When the Bible refers to Jesus, it talks about “Jesus, Son of man”, which Yogananda said is the little human body in which the vast Christ Consciousness (Jesus, Son of God) was born. Yogananda often referred to the incarnation of Jesus as “Christ Intelligence”, “Christ Omnipresence” and “Christ Consciousness”. He wanted (and wants) us to focus during the Christmas season, not only on the birth of the Baby Jesus in the manger in Bethlehem, but on the potential birth of Christ Consciousness within us, in the cradle of our hearts.
We have the good fortune (karma?) to have in Paramhansa Yogananda a modern avatar/mystic who was devoted to the life and teaching of Christ. Yogananda explained that when the “Spirit moved,” as explained in the book of Genesis, “And God said, let there be light,” at that moment the Christ (God’s intelligence or presence in every atom of creation) was born. Spirit, or Cosmic Consciousness, which Jesus called the Father, exists behind and is the cause of the universe. The Christ-light is what enlivens every atom and is God’s presence in creation. For this reason, the Bible says that “Christ is the life and the light of men.” This light of Christ Consciousness pertains to you and me in that both the Father and the Son are aspects of God’s Consciousness and can be experienced by concentrating on and opening our (third) Spiritual Eye. Jesus said, “If thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.”
The power of Yogananda’s teachings to change our lives lies in the practical techniques that he gives, in their ability to give the actual experience of Christ-light, and to offer through that experience the hope for each one of us, of transformation from the little self of ego to the perfect Self of the soul. Not only was Jesus a Light to the world, but he encouraged his disciples and, through them, all of us, to go beyond our self-limiting expressions of fear, anger, judgment, self-condemnation, and become more loving, courageous, nurturing, self-realized beings. In Christ’s own words: “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do.”
The season of Christmas is one of the times of the year when we see most clearly that hope for positive change reflected in human life. We hear these days so many stories of people rising to confront the trials of our COVID-challenged world by selflessly serving others: daily reminders of what we are capable of as human beings when we open to the blessings and the vibrations of the Christ Consciousness. That Light that incarnated in the baby Jesus over 2000 years ago can be born again in each one of us every day, in every moment, when we speak, think and act from the awareness that we, too are that Light.
May we all rise to the challenge of our times by being channels of that Light of Hope in our little personal world and beyond.