"Wherefore it is lawful to do well on the Sabbath days."1
The Sabbath is a disputable or a Sacred Day. The disputable things are the precious things in life. All disputes in the world are due to the valuable, beautiful things. There will be many disputes about beautiful young women; many hearts will be broken because of them. Why? Because they are beautiful, slender and well-built; however, no question is even raised about the ugly young women. The Sabbath is a beautiful maiden, I call it a day of Love. And actually this day, which should have been a blessing to humanity, has now become a hindrance to us. Those who do not recognize the Sabbath as a holiday, have their own Sabbath. Every person has a Sabbath in their life: it is a day of rest, of eating and drinking, a day when one puts on one’s best clothes.
What did Christ mean by the words, "Wherefore it is lawful to do well on the Sabbath days?" For whom is it lawful? For the person who is better than a sheep, for the prudent person. People cannot understand the sense of the Sabbath. This is the day when you should know how to change the disposition of your mind and heart, the disposition of your soul and spirit. Present-day Eastern Orthodox believers, Catholics and Protestants have Sunday as a day of rest, but the Shabbetaians and Jews observe strictly the Sabbath. The Evangelists do not work on Sunday; for the Shabbetaians and Jews, it is Saturday. A Jew considers it a sin even to polish his shoes, light the fire, or do any kind of work; but when it comes to take interest of 10, 15, or 20% from someone, he does not consider it a crime.
This is an understanding of the letter of the Sabbath, i.e. there is a Sabbath of the letter. It says in the Scriptures, "The letter kills, but the Spirit gives life." By the word letter we always understand limitation. For instance, when a man marries, he says to his fiancee, "I shall allow you to celebrate the Sabbath, i.e. you will be free in my home. I shall love you and be fond of you." But as soon as he marries, he turns to the other Sabbath and says, "Here it is not as at your place." The woman starts working in the kitchen and cannot go anywhere, no Sabbath is allowed to her. The present religious concepts affect the human minds with the same ideas. These limit them, so the people are arguing today which day to observe - Saturday or Sunday. They do not argue if they should love one another, but which day to observe. The Turks celebrate Friday, but the Bulgarian have three days: Tuesday, Friday and Sunday and sometimes observe half of Saturday. Why do the Bulgarians observe Tuesday and Friday as days in which one should not work and then Sunday as well? Because, this is in their traditional law.
Christ speaks of the Sabbath as a day in which one is allowed to do good. How is it possible for a person to do good on the other weekdays when they are engaged with other affairs? Since the seventh day belongs to God, it is said that one is allowed to do good on that day. Do not think that the observation of the Sabbath is done in a mechanical way by which you will become better. I call the Sabbath a day for knowledge in which one should work and build. During the six days a person should toil and labor, but on the seventh day they should work. The first day we toil, the second we should labor, but on the seventh we should work. It is the greatest science of the future. That is why it is allowed to do good on the Sabbath. "It is not only allowed, but is it lawful," says Christ. But in the original it means that a person should spend the Sabbath only in good.
Now let me explain what good means. The word good determines the qualities of all our actions. It is the fruit and Christ says, "By their fruit you will know them. There can be no good in human life if there is no fruit." Therefore, virtue is not something abstract but it is real, it is the essence of human life. The meaning of human life is Goodness. Righteousness, Truth, Wisdom and Love are forces which work for the realization of good in human life. The fruit determines the qualities of the tree, the same way the good determines the quality of a person. In order to love the fruit trees, we are directed by the quality of their fruit. An apple tree giving the best quality of apples is most carefully tended and liked by people. Why? Because its fruit are fine and delicious. If that apple stops bearing fruit, there is no sense in its cultivation. In the spiritual world a person is a tree. Fruit trees are useful to us, the same way the human virtues are necessary to the Angels for they are nourished by them. If I am asked, "Why are the Angels interested in us?" I will answer, because they need the fruit of our virtues.
