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Autobiography of a Yogi. Paramhansa Yogananda, 1946, notes that sparked my interest:

Words for the word:

*Aum (om): Vedas

Amin: Koran

Hum: Tibetan Buddhism

Amen: Christians “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God….”


Einstein: the velocity of light dominates the whole. The Theory of Relativity is the only constant. …Einstein has banished from the cosmos every fixed reality except that of light.

266. The masters who are able to materialize and dematerialize their bodies or any other object, and to move with the velocity of light, and to utilize the creative light-rays in bringing into instant visibility any physical manifestation, have fulfilled the necessary Einstein an condition: their mass is infinite.


269 Just as the motion picture images appear to be real, but are only combinations of light and shade, so is the universal variety a delusive seeming [sic].


His guru Sri Yukteswar died and assumed a new body and explained: 400 “From the cosmic atoms I created an entirely new body, exactly like [my previous one] I am in truth resurrected—not on earth but on an astral planet….there are many astral planets, teeming with astral beings. The inhabitants use astral planes, or masses of light, to travel from one planet to another, faster than electricity and radioactive energies.”

The ordinary astral universe—not the subtler astral heaven of Hiranyaloka—is peopled with millions of astral beings who have come, more or less recently, from the earth, and also with myriads of fairies, mermaids, fishes, animals, goblins, gnomes, demigods and spirits, all residing on different astral planets in accordance with karmic qualifications.


Commenting on his visit to Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi: Gandhi had an appendectomy without anesthetics, chatting cheerfully with his disciples. His family was Jain, who revere ahimsa as the root virtue. Hence, vegetarianism. He also was a celibate. He said about his wife, “She moves me as no other woman in the world can. …the feeling of an indissoluble bond is there,” Gandhi said I believe like every Hindu in God and His oneness, in rebirth and salvation.

It takes a fairly strenuous course of training to attain a mental state of nonviolence. It is a disciplined life, like the life of a soldier.  …a man who applies the laws of love with scientific precision can work greater wonders ….The law of love is a far greater science than any modern science.

I would wait, if need be for ages, rather than seek the freedom of my country through bloody means.

Jesus, “Ye have heard that it hath been said, an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: but I say unto you, that ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.


*A fun animation with candles: http://www.gratefulness.org/candles/enter.cfm


Response from Greg Tropea, Philosophy instructor: I think your answer provides a nice focus for the question, and bringing in Huston Smith—who would respond to any claim beyond the most mundane with the question, “But is it true?”—strikes me as a good move that is right in tune with the question.


For accuracy, I would include in the near-death and mystical reports the minority experiences of demonic presences and hellish situations.  That these accord in one way or another with teachings that occur in all of the major traditions, even if not always in the “official” texts, adds sufficient motivation in my view.


I would be more restrained in my characterization of science as denying the existence of higher dimensions.  Philosophical materialists, some of whom are scientists, will make this scientifically nonsensical (because it is untestable) claim, but the more sophisticated scientists have always said that what cannot be measured is outside the purview of science to decide.  Additionally, we have a large literature documenting the sometimes beautiful and sometimes embarrassing efforts of scientists to come to terms with Western or Eastern religions.


From Smith’s perspective, the idea that religions teach us to define our values wouldn’t (or shouldn’t) quite work.  The reason is that religions themselves deliver the values and demand of us that we come to understand them.  Smith does believe in a “real” truth that essentially carries its definition within itself, so for him there is a truth to be discovered that has already been defined by God.


In the philosopher’s way, one of my first impulses was to reflect back on the question.  When the boy asks which religion is true or most true, we have to wonder what his understanding of truth is.  Would it be decided by which religion’s writings has the largest number of statements that correspond with observed phenomena?  The smallest number of statements that are contradicted by observation or history?  And then we have wonder what a standard of truth like that has to with all of the claims about unseen realities that show up in the texts of religions.  In this philosophical vein, one can go on and on.


