“Now, Rabbi Barachia of the synagogue of Nazareth, was aid to Mary in the teaching of her son. One morning after service in the synagogue the rabbi said to Jesus as he sat in silent thought, Which is the greatest of the Ten Commands?
“And Jesus said, I do not see a greatest of the Ten Commands. I see a golden cord that runs through all the Ten Commands that binds them fast and makes them one. This cord is love, and it belongs to every word of all the Ten Commands.
“If one is full of love he can do nothing else than worship God; for God is love. If one is full of love, he cannot kill; he cannot falsely testify; he cannot covet; can do naught but honor God and man. If one is full of love he does not need commands of any kind” (Aquarian Gospel 17:1-7).
A fragmented mind
It is a peculiarity of the Western mind to split things up and classify them, the invention of the pie chart being the pinnacle of such a mind’s achievement. This insistence on fragmentation of all things runs through every level of Western man’s life and experience, joined with the insistence that things should be looked at in a series, only one link at a time, going along in a linear movement. Even an overview is considered to be a collage of its parts and not a unity, only a means to look at disparate parts in relation to one another. This is particularly evident in Western religious thought (including Eastern Christianity) where delineation and separation are looked upon as absolutes. Uncrossable lines are drawn between God and all spirit-intelligences, as well as between every individual object or person in existence. Division and dissimilarity are fundamental to this way of viewing things. Hence, the unity of God, man, and creation is viewed as an absurdity and pantheism as a base heresy. Reconciliation is considered perhaps possible, but oneness is deemed impossible. Western politics, religion, economics, and social structures are manifestations of this disbelief. “Celebration of diversity” is the best it gets, an upbeat, positive insistence on division and difference as the real mode of being.
Naturally, such an outlook manifests in questions as to what single thing is the most important, necessary, or essential. This is a backhanded way of seeking unity, but a unity that denies the viability of everything but that one factor, rather than a reaching out to embrace and unify them all. This also leads to a listing of “bare minimums” (“what is the least…what is the essential”), a dogged insistence on mere subsistence–especially in the realm of religion, even though those who insist on stark and unadorned houses of worship and simple, minimalist theology live in luxurious houses and drive luxury cars (usually more than one per family) and dress in elaborate styles. Denying themselves nothing, they usually deny God everything. This is the way of “simple” religion.
Rabbi Barachia’s question: “Which is the greatest of the Ten Commands?” reflects the mentality just outlined. But Jesus’ answer mirrors the vision of Unity. (Jesus answers the same question again in Chapter 155.).
Seeing the unity
Jesus said, I do not see a greatest of the Ten Commands. I see a golden cord that runs through all the Ten Commands that binds them fast and makes them one.
Originally there was the One Which became the Many. Yet this fundamental unity remains unimpaired–and imperative, since it shall in time reunite the Many which shall merge back into the One. Jesus, having come to earth to open the way from diversity to unity, looks at all things from that perspective and sees not a theoretical unity but the dynamic which produces unity.
This cord is love, and it belongs to every word of all the Ten Commands. Love, as spoken of by Jesus, is not the emotion of attraction and attachment, firmly based in the ego-mind, that ordinary people mean when they speak of love. Rather, He means the drawing power of God, the One, into original Unity. (This is definitively discussed by Swami Yukteswar Giri, the guru of Paramhansa Yogananda, in his book The Holy Science.) Furthermore, He sees the Ten Commandments as manifestation of God’s love, not tyrannical mandates as they are usually thought to be. (See The Gnosis of the Ten Commandments and the Beatitudes.).
But love is neither a commandment nor a fulfilling of a commandment; rather it is a deep inward movement toward the Divine. Consequently Jesus said: “If one is full of love he can do nothing else than worship God; for God is love. If one is full of love, he cannot kill; he cannot falsely testify; he cannot covet; can do naught but honor God and man.”
A lot of people think they are “loving” or claim to be–for a multitude of reasons, but all of them ego-based and selfish and therefore love-abrogating. Jesus gives us a profile of those who truly love.
If one is full of love he can do nothing else than worship God; for God is love. According to Jesus a loving person first of all worships God; “for God is love” and it is His nature to love and be loved in return, just as it is our nature as His image and likeness (Genesis 1:26; see Genesis 1:27, 5:3, 9:6) to do the same. Those who love, worship, but what is worship? Our English word comes from “worthship,” which means to acknowledge someone’s value or worth and to respect it. Worship, then, is a disposition of the heart, not a lot of outer action or inner emotion. In Hebrew the word is shachah, which means to bow down in reverence. In Greek the word is proskuneo, which means the same, but also carries the idea of adoration and service. Some believe that it is derived from kuon, which means to kiss as an expression of love. It also implies drawing very close to the object of worship, even entering into union with it.
