Chi — Divine and Universal

“Chi is the cosmic energy that is present in the world and is mentioned or captured in the majority of world religions. It is in the realm of this Spirit that all religions open themselves and reach out to be related to other religions. Spirit is the foundational and transcendental level on which all religions could meet and remain related. To the extent of our capacity to experience the Spirit, we can be authentic followers of the religion of our choice and practice. The religions all lead to the Divine and we need to understand that the Spirit in each is from the same source- God. Chi is everywhere. It dwells in everything in the universe.
Many ethnic groups have concepts similar to Chi thus making connections between Chi and the Divine or sacred. The Egyptians call it Ka, the Hebrew have ruach, the Japanese have ki, the Indians call it prana, and the Igbos of Nigeria call it Chi.” Kim 2011, 24



Invisible Ruach (Chi or Prana) of the Holy Spirit (Tao or Brahman) manifesting and interacting with those taking part in the Resurrection and meditating on Her (Holy Spirit) within themselves. (Russia on August 1, 2008)
JUDAISM: “In the scripture of the Old Testament, a ruach or spirit of God was personified in prophetic tradition as the Spirit of God or the Spirit of Prophecy... She is the immanent aspect of Godhead that interacts with those who seek her.” (Keizer 2010, 42)
CHRISTIANITY: “Even this brief survey of usage makes it clear that the concept ruach was from the beginning an existential term. At its heart was the experience of a mysterious, awesome power-the mighty invisible force of the wind, the power of vitality, the otherly power that transforms-all ruach, all manifestations of divine energy. The same association of the divine ruach with numinous experience is implicit in the fact that ruach denotes the cosmic and inescapable presence of God in Psalm 139:7. It was hope for a far richer experience of God's vitalizing presence and activity within Israel that lay at the heart of the prophets' expectation for the age to come (Ezek. 36:26-27;37).” (Welker 2006, 7)
ISLAM: “The spiritual baptism is the direct work of God Himself. As a fuller or a laundress washes the linen or any object with water; as a dyer tints the wool or cotton with a tincture to give it a new hue, so does God Almighty baptize, not the body but the spirit and the soul of him whom He mercifully directs and guides unto the Holy Religion of Islam. This is the 'Sibghatu Allah,' the Baptism of Allah, which makes a person fit and dignified to become a citizen of the Kingdom of Allah and a member of His religion.” (Dawud 2006, 190)
Cool Breeze (Ruach): Feeling the Cool Breeze initially, and from then onward daily during meditation, is fundamental to Sahaja Yoga. This Cool Breeze is a numinous experience i.e., "having a strong religious or spiritual quality; indicating or suggesting the presence of a divinity.” Hundreds of thousands since the 1970s had this numinous experience at Shri Mataji's public programs. However very few, if any, returned as they could not relate their experiencing the Cool Breeze (Ruach) to the teachings of their priests, pastors, reverends, bishops, popes, rabbis, clerics, imams, mullahs, shaiks, swamis, pandits, brahmins, granthis, gianis, and monks. I quote Judith Coney (London U.) who researched Sahaja Yoga:
“Considerable time has been spent so far on exploring the experience of cool breezes in Sahaja Yoga. However, this is not necessarily because it is assumed that feeling a Cool Breeze is crucial to the decision to join Sahaja Yoga. In fact, as we have seen, comparatively few people who feel something actually do join, apparently unconvinced by the assurance of devotees that 'if you can feel it, it must be true'. Given the small number of people in 1994 who went to follow-up meetings after the Royal Albert Hall, it seems that even those who have fairly standard experiences of Cool Breeze are far more likely not to want to take the experience further than join.... Cool breezes, then, are a central and prominent feature of most members' first encounter with Sahaja Yoga but do not, by themselves, usually precipitate the decision to join.” (Judith 1999, 60)


The Holy Spirit, Chi, and the Other
Chi-Divine and Universal

The world is becoming more and more globalized, resulting in local cultures that are increasingly multireligious, multilingual, and multicultural. In this context, it is important to recognize the differences between people and the similarities among cultures and religions. This world is filled by the Spirit and the Spirit needs to be recognized by people of various cultures. Besides ruach, pneuma, and Chi, there are other terminologies in various cultures that also capture this idea of Spirit/ Breath of God. As we examine the religions found in different parts of the world, we do not find many spirits; we find various names for the Spirit.

Let us turn to other understandings of the Spirit around the globe to see if they share similarities with ruach and Chi. The West has typically given into structure (and to essentialist forms of thought) while Eastern thought- and this is a broad generalization, to be sure- typically thinks more in terms of vitality, energy, and relation. For example, perhaps a reason Westerners often find texts like the Analects of Confucius difficult to read is that such works often posit connections between things that the Western mind usually views as separate and unrelated.

This notion of the Spirit giving life to creatures is not exclusively a Christian belief and understanding but is found in many other cultures around the globe. Associating Spirit with breath is common and is found in many parts of the world. The breath of life was interpreted by the ancients as the act of breathing, which indicates life. Genesis 2: 7 gives the following account of God creating man: "Then the Lord God formed man of the dust of the earth, and blew into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” The connection between human life and the breath of God, as viewed in the Bible, may have roots tracing back to the cradles of civilization in Egypt and Mesopotamia. Many inscriptions from ancient Babylon attest to the deity being the source of the Spirit that gives life to humankind. This Spirit of life is exhaled from the deity's mouth into other creatures in order to give them life. An ancient Sumerian-Akkadian hymn addresses the god Marduk with the words: "Your speech is a sweet breath, the life of the lands.” 51 Thus perhaps the Christian tradition finds it roots in Egypt and Mesopotamia, which makes us question the purity of the Christian tradition and whether there was borrowing of religious and divine terms from surrounding religious traditions and cultures.

