(from Lauging Man Vol.2 No. 2
[ 1981 ] )
RUCHIRA AVATAR ADI DA SAMRAJ:
We must distinguish between the popular Christian cult
that exists today and the esoteric teaching of Jesus. The popular Christian
cult is not esoteric but exoteric. That is, it is a religious cult associated
with organized institutions, a cult that appeals to masses of ordinary
people by offering a conventional religious solution to the problem of
existence. The cult of Christianity has never developed a consistently
and truly esoteric message.
The primitive Christian church of Jesus’ lifetime and
shortly after was just another cult among many. In those very early days
it was still possible to establish a secret, esoteric, non-popular teaching
The history of modern Christianity, however, begins
when Christianity was accepted as the official religion of the Roman state.
From that time Christianity moved into the West and the rest of the world
through the agency of the state and in the form of an exoteric religious
teaching. The original esoteric and higher spiritual teaching was systematically
eliminated during the development of the Christian cult over the centuries.
The popular Christian cult is a system of beliefs oriented
toward the convention of religious salvation. It is quite a different system
of religious understanding and processes than the esoteric teaching at
the origin of Christianity. In the popular Christian cult Jesus, the individual,
is the dominant offering or message. Salvation or reunion with God and
the advantages that come from that union are offered as a process wherein
one accepts Jesus and the drama of his apparent life as the means of salvation,
or a positive personal destiny in which one is among the elect, those who
are rewarded at the end of time, at the second coming or beyond it, in
heaven, or even during this life. The goods of life, the blessings of God,
come to those who believe.
The basic message of this exoteric cult is that Jesus
is God, that Jesus has always been God, that Jesus is in fact the God who
spoke to Moses and who is described in the Old Testament. He is simply
God, who, at one point in human history, incarnated in human form. The
teaching of Jesus, apart from his moral message, is not of any great significance
within the exoteric cult. Rather, what is significant is that he is God
and appeared on Earth, that he survived his death and returned to his God-state,
and that in the process of dying and resurrecting and returning to the
God-state he paid for the karmasor in Western parlance, the sinsof mankind.
Therefore, in order to become associated with God,
to be free of the condemnation that comes from one’s sins, or karma, or
accumulated tendencies, one must accept that there is God, that Jesus is
God, and that Jesus has paid for your sins, thereby rendering unnecessary
your suffering now and in the future. One who simply accepts this dogma
can be born without ultimate negative consequences. One need only believe
that Jesus performed the ceremony of birth, death, resurrection, and ascension
that has saved you.
This is the basic exoteric message of the popular Christian
cult. It is not a message about life in the Spirit or any higher form of
life. It is a message to egos, to born beings, that if you will believe
in Jesus, you will be granted a very high destiny that may be revealed
to some degree while you are alive. In other words, by believing in God,
by feeling yourself close to God and therefore to God’s blessings while
alive, you can probably expect good things to happen to you.
A kind of mysticism also developed within the cult
of Christianity, but if we examine the esotericism that seems to have sprung
from Jesus and the gathering around him, it is difficult to perceive a
direct relationship between what that esotericism must have been and the
development over the centuries of Christian mysticism, particularly within
the Catholic and Eastern Orthodox traditions. The mysticism that has appeared
within the greater cult of Christianity is largely an ascetic mystical
tradition, not at all akin to what must have been the esotericism of the
early Christian community.
Ascetic mysticism has appeared within religious groups
all over the world since ancient times, particularly among oriental mystical
traditions. Such mysticism expresses an ascetic point of view toward God-realization,
wherein this world and the body are viewed as negative forces. Mystical
association with God in these traditions is basically a matter of inverting
attention in order to pass beyond desiring and attachment in this world,
even beyond perception of this world, into the domain of the immortal soul
wherein one exists as an immortal spark of the Divine.
By identifying with that interior immortality, one
attempts to escape this world and enter into contemplative union with the
spiritual world, the God-world, while alive, passing on to that world for
eternity at death.
