Rays of the One Light

Weekly commentaries on the Bible and the Bhagavad Gita
by Swami Kriyananda (J. Donald Walters)

Truth is one and eternal. Realize oneness with it in your deathless Self, within. The following commentary is based on the teachings of Paramhansa Yogananda.

 

Week 10: Dogmatism vs. Common Sense

In the Gospel of St. Matthew, Chapter 7, Jesus warns:

Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.

A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.

Jesus here, as indeed many times during his teaching, counsels people to use their God-given common sense, and not to rely on high-flown but undemonstrable claims. Common sense goes beyond abstract reason, for it is rooted in actual experience.

Even common sense, however, is deficient when the judgment called for goes beyond sensory experience. Ultimately, what he emphasized always, therefore, was intuitive perception.

Thus, he expected more of his disciples than crude common sense, and often scolded them for being too literal-minded—as he did, elsewhere, when they thought his statement, “I have meat to eat that you know not of,” meant that he had steaks or sandwiches secreted about his person. His reference, of course, was to spiritual, not material, substance.

Words, even though appearing in the scriptures, are no substitute for direct perception of truth. Therefore the Bhagavad Gita says, in the second Chapter:

The sage who knows God has as little need for the Scriptures as one might have for a pond when the whole land is covered in flood.

Thus, through holy Scripture, God has spoken to mankind.

 

Copyright © 1996 by Hansa Trust