"For there has been born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord."1
"Has been born" is the most promising word in the life on earth. What does this word contain? Birth contains the sublime, the dynamic and powerful impulse, urging all humanity to perfection. People often ask, "How can one enter the kingdom of God? How can we be freed from the limitations of the laws of nature, and can we master them?"
I answer, "When you are born." I am speaking of the word birth, not of reincarnation. People have been reincarnated thousands and millions of times. They first started their life as microbes, enlarging and reforming until finally they were born as people in the full sense of the word. Reincarnation is a process, while birth is a completed cycle of this process. When it says in the Scriptures, "Today has been born," we should understand that he, who was conceived millions of years ago, was finally born. Who was born? Christ the Lord was born. The word birth contains a great idea, which God has deposited in the Spirit. And when each one of you realizes that you have been born, you will be saved and then comprehend the meaning of life. For many years you have not yet been born. You are in the process of reincarnation and in this process you must be born someday. Then, the angels will say about you, "In the city of David has been born." Christ must be born in every heart and in every soul. People say, "He was born in Jerusalem,"2 and make pilgrimages there to worship Him, yet they do not understand the sense of this birth and they do not aspire to live like Christ. He was born among the Jews who were the chosen nation, but they also did not understand the deep meaning of His birth and what He was bringing to all humanity - the Love of God.
Every birth is accompanied by suffering; therefore, in order for Christ to be born in the human soul; by all means, this suffering should be experienced. It is the same with a mother giving birth to her child - she must experience certain sufferings and take all the necessary care of the child. According to the same law every nation or the whole humanity in which Christ must be born, must make provisions and prepare the conditions in which this child is to be born and grow up. This idea may, perhaps, be somewhat dim, but this should not worry you: it depends on how near or far and in what light you consider things. Every person understands things according to the degree of Light they have. When the Angels proclaim "this day a Savior has been born" they mean the Joy He brings to humanity - Peace, the highest manifestation of God. The Lord manifests Himself as Peace which is the Law of Harmony, of the Unity of the Mind, of the Sublime Character, of Love, of Wisdom, of Truth, of Goodness and Righteousness - that is what Peace means. Only those who brings Peace can be born. You can not be born until you understand these deep Truths, until you achieve Peace in yourselves.
Now let me consider psychologically the word birth. This word has a relation to mysticism. A Christian who wants to become a mystic and studies the Divine Nature in order to deserve the name "human" must understand well the word birth. You have read in Genesis that "God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living soul." At that time, the process of breathing took place, while at the present time the process of birth is to take place. I would have explained the word breathed to you, but my explanation would have been incomprehensible, for in this word there is something unexplainable for people today. However, a day will come when you will understand it.
Now I will consider the opposite which the Law of Birth requires, as it is a Law of Internal Development. By this Law, God is manifest fully in your Soul and the Spirit works positively through it. All your aspirations are under the Law of Birth and through it the Supreme Divine Consciousness in a person is manifested and perfected. The ordinary human consciousness is an obscure idea. There are different conceptions of birth. If you are asked what this word means, you would say, "Birth means the conception and birth of a child." We should not perceive birth in regard to the body, but to the human Soul - the conception of that Divine Germ and its birth. So that when we say, "a man has been born", we mean that process of knowledge and wisdom in addition to that of conception and growth. A person cannot say that they were born until they obtain knowledge. Animals, fish and microbes are reincarnated time after time in their effort to complete this cycle of reincarnation. In the Bulgarian language the word rebirth means ‘processing of things’. Chewing the cud or ruminating like the ox is not different from processing. That means that, here on earth, we are merely processing certain experiences acquired during millions of years.
Some ask, "Where do we come from?"
“From the Big Sea.”
You may ask, "How many years have we been there and how has our exit taken place?"
