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 49: What is it, to Fail Spiritually?

The first passage is from the Gospel of St. Matthew, Chapter 25. Jesus tells the Parable of the Ten Virgins, five of them wise, and five, foolish. They await their Bridegroom, the Christ Consciousness. The wise virgins keep the oil in their lamps, symbolic of their devotion, lit through the night. The foolish virgins placed no oil in their lamps. These foolish ones are like the average devotee, going through the motions of outer ritual but keeping no fire of love burning in the heart.

When the Bridegroom's coming is announced, the foolish virgins realize their mistake, and hasten out to purchase oil. During their absence, the Christ Consciousness comes and embraces those who have been awaiting him with devotion. The foolish ones, by their lackluster devotion, are not accepted by him. “Watch, therefore,” Jesus told his listeners, “for you know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.”

In Autobiography of a Yogi, Paramhansa Yogananda describes the “foolish virgin” consciousness he encountered in the Mahamandal hermitage he stayed in as a young man, in Benares. “I was pleased,” he wrote,

that my new home possessed an attic, where I managed to spend the dawn and morning hours. The ashram members, knowing little of meditation practices, thought I should employ my whole time in organizational duties. They gave me praise for my afternoon work in their office.

“Don't try to catch God so soon!” This ridicule accompanied one of my early departures toward the attic. . . . [Later, during meditation] I felt lifted as though bodily to a sphere uncircumscribed.

“Thy Master cometh today!” A divine womanly voice came from everywhere and nowhere.

This supernal experience was pierced by a shout from a definite locale. A young priest nicknamed Habu was calling me from the downstairs kitchen.

“Mukunda, enough of meditation! You are needed for an errand.”

The Divine Mother's words were not spoken for the benefit of that priest—the “foolish virgin,” but for Mukunda, the “wise virgin.” For this was the day his guru, Sri Yukteswar, came to him.

Grieve not, friends, if you feel that you have been foolish. No error is forever. Someday, if you keep your lamp lit now, your opportunity will come. In the Bhagavad Gita, the sixth Chapter, Krishna promises every devotee:

Arjuna, none who works for self-redemptionWill ever meet an evil destiny!

Spiritual failure, though a deep disappointment, is always temporary. “Eternal Hellfire” is but a projection of vindictiveness in the human mind.

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


Copyright © 1996 by Hansa Trust