THE STORIES OF JONAH AND THE WHALE
JOB, THE BEHEMOTH AND THE LEVIATHAN
The story of Jonah. and the Whale has probably raised more controversy in the world than any other story ever written. It has also tested many a person's faith in the Bible. The -descriptions of the Behemoth and the Leviathan have also been a seventh wonder, hard to place and understand in any literal, physical interpretation of a Sacred Text. Similar is the expe-rience of Job, and God's way with him through agency of Satan,
Both, Jonah and Job were righteous men who feared God and served Him. Their experiences were almost like those of Odysseus, the Greek leader in the Trojan War, on his homeward journey after the war. These and similar stories all have much inner meaning and value in the journey of the soul, lost on earth,
To interpret these stories as mere physical, historic, accounts misses the point they intend to convey to the students of the deeper aspects in Life, which deals not merely with forms and objects in time and space. To ask someone to translate and interpret music when he has no experience in it nor love for it, would be a similar situation. Even written works on arts, mechanics or chemistry can be properly translated only by someone who knows the art with which it deals, through personal experience. Words can only convey what they mean to us.
The same holds true in the study of the Inner Life and the translations of all the Sacred and Mystic writings. Also, it should not be forgotten that the secrets were meant to be guarded, and were delib-erately covered up when written about, for the sake of safety. and security. These things were live topics in olden days, and much discussed. Yet they could not be openly discussed nor written about because those doing so were liable to severe punishment if what they propounded did not fit into the scope of understanding of the ruling powers.
Parables, myths, fables, fairy tales and stories with a hidden inner meaning were the accepted ways of teaching and writing Spiritual Truth in the days of old. Jesus Himself taught in parables. Even today, teaching in similes, metaphors, or by comparison with things men know and understand, is a favorite method of the Saints and Mystics of the East.
"Now the word of ( Jehovah) the Lord came unto Jonah." ( JONAH I : 1)
This clearly indicates that Jonah was not an ordi-nary man, but a prophet who could talk with Jehovah. He was a mystic who had inner work to do in the Father's House, as Jesus also spoke of His work, accord-ing to the four gospels.
"Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it." (JONAH I :2)
In Biblical times there was a city called Nineveh, a town called Joppa, and a city called Tarshish, to which Jonah fled. But how could a prophet escape from Jehovah's order by merely going to another place on earth? It is evident that some deeper meaning was implied in Jehovah's command. Jonah understood this, but instead of going up as ordered, he went down to Joppa, in the opposite direction.
The names of these cities have a value and meaning similar to the places mentioned in Revelations by St. John, when he described the seven centers in the ethereal body of man as the seven churches. When these are read in that light of understanding, as a message or mystic method of going from one to the next higher and taking the consciousness there, it is a literal conquering of those places and becoming a ruler of that station of Life in one's own house, and of that same energy in the universe.
Jehovah was not only the Deity, but also the Initiator and Hierophant of Jonah, the disciple. He had told Jonah to go up one station further in his conscious-ness of development on the tree of his Inner Life. Nine-veh represented the fiery, navel chakra, called the Mani-pura Chakra in the system of Yoga. Jonah was to "cry out against it", meaning that Jehovah gave him the mantra or words to repeat in order to conquer that citadel. This order is similar to the instruction Joshua gave to the children of Israel when they were marching around Jericho, and he told them to shout with a great shout at the sound of the trumpet, as he had been pre-viously told by Jehovah, and the city fell when they did as instructed. (JosHUA 6)
Again, it is the mystic way of conquering the mind and its lower emotional stages or stations of function, which is referred to in such quotations. Actually, the repetition is done mentally, with the attention of the mind. When this is done under the guidance of a living, true Master, then conquest and control are assured. It is the concentration of the mind energy at a given point that is the heavy armament which conquers the citadel of the lower emotional phases of the mind and their etheric centers or chakras, the whir-ling energies in that area; also the city of the Giants (the egos ) when the inner reach is high enough to conquer the self.
But Jonah fled from the presence of Jehovah and went down to Joppa to take a ship to Tarshish: In other words, Jonah retreated to the next lower chakra, the Swadishtana or Brahma Chakra, which is watery in its essence. Taking a ship means riding on those watery energy currents. He must have been frightened, like the Children of Israel were by the Giants in the Promised Land. So Jonah set out for further retreat to Tarshish, the Muladhara Chakra.
Jonah 1 : 4-16 describes the storm at sea and how Jonah was cast overboard. Each energy current of the body carries or conducts the consciousness of the mind, much the same as a ship carries passengers or cargo.
"Now the Lord (Jehovah) had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights." (JONAH 1 : 17)
The twelve signs of the zodiac symbolize the finer energy currents which flow over the main body areas and centers. The Brahma chakra is in the pelvis, and the currents of the sign of Pisces, the negative pole of the Brahma chakra, are represented by the feet and are pictured as two fishes, one swimming upward and one downward. It was this downward, sensory cur-rent which became huge and powerful like a .monster, and swallowed up the fleeing, sinking Jonah. Having lost his own control of that energy wave, it was power-ful beyond all normal proportions, and he could not extricate himself for three days.
