Man and God

Jesus was just a man going through what he went through. He had no idea of his messianic identity and certainly did not consider himself God. We see a progression in the gospels from Mark to John as Jesus becomes more and more Godlike. This is a result of the theological developments of his disciples.

He was a spirit filled man who allowed God to work through him as an instrument perhaps to a much higher degree than is usually manifest. You might say he was a transparent via media to God or a manifestation of jagat guru. Christ means the anointed one. Jesus was imbued with the Holy Spirit at his baptism. He lived his life guided by the Spirit. In that way he was man and God. Bhaktivedanta Swami considered him a shaktavesh avatar like Buddha, a jiva, or individual spirit soul, empowered by God. I see him in this way also as do many educated mainline, liberal Christians.

It is true that Jesus may have made a breakthrough in becoming a God-man as “hu” in hu-man connotes. This is an example for all to follow. The historical Jesus is somehow mysteriously connected to the Cosmic Christ which is a manifestation of God perhaps comparable to the paramatma.

Transcendence vs. incarnation

So far the the distinction between worldly and other worldly religion: As a sannyasi or renunciate, I was engaged in an effort to transcend the material world and enter into the realm of Goloka Vrindaban. These efforts were constantly frustrated by the demands of Bhaktivedanta to perform service which took me away from my spiritual practices, and ultimately when I left ISKCON I embraced the world and decided to see what spiritual “truths” and practices stuck and what were just cultural externals. I embraced a much more incarnational theology and accepted that if God put me in this world, I must be here to do something more than try to escape, so let me put my time and energy to good use. I have worked diligently for peace, justice and the environment.

I still consider myself a mystic with my head in the clouds and my feet on the ground. I don’t think there needs to be a duality between the two paths. Thirty years later, I still yearn for Vrindaban and the eternal service of Sri Sri Radha Krishna. What can I say?

Your servant,

Steve/Subal


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