Toward the Light
An unpublished version of the Parables, by Harry Eric Prior, amalgamated from the three English Toward the Light translations of 1950, 1975 and 1979. Syntax has been improved and redundancies eliminated, resulting in 416 fewer words than the official 1979 translation of the Parables. Editing notes available on request. <firstname.lastname@example.org>
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The Two Brothers
Two brothers walked together along a stony road. The sun’s burning rays blinded their eyes and whitened the dust of the ground.
One brother was short and slight of build.
Upon his shoulders he bore a large and heavy burden. His gait was firm and steadfast, for he leaned upon a staff. He held his head high and his face shone with gladness.
The other was tall and strong.
Upon his broad shoulders he bore a small burden. His gait was unsure and unsteady, for he did not lean upon a staff.
His head was bent, and though his burden was small he sighed and groaned under its weight.
The first brother sought to lift his spirits, and he said:
"The road to our Father's home is long and difficult, my brother how will it be with you when at the beginning of the way you sigh and groan under your burden!"
The other answered by cursing the long road and its stones that cut his feet.
The first brother became saddened, and in silence they walked beside one another.
From by-ways came multitudes of people to enter the road the brothers followed.
Some journeyed in groups, others in pairs, many walked alone.
Some of the people strode briskly and surely along the road, though they all carried burdens upon their shoulders.
Some bore large and heavy burdens, others small and light ones.
Those who leaned upon staffs passed the brothers swiftly, greeting them and calling out:
“Behold, we go to our Father’s home. We shall greet him and say that you are soon to follow.” And they disappeared in the distance.
Many poor beings came staggering along the road, sighing under the weight of their burdens and bemoaning the burning rays of the sun and their thirst.
The first brother went to them and spoke kindly and gently.
He saw they had no cups to fill with water from the well by the road.
He took his own cup from his girdle, filled it with water and gave them to drink.
He saw they had no staff upon which to lean, and he offered them his that they should not fall.
He saw that they faltered under their burdens, and he took their burdens and laid them upon his own shoulders and walked on steadily and quietly, and all wondered greatly.
Then they spoke among themselves of this and said:
“Behold, this man gave us to drink, he lent us his staff, he took from us our burdens and laid them upon the heavy burden of his own—and yet he walks steadily and calmly along the road. How is this possible?”
But he answered them and said:
“I journey to my Father’s home. The hope of beholding my Father’s loving countenance lightens my burdens; my Father’s affectionate thoughts shorten the length of the road.”
And he turned and spoke to the multitudes:
“Follow me, all you who falter and groan under the travail of your journey. I shall lead you to our Father’s Kingdom; for he has many mansions. And I shall ask of him to prepare for you a place of rest after the struggles of your journey.”
And they all rejoiced greatly, and they all followed him.
When the son came to the Father’s Kingdom the servants threw open the mighty portals and they rejoiced as they saw the son enter, followed by the multitudes.
And the son went to his Father’s mansion, laid his burdens at His feet, kissed the hem of His robe and said:
“Behold, Father, all these poor beings I bring to your home. I saw them faltering under their burdens and I gave them my staff that they should not fall. I saw their thirst, and I gave them my cup filled with water from the well by the road. I heard them sighing, and I took their burdens and bore these for them. Father, I promised them that you would prepare a place for them where they might rest after the travails of their journey.”
The father looked gently upon his son and answered:
“To your father’s heart have you brought great gladness.” And he turned toward those gathered and said:
“Be you all welcome in my Kingdom; for know that you are all my children; for in the heart of your father are you all equal—high or low, rich or poor. Be you all welcome; for know that I, your Father, sent you forth upon the journey from which you are now returned.
“My servants shall lead you to the abodes prepared for my children; there shall you in solitude ponder your life’s journey. When all is become clear to you, then shall you answer me, your Father: why has the burden I gave you to bear weighed you down? Then shall you answer me: why have the stones of the road cut your feet, and the radiance of the sun blinded your eyes?
“Upon some of you I placed heavy burdens and entrusted you with light tasks; to others I gave light burdens and greater tasks to accomplish. Many of you returned before I called, many of you long after I called.
“My servants will now lead you to your abodes.
“When all is thought through, when all is answered, then will you become seeing, then shall the tears of remorse cleanse you, and then shall I, your Father, give to you the white robe which is the remission of sin.”
