A parable of a Messiah
“Next day the multitudes were surging through the temple courts, intent on hearing Jesus speak. And when he came the people said, All hail! behold the king!
“And Jesus spoke a parable; he said, A king had vast domains; his people all were kin, and lived in peace. Now, after many years the king said to his people, Take these lands and all I have; enhance their values; rule yourselves, and live in peace. And then the people formed their states; selected governors and petty kings. But pride, ambition, selfish greed, and base ingratitude grew fast, and kings began to war. They wrote in all their statute books that might is right; and then the strong destroyed the weak, and chaos reigned through all the vast domain. A long time passed, and then the king looked out on his domain. He saw his people in their cruel wars; he saw them sick and sore distressed; he saw the strong enslave the weak, and then he said, What shall I do? Shall I send forth a scourge? shall I destroy my people all?
“And then his heart was stirred with pity and he said, I will not send a scourge; I will send forth my only son, heir to the throne, to teach the people love, and peace, and righteousness. He sent his son; the people scorned him and maltreated him, and nailed him to a cross. He was entombed; but death was far too weak to hold the prince, and he arose. He took a form man could not kill; and then he went again to teach the people love, and peace and righteousness. And thus God deals with men” (Aquarian Gospel 73:1-14).
This parable is easy to understand, so I need only point out a few things.
A king had vast domains; his people all were kin, and lived in peace. First of all, this parable has a much wider and deeper meaning than the versions we get in the Bible. That seems to be speaking only of the Hebrews, but this has a much wider application. In fact, the first part is speaking of Messiah-Christs in general.
This sentence is presenting the truth that all sentient beings in creation are “kin”–children of the One Father. The divine spark in each one is a part of God. Originally all lived together in oneness and perfect communication with each other. The following is a written description by Saint Ambrose of Optina (Russia), who was the spiritual guide to untold thousands in the nineteenth century Russian Orthodox Church. This is his own account of the experience that triggered his spiritual quest.
“Suddenly, I am outside of the forest, somewhere far away, in another world, quite unknown to me, never seen by me, never imagined by me. Around me there is bright, white light! Its transcendence is so pure and enticing that I am submerged, along with my perception, into limitless depths and cannot satisfy myself with my admiration for this realm, cannot completely fill myself with its lofty spirituality. Everything is so full of beauty all around. So endearing this life–so endless the way. I am being swept across this limitless, clear space. My sight is directed upwards, does not descend anymore, does not see anything earthly. The whole of the heavenly firmament has transformed itself before me into one general bright light, pleasing to the sight.
“But I do not see the sun. I can see only its endless shining and bright light. The whole space in which I glide without hindrance, without end, without fatigue, is filled with white, just as is its light and beautiful beings, transparent as a ray of the sun. And through them I am admiring this limitless world. The images of all these beings unknown to me are infinitely diverse and full of beauty“I also am white and bright as they are. Over me, as over them, there reigns eternal rest. Not a single thought of mine is any longer enticed by anything earthly, not a single beat of my heart is any longer moving with human cares or earthly passion. I am all peace and rapture. But I am still moving in this infinite light, which surrounds me without change. There is nothing else in the world except for the white, bright light and these equally radiant numberless beings. But all these beings do not resemble me, nor are similar to each other; they are all endlessly varied and compellingly attractive. Amidst them, I feel myself incredibly peaceful. They evoke in me neither fear, nor amazement, nor trepidation. All that we see here does not agitate us, does not amaze us. All of us here are as if we have belonged to each other for a long time, are used to each other and are not strangers at all. We do not ask questions, we do not speak to each other about anything. We all feel and understand that there is nothing novel for us here. All our questions are solved with one glance, which sees everything and everyone. There is no trace of the wars of passions in anyone. All move in different directions, opposite to each other, not feeling any limitation, any inequality, or envy, or sorrow, or sadness. One peace reigns in all the images of entities. One light is endless for all. Oneness of life is comprehensible to all.
“My rapture at all this superseded everything. I sank into this eternal rest. No longer was my spirit disturbed by anything. And I knew nothing else earthly. None of the tribulations of my heart came to mind, even for a minute. It seemed that everything that I had experienced before on earth never existed. Such was my feeling in this new radiant world of mine. And I was at peace and joyful and desired nothing better for myself. All my earthly thoughts concerning fleeting happiness in the world died in this beautiful life, new to me, and did not come back to life again. So it seemed to me at least, there, in that better world.
