We will now be looking at a series of fragments of information on the life of the Virgin Theotokos, information that is none the less valuable because of it. In many cases I will not be reproducing the exact text but will be recounting it in my own words to eliminate a great deal of the literary meandering that was in vogue among the Greek literati who wrote them. When I do give the exact text, it will be indented as I have been doing so far.
Saint Luke Paints Icons Of The Virgin
After the ascension of Christ, the Virgin remained for some time in Jerusalem. Saint Luke, who besides being a physician was also a gifted painter, felt that he should paint the Virgin Mother so succeeding generations would have some idea of Her venerable appearance. He painted one or two of Her by Herself. When She saw them, She made no comment, but Saint Luke intuited that She did not care for them. He said nothing either, but painted another icon in which the Virgin was holding the child Jesus. Upon seeing that icon, She was quite pleased, and blessed it, saying: May the grace of Him Who was born of Me be imparted to this through Me, and proceeded to recite Her hymn known as the Magnificat.1 Thus encouraged, Saint Luke painted several icons of the Virgin, some of which have survived.
These icons demonstrate two most important facts about the original Christian Church: (1) Veneration of the Mother of God was fully developed and present from the first days of the Churchs existence. (2) The iconographic style that is unique to Christian art was not developed over centuries as some art historians think, but was present from the start of the Christian era. I have personally studied one of Saint Lukes icons and seen this to be so.
The Virgin Finds Her Paradise2
When the Apostles decided to leave Jerusalem and spread the Good News of Christ, they discussed among themselves as to where they should go. They went to the Virgin for Her blessing and told Her of their decision. But where am I to go? She asked them. What part of the world is given to Me to enlighten? At this they felt confused and embarrassed, for it seemed to them that such work was not appropriate for Her. Understanding their silence, She smiled and said: Never worry. My place is prepared for Me. And no more would She say on the subject.
Once when the Virgin Mother was sailing with Saint John the Beloved (some say to Cyprus to visit Saint Lazarus, and some say when She was first going to Ephesusboth may be correct), the ship was forced by bad weather (though some say that the Virgin commanded that the ship be allowed to drift where it would) to approach a peninsula-mountain extending into the Aegean Sea which was sacred to the Greek gods. For this reason it was called Agion Orosthe Holy Mountain.
As the ship drew near to the shore, the oracle of the temple of Apollo began exclaiming: Men of Apollo, get ye all to Clemes harbor and welcome Mary, the Mother of the Great God Jesus! All did so, and upon the Virgins stepping ashore they bowed down before Her in adoration. She blessed them and, looking up at the peak of the sacred mount, told Saint John: This is My place! From that time Athos was known as The Garden [Paradise] of the Theotokos. In time it came to be inhabited exclusively by monks and became the mystical heart of the Eastern (Byzantine) Orthodox Church. And so it is today. (It is also an independent republic and entitled to a seat in the United Nations, but the monks do not bother.)
No women are permitted on Athos. One Empress of the Byzantines decided that the rule did not extend to her. So, bearing gifts for the monks, she landed on Athos and began walking up the mountain slope to one of the monasteries. She had not gone far until she and her entourage heard a female voice speaking from the heavens. Go away from here! commanded the voice. There is but one Empress hereand it is not you! Setting down her offerings, the Empress instantly returned to the ship. A chapel now stands on that spot to commemorate the event.
Saint Peter the Athonite (+681 A.D.), saw a vision of the Virgin and heard Her say to a Saint: There is a Mountain in Europe, both beautiful and great, extending into the sea, facing Libya. Of all the places on the earth, I have chosen this Mountain, and it is to be the monks proper residence. I Myself have come to know it and have received it from My Son and God as an inheritance for them that desire to forsake the cares and tumults of the world, that they might betake themselves there and serve God in peace without hindrance. Henceforth this place shall be holy and My Garden. Exceedingly do I love that place. I will especially aid them that come to dwell there and that labor with all their souls for God.
Saint Dionysius The Areopagite Visits The Virgin
When Saint Paul preached in Athens, he did so on Mars Hill at a place called the Areopagus. There he was heard by Dionysius, a member of the highest court in Greece. He and his wife, Damaris, were baptized by Saint Paul, and in time Saint Paul made him the bishop of Athens. Saint Dionysius traveled some time with Saint Paul and became acquainted with the other Apostles.
Wishing to see the Virgin for himself, he went to Ephesus. Afterward he wrote this wonderful letter to Saint Paul describing his experience:
I have seen with my own eyes the most holy Mother of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who surpasses in sanctity all the Angels of heaven. By the grace of God, the good favor of the Apostles, and the unutterable goodness and mercy of the gracious Virgin, I was granted this meeting. Again, I confess before the Almighty God, before the grace of the Savior, before the great glory of the Virgin, His Mother, that when I was introduced to the beautiful and most pure Virgin, together with Johnthe first among the Evangelists and Prophets, who, while living in the flesh shines like the sun in heavena great divine radiance shone about me from without and lit up my soul. At the same time, I sensed such a wonderful fragrance that my spirit and body could hardly bear this manifestation of glory and foretaste of eternal bliss. From divine grace and glory, my heart and spirit were prostrated.
I bear witness before God, Who dwelt in that most honorable virginal womb, that no honor and glory of men can compare with that beatitude that I experienced, unworthy though I be. That moment in time for me was one of extreme happiness. I thank my most high and most gracious God, the divine Virgin, the great Apostle John, and thee, O Paul, the adornment of the Church and invincible leader, for having mercifully granted me such a great blessing!
Note that he refers to the Virgin as the divine Virgin.
His experience of divine light and perfume was not unique. The Virgin was revealing to him Her nature as a manifestation of the Holy Spirit, the infinite creative Light of God which is manifesting as all things. She it is that is the sweet perfume of God poured out that draws Her children upward unto union with God.3
Saint Dionysius became the first Christian to write systematically of the esoteric Mysteries of Christ.
Description Of The Virgin By Epiphanius of Cyprus
Epiphanius of Cyprus (320-404 A.D.) has given the following description of the Virgin Mary from the traditions with which he was acquainted.
She was grave and dignified in all her actions. She spoke little and only when it was necessary to do so.
I have already mentioned the occult power of the spoken word and one aspect of the assertion of Jesus that out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.4 Another aspect is the projection of energy from the etheric body of the speaker by his spoken word. That is, whenever we hear the voice of a personeven if we cannot distinguish actual wordsalong with the auditory impressions we also absorb some of his projected mental (psychic) energies. Thus there are people whose very speaking soothes us, and others whose speaking unsettles us. I have on (mercifully) rare occasions felt defiled simply by hearing the voice of profoundly evil people. So we must be careful not only what we hear, but who we hear.
Why did the Mother of God speak so sparingly? Because in this way she conserved her higher energies. Moreover, since in the psychic realm as well as in the physical for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction, whenever energy flows out from our auras to others, an equal amount of energy flows from them back to us. Thus, we are not only depleted of our personal energies, alien energies become mixed into our subtle bodies. This is one of the ways in which the keeping of evil company can corrupt even good people.
In my younger days, when I knew nothing at all of esoteric matters, my sensitivity to the mental energies of others bothered and confused me very much. No matter how different they were from me, if I spent much time in someones proximity and engaged in lengthy conversation with them, I would feel their mental patterns within me after their (or my) departure. I would actually experience their thoughts and states of mind. What was particularly frightening was that for some time I would inwardly hear my thoughts in their voice! As I say, this frightened me and I hated it very much. Only when I began to meditate did this phenomenon stop. Luckily for me up until that time I lived in a very stable and ethically and morally positive environment. Few people are as sensitive as I was to this kind of thing, but nevertheless the effect of their companions on them is just as marked. They are simply unaware of it.
Since energies are exchanged with others through speech, many ascetics observe silence so their personal energy fields will remain intact and uninvaded. Usually they avoid all contact with others so they will not be spoken to and thus infused with the speakers energies.
By meditation the aura becomes strengthened and able to resist such invasion of energies. Further, the auric energies become so attuned to higher vibrations that the lower vibrations of others simply bypass them and have no toehold in their physical or subtle bodies. But this state is not easy to maintain, and requires constant vigilanceand the absolute avoidance of overconfidence and thinking that one has no need to be concerned over such energy mixing.
The path of the seeker is not the simple and simplistic thing that is usually thought.
She listened readily and could be addressed easily.
This is a most significant trait, for it reveals that the Virgin was not standoffish or in retreat when She did have to deal with people. This is important, for many who adopt strict regimens of observanceespecially of purificationtend to think that they must live like a turtle with its limbs and head pulled back into its shell. They even develop a wary attitude toward others, believing that if they are not careful, contact with others will somehow corrupt them or deflect them from spiritual progress. That is true if those others happen to be criminals or very evil people, but contact with normal people need give them no concern.
Of course there are pseudo-aspirants who use their seeming fear of the detrimental effect of other people as a means to cover up and ignore their own inner bad company of negative mental and emotional conditionings, hoping to blame any manifestations of that negativity on those around them, and in that way evade all responsibility for resisting and correcting that interior distortion. This is one of the reasons why we must make meditation the major effort of our spiritual life. Like a great searchlight it reveals our inner dispositions and does not let such deviousness and pride arise.
Nobility of character also manifests in the ability of the individual to communicate readily and easily with others of differing levels of development and to make them feel at ease.
She paid honor and respect to everyone.
Here is another trait of an evolved person. He knows how to give respect. Ever since the spiritual devastations of the Protestant Reformation, we in the West have increasingly lost the ability to honor others. And ignoramuses have supposed that democracy means that no one need give any reverence to another. Saint Pauls admonition that we should live in honour preferring one another,5 is utterly alien to our modern society and way of thinkingas is Saint Peters urging of us to honour all men.6
One of the first things that strikes a visitor to a temple of either Eastern Christianity or other Eastern religions is the amount of bowing that is done. This is not because the worshippers are afraid of God and are trying to grovel before Him, but because they know that only those who bow are worthy to be raised.7 Those who cannot humble themselves can never be exalted. On the other hand: He that humbleth himself shall be exalted.8 In Jesus, as well as the other Incarnations of God, humility is a major characteristic. Jesus knelt down before His ignorant disciples and washed their feet.9 In truth, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.10 Can we do less? Not if we would be His worthy disciples, for the servant is not greater than his lord.11
The writing of Saint Paul to the Philippians on this subject is so valuable that I am going to include the entire passage here.
