CONVERSATIONS WITH ANNAMALAI SWAMI
Q: There is another biblical statement which is very popular among Christians: 'No man comes to the Father except through me. ‘ How does Swami understand this statement of Jesus?
AS: When Jesus said 'Except through me' he was speaking of the Self, not the body, but people have misunderstood this.
On another occasion, Jesus said, ‘The kingdom of heaven is within you’. He did not mean that it is within the body. This 'you’ Jesus spoke of is the Self, infinite consciousness.
Although a sage who has stabilized in the Self may use the word 'me’ we should not make the mistake of thinking that he is the body. Whenever the jnani, who has become one with the infinite, pure consciousness, says 'me’ he is speaking not of the body, the form, but of the one consciousness.
In the absolute, single, formless, immanent consciousness, where is Jesus or any other jnani? All is one in consciousness. It is impossible to differentiate between people there.
The one who realizes this state beyond the mind expresses the truth in his own way. Those who are seeking to understand this truth always try to understand the message through the misleading medium of words. They misinterpret with their minds and misunderstand what the teacher is really trying to say.
Many Christians take that phrase 'No man comes to the Father except through me' to mean through the form of Jesus Christ alone. Because of this interpretation, they condemn all other concepts of God and all other religions.
In essence all religions are one. Bhagavan once told me: ‘If the ego is destroyed by proper self-enquiry, and if the non-dual consciousness is realized, that alone is truth. Then, in that non-dual consciousness, where are all the different religions and different masters? All are one in that state.
Q: Does Swami understand Jesus Christ to be a jnani like so many other jnanis, or was he something more than that?
AS: If the ego is destroyed, only non-dual consciousness remains.
There is no higher or lower in that state. You cannot say that one jnani is in a different state from another. You cannot say that Jesus Christ is better than Bhagavan or vice versa. There is no higher state than that of the jnani and there is no jnani who is superior to any other jnani.
Although the inner state and experience of all jnanis is the same, their outer activities differ because each of them has a different destiny to fulfill.
Living by the Words of Bhagavan, p. 309