Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0
Jackline Spasova-Bobeva

1914_03_16 Behold the Man

2 posts in this topic

from The Blossoming of the Human Soul
 



 

BEHOLD THE MAN

 

“Then Jesus came out, wearing the crown

of thorns and the purple robe.

And Pilate said to them, Behold the Man!”[1]

John 19:5

 
The Bulgarian word chovek or chelovek (old style), which is translated as “man” in English, refers to a being who can live for more than a century. However, in the ancient language in which this phrase was written, the word chovek refers to Jesus, the Man, who came to the Earth; the Brother of those who suffer. What is the meaning of this word? When we go into the world, would people say about us, “Behold the Man?” To deserve this name, one should possess four qualities: wealth, strength, knowledge, and virtue. Some may ask, “What has wealth to do with this?” Wealth represents the soil, in other words, the conditions under which humans can develop; it is the foundation necessary for attaining strength. Strength brings warmth and light that results in growth and development. Knowledge involves understanding and the regulation of our lives. Virtue, on the other hand, is the goal people need to strive for. Plant a grain of wheat and it will show you what you should do. “How?” you may ask. Water it and the sunrays will guide the grain of wheat toward the Sun, toward the source of life.
 
Similar to the grain of wheat, we need to grow, to strive for God. But someone may ask, “Can the grain of wheat reach the Sun while growing? Will I reach God?” You do not need to know where God is, you only need to strive toward Him. The grain of wheat knows what the Sun is and has received what it needs from it. The same Law is true for people and we need to produce the same result: we need to be sown. We are going inevitably to meet hardships in our lives, small but necessary obstacles, as in the case with the grain of wheat. Some pressure is needed so that the process of growth and true Knowledge can begin. When we bear fruit, we already have Virtue. Therefore, we need to be sown, covered with soil, and experience some pressure. After that, we should grow up and should attain Knowledge. And that Knowledge, after growing to a certain extent, should be immediately transformed into a grain of wheat. After we attain Knowledge, the Master will order the wheat to be harvested, separating the useful from the useless; the wheat from the chaff. While our birth is similar to wheat sprouting, our death is similar to the threshing of wheat. From the threshing floor, the Lord will take what He needs. This corresponds to the barn and the granary: the chaff is placed in the barn and the grain is placed in the granary.
 
I read the 19th chapter of the Gospel of John to remind you of the four things that Christ carried on the cross, the four things that we need to learn. Virtue was on His head, which was not nailed; on the left side was Knowledge; on the right side was Strength; and below, at His feet, was Wealth. These four together represent the crucified man. In other words, when we nail Wealth, Strength, and Knowledge; their essence rises up to the head, toward Virtue. Whenever God wants to do something good for someone, He nails this one to the cross; He nails one’s wealth, strength, and knowledge to create a virtuous person.
 
What does it mean “to nail”? It means that God is securing the person so that no one can take him away; no one can be that person’s master because God is his Master. God says, “Stay calm when I am working.” But since man does not want to stay calm, God says, “Nail him down so that he will be calm while I am working.” When we are being nailed to the cross, we should not cry because God is working for our improvement. Those who are not nailed to the cross are unhappy. Whoever wants God’s attention should pass through this process of development.
 
I am speaking allegorically. Before this process of development can take place, steadfast faith in the universal Divine Plan is required. We should not have doubt in God because He is perfect and almighty. Jesus said, “Things impossible to men are possible to God.”[2] The ways of God are unfathomable. Do not think that God’s ways can be distorted and obstructed. When we are called upon to walk the Divine path, we should have the simple faith, which children have. We should avoid any shortcomings as the ones illustrated in the following story.
 
A great artist in England wanted to portray extreme poverty. For days and months, he roamed the streets of London to find a subject corresponding to his idea. Finally, he found a child dressed in rags who appealed to his heart and he thought, “This is going to be the model for my painting.” He approached the child, gave him a card with his address, and said to him, “Come to my place in four days, I have something to talk to you about.” The child, looking at the well-dressed gentleman, thought, “How can I go to this man in rags?” The boy decided to borrow clothes from his friends so he could look presentable. But when the child went to the painter, the man asked, “Who are you?” When the painter realized it was the poor boy, he said, “Go away! If I wanted someone dressed like this, there would have been thousands to choose from. I needed you dressed in rags like when I first saw you.”
 
When Heaven invites us to work, we, too, wish to dress well. However, our power is not in our clothes, hats, gloves, shoes, collars, ties, or watches. These are not of any importance. The power is in our minds, in our hearts, in our noble impulses and aspirations to do good. When we have these, all others will come in time. When we go to Heaven, do we need to take our clothes? God does not want our rags, so He says, “Bring him the way he is.” When a person dies, it is common for most people to turn away from him. Even loved ones say, “Take him away as soon as possible.” Where is their love then? Only God does not turn away from him, but says, “Bring him to Me just the way he is.” When we are placed in the grave and left there, what is God doing? He begins conversing with us; the soul is not immediately liberated as some people think. He asks us, “Have you understood the meaning of the life that I gave to you?” During this conversation, God is painting His masterpiece. The people who have said goodbye to the departed person begin weeping and reciting his good qualities. These people see the Divine painting in these qualities.
 
