YOU ARE THE LIGHT: Rediscovering the Eastern Jesus

John Martin Sahajananda, Author . O Books $15.95 (288p) ISBN 978-1-903816-30-1

When Sahajananda looks steadily at the Jesus of the New Testament, he finds not a relic of the past, but a whole new vision of Christianity for the third millennium. This good news, he says, is "about the dignity of human beings." Sahajananda, a Camaldolese monk from the Shantivanam Ashram in South India, final outpost of the beloved Benedictine monk Father Bede Griffiths, deeply explores Jesus' pithy saying, "The kingdom of God is at hand, repent." Sahajananda finds, however, not a culture of judgment and an ultimatum, but a call to realize that "God and human beings are ultimately one," a classic Hindu embrace. The bulk of this text is definitely within the Christian tradition, especially in the first two sections, on "the good news of Jesus Christ" and the Beatitudes. But part three, "A New Christianity," pushes past some old boundaries, and will ruffle those who are rigidly certain that the Jesus-as-we-have-known-him is the only way. A close reading reveals a thoughtful treatise seeking to make humanity more deeply aware of the unity it has always had in God, with a close new focus on Jesus' radical, fresh teachings. The too-brief fourth section is the most interesting, with its pairing of evolved Vedantic thought with Christian scripture; Sahajananda even offers a parallel Hindu understanding of The Lord's Prayer. Christians who want to open a door to the timeless East will find this a fine place to start. (Oct.)

Reviewed on: 09/15/2003
Release date: 10/01/2003
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