The Beginning of the End

By Yogi Ramacharaka
 

The ministry of Jesus went on in about the same channels. Wandering here and there throughout the country, preaching and teaching in this town and that village, gathering around Him new followers, Jesus continued His work. He adapted Himself to His audience, giving to each what it needed, and not making the mistake of speaking over the heads of the people. He gave the general public the broad general teachings that they required, but He reserved the Inner Teachings for the Inner Circle of His followers whom He knew to be fit to receive the same. In this He showed a deep knowledge of men, and a strict accordance with the established custom of the mystics, who never make the mistake of giving the higher spiritual mathematics to the students who are learning the addition, subtraction and division rules of the occult.  He cautioned His apostles regarding this point of teaching, even going so far as warning them positively and strongly against “casting pearls before swine.”

One night He was in a boat crossing the lake of Gennesaret, in company with some of His fisherman followers. Tired out by the strenuous work of the day, He wrapped Himself up in His robe and fell into a deep sleep, from which He was later awakened by a noise and commotion among the crew and passengers. A terrible lake storm had sprung up, and the little vessel was tossing and pitching about among the waves in a manner which gave concern to even the experienced fishermen who manned her. The sails had been torn off, carrying away with them a portion of the mast, and the boat refused to respond to her rudder, the steering gear being rendered useless. The crew became panic-stricken and rushing to Jesus besought Him to save them from death in the storm.  “Master! Master! Help ere we perish. The boat is foundering! Save us, Master!”

The Master arose and, using His occult power, caused the winds to cease their tempestuous activity, and the waves to become calm. He followed the Oriental occultists’ custom of voicing His commands in words, not that the words had any virtue in themselves, but because they served a vehicle for His concentrated thought and focused will which He was using in his manifestation of occult power. With this knowledge of the process, occultists smile when they read the naive account of the occurrence in the Gospels, where Jesus is described as addressing and rebuking the rebellious winds and then gently and kindly soothing the waters with words of “Peace, be still!” The fishermen who witnessed the occurrence, and from whom the reports thereof spread among the people, not understanding the nature of occult manifestations, thought that He was addressing the winds as actual entities, rebuking them and bidding them cease their vicious work, and soothing the sea in the same manner.

They did not comprehend the mental processes back of the words, and in their simplicity thought that He was actually rebuking the wind and soothing the waters. All occultists know that in “treating” material conditions the process is rendered much easier and simpler if we will but think of and “speak to” the condition as if it had intelligence and actual being, thus more easily directing the forces.

Obeying the thought and will of the Master, the winds abated their fury and the waters ceased their troubling. Gradually the boat rested easily upon the bosom of the lake, and the crew breathed freely once more, and then began their work of righting the mast and steering gear. And they wondered as they worked and asked each other “What manner of man is this, whom even the winds and the waters obey?” And Jesus, looking sadly at them, voiced that cry of the mystic who knows of the inherent and latent powers of man over material conditions, awaiting the exercise of the Will that may be exercised only in response to a great Faith. He answered them, saying, “Oh, ye of little Faith. What had you to fear?”

To the mystic it seems strange that people are able to read the Gospel accounts of the above and similar events and yet see no more in them than a mere recital of miracles wrought by some supernatural power. To the reader who has learned the fundamental truths, the New Testament record of the wonder-working of Jesus, even as imperfect as that record is, is full of advanced occult instructions stated so plainly that it seems as if even the casual reader must recognize it. But no, the old rule is still in force—each reads only that for which he is ready—each must bring something to a book, before he may expect to take anything away from it—to him that hath shall be given. Ever the same old mystic truth, manifest ever and ever, at all times and in all places. It is a fundamental law of the mind.

The journey across the lake was attended by another manifestation of occult power which is often passed over by the church teachers without comment, or at least with a labored endeavor to “explain” the evident meaning of the narrative. The modern materialistic trend of thought has invaded even the churches and has caused the preachers and teachers to endeavor to escape the accusation of “believing in spirits” and similar phenomena of the Astral World.