We need to endure the suffering we experience and learn from it. With His earthly suffering, Jesus wanted to provide us with an example of surrendering to this Divine process. He points out, “Do I not have the power to ask my Father to send thousands of Angels to rescue me? But if I do not fulfill that for which I have come, how will human beings be raised up?[3] Jesus desired to ascend to the Heavens. You are on Earth and one day, you will experience turmoil as well and maybe even the same fate as Jesus. But when this moment comes, do not consider it as a misfortune, for without suffering, there can be no gain. Where there is sorrow, there is joy; where there is death, there is resurrection. Those who do not want to participate in the suffering of humankind will gain nothing. After all, what is suffering? It is a consequence of the errors made in the past due to our ignorance. These errors are corrected through the process of suffering. This process is a method of accepting and attaining the sublime elevating vibrations that awaits us in Heaven. One needs to endure a hundred sorrows in order to experience one Divine joy. Only then can a person properly appreciate and retain Divine joy. That is why God tempers us with sorrow, the same way as a blacksmith tempers the iron to make it fit for work, so that we can endure the joy that will come later.
 
Each of us is needed, very much needed by God. To the world, you may be valueless, but for God, you are an important part of the whole. Only God, Who has sent us to the Earth, values our suffering. Therefore, you should not be concerned with what the world thinks of you. The One who has sent you here thinks about you and values you. It is important for you to have God’s approval. If God is with you, you will be beautiful and the world loves the beautiful ones; if He is with you, you will be wealthy, strong, and good; goodness is always honored.
 
Now I would like to speak to you about God. I will not talk about an abstract Being scattered into space and difficult to reach, as presented by many philosophers, but about God Who thinks of us, Who observes our actions, corrects, punishes, dresses and undresses us; and Who allows us to be born and to die. What is dying? Dying occurs when God performs “surgery” and observing that you will lose a lot, shortens the process of your life. As if He says, “To prevent creating more debt, take away the capital that I gave to this person. Times are not favorable now, let him come at a different time, bring him to Me now.” During this process, it is possible to think that the world has forgotten us. But even when the world has forgotten us, God is still thinking of us. And the world shall forget us. A girl can never marry if she is in love with many young men; she needs to choose one of them claiming, “He is my world.” This fact is true for faith as well. There must be only one God. In this world there are many gods who would like to sway you, but you need to find your God who will help you to live, evolve, and grow.
 
It is said in the Scriptures, “God is not only in Heaven; He abides within the hearts of the meek.”[4] Therefore, in order for God to live within you, the first quality you need to attain is humility. But this is not the humility of a sheepish person. When you are beaten or someone breaks your leg, it is not right to think, “There is nothing I can do.” It is not humility when all your wealth is taken away to say, “We became humble.” Humility is when you have all the wealth, power, knowledge, goodness; and being aware of your blessings to say, “God, everything I have is Yours.” Many people today show interest in preaching the Gospel and participate actively in organizing the affairs of the world, yet at the same time, they are unwilling to make any self-sacrifice. As soon as God touches their overfilled purses, these people cry out, “Ah, this is not permitted! We may give half of what we have but not everything.” When it comes to power, they say, “You cannot dispose me of all my power.” But whenever we find ourselves in need, we pray to God to lead and help us. This kind of human understanding of life has dominated philosophies for thousands of years. All our misfortunes come because of this understanding.
 
Through His life, Jesus wants to show us the path. Many people think that once they become Christians, they should leave the secular life. You may give up your houses, riches, wives, children and still think about them. You may go to some secluded monastery and still think, “What is happening to my wife, my children, my house?” And that means that you have not given them up, so you are not free. To give up things does not mean exactly forgetting about them. It means that you leave people to do what they wish: allow your wife to act as she wants; leave your son to act as he would like. To renounce the world means to abandon it, not to be in its way and allow life to follow its course. We cannot stop the flow of a river. We should let it follow its own way. We can only do one thing: make use of it. In the same way we cannot stop life, but we should make use of things. Jesus, clearly and positively told us, “If you love Me, keep My Commandments.”[5] And we should love Him. He did not say, “Pity on you if you do not love Me!” The Lord never requires forced sacrifices from us.
 
People say, “Why does the almighty God not put the world in order?” How shall He put it in order? “Those who tell lies, let their tongue wither; those who steal, let their hand wither.” If that was the case, we would have a world of mute and crippled people. Would a world of handicapped people be pleasant? In fact, God gives a totally opposite ruling. He goes along with the opposite of this process, saying that whoever wants to be a master should become a servant. Strong people usually desire that all rivers flow into their river; but when goodness is present, the process is completely the opposite. God flows into small rivers and instead of directing them; He allows them to rule themselves. You can conduct a small experiment in your home. Remove the thought that you rule and instead strive to become a servant for God. And then you will come down to God’s Place. You seek God in Heaven, but He is not there; when you moan and suffer, He is within you. What people call growth and advancement indicates the fact that God is at work in this process. God is the best Worker.
 
Some complain, “Why does God not see our suffering?” Yet, He tells, “I am so busy with your affairs, I have no time. I am occupied with your important issues. When I have some free time, I am going to look into your trivial, petty disagreements.” This is not an allegory but a reality. There is a verse in the Scriptures where the Lord says, “I was in Israel as a loaded wagon into which people constantly place everything.”[6]
 
The suffering we experience here is the Lord’s suffering. He suffers and weeps within us. We say, “I weep. My soul is full of grief.” However, when we say, “Lord, forgive me. With my impure thoughts and actions I have caused You much suffering,” we will come to that true path that will deliver us from everyday evil.
 
