“When men become afraid of God, and take him for a foe, they dress up other men in fancy garbs and call them priests. And charge them to restrain the wrath of God by prayers; and when they fail to win his favor by their prayers, to buy him off with sacrifice of animal, or bird” (Aquarian Gospel 28:20, 21).
Primitive people–that is, people of primitive minds–are impressed by and admire brute strength. They do not question the idea that the strongest and the most potentially destructive should rule them. It only seems natural to them. This is because they have evolved into the human form from numberless animal incarnations in which these principles prevail and are actually practical from the standpoint of genetics.
It takes a long while in the human form to learn to be human, and development does not go on simultaneously on all levels. Usually the spiritual/intuitive part of us lags way behind. So we may have keen intelligence, a well-developed ethical sense, etc., but still be stone-agers in the spirit. If we are, then God naturally is viewed by us as the biggest and most powerful of beings. And proof of that is in His destructive and coercive powers.
How many times have you heard people speak admiringly of extremely muscular men in terms of the physical dominance or damage they could work on others? “He could break me in two like a matchstick!” “He could knock down a wall with a single fist!” “He could fight a dozen men at a time!” These words come out of the mouths of even the most cultured and well-behaved people. And so it will be with their ideas of God, unless they choose to call themselves atheists to avoid dealing with such a berserk Behemoth. The religion of such people exhorts them to fear God, painting graphic word pictures of God’s great power, of His destruction and punishment of the wicked and His rewarding of the righteous–those who fear and obey Him.
For a while this keeps them happy, but slowly they begin to see God as an adversary, one who demands that they continually prove their worthiness, and who will blast them if they fail to come up to expectations. It is true that in Christianity there is a great deal about how Jesus soothed God’s just anger and that He is merciful toward the believers. Yet in the background there ever lurks the possibility that our frailty will again incur His displeasure. So God is always a potential threat.
In time fear breeds hatred. The less inhibited overtly hate God and His religion, but the fearful mask their hatred by turning it on “sin,” the “wicked,” the “unbelieving,” and the heretical. A great deal of self-loathing compounds this lethal mess.
Protection from God
Although the yogis seek God, they are few in number. (I am classifying anyone who seeks to commune with God for the purpose of becoming godlike as a yogi, whatever their spiritual tradition may be.) Except for them, all religions are protection from God, not paths to God, and those who follow those religions are trying to avoid God–although they avidly want what they can get from God.
Those who have a strong sense of God’s greatness create a priesthood to shield them from God. When the priests approach God they do so in lavish temples wearing splendid ceremonial clothing. Those with a much cheaper sense of God create a horde of “ministers” and “pastors” to ward off God and entertain them with uplifting and inspiring sermons. These function in barren temples that are mostly entertainment centers for “the faithful.” Those with a background in a religion that originally had some validity insist on establishing a bond with some kind of spiritual guide or guru whose “grace” will do everything for them and ensure absolute friendship and favor with God.
These intermediaries are expected to invoke the favor of God and turn away His wrath–and even His pique, so He will not refuse to give them what they want. When they fail to do so (and they will), sacrifice in some form becomes necessary to placate a deity whose material tastes cannot be satisfied by mere prayers and praises. If the people are really bestial (and of course are carnivorous), they sacrifice the lives of innocent animals. If they are more evolved, they offer flowers, food, and suchlike. But if they are greedy for material things they project their greed on to God and give Him money–at least their clergy tell them it goes to God. I was brought up in a church that even took up a collection in the little children’s Sunday School classes. This was often done to the singing of: “Hear the pennies dropping, listen as they fall. Every one for Jesus; He will get them all.” Naiveté or stupidity? “Give till it hurts and then give till it stops hurting”–so our parents were being told at the same time. The practice of the “second tithe” to obtain special benefits was particularly favored by the more fundamentalist churches.
And so it goes, on and on.
A different view of God
Even in the midst of foolishness some wisdom inevitably arises, so Jesus is able to say:
“When man sees God as one with him, as Father-God, he needs no middle man, no priest to intercede; he goes straight up to him and says, My Father-God! and then he lays his hand in God’s own hand, and all is well” (Aquarian Gospel 28:22, 23).
