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From Bethlehem to Calvary - Chapter Four - The Third Initiation - The Transfiguration
Elias, whose name means "the strength of the Lord," stood [145] beside Jesus Christ as the representative of all the schools of the Prophets which had for centuries foretold the coming of the One Who would stand for perfect righteousness and Who, in His Own Person, would embody, as He does today, the future achievement and the goal of the human race. That the future holds reaches of consciousness and standards of achievement as much beyond those of Christ as His expression is beyond ours, is entirely possible. The nature of the Father remains still to be known; some of its aspects, such as the love and wisdom of God, have been revealed to us by Christ. For us today, and for our immediate goal, Christ stands as the Eternal Prophet, to whom Elias and all the Prophets bear witness. Therefore, as He stood upon the mountain top, the past and the future of humanity met in Him.

That He at-oned in Himself certain basic human cleavages is thus apparent, and to those above enumerated we can add one already considered, the blending in Himself of two great kingdoms in nature, the human and the divine, making possible the emergence into manifestation of a new kingdom upon earth - the kingdom of God, the fifth kingdom in nature.

When considering the Transfiguration it is necessary to realize that it was not simply a great initiation, in which God revealed Himself in His radiance and glory to man, but that it had a definite relation to the medium of revelation - the material physical nature, which we call the "Mother aspect." We saw, when studying the Birth initiation, that the Virgin Mary (even when recognizing, as we do, the historicity of Christ's existence) is the symbol of the form nature, of the material nature of God. She typifies in herself that which preserves the life of God, latent yet with infinite potentialities. Christ revealed the love-nature in the Father. Through His Person, He revealed the purpose and objective of the form-life of man. [146]

In this mountain experience we see the glorification of matter as it reveals and expresses the divine, indwelling Christ. Matter, the Virgin Mary, reveals God. Form, the result of active material processes, must express divinity, and the revelation of this is God's gift to us at the Transfiguration. Christ was "very God of very God," but He was also "flesh of our flesh," and in the interplay and the fusion of the two, God stood revealed in all His magnetic and radiant glory.

When we, as human beings, realize the divine purpose, and come to regard our physical bodies as the means whereby the divine, indwelling Christ can be revealed, we shall gain a new vision of physical living and a renewed incentive for the proper care and treatment of the physical body. We shall cherish these bodies, through which we temporarily function, as the custodians of the divine revelation. We shall, each of us, regard them as the Virgin Mary regarded her body, as the repository of the hidden Christ, and we shall look forward to that momentous day when we, too, shall stand upon the Mount of Transfiguration, revealing the glory of the Lord through the medium of our bodies. Browning sensed this and gave us the thought in the following well-known phrases:

"Truth is within ourselves; it takes no rise
From outward things, whate'er you may believe.
There is an inmost center in us all
Where truth abides in fullness; and around
Wall upon wall, the gross flesh hems it in.

...And, to know
Rather consists in opening out a way
Whence the imprisoned splendor may escape
Than in effecting entry for a light
Supposed to be without."

- Paracelsus, by Robert Browning, Oxford Edition, p. 444.

Thus, for humanity, Christ stood revealed as the expression of God. There is for us no other goal. Yet let us remember with humility and awe that the stupendous words spoken by Krishna, in The Bhagavad Gita, remain also true [147] as an ultimate statement concerning the transfiguration of the whole world:

"Nor is there any end of My divine form, O consumer of the foe; this I have told thee for thy instruction, as an enumeration of My manifold forms. Whatever being is glorious, gracious or powerful, thou shalt recognize that, as sprung from a fragment of my fire. But what need hast thou of this manifold wisdom, O Arjuna? With one part of My being I stand establishing this whole world."
- The Bhagavad Gita, Book X, 40, 51, 42.

Under the impact of the evolutionary urge God moves towards fuller recognition. "Purification" is the word generally used to cover the process whereby the medium of divine expression is prepared for use. The Galilee experience, and the daily effort to live and meet the eventualities of human existence (which appear to grow more drastic and disciplinary as the great wheel of life turns, and, turning, carries humanity onward), bring man to the point where this purification is not simply the result of life itself, but is something which is definitely imposed by man upon his own nature. When this process is self-initiated, then the speed with which the work is carried forward is greatly accentuated. This produces a transformation of the outer man of great significance. The caterpillar becomes transformed into the butterfly. Deep in man lies this hidden beauty, unrealized, but struggling for release.

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