Universal Religion

"It may be argued that particular stages of intellectual growth and special types of mentality belonging to certain nations... determine the origins of different religions, such as Hinduism, Mohammedanism, and Buddhism for Asiatics, Christianity for the Westerners, and so forth. If by religion we understand only practices, particular tenets, dogmas, customs, and conventions, then there may be grounds for the existence of many religions. But if religion means primarily God-consciousness, or the realization of God both within and without, and secondarily a body of beliefs, tenets, and dogmas, then, strictly speaking, there is but one religion in the world, for there is but one God." -- Paramahansa Yogananda, The Science of Religion, p. 4-

Interestingly, Yogananda's main arguments for a single religion undergirding what he calls "denominations" such as Hinduism, Christianity, and Buddhism, are praxeological:

"Why does [a man engage in a business]? Because money can be earned therein. Why should money be earned at all? Because it will satisfy personal and family wants. Why should wants be fulfilled? Because pain will thereby be removed and happiness gained." -- pg. 8

"So, if the motives for the actions of all men are traced farther and farther back, the ultimate motive will be found to be the same with all -- the removal of pain and the attainment of Bliss. This end being universal, it must be looked upon as the most necessary one." -- p. 10 [If you want to get the feeling that first sentence is lifted straight from Human Action, just substitute Eudaimonia for Bliss.]

And  then, to top the Mises-deja-vu off: "[The above arguments are] an a priori plea for the conception of religion set forth in this book." -- p. 15


  1. My mind? Consider it blown. That's a neat find. I don't know anything about Yogananda - is he a Perennialist?

  2. Where does dude stand on fractional reserve banking?

  3. Anonymous2:51 AM

    I thought Buddhists saw their beliefs as philosophy, not religion?

    I mean, sure, Tibetan Buddhism is an application of Buddhism to the point of a complete full fledged religion with doctrines.

    But early Paccekabuddhas such as Prince Gautama saw themselves as a post-religious people, thinking doctrines and rules to be for "inferior peoples" who are incapable of thinking.

    The Prince/Buddha had a Nazi-like racial superiority complex, believing that him being descended from the Star People and the Star King Ixvaklu made him superhuman compared to the alleged monkeys around him. Only a superhuman like him was capable of philosophising or thinking on life and existence at a superior level. The people who tried to become his followers were told they were unworthy of ever becoming Buddhas, because they were demons and beasts at best. (They all still fawned over him, because his astonishing physical handsome-ness made them really believe he was of an alien race).

    So Buddhism was never a religion, because Buddha and all the later Buddha Brahmanas all defied attempts to have followers who wanted to emulate them in a religious manner. And they gave always the same answer: "Only those who are not blind can see." The rest can pike off.

  4. Well, Jim, we all know that, a priori, FRB must be encouraged. Oops, I mean banned.

    Wait, which is it again?

  5. Prateek, I have studied Buddhism fairly extensively, and have never heard a bit of this "history" you have described. It sounds to me like it was simply invented by someone who hates Buddhists.

    As far as Buddhism not being a religion, I don't know of any scholars of comparative religion who would agree with you.

  6. Traumerei, I would say yes, he is a Perennialist.


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