The fruitage of the tree of life is all too fine to feed the carnal mind. (Aquarian Gospel 101:1)
Jesus told Nicodemus: “That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit” (John 3:6). That is a very simple principle, even though professional religion not only ignores it but denies it in their fervor to make and keep converts and members. Jesus, however, came to give the truth, and therefore makes it very clear that the world is divided into those that are fleshly (carnal) and those that are spiritual. It is simply impossible for the fleshly-minded to find anything meaningful in that which is spiritual. Why? Because that which is spiritual is subtle and refined while the mind of the earthly-minded is literally made of coarse, heavy energies.
Born into Protestant Fundamentalism, from childhood I was urged to “witness for Christ” and “bring people to the Lord.” Every single person I met was a possible convert and I was responsible for their “getting saved” or not. Or so they told me, but I never believed it, intuiting that many people were simply not capable of understanding spiritual matters, much less being interested in them. Because of this I got into a lot of trouble, but I held to my insight. Many years later I became friends with a minister of the Congregationalist Church. I respected her greatly, and despite theological differences we shared common attitudes. Therefore she was quite pleased when I gave her a sign to put in her church office that read: “Never try to teach a pig to sing. It only wastes your time and annoys the pig.” Considering that Jesus referred to some people as being spiritually pigs and dogs (Matthew 7:6), it did not seem “unchristian” to either of us.
Origen often said that most people are somas–mere animated bodies. Saint John the apostle wrote about those religionists that are popular with the somas in contrast with those that are spiritual and therefore unpopular: “They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them. We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error” (I John 4:5, 6). Jesus simply said of such people: “He that is of the earth is earthly, and speaketh of the earth” (John 3:31). All you have to do is read their books and listen to their sermons.
Perhaps we should consider what the mind really is. The mind, like everything else in relative existence, is a field of energies. If the mind consists of subtle and fluid energies, it moves rapidly and perceives that which is subtle. Further, it is attracted to the subtle and either indifferent to or repelled by the gross. When the mind’s energies are heavy and unrefined, it moves slowly and perceives mostly only that which is gross. Unlike the subtle mind it is attracted to the coarse and dense and either cannot perceive the subtle or finds it insipid and often offensive. The coarse mind can hate and even seek to destroy the subtle and the refined, just as the barbarians that devastated Rome were enraged by the very sight of civilization.
There are barbarian and civilized adherents of religion, as well. Their religions are barbaric or civilized to the degree that corresponds to their intellectual barbarity or sophistication. In general the religions of the East are philosophically subtle and expressed through rich cultural means. The religions of the West are in general just the opposite: philosophically simplistic, crude, even brutish and culturally barren–as are their concepts of God. Christianity, born in the East and transplanted to the West, is in the Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches an unfortunate amalgam of both qualities. But Jesus was purely of the East, and so was original Christianity. That is why he was killed in the West and returned to the East after his resurrection.
Just walking upright and possessing a flexible thumb is no guarantee of true humanity, only the potential for it. Many are those who choose not to exercise the option of humanity.
If you would throw a diamond to a hungry dog, lo, he would turn away, or else attack you in a rage. The incense that is sweet to God is quite offensive unto Beelzebub; the bread of heaven is but chaff to men who cannot comprehend the spirit life. (Aquarian Gospel 101:2, 3)
It has rightly been said that a common dog sees an object in three basic ways: 1) Can I eat it? 2) Can I have sex with it? 3) Can I urinate on it? That just about covers their range of response, even to religion. If people of low development are confronted with spiritual religion, it seems utterly useless, stupid and unsettling. Their most positive response is to run from it, but they very often attack it with truly animal fury, feeling that they are the ones being attacked.
Saint Paul wrote: “We are unto God a sweet savour [smell] of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish. To the one we are the savour of death unto death; and to the other the savour of life unto life” (II Corinthians 2:15, 16). In other words, to the living, righteous religion and its adherents smell like life, and to the spiritually dying they stink like the dead. Their reaction proves the truth about them, not those they are reacting to.
