Andrew the Apostle

Parable about the Prophet

Jesus said: ‘He came, but not many recognized Him…
He spoke, but not many heard Him…
 He taught, but not many fulfilled His Teachings…’
From the memories of Andrew the Apostle

        A Man sent by God-the-Father came to the Earth.
        And He saw that people wallowed in sins, that vices had multiplied in the souls, that good manners had been forgotten…
        And the Man saw that the Teachings about Divine Laws had been abandoned, and the knowledge about the essence of the Scriptures created by God had been lost.
        Just as one can cover with beautiful clothes the dirt and ugliness of the body, so people can try to cover the vices of souls with the words from the Scriptures, which are spoken but not fulfilled.
        Everyone speaks about the Law; everyone teaches about the Law… Yet they merely say words and do not fulfill even what they say…
        People do not see the Light and do not know that they live in the darkness…
        The Man did not know how to change what He saw… For He knew if He started to speak, His speeches would be lost among the false speeches of those who spoke about the Law but did not know it and did not fulfill it…
        And then the Man took off His clothes and went to the desert… And He lived in the desert and listened to God, and God spoke to Him.
        And a rumor spread about the Prophet Who lived in the desert and listened to God but was always silent.
        And people started to come to see that Man and wondered at Him…
        They began asking Him questions and wondered to whom He would answer.
        One man came and asked:
        “What harvest will we get this year?”
        Another man came and asked:
        “When will my son get married?”
        And many others came and asked:
        “When will my daughter-in-law give birth?”, “How can I multiply my treasures and protect them?”, “How can I make a maid love me and marry me?”…
        But the Prophet kept silence. The words that He wanted to tell people were burning His mouth; His heart was overflowed with God’s Love. He kept silence for ten years…
        The rumor about Him spread wide, and more people were coming to see Him. They wondered because all prophets had said a lot, but this one… had said nothing!
        The Prophet kept silence. The words that He wanted to tell people were burning His mouth; His heart was overfilled with God’s Love. And He kept silence for another ten years.
        And His silence attracted people more than the speeches of others…
        A young man once came to Him. He did not want to get any profit from the answer to his question. He simply asked: “What word is hidden behind Your silence?”
        And then the Prophet said: “Purify yourselves!”
        And people began coming to Him to be purified from their sins.
        One man said: “I was angry yesterday! Purify me!”
        Another one said: “I cheated in trading telling a lie! Purify me!”
        And the third one said: “I was proud and indulged in vanity! Purify me!”
        The Prophet kept silence. The same people came again and again, repented of the same sins and went home to sin further…
        The Prophet kept silence…
        “Why do You
not want to purify us?” — people asked.
        The Prophet answered: “Purification won’t come until repentance cleans out the vice of the soul, so that a similar sin cannot become possible from that moment on!”
        And the Prophet became silent again…
        There was only the River of Living Light. All thoughts and deeds were visible in Its Flow. The Prophet stood in the River of Living Light and waited for those who would come to be purified… The River was flowing, and time was passing…
        And people listened to His silence, the silence of the Soul. And there were those who understood Him. And they came to be purified.
        The fire of shame for their sins was burning them. They could not raise their eyes and were ashamed to speak. The fire of shame was burning them — and this fire burned away the vices of souls washed by repentance.
        The Prophet washed with pure water those who came to receive the purification. And there was no sign of condemnation in His eyes.
        The River of the Sacred Light was flowing, and people entered Its Waters and were purified from vices, so as not to sin anymore!
        And the Prophet said: “It is impossible to reject all vices of the soul at once. Stay and learn how to purify yourselves! All bad qualities of the soul must be washed away and replaced with love — with a flow of giving love!”
        Besides, the Prophet said: “I am baptizing you with the Waters of the Flow so that you can receive the Baptism in the Fire of the Father! The One Who will come after Me will bring the Fire of Divine Love to the Earth! Only if you receive purification of the soul before His coming, you will be able to cognize the Divine Fire!”
        Thus taught the Prophet called by people John.

Andrew the Apostle

Parable about Non-Burning Flame

Jesus said: “There is Non-Burning Flame! It is the Power of My Father!»
From the memories of Andrew the Apostle

