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 13: Deeds vs. Intentions
Jesus Christ emphasized repeatedly the spirit, not the letter, of the law. In Chapter 5 of the Gospel of St. Matthew he speaks of the sin of killing, and of the legal punishment attendant on that sin, but says that more important than the act is the desire to kill, or to do harm. He shows that the sin of harmful desire goes beyond merely wanting to kill.
“My message to you,” he said, “is this: Whoever is angry with his brother without cause already stands condemned; whoever contemptuously calls his brother a fool shall answer for it to the Supreme Council; and whoever calls his brother an outcast of God shall be in danger of hellfire.”
“Brother,” here, means any other human being. For all of us in the highest sense are brothers and sisters—children of our one Father-Mother, God. The true self of one is the Self of all. To hurt another is, even if one doesn't realize it, to hurt oneself.
Swami Kriyananda in The Path recalls an episode in which the Master, Paramhansa Yogananda, revealed his sense of identity even with the plants. “One day,” Kriyananda wrote, “we were moving a delicate but rather heavy tropical plant into position on the hillside. Our handling evidently was too rough, for Master cried out, ‘Be careful what you are doing. Can't you feel? It's alive!'”
To wish death to anyone—to wish even harm to another creature—is to deny in oneself the reality of that divine life of which all of us are manifestations. It is, in short, to deny the eternal truth, proclaimed by the Bhagavad Gita in the second Chapter:
This Self is never born, nor does it perish. Once existing, it cannot ever cease to be. It is birthless, eternal, changeless, ever itself. It is not slain when the body is slain.
Thus, through holy Scripture, God has spoken to mankind.
Copyright © 1996 by Hansa Trust