The supreme delusion
“Man must have his mate” is the crassest delusion of a human being. It is also the grossest and most destructive. Sex addicts throughout history have defended and glorified their enslavement. The more metaphysically minded addicts have even invented the doctrine of the “soul mate.”
One of my best friend’s life was devastated by believing a man who told her he was her soul mate. I was in India at the time, and she wrote me a glowing letter telling me how she had at last found her soul mate–just like the Edgar Cayce books said would happen. But the story quickly changed, and when I came back from India I found a very different situation which she had been ashamed to write me about.
She had returned from her first trip to India some months before and had been working hard to get the money to return for a longer stay. With the money she had saved previously as the head of the art department in one of California’s newest and most prestigious high schools, she could perhaps stay in India for a year or more. But her soul mate, after destroying her virginity (and of course not mentioning marriage), had persuaded her to go with him to Las Vegas and there make a large fortune by the pooling of their psychic resources in winning at the casinos. Instead, when they reached there he got her addicted to drugs and alcohol and lost every cent she had at the gambling tables. When the money was all gone, he told her to drive him to the city limits so he could hitchhike to Los Angeles. When he got out of the car his farewell words were: “So long, Nance. It’s been kicks.”
But the tragedy was not over. She had to get a job just to have the gas money to leave Las Vegas, so she got work in a restaurant serving meat and alcohol. Then she discovered that she was pregnant. In fear and confusion she had an abortion, the aftermath of which almost destroyed her mentally and spiritually. Eventually she shook the drug addiction, but it was nine years before she was healed of the self-loathing and guilt resulting from the abortion. Even to this day the scars remain, and the mention of her “soul mate’s” name can throw her back into the misery of those days, although over fifty years have passed. Even before my friend’s disaster I had known highly spiritual women whose inner and outer lives were permanently wrecked by marriage.
Sex being such a terrible force in the life of a human being, it was necessary for Jesus to conquer it. His struggle was especially great because it came in the soul mate form without even a touch of carnal lust. For sex is not just physical–in fact it is largely psychological, rising from a profound sense of separation and lack on the part of the soul that is not in conscious union with God, its only real soul mate. When the individual is ready to make the great transition from samsara to moksha, this is the last bond that must be ruthlessly shattered. Otherwise the goal will not be attained, but the seeker will fall back into the waves of the ocean and drown in defeat. Buddha said that the hardest foe he had to overcome was sex, and that if there had been a second obstacle as powerful as sex he would not have been able to attain enlightenment.
“In all the land there is no place more grandly furnished than the Beauty Parlors of the temple of the sun. Few students ever entered these rich rooms; the priests regarded them with awe, and called them Halls of Mysteries. When Jesus had attained the victory over fear, he gained the right to enter here. The guide led on the way, and after passing many richly furnished rooms they reached the Hall of Harmony; and here was Jesus left alone.
“Among the instruments of music was a harpsichord, and Jesus sat in thoughtful mood inspecting it, when, quietly, a maiden of entrancing beauty came into the hall. She did not seem to notice Jesus as he sat and mused, so busy with his thoughts. She found her place beside the harpsichord; she touched the chords most gently, and she sung the songs of Israel. And Jesus was entranced; such beauty he had never seen; such music he had never heard. The maiden sung her songs; she did not seem to know that anyone was near; she went her way.
“And Jesus, talking with himself, said out, What is the meaning of this incident? I did not know that such entrancing beauty and such queen-like loveliness were ever found among the sons of men. I did not know that voice of angel ever graced a human form, or that seraphic music ever came from human lips. For days he sat entranced; the current of his thoughts was changed; he thought of nothing but the singer and her songs” (Aquarian Gospel 53:1-12).
It was not the fault of the young girl that “for days he sat entranced; the current of his thoughts was changed; he thought of nothing but the singer and her songs.” The problem was in Jesus’ mind. But his reaction to her–notice I do not say “her effect on him,” for she has nothing to do with it–is very wrong, and very perilous. If something can wipe out our good sense, the weakness is in us, not the object.
When Sri Ramakrishna warned men about Woman and Gold–just as he warned women about Man and Gold–he was not speaking of female human beings and the element gold. He was speaking of the delusion in the mind of the human male in relation to women. “Woman” is the fantasy, the addiction which draws the man to self-forgetfulness. And the same is true of “Man” in the mind of women. This is why it is so common for people to ask: “Where is the woman/man I married?” They married the fantasy, not the actual person, and when faced with the person they become disillusioned. Too late.
When the mental weakness or flaw is corrected, then neither Woman nor Man interest the man or woman, and they will see any connection with them as absurd. That is the truth. Before we can evolve beyond male and female, we must eliminate those distinctions from our mind. Then it is just as Jesus said: “The children of this world marry, and are given in marriage: But they which shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry, nor are given in marriage” (Luke 20:34, 35). This is the teaching of Jesus, and no one can be a disciple or devotee of Jesus and not follow it.
“He longed to see her once again; and after certain days she came; she spoke and laid her hand upon his head. Her touch thrilled all his soul, and for the time, forgotten was the work that he was sent to do. Few were the words the maiden said; she went her way; but then the heart of Jesus had been touched.
