TODAY...ON MY MIND:
If one were also to compare the Gospel of Thomas to basic Hindu texts--say the Katha Upanishad--one would find that our two religions are basically saying the same thing, but with different symbols and languages. Joseph Campbell was right in saying that all 'myths' tell the basic need of each culture to make sense of their own existence/divinity. And as one of my teachers, Baba Muktananda, says--"All paths lead to the same door."
This is lovely! It is my contention that if people stopped paying attention to the mere words of their religious texts, but took them to be symbols of a deeper meaning, more people would realize that most of the major religions are talking about the same concepts. It is the language and the cultural plurality (and the human interpretation) that cause the differences and the strife. Think about it: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam are ALL Biblical religions (that is, they use the 5 books of Moses as a basis of their religion)--and yet they are the three religions that are causing the conflict in the Middle East.
Literal interpretation of the Bible is dangerous. My experience of Jesus 'ascending to Heaven' means that He ascended above the solar plexus chakra (energy field/circle) and rose higher to the Heart Center, Ajna Chakra (Third Eye), and then finally to the Sahasrara, located at the top of the head. To me, this is the literal meaning of 'ascension'. Science (not to mention mere logic) has proved that a physical Heaven couldn't possibly exist. Think about: what is above us? The sky. Other Universes. Other Galaxies. What is below us? There is no 'below', because the Earth is round. There is only the center of the Earth.
That is not to say that Dante was wrong in his description of the 12 gates of Hell. I believe in the existence of Hell, although not a physical place. Hell, to me, is when we descend into the lower chakras. These are the energy places in the body where, when situated there, they allow us to cheat, lie, steal, murder, etc. This is NOT, by any measure, anywhere near the seat of the Lord. The purpose of our being born is to find the path that leads to the ascension of our spiritual energy to union with the Lord within (hence the word 'yoga').
Since globalization is the wave of today, and is obviously going to be the way of the future, we (the collective people inhabiting planet Earth) need to start taking into account that we come from not only different places, but we have different stories. Our forefathers all told different stories based on their own experiences. The story of Jesus of Nazareth is not going to make as much sense to a Native American as it does to a Christian European. Native Americans have their own myths and legends (in using the word 'myth', that is not to say that I don't believe that Jesus was an actual man); their stories illustrate the pursuit of man in finding his own Divinity; his own purpose; his highest good.
Let's come together and start comparing our religions before we wage wars over signs and symbols that may have the exact same inherent meaning, even when written in different languages, by different cultures. The time is now. There are no more excuses for faith based wars. We are ONE world.
""It will not come by watching for it. It will not be said, 'Look, here!' or 'Look, there!' Rather, the Father's kingdom is spread out upon the earth, and people don't see it." --Gospel of Thomas
"The self-existent pierced the openings outward;therefore one looks outward, not inside the soul.A certain wise person, however, seeking immortality,looking within saw the soul." --Katha Upanishad
Heaven is right here, right now. Look inside and find it.
TAGS: Jaibhakti, Bhakti, mysticism, Joseph Campbell, Bhakti Brophy, religious war, peace, spirituality,