True religion is not about safety, or the
salvation of the individual from naked confrontation with suffering and
pleasure and death and love.
True religion is about the difficult evolution and
ultimate transcendence of the individual, and mankind, and Man.
Therefore, we must awaken from our self-protecting
illusions of religious safety, and we must surrender to the Current of
life in which the body and the mind are swimming forever.
There is no “Holy Substitute” for Man.
There is no “representative” sacrifice.
There is no true alternative to awakened consciousness
and unqualified love in the case of each individual.
Every one of us is the necessary sacrifice of God.
The Secret Identity of the Holy Spirit of God
The religious consciousness of Western Man is trapped
within an archaic structure of myths, dogmas, and social conflicts that
no longer serve the true religious and spiritual process of true Man. These
myths are largely Christian, Judeo-Christian, and broadly Semitic in origin,
and they are held in place by the large-scale cultural, political, and
economic dominance of the ancient religions of the Middle East, including
Christianity, Judaism, and Islam.
The dominance of specifically Christian cults, myths,
and dogmas is especially apparent in Europe and America. And if the dominance
of Judaism and Islam is less apparent in Europe and America, the power
of these ancient cults is certainly apparent throughout the Middle East
(with clear, practical effect on the rest of the world).
Man himself cannot awaken to his evolutionary spiritual
Destiny until the spell of mythological and self-possessed thinking is
broken. And the future whole bodily culture of Man, in which East and West
will realize a new cultural Synthesis, cannot take place until all the
old religions are surrendered to the higher Principle or Truth that is
the ultimate Master of religion.
We tend to think of “religion” as a benign influence
on individual thought and behavior, and this is indeed the case when the
higher aspects of religious consciousness begin to inform the thought and
behavior of any individual. But religion is only rarely found to be an
influence of such a kind. Very few individuals become truly creative personalities,
mystics, saints, or even reliably good men or women as a result of religious
Religion is, in general, an exoteric cultic phenomenon
that controls the thought and behavior of individuals through external
and psychologically manipulative techniques. And the principal religious
phenomenon that is common in the world is not true or free religious consciousness
and benign behavioral habits on the part of individuals. The principal
phenomenon of religion is the institutional “Church”, or all the central
and centralizing institutions that contain and otherwise manipulate broad
and massive segments of the human population.
The “Church” (or the primary institution within any
religious tradtion) is religion, insofar as religion basically affects
the world at large. And large-scale institutional religion is not primarily
a benign power in the world. We have only to look at the cultural and political
conflcts in Europe and the Middle East to see how the immense institutions
of ancient religion have now become, for the most part, contentious, absolutist,
and the sources of petty social conflicts. And the problem is made extreme
by the immensity of these institutions, each of which controls millions
What is more, the power of the great traditional religious
institutions is, for the most part, a worldly power. That is, these institutions
are actually political and broadly social agencies that manipulate the
political, social, and economic motivations of the citizens of all Western
nations, as well as the nations of the Middle East, and much of Africa
and South America. (The nations of Asia are, for the most part, controlled
by secular political institutions which tend to exclude not only religious
institutions but also every kind of religious consciousness, and this pattern
of secularization has also begun to spread to other areas of the world
that have traditionally been under the powerful influence of ancient Middle
Eastern religious institutions.)
In the popular media of our day, small non-establishment
religious cults tend to be the target of hostile commentaries. But such
groups are, in most cases, basically oriented toward the development of
a higher or more universal spiritual and religious consciousness. It is
the broadly based and worldly domain of established institutional religion
that represents the more direct and practical threat to human development
and to the communication of the Truth of Life.
And why is it that religious institutions, which seem
to be founded on higher human and cultural persuasions, ultimately become
the primary basis of social conflict and even personal neurosis? The reason
is that religious institutions are obliged to deal with masses of immature
and unevolved people who have very little will or capacity for the evolutionary
and practical cultural exercise of higher religious or spiritual consciousness.
As a result, the institutions of the “Church” develop much like institutions
of “State” under the same conditions of universal human irresponsibility.
Thus, any institutional “Church” tends, except during
periods of renewal by living and prophetic Adepts, to become more and more
dogmatic, and eventually it becomes irrevocably associated with fixed ideas
that, in one way or another, deny the religious authenticity or religious
completeness of people who belong to other religious institutions or cultures.
The “Church,” like any other mortal or threatened entity in the world,
tends to become more and more centered in itself and devoted to its own
Conventional religious institutions learn how to survive
by serving and manipulating a massive membership that is largely incapable
of true and practical religious responsibility. This is done by minimizing
the true religious demand for literal and personal conversion of mind and
action, and replacing that difficult religious demand with the “easier”
and more secular demand for mere allegiance to systems of myth, belief,
ritual, and dogma. Thus, the condition for membership in most large institutions
of religion is allegiance to fixed ideas and other outward or superficial
signs of belonging to the “cult,” whereas true religious practice is founded
on conversion of the total being to the Living Divine Reality and the acceptance
of behavioral disciplines that make one at the very least an outwardly
moral and personally benign or restrained character.
Institutional religions of course recommend certain
moral attitudes, but the practice of moral restraints is, except for a
few extreme criminal acts, not made a condition of membership. And morality
tends to be associated with archaic, neurotic, and petty sexual and social
taboos, rather than with the obligations of love, service, and compassion.
Likewise, most religious institutions today have abandoned even all ancient
recommendations relative to personal disciplines of a healthful dietary
naturesuch as the obligation to avoid meat or other killed food, or impure
manufactured food, or toxic stimulants, and so forth. And the esoteric,
evolutionary, and universal spiritual teachings that are the only ultimate
significance of religion have been almost totally abandoned and even lost
by the great “Churches.”
In the conventional affair of popular religion, the
communication of difficult religious demands and also of esoteric spiritual
understanding and practice is avoided, because conventional religious institutions
are trying to survive by acquiring and maintains massive memberships. Thus,
religion is promoted and sold by hyped appeals to the nondiscriminating
mind of “Everyman.” But true religion is a superior human impulse,
founded in self-criticism and profound psycho-physical conversion or change.
Thus, over time, only false and merely exoteric or popular “religious”
inventions are communicated by so-called “great religions.” And, at last,
the esoteric Truth and practice of universal religion is not only eliminated
as the core of conventional religious instruction, but the survival pressures
of dogmatic Churchism make such Truth and practice unacceptable
and even damnable. Thus, over time, great “Churches” tend in fact
to become the enemies of ultimate religious Truth. This was the situation
that confronted Jesus, and it was and is the situation confronted by all
true religious prophets and spiritual Adepts.
Since actual and mature religious practice has been
generally replaced by outward adherence to false or deluding exoteric beliefs
and superficial behavioral modifications, the true esoteric core of religion
has lost its use within the great traditional cults that exist in our time.
The whole affair of traditional religious institutions has become dangerous
nonsense, because such religious institutions long ago abandoned the practice
of making true religious and esoteric participation a condition of “Church”
membership. If the demand for authentic participation had been continued,
the institutions of religion that we now call “great” would have remained
small esoteric communities (if they survived at all). Therefore, the “Churches”
chose to survive, and they adapted to the world (rather than demand that
the world change itself).
True religion is a universal, evolutionary, and self-transcending
psycho-physical motivation of Man. However, at the present stage in human
history, only relatively few individuals in any generation are able to
make that gesture. Mankind is simply, in its great numbers, not yet ready
or willing to adapt to the higher moral, spiritual, and evolutionary culture
of Man. Therefore, until the races of humanity begin more generally to
respond to the prophetic Teaching of true Adepts, religious “cultism” (or
religious culture) in its true form must necessarily remain relatively
small in its institutional dimensions. This is because an authentic religious
institution must be devoted entirely to the communication of ultimate religious
Truth and the relentless demand for higher human transformationand only
relatively few people are interested in that message! An authentic religious
institution must, because of its inherent nature, remain more or less outside
(or superior to) the stream of daily secular or worldly “culture.” And,
until mankind in general is able to become truIy religious, religion must
remain largely prophetic in its function. That is, religion must accept
the role of critic in the world and not become like the world in order
to become powerful and great in the world. No other role than this prophetic
one is possible for authentic religion at this stage in the history of
Man. Otherwise, what is truly religious is compromised and ultimately abandoned
in the process of the mass institutionalization of popular religion.
When religious movements practice their critical prophetic
role, they tend to be attacked by the reactions of worldly people. Thus,
true religious leaders and true religious institutions or movements tend
to suffer and become victimized to one or another degree by the factions
that exist in the popular culture of the time and by the hypocritical attacks
of foolish people, who suffer from the lack of the mental power of discrimination.
(False leaders and movements may also come under attack, but not because
they are bereft of allegiance to the esoteric Truth of Life. Rather, it
is generally because of some more obvious human failing, or some conflict
with the conventional values of ordinary society.) We find unjustified
religious persecution in the case of Jesus and the early followers of Jesus,
and also in the case of Moses and certain generations of the Jews, as well
as Mohammed and his early converts. But the “Churches” of Jesus and Moses
and Mohammed went on to achieve worldly dominion by serving and adapting
to the conventional mass culture of future generations. Thus, in our time,
the factions of ancient official “Church” power are among those influences
that serve and thrive upon the irresponsible subhumanity of Man and even
dogmatically prevent the true religious awakening of Man.
