I will now read the second chapter of Genesis.
As you read this chapter, you turn back to the distant past when God created the world and man. The first man was a child from whom was expected obedience. God placed man in Eden where there were four rivers. These four rivers represent the four directions of the worlds East, West, North and South. East represents Justice, North stands for Truth, South is the Good, and West symbolizes Obedience. This is the only correct interpretation of these four rivers in the Garden of Eden. If man suffers even at present, this is due to disobedience. Because of disobedience, he had to leave the Garden of Eden and go into the world to meet with sufferings and difficulties. An insignificant cause created great consequences. It is true that insignificant causes can create great misfortunes.
That which happened in the Garden of Eden with the first man occurs also today in the world. All people were in heaven and departed from there because of their disobedience. When they find themselves facing sufferings and trials, the people ask what they must do in order to free themselves from these sufferings and trials. This is very simple! When they listen, the people will be able to cope with their sufferings easily. Why is obedience necessary for man? So that he may not run into any misfortune. What must a man do when he walks on the streets of a busy city? He must open his eyes and ears on all sides so that he can see and hear from which direction a car or a truck approaches, and in this way avoid an accident. If a man does not hear well enough, he can run into a number of misfortunes.
The same can be said about the divine paths and laws. He who does not know the paths and laws in the divine world will run into a number of conflicts, misfortunes and sufferings. This is due to human weaknesses. Many people think that if they say a short prayer in the morning or if they accomplish a small good deed, they have fulfilled the requirements of the day. That is not so. Man must be constantly in touch with God, must unceasingly listen to His ordinances and obey them. When he is constantly in touch with God, a man can profit from the light that comes from God, and in this way he will see where he is going. Wherever he may go, whichever path he may follow, a man must be constantly alert. He must open and close his eyes and ears quickly in order to hear and see what happens around him. However, whether or not he keeps his eyes and ears open or he keeps them closed, man must pay attention to three things in his life: first, he must be careful not to stumble; secondly, he must guard that which he has; and thirdly, he must support the conditions for the development of that which nature has implanted in him.
And so, disobedience creates the evil manifestations of the flesh: adultery, jealousy, murder, etc. These cannot inherit the Kingdom of God. The fruits of the Spirit are: love, joy, peace, longsuffering, meekness, temperance. He who develops these virtues has awarded himself with the fruits of the Spirit. He who has these virtues at his disposition will know how to use them in each instance. For example, in different life situations love manifests itself in different ways. It is true art when a man knows when and how to manifest his virtues. He who has attained this art is never anxious, afraid or nervous. If someone owes him something, he is not disturbed nor concerned over it. He never judges anyone; he never wants anything from anyone. He realizes that there exists no one who can be perfect in his obligations. If someone is satisfactory in one respect, in another he may not be perfect. Today people do not meet their obligations precisely, but, in spite of that, the law is not strict with them. Yet the day will come when the law will keep them responsible for the smallest obligation. Life will hold them responsible, not only in respect to people, but also in respect to animals and plants. Whatever fruit he eats, he will have to plant its seed to give it the opportunity to grow and develop again. If he does not plant its seed, the law will hold him responsible.
Today it is expected that all people manifest an inner, mystical understanding of life. The present concepts of religion are more like entertainment. This is not religion. True religion has an inner, mystical aspect which must be studied and understood. You listen to some preacher speak about something from the Old or the New Testament. You can see that he himself has not understood the deep meaning of that about which he preaches and, as a result, cannot apply it. One priest or preacher talks on the verse of Christ from the Scripture: "If someone has two shirts, let him give one of them to his neighbor." The preacher talks about this verse but, at the same time, he cannot understand how it would be possible to give one of his two shirts to his neighbor.
One Sunday morning a priest was speaking to his congregation about giving. For this purpose he quoted the above-mentioned Scripture verse. His wife was moved very much by his sermon. When she went home, she was sure she understood what she heard. That morning a poor beggar knocked at their door. When she saw him clothed in rags, she decided that she would give him one of the priest's two good shirts, since he had preached the idea that morning in church. Hadn't he said we must think of the poor people? When the minister returned home after spending the morning sweating in church, he wanted to change into a clean shirt. Great was his surprise when he discovered what had happened to his second shirt! His wife reminded him of the sermon. She told him she thought she had done the right thing. "That which I said in church concerns other people, not us. You can't give the shirt of a minister to a beggar."
