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Self-Examination and Temptation

Hoffman's portrait of ChristPart 82 of the Aquarian Gospel for Awakening

The harbinger had paved the way; the Logos had been introduced to men as love made manifest, and he must now begin his Christine ministry. And he went forth into the wilderness to be alone with God that he might look into his inner heart, and note its strength and worthiness” (Aquarian Gospel 65:1, 2).

This is the first time in the Aquarian Gospel that we find the term “Christine.” “Christian” literally means “little Christ,” and was a derisive term coined by the opponents of the followers of Jesus.

Although it has been common for over a century for anti-Christian elements to portray the pre-Christian religions of the Mediterranean world as sun-drenched, fun-loving, uninhibited, and “natural,” the reality was quite different. Fear and greed were the two motivations of the worshippers of “the gods.” Not only were the gods fond of taking on human or animal forms and raping human women, they–and the “goddesses”–were jealous of one another and therefore spiteful and destructive to votaries of other gods. Often they played a kind of chess with one another’s devotees. It was even more hazardous to be a priest or priestess. It was believed that if priests of Apollo mispronounced a single word of their prescribed prayers and invocations, they would be struck and killed by lightning. Mutilation and bloodshed was frequently demanded by the deities. Drugs and drunkenness was another feature of various cults. Castration of male priests was the order of the day in other cults. Nevertheless, the enemies of Christianity insist that these “fun in the sun” religions were cruelly suppressed by “negative” and “life-denying” Christianity, and the Mediterranean world became morose and repressed. And certainly it did–and does–seem so to the morally degenerate.

The followers of the “happy” cults groveled before their gods and goddesses in apprehension and fear, assuring their deities that they were their humble and devoted slaves. Original Christianity in contrast taught that all followers of Christ were destined to become Christs themselves. This teaching brought mockery upon the first followers of Jesus, including their being called “little Christs” in disgust and derision by all others.

Dowling coined the word “Christine” since “Christian” carried with it too many negative and incorrect connotations for his contemporaries. A Christine is one who holds the original teachings of Jesus–that all are destined to become Christs and “Sons of God”–and who seeks his own “Christing” as his spiritual fulfillment. After all, Jesus had declared: “He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do” (John 14:12). This could not be done by any but “another Christ”–a perfected Christine.

The work of the Christine is essentially a spiritual, inner transformation, a purification and elevation of consciousness. For this reason, Jesus our perfect example “went forth into the wilderness to be alone with God.” Jesus did not intend to enter upon some body-oriented ascetic labor; he sought “to be alone with God” in the core of his spirit. For that reason he engaged in meditation “that he might look into his inner heart, and note its strength and worthiness.” “The Self resides within the lotus of the heart. Knowing this, devoted to the Self, the sage enters daily that holy sanctuary” (Chandogya Upanishad 8:3:3). Authentic self-knowledge is essential for the spiritual aspirant of all valid traditions. Although knowledge of the divine Self is the ultimate goal, knowledge of all aspects of our being is necessary for attain that goal. That is why the master teacher, Patanjali, taught that swadhyaya–self-study–was a major element of yoga. As a yogi himself, having spent most of his life in India, Jesus knew this well.

There is no place in spiritual life for arrogance masquerading as positive thinking. Wise is the person who knows both his strengths and his weaknesses. That is why Jesus asked his disciples: “Which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it? Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him,
30 Saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish. Or what king, going to make war against another king, sitteth not down first, and consulteth whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand?” (Luke 14:28-31).

Realism is a foundation-stone of successful spiritual life.


“And with himself he talked; he said, My lower self is strong; by many ties I am bound down to carnal life. Have I the strength to overcome and give my life a willing sacrifice for men? When I shall stand before the face of men, and they demand a proof of my messiahship, what will I say?” (Aquarian Gospel 65:3-5).

My lower self is strong; by many ties I am bound down to carnal life. This may seem strange to us, for we think of Jesus as a most exalted being, which he is, yet he is demonstrating for us the absolute self-honesty which we must have in order to reach Christhood. If there is no acknowledgment of a problem it will never be solved. Certainly Jesus was far advanced beyond the human condition, but the mere taking on of a body entails very real risk–only God remains untouched by incarnation in the universe. Of course that awareness was itself a tremendous strength. The more pure a person is, the keener he is aware of any possible impurities within himself. If the strong are not aware of potential weakness they will not remain strong. One prevailing problem of human beings listed by Patanjali in the Yoga Sutras is “clinging to life” based on both fear of death (the unknown) and addiction to worldly existence (the known. Being conversant with Patanjali’s teachings, Jesus asks himself the reasonable question:

Have I the strength to overcome and give my life a willing sacrifice for men? Is it a small thing to overturn the influences of embodiment in many creation cycles? Can it be done? And if so, how willing will I be to give up my earthly life so others may live spiritually?