The prophets who initiated the so-called “great religions”
were made to suffer the official or popular displeasure of their day. The
“Churches” that grew up on the foundation of those prophets survived and
grew in power by gradually accommodating the very influences that true
religion and every true prophet must criticize. Therefore, true religious
cultism always arises as a critical voice, not only in relation to the
worldly domain of popular and secular society, but also in relation to
the wide culture of hypocritical, immature, and unspiritual religious institutions.
But the time will comeindeed, this is the hourwhen true
worshippers will know they must worship God, the Creator or Father of the
world, in Spirt and in Truth. God is seeking for those who will worship
God. And God is Spirit, or the Breath of life. Therefore, if it is God
we would worship, we must worship by surrenderng into the life-Spirit,
and our worship must be founded in right understanding, or Truth.
(Adi Da’s expository translation of the words
of Jesus of Nazareth, as recorded in the New Testament, the Gospel of John
the Beloved, chapter 4, verses 23 and 24.)
John, known as the Beloved, and, presumably, also
as the Elder, was apparently the principal disciple or devotee of Jesus
of Nazareth. His primacy was essentially within the “inner circle” of mature
converts (to whom the secrets of the esoteric or higher spiritual worship
of the Living God were communicated). We may presume, from the indications
in John’s gospel, that he was also intended to be the principal spiritual
successor of Jesus within the “inner circle.” That is, the full esoteric
spiritual Teaching as well as the initiatory (Spirit-baptizing) functions
of Jesus were apparently transmitted to John, and all that John thus possessed
was intended to be transmitted through him, within the “inner circle” or
esoteric community that responded to the spiritual Teaching of Jesus. (Jesus
himself had been the principal disciple or devotee of John the Baptist,
and Jesus, therefore, succeeded John the Baptist, after the latter’s death.)
Some investigators have offered evidence that Jesus
of Nazareth may not have been an actual historical figure. And the same
may be true of John the Baptist, John the Beloved, and others. Certainly,
if these figures actually lived, they may have been significantly different
from the exoteric myths and archetypes described in the New Testament.
But there is a sufficient integrity to the documents
of the New Testament that they may fruitfully be considered as if
historical events and persons informed the writings that have come down
to us. (And this in fact is how the writings of the New Testament, and
especially of John the Beloved, will be treated in this essay.) Such relics
as the “Shroud of Turin” appear to support the claims of historicity (while
perhaps calling for a new interpretation of that history). And, in any
case, the New Testament writingseven though they may ultimately fail as
an historical basis for exoteric religioncertainly do provide interesting
examples of ancient esoteric mystical philosophy and practice.
The New Testament is designed to appear as a single,
coherent account of the life and total Teaching of Jesus and his disciples,
or apostles. However, modern scholarship has begun to demonstrate that
the New Testament is a strategically collected and edited conglomeration
of many examples of oral and written material from the early centuries
following (as well as preceding and including) the period of Jesus’ presumably
historical ministry. The New Testament is essentially an exoteric or outer
and public manual of instruction. And it was created by the exoteric public
cult of Jesus that became the official Church of the Roman Empire.
What I am indicating here is that the historical Christian
Church (in its various sects) was and is essentially an exoteric or publicly
oriented institution. And it intentionally limited its communications to
exoteric matters when it first designed and established the New Testament
as the basis of all of its instructions. In and by that process, the esoteric
Teaching and practice was separated from the official institution, and
it was gradually and completely lost.
However, we may find aspects of the “inner circle”
Teaching described in certain texts of the New Testament, particularly
the gospel and the letters of John the Beloved. And it was only that “inner
circle” Teaching and practice that represented the full Teaching of Jesus
and his school. The outer, public Teaching of Jesus and his followers was
not much different from that of the other exoteric religious sects of the
Middle East (such as Judaism) at the time of Jesus. And that public Teaching
was essentially directed toward the winning of converts, who would later
be “baptized” and instructed in the nonpublic setting of the “inner circle.”
In the writings attributed to John the Beloved, we
find aspects of the Teaching of the “inner circle,” spoken more or less
clearly. Thus, the Teaching of John the Beloved survives as testimony to
the actual Teaching and practice of Jesus within his “inner circle” of
converts. And if one approaches that literature from the point of view
of higher spiritual understanding, gotten through awakened practice outside
the outer cultism of exoteric religion, then the Teaching of John the Beloved
can be rightly interpreted or understood.
Throughout my lifetime, I have entered into the deepest
and most profound spiritual labor, and thus I have uncovered the various
dimensions of esoteric realization that pertain to the native psycho-physical
structure of Man. I speak as one who has lived the presumption and practice
of esoteric Communion with the Living Reality or Divine Source of Man and
the world. I have considered all that I have experienced and realized,
and I have compared all of it to every kind of historical evidence relative
to ksus and the tradition that developed in relation to him. On the basis
of all of this, I have come to the point of intuitive certainty about the
essential experience and esoteric Teaching that was shared by Jesus, and
John the Beloved, and the inner or initiated community that surrounded
The religion of Jesus and John the Beloved was essentially
a proclamation of release from the negative burdens of life in this world
through ecstatic or self-transcending union with the Living God.
The Way of that union began with conversion from abstract belief in the
“God of our fathers,” or the “God of the Holy Book.” Jesus and John the
Beloved preached that there must be conversion from mere and idolatrous
belief in an idea of God. Jesus and John the Beloved preached liberation
from the exoteric Idol of God as a Being who is apart from Man and the
world of Mana God who created everything and imposed an order on everything,
and thus obliged Man and all other creatures to live by various kinds of
objective moral rules and natural laws in order to survive and succeed
during life and after death. The Way of ecstatic union proclaimed by Jesus
end John the Beloved was the ecstatic or self-transcending Way of Life,
rather than the formal, legalistic, or self-fulfilling way of exoteric
knowledge and conformity. And that ecstatic Way began with psycho-physical
conversion, from Lifeless abstractions of the mind and to the Living
God, the Truth of Man and the world.
John’s gospel Teaches that the “Living God” is “Spirit.”
That is, God is eternally Present as the All-Pervading Life-Power, with
which, therefore, every living being may Commune directly. In fact, the
Living God is so intimate with Man that the word “Pneuma” or “Life-Breath”
or “Spirit” is used by John the Beloved to describe God. And God is said
to be identical to the Spirit, or the Living Energy that pervades
the world, and that pervades the nervous system of Man, and that every
one of us can contact via the bodily process of breathing and feeling.
Indeed, John says not only that Jesus Taught that God is the Living Spirit
(rather than the idea of God as abstracted Creator), but that he Taught
that the Way to worship God is to worship in the Spirit. That is,
Jesus Taught a method of worship that involved ecstatic bodily Communion
with the Life-Power via breathing and feeling, based on Truth (or an awakened
and secret understanding of the Divine Reality).
John the Beloved always wrote or spoke as an intimate
devotee of a Spiritual Master. That is, he was communicating about the
Way of true worship, or ecstatic bodily Communion with the Living God,
but he always acknowledged his own Spiritual Master (who initiated him
into the practice of esoteric Communion with the Living Spirit) as if his
Master were identical to the Spirit and thus to God. This is a habit of
acknowledgment that is typical of all oriental esoteric societies. It represents
a profound acknowledgment and appreciation of the mechanism of initiation,
guidance, and ecstatic participation enjoyed in the unique spiritual and
esoteric relationship of the devotee and his or her Spiritual Master.
No heresy or delusion is contained in this manner of
acknowledgment, unless, as has been the case with the exoteric Christian
Church that survived the time of Jesus and John the Beloved, the language
becomes exoteric and exclusive. That is, if the language of the ecstatic
acknowledgment of a Spiritual Master by his true devotees is inherited
by a nominal or exoteric cult, that individual tends to become exclusively
identified with the Divine Reality. The result of this is that the Living
God ceases to be the principle of experience and practice, but abstracted
ideas or beliefs and symbolic personalities become, again, the idolatrous
basis of the religion. And the religion, or cult, then ceases to understand
itself as one of many possible traditional communities involved in esoteric
worship. Instead, the cult tends to see and communicate itself as the only
community that possesses the Truth.
This has precisely been the case with the Christian
churches, most of which have become exclusive cults of Jesus, and most
of which have lost both their esoteric foundation and their ability to
see the Divine Truth in the Spirit-Worship of all esoteric tradirions.
And the Christian religion, as well as all other exclusive exoteric and
even esoteric traditions, must again be re-awakened and transformed by
the esoteric Teaching of Truth.
To continue in this description of the Teaching of
Jesus and John the Belovedthey both proclaimed the Way of ecstatic union
with the Living God, or Spirit. Jesus, as the Spiritual Master of John,
was identified with the Spirit, or God, since he had given John not only
the Teaching of Truth but the Spirit-Power itself, through baptism (or
esoteric initiation into the Way of Life).
