“And where the Spirit Divine is, there is freedom.”
Second epistle to the Corinthians 3:17
And so, a condition for Freedom is the Spirit. By the word Freedom, we understand a free Life; we understand the inner sense of things, their relations – the relations of thoughts, desires, and volitional incitements which are displayed in the world. Where there is a living soul, there is movement, which is a result of the will; but this movement can go in a certain direction, and it can go in various directions. In the New Testament it is said: “Where the Spirit Divine is, there is freedom.”, and in another place: “A Divine Son will liberate you.” The Son and the Spirit are one and the same thing; the Son is a display of the Father and Mother; the intelligence of the Son is an expression of the intelligence of the Father and Mother, like the sunlight is an expression of the inner state of the Sun – we recognize the Sun by it. How can we recognize man? By the light of his thoughts, desires, and actions.
I am talking about Freedom of Spirit, because in religious people there is a danger: when someone becomes religious, he becomes twice as bad as the worldly people. Sometimes it does not make me happy that people are religious; by the world religious I understand a man connected with something, like the cow or the horse are tied with a rope; connected to the house – it is a religion too, connected with some political party or with some philosophical teaching – it is also a religion – yes, a religious teaching, but what kind? That which connects the Freedom of man or society. If you are connected with a teaching which degrades you, which deprives you from your Freedom, it is an antiquated religion, an old wine-skin, and all who seek that Freedom (the meaning of Life, as this supreme consciousness is called by contemporary philosophers, or citizenship, as political people call it; you can also call it whatever you like), have this rationality within themselves. How would they know if you have the Spirit? If you are judicious people and if, by your thoughts, desires, and actions, you are distinguished with the power of your Freedom, and anywhere you go, you carry that blessing.
The word Freedom in contemporary life infers Light. When you are travelling at dusk, you are not as free as you are when you are travelling during the day, because of the simple reason that your path is not clear; and thus all religious people, when they are mistaken, they have something vague in their conceptions. You do not know what the Lord and God is, but the local kings and governors you know – and like they punish you, so does God punish; those results, which we see in the world, are born out of this comprehension. And from that inner slavery we have to liberate ourselves – how would we liberate ourselves? A fundamental change in the structure of our brain has to happen; you have not learned that structure yet. Each morning, you pray and seek the Lord, you shout and say that sometimes He is not listening to you; God listens only to those people, whose ears are open; he does not listen to the deaf and to them he does not speak. You need to have a very delicate ear, clever, to easily understand what God is saying to you; He likes to watch and listen to people who work hard, who do not occupy themselves with nonsense, because He does not occupy himself with stupid things.
Track the contemporary religions and you will notice the stage of development they are in; in every religion there are certain fallacies – I will tell you what they are. When we want to understand a certain religion, we often leave a community and enter another. A lad wished to stamp about a bit in the ring dance, and borrowed the boots of someone else; the guy who lent him the boots, however, told him after the dance: “Listen, stamp more lightly, I did not give them to you to stamp hard.” Another one came by and told him: “Because that guy embarrassed you, I will give you my boots”; and when he started dancing, he started shouting at him: “Stamp, my friend, even if you wear them out, I will give you others!” Whether he would say “stamp” or “do not stamp”, it is all the same – that man is no longer free; whether you have stamped a little or a lot, it is irrelevant – once they embarrass you, your freedom is taken away. Furthermore, our mind has to be enlightened on the real Freedom.
Christ has given a definition for Freedom: “Do not do unto others that which you do not want them to do unto you” – that rule has to be an inner law of ours. We have to speak and do that which gives Freedom unto others.
A couple of days ago a woman came to me and said: “I am amazed at contemporary people: they stand and pray, their prayers are excellent, but once the prayers stop, they start to gossip about each other – one saw something, the other did not see it well, the thing which one of them saw was not from God, but from the devil, “you are lying” - “no, you are lying”; we see that none of them has and gives the others any freedom. I want to have freedom, to serve God; not their God of course.” I told this woman when she finds herself among them again, to tell them what she told me. Since you have no tolerance towards people, you do not give them Freedom, you do not understand the teaching of Christ, and you have a take-off notion of him. Throw those caricatures away from you; do not imagine God in this way.
