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Balancing the Inner and the Outer

Chapter 81 of the Gospel of Thomas for Awakening

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Jesus said, Let him who has grown rich be king, and let him who possesses power renounce it. (81)

I would like to tell you something that contradicts a great deal of “spiritual” lore: “Simple souls” do not manage in spiritual life except in cute little stories for the childish at heart. To be a seeker for the Divine with the aspiration to become one with him/it, we must be capable and conversant with reality on many levels. I have met and even lived with saints and adept yogis, and none were “childlike” except in the opinions of worldlings who thought their directness and total lack of guile and cunning was a trait of children–which it is not as anyone who has dealt much with children knows. Lack of control and blurting out anything that has come to mind is certainly childish, and no saint possesses such traits. Let us not forget that Jesus counsels us to be “wise as serpents, and harmless as doves” (Matthew 10:16). That requires a maturity and insight that no child ever has.

One thing that the worthy aspirant needs is the understanding that the rules and ways of the spirit are almost never those of the world–especially of human society. Therefore spiritual life cannot be conducted on the assumptions of worldly life. Often it contradicts those assumptions. And this verse deals with the discrimination needed to bring order into the life of those who seek to transcend this world and its delusions.

Let him who has grown rich be king. (Patterson and Maeyer: “Let one who has become wealthy reign.” Brown: “Let whoever is enriched become sovereign.”).

We know that those who seek the inner kingdom have no interest in this world. Yet in the first chapter of Revelation Saint John the Apostle says that Jesus “hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father” (Revelation 1:6). Obviously that kingship and priesthood has nothing to do with worldly positions, honors or privileges, but with the spirit, the inner person of those who seek the kingdom which Jesus has assured us is within (Luke 17:21).

Jesus stated very simply that eternal life is knowledge–jnana (John 17:3). And so had every great teacher of India before him, especially Shankara. By knowledge is meant “knowledge combined with realization” (Bhagavad Gita 9:1). In other words it is wisdom and insight coming from deep within each knower (jnani). Those who are rich in divine knowledge alone are masters of themselves. That is why Solomon said: “He that ruleth his spirit [is better] than he that taketh a city” (Proverbs 16:32).

The seeker after the celestial kingdom does not want political rulership, but certainly seeks for self mastery so he can direct his life in such a way that he readily overcomes the karmic compulsions to rebirth and passes into higher worlds for the evolution that will culminate in his total spiritual liberation. Such are “the kings unto God,” the true masters of the “everlasting kingdom” (II Peter 1:11).

Let him who possesses power renounce it. Having centered his attention and interest in the inner world, the yogi next renounces all power of the outer world, because many faculties open in the evolving person that if turned outward will enmesh him in the world and bind him tighter to the ever-turning wheel of birth and death. And if by any chance he has already been born with worldly power of any kind that, too, he ruthlessly cuts off and casts away. Wise kings and emperors have abandoned their thrones and occupied themselves with the inner conquest. Some did so openly and others such as Tsar Alexander I of Russia (Saint Theodore Kuzmich) mysteriously disappeared only to reappear as saints far from the world and ways of men.

Here Jesus has given us a clear rule: the interior should be cultivated and the exterior should be diminished and laid aside as much as possible. We must fully possess the inner kingdom and turn away completely from the ways of the outer realms. We must become powerful inside and seemingly powerless outside.

Read the next article in the Gospel of Thomas for Yogis: Near and Far

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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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