The “Spirit-Power of baptism” is an esoteric process
wherein the Life-Current in the body-mind (and, principally, the central
nervous system) of the human individual is stimulated to a point of profound
intensity and turned about in its basic polarization or tendency. Thus,
the Life-Current is felt to press inwards and upwards, via the spine, and
towards the crown (or brain core) of the body-mind. The effect of Spirit-baptism
was an experience of bodily conversion to a subjective movement of Life-Energy,
away from the “flesh” (the “senses,” or the plane of vital desires in the
autonomic nervous sytem). As a result of such baptism, the various classical
mystical phenomena arose, and this entire procedure was called, by Jesus
and John the Beloved, “to be born again, via the Spirit.”
The “born again” phenomenon proclaimed by modern Christian
enthusiasts is merely a superficial mental and emotional conversion toward
surrender into belief and dependency on the person Jesus, who is presumed
still to be mysteriously present as a universal God-Man. But the “born
again” phenomenon initiated by Jesus and John the Beloved was an esoteric
procedure, involving mystical experience and literal transformations in
the cycle of the Life-Current in the human body-mind. It was a process
communicated only to serious convertsthose who had already accepted responsibility
for the personal and moral discipline of their daily lives. (In contrast,
the “born again” phenomenon of exoteric Christian cultism is a conversion
of mind and emotion upon which the convert is only then presumed to be
capable of true personal and moral responsibility.)
In the writings of John the Beloved (consisting, according
to tradition, of one gospel and three letters) “Jesus” is the name or code
word for the Spirit of God. He was also the person who was John’s Spiritual
Master, and he was the historical figure who was the ongoing symbol of
the Way inJohn’s religious community. But, in the writings of John the
Beloved, “Jesus” is primarily to be understood to be the Life-Principlethe
“Living Word” or “Spirit” of God.
As the initiator or baptizer of others, Jesus was also
the “Savior” of sinners. (The fourth chapter of John’s gospel says that
Jesus did not baptize, but had his disciples do it instead. This refers
only to the first baptismthe water or cleansing baptism of repentance
and forgiveness for turning away from the Divine Life-Spirit of God. After
that conversion had matured into practical personal and moral responsibility,
Jesus himself might then perform the baptism of the Holy Spirit, or initiation
into the esotericism of ecstatic prayer and surrender into the higher mind
via the Life-Current within the human body.) As one who enjoyed the ecstasy
of union with the Spirit of God, Jesus, the Spiritual Master of John the
Beloved, wasas are all others who share in his secretthe “Son of God.”
But “Jesus” is primarily to be understood to be the “Living Word” or “Spirit
of God” personified (or represented by a human Adept or Agent).
Therefore, if the writings of John the Beloved are
read as a Teaching about ecstatic bodily union with the Life-Principle,
or the “Spirit of God,” and if “Jesus” is understood as the representative
person, symbol, and name of that Spirit and the Way of Communion with that
Spirit, then those writings can be rightly understood. And only then do
they represent a true and universal religious inspiration.
The broad tradition of evidence, including evidence
presented by non-Christian sources and investigators, generally indicates
that Jesus was an historical personality and that he survived the crucifixion
bodily. (That he was an historical personality is somewhat in doubt, but
there is no doubt that he survived the crucifixion bodily!) The New Testament
is based on the claim that Jesus survived the crucifixion bodily, and the
“Shroud of Turin,” which is a remarkable relic, also confirms this. The
means of his survival are not made clear in any of the gospels. There is
evidence that he may have been forced into a coma on the cross and so was
taken down before he had died. According to some theories, he later was
restored to health and met secretly with at least some members of his “inner
circle,” including John the Beloved. Then he simply left Israel, perhaps
in order both to flee from those who would kill him and to continue to
work as Teacher and Baptizer elsewhere. There are indications that he may
have continued his work among the scattered Jews in the Orient. And there
is evidence that he may have settled in India, with his disciple Thomas,
and that he died and was buried in Kashmir.
In any case, John the Beloved and the other initiates
and intimate disciples of Jesus all went in various directions afrer Jesus’
departure. Through their preaching, they developed unique communities,
each founded on various kinds of emphasis, both exoteric and esoteric,
and each expressing the special cultural background of the individual who
founded the community as well as the cultural background of the members
of the community itself. In the decades and centuries that followed the
lifetimes of the original disciples, various literary documents were produced
from the oral and written traditions of the various communities that were
created by Jesus’ disciples and by various converts and mystics, such as
Paul 1 , who
became associated with the cult of Jesus after Jesus’ crucifixion, resurrection,
and secret departure from Israel.
The claims of Jesus’ “ascension into heaven” are themselves
merely symbolic and exoteric statements that veil the esoteric secrets
of bodily worship of the internally ascending Life-Current, and such exoteric
stories also served to account for Jesus’ absence from the public scene
after the crucifixion and resurrection. If we understand that Jesus was
simply the honored symbol for the Living Divine Spirit (or Life-Principle)
and also the Way whereby every individual may worship or Commune with that
Spirit in Truth (and so become a “Son of God”), then we can understand
how the symbolic or exoteric descriptions of his “ascension to heaven”
developed. (Whereas, to believe that Jesus somehow bodily rose into the
clouds and out into the starry heavens not only is to propose a naive cosmology,
but it is like believing that the Last Supper, or the holy and symbolic
feast of the “body and blood,” was actually a cannibalistic orgy.)
The idea of Jesus’ ascension is simply an exoteric
or symbolic expression of the esoteric mystical experience of the ascension
of the Spirit (or Life-Current) from the lower body to the brain core,
whereby various kinds of mystical illumination and bliss are experienced.
Thus, Jesus’ fate is identified with mystical ascension of attention to
the bodily or internal and mental Place of God above And that same fate
was mystically reproduced in the experience of all initiates within the
“inner circle” of Jesus and John the Beloved (and, presumably, within the
“inner circle” of at least some of the other disciples or apostles).
The method of entering into Communion with the Spirit
of God in the company of Jesus or John the Beloved was to receive the second
baptism (the baptism of “fire,” or second birth via the Holy Spirit). That
baptism, along with certain esoteric instructions, made it possible for
the individual to “worship in Spirit,” through surrender of body, emotion,
and mind into the internal Life-Current. After the first baptism, or water
baptism (the ritual of purification), a period of personal and moral testing
followed. The convert who “kept the faith” and showed it in the form of
personal and moral disciplines was eventually given the initiatory touch
(baptism or anointing) of the Master (or one of the empowered disciples),
usually during a secret meeting within the “inner circle” of initiates
This same procedure may be observed even today in esoteric
communities all over the world. It involves first the development of various
psycho-physical changes in the case of an Adept, so that the Life-Current
in him is made to function in an intensely magnetic fashion, polarized,
in the central nervous system, toe to crown, rather than crown to toe.
When this occurs, the Adept becomes fit to initiate others into the same
process, and he does so through touch, or by looking into the person’s
eyes, or through the medium of speech (including the giving of a secret
“Word,” “Name,” or magical formula to be repeated in prayerful meditation),
or by merely thinking about the person (or regarding him in silence). Indeed,
even to come into close proximity to such an Adept, or a group of people
initiated by an Adept, may produce psycho-physical changes in one who does
so. (A case in point is the woman who is said to have been healed merely
by touching the garment of Jesus.)
It may be presumed that Spirit-baptized initiates were
also taught esoteric methods of evocatory or invocatory prayer, as well
as other contemplative exercises. And the name “Jesus” as well as the names
“Abba” (“Father”) and Amen were likely also intoned or otherwise used as
a mystical means of entering into bodily Communion with the Spirit within
the “inner circle” of Jesus, John the Beloved, and the others. The esoteric
sacrificial feast of Jesus’ “body and blood” was also practiced as a kind
of common meal among the initiates, and it signified the act of taking
on the Way of Jesus, which is the Way of self-surrender, love, and spiritual
dependence on the Living God.
John the Beloved (or the Elder) apparently survived
the longest of all of the original members of Jesus’ intimate circle who
remained in Israel after Jesus’ departure. Perhaps for this reason his
writings contain the most direct expression of the esotericism of his traditionsince
all other early Christian writings seem to have reflected only or mainly
the exotericism of the earliest public work of the disciples. John apparently
survived long enough to communicate beyond the earliest period and in geographical
areas where an esoteric Teaching was less threatened by hostile exoteric
cults as well as hostile political cults. John also appears to have been
inherently of a more innocent and mystical mind, and less interested in
adapting or proclaiming his message to a hostile and immature public.
It was said of John that he would survive until Jesus
came again. And so he did. He survived until old age, and fully demonstrated
in himself and in his own “inner circle” of devotees that Jesus was simply
the Spirit, and that the Spirit remained Alive even after Jesus had departed
from the scene. It may also be presumed that John’s own devotees realized
the Spirit was still Alive for their benefit after John’s own death.
I have written this special treatment of the exoteric
and esoteric cults of Jesus because the Christian tradition currently predominate
in the Western world. I wanted to clarify the difference between exoteric,
archaic, and ultimately childish (or superficial) beginner’s beliefs and
the true and even ancient esotericism that belongs to the higher Wisdom-Culture
of mankind. The same consideration I have brought to the Christian tradition
could and should be brought to any and all other popular exoteric cults
of religion. We must do this, or else we cannot go beyond the childhood
of Man. And we must also exceed the adolescent reluctance of Man (in the
form of scientific materialism or any other kind of superficial intellectual
point of view) to yield beyond objective knowledge and into ecstasy, or
self-transcending Communion with the Living Reality.
