In my previous post I tried to show that Beelzebub’s Tales presents a new approach to Religion and I think I succeeded in doing it. In this post I address the question of Beelzebub’s Tales and the Grace from Above or Grace of God. I try to show that the book indeed considers Grace as an important aspect of the teaching presented in the Tales. It is my feeling and understanding that we cannot speak of Grace outside the realm of Religion and that is why I had to first address the matter of the relationship between Beelzebub’s Tales and Religion.
Mr. Gurdjieff said that all possibilities for man come from Above. But what is Above? The idea of Above can have different meanings at different levels. For instance, one of these levels is what is known as the higher worlds and the higher laws governing these worlds. For me personally one of these levels is what we call God. Yes, the God of Religion. I am sure here I am influenced and conditioned by my Catholic upbringing but that is how I am. So, for me the expression “possibilities from Above” translates into “Grace of God.”
If the existence of some form of Grace from Above is a reality, as I hope to show, then immediately this raises a very interesting question, namely, why do we need to make efforts? Why the need for conscious labors and intentional suffering as demanded by the practice of the teaching Mr. Gurdjieff introduced? Well, the answer to this question is rather simple. We need to make efforts because there are certain functions and tendencies in our being that we need to clean and/or develop, and for this kind of cleansing or development there is very little God can do for us. It is always up to us. We have to develop certain tendencies and potentialities existing in us by the very same fact of having been born on a planet. It is through the development of these functions that we can serve as helpers to OUR ENDLESSNESS in the administration of the Great Universe. Let us say that the Grace we receive from Above, the Grace of God, is necessary but not sufficient. We have to complete ourselves and for that we need to practice conscious labors and intentional suffering, as the teaching demands. We cannot escape from the actualization of these individual efforts. It may very well be that the Benedictines of the middle Ages arrived to the correct formulation. One of their most important principles of living was stated in this formulation: “Ora et Labore.” (“Pray and Work.”).
It was in the Catholic context that I first heard about Grace. I first heard about it when reading Saint Augustin’s Treatise on Grace and Free Will. Saint Augustine was one of the first seven Doctors of the Catholic Church and considered by many the most important Doctor of the Church. He lived from 354 to 430 and became Bishop of Hippo in 395. His writings had a tremendous influence in the development of the Catholic Doctrine. In his Treatise on Grace and Free Will he basically teaches to beware of maintaining grace by denying free will, or free will by denying grace; In this sense, he writes “for it is evident from the testimony of Scripture that there is in man a free choice of will; and there are also in the same Scriptures inspired proofs given of that very grace of God without which we can do nothing good.”
In the seventeen century the writings of Saint Augustine on Grace inspired a theological movement within the Catholic Church known as Jansenism, the name coming from the posthumously published work of the Dutch theologian Cornelius Jansen, who died in 1638. The movement developed mainly in France. Jansenism emphasized the necessity of Divine Grace. Among one of the most prominent members of this movement was the French philosopher-mathematician Blaise Pascal. Jansenism was opposed by many in the Catholic hierarchy, especially the Jesuits. The opposing views of the Jansenists and Jesuits at one time originated a great confrontation between both groups which became known as the Port Royal Abbey debate, the Port Royal Abbey being the stronghold of the Jansenists in Paris. In this famous and long debate the Jansenist held the view that Salvation came by the Grace of God while the Jesuits held the view that Salvation came by Work. Without taking part on this debate, it should be noted that the term by the Grace of God is found in many teachings and religions. In Hinduism it is said that Liberation comes by the Grace of the Guru. In Kundalina Yoga, it is said that the substance Kundalina can move up to the throat Chakra with proper work but that movement above this Chakra into the Ajgna and Ahasrara Chakras comes only by Grace. In the Old Testament we find the expression “if it were not by thy Grace, we shall not stand.” In the New Testament we find the teachings of Saint Paul on the Grace of Jesus Christ. And in the first Sura of the Koran we are told that Allah is Sovereign on the Day of Retribution.
Very little has been said about a possible relationship between Beelzebub’s Tales and Grace, as Grace was understood by Saint Augustine and later by the Jansenists and the debate they had with the Jesuits on the question of Grace vs. Work. As far as I have been able to determine, and I have read most of what has been written about the book, very little has been said on this topic. The intention of this paper is to examine this relationship or connection between Beelzebub’s Tales and Grace.