If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies,
Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.
Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.
Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.
Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:
But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:
And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:
That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;
And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
There is a boundless and indescribable satisfaction and even joy in bowing before God. For if we are humbled with Christ we shall be raised up with Him into His throne. It is good to remember that the primal sin of Lucifer and his dupes, Adam and Eve, was priderefusal to be, for a while, lesser than others.
She was of middle stature, but some say that she was of more than middle height. She was wont to speak to every one fearlessly and clearly, without laughter, and without agitation, and she was specially slow to anger.
One of the saddest traits of mental confusion and darkness that prevails in the world is the seeming inability of just about everybody to think in a simple and direct manner. I once heard of a champion runner who would first point at his goal as though sighting through a gun. Then he would run toward it like a winged being. No one could beat him. He claimed that this simple method of setting his goal in mind and then instantly running to it was the cause of his success. Sad to say, few have this clarity of purpose and action. Correct meditation gives the mind this ability. God being simple Being, so also is the godlike mindand person. Meditation gives the mind clarity and focus so it can fasten directly on an object and accomplish it.
Jesus told the disciples: Let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil.12 Most people mistakenly think that Jesus is counseling mere frugality of words. But He is not. He is saying that your yes should truly be yes, and your no should truly be no. That is, you should say exactly what you mean and mean exactly what you say. Moreover, all your speaking should be straightforward without deviation or convolution. Those whose lives and hearts are lies cannot endure to speak simple, direct truth. If at noonday you ask them if the sun is shining they will serve you up a heap of words rather than simply say: Yes. If they cannot get away with outright lying they will try to give you a wrong impression. If they cannot give you a false impression they will give you a partial impression. That is, they will not lie (that would be too straightforward), but will not tell you the entire truth. I knew an instance where it took half an hour to get two simple sentences out of one such person, because those two sentences gave a complete picture of a situation. Those who are not such liars assume that those people are long-winded and like to spin yarns in telling something. Not so! Since they hate the truth they are trying to delay and obscure it as much as possible. Never tolerate this evil either in yourself or in others. Know it for the Satanic force that it is and reject it. (Some people you will just have to avoid speaking to altogether.) It seemed like things were that way… is their favorite comeback when caught in their deviousness.
Notice that Jesus says that anything besides straight speaking cometh of evil, and act accordingly. Does this mean that we are to be blunt and brutal in our speech under the pretense of being honest and truthful (some do excuse their uncouth speaking in this way)? No. Let your speech be alway[s] with grace, Saint Paul tells us.13
The rest of the description of the Virgins speech is that it was without laughter, and without agitation. By laughter is not meant good humor, but it means that She did not engage in mockery and poking fun at othersseemingly joking about their foibles. She was not sarcastic under the guise of humor. Many people are very cruel and vent their malice on others in the guise of jokes or cute quips. Nor was Her speech with agitationthat is, with emotionality and harshness. She spoke directly and to the point. Allowing no falsehood or evil in Her own heart, She did not accept it in others. Yet She was pacific in Her dealing with them.
The upshot of all this is that we must be direct and honest at all timesbut in the right manner. This does not mean that we must try to never offend or hurt those whose very nature it is to be offended or injured by the truth. Nor must we concede to the petulance of those who accuse us when we do not give them what they want or let them have their way. We have no responsibility toward such persons. They are like their demon-brothers who wail and whine at those who do right and invoke the Light of Christ, claiming that they are hating or hurting them. To them we have no obligation whatsoever, unless it be to say to them, as Jesus said to their master: Get behind me!14 We see how the Mother of God was in Her speech, but let us also remember that She is known as the wailing of demonsthat is, Her holiness torments them. And so will our endeavors to cultivate spiritual life anger themand their human instruments, as well. That is their problem, not ours.
The Virgin Mary was not easily provoked to righteous anger in the form of verbal rebuke. But this statement implies that on occasion She did apply the scourge if it was needed.
Keeping in mind the appearance of the Virgin in Her miraculous photograph known as Our Lady of Guadalupe which was impressed on the tilma (cactus fiber poncho) of Juan Diego four centuries ago, let us see how Epiphanius describes her outer appearance.
Her complexion was of the colour of ripe wheat, and her hair was auburn [very dark brown with a reddish tint]. Her eyes were bright and keen, and light brown in color, and the pupils thereof were of an olive-green tint. Her eyebrows were arched and deep black. Her nose was long, her lips were red and full, and overflowing with the sweetness of her words. Her face was not round, but somewhat oblong [oval]. Her hand was long and her fingers were long.
Her demeanor reflected Her inward state:
She was wholly free from all ostentatious pride, and she was simple, unpretentious, and inclined to excessive humility.
Perhaps the first thing observed when meeting a truly holy person is his complete naturalness and ease. Just as the Virgins speech was straightforward and incomplex, so also was Her appearance and manner. True humility does not consist of having a low or negative opinion of oneselfthat is backhanded egotism. Rather, humility consists in having no opinion of oneself, but instead being absorbed in the invocation-contemplation of God. A godly person does not think of himself at all, but thinks only of God. Praise and blame from human beings mean nothing to him because he is not interested in their object: his ego. When a supposed spiritual teacher enters a room, behaving like the teacherthat is, having assumed a rolewe can know that person is nothing to take seriously. How many times in the lives of the saints (and even avatars) do we read of incidents when ignorant and egotistical people, who had heard of their sanctity, upon meeting them refused to believe that they were the one they had come to see. Fools coming to see Sri Ramakrishna used to think he was a mere servant and command Him to carry in for them the gifts they had brought for the holy man. Saint Bernadette the seer of Lourdes and Lucia the seer of Fatima frequently had people ask them questions about the seerhaving no idea at all that such ordinary people as they could be the ones they were inquiring about.
How well do I remember the accessibility and easy manner of His Holiness Pope Shenouda of the Coptic Orthodox Church. When speaking of this to one of the translators in the Patriarchate in Cairo, we were told that a few weeks before she had accompanied a group of European Protestants to visit the Pope at the Monastery of Saint Bishoy in the desert. When they were waiting in the audience room, His Holiness entered dressed as a simple monk, like any of the monastics to be found there. He began speaking with them and answering various questions. He was most generous with his time. Then he quietly excused himself and left. When the translator (who was also their guide) said that they should leave, they refused, saying that they had come to see the Pope and would not leave until they did. Upon being told that they had been speaking all that time with the Pope they became angry. That old man was very nice, but dont try to tell us he was the Pope! He was just some old monk! He was nobody! What is the matter, dont you want us to see your Pope? Why not? They became very abusive. So the poor woman had to go and fetch two or three bishops whom they had met in Cairo to convince them that the nice old man, the nobody, was indeed the Pope. There are always people who value cut glass and disdain diamonds.
Those who act holy are never holy. Yet we must not fall into the other delusion, that holy people are just like everybody else and common as an old shoe. Never! They project no image at all. But their manner is never really ordinary. It will be unassuming and unobtrusive, but never common. However only those with some degree of spiritual development themselves can notice the difference.
She wore garments of natural colors [i.e., undyed], and was content with them, a fact which is even now proved by her holy head-cloth.
The awful delusion that we are what we appear to be begins in the idea that our visual appearance makes us what we want to be. This of course is coupled with the equally terrible delusion that what we are is determined by what others think we are. Men and women are both slaves to this delusion, as the prosperity of the clothing and cosmetic industriesalong with their propaganda in the form of advertising and fashion magazinesdemonstrates.
In all spiritual traditions simplicity of appearance is enjoined to help us rid ourselves of these delusions. Even as a child I was utterly astounded to hear people say thank you when someone praised what they were wearing or possessing. The words were for the thingsnot for the peopleso why express thanks for the compliment? A person may say: That is a beautiful suit, while silently adding, and it is on one of the ugliest, unshapely people I have ever seen. Yet the deluded think that praise of their external appurtenances is praise of themselves. Pretty silly and unrealistic, but that is the human condition. Women are especially victims of this. Feeling insecure and unworthy of attention or respect, they try to transform themselves into someone worthy of notice and admiration. The problem will not be solved in that way. The lie is that makeup and clothes will make people feel better about themselves, but the fact is that reliance upon outer props only increases the feeling of personal lack. They affirm the idea that without them people relapse into nothingness, into insignificance. The cure is the discovery of the love and regard that God Himself has for them. But if they esteem mortals and their opinions above God and His lovewhat can be done?
And to sum up, she was filled with divine grace in all her ways.
Saint Cyril Of Jerusalem
Saint Cyril of Jerusalem has the following to say about the Virgins life in the Temple.
They [Joachim and Anna] were in the habit of visiting their daughter once each month, when they carried to her whatsoever things of which she had need. And their little virgin daughter ministered in the Temple with the other women, who were aged virgins, and they taught her to work with her hands. And when she had become somewhat master of herself she used to go alone into the court of the Temple, but no man whatsoever saw her, with the exception of the priest and her father.
That is, not wishing to be seen by anyone, She was invisible to them. The saints and masters have this ability. Once a group of seekers from Australia were in Calcutta. Hearing that Sri Ma Anandamayi was at an ashram in Agarpara, a northern suburb of Calcutta, they went there. It was the season of the worship of the goddess Durga, Whose image was set on the platform at the front of the large assembly hall. Upon meeting with the visitors and learning their desire to meet Mother Anandamayi, some of Her devotees went to find Her. But She was nowhere to be found. Extensive inquiry revealed that She had not left the ashram grounds. Everyone became quite anxious. After some hours the group left in disappointment. Immediately Mother was seen sitting next to the image of Durga. Asked where She had been, Mother said that She had been sitting there all the time. When wonderment was expressed at this, She simply commented: Perhaps they were not meant to see this body.
Invisibility is not just a trick or an astral convenience, but has serious purpose.