Of course, the Bible raises the issue of truth in a number of ways, most traditionally philosophically in John 18:38, when Pilate demonstrates a complete absence of spiritual discernment in the face of Jesus’s assertion of the specificity of his message by asking rhetorically and in a general way, “What is truth?”  As high as the stakes are, Jesus realizes that you can’t say much about color to a blind man.


I like how your answer moves in the direction of understanding religions as ways to truth, but wish for a stronger assertion of this.  Maybe it is my Christian bias showing or maybe my personal eccentricity.  When I hear Jesus say, “I am the way, the truth, and the life…” I hear a list of four synonyms, not a set of different things.  So I am far away from a correspondence theory of truth when it comes to religion.  Because my experience of spiritual life has been more characterized by surprises than fulfillment of dreams or expectations, one other thing I would want to emphasize in the thought of higher dimensions is that when we are aware of our participation in them, we encounter possibilities that overflow the categories of our 3-D world at noontime.


Looking forward to continuing the conversation,





your fingers into the toy.



Imagine a small gold sun or bubble in your hand. Keep your own energy out of the bubble and send it to the person you’d like to give a blessing to, including yourself. You can try holding a quartz crystal to see how it feels to you as a power source. Fill it with healing happy energy from the earth or whatever you think of as powerful good energy. Inventor Harry Oldfield videotaped little blobs of light coming in and out of crystals held in their owner’s hand. The lights moved up the arm and back into the crystal. He thinks that some crystals do contain life forms. You can put your hand over the sore place, and pat it and talk to it like you would a puppy or kitten, “Good tummy, calm tummy.” Imagine a time-release Band-Aid over a sore place, with the instruction to release healing energy for a day. Also try drawing 8s with your fingers over a sore spot to help make it feel better. It helps your energy field mend.

What do you think is the most powerful part of you? It’s your brain. It’s true your brain can’t lift weights, but it tells your arms what to do. It’s the boss. We’ll learn how to use our imagination and thoughts to feel great. Scientists who study our thoughts found the secret of a strong mind is intentions, when you really decide to do something. If I decide I’ll have a good time at a party, I will. If I think this party sucks, I won’t have a good time. Thoughts are so powerful the body responds to them, even to something that’s not real. Have you seen a scary movie and jumped or your heart started beating faster? A movie is just colored light on a flat screen but your feelings about it make your body change. Imagine eating your favorite food and your mouth may water even though it’s not near you.

You can use your thoughts and imagination to take care of what bugs you, do better in school and in sports and other performances, and get along with people. You’ll find these are invisible but powerful tools.

Even little kids can do this, so you can too. A stern nurse about to give him immunizations frightened Brandon, a five-year-old. While she went to get her supplies, his mom asked Brandon to think of a happy time; so he picked doing the limbo dance at his birthday party. Tearless, when the nurse said the third shot would be the worst, he laughed during the shot because he was thinking about giving his friend a green slime cake at the party. The nurse said that his laughter was a first. Perhaps she’ll learn something from Brandon about the







******************* Jen, stop here…

Ron Hirschbein May 29, 2006

Greeks: Plato an eternal invisible world, allegory of the cave. This world of eternal changeless beauty is accessible through years of rigorous training, for both men and women. Minimum of 50 years can come to understand the invisible world, in math, philosophy, ascetic existence, no property, no families. In The Republic towards the end any ideal republic would decay. Platonic forms, ideals of things. Would be virtuous. Allegory of the cave, the highest form is the good, get to contemplate highest good, but not through senses, through well-trained reason. Believes in reincarnation. Each of us has a rational soul, stronger in some than others. Elite has rational soul dominant. A return, recovery, philosopher engaged in midwifery trying to bring us what’s in is. Body is corr8ut, deceives us.

Paul was a Platonist Good minus 0=God. The body corrupts us, should contemplate the eternal, Protestants faith and grace. Catholics good works. Orthodox Christianity goal be reunited with God. Hell  Hades. Sermon on the mount, pacifist, fight poverty and injustice. Agape reward is salvation and heaven vs. eternal damnation. Purgatory  unbabtistsits infants go to limbo.


