Sacred Texts  Esoteric  Index  Previous  Next 

Cosmic Consciousness, by Richard Maurice Bucke, [1901], at


Jesus the Christ.

Balzac says [5:143] that Jesus was a Specialist—that is, that he had Cosmic Consciousness. As Balzac was himself undoubtedly illumined, he would be high, if not absolute, authority upon the point. Paul, as soon as his own eyes were opened, recognized Jesus as belonging to a superior spiritual order—that is, as having the Cosmic Sense. But let us not take any one's word, but try and see for ourselves what reasons there are for including this man in the list of those having Cosmic Consciousness.


Jesus was born B.C. 4 [80], and would be, according to this authority, thirty-four or thirty-five years old when he began to

p. 98

teach, so would have been at least thirty-three at the time of illumination—supposing him a case.

Other writers make him older. Sutherland [171:140] says: "The death of Jesus occurred in the year 35." This would make him thirty-nine at his death, thirty-six or thirty-eight when he began to teach (the former, if he taught three years, as John says; the latter, if he taught only one year, as the synoptics tell us), and, say, thirty-five or thirty-six at illumination. *

All goes to show that at about the age specified a marked change took place in him; that whereas up to a certain age he was

p. 99

very much as others, he all at once ascended to a spiritual level quite over the heads of ordinary men. Those who knew him at home, as a boy and a young man, could not understand his superiority. "Is not this the carpenter's son" [14: 13: 55] they ask. Or as elsewhere reported: "Is not this the carpenter the son of Mary? . . . and they were offended at him" [15:6:3]. This marked spiritual ascent occurring suddenly at this age is in itself almost diagnostic of the oncoming of the cosmic sense.

The earliest written and probably most authentic account of the illumination of Jesus runs as follows: "And straightway coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens rent asunder, and the Spirit as a dove descending upon him: and a voice came out of the heavens saying Thou art my beloved Son, in thee I am well pleased. And straightway the Spirit driveth him forth into the wilderness" [15: 1: 10–12]. There is a tradition that the illumination of Jesus took place the 6th or 10th of January [133a: 63].

The fact that Jesus went to John to be baptized shows that his mind was directed to religion and makes it probable that he had (before illumination) the earnest temperament out of which, when at all, the Cosmic Sense springs. It is not necessary to suppose that illumination took place immediately upon the baptism or that there was any special connection between these two things. The impulse that drove Jesus to solitude after his illumination is usual, if not universal. Paul felt it and obeyed it; so did Whitman.

The expression: "He saw the heavens rent asunder," describes well enough the oncoming of the Cosmic Sense, which is (as has been said) instantaneous, sudden, and much as if a veil were with one sharp jerk torn from the eyes of the mind, letting the sight pierce through.

So, describing this same oncoming of Cosmic Consciousness, John Yepes says (he has been inquiring whether, in this seemingly miraculous occurrence, it is God or the human soul which acts), and he concludes: "It is the soul that is moved and awakened; it is as if God drew back some of the many veils and coverings that are before it, so that it might see what he is" [206: 502].

p. 100

So, too, the sense of the words, "Thou art my beloved Son," agrees perfectly with the message conveyed in all the cases. The "I know that the spirit of God is the brother of my own" of Whitman; and Dante's words: "O love that governest the heavens, who with thy light didst lift me," being strictly parallel expressions. The (apparently) objective voice, too, is a common phenomenon; it was heard by Paul, also by Mohammed.

Another important element in the case is the so-called "Temptation." The theory here accepted is that Jesus, at the age of thirty-three, or even thirty-five, was simply an intelligent, very earnest-minded mechanic, with an excellent heredity and an exceptional physique. That he was in no way distinguishable, in no way different, save in his eligibility for spiritual expansion, which was hidden in the depths of his nature even from himself, and which may equally exist in any of them, from hundreds of young mechanics in every city and town of Christendom to-day. Suddenly, instantaneously, the change came, and this young man felt and knew within himself the seemingly illimitable spiritual force through the exercise of which almost anything might be accomplished. How was it to be used? To gain what end? Power? Wealth? Fame? Or what [14:4:1–10]?

