, to love all, to include all in the warm embrace of your love is real Christmas.

Realize the spirit of Christ. Walk in the footprints of Christ. Dive deep into the heart of Jesus. Ever seek to express, in your daily life, love, joy and peace. Imbibe Christ’s message of love and sacrifice. Manifest the latent Christ within you. Follow the Sermon on the Mount. Attain God-consciousness. Live in the spirit of Christ’s teachings. Annihilate this little self-arrogating personality and melt yourself in Christ or the Universal Soul. This is real Christmas.

All wish to enter the Kingdom of God. But how many of you possess the real spirit of Christ ? How many of you are real Christians ? How many of you follow the teachings, precepts and doctrines of Christ ? How many of you love your neighbours as your own self ? Those who are endowed with purity of heart, humility, universal love, generosity and nobility – they only can attain the Kingdom of God or supreme peace and immortality.

The spirit or heart of Christ is seriously lacking in the vast majority of persons. The love of Christ is badly wanted. What is Christmas without love, mercy and purity ? Everybody wants to exploit his neighbour. One nation wants to destroy another nation. Is this Christmas ? Is this the teaching of Christ ?

Real Christmas never comes and goes. It is eternal. Feel the spirit of Christmas not only on one day, but throughout the year. Every day is a Christmas day for a real follower of Christ, for a thirsting aspirant. May you all walk the path that Jesus laid out! May you all be living embodiments of the Sermon on the Mount! May you realize the Kingdom of God within you here and now!

Sources: This article is an excerpt from the following books by Swami Sri Sivananda:

1. Lives of Saints.
2. Life and Teachings of Lord Jesus. 


One of the essential goals of Paramahansa Yogananda’s mission was “to reveal the complete harmony and basic oneness of original Christianity as taught by Jesus Christ and original Yoga as taught by Bhagavan Krishna; and to show that these principles of truth are the common scientific foundation of all true religions.”

To the public at large, Jesus propounded a simple philosophy of faith, love, and forgiveness. He spoke often in parables, pregnant with timeless morals. But to his close disciples he taught deeper truths, truths that have their correspondence in the deepest metaphysical concepts of the more ancient yoga philosophy.

When his disciples questioned Jesus, “Why speakest thou unto them in parables?” he answered, “Because is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but them it is not given….Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand” (Matthew 13:10, 11, 13).

The full understanding of Jesus’ original teachings — including the fact that he bestowed on his disciples the esoteric techniques of yoga meditation — is revealed in Paramahansa Yogananda’s in-depth commentary on the Gospels: The Second Coming of Christ: The Resurrection of the Christ Within You.  In his Introduction to that work, Yogananda wrote:

“Jesus Christ is very much alive and active today. In Spirit and oc­casionally taking on a flesh-and-blood form, he is working unseen by the masses for the regeneration of the world. With his all-embracing love, Jesus is not content merely to enjoy his blissful consciousness in Heav­en. He is deeply concerned for mankind and wishes to give his fol­lowers the means to attain the divine freedom of entry into God’s Infinite King­dom.

He is disappointed because many are the churches and temples founded in his name, often prosperous and powerful, but where is the com­munion that he stressed — actual contact with God? Jesus wants temples to be es­tablished in human souls, first and foremost; then established outward­ly in physical places of worship. Instead, there are countless huge edifices with vast congregations being indoctrinated in church­ianity, but few souls who are really in touch with Christ through deep prayer and meditation.

“To reestablish God in the temples of souls through revival of the original teachings of God-communion as propounded by Christ and Krishna is why I was sent to the West by Mahavatar Babaji….

“Babaji is ever in communion with Christ; together they send out vibrations of redemp­tion and have planned the spiritual technique of salvation for this age.”

Source: http://www.yogananda-srf.org/lineageandleadership/The_SRF_Line_of_Gurus.aspx


Jesus! Light of the world! My Saviour! Where are You?

For, in this dark hour when mankind rushes headlong towards its own destruction, there is urgent need for Thee!

Where are You, O Saviour? Have You not promised that You will never leave us comfortless and that You will come to us? This, indeed, is the time when you should reveal yourself to us so that we might follow You in peace and joy.

