Editor's Choice

Happy ending will be collectively "realized by the coming of the Messiah"


Huston Smith
Huston Smith
Can Religion Save Us?
Tradition, Transcendence, and Ultimate Reality
An interview with Huston Smith
by Jessica Roemischer


WIE: So, will the "happy ending" or final salvation that the traditions prophesy actually manifest? And, if so, do you believe that will eventuate—as the traditions predict, through divine intervention—in the "second coming"?

HS: For my part, I do say unequivocally that one of the strengths of the great religions is that they promise a happy ending that burgeons after horrendous problems are faced and overcome. But here's the decisive thing that our culture is not ready to hear: they want to see the second coming as changing human history, the course of human history on this planet, which we may annihilate like a supernova. Now, there are phrases in the Bible that point toward it manifesting here—"Thy kingdom come on earth." Or, as in the basic Hindu view, the material world and its history are like an accordion that comes out and it goes back through the four yugas (ages), ending with the Kali Yuga, the worst one, which goes to the dogs completely. But then a new cycle begins. Whatever the metaphors and the analogies, it's our obligation to try to see it happen; we should do our very best to see that it happens on our planet. And, in fact, none of the traditions claim that that happy ending is realizable on our planet; they say that individuals will experience that happy ending in the afterlife, and collectively it will be realized by the coming of the Messiah when time as we know it closes down (the wording differs from religion to religion).

Huston Smith, arguably today's foremost authority on the world's great religions, has, for over half a century, dedicated himself to transmitting the wisdom of the traditions through books, television, and film and in the classroom. His best-known volume, The World's Religions, has been the standard introductory textbook in college religion courses for thirty years and has sold several million copies. Dr. Smith has produced three PBS television series and was the focus of Bill Moyers' five-part PBS special, "The Wisdom of Faith with Huston Smith." His documentaries on Tibetan Buddhism, Hinduism, and Sufism have received international acclaim. Having devoted a lifetime to the study of the august traditions of the world, Huston Smith was our preeminent choice to answer the question: Are the religions equipped to navigate the myriad challenges of the third millennium?

Initially, Huston Smith responded to our interview request with a letter saying, "I am hesitant to take part in your projected article for fear of sounding like a spoilsport. I gather that you want to come down hard on the perils that threaten our planet while giving your readers grounds for hope. My personal judgment is that my perspective differs so markedly from the mind-set of your readers that you would do better to bypass me on this one ..." We were hooked. What would the dean of comparative religious scholarship have to say in response to perhaps the most important spiritual question of our time, and why did he feel that our readers would not want to hear it? Could there indeed be no cause for hope?

In his innovative and incisive critique of postmodernity, Why Religion Matters, Smith writes, "The sandwich man between placards announcing that the end is near is telling us something important... . He is not just protesting our reigning culture. However falteringly, he is gesturing toward a heavenly city that offers an alternative to this earthly one, which is always deeply flawed." Indeed, that man could be Huston Smith himself. And, visiting with this wise and generous octogenarian in his modest Berkeley home, for the interview that he did eventually agree to, we found why he believes that, in the face of apocalyptic times, the traditions may help us hope for a good outcome, but they may not be equipped to actually help us manifest it—at least not here on Earth!

EnlightenmentNext Magazine Issue 23 / Spring—Summer 2003




A Walk with Four Spiritual Guides: Krishna, Buddha, Jesus, and Ramakrishna
"It is early December 1992. I am sitting with the eighty-six-year-old Catholic monk and mystic Father Bede Griffiths in his hut in the South Indian morning waiting for an Australian crew, who is making a film of his life, to arrive. I am the host of the documentary. For eight marvelous days, Bede and I have been talking about God, the Church, the World's mystical traditions, and the various stages of that search for truth that brought him to India forty years before.

Bede paused suddenly (we had been talking about his early love of the romantic poets) and then said, quietly and intensely, "You know, of course, Andrew, that we are now in the hour of God."

Although it was a warm, fragrant morning, I shivered.

"When you say 'hour of God,' what do you mean?"

