The disciples said to Jesus, Tell us what the kingdom of heaven is like. He said to them, It is like a mustard seed. It is the smallest of all seeds. But when it falls on tilled soil, it produces a great plant and becomes a shelter for birds of the sky. (20)
The word translated “heaven” is ouranos, the sky, which represents the boundless Consciousness that is God. In Sanskrit texts it is known as the Chidakasha, the Conscious Ether which pervades all things and is the support of their existence because they are all formed of it. So the kingdom of heaven is the kingdom of infinite being which is also infinite consciousness. It is this level of existence that we must enter into, leaving all other levels behind. That is, we must rise from relative consciousness into the divine consciousness that is our true essential being. That is why we pray:
Lead me from the unreal to the Real;
Lead me from darkness to the Light;
Lead me from death to Immortality.
In American slang we sometimes say to someone: “Get real!” and that is what Jesus is saying to us.
Jesus is indicating that since all things are formed of consciousness (chinmaya), infinity is inherent in the finite, that from finite consciousness comes infinite consciousness just as from infinite consciousness has arisen the finite consciousness. Since that is the origin of the finite, infinite consciousness is inherent in the finite consciousness. We need only cultivate the seed of our own consciousness to attain infinity. Though small in its scope, the individual spirit-consciousness can become limitless, embracing all forms of existence.
But it will do so only “when it falls on tilled soil.” The various bodies of the yogi are like the soil; they must be cultivated assiduously andhanged in their character, otherwise the seed of consciousness will not sprout and grow. It will remain as limited and confined as always. It does not matter how religious we are, how much good deeds we perform, or even how much spiritual study we engage in.
Our bodies are formed of the vibrating energy known as prakriti. In the Bhagavad Gita we are told: “One acts according to one’s own prakriti–even the wise man does so. Beings follow their own prakriti; what will restraint accomplish?” (Bhagavad Gita 3:33). Therefore external behavior accomplishes very little. Even moral principles only remove or prevent obstacles to higher consciousness; refinement and evolution of our prakriti is the necessary element, without which nothing real and lasting will occur.
Since “the kingdom of God is within you” (Luke 17:21), it is a matter of internal development and opening.
Read the next section in The Gospel of Thomas for Yogis: Disciples of Jesus