Into the palace of the Roman governor the Jews would enter not lest they become defiled and be unworthy to attend the feast; but they led Jesus to the palace court, and Pilate met them there.
And Pilate said, Why this commotion in the early day? What is your prayer? The Jews replied, We bring before you one, an evil and seditious man. He has been tried before the highest council of the Jews and has been proven traitor to our laws, our state and to the government of Rome. We pray that you will sentence him to death upon the cross. And Pilate said, Why do you bring him unto me? Go to, and judge him yourselves. You have a law, and by the sanction of the Roman law, you have a right to judge and right to execute.
The Jews replied, We have no right to execute a man upon the cross, and since this man is traitor to Tiberius, our counsellors believe that he should meet the most humiliating death–the death upon the cross.
But Pilate said, No man can be found guilty of a crime by Roman law until the testimony all is in, and the accused has been permitted to defend himself; so I will take your bill of charges, with the evidence you have, and judge by Roman law.
The Jews had made a copy of the accusations in the language of the Roman court, and they had added to the bill: We charge that Jesus is an enemy of Rome; that he demands that men shall pay no tribute to Tiberius.
And Pilate took the bill; his guards led Jesus up the steps into the palace hall. And Jesus stood before the Roman governor, and Pilate read to him the charges of the Jews, and said, What is your answer to this bill? These charges, are they true or false? And Jesus said, Why should I plead before an earthly court? The charges have been verified by perjured men; what need I say? Yes, I am king; but carnal men cannot behold the king, nor see the kingdom of the God; it is within. If I had been king as carnal man is king, my servants would have stood in my defense, and I would not have willingly surrendered to the minions of the Jewish law. I have no testimony from the sons of men. God is my witness, and my words and deeds bear witness to the truth; and every man who comprehends the truth will hearken to my words, and in his soul give witness unto me.
And Pilate said, What is the truth? And Jesus said, Truth is the God who knows. It is the changeless one. The Holy Breath is truth; she changes not and cannot pass away.
And Pilate went again unto the Jews and said, This man is guilty of no crime; I cannot sentence him to death.
And then the Jews grew boisterous; they cried aloud and said, Our council surely knows. The wisest men of all the land have found him guilty of a score of crimes. He would pervert the nation of the Jews; would overthrow the Roman rule and make himself the king. He is a culprit come from Galilee; he must be crucified. (Aquarian Gospel 167:1-25)
Into the palace of the Roman governor the Jews would enter not lest they become defiled and be unworthy to attend the feast; but they led Jesus to the palace court, and Pilate met them there. See the evil of externalized religion. Plotting the murder of an innocent man, they will not enter the palace of a Roman lest they defile themselves and not be able to observe the Passover. This is the insanity which develops in those immersed in such religion. Eventually they have no more conscience or sense of right and wrong than do the worst of criminals. I well remember speaking with a yogini who had been raised in just such a religion. She told me that she was unable to convey to anyone who had not experienced it for themselves just how hellish it had been for her. Since I had been brought up in a very similar church I understood her completely. Unspeakable corruption lies beneath the veneer of such a religion along with covert unbelief and blasphemy.
Pilate said, Why do you bring him unto me? Go to, and judge him yourselves. You have a law, and by the sanction of the Roman law, you have a right to judge and right to execute. The Jews replied, We have no right to execute a man upon the cross, and since this man is traitor to Tiberius, our counsellors believe that he should meet the most humiliating death–the death upon the cross. Here we see that these wicked men were not content with bringing about the death of Jesus; they were determined that it should be both the most painful and the most disgraceful. “The evil-doers turn not toward me: these are deluded, sunk low among mortals. Their judgment is lost in the maze of Maya, until the heart is human no longer: changed within to the heart of a devil” (Bhagavad Gita 7:15).
Why should I plead before an earthly court? The charges have been verified by perjured men; what need I say? Jesus refused to go along with the pretence that justice was intended, and plainly spoke of the true character of the proceedings.
Yes, I am king; but carnal men cannot behold the king, nor see the kingdom of the God; it is within. If I had been king as carnal man is king, my servants would have stood in my defense, and I would not have willingly surrendered to the minions of the Jewish law. The accusers of Jesus had no true understanding of the concepts they were speaking about: Messiahship, the kingdom of God or even the nature of the Law they pretended to uphold.
Truth is the God who knows. It is the changeless one. The Holy Breath is truth; she changes not and cannot pass away. Someone once asked Adi Shankaracharya the great advaitist and reformer of the monastic Swami Order: “What is truth?” He simply answered: “There is no such thing as truth [satya]; there is only the True [Sat],” meaning God. Jesus was no doubt familiar with that incident. He is telling Pilate (and us) that ultimately truth is not a philosophy, theology or verbal formulation, but God himself. And nothing is God that is not changeless. In this relative existence, the Holy Spirit is the unchangeable and the imperishable. Those who are her disciple-children shall become like her.
And Pilate said, If Jesus is from Galilee he is a subject of the governor of Galilee, who should be judge. Now, Herod had come down from Galilee and with his suite was in Jerusalem. And Pilate sent to him the Lord in chains; he also sent a copy of the charges, and of the testimonies of the Jews and asked that he would pass in judgment on the case. And Herod said, I have heard much about this man and I am pleased to see him in my court. And then he asked the Lord about his claims, about his doctrines and his aims. And Jesus answered not a word; and Herod was enraged; he said, Do you insult the ruler of the land by answering not? And then he called his guards and said, Take you this man and torture him until he answers me.
