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The Odes of Solomon: 12

Virgin OransA continuation of the Commentary on the Odes of Solomon for Awakening.

He hath filled me with words of truth, so that I may speak it.
And like the flowing of waters truth flows from my mouth, and my lips show forth his fruits.
And he has caused his knowledge to abound in me, because the mouth of the Lord is the true Word, and the door of his light.
And the Most High hath given him to his worlds, (which are) the interpreters of his beauty, and the repeaters of his praise, and the confessors of his thought, and the heralds of his mind, and the chasteners of his servants.
For the swiftness of the Word is inexpressible, and like his expression is his swiftness and his sharpness, and his course has no limit.
Never (doth the Word) fall, but ever it standeth; his descent and his way are incomprehensible.
For as his work is so is his expectation, for he is the light and the dawn of thought.
And in him the worlds spoke one to the other, and those that were silent acquired speech.
And from him came love and concord, and they spoke one to the other that which they had (to tell).
And they were goaded by the Word, and they knew him that made them, because they came into concord.
For the mouth of the Most High spoke to them, and the clarification of himself moved quickly by his hand.
For the dwelling-place of the Word is man, and his truth is love.
Blessed are they who by it have comprehended everything, and who have known the Lord by his truth. Alleluia.

Before beginning comment on this ode I want to point out how all the odes are consistently positive in their view of the nature of human beings and their ultimate goal. Over and over the odist speaks of his liberation from ignorance, “giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son” (Colossians 1:12-13). These marvelous hymns show us the glory in store for all the sons of God and reveal the attitude we should always have: confidence in God rather than in our “sinfulness.” How can we be disciples of Christ unless we live moment by moment in the consciousness: “now are we the sons of God” (I John 3:2)?

He hath filled me with words of truth, so that I may speak it.

In the seed is the entire plant. In each one of us cosmic consciousness and omniscience is inherent eternally. But we must grow into “the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ” (Ephesians 4:13) in order to be consciously established in our true being and able to manifest it. Within the seed is everything, but without the right conditions it will not germinate, grow and flourish. These processes, in the spiritual sense, constitute true religion.

Everything is within us because we are not just in the image of God, we are part of the being of God in a manner incomprehensible, but nonetheless real. That is why Yoga Sutras 1:25 says regarding God: “In him is the highest limit of omniscience.” This is very important, for by perfect union with God the individual can come to share or participate in his omniscience. That is, the finite can experience the consciousness of the Infinite, just as God already experiences the consciousness of each individual being. In God is everything, and that all-encompassing being is reflected in us. That is why we are yogis: to reveal the truth of that.

And like the flowing of waters truth flows from my mouth, and my lips show forth his fruits.

The more a person’s consciousness is opened, the more he thinks, speaks and acts from his spirit rather than the body and mind. Jesus has declared to us: “He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his inmost being shall flow rivers of living water. (This spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive” (John 7:38-39). Jesus told the Apostles when he promised them the Holy Spirit: “She dwells with you and shall be in you” (John 14:17). That is, from thenceforth the Holy Spirit manifests from within us, not outside.

So the odist says the Water of Truth, the Holy Spirit, flows from within him and he manifests the action of the Holy Spirit Who resides in him. Certainly the Odes present a high ideal, but that is in keeping with Jesus’ authentic teaching.

And he has caused his knowledge to abound in me, because the mouth of the Lord is the true Word, and the door of his light.

This is an extremely important verse, informing us that the Word manifests in and through us, because It is the mouth of God, the Only-begotten of the Father, the door to the Kingdom of Light. The opening verses of Saint John’s Gospel are about the Word as the Eternal Christ which manifested in Jesus Christ and is to be manifested in us in time. It is speaking of both God and deified humanity. This ode is surely the words of Jesus or someone who in the earliest days of the Church attained to the same Christhood.

And the Most High hath given him to his worlds, (which are) the interpreters of his beauty, and the repeaters of his praise, and the confessors of his thought, and the heralds of his mind, and the chasteners of his servants.

In the Gloria of the Liberal Catholic Church we find these words: “O Lord Christ, alone-born of the Father; O Lord God, Indwelling Light, Son of the Father, Whose wisdom mightily and sweetly ordereth all things, pour forth Thy love: Thou Whose strength upholdeth and sustaineth all creation, receive our prayer; Thou Whose beauty shineth through the whole universe, unveil Thy glory.” The worlds are the handiwork of the Only-Begotten of the Father, and like the words of all great men they are his praise, the revelations of his glory. God can be known to some extent from his creations. But the worlds are also the means of discipline and learning for us under the law of karma. There is no doubt that there are pain and suffering, but just as we learn not to touch fire because it hurts, in the same way we learn what to avoid as we move from life to life, and hopefully learn what to pursue. So these worlds serve to keep us in line and on the right track, eventually.