The little Virgin Mary was in the Temple, and she remained by herself before the Archangel Gabriel came to her with a sweet odor.…There was no limit to her beauty and the Temple was wont to be filled with Angels because of her sweet odor, and they used to visit her for the sake of her conversation.…The whole time of her life was sixty years.
If the Virgin was sixteen or seventeen when Jesus was born, She would have been fifty at His crucifixion. It seems that She was actually nearer sixty-two or sixty-three at Her translation from the earth.
Her food consisted of bread and water and a few green herbs, and she did not fast for long periods at a time.
After being weaned, the Virgin Mary never ate earthly food until after the birth of Jesus. When She did begin to eat common food, the holy Virgin was an absolute vegetarian. Because of this purity of diet She had no need for prolonged fastings to lighten Her inner energies. The observance of long and severe fasts was taken up in later centuries of the Christian era when Christians were no longer vegetarians, but only observed the correct diet during periods before major feast days so they would be prepared to receive the spiritual energies released at those times. It does not work. A perpetual abstinence is absolutely necessary for success in the mystical life, as the lives of both those who follow it and those who do not prove.
Archbishop Demetrius of Antioch
In a sermon on the Nativity of the Lord, Demetrius of Antioch gave these facts regarding the Virgin Mary:
[When Mary was three years old Anna took her to the Temple.] At the moment when her mother Anna set her upon her feet, inside the door of the Temple, before the priests, she walked by herself into the Temple, and went on until she arrived in the place behind the veil of the altar, whereon were offered up the sacrifices of the Lord. And when she had gone in she did not turn back to come out again, neither did one thought of her parents rise up in her heart, nor any thought of any earthly thing.…And when she had grown, and was eight or ten years old, she became an example to the priests, and they were afraid to meet her, for her whole body was pure, and her heart was firm in the Lord. She was pure in her body and in her soul, she never put her face outside the door of the Temple, she never looked at a strange man, and she never moved herself to gaze upon the face of a young man. And she lived in chastity, and in the service of God, and in the ordered service of the temple. Her apparel was dainty. Her tunic came down over her wrists and ankles, and her headcloth came down over her eyes. She wore a girdle round her tunic, and her tunic was never soiled or torn. She never put eye-paint on her eyes, and she did not lay crocus-flower unguent on her cheeks. She did not put slippers on her feet as ornaments, and she wore neither armlets nor bracelets, nor trinkets nor jewelry on her arms and hands. She never craved for much food, neither did she ever walk about in the market-place of her city. She never desired the works of this world. She never stripped herself naked, and she never washed in the [public] bath, and she never examined with careful attention the members of her body.
This latter phrase means that the Virgin never engaged in narcissistic study of Her physical vehicle. And, as said just before, She did not deck it out and gaud it up to deny the truth of things. What She was, She wasand knew it.
Equally important is the subject of Her avoidance of having Her body seen by others. This is not prudishness, nor even modesty, but the necessary avoidance of having the life-energies of others penetrate into the psychic centers located in the various parts of the bodyespecially the trunk. The only centers that can be safely exposed to public gaze are those in the head, hands and feet.
When Jesus was alone, angels were with Him,15 and so it was with His Mother. Archbishop Demetrius further tells us that as a rule:
She never saw any man [human being] whatsoever, but the angels came and ministered unto her, and they passed the whole day standing before her in the form of young doves, and they gave her courage, and they comforted her.
The description of the angels being in the form of doves is especially meaningful in the light of the hundred of appearances of the Virgin that took place in Zeitoun, a suburb of Cairo, in the nineteen seventies. She was usually accompanied by what seemed to be flocks of doves of light according to the witnesses. Photographs taken at the times of the apparitions clearly show these light forms flying both inside and outside the church. This phenomenon is very significant, since in early esoteric Christian writings the Virgin Herself is sometimes referred to as the Dove of Light.
Saint Cyril of Alexandria
Regarding the Virgins mode of life before the Annunciation, Saint Cyril of Alexandria has this to say:
She craved for none of the things of this world. The mention of her was always in the mouths of the priests. She never washed herself in a [public] bath. She never adorned herself with face-paint, and eye-paint, and powder. She never decked herself out in brightly colored raiment, as do all women who love fine clothes. She never tasted wine.
This abstinence from wine, like Her vegetarianism, is to be expected, but it is good to have a reliable source affirm it.
She used to sit always with her face turned towards the east, for she was always awaiting the Creator of the world.
The Virgin always sat facing the east window of Her room to absorb the subtle energies that emanate from the Sun. Later, the Lord Jesus taught the disciples how to accomplish the same thing through esoteric practice.
She never met and talked to any one, except her father, and her mother, and her brethren [i.e., relatives].
The Hesychast Fathers have long claimed the Virgin as their Patron and the first Hesychast (keeper of silence). This statement of Saint Cyril certainly affirms that. It was Her wont, long before the birth of Her Son, to ponder in Her heart16 and evaluate all things with the inner eye of the heart. In Western Christianity we encounter the description of some people as interior souls. What a beautiful conceptfor since the soul itself is interior, then inward orientation is fundamentally realistic. Without it there can be no comprehension of outer phenomena, what to speak of subtler (inner) realities.
Saint Cyrils description also brings to mind a verse of the Psalms that has long been considered a prophecy of the Theotokos: The kings daughter is all glorious within.17 This being so, She preserved that state by not diluting Herself through useless contact with others. As already said, whenever we speak, subtle mental energies flow from us to our hearers. Since much speaking dissipates our inner powers, Solomon the wise rightly observed that in the multitude of words there wanteth not sin: but he that refraineth his lips is wise.18
In another discourse, Saint Cyril refers to Jesus as He Who clave her [Marys] side, affirming the apostolic tradition that Jesus was not born in the normal earthly manner, passing through the birth canal, but rather emerged directly from the Virgins womb through her right sidejust as thirty-three years later He would pass through the enclosing tomb without opening it. Buddha had been born in the same manner, clearly being seen by Queen Mayadevis attendants coming forth directly from her right side. Buddha also stood upon the earth and took several steps just as Jesus did later.
Saint Bartholomew On The Resurrection
In a writing attributed to Saint Bartholomew the Apostle, we find the following account of the appearance of Jesus to His Mother after the resurrection.
[Jesus] cried out, saying, Mary, the Mother of the Son of God. Then Mary said, The Son of the Almighty, and my Son. And He said unto her, Hail, My Mother! Hail, My holy Ark! Hail, thou who art the Sustainer of the life of the whole world! Hail, My holy Garment, wherein I arrayed Myself! Hail, My Mother, My House, My Place of Abode! Hail, My Mother, My City, My Place of Refuge! Hail, thou who hast received into thine own composition the Seven Aeons! Hail, thou Table, set in the Paradise of the Seventh Heaven! All Paradise rejoiceth in thee. I say unto Thee, O My Mother, He who loveth thee loveth Life. Hail, thou who didst sustain the Life of the Universe in thy womb!…I will give My peace, which I have received from My Holy Father, to My disciples, and to every one who shall believe in My Name and in Mary, My Mother, the Virgin in very truth, My spiritual Womb, My Treasure of Pearl, the Ark of the sons of Adam, who carried the body of the Son of God, and the Blood of Him Who indeed took away the sin of the world.
And round and about him there were standing hundreds of thousands of Archangels, and hundreds of thousands of the Cherubim, and millions of the Seraphim, and millions of the Power, and their heads were bowed, and they made answer to the blessing saying, Amen, Alleluia, to that which the Son did speak with His mouth to Mary. Then our Savior stretched out His right hand, which was full of blessing, and He blessed the womb of Mary, His Mother. And I [Bartholomew] saw the heavens open, and the Seven Firmaments were opened together. I saw a man of light shining brightly, like unto a pearl upon it was impossible for any man to look. And [I saw] also a hand of fire which was of the color of snow, and it rested upon the belly of Mary and [her] breast. Now this hand was the right hand of the Father, and the right hand of the Son, and the right hand of the Holy Ghost. And He blessed her and said, Thou shalt be called Pearl of the Father, and on earth men shall call thee Mother of God and our Salvation. The blessing of the Father shall be with thee always. Amen. Alleluia. The might of the Son shall overshadow thee. Amen. Alleluia. The joy of the Holy Spirit shall continue to remain with thee at all times. Amen. Alleluia. And when thou shalt come forth from the body I myself will come with My Father, and Michael, and all the Angels, and thou shalt be with Us in My kingdom. And over thy body I will make the Cherubim, having a sword of fire, to keep watch, and twelve hundred Angels also shall watch over it until the day of My appearance and of My kingdom.
Although there are many places in which it is stated that Jesus first appeared to His Mother after the resurrection, I have set down this entire section because of its esoteric significance. As I indicated at the beginning of this book, even if the accounts are not fullyor in any degreehistorical, they are yet essential to our understanding of the beliefs and outlook of original Christianity. For even if they are fiction, they are fiction that fitted in withand expressedthe ideas of the first Christians.
The salutations addressed to Mary reveal dramatically how the original Church viewed the spiritual nature of the Virgin.
Hail, My Mother!
When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son! Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother! And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home.19 The word home was added by the King James translators, but it should be rendered: And from that hour that disciple took her unto himself as his own. Our Lord possessed nothing material to leave His followers as an inheritance except this one treasure: His Virgin Mother. Those disciples of Christ who have experienced their status to any degree have become keenly aware of the intimate relationship they have with Marya relationship that at the moment is perhaps closer than that with Christ. For it is Mary who brings us to Christ. Even the tragic Ivan the Terrible knew this, and when he ordered a golden cover to be made for the miraculous Tikhvin icon he directed the artisans to place on it the words: O Lady, hear our prayers and bring us to Thy Son. To Jesus through Mary is a statement of essential Christian wisdom, and is a reflection of a multitude of similar statements in Hinduism regarding our relative relationship with the Father and Mother aspects of God.
Mary is our Mother in the saving economy of Christ, but She is also our primal Mother, being the manifestation of that spirit which in past aeons was Eve, the mother of all living,20 the Ark of the sons of Adam, as Jesus says later in this account.
Mary, as an incarnation of the Holy Spirit, conceives, develops, and gives birth to the Christ in each of us. This is indicated in Jesus words:
Hail, My holy Ark!
