Meeting the King
“The news soon spread abroad that Jesus, king of Israel, had come to Bethany, and all the people of the town came forth to greet the king” (Aquarian Gospel 68:1).
The readiness of people to accept that Jesus was truly the king of Israel is very significant, for except the witness of John the Baptist to him no sign of any kind had been given–he had so far worked no miracles. It is hard to comprehend in our modern, overdone society, but there is a very real intuition that is operative in the most simple people of “undeveloped” societies. I witnessed it many times in India and in some parts of Mexico.
But the people did not just accept that Jesus was king, they wanted to meet him. It is sad the number of people that believe in God and saints, but have no interest in meeting either God or His saints. Only those who seek shall find (Matthew 7:7). In the fourth chapter of Saint John’s gospel we find that those whom the Samaritan woman told about Jesus eventually came to her and said that they had come to believe in him because they had seen him for themselves–not because she or anyone else had told them he was the Messiah-Christ. This is a valuable lesson all aspirants must learn: without personal experience there is no true knowing.
The true King
“And Jesus, standing in the midst of them, exclaimed, Behold, indeed, the king has come, but Jesus is not king” (Aquarian Gospel 68:2).
This is only the second time Jesus has spoken to a gathering of people, and he gives one of his most important teachings: that he is not to be confused with God, the only king of the Kingdom. Because he was one with God, wherever Jesus was, God was present and those who came near to him came near to God–which was why the good loved him and the evil hated him. Certainly Jesus was king of his own inner kingdom, but he was not the King of All. In India monastics are commonly addressed as Maharaj–great king–but this is meant only in relation to their personal state of spiritual realization. No one mistakes them for God (Ishwara). When Swami Sivananda stepped into the satsang hall, God became tangibly present, but none of us thought he was Satchidananda except in his personal consciousness. And he taught us that we could be just the same. That is what a real Christian is: one who seeks to become a Christ just as was Jesus.
Buddha said that no one was his friend who denied that he taught what he did teach, or who claimed that he taught something which he did not really teach. No one is worthy to be called a Christian who denies Jesus’ real teachings and substitutes things as doctrines which he never taught. In the main, Christianity (Churchianity) is a compound of fictions, distortions, and outright lies sprinkled with a few sublime truths that really came from Jesus. But just as good food mixed with poison is deadly, those sprinkles of truth are defiled with falsehood and ignorance. Saint Paul said (Romans 1:25) that it is possible to change the truth of God into a lie, and modern Christianity is proof of that fact.
The true Kingdom
“The kingdom truly is at hand; but men can see it not with carnal eyes; they cannot see the king upon the throne. This is the kingdom of the soul; its throne is not an earthly throne; its king is not a man.
“When human kings found kingdoms here, they conquer other kings by force of arms; one kingdom rises on the ruins of another one. But when our Father-God sets up the kingdom of the soul, he pours his blessings forth, like rain, upon the thrones of earthly kings who rule in righteousness.
“It is not rule that God would overthrow; his sword is raised against injustice, wantonness and crime. Now, while the kings of Rome do justice, and love mercy and walk humbly with their God, the benediction of the Triune God will rest upon them all. They need not fear a messenger whom God sends forth to earth.
“I am not sent to sit upon a throne to rule as Caesar rules; and you may tell the ruler of the Jews that I am not a claimant for his throne” (Aquarian Gospel 68:3-10).
The kingdom truly is at hand; but men can see it not with carnal eyes; they cannot see the king upon the throne. This is the kingdom of the soul; its throne is not an earthly throne; its king is not a man. The kingdom is nothing but Spirit, and Spirit is Pure Consciousness. There are two aspects of the kingdom: universal and individual. God is the infinite Being and is Himself the Kingdom. Each spirit, being a part of God–a spark of pure consciousness–is a finite kingdom, and the spirit is also king of that kingdom. So we must first seek our own kingdom, for when we win that we will gain admittance to the Great Kingdom of God Consciousness and know the Great King. At present most people live in the world, but the wise seek to transfer their citizenship to the inner kingdom of spirit so they can see and know God by becoming one with Him.
