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The Fulfilled Universe

Chapter 97 of the Gospel of Thomas for Awakening

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This ninety-seventh verse of the Gospel of Thomas continues the theme of the universe and its evolution. It is related to the 129th hymn of the 10th Mandala of the Rig Veda that has come to be known as the Nasadiya Shukta. Here is T. H. Griffith’s translation:

  1. Then was not non-existent nor existent: there was no realm of air, no sky beyond it. What covered it, and where? and what gave shelter? Was water there, unfathomed depth of water?
  2. Death was not then, nor was there aught immortal: no sign was there, the day’s and night’s divider. That One Thing, breathless, breathed by its own nature: apart from it was nothing whatsoever.
  3. Darkness there was: at first concealed in darkness this All was indiscriminated chaos. All that existed then was void and formless: by the great power of Warmth was born that Unit.
  4. Thereafter rose Desire in the beginning, Desire, the primal seed and germ of Spirit. Sages who searched with their heart’s thought discovered the existent’s kinship in the non-existent.
  5. Transversely was their severing line extended: what was above it then, and what below it? There were begetters, there were mighty forces, free action here and energy up yonder.
  6. Who verily knows and who can here declare it, whence it was born and whence comes this creation? The Gods are later than this world’s production. Who knows then whence it first came into being?
  7. He, the first origin of this creation, whether he formed it all or did not form it, Whose eye controls this world in highest heaven, he verily knows it, or perhaps he knows not.

Now we should look at the verse itself.

Jesus said, The kingdom of the father is like a certain woman who was carrying a jar full of meal. While she was walking on the road, still some distance from home, the handle of the jar broke and the meal emptied out behind her on the road. She did not realize it; she had noticed no accident. When she reached her house, she set the jar down and found it empty. (97)

The jar is the cosmos and the meal is all that the cosmos contains in potential–and eventually actualized–form. At first there is no overt manifestation, but only a steady expansion which eventually results in the emergence of evolving forms. From that point on the drama of creation is carried out. That is why this verse says that the woman walked for a while on the road before the meal emerged and began falling on the road. In her experience there was no differentiation between the first half of the journey in which no meal appeared and the second half where the trail was laid out along the road as the jar emptied itself. The woman’s not noticing all this is a symbol of the spontaneous nature of emerging and withdrawing creation. It makes no difference to the “carrier” of the universe.

The complete emptying of the jar and the arrival at home were simultaneous. That is, when the creative will inherent in the universe was expended, the creative process was completed.

No simile is perfect, and this one certainly is not. The Veda is not saying that creation takes place in a totally unconscious manner. Actually the creation is fully conscious, being a manifestation of the Infinite Consciousness. What it does mean, however, is that creation is a continuous process, seamless from beginning to end. To an outside observer it may appear to be progressing in stages, but in reality it is a single movement activated by a single will.

The seventh verse: “He, the first origin of this creation, whether he formed it all or did not form it, whose eye controls this world in highest heaven, he verily knows it, or perhaps he knows not” is not implying that God is unaware of the creation as his activity. What it does mean is that God has not planned out or worked out the creation in the manner that a human being would plan and carry out a project. There is nothing intellectual in the process, because God does not possess a mind. In the perfect knowing that is the very nature of God, the creation comes forth and is withdrawn in the same eternal, timeless moment. In a sense the creation has no past, or present or future. It is a single thing, as is its Creator.

When a motion picture is shown in a theater, it appears to begin, proceed and end, taking up a certain amount of time. But this is illusory. Even before the showing the entire thing is present in its container. It takes time to project, but its contents are always present simultaneously. So although the audience sees something taking place, the only thing that is happening is the audience’s perception of it. It takes up time, and it takes up space, but it is really beyond time or space. It is the same with creation.

What is the exact message of this verse? Do not get caught in the illusion. Step back and see it as it is: simply Light projected on Light. And you yourself are that Light.

Read the next article in the Gospel of Thomas for Yogis: Taking Stock

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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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