John the Beloved may also be heard to speak to the
rational scientific mind of our age, if we read and rightly interpret the
beginning of the Gospel:
At the Origin of everything is the Creative Spirit, the
Intelligent Life-Principle, the All-Pervading Matrix of the total world.
And the Living Spirit-Breath of God is always united with very God, the
Radiant Transcendental Consciossness, the true Heart of the world and the
Truth of all beings. Indeed, the Spirit is God, for God is the Creative
Life-Principle, the Eternally Free Transcendental Reality in Whom all beings
and things arise and float and change and pass out of sight.
All things and beings come to exist through the Agency of the Eternal
Life-Principle, and not otherwise. And whatever or whoever exists because
of the Living Spirit is indeed Alivebecause everything and everyone is
presently and eternally Sustained through surrender into that Living Spirit.
The Life-Breath that sustains Man is also the Light that can show
him the Way through the darkness and blindness of the world. That Light
is now and always has been shining in the world and even in the body and
mind of Man, and no darkness has ever quenched it.
(Adi Da’s expository translation of chapter 1, verses
1-5, of the Gospel of John the Beloved)
1. According to the New Testament Paul (A.D. 0-5 to 67 or 68) was
one of the principal apostles of the new religion that was formed around
the life and Teachings of Jesus. Paul was not a personal disciple of Jesus,
nor did he ever meet him personally. After Jesus’ death, Paul was a persecutor
in the growing Christian movement, until he was converted by an overwhelming
mystical experience, which he interpreted to be the spiritual Light, Presence,
and Voice of the Ascended Jesus. From that time until his death he was
one of the most energetic of the apostles, journeying throughout most of
the Mediterranean coastal lands and the Middle East to preach the new “gospel”
of Jesus the Christ. He was imprisoned many times, was nearly assassinated
by hostile Jews, and, legend has it, was finally beheaded during the persecutions
of the Christians by Nero, Emperor of Rome.
When the official councils of the Christian Church were convened
by the Roman State to create the foundation of Christianity as the official
State religion, the beliefs of Paul, relative to Jesus’ personal and ultimately
superphysical survival of death, became the dogmas of the Church.
Jesus apparently renewed, for his time, an ancient
psycho-physical conception of the nature of the realm or world in which
we appear. The mood of ordinary experience conceives the Principles of
this world to be separation, negative results, and death. Jesus communicated
the view that the Principles of this world are prior Unity with God, renunciation
and forgiveness as a means of purification, and an individually conscious
Life that is ever changing but never destroyed.
The significance of his entire life is the argument
of this communication. He argued that we should accept these “good” Principles,
which make those men good who believe or accept them, rather than accept
the conventional and “evil” Principles, which only make all who believe
or accept them into fearful, deluded, and wretched beings.
Jesus represents only the argument, the conviction,
and the confession of this good assumption of Good Principles. He does
not represent any independent historical Act that makes it unnecessary
for any one else to accept and be responsible for these Principles. In
other words, the Principles of our Life are Good, but these Good Principles
are only as effective in our own case as the degree of our acceptance and
responsibility relative to them.
All who accept these Principles must be wise and intelligent
and humble, since their goodness, or identity with the Good Principles
of Life, is gradual, or a process that matures and grows forever. Their
Enlightenment is always instantwhenever their presumption of the Good
and True is Realbut their lives are forever, and forever transformed by
whatever they believe, accept, or presume.
Jesus of Nazareth has become a universal archetypal
figure in the minds of all mankind. But he has thereby become more a part
of conventional mind and meaning than a servant of the Real. Unfortunately,
he has become identified with personal or egoic survival rather than perfect
sacrifice of self, mind, life, emotion, and body.
Paul the Apostle said that if Jesus did not survive
his death, then belief in him and his Teaching is fruitless. Therefore,
the bodily and personal survival of Jesus became the traditional foundation
of Christian belief and practice. But Paul’s conception is false. The Truth
and the Law of sacrifice are not verified by or dependent upon the knowable
survival or immortality of any man, including Jesus. The Truth of the Teaching
of Jesus, itself an extension of the Teaching of the ancients, did not
at all depend on his survival, or, more specifically, knowledge,
on the part of others, of his survival. If it did depend on his personal
or conventional soul-survival of death, or the knowledge of such on the
part of others, he could not have taught anything of ultimate significance
during his lifetime, and all Teaching before his time would have been inherently
false. But Jesus himself specifically denied both possibilities.
The Teaching of Jesus is essentially the ancient Teaching
of the Way of Sacrifice. He, like others, taught that the sacrifice that
is essential is not cultic or external to the individual, but it is necessarily
a moral and personal sacrifice made through love. It is the sacrifice of
all that is oneself, and all that one possesses, into forms of loving and
compassionate participation with others, and into the absolute Mystery
of the Reality and Divine Person wherein we all arise and change and ultimately
disappear. Therefore, the proof of his Teaching is not in the independent
or knowable survival of anything or anyone, but in the enlightened, free,
and moral happiness of chose who live the sacrifice while alive and even
We cannot cling to the survival of anyone, or even
ourselves. This clinging has for centuries agonized would-be believers,
who tried to be certain of the survival of Jesus and themselves. Truly,
Jesus did not survive in the independent form that persisted while he lived,
nor does anyone possess certain knowledge of the history of Jesus after
his death. All reports are simply expressions of the mystical presumptions
and archetypal mental structures of those who make the reports. And neither
will we survive the process of universal dissolution everywhere displayed.
Jesus sacrificed himself. He gave himself up in loving service to others
and in ultimate love to Real God. All who do this become what they meditate
upon. They are Transtated beyond this self or independent body-mind into
a hidden Destiny in the Mystery or Intensity that includes and precedes
all beings, things, and worlds.
The popular Myth of Jesus is an Idol of mass religion.
It was created by the exoteric Christian Church, when it moved to legitimize
itself in the eyes of the secular State of Rome. That Idol is worshipped
by popular belief, and many have been and continue to be deluded and oppressed
by the Cult of that Idol.
Like every Idol, the Myth of Jesus contains a secret
about Man himself. But that secret is locked away in the features of the
Image men worship. Men worship Jesus as an exclusive human embodiment of
God because they are unwilling or unable to accept the kind of responsibility
for themselves that Jesus accepted for himself.
Jesus did not teach the worship of himself as an Idol
of God or a Substitute for the responsibility of each man for his own religious
and spiritual sacrifice. And even if he did, it would be our responsibility
to liberate ourselves from that Doctrine.
The popular Myth of Jesus is founded on archaic cosmological
archetypes. Jesus is believed to have come down from Heaven (or the sky
of stars above the Earth) and become a blood sacrifice (in the ancient
style of cults that ritually killed animals and men), and then he is supposed
to have risen up into the sky againback to Heaven. The man Jesus is popularly
believed to be God, the Creator of the Universe, and his death is glorified
as a necessary Cosmic Event that somehow makes it unnecessary for any believer
to suffer permanent mortal death.
All of this, and more, may have made some kind of imaginative,
street-level sense in the days of the Roman Empire, but it is nothing more
than benighted silliness in the last quarter of the twentieth century.
And, in any case, none of this Idolatry was the teaching or the intention
of Jesus or any of the other great spiritual Adepts of the world. All of
the mythological idolization of Jesus was the creation of the exoteric
and popular cultism of the early Christian Church. And the time has come
for the world to renounce this nonsenseeven if the Christian Church itself
is yet unwilling to renounce its obnoxious absolutist claim on all of humanity.
The Myth and the Idol of Jesus have nothing to do with
true religion or the spiritual responsibility of Manas I have tried to
explain in these essays and in many other writings. And it is time we stopped
glorifying the martyrdom of Jesus. Even though it seems possible that he
personally survived the crucifixion and went on to continue his work outside
Israel, the popular belief is that he died on the cross. And the persecution
and attempted assassination of Jesus by the hypocritical religious cultists
of his time was not in any sense good for mankind. It was a grave misfortune,
and a prime example of the stupid, unillumined, and aggressive mentality
that still characterizes the popular or mass level of subhuman existence.
The world would have profited much more if Jesus had been able to work
openly and live to a remarkable old age as a great prophetic Teacher of
Israel. In that case, the true esoteric foundation of religion might
have begun to become the basis of human culture two thousand years ago.
And, at the very least, mankind could have avoided the long tour of domination
by yet another impenetrable Idol of the mind
The idea that the martyrdom of Jesus was the literal
and final Sacrifice of God is a perversion of the Truth. The true sacrifice
of Jesus occurred while he was still alive. That sacrifice was of an esoteric
spiritual nature, and it is of no inherent value to any other human being,
unless that individual will duplicate that same sacrifice in the processes
of his own body-mind.
