The home of Jesus was a school where in the early morning hours the twelve apostles and the foreign priests were taught the secret things of God. And there were present priests from China, India, and from Babylon; from Persia, Egypt and from Greece, who came to sit at Jesus’ feet to learn the wisdom that he brought to men, that they might teach their people how to live the holy life.
And Jesus taught them how to teach; he told them of the trials of the way, and how to make these trials serve the race. He taught them how to live the holy life that they might conquer death; he taught them what the end of mortal life will be, when man has reached the consciousness that he and God are one.
The after midday hours were given to the multitudes who came to learn the way of life and to be healed; and many did believe and were baptized. (Aquarian Gospel 103:1-7)
The home of Jesus was a school.
Because after the first two to three centuries of is existence Christianity has been a vague (though sometimes dogmatic and ritualistic), meandering, hit-or-miss (usually miss) wandering about, rarely touching the things of the spirit and utterly lacking in spiritual order and method, it is assumed today that the ministry of Jesus was just the same. So nebulous and lacking in result has the religion become, that Christians of today rarely even believe in the miracles recorded in the Gospel. Rejection of the Virgin Birth and the Resurrection are staples of modern “Christian” unbelief. And few really believe in the principles Jesus taught, because nothing they have encountered in Christianity has really worked. Ironically, “the just shall live by faith” is all they have left as a principle even though they really have little or no faith. This is why so many churches are welfare centers and clearing houses, crippling along on the Social Gospel, far more akin to socialism than religion. Others are just entertainment and Feel Good centers. But it was not so originally.
In the early morning hours the twelve apostles and the foreign priests were taught the secret things of God. Jesus taught systematically because the basis of his entire message was the philosophy the ancient seers and the methodology of yoga which he had learned and mastered in India. Specifically, he was a member of the Nath Yogi Order, the original yogis of India among whom Patanjali himself was numbered. Among them he was known as Isha Nath. (See The Christ of India at ocoy,org.) “The secret things of God” were not secret teachings kept from everyone but the elite few, but the unknown things of God, secret only because human beings did not choose to seek them out and learn them.
And there were present priests from China, India, and from Babylon; from Persia, Egypt and from Greece. Before the apostles spread out to preach the Gospel, many sought out Jesus from distant lands. Most of them learned of Jesus when earlier he was either living in or passing through their countries on his way to and from India. Returning home, they became the first “Christian” missionaries.
Who came to sit at Jesus’ feet to learn the wisdom that he brought to men, that they might teach their people how to live the holy life. They did not come to learn a new cosmology or a new philosophy, but rather “how to live the holy life.” “The holy life” was the term used by the Buddha for the mode of life (dharma) that led to enlightenment. Certainly, so they could understand the rationale and purpose of the holy life Jesus explained both the practical and philosophical aspects of the universe and the evolution of sentient beings within it. But such ideas were secondary, only helps to understanding the heart of his teaching. The focus of everything was the holy life: the yoga life. Not only were the students of this school intending to live the holy life, they were going to teach it to others back in their homelands.
And it must not be overlooked that they were called “priests.” The true Christian priesthood is the living and teaching of the holy life. That is why Saint Peter described true Christians as “lively [living] stones, built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ…a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light” (I Peter 2:5, 9). This ideal is not found in today’s Christianity is it? Called into the Light of God–into the very Being of God! This is not a priesthood of ritualism but of ascent to divine consciousness. In Revelation those who have attained this Light sing: “[Jesus Christ] hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen” (Revelation 1:6). This is no mere positive thinking, but positive being “unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth” (Revelation 5:10.” “They shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him” (Revelation 20:6). This is the Way of Christ.
And Jesus taught them how to teach. “And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at his doctrine: For he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes” (Matthew 7: 28, 29). Jesus taught his disciples that “out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh” (Matthew 12;34; Luke 6:45). That is, the vibration of our inner mind and heart is conveyed through the vibration of our voice when we speak. The consciousness of a worthy teacher is pervaded by the divine light, with insight and experience gained by spiritual experience. When such a teacher speaks that inner light is conveyed to the hearers to the degree they are receptive to it. So Jesus did not teach them clever ways of speaking, but rather how to be living embodiments of what they were teaching. Then their students would be able to also ascend to higher awareness and knowledge. When I was still in my teens I heard a minister tell a group of people that people who wanted to understand a religion should not have to read books about it but only study the lives of those who professed it. When I met yogis a few years later, especially in India, I realized the truth of his words.