Thus, there are two features of the exoteric Christian
tradition: the idealism of salvation in this world, salvation as a mortal
individual, as one of the elect who enjoys a relationship to the ultimate
Savior who can change the world, and the ascetic mystical traditionembraced
mainly by uncommon individuals in the Christian cult, although it is also
reflected in certain features of the popular cult. These two dimensions
of Christianity developed from two features of the ancient world in which
Christianity arose. The ideal of the perfection of this world is a reflection
of the Judaism of the time. The ideal of mysticism is a development of
the tradition of ascetic mysticism that could be found in the Hellenistic
culture and the ancient oriental influences of that time and times since.
I propose that neither of these two features of Christianity
is directly an expression of the esotericism of Jesus. The true esotericism
of Jesus insofar as it can be deduced by studying the extant texts and
histories, relates more to the spiritual transcendentalism of the great
cultures of the Adepts. Thisworldly religious idealism and ascetical mysticism
are features of human culture that appear all over the world and are not
primarily expressions of the influence of Adepts in history. The tradition
and the teaching of the great Adepts are not the same as these two oriental
and occidental traditions.
To support this conclusion, I will refer to a few passages
in the Bible. First, in Genesis 2:5, we find the following description
At the time when Yahweh God made earth and heaven there was as yet
no wild bush on the earth nor had any wild plant sprung up, for Yahweh
God had not sent rain on the earth, nor was there any man to till the soil.
However, a flood was rising from the earth and watering all the surface
of the soil. Yahweh God fashioned man of dust from the soil. Then he breathed
into his nostrils a breath of life, and thus man became a living being.
This description of Man is fundamental to an understanding
of the true esotericism of primitive Christianity. The idea of Man as a
being containing an immortal soul, which must get out of this world
and go back to its true home, is not native to either Judaism or early
Christianity. It is an Oriental description of Man that appeared in the
Hellenistic culture at the time of Jesus. It was not characteristic of
primitive Judaism. Thus, the Old Testament does not describe Man in an
alien world that he must escape. Rather, Man is himself made from the stuff
of this world. He is a living being because the Breath of Life has been
breathed into him and pervades him.
We might consider other interpretations of this passage,
but, in the terms of the Old Testament, Man does not contain a soul. He
is a soul, a living being. “Soul” means “breath” or the breathed being,
in Hebrew the “ruach” of the esotericism of the Jews. Man as a soul is
conceived in human terms. The communicated esotericism of Jesus presumed
this Old Testament description of Man.
There is much very ordinary talk in the New Testament,
including moral tales and so forth. Only in a few passages can we get a
feeling for the esoteric teaching. Among those passages, there appears
in the Gospel of John, chapter three, an account of Jesus’communicating
the esoteric teaching to someone. “Esoteric” means “secret”, and here we
have an example of Jesus secretly teaching someone, a man named Nicodemus,
who comes to him at night:
There was at that place a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a
leader of the Jews. He came at night to Jesus.
In other words, he came secretly. He could not be seen
coming to a teacher who was considered to be a heretic. Such association
was dangerous for an official of the synagogue. Therefore, Nicodemus came
at night to Jesus:
And he said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher sent from
God; for no man can do these miracles that you are doing unless God is
This bit of acknowledgment was commonly added to the
accounts of Jesus because it was not then presumed that workers of miracles
were from God but rather that they were some sort of anti-Christ:
Jesus answered saying to him, “Truly, truly I say to you, if a man
is not born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Nicodemus said to
him, “How can an old man be born again? Can he enter again a second time
into his mother’s womb and be born?” Jesus answered saying to him, “Truly,
truly I say to you, if a man is not born of water and the Spirit, he cannot
enter into the kingdom of God. What is born of flesh is flesh, and what
is born of the Spirit is Spirit.”
I will come back to this line. But he goes on:
Do not be surprised because I have told you all must be born again.
The wind blows where it pleases and you hear its sound but you do not know
from where it comes and where it goes. Such is every man who is born of
the Spirit.” Nicodemus answered saying to him: “How can these things be?”
Jesus answered, “You are a teacher of Israel and yet you do not understand
these things? Truly, truly I say to you, we speak only what we know and
we testify only to what we have seen and yet you do not accept our testimony.
If I have told you about earthly things and you do not believe, how then
will you believe me if I tell you about heavenly things?”
Here is a fragment of primitive esoteric teaching,
an example of Jesus secretly teaching somebody from the official temple
who asked for the “real stuff.” Nicodemus approached Jesus as if to say,
“You are not in public now. You can let me know what is really happening.”
