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The Aquarian Gospel for Awakening

Cover of the Aquarian GospelAn Introduction to the Aquarian Gospel of Jesus the Christ

In 1908 a book appeared on the shelves of American bookstores that was destined to garner interest throughout the world, so much so that today it has gone through more than seventy editions in America alone. This book was The Aquarian Gospel of Jesus the Christ by Levi H. Dowling. Destined to be continually derided by those who “give liking unto nothing, but what is framed by themselves, and hammered on their anvil”1–in other words the Bible-believing of varying stripes–it yet evoked a response in those who intuited and sought for a deeper meaning of the person and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth. Many at that time, as well as today, could not honestly accept the limited interpretation of Jesus and His words that was offered by “Churchianity”–an acceptance that would have obligated them to reject Him as but one of many misperceiving religionists of the past. For them the Aquarian Gospel was truly Light in Darkness, a fount of life-giving knowledge.

What were (and are) the advantages of the Aquarian Gospel for seekers of deeper truth?

Firstly, it made no claim to be “the word of God” or even perfect–much less infallible–in its expression. Nor was it some kind of “new revelation for a new age.” It was a transcription of the psychic investigations made by Dowling into what is popularly known as “the akashic records.” It was entirely subjective and made no demands to be accepted in whole or even in part. Dowling saw and spoke; the rest was up to the reader. No promised blessings or curses were set forth to those who accepted or rejected it. That was left up to the “true believers” of the “mainstream churches.”

Secondly, it was not a translation of Jesus’ original Aramaic speech, but Dowling’s relaying of the concepts that underlay the outer words of Jesus, for that was what was conveyed in his investigations. For this reason we find anachronistic words like “harpsichord” and “photograph” used in the text to convey the idea, but not the literal wording. Whether he caught the inner meanings correctly was a matter for the reader to decide. Nor could it be used as an authoritarian club to beat unbelievers or doubters into submission, or a razor to dissect Jesus’ words into hair-splitting dogmatics. Although its being put down in English was advantageous to those who knew that language, recourse to dictionaries could not be a basis for proving “the truth” about any passage.

Thirdly, the message conveyed in its pages was not the inbred deformity of “orthodox” Christianity, but the universal message found at the heart of all valid religions–religions whose study was recommended to better understand the person and teachings of Jesus. (Some years back a priest of the Saint Thomas Christian [Malankara Orthodox] Church of India said to me: “You cannot understand the teachings of Jesus if you do not know the scriptures of Hindu religion.”2) Thus students of the Aquarian Gospel are urged to study Taoism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Zoroastrianism, and Judaism on an equal footing. How greatly–and blessedly–this contrasts with the bitter and hostile exclusivity of “orthodox” Christianity which cannot survive outside the confines of pious arrogance, narrowness, and ignorance.

Who was Levi H. Dowling? Not a great deal is known, because he did not want to be heralded as a messenger from God or a prophet of a new age with the accompanying personality cult that inevitably arises. Like Saint John the Baptist, his motto was: “He must increase, but I must decrease.”3 But we do know the following from the printings of the Gospel.

Levi H. Dowling was born on May 18, 1844, at Belleville, Ohio. His father was a Disciples of Christ (Christian Church) minister. Levi was always a student of the deeper things of life, and a devoted student of the religions of the world from childhood. At the age of thirteen, in his first public debate, he took the negative side against a Presbyterian Elder on “The Everlasting Punishment of the Wicked.” He began preaching at the age of sixteen; and at the age of eighteen was pastor of a small church. He entered the United States Army at the age of twenty as Chaplain, and served in this capacity to the end of the Civil War. Afterwards he became a publisher of Sunday School Literature, issuing Sunday School Lesson Papers, Song Books, and a Children’s Sunday School Paper. Much of his time was devoted to the cause of Prohibition. He was a graduate of two medical colleges and practised medicine for a number of years. He finally retired from the medical profession in the early 1900’s to resume his literary work–particularly the Aquarian Gospel.

