SRF Lake Shrine in Pacific Palisades
Self-Realization Fellowship (SRF) is a popular religion of yogic Unity with God. It was founded by Swami Paramahansa Yogananda in the 1920s.
I lived in L.A. from 1970 to 2004 and I sometimes visited the SRF Lake Shrine in Pacific Palisades, Ca. It’s an oasis, a park built around a man-made lake. I occasionally attended Sunday services with a friend at the SRF temple. SRF monks preach the yoga of Unity in world religions. And they preach Christianity. I have enjoyed P. Yogananda’s writings, mostly his booklets and card sets with spiritual sayings. I find most impressive his statement that healings can be instantaneous.
Sherlock Holmes Truth
At the Lake Shrine entrance is a Court of Religions, honoring five principal religions of the world. It displays the symbols of these religions: a cross for Christianity, a Star of David for Judaism, a Wheel of Law for Buddhism, a crescent moon & star for Islam, and the Aum symbol for Hinduism. Yogananda believed in an underlying harmony of all faiths that unites us all. But as I research Christian Science, I find publications from the SRF camp sometimes misrepresent Christian Science. It’s been suggested by SRF that Mrs. Eddy got her theology from Hinduism.
In her book “Miscellaneous Writings” the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, Mrs. Mary Baker Eddy, states that “All Science is Christian Science”. The SRF seem to claim that all Christian Science is founded on Hinduism. That’s untrue.
Eddy teaches that Truth reveals itself through all ages, past, present and future. So that makes way for earlier Scientists such as Krishna and Buddha. Eddy wrote about Hinduism in the 24th-33rd editions of her textbook “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures”. But Hinduism wasn’t the foundation of Eddy’s scientific discovery. Her writings are clearly strictly a biblical science.
Christian Science and its healing method was the fastest growing religion in America at the turn of the 20th century. In the 1880s through the 1920s and beyond Mrs. Eddy was utterly attacked by people who felt threatened by the popularity of Christian Science. She was represented as being non-Christian, teaching eastern religion, called a witch and spiritual medium and so on. Mrs. Eddy early on deleted her references to the Hindu religion. Hindu concepts, and their historic signficance were non-essential for the textbook “Science and Health”.
Paramahansa Yogananda Ad for Lecture in Denver
What is essential in Christian Truth is love of our fellows and kindness to fellow truthseekers. However, I’m noticing that SRF writers, whose religion is called science and spiritual, sometimes sarcastically misrepresent Christian Science.
Eddy formulated her discovery based on Christian scripture. She clearly explains the healing method used by Christ, Jesus. It involves a scientific method and Eddy completely sets forth this scientific method in her writings. Science does require proof. Its principle does require demonstration. The proofs of Christian Science are demonstrated in healings, as did Christ prove. Hence the designation of the science that is Christian Science.
A Bible psalm reads: “Lord, thou hast been our dwelling place in all generations. Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God” (Psalms 90:1, 2). So in Science we accept that Buddha, Krishna and many others were also demonstrators of Christian Science or Divine Science.
In America our Constitutional tradition includes the free expression of religion and religious tolerance. Mrs. Eddy and her discovery were attacked in her day by other religious organizations. It really stands out in America when one religion attacks another, overtly and covertly.
Vintage Hatha Yoga Book
Why is Christian Science such a target to SRF? Isn’t it one’s free choice what sorts of religion and medicine one wants in America? Lots of people don’t go to doctors unless it’s an emergency. Alternative medicine was hugely popular in Eddy’s era and it remains so today.
So yesterday was Super Tuesday. I watched the Republicans, the ones on the losing side, really slam Donald Trump in the 11th hour. Even the “Christian Science Monitor”, which is charged to “harm no man” sent a link Tuesday morning that was focused on Trump and it wasn’t flattering. The full article was more balanced. I don’t think you’ll ever find any disparagement of another religion or religious leader in the “Christian Science Monitor”. But, oddly and strangely, SRF’s spiritual magazine is not so charitable.
An SRF online magazine 9/1/2006 has a Christian Science and Hindu Philosophy article excerpted from “East-West magazine”, 1926. It’s not clear if the author is Yogananda.
