A Cosmic Vision of Unity
I want to talk about one of the great events of this century—the coming of a soul whose special mission was to show the world a vision of divine unity. As it says in the Bhagavad Gita, in every age when darkness increases and virtue declines, God sends one of his enlightened children into the world to inspire mankind in the way of truth. This inspiration comes on many levels.
In one way it offers people the example of an ideal human being who addresses the spiritual needs of that particular age. Such an ideal person came in the form of Buddha with his compassion and world renunciation. When we read about his path of moderation, we must understand that this was a moderation of extremity rather than one of lukewarm spirituality. He was a man of absolute dedication to the quest for nirvana, divine consciousness and soul freedom.
Jesus came into this world with a different expression of the Divine. Each one of these enlightened beings has a different kind of personality, not just because God is always new in His expression, but also because every human being, every thumbprint, is a unique creation. Every personality is unique, but a master doesn’t have a personality so much as he manifests a personality.
Yogananda used to say, “I killed Yogananda long ago. No one dwells in this temple now but God.” Indeed, looking into his eyes it was very difficult to see a personality, which in most people is distinguished by the things they like and dislike or in terms of their desires and antipathies. When you looked into his eyes, you didn’t see anything of that nature. You saw behind them that deep calmness and infinite consciousness of a soul merged with God. It was truly like being in the presence of God, yet at the same time knowing that his form wasn’t God. No form could define God, and yet God is manifest in all beings.
It’s important to remember what Jesus said when they accused him of blasphemy for saying that he and God, his Father, were one. He replied to their accusations, “Don’t the scriptures say, ‘You are gods’?” He didn’t say, “God says so, and you’d better believe Him, or you’ll go to hell.” He didn’t justify himself in terms of his own uniqueness, but in terms of our divine potential. Then he made it clear that the difference is that he was awake in that consciousness, whereas the generality of mankind is still asleep.
When a master comes into this world, he doesn’t come as a person. He comes as a messenger—as a window onto the Divine.
… There are very few truly beautiful souls in this relative world. Most of us don’t have the opportunity to see a living expression of God, such as a great saint or master who goes beyond all these definitions. We’re mistaken if we think of such souls as individuals, because they’ve lost that sense of individuality. What makes a master beautiful is that you don’t see the window anymore, but rather you can see through it. You can see divine love expressed through human love. You can see divine joy expressed through human enthusiasm.
Yet an important thing to bring out is that even though a great master is above human personality, he is at the same time completely human. He helps us to understand that to be completely human is to be more than what we are. It’s more accurate to say that we are not yet human. We’re working at it, because although we have the potential we haven’t yet realized that we are that Infinite Self.
From that Infinite Consciousness, Jesus manifested a particular personality that was very strong, wise, compassionate, and joyful. He had to have all these wonderful qualities for people of all types to follow him by the thousands. Yet somehow the image has come down to us after two thousand years of somebody who stood there weeping for people’s sins and looking sour about everything. You can imagine him as saying, “Lo, I am with you always,” like a voice from the tomb. Yet I don’t think that many people would follow somebody like that unless they themselves were real “Gloomy Guses.”
… When we read about great saints and masters, they’re usually up in the Himalayas withdrawn from mankind—aloof from it all and untouched. We tend to think that’s how a great world savior has to be. Yet that example wouldn’t be attractive to everybody. A world savior who has a public mission would inevitably feel the same non-attachment to everything as those souls who have only a small band of disciples around them, but such saviors also come as conquerors. If you look at their lives, you can see that masters who come as world saviors come with great power. Buddha, Krishna, and Jesus all had it. Every one of the great teachers of mankind has been a dynamic person. …