This chapter is concerned with the subject of peace, its true nature and the way it is attained by those of spiritual orientation. Before we begin it, I would like you to read the following from Against False Union by the Greek Orthodox writer Alexander Kalomiros. These words are very familiar to me, as I went through the entire text of the book word-by-word at least five times before it was printed, as did a monk of the monastery where I was a novice. A great deal was done to prevent the publishing of the book because its message is in opposition to the cheap and easy “jolly good fellowship” that characterized the early years of the ecumenical movement. At that time people who knew or cared little of their own religious background were busy having “ecumenical encounters” with others of equal ignorance and indifference. Naturally they found a great deal of common ground and unity, none of it actually real. But a lot of paper got written on and quite a number of hot dogs consumed. For as I say, things were cheap and easy, and ecumenical picnics and parties were not uncommon, though the academics with high degrees in theology were usually not involved. It was a kind of upstairs-downstairs situation where only the common clergy and laity got the hot dogs and potato salad, while the academics munched on sparse snacks as they sat around long tables in the hosting universities. But both were equally unrealistic and unfruitful. Today those who hold forth again ecumenism are clinging on to their first impressions of the movement, hurling fomentations and condemnations where a few mild snorts and giggles would be more appropriate. Those who thunder against the danger of a worldwide “MegaChurch” are as mistaken as are those who inveigh against the United Nations as the forerunner of a One World Government. Human nature by its perversity will prevent it.
Here is the entire first chapter of Against False Union, perhaps the only part of the book that is relevant today.
I. PEACE WITHOUT TRUTH
The tragic experience of recent generations has brought to humanity an intense thirst for peace. Peace is now considered a good higher than many ideals for which people formerly gladly shed their blood. Contributing very much to this is the fact that war is not what it often was in the past, that is, a conflict between injustice and justice, but has become a conflict without meaning between which the injustice of various parties has used to appear just in the eyes of its followers, has caused people to lose faith in the existence of justice and to fail to see anything before them that is worthy of defending. Thus war, in any form, seems to be something completely absurd.
This reluctance on the part of humanity for any kind of conflict would have been something admirable if it were the offspring of spiritual health. If injustice, hatred, and falsehood had ceased to exist, then peace would have been the consummation of human happiness. Unity would have been a natural and not an artificial result. But something totally different is noticeable. Today when everyone is speaking of peace and unity, self-love and hatred, injustice and falsehood, ambition and greed, are at their zenith. All–everyone in his own way–speak of love for man, of love for humanity. But there has never existed a greater hypocrisy than that so–called love. Because love towards something theoretical, for something imaginary, such as the concept “humanity,” is equally theoretical and imaginary. It has no relation to love for the particular man we have before us. This love for a particular person, when it exists, is the only real love. It is the love for our neighbor that Christ asked.
This particular man with his imperfections and weaknesses, instead of being loved, has been hated in our time more than in any other age. Not only has he been hated, but he has been scorned and humiliated; he has been regarded as a “thing” without any particular value, a means for the attainment of “high goals,” a particle of the mass. Those who speak the most of love towards man and humanity, of peace and union, are precisely those who hate their neighbor, their acquaintance, the most. They love man the creation of their own imagination; they do not love man the reality. This worship of the idol “man” is in reality narcissism; it is the worship of the ego.
It would be naivete, therefore, if one were to believe that the pacifist disposition that characterizes humanity today proceeds from love. These words about love are hypocrisy and self-deception. The desire for peace proceeds from the loss of ideals, from fear, and from the love of comfort. It is the desire to be left in peace to enjoy the good things of this earth. It is the conventional cooperation for the acquisition of goods which each person separately would not be able to acquire. It is a universal understanding upon something which has become the passion of the whole earth: sensualism and materialism. It is a product of necessity.
The peace of which the world speaks is an unconditional capitulation of everything good and sacred and great, and the dominance of pettiness, mediocrity, and lukewarmness. It is the blotting out of the personality of individuals and of peoples. It is a marmalade of compromises and calculations, a sea of hypocrisy, indifference for the truth, the betrayal of everything holy and sacred.
War is a terrible thing, a result of the fall of man, and no one is about to praise it. But the peace for which the world is haggling is something infinitely more fearful. A fever is a very unpleasant thing, but it shows at least that the organism is reacting against something bad which has entered it. The peace which they wish to bring is not, unfortunately, that which comes from the victory over evil, but that which comes from defeat. It is the feverlessness of a corpse.
At bottom, the peace which men pursue is not only a peace of weapons. It is the peace of conscience. They wish to reconcile good with evil, justice with injustice, virtue with sin, truth with falsehood, in order to be able to make peace with their conscience.
Now we are ready for the Aquarian Gospel’s teaching on peace.
Now, after they had dined, the guests and Jesus all were in a spacious hall in Mary’s home. And then Lamaas said, Pray, tell us Lord, is this the dawn of peace? Have we come forth unto the time when men will war no more? Are you, indeed, the Prince of Peace that holy men said would come?
And Jesus said, Peace reigns today; it is the peace of death. A stagnant pool abides in peace. When waters cease to move they soon are ladened with the seeds of death; corruption dwells in every drop.
