I am with you always
Excerpts from The Second Coming of Christ by Paramahansa Yogananda
Lo, I am with you always
Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen. (Matthew 28:20)
The message of some prophets addresses the needs of a particular culture and age; but those emissaries who are commissioned with a God-given world mission deliver universal truths that resonate throughout all ages in timeless relevancy. Such was the spoken and lived message of Jesus, as also the ageless yoga science immortalized in scripture in its citation by Bhagavan Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita, opening the door to soul liberation since ancient times.
Liberated souls such as Jesus, whose mission continues beyond their incarnation, are able to materialize their bodies at will anywhere in the astral heavens or in the physical world at any time— today or unto thousands of years after their ascension. That is why Jesus could say in truth to his disciples:
"Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world."
He immortalized his body as well as his spirit. Any true devotee can see him as Jesus Christ or know him as one with the Infinite Christ. Saint Francis, born centuries after Jesus, used to see him every night in Assisi. Saint Teresa of Avila knew him both in form and as the Formless Christ. Numerous divinely attuned souls have seen him. He has come to me many, many times— whenever I so desire, he appears to me, with his wondrous eyes in which universes revolve, emanating the love of God omnipresent in the Christ Consciousness.
Any devotee whose concentration is very deep and whose devotion is pure and persistent can see him by peering through the omniscient spiritual eye at the Christ Consciousness center in the forehead.
Intensity and perseverance are necessary; most devotees pray a little while, but soon get discouraged and give up. To such lukewarm effort, Jesus will not respond. Even so, he is listening to every prayer, waiting for the devotee to become receptive and consciously welcome his presence.
It is not a matter of visualizing him or attempting to produce the form of Christ through imagination. That will result in an image being projected by the subconscious mind, just as figures are created in nightly dreams—and it will not be the Christ. Rather, one must pray without ceasing, as Jesus taught. By the practice of Kriya Yoga, taking the consciousness into the kingdom of God within, and then praying again and again for Christ's appearance, the devotee can behold the real Christ right in front of him. At first it will be in a vision perceptible to the sense of sight. When the vision can be seen with open as well as with closed eyes, then by even higher development in the intensity of devotion and concentration, the presence of Christ will manifest as a materialized form. That is the ultimate vision, in which one can touch the body of Jesus and talk with him, just as truly as when he walked the earth. The intimately real sensation of touching the materialized form is not the same as contact with the gross matter of an incarnate form, but the realization of the true essence of the body as a combination of spiritually magnetic vibrations informed from the Cosmic Bliss ideations of God, imparting a wondrous elevating thrill of joy and blessing.
Jesus was born in a human body; he was crucified; and he resurrected himself. He rebuilt his body, and his soul entered that resurrected form. But he did not re-create a body to remain confined in it. Though he appeared in physical form to his disciples many times after crucifixion, he dissolved that body again. To understand him only as incarnate in a body that was crucified and then resurrected is not appreciably to understand Christ as he is. Incarnate or after resurrection, Jesus was not only a physical personality, but a vessel of the infinite Christ Consciousness.
While he resurrected himself in the body, he resurrected his spirit from the confinement of form into omnipresent Spirit. In oneness with the Infinite Christ, he is resurrected in every newborn body, and in you and me, and in all people of the earth, and in everything that has life. He is resurrected in the winking stars, in the planets, and in the cosmic blue. He is resurrected in all things that grow from the earth—in the grass and in the tenderest rose. He feels his resurrection in every form that exists. He is risen in every atom and cell of the capacious cosmos.*
* "Jesus said: 'I am the light that is over all things. I am all: from me all came forth, and to me all attained. Split a piece of wood; I am there. Lift up the stone, and you will find me there'" (Gospel of Thomas, verse 77).
In the Bhagavad Gita (XIII:13-17), Lord Krishna, from his own oneness with God's Universal Consciousness, lauds this immanent-transcendent Omnipresence of Spirit:
He dwells in the world, enveloping all—everywhere, His hands and feet; present on all sides, His eyes and ears, His mouths and heads;
Shining in all the sense faculties, yet transcending the senses; unattached to creation, yet the Mainstay of all; free from the gunas (modes of Nature), yet the Enjoyer of them.
He is within and without all that exists, the animate and the inanimate; near He is, and far; imperceptible because of His subtlety.
He, the Indivisible One, appears as countless beings; He maintains and destroys those forms, then creates them anew.
The Light of All Lights, beyond darkness; Knowledge itself, That which is to be known, the Goal of all learning, He is seated in the hearts of all.
This is how Jesus wants his devotees to know him: not to limit him to a form, but to understand his resurrection in omnipresence, to perceive him as one with the Infinite Light of Christ Consciousness. Through the spiritual eye, the worshiper can behold not only the Christ with form, but the formless Christ felt in the vastness of inner perception, because Christ is already present at that divine center of consciousness in all human beings. To experience Christ as the Cosmic Intelligence is far more wonderful than just seeing an image informed out of that Infinite Christ. That is the transcendental Christ which is the "only begotten Son," the only begotten reflection of the Heavenly Father's Cosmic Consciousness in all creation.
"Behold, he cometh with clouds (he shall come out of the clouds of ignorance) and every eye (spiritual eye) shall see him" (Revelation 1:7). It is the Spirit behind the body of Christ with which one should strive to be united—to rise from the tomb of ignorance and realize in the ascension of the soul the resurrection of the Christ within. (1522-1524)