Alas, my Good Shepherd! Many of Thy sheep are lost. But, we don’t despair. How kind and gracious You are! You take a supreme delight in bringing the lost sheep back to the fold. Each lost sheep adds to Your delight. Come, come, there is great work and greater delight awaiting You.

Where are You, O Saviour? Temples have been built for You all over the world. Literally, there is no part of the globe where people do not profess to be Your followers. Truly, my Lord, the sun never sets over Thy Kingdom on Earth. But, alas, the very people who owe allegiance to You, have surrendered themselves to the evil hands of Satan. They seek to serve You on Sundays and mammon on the rest of the days.

Lord, if a man loves You he will keep Your words, and, the Father will love him and You will come unto him and make Your abode with him. Today people remember Your name but have forgotten Your words—the comforting balm, the invaluable treasure, the fountain of bliss, the nectar of immortality, the philosopher’s stone, that transformed man into divinity.

You had given us Your great Commandment: “Love one another, as I have loved you,” and You have shown us by Your own life that You could (and did) give up Your life itself for our sake. Not only is such love vanishing from the face of the earth today, but in his greed, fear and hatred, man is ready to cut the throat of his brother. Where are You, O Saviour? Come, come: ere it is too late.

When will people realise that “a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth?” When will they seek the Kingdom of God and let the other things be added unto them at His will? Can there be a warning, stronger and clearer, than Your words: “Take heed and beware of covetousness.”

Where are You, O Saviour? Come, come, and remind man that he has in his hands a stone with which he can get two fruits at one stroke. If only he understands aright, and practises Your precept: “Sell that ye have, and give alms, and provide yourselves bags which wax not old, a treasure in the heaven that faileth not, where no thief approacheth, neither moth corrupteth,” he will not only achieve his own salvation, but will create harmony and peace around him and there will be brotherhood and prosperity in the world.

Where are you, O Saviour? Your children for whom you gave up Your life itself—the poor, the downtrodden, the faithful, the persecuted—are oppressed and are deprived of even the little they have. Their oppressors whom You sought to save through Your life-transforming Message of Love and Oneness, are once again straying away into the path of inequity. You have commended: “When thou makest a feast, call the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind, and thou shalt be blessed.” But, everywhere we see feasts and festivities, dinners and garden parties to which only the friends and rich neighbours are invited! And, what do they do? In Your sage counsels were the seeds of peace and prosperity. Discarding them, they gather only to plot against each other, and together against a third. Come, O Saviour; now is the time for Your clarion call.

Lord! Forget not Your Promise: “Whatever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do.” In Your Holy Divine Name, I pray: Come, O Supreme Monarch of the world! Enthrone Yourself in the hearts of all men. Even as You said: without You nothing can be done.

Where are You, O Saviour! “Thou art where Thy Word is.” This have You revealed in Your luminous utterances: that You are one with Your Law. This Law is the Law of Unity, of Brotherhood, of Love, of Humility, of Forgiveness, of Righteousness, of Charity. I pray to You, on this Most Holy Day of Your Birth here: take Your birth once again in the hearts of all men and women all over the world and take Your birth in the form of this Divine Law. Thus would humanity be saved, and thus would Jesus, my Lord, the Son of God, be proclaimed as the Eternal Saviour.

Come, Prince of Peace! For Your Second Coming are Your chosen children, the saints and men-of-God all over the world, praying and waiting. Come in the form of Your fiery words. Come in the form of the Sermon on the Mount, every word aglow with Your Divine Light. Coming into man’s heart, let Your Word become the blood of his blood, breath of his life, soul of his soul. Only thus transformed into the very images of Your Word shall men regain the Eternal Life, Infinite Joy and Perennial Peace that passeth understanding.

On this Holy Christmas Night, may the Lord be reborn in the hearts of every man and woman in the whole world!

(Life and Teachings of Lord Jesus)


Combining as it does, the joy of life and the Spirit of God, the festival of Christmas comes year after the approaching herald of a new year, with its sweet message and silent shifting of our attention, more and yet more to the spiritual pursuits in which alone consist man’s real peace, true progress, and everlasting glory.