Within the Ark of the Covenant there was a golden jar containing some of the manna from the wilderness.21 The Hebrews called the manna bread of angels22 and bread from heaven.23 In the sixth chapter of Saint John we are told that Jesus was asked:
What sign shewest thou then, that we may see, and believe thee? what dost thou work? Our fathers did eat manna in the desert; as it is written, He gave them bread from heaven to eat.
Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world.
I am that bread of life. Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead. This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die.
I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.
It was only natural that the Virgin should be identified with the golden jar, since She had contained Christ. There was only a short step to the concept of Her as being prefigured by the Ark itself. The fundamental technical term for the Virgin in the Christian East is TheotokosShe Who Gives Birth To God. The metaphysical implications are evident. Since the manifestation of Christ is an eternal process, of necessity the birthgiving of Mary is likewise eternal. Even a bit of serious pondering can reveal the marvellous symbiosis of spirit which reveals Jesus and Mary as irrevocably one in all thingsa symbiosis that is also ours as Christians.
Hail, thou who art the Sustainer of the life of the whole world!
This immediately brings to my mind the thrilling words I have often heard in India addressed to the Divine Mother: Jagata Janani…Jagata palani! O Birthgiver of the world…O Nourisher of the world! These words indicate the divine status of the Virgin in the eyes of Christ. For this reason, however much official theology might have skirted the issue, the Western Christian (Roman Catholic) Church for centuries adored the Virgin as true God, building the great cathedrals of Europe to Her praise, and in later times came to openly call Her both Co-creatress of the world and Co-redemptress of the world. This intuition is easily within the reach of those who practice meditation. Moreover, those who would sustain their life within Christ sense their dependency upon Her patronage.
Hail, My holy Garment, wherein I arrayed Myself!
In the consideration of Christian metaphysics we need to keep near at hand the understanding that all considerations of Christ must be twofold. Not only must we examine all the aspects of the Gospel in relation to Jesus of Nazareth, the microcosmic Christ, they must also be viewed within the context of the Cosmic Christ of which He is an incarnation-manifestation. It is easy to grasp that Mary is the garment of Christ in the sense that it was Her body in which He was incarnate. What may elude us is Her identity with the creation which is the garment of God. Although groups who called themselves Gnostic held that matterand therefore creationwas essentially evil, the Gnostic tradition of Christianity has always looked upon matter as sacred, being the manifestation of the divine power that is the Holy Spirit. When the entire world is seen as the presence of God, how greatly altered is every aspect of our life, within and without.
Hail, My Mother, My House, My Place of Abode! Hail, My Mother, My City, My Place of Refuge!
Obviously those who would encounter Christ Jesus must first find His Mother.
Hail, thou who hast received into thine own composition the Seven Aeons!
Time and space being illusions, even though we commonly think of expanding our consciousness to encompass infinity, it is equally viable to speak of assimilating it. Jesus expresses this viewpoint here. The Virgin Theotokos has taken unto Herself the seven levels of being, encompassing past, present, and future. That is, She has attained to the infinity of God and now expresses it for our like attainment.
The Seven Aeons are also the Seven great Archons, the primal intelligent forces of creation of which Saint John speaks in Revelation. And there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God.…which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth.24 The Holy Virgin embodies the powers and states of being proper to the Seven Aeons, and is Herself the Universe in every sense of the word.
Hail, thou Table, set in the Paradise of the Seventh Heaven!
Here again the nourishing power of the Virgin is mentioned along with the fact that the Virgin is enthroned at the pinnacle of relative existence, the Seventh Heaven.
I say unto Thee, O My Mother, He who loveth thee loveth Life.
This is extremely significant, for Jesus is identifying the Virgin Mother with the eternal Wisdom (Sophia), and is quoting from the book of Ecclesiasticus regarding Her:
Wisdom exalteth her children, and layeth hold of them that seek her.
He that loveth her loveth life; and they that seek to her early shall be filled with joy.
He that holdeth her fast shall inherit glory; and wheresoever she entereth, the Lord will bless.
They that serve her shall minister to the Holy One: and them that love her the Lord doth love.
Whoso giveth ear unto her shall judge the nations: and he that attendeth unto her shall dwell securely.
If a man commit himself unto her, he shall inherit her; and his generation shall hold her in possession.
For at the first she will walk with him by crooked ways, and bring fear and dread upon him, and torment him with her discipline, until she may trust his soul, and try him by her laws.
Then will she return the straight way unto him, and comfort him, and shew him her secrets.25
The Conception and Birth of Our Lady Mary, the Bearer of God
Another Ethiopian text gives further insights into the life of Mary. In The Conception and Birth of Our Lady Mary, the Bearer of God, we find this about Saint Joachims offering in the temple:
On the morrow Joachim rose up, and took his offering with him, and he thought in his heart, saying, If God accepteth my offering from me, behold, I shall see my face in the crown that is in the place of the sanctuary. Now there was in the place of the sanctuary a crown that rested on the altar. And when any one of the children of Israel brought an offering or oblation to God, if it were accepted by Him his face appeared in the crown as in a mirror unto him that brought the offering. But if his offering were not accepted his face did not appear in the crown. And when Joachim brought the offering he saw the vision of his face in the mirror, and he said, Behold, I know that God, the Compassionate, hath hearkened unto my prayer, and hath received my petition, and hath given me a child.
In the Protoevangelium account the golden plate on the forehead of an offering priest is said to have indicated the acceptability of the offering. Here we see there was another mode of divination used by the offerers themselves for the same purpose. This is interesting because it implies that pragmatically speaking it is possible for us to be invisible to Goda terrible thought, but a condition in which the majority of people live quite contentedly. I well remember when, on a visit to our local synagogue with a high school class, the Rabbi sounded the Shofar for us and said that it was done in sacred rites to get Gods attention. To us, the ignorant, it seemed an odd idea. Since God is omniscient, why need such a thing be done? But it made sense to Saint Joachimand therefore should to us. We reject so many things as ignorance when the ignorance is in us, blocking our understanding and appreciation.
The use of mirrors for divination is nothing new. Mesmer sometimes used mirrors in working with the biomagnetism of his patients. I know some people who have seen their appearance from past incarnations in a mirror.
Divination to determine the acceptance of an offering is not only ancient, it continues unto this day, even within Eastern Christianity. I have seen a miracle-working icon of Saint Spyridon which demonstrates the acceptability of the petitions presented before it. If a coin is lightly pressed to its surface and it adheres, the petitioner will receive his request. If the coin drops off, no matter how hard it may be pressed to the icon surface, then the prayer is in vain. This very ancient icon has been doing this for centuries. I personally have experienced very dramatic instances of acceptance-rejection in relation to prayers and offerings, especially within the context of ritual worship.
Another reason for the Virgins disturbance at the message of Saint Gabriel is given in this book, for it says that at one point he said to Her:
Thou shalt be the greatest of all the women who have been created in the world.
Anyone with good sense spiritually would find these words unsettling, but for Her they were too reminiscent of the flattering promise: Ye shall be as gods.26
Her eventual answer to the Archangel is most interesting as given in the Ethiopic text. Even though they are not exactly the words of the Bible, this is not unusual in the Christian East where the meaning is always considered above the exact wording. Yet, the difference in meaning is not small, as you can see:
Behold me, the handmaiden of God; my soul is in His hand, and He shall do with me according to His will. May it be unto me even as thou hast said unto me.
Immediately there come to mind the later words of Her Son to His Father: Not my will, but thine, be done.27 However, Marys words are quite different. Jesus statement implies that two things are possibleHis will or that of the Father. In the context of what is being taught through the mystery-drama of His life that is exactly right. The Gospel is showing us that point in the development of the aspirant where the crosscurrents of ego and spirit must be faced in a life-death conflict from which only one should emerge. No longer can the aspirant seesaw back and forth between fulfilling the demands of either the lower or the higher self. As the holy Russian Orthodox Archbishop Anthony Khrapovitsky explained in his writings, at this point the redemptive work of Christ was finished. From this moment everything else was a natural denouement.
The words of the Theotokos to Saint Gabriel show us something different. With Her there can be no question of agreeing or disagreeing, no not even of obeying or not obeying. What is done by God is done. Nothing else. Nothing more. My soul is in His hand, and He shall do with me according to His will. Of course, as with Christ, this is a statement of supreme will, but the perspective is inconceivable to us who are yet in the grip of egoic drives. Marys words are those of one who lives in and unto God alone. As Saint Paul declares: Your life is hid with Christ in God.28 This submersion in God is the antithesis of death or annihilation. In such a state there is no diminishment, but rather expansion into infinity. Marys words are those of a god, neutralizing Her rebellious error as Eve.
We tend to think that divine communication occurs in a cataclysmic manner, that there must be tremors of the earth, arising of vapors, flashing of lightning, and clashing of thunder. But this is rarely so. In fact, such phenomena usually indicate the absence of divine contact. The still small voice encountered by Elijah is still the order of the day.
And he [Elijah] came thither unto a cave, and lodged there; and, behold, the word of the Lord came to him,…and he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the Lord. And, behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the Lord was not in the earthquake: and after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.29
A better translation would be a silent subtle voice. On many occasions that voice speaks not in the depth of our souls, but through the mouths of others, as in the following incident that took place after the Archangels visitation to Mary.
When Mary had finished weaving the scarlet wool she carried it to Zacharias the priest, and he took it from her, and blessed her, and said unto her, O Mary, behold, God shall magnify thy name, for blessed shalt thou be above all the women in the world.
And when Mary heard this word she rejoiced with a great joy, and gave thanks unto God. And having gone forth from Zacharias she went to Elizabeth, her fathers sister.
Upon seeing Mary, Elizabeth spake out with a loud voice, and said, Blessed art thou among women,30 echoing the inspired words of her husband. The speaking of identical words by different people can be a sign of divine communication, as it certainly was in this instance.
