Unknown year, August talk, Serial 00641

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The Jews of the world were divided, Jews and Jews and people of God, to receive this revelation. And the Gentiles, all the other nations of the world, threw out this revelation. And his problem was that Christ had come to the Jews, the Messiah, and they had not accepted him, they had rejected him. And yet he feels that Jews can't be rejected altogether. God chose them and there must be God's plans, as he spits and calls God, are irrevocable. And so he believes that just as you were once disobedient to God because you didn't accept Christ, but now have received mercy because of their disobedience, so they, the Gentiles, now who were before disobedient, now receive mercy. So his view is that the Jews received this gift from God, this revelation, but they were disobedient, they couldn't accept it. And the Gentiles did not receive this gift, at the end they were far from God, but now they were converted and received it.

[01:06]

And he ends by saying that God put all under disobedience. God has consigned all men to disobedience, you may have mercy upon all. And of course there's a deep truth in that, there's a sense with which all people are in sin, we're separated from God and unable to love as we should, and yet the mercy of God comes to all. But I don't think today this view of the world is very remote from ours, the problem of Jews and Gentiles hardly enters in, and we're much more concerned with this relation between religions in general, particularly in India we're concerned with Hinduism and Buddhism, also with Islam, what is their relation. And obviously there's a certain sense in which all fail, and in every religion we see how many people fail to live according to it, but equally I think we have to accept that in every religion there is a valid revelation from God,

[02:13]

there is a profound experience of God, and it's been continued, the Marvelous Signore is over hundreds and hundreds of years, our revelation continues, take Buddhism you see, five centuries before Christ, comes from India and it goes to Sri Lanka, and then it's spread right up through Asia, through Burma, and Thailand, and Vietnam, and then through Tibet, China, Japan, Korea, the whole of Asia, for hundreds of years, this religion with all its weaknesses, but with all its values, the same way Hinduism spreads from the North all over India, hundreds of millions of people today, and even more remarkable is Islam, you have this revelation coming to Muhammad in the 7th century after Christ, little tiny group of people in Arabia, and then within a century it's spread right across North Africa to Spain, and right across Asia to Persia, and now in Indonesia, and right across Asia.

[03:14]

So there is a power of God, you have to admit, in all these religions, which has this power to change people's lives and turn them towards God, all with their defects, and of course people fail to live up to them, but also all with their unique gifts. So I think today, as I say, we don't feel so much in these terms simply of Jews and Gentiles, all of all being disobedient, and it's true, many don't accept the call of God, but also it's equally clear that there are millions who do accept that call. In every religion, in every age, there are people who respond and who keep alive this spark of love, of truth, of grace, of true religion. And that's what we have to pray for today, that in every religion, in spite of all their defects, there may be people who awake to the truth, and love, and the grace, the compassion, which is present in every religion, and has that power to change the world, through which I could keep all of us in our grounds.

[04:17]

...with this letter from the Ephesians, and since Paul is writing from prison, at one time it was thought that it was written from prison in Rome, one of the later letters, and I think today people think it was more likely from prison in Caesarea, at an earlier time, because it seemed to belong to the earlier group of letters, not a matter of very great importance, but as we know, these Philippians were very close to him, there was a great affection for them. So he says, what has happened to me has served to advance the gospel, so it's become known throughout the whole Praetorian guard, and apparently this Praetorian guard was found in various centers, I think one of Ephesus, Caesarea, and so on, so it's not necessarily at Rome. And to all the rest, that my imprisonment is for Christ, most have made me confident in the Lord, because of my imprisonment of age, much more bold to speak. But prison was very mild, apparently, he could meet people, he could preach the gospel,

[05:33]

he could have quite a good time in a way, so it actually served his purpose, he wasn't much disturbed by it. And then he says, some need preach Christ from envy and rivalry, others from goodwill, and that's a great lot of love, and the former, and so on, but then only in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is portrayed, and in that I rejoice. I feel a little questioning about that. I think we should think today that it's precisely so many people preach Christ in the wrong ways, it causes so much dissension in the world. People dislike Christianity because of the way it's presented. For instance, in America you have these huge organizations, evangelists on TV, and they have millions and millions of people listening to them, and the other half of America is completely turned off by the way they present Christ. So it's not really a question of presenting Christ, it's the way you present him which really matters.

[06:34]

That's the real point, we don't do any good maybe talking about Christ, because when we show with our lives and our hearts and our being the meaning of the gospel and share it with others, then and only then does it really have meaning. But of course at this time these problems have to be resolved in a much more simple way. So Paul gives a very interesting insight into the relation between this world and life in this world, and life in Christ, and it's one which we don't normally accept today. The premise of today is to say that we must find God in the world, find Christ in the service of our brethren, build up the kingdom of God in this world.

[07:38]

And all that is true and good as far as it goes, but it also remains true that there's nothing permanent in this world. We don't build up anything permanent here. There's no permanent place for the kingdom of God in this world. It's always beyond, and the resurrection is the world beyond. Christ leads us always through this world, beyond this world to the resurrection. And I think we need to keep this in mind. It doesn't mean we neglect this world. Actually those who have been most dedicated, like Paul himself, he was totally dedicated to the new life of the resurrection, and yet he worked harder than anybody else in this world. So it's an illusion to think that if you send to your heart the word, come on, kingdom of God, beyond this world, that therefore you will neglect the world. It's totally untrue. Those who are totally dedicated to the world beyond can and will show themselves to be totally given to life in this world. So that is his point, he says, you see.

[08:40]

For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. He can live as Christ, and Christ is the fullness of life. In Christ we see this life, this world, this humanity taken up into the new life, the new world, the new humanity. That is, the fullness is in Christ, and when we die we enter into the fullness. Here we have partial experience of Christ, partial experience of the new life. There we enter into the fullness. So he says, if it is to be life of the flesh, that means fruitful labour for me, yet which I shall choose I cannot tell. He feels called to this life of the flesh, of this world, to serve people of this world, and if God calls him to that, then he accepts it, but I'm hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and to be with Christ, and that is far better. I think all the saints have realized that.

[09:42]

However much good you may do in this world, to depart and be with Christ is better. You're doing something good in this world, but you're not fulfilling yourself, and you're not fulfilling the world itself. It's not fulfilled here. St. John of the Cross made a remarkable statement once when he said that a single half hour of pure contemplation was of more value than a lifetime of service up to the world. Very staggering, if you think of it. Still, I think we have to get our values right. You see, today we're so obsessed with the values of this world, which are real. Relief, poverty, suffering, distress, education, medicine, all these things are good and necessary, right and part of the call of the gospel, but they're not everything, and they're not the primary thing. The primary thing is the experience of God in Christ, his transcendence of the world, revealed in the resurrection. You see, the resurrection is the key to the whole gospel. So Paul says, my desire is to die and to be with Christ,

[10:46]

for that is far better. That is to enter into the fullness. But to remain in the flesh is more necessary on your account. Convinced of this, I shall remain and continue with you all, your progress from joy into pain. So knowing that that is the better path, the better way, yet knowing that he's called to serve in this world, to serve his brethren, so he totally accepts that. So there's no contradiction, you see, in desire to die and to be with Christ, at the same time you can give yourself totally whatever work you're called to do at the moment. I think we all need to reflect on this, when I say the emphasis today is so much in the other direction. They're all saying, I am the sky, and there are fans upon you and I, and now we must get down to the real work, serving our brethren, serving the world. That's one aspect of it, but the other is more valuable, you see. It's more important to experience the fullness of Christ in prayer, in meditation, and in death,

[11:46]

in going beyond this world altogether. So then he says, he's convinced that I shall remain and continue with you, so that in me you may have ample cause to glory in Christ Jesus, because of my coming to you again. You see, they will have experience of life in Christ. He can either have that fullness in death, going beyond, or he can share what he has with others, and that's what the call of the gospel is. So he says, only be worthy of the gospel of Christ, that you stand in one spirit, with one mind, side by side with the faith of this gospel. You see, to live the Christ love here and now, that is the call, in view of its fulfillment in the life to come. You can never separate them. You can never separate the cross and the resurrection, not as in the Eucharist, we celebrate death into life, we celebrate the resurrection into the Eucharist.