When but a boy he was impressed with the sensitiveness of the finer ethers and believed that in some manner they were sensitized plates on which sounds, even thoughts, were recorded. With avidity he entered into the deeper studies of etheric vibration, determined to solve the great mysteries of the heavens for himself. Forty years he spent in study and silent meditation, and then he found himself in that stage of spiritual consciousness that permitted him to enter the domain of these superfine ethers and become familiar with their mysteries. He then learned that the imaginings of his boyhood days were founded upon veritable facts, and that every thought of every living thing is there recorded.

Early in life, when but a mere lad, he had a vision in which he was told that he was to “build a white city.” This vision was repeated three times with years intervening. The building of the “white city” was The Aquarian Gospel of Jesus the Christ, which was transcribed between the early morning hours of two and six–the absolutely “quiet hours.”

Levi passed from earth-life on August 13, 1911.

Jesus foretold Dowling’s work, saying: “This age will comprehend but little of the works of Purity and Love; but not a word is lost, for in the Book of God’s Remembrance a registry is made of every thought and word and deed; And when the world is ready to receive, lo, God will send a messenger to open up the book and copy from its sacred pages all the messages of Purity and Love. Then every man of earth will read the words of life in the language of his native land, and men will see the light. And man again will be at one with God.”4

The idea of psychically-received knowledge of the lives and teachings of the Masters of Wisdom was not new when Levi did his work.5 Both Hindu and Buddhist scriptures have been relayed in the same manner as Dowling revealed the Aquarian Gospel. It is rarely mentioned, but the Bhagavad Gita is exactly such a book, and says so at the end (18:74,75). The Mahabharata, the Ramayana (both Valmiki and Tulsidas versions), and the Puranas were also transcribed in the same way, as were a great number of the Mahayana Buddhist Sutras.

Throughout the centuries various Christian saints and visionaries such as Saint Bridget of Sweden, Mary of Agreda, Catherine Emmerich, and Teresa Neuman have psychically perceived events from the life of Jesus and conveyed their impressions to others. The perceptions of Mary of Agreda and Catherine Emmerich fill several volumes each. None of these were considered “holy scripture,” but neither does the Aquarian Gospel make such a claim. We can say with Eva Dowling:

“Further references to the personality of Levi are, seemingly, unnecessary. It matters but little who he is; his work in the transcription of the Aquarian Gospel of Jesus, the Christ, stands unimpeachable. The lessons of this book all bear the stamp of the Nazarene, for no man except the world’s greatest master could have touched the high chords of divine Love and Wisdom which characterise the pages of this marvellous book.”

As the angel said to Saint Augustine: “Take and read.”

1) From the Epistle Dedicatory to the first edition of the King James Version of the Bible. [Go back]

2) Regarding this, Father Jacob Kurian, teacher of theology at the Malankara Orthodox seminary in Kottayam, Kerala, had this to say to Christine Chaillot, the author of The Malankara Orthodox Church: “We cherish so much the [fact] that we could build our Christian tradition on the foundations of the Sanatana Dharma [Hinduism]. Of course, there is the foundation laid by Christ and the Apostles and the long spiritual tradition of Christianity. But the theological tradition of the Indian Church has to be in line with the Indian philosophical tradition, which is not necessarily only the Hindu one, but also that of the Buddhists, the Jains and other non-Christian traditions which also contribute to the Indian philosophical tradition.…We want to present to the world a model of Christianity that has lived for the last twenty centuries in a tradition of pluralism, but at the same time we want to keep the central elements of Orthodox Christian spirituality and doctrinal integrity.…When Christians adopt this attitude of Sanatana Dharma which incorporates all truth, they will be able to overcome all anxiety regarding ‘syncretism.’” [Go back]

3) John 3:30. “It was his great desire that each one should have the message regardless of the messenger,” wrote Eva S. Dowling in later editions of the Aquarian Gospel. [Go back]

4) Aquarian Gospel 7: 25-28 [Go back]