Here we also gain a new piece of information: Saint Elizabeth was Saint Joachims sister. So Saint John the Baptist was the Virgin Marys first cousin, and Jesus second cousin. Some of these ancient documents give a goodly bit of information regarding the relation of many people in the Gospels. I have not given it all, because it gets rather tangled. But it certainly emerges that the origin of Christianity was a family affair to a very definite degree. When we understand the occult significance of nation and family it only makes sense. Despite moderni.e. wilfully ignorantideas, bloodline is the most powerful esoteric force in most peoples lives. The blood is both source and maintenance of life. It is the essence of our physical being. This being so, esotericists know that the astral and causal counterparts of the blood are the essence of our psychic being. Through it there is conveyed to us the concentrated life and karma of our male ancestors, for the blood comes exclusively from the father.
In virtually all the accounts of Jesus and the Virgin it is recorded that Saint Joseph was grieved to the depths of his being upon discovering Marys pregnancy, for he had received Her from the Temple a virgin and had carefully guarded that virginity. Further, this underlines the truth of the perpetual virginity of Mary.
It is sheer ignorance of Hebrew and Aramaic idiom to assert that Saint Matthews statement that Saint Joseph knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son31 is an indication that Mary did not remain a virgin after giving birth to Jesus. Many examples of this idiom can be found in the Bible, but four examples from the Psalms should suffice.
O God, forsake me not; until I have shewed thy strength unto this generation.32
Nobody believes that David thought God would forsake him after he had shown the strength of God to his generation.
Blessed is the man whom thou chastenest, O Lord, and teachest him out of thy law; that thou mayest give him rest from the days of adversity, until the pit be digged for the wicked.33
Will God cease to give rest?
The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool.34
After the enemies of the Messiah have been subdued, will God then kick him off his throne?
His heart is established, he shall not be afraid, until he see his desire upon his enemies.35
Will he fear once his enemies are vanquished?
Surely there is no need to labor the point more, but we must remember that shallow and facile minds are always ready to declaim it does not matter on any subject that fundamentally escapes or disinterests them.
Does this question of the perpetual virginity of Mary matter? Yes. Because it is the truthand even more because it is a key point in the mystery-drama of the soul aspiring to Christhood.
We have already mentioned that similarity of words can show a spiritual consonance arising from the intuition of the truth. Somewhat the same idea is shown in a portion of Saint Josephs lament upon discovering that the Virgin was pregnant.
Woe is me! Behold, the Evil Serpent hath come to the virgin and seduced her, just as the Evil Beast seduced Eve and made her to eat of the tree whereof God commanded that they should not eat.
I have invoked the parallel of Mary and Eve more than once, and this quotation demonstrates that the early Christians held the same view.
In the Old Testament we are told that when God spoke with Moses a cloud of light would be seen resting upon the Tabernacle.36 Similarly, a cloud of light filled the temple of Solomon at its dedication.37 This cloud of light was a manifestation of the Holy Spirit Mother. Therefore it is no surprise that when Saint Joseph returned to the cave of Bethlehem with the midwife they saw a cloud of light which crowned Mary the new Temple, the new Ark.
Many symbolic interpretations of the gifts of the Wise Men to the child Christ have been made, and doubtless all have validity. In this ancient document the following explanation is made.
First of all they presented unto Him gold, because He was a King; secondly, they brought to Him incense because He was God; and thirdly, they brought to Him myrrh because of the human nature of His Body.
Myrrh represented mortalityand therefore the human nature of Christbecause liquefied myrrh (myron) was the main ingredient in preparing bodies for burial.
In the account of the Eastern Sages return to their own country (India), we find the following.
They went into the presence of their king, who asked them, saying, What did ye see? And they told him everything that they had seen, and how the Child had accepted gifts from them. And again he asked them and said unto them, What did He give you? And they said, He gave us a little blessing of bread, and we hid it in the earth. And the king said unto them, Go ye and bring it to me. And having gone forth they went into that country where they had hidden it, and they dug in that land, and fire came forth from that hole. And for this reason the Wise Men worship [that] fire unto this day.
As already pointed out, since the use of fire in worship was common to both Zoroastrians and Hindus, the Wise Men have been mistakenly supposed to have come from Iran. The sacrificial fire of the Jewish Temple was kept alive after having been kindled from heaven.38 This was not unique to Judaism, and although the sacred fire in India is usually kindled naturally to the accompaniment of mantras and various rites, there, too, it can be kindled by the mere recitation of mantras by the adepts. On the final day of the Parliament of Religions where Swami Vivekananda carried the day, it was suggested that the various religions demonstrate something of their formal worship. Vivekananda set up an altar such as Hindus have in their homes. Not having ghee lamps, he used candles. Just as he was about to begin, he realized that he had no matches with which to light the candles. Surreptitiously he waved his hand over themand they lit instantly. In November of 1968 an immense sacrificial fire was lighted in Delhi at Rajghat, the burial place of Gandhi, through the recitation of mantras alone. The process took some days, but the wood did take fire spontaneously. This attracted great attention throughout North India, and I well remember the continual influx of thousands of worshippers daily to offer sacrifice and prayers. About ten years later when I was in Gujarat, the Raja of Chandod introduced me to a brahmin scholar who had the ability to kindle the sacred fire through mantras alone. The Raja assured me he had witnessed it more than once and had carefully seen that no trickery was used. The Word is still the primal power in creation.
A Writing of Saint James
There is a short Ethiopian document about how Saint Johns account of the Virgins death came to Egypt. It quotes a manuscript that was found in Saint James handwriting after his death. There we find the interesting statement that the Apostles Peter, Paul, and John directed that the Church formally celebrate three commemorations of Mary every year. This shows that veneration of the Virgin was an Apostolic practice, and the Church does indeed celebrate three major feasts of the Virgin: Her conception, Her Birth, and Her falling asleep.
The First Ethiopian Text of the Falling Asleep of Mary
The first Ethiopian text regarding the Virgins death is attributed to the Apostle John. It does not differ much from the accounts already considered, but some details not given elsewhere are interesting.
Although the point is mentioned in other texts, it is specially emphasized in this one that the Virgin Marys daily visitation of the Lords sepulchre, where She prayed for hours at a time. We must make our own holy place of inner pilgrimage right where we are. Those who meditate and pray in a special place set aside in their home will in time find that simply entering there will heal their troubled souls. One of the holiest spots I visited in this country was a tiny windowless room in the middle of Harlem. Down on the street, the famed Harlem nightlife was in full swing, and we took our lives in our hands to walk the three blocks from the subway. But when we entered that little cubicle I felt that I had stepped into eternity and was with God. Another time I went into a shabby house in a tough neighborhood in a major West Coast city. The place was a dump. Yet when the monk who lived there took me to the back of the house and into his little chapel I was transported to heaven. This brother worked all the daylight hours carrying food and medicine to the poor, and was continually harassed by those who detest good works. Sometimes I come home so tired I cant eat or sleep, he said, but I just come back here, sit on the floor and say O Jesus, I love you so! and He hears me and I feel renewed. We can do the same.
The manuscript says that when the time was drawing near for the departure of the Virgin from this world, not only did the Apostles, the Seventy, and other holy disciples of the Lord gather in Ephesus, but the great Bodiless Powers of the heavens also assembled there, so much so that the rumbling of the Great Amen39 sounded throughout the area. Intuitively drawn to that place, multitudes of sick and afflicted people came and were healed upon entering the aura of the Virgins house. It was estimated that nearly three thousand people were cured in this way.
A home where daily meditation takes place in time also becomes a healing center, flowing continual blessings to those who enter or live nearby. It is our duty to establish such centers for the benefit of all upon the earth, as well as ourselves.
Duality is the very basis of relative existence. Without it every thing would dissolve instantly. Of necessity, then, whenever light shines upon the earth its opposite, spiritual darkness, rises up to counteract it. The holy Mary did not escape this reaction. She had fled from Israel to Ephesus because of plots to kill Her. Even in Ephesus there were those evil people who were tormented by Her very presence, as their bodiless counterparts, the demons, were tormented by the Presence of Christ Her Son.40 Toward the end of Her life they became very active in attempting to harm Her. This book tells us that when they laid in wait for Her She would be invisible to them, and that once a band of them who were seeking Her house kept passing by it and could not see it at all. This phenomenon is not unknown to those who seek God. I have experienced it myself a few times, and know others who have as well. Once in the Temple took they up stones to cast at him: but Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by.41 Jesus hid himself by becoming invisible to those who would harm Him.
How did He do this? Invisibility can be accomplished in more than one way. Those who are old enough remember the exciting radio drama of The Shadow about a man who had learnt in the Orient to cloud mens minds so they could not see him. Actually, they did not perceive himthat is, their consciousness did not register his presence although their eyes were picking up his image and relaying it to their brains. Many people experience passing by someone they know on the street and not having it register until they have gone on some distance. Then suddenly they realize it and turn back with apologies. This, too, has happened to me with embarrassing results. I have looked directly into peoples eyes, so they thought I was staring at them, but since I was thinking of something intently I was not even aware they were there. This is not a social grace.
After His resurrection Jesus met two disciples on the road from Jerusalem to Emmaus. He walking along with them and spoke with them at length, yet their eyes were holden that they should not know him.42 So here the invisibility was a matter of non-recognition. In Autobiography of a Yogi, Yogananda says that the deathless Master, Babaji, often employs this method of invisibility.
This leads us to a most important insight: God is not really invisible by nature. Rather, our eyesinner and outerare held, that is bound by ignorance which manifests as imperception. If we will heal and open our eyes through meditation we shall indeed see God.
There is more to this, and it would be good to keep on this subject a while more, for it has a practical application in spiritual life. It is indeed true that some things may not be perceived because a higher will is imposing non-perception on us. But this is comparatively rare. The usual form of mental blindness comes from an altogether different source: the nature of the mind itself. The mind is a field of moving energiesenergies of various types, yet with a common quality that binds them together. Just as physical objects can be made of many kinds of substances, so it is with the mind. The energies of the mind can vary as greatly as a sculpture. That is, a sculpture can be made of clay, of wax, of wood, of stone, of plastic, of ice, or even of food. And the sculpture can be valued accordingly. In the McLean County, Illinois Museum there is a remarkable sculpture showing in incredible detail a tree with two soldiersone of the Union and the other of the Confederacyfacing one another from opposite sides. As I say, it is remarkableand all the more so because it was made out of soap, the artist using only his fingernails and a straight pin. The soap was a large block of the ordinary laundry soap that was used at the time of the Civil War. Although the sculpture is a novelty and has artistic merit, it would be worth much more if it had been made from a more durable and valuable substance. If it had been made of gold, it would be worth a fortune.
