Brokers of the Lord
I was baptized in the Catholic belief that the One true God was actually three — a Holy Trinity of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Ironically, when I converted to belief in a Hindu-Yogic God I embraced a new “improved” Christian-Catholic God.
Starting at age five, I went to Catholic masses, Sunday school and Wednesday night Catechism classes. Throughout my Catholic studies I could never really understand how One God could be Three: Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. And, besides – what was the Holy Ghost thing anyway? When I asked my parents and teachers they told me the Holy Ghost was a spirit in our hearts or that the Father revealed the Holy Spirit to faithful believers. You just had to have faith to understand, I was told.
To confuse me further about this Catholic God, my parish priests and catechism teachers encouraged me also to pray to the Virgin Mary, to Saint Anthony or to Saint Francis when I’d sinned or was sick. Heck. There are thousands of Catholic saints that I could pray to for virtually any life situation1. The patron saints could, after my earnest prayers and the grace of God, intercede on my behalf to God. My spiritual brokers.
My Christian-Catholic God consisted of:
- The Father;
- Holy Ghost;
- Plus, 1000s of Saints who could broker a deal with the Lord for me.
Meet My Hindu-Yogic God
Ironically, it wasn’t until I learned about the Hindu-Yogic God that I was able to make sense of my Catholic God. It was during college. I read the Autobiography of a Yogi written by a 20th century Hindu-Yogi from India, Paramahansa Yogananda. The Yogi taught me to understand my Catholic God by embracing a Yogic God with many Sons.
With the Hindu-Yoga God, according to Yogananda, there wasn’t just one Son of God or only one Christ. Ishvara, or the Lord, created many Sons. The many Christs of a Hindu-Yogic God included Jesus, Krishna, Buddha, Shankaracharya, and other saviors. Jesus, I learned in the Autobiography of a Yogi, was one of many Christs who had attained the exalted state of Christ Consciousness2. Ordinary mortal men who practiced advanced yoga-meditation techniques–Yogananda’s yoga, of course–could experience superconsciousness, a mental-spiritual state beyond ordinary consciousness.
Would I convert to this modern Hindu-Yogic God with many Christs? Wouldn’t I go to hell?
Guilt and doubt haunted me. Was I betraying my Catholic God? I had to choose either to keep my Catholic God with only one Son, Jesus, or, select my new Hindu God with many Christs, including Jesus.
Finally, after several maddening weeks of questioning my Christian-Catholic faith, I decided that a God who’d damn to hell ⅔ of the world’s population–those five billion non-Christian human beings who didn’t believe Jesus Christ was the only Son of God3,4–that That spiteful version of a god was no longer worth believing in.
My new Hindu-Yogic version of God seemed modern, inclusive, universal – more god-like. My old version of Catholic God got a major upgrade. I dropped the only one Christ feature and kept the option of praying to 1000’s of spiritual brokers — the Catholic Saints, the Holy Trinity, Jesus Christ — and gained 1000s more Hindu-Yoga brokers in the bargain. This was why I “upgraded” my Christian-Catholic God to my new, “improved” Hindu-Yogic God.
|My Christian-Catholic God||My Hindu-Yogic God||Definitions|
|Father||Ishvara or Shiva (Sat)||Impersonal, unmanifest, outside of Creation “Cosmic Intelligence”|
|Son, Jesus Christ||Brahma (Tat), Sons, Christs: Jesus, Krishna, Buddha, avatars, saviors||Personal, manifest, within Creation “Christ Intelligence”|
|Holy Ghost||Aum (Om)||The “Word”, Holy Spirit, Revelation Sound or Vibration Of Creation|
|Saints||Saints, gurus, sages||Intermediaries, brokers of the Lord|
Swami Yogananda and the Self-Realization Fellowship: A Successful Hindu Countermission to the West for a Christian-apologists argument of theological conundrums of converting from Christian- to Hindu-God belief.
Questions for readers: What was it like for you to convert from Christian to Hindu? Hindu to Christian? Or, to non-theist?
1 There are 10,000 Roman Catholic patron saints. One for virtually every life situation you could think of. Saints for Addicts, for AIDs, for Brewers and Brides, for Headaches, for Nigerians and for Wine Traders – for almost every country, every ailment, or human condition. See the official list of Catholic Saints.http://www.americancatholic.org/Features/Saints/patrons.aspx
2 Liberally, throughout Yogananda’s Autobiography he describes many sons of God or Christs. For example in a footnote: “John 8:31-32. St. John testified: ‘But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name (even to them that are established in the omnipresent Christ Consciousness).’ John 1:12. And, in Chapter 10: “In the ancient city of Benares [in India]… here too the feet of Buddha, Shankaracharya, and many other Yogi-Christs had blessed the soil”. Chapter 24, “In every age of India, yoga has produced men who became truly free, true Yogi-Christs”.
3 Christians comprise 30% of the world’s 7 billion population. Only they are taught to believe Jesus was the only begotten Son. Everybody else, the 2/3 majority who are non-Christians, were going to hell? Nonsense. What kind of god would damn everybody to hell? That’s not a god worth believing in. For Global Religious Populations see Pew Research Center, Global Religious Landscape, Dec 2012. http://www.pewforum.org/files/2014/01/global-religion-full.pdf
4 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life”, John 3:16 KJV. “Therefore [say] I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father”, John 6:65 KJV.