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The Odes of Solomon: 8

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

Open ye, open ye your hearts to the exultation of the Lord, and let your love abound from the heart and even to the lips.
To bring forth fruits to the Lord–a holy life, and to talk watchfully in his light.
Rise up and stand erect, ye who were sometimes brought low.
Ye who were in silence speak, for your mouth hath been opened.
Ye who were despised be lifted up, now that your righteousness has been lifted up.
For the right hand of the Lord is with you, and he will be your helper.
And peace hath been prepared for you, before your war ever happened.
Hear the word of truth, and receive the knowledge of the Most High.
Your flesh may not know what I am saying to you, nor your garment what I am showing to you.
Keep my secret ye who are kept by it; keep my faith ye who are kept by it.
And understand my knowledge, ye who know me in truth; love me with affection ye who love.
For I do not turn away my face from my own, for I know them.
Before they came into being, I took knowledge of them, and on their faces I set my seal.
I fashioned their members. my own breasts I prepared for them, that they might drink my holy milk and live thereby.
I took pleasure in them, and I am not ashamed of them.
For my workmanship are they, and the strength of my thoughts.
Who then shall stand up against my handiwork? Or who is there that is not subject to them?
I willed and fashioned mind and heart, and they are Mine. And upon my right hand I set my elect ones.
And my righteousness goes before them, and they shall not be detached from my Name, for it is with them.
Pray and increase, and abide in the love of the Lord;
And the beloved ones in the Beloved, and those who are protected in him Who lives, and those who are saved in him Who was saved.
And ye shall be found incorrupt in all ages, on account of the Name of your Father. Alleluia.

Open ye, open ye your hearts to the exultation of the Lord, and let your love abound from the heart and even to the lips.

The necessary thing here is to open our hearts, then everything will follow as it should. But what is the heart? Not the organ that pumps blood, but the very core of our being which is the pure consciousness that alone is spirit. We need to open our consciousness, our spirit, but a multitude of things are in the way: body, emotions, desires, mind, intellect and will: all of which have been distorted by our chaotic earthly experience. They are meant to be instruments for our evolution, but instead they are instruments of stagnation and often regression rather than progress. Unless they are purified and made responsive to our spirit it will never be fully opened because they are like mountains of debris under which it is buried. Not only that, but they are continually being mistaken by us for our spirit and erroneously called “me” by us daily.

What shall we do? Vigorously take up interior life through meditation and order our life scrupulously to conform to and reflect the principle found in the Bible: “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure” (I John 3:2-3). Until we do this we shall neither exult in the Lord nor love him from the heart.

To bring forth fruits to the Lord–a holy life, and to talk watchfully in his light.

The primary things we should be offering to God are a holy life and a consciousness illumined by the Divine Light that is God himself. For “talk” is not a typographical mistake for “walk,” but literally means that every word and thought are to proceed from a mind filled with God’s Light: his Consciousness. Such a person can say with Saint Paul: “For to me to live is Christ” (Philippians 1:21).

Rise up and stand erect, ye who were sometimes brought low.

The force of cosmic evil and delusion is called “the Devil” and “Satan” (Revelation 12:9). Devil (diabolos) means “false accuser” or “slanderer,” and Satan (satanas) means “adversary.” This terrible force, called “Mara” by the Buddhists and “Maya” by the Hindus, completely undermines us in many ways, not the least of which is to get us to adopt wrong ideas about ourselves. Belief that we are weak, unable to prevail against evil or that we are evil or somehow “wrong” is a major ploy used to paralyze, conquer and dominate us. Those who have fallen and been “brought low,” are fooled into thinking that they cannot rise or stand upright. But we can snap this psychic hypnosis in a moment and do exactly that, for it is our nature to rise and stand tall in body, mind, and spirit. It is delusion that is really weak, not we.

Ye who were in silence speak, for your mouth hath been opened.

