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The Vision of the Nazarene
By Cyril Scott, David Anrias
Red Wheel/Weiser, LLCCopyright © 2013 Cyril Scott
All rights reserved.
OF PRIESTS AND DIGNITARIES
And He took me first to a city where there was a large cathedral. And He said, with a smile in which there was a touch of rue:
Lo, in this city are those who call themselves my ministers, and who preach the "good tidings" and the "Gospel of Love". Yet although many among them are noble souls with a compassionate regard for their fellows and a steadfast devotion to me, there are others who are my ministers only in name, and in whose hearts dwelleth a love of power and of adulation rather than a love of God.
And though they proclaim the "glad tidings" with their lips, often do their faces belie their words, which some of them utter in lugubrious accents, and others, tonelessly, as if indifferent to their meaning.
And some of these my ministers in name, walk with great pride and an air of self-righteousness, deeming themselves to possess the only key to Truth, even though I taught my disciples to practise humility, saying, blessed are the humble in spirit; since only the humble of mind and spirit are receptive to enlightenment.
Alas, that they should shut the door to Knowledge by reason of their watertight convictions, and shut their ears to my voice which fain would whisper to them a little more of Truth.... But who listens to gentle voices who deemeth to know al himself?
And wherefore, my son, do my proclaimers of glad tidings clothe themselves in garments of mourning? Rather would I wish to see them clad in less sombre apparel.
Yet there are others who dress in scarlet and fine linen as a mark of their spiritual status; and this, even though by my example I desired to teach unostentation.
But think not that I deprecate all grandeur and pomp and ceremony when employed for righteous ends and in the right spirit, for they have their place in the Divine Purpose. Gloom and gloominess do I deprecate, and the assumption on the part of some of my misguided followers that colour and beauty are unrighteous and ungodly and pertaining to "the Devil".
Is it not written in my Gospels: The Kingdom of God is within you—yet think these gloomy ones that the kingdom of God is misery and ugliness instead of Joy?
Although my words were unequivocal, too little have my ministers proclaimed the joyful immanence of God, so that knowing it man should realize his inherent divinity.
Verily, right thought giveth life and health, and giveth it more abundantly, and the immanence of God is a right thought. But too much have my ministers chosen to stress only His transcendence, thus believing themselves to be His intermediaries.
As leaders of prayer and performers of uplifting ceremonies, and as ministers to the sick and sorrowing do I bless my priests.
Then the Shining One led me into a church, in which an aged man with great vehemence was exhorting his listeners to believe in the Immaculate Conception and other dogmas.
And the Master smiled with a touch of amusement as He said:
Verily a strange opinion hath that agèd man of me, and much oratory and force doth he expend upon his listeners, charging them to believe what is of no importance at all.
For wrongly doth he think that wrathful would I become did my followers deem me to have been conceived like all other men born of woman.
O my son, strangely inconsistent are men, for they have identified me with the God of Love, and worship me thus with their lips, yet think that Love can care one whit how they imagine I was conceived.
Yet, alas, if I look into their hearts, I see that they are secretly glad of a pretext for wrangling among themselves, and are glad to find, as they think, an easy way to salvation.
For truly it is easier to profess belief in the difficult of imagination than to love their enemies and do good to those who bear them a grudge. Verily did I declare that there was only one prerequisite to salvation, and that was to "love God and thy neighbour as thyself".
An offence to the intelligence of Man are dogmas, and never were they of my own creating, for truly do they cramp the heart and the mind and engender a plea for separateness instead of unity.
But, alas that my ministers should have lost the key to my allegories, and so should preach folly, distorting my teachings, and filling the minds of my devotees with unessentials and superstitions, thus bringing my philosophy into disrepute.
For know that much that I said of myself did I mean to apply to all, and not to me alone. Nevertheless, through failure to understand the mystic significance of many of my utterances, was the dogma created that I was "the only begotten Son of God", whereas mystically understood, ye are all sons of God—ay, of the Great White Spirit, the Light of the world, in Whom we live and move and have our being.
Moreover, this would I say unto all those who love me yet are perplexed because of my teachings: From more than one angle was I wont to speak, that each man should receive those truths best adapted to his mental or emotional needs and the path most suited for him to tread.
Thus, at times did I speak from the angle of dualism and at times from the angle of monism; the one not basically conflicting with the other when finally understood.
Yet, lacking in that understanding, did theologians and text-twisters and power-loving men interpret my scriptures according to the letter instead of to the spirit, and literalize did they the language of poetry and metaphor, so that discrepancies and absurdities and dogmas were the result.