This is blessed to hear, but not so easy to carry out, for family, society, and (especially) religion have conspired to convince us that without them we are nothing, incapable of accomplishing anything significant, and certainly not capable of independent thought and life. We “need” them, and without them are, as I say, nothing. Even the religions that speak of human beings as reflections or even part of Divinity engage in this evil conditioning, eventually reducing their members to nothing, at least functionally speaking. Whether we are called sinners, ignorant, or bound, the result is the same: erosion of our self-worth and spiritual initiative. “And just who are you…?” they bray if we dare to show a spark of independence or confidence. A tremendous act of will and of genuine trust in God and in ourselves–which are both the same, actually–is necessary to take the leap into what we wrongly think is “empty space.” What we will really land in is the Chidakasha, the Consciousness that is the Truth behind everything, including our own Self. But we have to leave our detractors and reducers behind. Far behind.
Notice that Jesus does not say “when man thinks of God as one with him,” or believes in their essential unity, but “when man sees God as one with him.” He is speaking only of the yogi who turns within and experiences the truth of his unity with God.
Also remarkable is the principle implied by Jesus: There are only two views or relationships with God–enemy or Self. Whenever we see God as separate from us, that will eventually degenerate into enmity or conflict. But when we see God as one with us, as essentially inseparable from us, then all is well. This tells us that even a devotional or reverent approach to God will end in opposition if it is based on duality.
The right yoga
The yogi needs to know that yoga which reveals God, which enables him to go directly to God and touch God. In other words, from the first moment of practice, the yogi must be in contact with God and in each subsequent moment draw nearer and nearer to the perfect knowledge of God. If we look at most yoga practices, they are only preparations or purifications that sometime in the undefined future will take us into contact with God. We are told that many years and even many lifetimes will be needed to obtain that ultimate result. In other words, they are not yoga at all, for the very word means “union,” not preparations or promises of future success.
God and his priest
“And this is God. You are, each one, a priest, just for yourself; and sacrifice of blood God does not want” (Aquarian Gospel 28:24).
And this is God. The God that can be directly approached, known, and inwardly touched–none other. Any other “god” propagated by religion is a myth, a moral monster–as is that religion, as well. And so is any practice that does not immediately and directly put us into touch with this one and only God.
You are, each one, a priest. We can enter into communication with God if we only know how, for “he is not far from every one of us” (Acts 17:27). Ignorant Christianity (Churchianity) likes to cant a great deal about “God’s salvation plan,” but Saint Paul gives it completely and extremely briefly: “He that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him” (Hebrews 11:6). Just three points cover the entire field:
1) An inner certainty that God exists (which results in:)
2) Seeking God (and)
3) Finding God.
Now that is blessed simplicity.
We are each of us a priest, but just for yourself. For no one else. We cannot think or live for another, though many sociopathic teachers and gurus would like to, or at least have us think they can. No one can search on our behalf for God, “whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another” (Job 19:27). Each one of us does it completely on our own. Naturally we can be inspired and advised by others along the way, but the journeying is ours, step by step. It truly is “the flight of the alone to the Alone.”
Sacrifice of blood God does not want–neither the blood of animals, other humans, or even our own blood. There are deluded persons who think that extreme asceticism in which the body and health are damaged somehow makes them spiritual. This is nonsense, and also a way to fool themselves and others into thinking they have a spiritual life when it is only body-and-ego oriented. Animalistic human beings are very impressed with such things, and a following–especially in India–can be gained by self-torture, although Krishna says such foolish ascetics are demonic in nature. “You may know these men to be of demonic nature who mortify the body excessively, in ways not prescribed by the scriptures. They do this because their lust and attachment to sense-objects has filled them with egotism and vanity. In their foolishness, they weaken all their sense-organs, and outrage me, the dweller within the body” (Bhagavad Gita 17:5, 6). “Austerity is said to have the nature of tamas when it is practiced for some foolish purpose, or for the excitement of self-torture, or in order to harm another person” (Bhagavad Gita 17:19).
The priestly sacrifice
“Just give your life in sacrificial service to the all of life, and God is pleased” (Aquarian Gospel 28:25).
Perhaps the problem in responding to this high call is our understanding of the all of life. We have all known a lot of people to whom the all of life was extremely limited and mundane to the point of degradation. Obviously there is only one All of Life: God–both in His own transcendent nature and in His immanence within all creation and in the hearts of all beings. We must serve God with body, mind, and spirit, both within ourselves and within others. This can entail a great many ways–ways that should be determined, not by others, but by our own meditation-awakened intuition. According to our karma and samskara, so will our ways of divine service be decided–by ourselves and not by any other. This is what caste and caste-duty really are, having nothing to do with the degenerate and hypocritical system that stunted India’s soul for centuries, an oppression worse than that of any foreign invasions and dominance.
Let us, then, seek to please God in the right way–in ourselves, in others, and in Spirit.
Read the next section in the Aquarian Gospel for Yogis: The Worthy Host