        There was a man and he was kind. He wanted to help people who lived in affliction and grief, poverty and illnesses… He sought ways to help them to transform their hard and sad lives but could not find such means…
        That kind man discovered that there was Non-Burning Flame. This Flame is similar to the flame of a fire and yet is different, because the Great Power is contained in It. This Flame is brighter than the light of the sun and yet does not burn anyone. And what-ever you wish can be fulfilled by this Great Power…
        … Once the kind man heard that a Great Teacher came to the Earth from God-the-Father and that in this Teacher there was Non-Burning Divine Flame.
        And all that this Teacher said came true. He touched the blind and said: “See!”, and the blind began to see… He touched the lame and said: “Rise and go!”, and the lame rose and went… He was endowed with the Great Power to raise the dead and to heal the sick. This Teacher knew the secrets of life and the secrets of death. He preached the Knowledge from God-the-Father about how people should live on the Earth.
        The kind man decided to find this Teacher and to learn how one could acquire the Power of Non-Burning Flame in order to help people who lived in suffering and misery.
        He traveled for a long time, and his Purpose guided him. And finally he found the Teacher.
        And the kind man saw the Teacher walking and the Non-Burning Flame shining in Him! The kind man looked closely, his eyes blinked, and there was no Flame… He looked again, and again he saw the Bright Flame in the Teacher.
        The Teacher wore simple clothes. And He spoke simple words as if He was not a Great Messiah at all!
        But the Light of Love was streaming from His eyes. He spoke softly, but His every word touched the heart and was remembered by the soul.
        And the kind man went together with the human crowd that followed the Teacher and listened to His speeches. The kind man saw how He healed and said to the cured person: “Go and sin no more!”
        And once the kind man decided to ask the Teacher to give him the Non-Burning Flame so that he also could heal the lame, recover the sight of the blind, raise the dead, alleviating the sorrows of people in this way!…
        And the Teacher answered him: “Here is the Flame! Take it!” But the kind man could not take it, for he did not know how. And then he decided to stay with the Teacher and follow Him with a few other disciples. And he learned from the Teacher for many years…
        Time was passing… And the kind man began to see the entire Sea of Shining Flame. But could not take It…
        And the Teacher told him: “Only that one can carry this Flame who has became It! Only the human heart can contain the Sea of Non-Burning Flame! Only the Transfigured Man can turn into the source of the Divine Flame on the Earth!
        “But this Flame exists not for healing bodies and returning souls to flesh. These miraculous healings are but Signs of the Power of the Heavenly Father, so that people can know whose Flame shines and whose Will creates!
        “Bodies are not eternal! They are like clothes that the soul puts on when it comes to the Earth. And it takes them off when it comes back to life without a body, and it gets new clothes when it comes to the Earth again and again… This continues until the soul, having taken off the clothes, becomes so pure and beautiful that it deserves to enter the Abode of the Heavenly Father, which means that the soul has become the Light of Love identical to the Light of the Father!
        “The Non-Burning Flame shines on the Earth so that people can see the Light and want to transform themselves! The Non-Burning Flame shines so that they may know how this transformation happens: the love of the heart becomes that Light which is the Path to the Father!”
        And the kind man understood that it is not the body that should be healed but the soul, so that those who do not see the Light of the Father can see it; so that those who are paralyzed by vices and weaknesses can stand up and enter on the Path that transforms souls and leads to God-the-Father!
        For a long time the kind man developed Love, Wisdom, and Power, so that his spiritual heart could carry the Non-Burning Flame!…
        … And one day the heart of the kind man became filled with the Divine Non-Burning Flame! For the only vessel on the Earth in which Divine Flame can exist is the heart transformed by Love!
        … And now the kind Man was walking the earth, and the Non-Burning Flame was shining in Him. And He sought hearts that were ready to receive that Flame…
        And a rumor was spreading that there was a Teacher sent by God-the-Father to the Earth. This Teacher knew the secrets of life and the secrets of death, and He preached the Knowledge from God-the-Father about how people should live on the Earth…

Andrew the Apostle

Parable about the Voice of the Heart

Jesus said: “Do not look with disdain at this man,
for it is a great feat to start transforming
evil into good inside oneself!”

