On April 02, 2021, Good Friday, this humble slave has accepted the reality of walking to his grave carrying the burden of the Cross. There is no real Freedom unless and until this slave enters the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth.
Good Friday is the Friday before Easter Sunday. It is observed in commemoration of Crucifixion of Jesus. Friday, April 02, 2021 is observed as Good Friday and I “Behold The Man” who promises to set me “FREE” from Slavery, Serfdom, and Bondage to Sin. These Blessings of Salvation are shared by Saint Matthew in His Gospel, Chapter 11, verses 28-30: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” In the literal sense, yoke is a wooden frame or bar with loops or bows at either end, so constructed as to unite two animals, usually oxen, enabling them to work in the fields. Yoke is figuratively used in the sense of Servitude. Yoke is a symbol or mark of Bondage, Subjection, Serfdom, Slavery, Forced Labor, and Involuntary Servitude.
On this Good Friday, I ask my readers to reflect upon the Yoke of Burden carried by Jesus and my burden is light for He paid penalty on my behalf. However, I have not yet entered the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth. There is no escape from the reality of walking to my grave carrying the burden of the Cross.
I define the term ‘Spirituality’ as an internal mutually beneficial partnership between the cells, the tissues, the organs and the organ systems of the human organism and the Whole Organism which exists as the singular, specific Individual with Individuality. Spirituality brings structural unity and functional harmony and is the fundamental basis for man to discover Peace, Harmony, and Tranquility in his living condition and in his living experience in the given external environment as a member of an external community. In terms of Science, the human being is a biological community of independent, individual cells and each of these building blocks of life exist with its own internal environment and an external environment and constantly interacts with its own intracellular organelles and other living cells found in its external environment. Similarly, the man has an internal environment called ‘Milieu Interieur’ and the organism tries to maintain ‘Homeostasis’ which is defined as the tendency to maintain internal stability by coordinated responses of the organ systems that automatically compensate for environmental changes and it is analogous to maintenance of stability or equilibrium while participating in social interactions within a social group. French physiologist, Dr. Claude Bernard(1813-1878) described ‘Homeostasis’: “All the vital mechanisms, varied as they are, have only one object; that of preserving constant the conditions of Life.” In this context of the structural and functional relationship of the human organism to maintain stability and equilibrium within the organism and while participating in social interactions within a social group, I would ask my readers to “Behold The Man.” I would like to present two men, 1. Jesus, and 2. Nietzsche to provide contrast as to how their ‘Homeostasis’ was compromised and as to how they failed to keep their existence; 1. Jesus faced an external threat posed by the social group, people with whom He lived and participated in social interactions, and 2. Nietzsche faced an internal threat posed by another living organism (Syphilis) with which he participated in biotic interactions. Readers may note that Nietzsche in his last book titled ‘Ecce Homo’ made an attempt to contrast between himself and Jesus.
BEHOLD THE MAN – ECCE HOMO – THE SON OF MAN:
The Vulgate or Latin Version of the Bible, the official biblical text of the Roman Catholic Church, in the New Testament Book of The Gospel According to Apostle John, Chapter 19, verses 4 and 5 describe the words used by the Roman Governor of Judea, Pontius Pilate when he presented Jesus to a huge crowd of Jews that had gathered outside his palace to demand that Jesus must be punished by Crucifixion: Once more Pilate came out and said to the Jews, “Look, I am bringing him out to you to let you know that I find no basis for a charge against him.” When Jesus came out wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe, Pilate said to them, “Ecce Homo !”(Behold The Man)
To maintain Life, man has to always preserve the stability and equilibrium of his internal and external living conditions. But, man constantly faces several threats to his existence and these threats may exist within or without, the environment in which the existence is maintained. Jesus faced the threat called the demand for his crucifixion because of His social interactions with members of His own social community of Jews who failed to understand God’s Will and God’s Purpose in human life. The Roman Governor of Judea, Pontius Pilate was unwilling to find any crime in the conduct of Jesus and had repeatedly told the gathering of Jews that he finds no basis for a charge against Him. Pilate very reluctantly imposed the capital punishment not only because of the insistent demand of Jews , but because of the unwillingness of Jesus to beg for mercy or a plea to set Him free. Apostle John has reported on the conversation between Pilate and Jesus : ( John 19:10-11) “Do you refuse to speak to me?” Pilate said, “Don’t you realize I have power either to free you or to crucify you?” Jesus answered, “You have no power over me if it were not given to you from above. Therefore the one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin.” Before His arrest and trial by Pilate, Jesus had demonstrated various kinds of supernatural powers and performed miracles. In fact, both the Jews and the Romans had mockingly told Jesus that He could save Himself from crucifixion using supernatural powers and prove His claim to be ‘The Son of God’. I understand the Biblical narration of crucifixion to behold the human being, to understand the human condition that has no real freedom and is simply dependent upon an external source of support called ‘Providence’. Jesus who had stated that His mission or purpose in life as that of sharing the ‘Truth’, knows that the human being has no ‘Free Will’ and understands that man has no choice apart from living in obedience to God’s Will and Purpose in human life. It is not surprising to find that Jesus made no attempt to run away from the threat, and did nothing to defend His existence. He simply desired to bear witness to God’s Will and God’s purpose for His mortal human existence. Jesus as a Spiritual Being showed patience and showed tolerance of people who were persecuting Him and for His Deliverance, He called upon His Father: “Jesus called out with a loud voice, ‘Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.’ When he said this, he breathed his last.”(The New Testament Book of the Gospel According to Apostle Luke, Chapter 23, verse #46). The fact that Jesus has simply existed like any other mortal human being is revealed in His final announcement as mentioned in The Gospel According to Apostle John, Chapter 19, verse#28 which reads: Later, knowing that all was now completed, and so that the Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, “I am thirsty.” In my view, thirst is the clearest symptom of mortal existence.
