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Q. Sir, it makes sense that there is a whole gospel of importance there, and we knew that there was a historical truth in the gospels, the fact is that there is a humanity truth. So what made Christianity, could it become a Jewish sect in the end, you see? Or was it just to be perhaps Jewish or accept the Christ as a Messiah? You must have been aware of the reason. Q. Thank you. There is a relation between those, and Paul is concerned with this problem of religion of law and religion of the spirit, and it's something which is perennial. Every religion tends to become a religion of the law. People like just to obey some rules and regulations and think they are justified, and they don't want that intimate relation with God which faith gives. And faith in some form is this living and loving relationship with God, what he calls elsewhere, faith that works by charity.


It's not mere belief, it's a living faith which unites with God. So he says, Who has bewitched you before whose eyes Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified? Did you receive the spirit by works of the law? You see, these Christians have been believed in Christ, and then these Jewish Christians came along and said, You've got to be circumcised, you must keep the law. It's not sufficient simply to believe. But St. Paul says that in Christ you receive the gift of the spirit. Did you receive the spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith? And we have to remind ourselves that faith is a living relationship with God which opens us to this gift of the spirit. You see, the church also tends easily to become a religion of law. You go to mass, you go to confession sometimes, you try to keep the law as far as you can, the moral law, and you think you've done all that's required. But really Christianity, the gospel, is an openness to God in faith and in love.


It's an experience of God, and that's what we have to realize. And that's what St. Paul was fighting for all the time, that the Christians, they received this gift of the Holy Spirit, and now they were wanting to justify themselves by circumcision, keeping regulations, and so on. Did you experience so many things in vain? Does he who supplies the spirit to you and works miracles among you do it by the works of the law or by hearing, by faith? And, of course, in the early church there were many miracles, and there are also miracles today. The charismatic movement has been one where many miracles take place. And also everybody knows, without anybody knowing externally, many miraculous events take place in people's lives. When you exercise faith, things happen to you which are quite extraordinary. You may not be able to prove it's a miracle, but you know you're living by the presence of God. So the reality is there all the time. And then he goes into one of these arguments,


which are not very impressive to us, from the Old Testament, to prove from the Old Testament you're justified by faith. And, of course, he quotes Abraham. Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness. And the sweet truth in it is Abraham is a figure, an archetype, of a man of faith who got this message from God to leave his country, his father's house, go to a strange land, and he trusted God, not simply faith in a negative sense, it's a faith which is also a trust and a commitment. And so he went out in obedience to God's call. And so he becomes a symbol of the man of faith. And so he says also, the Gentiles will be justified by faith, and you shall all the nations be blessed. You see, Abraham's faith is a symbol of the faith of all nations. And we often recall the fact that Abraham is the father of faith, both to Jews and to Christians and to Muslims. Very important for the Muslim, Abraham is the source of their faith,


not to Islam, but to Israel. So Abraham is the supreme symbol of the man of faith who is justified because he trusts himself to God, not because he keeps some laws or regulations, that's a trust in God. And then he goes on, all who rely on the works of the Lord under the curse, everyone does not obey the law, and so on. And I say these arguments are not very meaningful to us, but in his time, to argue from the Old Testament was the main work you had to do to prove your case. I'm sure it would have been convincing to people then. And then he goes on to say, in Christ Jesus, the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith. Abraham is this example of faith coming to the Gentiles. Abraham wasn't a Jew, you see, he wasn't circumcised and obeying the law when he was chosen,


he was a Gentile, and he was called by God to commit himself in faith to become the father of the Jewish people. And then, that he might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith. You see, this is a religion of the Spirit, faith opens you to the Spirit of God, and works that inner transformation. And today, you see, people all over the world, they look for a religion of the Spirit, and they're not satisfied with a religion of law. Many people leave the church today because they see it simply as a big institution with a lot of law, great mess, and so on, and without the Spirit, they don't discover the Spirit of God. You'd be surprised, a number of people who come to this ashram, especially in the West, have simply left the church because they don't find what they're looking for there, and they come to India, discover the Spirit of God, maybe in Hinduism, or in Buddhism, or somewhere else, and then they may rediscover it in the church. They're looking for this presence of the Holy Spirit in the church.


Now, unless the church offers that, it doesn't offer what it's called to do, it's not serving it. Perhaps it's simply become a religion of the law again, like Judaism was all rejected. So that's the call today. Yeah, that's the conclusion of it. You see, I perceive the promise of the Spirit through faith. Faith is a living openness. It's not belief, you see. You can believe in God, Christ, and the church, but that doesn't justify you. That's a mere assent of the mind. It is only when the will and the heart open themselves to God, and you allow the grace of God, the Spirit of God to come in your heart, that you have a living faith. St. Thomas Aquinas distinguishes fides informis, unformed faith, which is mere belief. And then he says, fides formata, faith formed by charity, and that's living faith. And St. Paul is speaking of that faith which is a response to the gift of God, to the Holy Spirit, and its transforming power. So we're all challenged in that way.


You see, people today are looking for this living faith, for the presence of the Spirit, and they will not be put off by a religion of law, by an institution with good works. Very good, the church does wonderful good works, but that isn't what the church is for. That is to be a living presence of Christ among men, the presence of the Holy Spirit. So that's our call. Thank you, Father, welcome. Jesus said this in the Romans, life in the spirit and life in the flesh. One has to understand this language, because it doesn't mean life in the spirit and life in the body. In St. Paul's psychology, man is body, soul, and spirit. And when the body and soul are under the dominion of the spirit, then you're living in the spirit. And when body and soul are separated from the spirit, you're living in the flesh. So it doesn't mean the body, as you'll see when he uses it later, that you're not in the flesh, you're in the spirit.


If the spirit of God really dwells in you, or in the body, of course, that your body and soul are under the guidance of the spirit. And the Christian life is life in the spirit. You have a body, a physical organism, you have a soul, a psychological organism, you see, with its mind and will and feelings, imagination, all the rest. But beyond the mind and the body is the spirit, which is the point of our communion with God, our openness to God. And baptism is this opening up of the spirit within us, and Christian life is living in the spirit. So if the spirit of God really dwells in you, at that point of the spirit, the spirit of God dwells in us. And if Christ is in you, although your bodies are dead because of sin, your spirits are alive because of righteousness. It's a little difficult, you see, he says the bodies are dead because of sin. What he really means is the body is subject to death. Obviously the body is not dead.


But the body, separated from the spirit, is subject to death. And in his understanding, original sin is the separation of the body and the soul from the spirit. And then we become subject to death. So your bodies are subject to death because of sin, your spirits are alive because of righteousness. Now the spirit has been awakened a new life and has the power to transform the body and the soul. Resurrection is when the spirit transforms the body and soul. If the spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies. In the resurrection, the spirit took possession of Jesus' body and soul. Body and soul were transformed by the spirit and passed into the life of the spirit, no longer subject to death. And the same is the Christian calling. He who raised Jesus from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies. And that is the resurrection. It's when our bodies and our souls


are possessed by the Holy Spirit, taken possession and transfigured by it, and then enter into eternal life. Through his spirit who dwells in you, see, the divine spirit dwells in our spirit and works his transformation in us. He's rather important because later psychology got into the body, soul, and left out the spirit. And that has created a very great problem and really makes the whole understanding difficult. But in St. Paul and the early Fathers, it's always body, soul, and spirit. And the spirit is the point of self-transcendence, doctrine of the soul within the ego, the limited human consciousness. Only when we're in the spirit are we open to God, to eternal life. And that is the Christian calling, to open this point of the spirit to the presence of God. So it gives a real insight into what the Christian life is. The Galatians, as you know,


St. Paul has been arguing against these Jewish Christians who wanted these Gentiles to be circumcised and he felt they were falling away from the faith. And now, in this reading today, he comes with very, very personal and often, in St. Paul, you realize what tremendous personal love he had for his disciples. It's quite overwhelming. And obviously, they had the same for him. And it comes out particularly clearly here. He says, first of all, you know, it's because of a bodily ailment that I preached the Gospel to you at first. And he had the family, this ailment speaks of a thorn in the flesh and nobody knows what it was. I think it might be malaria or some other trouble. But obviously, there was something and it was somewhat humiliating. But at the same time, obviously, there was great compassion in his disciples.


