“Prophets of all lands and ages have succeeded in their God-quest,” writes Sri Sri Paramahansa Yogananda in the foreword to The Holy Science. “Entering a state of true illumination, nirbikalpa samadhi, these saints have realized the Supreme Reality behind all names and forms. Their wisdom and spiritual counsel have become the scriptures of the world. These, although outwardly differing by reason of the variegated cloaks of words, are all expressions— some open and clear, others hidden or symbolic—of the same basic truths of Spirit.
“Swami Sri Yukteswar. . .was eminently fitted to discern the underlying unity.. ..Placing the holy texts on the spotless table of his mind, he was able to dissect them with the scalpel of intuitive reasoning, and to separate interpolations and wrong interpretations of scholars from the truths as originally given by the prophets.”
The Holy Science demonstrates, by explanation of parallel passages from the Hindu and Christian scriptures, the essential unity of the great religious teachings of East and West. With incomparable wisdom and discernment, Swami Sri Yukteswar explains the universal evolution of consciousness, energy, and matter— the entire spectrum of experience that we call “life.”
‘The author provides an authoritative foundation for a purely holistic view of man and the universe — and shows how that view supports the principles of natural living in body, mind, and soul. Rooted in the deepest truths of religion, it yet offers practical advice for fulfillment in every day living, by delineating the physical, mental, moral, and spiritual principles that govern the expansion of human consciousness.
Swami Sri Yukteswar, an ideal exemplar of India’s ancient heritage of illumined rishis, is venerated as a Jnanavatar (“incarnation of wisdom”) by people all over the world who have been inspired by his life and teachings. He manifested the self-mastery and divine attainment that have been the highest goal of Truth-seekers throughout the ages.
Swami Sri Yukteswar’s pursuit of Truth led him to the great sage, Sri Sri Lahiri Mahasaya, who extolled the sacred science of Kriya Yoga meditation as the most effective means of attaining God-realization, and who was the first to teach openly that ancient science in modern times. Through the guidance of Lahiri Mahasaya and through his own practise of Kriya, Sri Yukteswar attained spiritual illumination. His strength of principle, boundless compassion, and profound understanding were not the result of intellectual study but of direct perception of Reality.
A saint of truly universal outlook, Sri Yukteswar recognised that a synthesis of the spiritual heritage of the East with the science and technology of the West would do much to alleviate the material, psychological, and spiritual suffering of the modern world. His deep conviction that tremendous advances could be made, both individually and internationally, by an exchange of the finest positive features of each culture was crystallised by his remarkable meeting with Sri Sri Mahavatar Babaji, the guru of Lahiri Mahasaya. Perceiving Sri Yukteswar’s great interest in furthering spiritual harmony among all nations, Babaji requested him to write The Holy Science to show the underlying unity of Hinduism and Christianity.
Swami Sri Yukteswar instructed his foremost disciple, Sri Sri Paramahansa Yogananda, to undertake organisational work for sharing with others the divine teachings he had received. In 1917 Paramahansaji started his work—later to be known as Yogoda Satsanga Society of India—with an ashram and boys’ school. In 1920 Sri Yukteswar sent Paramahansaji to America to disseminate to Truth-seekers worldwide a knowledge of the liberating science of Kriya Yoga. For that purpose, Sri Yogananda founded Self-Realization Fellowship, an international society with headquarters in Los Angeles. During his three decades in the West, he lectured extensively; wrote numerous books and prepared a comprehensive series of yoga lessons for home study; and trained monastic disciples to carry on the spiritual and humanitarian work entrusted to him by Mahavatar Babaji and Swami Sri Yukteswar.
In his Autobiography of a Yogi, Paramahansa Yogananda describes his many years of spiritual discipline in Sri Yukteswar’s ashram. Sri Yogananda wrote of his Guru:
“Each day with him was a new experience in joy, peace, and wisdom.... Sri Yukteswar was reserved and matter-of-fact in demeanour. There was naught of the vague or daft visionary about him. His feet were firm on the earth, his head in the haven of heaven. Practical people aroused his admiration. ‘Saintliness is not dumbness! Divine perceptions are not incapacitating!’ he would say. ‘The active expression of virtue gives rise to the keenest intelligence....’
“Sri Yukteswar’s intuition was penetrating; heedless of remarks, he often replied to one’s unexpressed thoughts.. ..1 daresay he would have been the most sought-after guru in India had his speech not been so candid....
“Sri Yukteswar found no insuperable obstacle to the mergence of human and divine. No such barrier exists, I came to understand, save in man’s spiritual unadventurousness.”
Prophets of all lands and ages have succeeded in their God-quest. Entering a state of true illumination, nirbikalpa samadhi, these saints have realized the Supreme Reality behind all names and forms. Their wisdom and spiritual counsell have become the scriptures of the world. These, although outwardly differing by reason of the variegated cloaks of words, are all expressions— some open and clear, others hidden or symbolic of the same basic truths of Spirit.
