"I am He"

Excerpts from The Second Coming of Christ by Paramahansa Yogananda

"I am He"

"Ye are from beneath; I am from above: ye are of this world; I am not of this world. I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins."
(John 8:23-24)

"I follow the way as is directed by the Christ Consciousness in me; and some day when I am gone from the earth, you shall try to follow me, but not finding me, you will die with your bad karma and be subject to reincarnation. Unless you seek me in the elevated states of deep meditation, you cannot comprehend in the present state of your consciousness the Christ Consciousness wherein my human consciousness has merged.”

"You are 'of this world,' being bound to the earth by entanglements of material desires and delusive imaginings; your captive souls reincarnate repeatedly on this plane of gross vibration. But my Spirit-liberated soul, although voluntarily encased in a body moving on this earth, is 'from above' and does not belong to the God-obscuring material plane.

"That is why I told you that you would 'die in your sins': Although your souls are immortal, still the law of karma and reincarnation will force you to experience death of the physical body with each rebirth impelled by your mortal attachments. As long as you cling to body consciousness, your spiritual lives will be dead, entombed in the sepulchre of your errant sinful actions. Because you have not believed in the Christ Consciousness in me and that it is the reflection of the
Cosmic Consciousness of my Father, you will not make the effort to realize Divinity in your own souls. This sin of omission will keep your souls buried beneath self-perpetuated delusions of mortality."

Jesus speaks of persons in delusion as "from beneath" and "of this world," referring to the fact that, owing to their material karma, such persons remain through numerous successive incarnations in the lower or physical plane of God's creation, beneath or under the influence of earthly vibrations and the material laws of nature.

The word "above" in "I am from above" signifies the finer astral and causal regions of vibration where dwell those advanced souls who have freed themselves of physical karma, and the vibrationless sphere of oneness with God that is the abode of fully liberated masters. By saying "I am not of this world," Jesus signifies that his Christ Consciousness was omnipresent in the triune physical-astral-causal cosmos and not tied to one tiny clod of earth in physical space called "the world."


“I am He” ":
oneness with Absolute Being (Brahman)

The words "I am He" used by Jesus are a declaration of ultimate truth that has similarly been ecstatically realized and uttered by master minds of India who lived before and after the "I am He time of Jesus. The Isha Upanishad says: "That absolute Self abiding in the transcendental effulgence, verily, I am He." Elsewhere in the Upanishads we find, similarly, the sacred truth-affirmations Aham Brahmasmi ("I am Brahman—Spirit"), Ayam Atma Brahma ("This Self is Spirit"), and Tat Tvam Asi ("Thou art That"). The scriptural mantra Aham-Sa or 'Ham-sa (literally, "I am He") are potent Sanskrit syllables that possess a vibratory connection with the incoming and the outgoing breath. Thus with his every breath man unconsciously asserts the truth of his being: I am He!

Jesus—as did all liberated masters qualified to make such self-declarations — meant that he knew by direct realization that the Christ Consciousness (Kutastha Chaitanya) within himself was one with Cosmic Consciousness — the Father or Absolute Being (Brahman).

When Jesus said, "For if ye believe not that I am He, ye shall die in your sins," he meant that those who are identified with their bodies and do not attain the transcendent states in meditation cannot know that their true Self, the soul, is a reflection of Spirit ("I am He"). Divine souls who live on earth identified with Cosmic Consciousness create no human desires or binding karma and thus, at death, become one with Spirit. But persons who pass their lifetime satisfying the body and gratifying the ego, unaware of the Divine Image in themselves, amass earthly karma or sins. When they die with those unresolved karmic consequences and with unfulfilled earthly desires, they must reincarnate again and again to resolve all mortal entanglements.


Jesus' "Way of Light" to Liberation in Spirit

As Jesus said, "I go my way...whither I go, ye cannot come," so also Bhagavan Krishna in the Gita, instructing his disciple Arjuna, delineated the paths traversed at death by enlightened and earthbound souls respectively: "I shall now declare unto thee, O Arjuna, the path, traversing which at the time of death, yogis attain freedom; and also the path wherein there is rebirth....These two paths for exiting from the world are reckoned eternal. The way of light leads to release, the way of darkness leads to rebirth." [God Talks With Arjuna: The Bhagavad Gita VIII:23, 26]

Jesus declared (in verse 12, above) that those who would follow him "shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life." The Gita describes how at the time of physical death the soul follows either the "way of light"—the opening of the spiritual eye, the awakening of the subtle cerebrospinal centers, and the ascension of life force and consciousness through them to Cosmic Consciousness and liberation in Spirit—or the "way of darkness" that is the descension or return to body consciousness or rebirth of those yet unable to open fully all the cerebrospinal doors that lead ultimately to Spirit. That way is followed by yet-to-be perfected souls who are "of this world," of whom Jesus said, "Whither I go, ye cannot come."

Saint Paul testified, "I protest by our rejoicing which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily."* He was able "daily" in transcendent inner communion to make this inner ascension to the realization of Spirit.