Though my condition was a trial to you, did not scorn or despise me, but perceived me as an angel of God, as Christ Jesus. And obviously, Paul had the charism and power in him, you know, which fairly communicated the Gospel and he often expressed himself rather strongly that Christ had revealed himself to him and he was speaking in the name of Christ. It was very true, it was he was living in Christ and it came through in everything he said and did. And then he reproaches them, what has become of the satisfaction you felt? I bear you witness, if possible, you would have cut out your eyes and given them to me. But I've become your enemy if I tell you the truth. He must have great, tremendous devotion, you see, in his disciples. And not only here, also in other churches, Philippi in particular, you find just the same. And then he speaks of these people who are trying to draw them away from his Gospel, as he called it, which is really the Gospel. They make much of you, but for no good purpose.


They want to shut you out, you may make much of them. Trying to cause some kind of sizzle in the church, you see. For a good purpose, it's always good to be made much of, not only when I'm present with you. Then he goes on, you see, my little children, with whom I am again in travail until Christ be born in you. It's an ordinary image, you see, of a mother in travel with a child. He feels like that towards his disciples. And of course, it's a beautiful image of the church. The image of the church is a mother who brings forth children to Christ. And Paul himself, as a mother like that, often complained of Christianity as a patriarchal religion, all male-dominated. But there are feminine elements in it, Jesus himself, obviously. But also in Paul, the sense of motherhood is very wonderful. I could wish you to be present with you now and to change my tone, but I am perplexed about you. You see, he wants to be able to show the love which he feels for them, but he feels they are turning away and that they are losing their true faith.


So it's a very touching essay and a big example for us all. You see, religion always tends to get a bit abstract and even inhuman at times. And this example of Paul, his intense humanity in which he preaches the gospel, great love, agape, you know, the love of Christ, of the God, of the Holy Spirit, but also of human affection, utterly affectionate, and a mother's care for a child. So we can all take an example from that. I would love to ask our next panelist, and I am going to listen. You know, Paul is pleading for the freedom of the faith he loved against the religion of the law which makes you a slave. And so he says, for freedom Christ has set his plea. Stand fast and do not submit again to the yoke of slavery. And today it's very important


we see the gospel very much as a message of freedom, liberation, all different levels, economic, political, social, but above all, of course, personal. It sets you free from all your limitations and opens you up to love, to truth, to God. So that is really what he's fighting for. And therefore he sees circumcision as an obstacle, you see. If you receive circumcision, Christ will be of no advantage to you. Testify again to every man who receives circumcision is bound to keep the whole law. If a Christian goes and gets circumcised, saying he's subject to all the today's law, and he comes under the law again, he loses the freedom which he found in Christ. You can see his argument is very strong. You are severed from Christ. You who would be justified by the law, you've fallen away from grace. The whole point of the gospel is it's freedom which comes from grace, from the gift of God. You don't have to justify yourself by your works, you surrender to God in faith,


and you receive His grace. For through the Spirit, by faith, we wait for the hope of righteousness. Through the Spirit, by faith. You see, we open our hearts to God in faith and we receive the gift of the Spirit to the only freedom human beings can find. The only total freedom is in the gift of the Spirit. You see, that's the paradox. In a way, we cannot get freedom as long as we're simply determined by our own will, by our own mind. Only when we go beyond that, surrender to the Spirit, then we get this freedom which comes from God, the freedom of pure love. So that's what the gospel offers us. Through the Spirit, by faith, we wait for the hope of righteousness. Rather interesting, you see. We get the gift of the Spirit and we have faith that the Spirit will work this righteousness in us. And that really is the Christian view. Our good works, not our works. In other words, the Spirit of God in us. And as long as we think we're doing anything, we're still egoists. We're still living under the law. For in Christ Jesus, neither circumcised nor uncircumcised


is at any avail, but faith working through love. That's one of the best expressions, you see. If you say you're justified by faith, people can think you mean just belief. And belief doesn't justify you at all. Belief in God and in Christ and the Church can be a villain, like St. Marcus in the Philippines. You have belief in God and in Christ and the Church. It's a devout man's way. If you're a villain, it's all the same. And so, it isn't belief that justifies, but faith working by love. That's what's called the living faith, you see. That's the faith which opens you to the love of God. That's what makes you righteous, gives you value as a human being. You were running well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth? This persuasion is not from him who calls you. A little leaven leavens the whole lump. I think he means, leaven was usually considered something impure, you know. That's why, during the Paschal Feast, it had a treat of unleavened bread, an absolute impure.


Leaven is an impurity. Of course, if you look in another way, it's the thing that makes the bread, makes it rise and makes it eatable. But another aspect which is common is this impurity. That's why you remove all impurities from the house during that period of the unleavened bread. Then he says, I'm confident, the Lord, that you will take no other view than mine. He who is struggling, you will bear his judgment, whoever he is. He's struggling against certain people, you see, of karma, saying that the Christians ought to be circumcised. If I still preach circumcision, why is there persecution? Yet the stumbling block of the cross has been removed. You see, his whole life was fighting against going back to Judaism and he was persecuted for it. The Jewish Jews themselves and Jewish Christians were both opposed to him. Then he says, I wish those who are sick of you would mutilate themselves. I'm not quite sure what that means. For you are called to freedom, brethren, for you do not use your freedom as opportunity for the flesh,


but through love be servants to one another. The great problem of freedom is, you see, it can do you good, it can do you evil. It can lead you simply to indulge your passions, your desires, your feelings of every kind. And that's why people want to bring in the law, you see. People start to be very self-indulgent and so on, so you make rules and laws and make them keep them. That's all right as far as it goes, but it doesn't set you free, you see. The gospel comes to do this total freedom, but it's a freedom which makes you through love servants to one another, you see. It's a freedom of an unselfish love. And that is the only genuine freedom, the freedom of an unselfish love, which is the love of God Himself. And for the whole law is fulfilled in one word, you shall love your neighbor as yourself. A very striking phrase, you see. This whole law is really simply learning to love your neighbor as yourself. And you only love your neighbor as yourself when you love God in yourself and in your neighbor. As long as you're limited by human relations,


really you can be kind to people and help them do even a lot of liberation work, but you've still not found the true inner freedom. The inner freedom comes from the gift of God, I pray, and it's the love which comes from God and unites us with others. But if you bite and devour one another, take heed, you're not consumed by one another. And you often find that, you know, you get many of these revolutionary groups, they have a great enthusiasm for overthrowing the state and restoring liberty to everybody, and then they all start killing one another. The Marxist revolution in Russia was horrifying, you see. They all started killing one another. Stalin is said to have killed everybody who was close to him in all his political life. He had killed in the end. He was so afraid that they were trying to kill him. And that is what happens when you try to get freedom and liberation without love, you destroy one another. That's what happened to Lenin. Just a question.