So it is with the mind. However intelligent or capable we may be, in the context of spiritual life the most important factor of our mind is the quality of the energies from which it is formed. Just as our bodies can differ greatly in structure and chemical makeup, so it is with the mind. Although complexity of mind and intelligence are products of evolution, the quality of the mind is determined mostly by us. We inherit the substance of our minds from our parents, just as we do the substance of our bodies. But just as our bodies grow and are completely replaced many times in our lifespan, so it is with our mind body. Therefore we are able to determine exactly the quality of mental energies with which we work. How? By the simplest of processes: eating and drinking.
Food not only feeds the physical body, it also feeds the mental body. If we build with brick we get a brick house. If we build with wood we get a wood house. So if we ingest food of low vibration we will possess a mind of low vibration. The simplicity of it is a bit frightening. In the true essence of our being we absolutely are not what we eat. But the body and mind are, and according to their nature our true self will be either veiled or revealed, either bound or free. From this we can see how crucial to success in spiritual life is our scrupulous avoidance of the Four Soul Killersmeat (including fish and eggs), alcohol, nicotine, and mind-altering drugs (legal or otherwise).
If we eat animal flesh we will have animal (i.e., subhuman) minds. Dogs and horses are very intelligent, but how much appreciation do they have of art, music, the beauties of nature, or philosophy? None. Nor do they need to, for they are not yet human. Those who eat animal flesh will have the mental energies of animals. Because they have evolved to the human level they will of course be far more intelligent than animals, but they will be minimally human in their highest levelsif they can function at all in those levels. Such persons naturally cannot perceive the subtleties of human existence, what to speak of the spiritual realms. It is only to be expected that metaphysics and esoteric realities elude them, even if they are brilliant on purely physical levels. Such persons can (and do) encounter saints and even God incarnate and have no inkling of it. Usually they consider the saints and avatars to be bores and fools and express utter disregard if not contempt for them. The same will be true of spiritual practices, both external worship and interior processes such as meditation. What a waste of time, is their response. And for them it is. We, however, aspire to something greater than being two-footed beasts. We aspire to realize our full potential as humans and progress on to even higher evolution.
Subhuman evolution takes place automatically. We undergo birth and death in a continuous cycle until we reach human status. From that point onward things are greatly changed, for our evolution must now be effected by our own effortsmost especially through meditation. As cold clay is impossible to sculpt, and cold molasses is impossible to pour freely, so the heavy mental and psychic energies resulting from use of the Four Soul Killers are impossible to evolve by any effort. Therefore we must from the start work for the purification and refinement of our mind substance by abstaining absolutely from meat, alcohol, nicotine, and drugs in any degree whatsoever. This abstinence is only part of the process. Also essential is the practice of meditation. Without the divine sculpting which it works within us, the evolutionary life is impossible. It makes the invisible visible to us, and changes silence into the fulness of the Word.
No one really makes us do anything. Rather, our own inner nature causes us to respond in ways that are in keeping with that nature. This is important to remember when people try to emotionally blackmail us by attributing their negativity to us. Not so! Nor should we be maneuvered by such people into modifying our speech or behavior so we wont offend them or cause a scene. It is their own evil that is offensive and the cause of any upset. They do not change their naturewhy change ours? Why am I saying all this? Because the Ethiopian text describes in detail how infuriated the evil people in Ephesus became when they learned of the healings worked by the Virgin at the end of Her life. So hate-filled did they become, that they went in a mob with burning wood to set Her house on fire and kill Her and the assembled disciples and devotees. That is how such people behave. And it is their doing, not ours. But when they came to the Mothers house, things turned out quite differently than they intended. Here is how.
And then they rose up, and they took with them wood and fire, wishing to set on fire the house in which the Mother of our Lord Jesus Christ was, together with the disciples, and the Angels and all the believers; and the governor stood afar off in order that he might see what would happen.… And a great fire went forth with the Angels from that place, and burned up many…. And a great fear came upon the men who dwelt there.
Apparently Angels do not believe much in placation, either. It is important for us to realize that we are never alone; that angelic guardians are always with us. And when evil comes against us to harm us, it is foolishly attacking them as well. The result is obvious: they will be defeatedif not immediately, then in time. Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.43 But the happy thing is the fact that holy ones are always with us, blessing our efforts to reach the Kingdom. The more people there are in a room, the more angels there are. When we find ourselves in a crowd it is good to breathe a silent prayer to the angel guardians of all those present, asking them to bless and uplift their charges. They will hear and respond.
Yet we must realize that angels are not little naked babies or baby heads with wings under their chins. Nor are they the cuddlies, buddies, and pals as so many contemporary books on angels would have us think. Rather, they are a high order of being, of superhuman evolution, and absorbed in the love of God and His service. They do assist us and even communicate with us, but never casually or pointlesslythat is, not just for our entertainment. Nor are they around to make us feel good about ourselves or to tell us everything is just dandy. If it was just dandy we would not need them. No; they are guardians and guides, and guardian and guide presupposes a need for guarding (danger) and a need for guiding (ignorance). So angels are a serious matter, meant for our journeying to God, not for company in dawdling on the way. It is good, therefore, to ignore the sappy angel lore that is currently so popular, as well as the sugary depictions of angels. (One artist I know of depicts angels as some kind of interplanetary bedbugs.)
Should we try to get in contact with our angel guardians? No need; they are constantly aware of us. We need only speak to themaloud or silently. The real problem is being aware of their talking back, which is subliminal and usually in concepts rather than words. The more we meditate, the more capable we will be of hearing them. Usually the angels communicate with us through ideas that just pop into our minds, and often we think the ideas are our own. But they do not mind, just as long as we benefit. This indicates another important trait of angels: their utter objectivity. Never are they egoically involved as are we. Nor do they emote as we do. Rather, they function in a realm of a much truer reality than we now know. Consequently they may seem to be almost mathematical in their ways. They have no personal attachments or involvements. They love God, and love us for the sake of God, but it is a rarefied love far beyond the confined emotion we usually experience as love. Again, we must be wary of the popular view of angels as an astral hybrid of Saint Bernard dogs and genies from a bottle. They are much more; and therefore beyond comprehension or definition. And as we see from this incident at the end of the Virgin Mothers life, they can act in ways not always congenialat least to the unwise. However, nothing is done by the holy onesor the Holy Godfor injury, but rather healing. This happening was no exception. As a result many of them believed on the Name of our Lord and Redeemer Jesus Christ. So if we wait, we will in time see the blessing inherent in seeming misfortune.
Now we come to something very interesting. Not only did Jesus rise from the grave on a Sunday, the Archangel Gabriel announced the coming incarnation of Christ to the Virgin, Jesus was born, and the Virgin Mary left this world on a Sunday as well. No wonder Sunday became the New Sabbath for Christians. The Ethiopian manuscript further states that Sunday is the day on which aspirants can become enlightened. It should be realized, then, that Sunday is a day to be kept with very special observance, for spiritual practices yield greater results on that day, as well.
The divinity of the Virgin is indicated in this text, which says: Behold, our Lord Jesus Christ came, together with His angels, seated upon the throne of His glory. And there appeared before Him Angels innumerable, and moreover there appeared a great light, and the holy Woman [Mary] was crowned with very great glory at the coming of Her Son and Her God, and all the powers of heaven worshipped Her. And so should we, for we are told further that the Mother took the hand of Christ and asked that He would bestow His grace upon all those who came to Him in Her Name.
A great Voice came from within the Light that shone upon all present in the Mothers house, declaring that henceforth Her body would be enshrined in Paradise after rising from this earth, but Her soul would be enthroned in the heights of heaven with Jesus. Hearing this, the Apostles bowed to the earth before Her and besought Her to leave Her blessing in the world. In humility the Virgin prayed in these words: O God, Who in the abundance of His compassion and mercy wast pleased to send His only Son into My body, and Who made Me worthy that He should become incarnate of Me, behold, from this time forth have compassion upon the work of Thy hands, and upon every soul that praiseth Thy Name. O Jesus Christ, the Son of God the Most High, Who doeth whatsoever He pleaseth both in the heavens and in the earth, bless, O Lord, that place where a festival shall be celebrated in My Name, and receive My prayer, and bless Thy people and Thine anointed ones who shall offer unto Thee sacrifices in My Name. To this Jesus replied: Behold, I have done this for Thee, now and henceforth. Rejoice Thou, for all grace hath been and shall be given unto Thee by Me, and by My Father, and by the Holy Spirit. And every one who shall observe Thy commemoration and call upon Thy Name shall never perish in this world, but shall find grace with My Father Who is in heaven.
As the Angels began singing in triumph, the face of the Virgin was transfigured with Divine Light. Lifting Her hands, She blessed the disciples and gave up Her holy soul into the hands of Jesus.
In conclusion the Ethiopian texts aver that when the Apostles opened the tomb of the Virgin and found Her body missing, as they conversed together they were caught up in their subtle (astral) bodies to Paradise and there saw the translated body of the Virgin, as Jesus had said it would be. How natural, then, that the scribe who made the copy of the text wrote after its conclusion: Christ, my God and my hope, and my Lady Mary, Who saveth me; pray for me for ever and for ever. For it is the power of the Holy Spirit in Mary that saves the disciple of Christ, bringing him at last into the Bosom of the Father. I well remember a great Christian mystic here in America saying to me: When we leave our bodies the Light of the Mother of God will take us to God. Amen.
The History of the Holy and Pure Mary
This ancient manuscript, which today is in the British Museum, gives some more interesting pointsnot only on the life of the Virgin as such, but on the esoteric outlook of the early Christians. The book itself states that much of what it contains was written down by disciples of Saint Paul who had come to see the Mother of Jesus in Ephesus.
