Even if the Master refuses to take or accept some lofty title and is no power-seeker, there's still a high risk that the disciple's devotion to him personally will prove so addictive that it stops with him.
One might almost say that the less personable the Master the better, because the less likely to hold the disciple up a long way short of God. (I'm thinking of St John of the Cross and St Vincent de Paul, neither of whom radiated saintliness.)
It's all very well for the Master to insist (one hopes with perfect sincerity), "If you aren't willing or aren't ready to surrender to God, at least surrender to me, as a first step towards that true goal of all devotion." Too often it has proved the last step in that direction, and the poor disciple is stuck on the roadside indefinitely, a long way from Home.
This is especially so if s/he's Christian, in an idolatrous worship of the human Jesus -- heedless of his warning that only God is good, addressed to the man who was rash enough to call him 'Good Master'. This title, please note, falls a long way short of Maharaj or Great King, to say nothing of Bhagwan or God.
J J Ollier -- a highly regarded spiritual director in the 16th century -- had good reason to say "(Even) the sight of Jesus in his humanity can be an impediment to the sight of God in His purity."
~ From: To Be and Not To Be, by Douglas Harding
Like a huge, clear, flawless diamond hidden in a clay pot, there is a fabulous treasure within us all which Jesus knew about and wanted everyone to discover. He knew that while the fragile clay pot would only last a relatively short time, the treasure within would never cease to be and that this was our real Self.
Jesus said that this treasure within us all (and actually that contains us all) was like a great and perfect pearl. Of course, this treasure is not really an object or a thing, but rather pure beingness or Spirit. In Jesus this treasure shone with dazzling brightness and was referred to as the Christ.
We can uncover the shining of this treasure within ourselves and live with new freedom in its light by attending to the deeper teachings of Jesus about our essential and eternal Christ nature.
To understand correctly the teachings of Jesus, as reported in the biblical and other gospels, we have to distinguish between the finite form or person of Jesus and the infinite formless Christ. These are not separate entities but two dimensions, as it were, of the one human-being.
In the case of the human-being known as 'Jesus of Nazareth', it could be said that the man, Jesus, represents the human dimension and that the Spirit or Christ within him, represents the being dimension.
Of course, what was true in the case of the historical human-being, Jesus, is true for all human-beings, whether they are aware of it or not.
We all have humanness AND beingness, so to speak, though most people are preoccupied all their lives with the human dimension alone.
It has become common over the centuries since the New Testament emerged for secular commentators and even devout Christians to use the names Jesus and Christ interchangeably, as if they both refer to the same thing -- they don't.
In the reported statements of Jesus in the gospels, he obviously used words such as "I", "me" and "my", but these words did not always refer to the finite form that made up his humanity -- sometimes those same words referred to his infinite formless beingness or Christ nature.
Also, when Jesus used the words, "you", "your" and "yours", he was sometimes addressng the human dimension of his hearers and at other times to their being dimension ... with the very same words.
Jesus was very much aware of 'his' essential Christ nature, the all pervasive timeless unconditioned Self or Christ in everyone, as Consciousness Itself.
The following are some New Testament references to the Christ as the Self (the subject "I" Consciousness) of all.
"All things were made by him, and without him was not anything made that was made." John I: 3
Here the creation is not only created (manifested) by the Christ, but all creation throughout all time is acknowledged to be a projection of the Christ, the Conscious Principle "I", as "without him was not anything made that was made".
'In him was life, and the life was the light of men." John I: 4
"And the light shineth in the darkness; and the darkness (the mind) comprehendeth it not." John I: 5
'The darkness' spoken of here is the finite human mind, which cannot know the true and imageless Self, the All Knower, and cannot see the Seer, which lights it.
"That was the true Light, which lighteth every person that is born into this world." John I: 9
Who the Christ is said to be is Life, and that Life was the Light (Consciousness) of "every man (and woman) that is born into this world."
In the following words of Jesus, it will become clear that these are statements from someone, who, having realized their essential nature or true Self, no longer has a sense of "I" in relation to the body/mind/personality, but abides as and is "Consciousness Itself".
"I am the Light of the world: he that followeth Me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the Light of Life." John 8: 12
"No man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven." John 3: 13
From these scripture quotes and the quotes to follow, we will see that the Christ is defined clearly as the Self of all, and that Jesus' teachings are to redirect each listener that can hear him, to go beyond the mind, or to recognize and abide as the Self, or to take their stand in the truth and abide in what I Am, the Self.
By comparison with the ancient sages and magi from the East, one might think from reading these passages that Jesus always speaks as the Atman and of the Father as Brahman, or as the Self realized being One in relation to the All pervasive and timeless Self (the "I AM THAT I AM"). Jesus states:
"Verily, verily, I say unto you, before Abraham was, I AM." John 8: 58
One can see from the way Jesus always refers to the Father (the Christ), as the doer of the miracles and all that he says, that regardless of his apparent actions, that he has no sense of being a doer, that all he says and does just happens, because he abides in the Father (the Christ).