From the memories of Andrew the Apostle

        There was a man. He was neither rich nor poor. He did not differ too much from other people who lived around him. He was neither young nor old…
        And this man was not strong-willed…
        Although there were seeds of kindness in him, they did not sprout…
        This man lived as everyone around him… He was ruled by whims and vices… And he was fettered by fears and weaknesses… And he did not feel good. His life went on as a dull procession of days. And there were neither joys nor achievements in it…
        Every evening this man thought: “Well, tomorrow I will act better; I will not yield to my weaknesses and vices any more!”
        But “tomorrow” came, and again he was ruled by whims and vices, and was fettered by fears and weaknesses…
        … One day the man thought: “Why can’t I live how I want to? Why am I acting not in a way I know I should act? Why do my vices rule me and my fears fetter me?”
        He began to think and found no reason not to live as he believed it was right, not to act as he considered appropriate.
        And then the man started to ask God: “My Father and Creator! Why can’t I live how I want to live? Why can’t I act as I think it is right to act? Why have I become a slave to my vices and whims, to my fears and weaknesses? What is the reason?”
        God answered him: “There is no reason for this! You are free to act as you want to!”
        Then the man said: “So, please, advise me what I should do to stop my vices and weaknesses ruling my life.”
        And God answered: “Each time before doing or saying something, listen to the voice of your spiritual heart and act as it will tell you! Then you will be able to control your weaknesses and fears and get rid of vices and whims!”
        And the man decided to follow God’s advice.
        The next morning he got up with a strong determination to ask his spiritual heart for advice before doing or saying something…
        Every day his old father said harsh words to him, grumbled and swore. The father used to say that his son was a useless person and that the whole generation of the sons of man lived in a wrong way. He also enumerated all his offences and sorrows and accused his son of everything of which he was and was not guilty…
        This morning the father, as always, began to swear at his son, uttering offensive words.
        And anger welled up inside this man because of the bitter, accusing words… And he was on the point of saying, as usual, poisonous words in response to his father but remembered God’s advice.
        And his heart had time to whisper: “Do not say offensive words, for your father loves you: he grieves over your troubles! You, too, love him! Hold back your angry words and ask his pardon!…”
        And in reply to his father’s swearing, the man bowed and said: “Forgive me, father!” And the anger went out. Then the man embraced his father and left to his work.
        The father was very surprised… and stopped swearing from then on.
        … In the evening, this man was coming back home after hard work. He bought a lot of food and was thinking how he would taste those delicacies… He was quite inclined to gluttony…
        On the way home, he came to the house of a young widow who lived with small children. This woman had had to pay him a debt but could not save enough money…
        For a long time he wanted to tell her that he would forgive her debt. And that day, at last, he decided to do this. So he came to the house of the poor widow and told her that he would free her from the debt. The widow bowed low to him and thanked him. The man was about to leave, but his heart whispered quietly: “Give the children the food that you bought for yourself! It will bring them joy!”
        It was hard for him to carry out this advice of the heart. But when he gave the delicacies to the children, and they started to dance joyfully, great joy rose in him as well! He was walking home easily, overfilled with happiness! And his heart was singing with delight!
        Not every day could that man hear the voice of the heart, and not every time could he fulfill what the heart whispered to him. Yet day by day he tried more and more to live how his heart was telling him. And with every passing day his whims and vices ruled him less, and his fears and weaknesses fettered him less. And the seeds of heart love sprouted in the soul!
        … Once this man was walking and saw a lot of strong and malicious men beating a young good lad. All the people who were passing by just increased their pace, averted their faces, and stepped aside in order to avoid being beaten themselves.
        And our man was not really courageous. So he also wanted to pass by as if it was not his business… But his heart did not whisper this time, it screamed: “If you do not help, they will kill this good man! But you can save him!”
        However, the man was afraid and could not overcome his fear… He could neither leave nor help…
        And the heart kept screaming: “Save him quickly!”
        The man started to call God, because he could not overcome his fear. And he called Him not in a whisper or inwardly but at the top of his voice: “God! Please, come here! God! Come here!”
        People, who were passing by, stopped with surprise. And those who were far away came near too. So, from all around people ran to this place, stopped and looked, trying to understand what had happened and what God had to do with this. And such a big crowd gathered the malicious people got frightened, left the young man and disappeared quickly.
        And the young lad stood up from the ground and thanked the man: “You are so brave! You saved my life!”
        The man was going home, and the heart was shining like the sun in his chest, saying: “Love is stronger than all fears!”
        … The time went by, and life of this man became more joyful and easier.
        Once on Sunday the man went for a walk. He was walking and met the widow whose debt he had forgiven… She smiled at him tenderly and bowed low.
        And the man was captivated by the sight of her beauty… He was often attracted to women, though he considered his lust as a great sin.
        The man began to avert his eyes as not to look at her but remembered about the heart and asked its advice.
        And the heart said: “Look again and decide sincerely if you like this woman or not.”
        The man looked at her, and everything in him sparkled with love!
        He answered to the heart: “For me there is no one better than she is! I would give her everything!…”
        “So, why are you grieving? If your desire is about giving to another rather than getting for yourself, it is not lust! It is love awakened in you! Go and tell this woman that you love her!”
        And the man did. He came and said: “I love you! Be my wife!”
        All friends and neighbors around him began to say: “How foolish this man is! His business has just taken off, so he could find a rich bride! But he took a widow with small children!… This widow would not refuse him even without marriage…”
        But the man was listening to the song of the heart: “Happiness you give, happiness you get! You cannot buy happiness with money!”
        His heart was shining brighter and stronger with love! And it transformed the words and actions of this man!
        And soon this man got married to this woman. Their mutual heart love began to illuminate their whole life and warm their house! They started to raise their children together and to honor their parents.
        And the man thanked God: “My Father and Creator! Your advice has transformed my whole life, has brought happiness to me! Now I have defeated my vices and whims, overcome my weaknesses and fears!”
        And God answered him: “The one who has learned to hear the voice of the spiritual heart will be able to accomplish even more than that! For the voice of the heart is the voice of Love! And all that is created and done with love comes from Me! For I am LOVE!”