At the time of Jesus it was common to speak of “having a voice” in the sense of being able to affect or direct something, to wield personal power to actual effect, as in having a voice in government. The fundamental power of human life is “the word,” the ability to put forth our will and make a change in something. Many people think they are spiritually mute when they are not. One of the most brilliant minds I ever encountered was that of an elderly lady living in a tiny town in the Midwest. Intelligent as she was, she had the delusion that she was blind, and I more than once heard her tell people: “I’m sorry, I’m blind.” She was not mentally ill, so I have no explanation for it. But this I can say: she had the most challenging mind I had ever met. It is the same with many people: they think they lack abilities they have abundantly. I have known intelligent people who thought they were stupid, and beautiful people who thought they were ugly. One of the most beautiful women I have ever seen told me more than once: “I am hideous,” and believed it firmly. Why? Because her father told her throughout her childhood that she was ugly and “looked a sight” and “was a mess.” It was impossible to get her to see herself in any other way. In the same way, the Liar tells us we cannot do what we can do easily. And in that way we become stymied and stagnated.

Ye who were despised be lifted up, now that your righteousness has been lifted up.

Of course, some of these illusions have nothing to do with this present life, but are carried over from previous lives in which we may really have been the way we now think we are. Some people develop abilities they did not seem to have in the previous parts of their lives. One day it just surfaces, having been there all along but unseen. I have witnessed people suddenly manifesting artistic and musical abilities–some of them in their early sixties.

It is the same with spirituality. Even if in the past we were filled with faults and “sins,” in time we can become “lifted up” and free of those old bonds. Saint Francis had nothing in his past that indicated his future holiness. Saint Catherine of Genoa was a empty-headed worldling, and one day after receiving the blessing of a priest she jumped up and shouted: “No more world! No more sin!” and was a saint from that moment on. Most of us, though, have to lift our own inner righteous up and bring it into the light of day. That is what spiritual practice, especially meditation, is all about.

For the right hand of the Lord is with you, and he will be your helper.

This is the secret: the power of God is within us to accomplish all things. “Because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world” (I John 4:4). “Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27).

And peace hath been prepared for you, before your war ever happened.

Before we even began the “war” to overcome ignorance and sin and attain wisdom and holiness, our success was assured. “In all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us” (Romans 8:37).

Hear the word of truth, and receive the knowledge of the Most High.

The Word of Truth is spoken in the depths of our spirit; it is not something spoken by any human being: it is the voice of God that has always been speaking to us, but which we were unable to hear. Again we see that interior life is absolutely indispensable, otherwise we will remain blind, deaf and mute in the inner kingdom of the spirit. Therefore: “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.… Work out your own salvation,… for it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure” (Philippians 2:5, 12-13). And God does not fail.

Your flesh may not know what I am saying to you, nor your garment what I am showing to you.

To be “carnally [fleshly] minded” (Romans 8:6) is to be blind to things of the spirit. “As it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him” (I Corinthians 2:9). So our five body-garments: body, emotions, desires, mind, intellect and will, have no idea what awaits the liberated spirit. But our spirit even now knows, because “we have the mind of Christ” (I Corinthians 2:16).

Keep my secret ye who are kept by it; keep my faith ye who are kept by it.

However, when we do come to know the full life of the spirit, we are not to speak of it, for it is a secret between us and God. What we need is not to brag about it and expound our spiritual life to others, but to “keep faith” with God, Who will then keep us secure in the spirit.

“my beloved is mine, and I am his” (Song of Solomon 2:16). “I am my beloved’s, and my beloved is mine” (Song of Solomon 6:3). It is between the spirit and God alone.

And understand my knowledge ye who know me in truth; love me with affection ye who love.

“Understand my knowledge” is an interesting expression, because we mistakenly think that if we know something we understand it, but that is hardly ever true. We know that petroleum is flammable, but how many of us know why? We use electricity constantly and have some idea of how it is generated, but just what it is and how it works is a complete mystery to nearly everyone. The same is true of our life; we know next to nothing about it really, so no wonder our lives are vague, disordered, disoriented and even destructive either to ourselves or others. No one commits suicide because they really know their life, for if they did they would be able to cope with it and direct it to conform to their will.

Those who seek higher evolution must first search outwardly and obtain knowledge of the facts of spiritual life; they must familiarize themselves with the teaching of the masters of spiritual life, not mere philosophers or theologians. At the same time, through cultivation of inner consciousness they must develop the faculty of intuitive and intellectual understanding through meditation. In this way they will both know and understand. There is no place in spiritual life for stupidity and sheep-wittedness. Believe me, there are no stupid yogis, for yoga develops the intellect as well as the intuition.

