“While Jesus yet was talking to the woman at the well, the six disciples came from Sychar with the food. And when they saw him talking to a woman of Samaria, and one they thought a courtesan, they were amazed; yet no one asked him why he spoke with her” (Aquarian Gospel 82:1, 2).
In reading the Bible, and even the Aquarian Gospel, we miss many aspects because we do not know the social and religious customs of the time. For example, in the account of the miracle at Cana in the gospel of Saint John, Jesus calls his mother “Woman.” Today, this would be very rude, even insulting, for a son to address his mother so, but at the time of Jesus it was actually more respectful than calling her “Mother” because of the public setting.
Even more puzzling is the incident in Matthew when a man addresses Jesus as “Good Master,” and Jesus replies: “Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God” (Matthew 19:17). When I was twelve or thirteen, the mother of one of my friends cited this to prove that Jesus was a sinner! I thought that was silly, but could not really give an adequate answer. Years later when I was a novice in a Greek Orthodox monastery it was explained to me that at the time of Jesus, and among the strict Greek Orthodox Christians of today, the word “good” is never applied to anyone but God. And since the man did not believe Jesus was God, it was sacrilegious flattery on his part, so Jesus reprimanded him. The great compendium of mystical Christian writings known as the Philokalia reflects this. Though it literally means “the love of the Good” it exclusively means the love of God, for God alone is good (kalo).
In this instance, the disciples are doubly shocked. First, because Jesus is speaking with a woman. Rabbis, especially, never spoke in public with a woman, not even their own wives. Second, she seemed to them to be a prostitute, so the impropriety was greatly compounded. So astonishing was it, that they did not even question him about it. Earlier (66:20) Jesus had told them: “I come to save the lost,” but their social sensibilities rendered them silent. Sri Ramakrishna said that no one could progress in spiritual life if they were afflicted with fear or shame. They were afflicted, but Master Jesus was not. That was why he was a savior and they were not.
Absorbed in new awareness
“The woman was so lost in thought and so intent on what the master said, that she forgot her errand to the well; she left her pitcher and ran quickly to the town” (Aquarian Gospel 82:3).
Blessed concentration and blessed forgetfulness. Absorbed in the words of Jesus, she forgot all about the water of earth, left her pitcher and ran to tell others of this amazing teacher.
Being known by the master
“She told the people all about the prophet she had met at Jacob’s well; she said, He told me every thing I ever did” (Aquarian Gospel 82:3, 4).
This is not uncommon when meeting great souls (mahatmas). Jesus will say later in the Aquarian Gospel: “The shepherd calls his sheep by name; they hear his voice and follow him; they enter through the gate into the fold. The sheep know not a stranger’s voice; they will not follow him; they flee away” (139:15, 16). This, too, is not uncommon with authentic seekers: they intuit that they are not hearing the true shepherd when they encounter those that are false or ignorantly sincere, and turn from them. But when they hear the voice of a master they know what they are hearing and act accordingly.
In Autobiography of a Yogi, Yogananda recounts that in his first conversation with Swami Sri Yukteswarji, the great master “unobtrusively wove into his conversation an intimate knowledge of my nature.” This is often so. I once lived with a yogi who knew everything I was thinking and doing–often before I thought or did it. I have heard several of Yogananda’s disciples tell of how he knew their past, present and future, especially on the mental and spiritual levels. Two of Yogananda’s disciples knew my mind to its depths, and if I hesitated in taking their advice they would make it clear that their counsel was based on their deep knowledge of my past and personality. Sometimes it was very comforting and reassuring, and at other times equally uncomfortable and embarrassing. Swami Sivananda had total knowledge of everything, including me, and did not keep from me a glimpse of his cosmic reality.
Come and see…
“And when the people would know more about the man, the woman said, Come out and see. And multitudes went out to Jacob’s well” (Aquarian Gospel 82:5).
Photini (that was the name of the Samaritan Woman) shows real spiritual insight. She does not expect anyone to believe what she has said or to accept her experience. She knows that each person must experience spiritual realities for himself and be able to say with Saint John: “That…which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled,…declare we unto you” I John 1:1, 3).
The time is now
“When Jesus saw them come he said to those who followed him, You need not say, It is four months before the harvest time; behold, the harvest time is now. Lift up your eyes and look; the fields are golden with the ripened grain. Lo, many sowers have gone forth to sow the seeds of life; the seed has grown; the plants have strengthened in the summer sun; the grain has ripened, and the master calls for men to reap. And you shall go out in the fields and reap what other men have sown; but when the reckoning day shall come the sowers and the reapers all together will rejoice” (Aquarian Gospel 82:6-9).