To understand the deeper meaning of this Good, your mind, soul and heart must be in full accord. If you waver about doing good, you are of a low culture. There is no wavering about the good in Heaven. There is no question in the spiritual world as to whether one should do good or not. Good is the meaning of life. When you stop doing good, you are a dead person. Every thought and every noble feeling proceeds from the good we do. The good desires and the good thoughts proceed from the Good; they are a process of growth in us. When we sow a seed we have the first process: the sprouting of the plant; the second is the growth of the plant; the third: its blossoming and the fourth process is its bearing of fruit. Therefore, Good - the fruit in a person - can appear only in their Soul. In the occult science it is called the causal body of a person. Every seed is a cause.
Contemporary culture - the development of person - is due to those seeds of the good from the past; but in the future these seeds will bring about the new culture. I call all other pedagogical views on upbringing and education nothing other than taming, i.e. fruitless trees - for instance the cultivated indoor India rubber plant (Ficus elastica). Does it have any fruit? No, it does not. Many people today are like this plant. Such plants can grow on the earth, but not in Heaven. If you want to be a heavenly Indian rubber plant, you must bear fruit. What paralyzes the human virtues? They are paralyzed by the inferior human mind and passions because people today are slaves of their passions which destroy, but do not construct anything. A person spends thousands for a single pleasure which sacrifices their life and that of others. But there is no fruit in this pleasure.
We are like that American woman tourist who in order to test the love of her beloved made him climb the face of a precipitous rock in the Alps to pick one of the rare alpine roses for her from that height. He climbed the rock, picked and gave her the rose which she stuck on her bosom smiling; but after that he said to her, "Good-bye." She made him risk his life for a single pleasure. The same way we tempt God. We say, "God, give us money, pleasure, houses, etc," but after He has given us all this, He says, "Good-bye!" Then we are rich people and have everything, but God is not with us.
I am amazed at the state of contemporary religious people, for I have never seen more hard-headed, tenacious and self-willed people than the religious ones. I use the word "religious people" in its broad sense. I consider religion today as a suit or a perfume by which we cover up all our bad actions and mistakes. Religion is a modern contrivance. Nowhere in the New Testament is the word religious used. When people lost the sense of the Sabbath and the doing of good, they put in its place the word religion. And now they are constantly arguing if one is religious or not. There was not a more religious century than the present one. Take for example a person who belongs to some party and believes in it. They are ready to sacrifice their life for it. How many times they have exposed their own life and the life of their family to danger for this party! Such people say, "Our party, too, will come to power some day." They await the time of their party’s turn, but until that time comes how many times will they be whipped and how many times will they return home with a broken head! All people live with this religion, they rise and fall, expecting some change by it. No party will bring any change or benefit to life, because it only takes and does not give. It may cut the rate of taxation by 5 or 10%, but it will make this up with even more money from another item.
Then you will ask, "But what shall we do?" You should plow the earth and pray to God to give you more wheat than you have had before so that you may give to others. Salvation lies in this abundance. When people say they want to be cultured, I say that all must turn to the earth to plough and sow. Now we have all crowded the cities where different branches of production and crafts exist; but some people work, while others rely on them, doing nothing themselves. That is why there are so many evils. I have nothing against such an order of things, it is so natural; but the way we make use of it causes poverty and suffocates us. If you visit London, you will see how dug-up and smoky it is, unlike other cities. Seven million people live there expecting some future. Those people have got together there waiting for a chance to deceive and exploit each other. This is a culture of deceit! London has such a dark side as no other city in the world. All cultures from all distant times and epochs have been transferred there.
Christ has in mind the New Culture when He says, "It is lawful for those people who will come in the future to do Good on the Sabbath." In what sense is it lawful? It is lawful for an experienced surgeon to make operations; but it is not lawful for an ignorant and inexperienced one to do that. For instance, you are a religious person and go to comfort someone. It is lawful for you to do that if you know how; but if you disturb their peace of mind, your foot should not cross their threshold. Do not think it is an easy thing to do Good - this is a Great Art! If I come to your home to teach you a new teaching with the purpose of making you my followers and then I rob you, I am impelled by material benefits and this would not be a good deed, but a commercial transaction. The same way a travelling commercial agent will visit you and display most politely his samples, talk pleasantly with you or give you a treat until your head is dazed and he makes his transaction. And that person is a religious person! I do not understand such a religion. The invisible world says, "The dispute of all religious sects is a religious dispute." These are the people of the past culture. The people of the future culture, whose slogan will be to do Good out of Love on the Sabbath Day, are the new people. They have a special mark on their forehead and a peculiar little stone under their tongue. The tongue and the eyes of these people are different. Their look is deep and there is no distraction in it. There is only one thought in their eyes and it is Love and Selflessness. Empty words are love and selflessness, aren’t they? Do you understand what Selflessness really is? Have you experienced it at least once in your life? Have you experienced at least once in your life what Love is?
