Our mothers are racked with the pains of our physical birth; we ourselves suffer the longer pains of our spiritual growth. – Mary Antin

Lazarus, Come Out!

YOU HAVE heard the story of Lazarus — that is a story of man as such. It is said Lazarus died. Jesus loved him very much. His sisters informed Jesus; by the time the news reached him, Lazarus had been dead for four days. Jesus came running. Everybody was crying and weeping, and he said, “Don’t weep, don’t cry! Let me call him back to life!”

Nobody could believe him. Lazarus is dead! And the sisters of Lazarus said, “He is now stinking — he cannot come back. His body is deteriorating.”

But Jesus went to the grave where the body was preserved for him to come. The stone was pulled aside. In the dark cave Jesus called out, “Lazarus, come out! ” And it is said he came out.

It may not have happened that way; it may be just a parable — but it is a beautiful parable about man. When I look into your eyes, that’s all I can say: “Lazarus, come out!” You are dead and stinking. You are not yet alive. You are born, but you need to be reborn. Your first birth has not been of much help. It has brought you to a certain extent, but that is not enough. You have to go a little further. The birth that has already happened to you is only physical — you need a spiritual birth.

It is said: One professor of Jerusalem university went to see Jesus. Of course, he went in the night. His name was Nicodemus; he was a very rich, respectable man, a great scholar, well known in the Jewish world. He was afraid to go to Jesus in the daylight, because what will people think? He was known to be a great, learned man, wise — what will they think? that he has gone to this carpenter’s son to ask something? He was older than Jesus — could almost have been Jesus’ father. No, it was not possible for him to go in the daylight. Cunning and clever, he went in the night when there was nobody else. And Jesus asked him, “Why didn’t you come in the day?”

He said, “I was afraid.”

Jesus must have laughed. He said, “Nicodemus, for what have you come? What do you want of me?”

He said, “I would like to know how I can know God, how I can know the truth.”

Jesus said, “You will have to be reborn.”

Nicodemus could not understand. Jokingly he said, “What do you mean? Have I to enter again into a woman’s womb? Are you joking or something? Are you kidding or something?”

Jesus said, “No, I mean it — I mean what I say. You have to be reborn. You are such a coward. This is not life. You don’t have any courage. You will have to be reborn! You will have to become a new man, because only that new man can come to truth and realize it. Even to see me you have come in the night. How will you be able to go and see the truth? How will you encounter God? You will have to go naked. You will have to go in deep humility. You will have to drop all your respectability, all your scholarship. You will have to drop your ego — that’s what to be reborn means.”

The first birth is only a physical birth; don’t be satisfied with it. It is necessary but not enough. A second birth is needed. The first birth was through your mother and father; the second birth is going to be out of the mind. You have to slip out of the mind and that will be your rebirth — you will be reborn.

And, for the first time, trees will be greener than they are, and flowers will be more beautiful than they are, and life will be more alive than you have ever known it, because you can know it only to the extent that you are alive. You cannot know life if you are not alive. Whatsoever you are, you know life only up to that extent.

The symbolic language of the crucifixion is the death of the old paradigm; resurrection is a leap into a ourselves. – Dhwani Shah


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