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The Grain of Wheat

Talk given by the Master Beinsa Douno on March 23rd, 1914 in Sofia

"Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain." John 12:24

The grain of wheat is a symbol of the human soul. It represents a great story in the development of Nature. If you could unfold the leaves of the grain of wheat and trace out its history, you will completely understand the history of the human soul. As the grain of wheat falls into the soil and dies, as it sprouts up, grows and bears seed, the same is also true of the human soul.

Probably the grain of wheat is something very simple and of no value to you – it is only a sixteenth of a thousandth part of a kilogram. How much would it cost, if a kilogram of wheat costs one grosh[1]? However, the grain of wheat contains a power, a potential and a spirit of selflessness, by which it nourishes both itself and others. But when you sit at table, you do not think at all about the grain of wheat, you do not know what joy and what thoughts it imparts to you. You do not know its origin. People do not value it, hens do not value it, no one values the grain of wheat. But it is a great mystery in the world.

Now, what lies hidden in it? The grain of wheat is an emblem of life.

And if we take the Bulgarian letter "ж" /j/, which is the first letter of the word wheat in Bulgarian[2], it fully corresponds to the grain of wheat: with two legs or roots below and two small branches above. When we sow it, it shows us the direction in which we have to strive. The grain of wheat tells us that we have to strive for the One, Whom we have come from – God, and that in order to strive for God, we have to branch out, blossom and bear food for the world. That is why Christ says: "Help and sacrifice yourselves for your fellowmen as I do." And at another place: "I am the Bread of Life, which came down from Heaven". And what is bread made of? It is made of wheat.

Contemporary people grumble that their life is unhappy. All are discontent – kings and princes too. From the highest to the lowest ones – all want something and when it is given to them, they are still discontent. And ask them why – because they seek more and more.

But let us go back to the history of the grain of wheat. What would you say, if you were in its place, sown into the ground? You would say: "It is the end, we are decaying, our life is over!" More faith is to be found in the grain of wheat than in us. Buried in the ground, it decays, being destroyed, but when the first beams of the Sun appear, it immediately understands its language and says to itself: "I am not going to die, I will rise again and bear fruit for others". And it starts generating energy, striving for the Sun. It bears fruit and ripens. Then people do not leave it alone: they take a sickle and cut it down. But its sufferings do not end here: after people have reaped it, they bind it in sheaves, prick it by pitchforks and throw it into carts, bringing it to the threshing floor and settling it in piles as big as mountains. Then they trample upon it by horses and threshing-boards. What if you were in its place?

Human life passes through the same process. You ask: "Why should we pass through all this process?" One should draw a lesson from this example of the grain of wheat. After the threshing-board and the horses' hooves have threshed it, people take it and put it in the barn. But its sufferings do not end there again: they sift the grains, the bad ones fall below and the good ones that remain, are put into sacks and taken to the mill, where two heavy mill-stones grind them and smash them completely. If you were in the grain's place, what would you say? – "What life, what world has God created!" But the grain of wheat has great patience. It says: "You will yet see what my history is." It is taken from the mill as flour and carried home, but still not left in peace. The wife will roll up her sleeves, sift the flour, throw away some of it, put leaven in the good one and turn it into dough. If you were in the grain's place, you will say: "Our sufferings are already over." No! When the dough rises, it goes into the oven and when it is taken out, we see those nice fresh-smelling loaves of bread. If you were in the grain's place, you will say: "Our sufferings are over at last." But in a short time people break up these nice loaves and start eating them. In this way the grain of wheat enters our stomach, forming nutrients that enter our minds, and what happens then? Great thoughts are formed in our minds and new desires in our hearts. The grain of wheat carries the garments that clothe our feelings. It flows in the pen of writers and poets, in the bow of violin players. This is what the grain of wheat can give us.

And if it had not passed through the process of all this development, we would never see such beautiful things in Nature. Why? Because the grain of wheat gives us strength to look and see. That is why Christ says: "I am the Bread of Life."

And in order to be alive one needs to be in communion with one's environment, to integrate into it, helping others and being helped by them. As the grain of wheat passes through such a process, in the same way we should sacrifice ourselves. And this sacrifice is not so heavy.

Now let us turn to the story of the life of Christ and of the Jewish nation. How do you explain this contradiction: a nation has been waiting for thousands of years for its savior, for its King to come and liberate it, and at the time that He appears, namely the Jewish high-priests and princes turn against Him? You would say that if Christ came today, you would behave better to Him. I doubt it. And I shall present you a fact: see how a husband behaves to his wife or a wife to her husband and so you will know how you would behave to Christ. When Truth will appear in the world, it will not be clothed richly, but in the simplest garb. That is why Christ appeared among the Jewish nation in such a simple fashion. That is the reason why people cannot comprehend Truth. Such are the laws of this world.

