In this letter Swami Kriyananda responds to a devotee who objected to his view that Jesus was a sannyasi.

Dear _____________________

Everything I read about the life and teachings of Jesus shows him to have been a complete sannyasi, and to have taught the way of Sannyas.

Jesus taught that the kingdom of God should not be sought “here” or “there,” for the kingdom of God is within.  Take no heed for tomorrow, he said, for God knows your needs.

Even his teaching to love one’s neighbor as oneself is linked to the first commandment—to love God with all one’s heart, soul, mind, and strength. “Seek ye first the kingdom of God,” he said, and all things else shall be added unto you.

Jesus shows infinite love and compassion, but not approval for worldliness, even of the type you describe. Rather, he said, “Be ye therefore perfect even as your Father in heaven is perfect.”

As I read the Bible, Jesus was looking for souls who were pure and wanted God.  His ministry was not one of going out among the masses as himself a man of the masses.

Last night I saw a beautiful and inspiring movie, “A Man Called Peter,” about the life of the minister, Peter Marshall. It is well worth seeing.

Still, that doesn’t mean I went along with everything Marshall said.  For example, he described Jesus in one sermon as very much a man of the people, with his big carpenter’s hands and his “fellowshipping”—a man, in short, rather like himself.

I see nothing in the Bible to support such a view of Jesus.  Nor do I believe that such a man would have had the magnetism to launch a new religion. Jesus was a man of God, trying to draw as many as had “ears to hear” to the divine quest.  He converted Mary Magdalene because she was ready in her soul.

He forgave the woman taken in adultery, but he didn’t condone the adultery.  What Jesus was teaching in that story is that we should not judge one another.

My goal is to express the essential truth as I see it, and above all to help people to see something that your letter suggests you don’t agree with— the crystal-clear fact that truth is one and universal, and that the fundamental life view of all scriptures cannot be in conflict, else there is no real truth.

In divine friendship

Swami Kriyananda