When I shall stand before the face of men, and they demand a proof of my messiahship, what will I say? What is messiahship, and how is it demonstrated? Can it be demonstrated? Jesus will learn through testing, as must most spiritual aspirants.

The first temptation

“And then the tempter came and said, If you be son of God, command these stones to turn to bread. And Jesus said, Who is it that demands a test? It is no sign that one is son of God because he does a miracle; the devils can do mighty things. Did not the black magicians do great things before the Pharaohs? My words and deeds in all the walks of life shall be the proof of my messiahship” (Aquarian Gospel 65:6-9).

The best exposition of miracles that I know is the thirtieth chapter of Autobiography of a Yogi: “The Law of Miracles” and I urge you to read it. Here it need only be noted that those who know the laws of existence can use them to produce phenomena we call “miracles,” therefore miracles are supernatural only in the sense that they result from the action of higher laws. No one thinks of flying in an airplane as a miracle, but in the Middle Ages it would who have been thought miraculous. Yogis especially have discovered the subtle laws of the cosmos and have used them to the amazement of others.

The important thing to remember is Jesus’ statement that working miracles tells us nothing about a person’s spiritual status, that even very negative people can produce miracles–either on their own or with the assistance of negative spirits (see chapter eighteen, “A Mohammedan Wonder-Worker” in Autobiography of a Yogi). To attempt to prove Jesus’ messiahship or Son-of-Godship by citing his miracles is invalid. Examination of his “words and deeds in all the walks of life” proves that he was indeed the Messiah, a Son of God.

Someone might think that there is no way to now experience Jesus and know his greatness, but the truth is that he has never left the world, for he said: “Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world” (Matthew 28:20). “Seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you” (Matthew 7:7) is still true.

The second temptation

“And then the tempter said, If you will go into Jerusalem, and from the temple pinnacle cast down yourself to earth, the people will believe that you are the Messiah sent from God. This you can surely do; for did not David say, He gives his angels charge concerning you, and with their will they uphold lest you should fall? And Jesus said, I may not tempt the Lord, my God” (Aquarian Gospel 65:10-12).

Egotists never censor their thoughts, words, or deeds–in fact they decry “censorship” in any form except for the ideas of others with which they disagree. So when they want to do something they plunge right ahead, considering that the more risks they take the more “real” they are being. I have read of foolish people who caused their death because they believed that God would have to intervene and miraculously save them. But God is as prudent as wise human beings and does no such thing. In our personal life it is “tempting” God to take spiritual risks–those things which the Catholic Church calls “the near occasions of sin,” situations in which there is danger of our falling into some form of negativity. Slackness in spiritual discipline, thinking that it will do us no harm, is an example of “tempting” God.

The third temptation

“And then the tempter said, Look forth upon the world; behold its honors and its fame! Behold its pleasures and its wealth! If you will give your life for these they shall be yours. But Jesus said, Away from me all tempting thoughts. My heart is fixed; I spurn this carnal self with all its vain ambition and its pride” (Aquarian Gospel 65:13-15).

The “carnal self” which Jesus shows us to spurn is the false or “lower” self which is shaped solely by our experiences in material embodiment and our identity with the material which blinds us to the spiritual. Basically it is all we call the “ego,” the true “anti-Christ” which we must destroy before our Christhood can come forth from its imprisoning tomb of ignorance and ascend to Infinity, ending its long, long journey through many creation cycles. To do this we must banish all negative and foolish thoughts by permanently fixing our consciousness in God through meditation practice.

The struggle

“For forty days did Jesus wrestle with his carnal self; his higher self prevailed. He then was hungry, but his friends had found him and they ministered to him” (Aquarian Gospel 65:16).

We tend to think that after Jesus’ initial rejection-responses to the temptations it was all over. But here we see that the temptations were just the beginning, just the revealing of what Jesus would have to struggle against. For forty days he engaged in the life-or-death struggle against the ego. Having vanquished the ego he could later say: “Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life” (Revelation 2:10).

The triumph

“Then Jesus left the wilderness and in the consciousness of Holy Breath, he came unto the camps of John and taught” (Aquarian Gospel 65:17).

We must not just live in harmony with or according to the wisdom of the Holy Spirit (Holy Breath), we must unite our consciousness with that of the Holy Spirit, the Holy Wisdom, and live as holy spirits ourselves, one with God eternally.

Read the next section in the Aquarian Gospel for Yogis: The First Disciples Follow Jesus

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The Aquarian Gospel—Commentary and Text

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

  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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