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Season 1 - Episode 10

Day 9: Becoming a Child of God

60 min - Talk
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The purpose of Christ’s teaching is to become a child of God, just like Him. In Day 9, Ravi discusses the distinction between Christ and Jesus, and between Knowing and Seeing. We consider the various characteristics of sages, including love, awareness, inclusivity, and humility, in order that we may understand how to become a brother or sister of Jesus, therefore a Child of God. We also explore the words “metanoia” and “sin” and what they mean to a spiritual journey. Our exercises ask us to consider how these concepts manifest in our own lives.
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Meditation

We again return in meditation, just finding our relaxation and the right posture and connection with our breath. And to assist the very mobile mind to stay here, we try to connect it with the body which is much more stable. So we try to sense the vertical axis from the top of the head to the base of the spine. And we see if we can connect our mind to that axis, not to a particular point because not accustomed to being completely still, the mind will rebel. So allow movement of the mind up and down the axis, but to exercise some will to keep it not wandering away from the axis.

And gradually, without forcing anything, we find a coordination of our breathing out with movement of the mind down the axis. And breathing in, the mind can move up the axis. As I become aware of my breathing, that awareness itself changes the quality of my breathing without artificially imposing any idea on it. Again to remind ourselves of this very important principle that if I can breathe with more awareness than usual, I can take in subtler or all chemical substances from the same air that I am breathing. Which is the reason that breath or prana or chi is the connecting link between all levels of reality.

By level we mean levels of awareness or levels of consciousness. So while remaining in contact with my breath and allowing the mind to move a little bit up and down the vertical axis, but not away from it, how can I breathe with more awareness? Always questioning oneself, what difference does it make that I now wish to breathe with more awareness than earlier or with more consciousness? Watch carefully as I breathe out, do I find my body becoming a little bit more relaxed? And the breath naturally getting a little deeper without forcing anything, that is very important.

And as I breathe in, the body is still relaxed, but there is more sense of activity in the body, more energy. And how far down in the body does my breath go? Also to remind again something I said the other day, if the mind wanders away from the vertical axis, not to be fighting against it, but gently, almost affectionately to bring it back. It's the natural tendency of the ordinary mind to be moving around, associating one idea with another idea. So wishing to breathe with more awareness, watching what effect it has in the quality of my breathing, how far down does it go into my body and how far up?

And do I sense more relaxation, more energy? And then, as we have frequently tried, intentionally I try to place my breath in various parts of my body, starting with my right leg, and watching whether it changes this feeling or the sense I have about the energy in the right leg. Before intentionally shifting our attention to the left leg, a quick awareness of is there a quality difference between the energy in the right leg and the left leg. And then as we shift our attention there, intentionally bringing our breathing contact with the left leg, do I sense a change in intensity of energy or quality of energy? Does the leg feel more alive?

Not to easily accept any of these things, be a real searcher, questioning, wondering, not dismissing either, trying something. Now bringing our breathing into the whole of the pelvic area. Abdomen Chest Chest Right arm Again I am intentionally trying to breathe with more awareness into my right arm. Do I sense any difference in the quality of energy? Left arm, right down to the fingertips.

Now the whole of the back, from the neck to the base of the spine, along the vertical axis of the body. The head, again to question oneself, does it bring more clear space in my head or does it create obscurity? Not to easily accept something, questioning, wondering. Now I take a few breaths into the whole of my body, from the top of the head to the toes. All real transformation or understanding is actually brought from the other side, but from our side the contribution is to bring clearer and clearer attention or awareness or consciousness.

There is always a shortage of time, so we now need to stop. Thank you very much. Let's first of all begin with something which partially has been mentioned earlier, to make a bit of a distinction between Christ and Jesus.

Talk

As you know this is actually a standard idea, in fact even in the traditional Christian perspective that Jesus Christ was wholly divine and wholly human. Don't worry about the logical consistency of these things, because this is all more than once I have tried to say. Actually I had quoted from Aristotle a great philosopher, when philosophy is unable to approach truth, one takes recourse to mythology.