Chi is the cosmic energy that is present in the world and is mentioned or captured in the majority of world religions. It is in the realm of this Spirit that all religions open themselves and reach out to be related to other religions. Spirit is the foundational and transcendental level on which all religions could meet and remain related. To the extent of our capacity to experience the Spirit, we can be authentic followers of the religion of our choice and practice. 52 The religions all lead to the Divine and we need to understand that the Spirit in each is from the same source- God. Chi is everywhere. It dwells in everything in the universe.

Chi as Sacred

Many ethnic groups have concepts similar to Chi thus making connections between Chi and the Divine or sacred. The Egyptians call it Ka, the Hebrew have ruach, the Japanese have ki, 53 the Indians call it prana, and the Igbos of Nigeria call it Chi. 54 For the Igbos , Chi is best translated as "god," "guardian spirit," "God," or allied theistic concepts. In the sense of God, as in Christianity, some of the exponents claim that Chi is synonymous with Chukwu and Chineke, which are presented as identical accurate Igbo denotations for the "Supreme Being.” 55 Just as the Christian God is understood as the Spirit, many cultures and religions also link Chi to the Divine.

There is an underlying understanding that the Spirit is connected to or is the Divine in many religions and cultures. An indigenous religion that is common to many colonized people is shamanism. Shamanism is found in almost every continent as the oldest religion. It speaks untold truths and has been a means of spirituality, of connecting with the spirit world. Primordial shamanistic Chi existed in relation to animistic polytheism, worshipping wind, cloud, tree, and other natural phenomena. 56

The shaman is often mythologized by Western thinkers as a necessarily culturally conservative figure of indigenous societies. Shamanism remains essential as an indigenous preserver of cultural tradition in many forms. Shamans have been viewed as resisters to Christian influence, as upholders of unchanged traditions, and as an obstacle to biomedicine and medical "progress.” Often, Westerners view shamanism as a static cultural form. 57

The concept of Chi is not limited to Asia, but is also found in many parts of the world. In the Western tradition, the idea of Chi has a long history and can be traced to the sixth century BCE when Anaximenes of Miletus taught that everything emerges from breath that condenses into matter and finally all things dissolve back into breath-like energy again. This cosmic energy has resurfaced from time to time in Europe. In the eighteenth century, Franz Mesmer claimed to utilize what he called "Animal magnetism.” In the following century, Karl von Reichenbach spoke of the "odic force," and in the twentieth century Wilhelm Reich professed to harness "orgone energy.” The idea of a universal cosmic energy that creates and destroys still lives on in the popular consciousness of Britain. 58

Similar expressions of the Spirit are also found in Akkadian literature: "May your sweet breath waft hither," or "Always seek the sweet breath of the gods.” These close parallels come from the El-Amarna letters, in a phrase actually addressed to the king: "[Who can live] when breath does not issue forth from the mouth of the king, his lord?” 59 Furthermore, similar views are found in ancient Egypt in praise of Isis coming with her tremendous powers including that of speech, which is perceived as the life-giving breath of the deity of humankind. A more striking illustration is provided by the words of the Egyptian king's addresses to the god Amon: "Your color is light, your breath is life.... your body is a breath of spirit for every nostril, we breathe through you in order to live.” 60 This common notion of the deity giving breath and life may have been a common understanding in various religious traditions surrounding the cultural forerunners of the Abrahamic faiths.

The Breath of God (Ruach Ha Kodesh in Hebrew, Spiritus Sancti in Latin) is synonymous with the power of Spirit. A similar idea is expressed in the holy scripture of Islam, the Qur'an (Koran). The words nafas, meaning Allah's own breath, and ruh, meaning Allah's own soul, "Are used to mean the human breath and human soul- confirming the fact that we are originally from Allah, of Allah, for Allah, and in the end will return to Allah.” 61 Shaykh Hakim Moinuddin Chishti says that "Breath" is not the same as air or oxygen. Rather it is a divine energy that regulates human emotions and the equilibrium of the body; both the quantity and quality of breath have a definite and direct effect upon human health. 62 This connection of Spirit, breath, and Allah provide more evidence of a global understanding of the Spirit.

In Greek, the vital breath is called pneuma, a word first used by the philosopher Anaximenes (ca. 545 BCE). Anaximenes said that life begins with the breath. All things come from it and dissolve into it at death. The soul is breath and is that which controls and "holds together" and prevents the disintegration or decomposition of human beings. As air or wind, it encloses and maintains the world. Vital breath creates a unity between microcosm and macrocosm. The life principle and motive force of humanity is, traditionally, pneuma or the breath-soul: therefore the life principle of the outside world is pneuma. 63

In many African cultures, the word is different, but the concept is the same. Among the Kung San, the indigenous people of Africa's Kalahari Desert, life energy is num. The num is stored in the lower abdomen and at the base of the spine and can be made to "Boil" though ecstatic dance. The "num enters every part of your body, right to the tip of your feet and even your hair.” 64 Num makes the spine tingle and the mind empty, without thoughts. The healer or healers "see people properly, just as they are.” 65 Like modern physicians, the Kung believe that people carry illness within the body. Like Chi, when disease flares up, it can sometimes be cured by accumulating num, increasing the inner reserve of healing power. 66 This reinforces the notion that healing occurs within as people aim to understand how the Divine resides within us. People need to make the connection and understand that the healing power can come from within us through the deity.