The guards took Jesus and they smote him; mocked him; wrapped him in a royal robe; they made a crown of thorns and put it on his head; they put a broken reed into his hands; and then they said deridingly, All hail, thou royal king! Where are your subjects and your friends?
But Jesus answered not a word. Then Herod sent him back to Pilate with this note of courtesy: Most worthy counsellor of Rome, I have examined all the charges and the testimonies that you sent to me regarding this seditious man from Galilee, and while I might adjudge him guilty of the crimes as charged, I yield to you my rights as judge, because you are superior to me in power. I will approve of any judgment you may render in this case.
Now, Pilate and the tetrarch had been foes, but the experience of this hour destroyed their enmity and they were friends in after days. (Aquarian Gospel 167:26-38)
Jesus answered not a word. Solomon said that there is “a time to keep silence, and a time to speak” (Ecclesiastes 3:7). The wise know which is which. Jesus knew that Herod was a completely Romanized man, alien to Israel and its religion, an intellectual dabbler who wanted to be entertained by his questioning. So Jesus had nothing to say to him. There is a little-known hymn that explains the situation.
A friendless pris’ner at Pilate’s bar,
’Mid the raging mob He stood;
Like wolves that had scented His blood from afar
And eagerly Him pursued;
The voice of these murd’rers was heard as they cried,
Till Jerusalem’s city was stirred;
“Away with Him, let Him be crucified”;
But He answered never a word.
The priests and the elders with fiendish spite,
Accused Him of many things;
But His face was radiant with heavenly light,
He could hear the sound of wings;
And Pilate marveled to see Him there,
As each wicked charge he heard,
His mute lips moved as in silent prayer,
But He answered never a word.
With fiercest hatred his foes pressed on,
To kill Him their greatest desire;
The faith of His foll’wers was almost gone,
Must the last faint spark expire?
Will He meekly yield in His dreadful hour,
When a murderer is preferred?
He who raised the dead, has He lost His pow’r?
But He answered never a word.
Then they brought the cross that Barabbas should fill,
He, a murderer, now to go free;
And they laid it on Jesus to bear up the hill,
To purchase salvation for me;
Though hungry and thirsty, and bleeding and cold,
Not a sigh passed His lips that was heard;
He trembled a moment, then sank to the ground,
But He answered never a word.
The rabble with spite and revenge urged them on,
Till He came to Calvary’s brow,
Where they nailed His hands and His feet to the cross–
O sinner, look on him now!
Then raising the cross, oh, what suff’ring and pain!
Till the earth and the heavens were stirred,
But the suffering Jesus with meekness endured,
But He answered never a word.
But there hung by His side a thief, broken and sad,
With sins that were all his own,
And he cried, “Dear Lord, remember me
When Thou sittest on Thy throne”;
And the Savior turned and looked upon him,
His compassion deep was stirred;
And peace, sweet peace He shed o’er that soul–
He could answer him with a word.
From this account we see that the mocking of Jesus was done in Herod’s palace, not that of Pilate.
Now, Pilate and the tetrarch had been foes, but the experience of this hour destroyed their enmity and they were friends in after days. By their mutual betrayal and tacit condemnation of Jesus they became literal “brothers in blood” and from then on friends, whereas before Pilate had the integrity to have no use or contact with Herod whose worthless character he knew well.
When Jesus had been brought again to Pilate’s court, the Roman Governor stood forth before the accusers of the Lord and said, I cannot find this Nazarene to be a criminal as charged; there is no evidence that he should suffer death; so I will scourge him well and let him go. The Jews cried angrily, It is not meet that such a dangerous man should live; he must be crucified. Then Pilate said, I bid you wait a little time. And then he went into an inner room and sat in silent thought.
And as he mused his wife, a godly woman, chosen from among the Gauls, came in and said, I pray you, Pilate, hearken unto me: Beware of what you do this hour. Touch not this man from Galilee; he is a holy man. If you should scourge this man you scourge the son of God. Last night I saw it all in vision far too vivid to be set aside as idle dream. I saw this man walk on the waters of the sea; I heard him speak and calm an angry storm; I saw him flying with the wings of light; I saw Jerusalem in blood; I saw the statues of the Caesars fall; I saw a veil before the sun, and day was dark as night. The earth on which I stood was shaken like a reed before the wind. I tell you, Pilate, if you bathe your hands in this man’s blood then you may dread the frowns of great Tiberius, and the curses of the senators of Rome.
And then she left, and Pilate wept. (Aquarian Gospel 167:39-49)
How sad this is. Pilate knew the innocence of Jesus and wanted to save him; yet he could not withstand the machinations of the evil plotters against Jesus. Even more, he feared that they would send reports to Rome accusing him of treason to Tiberius, who in time became the first Christian emperor of Rome, though edited “church history” has it otherwise. Ironically, Pilate’s account to him of Jesus was a factor in his eventual conversion.
All spiritual aspirants face situations like this when they feel pulled apart by conflicting factors such as loyalty and fear of public opinion. I have already told how when I enrolled in a series of meditation instructions that were to come by mail, the application I filled out asked if I wanted the organization’s return address on their envelopes or if they should be blank. I realized that if I was so cowardly as to not want my family to see what I was receiving, I could hardly hope to face any obstacles that might arise in the future. So I checked the box that said the return address should be on the envelopes. The journey of a thousand miles is indeed begun by the first step.