Christianity and Jesus: Findings outside a religion
The following videos are lengthy but worthwhile to watch. It is about the non-Biblical findings of the historical Jesus.
I find these relevant to understand religions. As a matter of fact, most religions will go through the same path.
There is the belief that every monotheistic religion represents God. To make this belief “factual,”is the task of every religion through its clergy. The teachings of those self-realized individuals (known as religious founders) have been misinterpreted, changed and even forgotten. Instead, a set of beliefs and rituals have become important. Hierarchies and organizations have flourished through the growth of a belief system. Greater number of followers, greater power.
Are religions “bad” then? No. Religions are tools for self-transformation. The tool is useful up to a point. Every individual decides that point.
Unfortunately the mind of the “followers,” are not always aligned with the spiritual teachings for lack of experiencing those teachings in themselves.
For example, in this teaching: “If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also.” It is a Christian teaching. That teaching could be easily misunderstood. Please take a look at this article: http://www.beliefnet.com/News/2000/01/The-Limits-Of-Turn-The-Other-Cheek.aspx?p=1
Here the author will plainly defend the “normal” person’s behavior as the obvious way to behave in this day and age. That is, the person who experiences duality at every second. The “normal” person is the person understood by the thinker, the philosopher, the moralist, the social activist, the politician, etc.
The teaching “If someone slaps you on one cheek…” is not part of the Western tradition. As a matter of fact, that teaching will not be understood until we experience oneness in life, that is to see the “other” as yourself. This requires a change of consciousness, not a change in beliefs.
That teaching is beyond the boundaries of traditional Western mentality. That teaching belongs into the Dharmic tradition. It is Buddhist.
When someone spat on Buddha’s face, he did not offer resistance. That non-resistance does not come out of fear or lack of self respect; but comes out of that consciousness of no separation, of oneness of going beyond the limits of individuality. If this teaching is “practiced” it will not work. It needs to be “natural” by getting into that state of consciousness, so that teaching could be understood.
Of course, someone like Nietzsche would disdain the Christian teaching of “giving the other cheek” as creating submission on the strong. He was a thinker, a philosopher not a spiritual person searching for truth by looking at himself. He was a “normal” person.
Thus, it is a wonder that Jesus was giving teachings which were beyond the normal western, roman mentality of the time of “one tooth for one tooth.”
A spiritual teaching is timeless, but understood according to time.
Reader Remark: Woman’s equality with Man – A perspective
Om Shanti brother,
I read today a very interesting article on woman’s equality with men. A very simple, yet highly scholarly article! It clearly explains how the Bible was distorted to project the supposed inferiority of woman, yet it restores hidden concepts from the Bible itself to show woman is equal to man. This will make easier BKs’ effort to help those from the Christian background. Interestingly it is written by a male, that too from Hindu background! Really a must-read! Here is the link:
Thank you for sharing that link. The fight between genders have been an ongoing thing since the perception of “being different” appeared. Humanity is always dividing. Races, countries, religions, etc. Everything is a division. That only accumulates further ego.
Men and Women express 2 different energies of the same unity. They are complementary as the Yin and Yang.
Then we have the “stereotypes” which make a woman do certain things or be certain things. That probably was true sometime ago in many countries; but as we should be aware; the gap is closing and women are doing the same things than men and even opportunities are changing even though it could be argued that it is a “male” world.
Hence, the need of female energy to balance that male dominated world.
However, “female energy” does not necessarily mean being in a female body; but to have the stereotypical qualities of female energies such as: nurturing care, sensitivity, and sustenance towards others. Those are female energy qualities, which could be held by men as well.
As it is in the world, when in “body consciousness,” we either tend to believe that God has chosen man or woman (according to a religion) as their “favorite” gender to “save” the world… 🙂 thus, we build hierarchies based upon that belief.
That denotes lack of spiritual understanding.
The “Me” versus the “Others” syndrome.
“In Brahmin life, receiving is in giving.”
