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The Odes of Solomon: 34

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

There is no hard way where there is a simple heart, nor any barrier where the thoughts are upright.
Nor is there any whirlwind in the depth of the illuminated thought.
Where one is surrounded on every side by pleasing country, there is nothing divided in him.
The likeness of that which is below is that which is above.
For everything is above, and below there is nothing, but it is believed to be by those in whom there is no knowledge.
Grace has been revealed for your salvation, believe and live and be saved. Alleluia.

There is no hard way where there is a simple heart, nor any barrier where the thoughts are upright.

“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30).

Whining and complaining about the disciplines or other difficulties of spiritual life is a sign of one who is either not able or willing to bear the easy yoke and the light burden of the yoga life. Why? Because of desires and attitudes that are in conflict with authentic spiritual endeavor, the condition which Saint James calls being “double minded” (James 4:8), wanting both materiality and spirituality, the sacred and the profane, the pure and the defiled. The Greek word used by Saint James is dipsuchos, which means wavering, uncertain, doubting and divided in interest (especially this latter). It can also mean to have two souls, to be a spiritual schizophrenic. (The word used by Saint James is dipsuchos, “two-spirited.”) Such a person suffers, pulling themselves apart. Even if they are hypocritical they are also in pain because they have no real aspiration whatsoever, just a desire to make an impression on others. Such people should not be despised, but their dilemma should be understood. To try to hang on to them and cajole them into prolonging the agony is neither righteous nor merciful. They should be allowed to quietly exit and end their conflict. When the heart is “simple” in the sense of being direct and united in its perspective, then the way will not be hard.

When the mind is pure, the thoughts are “upright” in the sense of being true and oriented toward higher things, literally moving up the evolutionary path with joy, happily meeting the conditions and requirements to pursue enlightenment and liberation of the spirit. For such there are no barriers; nothing can stop them from reaching their goal.

Actually, barriers do arise, but the seekers’ will and aspiration so easily carry them over all obstacles it is as if they did not exist. Most of the things that impede the spiritual seeker are mirages, illusions and delusions appearing only in their minds. The seeker must decide whether or not to let them have any influence or effect. This spells the difference between failure or success. Saint Paul tells us that Jesus, “for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:2). This is why the cross is the symbol of Christianity: it is the door to joy and freedom, the path to enthronement at the right hand of God. “No price is too high” is the motto of those destined to win the prize, who “press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:14).

Nor is there any whirlwind in the depth of the illuminated thought.

There is no confusion, distraction or deflection for those who remain centered and immersed in “the illumined thought” of an illumined mind. The most effective and therefore sure means to do this is to ever be engaged in the continual mental repetition of Soham in time with our breath. It is the supreme illumined thought.

Where one is surrounded on every side by pleasing country, there is nothing divided in him.

In the mind which is happy and at peace there is no conflict. Here, again, it is a matter of the fundamental character of the individual. Further, this verse shows us that successful spiritual practice demands a total environment of the highest elements. We must surround ourselves with divine remembrance and those things that inspire us to press on toward the goal of self-realization. The outer and inner life must be consistent and of a single, positive quality. Then everything goes well. Otherwise things go backward, not forward. We must create the inner and outer environment that guarantees success in spiritual life and keep it consistent and complete. “Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God” (Luke 9:62).

The likeness of that which is below is that which is above.

This is the classical hermetic statement: As Above, So Below. The higher worlds are reflected in the lower worlds, so we can learn about them by study of the lower realms. The same is true of the individual person: whatever is going on in the higher bodies is being reflected in the lower bodies. So when we see someone taking up (authentic) meditation we know that a great awakening is beginning in his higher levels. When an aspirant begins purifying his life, especially in the areas of diet, conduct and personal environment, we know that purification has begun in his higher bodies. If we do not see these things in his life, then we know that whatever a person might say or claim, nothing of any real spiritual nature is occurring in him at all.

Finally, this principle tells us that in essence the lower and the higher are really one, are actually the same thing. If we carefully examine all the implications of this we will be enabled to live our life much more truly as aspirants to the Divine.

For everything is above, and below there is nothing, but it is believed to be by those in whom there is no knowledge.

Here again the hermetic principle is presented. That which is above is the root of everything. That which is below is nothing in the sense that it is only a reflection, it is not self-existent. Furthermore, because of the distortion that has taken place during the successive emanations of the various worlds (lokas), it is fundamentally illusory, just as the reflection of an object in agitated water does not show what it really is like. In fact, it is not an object at all and has no substance of its own. The seeming reality of this and all relative worlds is collectively known as Maya. “Maya” means “the Measurer,” as it is based on the two delusive “measures,” Time and Space. Interestingly enough, Western philosophy considers time and space to be the fundamental realities of existence. But the mystics of all viable spiritual traditions know better. Only those without true knowledge (jnana) born of direct spiritual experience believe in the illusion, like children believing in the magic of a stage magician.

Grace has been revealed for your salvation, believe and live and be saved.

To enumerate the means of grace revealed in the many spiritual traditions of the world, including the Way of Christ, would require a tremendous amount of exposition. If you will allow, I would like to speak of only one, yet that which is the crest jewel of all traditions: Truth. In the first chapter of Saint John’s Gospel we are told regarding Jesus: “The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us,… full of grace and truth.… For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ” (John 1:14, 17).

Grace and Truth. Truth, or Jnana, is the way to know God, to become one with God as a son of God. Therefore the Sanskrit texts of India speak ever of Brahmajnana, the knowing of God. This is not an intellectual knowing, so Krishna tells Arjuna: “To you I shall explain in full this knowledge, along with realization, which being known, nothing further remains to be known in this world” (Bhagavad Gita 7:2). This is “most secret knowledge combined with realization, which having known you shall be free from evil. Royal knowledge, royal secret, this the supreme purifier, readily understood, dharmic, pleasant to practice, eternal” (Bhagavad Gita 9:1-2).

Grace is the “power to become the sons of God” (John 1:12). The word translated “power” is exousia, which means privilege, capacity, competency, mastery, authority, power and strength. They all apply here as sadhana shakti, the power to successfully practice yoga and become one with the Eternal.

Although the Odes of Solomon are written in Aramaic, it is worthwhile looking at the Greek word Charis used in the translations of the Odes. Charis means “that which affords joy, pleasure, delight and sweetness,” the ananda of Satchidananda, the Absolute Divinity.

Those who live in grace and truth and become embodiments of grace and truth shall in truth be “saved” by attaining perfect liberation (moksha) in God.

Read the next article in The Odes of Solomon for Awakening: The Odes of Solomon: 35

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