We should allow our Lord to become stronger within us. We have tied Him with ropes and nailed Him. We need to lay Him in the grave and leave Him there at peace. Only then will He resurrect us and set us free. Be sure of one thing: we are the ones who obstruct His path. It is the human beings and not the devil obstructing God’s way. Because God has established the Law of Freedom, He cannot and does not want to change this Law. Unless we come to this understanding, unless we voluntarily surrender, He will not deliver us. The striving to become like Him needs to penetrate us. We need to be engulfed by the striving to become God-like. Then, we are going to use our wealth, power, and virtues for uplifting our brethren, our fellow man. Each one of you needs to search and value the souls of your brethren, rather than their bodies.
 
I can tell you that Jesus, Who came down here, has not left the Earth even now. He is living and working among humans and it is time for Him to rise within us. We need to have true faith, not fearful faith as the Jews who said, “We have no other king but Caesar.” However, a few years later, when Caesar destroyed Jerusalem and demolished their temple, they renounced him. Even now a person may say, “Caesar is my king,” but the consequences will be the same.
 
Let me explain. We need to live first in this world in order to be prepared for the World beyond. We cannot live in Heaven because the heat and light there are very high. As a gardener transplants pine trees brought down from a higher elevation, he makes various grafts until the trees are acclimated. Similarly, our Heavenly Father cannot take us from here and transplant us in the Garden of Eden without first preparing us. Even our educational system is organized in a similar manner: first we must pass first grade, then second, then high school, college and university, and lastly we enter the world. These are methods of the New Culture and those who want to advance should follow these guidelines. In my opinion, we should not be foolish and say, “I do not need to do anything, God will provide all for me.” When you have ploughed your field, you sow the wheat because if you do not sow the wheat, what will God give you? He will give you weeds and thistles. Cultivate your vineyard and it will bear fruit. Whatever vine you plant, it will produce the appropriate fruit. If you plant low-quality vine twigs, it will produce sour grapes. God gave your child a good mind, but what did you plant in it? Were these the seeds that would bear good fruit? We desire to be virtuous, strong, and wealthy. We can have it all: virtue, strength, and wealth and it is necessary to have them. The conditions under which these can thrive and develop are: Divine seed, Divine Law, and Divine balance. Balance represents the Virtue, Law is the Knowledge, conditions represent the strength, and seed stays for the abundance.
 
But you will ask me how to find God. It is very easy. Someone wanted to make fun and to tease his companion who told him, “We are in an orchard in which there are many beautiful apples.” “But I see nothing,” he answered closing his eyes. His friend slapped the other person’s face, causing him to open his eyes and see. God sometimes slaps us in the face so that we can see. Those of you whose eyes are closed should desire to open them. People of today argue and say, “Where is God? God is in the trees, stones, and ground.” However, it is when adversities come that people look up and seeing Him there, they cry out, “Oh, Lord!” Adversities are the God’s slap in the face, telling us, “I created you to see, not to keep your eyes closed.” In order to advance, we need to become like children, to search and be receptive.
 
I will tell you something else now, related to the method we should use in our work. We should always be connected through our minds and hearts with all people on Earth because our salvation comes from our united prayers. There is power in unity. When minds and hearts of people become united, then the Kingdom of God will come to Earth. We should not look for faults in a friend whom we truly love, for we may have faults too. Shortcomings are the outer garment that a person wears. However, the human soul is pure, it cannot be spoiled, nor can it be destroyed. No one is able to defile your Divine soul. Externally, it may become soiled, but it will remain pure internally because God dwells within it. It is unthinkable that something that God protects could be destroyed.
 
We may submit to the world just as per the words of Christ when Pilate said to Him, “I have the authority to crucify you.” And He replied, “I submit to that One Who has given you this authority, but My soul is free.”[7] We need to submit to transient suffering. We cannot understand it now, but after we die and resurrect, we are going to understand the reason for suffering. Until now, all people have suffered torments and fears in life, but this is not true Life. Life is when one is filled with noble feelings. A person who is able to do selfless acts is happy. If someone treats you badly, you may not want to take off your hat or shake hands with that person in greeting. Or you may shake hands, but not in a sincere way; you may also take off your hat, but without the genuine feeling of respect. Usually, we take off our hat to a person in a higher position, but with this gesture, somehow we say, “Can you give me a promotion?”
 
In the Black Sea, there is a devil fish which “greets” all it encounters. People, too, grasp someone by the hand. Why? The devilish fingers of the human hand speak a lot. For example, the little finger says, “Can you give me some money? I need to start a business. I have losses, I was robbed. Will you help me?” The ring finger says, “I would like the fame and knowledge of an artist.” The middle finger, “I want my rights and privileges.” The index finger, “I need to be respected and honored.” The thumb, “I want power and skills.” The greeted one, if the will and chance is there, will give these things to the other person. And so, the two of them, later taking a third one in their company, go into the society and form a group, but they cannot find what they are looking for. Finally, Jesus said, “Whatever you are searching for: wealth, strength, knowledge, and goodness—I can give you all this. There is no one among you who has left his father and mother for Me and who has not received a hundred fold in the future Life.”[8] Behold the Man Who can shake hands with us and Who can give us everything: wealth, strength, knowledge, and goodness. Yet people shouted, “Take Him away, crucify Him!” And Pilate remarked to them, “You are losing Him!”[9] Jesus is before you today as well. I am telling you, behold the Man Who you are searching for. The only Man Who can bring tranquility to your hearts; Who can give you a bright mind, health, social position; Who can uplift you, show you the way and illuminate your thoughts. Yet, in your doubt, you say, “Show Him to us so that we can see Him.”
 
