As Jesus and the twelve were resting in the house, the tax collector came to Peter saying, Man, do Jesus and yourself pay this half-shekel tax? And Peter said, We pay whatever is assessed. And Jesus said, From whom do publicans collect this special tax? from strangers or from native sons? And Peter said, The strangers only are supposed to pay this tax. Then Jesus said, We all are native sons and we are free; but lest we cause contention we will pay the tax; but neither had the shekel wherewithal to pay. And Jesus said, Go to the sea; cast in a hook and catch a fish and you will find within its inner parts a shekel, which take up and pay the tax for you and me. And Peter did as Jesus said; he found the shekel and he paid the tax. (Aquarian Gospel 131:1-7)
There is symbolism here. When we need anything, material, mental or spiritual, we should go to the “sea” of the mind, intuition or infinite intelligence. Then we should “cast in a hook” by praying deeply and sometimes actually setting a question in mind that we need the answer to. That is, we should meditate deeply and set our question before both our inner mind and the divine. Then we should dismiss it. (Some recommend that we should do this three times, preferably on three different days, but less if the time element requires it.) If our prayer or inquiry has merit we will “catch” the answer by an eventual response either outwardly or inwardly. How long should we wait? That is up to our intuition. In this way the inner and outer realities are seen as an inexhaustible source of benefit or wisdom.
It is said that whatever a master needs will be provided, usually without a need for any prayer being made. But since we are not masters, there is often a need for us to signal the universe in the way described above. It wise to know one’s limitations and act accordingly.
Now Jesus heard the twelve dispute among themselves. The spirit of the carnal self was moving in their hearts, and they were questioning among themselves who was the greatest in the sight of God and man. And Jesus said, You men, for shame! The greatest is the servant of the rest. And then he called to him a little child; he took it in his arms and said. The greatest is the little child, and if you would be great at all you must become as is this child in innocence, in truth, in purity in life. Great men scorn not the little things of earth; he who regards and honors such a child, regards and honors me, and he who scorns a child, scorns me. If you would enter through the kingdom gate you must be humble as this little child. (Aquarian Gospel 131:8-12)
And Jesus said, You men, for shame! The greatest is the servant of the rest. I knew an animal trainer who said that it was easy when looking at a herd of animals to tell which was the leader or head. In the animal kingdom the biggest and strongest rule. There is no exception to this. Having come up from animal forms in our many lives before reaching the human condition we naturally have subconscious, reflexive attitudes. The “bigger is better” and “might is right” attitude is ingrained in those who have not yet opened themselves fully to higher knowledge which proceeds from spirit, not our past. Therefore we think a strong and striking person is superior and possesses merit. There is an example of this principle in the choosing of David to be king of Israel.
“And the Lord said unto Samuel, How long wilt thou mourn for Saul, seeing I have rejected him from reigning over Israel? fill thine horn with oil, and go, I will send thee to Jesse the Bethlehemite: for I have provided me a king among his sons. And [Samuel]… called them to the sacrifice. And it came to pass, when they were come, that he looked on Eliab, and said, Surely the Lord’S anointed is before him. But the Lord said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart. Then Jesse called Abinadab, and made him pass before Samuel. And he said, Neither hath the Lord chosen this. Then Jesse made Shammah to pass by. And he said, Neither hath the Lord chosen this. Again, Jesse made seven of his sons to pass before Samuel. And Samuel said unto Jesse, The Lord hath not chosen these. And Samuel said unto Jesse, Are here all thy children? And he said, There remaineth yet the youngest, and, behold, he keepeth the sheep. And Samuel said unto Jesse, Send and fetch him: for we will not sit down till he come hither. And he sent, and brought him in…. And the Lord said, Arise, anoint him: for this is he. Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the midst of his brethren: and the Spirit of the Lord came upon David from that day forward” (I Samuel 16:1, 5-13).
Oftentimes we despise those who are the servants of others, serving them and putting their needs before their own. But does God not do the same? He has need of nothing yet he has provided the entire cosmos from gross to subtle worlds just for the sake of the souls evolving within it. Jesus, being a son of God, his whole life was for others, too.
