Knowledge and the Bible
Christ left no written records, and the first Gospels were completed many years after his departure from the world. The Bible has been translated, retranslated and edited so many times that it is surprising that any of Christ's original message managed to survive. Even so, the Bible offers a wealth of information proving that Jesus Christ imparted a technique of spiritual insight to his disciples, as did Rama, Krishna, Guru Nanak, Buddha, Lao Tzu, Kabir and countless other Masters before him and since.
Christ himself, although he claimed, "I have not come to destroy the Law but to fulfill it," actually offered a radical departure from the tradition-bound, fear-and guilt-ridden, priest-dominated religion of his day. Based on his own practical realization of God, Jesus presented a dynamic, joyful, soul-liberating Gospel to man and woman, Jew and Gentile alike. Although he was criticized for initiating women and non-Jews, Jesus never hesitated to reveal the Word of God to all who sincerely sought it. Indeed, the Gentiles received him far better than ha own people, the majority of whom eventually rejected him and clamoured for his execution. On the other hand, the faith of a Roman centurion led him to exclaim: "Verily, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel."
The universality of his teachings was a boon for mankind. Jesus declared : "God hath sent his Son into the world, not to condemn the world, but that the world through him might be saved." St Paul instructed the Ephesians: "Now therefore are ye no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow-citizens with the saints, and of the household of God."
The scriptures of the world's religions are mostly the words of past spiritual masters who, without regard for their own safety or comfort, boldly preached the Truth to one and all. They come to show man where he is going wrong, and the path which he should follow.
"How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace, that publisheth salvation," declared Isaiah. Christ was the highest expression of the Love-dominated Teacher, not only preaching that the Kingdom of Heaven is within, but actually mapping out the route to God-realization, and giving practical instruction through his own perfect life: Jesus emphasized the role of the Master, the one who holds the keys to the kingdom of Heaven. He did not hesitate to declare : "No man cometh unto the Father, but by me."
Throughout Jewish history, a succession of prophets, culminating in the Master Jesus, had received direct revelation from God and then taught the people.
The Master shows the disciple how to experience the Holy Word, which is the Breath of Life within himself. The initiation of Saul by Samuel is one instance of this :
"Samuel said Saul : 'Bid the servant pass on before us (and he passed on) but stand thou still awhile that I may show thee the Word of God." Obviously this Word is something to be imparted in secret, and only to a worthy disciple. It must be something more than a mere set of teachings, because, after a short while "… when he turned to go from Samuel, the Lord gave him another heart … a company of prophets met him and the Spirit of the Lord came upon him, and he prophesied." Saul had received some kind of Divine Power, the 'Word', which St John tells us was in the beginning "… and the Word was with God and the Word was God." This Word is the active, creative Energy of God.
The Master Samuel had, in turn, also been initiated into the Word, because there had been a time when "Samuel did not yet know the Lord, nor was the Word of the Lord yet revealed to him." Now, Samuel had lived in the Temple since early childhood, and
had been instructed in Jewish doctrine. So what was that secret Word which he had not yet discovered? Sometime later, however, "The Lord revealed Himself to Samuel at Shiloh by the Word of the Lord." The Word Itself was the means by which Samuel saw God. How could a mere set of teachings bring about a face-to-face revelation?
Samuel's other illustrious disciple was the royal sage David. The Old Testament describes his initiation, or 'anointing', thus: "Samuel anointed him and the Spirit of the Lord came upon David from that day forward." Again, there had been a spiritual transmission through the medium of the God-knowing Master.
Jesus Christ never contravened the precepts of the eternal path of spirituality. When he presented himself for baptism, John protested: "I have need to be baptized of Thee, and comest Thou to me?" Jesus explained Suffer it to be so, for thus it becometh us to fulfill all righteousness." Jesus knew that others would look to him for guidance in all spiritual Matters, so he taught them in the most practical way by living the perfect spiritual life in their midst.
Jesus taught that the Kingdom of Heaven is within the consciousness itself, and is not a place in the sky. "He opened their eyes that they might understand the scriptures." He promised, "Ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free." He made the scriptural mysteries accessible to the average intellect. He taught simply and clearly, often using parables and homilies so that ordinary folk could understand the intricacies of the spiritual path. He showed them what religion really is. As one of his Apostles later declared "I be rude in speech, but not in knowledge." What did Jesus impart to these rough, uneducated fishermen that enabled them in become saints, revealing and discussing the most profound spiritual mysteries in all corners of the Roman Empire? Through Jesus, they had access by one Spirit to the Father," who gave to them "the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him, the eyes of (their) understanding being enlightened."
What is Baptism?
Two kinds of baptism are mentioned in the New Testament: water baptism and the laying on of hands. The Apostles made quite a distinction between the two, which comes through very clearly in the Book of Acts. Laying on of hands resulted in the initiate's being filled with the Holy Ghost, i.e. he was now able to contact and experience God within himself.
Water baptism survives in the church to this day. It is the first baptism which the newborn child or the born-again adult Christian receives. Then comes confirmation, during which ceremony the Bishop lays his hands on the head of the confirmee. Both ceremonies are merely ritual, a reflection of the two baptisms mentioned in the scriptures. The confirmee experiences either nothing at all, or at most, a sense of awed reverence, according to his faith. Certainly he does not experience the mighty Word as the early Christians did when the Apostles laid their hands upon than, nor does he see the self-effulgent Inner Light.