[12:47]

It's a new life, which is yet made present among us day by day, not frightened in anything by your opponents, this is clear, and so on. For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ, which you not only believe in him, but also suffer for his sake, engage in the same conflict now as mine. So, life in this world, in Christ, normally involves suffering of some kind. Obviously, you can't live in this world without suffering. So, you accept the Christ life now, you accept the suffering. At the same time, that's not your end, that's not your goal. You're always looking beyond what the goal is. And that is what is meant by contemplative life, you see. This active life is service to the world. Contemplative life is life in God, in Christ, you see, living out the mystery of Christ in the depths of one's being. And that's the ultimate call of the gospel for everyone. Everybody is called to contemplation, either in this world or in heaven. Heaven is the life of contemplation, of contemplation.

[13:48]

The Bible says that there we have to have both, we have to have contemplation and action. So, this is the real call of the gospel. I think we need, particularly today, to reflect on it, because the emphasis is so much on the other side that people are merely forgetting this truth altogether, at least, faithfully. There was a famous reading in the letter to the Seleucids, and it's very interesting, it begins with a kind of moral exhortation. If there is any encouragement, any incentive of love, any participation in the spirit, any affection and sympathy. And these are the dispositions that St. Paul looks for in his disciples, and which we all may look for in our own selves, in our communities. Any incentive of love, any participation in the spirit, any affection and sympathy.

[14:51]

You see, it's not only the agape, the love of God, the participation in the spirit, also affection and sympathy, which are human virtues. It's very important the spirit awakens these human virtues, it makes us more human, we should be, and not less. And it can sometimes do. They said, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord with one mind. This is search always, to have this unity of heart and mind. We all know how difficult it is for two or three to gather together, there you have dispute among them, and we all differ in our hearts and minds, and yet we know it is possible to go together, to have one heart, one mind, one doubt. And there's a beautiful text from the Vedas, which we read sometimes, where it says exactly the same, I make you all of one mind, be at peace with one another, love one another, and so on. So this is the call of the Gospel, the call of true religion everywhere.

[15:53]

Then do nothing from selfishness or conceit, with humility count others better than yourselves. Again, we all know, selfishness and conceit are these three components, we all tend to centre on ourselves and to think better of ourselves and of others. We know ourselves better, and we see others in a very distorted way very often. So we have that tendency to selfishness and conceit, and humility count others better than yourselves. Try to, as we were saying with the Father and the Son, if you think that anyone is inferior to yourself, do not preach being charity. And then he goes on, let each of you look not to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. And so far, you see, this is a guide to human life, to Christian life, and it's in the moral sphere. And then he moves into the theology, one of the deepest theological statements in the New Testament, and comes out here.

[16:57]

So he says, have the mind among yourselves which is yours in Christ Jesus. You see, it's the mind of Christ as the example for all. And there is in the form of God, there's not a quality of God, a thing to be grasped, the entity himself. And here it's rather important, it's almost certain that we've all had in mind the first Adam. You see, Adam was, when he says Christ was in the form of God, it means Christ was the image of God. And the first Adam, the first man, he seemed to be made in the image of God. And he grasped after Godhead, you see. He did not think quality with God, a thing to be grasped at. The first man wanted to be like God, he grasped that divinity. And that is the problem, we're created for God, and we don't get it for ourselves. The ego gets in and wants to be devised. Some people think they are God to that state.

[17:58]

And so the first man grasped the divinity and lost everything. And Jesus is the new Adam, he doesn't grasp the divinity, he becomes himself, becomes a man, an ordinary man, and suffers and dies on a cross. And that's the reversal of this pride and this selfishness which made the first man fall. So it's the reversal of the fall of man. And then, therefore, God has exalted him and bestowed upon him the name above every name. Because Jesus surrenders himself totally on the cross, he can be raised up totally to God. And that's the model for all, it's just as far as we make that self-surrender die, ourselves can be raised up to get the new life, to become everything to God. And so he becomes the head of all, becomes one with the Father, totally first in the whole creation. So that's the mystery of incarnation and invention,

[19:00]

a mystery which we all have to share in. It's not something we invent, it's that Jesus is the person who makes the self-surrender to God and enables us to do the same. We have faith in him, we are also able to overcome our egoism, our pride, and we can sweep into discovery, life in God, life in Christ. So it's a beautiful text there in Christian life. In respect to these predictions, oh, it's a very striking phrase. It says, Therefore, my beloved, that you have always obeyed so and so now, not only as in my present, much more in my absent, work out your own salvation with care and trembling that it is God who works in you. It's a paradox of Christian life,

[20:02]

of religious life in general. We have to work out our own salvation. It's something we have to work at and to do, and yet we have to remember that it is God who is working in us, both to will and to work for his good pleasure. And that's the mystery of grace, you see. We do something, but really it is God who is doing it in us. And as long as we think we're doing it without donation to God, then it's pure illusion. And as long as we really attribute it to ourselves, it's still an illusion. It's only when we realize that every good deed we do, every good thought we have, and every good thing in ourselves is a gift of God, then only are we really in the truth. It's not at all easy. We naturally attribute it to ourselves. And of course we do it. You see, you have to work out your own salvation. You have to work and to do, and yet it is God who works in you and causes you to do it. It's very profound, very simple in a way, and yet extremely important.

[21:04]

Theologically, it's the very basis of religious Christian life there, if you realize that. Then do all things without grumbling and questioning, you may be blameless and innocent children of God without damage. And that's a very practical thing, you see. It's very easy to act without grumbling or questioning. But most times people do grumble or question when things don't go as they want them to do. And to be blameless and innocent is not at all easy. And again, you see, it comes as long as you attribute what you are doing to yourself or to other people, then you grumble and question. When you see that it comes from God, then the whole thing changes. There's a very remarkable book, which many people have found very helpful, called Surrender to God, or Abandonment to Divine Providence, by Faisal al-Qassad. His whole thesis is that whatever happens to us day by day, whatever we do, is an act of God in our lives.

