Now, Nicodemus, who once came to Jesus in the night to learn the way of life, was one among the guests. And standing forth he said, Rabboni, it is true that Jewish laws and Jewish practices do not agree. The priesthood needs to be reformed; the rulers should become more merciful and kind; the lawyers should become more just; the common people should not bear such loads. But could we not gain these reforms and not destroy the service of the Jews? Could you not harmonize your mighty work with that of Pharisee and scribe? Might not the priesthood be a benefit to your divine philosophy? (Aquarian Gospel 120:1-5)
Ancient texts reveal that from the beginning of Christianity there were two opinions: 1) that the teachings of Jesus were a complete break with Judaism, an entirely different religion altogether; and 2) that Christianity was really a reformation of Judaism, a kind of evolutionary development which at least spiritually was organically one with Judaism. We can tell from the question of Nicodemus that Jesus was plainly advocating the first idea: that his teachings were a break with Judaism. Yet Nicodemus pleas for “harmony” and for Jesus to “change the system from the inside.”
I have heard this type of plea from childhood, usually in religion but in some other institutions as well. This I have observed: it is only a plea for compromise with a broken system that cannot be repaired, and it can only end in a loss of integrity and failure for those being pled with. Many spiritual movements have foundered on this rock. “Making nice” has never accomplished anything but moral paralysis. Intelligence and reason alone accomplish good; emotion just deflects people from their purpose. I cannot count the time I have heard the words: “If good people like you leave then there will be no hope.” But there has been no hope anyway because the institution has drifted too far to really return to the right ways. However you dress it up, the “change from within” idea is just compromise, cowardice and endangerment of conscience and spiritual life: wanting the easy way out by staying in.
In a very relevant article on the present situation of the Roman Catholic Church which has resulted from the changes and policies introduced by the Second Vatican Council, Bishop Donald Sanborn simply concludes: “Time has told that working from within is a failed strategy.” And this is in complete agreement with the words cited by Saint Paul from Isaiah: “Come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you” (II Corinthians 6:17).
Unfortunately the second opinion about Christianity prevailed and Christian theology was drastically reshaped to accommodate the compromisers whose egos could not sustain a break with their pre-Christian religion. This is what caused the rupture between them and those known as Gnostics (Sanskrit: jnanis). Obviously Jesus’ teachings were a complete spiritual break with Judaism (not in an inimical way) and a complete reorientation toward the East, toward India and those “other sheep not of this fold” of whom Jesus spoke. The crossing over of the Mediterranean Christians to the religion of India would ensure that there would “be one fold and one Shepherd” (John 10:16) in accordance with the teachings and intentions of Jesus.
But Jesus said, You cannot put new wine in ancient skins, for when it purifies itself, lo, it expands; the ancient bottles cannot bear the strain; they burst, and all the wine is lost. Men do not mend a worn-out garment with a piece of cloth unworn, which cannot yield to suit the fabric, weak with age, and then a greater rent appears. Old wine may be preserved in ancient skins; but new wine calls for bottles new. This spirit-truth I bring is to this generation new, and if we put it in the ancient skins of Jewish forms, lo, it will all be lost. It must expand; the ancient bottles cannot yield and they would burst. Behold the kingdom of the Christ! it is as old as God himself, and yet it is as new as morning sun; it only can contain the truth of God. (Aquarian Gospel 120:6-11)
But Jesus said, You cannot put new wine in ancient skins, for when it purifies itself, lo, it expands; the ancient bottles cannot bear the strain; they burst, and all the wine is lost. First we must realize that “new” and “old” are meant spiritually.
“Old” means a spiritual tradition that has run its course and has no more development ahead. That may mean that it is dead or just that it will never grow and evolve, but will be quite viable for those who need such a religion. This is no aspersion on Judaism which has produced many great saints and masters since the time of Jesus. However, it has continued to basically be for these two thousand years what it was at the time of Jesus.
“New” means a vital spiritual movement whose who purpose is movement ahead and expansion on all fronts: tremendous evolution. Such was Christianity, though because of the wrong orientation its energies have been channeled into ways much inferior to the divine intention. Jesus was a reincarnation of Moses. Moses became disgusted with the Jewish people, but when God wanted to abandon them and get another people to take their place Moses begged that it not be so and even said: “If thou wilt forgive their sin, forgive it; and if not, blot me out of thy book, which thou hast written” (Exodus 32:32. Septuagint Version). And so things continued as they were.