John the Baptist said from the start that he was not the Lord of whom the prophecies spoke. He clearly stated: "I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but he that comes after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear. He shall baptize you with the Holy Spirit, and with fire." Fire means the Light of Knowledge. This Knowledge is indeed like a fire, because it burns the seeds of Karma (sins), frees the disciple from his lower nature, and purifies the mind so that it can dissolve back into soul.
Jesus prayed to God: "I have manifested Thy name unto the men which Thou gavest me out of the world." Only a living Master can manifest that Word. John never claimed that he could do it. His water-baptism was a symbolic cleansing, a preparation for the real baptism to follow.
After their ordination by Jesus, and having received his Grace, the Apostles were filled with a remarkable inner strength, and an urge to preach that could not be contained. Peter spoke with
such authority that on the Day of Pentecost alone 3,000 were baptized.
Chapter 8 of Acts mentions an incident which very clearly shows that there are two baptisms, only one of which is the real thing
"When the Apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the Word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John, that they might receive the Holy Ghost for as yet He was fallen upon none of them; only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus."
This water baptism had been carried on by the Apostles during Jesus' ministry. Jesus preached, and the Apostles baptized the converts. Later on, however, in Acts, the Apostles "laid their hands upon them, and they received the Holy Ghost." Obviously water-baptism was merely symbolic, while the laying on of hands transmitted spiritual power to the initiate.
After Saul had been blinded by the brilliant Light of his vision on the way to Damascus, he was sent to Ananias for initiation.
"Ananias, putting his hands on him said, 'Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus that appearest to thee on the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost."
A similar incident, in Acts 19, shows the need for a living medium for transmission of the spiritual power which can open the inner door of consciousness:
"Paul, fielding certain disciples (at Ephesus) said unto them, 'Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed?' And they said unto him, 'We have not so much as heard that there be any Holy Ghost.' And he said unto them, 'Unto what then were ye baptized?' And they said 'Unto John's baptism.' Then said Paul, 'John verily baptized with the Spirit of repentance, saying unto the people that they believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ.' When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus, and when Paul laid his hands upon them,
the Holy Ghost came upon them, and they spoke with tongues, and prophesized."
Only a living saint can bestow the true baptism, through which the disciple sees Light, drinks Nectar or living water, hears Celestial Music and fixes his mind on the Divine Word. Christ was indeed such a Master, but he was not the only one. A perusal of the great scriptures of the world shows that Lao Tzu, Guru Nanak, Kabir, Mohammed, Zoroaster, Elijah, Buddha etc. were also true Masters. It is the Master's touch that opens the third eye, or door of consciousness within the disciple. Then he can start the long journey back to the Source, the Almighty Father.
"Not that any man hath seen the Father, save he which is of God, he hath seen the Father." As Lord Krishna said to Arjuna: "You cannot see Me with your carnal eyes: I will give you the eye of Knowledge." Indeed, in our ordinary state of consciousness, we don't have a hope of seeing God. This experience only comes when consciousness transcends mind, intellect and senses, and is aware of nothing else except the Holy Name. This is why a Living Master is so essential, but it is not easy to recognize him. Thousands of people heard Jesus us speak, but most of them ultimately rejected Him.
So the spiritual baptism is not symbolic. It is a practical experience, a transmission of power from Master to disciple, after which a total transformation occurs in the awareness of the faithful devotee. He enters a new dimension in an inner, infinite world, which was hitherto closed to him, and he understands mysteries which he had never understood before. Says St Peter, "Christ, according to his divine power bath given unto us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him that hath called us to glory and virtue."
Thus the rough, unlettered fishermen became wise, experienced saints. For all who receive the Grace and Knowledge of the Master, their journey changes from one of groping in the dark, of floundering in uncharted waters, and frustrated hard
slogging to a path with an assured and attainable destination and a scientific tried-and-true method. This Knowledge is full of blessings and has no bad side-effects:
"The visitation of all who walk in this spirit … shall be healing, great peace in a long life, and fruitfulness, together with every everlasting blessing and eternal joy in life without end, a crown of glory and a garment of majesty in unending light." (Dead Sea Scrolls, Community Rule).
Knowledge and Wisdom
"And I will bring the blind by a Way they knew not, I walked them in paths they have not known. I will make darkness light before them, and crooked things straight,"
- Isaiah 42:16
Before discussing Knowledge, let or see what is ignorance. According to Isaiah, it is total non-awareness of God's indwelling and infinite Presence, and therefore the awareness only of the finite ego:.
"Thou (men) hast said, 'None seeth me,' Thy wisdom, thy knowledge, it hath corrupted thee, and thou hast said in thine heart, I am, and none else besides me." Knowledge here refers to intellectual knowledge and book-learning, such as priests and pundits accumulate, and which acts as a most effective barrier to true spiritual experience. Such a person becomes so vain that he forgets that the source of his intellect, his knowledge and his life itself is God. He puts God at a safe distance from himself, so that he can carry on comfortably, safely insulated by his concepts and rituals. Nor for him is the path of True Knowledge, which involves the unlearning of all concepts and emptying oneself so that the 'THAT WHICH IS', the 'I AM THAT I AM, can be experienced.
