The New Birth
The New Birth
"Unless a man is born again he can not see the Kingdom of God." I shall focus upon the words "born again." To be born again is to be born of the Spirit. To be born of the Spirit is a new state for the human consciousness. The grain of wheat can remain for years in the barn and retain its original form, but in such a state it will never understand what the world represents. Therefore, the grain of wheat must leave the bam and be sown in the ground, in order to come in touch with light, heat, air and water. In this way it will manifest its inner life - it will begin to grow and develop. Growth is a process common to all beings. For man, however, growth implies the development of his consciousness.
As you study the vegetable kingdom, you will see that the plants do not come into life through birth, as the beings of the animal kingdom do, but they sprout, grow and develop, going through external and internal processes, through great trials and difficulties. Man also goes through such processes before his birth. Birth is preceded by a number of inner processes. Those who do not understand the wise laws of nature and the creation of the Primary Principle, become discouraged, because they cannot find happiness in life. They look for happiness where it does not exist. Can the grain of wheat find its happiness in the barn? No matter how many years it may rest in the barn, it will remain closed up and shut off from the world. In the barn it is under favorable external conditions, but these conditions are of no real benefit to it. The grain of wheat must leave the conditions of the barn, in order to gain anything. Those who do not understand life regret, when they encounter sufferings in life, that they have left their calm state. The grain of wheat in the barn must choose between two conditions: either to enter the ground and go through a number of inner processes of suffering and joy, or to go through the mill and sacrifice itself there. If it does not choose one of these two conditions, it will remain in the barn where in the end mice will attack it.
When contemporary people are faced with these two states they fall into a contradiction and they do not know what to do. If they remain in the barn for a long time, they will have a calm life, but how long can they remain under these conditions? They can not remain in that state for a hundred years. Then what? A day will come when they will be taken out of the barn by force. But what if then it is too late and they cannot adapt themselves to the new conditions of life? In such a case, it is better for them to leave the barn and be sown in the field, regardless of what will become of them. It is worse for them to go through the mill. Remember that the barn was made for the wheat, not the wheat for the barn. The earth is a condition in which man can taste the blessings of God, in which he can grow and develop. The earth was created for the rational man who understands the laws of life and can apply them. Externally, the earth seems disorderly and unorganized. He who understands the Laws can discern the wisdom which directs not only the earth but ail the other worlds as well. The sufferings of people proceed from a misunderstanding of the supreme order which exists in the life of the whole. When a child first starts school, he meets great hardships until he begins to understand what he is taught. At least sixteen years are required until the child grows up, becomes a youth and graduates from the university. What discipline that youth must endure! How many teachers he has had and how many times he has spotted his hands with ink and cleaned them! How many books he has bought, how many deprivations, troubles and sufferings he has experienced until he has acquired knowledge! It is an easy thing, after all this, to say that this or that man is an educated man.
People today expect to receive some kind of blessing on the earth. Whatever blessings they may receive are of no use, for they are all temporary. Why? Because people of today lack the element with which they could preserve everything they acquire. This element will be provided when man receives a spiritual birth. Man must be born again in order to be free from the bad conditions of the present life. The conditions in which he lives today can only bring death. Whatever wealth he may acquire today, he will lose by all means. He shall be robbed by thieves as rich people are robbed today. Since men do not understand these laws, they console themselves with the thought that when they go to the other world, they will be in heaven under positive and favorable conditions. The entrance into heaven under rich conditions is connected to the law of the new birth. Christ said: "Unless a man is born again, he can not enter the Kingdom of God." Only a man born of the Spirit is a master of the circumstances of life. The man born of the Spirit is not influenced by the economic conditions of life. The sick, not the healthy man, needs the help of others. The healthy man needs no outside help. Whatever he needs he can acquire for himself. The healthy man can be compared to the man born of the Spirit.
Thus life as a Great School points out two ways to man: the path of suffering and the path of the mill. He who chooses the first way will be sown like a grain of wheat in the field where he will pass through a number of trials and sufferings; he who chooses the second way will remain for years in the barn, after which he will be taken to the mill. It is better for one to be sown in the field than to pass through the mill. In the field, one shall have a chance to grow, to blossom and to bear fruit. The majority of people today pass through the mill; consequently they die and disappear without leaving any trace behind them. However, both of these paths have a positive side.
Through suffering man prepares himself for a life which is higher than the one he is leading today. The wheat which suffers is also instructed by its suffering; those who eat it benefit from its lessons, as well as from the blessings it contains. The people who die today learn something from life and death; the next generation benefits from their experiences, as great acquisitions in life. The important thing is what happens and what man is able to do today. It will not come from the outside. Only the conditions of life exist outside, while life's possibilities are deposited inside man himself. The grain of wheat contains in itself the possibilities for growth, while light, heat, air and water are conditions under which the grain of wheat can manifest its possibilities. Christ said: "If the grain of wheat is sown in the field, it bears fruit a hundred fold."