This letter to the Galatians came to a kind of climax here. You know, the main theme was being this religion of faith, grace, and it's the religion of the law. And St. Paul brings out now what the real nature of this religion of grace is. And he speaks of it in terms of the spirit of the flesh. And this is very misleading, unfortunately, because many people take it, it means the spirit and the body. So, walk by the spirit, do not gratify the desires of the flesh. Makes you think it must be the desires of the body. But when he goes on to describe the works of the flesh, through some a fornication, impurity, that senseless, others, idolatry, though, and sorcery, and strife, selfishness, party spirit. And they're nothing to do with the body. Well, everything's to do with the body, but they're not primarily the body at all. So, we should really translate it. What he really means is


the mind under the dominion of the spirit or the mind under the dominion of the flesh. It's the fleshly mind, it's not the body. See, the body doesn't sin, it's the mind which is the cause of sin. And the mind which is also the open to grace. So, it's much better to speak in terms of the spirit. I like to use the term the ego, you see, the self-centered personality. That is what Paul means by the flesh, really. The self-centered personality, as opposed to the personality which is centered on God. And that is what the life of the spirit is. So, walk by the spirit, do not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh against the spirit, the desires of the spirit against the flesh, they're opposed to each other. Many people have taken it, the desires of the body against the spirit. So, everything bodily, eating, enjoying your food or your drink, having a good rest, even sexual pleasure of any kind, must certainly be of the flesh. All that is put down in the flesh,


there's nothing to do with it, you see. These are those of the spirit. In marriage, sexual life, it's a holy thing, it's the thing of the spirit. So, there's this useless leading, and so much Christian perception has been ruined by this misunderstanding. It's a question of language. So, he goes on. If you are led by the spirit, you're not under the law. That's his other point, which is very good, you see, that as long as you obey your passions and desires, you come under the law, and you have to be controlled and restrained. The law comes in, as he always says, for wrongdoers. If you try to commit murder or adultery or theft or what not, you come under the law. But when you give up these selfish desires, it's not the flesh, you see, it's self-will, self-love, self-centredness, that is the problem. And when you give that up, then you come under the spirit. So, the works of the flesh are of pain, fornication, purity,


and I said just now, this is also in the flesh in the ordinary sense, but idolatry, sorcery, are not, you see, they are of the mind. It's the mind which makes an idol, makes an idol of money or of power or whatever, or it may be some religious idol. And sorcery, quite clearly, it's a part of the mind, it's not to do with mere bodily property. And in which is strife, jealousy, anger, these are all emotions due to emotion, but they're due to self-love, you see. You're jealous because somebody else is better than you are, and so on, you get into strife for the same reason. And then selfishness, you see, well, that is a key thing. It's a big, I think it's so important to see, you see, the essence of all sin is self-centredness. We fall from our centre in God and we fall into this ego-centre. So, we're all centred on ourselves and consequently in conflict with others. If anybody doesn't follow what you want


and he's into you, you get angry about him, and so you begin to revolt against him, and so on. So, it's self-centredness, it's the essence of sin. And selfishness, dissension, party, spirit, envy, all those, you see, are the sins of the ego, of the self. Then he goes on, drunkenness, carousing, and the like, because they are more to do with the body, the flesh. So, obviously, there are sins of the flesh, in that sense that the ego-centre can want to indulge its desires and passions. But the desires and passions are not that, it's the ego's exploitation of him that is evil, you see. So, it's so important to make that distinction. And then when it comes to the works of the spirit, they're really wonderful and most illuminating, you see. The fruit of the spirit is love, joy, and peace, the three fundamental gifts of the spirit. Love, which is aggregate charity, the love of God, you see, which is also the love of others.


Joy, it is Ananda, you see, that joy of the spirit, which is not simply pleasure or enjoyment in the ordinary sense, it's the joy of the true self, of the true being. When we go beyond our ego, open to the spirit, we have that joy in the midst of great suffering. A person can be in great suffering, be dying of cancer or in a torture chamber, yet there can be a joy of the spirit because they're open to the spirit of God at that point. And then peace, you see. Shanti, that is the thing, that is the effect of love and joy is peace. There has to be enough peace. And again, you could be in the midst of great confusion, of violence and hatred, as Jesus was. There is a fiction that you can be in peace at the centre of your being. So this is what the life of the spirit is. And then patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, they all flow from this, you see. Once you're established in the spirit, what is the Bhagavad Gita, the Hindu tradition? Brahmanistika. Established in Brahman, established in the inner spirit, you see.


Then you have this kindness, goodness. It radiates out, you see. Once you're established in the inner centre, with this love, this joy and that peace, and you're patient, you're able to put up with all the conflicts around you. And then it goes out in kindness, goodness, faithfulness, you see. You spontaneously go out to others, and you recognise this presence of the spirit in them. And then gentleness and self-control. Gentleness, you see, when you're in your ego, you're arrogant, you're proud, you're intolerant and aggressive to people. When you've surrendered your ego, then you have this gentleness and self-control. Again, self-control isn't controlling yourself, in the ordinary sense. It's not asceticism and being hard on yourself. It's when you surrender to the spirit which controls you, you get an inner guidance which controls your action. That is the real self-control, not that you impose on yourself.


Against that there is no law. For those who long to Christ have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Again, I think it's very misleading, you know. It's not the flesh with its passions and desires, it's the ego and its self-centredness. The ego then gives way to passions and desires and they become evil. The passions and desires in themselves are not evil at all. Love, even anger, is not evil in itself. There is a righteous anger which Jesus shows. And love is not an evil, it's a gift of God. And desire, even desire of food and drink, all normal things, these are gifts of God, you see. I suppose Paul didn't mean this, but the language he uses is such that almost inevitably people think like that. We've had a tradition of Christian asceticism for centuries in which all the desires of the flesh, in that sense, the love of the body, have been regarded as degrading and not to be accepted at all


and to be suppressed as far as possible. It's an incredible harm to Christian life. You see, when people begin to suppress their natural desires and feelings and so on, then they get very hard and arrogant and intolerant. That's why you get all this persecution in the church and always putting people down all the time and rejecting your enemies and so on. Then you make a division. When you're central on your ego, you're always divided against others. When you go beyond your ego, you discover the good in others, you're open to others. The whole thing changes. So I think this is terribly important. The whole essence of sin is egoism, self-centeredness, and the only way out of egoism is the death to the self and the gift to the spirit. You receive from above, you don't do it yourself. You open yourself to that gift to the spirit, and God works in you, Christ works in you. And that is the gospel Paul is preaching, you see,


the crucifixion of the ego and the gift to the Holy Spirit. That's the essence of the gospel. This letter to the Galatians, in some ways it features a climax. First of all, he says, interestingly, bear one another's burdens and so fulfill the Lord of Christ. And that, of course, is a Christian understanding. We're all members of one another and we have to share with one another both the good things and the problems, the sufferings which arise. But later on, it's a little interesting, he says, each man will have to bear his own burden. And, of course, it's true. We can help one another and bear a burden in that way, and yet no one can fully relieve another. We all have our own gift from God and our own problem from God, and we have to face it ourselves.


