His disciples said to him, Show us the place where you are, since it is necessary for us to seek it.
He said to them, Whoever has ears, let him hear. There is light within a man of light, and he lights up the whole world. If he does not shine, he is darkness. (24)
Johnson: His disciples requested: Teach us about the Place where you live, for we must seek it. He said: He who has ears let him hear. There is light in a man of light, who gives light to the world. If he does not give light, there is only Darkness.
In the Gospel of John we read: “Again the next day after John stood, and two of his disciples; and looking upon Jesus as he walked, he saith, Behold the Lamb of God! And the two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus. Then Jesus turned, and saw them following, and saith unto them, What seek ye? They said unto him, Rabbi, (which is to say, being interpreted, Master,) where dwellest thou? He saith unto them, Come and see. They came and saw where he dwelt, and abode with him that day” (John 1:35-39).
Show us the place where you are, since it is necessary for us to seek it. There is a mystical sect in Bengal known as Bauls whose habit is to ask someone: “In what ‘station’ do you live?” What they are asking is what state of consciousness is the person’s constant abode. When we are with highly advanced yogis we often realize that although they are physically present and interacting with us, yet they really are somewhere else altogether and living in a manner invisible to us. This was very much true of Swami Venkateshananda, a disciple of Swami Sivananda of Rishikesh.
So the disciples want to know where Jesus really “is”–and we, too, need to know that, for we also must seek that place, that level of consciousness. This is bold aspiration, but a most necessary one. Jesus came into this terrible sea of samsara to deliver us from it by calling us to higher life. Our response must be a wholehearted seeking of our own Christhood.
Whoever has ears, let him hear. Jesus knows that there is no need speaking to those who lack the capacity to understand and follow. “Everybody welcome” is a sure sign of religion that is really a business. There is no place in the kingdom of heaven for spiritual window-shoppers.
There is light within a man of light, and he lights up the whole world. He does this in two ways, inner and outer. Inwardly he lights up his own perceptions, knowing both himself and all that surrounds him through the light of his perfected consciousness (buddhi). Outwardly he illumines those in the world who have eyes to see. Just seeing him can cause a person to begin consciously seeking God. In my early sadhana days my spiritual batteries often started to go flat. Realizing that this was a dangerous condition, I would get an appointment to see Sri Daya Mata, the president of Self-Realization Fellowship. The moment she crossed the threshold of the room I would be aflame with the desire to know God. Not a word need be said. Away I would go with a full spiritual charge. Many people can give inspiring talks and even work miracles, but rare are those that can awaken us by their very sight.
If he does not shine, he is darkness. In other words, however great his reputation may be, however great the claims made by his followers, if he does not “shine” into our inmost hearts and bring us closer to God, he is nothing but darkness. I met a lot of “gurus” in India and America that had a big staff to promote them through a stream of books, photos, recordings and whatnot, but they were lumps of coal. Yet I also met simple-appearing, unassuming people whose initial glimpse thrilled my soul and I knew they were God’s light in this world. I never even learned the name of some of them. They came, they shone, and they went leaving my heart aglow. This is not poetic exaggeration. In my memory I have a gallery of blessed visages to which I can put no name, but they are living in me at this moment. I also met many whose name I did learn and whose greatness is as present to me as then.
Read the next section in The Gospel of Thomas for Yogis: Love and Protect