Bread is made of the kernel of grain, the inner part, and true religion is also inner, spiritual, in its essence. But because the dull of heart cannot perceive what is inner, they think genuine religion is nothing but external stuff and nonsense. Such people look at all the righteous are required to do and give up, and reject it as life-denying, unreasonable and even destructive. They have no idea of the inner wealth to be gained in real faith and the following of Christ. In my mid-teens I talked with a close friend about the basic observances of real religion. To me our disciplines were a throwing off of the yoke of inevitable bondage and misery. But he protested: “What you are describing is like living in a prison!” The result? Within a few more years he was addicted to alcohol, drugs, and sex. (Because of the latter he was even expelled from the very liberal university he was attending.) Even though he lamented to me about his chaotic, painful life, he never once considered retracing his steps and turning to the way of light. Instead he sank into the morass until life was extinguished in his soul. Death for him will temporarily end his misery, but the old habits will persist in his next life and into how many other future incarnations?
The master must be wise and feed the soul with what it can digest. If you have not the food for every man, just ask and you shall have; seek earnestly and you shall find. (Aquarian Gospel 101:4, 5)
One of the worst aspects of common religion is the “one size fits all” approach. Viewing truth as a purely mechanical, almost material thing, religionists insist that everyone must see everything in the same way and react to everything in the same way. Since they know The Only Truth, it is an affront to them to even consider taking into consideration the background, intelligence and aptitude of an individual. Even when very young I got into trouble if I dared to suggest that some people were simply not capable of a spiritual perspective, that they were not interested in religion because it was just not part of their psychological makeup. This resulted in high indignation on the part of the true believers. How dare I suggest that their religion was not for everyone? All they needed was to be told about it and then if they did not accept it they were under the power of the devil and either needed to be prayed over (loudly) or turned from in contempt with the knowledge that everlasting hell was their only possible destiny.
But Jesus says otherwise. The worthy spiritual teacher first gauges an individual’s level of development and their spirit capacity, and then begins to teach him if he wants to be taught; not otherwise. Sometimes it is hard to know what will be meaningful to a person, but Jesus says that if we seek understanding it will come to us.
However, true religion is never a matter of sales. Jesus is not advocating the modern practice of finding out what a person merely wants and giving it to them, tailoring the religion to suit them and making them the center rather than God. (As one Protestant minister said after attending a traditional eucharist: “I didn’t know how to act with nobody looking at me.”) This is rampant, especially in independent churches that aggressively advertise themselves in order to bring in people attracted by the possibility of feeling good, feeling wanted and being continually entertained. The list of enticements is too large and too awful to recount. Just look in the newspapers and phone books to see what I mean.
Just speak the Word and knock; the door will fly ajar. (Aquarian Gospel 101:6)
This verse has two meanings, both meaningful for the qualified spiritual teacher.
The first is that if a teacher speaks the truth to a person he will find himself inspired to say the right thing. Jesus spoke of this principle when instructing his disciples about facing persecutors, saying: “Whatsoever shall be given you in that hour, that speak ye: for it is not ye that speak, but the Holy Ghost” (Mark 13:11). It also applies when speaking to spiritual inquirers.
The second is that when a worthy teacher speaks to a worthy seeker or student, the hearer’s heart will open to the wisdom being spoken to him and will know its truth and value. This is according to the same principle spoken by the centurion who asked Jesus to heal his servant: “Speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed” (Matthew 8:8). In this instance it is the soul that will receive healing through the word. As David sang: “He sent his word, and healed them” (Psalms 107:20).
No one has ever asked in faith and did not have; none ever sought in vain; no one who ever knocked aright has failed to find an open door. (Aquarian Gospel 101:7) All spiritual teachers and students should keep this assurance in mind.
When men shall ask you for the bread of heaven, turn not away, nor give to them the fruit of carnal trees. If one, a son, would ask you for a loaf, would you give him a stone? If he would ask you for a fish, would you give him a serpent of the dust?. (Aquarian Gospel 101:8, 9)
Here, too, there are two meanings. One is that we must not give pleasing and easy words of worldly ignorance just to please someone, even though that is what we know they really want to hear. Even though they will resist and reject what we know to be the truth, we must still be honest with them and speak it. It may neither be pleasant for either us or them, but the way of the cross is never easy (Matthew 16:24).
