Note: Information within brackets [ ] is either page number of the book that is being quoted from, or comments of the writer; [See pages 1, 2, 3, 4] in blue indicates references of the pages in

And on pages 16 and 25 of book 7 [below], he says in his ‘Teaching of the Story of the Garden of Eden’, “


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And on pages 16 and 25 of book 7 [below], he says in his ‘Teaching of the Story of the Garden of Eden’, Humanity is inter-connected. [New Age] All our choices affect the others, either positively or negatively. [see page 26] In the context of reincarnation: “Each human mind is connected to every other mind so it is possible that some memories can enter into the conscious level like the downloading of material from the Internet.

God will be Emmanuel, with us and within us (vishistadvaitic experience). Jesus inaugurates this new covenant at the moment of his baptism and takes it little further into advaitic experience. He could say boldly that he and God are one… Jesus does not abolish the dualistic and qualified non-dualistic relationships but opens them to a new possibility of non-duality. ‘I have not come to abolish the law but to fulfill the law’ he said. [53, 54]

Note for the reader: The term for the ontological non-duality of Shankara is advaita or monism.

More on sin: Sin is dualism. “One has to grow from duality to qualified non-duality and from there to non-duality... Sin is a refusal to grow, or block[ing] the growth of others. [55]

As long as we have a physical body and live in this world of time and space, we need to relate with God and with one another in a functional duality though we know that we are ontologically one with God and one another as there is only one Reality… [see pages 23, 26]. If there is anyone on record who made the statement ‘I am God’, it was Master Echart [sic] of Germany [see pages 39-40] who said that a spiritually poor person is one who says ‘I and God are one’. But he was condemned as a heretic. Perhaps in that particular time and spiritual tradition no one could have imagined the possibility of non-dualistic experience. But today Christians are ready for it. [57, 58]

More on the Eucharist: The ritual of the Eucharist that the priest celebrates in the Church is meant to reveal to the people who they really are and what they have to do… It reveals that human beings are ultimately one with the divine. They are the body and blood of God. In order to realise this truth, they have to sacrifice their ignorant self, in which the lower becomes the higher. SYMBOLICALLY, the bread and wine become the body and blood of Christ or God. This should not be understood in the sense of cannibalism. We are not eating physical flesh and physical blood, which would be a crude interpretation. The above becomes below and the below becomes above. [28] [see pages 14, 22, 23, 36, 43, 44, 47, 65, 82]

There is only one way to God: it is to renounce or sacrifice one’s ego, the ignorant self, and find one’s True self… If we sacrifice our ignorant self, then human relationships become sacred… Sexual relationships are the expressions of this sacrifice. Making love becomes the most intimate way of celebrating the Eucharist. [24]

A reminder from this writer: Keep in mind that at Holy Mass in this Ashram, there is no restriction on anyone receiving Holy Communion: ‘post-Christians’, atheists, theosophists, Hindus, couples living together outside of marriage, seekers of every shade, most of whom don’t know whether they are coming or whether they are going. Such teachings on the Eucharist as those of Bro. Martin would be the primary reason for the sacrileges [see pages 8, 9, 20, 35].

More on the Catholic Church: Religion which is based on the Scriptures takes away human will and intellect. The followers are not supposed to think and will independently and the religious authorities demand absolute obedience from their followers. Faith is often defined (in the Catholic Church) as the assent of the will and the intellect to the formulas of the particular belief structure. If anyone dissents, then one might be excommunicated. In this sense, the followers are killed as they have no intellect and will of their own. They are like dead bodies which can be carried where the authorities want. [33]

Some Christians think that by just believing in Jesus they can be saved… In the Catholic Church there are more than a billion followers but no one can think independently and will independently. One person thinks for everyone and wills for everyone. One billion people without will and intellect being killed, carried by one person. [The Pope?] This is a complete perversion of the life-giving message of Jesus Christ. [45]

More on ‘Born again’: The rebirth which Jesus spoke of to Nicodemus was the transition from the womb of religion into the universal presence of God. It is to come out of the God of history, scriptures and tradition and to enter into the realm of originality and creativity. Scriptures and tradition limit the nature of God. [39] [see p. 23]
Book No. 6. Bede Griffiths- A Sage and a Prophet, 2004:

That Martin was influenced by and inherited Bede’s teachings is his self-confession:

When I was studying my theology… I happened to read an article of Fr. Bede on Christian advaita. Fr. Bede wrote saying that many Christians are dualists. This cannot be so. God is the only absolute reality and we are only relative reality… Fr. Bede was saying that Christianity was a dualistic religion, which limited the possibility of God experience to the dualistic level and maybe to the vishistadvaitic level to the mystics, but closed the door to the advaitic experience to her followers, limiting that experience only to Jesus. Jesus opened the door to the possibility of non-dual experience to humanity, but Christianity closed it. The vision of Fr. Bede was that Christianity should rediscover this non-dual experience and open it to her followers. This brought revolution in my thinking. It was like dynamite coming closer to the fire… [1, 5]