"I mean that the whole human race has now come to the moment when everything is at stake, when a vast shift of consciousness will have to take place on a massive scale in all societies and religions for the world to survive. Unless human life becomes centered on the awareness of a transcendent reality that embraces all humanity and the whole universe and at the same time transcends our present level of life and consciousness, there is little hope for us."

His calm, measured, aristocratic voice made his words all the more arresting. Bede coughed and gazed at his fine, strong, bony hands. "Very few people dare to face how extreme and decisive the situation has now become. The churches and religions are fossilized in their old dogmas and divisions. What I see of the 'New Age' on my travels in America fills me with some hope, but I am aware of the naivete and escapism of a great deal of what passes for spirituality in it. Very few people are prepared to look without illusion at our time and see it for what it is-a crucifixion on a worldwide scale of everything humanity has expected or trusted or believed in every level and in every arena. To look like this requires a kind of final faith and courage, which few have as yet. You and others like you will have to live and write in such a way as to help people to such a faith and trust."

I had never, in all the many hours we had spent together, heard him speak so nakedly and darkly about the future of the world, and I knew him well enough already to know that he never said anything without deep purpose.

We sat together in silence, absorbing the pain and challenge of his words. Then I asked, "Do you think humanity can get through?"

"Of course," he said immediately, his voice strong, "But it will cost everything. Just as Jesus had to go through death into the new world of the Resurrection, so millions of us will have to go through a death to the past and to all old ways of being and doing if we are going to be brought by the grace of God into the truth of a real new age. The next twenty years will unfold a series of terrible disasters, wars, and ordeals of every kind that will reveal if the human race is ready to die into new life or not. I have no idea of what the outcome of the savage period we are entering will be. There are many prophecies in many mystical traditions that speak of the horror of this time, but they disagree as to what will happen. This I think shows that either total destruction or total transformation is possible and depend on us, on what we choose, and how we act."

Bede paused again, turning his head to look at me directly. "I know for certain only two things about the time we are about to enter. The first is that it will see on every level a ruthless battle between those forces that want to keep humanity enslaved to the past-and these include religious fundamentalism, nationalism, materialism, and corporate greed-and those forces that will awaken in response to a hunger for a new way of living and of doing everything. The second thing I know-and I know this from my own inmost experience-is that God will shower help, grace, and protection on all those who sincerely want to change and are brave enough to risk the great adventure of transformation."

Very softly, Bede added, "God, I believe, wants a new world and a new humanity to be born from what is about to unfold. Whether we really do or not and whether we are prepared to pay the price and accept the responsibility for changing, I do not know. You, my dear Andrew, and your generation will find out. Wherever I am, I will be with you, and praying for your courage and strength."

That was in 1992. The world is now plunged in that "hour of God" of which Bede spoke so starkly. The "disasters, wars, and ordeals" that he foretold from the calm of his Indian hut rage around us. Fundamentalism is on the rise everywhere and terrorism has increased to an unprecedented level, creating international instability that could have incalculably horrific consequences. And the squalid failure of recent international summits have revealed, yet again, how little resolve the so-called civilized world can muster to deal with the now potentially terminal state of the environment.

From all sides, the news is bad, very bad. World population now stands at 6.1 billion (already 2 billion more than experts of sustainable growth recommend). By 2050, it could expand as much as 50 percent, to 9.3 billion, overwhelming even the best-intentioned best-intentioned international plans to adjust poverty levels and share resources. In a world in which parts of the West live in a high-tech luxury unimaginable even when I was speaking with Bede in 1992, a staggering 2.8 billion people live in conditions of squalor and disease and deprivation of every kind on less than two dollars a day. Air, sea, and land resources are being used 20 percent faster than they can be replenished-and this according to the conservative estimates of the World Wildlife Fund. The Arctic and Antarctic ice caps are melting and, according to many experts, global warming is proceeding even faster than the most depressed doomsayers of the 1980s and 1990s forecasted. About 1.1 billion people lack access to safe drinking water, mainly in Africa and Asia.

