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 41: Victory Demands the Courage of Conviction
Jesus Christ said in the Gospel of St. Matthew, Chapter 10:
Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.
For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.
And a man's foes shall be they of his own household.
He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.
And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me.
He that findeth [that is to say, that clingeth to] his life shall lose it: and he that loseth [in other words, that giveth up] his life for my sake shall find it.
God tests the firmness of our faith. The “sword” described here is the sword of discrimination. The struggle Jesus describes is not a war against unknown enemies, but the struggle with our own attachment to all that is nearest and dearest to us, humanly speaking. Ultimately, it is a war against the ego itself, and against anything with which we surround ourselves to bolster the ego's fragile sense of security.
When Yogananda, as a boy, fled to the Himalayas to embrace a life of solitary meditation, he was apprehended by his older brother Ananta, and brought home again. At a certain point, before he would accept defeat, he whispered to his friend Amar, his companion on the flight, “Let us slip away when opportunity offers. We can go on foot to Rishikesh.”
But Amar, whose brother had accompanied Ananta, had turned pessimist, disclaiming any intention of continuing their adventure. Yogananda's memorable comment on Amar's refusal was, “He was enjoying the familial warmth.”
The spiritual warrior rejects that “familial warmth.” Rather, he claims the whole universe as his home.
As the Bhagavad Gita puts it in the fourteenth Chapter:
Unaffected by outward joys and sorrows, or by praise and blame; secure in his divine nature; regarding with equal gaze a clod of mud, a stone, and a bar of gold; impartial toward all experiences, whether pleasant or unpleasant; firm-minded; untouched by either praise or blame; treating everyone alike whether friend or foe; free from the delusion that, in anything he does, he is the doer: Such an one has transcended Nature's triune qualities.
Thus, through holy scripture, God has spoken to mankind.