In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. (John 1:1)
In the beginning was the Word. In India when you come across a (Western) Christian church or institution you usually find somewhere on the building or on a sign in front one or both of two Gospel verses: “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6), or the opening verse of Saint John’s Gospel: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”
Of course this is to get “the poor heathen” to convert and join them.
But what they do not know is that this first verse of John is really a quotation from the Vedas. The original Sanskrit is: Prajapati vai idam agra asit. Tasya vak dvitiya asit. There is no way around it. It is no amazing coincidence, either. Saint John is citing in Greek these words which mean: “In the beginning was Prajapati [the Creator], and with him was the Word [Vak].” They are found in three different Vedic texts: Krishna Yajurveda, Kathaka Samhita, 12.5 and 27.1; Krishna Yajurveda, Kathakapisthala Samhita, 42.1; Jaiminiya Brahmana II, Samaveda, 2244). These are from the Yajur and Sama Vedas respectively. They were written down long before the Hebrew nation existed.
How did Saint John know this verse and consider it of such prime authority that he would begin his Gospel with it? Either through his Essene background (for the Essenes did keep and study oriental scriptures) or from the teaching of Jesus. Chances are, from both. So putting this verse on signs outside churches is just a proof of how little the Churchians know of Jesus and his authentic teachings. (We will be considering the real meaning of the first verse later on).
What is the Word which was “In the Beginning”?
“In the beginning was the Word” means that the Word was already in God at the beginning of the projection of relative existence/creation. It was with God and was God. But what is the Word? It is the Greek word Logos, which means something spoken or thought, reasoning (intelligence), communication, revelation, speaker, speech, utterance, work and work. This is a great deal, and all of it meaningful when we realize that the Word is Ishwara, the Lord, an expansion or projection of the Absolute, Brahman, the transcendent Reality that encompasses the entire range of being and existence.
Before we analyze these meanings of Logos, we need to consider the triune concept of the Absolute that Jesus found in the scriptures of India during his so-called “lost years” which are described in The Christ of India.
God is often referred to as Satchidananda–Existence, Consciousness and Bliss. Sat is Brahman, Chit is Ishwara, the guiding consciousness within creation, and Ananda is the creation–Divine Vibration or Outbreathing–itself. In the Bhagavad Gita we find the three monosyllables Om Tat Sat that express the same thing Jesus meant when he spoke of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Sat means Reality, Tat means That, and Om is the Cosmic Vibration, the Holy Breath (Agia Pneuma). Sat is the Father, Tat is Ishwara the Son, and Om is the Holy Spirit. So the subject of these eighteen verses is Ishwara, who is also called the Only Begotten of the Father, since he is the direct and only emanation of/from Parabrahman, the Father.
The great error of exoteric Christianity is to identify Jesus of Nazareth with Ishwara and claim that he is the Only Begotten of the Father and the creator of the world. We will have more to say on that later. Now we should return to the subject of Logos, the Word, as its various meanings give us a hint of the nature of Ishwara.
Logos means intelligence, and Ishwara is the Intelligence, the Intelligent Witness behind/within everything. Logos means an impelling force, and Ishwara is the Consciousness that stimulates all relative beings to evolve. Cause is another meaning of Logos and Ishwara is the cause all creation. Logos is also communication, and it is Ishwara that develops and opens our minds to realize that there is a transcendent reality, and thus Ishwara leads us to the realization of Brahman. Logos means that which reveals, and as just said, Ishwara reveals higher realities to us.
The most important meaning of Logos is: something that is spoken. Being the emanation of Brahman, Ishwara is “spoken” by Brahman. And so is every sentient being. We are all “words” of Brahman, spoken–willed into manifestation–by Brahman. Every one of us is an actual and potential Word of God. That is, we are already one with Brahman, but we are evolving through rebirth and yoga to become a total objectification of that eternal nature.
Jesus as “Word of God”
Therefore, when in this opening section of Saint John’s Gospel Jesus is also spoken of as the Word, it is in the sense that as a perfected, liberated being, or mukta, he a perfect “speaking” of God. Anyone who becomes perfectly purified, evolved and established in the consciousness of oneness with Brahman is a Word of God. Jesus is not unique. In all the cycles of creation, Sons and Words of God are manifested. I have already cited that Jesus said to his disciples: “Believe in God, and you are believing in me.” The fact is, that if we truly believe in God in the fullest sense we shall also believe in our divine Self. In The Aquarian Gospel by Levi Dowling, it is made clear that Ishwara alone is the archetypal Christ, and that Jesus is a Christ, not the Christ. Moreover, he was/is not unique. God is revealed in all the liberated Masters and Avatars. But there is only the one God: Brahman.
Logos is derived from Lego, which means a revelation, a conveying of some truth or knowledge. I have already pointed out that this is true of Ishwara, but if we consider Saint Paul’s words: “God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (II Corinthians 4:6), we will realize that God is revealed in Jesus as a perfect reflection. And in that context alone did Jesus say: “I am the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6). Jesus and all siddhas are embodiments and communications of the Divine Consciousness that is revealed in them. In them “dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily” (Colossians 2:9), yet Brahman/Ishwara alone is THE Way, Truth and Life. Lego also means a call. Every siddha is a call to humanity to follow his example and become one in consciousness with Brahman. That is why Swami Nikhilananda said: “You cannot accept Christ and reject Krishna, and you cannot accept Krishna and reject Christ.” Of course he meant the true Christ, not the false theological Christ of exoteric Christianity.
Also In the Beginning…
And the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. Although Ishwara is an emanation of Brahman, Ishwara did not at any time “come into being,” but as Brahman Itself was inherent in Brahman, and like the creation is manifested in cycles. Because Brahman/Ishwara is beyond description and speech I am having to speak in approximations so our human intellects can at least dimly comprehend these mysteries.
Ishwara is really Brahman and therefore absolutely eternal. At the same time, all sentient beings were with/within Brahman, and although we have come into manifestation cyclically as does Ishwara, we are eternal, always with and within Brahman. This is indicated by Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita: “For me great Brahma is the womb, and in that do I place the seed. The origination of all beings comes from that. Whatever be the forms produced within all wombs, the great Brahma is their womb, and I the seed-casting Father” (14:3-4). We are all seed-words of Brahman.