February 16th, 1986, Serial No. 00608

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Prominence, certainly in the West, but it's much more evident in India, that is to use supernatural power to draw attention to yourself, to perform miracles, and we all know in India when people perform miracles they attract thousands of people, simply the miraculous power itself is immediately attractive and people think you must be divine if you've got these powers, and so that was a tremendous temptation, to draw attention to himself with these powers, and not to draw attention to God, and it's very important that Jesus in every occasion turns things back to God, you see, the first one he says, well man shall not live by bread alone, but the second one, you shall worship the Lord your God, and him only shall you serve, and that is, you see, it's so easy to think that salvation is going to come through political power, or through nuclear armaments, you see, it's a great problem today, the great powers will not give up these armaments because they think that


is going to save them, and without that they're going to be destroyed, but that is having your faith in the powers of this world and not in the power of God, and then the third one, he says you shall not tempt the Lord your God by trying to demonstrate these miraculous powers, so this is a tremendously human situation, it's unusual powers, but they're very real and they're present in the world today, and even you know it's said that Hitler had very close contact with occult powers, he wasn't simply using ordinary human, he was a psychic person and had tremendous power, I know one German friend told me that he attended a meeting of Hitler in the early thirties and he spoke for three hours, there was a torrent of words and tremendous power in it, he was a charismatic person, and he had this touch with the occult powers, and there's no doubt they were working in it, very demonic forces, and so these powers


are there, and people do experience them, and Jesus consciously rejected all these means of attaining power, and he chose the total opposite, first of all this passing in the desert, and then eventually giving himself up to death, you see, it's an extraordinary paradox, and we have to realize that is the challenge of the church today, we all still tend to think that we're going to save the world by economic means, getting a better standard of living for people, which is all good and necessary of course, but it's not going to save them, or by some political means, we get control in the state and so on, or less, most normally by some kind of miraculous demonstration, but Jesus chose this way of suffering and death, surrendering himself to the will of God, to the limit, and that is the only way, to surrender the will of God to the limit, and allowing him to transform


us and transform the world, so I think we all need to learn this lesson and try to realize how the world can be saved, because the problem is there just as was ever, and the only answer that the gospel gives is this way of death and resurrection, surrendering oneself to God and allowing God to change the world. This is 16th February evening. ...teaching us all about the law, and we have to interpret it, and the law of course is primarily the law of Moses, and the problem to the Christian church was whether the Christian was bound by the law, the law of Moses, and of course he says they're free, but it has a much wider meaning, the law really signifies the whole law of reason and morality, and a very important teaching of St. Paul is that you've got to get around reason and morality,


there are three levels, there's the level of the flesh, indulgence of the senses, the feelings, the desires, then there's reason of the law, reason and morality, which tries to control it, and that for him is an imperfect state, as long as you're in that state you're in conflict, you're trying to control your desires, you're always in a state of conflict, and you only get beyond the conflict when you go beyond the flesh, the desires, and beyond reason and morality to the transcendent spirit, and that really is the meaning of the gospel, and I think it's extremely relevant today, because a vast number of people, for them there are only two choices, either you live the life of the flesh, to desires and follow your passions and so on, or you try to keep a balance, you harmonize yourself, you try to keep, have some kind of code of morality which you try to keep, and that's the world generally lives on that level, going between the two, and the core of the gospel


and of all genuine religion, it's applied to Buddhism, Hinduism, every genuine religion, is to get beyond the law, beyond reason and morality, to the law of the spirit, which is ultimately the law of love, it's transcending, and the trouble is that Christian churches, and the Catholic church included, are largely living on the level of law and morality, we have the law, law of the church, law of moral law in general, and we try to keep that law, and the majority still remain on that level of the law, religion of law, of authority, and yet the gospel, and the whole movement of the gospel, is to go beyond the law, beyond reason, to the mystery of the spirit, which is the mystery of love, and that is what we're all called to, and I think people are discovering that today, we're not content with a church which is barely a sort of bourgeois institution for law and morality, we're wanting to find a church which liberates humanity and sets it free to open it to God, to eternal life,


and that's all that St. Paul is really talking about, and he compares it to a woman who is married to a man, and when the husband dies, then she's free of that bond, and so he says the Jews, until this time, were married to the law, as it were, but now Christ has put an end to the law, he's died to the law, and that was the great revolution, you see, Judaism was largely a religion of law and morality, Jesus went beyond it, and he died as a result, he experienced death on the cross, to put an end to the law and morality, to open people up to the transcendent mystery, the resurrection, the new life, grace, truth, love, you see. So this is really the problem of religion today, because most religions, well all religions have their law and morality, you can't do without it, it's a stage, you see, in religion and in life, and you have to have that stage, but then people stop at that stage, and that