Parable about the Golden Flower,
the River of Love, and the Immortal Gardener

        Many legends were composed about the mystery of the Flower of Heart. Some of them call it the Flower of Life; some speak about it as about the Golden Flower, others assert that it is the Flower of Immortality. All these names are not casual: they reflect the blissful aroma of this Flower and slightly lift the veil of the mystery that surrounds it…
        … Once there was a man who lived in a small valley hidden in the mountains. He lived easily and lightly! Many people called him saint; others called him monk; others called him the Enlightened.
        Yet he neither spoke nor thought about himself in that way.
        Sometimes he called himself a gardener, although he did not have a garden. He cultivated just one single flower: the Golden Flower of the Spiritual Heart, the Flower that grants Immortality.
         This man lived simply. He lived and rejoiced at the existence that he contemplated! He was a friend of the mountains where he lived, of the winds, which passed over his small valley, of the grasses and flowers, which bloomed there in spring and beautified his abode during the summer. He was a friend of the stars, which smiled at him at night, and of the sun, which shone during the day. He was a friend even of the clouds and snow, which covered his dwelling place in late autumn and in cold winter.
        Sometimes animals or birds came to him; they were his friends. Sometimes people who needed help and healing visited him. And he helped them all; he never refused to help anybody.
        He lived for a long, long time. But one day his Flower was grown, and it was time for him to leave; he went to the other Immortals and became the Gardener, Who sows seeds and cultivates shoots that produce new Golden Flowers.
        He left for people the memory of the Golden Flower that grants Immortality and of the Source of the River of Love that flows and nourishes growing Flowers.
        … The mystery of the Golden Flower attracted people. They climbed the mountains to find the Flower of Immortality. They found different flowers there, tore them off mercilessly and made powders and tinctures, decoctions and ointments… But those potions could not make them Immortal…
         Others believed that magical power was hidden in the roots. And they dug them out and killed in vain those gentle creatures…
        No one succeeded in finding the Golden Flower. And its mystery remained unsolved…
        … But once a young man came to that place. His beloved was seriously ill, and he was told that she was dying. Yet one healer ensured him that she would recover from her illness if the man gave her the Flower of Life.
        The young man went to the mountains and found there a beautiful flower. Its corolla was so gentle that the young man thought it was the Flower of Life! He knelt down before the flower but could not tear it off. The compassion for life did not allow him to ruin this beauty!… The young man lowered his hands and whispered: “Forgive me!” And it was not clear whether he said this to his beloved or to the flower…
        At that moment a Voice sounded: “The one who respects life deserves to be helped!”
        This Voice was the Voice of the Divine Gardener, Who could appear in any time and in any place as any of the Immortals.
        He Himself consisted entirely of Light and Peace. Bliss emanated from His every movement and word.
        “I am glad that you had mercy on this flower!” — He said.
        “But the girl that I love is dying…” — the young man whispered.
        “You were told to give her the Flower of Life. But it is impossible to tear it off and bring it somewhere! It is only possible to grow it from your own heart love, nourished by the River of Love!”
        “But my beloved is dying right now… And I do not have enough time to help her…” — answered the young man.
        “Do not grieve, I will help you. Over there, there is the Source of the River of Love. And a tiny pure brook is also streaming over there. Fill your hands with its water and tell this water from your spiritual heart: ‘I love you!’ Then pour out this water on the flower and say to it the same words: ‘I love you!’ After a while dewdrops will appear on the petals. Collect these dewdrops from the flower, and this will be enough to cure your beloved! And while you are waiting for the dewdrops to appear, enter the River of Love and try to understand the Laws of Love according to which a person can live happily on the Earth!”
        The Gardener explained to the young man how to dive into the Flow of the Living Light of the River of Love and disappeared.
        The young man stayed in that Flow for a very long time and listened to the Living River; singing streams of it were telling him about the mysteries of life, about the laws of Tao.
        And he understood how love transforms a human life and that a person who does not have love in the heart cannot enter the River of Love! Souls in which the light of love does not shine are not capable of touching the Flow of Living Love; that is why they are deprived of happiness.
        On the other hand, those who live, giving their love, live and grow in the Flow of the River of Love where Light, Joy, and Bliss are streaming! And only these people can be happy!
        And when the young man realized all this, being filled with happiness, and transformed himself, he could see transparent droplets on the petals of the flower. He picked them up carefully and went to his beloved. She took the medicine of the Gardener and was cured.
        … They lived in peace and happiness, since their lives were passing in the River of Love!
        … When their son grew up and became a young man, he decided to thank the Immortal Gardener for the wonderful healing of his mother, for the life He gave her, and in that way to him too.
        So he took the road to find that small valley in the mountains.
        He climbed higher and higher and admired the beauty that was opening to his sight. Majestic mountains greeted him with their peaks illumined with the sun. Gentle wind, which was flying over the vast expanses, embraced him. Flowers, which beautified a valley, gave him their fragrance. He was walking, and stars smiled at him at night, and the sun lit up his every day.
        He found the small valley in the mountains where the Immortal Gardener lived once and the Source where the River of Love originated.
        He thought then: “I would love to cultivate the Flower of Life and then tell people about the Way to the true happiness!”
        And at once he saw the Immortal Gardener. The Gardener said: “Let it be as you wish, for you are dreaming not only of your personal welfare but of the welfare of others! I will show you how — out of the Silence of Tao — the Flower of Life opens in a human spiritual heart! I will show you the Depths from which it comes out! And then you can grow your own Flower and tell people about the mystery of the Flower of Life — the Flower of Heart, which grows from Infinite Tao and opens in a human soul! You can become the Gardener too!”


Parable about Love

        There was a man. Once, he heard the words: “God is Love!”
        And he decided to go and search for love. He began to listen to what other people were saying about love.

