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The Mystical Wisdom of St. John the Beloved Disciple

In the beginning...This article explores the mystical insights of the beginning of the Gospel of Saint John

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not. That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.

He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.
(John 1:1-14)

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  • In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

Logos, here translated as Word, has more than one meaning:

  1. a spoken word;
  2. a full statement;
  3. a discourse on a subject;
  4. all the preceding, but in the mind, not verbalized;
  5. will;
  6. intention or purpose;
  7. being an emanation of the mind, a symbol of the Only-Begotten of the Father, the Son of God, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity;
  8. the Divine Word, the primal, creative Sound Vibration or Holy Spirit.

So when we read about “the Word” we must determine which–one or more–of the meanings are intended. That will determine the character of any explanation of the text. This opening passage from Saint John certainly implies that we are being told about the Son: Ishwara the Creator immanent in creation as its inner Guide, and the interaction between Him and the creation, including human beings.

Although the Godhead is absolutely One it is also Triune in an incomprehensible manner. This should not particularly bother us, for the ancient sages have assured us that nothing can be said absolutely about God, which means that to call God Unity is no more accurate than to call God Trinity. But we have to accommodate our limitations and work with what we have, confident that as we evolve the divine nature will become increasingly comprehensible to us.

Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are inherent in the transcendent Godhead, so Saint John is telling us that the Only-Begotten of the Father, the internal Word and Will, is absolutely eternal, and has not come into being, but has always been a “part” of God while at the same time God–the Whole.

  • The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.

When the process of creation began in the depths of God’s Consciousness, the Word-Son was already fully there, He did not come into being or undergo any change. Every iota of relative existence was an emanation of Him brought about by His own self-determination (self-will). He is the sole Source of all things. He was in the bosom of the Father (John 1:18) and all spirits were in His bosom. There is no Will in the Godhead but the Logos-Word.

  • In him was life; and the life was the light of men.

The Son is essentially Consciousness, the Consciousness in which all other consciousnesses or spirits are eternally rooted and existing. His Consciousness is our consciousness; though two they are one, and that is how it is that He experiences all things from the movements of every particle of every atom to every thought and experience of all sentient beings. This we have already discussed.

  • And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.

Although an emanation of His Consciousness, insentient creation, manifest or unmanifest, is unconscious and therefore “darkness” that does not and cannot possess the ability to be aware of His existence. This statement also applies to those consciousnesses or spirits who have not yet evolved the capacity for such comprehension.

  • That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.

The ability to be aware of that True Light and to be Lightened by It is the sole factor that determines whether or not we are human beings or merely humanimals. Those who dwell in human form without either possessing or exercising that faculty are not human in the fullest sense, no matter what other abilities they may have, including intellectual genius. That is why one holy woman I knew used to say regarding her spiritual teacher: “I was not a human being until he got hold of me.”

  • He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.

God the Son is the Inner Ruler of material creation which is an extension of His Consciousness or Being, yet it not only does not know Him, it cannot know him.

  • He came unto his own, and his own received him not.

Both the material creation and the unevolved spirits within it are intimately linked with the Lord (Ishwara) who is continually acting upon them and evolving them according to their eternal nature. Yet they do not perceive Him and “receive” Him by uniting their consciousness with His–the creation does not have the capability and the unevolved have not yet developed the necessary faculties for it. It is unhappily true that some sentient beings do perceive the Presence of God in and around them but perversely refuse to acknowledge It and turn away in their wills from Him. But it is also happily true that in time they will turn toward Him, for it is their very nature to do so.

  • But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.

“When thou saidst, Seek ye my face; my heart said unto thee, Thy face, Lord, will I seek” (Psalms 27:8). Paniym, the Hebrew word translated “face,” means face, presence, sight (seeing), and person; so to seek the face of God is to seek God Himself. “Seek and ye shall find,” said Jesus (Matthew 7:7). Those who seek and find shall receive His Consciousness into their own consciousness, His Spirit into their spirit, and thereby “become the sons of God.” For they will have believed on His will and intention for them. It is an act of their heart–their essential being which is one with God.

  • Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

This “birth” from the confining womb of creation into Boundless Being as liberated Sons of God comes from God alone, for it is the revelation of God, of “Christ in you, the hope of glory” from eternity (Colossians 1:27). As one of Yogananda’s prayers said: “Spirit to Spirit goes.”

  • And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.

Having made Himself “flesh” as creation, the Only-Begotten dwelt within and without us, and those who have been born into His Consciousness have perceived His Glory, having themselves become part of that Glory of the Only Begotten of the Father, and thereby also Full of Grace and Truth like Him.

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