Driving Out the Moneychangers

Posted: June 23, 2010 in Uncategorized
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Thought this might be worth sharing:

Driving the Moneychangers Out of the Temple

After this he went down to Capernaum, he, and his mother, and his abrethren, and his disciples: and they continued there not many days. And the Jews’ passover was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem, And found in the temple those that sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the changers of amoney sitting: And when he had made a ascourge of small cords, he drove them all out of the temple, and the sheep, and the oxen; and poured out the changers’ money, and overthrew the tables; And said unto them that sold doves, Take these things hence; make not my Father’s house an house of merchandise.

John 2:12-16

The following interpretation of these scriptures comes from Paramahansa Yogananda:

“Meekness is not weakness.  A true exemplar of peace is centered in his divine Self.  All actions arising there from are imbued with the soul’s nonpareil vibratory power – whether issuing forth as a calm command or a strong volition.  Nonunderstanding minds might critique Jesus’ confronting the temple mercenaries with a scourge as contradicting his teaching:  “Resist not evil:  but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.”[1] The forceful use of a whip to drive the merchants and money changers out of the house of worship may not seem wholly in keeping with the propagated lamblike image of Jesus, who taught forbearance and love.  The actions of divine personalities, however, are sometimes willfully startling to shake complacent minds out of their vacuous acceptance of the commonplace.  An accurate sense of spiritual propriety in a world of relativity requires a ready wit and a steady wisdom.  The proper course of behavior is not always discerned by scripture-quoting dogmatists whose literal dependence on inflexible dictums may pay homage to the letter rather than the spirit of spirituality in action.

“Jesus responded to an untenable situation, not from an emotional compulsion to wrath, but from a divine, righteous indignation in reverence for the immanence of God in His holy place of worship.  Inwardly, Jesus did not succumb to anger.  Great sons of God possess the qualities and attributes of the ever tranquil Spirit.  By their perfected self-control and divine union, they have mastered every nuance of spiritual discipline.  Such masters participate fully and empathetically in the events of man, yet maintain a transcendental soul freedom from the delusions of anger, greed, or any other form of slavery to the senses.  Spirit manifests Itself in creation through a multiplicity of elevating, activating, and darkening forces, yet remains simultaneously in Uncreated Bliss beyond the teeming vibrations of the cosmos.  Similarly, the Lord’s liberated sons act purposefully and effectively in the world of relativity, adopting any characteristic necessary to accomplish the Divine Will, without deviation from inner attunement with the unruffled calmness, love, and bliss of Spirit.

“The meekness of divine personalities is very strong in the infinity power behind their gentleness.  They may use this power in a forceful dramatization to admonish those who are stubbornly irresponsive to gentler vibrations.  Even as a loving father may resort to firm discipline to deter his child from harmful actions, so Jesus put on a show of spiritual ire to dissuade these grown-up children of God from ignorant acts of desecration, the effects of which would surely be spiritually harmful to themselves as well as to the sanctity of the temple of God.

“Divinely guided actions may command extraordinary means to right a wrong; but they are never activated by wanton rage.  The Bhagavad Gita, the revered Hindu Bible, teaches that anger is an evil enveloping one in a delusion that obscures discriminative intelligence, with consequent annihilation of proper behavior.[2]

“If Jesus had been motivated by a real spate of anger, he might have used his divine powers to destroy utterly these desecrators.  With his little bundle of cords he could not have seriously hurt anyone.  In fact, it was not the whip but the vibration of colossal spiritual force expressing through his personality that routed the merchants and moneychangers.  The spirit of God was with him, a power that was irresistible, causing throng of able-bodied men to flee before the intensely persuasive vibration of a single paragon of meekness.

“Spirituality abhors spinelessness.  One should always have the moral courage and backbone to show strength when the occasion calls for it.  This is well illustrated by an old Hindu story.

“Once upon a time, a vicious cobra lived on a rocky hill on the outskirts of a village.  This serpent extremely resented any noise around his dwelling, and did not hesitate to attack any of the village children who disturbed him by playing thereabout.  Numerous fatalities resulted.  The villagers tried their utmost to kill the venomous reptile, but met with no success.  Finally, they went in a body to a holy hermit who lived nearby, and asked him to sue his spiritual powers to stop the death-dealing work of the serpent.