I have a funny example. The most powerful business man in the entire area from Delhi to the far reaches of the Himalayas always showed me great respect, every day asking me if there was anything he could do for me and even once offering to build me an ashram if I would move to India. I could not figure out why, for what was special about me? But after some years, in conversation he revealed that he considered a fat man who was in charge of others a superior person because he sat and got fat issuing orders while they got thin doing his bidding! At last the mystery was solved. I was fat, the other members of our monastery were thin, so I was superior! It was not flattering to my ego, but we all to have to roll with the punches.
And then he called to him a little child; he took it in his arms and said.
This was not just some anonymous child. It was the future Saint Ignatius of Antioch, who would become a disciple of John the Apostle. His writings are still studied by Eastern Christians, and they used to be read in the churches as equal to the epistles of Saint Paul. (I read them when I was in my teens and thought they were much more inspired.) So great was he that he was called “Ignatius Theophorus” during his lifetime, which means “ Ignatius the God-bearer” in the sense of being so united with God that you met God when you met him. So there is bit more to this than Jesus talking about children in general. Great masters know the spiritual evolution of even infants. Yogananda once was given a child to hold and almost dropped it because he saw that it had been a mass murderer in its previous life.
The greatest is the little child, and if you would be great at all you must become as is this child in innocence, in truth, in purity in life. We must not let our concept of “child” be formed by those too old or we will mistake the meaning here, for they will already be conditioned by contact with adults, though still childlike.
Both infants and very young children reflect a great deal of the Self. For example, they are swept with waves of joy (ananda) that is the eternal trait of the Self and the Supreme Self. I have watched this especially with infants, who while lying still will suddenly move their arms and legs vigorously while smiling and expressing uncontrollable joy.
Children have a magical, mystical consciousness that manifests in a conviction (I think it is much stronger than a belief) that anything is possible, that anything can and eventually will happen. As an adult I have experienced this in myself simply by being in India. The sky is not the limit; even that can be transcended. Because of this children believe anything they are told, unless they have a past-life bias against something. They also speak directly without any sense of diplomacy. I always feel regret for parents who become embarrassed when their children point at me and ask: “Mommy, what is that?” or “Mommy, why is he doing that?” referring to my orange Indian-style clothing and shaven head. Of course there was the little child in Calcutta who followed me down the street pointing and calling out to passersby: “Thakur, Thakur!” meaning “God, God!” Some years later a tiny child barely able to speak kept pointing at me throughout the liturgy in a Russian Orthodox church and saying: “Bogu, Bogu,” which also means “God, God!” Children look at the world in a very direct and honest way because they have no conscious preconceptions about what they are encountering in their new incarnation. We can learn a great deal about the nature of things by watching their responses. There are other significant attributes which acute observation of very young children will reveal.
It is the simplicity and consistency of children that all seekers of the divine truly need, for they nearly all have a powerful intuition of the underlying supernatural Reality of the world: God the Absolute. So they can tell us a great deal if we not only watch but question them in the right way. I have known children who offhandedly would tell about their past lives. When I was five I went into a mortuary (“funeral home” in those days) with a cousin of mine a year younger. As we approached a casket, he said in amazement: “Why look! That is where they put me when I died.” I was too ignorant to believe him then, but I do now.
Great men scorn not the little things of earth; he who regards and honors such a child, regards and honors me, and he who scorns a child, scorns me. One of the things I experienced right away in India was the universal regard and even respect for children. I saw adults take very seriously what we in the West call “the meaningless ramblings” of children. At one ashram I saw about thirty yogis gather to hear the visionary experiences of a little boy eight or nine years old. When his account was finished, they told him his experience was real and that he should act on it. I was impressed.
Few things indicate a psychological and spiritual defect more than the dislike of children, especially in men who obviously feel a child is a rival for the attention they want fixed only on themselves. Authentic yogis and monks always have a strong love for children and like being around them, mostly because of their transparency of thought and feeling. Also, there is a very pure and refined atmosphere surrounding them. (There are exceptions, of course.)