And he raised his hands and pronounced his blessing over their lowered heads.
And the servants led them away.
But the father turned toward the son and said:
“My son, many poor beings have you brought to my home, but one is missing. My eyes have sought and sought, but they found him not!
“My son, answer me: where is the brother who was with you at the beginning of the journey?”
The son answered him and said:
“Father, my brother will soon come. He is tall and strong, and his burden was light, he had no need of my help.”
Then the father’s countenance darkened, and he said:
“My son, when your brother no longer kept pace with you, did you not turn and call to him? Otherwise, how can you know that he needed not your help?
“My son, did you not see that your brother faltered, did you not see that the stones of the road cut his feet? Did you not see that the blazing radiance of the sun blinded his eyes? Did you not hear him sigh and groan under the weight of his burden?”
Then the son bowed his head in shame, and he answered and said:
"Father, when my brother no longer followed me, I did not turn round and I did not call. Father, I see I have done a great wrong; Father, I forgot my brother!"
Then the Father looked sorrowfully upon His son and said:
“Take up your staff and turn back; seek until you find the brother who fell behind you upon the way!”
The son bowed his head, and he said:
“Father, I will go forth and seek my brother—I will not return, except that I bring him with me.”
He took his cup and filled it with water from the well, he took up his staff and he turned back upon the road that he had just left.
He bore no burden upon his shoulders, but the sorrow of the Father lay heavily upon his heart.
He searched and searched, his eye sought and sought—but he found not his brother.
He journeyed back more than half of the way.
Then he saw his brother!
He lay by the side of the road. The burden had fallen from his shoulders. The flaming rays of the sun had blinded his eyes. The sharp stones of the road had cut his feet. His robe was in tatters, his body covered with wounds and bespattered with the mud of the road.
The brother knelt by his side and gave him water from the well of their father’s home; and he raised him up, and he took his own girdle and bound it about his loins that the tattered robe should not fall to the ground. He gave him his staff to support him, he took his burden and laid it upon his own shoulders.
He laid his arm tenderly about him and guided him along the road to their Father’s home.
When the servants saw the brothers come, they threw open the mighty portals and silently bowed their heads before them both.
And the brothers made their way to their Father’s mansion, and the son brought the newfound brother to the Father.
The Father opened his arms and pressed the newfound brother to his heart and said:
“My son, my son, why did you make your Father wait so long? Did you not hear my calling voice?
“My son, the spirit I gave to you was strong and beautiful—but behold, how you have soiled your body!
“My servants will now take you to the abode that has so long stood prepared for you. There shall you in solitude ponder upon the long journeying of your life.
“When all is thought through, when all is clear to you, then shall you answer me, your Father, why you performed not the task that you promised to fulfill; answer me why you let the stones in your path cut your feet; and you shall answer me why you fell under the small burden that I gave you, why the mud of the road bespattered your body and soiled your robe! And you shall say to me why you answered not my calling voice, why you let your Father wait so long.
“When you have answered, then shall your blinded eyes see, then shall the tears of remorse cleanse your body, and then will I, your Father, give to you the white robe which is the remission of sin.”
And he laid his hand upon his son’s lowered head, and the servants came and led him to the abode that had long stood empty.
Then the Father turned toward the other son, lovingly took his hand, and said:
“My son, you have brought great joy to my heart; for know you that no joy is greater than the joy in the heart of a father when the son who has fallen is brought back home. Truly, know you that no joy is greater than the joy of a father when the son He believed had perished is returned home!
“My son, to you much was given, to you shall more be given. Go to the abode that my paternal heart has prepared for you, and there accept the reward that awaits you.”
7 March 1911
This parable applies first and foremost to the relationship between Jesus of Nazareth and Joseph of Arimathea during that earthly life in which they were to have supported and complemented one another, according to their promise to God. Since Jesus, after his meeting with Joseph,1 made no attempt to win him over but went his way without further concern for him, the Father’s reproach in the parable is rightfully aimed at Jesus.
And as the son in the parable was to search for his brother, so was Jesus (the eldest of the Youngest) to search for Joseph of Arimathea, when Joseph’s spirit upon the death of his body returned not to the Heavenly abodes.