After the Sun of Life had been shining on you for thousands of years it raised you up, and by the Law of the Cooling of Bodies, you have come down. Therefore, the Spirit has raised you as the Sun raises the vapors of the sea and has sent you to the earth. Do not think it is a great misfortune for you to be here. On the contrary, this is of great benefit to you. I tell you there is no greater knowledge in the world than to know how to suffer. Suffering is the highest manifestation of Love. They who have not understood the sense of suffering are still animals, microbes that have to be reincarnated many more times. And the contrary is true: those who have understood the sense of suffering have been born and are human. Suffering is the lot of human beings only. Animals do not suffer the way people do - blows are only a massage for them. A dog yelps when being beaten, but as soon as the beating stops, its suffering passes away. The deep sense of life - the so called ‘Cosmic Grief’ - is hidden in suffering; the secret in life is concealed in suffering. If you want to acquire the Divine Wisdom and the Secrets of Nature, I tell you - there is no other way than that of suffering.
When a person asks God to be sent to the earth, God asks them, "Do you want to pass through the Law of Suffering? If you do, I shall send you down."
If they should answer, "I do not want to," He will say to them: "Stay by Me in the Great Sea because as soon as you leave here, you will be a worker who must labor and suffer on earth.”
But what is the earth? It is the Great Woman - your Mother - who bears and raises up human beings. Once having accepted you, She will hold you for millions of years and cultivate you until finally you are ready and She will say, "Here is my child who can now speak to you of things with the Divine Language."
I shall make a small digression. In birth lies a great power of motion, it is the most powerful impulse that a person can be given. If you could visit the Sun with the Eye of a clairvoyant, you wouldl understand the magnitude of the energy with which it sends out its rays. You say that a cannon is very powerful because it shoots out a shell at a distance of 120 km. But imagine the power and speed of the light waves emitted by the Sun every second and the distance they pass before stopping at a place! According to the physicians, light travels at 300,000 km/sec. Can you imagine this power? These rays gradually weaken and their brightness decreases since light depends on the rate of velocity. The greater the velocity, the more powerful the light until this wave reaches the final limit; stops and turns into darkness.
Do you know what darkness is? It is the opposite process: the discharge of light is from below upwards; while that of darkness which reaches the final limit is movement from above downwards, i.e. from the periphery toward the center. It is the weakest movement. Thus light is down while darkness is above. But you will say, "We know that the dark place is hell." What is hell? Some think that hell is a special place of torture. What is a place of torture? A woman wishing to bear a child passes through torture. The same way the earth has conceived and millions and billions of creatures on it want to bear children. This is hell. Some do not want to be there, wishing to be in heaven and say, "I do not want such a hell." If you do not pass through hell, you cannot become a human being. That is why birth means such a hell. It is not so terrible, however. A person who is born and sins digresses from the law, so a terrible fall awaits them. They will be placed in the cannon of the Sun again, powerfully shot out and will travel through space for millions of years. Where they will stop will depend on the power they were thrown out with by God. If they are discharged with great force and travel for 100 million years, they will need that many years to return. The greater their velocity through space, the slower their movement back to God. But when they draw nearer Him, God will attract them to Himself with greater speed. Therefore, being born means that a person has reached the final limit of which their Soul was thrown in space. There they will stop and start their evolution anew. When they thus end their reincarnations, they will be born.
Humanity lost hope by the sin of Adam and Eve. Two children were born to them, but death captured them. There was no one to comfort them and they complained like the rich who have no children: "We have no heirs so all our possessions will go into the hands of strangers." They are discouraged by this. Humanity also found itself in such a state, but God gave it an immortal child to save it - that is Christ.
New thoughts are often born to your minds. Once I heard a renowned preacher say, "I have so many ideas that 10 or 20 years will not suffice for their expression." But after no more than 10 sermons he confessed that he had exhausted all his material. When you think you have many ideas, you are under the Law of Reincarnation. Were not the lower creatures created first - bugs, flies, etc.? Your numerous thoughts are of such a small value that if you cannot harness them in some useful work for you, they cannot help you in perfecting your life. However, when that basic Divine Thought comes, it will be alive and one with you, developing as a newborn child. What in Christianity is called the visitation of the Spirit is this Divine Thought which some call subconsciousness; others – consciousness; still others – superconsciousness; the theorists - the awakening of the higher self; the occultists - the emergence of the sublime and so on. When you achieve this state, you will feel peace and constant joy which does not change.
