Sunday Service Week 9: By Thinking Can We Arrive at Understanding?
Reading from Rays of the One Light
Truth is one and eternal. Realize oneness with it in your deathless Self, within.
The following commentary is based on the teachings of Paramhansa Yogananda.
There are many places in the Gospels where we see Jesus in open conflict with the Pharisees—that is to say, with man-made as opposed to true, mystical tradition. In the Gospel of St. Matthew, Chapter 15, we see a good example of how they and he “locked horns.”
Then some of the scribes and Pharisees from Jerusalem came and asked Jesus, “Why do your disciples break our ancient tradition and eat their food without washing their hands properly first?”
Jesus, after scolding them for their hypocrisy in observing lesser rules so carefully while ignoring the much more important ones, said,
“Listen, and understand this thoroughly! It is not what goes into a man’s mouth that makes him common or unclean. It is what comes out of a man’s mouth that makes him unclean.”
It wasn’t that Jesus counseled against such wholesome practices as washing one’s hands before eating. In an age, however, when lesser rules were given too much importance relative to the truly important observances—cleansing the heart of impure desires, for example—he emphasized the supreme importance of loving God and of communing with Him.
The Pharisees—the orthodox religionists of his day, in other words—had brought true religion down to a level of intellectual hair-splitting. They mistakenly considered the way to understanding to lie through a minefield of definitions, which they tried to refine to ultimate exactitude. Jesus taught, however, that the intellect alone can never lead one to truth. Without love, indeed, there is no ultimate verity. Without fixity of purpose, born of the heart’s devotion, the intellect wanders endlessly. It cannot settle for long on anything. As the Bhagavad Gita says in the second Chapter:
The intellects of those who lack fixity of spiritual purpose are inconstant, their interests endlessly ramified.
Thus, through holy scripture, God has spoken to mankind.
Reading from Affirmations for Self-Healing
No good end is ever reached without devotion. No true success is achieved unless the heart’s feelings are involved. Will power itself is a combination of energy and feeling, directed toward fulfillment.
In the quest for God, the unfolding of the heart’s natural love, in the form of deep devotion, is the prime requisite for success. Without devotion, not a single step can be taken towards Him. Devotion is no sentiment: It is the deep longing to commune with, and know, the only Reality there is.Practice this affirmation out loud, guided by Swami Kriyananda
With the sword of devotion I sever the heart-strings that tie me to delusion. With the deepest love, I lay my heart at the feet of Omnipresence.
Beloved Father, Mother, God: I am Thine alone! Let others seek Thee – or seek Thee not; it matters not to my love for Thee. Through all life’s trials, my prayer is this alone: Reveal Thyself!