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People asking Bede Griffiths questions.

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that is similar to what, let's say, the Jungians, particularly John Singer, discuss in relation to sexuality, that with a certain gender we're sort of committed to an anatomical form, male or female, and at the same time on a different level we have the feminine and the masculine. Yeah. That in the same way you have your own particular religion, your religious tradition, but you're related to the others, you see, and you then have to relate. And that is the moral imposition. Well, we couldn't want to say that perhaps it is a little like the mystery which manifests in symbols. And the symbol doesn't just partake of the mystery, it is the mystery in that form. The mystery, yes. I am myself in that form, and my intellect is myself in that form. My face is a symbol

[01:03]

of myself. It doesn't just partake in myself, it is myself that way. But the mystery which is being manifested in each of these ways also in some sense is greater than all of the manifestations. So that one takes the symbology in Christianity or the symbology of the Vajrayana, of Tibetan Buddhism, the mystery is indeed totally present in the symbols but also transcends. And there is a certain way in oneself, in experience, where one goes through the symbols into that fullness, into the void from which all the symbols have their being. So it seems to me what Stan is driving at, if my understanding were right, the source from which all the symbols of whatever kind come is the goal, and yet the only way

[02:10]

to get there is to go very deeply into a symbol and take oneself. The only vehicle one has for getting to the mystery is this symbol. Is yourself. And these other symbols, and then the cultural symbols that we elaborate. So it seems to me it is rather paradoxical. The mystery beyond the symbol is what one and one's being hungers and thirsts and dies for. But the only way you can get there is by going to the depth of the symbol when it breaks open and reveals its mystery. Because the symbol, any particular symbol is the mystery in that form. And you have to find it through yourself, don't you, you see. The spirit is manifested in each person in a unique way, and you've got to be true to yourself, you see. And that is different for each person, you see, and each has to follow that path. But they all

[03:11]

converge on the one mystery, because there's only one mystery that's present in it. And yet it's through your own body, your own soul, your own cultural tradition, your own history that you have to find this ultimate. You can't eliminate that past history, you see. You know, I was thinking particularly about somebody who had a very powerful psychedelic section and a lot of sort of insights into different religions, and the idea that there are sort of various different religions, you know, express different aspects of the universal mind. Yes. And at the same time there seems to be a similarity or commonality or common denominator, denominators, because yet there are specificities. I mean, one religion cannot be replaced by the other. Yeah, yeah. And he was giving an example of species in nature. For example, you have vertebrates, you know, you have giraffes and gorillas and shrews, you name it, and there is a sort of

[04:16]

common skeletal structure. You can see that the wing of the bat, for example, and let's say that dolphins... Flippers. Flippers are kind of analogous. They follow the same plan. So there is a similarity all through the vertebrate kingdom, and yet you cannot reduce a giraffe to a whale. I mean, they are very specific manifestations of their own. Yes. And so in that sense, in a very similar way in which you cannot reduce the creation, natural creation, to one particular species, you cannot really replace in the totality one or all religions by one. No, no, no. And it would be illusory, I think, to think that... As I say, it is mixing, that

[05:20]

we can mix all the different religious traditions to find the reality there. I think you've got to grow from the root of a tradition and then relate to the other ones. You need to find your root. How did they? My experience of this is that I in fact had no experience of religion. I did experience of physics in my training. And in my first psychedelic experiences, it seems to me most of what you've talked about, say last night, was revealed in those experiences. But the system I related to most easily was Buddhism and Kashmir Shaivism. So it occurs to me that at least, at the very least, the particular trajectory our soul has taken makes us resonate more with one symbol, if you like, than another one. Yes, yes, yes. And then I have a personal or important question for me around that. I found that I was able

[06:25]

to integrate these experiences into my life and live them for a certain length of time, and then that I fell away through what I also view as sinning against that revelation. Through, I think, not having a discipline, not practicing meditation. And so now, of course, one part of me is tempted to try and have that revelation again experientially through a psychedelic. Another part says, well, I won't be graced with that same experience again. I'm very lucky to have that. So I wonder on your perspective on, say, the uses and the dangers of using the psychedelic. Yes. I wouldn't like to commit myself on that. Father B., this is another kind of fun question as well, in a way. Do you ever have a sense,

[07:28]

seeing you and your presence and all the years you spent in India, what comes to me is a sense that perhaps you've really been a sadhu for many lifetimes and then were born into a Christian culture, putting those together in your own being. And I wonder if that's ever been a sense for you, a sense of having been in India before or anything like that. No, I don't think I've ever had that. It was a real... You know, when I came to India I wrote to somebody, I said, I want to discover the other half of my soul, was the way I put it, you see. And that I really think I have discovered, but not as though it was a past experience. It's something new it's come to me, you know, a growth. Yes. What extent do you think, do you feel that membership of an established church is a necessary precondition of reaching a higher level of consciousness? Yes. Certainly, you know, as I say, you must be true to yourself. And you see, I think

[08:38]

people today grow up in a great variety of cultures and so on, and you have to be always seeking to discover your true self. But I do think as you discover yourself you begin to relate to others, you begin to come into a community of some sort, you see. And I do think the established churches have a very important place in that way, that it helps people as they're discovering themselves, discovering a common experience with others, to find a community, to be able to relate to others, and to be able to grow within that tradition, you see. And I became a Catholic in 1931, I think it is, fifty years ago, and it's always been supportive for me. I think I was fortunate, I joined a contemplative monastery immediately, and it's always been supportive, and I've had a community, and I can find myself, you see, in that context. And that I find immensely helpful. And I think if you're on your own, you know, it's very, very difficult. So to me, I wouldn't say it's

[09:40]

a necessity, and people must find their way, and I do think some people have, as Father Thomas was rather suggesting, some people have to get out of the Christian tradition and discover Buddhism, discover Hinduism, because they can rediscover the reality of Christianity, you see. So it's complex today, but I still feel the established churches have a very important place in that way. Any more questions? Well, I just have a question. Having watched Stan over the last few years, when we first met, Stan feeling quite lonely in certain circles with the observations that he had seen coming from being a very traditional Freudian, and then suddenly in the late 50s becoming involved in the LSD work, and seeing people having experiences that took them way beyond what Freud was describing, and then trying to present these findings in certain

[10:44]

circles where they were just not accepted, and then meeting Fritjof Capra and the whole surge of modern physics, which suddenly were complementing what he had been seeing, and finding support, so that now in the Harvard Science Center, Stan can give a talk which leads people way out there as far as what kind of experience is available to the human psyche, and then back it up with modern physics. And I wonder if you've had a similar kind of experience, that you've obviously read extensively and have had your own kinds of experiences then, now with the publication of David Bohm's books and Karl Friedman's. Yes, it was a very important event, I think, you know, reading Capra and then Bohm, and then Ken Wilber has really opened it up for me tremendously. But I would say it was only a sort of way of interpreting my experience, if you like, and really what I felt when I

[11:48]

read Capra and Ken Wilber and others was this is expressing what I have been trying to work out, you see, and he'd got it all mapped out as it were, you see. So it came not as something new so much as an explication, a manifestation of what I was seeking, which is very interesting, isn't it, you see, what Jung calls synchronicity, that these different movements are going on and you suddenly find yourself in the middle of a movement which is involving so many others. There was another question here. Sir? Could you speak about the physics, the new physics approach to space and time as being an arbitrary construct, and how this relates to the sense of it which is to a construct of your own experiences in consciousness? How do we...

