Keys to the Parables
by John R. Francis
Permission granted for duplication
and free distribution is encouraged.
Not for sale.
Copyright 2006, John R. Francis
“Unto you it is given to know
Of the kingdom of God: but unto them
are without, all things are done in
Jesus alone with His close disciples.
(Mark 4:11, Luke 8:11) *
It is hoped that
this treatise will reach those who have sufficient inner awareness
and contemplative experience to recognize the inner dimension of
Christ’s teachings that lies beneath the literal language of
metaphor. Such individuals have “eyes to see and ears to hear.”
Furthermore, it is
hoped that the reader will appreciate the implications of this
discovery for the deepening of Christian religious life and for
making Christianity a truly powerful force for world peace and
understanding between East and West.
pray that the Holy Spirit will inspire the reader with the courage to
share these insights with others who are receptive – putting
aside all considerations for career advancement or ecclesiastic job
security. Remember the words of Jesus: If you are ashamed of me
will be ashamed of you. ( Luke 9:26, Mark 8:38).
Finally, a word of
caution is advisable here. The purpose of this paper is NOT to teach
meditation. For that one needs the direct, personal instruction and
supervision of a competent teacher. Rather, the goal of this paper is
to provide some guidelines for discerning a meditation practice that
is consistent with what Jesus privately taught to His closest
The intent of a
particular meditation practice is very important. Different intents
can lead to different consequences. Also, one might expect that a
practice that is based on the presence of a loving God will have very
different consequences from one that is atheistic or agnostic
regarding the existence of God. Another important consideration: is
the goal of the meditation to merely escape life or to transform and
Introduction – Did Jesus Teach
theologians unanimously agree that the parables are at the heart of
the authentic teachings of Jesus. Hence, the more deeply we know the
parables the greater will be our understanding of Jesus and the
closer we will be to “putting on the mind of Christ.”
We read that Jesus
frequently spoke in parables yet very few of the general public
understood their meaning (Matthew 13:34, Mark 4:34). Actually, it was
only in private that Jesus revealed their meanings and then only to
His close disciples (Mark 4:11, Luke 8:10). Hence, they remained a
mystery to those outside the inner circle and the Bible contains very
little if anything of these private explanations.
Thus, for centuries
puzzled theologians have been offering a wide variety of
interpretations for these sayings. Furthermore, it is noteworthy that
the Christian churches themselves have not issued any definitive
interpretations of the parables. Even the dogmatic churches have no
official, parable interpretations which believers must accept.
Actually, there are many parables that rarely get discussed at all in
sermons or during the religious indoctrination of members. This is
all very surprising given the central importance that Jesus
apparently gave to the parables in His teaching ministry.
have offered parable interpretations they see these sayings as
relating to either moral teachings, prophecy or church sacraments.
However, these approaches are inconsistent with the secrecy in which
Jesus wrapped these sayings. Jesus Himself said that regarding
attempts to understand His parables by outsiders “they may look
but not see, and hear but not understand” (Mark 4:11, Luke
8:11). Is Jesus referring to attempts at literal interpretation that
may appear reasonable and rational but actually miss a deeper
meaning? Furthermore, are these common interpretations actually
hindering a deeper, mystical understanding of the parables (Luke
surrounding the parables also argues against the typical theological
explanations. Are not morality, prophecy and sacramental instruction
suitable for the entire congregation of believers? Recognizing this
incongruity and looking for something deeper, a few modern
commentators interpret the parables as psychological wisdom being
suitable perhaps only for the spiritually mature.
However, this paper
contends that Jesus was not just a moralist, prophet, priest or
psychologist. He was also a mystic – one who had direct and
intimate experience of Divine Reality. Granted, the parables can be
used to justify or illustrate moral, prophetic or psychological
teachings in Sunday sermons but this is not what we propose Jesus
used them for in His private, disciple instruction.
Rather, Jesus used
many of the parables as keys by which His spiritually-mature
disciples could open the inner doors to direct communion with God. It
is with this assumption that we approach the parables. The secrecy
was and is necessary to prevent powerful meditation methods from
abuse by those unworthy ones who would misuse the energies accessed.
will use these mysterious sayings in a way similar to how we suggest
Jesus may have done so Himself. Instead of verbose commentary, Jesus
may have given His close disciples hints or keys which would guide
them to an inner, personal realization of Divine Reality during
Thus, we find it
more helpful to consider the meditation parables to be a means to
direct, inner experience of the Kingdom of God rather than an attempt
to describe that hidden realm with words.