And now listen to a parable: once there suddenly appeared in a place where there dwelt none but lepers, a physician, and in his hand was a phial, and in that phial was a cure for all ills.
And he said to those lepers: Hearken well unto my words, for he who would be cured by the elixir contained in this phial must follow my instructions and retain them in his mind; seeing that although I may leave the elixir with you, yet I may not remain myself.
And then he proceeded to instruct them how the treatment should be effected: and having done this, he handed the phial to one of the lepers, and said: Do thou take charge of this, suffering each one of thy comrades to take the prescribed dose. So saying, that physician vanished.
And no sooner had he departed, than those lepers began to argue among themselves, not only as to who he might be, but also as to the manner in which he had come and in which he had gone.
And so intense was their argumentation and so vehement, that all his instructions escaped their minds, never to be recovered.
Thus, although the precious phial remained in their midst, not one of them knew how to apply its contents, so that it was utterly useless, and like a shipwrecked treasure hidden beneath the sea.
And now, that is the end of my parable, and dear to me is he who can understand and pay heed to its meaning.
OF SECTS AND SECTARIANS
And the Radiant One led me unto another church where a white-robed priest exhorted his listeners to provide money for the conversion of the heathen.
And again the Master smiled as He said:
O my disciple, did I ever say, Lo! there is but one belief and one religion that is right, and all others, verily they are wrong? Yet because I said to my disciples: Go ye unto all the world and preach the good tidings, the unreflecting have misinterpreted my words and made of them a plea for wasteful and foolish deeds.
For verily by this did I mean that each one should spread abroad my gospel of peace, bringing comfort and enlightenment to his fellows, because of Love and kindness of heart—but not that man should sow seeds of dissension and strife, arrogant in the conviction that he alone is right and all others are wrong.
Truly God is One, but by many names may He be called by His devotees: yet alas do my followers distress themselves much because of those many names.
But to them would I say: "Ere ye condemn the religion of another, see to it first that ye understand that religion, and see to it also that ye understand your own religion: for in essence all are the same."
O my disciple, not a matter of belief is conversion, but a matter of the heart; and much do the unreflecting seek to convert those who are already converted, and their desire to convert all too often arises from lack of humility.
But did I not say erewhile: I came not to destroy the law and the prophets, but to fulfil them; nevertheless, my followers seek to discountenance those older religions in spite of my words—and this, because they have lost the understanding of the law and the prophets.
Verily all religions are One, and he who worships the Father worships Brahman, and he who worships Brahman worships Tao, for al these are but the various names for Love—Existence—and Bliss Absolute, which in truth, are God.
Unity did I preach, for what greater unity could there be than to love thy neighbour as thyself? And verily he is thyself, for all Life is one.
And hence, sympathy and understanding did I preach—feeling with and understanding with; for these truly are the children of Love.
But in spite of my saying: By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another, yet have my followers been guilty of religious intolerance and have worked not together in unity and fellowship, but in separate communities, one reviling the other.
And now learn, O my belovèd, Truth is infinite although it be One, and not in this or that sect, or in this or that book is all Truth contained; nevertheless, to the selfless of heart shall Truth be revealed.
And the Shining One led me into afar land, and into a little village where a great statue of the Buddha was, and before which was a devotee in an attitude of devotion.
And the Holy One said:
My beloved, when thou dost feel love and gratitude towards one of thy fellows, thou dost place his likeness before thee, and dost love to gaze thereon, and no one says thee nay.
Yet because this my brother doth prostrate himself out of love and gratitude before the likeness of Him Who showed the way to peace, verily do some of my followers condemn him, saying he worships idols and is a heathen and an idolator.
It were expedient ere one condemns, to strive to understand; and to this end did I say long ago, Judge not that ye be not judged, for in the eyes of God, this my brother is not an idolator.
Too prone are the non-understanding to imagine this devotee doth worship an image of stone, yet truly doth he worship that Being of which this image is but a symbol, as the likeness of any loved one is but a symbol of that loved one.
Lo, there are those who prostrate themselves before an image of me, yet only the intolerant denounce them as idolators.
Ah, worse idols there are even than images of stone, and more harmful; and the foolish worship these, laying them up as treasures for themselves upon earth.
Ay, riches do they worship, and pleasure and fame and name, and other things which all too soon corrupt in themselves, and also corrupt the hearts of those who unto them are attached.
Yet fain would these idolators break the images of those my loved ones who are of another faith, though their own idols of wealth and power they would strive with all their strength to keep intact.
