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NOR EVEN TO THYSELF by Shlomo Kalo (Excerpts from three discourses titles)
Discourses, lectures, talks on a large variety of topics from a unique, profound spiritual point of view. Seven titles were published.
Much has been said about violence and non-violence.
Man must, first of all, cleanse himself of internal violence.
Any desire to take advantage of the other for one’s own benefit is violence. The desire to help the other gratuitously is non-violence. Internal violence leads to external violence. Internal non-violence paves the way for external non-violence. The way to achieve internal non-violence is by sincerely and constantly striving to adhere to values, such as not lying, for example. If people make a sincere effort to adhere to values, they do not face dangers from any source, of any kind. If they persist in this, they will reach the peak of human existence, exposing the divine spark in their heart, and truly becoming liberated from slavery, as it is said: “the truth shall set you free.” The relinquishment of values causes humanity to fall into an abyss, and no scientific invention will be able to save it from its terrible suffering.
The world is a holy creation, which by its very nature doesn’t tolerate impurity, just as the depths of the ocean cannot harbor a diver without proper diving equipment. The equipment necessary for life on a holy creation, which by its very nature doesn’t tolerate impurity, is adherence to values. To the degree that this equipment is worn and damaged, so life in the world becomes a tragedy and a holocaust. The exact list of values that one must live according to, in order to prevent tragedy, avoid a holocaust and guaranty life, is mentioned in all of the known scriptures.
Lack of adherence to these values means a lack of cleaving to God, and driving God away, God who is love. Love doesn’t impose itself on anyone. Where it is not wanted, it is not present. A world without God is a world without love, one which brings upon itself wars, holocausts and destruction. From this we see that humans hold the key to their future.
The government reflects the people. The people have no right to complain about the government, which is, in fact, a reflection of themselves. Elections will not bring about change; true change comes from a change in the individual’s perceptions . This change begins with proper education. Proper education requires a proper teacher. A selfish teacher, i.e., one who does not adhere to values, is not a teacher, but rather an enemy of humanity.
The people from amongst whom teachers and rulers are chosen must change. People will say it isn’t easy, or that it isn’t possible, but this is the only way, there is no alternative, and it is better to take this path sooner rather than later. It is better to begin with a true and sincere effort not to lie, otherwise one will be lied to and will fall, and the fall will be catastrophic. What is founded on lies will crumble and fall apart.
What is true is eternal.
I watched a documentary film about various religions, called “The Long Quest”. According to this film, Hinduism, with its plethora of gods, has its gates open to all, and does not restrict anyone or persecute heretics, nor does it close itself off, with the covert arrogance of those who consider themselves to be the only ones who are right. Buddhism, as it was presented in the film, has a clear, sharp and unequivocal teaching, i.e., the teaching of total physical and spiritual self-destruction, which leads to “nirvana”.
About 28 years ago, I observed a yoga teacher who was visiting from abroad and taught a special course in the Tel Hashomer area. He astounded me with his looks, speech and manner. He was self-controlled, and a master of his desires, but he was dead, no less; and that is not enlightenment.
In that same series, the Greek-Orthodox church was presented, as well. At the end of the chapter, they interviewed a Romanian bishop whose looks attested to his undeniable and unshakeable level of spiritual sublimity. The bishop said, among other things, “You may know everything about Jesus, yet not know him.” To paraphrase his words, “You may not know anything about Jesus, yet know him”. This is an example of unusual language, used only by a tiny minority in the world, which, according to normal standards, is not language at all, and yet it fulfills the archaic purpose of language, which is to be a roadmap to the truth, to provide direction for those who are searching for it and thirst for it with all their might and heart, all their spirit and knowledge. All that you have heard up until this point, after all, is nothing more than words. Nevertheless, he who is able to grasp the inspiration behind them will be rewarded.
The wonderful bishop, Justinian, added: “Christianity made a big mistake when it turned Jesus into a religion”, and so Jesus must be cleansed of religion, of theology, in order not to err, nor mislead those who are seeking the path to salvation.
That same language, that truth, is the lot of the very few who have had the privilege of encountering it by the grace of God and the power of His love, and they are an inseparable part of it, and their lives are lives of truth, which no lie coming from any source, of any kind, manner, or shape, will be able to touch; it is unknowable until the grace of God, granted in a divine way, which puts an end, once and for all, to any doubt or indecision, anxiety or fear, cynicism or arrogance, is attained and liberates the one who takes this path from the slavery of corruption to the eternal freedom, from the darkness of the illusion of the world of shapes and names, to the light of God, who is love.
In the newspaper “Yediot Aharonot” of 12/2/92, Woody Allen’s very pessimistic view on male – female relationships was expressed. He doesn’t see any foundation for happiness and understanding, this being his view after ten years of a marriage which was considered happy… That same day, we watched the film “Wooden Clogs”, whose protagonists were not actors. This film describes the lives of poor Italian farmers, at the end of the 19th century. It demonstrates a characteristic warmth and appreciation subtly expressed in male – female relationships, as well as in relationships between family members and neighbors. These people do not have time to waste on empty intellectualization. They are extremely busy in the fields, chicken coops and cattle barns, and are content with and competent at these occupations. Their connection to the land and animals has deep roots and is almost sacred.