is where religion becomes obstructive, you see, it prevents the growth of humanity, and again and again you find people today whose spiritual growth has been prevented by their religion, because they're stuck at a certain level of law and morality, and we're being called today, and millions are experiencing it, to go beyond the law, beyond morality, beyond the whole sort of bourgeois view of life, to this transcendent mystery, the call of love, which sets us free, opens us to a new humanity, to a new way of life. So this is the real challenge, and really I think Paul faced it, this is what happened at that time, they broke through the limits of law and morality, and opened to this gift of the Spirit, and it sort of broke through, and we had this tremendous surge of new life, and then of course the Church inevitably, as multitudes come in, has to have a new law and morality have to come back, but it's a preliminary stage, and Paul calls it a pedagogue


to lead us to Christ, it's a sort of schoolboy stage where you have to be taught to obey the law and so on, but you mustn't stop at that, it's an immature stage, and when you come to maturity, then you have the freedom of the Spirit, you see, which is the freedom of love. And Saint Augustine, you know, made the great statement, love and do what you will. If you really love God and the fullness of the Spirit, you're certainly free from all law, but of course most people don't get to that point, therefore we still have to have laws to keep people under control and so on, but it's an immature stage, and we're being called, especially today I think, people are being called to go beyond the law and to experience this life of the Spirit, and that's really, particularly in an ashram, that's our calling, and we're hoping for that gift of grace. This book presents a tremendous challenge to religion, so many religions in the world, and yet there are so many people suffering and in need, and often religions don't go


to their help, and there's always this contrast between the externals of religion, the rituals and the doctrines and the organizations, and the real meaning of religion, which is ultimately of course is love, and Jesus came to reach this religion of love, and he shows here how demanding it is, but also, don't forget, it shows also in the Old Testament, we read that very remarkable text from Leviticus, the book of the Lord, it's very dull and dry, a great deal of it is all about sacrifices, but it has this very deep sense of obligation to your neighbor, shall not steal, do falsely or lie to one another, shall not oppress your neighbor or rob him, the wages of a hard servant shall not remain with you all night until the morning, very instructive, people living from day to day here in India, they don't get their wages in the day, they're not going to have any food, but it's a very


deep sense of the obligation to your neighbor, and you shall not curse the deaf or put a stumbling block before the blind that's concerned for their handicap, shall not do injustice in judgment or be partial to the poor or defer to the great, all these things we see going on around us all the time, and this is the great challenge of religion really, shall not go up and down as a slanderer or stand forth against the life of your neighbor, you shall not hate your brother, shall reason with your neighbor, and you shall not take vengeance or bear any grudge, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself, and Jesus chose out of all these texts of the Old Testament, when he was asked what the law was, he said you shall love the Lord your God with heart and mind and soul and strength, and that comes from Deuteronomy, he read recently, and then he chose this one little text from Leviticus, to love your neighbor as yourself, and that is how he saw religion, this love of God with


heart and mind and soul and strength, and love of neighbor as oneself, and then he points what this love of neighbor demands, and it's very challenging to us in India, you know, these hundreds of millions of people who are on the poverty line, or either below it or just above it, and lacking in the necessities of life, and there are so many people sick and in prison, and so on, and we're all challenged by it, and of course it's not easy, you can't go visiting everybody in prison or in hospital or feed everybody who is in need, and yet we have to face this call, and I think we all have to reflect over it, here in this ashram we have three or four meals a day, and we have all that we need, and there are people in Talepalli and Konditalai, and still in the villages further beyond, who don't get what they need, what is our obligation to them, and so we have to reflect on this


and realize the real meaning of religion, it's a great danger to think that ceremonies in the church and reading the gospel and so on is religion, and to get that they are the means, not the end, we read, we celebrate the Eucharist, we read the gospel and so on as a means to open ourselves to the love of God and the love of our neighbor, there's nothing else in religion than that, I think we all need to reflect, today especially we're realizing how very inadequate religions are, all over the world we see religious people fighting and killing one another and oppressing one another, whether it's in Palestine or in the Netherlands or in South Africa or in South or Central America, everywhere religious people are oppressing and killing and destroying one another, and that is the scandal of religion, but behind it all there is that call in each religion to the love of God, the love of one's


