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Why was John the Baptist Beheaded?

Posted on: 23 Dec 2018
O Learned and Devoted Servants of God,

Discourse Podcast

 

Shri Anil asked: Padanamaskaram Swami! One person asked on Quora “Why did Jesus not save John the Baptist from getting beheaded?” Could You please answer this question? At Your Lotus Feet, Anil

Swami Replied: God gave freedom to all souls so that they could do whatever they felt was good. God helped the souls in determining what is good and what is bad by preaching to them through holy scriptures, holy devotees and holy Incarnations. Freedom means the complete freedom for all souls in this creation to act in any direction, without the slightest force on the mind, either here or in the upper worlds. God always preaches to every soul to bring the realization of the truth to the soul and to reform the soul. The soul is expected to realize and get reformed only through this knowledge introduced into the mind of the soul. It is the only way the soul can be saved. The only force used by God on the mind of a sinner is imparting knowledge. He does not use any physical force or miraculous power to reform the sinner. The king tries to reform the sinner through physical force in the form of punishment, but such reformation is only temporary. Even the horrible punishments in hell cannot reform the soul permanently. Eternal reformation can never be attained through punishment. In spite of this defect of punishment, it is still used to reform the soul temporarily. Only the spiritual knowledge given by God-in-human-form can bring an eternal reformation in a soul.

Generally, the cloud rains everywhere and the rain makes the seed present in fertile soil to grow up into a plant. But a seed fallen on rocky soil cannot give rise to a plant immediately in spite of a lot of rain. Devilish or demonic souls are like the rocks present here and there on earth. The God-cloud does not use His miraculous power to change the rocky soil into fertile soil since God never interferes with souls using any type of force. Judas was like rocky soil. But due to his association with Jesus and continuously listening to His preaching, he realized, confessed his sin, and punished himself at the end. The priests of the temple never listened to the preaching of Jesus at all and so they never got reformed. They were like solid rocks. Judas was like soil having some rocky nature. So, the seed of reformation at least germinated in him, even though it germinated late.

For a person’s reformation, apart from the divine force of spiritual knowledge, the receptivity of the person’s mind is also important. There are some good souls with high receptivity for the knowledge. They are like good soil and they get reformed immediately on listening to the spiritual knowledge preached by the Human Incarnation of God. Then there are some average souls, who are like rocky soil. They take some time to get reformed like Judas. Both these types of souls are reformed and saved. But there are some other souls like the priests who crucified Jesus, who have no hope of reformation at all. They are like solid rocks and they are condemned forever. This worst type of souls is punished in the liquid fire of hell forever. Their punishment is forever because such souls will never get reformed. They are kept aloof from mankind in the lives of wild animals, worms and so on (Tānahaṁ dviṣataḥ...—Gita). God’s attempts to reform are confined only to the first and second types of souls who are like good soil and rocky soil respectively. The moment a soul is reformed, it is saved forever.

Note that John, the disciple of Jesus, was different from the John who baptized Jesus. John the Baptist, was like good fertile soil with good seeds, but he could not hear the preaching of Jesus. This John had received the rain of God’s grace in his generation and was already saved. That is why he was able to recognize Jesus as a Human Incarnation of God. Every soul upon hearing the knowledge of God-in-human-form need not be totally reformed since the reformation depends on the fertility or receptivity of the mind. The killing of John the Baptist by the king might be the punishment for some sin committed by John previously, which is unknown to us. In other words, it is possible that his death was not related to his spiritual life but the result of a sin committed by him in his worldly life previously. Also, just because he baptized Jesus, we cannot be sure that he was fully reformed. All pending punishments get canceled only upon complete reformation. We are not aware of the complete case history of John the Baptist to decide with certainty that he was fully reformed. Only the omniscient God knows the full truth. The death-punishment given by the king might also be a divine test given by God to test his faith. Even Jesus was given a death-punishment. Does it mean that the Savoir Jesus did not have salvation Himself? There are so many divine factors in the background, which are not understood by us. We should not be hasty in drawing quick conclusions since we are ignorant of the total background of the soul. The nature of a person’s death does not decide the quality of the spiritual life of the soul. The deaths of several Human Incarnations were very horrible. But the reason for it is that the Human Incarnation bears the punishments for the sins of His dear devotees on His own body even in the last minutes of His life.

 

 
   

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