He told them of the trials of the way, and how to make these trials serve the race. It has always intrigued me that of all the great teachers of the world, even though the others certainly set forth what was needed to achieve higher consciousness, Jesus alone really expounded all the struggles and trials that his followers would have to undergo. He outlined the high price that must be paid for high spiritual attainment. It is very important for spiritual aspirants to understand that difficulties and unpleasantness can be valuable steps of spiritual ascent, of great benefit to us and to others that we may later help along the way. Usually we want to avoid such things, but it is wise to greet them as welcome teachers.
He taught them how to live the holy life, for it is a life of practical methodology, discipline, sacrifice and self-purification. It is the way of self-evolution.
It is necessary that they might conquer death. Death must be annihilated; only then will life be ours. “Death” is not mere physical mortality, but the bondage of ignorance and the darkness of consciousness it produces. Truly, “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). For “whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting” (Galatians 6:7, 8). This is simply the law of karma which governs all levels of evolving life.
He taught them what the end of mortal life will be, when man has reached the consciousness that he and God are one. This is the Christian Gospel, not the superstition of Churchianity. Like Jesus we can come to say with full understanding and in the power of demonstration: “I and my Father are one” (John 10:30).
And as part of that demonstration: the after midday hours were given to the multitudes who came to learn the way of life and to be healed. Jesus removed the disharmony of mind and body, healing and divinizing both. This is why no religion is real that does not possess the power to heal as well as impart intellectual truth. We are mind and body, and real religion purifies and corrects both. “The days of miracles are past” only for those who have no true religion.
Now, in his prison by the Bitter Sea the harbinger had heard of all the mighty works that Jesus did. His prison life was hard, and he was sore distressed, and he began to doubt. And to himself he said, I wonder if this Jesus is the Christ of whom the prophets wrote! Was I mistaken in my work? Was I, indeed, one sent from God to pave the way for him who shall redeem our people, Israel?
And then he sent some of his friends, who came to see him in his prison cell, up to Capernaum that they might learn about this man, and bring him word. The men found Jesus in his home, and said, Behold the harbinger sent us to ask, Are you the Christ? or is he yet to come?
But Jesus answered not; he simply bade the men to tarry certain days that they might see and hear. They saw him heal the sick, and cause the lame to walk, the deaf to hear, the blind to see; they saw him cast the evil spirits out of those obsessed; they saw him raise the dead. They heard him preach the gospel to the poor.
Then Jesus said to them, Go on your way; return to John and tell him all that you have seen and heard; then he will know. They went their way. (Aquarian Gospel 103:8-18)
The Aquarian Gospel is unique among documents about Jesus because of its abundant and brilliant way of presenting the eternal truths that were the real teachings of Jesus. Equally remarkable is its utter practicality and its fearless presentation of the aspects of spiritual life and philosophy that we prefer to ignore. This is one instance. It is not easy to be full of faith and dedication when things have fallen into the pits, especially the cesspits. Even Jesus called out at his crucifixion: “why hast thou forsaken me?” (171:3.) And here we see that John the Baptist underwent the same agony.