neighbor, so we have to recall ourselves, and perhaps in Lent is a time especially to try to recall the real meaning of religion, judge ourselves how far is our religion real, how far is it a matter of ceremony, of belief in doctrines or acceptance of certain hierarchy in religion, or how far it is really an expression of love, whether we've really been transformed by love, and Jesus came into the world to teach us how to love, how to express that love in our lives. The first one is that of what he calls the flesh, or of before the law, before any law, before reason, conscience awake, the person is innocent, the child may do all sorts of wrong things objectively, but subjectively it's no sin at all, and that is a stage of humanity in its earliest stages, reason and conscience have hardly developed, it's under the law of nature as it were, and then the law comes, reason, conscience awakens, you


see the law really stands for reason and conscience, so he says, what should we say, that the law is sin, by no means, yet it had not been for the law I should not have known sin, you see without reason and conscience you may be doing wrong, but you don't know it, but when reason and conscience awakes you realise that you're doing wrong, and many people today they grow up without any kind of moral teaching in their childhood and so on, and they do things which are objectively extremely wrong, they may be even stealing and killing people it may be, but they're innocent in a sense, they never discovered that it's wrong, but when reason and conscience awake, it usually comes through the law, through society teaches you it's wrong, then you become aware of your sins, so in a sense St Paul says the law makes you a sinner, it makes you aware of your sin, and that is a problem of humanity in a sense, it's the eating of the tree you see, you're innocent first of all, then conscience


and reason awake, and then you have to make a decision, and then you make a wrong decision and you're in sin, and the only answer is to get beyond the law, you can't go back to innocence, that's a delusion, and you can't just remain under the law, struggling with reason and conscience, you've got to go beyond, discover the mystery of grace, and then the transformation can take place. So he says while we were living in the flesh, our sinful passions aroused by the Lord, I'm sorry that's a previous one, he says I should not have known what it is to covet if the Lord said you shall not covet, see people have all sorts of desires, they think they're free to do as they desire, like a child does, and there's no sin, but when somebody comes along and says you mustn't do that, then the possibility of sin arises, and then you're in this divided state, you want to do one thing and the law


says you must do another. So apart from the law, sin lies dead, you're not aware of any sin as long as there's no law, no conscience. I was once alive apart from the law, but when the commandment came, sin revived and I died. And in a sense you know, you could say that people before the law of Moses, people were doing all sorts of sinful things, but they weren't aware of it to a great extent, the moral law had not been properly established, and the law of Moses, the Ten Commandments really made the law clear, almost for the first time it became absolutely clear, you must not kill, you must not steal, you must not commit adultery, and so on. And so the law came in, and then people became aware of their sin, and in that sense sin revives when the law comes. So I was once alive apart from the law, living a sort of innocent life, a tribal life, but then the law came, and sin revived and I died. Means he died to grace, to life in


God, to the truth, you see, you fall away. The very commandment which promised life proved death to me. For sin, finding opportunity in the commandment, deceived me and killed me. He was very interesting, you see, he sees sin as death, and it's death to the real life is our life in God, you see, that is the fullness of human life is life in God. And when we fall away from that, we fall into sin and we fall into death. Death is separation from God, from truth, from love, grace, whatever word you use. So that is what he means by I died and sin killed me. So the law is holy, commandment is holy, but it leads to me discovering sin and therefore is in a sense the cause of sin in me, makes me aware of sin. And that is really a human problem, you see, that precisely because we have reason and conscience, we're capable of being far more vicious than the animals. You see, animals have no sin.


They can kill and destroy and do all sorts of things, but it's innocent. But because we have reason and conscience we become aware that these things are sinful, and then we're in this very, very difficult position wanting to do one thing and being told not to do it. And that is a human state of sin and the law. And the message of the Gospel is there's something beyond nature and beyond the law, and that's the only thing that can set you free. And that is the message of the Gospel, this capacity to open to the Spirit and be free both from sin and from the law. And that is the Gospel message. ...familiar with the Lord's Prayer and we repeat it again and again, it raises quite a number of problems today. First of all, that there is this difference between that in St. Matthew which we normally use and that in St. Luke,


which is much shorter. Luke reads, not our Father in Heaven, simply Father, hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, give us each day our daily bread, and forgive us our sins, we ourselves forgive everyone which is indebted to us, and lead us not into temptation. Basically, of course, it's the same, but there are subtle differences in it. And the first one is simply the word Father. And apparently it was rather unique the way Jesus used this word, Abba. It's very intimate and close, whereas in Israel it becomes common to see God with such fear, such reverence infinitely above that you didn't even use his name, the name Yahweh couldn't be used, it was so sacred. And God was very much beyond and above to be revered and worshipped. But Jesus made him very close, very intimate. And so the word Father really summed up


