Who is Jesus Christ? The question has been asked down the centuries again and again, and it has been answered too. But the questioners were wrong, and so were those who have answered it, because the question was out of a certain prejudice, and so was the answer. They were not essentially different; their source was one and the same.
The question was asked by those who were suspicious of Jesus’ Godhood. And the question was answered by those who were not ready to believe Jesus’ manhood. They were only ready to believe half of him. The Jews were ready to believe that he was a man. And the Christians were ready to believe that he was God. The Jews were denying half of him – the Christ part. And the Christians were denying the other half – the Jesus part.
Who is Jesus Christ? Christians don’t want to see him as Jesus, son of man – man of flesh, blood and bones, man as other men are. And the Jews did not want to believe him as God, as divine – made of pure consciousness, not of flesh, blood and bones.
Nobody has been ready to believe Jesus in his totality. And that is not only the case with Jesus, that is the case with all the Masters – Buddha, Krishna, Zarathustra. And unless you allow Jesus in his totality to penetrate you, you will not be transformed. Unless you allow him as he is, you will not be in contact with him. Jesus is both Jesus and Christ, and he is not ashamed of it.
In the Bible many times he says ‘I am the Son of man’, and as many times he also says ‘I am the Son of God.’ And he seems to have no idea that there is any contradiction between these two. There is none. The contradiction exists in our minds. It doesn’t exist in Jesus’ being. His being is bridged. His being is bridged between time and eternity, body and soul, this world and that. His being is bridged between the visible and the invisible, the known and the unknown. He is utterly bridged, he is at ease with both, because he is both. Jesus and Christ are like two shores, and the river is only possible if there are two shores. Jesus is the river that flows between these two shores: both shores are his. He exists between them, he is a river.
Who is Jesus Christ – God or man? And I say all the questions that have been asked were wrong, and so were the answers. Why? – because the questions came either from Judaic knowledge or from Muslim knowledge or from Hindu knowledge. And the answers came from Christian knowledge, and knowledge cannot answer it. Knowledge cannot even ask it! Knowledge is impotent. Such questions of such importance can be asked only out of innocence, not out of knowledge. The distinction has to be understood.
When you ask a question out of knowledge, you are not really asking, because you already know. Your question is false, inauthentic. Your heart is not there. You are asking for asking’s sake – maybe for a discussion, a debate, an argument. But you know the question beforehand – the answer is there a priori. SO you cannot receive the answer, you are not open for it, you are not available for it. You are not ready to move, to explore; you already have the answer. And the question is arising out of that answer.
The Jews had the answer. They knew that he was not the Messiah, that he was not God. Why? – because they had the idea that when the Messiah came everybody would recognize him! Everybody – without any exception. That was their idea of the Messiah, that everybody would recognize him.
And if Jesus was not recognised by everybody, how could he be the Messiah? They have a definition. They had also believed – that has also been their knowledge – that when Jesus, the real Jesus, the Christ, the Messiah came, everybody would be liberated immediately. All past sins, present sins would disappear in that light, and it had not happened. ‘Christ is there but people are not liberated yet, they are still living in sin, they are still living in misery. So this man cannot be the Messiah, cannot be the Christ.’ This was not the man they were waiting for.
These are prejudices. They had never seen any Messiah. How could they define what would happen when the Messiah came?
For example, if in the dark night of your soul you have an idea that when the morning comes, money will shower from the sky: when the sun rises, everybody will become rich. And then in the morning when the sun rises, how can you accept that this is the sun? – Because the money is not falling and everybody has not become rich, people are still poor. And you go on looking at the sky and no money is coming. And because you are too concerned with the money, you don’t see what is coming from the sun – the light, the life, the ecstasy. You cannot see that because your eyes are completely covered with your prejudice, with your idea. And then you ask ‘Who is this Jesus Christ?’ You already know how the Messiah should be. That is hindering, that is an obstruction.