When human kings found kingdoms here, they conquer other kings by force of arms; one kingdom rises on the ruins of another one. But when our Father-God sets up the kingdom of the soul, he pours his blessings forth, like rain, upon the thrones of earthly kings who rule in righteousness.
When I returned from my first visit to India I experienced spiritual culture shock. One incident occurred in a doctor’s office. Lying on a table was a magazine whose cover showed Billy Graham preaching. His face was twisted and his eyes sharp like knives, emanating negativity. The by-line on the cover said he had written a new book: Peace With God. From my soul I gave thanks to God that I need not listen to such a person, and that I knew God was not at war with me so I did not need to make peace with Him or have anyone else do it for me. I could say with Emily Bronte:
No coward soul is mine,
No trembler in the world’s storm-troubled sphere:
I see Heaven’s glories shine,
And Faith shines equal, arming me from Fear.
O God within my breast,
Almighty, ever-present Deity!
Life, that in me has rest,
As I, undying Life, have power in Thee!
Vain are the thousand creeds
That move men’s hearts: unutterably vain;
Worthless as withered weeds,
Or idlest froth amid the boundless main,
To waken doubt in one
Holding so fast by Thy infinity,
So surely anchored on
The steadfast rock of Immortality.
With wide-embracing love
Thy Spirit animates eternal years,
Pervades and broods above,
Changes, sustains, dissolves, creates, and rears.
Though earth and moon were gone,
And suns and universes ceased to be,
And Thou wert left alone,
Every existence would exist in Thee.
There is not room for Death,
Nor atom that his might could render void:
Thou–Thou art Being and Breath,
And what Thou art may never be destroyed.
When we, too, “rule in righteousness,” the blessings of God will pour down on–and in–us like rain.
It is not rule that God would overthrow; his sword is raised against injustice, wantonness and crime. The sword of the spirit seeks not to touch others, but to change him who wields it. Those who would “walk in the spirit” do not seek to change the world outside them, but seek to change their state of consciousness. And they begin that by purifying their life in all its aspects. “Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God” (Matthew 5:8).
Now, while the kings of Rome do justice, and love mercy and walk humbly with their God, the benediction of the Triune God will rest upon them all. They need not fear a messenger whom God sends forth to earth. I am not sent to sit upon a throne to rule as Caesar rules; and you may tell the ruler of the Jews that I am not a claimant for his throne. As an infant Jesus was taken into Egypt because Herod, the puppet-king of Israel, thought he would be a rival to his throne. Caesar in Rome was also a potential threat if he thought Jesus sought to dethrone Herod Agrippa, the Roman puppet-king of that time. And indeed the enemies of Jesus were constantly denouncing Jesus as a political threat. They had no more concept of the Kingdom of God than do the present prosperity-preachers and televangelists of today. It is not an earthly kingdom we seek, but the kingdom of the pure heart wherein God dwells.
“He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him. Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world? Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him” (John 14:21-23). These are the real “promises of Christ,” of “Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27), “that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature” (II Peter 1:4). What church today assures its members that they shall “be partakers of the divine nature”? No wonder Jesus asked: “When the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:8).
The true Christ
“Men call me Christ, and God has recognized the name; but Christ is not a man. The Christ is universal love, and Love is king. This Jesus is but man who has been fitted by temptations overcome, by trials multiform, to be the temple through which Christ can manifest to men.
“Then hear, you men of Israel, hear! Look not upon the flesh; it is not king. Look to the Christ within, who shall be formed in every one of you, as he is formed in me. When you have purified your hearts by faith, the king will enter in, and you will see his face” (Aquarian Gospel 68:11-14).
In Kabbalistic cosmology one of the highest planes of existence is called Messiah (Christ). It is inhabited by those great ones who have ascended (evolved) to become perfect reflection-embodiments of God. Anyone who attains that level is a Messiah, a Christ. Unfortunately, at the time of Jesus it was believed that “Messiah” referred to a single person and to his “office” or mission which would be to drive away the Romans, free Israel, and reign as king, extending the power and influence of Israel throughout the world. There was nothing spiritual about it at all, unless we accept the idea that God sets up earthly kingdoms and subjects all others to their rule–a pathetic concept indeed.
