“Little truth with many words”
“It was a gala day in sacred Kapi[la]vastu; a throng of Buddhist worshippers had met to celebrate a Jubilee. And priests and masters from all parts of India were there; they taught; but they embellished little truth with many words” (Aquarian Gospel 34:1, 2).
This is a failing in all religions and philosophies: wisdom is replaced with purposeless words. Recently I was reading a Buddhist Sutra that took a paragraph or more to say what could easily be written in a single sentence. The concepts were true, even profound, but absolutely drowned in elaborate verbiage–obviously the author’s idea of the way a Buddha and enlightened people would speak. In some instances the sutra took many words to say something so obvious or mundane that it did not even need to be said. The whole thing reminded me of a sociology text about which a friend of mine once remarked: “Its takes a page to say what could be said in a sentence, and then it’s something you already know anyway.” The very same day I was listening to a car radio and turning the dial in hope of finding something interesting. It was Sunday, so I came across several “Christian” broadcasts. They all had the same characteristic: lots of words and little ideas.
To my way of thinking the greatest offenders are the Indian teachers and gurus. Not only do they say the same thing at least three times, they say it poorly and usually to no point at all. A friend spent many hours transcribing for us the talks of a well-known Indian teacher in America. They were uniformly devoid of content and relevance. No matter how profound the concepts, it is a disservice to obscure them with useless verbal meanderings.
It was so in Jesus’ day, too.
“And Jesus went into an ancient plaza and taught; he spoke of Father-Mother-God; he told about the brotherhood of life” (Aquarian Gospel 34:3).
This reminds me of the way I used to sit in dreary churches listening to ministers that were past-masters at obscuring and missing the point. I would mentally give my own talks on their subjects, just to relieve my boredom. Jesus, though, was showing compassion to the seekers–I was only being merciful to myself!
He chose those two topics–Father-Mother-God and the brotherhood of life–because it is important to understand that all polarities are to be found in God, that it is spiritually unhealthy to look upon God as exclusively male or female, and in time we must get beyond even those concepts. The brotherhood of life means much more than the brotherhood of man. It means the unity of all life within God–not just human life. Jesus was teaching the people that the Father-Mother God is not separate from all that exists, but that the one God embraces all sentient beings as the Life of their life, that all is ONE. For God is the eternal Tao outside of which there is nothing.
In the ninth chapter of the Aquarian Gospel we find this about the Tao: “In early ages of the world the dwellers in the farther East said, Tao is the name of Universal Breath; and in the ancient books we read, No manifesting form has Tao Great, and yet he made and keeps the heavens and earth. No passion has our Tao Great, and yet he causes sun and moon and all the stars to rise and set. No name has Tao Great, and yet he makes all things to grow; he brings in season both the seed time and the harvest time. And Tao Great was One; the One became the Two; the Two became the Three, the Three evolved the Seven, which filled the universe with manifests. And Tao Great gives unto all, the evil and the good, the rain, the dew, the sunshine and the flowers; from his rich stores he feeds them all. And in the same old book we read of man: He has a spirit knit to Tao Great; a soul which lives within the seven Breaths of Tao Great; a body of desires that springs up from the soil of flesh. Now spirit loves the pure, the good, the true; the body of desires extols the selfish self; the soul becomes the battle ground between the two. And blessed is the man whose spirit is triumphant and whose lower self is purified; whose soul is cleansed, becoming fit to be the council chamber of the manifests of Tao Great” (Aquarian Gospel 9:21-29).
Was Jesus Maitreya Buddha?
“The priests and all the people were astounded at his words and said, Is this not Buddha come again in flesh? No other one could speak with such simplicity and power” (Aquarian Gospel 34:4).
Buddha very firmly said that his dharma would only last for five hundred years–that even in his lifetime it was beginning to be eroded. Yet I have never met a Buddhist who really believed it–a clear example of my own adage: “Adore the messenger and ignore the message.” I did read one Buddhist essay which pointed out that five hundred years after Buddha the Theravada commentaries–which insist that only one construction can be put on the words of the sutras–and the Mahayana sutras began to be written, the latter creating a completely different form of Buddhism.
In the light of all this, the advent of Jesus in the centers of Indian Buddhism seems significant. Earlier, after speaking on the subject of universal evolution in Kapilavastu: “Barata was amazed; the wisdom of the Jewish sage was a revelation unto him. Now, Vidyapati, wisest of the Indian sages, chief of temple Kapivastu, heard Barata speak to Jesus of the origin of man, and heard the answer of the Hebrew prophet, and he said, You priests of Kapivastu, hear me speak: We stand today upon a crest of time. Six times ago a master soul was born who gave a glory light to man, and now a master sage stands here in temple Kapivastu. This Hebrew prophet is the rising star of wisdom, deified. He brings to us a knowledge of the secrets things of God; and all the world will hear his words, will heed his words, and glorify his name. You priests of temple Kapivastu, stay! be still and listen when he speaks; he is the Living Oracle of God. And all the priests gave thanks, and praised the Buddha of enlightenment” (Aquarian Gospel 32:40-45).