First, it tell us that after the cataclysm at the death of Christ, the Sanhedrin became afraid and, convinced that they had condemned an innocent man, they wanted to obliterate all traces of the deed. To accomplish this they took the Cross of Jesus, the two other crosses of the thieves, the spear, the purple robe, the crown of thorns, and the nails and buried them together deep in the earth. As mentioned in the first chapter of this book, the sacred basil (ocymum sanctum, in Sanskrit: tulsi) plant grew over this place where three centuries later Saint Helena would find the Holy Cross.
The fears of the Sanhedrin were not without foundation. During the lifetime of Jesus, Agabus, the King of Edessa, had sent an artist to draw His picture, for he greatly wanted to see Him and be cured of his leprosy. Because the countenance of Jesus was constantly changing, the artist was in despair for he could not draw Him.44 In compassion Jesus took a towel and pressed it to His face. When He took it away, the photographic likeness of His face was on the towel. He gave this to the artist along with a message to the king that He would send one of the Apostles to him later for his healing. Upon receiving the towel, King Agabus was cured of his leprosy except for an area on his forehead. After the Ascension, one of the Seventy went to Edessa and completed the cure. According to this manuscript, when he told the king of Christs crucifixion, the king was infuriated and set forth with his army to raze Judea. But realizing that the Emperor Tiberias would be angered with him if he did so without consulting him, he wrote to the Emperor and asked him to avenge Christ. Tiberias seriously considered doing so, lest the murder of a god bring that gods wrath upon the empire. Word of this quickly reached Jerusalem. This caused the authorities to plot the death of the Virgin even more intently, for She wouldso they thoughtbe the chief witness to their crime.
It was because of continual persecution and overt attempts on Her life that caused the Virgin to leave Israel and settle in Ephesus. (For the same reasons Saint Lazarus and Mary and Martha went to live in Cyprus.) This text tells us that the Virgin Herself spoke of these harassments and revealed that the religious authorities were continually trying to get Her to undergo the same kind of trial that She had after the conception of Jesus. Specifically, they often came to Her house to force Her to drink the bitter water (see Chapter One) that would kill Her if She was not (still) a virgin. Here are Her own words about what would then happen: When they used to come to Me I drove them away and made them depart by the word that went forth from My mouth. It shut their eyes and darkened their hearts by the might of the Lord. The Lord Jesus has indeed not left us comfortless45 or defenseless.46
Every object in the cosmos, from planets to specks of dust, are formed of the living energy that is the Holy Spirit. According to their inner vibration, as well as their external form, they can affect us significantly. This is especially true of objects that have been imbued with a sacred power of blessing and healing. Some have this power by their inherent nature, and some by an infusion through sacred rituals or usage. In this text we find a most intriguing use of the Torah scroll in the synagogues at the time of Mary. Her persecutors at one time came to forbid Her to pray that the Lords tomb. Besides this, they outlined to Her what She should do to be forgiven of Her sin. Part of their advice was that She go to the synagogue on the Sabbath and have the Torah laid upon Her head so She might be purified. That is, the very touch of the holy scroll was considered to impart a cleansing power. This is certainly true, as any sensitive person can attest who has simply come near the holy Torah scroll or touched it. More than once during European persecutions of the Jews, when Torahs were publicly burned the letters of the text, like golden flames, were seen detaching themselves from the scroll and rising into the heavens. All scriptures have a salutary effect wherever they are kept. So it is beneficial for us to keep sacred books near us, for their presence will silently convey blessing and protection to us.
Another property of sacred objects is to on occasion emit beautiful fragrance. Apparently the holy force within them becomes so activated that the vibrations impinge on our olfactory sense. This, too, I have experienced in the presence of relics of the saints, and even upon thinking intently about them. Many people smell a rose fragrance when speaking of Padre Pio the stigmatist. On one occasion I was riding in a car speaking of a monk-friend who had recently died. Immediately the vehicle was filled with the smell of heavenly incense. Some hours later, when the subject of that monk came up again, the wonderful odor once more pervaded everything. A year or so later, when his photograph was shown to Sri Anandamayi Ma in India She commented that he had attained to a very high spiritual state upon leaving his body. Another time I was thinking, not very respectfully, of a person who was supposed to be a saint. Actually, I was thinking of certain aspects of her personality that seemed to me to indicate that she could not have been a saint. Suddenly an unearthly perfume filled my nostrils. I wondered if there was a connection, so for the next few hours I conducted a test. I would think of her intently, and immediately the fragrance would be overwhelming. I would deliberately put all thought of her from my mind and the smell would cease instantly. After doing this several times I felt it could not be coincidence. So I mentally apologized to her and acknowledged her real status as a saint.
All the foregoing paragraph is meant to be an introduction the statement of this ancient record that the body and clothing of the Blessed Virgin continually radiated a celestial perfume. It actually says: Perfume filled the house wherein our Lady was, like the waves of the sea. And all the sick and diseased used to come to Her, and be blessed by Her, and they worshipped Her and were cured of their sicknesses. It further says that She often healed by simply holding Her hands toward them, palms out, in this way conveying to them the healing vibrations. The great Master, Paramhansa Yogananda, often blessed in the same way, and a photograph is available from Self-Realization Fellowship showing him blessing in this manner.
In all the accounts of the passing of the Virgin from this world She many times asks the Apostles to burn incense and pray. This manuscript says that She always took incense to the tomb of Christ when She prayed there, and that at home She always burned incense when at prayer. Fire has always been prized as an esoteric force, for it is only partially material and has the power to convey forces both into and out of the subtle levels of existence we call the astral world. Incense is also highly valued because it produces intense vibrational change wherever it is burned and in the objects touched by its smoke. The vibration of a room and everything in it can be rapidly magnetized by the burning of incense. Therefore incense is a potent occult tool. And all these accounts show that the Virgin valued it supremely and employed it throughout each day. We, too, then, can only benefit if we follow Her example. The three most beneficial fragrances are pure frankincense, sandalwood, and rose. Unfortunately, most incense now available is artificial and often toxic, but it is possible to obtain incense sticks formed of powdered frankincense and powdered sandalwood. The only trustworthy brand I know is Auroshika. The Auroshika rose incense is also natural and non-toxic. It is good to burn incense when we pray or meditate, and even throughout the day. Sandalwood particularly expels negative vibrations and entities, and its fragrance is said to be the highest olfactory vibration on earth. Rose and frankincense are next in purificatory powers. Rose especially inspires devotion and spiritual awareness.
We are also told that the Virgin often wore special clothing when praying. This, too, is a good practice for us. Those who have clothing used only for meditation will find it highly magnetized in time. Just putting it on can calm and elevate the mind.
It is not particularly momentous, but we learn from this document that the Virgin Mary affectionately called the Beloved Apostle, Her adopted son, little John. This shows Her motherly heart.
One thing that is not encountered in other records is the fact that some of the ApostlesAndrew, Simon Zelotes, and the Evangelist Lukehad been martyred before the Virgins departure from this world. But they were all physically present at Her death, for they were resurrected as was Christ.
We also learn that the Judeans in Ephesus intended to steal the Virgins body and burn it.
We have already spoken of the Virgins use of incense and also of the Great Amen and the coming and going of great invisible beings, but the following passage seems worth setting forth here:
When Mary had ended her prayer, she said unto the Apostles, Put ye incense in the censer and pray; and they did as she commanded them, and they prayed and bowed low to the ground. And behold, there was the roar of thunder in the heavens, and there came a voice that was like unto the noise of a heavy wheel revolving swiftly, and a sweet and lovely odor from heaven. And then the angels and the armies of heaven, which are innumerable, came down, and they covered the house wherein was the holy, and blessed, and pure Virgin Mary…and the hosts of the armies of God ceased not to go up into heaven and to come down again into the house. [Those who came there] saw the gates of heaven opened, and the angels of God descending and coming into the house of Mary, and also the lightnings and the thunders going forth from the house of the holy woman, and going up to heaven.…And they also saw the stars coming down from heaven and bowing low before the holy woman Mary. And they also saw the sun and moon, which illumine all the world, come down from heaven, and bow low before Mary.
Again, whether this is literally true, or somewhat poetically embroidered, the fact that the Christians prized this book indicates that all its contents were compatible with their beliefs and understanding. Let us take a look at some.
The primal Sound that is the basis of the universe is called by many descriptive names. In India it is called Om (an approximation of its resonant sound) and the Pranavathe life-giving Sound. It, too, is described in many ways. In modern times it is often likened to the rumble of thunder or even to a great humming motor. It is also called the Voice of God, and here we find it very aptly described as the sound of a great heavy wheel turning rapidly on the road (perhaps a stone pavement is specifically in mind). It is interesting that a fragrance is also associated with itagain, the odor of sanctity. In the Song of Solomon it is said that the Name of God is like sweet perfume.47 This cosmic vibration is often considered to be the unspoken Name of God, so the accompanying perfume should not be surprising in this instance.
In Genesis, Jacob saw the angels of God descending and ascending in the place of the sacred stone which he then worshipped.48 Jesus, the Living Stone of God, told Saint Nathanael: Ye shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man.49 This refers both to Jesus and to a mystical phenomenon experienced by those who practice meditation. It also is a secondary reference to certain esoteric practices within the Christian and Yogic traditions.
We are told that psychically sensitive people approaching the Virgins house also saw and heard lightnings and thunders proceeding therefrom.
Lamps or candles have often been used to symbolize angels. It has long been the custom to keep a lighted candle at the head and feet of the dead. The origin of this practice is found in this document. For when the Virgin was about to depart from the body they also saw the holy woman lying upon her couch, and the Angel Gabriel standing at her pillow and Michael at her foot-cushion; and there were lamps in their hands.
Learning that the Mother of All was about to physically leave this world, the sorrowing and the sick came hastening to Her, crying out and saying, O holy and blessed Mary, have mercy upon us, show compassion to us, and heal us by means of thy prayer and supplication; and they saw also that they were healed straightway of their sicknesses. Often, when Great Ones depart from this world a tremendous power of blessing and healing is released upon all those nearby.
Now a further interesting thing is told us. And other sick folk were coming, and were taking the mud of her house and smearing it over their bodies, and they were healed of all their sicknesses. We are told that it had been raining, and that is why the people took mud and not dust from around the house.