5) G.R.S. Mead’s The Gospels and the Gospel discusses the possibility that a psychically relayed Gospel may be more accurate than a “historical” one. [Go back]

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The Aquarian Gospel—Commentary and Text

The Aquarian Gospel for Awakening—A Commentary on the Aquarian Gospel
by Swami Nirmalananda Giri (Abbot George Burke)

  1. The Mother of Jesus
  2. Prophecies of the Births of Saint John the Baptist and Jesus
  3. The Birth of Jesus
  4. Revelations in the Temple
  5. Coming of the Wise Men
  6. Herod’s Reaction
  7. Revelations in Egypt
  8. The Two Selfs
  9. Deliverance From Gods and Demons
  10. About God the Tao
  11. From India to Chaldea
  12. The Wisdom of Buddha
  13. God and Prayer
  14. The Mission of Jesus and John the Baptist
  15. Sin and the Forgiveness of Sin
  16. The Universal Law of Man’s Free Will and the Divine Will For Man
  17. Understanding Death
  18. The True Teacher
  19. The Value of Ritual
  20. The Law Behind All Laws
  21. Opening To The Truth
  22. In the Temple at the Age of Ten
  23. Revelation to the Teachers and People in the Temple
  24. Jerusalem to Nazareth
  25. Nazareth to India
  26. What is Truth?
  27. What Is Man?
  28. What is Power?
  29. Understanding
  30. Wisdom
  31. Faith
  32. Healing and Healers
  33. Conflict Over Caste
  34. The Destiny of All Men
  35. God and Man
  36. The Voice in the Heart
  37. Seeing the Unseeable
  38. To God Through Man
  39. Who Is Jesus?
  40. The Real Versus The Apparent
  41. The Brotherhood of Life
  42. God…and Man
  43. Relating To God
  44. The Worthy Host
  45. Come to the Light
  46. The Kingdom Revealed
  47. The King Revealed
  48. Perspective On Death
  49. Fire and Sword
  50. Evolution: The Path of Glory
  51. The Real Heaven
  52. Getting to the Essence
  53. New Perspective on Religion
  54. In Tibet and Ladakh
  55. Words to the Worthy
  56. The Thirty-Eighth Chapter
  57. The Origin of Evil
  58. The Silence
  59. The Source of Healing
  60. The Fivefold Gospel
  61. Homecoming
  62. In Athens
  63. The Oracle of Delphi
  64. The Real God
  65. Return to Egypt
  66. First Steps to Wisdom
  67. Strong in Will and Intent
  68. Here Comes the Ego
  69. Blessed are the Merciful
  70. Claiming Our Freedom
  71. The Great Test
  72. Comprehending Death
  73. The Christ!
  74. The Asembly of the Masters
  75. The Seven Pillars of the Aquarian Age – I
  76. The Seven Pillars of the Aquarian Age – II
  77. The Declaration of Jesus
  78. John the Baptist – I
  79. John the Baptist – II
  80. John the Baptist – III
  81. Baptism – Jesus and John
  82. Self-Examination and Temptation
  83. The First Disciples Follow Jesus
  84. Jesus’ First Sermon
  85. The King and the Kingdom
  86. Dealing With Challengers
  87. The First Miracle of Jesus
  88. Kings and Kingdoms
  89. The Temple of God
  90. What Is A Messiah?
  91. The Laws of Healing
  92. Nicodemus Finds The Kingdom
  93. The Prince of Peace
  94. Dealing With Spiritual Opposition
  95. The Opened Gate
  96. John the Baptist Speaks of the Christ
  97. John Speaks Further About Jesus
  98. The Woman at the Well
  99. The Disciples and Samaritans at the Well
  100. Jesus in Sychar
  101. More Wisdom In Samaria
  102. The Imprisonment of John the Baptist
  103. In Jerusalem
  104. The Insights of Jesus
  105. Sabbath Wisdom
  106. Prayer and Good Deeds
