Jesus said, Blessed are the solitary and elect, for you will find the kingdom. For you are from it, and to it you will return. (49)
Jesus said, Blessed are the solitary and elect. Spiritual self-sufficiency is a cardinal trait of those who are going to succeed in spiritual life. Dependency on any but God (first) and ourselves (second) is harmful to us in every aspect of life, but especially in spiritual matters. Infantilism in religion has been popular throughout the ages because infants can be controlled completely and made into what the parents want. Enslavement in many forms is a natural aspect of ignorant human life.
Throughout history people have been slaves in countless ways, physical, mental and moral. But when Jesus speaks of being solitary or alone (as in some translations) he is not talking to hermits but to disciples that even then were engaged a great deal in contact with others as emissaries of Jesus in his mission. But they were solitary in that they were free from outer influence, having had their inner consciousness opened by Jesus and his teachings so only the inner light was their guide, and on that alone they depended to lead them to oneness with God–the sole true goal of human existence.
They were not slaves or servants of either Jesus or God, for Jesus said to them: “I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you” (John 15:15). Religion is riddled with enslavement, especially Eastern religion. See the spectacle of modern glitter-gurus and their slaves. But Jesus called his disciples friends–not disciples. And he told them they were sons of God, not servants. Paramhansa Yogananda, who publicly taught real Christianity in the twentieth century, taught people to pray: Heavenly Father, Divine Mother, Friend, Beloved God.
The elect are those that have been chosen by God and predestined for enlightenment: every single sentient being in all creation.
For you will find the kingdom, the kingdom regarding which Jesus said: “the kingdom of God is within you” (Luke 17:21). Jesus was a master yogi and his followers were yogis as well. Otherwise they could never have become blessed, self-sufficient, elect or friends and sons of God. Certainly, having opened their inner eyes and ears they would discover that blessed inner kingdom.
While writing the foregoing sentence I suddenly heard in my mind’s ear a song I grew up singing at church:
There’s a theme that is sweet to my mem’ry,
There’s a joy that I cannot declare,
There’s a treasure that gladdens my being,
’Tis the kingdom of righteousness here.
We hadn’t the faintest idea of what we were singing, but some years later when I read the Bhagavad Gita and Autobiography of a Yogi I found out the meaning and became a yogi to act on my newfound understanding.
For you are from it, and to it you will return. This is the major difference between Eastern and Western religion.
In the West any contact with God is a kind of intrusion on or break in normal life which has to be followed up by a complete overcoming of the natural order and forcing one’s way to God on a perilous path from which anyone who falls, falls to their everlasting damnation.
In the East it is realized that contact with God, and any subsequent drawing nearer to God, is an expression of our eternal nature. That our very being is rooted in God and any separation from him in consciousness is abnormal, an interruption of the true order of things. Therefore to return to God is the most natural thing possible and is absolutely inevitable for God is our origin and our destiny. The question is not If, but When? It is a joyful return despite any snags occasioned by our lack of insight or understanding. Therefore the Catholic nun, Sister Maddaleva wrote:
Know you the journey that I take?
Know you the voyage that I make?
The joy of it–one’s heart could break.
No jot of time have I to spare,
Nor will to loiter anywhere,
So eager am I to be there
For that the way is hard and long,
For that gray fears upon it throng,
I set my journey to the song.
And it grows wondrous happy so
Singing I hurry on for–oh!
It is to God, to God I go.
Read the next article in the Gospel of Thomas for Yogis: Children of the Light