The fifth Pillar
Apollo wrote the fifth: The soul is drawn to perfect light by four white steeds, and these are Will, and Faith, and Helpfulness and Love. That which one wills to do, he has the power to do. A knowledge of that power is faith; and when faith moves, the soul begins its flight. A selfish faith leads not to light. There is no lonely pilgrim on the way to light. Men only gain the heights by helping others gain the heights. The steed that leads the way to spirit life is Love; is pure unselfish Love” (Aquarian Gospel 59:1-6).
The soul is drawn to perfect light by four white steeds, and these are Will, and Faith, and Helpfulness and Love. That which one wills to do, he has the power to do. A knowledge of that power is faith; and when faith moves, the soul begins its flight. A selfish faith leads not to light. There is no lonely pilgrim on the way to light. Men only gain the heights by helping others gain the heights. The steed that leads the way to spirit life is Love; is pure unselfish Love. The ascension to Divine Light occurs through the agencies of “Will, and Faith, and Helpfulness and Love.”
Will was mentioned at the end of the previous section. Will is important because it is the fundamental power of the human being. Each person has five levels or “bodies” through which he functions–physical, emotional, sensory, intellectual, and will bodies, called in Sanskrit the annamaya, pranamaya, manomaya, jnanamaya, and anandamaya koshas. They correspond to the five elements: earth, water, fire, air, and ether. Will arises from the etheric level of our being, which is the nearest to our pure consciousness. Exercise of the will is the most “spiritual” activity of which we are capable, and self-discipline is the means for development of will. Many people think they have will-power when they are really driven by emotions and subconscious impulses alone. They think that they choose, when they are actually being impelled by blind and instinctual urges. They do not know the difference between desiring (wanting) and willing. A great deal of outright brutality is passed off as will-power.
When this Principle speaks of “will” it is referring to intelligent will proceeding from the inmost light of the spirit. The will is both developed and freed by correct spiritual practice, especially meditation. Meditation is the most potent means for achieving a perfectly illumined will. Will is mentioned first in the list of “steeds” to underline the fact that spiritual ascension is exclusively an individual, personal activity. No one can do it for us; we do it solely on our own. So development of will is the prime basis of spiritual growth. Here, too, “feelings” have no meaning; gnosis and will are inseparable. The whole matter is summed up in the statement: “That which one wills to do, he has the power to do.” The possession of perfectly-developed will is an infallible guarantee of spiritual success.
Faith is not belief; it is a conviction that arises from experience. Actually, faith is based on experiential knowledge. Some of that knowledge comes from previous lives, so we may think that our faith is based on a feeling or an intuition, but it is not; it is a matter of knowing. Consequently, truly viable faith can be expressed intelligently, can be explained. Those who simply cite a scripture or other authority do not have faith. They have ideas and principles, but not faith. Usually what they really have is ignorance and superstition that gives birth to bigotry. (“Intolerance is ignorance matured”–Aquarian Gospel 77:13). As with Will, Faith is developed through meditation, “and when faith moves, the soul begins its flight.”
Helpfulness is the fulfillment of the counsel to love our neighbor as our self (Luke 10:27; Galatians 5:14; see also Leviticus 19:18,34; Matthew 19:19, 22:23; Mark 12:31; Romans 13:9; James 2:8). Two elements are involved in Helpfulness: mercy/compassion and the creation of positive karma, for whatever we sow we shall reap (Galatians 6:7; II Corinthians 9:6). If we sow kindness and assistance toward others we shall reap the same for ourselves. Another element is the understanding of our fundamental unity with all beings–not just with God. This is expressed by Saint Paul when he says: “Who is weak, and I am not weak? who is offended, and I burn not?” (II Corinthians 11:29). “Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep” (Romans 12:15). It is not enough to care; we must act; for: “A selfish faith leads not to light. There is no lonely pilgrim on the way to light. Men only gain the heights by helping others gain the heights.” Those who help others help themselves.
