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John the Baptist – I

Hoffman's portrait of ChristPart 78 of the Aquarian Gospel for Awakening

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“It came to pass when John, the son of Zacharias and Elizabeth, had finished all his studies in the Egyptian schools, that he returned to Hebron, where he abode for certain days. And then he sought the wilderness and made his home in David’s cave where, many years before, he was instructed by the Egyptian sage. Some people called him Hermit of Engedi; and others said, He is the Wild Man of the Hills. He clothed himself with skins of beasts; his food was carobs, honey, nuts and fruits” (Aquarian Gospel 61:1-4).

Saint John never abandoned his hermitical ways, having lived in that manner virtually from childhood. (Tradition says that an angel led him into the desert when he was only nine years of age, and he never left that mode of life.) Even though Jesus said: “Among the men of earth a greater man has never lived than John” (103:22), we see him holding absolutely to his chosen discipline.

Just as John was what he was, so people were what they were–and still are. The foolish called him a “wild man” but the sensible knew he was a holy hermit. Most important, we see that he was a pure vegetarian. This is a fundamental requisite of spiritual life. Those who are not vegetarians cannot advance more than a few beginning steps in the mystical life. This is a fact that knows no exceptions. That is why in Western Christianity every time there has been a spiritual revival or movement, vegetarianism has been a prime factor.

Silent preparation

“When John was thirty years of age he went into Jerusalem, and in the market place he sat in silence seven days. The common people and the priests, the scribes and Pharisees came out in multitudes to see the silent hermit of the hills; but none were bold enough to ask him who he was” (Aquarian Gospel 61:5, 6).

Throughout the Aquarian Gospel we find sitting in silence–sometimes for days–is a prelude to speech or action. There is a great lesson for us in this: only from silence does the highest good proceed.

Although he was sitting in silence, multitudes came to see Saint John, for his holiness drew their attention. This is what the Indians call darshan–the blessing that flows to those who simply look at a saint. I have done this for hours in India, and found it quietly transforming. There really is a subtle spiritual force that enters into those that sit with a still mind, just letting a saint’s presence soak into them. There is a kind of quiet awe that arises in those who behold a saint, as well. That is why no one spoke to Saint John.

It is interesting that both John the Baptist and Jesus began their active ministry in Israel at the age of thirty.

The first exhortation

“But when his silent fast was done he stood forth in the midst of all and said: Behold the king has come; the prophets told of him; the wise men long have looked for him. Prepare, O Israel, prepare to meet your king. And that was all he said, and then he disappeared, and no one knew where he had gone. And there was great unrest through all Jerusalem. The rulers heard the story of the hermit of the hills. And they sent couriers forth to talk with him that they might know about the coming king; but they could find him not” (Aquarian Gospel 61:7-12).

But when his silent fast was done he stood forth in the midst of all and said…. Swami Sriyukteswar Giri used to say: “Too much of a good thing is no longer good.” Without speech human life–as distinct from animal life–would be impossible. Yet, it is good to “fast” from speech. For one thing, it helps the mind turn in and ponder itself as well as what we would say when we do speak. Whenever we speak, subtle life force is projected to whoever hears us. Actually, physical objects are affected, as well–their vibrations are literally changed over time. So speech expends energy, and silence recharges our subtle energy bodies. Silence is even good for health.

Behold the king has come. One who has consciously reunited his consciousness with God (Ishwara) is a Son of God and god. He is a true king–a master. That is why in India a monk is addressed as “Maharaj”–great king–because he seeks to reestablish his divine status on the practical level. He seeks to actualize what he presently is only in potential. Such a one deserves all respect and even reverence, for when we are in his awakened presence we are in the living presence of God.

The prophets told of him; the wise men long have looked for him. This is true, but how much better to look for our own divine Self, to ourselves become a King of Spirit.

Prepare, O Israel, prepare to meet your king. An ordinary mind cannot intelligently perceive an enlightened being. They may like such a one, and even say that “there is something” unusual about him, but it goes no further than that. It does indeed take one to know one, and only those that have cultivated their own consciousness can recognize one who has completed the endeavor. Therefore we must change ourselves completely if we would recognize a Son of God and realize our own divine nature.

