(Continued from Part 9.)
The Trinity of Father, Mother, and Child – 1
I’d like now to turn to the three levels of Reality that are signified by the Trinity. These three levels of Reality – which are best described as God as the Transcendental, God as the Phenomenal, and God as the Transcendental in the Phenomenal – are the aspects of God which all of us are tasked to realize in the sacred journey of life.
I’d like first to establish where my view of the Trinity comes from and then I’d like to summarize these views in my own words. I apologize that some of the passages that follow may require a little reasoning through.
Let’s begin with Jesus in St. Matthew, who names the Trinity in the following passage of the New Testament.
“And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.
“Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.” (1)
That was more than two thousand years ago. Two thousand years later, White Eagle made a similar comment that summarizes their importance for human life: “The goal of man’s life [is] the reunion with the Holy Family, or the blessed Trinity of Father, Mother and Child.” (2) Notice that we’re being told plainly that realization of God in God’s threefold form is the goal of life.
The study of them as they appear in all religions falls under what I’ve called “cross-cultural spirituality” and what Sri Shankara, in An Hour with an Angel, called “unification: “My purpose, as you know, is unity. Now, that is going to be a theme of all the masters. So let me be clear about this. There is not one master that returns … that does not come with a theme of unification.” (3)
I subsequently asked Sri Shankara: “Is what Hindus call Brahman, Atman and Shakti the same as what Christians call the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost?” He said: “There are no differences.” He added: “It is different words for the same energies.” (4)
Going back into ancient, classical traditions, Sri Krishna described the Trinity in the Bhagavad-Gita:
“Brahman [God the Father] is that which is immutable, and independent of any cause but Itself. When we consider Brahman as lodged within the individual being, we call him the Atman [the Child of God]. The creative energy of Brahman [God the Mother] is that which causes all existences to come into being.” (5)
So God the Father, through his creative energy, which we call the Divine Mother, enters into the body created by the Mother as a fragment of itself which I call the Child of God.
We’ve heard Solomon also describe the event of the Mother building the body that the Father entered into. He named her “Wisdom”: “Wisdom hath builded her house, she hath hewn her seven pillars.” (6) Her house is this human temple, the body, and the seven pillars are the seven chakras known to the ancients.
Paramahsana Yogananda says much the same thing, demonstrating to us that ancient Hebrew kings and modern Indian yogis agree on this subject.
“God the Father differentiated Himself into the Holy Ghost or Cosmic Vibratory Creation [Mother]…. In the womb of the Holy Ghost or Cosmic Vibratory Creation was born the Christ Intelligence of God the Father [Child].” (7)
“The Cosmos is made of the transcendental God, the Father, the consciousness beyond all Creation; and God, the Son, (the consciousness of the Father reflected in the womb of Cosmic Energy as the Only Begotten, only reflected Christ Consciousness) and the Holy Ghost, or Cosmic Vibration. This Cosmic Vibration appears as the Cosmic Sound.
“Microcosmically each [unit of life] … is composed of the elements God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, or of transcendental Cosmic Consciousness, of Christ Consciousness, and of Cosmic Energy.” (8)
“Just as the husband is born again in the wife as the son, so inactive God the Father, active and manifest in Holy Ghost [Mother] became the only reflected, only begotten Son.” (9)
Are Solomon and Yogananda not saying exactly the same thing?
Swami Nikhilananda discussed them as three levels of Reality, but again the explanation is exactly parallel.
“In the Vedas, reality experienced at the transcendental level is called Brahman [the Father]. ” (10)
“According to the Vedas, ultimate reality [the Father] is all-pervading, uncreated, self-luminous, eternal spirit, the final cause of the universe, the power behind all tangible forces, the consciousness which animates all conscious beings. (11)
“As the pure Brahman [Father] in association with maya [Mother] … becomes the individual soul or jiva [Child] … The supreme soul [Father], as we have seen, assumes through maya [Mother] a body and becomes finite and individualized [Child]: but this individualization is neither final nor real.” (12)
“Atman [Child] in man and Brahman [Father] in the universe are completely identical.” (13)
Compare this latter statement with what Jesus said, speaking as the realized Christ or soul: “I and my Father are one.” (14)
Here Swami Nikhilananda gives yet another explanation of how Mother/Father God created life.
“Maya, [Mother] which is not essentially different from Brahman, [Father] is the material cause, and Brahman, as pure intelligence, is the efficient cause of the universe. After projecting all material forms [Child], Brahman enters into them as life and consciousness and animates them. Thus Brahman, [Father] which is transcendental, becomes immanent [Child] in the universe.” (15)
Lao Tzu put the matter this way:
“The Way begot one, And the one, two; Then the two begot three. And three, all else.” (16)
“The Way” is the unconditioned Brahman or Father; “one” is the conditioned Brahman or Father; “two” is the Mother; and “three” is the Child. Where is the difference between what Lao Tzu says and what Solomon says, if we consider that Solomon is speaking metaphorically? “For I was my father’s son, tender and only beloved in the sight of my mother.” (17)
And Pseudo-Dionysius reminds us that all emanated from the Father when he says: “One can neither discuss nor understand the One, the Superunknowable, the Transcendent, Goodness Itself [the Father], that is, the Triadic Unity possessing the same divinity and the same goodness.” (18)
We thus have seen the identity of the Holy Family or Trinity established in Christianity, Hinduism, Taoism, and Judaism. We could as easily have examined Buddhism and Islam or many other of the world’s major religions.
In the next part I’d like to give my own summary of these three. When this knowledge is second nature to us, I’m sure the masters will unfold whatever is next for us to know. That seems to be the way things work.
(Continued in Part 11. Readers are welcome to read ahead.)
(1) Matthew 28: 18-19.
(2) White Eagle, WWE, 23.
(3) “Sri Shankara: Everywhere You Look Will be a Monsoon of Love,” June 26, 2013, at http://goldenageofgaia.com/2013/06/sri-shankara-everywhere-you-look-will-be-a-monsoon-of-love/.
(4) Loc. cit.
(5) Sri Krishna in Swami Prabhavananda and Christopher Isherwood, trans., Bhagavad-Gita. The Song of God. New York and Scarborough: New American Library, 1972; c1944, 74.
(6) Proverbs 9:1.
(7) Paramahansa Yogananda, The Second Coming of Christ. Three vols. Dallas: Amrita Foundation, 1979-86, 2, 3.
(8) Ibid., 89-90.
(9) Ibid., 1, 29.
(10) Swami Nikhilananda, Hinduism. lts Meaning for the Liberation of the Spirit. Madras: Sri Ramakrishna Math, 1968, 29. [Hereafter HIN.]
(11) Ibid., 24.
(12) Ibid., 49-50.
(13) Ibid., 53.
(14) Jesus, John 10:30.
(15) HIN, 45.
(16) Lao-Tzu, The Way of Life. The Tao Te Ching. trans. R.B. Blakney. New York, etc.: Avon, 1975, 95.
(17) Proverbs 4:3
(18) Pseudo-Dionysius in Cohn Luibheid, trans., Pseudo-Dionysus, His Complete Works. New York and Mahwah: Paulist Press, 1989, 53.