Are the teachings of the Parmhansa Yogananda compatible with Christianity?

My brother has been studying the writings of the now deceased Parmhansa Yogananda, who was originally from India and then came to the U.S. to “teach”. He is convinced these writings are compatible with Christianity, and he explains the teachings using Catholic terminology; i.e. maybe reincarnation is just their belief of purgatory, etc. He also claims he has used these techniques and has received a vision of Jesus, face to face, who spoke to him. I am very wary of dabbling in this stuff, but cannot convince him there is any danger to his soul. Any levelheaded advice from anyone who is familiar with these teachings?

[quote=Kathy B]My brother has been studying the writings of the now deceased Parmhansa Yogananda, who was originally from India and then came to the U.S. to “teach”. He is convinced these writings are compatible with Christianity, and he explains the teachings using Catholic terminology; i.e. maybe reincarnation is just their belief of purgatory, etc. He also claims he has used these techniques and has received a vision of Jesus, face to face, who spoke to him. I am very wary of dabbling in this stuff, but cannot convince him there is any danger to his soul. Any levelheaded advice from anyone who is familiar with these teachings?
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I’m familiar with these teachings, but you might not like (or want) my advice.:smiley: In any event, Yogananda’s teachings aren’t compatible with conservative Christianity, but many moderate to liberal Christians believe that Yogananda is compatible with the teachings of Jesus. In fact, I’m sort of a Yogananda-ite myself, but that’s another story.:slight_smile:

But if you’re afraid of Yogananda leading a cult-type group, I can assure you that Yogananda is not considered cultish (except maybe by Jack Chick). Yogananda is a pretty level-headed guy, and your brother is in good hands (in my opinion, that is:D).

i dont know how one can say that your brother is “in good hands” when he is embracing a pagan philosophy. this religion is not compatible with catholicism, if it were, he would simply be a catholic. can anyone image st. paul saying that we can follow pagan religions and still be catholic?

in regards to his soul, i would be concerned as well. recreational interest is one thing, i have read extensively on mormonism. but to take these teachings to heart shows that a person does not believe that Catholicism contains the fullness of Truth. if he believed that Christ was all Truth (as He said "I am THE Way, THE Truth, and THE Life…) then he would have no reason to look into other faiths. show him verses in Scripture that talk of the necessity of Christ for salvation.

Thank you Athanasius18 for your response. I am not sure what Ahimsa meant by the Yogananda not being compatible with “conservative” Christianity. To my knowledge there is no such thing…one either accepts and strives to follow the teachings of Christ, or not. I also appreciate your admonition against taking these teachings to heart, as my brother seems to have done. Indeed he now insists that although he is Catholic and no can take Jesus away from him, he is certain that there are other saints and holy people who “know” Jesus, and this Yogananda is one of them who wants to show others how to actually “know” Jesus through these techniques.

I will try to share the scripture you mentioned, but my brother unfortunately has developed a skeptical opinion of the New Testament writings, as a result of his “study” of this yogi’s teachings. In addition, he has projected some other novel ideas into this mix, such as insisting that Jesus was in India learning from the spiritual masters there, during the time from age 12 up until the beginning of His public ministry.

It seems to get weirder and weirder, but I am concerned for his soul, even though he feels there is no need to be. I suspect this is the kind that will require prayer and fasting…

[quote=Kathy B]Thank you Athanasius18 for your response. I am not sure what Ahimsa meant by the Yogananda not being compatible with “conservative” Christianity.
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What he means is that Yogananda’s teachings are compatible to Christianity in direct correlation to the extent one is willing to ignore and/or change Christian doctrine. In his autobiography, for example, Yogananda speaks at length about how the doctrine of reincarnation is not only compatible with Christianity but is directly in line with the teachings of Christ Jesus. He manages to justify this idea by completely yanking Christ Jesus out of his historical and cultural context, by ignoring centuries of Jewish and Christian teaching, et cetera.

Yogananda, based on his autobiography, seemed like he was a really swell guy. Unfortunately, putting one’s faith in a really swell guy as opposed to the Son of God is probably not a good idea.

– Mark L. Chance.

prayer and fasting, very good idea. i will pray for him as well. in regards to his claims and doubts, a couple reads come to mind. “Jesus among other gods” is one, and a very very good one is “the case for Christ”. just may be what he is looking for. anyway, i know people in similar situations. it really is illogical, because Christianitiy is a “take it or leave it” sorta deal. if the NT has errors, can we know if ANYTHING Jesus said is true? if we accept that Jesus was the Son of God, then we must accept the entire message.

“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but underneath are ravenous wolves.” Matth 7:15

Jesus is the only way and is a very narrow way. the narrow way does not include other religious teachers (that is why it is NARROW):
“Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and thte road is broad that leads to destruction, and those who enter through it are many. How narrow the gate and constricted the road that leads to life. And those who find it are few”

John 10:1

2 Peter 2:1

have him “test the spirit”:
1 John 4

lastly, ask him why he has doubts about Catholicism and the Scriptures. have him expalin his doubts and offer advice. be persistant, and i would reccoment “the case for christ” and “the case for faith”. good luck!

Is your brother still going to Mass?

[quote=Ahimsa]Is your brother still going to Mass?
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I believe he is still attending Mass on Sundays. He seems to think though, that he has pretty much exhausted what can be learned of Jesus from the Bible, and is searching for a more direct face to face relationship with him through the meditation techniques given by this yogi (by which he claims he has already received a face to face vision of Jesus).

[quote=Kathy B]I believe he is still attending Mass on Sundays. He seems to think though, that he has pretty much exhausted what can be learned of Jesus from the Bible, and is searching for a more direct face to face relationship with him through the meditation techniques given by this yogi (by which he claims he has already received a face to face vision of Jesus).
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Okay by their fruits:eek: It was not,and I repeat NOT JESUS he saw:eek: Look even the Saints who had spiritual director had to discern from true visions and diabolical one.The enemy can disguise himself as Jesus or Mary to deceive.Get him a book on the one of the saints.Also,the gifts and visions were giving by God,not as it were conjured up,or if you get to a certain level you will be able to see and comunicate with Jesus.It doesn’t work that way.

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