In the temple
“Next day John went again into the temple courts and said, Prepare, O Israel, prepare to meet your king. The chief priests and the scribes would know the meaning of his words; they said. Bold man, what is the purport of this message that you bring to Israel? If you be seer and prophet tell us plainly who has sent you here? And John replied, I am the voice of one who cries out in the wilderness, Prepare the way, make straight the paths, for, lo, the Prince of Peace will come to rule in love. Your prophet Malachi wrote down the words of God: And I will send Elijah unto you before the retribution day shall come, to turn again the hearts of men to God, and if they will not turn, lo, I will smite them with a curse” (Aquarian Gospel 62:1-7).
If you be seer and prophet tell us plainly who has sent you here? Spiritual fakes nearly always have an arsenal of questions or objections they throw up to cloud the issue and evade listening to wisdom. In India this really abounds. Smart-alecks spend decades going from teacher to teacher with a series of “gotcha” questions by which they hope to confuse the teacher and make him look foolish. It almost never works, but they keep right on. (Two idiots in New Delhi attended a talk I gave at the Yogoda Satsanga center and handed me a note asking if I could give them God’s mailing address and phone number if He really existed. See what I mean?)
One favorite–found often in the Bible–is “by what authority do you say these things?” or “who sent you?” On the surface this sounds serious and sensible, but it is not. Why cannot the questioners listen to what is being said and decide whether or not it is worth considering? Why care if there is no “authority” behind the speaker if he is presenting wisdom? Who authorized Edison to make a lightbulb? Who told Einstein to figure out the nature of relativity or energy? Yet this bit goes on and on. “Who is your guru?” “Who gave you sannyas?” “Who told you to…?” This is just the flap of empty minds. It is like book endorsements. Hack writers gather a group of equally mediocre writers (or academics) who will always endorse their books, just as they will endorse theirs in turn. This kind of intellectual inbreeding is rampant in the United States. Why a person does not just look through a book at random and determine if it is worth buying is beyond me. (I knew a university professor who went on and on about how wonderful a book was which he had not even read or looked though. His basis? It listed a book in the bibliography that he kept burbling was “a classic that makes this book worth reading.” Fathom that.) Right now as I write I am downloading some music. There are customer reviews on the website, but why should I have read them when I was able to preview the music itself? I listened; I liked; I bought. Life really is that simple.
The Prince of Peace will come to rule in love. And that lost his audience right there. They wanted a Messiah that would kick out the Romans, restore the monarchial lineage of David, and eventually make the whole world subservient to their tiny country. Jesus’ own disciples, moments before his departure from them asked: “Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?” (Acts 1:6). What effect had three year’s teaching had on them?
Your prophet Malachi wrote down the words of God: And I will send Elijah unto you before the retribution day shall come, to turn again the hearts of men to God, and if they will not turn, lo, I will smite them with a curse. This is John’s first hint to them that he was the reincarnation of Elijah. And he warns them that if their hearts are not turned about to face the Real instead of the unreal, “the retribution day” when the Romans would demolish Jerusalem and literally not leave one stone upon another will come upon them. They did not change, and the prophecy was fulfilled in forty years.
“You men of Israel; you know your sins. As I passed by I saw a wounded bird prone in your streets, and men of every class were beating it with clubs; and then I saw that Justice was its name. I looked again and saw that its companion had been killed; the pure white wings of Righteousness were trampled in the dust. I tell you men, your awfulness of guilt has made a cesspool of iniquity that sends a fearful stench to heaven. Reform, O Israel, reform; prepare to meet your king” (Aquarian Gospel 62:8-11).
Ignorance not only drags to earth that and those which should be flying in the sky of higher consciousness, it kills them by destroying their own consciousness and so ensures that Divine Consciousness will remain far away. Saint John warns them to reverse this way of thinking and living, but he speaks in vain, except to a very few.
“And then John turned away and as he went he said, In seven days, lo, I will stand at Gilgal, by the Jordan ford, where Israel first crossed into the promised land” (Aquarian Gospel 62:12, 13).
We must actively seek wisdom and higher awareness. Back in my early yoga days, just about every spiritual layabout told me: “When the disciple is ready the master appears!” meaning that I should just fritter away my time like them until a “master” came in a puff of smoke and made me wise. Some hope! Others were appalled to learn that I would be so drastic as to go to India. (At that time almost no one ever did go to India if it was not a stopover on a world tour. I remember when American Express in New Delhi was only a small counter in a bank–not even in its own quarters.) “India is within!” they would trumpet pityingly–and a bit annoyed at my obtuseness. Finally my best friend and I hit on a reply: “Well, when I get there I will find out if it is within or not.” Somehow that would shut them up. And I can assure you that the glory I found in India could never have been within anyone but a God-realized person; that: “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared” to be found in India (I Corinthians 2:9).
