Light and wisdom
“Now, in the early morning Jesus came again to teach and heal. A light not comprehended shown about, as though some mighty spirit overshadowed him. A magus noted this and asked him privately to tell from whence his wisdom came, and what the meaning of the light” (Aquarian Gospel 40:1-3).
The phenomenon of light shining around or from the body of a spiritually advanced person is not common, but neither is it particularly rare. I have seen it several times, and in The Sermon on the Mount According to Vedanta Swami Prabhavananda gives an impressive account of seeing Swami Premananda, a disciple of Sri Ramakrishna, shining with light during a visit to the Vishwanath Temple in Benares (Varanasi).
It is not really the light that matters, but the state of consciousness–the inner illumination–which it indicates. So the magian asked Jesus where he got his wisdom, no doubt assuming that he would name a teacher or scripture as its source. Instead, Jesus told him that there is an inner state in which the Divine Source is tapped, from which all light, wisdom, love, and power flow. (“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights.” James 1:17) There is no way to know, but it might be wondered whether in enumerating these four things Jesus was thinking of karma, jnana, bhakti, and raja yogas.
“And Jesus said, There is a Silence where the soul may meet its God, and there the fount of wisdom is, and all who enter are immersed in light, and filled with wisdom, love and power” (Aquarian Gospel 40:3).
There is a Silence. Everything is consciousness: when consciousness moves we call it energy and matter, but when it is still we call it spirit. Only in the Silence will Spirit be perceived–everything else is noise and ultimately unreal.
There are three references in the Bible to mystical experience involving the Silence Jesus speaks about:
“The Lord is in his holy temple: let all the earth keep silence before him” (Habakkuk 2:20). “The earth” is all material consciousness and the instruments of its perception and function. Only “heaven” should open in our consciousness and be entered, for Heaven and Silence/Spirit are the same thing in the highest level of mystical thought.
“Be silent, O all flesh, before the Lord: for he is raised up out of his holy habitation” (Zechariah 2:13). “The flesh” is material consciousness which is silenced when Spirit is exalted within us–for we are temples of God (I Corinthians 3:16; 6:19).
“When he had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven” (Revelation 8:1). When the consciousness ascends to the seventh level of consciousness–which in the human complex is located in the Thousand-petalled Lotus or Sahasrara Chakra, corresponding to the brain–the divine Silence prevails.
Where the soul may meet its God. There alone God is “met” for God is the Silence into which the yogi enters.
There the fount of wisdom is. Only in Silence is the Word of Eternal Wisdom known from which flows all knowing.
All who enter are immersed in light. For “God is light” (I John 1:5), “the light of the living” (Psalms 56:13), and “the Lord shall be unto thee an everlasting light” (Isaiah 60:19), “for God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (II Corinthians 4:6), who has taught us about that Light, being himself the living embodiment of that Light.
And filled with wisdom, love and power–all of which are manifestations of the Divine Presence in us, that Presence, the Silence, and the Light being the One: “Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27).
A wise query
“The magus said, Tell me about this Silence and this light, that I may go and there abide” (Aquarian Gospel 40:4).
The magian is not without good spiritual sense. Unlike so many “seekers” who simply want to get a little buzz to brag about later, or to loot God and come away to their own and others’ admiration, he understands what divine experience is intended to produce. He wisely seeks to abide in God permanently. For him the quest of God is not a trip to the beach for a little bit of paddling in the water only to go back to the dry land mistakenly called “home.” He wants to merge in the ocean and remain in its depths forever. Because of this, Jesus freely speaks to him of spiritual realities.
“And Jesus said, The Silence is not circumscribed; is not a place closed in with wall, or rocky steeps, nor guarded by the sword of man. Men carry with them all the time the secret place where they might meet their God. It matters not where men abide, on mountain top, in deepest vale, in marts of trade, or in the quiet home; they may at once, at any time, fling wide the door, and find the Silence, find the house of God; it is within the soul” (Aquarian Gospel 40:5-7).
We need not go to some place, thinking that only there we will find perfect conditions for interior life and meditation. Rather, we carry right within us the ideal place for spiritual opening: our own spirit, our true Self. “For, behold, the kingdom of God is within you” (Luke 17:21).
