Nicodemus visits Jesus
“Nicodemus was a ruler of the Jews, and He was earnest, learned and devout. He saw the master’s signet in the face of Jesus as he talked, but was not brave enough to publicly confess his faith in him; so in the night he went to talk with Jesus at the home of Jude” (Aquarian Gospel 75:1-3).
He saw the master’s signet in the face of Jesus as he talked. We can only speculate as to what the sign was which Nicodemus saw. Israel did not lack for esoteric knowledge, so perhaps Nicodemus was developed enough in spiritual clairvoyance to see into the subtle realms and recognize the status of Jesus. There are many ways to determine a person’s spiritual level, more than can be practically listed. It is not impossible that the mastership of Jesus was revealed to Nicodemus, that his “seeing” was intuitional. The important point here is that Nicodemus knew the greatness of Jesus, that he was not going to test him nor was he wanting to become some kind of hanger-on because of admiration.
“When Jesus saw him come he said, Full blessed are the pure in heart; twice blessed are the fearless, pure in heart; thrice blessed are the fearless, pure in heart who dare to make confession of their faith before the highest courts” (Aquarian Gospel 75:4-6).
Three qualities of blessedness are presented here: purity of heart, fearlessness, and courage to openly live in such a manner as to be known as a person of faith to all observers. All of them imply freedom from egotism, and the higher standards of life such freedom entails.
“And Nicodemus said, Hail, master, hail! I know you are a teacher come from God, for man alone could never teach as you have taught; could never do the works that you have done” (Aquarian Gospel 75:7).
Nicodemus is not speaking as a groupie, an admirer of rhetorical skill or intellectual brilliance, but of the fact that Jesus spoke truly when he said to his disciples: “It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life” (John 6:63).
The “flesh” of external words mean nothing and can help no one in any lasting manner, but the spirit-consciousness of a holy man or master is conveyed directly to the hearts of his hearers, and have the power to awaken and work a permanent change in those who are capable of full response to them. For, as he said: “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh” (Matthew 12:34). That is why the spies of the sanhedrin reported: “Never man spake like this man” (John 7:46). “The people were astonished at his doctrine: for he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes” (Matthew 7:28, 29). “And all bare him witness, and wondered at the gracious words which proceeded out of his mouth” (Luke 4:22).
Divine light enters those who hear the words of a master. Even the recordings of Swami Sivananda and Paramhansa Yogananda convey their holy inspiration to those who listen with quiet and prepared minds. One time I heard a rare recording of a holy bishop who had a short time before left his body. If ever my hair has “stood on end” it was in those minutes. The room was filled with Light and Power. Listening to recordings of the holy popes Leo XIII and Pius XII produces the same experience. Seeing and hearing a holy teacher is a life-changing experience for those who are capable of it. Though he was fearful, Nicodemus was just such a qualified person.
The changes in consciousness wrought by his presence and words were Jesus’ greatest “works,” but his healings were great as well, for they taught as well as restored to health. His words and works proved that Jesus was sent by God as a light in the darkness of this ignorant and deformed world. Jesus not only said of himself: “I am the light of the world” (John 8:12; 9:5), he also said of his disciples: “Ye are the light of the world” (Matthew 5:14).
“And Jesus said, Except a man be born again he cannot see the king; he cannot comprehend the words I speak” (Aquarian Gospel 75:8).
To know God in the truest sense, a human being must experience a rebirth which enables him to perceive higher things and exert his will to live on a higher plane than previously. Such a rebirth entails the awakening of latent powers and capacities that previously he did not have–and usually did not even dream of. That is why Saint Paul wrote: “If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature” (II Corinthians 5:17; see Galatians 6:15). The word ktisis means both creature and creation. A reborn person is a new species altogether even though no difference may be seen outwardly. But that new creation is only potential; it must be actualized by continual, conscious application of spiritual laws and spiritual practices.
There are many rebirths that may occur to the evolving person. Some are slight in nature and some are so profound they cannot be comprehended fully until their full potential is reached. Unfortunately this truth is not realized, and various religious approaches claim that their form of rebirth is the only real one. But the aspirant must be ready to undergo many “births” and “deaths” in this very life. Only in this way can we comprehend and experience the meaning of Saint Paul when he declared: “We all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord” (II Corinthians 3:18). We must be able and resolved to “walk in the Spirit” (Galatians 5:16, 25) by means of our inner rebirths.
“And Nicodemus said, How can a man be born again? Can he go back into the womb and come again to life?
“And Jesus said, The birth of which I speak is not the birth of flesh. Except a man be born of water and the Holy Breath, he cannot come into the kingdom of the Holy One. That which is born of flesh is child of man; that which is born of Holy Breath is child of God. The winds blow where they please; men hear their voices, and may note results; but they know not from whence they come, nor where they go; and so is every one that is born of Holy Breath” (Aquarian Gospel 75:9-13).