[22:06]

You see, when we come to assemble a prayer here, or we go and have our supper together, or do something else, we're responding to the will of God in our lives. And every action should be a response to that will and allowing God to work in us. God does. God brings us together here. God brings us to eat our supper. God takes us to rest at night. We're all living in His will and surrendering to Him. And it's very difficult not to think we're doing it. We're coming here for the prayer. We're going to have our supper, and we're going to bed. But we have to reverse it all the time and be aware that we are doing it. We work out our salvation, but really it's God who's working in us. And then he goes on, told me, he passed the Word of Life. It says, In the day of Christ, I may be proud that it did not run in vain. It always speaks of this day of Christ. And in a literal sense, this is expectation of the end. The early church lived in that expectation

[23:08]

of the coming of Christ. But in a profound sense, it's not a future coming. It's this eternal coming. Eternity is neither past, present, or future. It includes all time. And we live in that present. We live in that day. And all our actions have to be seen in the day of Christ, that is the eternal day, in the presence of Christ. So that I may be proud of you in that presence of Christ, you see. Even if I am to be poured as a libation upon the sacrificial offering of faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all. I'm not sure exactly what he means, but whether he means he's got to give his life, I don't know. But obviously he sees his life as a sacrificial offering. He's offering himself day by day. And we all try. We try to offer our lives through Christ in the Eucharist, make an offering of our lives. And that means to allow God to work in us.

[24:09]

To offer one's life is to remember one's self, one's ego, and allow Christ to work in us. So you also should be glad and rejoice with me. And it's a quite natural rejoicing, you see. Once you feel for your ego, then you have joy. You have this sense of freedom that you're being released from yourself and now you're free to live with God in Christ. So there's a wonderful message going through all this letter. That's the most important thing, sir. These letters of St. Paul, often have some very profound theology and then some very important moral teaching. And then they have a lot of quite personal detail. And it's very interesting the way

[25:10]

his theology grows out of his life and his experience of it's all part of a human situation. And today when we think about Timothy, we have these very close disciples. Timothy obviously is very close to him. He says he was... Timothy's worth was how as a son with his father he has served with me in the gospel. And it's not only Timothy, there's so many others. Paul had this very close relationship. And these Christian communities must have been very close communities. Tremendously deep love existed, deep faith and love. And then they were all in communion with one another. Messengers went from one to another, of course, travel was too easy in those days. But don't forget, it was in the Roman Empire, there was a very considerable system of chariots and horses and so on, with very good Roman roads. So there was a lot of communication. And so they kept in touch with one another in various ways. And this was considered part of their Christian life.

[26:12]

You see, St. Paul is much concerned. I hope to send him just as soon as I see how the goal is me. I trust in the Lord that shortly I myself shall come also. So it's all part of the whole Christian work to be sharing with one another in this way. And then he speaks of this other brother, Proditus, a fellow worker, a fellow soldier, your messenger, your minister to my need. And we're talking a lot today about the mission of the laity. And obviously the division wasn't very clear in these days. And Paul had many fellow workers like this, a fellow worker, a fellow soldier, fighting side by side, and a messenger and a minister. And so they were very free communities, and yet each had their own structure and their own relation with one another. He has been longing for you and has been distressed because you heard that he was ill. He was near to death, but God had mercy on him.

[27:13]

And again, you see, the health of each one is a consideration. They were praying for one another. It's all a good model, of course, to a great extent. We do the same today. This sharing, this visiting, this praying for one another. It's good to see how it's modeled on the early church, how that barely existed at that time. And then, lest I should have sorrow upon sorrow, God had mercy on him, not only on him, but on me also. And St. Paul has all these sorrows, troubles, triumphs coming on top of him, and yet always he has this great faith, this great love, this great hope, and this great joy in his life. You get all these different aspects come together with him. And of course, that is normal in human life. We never have to learn to accept all these different sides. So receive him, and mourn even to send him, that you may rejoice at seeing him again, and I may be less anxious. So receive him in the Lord with all joy. See, receive him in the Lord with all joy.

[28:16]

It's never merely a human event. You will see some day in Christ, in God, and do it with this joy, which is one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. You see, this joy, this ananda. In India, we call this ananda. It's not an ordinary pleasure, happiness. It's a joy of the Spirit, this. And so receive him with joy, and honor such men, for he nearly died for the work of Christ, risking his life to complete your service to me. So really, there was a sharing, even to the point of giving one's life. So you see, in quite a small compass like this, you see a whole human reality there. Totally human reality, embracing faith, and hope, and love, and human affection, human concern, human health, visiting one another. The whole human reality is there. And that's how theology should grow. Growing up in a human situation isn't something you do in seminaries or in isolated places. It's something which takes place in the community

[29:17]

and in the actual living. It comes at the conclusion of this long debate about Jews and Gentiles, the problem which the early church faced about the reconciled Israel's rejection of the Messiah and Gentiles' acceptance, and St. Paul sees it as a great mystery of the depth of the riches of wisdom and knowledge of God, how insearchable is his judgment and how inscrutable are his ways. I think we all need to learn this mystery of God. We tend to think we know a great deal of God's plans. We know something, but very, very little of it we really know. It's all a great mystery. You look around in the world today and ask yourself what is the plan of God, how does it work? Take Asia, with all its hundreds of millions of people, with its little group of Christians, how do they relate to the church?

[30:19]

And I think perhaps just with the early church, the problem of the Jews and the Gentiles is a great question. For us it's a problem of the relation of Christianity to other religions, especially here in India. And we all have to reflect on this mystery of God. For all these thousands of years, God has been present in Asia, not in the form of Christ or Christianity, but in so many other forms. It has gone on century by century, spread all over Asia, Hinduism and Buddhism, in China you have Taoism, Confucianism, in Japan you have Shintoism. And millions of people have been living by these faiths, these religions, for all these thousands of years. How do they relate to Christ? How do they fit into the plan of God? That's really our question today. And we all have to reflect on it. It's no simple answer, except as Paul says, from the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God, how unsearchable are his judgments, how inscrutable his ways. And then he brings in this mystery of the Trinity,

[31:21]

of course, having been formulated at this time, and he says, from him and through him, to him are all things, to him be glory forever. And we understand that in the context of the Trinity, that all things are from the Father. The Father is the source of all. All creation comes forth from the Father. Humanity, Christ himself comes from the Father. And then we think everything comes through the Son, the Word of God, who creates the world through his Son. He is the agent, the instrument of the creation of the world, of humanity, and of the whole plan of God. It all comes through him. And then the Holy Spirit is seen to the Father, and the Holy Spirit is drawing the whole creation, all humanity, to God, through the Father, through the Son. And as you know, the early tradition of the Gloria was glory being through the Father, through the Son, in the Holy Spirit. Much more meaningful than our present one, which puts the process all together without discrimination.

[32:23]

But everything comes from the Father, through the Son, in the Spirit. And all prayer is made in the Spirit, through the Son, through the Father. When we enter into the Trinity, and the Trinity enters into our lives, that is part of this mystery of God, which he reveals to us in this, in the Gospel, through his Holy Spirit. Lord, we came by saying rejoice in the Lord, and the spirit of joy is very important in the history of all religious life. It's the sign of the Spirit. The body and the soul suffer. The Spirit is present to God, and therefore it's always in joy. In the midst of the greatest suffering, we have this joy in the Spirit. And then he contrasts that, this light in the Spirit, with the works of the flesh. Now, we are...