In the Gospel of Matthew (6:6) Jesus speaks of our inner consciousness as a “closet.” “But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret.” The Greek word tameion means an inner room of a house where valuables were kept and people went to be totally alone. He tells us to shut the “door” of the mind and the senses and be “alone” with God, perceiving Him alone in the depths of meditation. Later in the Aquarian Gospel we will find these words: “But when you pray, go to the closet of your soul; close all the doors, and in the holy silence, pray.” (Aquarian Gospel 94:5)
“One may not be so much disturbed by noise of business, and the words and thoughts of men if he goes all alone into the valley or the mountain pass. And when life’s heavy load is pressing hard, it is far better to go out and seek a quiet place to pray and meditate” (Aquarian Gospel 40:8, 9).
Even though “the secret place” is always with(in) us, yet it helps to have a good environment. A special meditation room or place is extremely helpful. But it is also good to occasionally go to a place that is outwardly solitary, as well. Here is what Sri Ramakrishna had to say about it:
“The mind does not turn to God if one is immersed day and night in the world and practical affairs. It is very necessary now and then to retire into solitude and think of him. In the beginning it is very difficult to keep the mind on God without retiring into solitude.
“When a plant is young it is necessary to put a fence round it. Without a fence it is eaten up by goats and cows. To meditate you should withdraw yourself within or retire to a secluded spot or into the forest and always discriminate between the real and the unreal. God alone is truth; namely, the reality, and all the rest is unreal and transitory. Discriminating in this manner renounce the transient things from the mind.
“…to acquire the love of God it is necessary to retire into solitude. To churn butter milk has to be set in a quiet place to curdle. Milk won’t turn into curd if it is shaken off and on. Next, sitting in a quiet place and leaving aside all work the curd has to be churned. Then alone you get butter.
“And notice also that this very mind acquires knowledge, dispassion and devotion by dwelling on God in solitude.…
“The world is water and the mind is like milk. If you pour milk into water they get mixed and you cannot find pure milk anymore. If you churn butter after turning milk into curd and put it in water it will float. So first churn the butter of knowledge and devotion by following spiritual practices in solitude. That butter will never mix. Even if you put it in the water of the world it will float.”
Mahendranath Gupta (“M”), the recorder of these words, followed this counsel all his life. He had several rented rooms around Calcutta where he would withdraw frequently and practice meditation in solitude. Think of that–right in crowded and noisy Calcutta! But each must do as he can, and his circumstances did not allow him to go far away for his solitude. To see the results he gained from following Sri Ramakrishna’s advice, read the ninth chapter of Yogananda’s Autobiography of a Yogi: “The Blissful Devotee and His Cosmic Romance.”
Throughout the Gospels we find that Jesus regularly would go into solitude–just as did Buddha.
In Eastern Christianity, meditation is called Hesychia–a Greek word meaning Silence. A monastery is often called a hesychasterion, a place of silence. Regarding meditation, Jesus tells the magian:
“The Silence is the kingdom of the soul, which is not seen by human eyes. When in the Silence, phantom forms may flit before the mind; but they are all subservient to the will; the master soul may speak and they are gone” (Aquarian Gospel 40:10, 11).
Now this is very important. By saying: “The Silence is the kingdom of the soul,” Jesus indicates that meditation is not really a practice in the sense of a mechanical methodology that is intended to produce a result, such as turning a key in a lock. Rather, meditation is spiritual experience itself. Meditation is experiencing Spirit–not a means or a process that hopefully will produce in time the result we want. No. Right from the beginning we are experiencing God. That experience may be so faint or so subtle that we do not even realize it. We may consider that we are only feeling peaceful, happier, or more clear in our mind, but it is not our mind we are experiencing but our pure spirit which, as it is rooted in God, is also the experiencing of God.
Certainly our perception is limited, like looking at the vast ocean through a tiny porthole, but we are nonetheless “meeting” God, and by continually entering into meditation we enlarge the scope of our perception and “see” more and more of that which, as Jesus says, is beyond the scope of human perception. But we are not human–we are divine, and such experience is natural and normal for us. It is absolutely necessary for us to grasp this. In our yoga practice we need not–must not–be straining and stressing.
Buddha said: “Turn around, and–lo! The other shore!” Jesus continually exhorted people to Turn Around–not “repent” as it is absurdly translated. The Greek word metanoeo, is a compound of two words: meta, which means “around” or “across,” and noieo, which means “to use/exercise the mind.” In other words: “Turn your mind around” or “Transfer your mind across,” mind in this instance being both the instrument of consciousness and our consciousness itself.
Jesus is not speaking of just everything that is called meditation. He has a very specific practice in mind: that which is centered in invocation of the Divine Word (Om). For it is the Divine Word that dispels the “phantom forms” that “may flit before the mind” during meditation.