What you would have your God give unto you, give unto men. The Measure of your worth lies in your service unto men. (Aquarian Gospel 101:10) It is great service to speak truth; a great disservice to speak lies.
There is a way that leads unto the perfect life; few find it at a time. It is a narrow way; it lies among the rocks and pitfalls of the carnal life; but in the way there are no pitfalls and no rocks. (Aquarian Gospel 101:11, 12)
There is a way that leads unto the perfect life. There is only one purpose for the Christ Life: perfection of consciousness which is perfection of spirit-being. Many lesser things are needed to accomplish this purpose, but we must not mistake them for the goal or assume they are evidence of the goal being reached. The only reliable description of perfected consciousness I have found is in the Bhagavad Gita, though many attempts have been made in various spiritual traditions, including Christianity. Throughout the Gita there are indications of the perfected state, but the main one is as follows in the second chapter.
Arjuna asks: “Krishna, how can one identify a man who is firmly established and absorbed in Brahman? In what manner does an illumined soul speak? How does he sit? How does he walk?”
This is his answer: “He knows bliss in the Atman and wants nothing else. Cravings torment the heart: he renounces cravings. I call him illumined.
“Not shaken by adversity, not hankering after happiness: free from fear, free from anger, free from the things of desire. I call him a seer, and illumined.
“The bonds of his flesh are broken. He is lucky, and does not rejoice: he is unlucky, and does not weep. I call him illumined.
“The tortoise can draw in its legs: the seer can draw in his senses. I call him illumined.
“The abstinent run away from what they desire but carry their desires with them: when a man enters Reality, he leaves his desires behind him.
“Even a mind that knows the path can be dragged from the path: the senses are so unruly. But he controls the senses and recollects the mind and fixes it on me. I call him illumined.
“Thinking about sense-objects will attach you to sense-objects; grow attached, and you become addicted; thwart your addiction, it turns to anger; be angry, and you confuse your mind; confuse your mind, you forget the lesson of experience; forget experience, you lose discrimination; lose discrimination, and you miss life’s only purpose.
“When he has no lust, no hatred, a man walks safely among the things of lust and hatred. To obey the Atman is his peaceful joy; sorrow melts into that clear peace: his quiet mind is soon established in peace. The uncontrolled mind does not guess that the Atman is present: how can it meditate? Without meditation, where is peace? Without peace, where is happiness?
“The wind turns a ship from its course upon the waters: the wandering winds of the senses cast man’s mind adrift and turn his better judgment from its course. When a man can still the senses I call him illumined. (Bhagavad Gita 2:68)
“The recollected mind is awake in the knowledge of the Atman which is dark night to the ignorant: the ignorant are awake in their sense-life which they think is daylight: to the seer it is darkness.
“Water flows continually into the ocean but the ocean is never disturbed: desire flows into the mind of the seer but he is never disturbed. The seer knows peace: the man who stirs up his own lusts can never know peace. He knows peace who has forgotten desire. He lives without craving: free from ego, free from pride.
“This is the state of enlightenment in Brahman: a man does not fall back from it into delusion. Even at the moment of death he is alive in that enlightenment: Brahman and he are one” (Bhagavad Gita 2:54-72).
As you can see, the state of enlightenment is totally interior. No one can tell whether a person has this state or not. This is very important to realize so we will not think any outer actions or words will indicate someone is enlightened. As Yogananda used to say: “He who knows…he knows. None else knows.”
Most important is this passage from the Kena Upanishad: “If you think that you know well the truth of Brahman, know that you know little. What you think to be Brahman in your self, or what you think to be Brahman in the gods–that is not Brahman. What is indeed the truth of Brahman you must therefore learn.
“I cannot say that I know Brahman fully. Nor can I say that I know him not. He among us knows him best who understands the spirit of the words: ‘Nor do I know that I know him not.’
“He truly knows Brahman who knows him as beyond knowledge; he who thinks that he knows, knows not. The ignorant think that Brahman is known, but the wise know him to be beyond knowledge.