By taking his old servant’s life, by fearing to lose his wealth and his prestige among the people and by keeping silent about his part in the disappearance of the body of Jesus, Joseph brought himself under the power of the Darkness. His guilt of sin compelled his spirit to lead a long Earth-bound existence after the death of his body, until the eldest of the Youngest, after centuries of searching, found him sunken in deep spiritual Darkness.
The parable also applies to all humanity. When one during life on Earth sees relative or friend fallen under their burdens and shows no concern nor offers no helping hand, one must invariably, after the life on Earth has ended, answer God: where is that brother or sister who accompanied you?
This is true also for those human beings who before their incarnation have pledged to support one another in a particularly difficult mission in order to bring it to a favorable conclusion.
Although it is a thing of the past to search the astral counterpart of the Earth, or the Hell-Sphere for spirits who fall under the burdens of their earthly life, it can still be difficult enough for such negligent humans to make the required amends in future for their failure. This penance might for long periods prevent those who have neglected their duties, or who have broken their promise, from advancing spiritually.
Therefore, be never neglectful of a relative or a friend, and never ignore the inner voice that prompts you to offer your help—spiritual or material—in such instances where your assistance can be beneficial, whether your fellow human is faltering under the heavy burdens, or whether by your word, authority or prestige you can help another out of a difficult situation or give support in the struggle for truth and justice.
In other respects the symbolism of the parable can be interpreted according to one’s own thoughts and feelings.2
The Woodland Pond
A man and a woman stood by the edge of a calm woodland pond. The woman rejoiced in the reflection in the clear water of the blue sky, the white clouds, the grass, the flowers and the trees. She was enraptured by the serene image and exquisite colors,
But the man laughed at her joy, and said: “This is not as beautiful as a painting, for this is but a fleeting image; the colors are temporary and unreal. I can easily erase all of them.” And he reached for a stone and cast it into the pond. The stone’s fall muddied the water, bubbles rose, and rings rippled over the surface.
Sadly, the woman looked at him, and said: “Why did you spoil this beautiful image? Do you believe that we should rejoice more in the works of man than in the works of God? Indeed, I shall show you that the image is real, for no matter how many stones you cast, no matter how much you muddy the water, the mud will settle, and, once the pond is still and God’s sun shines above, the clear water will again reflect the same image.”
In stillness they waited for the mud to settle—and behold! The clear water again reflected the same colorful image of the blue sky, the white clouds, the grass, the flowers and the trees.
And the woman said: “See! I was right; for the deep, still water under God’s sun always reflects a perfect image of all its surroundings. The pure water mirrors everything far more clearly and truly than any picture painted by human hands.”
Then the man fell silent, for he saw that the woman was right.
14 November, 1911
A man on his journey through life upon the Earth came to a place where many roads led in different directions.
He stopped, and said: “Which road should I choose? Which is the right road?” And his eye searched along the many roads, that he might find the right one.
He chose a path that led over green fields and past flower-filled gardens, and was about to take the first step when, behold, there came to the same place another man, and he also stopped, looked about, and called to the first man: “Friend and brother, tell me, which road shall I follow? Which road will lead me to the goal in the shortest time?”
The first man answered him and said: “By this one; for this is the one that I have chosen.”
But the other man said: “Do you not see the high mountains in the distance? That path leads over them and it is dangerous to travel past deep ravines and steep cliffs. Nay, I will choose this road; it is the better of the two.” And he pointed to a wide, straight road lined with tall trees.
But the first man cried heatedly: “Do you not see the river beyond? The swirling currents are strong, they will drag you along, and you shall assuredly perish!”
Then also the second man cried angrily: “Are you saying that I have chosen the wrong road?”
And they quarreled at length, but could not agree.
Thus, they delayed each other on their journey.
But, behold! A third man came to the same place.
He stopped, heard them quarrel, called to them, and said: Friends and brothers, why must you quarrel? Why not follow the path leading through the woods beyond? The path is cool, peaceful and quiet; the trees will shelter you from the burning rays of the sun. Follow me, and we shall travel together in peace and harmony. I believe that this path will lead us to the goal in the shortest time.”
Then the two others cried: “Fool, do you not know that the woods abound with wild beasts? They will tear you asunder, or you will lose your way in the darkness.”
But he paid them no heed.
And he walked on towards the woods.
