Jesus is not God but, rather, a teacher who seeks to uncover the divine light in all human beings.
"At the center of Beyond Belief is what Pagels identifies as a textual battle between The Gospel of Thomas (rediscovered in Egypt in 1945) and The Gospel of John. While these gospels have many superficial similarities, Pagels demonstrates that John, unlike Thomas, declares that Jesus is equivalent to"God the Father"As identified in the Old Testament. Thomas, in contrast, shares with other supposed secret teachings a belief that Jesus is not God but, rather, is a teacher who seeks to uncover the divine light in all human beings."
Beyond Belief: The Secret Gospel of Thomas
> Then a most important realization came before the inaugural
> celebration of Divine Feminine Day 13 November 2008. It was as if
> the Adi Shakti has given me this realization as a blessing to our
> pending celebrations of the Divine Feminine - after nearly 15 years
> it finally dawned on me that Kash was first shown the Light, the
> presence of God Almighty within us ......... before being shown His
> Power, the Adi Shakti, the next day!
> Kash, Arwinder and Lalita have all claimed that this extremely
> bright Light is always above Shri Mataji's abode. But it was Lalita
> who revealed that this Light is God Almighty:
> Tue Mar 15, 2005 2:59 pm
> A few months ago i asked my ten-year-old daughter Lalita what that
> immensely brilliant Light above the Adi Shakti in her Sahasrara is.
> She replied"God!"
> i remained silent for a long time to absorb the immensity of that
> single word answer.
Beyond Belief: The Secret Gospel of Thomas
Shortly after Elaine Pagels' two-and-half-year-old son was diagnosed with a rare lung disease, the religion professor found herself drawn to a Christian church again for the first time in many years. In Beyond Belief: The Secret Gospel of Thomas Pagels, best know for her National Book Award-winning The Gnostic Gospels, wrestles with her own faith as she struggles to understand when—and why—Christianity became associated almost exclusively with the ideas codified in the fourth-century Nicene Creed and in the canonical texts of the New Testament. In her exploration, she uncovers the richness and diversity of Christian philosophy that has only become available since the discovery of the Nag Hammadi texts.
At the center of Beyond Belief is what Pagels identifies as a textual battle between The Gospel of Thomas (rediscovered in Egypt in 1945) and The Gospel of John. While these gospels have many superficial similarities, Pagels demonstrates that John, unlike Thomas, declares that Jesus is equivalent to"God the Father"As identified in the Old Testament. Thomas, in contrast, shares with other supposed secret teachings a belief that Jesus is not God but, rather, is a teacher who seeks to uncover the divine light in all human beings. Pagels then shows how the Gospel of John was used by Bishop Irenaeus of Lyon and others to define orthodoxy during the second and third centuries. The secret teachings were literally driven underground, disappearing until the Twentieth Century. As Pagels argues this process"not only impoverished the churches that remained but also impoverished those [Irenaeus] expelled."
Beyond Belief offers a profound framework with which to examine Christian history and contemporary Christian faith, and Pagels renders her scholarship in a highly readable narrative. The one deficiency in Pagels' examination of Thomas, if there is one, is that she never fully returns in the end to her own struggles with religion that so poignantly open the book. How has the mysticism of the Gnostic Gospels affected her? While she hints that she and others have found new pathways to faith through Thomas, the impact of Pagels' work on contemporary Christianity may not be understood for years to come. —Patrick O'Kelley
From Publishers Weekly
In this majestic new book, Pagels (The Gnostic Gospels) ranges panoramically over the history of early Christianity, demonstrating the religion's initial tremendous diversity and its narrowing to include only certain texts supporting certain beliefs. At the center of her book is the conflict between the gospels of John and Thomas. Reading these gospels closely, she shows that Thomas offered readers a message of spiritual enlightenment. Rather than promoting Jesus as the only light of the world, Thomas taught individuals that"There is a light within each person, and it lights up the whole universe. If it does not shine, there is darkness."As she eloquently and provocatively argues, the author of John wrote his gospel as a refutation of Thomas, portraying the disciple Thomas as a fool when he doubts Jesus, and Jesus as the only true light of the world. Pagels goes on to demonstrate that the early Christian writer Irenaeus promoted John as the true gospel while he excluded Thomas, and a host of other early gospels, from the list of those texts that he considered authoritative. His list became the basis for the New Testament canon when it was fixed in 357. Pagels suggests that we recover Thomas as a way of embracing the glorious diversity of religious tradition. As she elegantly contends, religion is not merely an assent to a set of beliefs, but a rich, multifaceted fabric of teachings and experiences that connect us with the divine. Exhilarating reading, Pagels's book offers a model of careful and thoughtful scholarship in the lively and exciting prose of a good mystery writer.
antar jot pargat paasaaraa.