And Jesus gave him a bit of esoteric wisdom.
In this passage Jesus says that the secret of realizing
his teaching is to be born again. Today there is a great deal of emphasis
on being “born again” in the Christian tradition, but the born-again dogma
of popular cultism is not the same as Jesus’ secret Teaching. To be “born
again” today is, for some, a genuine religious awakening. But for most
people it is to accept the exoteric message about Jesus, to believe in
Jesus as God who has incarnated in order to perform a bodily sacrifice
that has paid for our sins, and to look forward to being saved when Jesus
appears again. One is thus born again in the sense that one is no longer
troubled by life as it is. One’s hope has been reborn. The born-again movement
is basically about awakening to the conventional consolation of exoteric
Jesus, however, taught a spiritual process. The word
“Spirit” is used several times in the sequence of remarks documented in
this passage. “If a man is not born of water and the Spirit, he cannot
enter into the kingdom of God. What is born of flesh is flesh, and what
is born of the Spirit is Spirit.” In the passage from Genesis that we considered
earlier, Man is shown being born of the Spirit. He is brought to life,
given existence, through the Spirit, which is breathed into him. Likewise,
in the beginning of the Gospel of John, Jesus talks about God as Spirit
and says that God must be worshipped in Spirit and in truth. The esotericism
and the religious opportunity communicated by Jesus is a religion of the
Spirit, a religion of conversion from the conventional, materially human
point of view of existence to a point of view of existence in which everything
is seen to arise as a result of the Divine Spirit, to be infused by the
Divine Spirit, to be identical with that Spirit.
What is born of the Spirit is Spirit. The process of
esotericism communicated by Jesus is about conversion to an entirely spiritualized
point of view:
“If a man is not born of water and the Spirit, he cannot
enter the kingdom of God.” What does the water refer to? In the first chapter
of John, John the Baptizer says: “I baptize with water, but among you stands
One whom you do not know. He is the One who comes after me and is ahead
of me, the One even the strings of whose shoes I am not good enough to
untie.” And later John says: “I come to baptize with water, but the One
who comes after me baptizes with fire.” John the Baptizer is associated
with baptism by water, yet Jesus says you must be born of water and the
The religious process of the primitive community of
Christianity was a process of two stages of baptism. One was baptism with
water. Those who came to Jesus’ disciples and to Jesus personally were
confronted by a kind of Spirit-religion preaching, and, if they responded,
they were baptized by water. Baptismby water is part of the ancient tradition
of sacramental worship. Water cleanses. To be baptized by water is to be
converted on the basis of “hearing” the spiritual message. The other baptism
was baptism with fire. In the ancient traditions of sacred ritual, fire
is the element identified with the Spirit. Jesus is saying that we must
be baptized with water and we must be baptized with the Spirit. The process
whereby we are born again is realized through the process of baptism in
the religious or esoteric cult of Jesus.
Thus, the process that Jesus recommended is to “hear”
the teaching that God is Spirit, that we come from God, that if we fully
realize that we are born from the Spirit, then we are Spirit, and that
our life must therefore be based on the presumption that we are Spirit,
that God is Spirit, that we commune with God spiritually, and that existence
is a spiritual process that continues through time after baptism. If you
responded to this teaching, the first thing you would do, having been converted,
having heard this teaching, is to repent of your entire point of view and
all the actions you have performed based on the presumption of the flesh,
the presumption that you are just a mortal being. You must repent of everything
you did and thought and now think that relates to a non-Spirit view of
existence. You must be converted from your limited, mortal point of view.
If you could hear Jesus’ teaching to the point of such
conversion, you would be baptized with water. You would repent, you would
be washed, you would pass through a sacramental ritual associated with
this change. We may presume that this sacrament was practiced in the circle
that surrounded Jesus. In addition the disciples preached and demonstrated
certain kinds of spirit-power that were effective in converting people.
Those who were converted, who would respond to that message, were then
baptized or washed. They would from that point assume the condition to
consider the teaching about the Spirit and to change their way of life.
Perhaps the fundamental orientation to which they were
led is summarized elsewhere in the Gospels as well as in the Old Testament.
That is that we must love God with every aspect of the being, not just
with the inner soul, but with body, mind, action, everything. We must relate
to God through love in all these areas of existence, and to all beings.
