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The Eternal Religion -- pervading ALL religions . . .
on December 18, 2002
Swami Sri Yukteswar (1855-1936), whose westernly-known disciple was Paramahansa Yogananda, was a quiet, demanding Bengali teacher of Kriya Yoga, the advanced form of raja (meditative) yoga that Yogananda has made so popular in the west. Sri Yukteswarji, however, did not have the effusive, entertaining style of his popular disciple, nor did he write in as easily accessible manner. This slender volume is nevertheless to be highly recommended to the serious student of yoga philosophy or raja practice, and especially to students of Kriya Yoga, for whom Sri Yukteswar's penetrating insights will fit together important puzzle-pieces of the yoga spiritual path. (Beginners to yoga philosophy and practice would be well advised first to read Yogananda's "Autobiography of a Yogi" -- perhaps a few times and taking in even the technical footnotes -- before tackling "The Holy Science." )
The swami defines his volume's purpose to be: showing the essential unity of *all* religions. It is, but the emphasis definitely centers on parallels between John's gospel and Revelation and the yoga principles of India's Sankhya philosophy "Sanatan Dharma." Some of the most arresting parallels presented concern the way both teachings present concepts of "The Word", "Holy Baptism", and "Messiah/Satguru". Sri Yukteswarji does not expend extra words attempting to make unity persuasive to those who have a dogmatic conviction that their religion (Hinduism, Islam, Christianity, or whatever) has the "true" hold on "truth," so those who are so persuaded can safely skip this work. If, however, you have always had a nagging intuitive sense that there ought to be One Truth behind all versions of religious truth, time spent to assimilate the swami's realizations will be well repaid.
As a bonus there is a fascinating introductory chapter which explains India's macro-astrology and the astronomical progression of the equinoxes ( the phenomenon which leads western astrologers to speak of the coming "age of Aquarius"). This introduction to the Indian astrological system reveals it to be remarkably sophisticated -- offering reason to pause and reflect on the implications of a possible cyclical nature of *spiritual* ages ("yugas" to India) -- and new hope that humanity's spirituality will start to catch up with its technology... providing we attend to our dharmas!
Not an *easy* read -- but if you think you're ready for it, it can be an extremely rewarding one.
PS: Although as of this writing the Amazon photo of the jacket makes this appear to be the Spanish translation of the work, this ISBN ( 0876120516 ) is actually correct for the English language edition.