People today are afraid of suffering, but whatever they do, they will inevitably go through it. Small or great sufferings follow every man. Such is the way of man. One thing is important: which path will man choose; the path of being sown or that of being ground up. He who prefers the sufferings in the field will grow and bear fruit. He who prefers the sufferings of being ground will pass through the mill without leaving any fruit after passing away. We are trying to save the wheat from going through the mill. It is not written anywhere that the wheat must be ground. Since it is ground, it must be done according to human laws and orders. You must understand both the human and the Divine laws, in order to understand the inner processes of life.
"Unless a man is born again." Of what must a man be born again? The new birth means a birth of the Spirit. He who is born of the Spirit is a noble man and has a sublime consciousness. The world for him is not dead, neither is man a wolf to man, as the proverb says, "Homo homini lupus." It is important for man to understand the idea given by Christ that man is a brother to man. Only brotherhood is possible for the man born of the Spirit. Brotherhood is an expression of the love of the newborn. Only the newborn realizes what that means. When he sees a man, he sees a brother in his face.
Therefore, every teaching which makes brotherhood the foundation of human life, is immortal. Such a teaching can be applied as an art of living. Every art is useful insofar as it can be applied. Why do you need to know a foreign language, if you cannot use it to acquire knowledge? Of what use is light, if it cannot reveal the world to you? Man without sight and light remains blind and ignorant. The world is a closed book to the ignorant man. New feelings and abilities are aroused in the man born of the Spirit, such as he himself has not even suspected. He sees things both at a distance and close up. He sees what is taking place in this city as well as in the other city. These things are impossible for the man of an ordinary birth. The man born of God cannot fall into a trap of robbers. He is free from all bad conditions. Why? Because he foresees everything. When he passes through a forest, he knows beforehand where robbers are hiding, and he avoids them. The man born of God has an illuminated mind with which he sees things clearly.
Many men aspire to the spiritual life, but they must know that the spiritual life requires of man an understanding of his inner possibilities. When he understands and knows what his inner possibilities are, he can benefit from the blessings of life. What possibilities does a fish have? A fish has only one possibility - to swim in the water. It cannot speak, write or listen to lectures. If it wants to acquire possibilities other than the one it has, it must come out of the water and leave its unfavorable conditions. What can become of the fish? It cannot become a man, but it has the possibility of becoming at least a bird. But even as a bird, it cannot have great possibilities. The only form which offers great possibilities for attainments is the human form. By the word "man" we mean a being born of God. To be born of God is not a simple process. In order to come to the new birth, man must pass through many processes. A man asks whether there is a world other than the one on earth.
Such a man knows only one world, and he does not even know this world as well as he should. He does not know that in the world in which he lives a number of complex processes are taking place* The fish also asks whether there is another world besides its own. There is another world besides that of the fish; it is the world of the birds, of all flying creatures. If the bird asks whether there is another world besides its own, we shall say to it that there is such a world - it is that of the mammals. If man asks whether there is a world higher than the human world, we shall answer him that there is a higher world - that of the angels. The beings of the angelic world have broader and better conceptions than those of the human beings. There are no prisons, scaffolds, or graveyards in the angelic world; suffering, misfortune and disputes do not exist there. There is a great abundance of things to eat and drink. All have opportunities to study and develop. Everyone lives as long as he wishes. Is this true? For me, who sees things, this is true. I do not need faith, nor do I need convincing. I believe in that which I see. A blind man stands beside me and asks: Do you believe in the light? There is no need of my believing in the light, for I see it. The blind man needs faith, but for the man who sees, faith becomes knowledge.
"Unless a man is born again, he can not enter into the Kingdom of Heaven." The new birth implies the opening up of a new world which man must enter.
If you do not enter this world, you will remain in the bad conditions, in the life of suffering. Even if you were rich, you would lose the good conditions. As soon as you enter the new world - the world of God - you will be surrounded by a new light, which will broaden your horizon. Don't nations do the same thing? As soon as a new nation is formed, a new order is introduced which protects it from external enemies and gives its citizens a chance for a good, calm life. Which nation, which kingdom has the best order? The Kingdom of God. Who can enter this kingdom? It is said in the Scriptures: "The man born of God can enter the Kingdom of God." When the man born of God enters that Kingdom, he shall say: It pays to live in this Great Kingdom!
The world in which men live today is similar to a barn. There are two ways which can lead man out of this bam: they must either be sown in the field, or go to the mill and pass through it. Someone says: Let the mill grind me! This mill, which grinds people up, is dangerous. It will be good if one day the mills stop grinding. Are there mills in the other world? There are neither mills nor millers there. In the other world the grain of wheat is as large as a pear and grows on trees. It is enough for you to take one single grain, in order to satisfy your hunger. When you go to a tree on which the wheat grows, you will hear its voice: Help yourself, eat as much as you wish. Can the wheat speak? This is a figure of speech.