The article states “Hindu teachers agree with the basic principles of Christian Science but express them differently…While believing fully in the power of the mind to heal physical sickness, they do not reject the healings brought about by certain doctors.” — My answer: Christian Science does not reject the healings brought about by anybody. Eddy’s textbook clearly represents that there are good hearted doctors doing good works and that certain infrequent situations REQUIRE the aid of conventional medical help. This idea of Christian Scientists REJECTING healing is inaccurate, untrue, and misleading.
SRF temple Pacific Palisades, Ca.
The article goes on to state: “Hindu teachers do not deny the miraculous healings wrought by Christian Science practitioners, but humbly ask them, “Do you know why mind power effects physical healing in certain cases but not in others?” ––My answer: Yes we do. To suggest we don’t is generally inaccurate, untrue, patronizing and misleading. Jesus plainly states regarding a case of his disciples’ inability to cast out madness that in addition to faith, “Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting.” (Matthew 17, 20-21) Not all kinds, but a particular case.
The article goes on to state: “It takes great preparation to change the mental habits of a person living wholly on the material plane.” —My answer: Does not Paramahansa Yoganada speak of instantaneous healings? Look to the instantaneous healings in Christian Science for your answer. And, as in the biblical case above, once healed with Science, the person is forever changed. All the “great preparation” and rituals including fasting have been proven unnecessary by God.
The article states regarding Christian Scientists: “A man contradicts himself when he talks of the non-existence of matter and the uselessness of medicine but thinks he cannot exist a day without eating.” —My answer: Why are you smearing Christian Scientists? It’s not what goes into a man that makes him unfit for healing others, but rather immorality, envy of the word “science”, and misleading the public about the proven facts of Science.
The article states: “If one believes in food, one necessarily believes in medicine, for both are only combinations of chemicals.” —-My answer: “Acupuncture is not a chemical. Qi Gong isn’t a chemical. Yoga is not a chemical. These are all medicine and so is prayer. Christian Science requires no nutrition or special eating. Food is irrelevant. Yet, even Christ, Jesus claimed a need to feed the multitudes after three days. All density of false belief ultimately dissolves in Science.
Matter Science is Molecules
The article states: “Many have died of disease though they believed in mental healing.” —My answer: All, not many, mortals die to false reality. There is no disease in God. There is no death in God who is Life. If you, the author, want to live outside of Light with sarcasm and shadows then have your disease. Millions of people die as a direct effect of chemical medicine every year. Even hospitals know that the chances of imminent death increase the longer a person is hospitalized.
The article states: “To be absolutely sure of mental healing, one must learn how to lift one’s consciousness from the physical to the superconscious plane. The man who, through a long series of self-disciplinary steps, has awakened in God by expanding his consciousness into the world of unchangeable reality—he alone can say that matter has no existence.” — My answer: In Eddy’s youth she rose each day at 6AM to pray with the family. Must one arise at 3AM to find God, whom the scriptures inform is everywhere at all times? A long series of self-disciplinary steps, such as yogic meditation training, has not been proven necessary in Scientific healing which proves the Life, Love and Truth of God.
Clara Clemens, Mark Twain’s Daughter and Christian Scientist
The article notes that a yogi is eventually qualified to say matter has no existence. It was just this idea of ongoing uneventful practice and long arduous prepping that caused Clara Clemens, Mark Twain’s daughter, to give up her yoga study with Yogananda, and choose instead a direct line to Perfect Mind in Christian Science healing.
“S” is for Science
Martha with Amethyst Tuscon Gem Show 2016
WISSH Deck S Design
“S” is for Science.
Science is the key.
“S” is serenity, the truth of you and me.
“S” sings a song that all Love is sure.
“S” sends the Comforter.
“S” sends a cure.
“S” is metaphysics
“S” is her seer.
“S” is the stone I found by Mrs. Eddy’s ear.
