Death and Eternal Life
By PARAMHANSA YOGANANDA
Steps Toward the Attaining of the Consciousness
Which was in Christ Jesus
And there were certain Greeks among them, that came up to worship at the feast: the same came therefore to Philip, which was of Bethsaida of Galilee, and desired him, saying, Sir, we would see Jesus. Philip cometh and telleth Andrew: and again Andrew and Philip tell Jesus. And Jesus answered them, saying,
The hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit, He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal. If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant he: it any man serve me, him will my Father honor.
Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour: hut for this cause came I unto this hour.-John 12: 20-27.
There it was that Jesus spoke again of the test which awaited him. "The time is coming when my body will be glorified into Spirit through resurrection, but first-Well, remember what I declare unto you. Unless a grain of wheat is thrust into the ground and dies, it remains without multiplying itself, but if it is buried it will rise again as a plant, and bring forth many ears of wheat." Jesus was warning them that if lie did not sacrifice himself the divinity in him would not multiply and benefit others. He knew that if, like the grain of wheat--he sacrificed his body for truth, he would not only find eternal life for himself but would show the way to others through his example. He saw that selfish self-preservation is a mental hedge which prevents the soul from enlarging into Spirit.
"He who loves his physical life and thinks it to be permanent will lose sight of it in the oblivion of death," Jesus continued. "But he who sacrifices the comforts of this physical life to find the eternal life ever-present behind matter will find his temporal life changed into eternal life." And noting the devotion of his disciples, he added, "If any devotee desires to serve the Spirit which is within me, let him follow my Consciousness." (Only by meditation can the devotee lead his consciousness from the physical plane, through the planes of the senses, through subconsciousness and superconsciousness to the plane where Christ Consciousness dwells.) "Any devotee who is in tune with me will be present in the plane of Christ Consciousness where I reside always, and he will be recognized by the Father--the Cosmic Consciousness which is present beyond all creation. The Hindu Scriptures say that one who knows Brahma, or Spirit, becomes the Spirit. So also, Jesus offered assurance that all devotees who meditate and become one with his consciousness are perpetually enthroned in Christ Consciousness and Cosmic Consciousness.
Purpose of His Birth
Then his mind dwelt again upon the immediate future, and he confided, "Now my soul is troubled because the time of my great ordeal is nearing. But what shall I say? Shall I play to the Father to save me from this dark hour? I might -yet for this hour was I born!" He knew that he had been incarnated to illustrate the victory of Spirit over body, of divine forgiveness over brutal human force, of compassion over cruelty, of the apparent meekness of divine power contrasted with the egotism of temporarily triumphant material power. He knew that the gentlemens of his Father's almighty power would be made manifest through his meek submission at the cross. And the Father's loving and forgiving nature would manifest through his forgiveness of mankind-to be expressed during the crucifixion of his body. "Rather must I pray: 'Heavenly Father, inspire my wishes, let Thy wish and divine vibrations be glorified through my ordeal."'
Then came there a voice from heaven. saying, I have glorified it, and will glorify it again. The people therefore that stood by, and heard it ., said that it thundered: others said. An Angel spake to him.
Jesus answered and said, This voice came -not because of me, but for your sakes. Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out. And 1, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw men unto me. John 12:28-32.
When Jesus prayed, "Father, glorify Thy name. Manifest the glory of Thy presence through the Cosmic Vibration present in ether," immediately the disciples heard a divine vibration awakening from the silent ether, vibrating into significant sounds. But those around him were confused concerning the source and meaning of the sounds. Some heard the words and said an angel had spoken. Others heard only the rumble of thunder.
Then Jesus explained that it was the divine ethereal voice of God which they had heard, and that it had not manifested for his sake but in order to prove the truth of his testimony and life. He prophesied that according to the Cosmic law of karma (the "judgment" visited upon this world) the prince of the world (the Christ Consciousness which governs the material cosmos) manifested in his body would be ejected from bodily manifestation through crucifixion (cast out). He added that if, through the grace of God, his soul was lifted from the body and consciousness of the earth to the state of Christ Consciousness, word of his life and teachings would then attract the attention of all peoples for all times, and would be a beacon of wisdom and light to them from Cosmic Delusion an its miseries.
The last struggle between the divine nature of Jesus and his physical nature is indicated in his expression of uncertainty concerning final victory over the flesh. The words, "if I be lifted up," are very significant. They distinctly prove that this climactic event in the life of Jesus, even though foretold by the prophets, could have been changed at this time if Jesus had misused his free will and succumbed to the temptations of flesh.
It is so thrilling to know that God--silent through the centuries --at the prayerful call of Jesus instantaneously broke His silence and, like a human father, assured the disciples that Jesus truly represented His divine majesty.
This he said, signifying what death he should die. The people answered him, We have heard out of the law that Christ abideth forever: and how sayest thou, The Son of man must he lifted up? who is this Son of man? Then Jesus said unto them, yet a little while is the light with you. Walk while ye have the light, lest darkness come upon you: for he that walketh in darkness knoweth not whither he goeth. While ye have light, believe in the light, that ye maybe the children of light. -John 12:33-36.
The above words need little explanation. Jesus again emphasized to his disciples that for only a little while would the Light of Christ Consciousness continue to manifest in his body. He advised all them to hasten along the path in the light of his divine presence, lest the darkness of delusion come upon them and prevent them from reaching the kingdom of Cosmic Consciousness. For souls who try to follow the spiritual path without the Light of a Guru-preceptor's wisdom are often shrouded by the darkness of delusion and do not find their way to God. "With all your might be one with the Light in me," he urged, that you also may be children of divine wisdom and immortality as I am." Thus he told them that all devotees who were in tune with him, and hence with God, would be Godlike.
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