Fr. Bede said that he came to India to discover the other half of his soul [see pages 17-18, 48-49].The other half of his soul was the advaitic experience of God which was not a possibility in the Christian tradition… It was a journey from the known into the unknown… In this sense Fr. Bede became to me an archetype of spiritual journey to follow. It is this journey which Jesus calls searching for the kingdom of God.” Martin quotes Mt 6:33. [11, 12] More on religion[s]: “Religions are like… vehicles human beings use to reach the goal… Religions cannot enter into God.” Martin advises one to “get out of the” vehicle of religion to reach one’s goal. [14] One of Martin’s most-repeated lines is this: human beings are greater than religions [see ‘the boat’ simile, pages 19, 21].

On repentance: “Through repentance we have to renounce our ignorance and realize that we are already in God. Subjectively it is the realisation of our ultimate identity with God in which human beings can say ‘I and God are one’. This also implies that human beings are greater than religions.
Book No. 7. From Becoming to Unfolding, 2004:

In this book, Martin puts forward several new radical views that our theologians need to carefully examine:

When we say God is Holy, it means that in God there are no partsas there are found in a watch [2].

Arguing that if God is holy, we can intuit what it means to be created in the image and likeness of God. It means humanity is also created as ‘holy’, ‘whole’, ‘eternal’… [see ‘A Course in Miracles’, page 12] The serpent tells the woman ‘If you eat this fruit you will become like God’. We know that humanity was already created like God and there was no need for it to become like God.” Man, he says, can fall into sleep from its original nature but has the possibility to realise its mistake, to wake up from sleep. [4, 5]

Half-truths, we see, can be far more dangerous than lies. Martin says that man is ‘eternal’. He is not. Man is creation and is endowed with an ‘immortal’ soul. Only God is eternal. Neither is man ‘holy’ or ‘whole’. He has a fallen nature. But, for Martin, sin is simply man’s ignorance that he is “already in God”, repentance is the renunciation of that ignorance, [in book no. 6] and this renunciation makes man ‘holy’ and ‘whole’.

Humanity is created in the image and likeness of God just as other created beings…” [5]

Concerning the “fruit of good and evil”, God told humanity that… the moment they eat they will die, not physically, but spiritually, as it was clear that they did not die physically. [4] So, on to reincarnation!

On reincarnation: The chapter is titled ‘Christ and Reincarnation’. Martin says Many western Christians believe in it or have no difficulty in accepting it in one form or another. They do not think that it contradicts Christian faith. Many people think that the early Christians believed in it but later the Church suppressed it.

Even the statement of Jesus to Nicodemus ‘Unless you are born again…’ is quoted as proof of that… My reflections on this subject have led me to the conclusion that the solution does not lie either in believing in reincarnation or disbelieving in it, but in seeing it as a fact. This alone can help in our spiritual life. [21-23]

Jesus did not believe in reincarnation but he saw it as a fact so that he could free himself from it.[28]

On evil, ‘the serpent’ who is not satan, and the Fall:

The serpent has two symbolic meanings… [see pages 7, 20, 48]. For Martin, the serpent is nothing but a symbol of “human consciousness”. Or a “voice”. God told humanity that it could listen to all the voices of the garden except that voice which tells that it [humanity] is not like God. [6] The original sin is nothing but to forget the real nature of humanity and the desire to become like God. God created humanity in his or her own image and likeness and holy, eternal and unfolding[9, 10 The error in Martin’s writings is often so subtle that it escapes detection. Let me try to explain. I use the word ‘try’ because I am no theologian. The Bible does say that the desire to be like God was an important aspect of the original sin. But to Martin and his followers, original sin is man’s forgetting his real nature which is that he is already divine, already one with God, as we have seen from earlier excerpts from his many writings. It is a monistic situation. But the forgetfulness of man at the fall, plunges humanity into a dualistic situation. That is Martin’s real original sin.

Martin has earlier made it clear that God is absolute Good, which has no opposite, Evil [see page 21]. The Absolute Good which has an opposite, cannot be called the Absolute Good. [4]

Since all of human nature is one, and one with God, all of it created in God’s imagine and likeness, a separate evil entity called Satan [who is not a serpent] does not fit into Martin’s scheme of things.

As he says of Eve, She thought that she was not like God and wanted to become like God. This forgetfulness creates the duality of ‘I am not like God’ and ‘I want to become like God’…” [5]

Man’s original sin was also in wanting to “become” like God instead of “unfolding” himself as God.

