In this episode, The Bearded Mystic Podcast discusses the wisdom of the founder of one of the largest religions in the world - Jesus Christ on the occasion of Christmas. Today, we go deep into the verses that are in the Gospel of Thomas, which are the gnostic gospels that attribute the sayings to Christ. Wishing you all a Merry Christmas!
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Hello and welcome to the Bearded Mystic Podcast, and I'm your host, Rahul N. Singh. Thank you for taking out the time today to either watch or listen to this podcast episode. Today, we will be continuing on with the series Wisdom of the Mystics. But before I do begin, there's a few important announcements that I want to make. Please give your support to the Bearded Mystic Podcast by signing up to the podcast Patreon page for ad-free and bonus episodes, including the new series my thoughts on the Upanishads. You can get other benefits according to the tier that you select. The details are in the show notes and video description below. Other ways to subscribe to that extra content in terms of ad free and bonus episodes is through Supercast and through the Apple Subscriptions on the Apple Podcast app. You can find those details in these show notes and video description below too.
Every Saturday at 11:
00 AM Eastern Standard Time there is a free virtual meditation session, along with discussion and Q and A for around an hour. Please find the details in the show notes and video description below if you're interested in meditation. Sometimes we need some personal help in our spirituality, or we have questions that we personally want to ask As a friend, I would love to help you in a one-to-one meeting via Zoom. You can find the details in the show notes and video description below. Please do like, comment, and subscribe if you are watching this on YouTube. If you are listening to this on your favorite podcast streaming app, please rate and review this podcast and do follow or subscribe to get future episodes. Last month we looked at the teachings of Swami Vivekananda. In this episode, we will be looking at the teachings of one of the most important religious teachers in the world. His ideas, giving birth to Christianity. We are looking at Jesus Christ today, but not according to the Bible, but actually according to the Gospel of Thomas. The timing is perfect as today, we are celebrating Christmas, and I like to wish you all a very merry Christmas. Let's go deep into these sayings that are found in the gnostic gospel, the Gospel of Thomas. Verse one. And he said, whoever finds the correct interpretation of these sayings will never die. What's interesting about the Gospel of Thomas, before I go into what that verse means is that Jesus speaks as if he is a Taoist or a Buddhist, or a Vedantin. He doesn't seem to have the typical christian speak when he is talking in the Gospel of Thomas. It is very different in terms of its flavor. It's very different in terms of its words. It's very deep and meaningful and more or less it takes us to a place where I feel is closest to how Jesus would describe things. When I was growing up, I listened to the Bible teachings through school but when I read the Gospel of Thomas, it felt more like Jesus. It felt more human and yet divine at the same time. And I think that is what makes this text quite unique and this very first verse says everything. I think if we only just stick with this one verse, it answers everything you kind of need. Let's go into what this verse really means here. And it's really like every real beginning of a Vedanta text, it gives you the objective, the end result. Here the end result is whoever finds the correct interpretation of these sayings will never die. Now it seems that Christ is giving us an insight into what he's expecting from us. He's not asking us to just believe. He's asking to find the correct interpretation. A lot of us want religion or spirituality to be easy, but here we can see already that this is not the way of Christ. This is not according to the Gospel of Thomas obviously. Now it seems that this gospel has the audacity of a teacher like Jesus already. He's come out with a big goal. Whoever finds the correct interpretation of these sayings will never die. That shows the audacity of a real teacher like Jesus and we do have to understand the metaphors. We have to understand what this may mean. We have to find the correct interpretation. We have to seek that correct interpretation. We have to stay with these words. Now, for example, when I have gone through these verses, it is not merely that I'm just speaking to you about them right now. I spent time with them and I then have given you my views on what that means. My interpretation. I hope that if I get to the correct interpretation that I will reach that state of that I will never die. I will attain moksha or mukti as Jesus is suggesting. It's just not enough to focus on the words alone. A lot of us do this. We take things literally without thinking about what was the context, what was the reason for that, and how can I interpret this today? Does this apply even today? Like we have to be very honest that some things are cultural and some things are just plain spiritual. Whatever is spiritual will stand the test of time. But anything that is more or less cultural, we will see that it has very little to do with today. If we can't resonate with it culturally, then that says that we can abandon that very teaching. Now, the other thing that Jesus is inviting here is that he wants us to enter a deep state of contemplation. It's not simply of just