In order to examine more closely the connection between Beelzebub’s Tales and the Grace from Above or Grace of God, we can take the look at the two pardons granted to Beelzebub by OUR ENDLESSNESS. The first pardon extended only to the descendants of Beelzebub; the second allowed Beelzebub to return to his home in the planet Karatas, a planet near the Center, from which Beelzebub had been exiled. Both pardons came about through the intervention before our ENDLESSNESS of two Cosmic Individuals whom Beelzebub had helped one way or another. The first of these two Cosmic Individuals is Archangel Looisos whom Beelzebub helped in the eradication on Earth of the practice of Sacrificial Offerings. The second Cosmic Individual is the Most Saintly Ashiata Shiemash for whom Beelzebub had done some kind of special work connected to His mission. Here, in relation to the intervention before his ENDLESSNESS for the purpose of interceding for the salvation of souls, we can see one particular aspect of the Catholic Teaching in the Hail Mary prayer: “Hail Mary, mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the moment of our death.” In any case, according to Beelzebub’s Tales we need some form of intervention by a Higher Individual for the attainment of our pardon. But the pardon ultimately comes directly from our ENDLESSNESS, from GOD in the form of the Grace of God. The teaching of a Mediator between God and Man is a tenet of both the Catholic and the Orthodoxies churches.
But there is a piece of objective knowledge in the chapter Holy Purgatory that I am convinced is the proof to my claim that without the Grace of God there is no real hope for us. This piece of objective knowledge has to do with two facts. The first is that once all three-brained beings of the entire Universe are somehow aware of the existence of the planet Holy Purgatory, they feel an organic need to go to this Planet. And the second has to do with the way these beings actually make it to this planet. This way has to do with a struggle between the lower part or planetary body and the higher part or higher being body. It is explicitly said that from this struggle it is formed in these beings “those sacred crystallizations from which their higher Divine being-part arises and is perfected in them.” In other parts of the book, it is spelled out how three-brained beings from the whole Universe can make it to the planet Holy Purgatory. However, nowhere in the book we are told how the higher being-bodies or souls in Purgatory make it to the spheres of the Most Holy Sun Absolute. No amount of work can take a being to these spheres of the Most Holy Absolute. Work can take a being to Holy Purgatory but once there a higher being-body or soul no longer engages in work but only in suffering. Here is the funny side of the story, and we know Beelzebub’s Tales is a very funny book. Here is the most beautiful and richest planet of the entire Universe, everything external is sensed “blissfully-delightfully,” with ten thousand of pure and natural springs, twelve thousand species of the most beautiful and best songbirds, flowers, fruits, berries, and so on, collected from all the planets of our great Universe, and those marvelous “Omnipresent-platforms” travelling at almost the speed of light, and yet the souls existing in this planet live in caves. In these caves these souls are always engaged “in their inevitable state of inexpressible anguish.” The last post in my blog “Gospel According to Beelzebub” is entitled “Purgatorial Suffering.” In it I claim, among other things, that purgatorial suffering not only is higher than voluntary and intentional suffering but that contrary to those two kinds of suffering, purgatorial suffering is not self-initiated but given to us from Above.
Anyhow, the point I am trying to make is that there is absolutely nothing the souls in Holy Purgatory can do in order to return to Center or spheres of the Most Holy Sun Absolute. It is only by the Grace of God that these souls can become worthy of this feat. A case in point here is the serious situation of the soul of Makary Krobernkzion as presented in the chapter on Justice of the book. The case is that our MAKER CREATOR had sanctioned that the soul of this Makary Krobernzion was worthy of being taken on to the Most Most Holy Sun Absolute. But a number of souls in Purgatory, also already worthy of being taken on to the Most Holy Sun Absolute had determined that it had been precisely this Makary Krobernzion the one terrestrial being who first introduced the maleficent idea of Good and Evil. Upon this realization, our ALL-MOST-GRACIOUS-CREATOR commanded that the deserving soul of Makary Krobernzion should continue to exist on the holy planet until the future results of his evil deed should be revealed. The point, again, is that the command came from our ALL-MOST-GRACIOUS-CREATOR.
But the best example in Beelzebub’s Tales of why no amount of work can return the higher being-body or soul to the Center or the Spheres of the Most Holy Aun Absolute, is Belcultassi. Here is a three-brained being that probably worked on himself like none other. He also worked with others and they together formed the society Akhaldan, a society which in its time was throughout the whole Universe called ‘envied for imitation. His work was such that he “was able to bring the perfecting of his higher being part to the Being of a Saint ‘Eternal Individual; and this higher part of his now already dwells on the holy planet Purgatory.” And this is the whole point, that after such phenomenal amount of work the soul of Belcultassi is still in Purgatory. To me this means, and there may be other meanings, that is only by the Grace of God that we are finally released from Purgatory and make our return the spheres of the Most Holy Sun Absolute.
I will conclude by stating that Beelzebub’s Tales indeed shows that it is only by the Grace of God that we receive our final pardon and are able to return to the Center or Spheres of the Holy Sun Absolute, which is the final aim of all souls.