Love is not an emotion, it is a spiritual vision that begins to dawn as the individual enters the last stage of his evolution. Intense liking and strong affection are good, but they are not love, for love not only overreaches all feelings or instinctual response (which are based on ego), but it transmutes them into love. Love is the force that draws us into union–union with God and with all others, for all beings live rooted in God. As Swami Sivananda said: “Love begins with two and ends with One.” Helpfulness leads to love, and is the practical expression of love, for love is actual not theoretical. Saint John the Beloved tells us: “He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.…God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him” (I John 4:8, 16). In sum: “The steed that leads the way to spirit life is Love; is pure unselfish Love.”
The sixth Pillar
“Matheno wrote the sixth: The universal Love of which Apollo speaks is child of Wisdom and of Will divine, and God has sent it forth to earth in flesh that man may know. The universal Love of which the sages speak is Christ. The greatest mystery of all times lies in the way that Christ lives in the heart. Christ cannot live in clammy dens of carnal things. The seven battles must be fought, the seven victories won before the carnal things, like fear, and self, emotions and desire, are put away. When this is done the Christ will take possession of the soul; the work is done, and man and God are one” (Aquarian Gospel 59:7-12).
The universal Love is child of Wisdom and of Will divine, and God has sent if forth to earth in flesh that man may know. The universal Love of which the sages speak is Christ. The greatest mystery of all times lies in the way that Christ lives in the heart. Christ cannot live in clammy dens of carnal things. The seven battles must be fought, the seven victories won before the carnal things, like fear, and self, emotions and desire, are put away. When this is done the Christ will take possession of the soul; the work is done, and man and God are one. We say that God is Love, but in what way? This principle makes it clear. Love is not a virtue or even an abstract aspect of divinity; rather, Love is Christ the Son of God Who emanates from the Father-God and Mother-God. God is Love; Love is God–the Cosmic Christ.
The Father-God is Wisdom–infinite Consciousness; the Mother God is creative Will–infinite Power. Through their eternal union Universal Love, Christ the Son, emanates eternally. Those who ascend to Divine Consciousness first unite themselves with Christ Consciousness and thereby become Christs. The Love that is Christ then often sends them back to earth as Christs, as Sons of God, to show others the way to their destined Christhood. (“I came out from God. I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world”–John 16:27, 28.) God sends Christ to earth in the embodied consciousness of those Christed spirits who manifest in the world as beings that are simultaneously God and Man. Such a one was Jesus of Nazareth; but we must not confuse Jesus with the Infinite Christ–the common mistake of contemporary Christianity. Jesus is one with Christ, is a Christ; but He is not the Christ. Also the incarnation of various Christs is mentioned in the first sentence of this principle, its subject is the Eternal Christ, particularly His transformation of human beings into Christs. This is the real Christine Gospel whose announcing was the mission of Jesus the Christ as it has been of all sages throughout all ages.
The greatest mystery of all times lies in the way that Christ lives in the heart. Certainly the dwelling of Christ in our heart is the greatest mystery of all times–of all phases of relative existence. Because we are one with God and Christ is God, He has dwelt in us–and we in Him–forever. But here the principle is speaking of that full and living advent of Christ throughout the total being of those who become Christed. How is it possible that the Infinite enters into the finite, making it infinite as well? He that is God by nature transforms the nature of the individual spirit and assumes it into Infinite Being without in any way changing its eternal status as finite. It becomes both finite and infinite, both relative and absolute. How this contradiction can come about is “the greatest mystery of all times.” Regarding this mystery revealed in Christ Jesus, Saint Paul wrote: “Great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory” (I Timothy 3:16). The same is also to be our experience. “He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked” (I John 2:6). Since this is our destiny, what is hindering its accomplishment?
Christ cannot live in clammy dens of carnal things. “Carnal” comes from sarkikos, “fleshly.” Sarkikos implies not only physical embodiment but a consciousness confined to the physical–turned toward temporality and away from eternity. Wherefore Saint Paul declares: “The carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be” (Romans 8:7).