I once belonged to a spiritual group that was rapidly becoming a destructive cult (they made it, I am sorry to say). They were extremely neglectful on all levels, and if any of the leaders was asked about when some pressingly necessary thing was going to be done (and why it had not been done), they would flutter their eyes (literally) and breathe in their most mystic manner: “When the world is ready.” For some reason this always silenced the inquirers. I got the idea and quit.
We must not keep waiting for “the right time,” but do here and now that which needs to be done. This is especially true in matters of the spirit. As Jesus said: “Your time is alway ready” (John 7:6). In so many lives so many teachers have sown the good seed of wisdom in the hearts of their hearers, and at all times those seeds are sprouting, growing, and coming to fruition. We are not to be telling everyone about life in the spirit, but those whose time has come. A friend of mine met Yogananda in the nineteen-twenties, not long after the master had purchased the Los Angeles ashram. One of his friends had become a student of Yogananda and was eager for him to do the same. So he took my friend to the ashram and introduced him to Yogananda. Of course the master knew the purpose of this meeting, and he took hold of my friend’s hand and forcefully repeated his name three times. Then he released his hand, looked at him, smiled and said: “Perhaps later.” End of interview. But thirty years later he did become a faithful disciple. So some do have to wait, and our intuition should help us in determining who is ready to see and enter the door of the Kingdom–on their own initiative. In higher worlds there will be great celebration for those who diligently seek out those whose hearts are bearing the seeds of Life. To them the Master of masters will say: “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples” (John 13:35).
The inner food of the spirit
“And Philip said to Jesus, Stay now your work a time and sit beneath this olive tree and eat a portion of this food; you must be faint for you have eaten naught since early day. But Jesus said, I am not faint, for I have food to eat you know not of” (Aquarian Gospel 82:10, 11).
It is not at all uncommon for guru and disciple to switch roles. I cannot count the number of disciples that have succeeded in running the guru’s life while not letting his influence enter their life even a jot. The guru has become the abject slave of the disciples who blind him with empty adulation, flattery, and a bit of insincere groveling occasionally, along with giving him things–often a lot of things, including money. Running his organization (which they created) they satisfy their sociopathy and often plunder the organization and become rich themselves. I knew one “disciple” whose wealth numbered into the millions until he came to a bad and well-deserved end.
Moreover, I have seen this “you have to eat now, Master” nonsense played out in various ashrams. One guru was made chronically ill through the disciples deliberately forcing her to eat food that several doctors had said would make her ill. When a specialist told them that if she did not get exercise daily she would become paralyzed, the head of the organization called every ashram and told them to purchase a wheelchair for her use and not let her walk. When she finally left the body, how shocked they were that they did not become the spiritual lights of the world, since all along they thought she was drawing attention away from them and suppressing recognition of their greatness. Now they sit in empty ashrams, grumbling that she ruined their lives.
Another guru was once having a very serious conversation with several Christian ministers who sincerely wanted to understand more of Indian spiritual philosophy. Right in the middle a “disciple” stalked in and brayed: “Swamiji, it’s time for you to eat!” and terminated the interview. The same dictator-disciple once called me on the phone to blast away at me because the guru would not be able to “eat on schedule” since he would be in an airplane enroute to our ashram. He wanted me to “do something about it.” I did. I spoke straightforwardly about his bullying absurdity and he got the idea very well. But the guru remained a dancing monkey for the “disciples” until the end of his life.
Some of these false disciples are are evil Judases and some are braying jackasses, but neither have even a hint of a true master’s state of evolution and consciousness. But such foolishness did not work with Jesus. He let Philip know that he lived in a totally different level of being than they did. He did not play “gentle Jesus, meek and mild,” and give in to their silly demands (oh, excuse me: service).
“Then the disciples said among themselves, Who could have brought him aught to eat? They did not know that he had power to turn the very ethers into bread” (Aquarian Gospel 82:12, 13).
They knew he could turn water into wine, did they not? The history of the twelve is one of complete miscomprehension of Jesus–both his teachings and his nature. They continually misunderstood when he spoke in symbols. Why does the Bible tell us all this? It certainly proves that the authors of the Gospels were completely truthful in their accounts, not keeping anything back no matter who might be offended or embarrassed. But the main reason was to show the contrast between these men before the teaching given them by Jesus between his resurrection and ascension and their empowerment on Pentecost. From backward-minded dunderheads they became transformed into something beyond ordinary humanity.