Because philosophy means dealing with reason and not everything can be reasonably expressed or consistency. Because of the very fundamental idea that in all spiritual teachings this suggestion that there are many levels of reality, subtler than the mind, that the mind cannot therefore pin it down or figure it out. This is the reason why one needs to take recourse to mythology. And so therefore not always to be so occupied with the logical consistency in the statements of the Buddha or of Christ or in the Bhagavad Gita, many things are said trying to invite us to really go beyond the mind. So he is fully human and fully divine, but to understand the distinction between the two, Jesus is born at a certain time, we may not know exactly, historians don't always are very clear about any of this, depending on how strict historians they are. But also he died at a certain time, in a certain place. By the way, some of you may not know this, very strong tradition, especially in Islamic tradition, that he did not actually die at the cross.

In fact, that he went to India, I have actually visited his grave in India in Kashmir. But I don't want to get into the details of this. There is a lot of things, especially in the Sufi tradition, very strong emphasis on this, much more than elsewhere. Of course, the church is not going to accept this. In any case, Christ doesn't die. Christ is, after all, if he's really son of God, and as we have in the very beginning of John's gospel, which I will actually show anyway, in the beginning was the word, that is Logos, and the word was with God, and the word was God. He was present to God in the beginning. Through him all things came into being, and apart from him nothing came to be. What came to be in him was life, and life was the light of mankind. And the light shines on in darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. So it's the word, that word, Logos, which becomes, if you like, Christ. So, you and I cannot become Jesus, but the call from the gospel is, and Christ himself is repeatedly saying, to become his brothers, and therefore sons of God. So to become Christ is a call, but that doesn't mean to become Jesus.

So to make that distinction is very important, and the word Jesus, earlier also I mentioned, actually it comes from the Hebrew word, Yahoshua, literally meaning, Yahweh saves. Therefore, the word Yahweh, to also remember, that even the Torah was read in Greek for several centuries, even in Israel, because of the Roman conquest of the place. And therefore, in Greek, the word Yahweh is translated as Egoemi, which in English is, I am. So when Christ says, I am the way, and the truth, and the life, it really needs to be understood as, I am is the way, the truth, and the life. Namely, Yahweh is the way, the truth, and life. Not to easily buy any of this, I mentioned earlier that to me it seems so obvious that I was surprised how that hardly any Christian theologians have remarked on it. Then I found at least one theologian whose book I had mentioned it. This was filled to, I think, three or four talks away, I had mentioned this.

But what is much more important here, there is a remark of Jesus in John chapter 8, when you lift up the Son of Man, then you will realize that I am, and that I do nothing on my own. But I say only what the Father taught me, I do not seek my own glory. The words that I speak to you, I do not speak on my own. The Father who dwells in me is doing His work. The reason I am mentioning this here, that to imagine that Christ or Jesus is ego-asserting Himself would be very strange. He is completely emptied of Himself, which is what He is calling all His disciples to do, unless you leave yourself behind. You cannot be a follower of Mine. Repeatedly He said that. That's almost the meaning of taking up your cross and to follow Him. So given that, it would be very strange that He would be asserting Himself. This is why I gave this quotation, I do nothing on my own.

That's only the Father who is doing His work. But the reason I am bringing this now here again, that really even His so-called believers and followers are essentially attaching that kind of ego-assertion to Him. Strangely, rather than following His teaching that to be a little free of themselves, we attach ego even to Jesus Christ. But there are certain aspects that I would like very much to speak about. First of all, the sages always say what they see. They are not necessarily quoting this scripture or that scripture. That doesn't mean that they are against the scripture. In fact, in the canonical Gospels, you find occasionally He does quote something from the scriptures, from Prophet Isaiah, for example, and occasionally from Exodus, one or two places.

So it's not that He's against the scriptures, but that's not what makes Him the true sage. This is the reason, for example, it's a very interesting remark in the Gospels itself, that Christ spoke as one with authority, not as the scribes do. So people were astonished by this, really. Here, this is in Matthew, Chapter 7. When Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at His doctrine, for He taught them as one having authority, not as the scribes. It's important to, sometimes, I don't know whether you have been fortunate, certainly I have been very fortunate to meet, I would say, four or five people, which is really almost too many in any given time in history. But who, at least from whatever I can understand, are as close to Christ or the Buddha as I am likely to meet. I am now more than 80 years old. It's highly unlikely that I will meet many more people. But that is my perspective. You don't need to buy any of this. But why does one, or why do I listen to them? Why do I even go to them again and again?

Precisely because they speak as one with authority, not as the scribes do. They speak from their direct perception. And I really wish all of you great fortune, if you ever encounter anybody, where you actually have that sense that one is speaking from what they see, not just what they have read. One can always quote the Bhagavad Gita or the Koran or the Bible. That's what all our academic theologians are doing. That's not what makes them sages. So it's very important to keep in mind. And as I said, even here, people are surprised because they were surprised because he spoke as one with authority, not as the scribes do. This is an important feature to keep this in mind. Freedom from, I know this, I have read this, this is what is said.

