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The Spiritual Family

Chapter 99 of the Gospel of Thomas for Awakening

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The disciples said to him, Your brothers and your mother are standing outside.
He said to them, Those here who do the will of my father are my brothers and my mother. It is they who will enter the kingdom of my father. (99)

Before beginning an analysis of this verse I would like to point out that “brothers” do not necessarily mean children of one’s mother, but also cousins. This is still the situation in India. Having met the only brother of a good friend of mine, I was bewildered when my friend kept introducing me to men, saying: “This is my brother.” When after about half a dozen of these introductions I said that I thought he had only one brother, he answered: “Yes. But these are my cousin-brothers!” Then I got the idea. Actually, I have been amazed at how much a few visits to India can clarify many aspects of Jesus’ life of two thousand years ago.

“If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (II Corinthians 5:17). “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea” (Revelation 21:1). “And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new” (Revelation 21:5). When someone begins living an authentic spiritual life, everything begins to change. Even while in this world, the sea of samsara begins to evaporate for him. If this does not happen, then the new life in the spirit has not begun and something is seriously wrong.

“And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” (Romans 12:2). Part of the renewing process is the acquisition of a spiritual family, of spiritual friends. This is a very important part of spiritual life, and frankly if you live in an area where you cannot find such new relations, then please seriously consider moving to another place altogether.

Yogananda often said: “Company is stronger than will power.” Satsanga, company with seekers of God, is an essential factor in spiritual life, and often means the difference between perseverance and failure. This I have seen throughout the more than fifty years of being a yogi. In fact, as soon as I learned about yoga I began making arrangements to move halfway across the country so I could be with other yogis and learn from them. That was one of the most sensible things I have ever done. Every day I lived in close personal contact with yogis who meant business, many of whom had lived for years with Paramhansa Yogananda. Those years were truly the happiest and most blessed of my life.

We have a close relation with our parents and family and often owe them a great deal, but when the path of light opens before us we should realize that there is a much more significant family for us to join: the company of devotees of God. Those who live for God and seek to enter the kingdom of his boundless light and life are our real family. Hopefully we will no longer be coming back to this world and earthly birth and family, but will step up to the next rung on the ladder and live with those who have sought and found, knocked and opened. They are those that will be with us all the way to liberation in Spirit. Jesus knew this, and so should we.

Read the next article in the Gospel of Thomas for Yogis: Three Debts

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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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