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The Grain of Wheat

"Truly, truly I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit." (John 12:24)

The grain of wheat is the emblem of the human soul. It represents a great history in nature's development. If you were able to open the leaves of the grain of wheat, to follow its history, you would understand completely the history of the human soul. As the grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, as it germinates, grows and bears seed, so the same happens with the human soul. It could be, that for you the grain of wheat looks like something very modest, something without much value - 1/16 thousandth part of the kilogram: what price would you give it if a kilogram costs a penny? However, the grain of wheat has power, potential and a spirit of selflessness, by means of which it feeds itself and others. And when you sit at the table, you do not think about the grain of wheat at all, you do not know what joy it brings into you, what thoughts it brings. You do not know its origins. The people do not appreciate it, neither do the hens - no one appreciates it. But it is a great enigma in the world.

Now, what is hidden in this grain of wheat? It is an emblem of the life. And if we take the Bulgarian letter "Ж" [1], which is at the beginning of the word ["Жито" = Wheat [2]], it completely corresponds to the grain of wheat - two small legs below, roots, two small branches above. When it is sown, it shows us in what direction we should strive. The grain of wheat shows us that we should strive for the One from Whom we originated - for God; that in order to strive for God, we should branch out, form branches, blossom, produce food for the world - that is "to help and to sacrifice yourselves for your neighbours, as I do". And that is why Christ says in another place: "I am the living bread that has come down from Heaven" And what is the bread made from? From the grain of wheat. The contemporary people say their life is unhappy, everyone is discontent - kings and princes alike; starting from the highest and ending with the lowest, they all want something and when they receive it, they are again dissatisfied and want for something again. Ask them why they are discontent. They seek something more. But let us turn to the story of the grain of wheat. When it is sown into the ground, what would you say if you were in its place? You would say: "That is the end of us, our life has disappeared, our life has decayed!" But within the grain of wheat there is more faith, than within us. When it is buried in the soil, it decays and rots, but immediately it understands the language of the Sun and, when the first sunrays appear, it says to itself: "I will not die, I will come back to life, and I will bear fruit for others", and energy flows into it, and it begins to strive toward the Sun. It bears fruit, it ripens. But the people do not leave it alone: they take the sickle and cut it down.

Its sufferings have not finished yet: after they harvest it, they bind it in sheaves, then thrust a pitchfork into it and throw it in the truck, take it to the threshing-floor and heap it in piles as big as mountains. Then they thresh it with horses and boards. What would you think if you were in its place? The human life undergoes the same process. You will ask: "Why do we need to pass through this whole process?" - Man must make conclusions from the example with the grain of wheat. The horse hoofs pass through the wheat, then it is taken and put in the barn. But this is still not the end of its sufferings: they winnow it, the bad grains fall to the bottom, the good grains stay above, they place it in bags and carry it to the mill, then these two heavy stones grind it and crush it completely. If you were in the place of the grain of wheat, what would you say? "What kind of life and what kind of world has God created?" But the grain of wheat has great patience; it says: "You are still to see my story". They take it out of the mill in the form of flour, bring it home, but still they do not leave it in peace; the woman gets busy with her bolter, she sifts the flour, part of it she throws away, part she puts in the bread-trough, adds yeast and makes dough. If you were in the place of the grain of wheat, you would say: "This is the end of our suffering". No! When the dough rises - in the oven it goes! - and when they take it out, we see these fine loaves of bread. If you were in the place of the wheat of grain, you would say: "At last, this is the end of our suffering". But after a while, they break the loaves and start eating. In this way the grain of wheat enters the stomach, juices are created that enter our mind and what happens? Great thoughts spring up in our brain, in our heart - new wishes. The grain of wheat brings the garment that clothes our feelings, it pours itself in the pen of writers and poets, it pours itself in the bow of the violinist. This is what the grain of wheat gives. And if the grain of wheat had not undergone this process of development, you would never see these good things in nature. Why? Because the grain of wheat gives us the strength to look and see. That is why Christ says: "I am the living bread". For man to be alive, he must communicate with his surroundings, to dive in them to help and to be helped. Just as the grain of has wheat passed through this process, so too we must sacrifice [jertvuvame] ourselves in the same way. And the sacrifice [jertvuprinoshenie] is not so difficult. [3]