The living waters always leap and skip about like lambs in Spring.
The nations are corrupt; they sleep within the arms of death and they must be aroused before it is too late. (Aquarian Gospel 113:1-9)
Are you, indeed, the Prince of Peace that holy men said would come? Even in childhood I was amazed at the “Prince of Peace” theme at Christmas time. Whether it was from past lives or that I had listened at church when very small, I knew that Jesus had come to upset the whole evil order of things and conquer it before peace could come to the individual, much less the world. And I intuited that the world did not want what Jesus came to do–just the opposite.
Peace reigns today; it is the peace of death. A stagnant pool abides in peace. When waters cease to move they soon are ladened with the seeds of death; corruption dwells in every drop. This is the peace that pleases the world. As Jesus says, it is death, not life. That is why he told his disciples: “Peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you” (John 14:27).
The living waters always leap and skip about like lambs in Spring. Activity and change, evolutionary activity and evolutionary change, are the characteristics of life. Yet there is stability because the actions and results are moving toward a single purpose: spiritual unfoldment. Higher consciousness is the polestar toward which the awakened soul journeys, the true north of Spirit. Sometimes the activity is outer and sometimes it is inner, but it never stops until perfection is reached. When we read the lives of saints we find them full of action and development. Even those living a hermitic life are in constant interior movement. Certainly peace is there as well, but a peace of steady inner growth, not the stagnation that prevails in the world of ignorance. The saints and sages live in a perpetual springtime of the spirit.
The nations are corrupt; they sleep within the arms of death and they must be aroused before it is too late. For they “sleep the sleep of death” (Psalms 13:3). Since life is in the spirit alone, their awakening must be spiritual, and therefore must come from within.
In life we find antagonists at work. God sent me here to stir unto its depths the waters of the sea of life. Peace follows strife; I come to slay this peace of death. The prince of peace must first be prince of strife. This leaven of truth which I have brought to men will stir the demons up, and nations, cities, families will be at war within themselves.
The five that have been dwelling in a home of peace will be divided now, and two shall war with three; the son will stand against his sire; the mother and the daughter will contend; yea, strife will reign in every home.
The self and greed and doubt will rage into a fever heat, and then, because of me, the earth will be baptized in human blood. (Aquarian Gospel 113:9-14)
In life we find antagonists at work. God sent me here to stir unto its depths the waters of the sea of life. There are forces of spiritual inertia, spiritual unconsciousness, that would keep us in the stagnation of death, and if we are to live we need more than a little upheaval: we need a total stirring from top to bottom. Nothing must remain unmoved.
Peace follows strife; I come to slay this peace of death. The prince of peace must first be prince of strife. After the battle, then comes peace, but at a great price. Much must die and much must be changed forever. Even that which remains must be completely repolarized. That is why Saint Paul wrote: “If any man be in Christ, he is a new creation: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (II Corinthians 5:17). This is a great deal more than John Wesley’s “strangely warmed” heart when he heard some hymns being sung. Rather: “be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Romans 12:2). As Saint John put it symbolically: “I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea” of samsara (Revelation 21:1). First there must come a total revolution, a complete turnaround, a shaking up from top to bottom with a great deal that is shaken being eliminated. It is no wonder that ignorant people often accuse those who have gone through this spiritual reworking of either being crazy, taking drugs or brainwashed.
This leaven of truth which I have brought to men will stir the demons up, and nations, cities, families will be at war within themselves. The presence of the truth which Jesus embodies will, when imparted to humanity, cause a reaction from the forces of evil which will then attack all that is good, which in turn will retaliate and war with evil. That is obvious. But there are two points that really must be considered if we are to intelligently engage in spiritual purification: 1) Truth stirs up demons. 2) This stirring results in inner warfare: conflict within the individual.
The peddlers of both religion and yoga present the same false prospect: When good and truth enter the life then all is at peace and everything is happy and assured. Of course none of their dupes really have this occur in their lives, though they may fantasize it just as worldlings daydream that their lives are fulfilled and ideal. Actually, when truth begins to vibrate within the aspirants, opposition arises and they experience the fact that they are a composite of positive and negative elements, that they are divided in their impulses and desires. Conflict results, or rather awakening to the conflict that already exists. If the negative elements are more numerous then a great turmoil occurs and tremendous upset. If the positive elements are more numerous then the conflict is not so severe. But whichever it may be, only one side is going to survive. The deciding factor will be the insight and will of the individual. Sometimes there is great war and great victory. Other times there is moderate or little war and yet there is great defeat. It all lies in the intelligence and the will. This is a serious matter and it must be kept in mind.
Until the runner crosses the finish line he has not won; until the aspirant has attained perfection he is not illumined and free. This must be kept in mind: Failure is always possible until our attainment makes it impossible. And that is the last step. A lot of people have deluded themselves into thinking that they have attained Self-realization and liberation when they have been far, far from any such thing. I have known of many who held this delusion and they all ended up very badly, not just mediocre fools. A few were personally known to me. None of them ever woke up and saw their true state, but all crumbled away steadily until death came.
