Adultery according to the Law
“The law forbids adultery; but in the eyes of law adultery is an overt act, the satisfaction of the sensuous self outside the marriage bonds” (Aquarian Gospel 98:1).
Jesus is going to explain that there is such a thing as adultery in the external state of marriage, because true marriage must be spiritual, not just the product of religious or civil rites. Then he will expound the nature of spiritual adultery. So he begins with the definition of adultery in the Hebrew Law.
Marriage according to the Law
“Now, marriage in the sight of law is but a promise made by man and woman, by the sanction of a priest, to live for aye in harmony and love. No priest nor officer has power from God to bind two souls in wedded love” (Aquarian Gospel 98:2,3).
This is a very serious statement. Even a religious marriage rite is but an agreement between two human beings even if a religious official is present. If we look at the ancient documents of Christianity we will find no marriage ritual. Is this why? History tells us that unmarried converts to Christianity did not marry and that those married before becoming Christians lived together in celibacy. This is the main reason for the persecution of Christianity from the beginning. The civil authorities waged intense persecution because it is true that the family is the basic unit of a society. Abolish marriage and what do you have? “The kingdom of God,” said the early Christians, but “Disintegration and destruction” said the non-Christians.
If it seems strange, and hard to believe this was the attitude of the first Christians, that is because when Christianity became a state religion it was only natural that marriage would be declared a sacrament and the civil authorities placated and assured by this new doctrine. So we view Christianity from that of a fourth-century compromise that was really a capitulation.
What is marriage and love?
“What is the marriage tie? Is it comprised in what a priest or officer may say? Is it the scroll on which the officer or priest has written the permission for the two to live in marriage bonds? Is it the promise of the two that they will love each other until death? Is love a passion that is subject to the will of man? Can man pick up his love, as he would pick up precious gems, and lay it down, or give it out to any one? Can love be bought and sold like sheep?
“Love is the power of God that binds two souls and makes them one; there is no power on earth that can dissolve the bond. The bodies may be forced apart by man or death for just a little time; but they will meet again” (Aquarian Gospel 98:4-11).
This is an extraordinarily high ideal, and unfortunately many, if not all, would pretend that their marriage conforms to these words of Jesus. But it is almost never so. I have observed through the years that men who go on and on to me about how wonderful and special their (always absent) wife is, are really married to hellish, destructive harpies. Interestingly, I have never had a woman lie to me about her husband by making such claims. In fact, they are either completely open about their character or stolidly silent. But if pressured I have no doubt many would reluctantly lie to cover up the truth about their marriage. Having said this much, I might as well go ahead and say that marriage can be the most abusive relationship a human being can enter into. Spiritual aspirants should take this to heart and never form that bond unless they are absolutely sure it will not be to their detriment. Only those who are spiritually advanced should consider marriage, and then they must be positive that their contemplated spouse is their equal in evolution. Otherwise disaster and grief will fill their life.
Marriage versus adultery
“Now, in this bond of God we find the marriage tie; all other unions are but bonds of straw, and they who live in them commit adultery. The same as they who satisfy their lust without the sanction of an officer or priest” (Aquarian Gospel 98:12, 13).
This is an awesomely terrible statement, but ignoring or defying it is an equally awesomely terrible mistake. I well remember meeting a very unbalanced woman and marveling at how she fitted the definition of a classical dingbat–trouble just waiting to happen. But one of the men who was also present married her in less than a month, telling one of the members of our monastery that he did so: “Because God told me to marry her.” Well, God proved to be a bad matchmaker, because he divorced her in six months because she was so crazy. And I expect he went on to make another match, not just made in heaven but ordained by God. Such “bonds of straw” easily catch fire and disfigure lives.
Adultery, spiritual and “legal”
“But more than this; the man or woman who indulges lustful thoughts commits adultery. Whom God has joined together man cannot part; whom man has joined together live in sin” (Aquarian Gospel 98:14, 15).
Sri Ramakrishna frequently said: “Mind is everything.” That being true, negative thoughts are a form of negative action and accrue negative karma–not as much as the external acts, but negative karma, nevertheless.
Divinely-ordained marriage–not merely formal “sacramental” marriage–is indissoluble. All other is adultery. So says Jesus.
Theft–the complete view
“Upon a table of the law, the great lawgiver wrote, Thou shalt not steal. Before the eyes of law a man to steal must take a thing that can be seen with eyes of flesh, without the knowledge or consent of him to whom the thing belongs. But, lo, I say that he who in his heart desires to possess that which is not his own, and would deprive the owner of the thing without his knowledge or consent, is in the sight of God, a thief” (Aquarian Gospel 98:16-18).
Having introduced the fact of mental karma, Jesus applied it to theft.
“The things that men see not with eyes of flesh are of more worth than are the things that man can see” (Aquarian Gospel 98:19).
Anyone with a bit of spiritual awakening knows this is bedrock truth.
Defamation, a form of theft
“A man’s good name is worth a thousand mines of gold, and he who says a word or does a deed that injures or defames that name has taken what is not his own, and is a thief” (Aquarian Gospel 98:20).
This is a very severe matter, indeed, and must be carefully avoided.
Covetousness, another form of theft
“Upon a table of the law we also read: Thou shalt not covet anything. To covet is an all-consuming wish to have what is not right for one to have. And such a wish, within the spirit of the law, is theft” (Aquarian Gospel 98:21-23).
Now Jesus completes what he said just previously about theft.
Tribute is due
We all should give tribute from the depths of our hearts to Levi and Eva Dowling for giving us the real teachings of Jesus in the Aquarian Gospel, including those on these matters. Such spiritual honesty is far more rare than it should be in the field of religion. Levi Dowling proved himself worthy of “the heavenly vision” (Acts 26:19).
Read the next section in the Aquarian Gospel for Yogis: Aspects of the Higher – 3