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The Odes of Solomon: 39

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

Mighty rivers are the power of the Lord, which carry headlong those that despise him.
And entangle their paths, and destroy their fords:
And seize their bodies, and corrupt their souls.
For they are more swift than lightning, and more rapid.
But those who cross them in faith shall not be moved.
And those who walk on them without blemish shall not be afraid.
For the sign in them is the Lord, and the sign is the way of those who cross in the Name of the Lord.
Put on therefore the Name of the Most High and know him, and you shall cross without danger, because the rivers shall be subject to you.
The Lord has bridged them by his word, and he walked and crossed them on foot.
And his footsteps stand (firm) on the waters and were not erased; they are as a beam that is firmly fixed.
And the waves were lifted up on this side and on that, but the footsteps of our Lord Messiah stand (firm).
And they are not obliterated, nor are they destroyed.
And a way has been appointed for those who cross after him, and for those who adhere to the course of his faith, and worship his Name. Alleluia.

Shakespeare wrote:

There is a tide in the affairs of men.
Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;
Omitted, all the voyage of their life
Is bound in shallows and in miseries.
On such a full sea are we now afloat,
And we must take the current when it serves,
Or lose our ventures.

But over one and a half millennia before that the odist wrote more fully about the same with a perspective Shakespeare never dreamed of in his philosophy.

Mighty rivers are the power of the Lord, which carry headlong those that despise him.

There are currents or tides in the very substance of this world and all creation, for it is a living entity. The various currents of energy are the life-blood of the universe and the bases of astrology and divination. Some of these rivers are the forces of evolution and some of them are the currents that carry away from evolution whenever the law inherent in the very fabric of the universe is defied or resisted. Sentient beings are either developing or disintegrating, according to the character of the rivers in which they swim.

Before looking at these further it must be clearly understood that the rivers being considered in this ode are not forces of punishment or rejection by God. Duality is an essential for relative existence, so there must be powers moving upward to higher levels of evolution and powers that move downward to degradation and loss of evolution. Whichever stream a human being is vibrating in sympathy with is the one in which he will find himself. It is a matter of like attracting like, the revealing of the character of the individual’s will. We may not like the stream in which we find ourselves, but we alone have brought ourselves into it. Everyone in their long path to perfection switches back and forth between the upward and downward streams until becoming evolved enough to remain in the upward-flowing ones.

And entangle their paths, and destroy their fords.

Confusion is the character of all paths of devolution. Stumbling and falling is the fate of those walking there. And even worse, access to the means (“fords”) by which they can change over to an upward stream become extremely difficult, almost impossible, for them to gain.

And seize their bodies, and corrupt their souls.

Body and mind become seized by merciless forces and distorted from their intended condition and form. The Bhagavad Gita puts it this way: “Evil-doers, the lowest of men, bereft of knowledge by maya, do not seek me, being attached to (existing within) a demonic mode of existence” (7:15). But I really like Swami Prabhavananda’s more poetic and interpretive translation: “The evil-doers turn not toward me: these are deluded, sunk low among mortals. Their judgment is lost in the maze of Maya, until the heart is human no longer: changed within to the heart of a devil.” Again, this is not the action of God but solely of the individual.

When I was a child I loved a comic strip called The Katzenjammer Kids. The “kids” Hans and Fritz almost always ended up getting spanked in the last frame while off to the side a little girl named Lena would be standing licking a lollipop and saying: “They brought it on themselves.” That is always the case.

For they are more swift than lightning, and more rapid.

This is one of the horrors of downward evolution: it came come like a lightning strike and drag a person down to a level of spiritual devastation far more than could have been imagined. The smallest thing can hurl someone downward, requiring lifetimes to regain the level from which they fell. I have seen people seized and swept away in a moment, not even realizing what was happening to them. A kind of psychic amnesia often prevails and what they have lost is unrealized or unknown. “I used to be…,” is one of the saddest refrains that can be heard from these people. I have known people that denied they ever aspired to higher consciousness. One friend of mind was a serious yogi leading an exemplary life. Then he began to drift, mostly through reading anti-spiritual philosophy. Suddenly he was gone. Literally. Another friend who had been introduced to yoga by him finally found that he had moved hundreds of miles away and went to see him. She found him totally addicted to alcohol, drugs and sex. All he did was sneer at her for having kept to the spiritual path, and spew out obscenities until she left. His former friends truly grieved over his spiritual death, but there was nothing they could do. As C. S. Lewis wrote, there are two kinds of people in this world: those who say to God, “Thy will be done,” and those to whom God says, “Thy will be done.”

But those who cross them in faith shall not be moved.

This is very significant. We are all going to encounter those rivers of destruction and death. That, too, is part of our evolution. In the ninety-fourth chapter of the Aquarian Gospel, Jesus tells his disciples to pray: “Shield us from the tempter’s snares that are too great for us to bear; and when they come, give us the strength to overcome.” They are going to come to us because we must choose whether we will cross over them or fall into them. As Jesus said, as recorded in India by Akhbar the Great: “This world is a bridge; cross over it, do not build a house on it.” Saint Paul told King Herod Agrippa: “I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision” (Acts 26:19). So if we do not lose that vision but act upon it, we too shall cross over unmoved by the tides of evil.

And those who walk on them without blemish shall not be afraid.

We have to learn how to walk on those dangerous waters fearlessly, and not sink as did Peter (Matthew 14:22-32). The secret is to be totally oriented toward the higher life and to be living according to spiritual principles without compromise or omission.

For the sign in them is the Lord, and the sign is the way of those who cross in the Name of the Lord.

The Bhagavad Gita tells us: “The Lord dwells in the hearts of all beings” (18:61). It is this divine indwelling that ultimately is the salvation of all, for all shall in time come to conscious union with the Highest. Those who unite their consciousness with God shall cross over the ocean of samsara.

Put on therefore the Name of the Most High and know him, and you shall cross without danger, because the rivers shall be subject to you.

Literally we must clothe ourselves in the consciousness of God. God himself is the “wedding garment” Jesus spoke about in a parable (Matthew 22:1-14). Illumined consciousness is both the sign of union with God and the means to union with God. When we are perfectly one with divine consciousness, then we can cross the rivers of darkness without danger because we shall subjugate them.

The Lord has bridged them by his word, and he walked and crossed them on foot. And his footsteps stand (firm) on the waters and were not erased; they are as a beam that is firmly fixed. If we follow the path of Christ, then we shall do exactly as he did, for he is the example and the proof of the way to eternal life in liberation of the spirit.

And the waves were lifted up on this side and on that, but the footsteps of our Lord Messiah stand (firm).

Just as in his incarnation as Moses the Lord Jesus stretched forth his hand and the waters of the Red Sea were parted so the Hebrews could pass through to freedom, so by the constant practice of yoga meditation we shall find our way being opened to us so we, too, may pass over into Life.

And they are not obliterated, nor are they destroyed.

Jesus’ incarnation and life were not temporal but eternal events. They are ever vibrating in the very fabric of this world and are living fountains of spiritual power which we can access and become as transfigured as was he.

And a way has been appointed for those who cross after him, and for those who adhere to the course of his faith, and worship his Name.

The way is to be found in the sacred scriptures which Jesus studied in India, namely the Upanishads, Bhagavad Gita and Yoga Sutras. So we can go to the source through them and ourselves tread the Way of Christ to our own Christhood.

(See The Upanishads For Awakening, The Bhagavad Gita For Awakening and Yoga: Science of the Absolute.)

Read the next article in The Odes of Solomon for Awakening: The Odes of Solomon: 40

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