“They brought forth the sick into the streets, and laid them on beds and couches, that at the least the shadow of Peter passing by might overshadow some of them” (Acts 5:15). “And God wrought special miracles by the hands of Paul: so that from his body were brought unto the sick handkerchiefs or aprons, and the diseases departed from them, and the evil spirits went out of them” Acts 19:11, 12). Earlier, Peter and Paul could both miss the point, but after Pentecost and the road to Damascus the mere shadow of Saint Peter could heal and cloth touched by Saint Paul could heal and exorcise. This is proof of the reality of Jesus and his divine power which he passed on to them through baptism and confirmation (chrismation). I have met Christian wonderworkers, and lived with one for nineteen years. They were living proof that Jesus is as much in the world, dwelling among us, as he was two thousand years ago. Our problem is that we would like to work the miracles but we do not seek the total transformation that Jesus came to work in those that would be his disciples, following him with total commitment, taking up the cross daily and pressing onward to the revelation of life eternal, even before physical death to resurrect as did Jesus, and do his works and even greater (John 14:12).
“And Jesus said, The master of the harvest never sends his reapers forth and feeds them not. My Father who has sent me forth into the harvest field of human life will never suffer me to want; and when he calls for you to serve, lo, he will give you food, will clothe and shelter you” (Aquarian Gospel 82:14, 15).
There is a vital principle in these words. When we truly act in accordance with the divine plan, the cosmos itself will clear the way before us. Many good people have undergone terrible hardships, but if we look closely at their life we will see that they were not in perfect harmony with the divine order, whether in word, thought, or deed. This is especially true of those who were working to spread ignorant, exoteric religion.
The living proof of Jesus’ assertion was Yogananda. God miraculously provided for him all through his life, often in astonishing ways. See the eleventh chapter in Autobiography of a Yogi: Two Penniless Boys in Brindaban. Consider how many dwellers in the desert had food brought to them every day by a supernatural agency. Many people have told me of remarkable material blessings given them because they truly were “in the center of God’s will.” If we will make sure that we are in that same center, then we need fear nothing, for: “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want” (Psalms 23:1).
“Then turning to the people of Samaria, he said, Think not it strange that I, a Jew, should speak to you, for I am one with you” (Aquarian Gospel 82:16).
This is one of the marks of a savior: a feeling of total unity with all humanity. By experience I know that the more evolved a person is, the more this is manifested in his life. Swami Sivananda was awesome, a god walking the earth, and yet we knew that he was our nearest and dearest. His love for us and our love for him was uppermost at all times. Though he was such a great master, every person was so at ease with him. He was our beloved friend.
The universal Christ
“The universal Christ who was and is, and evermore shall be, is manifest in me; but Christ belongs to every man” (Aquarian Gospel 82:17).
Christ is Divinity immanent in all creation, Ishwara, the Only-begotten of the Father, the extension of God into relative existence. Jesus was one with Christ, Who was so perfectly manifested in him that we can correctly call him “Jesus Christ.” And we can also say “Krishna Christ” and “Gautama (Buddha) Christ,” looking forward to the day when we, too, shall be “Christ.” For Christ does in truth belong to every one of us as our inmost life and our outermost destiny.
“For to me to live is Christ” (Philippians 1:21).
“Christ liveth in me” (Galatians 2:20).
“Christ in you, the hope of glory…Christ, who is our life” (Colossians 1:27; 3:4).
“Ye are of God, little children” (I John 4:4).
This is the true Gospel of Christ.
All are equal in God’s eyes
“God scatters forth his blessings with a lavish hand, and he is not more kind to one than to another one of all the creatures of his hand. I just came up from Judah’s hills, and God’s same sun was shining and his flowers were blooming, and in the night his stars were just as bright as they are here” (Aquarian Gospel 82:18, 19).
All are one in God’s eyes
“God cannot cast a child away; the Jew, the Greek and the Samaritan are equal in his sight. And why should men and women fret and quarrel, like children in their plays? The lines that separate the sons of men are made of straw, and just a single breath of love would blow them all away” (Aquarian Gospel 82:20-22).
If we draw near to God Who is love, all lines of separation will disappear from our hearts. As long as those lines remain it is a sign of our separation from God. When we erase one kind, the other will vanish. This is the path to blessedness.
The advent of Christ
“The people were amazed at what the stranger said, and many said, The Christ that was to come has surely come. And Jesus went with them into the town, and tarried certain days” (Aquarian Gospel 82:23, 24).
When the understanding of Jesus’ teachings in this chapter dawns in our minds, then surely the Christ will have come to us and will dwell within us, and we shall also be Christ in the world.
Read the next section in the Aquarian Gospel for Yogis: Jesus in Sychar