The Teachings of the Christ
It might be useful to make a few opening remarks upon the general subject of the teaching given (down the ages) by the Sons of God Who have come forth in the hour of humanity’s need, in order to present to the consciousness of the men of Their time certain required ideas and concepts of truth. When They come, Their aim is to meet the immediate need in such a fashion that the ideas presented may become ideals to which eventually the life of mankind would later conform and bring about a better civilization. There has been a great continuity of such teaching down the ages.
There is not the time to write or the time to read a complete analysis or statement as to the progressive revelation of ideas which great and illumined minds, authorized by the spiritual Hierarchy of the planet, have brought to humanity. All the cyclic Teachers (to differentiate Them from the many lesser Teachers) have mastered life for Themselves in the three worlds of human evolution – physical, emotional and mental – have achieved control of the physical level of consciousness, of Their emotional-feeling nature, and have attained mental understanding and finally enlightenment.
The problem of the Hierarchy has been (and still is) how much exact truth humanity can comprehend, and to what extent absolute truth can be presented to their awakening minds; They have to decide which aspect of universal truth will enable man to emerge out of his difficulties and thus move forward on the Path of Return to God; They have to know, therefore, at what point on the ladder of evolution humanity stands at any given period. This in itself presents a field of research to Them.
The method hitherto followed has been to decide what is the major factor lacking in man’s perception of reality (at any given time), and what recognized divine truth has in it the seeds of a living activity for a humanity in a particular condition, necessitating a certain type of help. They have also to determine how that help can best be presented, so that its results will be lasting, cultural and effective. Hitherto, the presented concepts have been formulated by the world Teachers of the period, and presented to a picked and chosen few whose task it has been to take the newly presented idea and promulgate it among those men who are enlightened enough to accept it, to spread it, to live it and to make it popular. This they have done for ages with more or less success.
It is also not possible here to give the relatively few truths which guided the development of humanity in old Atlantis; these, however, form the firm foundation of all later teaching. We can study (as a background to our consideration of the teachings which Christ will give after His reappearance) several of the minor concepts which today underlie the teaching of all the world religions, and which modern religious teachers should be presenting to the public mind.
The first such Teacher is of such ancient date that it is not possible to say when He truly lived; even His name is a modernized one, given to an ancient hero-teacher. His name is Hercules. He presented to the world, through the form of a pictorial and world drama (symbolic in nature) the concept of a great objective, only to be reached as the result of struggle and difficulty. He pointed to a goal toward which men must make their way, no matter what the obstacles; these obstacles He portrayed in the Twelve Labors of Hercules which were dramas and not factual occurrences. He thus pictured for those who had eyes to see and hearts to understand the nature of the problem to be solved upon the Path of Return to God; He depicted the Prodigal Son’s journey back to the Father’s house, and the tests and trials which all disciples, aspirants and initiates have to face and which all Those Who today compose the spiritual Hierarchy have already faced. When this statement is considered, it must include also the Christ Who, we are told, “was in all points tempted like as we are” (Heb. IV, 15.), but also passed triumphantly the tests and trials.
At some also unknown date Hermes came and, so the records say, was the first to proclaim, Himself as “the Light of the World.” Later the great Teacher, Vyasa, appeared. He gave one simple and needed message that death is not the end. From His time, the thinking of humanity about the possible immortality of the soul can be seen to stem. Vaguely and instinctively, men had hoped and sensed that the discarding of the physical vehicle was not the final consummation to all human struggle, loving and aspiration; in those early days, feeling dominated and instinct led; thought was not found among the masses of men as it is today. In this period of culmination in which we now live, the work of the spiritualistic movement, in its many forms, is in reality the emergence of that stream of thought-energy and of the idea which Vyasa, thousands of years ago, implanted in the human consciousness. The effort of the intellectuals to prove the scientific possibility of immortality is part also of this great stream, carried onto intellectual levels, thus salvaging Vyasa’s work from the mists and glamors and the psychic dishonesty with which it is now surrounded. The fact of immortality is today on the verge of scientific proof; the fact of the survival of some factor has already been proved, though what has been demonstrated as surviving is apparently not in itself intrinsically immortal. The factual nature of the soul, and the fact of soul survival and of its eternal livingness, go hand in hand and have not yet been scientifically proven; they are, however, known and recognized as truths today by such countless millions and by so many intellectuals that – unless mass hysteria and mass deception is posited – their existence is already correctly surmised.