When the company reached the coast of Gergesa, on the opposite side of the lake, it disembarked and Jesus and His disciples pressed in toward the coast towns. As they passed among the cliffs lining the shore, they perceived two uncanny wandering figures which, gibbering, followed them along. The two maniacs, for such they were, approached the party, and one of them began to address the Master in a strange manner, beseeching Him to relieve the two of the devils possessing them. He called aloud, “O Master, thou Son of the Living God, have mercy upon us, and drive away the unclean things that we have allowed to enter into us.”

The Gospels say nothing regarding the cause of this demoniac obsession, and the preachers prefer to pass over it rapidly, or else to treat it as a delusion of the insane, notwithstanding the direct statement of the New Testament narrative and its sequel or concluding statement. But the occult traditions have it that these two men were victims of their dabbling into certain phases of psychic phenomena, i.e., the “raising up of spirits” by the arts of Black Magic. In other words, these men had been experimenting along the lines of Jewish Necromancy, or Invocation and Evocation of Disembodied Astral Intelligences by means of Conjuration. They had raised up Astral Intelligences that had then refused to retire to their own plane, but which had taken possession of the physical organisms of their invokers and had remained in possession, causing the men to be regarded as maniacs, which resulted in their becoming outcasts among the caves with which the cliffs abounded, the same places being also the tombs of the dead. We do not wish to go into details here regarding this matter, but we wish to give the occult explanation of this little understood “miracle” of Jesus, which, however, is clearly understood by all occultists.

Jesus fully understood the nature of the trouble, and began at once to drive out these invading Astral Intelligences by means of his occult power. In a few moments, a cry was heard from the hills near by, and a great herd of swine were seen rushing down the hill, and in a moment were over the precipice and were soon drowned. The Gospel narrative is perfectly plain on this subject—it states that the legions of devils had passed from the men into the swine and the latter had plunged in terror into the water and were drowned. Jesus had distinctly and positively spoken to the demons, calling them “unclean spirits,” and bidding them “come out” of the men. And all advanced students of Occultism understand why the pigs were used as intermediate instruments of the driving back of the Astral Intelligences to their own plane of life, which reason, however, is not in place or keeping in this work intended for general public reading.

The maniacs were restored to their normal condition, and the traditions say that the Master instructed them regarding the evil courses which they had been pursuing, and bade them desist from their nefarious practices which had wrought such evil consequences upon them.

The church and its preachers, with but few exceptions, have seen fit to ignore the frequent Biblical allusions to “devils,” “demons,” etc.; their position being practically that the writers of the events of Jesus’ ministry (whom they otherwise consider to have been “inspired”) must have been superstitious, credulous people believing in “the absurd demonology of their times.” They ignore the fact that Jesus Himself repeatedly spoke to these intelligences, bidding them depart from the people whom they had been obsessing. Does the church wish to hold that the Master was also an ignorant, credulous peasant, sharing popular superstitions? It would seem so. We must except the Catholic Church from this criticism, for its authorities have recognized the true state of affairs and have warned its followers against indulging in the dark practices of Necromancy or Invocation of Astral Intelligences.

Occult science informs its students of the various planes of life, each of which contains its inhabitants. It teaches that on the Astral Plane there are disembodied entities which should not be transplanted to our plane. And it warns all against the dark practices, so common in ancient times and in the Middle Ages, of invoking and evoking these undesirable denizens of that plane. It is to be regretted that some of the modern Psychic Researchers ignore these plain warnings, for some of them are laying themselves open to grave consequences by reason of their willful folly. We urge upon our readers to refrain from this dabbling in the phenomena of the Astral Plane. Some writer has well compared “Psychism” to a great machine, in the cog-wheels of which persons may become entangled only to be afterward drawn into the machine itself. Keep away from the wheels!

This “miracle” of Jesus aroused great excitement, and it was urged against Him that He was going about the country driving devils into people’s flocks and herds, causing their destruction. The priests fomented the popular feeling, and encouraged the distrust, hatred and fear which the orthodox portion of the community was beginning to entertain toward the Master. The seeds of Calvary were being sown among the people. And their awful fruit was latent in them. Hate and bigotry were the essence of both seed and fruit.

Jesus returned to Capernaum, and once more the little town was crowded with people seeking instruction and crying to be healed. The news of his wonderful healing power spread far and near, and people were carried on litters for many miles in order that they might be touched by the hands of the Master.

