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Jesus in the air

Sep 07, 1995 04:03 AM
by K. Paul Johnson

Here's a sincere query which is likely to produce opposing
answers if anyone cares to hazard an opinion.

In the last 6 months or so I have been practicing Surat Shabd
Yoga, as taught in the Radhasoami movement, with some
modifications of my own. It consists of three practices, only
two of which I have done:
1) Simran-- repetition of the Divine Names (Nam, Radhasoami,
etc.) while focusing attention at the Eye Center (3rd that is).
2) Bhajan-- hearing the Sound Current and concentrating
attention on listening to this vibration.
3) Dhyan-- contemplating the physical form of the Master.

In doing Simran, I've found various words work equally well at
producing an altered state--- e.g. "Theosophia," "Atman/Brahman,"
"Christ the Lord." With Bhajan, the inner sound is pretty much
independent of any cultural context, as far as I can tell.

Here's the question/problem. The more I have practiced this
yoga, the more I find myself receptive to various forms of
Christian devotion. Getting hymns stuck in my brain for a
while, for example, or various spontaneous mantras with
Christian themes. All this despite the fact that I have no
particular conscious preference for Christianity over any other

My theory for this is that Christianity permeates the psychic
atmosphere here in the rural South; anyone who tunes into a
devotional frequency ("You turn me on I'm a radio" to quote an
old song) is likely to pick up some of the symbols and words
with which devotion is expressed by those around one. The
house I lived in for the past two years was near a black church
with wonderful music, which perhaps had a subliminal effect.

One could also suppose that early childhood programming comes
to the surface during trance states, which Simran and Bhajan
may induce.

But my question to you all is: how right or wrong is it to go
with the flow of such images, sounds, etc., rather than resist
them? I think a highly orthodox Theosophist would say
something like "you're just becoming a passive medium for other
people's retrograde spirituality, and this is a fate worse than
death, so stop." On the other side, a more tolerant minded
Theosophist might say "use whatever environmental factors are
available in your spiritual practice, regardless of how
politically correct they might be." A fundamentalist might say
"Jesus is calling you to abandon the wicked occultists" for
that matter.

All opinions welcome.

BTW, as a sidenote, when I went to India in 1990, I found the
spiritual/psychic atmosphere of Hindu temples to be something
more powerful than I'd ever experienced in a Christian church
in America or Europe. But during several trips to Mexico in
the early 1990s, I found that the Catholic cathedrals there had
something even more evocative and moving. What I concluded
from this is that the difference wasn't in the formulae of
belief (after the India trip that's what I thought-- that
Hinduism was somehow more powerful than Christianity) but
rather in the fervor of devotion.

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