saying, well, I'm just going to listen to the priest, or I'm gonna listen to the teacher, and that's it. I've got the answer. That's not enough. If that was enough, then Jesus wouldn't have had to say that. He will say, just believe every word I say, and that's it. That's final. But he says correct interpretation, meaning he knows that his words will have to be truly understood. How can they be truly understood? Well, we know this from our lessons that we've been learning in The Bhagavad Gita. , Essentially, Jesus will say the same thing, that that which is Real is changeless and that which is subject to change is unreal. It's not what we really are, nor does it have any reality of its own. Now understand what I said there, a reality of its own. It has to have a source of its existence. It has to have, you could say, a screen to present itself. That's where we have to understand that that screen is the Ultimate Reality or what we may refer to as God. Nobody can give you the answers. Even if I give you my answer here, it's for me. I'm just sharing with you my answers. But you have to find your own. You can listen to my views and my interpretation, but you have to see if it resonates with you. Nobody can give you the answers. If Jesus is not giving you the answer, what makes us think that somebody else can give it to us? Wouldn't Jesus want to give us the answer. I mean, inside his sayings, the answer is there, but we have to find out. We have to find it. They can give you words about it, but you have to find the answer yourself. So they can give you explanations like I'm doing. They can give you interpretations, their judgments, but ultimately you have to find your understanding, your way. When he says whoever finds the correct interpretation of these sayings will never die, this means that the objective here is liberation. It's freedom. Freedom from suffering, obviously. Freedom from also birth and death. So going into everlasting life. Now as we know, if we say somebody's going to heaven, that is a place therefore, it cannot be the reality that Jesus is talking about. Jesus is obviously on about something else. When we understand something completely, especially spiritual teachings, we understand that and we realize that there is no such thing as death because life is not contained in the body, but is beyond the body itself. To understand the correct interpretation, we will have to transcend the body and mind anyway. That's how we need to contemplate. A true seeker will be completely dedicated to finding the correct interpretation. Only a weak mind will follow the priest or conventional understanding. It's easy to follow somebody else. Trust me, we find much comfort in it. It consoles us. It makes us feel safe. But finding your own correct interpretation, your own interpretation, then to find out whether it's correct or incorrect, means you have to practice the interpretation. It's scary, it's courageous. It's creative, but it's not impossible. But What I will say is if you follow the conventional understanding, not the mystical understanding, but the conventional, then it will be impossible for you to find liberation. You will constantly go through the process of birth and death, and as you can see here, Christ is saying that person will never die. That means that he understands the Ultimate Truth and that he's pointing to you that there is something which will never die. Verse two. Jesus said the seeker should not stop until he finds. When he does find he will be disturbed. After having been disturbed, he will be astonished. Then he will reign over everything. As I said in the previous verse, the seeker should not stop until he finds we have to find the answer. We must not let anything get in the way. Nothing and we can use everything to help us to understand. Even something that may seem mundane, even that can help us. Sometimes we don't like to follow someone or listen to someone or continue to find the answer because it doesn't feel safe for us, but the seeker never stops. Even if it's unknown terrain. The seeker will continue. The seeker seeks until the seeking ends. When the seeker becomes the very Sought. The very thing that you're seeking, you end up becoming. Actually, it's not that you end up becoming, you discover you are already That. As Christ says, one should not stop until they find. Never stop until you find the answer. The answer, which is unbreakable. The answer which cannot change. The answer, which will remain regardless of time or location or any other restriction or boundary. Anyone that does stop seeking, well, they were never a seeker in the first place. If you end up not seeking, then were you really after spiritual Truth? I can console you right now and say, yes you were, or yes you are. Or in the future I could console you. But to be honest, the mentality of a seeker never breaks. They will continuously seek. They will have the confidence, the commitment to find the answer, to get to the truth. Then Jesus says when he does find, he will be disturbed. The truth does set you free. That's very true. I agree with that. It does, absolutely. But what will you do when you see that this cage of falsehood has been around you? The cage that the priest, the politicians, the religious teachers, the scriptures, when all these things have just placed a cage around you, what would you do then? What would be the outcome? If the truth sets you free, what do you do with that cage? First of all, if you have found the truth, you know there was no cage because the thing is, you'll see the lie that you've been living. You'll see it. It's right