Paul, writing to the Corinthians, stresses the dangers of spiritual ego "If any man think that he knows anything, he knows nothing yet, as he ought to know." When Socrates, the great Greek
Master, was praised for his wisdom, he sincerely wondered why he was so admired, saying, "I know that I know nothing." Humility and openness are a must. The path of Knowledge is very subtle. Only a Person who can "cast down imaginations and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God" can forge ahead. How is this to be done? By "bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ." This is possible only by praying for Grace and by bringing the mind back every time it wanders astray and fixing it on the Divine Word.
Once a Person has been shown how to meditate on the secret Word and Divine Light, he can dive into the Knowledge described by the Bhagavad Gita as the sovereign science "knowing which nothing remains to be known." St John, from his own experience, said the same thing "The anointing which ye have received of Him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach thee, but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth … Ye shall abide in Him."
Daniel said, "There is a God in Heaven Who revealeth secrets." The ancient prophets did experience God, face-to-face. There are several references in the Old Testament to this transcendental Knowledge, mostly in Proverbs, Isaiah and Psalms, which are the inspired utterances of men of Knowledge.
Right at the start, Proverbs defines the source of pure wisdom The Lord giveth wisdom, out of His mouth cometh knowledge and understanding." Wisdom here refers to the highest wisdom, which comes from spiritual insight. Proverbs 19:2 warns "that the soul be without knowledge is not good." In the normal process of accumulating empirical knowledge, the mental faculties alone are involved. Getting a Ph.D normally has nothing to do with soul (except, of course, that mind and intellect are energized by soul). So what sort of knowledge could the soul acquire? Only that which comes straight from the Lord, unfiltered by mind. This knowledge is the property of the soul, it comes from the soul's realization of itself: "The spirit of man is the candle of the Lord, searching all the inward parts of the belly." God is Light, and this
all-conscious Light is in us also. When a disciple meditates on that self-effulgent Light, which is his soul, all the inner mysteries are revealed to him, just as a candle illuminates the darkest room. That a process of deep meditation is is involved is indicated by these passages from Psalms:
"Commune with your own spirit upon your bed, and be still." As the meditator deepens his meditation, his mind automatically slows down and eventually stops, dissolved into the profound stillness of the Word.
"I remember Thee upon my bed, and meditate upon Thee in the night watches." The Psalms which directly mention spiritual knowledge (also called 'wisdom', or 'the Law') were composed by King David, who, it will be remembered, had been initiated by Samuel. David, who had been a humble, uneducated shepherd boy, knew what he was talking about when he said, "The Law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul, the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple." This finds an echo in the words of the great Indian saint, Kabir: "By practising Knowledge, even a moron can become wise." The 'Law' which King David was talking about must be something other than the theology and tradition in which the priests were trained, because it is perfect.
How can a written law be perfect, if it gives rise to debate, interpretation and counter-interpretation, as did the Jewish law - or any theological doctrine, for that matter. Also the priests of that time were far from perfect. Psalm 99 hints that this Law is a hidden, much higher, transcendental kind of wisdom "I have more understanding than my teachers, for Thy testimonies (revelation) are my meditation." In other words, true wisdom is revealed by the Holy Spirit during meditation.
This is not ordinary knowledge, it is something inner and secret. Only a person who "dwelleth in the secret place shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty." In the sanctuary of the heart, the soul sees its own pure, self-effulgent Light. Lights which are lit in the sanctuaries of temples represent this Inner Light, like a kind of dim memory of something once known, but forgotten.
The Book of Proverbs glorifies Holy Knowledge, which it calls 'wisdom'. That this is no ordinary knowledge is indicated by the fact that it is called 'eternal, and existing with God forever.' Proverbs says, "When He prepared the heavens, I (Wisdom) was there. When He appointed the foundations of the earth, I was by Him, as one brought up with Him."
Proverbs 8:23: "I was set up from everlasting, ere ever the earth was." St John wrote that in the beginning was the Word and the Word was With God. Divine Wisdom comes from realization of that Word.
Proverbs 3:19: "The Lord by wisdom hath founded the earth, by wisdom hath He established the heavens." Ordinary wisdom, even of the highest intellectual order, cannot create Heaven and earth. The wisdom referred to here is the highest Knowledge, the Knowledge of the Holy Word, which God used to create Heaven and earth. There is a parallel to this in the Bhagavad Gita, when Lord Krishna says: "In the beginning I gave this Knowledge to the Son," meaning that God energized the creation through the Holy Word. In Ecclesiastes, the Preacher says : "The excellency of Knowledge is that wisdom giveth life to those that have it." True Knowledge is the Knowledge of Life, the realization of the Life-Source Itself, and nothing less, so naturally it will give not only renewed life in this earth-existence, but eternal life as well. It is no wonder that King David said : "Such Knowledge is too wonderful for me, it is high, I cannot attain unto it." Under normal circumstances, a person cannot attain it, but through the Grace of a Master, plus the disciple's own sincerity and effort, the mysteries of Knowledge unravel themselves.
Jesus exhorted his disciples, "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in Heaven is perfect." It seems virtually impossible. How can we know what spiritual perfection is? It is something which the finite mind cannot grasp. Only by communion with something perfect can perfection be attained. We become like the company we keep, so if the mind can be attuned to
the Perfect Vibration, which is the Primordial Word, then we can become perfect. A perfected soul is one who has realised the Word and is in constant communion with it. It takes us beyond our thoughts, concepts and desires. Perfection can be realized by an imperfect (i.e. ignorant) being only after he has become perfect himself. That is why Jesus stressed the need for the second birth, the awakening of the spirit, without which one cannot enter the kingdom of heaven, even though that kingdom is within everyone. If someone has himself not realized perfection, how can be show another what it is and how it may be attained?
