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LIBERTY OF THE SPIRIT (August 23, 1915, in Sofia.)

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Where the Spirit of the

Lord is, there is liberty.21


The condition of liberty is the Spirit. By the word liberty we understand a free life, i.e. the inner meaning of things and their relations—the relations of the thoughts, feelings and incentives of the will power which are manifested in the world. Where there is a living soul, there is motion which is the result of the will. This motion may have a definitive direction, or take different directions. The New Testament says, "Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty." Another place states, "The Son of God will set you free." The Son and the Spirit are one and the same thing. The Son is the expression of the Father and the Mother. The intelligence of the Son is an expression of the intelligence of the Father and the Mother, as the Sunlight is the expression of the inner state of the Sun. How can we know a person? By the Light of their thoughts, desires and acts.


Now I am speaking about the liberty of the Spirit, because the religious people are exposed to the great danger of becoming worse than the worldly people. In this sense a person cannot be happy by becoming religious. By the word religious I understand a person tied to something, the way a horse, a cow, or some other animals are tied with a rope. To be tied to a house is religion; to be tied to some political party, or some philosophical teaching is religion too. What kind of religion is it? A religion that ties or limits the liberty of person, or of society. If you are tied to a teaching which debases you, or deprives you of your liberty, this is an obsolete religion, an old skin. All people who seek the liberty which gives sense to life and which philosophers today call higher consciousness, but political people—citizenship, are sensible people. How would you know you have the Spirit in yourself? If you are sensible, if your thoughts, feelings and acts are free and wherever you go, you leave a blessing, the Spirit is present in you.


In life today the word liberty may be understood as Light. If you travel at night, you are not free as in the daylight for the simple reason that the path is not clear. In the same way when the religious and worldly people delude themselves, they also have something hazy in their notions. People today do not know God, they do not know what the Lord is, but they know their kings and rulers. They say, "As the kings and rulers punish us, so God punishes us also." Because of these wrong ideas of God, life is full of contradictions springing from such false views. We can all see the results of these contradictions. However, you must be set free from this inner slavery. How can you be freed? A basic change must happen in your brain, or a thorough transformation. What is the structure of your brain and what changes should take place is not clear to you. Every morning you pray, you seek the Lord calling to Him, and He does not listen to you. God hears only those people whose ears are open. He does not hear the deaf22 and does not speak to them. If you want the Lord to hear and answer you, your ear must be delicate and perceptive so that little would be necessary for it to understand much. The Lord likes to watch and hear those people who work and do not busy themselves with vain and foolish things.


If you consider the religions of today, you will see on what level of development they are. In every religion there are certain delusions. One of the reasons for these delusions is due to the fact that when a person wants to understand a religion, they enter one or another society and in this way get more confused. A young man wanted to join a village dance, but had no strong boots. He borrowed a pair of boots and started to dance. The one who had given him the boots seeing him stamping his feet vigorously, said to him when he got near enough to hear him, "Listen, do not stamp your feet so hard, I have not given you my boots that you should stamp your feet so!" A friend of his, after hearing these words, said to him, "Since this fellow put you to shame, I shall give you my boots." The young man put on his friend's boots and continued dancing. When he was passing by the second man who gave him his boots, the latter cried to him, "Stamp your feet, my friend, do not worry if you tear the boots; if you tear them, I shall give you a new pair!" I say, it does not matter whether you say to a person "Stamp" or "Don't stamp" your feet, it is all the same, for he is not free already. It does not matter whether you have stamped you feet much or little. Why? Because you are already deprived of your freedom. Therefore, our mind should be elucidated as to the question of real liberty.


Christ has given a definition of liberty. He says, "Do not do unto others what you would not have them do unto you." Everyone must accept this rule as an inner Law. One must speak and do that which gives liberty to others also. Someone says, "I wonder at people today how they gossip. You see them in the church praying so nicely, but as soon as they stop praying, they start gossiping about each other: this man does not live right, that woman does not speak the truth, and so on." Those who gossip do not have liberty and do not give liberty to others. I say, if you are not tolerant to people and do not give them freedom, you do not understand Christ's teaching. And in reality, most people today have a perverted idea of the teaching of Christ. They must throw out of their minds these caricatures and think of God and Christ in an entirely different way.


