Vision: (1) Something seen in a dream, trance, or ecstasy, especially a supernatural appearance that conveys a revelation. (2) An object of imagination. (3) A manifestation to the senses of something immaterial. (4) Something brought on by imagination; (5) Etc. [Source: Merriam-Webster Dictionary]
Be careful what you wish for, lest it come true (Adage).
In his book Man's Eternal Quest Paramahansa Yogananda writes of some of his visions of Krishna and Jesus. On one occasion in Boston he wanted to see Krishna and Jesus hand in hand on a sea of gold, and then saw them that way, he says [also in his book Whispers from Eternity].
Gold becomes liquid at 1064 degrees Celsius. Yogananda does not add that he heard gruesome cries like "Hot! Hot!" and smelt burning feet also. However, he writes that his memorable vision came on his request at a time when he wanted to quit the work in the United States. But he was not allowed to do it, for a voice told him he could not leave, and asked to placate him somehow, "What do you want to see?" He said, "I want to see Christ and Krishna hand in hand on a sea of gold."
Then Yogananda saw them like that; he had that vision. However, doubts came and he thought he might be hallucinating. Then the friend he was meditating with suddenly cried out that he saw "Krishna and Christ, on a sea of gold!" Yogananda does not say his friend heard "Hot! Hot!" or "Cold gold!" or could smell burning flesh, so his vision may have been of "cold sea gold" throughout. Granted that, the sea of gold in his vision was not real, hot, melted gold.
Yogananda was told in his vision that the room he lived in would smell well for some time afterwards, he writes. Visitors would notice it too. The voice said: "When I leave, the room will become filled with the fragrance of the lotus, and whoever comes shall notice it."
Each person who later visited Yogananda in that room would ask, "What is this strange fragrance of flowers that I smell?" It so happened, he asserts. He considered the lovely smell as a fine back-up to his vision. It could be. [Ak 233]
Not unlike the famous guru who saw what he had wanted to see, we are naturally interested in sorting out several possibilities when inner images and scenes appear. If someone else tells he had a vision, how valuable a vision was it? And to whom? And is there a chance it was not a vision, but something else? Here is help to ponder:
Someone tells he had a vision. You strum a "chord of alternatives" to feel well and assured, or to try to rule out chances of error just to be a bit more on the safe side. You consider such as:
In yoga literature there is more about visions and how to live with them. In the Bible too.
Yogananda tells more, for example that when he went back to India in 1935, he visited his old home in Ichapur, where he had used to play and watch the birds. But things had changed and only a tree was left:
I would have given anything then to have seen our home as it was in my childhood. Nevertheless I did see it later, materialized in a vision: we swam in the pond, and I went upstairs in the house and lay on the bed and ate mangoes, as I had done so many years before. - Yogananda, Man's Eternal Quest [Ak 130]
Somewhere else he writes:
A powerful mind, versed in the art of visualization, (conscious dreams), can in a vision or a dream see Henry Jones, shake hands with him, weigh him on a scale, and behold him as tall and slight. Then what is the difference between the real physical body of Henry Jones and the dream-conceived, visualized body of him? One can say the former is . . . visible to all and the latter . . . visible to only one person. - Yogananda, "The Missing Link Between Consciousness and Matter", East West, June, 1932 Vol. 4-8]
Yogananda about Jesus:
One night while I was engaged in silent prayer, my sitting room in the Encinitas hermitage became filled with an opalblue light. I beheld the radiant form of the blessed Lord Jesus. A young man, he seemed, of about twenty-five, with a sparse beard and moustache; his long black hair, parted in the middle, was haloed by a shimmering gold.
Jesus of the Gospels upheld slavery (Matthew 5:17-19) and worse, including a low "righteousness" called cruel, unfair sacrifice of victims. See the evidence: [Link].
But here is hope: Jesus also says his teachings and ministry and salvation is for Jews only. (Vermes 2010:37, 41; Matthew 15:24; 10:4-10). The renowned bible scholar Geza Vermes sums up:
During his days of preaching, Jesus of Nazareth addressed only Jews, "the lost sheep of Israel" (Matthew 10:5-8; 15:24). His disciples were expressly instructed not to approach gentiles or Samaritans (Matthew 10:5-8). On the few occasions that Jesus ventured beyond the boundaries of his homeland, he never proclaimed his gospel to pagans, nor did his disciples do so during his lifetime. The mission of the 11 apostles to "all the nations" (Matthew 28:19) is a "post-Resurrection" idea. It appears to be of Pauline inspiration and is nowhere else found in the Gospels (apart from the spurious longer ending of Mark [Mark 16:15], which is missing from all the older manuscripts). Jesus' own perspective was exclusively Jewish; he was concerned only with Jews. (Vermes 2012)
The neat point: Why bother to visionise someone who said his teachings were for Jews only, and therefore not for "gentiles", such as Christians?
Note how Yogananda hailed Mussolini and dictatorship till events ran him over in the matter. Still, aim for a balanced view. For example, try to see what Yogananda teachings can be good - Many of them are considered on this site. All are not pitch black. Besides, pitch has its uses. [Link]
Vermes, Geza. The Real Jesus: Then and Now. Minneapolis, MI: Fortress Press, 2010.
Vermes, Geza. From Jewish to Gentile: How the Jesus Movement Became Christianity. Biblical Archaeology Review (BAR) 38:06, Nov/Dec 2012.
Ak: Yogananda, Paramahansa. Man's Eternal Quest. Los Angeles: SRF, 1975.
Ay: Yogananda, Paramahansa. Autobiography of a Yogi. 1st ed. New York: Philosophical Library, 1946. Online.
Ha: Yogananda, Paramahansa. Autobiography of a Yogi. 12th ed. Los Angeles: Self-Realization Fellowship (SRF), 1981.
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