No others can help us. Then he said, if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. And that's very important. I was saying the essence of self-centeredness, thinking you're something, is in ourselves we're strictly nothing. You see, our being is from God. I mean, our actual human situation, our being is from God. And when we assume that being to ourselves and make ourselves the Lord and the Master, then that is sin, and that is where all the problems of life arise. And when we give that up and realize we're nothing in ourselves and everything in God, in Christ, then the great change takes place. So let each one test his own worth and his reason to boast will be of himself and not of his neighbor. Then he goes on. Do not be deceived. God is not mocked. He who sows in the flesh from the flesh reap corruption. He who sows in the spirit from the spirit will reap eternal life. As I was saying yesterday, by the flesh it does not mean the body or even physically, bodily desires,


but the self-centered person. That was the only way properly to describe it. And as long as we're centered on ourselves, we reap corruption. It's incredible, the suffering which we cause ourselves. You see, people center on themselves and become in contact with others, and then they gradually experience the effects of that. You get more and more self-centered they are, the more suffering you cause yourself in the end. And the only answer is to go out of yourself and to experience the presence of the Spirit, and then redemption takes place, then this transformation takes place, and we discover who we are in the Spirit, this gift of God. And don't be weary in well-doing, and so on. And then he says, he goes back to the main subject of circumcision, and says, remember the whole problem is the Jewish Christians who felt that Christians ought to be circumcised except the law of Moses, and Paul sees that that would be virtually rejecting the salvation in Christ.


He's relying on the law again instead of on faith in Christ. So he says, Far be it from me to glory except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ by which the world has been crucified to me, and I for the world. And that is very fundamental, you see, that crucifixion, I say it's the crucifixion of the ego. First we're centered in the ego, then we belong to the world, and we're determined by the standards of the world. When the ego dies, then we're set free, and then it's the cross. It's not a physical suffering, you see, you needn't suffer physically. It's this egoism, this self-centeredness, which is the root of all. And when that goes, when that is crucified, when that dies, then resurrection takes place, a new life begins. And so he says, Neither circumcision counts for anything, nor unconceived circumcision, but a new creation. I mean, just listen to me, it's a very remarkable phrase. You really become a new being, a new man,


a new person altogether, because it's a false person, you see. It's what the Hindu means by naya, or vidya, this ignorance. You mistake who you are, and you imagine yourself to be this person with all his powers and so on, and you don't realize that all you have is from God. And when that change takes place, then it's like a new creation, or a new reborn, different ways of expressing it, or born again, more from the Spirit, you have a new life. And we all have to do this, in a sense, we have to be recreated day by day, we all tend to fall back into ourselves, from one way or another, and become slaves of ourselves, of the flesh and fall corpse into the world, and day by day we have to turn back, and that is conversion, rediscover the presence of God within, rediscover the Spirit, and then again growth takes place, and life begins again. So peace and mercy be upon all who walk by this room, on the Israel of God. It's a beautiful phrase, you see. It doesn't reject Israel, Israel rejects God,


but true Israel is this very so accepted faith of God in Christ. Henceforth let no man trouble me, I bear on my body the marks of Jesus. Very deep sense, you see, that he really had identified himself with Christ, and in his joy and so on, he's living the life of Christ, and when he suffers, he's suffering at the cost of Christ. It's all this living out this Christian mystery of his own flesh. He really stands as a model for us all. Early week tomorrow, we begin this history of the death and resurrection of Christ, and we begin with this letter called to the Philippians, where he speaks of Jesus, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God as being to be grasped, but emptied himself in the form of a servant being born in the likeness of men. And this saying, he was in the form of God,


is rather important. The word is morti in Greek, which is much the same as morti in Sanskrit, and to me it's almost certain that it refers to Jesus as the first Adam. In this sense, you see, that Adam was made in the likeness, in the image of God, and he grasped after Godhead. You see, the image of God means you're capable of knowing God and of loving him, and the danger is, you think you can do it by yourself. You love God, you know him, you become the center. And that was the original sin of man, was to assert himself, to get God for himself. And we're all tempted to do that in spiritual life, we want to pray and to get God for ourselves, and not give ourselves to God. And Jesus does the opposite. This Adam, you see, grasped at the Godhead.


But Jesus emptied himself in the form of a servant being born in the likeness of men. And it's that self-emptying of Jesus which is really the great mystery of the Holy Week, which we all have to follow, you see. Everybody's called to empty themselves, and we all try to fill ourselves with the story, as many of you know, of a Zen master who was having tea with his disciple. Tea is always a very sacred ceremony in Japan. And he began pouring the tea into the cup until it was full, and then he went on pouring until it was overflowing. And the disciple said, look, master, it's overflowing. He said, yes, that's what you're like. You're so full that I can't put anything into you. And we're all so full that God can't do anything with us. When we empty ourselves, then God can fill us. And Jesus gives an example of total self-emptying. He was simply totally surrendered to the will of the Father to the point of death. And therefore, he was glorified above all others. He said, he who hums himself should be exalted.


So I think we all have to learn this, especially during Holy Week, that right as we are now, what it means to die and to be raised up. You see, when we die to ourselves, then this lovely thing comes into our life. God raises us up. A new life emerges. And the moment when Jesus dies on the cross, he's taken up to God. Actually, it was a single moment. Had to work out in time, resurrection, and so on. But actually, at the very moment of self-surrender on the cross, he was taken up to God. The two things are one. When we totally empty ourselves, we're totally filled with God. So we all have to ask for that grace of self-surrender, discovery of God in us, ourselves, with God. Krishnamurti, we read from this letter to the Hebrews, and this is a deeper insight, really, into the history of the Passion.


It's in any other book, in a sense, than the New Testament. And I think it has a very deep sense of the humanity of Christ. And so he says, it was not to angels that God subjected the world of Calvary to speaking. He says, what is man that art mindful of him, or the son of man that thou carried to him, hast made him a little while lower than the angels. And as you know, Jesus spoke to himself, always as the son of man. And that has several meanings, but one is simply man. The psalm says, what is man that art mindful of him, the son of man that thou visit him. It's simply a different way of saying the same thing. So Jesus comes into this world as man, and the emphasis is, all through this letter to the Hebrews, on this humanity of Christ. And then he says, we do not yet see everything subject to him. He put everything under his feet. We do not see everything subject.


We see Jesus, who for a little while was made lower than the angels, found with glory and honor because of the suffering of death. And this world of the angels is very important, you see. Between the human world and the divine, there is always this intermediate world, the world of the angels, of gods, spirits, gods, all have different names. And all religions have recognized that intermediate world. And today we're much more aware of it, the psychic world. And Jesus and humanity are called to go beyond the angels. We have to always go beyond the psychic world, to the divine, to the supreme. And at the end of this, in the Incarnation, Jesus is placed beneath the angels, where they were subject to these cosmic powers. And so he says, we see Jesus, who for a little while was made lower than the angels, found with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, said, by the grace of God, he might taste death for everyone.