And that was all he said, and then he disappeared, and no one knew where he had gone. There really was no more to be said. Wise are those who know when to speak and when to stop.

And there was great unrest through all Jerusalem. The rulers heard the story of the hermit of the hills. And they sent couriers forth to talk with him that they might know about the coming king; but they could find him not. Nothing creates unrest in the ignorant mind more than the liberating truth about who we really are. Most people ignore it, and many combat it. Few receive the news with joy and act upon it.

The second exhortation

“And after certain days he came again into the market place, and all the city came to hear him speak; he said: Be not disturbed, you rulers of the state; the coming king is no antagonist; he seeks no place on any earthly throne. He comes the Prince of Peace, the king of righteousness and love; his kingdom is within the soul. The eyes of men shall see it not and none can enter but the pure in heart. Prepare, O Israel, prepare to meet your king. Again the hermit disappeared; the people strove to follow him, but he had drawn a veil about his form and men could see him not” (Aquarian Gospel 61:13-18).

Be not disturbed, you rulers of the state; the coming king is no antagonist; he seeks no place on any earthly throne. Nevertheless, those who are intent on this world are antagonistic to messengers of the True World, because their perspective may influence others and upset their plans. When I was seven years old I met a five year old boy searching the gutters for cigarette butts because he was addicted to nicotine. I saw something in him and spoke to him as best I could to explain the mistake he was making. I had gauged him correctly, and he stopped smoking permanently. The result? His mother, father, brothers and sisters were enraged and set a bunch of toughs on me with instruction to beat me up. I evaded them, but they hated me for a long time. I have known juvenile delinquents whose families became furious when they were helped by good people to reform. Two of my good friends were from rich families who paid their way throughout the world–destroying themselves with immorality and addiction. But when they came to their senses and began to lead good lives and practice meditation, their parents turned on them like raging beasts and did everything they could to force them back into their former follies.

He comes the Prince of Peace, the king of righteousness and love; his kingdom is within the soul. The eyes of men shall see it not and none can enter but the pure in heart. Prepare, O Israel, prepare to meet your king. No spiritual quest can be begun until the quester seriously begins purifying himself–and it cannot be maintained unless he continues to do so.

Again the hermit disappeared; the people strove to follow him, but he had drawn a veil about his form and men could see him not. This is an occult power often possessed by spiritual adepts, including Jesus as will be seen later.

The third exhortation

“A Jewish feast day came; Jerusalem was filled with Jews and proselytes from every part of Palestine, and John stood in the temple court and said,

“Prepare, O Israel, prepare to meet your king. Lo, you have lived in sin; the poor cry in your streets, and you regard them not. Your neighbors, who are they? You have defrauded friend and foe alike. You worship God with voice and lip; your hearts are far away, and set on gold. Your priests have bound upon the people burdens far to great to bear; they live in ease upon the hard earned wages of the poor. Your lawyers, doctors, scribes are useless cumberers of the ground; they are but tumors on the body of the state; they toil not neither do they spin, yet they consume the profits of your marts of trade. Your rulers are adulterers, extortioners and thieves, regarding not the rights of any man; and robbers ply their calling in the sacred halls; the holy temple you have sold to thieves; their dens are in the sacred places set apart for prayer.

“Hear! hear! you people of Jerusalem! Reform; turn from your evil ways or God will turn from you and heathen from afar will come, and what is left of all your honor and your fame will pass in one short hour. Prepare, Jerusalem, prepare to meet your king.

“He said no more; he left the court and no one saw him go. The priests, the doctors and the scribes were all in rage. They sought for John intent to do him harm. They found him not. The common people stood in his defense; they said, The hermit speaks the truth.

“And then the priests, the doctors and the scribes were sore afraid; they said no more; they hid themselves away” (Aquarian Gospel 61:19-34).

There is really no need to comment on this. Saint John’s words are easy to comprehend–as is the negative reaction of the foolish and the positive reaction of the wise.

