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 4: The Infinite Christ
The Gospel of St. John contains some of the most profound spiritual teachings in the Bible. In the first Chapter many subtle truths are suggested concerning higher stages of Self-realization.
Here, John the Baptist is described as one reaching up toward that high state. “He was not that light,” the Gospel tells us, “but was sent to bear witness of that light.” Jesus Christ, by contrast, is described as the light itself. “That was the true light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.”
One essential truth stands out in this teaching: that Jesus came not to dogmatize people with a new teaching, but to bring them timeless, universal truths. Disciples saw the master clothed in human form, and therefore judged him in terms of his greatness relative to the greatness of other teachers. Wisdom, however, sees the master's very greatness in terms of a cosmic unity.
There is a passage in The Path, by Swami Kriyananda, in which this point is emphasized. The Master, Paramhansa Yogananda, explained,
“The saint who attains that exalted consciousness never says, ‘I am God,’ for he sees it was the vast Ocean that became his little wave of ego. The wave, in other words, would not claim, when referring to the little self, to be the Ocean.”
At this juncture Debi, who was present, cried excitedly, “But Sir, if you are one with that Ocean, that means you are God!”
“Why I?” Master asked. “Say ‘He.’ He is God.”
“But still, Sir, you are one with Him, and He is the only reality. That means you, too, are God.”
“But this body isn't God!”
“You aren't identified with your body, Sir, so one may still say that you are God.”
“Well, in that case why do you say, ‘You’? You, too, are that! In a discussion of this sort, it is less confusing if we say, ‘He.'”
“But what's the difference?”
“The Scriptures say . . .” Master began.
“It's only your humility, Sir,” Debi broke in, “that makes you distinguish between yourself and Him.”
“How can there be humility, when there is no consciousness of ego?”
Triumphantly Debi cried, “But if you have no ego left, that means you are God!”
Master laughingly continued the earlier statement, which Debi had interrupted: “The Scriptures say, ‘He who knows Brahma becomes Brahma.'”
“There!” cried Debi. “You said it yourself!”
Master rejoined, still laughingly, “I didn't say it. It's the Scriptures that say so.” Master, in other words, would not identify those words with the human body speaking them. It was in his overarching spirit that he saw himself one with the Infinite. But Debi was unable to make this mental leap from a pure expression of Infinity to Infinity Itself.
“You quoted those Scriptures, Sir,” he reminded Master relentlessly. “That means you agree with them!”
Recognizing that the distinction was, perhaps, too subtle for many to grasp, Master concluded, “Well, he who says he is God, isn't God. And,” he added with a smile, “he who says he isn't, isn't!”
And there the subject rested, amid general laughter.
The greater a spiritual teaching, the more greatly we betray it by particularizing it with dogmas. Truth itself, not the Christian truth or the Hindu truth, incarnates on earth with the birth of a fully liberated master. As the Bhagavad Gita teaches in the fourth Chapter:
Unborn, changeless, Lord of Creation and controller of My cosmic nature though I am, yet entering Nature I am dressed in the cosmic garment of My own maya (delusion).
O Bharata, whenever virtue declines and vice predominates, I incarnate on earth. Taking visible form, I come to destroy evil and re-establish virtue.
Thus, through holy Scripture, God has spoken to mankind.
Copyright © 1996 by Hansa Trust