Kriya Yoga Logo
75th Anniversary Celebration
of Gurudev's Arrival in Puri

Gurudev at Karar Ashram

Dear Divine Kriyavans,

 

During the month of March many auspicious days are observed by the world's religions; Palm Sunday, Good Friday, and Easter by Christians, Passover by Jews, Maha Shivaratri and Holi by Hindus, Magha Puja Day by Buddhist, Hola Mohalla by Sikhs, and the birth of Prophet Zarathushtra by Zoroastrians. Gurudev, Paramahamsa Hariharananda, exhibited during his time in Puri and throughout his life respect and humility for all religions of the world. It is befitting that during the month of March we will contemplate and celebrate the truth that is common to each.

 

It is said that while there are many paths and many religions, truth is one and all paths lead to God. There are many scriptures but they are all holy, divine, and sacred. Baba Prajnananandaji says, "All religions of the world are petals of the same beautiful flower, the flower of life."
Excerpt from River of Compassion

 

Rabi was young during the period of British Rule in India, when Christian missionaries were everywhere propagating the gospel of Jesus. They went from door to door, distributing the holy Bible and other Christian literature free of charge. Encouraged by his father, the schoolboy Rabi began to read the holy Bible. His kind, soft heart sometimes became heavy with the suffering of Jesus, and he would cry. Who knew that this boy later in his life would synthesize the teachings of Christ and Shri Krishna for the benefit of humanity? Haripada knew the future of his son as a spiritual leader. So from a very early age he encouraged the boy to read and comprehend the holy books of other religions. Later, such knowledge helped Rabi in his life as a monk and a teacher, both in India and abroad.

 

This excerpt from River of Compassion talks to how Gurudev from a very early age, even though born into a brahmin Hindu family, was introduced to and began to study the scriptures of other religions. Leaders of the church were often surprised by his thorough knowledge and deep insights into the Bible.

Gurudev was often invited to speak at churches and universities; and occasionally he would be challenged by those wanting to draw attention to the differences between their religion and those of a Kriya Yoga monk; he met those challenges head on with unflinching candor.

River of Compassion - His Second Visit to the West - Curacao, Colombia

In one such meeting there were about six hundred people in the audience. Amongst them were several Catholic priests, nuns, and other religious people. Paramahamsaji sat on his dais and in his inimitable way, bowed to the audience.

 

One priest asked, "Swamiji, we pray aloud together, sing in the church, and read the holy bible, but what do you do?"

 

He answered with love, "In Kriya Yoga we hear only the whispering talk of the invisible soul, and calmly perceive the trinity - the voice of God, the invisible living touch of God, and the divine illumination."

 

Then another elderly priest asked, "Swamiji, are you a Christian? We are all Christians and if you are not a Christian, then what can we learn from you?"

 

Paramahamsaji promptly answered, "Is your God a Christian? To what religion does He belong? Does He dress like you? Is God a Hindu or a Muslim Fakir? How many Gods are there? What type of food does He eat? I have realized there is only one God, who is not Hindu, nor Muslim, nor Christian. He is all-pervading, omniscient, and omnipotent. It is written in the holy Bible, "God made man and woman in His image and He breathed into their nostrils the breath of life. Then man became the living soul." When God is everywhere, he is also in every human being. There is no question of caste, creed, or color. There is no boundary and separation through religions. As the sun is one and the moon is one, so also God is one."

 

Thus he expounded on the deep philosophy of Kriya Yoga and its practical application in daily life.

 




Paramahamsaji synthesized the deeper truths that are common in the scriptures of both the East and the West and shared them with all.

When asked, "What is your religion?" he would usually respond, "My religion is the religion of breath." In this way he embraced all people and all religions; his message was universal.

Read from River of Compassion how his synthesis of scriptural wisdom and love for humanity helped to bring together people of different faiths.

Spirit of Religions - What is Religion?

