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 36: Ego—Friend or Foe?
Jesus Christ begins his Beatitudes with the words:
Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
To be “poor in spirit” in such a way as to merit the kingdom of heaven doesn't mean to be poor-spirited. Rather, it means to see oneself as owning nothing, since all belongs to God. For all is a manifestation of His consciousness.
St. John of the Cross wrote, “If you would own everything, seek to own nothing.” That which the ego relinquishes, offering it up to soul-consciousness, is reclaimed forever in cosmic consciousness. Nothing is ever lost. Paramhansa Yogananda tells the story in Autobiography of a Yogi of the levitating saint, Bhaduri Mahasaya.
“Master,” said a disciple of this saint once, ardently. “You are wonderful! You have renounced riches and comforts to seek God and teach us wisdom!” It was well-known that Bhaduri Mahasaya had forsaken great family wealth in his early childhood, when single-mindedly he entered the yogic path.
“You are reversing the case! The saint's face held mild rebuke. “I have left a few paltry rupees, a few petty pleasures, for a cosmic empire of endless bliss. How then have I denied myself anything? I know the joy of sharing the treasure. Is that a sacrifice? The shortsighted worldly folk are verily the real renunciates! They relinquish an unparalleled divine possession for a poor handful of earthly toys!”
The Bhagavad Gita in the third Chapter states:
All things are everywhere by Nature wrought
In interaction of the qualities.
The fool, cheated by self, thinks, ‘This I did'
And ‘That I wrought'; but—ah, thou strong-armed prince!—
A better-lessoned mind, knowing the play
Of visible things within the world of sense,
And how the qualities must qualify,
Standeth aloof even from his acts.
Thus, through holy scripture, God has spoken to mankind.