And so what is religion? Religion is a science of the forms as well as of the Divine Love. If you study only the external form of religion and not its inner content, you will find yourself in a delusion and begin to change religions as a lady often changes her clothes. If she lives fifty or sixty years, she can change many suits of different cuts and colors, but these suits do not represent the lady. Therefore, the form is not yet religion. Actually the forms are necessary to religion, as the suits for the lady, but they do not represent the body of the lady. When people die, their kinfolks say, "We shall wear only black, not white clothes." No, you may wear white, black, red and blue clothes—any clothes you wish. The sin is not in the colored clothes, but you should have in mind the following—when you go to a dead person, do not dress in white, as when a street is muddy, you will not wear white shoes. Thus, everything requires its time, its season. In this respect, the worldly people are wiser than the religious ones. They stand ten times higher than the religious people. God has decided to set the world right by the worldly people. The politicians and the socialists will rectify the world because they want freedom. You will say, "How is that? These people destroy, they do not build." I ask, when you build a new house on the place of the old, do you not first destroy the old house and then build the new one? If you do not throw out of your mind an old idea, a new thought cannot be born. Many want to teach people how to think, so they say to them, "seven stories up, seven stories down," or "keep silent and do not reason," this is their true science. Everything else is of the devil. What was written in the times of Moses, in the Old Testament? "This is of God; the rest is of the devil." And today, many are preaching that their ideas are of God and those of other people—of the devil. This is what it means to be strong with your posterior brain. This is not right. Every teaching should be judged by its results. If a given teaching can be applied in the private life of people and give good results, it is good; if it cannot be applied, it is not good.


One thing is important for a person—to apply the liberty of the Spirit. Everyone must ask themselves, "Am I free? Do I have this Spirit in me?" When the Spirit comes, He will produce Light in the mind and heat in the heart. This is the sign by which you will know the appearance of the Spirit. If you begin to limit the human spirit, forcing a person to think, feel and act the way you do, the Spirit will withdraw from you immediately, as a teacher leaves the class when the students are making noise and obstruct the teaching of the lesson. When the students do not obey their teacher, their parents and guardians will come and punish them. In this sense, Moses was the guardian of the Jews. He came to them to tell them that they should obey their Teacher and when they were disobedient, he punished them. And if you ask now why so many misfortunes assailed you, I say, "The misfortunes and sufferings came to you because you did not obey the Spirit. You should have obeyed the Spirit as your Teacher."


Now I shall explain the meaning of liberty and how it manifests itself. Suppose you meet a person with bound hands and feet and you begin to comfort him that the Lord is good and if he has patience, He will untie him, and so on. I ask, if you yourself can untie this man, do you manifest liberty? No. You must take out your knife, cut the cords binding the man's hands and feet and set him free. What does your comforting do to him? You tie him faster so he cannot run away. People must untie one another; they must set one another free. Christ says, "Go and preach among people!" By these words, He means exactly this untying, this liberating. This liberty should be inner and not external. All misunderstandings among people are due to the lack of freedom. If it is a question of anxiety and worries, how much more should God worry for He has created this world and sees what is happening? It is good when the Lord is angry, but of what use is human anger? There is no profit in human anger. But God also does not get angry. The Old Testament says, "The wrath of the Lord," but these words must be understood in their inner sense. The words of Christ: "Why do you call me good Master? Only God is good," confirm the idea that God cannot be angry. Therefore, the good and the kind people cannot get angry. Some prophets have spoken of the wrath of God, but I object to this. Has God said anywhere about Himself being angry? In one place Jeremiah says, "Lord, you deceived me, I was deceived." How can you explain this contradiction? This is a delusion. You should not have any delusions about God. Everyone must admit that these are their own delusions. The right thought lies in this—we should say, "Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty." This is what God said. Love cannot be manifested without liberty.


I say, while a person is blind, no one can love them. A person who tortures others cannot be loved. What brings destruction cannot bring freedom. Several people pray together to God, but if one of them makes a mistake, another one nudges them for the small mistake. This is no prayer; this is no freedom, but acting. To nudge one another when you are standing before God is not praying. Down with these masks! When one is praying, they must forget about what is around them and be alone, then enter their secret chamber—their soul—and not be disturbed by anything outside of themselves. All of you who are listening to me are not free. Some of you are tied to one post, others to two, still others to three, to four, to five, to ten posts. I can prove this to you not only theoretically, but practically as well.