His prison life was hard, and he was sore distressed, and he began to doubt. This is one of the fundamental struggles of the human being. When our outer situation is to our liking we are full of faith and confidence, but when things change and confusion, deprivation, troubles and even suffering descend upon us (or we descend into them), things can change drastically. A Roman Catholic priest wrote a book in which he had a chapter about the difference between theology in the comfort of air conditioning in a luxurious library in a culturally rich major city and theology in one hundred and twenty degrees in the miserable heat, discomfort and deprivation of the blasted plains for north-central India (Brindaban, actually) where through a window he could see a starving beggar literally drowning in the sewage of a gutter just outside. Suddenly the Favored of God status and assurance that All Is Right With The World and that All Is The Perfect And Beneficial Will of God are not so obvious; not at all. I have experienced this myself. When the beautiful UCLA library, replica of an exquisite church in Genoa, was half a world away from the hellish heat and squalor of a Brindaban dharmashala that looked exactly like a concentration camp of Nazi Germany (not to speak of another dharmashala-oven in Kurukshetra we all called The Dachau Palace), the noble words of the ancient sages of India were not the same comfort and inspiration they had been back in that magnificent library. Sitting in the gold-cushioned comfort of a exquisite Hollywood yoga center was not the same as sitting in the dusty, dreary, bone-chilling winter damp of a primitive ashram in the Himalayan foothills in the grip of dysentery. More than one pilgrim of my acquaintance, drawn by the timeless wisdom of the Gita and Upanishads, left India in disgust and outrage, denouncing the land, the people, and the philosophy. And when they got back home they refused to even discuss their experience. One I knew became “an agnostic,” more than one became “Christians” (two entered seminaries) and another immersed himself in studying Plato in the original Greek. All were agreed in their disillusion with India and its scriptures and sages. Others fared better, much better. India completely rendered any ghastly situations as nothing in comparison to its glory, no more than the shadow of a gnat’s wings in the blaze of the midday sun.
But John the Baptist did not have the advantage of being imprisoned in India. (A friend of mine had a friend whose visa expired so he was arrested. He refused to purchase a ticket to leave India and inexplicably was “imprisoned” at the Delhi airport. During the day he wandered around the airport accompanied by two policemen, and at night he was handcuffed to two other policemen and slept between them. He loved it! After a few months some kind of official visited him and asked him if he was unhappy about the situation. “NO!” he said, “I am in India where I want to be!” So the government gave him a permanent visa and as far as I know he is still there, free to go wherever he pleases in his true and blessed home.)
And to himself he said, I wonder if this Jesus is the Christ of whom the prophets wrote! Was I mistaken in my work? Was I, indeed, one sent from God to pave the way for him who shall redeem our people, Israel? So he began to doubt both Jesus and himself. Was it all an illusion, an assumption without basis? Were the two of them deluded as to their nature and destiny? This is a serious lesson for us. If he whom Jesus declared was greater than anyone who had yet been born on earth (Matthew 11:11; Luke 7:28) could be tormented by doubt, so might we. We must become so firmly established in the inner kingdom that nothing can shake our confidence in God and our divine destiny.
John sent some people who found Jesus in his home, and said, Behold the harbinger sent us to ask, Are you the Christ? or is he yet to come? But Jesus answered not; he simply bade the men to tarry certain days that they might see and hear. This is the way of true teachers and true religion. They are themselves the proof of their validity, their reality. Jesus himself said: “If I bear witness of myself, my witness is not true. There is another that beareth witness of me; and I know that the witness which he witnesseth of me is true. Ye sent unto John, and he bare witness unto the truth. But I receive not testimony from man: but these things I say, that ye might be saved. He was a burning and a shining light: and ye were willing for a season to rejoice in his light. But I have greater witness than that of John: for the works which the Father hath given me to finish, the same works that I do, bear witness of me, that the Father hath sent me” (John 5:31-36). Consequently: They saw him heal the sick, and cause the lame to walk, the deaf to hear, the blind to see; they saw him cast the evil spirits out of those obsessed; they saw him raise the dead. They heard him preach the gospel to the poor. Then Jesus said to them, Go on your way; return to John and tell him all that you have seen and heard; then he will know.
The multitudes were there, and Jesus said to them, Once you were crowding Jordan’s fords; you filled the wilderness. What did you go to see? The trees of Juda, and the flowers of Heth? Or did you go to see a man in kingly garb? Or did you go to see a prophet and a seer? I tell you, men, you know not whom you saw. A prophet? Yea, and more; a messenger whom God had sent to pave the way for what you see and hear this day. Among the men of earth a greater man has never lived than John. (Aquarian Gospel 103:19-22)
I tell you, men, you know not whom you saw.… a messenger whom God had sent to pave the way for what you see and hear this day. It is no surprise when we do not realize the spiritual status or significance of someone who is of very high evolution and purpose. After all, we have never met people like them before and we don’t have the psychic scope to comprehend or even “see” them. In my experience, Swami Sivananda was a veritable god upon earth. In him I saw every possible virtue developed to the maximum degree. As the years go by my reverence for him has continually grown, especially when I compare him with other renowned spiritual figures. Yet, I met people who literally would say: “He is like someone’s grandfather.” One miracle-working yogi told me that Sivananda was just “a great karma yogi.” This man could read people’s minds and cure their diseases, but he could not see the supreme power and knowledge which Sivananda possessed.