And you see, the deep meaning of the death of Christ is that he enters into our human state, experiences suffering, experiences death, on behalf of humanity as a whole. As I said, we have to keep in mind this idea of solidarity. The whole human race is one. We're members one of another, like branches on a tree, as it were, to the vine and it branches, or like a body with its cells. So we're all members. And Jesus enters into that fallen humanity, suffers death in and through and for that humanity, and then raises it up in the resurrection, transforms our human condition, you see, is transformed. And then he said, it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, that is God, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through suffering. So Jesus here is always put on the side of man, not the side of God. You see, the great change that took place in the church was in the fourth century, the Aryan controversy,


where Aryans thought that Jesus was some sort of superhuman being. And the church came to insist that Jesus is God and not merely a superhuman being. And it tended to separate the divinity of Jesus from the humanity, and the emphasis was always on the divinity. So Jesus was sort of passed over to the beyond. And the true Christian doctrine, which is also the New Testament, is God in man and man in God. It's not God separated from man. It's God in man and man in God. And let the heathens think out very clearly, you see, that God the Father is the source from whom all things come, and he made Jesus the pioneer of our salvation. He is the man who, through the power of God, goes through death to resurrection and redeems humanity. Or as another person has often referred to in more practical matters,


he said, I've been long hindered from coming. I've longed for many years to come to you. I hope to see you in passing as I go to Spain. May this sped on my journey by you. Very interesting, you see. It's not simply to go to Rome. One would have thought Rome, the centre of the empire, would have been his ambition, and that is back to, of course, where he ended up. But he wanted to go on to Spain. And as I mentioned, Spain was considered the end of the world. The Straits of Gibraltar were called the Pillars of Hercules, and it was believed there was nothing beyond, quite reasonably, of course, nothing beyond to America. So, clearly, his aim was to preach the gospel in all the world, was his ambition. And that's why he then said to go to Spain. And then he says, I'm going to Jerusalem with the aid for the saints. And this is rather important. As you know, there was a considerable division in the early church between the Judaic Christians in Jerusalem with St. James,


who kept to the old law, who were circumcised and probably still worshipped in the temple and synagogues and so on, and considered themselves still Jews, but Jews who had accepted the Messiah. And on the other hand, there were the Pauline churches where he turned away from the Jews, after doing his best to preach to them, and had turned to the Gentiles, and so there were Gentile churches. And it was rather important, you see, that these Gentile churches kept their communion with the Jewish Christians in Jerusalem, and they did it by sending money to them. It's really rather important, you see. I'm going to Jerusalem with the aid for the saints. For Macedonia, that of Kyra, that is for Greece, had been pleased to make some contribution for the poor among the saints of Jerusalem. It's very beautiful, you see, the way the different groups were kept in communion with one another.


It could easily have been a schism. In fact, of course, there was eventually a Jewish-Christian group who separated, the Ebionites, and they gradually disappeared. But on the other hand, the main body of the Jewish Christians united with the Gentiles. And Rome itself, to see it fairly clear, was a mixed community. There must have been Jewish converts probably the earliest. Those Hostilites who went up to Jerusalem at Pentecost almost certainly brought the faith to Rome. And then there was a very big Jewish community in Rome, and many may have become Christians, but then also there was a Gentile community too. So, as I say, there was a very great danger. You see, Jews couldn't eat with Gentiles. That's a great problem, exactly like caste Hindus, you see. You were polluted if you ate with a Gentile. So, if you were a Jewish Christian, a Gentile Christian, you couldn't eat together. And that's what happened at Antioch, where they had these Greek Christians.


And Peter, St. Paul rebuked Peter because, first of all, he started eating with the Gentiles. And then people came from Jerusalem, from James, said you oughtn't be eating with Gentiles. And Peter moved back and started separating from the Gentiles. And so you could see the danger of division in the church, which was eventually, of course, overcome. And St. Paul, for all his zeal for the Gentiles, he always knew he was a Jew, an Israelite of the Israelites, and he loved his people, and so he always kept two parties together. And one of the most effective ways was sending his contribution to the poor in Jerusalem. For if the Gentiles were come to share in their spiritual blessings, they also ought to be at service to their material blessings. And this providing for the poor was a very important aspect of Christian life. It was never merely doctrine or discipline.


It was always concern for the poor. In fact, all the Christian churches we know in the Roman Empire in the first, second, third century were always concerned for the poor, for the widows, for the orphans. It was a universal concern. And that was one of the great powers of Christianity. It still remains today, of course. The Church of India really lives by the fact that it has been a center of charity for innumerable people with hospitals and orphanages and care for the poor in every way. So that is something which is fundamental for the Christian faith. And then when I've completed this, and delivered there what has been there, I shall go my way to you to Spain, and there when I come, I shall come in the fullness of Christ. It's very interesting when I say this, because I have to go to Spain, which is the gospel, to the ends of the earth, and so on. Thank you. This is the conclusion of this portion of the letter to the Romans.


It comes nearly to the end of the whole. And it's one of these sort of farewell statements, which always have deep meaning, that I appeal to brethren by our Lord Jesus Christ, by the love of the Spirit. Strive together with me in your prayers to God on my behalf. First of all, this striving with prayers. And Paul lives very intensely with prayer. All the time he mentions my prayer for you all, and my asking you for your prayers. And this kind of communion of prayer is extremely important, because we all tend to be rather individualist, and think we're praying on our own, whereas we always pray as members of one another. It's often been emphasized, we say, our Father, not my Father. We pray as members of a body, of a whole. And we have to remember also the prayer of the saints. And that's one of the aspects which is projected at the Reformation for rather good reasons,


a great deal of superstition in regard to the saints. But there's also a very deep meaning, that we're all members of this body of Christ, and those who've gone before, are even more intimately united with Christ. And this prayer is a kind of circulation. It circulates through the whole body. And we always pray. Nobody prays alone, and nobody prays for himself alone. Even in the Hindu tradition, Ramana Maharshi used to say that, people used to say, what's the good of sitting in an ashram and meditating like this? Why don't you help other people? And he said, no one can raise himself towards God, towards the Spirit, without raising others with him. You can't pray separately. You're affecting people, either for good or for evil. So this prayer that works among us all in a community, and then through the church, through humanity as a whole, is a circulation of prayer. And I think we need to remind ourselves, because prayer can seem rather futile at times,


we pray for Afghanistan or for Palestine or South Africa, it may seem rather futile, but when we think that there is prayer going up all over the world, and people are concerned for peace and justice, and it has an effective power, this prayer. It works together and influences the course of events. So St. Paul is fully convinced, you see, that this prayer together will help him. And it's prayer by our Lord Jesus Christ and the love of the Spirit. And all Christian prayer comes through Jesus Christ in the Spirit. We pray through Jesus Christ, the one who unites us to the Father. All prayer goes out to the Father, the source of all. And then the Father makes himself known, reveals himself in Jesus, and Jesus communicates the love of the Father in the Spirit. And the Christian prayer is always prayer in the Trinity, in the Father, Son and Spirit.


So that's the prayer of what Paul is speaking. That I may be delivered from the unbelievers in Judea, and that my service to Jerusalem may be acceptable to the saints. And this applies, of course, to the Jews. We come back continually to this tragic separation between Christians and Jews, which took place only gradually. Always reminding ourselves, the early Christians were Jews who considered them as part of Judaism. They were circumcised, they worked in the temple, the synagogue, and so on. And they saw Jesus as a Messiah who came to fulfill the promises to Israel. It was only gradually, during the first century, that the separation and the violent antagonism began to take place. A separate religion was created, and the other was rejected. And today we're trying to overcome that division, that separation. We're trying to see the validity of Judaism still as its values. God has not rejected Israel. There's still a deep meaning in the Jewish tradition.


