Now, Jesus and the twelve went to another town, and as they entered it they said, Peace be to all; good will to all. A multitude of people followed and the master said to them, Behold, for you are followers for selfish gain. If you would follow me in love, and be disciples of the Holy Breath, and gain at last the crown of life, you must leave all there is of carnal life behind. (Aquarian Gospel 142:1-3)
To be a disciple of the Holy Breath is to be empowered in the Holy Spirit (the Holy Breath) through some form of initiation. Within the sacramental system of authentic Christianity, initiation-empowerment comes through three main rituals: Baptism, Confirmation, and the holy Eucharist. Baptism is a rite of profound purification and protection. Confirmation is the infusion of the initiate with the light and power of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Eucharist, or Mass, is the means whereby the uninitiated becomes united to Jesus and to Christ, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity. The purpose of this is to continually replenish the spiritual connection with them as well as increasing the Life which flows from them to the initiate. This presupposes, of course, that the initiate is also working to expand his capacity to partake of that Life. Otherwise, the purpose is defeated. Supported by continual spiritual practice, the initiate ascends in consciousness, which is the essence of life. The crown of life is the attainment of God consciousness and being permanently established in it. Material life must be transmutted into the life of the spirit, and therefore must be totally left behind as the initiate ascends in consciousness.
Count well the cost before you start to follow me; it means the giving up of life, and all you have. If you love father, mother, wife, or child, more than love the Christ, you cannot follow me. If you love wealth or honor more than you love the Christ, you cannot follow me. (Aquarian Gospel 142:8-10)
This seems drastic, because it is. To pass from finite existence to infinite existence is a total revolution in status. Nothing can be loved above God. Nothing that could be called “ours” can be clung to. Just the opposite: all that is God must be cast away completely from our hearts and life. Only those with empty hands can “lay hold on eternal life” (I Timothy 6:19). “So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:33).
The paths of carnal life do not run up the mountain side towards the top; they run around the mount of life, and if you go straight to the upper gate of consciousness you cross the paths of carnal life; tread in them not. (Aquarian Gospel 142:11)
On the wall of our monastery chapel we have hung an ancient Irish depiction which shows monks in a rowboat rowing straight upward toward the sky. The people who made that reproduction put two hangers on the back so if someone desired they could make it appear that the monks are rowing horizontally and not vertically. This is the mentality of the world. As Saint Teresa of Avila said, worldly people want to go to God the way a chicken walks. In case you have not watched a chicken walk, I will describe it to you. They meander around, never in a straight line, scratching and pecking at the dirt, often lifting one foot and then standing still as if they are in a coma. They literally veer to the side frequently and often walk backwards a bit. If they run, it is only for a few feet and then they stop and wonder what they are doing. Everything they do is “a bit,” so minimal as to virtually be nothing at all. As I say, they meander, they do not really walk. It is purely a matter of lack of intelligence, and therefore lack of good sense. Further, as they walk they often croon to themselves in an aimless and patternless manner, as if trying to figure out if they are even alive, much less where they are and why. Yet people prefer to live in just such a way, and are proud of it.
But the Lord Jesus tells us that we must not wander around the mountain of life in circles, maybe only going upward a little bit at a time, but must head straight up the mountain to the top. As we do so, we will cross the life paths of ordinary people, but we must not get pulled onto them, otherwise we may get stuck on their path and wander aimlessly like them.
It is not that we should disdain them, or think we are superior to them. Rather, we should have good will and do our best to help them. But we must recognize the simple truth that we are not walking on their path at all and make sure we do not get pulled along in their orbit. And we must realize that it is very unlikely that they will begin walking up the straight path with us. “Oh, I am not advanced as you; I have too many demands on me with the responsibilities I took on before I began hearing about higher spiritual life.” This is the kind of thing they say, but it all means: “I pray thee have me excused.… I pray thee have me excused.… I cannot come” (Luke 14:18-20). This is their plea, but it really is a simple refusal to walk the ways that lead to God. Rebirth is still their destiny.
