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The Odes of Solomon: 22

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

He who brings me down from on high, and brings me up from the regions below;
And he who gathers what is in the middle, and throws them to me;
He who scattered my enemies, and my adversaries;
He who gave me authority over bonds, that I might loose them;
He who overthrew by my hands the dragon with seven heads, and set me at his roots that I might destroy his seed:
Thou wert there and helped me, and in every place Thy Name was round about me.
Thy right hand destroyed his wicked venom, and Thy hand levelled the way for those who believe in Thee.
And it chose them from the graves, and separated them from the dead.
It took dead bones, and covered them with bodies.
And they were motionless, and it gave (them) energy for life.
Thy way was without destruction and Thy face; [yet] Thou hast brought Thy world to destruction, that everything might be dissolved and renewed,
And that the foundation for everything might be Thy rock; and upon it Thou hast built Thy kingdom, and Thou becamest the dwelling-place of the saints. Alleluia.

He Who brings me down from on high, and brings me up from the regions below.

“He” in this and the next four verses is God. Eternally we have existed in God, the essence of our being, though we are not God but gods. There in the bosom of the Father we rested in transcendental happiness, but within our nature there was an impulse to transcend the finite scope of our consciousness. (See Robe of Light.) Since this was the implanted will of God, he had spread forth the entire field of relative existence for us to enter and evolve the capacity to experience and share in his infinite consciousness. With our assent God caused us to descend from those divine heights into the depths of what in India is known as the ocean of samsara. Then from both within and without God began drawing us upward back to him, and in that process we began to evolve the capacity for increasingly expanding breadth of consciousness.

And he who gathers what is in the middle, and throws them to me.

First we learned to enter in and experience life forms whose scope of awareness and ability were much beneath ours, but slowly we kept expanding until we reached the point where the evolved level of consciousness and our innate eternal status were equal. This was the level of human life, which was in the middle of the evolutionary ladder. For the first time, being self-conscious, we experienced life as something thrown at us, for we had forgotten that everything that had occurred was both our will and the will of God. So we became overwhelmed with the experience of human existence.

He Who scattered my enemies, and my adversaries.

But our evolution was moving forward, and that which opposed our growth in consciousness was slowly pushed back and eliminated from our life sphere.

He Who gave me authority over bonds, that I might loose them.

Finally we came to the point where evolution need not be a matter of blind, automatic expansion, and there arose in us the ability to begin moving forward by our own conscious volition, evolving ourselves intentionally and methodically. This was done in many forms of positive endeavor, but eventually we came to the point where the knowledge and practice of yoga became possible so we might free ourselves from our bonds. The rate of our growth then became according to the intensity and quality of our practice, by our working together with God for our liberation (II Corinthians 6:1).

He Who overthrew by my hands the dragon with seven heads, and set me at his roots that I might destroy his seed.

In the book of Revelation we read quite a bit about this dragon, the enemy of all evolving beings. When creation came forth, since “for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction” as Newtonian physics postulates, an opposing force had to arise; otherwise the creation would have dissolved since without the duality of positive and negative there is no relative existence. This force has been spoken of under many symbolic names and forms: Mara, Ahriman, Satan and the Devil being but a few. Basically it is the force of cosmic delusion opposing the purpose of creation which is the development of consciousness and wisdom (gnosis, jnana). Since everything is the light of the Holy Spirit, all things are inherently conscious, and this force is a kind of energy robot that operates on a level of cosmic intelligence.

It is both cosmic and individual. On the cosmic level it wars with the cosmic order trying to break it down and return it to its primeval formlessness. The English occultist William Gray wrote about the conflict of what he called Chaos and Cosmos. This power also wars on the individual level to halt and reverse the evolution of every sentient being. Each one of us must conquer this negative power as it works outside in our personal environment and as we find its imprint and influence within us. As miniature reflections of the cosmos, the ancient war must be fought and won by us. “But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (I Corinthians 15:57), for “in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us” (Romans 8:37).

This was done by uncovering the very roots of the dragon within by the practice of yoga meditation, which by its inherent force then dissolved those roots and expelled the dragon. Thus the seeds implanted by that dragon in past and present lives were burnt in the fires of divine light, melted and passed away.