No harm about any of this because it can bring us to think in certain direction, to try certain things. So don't be against, in fact, I repeatedly have said, I hope here also, don't be against anything. Always ask yourself what you're for. Because whatever I am against, I come down to the same level and occasionally I can win, depending on how strongly I am against something. But I still, my own level comes down to a lower level. But if I ask what am I for, then my emotional energy, intellectual energy is oriented to something desirable from my own perspective. Another thing which is very important here, some of these things we have come to again and again, that the kind of knowing of really more, one should really be saying, seeing as, as you know, in Patanjali's yoga sutras, very, very beginning three or four sutras. First of all, stopping all the movements of the mind, then the seer resides in his own true form rather than saying the knower.

Because the knowing, usually we associate it with mental knowing. In fact, the very word science, as you know, literally means knowledge. And it has now become, that doesn't mean all kinds of knowledge. After all, does Rumi know something? Does the Buddha know something? They're not doing science. Do our poets know something? And so it's very important to understand that knowledge has now become paradigm example of knowledge is modern science. And here, just to remind you, William Blake was so upset with, as if Newton is bringing the light to the world, etc. He actually regarded Newton and Bacon, Francis Bacon, who was really the patron saint of the Royal Society in England, very important society for scientific research.

And John Locke, who was a philosopher in the season, very much really, more or less, assisting the dissemination of Newtonian ideas. So Blake said, Newton, Locke and Bacon are members of an infernal trinity. This is the remark of Blake. And the reason I'm saying this is, you think yourself of any poet, Goethe or Shelley Keats, anybody, none of them were happy with what was being brought in the name of the science. Because essentially what the scientific people are saying, that these guys, they're not saying anything true about nature. Only science can lead to truth. So you can imagine, how can any artist or any poet going to be happy with that idea? Are they just wasting their life?

You can read any of the poets, Wordsworth, Shelley, Keats, Goethe, anybody else. The reason, because I say poets, because in a way the artists are also reacting, but poets are using words which are easier for us to at least relate with. Painters, musicians, they're not using words, so we often don't know exactly what they might be conveying. But in the case of the poets, it's a little easier to take this out. So the kind of knowledge that is of interest really in the spiritual domain is, here is actually, I just quote here from the Yoga Sutras, This sacred knowledge is knowledge beyond thought. Scientific knowledge can never be beyond thought.

This knowledge is different from the knowledge obtained by testimony or by inference. Guyana, born of discernment, is liberating, comprehensive, eternal and freed of time sequence. No scientific law can be even postulated without having a time in it. Now time and space are much more correlated with each other because of the general theory of relativity. So space, time, and similarly energy and matter, the special theory of relativity, that was one of the major contributions of Einstein.

And as far as I know, the only time a scientific formula was on the cover of Time magazine was E is equal to MC square. But you see, for example, Christ said, this is John chapter eight, before Abraham came to be I am. Here he's free of time sequence. Of course, it can make no sense to anybody unless they have some connection with a slightly subtle kind of knowing. So the very next verse, sadly, this is eight fifty eight, eight chapter fifty eight verse. The next one is fifty ninth verse.

So they picked up stones to throw at him, but Jesus hid and went out of the temple. This is what happens with our ordinary consciousness. We cannot even understand what is being said, so we react against it. Here is an example right from the gospel. So Christ saying before Abraham came to be I am. So they are throwing stones at him to try to kill him. But just to remind you, this is a very standard idea, for example, in the Buddhist teaching.

That when the Buddha was enlightened, there are two phrases that are used. I'll just mention them in Sanskrit, but immediately I'll translate them. One is that he became nirakal, which is to say beyond time. The other is that he became trikal varshi, seer of the three times by which they mean past, present and future. To be beyond time, which is what we mean by becoming eternal, does not mean to be against time. I think I've tried to say this several times.

And so the Buddha or Christ can be beyond time. That doesn't mean they are against time. They can manifest their teaching at any time. And so the Buddha became both nirakal as well as a trikal varshi, seer of the three times. In fact, it is precisely because of that. He wished, for example, one of the things that the devil or Mara in the case of the Buddha said to him, why don't you just stay in nirvana?

