One book I am really getting my teeth stuck into at the moment is Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramahansa Yogananda.
I find that my cultural context in Western Sydney is more and more drawing me into an engagement with Hindu thought, and having read the Bhagavad Gita and Swami Prabhavananda’s commentary on Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras in recent months, Yogananda seems like the obvious next pit stop.
Funny how I went through the New Age Movement in the 90s without ever reading any of this. I was caught up so much in Zen, Gaia and Gnostic mysticism that I virtually bypassed one of the major influences on the New Age Movement. Just goes to show how hard it is to pin down New Spirituality into neat little theological boxes I guess.
Anyway, one of the primary things I am trying to come to grips with is the difference between the Yoga-Vedantic philosophy so popular amongst Anglo seekers and the devotional folk Hinduism of my many Sri Lankan neighbours. So I am also reading up on The Spirit of Hinduism by David Burnett (which Philip Johnson kindly loaned to me last week), Understanding Folk Religion by Paul Hiebert and of course primary source material distributed by the local temple.
I also want to learn a lot more from conversations with our Hindu neighbours but unfortunately deep conversations have been precluded by a number of local family crises in recent months. In particular, one of our neighbours Raja recently returned to India after his brother committed suicide, so the more basic needs of prayer support and neighbourly care have taken over on that front. I’d appreciate it if any of you would care to join me in prayer for them at this time.