Thursday, December 30, 2010

Christian scholars are perplexed at Jesus' choice of the word "yoke"

Death represents the culmination or boundary of horizontal existence. As such, Lazarus represents pure verticality, detached from the world of sickness, suffering, and toil. In Buddhism, there is a concept that is similar to divine incarnation, that is, the bodhisattva principle. A bodhisattva voluntarily renounces his verticality for horizontality, willingly taking on the suffering of existence until all beings have achieved liberation.

Christianity takes this principle to its translogical extreme, in that Jesus may be thought of as the ultimate bodhisattva, giving up an endowed chair in the Department of Trinitarian Studies in order to take his place with the struggling creatures below.

If death is the foreclosing of the horizontal for the vertical, this is the opposite, the renunciation of the vertical for the horizontal. And as Tomberg says, "there is no greater love than that of the sacrifice of eternity for the limitations of existence in the transient moment" -- and which is why, in the words of Petey, we are grateful for this undertaking of mortality, for our daily lessons in evanescence, for this manifestivus for the rest of us.

"Christian yoga," if we may call it such ("my yoka's easy"), is a strict balance between verticality and horizontality. One does not renounce the horizontal world. But nor does one cling to it as if it were the ultimate reality. Rather, one must always be in the horizontal but not of the horizontal. Excessive entanglement in the horizontal entails one kind of sleep, forgetting, and death; giving it up entirely for the vertical represents another kind: Lazarus' kind.

Shankara refers to horizontal men -- those flatlanders who are dead to the vertical -- as “suicides” who “clutch at the unreal and destroy themselves. What greater fool can there be than the man who has obtained this rare human birth... and yet fails, through delusion, to realize his own highest good? Know that the deluded man who walks the dreadful path of sense-craving moves nearer to his ruin with every step.”

Similarly, the Upanishads say that “Rare is he who, looking for immortality, shuts his eyes to what is without and beholds the Self. Fools follow the desires of the flesh and fall into the snare of all-encompassing death.... Worlds there are without suns, covered up with darkness. To these after death go the ignorant, slayers of the Self.”

In other words, pure horizontality entails not just the end of verticality, but the death of the Self -- or banishment to a world without the central Sun (of which our sun is only a symbol), "covered in darkness."

Let's refer back to Jesus' cryptic words in John 11:10, that "if one walks in the night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him." Note that one does not stumble because of an absence of external light, but because there is no interior light: the light is not in him.

I find it interesting that Thomas is the disciple who supposedly evangelized India. Naturally, this would have been known when the gospels were written. But when Thomas says, "Let us also go, that we may die with Lazarus," he is saying something rather suggestive.

Let's set aside the literal meaning for the moment, and interpret it to convey something like, "let us all die to the world and go entirely vertical, like one of those Upanishadic seers so that we too may be reborn 'for the glory of God, that the son of God may be glorified through our rebirth' (referring again to John 11:4). Let's be his glowdisciples and bring the vertical Light into the horizontal darkness that the latter doesn't comprehend!" (Also interesting that Jesus mentions there being "twelve hours in the day," which suggests to me that there shall be "twelve evangelists in the Light.")

Now, since we are dealing with principial truth, it is surely no coincidence that the Isha Upanishad warns that "To darkness are they doomed who devote themselves only to life in the world, and to a greater darkness they who devote themselves only to meditation.” 

Comment posted by: Govind Re: A Hindu View of Christian Yoga—by Rajiv Malhotra

The real Yoga of Jesus is already contained in his teaching. His teaching never originally fit into Orthodox Jewish religious beliefs and constraints and the Jewish religion has rejected it completely. The Roman religion founded in Jesus' name several hundred years after his passing was from the very beginning an imperial construct which, while appearing to surrender, in fact, quite effectively conquered the early Jesus movement and killed the spiritual by substituting it with the imperial religion.

But the yoga is there and unmistakable. So many instances can be cited. For example, his statement "Be ye perfect as your father in heaven" is an almost exact parallel of the Gita's "Nirdosham hi samam Brahma, tasmaad Brahmani te sthitaaha." What is most striking here is that Jesus uses the word "perfect" in the exact sense that Krishna uses the word "Nirdosham"... in the sense of equality of the EQUAL (Samam) Brahma. This is clear from the passage in which the teaching occurs: "Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so? Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect."

So close, almost identical, are the two that it almost sounds like Jesus is here giving a commentary on that verse from the Gita

Furthermore look at his statement "My Yoke is easy" in which Yoke is an exact translation of Yoga (latin: ieugem)... when read in context of the larger passage indicates that the Yoga of Jesus brings EASE or sukham and liberates one from suffering and again corresponds to a definition in the Gita of Yoga as "dukkha sanyoga viyogam" or which leads to "sukham akshayam". Furthermore, to this day Christian scholars are perplexed at Jesus' choice of the word "yoke" which had an almost exclusively negative context in the Biblical scriptures. In the roman world also, simply making another person pass under a yoke was a form of humiliation.

One could go on and on and on...

Sri Aurobindo has pointed us in this direction and provided all the important guideposts and guideposts to Jesus' Yoga even in Savitri. What needs to happen is the recovery of Jesus' yoga and its liberation from the grossly obscuring religious misinterpretation that has spread the mere outer word throughout the world but has also veiled the Yogic Truth of Spirit contained in them.