Augustine: platonic, city of god and city of man. We live in corrupt world; aim to unite in heavenly city.  Body corrupting. Constantine Christian religion, so Augustine wrote about just wars.


Aristotle: argues that there is a rational consciousness that guides the universe. Picked up by Aquinas.  Through rational inquiry for elite for both of them. Acuisins uses logic to show existence of God. First cause, prime mover, inteliigent design. Watchmaker argument, precise and orderly universe, needs maker.


Judaic; Freud Moses and monotheism, Egyptian princess kid flats by the basket asks father pharaoh can I keep it, so Moses an Egyptian, bringing back Ikhaten, monotheist. Evolves in Exodus stories various gods Jehovah the most powerful in contest with pharaoh’s gods. Tribal gods to monotheism. Interesting conflict between legalistic codes vs. humanistic approach. The prophets go before the kins or priest and say god cares about how you help the poor, do good. Isaiah. Nathan went before David. In Old Testament god wants them to have many wives, concubines. Bathsheba husband to frontline, Nathan confronts him.  The notion of how to live change dramatically, to Paul. Anti-woman theme. Not much concept of heaven. Rabbi Hillel pagan says tell the rewards of a good live while standing on one foot, a good life. Good deeds. Another tradition, not in orthodox.


Bertrand Russell History of Philosophy  Free Man’s worship

EA Burtt the metaphysical foundations of modern science

Blake in 19th c

Disenchantment of the world, nature

Stephen j Gould rocks of ages. Says science and religion can coexist. Natural world, faith based claims about supernatural world. Religion talks about virtue and morality.


Early modern science, renaissance. Oppose orthodoxy and arostelian worldview, cosmology. Copernicus, galleoe a lot of trouble. Newton very dramatic change. Explain the unviserse without reference to deity. World a machine. Change in narcissim, before man the center of everything, post newutonian world view all that exists is matter and motion our planet a speck. Russell says when I die I shall rot. The teaching of the scientific world view. Englightment and modernity no second coming, a lot of disappointment that crusades didn’t bring it about. What happiness there is tis to be found through nationalism, id with nation state, id with science and technology.

Romantics were distrurbed by ascendancy of Newtonian world view. More stress on spirituality, aesthetic, peottic.  And a return to religious thinking. Rousseau the noble savage.

One line human self esteem drops with dominant of science world view. Coperniucs world not the center, doesn’t revolve around humanity. Newton matter and motion. Darwin. Related to apes. Freud coup de gras. Governemned by id, passions.

Existentialists, nietxe, camus, satre, meaning is a human concept, works is abusurd, purpose of life is to invent our own purpose and meaning. No supernatural reward. Nietze god is dead. Meaning is imposed. Culture is shared meaning.

Sermon on the mt, turn the other cheek.


Rationalists, Russell.


Marx class basis of ideology, take ruling class to be their own. Marcuse almost impossible.


2 schools today, continenat philop, European existentials, phenomenologu, hermanutics. Much of the theology being written is philopshical, tomistc. Neiber very influenctial. The theology of the political realistics. Neo-orthodoxy, original sin, amonst individuals you can expect wome sdecefny and rationality, but not in groups. Original sin is wanting to be as God.  Nationalism most pernicisous force in the world, I’m an American, number one. For neiber that’s the way nation staes behave.  Balance of power.  Fallen condition. Ernest becker Denial of Death, exist. And psychoanaltys, unwillingness to accept our own mortality.


Analtytical philoposhy, angol-american, detailed analysis of language, Wittenstein. What do we mean when we ask about the meaning of life, could it be answered.

Philos of science


Logical positivism of the mid 20th c. logic and science. So philosophy should talk about logic.

Rorty newer version of pragmatism, notion that doesn’t seem much use for academic philosophy. Anti-foundationalist. Recommends read good lit to spark imagination. Ideally we could be our own creators, think for ourselves, devise our own meanings. Be our own creation rather than the counterfeit creation of enculturation.



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