[33:25]

He's thinking, of course, to try and be of these Jewish Christians who wanted everybody to be circumcised, to keep the law. We are the true circumcision, who worship God in spirit, and put no confidence in the flesh. And then he goes on to boast, to say what he can boast of in the flesh. And he describes all his inheritance from Judaism. See, circumcised on the third day, the people of Israel, the tribe of Benjamin, the Hebrews, all the Hebrews, as to the law of Pharisees, persecution of the church, as to righteousness under the law of lameness. So Paul had all the advantages of the law, if he considers the work of the flesh. But whatever gain I had, I count it as lost, and save for Christ, I count everything as lost, because of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. And this is his passage from the flesh to the spirit, from the outer to the inner, you see. All of this... And we always have to make that distinction,

[34:25]

of course, as to Judaism compared to Christianity also. Every religion has an outer character, the law of the flesh. All the outer observances, they're all very holy, circumcision, and all the rituals of the law, and so on. These were very holy, given by God. But they're external religions, they have no value in themselves. And the real religion is always the religion of the spirit. It's interior. And we all tend to make the same mistake, you see. We think if people go to church, they celebrate mass, they do religious acts, then they're religious people. But those are the external forms of religion. What's happening behind it is what is real religion. And what you don't see, what you see is the outer shell. The real reality is always hidden. You see the bread and the wine, they're nothing. But what's behind the bread and the wine, that is the real thing. So always a seed behind the outer form can discover the inner reality.

[35:26]

And perhaps it's worth looking at that reading from Kabir. Some of you will find it rather strange, but extremely revealing. You see, he says, he's one of the great mystics of the world, you know. He was probably born as a Muslim and became a Hindu, and he was beyond both. He was a mystic who transcended those differences. And he says, to what shore would you cross? There's no traveler, no road, no movement, no boat, no boatman. What he's saying is there are no external forms there, you see. You've got beyond the external forms. There's nothing you can hold on to. Not even a rope, you see, to hold on to. There's no earth, no time, no thing. And reality of religion is beyond all outer forms, you see. It's so difficult to realize it. You only see the outer forms and you judge people by their outer form, but the reality is the hidden mystery within. Perhaps you have a church.

[36:28]

A church is this outer form, buildings and congregations and all this organization. That's the outer form. The reality is behind the outer form. It's the hidden mystery which you don't see. As St. Paul says, the things which are seen are temporal, the things which are unseen are eternal. And that is the reality. There's neither body nor mind, no place, nor time, nor can there be emptiness, you see. The reality is emptiness. That's what the Buddhists say. Sundarpal, emptiness, is the reality. Behind all these outer forms is the reality which you don't see, which is no form or structure. Be strong. Enter into your own body. There your foothold is found. You enter into your body and find who you are, you see. And you are not this body. You enter into the body and you explore it and then you discover you are not this body, you are not this mind. You are that hidden mystery that you can't express,

[37:29]

which cannot be seen, which is beyond word and thought. That is the reality of all religion, of all existence. And we all are deluded, you see. That's what we call matter. It's the outer form which deceives everybody. The outer form of the world, the outer form of human beings, the outer forms of religion. And the reality behind the form, within the form, whatever word you use, that you can't see it, you can't hear it, you can't touch it, that is the reality in yourself that you have to find. Beyond your body and beyond your mind is your real being, your real self. And that self is what St. Paul calls in Christ. In the resurrection, Jesus went beyond, beyond all outer forms altogether. He appeared to his disciples as an earlier temporal appearance, but then he went beyond all forms. You don't see him any longer. He is the reality beyond all these forms. So he says, I can't be found in him

[38:32]

not having a righteousness of my own, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness of God that depends on faith, and I know him in the power of the resurrection. Faith is in the resurrection. Jesus went beyond, beyond all outer form, beyond this world into the hidden mystery, and faith is opening the heart to the hidden mystery, which is the mystery of Christ, which is beyond everything. Becoming like him with death, if possible, there came the resurrection from the dead. When we die to ourselves, like this world, to all outer forms, then we enter into the resurrection. Even now we can enter into the resurrection, a new life with no form, no structure, no outer appearance. That is the reality that I believe in. So that's the secret of religion in the author of the title, Heidi. Thank you. Paul is speaking of this sadhana,

[39:33]

this spiritual life, and he says, not that I've already obtained or I'm already perfect, I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. And that is the spiritual path. You're never a perfect, you're always moving towards the supreme, which is always beyond. You see, St. Gregory had an interesting view that even in heaven you're never finally satisfied, because there's always more. God is infinite, he's always drawing you further, so when you're full, you still find there's more, and you go forward. And certainly in this world, we're always growing, and the great danger, of course, is to stop still, think you've arrived, I've got all I want, and you can stay. But actually, you're always being drawn, day by day, beyond yourself, to open to something new. And that's the challenge, really. Paul has a very strong idea, press on, make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own.

[40:34]

You see, Christ has opened up this path to God that is infinite to us, and as we follow that, then there's no limit to it, so we're always being drawn further. Then he says, I do not consider I have made it my own, but one thing I do, forgetting what lies behind, straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on towards the goal, the prize, the upward call of God and Christ Jesus. It's interesting, you see, forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead. That is one way, in a sense, you know, and of course, in a sense, it's always true, you have to go beyond the past into the future, but another aspect is very important, you always have to integrate the past into the future. It's a mistake to think you can leave anything really fully behind. There's always something there which you have to take with you. Even in sin, there's always something positive in sin. You reject the negative aspect, which is sinful, and then the positive aspect has to be integrated.

[41:36]

And many people forget that, and so you reject some part of your nature, which is really necessary. So there is a forgetting of the past and always a going beyond, and yet there is the reintegration. And then it says, press on to the path of the upward call of God and Christ Jesus. And that is the common way of speaking. We always think that we ascend to God. John of the Cross speaks of the ascent of Mount Carmel, and Moses goes up the mountain, meets God on the mountain, and we think of God in heaven above. And that is perhaps the most normal way of speaking. But we should always remember it's a way of speaking, and there's another one which sees Sarah Grant actually, wrote a little book recently, called Descent to the Source. We descend to the Source. We can ascend, that's one way of looking at it, but also descend to the ground, the origin, the source from which everything springs, you see.

[42:37]

And many people today find that more helpful. God up there sometimes seems too remote and you try to go down to the depths of your being, the depths of all creation. God is at the heart of reality, as well as being beyond it. So there are two ways, and both perhaps necessary, we have to think of the ascent, we also have to think of the descent to the ground, to the source. Is there any sense that those who are mature be thus minded? If anything, you are otherwise minded, God will reveal that to you. This point of maturity is very important. You see, we're all immature in a way, and we all have to reach maturity. St. Paul had the beautiful phrase, in the Ephesians, to the full measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ. And that is maturity. We reach maturity, the full measure of the stature of Christ. And maturity, becoming fully human, and to become fully human is also to become divine.

[43:40]

Because a human being is made for God, and is only full when it finds God. So that is what maturity means. And if anything, otherwise minded, God will reveal it. You see, if you're really open to the truth, you may have a limited view of it, you know nearly everybody has, but if you're really seeking God, he reveals it, it opens up to you. And I think we have to live in that faith. If we really have faith, though we're very limited in our understanding, maybe very defective, yet if we're looking for the truth of God, it comes to us, we gradually discover it, it unfolds itself. Only let us hold true to what we have attained. You have to keep to the truth which you know, and then be prepared to go forward from it. And you see, many people today have to search for God. I mean, past people grew up in a particular religion, and it was all more or less fixed for them, but a vast number of people today, they grew up sometimes in no religion, sometimes they reject the religion they were brought up in,

[44:41]

and they have to search, and you have to be true, you have to find what God is revealing, open yourself to the growth, and then you gradually mature in a discovery of yourself. And for many, that's the only way to proceed, to work on that. Paul gives himself as an example to all his disciples, and he's all a little afraid of somebody who sets himself up as a model. But see, Paul very clearly had this deep sense, I live, yet I no longer. Christ lives in me. And he wasn't really telling them to follow him, to follow the Christ in him. And the same principle, you know, is with the guru in India. When you surrender to the guru, you follow the guidance of the guru, it isn't that human being you follow, it's the divine guru in him. And it's always the divine guru that you're seeking to follow. Also, it's always the Christ that you're seeking to imitate, this or that person.

