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" If we can come to understand what the Great Light really is, we will find ourselves living in a very different universe indeed, a Gnostic universe where it's possible for anyone who reaches a certain level of purity of heart to actually see God. This's also a universe where it's possible for living people, to some extent, experience the heavens right now. In the Gnostic teachings it's considered to be very important for awakened souls to get connected to the Light while in the body in order to be assured, to get confirmation ("seeing is believing," as the saying goes; being a Gnostic is the opposite of agnostic) that one will go to "the Place of the Light" in the hereafter, after one leaves the body for good. In the Gospel of Philip it says if we don't receive the Light
while we are here in this world, we won't be able to "receive it in the
other place," in the next life. "

 
 

UNDERSTAND WHAT THE GREAT LIGHT IS

by Ghazaleh, CA


"Understand what the Great Light is."  Those following one paradigm can

hardly comprehend or realize a mystical teaching based on a completely
different paradigm. The "Light" alluded to here is just about the ultimate
example of this!  In the Judeo-Christian culture if someone says, "I
see the light," we understand the use of "light" to be a metaphor for
understanding as in, "now I see;" or, "now I get it," and we never think
there's any literal Light which can ever actually be seen. Western religious
belief-systems seem to erect a very thick barrier between heaven and
earth, body and spirit, this life and the next.  In the western religious
world, generally we're taught that heaven is for dead people only, that
we can not see God now and seemingly SHOULD NOT see God now
or experience the heavens because "the time has not yet come." Or, as
Jesus complained in the Gospel of Thomas, "What you are looking
forward to has come, but you don't know it," and, "the Kingdom of
the Father is spread out upon the earth, and people don't see it."
Some have the view that there's
a great cosmic clock ticking and that only after certain events take
place in the outer world: 'mark of the beast,' 'second coming,' 'new
world order' or political 'kingdoms' of God being set up, then we can
have a 'resurrection of the dead' and get to the good part: a golden
age of peace and enlightenment, knowing all mysteries, being in the Presence
of God, hanging out with angels, etc.  This view filters verses of scripture
like, "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God," into saying,
"'Blessed are the pure in heart, for in the next life or after the second
coming takes place (end-times prophecies, seven-year tribulation, and
so on, and so on), then they will get to see God.'"  However, this may
NOT be the original view of those who wrote down that saying of Jesus
in the New Testament, or of other sayings recorded in scriptures millennia
ago in the middle east. The long-forgotten apostles and mystics indeed
may have had a very different view of reality, one that we may be almost
completely oblivious to in the modern age, putting us in a bind whether
we know it or not when it comes to truly understanding what these Aramaic,
Coptic and Greek speaking peoples were really up to. (See, "Seek to See
Him -- Ascent & Vision Mysticism in the Gospel of Thomas," April D. De
Conick, E.J. Brill, and, "Light Consciousness -- Voices and Visions....in
the Dead Sea Scrolls & Nag Hammadi Library," Dwight Kalita.) 
 
It's my view that some have seen God as a being of Light, seen themselves
as "Children of the Light," and furthermore, that mystics in Essene,
Therapeutae, Hermetic, Gnostic, Christian, Mandaean, Manichaean and from
other faith-communities sometimes have thought they could SEE the Light
of God while in the human body. One of the GOALS of mysticism has always
been to spiritually SEE, what mystics have called 'the activation of
the spiritual senses' (Origen), the eyes and ears of the soul.
 
If we can come to understand what the Great Light really is, we will
find ourselves living in a very different universe indeed, a Gnostic
universe where it's possible for anyone who reaches a certain level of
purity of heart to actually see God. This's also a universe where it's
possible for living people, to some extent, experience the heavens right
now. In the Gnostic teachings it's considered to be very important for
awakened souls to get connected to the Light while in the body in order
to be assured, to get confirmation ("seeing is believing," as the saying
goes; being a Gnostic is the opposite of agnostic) that one will go to
"the Place of the Light" in the hereafter, after one leaves the body
for good. In the Gospel of Philip it says if we don't receive the Light
while we are here in this world, we won't be able to "receive it in the
other place," in the next life.  It's interesting to note that Saint
Symeon of the Eastern Orthodox tradition said the very same thing.
 
     If man does not see the Light in this life, he will not see it in
     the other life, either.
 
The Orthodox tradition is much closer to the world of the Gnostics and
both Gnosticism and Orthodoxy do share some ideas in common. There's
a great book on Orthodox mysticism called, "A Night in the Desert of
the Holy Mountain," Vlachos, Element UK, and it's filled with many statements
about the need to contemplate the divine Light:
 
     The nous* is seized in rapture, and contemplates the Uncreated
     Light.
 
     The Divine Light possesses, then, all his being. The cell shines
     from the Presence of Christ and he enjoys this 'sober drunkenness.'
     He beholds the invisible God. "God is Light and His vision is
     Light," says St. Symeon the New Theologian.
 
(*Nous: "...the nous is mainly the eye of the soul; the purest part of
the soul; the highest attention. It is also called noetic energy....,"
according to Vlachos)
 
"Understand what the Great Light is," say the great saints and mystics.
The Light is understood to be an expression of God. By contemplating
the Divine Light we are transformed by it and begin our journey back
to God again.  The mystics are seeking, while alive in this human body,
to be connected with this Light in order to be in the Light for eternity:
 
 
     Look to the Living One while your are alive, lest you die
     and seek to see Him and be unable to see.
 
     Walk while you have the Light, so darkness won't overpower you.
 
 
In the Gnostic approach to salvation, salvation is not just something
that begins AFTER death. Rather, salvation begins while in the human
form, BEFORE death. Very much in agreement with the "look to the Living
One" saying of Jesus from the Gospel of Thomas, the great poet-mystic
Kabir once said, "the idea that salvation begins in the next life just
because the body is rotten, that's all fantasy.  If you don't break your
ropes while your alive do you think ghosts will do it in the hereafter?
What is true then is true now." Tulsi Sahib, Saint of Hathras, India
made a similar statement:
 
     In this life the concept of salvation all
       describe;
     To meet the Lord by dying while living,
       none discloses.
     They all speak of the goal of salvation after
       death;
     How to attain it while living, no one says.
     Were they to reveal the Method of attaining
       release while living,
     Then alone would Tulsi be convinced of
       their words..............
     All their accounts are mere hollow conjectures;
     They dole out falsehood, not by seeing....
     One who has seen, his evidence I accept as
       true;
     He who speaks without seeing, speaks but
       untruth............
     Whoever speaks, after seeing with their own eyes,
     And teach the Method of salvation during
       life,
     Are of the stage and stature of Saints,
     For they reveal the quintessence of the soul.
 
The Winter Solstice holidays are all about miracles of Light, the birth
or rebirth of the Light of God in the world. They can also be seen as
symbolizing our own spiritual search to find a literal Light in the darkness
to rescue and liberate us so we too can pray this prayer of thanks:
 
     And all the rulers (archons) of the height have tried to deceive
 
     me into believing that I am a body of matter without Light in it.
 
     And after this the merciless powers surrounded me, and tried to
 
     take away all the Light that was in me. But Thou appearest to me
 
     out of the darkness and I trusted Thee, O Light, and said: 'Thou
 
     art my Savior. I thank Thee oh Light for having compassion on me.
 
     And Thou hast saved me, O Light, with thy Gnosis.' ("Pistis
     Sophia").

May we let go of the darkness within and without and open our hearts and minds
to the Great Light !
(slightly edited for this site)
courtesy: Ghazleh, CA ( anima_mundi@sbcglobal.net )
 

 

 

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