Avyakt Murli April 28, 2013
“Give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.”
The Bible- New Testament: Luke 6:38
The Master has no possessions.
The more he does for others,
the happier he is.
The more he gives to others,
the wealthier he is.
Tao te ching verse 81
He who gives liberally goes straight to the gods;
on the high ridge of heaven he stands exalted.
Rig Veda 1.125.5
The above quotes mention one of the universal spiritual “truths,” that is: If you give, you receive.
That line has been used by many spiritual teachers without further explanation.
How does it work?
In the last writing about “We do what we are,” it was mentioned that there is an inner being (soul) who is part of the “whole,” that universal “spirit” is known as the Drama, the Tao, or the Creation. (depending on your religious beliefs) That is life in itself.
That “soul” by itself has no awareness of duality. Has no awareness of separation from anything.
When that “soul” has a role to perform in life; then the awareness of individuality arises as the soul identifies with the uniqueness of a body. Then, a personality is developed. From One, many appear.
Note how the primal absence of knowing the concepts of “you and Me,” change and develop into that separation as we know it.
A role in life, goes through the awareness of a soul as “me.” Then automatically, “you” arises.
Many religious and spiritual teachings have taught, “giving is receiving,” with the assumption that we are “separate.” Then, a selfish motive of acquiring for the self is corrected when the “moral standard” of being “good” is taught.
That is “share with others.” “Give to others.”
Nothing wrong with those teachings, but in a deeper view we can see that there is no “self” neither the “other” unless we identify with the body and the role in life.
That identification is an illusion, which separates, something that is One from the beginning. But it could be experienced as “many” as “you and me,” only if our consciousness does not allow us to see that both “One,” and “many” are valid perspectives.
Thus, whatever “I” do, will come back to “me,” for there is no “other.”
A “soul” performing a role in life accomplishes that through a thought, which will materialize in the physical world as an “action.”
That is what we know as “karma.” That activity could be colored by egoless-ness, which is lack of expectation and desires; that is “without individuality” or it could be full of ego.
The return of ego is further separation. That means, suffering.
Once we understand that egoless “doing” is truly harmony with the original oneness; then the “other” merely is a “mirror” for lack of a better name.
The actions we perform, are the seed transforming into a flower. We will eat that fruit sooner or later. The fruit is already latent in the seed.
That is why, according to how we ARE, would be the quality of our activities.
We cannot “do” good actions, if we are not “good.”
Activities by itself do not have a moral standard. Moral standards are made up by a society engulfed in duality.
Someone in harmony with the whole, with that Drama of life; works as an ego-less agent of “doing.” He could only do “good,” for as he is; so are his activities.
Let us say that a dentist “falls in love” with one of his patients.
Dr. Drill likes Rose so much, that he gave her a “huge” break for the cost of his dental services.
Dr. Drill would go to the extremes of showing his care for Rose.
Obviously, Dr, Drill had an expectation. He wanted Rose to return his “love.”
Because Dr. Drill’s activities are not “self-less,” Dr. Drill opened himself for the experience of duality.
If Rose responds positively to Dr. Drill’s approach; then Dr. Drill will be “happy.” At the same time, Dr. Drill would learn a new “proven” way to manipulate people, which will have a 50-50 chance of working with “most people.” Those activities will bring their own consequence for manipulation is not a “good deed.”
If Dr. Drill is rejected. Then, Dr. Drill will be “unhappy” and disappointed and with that his “love,” could turn around into “hate.” Note that duality.
On the other hand, a “self-less” approach has no consequence other than enhancing that sense of Selfless-ness, which will come back to Dr. Drill; enhancing his well being beyond duality. That is spiritual happiness.
The seed was there, it produced a flower and the fruit will be eaten by the one who let that seed appear.
Spiritual teachings: All according to our consciousness
As mentioned before, Spirituality is one. However, it is “explained” in many ways according to the audience, the experiences of the “teacher,” and the time.