[45:42]

And that's really what St. Paul means. He speaks of those who are livers enemies of the cross of Christ, their endless destruction, their goddess of belly, and their glory and their shame, the mind set on earthly things. And I suppose one has to recognize there are these opposites in the world. There is the search for God, for truth, love, and there is the opposite. There is that people fall away, but it's more a kind of delusion. See, in a sense, everybody is seeking what is good, but people misunderstand where the good is to be found, and they seek it, as he says, in earthly things. It's when you set your mind on matter, on the earth, on external reality, you chase after that, and you're never satisfied. And when you learn to see beyond the external, beyond the material form, through the mystery of the spirit within, then you get this transformation.

[46:44]

So that's really what he's contrasting, those who seek the fulfillment in outer things. And it's a natural tendency, whether it's in food, or in drink, or in sex, or in cinema, or in pleasure, whatever form, you go after it for its money or its power. You're always seeking external things, and you're never satisfied. And then a point comes when you discover that these are unreal, that you're missing your real destiny, and then you begin to awake to the true self, the true life, and the true love. So that's always the contrast. And then he has a striking phrase, our commonwealth is in heaven, a way to say that of the Lord Jesus Christ. The Greek is politia, from the word politics. And it means our... Commonwealth isn't a bad translation of it. It means our city is in heaven, really, you see. And people today don't like this very much. They're very much concerned with the earthly city,

[47:46]

the kingdom of God on earth. And that is surely one aspect of reality, but we don't want to lose this other. And this was a vision of the early church. They were looking for a city of God, a city which has foundations, which builder and maker is God, which is beyond this world, beyond the earth, beyond our present mode of existence. And they were always looking for this. We await a savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will change our lowly body. We're waiting for the coming of Christ, for that second coming. And, of course, in a sense, one could say they were mistaken, that he wasn't really expected his coming at any time. But in a deeper sense, of course, they were not, because this second coming is not in time. It's the eternal reality, and that is always there. And the real call is to see beyond the outer world, the outer politics, the outer kingdom, to the inner kingdom, the inner politia, the inner commonwealth, the inner reality to which Christ is leading us and where he is present.

[48:48]

You see, Christ is always present to us in that eternal reality, in that truth. So that's the real Christian call. And he will change our lowly body to be like his glorious body by the power which enables him to step all things for himself. And the belief is, you see, not that you escape from matter, from life, but that matter and life are transformed by the Spirit. You see, you'll never reject this world, nor do you accept the world as it is. You see, those are the two extremes. One, you take the world as it is, you try to enjoy it, you find happiness in it, and then you're deluded. Or else you reject the world simply and try to find some spiritual reality of part, and that also is a delusion. It's said very clearly in the Upanishads, those who, how do they put it, I forget the exact word they use, but in the Isha Upanishad it says, those who seek the one enter into darkness and those who seek the other enter into greater darkness.

[49:49]

And when you discover the Spirit, the eternal reality in the material world, in this world, in humanity, in the life, then you begin to see the truth. And that is what the Christian gospel is, how to find God, find Christ in ourselves, in our life, in the people around us, hidden under all these veils of sin and delusion and evil and so on, but really present everywhere. And the faith is that insight into that present, behind all the confusion of the world. So that's really what Paul is teaching us. Saint Paul had a very special relation with this community of Philippi. In most of his communities it was rather special, but Philippians and Corinthians, perhaps, were very special. And he speaks here, you see,

[50:53]

of this great love, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, and firm in the Lord, my beloved. It's a very profound relationship. I think it's extremely important, you see, because we're all concerned with social reform, social justice and so on, but it all depends on these human relations. Unless people learn to live together in love, there's no human peace, there's no joy, there's no fulfillment, and it's no good changing structures and things, but to create this spirit. And Paul created that spirit, or rather he lived the spirit of Christ and radiated it in these communities. And that's what built up the church, you see, this communion of love. It's what Manassar was saying this morning, this agape, this sacrificial love, love which gives itself. And that was the source of these Christian communities. And Paul lived it out in his life, total self-giving love he had for them.

[51:55]

You can see it, you see, I love and long for my joy and my crown, and stand firm in the Lord, my beloved. Then he says, when he deals with the problems, you see, they're quarreling among themselves. I entreat you, Evolia, and I entreat Sintike to agree in the Lord. I ask you also, true yoke, that I hope these women have labored side by side. Two things, the women quarreled, you see, among themselves. But the other thing is, the women worked with Paul and the others on terms of equality, you know. You see, in the early church, the men and the women worked together. And it's quite obvious here, you see, they have labored side by side with me in the gospel, together with Clement and the rest of my fellow workers. And that's what we're looking for today. It's not so much a question of women priests, it's a question of a shared ministry. There should be equal sharing of men and women in the ministry of the church, you see. Actually, it's happening in many churches today, there are very few priests,

[52:56]

and they have a team of workers, men and women working together, six people, it may be, run the parish together. And that seems to be the model of the future. And surely the men and the women have to live, to minister together in terms of equality. There's no place for a male priesthood which dominates the rest. We're having the Synod of the Laity, as you know, in October, isn't it? And everybody's hoping that something will come from it in these lines. But it had to be worked out, of course, it's not simple, but there's no doubt in the New Testament the women work side by side with the men in the ministry of the gospel, you see. And that is what we're looking for today. And then he has this beautiful phrase, it's one of the beautiful phrases, a beautiful section in the New Testament, Rejoice in the Lord always, again I say rejoice. Joy is the gift of the Holy Spirit, you see, it isn't an ordinary pleasure, it's the gift of the Spirit of these love, joy, peace, you see.

[53:59]

And when we're open to the Spirit, we get this joy, and joy's always, you see. It isn't something that comes and goes. The joy of the Spirit which can remain in the midst of all trials, difficulties, conflicts, and suffering, and death itself, you see, that is the joy of the Spirit. Then let all men know your forbearance. It's another great virtue, you see, to be forbearing, to bear with other people. And we all have so many faults, we all have to bear with one another all the time. And let all men know your forbearance, be open to all. Then the Lord is at hand, and that is a typical New Testament phrase, and very like this, himself said the kingdom of God is at hand. And you can think of it in terms of future coming, and the Lord is going to come, but it's a deeper view, as I was saying this morning, it's an eternal, oh yesterday maybe, an eternal presence. The Lord is always there, you see, behind all the world and all its conflicts,

[55:02]

there is the presence of the Lord, he's always present. And it's to recognize that presence, that is to recognize the Lord is at hand. And have no anxiety about everything, and everything back there, and such a case, etc., etc. This is again very evangelical, you see, in the Sermon on the Mount, he said do not be anxious to your life. It's not that you shouldn't be concerned with it, you shouldn't be anxious about it. Anxiety means you think it all depends on you, and you worry about it all the time, and you forget that it's in the hands of God, and you don't want to leave it in his hands. So don't be anxious about anything, but by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your request be made known to God. If you take everything into prayer, with supplication, but also with thanksgiving, recognizing that God is giving all the time, and you've only got to surrender it to him, and he'll give you what he wants, let your request be made known to God. It's a marvelous model, you know,

[56:03]

of Christian life, really, of a life of prayer and a life of communion with God. This is a model for everybody, it's not for religious only, it's a model for everybody, to have that joy, that forbearance, to have that awareness of the presence of God, have no anxiety, and to offer everything in prayer to God. And the peace of God, of course, is all-understanding, we'll keep our hearts and our minds in thanksgiving. See, love, joy, peace, those are the gifts of the Holy Spirit, and this peace of God is a gift of God. They're all gifts, you see, you can't get joy, you can't get peace, you can only allow the joy and the peace to work in you, to be given to you, to receive them from God. And it passes all-understanding, see. The peace we look for is beyond all human understanding. Of course, there is a peace which we can understand, and we pray and work for that, but the source of the peace is beyond all understanding.

