“Blessed is the one who endures temptation; because when the trial is over, such a person shall receive the crown of life, promised by the Lord to those who love Him.” James 1:12
You may find it a little strange that the Lord can put people to the test. Strange it may be to those who have not suffered difficulties in life and do not know the law of suffering. It does not take external concepts of life. Like for example a woman is beautiful, gorgeous, young, with a subtle complexion, and rosy cheeks, but she will lose all these external features. Some ask where this external beauty, gorgeousness, knowledge etc., is gone. The initial beauty will fade away. Well, one is in good health, but then one’s health is gone, where can one find it? One can keep it for ten, fifteen, twenty, fifty, sixty, for a hundred years but one’s health will fade after all. In the beginning, one grows up and studies, and then one starts losing, forgetting, until everything is gone. So, health, knowledge, wealth, everything will pass away. Your wealth will pass over to some of your friends and then again to some other friends of yours and it will pass away. If you have a house, it will be robbed, and other goods whatever you may have, these will be robbed as well. You want to be rich, but how; to be knowledgeable, but how? The way I preach to you: health, spiritual purity, beauty of the soul! Be knowledgeable, but in God! Have all the virtues in your souls and this should make you rich, knowledgeable, beautiful and teach a good Teaching to people, preach Peace, and you, yourselves should bear Peace, Love, Justice, Wisdom and Truth!
Well, James endured a temptation and said, "Blessed is the one who endures a temptation, because enduring this, one will receive the crown of life." This means that your ship, when it starts sailing, will fight in the waves of life, but if it is not reliable it will be filled with water and it will sink. If, however, it is reliable, it will fight in the waves, no matter how strong they may be, and it will endure these storms. Now, your ship, on which you sail, is not reliable, because as soon as you encounter certain storms, temptations and troubles, your face drops. "The ship is gone," you say, "it sank." "Why," I ask you, "did it sink?" Because the words of that foe were grave. You have to make a stable ship!
When a student is persistent in one’s studies, such a student will become knowledgeable. Students should study everything; students should do well at school. When you study you want to receive external crowns. Your life goes on monotonously and you are bored. What does your life consist of and why do you feel bored? You get up in the morning, right to the table for breakfast; breakfast is over, and you move on to lunch; lunch over, you move on to dinner; and then to bed, house-heating, putting off lights, and in the morning you start doing the same again. This is a wheel, running everyday, as if a horse is tied to a wheel to keep it going, to take water out for someone’s garden, to water it. So the horse keeps turning and turning the wheel and takes water out for two, three, five, ten years and in the end the horse will be skinned and buried somewhere. This is what the horse earned throughout these years of his life, turning the wheel everyday and in the end the gardener disposed of the horse. You shall have to please God first! I do not mean that God, who, scientists say, is in the space. I mean the living God, who is everywhere and within you, who wishes only a wealth of good for you. The world is confined. If you think the world will make you happy, you fool yourselves; it will tie you on its wheel to take water out and having done what the world wanted from you and having damaged your health, the world will skin you to the bone. With such a bad master you are bound to have a bad son, a bad father, a bad teacher. Whatever circumstances you may be in now, you have to solve the difficult problems.
I shall dwell upon the issue of children. What are children meant for? Do you know why you gave birth to these children? To bring them up the way they should be. How do you bring them up? Mothers start teaching their daughters, "You must be proud, because you are not just anybody’s daughter. Do you know that you possess inheritance, you are educated, you can play the piano, and you are good-looking at that; you are much higher placed than her. So, stick to where you belong!" Fathers teach morals to their sons, "My son, do you know that I am not like what’s-his-name. You will inherit a good fortune, and what’s-his-name is simply a fool. You have to hold your head high, not to demean yourself; you have to know your price." Fathers instil pride and arrogance in their sons, teach them to be cruel to the weak creatures, while mothers instil pride and coquetry in their daughters, and all this depravity comes from the parents themselves. They give the germs of evil seeds - pride, doubt and any other evil. David said in his psalm, "They became alien from the time in their mother’s womb and forgot Your law, Lord."