That’s why the Jews missed. It was for this man that they had been waiting for centuries, and when he came and knocked on their doors, they missed. They denied him. How could they have denied? Were they bad people? No, they were people as good as you are, they were as good as Hindus and Mohammedans and Buddhists; there was nothing wrong with them. Then what was the problem? The problem was their knowledge. They had a prejudice. And when Christians answer that Jesus is the only begotten son of God, again it is knowledge.
What I want to say to you is: that the questions and the answers are coming from the same source; they are not different, they are not a little bit different. Christians say he is the only begotten son of God. Now this is stupid, because all comes from God, so how can Jesus be the son of God exclusively? Everybody is the son of God, we all partake of sonhood. God is our father, and that’s what Jesus goes on saying again and again. But Christians won’t listen. They have an idea that God has sent his only son. Why ‘only’? – too afraid that he may have another son to send, and the other son may come and then there will be conflict. Then who is right? ‘So make it sure, certain, that he has only one son so that you are finished. Once more the Bible has come, now there will be no more Bibles coming again.’ Mohammedans say ‘Mohammed is the only prophet – the last prophet. Now there will be no more coming. He has brought the ultimate.’ So nobody can improve upon the Koran, nobody can improve upon the Bible, because nobody has the right to improve.
Why ‘the only begotten son’? Are not trees, and the rivers, and the mountains, and the stars, and man, and animals, and birds created by God? Doesn’t this whole existence come from God? Is it not flowing from his being? God is the totality of all. Rocks and rivers and mountains are as much his creations as you are, as Jesus is. There is no distinction. All beings participate in God. In fact, to BE IS to participate in God. Otherwise you cannot be – there is no other way to be!
TO BE is to be God!
Then what is the difference between you and Jesus? The difference is not of your being, the difference is only of your knowing, recognition, awareness. Jesus knows that he is the son of God, and you have not yet recognised it. That’s the difference. You can recognise it any moment. In that very recognition… the transformation, what Jesus calls metanoia. It is only a question of recognition.
You have become oblivious of your reality, he is aware – but there is no difference between the beings. You are as rich as he is; he knows it, you don’t know. Because you don’t know you remain poor, not because you are poor. You are not poor! How can you be poor when God is showering every moment on you? When he is beating in your heart, and circulating in your blood, and flowing into your consciousness, how can you be poor? You are not beggars. Everybody is an emperor, but you are not aware of the fact. You don’t look inside yourself where God goes on making contact with you. You don’t look into your source.
The word that Jesus uses for looking into your source is ‘return’. That word ‘return’ has been translated as ‘repent’. ‘Repent’ also means return, but it has fallen into wrong associations. It has become repentance. It has nothing to do with repentance. Return – turn into your own being, a hundred-and-eighty-degree turn, and suddenly you see the light that you have always been. You see the light that you are. You see God. And for the first time you recognize that you have never lost track of him; he was just behind your back. You were not looking at him.
It is as if the sun has risen and you are standing in the full morning with closed eyes. Just open your eyes. Jesus is standing just by your side with open eyes, and you are standing with closed eyes. That’s the only difference, there is no other difference.
Jesus is man because you are God.
Let me tell you what I mean. Jesus is as much man as you are man, and you are as much God as Jesus is God. God and man are not two separate entities. Man is one of the forms of God’s expression in the world. Jesus is man and God, so are you. And to understand Jesus is to understand your own situation. And to love Jesus is to love your own being. To meditate on Jesus to meditate upon your own division, the gap that has come in your being between you and your own real self. To understand Jesus is to bridge that gap.
Jesus has no privilege over you, neither has Buddha. Nobody is privileged, otherwise God would be unjust. Everybody has the same powers. In the eyes of God we are all equal. Inequality is our creation. In God’s eyes everyone is equal to everything else.
The Jews were very disturbed because Jesus was claiming that he was God, or God’s son. For two thousand years Christians have been defending Jesus – that he was God, that he is God.
And they have been trying to efface all the possibilities with which it can be proved that he is man. That’s why they say he was born out of a virgin mother – that is the beginning. So they deny his manhood, so he is not just like you; he is special. Even in his birth he is special. Then they try to make his life in such a way that no indications are left that he was human. He was very human, utterly human. He was a total man. He was not a perfectionist. When it was needed to be angry he became really angry. He threw the money-changers out of the temple and he said to them ‘What are you doing here in my Father’s home, in my Father’s temple? Get out from here!’ And he was in such a rage, that alone, single-handed, he threw many people outside.