Jesus quickly decided, as these men all decide, that the power must be used for the benefit of the race. Why should he, why should they all, decide in this sense?

Because the moral elevation, which is a part of Cosmic Consciousness, will not permit any other decision. Were it not so, were the intellectual illumination not accompanied by moral exaltation, these men would undoubtedly be in effect so many demons who would end by destroying the world. This temptation is necessarily common to all the cases, though they do not all speak of it. The essence of it is the appeal of the old self conscious self to the new power to assist it in accomplishing its old desires. The devil, therefore, is the self conscious self. The devil (Mâra) appeared to Gautama as well as to Jesus [157: 69] and urged hint not to launch out on a new path, but to keep to the old religions practices, to live quietly and comfortably. "What dost thou want

p. 101

with exertion?" he said to him. Mâra did not seek to allure Gautama with offers of wealth and power, for these he had already possessed, and even the self conscious Gautama knew their futility. As already intimated, every man who enters Cosmic Consciousness necessarily passes through the same temptation. As all the rest, Bacon was tempted, and, as doubtless many others have fallen, he, in a sense, fell. He felt in himself such enormous capacity that he imagined he could absorb the wealth of both the Cosmic Sense and Self Consciousness—both heaven and earth. Later he bitterly repented his greed. He acknowledges the gift (from God) of the divine faculty—"the gracious talent"—which he says he "neither hoarded up unused, nor did he employ it to the best advantage, as he should have done, but misspent it in things for which (he) was least fit" [175: 469].

The superiority of Jesus to ordinary men consisted (among other things) in

Intellectual acuteness,

Moral elevation,

An all-embracing optimism,

A sense (or the sense) of immortality.

The mental superiority thus characterized is again almost certainly confined to those who have passed into Cosmic Consciousness, and therefore, if granted, would settle the question.

The accounts given in the synoptic gospels of the transfiguration of Jesus can only be explained (if accepted) by supposing that he was seen while in the condition of Cosmic Consciousness, the change in appearance (striking enough in itself) being probably exaggerated (as it would almost certainly be) in the narration. Here are the accounts as given: "And he was transfigured before them: and his face did shine as the sun, and his garments became white as the light" [14: 17: 2]. "And he was transfigured before them: and his garments became glistening, exceeding white; so as no fuller on earth can whiten them" [15: 9: 2–3]. It is singular that this observer should confine his observations to the garments of Jesus. Again: "As he was praying the fashion of his countenance was altered and his raiment became white and

p. 102

dazzling" [16: 9: 29]. It is believed that there is no known human condition, except that of Cosmic Consciousness, which would justify the above words. The change in the "raiment" of Jesus spoken of must be understood as reflected from his face and person.

In the Gospel according to the Hebrews occurs the following passage: "Just now my mother, the Holy Spirit, took me by one of my hairs and bore me upon the great mountain of Tabor" [109: 63]. Baur and Hilgenfield, it seems, hold that this is the original of the transfiguration narrative; but if it is, it does not necessarily weaken the testimony of Mark and Luke.

There are people living to-day (the writer knows one of them) who have seen what is described (and well described) in the above words of the gospels.

Here there are several strong reasons for believing that Jesus had the Cosmic Sense. A further reason is (if further is needed) that Jesus stands spiritually at or near the summit of the human race, and if there is such a faculty as Cosmic Consciousness, as described in this volume, he must have possessed it, otherwise he could not occupy such a position.


It is most unfortunate that the world possesses no words that we can be sure this extraordinary man uttered. What a priceless possession would be a volume, howsoever small, actually written by himself! We have, however, so many sayings which are attributed to him, and apparently on such good authority, that we may be pretty certain that many of them convey with sufficient accuracy the sense of what he actually said.

If, now, Jesus had Cosmic Consciousness, he must have referred to it over and over again in his teaching, just as all other such men have done. If he did so, it should be easy for any one who knows about the Cosmic Sense to detect the references, while for those who do not know there is such a thing these would necessarily be otherwise interpreted.

p. 103

It is not necessary to attribute a misinterpretation, since the words of Jesus (as those of Dante, "Shakespeare" and Whitman) would carry, and doubtless would be uttered with the intention of carrying, more than one meaning.