My gurudeva, Jnanavatar* Swami Sri Yukteswar (1855—1936) of Serampore, was eminently fitted to discern the underlying unity &rween the scriptures of Christianity and of Sznatan Dharma. Placing the holy texts on the spotless table of his mind, he was able to dissect them with the scalpel of intuitive reasoning, and to separate interpolations and wrong interpretations of scholars from the truths as originally given by the prophets.
It is owing to Jnanavatar Swami Sri Yukteswar’s unerring spiritual insight that it now becomes possible, through this book, to establish a fundamental harmony between the difficult biblical book, Revelation, and the Sankhya philosophy of India.
As my gurudeva has explained in his introduction, these pages were written by him in obedience to a request made by Babaji, the holy gurudeva of Lahiri Mahasaya, who in turn was the gurudeva of Sri Yukteswar. I have written about the Christlike lives of these three great masters in my book, Autobiography of a Yogi. * The Sanskrit sutras set forth in The Holy Science will shed much light on the Bhagavad Gita as well as on other great scriptures of India.
“It has been my privilege to meet... Sri Yukteswar Gin. A likeness of the venerable saint appeared as part of the frontispiece of my Tibetan Yoga and Secret Doctrines. It was at Pun, in Orissa, on the Bay of Bengal, that I encountered ni Yukteswar. He was then the head of a quiet
near the seashore there and was chiefly occupied in the spiritual training of a group of youthful disciples.... Sri Yukteswar was of gentle men and voice, of pleasing presence, and word iv of the veneration that his followers spontaneously accorded to him. Every person who knew him, whether of his own community or mc. held him in the highest esteem. I vividly his tall, straight, ascetic figure, robed in saffron-coloured garb of one who has renounced worldly quests, as he stood at the entrance of the hermitage to give me welcome. He had chosen as his place of earthly abode the holy city of Puri, Whither multitudes of pious Hindus, representative of every province of India, come daily on pilgrimage to the famed Temple of Jagannath, “Lord of the World”. It was at Puri that Sri Yukteswar closed his mortal state of being and passed on, knowing that his incarnation had been carried to a triumphant completion.
“ I am glad indeed to be able to record this testimony to the high character and holiness of Sri Yukteswar.”
The purpose of this book is to show as clearly as possible that there is an essential unity in all religions; that there is no difference in the truths inculcated by the various faiths; that there is but one method by which the world, both external and internal, has evolved; and that there is but one Goal admitted by all scriptures. But this basic truth is one not easily comprehended. The discord existing between the different religions, and the ignorance of men, make it almost impossible to lift the veil and have a look at this grand verity. The creeds foster a spirit of hostility and dissension; ignorance widens the gulf that separates one creed from another, Only a few specially gifted persons can rise superior to the influence of their professed creeds and find absolute unanimity in the truths propagated by all great faiths.
The object of this book is to point out the harmony underlying the various religions, and to help in binding them together. This task is indeed a Herculean one, but at Allahabad I was entrusted with the mission by a holy command. Allahabad, the sacred Prayaga Tirtha, the place of confluence of the Ganges, Yamuna, and Saraswati rivers, is a site for the congregation of worldly men and of spiritual devotees at the time of Kumbha Mela. Worldly men cannot transcend the mundane limit in which they have confined themselves; nor can spiritual devotees, having once renounced the world, deign to come down and mix themselves in its turmoil. Yet men who are wholly engrossed in earthly concerns stand in definite need of help and 2uidance from those holy beings who bring light to the race. So a place there must be where union between the two sets is possible. Tirtha affords such a meeting place. Situated as it is on the beach of the world, storms and buffets touch x not; the sadhus (ascetics) with a message for benefit of humanity find a Kumbha Mela to
an ideal place to impart instruction to those
can heed it.
A message of such a nature was I chosen to propagate when I paid a visit to the Kumbha Mela being held at Allahabad in January 1894. I was walking along the bank of the Ganges, summoned by a man and was afterwards by an interview with a great holy person, Babaji the gurudeva of my own guru, Lahiri Mahasaya, of Banaras. This holy personage at the Kumbha Mela was thus my own paramguruji maharaj, * though this was our first meeting.
During my conversation with Babaji, we spoke of the particular class of men who now frequent these places of pilgrimage. I humbly suggested that there were men greater by far in intelligence than most of those then present, men living in distant parts of the world—Europe and America—professing different creeds, and ignorant of the real significance of the Kumbha MeIa. They were men fit to hold communion with the spiritual devotees, so far as intelligence is concerned; yet such intellectual men in foreign lands were, alas, wedded in many cases to rank materialism. Some of them, though famous for their investigations in the realms of science and philosophy, do not recognize the essential unity in religion. The professed creeds serve as nearly insurmountable barriers that threaten to separate mankind forever.
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