Forget about teaching, because nobody would understand the teaching. It has taken you so long to come to this. And then the Buddha, in his mind's eye, if you like, saw that his previous two philosophy teachers, who were very highly regarded by him, that they were prepared enough to understand it. But then he could see that they have already passed away. Then he felt that his previous fellow searchers, who were very ascetically oriented, so you see there were intellectual training as well as physical training, if you like, so that they were almost ready, that maybe they could actually understand.

And then in his mind's eye, he sees that they are at a place called Sarnath. He was in Bodh Gaya. There is nearly, I think, almost 150 miles distance between the two. So he decided to go towards them. And by the way, part of that journey, that trail, goes very close to the Krishnamurti school in Varanasi.

And I actually, with Krishnamurti, walked on that trail for a little while. Later on I took my children to work, because this is how you relate with traditional teachings also, literally to follow those footsteps. But in any case, the reason I am now saying that is, there are two or three things here that are important to understand. One is, he undertakes this long walk. He is not trying to convert anybody to his teachings, nor is Christ.

This is the reason I am giving this example. His previous fellow searcher see him coming, and they say, oh, look at Gautama. He has found the truth. Similarly, you look at the whole story of Christ. He is never trying to convert anybody to anything. They see something in him, and they follow him. Both the Buddha as well as the Christ, they find people who immediately see that there is something extraordinary about them.

And so they first become his disciples, then he teaches. It is not that he is teaching in order to get disciples. One needs to actually understand this very clearly, that they first become disciples, then he teaches, for example, the four noble truths of the Buddha, which is what he taught on the first occasion. They are not taught in order to win disciples or to convert anybody to this. They are taught to people who have agreed themselves that they can learn something from this person because he is extraordinary.

And here I want to also give you another personal example. This is actually, again, I obviously must be getting very old. This is in 1968 in New York. And I was at Princeton University at that time, but I had gone to New York because Uda Shankar, the greatest male dancer in Indian history, was performing a dance there. And the whole evening was nearly about an hour and 15 minutes. So initially, obviously, there were other dancers. He was going to be the last dancer.

And it was called the walk of the Buddha after his enlightenment. And I can even now can hardly recall it without actually almost getting tears in my eyes because the feeling that he created, he simply walked from one part of the stage to the other end, large stage, and basically with hands raised like this and walking very slowly. And one could almost feel as if the land was becoming invigorated by his walk, as if the world, just this kind of remarks you hear about Christ, as if the shepherds and the lambs, etc. Everybody was aware of this. This gentleman is highly regarded dancer, actually most highly regarded male dancer in India. And for him to show the walk of the Buddha after his enlightenment was extraordinary experience.

As I said, right now I end up getting tears in my eyes, so excuse me. But I mentioned this, that unless their realization has brought about a change in them, it's not that they're trying to teach somebody to follow them. People see them. This is a remark, or similarly, Nathaniel, who is standing under a tree, sees Christ, and Christ is able to say what's in his mind. So on the other hand, there is the other thing that is also emphasized very much in the Gospels, that not everybody is able to see the quality of their being. That itself requires a certain evolution.

For example, even the John the Baptist, you can read this in the Gospel, John the Baptist, whose whole mission was to announce the coming of the Christ. When Christ comes towards him, he doesn't recognize him, until he sees a dove landing on him, representing the Holy Spirit, actually. And even then, you see, nobody else sees the dove descending on him. Only John the Baptist, at least he's evolved enough to see the Holy Spirit descending on him. So then he recognizes that this is the person he is supposed to be.

So I say that, that even though a person may be highly evolved, but they may be radiating vibrations, but do I have the appropriate antenna to receive the vibrations? So there has to be the right instrument also. Very simple example, almost certainly likely. We don't really know any of this, but maybe a hundred thousand people heard Christ in Jerusalem. How many followed him? A dozen and a half at the most. So the same thing is true now. One can meet some very extraordinary people.

How many are going to actually follow their teachings? Because following the teaching requires sacrifice of my attachment to my usual level, my usual self, and that is easier said than done. So keep coming back to this suggestion that there are, throughout human history, at least in my really very ordinary statement I'm making, everywhere in every culture, in every century, there are people, some people, interested in what is true or what is real. How could it be otherwise? And then only rarely somebody actually comes to a great understanding.