“But how I came back here–I do not recall. What transitory state it was, I do not know. I only felt that I was alive, but I did not remember the world in which I lived before on earth. This did not seem at all to be a dream. Actually, about earthly things I no longer had the least notion. I only felt that the present life is mine, and that I was not a stranger in it. In this state of spirit I forgot myself and immersed myself in this light-bearing eternity. And this timelessness lasted without end, without measure, without expectation, without sleep, in this eternal rest. Thus it seemed to me that there would not be any kind of change.”
This is a most perfect description of the state of all spirits before they entered into relativity to begin evolution unto divinity, and that is what Jesus is referring to in this first sentence of the parable. It in the context of this description that we can understand the rest.
Now, after many years the king said to his people, Take these lands and all I have; enhance their values; rule yourselves, and live in peace. Eventually the spirits were sent forth into the “world” of relative existence and took on material forms, evolving from one form to another, each one being a step on the ladder of evolution of consciousness. Each one was intended to be in perfect mastery of his growth and to rest in the peace of his original status. But something went wrong:
A long time passed, and then the king looked out on his domain. He saw his people in their cruel wars; he saw them sick and sore distressed; he saw the strong enslave the weak. Although human ills are described here, the entire earth was affected by ignorance and misery.
And then he said, What shall I do? Shall I send forth a scourge? shall I destroy my people all? And then his heart was stirred with pity and he said, I will not send a scourge. What a difference from “the God of the Old Testament” who supposedly “in his anger” destroyed the entire human race except for Noah and his family. There are many “flood stories” in the lore of ancient cultures, including that of India, none of which attribute vengeful anger to a peeved deity.
I will send forth my only son, heir to the throne, to teach the people love, and peace, and righteousness. In the Gita, God tells us: “When goodness grows weak, when evil increases, I make myself a body. In every age I come back to deliver the holy, to destroy the sin of the sinner, to establish righteousness. He who knows the nature of my task and my holy birth is not reborn when he leaves this body: he comes to me” (Bhagavad Gita 4:7-9). In every age God is “born” in the body of a liberated Master who, as a Son of God, appears on earth to turn people from evil back to the good–to God. Actually there are usually more than one “avatar” in every age. Those who draw near and learn fully from them are set on the path to liberation, themselves becoming Sons of God in that very life. In that way the avatar’s message is continued–not through an exclusive organization, but through living Masters who have understand the purpose of the avatar’s birth among humanity.
He sent his son; the people scorned him and maltreated him, and nailed him to a cross. He was entombed; but death was far too weak to hold the prince, and he arose. He took a form man could not kill; and then he went again to teach the people love, and peace and righteousness. Jesus is now speaking prophetically of his own particular future, but it is a sad truth that the avatars are hated and harassed by the evil ones whose love darkness rather than light. Rama was attacked by Ravana, the demonic king of Sri Lanka. For years the evil Duryodhana tried to kill Krishna, and before that his uncle Kansa did the same throughout his childhood. Attempts were made on the life of Buddha. Many people plotted the death of the great Master Yogananda. On occasion he refused to meet with people who came to the ashram. After they left he would tell the residents, “They were sent to kill me.” And of course we have the example of the Lord Jesus as described here.
What was true about Jesus is true about us: we cannot die. Our life may be interrupted by the interlude called “death” but we live forever and through many births arise to the same Christhood attained by Jesus.
And thus God deals with men. For he intends their perfection and liberation in Him. That is why Saint John said: “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” (I John 3:2). When after our own “resurrection” and “ascension” we meet with God again, face to Face, we will see that we are divine parts of him, rays of His great Light.
Jesus explains what is a Messiah
“A lawyer came and asked, What does messiah mean? and who has right to make messiah of a man?
“And Jesus said, Messiah is one sent from God to seek and save the lost. Messiahs are not made by men. In first of every age Messiah comes to light the way; to heal up broken hearts; to set the prisoners free. Messiah and the Christ are one.
“Because a man claims to be Christ is not a sign that he is Christ. A man may cause the streams to flow from flinty rocks; may bring storms at will; may stay tempestuous winds; may heal the sick and raise the dead, and not be sent from God.
“All nature is subservient to the will of man, and evil men, as well as good, have all the powers of mind, and may control the elements. The head gives not the proof of true messiahship, for man by means of intellect, can never know of God, nor bring himself to walk in light.