[57:05]

Jesus said, Peace I leave you, my peace I give you, that is the peace that passes understanding. You will keep your hearts and your minds, not only your minds, the heart, the heart is the source of the affection for the whole affective life, you see, the whole personal life is involved in it, and that peace possesses it, and that joy possesses that love. Those are the three gifts of God, you know, the three things which transform human existence, and they transform human society, you see. When those gifts are present, then you get a Christian community, and then you get a human community to live together in charity. And that's what we strive for. Of course, there are many difficulties in the world. We come to the conclusion of this letter to the Philippians, and again, from Paul takes this rather personal note,

[58:08]

I rejoice in the Lord greatly, now at length you have revised your concern for me. You would have been concerned for me if I had no opportunity, not that I could pay, not want. And there's always this very, as I said, personal relationship that affects meeting with one another, providing food and so on. It's a very human situation, as Paul always keeps in mind. And then he explains, I've learnt in whatever state I am to be content, I know how to be abased and how to be abound, and I have learnt the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and want. I think that's very important, you know, because many people think that the citizen consists in learning to do without things and to be abased, and not the other way around. But it's very important one should be able to be abased and also to be exalted, and one should learn how to want and also to have abundance.

[59:09]

In the Bhagavad Gita it's made very clear that it's neither aversion nor attachment to things. It's not simply being attached to pleasure and things and so on, nor being averted to them. It's in balance and evenness. You accept things as they come. You can accept want if it comes, and you can accept abundance. And you know, it's very interesting, people in the villages who are very poor, often they've learnt this lesson far better than anybody else. They suffer extreme want at times, they don't get a proper meal at all, and then some good fortune comes and they have a beautiful festival and enjoy themselves, and then they suffer want again. And that is wisdom. And since all have learnt this, I think we all have to learn it. Accept what God gives us. If He gives us plenty, we're thankful for it. If He gives us little, we're thankful for that. And if we suffer humiliation of some sort, we accept that. And if people flatter us, praise us, we accept that also.

[60:13]

We don't even take a judgment on it all. So, there's something very important there. I can do all things in Him who strengthens me. You see, as long as you're egocentric, then you're worried about all these things. You're afraid of being praised, you get upset when you're not praised and so on. But when you learn to depend simply on God, then you take things as they come from Him. And there's a need of freedom in the independence zone. Then he goes on in this rather personal way, it was kind of you to share my trouble and so on. And you sent me help once and again. And he's thankful for the gift, but I seek the fruit which increases to your credit. He doesn't simply want something from somebody. He's thankful that they are able to give and it's a blessing for them to give, but it's a blessing for him also to receive. I'm filled when he's received his gifts. Make an offering, a sacrifice, acceptable and pleasing to God. So, all these very human relationships

[61:14]

are all part of Paul's religion. People are kind to him, that's a gift from God. They give him some gift, he accepts that from God and so on. My God will supply every need of yours according to His riches in ignoring Christ Jesus. So, it's this peace that God will supply everything and when we make the surrender to Him, we get what we need. We may get times when we feel frustrated we're not getting what we want and see things go wrong, but we know that in time things go right, He puts things right again. We have total trust in His qualities, in His care. So, this is a real lesson which Paul had learned so fully and lived out so completely. I'd like to give you some examples for others. You see, my attitude to the body, in Christian education,

[62:14]

the body is rather being suppressed and the body is considered the source of sin, of evil, you have to suppress your body and it's had a very great effect on Christian spirituality, but in the New Testament, especially in St. Paul, there's a very great respect for the body and here he says, I could feel to breathe in by the mercies of God to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. See, the body is given by God as a means of worship, sacrifice. The soul expresses itself through the body and the body is sacred, therefore, and it has to offer the living sacrifice in order to make a thing sacred. A thing becomes sacred when it's surrendered to God. The body had to be surrendered to God and then it becomes sacred

[63:16]

and then all its action is sacred. The same in marriage, of course. You offer the body to God and it becomes a sacred act, but also all actions of the body can become sacred. Eating and drinking becomes sacred action when they're offered to God. So, to offer your body as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. See, spiritual worship is through the body. It's the greatest mistake, you see, to oppose one to the other. The body is inferior and bad and it must be rejected and the spirit is holy and good. But the spirit acts through the body, sanctifies the body and expresses itself through the body. So, that's the true ideal. And then it says, do not be conformed to this world. Be transformed by the renewal of your mind. And that's the other aspect, where it's the body, mind and the spirit. And the body has to be consecrated, offered to God, and the mind has to be renewed. See, the mind is between the body and the spirit

[64:17]

and the mind is a source of evil, much more than the body. The body is harmless in itself. It's the mind which separates from God and becomes self-centered. Then you get the Akali, you get the Ego. And so, the mind has to be renewed by opening itself to the spirit. When the mind is self-centered, then you get the typical modern mind. You see, most people today live by their minds. And it can be good up to a point, it's not humanist values, but it always imprisons you in the level of the mind and the reason, science, technology, whatever. All these imprison you in the level of the mind. Only when the mind is surrendered to God and the spirit and renewed in that way, then it becomes creative and powerful and a source of great good. So, both body and mind have to be surrendered to the spirit and then we become wholly human and then we become integrated persons. I think it's extremely important, you see,

[65:18]

these three levels, the body, the mind and the spirit. And when we live by the body alone, obviously we're living in sin. When we live by the mind alone, it's even worse, you see. We're imprisoned in this mental system, the whole mental categories. And only when we go beyond the body and the mind, and surrender most to the spirit, the spirit then acts through the body and through the mind. And then you get a whole person, and then you get a spiritual wisdom. So that's really the secret, we see, that you may prove what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. See, once the mind is renewed by the light of the spirit, then you know what is good, what is acceptable, what is perfect. When the mind separates from the spirit, acts on its own, then you get all the disintegration which we see today. And it's the mind which is the source of evil, not the body, not the spirit. It's the mind which causes all the evil in the world, because you have wrong ideas, wrong attitudes, and they cause the problems.

[66:19]

And all the connotation is very important. It marks a new phase. Some people think it's not by St. Paul, I won't be certain, because it's something new when he comes. And it's a contact with gnosis, gnosis, gnosis, jnana, with spiritual wisdom. And Paul encountered it at Ephesus, Asia Minor. It was a center for this gnosis. And he begins to see Christ in a much more cosmic dimensions. And for India it's extremely important. This is really a kind of Upanishad, an opening to the full dimensions of Christ as the cosmic Lord. And he begins in the normal way, we thank God the Father, we pray for you, heard of your faith, love, the saints, and often mention the importance of this communion of the different churches, all share this common faith, and really a common love also, common hope.