About this time there came to Him one Jairus, a man of eminence in the community and in the church. Jairus had a little daughter about twelve years of age, who was taken seriously ill, and who had been given up as incurable by the physicians.

With his daughter lying at death’s door, Jairus hastened to the scene of the Master’s meetings, and, throwing himself at His feet, besought Him to heal his beloved child ere she passed beyond the dark portals of the unknown. The Master, feeling compassion for the father’s great grief, paused in His teaching and started toward Jairus’ home. His mind charged with the concentration of healing thought, and His organism filled with the vital forces aroused to perform the task, He felt some one touch the hem of His garment in search of healing power, and He at once recognized the occurrence, saying, “The power hath been drawn from me. Who touched my garment?” As they approached the house of Jairus, the servants came running out with wild cries and lamentations, announcing that the child had died while awaiting the coming of the Healer. The father broke down at this terrible news, coming at the very moment of his greatest hope. But Jesus bade him to have faith and still believe. Then, accompanied by three of His disciples—John, Peter and James—He entered the chamber of death.  Waving back the weeping family and the neighbors who had gathered, “Stand back,” He cried, “the child is not dead—she but sleepeth.”

An indignant cry went up from the orthodox relatives and friends at these words of the Master. How dared He so mock the very presence of the dead, whom the physicians had left, and over whom the priests had already begun the last sacred rites? But, heeding them not, the Master passed His hands over the child’s head, and took her little cold palms within his own. Then began a strange happening. The little chest began to heave, and the white wan cheeks began to show traces of color. Then the arms and hands began to move, and the wasted limbs drew slightly up. Then, opening her eyes with a wondering look, the child gazed at the Healer and smiled gently at Him. Then the Master, with a look of gentle tenderness, withdrew from the room, after ordering that nourishing food be brought for the child.

Then began the usual dispute. Some declared that another had been raised from the dead, while others declared that the child had but been in a trance and would have awakened anyway. Had not even the Healer declared that she only slept? But Jesus heeded not the disputants, but returned to the scene of His work.

The work went on in its accustomed way. He began to send His apostles away on longer and more extended tours, having fully instructed them in the occult methods of healing. Great success attended their efforts and the best reports came in from all sides. The authorities recognized to a still greater extent the growing influence of the young Master, and His actions were still more closely watched by the spies. Reports of His teachings and work were carried to Herod, who, recognizing in them the same note that had been struck by John the Baptist, who had been put to death, perceived that though men might die, the spirit of their teachings would still live on. No wonder the guilty ruler should cry in terror, “This verily is the spirit of John, whom I put to death, risen from the grave to wreak vengeance upon me!” And the authorities reported to Rome that here was a young fanatic, whom many believed to be the Messiah and coming King of the Jews, who had thousands of followers all over the land. And word came back from Rome, in due time, to watch carefully over the man, who was undoubtedly striving to incite an insurrection, and to imprison Him or put Him to death as soon as the evidence was sufficient to convict Him.

Jesus about this time was near a small fishing town called Bethseda, on the lake about seven miles from Capernaum. Near this place His boat landed at a place on the beach where He had hoped to take a few days’ rest. But, alas, a great crowd had hastened to the place of disembarkation, and now gathered around Him, demanding teaching and healing. Putting aside His mental and physical fatigue, He attended to the wants of the crowd. Healing now, and then teaching, He threw Himself into His work with fervor and zeal. There were over five thousand people gathered together around Him, and toward evening the cry went up that there was not sufficient food in the camp to begin to feed the multitude. A great tumult arose among the crowd, and complaints and even curses began to be heard. The spiritual wants were forgotten, and the physical began to manifest itself in a most insistent manner. What was to be done?

He called together those of His company who had been entrusted with the care of the food which the little company carried with it. And, to His sorrow, He learned that the entire stock of food consisted of five loaves of bread and two fishes. And the little band carried practically no money with it, for they depended upon the hospitality of the country and the offerings by the faithful. The disciples advised that the Master order the crowd to disperse and return to Bethseda for food. But Jesus felt loath to do this, particularly when there were so many invalids in the gathering who had traveled so many miles to see Him, and who had not yet been healed. And so He decided to give the company its food by means of His power.

