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 37: Truth Invites; It Never Commands

Free will is a basic principle of life. God never coerces: He invites us to live in such a way that we find fulfillment in ourselves. If we refuse to live rightly, Paramhansa Yogananda taught, God simply says, “I will wait.” We have eternity to live. In that eternity we live as we choose: in self-created darkness—a darkness as intense, and as long lasting, as we choose—or in the infinite light, the true Self, which is God.

Jesus Christ in the Beatitudes offered a beautiful example of God's way of inviting mankind to seek perfection—not by commanding, but by offering His human children the incentive they need to choose the right of their own volition.

Blessed are the poor in spirit,” Jesus said, “for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. . . . Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth. . . . Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.”

In each of the Beatitudes Jesus explains the blessing attendant upon observing it. The divine way, similarly, for each of us is not to do violence to our own natures. Spirituality must be attained naturally. It can never be attained by force.

The Bhagavad Gita says, in the third Chapter:

Even the wise behave in accordance with Nature as it is manifested in them. Of what avail, then, is suppression?

The Scripture then goes on, however, to explain that this doesn't mean we should surrender to the dictates of our lower nature. Rather, it emphasizes our need to aspire to the heights, but each of us in accordance with his own nature and not in imitation of anyone else's, offering ourselves up for purification by divine grace. Desire, whatever form it takes—so the Bhagavad Gita explains—should be resisted, even if only mentally. “Attachment and repulsion to sense objects, both of these are universally rooted. No one should accept their influence. For, verily, they are man's enemies.”

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