[67:26]

There's a very deep bond of union which they all experience. You've heard the word of truth, the gospel which has come to you, as indeed in the whole world it is bearing fruit and growing. And it's an important thing to remember that when Paul and most biblical writers speak of the world, they mean what in Greek was called the oikoumeni, the inhabited world, which was the Mediterranean, practically. Just all those countries around the Mediterranean, that was their world. India, China, Japan, America, Australia, all was totally unknown. And we get an illusion sometimes, Christianity was preached in all the world, it was preached in a little tiny region around the Mediterranean, and that's what's really meant by the world. So we need to keep a sense of proportion. See, it's never really been preached in Asia at all. It's just a spattering of 2% of Christians, but it's not been really a force in Asia for the present time. So we have to understand it in that sense.

[68:27]

And then he says, you learn so from how he is faithful minister of Christ and so on. So from the day we heard of it, we now cease to pray for you that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will, in all spiritual wisdom and understanding. This is the new note, you see, this idea of gnosis, of knowledge, spiritual wisdom and understanding. As I say, it's a kind of Upanishads. Upanishads are these teachings which open up spiritual wisdom and insight, not rational knowledge or scientific or philosophical or even theological, but intuitive wisdom, insight into the divine mystery. And that's what Paul is preaching here, to lead a life worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God. And the two go together, you see. Knowledge and good work always go together. When you have the knowledge of God, it's never an academic or merely theoretical knowledge,

[69:30]

it's always a practical knowledge, because it's a knowledge of love. The divine wisdom is a knowledge of love and it leads to action, to service, to self-giving. So we need to keep these together. It's so easy to separate them, you see. And in the course of history, that's what happens. You have knowledge on the one side, which is not real gnosis, but is an academic theoretical knowledge, and then you have practical life and action on the other side. But the real gnosis, the real wisdom, brings together knowledge and action, knowledge and love, and makes them one. So he goes on, to be strengthened with all power according to his glorious might, for all the endurance and patience with joy, giving thanks to the Father, as qualified as to share in the inheritance of the saints in love. It's a marvellous vision, you see, of this knowledge, this wisdom, which also gives power. You may be strengthened with all power. And again, this knowledge, you see, I say it's not a theoretical knowledge,

[70:32]

it's a knowledge of love, a practical knowledge, which has power in it to change. And according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy. And you see, with this knowledge, we're able to endure the problems of the world, and face them, and to be patient with joy. You know, joy is something which is compatible with great suffering. You can be in deep joy in the spirit, while you're suffering in the mind and body, but the joy is beyond. And this wisdom is beyond, you see, it's not in the body, it's not in the mind. It's beyond the mind. And that's why it gives you this inner peace and joy, even when the mind is disturbed. To share in the inheritance of the saints in life is delivered from the dominion of darkness, transferred as the kingdom of his beloved son. And this dominion of darkness... In India, we call it maya. There is this past maya, this shadow, the whole creation of all human minds.

[71:35]

The human mind is shadowed in this way, and it's in darkness, in maya, in avidya. We're all in that state of avidya, of ignorance, and then the light comes, right, of faith, of truth, of God, and illumines this darkness and transfers it into the kingdom of the sun, you see, the kingdom of light, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. And redemption is redemption from the darkness. Sin itself is the shadow, is the darkness. Sin has no reality in itself. It's a defect of being, a lack. It's a shadow, a darkness, and redemption sets us free from that darkness, that shadow, and takes us into the light, into the truth, the love. So you have here, really, a wonderful sort of summary of the Gospel, particularly as it should be seen in India, you see, these are the terms in which India has entered into dialogue with God, has tried to face reality, and this has a message, really, for all of us. An important reading from this epitaph of Colossians.

[72:41]

I said yesterday, all, or whoever wrote this letter, must encounter this gnosis, this wisdom, which is currently in part of the world, in Asia Minor, and perhaps came originally from India, can't be sure, because this figure, the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation, is very like the Purusha of the Vedic tradition. Purusha is that primordial person, cosmic man, of whom it is said three-fourths of him are above in heaven, one-fourth is here on earth. He is the cosmic person who reveals the supreme. The supreme is beyond the invisible. See, it's the image of the invisible God. The Father is the invisible, the source of all, and the Son manifests the Father, and this primordial person reveals the person, reveals God. And interestingly, even in Mahayana Buddhism,

[73:45]

though Buddhism has no God in the ordinary sense, they reach the idea of the Tathagata, the one who has thus gone, who has gone to the supreme, who has gone beyond. And he's very like the same. And in Islam also there's a figure of the universal man with whom all creation is contained, all the power of creation contained in him and all humanity. So this is a universal symbol, and Paul must have come in contact with this wisdom, and he sees Christ as this universal man, this cosmic person, this Purusha, this person. And I think it's very significant, you see, it links up the Christian tradition with this universal tradition. And he sees him the firstborn of all creation, not precisely the creator, you see, he's the firstborn of all creation. And in him all things were created,

[74:49]

in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, with the thrones and so on. And he's the source of all creation, both heaven and earth, visible and invisible. And it's always remembered in the ancient world, they rightly realized that creation always has these two dimensions, there's a visible material creation and there's the invisible, angelic or spiritual creation. And the cosmic person is lord of both the angels, the angelic order, and of the human and the material order. And these thrones, dominions, principalities, authorities are all these cosmic powers. In India we speak of the devas or the angels, these are the cosmic powers which are below the creator but above the physical universe. And he is before all things and in him all things hold together. It's an extremely important idea, you see, he is before all things, he transcends,

[75:49]

at the same time he's immanent at the heart of all, all things hold together in him. That again is a very profound idea in the Upanishads, the same idea is present in Shiva, he dances at the heart of the whole creation, holds the creation together in his cosmic dance. So it's the same idea is there. And today, of course, we have very strongly this idea that the universe is a cosmic whole and even the dance of Shiva is seen to be very close to the whole idea of the cosmic dance, all these atoms and things are dancing in this tremendous vibration of energy throughout the universe and there's something that holds it all together, that centers it all. And the cosmic man, the cosmic person, is what centers the whole creation. And then he takes it now into the more particular Christian revelation, he is the head of the body of the church, the beginning, the firstborn from the dead.

[76:50]

And the church in this sense is redeemed humanity, it's not limited to the visible church, it's redeemed humanity, humanity falls from the creation, from the order of creation into sin, and redemption is the restoration of humanity to that cosmic order, to that unity for which it was created. And the church is this redeemed humanity, he's the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, in everything he might be created. And the sign that Jesus has gone beyond and is this primordial person, is the resurrection. The resurrection, he passes beyond the material universe, beyond the human universe, beyond the angelic universe, the whole cosmos, and enters into the supreme and is revealed as the primordial person from the beginning. And then, in him, all the fullness of God

[77:50]

was pleased to dwell through him, to reconcile to himself all things. In Jesus, the fullness of the Godhead dwells. And a Christian would say that is unique in Jesus, he is the one in whom the fullness dwells, he's totally open to the plenitude, the plurality, or the plurinality in Sanskrit, the fullness of the Godhead. And again, it's in the resurrection, this human body and soul, which are limited, human, are taken up by the spirit into the transcendent and becomes totally one with the supreme and realizes the fullness of the Godhead. And then through him, to reconcile to himself all things, whether in earth or in heaven, he becomes principle of reconciliation, of harmony for the whole disordered universe, the whole sinful world, making peace by the blood of his cross. So ultimately, it's a beast, that by his surrender of his life on the cross, blood is always symbol of life,