Read the next section in the Aquarian Gospel for Yogis: John the Baptist – II

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The Aquarian Gospel—Commentary and Text

The Aquarian Gospel for Awakening—A Commentary on the Aquarian Gospel
by Abbot George Burke (Swami Nirmalananda Giri)

  1. The Mother of Jesus
  2. Prophecies of the Births of Saint John the Baptist and Jesus
  3. The Birth of Jesus
  4. Revelations in the Temple
  5. Coming of the Wise Men
  6. Herod’s Reaction
  7. Revelations in Egypt
  8. The Two Selfs
  9. Deliverance From Gods and Demons
  10. About God the Tao
  11. From India to Chaldea
  12. The Wisdom of Buddha
  13. God and Prayer
  14. The Mission of Jesus and John the Baptist
  15. Sin and the Forgiveness of Sin
  16. The Universal Law of Man’s Free Will and the Divine Will For Man
  17. Understanding Death
  18. The True Teacher
  19. The Value of Ritual
  20. The Law Behind All Laws
  21. Opening To The Truth
  22. In the Temple at the Age of Ten
  23. Revelation to the Teachers and People in the Temple
  24. Jerusalem to Nazareth
  25. Nazareth to India
  26. What is Truth?
  27. What Is Man?
  28. What is Power?
  29. Understanding
  30. Wisdom
  31. Faith
  32. Healing and Healers
  33. Conflict Over Caste
  34. The Destiny of All Men
  35. God and Man
  36. The Voice in the Heart
  37. Seeing the Unseeable
  38. To God Through Man
  39. Who Is Jesus?
  40. The Real Versus The Apparent
  41. The Brotherhood of Life
  42. God…and Man
  43. Relating To God
  44. The Worthy Host
  45. Come to the Light
  46. The Kingdom Revealed
  47. The King Revealed
  48. Perspective On Death
  49. Fire and Sword
  50. Evolution: The Path of Glory
  51. The Real Heaven
  52. Getting to the Essence
  53. New Perspective on Religion
  54. In Tibet and Ladakh
  55. Words to the Worthy
  56. The Thirty-Eighth Chapter
  57. The Origin of Evil
  58. The Silence
  59. The Source of Healing
  60. The Fivefold Gospel
  61. Homecoming
  62. In Athens
  63. The Oracle of Delphi
  64. The Real God
  65. Return to Egypt
  66. First Steps to Wisdom
  67. Strong in Will and Intent
  68. Here Comes the Ego
  69. Blessed are the Merciful
  70. Claiming Our Freedom
  71. The Great Test
  72. Comprehending Death
  73. The Christ!
  74. The Asembly of the Masters
  75. The Seven Pillars of the Aquarian Age – I
  76. The Seven Pillars of the Aquarian Age – II
  77. The Declaration of Jesus
  78. John the Baptist – I
  79. John the Baptist – II
  80. John the Baptist – III
  81. Baptism – Jesus and John
  82. Self-Examination and Temptation
  83. The First Disciples Follow Jesus
  84. Jesus’ First Sermon
  85. The King and the Kingdom
  86. Dealing With Challengers
  87. The First Miracle of Jesus
  88. Kings and Kingdoms
  89. The Temple of God
  90. What Is A Messiah?
  91. The Laws of Healing
  92. Nicodemus Finds The Kingdom
  93. The Prince of Peace
  94. Dealing With Spiritual Opposition
  95. The Opened Gate
  96. John the Baptist Speaks of the Christ
  97. John Speaks Further About Jesus
  98. The Woman at the Well
  99. The Disciples and Samaritans at the Well
  100. Jesus in Sychar
  101. More Wisdom In Samaria
  102. The Imprisonment of John the Baptist
  103. In Jerusalem
  104. The Insights of Jesus
  105. Sabbath Wisdom
  106. Prayer and Good Deeds
  107. Divine Laws and Principles for Seekers of the Divine
