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.
Jacob was the son of Isaac, one of the three major patriarchs equally revered in Judaism, Christianity and Islam. He is known for his zeal for spirituality and love of God. He is also a synonym of a person who presses forward to qualify to take the position of someone careless of his responsibilities. He purchased the right of the first-born from his materialistic-minded brother, Esau, for the price of a luncheon (Genesis 25:27-34) and secured, by stealth, the blessings of the first born from his father. (Genesis 27:1-42). He wrestled with God till he received a blessing from Him, who then changed his name from Jacob to Israel. (Genesis 32:22-32) Israel actually means one who is “pure in heart.” (Psalm 73:1) All his actions could be better understood by a principle of effort making Jesus declared later.—Compare Mathew 11:11-13; 21:43; Mark 4:24, 25.
Near Luz en route to Haran, Jacob experienced a vision of a ladder reaching into heaven with angels going up and down it. Let us read it as reported in the Bible: “Jacob went out from Beersheba, and went toward Haran. And he came upon a certain place, and tarried there all night, because the sun was set; and he took of the stones of that place, and put them for his pillows, and lay down in that place to sleep. And he dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven: and behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it. And, behold, the LORD stood above it, and said, I am the LORD God of Abraham your father, and the God of Isaac: the land on which you lie, to you will I give it, and to your descendants; And your descendants shall be as the dust of the earth, and you shall spread abroad to the west, and to the east, and to the north, and to the south: and in you and in your descendants shall all the families of the earth be blessed. And, behold, I am with you, and will keep you in all places wherever you go, and will bring you again into this land; for I will not leave you, until I have done that which I have spoken to you of.” —Genesis 28:10-15.
Was this vision a prophetic picture of what was going to happen in the future? Perhaps, yes. Because God’s promise to make Jacob’s descendants “like the dust of the earth,” and make them “spread out to the west and to the east, to the north and to the south” and to bless the whole earth because of his offspring” still remains to be fulfilled. Jacob’s biological descendants were not interested in its fulfillment in God’s way, testifies Jesus Christ. (Luke 13:34) Hence, Its fulfillment waits for a person who acquires the qualification of what Jacob really stands for figuratively. God, the heavenly Father is supremely just. He goes by fruitage (not by religion, nor by seniority). His principle is very simple: “THE KINGDOM OF GOD WILL BE TAKEN AWAY FROM YOU AND GIVEN TO A PEOPLE WHO WILL PRODUCE ITS FRUIT.” (Mathew 21:43) This principle is like that of Swayamvara practice in ancient India in which a princess would choose a husband who qualifies/passes some very difficult test, from among a list of suitors. Hence there could be a people, on the world scene today, who will be found as producing fruit of God’s Kingdom, hence qualifying. Who are they?
Let us identify each of the elements in the vision, such as Ladder, Angels and Jacob:
A LADDER “resting on the earth, with its top reaching to heaven” is not literally possible. This implies that we should approach this vision in its figurative or prophetic sense, not literally. Ladder stands for something that helps us to move to an elevated position, hence in this context to an elevated position with regard to spirituality or purity—something that makes us spiritual or pure. Shiva Baba defines, in Murli of 28.07.1971, steps of ladder as follows:
Step 1: Attaching oneself with only the Heavenly Father, transcending all our bodily relations or “changing the lokik into the alokik.” This means feeling “whole” (Matthew 5:48) living in constant awareness of one and the only Supreme Father of all souls, and viewing all humans as fellow-souls.
Step 2: Achieving victory over one’s physical senses.
Step 3: Achieving victory over one’s wasteful and sinful thoughts.
Climbing these steps means realizing who we really are, and remembering that we are related only to God, who is the Supreme Father of all souls and all humans are our brothers and sisters. When one remembers that God the Father is “spirit,” hence His children are also basically spirits in a costume called body (John 4:23, 24), it becomes natural for him to manifest spirit’s qualities—wisdom, purity, peace, love, happiness, bliss and power—he becomes spiritual or pure. A king, in his dream, may think that he is a beggar and feel miserable. But on waking up, he realizes that he is a king. So is the case with us, who can easily be awakened to the knowledge that we are “children of God.” (Mathew 5:9; Luke 6:35) As French philosopher Teilhard de Chardin beautifully put it: “We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.”
AN ANGEL is one who “remain beyond the consciousness of his body. His feet, that is, his intellect, is beyond, that is, higher than the attraction of the five elements. He is “simple in his thoughts, simple in his words, and simple in his action.” (Murli 25.03.1971; and 04.07.1971) Angel literally (in Hebrew language) means messenger, one who radiates some profound message with his life. Figuratively too it means the same. Because, angels are always shown with wings. One of the wings of the angel is symbolic of spiritual knowledge, which it has received from God; the other is symbolic of spiritual qualities and powers, which it has inculcated, through the power of meditation or a spiritual connection with God. The wings of an angel also symbolize the lightness and freedom of such souls. With such wings the angel flies constantly in the company of God. Its lightness and freedom is because it has no bondages or attachments in the physical world; all the chains have been broken. Because angels have the absolute and constant support of the Supreme Being, they can be the support and protectors of many others, by sharing with them, spiritual knowledge, qualities and powers, which they possess. An angel’s thoughts, words and actions are all serving others. An angel is a light-house, and a might-house, connected with the Supreme; hence radiates the spiritual rays of light and might, purity, peace, love, happiness and bliss of the Supreme Soul, to others. Actually, angels are human beings with divine qualities.