In Tantrism, a practice of using the body for spiritual transformation found in Buddhism and Hinduism, "The body, the earth, nature, etc., are associated with the divine feminine, with shakti, and the aim is to unite it, or bring it into harmony with consciousness, with shiva, the male principle.” 67 Shakti is the power or energy of God, the divine feminine. The equivalent of Chi in yoga is the Sanskrit term prana, which means "life energy" or "Breath.” Shakti would be the source of prana. within Taoism, Chi will not be called Divine per se, because Divine implies a certain otherness in the universe. Taoists only acknowledge Tao, which is at once the universe and at the same time what composes the universe, Chi. 68 Hindus speak of the Divine, surging, mothering energy as Shakti. Shakti is the feminine aspect of God and the word means "energy" or "power.” It is not the power of the female in particular. It is all divine power and energy, and it is conventionally said to be an attribute of the Goddess. In Sanskrit and Hindi, the root of Shakti is the helping verb that means "to be able.” The energy to do anything is Shakti. In the theological realm, when one speaks of the kinetic energy of God in the world, nourishing , enabling, kindling, breathing, moving in life and in death-this is Shakti.

The ancient seekers and sages of the Upanishads were relentless questioners, exploring the limits of both outer and inner space. Who are we human beings, really? Really we are atman, the soul. The word atman also means "Breath," but not literally the breath of respiration. That is called prana, a coarser breath. The awareness of prana, however, is but a vehicle for the realization of atman. Breath, prana, is a powerful image of the spark of life within, for truly when breath departs we die. Living beings are called prani, literally "those who breathe.” Prana is so important that it is explicitly and provocatively set side by side with atman in the Kaushitaki Upanishad: "I am the breathing spirit [prana], the intelligential self [prajnatman]. As such, revere me as life, as immortality. Life is the breathing spirit. The breathing spirit, verily, is life. The breathing spirit, indeed, is immortality. For, as long as the breathing spirit remains in this body, so long there is life" (3: 2). 69

In India, the life energy, prana, is described as flowing through thousands of subtle-energy veins, the nadis. One of the goals of yoga is to accumulate more prana through breath control exercises (pranayama) and physical postures (asana). The student is also taught to conserve prana, not to waste either his inborn, genetic store or that acquired through meditation. Some yogis believe that we are given a certain number of breaths at birth. If we learn to breathe more slowly, we use up our endowment at a slower pace and thus live longer. Furthermore, some fifty or sixty thousand years ago, long before the Chinese spoke of Chi, Australian Aborigines were cultivating life energy as a key to healing and spiritual power. People who had this energy could communicate telepathically across vast distances and in this manner, they formed the "Aboriginal telephone line.” The Aborigines concentrated on an energy center four inches below the navel, where they said the cord of the great Rainbow Serpent (kundalini) lay coiled. Through the same center the Aborigines drew body heat from the "rainbow fires" that helped them endure cold. 70

In the Lakota (Sioux) language, the word for soul, waniya, is derived from the word for breath, ni. In 1896, the Lakota holy man Long Knife (George Sword) described to others that “A man's ni is his life. It is the same as his breath. It gives him his strength. All that is inside a man's body it keeps clean. If it is weak it cannot clean the inside of the body. If it goes away from a man he is dead.” 71 The Lakota sweat lodge healing rite is called inipi because it purifies the ni. "Inipi causes a man's ni to put out of his body all that makes him tired, or all that causes disease, or all that causes him to think wrong.” 72 Inipi is a purifying process that gets rid of the unnecessary ni to make the person stronger and healthier. This is similar to the role of Chi, as ni is understood to give life and health.

The Japanese also have a similar term and call this energy ki. This ki is part of other words such as reiki and aikido, which readily deal with this energy. Very often this energy is connected in the external world with wind and internally with breath. In Hawaii, the word for breath is ha. Many visitors to Hawaii are presented with a flowery wreath and the greeting Aloha, which is translated, "meeting face to face (alo) of the breath of life (ha).” 73 This is the same kind of breath that is captured by the Chinese word Chi.

Chi is believed to be the energy that is connected in the external world with wind and internally with breath. For thousands of years this wind has formed the physical and spiritual life of the peoples of the Pacific. The wind in Hawaii almost always blows from the East, and is strong, steady, and insistent. The ancient Hawaiians called it ha, the breath of God, which is very similar to the Old Testament understanding of ruach, which is breath or God's breath. In Hawaiian mythology, wind heralded Lono, the god of storm and rain and hence of fertility. Like Ezekiel and Job in the Old Testament, the Pacific peoples have known that God often speaks from the whirlwind. Theirs is a faith shaped by I, a word drawn from two roots combined to mean "In the presence of wind, breath, or spirit.” In Hawaii, to speak of God means necessarily to be open to the often disturbing and life-giving wind of the Spirit. 74 Thus God and Spirit become undeniably connected and intimately related. 75 With aloha, the breath or Chi is given and received during a greeting. This important connection between breath and Spirit is also found within the Christian tradition. God's ruach or breath was given to God's people to give life.

In Hawaii, the most powerful healers are known as Kahuna Ha, "Masters of the Breath.” The sacred healing breath, ha, can be absorbed at power places in nature heiau, through dance (such as the hula), and deep breathing exercises. Some Kahunas learn to store healing energy in the heart. Then, when the healing energy is projected through laying on of hands, the ha is colored by the healer's love and positive thoughts. In traditional Hawaiian counseling and mediation, all parties in a conflict first calm their minds by breathing deeply. This helps them to be less reactive and to find a better solution. The ha can also be transferred from a healer to a patient by blowing directly on the patient's body. When a Kahuna Ha is near death, he or she may transfer lineage and power by breathing the ha onto a student or family member. The Hawaiian word, aloha, which is often used as a respectful, heartfelt greeting, also means "love.” Love is the "meeting face-to-face" (alo) of the breath of life (ha). 76 Many cultures have words to express the similar ideas of breath, life, and vital energy that are expressed by the Christian understanding of the Holy Spirit and the Chinese understanding of Chi. So is it one Spirit or many?

