The Gospel of Thomas for Yogis

Introduction to the Gospel of ThomasDoubting of Thomas icon

Readers of The Christ of India are aware of the hypothesis (we think it is a fact) that from the very beginning there were two Christianities.

One was the Christianity we know today that developed in the Mediterranean world over the centuries. It accommodated itself to the current religious beliefs–especially those of the Roman emperors–and even absorbed and conformed itself to them to such an extent that after three centuries it became the state religion of the Empire presided over by the unbaptized and blatantly unchristian “Saint” Constantine. He was only the first in a series of “vicars of Christ” (this expression originated with the Byzantine emperors and only some time later was appropriated by the Bishop of Rome, who also stole the title “Pope” from the Bishop of Alexandria) who ruled over the Church as well as the state, and who, despite their often shockingly violent and immoral lives were declared saints of the state servant-church. Today, divided into thousands of warring and warlike sects–the three leading ones being the Byzantine Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, and Roman Catholic Churches–it has become a multi-headed monster that, however wounded, flourishes with the tenacity and intensity often encountered in the mad and the madcap.

The other Christianity was the religion learned by Jesus from his Essene family and during his “lost years” in India, then brought by him back to the “West,” to Israel. Rejected and martyred for teaching that religion, after his resurrection he returned to India and lived twenty or more years at peace in the Himalayas with disciples. The apostle Thomas, the Twin, who truly was the spiritual twin of his Master, followed him to India. Saint Thomas went to Ephesus to be present at the death of the Virgin Mary, then journeyed on to Israel and persuaded a large number of the Qumran Essenes to come with him into South India (the present-day Kerala) to practice the religion Jesus had taught (virtually in vain) to the Israelites. They agreed and did so, linking up with a vast number of Brahmins who had emigrated from Kashmir after becoming disciples of both Jesus and Saint Thomas. It is this Christianity that is found in the Gospel of Thomas.

In December of 1945, an Egyptian farmer near Nag Hammadi unearthed in his field more than fifty ancient Christian books, written in the Coptic (ancient Egyptian) language. Among them was the book now know as The Gospel of Thomas. Portions of three Greek copies of the Gospel of Thomas had been found about half a century before in Oxyrhynchus Egypt. They are known as Oxyrhynchus Papyrus 1 (Oxy P 1) probably written not much later than the year 200, Oxy P 654, which can be dated to the middle or end of the third century, and Oxy P 655 dated not later than A. D. 250. The complete (Nag Hammadi) version in Coptic can be dated to about 340 A.D. The Coptic version is believed to be a translation of the Greek version.

According to the Pistis Sophia (Codex Askewianus), after His resurrection Jesus instructed Philip, Matthew, and Thomas to set down His words in writing. While Saint Thomas was in Israel visiting the Qumran community, Saint Matthew gave him a copy of his gospel, and perhaps at that time Saint Thomas gave Saint Matthew a copy of his record of Jesus’ sayings which became copied and circulated among those of gnostic inclination. Since the Nag Hammadi discovery we now possess Saint Thomas’ complete gospel. The translation I will mostly use in this commentary is that of Thomas O. Lambdin.

Chapters in The Gospel of Thomas for Yogis

  1. The Open Secrets
  2. Seeking Is More Than Just Finding
  3. Seeking the Kingdom Realistically
  4. The One Goal
  5. From the Seen to the Unseen
  6. What Jesus Wants Us To Do
  7. Eat Or Be Eaten
  8. Fishing Wisely
  9. The Inner Field
  10. Guarding the Flame
  11. What Will You Do?
  12. The Unspeakable
  13. When Virtue is Vice
  14. Father in Heaven; Father on Earth
  15. Divine Discord
  16. The Divine Gift
  17. The Origin is the End
  18. Original Being
  19. A Mustard Seed
  20. Disciples of Jesus
  21. How to Enter the Kingdom
  22. Unity of Vision
  23. Where is Christ?
  24. Love and Protect
  25. Seeing
  26. How Jesus Saw the World
  27. Hidden Treasure
  28. One
  29. The Power of Unbelief
  30. Speak It Out
  31. Spiritual Strength
  32. The Blind
  33. The Secret of Spiritual Security
  34. Live Carefree
  35. Unashamed Before God
  36. At the Source
  37. The Religion of Ignorance
  38. Within God
  39. Spiritual Gain and Loss
  40. Move On
  41. Challenging the Master
  42. The Source of Good and Evil
  43. Great in the Kingdom
  44. Impossible Duality
  45. Peace That Moves Mountains
  46. Back to the Source
  47. Children of the Light
  48. Here and Now
  49. Seeing Yet Blind
  50. Outer Ritual or Inner Growth?
  51. Infinite Transcendence
  52. “Hate”
  53. True Understanding
  54. Wheat and Weeds
  55. Finding Life
  56. Live and Die Not
  57. “Lest Thou Also…”
  58. Who Will Die; Who Will Live
  59. The Path of Unknowing
  60. Awakened by Death
  61. Turning Ourselves Away
  62. Gullibility
  63. The Rejected is Truly Accepted
  64. All–and Nothing
  65. The Blessings of Persecution
  66. Life or Death Lie Within
  67. Admission
  68. Not a Divider
  69. Seeking the Harvest
  70. Thirsting in Vain
  71. Who Shall Enter?
  72. Unfailing Treasure
  73. The All Speaks
  74. Well-dressed Ignoramuses
  75. True Blessedness
  76. A Duplication
  77. Balancing the Inner and the Outer
  78. Near and Far
  79. Seeing the Unseeable
  80. Seeing Your Unknown Side
  81. Our Forefather Adam
  82. Blessed Homelessness
  83. Doubly Wretched
  84. Onward and Upward
  85. Twofold Life
  86. The Yoke of Christ
  87. Knowing the Unknown
  88. Asking and Hearing
  89. Give Not…
  90. Seeking and Knocking
  91. Right Generosity
  92. The Expanding Kingdom
  93. The Fulfilled Universe
  94. Taking Stock
  95. The Spiritual Family
  96. Three Debts
  97. Father and Mother
  98. Exoteric Religion
  99. Ready for Invasion
  100. Penitential Discipline, Anyone?
  101. Daring to Know
  102. Ending Duality
  103. “I Love You More…”
  104. At the Source
  105. Finding the Hidden Treasure
  106. Having Come to the End
  107. Immortal and Above the World
  108. Body and Soul
  109. Where is the Kingdom?
  110. Male and Female?
  111. In Conclusion
  112. Glossary