I will present to you a comparison. In the distance, a person appears at night carrying a small candle and I say to you, “Behold the man who brings you light.” However, you only see the candle and not the person. When will you see him? You will see him when the Sun rises. Search for this Light that the Man is carrying; it will help you find the path that you need to walk. This is how you should understand this concept.
 
Let me give you another, clearer comparison. Imagine that I lead you to a lavish but dark living room and tell you, “This is a room with beautiful decorations, with big riches. There, in that corner, is this; in the other corner, that and that.” You reply, “It could be possible, but who knows? I see nothing.” However, if I bring a small lit candle, then the nearest objects can be seen; if I bring a candle with a bigger light, the objects become even more visible. If I light more candles, gradually the room becomes brighter and brighter. When the electric light is on, the objects are clear and when the daylight comes, everything can be seen. The world is like this room and each of us needs to be a bearer of light, to carry a candle. When we all enter with our lit candles and place them together, we will increase the light and will be able to see more. Our brains are similar to candles. I do not like people who carry extinguished candles but people who carry lit candles as on the night of Good Friday. Everyone should be like a lit candle. A devoted, loving, and good person is a lit candle. It is a great mistake for a person to be an extinguished candle.
 
You ask what to do. You should pray for each other. You should send forth good thoughts to your friends, pray for them, and ask to be blessed; when God blesses them, He will bless you too. But why should we pray? In the summer of 1899, there was a great drought in the region of Novi Pazar.[10] The Turks from the nearby thirty-nine villages gathered together and prayed for rain. And the rain came. The Bulgarians thought, “If God is sending rain to them, He will send it to us too.” But no rain fell over their villages and their stock became emaciated from hunger. When other people are praying, you should pray too; you should hand in also your humble prayers. God will not keep a special file about you if you do not pray. Prayer is a great power and people of today should be people of prayer. Through prayer we will prepare our minds and hearts. We should pray not only for ourselves because doing so is selfish.
 
I do not want to deal with the minds of people, but rather with their hearts because all malice is hidden there. The Lord Himself says, “My son, give Me your heart.”[11] We need to begin now with a thorough cleaning as we do for Easter, to open the windows and clean the floor. We all groan when we are burdened. There is disharmony everywhere. Husband and wife cannot come to an agreement; they divide the house and money. The wife is displeased that her husband keeps the money. It does not matter whether the husband or the wife keeps the money. Reach an agreement on who will be in charge. People argue who will hold the first place at home: the hen or the rooster. What is this issue about the hen and the rooster? It is not important in life. Something else is more important.
 
Jesus has come and He is working. When Light comes, it comes gradually, silently, without noise. Jesus will not come like a thunder, as some expect. This may also happen, but Jesus will not be there. The prophet Elijah went to the desert and devoted himself to prayer and fast. When storm and fire came, Elijah covered his eyes, yet God was not in the storm and fire, but in the still Voice that spoke to the prophet. God is not in your suffering, your power, or your knowledge. Where is He? He is in Love. If you have Love, He is within you. If you do not have Love, He is absent. And you should love, that is the Law. Some people do not love, but expect others to love them. This is similar to sitting in front of a stove and waiting for someone else to bring wood so that we can get warm. We alone should collect this fuel, which others can use as well. We, the followers of Jesus, Who has given us abundant strength, should finally allow Him to come and reside within us.
 
Now I am leaving this Man with you. Are you going to welcome or crucify Him? Are you going to let Him in, or will you say, “We do not want Him?” This is the question that you need to answer. If you say, “Let Him in, He is our Lord,” you have properly answered the question and the blessings will come. Then the words in the Scriptures will be fulfilled, “I and My Father will come and We will make Our Home with you.”[12] Then the Light will be in us and we will all reconcile.
 
Lecture by the Master Beinsa Douno, held on March 16 (Gregorian calendar of the 29th century), 1914, in Sofia.
 
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
1. All quotes are from the Holy Bible, most being taken from the New King James, Version (NKJV).
2. See Luke 18:27.
3. See also Matthew 26:53–54, “Or do you think that I cannot now pray to My Father and He will provide Me with more than twelve legions of Angels? How then could the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must happen thus?”
4. See also 1John 4:16, “And we have known and believed the Love that God has for us. God is Love and he who abides in Love abides in God and God in him.”
5. See also John 14:15.
6. See also Matthew 11:28, “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest.”
7. See also John 19:10–11.
8. See also Matthew 19:29, “And everyone who has left houses, or brothers, or
sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands for My name’s sake shall
receive a hundredfold and inherit eternal Life.”
9. See also John 19:13–16.
10. A town in Northern Bulgaria.
11. See also Proverbs 23:26, “My son, give Me your heart and let your eyes observe My ways.”
12. See also John 14:23, “Jesus answered and said to him, ‘If anyone loves Me, he will keep My Word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our Home with him. ”

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

From  Peace be with you



 
"Behold the Man!" {Ecce Homo}

 

 

"Then Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. And Pilate said to them, "Behold the Man!" (John 19:5)
 