 

Religion is also known as faith. People practice and believe differently. People believe in God and in their own form of worship; they try to understand the holy books and maintain their faith. With the passage of time some religions have disappeared and new religions have surfaced. The English word "religion" has a Latin origin, from the word religare. Religare means "reunion." So the original root of religion is "union." If religion is reunion, then in the beginning there must have been union, but many people have forgotten this meaning. The foundation of religion is to be united. The question is with whom to be united?

 

In religious thought people want to be united with a holy way of life, with the goal of life, and ultimately, with God. Different religions have different names for God. The Hindus have multiple names for God. The Christians believe in God as the Father, or sometimes the Holy Trinity: God the Father, God the Son, and the Holy Spirit. The Jews speak of Jehovah, and they have many names for God. Muslims speak of Allah. Buddhism and Jainism do not refer to God at all. The concept of union is also the philosophy of yoga. The root meaning of yoga is "to be united with." Yoga, like religion, seeks reunion. Freedom from misery can only be achieved by reuniting with the source.

  


So what is religion?  

 

In the Spirit of Religions, Paramahamsa Hariharananda defines religion to  be "reunion" or to be reunited with the source of all life, God.  

Daily Reflections - Religion

 

Religion is a means to evolve from the lower centers to the higher ones.

 

All religions of the world are petals of the same beautiful flower, the flower of life.

 

Human beings are responsible for creating differences.

 

Religions, based on such man-made difference, become compartmentalized and create further division, instead of harmony.

 

In deep meditation it is easy to understand the spirit behind all religions, and the inner, harmonious unity that links all faiths.

 


In Daily Reflections, Baba Prajnananandaji describes the common thread that binds all religions and emphasizes that differences amongst religions are created by man.

Spirit of Religions - The Essence of All Religions

 

When I came to the path of Kriya Yoga, I received spiritual training under the strict guidance of four great masters: Swami Shriyukteshwarji, Paramahamsa Yoganandaji, Swami Satyanandaji, and Sanyal Mahasaya. They had a universal outlook and a love for all religions. I witnessed their deep insight into the inner meanings of holy books of different religions, and they accepted people of different religions with the same love and compassion. Their outlook was always charged with oneness and unity.

 

In time, through deep meditation and spiritual experience, I realized that the paths of different religions are different, but the goal is one. Rivers flow in many directions, but they all merge in the ocean. Cows are different, but milk is one. Ornaments are many, but gold is one. Spiritual practices are many, but God is one.

 

By practicing Kriya Yoga, I found the essence of all religions is to become united with the source of life.

 

  1. God is one, but people worship in many ways.
  2. All paths lead to the same goal of love and peace.
  3. Breath is common to all living beings, and anyone can reach the state of calm through breath.
  4. Life is a gift of God. Live for self-development. Serve others.
  5. Live a life of compassion and kindness.
  6. Do not bring ego and emotion into your beautiful life and spoil it.
  7. Prayer and meditation bring peace.
  8. Be good and do good. Live a life of self-sacrifice.
  9. Help all, and never hurt any.
  10. Charity and selfless service will expand your heart and life. 


The life and teachings of Gurudev transcend the religious dogma that separates one from another; he spoke of a unity that binds all religions, all people, all of creation, and man with God.

His message was the message of love for God and compassion for all.

In Spirit of Religions Gurudev speaks of the lessons learned from his spiritual training and the essence of all religions.

There are many religions and many paths to God; each with their own scriptures. All of these scriptures are holy and sacred; they are guide books given to us by the realized masters, prophets, saints, and sages that can lead sincere seekers to the truth. Baba Prajnananandaji says, "The teachings of Moses or Jesus do not apply to particular religions; they are for the benefit of all mankind. A person who truly loves God will love Moses, Jesus, Krishna, Buddha, Mohammad, Nanak - all of them. Love has no barrier, no limitation. Through meditation and realization, love is manifest. Love is God; God is love."
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