From Fundamentalism, Through Atheism, Toward Realization

A Video Autobiography by a Kriya Yoga Student of Paramahansa Yogananda's Self-Realization Fellowship (SRF)
Larry Dominus Reavis, Ph.D.

 

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Updates:
Sept. 29, 2011: Seth and Sari - a short fictional story of redemption of a damaged warrior after the Civil War. (It's the fictional ending that I added in order to sweeten my bitter memories of myself as a soldier who fought on behalf of Kentucky.)
Nov. 9, 2011: Songs from Intuition that Ruined my Atheism (new addition).
Dec. 12, 2011: Summary, Conclusion, and Implications for Nation and World. More photos, more recommendations for our nation and our world - based on the teachings of Jesus, Yoganandaji, and the other Great Ones.
Nov. 14, 2011: Why are there no Coke bottles (or similar material artifacts) from previous higher-age cultures? Why no physical evidence? Update to Yugas.
Dec. 4, 2011: Reincarnation update to include weeping in my high-school history class when I glanced at the image of Robert E. Lee; and now, the baby across the street (with photo of house where I lived) who burned to death.
Dec. 15, 2011: Update to yugas text here and here.

Most videos now are available for download from Vimeo - feel free to burn them to DVD or BD and give them to Sunday School teachers and others, as you see fit. All videos are HD and are best watched full-screen. As of Dec. 14, 2011, most videos play on html5-only devices (such as some Apple products) in addition to browsers that rely upon Adobe Flash. Soon we hope to have converted all of our videos so that they will play on both types of browsers.

In addition, most now include Levels encoding so that slow web connections automattically get lower-resolution videos - no buffering should be experienced (except for the first few seconds).
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I became a fundamentalist in 1948 at age 12. Not the kind of fundamentalist that flies planes into buildings - I wasn't one of them! They were going to burn forever in Hell, along with (a) all Christians who believe the Wrong Way (and that was most of them), (b) all Jews, (c) all Shintos, (d) all Hindus, (e) all atheists, (f) all Jains, (g) all Buddhists, (h) all  . . . well, almost everyone in the world; my heaven would not suffer from overpopulation!

One crisp night during the Christmas season of 1952, I was walking home from my job at the grocery store when I noticed that the stars that had been over the house that I had just passed now seemed to be over the next house that I was passing. With the sermon of the day before on my mind, I wondered how that story of the star over the manger could be literally true - in a materialistic sense - as claimed by my parents and, it seemed, most of the adults that I knew. Of course, if the star were close over the manger, there would be no problem with parallax; but wouldn't the star then burn up the manger - and every thing else on earth? 

By age 23, I could no longer defend the literal, material, veracity of every word of the Good Book, such as where it claimed that Joshua made the day longer by commanding the sun to stand still (Mr. Joshua: is it literally true that the movement of the 
sun determines the length of the day? My grade-school teacher said that it was the rotation of the earth that determines the length of the day).


I also began to see the bigotry to which I had been happily wedded as ugly. Really, is everyone whose beliefs regarding salvation differ from ours going to burn forever and ever in Hell fire? I wanted a divorce.

Because I had been taught that every word in the Book was God's word, I began to doubt it all. So, in the Fall of 1959, I became an atheist.

Redemption

The first seeds of my redemption were sown even before I became a fundamentalist. In 1947, I had a dramatic encounter with Paramahansa Yogananda on a Hollywood street corner (to see the video of that encounter, watch the first segment of my autobiographical videos - click the "1-Encounter" button, at left;  7+ min. long).

A few weeks later, and perhaps even more important, was his teaching me, solely by means of intuition, how to move the currents in the spine - a process that decades later I learned was called Kriya Yoga. That story is told in my video segment entitled "The Visit" (click the "2-Visit & Explanation" button, at left).

Along with a description of those experiences is a summary of my years-long effort to understand many such inexplicable events through my study of physics (again, click the "2-Visit & Explanation" button, then click the physics video link.)

Bend spoons? Phooey! Study quantum physics if you really want to stretch your mind past its elastic limits!

Physics
   Cause the present to change the past? You'll see it when you believe it, according to recent experiments.

Create an "influence" that propagates throughout the universe instantaneously? Can do; tomorrow morning OK?

Change data after it has been written onto a hard disk by using will power alone? Routine.

Use your consciousness to "condense" a particle out of a "wave function" that is no more than a concept (it cannot be a wave, according to the evidence)? We do that all day long every day, according to the "EPR" experiments (based on Bell's Theorem, as explained in the Physics video and .PDF).

"EPR" stands for Einstein, Poldowski, and Rosen, who argued that the moon is still there even when no one is looking (in their words). But data from the EPR experiments have not gone their way.

Sir Arthur Eddington, who first convinced most physicists that Einstein's theory of relativity was true, said,
To put the conclusion crudely, the stuff of world is mind stuff.”

Even the unimaginative
Max Planck, the founder of quantum physics, eventually came to agree. Because of the accumulating evidence, he asserted that matter is derivative of consciousness (references for all these quotes are given in my physics article).

Go East, young man
   It was through my study of the experiments in quantum physics that finally my atheistic skepticism was undermined sufficiently so that I was able to read the equally hard-to-believe stories told in the Autobiography of a Yogi, by Paramahansa Yogananda without dismissing them out of hand; and then join Self-Realization Fellowship (SRF) in 1973 (www.yogananda-srf.org).

I was not alone in my migration toward Eastern philosophy. After digesting the implications of experiments, Schroedinger, the Nobel laureate who gave us the wave formulation of quantum physics, devoted much of his life to studying India's Vedas.

Similarly, Robert Oppenheimer, "father of the atomic bomb" and "father of American theoretical physics," mastered Sanskrit. Then he printed, at his own expense, copies of his own translation of the Bhagavad Gita - which he handed out to anyone who would take a copy.

As Brian Josephson (Nobel in physics, 1973) put it,
Vedanta and Sankhya hold the key to the laws of mind and thought process, which are correlated to the quantum field, i.e., the operation and distribution of particles at the atomic and molecular levels.”

Numerous other physicists have reached the same conclusion. Their views also are described in the phyics
article.

"All science is transcendental or else passes away . . . the avatars of Brahman will presently be the text-books . . ." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Why? That's the question that hounded me for decades; the videos and .PDF convey my answer.

I hope you find them useful.~
 

  














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