Many people say that if one wanted to fulfill God's will according to the Scriptures, his affairs would be in chaos. On the contrary, if a man fulfills God's will properly, all his affairs will come to a good end. People are not ready to fulfill God's will because their hearts and minds are filled up to the brim; they are overburdened with the problems of life.
Some nine men were gathered to eat soup from one common bowl and with one common spoon. The spoon was passing so quickly from mouth to mouth that when a hare ran by next to them no one could even make a remark. The mouth of everyone was filled. They were all busy sipping the soup. Such is the situation of modern men. They cannot pray to God; they cannot fulfill God's will because their mouths are filled, their hearts and minds are burdened. In order to fulfill God's will, they must free themselves of the burdens in their hearts and minds. How should a man pray? How should he fulfill God's will? If he is a wanderer, he must take off his pack and then enter the church. If he is a soldier, he must leave his gun and sword outside and then enter the church. If he has a family, he must forget the affairs of his family. If he is a scientist, he must free his mind of all formulas.
The pack of the wanderer, the gun of the soldier, the family responsibilities, the formulas of the scientist — these are all secondary matters which lead man away from the right path. This is a misconception of life. The farmer rises early in the morning and, without stopping to say a prayer, he rushes to plow and seed the fields as quickly as possible. What is the use of such rushing when, after he has plowed and sown it, in time a heavy rain and hail will destroy his wheat? What is the use of rushing if God does not provide favorable rainfall to water his fields and garden? What does this indicate? This indicates that every work and effort, great or small, are in place when God is blessing them. If they are not blessed by God, they are not in their proper place. True work, true effort is that which is blessed by God. Therefore, work little, but your work must be blessed. In such case, the little work that is blessed gives as much return as a great work. Such is the relation between the fire and the match. A big fire or only a small match can produce the same result. When blessed by God, both the great labor and the small give equal results.
Now I will put my attention on the ideas of work and calm. Man can rest only after he has worked. Retiring follows working. Without work there is no rest. In the Scriptures we read that God rested after working for six days. "And God saw everything that He had made, and, behold, it was very good." Therefore, true resting implies well-performed work. The unnatural life, however, tires man. Such a life will leave man tired always. What do the sins of unnatural life represent? Thorns and thistles. It is terrible to walk with bare feet on a ground covered with thistles. Having once tried such a thorny path, man inevitably will search for the smooth, clean path. Yet, before being able to move freely on this path, he must stop to remove all the thorns from his wounded feet. He must rest for awhile until they heal and, only then, can he walk on the clean way. Modern men walk more often barefoot, and, as a result, their feet are bruised and prickled. When you see someone's feet are bruised and prickled, you will know he has been walking barefoot. Such a man constantly complains about the thorns, or about the sins that he has committed. If a man wants to be good, righteous, he must be well shod!
It has been said that Adam and Eve were naked in Paradise. Their nakedness did not imply sinfulness. They both were good, but, because of disobedience to God’s order, they had to leave Paradise and go into the world, where they encountered great suffering and misfortune. To help them withstand the outer raw conditions, God clothed them in garments of skin. Therefore, as long as the first man lived in Paradise, he was naked from without but within he was clothed. When he left Paradise, from without he was clothed but from within naked. The inner nakedness implies the sinfulness of man. In order to be clothed from within and from without, man must live a pure and holy life. He must listen and obey that which the Spirit from within speaks to him. If he lives in this way, he will complete successfully the work he has begun. A man may have worked well all of his life and, at the ends ruin his work. There are mothers who work and labor all of their lives and, at the end, have no accomplishment. Why? Because they have manifested some disobedience in regard to the Spirit. This happens not only with mothers but with farmers, scientists, musicians, poets, etc.