S Design by M. D. WISSH
The word “science” in Christian science was so revolutionary in its day it inspired many imitators Scott of Skeptic Meditations brings up one of my favorite cases of such flattery, Paramahansa Yogananda. Many are they who use the term “science” casually as a marketing tool to sell all sorts of New Age spirituality. In contrast below Lawrence Doyle presents that quantum physics is playing catch up to Christian Science. He calls quantum physicists the “reluctant metaphysicians”.
Scientific Healing Affirmations, a Booklet
My favorite example of a casual use of the term science is Yogananda’s guidebook book “Scientific Healing Affirmations”. There are hundreds of other metaphysics science titles particularly post 1875. What I liked best in Yogananda’s book was the concept of instantaneous healing, an idea put forth by Eddy decades earlier.
Science is a common word. When Mary Baker Eddy declared it’s “time for thinkers”, well, is there any other answer for the spiritual seeker? Personally, I’ve had many direct divine experiences that are outside of all reason. Yet such experiences leave me to ever ponder the nature of reality through all my life. There must be a reason, some purpose to life and a truth. I never expected to be a scientist. I’m no intellectual. Common sense plus the burden of a New England Conscience.
Science claims can be based on any study or two of even twisted and manipulated statistics. For Yogananda, I don’t think anyone bothered. I’ll ask Scott. Correct me if I’m wrong! But Eddy’s method was science, did demand proofs, and proofs came in the form of extraordinary recorded healings. So much so that the science was used in the great wars, WWI, WWII and more. In her day, the Mayo brothers of the Mayo Clinic sent cases to Eddy’s practitioners.
My interest as an RN and healer is to look at the cause of the trend of using the word “science” to sell metaphysics and junk medicine. If you check the dates you’ll find a surge in the trend started after 1875. The was in response to compete with the overwhelming popularity wave of a new healing science called Christian Science.
Christian Science, from its inception in 1875 to about 1925 was the fastest growing religion in America. And it was as a healing profession grounded in science. This threatened other sects of doctors and such business interests as patent drugs. Christian Science was such a revolutionary concept, declaring that ultimate reality IS ALL GOOD, free of discord and disease, that the movement attracted hundreds of thousands of men and women from all quarters of society including other Christian denominations, businessmen, women, doctors, and even Jews were particularly attracted to this method which applied intellectual methods of reason to debate and extend this spiritual understanding that clearly defines reality according the the scriptures.
Dr. Laurance Doyle is a quantum physics scientist at SETI. SETI was featured in the movie “Contact” (one of my favorite movies). SETI is the official government institute searching for extraterrestrial life. Mr. Doyle discusses physics that support the core concepts set forth by Mrs. Eddy in Christian Science decades ahead of her time. See here that Mrs. Eddy is planted firmly on his list of founding scientists in physics.
This science of God comes at a time where so many people fear for our planet and survival. If science is truth, and if all truly is mental, what more need we do then attune our perspective, abide in harmony and love. Here’s a great Doyle talk about Divine Science.
I recently met a woman on a long drive down the Pacific coast. We got to talking about spirituality, Mary Baker Eddy, “Science of Mind”. She goes to the Church of Religious Science. She loves it. “Who founded your church?” I asked because I didn’t know. She answered, “A group of people. Ernest Holmes and Mary Baker Eddy were working together.”
Ernest Holmes’s “Science of Mind” on Vinyl
I thought to myself. I tactfully shared that this idea of history wasn’t possible. Mary Baker Eddy’s organization is Christian Science. Mary Baker Eddy predates Ernest Holmes by decades. She published “Science and Health” in 1875. He first published in 1926, a half century later. They never worked together.
She was unmoved and told me to check out Ernest Holmes.
On her suggestion I bought Ernest Holmes’s major work, “Science of Mind”, a first ed. A half century before Holmes, it was Mary Baker Eddy who first coined such popular phrases as “Science of Mind” “Science of Man” “Science of Being” and “Mind over Matter”.
One difference between these two sciences — “Religious Science” and “Christian Science” is that CS recognizes that all reality exists as mental thought only. This reality is all one God Mind (Father-Mother). Man is His image, perfect and individual. The true reality of man, in CS, is outside of anything that’s limited or finite including daily mortal experience which in CS is considered the Adam-dream. CS regards that all matter is false, false testimony by finite senses, an error and nonexistent.
