The Gospel to the Hebrews was written in Hebrew not in Greek. The gospel has been lost but a few fragments are quoted by the early church fathers such as Jerome. We know also that gospel went to India. The church historian, the early church historian Eusebius reports that when a Christian missionary went to India he found this gospel was already there. The phrase is from Christ … ‘He who is near me is near the fire’. Now this has occasioned some puzzlement among Christian commentators. Perhaps it means those who come to Christ are in special danger of being tempted by the Devil and falling into Hell. But this is a rather desperate interpretation.
Shankara quoting on the Gita almost seems to be quoting this phrase from the gospel … ‘I, The Lord, am like fire, Just as fire does not protect from cold those who remain at a distance from it but it does protect from cold those who go near to it, So The Lord bestows His Grace on his devotees’. Now another phrase of Christ, in Mark, which again has caused a lot of puzzlement ‘I tell you then, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it and it will be yours’. And the modern commentator to the New English Bible says that he couldn’t have meant this literally. It would take too long now , but in the yogic meditation it’s a recovery of what is a fact but has been overlooked or covered by delusion … as a fire can be partly concealed by smoke. or a clearness of a mirror concealed by dust, or an embryo concealed by the womb.
The yogic meditation is not ‘I am in darkness, give me light’ but as in the practice we had ‘I am light’. The mind says ‘No … darkness’ … but the meditation is ‘I am light’. Christ says ‘I am the light that lights every man’. The Gita says ‘The light even of lights. It is implanted in the heart of everyone’. So the meditation, the yogic meditation is, by meditation to realise a light within . When you pray for light believe that you have received it. Not that you are in darkness and will receive it. Believe that you have received it. And this can only be done when … as Patanjali says … the memory… he has been purified from the memory. The memory will say ‘No, in darkness … the sins I have committed’. When he’s purified from that memory which belongs to the Kingdom of the Interior and the consciousness is on the centre line he passes through the narrow door.
Another puzzle. Jesus said ‘Love one another’. How can you order people to love? He says ‘A new commandment I give to you … that you should love one another’. But we recognise that love can’t be commanded. If it’s done, if the behaviour is made as a commandment , we get the phrase ‘cold as charity’ . The acts of kindness are done but they are done as a duty, reluctantly, resentfully … cold as charity. We know it from the humorous phrase ‘you’ll have it and like it’. This recognises the impossibility of making people like something by order. Love your neighbour as yourself. The Gita explains this. ‘As yourself’ … It has to be through a recognition of a light in the neighbour which is his true self like the light in the yogi which is his true self.
The Gita says ‘He sees who sees the Supreme Lord remaining the same in all beings, the undying in the dying. He who sees the Lord seated the same everywhere does not strike at the self by the self’. To injure another is to strike at the self. We recognise the true self obscurely in some situations in life. When mothers see children, generally little boys, who are amusing themselves by pulling the legs off cockroaches and watching them struggle. The mother doesn’t love the child as it is now but she loves the true essence of the child,. She knows it will outgrow it. This has to be stopped now but the essence of the child is beyond that. When a soldier is wounded and the wound becomes infected and he’s in delirium … and the people who come to look after him … sometimes he’ll strike out at them in delirium. To be struck in the face is not pleasant, it’s the act of an enemy, but the nurses recognise that this is not the real self of the man … his real self … he’s sacrificing himself for his country. When the delirium has passed the noble self will rise again to be seen clearly. They look after him with great kindness, loving the real self, but the delirious self has to be restrained often and he curses at them and strikes them.
‘You are Gods’ said Christ when he was attacked for saying ‘I am the Father. He didn’t say ‘I can say this but you cannot’ … He said ‘No, your own scripture says ‘You are Gods’ and he quoted the passage from Leviticus , You are Gods and children of God’. He taught this godhead in every man. John said ‘None comes down from Heaven who was not in Heaven already. None ascends to Heaven who did not come down from Heaven. The godhead of every man. The Gita says ‘He sees who sees the Supreme Lord the same in all the beings’.
© Trevor Leggett
Posts in this series are:
Part 1: Christianity and Yoga
Part 2: The Gospel to the Hebrews
Part 4: The parable contains a riddle