At the same time, as Jesus did not write, and as his words were carried down by tradition (for some short time at least), and as these words (according to the present supposition) were imperfectly understood by those who passed them on, they would inevitably be altered. In some passages they certainly were, and in many others they probably were. Phrases, the meaning of which is only partially apprehended, cannot be carried down verbally intact unless they have already become sacred, as was the case with the Vedas. The incomplete meaning attributed to them would inevitably suggest and lead to more or less important changes to match it.

If, then, Jesus had the Cosmic Sense, and referred to it more or less often in his teaching, the passages in which he so referred to it would probably some, if not all, of them be more or less altered. But there is a long series of passages coming ostensibly directly from him and running especially through the synoptic gospels, which passages, even in their present form, seem to refer unmistakably to the faculty now in question. And if some of them do not so clearly as others, it may be that such divergence can be fairly accounted for as above. The passages in question are those treating of what Jesus sometimes called "the Kingdom of Heaven" and sometimes "the Kingdom of God."


The following quotations embrace all the more important and significant passages in which either expression is used in the gospels when the words in question are reported as coming from the lips of Jesus:

Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven* [14:5:3].

* A proud man is hardly likely to acquire the Cosmic Sense.

p. 104

Blessed are they that have been persecuted for righteousness sake for theirs is the kingdom of heaven [14:5: 10].

Whoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments and shall teach men so shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whosoever shall do and teach them he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I say unto you that except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no wise enter into the kingdom of heaven [14:5:19–20].

But seek ye first his kingdom§ (the kingdom of God) and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you [14: 6: 33].

Not everyone that saith unto me Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven, but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven [14:7:23].

And I say unto you that many shall come from the east and the west and shall sit down with Abraham and

Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven; but the sons of the kingdom shall be cast forth into the outer darkness; there shall be weeping and the gnashing of teeth [14: 8:11–12] .

Verily I say unto you,* among them that are born of women there hath not arisen a greater than John the Baptist; yet he that is but little in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence and men of violence take it by force [14:11: 11–12].

But if I by the spirit of God cast out devils, then is the kingdom of God* come unto you [14: 12–28].

Unto you is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given [14: 13:11].

Persecution would hardly lead to Cosmic Consciousness, but the latter almost inevitably leads to the former.

A man leading an ill life and encouraging others to do the same, would be called "least," as a conscientious good man would be called "great" from the point of view of the Cosmic Sense. But no man could ever enter into Cosmic Consciousness because he had kept any commandments, no matter how strictly. Unless a man's spiritual life pass the orthodoxies and conventions he shall in no case enter into Cosmic Consciousness.

§ Let a man have the Cosmic Sense and he will not be likely to worry about worldly goods. He will probably have all he wants, be his possessions ever so little.

No man shall attain to the Cosmic Sense by prayer, but, if at all, by heredity and by a high and pure life.

It is not exclusively for the Jews, but equally for the Gentiles.

* Among the merely self conscious (among "those who are born of women"—distinguishing between those who are not and those who are "born anew") there are none greater than John. But the least of those who have the Cosmic Sense is greater than he. From the days of John the kingdom of heaven had suffered violence (misinterpretation, etc.) in the person of Jesus.

* His spiritual ascendancy was evidence that he had entered Cosmic Consciousness (the kingdom of heaven).

Through their personal intimacy with Jesus they saw and realized the preterhuman loftiness of his mind. They saw, in him, the kingdom of heaven—the higher life.

p. 105

The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man that sowed good seed in his field; but while men slept his enemy came and sowed tares also among the wheat, and went away [14:13:24]. The kingdom of heaven is like unto a grain of mustard seed which a man took and sowed in his field; which indeed is less than all seeds; but when it is grown, it is greater than the herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the heaven come and lodge in the branches thereof [14: 13: 31–2] .

The kingdom of heaven§ is like unto leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal, till it was all leavened [14: 13: 33].

The kingdom of heaven is like unto a treasure hidden in the field; which a man found and hid; and in his joy he goeth and selleth all that he hath and buyeth that field [14: 13: 44] .

The kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is a merchant seeking goodly pearls; and having found one pearl of great price he went and sold all he had and bought it.

Again, the kingdom of heaven ** is like unto a net that was cast into the sea and gathered of every kind; which when it was filled they drew up on the beach and they sat down and gathered the good into vessels but the bad they cast away [14:13:45–47].

I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven;* and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven [14:16:19].

In that hour came the disciples unto Jesus,* saying: Who, then, is greatest in the kingdom of heaven? And he called to him a little child and said: Verily I say unto you: except ye turn and become as little children ye shall in no wise enter into the kingdom of heaven [14: 18: 1] .

Therefore is the kingdom of heaven* likened unto a certain king which

The antagonism between the Cosmic Sense and the merely self conscious mind and the final inevitable subjection of the latter to the former. A perfect image of the initial apparent insignificancy of the Cosmic Sense as it exists in one or a few obscure individuals, and of its ultimate overwhelming preponderance in view both of the universal influence of the teaching of these (say Gautama, Jesus, Paul and Mohammed), and more especially in view of the inevitable universality of the Cosmic Sense in the future.

§ If possible a still more exact simile—the Cosmic Sense leavens the individual, and is to-day leavening the world.

Men who have the Cosmic Sense give up everything for it—this whole volume is proof of it.

The same statement in other language.

** Corresponds with the simile of the wheat and tares.

* The Cosmic Sense is the final arbiter of good and ill. Jesus seems to have looked forward to the establishment of a school or sect the members of which should possess the Cosmic Sense.

* "This face," says Whitman, "of a healthy, honest boy is the programme of all good" [193: 355].

* The Cosmic Sense is like a king raised far above the common self conscious mind. It

p. 106

has absolute charity with the latter, which constantly wars with itself, but in the end the cosmic conscious mind will utterly wipe from off the earth and replace the merely self conscious mind.

Meanwhile, men on the self conscious plane are greatly wanting in patience and mercy.

would make a reckoning with his servants. And when he had begun to reckon one was brought unto him which owed him ten thousand talents. But for as much as he had not wherewith to pay, his Lord commanded him to be sold and his wife and children and all that he had and payment to be

made. The servant, therefore, fell down and worshipped him, saying, Lord have patience with me and I will pay thee all. And the Lord of that servant being moved with compassion, released him, and forgave him the debt. But that servant went out and found one of his fellow servants which owed him a hundred pence, and he laid hold on him and took him by the throat, saying: Pay what thou owest. So his fellow servant fell down and besought him saying: Have patience with me and I will pay thee. And he would not; but went and cast him into prison until he should pay that which was due. So when his fellow servants saw what was done they were exceeding sorry and came and told unto their Lord all that was done. Then his Lord called him unto him and saith unto him: Thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt because thou besoughtest me: Shouldst not thou also have had mercy on thy fellow servant even as I had mercy on thee? And his Lord was wroth and delivered him to the tormentors till he should pay all that was due [14: 18: 23–34] .

* It is easier for a camel to go through a needle's eye than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God [14:19:24].

The kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is a householder, which went out early in the morning to hire laborers into his vineyard. And when he had agreed with the laborers for a penny a day he sent them into his vineyard. And he went out about the third hour and saw others standing in the market-place idle; and to them he said: Go ye also into the vineyard and whatsoever is right I will give you. And they went their way. And again he went out about the sixth and the ninth hour and did likewise. And about the eleventh hour he went out and found others standing: And he saith unto them: Why stand ye here all the day idle? They say unto him: Because no man hath hired us.

He saith unto them: Go ye also into the vineyard. And when even was come the lord of the vineyard saith unto his steward: Call the laborers and give them their hire, beginning from the last unto the first. And when they came that were hired about the eleventh hour, they received every man a penny. And when the first came, they supposed they would receive more; and they likewise received every man a penny. And when they received it, they murmured against the householder, saying: These last have spent but one hour,

* The writer has found no instance of a man absorbed in money making entering into Cosmic Consciousness. The whole spirit of the former is antagonistic to the latter.