Buddha is the next Teacher to Whom we should refer, though there were many between His time and that of Vyasa. During those centuries wherein history is relatively dim and faint in its outlines, the intelligence of men had been rapidly growing, and the enquiring perception of mankind came into increasingly active use. The asking of questions, to which there seem no apparent or easy answers, focussed itself in a group of thinkers in India and they represented thinking men in every land. They asked the ancient questions as to why there is sorrow and misery in every land and in every life; they asked what caused these things and what must be done to change these circumstances of life; they demanded to know what was the integrating principle in man, and what was the soul and was there a self. The Buddha came forth to give the answer and to lay the foundation for a more enlightened approach to life, giving the teaching which would open the door to the work of the Christ Who would, He knew, follow in His steps.
It is interesting to remember that when the Buddha came, approximately five hundred years before Christ (for the exact date of Christ’s birth remains debatable), the first dim influences of the Piscean Age could be felt, impinging upon the powerful quality of the age of Aries, the Scapegoat or the Ram. It was the influence of this age – persisting throughout the Jewish dispensation – which led eventually to the distortion of the simple teaching of the Christ when He came. He was erroneously presented to the world as the living Scapegoat, bearing away the sins of the people, and thus originating the doctrine of the vicarious at-one-ment. It was St. Paul who was responsible for this emphasis. A paralleling instance of a similar distortion was also of Jewish origin and appeared in the early stages of the cycle of Aries, the Ram. We are told that the Children of Israel fell down and worshipped the golden calf, the symbol of Taurus, the Bull; this was the preceding astronomical cycle. These are astronomical cycles and not a presented astrology. In the early stages of Aries, the teaching reverted to that of Taurus and in the early stages of Pisces, it reverted to that of Aries and thus set the seal of retrogression upon the teaching which now controls so many orthodox Christians.
Buddha answered the questions posited in His time by giving out the Four Noble Truths, which satisfactorily and eternally answer man’s demand of why. These Truths can be summarized as follows: the Buddha taught that misery and suffering were of man’s own making and that the focussing of human desire upon the undesirable, the ephemeral and the material was the cause of all despair, all hatred and competition, and the reason why man found himself living in the realm of death – the realm of physical living, which is the true death of the spirit. He made a unique contribution to the teaching given by Hercules and Vyasa, and added to the structure of truth which They had erected. Thus He prepared the way for Christ. Between the times of these two great Teachers, the Buddha and the Christ, lesser teachers appeared to amplify and add to the already given basic truths; of these Sankaracharya was one of the most important, giving, as He did, deep instruction upon the nature of the Self. Also the teacher in The Bhagavad Gita, Shri Krishna, must be noted, for many believe Him to be a previous incarnation of the Christ.
Thus the fundamental truths upon which relation to God (and, therefore, relation to our fellowmen) is founded are always given out by the Son of God, Who – in any particular world period – is the teaching Head of the spiritual Hierarchy.
In due time, Christ came and gave out to the world (mainly through His disciples) two major truths: the fact of the existence of the human soul and, secondly, the system of service (this phrase is used advisedly) as a mode of establishing right human relations – to God and to one’s fellowmen. He told men that they were all the Sons of God in the same sense that He was; He told them in many symbolic ways who and what He was and assured them that they could do even greater things than He had done, because they were divine as He was. These greater things, humanity has already accomplished upon the physical plane and in its control of nature, as Christ knew men would, because He knew the workings of the Law of Evolution. He taught them that service was the key to the life of liberation, teaching them the technique of service through His own life as He went about doing good, healing the sick, as well as preaching and teaching the things of the Kingdom of God and feeding the hungry, both physically and spiritually. He made the life of every day a divine sphere of spiritual livingness, thus emphasizing the teaching of the Buddha, through desiring nothing for the separated self. Thus the Christ taught, loved, and lived, carrying forward the great continuity of revelation and of hierarchical teaching; then He entered for us within the veil, leaving us an example that we should follow His steps (I Pet., II, 21.) – follow Him in His belief in divinity, in His service and in ability to penetrate into that area of consciousness and that field of activity which we call the true Church of Christ, the spiritual (at present invisible) Hierarchy of our planet, the true Kingdom of God. The veil that hides that real church from us is now in process of disappearing and Christ is on the verge of reappearing.
In the light of the past, therefore, and of humanity’s present need, which Christ and the Hierarchy must meet, what will be the teaching which He will this time give? Such is the question which His disciples are now asking. The probability is that His teaching will fall into four parts; we would do well to consider each of them and do our best to understand and prepare the human mind for the reception of what He has to give.