Deep within the self is the Light of God; It radiates throughout the expanse of His creation.
gur saakhee miti-aa anDhi-aaraa.
Through the Guru's Teachings, the darkness of spiritual ignorance is dispelled.
kamal bigaas sadaa sukh paa-i-aa jotee jot milaavani-aa.
The heart-lotus blossoms forth, and eternal peace is obtained, as one's light merges into the Light.
Guru Granth Sahib, p.126
"The most magnetic of all religious symbols is the light, the light that radiates everywhere within and without — the light that never was on land or sea. Great mystics have realised the Peerless One in the form of Light. Moses saw the burning bush and received the word of God. The Upanishad seers saw It as Jothi Aham — the Splendour in the self.
In many a Devaram and Tiruvacagam, and the lyrics of Tayumanavar and Ramalinga Swamigal, we have allusions to light as the symbol of the formless God; and Light also indicates goals and the radiance of Wisdom, as well as the illumination of Supreme Awareness.
Gleaming as the earth and all the spheres
Oh Thou expanse of matchless Effulgence!
In radiant forms of Light art Thou beheld
Oh Formless One!
"As Jesus talks with his three chosen disciples, Matthew asks him to show him the"place of life," which is, he says, the"pure light." Jesus answers," Every one [of you] who has known himself has seen it."53 Here again, he deflects the question, pointing the disciple instead toward his own self-discovery."
Elaine Pagels, The Gnostic Gospels
Random House, New York, 1989, p. 131.
(53. Dialogue of the Savior 132.15 — 16, in NHL 233.)
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
The same was in the beginning with God.
All things were made by Him;
And without Him was not anything made that was made.
In Him was life; and the life was the Light of men.
And the Light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehend it not.
There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.
The same came for a witness,
To bear witness to the Light that all men through him might believe.
He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness to that Light.
That was the true Light,
Which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.
"The Bible is seen to be full of terms about light. Lossky tells us that"for the mystical theology of the eastern Church these are not metaphors, rhetorical figures but words expressing a real aspect of godliness." "The godly light does not have an abstract and allegorical meaning. It is a data of the mystical experience."The author then referred to"Gnostics", the highest level of godly knowledge [that] is an experience (a living) of the noncreated light, where the experience itself is the light: in lumine tuo videbimus lumen (in Your Light we shall see light.)"
Eternal, endless, existing beyond time and space, it appeared in the theophanies of the Old Testament as the Glory of God. The Glory is"The Uncreated Light, His Eternal Kingdom."Being bestowed to the Christians by the Holy Spirit, the energies appear no longer as external causes but as grace, as inner light."Makarius the Egyptian wrote: "It is ... the enlightenment of the holy souls, the steadiness of the heavenly powers" (Spiritual Homilies V.8.)
"The godly light appears here, in this world, in time. It is disclosed in the history but it is not of this world; it is eternal, it means going out from the historical existence: 'the secret of the eight day', the secret of the true knowledge, the fulfillment of the Gnosis ... It is exactly the beginning of parousia in the holy souls, the beginning of the revealing at the end of times, when God will be disclosed to everyone in this distant Light."
Dan Costian, Bible Enlightened
Computex Graphics, 1995, p.415
"This universal symbol of Light is surely one of the best symbols Man has found to express the delicate balance that almost all cultures have tried to maintain, with varying success, between a merely this- worldly or atheistic attitude and a totally otherworldly or transcendent attitude. There must be some link between the world of Men and the world of the Gods, between the material and the spiritual, the immanent and the transcendent. If this link is of a substantial nature, pantheism is unavoidable. If the link is exclusively epistemic, as Indian and many other scholasticisms tend to affirm, the reality of this world will ultimately vanish. The symbol of Light avoids these two pitfalls by allowing for a specific sharing in its nature by both worlds or even by the"three worlds."
This is the supreme light spoken of in the Rig Veda and in the Brahmanas; it is mentioned also in the Chandogya Upanishad and in the well-known prayer of the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad: "Lead me from darkness to light!"It is also the refulgent light of the golden vessel stationed in the dwelling place of the Divine: "The impregnable stronghold of the Gods has eight circles and nine gates. It contains a golden vessel, turned toward heaven and suffused with light."This light is neither exclusively divine nor exclusively human, neither merely material nor merely spiritual, neither from this side only nor from the other. It is precisely this fact that"links the two shores."This light is cosmic as well as transcosmic."
