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What Will You Do?

Chapter 11 of the Gospel of Thomas for Awakening

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Jesus said, This heaven will pass away, and the one above it will pass away. The dead are not alive, and the living will not die. In the days when you consumed what is dead, you made it what is alive. When you come to dwell in the light, what will you do? On the day when you were one you became two. But when you become two, what will you do? (11)

This is one of many saying of Jesus recorded in the Gospel of Thomas which is completely inexplicable without some knowledge of Indian philosophy (Sanatana Dharma). To me it is another demonstration of the fact that if anyone wishes to follow Jesus they must follow him to India for complete understanding. As a Saint Thomas Christian priest from India once remarked to me: “To understand the teachings of Jesus you have to know the scriptures of India.”

This heaven will pass away, and the one above it will pass away. Creation takes place in cycles–projection and withdrawal–in fact, there is no such thing as creation, but rather there is manifestation. In Sanskrit the word for the withdrawal of the worlds is pralaya, which means dissolution. The three lower worlds (lokas) or spheres are known as Bhur, Bhuvah, and Swah. Bhu Loka is the material level of existence, whereas Bhuvah and Swah are the two lower astral worlds, “heaven” and “the one above” that.

Jesus wants us to realize that not only is the earth temporary, so also is heaven. Neither heaven nor earth are our true home, so we must look beyond them. One Pentecost I was visiting the Coptic monastery outside Frankfort, Germany. The Abbot, Father Matthew, explained to the people that they were mistaken if they planned to go to heaven forever. “God has something much better than that,” he told them. “He intends for us to enter into the great Light of God–into himself.” That is why Jesus in his life as David sang: “When I awake, I am still with thee” (Psalms 139:18). And: “I will behold thy face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness” (Psalms 17:15). We must identify with our eternal nature.

The dead are not alive, and the living will not die. Jesus brings to his hearers the immortal teaching of the Bhagavad Gita: “Truly there never was a time when I was not, nor you, nor these lords of men–nor in the future will there be a time when we shall cease to be. It is known that the unreal never comes to be, and the real never ceases to be. The certainty of both of these principles is seen by those who see the truth. Know indeed that That by which all this universe is pervaded is indestructible. There is no one whatsoever capable of the destruction of the Eternal. These bodies inhabited by the eternal, indestructible, immeasurable, embodied Self are said to come to an end.” (Bhagavad Gita 2:12, 16-18). Forgetting our true Selves whose very nature is Life, we identify with the material body and material conditions. We avidly run after them. Practically speaking, we pursue death and deny life, seeking to vivify the dead and kill the living: our own Self. In time, though, our true Self breaks through and posits the question the angel asked the mourners at the tomb of Jesus: “Why seek ye the living among the dead?” (Luke 24:5). Yes; why, indeed?

In the days when you consumed what is dead, you made it what is alive. We must come to realize that we are life itself, as is God, that the dead only “live” through contact with us. We are the only source of life in our private sphere of evolution. Yet we idolize that which has no value or meaning except in its relation to us. Our involvement with it is the only life it has, yet we exalt it above us and even claim to be dominated by it. In time we come to think that if it is eliminated from our life we will die, either physically or metaphysically. We are thus truly negative: black is white and white is black; empty is full and full is empty; something is nothing and nothing is something; the dead is alive and the live is dead.

The dilemma is colossal. How can we ever break out of it? Actually it is easy because we are Life itself. All we need do is turn to our own Self. That is why Buddha said: “Turn around, and behold! the Other Shore.” Getting into our mess is much harder than getting out. This is an unaccepted truth, but it is no less the truth. It is material life that is hard, because it is an attempt to accomplish the impossible, to make the dead alive. Spiritual life is comparatively easy because it is a matter of “is”–of eternal reality.

Our eternal status must be pursued, must be driven home in our consciousness. So Jesus puts forth two crucial questions.

When you come to dwell in the light, what will you do? When our consciousness once more comes to dwell in the light of spirit, both finite and Infinite, what will we do? Nothing. As Buddha said: “Birth is exhausted [that is, the karma that produces birth is dissolved, has ceased to exist], the holy life has been lived out, what can be done is done, of this there is no more beyond.” Perfection having been reentered, nothing remains to be done or not done.

On the day when you were one you became two. But when you become two, what will you do? There was a time when we were in the state of unity, but then we entered into duality. When that occurred, what, then, could we do? Again: nothing. For we had made ourselves helpless through immersion in unreality.

There is, however, a single thing needed: Awakening. But we do not “do” awakening, for being awake is a state. So we need only stop sleeping and lo! we will find ourselves awake in Reality. Therefore Saint Paul wrote: “Awake, thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light” (Ephesians 5:14).

Read the next section in The Gospel of Thomas for Yogis: Who Shall Lead?

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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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