Baptism with water, a necessary step in one’s ultimate transformation,
confirmed the individual in all these changes.
Water baptism was followed by baptism of fire, or the
Spirit. And it is to be presumed, since Nicodemus is later named among
the circle of Jesus, that Nicodemus had in fact been converted and baptized
and that he was, at least secretly, part of the inner circle of Jesus.
Jesus was described by John the Baptizer as a baptizer who was greater
than himself. John’s job, as probably the job of others, was to bring respondents
through the process of repentance and accepting the conditions of practice
and to perform the priestly ritual of water baptism. Water baptism, however,
is only the first step in one’s conversion. Presumably, then, there was
another, secret form of baptism.
The Spirit baptism is not the mystical affair communicated
in the ascetic, mystical tradition of the Orient and of present-day Christianity
and other religions. Man, as a living being and therefore as a saved being,
is viewed, in the true esotericism of Jesus’ teaching, in his human terms,
in his born terms, as a physical individual. Thus, Jesus did not teach
that you must discover that you are an immortal soul, a spark of the Divine,
that you must return to the Divine. He said that you must realize that
you are born of the Spirit and that you are Spirit therefore. God is Spirit.
Everything comes from God. Therefore, everything is Spirit. The nature
of the universe is Spiritnot matter in the conventional sense of something
dark, separate, and damned.
However, to speculate about this baptizing ritual,
we can refer to a book called The Secret Gospel,
by Morton Smith. It is a study of a fragment of an ancient document. A
portion of a letter from a man named Clement of Alexandria, who lived in
the first century or so after the presumed time of Jesus, was found on
the back of another document from that time. Clement was one of the elders
of the early Church and therefore an initiate into what would at that time
still have been the esoteric tradition around Jesus, before Christianity
was adopted as the official Roman religion. Only a portion of Clement’s
letter survives, but a sufficient portion to indicate that he was describing
a form of secret baptism.
I will read this fragment to you.
From the letters of most holy Clement, author
of the Stromateis. To Theodore: You did well in silencing the unspeakable
teachings of the Carpocratians. For these are the “wandering stars” referred
to in the prophecy, who wander from the narrow road of the commandments
into a boundless abyss of the carnal and bodily sins. For, priding themselves
in knowledge, as they say, “of deep [things] of Satan,” they do not know
that they are casting themselves away into “the nether world of the darkness”
of falsity, and, boasting that they are free, they become slaves of servile
desires. Such [men] are to be opposed in all ways and altogether. For even
if they should say something true, one who loves the truth should not,
even so, agree with them. For not all true [things] are the truth, nor
should that truth which [merely] seems true according to human opinions
be preferred to the true truth, that according to the faith.
Now the [things] they keep saying about the divinely inspired Gospel
according to Mark, some are altogether falsifications, and others, even
if they do contain some true [elements], nevertheless are not reported
truly. For the true [things], being mixed with inventions, are falsified,
so that, as the saying [goes], even the salt loses its savor.
[As for] Mark, then, during Peter’s stay in Rome he wrote [an account
of] the Lord’s doings, not, however declaring all [of them], nor yet hinting
at the secret [ones], but selecting those he thought most useful for increasing
the faith of those who were being instructed. But when Peter died as a
martyr, Mark came over to Alexandria, bringing both his own notes and those
of Peter, from which he transferred to his former book the things suitable
to whatever makes for progress toward knowledge [gnosis]. [Thus] he composed
a more spiritual Gospel for the use of those who were being perfected.
Nevertheless, he yet did not divulge the things not to be uttered, nor
did he write down the hierophantic teaching of the Lord, but to the stories
already written he added yet others and, moreover, brought in certain sayings
of which he knew the interpretation would, as a mystagogue, lead the hearers
into the innermost sanctuary of that truth hidden by seven [veils]. Thus,
in turn, he prearranged matters, neither grudgingly nor incautiously, in
my opinion, and, dying, he left his composition to the church in Alexandria,
where it even yet is most carefully guarded, being read only to those who
are being initiated into the great mysteries.