* * *
        He heard such things:
        … “I love meat!” — one man said. He slaughtered a lamb, roasted it and began to eat its body…
        … “I love hunting!” — another man said. — “I can hit any bird on the wing! And I can find any animal in the thickets, kill it and strip its skin off.”
        … “I love to wear furs!” — one pretty girl says.
        … “And I love flowers!” — another pretty girl adds… She puts bouquets of flowers in vases and looks with delight at how they are withering and dying… And they do not know about her "love" at all! And what a pity that the flowers doomed to die became a symbol of love and beauty!…
        … Another man declares:
        “I love my woman so much and my passion for her is so strong that if she betrays me with another man, I will kill her!”
        … “I love glory more than all women!” — the commander says. — “For the moments of glory I can give everything!” And he chooses enemies for himself and sends his army to die. He takes away others’ lives for the sake of the moment of his glory…
        … “I love power!” — the emperor says. — “I myself create laws for this country! Everyone must be obedient to all my desires! Everything will be at my behest: I will grant mercy or execute, I can establish peace or start a war!”
        … The man also heard:
        “We love God! For our faith we are ready to die! For our faith we are ready to kill!”
* * *
        The man was terrified of what he had heard… And he exclaimed: “This cannot be love!”
        And the mountains echoed: “This is not love!…”
        And the leaves rustled: “This is not love!…”
        And the birds cried: “This is not love!…”
        And the rivers murmured: “This is not love!…”
        And the surf of the ocean roared: “It is not love when somebody wants something for oneself and sheds blood!…”
        And the man went further…
* * *
        … Once he saw a kind child in another country and asked:
        “What do you love?”
        “I love my mom, I love my dad, I love this glade full of flowers! I love this small river and this forest! I love to sing songs and to dance, I love to work and I love to play! Everyone is glad about my love! And they all love me!”
        … The man saw another man in love and asked him too… He answered with the words of love that he had said to his beloved: “I wish you be happy, my be-loved, even though you are with another man now… I repeat again: Be happy, my beloved! Be happy! Know that I am glad for you!”
        … The man saw a grain field and a beautiful garden as if the earth itself blossomed. And he saw the person who had grown all this. The man asked: “What do you love?”
        The person answered: “I love the earth! I grow gardens, crops, and flowers on it, and they give me their fruits, beauty, and fragrance in return. The one who grows a garden and gives one’s love to all receives beautiful fruits!”
       … The man was walking through the country where there was order and peace and saw well-being in human lives.
        The man asked the ruler of this country:
        “What do you love?”
        “I love this country and all the people here!” — the wise ruler replied. — “And I am ready to suffer humiliation in order to avert a war between my country and another one and to ensure peace in it!”
        … And the man went on, listening and observing…
        And he saw a Master of Soul, who loved God with all His heart, and asked him:
        “Please, tell me, what is love taught by God, how to cognize it, and how to distinguish between what is love and what is not?”
        And the Master answered: “In wanting something for oneself — there is no love! There can be only passions, whims, and vicious desires… Love is the foundation of the universe! Love is also the light of the soul!”
        And then the Master taught:
        “The transparent flow of water is streaming and nourishing everyone; this is how God loves!
        “The Earth raises and carries on itself everything living; this is how God loves!
        “The sun shines and gives its light to everything and everyone; this is how God loves!
        “You, too, should love, always giving your care with tenderness to everyone!
        “Love giving itself — this is the light of the soul!
        “Cultivate love inside yourself and you will be able to see and feel God!”


Parable about the Master

        There was a Master on the Earth. He lived in Unity with God. And people gathered around Him.
        He taught those who aspired sincerely to learn about the Truth.
        But others only questioned Him idly, without getting any benefit for the soul…
        There were lots of people who gathered around Him and asked Him questions:
        “How can we be sure that You are a True Teacher, that Your Doctrine is a true one, and that You are better than others who teach and speak differently?
        “Some of them teach us that one should take off a cap before entering a temple, others teach that one should keep it on…
        “And there are so many various Gods and doctrines! And every follower claims that only his or her faith is true and that those who worship another God and have another way of worship are sinners!
        “How can we sort it out? And in what should we believe?
        “And what will we get if we worship Your God?”
        The Master answered:
        “There is God! And He is One for all! His names are Love, Life, and Existence! He is the Creator of everything! He gives birth to all existence, creating it by His Power!
        “His names are different because in different languages people praise Him.
        “But the knowledge about Him that exists among people is quite incomplete. Many ‘teachings’ or ‘teachers’, having taken a minute part of the Whole, try to say about God only what they know. And what they do not know they declare non-existent.
        “Let us blindfold three men who never have seen an elephant, and let them touch it.”
        And the Master blindfolded three men. One of them touched the tail of the elephant, another touched the elephant’s leg, and the third one touched the elephant’s trunk. And each of them described how he felt the elephant. But their descriptions were… completely different, although the elephant was one and the same!
        Nevertheless, people continued asking questions:
        “What is God? Where is He? In which temple should we look for Him? In what should we believe, how should we pray, and what sacrifices should we offer to God?”
        In reply the Master repeated simple words that were said from century to century by other Masters. He repeated them so that people could hear and understand:
        “God is Love! He teaches how to love and not how to beg or beseech!
        “He demands for Himself neither worship, nor prayers, nor sacrifices!
        “He only gives. He gives life and love! And all existence is controlled by Him!
        “Henceforth, let every spiritual heart become a temple for cognition of Him! Everyone can transform one’s own heart into a beautiful temple filled with love and gratitude! This temple will grow year after year and become boundless with time, because love has no bounds! It grows and expands, being aware more and more of its own presence in all that it loves!”
        And if you need to say words, just say: “I love You, Father!” or “I thank You!”