Except a man be born of water and the Holy Breath, he cannot come into the kingdom of the Holy One. In the Bible and the earliest writings of Christianity it is stated that the rebirth into Christ is begun by a twofold initiatory rite. The first part is purification by means of greatly empowered water which by its very touch drives out a colossal amount of darkness or “sin” from the physical astral and causal bodies. This is baptism of water. The second part is baptism of the Holy Spirit-Breath in which the divine awakening, empowering, and evolving Power known as the Holy Spirit is infused into every level of the initiate’s being, pervading it as the Cosmic Fire which is unlimited Cosmic Life. In the West these two processes are known as Baptism and Confirmation; in the East they are called Baptism and Chrismation. Their effects, though, are the same even though the externals of the rites may differ. The prime requisite is possession by the initiator of the Apostolic Succession empowerment. Otherwise the rites are mere external actions, however well-intentioned. (I am writing in the context of Christianity. The necessary rebirth processes are accomplished differently in other religious traditions.)
Through purification and empowerment the initiate is “born again” and begins to live in the spirit. That is why Jesus continues:
That which is born of flesh is child of man; that which is born of Holy Breath is child of God. What is the Holy Breath? It is the same as the Holy Spirit, but what is that? It is the primal Cosmic Vibration which manifests as the entire evolving creation and all forms within it. In Indian philosophy it is Mahashakti, the Supreme Power. The Holy Spirit-Breath is the Holy Mother aspect of Divinity. It is called “breath” because breath is life itself. In Sanskrit it is Prana, which means both life and breath, and its spoken or mantric form is the Pranava: Om, which Jesus calls “The Word” in the Aquarian Gospel. Through the Cosmic Power we are enabled to enter into and become fully established in Cosmic Consciousness, the Kingdom of God.
The winds blow where they please; men hear their voices, and may note results; but they know not from whence they come, nor where they go; and so is every one that is born of Holy Breath. To those immersed in material consciousness, the reborn are a complete mystery and often the target of their derision or malice. Understanding nothing of the nature of the world or themselves, they naturally have no idea about those who have awakened from the sleep of materialism into the light of spirit. There is no use for the awake to “dialogue” with the asleep–it is impossible and can only result in wasted time at the best and persecution at the worst. The truly alive should be contented to pass through the world as unseen as the wind, to be invisible like Jesus and pass through their midst. The fourth chapter of the Gospel of Saint Luke tells us that when Jesus angered “the righteous” by his words, they took hold of him and dragged him up a mountain in order to kill him by throwing him off. “But he passing through the midst of them went his way” (Luke 4:30), invisible and intangible to them. “So is every one that is born of Holy Breath.”
“The ruler said, I do not understand; pray tell me plainly what you mean.
“And Jesus said, The kingdom of the Holy One is in the soul; men cannot see it with their carnal eyes; with all their reasoning powers they comprehend it not. It is a life deep hid in God; its recognition is the work of inner consciousness.
“The kingdoms of the world are kingdoms of the sight; the kingdom of the Holy One is that of faith; its king is love.
“Men cannot see the love of God unmanifest, and so our Father-God has clothed this love with flesh–flesh of a son of man” (Aquarian Gospel 75:14-18).
Materially-minded churchians have been trying for two thousand years to establish the kingdom of God on earth as a material, tangible–and politically powerful–institution. And they will continue to do so, no matter what Jesus had to say about it. When he told us to pray: “Thy kingdom come; thy will be done on earth as it is done in heaven” (Aquarian Gospel 94:7), he was speaking of an inner kingdom, an inner coming that is a descent of spiritual consciousness so Christines may do the will of God during their time here on earth, just as it is done in the heaven-regions by those beyond the bonds of earth.
The kingdom of the Holy One is in the soul; men cannot see it with their carnal eyes; with all their reasoning powers they comprehend it not. Being a spiritual entity, the kingdom of God cannot be seen by the eyes of flesh, but of spirit. Nor can the intellects of earthbound men and women understand the kingdom which operates by laws unlike those of this world. Only those who see and live within have entered the kingdom and understood it.
It is a life deep hid in God; its recognition is the work of inner consciousness. The kingdom of God is life in God–nothing less. And the life of the awakened, reborn person is “deep hid in God,” far beyond the perception or comprehension of outsiders. The ultimate baptism is immersion in God. When the inner consciousness is awakened and stirred up, then we can seek the kingdom, enter it, and live there eternally. Therefore inner consciousness must be cultivated at every moment of our life so we will not be compelled to return to this alien, dead world any more.
