Sages of the New Covenant
Kingdom of God is such a vast subject that it qualifies itself to become a page with several sub-pages, which Swami Sthevananda would do at a later part of time.
As Kingdom of God is being described under the Immanuel-Konsciousness©, you would find this sub-page to be lengthy. Hence, swamiji suggest you to read the content that you would find at each sub-titles at intervals, so that introspection is feasible to assimilate the learning for your Spiritual Growth.
Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam (Kingdom of God) was the most radical conception ever presented to the human race and it is the most secular. Jesus used more than 100 times. The church had mostly missed the importance of the Kingdom of God. The apostles failed or relegated it to a life hereafter and the church has not done much better.
In the Bible there are two set of phrase used to refer Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam:
Some hold on to the view that both - Kingdom of God & Kingdom of Heaven - are different entities .Hence before going into the details of the subject, let us compare few verses from the Bible and clear some of our misconceptions:
“From that time Jesus began to preach and to say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” - (Matthew 4:17)
“Now after John was put in prison, Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.” – Mark 1: 14 & 15
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven”. (Matthew 5:3)
“Then He lifted up His eyes toward His disciples, and said: “Blessed are you poor, For yours is the kingdom of God.” (Luke 6:20)
“Another parable He put forth to them, saying: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field,” (Matthew 13:31)
“Then He said, “To what shall we liken the kingdom of God? Or with what parable shall we picture it? It is like a mustard seed which, when it is sown on the ground, is smaller than all the seeds on earth;” (Mark 4: 30 & 31
The quick comparison of the gospels indicates that both the terms refer to the same thing. We find that Matthew used the expression "kingdom of heaven" almost exclusively, while the other gospel writers used the phrase "kingdom of God". The reason for Matthew to use the term: “kingdom of heaven”, may be because of the following reasons:
The expression "heaven" (literally, "heavens") would emphasize a spiritual kingdom.
The Kingdom of God is the transformation of our life into the life of God and the transformation of our actions into actions of God. Jesus said: “The words that I speak to you I do not speak on My own authority; but the Father who dwells in Me does the works.” (John 14:10). This is the experience of the Kingdom of God.The entrance to the kingdom of God is by personal transformation, which Jesus called: ‘Kingdom of God’ and it is nothing but the experience of being conscious of the “Immanuel” in us.
Jesus told Nicodemus, a Pharisee and a member of the Sanhedrin: “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” (John 3:3) and “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.” (Matthew 3:5).
What Jesus meant was to ask us to come out our religious womb and become a universal person, by becoming conscious of the Immanuel in us.
And as a proclamation to others of our Immanuel-Konsciousness© (acknowledging the likeness of God in her / him), one has to go through the ritual of water baptism and taste the kingdom of God by participating in the Deva-Prasad (Eucharist), to replicate the death (old Adam), which Jesus underwent fully human and replicate resurrection of Jesus (New Adam), in which He emerged in full form of Divinity; and in this process, participating in Deva-Prasad (Eucharist) makes us to be born in Spirit as well.
The fully human and fully Divine Jesus, when He began His ministry proclaimed that the kingdom is at hand (Mark 1:15 & Matthew 3;2). He didn’t ask people to wait for the Kingdom of God to emerge till His death and resurrection; nor did He say that the Kingdom of God will be given to the individuals after their death. If Kingdom of God has to be got after our death only, then this statement of Jesus: - “ But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you” (Matthew 6:33) - will become irrelevant. If Kingdom of God is a thing to be experienced after our death, then he would have said: “First of all seek you the Kingdom of God and its righteousness and you will go to heaven, where God dwell”. He said Kingdom of God is at hand.
Jesus termed Kingdom of God a mystery in Mark 4:11 and in Matthew 13:11, as each ones experiences are going to be unique in nature. If Kingdom of God is a government on the Earth or something to be lived after, ones death, it won’t be a mystery, as governance will be universal for everyone. As Jesus had been referring to the experience of Immanuel-Konsciousness© (acknowledging the likeness of God in her / him), which would be a mystical experience, He called Kingdom of God a mystery.