Vidyapati says that they stand at the threshold of a new spiritual era. By Buddhist reckoning Sri Gautama Buddha had been born six “ages” before–five hundred years by our reckoning. The Buddha had told his disciples that after five hundred years the Dharma would have vanished from the earth in its fulness, but that it would be restored by the next Buddha. This is the Buddha known in Buddhism as Maitreya Buddha. It is popularly supposed that Maitreya Buddha is yet to come, but according to Vidyapati Jesus himself was Maitreya Buddha. Certainly his prophecy about Jesus as a world teacher was fulfilled. And those who heard him “praised the Buddha of enlightenment.” And so should we.
Simplicity and power
One of the reasons those present believed in the spiritual message of Jesus was the fact that his teaching did not contain “little truth with many words,” but much truth in few words. Simplicity and power are the hallmarks of all life-changing scriptures such as the upanishads, Bhagavad Gita, Dhammapada, and the Tao Teh King. (The Taoist scriptures are marvels of brevity and profundity.) From this we see that true enlightenment is expressed simply and powerfully, that books of true wisdom are simple and powerful. The works of Swami Vivekananda are demonstrations of this, as are the words of Sri Ramakrishna, the books of Swami Sivananda and Swami (Papa) Ramdas, and the writings of Yogananda. It is the same with many of the great modern Theravada teachers. Among Mahayanists the Venerable Master Chen Kung teaches with the same dynamic character.
Jesus makes it clear
“And Jesus spoke a parable; he said, There was a vineyard all unkept; the vines were high, the growth of leaves and branches great. The leaves were broad and shut the sunlight from the vines; the grapes were sour, and few, and small.
“The pruner came; with his sharp knife he cut off every branch, and not a leaf remained; just root and stalk, and nothing more.
“The busy neighbors came with one accord and were amazed, and said to him who pruned, You foolish man! the vineyard is despoiled. Such desolation! There is no beauty left, and when the harvest time shall come the gathers will find no fruit.
“The pruner said, Content yourselves with what you think, and come again at harvest time and see.
“And when the harvest time came on the busy neighbors came again; they were surprised. The naked stalks had put forth branch and leaf, and heavy clusters of delicious grapes weighed every branch to earth. The gatherers rejoiced as, day by day, they carried the rich fruitage to the press” (Aquarian Gospel 34:5-13).
There are many valuable lessons here. We will benefit from them all.
There was a vineyard all unkept. The description following these words is a perfect picture of a religion that has lost its way, abandoning its original simplicity and spiritual directness in favor of elaboration and institutionalization. There is not one of the major world religions that is not dangerously in this condition. The situation would be hopeless if it were not that master teachers like Jesus are sent to earth to set matters straight. Sometimes they manage by purifying the existing religion, but usually the resistance of the religious establishment necessitates the starting of a completely separate philosophy and movement–which in time will degenerate into the same condition as the former religion.
Sometimes individual members of religion cannot wait for the promised teacher–who will for sure be rejected when he comes. Fortunately for us the book has been invented so we can go back to the roots and find out for ourselves what the original teachings were. We need not rely on the “oral tradition” so foolishly prized in many religions, for it is a tool of delusion most of the time.
The pruner came. Whether a great teacher or “just us,” the process is the same: everything must be cut away but the root and stalk. Observers will decry this and make a great fuss about babies and bathwater. But the pruners will not argue–simply let time prove the worth or worthlessness of their endeavors. Only true teachers dare to allow such a test. But we see this over and over: spiritual abundance is the result of such “pruning.” We see this within religions in reform movements and in “new” religions as well. Though it must be pointed out that the opposite often happens, too: the new movement or sect proves to be utterly barren.
But this we can say: Those who rightly go to the root of God-contact and themselves come to know God will be a glory in the world. It is a wrench to rid ourselves of venerable religiosities, but it is required if we would truly “enter into life.” Simplicity and power are the traits of effective religion, too. The fundamental need is meditation, meditation, and more meditation. The amusing and entertaining trappings of external holiness and actions mean little, and often prove deadly, suffocating the spirit. Theologians and rule-makers miss the point altogether. Which is why Jesus said: “I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:20).
The gatherers rejoiced. And so shall we.
Jesus has this to say about his parable:
“Behold the vineyard of the Lord! the earth is spread with human vines. The gorgeous forms and rites of men are branches, and their words are leaves; and these have grown so great that sunlight can no longer reach the heart; there is no fruit. Behold, the pruner comes, and with a two-edged knife he cuts away the branches and the leaves of words, and naught is left but unclothed stalks of human life. The priests and they of pompous show, rebuke the pruner, and would stay him in his work. They see no beauty in the stalks of human life; no promises of fruit. The harvest time will come and they who scorned the pruner will look on again and be amazed, for they will see the human stalks that seemed so lifeless, bending low with precious fruit. And they will hear the harvesters rejoice, because the harvest is so great” (Aquarian Gospel 34:14-21).
“The priests were not well pleased with Jesus’ words; but they rebuked him not; they feared the multitude” (Aquarian Gospel 34:22).
It is not easy to be a Christ, but it is worth it.
Read the next section in the Aquarian Gospel for Yogis: New Perspective on Religion