In the late forties, agricultural workers who were brought from Bulgaria to the liberated Sudetenland region in Czechoslovakia, called for a strike to protest their low wages and announced that they would not feed the cattle they were in charge of. A week went by, and not one cow died of starvation. The Bulgarian farmers returned to work, defeated.
I asked one of them, who came from a long line of farmers, how it was that not one of the animals had died of starvation. He responded to me, “We fed them at night.”
Upon seeing the astonishment on my face, he felt the need to explain in his concise manner, “How are they to blame?”
The life of this farmer is full of meaning, he knows how to give, and is able to receive; he has no time for false intellectualization, deep psychological analysis or profound self-pity. His marriage is a “Catholic marriage”, and is forever happy.
Why did God create man the way he did? Why did He not create a man who would adhere to Him truly and wholly and thus be freed once and for all from all his adversities? Why did God create a man who must experience horrible sufferings and endless tribulations due to his weak will and destructive, corruptive quest for sensual pleasures? What can be required of such a man? For is it not in the hands of God to create him differently, without blemish, perfect in every measure? And if He meant this, but the result was disappointing – was it not possible to foresee it ahead of time? And if God does not foresee, does not “see the end of things from their birth” – who will do so in His place? For God is love! And if out of His love He granted freedom to man and the latter abused this freedom, above all causing his own misery – why did God create such a weakling, why did God not create a man of high stature, who would appreciate His love, who would not abuse His love, and would live by His side an eternal life of bliss?
Man who is abominably faulty, who endures unimaginable sufferings, tortured in immeasurable agony – is it in him, in the defective, perverted man the blame for being created the way he was? This is the big question – so claim certain thinkers, a claim which seems to them the peak of clear and refined logic, brilliant, unequivocal:
Why did God create such a man who abhors Him and distances himself from Him thus bringing onto himself all his disasters? Was man created for this end?
The answer is that God did not create man in the simple sense, but took on flesh in order to experience being man. He lives in all, in those thinkers as well, who ask their questions and present their riddles with pitiful cries of victory, in total confidence that they can overcome God, not understanding that in reality they are trying to rise and fight against themselves.
God experiences each and every form, every creature, every environment, time, circumstance and place; it is He who determined the way to the one, sublime goal – to awake and know yourself as an inseparable part of reality, of divinity, in other words – as an inseparable part of Him, who experienced you. This “you” is no other than a misleading term that has no substitute in the meager human language.
God created man and all living things, vegetation and inanimate in the same manner a tailor sews for himself a garment, in order to wear it and experience it. Unlike the tailor, God has no need for “garments” and therefore all His “acts” are but pure love itself, in other words – do not exist as acts but rather as freedom.
However, God who “imprisoned” himself in flesh out of His own will, (this flesh too is His own creation), is God who knowingly is unaware of Himself – by the power of His absolute free will. And all things which man shall “experience” – agony and depressions – it is not “man” who is experiencing but rather God. Clad in flesh, God acts within the limitations of flesh and suffers the consequences of his actions. This Godly experience will come to its end when “God” who is experiencing flesh, will awaken to see and know himself as he is, as he was, and will be for all eternity – as God who saturates all.
God decided to shorten His way to Himself when he knowingly clad flesh and put an end to the abyss in which He suffered as flesh. God who knowingly put on flesh is Jesus the Messiah: Jesus Christ marked the clear way for the redemption of every flesh, which God puts on – the way of love.
Therefore, man should not be blamed for anything but should be loved, for he who blames man for anything, blames himself, he who loves man loves himself, in other words – the God in him.
Furthermore, there is no place for sorrow, disappointment and desperation: because every given circumstance you find yourself in – you are the one who created it for yourself. All you do and act - it is you who did and acted, it is you who chose to do it, because you are God. All that you act, think, imagine, speak – was pre-ordained for you to act, think, imagine, speak, by God, your creator, in other words – by you.
Rejoice and be heartened and you will be happy, because God is in you and for Him you yearn, to Him you will come and to Him you will be gathered, in other words – sooner or later you will awaken to know yourself as you are – as an inseparable part of divinity for all eternity.
The one and only test of the Christian churches’ faith is their attitude towards the Jews. An attitude of unconditional love towards the Jews demonstrates that Jesus Christ, who is the human incarnation of divine love, was not only accepted by them, but that they also put his message into practice, in reality. This attitude will bring about the Christian churches’ continued blossoming, stable unification, constructive strengthening and blessed expansion.
An attitude of hatred towards, and persecution of the Jews, demonstrates in an unequivocal way that the Christian churches’ faith is false. Christians who treat the Jews as enemies and persecute them, are none other than God’s sworn opponents and the zealous persecutors of Jesus Christ, and their acceptance of him is nothing more than hypocrisy and deceit. These Christians will suffer divisiveness, hatred, the pursuit of false honor, hypocrisy and betrayal, war and destruction.
The one and only true test of the Jews’ faith is their attitude towards Jesus Christ; his acceptance and the putting into practice of his teachings testify to steadfast and true faith which cannot be shaken, and the cleaving unto God, who is love. A Jew who accepts Jesus Christ and implements his teachings out of steadfast devotion and love of God, exposes the divine spark within him, and transforms himself from a mortal human being to an immortal. As long as the Jews do not accept Jesus Christ and implement his teachings, they are the opponents of God who is love, and are his enemies; they will experience the suffering and torment of those who drive God away, as well as hatred, persecution, betrayal and destruction.