He bade His people divide the multitude into little groups of fifty people, who were then instructed to be seated for a meal. Then He ordered the scanty supply of available food to be brought before Him, and, placing His hands over it, He offered a blessing, then ordered His people to serve the throng. They began to serve out the food with looks of wonder and amazement. Had the Master lost His senses? But in some way the food seemed miraculously to increase and multiply, until at last all of the five thousand had been fully supplied and their hunger appeased. And then, after all had been served and had eaten, the scraps and fragments which were gathered up filled many wicker baskets and were distributed to the poorer people in the company for tomorrow’s use.

But trouble arose. The people, with well filled stomachs, feeling that here indeed was royal bounty and the power with which to feed them forever free of charge, began to wax enthusiastic and shouts ascended.  “The Messiah! King of the Jews! Provider of the People! Son of David!  Ruler over Israel!” were the words which soon swept the crowd off of its feet. And then some of the bolder ones, or else the hired spies who wished to place Him in a compromising position, began to suggest that the crowd form itself into an army and march from city to city with Jesus at its head, until at last they would place Him upon the throne of Israel at Jerusalem. Jesus, recognizing the peril to His mission, managed to dissuade the hot-heads from their plans, but still fearing that the authorities might come down upon the assemblage, ordered that the Twelve take the boat and put out for the other side of the lake. He sent them off as a precaution, but He, Himself, remained with the crowd and faced the threatened danger.

He retired to the hills near by and spent the night in meditation.  Then early in the morning, He noticed that a storm was rising over the lake and that the tiny boat containing His disciples would be in great danger. In a few moments they might be overwhelmed. He wished to be with them to comfort and re-assure them. No boat being handy, he stepped boldly out upon the water and walked rapidly toward the direction in which He knew the boat must be. Scarcely conscious of the occult power of levitation that He was using to overcome the power of gravitation, He moved rapidly toward His followers. Soon He overtook them, and they, seeing a white figure moving swiftly over the water toward them, were affrighted, believing it to be a spirit or ghost.  “It is I, be not afraid!” called out the Master to them. Then Peter cried out, “Lord, if Thou it be, direct me to walk to Thee also on the waves!” And the Master, smiling, so directed him. And Peter, whose latent occult power was aroused by his great faith in the Master, sprang over the side and took several steps toward Him. But, suddenly losing his faith and courage, his power also left him, and he began to sink beneath the waves. But the Master grasped his hand and led him in safety to the boat and both entered it. Then the crew fell to and with great enthusiasm righted the boat and proceeded to the shore near Capernaum.

In the case of Peter and his experience in walking on the water, we have a striking instance of the well known power of the mental attitude of Faith in the manifestation of occult power. All occultists know this, and without feeling an implicit faith in the Power with them, they do not attempt certain forms of manifestation. They know that with Faith miracles may be performed which are impossible otherwise. So long as Peter held his Faith he was able to counteract certain laws of nature by means of other laws not so well known. But as soon as Fear took the place of Faith his power left him. This is an invariable occult principle, and in the recital of this story of Peter on the water is to be found a whole volume of occult instruction—to those who are able to read it.

Arriving safely on the shores of the lake, Jesus resumed His work while the ever-present gathering of people went on in its accustomed way. But on the opposite shore of the lake the crowd who had been fed on the loaves and fishes were in an angry mood. They cried out that they had been deserted by their leader, and that the expected loaves and fishes—the free meals that they had expected would continue—had been denied them. They also complained bitterly that the reign of miracles had not continued. And they began to revile the Master that they had acclaimed the night before. And so Jesus experienced the ingratitude and the unreasonable words of the public just as all great teachers have done. The seekers after the loaves and the fishes, demanding to be fed and clothed without their own work—the seekers after miracles, demanding fresh wonder-workings—have ever been the bane of the great Teachers of the Truth. It is a hard and bitter truth, but all teachers and true lovers of the Truth must learn to meet and understand it. The mob which reveres a spiritual Master today is equally ready to rend him to pieces tomorrow.