“Messiah lives not in the head, but in the heart, the seat of mercy and of love. Messiah never works for selfish gains; he stands above the carnal self; his words and deeds are for the universal good. Messiah never tries to be a king, to wear a crown and sit upon an earthly throne. The king is earthy, of the earth; Messiah is the man from heaven.
“And then the lawyer asked, Why do you pose as king? And Jesus said, No man has ever heard me say that I am king. I could not sit in Caesar’s place and be the Christ. Give unto Caesar what belongs to him; give unto God the treasures of your heart” (Aquarian Gospel 73:15-28).
Messiah is one sent from God to seek and save the lost. People become annoyed when asked: “Are you saved?” but the question is not amiss, even though the questioner may not understand what “being saved” really means. But the “saved” know, for God has touched them through the teachings of one of His avatars, and they have heard the call: “Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light” (Ephesians 5:14). The Christ light will be that of our own eternal Christ-nature.
Messiahs are not made by men. In first of every age Messiah comes to light the way; to heal up broken hearts; to set the prisoners free. Messiah and the Christ are one. Only a Christ can do the things Jesus lists here. And all humanity desperately needs light, healing, and freedom. Many may call someone a Christ, an avatar, but only those who can do these things are really so. We should never take a person seriously just because he has many followers, especially among the powerful–that is usually a sign that such a one is not a Christ. Christs never head large “movements” or start organizations which accumulate wealth and power. Sad to say, comparatively few people can really follow a Christ.
“Then said one unto him, Lord, are there few that be saved? And he said unto them, Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able” (Luke 13:23, 24). “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it” (Matthew 7:13, 14).
Because a man claims to be Christ is not a sign that he is Christ. A man may cause the streams to flow from flinty rocks; may bring storms at will; may stay tempestuous winds; may heal the sick and raise the dead, and not be sent from God. This is very important, because nearly all Christians cite the miracles of Jesus as proof of his Christhood, but he says differently. It is only those who can “save souls” from the ocean of samsara, of constant birth and death, by leading them to the path of enlightenment, that are Christs. Miracles should count for nothing in our eyes. Many evil and deluded people can work miracles through “black magic” or spirits. There are insane people that can read minds, foretell the future, know things beyond the normal scope of knowledge, levitate, become weightless, and even pass through walls or transport themselves from one point to another in an instant. I know this is true by my own experience and that of friends. I met a man who (in pre-Vatican II days) was an assistant to the official exorcist of the diocese of St. Louis. He told of astounding things he had seen possessed people do, including climbing or running up walls to escape the exorcist.
All nature is subservient to the will of man, and evil men, as well as good, have all the powers of mind, and may control the elements. Patanjali (Yoga Sutras 4:1) writes about how many yoga powers can be wielded by ignorant people through several means including drugs. Hypnosis can also be used to produce astonishing effects. We must be careful to distinguish between that which is merely psychic and that which is spiritual. Often their manifestations appear the same and it is assumed that psychically powerful people are spiritual when they are not. Truly spiritual phenomena proceed from illumined consciousness.
The head gives not the proof of true messiahship, for man by means of intellect, can never know of God, nor bring himself to walk in light. Messiah lives not in the head, but in the heart, the seat of mercy and of love. Messiah never works for selfish gains; he stands above the carnal self; his words and deeds are for the universal good. Messiah never tries to be a king, to wear a crown and sit upon an earthly throne. The king is earthy, of the earth; Messiah is the man from heaven. This only requires a careful, thoughtful reading–not a commentary.
And then the lawyer asked, Why do you pose as king? And Jesus said, No man has ever heard me say that I am king. I could not sit in Caesar’s place and be the Christ. Give unto Caesar what belongs to him; give unto God the treasures of your heart. It is the custom of the evil and foolish to make false and irresponsible accusations against those who seek higher life.
It is important for us to seriously ponder the implications of Jesus’s words: “I could not sit in Caesar’s place and be the Christ.” Earthly power is not compatible with Christhood, especially political power, and rare are those who can possess vast earthly wealth and not be controlled by it. Wealth and power are addicting and enslaving. We must clearly perceive the demarcation between the material and the spiritual, between the earthly and the heavenly. It is not for nothing that princes and kings have renounced the wealth and power of the world in order to win the kingdom of spirit. They were wise, and we should be, too, and follow their example.
Read the next section in the Aquarian Gospel for Yogis: The Laws of Healing