“Now, when the morning sun arose the masters and their pupils all were in the sacred grove. Salome was the first to speak; she said,
“Behold the sun! It manifests the power of God who speaks to us through sun and moon and stars; Through mountain, hill and vale; through flower, and plant and tree.
“God sings for us through bird, and harpsichord, and human voice; he speaks to us through wind and rain and thunder roll; why should we not bow down and worship at his feet?
“God speaks to hearts apart; and hearts apart must speak to him; and this is prayer. It is not prayer to shout at God, to stand, or sit, or kneel and tell him all about the sins of men. It is not prayer to tell the Holy One how great he is, how good he is, how strong and how compassionate. God is not man to be bought up by praise of man.
“Prayer is the ardent wish that every way of life be light; that every act be crowned with good; that every living thing be prospered by our ministry. A noble deed, a helpful word is prayer; a fervent, an effectual prayer. The fount of prayer is in the heart; by thought, not words, the heart is carried up to God, where it is blest, Then let us pray.
“They prayed, but not a word was said; but in that holy Silence every heart was blest” (Aquarian Gospel 12:1-12).
God is All
The core idea here is that of Pantheism–that God is everything, absolutely everything without exception. Why, then would we not worship Cosmic Being, for It is also Cosmic Love. God calls to us through all creation and teaches us much about Himself and about ourselves. And in our contemplation of that Infinity our consciousness expands ever wider in the attempt to embrace that Infinite Life as It encompasses our finite life. In time we no longer view the cosmos objectively, but subjectively, as we begin entering into Christ Consciousness as the first step toward attaining God Consciousness.
Meditation for God-communion
The key approach to Divine Consciousness is meditation, for: “God speaks to hearts apart; and hearts apart must speak to him; and this is prayer.” After giving His disciples the Lord’s Prayer, the Lord Jesus then told them: “God walks within the Silence” (Aquarian Gospel 94:17), encouraging them to move from verbal prayer to meditation as the highest form of prayer.
A great deal is said about God talking to us, and countless religionists every day insist that God has spoken to them–but always in words, and usually to straighten out other people. Those who really pray enter The Silence. “But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret” (Matthew 6:6). The “closet” is our inmost awareness, and the “door” is our mind. When we have entered into the Silence that is far more than absence of sound, then God speaks to us with the root of all speech–intuition–and even more: by His Presence. This only happens when we take our hearts apart, away from all things and thoughts, heeding the call of Jesus: “Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while” (Mark 6:31) in The Silence. Even during His most active ministry Jesus always took time to go apart for inner communion with the Father (Matthew 14:23; Luke 9:10; Luke 9:18). And so must we. “The Lord is in his holy temple: let all the earth keep silence before him” (Habakuk 2:20). In the Silence we must speak wordlessly to God, as He speaks wordlessly to us, saying: “Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee” (Psalms 2:7. See also Acts 13:33, Hebrews 1:5, 5:5) in the renewing of our spirit that can occur only in the Silence. “Know that the Lord hath set apart him that is godly for himself:…commune with your own heart upon your bed, and be still” (Psalms 4:3,4). God’s message to us is simple: “Be still and know…” (Psalms 46:10).
What is prayer? In Greek the word is prosevke, and in Sanskrit it is upasana. Both mean “drawing near;” there is no connotation of speech whatsoever–for as The Cloud of Unknowing and great mystics such as Saint Teresa of Avila and Saint John of the Cross have taught us, real prayer is wordless.
What prayer is not
It is not prayer to shout at God, to stand, or sit, or kneel and tell him all about the sins of men. If you have ever been a Protestant or attended, watched, or heard their effusions, you know exactly what Salome is talking about.
It is not prayer to tell the Holy One how great he is, how good he is, how strong and how compassionate. God is not man to be bought up by praise of man. This pretty well covers the entire range of religion, East and West. Yogananda said that whenever he heard people say that we should praise God, he would get an image of a pampered and spoiled rich woman who so lacked self-confidence that she had to be constantly complimented and flattered so she would not get into a snit.
A lot of people tell God how compassionate He is because they are afraid of Him and figure that if they speak positively to Him then He will be kind–rather like speaking soothingly to a mad dog or an insane or violent human being. How telling this is about the character of God’s “devotees” and their religions! Those who worship brute force are the most vociferous in telling God how powerful He is. Those filled with self-hate are wont to tell God that He is compassionate because He is not angry with their disgusting evil and vileness and does not destroy or torment them in response. “You are good, but you are not mean to me (at least not at the moment.” “You could kill me–it would even be the just thing to kill me–but You don’t, O compassionate Lord.” Words like this are more fittingly addressed to Nero, Hitler, or Saddam Hussein than to God. Those obsessed with power and control like to remind God how great and mighty He is for creating and ruling the universe and for running human beings around like a little boy “playing cars,” alternately liking them and slamming them into the wall. And of course there are the most pathetic, those who ask God to break out their enemies’ teeth in their mouths, banish them into outer darkness, and destroy them forever in hell.
What prayer is
Prayer is the ardent wish that every way of life be light; that every act be crowned with good; that every living thing be prospered by our ministry. And we actualize this ardent wish through the illumination received in meditation preeminently. From the final clause we see that prayer/meditation, although a personal action, accrues to the good of all living beings.
A noble deed, a helpful word is prayer; a fervent, an effectual prayer. For life itself can be a prayer. Nevertheless, interior life is the basis of prayer, for: “The fount of prayer is in the heart; by thought, not words, the heart is carried up to God, where it is blest, Then let us pray.” “Heart” (kardia) is the core of our being. “Thought” means the intuitional silent movement of aspiration toward God. Saint Teresa of Avila particularly emphasized this.
Perhaps the greatest lesson in all this is Salome’s concluding words: “Then let us pray.” For theory accomplishes nothing unless it is exteriorized by outer action. That is why Swami Sivananda of Rishikesh coined the motto: “Be good; do good.” Being manifests through action.
And so “they prayed, but not a word was said; but in that holy Silence every heart was blest.”
Read the next section in the Aquarian Gospel for Yogis: The Mission of Jesus and John the Baptist