BEHOLD THE MAN – ECCE HOMO – NIETZSCHE:
To Behold The Man named Nietzsche, as a practitioner of Medicine, I would give the least amount of attention to his views and perspectives about human values and human existence. I would like to ascertain his complete medical history and assess his medical condition through a careful physical examination and use any investigative tools that may help me to know the man under my observation. Nietzsche born October 05, 1844 was apparently in good health during 1864 when he went to the University of Bonn to study theology and classical philology and in 1865 he transferred to University of Leipzig. He began military service in October 1867 in the cavalry company of an artillery regiment, sustained a serious chest injury while mounting a horse in March 1868. He resumed his studies in University of Leipzig in October 1868 while on extended sick leave from the military. In 1869, the University of Leipzig conferred the doctorate without examination or dissertation and paved the way for his selection for professorship in classical philology (Linguistics) in the University of Basel, Switzerland. He took leave during August 1870 when he participated in Franco-Prussian War as a voluntary medical orderly. He had to quit that service when he contracted dysentery and diphtheria. His health problems continued to persist and by October 1876, Nietzsche requested and received a year’s sick leave. Because his health continued to deteriorate steadily he resigned his professorial chair on June 14, 1879. Nietzsche was seriously ill, half-blind, in virtually unrelenting pain during a decade of isolation from 1879 to 1889. He lived in boarding houses in Switzerland, France, and Italy with only limited human contacts. His most acknowledged literary and philosophical masterpiece, “Thus Spake Zarathustra” was published between 1883 and 1885 in four parts. Nietzsche’s final lucid year was 1888, a period of supreme productivity. He wrote and published ‘The Case of Wagner’, wrote a synopsis of his philosophy, ‘Twilight of the Idols’ (published later in 1889), The Antichrist (published later in 1895), ‘Nietzsche contra Wagner’, and ‘Ecce Homo: How One becomes What One Is’, a reflection on his own works and his human significance. Ecce Homo got published in 1908, twenty years after its composition. Nietzsche collapsed in the streets of Turin, Italy in January 1889 and lost control of his mental faculties. He spent the last 11 years of his life in total mental darkness. He was first moved to an asylum in Basel, then he lived in Naumburg under his mother’s care and after her death in 1897, he lived in Weimar in his sister’s care. He died on August 25, 1900. His medical condition suggests the diagnosis of Atypical General Paralysis caused by the Tertiary Stage of Syphilitic infection and is known as Neurosyphilis which is involvement of brain and nervous system due to dormant Syphilitic infection. I am most surprised to note that Nietzsche had failed to take into account the problems of his own injury and sickness that compelled him to change direction of his life repeatedly without giving him the opportunity called “Free to Will.”
Nietzsche’s ability to maintain ‘Homeostasis’ was undermined when he got exposed to infection by a Spirochete bacterium called Treponema pallidum which infects man during sexual relationship with an infected individual. It is very easy to ignore this infection as in its Primary Stage the infection causes a painless sore at the site of infection and the sore heals without application of any medication. This bacterium remains dormant and may manifest signs of infection called Secondary Stage after a lapse of several months. During that Secondary Phase there would be generalized eruptions of the skin, mucous membranes, inflammation of eyes, bones, and central nervous system. It must be noted that during Nietzsche’s lifetime, there were no proper antibiotic drugs to treat the Syphilitic infection. The Tertiary Stage is delayed for some time (15 to 25 years) after the initial infection. During the period Nietzsche had lived, this kind of Syphilitic infection accounted for 10 percent of all admissions to mental hospitals. In Nietzsche’s case, looking at the medical problems that he had experienced during 1876, I would like to suggest that he had contacted Syphilitic infection during 1861 while he was about 17-years of age, because of a social interaction with another human being who was already infected by Syphilis. Nietzsche formulated all his perspectives and views about human values, and human existence not knowing that he has no “Will to Power”, or “Will to Life” if he fails in the battle against invasion of his body by this Spirochete bacterium. In his book Ecce Homo, Nietzsche proclaims the ultimate value of everything that has happened to him including his near-blindness as an example of ‘Love of Fate’ (amor fati). He might not have given attention to problems like injuries and diseases which have a direct relationship to the course of action that man deliberately chooses to express his sense of Freedom of choice and action. The madness that claimed Nietzsche only months after he began writing Ecce Homo had already begun its work. He reveals the tragic fact that his very aliveness was in a state of being overwhelmed, consumed, by powerful unconscious emotion, the condition called ‘decadence’. He writes about Christianity’s decadence while in reality his brain was getting destroyed by the Syphilitic infection.
In the last Chapter of Ecce Homo titled, “Why I am a Destiny”, Nietzsche suggests a contrast with Jesus to claim that he truly is a “man.” In his view, to be a “man” alone is to be more than a “Christ.” In my opinion, both Nietzsche and Jesus lived their lives as human beings and they faced great threats to their existence from different directions. It is indeed correct to suggest that man is like Christ for man is created in God’s own image. Nietzsche’s Spiritual Being was challenged by the problem of a bacterium that entered his body and similarly, the Spiritual nature of human society is challenged by the problem of Sin and acts of disobedience. Man finds it to difficult to experience Peace, Harmony, and Tranquility as there is no stability or equilibrium in his living condition. I would like to invite my readers to “Behold The Man” to know the human being and know the physiological mechanism called ‘Homeostasis’ that is central to mortal human existence as it faces internal or external threats. Eventually, the man depends upon the Force/Power/Energy of Divine Mercy, Grace, and Compassion called “KRUPA” in the Sanskrit language even when the man has no direct knowledge of God’s existence.
Rudra Narasimham, Rebbapragada