Spiritual teachings are not meant to be the same for everyone, even though there may be a common beginning.
Just like a seed transforms into a tree, we could see that there are different branches on that tree. All different but still belonging to that same tree.
In history, there has been many spiritual teachers. Interestingly enough, many teachings have been placed into a religion. When that happens, the spiritual teachings become interpreted by their followers.
For instance, the Bible. It is composed of many different books. Christ did not write anything. His disciples wrote everything there is in the “New Testament.” As a matter of fact, the main writer was Paul. Christian teachings are based on Paul’s understanding of Christ teachings.
The same, we can see with other well known religious scriptures such as the Gita. There are many interpretations of the Gita by different “gurus” and even the origin of those scripture is unknown.
However, when any scripture is made for the “masses” that is for “everyone,” then the depth of that scripture needs to be changed for that level of understanding.
Christ spoke to the masses. Buddha spoke to the masses.
In Brahma Kumaris, the “Murli” was spoken to a small group of people without further spiritual training and education. The “main engine” was love to God. However, that love was according to what these people knew about love. As we progress in spirituality, love acquires a complete different meaning. Something which is completely unknown for the “masses.” Something which is only known as we go through the path.
Therefore, a “teaching” has to meet the student. Otherwise, it will not be understood.
Once a spiritual teachings needs to go to the masses, it has to change and depth will not be there.
It is a this time, when we need to use a deeper realization to be able to see through it and find the deeper jewels according to our own experience.
Spirituality is a very personal path once the groundwork has been initiated and it is stable.
Our level of commitment will give us the key for greater understanding.
For instance, some spiritual teaching could teach us about the need to “tolerate.” We need to tolerate that person, that situation, etc.
Some other teaching will teach us that there is no need to tolerate when there is love in us.
Some other teaching will teach us that when there is no “I” there is no “you” to tolerate or “you” to love.
Who is right? Which teaching is better?
Those 3 teachings are right. But they represent different levels of understanding and experiences.
Once we see that spirituality is one but explained in different ways by different teachers, we could have that openness to learn and to experience spirituality as it is, to be open to the “truth” not as a “final product” as in a dogmatic view, a religious dogma; but rather, as growth. It is the seed growing to become a tree. That tree cannot be described through a teaching, for we do not know how that tree will look like. All we know is that it will become a tree, but no what kind of tree.
As our consciousness grows, so our understanding.
This growth happens only when we are open to grow. That is our particular time for growth.
Is God REALLY omnipresent? By: BK T.D. Joseph
Article by: BK. T. D. Joseph, Bangalore, India tdjaum(AT)gmail.com – If you have questions or remarks about this article, please contact the author.
There are many people who believe that God is omnipresent. Is He really present everywhere? If yes, can the following questions satisfactorily be answered?
1.If He is omnipresent, how will He distinguish Himself and others—inanimate and animate?
2.If He is omnipresent, where will evil or sin exist, as He is the source of all goodness and holiness?
3.When hard-core sadists enjoy inflicting pain on others, or carnivorous animals hunt and eat innocent animals like lambs, what happens to His presence in the pain-giver and the recipient?
4.If God is omnipresent, before breathing his last why should Jesus cry out: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Father, into your hands I commit my spirit”? (Mark 15:33; Luke 23:46)
5.The English word ‘religion’ comes from Latin word ‘religare’ which means to re-unite. Religions are helping people [who were separated from God] to re-unite with Him. How can the separation and re-union with God be possible, if He is omnipresent? Hence can religions really teach He is omnipresent?
Bible says God resides in a particular place (Mathew 6:9). So does the Quran (Surah al-Mulk 67:17) God is quoted as saying He is “the minutest of the minute,” and yet He is the “Supreme Divine Being” residing in “Supreme Abode.” – Gita 8:9, 10, 21.