It has never been clearer that the "vast shift of consciousness on a massive scale" that Bede Griffiths called for is humanity's last hope. Without such a shift and a radical new openness to divine wisdom and guidance, all the solutions we propose to deal with our increasingly overwhelming problems will be crippled by the very assumptions that created the problems in the first place. The human race has been brought by its own inner destiny and by God to a place where it must leap into a new kind of being or be destroyed by the folly of its own greed and ignorance. Anyone who sees this clearly has no option but to do everything in his or her power to transform themselves enough to be really and radically useful, to go through the "death" to the past that Bede spoke of and be reborn in the new consciousness that the Divine is trying to birth everywhere, whatever the price.

I have found in my own struggle to change and be changed that my chief sources of inspiration have sprung from the mystical traditions of the past. In their great scriptures and practical technologies of transformation, I have found at once a noble vision of human-divine identity and the means to realize and embody its truth and power in reality. From them, I have drunk the wines of fearlessness and ecstasy and slowly learned how, again and again, to risk everything and to welcome the deaths that transfigure and empower. They have taught me rigor and illusionless hope and the courage to endure in joy.

Harvey, Andrew (2012-04-06). A Walk with Four Spiritual Guides: Krishna, Buddha, Jesus, and Ramakrishna
(SkyLight Illuminations) (Kindle Locations 113-175). Jewish Lights Publishing. Kindle Edition.




The Great Adi Shakti Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi
The Paraclete Shri Mataji
"Sahaja Yoga is not meant for useless people, is not meant for people who have no courage, is not meant for cowards. It's not meant for people who run after money and who run after all these material things — especially the first people who are the foundation of Sahaja Yoga. They have to be people of great caliber and of great desire to achieve their state of emancipation because they are the people who are going to save the whole humanity. They are the redeemers. They are the one who are going to manifest the salvation of this doomed humanity.

Those who are weak can be strengthened because the energy lies within them. Those who are unhealthy can be cured. Those who are mentally disturbed can be brought round. But there is no place for cowards in this. You have to be courageous and cheerful people. For one thing because you represent that force which is fighting for the Divine, for God Almighty, you are His hands. And you have to be wise also. Stupid people are no good. Stupidity can never help you to rise. You have to be wise people. Useless people, those who run after nonsensical things, let them go wherever they like.

They'll come back when their time and turn will come. We need not be many people for this. Very few can save the world but they have to be strong and absolutely established in their understanding of the powers of their Spirit, powers of their Father who is Almighty."

THE MOTHER: Messiah-Paraclete-Ruh-Devi
Caxton Hall, U.K.—June 30, 1980


i. Regathering of Jews back to Israel "Will occur right before the return of the Messiah"
ii. "Quran explicitly refers to the return of the Jews to the Land of Israel before the Last Judgment"
iii. "Until Moshiach comes, Judaism is simply a 'religion,' seemingly relegated to its houses of worship"
iv. "The coming Messiah would inaugurate the age of salvation with the pouring out of the Spirit on all flesh"
v."He [Jesus] is a Sign of the Hour [of Resurrection]. Have no doubt about it. "Surat az-Zukhruf 43:61




THE APOCALYPSE OF THE SPIRIT-PARACLETE
The fulfillment of the promised divine eschatological instruction
“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)
Shri Mataji
Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi (1923-2011) was Christian by birth, Hindu by marriage, and Paraclete by duty.
“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)
Stephen E. Witmer, Divine instruction in Early Christianity   
F. B. Meyer, Love to the Utmost Robert Kysar, John, the Maverick Gospel 
Danny Mahar, Aramaic Made EZ Lucy Reid, She Changes Everything
David Fleer, Preaching John's Gospel: The World It Imagines Berard L. Marthaler, The Creed: The Apostolic Faith in Contemporary Theology
George Ladd, A Theology of the New Testament In Spirit and Truth, Benny Thettayil
Jesus and His Own: A Commentary on John 13-17 Marianne Meye Thompson, The God of the Gospel of John
Eric Eve, The Jewish Context of Jesus' Miracles D. R. Sadananda, The Johannine Exegesis of God: an exploration into the Johannine understanding of God
Michael Welker, God the Spirit Georg Strecker, Theology of the New Testament
Tricia Gates Brown, Spirit in the writings of John Michael Welker, The work of the Spirit: pneumatology and Pentecostalism
Robert Kysar, Voyages with John: Charting the Fourth Gospel John F. Moloney, The Gospel of John
Harvey Cox, The Future of Faith Robert Kysar, John
Robert E. Picirilli, The Randall House Bible Commentary George Ladd, A Theology of the New Testament 
“The teaching of the Paraclete, as the continuation of Jesus' teaching, must also be understood as the fulfillment of the promise of eschatological divine instruction.”
Stephen E. Witmer, Divine instruction in Early Christianity

