"Verily, verily, I say unto thee, except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God" (John iii. 3). Jesus tells Nicodemus, "That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the spirit is spirit."
This allusion, so unintelligible in itself, is explained in the Satapa-Brahmana. It teaches that a man striving after spiritual perfection must have three births: 1st. Physical from his mortal parents; 2d. Spiritual, through religious sacrifice (initiation); 3d. His final birth into the world of spirit — at death. Though it may seem strange that we should have to go to the old land of the Punjab and the banks of the sacred Ganges, for an interpreter of words spoken in Jerusalem and who offered them. Bunsen shows, by the very absence of any representation of human sacrifice on the oldest monuments, that this custom had been abolished in the old Empire, at the close of the seventh century after Menes; therefore, 3,000 years B.C., Iphicrates had stopped the human sacrifices entirely among the Carthaginians. Diphilus ordered bulls to be substituted for human victims. Amosis forced the priests to replace the latter by figures of wax. On the other hand, for every stranger offered on the shrine of Diana by the inhabitants of the Tauric Chersonesus, the Inquisition and the Christian clergy can boast of a dozen of heretics offered on the altar of the "mother of God," and her "Son." And when did the Christians ever think of substituting either animals or wax-figures for living heretics, Jews, and witches? They burned these in effigy only when, through providential interference, the doomed victims had escaped their clutches.
expounded on the banks of the Jordan, the fact is evident. This second birth, or regeneration of spirit, after the natural birth of that which is born of the flesh, might have astonished a Jewish ruler. Nevertheless, it had been taught 3,000 years before the appearance of the great Galilean prophet, not only in old India but to all the epopt% of the Pagan initiation, who were instructed in the great mysteries of LIFE and DEATH. This secret of secrets, that soul is not knit to flesh, was practically demonstrated in the instance of the Yogis, the followers of Kapila. Having emancipated their souls from the fetters of Prakriti, or Mahat (the physical perception of the senses and mind — in one sense, creation), they so developed their soul-power and will-force, as to have actually enabled themselves, while on earth, to communicate with the supernal worlds, and perform what is bunglingly termed "miracles." * Men whose astral spirits have attained on earth the nehreyasa, or the mukti, are half-gods; disembodied spirits, they reach Moksha or Nirvana, and this is their second spiritual birth.
* This is why Jesus recommends prayer in the solitude of one's closet. This secret prayer is but the paravidya of the Vedantic philosopher: "He who knows his soul (inner self) daily retires to the region of Swarga (the heavenly realm) in his own heart," says the Brihad-Aranyaka. The Vedantic philosopher recognizes the Atman, the spiritual self, as the sole and Supreme God.
Was this article helpful?