Explanations of the various aspects of the fall of man are illustrated by this ‘becoming’/ ‘unfolding’ tension. Martin avers God told them that the moment they eat the fruit of becoming, they will fall. But humanity ate the fruit of becoming and fell from the life of unfolding.” [10]

Though Martin favours inclusive language [referring to God as he/she, see ‘his or her’ above], the choice of the words ‘his or her’ in this case seems to me [I might be judgemental here] to be in the context of the objects, the man and woman whom he/she created. Otherwise Martin has favoured the use of the pronoun ‘it’ for God.

Remember the parable [Mt.13: 47f] of the kingdom of God which is like a net thrown into the sea which catches good and bad fish, the separation of the righteous from the wicked, and the bad fish thrown into the fiery furnace?

Well, for Martin there were no good fish and bad fish, but just one big fish and many little ones.

He believes that the original parable may have been like this… The kingdom of God is like a big fish so they happily threw away the little ones.” [14] This way Martin does not have to find an explanation for the final judgement which does not fit into his ‘new vision of Christianity’.

Denial of a transcendent God as well as of personal evil is found in all New Age non-dualism, because in New Age eschatology too, one does not need to provide explanations for judgement, heaven, hell. There is no sin, evil [our sin] is our fallenness due to our ignorance and our ‘becoming’ instead of ‘unfolding’, and salvation comes from our self-realization of our true identity as little gods already in the kingdom of God.

Self-deification. As Martin keeps repeating, “I am God,” “You are God” [see pages 21, 22].

On the kingdom of God: Martin writes volumes on his understandings of this truth. But to quote him,

I have discovered that ‘the Kingdom of God is at hand ‘’… There is no one in the world who is not in God and no one can go outside God… ‘I am in the Father and the Father is in me’. [emphases his] [18]

Book No. 8. Marriage- A Divine or a Human Institution? 2004:

This article on marriage is based on a homily given by Sahajananda at the marriage of Jill [Hemmings] and Adrian [Rance] in June 2003 at U.K. [see pages 13, 14, 20] I was informed by other ashramites that Bro. Martin conducted their “marriage” service as they could not get married in a regular church because both were already divorced. [I avoid using any undocumented information but I make an exception in this case].

In this booklet, Martin reveals that his serious reflection on the theme of marriage began during my studies in Rome six years ago. [5] That makes it 1997, four years after the death of Fr. Bede.

His discussion centres on Matthew 19:6 ‘What God has joined together, let no man put asunder.’

When in Rome, he found that a priest had great difficulty in giving a homily on this subject because a majority of people in the church were separated from their husbands and wives and were living with partners.

He speaks of others who go to Mass but cannot receive communion for the same reason. So, he asks, Did Jesus really mean the way his statement has been interpreted… and that divorce is not possible?

Deviously, as usual, he first argues that marriage is a divine institution, “a spiritual reality” in which “we are all married with God from all eternity” in “the kingdom of God”, but it is also a human institution “which is celebrated in time and space.” The latter cannot be called a divine institution in view of the fact that it is breaking [sic]. If it is really a divine institution it cannot break.

These human institutions, Martin states belong to the level of the evolutionary process of the human ego and, no system is absolute… Love cannot be institutionalized… Sometimes institutions can become obstacles… Marriages are only betrothals until we discover our eternal marriage with God. If two persons really love each other then marriage is not an absolute necessary [sic]. [Similar to Vandana Mataji’s position, see page 44].

Pulling a new approach out of his hat, Martin differentiates marriage as taking place at three levels, physical, psychological and spiritual. The call of Jesus… is to search for the kingdom of God… This search for the kingdom is through relationships… Marriages could be understood as genuine attempts to discover our real and eternal marriage with one another and with the divine. Our friends, Jill and Adrian… have seen the joys and sorrows of physical marriage … and of psychological marriage. They have not found their fulfillment in them. They are divorced. Their new life of love began while they were searching for the ultimate meaning of their life, the kingdom of God.The Catholic Church’s position needs neither explanation here, nor defense.

Martin’s observation on the Roman priest, If he stuck to the official teaching of the Church, he may not see them next week in the [ashram, oops] churchapplies equally to Martin, not only in the case of Jill and Adrian, but also in the case of a large number of the other visitors to the Ashram who attend his satsanghs to hear him speak.

If he ‘stuck to the official teaching’, and sacraments, of the Church, he too would not be having any ‘ministry’.

Book No. 9. Truth has no Boundaries- Proclaiming the Goodnews of Peace

If you have read the other books, then you have read this one too. It’s the old ones in a new bottle. When Martin talks of “truth”, it is his own determination of what truth is, the good news according to John Martin Sahajananda.

NOTE: It would take a book to record the teachings of the Church against Martin’s numerous errors, only some of which have been noted here. But, it would be helpful to include a couple from the Vatican document on New Age:

In New Age there is no distinction between good and evil. Human actions are the fruit of either illumination or ignorance. Hence we cannot condemn anybody and nobody needs forgiveness. Believing in the existence of evil can only create negativity and fear… In New Age there is no real concept of sin, but rather one of imperfect knowledge, n 2.2.2, n 4.

