BEHOLD THE MAN
BEHOLD THE MAN
Lecture given by Peter Deunov (Beinsa Douno) on March, 16th 1914, Sofia
Then Jesus came upon out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe.
And Pilate said to them, "Behold The Man!"
The word "man" /in Bulgarian "chovek" or "chelovek"/ signifies a being, living for a whole century. But in the archaic language in which this phrase was used, the word "man" has a different meaning – Jesus, The Man, coming down to Earth, The Brother of those who suffer. What should we understand by these words? When we go into the world, would people say of us: "Behold The Man"? To deserve this name, one should possess four things: wealth, strength, knowledge and virtues. You could be surprised what wealth has to do here. Wealth is the soil, i.e. the conditions for one's development; it is the soil for cultivating strength. And the latter imparts heat and light beneficial for growth and progress.
As far as knowledge is concerned, it is the method of understanding and regulating our life. Virtue is the goal that we should strive to. Take and sow a grain of wheat, it will show you what to do. "How?" you ask. Give it moisture and the surays will point at the only possible direction which the grain of wheat will aim and follow – The Sun, the Source of Life. Like the grain of wheat we must grow and strive for God.
But someone may ask: "Does the grain of wheat reach the Sun after growing up? As to me, I want to find God. "You want to know where God is, but it is not necessary for you, you should only strive for Him. The grain of wheat knows what the Sun is and it receives what it wishes. The same law applies to people – we have to produce the small result – we should be sown. Surely, our life will be full of difficulties – the small, but indispensable obstacles as it is the case with the grain of wheat. We need a certain pressure and then we will start the process of growing up or knowledge. And when we bear fruit, it is already Virtue. Therefore we must be sown, covered with soil, put under some pressure; then we should grow up and acquire knowledge; and this knowledge, after growing up to a certain extent, should immediately be turned into a grain of wheat. After that The Master will send the reapers to yield the wheat and He will separate the worthful from the worthless, the grains from the weeds. When we were born, this was sprouting; we grow up, develop and die; burial is the threshing. And from the threshing the Lord will take what He needs. This corresponds to the barn and the granary: chaff is put into the barn while wheat – into the granary.
I read you the 19th Chapter from the Gospel of St. John, so that you could see the four things, which Christ bore on the Cross, the four things, which we have to learn. If we put Virtue on His Head that was not nailed, on the left side – Knowledge, on the right – Strength, and underneath, in the feet – wealth, we will have then a crucified person. I.e. if we nail Wealth, Strength and Knowledge, their juices will go up to the head or to Virtue. Whenever God intends to make someone a good person, He nails him to the cross – He nails his wealth, strength and knowledge. What does it mean, "nailing"? Putting into a safe, so that nobody could take and dispose of him, because God will dispose of him. God says: "Be calm, when I work." And as one does not want to stay calm, God orders: "Nail him, so that I will be calm to work..." And when we are nailed to this cross, we should not cry, for God is working then for us. Unhappy is that one, who is not nailed to the cross. Whoever wants God to deal with him, should pass through such process of development.
I am speaking to you allegorically. By all means Faith should precede this process of development – the firm faith in the universal Divine plan, concerning all living beings created by God. We should not distrust God, for God is perfect and almighty. Didn't Jesus say at one place: "Theimpossible for a human being is possible for God." The Divine paths are unrevealable. Do not admit the idea that these paths could be distorted or restrained; it is impossible. And when we have been called upon and started on the Divine path, we should have that simple faith, which children have, and we should avoid weaknesses as the one in the following story:
A great artist in England wanted to paint a picture, expressing extreme poverty. For days and months he walked around London, searching for a suitable person. Finally he found a ragged child who appealed to his heart and he thought: "This will be the model for my picture!" He approached the child, gave him his visiting card and said: "Come to my place in four days, I want to speak to you." The child, seeing this well-dressed gentleman, thought: "How could I go to him in my rags?" And it went to its friends in order to dress better and show itself as it fits before kings. New clothes were found and put on and the child went to the painter.