In the Jerusalem of Jesus' day there were many eloquent orators and priests who were well-versed in the Scriptures, but only Jesus could reveal the Word which is eulogized in those. Scriptures, Even several of the learned members of the ruling class, including Nicodemus, came to Jesus, asking the secret of eternal life. Jews would ask them: "How is. it that you, being a teacher of the people, be ignorant of these things?" These priests and intellectuals had a theoretical knowledge, a concept of perfection, but they had no practical realization of it, nor could they impart that experience to others. Jesus explained that true devotees "worship the Father in Spirit and in truth, for the Father seeketh such to worship Him" Only someone who can experience the 'Spirit of Life' is free from sin and death. The 'Law of sin and death' is the law of Karma, which Christ expressed thus "As ye sow, so shall ye reap." According to this Law, .a person's previous actions determine his present fife and circumstances and his future life is determined by whatever he is thinking and doing now. Sin, which is anything that diverts us from continual remembrance of God, results in impressions being embedded in the subconscious mind, and the more impressions of a worldly nature that we accumulate, the further away from God-realization we are, which is spiritual ignorance or 'death'.
1 Corinthians, Chapter 2 explains very clearly that spiritual Knowledge is supra-intellectual wisdom:
"But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God hath ordained before the world." Here, Paul is saying the same thing as Proverbs, quoted earlier. This Kmowledge is a mystery because the normal state of awareness cannot grasp it, and it is hidden, deep within the soul, but regular and deep meditation unearths all divine mysteries. Meditation is essential, which is why Paul wrote to Timothy : "Wherefore I put ye in remembrance, that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands." The treasure is indeed within but we have to dig it up with the spade of meditation.
" … which none of the princes of this world knew, for had they known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory." Only by receiving and realizing Knowledge can one truly recognize the Master. Thousands of people heard Jesus and observed his flawless life, but very few understood Who he really was. And this is how the holy masters are generally treated. Very few people realize who they are, and then, only after receiving Knowledge. After initiation, Arjuna, who hitherto had been the friend of Krishna, addressed Him as the Lord of the Universe, and the Master of masters, whereas just across the battlefield was waiting an army of kings, ready to wage war on the Lord.
"For it is written, eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him." This Knowledge cannot be experienced by the senses. Love, sincerity, initiation by the Master and faithful practice make the tree of Knowledge grow and blossom.
"But God hath revealed them to us by His Spirit, for this Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God." Because this Spirit is God and of God. It becomes the searchlight by which the meditator sees all. The bestowal of this Spirit, or, rather, the bestowal of the Grace by which It may be experienced, starts from the time when the Master lays his hands upon the disciple.
"For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? Even so, the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit of God, that we might know the things which are freely given to us of God.
Man is called the crown of creation in all scriptures because of his unique reasoning faculty, his refined sensitivity, and his ability to achieve the state of superconsciousness, which no other creature on Earth can do. However, until one has received the Holy Spirit, until his inner door is opened, he cannot experience anything higher than the realms of the physical and the mentalist. Although all human beings have this inbuilt capacity as a birthright, not all are at the stage of development where they can realize the Spirit, or even wish to!
"But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness unto him, neither can he know them, for they are spiritually discerned."
This is the crux of the matter: the soul can realize itself only by means of itself. Mind, senses and intellect are not the means for realizing God, although in the process the mind is so purified that it ceases to be an obstacle. After initiation, the devotee has the chance to be a partaker of the divine nature", but it involves a lot of effort: nothing less than to "pray without ceasing." Now, how can anyone who has to live and function in the workaday world possibly do that? How can he recite the Lord's Prayer if his mind has to be on his job? But prayer here has nothing to do with recitation of words. It means uniting the mind with the Holy Name while the intellect gets on with whatever work it has to do. Indeed, the longer the mind can be kept in the Word, the sharper and clearer the intellect becomes. Shri Maharaj Ji uses the analogy of a bicycle rider to illustrate this point: his feet are pedalling, his hands are grasping the handlebars, he is noticing the scenery and enjoying the cool breeze on his face. He is chatting with his pillion rider also. He is doing all these things, but his mind - his
attention - is on the road. Similarly, the various parts of our being carry out their duties, while the mind is on the Word.
St James describes the Knowledge thus: "The wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy." How similar this is to the passage in the Bhagavad Gita which says, "This Knowledge is the purest and highest and is the sovereign science. It is experienced directly, it is easy to perform, and is imperishable."
In all Scriptures, including the Bible, four aspects of this Knowledge are described. Although in reality not separate, they can be regarded as four gateways to the ultimate, total experience of Divinity, and there are techniques to experience them. These aspects are Divine Light, Holy Name, Celestial Music and Nectar. The Bible says something about each of them. Before discussing these four aspects individually, let us see what one of the marvellous hymns from the Dead Sea Scrolls has to say about this secret Knowledge:
"My eyes have gazed on that which is eternal,
On wisdom concealed from men,
On Knowledge and wise design hidden from the sons of men.
God has given them to His chosen ones.
As an eternal possession,
And has caused them to inherit the lot of the Holy Ones.