Thou wert there and helped me, and in every place Thy Name was round about me.

All this was done through the power of God, especially through his invocation and continual remembrance by japa and meditation. Yoga is the infallible sword by which all evil is cut off and banished. First and foremost the questing soul must become and know itself as a yogi. Everything else is absolutely secondary, for yoga is the only real religion.

Thy right hand destroyed his wicked venom, and Thy hand levelled the way for those who believe in Thee.

The divine power of the Holy Spirit activated through the diligent practice of yoga completely neutralized the poison of evil and turned it into the elixir of immortality (amrita). Moreover it transmuted all the energies that hindered the yogi into upward-oriented powers that ensured his success in the battle. “The right hand of the Lord is exalted: the right hand of the Lord doeth valiantly” (Psalms 118:16).

And it chose them from the graves, and separated them from the dead.

Until a significant degree of spiritual awakening/evolution is attained, the human being in a sense lives in a tomb consisting of his body, mind and earthly environment. Yoga especially takes us out of the grave and separates us from the dead who yet remain fundamentally asleep in the higher reaches of their existence, unaware that they even have a higher nature. To everyone there comes the call: “Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light” (Ephesians 5:14). Sometimes it is heeded and sometimes not. A lot of people awake for a while but do not arise and so fall back asleep. Many awake and arise only to wander around in the dark. But eventually everyone awakes, arises and stands forth in the light revealed as a son of God.

It took dead bones, and covered them with bodies.

The Holy Spirit clothes us in her own light as Ezekiel recorded in the thirty-seventh chapter of his prophecies. “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature” (II Corinthians 5:17). Literally the yogi becomes recreated as the levels and faculties possessed by Adam and Eve in Paradise, but which they lost through their transgression, are restored to him and he becomes fully human. Until then there is no possibility of him evolving beyond the ordinary human condition.

And they were motionless, and it gave (them) energy for life.

The Nicene Creed refers to the Holy Spirit as “the Giver of Life.” Our bodies are formed of her energies and enlivened by her Life. “Ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you” (I Corinthians 3:16). Having such an empowerment, it can truly be said to us, as Yogananda commented to some disciples: “You have God’s blessing and my blessing; all you lack is your blessing.”

Thy way was without destruction and Thy face; [yet] Thou hast brought Thy world to destruction, that everything might be dissolved and renewed.

This first clause sounds very strange in all translations, but what it means is that the creation was indestructible and destruction was not part of the divine will (“face”). That is, everything is inherently imperishable since they are a manifestation of the Holy Spirit. So any degeneration or breakdown was impossible. There was no flaw or instability in creation, yet it was meant to be cyclic, to manifest and dissolve alternately in a perpetual manner. Therefore the dissolution of the world and its regeneration or renewal is the direct action of God, a deliberate “destruction.” This was well known to the sages of India, and the Bhagavad Gita explains it.

“They know the true day and night who know Brahma’s Day a thousand yugas long and Brahma’s Night a thousand yugas long. At the approach of Brahma’s Day, all manifested things come forth from the unmanifest, and then return to that at Brahma’s Night. Helpless, the same host of beings being born again and again merge at the approach of the Night and emerge at the dawn of Day” (Bhagavad Gita 8:17-19).

And that the foundation for everything might be Thy rock; and upon it Thou hast built Thy kingdom, and Thou becamest the dwelling-place of the saints.

This, too, is made clear in the Bhagavad Gita: “But there exists, higher than the unmanifested, another unmanifested Eternal which does not perish when all beings perish. This unmanifest is declared to be the imperishable, which is called the Supreme Goal, attaining which they return not. This is my supreme abode” (Bhagavad Gita 8:20-21).

Because of the famous hymn, the title “Rock of Ages” for God is considered Christian, but it is equally Jewish. The idea is that God is the foundation of the entire creation and everything within it. Further, God is the Kingdom of God and, as this verse says, the dwelling-place of the saints. “In him we live, and move, and have our being…, For we are also his offspring” (Acts 17:28). We only need realize this, experience it truly and be established in it, to attain the goal of life itself.

Read the next article in The Odes of Solomon for Awakening: The Odes of Solomon: 23

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