all his feelings about God. And as he himself always uses it, simply says Father when he speaks to God. So that's a little important, and it's probable that St. Matthew added this Father in Heaven, because that was the Jewish way of speaking. Heaven was conceived to be the abode of God. And that immediately raises a problem today, because in the past the sky was naturally seen as the abode of God. We look up, we see this vastness above us, and we think God, the one who rules the universe, is seated above in Heaven. It's a simple image, a simple symbol. And we must always remember when we think of God, we use symbols. We can't do anything else. All human language is about the created world. And when we speak of the uncreated, we use this language from this world. And it's all symbolic. We speak of God as supreme being or something. We're still using symbols. They don't express what God is. So we have to use symbols. But this symbol of the sky


was absolutely universal. In fact, this whole idea of the Sky Father is one of the most ancient ways of speaking of God. In India we had a form which is not used today, Diyas Pitta was the name for God, the Sky Father. So we look up to the sky, but today the sky has been profaned. We have rockets and things going up into the sky. And we don't so much think of God above. In fact, the word, the way we think of God today, very commonly, is the opposite. We think of God as the ground of being, as the depth, the root, that from which everything springs. And again, it's a symbol. And so some symbols appeal to some, and some to others. And we have to recognise these differences. The symbol of the sky is still completely valid for many people, but it's not valid for many others. So we must, and this is important, we must realise we're using symbols. We sort of take it for granted.


See, we'd say in the creed, He came down from heaven. We're so accustomed to it that it's very strange to think of God coming down from the sky, you see. It's quite meaningless to many people today. And so we must realise we're using symbols, and we use them consciously and with deep meaning. And then the next thing, hallowed be thy name, appears also in St. Luke. And this is extremely important, this idea of holiness, which is very remote to most people today. Because the holy is the transcendent. It means separated, set apart. And the essence of the divine is that it is transcendent. It's beyond the world, beyond everything, you see. And I think that's extremely important today. Again, we form images of God, you see. We have to do so. The image of the Father is one. And then we have to realise that these are images, these are symbols, and He's always beyond everything we can think or conceive. And that is a meaning of holiness. It's totally beyond.


There's another point I didn't mention about Father. It raises many problems for many people who have bad relations with their Fathers. You see, for some people, Father is a very sacred name. And the Father means so much to them. But there are many people today who have very bad relations with their Father. It produces the wrong image. And for them it's extremely difficult to think of God as a Father. And in India, of course, we speak of God more generally as Mother. And I think we have to realise that, again, one symbol appeals to some and one to another. Some fatherhood is the most expressive way they can use of thinking of God, because the Father provides for all the needs of the family. He's the one who cares and so on. But the Mother, of course, has a different symbol of loving and care. And for many, that is the best of all. And in India, very commonly they say, My Father, My Mother. They bring the two together. And I think we have to learn to think of God as our Mother. It's extremely important. And then,


Jesus goes on to say, Thy kingdom come, thy will be done. And again, this idea of a kingdom, you see, is ambiguous in many ways. We don't think much of kings today. In the past, the normal ruler of a country was a king. In India, we had dozens of Rajas and then Maharajas. And that was again, the king was something very significant. He was the ruler in whom God was seen to be present. Always, the ruler had a holy, sacred character. In Trivandrum, for instance, the Raja there, he was very closely connected with the temple. And I think he even had his seat in the temple. It was a holy thing, the king. And so, to speak of the kingdom of God was to speak in the most natural language. Whereas today, kings mean almost nothing. And therefore, we have again to reinterpret, to see what it really means. And this kingdom of God, of course, is immeasurably rich.


And one can't begin. And this is another thing about symbols. They're immensely rich, you see. Language always began with symbolic words, which are very rich in meaning. And then we gradually narrow down the meaning. We want to know exactly what we mean. And modern language is very precise and very presaic. It just means one thing. And at least we try to make it like that. But it's precise and accurate and scientific. But it's very limited in its meaning. Whereas ancient words have all this richness and depth of meaning. It's inexhaustible. Nobody can say what the kingdom of God is. It's something infinite, you see. So, again, the language opens up the heart and the mind, the holiness of God, this mysterious kingdom. It opens us to a great mystery in which we're living. And that is the great purpose of symbolic language. And then it comes down to earth. I will be down on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And it's very important that we begin


with heaven, with looking up to God, to that which is above us and beyond us. And then we ask for that what is necessary for our life. Not the other way around. Today we do the reverse. We think first of all, feed the hungry and care for the sick and so on. And then you can think about God and things beyond. But that's the reverse of the Gospel. Jesus always says, seek first the kingdom of God and then all these things will be added. So we start to all turn to God, to that which is beyond, and open our hearts to the holy, to the transcendent. And then from that we expect our daily bread. Then we're given guidance as to how to get our bread. And I think it's very practical, you see. When you want to do anything you really first of all have to seek it from God. Seek it in prayer. Find what the will of God is. And then do what you have to do. Don't do it first, what you think is right, and then think about God afterwards. So, give us this day our daily... And sorry,