As this verse implies, it is those who know God (not just about God) who understand through their spiritual experience which is totally inward and has nothing to do with emotions, feelings, or “faith.” To “believe,” “trust,” and “hope” is meaningless. And please understand that psychic experience is not spiritual experience. A lot of experiences and phenomena that supposedly indicate spiritual development and enlightenment are merely psychic. Even in the East these lesser things are considered to be of a value they intrinsically lack.

We can only value and love what we know. To know God is to love God in the truest sense: not emotional or ego-based. It is common for people to love something or someone only because of a false impression of them, and when they see them for what they really are the love evaporates. But with God it is just the opposite. Those who do not know God do not really love him, but those who come to know him do indeed love him with all their heart, soul and mind (Matthew 22:37).

The love of God is not blind, but “most secret knowledge combined with realization” (Bhagavad Gita 9:1).

For I do not turn away my face from my own, for I know them.

In the Bhagavad Gita the Lord says: “I am the Omniscient” (10:33). Since God is omniscient there is nothing and no one he does not know. But his knowing is not intellectual, just a kind of inventory sheet. He truly knows, and therefore he loves just as we shall love when we know him, for “God is love” (I John 4:8). And this will never change. He shall “face” us forever, for he is “the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning” (James 1:17). “He abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself” (II Timothy 2:13).

This citation from Timothy is most important because it implies that we are part of the Divine; therefore he cannot deny us because it would be denying himself. The word arneomai also means to refuse, disregard or reject. These things can only occur in relation to someone other than the subject of the sentence. Such cannot occur on the part of God because we are an integral part of his very Being. The mystic Angelus Silesius said that the very existence of God and his existence were interdependent, and Meister Eckhart said much the same. When God looks at us he sees himself, for we are his images, his likenesses. “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.… And Adam begat a son in his own likeness, after his image” (Genesis 1:26; 5:3). That is why we can call him “Father.” “I said, Thou shalt call me, my father” (Jeremiah 3:19).

Before they came into being, I took knowledge of them, and on their faces I set my seal.

God did not create us from nothing (ex nihil), for we are co-eternal with him. But he did send us forth into manifestation.

“All this world is pervaded by me in my unmanifest aspect. All beings dwell within me, but I do not dwell within them. And yet beings do not dwell within me: behold my Divine Yoga. Sustaining beings and yet not dwelling in them, I myself cause all beings to come into manifestation. As mighty winds move everywhere, yet always dwell in the ether, know that even so do all beings dwell within me. At the end of a kalpa, all beings merge into my Prakriti: at the beginning of another kalpa, I myself send them forth. Resting on my Prakriti, I send forth again and again this entire multitude of beings” (Bhagavad Gita 9:4-8).

We were known by God from eternity and he put his seal upon us. As Saint Paul wrote: “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to his purpose. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified” (Romans 8:28-30).

I fashioned their members. my own breasts I prepared for them, that they might drink my holy milk and live thereby.

Just as the child grows in the womb and after birth is nursed by the mother, so God the Mother has given us our bodies and even now sustains them through the life-power that ever flows from her to us. The entire realm of relativity is dual in order for us to manifest; the cosmos, material and subtle, can be considered the “breasts” of our Mother God in whom we live.

I took pleasure in them, and I am not ashamed of them.

So intimate and irrevocable is our relationship with God that he said through the prophet Isaiah: “Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee. Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands” (Isaiah 49:15-16). This is the truth. All talk of separation from and rejection by God is based on misunderstanding of God with Whom there is no “shadow of turning” in relation to us.

For my workmanship are they, and the strength of my thoughts.

All creation is the Thought-Power of God; the cosmos and our bodies within it are dreams of God in which we dwell and through which we are dreaming within his greater dream. We, too, are “Words” of God, his Living Thoughts in which his Power resides even if at this moment things seem otherwise. We are not weak and helpless sinners, we are divine sons of the Divine Being.

Who then shall stand up against my handiwork? Or who is there that is not subject to them?