Maids are now proud of their external beauty, which they maintain by means of external augmentations. They look like a maid, who got engaged to a lad, but the fiancé, taking a friend with him, went to test her. Having greeted them with a warm ‘welcome’ she took the tray to treat them to a drink, but the fiancé decided to make her stumble so that he could see if she would get angry. So he sprawled his leg and she stumbled; she fell down and the tray dropped on the floor. But the maid got up to her feet, not uttering a single word, not flying into a rage and went downstairs into the cellar. So the lad thought to himself, "Well, what a kind maid, she did not fly into fury, and how clever she was not to get angry, not even nervous, she coped with the case!" So he liked her a lot and he married her. But after they got married the wife started scolding and shouting at the smallest issues. And he remembered that case, how kind she was as a maid and how well she stood that mishap. And she said, "Well, you think I have endured! You should have come downstairs into the cellar to see what happened to the table when I nailed my teeth into it and how I broke it in my anger!" Now you too are very kind externally, but if someone gets into your cellar, you may break this person’s bones. Modern Christians are like this maid – they are very good externally, they can forgive, but you should see them what they are doing inside their cellar!
And all of you waste your time every day in idle, ill talk as to why this happened, why that happened, and you say, "There is no meaning in this life, no meaning in this world." I say, you have not tried the Teaching I preach to you. People put the Lord to the test and constantly tease Him, but He behaves very well to them. You may say that He can behave, He is strong. Yes, He can, because He understands how He can cure you, just like that lazy daughter who did not do anything, but only ordered, "Mother, pass me this, pass me that," and at last she fell ill because of her laziness, was taken to bed and made her mother call a doctor. Her mother sent for a doctor, the doctor came, understood what was wrong with her and gave instructions that the daughter should take walks and do exercises in the room. She was so idle that she would not do this, so while she was in bed, she played with her two thumbs to keep herself busy. The doctor came to visit her and finding her in the same position, he asked her whether she did any exercises, and she told him she had taken exercise. To his question how she did the exercises, she answered showing him what she did with her thumbs. The doctor understood that the maid was sick with laziness and told her that if she did not do as instructed by him, she would not recover her health…
Similarly, Christians do the exercise with the two thumbs. The Lord does not welcome such a performance, the Lord wants live exercise of the hands and legs, the Lord wants you to get moving. He wants you to build up virtues, good deeds, to really get into action, so that you can become healthy again. Why are you ill? Because you are lazy. Your legs, your hearts, your minds, your eyes, your mouths are stiff, the only thing you know is to ask the Lord: "Grant me this, Lord, grant me that!" You want the Lord to be your servant. OK, but your legs and hands will become stiff. Why do your legs hurt? You have no Virtue. Why do your hands hurt? You lack Justice; these are given to you to employ them for good deeds. You do not do good deeds, so you will suffer. Why do your ears ache? You lack Wisdom. Why do your eyes hurt? You have no Dawning Light1. If your mouth hurts, you have no Love; if your teeth hurt – the same story; if your head hurts, you have violated the Truth, there is no Truth within you. With all of these organs you are supposed to do good for the Lord, but you do exactly the opposite. When the Lord grants health to these organs, they feel too lazy to serve you; as soon as they are not employed for the sake of good, they fall ill and you send for the doctor. And there you are, the doctor prescribes exercises for them. To a mother, who feels too lazy to do good for the Lord, the Lord will send a lazy daughter, so that she will do the work for her and obey her commands. To a maid who is idle for the Lord, the Lord sends such a man so that she should cater to all his needs and please all his wishes. When the Lord sees that the father is idle and does no good, the Lord sends to him a dissipating son, to squander his father’s wealth by gambling and womanising. This is the Lord’s understanding for sick and idle people and this is how He cures them with exercises.
A man cannot get along with his wife, they cannot stand each other. People should not torment each other in such a way; people should live together and help each other. If you work jointly together, you will help a lot of people; you will take them out of many troubles. The same goes on in the Spiritual world. You should help one another. If you help the people close to you, you will be better off along the Path. Personality should be disposed of, and people should live in faith together. How did people manage to live collectively in old times? When someone had a field to reap, they all went together to the field to reap it.