“He who realizes the existence of Brahman behind every activity of his being whether sensing, perceiving, or thinking–he alone gains immortality. Through knowledge of Brahman comes power. Through knowledge of Brahman comes victory over death.
“Blessed is the man who while he yet lives realizes Brahman. The man who realizes him not suffers his greatest loss. When they depart this life, the wise, who have realized Brahman as the Self in all beings, become immortal” (Kena Upanishad 2:1-5)
The Four Aryan Truths enunciated by the Buddha were actually revolutionary at the time, especially the statement: “There is a way to end suffering.” It is not a matter of goodness or religiosity or of some higher power or intelligence doing it. It must be done by us, and there is a specific, precise step-by-step way to do it. This is why until Westerners invented the word “Buddhism,” throughout Asia the teacher of Buddha were called Buddha Tao: the Way of the Buddha. Jesus, as a student of Buddhism in the Essene communities of Egypt and later in India, tells us the same truth: There is a way that leads unto the perfect life.
Few find it at a time. There is no such thing as a genuine mass worldwide spiritual awakening, though religious movements have been occurring throughout the world’s history, and that is all they have eventually amounted to: history. Of course, the word few is used in the context of the world’s population. For example, a million people are hardly few, but if there was a global disaster and only a million people survived that would certainly be only a few. So we need not feel pessimistic about this statement of Jesus. At the same time we have to be prepared to be numbered with the wise few, and often to be the only wise one around as far as we know. One thing is for sure: those who will successfully pursue the higher life cannot have a herd mentality and want to run with the crowd. Misery may love company, but wisdom does not.
Once a bishop told me of his first exposure to esoteric sacramental Christianity. He had seen a notice of Mass in the newspaper of a major city, so he decided to investigate. When he arrived at the address he found it was in a seedy part of town in a business district where bums slept off their previous night’s drunk in the doorways. Apparently the church met upstairs over one of the rundown businesses on the ground floor, so up he went walking over and between drunks and empty booze bottles. When he got to the top, he found a middle-aged man with two little children who sweeping out a bare room and the littered hallway and then the stairs (not disturbing the derelicts, though). “The only thing that kept me there was my ego,” the bishop confided. “I felt that if I ran away it would put me in a bad light–at least to myself. So I stayed.” After a bit the man unlocked a closet and brought out a curtain which he hung on one wall. Then from the same closet he wheeled out an altar which he positioned in front of the curtain. Eventually he set up a makeshift chapel. Then the four of them had Mass which included a sermon for my friend and the two children. At its conclusion the man invited him to return and then he and his children put everything back in the closet.
Down on the street the future bishop told himself that this was not for him, a man from a wealthy and well-known local family who himself was not without reputation and respect. “But again my ego intervened and I realized that if I rejected what I had just witnessed only because it was in a bad part of town and without any congregation but us three, I would be a pretty poor fellow indeed. So I came back.” In time he became a priest and through his efforts a church was established in that town and several other leading cities, and he was made a bishop. So he well knew the meaning of Jesus’ words: “Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom” (Luke 12:32).
And it usually is a little flock. Jesus was renowned throughout Israel and beyond, but at the end there were just twelve disciples at that first Mass. Those who fear to be the only ones or part of something small will not enter the kingdom, for it is entered one by one, each one alone.
It is a narrow way. It has become a cliché for some years now that nearly every religious group announces at the very offset that it is inclusive and non-judgmental. But that was, and is, not the way of Jesus. The Way is for those who want to reach the End. Those not interested need not enter. That is no more snobbish and unreasonable than to say that a bookstore is a place for people interested in books. Those wanting shoes should go elsewhere. (Some fanatics have even claimed that having a price tag on merchandise is discriminating against those who cannot afford them. I myself heard one of that ilk declaim that charging admittance to state and federal parks was discrimination.)
However the unwise and the perverse may wish it to be, the Way of Christ is wholesomely narrow, ensuring that the aspirant leaves all negative, foolish and useless things behind, paring down all that in which spirit-consciousness is not paramount and unhindered. “Wherefore…, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:1, 2)–a destiny to which we aspire, as well.