Kim, Grace Ji-Sun (2011-09-20). The Holy Spirit, Chi, and the Other (p. 23-28). Palgrave Macmillan Monographs. Kindle Edition.

Notes
50 . Lee, The I Ching and Modern Man, 93.
51 . Admiel Kosman, "Breath, Kiss and Speech as the Source of the Animation of Life: Ancient Foundations of Rabbinic Homilies on the Giving of the Torah as the Kiss of God," in Self, Soul and Body in Religious Experience, ed. A.I. Baumgarten, J. Assmann, and G.G. Stroumsa Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill, (1998), 100.
52 . Joseph Pathrapankal, "Editorial," Journal of Dharma 23, no. 3 (1998): 300.
53 . Nikem L. Emeghara, "The Igbo Concept of Chi: The Destiny Spirit," Journal of Dharma 23 (1998): 399.
54 . Cook , "Alternative and Complementary Theologies," 176.
55 . I. Chukwukere, "Chi in Igbo Religion and Thought: The God in Every Man," Anthropos 78 (1983): 520.
56 . Shin, "The Life-Giving Spirit," 96.
57 . Shane Greene, "The Shaman's Needle: Development, Shamanic Agency and Intermedicality in Aguaruna Lands, Peru," American Ethnologist 25, no. 4 (1998): 9.
58 . Cook , "Alternative and Complementary Theologies," 176.
59 . Kosman , "Breath, Kiss and Speech as the Source of the Animation of Life," 101.
60 . Ibid., 101.
61 . Shaykh Hakim Moinuddin Chishti, The Book of Sufi Healing Rochester, VT: Inner Traditions , (1991), 123 as quoted by Kenneth S. Cohen, The Way of Qigong: The Art and Science of Chinese Energy Healing New York: Ballantine Books, (1997), 23.
62 . Cohen, The Way of Qigong, 23.
63 . Ibid., 24.
64 . Richard Katz, Boiling Energy Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, (1966), 42.
65 . Ibid., 42.
66 . Cohen, The Way of Qigong, 24.
67 . Wayne Teasdale, Toward a Christian Vedanta: The Encounter of Hinduism and Christianity According to Bede Griffiths Bangalore, India: Asian Trading Corporation, (1987), 147.
68 . Bede Bidlack, "Qi in the Christian Tradition," Dialogue and Alliance 17, no. 1 (2003): 53.
69 . Diana L. Eck, Encountering God: A Spiritual Journey from Bozeman to Banaras Boston: Beacon Press, (1993), 123, 124.
70 . Cohen, The Way of Qigong, 25, 26.
71 . James R. Walker, Lakota Belief and Ritual Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, (1980), 83.
72 . Ibid., 83- 84.
73 . Cook , "Alternative and Complementary Theologies," 176.
74 . Belden C. Lane, "The Breath of God: A Primer in Pacific/ Asian Theology," Christian Century, 107 no. 26 (1990): 833.
75 . Cook, "Alternative and Complementary Theologies," 176.
76 . Cohen, The Way of Qigong, 26.



Amazon Product Review

“Are there correlations between the Holy Spirit of the Christian tradition and the Chi of the Asian traditions? In tackling this huge and complex question Kim boldly and provocatively opens up whole new vistas on pneumatology and shows that in our global age theology can no longer be done from just one, up to now Eurocentric and androcentric, perspective. We are all in Kim's debt for this enlightening and enriching theological adventure.” - Peter C. Phan, The Ignacio Ellacuria Chair of Catholic Social Thought, Theology Department, Georgetown University

“Any pluralist Christian may draw energy and insight from Kim's comparative theology of Chi. She offers a spirited strategy, always clear and hopeful, for at once decolonizing our old exclusivism and empowering a fresh and healing planetary cooperation.” - Catherine Keller, Professor of Constructive Theology, Drew Theological School; author of On the Mystery: Discerning Divinity in Process

“The Holy Spirit, Chi, and the Other is well researched, theologically creative, interdisciplinary, and cross-cultural. The book is rich in both content and meaning. Kim's sophisticated treatment of the Spirit is a welcome addition to the growing literature on Global Theology. This book will be extremely useful for students and scholars in religious studies, theology, and cultural studies. It is a telling testimony to Kim's intellectual vitality, fine scholarship, and daring originality.” - Akintunde E. Akinade, Visiting Professor of Theology, Georgetown School of Foreign Service, Doha, Qatar

“It is in taking just such a wide angle view of its subject, and doing it with considerable attention to detail, that The Holy Spirit, Chi, and the Other maps out a rich landscape for further exploration. It will be an excellent resource for students and teachers, and a very helpful point of departure for scholars in theology, religious studies, and social and cultural criticism.” - Stephen Simmons, Moravian Theological Seminary

“Whether one agrees ultimately with Kim, The Holy Spirit, Chi, and the Other does the hard work of bringing Christian theology into dialogue with Eastern traditions. In an increasingly shrinking global village, Christians can no longer avoid doing theology only with Western resources. Kim provides one model of how this essential work is to be done. May many others take up this important task.” - Amos Yong, J. Rodman Williams Professor of Theology, Regent University School of Divinity