A few general keys
can be given now. Saint Augustine wrote: “When one encounters
numbers in Scripture one would be well advised to consider a mystical
interpretation.” Unfortunately, many of the commentators on the
Gospels from the Oriental East have failed to appreciate the mystical
significance of numbers that appear in the Bible.
Origen, the early
Christian theologian, also taught that there are levels of meaning to
Scripture beneath the apparent, literal interpretations.
Actually, the word
parable itself means a saying or narrative that represents or runs
parallel to something other than that which is apparent in a surface
or literal reading.
How we approach a
parable will determine its effect on us. To begin with, one has to be
deeply motivated to uncover its inner meaning. A casual interest will
yield only superficial results. Also, we contend that since they came
from the heart of Jesus they can only be understood with the heart
and not merely with the brain. Hence, the deepest intentions of the
parables have eluded the theologians who don’t themselves
practice silent, heart-centered meditation.
Hesychasts, mystics of the Eastern Christian Church, tell us that
only by stilling the mind are the deeper meanings of the Bible
revealed to the seeker. Furthermore, they state that a true
theologian is one who speaks from inner revelation rather than from
logical, scholastic reasoning.
Finally, all old
dogmatic preconceptions must, a least temporarily, be suspended if
deeper insights are to be found. Otherwise, the parables will merely
be mirrors that reflect our indoctrinated assumptions rather than
windows through which the Kingdom of God can be perceived and
One of those
assumptions concerns what Jesus meant by “the Kingdom (Reign)
of God” – a phrase in many of His parables. If we assume
Jesus is referring to an external, socio-political realm mirrored now
in the earthly Church hierarchy and fully realizable only at the “end
of the world” then we will arrive at the same parable
interpretations that rational, scholarly theologians have been
advocating for nearly two thousand years. However, if one is open to
the possibility that Jesus used the metaphoric language of parables
to guide His disciples into deep, mystical here-and-now experiences
of God then radically, new insights may emerge.
interpretations suggested below will probably be very different from
anything the reader has ever encountered or considered before. This
is because underlying the following interpretive keys is the radical
proposition that Jesus taught meditation.
These insights were
born in this author’s heart during deep-silent meditation and
supported by a thirty-year comparative study of the mystical writings
of a cross-section of the world’s great spiritual traditions.
Furthermore, this author has recently discovered that a number of the
Eastern Christian mystics of the Philokalia tradition have also given
an interior interpretation to some of the key metaphors of Christ’s
Thus, the reader
who continues will be confronted with a choice: dismiss outright the
interpretations offered here because they contradict well-established
authoritarian dogma or listen with discernment to the still, small
voice within. What will it be?
recommendation: Each parable may be considered to be a piece of a
larger puzzle. It is only when the larger picture begins to emerge
that we can clearly recognize the individual pieces. So the reader
may find that a particular parable interpretation becomes more
plausible and meaningful as the various pieces of the parable puzzle
are put together.
Finally, a word of
caution is called for here. The intent of this paper is NOT to teach
meditation. Such instruction should come personally and directly from
a competent teacher. Rather, the goal of this paper is to provide
some guidelines for discerning a meditation practice that is
consistent with what Jesus privately taught to His closest disciples.
The Meditation Parables
1 – The Five Wise and the Five
Foolish Bridesmaids (Matthew 25:1-12)
“And five of them were
wise, and five were foolish.
They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them:
But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.
While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept.”
What is the
function of a bridesmaid in relation to the bride? She is an
attendant to the bride. Females are also receptive by nature.
What is the
function of a physical sense in relation to the mind (soul)? Can the
five senses of sight, hearing, taste, touch and smell be considered
the attendants of the soul? In physiology, the senses are said to be
receptors for the mind.
If we take this
parable personally and apply it to our body and soul what might the
number five represent? How many physical senses do we have?
There is a
spiritually wise use of the senses which conserves life energy
(prana, chi) and a spiritually foolish use of them that dissipates
life energy. When the senses tempt a wise person toward dissipation
she/he says no to the temptation.
There are two ways
to still the senses. One way is through exhaustion and the other is
through disciplined conservation.
Did you ever try to
meditate when physically exhausted? Were you able to enter into the
cave of the heart or were you shut out? The word “meditation”
comes from the Latin “meditari” – being returned to
the soul as feminine and when married to the Spirit it is referred to
as a bride. Yogis refer to the withdrawal of attention from the
senses into the cave of the heart as “pratyahara.”
in the cave of the heart that they say the mystical marriage to God
outer and inner, is a key to the contemplative meditation of the
things are more clearly manifested to him who withdraws into the
recesses of the heart…” Saint Augustine.