Jesus had ascended to the Messiah plane and therefore was a Messiah, not the Messiah, for Messiah also indicated an aspect of Divine Consciousness as the merciful Savior of Sentient beings. So Messiah is both a title of Divinity and perfected humanity. “Christ” is that aspect of God which we call “the only-begotten Son” or “second Person of the Holy Trinity,” and it is also anyone who has attained the state of perfect union with God, the Divine Unity, and elected to return to lesser planes for the uplift of those still struggling up the evolutionary ladder. Krishna, Buddha and Jesus were all Messiah-Christs as were many others throughout the history of this world and all the higher ones. Many great masters have passed from this world into more subtler regions where they assist others in attaining liberation–their own Christhood. That is why Yogananda often refers to liberated yogis of India as “Yogi-Christs.” Real Christianity is seeking our own Christhood, not insulting these Christs by groveling before them like slaves and depending on them to “save” us while blaspheming other Christs. Keeping this in mind we can now look at what Jesus teaches us in these four verses.
Men call me Christ, and God has recognized the name; but Christ is not a man. The Christ is universal love, and Love is king. When “a voice from heaven said, This is the well-beloved son of God, the Christ, the love of God made manifest,” God declared the correctness of calling Jesus “Christ” as had the seven great sages. In Chapter Fifty-Nine we read: “Then all the sages laid their hands on Jesus’ head, and said with one accord, Praise God! For wisdom, honor, glory, power, riches, blessing, strength, are yours, O Christ, for evermore. And every living creature said, Amen.”
Yet Jesus cautions us that Christ is not to be thought of as either man or angel, but God Who is Universal Love, the only true King of All. That is why the Beloved Disciple wrote: “He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.…And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him” (I John 4:8, 16).
There is a great deal of talk in this unmerciful and unloving world about “love” and even “unconditional love,” but it is only talk, because love is truly rare indeed. For only those who are one with God and are established in their own divinity can really love. Only an unconditioned being is capable of unconditional love. People are capable of intense liking and attachment–which they sincerely believe is love–but only the great masters and God really love anyone. Those who are on the way to sainthood can be “loving” in the sense that they have begun to reflect God’s love, but that is only what is known as loving-kindness–only the liberated can really love in the truest sense. Yes, it is true that “’Tis love and love alone the world is seeking” because everyone intuits that they belong “back home” in the bosom of God, but when they seek love anywhere else only grief and pain result. We must not be in love, we must be Love. Otherwise we cannot love, however willing we may be to do so. How well do I remember listening to women “on the prowl” objecting to Yogananda’s chant: “In this world, Mother, no one can love me. In this world they do not know love divine.…” “That’s not true!” they would shrill, “There is love in this world!” But as a friend of mine once told someone of their type: “What you call ‘love’ can be bought on the street for money.” Do we want love? Then we must seek God alone.
This Jesus is but man who has been fitted by temptations overcome, by trials multiform, to be the temple through which Christ can manifest to men. There are people who are impressed with the seeming glamor of being spiritually noteworthy. They read the life of a saint who worked miracles and was sought after by thousands and they think: “Me, too.” But nothing comes free: there is always a price, and few are they who even can pay it, much less are willing to do so. In the animal kingdom jackals follow lions, and it is the same in the human kingdom–two-legged jackals flock around the “lions among men.” It was even so in Jesus’ life: “Then came to him the mother of Zebedee’s children with her sons, worshipping him, and desiring a certain thing of him. And he said unto her, What wilt thou? She saith unto him, Grant that these my two sons may sit, the one on thy right hand, and the other on the left, in thy kingdom. But Jesus answered and said, Ye know not what ye ask. Are ye able to drink of the cup that I shall drink of, and to be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with? They say unto him, We are able. And he saith unto them, Ye shall drink indeed of my cup, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with: but to sit on my right hand, and on my left, is not mine to give, but it shall be given to them for whom it is prepared of my Father” (Matthew 20:20-23).
In order “to be the temple through which Christ can manifest to men” we must have “been fitted by temptations overcome, by trials multiform”–and that is not at all glamorous. To build the real temple within is a lifelong and life-consuming work.
