Christ was the Incarnation of God (Avatara) through providence at a specific time and place and among a specific people. The geographical extent of the particular context into which an Avatara is born constitutes “the World” for that Prophet’s Divine Mission. They have no need to acknowledge other Worlds beyond their own. Christ spoke of “the World,” which for his Mission and his Revelation was the co-extensive with the Roman Empire. It is natural and proper that he would not speak of what was outside the scope of his purpose.
It would be good also to remember that Christ, by his own words, did not come to preach to the “whole” but only the “sick.” As explained earlier, each religion provides a means of Grace to those it is meant to save, and those who have this are “whole,” as opposed to the sick who have need of the physician. The man who participates in a living Tradition and makes use of its means of Grace has no need of a Savior. Or, to clarify, he already enjoys the benefits of the Redemption–of the Redemption that Christ’s death made manifest–since he is in contact with that Truth under a different from more appropriate to his human type. We should also go further and offer a warning: he who goes among the “whole” with a zeal for Evangelism and, by playing on the appetite for novelty or by dazzling the poor with wealth, or by any other means nefarious or well-intentioned brings about the “conversion” of those who are already “whole” to an alien religious form, such a person does immeasurable violence to those he “saves.” He goes among the healthy and leaves only the diseased in his wake.
Another way to understand the “subjectivization of the absolute” is to borrow the terminology of the alchemists and say that man is a “microcosm” that represents and in a way symbolizes the “macrocosm.” His structure and function is analogical to that of the cosmos. Now when we come to the Avataras, we can say that this correspondence is manifest in a providentially significant manner. For such a one, we can say that specific events in his earthly life represent events taking place in the cosmic order, and in these cases, if we adopt the exoteric point of view and begin from the order of manifestation instead of the point of view of metaphysics, it would also be true to say the opposite: that those events of the cosmic order are representations of those in the life of the Avatara. Thus, from the metaphysical point of view, we can say that Christ’s earthly life is a manifestation of the Redemption; from the point of view of theology, however, we would instead say that the Redemption of the world is a consequence of Christ’s earthly life. Both are true, given the point of view they adopt, keeping in mind the fact that the theological perspective, due to the limits it imposes on itself, must ostracize the alternative point of view, since it does not approach the level at which it ceases to be a contradiction.
They are the Maha-Purusha.
When Christ says “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life,” he is identifying himself with the Word which was at the beginning with God and through whom all things were made. The Word is a single principle, but can be clothed in an indefinite variety of forms, each of these form being truly “identifiable” with the principle as manifestations of it. And this is Christ, and to claim this identity as such does not imply exclusivity.
Thus, when Christ says that none my approach the father except through the Son, this is analogous to the Sufi saying: “None may meet Allah who has not first met the Prophet.” In other words, none may know God except through the Word, although the form by which the Word comes to be known is diverse.
“Jesus is God, but God is not Jesus; Christianity is Divine, but God is not Christian.”
The pervasiveness of Western culture, or we should say the restlessness of the Western soul, which has led it to expand violently across the face of the Earth, has had ill effects on Christianity itself. This is because “exoteric exclusivity,” which protects those inside that religion’s framework from confusion and indifference, becomes a danger when the religious message is carried into the “Worlds” of other Revelations. The danger lies in the fact that some will inevitably see that other religions are not all demons and darkness, and having lived under the assumption that only Christianity produces good works and good men, their faith will be shaken. This, as well as the violent conflict that results when believers inundated with claims of exclusivity try to relate to members of other religions, and the result is inevitably misunderstanding, pretentiousness, and hatred.
Perhaps it is worth referring to the words of Christ himself which, having said a few things on the nature of his mission and his point of view, can now be seen in a different light which shatters the pompous exclusivity of contemporary Evangelical types who would condemn all souls who do not profess faith in Christ by name to the fires of hell. In what sense, then, do we take these words: “Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, no in Israel. And I say unto you that many shall come from the East and West and shall sit at the feast with Abraham and Isaac and Jacob, in the Kingdom of Heaven. But the children of the kingdom [Israel and the Church] shall be cast out into the darkness.” (Matt. 8:10-12)
It is a saying of American presidents that “Whoever is not with us is against us.” But the point of view of the Absolute is the opposite. In the words of Christ: “For he that is not against us is on our part.” The former is explicitly exclusive and alienated the vast majority of humanity, which is its purpose; the latter is shockingly inclusive, because it is spoken by the principle of Unity Himself.
One more illustration of the importance of “point of view” when weighing claims that appear to be exclusive in nature. When a person speaks of “the sun,” does this mean that he is ignorant of the existence of other stars that are in fact “suns” in their own right? Of course not. We speak in this way because communication depends for its effectiveness on a shared point of view, and from our point of view it is perfectly valid to speak of “the sun” even though it is obvious that there are others out there but, for our purposes, this is the only one we generally acknowledge as such. In fact, for us it really is the only sun.
Lastly, we can end by acknowledging that even though no religion can claim exclusive possession of the Truth, it is to be expected that each religion exceeds all others in realizing a certain aspect of the Truth. This explains somewhat the claim of exclusivity itself, and the way the Prophets speak, since their immediate concern and their mission usually pertains to this particular aspect of the Truth which they do in fact possess to a greater degree than previous Revelations. But it should be kept in mind that while this helps us understand things and allow for an attitude of superiority on a particular point, it is obviously only a relative or “particular” superiority, and never an Absolute superiority.
Form must give way to spirit. That is the path of realization. “If you would have the Kernel,” says Meister Eckhart, “you must break the husk.”