The Secret Identity of the Holy Spirit of God


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Beyond the Hidden Teachings of Jesus

a talk: Part I


ADI DA SAMRAJ:
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 superficial one 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 of life.

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 of living.

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 God in other words, how to be pervaded by the Divine Life-Current and "lifted up" and transformed.

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 sacrifice not 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 Spirit and they have often been brutally persecuted by the authorities of the conventional Church.

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 in Israel.

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 whole since 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 body but 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 paradox a 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 world it 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.


Note:

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.



 
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