The same goes for grape picking, similarly with corn – they sit together and shell the corn. Whatever the work, they will get together and do it. You should do the same! If someone is in trouble – get two or three sisters together, help each other out and the Lord will help you. If two or three of you are not enough, four or five of you should get together and thus you will relieve one another no matter what standing each one of you has. You all have to stick together!
And now James says, "Blessed is the one who endures a temptation to the very end; such a person will be saved and will receive the crown of life." And you should desire not the crown of vanity, but the crown of immortality, where there is no suffering, no temptations, no illness, where there is life full of good deeds. This Life is a plant and when it starts growing, it changes, it changes the soil too. Each plant has a different soil. You are one and same instrument, one and the same string. You will tune yourselves so that you can work in unity and produce a wonderful harmony. And when you start playing, whoever listens to you should be pleased. And when you start playing, you will learn this law; your hearts, your minds, your wills will tune themselves and you will be excellent players.
When Heaven speaks within you, you cannot receive it. Why so? At the same time, having a mouth you can receive good food, and good food is given to you, while the rotten food shall be thrown away as it is no good for people. What actually goes on within you? The Lord says, "You have placed bad thoughts in your mind, bad desires in your hearts and bad words come out of your mouths; and your mouth should refrain from bad words." If you take swill and sprinkle your brother with it, what will happen? Is this good, will your mother praise you for this? This is not Christianity - to sprinkle your brother with swill is not a good thing. Well, you may say that a human being can judge. I say, "Go, make it up with your brother; go to him and tell him, "Forgive me, my brother!" If he does not forgive you, take somebody with you and go again and tell him, "Forgive me, my sister!" If he still does not want to, go with the church and if he is still not willing, let him be like a pagan and a tax-collector. Go and tell him the Truth and if he had gone wrong, correct him. If his wound has gangrened, go, show it to him and cure him; if he is sick, tell him how to cure himself. I can see that the world is sick. Sick women shout and scold their husbands and want to get divorced. Sick men are after certain pleasures incompatible with God’s law; they want impossible things and leave their wives. I can see sick minds, sick hearts, and sick souls. It’s easy to know what life will be with such people… I was once travelling by train and I saw a gentleman with a cloak on. Another gentleman was humming walking freely, arms dangling at his sides, not willing to harm anybody. Suddenly the man in the cloak shouted, "Are you blind, why did you bump into me? Can’t you see that my arm hurts!" Indeed his right arm was bandaged. Obviously his arm hurt but the other gentleman did not know that his arm hurt. In spite of this, the other one continued shouting; he shouts because his arm is sick… You should keep fifteen centimetres distance from any person, because there are sick people, but you do not observe this rule. The wife wants to be close to her husband and would not let him part with her, while he is bored with all this and starts frequenting the pub and takes to drinking, because his soul hurts. And because you do not keep fifteen centimetres distance from your husband and you want to constantly be in touch with his sick soul, he starts running away from you. The Scripture says that God made the woman from a rib; do you know what a rib is? The letter ‘r’ stands for work, which initially was supposed to bring good to the world, but then she disturbed the world and the Lord punished her. So, God made the woman from the man’s rib, from the Wisdom’s rib, in order for her to be prudent, to bind the world, to implant a sort of sweetness into it, so that everybody could find comfort in her. And now the woman gives birth to unwise children. Mothers bring children up and they start speaking ill of their fathers, while fathers say that their sons are bad, that their sons are drunkards or steal and that the sons have not taken after the fathers. Foolish parents have foolish children, imprudent mothers have vagabonds for sons; this is a law. If your son dies, he dies because you are not pure; because you have stained yourselves, you have offended God’s law and you pay for this. Today I speak the Truth and it will be good if you listen to me, but if you do not listen to me, you will see for yourselves that you will learn your lesson. At last your master will make you bring water to him with the wheel, and when you learn your lesson he will skin you. I would not like this to happen. Therefore God appeals to His daughters.