And this is how men bear the cross; no man can bear another’s cross. Take up your cross and follow me through Christ into the path of true discipleship; this is the path that leads to life. This way of life is called the pearl of greatest price, and he who finds it must put all he has beneath his feet. Behold, a man found in a certain field the croppings of a wondrous mine of gold, and he went forth and sold his home and all he had and bought the field; then he rejoiced in wealth. Now, there were present, scribes and Pharisees of wealth who loved their money, and their bonds and lands, and they laughed loud to scorn what Jesus said. (Aquarian Gospel 142:12-16)
No man can bear another’s cross. Perhaps one of the worst delusions a spiritual aspirant can have is the mistaken idea that anyone other than himself can do the necessary tasks that must be gone through to rise in consciousness. Exoteric Christianity claims that Jesus died in our place and in India there is nonsensical talk of teachers who can work out our karma for us or can by their intense sadhana somehow cancel the need for us to do the same as they did. Some gurus are so outrageous that they claim the disciple does not really meditate, that the guru is doing the meditation from within him and making everything come out right. This is not grace but destructive disempowerment. It is certainly true that it is the power of God on loan to us that accomplishes everything, but only at the constant application of our will. No one can do it for us; God has given all we need and our part is to use it. So it indeed is nothing but grace. But as Yogananda once told some disciples: “You have God’s blessing and my blessing. What you lack is your blessing.”
It is as Jesus said: “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me” (Matthew:16:24). First of all, it is addressed to those who intend to take the very same spiritual path as Jesus and follow it to the end. That is why he speaks of those who “will [to] come after me.” They plan to become just like Jesus. But to do that we must leave behind all the ways and consciousness of materialistic life. That is why he said: “let him deny himself.” Also, the disciplines Jesus underwent to purify his consciousness must be duplicated in their lives by taking up their cross every day, for it is a matter of putting forth the will at every step of the way. Again, following Jesus is taking the exact path which he took. But what if we do not know it? We must look to India and study the fundamental texts: the major Upanishads, the Bhagavad Gita and the Yoga Sutras. Or read Om Yoga Meditation, Its Theory and Practice and The Word That Is God, Scriptures and Masters on Om.
Follow me through Christ into the path of true discipleship; this is the path that leads to life. We must not confuse Christ with Jesus, as Jesus has made clear previously in the Aquarian Gospel. We must pass through Christ by means of meditation which relates us to Father, Son [Christ] and Holy Spirit. In other words, meditation on Om which embodies the threefold Godhead. We must become disciples of God. Seeking God is the fundamental trait of such a disciple. Adulating a human teacher and identifying with him as the way to God without which God cannot be known is to deliberately lead oneself astray. The way to God through experience of God is “the path that leads to life.”
This way of life is called the pearl of greatest price, and he who finds it must put all he has beneath his feet. In the thirteenth chapter of the Gospel of Matthew the kingdom of heaven is likened to a pearl of great price, but Jesus’ words here give us a more meaningful understanding of the initiate’s way of life as the pearl. It is practice; it is doing; it is sadhana. Many people think getting saved is the pearl, but the true pearl it is the path to God. Certainly it costs everything and those who would walk that path must put aside all that they have or could possibly attain. They are said to put everything under their feet because everything we turn from and renounce become paving stones on the path. The casting aside of that which is negative and worthless becomes a vital step forward to God. We give up utter nonsense. Of themselves they are nothing, but the renouncing of every single thing is a positive karmic force that moves us onward. The things renounced are trash, but the renouncing is of greatest value. Everything done for God becomes a treasure in our life. There are no good things in our life, only trivia, until we enter the gate of life. Then everything is sacred and meaningful. It is the offering to God that transmutes the lead of this world into the gold of divine attainment.
Behold, a man found in a certain field the croppings of a wondrous mine of gold, and he went forth and sold his home and all he had and bought the field; then he rejoiced in wealth. Now, there were present, scribes and Pharisees of wealth who loved their money, and their bonds and lands, and they laughed loud to scorn what Jesus said.