"Then Jonah prayed unto the Lord (Jehovah) his God out of the fish's belly." (JONAH . 2 : 1)
"Out of the belly of 'Sheol" is also mentioned in the text, Sheol meaning depth, pit or hell. And Jonah's prayer was heard. Jehovah extricated him from the clutches of this huge watery energy monster or fish, which was the downward current in Jonah's flight of consciousness on his Tree of Life within himself.
"And the word of the Lord ( Jehovah) came unto Jonah the second time, saying, Arise, go unto Nineveh," (JONAH 3 : 1-2)
Then Jonah arose or rose up on the upward attention current and arrived at Nineveh. The people or the energies in the city of Nineveh, the Manipura Chakra, did not oppose Jonah as he had feared. In-stead, they repented and fasted ( 3 : 5-10 ) . Therefore, the city was not destroyed nor conquered by Jonah as Jehovah had commanded him to prophesy. And Jonah was displeased and practically told his Hierophant that was what he had expected it would all amount to when he was yet in his own country, before he fled to Tarshish (JONAH 4 : 1-4).
"So Jonah went out of the city, and sat on the east side of the city." (JONAH 4 : 5) "Sitting on the east side" explains his position-his attention—in the sensory currents on the anterior sensory part or side of his body. There he sat in consciousness and meditated on the fate of the city, his own chakra.
"And the Lord ( Jehovah) God prepared a gourd, and made it to come up over Jonah, that it might be a shadow over his head, to deliver him from his grief." (JONAH 4 : 6) Jehovah, in His kindness, taught Jonah a lesson, by shading him from the burning sun in this fiery chakra within the body."But God prepared a worm when the morning rose the next day, and it smote the gourd, that it withered." (JONAH 4 : 7)
The Hierophant withdrew this protection of Grace from Jonah, from the fiery heat of the solar plexus, the sun in Nineveh, the fiery chakra of the digestive energy, the Manipura Chakra. Yogis who concent-rate on the five lower chakras of the body, usually sit immersed in water when they get to that stage, because of the heat that is developed there. Jonah had to be made to feel this extreme heat because he did not act with implicit faith at the first command of Jehovah to go up and conquer Nineveh, the next higher center of consciousness. Instead, Jonah doubted Jehovah and fled. So he fell lower into the clutches of the negative power of that region. Even then, he doubted and watched while he attempted to concentrate. His concentration and devotion were neither steadfast nor complete.
The symbol of the ruling nature at the watery Brahma chakra is always a huge water animal with a snout. This is the mystery of the whale of emotions which swallows up humans in its passion and spews them out again, when the finer current of devotion raises and lifts up the soul, in answer to its cries unto God. In Hindu symbolism, the whale is referred to as Malcra, the great fish. The Mula-dhara or earthy chakra, situated below the watery chakra, is always pictured as an elephant, and is symbolically called Ganesh.
This brings to light the fact that God Himself does not extricate us from the mire nor does He prevent us from further descending into it until we ourselves wish to be liberated, and by so doing direct our con-sciousness upward by thinking of Him. If God in His infinite mercy does so much for us when we merely think of Him long enough to cry unto Him for help, how much more help He would give us if we could keep Him in mind always, in gratitude and thanks-giving for His blessings as well as when we finally realize the need of His help !
When we realize that by our own thoughts, words and deeds, most of us have forfeited every right to happiness before we came to this earth, then we can begin to comprehend to some extent the scope of His boundless Mercy and Love in showing us the way to return to the realm of Eternal Bliss. That in turn instills in us the feeling of gratitude and devotion, which ultimately leads to true love.
Because Jonah doubted Jehovah's Word, he was taught a severe lesson and did not conquer Nineveh to live in it, but he sat outside of it in meditation until a future time, when he would have sufficient faith and devotion to turn to the Lord instead of attempting to do everything with his own mind, will and ego.
The account of Jonah in the Bible is a story of Initiation. In this case the disciple was swallowed by the dragon of the threshold, symbolized by the whale. He was saved by Jehovah who was his Guru and who initiated him. The Holy Spirit of the Lord, also called the Holy Shabd, the Holy Ghost, etc. is always the real Redeemer regardless who the Master, High Priest or Initiator may be.
The reason for Jonah's fall is given in the book of Jonah, chapter 4. In a fit of anger he listened to his own mind and was convinced beforehand of his way. Whenever one deems the mind above God's implicit instructions, that disciple has already fallen from grace and is caught in the meshes of his own mind, the Behemoth of old. Faith in the Master and love for Him are the only safeguards on the Spiritual journey.