Hear, O you wise men, and meditate on Knowledge."
"And that God Who is the Light of all lights and beyond all illusions, and Who can be known as He is through practical Knowledge, is present in the hearts of all," Bhagavad Gita, 13:17
There are physical kinds of light, such as sunlight, moonlight, firelight and electric light, which both man and animals can see. However, there is an inner, non-physical Light, or the Light of
Consciousness, which only human beings can see, and that too, after the Third Eye, or inner door of perception, has been opened. Ezekial cryptically mentions this Third Eye as follows: "The Spirit lifted me up between the earth and the heavens, and brought me in the vision of God to Jerusalem to the inner gate towards the north … and behold, the glory of the Lord was there."
When you go to the movies, you see various images reflected on a screen by the power of the projector's light. But, if you turn around to the source of the movie - the projector - you see only light. This light is the manifestation of a current of power running through the projector. Similarly, Divine Light is the primordial manifestation of the energizing Word. Because it shines, the entire universe is projected, and because that same Light is within us, making us aware beings, we can perceive the plurality of created images. However, when the instrument of perception is turned back towards its source, it sees radiant, self-effulgent Light, the 'Glory of God.'
The Ramacharitamanasa, Upanishads and Gita define this Light as the swaroop or Form of God. In the Bible, the same thing is written, only the words 'Face of God', or 'Image of God' are used. Here are some examples from the Old Testament:
Psalms 4:16: "Lord, lift up Thy countenance upon us …"
Psalms 31:16: "Make Thy face to shine upon Thy servants …"
Psalms 67:1': "God be merciful unto us and bless us, and cause His face to shine upon us …"
That God manifests as Light is clear from this verse from Psalms 104: "(Thou) coverest Thyself with Light as with a garment."
Most Christians believe that man cannot see God and live, but Psalms contains a reference to meditation on the Light "In Thy light shall we see light." This Light is infinite, as God is infinite.
St Stephen saw God "Stephen, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked steadfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God."
St Peter "fell into a trance, and saw heaven opened."
Isaiah saw God and cried, "Woe is me, for I am undone, because I am a man of unclean lips … for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of Hosts." But he did not die.
That Light can be seen, but to see it in all its intensity, purification is necessary, because only the pure in heart can see God.
"This Light no man can approach unto" wrote Paul to Timothy. But Paul saw it! However, it is true that the uninitiated usually cannot see is. If they did, they would be, as Paul was, blinded. Even the amount of Light the initiated devotee sees varies according to the individual's capacity to receive the experience - a condition determined by devotion, faith, purity and degree of concentration. That Light, as it is, it brilliant and beyond imagination, as is described in this passage from the Essene Gospel of St John
Jesus says, "I am sent to you by the Father, that I may Make the light of life to shine before you. The light lightens Itself and the darkness, but the darkness knows only itself, and knows not the Light. For your eyes are used to the darkness, and the full light of the Heavenly Father would Make you blind. When you can gaze upon the brightness of the noonday sun with unflinching eyes, you can then look upon the blinding Light of your Heavenly Father, which is a thousand times brighter than the brightness of a thousand suns. Believe me, the sun is as the flame of a candle beside the Sun of Truth of the Heavenly Father."
When Arjuna received Knowledge from Lord Krishna, he also saw blinding tight: "The light of a thousand suns could not produce the Light which Arjuna saw." (Gita, 11:12)
This is the Light that St John describes as the Light of Life, 'Which lighteth every man that cometh into the world." John the Baptist was sent to "bear witness of that Light" which embodied itself as Jesus. Christ urged his disciples to wake up and realise while they had the chance, because he wouldn't be with them in the flesh forever: "Yet a little while is the Light with you. Walk while
ye have the Light, lest darkness come upon you, for he that walketh in darkness knoweth not whither He walketh." This darkness is the darkness of ignorance. For the devotee who meditates on the Divine Light, the path is automatically crystal-clear. Indeed, there is a Light which is the source of all understanding, and it can be seen. Meditation on the Light changes a person's nature, purifying him and freeing him from the bondage to the lower, sensual nature. "We all, with open face beholding in a glass, the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord." By the Grace, which is the Spirit of the Lord, the devotee is so purified that his consciousness merges with the Supreme Light.
In both Old and New Testaments, a 'holy mountain' or Mt Zion, is mentioned. This is the Supreme Abode described in the Bhagavad Gita: "Where sun, moon and fire do not shine, there shines the Supreme Light, which is My highest Abode."
The Psalmist says: "Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God hath shined."
The Divine City described in Revelation is the Supreme Abode, which "had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it, for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the Light thereof." Christians don't accept any scripture other than the Bible as true, but who could find any discrepancy in the above quotations?
This Light is constant and eternal, it needs no source of illumination other than itself. The Hindu scripture, Ramacharitamanasa, says "The Divine Light shines day and night … It doesn't need lamp, wick or oil." Compare this with this verse from Revelations:
"And there shall be no night there, and they need no candle, neither light of the sun, for the Lord God giveth them light." For the devotee who does so much meditation that his mind
merges in the Light, Isaiah promises this state of felicity :
"The sun shall no more be thy light by day, neither for brightness shall the moon give light unto thee, but the Lord shall
be unto thee an everlasting Light, and thy God thy glory. Thy sun shall no more go down, nor shall thy moon withdraw Itself, but the Lord shall be thine everlasting Light, and the days of thy mourning shall be ended."
