This chapter is about how a disciple can recognise the true and ‘good’ Shepherd. It describes the Shepherd’s responsibilities in the disciples’ development on the path.
“Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out. And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice.”
Here, to my understanding, Jesus describes the only way to enter our inner house, through the third eye, called the door. He says that there is no other way but through the inner ‘door’. According to “Beas “the thieves and robbers are the false prophets and those who mislead people by preaching that salvation can be obtained through dogmas, rituals, and other outward practices.” Jesus also describes the process of entering into the inner realms by knocking on the door where the Master awaits us and leads us upwards.
“As we enter the third eye – the door leading to eternal salvation – we see the real form of the Master and hear his voice, the Sound current, the Audible Life Stream.” In my personal experience, upon entering the door, I meet my teacher and hear his voice. He usually leads me into a garden that I now call the ‘Garden of Eden’ because this is our meeting place, the garden has a sanctuary in it too, for doing my prayers. To my experience, meeting the radiant Form of the Master and experiencing the inner realms is a very personal experience. How do I know that my experience is not hearsay?
“And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers.”
Bears, however, reminds us that we are to make a sincere effort by being devoted and practicing regular meditation.
“This parable spake Jesus unto them: but they understood not what things they were which he spake unto them.”
The reason why most of them did not understand Jesus was because the parables Jesus told was meant to his flock who would recognize his ‘voice’ and understand his teachings.
“I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.”
According to Beas, this sentence refers to Jesus’ commitment to sacrifice anything to bring the souls allotted to him Home to the Father. Beas explains that ” … we may think we have a hard lot, it is but a small fraction of what it would have been if we had no Master (Teacher) … by lightening our load of karmas.”
“I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep.”
“Christ gives a beautiful parable in Saint Matthew. He says: A shepherd has a hundred sheep. One sheep runs out of the flock and down into the bottom of a ravine, the shepherd leaves the ninety-nine sheep and runs after that one sheep. He even takes that sheep on his shoulders and brings it back to the fold, because he is responsible for all the hundred sheep. (Matt, 18:12)”
To me, this story speaks of my teachers’ loving commitment to my development and freedom. I cannot imagine my journey without my devoted teachers. I feel very lucky that I don’t only have spiritual teachers on the path but other spiritual guides whom I consider my teachers as well.
“No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.”
Further, Jesus describes his special position of being without the burden of the World and having the freedom and privilege to support souls on their return.
“But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you.”
Here he communicates very clearly, one again, that only those who are assigned to him can recognise his teaching and him as their teacher.
”… and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God. Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods? If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken;
Say ye of him, whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest; because I said, I am the Son of God?”
This is a very beautiful passage where Jesus remind us that potentially we are all Gods and it is actually written in the scriptures. This is how Beas puts it: “Every human being has the capacity to become God again. I have realized the Father, and you too can realize the Father. You are potentially God, but there is a covering over your soul. A diamond is a diamond, but it has lost its luster because it has been thrown into dirt. The diamond in the dirt has the same value as the diamond in the jeweler’s shop, but we can get the full price for it only when we remove the dirt.”
“And many resorted unto him, and said, John did no miracle: but all things that John spake of this man were true.
And many believed on him there.”
This passage reminds me of my troubles in calling myself a minister one day. Jesus knows that he is one with God and it is shown through his actions and his sermons. He is followed and believed on by many because he was the Light. I often wonder if I am ever good enough to carry the torch for others so they can find their way.
At the end of this chapter Beas gives a short account of the term ‘the chosen one’. He explains that the term does not refer to “a race, a sect, a nationality or a religion but to those who have made efforts and became sincere in their longing to return to the house of the Lord and who have love and devotion for Him and Him alone.”