When Moses appeared as Jesus, he brought a totally new religion from India, but after his return to India the decision was made by the Christians to identify with Judaism and reshape it accordingly, such as the formulation of the doctrine of the Atonement in which Jesus was declared to be a blood sacrifice to appease the wrath of God. (It was only persecution that finally forced the Christians to separate externally from Judaism, as almost happened with the Hasidim later.) In India, though, Jesus and Saint Thomas established the original form of Christianity that was an integral part of Sanatana Dharma: Hinduism. Such is still Saint Thomas Christianity in its pure, original form that follows exactly the intentions of Jesus and Saint Thomas.
Men do not mend a worn-out garment with a piece of cloth unworn, which cannot yield to suit the fabric, weak with age, and then a greater rent appears. “Be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” (Romans 12:2). Unless a new religion moves ahead and remains not just new but constantly being renewed in the sense Saint Paul means in this quotation, it will be a failure. At the same time, its very dynamism will alienate it from “old” religion. Often a religion has both “new” and “old” adherents who by their very nature will have conflict with one another. If it is a new religion and the “new” prevail and the “old” depart, all will be well and spiritual progress will be the order of the day. But if the “old” prevail the religion will stagnate and not fulfill its destiny. And if the “new” remain in it they will stagnate and suffocate along with it and waste an entire incarnation. That is why the conflict is often so bitter: both sides intuit that they are struggling for survival. One side is death and the other side is life.
Old wine may be preserved in ancient skins; but new wine calls for bottles new. This is the age-long principle and it must be acknowledged. It does not mean that tradition is to be disregarded and even despised, but in a “new” religion tradition must become the foundation, the springboard, for progress, not stagnation. So attachment to tradition can be either positive or negative according to the situation and destiny of a religious group. For example, at the beginning of the twentieth century authentic Christianity for the Aquarian Age was created by two clairvoyant bishops in the form of the Liberal Catholic Church. Though carefully preserving the fundamental tradition that could become a living seed for the new church, they produced a truly new Christianity for the new age. Interestingly, the Saint Thomas Christian mission in America became divided. Though holding to their esoteric orientation, half of the mission clung to the old forms of worship and expression while the other half adopted the Liberal Catholic rituals and practices while keeping the Saint Thomas identity. Their subsequent history proved that the new forms were necessary to preserve vitality and integrity. Those that kept to the old ways faded away.
This spirit-truth I bring is to this generation new, and if we put it in the ancient skins of Jewish forms, lo, it will all be lost. Notice that Jesus says his teachings were new “to this generation” which included both the Mediterranean people as well as the Hebrews. It was not new to the Essenes in Israel and it certainly was not new to India where it had originated and existed for countless ages as the Eternal Dharma, the Ever-New Truth. Time has shown that you cannot take some of the timeless truths of India such as karma and reincarnation and mix them into a basically traditional, exoteric Christian mold that ignores both India and much of Sanatana Dharma. Such an attempt will fail eventually, even if the group continues to exist. It will be soulless, fundamentally contentless and spiritually ineffectual.
It must expand; the ancient bottles cannot yield and they would burst. Expansion in the sense of true growth and expansion of consciousness is an absolute necessity for those awakened souls who are destined to soon attain liberation. For them the “new” religion is absolutely necessary and the “old” is a threat to the realization of their destiny.
Behold the kingdom of the Christ! it is as old as God himself, and yet it is as new as morning sun; it only can contain the truth of God. I cannot think of a more appropriate way to speak of the Eternal Dharma. Many times in India I have told exoteric Christians, including missionaries, about the ways of the “heathen” Hindus and contrast them with their ideas of Christians. “Now which is the real Christian?” I ask. And they just sit there and look at me. They do not learn.
We must always ensure that we are in the kingdom of THE Christ, the kingdom of Cosmic Consciousness that Jesus pointed humanity toward. That kingdom is eternal.