An Evangelical minister once told me an experience he had. For a long time he had prayed to God to give him a chance to taste Divine Love. One day the Spirit visited him and he felt his whole body bulging; so he lay flat on his stomach afraid he would burst, such a big and voluminous thing had taken possession of him. He started praying to God to free him from this broad Love for which he was not ready. He lay flat on his stomach and started to kick. Why did he kick? Because, he did not want to give it up. When a child takes an apple and their mother wants to take it away they kick. Why? Because they do not want to give it up. The horse kicks, too. Why? Because, it does not want to share. People speak badly with their tongues. Why? Because, they do not want to give. That is why it is lawful for the new people to do Good on the Sabbath that they may uplift humanity. The Sabbath is a Divine Day which will raise and thoroughly transform us; and by this we shall transform the world. I do not say that when the Sabbath comes, we should all leave our crafts - no, not at all. The crafts will be sanctified and will be good for us, for they will be based on the doing of good on the Sabbath day.
Do not think I want to destroy your views. Not at all, I only want to clean the dust off your eyes. When I come to you, first of all I shall teach you how to wash your eyes. I shall give you water first and we shall speak after that. Have you studied the art of washing your eyes? I would recommend you the following experiment. If you are indisposed, or cannot understand some subject, or some person is unpleasant to you, take a pan full of pure spring water, raise your eyes to God, put your face in the water, open your eyes and blink several times in the water. Then say, "I want my mind to be pure like this water," and see if your indisposition has not changed. If it has not changed, dip your face a second time in the water. Do this several times and see what the result will be. Water is the Emblem of Life.
We must put in our mind the thought of doing Good. Each one of you must say to yourself, "I will do Good." But his should not be done mechanically. This shows that we should plant in us all the fruit trees of the Garden of Paradise. When the new people come, all these sublime thoughts and feelings should be able to thrive in their hearts, souls and minds. We cannot come to terms with each other with our present conceptions. When you listen to me, you will say, "Is this an Eastern Orthodox believer? If he is not, do not listen to him as he cannot speak the Truth."
A patriot will say, "If he is a patriot, he is speaking the truth, otherwise what he says is not true."
Some people ask, "Has he got higher education? If he is a learned man, we believe in him."
If a teacher is listening to me, he will say, "If he is a teacher, we believe in him."
All begin to speak, but this is not the Divine Standard by which we can measure our acts. I may be an Eastern Orthodox, a Protestant, a patriot, a learned man or anything else, but that does not prove that I am telling the Truth. I may be studying the Bible only out of self-interest to see if I may support myself by it and so on. The Protestants will say, "The Eastern Orthodox priests extort the people." But do not others do the same? Yes, the Eastern Orthodox extort people with the act of sprinkling holy water on them for pay. They do this openly, but the Protestants extort people in a different way. Is this the way to act?
A Turk bought a he-goat for the Ramadan bayram2 and put it on his back to take it to his Hodja3 to read to it. On the way the he-goat kicked him on the back and the Turk angrily called it different names: swine, giaour, etc. When he reached the Hodja, he said to him, "I am bringing you a he-goat to bless which I shall kill for the sacred feast; but I used profane language on the way because it kicked me on the back. Is he fit for the kurban4?" The Hodja replied that the he-goat was not fit and he had to buy another. The Turk bought a second he-goat to take it to the Hodja. On the way the goat again kicked him, but the Turk kept silent, thinking, "You are just like the first one, you are kicking me the same way, but I shall not say anything, because I shall have to buy a third goat." I say, if you kick, you are one of them.