But there is also another law in the world that is manifested in the sunlight – when the Sun begins to shine on all the seeds and beings on Earth, the light that produces joy and gladness in some people, produces hatred and spite in others. The light that makes some people well-disposed, causes others to be fierce and violent. The light and heat make a wolf start looking for sheep to satisfy its hunger. The same light and heat falling on a thief make him thinking how to steal more money. If they fall on someone who is willing to do Good, this person will wonder whether he/she can find a poor man whom to help. Give a grain of wheat to a hen and it will produce nice feathers; give it to a swine and it will produce strong bristles; give it to a wolf and it will produce good teeth and nails; give it to a fish and it will produce nice scales. The physiologists cannot explain this process. Each being adapts food and heat according to its development and understanding. You can comprehend this law, testing these two contradictory worlds.

It is inexplicable why evil exists in human beings, why they prefer hatred to Love and falsehood to Truth. And many questions "Why" will remain inexplicable. The Bulgarian word "why"[3] is a question mark, meaning "I want." Why should we want? – There is a law, stating that we have to strive for advancement.

Christ says that if the grain of wheat fallen to the ground does not die, it will remain alone in this world. What is loneliness in life? It is the greatest suffering that one can experience on Earth. Multiplication is the purpose of life. All sufferings in the world come from the fact that people want to live for oneself only. Evil is always born out of this wish to be alone and to become the center of the world. But this is impossible in the Divine laws. Our thoughts and desires fail, because we construct them on sand. We can be happy in the world only if we live for God. And we have to live for Him. We find the explanation of this in Nature. When the Sun rises in the morning, it rises for all, because it loves all. It is considerate to all beings – from the lowest to the highest ones – and that is why all turn their eyes to it. But does the Sun say to us that we have to enter it? It tells us only to make use of the benefits it is giving. And just as it illuminates the world, so should we shed light and enlighten those around us.

We have some false ideas in our minds that come from our individual lives. For example, if you enter a house that has a single window, but it is full of twenty to thirty visitors, you will tell them: "You have not right to stay by the window: I want to look through it alone!" But while you are looking at the Sun, all others will be deprived of its light. So you should call them all and show them the way out of the house in order to see the light. That is why it is not good to keep many people around you, since they can never have the benefit of the sunlight and heat all at the same time. We have to tell them to leave.

That is why Jesus says: "He who loves himself must leave himself" and at another place he says: "He who loves his father and mother more than Me is not worthy of Me". So, if a person gets too close to the window, he will shut out the whole view from the others. Keep a distance of twenty to thirty steps farther off. It is in the physical environment. Jesus means that life does not consist of material benefits. They are only simple tools and aids in the same way as textbooks, pens and boards are to students. Do not think that God has prepared for you only these simple things. He has prepared much greater things.

Ask a frog about its idea of life and it will answer: "I would like more flies to fly over the pond I am living in and I would like the flies to fly nearer, so that I could catch them." And when sometimes you see the frog sitting quiet like a philosopher, it is observing the flies: to catch them if they come nearer. Such is its concept of life.

Advancing further, we should not think, that we have already reached the peak of our development. There is still a lot to be covered along this staircase from our position to the Path we are striving for. The distance between human beings and angels is so great; it is almost the same as the distance between tadpoles, from which frogs will be developed, and human beings. From the angels' point of view we are still little frogs. Some people object: "But humans are made in the image and likeness of God, aren't they?" However, they have not attained this image and likeness up to now.

You see how we act. In order to say that "we are made in the image and likeness of God", we have to possess the traits of God. And what are His traits? They are Virtue, Love, Wisdom and Truth. Virtue excludes evil, Love excludes hatred, Wisdom excludes senselessness and Truth excludes falsehood. If all these negatives are excluded, we shall have the likeness of God, but if they are not excluded, we are still little frogs.