Why do we persist in a retarded and negatively cultic
understanding of religion? The Truth is plainand it has been plainly preached
and demonstrated, not only by Jesus, but by many Adepts in every epoch
of human history. But the Idol of Jesus persistsbecause it is one of the
great archetypal alternatives to authentic personal religious or spiritual
responsibility. It is time for mankind to awaken to Wisdom and to the understanding
of Jesus in Truth. Then perhaps some benefit will have come to us at last
from that ancient outrage performed in Jerusalem.
ADI DA: The teaching of Jesus is both exoteric, or
public and outward, and esoteric, or hidden and spiritual.
In our consideration of Jesus, we must first of all
differentiate the exoteric or public teaching that Jesus himself represented
from the exoteric or public teaching of the Christian tradition that succeeded
him. In general, the exoteric teaching of the Christian Church is based
on a cultic, liturgical or ritualistic, and mythbound relationship to Jesus,
who is proclaimed to be exclusively identical with the Creator-God of the
Semitic tradition. The Jesus of exoteric Christianity is useful to Man
only after his supposed death on the cross and his legendary resurrection
and ascension. The essence of the traditional exoteric teaching of Christianity
is that we can realize a personal relationship to this legendary Jesus,
the exclusive God who will “save” us from a life of suffering, although
we may not realize the same relationship to God that Jesus realized.
The exoteric teaching that Jesus himself actually offered
was quite different from the cultic dogma that survived him. He taught
that we must be free of cultic religious illusions and moral reluctance.
He was willing to be of service as Spiritual Master to individuals, but
not in the cultic form promoted by the Church in the centuries after his
death. If the only relevant Jesus is the Jesus who has died for our sins
and gone to heaven, then he could not have taught anything useful during
his lifetime. Of what service was he, then, to somebody to whom he talked
while he was alive, but who died before Jesus was supposedly “ascended
to the Father”? Does it follow that the individual did not hear his teaching
and did not have contact with the Presence of God? Clearly, there is no
truth to such logic. Thus, the “ascended Messiah” exotericism of the Christian
tradition is nonsense.
The exoteric teaching of Jesus during his lifetime
was true, however. It was essentially a moral teaching that clarified the
centuries-old Hebrew tradition of behavioral laws and ritualistic obligations.
Jesus communicated a single moral disposition that obliged everyone to
transcend mere adherence to the ancient, external legalisms and, instead
of observing rituals, to sacrifice themselves in the midst of the
daily circumstances of life. Since ancient times, the way of sacrifice
has been the essential way of human integration with God. The orthodox,
cultic sacrifices of the ancient days were ritualistic and superficialone
murdered a pigeon or a goat, performed a ritual or a prescribed liturgy,
walked around a holy place, sang hymns, and so forth. Even today such ritual
sacrifices are common to religious practices. Jesus, like the other Adepts
who appeared before and after him, communicated the principle behind such
ritual sacrifices, which is the sacrifice of self, the sacrifice of Man
through and in the form of the individual human being. The ritual of any
sacrifice is only the instrument, while also the evidence, of the individual’s
integration with the Living Divine Reality. The primary sacrifice is the
sacrifice of the individual himself, not of something other than himself.
This teaching of sacrifice is the essential and true
exoteric religion that has been communicated since ancient times. Jesus
found a way to integrate it creatively with the lives of his contemporaries.
He taught people that they themselves were obliged to be a sacrifice, through
love and self-release, through ecstasy, through letting go, through abandoning
rigid reactivity and self-possession when confronted with the circumstances
True religious teachings oblige people to personal
as well as moral disciplines at the exoteric or foundation level of practice.
As the cultic falsification of Jesus’ point of view has proceeded over
time, however, the personal disciplines have largely been abandoned, and
even the moral obligations have been weakened. Today, the essence of mainstream
Christianity is that we may be “saved” through “faith,” or belief in a
cultic personal association with Jesus. We are not thus obliged to the
full degree of self-transcending personal and moral responsibility, since
Jesus supposedly will save us from the “wages” of our sins. Thus, the true
exoteric teaching of Jesus has been diluted by the false exotericism of
the cult that followed him. Jesus himself primarily obliged people to a
life of personal and moral sacrifice, whereby they could transcend cultic
limitations and personal pettiness in the midst of the ordinary conditions
Jesus’ teaching is summarized in the Great Commandment
“Love the Lord thy God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and
with all your mind; and love your neighbor as yourself.” How that all-absorbing,
God-Realizing love was to be accomplished was communicated in the “inner
circle,” through esoteric or secret, higher, and mystical teaching, but
the God-Realizing process included and began with one’s life in the world,
among one’s neighbors, in intimate cultural relationship to others. One
was obliged to be a sacrifice in the management of intimate community,
daily work, diet, and health. One’s sexuality was to be managed through
concentration, through relational love-commitment in marrige. One’s relationship
to others was to be managed from the point of view of moral sacrifice,
the life of loving and compassionate service, the abandonment of petty
legalisms in favor of wholehearted love relations, community relations,
mutual agreements, and unreserved help.
These disciplines that were the foundation of the way
of life that Jesus communicated are only a preparatory phase of true religious
life. Yet in Jesus’ time, as today, it was immensely difficult to bring
people to change their orientation from reactive self-possession to self-transcending
relationship With the Living God and all other beings. Even the simple
personal and moral disciplines were more than most people could conceive
of and accept as the appropriate burden of a religious life. Many of them
spent the rest of their lives struggling with that ordinary doctrine. Likewise,
the leaders of the official cults of that time and place had so much difficulty
with the implications of this natural teaching that they contemplated means
to defame and ultimately destroy Jesus. To live simply and directly in
the personal and moral disposition Jesus recommended would have negated
the dependence of the people on all of the cultic laws and temple practices
by which the priests maintained their wealth and their control over the
mass population. Jesus was too revolutionary for ordinary childish people
as well as for the parentlike priests who were their “shepherds.” Therefore,
the way of life he Communicated in public was very upsetting and threatening
to the official cults of his time.
This is how Jesus managed his exoteric and esoteric
levels of instruction: As his disciples traveled and communicated the radical,
moral point of view, they looked for those who were most prepared to accept,
in relatively simple and human fashion, the personal and moral responsibilities
of this way of life. The disciples were instructed to look for the most
devotional, the most responsive and responsible, individuals. When they
discovered such men and women, they did not initiate them into the esoteric
teaching immediately, but they did bring them into closer proximity to
the esoteric core of Jesus’ work. The New Testament describes several occasions
when Jesus and the disciples spent time in the homes of followers. Here
and there they found an individual who was physically, psychologically,
morally, and emotionally capable of the full esoteric way of life, which
included higher psycho-physical disciplines and adaptation in addition
to the personal and moral disciplines of the exoteric teaching.
Thus, those who were prepared were initiated into an
esoteric order or circle around Jesus. These were the people with whom
he did not limit his speech to parables and lessons of moral transformation.
These people were given the mystical, bodily secrets of the “Kingdom of
God,” the secrets of how to become the Sons and Daughters of Godin other
words, how to be pervaded by the Divine Life-Current and “lifted up” and
Jesus was not the Messiah that the Jews had expected.
He had no intention to be a political figure and to purify Israel of the
Roman rule. Thus, it is true that he was not and is not the traditionally
expected Messiah of the Jews. He was a different kind of person altogether.
He denied being the worldly Messiah that his contemporaries sought: “My
Kingdom is not of this world.” All during his ministry he avoided any obligation
to worldly power, to be warlike and politically active. He gave all his
attention to the reawakening of a moral way of life in the world, the transformation
of the relationships between individuals, the regeneration of the relationship
between the individual and the Living Divine, and restoration of the Law
of sacrificenot the sacrifice of pigeons sold in the hallways around the
temple, but the moral and spiritual love-sacrifice of the individual himself
in his relationship to others and to the Living Spirit that is God.
Jesus’ exoteric teaching is quite different from the
exoteric teaching of the institutional Church of conventional Christianity.
Nor is the conventional Christian Church the bearer of the esoteric
teaching ot Jesus. That secret teaching was lost in the social circumstances
of the early centuries after Jesus’ death. It did not disappear immediately,
but it disappeared fairly quickly. A fragment
of a letter that was written in the second century after Jesus by a man
named Clement of Alexandria indicates that the writer knows something about
the esoteric tradition among Jesus followers, but it is obvious from the
tone of the letter that the higher esoteric tradition had already disappeared
by Clement’s own time. He is a wise old man of the Christian tradition,
and he knows something about this esoteric matter, but it is already in
the past. He writes about the way it was in the past.
Thus, within the first 150 years or so after Jesus’
disappearance from Israel, the esoteric aspect of his teaching disappeared.
By the time the Church councils were created to formalize the cult and
its dogma and to exalt the teaching of Paul as the official point of view
of the Church, the esotericism of Jesus had long since ceased to be practiced.