Now, what kind of thing is religion? Both a science of forms and a science of the Divine Love. If you study an outer form, and not its inner content, you will be misled and you will change it in the same way as the lady who changes her costume every day. When she lives for fifty-sixty years, she could make ten - twenty costumes of various colours, add some nice ribbons and buttons, but these clothes are not the lady – form is still not a religion; these forms are really necessary for religion, like costumes are for the body, but they do not compose the body of the lady. If some relative dies, people start saying: “I have to blacken (blacken означава че потъмнява човек, а не дреха!); I should not wear white clothes”; wear the clothes you like – black, white, red, green, blue, motley, of every sort and kind, it is not a sin. However, when you go to someone who is dead, you will not wear white clothes, like when the street is muddy, you will not put on white shoes, but such as the season requires. Worldly people are very smart; in my eyes they stand ten times higher than the overly religious people – through the worldly people God has decided to fix the world. Would-be politicians and socialists – they will fix the world, because they want freedom. But someone would say: “How come, they destroy” – when you are building a new house, do you not destroy the old one? If you do not throw away an ageing point of view of yours, no new thought will spring up in your mind. Some want to give people a science of how to think: only “seven plies up, seven plies down”, a science of “молчать, не рассуждать” (Literally “keep quiet, do not reason” – a Russian idiom, meaning submissive implementation), of that which is written – things outside of that are of the devil. Others say that theirs is from God, and that is from the devil; this means to be a strong „задным умом” (from Russian again – “Background mind”). We have to judge any given teaching by its results: if it can be applied in social life and give good results, then it is good; if it cannot, it is not good. We have to apply the Freedom of Spirit; ask yourselves that question: are you free, do you have that Spirit within yourselves? When the Spirit comes, He will produce Light both in your mind, and your heart – that is the sign. Once you start to restrict the Spirit of man – how he is supposed to think, feel, and act, he will immediately leave you. Just like when the teacher comes in class and wants to present his lesson: if the students are noisy, he just goes out; then of course their parents and guardians will come and beat them up because they would not listen to the teacher. So was Moses a guardian of the Jews – he came to beat them up and ask them: “Do you listen to your teacher?” And now, when you say: “Why has that punishment befallen us”, I answer you: because you have not listened to the Spirit, you should have listened to him.
Let us explain the word “Freedom”: if you find a man with his hands and feet tied, and start comforting him: “God is good, he will untie you”, when you can untie him yourself, are you preaching a teaching of Freedom, I ask? No, take out your knife, cut the ropes loose and rescue him. And what do you do? You tie him even tighter so that he cannot escape. People have to be untied; and when Christ says: “Go and preach”, he infers namely that untying. And this Freedom clearly has to be inward. All irritations and misconceptions between people are due to the lack of freedom; if it is a matter of irritation, how much more would God, who has created this world and sees what the world does, be irritated? If God is angering, that is good, but if I am angering, what is the use – it is of no use. But does God anger? God does not anger; in the Old Testament it is indeed mentioned The Wrath of God, but that has to be comprehended in an inward sense. The fact that God does not anger is seen in the phrase of the Christ: “Why are you calling Me kind Master, kind is only the one God” – he who is kind cannot anger. Prophets, have written that God angers, I impugn that – can someone tell me where God Alone has said that he angers? At one place Jeremiah says: “My God, You have fooled me, I was fooled” – how would you agree with that contradiction? That is a fallacy, we should not accept such fallacies about God into our minds; we can acknowledge that it is our comprehension. And the right thing to say is: “Where the Spirit Divine is, there is freedom” – that is what God has actually said.
Love can not be awakened without Freedom. As long as man is blind, he cannot be loved; nobody loves he who torments. That which brings destruction cannot bring Freedom. We pray to God and in the prayer, if one of us would make a mistake, the other would push him; this is not Freedom, this is acting – down with those masks; to poke one another when standing before God, that is not a prayer. Man, when praying, needs to forget the surroundings, needs to seclude himself, to enter his secret room – in his soul, nothing outward must bother him. None of you, who are listening to me here, are free: I can see how you are tied to a stake, others – to two, three, ten stakes; and I can prove it to you ten times, even now – not only theoretically, but practically too. Because you are preparing for a world of Freedom (The Kingdom of Christ and The Kingdom Divine is a Kingdom of Freedom), with these old forms, with old wine-skins you cannot enter it, you would barely be able to go near its gates. I am not suing you for being misguided, but I am showing you the way, because you are seeking Freedom. The reason for your slavery is not woman, neither is it man – we know the reason: slavery came when both of them ate from that corrupted apple.
If we want to understand Christ, our Spirit needs to be free. In the Jewish language there are two words: the one is “ruha”, which shows the supreme manifestation of God, and the other is “nefesh”, which shows the lower state of the soul. Take a child that is still not developed: it starts crying and making wry faces, and with its crying works its will on the mother; eventually its mother gives him a breast and it says to her: “That is how you should obey me” – and the mother carries out the will of the child. Why was that child sent to you – for you to obey or it? If you are a free Spirit, you have to learn the relations of things.