Jesus taught us the disciples to pray. But now a days most of the churches do not say the Lord Prayer, as a result the congregation is unable to understand the real meaning of the Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam, that He had been preaching during His life time on Earth. He starts the prayer as follows:
“So He said to them, “When you pray, say: Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” (Luke 11: 2-4)
In Lord’s Prayer, He didn’t teach us to pray for the Kingdom that we could experience after our death; but of our current existence. By teaching us to pray: “Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven”, Jesus was expecting us to experience the Kingdom of Heaven, during our life time on Earth. Kingdom of God is not idealism; it is realism. Jesus concludes the prayer by saying:
“And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen” (Matthew 6:13)
From the above verse, we understand that God Himself is the kingdom. If God is with us (Immanuel) then Kingdom of God is based on our existential nature. Hence, Immanuel-Konsciousness© (acknowledging the likeness of God in her / him) is an experience of the Kingdom of God during our life time on Earth, which is why when Jesus was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come He answered them:
“The kingdom of God does not come with observation; nor will they say, ‘See here!’ or ‘See there! For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you.” (Luke 17: 20 & 21)
In addition Jesus also made it clear to his followers: “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now My kingdom is not from here.” (John 18:36). Still, when Jesus entered Jerusalem, the multitude that followed Him, didn’t reject kingdom about which Jesus Christ spoke during His sermons; but they reduced the kingdom, Jesus spoke to national proportion by saying: “It’s going to be David’s reign again”. They jammed the Kingdom into a nationalistic mold.
Jesus, however, was giving us a universal kingdom that would break all the molds. However, like the early followers, the church has been trying to reduce the impact of the Kingdom. From that day to this, we have been doing the same thing with the Kingdom of God – not rejecting it but reducing it; make it innocuous; though it was the most radical conception even presented to the mind of man.
The early church didn’t know what to do with the Kingdom of God and it slipped away because it was too immense. By the time the creed was written, the Kingdom of God had slipped to the edges. Neither the Apostles Creed nor the Athanasius Creed mentions anything about the Kingdom of God. The Nicene Creed mentions it marginally beyond the borders of this life – beyond the resurrection. The three historic creeds of Christendom mentioned once, marginally, what Jesus mentioned a hundred times. Obliviously something important slipped from the Christian theology and the Europe adopted a crippled Christianity, leaving crippled results, wherever the missionaries worked in other parts of the world.
“Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven." (Matthew 18:3)
A child when she / he is born do not have a religious branding. He / she is a human baby. Jesus came out His religion Judaism to become the Immanuel, by taking the Baptism from John the Baptist.Similarly, everyone has to severe their religious identity to attain Immanuel-konsciousness©.
Jesus did not define what Kingdom f God is; but attempted to describe it in many ways. The Kingdom of God is the discovery of the unconditional love of God, like the sun that shines on both on the plants and on the weeds. Swamiji had tried to describe what is “Kingdom of God”, through the insights we find in the Bible and he would sum up ‘Kingdom of God’ as follows:
Jesus told “The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.” (John 3:8) When you are born again in Spirit (Immanuel-Konsciousness©), you experience existentialism, as you are free from the Past and Future. When you are born again, eternity of God is manifested in you. This ‘here and now’ is the life of the Kingdom of God.
Jesus said: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field, which indeed is the least of all the seeds; but when it is grown it is greater than the herbs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and nest in its branches.” (Matthew 13: 31 & 32)
The Parable of Mustard Seed is connected to the Pygmalion Effect. The Pygmalion Effect, is the phenomenon whereby the greater the expectation placed upon people, the better they perform. The effect is named after the Greek myth of Pygmalion, a legendary sculptor of Cyprus, who fell in love with a statue he had carved, believing that one day the statue would become alive. If you belief, you shall see it; so was the case with Pygmalion, as the statue believed to have become a woman, whom he married later.
The very same concept Jesus implied in this parable. Immanuel-Konsciousness© (acknowledging the likeness of God in her / him) is an experience of the Kingdom of God during our life time on Earth. When one becomes Immanuel Conscious, even an ordinary person; one need not be a political leader, a celebrity or a rich business person, he / she becomes such resourceful, every one come and gain from him / her spiritually. To drive home this message he compares an ordinary shrub Brassica Juncea (mustard plant), growing like a tree to become a habitat for the birds. This phenomenon is similar to that of the transformation of poor Cockney flower seller Eliza Doolittle into presentable in the high society of Edwardian London in the film My Fair Lady.