It lies among the rocks and pitfalls of the carnal life; but in the way [itself] there are no pitfalls and no rocks. The direct and purposeful wisdom of Jesus as recorded in the Aquarian Gospel is a continual delight and inspiration. We need not go away to the mountaintops or (even more drastically) die to pursue the “the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:14). Rather, we need only keep walking through the very midst of this world which is covered with “the rocks and pitfalls” of the materially-oriented (carnal) life. But those who walk on the narrow way will find it has absolutely no pitfalls or rocks. In other words, they will be walking a totally different path of life right in the very place where those not on the narrow path are stumbling, falling and wounded. The life of those seeking Christhood is utterly different from those around them. I often think of my spiritually clairvoyant and miracle-working grandmother who lived surrounded by scoundrels and ignoramuses yet walked in heavenly places (Ephesians 2:6) with God, completely unknown to them. She was so different from them that she was never even mocked or persecuted by them; they could not even see her.
There is a way that leads to wretchedness and want. It is a spacious way and many walk therein. It lies among the pleasure groves of carnal life. (Aquarian Gospel 101:13)
Now that is inclusive! And the whole world, seemingly, crowds toward it, even fighting and competing to enter and travel it. “This is living!” they exult as they rush down the way to death. For “there is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death” (Proverbs 16:25), as they learn all too soon when it is too late, at least for this lifetime. Yogananda once said in a talk to those living in the ashram: “This life is not easy, but the way of the world is much harder.”
Wretchedness and want is the only fruit to be reaped from pursuing the broad way. Throughout the world there are people who have everything they want and getting more, driven on and on because in their souls they are “wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked” (Revelation 3:17). It is easy to walk such a way, though, because it is really a falling down into increasing depths. “Pleasure groves” indeed; the irony of the wasted life.
Beware, for many claim to walk the way of life who walk the way of death. But they are false in word and deed; false prophets they. They clothe themselves in skins of sheep, while they are vicious wolves. They cannot long conceal themselves; men know them by their fruits; You cannot gather grapes from thorns, nor from the thistles, figs. The fruit is daughter of the tree and, like the parent, so the child; and every tree that bears not wholesome fruit is plucked up by the roots and cast away. (Aquarian Gospel 101:14-18)
This should be obvious. If not, there is really nothing I can say to make it comprehensible. The word “beware” means “be wary,” and this is what Jesus is counseling us in relation to every aspect of life, but especially religion (with politics coming in a close second). Basically he is saying: Keep your eyes open and your intelligence analyzing to understand the true nature of things in this world dominated by false appearances.
Because a man prays long and loud is not a sign that he is saint. The praying men are not all in the kingdom of the soul. (Aquarian Gospel 101:19) That is certainly being proved every day, every moment.
The man who lives the holy life, who does the will of God, abides within the kingdom of the soul. (Aquarian Gospel 101:20).
The holy life is the life in conformity with the divine plan of spiritual evolution, the life that reflects the truth of spirit. Those who live such a life will automatically live in spirit-consciousness.
It is interesting that Buddha had no ceremony whatsoever for aspirants becoming monks. Rather, they would assemble wearing the prescribed monastic clothing and he would simply say to them: “Come, bhikkhus, and lead the holy life.” And that was that; nothing more was needed. It is a blessed to thing to comprehend the essence of spiritual life.
The good man from the treasures of his heart sends blessedness and peace to all the world. The evil man sends thoughts that blight and wither hope and joy and fill the world with wretchedness and woe. Men think and act and speak out of the abundance of the heart. (Aquarian Gospel 101:21-23)
Jesus is not just speaking of leaders and influential people in society, he is speaking of every single one of us. Thought and will is a mighty force, and positive people continually radiate positive vibrations that uplift and bless the world. Negative people, despite their claims to rightness, stream forth cursing to the world. Especially they would destroy all hope and joy from the hearts of humanity. Just look at the various political systems that enslave and degrade entire nations. Especially virulent are those that have “the People’s” somewhere in their title.