How can we gain that inner Freedom? Often there is a good and bad side both to prayers, and gatherings. When two people gather, they have to be on the same level, so that an exchange of magnetic powers can happen; otherwise arguments arise, because in every man the Spirit of Freedom prevails, and so they do not share a common view of life. That is also why in Christianity there is the process of cleansing before going to God. The first thing is to settle down within yourselves. How does that happen? Before praying along with other people, pray alone, because when you go among the people, you need to be somewhat ready; first of all you have to pray on your own, then with two, three people, etc. And all of you have to contemplate – the Spirit will come to only give you certain lessons. And when the Divine Spirit comes and enters two souls, he will immediately notice peace and understanding in them – when one speaks, the other will carefully listen and find pleasure in the speech of his interlocutor. And when he does not find that pleasure, he would say to himself: “I will listen to your blether, you will teach me!” – The Spirit is not there anymore, the devil is there. The gathering and praying – it does not happen on command, but on the frame of mind: if the Spirit wants – he will pray; if he does not, he will keep quiet. The first thing is to grant this Freedom and to have patience to listen, when someone speaks it should be as if God spoke. If you enter a religious community and become more nervous, you have not won anything, on the contrary – you have lost. Many doctors and people know how man is built, they know physiology perfectly, they know which food is healthy and which food is unwholesome for people, but they are living life in the old way: they say that smoking is bad, although they smoke themselves; that drinking wine is bad for the health, but they drink themselves; that eating meat is bad for the health, but they eat meat themselves. They have the knowledge, but when it comes to applying it, and building it, they do not practise what they preach – where is the Freedom of their spirit then? And Christ wants that Freedom. Some want the freedom only for themselves, and for others to obey them; some may obey out of fear, but there is no Love there. I will adduce an anecdote for that reason: a Bulgarian tailor was once summoned by a family to cut out and sew breeches and a doublet for the groom; he raised his scissors and thimble, took the servant with him, and went on his way. It was around noon, they baked him a chicken, but the master, in order to get the whole chicken for himself, said that his servant did not eat chicken, but beans instead. The servant, in front of whom the master said that, said that he would take revenge, and after lunch in private he told the hosts: “My master is sometimes crazy – if he starts looking around, know that he has gone mad.” Before his master started work, the servant hid his thimble; at one time his master started turning and looking around for his thimble; the housekeepers, when they saw that, jumped on him and tied him up. On the way out, the servant turned to his master: “Your servant does not eat chicken, he eats beans, huh?” Do not say that your servant does not eat chicken, because one day, when you start looking for your thimble, he will make sure they tie you up.
The first thing in your attitude towards others is mutual respect. I have noticed in my observations that some people want to learn, and initially come in awe, but afterwards start saying: “We know more than him”, and then dismiss themselves. Like those young brides, who first stand meek and bashful; hardly a month passes by, and they open a mouth this big, and ruin the house; in the church, as long as they are brides, they stand quietly, but should they get married, it is as if they obtain civil rights and show their real images; they will marry again a second time, but the one who has married them once, will not marry twice. We should not distress God by breaching His Spirit for Freedom when someone provokes us. I can see what thoughts reflect in me and you – a whole notebook of curves have formed, like graphs on a telegram. So many telegrams of yours have been written, a whole sheaf – it is shown there how free you are; one day those telegrams will be presented to God, when you go to the hereafter. Everything in the world is overt, nothing can be hidden before the Eye of God; and I am not saying this in order to frighten you, no – God in His genesis is a Spirit that wants to always teach and correct, not to punish and avenge. That which we perceive in the world as suffering and punishment is only regarding the form. And if God punishes us in this relation, He does it in order to free us from slavery – if you decide to free a sheep from the mouth of the wolf, would it not suffer until you get it out? Freedom, inner Peace will bring forth calm and Joy, and will raise our Spirit high.
Now about religion again – that religion, with which we want to serve the Lord, what is it based on? Christ says in one place: “I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not receive me as a guest, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me”1 – there, that is why God would pass judgement on the world. You can pray ten times a day like the old Pharisees in the streets; you can begin to resemble that mother who started praying because her food was burning – do you know what kind of thing the psychic drunkenness is? It is not a religion; a lass who often likes to meet some lad, not that she earns anything, but feels some kind of pleasantness, although that pleasantness, that tickle, does not show that she is in a Divine mood – she wastes energy. When God comes close to us, we would feel that His action is not a single moment, but a long period of time; and that mood we would feel in our soul, in secret. When people argue, I go to them, but I do not tell them to cease speaking, because I have to cease speaking first (when two people argue, even if I go to them, I will not be able to help them), I do not preach morality to them, but instead I stop and pray to God for them.