[12:49]

Yes. Where do we put it? Yeah, well, I think that to get beyond the space-time consciousness is the central step, really, you see, isn't it? As long as we remain in this space-time consciousness, we are limited to this mental world, really, you see, and that, to me, you see, is the meaning of resurrection. According to resurrection, Jesus went beyond space and time, and that's why he's totally present to the whole reality, you see. When you get beyond space and time, you're no longer conditioned. That's why we read in the Eucharist, you see, it's extremely interesting from the point of view of modern physics, you see, that when you get beyond space and time, you're totally integrated with the total reality, and therefore the total reality of Christ could be present in every Eucharist all over the world, you see. It's a total reality which is... because it's not conditioned by space and time, you present it in space and time, you have bread and wine and congregation, and it can manifest there, but in itself it is transcending, you see. So I think we're always trying to get

[13:51]

to that state beyond space and time. Where in your system of spirituality, is there any place for social responsibility? Yes, I didn't mention it at all, you know. One can't mention everything, but it is very, very important, yes. I mean, you see, this whole idea that we are living in a world of relationships, you see, and as we discover ourselves, we discover others, and we discover our responsibility towards others, you see. So that whole dimension is really present, I didn't mention it. Maybe tomorrow I'll try and say something more about that. Would you say it seems that with all the different religions, perhaps what's happening is that it's merely a problem of language. They're describing us and they're describing us with different symbols and different languages, and that includes Catholic language... Yes. ...and the language, I think, of the human potential movement also. Do you feel that what's needed is some kind of more abstract language that kind of interweaves all of them

[14:56]

so that they can communicate and really understand each other? I don't think that's enough, you know. I think it can help, but I think it's more than language, you see. Words are symbols and they point to a reality, and it really is not simply the words you use or the language you use about the reality, but the way in which you experience that reality. And the language is beyond words. Yes, yes, yes. It is very important. I think we are, perhaps, and have to evolve a new language like that, but I wouldn't like to say that the problem is simply one of language, you see. I think it's also a problem of depth experience, you see. And celebrate a new language. Well, it's beyond language, you see. That's the problem. Well, language is limited to things, words, something else. Isn't it a little that if you go deeply enough into any symbol, whether a verbal symbol or a visual symbol or a symbolic act, if you go deeply enough and experience, then that

[16:02]

symbol is open to other symbols. On a surface level, they are not so easily conjoined. But since the source is ultimately the same, if you go deeply enough into yourself, for instance, then you are open to others at the level of their real depth. On the surface, it's far more difficult. So I think maybe it is a matter of experiencing the real dynamic depth of whatever symbol you are dealing with, starting with the principal symbol yourself. That's broadening the meaning of language. Not entirely. Language is perhaps the least profound of the symbols we use. I mean, you know, there's body language. A ritual act is a kind of language, using also words often.

[17:09]

Well, I don't know what more to say about that. But I think it's a matter of going deeply enough into whatever symbol you're dealing with, even words. If you understand the real resonance in what's being said there, you suddenly get insights into quite different things. You know, the Buddhists say we use words to get beyond words and reach the wordless essence. It's taking the word language right away. Last night I asked a question in regards to an area that you did not touch on today. And you said you wanted to talk about it later. The question had to do with three aspects of a person. One being a physical aspect, the soul and the spirit. And you spoke about the subtle body, particularly, I believe, in regards to the rising of Christ.

[18:22]

And I asked a question about the spirit in regards to the oneness, whether the spirit was an individual and that was an individual feature or quality, or whether it was a quality of the indivisible or the universal. And also as to what the subtle body actually was. Was that an individual manifestation of the soul of a being? And I would just like to hear your further explanation of that as well. Yes, you see, as I understand it, the spirit is manifesting in the body, is manifesting in the soul. And the one spirit manifests in you and me, in this body and this soul, and is individualized, is personalized in each one of us. So that we're a distinct person, a distinct mode of the spirit. And that is why I said, in the ultimate, we all have intercommunion, we enter into one another,

[19:27]

but we don't lose our distinctiveness, you see. The spirit is present in you and in me in a unique way. Each one of us is a unique manifestation of the one spirit. But I don't like to say that you just have an identity, you see. Well, how does the spirit differ from the soul? How does the individual spirit differ from the soul? From the soul? Soul. Well, you see, the soul, the psyche, is the spirit manifesting through the senses, through the reason, the will, in this mental world, you see, of discursive thought and so on. But the spirit itself in man is the point of our integration, what they call the still point, you see, where we become one and where we're open to the divine. That is our point of, I am in God and God is in me at that point, you see. So it's quite different from the soul. The soul is all the faculties and the powers, you see, which we all exercise normally, but the spirit is the source from which all these things come. It's the mind. The mind is...

[20:29]

Yeah, there are different... the gnosis of Aristotle and so on, that is sometimes used. But I perhaps... artman, you see, artman is the best word. The artman is the breath? The artman is the soul? No, the jivatman is the soul, you know, but the artman itself is the spirit, you see, is the paramatman, they sometimes say, the supreme spirit, which is manifesting in the jivatman, in the individual state, you see. But the individual state, then, the soul is the intellect, is the emotional... Yeah, the whole psychic makeup, you see. All the psychology studies belong to the psyche, you see. The psyche is the soul, are you... The psyche is the soul, yeah. One more question. If you would agree, it was an impression which I have, that in Christianity somehow there is much less emphasis on what we call the archetypal,

[21:32]

or the mythological level. For example, if you look at Christian art, compare it to, say, Hindu art or Buddhist art, in the orient, the emphasis is on the archetypal representations of some cosmic forces, the world of deities and so on. Whereas in Christianity it seems to be much more concretized, tremendous emphasis on the lives of individual saints. Do you feel that there has been a stronger tendency in Christianity to see, let's say, spiritual symbols more instead of historical or temporal references? Yeah, I think that's fundamentally true, you see. To me the great difference is that Hinduism, Buddhism and others are cosmic religions primarily, the revelation of the history through the cosmos and through the human soul. Whereas Christianity was a revelation of God through historic events, historic people, historic events and a historic person.