Then the two looked upon one another, and the first one said: “Friend and brother, let us part in peace and each travel his own road, the road that leads soonest to the goal is the right one.”
And, reconciled, they shook hands and parted in peace.
The different roads led the three men through many obstacles, across mighty seas and churning rivers, over steep mountains and through wild and dark forests. But they overcame all obstacles.
And behold! When, weary from their travels, they reached the goal, they stood, all at the same time before the entrance to their father’s kingdom.
They wondered greatly, and they said: “Friends and brothers! How is this possible? Each chose his own road, and behold we stand before the goal at the same time!”
Then their father’s servant came, and said to them: “The roads of your father are many, and His ways are unfathomable.”
And he bade them enter.
Then stood the three men and brothers, hand in hand, before their father.
And their father received them fondly, took them to his heart, blessed them and said: “When you follow my calling voice, when you journey forth along that path which in hope and trust you have chosen, then will you come in the shortest time to my kingdom!
“My ways are unsearchable, and my ways are many—but they all lead to my kingdom, to my home.”
November 23rd, 1911
The Prince and the Paupers
One day, a wealthy man, a prince, stood outside his mansion when a ragged pauper came by, stopped, and begged for a mite.
The prince answered him and said: “Bread and water will I give you, for no one shall go hungry or thirsty from my door; and work you may have in my vineyard and in my garden; but your pay shall be according to your work.”
The pauper bowed deeply to the prince, and said: “My lord, you are a mighty man. You have many possessions and great wealth. Give me the least costly of the rings on your fingers that I may purchase a shop, for that is my heart’s desire.”
The prince looked at him sternly, and said: “You must truly work diligently to demand such pay, for know that you will receive no pay until your work is done.” And the prince offered him bread and a cup of water.
The pauper flung the bread to the ground and thrust the cup from the prince’s hand, and shouted: “Lord, you are evil and hard-hearted, for you share not of your abundance. Eternal damnation be on your head!”
The prince replied: “Your curses will all turn against yourself, for you refused to accept my offer.”
But the pauper turned from the prince and walked on and continued his begging, and the prince sighed over the folly of men.
Then another pauper came by, stopped, and asked for a mite.
The prince answered him and said: "Bread and water will I give you, and work you may have in my vineyard and in my garden; but your pay will be according to your work.”
The pauper took the bread, put it in his sack and placed the cup at his side, bowed deeply to the prince, and said: “Lord, the work you offer me is not to my liking. It is hard work. Hire me as your cupbearer, or your gate-keeper, and I shall serve you faithfully!”
The prince looked at him, and said: “When you have performed your work to my satisfaction, I shall double your pay and make you my gate-keeper.”
The pauper entered the vineyard and worked, but soon wearied of it for the work was not to his liking. And he went to the prince, and said: “Lord, if I am to work for you, my pay must be doubled, for the work is very hard."
The prince looked at him, and said: “Foolish one, how can I double your pay for work you have not yet performed? Go back and be faithful!"
Then shouted the pauper angrily: “Lord, you are evil and hard-hearted, for you share not of your abundance!” And he left the princely mansion and continued his begging. And the prince sighed over the folly of men.
Behold, then a third man in rags came walking past, and he also stopped and asked for a mite.
The prince answered him and said: “Bread and water will I give you, and you may work in my vineyard and my garden, and your pay shall be according to your work.” And he offered him bread and water.
The pauper ate the bread and drank the water, bowed deeply to the prince, thanked him, and said: “Lord, I will gladly accept the work you offer me, for I have searched and searched but found no work.” And he entered the vineyard and began working.
The pauper kept all in the best of order. The plants blossomed forth and the trees bore much fruit, for he carefully weeded the garden.
Then went the prince to him, and said: “My faithful servant, I am pleased with your work. I shall double your pay and you shall be my head gardener.”
The pauper kissed the hem of the prince’s robe and thanked him. And he continued working with great diligence.
One day, the prince entered the garden to inspect the work and saw the gardener standing dejectedly by a withered plant,3 and he said: “Lord, behold this plant! I know not why it withers away. What shall I do with it?”
Replied the prince: “Dig up the plant and cast it out. It is worthless, for in my garden must be no withered plants.”
After a time, the prince again went to the garden to inspect the work. But then the gardener said to him: “Lord, behold this healthy, green plant! Behold its many blossoms! Lord, this is the plant you bade me cast out.”