Now since all of you are preparing yourselves for the Kingdom of God, for the Kingdom of Christ, which is a world of liberty, you must know that with these old forms, with these old skins, you cannot enter It. With these old forms you will barely come to the gate of the Kingdom of God, but you cannot enter it by any means. By this I do not judge you and say you are deluded, but I am showing you the way. You are seeking freedom. The cause of human slavery is neither the man nor the woman. Slavery, sin came into the world after the first people ate of the forbidden apple which had in itself corruption, death.


Therefore, if you want to understand Christ, your spirit must be free. In the Hebrew language there are two words for the notion of liberty. One of them is ruha which signifies the higher manifestation of God. The other word is nefesh which signifies the inferior manifestation of the soul. The small child, for instance, manifests the inferior state of his or her soul. While we are babies, we cry, make faces and in this way impose our will and want to submit our mother. Finally the mother gives her breast for the baby to suck and it thinks, "This is what I want, and you should always obey me!" And the mother is constantly fulfilling the child's wishes. I ask, why was this child sent to earth—should it make its mother submit, or the mother should submit it to her will? Whoever is free and has the Spirit, they will learn the relations of things and know whom they should submit themselves to and whom they should serve.


You will ask how you can acquire inner freedom. When people have common prayer that also has two sides—a good and a bad one. Why? Because people are not on the same level of development, so that a regular interchange of their magnetic forces may take place. Since the spirit of freedom is predominant in all people, but their views are different, as a result of this arise many disputes and misunderstandings. That is why before going to God, Christianity recommends purification. One of the purifying processes is that of deposition.23 How can this deposition be effected? Before praying with others, one should pray alone and prepare themselves. First, you should pray alone, then with one other person, then with two more people and so on. In this way you will learn to contemplate. Only then the Spirit will come and teach you certain lessons. When the Divine Spirit comes between two souls, He will immediately restore peace and mutual understanding between them. When the one is speaking, the other will be listening with great attention and feel pleasure in what their friend is telling them. If these two people are not at peace mutually, they will get bored with each other, "Are you the one to teach me now, I have no time to listen to your nonsense." This shows that the Spirit is not between them.


The making of common prayers is not done by order, but by a disposition of the spirit; if the spirit wants you will pray, if not—you will not pray, but keep quiet. The first thing required of all is to give one another this freedom and have the patience of listening to one another. When someone is speaking, we should think that God is speaking. If you enter a religious society and become more nervous than you had been before, you have not gained anything. You have sooner lost than gained. Many doctors, many specialists know human physiology, they know which foods are useful and which are harmful, but in spite of that, they live the old way. They say it is harmful to smoke, but they smoke themselves. They say that drinking of alcoholic beverages is harmful, yet they drink; that eating meat is harmful, yet they eat meat. They have knowledge, but when it comes to applying it to build, they do not do what they say and preach to others. I ask—where is their liberty of spirit? Christ wants this freedom for all people.


Many people today want liberty only for themselves, thinking that the other people should be submitted to them.


Many people will submit themselves, but they will do it out of fear, not out of love. I shall cite the following anecdote for clarification of this thought. Once, a Bulgarian tailor was invited by a rich family to sow a pair of full-bottomed tight-legged breeches and a doublet for the bridegroom. The tailor took along his instruments—scissors, a thimble, called his servant and both went to the house. They arrived about noon, so they were invited to a lunch. A roast chicken was served and the tailor, wishing to eat the whole chicken alone, told the housewife that his servant does not eat chicken, he preferred beans. When the servant heard this, he started thinking of some way to revenge his master. After lunch, he told the hosts secretly that if they saw his master turning this way and that, they should know something was happening to him, because at times he went out of his mind. In order to succeed with the revenge, the servant hid his master's thimble. When the tailor started working, he began turning this way and that, looking for his thimble. When the hosts noticed this, they immediately caught him and bound him. On going back, the servant said to his master, "Your servant does not eat roast chicken, only beans. Is that so?" You also should not say your servant does not eat roast chicken, because some day, when you start looking for your thimble, he will become the cause of your being bound.