The Cosmic Sense is not given for work done or according to merit, as this can be estimated by the self conscious mind. Why should Jesus, Yepes and Behmen be chosen, and Goethe, Newton and Aristotle left?

p. 107

and thou hast made them equal unto us, which have borne the burden of the day and the scorching heat. But he answered and said to one of them: Friend, I do thee no wrong: didst thou not agree with me for a penny? Take up that which is thine, and go thy way: it is my will to give unto this last even as unto thee. Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own? or is thine eye evil, because I am good? So the last shall be first and the first last [14:20:1–15].*

A man had two sons; and he came to the first and said: Son, go work today in the vineyard. And he answered and said: I will not; but afterwards he repented himself and went. And he came to the second, and said likewise. And he answered and said: I go, sir, and went not. Whether of the twain did the will of his father? They say the first. Jesus saith unto them: Verily I say unto you that the publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you [14: 21: 28–31].

The kingdom of God* shall be taken away from you and shall be given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof [14: 21: 43].

And Jesus answered and spake again in parables unto them, saying: the kingdom of heaven is likened unto a certain king which made a marriage feast for his son, and sent forth his servant to call them that were bidden to the marriage feast: and they would not come. Again he sent forth other servants, saying: Tell them that are bidden: Behold, I have made ready my dinner; my oxen and my fatlings are killed, and all things are ready: Come to the marriage feast. But they made light of it, and went their ways, one to his own farm, another to his merchandise; and the rest laid hold on his servants and entreated them shamefully, and killed them. But the king was wroth; and he sent his armies and destroyed those murderers, and burned their city. Then saith he to his servants: The wedding is ready, but they that were bidden were not worthy. Go ye therefore into the partings of the highways, and as many as ye shall find bid to the marriage feast. And those servants went out into the highways and gathered together all as many as they

* By their answer the chief priests and elders condemned themselves, for they said: "I go, sir," and went not, while the publicans and harlots professed nothing, but, as shown elsewhere in the gospel, sometimes had excellent hearts. They may be easily nearer Cosmic Consciousness than the self-righteous upper class. Where, indeed, is a case of a self-righteous man becoming illumined?

* The Cosmic Sense comes especially to those people who have the highest moral nature.

The king is God, the marriage feast is Cosmic Consciousness, those who are bidden are those who have been given the best opportunities for spiritual advancement—plenty, leisure, etc.—but instead of using these for the purpose designed (spiritual growth) they became absorbed in them alone. Then God sent his prophets to persuade them that they were making a mistake, but they would not listen, and even misused the prophets. So when the well-off and the educated and the religious would not come the invitation was extended to all. But rich or poor, learned or ignorant, religious or outcast, whoever comes, must have on a wedding garment—the mind must be clothed in humility, sincerity, reverence, candor and fearlessness. Could a man secure access to the feast without these it is easily imaginable that he would be torn to pieces.

p. 108

found both bad and good: And the wedding was filled with guests. But when the king came in to behold the guests he saw there a man who had not on a wedding garment, and he said unto him: Friend, how tamest thou in thither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless. Then the king said to the servants: Bind him hand and foot and cast him out into the outer darkness; there shall be the weeping and gnashing of teeth. For many are called but few chosen [14:22:1–14].

But woe unto you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! Because ye shut the kingdom of heaven* against men: For ye enter not in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering in to enter [14:23:13].

Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps and went forth to meet the bridegroom. And five of them were foolish and five were wise. For the foolish, when they took their lamps, took no oil with them; but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. Now, while the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept. But at midnight there is a cry: Behold the bridegroom! Come ye forth to meet him. Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said unto the wise: Give us of your oil; for our lamps are going out. But the wise answered, saying: Peradventure there will not be enough for us and you: Go ye rather to them that sell and buy for yourselves. And while they went away to buy the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage feast: And the door was shut. Afterwards came also the other virgins, saying: Lord, lord, open to us. But he answered and said: Verily I say unto you, I know you not. Watch, therefore, ye know not the day nor the hour [14:25:1–12].

For it [the kingdom of God*] is as when a man, going into another country, called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods. And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one; to each according to his several ability; and he went on his journey. Straightway he that received the five talents went and traded with them, and made other five talents. In like manner he also that received the two gained other two. But he that received the one went away and digged in the earth, and hid his lord's money.