Now, let us turn to the history of Christ's life, to the history of the Jewish people. How can you explain this contradiction: a nation has been waiting for thousands of years for its Saviour, for its King to come and bring freedom, and when He arrives, the same Jewish high priests and princes complain against Him? You would say that, if Christ came in our time, you would act differently. I doubt it. And I will tell you a fact. Look how the man behaves with his wife and vice versa and you will know how you would behave with Christ. When the Truth comes in the world, She will not wear festive clothes, but a most humble garment, and this is why Christ appeared among the Jewish people in this simple form. This is the reason why people cannot comprehend the Truth. Such are the laws of this world.

But there is another law in the world, which manifests itself in the Sunlight. When the Sun begins to shine over all embryos and beings on the Earth, this light that brings joy and delight in man, will cause hate and malice in others. This light that brings good dispositions in some, makes others ferocious! The light and warmth applied to a wolf make him think where he can find a sheep to eat; when they fall on a thief, he will start thinking how to steal money from you; when they fall on a man who strives to make good, he will think of finding a poor man to help. Give a grain of wheat to the hen and it will form good plumage. Give it to the pig, it will form good bristle; give it to the wolf, it will form good teeth and nails; give it to the fish, it will form good scales. The physiologists cannot explain this process. Every being adapts the food, the warmth and the light in accordance with its development and understanding. You can understand this law if you experience these two different worlds. It cannot be explained to you why evil exists within people, why they prefer hate before love, the lie before the truth. We cannot explain this; many questions "why?" will remain without an answer. The Bulgarian word "why" is a question mark, which implies: "I want". Why should we want? There is a law, which says we need to strive toward progress.

Christ says that, unless a grain of wheat fallen on the ground dies, it remains alone in this world. What is the loneliness in life? Loneliness is the most difficult suffering a man can experience. To reproduce [4] - this is the meaning of life. All sufferings in the world come from the fact that people wish to live for themselves only. Always evil is born out of the wish to be alone and to become the centre of the world. While in the Divine laws this is unthinkable. Our thoughts and our feelings undergo a downfall, because we build them on sand. We can be happy in the world exactly when we live for God. And we must live for Him. We can find the explanation for this in nature itself. When the Sun rises every morning, it rises for everyone, because it loves everyone; it is attentive to all beings, from the lowest to the highest and that is why everyone casts their eyes towards it. This energy that revives and uplifts you comes from there. But does the Sun tell us that we must enter it? It tells us to make use only of the good it gives to us and as it illuminates the world, so we must shed light and enlightenment to the people around us. We have some wrong notions in our minds, which originate from our individual life. For example, if you enter a house which has only one window and there are 20-30 visitors, you will tell them: "You have no right, only I want to look out" and when you are looking at the sun everyone else will be deprived of its light; but you should call them so that they too can see the sun, to show them the way out of this house so they can look at the light. That is why it is not good for man to keep too many people around him, because all of them can never at the same time make use of the sunlight and warmth. We have to tell them to go out. That is why Jesus says: "He who loves himself, must go out"; and in another place "Whoever loves his father and mother more than he loves Me, he is not worthy of Me". So, if a being approaches the window too closely, it will obscure the entire horizon for others. Keep yourself 20-30 steps further away. This is the physical situation. Thus, Christ wishes to say that life is not in the material things; they are just a simple aid, as the textbooks, notebooks, pens are aids for the students. Do not think that God has prepared only these small things for you: He has prepared greater things for you. Ask a frog what its views of life are; it will say: "I would like more flies flying above the marsh I live in, and want them to be nearer, so I can catch them". And when you ever see the frog being silent, as though watching philosophically, then it is observing the flies: to be able to catch them when they come closer. This is its view of life. When we climb up this ladder, we should not think that we are already at the top of our development. Within this ladder of development, there is still a long way to go from where we are before we reach the path we are striving for. The distance between humans and Angels is so vast, the ratio is almost as the distance between the tadpoles and humans. From the Angels' point of view, we are still small frogs. Some say: "People are made in the image and likeness of God, aren't they?" But they have not attained this image and likeness yet. You see how we act. In order to say: "We are made in the image and likeness of God", we should have God's qualities. And what are His qualities? They are: Virtue, Love, Wisdom and Truth. Virtue excludes the evil, Love - the hate, Wisdom - the folly, Truth - the lie. If these things are excluded - we have God's likeness; if they are not excluded - we are still small frogs. I have nothing against the frog; it has to eat flies. And why does it eat flies? I will tell you. Because the fly, as a flying being, lives one [5] stage above the frog,so the frog, which has a striving to fly in the air, wishes to acquire the vibrations of the fly, to develop them and fly. Why does the wolf eat sheep? He has to eat sheep in order to become meek, because we become good when we eat good things. Actors have made an experiment when they needed to play the role of an ideal love, to eat sheep's meat for a long time, because this meat predisposes to such feelings. Consequently, the wolf has the right to eat sheep if he wishes to become meek. And he will certainly become such, as the wolf is now much meeker than he was before. And where people eat sheep and hens, I will tell you, that they eat sheep because they wish to become beautiful, they eat hens because they also wish to become winged like the Angels. And you have the right to use them for food. The evil is not in the eating. When certain food is forbidden, this is in order not to cause suffering to the being that is used for food. I say you may eat. You will go into the henhouse and when you catch the hen, if it does not make a sound, you may eat it. If it makes a sound, leave it alone. The same with the sheep - if it baas: it wants to live. Consequently, you have to ask them. Ask which hen and which sheep wants to live in you. Christ says: "I am the living bread and whoever eats Me, will have eternal life".

