There is a somewhat cruel verse in the Bible that both puzzled and frightened me.
It is Luke 14.26 and the King James version reads:
“If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple.”
What does it mean to ‘hate’ your father? Shouldn’t we ‘love and honor’ our parents? And “hate our partner and siblings”? What does that do to marital felicity and family harmony?
It made no sense to me. So, I put it aside.
But the same ideas kept cropping up and attacking me at different times and different places.
The Sanskrit poem Nirvanashatakam, composed by the philosopher-saint Shankara, makes the same point. It does not say you should ‘hate’ your father and mother. It simply says they don’t exist. It asserts, “You have no mother or father. You have no friend or companions. Indeed, you were not born.”
And this left me equally perplexed.
And now, after decades of cogitation, it makes perfect sense. Of course, that is the way it is. That is the way it has always been.
It all comes down to the original mistake we made. This mistake is identifying with a particular body-mind-intellect complex and saying this is ‘me’. “I am John. I am a software engineer. I have a wife and two children and I love them dearly. My father is getting on in years and his health is failing.”
But that is not who you are. That is a role that you are playing.
I explain this is some detail in an earlier blog.
You are not the body or the mind or the intellect you think you are. You are pure spirit. You are awareness itself.
So what you are being told is not to “Hate your father” but to distance yourself from the very notion that there is an entity apart from you that is ‘my father’. Remember “I and my Father are one,” as proclaimed in John 10.30.
Ditto your wife and your children and your siblings and your body and your mind.
When all these are gone you find you are in the Kingdom of Heaven.
You have always been there. You just did not recognize this.