In Varna2, some thirty-forty years ago, there was a priest named Gantcho, orman-papaz (Turkish expression meaning “a priest of the woods”) they called him; he often reproached those who made him a priest. He once saw a gagaouz (Turkish-speaking Christians of the Varna district) beating his wife, he took a whip and started to beat the man in order to free the woman. But both of them, the man and the woman, immediately jumped on him, and the woman said: “What kind of right do you have to beat my husband, we will work it out on our own.” Then the priest said: “Why did I have to rescue the woman from the man.” You too, like the priest Gantcho, might get involved in settling other people’s business; do not get into that, you can only interfere if both of them, the man and the woman, call you to dispute – show them the law of Freedom, and how to settle their relations.
And so, religion has to bring Freedom, Peace, and Joy to people. If old-time persecutions get raised, the world will not be put in order; how many doubts will be raised for the outer forms of religion: people would say: “Your teaching is of the devil.” – “Was not yours from Satan”. He who is not on the side of Satan must serve humanity selflessly, out of Love, and even sacrifice for it. Since you want a prize or first place, or to fix the world and do not carry out the law of Freedom, the Spirit is not in you. You have to be last in the world, in order to be first before God; should you become first in the world, you are already last before God – that is what I know. I do not want human glory, I prefer God to think well about me. As I am preaching this, some of you would not accept it for themselves, and say: “I am not that, it is just him” – that is from the devil; each man deep inside himself has to forget about what the others are, and to think that he is more wrong than the others – that is right. That you are in this condition, I do not sue you, but since I want you to overcome it, I am showing you a way out. Follow the Spirit which is in you: you want Freedom – give it to the others, you want Love and Justice – give them to the others, the similar attracts the similar – that is a law. If you love people sincerely and candidly, they will love you too; just like when you look into your mirror – if you are beautiful, it will show you a beautiful face. And when you meet someone, do not tell him: “I love you”, do not talk about love, because it would disappear – then you actually do not love him. A man, who talks most about Love, has the least of it; he who speaks the most about Freedom of Spirit has the least of it and gives the least of it to others. If my attitude towards you is not what it should be, it is not the sweet sermon, which sounds like sweet music, which will make it such. Music which creates noble impulses, brings benefit; that which leaves only tickles to man, does not bring any benefit.
Now those frictions between you about “narrow” and “wide”, “the Spirit is there” and “the Spirit is not there” should cease. To those of us who have the Spirit of Freedom, I would give a white pebble on which I would write my name, and when God comes, He would see what is written. When I look into your eyes, I know your Spirit: when the Spirit enters, your eyes are not very dark, but they are not very bright either. Sometimes your eyes may shine like the eyes of a snake, but it is “nefesh” – the desire to devour, to eat someone. You have seen how the eyes of a cat shine in the evening – she is looking for mice. Light differs from light: there is a light which robs, which kills, and there is a Light which enlivens. The Spirit is sensitive to the weaknesses of people and has the ability to enter into those who are on the Path.
When you gather again, the telegrams will show whether there will be any pokes – God does not want such prayer gatherings. In order for all prayers to be accepted by God, I will give you a method: if you come across an uncomforted, weary soul, pray to God for it and with it; if you see a poor man, help him. God does not want the rich to gather with the rich, but the rich with the poor, erudite with ignorant. It is not necessary to only gather and sing in a concert – go to a worldly concert, you would do well. That lady whom I told you about a while ago also told me that when she had been to that prayer gathering, a half an hour later the women started to look round and to whisper: “She saw us”; and she, after noticing she had embarrassed them, went out. I am not saying that it was in Sofia; what we are talking about is that in the church, other people may not pray correctly, but we pray thus ourselves. Oust the old devil, give Freedom and deference to others, and pray in secret within your soul, none of you shall talk and gossip about the others. When a couple of women gather together, they start talking about someone; men, when gossiping about others, cannot psychically develop. He who has this weakness should leave it behind; should talking about someone enter your mind, restrain yourselves, do not let the devil in, do not be his herald – hang up your telephone and do not put his opinions through. The devil never says any good words, he talks about people: “You are a scoundrel, a thief, a fornicator” – he entices you to help him do his work; and when the sufferings come, through them God tells you: “Next time do not listen to the devil.” Anger, envy, hatred, suspicion, lie, all the negative things in the world are characteristic of the devil; throw that old father out and you will be free, you will be with God, who is wise, kind-hearted, equitable, resourceful and affectionate, who forgives and helps the sorrowful and the poor. If you transgress a hundred times and turn to Him, He will forgive you. He only punishes the devils; He has cursed them and has created a great fire for them. So, one who does not want to be related to the devils has to be merciful and resourceful.
