"I made this distinction in a chant I once wrote:"In sabikalpa samadhi yogaI will drown myself in my Self.In nirbikalpa samadhi yogaI will find myself in my Self."
(The Essence of Self-Realization, 1990, p. 196)The aforementioned three stages of Self-realization (Superconsciousness, or attunement with the vibratory current of Om, ChristConsciousness, and Cosmic Consciousness), Yogananda equated with the Hindu version (AUM-TAT-SAT) of the Christian Trinity(Father, Son, and Holy Ghost) in reverse. Yogananda says that one is a Master when he attains Christ Consciousness. [I mustconfess that while I can intellectually understand attunement with AUM, and the realization of Cosmic Consciousness beyondcreation, the concept of Christ Consciousness is something I do not understand where to place among the traditional descriptionof the various stages. Yogananda states:
"In my perceptions, just as I feel my own consciousness in every part of my physical form, I feel you all to be a part of me.Everything that is living I feel within this body. I know the sensations of all. It is not imagination; it is Self-realization. Thisconsciousness is far beyond telepathy. It is awareness of the perceptions of every being. That is the meaning of Christ Consciousness."
(6)In his poemSamadhi, from Songs for the Soul, he gives hints of his realization.And further he writes:
"When he reidentifies with his soul as individualized ever-existing, ever-conscious, ever-new Bliss, he then merges with the all- pervading ever-existing, ever-conscious, ever-new Bliss of Spirit - even as a droplet returns to the sea. Still, that individuality isnever lost; that portion of Spirit eternally retains its "memory" of that individualized existence."
(7)This latter paragraph is consistent with Shabd Yoga wherein the purified soul merges further, losing its identity in the absolute,and the idea of a "memory" of the individualized life is consistent with PB's idea of an ever-spiralling spiritual evolution, even after sahaj is attained. Fortunately there is so much good in the devotional writings of Yogananda that in my opinion it makes up for any difficulty I have with this point, and I find a growing appreciation for his greatness the more I read his writings and stories abouthim. It makes me long for the presence of my own guru.It would certainly, however, be interesting for a current teacher of Kriya yoga to debate with a master of the Radhasoami schoolas well as disciples of the Maharshi, for the former gurus attest to the existence of at least four more planes beyond the causal(which in each case is defined as the mental or ideational seed-realm, and thus still in the domain of the manamaya andvijnanamaya koshas, while the latter consider the causal realm of both shabd and kriya yoga as not the true "causal” realm astraditionally defined as the transcendental root or source of attention and ego-self along with the anandamaya kosha in the rightside of the heart. Both of these schools, moreover, generally argue for and aspire to cosmic, and not transcendental, realization,and therefore are especially difficult to compare with the understanding of sages such as Ramana, Paul Brunton, Shree Atmananda, Adyashanti, etc., who feel such soul-realization to be incomplete and shy of the mark. The truth of the cosmos, thesesages say, can not be understood until the transcendental heart or Self which is "no-self" is realized, and one also realizes that allis Mind. When this no-self realization occurs, as contrasted with states of union, is not clear in the Kriya teachings.Kriya yoga as popularly presented as the modern form of Raja Yoga, and is a mystical school advocating ascension of the soulto the realms of light above. It is therefore similar to gnosticism as well as Shabd Yoga. It does not appear to recognize nor ismention given as far as I have been able to determine of Jnana and Sahaj samadhis, in spite of the fact that Sri Yukteswar isreferred to as "Jnanavatar" Sri Yukteswar. The problem, as discussed above, may or may not be one of terminology only.Paramhansa Yogananda, like Swami Muktananda, speaks with special praise in Autobiography of A Yogi of the causal or super causal realm, the "abode of the siddhas", but in that famous book didn’t mention or emphasize the merits of Nirvikalpa samadhi,which is the fulfilment of this ascending process [although elsewhere he certainly did, and his guru, Sri Yukteswar, certainly did soalso], nor did he, as far as I can tell, speak of advaita vedanta or realization in terms of awakening (bodhi) from the dream of unenlightenment in the precise manner of the advaitic sages. Perhaps he did not do this so as to get a wide audience of westernbeginners "hooked" with fascinating spiritual tales. Perhaps, also, these more advanced teachings were reserved for an inner circle, such as in Ramakrishna hiding a copy of the Ashtavakra Gita strictly for Swami Vivekananda, but I have heard no evidenceof this. The specifics of attaining "Christ Consciousness" and "Cosmic Consciousness" are somewhat and sometimes vague, inmy opinion, as will be further explained.The "problem", if one could call it that, with Kriya Yoga is the same one facing all mystical yogas. The same phenomena canbe experienced from different points of view, say the sages. That is, just as the everyday waking world can be experienced fromthe vantage point of both enlightenment and non-enlightenment, the same is the case with subtle visionary phenomena and higher samadhis. The mystic, prior to Self-Realization, perceives all experiences from the ego's point of view. So the Kriya yogi whoperceives, with his mind's eye, the rings of colored light with a bright white star in the center that represent the subtle planes of the cosmos (as Swami Kriyananda recounts in his book The Path, and as Yogananda mentions in many places) must stillunderstand or "recognize" that experience (from the point of view of truth) for it to be conclusive in terms of spiritual maturity. Thewhite light at the center of the inner vision can not truly be entered or penetrated without ego-transcendence except, perhaps,temporarily, or at the time of death, and in ignorance, and such ego-transcendence is first attained most fundamentally either through knowledge (jnana) or when the spirit-current or attention passes away from its apparent ascending or descending coursein relation to the body-mind to make its way to its transcendent locus at the root of the body-mind in the heart, awakening one tothe witness self. Then the being can awaken further to the truth of itself and the world as the unconditional and non-dimensionalheart or consciousness or Mind itself (universal Self or Soul) in sahaj samadhi.In other words, the quality of "awakeness" can be applied to every succeeding level or stage of growth. The heart or being or consciousness must awaken prior to the experience of the higher structures of the body-mind if passage through these stages isto be free and non-binding. The sage
Savikalpa and Nirvikalpa samadhis; the yogi only experiences them. When hereturns to earth he is for the most part the same as he was, except for the subconscious certainty that there is more than grosslife, but he is not enlightened directly by such experiences. This is not abstract theory alone, with no relevance to beginners onthe Way, for the beginning may determine the end result.Yet the writings of Paramhansa Yogananda are overflowing with great heart-devotion, and have done much good to many, manypeople - including even Robert Adams, who felt jnana without bhakti was dry and lifeless.
“God tries us in all ways; He exposes our weakneses, that we may become aware of them and transmute them into strengths.
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