[22:33]

And therefore you have this deep emphasis on the historic reality, this world, the person and so on, which I'd rather emphasize. But I would say, you see, that in the early Christian art it was very open to this whole cosmic reality too. And in the icon or in the mosaics, you know, of the early centuries, you get a tremendous sense of the cosmic mystery, you see. And even, you know, the Christos Pantokrator, the world ruler, he's an icon, you see, he's a symbol of the whole cosmic mystery. But it tended, you see, the whole, that is our Western tradition, tended more and more towards the individual, and it's our weakness, you see, that becomes too devolved in history and individuals and so on. And so it's run down into that channel and we've tended to lose the cosmic aspect. And now today, that's why I feel we have to recover the cosmic Christ, you see, which I've been talking about really, and all that,

[23:35]

so that all this cosmic symbolism and psychological symbolism should be reintegrated, you see, it should be rediscovered. But we need also, I think, the historic tradition, the historic dimension of all. You know, Fr. Bede, I remember you and I talking a number of times about the crucial importance for Christ to be discovered within the whole cosmic mythology of India, precisely because our Semitic symbology is too meager. That in Indian symbolism, you have all the things that our human unconscious requires. And our Christian tradition is really too slender. It doesn't meet all those kinds of needs. So at a place like the ashram, where you have Christian tradition

[24:38]

finding its way within a Hindu dharma, then you have a new kind of synthesis arising, badly needed by Christianity. Not just for India, but for Christianity on the whole. I think that is true, but I would also say, you know, there was much more cosmic symbolism. Take Chartres or any of the great cathedrals, really all this cosmic symbolism was integrated in them. There was a tremendous opening of the unconscious, you know, in the Middle Ages. But it was after, you see, from the 14th, 15th century onwards, that's when we began to lose all this and the rationalism took over. And what we have, the Christianity we have now, you see, is really the dregs of that. We've lost the deep cosmic symbolism and all that riches, and we've come to a sort of rationalized moral Christianity, which is a leftover, as it were. And that is why I think today, we probably cannot recover that, except through contact with Hinduism, with the cosmic religions, you see.

[25:41]

Father Vic, can I just ask you a question? I probably misunderstood, but did you say that Christian religion was hierarchical, sort of with someone at the top and someone at the bottom? I mentioned about the angels and things, I wonder where we all fit in? No, I mentioned the ecclesiastical and celestial hierarchy of Dionysius. That is rather hierarchical, I admit. He sees the whole cosmos in these terms, the church and the laity and the priesthood and the bishops and so on, and then the angels and so on. And I wouldn't accept that sort of hierarchy as he does. I think we would have a much broader concept of it. But I still think hierarchy is important in the sense that hierarchy is sacred, you see, that the sacred is manifesting itself at every level, that is the important thing, at the physical level, at the psychological, at the human level, you see, each one of us is an icon, we are manifesting the sacred.

[26:43]

So our hierarchy would be more expanded perhaps. I have been troubling in thinking that if God is in me and I am in God, how that ties in with the hierarchy. Yes, because you see, what I emphasized was that when we come to the supreme in God, we integrate all the other elements, you see, the physical, psychological is reintegrated in the one, we don't leave it behind, that is the important thing. One more? Can you explain why some people are looking for this unconsciousness of God or the collective of God in themselves, and some people never give it a thought through their whole life? Yes, they would say it's karma, wouldn't they, some people? No, I think we all are made differently, you know, and we come from all the… it's a great mystery, isn't it,

[27:46]

the infinite diversity of human beings, of human situations and so on, and I don't think one can explain that, you know, except that it is part of this whole cosmic whole to which we belong. But I also think, you know, that it's remarkable how in the most unlikely places and unlikely people this spark of divinity shines out, you know, it's amazing how in the worst situations somehow this thing appears, I mean a concentration camp, and in the worst situations somehow the divine manifests itself. I think that's very important, but I don't think one can explain why people are constituted like that. Shall we have… Thank you very much. Thank you. Thank you.

[29:12]

Could I suggest a few… I think you'd be interested too, because it's about the experiment on Rupert Shulman. I see. No, no. Before we start I just want to take a minute to tell you about an experiment which we have done which involved Rupert Sheldrake. Father Beat Griffiths, as I mentioned, Rupert spent a long time in India and wrote, I think, if not all, then most of his book, A New Science of Life in the Ashram, that Father Beat is coming from. Rupert has written this book called A New Science of Life, talking about morphic resonance and morphogenetic fields,

[30:22]

what we heard from Father Beat, that mechanistic science cannot really explain form, pattern, order in nature. And it's a very interesting hypothesis because it's testable, and now the experiments are beginning to test this. And one of the experiments involved ambiguous figures and Rupert Sheldrake asked us to do an experiment with the entire group of participants of the ITA, which was over a thousand people. What the experiment involved was to expose people to two figures like this, which I believe were obtained by increasing the contrast in a photograph, eliminating the in-betweens, the shades, instead of increasing the light and the darkness. And the two figures were shown to the first half of the participants on one morning.

[31:25]

We collected the answers. Then at two o'clock Rupert Sheldrake appeared on the television in England and presented this picture, which was the answer to three million people at one time. And then we repeated the experiment afterwards. And the idea would be that the fact that so many people learned the correct answer would be sort of instantly broadcast, so that the number of people in the second experiment who would get the correct answers would be larger. And I understand it was done with a number of other groups all over the world, including some specifically structured groups in London. We didn't do the statistics on it, but the result was quite interesting. Four percent of the people got the correct answers before Rupert Sheldrake's presentation and eight percent afterwards, so it was twice as many. Was that at the conference, the figures? Yeah.

[32:27]

So anyway, I will leave all the material, his letter and explaining the experiment and the pictures and the answers. I will just leave it here for everybody who wants to look at it. I'll begin by chanting the great saying from the Upanishads, from the unreal lead me to the real, from darkness lead me to light, from death lead me to immortality. I'll do it three times, the last time you'll just sing. Dhamma Soma Jyotir Kamaya

[33:29]

Mrityor Mahamritam Kamaya Asato Masat Kamaya Dhamma Soma Jyotir Kamaya Mrityor Mahamritam Kamaya Asato Masat Kamaya Dhamma Soma Jyotir Kamaya Mrityor Mahamritam Kamaya Om Shanti Shanti Shanti The theme of the seminar this month is looking east

[34:40]

and I thought it might be helpful for us this morning to ask ourselves what would the church, the Christian churches be like if they were to begin looking east. You see for two thousand years Christianity came out of the east, came out of Palestine and it's been moving westward and all the structures of the church, the organization, the language, the doctrine, the ritual, the sacramental system, all these things have evolved in the conditions of western culture. So we've formed this western structured church and churches and for many people they have become a positive obstacle to spiritual growth. And I think the problem perhaps is this, that until recently people grew up within a particular culture, Hindu, Buddhist, Christian, Muslim, and you received your religion from without.

[35:42]

You grew up in it, you had the structures of religion around you, the doctrines and so on and you took them from without and then you assimilated them within, at least a good many did. For some it simply remained a cultural structure. For others it became the base of a real spiritual renewal. But now, the time has come now, those structures of all, for many people they've dissolved and we're living in a world now when people need experience of God, experience of reality. They're always looking, for many the structures have become oppressive. For many people the Christian structures are oppressive from their childhood and people who come to our ashram, I would say 60% will say I was a Catholic or I was an Anglican or something and until I was 16 I used to go to church regularly, follow the mass and so on, and at 16 I gave it all up.

