“Benares is the sacred city of the Brahm[in]s, and in Benares Jesus taught; Udraka was his host. Udraka made a feast in honor of his guest, and many high born Hindu priests and scribes [pandits] were there.
“And Jesus said to them, With much delight I speak to you concerning life–the brotherhood of life” (Aquarian Gospel 28:1-3).
A joyous message
Rarely, when growing up, did I hear a sermon delivered with any manner but solemnity. Plenty of times the discourse was a stick to belabor the mental backs of the hearers. Even when I was free of the imprisoning ignorance of Protestant fundamentalism, still the aura of gravity prevailed in the various centers I visited which were oriented toward Indian philosophy and yoga. Evidently the speakers (both American and Indian) felt the profound concepts of Sanatana Dharma were to be approached with a devout wariness on the behalf of the seeker, rather like working up to taking a particularly bitter, nasty-tasting medicine.
But in India I found things to be greatly different. Those speaking about dharma did so with a lightness, even a buoyancy, that was almost as engaging as their words. I can never forget the joy that radiated from the eyes of many of them–both in public talks and in my private conversations with them. Optimism is a cardinal feature of the genuine yogi.
So it is fitting that Jesus, in the holy city of Benares (Varanasi), should express his joy in being able to speak of the divine realities than can only rejoice the heart when correctly understood. Consider the common religious milieu he had left behind in Israel. Thunderings, fulminations, and threats by a bloodthirsty deity whose temple in Jerusalem flowed literal streams of blood throughout the day. Virtue was not its own reward. Rather, virtue’s reward lay in being left alone by a testy God–whose knowledge of men’s hearts inspired the deepest loathing for them, and who had a history of wiping out entire nations as well as individuals who “offended” him. He often demanded the deaths of their families and clans, as well. And the offenses were often so slight as to be nonexistent. This does not make for a very jolly time when religion becomes the subject.
How blessed it was for me to experience the same relief and uplift that Jesus had felt two thousand years before me! And how sad that the burden from which I had been relieved had been thrust upon me in the name of that same Jesus.
However Jesus (and much later, myself) had managed to adjust to freedom and cheerfulness, so he continues with these words of glorious vision:
“The universal God is one, yet he is more than one; all things are God; all things are one” (Aquarian Gospel 28:4).
God is not just one in the sense of number–a single entity. He is much more than that. He is a Unity that embraces, includes, and in a mysterious way is the Many. In him diversity and difference exist without diminishing his Unity and his Identity with all. We say that “all things are God,” and this is true, but ultimately we see the higher truth that there are no “things” at all, but only God. That fact of this divine unity is awesomely hopeful, eradicating fear and doubt when it begins to become part of the yogi’s inmost knowing. Long before the attainment of perfect unity, the joyful anticipation colors the yogi’s consciousness and life.
One within the ONE
“By the sweet breaths of God all life is bound in one; so if you touch a fiber of a living thing you send a thrill from the center to the outer bounds of life” (Aquarian Gospel 28:5).
Now this is truly awesome. When we interact with any thing or person we are entering into exchange and influence of the entire range of being. Cosmic Karma! For “the sweet breaths of God,” the currents of the Universal Life (Vishwaprana), flow through all things, drawing them into perfect unity on both an abstract and a functional level. This gives infinite scope to Jesus’ assertion: “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me” (Matthew 25:40).
When we touch a leaf, we touch God. When we join our consciousness to God in meditation, we join ourselves to all that exist. There can never be a separation. The closer we are to God, the closer we are to all. We live in God and at the same time all live within us in a mystical way. When we lift ourselves we lift all that is.
This world is a duality, so there is a downside to even the most wonderful truth. Jesus wants us to have a complete, practical understanding of what he is saying, so he further tells us:
“And when you crush beneath your foot the meanest worm, you shake the throne of God, and cause the sword of right to tremble in its sheath” (Aquarian Gospel 28:6).
Simply living is a grave responsibility for many reasons, not the least being the reality of karmic response to all thoughts and acts.
To harm any thing is to harm all, even God–at least in a metaphysical sense. In a moment we will hear more about this.
Life within the ONE
“The bird sings out its song for men, and men vibrate in unison to help it sing. The ant constructs her home, the bee its sheltering comb, the spider weaves her web, and flowers breathe to them a spirit in their sweet perfumes that gives them strength to toil” (Aquarian Gospel 28:7, 8).
The entire field of Life is like a woven fabric. Each thread affects the others. We live within all and all lives within us. All affects us profoundly and we also affect all. This unity is glorious and sublime, even terrible (in the old sense of the word). We live because all live. And all live because God is Life Itself.
Death within Life?
What a blasphemy, then is death; and what a horror is the causing of death. For we deal the death-blow not to a single thing, but we injure all that live, and insanely attempt to destroy Life. Yes, in our madness we would kill that which is God. We will not succeed, but the psychic damage to ourselves will be tremendous.
Jesus does not spare any truth, but goes on, saying:
“Now, men and birds and beasts and creeping things are deities, made flesh; and how dare men kill anything? ’Tis cruelty that makes the world awry. When men have learned that when they harm a living thing they harm themselves, they surely will not kill, nor cause a thing that God has made to suffer pain” (Aquarian Gospel 28:9, 10).
Here we find the perfect definition of ahimsa, one of the foundations of spiritual life. (See The Foundations of Yoga.)
To “kill” God! Of course it is impossible, but to aspire to do so is madness of the worst sort. Moreover, to feel either the hatred, malice, or indifference required to willingly take life is not the gate to hell–it is hell itself. And those who dwell in such a hell are demons. “They are addicts of sensual pleasure, made restless by their many desires, and caught in the net of delusion. They fall into the filthy hell of their own evil minds. These malignant creatures are full of egoism, vanity, lust, wrath, and consciousness of power. They loathe me, and deny my presence both in themselves and in others. They are enemies of all men and of myself; cruel, despicable and vile. I cast them back, again and again, into the wombs of degraded parents, subjecting them to the wheel of birth and death. And so they are constantly reborn, in degradation and delusion. They do not reach me, but sink down to the lowest possible condition of the soul” (Bhagavad Gita 16:16, 18-20).
But Jesus is not speaking only of the murder of human beings. He includes animals as well, saying that they, too, “are deities.” Basically, all sentient beings are evolving gods, and it is rank “atheism” to deny this by either word or deed. Jesus does not even bother to speak of the craziness of killing and eating animals. If we have not gotten the idea so far we are either perverse or “invincibly ignorant”–ourselves beasts. Gods, yes, but true humans, NO. (Notice, my carnivore friends, that Jesus does not condemn the eating of plants. So there is no need for you to assume an over-developed conscience about “the defensive plants” regarding what I say here.)
There will be no world peace or harmony as long as human beings kill and eat “deities.”
Read the next section in the Aquarian Gospel for Yogis: God…and Man