  108. A New Understanding of the Ten Commandments
  109. Aspects of the Higher Law – 1
  110. Aspects of the Higher Law – 2
  111. Aspects of the Higher Law – 3
  112. Aspects of the Higher Law – 4
  113. Chapter One Hundred One
  114. Chapter One Hundred Two
  115. Chapter One Hundred Three
  116. Chapter One Hundred Four
  117. Chapter One Hundred Five
  118. Chapter One Hundred Six
  119. Chapter One Hundred Seven
  120. Chapter One Hundred Eight
  121. Chapter One Hundred Nine
  122. Chapter One Hundred Ten
  123. Chapter One Hundred Eleven
  124. Chapter One Hundred Twelve
  125. Chapter One Hundred Thirteen
  126. Chapter One Hundred Fourteen
  127. Chapter One Hundred Fifteen
  128. Chapter One Hundred Sixteen
  129. Chapter One Hundred Seventeen
  130. Chapter One Hundred Eighteen
  131. Chapter One Hundred Nineteen
  132. Chapter One Hundred Twenty
  133. Chapter One Hundred Twenty One
  134. Chapter One Hundred Twenty Two
  135. Chapter One Hundred Twenty Three
  136. Chapter One Hundred Twenty Four
  137. Chapter One Hundred Twenty Five
  138. Chapter One Hundred Twenty Six
  139. Chapter One Hundred Twenty Seven
  140. Chapter One Hundred Twenty Eight
  141. Chapter One Hundred Twenty Nine
  142. Chapter One Hundred Thirty
  143. Chapter One Hundred Thirty One
  144. Chapter One Hundred Thirty Two
  145. Chapter One Hundred Thirty Three
  146. Chapter One Hundred Thirty Four
  147. Chapter One Hundred Thirty Five
  148. Chapter One Hundred Thirty Six
  149. Chapter One Hundred Thirty Seven
  150. Chapter One Hundred Thirty Eight
  151. Chapter One Hundred Thirty Nine
  152. Chapter One Hundred Forty
  153. Chapter One Hundred Forty One
  154. Chapter One Hundred Forty Two
  155. Chapter One Hundred Forty Three
  156. Chapter One Hundred Forty Four
  157. Chapter One Hundred Forty Five
  158. Chapter One Hundred Forty Six
  159. Chapter One Hundred Forty Seven
  160. Chapter One Hundred Forty Eight
  161. Chapter One Hundred Forty Nine
  162. Chapter One Hundred Fifty
  163. Chapter One Hundred Fifty-One
  164. Chapter One Hundred Fifty-Two
  165. Chapter One Hundred Fifty-Three
  166. Chapter One Hundred Fifty-Four
  167. Chapter One Hundred Fifty-Five
  168. Chapter One Hundred Fifty-Six
  169. Chapter One Hundred Fifty-Seven
  170. Chapter One Hundred Fifty-Eight
  171. Chapter One Hundred Fifty-Nine
  172. Chapter One Hundred Sixty
  173. Chapter One Hundred Sixty One
  174. Chapter One Hundred Sixty Two
  175. Chapter One Hundred Sixty Three
  176. Chapter One Hundred Sixty Four
  177. Chapter One Hundred Sixty Five
  178. Chapter One Hundred Sixty Six
  179. Chapter One Hundred Sixty Seven
  180. Chapter One Hundred Sixty Eight
  181. Chapter One Hundred Sixty Nine
  182. Chapter One Hundred Seventy
  183. Chapter One Hundred Seventy One
  184. Chapter One Hundred Seventy Two
  185. Chapter One Hundred Seventy Three
  186. Chapter One Hundred Seventy Four
  187. Chapter One Hundred Seventy Five
  188. Chapter One Hundred Seventy Six
  189. Chapter One Hundred Seventy Seven
  190. Chapter One Hundred Seventy Eight
  191. Chapter One Hundred Seventy Nine
  192. Chapter One Hundred Eighty
  193. Chapter One Hundred Eighty One
  194. Chapter One Hundred Eighty Two

The Text of the Aquarian Gospel—by Levi Dowling

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