[36:44]

The structure no longer, when they went out into the world, began to think for themselves, no longer had meaning for them. And the result is, I say, then you see they leave that and they come to India looking for an experience of God. They go to Hindu ashrams, Buddhist monasteries and so on. They're seeking an inner experience and I think more and more today we're moving into an era when people will need to discover God from within and then begin to relate to other structures, you see, instead of the other way around. For many, of course, it still remains, the structure remains for them, but for a vast number it's dissolved and they have to discover God from within. And that is why Buddhist meditation, yoga, Zen, have such a deep meaning for people today. So now, if we begin to look east, it seems to me what we would ask is what would the Christian church be like if we were to go beyond all these present structures

[37:53]

and to renew the source, renew the experience of God which took place in the time of the New Testament and try to see the whole thing from within. And that is what I would like to try to do this morning, try to see what lies behind all these organizations, dogmas, this moral system, this sacramental system, what lies behind it. And it is an experience of God, you see. Every religion begins with an experience of God. You have the enlightenment of the Buddha, you have the Upanishad, the Bhagavad Gita, you have the Koran. These were a wonderful experience of God. And then it is crystallized in certain forms, certain structures, and the religion comes into being and people begin to follow that. But always at the source there is the experience. And incidentally, you see, today I think we all feel that if you want, the religions want to meet,

[38:53]

they have to go beyond their structures, you see, to the source. Our founder of our ashram, Fr. Moshena, was a very holy man and was a great scholar, put it in that way that both in Christianity and Hinduism we want to go to the source when the original experience broke forth and relate to one another at that point, at the source, not when they've got canalized into various different structures, you see. So we're trying to return to the source. And we have to recognize, you see, that there's this experience of God which goes from earliest times here in America. The American Indians here had a positive experience thousands and thousands of years ago, and so all over the world. And then you get the great religious traditions where a new experience of God emerges, you see, at each point with the Buddha, with the Upanishads, with Muhammad, and with the prophets and apostles.

[39:54]

You get a new experience of God emerging. And we now have to try to see how to relate these experiences to one another. And I would like, first of all, to try to recall the original Christian experience and then see how it relates. And, of course, the Christian experience is contained in the Bible. First of all, the Old Testament, which it all springs from the experience of Israel. And we must never forget that, that the experience of God in Israel is the source of Judaism, of Christianity, and of Islam, you see, three of the great religions. And it's recorded in the Bible, and it's a record of this experience of God, you see. That is what the Bible is tending to communicate. And again and again we have to remind ourselves, you see, when people read the Upanishads very often, they come to it as scholars, and they look at it as an ancient text, and they analyze it as they would any other ancient text,

[41:01]

and they don't realize that those words, that text, is intended to awaken your experience. You see, the Upanishads have no meaning unless they awaken you to the experience of the rishis, of the seers. The same with the Bodhisutras, it's to awaken the enlightenment of the Buddha. And so also, with all that the Bible, it's to awaken in us this unique experience of God which took place in Israel. Now, the Bible begins, of course, with the story of Adam and Eve. And I think that's deeply significant. You see, Adam and Eve, men and women, are placed in the garden, the garden of this world. And in that garden there are the two trees, the tree of wisdom, knowledge, and the tree of life. And this signifies that man in the beginning, as I say, the spirit was present, and he was offered this gift of wisdom and immortality. Those are the two things which are offered us and which we seek all our lives.

[42:04]

We're seeking for wisdom and immortality. And what was the thing of man? It is very interesting, you see, the serpent, the demonic power came and said, if you eat this tree, you will be like God, you see. And that is what we all want to be, we want to be like God. And the sin is when we try to grasp at it. Jack Cornfield was saying yesterday, this pseudo-nirvana, you see, when you get this wonderful experience, and you think, now I've got it and I can keep it, you see, and you want to get hold of it. And the one condition of receiving this is that you renounce your ego, you leave yourself totally open, you let go, you see. And the moment the ego gets in, the whole thing is ruined. And that is the original sin, you see, this trying to grasp God and to get it for yourself and not allow God to come to you,

[43:04]

to open yourself, which means really dying to yourself and receiving this gift. So that was the original sin, as recorded in the Bible. And then begins the story of redemption with Abraham. And there again you get a typical archetypal structure, really. See, Abraham is called to leave his country, to get thee from thy country, thy father's house, thy family. You have to get out of your social, political, economic structure. You have to go beyond your culture, you see. He belonged to this Babylonian culture and he had to get out of it, and he was called out of it. And in every experience, as we're always saying, you see, you have to go beyond your present experience. You have to die to that and open yourself. And he doesn't know where he's going. He's simply called, leave that country and go where I tell you. So he goes in this exploration, you see, looking for a promised land.

[44:10]

See, man called out of the present situation and given a promise, but something which he doesn't yet see is far beyond him, you see. And that is our condition. We're always being told to go out by faith, out of this world, out of the structures of this world, to open ourselves to the mystery beyond, which we can't see, which we can't hold on to, but which is calling us all the time. So Abraham moves out in that way. And then you get an interesting event. When Abraham comes, he settles in Palestine, has Isaac and Jacob, and then everything begins to go wrong. As Jack Kornfield was showing yesterday, in all these stages, you see, there are all these pitfalls, and you think you've reached your goal, and then all these negative things begin to come up. So they enter the promised land, and you think that all was well,

[45:11]

and then they all go down into Egypt, there's a famine in the land, they go down into Egypt, and for 400 years, nothing happens. There is a dark night, you see, a kind of death. They're all there in Egypt. And then comes the call again. Moses is called, and you get the burning bush. Moses goes out into the desert. Again, he leaves the Egyptian civilized world, goes out into the desert, and he sees this burning bush. And for the Father, once you go out of this world, out of the conventional experience of life, you enter into the transperson, if you like, you enter into the psychic world, and you begin to realize these hidden presences in nature, in the world around you, and you're guided through this desert. And then they come to Mount Sinai, and Moses, God, appears in the darkness of Mount Sinai. And St. Gregory of Nyssa wrote the great work on this,

[46:17]

Life of Moses he called it, and the climax of the Life of Moses was he went up into the mountain and he met God in the darkness. See, he goes out of Egypt, through the desert, under the guidance of the cloud, but now he's got to go beyond the light that was in the cloud, he's got to go into the darkness, and he meets God on the top of the mountain, and there is cloud and darkness and fire, and he goes through this fiery experience and encounters God there, and the rest of the people don't dare approach the mountain, because it's so terrible, the power which is in it, you see. So he is the leader who goes into the darkness and discovers God, and brings down the law. And the law of kindness, again, you link up with the people, you see, the law is the guidance for the people. And for the Israelites today, still the Torah is something extremely sacred,

[47:21]

something given by God, and really every ancient people felt that their law, the tradition of their people, the organization of their tribe and so on, it came from God, you see, always the great spirit delivered it. You have the beautiful story of the sacred pipe, don't you, which Black Elk tells how this woman appeared and gave this pipe to the people. So it's a supernatural visitation, you see, and so the law was given to Israel from Mount Sinai through Moses and all this fire and darkness and lightning, you see. So this was a tremendous experience, you see, and Israel was formed in the desert there. That's why the Israeli today, you see, still goes back to that tremendous experience when he was brought out of Egypt, which he commemorates every year at the Passover, and how he received the law from God at Mount Sinai. It's a tremendous event.