Happily, the prince looked at the healthy plant and its beautiful blossoms, and said: “Tell me, how did you prevent this plant from withering away?”
Replied the gardener: “Lord, I found a worm at the roots. I cast the worm out, for it had already devoured many roots. Then I replanted, nourished and watered the plant well. I cut away the withered leaves and branches, and once more the plant began sprouting healthy, green shoots.”
Then the prince said: “My faithful servant, your pay I shall double, not once, not ten times, but a thousand times a thousand, for you shall be called my son, and you shall inherit all my riches!”
But the gardener threw himself at the prince’s feet, exclaiming: “Lord, I am not worthy of being called your son.” But the prince raised him up, and said: “My son, you were faithful in the least tasks, you will be faithful in the greatest.” And he led him to his mansion.
And the servants bowed deeply, greeted him, and bade him welcome as the son of their Lord.
2 January, 1912
The Fruit Seeds
A man was in possession of some precious fruit seeds. With great care, he planted them in the richest soil in his garden. But it happened that he lost one of the seeds while he worked. Patiently he searched for the missing seed but to his sorrow found it not.
Much time passed, and the fruit seeds had all sprouted from the soil. Some were still tiny shoots, others had sturdy leaves and some bore blossoms.
One day as the man tended his plants he saw a tiny shoot at the outer edge of the garden, and he remembered the missing seed. Carefully, he dug it up and he wondered, for behold! It had fallen with the seed sprout facing downward. Laboriously, the sprout had grown upward along one side of the seed until, frail and crooked, it had reached above the ground.
Truly, I tell you that all life will go forward and upward towards the Light, even along tortuous and dark paths!
19 March, 1912
This parable refers to the downfall and return of the Elder (Ardor).
Uni and Esar
A realm4 was divided among many princes and kings,5 but one6 was the mightiest, and he was high above them all. But he grieved, for he saw that many of his subjects turned to other lords. Then he chose two men from among his many servants, and they were called Uni and Esar, and he said to them: “Go forth into the land, and seek to win the people for my kingdom and call upon all of them to return; for many have turned away from me.”
Uni and Esar promised to carry out the task entrusted them by the prince.
The prince blessed them and bestowed his Royal Badge upon both, and he promised to reward them according to their work.
Uni and Esar went to their dwellings to prepare for their journey. Uni chose to garb himself in a robe of camel’s hair, he bound wooden sandals under his feet and laid a black cape over his head and his shoulders.
Esar chose to garb himself in splendid raiment; he bound sandals of kidskin under his feet, anointed his hair and laid a scarlet cape about his shoulders.
Thus attired, they walked together on the road, but when they arrived at the city and passed through the gates, each went his own way.
Uni kept the Royal Badge of his lord near his heart.
He walked about in the city, searched out the sick and the grieving, cared for them and spoke uplifting words, and he built for himself a dwelling among the poor. He spoke to them gently and forgave many of the poor the taxes they owed the prince. Many flocked to him and many journeyed from afar to the city to seek comfort and counsel through his words.
Uni spoke kindly and gently to all, and thus he won many to the kingdom of his lord.
Esar tied the Royal Badge of his lord over his brow, and went to the market place to be seen by all. He summoned the people with the flourish of trumpets. He spoke to them sternly and admonished them to obey and submit to the mightiest of all, for great riches should then be their reward. But those who would not follow should be cast into the darkness of prisons and delivered to die.
When the people heard these words they were struck with fear, and many brought Esar the taxes they owed the prince. But many objected, and Esar cast them into prison.
Then the people spoke loudly against him. But Esar went to the temple of the city, searched the ancient laws and interpreted them to the letter. And the people dared not oppose this stern servant of their lord, and they made him their high priest.
But when Uni heard of Esar’s harsh judgments, he went to him and pleaded with him to show mercy. But Esar answered: “I do but my lord’s bidding, and I judge the people according to his own laws.”
Then Uni answered: “All laws can be interpreted with much severity, and all laws can be interpreted with kindness and compassion.”
But Esar turned a deaf ear, and Uni departed with a heavy heart.
Much time had passed. Then the prince sent word to Uni and Esar, bidding them to return and render their accounts.