And those people are naturally regarded so unusual, they can't be ordinary human beings. So they must be half God, half man. That's natural. Or they must be son of God. Or they must be incarnation of God. You see these labels with all the great teachers, for the simple reason, because they obviously can't be ordinary human beings. It just doesn't seem to be the case looking around. And then these people get put on pedestals and shrined so that we don't actually have to follow them.

We can worship them. If you look at the human history, this is what happens in every serious teaching. Because every serious teaching is really like an explosion, and soon the great flood is channeled by putting walls around it. And so this is what he said. So we believe. He went to Mount Everest, but we don't need to try to climb little hills to practice.

How the hell do I get to Mount Everest? Which is the call of all these teachers. The Buddha is calling us to be the Buddha. Christ is calling us to be Christ. Krishna is calling repeatedly Madhaba, my level of being, he says, again and again. But that's easier said by them. We don't want to leave our usual self.

So it's not an easy teaching. No teaching is easy. But then I invite you to look at what are some of the features we attach to these great sages. Especially really in the Christian teaching, as I have maybe even earlier tried to say. So much emphasis. This is the first letter of John. Whoever is without love does not know God, for God is love.

Then he repeats it again. God is love and whoever remains in love remains in God and God in him. Therefore, it's natural anybody who is close to God or in the case of Christ actually saying this is the 10th chapter of John's Gospel, 30th verse. The Father and I are one. So clearly it is oneness with love. And as I tried to say yesterday also, that love is not something that Christ decides to practice love. Love as it were oozes out of him because his whole being is love.

Just as compassion to say that the Buddha was enlightened and not compassionate would be really an oxymoron. Same thing is true with any of the other great sages. They don't decide to do good. Goodness comes out of them. In fact, I even remember one remark once we were going for a walk with Krishnamurti. He turned to me. I was a bit surprised actually why he said that. He says, never take any public speaking course or lesson. I had never even thought about it.

But maybe he had suspected something somewhere. I had no idea because I often get invited to speak. So he thought maybe I have taken lesson somewhere. He says, if you know something true, it will ooze out of your being. So to say that Christ loved is really merely to say that Christ was divine. And the specific quotation that Krishnamurti occasionally used, a rose does not decide to smell like a rose. We recognize that it is a rose because of its fragrance. So that is one characteristic we obviously attach with Christ.

And then there is really very much his call to everybody to be really or to his disciples who follow his commandments to become his brothers. Here, as you probably, first of all, just quickly, let me mention to you, after he was crucified, he's laid down in a tomb. And first person who comes to see him there is Mary Magdalene. More and more comments about it. He clearly loved her. There isn't hardly any doubt about this. In fact, in one of the gospels, I believe it's the gospel of Thomas, Peter is even criticizing Christ.

Why do you kiss her on the lips? So in any case, she's the first person to come to see the Christ, if you like, placed there in the tomb. And she sees two angels sitting there guarding him. Two male disciples, Peter and John, come afterward. They don't see the angels. Because what one sees also depends on the quality of oneself. This is an important point I'm trying to make.

That not everybody saw the goodness of Christ, not everybody saw the great quality of the Buddha. That also required people to be tuned properly, like the kind of example I just gave. Transmitter has a certain quality, but so does the receiving apparatus have to have a certain quality. So then, she is also the first person to see him ascending to heaven. This is, by the way, just to remind you, this is in John's gospel.

Jesus said to her, Mary, she was there, and she didn't recognize him at that time. She thought she was a gardener. She turned to him, and then, sorry, earlier she didn't recognize him, but then he called her Mary. Then she recognized, she turned to him and said, Rabuni. Which, by the way, they translate in the usual translation, meaning master.

It literally means darling rabbi. Then he says to her, stop touching me. How many people are eagerly, especially a female, touching a male? So this is what she's doing. Stop touching me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. But then, what is his instruction? Go to my brothers and tell them, I'm ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.

He's inviting them to be his brothers. And this is, really, this is the message of Christ. Do not rest until you, male or female, this is my own understanding, do not rest until you, male or female, become his brothers, so that your God is the same as his God and your Father is his Father. He invites all who hear, be they from here or there, then or now, not in his own name, but that of God. And then there is a quotation from Romans, later to the Romans, to share the likeness of his son, that the son might be the firstborn of many brothers.

