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 53: The Last Commandment
Jesus Christ, near the end of the Gospel according to St. John, gave as his last commandment that we love one another.
In John 13:34,35 he said, “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples.”
Again in John 15:12 he said, “This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.”
How did he love us? Personally, yes, in the sense that he loved and forever loves each one of us for who we are, and not abstractly. But impersonally also, in the sense that the Christ, the divine consciousness, is not conscious of itself as separate from us; He loves us not only for, but as, our very Self. His love is a manifestation of Infinity loving us as expressions of infinity. He does not see us as we see ourselves. He forever sees in us our divine potential.
Paramhansa Yogananda made a very similar statement to the monks very shortly before his own departure from his body: “Respect one another, as I respect you.” His use of the work, “respect,” instead of love, was deliberate. He wanted to emphasize for them the importance of impersonal love and friendship: from God, for God.
Worldly people do not understand that in impersonal love there is much deeper love than exists in personal love. Impersonal love is expansive, not contractive.
One day the Master was going for an outing, and the monks wee helping him into his car. Yogananda had been having difficulty with his knees. He remarked, "You all are so kind to me with your many attentions” “Oh, Sir,” they replied, “it is your kindness to which we respond.” The Master smiled sweetly. “God is helping God,” he said. “That's His drama.”
The second commandment Jesus quoted from the ancient Scriptures, “Love thy neighbor as thy Self,” explains what he meant by his “new,” and last, commandment. We should, he said, love all as reflections of our very Self.
Thus, Paramhansa Yogananda said also, “When I am gone, only love can take my place.”
The Bhagavad Gita describes a dialogue between Krishna and his disciple Arjuna. Thus, the other disciples are not part of the scene; the dialogue is internal, and symbolizes the dialogue between the soul and God. Yet in it Sri Krishna describes the way to supreme wisdom, and supreme love: “The serene Self, being one with Brahman, neither grieves nor yearns. The same to all, he attains supreme devotion to Me.” (18:54) That sameness toward all is the manifestation of pure love, impersonal in the sense of selfless. By that love, one attains supreme love for God alone.
Thus, through holy Scripture, God has spoken to mankind.
Copyright © 1996 by Hansa Trust