Girding Your Loins, Keeping
Lamps Burning (Luke 12:35-36)
loins be girded and your lamps burning; and ye yourselves be like men
who wait for their lord to return from a wedding; so that when he
comes and knocks they may open for him immediately."
To "gird one’s loins”
literally means to pull up the lower portion of one’s robe and fasten it
to the waist. This practice prevented the robe from scraping against the
ground or becoming an obstacle during certain kinds of physical work or
activity. More generally, it means to be ready for action. If one looks in a
dictionary one will also find that the word “loins” is
used as a literary euphemism – “the area of the genitals
regarded as the seat of strength and generative power.”
practice raising the procreative energy up to the solar plexus and
heart centers to conserve and store the precious life force
“treasure.” In advanced yogis this results in the
“withering of the fig tree.” (Matthew 21:19).
Keeping the sensory
“lamps” burning allows one to turn inward in
contemplation through the opening of an inner door. Some yogis report
that the rising of energy makes a knocking sound against the inner
door to the heart (Sri Yukteswar, The Holy Science).
stand at the door and knock ...” (Revelation 3:20).
Mystical union is often described as
a marriage or wedding of the soul to God.
3 – The Three “Investments”
A master gave three
of his servants differing amounts of money to invest before going on a
journey. Upon his return the master discovered that two of them
increased their money and the third did nothing with his money and
hence showed no increase.
appears in Matthew’s Gospel immediately after the ten
bridesmaids parable discussed above.
Are they related? Could they
both be concerned with life energy (prana, chi).
A spiritual master
may infuse a disciple with life energy in order to facilitate
spiritual unfoldment. The disciple receives the quantity of energy
that she or he is capable of absorbing and using. The more energy a
disciple already has the more additional energy he or she is capable
of receiving and utilizing. It has to do with the developed capacity
of the subtle nervous system.
"To he who has, more shall be given",
There are various
means to impart this life energy. It can be transmitted directly.
…he breathed on them and said unto them; Receive ye the Holy
Spirit” (John 20:22).
Also, sometimes material substances such
as bread, wine, or water are used as intermediaries. The disciple can
then receive the grace by ingesting or simply touching substances
that have been blessed (infused) with the life energy. This is known
of energy is sometimes done to initiate the disciple into a higher
level of spiritual growth. Hence, it is called a “spiritual
initiation.” The disciple is
given the energy with the expectation by the master that it will be
used in meditation by the disciple to cultivate even more energy. A
sufficient level of spiritual energy is necessary for achieving
spiritual breakthroughs. However, the disciple who is careless or
negligent can fail to accumulate more energy and may even lose through
dissipation the spiritual grace that was given.
"From him who has not,
it shall be taken away", Matthew 25:29.
A spiritual master
may go away to minister to others only to return later to see what
spiritual progress was made with the spiritual “investment”
he made in the disciples he blessed. He may subsequently transmit
even more life energy to those disciples who made good use of the
first gift given. Other disciples, not so conscientious, may be
4 – Leaven in Three Measures
(Matthew 13:33, Luke 13:21)
of heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took, and hid (mixed) in
three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened.”
consider the Holy Spirit to be both the breath of God and the Divine
Mother immanent in creation.
What might the
number three represent?
Yogis say that we have three bodies –
physical, emotional-mental, and bliss – which surround the
spiritual Self. Furthermore, yoga teaches that the emotional-mental
body consists of three layers – intellect, mind, and life
energy (see Parable 18 – Laborers in the Field).
three chakras correspond to these bodies. By conscious
breathing, these three bodies can be infused with life energy (prana,
When infused, they become less dense and hence transparent to
the inner radiance of the spiritual center.
bodies can also be made more transparent during meditation by
alternating tension and relaxation at deeper and more subtle levels
while consciously breathing in life energy.
This inner process
is continued until the whole being manifests the radiance of
Note: In the
kneading of actual dough, air as well as leaven is mixed with the
dough during the physical squeezing and releasing action which occurs
5 – The Unfruitful Fig Tree
“Then he said unto the dresser
of his vineyard, Behold these three years I come seeking fruit on this fig
tree, and find none: cut it down; why cumbereth it the ground?
And he answering said unto him, Lord, let it alone this year also, till I
shall dig about it, and dung it:
And if it bear fruit, well: and if not, then after that thou shalt cut it
A tree is an apt
metaphor for the nervous system of the physical and subtle bodies of
the soul. An unfruitful tree is one who has not achieved
enlightenment before physical death.