He loved people. He had friends, he mixed with people. He ate with people, drank with people, he moved with people. He lived like an ordinary man. He had no pretensions of being anything extraordinary. And even if something extraordinary happens, he always says ‘It is your faith that has performed the miracle. It is God’s mercy on you. It is something between you and your God.’ He does not even expect gratitude. Somebody is very grateful because a miracle has happened and he has been cured, and he wants to touch his feet and thank him, and he says ‘No.’ And the man says ‘You are a great man, you are so good!’ and Jesus says ‘Nobody is good except God. You thank him. Forget about me. It is your faith that has cured you, not I. And if you have to be thankful, you have to be thankful to God. Forget about me. Don’t allow me to be between you and your God.’
That’s exactly what Buddha is reported to have said to his disciples ‘If you meet me on the way, kill me immediately. Never allow me to stand between you and the reality. Hold my hand as far as you are not capable of walking alone and on your own. The moment you are capable of walking alone and on your own, just forget about me. Go ahead. Then don’t cling to me. Then don’t try to remain a shadow of me. If you meet me on the way, kill me immediately!’ he says. That’s what Jesus goes on saying again and again ‘Forget about me. Let your thanks go directly to God. Who am I?’
Christians have been trying to efface all traces of his humanity; so he is born out of the virgin Mary, a virgin mother, which is absolutely absurd. Then he lives a life in which all human traits are removed. Christians only talk about his miracles, not about his ordinary life. They are afraid. Christians say that Jesus never laughed! Now this seems to be the ultimate in stupidity. Jesus… and never laughed? Then who else can laugh? But laughter seems too human, too mundane: they cannot allow Jesus to laugh.
But Jesus’ life is such that he must have been laughing. He must have been really laughing. He must have been a man of laughter, because he says again and again ‘Rejoice! Be merry! Celebrate!’ These words cannot come from a man who has never laughed. And a man who has never laughed, why should he go to parties? Why should he drink with people? Why should he be mixing with people? And he was a mixer. Every day, every night, he was moving with people. He was not secluded. He must have been really laughing, enjoying. But Christians say he never laughed.
They have made his picture very sad-looking, long-faced, burdened. This is not possible! This is utterly wrong, because it goes against the basic realisation of a Christ, of a Buddha. Because a man who has attained to ultimate consciousness will be completely blissful, cheerful. His life will be a song and a dance. It will have the quality of flowers and stars. It can’t be sad. Why should he be sad? It is his Father’s world, it is his God’s world. Why should he be sad? He has come home. When is he going to be happy? If you are not happy by knowing God, then there is no possibility.
Jesus looks so sad. He has been painted sad. He has been painted as ‘the Savior’. He has been painted as if he is carrying the burdens of everybody and sins of everybody. He forgives you! He does not carry your burden, he simply forgives you.
This is a wrong standpoint, that he takes your burden upon himself. If it is not of worth, why should he take it upon himself? And if it is so valuable, why should he take it from you? He will put some more on you. No, he is not taking anybody’s burden, he is simply helping everybody to drop it. Because it is you who are holding and clinging to it, it is valueless. When he says you are forgiven, he says ‘Forget all about your sadnesses and forget all about hell. It is your Father’s world, and he is compassion and he is love. How can love punish you? How can love throw you in hell? How can love torture you? God is not a sadist!’
And then Christians say: resurrection. Their whole Jesus depends on three things. First: a virgin birth; second: a non-laughing, non-enjoying monotonous, sad life of miracles; and third: resurrection. These are the three things that seem to be important to them, and these are all useless because they miss the whole point. The real Jesus is missed. This is a myth that Christians have created around him, and because of this myth the real Jesus is lost.
I would like to tell you, he is a real man, an authentic man. He lived like a man, and he Loved living like a man. He lived in all the dimensions of manhood, and yet he is God.