* The formal, soulless religion of the scribes and Pharisees (and the same is true of much of the Christianity of to-day) was antagonistic to the growth of the spirit to Cosmic Consciousness. Neither would they allow (in as far as they could prevent) of any spiritual life and growth outside the narrow limits laid down by their "law."

The Cosmic Sense does not come to the careless but to the earnest, who diligently use all means of spiritual advancement. The virgins all slumbered; none of them knew that "the bridegroom" was coming, but some had taken the necessary means—the others had not.

* Man is endowed with Self Consciousness, and must make the most possible of it before he can rise above it. Or in other words, and to convert the proposition into a truism, man must reach the top of the mental stratum called Self Consciousness before he can pass into the superimposed stratum called Cosmic Consciousness. Jesus, in the parable, says: God has given to each man the self conscious faculties in varying measure, whether he (any given individual) shall pass beyond Self Consciousness into the kingdom of heaven (Cosmic Consciousness) depends not so much upon the measure of these faculties as upon the use made of them. That there is much truth in this proposition p. 109 is certain. If, on the other hand, the cultivation of these faculties is neglected the man remains hopelessly on the self conscious plane; there has been, is and always will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

p. 109

[paragraph continues] Now after a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and maketh a reckoning with them. And he that received the five talents came and brought other five talents, saying: Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents: lo, I have gained other five talents. His lord said unto him: Well done, good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will set thee over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord. And he also that received the two talents came and said: Lord, thou deliveredst unto me two talents; lo, I have gained other two talents. His lord said unto him: Well done, good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will set thee over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord. And he also that had received the one talent came and said: Lord, I knew thee that thou art a hard man, reaping where thou didst not sow, and gathering where thou didst not scatter: And I was afraid, and went away and hid thy talent in the earth; lo, thou hast thine own. But his lord answered and said unto him: Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I did not scatter; thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the bankers, and at my coming I should have received mine own with interest. Take ye away therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him that hath the ten talents. For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not, even that which he hath shall be taken away. And cast ye out the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth [14:25: 14–30].

And he said: So is the kingdom of God* as if a man should east seed upon the earth, and should sleep and rise night and day, and the seed should spring up and grow he knoweth not how [15:4:26–7].

And he said unto them: Verily I say unto you there be some here of them that stand by which shall in no wise taste of death until they see the kingdom of God come with power [15:9:1].

And if thine eye cause thee to stumble, cast it out: It is good for thee to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye, rather than having two eyes to be cast into hell; where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. For every one shall be salted with fire [15:9:47].

* The seed (a life of aspiration) must be sown. We do not know what is to grow from it—days and nights pass and at some instant—in bed, walking, driving, 'the guest that has waited long" appears. See above same parable from Matthew.

There be some here present who shall enter into Cosmic Consciousness. To a man with Cosmic Consciousness it seems so simple and certain that others will enter it. "I bestow upon any man or woman (says Whitman) the entrance to all the gifts of the universe" [193: 216].

Allow nothing to stand in the way of spiritual advancement. Anything is better than to remain in the merely self conscious state, which is full of miseries.

p. 110

The law and the prophets were until John: from that time the gospel of the kingdom of God§ is preached and every man entereth violently into it [16: 16: 16].

And being asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God cometh he answered them and said: The kingdom of God Cometh not with observation; neither shall they say, Lo, here! or there, for lo, the kingdom of God is within you [16: 17:20–1].

He said unto them, Verily I say unto you: There is no man that hath left house, or wife or brethren, or parents, or children, for the kingdom of God's sake, who shall not receive manifold more in this time, and in the world to come eternal life [16: 18: 29–30].

Jesus answered and said unto him: Verily, verily I say unto thee, except a man be born anew he cannot see the Kingdom of God.** Nicodemus saith unto Him: How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother's womb and be born? Jesus answered: Verily, verily I say unto thee, except a man be born of water and the spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God [17:3:3–5].