Uni rejoiced, for he longed to see his lord again. And he summoned the people once more, bade them live in love, peace and tolerance with one another. And he forgave the taxes of still more of the poor, and he promised to plead on their behalf.
Then he quietly took leave of them.
The people grieved much, for they had learned to love and honor Uni because of his kind words and good works.
When Esar received the message from the prince, he sighed deeply, for he wished not yet to leave his splendid mansion and his many riches.
He went to his treasure chamber, counted his gold and said: “All this I have gathered in the name of my lord; truly, I shall be rewarded royally.”
Once more he called the people together, spoke sternly and admonished them to serve obediently the mightiest of all lords, and he warned that he would bring charges against those who had not yet brought him the taxes they owed the prince.
Thereupon he garbed himself in splendid raiment, anointed his hair and laid a scarlet cape about his shoulders. And in a splendid procession his servants followed him. But when they were come to the gate of the city the servants turned back, and Esar was alone!
The people rejoiced greatly at Esar’s departure, for they had learned to fear his cold heart and stern judgments. Many soon turned to other lords, and they dismissed from their thoughts the mightiest of them all.
And it happened that Uni and Esar departed the city at the same time, and they met under the portal. Uni greeted Esar kindly but Esar turned his face away, for he did not wish to know Uni.
And they walked in silence until they reached the princely mansion.
The prince summoned both of them, and Esar stepped forth before the prince—but the prince bade Uni speak first.
Uni bowed deeply and said: “Lord, I kept your Royal Badge close to my heart, I searched out the sick and the grieving, cared for them and uplifted their spirits; I forgave many of the poor their taxes, for I told them that you were a forbearing and compassionate lord. And when I departed, I promised to plead for those whose taxes are due. Lord, if I have done wrong, then punish me but spare the people.”
The prince looked upon him warmly and said: “You spoke kindly and wisely to the people. Truly, your deeds shall be my deeds, your words shall be my words, and I shall surely honor the promises you have given in my name. You were truly a faithful servant, and you shall be rewarded accordingly.”
He called the elders of his council and said: “Accept this man into your midst. From this day forth he shall be the greatest among you.”
The elders of the council greeted Uni, and they took him into their midst. And behold! He was the greatest 7 among them.
And the prince turned to Esar and bade him render his account.
Proudly, Esar bowed to the prince and said: “My lord, I bound your Royal Badge over my brow, that all could see which lord I served. I summoned the people and admonished them to serve you, the mightiest of all lords, to serve you in obedience and in fear; and all who did not pay their taxes I cast into the darkness of prison, and many I delivered to die.
“I searched through the ancient laws and interpreted them to the letter, and I judged the people according to these, your stern laws.
“Lord, in this manner I won many people for your kingdom. Lord, I await the reward you promised to me!”
Then the prince looked sorrowfully upon Esar and said: “My Royal Badge shall not be worn over the brow to be seen by all the world. My Royal Badge shall be kept in the heart, but it shall be seen in every deed.”
“You admonished the people to serve me, the mightiest of lords, in obedience and in fear; but you neglected to speak to them of my forbearance and my compassion. You interpreted the ancient laws in all their severity and you judged the people accordingly; but you neglected to speak to them of the law of love and compassion, the law that stands above all laws. You warned that you would accuse all who did not bring you the taxes owed their lord; but you neglected to teach the people to live together in love, peace, and tolerance. You say that you won many to my Kingdom; but I say that many have turned from me, and many others will turn from me when they remember your stern and cruel words. Truly, you were to me an unfaithful servant, and you shall be rewarded accordingly.”
And the prince called upon the youngest of the council and said: “Take this man into your midst and teach him, for he is the least among you. And when he has learned, then shall he be sent again into the city that he may undo that which he has wrongfully caused.”
Truly, I say to you that this man became the least among all, for he was an unfaithful servant to his lord! Thus the Lord, our Father, weighs the self-righteous against the just of heart. And thus, as you judge others, so will our Father some day judge you.
4 April, 1912.
1) Ardor's Account, page 55.
2) The interpretation of this parable was given by the intermediary’s spiritual guide in the spring of 1916. —Publisher’s note.
3) Symbolizes a poorly performed task among his many good works.
4) The Earth.
5) Princes and kings — symbolizing the various religions and sects of mankind.
6) God, as representing the religion of love and compassion.
7) The greatest in a spiritual sense.