“Carnal things” are all things that are seen purely in their material nature (for when illumined, the person sees those very things as spiritual), and are those thoughts, words, and deeds that affirm materiality and deny or conceal the spirit. They truly are “clammy dens” for they are like caves in the depths of the earth, cold and sterile and dark. Those who dwell therein hide from the Light that is Life, choosing the darkness that is death. “Light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved” (John 3:19,20). Into such willful darkness the Light of Christ never shines.
The seven battles must be fought, the seven victories won… The number seven appears in the Bible more than four hundred times. Seven is a sacred number in other religions as well, especially in Hinduism, which includes Yoga, the science of consciousness transformation. The seeming historical books of the Bible, including the gospels, are profoundly symbolic. They are based on actual events, but their presentation is intended to teach the principles of esoteric truth through symbols. Seven is the number of spiritual perfection. Isaiah spoke of it in these words: “The light of the sun shall be sevenfold, as the light of seven days” (Isaiah 30:26). For that reason in the account of Noah’s ark we find that he was to take seven of each kind of “clean” animal on the ark, but only two of the “not clean” animals (Genesis 7:2, 3). The animals represent the traits of our mind; the “clean” are those that tend toward and facilitate spiritual realization, and the “not clean” are those that either do not assist in our realization but actually work counter to it. In this instance Seven indicates the perfection of evolution, the attainment of perfected (“clean”) consciousness. On the other hand, Two represents the deluded (“unclean”) consciousness of duality.
The Ladder of Divine Ascent has seven rungs–the seven levels of relative consciousness ranging from the lowest to the highest. The “conquering” and consequent transcendence of each level (for even the highest must be transcended to attain Ultimate Consciousness) is most certainly a battle. “Blessed be the Lord my strength, which teacheth my hands to war, and my fingers to fight” (Psalms 144:1). “He teacheth my hands to war, so that a bow of steel is broken by mine arms” (Psalms 18:34). “In all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us” (Romans 8:37). “For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory” (I Corinthians 15:53, 54).
“To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God” (Revelation 2:7). “To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna” (Revelation 2:17). “Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God” (Revelation 3:12).
“To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne” (Revelation 3:21).
“He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son” (Revelation 21:7).
For a symbolic outline of the seven battle-victories see the accounts given in the book of Revelation regarding the seven seals, seven trumpets, and seven vials. These are three different ways of depicting those battle-victories. See also the seven tests passed by Jesus in Egypt as recorded in chapters forty-eight to fifty-five in the Aquarian Gospel.
…before the carnal things, like fear, and self, emotions and desire, are put away. This list is extremely interesting, especially since they are intangibles, only psychological, yet they are called carnal–fleshly. How is this? Because they are produced as the fruits of physical, i.e. material, involvement and identity. So physicality (not simple physical embodiment) is their root. Each one needs examining.
Fear. “Twice blessed are the fearless,…thrice blessed are the fearless….” (Aquarian Gospel 75:5, 6). Fear covers everything from outright fear to anxiety, worry, hesitation, and self-doubt. It comes from a conviction of weakness and incapability that arises from our not realizing our true nature and its permanent link with God. In essence, fear is doubt of God–and of our selves. It comes from inexperience and is not a sin or something for us to slap ourselves around over. Because we have been so long separated in our awareness from both the Divine and our own divine nature, we have not only forgotten the truth of our selves, we have even come to disbelieve it. Fear, then, is denial of ourselves and of God.
“And Jesus said, Of what are souls afraid? Fear is the chariot in which man rides to death; and when he finds himself within the chamber of the dead, he learns that he has been deceived; his chariot was a myth, and death a fancy child” (Aquarian Gospel 52:15, 16).
“When man comes to himself and comprehends the fact that he is son of God, and knows that in himself lies all the powers of God, he is a master mind and all the elements will hear his voice and gladly do his will. Two sturdy asses bind the will of man; their names are Fear and Unbelief. When these are caught and turned aside, the will of man will know no bounds; then man has but to speak and it is done” (Aquarian Gospel 92:11, 12).
“My little flock, fear not; it is your Father’s will that you shall rule the kingdom of the soul” (Aquarian Gospel 112:2).
“Then Jesus said, Fear not, for I will be your boon companion all the way” (Aquarian Gospel 175:19).