“Jesus therefore predicts that God will later send a human being to Earth to take up the role defined by John .i.e. to be a prophet who hears God's words and repeats his message to man.”
M. Bucaille, The Bible, the Qur'n, and Science

“And when Jesus foreannounced another Comforter, He must have intended a Person as distinct and helpful as He had been.”
F. B. Meyer, Love to the Utmost

“The Paraclete has a twofold function: to communicate Christ to believers and, to put the world on trial.”
Robert Kysar, John The Meverick Gospel

“But She—the Spirit, the Paraclete...—will teach you everything.”
Danny Mahar, Aramaic Made EZ)

“Grammatical nonsense but evidence of the theological desire to defeminize the Divine.”
Lucy Reid, She Changes Everything

“The functions of the Paraclete spelled out in verses 13-15... are all acts of open and bold speaking in the highest degree.”
David Fleer, Preaching John's Gospel

“The reaction of the world to the Paraclete will be much the same as the world's reaction was to Jesus.”
Berard L. Marthaler, The Creed: The Apostolic Faith in Contemporary Theology

Bultmann calls the “coming of the Redeemer an 'eschatological event,' 'the turning-point of the ages.”
G. Ladd, A Theology of the New Testament

“The Paraclete equated with the Holy Spirit, is the only mediator of the word of the exalted Christ.”
Benny Thettayil, In Spirit and Truth

“The divine Paraclete, and no lessor agency, must show the world how wrong it was about him who was in the right.”
Daniel B. Stevick , Jesus and His Own: A Commentary on John 13-17

Stephen Smalley asserts that “The Spirit-Paraclete ... in John's Gospel is understood as personal, indeed, as a person.”
Marianne Thompson, The God of the Gospel of John

“The Messiah will come and the great age of salvation will dawn (for the pious).”
Eric Eve, The Jewish context of Jesus' Miracles

“The remembrance is to relive and re-enact the Christ event, to bring about new eschatological decision in time and space.”
Daniel Rathnakara Sadananda, The Johannine Exegesis of God

“The Spirit acts in such an international situation as the revealer of 'judgment' on the powers that rule the world.”
Michael Welker, God the Spirit

The Paraclete's “Appearance means that sin, righteousness, and judgment will be revealed.”
Georg Strecker, Theology of the New Testament

“While the Spirit-Paraclete is the true broker, the brokers they rely on are impostors.”
T. G. Brown, Spirit in the writings of John

“The pneumatological activity ... of the Paraclete ... may most helpfully be considered in terms of the salvific working of the hidden Spirit.”
Michael Welker, The work of the Spirit

“The pneuma is the peculiar power by which the word becomes the words of eternal life.”
Robert Kysar, Voyages with John

“The gift of peace, therefore, is intimately associated with the gift of the Spirit-Paraclete.”
Francis J. Moloney, The Gospel of John

“This utopian hope, even when modestly expressed, links Jesus and the prophets to a much wider history of human longing.”
Harvey Cox, The Future of Faith

“Because of the presence of the Paraclete in the life of the believer, the blessings of the end-times—the eschaton—are already present.”
Robert Kysar, John

“They are going, by the Holy Spirit's power, to be part of the greatest miracle of all, bringing men to salvation.”
R. Picirilli, The Randall House Bible Commentary

“The Kingdom of God stands as a comprehensive term for all that the messianic salvation included... is something to be sought here and now (Mt. 6:33) and to be received as children receive a gift (Mk. 10:15 = Lk. 18:16-17).”
G. Ladd, A Theology of the New Testament


“But today is the day I declare that I am the one who has to save the humanity. I declare I am the one who is Adishakti, who is the Mother of all the Mothers, who is the Primordial Mother, the Shakti, the desire of God, who has incarnated on this Earth to give its meaning to itself; to this creation, to human beings and I am sure through My Love and patience and My powers I am going to achieve it.