If we fill our hearts with divine truth and consciousness, especially through meditation, we will be benefactors of the whole world, for relative existence is a single entity appearing as many. Every one of us affects every other person on the earth. Only the most deluded sincerely say: “It is my life….” We are responsible for our part in the welfare of all the living of the earth.
And when the judgement hour shall come a host of men will enter pleadings for themselves and think to buy the favor of the judge with words. And they will say, Lo, we have wrought a multitude of works in the Omnific name, have we not prophesied? Have we not cured all manner of disease? Have we not cast the evil spirits out of those obsessed? And then the judge will say, I know you not. You rendered service unto God in words when in your heart you worshipped Beelzebub. The evil one may use the powers of life, and do a multitude of mighty works. Depart from me, you workers of iniquity. (Aquarian Gospel 101:24-28)
Throughout our evolutional journey there are points where the truth of things is clearly revealed to us. This often happens at points in our various lifetimes, but it always happens sometime after we leave our bodies at the time of death. (Except for those too unevolved to undergo it.) This is the last judgment when the previous life is reviewed and summed up karmically. No evasion of the truth is possible because it takes place in the presence of God the ultimate Truth. Naturally those who lied and deceived in their earthly life will try to keep on doing so. But it will not work, for the judgment will be handed down by the Supreme Judge who cannot be influenced or fooled.
The awesomely fearsome message of these four verses is that miracles of healing and exorcism, or any kind of seemingly supernatural phenomena, count for absolutely nothing in the light of Reality. This is a primary truth and all who seek spiritual evolution must understand it. The laws governing the universe are little known to those on the human rung of the evolutionary ladder, so it is not possible to say that only good people can produce amazing or seemingly beneficial effects in the world. This is the entire subject of the book All-Hallows’ Eve by the esoteric Christian writer Charles Williams. In the book of Revelation we read: “I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty” (Revelation 16:13, 14). This is a serious reality. That is why Saint John wrote: “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world” (I John 4:1).
For some reasons healers are considered especially reliable spiritually, when almost the opposite is true. Many people have bodies charged with biomagnetic energies far more than those of normal people. They can give a kind of electric shock by their touch, and if they know how to do it they can knock people unconscious by putting their hands on their heads. (This is very popular with “holy roller” types.) By simply touching people they can convey such a powerful charge that any illness caused by depletion of energy is cured, as are physical problems stemming from toxic energies. The healer’s energies exorcise those energies and replace them with healthy energies. Many illnesses are a result of trauma, even if unknown, and the trauma of a huge jolt of biomagnetism can reverse the condition. Anton Mesmer frequently cured in this way. Some healers are accompanied by many spirits who are able to produce at least temporary healings. (Again, see All-Hallows’ Eve.) Both these types of healers are often, if not usually, privately addicted to alcohol, sex and sometimes drugs.
The basic situation is revealed in the single sentence: “You rendered service unto God in words when in your heart you worshipped Beelzebub.” It is the disposition of the heart alone that matters. Unhappily, some people worship evil without knowing it. But in the final judgment it will be revealed to them in the hope that they will not make that mistake in future lives. Nothing ever happens to us as punishment or condemnation, but only for our ultimate benefit.
The man who hears the words of life and does them not is like the man who builds his house upon the sand, which when the floods come on, is washed away and all is lost. But he who hears the words of life and in an honest, sincere heart receives and treasures them and lives the holy life, is like the man who builds the house upon the rock; the floods may come, the winds may blow, the storms may beat upon his house; it is not moved. Go forth and build your life upon the solid rock of truth, and all the powers of the evil one will shake it not. (Aquarian Gospel 101:29-32)
It is all a matter of doing or not doing. “A certain man had two sons; and he came to the first, and said, Son, go work to day in my vineyard. He answered and said, I will not: but afterward he repented, and went. And he came to the second, and said likewise. And he answered and said, I go, sir: and went not. Whether of them twain did the will of his father? They say unto him, The first” (Matthew 21:28-31).
And Jesus finished all his sayings on the mount and then he, with the twelve, returned unto Capernaum. (Aquarian Gospel 101:33)