  107. Divine Laws and Principles for Seekers of the Divine
  108. A New Understanding of the Ten Commandments
  109. Aspects of the Higher Law – 1
  110. Aspects of the Higher Law – 2
  111. Aspects of the Higher Law – 3
  112. Aspects of the Higher Law – 4
  113. Chapter One Hundred One
  114. Chapter One Hundred Two
  115. Chapter One Hundred Three
  116. Chapter One Hundred Four
  117. Chapter One Hundred Five
  118. Chapter One Hundred Six
  119. Chapter One Hundred Seven
  120. Chapter One Hundred Eight
  121. Chapter One Hundred Nine
  122. Chapter One Hundred Ten
  123. Chapter One Hundred Eleven
  124. Chapter One Hundred Twelve
  125. Chapter One Hundred Thirteen
  126. Chapter One Hundred Fourteen
  127. Chapter One Hundred Fifteen
  128. Chapter One Hundred Sixteen
  129. Chapter One Hundred Seventeen
  130. Chapter One Hundred Eighteen
  131. Chapter One Hundred Nineteen
  132. Chapter One Hundred Twenty
  133. Chapter One Hundred Twenty One
  134. Chapter One Hundred Twenty Two
  135. Chapter One Hundred Twenty Three
  136. Chapter One Hundred Twenty Four
  137. Chapter One Hundred Twenty Five
  138. Chapter One Hundred Twenty Six
  139. Chapter One Hundred Twenty Seven
  140. Chapter One Hundred Twenty Eight
  141. Chapter One Hundred Twenty Nine
  142. Chapter One Hundred Thirty
  143. Chapter One Hundred Thirty One
  144. Chapter One Hundred Thirty Two
  145. Chapter One Hundred Thirty Three
  146. Chapter One Hundred Thirty Four
  147. Chapter One Hundred Thirty Five
  148. Chapter One Hundred Thirty Six
  149. Chapter One Hundred Thirty Seven
  150. Chapter One Hundred Thirty Eight
  151. Chapter One Hundred Thirty Nine
  152. Chapter One Hundred Forty
  153. Chapter One Hundred Forty One
  154. Chapter One Hundred Forty Two
  155. Chapter One Hundred Forty Three
  156. Chapter One Hundred Forty Four
  157. Chapter One Hundred Forty Five
  158. Chapter One Hundred Forty Six
  159. Chapter One Hundred Forty Seven
  160. Chapter One Hundred Forty Eight
  161. Chapter One Hundred Forty Nine
  162. Chapter One Hundred Fifty
  163. Chapter One Hundred Fifty-One
  164. Chapter One Hundred Fifty-Two
  165. Chapter One Hundred Fifty-Three
  166. Chapter One Hundred Fifty-Four
  167. Chapter One Hundred Fifty-Five
  168. Chapter One Hundred Fifty-Six
  169. Chapter One Hundred Fifty-Seven
  170. Chapter One Hundred Fifty-Eight
  171. Chapter One Hundred Fifty-Nine
  172. Chapter One Hundred Sixty
  173. Chapter One Hundred Sixty One
  174. Chapter One Hundred Sixty Two
  175. Chapter One Hundred Sixty Three
  176. Chapter One Hundred Sixty Four
  177. Chapter One Hundred Sixty Five
  178. Chapter One Hundred Sixty Six
  179. Chapter One Hundred Sixty Seven
  180. Chapter One Hundred Sixty Eight
  181. Chapter One Hundred Sixty Nine
  182. Chapter One Hundred Seventy
  183. Chapter One Hundred Seventy One
  184. Chapter One Hundred Seventy Two
  185. Chapter One Hundred Seventy Three
  186. Chapter One Hundred Seventy Four
  187. Chapter One Hundred Seventy Five
  188. Chapter One Hundred Seventy Six
  189. Chapter One Hundred Seventy Seven
  190. Chapter One Hundred Seventy Eight
  191. Chapter One Hundred Seventy Nine
  192. Chapter One Hundred Eighty
  193. Chapter One Hundred Eighty One
  194. Chapter One Hundred Eighty Two

The Text of the Aquarian Gospel—by Levi Dowling

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