Beyond the Outer or Public Cult of Jesus – A Call for the Radical Reformation of Christianity – Da Free John



A Call for the Radical Reformation of Christianity
Da Free John
1982


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 Source or Father of the
world, in Spirit 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
surrendering into the Life Spirit, and our worship must be
founded in right understanding, or Truth.

(Master Da Free John’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 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 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 lather’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,-f 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.

* Allegedly the shroud or
burial cloth in which Jesus was buried,,) is now preserved
in Turin, Italy. The shroud bears the “negative” image of a
man’s body, apparently imprinted on the cloth by a
combination of body heat and chemical activity. (The
“negative” displays a “positive” likeness when reversed by
photography.) Certain kinds of evidence on the shroud appear
to support the theory that Jesus was not dead when placed in
the tomb.

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.”


“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”


 

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-physcial 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 and
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 traditions. 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.


“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).”


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 system). 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 in John’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).


“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.”


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
after 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, 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 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 some
kind of action, including touch, or 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.)


“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.”


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 Spirit as well as 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 ,9f
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 Eternal Spirit, and,
therefore, the Spirit would necessarily remain 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 predominates 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
Consciousness, the true Heart of the world and the Truth of
It 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.

(Master Da Free John’s expository translation of
chapter 1, verses 1-5, of the Gospel of John the
Beloved).

 



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