* * *
        Then disciples asked the Master about gratitude to God.
        The Master answered:
        “The easiest commandment, which every person can keep, is the commandment of gratitude. Whatever you receive, express gratitude for it! And do good in response! Then your lives, souls, and destinies will change with time!
        “A person who is able to be grateful for everything sent to him or her by God acquires three virtues at once: love, humility and patience. And the one who always aspires to fulfill this — lives and grows in God’s Love!
        “And there is no reason for grief since everything created by the Father is beautiful!
        “Always thank God for everything!”
        “And how should those whose lives are full of suffering act? Do You really want to say that they should thank the Father for their punishment?” — a disciple asked the Master.
        The Master answered:
        “Suffering can purify the soul and take off the burden of past sins if one repents in a reasonable way! So, we should thank the Creator for suffering as well!
        “It is necessary to remember this, especially when bad events and troubles come into your lives!
        “We ourselves cause these troubles! It is not God Who punishes us, but it is our past bad acts that create our problems! And God, on the contrary, helps us to purify our destinies when evil that we caused to others returns to us.
        “Yesterday I lanced an abscess on your body. The pain that I caused to you was for your good. I caused it to heal your body. And you thanked Me for healing! Are you not surprised that you thanked Me for that pain? You knew that it was for good, for healing of your body, that is why you thanked Me.
        “Let us be able to accept pain from the Principal Healer of all souls with gratitude!
         “Having come to the Earth, we have to pay the debt of our vicious past. And we will live in good, only if we are not in debt to anyone!”
        “But with what can we pay the debts of the soul?” — that disciple asked.
        “With love!
        “There are three very simple precepts: Love! Give thanks! The one who always aspires to fulfill these precepts lives and grows in Love of the Creator! And love is capable of overcoming all the problems of life!
        “If we always live thanking and giving, we wash away our bad past with our love!”

* * *
        The disciples asked the Master:
        “Some doctrines assert that man is Divine, others claim that man is nothing but ashes, an accumulation of sins. In what should we believe?”
        The Master picked up a seed from the earth, put it on His palm, showed it to the disciples, and said:
        “Here is a seed from a tree. Some could say: it will become a tree. Others could say: it is just a speck of dust carried by the wind. Who is right?
        “A seed has everything to become a tree! But until it germinates, roots itself, and transforms its entire being from a sprout into a tree, from a possibility of existence into existence — till then it will remain just a speck of dust carried by the wind…
        “It is the same with man. He or she can become Divine not only because that person has seeds of Divinity inside, but because Divine Love has rooted in him or her, has grown, and has become a Tree, transforming the entire nature of that person!
        “A seed can grow transforming itself into a tree. And man, too, can grow transforming oneself into God! Everyone has this great possibility!
        “But this is just a possibility!”

* * *
        Once new disciples asked the Master:
        “How can we verify that by following Your Teachings we will cognize the Truth? And why should we believe Your words?”
         The Master answered:
        “Here is honey from honeycombs. It is sweet. But no matter how much I speak to you about its sweetness, and no matter how firmly you believe My words, this will be of no use to you! Yet you will get to know that it is sweet only when you taste it!
        “It is the same with Knowledge! You will not get much benefit if you believe Me or someone else blindly, or if you worship a book, which contains Knowledge, instead of worshiping God!
        “You should trust your experience! And words will remain words…
        “Let’s imagine a person sitting in a dark room. No matter how strongly this person believes in the existence of light, this cannot make the room lighter.
        “But if that person, having understood that light exists, starts to act, he or she might be able to light fire for oneself, as someone lights a candle in darkness. And then this person might be able to see a door in the room and leave it.
        “Only the one who searches and goes will find a passageway! And only that person will open the door to the boundlessness of Light!”
        “But yesterday You told us that faith would save us. And today you are saying that there is no need to believe. How should we understand You?”
        “I was talking about that faith which combines love for the Creator, confidence in Him, and the memory that He is always near you!
        “When you know that the loving and caring Father is always here with you and with everyone, and that He gives you everything you need, and you thank Him for this — this is faith!
        “By His Love, Wisdom, and Power everything is created! And everything is under His control! And if something goes not as you want it to, there is a significant reason for this.
        “Knowledge is a fruit of love and faith. It grows when you make efforts and act properly!
        “If you do not see that there is Light and yet you want to acquire the higher vision, you should believe and work! Faith is a support on this Path! Because if you do not believe that there is Light, you will not be able to cast off your chains and leave darkness!
        “But if you believe blindly, faith will not heal you. Only through hard work on yourself as a soul, will you be able to transform darkness into Light!
        “Without faith you can’t stand firmly on this Path! Yet in order to gain Wisdom, you should pass from faith to Knowledge!
        “And only after having walked the entire Path, will you be able to cognize the Truth! The one who has cognized the Light of the Creator will not doubt or be afraid anymore! That person will make efforts to become this Light and to learn to dissolve oneself in It!
        “But the one who can only doubt and fear should wait. It is not the right time for him or her to go on a journey!
        “Later I will narrate how I traversed this Path, what I found, and how I came to the Unity. And the one who aspires and is ready to make efforts can try to pass after Me!
        “There is Purpose!
        “There is the Path!
        “There is Truth!
        “There is Light on the Path!
        “Yet everyone should go by oneself to come to Unity with God!”