Whoever is in suffering, that person is in the cauldron. You are now good, because anyone boiling in the cauldron is good. A soul having undergone huge sufferings is purified. You have all suffered and Purity is needed for the happiness in life. When one is pure, things are going for the better. You get up in the morning and everything starts turning upside down. Why so? Because there is no Purity. Take your lesson from this maid. God grants health to a person, but this person feels too lazy to work. Then God sends suffering to such a person. When one does not want to suffer, then torment is given to such a person. When one accepts torment, when one learns what suffering is and one puts up with these, then God says, "This one learnt to suffer. Relieve this person from suffering; give work to such a person!" You who are now at work, what do you do for the Lord? Or you will reply to me that the Lord is good. The Lord is good, but He will give you marks. You have a poor mark, a satisfactory mark, a good mark, a top mark, you have positive marks in everything: excellent in hypocrisy, very good for lying, a seven for anger, five point five for lack of self-restraint2. You cannot go without trials. In this life, the way it is heading, you will have poor marks.
I want you to study this task, to develop yourselves. You have to pray and to ask yourselves what you have to pray for. You should be patient. And persisting in your prayers, everything will progress. When a child puts something into one’s mind, the child goes to the mother and wants apples from her. So the child has set a task to itself – apples, nuts etc., goes and starts asking the mother. The mother gives apples to the child; then the child wants nuts too. She gives the child nuts; then the child wants something sweet. But the mother tells the child, "Not everything at once, my child, tomorrow you will get something else." And the child remembers the promise that he or she will get something else on the following day. You should also have a similar task and set your mind on something, you should go and ask, and the Lord will give you everything you need.
You should be good. However, being good is different from being like sheep. The Lord does not want sheep; the Lord wants good and reasoning people. Good are those people who do not sulk. If you go sulking, you are not good. You have to have a good soil, to cleanse these substances that make a person sulk. Your soil is rotten, this is why the Lord says that the seed happened to fall among thorns, was choked and did not grow. Another seed fell onto a stone, the sun scorched it and it withered. As it cannot root into the stone, it did not grow. Do not fool yourselves! If you do not create your soil now, you will never create it. There is no postponing of things! Do not postpone the Good! One good thought will attract all the good thoughts which will help to accomplish a good deed.
You sometimes feel that you become cold to someone and you do not feel like going somewhere. Do you know why this happens? Because there the place stinks, there is an abominable smell, this is why you do not feel like going to this place; their soil is rotten, a sheep was slain and it went rotten. It will certainly start rotting after it was slain. Get rid of the sheep, cleanse your soil or house and the stinking smell will go away! This is the law of Truth. When dirt gathers in water, the water tank is isolated, water is purified by sieving and churning it, and then it is allowed to run again. Otherwise, if these impurities that have gathered are not cleaned, you will drink it and you will fall ill… Similarly, when people sin, they enclose it, hide it and it starts stinking. No, you have to open the room and say, "I slew a sheep or a cow, I sinned, there look at me I threw them out!" Pay the one you took them from, and thus the sin will be thrown out and shall not stink.
There are heaps of rubbish in our lives as well. It’s all right that evil comes our way, let it come, but you should not accept it, should not become one with it, should not enter the sin like the prodigal son. I am not saying that there will be no crows or eagles circling around you trying to soil your nest. They may soil it from the outside, but it has to be clean from the inside, it has to be sacred. You clean your house physically everyday – is it not sufficient to do it once a year? Similarly you will clean yourself spiritually everyday, the way you do the physical cleaning. You have to clean yourself everyday! Friends will come to visit you; do not let them annoy you! The Lord does not want such people. Some say, "But I cannot sway myself do it." You will sway yourself, believe me! If you are a girder or a stone you won’t sway, but if you are human being you will sway. What does swaying mean? To be equally caring for yourself and for the people close to you. If you have anger burning within yourself, do not go anywhere, stay at home! You are loaded with a burden; do not go anywhere to unload your burden, as this does not comply with God’s law. Such a life is not good. Some may say that even religious people leave their burden, men, women, poets, writers and teachers, they all relieve one another. Prophets went to the woods to relieve themselves of their burden.