[48:21]

And now this cloud is very fascinating because it goes on all through the Bible, and the cloud continues. And when, skipping over the centuries, we come to David, and the people, they go through the desert, they enter the land, they plant their vineyards and build their houses, and they want a king to rule over them. They want to be a people like anybody else, you see. And so David, or first Saul, and then David is chosen as king. And now David wants to bring the ark of the covenant, the sacred ark on which the cloud always descended, to bring that up and put it in a temple. David is not allowed to build the temple. He's not fit for it because he's a warrior, but Solomon, his son, is allowed to build the temple. And then when Solomon builds the temple, the cloud of glory descends on the temple, and the people couldn't see anything. This momentous cloud of glory covered the temple.

[49:25]

And that again is a sign, you see, of this presence, the divine presence manifesting in a psychic form. It was always distinguished. The spirit was psychic, the physical. You had the physical temple built there, and then this psychic phenomenon, the glory, cloud of glory, which is a manifestation of the spirit, of the supreme, you see, who can never be seen. You see, the supreme is always beyond, but he manifests in the different spheres. And so the cloud of glory covers the temple, and then again you have this strange history. Israel has settled in the land, it's been given the law, it's got its king, it's got a temple, and God's come to dwell among his people. Everything seems to be complete, and then again you get the disaster comes, you see. And the Assyrians come up and take away the northern Israelites, and the Babylonians come and capture Jerusalem, and the whole thing goes to pieces again. And this is a record of the spiritual life of man in history and of every human being. We all go through these experiences, you see, of light and darkness.

[50:29]

And so they are desolated in exile, and then Ezekiel has a vision, and he sees the temple rebuilt and the cloud of glory returning to the temple, you see. So they have that great expectation, they will return, they will be rebuilt, and the people and God again will come and dwell among them. And then again the temple is rebuilt, and the Israelites reunite. Today, really, the Israel of the synagogue comes into being. And it continues, but nothing happens. The expectation was that God was going to finally visit his people. They journeyed through the desert, they came into the land, they built the temple, but this was not the end. There was to come a time when God would finally intervene, bring everything to completion. And they were always looking for that. It formed the expectation of the coming of the Messiah. He would come one day, and he would restore all things.

[51:30]

Israel, you see, as you know, is in this little strip of land there, between all the great powers, was always a battlefield, you see, and they were always oppressed. Under the Persians, and then the Greeks, and then the Romans, one conqueror after another came. And these little people just preserved this experience of God that has kept them together, you see. And yet they all saw everything, nothing happening, as it were, and they were always looking forward to the time when God would finally intervene and reveal the fullness of glory and bring Israel to its completion. And that was the expectation at the time of the New Testament, you see, that this intervention would take place. And so we come to the New Testament. And now there's a great deal of critical study being made of the Gospels, you know, the New Testament, and it's not at all certain. You see, the understanding of the New Testament today is that the events took place.

[52:36]

Jesus was certainly born, he certainly died, and he appeared to his disciples. But this was experienced by the apostles and so on, but for twenty or thirty years it was simply passed down by word of mouth and nothing was written about it, you see. And then they interpreted all this experience they'd had in the light of their own present experience, and then the evangelists came in the second half of the century and began to record it. So it's come down to us through a tradition, you see. And the tradition is basically sound, but it's been developed in the course. So today people don't know exactly what Jesus said, you see, because his words have been interpreted in the light of the later church. And many of the titles given to him as Lord and Christ, Son of God, and so on, many question how far that actually took place in his own time.

[53:39]

I don't think it matters very much myself, really, because the one thing that everybody recognizes is that Jesus saw in himself this coming of God to Israel, you see. The promise had been there that God would intervene, he would come and visit Israel, and Jesus realized that that had come in himself. He says somewhere, If I by the finger of God cast out evil spirits, the powers of evil, then the kingdom of God has come upon you. And the kingdom of God was this reign of God which they were waiting, when humanity would be taken up into the divine life, you see, and the fullness of the final completion of human life would be reached. And so he comes to announce the coming of that kingdom, and that that kingdom is coming in himself. But whether it took time for him to realize it or not, and it's very probable that it did, he gradually realized that it could only come through his death.

[54:40]

He would have to die if that kingdom was finally to come. And so the pattern of the New Testament is this manifestation in Jesus and then his death and his resurrection. But now, to take it back to the beginning, it begins with the annunciation to Mary. And I think this is a very important phase too. You see, Mary is the woman, and that is very important, you see. It's the woman who receives this message first. And she is called to make the total surrender. The offer is given to us, the Son shall be born of you, and she makes the surrender, Behold the handmaid of the Lord, be it done unto me according to your will. That's the total letting go, the total surrender, you see. And the Fathers always contrasted that with Eve, you see. Eve was the first woman, and she was tempted to take from the tree of life, of knowledge,

[55:43]

to acquire the divinity, and lost everything through that. And Mary is the woman who is totally receptive, she's totally open to what God is giving. And so, through her, the Word can become flesh. And that is very important, you see, that in this tradition the Divine has to manifest in the flesh, in matter, in the body, for the transformation of matter, the body, the flesh, you see. So she surrenders to the Word to become flesh in her, a psychic transformation, if you like, must have taken place in her because she obeyed the Word, she was totally open to the Spirit. And it's interesting, you see, in Catholic tradition, that Mary is said to be free from both sin and death. Immaculate conception, the assumptions say that she was free from both sin and death. And death came into the world through sin. Because man didn't obey the Spirit, the body and the soul were no longer under control of the Spirit,

[56:47]

he became subject to disease, to suffering, to death, to all the present situation of the world. But in Mary, the return to the Spirit was made. She opened herself totally to the Spirit, and she was set free both from sin and from death. Which is the goal of all humanity, of course. We're all waiting to be set free from sin and to be set free from death. And so that is the beginning of this mystery. And then Jesus is born, and he, as I say, the Divine Power, the Word is present in him, and he manifests this in these cities, in these powers, these miracles, you see. And it's very important, you see, the older theology considered the miracles for simply God intervening in matter. Matter had its own fixed laws, Newtonian laws, and God intervened at certain times and upset those laws.

[57:50]

But, you see, we have a much more profound idea when we realize that matter is this field of energies always undergoing transformation. As consciousness begins to invade that field, transformation takes place, and the whole psychic world comes into being. And Jesus was one of those, only one of those, who had these psychic powers, these cities, manifesting the power of God, of course, but through this psychic energy. And so you get, as I said, his various miracles and so on, and you get his temptations to use those psychic powers for himself or for his own grandeur or to make a spectacle, you see. That is, again, the temptation of the ego comes in to use those powers, and he refuses that totally. But he performs these miracles, these powers to help people, usually out of compassion for the people's need. And so he manifests power, and also he manifests wisdom.