How could mudor any other material substanceproduce such changes? By its fundamental vibration. Just as a magnet can impart magnetic power to other substances, so objects endowed with higher vibrations can cause whatever touches them to vibrate similarly, producing both psychic and physical change. How many times must the Virgin have walked upon the earth surrounding Her house. The touch of Her feet, like the touch of the hem of Her Sons clothing, imparted curative powers to that earth.
Just as there is material science and methodology there is psychic and spiritual science and methodology. If we learn them and apply them we will discover their reality and worth.
The mind is a vibrating field of energy, and thoughts are movements within that energy and also projections out of that field. Therefore thoughts in the form of prayer and invocations are really powerful psychic objects that can heal, bless, and purify as well, expelling the darkness of disease and ignorance. This was demonstrated by an exorcism performed by the Virgin Mary at this time. As they were expelled the negative entities declared: Thou hast driven us away from this soul by Thy prayer. Hopefully we will not need to drive away external evil spirits, but we certainly need to dispel the demons of fear, passion, and ignorance from our consciousness, and this can be accomplished through meditation.
This book records a reference to an amazing prophecy. When the enemies of Mary were going back and forth in verbal altercation with those who believed in Christ (and therefore in Her), they claimed that it could be seen that the coming of the Messiah was far into the future.
And those who loved Christ answered and said, Did not our father Adam command his son Seth before his death, and say unto him, Behold, sacrifices of offering shall be set in the treasury of the Cave? The men of wisdom shall bring gold, and frankincense, and myrrh before the Son of God, Who is to be born in Bethlehem.
This is a reference to the tradition known as the Books of Adam and Eve. It seems that they were compiled in Alexandria by the Hebrews living there, but we now only have the text in Arabic and Ethiopian. Here is the relevant passage only given briefly above.
Then Adam…turned to his son Seth, and to Eve his wife, and said to them, Preserve this gold, this incense, and this myrrh, that god has given us for a sign; for in days that are coming, a flood with overwhelm the whole creation. But those who shall go into the ark shall take with them the gold, the incense, and the myrrh, together with my body; and will lay the gold, the incense, and the myrrh, with my body in the midst of the earth. Then, after a long time, the city in which the gold, the incense, and the myrrh are found with my body, shall be plundered. But when it is spoiled, the gold, the incense, and the myrrh shall be taken care of with the spoil that is kept; and naught of them shall perish, until the Word of God made man shall come; when kings shall take them, and shall offer to Him gold in token of his being King; incense in token of His being God of heaven and earth; and myrrh, in token of His passion. Gold also as a token of His overcoming Satan and all our foes; incense as a token that He will rise from the dead and be exalted above things in heaven and things in the earth; and myrrh, in token that he will drink bitter gall; and feel the pains of hell from Satan. And now, O Seth, my son, behold I have revealed unto thee hidden mysteries, which God had revealed unto me.
We must keep in mind that this is not a Christian document, but one known to the Israelites at the time of Christ. So the coming of the Wise Men and their giving of gifts was a sign already known as evidence of the Messiahs advent. All Israel knew of Jesus life, and it was easily seen that He was truly the Christ of God.
Because of the prodigies being worked in Ephesus, many came to believe in the holiness of Mary, including the local governor.
And when the governor entered Her presence, he wept and said unto Her, O Mother of God, peace be unto Thee, and peace be unto Christ Who was born of Thee, and peace be unto the heavens which carry the throne of His power. Behold, from this time forth, by heaven, I will worship Thee, and I will believe on Christ Who was born of Thee. Do Thou stretch out Thy right hand and bless me, O Mother of the Light.
This man became a true Christian! Those who worship the Mother are those who truly worship the Son.
Through divine power the physical energies of Christs body were transmuted into subtle etheric energies and carried into the highest worlds from whence it radiates salvific power down through all planes of existence even unto this plane of material creation. This same process, we are told, took place with the body of Mary as well, which is no surprise since the body of Jesus was derived from Marys body and since They are really one in being.
1) And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord, and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour. For he hath regarded the low estate of his handmaiden: for, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed. For he that is mighty hath done to me great things; and holy is his name. And his mercy is on them that fear him from generation to generation. He hath shewed strength with his arm; he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts. He hath put down the mighty from their seats, and exalted them of low degree. He hath filled the hungry with good things; and the rich he hath sent empty away. He hath holpen his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy; as he spake to our fathers, to Abraham, and to his seed for ever. (Luke 1:46-55) [Go back]
2) The Greek word paradise means a garden. [Go back]
3) Because of the savour of thy good ointments thy name is as ointment poured forth, therefore do the virgins love thee. Draw me, we will run after thee. (Song of Solomon 1:3,4) [Go back]
4) Matthew 12:34 [Go back]
5) Romans 12:10 [Go back]
6) I Peter 2:17 [Go back]
7) There is a more important esoteric reason, as well. When we bow toward a center of power such as an altar or holy image, we are aligning the higher centers of awareness in our physical, astral and causal brains with those power centers and thus receive a beneficial inflow of their spiritual radiations. [Go back]
8) Luke 14:11; 18:14 [Go back]
9) John 13:4-17 [Go back]
10) Philippians 2:8 [Go back]
11) John 13:16 [Go back]
12) Matthew 5:37 [Go back]
13) Colossians 4:6 [Go back]
14) See Matthew 16:23; Mark 8:33; and Luke 4:8. [Go back]
15) Matthew 4:11; Mark 1:13 [Go back]
16) Luke 2:19 [Go back]
17) Psalms 45:13 [Go back]
18) Proverbs 10:19 [Go back]
19) John 19:27 [Go back]
20) Genesis 3:20 [Go back]
21) And Moses said unto Aaron, Take a pot, and put an omer full of manna therein, and lay it up before the Lord, to be kept for your generations. (Exodus 16:33) The ark of the covenant [was] overlaid round about with gold, wherein was the golden pot that had manna. (Hebrews 9:4) [Go back]
22) Psalms 78:25 [Go back]
23) Psalms 105:40 [Go back]
24) Revelation 4:5; 5:6 [Go back]
25) Ecclesiasticus 4:11-18 [Go back]
26) Genesis 3:5 [Go back]
27) Luke 22:42 [Go back]
28) Colossians 3:3 [Go back]
29) I Kings 19:9,11,12 [Go back]
30) Luke 1:42 [Go back]
31) Matthew 1:25 [Go back]
32) Psalms 71:18 [Go back]
33) Psalms 94:12,13 [Go back]
34) Psalms 110:1 [Go back]
35) Psalms 112:8 [Go back]
36) And it came to pass, as Moses entered into the tabernacle, the cloudy pillar descended, and stood at the door of the tabernacle, and the Lord talked with Moses. (Exodus 33:9) [Go back]
37) And it came to pass, when the priests were come out of the holy [place], that the cloud filled the house of the Lord, so that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud: for the glory of the Lord had filled the house of the Lord. (I Kings 8:10,11) [Go back]
38) And there came a fire out from before the Lord, and consumed upon the altar the burnt offering…which when all the people saw, they shouted, and fell on their faces. (Leviticus 9:24) [Go back]
39) The book of Revelation speaks of this primal divine sound-power as the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God. (Revelation 3:14) [Go back]
40) See Matthew 8:28,29, Mark 5:1-7, and Luke 8:26-28. [Go back]
41) John 8:59 [Go back]
42) Luke 24:16 [Go back]
43) Romans 12:19 [Go back]
44) I observed this phenomenon in Sri Sri Ma Anandamayi. Consequently, no photograph really looks exactly like Her. Her real appearance can only be seen in a motion picture or video. [Go back]
45) John 14:18 [Go back]
46) Romans 8:37; Psalms 118:10-12 [Go back]
47) Song of Solomon 1:3 [Go back]
48) The following extract from The Christ of India regarding this stone is most interesting:
The worship of Shiva in the form of the natural elliptical stone known as the Shiva Linga (Symbol of Shiva) was a part of the spiritual heritage of Isha, for His ancestor Abraham, the father of the Hebrew nation, was a worshipper of that form. The Linga which he worshipped is today enshrined in Mecca within the Kaaba. The stone, which is black in color, is said to have been given to Abraham by the Archangel Gabriel, who instructed him in its worship. Such worship did not end with Abraham, but was practiced by his grandson Jacob, as is shown in the book of Genesis (28:10-22).
Unwittingly, because of the dark, Jacob used a Shiva Linga for a pillow and consequently had a vision of Shiva standing above the Linga which was symbolically seen as a ladder to heaven by means of which devas (shining ones) were coming and going. Recalling the devotion of Abraham and Isaac, Shiva spoke to Jacob and blessed him to be an ancestor of Isha, the Messiah. Upon awakening, Jacob declared that God was in that place though he had not realized it. The light of dawn revealed to him that his pillow had been a Shiva Linga, so he set it upright and worshipped it with an oil bath, as is traditional in the worship of Shiva, naming it (not the place) Bethel: the Dwelling of God. (In another account in the thirty-fifth chapter, it is said that Jacob poured a drink offering thereon, and he poured oil thereon. This, too, is traditional, both milk and honeywhich Shiva promised Moses would flow abundantly in Israelbeing poured over the Linga as offerings.) From thenceforth that place became a place of pilgrimage and worship of Shiva in the form of the Linga stone. Later Jacob had another vision of Shiva, Who told him: I am the God of Bethel, where thou anointedst the pillar, and where thou vowedst a vow unto me (Genesis 31:13). A perusal of the Old Testament will reveal that Bethel was the spiritual center for the descendants of Jacob, even above Jerusalem.
Although this tradition of Shiva [Linga] worship has faded from the memory of the Jews and Christians, in the nineteenth century it was evidenced in the life of the stigmatic Anna Catherine Emmerich, an Augustinian Roman Catholic nun. On several occasions when she was deathly ill, angelic beings brought her crystal Shiva Lingas which they had her worship by pouring water over them. When she drank that water she would be perfectly cured. Furthermore, on major Christian holy days she would have out-of-body experience in which she would be taken to Hardwar, a city sacred to Shiva in the foothills of the Himalayas, and from there to Mount Kailash, the traditional abode of Shiva, which she said was the spiritual heart of the world. [Go back]
49) John 1:51 [Go back]