A man lives a good, spiritual life for twenty years but after that deviates from the right path and wonders what has happened to him when he has lost everything. The answer is simple. By mistake, he has struck his jug somewhere and the water has run out. As a result, he feels a great emptiness in his life. Whose fault is this? It is his own.
Therefore, if the good, the enlightening cannot remain in a man's heart and if his mind is void of evolving thought, he himself is responsible for that. From this, we can draw the following conclusion: No one can become rich as long as God’s blessing is not with him. Where there is the blessing of God, there is also achievement. Where God’s blessing is not present, no achievement can be expected. This is the right understanding. Modern men toil, labor and work, and at the end remain disappointed. Why? Because they have worked without the blessing of God. The following is a law: Where the blessing of God is absent, disappointment is present. In order for the blessing of God to come upon man, inevitably he must be obedient. To whom? To the divine within himself, to the Spirit of God.
God's blessing is that great seal that is placed upon every human achievement. Only such achievement has the power of currency in life. We can say the same about coins, too. Only the coin with the image of the ruler of the country from which it originates has the power of currency. All coins which are in use bear the image of their ruler who gives them value. With what currency should man deal? With the good. Working with the coins of the good, man inevitably knows the evil too. Pure, true coin is that on which is stamped the image of the good. If the image of the good is not upon it, then it is a counterfeit. Can a man profit by a counterfeit coin?
Thus, the four rivers spoken of in the Bible represent the four virtues which every man must have. A man must be just, truthful, good and loving. A man must have in himself righteousness, truth, virtue and love. Outside of these virtues, man can achieve nothing. The reason why men can have no achievement is due to the fact that they look toward the West. They admire the sunset and sleep when the sun rises. The West represents the material life, for which all people are awakened. It is good for a man to admire the sunset, but he must also look at the sunrise. God expects all people to be just, truthful, good and loving.
This is not foreign to man because he expects this relationship from others toward himself. Therefore, just as man requires of the people to be good, just, truthful and loving in respect to him, so he, too, must be such in respect to them. If people live this way among themselves, they will create strong inner ties — the ties of love. Only love is able to bind all people into one so that they may feel like brothers to each other. Nothing can break these ties except disobedience. It entered between the first men in Paradise. They broke their ties with God, and it drew them away from Him. Ever since, people bear the consequences of this disobedience which follows them like shadows everywhere in their lives.
The first thing expected of all people is to turn over the page of their lives on which is written the law of disobedience and pass on to the new page — to obedience. People have followed until now some kind of obedience, but they have been obedient to the serpent. They were obedient among themselves but have not listened to the voice of God. Those to whom they have been obedient have lead them into suffering and misfortunes. Now they must turn to God and listen to Him. Disobedience to the good, to God, implies obedience to the evil. Turn now the old page, the page of obedience to the evil, and apply the contents of the new page — obedience to the good, obedience to God. In order to divert the first people from the law of obedience to God, the serpent made great promises that were never fulfilled.
I tell you now, turn to the page in your book on which is written "obedience to God." The very least that will happen is deliverance from suffering. What more than that can you expect? Only he who walks in life with open eyes and with awakened consciousness can escape from suffering. Not understanding the law of obedience, people run into a number of difficulties and sufferings and ask themselves what is the meaning of life. For a man to be good, just and truthful, he must fulfill God’s will. In the fulfillment of God's will lies the meaning of life. Christ says, "I have not come to fulfill my will but the will of Kim who has sent me." The most sublime task of man on earth is obedience to God, that is, to fulfill God's will.
Therefore, he who applies the law of obedience in his life is a first class singer, musicians artist, or scientist. Until he reaches this law, man will experience many difficulties and suffering which will make him strong and great. Disobedience has made men feeble and fearful. They speak of fearlessness, but fear is in every step they take.
A hare armed himself with two guns and took a walk through the woods, saying to himself, "Now I need not fear anything." The branch of a shrub rubbed him gently on his belly. He threw away the two guns and ran as fast as he could. Seeing that in reality there was no danger, he turned back to arm himself again with the two guns. He thought again that he feared nothing. Yet, during the whole day he did nothing but Throw away-the guns and arm himself again.