“I highly recommend Kim's work as a fine piece of the kind of contextual theology we very much need today in the area of the Holy Spirit and Chi, given the widespread awareness and culture of Chi in so many parts of the world, especially in East Asia. She should be complimented on a very promising pioneering work.” - Anselm K. Min, Dean and John D. and Lilian Maguire Distinguished Professor of Religion, The School of Religion, Claremont Graduate University


Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com

New Look at Enriching our Idea of the Holy Spirit.
By B. Maroldon October 11, 2011 - Published on Amazon.com

Dr. Kim's book addresses the post-colonial dialectic between the center versus the marginal, the coming together versus the preservation of identity, and what insights that Eastern understandings of Chi (wind, breath) can offer to our often neglected third of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit. Feminist and other contextualist theologies devalue the un-knowable, transcendental aspects of Christian philosophy, inherited from Plato, and sustained up until Kant's critique. They also abhor the negation of self found in Kenosis. To preserve the self and celebrate the praxis required by the conditions in which we find ourselves, Dr. Kim raises the banner of the ancient disciplines of China, India, Japan, and Korea in understanding that way in which the spirit acts on and with us. The Christian scriptures say much about the healing power of the spirit, yet they say not one jot or tittle regarding how it is that happens, possibly due to the scripture's devaluing the physical, the "flesh". Eastern thought never makes that separation, so it devotes deep thought to Chi as a vital spirit, and thousands of years of praxis on physical disciplines treating the "whole person" such as acupuncture and Tai Chi.

Please note: I am a student of Dr. Kim, and I assisted to some extent in helping to edit this book.


boundary crossing book
By farinelon December 14, 2012 - Published on Amazon.com

Dr.Kim sets the agenda for the coming century of theological research by boldly urging that reflection and catechisis draw on the "hybridity" characteristic of today's world. She challenges the legacy of an attenuated and vapid platonism within christian tradition, with its implied denegration of the body. As a leader of adult education classes in a very multicutural parish, i find her concepts refreshing and liberating. As a deep reader of Calvin, i am delighted that dr. Kim, an ordained minister in the Presbyterian church, shares Calvin's belief that we cannot know who is "saved"; she suggests with PANNIKAR that revelation is complex and infinite, not bound to western categories of thought , and always opening us to freedom and newness. In that sense she breaks new ground, as Amos Yong has done, in the emerging and exciting field of pneumatology.


An Accessible Pneumatology
ByJ Choon April 17, 2012 - Published on Amazon.com

Dr. Kim does a comprehensive work in presenting the multi-layerd connections between Holy Spirit and Chi. it's highly technical, but still accessible and compelling. Her incorporation of an Eastern notion of "spirit" thickens and deepens the Christian theological understanding of Holy Spirit in practical ways. These days when so many cultures and religions are interfacing on a regular basis it is refreshing to have a resource that does so honestly, articulately, and courageously. There's no loss of authenticity or faithfulness to Christian faith here, nor any inkling of dilution, which is often a concern for those who criticize inter-religious dialogue. This is the age of the Holy Spirit, and engaging and allowing ourselves to be open to the work of the Holy Spirit is crucial for the sake of God's Kingdom.





Outpouring of Pneuma

“Joel 3, which Peter cites to explain the phenomena of Acts 2:1-13, belongs to a cluster of texts in which the spirit functions within expectations for the future renewal of Israel. According to Isaiah 32:15, a period of desolation will be succeeded in Israel's future by a time of fruitful plenty:

For the palace will be forsaken, the populous city deserted; the hill and the watchtower will become dens forever, the joy of wild asses, a pasture for flocks; until a spirit from on high is poured out on us, and the wilderness becomes a fruitful field, and the fruitful field is deemed a forest. Then justice will dwell in the wilderness, and righteousness abide in the fruitful field. The effect of righteousness will be peace, and the result of righteousness, quietness and trust forever (Isa 32:14-17).

The post-exilic vision of Joel 3:1-5 echoes even more clearly Ezekiel's exilic vision of the restoration of Israel: "Then they shall know that I am the LORD their God because I sent them into exile among the nations, and then gathered them into their own land. I will leave none of them behind; and I will never again hide my face from them, when I pour my spirit upon the house of Israel, says the Lord GOD" (Ezek 39:28-29). Integral to Ezekiel's vision, unlike Joel's expectation, is the promised gathering of the scattered exiles which takes place, according to Luke, in nuce in the gathering of the exiles in Acts 2:5-11:

Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven living in Jerusalem. And at this sound the crowd gathered and was bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in the native language of each. Amazed and astonished, they asked, "Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? And how is it that we hear, each of us, in our own native language? Parthians, Medes, Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabs’ in our own languages we hear them speaking about God's deeds of power.”

Peter's citation of Joel 3 in Acts 2:17-21 is related as well to several texts in Isaiah 40-66. In the conclusion of his sermon, Peter tells his audience that the gift of the Holy Spirit is "for your children, and for all who are far away, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to him" (Acts 2:38-39). 20 This promise to those "afar off " constitutes an allusion to the promise of healing in Isaiah 57:19: "Peace, peace, to the far and the near, says the LORD; and I will heal them.” The reference to "your children" in this context comprises an allusion to Isaiah 59:20-21, which contains as well the familiar Lucan image of outpouring: "And as for me, this is my covenant with them, says the LORD: my spirit that is upon you, and my words that I have put in your mouth, shall not depart out of your mouth, or out of the mouths of your children, or out of the mouths of your children's children, says the LORD, from now on and forever.”

The inclusion of the images of those afar off, children, and outpouring in Peter's sermon suggests the influence of Isaiah 57-59 upon Luke's interpretation of the earliest experience of the spirit.