The first thing required of our relations is mutual respect. In my observations during a number of years, I have noticed that some people have a strong desire to study, that is why at first they begin with a feeling of veneration and reverence, but later they slack it and say, "We know all this!" In this respect, they are like some young brides who are very gentle and shy before everybody at first. However, in a few months time, they get over their shyness, open their mouth and spoil the home. While they are in church as brides they are calm and quiet, as soon as they are married, it is as if they receive civil rights and begin to show their naughtiness. They will want to marry a second time, but the man who has married them once will not even think of marrying a second time. No. A person must not grieve God by violating His Spirit of freedom, even when they are provoked at times. Whole books have been scratched full of the scribble of human thoughts like the dashes of telegrams. A whole pile of such telegrams are written by your thoughts. By these telegrams one can see how free you are. Some day when you can go to the other world all these telegrams will be presented before God. There is nothing hidden that shall not be revealed. Everything in the world is apparent. Nothing can be hid from the Eye of God. This should not frighten you, but you must know that in His genesis God is a Spirit Who always wants to teach and correct people and not to punish and revenge. The sufferings and punishments in the world have a relation only to the forms. And if in this sense we say that God punishes us, this shows that He wants to liberate us from our slavery. If you set out to free a sheep out of a wolf s mouth, would she not be hurt by the time she is pulled out?


Therefore, God wants our freedom, our inner peace, which will bring us calmness, joy and happiness and raise our spirit high. Now I shall refer again to religion. What does religion, by which we want to serve God, consist in? Christ says, "For I was a hungered, and ye gave me no meat; I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink; I was stranger and ye took me not in; naked, and ye clothed me not; sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not" (Matt. 25:42,43). Here is the reason why God will judge the world. If you do not fulfill what Christ is talking about, if you pray ten times a day, like the Pharisees in the streets, you will not attain anything. You will be like that housewife who prayed all morning and her cooking all burned up. What did she attain by her long prayer? Nothing. Such a prayer is like drunkenness. There is physical drunkenness, but psychical as well. Do you know what psychic drunkenness is like? It is not religion. When a young maiden likes to meet young men, she does not acquire anything by that, but only some pleasant feelings. This pleasure, however, does not show that the maiden has a Divine disposition. At these meetings she wastes her energy in vain. However, when God approaches us, we feel His effect not only for a moment, but for a long time. The pleasant state we are in when God is drawing near us and unnoticeably penetrates deeply in our soul.


When some people are quarreling, I do not tell them to keep silent, or preach moral to them, but I turn my gaze to God and pray for them. In order that they should keep silent, I must keep silent first. This means that first, I must pray for them that God may bring them to their senses. Years ago, there was a priest called Gancho in Varna whom people called orman papaz24. He often blamed those who made him a priest. One day he saw a Gagaouz25 beat his wife. In order to save the woman from her husband's hands, he took a whip and started lashing the man, but immediately the wife and her husband jumped at him. The woman said, "What right do you have to beat my husband? We shall settle our affairs alone." Now I say to you, who are like this priest: do not meddle in other people's affairs, trying to settle their accounts. You can do this only if the husband and wife call you to help them. As soon as you are called, show them a way how to determine their relations according to the Law of freedom.


And so religion should bring liberty to people, peace and joy. If a persecution rises against a religion, or against some teaching as in old times, that will not set the world right. How many doubts may be raised against some forms of a religion! Some will say, "This teaching is Satan's." But of whom is your teaching? Those who preach a Devine Teaching should serve humanity selflessly, out of love for people and be ready for all sacrifices. Those who want a reward, or the first place, or want to set the world right, they do not fulfill the Law of liberty and the Spirit is not in them. You must be the last in the world, if you want to be the first before God. Instead of wishing human glory, it is preferable for God to think well of you. This is what I know and wish for myself.