By the word "man" {chovek} or "Mann" {chelovek} [1] in Bulgarian is meant a being, which lives for an entire century; however, in the archetypal language, in the language in which this phrase is written, "man" has a different meaning - it means: Jesus, the Man Who comes to the earth, the Brother of those who suffer. What should we understand by these words? Can people say of us, when we come out before the world: "Behold the man"? For man to bear the honor of this name, he must contain four things in himself: he must be rich, he must be strong, he must have knowledge, he must possess virtues. But, you will say: "What is richness doing here?" - Richness is the soil, the conditions in which man can develop; it is the soil in which strength develops. And the latter brings warmth and light, which affect the growth, the development. When we come to knowledge - it is the method by which we must understand and regulate our life. Virtue, on the other hand, is the aim towards which we must aspire. And often people ask the question: "What should we do?" - sow a grain of wheat, and it will show you what you ought to do. You will say "How?" - Put moisture, and the sunrays will show what the grain of wheat strives towards - towards one direction - towards the Sun - the wellspring of life. And we, like the grain of wheat, must grow - must strive towards God. But someone may ask: "When the grain of wheat grows up, does it reach the Sun? Whereas I wish to find God." You do not need to know where God is, but need only strive towards Him. The grain has understood what sort of a thing the Sun is, and has accepted what it wishes. The same law holds true for us - we, too, must produce the same result. We must be sown, our life will by all means have difficulties, which constitute these small but necessary hindrances, like the grain of wheat - a certain pressure is required, and after this will come the process of growth, knowledge, and when we give fruit, this is finally virtue. Therefore, we must be sown, a little soil must be added, there must be a little pressure, after which we must grow upwards and gain knowledge, and this knowledge, after it has grown to a certain level, must immediately transform into a grain of wheat. And after this the Master [2] will send for the wheat to be reaped, and He will separate the useful from the useless - the wheat from the chaff. We are born, this means we are sprouting; we grow, we develop, we die and are buried in the grave - this is threshing. And from the threshing-floor the Lord will gather that which He needs. This corresponds to the barn and the granary: the chaff is placed in the barn, and the grains - in the granary.
 
I have read to you the 19th chapter from the Gospel of John, so that you would see the four things that Christ bore on the cross - four things, which we too have to learn, by placing virtue on the head which was not nailed, on the left - knowledge, on the right - strength and down below at the feet - richness, and we will then have the crucified man. I.e. when we nail the richness, strength and knowledge, their juices will ascend towards the head - towards virtue. When the Lord wishes to make man kind-hearted, He nails him to the cross - He nails his riches, strength, knowledge. And what does nailing mean? They put him in the bank-safe, so that he may not be taken by anyone, so that no one can have him at one's disposal, because the Lord will have him at His disposal. He says: "When I work, you will be calm". And because man does not want to stay calm, the Lord says: "Nail him, so that he may be calm, [and] that I may work..." And when we are nailed to this cross, we should not weep, because then the Lord works for us. Unfortunate is the one, who is not nailed to the cross. Whoever wants the Lord to occupy Himself with him must pass through this process of development. I speak to you allegorically.
 
Before this process of development, it is imperative that there is faith, unshakeable faith in the overall Divine plan, which has in view all living beings that God has created. We should not doubt God, because He is perfect, omnipotent; does not Jesus say in one place: "What is impossible for man is possible for God." The Divine ways are unfathomable. The thought that these ways can be distorted and impeded should not be allowed: it is impossible.
 
And when we are called and have set out on the Divine path, we should have that simple faith which children have and avoid flaws like the one pointed out in the following story. In England, a great artist wanted to make a painting in which to depict the extreme poverty. For days and months he wandered around London in order to find a subject that would accord with the idea. At last he found a child in tattered rags which befitted his heart and he said to himself: "Here is the face that will serve for the creation of the painting!" He approached the child, gave him his card with the address and said to him: "Come in four days, I have something to speak to you." The child, on seeing a man dressed in this manner, thought: "How am I going to visit him like this, almost entirely tattered", and went to acquaintances to dress and present himself in the way one presents himself to the kings; the child found clothes, dressed, and went to the painter. "Who are you?" asked the artist. - "I am so-and-so." - "Off you go! If I wanted someone like this, dressed, there are thousands of them. I needed you the way I saw you then". And we too, when Heaven invites us to work, wish to dress ourselves. However, the strength is not in our clothes, hats, gloves and fashionable shoes, neither in the collars, ties and watches - they do not constitute anything of importance; the strength is in our mind, in our heart, in the noble instigations and the aspiration to do good. When we have these things, the others, in their own time, will come by themselves. Indeed, when we go to Heaven, should we take our clothes from here? The Lord, when He summons us to Heaven, undresses us here. He does not want our rags, but rather He says: "Bring him as he is". When someone dies, each of us turns away from him; even those, who had loved him, say: "Take him away sooner!" Where, then, is their love? But the Lord does not turn away and says: "Bring him. I need him as he is". And when they put us in the grave and leave us, what does the Lord do? He begins to talk with us - it is not the case, as some think, that the dead are set free. He asks us: "Well, did you understand life, did you understand the meaning of the life which I sent you?" Precisely in this conversation the Lord draws His great painting, precisely then this process comes into existence: the people, after they see the man off, begin to cry and to list all his good qualities - they see the Divine painting which is depicted in these qualities.
 