Looked at from the present point of view, the objects of the teachings of Jesus, as of Gautama, were two: (a) To tell men what he had learned upon entering into Cosmic Consciousness, which things he saw it was of the very greatest importance that they should know; and (b) to lead men up into or at least towards Cosmic Consciousness, or, in his words, into the kingdom of God.

§ Tries to enter violently or awkwardly into it. Tries to get in while still only self conscious. How true is this to-day!

It is not outside but inside. It is a part (a faculty) of the mind itself.

Men with Cosmic Consciousness have generally been of this opinion, have often parted from their relations, and have either not married or have broken the tie—cf. Buddha, Jesus, Paul, Balzac (until the very end of his life), Whitman, Carpenter.

** This passage does not seem to need comment. It is, as it stands, as clear as words can be. The oncoming of the Cosmic Sense is a new birth into a new life.


We have in this case:

a. Some evidence of the characteristic suddenness that belongs to the oncoming of the new sense.

b. No definite record of subjective light, though it is impossible

p. 111

to say what the words "Heaven rent asunder," "Spirit as a dove descending," and "A voice out of the heavens" really mean. As the experience was subjective, Jesus must have told some one of it, and perhaps it passed through several minds before the words we have were written down, no one (not even Jesus) having any idea as to the meaning of the experience.

c. Presumably we have intellectual illumination.

d. Moral elevation well marked, though unfortunately we know nothing for certain of the personality of Jesus before the time of his illumination, when, as above stated, he was about thirty-three or thirty-five years of age.

e. We have the sense of immortality and the extinction of the sense of sin and of the fear of death.

f. Finally, the characteristic change of appearance which accompanies the presence of the Cosmic Sense and spoken of by the synoptics as Jesus’"transfiguration."


98:* The Review of Reviews for January, 1897, sums up the evidence bearing on the point as follows:

"One of the most eminent of living authorities on the life of Christ, Dr. Cunningham Geikie, writes in the Homiletic Review on the various attempts to fix the exact date of the birth of the Messiah.

"It is clear that the received chronology of the Abbot Dyonisius the Dwarf, which dates from the first half of the sixth century, must have begun several years too late in fixing the birth of Christ as having taken place in the 754th year of Rome, since it is known that Herod died in 750, and Jesus must have been born while Herod was still reigning. Dr. Geikie points out other fundamental errors in the calculations of the Abbot Dyonisius.

"Dyonisius had based his calculations on the mention by St. Luke that John the Baptist, who was a little older than Jesus, began his public work in the fifteenth year of Tiberius, and that Jesus was 'about thirty years old' when he began to teach (Luke iii: 1–23) . This fifteenth year of Tiberius would be perhaps 782 or 783, and thirty deducted from this would give 752 or 753, to the latter of which Dionysius added a year, on the supposition that Luke's expression, 'about thirty years,' required him to add a year. But the vague about was a weak ground on which to go, and, besides, the reign of Tiberius may be reckoned from his association in the government with Augustus, and thus from 765 instead of from 767. The texts I have quoted from St. Luke cannot, therefore, be used to fix either the birthday or the month of the birth, or even the year. This is seen, indeed, in the varying opinions on all these points in the early church, and from the fact that the 25th of December has been accepted as the birth day only since the fourth century, when it spread from Rome, as that which was to be thus honored."


"The nearest approach to a sound conclusion is, in fact, supplied by the statement that Herod was alive for some time after Christ was born. The infant Redeemer must have been six weeks old when presented in the temple, and the visit of the Magi fell we do not know how much later. That the massacre of all the children at Bethlehem from two years old and under presupposes that the Magi must have come to Jerusalem a long time after the birth of the expected King, for there would have been no sense in killing children two years old if Christ had been born only a few weeks or even months before. That there was a massacre, as told in the Gospel, is confirmed by a reference to it in a Satire of Macrobius (Sat. ii, 4), so that the crime is historically true and the higher criticism which treated it as a fable is convicted of error. But if Christ was born two years before Herod's death—and He may have been born even earlier—this would make the great event fall in the year 748, or six years before our era."

If we accept the conclusions of this writer, Jesus was about thirty-five years of age at illumination.

Next: Chapter 3. Paul