[58:53]

And this is very important, this gnosis, as I said. And there's a beautiful text in both Matthew and Luke where he says, I thank thee, Father, Father of heaven and earth, thou hast hidden these things from the wise and revealed them unto children. And this is the message, unless you become as little children, you shall not enter the kingdom of God. And when you become like a child, then you're open to this mystery of the Spirit. And so he says, no one knows the Son but the Father. No one knows the Father but the Son, and he to whom the Son will reveal him. So he's conscious of himself. It's receiving the Godhead from the Father, do you see, and communicating it to others. The divine life comes to him from the Father, and he can communicate it to others. And that is Christian gnosis, the knowledge of the Father and the Son in the Spirit. It's part of the Spirit. We awaken to His Sonship, to all wonders for the Father. So he brings this power and this wisdom, but still he has to make the final sacrifice.

[59:56]

He has to die. And this death, you see, is an expression of total love. You see, love is self-giving, isn't it? And when we totally surrender ourselves to death, we make the total surrender of ourselves, which is a total expression of love, you see. And so he freely and of his own accord accepts this death which is offered him, and accepts the extreme pain of that death, and through that total acceptance, that total love, he is taken up to God. And Karl Rahner, who is, I think, the greatest Catholic theologian today, has a very interesting explanation of what the Incarnation involves. And the way he puts it is this, that from the beginning, man has been called to go beyond himself. To discover this holy mystery which is guiding him to enter into this life in God, you see. From the very beginning of the world, the power of the Spirit has been present

[60:57]

in all the different religions of the world, you see, how man has been led by God towards this goal. But to experience the divine life always means giving up yourself, you see, this death to yourself and this awakening. And to make the total surrender, because of sin, there's always something in us which prevents that total surrender, you see. And therefore we can never totally give ourselves. We're striving all the time, but the something holds us back. But in Jesus, a man was found without sin, therefore without any obstacle in his soul, in his being, from receiving God. And so the two movements take place. Man is being drawn towards God and at that point a man is found who can make the total surrender to God. And when he makes that total surrender, God can totally surrender himself to him.

[61:57]

The two movements meet, you see. God is drawing man from his normal existence into this higher world to himself and man is trying to reach that. And in Jesus, the two movements meet and that is incarnation. When the human being makes total surrender to God and God is able to give himself totally to man, you see. And that is what took place then. And that is manifested, of course, in the resurrection. When, as I said, the body and the soul are configured. You see, man is made of body and soul and the whole body and the whole soul, the whole physical, psychological organism has to be transformed. And that is what took place at the resurrection. And then, as I think I mentioned, this affects the whole world, you see. And here again, Skaro Bindo is very interesting, you see. He had this idea that the supermind should descend and transform the body.

[62:59]

But he then saw also that this would be a new stage in evolution. It wouldn't be of one person, you see, but it would rather like Rupert Sheldrake's idea of setting out a new morphogenetic field, you see. The transformation of matter, the body and the soul in Jesus had its repercussions with the whole universe. It affected the matter of the universe and it affected all humanity because, again, we must remember the universe is a whole, an interdependent whole, you see. All space and time is all an interdependent whole so when one person does anything of significance like that, it affects the whole. I remember in a discussion with Ramana Maharshi, somebody was asking him, you see, he lived all his life in that ashram with this marvelous experience of the Atman, the inner self, realizing the self.

[64:00]

And somebody asked him, but don't you ever think of others and don't you need to help others? When one person knows God, becomes one with God, he raises all humanity. You see, you affect the whole of humanity. Each one of us, as we advance, we affect the rest. And as we decline, when we fail, we affect the rest also, you see, the two forces that work. And so this has its repercussions right through creation. After the resurrection, the Spirit descends on humanity. And Pentecost is that moment when the divine life, the divine life descends on the group of the disciples and they are raised to this divine life, you see. It's that moment when what had taken place in Jesus in his transformation is now communicated

[65:01]

to humanity. And it's very significant, you see, that it says at Pentecost people from all over the world came. Of course, it's an exaggeration, but it was the world known then from all parts of Cyrene and Libya and Cappadocia and Asia, Asia and Africa and Europe, all that was known. There were people from all there. And that signifies, you see, that this power of the Spirit has been released in humanity and in that human community. It's the transformation of it's beginning for the whole of humanity, but it begins, as always, with the nucleus, you see. You begin with the nucleus and then it can spread out from there. And that group of disciples was that nucleus, the Spirit descended in tongues of fire and they all began to speak with tongues, very significant, you see, that speaking with tongues and everybody understood them. And it went on to beyond

[66:05]

that ordinary language doesn't function properly, it's all separative. But when you can really speak from the Spirit, people can understand. And I'm told that does happen quite frequently, you know, that a very profound spiritual teacher cannot know English or anything but yet can communicate and so on. So this is what took place. They all heard it as it were in their own language, you see. And then these cities were released. If you read the Acts of the Apostles, you see how all these psychic powers began to manifest. Peter, who had been a very imperfect disciple, making all sorts of blunders all the time, is now so transformed that they would lay out the sick in the street and if even his shadow passed over them they would be healed. He's become a man transformed by the Spirit, you see, and again Peter is put in prison

[67:06]

and the guards lock all the doors and everything else to stand there and everything is loosed and he walks out of the prison and nobody knows him. And that is psychic phenomenon, you see, it is a psychic phenomenon which occur in the autobiography of Ayodhya, of Yogananda, you get similar things. These things happen, you see, and so these psychic powers were released there. But of course that's only one aspect of it. And the important aspect is that a community was created which was a Spirit-bearing community, you see, in which the Spirit was present and it said very beautifully they were of all one heart and mind. And that is the real object of this, you see, to bring into birth a human community where people can be of one heart and mind and perhaps we can say of one language. But the Spirit wasn't there in a nucleus, as it were,

[68:06]

and which has to spread. And so they all share in this one heart and mind and all the divisions of humanity are in principle overcome. So Paul says of this community in Christ there is neither Jew nor Greek, neither slave nor free man, neither male nor female, but all are one. And that is the goal when all racialists, the Jew and the Greek were the typical division of that time. We have all the racial divisions, the black and the white and all the rest of it, we have these divisions and they can only be overcome at this level of the Spirit, you see. This to me is fundamentally you cannot solve the problems of racialism or sexism or nuclear war or anything on the level of the mental level of the rational scientific level with no answer on that level. When you go beyond and experience this part

[69:08]

of the Spirit, then only these barriers are dissolved, you see, between the Jew and the Greek, between the master and the slave and the free man. You see, again, we have all forms of oppression now all over the world, in South Africa, in South America, in Soviet Russia, everywhere you've got these oppressive fires and again you can't find an answer on the level simply of political or social engineering. You have to go beyond and find it at this inner depth where we meet, you see. And finally, the man and the woman, you see, in Christ is neither male nor female. The opposition between the sexes has been overcome but the sex is restored and you know, it's very interesting, it says in the first chapter of Genesis, God created man, male and female he created them and Adam is both male and female, really.

