Ananda Family News

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

A Church of All Religions

When Paramhansa Yogananda was living, he called his places of worship, “Churches of all Religions.” In this way he wanted everyone to understand that even though the temples were dedicated to our particular line of gurus, the principles of Self-realization are not unique to this line of masters.  Self-realization is the unifying principle behind all true religions.

To illustrate this, Master included symbols from various religions at Lake Shrine, and in other temples. And now, our Palo Alto temple follows in that tradition with seven beautiful new adornments to the walls of the main sanctuary. 

Sunday service included a ceremony to welcome and bless these symbols. We chanted “I Will Sing Thy Name,” with the “Aum Guru” chorus being modified as appropriate for each religion. During the chant, designated congregation members took turns carrying candles from the altar and leaving them with a blessing at each symbol. You can see photos of the ceremony and all the symbols here.

Going clockwise around the room from stage left, the religions and symbols are:
  • Hinduism - Aum
  • Judaism - Star of David
  • Islam - “Allah” in Arabic calligraphy
  • Buddhism - The Wheel of Dharma
  • Taoism - Yin Yang
  • Self-Realization - Joy Is Within You
  • Christianity - Cross
Each one is beautifully carved in wood, and painted blue and gold, and they are all marvelous additions to our sacred space. 

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