Christ said: "Unless you eat my flesh and drink my blood, you have no life in you." This means, if you do not eat the Word, you have no life in you. There is a world which needs the Word in the same way as men today needs food. The rough food gradually begins to be supplemented by spiritual food. Man eats three times a day and deposits in his stomach such elements as are necessary for the sustenance of his physical body. Man receives nourishment through his lungs and brain also. Through the lungs and the brain he receives an energy finer than physical energy. The day will come when people will be nourished only through their lungs and brain. Scientists have found out that man takes twenty breaths a minute. These, are twenty dinners. The newborn will not be a slave of the present conditions, living in continual worry about the morrow. Contemporary man does not sleep calmly; he does not enjoy the blessings of life given to him by God, because of his great worries. Man spends a great deal of his life troubled and worried. Christ gave a new, positive philosophy of life which can set man free from all present difficulties and worries, but this philosophy was not understood in His time, nor is it understood by present day Christians. And after all that, men call themselves Christians! He who only bears the name of Christ is not a Christian. A Christian in the full sense of the word can be called the Son of God; i.e., the man born of the Spirit. Therefore, in the religion of the future, all men will be born of God; they will form a large family whose members will be brothers. Each one will be ready to sacrifice himself for his brother and no man will be in need. No one will deceive others.
I ask you: Can this not be realized this very day? What prevents men from loving one another and living like brothers? Who gathers people together? Who has gathered us here today? God. God's Love unites people. This is a great truth which is tested every day. Therefore, you can test this truth this very hour. The man born of God has tested this truth and lives according to it. He who enters the new conditions of life does not need a proof about the other world. Proving the existence of the other world is the same as proving the existence of love. There is no use in proving -the existence of love to people, Where love is, life is. Where love is absent, life vanishes. The coming of love means the resurrection of the soul. He who attains love, resurrects; he who loses love dies.
The present phase of life is one of loveless-ness. Can a man resurrect in loveless-ness? Lovelessness kills life. I am not speaking about the death of the external shell. Lovelessness causes a much more terrible death. If man loses only his shell, he will clothe himself in a new form. However, man tries to create for himself a form which will not be affected by bad conditions or by change. This new form will bear in itself immortality. This idea was expressed by Christ in the verse: "That which is born of the flesh is flesh; that which is born of the Spirit is Spirit." The man born of the Spirit will live differently from the man born of the flesh. The former will pass through life, the latter through the mill. The first one will hear fruit, while the second one will remain fruitless. The latter will form a brotherhood, which after four generations will disappear - all ties among sisters and brothers will be abolished. In two hundred years at the most, all brotherhood, all relationships among people united by fleshly ties, will disappear.
The former one, i.e., the man born of God will form a lasting brotherhood. The ties among men born of God will last at least 25,000 years. This persistence, this durability of the ties will give the Intelligent Forces acting upon the human soul a chance to complete their work.
Realize that all rational things contribute to the development of the human soul: stars, suns, planets - all of nature works for man. All that surrounds man both outside and inside, works for his education. The sun rises for the children of God, for those born of God. Those who are already born have already tested this truth; those, however, for whom conditions are now being prepared, will test this later. Christ said to Nicodemus, one of the educated man of His time: "Unless a man is born again, he can not enter the Kingdom of God." Nicodemus did not understand this truth and asked Christ: How is it possible for an old man to enter his mother's womb a second time and be born again? Christ answered him: "That which is born of the flesh is flesh; that which is born of the Spirit is Spirit."
How are these processes, these two ways of birth distinguished? Man is like a grain of wheat. A kind hand will come to take the grain from the barn and sow it in the field. It will say to it: You will pass through small sufferings, but you will blossom, bear fruit and ripen. The grain of wheat will test this and rejoice. Another kind hand will go to the barn to take the grain of wheat out and say: Now I shall take you to the mill to pass through it and turn into flour. You will pass through small sufferings but your price will rise. Which state is to be preferred: To pass through the field and bear fruit, or to go through the mill and have your price rise? The first state is to be preferred - to pass through sufferings but to bear fruit. This state represents the Divine order of things. The second state - passing through the mill - represents the human order of things. By the word "mill" in this case, I have in mind the things man himself has created, which are not well understood. By the word "field," I mean all that the Primary Principle has created.
Therefore, I wish every one of you to pass through the sufferings of the field, in order to acquire that knowledge which will bring him to the new birth, to the birth of the Spirit. To be born of the Spirit implies becoming a member of the Brotherhood. The Brotherhood is a condition for the realization of love among people.
"That which is born of the flesh is flesh; that which is born of the Spirit is Spirit." To be born of the Spirit is to be born of the Supreme, Rational Principle of life.
Lecture held by Peter Deunov (Beinsa Douno) on August 14, 5 A.M.
John 3: 2-12.