October 23, 2008

Review: The Second Coming of Christ: The Resurrection of the Christ Within You, a revelatory commentary on the original teachings of Jesus (Paramahansa Yogananda)

I’ve often felt that when it comes to spiritual books, the longer it takes you to read it, the better it is when it comes to spiritual guidance.  If a text is sincere and offers valuable insights and truth, then rather than just breezing through each chapter, you’ll need to read the section or chapter, put the book down and think on it for a while, whether through sitting meditation, going for a walk, or even doing the dishes.  Paramahansa Yogananda’s The Second Coming of Christ is one of those.  In The Second Coming, Yogananda offers interpretations and commentary on the Gospels in the King James Bible.  The book is about communion with the “Christ Consciousness,” to which Jesus of Nazareth was connected, according to Yogananda; further, he says that the second coming of Christ is an awakening of the Christ Consciousness within Christians who are able to fully commune with the Holy Spirit, and thus with God, the Word, or Aum, reflecting of Yogananda’s blending of Christianity and yogic philosophy.  The blending of the two is compatible with the idea of yoga (remember that the word “yoga” means “union”), but not just union of mind/body/spirit, but of union with the Christ Consciousness, which he says anyone and everyone can achieve.  Interestingly, Yogananda also offers a few gentle rebukes to the various Christian churches, who he feels have lost their way and are more interested in autocratic theology than helping followers become one with God.  Fortunately, that’s about as political as The Second Coming of Christ gets, and its not overpowering or detracting from the message of the book at all.  Available from the Self-Realization Fellowship or your local, independent bookseller.

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