By “fertilizing” the
three bodies with prana (life force, chi) in meditation one can
extend the physical body’s lifespan perhaps enough to achieve
enlightenment before physical death.
6 – The Candle Under a Basket
(Matthew 5:14-15, Mark 4:21, Luke 11:33)
“Ye are the
light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid.
Neither do men light a candle,
and put it under a bushel, but on a
candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.”
Is the body the
house of the indwelling spirit? If concealed by the shells of the
three material bodies, the inner light is hidden and the body is
dark. When the spiritual light is fully revealed all seven energy
centers (chakras) along the spine are enlightened and the body
becomes full of light.
Saint Paul spoke of
circumcision of the heart (Romans 2:29).
If concealed by the shells
of the three material bodies, the inner light is hidden and the body is
dark. When the spiritual light is fully revealed all seven energy
centers (chakras) along the spine are enlightened and the body becomes
full of light.
“I have looked and
behold a candlestick all of gold, with a bowl upon the top of it, and
his seven lamps thereon, and seven pipes to the seven lamps, which are
upon the top thereof:
And two olive trees (the ida and pingala of yoga?) by it, one upon the
right side of the bowl, and the other upon the left side thereof.”
Does the Jewish
menorah, with its seven candlesticks, symbolically represent the
seven-chakra subtle-body energy system?
How does the
spiritual radiance that goes forth into the world from an enlightened
individual affect others?
7 – Sitting at the Banquet
Table (Luke 14:7-12)
The above banquet teaching is introduced in the Gospel of Luke by
“He then told His disciples this parable: when you sit at a banquet
table don’t take the highest seat... but the lowest”
In another version banquet
“rooms” replace “seat” but the intention is the same.
Since the editor of
Luke tells us it’s a parable we should not assume the obvious,
Luke 14:15 has one
of the guests saying: “Blessed is the one who will eat bread in
the kingdom of God.”
Eating bread in the kingdom of God is a
good metaphor for meditation.
The word “table”
can be a metaphor for the human body. We refer to the legs of a table
and the head of a table. The seats of a table could then be a
reference to the chakras of the body. Note: the third eye chakra is
often referred to as the “seat of the soul.”
could be seen as a metaphor for one of the bodies surrounding the
indwelling spirit. Remember how Saint Teresa of Avila used the seven
“interior castles” as similar metaphors. Yoga teaches
that we have more bodies than just the outermost physical.
The lowest major
chakra is located at the base of the spine. It is particularly
associated with the physical body. Hence, the above parable may be
advising the meditator to begin with awareness and attention on the
physical body before being drawn up (in) to more subtle realms.
However, one should
not necessarily assume that meditation should begin at the lowest
chakra in our age which is highly polluted – physically and
psychically. The heart center may be more appropriate for the
contemporary aspirant. Regardless, meditation should be learned
directly from a competent teacher and not from a cryptic parable
handed down to us through a two-thousand year chain of
If the entire body
is considered then one should note that there is a chakra in the sole
of the foot. Jesus said to Peter:
wash your feet you will “have no part with me” (John
Jesus said He would not drink the fruit of the vine until He entered the
A literalist thinks Jesus is referring to drinking an
alcoholic beverage in heaven. A yogi sees the vine as a good metaphor
for the nervous system of the subtle anatomy. Jesus is referring to
drinking the divine nectar, amrita, which flows down into the body
from the pineal gland (sixth chakra ) during deep states of
8 – Excuses for not Meditating
(Luke 14: 16-21) Note: This parable
follows the one above in Luke. Are they related?
A certain man held a great feast
and invited many. However, he was given excuses for not attending.
“The first said unto him, I
have bought a piece of ground, and I must needs go and see it: I pray thee
have me excused. And another said, I have bought five oxen, and I go to
prove them: I pray thee have me excused. And another said, I have married a
wife, and therefore I cannot come.” Verses 18 – 20.
The call to come into the
banquet feast is the constant pull toward the Center of our being that we
resist when we reject the attractive force of Divine Love. Examining the field
is what we are doing when our attention is drawn outward to the surface of
life. Having purchased the field, we are attached to it.
The desire to
evaluate five oxen is the second excuse. What is the significance of
the number five? We have five senses. They are like oxen which pull
us in the field of life. They pull our attention outward. We have
purchased them. Hence, we are attached to them. We are also
constantly evaluating our sensory impressions with judgments.