in front of you. You cannot ignore it. It's right there. Thinking you are the body and mind, you forget your true nature. We all do. We all forget our true nature, even though it was so obvious to us. We have always been this Formless Awareness, and that is going to disturb us, when we realize we have always been God. Do you think that's gonna make you feel free first? After years, lifetimes of being told that you are different to that Truth, now you have found that you are not different to the Truth. You are one. You and the truth are one and the same. How is that going to make you feel? It's going to disturb you first. It's not going to give you peace. It's not going to give you bliss. It's probably going to take you to the darkest place you've ever been in your life. But remember that darkness is only an illusion because the light is already there. The Light is already present. And then he says after having been disturbed, he will be astonished. That person, once they come across the Truth and they embed themselves in the Truth, when they fully absorb themselves into the Truth and dissolve themselves into the Truth, they will be in a state of awe and wonder. Their eyes will be full of wonder and great intensity. There'll be a sparkle in their eyes. Why? Because you can sense that they are seeing everything in awe and wonder. They are seeing things always for the first time because the last second is never the same as this very second, and neither is this second going to be the same as the next second. Forget about minute, even the next moment is never the same as this moment, and you'd be amazed at how close this Formless Awareness is, how close this godliness is. You'd be astonished, shocked, amazed. How could I not see this? It was so obvious, and yet I thought I was so far and in that complete joy, you just find that the Truth has been here all along. There's a smile, there's a happiness that doesn't lose its fragrance, it doesn't lose its texture, it doesn't lose its intensity. It's always there. It's not that, you know, some people say that, oh, you know, the same level of happiness and joy and that intense joy that I had when I discovered the truth is not the same today. I would like to just say it's not that actually. It's just that you've got used to that joy now. It becomes so obvious to you. It becomes so, so much part of your life, you can't see life without it. What happens is you go from tears to laughter to silence, and that's the journey when you start resting in Formless Awareness. This journey is something a lot of us have taken and are taking. You'll be astonished by the beauty and the bliss that's emanating from your True Self when you discover the real teachings. Then he says, then he will reign over everything. That person rules over everything. Why? Because they rule themselves. Once you are able to rule yourself, you ruled everybody. Everyone is one and the same as you. They are that same godliness that you are. So the everything is really only one thing, which is its own Self. God itself, Brahman Formless Awareness, and that's the Truth. Then verse 3A. Jesus said, if your leaders say to you, look, the kingdom is in the sky, then the birds will be there before you are. If they say that the kingdom is in the sea, then the fish will be there before you are. Rather, the kingdom is within you and it is outside of you. That is so Vedantic. I dunno what else to say that that is a complete teaching. If you just stick with this verse 3A for the rest of your life, if you just stick to this, if you find interpretation for this, you will be free. You will be fearless. You will understand what you are. If you really seek to find the correct interpretation of this one verse, just this one part of the verse. You see, religious leaders always look to distract us. They will say, look, the kingdom is in the sky. It's up above. The heavens are in the clouds. The pearly gates are there resting upon the cloud, and you'll see a great light there. Or they will say, God is in some red mist Well, space was already there before you got there. And as Jesus says, the birds are already there before you got there. In Punjabi we say 'upar-vala' . We say the one living above, such foolishness. Such ignorance. The very people that say God is everywhere, start pointing up there. This one will know, and they're not meaning one as in this. They're actually pointing above. There's no God above us. When I say that meaning, God alone isn't just above us. You see when they say God is up there, heaven is up there and like fools we just blindly believe them. We don't think about what they've said. We don't even contemplate. We just believe it. They get one part of a scripture somewhere, they give us that interpretation and we just believe it. We don't know what that verse means. They don't know what that verse means, and it becomes the blind leading the blind. So that's the choice we have to make is whether we want to be led by the blind or whether we want to be led by those that are seekers. Even it is better to be led by someone that doesn't know the answer, but is seeking the answer than to follow someone who believes that through their belief that they have the answer. Because somebody else told them or that their text is correct only. Jesus mocks those very people. He says the birds will be there before you are going to be. We cannot fly. Yet we think that we'll rise up to some God or to some heaven. We don't have wings. How do we know that the soul will fly up there? Have we seen that the soul has wings? And if the soul is so light as a feather then