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 17: How High Should We Aspire?

The passage this week is from the Gospel of St. Matthew, Chapter 5:

I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.

The easiest explanation for these words is that they were spoken in criticism of the scribes and Pharisees, particularly since Jesus was often verbally attacked by them, and stood up to them fearlessly. However, it wouldn't have been much of a challenge to the disciples, who aspired to spiritual perfection, to tell them, “Don't be like those who lack any such aspiration.”

Jesus in fact says only a few verses later, “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.”

What Jesus was referring to here, then, was the self-righteousness of the priests. Don't seek perfection, he was saying to his disciples, in the image you project toward others. Don't be satisfied with a goodness born merely of ego-definitions. The highest virtue is to transcend the very thought of personal virtue in the realization of God alone as the Doer. Before this realization, even the thought, “I am kind,” or, “I am truthful,” is self-limiting.

As it says in the Bhagavad Gita, the seventh Chapter:

Yet hard the wise Mahatma is to find,That man who sayeth, “All is Vasudev!”

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

Copyright © 1996 by Hansa Trust