I have nothing against frogs – they have to eat flies. Why? I will tell you why. Flies are winged, so they live in a higher state than frogs. The latter aspire to fly in the air, they want to receive the vibrations of the flies, to develop them and to become flying. Why do wolves eat sheep? – They have to eat sheep in order to become gentle, for when we eat good things we become good. Some actors had this experience: when they wished to play a role of the ideal love, they ate mutton for a long time, for this kind of meat disposes a person to such a state. Therefore, wolves have the right to eat sheep, if they want to become gentle. And they will surely become gentle, for they are much gentler now in respect to what they were before. And I will tell you why people eat mutton and poultry: they eat mutton, because they want to become nice; and they eat poultry, because they want to become winged as the angels are. And you have this right. Evil is not in nutrition. When a certain food is forbidden, it is because of the consideration not to cause suffering to the being used for this food. I say, you can eat such food. When you go to the coop and catch a hen, if it does not cluck, you can kill it and eat it. But if it clucks, leave it – it wants to live. In the same way if a sheep bleats, leave it – it wants to live. Therefore, you should ask them, you should see which sheep and which hen is ready to live in you.

Christ says: "I am the Bread of Life and who eats Me will have eternal life."

We have to purify ourselves to be able to understand the words of Christ. We have to purify our sight and our mind. Our mind is a perfect tool, if we know how to use it, but it is also very dangerous, if we cannot use it. When you plough an empty field in order to sow it, it is your right – you follow the natural law. But when you plough an already cropped field, you do a foolish thing. Some people say: "We have to think over and criticize." In their view science cannot exist without criticism. Criticizing – well, but in what way? Criticism that is like surgery – to remove the diseased part of a human body – is useful, I understand, but to remove a healthy part is out of question. It is not difficult to be such a surgeon, for each one can take a saw and cut off someone's leg, all of you have this skill. But only few know how to perform a surgical operation successfully.

In order to learn this we have to be ruled by the law of Virtue and Love in all cases. Do not think that I am teaching you a doctrine of peace and calm, when I speak to you about Love. A person who wants to love should endure the greatest sufferings in the world. Who has not suffered cannot experience the Divine principle of Love. In order to love God, we need to be ready for sacrifice, just as God sacrifices Himself for us. To come to know Him, you say: "God, give us what we need." "Give, give, give" – this call can be heard from one end of the world to the other.

And currency has never been cheaper than nowadays. Today we all receive salaries probably three or four times bigger than people before, but again we do not have enough. Money is devaluated, for no goods correspond to it. So we should better ask for wheat, maize, pears, apples.

You say: "God, I want to be beautiful, I want to be rich!" You want to have many things, but do you know that it will be a disaster for you. If you become rich, you will be an object of evil intentions. And you will need guards to keep you safe as those rich Americans who take three or four guards, because they are exposed to blackmail at each step. So we do not need riches – we need only those basic things that make our life good.

We have neglected the development of our hearts. So we have to go back to that fundamental principle of developing and ennobling our hearts. Evil does not nest in the mind, but in the heart. Each one of us has to ask one's heart of what it wishes.

It is our fault, for we have corrupted our hearts alone by making them repeatedly lie, think evil, etc. in the same way as the maid-servants do. God said in the Scriptures: "My son, give me your heart!" God knows and sees human faults – He requires nothing else from us but to open our hearts and let Him in. You will ask: "How?" In the same way as we open a window to let the light come into the room. There are sayings: "A room full of light is not visited by doctors or diseases." And also: "Where Light never enters, the doctor never goes out." In the same way, no devil has admittance to the human heart dwelled by God. God is like a doctor namely in this sense.

If a doctor pays you a visit, he will say: "You have to eat more, to drink more, to do this and this." And we do all this until our back has been broken.

We are often like that camel-driver who traveled in the desert and whose camel could hardly carry the whole load. When he found a fox skin on his way, he put it on the camel's back. But then it got broken and the load remained in the desert. The back of the camel can bear only a definite weight on it. We are also like this camel and we are also travelling. If we put on our backs more load than we can carry, one day we will hinder in our development. I do not recommend you poverty with this. But I recommend you to gather riches in three aspects: not only physical, but also mental and spiritual. The Heaven approves such rich people, because they can be generous. And when Christ says: "Lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven", He means the spiritual treasures.

Lay up your capital in Heaven, so that God may feed the poor on Earth by its interest. It is not the angels who are working out our salvation, but we have to do it by ourselves. And we have all provisions for this. The law does not require of all of us to be equally learned; each one has to know only what is necessary for him. Someone says: "My brain is of small size", but I answer him: "If you cannot care for a foal, how could you manage with a horse? If you have a heart of small size and cannot direct it, how can you direct a bigger heart with greater desires?"