However, it often does not matter whether a person knows the spiritual stature of a highly developed individual if eventually they are helped by that great one. After all, if a master is of no benefit to us they might just as well not be a master, at least as far as our life is concerned. Many times people meet a true mahatma (great soul) and think they are nobody special or even maybe a fool. But after a while they come to appreciate and value them and be uplifted by them, a messenger whom God had sent to pave the way for what you see and hear this day.
Behold I say, This man whom Herod bound in chains and cast into a prison cell is God’s Elijah come again to earth. Elijah, who did not pass the gate of death, whose body of this flesh was changed, and he awoke in Paradise. (Aquarian Gospel 103:23, 24)
So great was John/Elijah, yet the evil, weak and foolish Herod murdered him to please an even more evil and worthless person: Herodias. He who in his previous life as Elijah had worked so many astonishing miracles and was even spared undergoing death, was bound and slain by one of Israel’s worst historical figures.
Once Saint Teresa of Avila, when very ill, fell into the freezing water of a river. When she demanded of God why it had happened, God actually spoke, saying: “I always treat my friends like this.” “Well, no wonder you have so few!” she replied. So it is: to fulfill the purpose of God the holy agree to undergo tremendous suffering and injustice. Sacrifice and self-denial is an essential part of genuine love. Those who want ease and smooth sailing have no idea what spiritual life is all about.
In my early teens I attended the American Passion Play in Bloomington, Illinois, which at that time was the largest indoor stage production in the world. An important part was an unseen choir which at special points throughout the play sang in the background. The scene of Jesus carrying the cross was overwhelming. As the actor neared the far end of the stage, the choir began softly singing:
Must Jesus bear the cross alone
And all the world go free?
As the actor half-fell and stumbled off stage, the choir suddenly swelled up and loudly sang:
No; there’s a cross for everyone,
And there’s a cross for me.
It was a truth I never forgot. Jesus was being neither morbid nor poetic when he said: “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me” (Matthew 16:24). He was stating simple, practical fact, even though “the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness” (I Corinthians 1:18).
When John came forth and preached the gospel of repentance for the cleansing of the soul, the common folks believed and were baptized. The lawyers and the Pharisees accepted not the teachings of this man; were not baptized. (Aquarian Gospel 103:25, 26)
Somewhere in the mists of history is the origin of the baseless prejudice that religion is really for the uneducated and unintelligent. It has been touted so long no one can ascertain how long it has been going on. But here we find an example of another sad principle of mental aberration: religion is not really for the religious leaders. After all, it is their livelihood, their business, not a conviction or way of life–just the opposite. Consequently priests and ministers are often the least religious in a church, openly mocking, contemptuous and unbelieving. This I observed as a child, much to my amazement. Now I realize it is very much the unfortunate norm.
Few places are more blasphemous and contemptuous of religion than seminaries. Recently I was reading the life of Saint Barsanuphius, one of the last elders of Optina monastery in pre-revolutionary Russia. There had been a shocking abortive attempt at revolution in 1905, and in the following years atheistic, anarchistic propaganda and agitation had increased and become systemic. Saint Barsanuphius stated vigorously that it was all originating in the seminaries of the Russian Orthodox Church! We think of angry and oppressed lower classes frustrated with the status quo as the origin of anti-religion and oppression of religion in Russia, but according to the saint it was not so: those people were merely tools of the God-haters. In prerevolution Russia the strongest insult for a man was to call him “son of an archpriest.”
Here we see that the “men of God” had no use for God’s messenger, much less his Messiah.