I say to you: Once you arm yourselves with the guns, do not throw them away. The guns represent the good with which one must arm himself. Once one has armed himself with good, he must never reject it. If you say that you need not be good, patient, just, truthful and loving, you have thrown away the guns with which you were armed. Always keep your guns attached to your belt so that when the evil comes your weapons are ready. Be courageous; do not fear the evil.
If you want to develop correctly, I would advise that you should not attempt to climb the highest peak when you first climb a mountain. When you go hiking, first climb the lower peaks until gradually you are strong enough to climb the highest ones. If you try to climb immediately the highest peaks first, you will suffer inevitably. In the highest regions rage strong winds and storms, and if you are not prepared you may not be able to withstand them.
When we speak of obedience, people ask themselves how they must fulfill this law. When they have been punished for some time, they will learn themselves how to be obedient. In this respect they will be in the same situation as some poor people who were going to the home of a Turkish governor who was to provide them with food. The governor was a good and generous man. However, everyone who entered his home to eat afterwards received a good thrashing, according to the orders of the governor« The people were wondering why this man, so generous and good in providing them with such a quantity of food, was punishing them. A poor but very pious man, after starving for three days, decided to go also to the home of the Turkish governor to eat from his table. "You will be beaten," he was told by the others. "I am ready to bear any punishment, if only I can eat." He entered the home of the governors, paid respect to him, and patiently waited until he received some food. The governor gave his servants orders to serve this man with special care. The poor man was eating, blessing the food and thanking God. After he had a satisfactory dinner, he received from the governor different gifts and money and was sent off with blessings.
The poor man turned to each direction of the room as if expecting something. "Do you want something else, also?" the governor asked. "I am waiting to be beaten. I was told that everyone who receives food gets a thrashing." The governor explained to him that this is done to those who» after having received God's blessings, never thank and praise the Lord. "When food is served to them, not having yet eaten any, they say, 'Enough; that's enough!' In this way they interfere with the flow of the blessing. You were the only one who acted differently, and for this reason I am providing you with additional gifts without beating you."
And so, when the suffering comes in your life, never say, "Enough;" do not interfere with the flow that comes from the divine faucets. If you stop the sufferings, you will stop the joy also. Whoever stops the divine faucets will be beaten inevitably. In whatever home you enter today you will find all faucets stopped. If you want to use the water of these faucets, you must pay. All human things are locked with keys; all divine things are free of locks and keys.
Therefore, the easiest and the best life is that in which the law of obedience is applied. When people complain about their lives, this indicates lives without obedience to God. Such a life creates hardships and misfortune. The unnatural life is very hard. Realizing this, a man must correct his life. Sinning is an act of heroism, yet greater heroism is manifested when one corrects his mistakes. One of the reasons for people's mistakes is that they do not think correctly. The right thought doesn8t need any arguments, proofs. The closer a thought is to the human mind, the better it is understood. Thought understood is that which has been tried and verified.
In ancient times, a learned man went to a great master and asked him how he ought to live. The master gave him many methods by which to live and concluded with the orders "Love for God and one's neighbor." When the disciple heard that, he said to his master, "Enough; now I must go into the world and apply this order so that I may see what I can do." Two years later he came back to report to his master how he had applied this great divine command and what he had learned.
You, too, as disciples must make experiments to see what you can achieve. If you do not try, you will never learn self-confidence. When he lacks self-confidence, a man knows nothing about himself, about his capabilities, his chances. When a man works, everything can be achieved. Walking on his path of life, he must accept everything which is determined for him. Every man must walk on his own path and not interfere with anyone receiving light directly from the sun. Let the light enter freely into the eyes of all people. This is the meaning of obedience to God, of freedom.
The manifested Love of the Spirit, the manifested Wisdom of the Spirit, the manifested Truth of the Spirit bring fullness of God's life, of the one, Eternal God, source of all blessings in life.
MORNING SERMON OF THE MASTER, September 30, 1934, in the town of Rousse.