Ch. 1 Introduction
Last Revised: 19 May 2010.
This book derives from a vision I had while driving my car on February 13, 1987. That vision, discussed in the last chapter, showed me the total journey of a soul, through lifetime after lifetime in matter, from God to God. It demonstrated that the purpose of life is enlightenment. The purpose is that God should meet God in one of many moments of illumination that each of us shall have.
The vision was wordless. It took nearly twenty years to find the words to describe it. The first fruit of that research on the teachings of the world’s saints and sages was the dictionary of enlightenment that appears on this website under the name of From Darkness Unto Light. The second was this book.
In summary, this book says that God has a Plan for all life – that it should journey out from Him (Her or It), (1) a spark of the Divine, and rise from one rung to another of a ladder of physical and spiritual evolution, expanding in consciousness always, until it comes to know itself as God. The Bible is a magical treasury of parables and encoded teachings about this journey and how to complete it. (2)
Eastern teachings, like the Bhagavad Gita, Dhammapada, or Tao Teh Ching are more direct and simply tell us why we are here and what we need to do to fulfil our mission. We can correlate these teachings and shine a clear light on the Divine Plan and the purpose of life.
Every one of us is destined for enlightenment. All sincere and genuine paths will carry us there. The entire world is designed as a school for our education with natural laws that keep us within bounds and moving in the right general direction. These are the implications of that vision and they are borne out by research in the scriptures of all the world’s religions.
We may have a collapsed view of life. We may, for instance, think that we live just one lifetime and then turn to dust, to be raised on Judgment Day in our original bodies. The saints and sages in these pages say this interpretation of what is a true but encoded message is not accurate.
We lead many lives and gradually move along a spiritual arc away from and back to God. The last day is the last day of bondage to rebirth, followed, after a particular level of enlightenment, (3) by the first day of liberation from rebirth.
We may also have a collapsed view that sees some accepted paths as mistaken and others as the one “true path.” This is inaccurate as well.
Perhaps we do not like idol worship. And yet we are obliged to see that “idol worshippers” too reach the Kingdom of Heaven. All sincere and genuine paths, followed to their end, lead to God, the same God reverenced in every faith.
We may believe that only our religious compatriots will be saved. That is not true either. All will be saved. A key passage in scripture has been misunderstood and leads to this conclusion – Jesus’s teaching that “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (4)
Yes, I am the way, the truth, and the life and no man cometh to the Father but by me. No, I don’t think this passage refers to the man Jesus although contemplating Jesus can lead to the same result. I think it refers to the immortal “I,” called in these pages the Self, the Christ and the Atman. That “I” is the way, the truth, and the life that Jesus pointed to in the code in which the Bible is written.
No man cometh unto the Father but through knowing that Self, that treasure buried in a field, pearl of great price, measure of leaven that leavened the whole loaf, mustard seed, and door for the flock to go in. We may know that Self by worshipping a form of God, like Jesus or Krishna or the Divine Mother, but we are still revering the one Self in all.
Why can we not know God until we know ourselves? Because, as with all that is investigated here, God designed it that way. That may not be an answer that the scientifically-inclined warm up to, but it is a true answer in my view nonetheless.
We live inside a finely-crafted construction, with a degree of free choice and a degree of divine determination. We are to go within to seek the Kingdom of Heaven. We are to know the Self, the “I” of every one of us and follow it home, stripping away layer after layer of veiling illusion, until it is revealed as the one “I” of the All-Self or God.
This book invites us to expand our faith, to drop our biases, to see that all religions worship the same one God and that we are That. I am that “I am.” You are that same “I am.” We are That and when we discover that Truth and completely surrender to it, we have finished the journey for which our forms were created.
This is grounds for great jubilation. You are invited to read this book with joy. When we know, for example, that what Christians call the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, Hindus call Brahman, Atman, and Shakti, there is reason to be exultant and to welcome each other as co-religionists.
Here are grounds for seeing that all religions pursue the same goal and that only rites and rituals – only the “hats” we wear – are different. As Ghandi said, “I am a Muslim. I am a Hinud. I am a Christian. I am a Jew.” (5)
So I invite you to read this book with the same joy I had in writing it.
A word about the sources used. All research has been restricted to three groups. The first is the saints and sages of all ages and traditions who have fulfilled life’s purpose and reached one stage or another of enlightenment. Representative of this first group are St. John of the Cross, Hildegard of Bingen, Jacob Boehme, Bodhidharma, Lin-Chi (Rinzai), Lao Tzu, Rumi, Bayazid of Bistun, Al-Ghazzali, Sri Aurobindo, Ramana Maharshi, and Paramahansa Yoganananda.
The second comprises the “avatars” (“avatar” = “Descent of the Divine”), who come down to Earth in all eras to remind us of God’s Plan and the purpose of our lives. They include Zarathustra, Sri Rama, Sri Krishna, Buddha, Jesus, Sri Ramakrishna, Anandamoyee Ma, and Mata Amritanandamayi.
The third comprises advanced spiritual aspirants such as Swami Nikhilananda, Swami Prabhavananda, Sister Vandana, and Aldous Huxley, who restrict their writings to what they have gleaned from the first and second group.
Today, more and more genuine sages are to be found incarnating or arising among us. Moreover, it would seem as if the world is never left without at least one avatar in our midst as one can see in India from the time of Sri Ramakrishna to the present.
In North America, where I live, more people are experiencing enlightenment today than in any other period of history of which I am aware. (6) I am very hopeful that a spiritual revolution is underway that will sweep aside confining religious boundaries.
My pen is dedicated to the service of the One God, who shines in all our hearts as God the Child, who made this world as God the Mother, and who reigns over all from His transcendent Kingdom as God the Father.
In deep gratitude, I offer my thanks to my Guru, Avatar Mata Amritanandamayi, and my Chosen Ideals, Avatar Sri Ramakrishna and Sage Sri Ramana Maharshi.
(For full details on these sources, see “Bibliography” at https://sbeckow.wordpress.com/the-purpose-of-life-is-enlightenment/ch-13-bibliography/.)
(1) “The One Principle under its two aspects (of Parabrahman [the Father] and Mulaprakriti [the Mother] is sexless.” (H.P. Blavatsky, SD(A), 14.
(2) On the Biblical code, see here.
(3) Sahaja nirvikalpa samadhi. To read more on this subject, go here.
(4) Jesus in John 14:6.
(5) Attributed to him in the movie Gandhi by Richard Attenborough.
(6) When this was written I was unaware of the significance of 2012: See here. I am now certain the a “spiritual revolution” is underway.