“Touched by the earnestness of the villagers, the hermit proceeded to the dwelling place of the cobra, and by the magnetic vibration of his love coaxed the creature to come forth.  The master told the snake it was wrong to kill innocent children, and instructed him never to bit again, but to practice loving his enemies.  Under the saint’s uplifting influence, the serpent humbly promised to reform and practice nonviolence.

“Soon thereafter, the hermit left the village for a year-long pilgrimage.  Upon his return, as he was passing the hill he thought:  ‘Let me see how my friend the serpent is behaving.’  Approaching the hole where the serpent dwelt, he was startled to find the hapless reptile lying outside, half dead with several festering wounds on his back.

“The hermit said:  ‘Hello, Mr. Serpent, what is all this?’  The serpent dolefully whispered:  ‘Master, this is the result of practicing your teachings!  Whine I came out of my hole in quest of food, minding my own business, at first the children fled at the sight of me.  But before long the boys noticed my docility, and began to throw stones at me.  When they found that I would run away rather than attack them, they made a sport of trying to stone me to death each time I came out in search of sustenance to appease my hunger.  Master, I dodged many times, but also got badly hurt many times, and now I am lying here with these terrible wounds in my back because I have been trying to love my enemies.”

The saint gently caressed the cobra, instantly healing his hurts.  Then he lovingly corrected him, saying:  ‘Little fool, I told you not to bite, but why didn’t you hiss!’

“Although meekness is a virtue to be cultivated, no one should not abandon common sense nor become a doormat for others to tread over with their misconduct.  When provoked or unfairly attacked, one should show noninjurious strength in support of one’s just convictions.  But even a pseudo display of anger should not be attempted by anyone who has the tendency to lose his temper and self-control in violent behavior.

“Jesus ‘hissed’ at the merchants and money changers because he was not willing that the house of God be demeaned by worldly vibrations of selling and individual profit.  His words and actions signified to the people:  ‘Remove this crass commerciality from God’s temple, for materialistic vibrations quite obscure the subtle presence of the Lord.  In the temple of God the singular thought should be to possess, not worldly profit, but the imperishable treasure of the Infinite.’

“The subtle law of magnetism is that each object or person or action radiates a characteristic vibration that engenders specific thoughts in the consciousness of one who enters its sphere of influence.  The vibration of a candle or oil lamp in the temple induces thoughts of unruffled peace or of the illumination of wisdom – light being the first manifestation of Spirit – whereas any form of commerciality involving worldly goods stirs restlessness and sensory desires.  … The selling of … merchandise in the house of God, and marketing goods for individual profit, set up derogatory vibrations contrary to the purpose and spiritual consciousness of the holy place.”


[1] Matthew 5:39

[2] “Anger breeds delusion; delusion breeds loss of memory (of who you are).  Loss of right memory causes decay of the discriminating faculty.  From decay of discrimination, annihilation (of spiritual life) follows” (God Talks With Arjuna:  The Bhagavad Gita II:63).  This particular verse of the Bhagavad Gita meshes nearly perfectly with the original Hebrew translation of the 10 commandments in Exodus 20.  Whereas the modern bible we typically read (i.e. King James version, etc) don’t get to the true heart of the matter, the original Hebrew is based entirely off of what will “mar” you inside.  According to the Chronicle Project, the most correct definition of the latter commandments specifically link up to the following meaning:  “Don’t let your desire for things mar you.  … It is wrong to want things so badly that you will twist who you are to obtain them.”  This definition works particularly well with the commandments on “coveting” other things – it’s not the things that are the issue so much as our twisting and changing who we really are to get them.

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Comments
  1. Justin says:

    I’ve never much enjoyed the attempted reconsiliation between Jesus’ teachings on avoiding anger, turning the other cheek, etc. — with the moneychangers story.

    If Jesus had been motivated by a real spate of anger, he might have used his divine powers to destroy utterly these desecrators. With his little bundle of cords he could not have seriously hurt anyone.
    To me, this implies that if I’m not using the full force available to me, then I’m not acting out of anger. So, if I just punch a person or if I slander their character to others — then it could be justifiable because hey, I could have killed them.

    BTW, I really dig the picture at the top.

  2. […] did He drive the moneychangers from the Temple? Not because they were doing legitimate business, but because they were defrauding the poor by […]

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