Let us from now on begin to apply the teaching of Christ; not to show the world that we are religious people (let our piety be hidden within us), and to the world let us be like the beautiful ladies who go out with their faces covered, so that the sun will not burn them or the dust blacken them. Hide your beauty within; do not parade it outside – do not talk about how good you are, or magnanimous, ready for noble deeds, that you pray for three times a day, so that you would not become a laughing-stock to the world. And Christ says: “In the world you should be smart like the snakes, and harmless as the doves.” The worldly people are not foolish, but clever; regarding the superior Life they are worse, but regarding the mind they are smarter – we are foolish. Give them an example of a good deed, so that they would give some of their mind. They now say that we have to be straightforward, and not be generous; well how are we going to put the world in order then? When someone looks askance at us, we anger; well how many times have we looked askance at people, and not taken it into account? God has not created us with our eyes askew, but with our eyes straight; a religious life is namely this – to have and to give Freedom to people, to forgive their mistakes, and to look for every opportunity to unite spiritually.
Now, let us say we will apply the teaching, and preach it to the others. No gossiping from now on, let us vow for one whole year not to gossip about anyone; make a notebook and say: “Today, thank God, I have not talked about anyone.” – put a mark seven; if you talk, put a one, take account of this through the whole year, and see how many sevens and ones you are going to write down, how much you have managed to restrain yourselves. I often see – someone’s mouth trembles: “I want to say something too”, “I also have the right to speak”, “I know something too” – starts talking, others also start, and before you know it, someone has become a target of gossip; tomorrow they would begin the same thing. When a lad gets near to a marriageable age, many damsels start falling in love with him, and all of them praise him and compete with each other for attributing the most qualities to him: his father, mother – noble, their family – very noble; should he choose one for a wife, all those who have been praising him so far start: “He is a savage, a fool, a boor”, when they too should say: “It is a good thing he has chosen a damsel among us – we are happy.” Do you know what this looks like? I have adduced this story before, about the welcoming of a prince in a big European city: from the chosen twelve most beautiful women, who were invited to elect the one that would present a bouquet to the prince, each of them voted for herself. Now you too look in that direction (still not entirely prepared) about who should give a bouquet to Christ – everyone says: “Me”. Do not vote for yourselves, even without your votes Christ knows those who deserve. That is the teaching of Christ – to be alert, not to talk about the things we might know about others. Occultists say: “If you want to be strong, do not speak about people, because at the moment you begin to talk you enter a connection with their spirit, and become infected with bad thoughts.” It is better to think good things about people instead of bad, because otherwise you harm yourselves; the one about whom you gossip benefits psychologically. You know that God says: “Since you are rich, give some of yours.” How much earnings do you have? “Ten thousand.” – Give half of it. When we speak good things about a man, God takes him and says: “How much did you earn?” – “Twenty.” – “Give half of that to the one who thinks well about you.” When we speak well about other people, we gain, and when we speak ill about the others, they gain – that is the law. If you consciously did it so that they gain, I would be glad for such self-denial, but then do not complain, you are great spirits, right? If one of your sisters has some sort of an infirmity, pray ten times for her to be free from it, and then go to her and tell her gently: “In you, sister, there is a vice, but do not be cross with me because of what I told you” – then you will be blessed.
So now chase that devil – the gossip, away from yourselves. God has decided this year to tie the devils, and let no one get angry when he gets tied – he will be roped into work. Just as the farmer needs an ox to plough, so are the devils needed for work – it is either us who will be roped in, or them. In order to rope them in, the Spirit has to be in you, you have to be strong and powerful.
I will talk on the matter of the Freedom of Spirit again. I will now make a little experiment in order to see how much you have utilized from my lecture for today. Religious freedom has to be absolute – God is a God of Love, of Freedom. Then each of us would find his place – when he ploughs, and when he digs, and when he does any kind of work, he will do it with gratitude. Such has to be the life on Earth according to the Freedom of Spirit, according to the Freedom by which even Socrates was distinguished. He was an inferior man, but many kings were forgotten, and his name remained. Whatever office man might hold, he might still not be noble; the Spirit requires from us to be both like kings, and like inferior people, equally free.
It is the teaching of Christ that I preach: to have and to give Freedom, to have and to give Freedom, and again to have and to give Freedom – mental, and cordial, and religious, and civil, and domestic – Freedom everywhere.
September 5th, 1915, Sofia
1 Matthew 25:42-43
2 town in eastern Bulgaria