The five that have been dwelling in a home of peace will be divided now, and two shall war with three; the son will stand against his sire; the mother and the daughter will contend; yea, strife will reign in every home. This is mostly about the subtle energy makeup of the individual. Each one of us has five bodies, from the physical to the most subtle light energy body; and each of these is formed of the five basic elements from which all creation is manifested. Because of conditionings from actions and emotions they have gotten into a state of disharmony. When the sadhaka begins the inner work of yoga meditation to bring these bodies into higher vibration there is not only resistance but active rebellion. Conflicts that were hidden start manifesting themselves. It is rather like a barrel of cobras being spilt out on the floor and poked with sticks. The results are more than daunting. The sadhaka experiences confusion, anxiety and a feeling of helpless hopelessness. If he remains inactive he will be overcome and the conflicts will not be resolved. But if he ignores his reactions and keep right on practicing, invoking higher consciousness and power, he will find the situation lessening and eventually harmony will be established. Once he realizes that yoga has the power to correct all situations his former disorientation will develop into confidence and courage and his progress will be assured. But if he flees the battlefield it is assured that things will get worse.
Yoga is not for the fainthearted nor is it for the unresolved. Some people because of previous life efforts do not face such cataclysmic opposition at all. It really depends on what point in his evolution the aspirant is taking up the discipline. The old adage applies here perfectly: prepare for the worst and hope for the best. This is sure: yoga is not for dabblers.
The self [ego] and greed and doubt will rage into a fever heat, and then, because of me, the earth will be baptized in human blood. This is both individual and worldwide. The yogi certainly is baptized in his own blood, the degree of this being determined by his karma and level of evolution, though it is seldom as awful as “baptism in blood” sounds. The world, however is definitely scheduled for tremendous upheavals and the death of a huge percentage of the human race. Perhaps the most important exponent of this future was the twentieth-century Japanese philosopher, Mokichi Okada, who referred to it as “the Last Judgment mentioned by Christ.” According to him the world will be terribly devastated with a tremendously high percentage of the population dying. This will be followed by the advent of a spiritual age that will last a long time and be literal Paradise on Earth.
But right is king; and when the smoke is cleared away the nations will learn war no more; the Prince of Peace will come to reign.
Behold, the signs of what I say are in the sky; but men can see them not. When men behold a cloud rise in the west they say, A shower of rain will come, and so it does; and when the wind blows from the south they say, The weather will be hot; and it is so. Lo, men can read the signs of earth and sky, but they cannot discern the signs of Holy Breath; but you shall know.
The storm of wrath comes on; the carnal man will seek a cause to hale you into court, and cast you into prison cells. And when these times shall come let wisdom guide; do not resent. Resentment makes more strong the wrath of evil men. There is a little sense of justice and of mercy in the vilest men of earth.
By taking heed to what you do and say and trusting in the guidance of the Holy Breath, you may inspire this sense to grow. You thus may make the wrath of men to praise the Lord.
The Christines went their way, and came unto Bethsaida and taught. (Aquarian Gospel 113:15-24)
But right is king; and when the smoke is cleared away the nations will learn war no more; the Prince of Peace will come to reign. Behold, the signs of what I say are in the sky; but men can see them not. When men behold a cloud rise in the west they say, A shower of rain will come, and so it does; and when the wind blows from the south they say, The weather will be hot; and it is so. Lo, men can read the signs of earth and sky, but they cannot discern the signs of Holy Breath; but you shall know. This is exactly what Mokichi Okada also said. Whether “the Prince of Peace” will be a person or a spiritual presence is not sure. But what is sure is that whoever is around for it will merit such blessing. Even now those of awakened souls are intuitively aware of the future, even if only in a general way. But the earthly will understand nothing of it and will continue to sleep the sleep of death.
The storm of wrath comes on; the carnal man will seek a cause to hale you into court, and cast you into prison cells. This, too has certainly come about and continues. Even Mokichi Okada was imprisoned and tortured toward the end of his life.
And when these times shall come let wisdom guide; do not resent. Resentment makes more strong the wrath of evil men. There is a little sense of justice and of mercy in the vilest men of earth. This is extremely important: in a world of turmoil and evil we must continually sow the seeds of forgiveness and mercy as did Jesus when he prayed for those causing his death (Luke 23:34). Here Jesus tell us that resentment makes evil stronger and reminds us that even the worst of human beings yet retain a touch of justice and mercy. And for the sake of that we should forgive and love. As a result they may be awakened. It has been said of Sri Ramakrishna that he would search for a single spark of goodness in a person and would then fan it diligently until it became a flame of goodness. “He would see an ocean in a drop of good,” according to his associates. We should be the same.
By taking heed to what you do and say and trusting in the guidance of the Holy Breath, you may inspire this sense to grow. You thus may make the wrath of men to praise the Lord. The Christines went their way, and came unto Bethsaida and taught. This is not a promise, but a principle of fundamental truth revealed to us by Jesus. It is not easy to follow, but the results will be virtually infinite. Each one of us can begin to change the world if we first purify and change ourselves. Then we, too, can teach and “work the works of God” (John 6:28).