In fact, my book, when I initially published it, it was dedicated to the firstborn son of our common father. That's how I dedicated this. Another feature of somebody we associate with being exalted or more evolved, is really a sense of unity. And as you probably all know, that even his disciples, who are clearly not yet evolved enough, were slightly upset that he was talking to the Samaritan woman. This is the disciples of Christ himself, because they had gone for getting food elsewhere, and meanwhile he met the Samaritan woman and he's talking with her, and when they come back they see him talking with her, so they are a little upset by this. And then the Samaritan woman said to Jesus, I can see you are a prophet.

Our ancestors worshipped on this mountain, but you people claim that Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship God. And then this is the Remark of Christ. This is in Gospel of John chapter 4. Believe me woman, an hour is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. Yet an hour is coming and is already here when those who are real worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth. Indeed it is just such worshippers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.

There you have it. Did you ever hear this in the church? Not in Jerusalem, nor on this mountain. All this is, nothing is excluded. So He's not against this, but what is the real meaning of God? God is spirit and those who wish to worship Him, those who must worship in spirit and truth. This is John's Gospel, chapter 4.

So it's important for us to, because even if you meet somebody doesn't have to be as exalted as the Buddha or Christ, that we may be asking for too much, but somebody you respect. Ask yourself, do some of these characteristics are developing in them or have developed in them? Why should I respect somebody as an evolved human being? As I told you earlier, in my personal, in my case, I'm not running my life. I'm completely convinced of that. It's actually being run by some angels or devas.

My partner Prasila, whom you have met, she says she can't see anything in this life. I must have done something in a previous life. So maybe I did something in a previous life. But another, another mark of a sage or anybody who you regard as worthwhile person is humility. And here is another quotation from the Gospel of John.

By the way, I should also tell you, since the second century, within the Christian tradition, many sages have said that John's Gospel is the spiritual Gospel. Certainly for me personally reading, I mean, I try to read the Bible very carefully. I was very struck by the teaching of Christ, but I was much more struck by John's Gospel than by the other Gospels. But this is nothing strange personally about me. Since the second century, several sages within the Christian tradition have said that this is the most spiritual Gospel, because he is much less interested in any historical data, much more interested in the spiritual dimension.

Here, so this is another quote. After Jesus had washed his disciples feet, put on his clothes and taken his place at supper, he said to them again, do you understand what I have done for you? You call me teacher and Lord, and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now, if I washed your feet, even though I am Lord and teacher, you too must wash one another's feet. For it was an example that I gave you. You were to do exactly as I have done for you. In truth, in very truth, I tell you, a servant is no greater than his master, nor a messenger than the one who sent him.

If you know this, you are blessed if you practice it. I think this whole idea of humility is actually part and parcel of greatness of being. And so love or compassion, that was one thing I mentioned, and more and more awareness and more and more inclusiveness. It's not that I alone can go to the Father, nobody else. He's calling anybody who would follow him to come to the Father, to become his brothers, is the actual expression used by him and also by Saint Paul repeatedly in his various letters.

Here is another remark of Saint Paul. This is a letter to the Philippians. Though he existed in the form of God, he did not regard equality with God as something to be grasped, but emptied himself by taking on the form of a slave, by looking like other men, and by sharing in human nature, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. This is the letter to the Philippians, second chapter. So it is very important for us to, if we wish to follow somebody or even to honor somebody, to really genuinely to ask. Because as you know, there are lots of gurus and priests who exploit people, who exploit people for more money or for sex. This is the usual, ultimately everybody is driven by power or by wealth or by pleasure. If the Buddha is going to be tested by Mara, by these very things, we are all going to be tested by this, you can count on this. This is exactly what the whole, our education forces us to search for, more power, more wealth, and that's what the whole program of the world is. So to be free of that is easier said than done.

But nevertheless, if you really in fact wish to respect somebody, a little bit ask yourself, how does it manifest in them? What is the quality? Then there are two specific words that I wanted to focus on. In passing I have already mentioned yesterday the word metanoia, which is almost always translated as to repent or repentance. It literally actually means to make a complete turn, like a 180 degree turn. If you are going in that direction, you go in the other direction.

For example, here is a remark of Christ, this is in the Gospel of Thomas, where this is translated as repent. I stood in the midst of the world and I appeared to them in flesh. I found all of them drunken, I found none among them thirsty, and my soul was pained for the children of men, for they are blind in their hearts, and they do not see that they came empty into the world, seeking also to leave the world empty. But now they are drunken, when they shake off their wine, then they will repent. This is the Gospel of Thomas, and this word repent, literally it should be translated, then they will turn around, meaning, then they will move towards Christ rather than away from Him.

