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The Primordial Light, the Father in Heaven in the inner world (Kingdom of God/Sahasrara) that unites all souls

"In these transports of rapture which carried him from zone to zone as though towards other other skies, he at times felt himself attracted by a mighty dazzling light, and then plunged into an incandescent sun. These ravishing experiences left behind in him a spring of ineffable tenderness, a source of wonderful strength. How perfect was the reconciliation he felt with the universe! But what was this mysterious light _ though even more familiar and living than the other _ which sprang forth from the depths of his nature, carrying him away to the most distant tracts of space, and yet uniting him by secret vibrations with all souls? Was it not the source of souls and worlds? He named it: His Father in Heaven."

Beyond Belief: The Secret Gospel of Thomas

"In certain passages, then, the Gospel of Thomas interprets the kingdom of God as Tolstoy and Merton would do nearly two thousand years later. The Gospel of Mary Magdalene, also discovered in Egypt, but in 1896, about fifty years before the Nag Hammadi find, echoes this theme: Jesus tells his disciples," Let no one lead you astray, saying, 'Lo, here!' or 'Lo, there!' For the Son of Man is within you. Follow after him!"[66] Yet after including his version of this saying at one point in his gospel, Luke retreats from this position and concludes his account with the kind of apocalyptic warnings found in Mark: the Son of Man is not a divine presence in all of us but a terrifying judge who is coming to summon everyone to the day of wrath that, Luke's Jesus warns, may catch you unexpectedly, like a trap; for it will come upon all who live upon the face of the whole earth. Be alert at all times, and pray that you may have the strength to escape all these things that will happen, and to stand before the Son of Man. [67]

(p.52) The Gospels of Thomas and John, however, speak for those who understand Jesus' message quite differently. Both say that, instead of warning his disciples about the 'end of time', Jesus points them toward the 'beginning'. John opens with the famous prologue describing the beginning of the universe, when"The word was with God, and the word was God."[68] John is referring, of course, to the opening verses of Genesis: "In the beginning"There was a vast, formless void, darkness, and"The abyss," or deep water, and"A wind [or spirit] from God swept over the face of the waters."[69] Yet before there were sun, moon, or stars, there was, first of all, light: "And God said, 'Let there be light,' and there was light." [70] Thus John identifies Jesus not only with the 'word' that God spoke but also with the divine 'light' that it called into being—what he calls"The true light that enlightens everyone, coming into the world."[71]

Thomas's Jesus also challenges those who persist in asking him about the"end time": "Have you found the beginning, then, that you look to the end?"Here, too, he directs them to go back to the beginning, "for whoever takes his place in the beginning will know the end, and will not taste death"[72]—that is, will be restored to the luminous state of creation before the fall. Thomas, like John, identifies Jesus with the light that existed before the dawn of creation. According to Thomas, Jesus says that this primordial light not only brought the entire universe into being but still shines through everything we see and touch. For this primordial light is not simply impersonal energy but a being that speaks with a human voice— with 'Jesus's' voice:

Jesus said," I am the light which is before all things. It is I who am all things. From me all things came forth, and to me all things extend. Split a piece of wood, and I am there; lift up the stone, and you will find me."[73]

(p.53) Yet, despite similarities between John's and Thomas's versions of Jesus' secret teaching, when we look more closely, we begin to see that John's understanding of Jesus'"Way"Is diametrically opposed to Thomas's on the practical and crucial question: How can we find that light?

Beyond Belief (The Secret Gospel of Thomas)
Chapter 2, p. 51-53
Elaine Pagels
Vintage Books, New York, U.S.A
ISBN: 0-375-70316-0

Notes:
[66] Gospel of Mary 8:15-20. See the major new edition and commentary by Karen King, forthcoming (as of this writing) from Harvard University Press.
[67] Luke 21:34-36.
[68] John 1:1.
[69] Genesis 1:2.
[70] Genesis 1:3.
[71] John 1:9.
[72] Gospel of Thomas 16, in NHL 120.
[73] Ibid., 77, in NHL 126.


Edouard Schure, Jesus: The Last Great Initiate
"We may also imagine the child Jesus amongst his young companions, exercising over them the strange prestige given by a precocious intelligence joined to active sympathy and the feeling of justice. We follow him to the synagogue, where he heard the Scribes and Pharisees discuss together, and where he himself was to exercise his dialectical powers. We see him quickly repelled by the arid teachings of these doctors of the law, who tortured the letter to such an extent as to do away with the spirit. And again, we see him brought into contact with pagan life as he visited the wealthy Sephoris, capital of Galilee, residence of Antipas, guarded by Herod's mercenaries, Gauls, Thracians, and barbarians of every kind. In one of those frequent journeys to visit Jewish families, he might well have pushed on to a Phoenician town, one of those veritable hives of human beings, swarming with life, by the seaside. He would see from afar the low temples, with their thick sturdy columns, surrounded with dark groves, whence issued the songs of the priestesses of Astarte, to the doleful accompaniment of the flute; their voluptuous shrieks, piercing as a cry of pain, would awaken in his heart a deep groan of anguish and pity. Then Mary's son returned to his beloved mountains with the feeling of deliverance. He mounted the steps of Nazareth, gazing around on the vast horizon towards Galilee and Samaria, and cast lingering eyes on Carmel, Gilboa, Tabor, and Sichem, old-standing witnesses of the patriarchs and prophets.

However powerful might have been the impressions of the outer world on the soul of Jesus, they all grew pale before the sovereign and inexpressible truth in his inner world. This Truth was expanding in the depths of his nature, like some lovely flower emerging from a dark pool. It resembled a growing light which appeared to him when alone in silent meditation. At such times men and things, whether near or far away, appeared as though transparent in their essence. He read thoughts and saw souls; then, in memory, he caught glimpses, as though through a thin veil, of divinely beautiful and shining beings bending over him, or assembled in adoration of a dazzling light. Wonderful visions came in his sleep, or interposed themselves between himself and reality by a veritable duplication of his consciousness. In these transports of rapture which carried him from zone to zone as though towards other other skies, he at times felt himself attracted by a mighty dazzling light, and then plunged into an incandescent sun. These ravishing experiences left behind in him a spring of ineffable tenderness, a source of wonderful strength. How perfect was the reconciliation he felt with the universe! But what was this mysterious light _ though even more familiar and living than the other _ which sprang forth from the depths of his nature, carrying him away to the most distant tracts of space, and yet uniting him by secret vibrations with all souls? Was it not the source of souls and worlds?

He named it: His Father in Heaven."

Edouard Schure, Jesus: The Last Great Initiate, pg. 33-34
Kessinger Publishing; Facsimile edition edition (March 1997)




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