Nothing can stop our evolution and eventual return to God; nothing can prevent forever the revelation of our innate divinity. As the poem says in Mahler’s Resurrection Symphony, “I came from God and I shall return to God!” That is why Saint Paul wrote: “In all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us” (Romans 8:37).

It is only the dream-illusion of weakness and vulnerability that is holding us back. “Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light” (Ephesians 5:14).

I willed and fashioned mind and heart, and they are Mine. And upon my right hand I set my elect ones.

Not only is the universe an evolutionary device, so also is the makeup of the individual person. We are so constituted that we shall absolutely awaken in time and return to our Source. God has put certain mechanisms in our gross and subtle bodies that will ensure this. Externally the law of cause and effect (karma) also works to the same end. Those who defy the laws inherent in themselves and in the cosmos eventually run into an impenetrable wall, and their only option is to change direction in their life. Certainly it is a slow and sometimes painful process with many setbacks involving what the Bhagavad Gita (2:40) calls “great fear” (mahato bhayat). Yet, since the core of it all is the spirit, it shall prevail. After all, it has eternity to wait for its unveiling, just as does God. We always belong to God and are on his right hand of liberating consciousness, for we are all his elect.

“I am the same to all beings. There is no one who is disliked or dear to me. But they who worship me with devotion are in me, and I am also in them. If even an evildoer worships me single-heartedly, he should be considered righteous, for truly he has rightly resolved. Quickly he becomes a virtuous soul and goes to everlasting peace. Understand: no devotee of me is ever lost” (Bhagavad Gita 9:29-31). This is the correct perspective.

Notice how the scriptures of India coincide with these Odes. In the West Jesus truly has become, as Bruce Barton proposes in his small book, “The Man Nobody Knows.”

And my righteousness goes before them, and they shall not be detached from my Name, for it is with them.

From eternity it has been the intention of God that we shall be revealed as eternal sons of the Eternal Father. This intention was perfectly realized in Jesus, who is referred to as the “firstfruits” of humanity. “Now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept” (I Corinthians 15:20). Aparche, firstfruits, does not just refer to produce, but to intended offerings to God that were first taken or marked out from the ordinary things. For example, when bread was made, a portion was first taken out that would be made into bread-offerings. Whatever the nature of the firstfruits, it would be exactly the same as those it was separated from, though sometimes more perfect. Applying this term to Jesus implies that he, too, was human like us and attained to perfection in spirit: total union with God. To underscore this, exemplary Christians are also referred to as firstfruits. “Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures” (James 1:18). “These were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto God” (Revelation 14:4).

What is the Name of God in this verse? It is the nature and will of God, the idea being that nothing can alienate us from the fact that we are eternally part of the Divine Life which we are destined to manifest perfectly on the finite level. The Divine Name is the Divine Plan for all sentient beings. It is also our name because we, too, are both unity and trinity as image-reflections of God. We cannot be separated from It because it is the essential nature of both us and God. (Once more, see Soham Yoga.)

Pray and increase, and abide in the love of the Lord.

“Pray” (proseuchomai) means to come before someone and speak to them, usually in petition of some sort. In Sanskrit the word is upasana, which means “draw near.” Saint James wrote: “Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you” (James 4:8). The supreme mode of prayer is meditation. Just as an object becomes warmer the nearer and longer it is by or in the fire, so it is with us and God. Continually invoking the Divine Consciousness in meditation, the reflection of that Consciousness increases in us and reveals itself as a permanent state. Thus we shall abide in the love of God and be transmuted into the Beloved, for God Is Love.

And the beloved ones in the Beloved, and those who are protected in him Who lives, and those who are saved in him Who was saved.

Since we are beloved of God it is preordained that we shall be united to him, the Beloved. Since he protects and watches over us, we shall live in him who protects and fosters our life from within and without. He ordained that we shall be “saved,” freed in and by him.

And ye shall be found incorrupt in all ages, on account of the Name of your Father.

Throughout eternity as cycles of creation come and go, we shall abide free from all taint of ignorance and bondage while countless spirits not yet liberated will find themselves cycling and suffering in a seemingly endless process that shall, however, end in their liberation as it has with us. This is because the Name of the Father shall have prevailed in us as our eternal Self. “For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world” (I John 5:4).

Read the next article in The Odes of Solomon for Awakening: The Odes of Solomon: 9

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