And still more trouble arose from this mistaken kindness which led Jesus to feed the crowd by His occult powers, which, by the way, He knew to be in opposition to the well-established custom of the Occult Brotherhoods. The formalists, Pharisees and Scribes, having heard of the occurrence, gathered about the Master and accused Him of violating one of the forms and ceremonies prescribed by the ecclesiastical authorities—the rite which required the faithful to wash their hands before beginning a meal. They accused Him of heresy and false teaching, which tended to lead the people away from their accustomed ceremonies and observances. Jesus waxed indignant and, turning on His critics, hurled burning replies upon them. “Ye hypocrites!” He cried, “You cling to the commandments of men and neglect the commandments of God! You cleanse your hands but not your souls! You are the blind leaders of the blind, and both yourselves and your followers fall in the mire and ditches! Away with you and your hypocrisy!” But the adverse comment aroused by His actions would not down, and, discouraged and disheartened by the evidences of the barrenness of the soil in which He had been sowing the precious seeds of the Truth, He gathered together His followers and departed into Tyre and Sidon, a quieter region, that He might rest and meditate over new plans and work. He could see the beginning of the end.

To understand the nature of the position of the Master at this time, it must be remembered that His strong hold had ever been with the masses of the people, who were His enthusiastic admirers. So long as He remained entrenched in the heart of the populace, the temporal and ecclesiastical authorities dared not attack Him without a popular uprising of no mean proportions. But now that they had managed to wean away His public from Him they pressed Him harder and harder with their persecutions and complaints. And so at last they had managed to render Him almost an unpopular outcast. They forced Him away from the larger towns, and now He was wandering among the less populous regions of the country, and even there the spies and agents of the authorities hunted Him down, seeking to further entrap and compromise Him.

About this time Jesus revealed to His apostles the facts of His Divine origin which was now plain to Him. He also told them of the fate which awaited Him, and which He had willingly chosen. He told them not to expect the fruits of His work at this time, for He was but sowing the seeds of the fruit which would not grow and bear fruit for many centuries. He gave them the Mystic secret of the nature of His work, which is taught to the Initiates of the Occult Brotherhoods even unto this day. But even these chosen men scarcely grasped the true import of His teachings, and once He was rendered almost broken hearted at over-hearing a discussion among them regarding high offices which they hoped to acquire.

Jesus now felt that the time had come for Him to move on to Jerusalem to meet there the crowning act of His strange career. And, knowing full well that such a course would be virtually thrusting His head into the very jaws of the lion of ecclesiastical and temporal authority, He set His feet firmly on the road which led to Jerusalem, the capital city, and the center of ecclesiastical influence. And that road was a hard one to travel, for, as He neared the capital, His enemies increased in number and the opposition to Him grew stronger.  At one village He had been denied the right of shelter, an indignity almost unknown in Oriental lands. In another place a large rock was hurled at Him and wounded Him severely. The mob had turned against Him and was repaying His kind services with abuse and personal violence.  And this is ever the lot of the teacher of the Truth who scatters the sacred pearls of Truth before the swine of the unworthy multitude of people. Over and over again has this fact been brought home to those who would labor for the good of the world. And still we hear the querulous complaint that the Inner Teaching is reserved for the Few—why not scatter it broadcast among the people? The stake, the rack, the stones, the prison cell, the cross and their modern prototypes—these are the silent answers to the question.

Moving on toward Jerusalem the little company reached Perea, a number of miles from Bethany, at which latter place dwelt a family of His friends—the two sisters, Martha and Mary, and their brother Lazarus.  At this place He was met by a messenger from Bethany, who bore the sad news that His friend Lazarus was sick unto death, and who also begged the Master to return to Bethany and cure the man. But this Jesus refused to do, and allowed several days to pass without answering the summons. At the end of the several days He started toward Bethany, telling His disciples that Lazarus was dead. And reaching Bethany they found that it was indeed so—Lazarus was dead and in the tomb.

Jesus was received with scowling antagonism. The people seemed to say, “Here is this heretical imposter again. He feared to come even to the aid of His dying friend. His power has failed Him and He now stands discredited and exposed!” Then came Martha, who reproached the Master with His indifference and delay. He answered her that Lazarus should rise again, but she doubted His word. Then came Mary, whose grief brought tears even from the Master, who had seen so much of human suffering as to have found his eyes refuse to weep.