This association of the spirit with descendants (i.e., children) and outpouring is characteristic as well of another eschatological vision in Isaiah 44:3, which lies just marginally farther from Isaiah 57:19: "For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour my spirit upon your descendants, and my blessing on your offspring.”

This text in particular was appropriated by the desert community on the shores of the Dead Sea. Their Words of the Luminaries contains an allusion to Isaiah 44:3: "For you have poured your Holy Spirit upon us, to fill us with your blessings, so that we would look for you in our anguish, [and whisper in the grief of your approach.” The context of this allusion in the Words of the Luminaries is occupied primarily with Israel's exilic status among the nations: "You remembered your covenant, for you redeemed us in the eyes of the nations and did not desert us amongst the nations’. Look at our [distress,] our grief and our anguish, and free your people Israel from all] the countries, both near and far ’" (4Q504 V-VI).

The relationship between outpouring and repentance to the end that God will gather the exiles from nations far and near exhibits a kinship with Acts 2, where Peter urges the gathered exiles of Acts 2:511 to repent in order to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. In both texts, moreover, the eschatological outpouring of the spirit is fulfilled, while the promised eschatological ingathering of Israel's exiles has not yet fully taken place.

There exists, therefore, an exegetical tradition of prophetic texts which refer to the outpouring of the spirit’ Joel 3:1-5, Ezekiel 39:2829, Isaiah 44:3, and 59:21. While Peter, according to Acts 2, cites Joel 3, the presence of gathered exiles and the promise of the spirit to the hearers' children suggest that Ezekiel 39 and Isaiah 59 lie also within Luke's purview. Further, the association of the outpouring of the spirit with repentance and the promised ingathering of Israel's exilic community in both Luke's account of the earliest Jerusalem followers of the Way and the desert people of the Way evinces the existence of a shared perception of the spirit and an exegetical tradition clustered around the conception of eschatological ingathering via the outpouring of the spirit.”

Advents of the Spirit : An Introduction to the Current Study of Pneumatology
Bradford Hinze and Lyle Dabney, Marquette University Press (2001) p. 80-2




Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi (1923-2011): Christian by birth, Hindu by marriage and Paraclete by duty.
"You see, the Holy Ghost is THE MOTHER. When they say about the Holy Ghost, She is THE MOTHER... Now, the principle of MOTHER is in every, every scripture — has to be there. Now, THE MOTHER's character is that She is the one who is the Womb, She is the one who is the Mother Earth, and She is the one who nourishes you. She nourishes us. You know that. And this feminine thing in every human being resides as this Kundalini.”
THE MOTHER: Messiah-Paraclete-Ruh
Santa Cruz, USA—October 1, 1983

“The Kundalini rises through a very thin line of Brahmanadi. In the beginning only a hair like thing rises, it pierces through. In some people, of course, in a big way it rises also. And then it pierces this fontanel bone area which is a real baptism, real. Today only people felt the Cool Breeze coming out of their heads. Can you do that by jumping, or by paying money? They felt the Cool Breeze in the hand. it's written in the Bible, even in the Bible very clearly, that it's the Cool Breeze. Cool breeze is the sign of the Holy Ghost. You start feeling the Cool Breeze in your hands and you start feeling the Cool Breeze on your head. This is the actualization.”

THE MOTHER: Messiah-Paraclete-Ruh-Devi

Receiving the Spirit
Spirit-Baptism and subsequence

“Now he said this about the Spirit, which believers in him were to receive; for as yet there was no Spirit, because Jesus was not yet glorified" John 7:39 "When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, ’Receive the Holy Spirit'" JOHN 20:22
As noted earlier in this study, the language of "Spirit-baptism" is a tag or coding that is derivable from the nT.1 Its most pronounced location is within the testimony of John the Baptist, one that is preserved in all four gospels (see Matt 3:11; Mark 1:8; Luke 3:16; John 1:33). In the Baptist's preaching, John's baptism is distinguished from Spirit-baptism, which would be dispensed by the one who was to come. This message represents a fusing of a number of themes. First, the Spirit being poured out was a common phrasing from the OT that suggested the age to come, as one can see with the prophecy of Joel 2. Typically, this pouring out of God's Spirit is understood to be undertaken by none other than God. Second, the expectation of a messianic figure being anointed by God's Spirit is also relatively common fare within Israel's scriptures. We have already drawn attention to both Isaiah 11 and 61 as passages in which a messianic figure was anticipated who would be empowered or anointed by God's Spirit.” (Clark 2015, 95)


Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi (1923-2011): Christian by birth, Hindu by marriage and Paraclete by duty.
"You see, the Holy Ghost is THE MOTHER. When they say about the Holy Ghost, She is THE MOTHER... Now, the principle of MOTHER is in every, every scripture — has to be there. Now, THE MOTHER's character is that She is the one who is the Womb, She is the one who is the Mother Earth, and She is the one who nourishes you. She nourishes us. You know that. And this feminine thing in every human being resides as this Kundalini.”
THE MOTHER: Messiah-Paraclete-Ruh
Santa Cruz, USA—October 1, 1983

“The Spirit resides in our heart; it's the reflection of God Almighty. In Sanskrit language, this aspect of God which is all- pervading and is the first and the last, is called as Sadashiva; is the Father, who does not incarnate. We say Yehovah, we can say, or the God who does not incarnate.

This great aspect which encompasses everything ultimately and also manifests everything is the reflection within our heart as the Spirit. This aspect is just the witness aspect; it witnesses the play of its power, the Primordial Power, the Holy Ghost, to see what is created by Her. He's the only enjoyer of the game. He sees the game, the Leela, the fun.