So we're trying to overcome something of this separation which took place then, and which St. Paul is referring to here. When he speaks of them as the unbelievers, you see, the Jews have ceased to be believers because they don't accept Christ. But of course they remain devoted to God, Yahweh who revealed Himself to Israel. And then he goes on to say, By the God's will I may come to you with joy and be refreshed in your company. And another aspect of this Christian life of prayer is a life of joy. To the Holy Spirit are these love, peace, joy, and this shanti, peace, and this ananda, joy. They're two great words in India that have such deep meaning, and they have the same resonance in the church and Christianity. So we try to realize something of that joy of the Spirit, you see, and be refreshed in your company. When we share together, we get this refreshment,


this sharing in the Holy Spirit. And the God of peace will be with you. This is the shanti, you see, you have the ananda, the joy, and then you have the peace, the shanti. And that is the gift of God, the peace of God which passes all understanding. It's that grace which comes to us, and it's the only peace we can find. We can never find peace in this world. We find war and conflict all the time, but the peace of God is there beyond all the conflict, that peace is present, and we can experience it. When you go beyond the conflict of the world and open to the inner light of peace and truth, then you experience something of the peace of God. That's what we have to do, and to bring to the world, you see. Today many people feel that peace can't come by political means. They can do something towards it, obviously. But real peace only comes from this inner peace when we begin to open ourselves to the peace of God and to share it with others. And then some movement begins towards world peace.


That's what we have to seek. We've come to these farewell greetings of St. Paul, and they're always interesting to show us, give some insight into the Church at his time. He says, I commend you, our sister Phoebe, a deaconess of the Church of Kentriere. You may receive her in the Lord. And this shows, you see, the presence of deaconesses in the Church at this time, so that at this time women had a ministry in the Church which gradually went out. And it's rather important today, when we're looking for ministries for women in the Church, that they have this precedent in the New Testament. They're not women priests, it is true, but there were women deaconesses. They had a formal ministry in the Church. So that's something significant. And then he says, yes, help her, for she has been a helper of many


and of myself as well. And it's quite evident that women played a very important part in the churches of St. Paul. Almost every letter ends with greetings to them or some statement about them. They were working with the men in the shared ministry, there's no question at all. And then he goes on to speak of Prisca and Aquila, my fellow workers in Christ Jesus, who risked their necks for my life. This was a husband and wife who were also leaders in the Church, and the Church used to meet in their house. So again, you have a married couple who are exercising a ministry in the Church and who are leaders in the Church. All this is very important because today we're seeking for a renewal of the ministry of the Church. We want to remain with the limitations of the present system. And the New Testament provides abundant evidence, you see, for women and for married people in the ministry. So that is something which the Church today


is really reflecting on, and there's no doubt it will gradually emerge. And as you know, in many dioceses today, in many parishes, they work with teams that are not sufficient for the priest to go around. So they have teams of people, both men and women, married and single, who work with the priest, and they do almost everything in the parish, in the diocese, except for the strictly bound to the sacramental order. So that is the movement of the Church today. And as I say, it has its precedent in the early Church. And then he goes on to speak of these dissensions and difficulties, opposition to the doctrines you've been taught. And from the earliest times, there were, of course, different doctrines, heresies, which were spreading. And it's practically inevitable in every religion, you see. We've been reading about Buddhism, and still more obvious in Hinduism. There's always a proliferation of doctrines.


And it's not really very harmful. You can't expect anything else. Everybody thinks differently, and inevitably, you get groups with their own understanding. And it is good to keep a sound doctrine, to keep an orthodox system, but one shouldn't be too rigid about it. You see, in the Christian Church, it's been a disaster. They've all separated from one another. The Roman Church from the Eastern Churches, and then the Anglican Church, the Lutherans, the Calvinists. They all separate and divide. Whereas in Hinduism and Buddhism, they have their differences, but they don't make such a division of it. They don't create conflict. You see, each church denounces all the others. We are the true church. You are not. Whereas in Hinduism and Buddhism, they recognize these differences. They maintain, some will maintain theirs as such, with a more perfect doctrine and so on, but they won't follow about it as we do. So I think we all need to learn a lesson from Eastern religions.


They're much less quarrelsome than the Western ones, and so we in India can learn from them. So, he goes on saying that by flattering words, they deceive the hearts of the simple-minded. And it's rather unfortunate that right from the New Testament period, they never seemed to be able to recognize that a person who held a different view could be honest and sincere. It was always understood to be corrupt and perverted and wicked. It was never simply that he was mistaken. It's very remarkable. All the fathers like that, they always denounced heretics as evil, wicked people, never simply as people who may be mistaken or may not have the same understanding as you have. And today, with the ecumenical movement, at last we've learned to tolerate differences and to recognize people are sincere in their different views and often have something to teach us people. Every church, Christian church, has some value in it, you see,


some perception of the truth of the gospel, which we can all learn from. So, gradually we're learning to relate to other Christians and to other religions to recognize their values. That is a great need. And then he goes on, I would have you wise as to what is good and guileless to what is evil, and then the God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. And again, this tendency to divide the world into between God and Satan, and almost all the heathen gods were considered as instruments of Satan, whereas actually, of course, there are many levels between God and Satan, there are many, many levels of doctrine and disciplines which all have their values. And today we learn to recognize there are some diabolical things in Christianity as well as in Hinduism and Buddhism and elsewhere, but we also recognize that God is present in different measures in all different religions. So today, you see,


this began with St. Paul and the New Testament and it's gone on growing ever since, and it's only today that we're learning to recognize the values in people that hold different views about the gospel or have a different religion, different understanding. So we're all having to learn this new understanding and to modify our understanding of the New Testament. It's significant in many ways. First of all, of course, that out of all those prescriptions of the law, you know how many there were about sacrifices and offerings and dealing with your neighbor and so on. It takes this one supreme command, love God with heart and mind and soul and strength, and then adds to that, as you know, that comes from Deuteronomy, a great law, second law, as it's called,


and the other comes from Leviticus, much more concerned with ritual obligations, yet in the midst of it comes that of your neighbor as yourself. So Jesus takes from the whole of that the essence of laws and statutes and ordinances and so on, these two fundamental laws, love of God, love of one's neighbor, and this young man recognizes the truth of it. But there's something more than that, because it's already well to tell people you must love God with your heart and mind and soul and strength, of your neighbor as yourself, but how can I do it? And of course you can't do it, that's the whole problem, and it's an illusion to think you can. There's a story of a schoolmaster in England, a famous public schoolmaster, who said to his boys, boys, love God or I'll fog you till you do. And that is, you can't force people to love God,


you can't make people love God, and you cannot love God unless God gives the love to you. It's really the change from the Old Testament to the New. In a sense, it's precisely that. The Old Testament put before you the love of God, the love of your neighbor, told you what you ought to do, but it didn't fulfill that. And Jesus came to give the love of God and to reveal it, giving himself to the world. And we all have to receive this now. I think this is so important, because some people struggle to love God. And I was reading recently a story of somebody who was doing tremendous work for the poor people in London, and wearing themselves out and quite exhausted and so on, and in fact they had a breakdown in the end, and they wondered what was wrong, and somebody said to them, you're doing all this for God, it is true, but you're not doing it with God. The great difference, doing things for God,


you're struggling, doing all you can, and you often fail. But when you do a thing with God, and God is working in you, and then the whole thing changes. And I think that's really the great lesson we have to learn. We can't love God, we can't love our neighbor, or ourselves, but when we give ourselves to God, when we allow God to work in us, then the transformation takes place. And we love not of ourselves, but it's He who loves in us, and we become a channel of His love. And it applies also to the love of our neighbor. You see, many people exhaust themselves from serving others. Some work for the poor and the handicapped and so on, and often they do wonderful work, but sometimes they get totally exhausted with it, and they wear themselves out. Many I've known have come and said how they've worn themselves out in this, and they feel empty all the time. And that's because they're doing it on themselves. It's very wonderful, very good as far as it goes, but you exhaust yourself, and in the end you have nothing left.


