Jesus said, Two will rest on a bed: the one will die, and the other will live.
Salome said, Who are you, man, that you… have come up on my couch and eaten from my table?
Jesus said to her, I am he who exists from the undivided. I was given some of the things of my father.
[…] I am your disciple.
[…] Therefore I say, if he is destroyed, he will be filled with light, but if he is divided, he will be filled with darkness. (61)
Relative existence consists of dualities, including life and death. Although we think of death as opposed to life, as canceling it out, it is actually an essential part of life. For in truth everything is Life because everything is a manifestation of the Divine in whom there is no real death. What we think is death is only a change. Therefore in the ancient texts of the Mass for the Departed we find the words: “Unto thy faithful, O Lord, life is changed, not taken away….”
Nevertheless, the appearance of death is always with us in the form of drastic change. For this reason Jesus enunciates the cosmic law that some will die and some will live in a perpetual sequence of change. There are none that live that will not die and none that die that will not live. Those of earth-dimmed vision are always troubled by this assertion, as was Salome who demanded to know who Jesus was that he could seemingly lay down this inflexible law that brings fear and sorrow to nearly all.
Spiritual teachers of all ages have been challenged with the words: “Who are you?” Many are the answers that have been given, including silence. Here we are told at least one reply Jesus gave to the demand, an answer that we all can give even now, though more fully in the future. His reply is twofold: “I am he who exists from the undivided.” And: “I was given some of the things of my father.”
Although we are dreaming the dream of separation, in reality we are rooted in the very being of the Undivided Reality, Satchidananda Brahman. We did not “come” from That, we are living in That as an eternal and inseparable part of That. That is why in the Chandogya Upanishad Uddalaka keeps saying to his son Svetaketu: THAT THOU ART. As simple as it is true.
We are not the Father, the Absolute, but being part of That we are also like That in some ways. That is our “inheritance” so to speak, which is why Jesus says: “I was given some of the things of my father.”
These two facets of our identity should ever be kept in mind.
Finally Jesus gives us a fundamental principle regarding enlightenment. We do not attain enlightenment, we uncover it in the depths of our being–or we do not, and practically speaking remain unenlightened. But it is essential to realize that no one becomes enlightened, but rather discovers the Light is already present within.
The translation seems strange, but it means that those whose illusory shell is being dissolved and whose age-long wrong identity is being destroyed are on the way to experience enlightenment. But Patterson and Maeyer render it more clearly: “For this reason I say, if one is (whole), one will be filled with light, but if one is divided, one will be filled with darkness.” If we are one, as is the Father, then like the Father we will find that we are totally Light. But if we are in the illusion of division, of duality, then we will see only darkness–even if we mistake it for the Light.
“The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!” (Matthew 6:22, 23). By “eye” is meant our consciousness. If our eye is single, is one, then we are full of light. But if it is divided, is dual, then it is full of darkness. And if we mistake that darkness for light, how great indeed it will be. Most people live in that state, which is why Krishna said: “Truly this maya of mine made of the gunas is difficult to go beyond. Verily only those who attain me shall pass beyond this maya” (Bhagavad Gita 7:14). Those who seek God alone shall seek and find–none other.
Read the next article in the Gospel of Thomas for Yogis: The Path of Unknowing