This is a fact supported by our experience too. Supreme Soul, our Heavenly Father is “SPIRIT,” declare the Bible and the Bhagavat Gita. (John 4:24; Gita 14:3, 4) Hence we, His children, are the exact representation of His very being, and are spirits or souls in this costume called bodies. (Gita 8:3) Just like the Supreme Soul resides in a particular place, our souls too reside in a particular place, something that everyone can feel for themselves. Close your eyes and be aware of your true Self. You can easily experience the body as the human (container) where the Being resides.
The Being, which is YOU, situated just above and behind the eyes (center of the forehead) within the brain. This is like driver’s seat from where You do your thinking, analyzing, and directing every movement of the vehicle—your body—through the 5 physical sense organs. You are the POINT OF CONSCIOUSNESS within the body, which is called by many names: Soul, Spirit, Atma, Inner-Self, Pure-Consciousness … etc. Thus what is true of our Heavenly Father is true of us also—He is not present everywhere in the macro universe, just as one’s soul is not present everywhere in his body, the micro universe.
Still, why do some people believe that God is omnipresent? This and variant of this teaching Tat Tvam Asi [Sanskrit] which means “You are THAT (God),” may have originated from an innocent desire to fight egoism and to help people to view everyone equally, and thus to instill in them compassion towards one another. However, was that extreme assertion really necessary as others too—including atheists—can show compassion towards fellow humans? These teachings may have helped a very few.
However, their unforeseen results eclipse all their benefits. Look at the opposite fruitage of these teachings on those who believe it. These teachings obviously imply that God and sin are INSEPARABLY connected. ‘If God is omnipresent, or I am THAT, then sin should also exist in God, just as it does in me,’ one may feel. Hence instead of feeling motivated to fight against vices, one may feel licentious to do whatever he feels like! This may also be fanned by stories of gods whose lust and greed make interesting reading. As a result, people go casual about everything, and become self-centered, which is called “sin.” (Gita 3:13) If God resides within everyone, how can one [in whom God resides] perform wicked acts against another human [in whom too God resides]?
Any belief should be tested by the fruits it produces. The above two teachings are prevalent in Bharat. What have they produced? Very few may have become more spiritual believing God is everywhere or they are Gods, whereas vast majority are gone opposite. For example, Bharath is synonymous with over-population. At the root of over-population lie lust, instant gratification and utter disregard for the welfare of others / future generation. If LUST is not fulfilled, ANGER arises; if it is fulfilled GREED arises. And it is these three vices—“lust, anger, and greed”—that Holy Lord calls as “gate of hell.” —Gita 16:21.
Certain qualities can be omnipresent, but their source need not be all-pervasive. Sun, even while it is not omnipresent, its qualities such as heat and light are pervasive in all direction. Similarly, God is not omnipresent, but His qualities are omnipresent. For example, His wisdom is seen in all His works; His power is seen in each and every atom; and His justice is seen in never-failing mechanism, Law of Causation, functioning everywhere in Nature. Knowing this can make people responsible-minded, not licentious!
What is wisdom? – By: BK T.D. Joseph
Article by: BK. T. D. Joseph, Bangalore, India tdjaum(AT)gmail.com – If you have questions or remarks about this article, please contact the author.
Wisdom characterizes everything what God does, says the Bible. (Proverbs 8:22–31) Jesus said: “Be wise as serpent,” which means to perceive and avoid danger, and escape from it. (Mathew 10:16) “He succeeds in everything he does” as “his delight is in the law [Shrimat] of God.” (Psalm 1:2, 3) Wisdom means “hatred* of evil, pride and arrogance.” (Proverbs 1:7 & 8:13) “Constancy in the knowledge of the self is wisdom.”—Bhagavat Gita 13:12.
* “hatred” is not in the sense of human emotion. For example God says “I have loved Jacob, but Esau I have hated.” (Malachi 1:2,3) Here “love” is used in the sense of choosing, and “hate” in the sense of rejecting. (Romans 9:10-13; compare also Deuteronomy 21:15; Mathew 6:24; 10:37; Luke 14:26. It simply means treating something as less important, as implied by Jesus when he said: “Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life.—John 12:25.