"Who are you?", the painter asked.
"A am so and so."
"Go away! If I wanted a well-dressed person, there were thousands of them. But I needed you as you were dressed in rags when I first saw you."
We also want to dress when Heaven invites us to do some work. But Strength is neither in our clothes, hats, gloves and shoes nor in our collars, ties and watches; these are not so important. Strength is in our minds and hearts, in our lofty wishes and strivings to do what is good. When we have these, the other things will come by themselves in proper time. Should we, when going to Heaven, take our clothes from here? When God calls us to Heaven, He takes off all our clothes here. He does not want our rags and He says: "Bring him just as he is." When someone is dying, all of us turn back to him; even those who loved him say: "Take him away as soon as possible!" But where is their love? Only God does not turn away and He says: "Bring him, I need him as he is." And when they put us into the grave and leave us, what does God do? He begins to talk with us. He asks: "Did you understand Life, did you understand the meaning of Life, which I sent you?"
During this talk God is painting His Great picture. And then comes the following process: the people who buried that person begin weeping and listing all his good features – they see the Divine picture, expressed in these qualities.
We have to bear the sufferings coming to us in order to have certain experience. Jesus through His earthly sufferings wished to give us an example of how we should submit to such a Divine process. Once He said: "Have I not the power to ask My Father to send thousands of angels to save Me? But if I do not fulfill the purpose for which I have come, how can humans be raised?" And He Himself wanted to be raised. You are here, on Earth; one day storms, difficulties and may be the same destiny will fall on you. But when this hour comes, do not in any way consider it as a misfortune, for where there is no suffering, there is no gain. And where there is a sorrow, there is a joy as well: where there is death, there is also resurrection. And who does not want to participate in the sufferings of humanity will gain nothing. After all, what are sufferings? – A consequence of the errors caused once by our incompetence. These errors namely are being corrected by the process of suffering. This process is a method of adopting and reaching those high ascending vibrations, which are there, in Heaven. We have to endure a hundred sufferings to become able to bear just one Divine Joy. Then we could appreciate this joy worthfully and preserve it. That is why God begins with the sufferings in order to temper us (in the same way as the smith strengthens the iron to become good for work), to prepare us for the Great joy, that will come later.
Everyone of us is needed, very much needed by God. For the world you may be nothing, just a nullity, but for God you are an important unit. Only God, Who has sent you down to Earth estimates our sufferings, that is why you should not worry what the world thinks of you. The One, Who has sent you, He thinks of you and appraises you. It is important for you to have the approval of God. If God is with you, you will be beautiful; the world likes Beauty too. If God is with you, you will be wealthy, strong and good – Good is always respected as well.
Now I am going to speak to you about God, but not that God presenting a Being abstract and scattered through space (as the philosophers say), Whom you do not know neither you know where He is, but about this God, of Whom I am preaching to you, Who thinks of us, Who watches our actions, Who corrects, amends, punishes, dresses and undresses us, Who makes us live and die. What is death? Performing an operation and seeing that you will lose a lot, God shortens the process of your life. "In order to avoid any more accumulation of debts, take the capital that I gave to him, as the present conditions are not beneficial, leave him for other days, bring him to me." And in this process we think that the world has forgotten us. But if the world has forgotten us, God thinks of us. And the world, at any cost, should forget us. A girl could never marry; if she loves all the boys; she has to choose one of them, saying: "This is my world." This fact is true in life as well. You should have only One God. There are many gods in the world, who wish to take you, but you must find your God, under Whom you could live, develop and grow.