What should we do? We should not think about the future, but rather take advantage and use for good all the benefits that the present day brings us. It carries all the future benefits for us. The law is that God, Who has given us provisions for this day, will do the same for all other days. We should not think what will happen to us in the future, but we have to stay calm: there are certain laws that regulate the relationships between people. It is not arbitrary at all that someone may cause you a harm, but it will happen according to the law itself. However, any misfortune will bring you a blessing; any obstacle will open a new horizon for you. You may test this at all times, so do not worry about the misfortunes that may befall on you.

Some people ask me about the political situation in Bulgaria and what will happen to the state. Is it not funny! What has happened by now? Bulgaria is being massaged a little bit, that is all. It was discharged of some burden; it was given a new experience and a new task to solve. We do not take up to think in a reasonable way about the laws regulating Life, but we are looking for the guilty ones. Tell me who is guilty. Now you cannot find the guilty ones. The individual life of people is to be blamed. When one wants to become a king of the others, he is guilty. And who wants to depose the king, he is guilty as well. It is indifferent for us who the king is – this or that one, a third or a forth one; they all follow the same path.

I do not say that one should not wish to become a king or a queen. But of what subjects? Of one's mind, heart and will. What is the state of your residents? Have you managed to control and arrange your thoughts, feelings and wishes? You first should give an example to the world. What a preacher am I, if I turn to the people and tell them to be generous, but I am a miser; tell them not to steal, but I steal; tell them not to lie, but I lie? A master who is teaching the others should be a model for them and first should give an example. And Jesus, coming down to teach the human beings, first gave them the pattern. And if we master His teaching, the world will be immediately changed. We possess a dynamic force hidden in us, but we cannot use it, because we do not know how to work.

Once a prickle grew on a road, blocking the movement. Travelers passing by it hit it with their crooks – but the more they hit it, the stronger it became until it began to overturn the carts. People did not know what to do. But then a pick came and said to the prickle: "I am going to show you my art too!" At first the prickle laughed at it, thinking: "So many people could do nothing to me, will you frighten me then?"

The pick began to undermine the prickle's roots from far away. It mined deeper and deeper. And in some time the prickle said: "You have found my weak point".

Until you put a pick to work in you, the prickle inside will always laugh at you, saying: "I am going to grow up and up!"

It is an allegory to be comprehended by you. What is the pick? Think and find out!

We have to be always at the place of a judge. For example, in the American civil war two men – a blind one and a crippled one – were caught to steal apples and were brought to a judge. The blind one said to the judge: "I am blind, I did not steal, but I took some apples from the ground." The crippled one cried: "I have no legs, so I could not go to steal apples!" After some thought the judge said: "Put the crippled man on the back of the blind one" and he added: "He who has eyes has found the apple-tree and he who has no legs, but hands, has gathered the apples". And they were really caught in that position: the crippled man was on the back of the blind one.

The same is true of the human being, consisting in fact of two beings: one is blind and the other is crippled. When God catches them in crime, each one will claim: "I have not picked, I have not taken, I could not be there!" But God answers: "Put one on the back of the other!" and after that He judges them.

Who is the blind being? – It is the human instinct. And who is the crippled being? – It is the human mind. They both have decided to steal apples. But when they are caught, each one says: "Why do you blame me?" But they are both guilty.

Evolution is a necessity for us. Much greater benefits are in store for us, but we should become intelligent, good and mature enough, so that this heritage could be entrusted to us. These three things that I mentioned before – Virtue, Justice and Wisdom – are great riches and if you possess them, you will be healthy and happy.

But you will ask: "How can we apply this Teaching in the world?" We are not required to set the world right. The world is set right and no abnormalities exist in it, for everything moves according to a set order. We know why events – natural or political ones – occur. We should not alter this flow.

But the individual correction of each person in the world – male or female – is a necessity. When individuals transform themselves, their children – their sons and daughters – will be also transformed. And when their neighbors also pass this transformation, the whole world will be improved of itself. As the leaven is, so is the dough. It is the principle, which Christ has established and He is working for its realization. And just as the chrysalis starts its development, in the same way the world will be uplifted and changed for the better. The great unrest in it is due to all those, who cannot form their own chrysalis and they are worried about how they will spend the coming winter.

The transformation, therefore, should take place in our minds, in our hearts and in our wills. And after this transformation has been performed, we will feel the possession of a certain inner power. Then we will make contact with those higher Beings, who have advanced spiritually and whom we call saints. Then our minds will be enlightened in the same way as students are enlightened when they are amongst their teachers. The saints are the teachers of humanity and we all should take their guidance, for they teach the world how to live. But you will ask: "Where are these teachers, at what place? We do not see their images in the church." Every object has a shadow, by which we can find the object itself. Your desires are just a shadow in the world, your aspirations too.