The outward pull of
the senses toward the surface of life results in the third excuse –
9 – The Light of the Body
(Luke 11:34-36, Matthew 6:22-23)
“The light of
the body is the eye, therefore when thine eye is single, thy whole
body is full of light; but when thine eye is evil, thy body also is
full of darkness.
Take heed therefore
that the light which is in thee be not darkness.
If thy whole body
therefore be full of light, having no part dark, the whole shall be
full of light, as when the bright shining of a candle doth give thee
Gospel this parable follows immediately the parable concerning light
under a bushel basket. Does this suggest a relationship between the
Mystics of all
spiritual traditions speak of focusing attention on a single,
interior point during meditation. When we perceive
with the two eyes of the brain and its nervous system we experience
the duality of good and evil. Is this eating from the forbidden tree
of knowledge of good and evil?
When we perceive
with the single, interior eye of the spiritual heart we experience
Divine Love, unity and non-duality. Is this eating from the tree of
“the eye with
see God is the eye with which God sees me” – Meister Eckhart describing one of his interior, meditation experiences.
“And with the
eye of my soul saw above the same eye of my soul, above my mind, the
Unchangeable Light ... He who knows the truth knows that light: and
he that knows it knoweth eternity.” – Saint Augustine.
10 – The Mustard Seed (Matthew13:31-32; Mark 4:31-32; Luke 13:18-19)
"The kingdom of
heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and sowed in his field:
Which indeed is the
least of all seeds: but when it is grown, it is the greatest among
herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and
lodge in the branches thereof."
In the Chandogya
Upanishad 3:14.3 a “grain of mustard” is used as a
metaphor for the Atma (Divine Spirit) located in the spiritual, human
heart. It is described as being simultaneously extremely small and
In metaphysics air
is the element associated with the mind. A bird is to the air as a
thought is to the mind.
when attention is focused steadily on the interior, central point of
the spiritual heart the Divine Spirit manifests in the
treelike-subtle anatomy of the soul. Thinking is stilled and thoughts
come to rest.
“God is a
circle with a center everywhere and a circumference nowhere.”
"I am the “bright and
morning star” Jesus, Revelation 22:16
May the “day star
arise in your hearts.” II Peter 1:19
The three wise men
followed the star to the place of Christ’s birth. Matthew 2.
11 – Stages of Unfoldment (Mark
Immediately before the
mustard seed parable above, Mark’s Gospel records another parable which
is certainly related. The kingdom of God is compared to a seed that
grows from the ground without human knowledge of how it grows. It is
“For the earth
bringeth forth fruit of herself, first the blade, then the ear, after
that the full corn in the ear.”
If we assume that
Jesus is not giving His agrarian audience a lesson in Agriculture 101
then the above description of growth could be an accurate, metaphoric
depiction of how Kundalini moves upward through the spinal column,
into the brain and then flowering in the crown chakra.
12- The Lost Sheep (Luke 15:4, Matt
18:12, Thomas, logion 107)
among you, having a hundred sheep, if he lose one of them doth not
leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which
is lost, until he find it.”
“the lost sheep is the largest”
Gospel of Thomas, logion 107
The number 100
symbolizes completeness so having 99 is being incomplete. The
Upanishad states that there are 100 subtle nerves or nadis that
radiant out of the subtle heart.
The mystical Gospel of Thomas adds
that the lost sheep was the greatest of them all. Could this greatest
one be a metaphorical reference to the sushumna, the central nadi
which is the greatest of them all.
In meditation one leaves,
withdraws one attention from all the other nadis in search of this
great one – the straight and narrow way.
is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few
there be that find it.” Matthew 7:14.
13 – The Lost Coin (Luke 15:8)
having ten pieces of silver, if she lose one piece, does she not
light a candle, and sweep the house, and seek diligently till she
It was a custom for
a woman to wear a head band with ten pieces of silver. If she should
lose one of them it was thought to bring misfortune.
The house has been
used as a metaphor for the human body by Jesus in other parables.
There is a saying in Eastern meditation that “breath sweeps the
Yoga teaches that
there are nine “gates” in the body through which life
energy can be lost: two eyes, two nostrils, two ears, the mouth, the
anus and sexual organ. The tenth gate is the crown chakra which leads
14 – The Hidden Treasure in a
Field (Matthew 13:44)
"The kingdom of
heaven is like treasure hid in a field; that when a man found it, he
hid for joy thereof goes and sells all that he has, and buys that
Do we know what
spiritual treasure lies hidden beneath the field of our ordinary
How can one discover
and retrieve the treasure hidden beneath surface awareness? Why do
those who discover the inner treasure often find it necessary to
initially hide their discovery from those around them? What would
happen if the discovery was prematurely shared – especially to
those not ready? “Don’t cast your pearls to swine,”
In what sense do we not own our
surface awareness and the treasure
that lies beneath it?