Whether it was Jane Taylor or Watts who affirmed, “Lord, I ascribe it to Thy grace, and not to chance, as others do, that I was born of Christian race” it is no expression of any spirit of fanaticism but a humble acknowledgement of the excellent benefits that the genuine Christian way and style of life confers upon one; it is an eloquent tribute to the First Christmas divinely celebrated in the Christ’s crib one thousand, nine hundred and fifty-six years ago, a tribute paid by one who has reaped in experience the life-making fruits of the seeds sown by the birth of Christ.

Besides that elevation of sentiments that inspiration for the inmost spirit in man, that gladness of heart for all, Happy Christmas renews and revivifies in us splendid spiritual values, unyielding spirit of courage, hope, service and sacrifice, a wider and more profound meaning of life to live by. Nothing but a complete volume of weighty writing becomes necessary for any satisfactory narration of the Great Meaning that Christmas has always held for each of us.

May this Christmas bring to everyman on earth, immense happiness, persisting peace, a new strength, a long life of service, love, sacrifice and spiritual progress!

This message was written in 1956 for including in the special Christmas Issue of ‘The Guardian’, Madras.

(Life and Teachings of Lord Jesus) 


A Christian thinks, “There will be peace if all people embrace Christianity”. A Muslim thinks, “There will be peace if all people embrace Islam”. This is an erroneous notion. Why do people in the world fight ? Why do Catholics and Protestants fight ? Why do Saivites and Vaishnavites fight ? Why do brothers fight among themselves ? The heart must change. Greed and selfishness must perish. Then alone there will be peace in the world.

People merely talk of religion. They are not interested in practicing it, in living it. If Christians lived by the Sermon On The Mount, if the Buddhists followed the Noble Eightfold Path, if the Muslims truly followed the teachings of the Prophet, and the Hindus shaped their life in accordance with the teachings of the Lord, of saints and sages, there will be peace everywhere.

Peace, to be lasting and constructive, must be achieved through God. There can be no peace without the Lord or God. God is Peace. Root yourself in Peace or God. Now you are fit to radiate peace.

(pg. 314, Bliss Divine)


Swami Sivananda, “Hells are not imaginary fiction as ordinarily conceived of by the modern rationalistic mind….Hells, therefore, are as much real worlds as the regions of Indra or this mortal earth of ours. They are regions with difference only in the subtlety of the plane of their manifestation. They differ in the degree of the state of Consciousness revealed through them. The sufferings inflicted on the sinners may be taken to mean either an actual birth in such regions, or a life on earth with such entanglements, where one will undergo such pains either directly or through the agency of others. (pg. 97, What Becomes of the Soul After Death).

According to Sanatana Dharma, Naraka is a place where souls are sent for the expiation of their sins. There is just not one naraka, but several. To be specific, there are seven. In these seven, there are 29 regions of suffering (pg. 26, Karma & Diseases). Often, when references are made to “hell”, it is always in the plural, viz., “hells”, “hellish planets”, etc. They are called by several names: Raurava, Maharaurava, Vahni, Vaitarani and Kumbhika. These abodes are meant for short stay. The places where souls dwell longer to suffer are Tamisra (darkness) and Andhatamisra (blinding darkness).

Tamisra
Those people who lay hands on another’s wealth, children and wives are born in Tamisra region. The Jiva experiences there extreme pain being bound with mortal cords and violently hurled into the dark regions. He has no food or drink. He is beaten with clubs, and by holding out threats and being brought to a state of weary affliction, the Jiva drops down in a swoon.  (pg. 26, Karma & Diseases)

Andhatamisra
In Andhatamisra, Jivas are born who deceive husbands and appropriate to them selves their wives and other property. Such Jivas are cast down into this hell to suffer torments where they lose all understanding and sense through excessive pain. The Jiva suffers like a tree whose roots are cut. (pg. 26, Karma & Diseases)

Raurava
Those who grossly identify themselves with this physical body and regard the wealth of the world as their own, fall into a hell called Raurava. Those people who torment people here on earth become subject to the torment of poisonous worms called Rurus in this dangerous region.

Maharaurava
Maharaurava is of the same type. Those men who indulge in passions are eaten here by carnivorous (flesh-eating) animals.

Kumbhipaka
In the hell called Kumbhipaka, dreadful fiends begin to boil in oil that cruel and merciless person who cooks and eats living animals, birds and the like.

The seven hells are superintended by Chitragupta and others. Yama is the chief ruler in those seven hells also. Chitragupta and others are only superintendents and lieutenants employed by Yama. They are all under Yama’s government and suzerainty. Chitragupta and others are directed by Yama.