So it's actually much more, or the word actually more conveys a change of direction. Repentance, at least not in contemporary English, it doesn't convey that. Partly because I have many friends who were brought up as Catholics, and especially one of them in England, she tells me, when they were high school kids, they would say to each other, well, this week I'll confess this sin, you'll confess this, next week I'll change it, so we can go skiing. And of course the priest says, okay, say Hail Mary 40 times, then you are now free. Well, that's what we are doing.

In any case, turning around, so you don't get free just because I repent, you have confessed your sin, so now you are free. Turning around has a very different meaning to this. Okay, the other word which I want to focus on is what is translated as sin. The Greek word is pronounced as Amartya, but it is written with an H-A-M-A-R-T-I-A. Sometimes they leave the H out because it is usually not pronounced.

So it's not pronounced as Amartya, it's pronounced as Amartya. It literally means to miss the mark. But before that, maybe I just make another comment here. Partly to indicate to you that the word India is not an Indian word and how it has come about. You'll see this here.

There is a very well-known river called Sindhu in Sanskrit. And that is the river which was the dividing line between the Persian Empire and the Indian Empires. And the Persians pronounce Sa more or less as Ha. So they called it Hindu. So the other side is the Hindustan, that is the land of the Hindus.

So everybody on the other side is the Hindus according to the Persian pronunciation. And then when Greek Alexander had gone there. I don't know why he gets called Alexander the Great. He's Alexander the Tormentor. So then in Greek it is written with H-I-N-D-U.

But H is not pronounced by the English, so it becomes the Indus River from which we get the word India. So India is not an Indian word. That's one of the things that might interest you here. And it is really to do simply with the spelling of it and how it is pronounced. And the word Hindu, but maybe just only by association here, I said.

In 1881 the first official census was taken in India by the British who were ruling India. And they were particularly interested in creating religious divides because this divide and rule was really the philosophy behind it. And it made sense from their point of view. So then they wanted people to describe what their religion is. And when it came to describing what is a Hindu, nobody could describe it because Hindus don't call themselves Hindus.

Their own title is Sanatana Dharma, meaning eternal law or eternal order. So the legal definition of a Hindu made by the British, it still is in the constitution of India. A Hindu is an Indian who is not a Christian or a Muslim. Take my word for it because now to change the constitution would require two third majority, which will not happen. So every Sikh, every Jain, every Buddhist, everybody, every Indian who is not a Christian or a Muslim is a Hindu.

This is according to the constitution of India, which is just taken over from the British. I thought it would be amusing for people to know this, how this comes about just by the way it's written down really basically. So if we understand the notion of sin is really not to miss the mark and then to really ask it, what is the mark? If we understand the mark, personally from my point of view, if we actually understand the teaching of Christ, the mark he's even recommending to us, if it speaks to us, then that can become our mark. Mark or goal, other words can be used, is to become son of God.

And then if I am actually not following that journey, then I am sinful to try to understand what is the meaning of sin, at least in the original Bible here. And here is a remark of Christ in the Gospel of John chapter 15. You are the ones I love when you do what I command you. No longer do I call you slaves because the slave does not understand what his master is doing. Rather I have called you my friends, for I reveal to you everything I heard from the Father. It was not you who chose me, it was I who chose you and charged you to go and bear fruit.

Fruit that remains in order that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he will give you. This I command you, love one another. So you see the movement from slave to servant to friend in between requiring to be a disciple because disciple is the one who follows the discipline. They have the same root, these words. And then one can come closer and closer to Christ himself. This is the call. And then, as he repeatedly said, and I earlier quoted even from the letter of St Paul, call is to become his brothers, son of the same Father. And so, but his love is not just sentimental. I think I earlier quoted from the book of regulation chapter 3.

Whoever I love, I reprove and chastise. Be in earnest then and turn around. This is metanoia. Whatever is generally taking you away from becoming of divine nature, how do I turn around? 180 degree turning required. So I have these two exercises, if you like.

Homework

These are not meant to be homework in any rigid sense, but you might find them interesting to try. So first is, what do you think are some of the major characteristics of someone whom you regard as spiritually evolved?

So your own understanding of who, why would you call somebody as a possible teacher or a mentor or a guide? Secondly, what do you regard as your mark or aim, missing which it would be sinful? So just take the ordinary meaning of sin, saying Hail Mary 40 times will free you of that. So, thank you very much. I think we need to stop. Thank you.

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