These verses, put together, give the following characteristics of wisdom:
• living in constant awareness of SOUL-consciousness
• preventing ego (root of which is body-consciousness) from taking precedence in all our actions
• taking delight in application of God’s Shrimat in all aspects of our lives
• avoiding danger/wastage to self and others
• experiencing constant success.
Here noticeable aspect of a wise person is that he acts out of soul-consciousness—God as Supreme Soul, and humans are individual souls—and is ruled by DELIGHT in Shrimat and RECOGNITION of valueless of ego.
This is interesting! Because, if you have delight in God’s Shrimat and recognize the valuelessness of ego, the whole world will prove to be powerless against your will-power to remain pure. Bible reports, in Genesis chapter 39, about an ordinary man, named Joseph, who was employed at the house of the Chief of Pharao’s palace guard in ancient Egyptian Empire. There he was continuously tempted by his master’s wife to commit adultery with her in all secrecy and safety. This was an unusual, tricky situation where his yielding could have brought him promotion and other material benefits, and his refusal would have landed him in great trouble. Yet he flatly refused to commit adultery.
This was a very great act as there was no law given against adultery at that time! [Law against adultery was given centuries later—Exodus 20:14]. Because he was aware of his original qualities, the source of which was his Heavenly Father, about whom he always had a loving remembrance, he discerned rightly that all women are his sisters; and sexual act with his master’s wife would destroy his purity, peace and joy, and more importantly it would hurt his loving Heavenly Father. Thus he CHOSE (or loved) God’s friendship and REJECTED the approval of the temptress and its attendant transient benefits. Though his refusal to commit adultery landed him in temporary trouble, his purity was ultimately paid off—he became the Prime Minister of Egyptian Empire, and he is remembered in history as a diamond against sexual advances. Obviously, one is paid by his work, not for his work.
If you do not keep your delight in God’s Shrimat and recognition of valuelessness of ego constantly burning, even a small, powerless spark is more than enough to bring you down flat, even though you may have all the favorable circumstances not to slip. Typical example is King David, the most brilliant leader of ancient Israel, who also wrote many devotional songs of God which form the part of Bible. David had many “concubines and wives.” (2 Samuel 5:13; 12:7-8, Chronicles 3:1-9; 14:3)
Hence, a sexual temptation, in his case, was out of question. Yet, he arose “one evening” from his bed and saw, from the roof of his palace, wife of his soldier, bathing. Inflamed with passion, he maneuvered matters in such a way that he not only committed adultery with her, but also arranged the murder of her husband, skillfully transferring him to the battlefront, and took her as his wife permanently. (2 Samuel 11) See, one who excelled as a very powerful military leader and king who led many successful conquests of fierce armies, failed miserably in the conquest of his own bodily organs. All because he lost his original delight in God’s Shrimat and ceased to be aware of the valueless of ego, and became fond of sleep even during the day time (which is the sign of him having become tamopradhan).
How fortunate Baba’s children are! They get up very early in the morning, and do what is called Amrit Vela Yoga (Nectar Time Meditation) for about 45 to 60 minutes between 2 a.m. to 5 a.m.—a meaningful and delightful time they engage in a private chit-chat with Shiva Baba, our Heavenly Father. Then they have, among many other programs, daily Murli-class, at 6.30 a.m., in which His Shrimat is explained. Positive / powerful / pure thoughts obtained from Baba’s Murli are the seeds they sow for the day ahead and for an elevated destiny in the Golden Age that is soon to replace the present Iron Age filled with agony and distress.
Remember! When you remember Supreme Soul as your Heavenly Father, and you as His child, you are actually RE-MEMBERING yourself into His family! There is no other act wiser than this, nor more beneficial than this in this short period called Confluence Age!