THE STORY OF JOB
The reason for referring to the two stories in the title of the previous chapter was to point out the simi-larity in character of both righteous men, but mainly because of the symbolism of the beasts mentioned therein. The beasts represent the energies in the psychic prana, cosmically, and in the individual whirl and flow of prana as chakras in the composite human makeup. The whale which swallowed up Jonah, compares with the Dragons of the Threshold or Makra the great fish, in other Sacred Writings.
Chapter 41 in the book of job gives a description of the Leviathan, a similar principle to the Whale in the story of Jonah. It symbolizes the psychic prana, or sex ' energy of the Brahma Chakra, in the Apan Tattwa of Water as its field of action. Jonah's Whale is a mild description when compared to this tremen-dous force, as the Dweller at the Threshold of Life, who guards the Tree of Life; the same as the Cherubim guard the gates of Paradise against all who would enter. In the book of Job, Jehovah Himself gives a good des-cription of this energy, as a beast called the Leviathan. (job 41 )
The interpreters make a plain crocodile out of Job's Leviathan, and hope to draw it out with a fish hook or pierce through the jaws in external prowess, as a physical feat. Eternal values lie within us; so also the real dramas of life take place within. Externally, they are but passing incidents of accomplishment.
In this account of the story of job we began with the end in order to clarify the mystery of the beasts.. The first chapter in the book of job indicates that he also was an upright man, feared God and could converse with Jehovah. He was very rich in the possession of animals and other material wealth. His spiritual stature of advancement was seven sons and three daugh-ters—meaning seven positive gains in consciousness through inner meditation, minus three negative ones, as unconquered chakras. That brought job up to the heart chakra, through his great devotion. But the Manipura Chakra was not entirely conquered, as is inferred by the many feasts his sons and daughters gave, which worried job (JoB 1 : 4-5).
The subsequent tests he went through confirmed his faith and gave him back his seven sons and three daughters, on a higher octave, as the fairest in the land. Then all the efforts in his concentration were more spiritually inclined than before, because of his experi-ence in patience and humility. His steadfast faith, devotion and humility carried him through all of it. He then became twice as strong in the lower chakras, symbolized by the number of oxen, camels, sheep and she asses he was given. It is all symbolism, which endures longer than the accounts of any physical happening, because it is beyond the physical realm and symbolizes the conquest of the soul in a greater field of consciousness. "As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten : be zealous, therefore, and repent." (Rev. 3 : 19)
A curious statement is made in chapter 1: 6 to 13, which has puzzled many a firm believer and made him wonder; namely, that Satan presents himself among the sons of God, to Jehovah, and Jehovah talks to him and allows him to test and plague job, His righteous devotee. Nothing is written in the entire Bible which could explain or clarify this action of Jehovah God.
. Only the teachings of the True Saints can throw light on this veiled mystery, to enrich the understanding of the Bible as a Mystic Text. This will. be taken up in the next chapter, but it might be well to mention here that Satan doesn't have to pay much attention to the masses in order to keep them within his prison, because they do such a good job of it themselves by allowing the mind and senses to keep them enslaved and imprisoned; however, once the soul has cried out unto God and made the effort to literally work its way out, and has reached the threshold from where it may consciously tread the path to Liberation, then Satan really gets to work, and only those who pass this test are actually ready to go up to the next step.
"Then entered Satan into Judas." (LUKE 22:3) "Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat : but I prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not." (LUKE 22 : 31-32) "Take ye heed, watch and pray : for ye know not when the time is." (MARK 13 : 33)
Similar admonitions are given in I Thes. 5 : 6-10, as well as in job 29 : 23, etc. The struggle of the soul goes on.To sum up the story of job, let us state that he was a mystic who was devoted to God, He had done very well in all his progress of raising his consciousness upward on the Tree of fife within himself, and remained humble. But Satan, the mind principle, the tempter, assails all initiates, even as Jesus was tempted in the wilderness.
That is when the real weakness shows up, if there is any left at all, whether it is to rule or to enjoy the possessions, or even to glory in good deeds, virtues or ascetic accomplishments. Temptation itself is not a sin, but when we so much as entertain the thought, or succumb to it, that is the sin or weak spot which needs to be overcome by sublimation and cen-tral attention to Reality, through greater devotion to the ford, the Savior or the Master in human form.
In the case of Jesus, the temptation proved His greatness, but in the case of Job, there were some old karmic debts to be paid and as a result, he suffered much in his renunciation and preparation for onward progress. His own mind fought him, as is illustrated by his friends who acted as his advisers. Three faculties of his own mind were against him; namely, his manas (the thinker or faculty of thinking) his chit (mind sub-stance of memory) ; and his ahankara (the ego or "I" faculty) were not yet conquered. Only his buddhi remained steadfast in reason and discrimination and lighted his way to the soul energies of humility, devotion, faith and complete surrender of the self. Because of this, he succeeded in his initiation and was rewarded and praised by Jehovah.
This is the true symbolism of a Mystic Initiation