One can easily relate the above description to Brahmakumaris as they posses all these qualities. A Brahmakumari or Brahmakumar means “one who reveals Father Brahma.” (Murli 25.03.1971) In addition, daily they get up very early in the morning and do Rajayoga meditation, or do Amrit Vela Yoga (Nectar Time Meditation) at 4 a.m. This is the best time to do such meditation as the satva guna (trans-active state in which one’s thoughts are in equanimity, serenity and objectivity) in an individual surfaces. In this meditation, they forget their bodies and their souls travel to their original sweet home, Paramdham, where our Param Pita (Supreme Father) resides for a private chit-chat with Him, thus “ascending and descending,” as if through a ladder, to and fro God daily. This is something that is possible ONLY in this special period called Confluence Age, “the most elevated and auspicious” part of each kalpa (cycle of 5000 years). It is in this period that the Heavenly Father lets “any soul who wishes, with intense effort, to take as many as blessings as he wants from Him, the Bestower of Blessings, and to take a high jump in a short time.”—Murli 01.11.1971.
This vast multitude of angels, Brahmakumaris and Brahmakumars, on the world scene were made possible through the imparting of pure knowledge by Shiva Baba, our Heavenly Father, using his conduit, Brahma Baba, THE MODERN DAY JACOB. Formerly known as Dada Lekhraj, Brahma Baba was born in 1876 and came from humble beginnings in Karachi, now in Pakistan. He was the son of a village school teacher, but through his own efforts and with the blessing of a good intellect he became a self-made millionaire in the diamond jewellery business. Yet his mind was so great, focused on more important thing. He was a man for his time. His vision for the world was of oneness and unity, a world without division. He saw the dire state that the world had come to, and recognized that this was a direct reflection of the inner state of humans. He understood that a better world can only come about when each one becomes once again internally peaceful and loveful—our innate and eternal qualities—and each one of us takes responsibility for ourselves. By transforming ourselves we can create a world of beauty and peace. He was inspired to leave his secular work at the age of 60 and dedicate himself to making his own life ‘like a diamond’, and inspire others to do the same. He acted “like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.” (Mathew 13:45, 46). In the Bible, godly knowledge is said to be of greater value than gold.—Psalms 19:10; Proverbs 2:4, 5; Philippians 3:8.
In 1936 Brahma Baba started to have several spiritual experiences that changed his life forever. God, the Supreme Father of all souls, appeared to him and said: “I am the embodiment of Bliss, Knowledge and light,” showed him the vision of how this old unrighteous world would be destroyed and a new righteous world would be established in its place, and gave him the responsibility of heralding this knowledge to the whole world. God taught him the art of making ordinary humans into angels or deities. God the Father also said: “You are Brahma [literally means one with a broad mind], you are the first and special child, you are the father, the first creation of the Creator… you are the channel for the construction of Heaven on earth, you are my first and special child… you are the father of the people of the earth, all are your children, descending from you…. you are Brahma, you are Krishna, you are Adam – the first man, the soul closest ever to God.”
He earnestly started carrying out his God-assigned mission of imparting the art of making humans into deities. Result is too obvious for anyone to miss: one school, started in 1936, has grown within 76 years to over 9,000 branches in 125 countries, and continues to expand attracting the righteous who will make the new world “where righteousness is to dwell.”— John 3:19-21; 2 Peter 3:13.
1) Duality is certainly explained through this. This physical world changes due to the forces of duality. It is the Yin and Yang in action. Usually Eastern thought is ahead on this. In Abrahamic traditions there is nothing like this as acceptance of duality and its manifestation, but rather it is the continuous fight of “good against evil.” In other words, there is “choosing” which needs to happen at every moment. However, as expressed before, that “free will” cannot be exercised as what we are right now, is not solely a product of our “free will” but rather, other elements such as our birth parents, birth place, traditions, experiences, beliefs and intelligence which come into the picture to make up what today is known as “me.” That “choosing” depends on those factors which color our belief of what is good. For instance, back in the times, it was believed that “slavery” was “good.” Our “free will” to choose slaves was tinted with that belief. Now, we know that “slavery” is not good. This is why our “choosing” is not an indication of morality, of being “close to God, ” etc.
2) Life experiences as a process. This is expressed once we see that going “up and down a ladder” means to step in every step that there is. Usually we think in terms of “absolutes.” I am here, on the first step of the ladder; but tomorrow, I will be up at the top. We forget everything in between and forget about the “journey” by just concentrating on the “goal.” Every moment is the foundation for another one. Baba does not say the word “process,” but he talks about that “it takes time to go from Tamopradhan to Satopradhan.” Same thing, different expression.
3) Entropy: This is the process of “descending.” Every being on the physical plane will experience this. A baby gets old. That is higher entropy. As we take rebirths, our next birth will be of lesser quality than the previous one. “The old days were better days,” is an expression which expresses this experience. The soul feels that lack of peace. This is not a matter of having new technology available or more money/power.
4) Angels are the ones going up and down that ladder: This dream of Jacob has a greater significance. He didn’t dream about “human beings” going up and down. He dreamt about angels. What is the difference?
Only angels are capable of “going up.” There is no “normal” human being who is experiencing entropy that would be able to “go up,” because to “go up” is not what “normal people” do.
In BK knowledge we understand that “doing good and being a good boy” it doesn’t mean to just do “good actions.” It means to transform our sanskaras. It means to transform by “dying alive.” This is something that a “normal” person will not be able to do. Their capacity is different. For them, spirituality is just a matter of going to some church/center, praying and confessing “sins.” For a BK is about self-transformation, it is to be a “new,” human being. That takes a lot of guts.
5) Going up those ladders takes less time than coming down. That is why the “confluence age” is so important, because it is the same ladder with 84 steps to come down, but those 84 steps to go up need to be earned now, in such a little time. However, as we know, time is not a consideration for a soul. The soul only records growth, not the time that took to become something “higher.”
6) Going up and down is the story of this world. The story of this comedy of life that is why we need to learn to enjoy the “ups and downs.” Going up means to come down. Nothing new.