[70:08]

And then the separation takes place. But in the mind of God, as it were, in the archetype, the male and the female are one, you see. And in the ultimate, the male and the female once again become one. And we are all, of course, in ourselves, both male and female. So all these divisions are, in principle, you see, are overcome in that community where the spirit is present. So this is the new community which is, it has a beautiful name, it's the koinonia. Koinos in Greek means common and koinonia is community, common life. And they were very conscious of belonging to the koinonia, to the community, you see. Hence, John has a beautiful phrase, he says, our koinonia is with the God, with the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Our common life among ourselves is a community of life with God, with the source of all and with his manifestation in Christ, you see. So we're brought into this new community

[71:09]

which lives in the spirit and therefore in that unity with the Father. So, that is the Christian community, you see, in its essence, really, you see, its fundamental essence. And, of course, it goes out into the world and then all the corruptions which we know take place and I don't think it's much good complaining of that, you see. If you go out into the world and instead of being a little group of 120 people and then 3,000 you become hundreds of thousands of millions, obviously you're going to have a very mixed congregation and all kinds of all kinds of problems are going to arise and it's the best what's been happening all these years. But we must always get back to the source, you see. This is the reality. All this is are accidents which have happened on the way but the reality is always there. That is very important, isn't it, that the one reality, the one truth, the Dharmakaya, the Tao,

[72:09]

Brahman, is always there, you see. We are in time and in space, we don't see it always but it's always there and it's divinely the kingdom of God he says, is at hand. It's always at hand in the centre, it's always there. If you can open yourself to it, you will realise it. So that is the condition then. But now this Christian community is structured in a very elementary way in the New Testament. It has a structure but it's nothing like the structure which grew up which is all second century. All that we have now of Papacy, Episcopacy, Bishop, Priests and so on, that is a second century development from the first and the sacramental systems in fact, that is a development. I think it's true to say the foundation was there, the seed was there but all this is a Western development and the way we structure our doctrine of Trinity

[73:11]

and Carnation, all these are Greco-Roman terms, you see, for the mystery which was originally revealed. They're always translating into the language of the mental world what was originally transcendent, you see. So it nevertheless has a fundamental structure and the two basic sacraments of this community are Baptism and Eucharist and both of those are extremely interesting, you see, because Baptism is essentially death and resurrection. And in the ancient church and in some churches still, you go under the water. It's deeply significant. I baptise some people in the river Calvary by our ashram and they always go under the water. You die, you see. You die to yourself, you die to sin, you die to the world and you awake to this new reality. And in the early church this was deeply significant. The baptistery always had very impressive paintings

[74:12]

around it of Paradise. You were going back to Paradise, you see. Sin had gone, now you'd return to Paradise. And when you came up from the water you were told in a white robe and given a candle. All the deep symbolism to make you realise that you'd gone through this death and this resurrection. But then, of course, what happened was that children were baptised. Families felt they wanted their children to be part of this koinonia, this community of grace, and so they baptised the children and therefore it was no longer an experience. And that is when the rite of confirmation came. And it seems to me that is something which has lost its meaning. For most people it's almost insignificant. I remember my own confirmation of the Church of England. I had my schoolmaster made me learn a bit of things by heart and he wasn't interested and I wasn't interested at all. So that is what it becomes. But, you see,

[75:13]

the idea is that if the child is baptised it's on behalf of others, it's assumed into this community. And perhaps it's worth mentioning, you know, that in baptism, I think by being accepted into a community like that, a spirit community, the child is affected by it, you know. It's a sign of being accepted into that spiritual community. But the child doesn't realise it normally and therefore it needs another sacrament. And confirmation should be the sacrament of enlightenment, you know, of awakening. And it isn't taking place, you see, it doesn't mean anything. But if it were done, let's say, 16 or 17, just when people start leaving the Church, that is the time when they ought to be discovering that it has this infinite spiritual meaning and should be a spiritual experience, you see. You should awaken at that time

[76:14]

and realise the mystery which has been committed to you but which you haven't realised before. So that would be the significance of baptism and confirmation. And then, you see, the Christian people is formed in baptism and celebrates itself in the Eucharist. And I think I mentioned it, you see, the Eucharist is extremely interesting from this point of view that at the Resurrection the body of Jesus was transformed, the soul of Jesus was transformed, and it entered totally into the divine mode of existence so that it's present everywhere. You see, the Kingdom of God is present everywhere and Christ in his humanity and divinity is present everywhere. And the Eucharist is a means of focusing that present. We're not aware of it usually, we forget all about it, but under the signs of bread and wine that total reality of the Kingdom of God, of the divine human reality can become present to us, you see. That is the meaning of the sacrament. But again,

[77:14]

people don't realize it fully, and it's very difficult, of course, to realize it fully, but it is the Christian people being assumed into this divine life, you see, and formed into this mystical body. And it's very interesting that in the early Church the sacrament was called the mystical body of Christ because it's not a physical body in the ordinary sense at all, it's a transformed body, you see, totally beyond space and time. It's a mystical body and it forms the community into that mystical body. We are made into that body, you see. So day by day we should be gradually growing into this mystery of divine life, you see, communicated in baptism, growing in us, and nourished, you see, it's a food and drink, it's the nourishment of the divine life which enables us to grow into that. And each time we surrender ourselves, we die, and we open ourselves to the risen life in Christ, you see.

[78:15]

So it's tremendous significance, really, the Eucharist can be. So then the Church structures itself in these sacraments, baptism, confirmation, Eucharist, and then there is priesthood. And there is a particular order in the Church, you see. As I say, there was no priesthood in the New Testament, you know, the word hieros, a priest, is never used of a minister in the New Testament. They're called presbyters, elders, episcopal overseers, but not priests. And it was only later that the concept of the priest was introduced, and I think it was later, you would say, in the New Testament. But the point is this, you see, that the priesthood in the New Testament is the priesthood of the people. You are a priestly people, and God has visited that people, it's been assumed into the divine life, and therefore it is

[79:16]

a priestly people who communicates with God and shares his life with God. And all the powers of grace are communicated to that priestly people at the time of baptism. I was reading a book on Catholicism by Richard McBrien, I don't know where he comes from exactly, in America, and it's a very remarkable book, I thought it was extremely good. And he made the statement, which I've never seen before, which I believe is true, that every baptized Christian in principle is empowered to administer all the sacraments. So the total ministry of the church is committed to every Christian in baptism, really. And actually the council, you know, the Vatican council said that every Christian in baptism shares in the prophetic, the priestly, and the royal office of Christ. You're assumed into Christ, you see. So those powers are present. But for the good order of the church, we have ministers who are specially ordained

[80:17]

for certain functions, you see, that is the point. From the second century onwards, well it begins, begins in the New Testament with the elders, the episcopate there, and then the system gradually develops from that. But we're all sharing in this divine mystery. And then we have the sacrament of marriage. And this is very important too because this is in a sense a natural sacrament. And it's very important that in the understanding of the church, the ministers of that sacrament are the man and the woman, not the priest, the priest witnesses. But it's the man and the woman who celebrate that sacrament, you see. And we're only beginning to discover today, I think, that you see through this sacrament of marriage, through the union of the male and the female, a union with Christ takes place. And sexuality is a sacrament really, you see. It's through that sexual union