Finally, it was completely, officially, and dogmatically eliminated. Certain
aspects of the exoteric moral and personal disciplines of life recommended
by Jesus remain in the Church, but they are not its fundamental focus,
nor are they obligatory in any fundamental sense. The essential focus of
the cult of the Christian Church is the believer’s “saving” relationship
to Jesus as an exclusive and mythbound manifestation of God. Only the greatest
saints of the Christian tradition have broken through the exoteric limits
of orthodox Christianity to develop an illumined, mystical, or transcendental
and ecstatic relationship with God or Christ as Living Spiritand they
have often been brutally persecuted by the authorities of the conventional
In the literature of Jesus’ time, very little survives
of the esotericism of his work. Only some suggestion of it is revealed
to a careful reading of the New Testament, and related documents, such
as the fragment of the letter by Clement of Alexandria. But, elsewhere
on the Earth, there still remains the esoteric tradition of which Jesus,
in his time, was simply a representative. He only applied the understanding
and the techniques of higher adaptation, prayerful meditation, psychic
awakening, and spiritual growth as they already appeared in the esoteric
cultures of the ancient world, and he communicated or interpreted these
through the traditional law, archetypes, and mythology of his contemporaries
The conventional cultic and exoteric interpretation
of the life and person of Jesus considers him to be an exclusive manifestation
of God, representing a history, a way of life, and a destiny that no one
else can enjoy or duplicate, and thus for which no one else can be responsible.
Such was absolutely not the point of view of Jesus himself. He communicated
a way of life for which each individual must be as responsible as Jesus
was in his own case. His teaching relieved people of conventional
exoteric religious cultism, and it led true “hearers” into a life of spiritual
sacrifice of self, including the higher, esoteric or evolutionary practice
of ecstatic prayer (or meditation on the Life-Principle via concentration
in the brain) and an esoteric spiritual interpretation of the Hebrew tradition.
He essentially communicated the point of view of sacrifice, as a total
human activity that fulfills the Law and is the essence of the Way of Truth,
and his teaching was directed to the personal, moral, and higher psycho-physical
experience of Love-Communion with the Life-Principle, the Living Spirit
that is God.
I have criticized the cultic Christian revision of
Jesus’ life and work, since it forgets and even anathematizes his real
work and totally misinterprets the significance of his spiritual influence.
At another level, however, my criticism must also be directed at the inverted,
self-divided, world-denying, soul-glorifying orientation of the ancient
oriental mystical traditions as a wholesince much of the “inner circle”
Teaching of Jesus was an extension of that ancient “gnosticism” of “Heaven-seeking”
via internal mystical techniques. Ultimately, the esoteric idols of mysticism
must be overcome, just as must the exoteric and public idols of analytical
intellectualism. Mysticism, like science, is another way of “knowing about.”
It is simply an arcane method for acquiring certain kinds of knowledge.
On the one hand, the ancients presumed they were knowing
about and participating in the total universe with their mystical, inward
methods. This was true only to a modest degree, limited by the mechanics
of reflection and symbol (as in all cases of mere knowledge). On the other
hand, they thought, and rightly so, that they were viewing the inner side
of Man. That is, in fact, fundamentally and exactly what they were doing.
They were viewing the interior, subtler aspect of the body and the subtler
aspects of the brain-mind. However, they generally attributed an independent
reality to what they viewed within.
The two most prominent doctrines of traditional oriental
mysticism were that inner visions were direct experiences of the cosmos
beyond Earth, and that the inner being, mind, or soul of Man is not only
distinct and therefore separable from the physical bodybut that the fulfillment
of human existence is the conscious separation of the mind or soul
from the physical body and the Earth. Therefore, mystical practitioners’
including the “inner circle” of Jesus, commonly believed tbat by stimulating
these inward phenomena they could temporarily (and even finally) escape
the Earth, the human body, and ordinary existence. (And this “gnostic”
or more or less ascetic mystical ideal was contrary to the exoteric and
world-affirming doctrines of the “establishment” Judaism of Jesus’ time,
just as it runs contrary to the world-affirming or worldly point of view
of exoteric Christianity and of modern societies in general.)
The ultimate presumption of conventional mysticism
is not, in its traditional formulation, simply or patently true. Mystical
experience and mystical language are rightly understood only if they are
accepted as forms of paradoxa special way of intuiting and surrendering
to the Eternal Divine Mystery, rather than an experience that is itself
taken to be God. Most of the phenomena that are experienced inwardly
are not truly cosmic (arising outside the personal sphere of the body-mind),
and neither are they separable from the physical body They are, in most
instances, expressions of the individual psyche, determined by the conventions
of the human nervous system. They are native to the body of Man. They depend
on the physical or elemental structures of the human body and brain-mind.
They are not truly separate from the physical or superior to it. They do
not represent another or alternative reality that one can cling to and
thereby abandon the physical.
In any case, experiences are not Truth. And, although
we may learn and grow by experience, experiences do not in themselves liberate
us into the Transcendental Reality or Realm of the Absolute Divine. Only
the Life-principle itself, which is the Matrix of all experiences, is the
Truth. And, therefore, the ultimate liberation of Man is not in knowledge
or experience, but only in self-transcending and total psycho-physical
surrender into the ultimate Domain of the Life-Principle (which we contact
directly via the central nervous system, and which is senior to every aspect
of mind and body).
The Truth is not within. However, from the point of
view of rhe ancient and traditional mystics, the Truth is indeed within.
The esoteric initiates of Jesus were themselves essentially traditional
mystics, involved with the mystical and magical phenomena of the “kundalini.”
They used the language and symbols of their own time and place, but the
process they engaged was essentially that of the “kundalini,” 2
or the internal Life-Current in the central nervous system, rising from
the “flesh,” from the realm of the senses, from the lowest point or base
of the body, to the brain core and the “heaven” of inwardness.
This mystical and magical absorption of attention in
the Life-Current certainly does belong to the developing stages and practical
expressions of the esotericism of the ultimate Way of Truth. But the phenomena
that are experienced through the method of ascending inwardness are not
the liberating Truth, they are not the very Divine, they are not the very
Realm of God. They are simply inner phenomena, inner knowledge, subtler
aspects of the human body-mind itself. The liberating Truth is in the Realization
that “l” am not within this body. “I” am the body. And the
total bodily (or psycho-physical) being inheres in the Living Transcendental
Divine Being. It is only when we are relieved of the subjective being,
when we are released from the illusion of mind as a separable reality,
when we are released from the illusion of mind as an independent soul,
or the illusion of mind as another territory, another dimension of ourselves
that can be taken away from this body and separated from this worldit
is only when we are relieved of the entire inward search, the selfward
tendency, the self-divided solution, that the radical and whole bodily
confession of Truth can begin.
Therefore, if we study and understand Jesus rightly
and in Truth, we must transcend the sectarian limitations of the historical
Cult of Jesus (or Christianity). Thus, we will necessarily enter into the
esoteric domain of religious, mystical, and magical religion, which is
communicated in traditions all over the world. But at last we will exceed
the conventional limitations of the esoteric mysticism of “soul-development.”
Such a course is necessarily implied in the worship of God in Spirit and
in Truth. And since such worship was apparently recommended by Jesus himself,
we can assume that his highest Teaching embraced this very Realization,
exceeding the outer and the inner cults of Man.
2. The “kundalini,” or “serpent power;’ traditionally
viewed, is that aspect of the internal current of bodily energy that is
awakened from a dormant state at the base of the spine, and ascends the
spinal line to the crown. That is, the process of the “kundalini,” or mystical
ascent, essentially involves the inversion of attention, so that the nerve
energy in the autonomic nervous system withdraws (from the realm of the
“flesh” or the “senses”) and is experienced more or less exclusively in
the “heavenly” terms of the central nervous system (the spinal cord and
brain). The path of “kundalini,” or internal energy, is the basis of all
religious mysticism, and the process produces a range of extraordinary
psycho-physical phenomena that are symbolized and otherwise described in
many of the exoteric and esoteric religious literatures of the world.
The notion that Jesus died for our sins (rather
than because of them, or merely as part of the natural chaos of the subhuman
world) is based on the Hebrew ritualism of the Old Testament
and the ancient cults of “blood sacrifice.” Just as the idea of Jesus’
“ascent into Heaven” does not really coincide with the cosmology that we
know to be true from our present knowledge (but actually coincides with
the traditional mystical symbolism of internal ascent), similarly, the
ancient rites of “blood sacrifice,” of which Jesus’ death is traditionally
supposed to be the highest example, are not really understandable in the
conventional terms of modern daily life.
If we are to find some value, or likeness to Truth,
in the biblical idea of sin, we must examine what “sin” is in any case.
The dreadfully dark word “sin” is a version of an ancient expression which
simply means “to miss the mark.” To miss a mark, as when missing a target
with a bow and arrow, is to be eccentric, off the center. Thus, to “sin”
is to turn one’s attention away from the Center or Heart of Existence.
It is to be unattached to God, turned away from God, deflected from God,
turned elsewhere than to God. It is to worship principles that are not
God. It is to be attached to experiences, to self, to the body-mind, rather
than to the Divine Life-Principle or Transcendental Consciousness.