In contrast, Religious Science as per Holmes recognizes that matter is of Spirit, containing spirit. Matter is real in Religious Science and we experience God with our finite senses. In CS, God, is perceived only through spiritual sense quickened as we evolve into spiritual understanding.
CS teaches that mortal mind thoughts, though unreal, do affect mortal experience. The call in CS is to cultivate human thought to increasingly reflect God, good. This then unfolds our true nature as a spiritual reality. In CS reality is composed of one Divine Mind. Man is the individual idea, a reflection of his Maker. Though we live and have our being in Divine reality, as mortals we experience a dream that seems to be another reality, an opposite to truth which is error. Error is but to demonstrate that God and his perfected ideal man, Christ or Truth, destroys all that is false, sin, suffering, sickness, and death. Suffering yields limit to the infinite, a purification process.
In CS you heal by evolving to a reality that’s wholely spiritual and outside matter. And it’s done here and now. Quantum physics is catching up to the ideas put forth by Mary Baker Eddy decades before.
God expression in CS is a trinity explained as Life, Love, and Truth. Christ is the embodiment Truth in man the perfect. Jesus in CS is the original scientist who proved to all mankind that Divine Truth lifts the veil of limited perspective, matter. To see the truth is to know the sick are well and the dead live.
CS is a science because it it uses the scientific process and demands for proofs to be demonstrated.
CS, true CS, is open-minded in that it loves all good whatever its source. Eddy teaches, “Truth reveals itself through all ages.” Here then is invitation for harmonic spirituality.
“Science of Mind” by Holmes clearly rips off of threads from Eddy’s prose. Prose is like music. Once you get to know original riffs your ear picks up on a diversion of harmony, the cut and patch. This doesn’t mean there isn’t good stuff in Holmes’s teachings. I just personally have lost patience up to this point.
Paramahansa Yogananda Scientific Healing Affirmations
I found the same with Paramahansa Yogananda’s “science” once I read the more original scientific ideas of Mary Eddy.
It came up again last night with my dear friend in Colorado. My GF occasionally goes to the Church of Religious Science in Denver. The building, decor, vibe, the iconography representing all religions are attractive healing tranquility.
I asked her if she new who started the church, when it was founded. She didn’t know. She likes it because it’s inclusive of all religions. I told her Earnest Holmes was a student of Emma Hopkins who was a student of Eddy’s. Earnest studied with Emma Hopkins. Emma was a brilliant student, healer, and editor working in Christian Science. But Emma had her own ideas and aims, understandably. Emma wanted to express her personal brand. The problem for Eddy with this is that she was presenting a discovery of a science that is specific. And Eddy could not patent her discovery. So she protected it by making organizational decisions. Dilutions of her science even by well-meaning people would cause loss of the true and pure science. And that’s what happened. Much was diluted by other teachers. But Eddy’s CS remains today just as it was, though it’s a bit obscure. In her day, Eddy was possibly the most well known woman in America. Eddy’s teachings are whole cloth, a complete scientific method.
I agree with what Eddy did when her organization ousted the few women who could have taken over large factions of the CS movement. Her goal was to create a pure science and lasting institution. Eddy had to protect her method as a true science. I think that CS, as a science, would have benefited from a patent. But I guess you can’t patent a religion when it’s a mental process that takes place off the material plane. Since a patent wasn’t possible, Eddy had to control her teachings. And she did. Her teachings remain today undiluted. But you have find them under the heap of later teacher thrift and theft.
I’m grateful Eddy preserved her ideas in stone. As a healer and hobbyist historian I spiritually understand the value of her cause to reinstate 1st Century Christianity and it’s lost art of healing. If you value science then you value truth. C.S. is about a God force of truth. In Hopkin’s writings there are distinct phrases that I identify as Eddy’s. Hopkins and Holmes twist a word here and there. Eddy writes: “Sin, sickness and Death” and Hopkins writes “Sin, Sickness, and Trouble”.
Even so I do enjoy Emma Hopkins, a first generation student of Mary Baker Eddy.