“A love-flame had been kindled in his soul, and he was brought to face the sorest trial of his life. He could not sleep nor eat. Thoughts of the maiden came; they would not go. His carnal nature called aloud for her companionship” (Aquarian Gospel 53:13-17).
There is a great lesson here. At first sight Jesus’ attraction was to the girl’s evident culture, dignity, and beauty of mind and heart as well as face. His first captivation was very romantic and idealistic. There was nothing of lust or selfishness in it. It would seem to have even been noble. But in this second encounter the girl touched him–something that no well-bred and modest girl would ever have done at that time. So we see that the first starry-eyed encounter was but a prelude to the trap. Doing something irregular by touching him, the girl was no doubt unaware of any negative result. (I have know many spiritual women who had no idea of the very unspiritual mental reaction of men to them, including the “spiritual” men who wanted a “spiritual” relation with them. Odd, where those men thought the women’s spirit was located.) But the result occurred, anyway: “Her touch thrilled all his soul, and for the time, forgotten was the work that he was sent to do.…but then the heart of Jesus had been touched. A love-flame had been kindled in his soul, and he was brought to face the sorest trial of his life. He could not sleep nor eat. Thoughts of the maiden came; they would not go. His carnal nature called aloud for her companionship.” There we have it: from romance to lust in one easy step.
A great lesson is here: love often masks lust. Whether the love is real or a pretense of the mind matters little, for lust will be the result. That is why Yogananda told one of his disciples: “From eight to eighty they are dangerous”–not because of intrinsic evil, but because of a man’s inner predisposition from thousand of previous lives, human, animal, and even insect. The habit of sex is the oldest conditioning found in the subconscious mind of a human being, and the romantic, “spiritual” form is the most dangerous because it appears so pure and noble to the unwary.
Just think: Jesus had come on earth to be a deliverer of humanity, to be a savior in the truest sense, and he forgot that holy destiny in a moment, overcome with selfish lust, the oldest and dirtiest trick to which humans are susceptible. If this was true of Jesus, what about us amateurs? We are being warned by his example. If Jesus could not fulfill his destiny without rejecting this kind of “love,” neither can we.
“And then he said, Lo, I have conquered every foe that I have met, and shall I now be conquered by this carnal love?
“My Father sent me here to show the power of love divine, that love that reaches every living thing. Shall this pure, universal love be all absorbed by carnal love?
“Shall I forget all creatures else, and lose my life in this fair maiden, though she is the highest type of beauty, purity and love?
“Into its very depths his soul was stirred, and long he wrestled with this angel-idol of his heart. But when the day was almost lost, his higher ego rose in might; he found himself again, and then he said, Although my heart shall break I will not fail in this my hardest task; I will be victor over carnal love” (Aquarian Gospel 53:18-23).
See that Jesus regards the girl as “the highest type of beauty, purity and love.” He does not condemn or blame her. I well remember a novice monk once telling me: “I have never met a decent, moral woman in my life.” That told me that he was an indecent and immoral man in his heart, and no doubt would be so in body sometime in the future. The truly pure rightly see the fault only in themselves. Nevertheless, Jesus knew that he could not have both human finite love and infinite love divine. The struggle was terrible and agonizing to him, but for love of God and humanity he knew it was necessary that he win it and vanquish that of earth and ego.
“And when again the maiden came, and offered him her hand and heart, he said, Fair one, your very presence thrills me with delight; your voice is benediction to my soul; my human self would fly with you, and be contented in your love; but all the world is craving for a love that I have come to manifest. I must, then, bid you go; but we will meet again; our ways on earth will not be cast apart. I see you in the hurrying throngs of earth as minister of love; I hear your voice in song, that wins the hearts of men to better things. And then in sorrow and in tears the maiden went away, and Jesus was again alone” (Aquarian Gospel 53:24-29).
When beginning the struggle of extricating himself from the world, an aspiring yogi more than once asked me: “But should you ever do anything that would hurt anyone?” He had his girlfriend in mind, of course. His compassion was not really for her but for his sexual desire for her. He persevered and in time realized his folly. And it was not long before he got an invitation to her wedding. His ego was mightily offended that she had not at least waited a few months in “hurt” and grief. Later he laughed about it, seeing the flimsiness of deluded “love.” Yet his battle had been very real at the time, even if the opponent was only a phantom.
“And instantly the great bells of the temple rang; the singers sung a new, new song; the grotto blazed with light. The hierophant himself appeared, and said, All hail! triumphant Logos, hail! The conqueror of carnal love stands on the heights. And then he placed in Jesus’ hands a scroll on which was written, LOVE DIVINE.
“Together they passed through the grotto of the beautiful, and in the banquet hall a feast was served, and Jesus was the honored guest” (Aquarian Gospel 53:30-33).
As Saint Methodius of Olympus wrote in a hymn: “Chastely I live for Thee; and holding my lighted lamps, my Lord, I go forth to meet Thee.” Divine love is possible only when selfish, human love is transcended.
Read the next section in the Aquarian Gospel for Yogis: Comprehending Death