We have to endure the sufferings which come to us and draw a lesson from them. Jesus wished to give us an example with His earthly sufferings that we have to obey this Divine process. In one place He says: "Do I not have the power to ask My Father to send thousands of Angels to save me? But if I do not accomplish what I have come for, how shall people be uplifted?" And He Himself wished to be lifted up, as well. You are on the Earth, one day storms, tribulations and, perhaps, the same terrible fate will also come to pass upon you, but when this hour comes, you should not in the least consider it a misfortune, for where there is no suffering, there is also no enrichment [3]; where there are sorrows, there are also joys; where there is death, there is also resurrection. And he, who does not wish to participate in the sufferings of humanity, will not acquire anything. And then, what, in essence, are sufferings? Consequences of mistakes, caused in the past by our inaptitude. Precisely these mistakes are rectified by the process of suffering. This process is a method for us to adapt to and achieve those supreme ascending vibrations which await us in Heaven. A hundred sorrows must be borne in order to endure one Divine joy. Exactly then we will appreciate, as we should, this joy and will retain it. And this is why the Lord begins with sufferings, in order to harden us (like the blacksmith hardens the iron in order to make it suitable for work), so that we are able to endure the joy that will follow afterwards.
 
Each of us is needed and much needed by the Lord. It may be that for the world you are not of any worth - a zero - however, for God you are an important unit [4]. Only the Lord, Who has sent you to the Earth, values your sufferings, and, therefore, you should not worry what the world thinks of you; the One Who has sent you, He thinks of you and values you. For you it is important to have the approval of God. If the Lord is with you, you will be beautiful, and the world loves that which is beautiful; if He is with you, you will be rich, strong and good, and the good is always honored.
 
Now I shall speak to you about God, not as a being, as the philosophers say, abstract, dispersed throughout space, [whereby] you do not know where He is, but about that Lord, of Whom I preach, Who thinks of us, Who watches our steps, straightens, corrects, punishes, dresses, undresses - causes us to be born and to die. What is dying? The Lord makes an operation, He sees that you will lose much, [and so] He shortens the process of your life - "in order for him not to make more debt, take [away] his capital, which I have given him, the times are not favorable now, leave him for another time, bring him to Me". And in this process we think that the world has forgotten us. But, if the world has forgotten us, the Lord thinks of us. And the world must by all means forget us. A maiden can never marry if she loves all lads; she has to choose one and say: "This is my beloved [5]". So also in life, this fact is just as true. You must have only one Lord. There are many gods in the world who will want to appropriate you; but you must find your God with Whom you will be able to live, to develop, to grow rich.
 
The Scriptures say: "God is not only in Heaven; He lives in the hearts of the humble"; therefore, the first quality which you must acquire, so that He may begin to live in you, is humility. But this humility is not like the humility of a sheep - to say, when they beat you up or break your legs: "Nothing doing!". It is not humility, when they take away all your riches, to say: "We have humbled ourselves" . It is humility to realize and say, when you have all the riches, strength, knowledge, and goodness: "Lord! Everything I have is at your disposal". But now everyone does the following: all preach the Gospel and always set the world aright; but when the Lord stops at their overfilled purses, they shout: "Ah, not there! One half, see, we can give, but everything - no". When it comes to strength, they say: "You cannot have all of my strength at your disposal". But when we are in need we want and plead Him to guide us and to help. This way of humanly understanding life predominates in all philosophies from thousands of years ago until this very time. And our misfortunes stem exactly from this. But Jesus wishes to show us the way with His life. Many Christians understand that when they become Christians, they will have to abandon the world. You may renounce your houses, wealth, wives, children and still think of them. You may go to a secluded monastery and still think: "I wonder what became of my wife, my children, my house?" And this means that you have not renounced them, that you are not free. To renounce things does not mean to forget them, but to leave people free - to leave the wife to act as she sees fit, to leave the son to act as he sees fit. To renounce the world means to leave it, to not hinder it - let it go its own way: can we stop the flowing of the river? We should leave it to go its own way; we can do one thing only - to make use of it. In the same way, we are not able to stop life, but should simply make use of things. And Jesus clearly and positively tells us: "If you love Me" - and we must love Him - in no way does He say: "Woe to you, if you do not love Me!" No! The Lord never wants sacrifices from us against our will.
 
People say: "Why doesn't the Lord, Who is Almighty, set the world right?" - "How should He set it right?" - "He who lies, let his tongue wither; he who steals, let his hand wither". But then we would have a world of only deaf and crippled people. What do you think - would such a world be pleasant for us, of only ailing people? The Lord, however, exercises a diametrically opposed rulership, He goes by the reverse of this process and says that, whoever wishes to be a master, must be a servant. This process consists in the following. The strong people usually want all rivers to flow into their river; in the Good, however, the process is exactly the opposite - the Lord pours Himself into small rivers and instead of ruling them Himself, He leaves it to them to rule themselves. You can make a small experiment in your home. Let the thought that you have to control take leave of you; place in your mind [the thought] to become a servant - to become a servant for the sake of the Lord, and then you will descend in the place of the Lord. You seek the Lord in Heaven, but He is not there; when you groan and suffer, He is within you. And what people call growth, advancement, is a sign that in this process [of suffering] the Lord works. He is the best workman. Some complain: "Why does God not see our sufferings?"; but He says: "I do not have time; I am so busy with your affairs, I am busy with much more important affairs of yours; when there is time left I will occupy Myself with your external tiny disagreements". This is not an allegory, but reality. There is a verse in the Scriptures, where the Lord says: "I was for Israel like a loaded cart, in which people constantly put everything". The sufferings, however, which we experience here are the Lord's sufferings; He suffers and weeps in you. We say: "I weep, sorrowful is my soul"; but when we say: "Lord, forgive me - I caused you so many sufferings with impure thoughts and actions", then we will arrive at that true path which will save us from the evil of our day. And lastly, we have to leave our Lord to strengthen firmly within us. We have tied Him with ropes and have nailed Him. We have to lay Him to rest and leave Him quiet in the grave and then He will resurrect and set us free. And rest assured in one thing: those who hinder His way – it is us, the people: the devils do not hinder the way of the Lord. Because He has laid down the law of Freedom, He cannot, He does not want to change this law and until we arrive at this consciousness - to voluntarily obey - He will not deliver us. The consciousness that we should be like Him has to permeate us deeply. Then we will use our riches, strength, virtues for the elevation - of whom? - of our brethren, our neighbors. Each of you should seek and cherish the souls of your brethren, rather than to love their bodies. And I can tell you that Jesus, since He came here, even now has not left the Earth; He lives among men, works among them and the time has come for Him to resurrect in us. We must have faith, but not that faith and that fear which the Jews had - "We have no other king, but Caesar", so when this Caesar ruined Jerusalem and tore down their temple in several years, they rejected him. Now again one can say: "Caesar is my king", but the consequences will be the same.
 