Then hear, you men of Israel, hear! Look not upon the flesh; it is not king. Look to the Christ within, who shall be formed in every one of you, as he is formed in me. Christ is with each one of us, and the only way to manifest that Christ is through cultivation of our inmost consciousness through the practice of yoga–especially meditation. If we pursue the path of yoga with full diligence, Christ we be manifested in us just as He was manifested in Jesus. We, too, will be transformed–not in Christ, but into Christ. Jesus taught that we are all to be gods within God (see the tenth chapter of Saint John’s gospel). That alone is Christianity.
When you have purified your hearts by faith, the king will enter in, and you will see his face. “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure” (I John 3:2, 3). “Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God” (Matthew 5:8).
Preparing for Christ
“And then the people asked, What must we do that we may make our bodies fit abiding places for the king? And Jesus said, Whatever tends to purity in thought, and word, and deed will cleanse the temple of the flesh. There are no rules that can apply to all, for men are specialists in sin; each has his own besetting sin, and each must study for himself how he can best transmute his tendency to evil things to that of righteousness and love. Until men reach the higher plane, and get away from selfishness, this rule will give the best results: Do unto other men what you would have them do to you” (Aquarian Gospel 68:15-20).
There is great wisdom here. First is the principle that the body must be made fit to contain Divine Consciousness in its fullness, that mere abstract thinking cannot of itself accomplish anything. True sadhana is a practical doing on many levels. The body is itself “frozen” karma, so purification of the body through diet, discipline, and morality is as essential as is purification of the subtle psychic energies through meditation, and they all add up to purification and spiritualization of karma–and therefore the personal consciousness which can then be attuned to Cosmic Consciousness.
Purity of mind is needed, and the first step is purification of the mental energies through diet, for the mind is formed of the subtle energies of the food we eat according to the Chandogya Upanishad: “Mind consists of food. That which is the subtle part of milk moves upward when the milk is churned and becomes butter. In the same manner, the subtle part of the food that is eaten moves upward and becomes mind. Thus, mind consists of food” (Chandogya Upanishad 6.5.4, 6.6.1,2,5). The importance of diet in spiritual life should be obvious from this.
As Jesus points out, thoughts, words, and deeds also affect the body, as we know from the reality of psychosomatic disease. Pure and elevated thoughts will purify and elevate the body, spiritual thoughts and spiritualize the body, and divine thoughts will divinize the body. The words of spiritual power known as mantras have a special power to transmute the body when constantly vibrated through meditation and japa (inner repetition) outside meditation. Divine words are inseparable from Divine Consciousness, as diligent yogis come to know by their own experience.
We must examine our minds and see what we need to do to change its tendencies. Different people are susceptible to different delusions, so each yogi must also tailor his mental actions accordingly. But all will benefit from following the rule: Do unto other men what you would have them do to you.
The Christine message
“And many of the people said, We know that Jesus is the Christ, the king who was to come, and blessed be his name. Now, Jesus and his six disciples turned their faces toward Jerusalem, and many people followed them. But Matthew, son of Alpheus, ran on before, and when he reached Jerusalem, he said, Behold the Christines come! The multitudes came forth to see the king. But Jesus did not speak to any one until he reached the temple court, and then he opened up a book and read: Behold, I send my messenger, and he will pave the way, and Christ, for whom you wait, will come unto his temple unannounced. Behold, for he will come, says God, the Lord of hosts. And then he closed the book; he said no more; he left the temple halls, and with his six disciples, went his way to Nazareth, and they abode with Mary, Jesus’ mother, and her sister, Miriam.” (Aquarian Gospel 68:21-27).
Considering their level of understanding at the time, Jesus was showing his hearers that the Messiah was to appear after a messenger had prepared the way and announced him to the people, as had already happened when John the Baptist presented him to them at the Jordan.
Those with a more spiritual understanding will see this as a continuation of the preceding verses concerning the individual’s preparation for awakening his own Christhood, which shall occur in every sentient being within the cosmos.
Read the next section in the Aquarian Gospel for Yogis: Dealing With Challengers