I left out, thy will be done, you see. Once you open your heart to the transcendent, you discover there is a purpose in it, a will in it. When we open our mind to God we find what is his will for us, you see. What have I got to do? And many people are asking that. What is the purpose of my life? What am I really called to do? And it's not obvious at all. Today many people feel they don't see any purpose in their lives. They have to search for it. And many come to India precisely to find that meaning and that purpose in their lives. And so the will of God is something, the presence of God is something which is dynamic, which shows us his will. When we open our hearts and minds to that mystery within, then we see what we have to do. We don't have to do the planning ourselves necessarily at all. We have to open the heart to God and then the plan comes out. We begin to see what our real purpose is. So all this, you see, it's extremely deep how it goes right to the heart of the whole human situation.


And then, perhaps the most important in some ways, forgive us our debts or our sins as we have forgiven our debtors. And Jesus makes the comment at the end, unless you forgive others you will not be forgiven. And clearly he saw and we see today how all this prayer and our relation with God and with others depends on forgiveness. It's extremely important that if we, everybody knows when you try to pray, when you have enmity with somebody, you cannot pray. Or if you do, your prayer goes all wrong. It's only when the heart is free from this anger, this hatred, this resentment, this fear, this anxiety, all these things which block the prayer. When they're free, then the prayer comes through, the will of God comes through. But if we have the slightest hatred and resentment in our hearts, it blocks the prayer. And I think psychologically people are discovering that you can get cancer because you're so deeply angry in your heart. Not knowing it,


you're so deeply in the unconscious. But the worst diseases come from this hidden hatred, this anger, this fear, which is deep down within us. When we free ourselves from that, then the heart is open to God. So it's very striking, you see, that Jesus says, the comment he makes on the whole prayer is, if you forgive men their trespasses, your Heavenly Father also will forgive you. If you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive you. Not that he's being arbitrary, but it's simply a law of nature. If you're open to the Father within, to the Spirit within, in this love, this forgiveness, then the forgiveness comes to you. And if you're blocked at that point, then the forgiveness won't come to you. You can't be forgiven. So, as you see, psychologically it's a marvellous prayer. It has such deep meaning for us all. But it has to be disentangled. You see, the symbolism isn't immediately obvious. And one has to learn how to present it to oneself and to present it


to people today. And one of the great problems is that the symbolism of the Bible, the New and the Old Testament, is quite remote for many people today. And that's why many people, it just does not mean anything. Religion today is something out of date. It belonged to a past age which used this kind of language. We don't use this anymore. But, of course, the fact is that the language is infinitely rich and has this deep meaning. But you have to search it out to find what does it mean to me. Remember, yesterday's law included by saying the law is holy, just and good, and yet there's a cause and a sense of sin. So he says, did that which is good then bring death to me, in this sin? By no means. It was sin working death in me through what is good, nor that sin might be shown to be sin. His argument really, I think, is quite simple, is, as we're saying, that sin is in human nature. People do what is wrong,


but at one stage they don't realize it. Their conscience hasn't awakened and society hasn't developed to that point. But when the conscious awakens, the law comes in, then you recognize sin for what it is. The law causes sin, but it enables you to recognize it. So he says, we know that the law is spiritual, but I am carnal, sold unto sin. I do not understand my own actions. This is, of course, the doctrine of original sin. And I think it gets great light through knowledge when we consider the whole question of the unconscious, which is brought to light first by Freud and then by Jung, and now it's generally accepted. See, we all have this inheritance in the unconscious, first from heredity, bastards. And this is really the meaning of original sin, that it comes down, it's transmitted through the ages. We're not born without like a blank sheet at all. We have all these problems from the humanity of the past already blatant in the child from the beginning. And even more, the child


in the womb and the mother's feelings and attitudes and so on affecting the child emotionally. By the time we're born, we've already got a vast complex of emotional reactions in us. And then the first five years are formative for the child. By the end of the fifth year your emotional character is already formed. So we've all got this vast inheritance of sin, and of goodness also, but of sin, which is in us from the beginning. And that's why we do, as St. Paul says, I do not do what I want, I do the very thing. I hate your conscience or reasons as one thing, but all these forces in the unconscious are driving you all the time. I think it's extremely important, because you can't judge other people. All of us are being conditioned by our heredity, our early environment, our childhood, our adolescence, the society we're brought up in. All these things are shaping your mind, your character, your emotions, your whole psychological makeup. And so we're all conditioned,