If you would enter through the kingdom gate you must be humble as this little child. Need I say that some children are more humble than others? Again, I think it is their readiness to believe and openness to ideas that is their main quality, and that is a form of humility. Also, they do know that they are small in this vast universe. A lot of adults have lost that very reasonable perspective.
Hear me, you men, This child, as every other child, has one to plead its cause before the throne of God. You scorn it at your peril, men, for lo, I say, its counterpart beholds the face of God at every moment, every day.
And hear me once again, He who shall cause a little one to stumble and to fall is marked, accursed; and it were better far if he had drowned himself.
Behold, offences everywhere! Men find occasions for to sin and fall, and they grow strong by rising when they fall; but woe to him who causes other men to stumble and to fall. Be on your guard, you men of God, lest you constrain another man to fall; beware lest you fall into sinful ways yourselves. (Aquarian Gospel 131:13-18)
Hear me, you men, This child, as every other child, has one to plead its cause before the throne of God. You scorn it at your peril, men, for lo, I say, its counterpart beholds the face of God at every moment, every day. Whether this means the guardian angel or the higher self of the child is unknown. Perhaps it means both and therefore is expressed this way. However it may be intended, the idea is that every single human being must be respected because of such “friends in high places.”
The traditional teaching of the Church in the West is that every dawn and sunset our guardian angel goes before the Throne of God. Whether they do so as a reward for such a boring, inane and thankless task as looking after us, or because they make some kind of report is as far as I know not indicated.
And hear me once again, He who shall cause a little one to stumble and to fall is marked, accursed; and it were better far if he had drowned himself. Behold, offences everywhere! Men find occasions for to sin and fall, and they grow strong by rising when they fall; but woe to him who causes other men to stumble and to fall. Be on your guard, you men of God, lest you constrain another man to fall; beware lest you fall into sinful ways yourselves. This a very clear and understandable warning, but we should realize that people with a dull conscience often do things that harm and hinder other people without realizing it or while thinking that they are doing what is just and right (see John 16:2).
Now, if your hands cause you to sin, you better cut them off; for it is better far to have no hands and not be guilty in the sight of God and men, than to be perfect in your form and lose your soul. And if your feet should cause offence, you better cut them off; for it is better far to enter into life without your feet than fall beneath the curse. And if your eyes, or ears, cause you to sin, you better lose them all than lose your soul. (Aquarian Gospel 131:19-21)
No one with a modicum of experience and sense believes the physical hands, feet, eyes and ears cause a person to do wrong. But the senses which operate through and motivate them can. Also, the faculties of the soul which correspond to them can certainly be causes of wrongdoing when distorted or corrupted. Therefore those things should be cut off functionally speaking, not literally, and subjected to the superior powers of our intelligent will.
Your thoughts and words and deeds will all be tried by fire. Remember that you are the salt of earth; but if you lose the virtues of the salt, you are but refuse in the sight of God. Retain the virtues of the salt of life and be at peace among yourselves. The world is full of men who have not in themselves the salt of life, and they are lost. I come to seek and save the lost. (Aquarian Gospel 131:22-25)
The fire which ultimately tries all our thoughts, words and deeds is the fire of spiritual wisdom and discernment as well as enlightened experience. Our saltness, our redeeming character is our true nature as spirit. On a lesser level it is our empowerment and transformation that results from drawing near to God, the Divine Light that dispels all darkness and error, giving us perfect insight as well as intellectual understanding.
These verses condemn no one; they affirm that Jesus has come for the salvation of all. This alone is the purpose of God.
How think you? if a shepherd has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, will he not leave the ninety and the nine, and go out in the desert ways and mountain tops to seek the one that went astray? Yes, this you know; and if he finds the one that went astray, lo, he is glad, and he rejoices over it far more than over all the ninety and the nine that did not go astray. And so there is rejoicing in the courts of heaven when one of human birth who has gone forth into the ways of sin is found and brought back to the fold; yea, there is joy, more joy than over all the righteous men who never went astray. (Aquarian Gospel 131:26-30)
Such is the great love and intention of God for man! Any differing or lesser view is not of Christ and true Christianity.
