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Living No Longer For Ourselves

Last week when we talked about Gloria Copeland's sermon on giving we somehow got off on this:

"He died for all, so that those who live might live no longer for themselves, but for him who died and was raised for them."

Diane adds: Living no longer for ourselves. what would THAT look like?

There is a story I want to tell you about that. It's such a good story that I didn't want to just tell it and I had to go through some books to find a version of it that I really liked. This is from The Divine Romance, it's a collection of talks given by the master Paramahansa Yogananda. This is directly from the book:

"Krishna had many women disciples, but one favorite, Radah. Each disciple said to herself, "Krishna loves me more than anyone else." Still, because Krishna often talked of Radha, the others were envious of her. Noticing their jealousy, he wanted to teach them a lesson. So one day Krishna feigned a terrible headache. The anxious disciples expressed their great concern over the Master's distress. At last Krishna said, "The headache will go away if one of you will stand on my head and massage it with your feet." The horrified devotees exclaimed, "We cannot do this, You are God, the Lord of the Universe. It would be highest sacrilege to desecrate your form by touching your sacred head with our feet!"

The Master was pretending an increase of his pain when Radha came on the scene. She ran to her Lord, saying, "What can I do for you?" Krishna made the same request of her that he had made of the other devotees. Radha immediately stood on his head; the Master's "pain" disappeared, and he fell asleep. The other disciples angrily dragged Radha away from the sleeping form.

"We will kill you," they threatened.

"But why?"

"You dare to step on the head of the Master?"

"What of it?" Radha protested, "Did it not free him from his pain?"

"For such a sacrilege you will go to the lowest stratum of Hades."

"Oh, is that what you are worrying about?" Radha smiled. "I would gladly live there forever if it would make him happy for a second.":

Then the all bowed down to Radha, They understood why Krishna favored her; for Radha alone had no thought for herself, but only for her Lord's comfort."

Obviously, there's a lot to think about there.
  • What would happen to our ideas about what is sacrilege if we were like Radha?
  • What "sacrileges" would Jesus just as soon us give up?
  • When I insist that others conform to religious expectations am I really just envious?
  • Am I willing to risk going to "hell" to bring a moments comfort to Jesus?
YIKES! But, that is a pretty good example of what it means to live entirely for someone else. I'm not saying I do it. I am not sure I'm even trying very hard. But, there it is.


Ruth Hull Chatlien said...

What a great story followed by very cutting questions. I'm so glad I stopped by.

Presbyterian Gal said...

Those are tough questions. When I look at my son I like to believe I would go through all the levels of hell for him. Then when I think of Jesus and what he did for me, I would hope I would do the same. But don't know if I actually would.

I so love Parmanhansa Yogananda's stories.

Diane said...

great stories and even better questions. to be willing to go to hell for to bring Jesus comfort...

or for the sake of our neighbor...

it's food for thought. on the one hand, not to be a doormat or anything. But on the other hand, really care about someone else's wellbeing, at least as MUCh as we care for our own.

Lindy, you ask such great questions!

Caron said...

Please see “A Call for Discernment” by going to Justin is an evangelist and in addition to expository preaching, also holds seminars on the “Word of Faith” movement. He has cerebral palsy and concurs with the apostle Paul, “My grace is sufficient for thee.”

You can view his brief overview of the misleading Word of Faith movement given at Southwestern Theological Seminary here:

To God be the

Jan said...

Wow. What a story and what good questions you posed. I used to read "An Autobiography of a Yogi" every year when I taught school in Oregon, but that was long, long ago. It's nice to see his name again. I hope I do not forget that story.

FranIAm said...

I loved reading this. Those questions!

The thing that popped into my head when I was reading this was the Samaritan woman at the well.

Here it is high noon and she is at the well and Jesus begins to talk to her.

She then admonishes him for doing so - hey you are a Jew and I am a Samaritan AND a woman and all that.

Then he keeps talking and then they talk, really breaking pretty much all the social rules of the day.

There is something about defying convention - talking to Jesus in the middle of the day but busting him about it first or stepping on Krishna's head.

I am a-pondering this, I truly am.