The Cult of Jesus

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Prophetic Wisdom about the Myths and Idols of mass culture and popular religious cultism, the new priesthood of scientific and political materialism, and the secrets of Enlightenment hidden in the body of Man.


Beyond the Outer or Public Cult of Jesus


But the time will come indeed, this is the hour when 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 writings even though they may ultimately fail as an historical basis for exoteric religion certainly 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 Jesus 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 them.

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 Man a 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 Beloved they 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 converts those 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-Principle the “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 baptism the 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, was as are all others who share in his secret the “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 and disciples.

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 tradition since 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 Alive because 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.