The Scriptures say: "God is not only in Heaven: He also dwells in the hearts of the humble ones." Therefore, the first quality you must obtain so that God could come to dwell in you is humility. But this humility is not like the humility of a sheep: when they beat you and break your legs, you say: "What can I do?" It is not the humility, when they steal your wealth and you say: "We became humble." Humility is when you have everything: Wealth, Strength, Knowledge, Goodness, to be aware of all this and to say: "God, You dispose of all I have." And nowadays people act like this: they all preach of the Scriptures, all the time trying to settle the world right; but when God turns to their overfilled purses, they cry out: No, not there! Maybe we could give a half of it, but not everything – no!" When it comes to strength, they say: "You cannot dispose of all my strength." But when we fall in need, we wish and ask God to lead and help us. This way of human understanding of Life prevails in all philosophies for thousands of years on. And our misfortunes come for this very reason.
Jesus through His personal experience wanted to show us The Path. Many people think that when they become Christians, they should leave the world. You may give up your houses, your riches, wives and children, but still continue to think of them. You may go to some distant monastery, but still think: "How is my wife, my children, my house?" And it shows that you have not given them up, you are not free. Giving up does not mean forgetting, but leaving one free: let your wife act as she likes, let your son act as he likes. Giving up the world means to let it go, not hindering and standing in its way. Let it follow its course, for can you stop the flow of a river? We should let it follow its own way. What we can do is only making use of it. In the same way we cannot stop Life, but we can only make use of things. Jesus clearly and positively said to us: "If you love Me!" And we have to love Him. He did not say: "Woe to you, if you do not love Me!" No! God has never wanted forced sacrifices from us.
People say: "Why doesn't the Almighty God set the world right?" How should He set it right? – "He who lies, let His tongue go dry; he, who steals, let his hand wither." But then we would have a world consisting only of dumb and crippled people. How do you think? Would such a world consisting only of maimed people be pleasant for us? God, however, gives a diametrically opposite kind of ruling. He acts on the opposite, stating that who wants to be a master should become a servant. The process of ruling is expressed in the following: the strong people usually want all rivers to flow into their river, but this process in Good is just the opposite – God is flowing into little streamlets, but instead of ruling them, He lets them flow alone. You can make a small experiment at home. Try to eliminate the thought that you rule; make up your mind to become a servant in the name of God. Then you will come to the place of God. You seek God in Heaven, but He is not there; when you moan and suffer, He is just in you. And what people call growth and development is due to the participation of God in this process. God is the best worker.
Some people complain: "Why doesn't God see our sufferings?" But God replies: "I have no time; I am so engaged in your affairs, I am engaged in much more important ones; when there is time, I will deal with your external petty disagreements." This is not an allegory, but reality. God put in a verse of the Sacred Scriptures: "For Israel I was like a freight car where people constantly throw all their rubbish." However, the sufferings that we bear here are the sufferings of God. He is suffering and weeping within us. We say: "I am crying as my soul is full of sorrow", but when we say: "God, forgive me for I have caused you so many sufferings with my impure thoughts and acts," then we will come to the real Path that will save us from the present evil. Finally we should let our God become stronger within us. We have bound Him up with ropes and have nailed Him. We have to lay Him into the grave and leave Him in peace; then He will resurrect and set us free. And be sure in one thing: we, humans are those who hinder His Path; devils do not obstruct the Path of the Lord. Since He has laid down the Law of Freedom, He cannot change this law and He does not want to do it. Unless we come to the awareness to submit voluntarily to Him, He would not save us. The awareness to be like Him should penetrate deep inside us. Then we can use our wealth, strength and virtues for uplifting. Uplifting whom? – Our brothers, our fellowmen. Each one of you is to search and appreciate the souls of your neighbors and not to love just their bodies.
And I can tell you that Jesus Who came down here had not yet left the Earth. He is living among people, He is working on them and He is supposed to already resurrect in them. Let us hope for this, but not like the Jews who say: "We have no other King but the Caesar." And when a few years later the same Caesar destroyed Jerusalem and took down their Temple, they denied him. If you also say now: "The Caesar is my King", the results will be the same.