If a field is not reaped, it will never reap itself; this year it will yield a poor crop, next year the crop will be even poorer and thus it will stop bearing wheat. It’s better to have a small, reaped field rather than a big field that is not reaped. Because the small good, when taken care of, multiplies. The same is true for the soul. The Lord brings fruit into your soul; you take the fruit out through a hole to feed the mice. Holes should be filled! A needle will not do. Some sew patches to their hearts, to their minds; this is no good. You should understand accordingly when the Lord gives you something. You have to listen to Him and you have to understand Him well when He talks to you, and what He wants from you. You have to also listen to Him when you want from Him the most substantial things for your lives. Look, if you are split-minded, this is not God’s thought; neither is it God’s desire. Will the Lord listen to you if you pray without it being needed or required by you? He won’t listen to you, because you did not go to Him having prepared the lesson for today! But the Lord will forgive us. He will forgive you, but students have to study. Teachers have a set schedule: the first class in history, the second class in reading, the third class in maths, the fifth in music and the sixth in physical education. But we are taught differently back at home. Then stay at home, do not come to school. Children want to suck from their mothers all the time, but as soon as the mothers see that the children have teeth, they wean them off. Some children want their food mashed; food can be mashed for the child one, two, three, four, five years, but to have one’s food mashed until the age of twenty – this is not allowed. Hens too, when chickens grow up, start pecking them in order for the chickens to start looking for food on their own. Similarly with the Lord, He also wants us to learn how to feed ourselves, and to select good food for ourselves.
This is what the Lord wants us to do: anger is no good, it is madness! God’s Justice should always be manifested towards people! Hands are not given for evil, hands are meant to do good. If you do not do Justice, your hands will ache. If your deeds lack Virtue, your legs will hurt, you will not be healthy. If you have no Love, your mouth and teeth will ache; if you have no Truth, your head will ache; if you do not entertain good thoughts, you will become feeble-minded; if you are not wise, your ears will ache.
As you are not in harmony with the God’s law, you will always be sick and indisposed. And now you will go to the Lord and you will say, "Lord, I want patience! Grant me Your Strength, to go through all trials ahead of me; to endure it willingly! I want humility!"
Say for example you have a bad habit; when you feel this bad habit of yours is coming to the fore, you should start counting: one, two, three, four to thirty, forty, fifty; until you count to the end, this bad mood will fade away. While counting keep saying to yourself, "See, today I could endure a little, I did not fly into fury that much; tomorrow I shall refrain from lying twice; the following day I managed three times not to slander." And this is how the manifestations of each vice will be reduced little by little, until you get rid of the vice itself. If I cannot speak well of people, I shall make it my task for today to try and speak well of people. Tomorrow you will do someone good, on the following day you will save somebody from an evil and thus the good will be continually growing within you.
A woman, who has a thousand good words, will be a good woman for the country, will be a good mother, will have good sons, clever daughters, and such a country will prosper. And I want you to have good thoughts, to do good deeds, to have an eye for the good in life! Do not worry; the child is not afraid of falling down while learning how to walk. You will fall down; will stand up on your feet, but fear not – you will learn! You all experience a strong desire to do good! The Apostle says that righteous people fall down seven times. You will encounter great obstacles in your lives, but you will also gain new experience and a new lifestyle. Amen!
delivered on the 17 February 1917.
1 In the original Bulgarian text, instead of “Dawning Light”, stands the untranslatable Bulgarian word “Videlina”. Externally, this word means “the thin light which spreads out at the first break of dawn”, but not the dawn itself. From esoteric point of view, according to Master Peter Deunov, “Videlina” is one of the Divine, reasonable elements; it creates the human thought and the desires; it comes from within, not from outside; external light is just reflection of this “Videlina”.
2 In Bulgarian educational system of marking, 5.5 is almost excellent mark