Now there are people, strange people… Just the other night I was reading a Christian theologian, T.L.J. Altizer. He holds that ‘God has ceased to be God in becoming a man, Jesus. The incarnation is the death of God in his divine being. In short, God is dead, and Jesus is his son.’ Altizer says that God died because he became Jesus.
There are people who are against Jesus being the incarnation of God. They look like enemies, because they say how can God incarnate himself in such a small body? How can the infinite come into the finite? And how can the eternal enter time? They have their logic. How can the infinite be contained in a small body? It is not possible, because God is so great and Jesus is so small; they say it is not possible.
Now look at the other side. Now this is a Christian theologian. He says: Forget about God, God died the day Jesus was born. He became Jesus. God exists no more, now Jesus is God.
This is another extreme. First, the enemy does not allow God to incarnate because how can he incarnate? His logic is also the same; he denies Jesus’ Godhood. To oppose this man, people like Altizer are there. They are ready to kill God to make Jesus a perfect God. Now God has disappeared into Jesus, he lives no more.
These are not the right ways to bridge: either ‘God has to die’ or ‘Jesus has not to be a God’.
My understanding, my vision is totally different. God descends, not only in Jesus but in everybody. This incarnation is not only for once, it is an everyday incarnation. When a child is born to you, God is incarnated. When a seed sprouts, God is incarnated. When a sun is born, God is incarnated. When a flower blooms, God blooms. It is only God, there is nothing else. Existence is synonymous with God. And God can go on incarnating in millions and millions of forms. He remains inexhaustible, that’s what the Upanishads say. They say: You can take out of the perfect as much as you want, but the perfect remains the perfect. You can take it completely out of itself, and yet the whole remains behind intact. That is the meaning of the infinite.
If you take something from the infinite and the infinite becomes a little less, then it was not infinite in the first place. The definition of the infinite is that you can take as much as you want, but you cannot exhaust it. God goes on being born, and remains unexhausted. And there are poor thinkers like Altizer, who think God was exhausted with Jesus. That too is a very, very cunning device, so nobody can be born any more as Christ. So no more Buddha, no more Mahavir – with Jesus God is finished, the doors are closed. God is dead because Jesus is there. God has become Jesus, so God cannot remain as God. To put the whole philosophy of Altizer in short, I would like to say, he is saying: God is dead, and Jesus is his son.
The father need not die in the son, the father can give birth to many sons.
You will be surprised, an ordinary father, a human father… How many sons can a human father give birth to, do you know? Millions. One single couple, if allowed time, can populate the whole world. That’s how it has happened… Adam and Eve, one single couple, and they have populated the whole world. One single seed, and the whole earth will become green, just time is needed. An ordinary man will have intercourse at least four thousand times in his life – ordinary, very ordinary. Those who go more into lave, they can make more – eight thousand, ten thousand or even more. But the normal average is intercourse four thousand times. In each single intercourse, do you know how many cells are released? Millions. And each single cell can become a human being. Multiply four thousand by millions… A single human father can give birth to the whole earth. What to say about the ultimate Father?
Altizer’s God seems to be very poor. A single incarnation and he dies, and he disappears. But there is a cunning trick in it so that Jesus becomes God and nobody else can become god again: so that Jesus remains the ONLY begotten son. I would like to say to you that Jesus is beautiful, he is divine, because everybody else is also beautiful and everybody else is also divine. The difference is of recognition not of existence. The difference is only of knowledge not of ontology.
Jesus Christ is both Jesus and Christ. He is Christ in Jesus, and he is Jesus in Christ. He is the meeting point where two worlds meet, where two utterly polar worlds meet. And hence the beauty, and hence the ecstasy of Jesus.
Ecstasy always arises when two polarities meet. The bigger the polarities, the bigger the distance between the polarities, the bigger the ecstasy. That’s why while you are making love to a woman there is great joy, because two polarities meet. Not very big polarities, because a man and woman are not very far away – not very distant, but still distant. When a man and woman meet and are lost in love there is great ecstasy, there is great joy because they are dissolved, the egos are lost. Boundaries are no more valid – they are overlapping, overflowing into each other. Their ordinary mundane worries don’t make any sense in this moment of joy. This orgasmic moment, how does it arise? It is the meeting of the polarities. What to say about Jesus meeting Christ, Gautama meeting
Buddhahood, man meeting God – those are the ultimate polarities as far away as possible – finite meeting infinite. The very meeting is the ultimate in celebration.