But since the foul demons are always devising destruction for the
race of men, Carpocrates, instructed by them and using deceitful arts,
so enslaved a certain presbyter of the church in Alexandria that he got
from him a copy of the secret Gospel, which he both interpreted according
to his blasphemous and carnal doctrine and, moreover, polluted, mixing
with the spotless and holy words utterly shameless lies. From this mixture
is drawn off the teaching of the Carpocratians.
To them, therefore, as I said ahove, one must never give way, nor,
when they put forward their falsifications, should one concede that the
secret Gospel is by Mark, but should even deny it on oath. For, “Not all
true [things] are to be said to all men.” For this [reason] the Wisdom
of God, through Solomon, advises, “Answer the fool from his folly,” teaching
that the light of the truth should be hidden from those who are mentally
blind. Again it says, “From him who has not shall be taken away, ” and,
“Let the fool walk in darkness. “But we are “children of light,” having
been illuminated by “the dayspring” of the Spirit of the Lord “from on
high,” and “Where the Spirit of the Lord is,” it says, “there is liberty,”
for ”All things are pure to the pure.”
To you, therefore, I shall not hesitate to answer the [questions]
you have asked, refuting the falsifications by the very words of the Gospel.
For example, after “And they were in the road going up to Jerusalem,” and
what follows, until “After three days he shall arise,” [the secret Gospel]
brings the following [material] word for word:
He is quoting here from the secret Gospel he refers to. This particular
quote relates to the secret, spiritual baptism. This is the quote from
the secret Gospel of Mark:
“And they come into Bethany, and a certain woman, whose brother had
died, was there. And, coming, she prostrated herself before Jesus and says
to him, ‘Son of David, have mercy on me’ But the disciples rebuked her.
And Jesus, being angered, went off with her into the garden where the tomb
was, and straightway a great cry was heard from the tomb. And going near
Jesus rolled away the stone from the door of the tomb. And straightway,
going in where the youth was, he stretched forth his hand and raised him,
seizing his hand. But the youth, looking upon him, loved him and began
to beseech him that he might be with him. And going out of the tomb they
came into the house of the youth, for he was rich. And after six days Jesus
told him what to do andin the evening the youth comes to him, wearing
a linen cloth over [his] naked [body]. And he remained with him that night
tor Jesus taught him the mystery of the kingdom of God. And thence, arising,
he returned to the other side of the Jordan”.
After these words follows the text” And James and John come to him
” and all that section. But naked [man] with naked [man] and the other
things ahout which you wrote are not found.
And after the [words], “And he comes into Jericho” [the secret Gospel]
adds only “And the sister of the youth whom Jesus loved and his mother
and Salome were there and Jesus did not receive them”.
But the many other [things about] which you both wrote both seem
to be and are falsifications.
Now the true explanation and that which accords with the true philosophy
. . .
Here the text broke off in the middle of the page.
This letter documents the fact that in the first century
or so, the Christian community was made up of many sects all with different
points of view and that there was at that time an esoteric teaching. As
Clement writes, not everything was said to everybody. A Gospel was written
by somebody called Markperhaps the same person who wrote the Gospel that
appears in the New Testament. This was perhaps an original form of the
New Testament. That Gospel about which Clement writes was a secret Gospel.
In other words, it contained certain elements of the secret teaching that
were communicated only to a few.
Apparently this Carpocrates deceived the presbyter
in the church at Alexandria and obtained a copy of it. Thereafter he went
about preaching interpretations that were his own. This is Clement’s complaint
in his letter to Theodore. He writes identifying that there was a secret
teaching and at least one book, perhaps others, that contains the secret
teaching, although perhaps other aspects of the secret teaching were verbally
or secretly communicated. As Clement suggests, even this secret Gospel
did not contain everything.
Apart from the account of miracles, the secret Gospel
quoted by Clement describes how an individual was initiated into the mystery
of the kingdom of God or the secret teaching. In a very short passage are
described some of the circumstances that surrounded such secret initiation.
“And in the evening the youth came to him wearing a linen cloth. (He was
naked except for this cloth.) And it was at night. And he stayed with Jesus
that night. And Jesus taught him the mystery of the kingdom of God.”