If you want to grasp the essence, you should observe the law: from your heart to move up to your mind and to think about God. How can we imagine God? We can imagine Him as the most perfect Man, in Whom there is absolutely no malice or hatred. God loves the human beings in the same way as a real father loves his children. Such is the attitude of God to us.

Now, how do you think: is He listening to us or not? He is listening to us and He is working within our minds. The high spirits that we have every day is due to Him. Just as the Sun makes us disposed every day after its rise, in the same way the happy moments in life are due to this inner Sun that is shining within us. Rises and settings exist in the spiritual life as well. The Sun lifts high in your mature age – you are at your noon. And you will set in your old age in order to rise again.

God will rise in many hearts and minds, but He will not rise in many others. Those persons who will experience the Divine rise will feel joy and gladness; but those who will not experience it will say: "Life is misfortune, sorrow and suffering". They have to wait. Why? – Because there are not conditions within them for rising. If the Sun rises in them prematurely, it will be a disaster, so it is better for them to rest now. I do not say that they are going to die, not in the least. I only quote a law. When I speak about setting, everyone associates it with dying. What is death? This is a supposition. Everyone has to die in order to be able to tell what death is, and now you are only imagining.

In one of his stories Tolstoi tells the following: he met a Russian monk, 85 years old, white bearded, and asked him: "What were the reasons compelling you to become a monk?" And the monk told him his story in short: "I come from a royal family. When I was between 21 and 25, my parents wanted me to marry a princess. At that time I fell into an allergic sleep – doctors came and checked my pulse. "The heart does not beat" they said and wanted to have me buried. I said to myself: "Is this really death?"

I could not give them a sign, that I was alive. My fiancee came with her father and I heard that he was asking her to cry a little, so that people would think that she loved me. She answered: "I never loved him, but I loved his wealth". And I told myself: "If God would bring me back to life, I would start a different life". How awful is to be alive and not to be able to tell people that you are alive, how awful is to see everyone weeping and not be able to tell them that you are alive! And how many people have been buried in this way! There is nothing more horrible than to be buried alive. The greatest misfortune is to remain for days and months in the ground and not be able to get free from your body: that is the worst prison – the hell. If we were pure, we would know when the soul had left the body and we would never pass through such sufferings.

When a doctor states that someone is dead, people say right away: "Take him!" They make a nice coffin and carry him in it with music and songs. Where is their love? That is the love of the fellowmen and of the society! Someone tells you: "I love you". How? The way a cat loves a mouse or the way a wolf loves a sheep? It is also love, but the world only suffers of such love. Love that is needed by the world is loving the others and helping them to be happy in the same way as we are happy. That is why Christ says: "He who trusts Me will do what I do and he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, Who will come and dwell in him".

You ask: "What will happen to Bulgaria?" I ask what will happen to you. You do not know that the devil has taken all your property, he has sold even your skin. But you ask what will happen to Bulgaria. Bulgaria, it is you. Pray God to help you in expelling this uninvited guest from you, to help you in preserving your property, your mind and your heart. The devil is to be blamed for all these sufferings. But you should not be angry with him. I approve him only in one aspect: he is very industrious and does not get discouraged. If you chase him out of the door, he enters in through another; if he does not succeed one way, he tries a second, a third and a forth way. It is a fine and encouraging trait of his. So God says: "Take an example from him, he is a teacher of humans, he is teaching them and he will teach everyone." After he has lied and lied to you, finally you will say: "We have learned your lies and you cannot lie to us anymore."

One person said to a friend of his: "You cannot lie to my monkey". His friend went to the monkey and pretended to be asleep. The monkey also closed its eyes and at that time he took the money. The master of the monkey came home and punished it. Next time the monkey will keep its eyes open as it knows what would follow. With the experience we get after we have suffered, we shall tell the devil, when he comes: "My eyes are open!"

If you begin to suffer, say: "I have not yet passed through the whole process of the grain of wheat." And when your minds and your hearts will be transformed and become perfect, then you will attain the image and likeness of God and then God will raise you up in the same way as the Sun revives the sown grain of wheat.

[1] Grosh – an old Bulgarian word for a penny

[2] wheat in Bulgarian – жито

[3] why in Bulgarian – защо

Copyright (c) 1997 Publishing House "Byalo Bratstvo" All Rights Reserved


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