When I preach this, many people say, "This does not concern me, I am not such a person, these words are about so- and-so, she is such a person." No, this is wrong reasoning. Everyone should forget what the others are like and consider themselves more sinful than these others, and start correcting themselves. If you are in the state of sinful people, I do not judge you, but want you to come out of that state by showing you a way out. Follow the spirit in yourselves! You want freedom for yourself—give freedom to others as well. It is Law that like attracts the like. If you like people sincerely and open- heartedly, they will like you too. The Bulgarian proverb says, "What you call, the same will be echoed back to you." If you are beautiful and look yourself in the mirror, the image in the mirror will be beautiful too. When you meet a person you love, do not tell them you love them; do not speak to them about love. Why? Because as soon as you tell a person you love them, Love vanishes. Those that speak most about Love have the least Love in themselves. Those who speak most about freedom of the spirit, they give it least to others. If my relations to you are not such as they should be, no matter how pleasing and musical my sermon may be it cannot change this. Only the music which creates noble incentives in you is profitable to you. Every other kind of music, which evokes only pleasant feelings and moods in you without ennobling you, is of no benefit to you.


Now, put an end to all friction and separation into left- wing and right-wing socialists, i.e. those who have the Spirit and those who don't have the Spirit. Those who bear the spirit of liberty in themselves will be given a white stone on which I shall write my name so that when the Lord comes, He will see the inscription. When I see the eyes of a person, I already know whether they have the spirit or not. When the spirit is present in a person, their eyes are neither very dark nor very bright. If a person's eyes glisten as those of a snake, this bespeaks their desire to swallow up, to eat up somebody. You have noticed how a cat's eyes glisten at night. Why do they glisten? The cat is looking for mice. However, there is a big difference between one kind of light and another. There is a light which robs and kills, but there is a Light which invigorates and brings one to life. The Spirit is sensitive, responsive to the human weaknesses, as a result of which He enters those who want to walk in the Way.


I say, when you get together for a prayer meeting next time, by your telegrams it will be evident whether you have been nudging among yourselves or not. If there have been nudgings, you must know that the Lord does not want such meetings. In order that your prayers may be accepted by God, I shall give you the following method: when you meet a sorrowful, burdened soul, pray together with her to God; when you meet a poor person, help them as much and with whatever you can. God does not want rich people to get together only with the rich and learned only with the learned, but the rich must get together with the poor and the learned with the ignorant. Prayer does not consist only in saying prayers, singing and playing at concerts. If it were a question of music, one may go and listen to a worldly concert. That, too, will be of benefit to them and give them some satisfaction. By this I want to say that as the religions of the church do not pray correctly, so those who want to pass for spiritual people do not pray as they should. Get none of the old things! Chase the old devil away! Pray secretly in your soul and do not gossip about other people! Have reverence and respect for others as for yourselves. What do women of today do? When two or three women get together, they at once start talking about this and that man or this and that woman. What profit do you have in gossiping?


Those who gossip hinder their right development and put psychic obstacles on their own way. Therefore, those that have such a weakness should give it up. If a thought enters your mind to speak evil of someone, stop for a moment, concentrate your attention and do not give way to the evil in you, do not become its town-crier. Shut your "telephone" and do not do service to evil. The evil in the world, as a living being, likes to attack people, to entice them to get its work done, after which it deserts them. Much time has not elapsed before the sufferings come. Then God says to people, "Be careful not to yield a second time to evil." Therefore, anger, jealousy, hatred, suspicion, lying—all these negative things are peculiar to the devil, to evil. Cast this old father out and you will be free, you will be with the Lord Who is all wise, good, just, condescending and loving; Who forgives and helps the suffering and the poor. If you do wrong a hundred times a day and turn to Him, He will again forgive you. He punishes only those who break His Laws. He has created a big fire for them. Those who don't want to make contact with these evil beings must be merciful, considerate, quick-witted and careful with God's orders and Laws.


And now, begin to apply this teaching of Christ without demonstrating before the world that you are religious people. Let your piety be concealed even from you, but before the world, you can be like the beautiful ladies who shade their faces to protect them against getting sun-burnt or against the dust the in streets. Hide your beauty deep in yourselves; do not parade with it externally. If you do not want to become a laughingstock to people, do not speak about yourself that you are good, magnanimous, religious, and ready for giving alms, and so on. Christ says, "Be wise as the serpents and gentle as the doves." The worldly people are not foolish. They are not wise in regard to the higher spiritual life, but in regard to the mind, they stand higher than many religious people. Give an example of a good deed to the worldly people that they may give you a piece of their mind. Some say we must be straightforward, others say we must not be very generous. I ask you, how will the world be set right then? So if someone looks askance at you, or tells you an offensive word, you should get angry? Have you ever given yourself an account of how often you have looked at people askance? No, God has not given us eyes to look askance at others. The true religious life is namely in having freedom and giving freedom to people and forgiving their mistakes, as well as in looking for every possibility to unite with them in spirit.