Perhaps the heretic Carpocrates had been speculating
some sort of sexual relationship to Jesus, you see. That is probably the
vulgar things that Clement refers to. Apart from the politics of the Church,
this passage corroborates the theory that there was an esoteric teaching
given by Jesus and furthermore describes something of the circumstances
in which the secret teaching was given. In this case the individual actually
came to Jesus, having had some previous instruction. For some reason he
was naked except for a simple white cloth, which apparently signified repentance
and purity. The individual came at night, one of the reasons for which
was surely secrecy. He stayed that night with Jesus, who taught him the
mystery of the kingdom of God.
To be taught the mystery of the kingdom of God is to
be baptized in the Spirit. The mystery of the kingdom of God is the metaphor
for the high and secret teaching of Jesus. As Jesus said to Nicodemus in
the passage we read earlier,”lf a man is not born of water and the Spirit,
he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” The mystery of how one attains
the kingdom of God is what the secret teaching and the secret baptism is
all about. So somehow or other, in secret, one was born again, one was
In the Old Testament and, particularly, the New Testament
are many references to the Spirit and to the kingdom of God. Clearly the
New Testament was basically selected from many streams of instruction
that were extant in the early Church, and then modified and edited over
time according to the point of view of the Church as it developed as a
cult. But in this letter, in the words of an early patriarch of the inner
circle of the Christian community, is described a secret dimension to the
teaching that was not outwardly communicated and not therefore present
in the New Testament as it now exists. Beyond even the secret written teaching
there was also a secret form of communication and initiation. Clearly the
teaching that appears in the New Testament itself was about realizing the
kingdom of God. That process is viewed in esoteric terms, in terms of mystery.
It was about being born again in the Spirit, going through the process
of baptism, first water baptism and then Spirit or fire baptism.
Clearly baptism by the Spirit existed. It is referred
to often in the New Testament, but it is not described there. Clearly it
existed. Many early figures in the Christian Church refer to it, including
Clement in this particular example. Thus, we conclude that there was an
esoteric inner circle at the time of Jesus, and it was this baptism by
the Spirit that was the core of his activity. However, it is not at all
the core of the exoteric teaching of Christianity as it soon developed
and persists today. You may not go to the Pope or to some high individual
within the Christian Church and receive from him this Spirit baptism. The
leaders of the Church today do not know about the Spirit baptism. It has
been lost. At least it is certainly not openly referred to anywhere. It
may be hidden away somewhere in the Vatican librarywho knows?
STUDENT: Can we gather from this that the Spirit baptism
was already fundamentally developed before the time of Jesus? Does it point
to a lineage that preceded Jesus?
ADI DA: You cannot invent the Spirit, but you can relate
to God in all kinds of ways. Thus, the world is filled with all kinds
of cultural media for associating with the Divine. Some of those media
are spiritual and others are not. Some are just worldly. These look toward
improving Man’s circumstance. They view Man not as a spiritual being, but
as a mortal, human, fleshy individual. Thus, idealisms tend to be addressed
by most exoteric religions. Other religious cultural movements seem to
be spiritual in some way because they relate to secret mystical teachings
and uncommon experiences of what might be presumed to be the Divine.
Even so, they do not often teach the total conversion
of the individual in the Spirit. Rather, they usually call you to conceive
of yourself as an immortal soul, somehow situated deeply within this human
appearance, that natively exists in a spiritual world, and if you can invert
yourself from this carnal, psycho-physical life to a state of identification
with the immortal soul, then as the immortal soul you can contemplate and
ultimately rise up to the spiritual world.
There are two common conventional dimensions of persuasion
in the world that are associated with religions. One is ascetical and mystical
and relates to the being as an immortal soul. The other is worldly and
idealistic and relates to the religious message as proposed by the exoteric
cult of Christianity. But there also exists true esotericism, and we can
see that Jesus’ teaching is clearly related to that dimension of spirituality,
however indirectly we try to deduce its description. We can see that such
true esotericism was what he was about. Likewise, we can see other individuals
in human time who are related to the same spiritual esotericism, which
is quite a different thing from ascetical mysticism and worldly idealism.
Not only can we point to historical examples of Adepts
who have in one fashion or another developed this transcendental spiritual
point of view, but, because all of this is about the living, actual, real
Divine, it is possible that we ourselves, in present time, may enter into
Communion with the spiritual Reality. On the basis of the realization that
is granted through such Communion we can understand the life and teaching
of other Adepts in history, like Jesus.