"Therefore, it is lawful for a man to do Good on the Sabbath Day." People must leave their egotism, open their Soul to the Divine Sun and come out of the framework of their present views. Humanity today abounds in hypocrites. I see a husband and wife walking quietly in the street like two virtuous people; but at the same time they monitor each other, watching one another that neither should cast glances at this or that person. "Religion!" When the husband is away, the wife can look anywhere she wants to; but when he comes home, the wife becomes "virtuous." The same applies to the husband. And this is called religion! Why should the husband and wife not be free to look at anything or anybody they want to when they are together? What evil is there in that? This limitation comes from the fact that in our Soul there is no Sabbath.
Some ask me, "When will humanity become noble. When shall we come to know the new ideas?" I say, the new ideas cannot come until the Sabbath Day comes; until we learn to do Good on the Sabbath. For instance, take the present writers of any calibre and show me one of them, no matter how famous, who can point out a right way to live. They all have the same tactics: you read the introduction and then the whole book, but the essential remains without any solution. This author writes that you can find the solution to this problem in the book of such and such an author. You read that author who does not solve the main problem, but refers you to a third one. You read the book of this third one too, but it does not satisfy you either. You go from one author to another and find that all are merchants. One says, "I do not have such goods as you want, go to another." "The second explains, "I have run out of the stock you want: go to the other one!" You go to a third one who says the same thing. At last they tell you, "We’ll include you in the order list so when our goods come and we can conclude our deals, we will do this for you." This is how things stand so you go from shop to shop. But in the future culture we must have at least two or three guiding principles to apply in our life:
First: Can I do this for the sake of God’s Love?
Second: Can I do this for the sake of my Soul?
Third: Can I do this for the sake of my neighbor?
I have come to tell you the great Truth that God, Whom I know very well, is speaking. Anyone to whom I have told this Truth and who has tested it, has always had good results. Everything I say I put to a strict scientific experiment. Anyone who wants to make an experiment together with me cannot easily get away. Many have come to me to be cured. I ask them, "You have visited all the doctors in the vicinity, are you ready to serve God and devote your life to Him? If you are ready, I shall help you." Someone wants knowledge. "Are you ready to devote your life to God? If you are ready I shall reveal to you some great Mystery, but if you are not I shall speak to you about apples, pears, leaves, branches and the like; but I shall not reveal any Mystery to you." I, too, have certain guiding rules which I never violate. You will ask me why I act this way. I answer – “Are you ready to do good on the Sabbath? Are you ready to serve God Whom I know, and from Whom all the good and blessings proceed; Who has created everything in the world and given life to people? Are you ready to serve Him?” Then I am ready to serve you. But if you are not ready, I shall speak to you only about onions. This is a strict Teaching and all great Masters have acted this way.
Now the new culture requires that Good should be done on the Sabbath. If you apply the new rules, you will have impressive results. For so many years I have been wasting my breath in Sofia; but the result is rather small, because the Sabbath is lacking. I notice this even among my closest people. As soon as they get together, a heavy atmosphere is felt for they are not in accord. I say: “You are celebrating the Sabbath in yourselves, but I shall talk to you about the onions.” Do you know that if you would go to Heaven, you would be expelled from it for 10,000 years for a single bad glance like the ones you are casting at each other here on earth? If an Angel should cast a bad glance, He would be expelled from Heaven for 10,000 years. The rule is that strict! Some of you want to go to Heaven. Be thankful you are not there in your present state. Now they may forgive you because you are on the earth in an experimental school. Everything is permitted on earth, but that Pure Place you are preparing yourselves for requires a perfect person. There are no experiments there. There is no grief and weeping in that world. The Scriptures say, "I shall wipe all tears from their eyes and there will be no sorrow there, but all shall be glad and joyful." Do you know what joy and gladness is? What great self-sacrifice an Angel makes who is engaged in the solving of great questions. When He sees a suffering soul and leaves his work to go and help them by comforting them. Who of you would do this? Of course, we would do many things for people who stir sympathy. One would help a sympathetic person. A gentleman is ready to do any service to a beautiful young woman; but no one pays attention to an ugly, awkward and cross-eyed one. I ask you what your convictions are since you act in this way?
If Christ should come in, Whom you expect to set the world right, do you think He would speak everywhere? It is high time you cast out of yourselves this devil who has obsessed all of you and whom you have served for 8,000 years! Enough slavery to him! Say this to this devil, "Out with you!" He should go out in the yard; but in your soul there should not remain even a trace of him. Say to him, "If you do not go out, we shall leave!" When after many times the devil does not agree to go out; you start making a contract with him, reconciling yourself with him. Do not do that! Finish with him once and for all!