Let me go back: initially we have to live in this world in order to get prepared. We cannot live in Heaven, for the heat and light there are too intensive. In the same way as a gardener planting pinetrees that were brought from a high place will make different grafts until they get acclimatized, our Heavenly Father cannot just take us from here and plant us directly in the Paradise Garden. Even the earthly educational system is organized in similar way: in the beginning we have to pass preliminary classes, after that – secondary school, university and then we enter the world. All these methods of culture should be applied, if one wants to make progress. In my opinion Christians should not be so foolish to say every time: "Trust the chance, whatever God will give us, that is." If you have ploughed your field, you sow the wheat, and if not, what can God give you? – Weeds and thorns. Till the vineyard, plant out the vines and wait for the grapes. And it also depends what kind of vines you will plant: if you plant low-grade sticks, they will produce sour grapes. God gave your child a good mind, but what did you sow there, did you sow those germs that will give good fruits? We want to be virtuous, strong and rich; we can have all these things: Virtues, Strength and Wealth.
Moreover they are necessary for us. But the conditions, in which they can grow up and develop, are the following: the Divine germ, the Divine law and the Divine balance. The balance – this is Virtue, the Law – this is Knowledge; the conditions – this is Strength; the Germ – this is Wealth.
But you will ask me how to find God. It is very easy. A person once wanted to make fun and to tease his friend. He said to him: "Now we are in an orchard full of fine apples." "But I see nothing," answered his friend, closing his eyes. The person slapped him in the face, he looked up and saw the orchard. In the same way God will slap you sometimes in the face in order to see. Those of you, whose eyes are closed, should wish to have them open. The contemporary world argues and asks: "Where is God?" God is in the trees and in the stones, He is in the soil as well. However, if a misfortune comes, everyone looks up and sees that God is there, crying out: "My Lord!" This is the reason for the misfortunes: they are the slap of God meaning: "I have created you with eyes to see, but you stay with closed eyes." So in order to improve ourselves, we should become like children: to be seeking and receptive like them.
Now I will ask you another thing, what is the method that we should use in our work? From now on we should be always connected mentally and heartily to all human beings on Earth, because the salvation will come through our common prayers. "Power is in unity." And when all human minds and hearts become united, then the Kingdom of God will come on Earth. We should not look for the weaknesses of the friends, whom we really love; they may have them like us. The faults are the external garment, in which one is dressed. But the human soul is pure, it cannot be spoiled or destroyed in no way. No one can deprave your Divine soul; it can be stained outside, but not inside, because God dwells there. It is impossible to destroy something that is protected by God.
We can submit to the world just as Christ did, when Pilate said to Him: "I have the power to crucify you." And Christ answered: "I submit to that One, Who has given you this power, but my soul is free." We have to submit to the temporary sufferings. We cannot understand them now, but when we die and rise again, we will be able to understand the reason for them. Everyone has now been tormented by fears and trepidations in life but this is not life. Life is when one is filled with noble feelings. Happy are those who can rejoice that they have done selflessly something good. Someone offended you; for you did not take off your hat to him, you did not shake hands with him. Or perhaps you shook hands, but it was not a real shaking. You may take off your hat, but it will not be a real sign of respect. And usually we take off our hats to someone in high position as if to say: "Can you give me a higher post?"
There lives a devilish fish in the sea that greets everyone it meets. A person also takes hold of another's hand. But why? – These devilish fingers of the human hand speak a lot. For example, the little finger says: "Can you give me some money? I must set up in trade. I have losses, I am robbed. Can you help me?" The fourth finger says: "I would like the fame and knowledge of an artist. The middle finger says: "I want some rights and privileges." The forefinger says: "I need honor and respect." The thumb says "I want power and skill."
If the greeted person has the possibility and the willing, he will give that person all the things wanted. And they two will go together, later on they will become three and will form a coterie in the society, but they will not find again what they are looking for. At last Jesus will come and say: "What you want – Wealth, Strength, Knowledge and Virtue – I can give all this to you. There is no case, when someone has left his father and mother to follow Me and has not received the future Life a hundred times." Behold the Man, Who can greet us, Who can give us everything – Wealth and Strength, Knowledge and Virtue. But people cried: "Take Him away, crucify Him!" – to which Pilate noted: "You are losing Him."
