I have been with one person, who seems to live their life in the delight of ceremonies. And ordinarily, I’m not attracted to that type of person, in fact there is something in me that shies away from them. But in this particular case that wasn’t true. And I couldn’t understand it until on better acquaintance I learned that it was only through those ceremonies, that this person was able to reach behind them to the actual contact with the Source. Then I understood—the entire situation took on a different light.
So it is that…I’m thinking of the Master’s statement when the disciples complained about this man down the street who was healing, but of course he wasn’t doing it in the name of Jesus Christ. And I think the disciples must have looked on him as a competitor, and probably thought it would be a good idea if they could run him off the street.
But the Master said, that those that are not against us are for us. In other words, anywhere, any time that anyone is seeking God realization, or attaining God realization, we are one with them, whether they have attained it or are trying to attain it through the orthodox church, or through paganism, or through metaphysics, or any other way that leads up. Truly the Vedantist has said that there are many paths, but only one mountaintop—many ways but one God.
Now, it is for this reason that when your heart is dedicated to the attainment of God, God realization, that you may find yourself in the company of very strange people, religiously speaking. And wonder, what brought you into contact with them. But if you’ll just perceive, if you just open your inner eye, you will discern, that the reason is that you have this in common: they are not against you, they are going your very way, only reading a different book, or sitting in a different position, or standing. Sometimes they take their shoes off before going into Temple, sometimes they take their hats off, sometimes they put their shoes on and sometimes they put their hats on. It really makes no difference; that which counts is the degree in which God is the goal.
Now, the degree in which each student purifies themselves, and makes God their true goal, and really purifies themselves of all belief that in attaining God, they are thereby going to attain some other goal. In the degree that they can overcome such tendencies, in order to be spiritually pure within, in that degree will they find “the teacher” who can lead them to that particular demonstration.
It would seem in these ages, that there is a teacher for those that seek. And, the only way of attaining that teacher, is by attaining the same measure of inner purity, if you want it—integrity, because you have to set up in you the vibration that rings, finds answer, in the teacher. And of course, your rate of vibration will draw to you the quality of teacher for which you are vibrating at. Do you know what I mean?
So it is. I saw this trip, before we came here, that there should be more work, and so more time was left, more time was arranged without anything specific in mind. Because of that very thing you see that, leaving myself clear, there had to be an answering, a drawing force within you. Otherwise, if I set up shop every day to speak, it would just be like “a cloud without rain” or “tinkling symbols.” It would not set up a response in the students.
Let us always remember this: we are drawing to us, out of this world, “our own”—“our own shall come to us.” But in some ways that’s a horrible thought, because it means whatever the quality of our own, that’s what we’re drawing. And it’s very necessary, to watch that inner integrity. That is why I caution students, to watch themselves very carefully and closely, not so much in the beginning of their studies, but when they are beginning to feel that they’re getting somewhere. When they begin to feel that, “Well now I’m getting somewhere. Now I commence to understand. Now I’m commencing to see fruitage. Now things are becoming clearer. Now I’m probably on cloud two or three,” because there is where the danger comes in.
Until one is seasoned in the Spirit, there are temptations on this spiritual path, and this is symbolized in Scripture by the Master’s three temptations in the wilderness. If you study that carefully, you must be quite surprised that one who was already a Master, one who was already spiritually ordained should be called upon to go through three temptations of the nature of those that he went through in the wilderness.
You wouldn’t have thought that he was susceptible to “wanting power,” “wanting fame,” “wanting to use thought in order to turn stones into bread.” You would have thought that at that stage, he was already perfected. But that couldn’t have been, because the perfected soul could not possibly be tempted.
I was on a ship and asleep at night, and I was awakened, and had to get out of bed and write. And I wrote a letter which is in circulation among our students in the States, although it goes back a few years. A letter that warned of the temptations to which the students are subject on this path. One is the temptation of “lack.” There are so many students who just about the time when they think that they are spiritually progressed, may find themselves going through their deepest trials of lack. And the temptation is, to believe that God has deserted them, or that they have become unworthy of God. And if that condition of lack lasts a little bit too long, they get discouraged and give up. And, it is probably better so, because had they continued on, they would have found more troubles ahead. Because unless a person is rooted and grounded in the Spirit, there will someday come some problem that they will not be able to surmount. As Judas Iscariot found a temptation beyond his capacity to resist. It would have been better for Judas Iscariot had he dropped out of the Master’s band in the first year—far better for him.
To others, the early flush of realization of the Spirit brings “prosperity.” And they find that prosperity is something they couldn’t take, because it becomes something in and of itself, or the things that it can do for one or buy for one or give to one. And so, thought is deflected from the fact, that the form of wealth isn’t wealth—but the source.
So it is. At every step there are temptations. Peter had his temptation to preserve his own life. Ah you see, self-preservation is the first law of human nature. Not spiritual nature, oh no, oh no. When one has attained spiritual nature, they are not concerned about their human sense of life, their human sense of supply, their human sense of freedom.
Some were cast into lions’ dens and some were burned, and some were crucified, some were cast into prison—that makes no difference to the illumined. For they…well that which constitutes illumination is the realization of immortality, and one that cares but little whether immortality is lived this side or that side.
Peter was going to preserve his safety and thereby he lost—he lost much. The fact that the Master forgave him was demonstration for the Master but not for him. He still had his own demonstration to make. And you may be assured of this that regardless of how little Scripture tells us about it; he must have gone through a very bad siege in the realization of the fact, that such a thing could have happened to him after three years with the Master.
So let no one overestimate the degree of their spiritual progress, unless they have been tested. And when they are tested, let them not fear for the consequences, for there are no consequences except the joyous consequence of overcoming: overcoming fear; overcoming this idea of self-preservation; overcoming whatever it is in human nature that keeps one from the full and complete realization of their spiritual identity.