Do you think the verse in the chapter I read is divided by coincidence? "How much better is a man than a sheep." It means: how much better is the good than the sabbath! I take the Sabbath as an Emblem of Love. If you do good on the Sabbath, all misfortunes and illness will leave you. You should know this as something positive. If your child falls ill, see on which Sabbath you have not done good. Correct your mistake and your business will succeed. You have written a book, but it does not sell well; correct your mistake and things will go well. The Sabbath interferes in all your affairs. Get right with it and all will be well. This question is very clear to me. Someone asks me, "Why should we do good?" We cannot take a step forward if we do not do good: this is a mathematical axiom. If you start on a journey without bread how far can you go? Make an experiment how many kilometers you can walk without bread. You may walk 50-60, 100 kilometers at the most and then you will stop. Therefore, the good is the force, the food, by which the human soul can move and evolve in this world. Every knowledge, every wisdom will be based on the fruits of this virtue. That is why you should do good if you want to become rich and develop in the broadest sense of the word.
Every day is destined for specific purposes. But, unaware of this fact, people do not consider the real meaning of the days in human life. For instance, on the first day God said, "Let there be Light;" and there was Light. And God saw that the Light was good. And there was evening and there was morning, one day. This day is Sunday - the day of Light
On the second day God divided the waters from the waters, i.e. He separated the higher life from the lower life, since water as I said, is an Emblem of Life. He created the firmament as a boundary between these two kinds of life and since the evolution of this day is not completed, God did not pronounce His opinion about it. There was evening and there was morning, a second day.
On the third day God said, "Let the waters under the heaven (i.e. the lower life) be gathered together unto one place and let the dry land (an emblem of the human brain and human mind) appear." And God called the dry land earth and the gathering of waters He called seas. And God saw that it was good. That is why He said that the earth should put forth all kinds of plants, by which He meant that all good thoughts should appear in the world. There was evening and there was morning, a third day.
On the fourth day God made the two great lights in the firmament of heaven to divide the day from the night. By the first, the big light He meant the mind and by the second, the small one, the heart by which a person should distinguish good from evil, i.e. should distinguish one state from another. Therefore, the fourth day is the day in which the conditions for the development of the human mind and human heart must be created. God created all the stars - which mean all the forces in human life - and set them in the firmament of heaven - which means the human soul - to give light upon the earth and together with the greater light (the mind) and the lesser light (the heart) to rule over the day and over the night and to divide the light from the darkness. God saw that it was good and there was evening and there was morning, a fourth day.
And on the fifth day God said, "Let the waters teem with swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven," which signify all the human aspirations and cravings. And since all these gave a direction and meaning to human development on earth, God saw that it was good and blessed them to be fruitful and to multiply. That is why our desires are constantly and daily multiplying and fruitful. There was evening and there was morning, a fifth day.
And on the sixth day God said, "Let Us make man (the rational) after Our own image, after Our likeness; and let him have dominion over the fish of the sea (over his earthly desires) and over the birds of the heavens (over his thoughts) and over the cattle and over all the earth (i.e. over his passions which creep in his brain)." Finally God breathed into man His own breath. He gave man a rational soul to know Him in all his ways and to work and act as God has worked.
Therefore, when you want to visit someone, to lighten their life, go to them only on Sunday because it is the day of Light. You will take Light to them.. When you want to visit a sick person, do it on Monday, because this day bearsLlife, and so on.
On the seventh day God rested, which means that the seventh day is the day of the Good in which God began to manifest His love to man. That is why He has invited him to participate in this great Divine Cause of the Divine Life.
Therefore, apply the Sabbath in your life the new way. Test what I am telling you. The Days of Good and Love must be festive days for a person. This we must do for the rest of our lives..
Sermon of the Master held on Decemer 21, 1919.
1 Matthew 12:12
2 Ramadan is the holy month of fasting, the ninth month of the Muslim year ending with the feast bayram. (ed. note)
3 Hoca/hodja - Mohammedan priest. (ed. note)
4 kurban - Turkish, ritual feast with a butchered animal. (ed. note)