The true Teaching is not simply to be read about. It
can be realized in the present. It is not just ancient dogma. It is a description
of a process, a reality, that is eternal and therefore present and into
which we may enter. Having entered into it through our persuasion, orientation,
experience, we can understand what the disciples were up to in that primitive
setting around Jesuspresuming, of course, that he actually existed! And
we can also see the likeness of that process we have realized in other
traditions and in other Adepts than Jesus. Therefore, by examining the
universal tradition of spiritual transcendentalism, we can obtain a fuller
historical picture of the esoteric ideal, which is different from the worldly
as well as the ascetical-mystical idea. It is a total conversion of Man
in his totality into a spiritual realization.
Because of Christianity’s association with ascetical
mysticism, it tends to belong to that tradition that always views Spirit
over against matter, Spirit as an alternative to the body. In talking to
Nicodemus, Jesus does not discuss the Spirit as an alternative to the flesh.
Rather, he talks about Man’s realizing that he is Spirit. He is not talking
about inversion towards that part of you that is a “soul,” but about realizing
the spiritual nature of everything altogether. Everything is breathed alive
by God. Everything is infused with the Divine, which is Spirit and which
pervades everything. This living Person is the Condition of everything.
STUDENT: Master, you said that water is associated
with hearing the Teaching, the first form of baptism. And you have said
that in the second form of baptism, the Spirit baptism, one sees the transcendental
influence incarnate as the Spiritual Master. I was thinking that perhaps
the same revelation was given in Jesus’ company.
ADI DA: He certainly was the primary instrument of
initiation in that circumstance. Realized individuals always are, but then,
through initiating others and requiring others to live that initiation
and realize the process, they make others likewise capable of spiritual
initiation. Thus, what is fundamental to the spiritual process is not Jesus
as an independent being, but the spiritual realization of God. Anyone so
initiated can ultimately develop the characteristics that the Spiritual
Master himself displays.
The initiation would have involved not merely spending
time with the Adept, with an individual who was spiritually realized, but
being baptized by that individual. One would be instructed, but one would
also be baptized. And the transference of Spirit Power, baptism by the
Spirit Power, was communicated in secret.
That baptism is fundamentally what we know as shaktipat,
but it should also be viewed in much larger terms than the conventional
shaktipat of the Hindu traditions. As it is described in the mystical traditions,
shaktipat is generally associated with the ascetic, oriental, mystical
point of view and therefore generally related to inversion and dissociation
from this world, from the body, from Life-positive activity, from the transfiguration
and transformation of the body, and bodily Communion with the Divine. But
shaktipat as the transmission of spiritual influence, via the internal
mechanism of the nervous system as well as the total transformation of
the being, is certainly what was communicated by Jesus and by his disciples
who became baptizers as a result of his initiating them.
The Spirit baptism was the transference of the breathed
Spirit Presence. Just as it says in the Old Testament, this Presence, this
Spirit, that is breathed into the being is its source, its identity, its
condition. It is felt and realized bodily, psychically, altogether Realized
through initiation. Once you have been converted to the Spirit and confronted
by the Spirit, and once you know how to breathe and feel and commune with
the Spirit, then life becomes the endless process of transformation in
the Spirit. Such life is the kingdom of God, then. One enters the kingdom
of God through Spirit realization, through conversion and initiation, and
thereafter lives in the kingdom of God.
Thus, the baptism implied in this Christian esotericism
is one of conversion, through “hearing,” to realizing existence as Spirit,
existence inhering in Spirit. The life that follows the water and the fire
is the life in the Spirit, the life in which the Spirit is the Condition,
the controller of the destiny, the transformer of your existence. Such
life is different from the mortal ideal of God’s coming as some man and
accomplishing some great political change on Earth. It is also a different
thing from inverting yourself into the immortal spark within. It is a matter
of existing in the Spirit, of seeing that everything exists in the Spirit,
of communing with the Spirit, worshipping God in the Spirit, living in
the spiritual process, living as the Spirit itself, realizing the body-mind
as a single thing existing in the Spirit and as Spirit. By thus entering
into the kingdom of Godthe kingdom of God being simply existence in the
Condition of Spirit, the Condition of Godby entering into that spiritual
realization, one enters into existence as a process of transformation in
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