surely, it cannot remain in the body. You're telling me gravity holds it down? These type of beliefs that people give us is not something we should just follow. We have to think about it. Think about what is being said. Then he says, likewise, if anyone says the kingdom is in the sea, then the fish will be there before us. Again, he's mocking us. And then Christ declares firstly that the kingdom meaning awareness is within you and outside of you. It's All-pervading, Sat-Chit-Ananda basically what Jesus just said is Sat-Chit-Ananda, the Kingdom of Awareness is all-pervading. It's within you and without you, everywhere. One can view this specifically as Sat and Chit. Ananda may come later but it is the ground of existence and Pure Awareness, Pure Consciousness. That's verse 3A. But again, I just want to reemphasize that if you really want to understand the truth, it's all in here. Let's go to verse 3B. When you understand yourselves, you will be understood and you will realize that you are the sons of the living Father. If you do not know yourselves, then you exist in poverty and you are that poverty. Before we go into this, when he says you are sons of the living father, what I would turn around and say is that we are all children of that Ultimate Awareness. Whether we say it's a father or a mother, it really doesn't matter. We can see it as the Highest Being. It is very clear here that once we know ourselves, the whole truth of who we are is understood. Who are we? What are we? What is our true nature? What is our True Self? All this is understood. He says, when you understand yourselves, you will be understood. He's not asking you to know some God or some Messiah or some prophet or some Guru. He's telling you to know yourself. That's why Jesus is a real Mystic here and you will realize that what once was a mystery was always a fact staring back at us. It's so obvious that we are Formless Awareness, yet we run away from it because it's more comfortable to believe that there's a God, that we are a soul and we are separate. There is a heaven. If we do good deeds, we'll go to heaven. If we do bad deeds, we go to hell, or we'll be born back again on this earth. Who knows if we're born as a human or or as a creature. These are all comforting ideas. Comforting ideas created from guilt, but innocence will be, I don't know. But all I do know is that I'm aware of these very teachings. I'm aware of these very consolations, these concepts that comforting, but they just are a pseudo type of comfort. We are all awareness, but we are reflections of awareness as the body. Here Jesus uses the metaphor of the Son of the living Father. But here, if you look at the conventional tradition of Christianity, they say only Jesus is son of God. Nobody else. Worship him, he's the only one. And here Jesus is saying you are Sons of the living Father or children of the living Father. However, if we do not know that we are awareness. If we do not understand that we are truly children or reflections as the body and mind of that One until we understand that we are that One, that is true poverty. So you can be a billionaire and you can believe in your conventional religion, but if you do not know that you are Brahman. You are in poverty. You are the poorest person, in my opinion. And the richest person is that which knows that they are Brahman to me. They're the real rich people. So what if you have so much money in your bank account? If you are not a decent human being, what value do you have? Wow. You know, you, you know how to utilize the stock market. Wow, you know how to do stock buybacks. You know how to trod on people's rights. You can earn billions, yet you can't allow people a living wage. You are the poorest people, nobody else. However, if you are in poverty and you know you are Brahman, the rich man has nothing on you. The rich man is not as powerful as they may seem. Yeah, you may have power on this earth, but no power in reality, in Ultimate Reality. Remember Christ himself, he stood against the colonizers. He stood against the orthodoxy, the conservative religious bigots of his time, he stood against them. He was fearless and that's because he was not in poverty. Maybe he lived a very simple life. But the richest man is that which is bounded by nothing. All he was bounded by a few disciples? , Mary Magdalene, his mother Mary. But again, that was through love and love is always boundless. It's never something that restricts you. It doesn't put you in a cage, and that's the difference. And then verses 4A&B. Jesus said The old man will not hesitate to ask a seven day old baby about the place of life and he will live. For, there are many who are first, who will become last. They will become a single one. This verse has some imagery that we need to understand. One that I had to understand as well as I'm not from that tradition of the Abrahamic religions. First of all, a seven day old baby is untouched and unharmed by the religious customs, traditions, rituals, and anything else associated with it, so they're completely pure. The seven day old baby is actually a symbol of wisdom. On the eighth day, the baby is circumcised, therefore entering into the world of duality. However, the old man is in ignorance, even though death is nearing, he still does not know himself because he's entered that world of duality. He's not in that non-dual state anymore. If an old man nearing the end of his life were to ask a seven day old baby about life, the baby would be able to reveal the truth straightaway. Even though it's imagery, but what Jesus is talking about is innocence. Non-duality