Jesus must have been ecstatic. Because of the Christian painting, Christian ideology, he looks very sad. He must have been a man of great joy, overflowing with delight. What else is possible when the light has happened inside? – delight has to happen outside. They go together. When the house is lit – even with closed windows, travelers can see the light falling outside, from the curtains, from the doors. That is delight! When light has happened inside, from the outside people can see something immensely valuable flowing.
That is the definition of ecstasy: polarities meeting.
Ordinary man is like a person living in sleep, not aware of who he is. When God’s energy touches him, when he is available to God’s energy, when he is receptive to God’s energy, when that stirring energy comes dancing into him, there is ecstasy. There is no ecstasy unless we join the mundane with the supra-mundane, the mud with the sun, the earth with sky, the body with the soul, matter with mind – only then, when sun and the mud meet, is the lotus born, the lotus of ecstasy. Unless reality is as miraculous as the supposedly miraculous, we are frozen in ice.
Man as man is a frozen thing. And let me say to you: God as God is also a frozen thing. So it is not only that you are seeking God, God is also seeking you. It is not that without God you are sad, God is also sad without you. And when you meet with God, and God meets with you, it will not be only your ecstasy, it will be his ecstasy too. The whole existence will feel ecstatic. Whenever a single human being becomes a Christ or a Buddha, the whole existence dances, the whole existence is overjoyed – goes mad with ecstasy!
Meeting is the melting of the divisions. Thinking of yourself as man is creating a division. And if you don’t drop this division, this category that you have created around you, that ‘I am a man’, you will not allow God to enter in you. You have to be completely free from boundaries, from all boundaries – the boundary of the Hindu, the boundary of the Christian, the boundary of man, the boundary of richness, poorness, education, un-education, the boundary of white and black, the boundary of the brahmin and the sudra – all the boundaries have to be dropped. In that very dropping the eternal enters into your time world. Into your dark night of the soul comes that light, floods that light. And suddenly, you are no more the same. And let me repeat: God is also no more the same!
God was never so rich as he became after Christ. He was never so rich as he became after Buddha. He is not so rich as he will become when you meet him, because you will pour into him. I know you only have a small energy, but an ocean is created by small drops falling, falling, falling… Small rivers flow into the ocean and create the ocean. No single river can create the ocean, but each single river goes on creating it, goes on helping it. God is bigger than ever every day, because some water, some river again flows into him, again brings a new life, a new thrill.
God is evolving, God is not a static thing. God is evolving every moment.
Meeting is the melting of the boundaries, blurring of the divisions, overlapping, overflowing. This is what is called trust or faith or surrender. At absolute zero, absolute surrender, life takes over once more and we are returned to God or to Tao or to Dhamma, to free-flowing totality. God is the free-flowing totality, God is not a person. We return to our pure being only when we become a free-floating totality. In this state everything: is okay, right.
A rusting tin can fill us with radical awe as the sunlight catches it…
In Yoga they call it a certain state of nadam, a certain state of harmony, accord. When man disappears into God and man’s conflict with God disappears, there is nadam, there is harmony – what Heraclitus calls ‘the hidden harmony’. Nadam is homeostatis – harmony, rhythm. You are out of rhythm, out of tune with God, that is your misery. Jesus is in tune with God. That is his joy. If he is also miserable, if he is also sad, then what is the difference between you and him? The difference is that he feels for you, that he feels all compassion for you, but he himself is in utter joy. In fact, because he is in utter joy, he feels sorry for you, he feels compassion for you. He wants to bring you also to this utter Joy, and he knows it is yours just for the asking. Hence he says Ask, and it shall be given to you; seek and ye shall find; knock and it shall be opened unto you.
From I Say Unto You, V.2, Chapter Five
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