Behold, neglected opportunities will never come again. Behold, the people are unstable as the waters of the sea; they seek to be excused from righteousness. (Aquarian Gospel 103:27, 28)
This is one of the saddest passages of the Aquarian Gospel, and it is tragically true.
Through the years I have been astounded at the way people think the opportunity to take up spiritual life will just lie around at hand until (and if) they decide to interest themselves in higher matters. I saw many times that everything moves in cycles, and that neglecting and ignoring spiritual possibilities always result in loss of the offered chance. I have seen a little carelessness and shrugging off become the end of a person’s spiritual chances for the rest of their life. Like a lightning strike it is all over. One time some people left the ashram of Yogananda after having been extremely disruptive. A disciple asked him: “How many dozen lives will it be before they again come onto the spiritual path?” Yogananda answered: “Why say dozens? Say hundreds!”
Another thing I saw was that the forces of delusion will offer an aspirant something that will conflict with their newly-begun spiritual life. If they turn from their spiritual quest to embrace the offered bribe, they will in a short time lose their new acquisition utterly. And I have never seen even one turn back and resume spiritual life. The loss is total and lifelong.
The reason is stated clearly: Behold, the people are unstable as the waters of the sea; they seek to be excused from righteousness. Sri Yukteswar, the guru of Paramhansa Yogananda, said: “Human conduct is ever unreliable until anchored in the Divine.” But you can rely on it being unreliable! Nothing about us is assured if our consciousness is not unshakably fixed in spirit. This is an unalterable fact. This is the reason Saint John wrote that even though many people at one time came to believe in Jesus as the Messiah, he “did not commit himself unto them, because he knew all men, and needed not that any should testify of man: for he knew what was in man” (John 2:24, 25). And he knew what was not in man, too. Therefore when dealing with people we should not be cynical, but we should be both aware and wary.
John came and ate no bread, and drank no wine. He lived the simplest life apart from men, and people said, He is obsessed. Another comes who eats and drinks and lives in homes like other men, and people say, He is a glutton, an inebriate, a friend of publicans and those who sin. (Aquarian Gospel 103:29, 30) Some people are simply inimical to goodness and will reject it whatever the situation. This is so common I long ago ceased to even take notice of it. If a person lives frugally he is declared fanatical and if he lives in moderate comfort he is labeled self-indulgent and materialistic. I have seen people who raved about the hypocrisy of religious people hate those that were not hypocritical even more when confronted with them. One time a man was holding forth on how greedy for money the churches were and how they were always taking up collections. When I told him I knew of a church that never took up a collection or asked for money, but had a little box at the back of the church with a slot in the top, he instantly said they must be fools since everything takes money to keep going. And he griped about them for a while. In the American South they say: “Dog if you touch it, and dog if you don’t.” Unless they don’t mind saying “damned” instead of “dog.”
There is no pleasing those who have decided to be displeased.
Woe unto you, you cities of the vale of Galilee, where all the mighty works of God are done! Woe to Chorazan and Bethsaida! If half the mighty works that have been done in you were done in Tyre and in Sidon they would have long ago repented of their sins, and sought the way of right. And when the judgement day shall come, lo, Tyre and Sidon will be called more worthy than will you. Because they slighted not their gifts, while you have thrown away the pearl of greatest price. (Aquarian Gospel 103:31-34)
Later Jesus will say: “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. (Aquarian Gospel 142:13, 14).
Woe unto you Capernaum! Behold, you are exalted now, but you shall be abased; for if the mighty works that have been done in you had but been done within the cities of the plain–of Sodom and Zeboim–they would have heard and turned to God; would not have been destroyed.
They perished in their ignorance; they had no light; but you have heard; you have the evidence. The light of life has shown above your hills and all the shores of Galilee have been ablaze with light; the glory of the Lord has shown in every street and synagogue and home; but you have spurned the light.
And, lo, I say, The judgment day will come and God will deal in greater mercy with the cities of the plains than he will deal with you. (Aquarian Gospel 103:35-40)
It is all a matter of karma; not punishment or God’s displeasure. If he could be displeased, he would not be God. We simply reap what we sow.