We must surrender all to gain The All. Then we shall rejoice in infinite wealth. Then our investment will be seen as wise beyond any understanding of ordinary people. As Mirabai, the great poet/musician saint of India wrote: “I have sold everything in the marketplace of this world and bought my Khanaia (Krishna). Some laugh at me and say the price was too great, and some say that the price was too small. But Mira only knows that it was everything she had.”
Then Jesus spoke to them and said, You are the men who justify yourselves in sight of men; God knows your wickedness of heart; and you must know, O men, that whatsoever is revered and is exalted by the carnal mind, is an abomination in the sight of God. (Aquarian Gospel 142:17, 18)
“For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God” (I Corinthians 3:19). This is a rule we can safely follow at all times.
And Jesus went his way, and as he went a young man ran and knelt down at his feet and said, Good master, tell me what to do that I may have eternal life. And Jesus said, Why do you call me good? No one is truly good but God himself. And God has said, If you would enter into life, keep the Commandments of the law.
The young man asked, To which commands did he refer?
And Jesus said, You shall not kill; you shall not steal; you shall not do adulterous things; you shall not falsely testify; and you shall love your God with all your heart, and you shall love your neighbor as yourself.
The man replied, These things I have observed from youth; what lack I yet?
And Jesus said, One thing you lack; your heart is fixed on things of earth; you are not free. Go forth and sell all that you have, and give your money to the poor, and come follow me, and you shall have eternal life.
The man was grieved at what the master said; for he was rich; he hid his face and went in sorrow on his way. (Aquarian Gospel 142:19-28)
The man sincerely believed that he loved God with all his heart, but Jesus saw otherwise.
And Jesus said, One thing you lack; your heart is fixed on things of earth; you are not free. Go forth and sell all that you have, and give your money to the poor, and come follow me, and you shall have eternal life. The man was grieved at what the master said; for he was rich; he hid his face and went in sorrow on his way. Jesus had to tell the man the truth: that unless he divested himself of everything he could not love God and search meaningfully for God. Certainly Jesus did not intend to cause him pain, but an infected part of the body hurts at the slightest touch. Weak eyes are pained by the light that is easily beheld by normal eyes. So sometimes we must speak the truth plainly, though gently and firmly. This may provoke a negative reaction, but that is the choice of the hearer, not the speaker. It is harder to be a teacher than to be a student, for a kind person does not want to grieve anyone. Yet: Truth Alone Prevails (Satyam Eva Jayate). This is the law.
And Jesus looked upon the sorrowing man and said, It is so hard for men with hoarded wealth to enter through the door into the kingdom of the soul.
And his disciples were amazed at what he said.
He answered them and said, I tell you, men, that they who trust in riches cannot trust in God and cannot come into the kingdom of the soul: Yea, it is easier for a camel to go through a needle’s eye than for a man with hoarded wealth to find the way of life.
And his disciples said, Who then can find the way? Who can be saved?
And Jesus said, The rich may give his gold away; the high may kiss the dust, and God will save. (Aquarian Gospel 142:29-33)
Since it is our duty to share our bounty with others, to hold on to it and keep increasing it can be a fearsome trap. We need not impoverish ourselves, but we must give away as much as is just; and “just” must be determined by the Master’s standards. It is necessary to humble ourselves in spirit. Then God will take charge of our life and free us.
Then Jesus spoke this parable to them: A rich man lived in splendid state; he wore the finest garments men could make; his boards were loaded with the costliest viands of the land. A beggar, blind and lame, whose name was Lazarus, was wont to sit beside the waste gate of this home that he might share with dogs the refuse from the rich man’s board.
It came to pass that Lazarus died, and angels carried him away unto the bosom of our father Abraham. The rich man also died, and he was buried in a costly tomb; but in the purifying fires he opened up his eyes dissatisfied. He looked and saw the beggar resting peacefully in the bosom of his father Abraham, and in the bitterness of his soul he cried, My father Abraham, look down in mercy on your son; I am tormented in these flames. Send Lazarus, I beseech, that he may give me just a sup of water to cool my parched tongue.