In order to understand Christ's words, we have to purify ourselves: to purify the vision, and to purify the mind. Our mind is an excellent tool when we know how to apply it; but it is also a very dangerous weapon, when we do not know how to use it. When you plough the land to prepare it for sowing, this is your right; you are following a law of nature. But when you plough a land that has been sown already, you act foolishly. Some people say: "We have to think and criticize", because science, they say, cannot do without criticism. Criticize, but how? Criticism, like surgery - to cut out a diseased part of the body, I understand, it can be good, but to remove a healthy part of the body, I do not understand. It is not difficult for man to be such a surgeon: everybody can take the saw and cut someone's leg; any one of you has this capability, but few are those, who know how to make the surgical operation correctly. To learn this, the law of virtue and love must possess us. When I speak about love, do not think I am preaching a teaching of peace and tranquility; a man who wants to love, must experience the greatest sufferings in the world; for he who has not suffered can not experience this Divine principle of Love. In order to love God, we should be prepared to sacrifice ourselves, as God sacrificed Himself for us. To come to know Him, you say: "Lord! Give us what we need". "Give, give, give!" - this is the call that can be heard from one end of the world to the other. And the money have never been so cheap as they are nowadays; any one of us today takes, perhaps, a 3-4 times larger salary than what people once received, and still we do not have enough. The money is inflated, because there is nothing to match them. We should have asked for wheat, corn, pears, apples. You say: "Lord! I want to be beautiful, I want to be rich". You want to obtain many things, but do you know that this is unhappiness for you, because when you become rich everybody will think how to harm you and to prevent this, you will have to hire people, as the rich Americans hire 3-4 bodyguards for protection, because all the time they are an object of blackmail. And we need not riches, but those basic things, that make life better. We have abandoned the development of our hearts and consequently we must go back to this main principle - to develop and ennoble our heart. Evil has its nest not in the mind, but in the heart. Each of us has to ask his heart what it desires. It is our fault our heart is corrupted; we have forced it so many times, like the maids, to lie, to think evil and so on. The Lord says in the Scripture: "My son, give Me your heart"; He knows and sees people's errors and wants of us nothing else but that we open our heart for Him to enter. You will say "how"? In the same way, in which we open the window for light to enter our room. It is said: "a room, in which enters light - a doctor never enters, and illness never rules", or "where light does not enter, the doctor does not leave"; likewise in that human heart which the Lord has entered, the devil does not enter. The Lord is the doctor in this sense. The doctor, when he visits, says: "You have to eat more, you have to drink more, you have to do this and that"; and we bear with this, bear until our backbone brakes. We are often like the camel driver, who traveled through the desert and his camel barely carried the luggage; when he saw a fox skin on the road he picked it up and threw it on the camel, but its backbone broke because of this and the luggage had to be left in the desert. The camel's back can carry only a certain amount of weight. The camel - this is us; we are those who travel, and if we put on more weight that we can carry, one day we will stumble in our development. With this I do not recommend poverty to you; I recommend you richness in three directions - not only physical, not only intellectual, but spiritual as well. Heaven wants such rich people, because they can be generous. And when Christ says: "Lay up for yourselves treasures", He means such treasures. Invest this capital in Heaven, so that from the interest God can feed the hungry people on Earth. It is not the Angels that earn your Salvation, we must do this ourselves. And we have all conditions to do it. The law is not that all of us should be equally learned; everyone needs to know as much as he needs. Some say: "My brain is small"; I reply: "If you are not able to look after a small horse, how could you look after a bigger one; if you have a small heart and cannot control it, how will you rule over a bigger heart, which has bigger desires?"

