Monday, January 30, 2006

Crazy Jesus, Yogic Jesus

Goldeneye posted a comment below on our Jesus thread:

The long and short of it is that Goldeneye thinks the idea that Jesus was a yogi is a new age assertion with little foundation. Of course this is not true. It's a Hindu and Buddhist interpretation, and has been for as long as those cultures have had contact with Christianity. Because "new age" spirituality has brought eastern ideas to the west, this idea gets associated with new agers alot, but it doesn't originate with them. The reality is that those traditions which have a long-standing yogic tradition, such as Hinduism and Buddhism, readily see someone like Jesus as an accomplished yogi. The stories about him are virtuallyidentical to the stories about yogis in those traditions, and when they first heard about Jesus, they simply assumed that he was a yogi also.

The idea that Jesus could have been the son of God and not a yogi would seem preposterous to easterners. From their point of view, the whole notion of being a Divine Incarnation, much less having magical abilities like walking on water, raising the dead, and healing the sick, without having yogic ability would seem as ridiculous as building a rocketship without knowing advanced physics would seem to a scientist. The modern Christian view of Jesus, however, is that he was not a yogi, but was able to work miracles simply because he was the son of God, and if he asked for it to be done, God would do it. Otherwise, he was just an ordinary guy who also happened to know he was the son of God, and was thus free of sin. But the very idea that one could be free of sin and not be yogically awake would seem absurd to an easterner. It would be like having eyes and yet not being able to see.

Christians have the same problem with yogic ability that they have with science itself. They simply imagine that God works without any mechanism at all, that when Jesus heals the sick it's just like waving a magic wand and done. They don't understand that there has to be a mechanism of some kind to cause an effect. It's the same problem they have with evolution. They like to propose the idea that God created man and all creatures, or guides evolution in some miraculous way, but they don't propose any such mechanism. They are simply unaware of how the universe works, either physically or subtly, and are even aggressive about not wanting to understand how it works. They defend the idea that God somehow does things in a manner we can't possibly comprehend, when in fact we can comprehend both science and yoga, at least to some degree.

Calling Jesus a yogi doesn't make his actions any less Divine or miraculous. Nor does saying that we evolved from lifeless matter make evolution any less miraculous or Divine. In fact, it's hard to imagine how Jesus could have been what he claimed to be or did what he is supposed to have done without being an accomplished yogi. Realization often manifests spontaneous siddhis, even in those who do not seek them out. There are incidents reported in which both Ramana and Papaji are said to have raised the dead spontaneously. People without realization supposedly can develop yogic siddhis simply by playing with the "technology" of the body's subtle energies, but this is not the same thing, even if the mechanism is similar. In one case the mechanism is activated by an egoic "doer", in the other it is spontaneously activated by someone who is surrendered to God.

The other idea, that Jesus was mentally ill, has been advanced by many of Christianity's critics. It's certainly a credible idea in the abstract, but hard to prove, unless you simply diagnose anyone who claims to talk with God as mentally ill. Mentally ill people do at times appear to have some kind of strange yogic opening of energy that they simply can't handle or conduct, but that may simply be a result of chemical imbalances in their nervous system. Yogis are said to be flirting with insanity if they open their energy circuits prematurely, but that doesn't make all crazy people yogis out of control.

One thing that Goldeneye keeps saying that I have to quarrel with is that Jesus was able to stay under control because he was the son of God. What Jesus said is that we are all sons of God. Meaning that we all have the capacity to realize God, to be made sane by God-Realization, and to spontaneously manifest the powers and siddhis of God, as he did. That means not only becoming sinless by social acts of kindness and refraining from breaking the commandments, but by turning one's heart, mind, body, and breath over to the worship of God, and thus becoming yogically surrendered to the Divine Power which is life and consciousness itself. If Jesus was able to do that, he's deserving of being called a son of God. If not, he's not deserving of the name. So when Christians say Jesus was not a yogi, to me they are saying that he's not a legitimate son of God. Most Hindus and Buddhists would think similarly.

The sad thing about this is that there is a yogic tradition in Christianity that simply isn't openly acknowledged. Christianity is full of yogically alive saints who demonstrated a yogic capacity conduct spiritual force and even enact miracles of various kinds. Not that every saint in the canon was yogically active, many were just good hearted people who did nice things. But some were, and yet they can't really describe the process or make it part of the tradition because it goes against the tradition idea of how God works. Unfortunately it makes Christianity into a backwards religion that simply can't compete on a spiritual level with esoteric Hindusim and Buddhism. Would that this would change, but no present Christian ministry seems to be getting the idea, not that I know of at least (though I'm sure that some people here will undoubtedly correct my misimpression).


Mike said...

I think Jesus uncovered or
saw the core gnosis commonly
available to all living beings,
so he is going to express that.
That he asserted a non-dual understanding is clear by many
of the aphorisms in The Gospel
of Thomas. (#50 is one favorite
of mine.) I.E. "Split a piece
of wood and I am there!"

All this yogic energetic stuff
is secondary. In a way, it's just
the amplification of radiance, light, or life force energy that
comes from resting in the non-dual
awareness "place".

Not enough time now, so I'll sign off till later.

Goldeneye said...

I have to say, Broken Yogi, that after considering the issue I have come to the conclusion that Jesus was unique in his sinless condition and completely authoritative behavior. It is almost silly but one has to assume that Jesus was like a computer, free of human errors. I say this having taken into account the eastern idea that Jesus was an enlightened being. I don't think Jesus' austere state of being was the result of some spiritual practice or progression of evolution. Then again, I won't say he was a freak because it sounds bad to most ears. But he sure was a different kind of being in every respect, hence the only Son of God, the messiah.

bene dawa said...

What an interesting and insightful post, BY. Thank you.

Goldeneye said...

It may be an "interesting" post but there is no evidence that Jesus did any kind of yoga. BY, you were right in addressing the issue of the sinless nature of Jesus. Christianity is more about becoming perfect in the sinless sense than it is about the eastern notion of communing with God through meditation.

I still think you are making the mistake of trying to take people's faith away from them. In this regard you are a lot like Paul was before the experience on the road to Damascus. Will you eventually stop the "slaughtering" of innocent Christians and become a true man of God? Only God could affect that change. Until then, you have an audience with people who neither practice the love of Christ or the compassion of Buddha. But, then again, what kind of attitude could the thought of Adi Da foster but the crazy activity of his denouncers or would-be disciples. Indeed, the recent behavior of Reno on the Daist Forum is indicative of an ego that thinks its enlightened while it breaks every rule of religious and humanitarian conduct.