Let me return. At first we have to live in this world, to prepare ourselves; we are not able to live in Heaven because there the warmth and light are very bright. Just like the gardener, when he replants pines taken from a high place, makes various seedlings until they become acclimatized, so the Heavenly Father cannot take us from here and directly plant us in the Garden of Paradise. Even our school system is ordered so: to begin with, we have to pass the first year, only after it - the second - further on, secondary school, university, and, finally, we can enter the world. All these are methods of the culture to which anyone who wishes to advance and develop has to adapt. A Christian, in my understanding, should not be a foolish man and say: "As the Lord provides". When you have ploughed your land, you sow wheat, because if you do not sow wheat, what will God provide? Weeds and thorns. Till the vineyard, plant it, and it will bear fruit for you. And whatever vine you plant, such will be its fruit - if you plant low quality twigs, it will give you sour fruit. The Lord gave your child a good mind, but what have you planted in his mind - are these the good germs which will bear good fruits? We wish to be virtuous, strong, rich; we can indeed have virtue and strength and richness and we need to have them: the conditions under which they thrive and are able to develop are: the Divine germ, the Divine law and the Divine equilibrium. The equilibrium - this is virtue, the law - this is knowledge, the conditions - this is strength, the germ - this is richness. But you will ask me: "How shall we find the Lord?" - A very easy thing. Someone wanted to make a joke and tease a friend, who said: "We are in a garden in which there are many good apples". - "But I do not see anything", answered the former while closing his eyes; the friend smacked a slap on his face and the man recovered his sight and saw. Similarly, the Lord sometimes gives us a slap and we see. Those of you whose eyes are closed, let them wish that their eyes be opened. The world of today contends and says: "Where is the Lord?" - He is in the trees, in the stones and in the earth"; however, when a misfortune comes, everyone looks up and sees that He is there and cries out: "Lord!" This is the reason for the misfortunes - they are the slap, which the Lord smacks while saying: "I have created you to see, not to stay with closed eyes". So we, in order to elevate ourselves, must attain the state of children - to seek and be receptive.
 