I was the one who was born again and again. But now in my complete form and complete powers I have come on this Earth not only for salvation of human beings, not only for their emancipation, but for granting them the Kingdom of Heaven, the joy, the bliss that your Father wants to bestow upon you.”

THE MOTHER: Messiah-Paraclete-Ruh
December 2, 1979—London, UK


“I am the one about which Christ has talked... I am the Holy Spirit who has incarnated on this Earth for your realization.”

THE MOTHER: Messiah-Paraclete-Ruh
New York, USA—September 30, 1981


“Tell all the nations and tell all the people all over the Great Message that the Time of Resurrection is here. Now, at this time, and that you are capable of doing it.”

THE MOTHER: Messiah-Paraclete-Ruh
Cowley Manor Seminar, UK—July 31, 1982


“This is the transformation that has worked, of which Christ has talked, Mohammed Sahib has talked, everybody has talked about this particular time when people will get transformed.”

THE MOTHER: Messiah-Paraclete-Ruh-Devi
Chistmas Puja, Ganapatipule, India—25 December 1997


“The Resurrection of Christ has to now be collective Resurrection. This is what is Mahayoga. Has to be the collective Resurrection.”

THE MOTHER: Messiah-Paraclete-Ruh-Devi
Easter Puja, London, UK—11 April 1982


“Today, Sahaja Yaga has reached the state of Mahayoga, which is en-masse evolution manifested through it. It is this day’s Yuga Dharma. It is the way the Last Judgement is taking place. Announce it to all the seekers of truth, to all the nations of the world, so that nobody misses the blessings of the divine to achieve their meaning, their absolute, their Spirit.”

THE MOTHER: Messiah-Paraclete-Ruh-Devi
MAHA AVATAR, ISSUE 1, JUL-SEP 1980 (Date and place unknown)


“The main thing that one has to understand is that the time has come for you to get all that is promised in the scriptures, not only in the Bible but all all the scriptures of the world. The time has come today that you have to become a Christian, a Brahmin, a Pir, through your Kundalini awakening only. There is no other way. And that your Last Judgment is also now.”

THE MOTHER: Messiah-Paraclete-Ruh-Devi


“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-Devi
Radio Interview Oct 01 1983—Santa Cruz, USA


“It is the Mother who can awaken the Kundalini, and that the Kundalini is your own Mother. She is the Holy Ghost within you, the Adi Shakti, and She Herself achieves your transformation. By any talk, by any rationality, by anything, it cannot be done.”

THE MOTHER: Messiah-Paraclete-Ruh-Devi


“She is your pure Mother. She is the Mother who is individually with you. Forget your concepts, and forget your identifications. Please try to understand She is your Mother, waiting for ages to give you your real birth. She is the Holy Ghost within you. She has to give you your realization, and She's just waiting and waiting to do it.”

THE MOTHER: Messiah-Paraclete-Ruh-Devi
Public Program Mar 22 1981—Sydney, Australia


“The Kundalini is your own mother; your individual mother. And She has tape-recorded all your past and your aspirations. Everything! And She rises because She wants to give you your second birth. But She is your individual mother. You don't share Her with anybody else. Yours is a different, somebody else's is different because the tape-recording is different. We say She is the reflection of the Adi Shakti who is called as Holy Ghost in the Bible.”

THE MOTHER: Messiah-Paraclete-Ruh-Devi
Press Conference July 08 1999—London, UK

The Great Goddess is both wholly transcendent and fully immanent: beyond space and time, she is yet embodied within all existent beings; without form as pure, infinite consciousness (cit) ... She is the universal, cosmic energy known as Sakti, and the psychophysical, guiding force designated as the Kundalini (Serpent Power) resident within each individual. She is eternal, without origin or birth, yet she is born in this world in age after age, to support those who seek her assistance. Precisely to provide comfort and guidance to her devotees, she presents herself in the Devi Gita to reveal the truths leading both to worldly happiness and to the supreme spiritual goals: dwelling in her Jeweled Island and mergence into her own perfect being.” (Brown, 1998, 2)





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