• Print


It’s Never Too Late to Meditate on Jesus

By Anand Krishna

The Bali Times, January 08, 2010

It is easy to quote someone famous and elaborate on their words. It is easy to quote Jesus, Muhammad Siddhartha, or Krishna, and then comment on them.

It is not easy to be original. Jesus was original, genuine.

When the scholars, the men of letters, asked him what the first commandment was, he took no time in thinking. “Love God with all your mind, heart and soul.” The questioners were smart. They did not ask Jesus about his teachings. Theirs was a generic question, “What is the first commandment?” And Jesus answered in the same generic language too.

They wanted to have an answer that would appeal to all. Jesus did just that. And when asked what the second commandment was, Jesus replied that it was to love our neighbour as we love ourselves.

This is not an ordinary answer; it is a statement of faith. Therefore, it contains a very high risk. This is a dangerous statement. This statement of faith demands “full commitment” without any reservation. It demands totality.

You do not ask your neighbour if he/she is a Christian, Jew, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Confucian or an Atheist. You do not love him/her because of their religious or any other affiliation. You love them for what they are.

In this statement, God matters above all.

Churches and religious institutions come and go; God remains. You may like to refer It as the Existence – no problem at all. It is That, beyond He-God, and She-God. It is THAT.

This is difficult, and easier said than done.

The scholars and the high priests were amazed. They were familiar with such statements, but not familiar with the tone with which Jesus repeated them. Jesus repeated those statements without quoting the scriptures.

Jesus’ answer was direct. He did not need any scripture, any religious tenet, dogma or doctrine to support him; whereas the priests and the scholars were not always confident in their own statements: They needed the support of the scriptures. It is easy to say but difficult to practice.

Jesus was a real risk-taker. This was his cross; his bravery was his cross. This was the cross he carried.

The Talmud says the same thing: It is love that is the essence of the Torah, and the rest is the commentary thereof. The scholars and the pundits were busy quoting such verses; Jesus was busy practicing them.

Jesus was a man of guts, and also a renegade, a rebel par excellence. Do we remember what he did at the temple in Jerusalem? He rebuked and ransacked the huts of the money lenders, while his disciples watched. The spectators were bewildered. They did not quite know how to respond.

Jesus would not allow anyone to stand between his fellow beings and God. He would not allow anyone to commercialise the word of God. He would not allow anyone to institutionalise religion. His message was clear: Go and spread the gospel (there was no written gospel). What he meant by that was “the tidings of love” – the good news that Love alone triumphs.

Do we understand him? Do we have the same courage as him? And we still call ourselves his disciples?

We are devoted to his corpse, his picture, his statue, but not to him. Or perhaps devoted to church, but not to him. Being devoted to him needs a lot of courage.

If we are not ready to carry our own crosses, there is no benefit to worshipping him. There is no need to light candles and burn incense, for such acts of outside worship can never make us any stronger, or any braver.

What is the meaning of the birth of Jesus? Every second many babies are born; many people die, too. Christmases come and go. How different is Jesus’ birthday from the birthday of our siblings and friends? Christmas is much more festive than any other celebration – so what?

What makes Jesus different is the cross. What makes his birthday different is the cross that he carries. We have to carry the cross of our fears, ignorance, ego, arrogance, greed, etcetera, and crucify our little selves.

Let us learn from the persistence of Jesus. Let us learn from the way he responded to the challenges of life. Let us glorify his rebellious spirit. Let us crucify our egos and allow the Christ Consciousness to arise within us.

The writer is a spiritual activist and author of more than 130 books, several in English (www.aumkar.org, www.anandkrishna.org). His organization runs Holistic Health/Meditation Centers, a National Plus/Interfaith School, a Charitable Clinic and a Public Reading Room in Bali. For more information, call Aryana or Debbie at 0361 7801595, 8477490.