These are some of my thoughts taken from the teachings of Paramahansa Yogananda.
These concepts can be explored in The Science of Religion, by Paramahansa Yogananda and Experiencing God Within, an SRF video featuring Brother Anandamoy.
Everyone is seeking two things: (1) freedom from suffering and (2) eternal existence in bliss. First of all, we know what pain and suffering is. It is a common experience to all of us. And we want a permanent end to it. Secondly, everyone recognizes that self-preservation is one of the strongest drives. Why? It is because no one wants to die. No one wants existence to end! Not only that, as a part of eternal existence, everyone wants to have unending happiness, joy, or bliss. This concept of an unending blissful existence is called satchitananda.
Whatever a person does in life, he is ultimately guided by these two motivations. No matter what an individual professes outwardly, his actions, guided by these universal urgings, constitute his or her practice of religion. An atheist, in this sense, can be said to be religious. Even a criminal can be said to be religious in his search; though in the process he ignorantly causes much suffering among others. One’s religion can benefit or harm others depending on how expansive or how contractive one’s identification is.
While outward religious practices can never be universalized and made one, the inner motivations of all religions can be said to be universal by observation of these goals again:
1) Seeking freedom from suffering.
2) Seeking an eternal blissful existence.
Isaiah 45:7 I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things. (KJV)
That is why we cannot find endless bliss and freedom from suffering here. We cannot split the duality of this world in half and only have the good. It is impossible. But we can find what we are looking for in God.
And where can God be experienced? “The Kingdom of God is within.” It is only within. This does not mean that we withdraw from all activity in the world. It only means that we do not expect our ultimate fulfillment from the world. We must always maintain our duties and responsibilities in society by doing our part. But on our own time we should “seek the kingdom of God first.”
The Bible teaches the same thing about the fall of mankind:
14 Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire.
15 Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee. (KJV)
Walking “up and down in the midst of the stones of fire” is the energy moving properly, as God intended, in the wheels of energy, in the chakras of the spiritual spine and upper regions of the brain. The holy mountain of God is the highest chakra where God is directly perceived. This is Mount Zion, the thousand-rayed lotus. This is the physical location of Eden, not somewhere in Iraq.
Again the stones of fire are the chakras. “Till iniquity was found in thee,” means that the energy went out and down, as in the original sin, and in the fall from the Eden of Divine consciousness.
16 By the multitude of thy merchandise they have filled the midst of thee with violence, and thou hast sinned: therefore I will cast thee as profane out of the mountain of God: and I will destroy thee, O covering cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire. (KJV)
Here the awareness falls from
the highest region of Divine consciousness (the mountain of God) because
of the downward and outward flow of energy, contrary to the design of the
And an highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called The way of holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it; but it shall be for those: the wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein. (KJV)
Therefore the redeemed of the LORD shall return, and come with singing unto
Zion; and everlasting joy shall be upon their head: they shall obtain gladness and joy; and sorrow and mourning shall flee away. (KJV)
8 He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of his people shall he take away from off all the earth: for the LORD hath spoken it.
Douglas F. Couch
November 25, 1999