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Unashamed Before God

Chapter 37 of the Gospel of Thomas for Awakening

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His disciples said, When will you become revealed to us and when shall we see you? Jesus said, When you disrobe without being ashamed [Nancy Johnson: “When you shed your shame.”] and take up your garments and place them under your feet like little children and tread on them, then will you see the son of the living one, and you will not be afraid. (37)

Adam, Eve and Isaiah

In paradise Adam and Eve “were both naked… and were not ashamed” (Genesis 2:5) because of their consciousness of spirit rather than of the body. But through their misdeeds “the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked” (Genesis 3:7). So we see that shame and fear come from moral transgression and its attendant guilt.

In the book of Isaiah, we are told that God told the prophet: “Go and loose the sackcloth from off thy loins, and put off thy shoe from thy foot. And he did so, walking naked and barefoot” (Isaiah 20:2 3). A person who converses with God is not likely to care about the opinion of mortals.

Sri Ramakrishna

On Sri Ramakrishna’s birthday in 1883, he remarked to a few of his disciples: “One cannot be spiritual as long as one has shame or fear. Great will be the joy today. But those fools who will not sing or dance, mad with God’s name, will never attain God.” In the devotional scriptures of India shame and fear are considered two of the eight fetters of delusion which prevent someone from attaining spiritual realization. Therefore Sri Ramakrishna counseled a devotee, Sri Vijay Krishna Goswami: “Surrender yourself completely to God, and set aside all such things as fear and shame.” In this verse we see that nearly two thousand years before, Jesus who had gained his wisdom in India taught the very same thing.

Sri Ramakrishna also said that a person of high consciousness, established in non-duality, may act like a child, forgetting all about clothing and walking naked, unaware of the fact. “The Master showed his devotees the manners and movements of a paramahamsa: the gait of a child, face beaming with laughter, eyes swimming in joy, and body completely naked.” And he said: “A child is beyond all ideas of purity and impurity. He is not bound by social conventions. He doesn’t hesitate to come out naked before others.”

Krishna

Long, long before either Jesus or Sri Ramakrishna, the same principle was taught by Krishna. In ancient India there was a special season when young girls engaged in various spiritual observances to ensure that they would marry an ideal husband. Once the young female devotees of Krishna, the gopis, practiced those disciplines to gain Krishna as their husband. When they were bathing in the Jumna river, Krishna stole their clothing and sat up in a tree watching them. When the gopis started coming out of the water and caught sight of Krishna, they ran back in and stood with the water up to their necks so he would not see them naked. Indignantly they demanded their clothes, and Krishna told them that the only way they could have them was to come out of the water, go over to him, and take the clothes from his hand. They fussed for quite a while, but eventually all did so. The lesson was twofold: 1) love cancels all shame, and 2) the soul cannot come to God and be wedded to him unless it comes naked, divested of all that is not spirit. To return to our Source we must lay aside all that we have acquired by entering into relative, evolutionary existence. Otherwise the aspiration is mere emotion, not based on intelligent will.

Saint John Maximovitch

Here is a twentieth-century example known to me personally. I was privileged to meet the modern Russian Orthodox saint, Saint John Maximovitch, the bishop of San Francisco. I also had the good fortune to meet Bishop Sava of Edmonton, Canada, who was a very close friend of Saint John. He said that one time he was walking with Saint John down a street in Manhattan. Saint John was wearing a silk cassock that a Chinese laywoman had made for him. When Bishop Sava remarked that it was an extremely nice-looking garment, Saint John stopped walking, said: “You may have it,” and began pulling it off right there on the street. This was shocking enough to Bishop Sava, but he immediately saw that Saint John was totally naked underneath the cassock! He knew that it would be useless to reason with the saint, so he turned and ran as fast as he could, away from the impending disaster. So Saint John let the cassock slip down and resumed serenely walking. Bishop Sava might have known fear and shame and acted accordingly, but obviously Saint John did not.

Peer pressure

Also inseparable from this is the necessity to not permit ourselves to be influenced by the opinion of others at any time. I have known people who either abandoned spiritual life or did not even take it up because of pressure from friends, family, or society. This is a terrible weakness, and even if we are prone to it we must steel ourselves against it and do that which is right. In spiritual matters this is an absolute must.

In Mahayana Buddhism it is said that the moment a person decides to seek higher consciousness a multitude of buddhas and bodhisattvas become aware of it and begin to help them in their quest. That is the only “peer pressure” we should seek or even acknowledge. As Saint Paul told the spiritual aspirants of his day: “Ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God” (Ephesians 2:19).

When we live in the paradise-consciousness of the holy ones I have cited, then we, too, will be freed from shame and fear. Christ will then be revealed to us in his true nature, for we will have entered into awareness of our own spirit-nature. Seeing ourselves we will see Christ. And seeing Christ, we will see the Father (John 14:9).

Read the next article in the Gospel of Thomas for Yogis: At the Source

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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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