Christ the Messenger – Br. Shankara

Sunday, December 21, 2014

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Jesus“… (T)he three years of (Christ’s) ministry were like one compressed, concentrated age, which it has taken nineteen hundred years to unfold, and who knows how much longer it will yet take! … But mark this giant that came; centuries and ages pass, yet the energy that he left upon the world is not yet stretched, nor yet expended to its full. It goes on adding new vigour as the ages roll on…”
— from Swami Vivekananda’s Christ the Messenger

Vivekananda said, “Jesus Christ was God — the Personal God become man. He has manifested Himself many times in different forms and these alone are what you can worship. God in His absolute nature is not to be worshipped… We have to worship Jesus Christ, the human manifestation, as God. You cannot worship anything higher than the manifestation of God…” — from The Divine Incarnation or Avatara, CW Vol 8

In early 1900, Vivekananda was in Southern California. On January 7, in Los Angeles, he spoke on Christ the Messenger. He said: “Suppose Jesus of Nazareth was teaching, and a man came and told him, ‘What you teach is beautiful. I believe that it is the way to perfection, and I am ready to follow it; but I do not care to worship you as the only begotten Son of God.’ What would be the answer…? ‘Very well, brother, follow the ideal and advance in your own way. I do not care whether you give me the credit for the teaching or not … I only teach truth, and truth is nobody’s property … Truth is God Himself. Go forward…” — CW Vol 4

Worship of the Personal God — following the ideal that Truth is God Himself; two very different practices. Vivekananda said that Jesus taught, according to the capacity of his listeners, three spiritual paths: dualistic, qualified non-dual, and non-dual. That, and Christ’s modern apostles, is the topic of this discussion.

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