Someone may say, "I have this joy," but half an hour has not passed before this "joy" has evaporated. That joy is transitory and inconsistent with the Law. How can a precious stone disappear? You deceive yourself. That is not a joy, but a short-lived fly which dies and you begin to cry.
Someone says, "I have peace and I am calm," but on the morrow a trouble comes to them and they start wrinkling the muscles of their eyes. Where has their peace gone? It has not been real peace.
Someone says, "I am a Christian and for ten years I have been reading such and such writers: Spencer, the Epistles of St Paul, etc." All these writers speak very well, but what do you say? For when you go to the Lord, He will not ask you what St Paul has said, or what Spencer has done, but what you have done. You will not take the Apostle Paul, nor Spencer to Him; they will go themselves. But whom will you go with? Therefore, this is the basic idea about which we should think today.
I know that some of you have wrong conceptions about the Holy Spirit; thinking that the Holy Spirit and the evil spirit are one and the same thing. The good and the evil spirit are diametrically opposed. There is no such law where out of the same source should flow both sweet and bitter water. Bitter water is always bitter and sweet water is always sweet; so the good is always good and evil is always evil. What good and evil are is a profound question and if you think you can learn about them in five, ten or a hundred years, you are deceiving yourself. It is necessary for Christ to teach you at least 1,000 years until you acquire a somewhat right conception of the one and the other.
I do not wish to discourage you, but I want to tell you what the Laws which direct our lives are and help you get rid of some of your illusions. Every day and every hour of life has its program. Our progress depends on our completing this basic work of the day. You should not worry, therefore, whether you will develop or not, for I tell you positively that you will develop.
Some ask, "Shall we develop?"
When you are cast onto the earth, by all means you will develop.
"How long would it take?"
“A thousand years.”
"That is too long."
But 1,000 is not a big number, it is a human number. 100 years is much more than 1,000, while 10 years is still more. In this process things are reversed: 1,000 years is the smallest number, 100 years is a greater number. You are perplexed. The number 1,000 has three zeroes showing the three conditions, the three stages though which you will pass. You must form three bodies in 1,000 years - in the last zero you will form your physical body; in the second - you will form your heart; and when you enter the third zero, you will form your mind.
When you come to the number 1, you will be born, you will ascend and say to the Lord, "Here we stand before you, Father, now we can work for You."
This is birth. A great epoch was marked by the birth of Christ - the appearance of the Son of God. That is why we all should triumph.
The temporary sufferings you pass through are the greatest blessing for you. There is nothing better than suffering, for only through suffering will the Lord give you His Blessing. When someone complains to me about their sufferings, I say to them, "Give me of your sufferings, I will give you my Joy," and I add, "now I feel how pleasant life is."
They say to themselves, "This man is very good," but I also say to myself, "I thank you because you gave me more than you received since sorrow is more precious to me."
The Lord also preferred to leave His Greatness, His glory and descend on earth and suffer. There are reasons for this - the greatest Love which God manifested. When we begin to perceive and comprehend suffering inwardly, we shall come to the true process which Christians call salvation. We cannot be saved if we do not admit that sufferings are a Blessing. Stop and say, "Suffering, I need you that I may be born." If you suffer more, it shows you are nearer to God. When suffering reaches its extreme point, joy is born immediately. A mother feels the greatest suffering when giving birth. At that moment all run away from her, but when the child is born, all rejoice. In order that the child may be born, all must cry - both the woman and the man.
Once I was told a story of an incident which had taken place in the village of Nicolaevka about 50 or 60 years ago. The wife of an eminent Turk had a toothache. There was a Bulgarian man in the village who pulled teeth out. The Turk took her to that person to have her tooth pulled out. The house had two stories and the Turkish woman went upstairs while her husband remained downstairs, on guard. At one moment the woman started yelling, and the man downstairs started yelling too. The dentist began to wonder saying, "I am pulling out the woman’s tooth here, why is the man downstairs yelling?" We are bound to one another the same way and when a person’s tooth is being pulled out, we should cry out as well.