Symeon the New Theologian*

The Parable about Monasticism
 and Silent Meditation

Teach me Inseparability, oh my Lord!
Let me fill my flesh with Your Unearthly Light,
so that You always will be with me  in life and death!
Teach me Oneness, oh my Creator!

The prayer told by Symeon

        Once there was a young man. His family was rich and noble. He studied successfully different sciences. Everyone expected him to make an excellent career in the Imperial Court…
        But his heart’s desire was another. He did not want or look for riches! And he did not strive for glory and honor! But he often thought about the meaning of human life, about God and about how to understand the Divine mystery of existence.
        He asked his father’s permission to retire to a monastery for the studies and for the purification of the soul.
        The father was very angry with such a request of his son! He said to him:
        “You are young! But only people in their old age go into a monastery to pray for forgiveness of their crimes! Change your mind! All other roads are open for you!”
        The young man answered him:
        “But why do you think, father, that only in old age, at the threshold of death — one needs to know about God and the meaning of life? What if my life is doomed to be short, so that I will not have time to find out — why do I live?
        “I want to know about the meaning of life, about God, but not about how to please a sovereign or no-blemen or how to occupy a higher position! I don’t want either to multiply your riches tenfold or hundredfold!
        “I saw dead — young ones and old ones. And the same fate awaits everyone who is alive now! And if a person does not know why he or she lives — what answer can this person give to God when the time comes to die?”
        But his father forbade him from going to a monastery. And the young man obeyed his wish.
        Yet he did not leave the search for God and the meaning of human life.
        Once he went to an elder — a prior of a monastery. This elder was very much honored by people.
        The young man was welcomed by the elder and told him about his striving for a monastic life and about the prohibition of his father.
        The elder looked at the young man kindly and said:
        “Why do you want to live in a monastery if you are not enticed by earthly temptations, but attracted by the love for the Lord? Living in the world, you can do all the same things as you would do in a monastery!
        “Who is a real monk? It is not that one who hides oneself from the world in a dark cell in order not to see or hear anything!
        “A soul realizes itself before God not because it lives inside the walls of a monastery!
        “A monk is the one who dedicates all his acts and thoughts to God and seeks passionately to cleanse the soul before the Heavenly Father!”
        And the young man asked the elder to teach him how to keep a monastic live while living in the world:
        “Tell me, how should I live from now on? What should I refuse and what should I strive for?
        The elder said:
        “Give up indulging yourself in everything bad! And to understand what is bad, you can always ask your conscience. It never deceives you!
        “Give up laziness and anger!
        “Give up the idle talks! Do not speak a word in vain! Restrain your speech by the silence!
        “Don’t offend others!
        “Don’t be offended yourself!
        “Forgive when others are unfair to you! Be meek and ask forgiveness, especially when you yourself have been wrong!
        “Jesus taught to love our neighbors! Try to realize this in practice!
        “This will be enough for you to begin with.”
        But the young man asked:
        “But how to pray? I know that monks spend every day before the Heavenly Father chanting prayers, and through this, they obtain grace!”
        And the elder replied:
        “Well, if you want to be before God incessantly, I’ll teach you a silent meditation that you can practice all the time.
        “You must learn to stay in the silence in your spiritual heart! And then — not before an icon, but in your own spiritual heart — light the lamp of love for your Heavenly Father! And let the fire of love always shine in the silence of the spiritual heart!
        “Whatever you do, do it with patience and diligence! And do not interrupt your silent meditation!”
        The young man began trying to do what the elder told him. And it turned out to be… not so easy! Sometimes he began to see inside himself the shadows of irritation or anger, which he could not restrain in time… Sometimes he noticed how unnecessary words were pronounced by him thoughtlessly or out of place… Sometimes he got offended when others were unfair to him… Sometimes he saw his own laziness or forgot about his silent meditation…
        But he did not stop working on himself as a soul.
        And so closely was he watching for his thoughts and deeds that he changed in a short time.
        And his silent meditation was shining with joy inside his heart! And he made an effort to keep it shining. And since then the lamp lighted in the soul for God was always radiating!
        And he came again to the elder and said:
        “I feel so good because of the silent meditation — as if God Himself is watching it!”
        “Why do you think He isn’t watching?” — the elder asked him. — “God sees and knows everything: each thought and each action of every one of us! At that very moment when you think about God, He is ready to help you with an answer. It is so, because He is always everywhere! And your silent meditation is pleasant for Him, since in this meditation you don’t want anything for yourself but only to glorify and thank the Lord!”
        And the young man changed so much in a short time that his father relented and allowed him to realize his desire to go to the monastery to the wise elder for learning

* * *
        So the elder taught him further: “You’ve learned the first silent meditation — the heart meditation! And now I’ll teach you the second silent meditation, which consists in the mergence of the soul with the Holy Spirit.
        The elder invited him to the temple, where the flow of the sun's rays was coming in through the window, and said:
        “Look: this sunlight is like the Divine Light that proceeds from the Father!
        “A human body is a temple, and God is the Light! So you should fill your own temple of the soul with the flow of the Divine Light!
        “What is this Light? What is Its nature? This Light is Love. It proceeds from the Heavenly Father. And the entrance for this Light of the Father’s Love is the spiritual heart that was opened by the first silent meditation.”
        And then the young man felt that this Light was… Living and that this Light was the Flow of God’s Love!
        And in that Light he touched the Great Purity!
        And — for a moment — he became One with this Light!…  

* * *
        A lot of time had passed since then. The young man was trying hard to master the second silent meditation. But he could not fill himself once again with the Holy Spirit until he realized that only those could merge with the Flow of God’s Love who themselves became such Love — tender, pure, and giving!
        It is so, because the similar can merge only with the similar!