But when you give that love from God, when you allow God to work through you, then you're renewed continually. He never exhausts you. As Jesus said, a spring of water unto eternal life. You have a part of life within you which renews you day by day. And that's what we all have to seek. We have to seek this love of God, which is the gift of God. Don't be difficult to realize that the real values in life are not what we do, all the effort and the striving which we make, but the pure gift, something simply which we receive, which we're not worthy of, which we don't deserve, but which comes to us as a sheer gift of grace and which works in us and uses us. We disappear and say, yes, well, that love works in us. So we all have to ask for that gift of grace, the gift of love, which enables us to do what ourselves we could never do. I know, very quickly, you recall, Your Honour, reflecting on it again,


as you know, this letter to the Romans, the whole theme is this relation with the Jews and the Gentiles, as if all the whole world was divided between Jews and Gentiles. And he had this special mission to preach the Gospel to the Gentiles, which meant largely the Greek-speaking world. And he speaks here of how he's been a minister of Christ to the Gentiles, that the offering of the Gentiles may be acceptable. And he speaks of it by the power of signs and wonders, by the power of the Holy Spirit, and by word and deed. So that from Jerusalem, as far as the lyrical, I have fully preached the Gospel of Christ. I mentioned before, we see what a very small world St. Paul was living in. He thought it a tremendous achievement he'd gone from Jerusalem to Greece. Of course, today we see space in far more different terms.


And it was a long journey at that time, and it was a great event when this Jewish Gospel came out into the Greek world, and it was preached there and made known. But I think we have to relativize the whole story. He went from there, he went on to Rome, and then he wanted to go to Spain, because he thought Spain was the end of the world, and he would have preached the Gospel in the whole world. So one must realize always the very limited geographical and historical horizon of each religion. They all grow up in a particular historical and geographical horizon. Islam grew up in Arabia, the small world of Arabia. Then, of course, an incredible expansion. It went westward right across Africa into Spain, eastward right across to India and Indonesia, and so on. And the same with Buddhism. It starts in India, and then it goes to Sri Lanka, and then up through Thailand, Burma and Thailand, and then into Tibet and China and Japan.


And same way, the Christian Gospel went from Jerusalem to Greece, and then to Rome, and it spread to Europe, and it spread to America. And now it has its outreach in parts of Asia and part of Africa and so on. But they all remain limited in their way. Each religion has a limited horizon, and we're still very limited. We have a very Western religion which is preached in India and Asia, but it's still not yet being preached in the language of Asia. And that is really the call of the future, to be able to express the Christian Gospel in the context of India, and all India's religions, and all India's traditions, and so on. And so we all need to reflect on what comes of it. You see, we have the Gospel, the ritual of Jewish Gospel, interpreted by the Greeks and the Romans, and it has a unique value and has had a great message for the world, but it needs now to be reinterpreted in the light of Asia, Africa, other parts of the world.


And we've got special calling here to interpret the Gospel in the context of India, the whole tradition of Indian spirituality. So we all need to reflect on that, what it means to our eyes. And I mentioned the various intentions of the letter. The letter to the Galatians, and very closely connected with the letter to the Romans, the letter to the Romans, the more triangle exposition of this relation of Judaism to Christianity. Galatians is a very impassioned letter written to save people from what he felt they were being misled. And as you know, it's this conflict between the Judaizing Christians, Christians who wanted to keep the law, the old law, and Paul and his followers, the main body of the church,


who wanted to be free of the law. And what lies behind it all the time is Paul's conviction that salvation is in Christ. You don't have to look outside Christ. There's no need for the law in him. All is fulfilled. That is really the base. And it begins with this strong affirmation, Paul, an apostle, not from men nor through men, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead, conviction that this revelation had come to him from God, and he'd known salvation in Christ, and that is what he wants to preach, and that is his gospel. And anything contrary to that he rejects. So he says grace and peace and so on to God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins to deliver us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father. And it's salvation, you see, is coming in Christ, and it's seen in terms of the evil age.


The general belief was, you see, there were these ages of the world, and the present age is an evil age, which is going to be brought to an end, and in any case Jesus has come to save us from this present world and to deliver us into his own kingdom. So this is the gospel that Paul is preaching. And then he bursts out, you see, I'm astonished at how so quickly deserting him, called him in the grace of Christ, turning to a different gospel. See, these Judaizing Christians have come along from Jerusalem and begun to tell these people, they were Gentiles, that they must be circumcised, they must obey the law. And Paul saw that this was going to compromise the whole gospel. Instead of there being salvation coming in Christ, it was coming through a lot of rituals and laws which had to be obeyed. So he feels tremendous bound of feelings about it. Not that there is another gospel, for some who trouble you want to pervert the gospel of Christ. Even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel, contrary to that, if we preach to you, let him be accursed.


It's very strong language, of course, but you can understand, you see, if this had been lost, the whole thing could have been compromised, the whole Christian faith could have become a sort of syncretism. And Paul had this overwhelming conviction of salvation in Christ and he wanted to make that absolutely clear, and he succeeded in doing so. You see, the church very good, her whole faith round this gospel which Paul preached and simply of salvation in Christ. Even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so now I say again, if anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to that, let him be accursed. And this cursing people, we don't like very much today, and it does do a lot of harm, of course. It creates these tremendous divisions, but there are times when you have to affirm the truth very strongly because it will simply be overwhelmed if you don't. You see, the opposite will simply make inroads on it


and you will lose the truth which you hold. So, one can understand Paul's attitude. Then he says, am I now seeking the favor of men or of God or am I trying to please men? If I was still pleasing men, I should not be a servant of Christ. It's just conviction, you see. This gospel is given him from God and his calling is to make that gospel known. If he were to deviate from it or allow these deviations, then he would be unfaithful to God, to Christ. He would lose his own salvation. So, you can see it was with him really a question of salvation. Of course, it raises many problems when we take it into a wider sphere and it's always dangerous to take the gospel out of its context, you see, and apply it to the other. We really should control these dogs.


So, I was saying it's a danger, you know, to take texts out of the gospel, out of their setting and their context of Jews and Gentiles, and apply them, let us say, to here, those churches in India, or the church today. And that's often violent. It creates very serious problems. So, I don't want to see it as a problem. There was, in the early church, this conflict between the Jewish Christians and the Gentile Christians. At first, the apostles thought of themselves simply as Jews, who found the Messiah, and they considered themselves Jews, no less than Christians, who went to the temple to pray, came to the synagogue. And only gradually they realized that there was going to be a separation. And that was particularly when the Gentiles, the non-Jews, began to come into the church. And this caused a great problem, because the Jews kept to themselves very much,


very like caste Hindus, they had their own ritual laws. They couldn't eat with Gentiles, it would become polluted. And so it raised a great problem whether the Gentile shouldn't be circumcised, keep the law, not eating, forbidden meat, and so on. And Paul, of course, was the champion of the Gentile Christians, because, as you know, he first of all preached to the Jews, and then when they rejected the message, he turned to the Gentiles, and they began to come into the church in great numbers. On the other hand, James in Jerusalem was still, there were not very few Gentiles, it was a Jewish church, and they were keeping the law. And Peter rather stood between the two. As you know, he's dealing with the stages of religion, and it's quite true, he says that as long as an heir is a child,


he's no better than a slave, though he's the owner of all the estate, he's under guardian and trustees, and the date set by the father. And the idea is humanity, which is very well confirmed today, goes through stages of growth. There was a time when humanity was like a child, and then it grew up under the law. And it's the boy's understanding that humanity comes to maturity in Christ, it comes to its fulfilment. So with us, when we were children, we were slaves to the elemental spirits of the universe, and all ancient religion was the worship of God through the cosmos, through the universe, and through the various elements on the level in Hinduism. It can be a slavery, it is true, but it can also be a sacramental religion, recognising the thought of the sun, the moon, the star, the water, the air, the fire. There are so many signs, presences of God, but of course it can easily become worshipping of those powers, the powers of nature. And there was a great deal, and that's how it's reported, and they saw it.


