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A Mustard Seed

Chapter 20 of the Gospel of Thomas for Awakening

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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

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Chapters in The Gospel of Thomas for Awakening

  1. The Open Secrets
  2. Seeking Is More Than Just Finding
  3. Seeking the Kingdom Realistically
  4. The One Goal
  5. From the Seen to the Unseen
  6. What Jesus Wants Us To Do
  7. Eat Or Be Eaten
  8. Fishing Wisely
  9. The Inner Field
  10. Guarding the Flame
  11. What Will You Do?
  12. Who Shall Lead?
  13. The Unspeakable
  14. When Virtue is Vice
  15. Father in Heaven; Father on Earth
  16. Divine Discord
  17. The Divine Gift
  18. The Origin is the End
  19. Original Being
  20. A Mustard Seed
  21. Disciples of Jesus
  22. How to Enter the Kingdom
  23. Unity of Vision
  24. Where is Christ?
  25. Love and Protect
  26. Seeing
  27. The Fasting and Sabbath of the Spirit
  28. How Jesus Saw the World
  29. Hidden Treasure
  30. One
  31. The Power of Unbelief
  32. Spiritual Strength
  33. Speak It Out
  34. The Blind
  35. The Secret of Spiritual Security
  36. Live Carefree
  37. Unashamed Before God
  38. At the Source
  39. The Religion of Ignorance
  40. Within God
  41. Spiritual Gain and Loss
  42. Move On
  43. Challenging the Master
  44. The Source of Good and Evil
  45. Great in the Kingdom
  46. Impossible Duality
  47. Peace That Moves Mountains
  48. Back to the Source
  49. Children of the Light
  50. Here and Now
  51. Seeing Yet Blind
  52. Outer Ritual or Inner Growth?
  53. Infinite Transcendence
  54. “Hate”
  55. True Understanding
  56. Wheat and Weeds
  57. Finding Life
  58. Live and Die Not
  59. “Lest Thou Also…”
  60. Who Will Die; Who Will Live
  61. The Path of Unknowing
  62. Awakened by Death
  63. Turning Ourselves Away
  64. Gullibility
  65. The Rejected is Truly Accepted
  66. All–and Nothing
  67. The Blessings of Persecution
  68. Life or Death Lie Within
  69. Admission
  70. Not a Divider
  71. Seeking the Harvest
  72. Thirsting in Vain
  73. Who Shall Enter?
  74. Unfailing Treasure
  75. The All Speaks
  76. Well-dressed Ignoramuses
  77. True Blessedness
  78. A Duplication
  79. Balancing the Inner and the Outer
  80. Near and Far
  81. Seeing the Unseeable
  82. Seeing Your Unknown Side
  83. Our Forefather Adam
  84. Blessed Homelessness
  85. Doubly Wretched
  86. Onward and Upward
  87. Twofold Life
  88. The Yoke of Christ
  89. Knowing the Unknown
  90. Asking and Hearing
  91. Give Not…
  92. Seeking and Knocking
  93. Right Generosity
  94. The Expanding Kingdom
  95. The Fulfilled Universe
  96. Taking Stock
  97. The Spiritual Family
  98. Three Debts
  99. Father and Mother
  100. Exoteric Religion
  101. Ready for Invasion
  102. Penitential Discipline, Anyone?
  103. Daring to Know
  104. Ending Duality
  105. “I Love You More…”
  106. At the Source
  107. Finding the Hidden Treasure
  108. Having Come to the End
  109. Immortal and Above the World
  110. Body and Soul
  111. Where is the Kingdom?
  112. Male and Female?
  113. In Conclusion
  114. Glossary
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