The kingdoms of the world are kingdoms of the sight; the kingdom of the Holy One is that of faith; its king is love. Men cannot see the love of God unmanifest, and so our Father-God has clothed this love with flesh–flesh of a son of man. The kingdom of God is a purely intangible thing, unlike the material constructions of ignorant humanity–including their religions. God is love, far beyond the pathetic, egoic attachment and obsession the world calls “love.” Love is the very breath, the very essence of Cosmic Reality, and it is the state of conscious union with that Reality. Since human beings naturally cannot perceive this supreme Reality with their earthly senses, God continually sends his great messengers to humanity. Although totally freed in spirit, they again clothe themselves with flesh so that just as the bright light of the lightbulb’s filament shines through the frosted glass in which it is encased, in the same way the light of spirit, of divine love, can be experienced by thirsting souls that can awaken to its wonder and themselves seek to be established in Spirit as are those sent from God. The wonder of this cannot be conveyed in words, but it can certainly be experienced, as those who have met the Great Ones know.
“And that the world may see and know this love made manifest, the son of man must needs be lifted up. As Moses in the wilderness raised up the serpent for the healing of the flesh, the son of man must be raised up. That all men bitten by the serpent of the dust, the serpent of this carnal life, may live” (Aquarian Gospel 75:19-21).
The twenty-first chapter of the book of Numbers recounts that at one point in their wanderings the Hebrews became disgusted with both God and Moses, and made vigorous complaint against them. In response to their negativity, snakes whose bite was both painful and deadly came among them and many died from their poison. When the people acknowledged their wrong and asked for alleviation, Moses was shown in a revelation that he should make an image of a snake and put in on a high pole in the midst of the camp. Anyone who was bitten by a snake and turned and looked at the image did not die. Jesus is referring to this and prophesying his crucifixion.
Many people do not like the sight of a crucifix, considering it negative, an image of death. But they do not understand that the crucifix is a projection of the incident with the serpents and the image. Humanity was dying of the affliction they called life. The mortal body caused them pain and death. But Jesus took upon himself the very thing that was afflicting them and transformed it for the healing and life of those who would turn to him throughout future ages. The crucifix is the fulfilling of the prophetic serpent upon the pole. It is a sign of life, not death, yet it appears to be an image of death to earthly eyes. (See II Corinthians 2:14-16.) To those who “see” it is a revelation of life, a demonstration of Jesus’ love for all mankind. The saints rejoice in the risen Christ, but they also love Christ crucified, understanding the profound meanings of both aspects. Therefore Saint Paul wrote: “I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified” (I Corinthians 2:2).
Christines must “raise up” Christ continually in their minds and hearts. Abundance of life will then be theirs–life of the spirit.
Finding eternal life
“He who believes in him shall have eternal life. For God so loved the world that he sent forth his only son to be raised up that men may see the love of God. God did not send his son to judge the world; he sent him forth to save the world; to bring men to the light. But men love not the light, for light reveals their wickedness; men love the dark. Now, every one who loves the truth comes to the light; he does not fear to have his works made manifest” (Aquarian Gospel 75:22-26).
God sends forth the Sons of God to show humanity how to regain their eternal status as immortal sons of God themselves. When these messengers are “raised up” in the consciousness of those who understand their mission, the revelation of God’s eternal love is revealed and they are enabled to free themselves and be “saved” from the terrible sentence of continual rebirth and suffering.
Those who come to the light of the great teachers see themselves clearly and set about working to cleanse and perfect themselves–their consciousness. But those who love their egos detest that which reveals the truth about their untruth–that their lives are a degraded lie. So they turn from the light, cursing it and trying to banish it from the world. That is why throughout history all great messengers have suffered persecution and even execution at the hands of the lovers of darkness. The presence of great master teachers reveals the character of those with whom they come in contact. The good love them, the evil hate them, and the nonentities do not respond at all but keep on drifting around as usual.
In the light
“The light had come, and Nicodemus went his way; he knew the meaning of the birth of Holy Breath; he felt the presence of the Spirit in his soul. And Jesus tarried in Jerusalem for many days and taught and healed the sick. The common people gladly listened to his words, and many left their all of carnal things and followed him” (Aquarian Gospel 75:27-29).
Having received the new birth, Nicodemus was aware that he was himself a temple of the Holy Breath, that God lived in him as his very Life. That is why Saint Paul wrote to the Corinthians: “Ye are the temple of God, and the Spirit of God dwelleth in you.…Your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God.…Ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people” (I Corinthians 3:16; 6:19; II Corinthians 6:16). Those who listened to the teachings of Jesus, turned away from material consciousness and began to live in the spirit, attained the same new life in God.
Read the next section in the Aquarian Gospel for Yogis: The Prince of Peace