If one is full of love, he cannot kill. Surely there is no sensible person who would deny that loving and killing are opposites. Yet people kill all the time–even though they do it through commercial agents–when they eat meat or use animal products of any kind. “’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 28:10). It takes a great violation of conscience to kill another human being, but how easily and thoughtlessly we support the killing industry when we eat meat or use “animal by-products.” As an Essene, Jesus never did either of these things, nor had His ancestors.
Later He will make it clear that vengefulness and hatred are also a form of murder committed in the heart, and none the less evil:
“The letter of the law commands; you shall not kill; and he who kills must stand before the judgement seat. A person may desire to kill, yet if he does not kill he is not judged by law. The spirit of the law avers that he who shall desire to kill, or seeks revenge, is angry with a man without sufficient cause, must answer to the judge” (Aquarian Gospel 97:5-7).
He cannot falsely testify. We lie for one purpose: to deceive; and no one will deceive those he loves. Oh, yes, we think up all kinds of reasons for lying to those we claim to love, such as we are “protecting” them–or ourselves–or that it does no harm. The most shameless lies are those told by adults–especially parents–to children. Children, being intuitive, almost always know they are being lied to, unless they so much want what is told them to be true that they lie to themselves and make themselves believe what they are told, or just cannot believe that their parents would lie to them. This is markedly true in the matter of the Santa Claus myth. Victimizing children by this lie so their deluded behavior will be “cute” and amusing to parents and grandparents is indefensible to any sense of truth or reality–the very things the ego completely lacks. Lies of any kind are manifestations of dishonesty and disrespect. Malicious lies in the form of character assassination really are metaphysical murder. Lying because people “deserve” to be deceived is a double lie. This manifests constantly in deceiving insurance companies, the IRS, and other government agencies. Even if it is true that a lie does not hurt the person lied to, it does hurt the liar by weakening his moral strength and integrity. Yes; we should love ourselves as well as others.
He cannot covet. This does not mean that we cannot admire something another person has and wish to have one like it–and work toward getting it. “Covet” in the Bible is translated from three different words, one Hebrew and two Greek. Chamad means to intensely long after the possession of a specific thing owned by another which can be obtained only by taking (not purchasing) it from him. Epithumeo means the same thing. Zeloo means to “burn” with both desire for someone else’s property and intense jealousy and resentment of that person because he possesses it. (This latter is the basis for most Socialism, however it may be masked.) Obviously no one can feel this way toward someone they love; love prevents such egoic feelings and desires. This is why Saint Paul says that love “envieth not” (I Corinthians 13:4). For love is absence of egotism. Finally, love lifts us above material greed that is the basis for covetousness.
Honoring God and man
[He] can do naught but honor God and man. The Hebrew word kabad, translated “honor,” is very interesting, for it literally means to be heavy or weighty. The idea is that to honor someone is to consider them significant and meaningful. The Greek word is timao, which means to value or esteem something, even to look upon it as precious and dear to oneself. It also means to think highly of something and consider it has innate dignity. A peripheral meaning is to render what is due to someone. (This is because timao has several roots.).
We have just said that love lifts us above the material. Even more, it focuses us on the spiritual. Thus, those who love see the divine spirit in all human beings, however reprehensible their behavior and words may be, and value them accordingly though they repudiate their deeds and words. The ultimate expression of this was Jesus’ prayer for those who had crucified Him. Love is not approval or acceptance of wrongdoing, but it looks past the doing to the doer–and loves.
It is easy to love God, Who is all perfection and Love itself, but “If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also” (I John 4:20,21).
The crux of the whole matter
Jesus has told us that those who love will fulfill the Ten Commandments (and much more), but He caps His discourse on this subject by stating: “If one is full of love he does not need commands of any kind.” This is because love centers our conscious in spirit so that we automatically live according to the Divine Pattern. For “the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, [and] temperance” (Galatians 5:22,23). Therefore, “if we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit” (Galatians 5:25,26) in love. “For God is love” (Aquarian Gospel 17:5; I John 4:8,16).
Read the next section in the Aquarian Gospel for Yogis: Opening To The Truth