The expression “master soul” does not mean some rare, skilled meditator, but any intelligent human being/soul that speaks the Word. For we are not weak and helpless mortals, we are gods, made in the image of God. “Ye are gods; and all of you are children of the most High” (Psalms 82:6). “God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him” (Genesis 1:27).
The power of The Word is ours–we need only discover that. We will be looking a great deal at this subject of The Word, but now we need to continue with Jesus’ general observations on meditation itself.
Preparation for meditation
A sure sign of a genuine spiritual aspirant–in contrast with a window-shopping dabbler–is their immediately asking: “What do I have to do?” And they mean this is the sense of wanting to know how they can qualify themselves for spiritual life. They do not just walk up and say: “Gimme,” they know they have to prepare themselves. Meditation especially requires preparation. For although it is the most natural thing, we have so schooled and distorted ourselves to unnatural ways that there must be some undoing before we can take up the real doing.
Only yesterday I downloaded a long book about yoga, which had a great deal about how wrong it was to make people think they had to prepare themselves to be yogis, and how awful it was to believe that Patanjali meant it when he said that moral observances and purificatory disciplines were the first step to being a yogi. That nonsense may sound nice to the pop-yoga crowd, but a really awakened soul knows better. Jesus was speaking to an awakened man, so he continues:
“If you would find this Silence of the soul you must yourself prepare the way. None but the pure in heart may enter here. And you must lay aside all tenseness of the mind, all business cares, all fears, all doubts and troubled thoughts. Your human will must be absorbed by the divine; then you will come into a consciousness of holiness” (Aquarian Gospel 40:12-14).
You must yourself prepare the way. There must be preparation, and it must be done by us–not by God, or “guru’s grace,” or some other factor, such as passively “being ready.” When we first enter into relative existence we do evolve passively, pushed onward from within and without by factors of which we are mostly unconscious, but the time comes when that phase is over and we must consciously, intelligently, and willfully take charge of our further development. Depending on any thing or person other than ourselves must come to an end. All the past foolishness of “surrender” and “letting go” must be cast aside like the soul-killing trash it really is. We must stand up like conscious, responsible beings with a living awareness of the eternal truth, THOU ART THAT, and start manifesting it. No excuse-making, no false humility which is really only evasion of responsibility, and certainly no “God will do it all for me,” or the much worse: “All I need to do is love.” These poisonous, cowardly, and spirit-denying lies must be annihilated from our consciousness forever–by us. In spiritual life we are like God: one, only, and without a second.
None but the pure in heart may enter here. There is no entry into the meditation that is the experience of the Self without purification on all levels of every aspect of our life. In the regular four Gospels, the word for “pure” is katharos. This word has three distinct meanings: clean; clear; and without any admixture. Our life, our total being, must be free from negativity in any form. We must also be absolutely clear–no cloudiness of consciousness, intent, or will. There also cannot be in us even a particle of an atom of that which is not our Self, our spirit. Not a speck of delusion, illusion, or distortion can lodge in our entire being.
In his first epistle, the Beloved Apostle John uses the phrase “as he is” five times. In each instance “he” refers to God–not just Jesus. So the ideal is of the highest. He tells us that we must “walk [live] in the light, as he is in the light” (I John 1:7). If we do so, “we shall see him as he is” (I John 3:2). Yet, to do this, we must purify ourselves, “even as he is pure” (I John 3:3). This is necessary, for “he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous” (I John 3:7). Those who follow this ideal can then say: “As he is, so are we in this world” (I John 4:17). What an ideal! There is no place in this for the “poor miserable sinner” attitude, nor for a “sinner saved by grace” idea. Instead, Saint John says to us: “Beloved, now are we the sons of God” (I John 3:2). Hence he calls upon us with confidence to demonstrate this glorious truth.
You must lay aside…. Indeed we must. We must lay aside everything that is cluttering up our life and blinding us to realities and Reality. As Saint Paul says: “Let us lay aside every weight, and…run…the race that is set before us” (Hebrews 12:1). The list of “lay asides” is incredibly long, but Jesus cites five things: “all tenseness of the mind, all business cares, all fears, all doubts and troubled thoughts.” When we do that, we will be well on the way.
Your human will must be absorbed by the divine. Our petty, little egoic will that is nothing more than a bundle of foolish “wants,” must become our true spiritual will, the eternal will of our eternal Self–and thus the Eternal Will of God. This is a very active, a very positive, thing–not a passive giving up or becoming numb and indifferent. We must transform our human will into the divine will–the will of our divine Self.