It is significant that John was going to that place where the Hebrews first set foot in Israel. It is a symbol of Original Consciousness which each one must recover.
“And then he left the temple court to enter it no more; but many people followed him as far as Bethany, and there he tarried at the home of Lazarus, his kin” (Aquarian Gospel 62:14).
This is John’s last time in Jerusalem. He will never return there again, having said what needed to be said.
Most of Jesus’ disciples were his cousins–as was John–and now we learn that Lazarus was a relative also. This symbolizes the familial character of all true spiritual teachers and seekers. There is a kinship in the spirit that they alone can know, and which alone can reach across incarnations.
“The anxious people gathered all about the home and would not go; then John came forth and said,
“Reform, O Israel, reform; prepare to meet your king. The sins of Israel do not all lie at the door of priest and scribe. O think you not that all the sinners of Judea are found among the rulers and the men of wealth. It is no sign that man is good and pure because he lives in want. The listless, shiftless vagabonds of earth are mostly poor and have to beg for bread.
“I saw the very men that cheered because I told the priests and scribes of their injustice unto man, throw stones and beat poor Justice in the streets. I saw them trample on the poor dead bird of Righteousness; and you who follow after me, you commoners, are not one whit behind the scribes and priests in crime.
“Reform, you men of Israel; the king has come; prepare to meet your king” (Aquarian Gospel 62:15-23).
Holy people always speak the truth or remain silent. Never will they lie or tell a partial truth to make people feel good. A bit before this I have spoken of the wonder of experiencing India, but this is not true for everyone. One time a man visited us who was walking in a mental and moral fog. When he spoke of his intention to visit India, the monk he was speaking to said: “You had better think that over carefully, because you may not like what you find.” It is the same with saints, wherever they are. Saint Catherine of Siena was often sought out by curiosity-seekers who would end up hating her for her obvious holiness and her refusal to “make nice” with them. A woman who considered herself an expert on mysticism met the stigmatist Teresa Neumann and hated her intensely for her plain speaking. She spent the rest of her life defaming the saint through articles and books. Her fury was incredible, revealing her hellish state of mind and soul. Holy people are not the most comfortable to be around, and people often avoid them just as they avoid God.
“With Lazarus and his sisters, John remained for certain days. In honor of the Nazarite a feast was spread, and all the people stood about the board. And when the chief men of the town poured out the sparkling wine and offered John a cup, he took it, held it high in air, and said, Wine makes glad the carnal heart, and it makes sad the human soul; it plunges deep in bitterness and gall the deathless spirit of the man. I took the vow of Nazar when a child, and not a drop has ever passed my lips. And if you would make glad the coming king, then shun the cup as you would shun a deadly thing. And then he threw the sparking wine out in the street” (Aquarian Gospel 62:24-30).
A Nazarite was an ascetic who never touched alcohol in any form. So strict were their vows that they would not even use vinegar made from wine or stronger alcohol. Saint John had taken the vow of a Nazarite when only a child. (So much for the nonsense about children not being old enough to make up their minds on spiritual matters. No one is too young to dedicate themselves to God.) So to give him wine was outrageous. No one in Israel was unaware of the Nazarite’s rules. But this is the way of the world and it will not change. Just ask the vegetarians who are always being given inappropriate food by people who absolutely should know better unless they are half-wits.
I met a brilliant organic gardener who had dedicated his life to helping people grow food in the right manner. He had been a vegetarian for over sixty years (he was old but very healthy, I assure you). Once some “friends” invited them to their home and served him meat–knowing that he was a vegetarian. “But we cooked it especially for you,” they whined when he refused to eat. “Did you really cook it specially for me?” he asked. “Yes, we did!” “Then you are no friends of mine, because you know I am a vegetarian,” he replied, and left their house to never return. I have had “friends” try to force me into eating meat, even taking me to restaurants whose menu had nothing for vegetarians, as they well knew. I will never forget how “down in the mouth” one of them got when the waitress said: “Oh! we have lots of vegetarians come in here, so we have a special ‘vegetarian plate’ though it’s not on the menu.” As I say, this is the way of the world, and they are welcome to it.
“Wine makes glad the carnal heart, and it makes sad the human soul; it plunges deep in bitterness and gall the deathless spirit of the man.” There we have it. Those who are animated bodies with dead souls love alcohol (and usually meat, which is equally deadly to the spirit). Alcohol directly attacks the pineal gland, the “third eye” that is the seat of spiritual intuition. “And if you would make glad the coming king, then shun the cup as you would shun a deadly thing.” So say the wise who, like the holy prophet, will toss the wine into the street and live soberly.
Read the next section in the Aquarian Gospel for Yogis: John the Baptist – III