What must we get
rid of to become the owner of that treasure? What does it mean to own
15 – Three Types of Ground (
Matthew 13:4-9, Mark 4:3-9, Luke 8:5-8)
Seeds are sown in
four locations: off to the side of a road, where they were eaten by
birds; on hard, stony ground where they withered; on thorny ground
where they choked; and on good soil where they flourished.
parable ends with the phrase: “He who has ears to hear let him
This indicates that there is a hidden meaning in this
parable for the spiritually mature. It might also be a reference to
hearing the cosmic OM from the center point of the soul.
Living off –center,
away from the straight and narrow road (the sushumna) we fail to grow from our
center point. Thoughts (birds) consume our attention and vital energy.
Yoga teaches there
are three states of nature called gunas. Tamas guna is hard and
inert. Rajas guna is agitated and restless. Sattva guna is serene and
most conducive to the growth and unfoldment of the central seed-point
(nada bindu) of the soul.
16 – Weeds Among the Wheat
"When a farmer who
had sown seeds of wheat in his field was asleep, his enemy came and
sowed weed seeds among the wheat. The servants of the farmer
discovered the deed and asked the farmer if they should pull up the
weeds. The farmer said “No, lest while you gather up the
tares (weeds) you root up also the wheat with them. Let both grow
together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest
will say to the reapers, Gather together first the tares, and bind
them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.”
There is a similar
Buddhist parable in which creepers are substituted for weeds in the
meditation, one is often advised to focus on the positive to
cultivate the innate divinity from the center point. Putting
attention on negatives sown by the ego in order to try to root them out through
rational means may cause one to lose contact with the Inner Light. When
the inner Divine Light manifests to sufficient intensity it will
automatically burn away the negatives allowing our
true Divine Self to shine un-obscured.
17 – The Pearl of Great Price
of heaven is like a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: Who when he
found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and
This parable occurs
in Matthew’s Gospel immediately after the Hidden Treasure
Do they share any common themes?
How was the
discovery of the “one pearl” made? By diving deeply to
the center of the heart in meditation?
“Dive deep for the pearl
Could the “one
pearl of great price” and the “mustard seed” both
be metaphors pointing in the same direction?
18 – Laborers in the Field
Jesus begins this
parable by saying that “the kingdom of heaven is like.”
He then goes on to describe a landowner who hires five groups of
laborers to work in his vineyard. The hiring is sequential and spaced
throughout the day. The first group is hired near dawn and the fifth
and last group is hired late in the day. All the groups work from the
time they are hired until the end of the day. Curiously, when it is
time to pay them, the groups are paid in the reverse order in which
they were hired. The big surprise though is that all the groups
received the same pay regardless of how long they worked.
Yoga teaches that
we have not just a physical body but also other normally invisible
and subtle bodies. The five bodies (sheaths, koshas) are called the
Annamaya (physical), Vijnanamaya (intellect), Manomaya (mind),
Pranamaya (life energy) and the Anandamaya (bliss). These five
sheaths cover the hidden, radiant, true self – the Atman.
“Don’t hide your light under a basket” - Jesus.
As one goes inward
during meditation one engages (“hires”) the five sheaths
sequentially starting with the physical (most outer) and ending with
the most subtle (most inner) Anandamaya Kosha until one reaches the
radiance of the inner, true Self. The light from that radiant Self
then manifests outwardly penetrating the koshas in the reverse order
that they were originally encountered during the meditative journey
inward – the innermost (last “hired”) being closest
to the radiant center receive the Light first. However, it is the
same Divine Light that is gracing each of the koshas regardless of
how long they were engaged in meditation.
19 – The Light Body
When the prodigal
son returns from his journey to the “far country” in the parable he receives the
father’s finest robe.
father said to his servants, bring forth the best robe, and put it on
him ...” Luke 15:11-32
the parable of the wedding feast, a guest is cast out because he does
not have the proper wedding garment.
“And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not
having a wedding garment? ...”
Then said the king...cast him into outer darkness,” Matthew
Jesus demonstrates his
Light Body on the mountain and after His resurrection.
In the Book of
Revelation (7:13) robes are made white by the blood (fire) of the