“And Jesus said, The Holy Breath cannot be seen with mortal eyes; nor can men see the Spirits of the Holy; but in their image man was made, and he who looks into the face of man, looks at the image of the God who speaks within.
“And when man honors man he honors God, and what man does for man, he does for God. And you must bear in mind that when man harms in thought, or word or deed another man, he does a wrong to God.
“If you would serve the God who speaks within the heart, just serve your near of kin, and those that are no kin, the stranger at your gates, the foe who seeks to do you harm; assist the poor, and help the weak; do harm to none, and covet not what is not yours; then, with your tongue the Holy One will speak; and he will smile behind your tears, will light your countenance with joy, and fill your hearts with peace” (Aquarian Gospel 26:9-15).
The image of the Holy
But in their image man was made, and he who looks into the face of man, looks at the image of the God who speaks within. In the ninth chapter of the Aquarian Gospel Jesus describes the manifestation of the “Elohim, creative spirits of the universe. And these are they who said, Let us make man; and in their image man was made” (Aquarian Gospel 9:19,20). We see from this that it is inaccurate to say that we are made in the image of the invisible God, the Father or the Son. Rather, we are made in the image of the Divine Power, the Holy Spirit, AND the Seven Archons who are the immediate creators of the cosmos. That is, the human status–including the human body–is a reflection of these eight beings, one infinite and seven of them finite though of inconceivable scope and power.
The Father and the Son are pure spirit, invisible and transcendent, whereas the Holy Spirit Mother is visible as all things. Consequently human beings are visible. Further, the Holy Spirit is undifferentiated Power, but the Seven Archons as the great Intelligences that formed that Power into all that “is.” “From God’s own Record Book we read: The Triune God breathed forth, and seven Spirits stood before his face. (The Hebrews call these seven Spirits, Elohim.) And these are they who, in their boundless power, created everything that is, or was” (Aquarian Gospel 32:20,21).
Human beings embody both the power and the intelligence of creation. How awesome we are! And how foolishly we have let our egos–and the egos of others–convince us that we are weak, sinful, and mortal, unworthy of Divine regard.
But the truth of our nature is not for self-congratulation. It is to be turned outward in the realization that “he who looks into the face of man, looks at the image of God” and react accordingly. Jesus had no intention of limiting to himself the meaning of the words: “He that hath seen me hath seen the Father” (John 14:9). This is true of all human beings.
The first time I witnessed the worship of the Eastern Christian Church (Russian Orthodox) many things amazed and delighted me. One was the practice of the celebrant censing everyone present and bowing to them, just as he censed and bowed to the holy icons. In fact, two or three times, the holy Nectary, the Bishop of Seattle who was visiting the church in Los Angeles, came and stood in front of each one of us, censing and bowing to us. He was honoring our inner divinity. And I well remember how after attending the worship conducted by the holy priest John Diakonoff in Chicago, everything “looked holy” to me for hours afterward. Even the people standing at the bus stop seemed worthy of being bowed to–and I used to do so mentally.
It is not easy to do, but we who strive to have “the mind of Christ” must keep in mind that, however buried it may be, the “pearl of great price” of divinity is within every single person upon the earth. It is a high ideal, but if we will not seek to attain high ideals, why are we bothering with spiritual life at all?
The God who speaks within
There is a problem with holy writings and the words of the wise. We can easily miss profound concepts because they are so easily–even casually–and briefly stated. This is demonstrated in the verse we are considering. At the end we find the five words: “the God who speaks within.” They are worth far more than the tons of religious books that are printed every week. Let us sum them up in a few points.
1) God is within each one of us.
2) God is active within each one of us.
3) God is speaking to (guiding) us from within.
4) God can speak out from within us, just as he did through the prophets.
5) If we want to see and hear God we need only turn within.
All this being true, there is a sixth proposition: We are living manifestations of God. Then it only follows that:
Encountering God through man
When man honors man he honors God, and what man does for man, he does for God. “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me” (Matthew 25:40). God is unseen and unheard to most of us, so if we want to relate to God we can do so through other human beings. “For he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?” (I John 4:20). It is utterly moronic to speak of serving God or making offerings to God. If he needed anything from us he would be finite and dependent like us. And what is there in the world that is not already his–a manifestation of him? It is only through others that we can serve God or give him/her anything. A place where suffering and needy humanity is relieved and supplied is the only real “house of worship.”
Saint John the Beloved put it exactly right: “If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us” (I John 4:12).
Jesus wraps up the whole subject easily: “And you must bear in mind that when man harms in thought, or word or deed another man, he does a wrong to God. If you would serve the God who speaks within the heart, just serve your near of kin, and those that are no kin, the stranger at your gates, the foe who seeks to do you harm; assist the poor, and help the weak; do harm to none, and covet not what is not yours; then, with your tongue the Holy One will speak; and he will smile behind your tears, will light your countenance with joy, and fill your hearts with peace.”
“And then the people asked, To whom shall we bring gifts? Where shall we offer sacrifice?
“And Jesus said, Our Father-God asks not for needless waste of plant, of grain, of dove, of lamb. That which you burn on any shrine you throw away. No blessings can attend the one who takes the food from hungry mouths to be destroyed by fire.
“When you would offer sacrifice unto our God, just take your gift of grain, or meat and lay it on the table of the poor. From it an incense will arise to heaven, which will return to you with blessedness. Tear down your idols; they can hear you not; turn all your sacrificial altars into fuel for the flames.
“Make human hearts your altars, and burn your sacrifices with the fire of love” (Aquarian Gospel 26:16-22).
This makes perfect sense, because Jesus also said: “Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me” (Matthew 25:40). So when we want to serve and love God we should aspire to serve and love even the least of humanity. Saint Francis’ love for lepers and his devoted service to them is the perfect example–but not so perfect that we cannot do it also.
Whatever we do to any sentient being–not just humans–we do to God. For: “I am the Atman that dwells in the heart of every mortal creature: I am the beginning, the life-span, and the end of all” (Bhagavad Gita 10:20). “The Lord lives in the heart of every creature” (Bhagavad Gita 18:61).
It is important that we reach out to others in love, not just from a sense of duty. I have seen “charitable” people treating those they helped like cattle to be herded around “for their own good.” It was obvious they saw those unfortunate ones as a kind of mess to clean up and get out of the way. Caring for others is not a dose of bitter medicine, but it will be if love is not the beginning, middle and end of our caring.
Read the next section in the Aquarian Gospel for Yogis: Who Is Jesus?