* * *
        But living in the monastery, the young man saw that all the same things happened here as in the world: anger, resentments, vanity, and envy… He noticed in other monks those things that he considered unacceptable for a monk. And his confusion was growing day after day!
        He asked the elder to advise him what he should do to avoid the feeling of condemnation of what he saw and how to help in such a trouble.
        And the elder said to him:
        “Who is a monk? That is one who strives for God with all thoughts of the mind and with all the soul!
        “But a soul cannot take off immediately all the heavy covers that have adhered to it during many years. These covers cloud the eyes and ears of a soul, hide its wounds and defects, and paralyze it with heaviness, which does not allow a soul to see and feel the Light of the Lord!
        “It’s not easy to take these covers off. That is why souls cannot be cleansed and healed quickly!
        “That one who can see these covers and defects without condemnation can be a healer of souls.
        “I am going to appoint you — instead of me — as the prior of the monastery, for I have to leave soon…
        “You are young, but your purity and sincerity before the Heavenly Father guarantees that you will take care of the souls in this house of the Lord better than other people! You can help those who are striving to purify themselves as souls and to love the Heavenly Father!
        “If you see that you can remove at least one heavy cover from the soul, heal one of its wounds, or correct one of its defects — do this for the glory of the Lord! From now on it will be your main occupation!
        “Teach worldly people to live in peace and love and keep the other commandments of Jesus.
        “Teach monks to experience themselves as souls in front of God.
        “You yourself will gain wisdom — only if you help other people to obtain purity of souls in front of God.
        “You should learn not to condemn but to awaken in souls a deliberate aspiration to get rid of vices.
        “The Lord will always tell you what medication you should prescribe every soul!”
        And the elder fell silent…
        But the young man dared to ask:
        “You told me that there is the third silent meditation… Please, tell me about it!”
        “The third meditation will be cognized by you when you abandon yourself…

* * *
        And the elder left.
        The young man became the prior of the monastery.
        And because of the great responsibility — he always asked God how he should act. And he began to hear recommendations of God and to see the Divine Light — as the Sun!
        The Holy Spirit began to flow through him — and his words and actions became filled with wisdom.
        And since that moment the second silent meditation became his essence, for the Holy Spirit was in him, spoke and acted through him.

* * *
        Time passed by… He helped many people to get rid of heavy covers that stifled souls, shrouded them from the Light, stopped their breathing… He healed many souls’ wounds, taught how to correct many souls’ defects.
        … At that time his father died, and the young man inherited all his estate.
        But he did not give his father’s riches to the monastery, as many monks dreamt… And he did not cover icons and the interiors of the temple with gold and precious stones… Instead of this, he opened a school for children, a hospital, and a shelter for lonely old people…
        And there were monks unsatisfied with this. Those monks lived in the monastery as in the world: they looked for position and rank, for favor of people with power, and for respect from their inferiors… But they did not try to liberate themselves as souls from heavy covers and terrible vices…
        They decided to expel their prior from the monastery… They wrote a report in which they stated that their prior was tempted by the evil spirits, because he saw the Light similar to sunlight, heard recommendations from the Holy Spirit, received guidance from God, and composed hymns for Him being out of his mind!
        Thus he was expelled from the monastery… And taking off his prior clothes, he left having nothing but the second silent meditation mastered by him.

* * *
        And when he was coming out of the monastery gate — old and grey-haired — people asked him: “Who are you?”
        And he answered: “God’s monk.”
        So he went to the seashore, then found a secluded cave in a mountain, and began to live there.
        And he saw God!
        And he heard God!
        And God was with him always!
        And the God’s monk was only with God!
        And when he did not leave the Light of the Holy Spirit anymore — the Heavenly Father opened for him the gates of His Abode!
        And the soul put on the robes of Christ.
        At that moment he cognized the third silent meditation, because there was already nothing for him but God! Only God was Everything and everywhere!
        Yes, now God was living in the monk and did through him all that He needed…
        And signs of God’s Love appeared around the monk…
        And people began to call him Saint Elder. And so many pilgrims gathered around him that they built a new cloister near his cave.
        And the elder never refused to give them advice and assistance.

* * *
        One day a young man came to him and asked:
        “Tell me, wise elder, for what have you lived your life?”
        And the elder replied:
        “At first I lived to cognize the heart love.
        “Then I lived to give love to people, to teach them to love, so that they could learn from our Creator what care is.
        “And now God lives in me and I live in Him. And what I do — it is He Who does.”
        The young man said:
        “Teach me to live like this!”
        And the elder began to tell him about the first silent meditation… 

  This parable is autobiographical.