"Humanity needs a Jesus [of Nazareth, called the Christ,]
who is historical, relevant for real life,
physical and concrete, like we are.
A Jesus whose life can save you even more than his death.
A Jesus we can practically imitate,
and who sets the bar for what it means to be fully human.”
The Universal Christ
As I uncovered the historical Jesus of Nazareth during my theological studies in
college and graduate school, I began to wonder what it truly meant for Jesus,
whom I considered as the Christ (the Messiah) who would save the world, to be a
human person growing up in Palestine. I began to explore the “hidden years” of
Jesus’ life, those 18 years where, it is believed by most Christians, he spent that
time as a carpenter’s son in Nazareth. There is no mention in the sacred
scriptures of what it was like for him growing up during the most formative
teenage and young adult years of his life. I read all I could about what might
have happened to this 12-year old boy Jesus as he left the temple in Jerusalem
until he appeared again 18 years later at the river Jordan where his cousin John
was preaching and baptizing. As a way to explain the time gap, the Christian
scriptures say that “Jesus increased in wisdom and in years, and in divine and
human favor.” (Luke 2:52 NRSV)
How did this human being who is like every other human being become such a
powerful human person in those 18 years, so wonderful that his adult disciples
believed that he was God?
In my searching, l learned that there is a conviction among the people of southern
India that Jesus learned yoga while travelling there during those “lost years” of
his life. If that is true, then he would have been taught some of the methods of
spiritual growth by the saints and sages of the yoga tradition. After all, the Bible
indicates that he had a deep relationship with God, whom he called “Father” and
a sense of his purpose and direction in life even at that early age. Jesus would
have learned how to do some of the “miracles” that advanced yogis can do today,
even walk on water. He would have found himself immersed in the mystical, yet
human traditions of spiritual practice, like some of the practices that are being
taught today through the Himalayan Institute and the master yogis alive today.
For sure, he would have known three very detailed practices called “tapas”,
“svadhyaya”, and “Ishvara pranidhana”—self-disciple/austerity, Self-study, and trustful surrender to God.
These are “yoga in action” practices. I knew that
Jesus was a person of action who was “in yoga,” one with God, all the time. He
traveled around Palestine preaching and healing people about living in tune with
God. In my later studies of yoga, I learned that these three aspects of our spiritual
journey back to God have been outlined in detail in the commentaries on
Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra 2:1. That’s what we need to do, I am now convinced, in
order to save ourselves and the world. Jesus Christ showed us how to become
other Christs. That’s what it means to be a master and have disciples. The
disciples learn what the master knows so that the disciple can continue the
Master’s work. That’s what we must do…continue the Master Jesus Christ’s
And, of course for me, that work is to build the
Kingdom/Queendom/Reign/Presence of God on earth—both within ourselves and
within a marvelously beautiful planet.
So, for the next three blogs, I will reflect on each of those three practices—tapas,
svadhyaya, and Ishvara pranidhana in reference to Jesus of Nazareth and our
own life journeys back to the Source of our life.
I bow to the Divinity within you.