What should we do? We should not think of the future, but to use all goodness that the present day provides for good deeds; the present day carries all future blessings. The law is such that God, Who has given us conditions for today, will give them for all other days also; we do not need to think what will happen to us in the future, but we must be calm; there are certain laws which regulate the human relations. Someone may cause harm, this is not an arbitrary act; it will happen according to the law. Every misfortune, however, will bring a blessing; every obstacle will open a new horizon for you. You can check this anytime, and that is why you should not worry about misfortunes that may befall you. Some ask me about the political life in Bulgaria: "What will happen to her?" Strange thing! So what has happened now? They are doing Bulgaria some massage - that's all. They took off a bit from the load; they provided a new experience and a task to be resolved. We do not sit to think rationally [razumno [6]] about the laws, which regulate life, but seek a culprit. Who is guilty, tell me. You will not find the guilty ones. Guilty is the individual life of man. When a man wants to become a king for the people, he is guilty. And the one, who wants to overthrow the king, is guilty as well. It is of no difference to us who is the king - one or the other or a third or fourth: all they follow the same path. I am not saying that a man should not wish to become a king or queen. But king of whom? King of himself, king of his mind, his heart, his will. How are your subjects - your thoughts, feelings and desires, have you subordinated them, have you put them in order and harmony within yourself? First you give an example to the world. What kind of a preacher would I be, if I turn to the people, and say: "Be generous," but I am myself covetous; [if] I say: "Do not steal", but I myself steal; [if] I say: "Do not lie", but I myself lie? A teacher, who teaches the people, must be a model - to give an example himself. And Jesus when He came down to teach the people, He gave them the model and if we learn His teaching, the world will immediately change. There is a dynamic power hidden within us, which we do not know how to put in use, because we do not know how to work. A thorn once blocked the road and stopped the people; passers-by hit it with sticks, but the more they hit it the more it grew, until the carts started toppling over. Everyone found themselves in a quandary, until somebody came with a pick and said: "I, too, will show my art" and started from afar - to dig the roots from afar; the thorn at the beginning was laughing and thinking to itself: "So many could not do anything, you will not scare me either". But the pick was cutting deeper and the thorn said: "This guy has found my weak spot". Until you do not put the pick to work within you, the thorn will always laugh and will say: "I will grow more". This is an allegory you need to comprehend. What is this pick? Think and find the answer. We should always be in the place of a judge. For example, during the Civil War in the US they brought in two criminals, one was blind, the other one without legs; their crime was the following: they were stealing apples, the gardener caught them and brought them before the judge; but the blind man began to say: "I am blind, I did not steal apples, but I stretched out my hands and took a few from the ground"; while the one without the legs began to shout: "I do not have legs and can not go around stealing". The judge, after some consideration, said: "Mount the blind man on the shoulders of the legless one" and added: "The one that has eyes found the apples, and the one who does not have legs, but has hands, was picking the apples". And really, they caught them in this way. And man is the same - every one consists of two beings, one is blind, the other without legs. When the Lord catches them at the scene of the crime, each of them begins to say: "I did not pick, I have not touched, I have not set a foot", but the Lord says: "Mount one on top of the other" and then He judges them. Who is the one without eyes? The human instinct. The one without legs? The human mind. Both say: "Let's steal a bit", they mount and go around stealing apples, and when they are caught, one says: "Why do you beat me?" and the other says: "Why do you beat me?" but both are guilty.