And some of them would also break the likenesses of me, saying in their lack of understanding: "In our Religion idolatory shall not be, away with this degradation!"
But know, O my belovèd, that even they who worship neither wealth nor images—even they may be idolators; for verily he who exalts the Letter and the symbol of the Scripture in place of the spirit and the import, he too must be accounted an idolator before the Lord.
And further would I say, even those who worship God as a person have something of the spirit of idolatry in their hearts; for of the Absolute and Infinite would they make the relative.
Likewise, too often did my chroniclers. Confound me, the person, with the Way and the Divine Essence that I came to reveal.
Is it meet that any man should say of himself, I am the Way, the Truth, and the Light? And so did I tell my disciples: The words that I say unto you I speak not from myself, but the Father abiding in me doeth His works. Never for worship did I ask: nay, I rebuked him who called me good, saying there is One alone Who is good, and that is God—yet have many of my followers failed to heed that rebuke.
If for discipline I asked love, not for my sake was it, but alone for theirs: for truly is Love the highest nourishment for the soul of him who loves.
And now, O my brother, teach unto thy fellows that in all men is the Father, and for all men is God-Consciousness who make themselves One with the Father: and to be One with the Father is to be one with all beings, and to realize the Essence of Existence and Knowledge and Bliss Absolute.
Yet know that he who deems to conceive of God in the plenitude of His Nature is guilty of presumption, for it is as impossible for a man to conceive of God, as for the ant on its anthill to conceive of man. Nevertheless did I call God "The Father": yet is He more than the Father; and God is Love, yet is He more than Love—nay, God is all that it is possible to conceive of, yet is He more than is possible to conceive of.
And so saying the Master bathed that devotee of the Buddha with His radiance, so that that devotee deemed that radiance came from the Buddha Himself, and rejoiced exceedingly. And the Radiant One smiled as He led me back to His own garden.
OF FAITH, TESTIMONY AND UNDERSTANDING
And the Master said:
Once did one of my converts say: Prove all things, hold fast to that which is good; yet there are those calling themselves my followers who pronounce it a wickedness to seek to prove immortality. "Believe and have faith," they say, "and the more purblind that faith, the more meritorious, for did not the Master say, Blessèd is he who believeth though he hath not seen?"
Thus do they convict me of exalting stupidity as almost the highest of virtues. Ay, because I said in effect: Blessèd are the little children, they deemed me to have said "Blessèd is ignorance." Yet did I mean, blessèd are the unprejudiced and the humble in knowledge.
Right faith is there and wrong faith; and the former is based upon right discernment, but the latter is like a house built upon shifting sands.
Would those who are sick go to a physician except he could convince them of his power to heal? Yet having convinced them, truly hath he given them understanding, and hence, faith, born of understanding.
Or again; would those go to a physician who had never healed others? Verily they go because those others have borne testimony, and hence is their faith the outcome of that testimony, and thus also based on a measure of understanding.
A mighty power is right faith, and to some who came to me erewhile did I say, Thy faith hath made thee whole; but no good works could I do among those who lacked understanding altogether, for unbelief was an obstacle in my path.
O my disciple, know that he who understands and has sufficient faith in my teachings to follow them, he alone hath faith in me.
But alas, too much in my name and too little in my teachings have the peoples had faith; and so did I fail to save them from terrible tribulations.
OF PRAYER AND WORSHIP
And the Radiant One said:
With strong words did I of old wage war against hypocrisy, but many of those who pray to me even in these latter days are hypocrites unbeknown to themselves.
Wise is he who knows how to pray and for what to pray, lest his lips ask for one thing and his heart desire another.
Lo! hypocrites are they who pray unto the Father: Thy Kingdom come on earth—the Kingdom of Love and Harmony—yet having hatred and discord in their hearts, wilfully frustrate the advent of that very thing for which they pray.
Nevertheless, Divine Service do they call their worshipping. But where, alas, may be found the service, and where the divinity?
To my disciples I said: When ye pray, enter into your most quiet and secret chamber—ay, and now I add, even the secret chamber of your hearts—for never did I uphold ostentation and a display of prayerfulness.
Dear to me is he who sings the name of God continually in his own heart, wheresoever he be, for verily the name of God is Love, and he who continually feels Love is the true worshipper.
Excerpted from The Vision of the Nazarene by Cyril Scott, David Anrias. Copyright © 2013 Cyril Scott. Excerpted by permission of Red Wheel/Weiser, LLC.
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