Then you will come into a consciousness of holiness–the “holiness without which no man shall see the Lord” (Hebrews 12:14). For God is holiness itself. Jesus assures us that when we have prepared ourselves we will enter into the very Consciousness of God. As I said before, we will not be able right away to encompass the fulness, the infinity, of that Consciousness, but It will Itself begin to expand our capacity until we shall do so.
Seeing that such attainments lie before us, why would we even consider remaining any longer running in the cruel hamster-wheel of ordinary life and consciousness? As Swami Vivekananda loved to say to his hearers: “Awake, arise, and stop not until the goal is reached!”
In the depths of meditation
Each person will experience meditation in a different way, even if there are points of similarity with that of others. Also, meditations can vary greatly for each of us. Sometimes a great deal happens, at other times nothing seems to be going on at all, and we may mistakenly think something has gone wrong and we are just marking time. But this will not be so. Meditation produces profound and far-reaching changes in our extremely complex makeup. Therefore some meditations will be very active, and others will be quiet times of assimilation of what has taken place before and an adjusting to get ready for more change. Also, a great deal of the effects of meditation are beyond our immediate perception. We can be assured that everything is going on just as it should be. Yet there are some things that each meditator will at some time encounter, and Jesus will now describe them and tell us what to do when they occur.
“You are in the Holy Place, and you will see upon a living shrine the candle of the Lord aflame. And when you see it burning there, look deep into the temple of your brain, and you will see it all aglow” (Aquarian Gospel 40:15, 16).
We are “the temple of the living God” (II Corinthians 6:16), and when we meditate we are immediately in the Holy Place–the Holy of Holies. One of the first phenomena we experience in meditation is inner light in some form or other–it can vary greatly. But whatever form it takes, we should look into it. Jesus tells us to “look deep into the temple of your brain.” This will happen automatically at such times.
“In every part, from head to foot, are candles all in place, just waiting to be lighted by the flaming torch of love” (Aquarian Gospel 40:17).
Many mistakenly think that the body is darkness shrouding the light of the spirit, but in its subtle regions the body is a great lampstand holding many lamps that await being lighted to reveal the Self, the spirit.
“And when you see the candles all aflame, just look, and you will see, with eyes of soul, the waters of the fount of wisdom rushing on; and you may drink, and there abide” (Aquarian Gospel 40:18).
There is a great enlivening that takes place in the depths of meditation, as the faithful meditator will experience and make a permanent state.
All true knowledge of time and eternity lies within us awaiting our discovery in meditation. For Jesus next says:
“And then the curtains part, and you are in the Holiest of All, where rests the Ark of God, whose covering is the Mercy Seat. Fear not to lift the sacred board; the Tables of the Law are in the Ark concealed. Take them and read them well; for they contain all precepts and commands that men will ever need. And in the Ark, the magic wand of prophecy lies waiting for your hand; it is the key to all the hidden meanings of the present, future, past” (Aquarian Gospel 40:19-22).
The Ark of God is the very core of our being, where God awaits to communicate with us. There we will find all we ever need. Supreme knowledge will be ours.
“And then, behold the manna there, the hidden bread of life; and he who eats shall never die” (Aquarian Gospel 40:23).
Beyond perfect knowledge we will find immortality pervading our total being. Like Jesus, we will become the Bread of Life itself.
The next verse is very intriguing: “The cherubim have guarded well for every soul this treasure box, and whosoever will may enter in and find his own” (Aquarian Gospel 40:24).
Jesus has told us that this revelation of eternal life will take place in the head, which the yogis call the Thousand-petalled Lotus. The two six-winged cherubim that guard this treasury are the two hemispheres of the brain that cover and guard the core of the brain. The real “third eye” is there in the middle–the pineal gland. When we meditate correctly the attention automatically ascends to the Holy Place of the brain. There is no need for deliberate concentration–in fact such concentration may interfere with that which should occur spontaneously.
It is of great significance that Jesus refers to the meditator’s inner treasure as “his own.” This has a twofold meaning. One is that each one carries within himself his own treasure. The other is that it is really the seeker’s own eternal nature that is the treasure. Enlightenment is the entering in to our Self with full intention and awareness. We have possessed it forever, but now are about to “find” it. Meditation is the way into our treasurehouse, as well as the lamp that lights our way.
“Now Kaspar heard the Hebrew master speak and he exclaimed, Behold, the wisdom of the gods has come to men!” (Aquarian Gospel 40:25).
Instruction in meditation is the wisdom of God that transforms men into gods.
“And Jesus went his way, and in the sacred groves of Cyrus, where the multitudes were met, he taught and healed the sick” (Aquarian Gospel 40:26)–by the Word.
Read the next section in the Aquarian Gospel for Yogis: The Source of Healing