Evolution is necessary for us; greater blessings are awaiting us; but we must become quite clever, quite good, to grow up, so that this heritage can be entrusted to us. These three things I have just listed - virtue, righteousness and wisdom - are immense riches [7] and when you possess them, you will be healthy and happy.

But, you will say: "How can we apply this teaching in the world?" - It is not required from us to put the world in order: the world is set up correctly, there are no anomalies in the world, everything proceeds in a certain order; the phenomena, natural or political, we know why they are coming, we do not need to alter this flow. One thing is necessary, however - individual improvement of the personality in the world, be it a man or a woman. When the personality is straightened, her children will be straightened - sons and daughters; and when in their own turn they are straightened, their fellowman and the whole world will be straightened by itself. Like father, like son [8]. This is the principle laid by Christ and Christ acts to implement this principle. And as the chrysalis takes up and organizes itself further, so the world will take up and change to the better. There is big unrest in the world because all those who cannot make a cocoon are apprehensive about how they will spend the winter which gets closer. The transformation, consequently, should happen in our mind, in our heart, in our will, and when this transformation happens we will feel a certain internal strength within us. Then we will come into contact with those higher beings, who are advanced and whom we call saints. When we make contact with them, our mind will be enlightened in the same manner, as the students are enlightened among their teachers. The saints are teachers of Humanity and we should learn from them - they teach the world how to live. But you will say: "Where are these teachers, in which place are they? We see their images in the church." Everything has its shadow and by means of it we can find the object itself. Your desires in the world are a shadow, your aspirations as well; you wish to understand the core, you should follow the law - from the heart upwards, to your mind, to think of God. How can we imagine God? We can imagine Him as the most-good, perfect Man, Who has no malice, no hate, Who loves the people as a real father loves his children - this is God's attitude toward us. How do you think, is He listening to us now or not? He listens and works in our minds. The good disposition we have every day is due to Him. As the Sun creates a good disposition in us when it rises, so the happy minutes in our life are a result of this internal Sun that shines upon us. In the spiritual life there is also a sunrise and sunset. At a mature age the sun is rising - you are in your afternoon, at old age you are setting down, so that you can rise again. The Lord will rise in the hearts and minds of many, but for many He will not rise. Those, within whom the Lord will rise, will feel joy and delight. And those for whom He will not rise will say: "The life is for us unhappiness, sorrow and suffering". They will have to wait. Why? Because the conditions for rising do not exist within them; because if it rises prematurely, it will cause them misfortune. It is better if they have a rest now. I do not say they will die - not at all; I am citing a law to you.