“You are not abandoned in your struggle for the crown of life. Your Father lives, and you shall live. God has a care for every living thing. He numbers stars, and suns, and moons; he numbers angels, men and every thing below; the birds, the flowers, the trees; the very petals of the rose he knows by name, and every one is numbered in his Book of Life; and every hair upon your head, and every drop of blood within your veins, he knows by number and by rhythm. He hears the birdling’s call, the cricket’s chirp, the glow worm’s song; and not a sparrow falls to earth without his knowledge and consent. A sparrow seems a thing of little worth; yea, five of them are worth two farthings in the market place, and yet God cares for every one of them. Will he not care much more for you who bear his image in your soul? Fear not to make confession of the Christ before the sons of men, and God will own you as his sons and daughters in the presence of the host of heaven” (Aquarian Gospel 109:20-28).
Self. “There are two selfs; the higher and the lower self. The higher self is human spirit clothed with soul, made in the form of God. The lower self, the carnal self, the body of desires, is a reflection of the higher self, distorted by the murky ethers of the flesh. The lower self is an illusion, and will pass away; the higher self is God in man, and will not pass away. The lower self is the embodiment of truth reversed, and so is falsehood manifest. The higher self is justice, mercy, love and right; the lower self is what the higher self is not. The lower self breeds hatred, slander, lewdness, murders, theft, and everything that harms; the higher self is mother of the virtues and the harmonies of life. The lower self is rich in promises, but poor in blessedness and peace; it offers pleasure, joy and satisfying gains; but gives unrest and misery and death. It gives men apples that are lovely to the eye and pleasant to the smell; their cores are full of bitterness and gall. If you would ask me what to study I would say, yourselves; and when you will have studied them, and then would ask me what to study next, I would reply, yourselves. He who knows well his lower self, knows the illusions of the world, knows of the things that pass away; and he who knows his higher self, knows God; knows well the things that cannot pass away. Thrice blessed is the man who has made purity and love his very own; he has been ransomed from the perils of the lower self and is himself his higher self. The only devil from which men must be redeemed is self, the lower self. If man would find his devil he must look within; his name is self. If man would find his savior he must look within; and when the demon self has been dethroned the savior, Love, will be exalted to the throne of power” (Aquarian Gospel 8:5-16, 21, 22). These words of Jesus Himself are sufficient.
Emotions. The shortest verse in the Bible is: “Jesus wept” (John 11:35); words that show Jesus as a person of deep feeling. Eight times in the Gospels Jesus is spoken of as feeling compassion (Matthew 9:36; 14:14; 15:32; 20:34. Mark 1:41; 6:34; 8:2. Luke 7:13). Saint Paul wrote: “Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep” (Romans 12:15; “Who is weak, and I am not weak? who is offended, and I burn not?” (II Corinthians 11:29); “Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them; and them which suffer adversity, as being yourselves also in the body” (Hebrews 13:3). And Saint Peter: “Be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful” (I Peter 3:8). Obviously, then, we are not exhorted to be emotionless, unfeeling automatons, “detached” from our fellow human beings.
In this principle “emotions” refers to selfish emotions or emotions based on ignorant misperceptions. They are explained in the Aquarian Gospel thusly: “Grief and selfish love, and hopes and fears are but reflexes from the lower self; what we sense are but small waves upon the rolling billows of a life. These all will pass away; they are unreal” (Aquarian Gospel 54:21-23). Such “emotions are the sprays that rise from human loves, and hopes, and fears” (Aquarian Gospel 54:25), they are not expressions of the spirit, of the love and compassion of God–which we must feel for all. Mistaken, ego-rooted emotions arise from our forgetfulness of God and compound that forgetfulness. Moreover, they delude us into thinking that we are feeling positive, spiritual emotions, so we never grow beyond them into the emotions we should be feeling. Low emotions are really self-oriented, including such feelings as anger, hatred, resentment, greed, and impatience. They must have no part in our life, for they prevent the right feelings from arising in us.