and yet there is freedom within it. Within all this complex there is a spark of freedom where I can get out of it, and the grace of God can move that freedom and set it free. But we're conditioned right from the start. So if I do what... and then it's a very interesting argument, he says, if I do what I do not want, I agree that the law is good. You see, you're driven by certain things, but on the other hand you see what you ought to be doing. So then it is no longer I that do it, but sin which dwells in me. I think this is very important, because the tendency in the church to, which is right in a sense, to make people responsible for their evil, but it goes to an extreme where people think that everything you do, that evil comes from you. It does in one sense, but it doesn't come from your conscious, it comes from your unconscious. And you're not really responsible for it, 30% of it. People are really being driven by these forces, and then they're not responsible. They suppose that it's sin in me which is doing it. I'm not


willingly, consciously, deliberately doing it, but these forces work in me, compel me. Not fully compelled, you're not totally compelled, until you lose your reason, but you're 99% compelled very often by your conditioning. For I know that nothing good dwells within me that is in my flesh. That would mean in the unconscious these forces. I can will what is right, but I cannot do it. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I do. And that is this fundamental human experience, that we're being driven by forces which we can't control, and which have dominion over us. And if I do, now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I that do it, but sin that dwells in me. I think that's very important, because the tendency to be over-scrupulous, to think you're responsible for every evil thing you've done, and to get all a burden conscience, whereas we should recognize that we are victims of


original sin and of the forces around us, but we all have just that spark of freedom which when it's open to God becomes a means of redemption, of eternal life. Everybody has a hidden spark which can transform the whole nature, but still we have to face the fact that we are driven in this way. And when you see all the terrible evil in the world, crimes which are being committed day after day, you can't blame these people. 90% of it they're being driven by forces which they can't control, and doing things they don't want to do. And I'm sure anybody has experienced people doing the most terrible things, and yet you find in their hearts they're quite different. I remember once, years ago, a man came to me who'd been in prison for some sexual crime. He sounded very ascoundral, and he's one of the best men I've ever met, I think. In his heart, he was extremely holy and good, but he was driven by something within him which he couldn't control. So I think it's a lesson not to judge other people. You can't judge anybody. You can't


even judge yourself. You have to recognize that you are in this state of sin, and on the other hand, that you're open to the grace of God. It can change everything, and that's our form of conditioning, I think. The conclusion of this seventh chapter, which has such deep insights in it, and as you know, he compares, he sees this state of man that human beings are divided in themselves. That's the whole tragedy of the human situation. Every human being is a divided being. Instead of being one as we're intended to be, we're split, divided. We're all schizophrenics, in a sense. One law in our mind. You see, he says, I find to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand, for I delight in the law of God in my inmost self, but I see in my members another law or with the law of my mind. We have this law of reason and morality,


the law of the mind, and it attracts us, we would like to follow that law, and we find this other law as in the unconscious, all these forces working within us and drawing us in the opposite direction. So we're divided. This is the whole human tragedy in this, why there's all this conflict, violence in the world. It's because everybody is divided like that. Some manage to control it, some don't, but we're all in the same situation. I see in my members another law of war with the law of my mind, make me captive the law of sin which dwells in my members. The law of sin is really this law of, in the dark forces of the unconscious, what one calls the shadow. See, we've got the light in the mind, but there's always that shadow, the part we don't see, and that is dragging us away all the time. So the light and the darkness are always in each person. There is such wretched man that I am, who will deliver me from this body of death. And it is a body of death, because that's what leads to death. You see, it spits us


and divides us from God, from truth, from the light, from love. We're spit into by that. And then he says, a little enigmatically, thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord. And the answer he really gives is that beyond the flesh and the unconscious and the darkness, and beyond the mind and the law of morality, there is this mystery of the spirit, something beyond both. And only in that do we find salvation. I think that's what people have to discover today. There's no salvation in reason, morality, law and order, all these things. They can help to keep things going and balancing to some extent, but there's no final answer. You're always being dragged the other way. But when you go beyond the body and beyond the mind, that's the problem, you see. Beyond the body and beyond the mind, you wake up to the deep center, the spirit, the Atman, the God within. And then the transformation takes place. And I think today people are becoming more and more aware