Professor Raimundo Panikkar, The Vedic Experience
"Cultivating the Awareness of the Light within
The heart and mind can find peace and harmony by contemplating the transcendental nature of the true self as supreme effulgent light
From the Yoga Sutra of PATANJALI, second century B.C.
Patanjali is often called the father of yoga because he was the first person to codify and write down yoga practices. In this meditation instruction, he is telling us to let go of all distracting sights, smells, and sounds and meditate on our spiritual nature, our luminous true self. He is telling us to look inside and experience the radiance within.
All cultures, peoples, and religious groups through all times have talked about the phenomena of light in the context of the religious or mystical experience. Those who have seen visions of holy beings typically see them surrounded by white light. People have always described going to the light, finding the light, being called by the light, dissolving in the light. We read about light in The Egyptian Book of the Dead as well as The Tibetan Book of the Dead. Men, women, and children who have had classic near-death experiences vividly describe arriving in a place of white light; they speak of themselves and others as being bathed in white light.
Prior to being described as the light of any religion, light was just light. Light is a part of the primary source material. Later, as the history of mankind developed, the concept of light became institutionalized; it was then interpreted according to cultural and religious beliefs. Pure light thus became light of God, light of truth, light of Buddha, light of Jesus, cosmic light, and ocean of light depending upon where you were born and what you were taught. Light, however, is constant. It is fundamental energy.
The New Testament, referring to John the Baptist, reads: "He came for testimony, to bear witness to the light that all might believe through him."Later Jesus says," Put your trust in the light while you have it so that you may become sons of light."...
British mystic George Fox, who founded the Quaker religion, used the term"Inner light"to describe our ability to personally experience God within ourselves. He himself had such an experience, which left him with the lifelong conviction that everyone can hear God's voice directly without mediation by priests or church ritual. This is the central tenet of the Society of Friends.
According to Buddhism, all beings are imbued with a spark of inner divine light. In describing our original Buddha-nature, we use such phrases as innate luminosity, primordial radiance, the unobscured clear natural mind, and the clear light of reality.... The Jewish mystics use similar words when they speak of the inner spark or the spark of God. The Koran, referring to man, talks about the little candle flame burning in a niche in the wall of God's temple.
Almost inevitably a spiritual search becomes a search for divine or sacred light. By cultivating our inner core, we search for this light in ourselves as well as the divine."
Lama Surya Das, Awakening to the Sacred
" "Lead me from darkness to light, from death to immortality."This famed Vedic prayer proclaims the human urge to survive, to conquer death and to know the joys of illuminated consciousness. People often pilgrimage to an isolated place in expectation of a vision, be it a jungle of fauna and foliage or cement and glass. Every person is on a vision quest. But for all souls, at the time of the great departure, mahaprasthana, a vision comes as a tunnel of light at the end of which are beings of divine nature. Many having had the near-death experience have sworn their testimony of such transforming encounters. An American woman who"died"during childbirth, but was brought back to life by quick medical action, recounted: "It was an incredible energy — a light you wouldn't believe. I almost floated in it. It was feeding my consciousness feelings of unconditional love, complete safety and complete, total perfection. And then, and then, a piece of knowledge came in — it was that I was immortal, indestructible. I cannot be hurt, cannot be lost, and that the world is perfect."Hundreds of people report similar experiences, affirming what Hinduism has always taught — that death is a blissful, light- filled transition from one state to another, as simple and natural as changing clothes, far from the morbid, even hellish alternatives some dread. A Vedic funeral hymn intones: "Where eternal luster glows, the realm in which the light divine is set, place me, Purifier, in that deathless, imperishable world. Make me immortal in that realm where movement is accordant to wish, in the third region, the third heaven of heavens, where the worlds are resplendent" (Rig Veda, Aitareya Aranyaka 6-11)."
Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami, January 1997
"One has to know on this point that you have got the Light... It is such a powerful Light. You can verify it whether it is eternal or not. You have to see for yourself you have such a unique Light within you. In the history of spirituality of this world so many have got Realization — such a Light in them. How could these stupid, flimsy, useless conditionings dominate you now, when you are the carrier of Eternal Light?"
Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi
Being The Light Of Pure Compassion,
Istanbul, Turkey — November 6, 1994
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