The New Testament proclaims that all sins are forgivableexcept
one, which is the sin against the “Holy Spirit.” But the idea of a special
act that is a sin against the Holy Spirit is only a kind of play on words.
sin is turning away from the Living God, the Life-Principle, or the Holy
Spirit. Then what is not the ultimate sin? What is the only activity
that is “forgiven” (or permitted to find God)? It is to meet the
mark, or to worship the Living Godnot with conventional ritualism or cultic
belief, but through Love-Communion, through feeling and breathing, through
the total, cultural, and ecstatic or self-transcending process that is
most intimately associated with one’s very existence and with all one’s
relationships. One cannot, therefore, avoid committing the unforgivable
sin by means of any ordinary behavioral aversion, since all sins are the
sameall sins are a matter of turning away from the Life-Spirit,
or the Living Divine. All sins are equally and absolutely “unforgivable.”
Therefore, not only must all sins be forgiven, but sin itself (or
the “sin against the “Holy Spirit”) must be forgiven, or else there is
forgiveness (or no intimacy with God). To be “forgiven” for one’s sin is
to be released from the consequences of sin, but, above all, it is to be
released from the tendency, activity, and consciousness that is sin. “Forgiveness
of sin” is to be released from eccentricity and returned to the “mark.”
To be “forgiven” is to be converted, or turned about in one’s attention.
It is to be released from reactive and self-possessed (or Narcissistic)
obsession and returned to self-transcending Love-Communion with the Life-Principle,
the Holy Spirit, the Living God. Therefore, if we will only accept the
Teaching of Truth in our understanding and turn body and mind from self-possession
to God-Communion, we are “forgiven”, or released from “sin”, by virtue
of that conversion.
Thus, it should be clear that the process of human
liberation in Truth has nothing whatsoever to do with any cultic ritual
of “blood sacrifice,” even the “blood sacrifice” that Jesus supposedly
performed by being nailed to a cross. Such an idea is cultic and ritualistic
nonsenseexactly the kind of religious nonsense that Jesus himself preached
against. Jesus and his disciples preached conversion to the Living
God, not to the “God of our fathers,” not to the God of cultic belief,
not to the God of priestly ritualism, not to the God of liturgies and literal
or vicarious and symbolic “blood sacrifices.” Everyone must make the true
and bloodless sacrifice of conversion to the Life-Principle. Everyone must
Everyone must turn away from “sin.” Everyone must
submit to the living “cross,” the central nervous system, which obliges
all knowledge and all desire to submit to Life. In other words, everyone
must enter into heartfelt bodily Communion with the Living God.
This is the single and entire message of the New Testament.
There is no other true message there, or in any other religious tradition.
That is it. The question is, what are we going to do about it? We can spend
the rest of our lives studying the New Testament and all the superficially
complicated content of biblical faith, but true religion still depends
fundamentally on this matter of personal and total psycho-physical conversion
to the Life-Principle, and the assumption of a truly spiritual Way of Life,
or a practical habit of existence that always (or via all our human functions)
Communes with the Spirit.
I once functioned as chaplain in a mental hospital.
On at least two occasions I gave a sermon on the passage in the New Testament
that describes the sin against the Holy Spirit as the only unforgivable
sin. People who are insane are often obsessed with the idea that they have
committed the one sin that cannot be forgiven. When I preached the first
sermon on this matter, I presumedbut I did not have to presumeI noticed
that everybody there was completely insane! I very quickly had to become
responsible to serve people who had not one whit of attention left over
from their mechanical, self-possessed, inward life, their turning away.
They were devoted sinners! They were not communing with God; they were
not openeyed, clear, conscious, full of attention. They were distracted
in themselves. They were obsessively missing the mark, moment to moment.
Their breath was irregular, their bodies were all out of harmony, they
were self-possessed, dark, demonic egos. They were like any ordinary person,
except that they were an exaggeration of the ordinary state.
It was the perfect place to preach, a perfect setting,
and the ultimate place to preach that particular sermon. The people in
the audience were doing exactly the thing that I was talking about. The
only imperfection in the circumstance was that no one in the audience was
capable of “hearing” me and understanding what I was saying! I was obliged
to give this sermon, but they could all do whatever they pleased while
I gave it. They were generally expected to remain confined to the room,
but, apart from this basic obligation, very few demands were placed on
them. Thus, their “sinning” was totally obvious.
The usual man functions, he talks to you, he often
seems reasonable and intelligent. Even so, he is also mad, because he is
utterly and fearfully involved with himself. He is creating the fake reality,
the subjective world of self, exactly as were the mental patients to whom
I preached. Like a madman, the usual man or woman is completely involved
with the repetitive ritual of obsessive interpretations and misinterpretations,
and the chronic contraction of his or her own body from the obvious and
Radiant Reality of the Living Person, the Divine and Transcendental Truth
The people in the mental hospital were simply a kind
of cartoon version of humanity. While I gave this sermon, which seemed
to me basically insightful, they were aggressively busy with themselves,
shouting, playing with their noses and their genitals, and rehearsing their
bizarre emotional rituals. They were all totally out of relationship to
their environment and to me and to all the other people in the room. Each
one of them was like a planet in a separate universe, with no relationship
to any other planets and universes. The “audience” reeled with this tremendous
movement, like a great ocean. As I look out at you who listen to me today,
I see a relatively orderly gathering. But the audience of mental patients
was not orderly at all. All the heads and bodies were moving constantly.
Each person was a heap of gestures and a chaos of noises and silences,
acting in an eternal moment that is without relationship to anyone or anything
They were the perfect example of “sinners.” In that
eternal and absolute moment of self-involvement they were eternally and
absolutely “unforgiven.” The teaching and the fate of Jesus made no difference
to them. They were unforgiven because they would not be converted in their
attention. They would not, in other words, cease to sin. They would not
turn from self to Life. They would not return their attention to the Absolute
and All-Pervading Reality. They maintained their attention on and in themselves
to the point of madness, the “black hole” of egoic implosion. Most people
have not reached that point. Most people are neurotic and deluded, but
they are conventionally sane. They function within the same ritual order
that most other people acknowledge to be “reality.” Still, everyone is
a “sinner,” exactly as every madman who came to watch me preach.
All of this is perhaps not quite so obvious to the
Sunday morning preacher. When he confronts his dreadfully sane congregation,
it may not seem obvious to him that every one present is sinning atthatvery
moment. It is not really obvious to the preacher that he himself
is also sinning via the ritual of all his thoughts and acts. He and his
congregation have their Jesus, and this makes them orderly, but they have
no awareness of the sinless life of ecstatic conversion to the Living
Truth! Their attention is on themselves, they are full of concerns, and,
together, they believe in the ritual nonsense of ordinary religion, in
order to alleviate the critical anxiety of ordinary fear. They are not
awakened to true “faith,” which is literal God-Communionperhaps because
they have not yet experienced and recognized the stark reality of their
own madness, their own sinfulness.
The deadly tendency of my own body-mind has always
appeared as stark to me as the tendency I could see among the madmen in
the mental hospital. The Life-negative and self-meditating tendency of
this human mechanism has always been obvious to me. From the beginning
of my life, I have been dealing with this literal matter of “sin.” However,
to the usual man or woman, asleep with all the anchormen of the TV news,
the reality and effect of “sin” is not obvious. To the usual man, “sin”
is merely conventionally “illicit” behavior, such as stealing, or alcoholism,
or sexual intercourse, or even enjoyment itself! A false idea of “sin”
only contributes to our fundamental insanity and “sinfulness.” “Sin” is
not merely or even at all a form of behavior that may be socially inappropriate
in a white Christian suburb of puritan America. “Sin” is an anti-spiritual
gesture. It is the Life-negative gesture of self-possession. It is the
contraction of body and psyche from the Life-Principle. It is self-attention
and self-division. It is recoil from Ecstasy, toward the inward obsessiveness
of the defined and separative self.
We are all struggling with this chronic gesture of
reactive contraction, of psycho-physical recoil, of fear, of self-possession,
of self-division, of turning attention away from the Life-Principle and
toward all the idols of egoic experience. Such idolatry is the chronically
negative substance of everyone’s life, even of the highest of lives. It
is even part of the substance of the life of Jesus. (This realization should
not shock us. In his ecstasy, Jesus was identical to the Spirit that is
God, but in his natural state, he was a devotee of God, a mystic, and a
man of his own time. Therefore, Jesus himself declares, in the New Testament,
that it is not Man that is “Good” even if he is Jesusbut only God is
“Good,” and it is to God that every man and woman must be surrendered.)
Even so, in the context of his own moment of time,
Jesus was not an idolator. He angrily denounced the idolatrous trends of
his day. He was part of the movement in that epoch of ancient history in
which all the “great religions” were developed. In that epoch, the cultural
movement of mankind was focused on the realization of the awakening of
the undifferentiated psyche to a position of moral and mystical self-consciousness.
All the religions of that time existed for that purpose. Thus, they were
true in their time. Nevertheless, the concrete mysticism of the ancient
cults, including the “inner circle” of Jesus, represents only a moment
or an early stage in the ultimate drama of human transformation.
There is a kind of worship of idols in the form of
mystical experiences, just as there is in the common idolatry of the scientific
and religious worship of the powers of Nature and all the cultic and secular
frenzy over the Gods we make from words. Once we pass beyond the limits
of our own body-mind, and, therefore, of the ancient concept of mind, we
can see that even the mystical realization preached by the ancient esoteric
cults is, as much as any other form of idolatry, to be transcended as we
mature in Divine Communion. What is offered as the absolute Realization
of Truth from the point of view of the ancient mysticism is simply a more
highly evolved aspect of human knowledge and experience. But the Truth
is a matter of absolute self-transcendence. The Truth is not Realized by
the confinement of attention to any form of experience at all, but only
by the release of attention, and all the gestures of attention, into the
Living Divine Reality.