'I drink the Nectar that is within my mind,
The Lord's Name is revealed to me,
And uttered through the Guru's Word.
Then my mind is ever imbued with the Lord's Love.
And I drink the Essence of the Lord.'
- Adi Granth (Sikh scripture)
Ambrosia, Nectar of the Gods, Elixir of Youth. These are some of the epithets for the well-spring of life, the Holy Nectar, which flows within everyone, but which so few manage to experience. The Fountain of Youth and Immortality, to find which explorers sailed to distant lands, actually exists within everyone. In the ancient Upanishads, it is written that the devotee who can drink this Nectar is immune to poison and snake bites, and has control over his own death, The great saint Mira Bai was unaffected by the poison with which her enemies tried to kill her. In St Mark's Gospel we read that the Apostles had been endowed with the same immunity: "They shall take up serpents, and if they drink any deadly thing it shall not hurt them."
Christ knew all about this Nectar, and he had the ability to open that well of living waters within others, as is seen from his conversation with the woman at the well in Samaria:
"If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink, thou wouldst have asked of him and he would have given thee living water.
'Whosoever shall drink of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst, but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of Water springing up unto eternal life."
Some isolated references to Nectar appear in the Old Testament, in Psalms and Isaiah. Psalm 36 says : "With Thee is the fountain of life."
Isaiah's joyous invitation to come and drink of the Nectar shows that he had discovered something wonderful, which was also quite natural and experienceable:
"Ho, everyone that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread … eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself."
This Nectar comes from a 'well' situated deep within the crown of the head, or the 'centre of the heavens'. This river is described in Revelations thus: "And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb …"
" … Let him that is athirst come, and whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely."
When the disciple meditates on the Knowledge revealed by the Master, he begins to drink from this well of Nectar deep within himself.
"He that believeth on me, the Scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water." The word 'belly' here means the innermost depths of one's being, not the physical region of the abdomen.
People go to church and partake of the wine of Holy Communion, completely unaware of the Divine Wine within themselves, which would enable them to have actual communion with God!
'Those who meditate on the eternal, unmanifest and omnipresent Word, which is beyond mind and intellect, attain the Supreme Abode.'
- Bhagavad Gita, 12:3
What is the Word of God? What.is the Holy Name? Is it 'Jehovah? Is it 'Jesus? Is it 'Bible? Hindus say that it is 'AUM', even though their sacred scripture, the Bhagavad Gita, says that there is a Divine Word beyond Aum (Ch. 8:3). The name 'Jesus' has been called the Holy Name only since the Master's incarnation. Before that, Jews called upon 'Yahweh'. However, St John says that "In the beginning was the Word," which means that this Word existed long before there were human beings to formulate words and languages. The only thing which existed in the beginning, and scientists will agree, was energy. Einstein's formula, E=mc2 established the relationship between matter and energy. When an atom bomb explodes, matter is transformed into energy, manifesting itself as light, sound, heat and radiation. This energy comes from the atom. At the level of the extremely minute sub-atomic particles, the distinction between matter and energy becomes blurred. As we are composed of atoms, this same energy must be within us. Indeed, a study of any of the great visions described in the Bible, whether Isaiah's, or Ezekial's or St John's, reveal the experience of the four aspects of Divine Energy Divine Light, Divine Word, Divine Sound and Divine Nectar. Anyone who practises meditation after receiving Knowledge, will experience them, too.
Even though the Bible has been translated, re-translated and edited by scholars and clerics who hadn't any experience of this Divine Word, or of the Knowledge that Jesus gave, still the fact that this Word is something beyond time, space and language comes through quite clearly.
In the Book of Isaiah, God said: "So shall My Word be that which goeth forth from My mouth: it shall not return to me void, but shall accomplish which I please and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it." This obviously refers to a Force, a Creative Energy which God projects for the purpose of creation.
Zechariah also refers to this Energy: "The Word of the Lord for Israel, saith the Lord, stretcheth forth the heavens, and layeth the foundations of the earth, and formeth the spirit within him."
How could this possibly refer to a set of teachings revealed after the foundation of the earth?
In which language did God speak the Word? What is the Word which the soul speaks? A little consideration of these questions will lead to the logical conclusion that this Word has nothing to do with language, but is the supreme, primordial Energy of God.
In which language did God speak the Word? What is the Word which the soul speaks? A little consideration of these questions will lead to the logical conclusion that this Word has nothing to do with language, but is the supreme, primordial Energy of God.
Psalm 33:6 says, "By the Word of the Lord were the heavens made, and all the host of them by the breath of His mouth."
In Hebrews 3:5-7 Paul writes, "By the Word of God the heavens were of old … But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same Word are kept in store." This Word is something eternal and unchanging, whereas religious teachings change, even if only slightly, according to time and place. YAHWEH and JESUS are different so they both can't be the abovementioned unchanging Word.
This Word is mentioned in all Scriptures. Guru Nanak said, "earth is the Word, the sky is the Word, Light is the Word. The whole Creation emanated from the Word which dwells in every heart." Is there any difference between the ideas expressed by this Indian master and the above Biblical verses? None at all. So why can't Christians accept that the experience of God is not limited to a few Masters in the land of Israel?