Victor Hugo said, essentially, that all the forces in the world are not so powerful as an idea whose time has come. When the time for things comes, they happen by whatever means are available, When an idea's time comes, the forces in the world are transformed so that instead of what you do being unworkable, what you do works. And you do that works. The Wright brothers would have died bicycle merchants had flight not been an idea whose time had come. When an idea's time comes, whatever you do works and you do that works.
In other words, when one becomes, Immanuel Conscious, she / he becomes capable to grow beyond his / her capacity to so. Kingdom of God is getting transformed beyond the boundaries - An Idea, whose has come.
“Another parable He spoke to them: “The kingdom of heaven is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal till it was all leavened.” (Matthew 13:33)
This parable is connected to the earlier one. To put ‘an idea whose time has come’ to practice, you need to create a context for the content, in the similar manner President John F Kenney created a context “A man on the moon in 10 years” for the US Space initiatives.
Contexts are created by the Self, out of nothing. When you stop identifying yourself as a thing, as a position, and start experiencing your Self as the context, as the space, for your life - when you start experiencing that you are the context in which the content of your life occurs - you will automatically and necessarily experience responsibility for all the content in your space. You will experience that you are whole and complete that you are aligned with other Selves, with the Self. When you experience your Self as space, you create context from which you can come into the world. One such context is Kingdom of God.
Immanuel-Konsciousness© (acknowledging the likeness of God in her / him) is an experience of the Kingdom of God during our life time on Earth. When one becomes Immanuel Conscious, he is like a leaven who is capable of transforming others and their life. In order words, when one attains Immanuel-Konsciousness© (acknowledging the likeness of God in her / him) he become a change agent. In the book Culture Shock Korea, the authors M/S Sonja Vegdahl Hur and Ben Seunghwa Hur says as follows:
“Today there are about 11 million Christians in Korea, roughly 25% of the total population, the second highest percentage of any East Asian country after the Philippines. As with Buddhism, Christianity has left its mark on all Koreans. The Christians introduced the concept of education for women and equality of the sexes. Christian leaders in Korea are actively vocal about social problems, and are highly respected.” (Times Book International 1988 ISBN 981 204 159 1 Page34)
What the Christians have done in Korea is, they have created a Kingdom of God in Korea by being the yeast, so that 75 percent of non-Christians are leavened (making positive impact). The yeast is the symbol of divine and the flour is the symbol of human. Once 33.33% people in the world become Immanuel Conscious, they can lead everyone to Immanuel-Konsciousness© (acknowledging the likeness of God in her / him).
“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a dragnet that was cast into the sea and gathered some of every kind, which, when it was full, they drew to shore; and they sat down and gathered the good into vessels, but threw the bad away. So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come forth, separate the wicked from among the just, and cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth.” (Matthew 13:47 - 50)
This parable was said by Jesus Christ to drive home the message that ‘Kingdom of God’ is not an exclusive prosperity of the followers of Jesus Christ. Jesus said: “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfil” (Matthew 5:17). The Kingdom of God is the fulfillment of all religions. Church have tried to limit Jesus within the boundaries of Christianity, where as he came to break the boundaries of every religion and make Immanuel-Konsciousness© (acknowledging the likeness of God in her / him) universal. The Kingdom of God will embrace everyone and in the process it is inclusive. The Parable of Wedding Feast confirms that the Kingdom of God will be filled with both bad and good (Matthew 22:9). Kingdom of God gives opportunity for people of all religion, both bad and good to experience the Immanuel-Konsciousness©. But after becoming Immanuel conscious, they have to become righteous. Being conscious of the Immanuel is not a thing to become stiff necked with pride; rather it is a thing to be inherited:
Being a religious person will not make one Immanuel-Konsciousness© (acknowledging the likeness of God in her / him). If someone has become Immanuel Conscious, then she / he need to treat the other person as an Immanuel. If anyone exhibit sewed-up behavior after becoming Immanuel conscious, he / she can’t enjoy the serenity that the Kingdom of God would offer to that particular individual, in addition to missing out the blessings, which is why Jesus said:
“For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:20)
To enjoy the peace of Kingdom of God, one had to be righteous in his / her dealings. Once people become Immanuel Conscious one can expect anyone of the following blessings mentioned in Mark 16: 17-20 and are expected to serve the humanity with their blessing:
Hence, to become Immanuel Conscious one has to seek first the kingdom of God and God’s righteousness, and all these things (above blessings) shall be added to you.” (Matthew 6:33) While orienting His disciples for Kingdom of God ministry, Jesus said: “And heal the sick there, and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’ (Luke 10:9); which means, if anyone is having the blessing of healing people, they have to share their Kingdom of God experience with them, after healing the sick. If anyone, who has become Immanuel Conscious and does not use one’s blessings or mis-using their blessing for exploiting others and for their personal gains, then they qualify themselves to be condemned at the End and is evident in the following verse too:
“Therefore I say to you, the kingdom of God will be taken from you and given to a nation bearing the fruits of it.” (Matthew 21:43)
The capital of the Early Pandyan kingdom was initially Korkai, around 600 B.C., and was later moved to Koodal (now Madurai) during the reign of Nedunj Cheliyan I. The Panydan country was well known for pearl fishery, with Korkai being the principal center of the trade. Some of the exports were pearls, spices, ivory and shells, while the imports included horses, gold, glass and wine. As recorded by Strabo, Emperor Augustus of Rome received at Antioch an ambassador from a South Indian King called Pandyan of Dramira. The country of the Pandyas, Pandi Mandala, was described as Pandyan Mediterranea in the Periplus and Modura Regia Pandyan by Ptolemy. (Ref. The Encyclopedia of India and of Eastern and Southern Asia By Edward Balfour).
Soldiers and sailors of Rome were spending considerable amount investing in pearls as it was fetching good returns. In fact at one point of time, Rome was planning to put a ban on the import of pearls. “In 22 B. C. Roman Emperor Tiberius wrote to the Roman Senate complaining that the rage for jewels and precious trinkets on the part of the Roman ladies was draining the empire of its wealth, viz., gold.” In 70 A. D. India drained Roman gold to the value of a million pounds a year. “The trade was highly profitable to Madurai (Pandya kingdom, which was exporting pearls to Rome) but the balance of trade was so adverse to Rome that the Indian trade seriously affected the coinage of Rome.” (Ref. S. Annamalai "When coffers were replete with wealth", The Hindu, 24th October, 2014).Jesus lived during this period of a boom for pearl merchandise, which must have prompted Him to bring the analogy of pearl to the Kingdom of God.
From the Parable of the Hidden Treasure (Matthew 13:44) and Parable of Merchant Seeking Beautiful Pearls (Matthew 13:45 & 46), Jesus has driven home the point that we need to inherit the kingdom at any cost. May be you may have to lose your religious, racial and caste identity, but something to be inherited by forsaking all our material passions and celebrity status, which is why, Jesus asked the Young Rich Ruler to distribute his wealth to the poor (Matthew 19:21, Mark 10:21 & Luke 18: 22).
The Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam (Kingdom of God) is like a certain king who arranged a marriage for his son (Matthew 22:2). It is a blessing to the banquet of the King. But there is prerequisite. In the Parable of Wedding Feast, we come across an incident where the king spots a guest, who has not come with the proper outfit, whom king order him to be thrown out. This similar to the incident happened in Madras, India, a Judge in the Madras High Court was not allowed to enter the Madras Club, as he was not wearing the prescribed attire to participate. When the incident took place one was expected to come in formal dress - with fill sleeved shirt and a formal shoe. He had come with his ethnic dress of dhoti and chapels. In the parable, the King asked: “Friend, how did you come in here without a wedding garment?: (Matthew 22:12). What is the dress code one is expected to put on to participate in the banquet of the Kingdom of God?
The only prerequisite to be a honoured guest in the banquet table of the kingdom of God is the one Immanuel-Konsciousness© (acknowledging the likeness of God in her / him).
Copyright 2012 - 2015 Sages of the New Covenant. All rights reserved.
Sages of the New Covenant