Today Jesus is standing in front of you again and I tell you: "Behold the Man you are looking for, the Man Who alone can fill your hearts with peace and can give you a clear mind, health, social position. He can rise you, show you the way and enlighten your consciousness. But you doubtfully say: "Show Him to us, we want to see Him!"
I will use an analogy: if a person appears far off one night carrying a small candle and I say to you: "Behold the Man, who brings you the Light." You will see the candle, not the Man. When will you see Him? When the Sun rises. If you seek by yourselves the Light, brought by the Man, it will help you to find the Way that you should follow. This is the way you have to treat this question.
I will give you even a simpler analogy. Suppose that I take you to a rich, but dark guest room and say to you: "This room is full of beautiful decorations and great riches; there is this and that in the one corner, this and that – in the other corner." May be, but who knows, I do not see anything", you object. If I bring in a small candle, the near objects will become more visible; if I bring in a second candle, the objects will become even more visible; if the number of candles will be increased, the room will gradually become brighter and brighter; and if an electric light will be lit, the objects will become entirely visible. But only when the daylight enters the room, everything can be perfectly seen. The world is like this room where each of us should become a carrier of Light, holding a candle. And when we all come with our candles and put them together, we will increase the Light and we will see a lot. Your brains are like candles. I do not like those who carry blown-out candles, but those who carry candles lit as it is on Good Friday. Each one should be like a lit candle. It is a great mistake if someone is like a blow-out candle.
You ask what we should do. You should pray for one another, send good thoughts to your friends and ask God to bless them – and when God is blessing them, He will bless you too. But why should we pray?
In the summer of 1899 there was a great drought in the region of Novi pazar. The Turks of thirty-nine surrounding villages gathered and prayed for rain. And it started to rain. The Bulgarians thought: "If God sends rain to them, He will send rain to us too." But no rain fell on their villages and their cattle became lean of hunger. When people pray, you should also pray; you should also make your petition. God will not make a special provision for you, if you do not pray. Prayers have a great power and contemporary people should be praying people; by praying we will cultivate our minds and our hearts. But we should not pray for ourselves; that will be egotism.
I do not want you to deal with the human minds, but rather with the human hearts, for all the evil is concealed there. God Himself said: "My son, give Me your heart!" We have to start our spring-cleaning now as we do for Easter – opening the windows and cleaning the floor. We all moan under one and the same burden, disharmony reigns everywhere, husbands and wives cannot agree – they divide their houses and properties, a wife is not content when her husband keeps their money. There is no difference who will keep the money – the husband or the wife. Make an agreement who will be the cashier. The argue is who will take the first place at home – the hen or the rooster. Hens and roosters – this is not important in Life, not at all. As I said, the essence is else where.
Jesus has come and He has been working; and when the Light is coming, it is gradually, quietly, without noise. Jesus will not come like a thunder, as some expect Him. This may also happen, but Jesus will not be there. When the prophet Elijah went to the wilderness and devoted himself to fast and prayers and when storm and fire came, Elijah covered his eyes, but God was not in the storm and fire, but in the quiet voice, which was speaking to him. God is not in your sufferings, in your power, in your knowledge. Where is He? – In Love. If you love, He is in you. If you do not love, he is not there. And you have to love, that is the law. We do not love, but expect others to love us. It is like sitting by the stove and waiting for someone else to bring woods for the fire that will warm us. We ourselves should have this fuel, which the others may also use. Jesus has given us enough powers and we, who follow Him, should at last let him in.
Now I am leaving this Man to you. Will you accept Him or will you crucify Him? Will you let Him in or will you say: "We do not want Him" – this is the question you should solve. If you say: "Let Him in, He is our Lord", you will solve the problem and the blessing will come upon you. And then the words of the Scriptures will come true: "I and My father will come to make an abode in you." Then Light will be inside in us and we all will reconcile between ourselves.