I am telling you all this, because you are living in an epoch of great sufferings. You should regard suffering as do Mystics and not as do ordinary observers, with indifference. Know that sufferings are the greatest Blessings the Lord is giving us. Some day you will test this. People are killed; there is famine and pestilence; fathers and mothers lose their children; sisters are dishonoured; families get disgraced. You should draw some benefit from all these sufferings and send joy to the sufferers by saying, "Give us of your sorrows."
You sit and say. "How good that we are not on the battlefield or starving." But what experience do you have and what will you gain? On the contrary, try to put yourselves in the position of the suffering souls and go and help them; then you will get a blessing.
"But how can we help them?" It is the easiest thing to do: if you cannot help people directly, you can help them spiritually. Every person is obliged to take at least half of their friend’s sorrows and to give them their Joy.
You say, "Let God bless you." God blesses people through you. But you say, "Let Him find someone else, not me." The electric current passing through an iron rod magnetizes it. If the divine current does not pass through you, how do you expect to be raised?
Now you all think your ideas have been destroyed. Many different flies, bugs, fish, birds and mammals have come to birth in you and when you clean yourselves of all of them, you will become wise. When you gradually build up your temple, the Lord will be born in it. You do not benefit in the least by the fact that 2,000 years ago Jesus Christ was born in Jerusalem. You may sing this song for 4,000 years more of no avail. You will be raised only when the Angels enter your Soul and say, "Today a Savior has been born in the house of David." And when Christ comes to birth, there will be Herod, Pilate and the high priest Caiaphas. Now you may say, "This child is dangerous, let us get rid of Him," and give Him to Pilate to have Him crucified - then the child will go to others. Just as Christ left the Jews and went to the gentiles, the same way your child will go to others - to those who will give Him shelter. And you will be a chosen, but forsaken people! And when you are asked why you suffer, you will answer, "Because we delivered our child to Herod and Pilate to be crucified."
That is why I say you should stand by your Lord saying: "I shall live with the Lord. If He lives, I too shall live; and if He dies, I too shall die." And just as Christ rose after the sufferings, you will rise the same way and learn the Law of Immortality. There are people who are close to the Resurrection. The Apostles have risen and are working on the earth.
You will say, "Why do we not see them?" The Risen can see the Risen, just as a musician can understand a musician; as a doctor can understand another doctor and so on. You must have the ability to understand that this is why you are staying on earth.
Christ, therefore, has appeared. He lives and is among you, working within all of you. What people call "resurrection" is birth in reality. What Christians mean by resurrection is the coming out of the tomb. You are all tombs to me: some bigger, others - smaller. I see different inscriptions on your monuments: John lived so many years; Helen - so many years; and someone after dying was buried in the grave of another and so on. How many times this Helen has died bearing her monument with the inscriptions of all her relatives!
You are asking, "When shall we rise?" You can rise today, but your tombstones are very heavy. An Angel must come down to remove them. If an Angel had to come down to remove the stone of Christ’s tomb, how much more necessary this is for you! In 33 years Christ underwent a great Transformation which, in the end is called "Resurrection". By the word "resurrection" I mean the struggle and the victory of a child over death. This is the significance of being born - to fight and overcome death. When you conquer death, the day of the resurrection will come.
Some say, "When Christ was born and the Angels from above proclaimed peace on earth, why did not people correct their lives?" Because they have not learned the teaching of Christ as they should. Christ will preach in this world again.
“You will see Him”, I state this positively. Some of you will not see Him. Why? Naturally, because you are blind. You will cry a long time like that blind man,
"Son of David, have mercy on me, touch my eyes with your hand!"
When He touches your eyes, He will ask you, "Do you see?"
"Lord, I see people as trees."
He will touch you again asking, "What do you see now?"
"People are moving."
What does this mean? It means that your thoughts and desires are static at first like the trees, but when you begin to see, things become alive like people. Then you will understand what Virtue is. Christ has come to show us that we must fight death, conquer it and rise. This is the meaning of birth.
Sermon held on Christmas, 1915
1 Luke 2:11
2 As it is Bethlehem that is usually considered the birthplace of Christ, here ‘birth’ refers to His resurrection, (proofreader’s note)