[81:19]

that the man and the woman realize their unity. First of all, physically, there's physical intercourse. Secondly, psychologically and the whole emotional and the whole human level. And thirdly, spiritually, you see. Marriage should be a sacrament by which you realize your unity in the divine life, you see, through your mutual union. That's tremendous really when you think of it. And unfortunately, it all got legalized and so on and lost much. But it's being recovered today this sense of the mystery of marriage. And St. Paul has a marvelous phrase where he says, you see, I speak of a great mystery, namely of Christ and the Church, that every marriage is a marriage of the male and the female, of Christ with the Church, you see, of God with man. And you know, in the Hindu tradition, it's very beautiful. The same idea occurs that heaven and earth are married. When the man and the woman marry,

[82:20]

heaven and earth are married. It's a cosmic event, you see. So all through the ancient traditions you get that sense. And now we come to the last sacraments, as they're called, anointing of the sick. And this is very interesting also. It's really a rite of passage, you see. It's the passing through death. And you've got to be prepared for that passage through death. And I'd like to say a few words on this. I've been reading some of Stan Grose's things on this after life and so on, and I think it's all extremely significant. You see, at the moment of death, the gross body begins to decay. But there's mounting evidence now that the body continues. You know, you see many of these stories in movies where people become aware of themselves floating about in the ceiling, it may be, and looking down on their body on the bed. And one man, I think I remember, was in a motor accident and he was looking down

[83:22]

and saw himself all bleeding and mangled in the car, but he was in the subtle body beyond it. And he went through a death experience, you see. He was reduced to dead, but he comes back. And again and again they have this experience. They go beyond. Sometimes it's a meeting with other people. And a common experience that's so interesting is the sense of a tunnel, that a tunnel appears and they're moving towards the tunnel and there's a light at the end of the tunnel. Now, in the Christian view, you see, at the moment of death, as I say, your gross body dies and you enter into the subtle body and you are faced with the supreme reality, with ultimate truth, you see. And that occurs in the Tibetan Book of the Dead, doesn't it? This light appears of the transcendent, you see. So I think every person, at the moment of death, the body is passing away and your limitations of the body, the limitations of your mind are dissolved

[84:23]

and you first, for the first time in your life, you face reality, yourself as you really are, fully, you see, in the light of that. Now most people can't face that, you see. You can't face the reality of yourself and therefore you go through a purgatory. You go through an experience of suffering and there are many different accounts of these states, which I would say take place in a subtle body, you see, that you're not ready yet to enter into the spiritual, to the transcendent and you remain in this state and you suffer for what you've not done in this world. If you cleanse yourself in this world, purify yourself, open yourself to God, then you can pass to the supreme. At the moment of death you're ready to go beyond. But most people are still clinging to themselves, clinging to other people, clinging to possessions and whatnot. So you're all held down by these attachments and those attachments have to be broken. And purgatory is a breaking

[85:24]

of the attachments and it is love which breaks the attachments. One of the best treatises on purgatory is that of St. Catherine of Genoa and she insists that it's the love of God which is turning you, as it were. You see this light before you and this love and you're longing for it but you're being held back by all your limitations and attachments, you see, and so they're broken down by this power of love. And so finally you're made ready to pass beyond. Now, yes, the other point to be made is this, that you pass beyond and finally you enter into the spiritual body. So you have the gross body and then the subtle body and at the moment of transfiguration or transformation you enter into the spiritual body and that is your real body, you know. The gross body is a kind of outer, it's the anakosha, they call it,

[86:24]

this matter body. And then you have the pranakosha, the breath body. And then you have the manakosha, your psychological body, you see, and all these are kind of envelopes, you see, which you have to shed. And then you have the vijnanakosha, the higher intelligence. And finally you enter into the anandakosha, the vessel of supreme bliss, you see. So you go beyond all these subtle bodies and so on and you enter into the spiritual body and it's still a body. And it's interesting that in the Buddhist tradition, you see, you speak of the nirmanakaya, the body of this world, the sambhogakaya, the body of glorification, the subtle and the subtle body and then the dharmakaya, the body of reality. And the human body is taken up into this transcendent reality and that body is present now, you see, behind the veils of the flesh and so on.

[87:25]

That spiritual body is present in each one of us, you know. In fact, Saint Irenaeus, this wonderful one of his early fathers, said that in the Eucharist the spiritual body is being built up all the time, you see, beyond the outer body and so on, the inner body, the spiritual body. So you enter into the spiritual body and the total transformation, I'm trying to describe it, body, soul, totally transformed of the spirit entering into the life in God. But now, the other aspect is that of hell and in the Christian tradition it's generally understood that you can lose that salvation. And this is a very difficult doctrine but I think, you see, we have to admit the possibility that when you're faced with truth, with reality, with love, with God himself, you cannot face it. You see, if consistently in your life you reject truth, you reject God, you reject love, you refuse to be human, you see, and you center more and more in yourself, you can come to the point

[88:27]

when you're so self-centered that God himself, the truth itself, cannot break through. And that would be hell, which I think would ultimately be annihilation. You see, after evil and sin is not a reality, you know, it's only real insofar as it is a negation of some good. And if the good has finally gone out in you, you know, the Bible often used terms of destroyed before the presence of the Lord or destroyed, destruction, death, second death, and so on. I think it's a sort of final collapse, as it were, you see. There's a speculation. But I think we have to admit that possibility, you see, that you're unable to be transformed and you simply disintegrate, I would call it. You disintegrate, a sudden moment of total disintegration. Charles Williams has a novel, Descent into Hell, I don't know if you know it, and a man has, he has a rope and he sees himself going down and down on this rope

[89:27]

and eventually dissolves in the end. Now, I'd just like to say a word in this context of reincarnation. I didn't like to answer it before. It's a difficult subject, but I've been thinking of it a lot. And I could put it perhaps in this way, do you see, that first of all, we all have a physical inheritance through the genes and we're physically related to the whole human family, you see. That is very important. Humanity is one. And through our genes, through this physical inheritance, we're related to all men from the beginning. And the fathers used to say, Adam is in all men. Man is in all men. We're all members of this one man. So we inherit through various channels, obviously, from the very beginning. I remember one Jungian analyst saying that he thought that as the human embryo

[90:28]

recapitulates all the stages of evolution, from protoplasm through fish, animal to man, so every human being recapitulates the history of humanity from the beginning. It's all in our unconscious, you see. If we could go deep enough, we should be able to go right back into the past. And I think this is being discovered, isn't it, by psychedelic experiences to some extent. Now secondly, you see, we have this physical, but secondly, we have a psychological inheritance. It's not merely physical, it's psychic. And this is obvious in some way. I mean, they say it just takes off for his mother, or it takes off for his grandfather, and so on. Obviously, there is a psychic inheritance, and again, this comes down right from the beginning, you see. We inherit from the beginning, and all sorts of psychic influences can come in to determine my psychic makeup, you see. And I, you can call those past births you like, but it's not really you. You see, in my understanding, you are that spiritual reality

[91:30]

which is manifested in the body and in the soul. That is a unique spiritual person, and that has an eternal life, you see. But your psyche is an element in that. And so you...

[91:49]