This Word is Life itself. It is all-conscious Energy. It contains all attributes, yet itself is attributeless. It manifests itself in the multiplicity of living beings.
Isaiah said, "O Lord. Thy Name is from everlasting." Elsewhere in Isaiah it is written: "I will give them (says God) a name better than those of sons and daughters: I will give them an everlasting name, that shall not be cut off." This Name, which the
Master revealed, "is much more excellent than the angels." So this Name is better than my earthly or heavenly name. As words are nothing but vibrations, it follows that the Holy Name is much more excellent than any earthly or heavenly vibration.
The Holy Name contains in itself all virtues. It is higher and purer than anything we can imagine. Being absolute purity, goodness and righteousness, the experience of it is the yardstick for determining what is relative virtue, goodness and righteousness
The Psalms eulogize the virtues of the Name:
"Holy and reverend is His name."
"As for God, his Way is perfect; the Word of the Lord is tried." It is faithful, unchanging and constant.
"Let them praise Thy great and terrible Name, for it is holy."
"Thy Word is very pure, therefore Thy servant loveth it." It is great beyond imagination, yet lovable also, and one who meditates on it is filled with love. Power and Love are the hallmark of all divine Masters, and Jesus exhibited them both.
"Thy Word is true from the beginning." That which we normally call 'truth' is relative truth, which we discern through reason and experience. However, the Absolute Truth, the Truth by which we can judge all other mires, is known only by experiencing the Infinite Word, the Power which is the source of all and which is Pure Consciousness. St John also says: "Thy Word is Truth."
It is omnipresent and omnipotent. It is also omniscient: "The Word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than a two-edged sword, and is a discerner of the thoughts of intents of the heart." This is the some two-edged sword which St John during his revelation perceived as coming out of the mouth of God. "Man does not live by bread alone but by every Word that proceedeth of the mouth of God." Only when a disciple dives into the depths of his inner being can he tune into the Primordial Energy, the Word which God continually utters in him.
This Word is dependable, unchanging, and a never-ending source of strength, as expressed in Proverbs 8:10: "The name of
the Lord is a strong tower, the righteous runneth into it and is safe.
This is the Power by which Christ derived his authority to teach, and which gave such convincing authority to his words. Every power in the universe is subject to this Name, so it was easy for Jesus to cast out evil spirits, but the common people who had no idea what the Word is, could only wonder how he did it: "And they were all amazed and said, 'What a word is this! For with what authority and power he commanded the unclean spirits, and they came out."
"And they that know Thy name will put their trust in Thee, for Thou hast not forsaken them that seek Thee," says the Psalmist. After experiencing this Word, there can be no doubt about the existence of God or His omnipresence.
"Remember the word unto Thy servant, upon which Thou hast caused me to hope," says Psalm 119. "My soul fainteth for Thy salvation, but I hope in Thy word." Remembrance of the Holy Word is the ancient, eternal, simplest and foolproof path to liberation, because it completely controls the mind. It renders inactive the karmas and impressions which are embedded in the subconscious mind, and which are the seeds of sin and misery in this life and rebirth after this present tenure of earthly existence is over.
"Neither is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven, given among men, whereby we must be saved." This is easy enough to understand. How can a finite word, which has a beginning and an end, free the soul form the constrictions of duality and take it to infinity? St Kabir, the famous saint who lived more than 1500 years after Christ, said exactly the same thing "There are thousands of names for God in this world but they can't bestow liberation. Only a rare saint knows the secret Name which is remembered silently within." On the other side, of the world, the Chinese sage Lao Tzu wrote: "The Name which can be named is not the True Name, the Tao which can he expressed is not the everlasting Tao!"
"Thy Word quickeneth, me." The Word is Life Itself, an experiencing it will cause the entire being to vibrate with renewed life and power. Meditation on the Word gives the feeling of total regeneration from top to toe, literally.
"Forever, O Lord, Thy word is settled in heaven." The aim of meditation is to lift the consciousness above all lower levels and to fix it permanently in the 'heavens', the inner celestial sky which is above mind, senses and intellect.
"Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path." Meditation on the Word makes the devotee's path clear before him. He is no longer confused about the direction in which he should go, or which decisions to make. All the fluff of duality, uncertainty, doubt and hesitation which are the products of the mind, are dispelled by the sharp sword of the Holy Name, just as clouds are dispersed by the wind.
It is no wonder, then, that the Psalmist wrote: "I rejoice at Thy word, as, one that findeth great spoil." People search everywhere for this divine treasure which is within us all along. Now this raises the question of how this Word can be found. If it is within us, why doesn't everyone know what it is? Why do religions quarrel about what is the real name of God? In Psalm 91 it is written : "I will set him on high, because he hath known my name." Everyone, in the whole world, knows at least one name for God. Why, then, isn't everyone set on high? That mysterious Word, which leads the soul to union with God, is not so easily known, unless one finds the Master who can reveal it. Jesus was such a Master. Hardly a Chapter of the Gospels goes by without a reference to this Word. Jesus placed the highest importance on having fully experienced it himself. He realized its potential .This is why, in the first line of the Lord's Prayer, we find the praises of the Word: Our Father, which art in Heaven, hallowed be Thy Name."
In St John's Gospel, 12:28, Jesus prays "Father, glorify Thy name." Then there came a voice from heaven, saying, "I have both glorified it and will glorify it again." Jesus himself was the Word
made flesh, and he demonstrated in his own life, crucifixion and resurrection the glory of the Word.