brings innocence. Non-duality does not bring ignorance, nor does it make you cunning, nor does it make you, someone that plays politics and games in life. No, an old man is always looking to escape facing reality but you look at the eyes of a young child, a young baby, they will see everything. Whether it scares them, whether it makes them happy, they will look at it. They're innocent. Now, if the old man does ask the seven day old baby then through the innocence of that seven day old baby, that old man will get everlasting life because they will understand that ignorance is what makes you old. Innocence is what makes you everlasting. It is innocence that makes you full of wonder. Remember, the place of life is the ground of all existence, which is Brahman. The first and the last is just a circle of life. Yeah, that's all it is. So they all end up being one Brahman. In fact, it appears as many, but there is only one. That's the reality. This verse can also be a hint upon age. That many are first, meaning they are fast and ready to give all to life to the rat race. Then they get older and older and they get slower and slower that they become last in the race of life, eventually all will face the death of the body. That is the one single truth that nobody can escape from. Nobody. But beyond that, if they're able to recapture the innocence, the wisdom of the baby, they will understand there is only Oneness. The baby doesn't see themselves as different to you. They see you as an extension of themselves because they're not entered duality. Likewise, the Sage that knows themselves also is like that young baby that only sees everything as an extension of this One Pure Self, that Oneness. The last verse of today's episode, verse five. Jesus said, recognize what is right in front of you, and that which is hidden from you will be revealed to you. Nothing hidden will fail to be displayed. Let's look at the meaning behind what he's saying. He says, recognize what is right in front of you. Right now you are aware of what is in front of you. This screen that you're watching this podcast on, or you are aware of the sound of my voice. Therefore, the sound of my voice or the image on the screen is nothing but an object that you are aware of. Whether that's the voice or whether that's the image you are seeing on YouTube. So you are aware of the object, the awareness of what is in front of you is first. So Recognize awareness first, then the object. And then Jesus says, and that which is hidden from you will be revealed to you.. When the Guru shows you Brahman, Formless Awareness, it becomes very apparent, very real and it's like, how could I not have seen this before? You would never be able to understand how it could have been hidden from you. It was hidden in plain sight, but there is the truth. It's there in plain sight. You can see it. It's right there. Awareness is hidden because it has no form. Awareness is hidden because it's not an object. It has no form, it has no image, no location. It is timeless and all pervading. Then Jesus says nothing hidden will fail to be displayed. There is nothing at all that will not be revealed to you. Once you understand the Truth, nothing can be hidden. All the spiritual gains or the gifts will be there for you to use. But one glimpse of Pure Awareness, then nothing else needs to be displayed. You will always be in that Formless Awareness. What can be hidden for the world will never be hidden for you. That's the journey we can all take. As we've been listening and contemplating upon a few verses of the Gospel of Thomas, thinking about the words of Christ, what we can capture here is the non-dualistic perspective, the non-dual teachings of Jesus. There's a lot to gain from Jesus, and sometimes I think it's so sad that a billion people may worship him but they don't know him. They may recite his name, but they don't know the essence behind the name. They may look for him in heaven, yet they can't see that he's right there in their heart and not just the heart of those that believe in him but in the hearts of everyone because Jesus is not a person. Jesus is not a body or a name or has any form. Jesus is that Formless Awareness that is eternally available as our own True Self. All it requires is the same courage, the same audacity, the same intensity to realize what we really are just like Jesus did. And that answer is that we are all Formless Awareness. That's the end of the episode. If you really enjoyed this episode and you really like what we've been discussing in the podcast in general, do share it with your friends and family and, who you think can engage best with it. Do follow me on social media to keep getting updates. You can join the Bearded Mystic Podcast WhatsApp community Group to continue the podcast discussion, details during the show notes and video description below. As I mentioned earlier, if you would like to support the Bearded Mystic Podcast, you can check out the podcast Patreon page, details are in the show notes and video description below. Please rate and review the podcast on our website www.thebeardedmysticpodcast.com. Please do like and comment on this video and subscribe to this YouTube channel. Please follow/subscribe to this podcast on your favorite podcast streaming app. You can also get bonus episodes and ad free episodes on Supercast and on Apple podcast subscriptions. Thank you very much for listening. Let's end with the Soham mantra and also the Shanti mantra. Soham Soham. I am That, I am That. Aum Shanti Shanti Shanti Aum Peace Peace Peace. Wishing you all a very merry Christmas. Namaste.