Now I will tell you something else. What will be our method, by which we have to work? From now on we must always be connected mentally and whole-heartedly with all people around the world, because salvation is in our joint prayers - "unity makes strength" [6] And when the minds and hearts of the people unite, then the Kingdom of God will come on Earth. We should not look for the shortcomings of a friend whom we really love: he too, like us, may have them; the shortcomings are the external garment with which man is clothed; but the human soul is pure, she cannot be spoiled, she cannot be destroyed; no one is able to corrupt your Divine soul. She can be stained from the outside, but not on the inside, because God dwells in her. And it is unthinkable to destroy something which the Lord protects. We can obey the world in the way shown when Jesus spoke to Pilate, who said: "I have the power to crucify you" - "I obey the one who gave you this power, but my soul is free". We have to obey the temporal sufferings; we cannot comprehend them, but when we die and resurrect we will understand why they have occurred. Everyone until now has been tormented by fears and trepidations in life. But that is not life. Life is when man is full of noble feelings. Happy is he, who rejoices when he was able to do good selflessly. Someone has offended you - you do not lift your hat to him [anymore], you do not shake hands; you may shake hands without this being a handshake; you may lift your hat without this being respect. And usually we lift the hat to somebody above us; but by this we somehow say to him: "Can you promote me?" There is a devilish fish in the sea which always greets whatever it meets on its way. Man also takes someone by the hand. Why? These devilish fingers of the human hand speak a lot; for example, the smallest one says: "Can you lend me some money? I have to start a business. I have losses, I have been robbed, can you help me?" The ring finger - "I desire Artistic fame and knowledge". The middle one - "I want rights and privileges". The index finger - "I need honor and respect". The thumb - "I want strength and skill". The person greeted, if he can and desires, will give [what he was asked for]. And so two men go, and then three in the society and create a coterie, but they do not find what they seek. And at last Jesus came and said: "What you are seeking - richness, strength, knowledge, goodness - I can give to you. There is not one among you who has left behind his father and his mother for Me, and has not received a hundredfold the future life". Behold the Man, who can shake hands with us, Who can give us richness, and strength, and knowledge, and goodness. But people said: "Take him away, crucify him"; to which Pilate noted: "You are losing Him". And today Jesus stands before you again and I say to you: "Behold the Man, Whom you seek, the Man Who can only bring peace into your hearts, to give you mind, to give you health, social standing, to uplift you, to show you the way, to let your mind be clarified". But in your doubt, you say: "Show Him to us so that we may see Him!" - I will present a comparison. During the evening a man comes from afar with a small candle, I tell you: "Behold the man, who brings light for you"; you, however, see the candle but do not see the man; you will see him - when? - when the Sun rises. Seek by yourself this light which the Man carries, - it will help you find the path upon which you should walk. This is how you have to perceive the issue. Let me give you another, clearer comparison. Suppose that I take you into a lavish but dark reception-room and say to you: "This is a room with wondrous adornments, with immense treasures, over there in that corner there is this, in the other corner this-and-this". - "It is possible, but who knows, I see nothing", you object. If I bring a small candle, then the objects close-by start to be delineated; if I bring another one, the objects' outlines emerge more clearly; when the number of candles increases, the room becomes more and more illuminated; when the electric lamp lights up, the objects become lucid, while when the day-light arrives, everything is seen. The world is like this room, and each of us has to be a light-bearer, to carry one candle, and, when we all enter with our candles and place them next to each other and thus increase the light, we will see a lot. Your brains - these are candles. I do not like people who carry extinguished candles, but only such who carry burning candles, like on Good Friday. Each one of us a must be a burning candle. A devoted, loving, good person is a burning candle. And it is a big mistake for a man to be an extinguished candle. You ask: "What shall we do". - You should pray for each other, you should send good thoughts to your friends and pray for them, wanting them to be blessed, and the Lord, when he blesses them, will bless you also. And why should we pray? In the summer season of 1899 in the area of Novi Pazar [7] a prolonged drought occurred; the Turks from 39 villages in the vicinity gathered and prayed for rain and rain came; the Bulgarians said to themselves: "God, when He sends rain for them, will send for us also"; however, the rain did not fall over their villages and their cattle grew emaciated from hunger. When people pray, you [should] pray too [8]: you, too, should submit your petition; the Lord will not keep a special column [9] for you if you do not pray. Prayer has great power, and contemporary people should be people of prayer: with prayer we will prepare our mind and our heart. And we should not pray for ourselves: that is egotism. - I do not wish to concern myself with people's minds, my desire is to occupy myself with their hearts, because all the evil lurks in the hearts. And then, the Lord Himself says: "My son, give Me your heart". Now we have to begin [our] purification, just as we do for Easter [10] - to open the windows and wash the floor. We all groan under the same burden, everywhere there is a common disharmony, a husband and wife [11] cannot come to an agreement - they divide a house, divide money, the wife is dissatisfied that the husband holds the money. Whether the husband or the wife holds them - this is indifferent. Come to an agreement on who is to be the cashier. They argue [about] who is to take first place in the house - whether a hen or a rooster will sing [12]. What hens and roosters? - this does not constitute anything important in life. - I said, another thing is important.
 
Jesus has come and He works, and when the light comes, it comes gradually, quietly, without noise. He will not come like thunder, as some expect Him. - This too can happen, but Jesus is not there. When the Prophet Elijah went in the desert and surrendered himself to fasting and prayer and when storm and fire came and Elijah covered his eyes, God was not in the storm and in the fire, but in the quiet voice which spoke. The Lord is not in your sufferings, in your strength, in your knowledge. Where is He? In Love. If you love, He is within you. If you do not love, He is not there. And you must love - this is the law. We do not love, but expect people to love us! This means to sit in front of a stove and wait for someone else to bring wood for us to warm ourselves. We, we ourselves should have this fuel which is to be used by others also.
 
We, who follow Jesus, Who has given us sufficient strength, must finally allow {pusnem} Him to enter into us. Now, I leave you this Man: will you accept Him or crucify Him, will you let Him in {pusnete} or will you say: "We do not want Him" - this is the problem you have to resolve. If you say: "Release {pusnete} Him, He is our Lord", you have resolved the problem and the blessing will surely come. And then the words from the Scripture will be fulfilled: "I and My Father will come and will make our abode in you". Then the light will abide in us and we will all be reconciled.
 
Lecture 16 March 1914, Sofia


 
--==[][][]==--

 

______________________________________________
Notes:
 
[1] Both words (chelovek and chovek) mean "man". Chelovek (chelo - "whole"; vek - "century", or in some contexts an indefinitely long period of time, an age) is the archaic word for man in Bulgarian (as "Mann" is in old English), and was gradually substituted in the 19th century with the word chovek.
[2] Gospodariat: the word itself actually means "lord" as in the master of land etc.; c.f. Luke 12, 14; Mark 13; Matthew 10 etc.
[3] literally: gaining of riches.
[4] the digit 1
[5] The Bulgarian word is ambiguous, and the sentence can be rendered here as: "this is my world"; but also "this is my light".
[6] This phrase coincides with the motto on the Bulgarian coat of arms.
[7] Novi Pazar is a city in the North Eastern part of Bulgaria (close to the city of Shumen and the ancient capital of the first Bulgarian kingdom, Pliska).
[8] "you" is singular for the rest of this sentence.
[9] in an accounting document
[10] Apart from referring to the spiritual purification, there is also reference to a custom in Bulgaria where the whole house is cleaned thoroughly before Easter.
[11] In Bulgarian, there is a single word for "husband", "male" and "man", and similarly for "wife", "female" and "woman"
[12] A Bulgarian proverb, meaning: whether the husband or the wife will lead the family affairs.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0