She organises everything, it is She who gets divided into three powers, it is She who creates the whole universe, it is She who gives us this evolution, it is She who makes us human beings and it is She who has to make us the higher human being. That's the Holy Ghost, the Primordial Holy Ghost and the reflection of that is this Kundalini within us.”

THE MOTHER: Messiah-Paraclete-Ruh-Devi
Houston, Texas, USA—Oct 7, 1981


“It is a difficult subject to talk about Adi Shakti because it's not easy to understand that Adi Shakti is the power of Sadashiva. Sadashiva is the God Almighty. She is His breath, as they some people call it. Some say She is the desire and some say that She is the entire power of Sadashiva and Sadashiva cannot do anything without Her powers.”

THE MOTHER: Messiah-Paraclete-Ruh-Devi
Adi Shakti Puja, Cabella Italy—May 25, 1997

"The Catholic theologian John R. Sachs, speaking at a recent academic conference on pneumatology, asked, "What is it that invites us, perhaps compels us, to think and to speak about the Spirit today?” He mentions several reasons, such as: an incredible interest today in the Spirit and spirituality. People are paying attention to the spiritual dimension of their lives and often seem to be experiencing the Spirit in ways and places that often challenge traditional theologies and Church structures and sometimes have little connection with traditional religious practice. The Spirit is present and active beyond the official structures and ordained ministries of the Church.
Sachs then added a noteworthy comment: "Theologians from who[m] I have learned the most, both ancient and modern, all warn against trying to comprehend the Spirit in a systematic way.” He recommends the attitude of "honorable silence.” Otherwise pneumatology cannot avoid useless speculation. Overly speculative study of the Spirit would also hinder us from becoming more acutely desirous of and sensitive to the Spirit.” (Karkkainen 2002, 14)


Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi (1923-2011): Christian by birth, Hindu by marriage and Paraclete by duty.
"You see, the Holy Ghost is THE MOTHER. When they say about the Holy Ghost, She is THE MOTHER... Now, the principle of MOTHER is in every, every scripture — has to be there. Now, THE MOTHER's character is that She is the one who is the Womb, She is the one who is the Mother Earth, and She is the one who nourishes you. She nourishes us. You know that. And this feminine thing in every human being resides as this Kundalini.”
THE MOTHER: Messiah-Paraclete-Ruh
Santa Cruz, USA—October 1, 1983

Interviewer: "Shri Mataji, you are called 'Mother.' And, it seems in the Hindu tradition there's a special context or meaning of the word 'Mother'. What is this meaning?”

Shri Mataji: “You see, in the Indian philosophy, even in the Christian philosophy it is so, but it has been little bit changed. If you read the books of Essene, you will find they have described the "Mother.” You see, the Holy Ghost is The Mother. When they say about the Holy Ghost, She is The Mother. But how can you have... You must reason it out. How can you have a father and a son without a mother?

It's a, you see, simple thing like that. You see, so it's The Mother only. Holy Ghost is very important. So, Holy Ghost is The Mother, you see. it's absurd thing, I mean, to have such a thing. Even homosexuals cannot have children. it's funny thing, isn't it. Absolutely absurd! But Christians accepted this. I don't know why. Why didn't they go into find out what is this Holy Ghost business is? They said, "it's a mystery.” How can you say it's a mystery? When you cannot explain then better not say anything about it. So, Holy Ghost is something hanging in the air. No one knows; it's a mystery, and the rest of it is the father and the son. it's absurd!

Now, the principle of Mother is in every, every scripture — has to be there. Now, The Mother's character is that She is the One Who is the Womb, She is the One Who is the Mother Earth and She is the One Who nourishes you. She nourishes us, you know that. And, this feminine thing in every human being resides as this Kundalini, as you have seen. And, when She rises, She gives you this new awareness which becomes compassion, which is flowing, which becomes soothing, nourishing energy of love.”

THE MOTHER: Messiah-Paraclete-Ruh-Devi
Radio Interview Santa Cruz USA—1983 Oct 01

"The challenges of pneumatology continue not only at the level of language and translation but also in terms of relationality. Typically, Christians feel more at ease in relating to Jesus than they do to the Spirit. Why? Jesus was a personal entity. he had a name, personality, and heritage. he was a son, teacher, carpenter, and friend. We can relate to Jesus on the basis of such demarcations and characteristics since these are part of the human experience that frames everything we are and know. In contrast, how does one relate to God's Spirit? Can one address or speak to the Spirit? Broadly, should God's Spirit be thought of in personal terms? These and many other questions are difficult for contemporary Christians to pursue because of their epistemic frameworks, but interestingly, Spirit-talk has always had a degree of relational difficulty associated with it. As it will be noted below, concerted formulation of Christian pneumatology within the church took place after quite a bit of efforts were pursued in Christology. Additionally, there were various stages of pneumatological development, and these emerged from and interacted with both Jewish formulations as well as a number of eventually deemed heretical sensibilities and movements. All of this to say that the early church struggled with precisely this line of inquiry for centuries, and it did so with very good reason. When some refer to the Spirit as the "shy member of the Trinity," part of the warrant for such a description relies on difficulties in categorizing the holy Spirit in personal terms.
The language of John's gospel (which will serve as a guiding refrain in this book) as well as many instances elsewhere in the NT and across Christian tradition would suggest that the holy Spirit is an entity who is distinctly identifiable and who engages in specific activities, including relating to, guiding, and reminding Christ's disciples. In other words, on this account the Spirit appears to be hypostatically personal. Part of the rationale for this judgment is that Jesus spoke of the Spirit as "another Paraclete," which by implication suggests that the Spirit is an entity similar to Christ, the forerunning parakletos. on the basis of this understanding, the matter would seem to be settled’the Spirit is personal like Jesus. And yet, Scripture complicates this uniform presentation.
For instance, the Spirit is also portrayed in Scripture as a power or presence that comes upon or is mediated via some other agent. As illustrative of this possibility, consider the following: A typical biblical pattern is that God's Spirit comes, rests, rushes upon, or them’that is mediated via their speech and activity. Put another way, one can hear and read the words of Jesus in the gospels, but where are the Spirit's voice and words to be found apart from the voice and words of others?”
Daniel Castelo, Pneumatology: A Guide for the Perplexed T&T Clark (July 16, 2015) p. 6-8






Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi (1923-2011) was Christian by birth, Hindu by marriage, and Paraclete by duty. "The intention of the Spirit of truth is the restoration of an alienated, deceived humanity... The teaching role of the Paraclete tends to be remembered as a major emphasis of the Farewell Discourses, yet only 14:26 says She will teach you all things. (Teaching is, however, implied when 16:13-15 says that the Spirit will guide you into all truth, and will speak and declare.) Franz Mussner remarks that the word used in 14:26, didaskein, "means literally 'teach, instruct,' but in John it nearly always means to reveal.” (Stevick 2011, 297)
"I hope you have understood what I have said. But arguments are not going to give you Realization - it has to happen. It doesn't matter, you may be the crown prince or you may be the king or you may be anything. Makes no difference. it's your individual happening that has to take place. This is your individual Mother within you. This is the Ruh I am talking about. Just by ritualism you cannot achieve God. You have to be connected with God. For all the people of the world who understand and who think it is important to know that there must be a truth which we can actualize, it has been promised in all the religions and scriptures and it has to happen.”

THE MOTHER: Messiah-Paraclete-Ruh-Devi
Birmingham, U.K.—July 9, 1982


"Though you can understand that Mother's Love makes it very easy for you to get to your Realization and that the whole story of Last Judgment - which looks such a horrifying experience - has been made very beautiful, and very tender, and delicate, and does not disturb you.”

THE MOTHER: Messiah-Paraclete-Ruh-Devi
Kundalini And Kalki Shakti, Bombay, India—September 28, 1979





The fulfillment of eschatological instruction promised by Jesus
“The original meaning of the word ‘apocalypse’, derived from the Greek apokalypsis, is in fact not the cataclysmic end of the world, but an ‘unveiling’, or ‘revelation’, a means whereby one gains insight into the present.” (Kovacs, 2013, 2)
An apocalypse (Greek: apokalypsis meaning “an uncovering”) is in religious contexts knowledge or revelation, a disclosure of something hidden, “a vision of heavenly secrets that can make sense of earthly realities.” (Ehrman 2014, 59)
“An apocalypse (Ancient Greek: apokalypsis ... literally meaning "an uncovering") is a disclosure or revelation of great knowledge. In religious and occult concepts, an apocalypse usually discloses something very important that was hidden or provides what Bart Ehrman has termed, "A vision of heavenly secrets that can make sense of earthly realities". Historically, the term has a heavy religious connotation as commonly seen in the prophetic revelations of eschatology obtained through dreams or spiritual visions.” Wikipedia 2021-01-09

Shri Mataji
Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi (1923-2011) was Christian by birth, Hindu by marriage, and Paraclete by duty.
Total number of recorded talks 3058: Public Programs 1178, Pujas 651, and other (private conversations) 1249

“The Paraclete will come (15:26; 16:7, 8, 13) as Jesus has come into the world (5:43; 16:28; 18:37)... The Paraclete will take the things of Christ (the things that are mine, ek tou emou) and declare them (16:14-15). Bishop Fison describes the humility of the Spirit, 'The true Holy Spirit of God does not advertise Herself: She effaces Herself and advertises Jesus.' ...
It is by the outgoing activity of the Spirit that the divine life communicates itself in and to the creation. The Spirit is God-in-relations. The Paraclete is the divine self-expression which will be and abide with you, and be in you (14:16-17). The Spirit's work is described in terms of utterance: teach you, didasko (14:26), remind you, hypomimnesko (14:26), testify, martyro (15:26), prove wrong, elencho (16:8), guide into truth, hodego (16:13), speak, laleo (16:13, twice), declare, anangello (16:13, 14, 15). The johannine terms describe verbal actions which intend a response in others who will receive (lambano), see (theoreo), or know (ginosko) the Spirit. Such speech-terms link the Spirit with the divine Word. The Spirit's initiatives imply God's personal engagement with humanity. The Spirit comes to be with others; the teaching Spirit implies a community of learners; forgetful persons need a prompter to remind them; one testifies expecting heed to be paid; one speaks and declares in order to be heard. The articulate Spirit is the correlative of the listening, Spirit-informed community.
The final Paraclete passage closes with a threefold repetition of the verb she will declare (anangello), 16:13-15. The Spirit will declare the things that are to come (v.13), and she will declare what is Christ's (vv. 14, 15). The things of Christ are a message that must be heralded...
The intention of the Spirit of truth is the restoration of an alienated, deceived humanity... The teaching role of the Paraclete tends to be remembered as a major emphasis of the Farewell Discourses, yet only 14:26 says She will teach you all things. (Teaching is, however, implied when 16:13-15 says that the Spirit will guide you into all truth, and will speak and declare.) Franz Mussner remarks that the word used in 14:26, didaskein, "means literally 'teach, instruct,' but in John it nearly always means to reveal.” (Stevick 2011, 292-7)
The Holy Spirit as feminine: Early Christian testimonies and their interpretation,
Johannes van Oort, Radboud University, Nijmegen, The Netherlands
Department of Church History and Church Polity, Faculty of Theology, University of Pretoria, South Africa


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