Author Archives: ashramdiary

About ashramdiary

Thomas Matus, who blogs this Ashram Diary, was born 1940 in Hollywood, California. Academics: A.B. in music from Occidental College (Los Angeles); S.T.L. in ecumenical theology from Athenaeum Anselmianum (Rome, Italy); Ph.D. in comparative mysticism from Fordham University (New York). Initiated into Kriya Yoga (by direct disciples of Paramahansa Yogananda) in 1958. Became a Catholic in 1960 and entered New Camaldoli Hermitage (Big Sur, California) as a novice monk in 1962. Lived for more than 30 years at the Monastery of Camaldoli in Italy. Traveled to India some 20 times; made frequent retreats at Saccidananda Ashram (Shantivanam) in southern India. Was in Brazil, off and on, from 1999 to 2006. Now back in California, he lives at the Hermitage in Big Sur and Incarnation Monastery in Berkeley, California. See: http://www.youtube.com/user/thomasmatus

Yoga and Science, from East to West and from West to East

6. Hinduism and the Scientific Paradigm: Quantum Physics compared with Vedanta, from Erwin Schrödinger to Fritjof Capra; Robert Oppenheimer, the military-industrial complex, and the Bhagavad Gita. The pertinent chapter from Goldberg (American Veda, pp. 282-308) will be the basis of … Continue reading

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Hinduism in Anglo-American cinema

5. Hinduism in Anglo-American cinema (e.g. “The Razor’s Edge”, “Around the World in Eighty Days”, “A Passage to India”) and pop culture; Reincarnation for the masses; Health-club Yoga; rock-stars and transcendental meditators; is the culture itself ‘spiritual but not religious’? … Continue reading

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Yogananda, S.R.F., and other offshoots of Yogananda’s mission

4. Yogananda’s idea of ‘Christianity’ as opposed to ‘Churchianity’ (this expression was first used by Vivekananda). Offshoots of Yogananda’s mission, whether institutional or charismatic: Self-Realization Fellowship, Kriyananda and his Ananda Community, Roy Eugene Davis. The opposition between Christianity and Churchianity … Continue reading

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Yogananda’s Autobiography, 1946, and Thomas Merton’s, two years later

3.    Autobiography of a Yogi, 1946: Yogananda’s song of himself in India and America; compare with Thomas Merton’s autobiography, The Seven-Storey Mountain, 1948, and with Merton’s subsequent, wide-ranging dialogue with the East. The opening lines of AY: “The characteristic features … Continue reading

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America’s Parliaments of Religions, 1893 and 1993

2. The Parliaments of Religions in Chicago, 1893 and 1993; Vivekananda’s resounding voice at the first, the subtle Catholic presence at the second (Joseph cardinal Bernardin and the Benedictines). Gurus on the lecture circuit. When we realize how important newly-translated … Continue reading

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January Course @GTU “Vedic America”, first day

1. Transcendentalists: Emerson, Hawthorne, Thoreau, together with poet John Godfrey Saxe, 1816-1897 (whose poetry, in his own day, sold better than Hawthorne’s and Tennyson’s), best known for his poem on the Indian parable “The Blind Men and the Elephant”, with … Continue reading

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Creating a disturbance in the temple

Another talk I gave last Sunday, on the gospel story about Jesus chasing merchants and moneychangers out of the temple (John 2:13-25). I’d like to begin with the gospel acclamation: “God loved the world so much, he gave his only … Continue reading

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Transfiguration

Thoughts I shared today with friends gathered to worship at Incarnation Monastery in Berkeley. Our gospel reading today (Mark 9:2-10) shows us Jesus transfigured, talking with the prophets Elijah and Moses, that is, a prophet of Spirit and a prophet … Continue reading

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Cartesian paranoia and the real quest for truth

Matt Segall gave his readers the following in his latest blog post: “The Cartesian ego’s paranoid search for absolute certainty and formulaic Truth neglects the ambiguity of our world-in-process. The problem for the metaphysician, it seems to me, is not … Continue reading

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Future blog themes

Beatrix Murrell, seeing that I was considering not offering any more courses within the narrow time frame of the January intensive session at JST-Berkeley, suggested that I might do a series of blogs based on a book I coauthored years … Continue reading

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