The Gospel of Thomas


Seeing the Master

Jesus said: "I am not your Master" (logion 13)
Where then is the Master to be found and seen?

Logion 82 He who is near to me is near to the fire

The flame is in some respects the soul of the fire. Like the sun, it gives out light and warmth. In logion 77, Jesus says: I am the Light. Here he is identifying himself with the flame before identifying himself with the Kingdom. While illuminating, the flame burns away the dross of the Ego. We can see why its symbolism was attractive to the Master.

Jesus is one with the Father (Jn 10,30). The Kingdom is at once the dwelling of the Father and of the Son. But it is also the dwelling of those who drink from the mouth of Jesus (log. 108). To these, Jesus says: I am in my Father and you in me and me in you (Jn 14.20).

Just as the flame knows not darkness, so the Kingdom knows no limitations. It is our mind which creates the shadows, as it is it which imagines that we may be outside of the Kingdom. It is ignorance which stops us realising that the flame and the Kingdom are omnipresent and constitute our Reality, our Blessedness. It sows confusion by setting up a distinction between the Self and the illusion or non-Self. When the illusion disappears, the Self alone remains. Our attention - without tension - should employ itself in removing the veil which our ignorant mind draws over our true nature, blocking our access to the Kingdom; then will the flame chase away the shades.


Logion 77 I am the Light that is above them all

Jesus begins by identifying himself with the Light: I am the Light that is above them all. In John, this identification occurs equally and repeatedly: 1.9; 3.19; 8.12; 9.5; 12.35; 12.46. Jesus is the Light because the Father, with whom he is simply one, is the Light (log.83). We who seek the Light, we come from the Light (log. 50.5) and, as we return there whence we have come, we shall be in the Light, we shall be the Light.

Having declared that he is the Light, Jesus affirms that he is the All: I am the All. The All comes forth from me, and the All reaches towards me . And then, he underlines his omnipresence: Cleave the wood, I am there; lift up the stone, and you shall find me there.

.......... Jesus is indeed omnipresent; he penetrates all; but is this to say that he fuses himself with that which he penetrates? To affirm this would be to pretend that he fuses himself with that which exists only at the level of illusion: it would be at the same time to contradict the great teachings of the East. Thus in the Vedanta, Brahman is affirmed as absolutely distinct from the world: Brahman in no way is similar to the world, and outside Brahman there is nothing (because if there were something outside of Him, He could not be infinite); all that which appears to exist outside of him, can exist only at the level of illusion like the appearance of water (the mirage) in the desert (Shankaracharya). In Brahman’s relation with the World, there is no reciprocity: Brahman includes the world but the world does not include Brahman. Instead of being the expression of pantheism, such a text is its condemnation. ..........

Jesus is present in the wood, in the stone, but neither wood nor stone is Jesus. If he speaks to us of his omnipresence, it is so that we, in our turn, may take courage in our seeking. Having assured us that we can do what he has done (Jn 14.12), he tells us that we also shall reign over the All (log.2.8).