New Age imports Eastern religious practices piecemeal and re-interprets them to suit Westerners; this involves a rejection of the language of sin and salvation," n 2.4. New Age stance towards Christianity is not neutral but neutralising: despite what is often said about openness to all religious standpoints, traditional Christianity is not sincerely regarded as an acceptable alternative. In fact, it is occasionally made abundantly clear that there is no tolerable place for true Christianity… n 6.1. New Age believes in the interconnectedness of all existence,and there is only one single reality, n 7.1 [see pages 23, 24].


The theory of the four ashramas or stages of life of brahmacharya, grihastha, vanaprastha and sannyasa developed in Upanishadic literature. The word ashram is derived from the Sanskrit term a-srama which means total pursuit, full dedication, tireless striving, stretching one’s arms toward perfection. Ashrams are places where an intense spiritual sadhana or exercise takes place.

This is the explanation of Fr. Sebastian Painadath SJ in the 2002 souvenir, Saccidanandaya Namah, commemorating the golden jubilee of Shantivanam in 2000. In the same book, one may examine detailed studies of the different meanings of the word by Fr. Ishanand SJ and Sr. Pascaline Coff OSB.

Ashrams fall into three broad categories: jnana, bhakti and karma [seva] ashrams stressing contemplation/ study of scriptures/ chanting, piety, and service respectively. They may have all three, but the emphasis differs.

The ‘Gandhian’ ashrams, mainly in Gujarat, the most well-known being the Sabarmati Ashram, are now mainly national monuments or centres of manual labour and social work rather than of contemplation.

In ancient India most ashrams were gurukulas or educational centres for brahmacharis. Today they are more like monasteries or maths. In India there are numerous Hindu and some Buddhist and Jain ashrams. The prominent ones are Ramakrishna Ashram [Swami Vivekananda, 1897], Shantiniketan [Rabindranath Tagore, 1901], Aurobindo Ashram [Aurobindo Ghosh, 1910] [see pages 33, 42, 51, 52, 54, 58, 60, 63, 66, 68, 70], Sivananda Ashram [Swami Sivananda, 1932 (Divine Life Society and Swami Chidananda)] [see pages 27, 42, 43, 44 (51, 57)], Ramana Ashram [Ramana Maharshi] at Tiruvannamalai [see pages 5, 9, 32, 33, 37, 43, 60, 61, 66, 70, 79] etc.

It is mainly the Christian ashrams today that are “struggling to live the ashram ideals”, writes Fr. Ishanand SJ.

A strange fact is that it was Protestants, who, influenced by the social ideals of Gandhi and Tagore, took the initiative to found the early ashrams like Sat Tal Ashram* [Nainital, Stanley Jones, 1920], Christukula Ashram [Tirupattur, Dr. S. Jesudason and Dr. Forrester Paton, 1921], and Christa Prema Seva Ashram [Pune, Rev. Jack Winslow, 1927, an Anglican who later became Bishop of Bombay, see pages 29, 35, 42]. And it is a fact, too, that unlike the Catholic ashrams, which is the subject of our concern, “through integrated social action, they attempted Christian evangelization** as New Age Catholic nun Sr. Pascaline Coff OFB frankly admits in Saccidanandaya Namah, page 46. **Evangelization. Are Catholic ashrams ‘attempting’ it? To the reader who has come this far, it is a rhetorical question. For references of the ashram movement’s leaders’ attitudes to evangelization, see pages 15, 30-31, 34-35, 65.

Protestants received support for their movement at the World Missions Conference in Chennai in 1939 and started their Ashram Fellowship in 1951. Our focus however will be on Catholic ashrams alone. [*The Dec. 2001 issue of CSI Life has an ad. for this Protestant ashram’s Institute on Indigenization in Mission and Evangelism which includes YOGA along with studies in comparative religion etc. So we Catholics are not the only ones going the yoga way.]


Aikiya Alayam is unofficially regarded as a Catholic ashram [Saccidanandaya Namah, page 110]. The seal or logo of Aikiya Alayam has the cross in the centre of the OM which is within the Buddhist wheel of Dharma.

In the souvenir, Fr. Maria Jeyaraj SJ gives a biographical sketch of its founder Fr. Ignatius Hirudayam SJ [1910 -1995], an authority in the philosophy of Saiva Siddhanta, “one of the pioneers of the Catholic Ashram Movement in India. In 1965, directed by his Jesuit provincial, he wrote the ‘Constitutions’ for a new Centre for Interreligious Research and Dialogueafter visiting similar centres in Calcutta, Patna, Mumbai and Poona.

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