Consider the following passage, where Jesus is speaking to the apostles in John Ch 14:
"I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life: No man cometh to the Father but by Me." (verse 6)
"If you had known me, you should have known my Father also: and from hence forth you know him and have seen him." (verse 7)
"Philip said to Jesus, 'Lord, show us the Father, and it is sufficient for us.'" (verse 8)
To which Jesus replied:
"Have I been so long with you, yet you have still not known me, Philip? He that has seen me has seen the Father; therefore, how do you say, 'Show us the Father'?". (verse 9)
"Believe you not that I am in the Father (the Christ) and the Father in me? The words I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwells in me -- he (or, It) does the works." (verse 11)
"Believe me that I am in the Father (the Christ), and the Father in me, or else believe me for the very works' sake." (verse 12)
"I and my Father are one." John 10: 30
Explaining how his truth is in fact the truth of all, Jesus states in John Ch 15:
"Abide in me (the Christ), and I in you. As a branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can you, except you abide in me." (verse 4)
"I am the vine, you are the branches ... apart from me (Source) you can do nothing." (verse 5)
In John Chapter 17, Jesus prays to the Father (the Christ) on behalf of the apostles, that He sanctify them by His Truth, and that they might be (consciously) one with the Father and know as He knew always, "I AM THAT I AM".
Here, we can see that Jesus' state is always one with the Father. It's quite clear that Jesus' permanent abiding state (when He says "where I am") is unrelated to the world. He asks:
"Father, I will that they also, whom thou has given me, be with me where I am, that they may behold my glory, which you have given me: For you have loved me from before the foundation of the world." (verse 24)
Jesus' unwavering recognition that He (the form) and God (the Formless) are one in Spirit gives validity to our own sense of truth as spirit and body etc (being a particular manifestation of Spirit):
"God is a Spirit, and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth." (John 4: 24)
Throughout scripture, the attributes ascribed to God are also those of Christ Consciousness or Pure Awareness -- to be all knowing (omniscient), all powerful (omnipotent), and everywhere or exclusively present (omnipresence).
In Revelations, Ch I: 8, the Christ tells John:
"I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the ending" sayeth the Lord, "which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty."
Probably the best summation of the possibility, potential, or promise that the Christ offers to the Western world is in the following statement of Jesus from John 16: 33.
"These things I (Jesus) have spoken to you that in me (your 'Christ' nature) you might have peace. In the world you shall have tribulations: But be of good cheer; I (the Christ) have overcome (conquered) the world."
Actually, not to see Jesus as the personification of the non-dual Christ is to turn all he says into demagoguery, to make him into another zealot of the time, the founder of a bizarre cult, of strange rituals based in fanatical superstition and myth, a revamping of paganism in monistic form.
It seems quite obvious though that if we can hear him, Jesus, ever abiding in and as the Father (the Christ), may be one of the most profound teachers of the non-dual nature of Reality and proof of its philosophy in terms of realizing the truth of our own Reality as all pervasive Self!
As Douglas Harding once wrote, "This perennial philosophy has consistently and persistently put forward a hypothesis so amazing and so delectable - one's essential Godhood, no less - that it cries out to be tested by every available means, just in case it should turn out to be true."
Those who have discovered, understood and lived by this <a href="/philosophy.htm">timeless philosophy</i> restated by Jesus are sometimes known as Christian mystics.
In recent times, numerous books have appeared, many well researched and written by scholarly authors, trying to give us a clearer picture of Jesus as a historical figure. A few go further and make a case for Jesus being purely a mythical concept and and not a real person at all.
Peter Kirby has done us a valuable service by listing most of these authors on his Historical Jesus Theories page. Here Peter has listed several categories into which these 'theorists' generally fit.
The understanding we have at Inner Light is closest to his "Jesus the Wisdom Sage" category, for in the gospels, Jesus undoubtedly showed himself to be wise in every sense of the word, but more than that, we see him as a great master of humanity's primordial, nondual, wisdom tradition.
So far as we can tell, none of the authors listed on Peter's page seem to recognize this timeless tradition nor the place of Jesus in it as one of it's most brilliant exponents.
We understand that Jesus became fully enlightened while living in a mortal body among the people of his day and in his private or deeper teaching, he pointed the way for his hearers to recognize and embrace the "kingdom of God" (the Spirit or 'Christ' dimension) that is within us all.
If you would like to look into this further, there are many books listed on this site that bring light to bear on this wondrous aspect and ministry of the historic Jesus.
Also, Peter Kirby's online collection of Early Christian Writings is highly recommended.
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