Therefore, the Truth is the Life-Principle itself,
and the Realization of Truth is never Absolute, since the Living Truth
must necessarily be Realized in every newly arising moment of existence.
The Realization of Truth is an endless Process of constant transcendence
of self (and of the functional limits of Man) through psycho-physical surrender
into the Life-Principle. Man himself will have become evolutionary rubble
long before the experientially reflected Light of God-Realization even
begins to produce an intimate glimmer of the Wonder that is yet to be born
The historical person of Jesus is now beyond the ordinary
reach of mankind. He has gone on to fulfill his own evolutionary destiny
in the realm of Nature. Only the Living God, or the Transcendental Reality
to which Jesus pointed with his entire life and Teaching, remains for us
to embrace in love.
We must surrender to the Life-Principle, the Living
God, the Holy Spirit, the Radiant Self of all beings, Who is the Truth,
the Way, and the Destiny of Man. If you like, you can name that Living
Reality “Jesus,” or the ‘Christ,” but do not threaten and deny the rights
of those who name that same Principle by other names. Every religion is
simply an historical intuition of the One and Only Life-Principle. Therefore,
people in other traditions than the Christian tradition name that same
Reality by other names, such as Yahweh, Allah, Krishna, the Atman, Brahman,
Om, the Buddha, Nirvana, or the Tao. And it is time for us to see beyond
the names we have given to Life. It is time we surrender ourselves bodily
to the Life-Principle and accept compassionate and loving responsibility
for the Wisdom and welfare of all mankind.
“Jesus,” or the “Christ,” is simply a traditional name
or archetypal symbol for the Life-Principleand, therefore, in the symbolic
or archetypal sense, “Jesus” is “God.”
And the universal Life-Current pervades the body of
Man via the central nervous system. Therefore, the central nervous system
is the “Mountain of God,” the “Tree of the World,” the “Savior of the World,”
the Living “Crucifix,” the Spiritual “Law,” the Way, the Truth, and the
Life of Man. And “Jesus” is a traditional name or symbol for the central
nervous system in its direct Communion with the Life-Principleor Man in
his wholeness, crucified, or sacrificed to the Living Spirit.
The Life-Principle manifests as the mind and the bodyor
the “higher” and “lower” parts of Man. But neither mind nor body is the
Truth and the ultimate resort of Man. Only the Life-Principle itself is
the Way, the Truth, and the Like of Man.
The Way of Life is not found in the mind itself or
in the body itself, but only in the transcendence of the total body-mind
through Love-Communion with the Life-Principle. Therefore, the Way of Life
is to be founded on the heart of Man, since mind and body spring from the
Center, or the Life-Spirit of Love, which is at the heart of Man.
The Great Commandment of “Jesus” is to love, trust,
or surrender to God, Who is the Life-Principle. We are obliged by the Law
of Life, to which the central nervous system and the heart of Man are eternally
bound. Each of us must Awaken to his own positive and total functional
connection to the Life-Principle. And then each of us must love, or Radiate
Life to all others, to the same absolute degree that we are all given Life,
or love, in and as ourselves.
Therefore, since we are given absolute Life, we must
consent to e absolute Life in all our relationships. And, since we are
only love, we must consent to transcend all psycho-physical limits in the
exercise of love, or unqualified Like-Radiance.
Man is mortal, and also immortal. The individual apparently
lives and dies, but his existence is not threatened. His psycho-physical
form passes through cycles of birth, and change, and death, but each cycle
is followed by another, so that all the evolutionary lessons may be learned.
This is the understanding that enlightens our perception of Man.
But unenlightened men and women do not perceive or
understand the paradox of Man and the immortality of the cycles of mortality.
Therefore, the usual individual is full of self and fear, and he constantly
seeks to protect himself against ultimate and apparently absolute threats
to his survival. And, because of his self-possessed search for immunity
from frustration, pain, and death, the human individual fails to surrender
to the full cycle of his own existence.
Therefore, unenlightened Man lives recoiled from his
own bodily destiny. Indeed, he lives recoiled from the Principle in which
the body is arising. That Principle is the All-Pervading Radiant Life and
Transcendental Consciousness that is the very Condition and Self of all
Unenlightened Man is recoiled from surrender as
the body and into the Life-Principle. He is self-possessed, recoiled
from Life and even all relationships. He is, unwittingly and even unconsciously,
the enemy of the body, and all relationships, and Life itself. He is Narcissus,
the separated one, the mind-bearer.
Thus, the human world remains tormented and chaotic,
unable to make peace or love. And there is a deep disposition of fear in
us that resists the bodily confession of Life. Therefore, human beauty
and vitality are always tending to be destroyed, by the fear of bodily
death and the inability to surrender bodily to Life.
The civilizations of mankind have to date embraced
cultural principles that reflect the universal fear of death and all the
self-possessed, self-protective, and separative strategies of conventional
consciousness. In the East, the revolt against the body has produced the
more or less ascetic ideals of mystical other-worldliness. In the West,
that same revolt has produced the ideals of victorious manipulation of
the natural realm. In both cases, the revolt and struggle against material
and bodily existence is the root of all cultural adaptation. Man revolts
against mortality by negatively manipulating his own body and the natural
or material realm. Thus, he either separates himself from the body and
the world by resorting to the illusory independence of the inner self or
mind, or else he dominates the body and the world with an unillumined will
to power through knowledge and conventional self-fulfillment.
Even the traditional culture of the West, with its
seemingly indomitable will to embrace the worldly play of Nature, has associated
itself historically with the ultimately other-worldly cult of Christianity.
And no matter how hard Western man tries to “humanize” the religion and
person of Jesus, the more or less ascetic, other-worldly, mystical, self-effacing,
and body-denying core of that religion remains to complicate the typically
self-protecting and world-exploiting tendency of Western-born individuals.
Thus, the West has historically demonstrated an inherently
self-divided, self-destructive, and Life-denying disposition by embracing
a religious ideal that is, at the root, oriental, or Eastern and ultimately
world-renouncing in its character. And conventional religion, in both the
East and the West, has thus provided the historical basis or justification
for negative cultural programs that recoil from the bodily Life-Principle.
Even so, the Life-Principle is enshrined in the idealisms
of Christianity, and Judaism, and Islam, and even certain dimensions of
Hinduism, Buddhism, and other oriental religious cultures. It is simply
that the implications of the truly human relationship to the Life-Principle
have not been consciously acknowledged or implemented in the broad cultural
programs of the traditional East or the traditional West. Thus, conventional
religious culture or idealism tends to be associated with certain positive
moral values (such as truthfulness, honesty, non-stealing, non-killing,
and so forth), but traditional religious culture is also always associated
with an ultimately negative evaluation of bodily existence and the existence
of Man within the realm of Nature. As a result, religious acculturation,
East and West, always carries with it taboos against bodily pleasure, sexual
intensity, and even the will to live a long and healthful life.
The time has come to transcend our ancient acculturation
to the bodily negative recoil from Life. We must transcend the ancient
religions and the ancient cultural taboos. We must be enlightened in our
understanding of the paradox of human mortality and immortality. Therefore,
we must embrace Life bodily and surrender into bodily Communion with the
Living Reality. We must throw away all of our bodily negative, anti-sexual,
anti-Life adaptations. We must realize a truly regenerative bodily love
of Life. It is not that we are to become libertines, but neither are we
to become ascetics. We must surrender bodily to Life, via all our actions.
We must transcend mortal fear and all of its false religious and social
dogmas. We must allow Life to regenerate us in every part, and we must
yield to the evolutionary plan and pattern that is hidden in the body and
in the play of Nature, and which is not at all contained in the mind (since
the mind is only a reflection of previous experience and previous or chronic
limitations of knowledge, perception, and presumption). We must transcend
ourselves through ecstatic, mind-transcending, bodily love of Life, or
direct and whole bodily Communion with the Living God. Only by doing all
of this can Man move beyond the present impasse of worldwide conflict and
We are at the dead end of the ancient ways, and we
are suffering from the inability to move fully into our right, human, and
immortal destiny. Only an enlightened and liberated understanding Of our
old cultural and subhuman presumptions will permit us to yield to Life
bodily, in love, and so move on in the Way of God.
I attest to this with every cell of my body. I affirm
it with all my heart. I plead with you to consider it fully and resort
to a new Way of Life.
The Da Love-Ananda Samrajya Pty Ltd.,
as trustee for The Da Love-Ananda Samrajya,
claims perpetual copyright to all photographs
and the entire Written (and otherwise recorded)
Wisdom-Teaching of Avatar Adi Da Samraj and the Way of the Heart.
©2002 The Da Love-Ananda Samrajya Pty Ltd.,
as trustee for The Da Love-Ananda Samrajya.
All rights reserved.
Used in DAbase by permission.
note to the reader