For the swiftness of the Word is inexpressible, and like his expression is his swiftness and his sharpness, and his course has no limit.

Both the Only-Begotten and his Word-Being are quick [dzao: living] and powerful in operation. So what is true of Ishwara, the Son of God, is true of the Divine Word. Both are limitless in their transformation of the creation and all the sentient beings within it. “For the word of God is quick [living: dzao], and powerful [energes: effectual], and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing [diikneomai: penetrating] even to the dividing asunder of soul [psychi: psyche] and spirit [pneuma], and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12). The Only-Begotten knows us, and the Divine Word reveals us to ourselves.

Never (doth the Word) fall, but ever it standeth; his descent and his way are incomprehensible.

The Only-Begotten is the supreme avatar (a Sanskrit word that means to come down, to descend.) That is, he “incarnates” in the creation. His descent and his way may be incomprehensible to us at the moment, but he has revealed both through the great masters of all ages, and if we follow their direction we shall ascend in that way and become ourselves all-comprehending sons of God.

For as his work is so is his expectation, for he is the light and the dawn of thought. The creation is itself the purpose of God: the liberation and enlightenment of all. Just as a person builds a factory because he intends to manufacture, in the same way the cosmos is a divine factory that produces sons of God. “For the earnest expectation of the creature [creation] waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.… Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God” (Romans 8:19, 21). Both creation and those conscious entities within it are to be restored to the bosom of the Father (John 1:18), the Divine Being, for both are evolving under the call of the Son and the Holy Spirit. “And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely” (Revelation 22:17).

And in him the worlds spoke one to the other, and those that were silent acquired speech.

Even in the Old Testament there are many passages indicating that what is commonly called “dead matter” is both consciousness and will. How is this? Because all things are the Holy Spirit in manifestation. Therefore intelligence is inherent in the essence of all things. Since God is manifesting himself in and as all things, how could it be otherwise?

The idea of this verse is that all the worlds are integrated with one another, that they function in a cosmic synergy whose purpose is evolution, that they are conscious wombs that gestate the spirits incarnate in them and bring them to birth in a series of higher and higher worlds in a series of increasingly complex bodies which provide for them an increasingly wider scope of consciousness and mastery in those worlds.

The Byzantine Orthodox prayers of Matins often affirm that in the Holy Spirit the worlds are made alive and fulfilling the work of God: the manifestation of sentient beings as perfect sons of God. Such is not just the original Christian view of creation, but also that of the psalmists and prophets of Judaism.

And from him came love and concord, and they spoke one to the other that which they had (to tell).

Here we must remember that ultimately love is a divine force that draws a sentient being into union with the Supreme Being: not just nearness, but union in which distinction of being remains in perfect unity. We can guess at its nature, but human beings are presently unable to comprehend it intellectually. What we need is to evolve beyond the human condition.

The worlds “speak one to the other” in the communication necessary for the furtherance of the evolution of those within them. It is of course a metaphysical process which does not at all involve words, but creative impulses and interactions. Right now this is a mystery to us, but one which we can believe since the enlightened of all ages have assured us of its reality.

And they were goaded by the Word, and they knew him that made them, because they came into concord.

Working from within them, Christ the Word stimulates the worlds to come into perfect harmony with God, their Source. That is why Jesus taught: “The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened” (Matthew 13:33). The three measures are the physical, astral and causal bodies of both the individual and the cosmos.

For the mouth of the Most High spoke to them, and the clarification of himself moved quickly by his hand.

It is a matter of divine revelation. As God said through the prophet: “So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it” (Isaiah 55:11). From this as well as all the verses of this ode and all the other odes, we can see that original Jewish and Christian mysticism were nothing like those of today, but were identical with that of the sages of India which originally inspired and formed both religions.

For the dwelling-place of the Word is man, and his truth is love.

This does not say that man shall be the dwelling-place of the Word, but that man is Its dwelling-place. It is our eternal nature to embody the Word just as did Jesus and all the other great masters of human history. The truth of our being itself is God Who is Love (I John 4:8).

Blessed are they who by it have comprehended everything, and who have known the Lord by his truth.

God is himself the way to God. That is, in our meditation and throughout the day and night we must live in the consciousness of God, not prepare for it or be working up to it. To end with Spirit we must begin with Spirit. Then we can say with Saint Paul: “I know even as also I am known” (I Corinthians 13:12).

Read the next article in The Odes of Solomon for Awakening: The Odes of Solomon: 13

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