[78:52]

Jesus gives his life for the world, and by that he reconciles humanity with God, with the Creator, and restores the cosmic order, brings all things back to their original order in the cosmic person, to be free. So you see, it's very, very profound, particularly when we see it in the context of this cosmic person, who appears in all these great religious traditions. And in fact, the word Jesus used for himself, son of man, is precisely a word which signifies this primordial man, this universal man. So it links up with the whole tradition. We go on with this reading from the Colossians. He speaks now,

[79:55]

I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake. In my flesh I compete with it, lacking in Christ's affliction for the sake of this body of the church. And this sense of solidarity in suffering, as well as in joy, I think it's extremely important and today perhaps we realize more than ever this solidarity of humanity, all humanity, one body, one organic whole, we're all interrelated, members of one another. And in a very deep sense, no one suffers without others suffering, no one has joy without others having joy. There's an interweaving beneath the surface where we suffer as individuals, there's a deeper bond of humanity which unites us. And the more we're sensitive to that, the more humanity grows. We can shut ourselves up in our own pleasures or our own sufferings, but we're open to the joy and the suffering of others and then it radiates through the world. And that is exactly what St. Paul is doing, having this sense of making up

[80:56]

what is lacking in Christ's affliction. Of course there's nothing lacking in a sense, but Jesus suffers for humanity as a whole and each of us participate in that suffering and in that joy, you know, inseparably. And he speaks of the mystery hidden for ages and generations now made manifest in his saints. And it's in this letter in the Ephesians that St. Paul speaks of this mystery. And a mystery, a mysterion, is something hidden, something beyond human understanding, which is represented by means of rites, ceremonies, stories, myths and so on. It always transcends. And here we get very strong in the sense that the gospel is a mystery. It's beyond comprehension. We too easily think it's something quite plain, straightforward. We have it in our catechism, we have it on to others. But that's only an outer shell of the mystery. The inner reality of the gospel

[81:57]

is a hidden mystery which no one comprehends. We can only just open our hearts to it, allow us to grasp something of the hidden mystery. And explicitly the mystery is Christ in you. It's the mystery of Christ, the Word of God is dwelling in the heart of each person. That's the hidden mystery. And of course it's hidden from us, we only get glimpses of it. And then he says, God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches and the glories of this mystery which is Christ in you. And of course for St. Paul and this generation of Christians the great discovery was that this mystery of God was present not only among the Jews but among the Gentiles, among the other nations. It's extraordinary to us to imagine the Jews thought they were the only people who knew anything about God. And of course it was their limits, they just were living in a small world and they thought that they alone knew God. There's no idea if there was anybody in India or elsewhere who had similar ideas. And so the early Christians just began to discover

[83:01]

that Gentiles, non-Jews, could enter into the church, could share this mystery of Christ. And it goes on growing of course and then gradually we extend our knowledge. Actually yesterday we read about the gospel which has been preached to every creature under heaven. It's an extraordinary illusion that the gospel had been preached to every creature under heaven and been preached to a little tiny region in the Middle East. Each people has its own little world and they think that world is everything. And so today the communications have opened things up and we know how large the world is and we realize how small is the region in which the gospel is being preached. It's never been preached in the world at all. It's only been preached mainly in Europe and in European colonies. It's a small world still. It still has to grow. But still the great revelation is, you see,

[84:02]

that this mystery of Christ is present everywhere. Present among the Gentiles, among the Jews, and it's Christ in you. It's the hidden presence of the Spirit of God in every human being. We all have to wake to that presence and become aware of it in the night to join us. Him we proclaim, warning every man and teaching in all wisdom. Every man mature in Christ. And every day I call it, become mature in Christ. You see, we're all children, immature, but give some understanding and to grow in that understanding, that wisdom, that love, which human maturity, you see, that's really the core of the gospel. And it's something we have to do every day to all discover how limited is our knowledge, how limited our love also, and then we let it grow and come towards that fullness. Christ is the fullness of God. We read yesterday, I think it was, there's a full in Him, all the fullness of God, the Spirit is to grow.

[85:03]

He is fullness. So we have to open our hearts to receive something of that fullness. We chant in the morning every day, Pour in on our God, Pour in on me, God. Pour in on this fullness of God, you see. It is full in God and we ask that that become also present in us, this fullness. For this I toil striving with all the energy with which He mightily inspires within me. Therefore He's trying to make known this mystery of Christ within, Christ in the heart, and that is our calling, to make it known that in every human being this hidden mystery is present. If you're awake to it and realize it and become mature, how mature as human beings we discover this inner light, the light of God in the heart of each person. Thank you. In this letter to the Colossians,

[86:13]

as you know, all persons have a profound understanding of the nature of Christ, what they call a high Christology. In the earlier times, St. Mark's Gospel and so on, a low Christology. Jesus is seen primarily as a man who brings in the kingdom of God and has to come again at the end. And then gradually this Christology is built up and the Colossians is part of the breakthrough. And they see Jesus as this, they're thinking of this cosmic person who is before the whole creation. And I think the best way to look on it is to always think of these terms of body, soul and spirit. You see, in body and soul, Jesus was a Jew of a limited human form and a limited human character and mind. But in the spirit, each one of us transcends the limits and in Jesus there was a total transcendence in the spirit of God, in him of the fullness of the Godhead. And so Paul is able to speak of Jesus

[87:15]

in that transcendent state which was realized in the resurrection. Before the resurrection, he was still limited by his human body, his human soul. After the resurrection, body and soul are transfigured by the spirit. He's totally filled with the fullness of God. And so that's why St. Paul can speak as he does, that your hearts may be encouraged, they are knit together in love, have all the riches of assured understanding, the knowledge of God's mystery of Christ, in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. First of all, the hearts may be encouraged that they're knit together in love. And this kind of knowledge comes from love. It's never a theoretical knowledge. It's a living knowledge which comes from love and from a community which grows up in love. And the church is his community which grows in love in the knowledge of God. And then he says, you see, to have all the riches of assured understanding

[88:15]

and knowledge of God's mystery. And again, it's this mystery, you see, which transcends human understanding but can be known by faith and love and grace. It's a gift of God. And it's assured understanding and knowledge. And they speak of the gifts of the Holy Spirit, you see, wisdom, understanding, and knowledge are three of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. And they come from God. They illumine the human mind and raise it above its normal capacity. And that is what is given in Christ. Of course, mystery of Christ, in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. You see, in Christ, in the resurrection, in the Spirit, all the wisdom of God is contained. He's totally open to the divine mystery and you're totally filled with it. And that's all wisdom and knowledge is contained in him in that transcendent state. And we need to keep in mind the distinction, you see,

[89:18]

we speak of the empty, the kenosis. When he was living on earth, he emptied himself. He lived as a Jew with a limited knowledge, limited understanding, limited way of life. In the resurrection, he went beyond, was filled with the fullness of the Spirit of God, and then has all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge in him. He's the fullness of the God that is in him. So, in him we find that fullness of treasures of wisdom and knowledge. I say this in order that no one may delude you with beguiling speech, for I am absolute body with you in spirit. And clearly, you see, to reach this understanding of Christ was a very great achievement. It took the church time to realize all this, and many people didn't realize it. And there were many conflicts in the early church, you see. People couldn't take this new Christomin. People couldn't take this new Christomin.

[90:09]

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