John the Baptist
“Elizabeth was blest; she spent her time with John, and gave to him the lessons that Elihu and Salome had given her. And John delighted in the wildness of his home and in the lessons that he learned.
“Now in the hills were many caves. The cave of David was a-near in which the Hermit of Engedi lived. This hermit was Matheno, priest of Egypt, master from the temple of Sakara.
“When John was seven years of age Matheno took him to the wilderness and in the cave of David they abode. Matheno taught, and John was thrilled with what the master said, and day by day Matheno opened up to him the mysteries of life. John loved the wilderness; he loved his master and his simple fare. Their food was fruits, and nuts, wild honey and the carob bread.
“Matheno was an Israelite, and he attended all the Jewish feasts. When John was nine years old Matheno took him to a great feast in Jerusalem. The wicked Archelaus had been deposed and exiled to a distant land because of selfishness and cruelty, and John was not afraid.
“John was delighted with his visit to Jerusalem. Matheno told him all about the service of the Jews; the meaning of their rites. John could not understand how sin could be forgiven by killing animals and birds and burning them before the Lord.
“Matheno said, The God of heaven and earth does not require sacrifice. This custom with its cruel rites was borrowed from the idol worshippers of other lands. No sin was ever blotted out by sacrifice of animal, of bird, or man.
“Sin is the rushing forth of man into fens of wickedness. If one would get away from sin he must retrace his steps, and find his way out of the fens of wickedness. Return and purify your hearts by love and righteousness and you shall be forgiven. This is the burden of the message that the harbinger shall bring to men.
“What is forgiveness? John inquired. Matheno said, It is the paying up of debts. A man who wrongs another man can never be forgiven until he rights the wrong. The Vedas says that none can right the wrong but him who does the wrong.
“John said, If this be true where is the power to forgive except the power that rests in man himself? Can man forgive himself?
“Matheno said, The door is wide ajar; you see the way of man’s return to right, and the forgiveness of his sins” (Aquarian Gospel 13:1-22).
In the previous discourse we considered the meaning of sin as a falling short or failing to manifest our full spiritual potential–that the state of sin manifests in the acts we call sin. Yet, if we only look at the actions and try to merely stop them, the condition of sin-consciousness will persist and in time once more manifest in sinful acts.
The swamp of sin
Evil is like a swamp, as Matheno says, for it has no firm basis, being fundamentally unreal, and those who wander in become sunk and eventually suffocated in its morass. People often wander helplessly in the swamps, becoming completely confused; and sin always produces confusion in the sinner. Yet we all rush headlong into the muck again and again. Matheno’s statement that we must retrace our steps to find our way out of the swampy byways of sin is very significant. It is useless to just say: “Let’s quit doing wrong.” We have to extricate ourselves from the condition which resulted in sin. And that condition is the identification with both ego and materiality that produced ignorance, which then produced desire for objects. “Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death” (James 1:15). The word translated “lust” according to its older Elizabethan meaning that was closer to the German root, in Greek is epithumia, which means an intense, even passionate, desire or longing for something. This is the equivalent of tanha–craving–which was used by Buddha is his discourses. Interestingly, the Greek word has thoomos as its root, which means fierceness and anger–the inevitable result of desire, since only a small percentage of desires can be fulfilled, and only a minuscule amount of fulfilled desires really “fulfill.”
For this reason Krishna said: “Thinking about sense-objects will attach you to sense-objects; grow attached, and you become addicted; thwart your addiction, it turns to anger; be angry, and you confuse your mind; confuse your mind, you forget the lesson of experience; forget experience, you lose discrimination; lose discrimination, and you miss life’s only purpose” (Bhagavad Gita 2:62, 63.).
Just as Krishna outlines the steps that lead from attention to material things to the resulting confusion, so we must comprehend the steps that lead us into sin and then backtrack–not whine and beg God to forgive us. Our sins never harmed God–what is to forgive on His part? But we have harmed ourselves through sin, and Saint John will question about that in a little while. But back to the point at hand: the retracing of our steps out of the bog of sin. Meditation is the way, for it repolarizes the consciousness and takes our awareness back along the path we slid down so long ago into the quagmires of sin. Meditation repositions our consciousness and thereby frees us from sin. Through meditation we return our awareness to where it belongs. Then, when the fount of our inner life is opened, love will eradicate the fundamental selfishness and greed of the ego that forces us to reach out and rush into the fens of sin. Furthermore, having a clear sight (vipassana) of things–seeing them as they are, and ourselves as we are–the ordering of our thoughts, words, and deeds according to the ways of righteousness, the Divine Order, Ritam, spoken of in the Vedas becomes possible. Then we will be “forgiven.”
Forgiveness is the paying of debts
Spiritually we must apply the law: “For every action there must be an equal and opposite reaction.” Sin must be counteracted, neutralized. How? “The Vedas says that none can right the wrong but him who does the wrong” (By this we see that John–and Jesus–were taught the Vedic wisdom even in childhood; and we need to study the same if we want to understand their perspective.) Sin cannot be cleansed or set right except by the sinner–by none other, not even God. “You made the mess; you clean it up” is the rule. No one can forgive us our sins in the usual sense, and certainly no sensible person (including ourself) will want to just overlook it. The wrong must be set to rights by us. What about the Churchian doctrine of the atonement? It is nonsense based on a complete incomprehension of the nature and mission of Jesus. There you have it; there is no need to mouse around about it and call it diplomacy or tact. Here is what Saint John really said about Jesus: “Behold the king who cometh in the name of God!” (Aquarian Gospel 65:4). “Behold the Christ!” (Aquarian Gospel 66:2). The doctrine of the Lamb of God is an interpolation by those who were still obsessed with the idea of shedding blood to redress sin, and who wanted to make Jesus an extension of that perversion rather than the liberator from it.
“John said, If this be true where is the power to forgive except the power that rests in man himself? Can man forgive himself?” To the first question the answer is: Nowhere Else, and to the second: Yes. For: “Matheno said, The door is wide ajar; you see the way of man’s return to right, and the forgiveness of his sins.” Once we grasp the truth of our responsibility and our innate power to expunge our sins the door to liberation opens wide.
“What is man’s will and how shall he use it? Let him put forth its power to uncover the Atman [Divine Self] not hide the Atman: man’s will is the only friend of the Atman: his will is also the Atman’s enemy” (Bhagavad Gita 6:5).
Let us then purify ourselves and enter.
Read the next section in the Aquarian Gospel for Yogis: The Universal Law of Man’s Free Will and the Divine Will For Man