But Abraham replied, My son, in mortal life, you had the best things of the earth and Lazarus had the worst, and you would not give him a cup of water there, but drove him from your door. The law must be fulfilled, and Lazarus now is comforted, and you are paying what you owe. Besides, there is a great gulf fixed between your zone and us, and if I would I could not send Lazarus to you, and you cannot come up to us till you have paid your debts.
Again the man in anguish said, O father Abraham, I pray, send Lazarus back to earth, and to my father’s house, that he may tell my brothers who are yet in life, for I have five of them, about the horrors of this place, lest they come down to me and not to you.
And Abraham replied, They have the words of Moses and the seers, let them hear them.
The man replied, They will not hearken to the written word; but if a man would go up from the grave they might believe.
But Abraham replied, If they hear not the words of Moses and the seers they would not be persuaded even though one from the dead stood in their midst. (Aquarian Gospel 142:34-48)
In the purifying fires he opened up his eyes. The Aquarian Gospel account of this parable supplies us with very important differences from the usual interpretation of exoteric Christianity. First of all, we see that the rich man is not being punished or consigned to everlasting hell, but that the fires he is experiencing are for his purification. This is, of course, completely in keeping with the teachings of Origen. He points out in De Principis that God has only one motivation for his dealings with humanity: love. No matter how unpleasant a consequence may be, it’s purpose is only our benefit. God does not punish, he heals. In the astral world the rich man is awakened to his situation, much of which is explained to him. Awakening is the sole purpose of any event in relative existence.
You are paying what you owe. It is a matter of karma. A karmic debt is being discharged in order to free the man for spiritual progress. This is true of every aspect of our life in the relative universe.
And you cannot come up to us till you have paid your debts. Once the debt has been paid, then there is a possibility for future growth and consciousness. That, however, will be determined by the man’s response to his present situation. Nothing is automatic. There has to be a corresponding change in the awareness of an individual. Nothing either harms or benefits us, rather it is our response that determines the positive or negative results.
If they hear not the words of Moses and the seers they would not be persuaded even though one from the dead stood in their midst. Thoughts really are things. That is, they are energy thought-forms. And all energy possesses a vibration. Therefore a concept produces a particular vibration, or rate of vibration, in the mind. The fundamental character of our mental energy determines our response to an idea. Some thoughts set up a conflict in the energy field of the mind, and others are compatible with the mental energies. This affects our reaction to them. So it is the fundamental vibration of the mind that determines the character of our response to any idea.
We may tell ourselves that something is the truth or is untrue. But this will not be based on logic, rather on our experiencing of the mental vibration of the idea. This is why some people are blind to the truth and others readily accept it. Consequently the nature of a person’s thoughts reveals the quality of the subtle body in which the intellect is located. It is exactly that simple. Therefore Abraham explains that those who are immersed in material consciousness will not understand spiritual matters. Even miracles will in no way influence them.
It is all a matter of the evolutionary character of the mind itself. Also, the ability to draw a reasonable conclusion about something is a matter of the energy behavior of the mind. Otherwise it will be as though nothing has happened.
And Peter said, Lord, we have left our all to follow you; and what is our reward?
And Jesus said, Most verily I say to you, that you who have left all to follow me shall come into a newness of a life hid deep with Christ in God. And you shall sit with me upon the throne of power, and judge with me the tribes of Israel. And he who conquers carnal self, and follows me through Christ shall have a hundred fold of that which is the wealth of life on earth, and in the world to come, eternal life. (Aquarian Gospel 142:49-52)
Heaven and external happiness are not legitimate motivations for our following Christ. Rather, we must seek the revelation of “a life deep hid with Christ in God.” “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us” (Romans 8:18). It is our inner glory, our true, divine nature that we are seeking to possess. That is the Kingdom of Heaven.