of it. People are realizing there is no salvation in the present system, whether it's the ordinary religious systems or the economic or social systems. We've got to discover something beyond it all. And that is, as I say, it's happening all over the world. People are awakening to this other dimension, this transcendent mystery. And in India particularly, we've had this tradition for thousands of years, a search for the Atman, the Self, the inner spirit, the inner light, the truth, whatever you call it. And that is the goal, you see, to awaken to that. And in our Christian understanding, we see Jesus is one who opened the way to that inner truth, that reality. He takes us beyond the flesh and beyond the law, you see. That's the whole point of St. Paul's teaching. He takes you beyond the law and morality and opens you to a new way. So then I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin. So that is our human state, is to be divided like that. And salvation is offered


to everybody in some way. That mystery of the spirit is present to every human being in some way. And we can all awake and discover it and be transformed. And that's the business of life, to discover that inner mystery. Sri Lanka This Gospel comes from the Sermon on the Mount, when Jesus gives these instructions to his disciples. And I think we have to see the context of it. There were people coming very close to him and very open to his word. And he wanted to encourage them to have this faith in God that they would ask, they would receive. But as I was saying, it can easily


be misunderstood. And I think many people are disappointed. They have great faith in prayer and they ask for things and they don't get them. And very often they give up prayer for that reason. And I think it's always dangerous to pray with this idea that we're going to get what we want. Because it's a question of who we are, who am I? And if it's my ego, my self-centered person who's asking, there's no reason at all why it should get what it wants. If it doesn't get what it wants, it's my enemy. And the real person is the deeper self which is open to God. And in a very deep sense when we ask sincerely, it is really God who is asking in us. And when we seek, it's God who is seeking in us. And when we knock, it's God who is knocking at our own hearts. We have to make that turning about, this metanoia, repentance, the turning about


in the heart. And we cease to center on the ego. See, this could give the impression, whatever the ego wants, it'll get. That is the exact opposite of the truth. And many people imagine that. They think that they must satisfy their ego if they want a good job, or if they want to have children or if they want this or that, they'll go and ask for it. Maybe make some offering and so on, and they expect to get it. Sometimes they may, but then they've achieved very little. As Jesus said, you have your reward. If you're asking for that sort of thing, you can get it. But what we really want is to find what God wants of us. And when we open our hearts and discover this deeper center, the real self within, then it is that we get what we ask and we find what we seek. And we knock and it is answered. There are stories about Sufis. Sufi stories, the Muslim mystics


where somebody approaches the divine sanctuary and knocks at the door and is asked, who are you? And he says, I am so-and-so. And he tells him to go away. And then he comes again and knocks. And this time, or the final time he comes, he says it is you. It is God himself who is knocking and receiving. And that is the real answer. You see, until we get beyond our ego, beyond the limited self, open to the divine self in us, to God in us, then all prayer is answered. So that is really what we're seeking. To enter into the inner center that God is in us and God is asking and God is seeking and God is knocking at his own door, as it were. We are in God and God is in us. And that's really the aim of prayer. And then


Jesus says, and this is very interesting, it ends, you see, with a remark whatever you wish that men would do to you, do so to them for this is the law of the prophets. And this is the other condition of prayer. First is that we don't seek our own ego what we want. And the second is that we're open to our neighbor. And this is tremendously important. It's the two aspects of all religion, the love of God, the love of one's neighbor, and they're inseparable. And the test of whether we're really seeking God is whether we're really open to our neighbor. And it's very instructive, this sentence, you see, whatever you wish that men would do to you, do so to them for this is the law of the prophets. This is all religion, you see. And you know, this sentence is found in almost every religion either slightly different phrasing but in Hinduism or Buddhism or Confucianism


or Shintoism or almost every religion in the world it is recognized that doing good to your neighbor doing to others what you want others to do to you is the very essence of human relationship and of man's relation to God. So the two go together you see. As we're really open to God, we're open to others. And as we're open to others, we become open to God. And that is the law of prayer. So really it goes very deep, this prayer is something which challenges us all the time. We think we're going to get what we want, some kind of superficial prayer and just making petitions we don't get anywhere. We may get, as I say, you may get things in fact there's a very interesting story which we've been reading in the life of Swami Paramananda, very very holy Ramakrishna monk in America and he had tremendous faith. And his faith, his prayer was nearly


always answered. And once his favorite disciple Deva Mata was dying and the doctors had given her up. And he went into the sanctuary and placed himself on the floor and prayed for her life. And her voice came to him, you shall have what you want but you will regret it. And she survived and she lived for another twenty years but she was always an invalid indeed. And it really would have been better if she died. So you can get what you want sometimes by simply begging God and prostrating. But it may or may not be really what God wants, you see. And it isn't to think that your prayer is answered on certain occasion does not mean that it comes from God necessarily. It may mean it's simply a part of faith that it should be achieved. You really get the will of God a rich, deep will of God for your own inner salvation, your own inner growth and so on. That is what we're really