And John said, Master, who may seek and save the lost? and who may heal the sick, and cast the demons out of those obsessed? When we were on the way we saw a man who was not one of us cast demons out and heal the sick. He did it by the sacred Word and in the name of Christ; but we forbade him, for he did not walk with us. And Jesus said, You sons of men, do you imagine that you own the powers of God? And do you think that all the world must wait for you to do the works of God? God is not man that he should have a special care for any man, and give him special gifts. Forbid not any man to do the works of God.
There is no man who can pronounce the sacred Word, and in the name of Christ restore the sick, and cast the unclean spirits out, who is not child of God.
The man of whom you speak is one with us. Whoever gathers in the grain of heaven is one with us.
Whoever gives a cup of water in the name of Christ is one with us; so God shall judge. (Aquarian Gospel 131:31-40)
And John said, Master, who may seek and save the lost? and who may heal the sick, and cast the demons out of those obsessed? When we were on the way we saw a man who was not one of us cast demons out and heal the sick. He did it by the sacred Word and in the name of Christ; but we forbade him, for he did not walk with us. The religious world is filled with insistence that only one way is right, that only a certain group of people out of the entire human race is qualified to give authentic, legitimate spiritual teaching.
There are a great number of gurus that claim to be the one and only master for the entire world, and their disciples eagerly insist on the same, all having miraculous stories to establish their claim or accounts of how their guru alone is the successor to a previous one-and-only master. Who is authorized by some superior authority to be the world’s one “perfect Master” obsesses people, and everyone has stories of how marvelous their guru is and how rotten his rivals are. “Disciplic succession” is an explosive topic. On a train in India I once met an attorney who had spent over twenty years involved in a lawsuit between two men who claimed to be the successor of the world’s only guru, and it was still dragging on. Only the death of one of the claimants put an end to it, and their successors and their disciples are still wrangling on with astonishingly defamatory words against the rival one.
In the West we have had bitter strife and even military violence between Popes and Antipopes, and claimants to be the “one, holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church” abound. Protestantism has countless denominations that are the “one, only, true Church of Christ.” Although ecumenism enjoyed a vogue some decades ago, the universal bitterness and accusation still prevail. The early days of Christianity in which non-Christians often marveled at “how these Christians love one another” is long, long gone. “With us” and “not with us” are the characterizations of legitimacy and illegitimacy. Here even the Beloved Disciple is seen to have been afflicted with this mentality.
And Jesus said, You sons of men, do you imagine that you own the powers of God? And do you think that all the world must wait for you to do the works of God? God is not man that he should have a special care for any man, and give him special gifts. Forbid not any man to do the works of God.
“How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High” (Isaiah 14:12-14), the only true One and Only. Those of the previously described mentality make a big to-do of their righteousness and rightness, but these verses reveal they really are Luciferic in their minds and hearts.
Many groups believe that only their activities, including even healing, are of God. All the rest are the deceptions of demons. What ugly, evil minds. I remember a Liberal Catholic bishop saying to me: “The error of most religion is trying to tell God what he can and cannot do.” Another time he said about such groups: “They are afraid of making a mistake because they are infallible!” Heavy is the head that wears the crown….
There is no man who can pronounce the sacred Word, and in the name of Christ restore the sick, and cast the unclean spirits out, who is not child of God. The man of whom you speak is one with us. Whoever gathers in the grain of heaven is one with us. Whoever gives a cup of water in the name of Christ is one with us; so God shall judge. This is the viewpoint of Jesus. It is so broad it embraces the entire spiritual world, not just Christianity, for Christ is universal, the Only Begotten of the Father as understood in the much higher understanding found in the Aquarian Gospel, not sectarian Christianity. At the same time it is oriented to the invocation of the Divine Word: Om.