“Ye are the salt of the Earth; but if the salt have lost his savour,
Wherewith shall it be salted?
It is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out,
And to be trodden under foot of men.”
AP: What does earth represent? And what does the salt of earth represent? Earth represents the material. Salt of earth represents the essence of the material. When you look at the earth, what do you find? Stone, soil, dirt, dust, sand. Do you really find salt somewhere? Have you ever been able to go and just pick up salt? No. salt lies embedded, deep within. So salt here, stands for something that is a little inside. That lies at the heart. Inside! That which is the essential.
Earth represents the body, salt of earth represents the Atman, the Self, the core, the heart. It is being said you are not the earth really, you are the salt of the earth. You are not the body really, you are the pure Self. And then he is saying that if you are someone who has distanced himself from the Self, the Centre, then he will only be trampled under the feet of man. He will have no value. He will live a joyless life.
In this lies a great message for all of us. Jesus is saying that only those are respectable who live right by the heart. If you live by the calculative mind then you are a worthless being. And he doesn’t sugar coat his words. He is very forthright in saying that you deserved to be under the feet of all and sundry. You deserve no mercy. And existence operate on cause and effect, existence does not operate on mercy. The stone that goes up, will come down. Compassion will not stop it. Avail it! Maybe some teacher told you that this is Rishikesh, that the law of karma can be violated, that by loving acceptance of everything you can stop stone mid-air. Some kind of stoppage yoga or something! One leg goes upstairs and holds the stone there. Maybe Shiva knows, I don’t know. He has been here since very long.
Live by the heart! Do not live by anything that the mind has made, including the man-made therapies, methods, concepts, principles, religions, anything. Live by the salt, live as the salt.
And those who don’t live as the salt, they deserve to be… What does he say?
Listener 1: Trodden under foot.
AP: Trodden under the foot. And if you find, that’s the corollary, that you are often under the feet of the world, it just proves that you are not living by the heart. If you find that you are suffering, if you find that situations get too heavy on you, if you find that others are able to readily influence you, that is what is meant by being under the feet of the world, the world dominates you. That is what it implies.
If you find that that happens very frequently with you, that the world is able to excite you, able to show you up, able to show you down, able to make you cry, able to make you laugh then remember that can happen only if you are living by the mind. Those who live by the heart, live as champions of the world. They live as rulers of the world. The one who lives by heart has been called in India as ‘Swamy’. Do you know what ‘Swamy’ means?
AP: The master. He cannot be under the foot of anybody. And he does not own anything. His relationship with the world is not one of give and take. If you look at his material possessions, you would hardly find anything. Yet India has called him ‘Swamy’. Don’t you ever ask why? He owns nothing, why is he being called ‘Swamy’? ‘Swamy’ means the ruler, the master, the lord. Kabir says, “Jinko Kuch na chahiye, we shahan ke shah”. When you do not want anything from this world then you are the king of kings.
And those who have great expectations and relationships with the world, they are the beggars roaming around here and there, even if they are labelled as king of kings. We live in a very strange world. Here those that we call as kings are great beggars. Yes indeed great, but great beggars! And those who are the real kings, they go about undetected. And in that lies their kingship. You will not know them and hence you will not be able to influence them.
Bulleh Shah says, “Chal Bulleya chal utthe chaliye jitthe saare anne”. Bulleh Shah wants to live in a place where all are blind. “Na koi saddi jaat pechaane, na koi saanu manne”. And if all are blind then they will not be able to know me. That’s how the ‘Swamy’ lives. Surrounded by blind men who never know him. Inspirational quote by Jesus Swamy!
You are the salt of the earth and take yourself as nothing less than that. You are the pure, immense, untouchable, unflappable Atman. And have no concept of yourself other than that. By the way, immensity can never be contained in a concept. So even that cannot be a concept.
-Excerpts from a ‘Shabd-Yoga’ session. Edited for clarity
Watch the session: Acharya Prashant on Jesus Christ: You are the salt of the earth
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