And as he spoke a ruler of the synagogue, Jairus by name, came in and bowed at Jesus’ feet and said, My master, hear my prayer! My child is very sick, I fear that she will die; but this I know that if you will but come and speak the Word my child will live. (She was an only child, a girl twelve years of age.) And Jesus tarried not; he went out with the man, and many people followed them. (Aquarian Gospel 120:12-15)
This will be returned to shortly.
And as they went a woman who had been plagued with hemorrhage for many years, had been a subject of experiment of doctors near and far, and all had said, She cannot live, rose from her bed and rushed out in the way as Jesus passed. She said within herself, If I can touch his garment, then I know I will be well. She touched him, and at once the bleeding ceased and she was well.
And Jesus felt that healing power had gone from him, and speaking to the multitude, he said, Who was it touched my coat? And Peter said, No one can tell; the multitudes are pressing you; a score of people may have touched your coat. But Jesus said, Some one in faith, with healing thought, did touch my coat, for healing virtues have gone forth from me. And when the woman knew that what she did was known, she came and knelt at Jesus’ feet and told it all. And Jesus said, Your faith has made you whole, go on your way in peace. (Aquarian Gospel 120:16-24)
There is great power in the will of the individual person, and we see it in action here. Hardly anyone believes it when Jesus says the person’s faith has healed them, but it is true. Their faith opened the way for healing and their act of will which expressed their faith became a power of healing that cooperated with that of Jesus. It always takes two.
The body of Jesus and everything in contact with it vibrated with divine life force. Therefore the simple touch of his clothing imparted tremendous healing power to the woman. Jesus, being totally conscious, was aware of the power going forth. Of course he knew who had touched him, but he asked so everything would be revealed. We find a similar instance in the Gospel of John: “And Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said, Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me. And I knew that thou hearest me always: but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that thou hast sent me” (John 11:41, 42).
Now, as he spoke, a servant from the home of Jairus came and said, My master, Jairus, trouble not the Lord to come; your child is dead.
But Jesus said, Jairus, man of faith, do not permit your faith to waver in this trying hour. What is it that the servant said? The child is dead? Lo, what is death? It is the passing of the soul out of the house of flesh. Man is the master of the soul and of its house. When man has risen up from doubt and fear, lo, he can cleanse the empty house and bring the tenant back again.
Then taking with him Peter, James and John, Jairus and the mother of the child, he went into the chamber of the dead. And when the doors were closed against the multitude, he spoke a word that souls can understand, and then he took the maiden by the hand and said, Talith cumi, child, arise! The maiden’s soul returned and she arose and asked for food. (Aquarian Gospel 120:25-32)
Lo, what is death? It is the passing of the soul out of the house of flesh. The body dies, but the true person, the soul, never dies. As the ancient texts of the Mass for the Departed says: “Unto thy faithful, O Lord, life is changed, not taken away….” I have referred to this already in the commentary on Chapter Sixty One. As a child I heard a kind of folk poem about a very virtuous Christian doctor who moved his office from the ground floor of a building to the second floor. So he put up a fairly large sign that read: “Doc Brown has moved upstairs.” And when he died that sign was used for his grave marker. He had truly moved upstairs. So death is only a change of residence.
Man is the master of the soul and of its house. When man has risen up from doubt and fear, lo, he can cleanse the empty house and bring the tenant back again. It is all a matter of consciousness. This is why yoga is so essential.
He spoke a word that souls can understand…. The maiden’s soul returned and she arose and asked for food. How normal!
And all the people of the city were amazed, and many would have worshipped Jesus as a God. But, like a phantom of the night, he disappeared and went his way. (Aquarian Gospel 120:33, 34)
The people wanted to worship Jesus for a completely wrong reason, so he left. God, too, only accepts our worship when it is done in the right way and with the right understanding.
Jesus could appear and disappear at will because his body was almost immaterial, of a higher, ethereal vibration than others. (After his resurrection it was totally Divine Light.) That is why the Gnostics said his body was “unreal.” They meant it like the yogis of India would have meant it in the sense of it not being seen as it really was: Divine Consciousness. The Gnostics were Jesus’ authentic disciples, true Christians, and had a far deeper comprehension of Jesus and his teachings than did the ordinary followers. And they also had copies of the Gospel of Thomas which they studied.