For those of us who are familiar with Srimad Bhagavad Gita’s pronouncement about the soul: “Weapons cut It not, fire burns It not, water wets It not, wind dries It not” (2:23), may find this notion of the perfect soul that is not affected by anything not congenital or innate to its nature a little contradictory. However, if you read Gita 4:14 (“….He who knows Me thus is not bound by actions.”), you will know what the first sentence means. Refer also to Gita 16:16, 16:21, 1:42, 1:44. [Please see some excerpts from Swami Sivananda’s “What Becomes of the Soul After Death” at the bottom of this article: the point about how could a perfect soul suffer will be further elucidated].

This idea of expiation in hells is mentioned especially in our Vedas, Itihaasa and Puranas and even in the Samhitas  Aranyakas and Upanisads. In Iso Upanisad, for instance, speaks of ‘darkness’ instead of hell. Srimad Bhagavatam, Garuda Purana and Visnu Purana have elaborate descriptions of many hells. They are situated above Garbhodaka ocean. {Bhagavatam 5:26:5)

Yama Dharama Raja, the Lord of Justice, puts living beings after death for appropriate punishment, for example, in boiling oil. According to Madhvacharya, the propounder of the Dawitin philosophy, even Mukti-yogyas (=souls that are eligible for mukti or moksha or liberation) can experience naraka. The evidence of which can be found in Mahabarath, for instance: Yudisthira maharaj, who was in every way a fit candidate for moksha, went to naraka (hell), but momentarily, to atone for a sin he committed on the battle field.

After the period of punishment is complete, souls that entered the hell are reborn on earth in human or animal bodies. Therefore neither naraka nor swarga are permanent abodes.

Naraka, which is often referred to as Yama Loka is not equivalent of the Christian or Muslim Hell. Unlike most other religions, especially Abrahamic religions, according to Sanatana Dharma hell  is a temporary purgatorium for sinners or papis: Yama’s divine assistant Lord Chitragupta maintains a record of the individual deeds of every living being in the world, and based on the complete audit of his deeds, dispatches the soul either to swarga or to the various Narakas according to the nature of their sins.

In this regard, as explained above, no one, not even people who are fit for moksha and people, who have done a majority of good deeds, could come to naraka (akaYama Loka) for redemption from the small sins that they have committed—after they have suffered for their sins, they would incarnate in any form or be sent to heaven, depending on their karma.

At the time of death, Yamadutas (sometime referred to as “Yama Pinggalas“) come to take away sinful souls. Swami Haridoss, quoting the scriptures, has said Yama personally comes only for virtuous souls.

Excerpts from “What Becomes of the Soul After Death“:

“There are two kinds of souls, viz., the individual soul or Jivatman or the human soul, and the Supreme Soul or Paramatman. The individual soul is an image or reflection of the Supreme Soul. Just as the Sun is reflected in different pots of water, so also the Supreme Soul is reflected in different minds of different persons.

“Soul is spirit. It is immaterial. It is intelligence or consciousness. It is Chaitanya. Individual soul is reflected Chaitanya. It is this individual soul that departs from the body after its death and goes to heaven, with the senses, mind, Prana, impressions, desires and tendencies. It is endowed with a subtle astral body when it proceeds to heaven.

“When the water in the lake is absorbed, the reflection of, the Sun in the water merges in the Sun itself. Even so, when the mind is annihilated through meditation, the individual soul merges itself in the Supreme Soul or Paramatman. This is the goal of life.

“The individual soul has become impure through cravings, desires, egoism, pride, greed, lust and likes and dislikes. Hence it is finite (Paricchinna), it is endowed with limited knowledge (Alpajna) and limited power (Alpa-Saktiman). The Supreme Soul is Infinite, Omniscient and Omnipotent. It is an embodiment of knowledge and bliss.

“The individual soul is under bondage through ignorance and limiting adjuncts such as mind, body and senses. It is mere appearance. It is illusory. When it attains knowledge of the Imperishable, it is freed from limiting adjuncts and bondage. Just as the bubble becomes one with the ocean, so also the Jiva becomes one with the Supreme Soul when ignorance is destroyed.” [pgs. 14-15]