Now, desire deeply to apply Christ's teaching to yourself as well as for the sake of others. From now on no gossiping! Give yourself word not to gossip a whole year. Keep a small notebook and every night before going to bed write down how well you have kept your promise. If you have not said a bad word about anybody, write down the mark seven and the words: "Thank you, God, today I did not say any bad word about anyone." If you have said something bad, write down one. Then at the end of the year make an account how many ones you have written and to what extent you have succeeded to abstain from gossip. When several people get together, everyone gets excited and wants to say something and show what they know. One begins to speak, then a second, a third one and unnoticeably someone becomes the object of gossip. On the next day the same story is repeated. When a young man wants to get married, all the girls praise him and each one tries to surpass the others in eulogies. They praise his qualities, his noble family, and so on. As soon as he selects a bride, all those who had praised him begin to say, "He is a wild cat, a simpleton," and so on. In reality, these young maidens should say: "We are glad this young man picked his wife from our company."


Do you know what this can be compared to? In a big European town a prince was to arrive, so twelve beautiful women were chosen as a committee for the welcoming. When they were asked to vote which one of them should give a bouquet to the prince, each of the twelve voted for herself. Now you, although not quite prepared yet, are trying to see which one of you will come out and offer a bouquet to Christ. Everyone says, "I, I!" Do not vote for yourself. Without your voting, Christ knows who the worthy ones are. Christ's teaching requires of us to be considerate and not speak about others what we know, or what we do not know. The occultists say—if you want to be strong, do not talk about people. The moment you start talking badly about someone, you get in contact with their spirit and are affected by bad thoughts. In this sense, in order not to harm yourself, it is better to think good of people than to entertain evil thoughts of them.


When you gossip about someone, this person benefits psychologically. When you speak well about a person, God asks them, "How much did you gain?" "Twenty." "Give then half of it to them who think well of you." This means that the rich person should give half of their riches to those who have nothing. When we speak well of people, we gain, but when we speak badly, they gain. Such is the Law. If you speak badly of people on purpose so that they should profit by it, I shall be glad for your self-denial. But then you must not complain. If one of your sisters has a defect, pray ten times a day for her to be freed from this defect. When you pray for her you can tell her in a kindly and sisterly manner, "Sister, you have a small defect and you should work to get free from it. Do not get angry with me for telling you this truth."


Now all of you try to get rid of this defect—gossiping. This year God has decided to bind evil. Those who get bound should not get angry. God will bind them and put them to work. Either you or evil will be harnessed. In order to harness evil to work, the Spirit must be in you that you may be strong and powerful.


Today I spoke about liberty, but I shall speak another time about it again. Some day I shall make an experiment to find out how well you have understood and applied today's sermon. Religious liberty should be absolute. God is a God of Love, of liberty. Those who live in this liberty will find their place, whether they plough or dig, or whatever work they do, they will do everything with thankfulness. Such must be the life on earth according to the liberty of the Spirit, according to the liberty by which many great people were distinguished, as Socrates had been. Socrates was among the "last" people, but many of the "first," many kings, were forgotten; yet his name remained. A person may take a high post and not be noble. The Spirit requires of us as kings and as the "last" people on earth to be equally free.


This is the teaching of Christ which I am preaching—to have and to give liberty; to have and to give liberty and again to have and to give liberty: of the mind, of the heart, of the home, religious and civil freedom. Freedom everywhere!


Sermon held on August 23, 1915, in Sofia.



21. II Cor. 3:17

22. deaf in the figurative sense (ed. note).

23. Deposition in the sense of leaving a layer of something, e.g. mud (ed. note).

24. Orman Papaz—(old Turkish) A rebellious priest, often referring to Bulgarian nationalist priests (ed. note).

25. A member of a Bulgarian minority group, living in the Varna district, who speaks Turkish, yet is Eastern Orthodox Christian (ed. note).



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