seeking. So it isn't getting things from God even good things, spiritual things. It's being aware of what God has asked of us. It's the real essence of prayer. And we find that when we're open to others, when we're doing for others what we would have them do to us. So it's a real, you know transformation of the human person, you see. That is what is called this real openness to God openness to our neighbour. So we can all ask for this grace of prayer which is a grace of sin. ...letter to the Romans which brings all this discussion about sin and death and law to a sort of climax which shows the answer to the problem that mankind humankind, humanity is divided, divided against ourselves. And I should remember that theme of the last chapter was that we're either under this


law of the flesh, which I suggest is the law of the unconscious forces of instinct, passion, desire, fear, anxiety all these forces in the unconscious. Or we come under the law, and that is the law of reason and morality and we're divided between the two, partly being the law of the flesh as he calls it, forces the unconscious, partly trying to keep the law and unable to do so. And the answer he finds is in this gift of the spirit. There's no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus, for the law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set me free from the law of sin and death. There are the three levels, the level of the flesh or the unconscious desires, passions, fears and so on. Then there's the sphere of the law of reason, morality, and even in a sense you can say of religion of the external structures of religion. And then beyond those is the law of the spirit, which is the gift of God in Christ, it's the spirit of God communicating to us, but of course the spirit of love.


So those are the three levels, and there's no salvation on the first level of the flesh, the unconscious, and there's no salvation on the second level of reason and morality, and even of religion seen as an external structure. It's only in the life of the spirit that salvation comes. And then the whole person is integrated. It's very important. It isn't that you leave the flesh and the law behind, but the flesh, the body itself is transfigured by the spirit, and the law is then finally fulfilled in the spirit. So he says, God has done what the law weakened by the flesh could not do, sending his own son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin he condemned sin in the flesh. The idea is of course that Jesus took upon himself the sinful state of humanity in its subjection to suffering, disease and death, and he died for sin in this body and this death, and opened it up to the new life of the spirit. He dies on the cross, sin and death, and he rises in resurrection


to life in the spirit, and we're all called to follow the same path. And in order that the just requirements of the law might be fulfilled in us who walk not according to the flesh but according to the spirit. You see, he always said the law is just and good, but in practice we can't keep it. We can't by ourselves follow the law, but when the gift of the spirit is given, then we're able spontaneously to do what we ought to do, not because it's externally commanded to us but because we have the desire in our own hearts the law of spirit of Christ is the law of love in the heart which moves us to fulfill the law of justice and truth. For those who live according to the flesh, set their minds on the things of flesh, those who live according to the spirit, set their mind on the things of the spirit. And this idea of the flesh is rather dangerous, because many people think it refers to the body, but that's quite wrong. The body in St. Paul


is the temple of God, while body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. The flesh is much more, as I said, the forces of the unconscious. Forces of desire, of fear anxiety, lust, anger, all these things are the forces of the unconscious, and those are the law of the flesh. And we're all subject to it, we have sinned, original sin. And the law of the spirit is this gift of God. When we open our hearts to the Holy Spirit, then this inner transformation takes place. To set the mind on the flesh is death, to set the mind on the spirit is life and peace. And as long as we're controlled by the forces of the unconscious, we're being driven to death and death is the final going into the unconscious, you see, the final break with life and truth. And on the other hand to set the mind on the spirit is life and peace. And the spirit is always this gift of God, it's the inner person. And in the Indian tradition it's the


Atman, you see. The Atman is the true self, the inner spirit which is our point of union with God. And as you're doing this course in yoga and meditation, the aim of yoga is to bring you beyond the flesh, the forces of the unconscious and beyond the law, beyond the mental mind and so on, to this inner centre of the spirit. That is the purpose of yoga and meditation. And then we reach that point of the spirit, then we're united with the Holy Spirit, united with God. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, does not submit to God's laws. And those who are in the flesh cannot please God. It doesn't mean those who are in the body, just observe. It means those who are subject to the passions of the flesh, to the passions of the unconscious, and those who are open to the spirit. And we mustn't limit it, of course. The spirit is offered to every human person in some way. It's love, it is truth, it's goodness, grace


whatever word we use. And everybody's open to the spirit and when we respond, then this inner transformation takes place. And when we fail, then we're dragged back again to the forces of the unconscious to instinct and desire. So that's the human existence as St. Paul sees it. And as you can see, it's very relevant to our present state. ... [...]


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