Desire. Here, too, an egocentric force is being spoken of. Jesus expressed desire that was positive, saying: “With desire I have desired” (Luke 22:15), and so do all virtuous people, what to speak of the holy. If God did not desire our welfare the cosmos would not exist. What this Principle objects to is selfish craving and desire, for “the body of desires extols the selfish self” (Aquarian Gospel 9:28).
When Jesus was reprimanded by the “good” for associating with “bad” people, His words explained this matter of negative desire: “The sin lies in the wish, in the desire, not in the act. You covet other people’s wealth; you look at charming forms, and deep within your hearts you lust for them. Deceit you practice every day, and wish for gold, for honor and for fame, just for your selfish selves. The man who covets is a thief, and she who lusts is courtesan. You who are none of these speak out” (Aquarian Gospel 27:16-19).
“The letter of the law deals with the acts of man; the spirit of the law takes note of his desires” (Aquarian Gospel 95:43).
“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).
“Before the eyes of law a man to steal must take a thing that can be seen with eyes of flesh, without the knowledge or consent of him to whom the thing belongs. But, lo, I say that he who in his heart desires to possess that which is not his own, and would deprive the owner of the thing without his knowledge or consent, is in the sight of God, a thief. The things that men see not with eyes of flesh are of more worth than are the things that man can see. A man’s good name is worth a thousand mines of gold, and he who says a word or does a deed that injures or defames that name has taken what is not his own, and is a thief. Upon a table of the law we also read: Thou shalt not covet anything. To covet is an all-consuming wish to have what is not right for one to have. And such a wish, within the spirit of the law, is theft” (Aquarian Gospel 98:17-23).
“The will is bridled by the flesh desires” (Aquarian Gospel 107:31).
One of the most interesting verses in the Aquarian Gospel speaks of Saint Mary Magdalene as “a courtesan who had been cured of her desire to sin” (Aquarian Gospel 104:14).
When this is done the Christ will take possession of the soul; the work is done, and man and God are one.
“Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him” (Revelation 3:20).
“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” ( John 14:21).
“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 14:23).
“Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; that they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me. Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world. O righteous Father, the world hath not known thee: but I have known thee, and these have known that thou hast sent me. And I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them” (John 17:20-26).
“And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all” (I Corinthians 15:28).
“One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all” (Ephesians 4:6).
The seventh Pillar
“And Philo wrote the seventh: A perfect man! To bring before the Triune God a being such as this was nature made. This consummation is the highest revelation of the mystery of life. When all the essences of carnal things have been transmuted into soul, and all the essences of soul have been returned to Holy Breath, and man is made a perfect God, the drama of Creation will conclude. And this is all” (Aquarian Gospel 59:13-16).
The purpose of all “things” is the perfection of the individual; all creation is meant to be a ladder of ascent to the Creator. There is no greater miracle than the divinization of humanity–no, not even creation is greater, for it is a simple matter for God to create; but for man to attain divinity is a result of incalculable effort. God is always God, but for an individual spirit to achieve infinity is simply incomprehensible.
For centuries Christian mystics have spoken of three stages in our attainment of perfection: purgative, illuminative, and unitive. Through purgation “all the essences of carnal things [are] transmuted into soul.” Then “all the essences of soul [are] returned to Holy Breath,” assumed into the Light of the Holy Spirit. Finally, “man is made a perfect God”–no longer an image or likeness of God, but actually “god” though full participation in the Divine Nature. Then “the drama of Creation will conclude. And this is all.” Nothing more remains to occur, for perfect unity prevails. Therefore: “And all the sages said, Amen” (Aquarian Gospel 59:17).
The Great Commission
“Then Meng-ste said, The Holy One has sent to us a man illumined by the efforts of unnumbered years, to lead the thoughts of men. This man, approved by all the master minds of heaven and earth, this man from Galilee, this Jesus, chief of all the sages of the world, we gladly recognize. In recognition of this wisdom that he brings to men, we crown him with the Lotus wreath. We send him forth with all the blessing of the seven sages of the world. 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. And then the sages sat in silence seven days” (Aquarian Gospel 59:18-25).
Again, the keynote is Silence.
Read the next section in the Aquarian Gospel for Yogis: The Declaration of Jesus