Monday, November 6, 2023

The Way of Peace and the Sword

Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.

- Matthew 10:34 (KJV)

True to his own admission that "unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables", Jesus has shrouded the above in occult symbology for the profane. But the inner meaning, he revealed only to his apostles as we see in Pistis Sophia - Book III, Chapter 116. The setting of Pistis Sophia is post-resurrection and Jesus is on the Mount of Olives surrounded by his apostles who ask him a series of questions. And in response to one of his recondite answers, Mary Magdalene offers to interpret his discourse as follows:

"And moreover the word which thou hast spoken unto us aforetime: 'Think ye I am come to cast peace on the earth? Nay, but I am come to cast division. For from now on five will be in one house; three will be divided against two, and two against three,'--that is: Thou hast brought the mystery of the baptisms into the world, and it hath effected a division in the bodies of the world, because it hath separated the counterfeiting spirit and the body and the destiny into one portion; the soul and the power on the other hand it hath separated into another portion;--that is: Three will be against two, and two against three."

The five in the canonical gospel are mother and mother-in-law against father, daughter and daughter-in-law. In all likelihood, this made so little sense to the uninitiated Fathers of the early Church that they were forced to append the following gratuitous and prosaic explanatory verse: "And a man's foes shall be they of his own household. He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me."

On the other hand, the Gnostic reading lists the five as, the counterfeiting spirit, body and destiny against the soul and the power. These are clearly the constituent principles of Man - three of the lower portion and two of the higher. In the light of Theosophy we can glean the following:

1. The Counterfeiting Spirit is Kama. In Pistis Sophia, Mary Magdalene asks Jesus, "who constraineth the man until he sinneth?" This is the same question that Arjuna asks Krishna in the 3rd chapter of the Bhagavad Gita, "by what, O descendant of Vrishni, is man propelled to commit offenses; seemingly against his will and as if constrained by some secret force?" 3-36

Krishna answers that it is Kama which is the enemy (vairiṇam) of man. Jesus gives the same answer, "this [counterfeiting spirit] is in fact the foe of the soul, and this compelleth it until it doeth all sins."

2. Destiny is shown to come from the region of the Fate, that of the Rulers of the 12 Aeons - astronomically, the Zodiacal signs. Astrologically, these are said to impress upon the incarnating Ego its Swabhava or tendencies concomitant with the Skandas or Mental Deposits that the Ego itself has engendered in its past lives. Further, Krishna says in the Bhagavad Gita, prakr̥tim yānti bhūtāni or that all creatures act according to their own natures. So, this Swabhava is the actor which brings about the Ego's just desserts in its many incarnations on earth. In one sense, Destiny is the Sanchita Karma (accumulated Karmic load) that the Ego has to overcome in order to liberate itself from the incessant cycle of birth, decay, death and regeneration. For a more detailed treatment of Destiny see the Lecture Presentation on The Problem of Free-Will.

3. Body, of course, is the physical body along with the prototypal principle of the Astral or linga śarīra and its vitalizing element, Praṇa.

The above are the three of the lower portion and the following are the two of the higher:

A. The Soul it would seem is the reincarnating entity, the sūtrātma on which the personalities of each incarnation hang as beads on a thread. It finds itself in embodiment during life and following death, it is shown to travel through postmortem realms in a disembodied state until it reincarnates again in a new personality.

B. The Power is "a portion out of my power" says Jesus, which the Rulers "inbreathe" into the Soul. Simplistically, one may say that the Soul is Buddhi and the Power is Atma but very likely they have more to do with the essence of the threefold, fourfold and the fivefold Dhyan Chohans.

When seen in this light, it is clear that Jesus is talking about instigating an inner spiritual struggle against the lower nature of Man (or endogenous evil). This is the way of the sword. Even in the Mahabharata, we see that Krishna only begins his guidance after Arjuna has precipitated the battle. WQJ points out that the whole of Mahabharata is an allegory representing Man in his evolutionary development. And the two opposing forces in the battle are "human faculties and powers" of the lower and higher dispositions respectively. The metaphor of war for this inner spiritual struggle is discernible in almost all Theosophical works.

Now, what does Jesus say regarding externally perceived evil (or exogenous evil)?

But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.

- Matthew 5:39 (KJV)

This is the way of peace. Hence, Jesus enjoined the way of peace as the ONLY legitimate response to Exogenous Evil while advocating the way of the sword ONLY for Endogenous Evil.

According to the LAW of Karma, all seemingly exogenous evils are simply the effects of our own prior actions that were motivated by endogenous evil. With this understanding we see that the way of peace neutralizes the effects by engendering no new causes, while the way of the sword attacks the cause - the very root of all evil that is within us. Their synergetic dual-action becomes "SHILAthe key of Harmony in word and act, the key that counterbalances the cause and the effect, and leaves no further room for Karmic action."

If only the world understood and implemented the true teachings of Jesus, the kingdom of heaven would be instantaneously realized on earth.

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