Then asked the Master, “Where have you laid him away?” and they took Him to the tomb, followed by the curious mob hungering for the sight of more wonders from the man whom they feared even while hating and reviling Him. Jesus stood before the dreary tomb and bade the men roll away the stone that closed the mouth of the tomb. The men hesitated, for they knew that a corpse lay within, and they even perceived the characteristic odor of the tomb issuing therefrom. But the Master insisting upon it, they rolled away the stone and Jesus stood full in front of the dark opening to the cavern.

He stood there for a few moments wrapped in meditation and showing evidences of strong mental concentration. His eyes took on a strange look, and in every muscle He showed that He was summoning to the task every particle of the power at His command. He was throwing off the matters that had been occupying His mind during the past weeks, that He might hold his mind “one-pointed,” as the Oriental occultists term it—that He might concentrate clearly and forcibly upon the task before Him.

Then, arousing His reserve force, in a mighty effort, He cried loudly, in a voice of authority and power, “Lazarus! Lazarus! Come forth!”

The people gasped with horror at this calling forth a corpse which was in the process of disintegration and decay, and a cry of remonstrance went up, but Jesus heeded it not. “Lazarus! Lazarus! Come forth, I command thee!” he cried again.

And then at the mouth of the cavern could be seen something startling.  It was a ghastly figure, bound and clad in the grave-clothes of that country, which was struggling to free itself and to move toward the light. It was indeed Lazarus! And, after tearing off the stained grave-clothes which still retained the horrid stench of decaying matter, his body was found to be sweet and clean and pure as that of the infant. Jesus had performed a wonder-work far beyond any manifestation He had heretofore shown to the world.

The excitement occasioned by this crowning wonder, coming to Jerusalem after a lull in which it had thought that the Master had retired into insignificant seclusion, aroused again into activity the authorities, who now determined to make an end to the matter and to suppress this pestilent charlatan once and for all. Raising a decaying corpse from the tomb, indeed! What new fraudulent marvels would He not work next in order to delude the credulous people and to bring them once more around his rebellious standard? The man was dangerous without doubt, and must be put where He could do no harm—and that at once.

Within a few hours after the receipt of news that Lazarus had walked from the tomb, the Sanhedrin, the great Jewish ecclesiastical council, was in session, called hastily by its officers to take vigorous action concerning this impious, heretical imposter who had been allowed to mock at established order and religion for too long a time. He must be quieted ere he arouse the people once more. The Roman authorities were warned by the Jewish ecclesiastics that this dangerous man now approaching the capital claimed to be the Jewish Messiah, and that His aims were to overturn the Temple authorities first, and then establish Himself as King of the Jews, and place Himself at the head of a revolutionary army which would attempt to defy and defeat the rule of mighty Rome herself.

And so all the machinery was set in motion, and the officers of the law were all on the alert to take advantage of the first overt act of Jesus and His followers, and to throw them into prison as enemies of society, religion and of the state. The Roman authorities were agitated at the reports coming to them from the highest Jewish authorities, and were prepared to crush the rebellion at the first sign. The Jewish priests were in solemn convocation and at the instigation of Caiaphas, the high priest of the Jews, they determined that nothing but the death of this false Messiah would put an end to the agitation which threatened to drive them from power and authority.  And so the die was cast.

And meanwhile Jesus was resting in Bethany, surrounded by great throngs who were pouring into the place to see Lazarus, and to renew their allegiance to the Master whom they had so basely forsaken.  Time-servers ever, the latest miracles had revived their fading interest and waning faith, and they flocked around the Master as noisy, enthusiastic and as full of fulsome praise as ever. And yesterday they had damned Him, and tomorrow they would cry “Crucify Him!” For such is the nature of the multitude of men. Of the multitudes of Jesus’ followers, none remained to acknowledge allegiance in His hour of arrest—even among the chosen twelve, one betrayed Him, one denied Him, and all fled away when He was taken captive. And for such the Son of Man lived and taught and suffered.  Surely His life was the greatest miracle of all.

 



 

 

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