St Paul discusses at great length the virtues of the Holy Name. He wrote to the Colossians "Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, and whatsoever ye do in word and deed, do all in the name of Lord Jesus." This implies a constant remembrance of the Holy Name. Guru Nanak also said this: "Remember the Name while standing, sitting, sleeping and awake, and you will do everything perfectly." That constant remembrance or meditation is necessary is also illustrated by the command "Pray-without ceasing." It is impossible to remember a spoken word 24 hours a day in the midst of life's cares and duties. But it is possible to remember the True Name, the Perfect Vibration, at all times, even during sleep. It takes a lot of practice, of course, but the time comes when constant remembrance, or union of mind with Name, is automatic, no matter what the external circumstances.
Paul wrote to Titus of the need for holding fast the faithful Word, as ye bath been taught." Whenever the mind wanders, it must be reined in, and re-attuned-to the Holy Name. Here, the word 'faithful' is used, implying something which is dependable, constant, and unchanging, and this describes the Name exactly. It is always there, whenever you need it, and, providing you know how to contact it, is a source of strength and solace.
Christians will argue that this Word is the Gospel, but a clear distinction is Made between the two by St Peter: "The word of the Lord endureth forever, and this is the word by which the gospel is preached unto you."
Paul wrote to the Romans: "Faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the word of God."
St John wrote. "John, who bore record of the Word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ." In Chapter 19 of Revelation he wrote: "I saw heaven opened and beheld a white horse, and he that sat upon it was called faithful and true. His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns and He had a name written
which no man knew, but he himself. And his name is called the Word of God." Now the Gospel was preached all over the world. What was that Word, that name, which only the Son of God knew, and which evidently is not written in the Gospels?
In Chapter 22 of Revelation is written: "And they shall see His Face (Divine Light) and His Name will be written on their foreheads." Why on the forehead? Because this is the seat of the Third Eye, the door to superconsciousness, the gateway to Jerusalem, the Supreme Abode.
The Book of Revelation is the saga of the individual consciousness' purification and struggle to rise to self-realisation from the abysmal ignorance into which it has fallen. To him that overcomes, "1 will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God, and I will write upon him my new name." This echoes Isaiah's prophecy "And thou shalt be called by a new name, which the mouth of the Lord shall name."
It should be obvious by now that the Holy Word is glorified by the Gospels, but is not written in the Gospels themselves. Nor is it written in any scriptures. It is the living Word of the living God, revealed to living men by a living prophet. Truly, the presence of a living Master in the world is an indication of the unfathomable love of God. Over and over again His prophets are rejected, still He keeps on sending them to awaken the sleeping consciousness of man so that he might attain full awareness of the indwelling Holy Spirit.
"Yogis, sacrificing their hearing and other senses into the still fire of the breath, offer the Word and subjects of the senses into that fire, and this gives rise to the Divine Music."
- Bhagavad Gita, 4:26.
"Without any musical instruments, and without players, drums, flutes, guitars, bells, conches and cymbals play day and
night. A deaf man is entranced by this Divine Music and finds peace, forgetting his existence?'
- Brahmanand, a 19th Century mystic.
Vibration, which is energy in motion, produces sound. The Perfect Vibration therefore produces the perfect sound, which is also called the Divine Music. All the visions recorded in the Bible are accompanied by sound and music, in the midst of which speaks the 'still, small voice'.
"Then the sound of the cherubim's wings was heard even to the outer court.
'Behold, the glory of the Lord more from the way of the east, and his voice was like a noise of many waters.
'And as they went, I heard the noise of their wings, like a noise of great waters
'I also heard the noise of the wings of the living creatures that touched one another,
and the noise of the wheels … and a noise of a great rushing."
St Kabir, the Indian mystic, had much to say about this Divine Music. Here is one of his many verses on the subject:
"The whole sky is filled with sound … the middle region of the sky, wherein the Spirit dwelleth, is radiant with the Music of Light."
The Book of Psalms also contains references to these divine sounds, for example:
"The voice of the Lord is upon the waters, the God of glory thundereth."
The most graphic description of these heavenly sounds, of which earthly music is but an echo, is found in the Book of Revelation:
"I was in the spirit on the Lord's day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet.'
'I heard the voice of many angels.'
'When the Lamb opened one of the seals, I heard, as it were, the noise of thunder." The Saint uses the term 'as it were because
the Divine Music is pure and so delightful that earthly sounds are merely an approximation.
"When he opened the sixth seal, lo, there was a great earthquake."
However, there is a state even beyond these sounds, when the highest level of consciousness is reached:
"And when he opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour."
The divine orchestration finds mention in the writings of all great Masters. As St John went from experience to experience, as recorded in Revelation, he heard various kinds of sounds. Here is another instance:
"And I heard a voice from heaven, as the .voice of many waters, and as the voice of a great thunder, and I heard the voice of harpers harping with their harps."
So the experiences of Divine Light, Music, Nectar and Holy Name are all mentioned quite dearly in the Bible. They are omnipresent phenomena which can be experienced by a devotee who achieves the required level of consciousness through meditation on the techniques of spiritual insight revealed by the Master of the time.
The Master holds the keys to this other kingdom, and once the inner door is unlocked for the devotee, he can penetrate the mysteries of his own soul, and experience the marvellous things which the saints have described.