When sunset is spoken of, everyone thinks of dying. What is the process of dying? This is a presupposition. Every one of you must have passed through death in order to be able to tell what death is; but now he is only imagining things. In one of his stories, Tolstoy says: He meets a Russian monk, 85 years old, with a white beard, and asks him: "What were the reasons which made you become a monk?" And the monk told his story in short: "I am of a noble family; when I was between 21-25 years, my father and mother wanted me to marry a princess; at this time I fell into a lethargic sleep, doctors were coming, touching my pulse - "the heart has stopped, he is dead" they noted, and said I had to be buried; I said within myself: "can this be death?" I could not give a sign that I am alive; my fiancйe came with her father and I hear him tell her to cry a little - "so people can say that you loved him" - "I never loved him, I love his riches", she replied; and I told myself: "if the Lord returns me to the world, I will take up another life [9]"; how difficult it is to be alive and not be able to say that you are alive; to see everyone crying and not be able to say you are alive!" And how many souls are buried like this! There is nothing worse then to be buried alive. The biggest unhappiness is to stay for days and months on Earth and not to be able to get rid of your body; this is the heaviest prison - the inferno! If we were pure, we would know when the soul has left the body and we would never have such sufferings. After the doctor says that the sick man is not alive, the people suddenly say: "Take him!" They will make him a nice coffin and with songs and music they will carry him away. Where goes their love? This is the love of the fellowmen and the society! Someone says: "I love you!" How? Like the cat loves the mouse, or the wolf loves the sheep? This also is love. But this is such a love, from which the world suffers. The love that the world needs, is to love others and to help them to be happy, as we are happy. And that is why Jesus has said: "He that believes in Me, will do what I do, and whoever loves Me, will also be loved by my My Father, and He will come and will make an abode within him". You say: "What will happen with Bulgaria?" I ask you: "What will happen with you?" You do not know that the devil has taken all your possessions, has sold even your skin, and you are asking: "What will happen with Bulgaria?" Bulgaria - this is you. You must pray so that God helps you to drive out this uninvited guest within you, to preserve your possessions, your mind and your heart. The devil is to be blamed for these sufferings. You should not be angry with him. I praise him for one thing only - he is very hardworking, he does not become disheartened; if you chase him out of one door, he comes back through another; if he does not succeed in one way, he will look for another, a third and a fourth. This is an excellent and commendable quality of his. And the Lord says: "Take an example from him: he is a teacher of the people, he is teaching them and he will teach all of them; when he lies to you and lies, at last you will say: "We have learned your lies and you cannot deceive us any more". Someone said to his friend: "My monkey you cannot deceive"; his friend approaches the monkey and starts pretending that he sleeps, the monkey closes its eyes as well and the friend takes the money; its master comes back and gives the monkey a good beating; the second time the monkey keeps its eyes wide open, does not close them, because it knows that the stick will be used again. With the experience we have in the world, after sufferings, when the devil comes, we will tell him: "My eyes are open". When you start suffering, keep saying: "I have not yet passed through the whole process of the grain of wheat." And when your thoughts and your heart transform and become wonderful, then you will acquire the image and likeness of God, and then God will resurrect you, like the Sun brings back to life the planted grain of wheat.

Notes to the lecture:

[1] Pronounced as "J" in "Dijon".

[2] Pronounced "jito" where the "j" is as in [1], the "i" is as in "lip" and the final "o" is as is "hop".

[3] The word "jertvuvame" means to sacrifice ourselves, in the more usual sense of self-denial, while "jertvuprinoshenie" means to make a sacrifice (of ourselves in this context), in the sense of the Old Testament meaning of sacrifice.

[4] "razmnojavash", which means both reproduce, but also multiply

[5] "edno polojhenie po visoko", which can be translated as "one stage higher ", or "a stage higher"

[6] "razumno", which means rationally, intelligently, even sensibly.

[7] "veliki bogatsva", which means great riches, where great is qualitative.

[8] literally: "like the yeast, like the dough".

[9] "drug jhivot", which has the connotation of repentance or change for the better.

Translated by: Christophorus, Published online: 31 Dec 2005

From: Strength and Life vol. 1 - "Behold the Man!", Lecture 2, 23 Mar 1914

First published: Deunov, P. K., "Eto chovekat!", Sila i Jhivot, Pearva Seria, Sofia, 1915

Reference: Deunov, P. K., "Eto chovekat!", Sila i Jhivot, Pearva Seria, Pearvo phototipno izdanie (facsimile edition), Sofia, 1999, Janua-98, ISBN 954-9589-47-1;


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