And that's what he means by the elemental spirits of the universe, these powers which are present in nature. You could vaguely imagine that the physical world is merely a material organisation, but of course it's not so. There are these spiritual powers in all life, in all matter, in the sun and the stars, for angelic presences. And these are what people worshipped, you see. They saw these powers and these presences, and they gave them their worship. And he sees now it's time for God to go beyond that. In the time that comes, God sent forth his son, born of woman, born under the door, to redeem those who are under the door, that we might receive adoption as sons. And the revelation in Christ is to go beyond the whole cosmos, you see, and all the angels and the gods, to the Father himself, to the source. Jesus reveals the Father, reveals the source of all. And we in him receive this adoption of sons. We are able to go beyond the limits of human nature,


experience his presence of God, to realise ourselves as Jesus was, in him, the son of the Father. Then he has this wonderful phrase, which is to me one of the key phrases of words of the New Testament. Because you are sons, God has sent the spirit of his son into your hearts, crying out, Father. And that is the Christian experience of God, you see. God sent the spirit of his son into our hearts. We receive the Holy Spirit in baptism, in confirmation, in our daily prayer. We become aware of the indwelling presence of the Spirit. And this Spirit is the Spirit of the Son, which is Jesus, who communicates the Spirit, you see, to disciples, who receive the Holy Spirit in the fundamental Pentecost. And it comes upon every Christian at baptism, you see, the gift of the Holy Spirit. Then we receive that Spirit through Jesus and become sons in him, in the Son, you see. We will share in the sonship of Jesus, of Christ. And in him and through him we are able to say, Abba, Father.


And scholars today all agree that this word, Abba, is very special to Jesus. God, you see, for the Jew, tended to become rather remote. He was, Yahweh was on high, and God was founded on high, and so on. And great reverence and fear, but not so much intimacy. There is God's presence in our son, no doubt. But for Jesus, God is essentially Abba. It's a very intimate word of love and closeness. So, and he enables us to share in that, you see, share in that relationship of sonship, of sharing the love of the Father. So, this is a real Christian revelation, you see, receiving the Spirit which comes to us through Christ and unites us to the Father. It's a Trinitarian relationship. We're always, we're all involved in the mystery of the Trinity, the divine light circulating in Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is communicated to us, that is the Christian mystery. So, through God you are no longer a slave to the Son, and if a son, then an heir.


That is, heir, as they call the promises of God. Then he repeats, before you were in bondage, to those that by nature are no gods, he means these elemental spirits, but now you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God. Very interesting, you see, we know God when we are known by Him. When we pray, we open ourselves to God, we receive this gift, we realise that we are known. Just as when we try to love God, we realise that we are loved. God's knowledge and love precedes always whatever knowledge and love we have. So, it's to be known by God. How can you turn back to the weak and begony elements? Then he says you observe days and months and seasons and years. A play that I've named in vain. I'm not quite sure of the meaning of this. It may be a kind of Jewish Gnosticism. It doesn't look like ordinary Judaism, that you didn't observe some days and months. It may be simply that, but there was a very strong Jewish Gnosticism


where they were devout Jews, but they accepted various Gnostic ideas which were much more concerned with these elemental spirits and observing times and seasons like that. But whatever it is, he feels that it's going back, you see, to the world of nature, when Christ has taken us beyond openness to the Father. So, that's the message Paul is trying to give and it's still very valid today. We don't worship the elemental spirit. We worship money and power and wealth and industry and computers and all the technological trends of the world. There are gods today, cinema and stars, but there are always some idols and some idolatries which Christ comes to set us free from, to open us to God's Spirit. It was valid.


We were saved by Christ, by his death, by his resurrection, and nothing more. And therefore, to add anything to it was to adulterate the Gospel, was his feeling. So, he says, when I saw that they were not straightforward about the truth of the Gospel, he thought they were betraying the truth of the Gospel, I said to Cephas, before them all, if you, though a Jew, live like a Gentile and not like a Jew, how can you compel the Gentiles to live like Jews? And it's exactly as though, you see, you compel people to keep a lot of caste rules when they become Christians. And that was what Paul was against. So, he says, you see, we who are Jews know that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but through faith in Jesus Christ. And by the works of the law, he meant primary circumcision and the other observance, particularly food, you see. Even now, the Jews have kosher meat. You can't eat meat taken from the market.


There are various rules like that. For the coming of Christ, all that is gone. There's no validity in it anymore. And the other ones, being faithful to their own tradition, they felt circumcision, all these other castes still have validity. But Paul feels that is to reject Christ, you see. A man is not justified by the works of the law. Even we who believed in Christ, sorry, but through faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law. And for him, faith in Christ sets you free from all these works of the law. And if in our endeavor to be justified in Christ, we ourselves are found to be sinners, this is a little strange, this argument. Is Christ, then, an agent of sin? Certainly not. But if I build up again those things which I tore down, then I prove myself a transgressor. I don't honestly know exactly what he means by saying,


if in our endeavor to be justified in Christ, we ourselves were found to be sinners, is Christ, then, an agent of sin? I think he means, and that is his common view, that when faith comes, it makes you recognize your sin before you sin without realizing it. But when faith comes, then you realize the actions which you thought were all right were actually sinful. So in that sense, Christ makes you realize your sinfulness. But then he says, if I build up again those things which I tore down, then I prove myself a transgressor. If you go back to the old law and try to establish yourself again on that base, then you become a transgressor. Then he has a very striking phrase saying, that I through the law died to the law that I might live to God. So you saw the law as something... You see, the law is meant to lead you to God. And the faithful Jew, it did lead them to God. But when you establish the law as an absolute, then it becomes an obstacle to God. And that is what intended to happen, you see.


As long as you kept the law, then you were a good Jew. And so he said, I through the law died to the law that I might live to God. He dies to his whole past as a Pharisee, as a Jew, that he might live to God. I've been crucified with Christ. It's no longer I who live, Christ who lives in me. One of the most impressive phrases in all of St. Paul's writings. And it goes to the heart of the matter that it isn't really a matter of the law fundamentally. You see, the law of the Jews is one example of a wider law, the whole law of reason and morality. As long as we think that we can be justified by reason and morality, doing what is right and so on, we're under an illusion. Only when we die to that rational mind, to the ego, the human-centered person, do we open ourselves to God and to grace. And then you live, then you're crucified with Christ. It's crucified with the ego, you see,


the self-centered personality which tries to justify itself and when you crucify that, you die to that, then you're open to grace and life in Christ. Then I live no longer, but Christ lives in me. And that is really the Christian ideal, you see. As long as we're living in ourselves, not only ego, doing our best for Christ and for God and so on, we're still a self-centered person. We're not in a state of freedom. And only when we die to ourselves that Christ acts in us, are we really Christians, are we really living the good life of grace. So that's the real challenges, this death to the ego, to that self-centered personality and awakening to life in Christ, Christ becomes the center.