That which lives and thinks in man and survives that frame, the masterpiece of evolution -- is the "Eternal Pilgrim," the Protean differentiation in space and time of the One Absolute "unknowable."
-- H.P. Blavatsky, THE SECRET DOCTRINE, II, 728
By B.P. Wadia
[From THUS HAVE I HEARD, 153-57.]
One of the evils by which modern society is debased is constant misuse of the power of speech. Too many talk for the sake of talking: small and random talk, business talk, often inimical, at home or at office; jests at the expense of friends and especially of foes which may degenerate into gossip; and there are also malice and backbiting; and lies, which in political circles pass under the name of diplomacy and elsewhere under that of courtesy or cleverness or what not.
In all these, there is at work a common factor, which is rarely taken into account -- the corruption of the speaker's own mind and morals, character and health. Indulgence in destructive speech poisons the human system and injures it as few types of venom do. Many who indulge in it, however, are not wicked but thoughtless. If only they would listen to the saying that "a single word may ruin a whole city or put the spirit of a lion into a dead fox" they would start thinking. Selden has well said: "Syllables govern the world." The mischief done by words at the UNO, in parliaments and through the press begins in clubs and homes, at lunch counters and around tea tables.
Real knowledge about words and sounds, meanings and tones, is highly important. Our "civilized" people neglect it.
Sound, Word and Speech are regarded as profoundly important by the mystics, the philosophers and the philologists; each values them from his own angle of vision. GUPTA VIDYA, the Esoteric Philosophy and Occult Science have a special point of view, rooted in the synthetic power of perception. The mystic looks upon words as living; the philosopher uses them as vehicles for his own thoughts and speculations; the philologist is interested mainly in their lineage. The Occultist uses words as living messengers of incommunicable secret and sacred verities, using their sound values and their color tones to reveal the indissoluble relation between the spiritual, the psychic and the material; between the divine, the human and the animal; between the invisible and the visible; between the good and the evil.
The primal vibration, Sound emanating from the Unmanifest, is named the Word -- SHABDA BRAHMAN. It is called the Logos by the Greeks, whose wisdom Apostle John used to begin his gospel: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God." This is the PRANAVA, the AUM, of Eastern Esotericism. Krishna in THE BHAGAVAD-GITA proclaims It as one of His VIBHUTIS, Excellences -- "Of words I am the monosyllable OM."
The sound values of words and phrases -- MANTRAS -- are not a matter of serious study by our learned men of today, though the creative and destructive powers of sound are beginning to be accepted by some medical men and by some musicians. But the power of sound, the potencies of words and language, even as ordinarily used -- these are TERRA INCOGNITA for men of modern knowledge. The mysterious and mighty magic of speech at which Carlyle hints is desecrated every day and every hour by leaders and the led alike. Even Hindus who believe in their tradition about the power of MANTRAS, speech-sounds, never think of the power brought into play in their daily use of language. A superstition has grown up that MANTRAS belong only to Sanskrit, the language of the Gods. But, whether men curse or bless in English or in Hindi, words and phrases and tones of all tongues have an invisible influence. They soothe or irritate, depress or energize, not only those who hear, but also those who speak.
All this offers the metaphysical and psychological basis for the precept that those who aspire to simple and high living, to feel devotion to the Supreme and to Humanity, should guard their speech. We must learn the place of silence in our daily living. In useless babbling we fritter away soul force. We should cultivate the power to listen. But the modern style of living, laboring, even loving, encourages talk and more talk. Modern society is very suspicious of the silent fellow! "One never knows," it says, "how can bread be earned and how can business be done without proper phrases, suggestive remarks, flattery and threats?" "What would club life be without conversation, salty and peppery, pungent and smart," says the social drone and butterfly. As to love, "What nonsense! How can you make love without endearments?" And yet it is taught that the human devotee receives into his heart the grace of the Divine Lover, which is silent when his own heart and mind and tongue are silent. Is it not said that the GURU speaketh not and yet the pupil learneth?
The misuse of speech results from the mishandling of the mind. Petty mind, petty speech; mean mind, mean speech; wandering mind, rambling speech; seeing mind, sage speech. Without wisdom, speech cannot be true or good or beautiful. Speech is personified as one of the wives of Dharma. Speech that is not properly wedded to the Lord of Law and Duty is compared to a prostitute -- unchaste, though she is pretty, false though she is lavish.
Between mind and speech, understanding and words, there is a kinship. Plutarch, introducing his life of two grand orators, Demosthenes and Cicero, refers to himself -- "It was not so much by the knowledge of words that I came to the understanding of things, as by my experience of things I was enabled to follow the meaning of words." Wisdom enshrined in words does not come to us by a study of words and idioms, construction of phrases and sentences, and the like.
We are called upon to control wrong speech and to cultivate right speech. Meditation (or TAPAS) on Speech, according to THE BHAGAVAD-GITA, is to be on gentleness of words. These are words that causes not excitement or anxiety; on true words; on friendly words; on words of Holy Writ. THE LAWS OF MANU (iv. 138) advocate practice of the rule belonging to SANATANA DHARMA, the Immortal Wisdom-Religion: speak true words pleasantly, but never unpleasantly, and avoid falsehood even though it be pleasant to oneself or to another. A sevenfold exercise is recommended to the earnest and sincere aspirant as part of his self-discipline:
(a) Self-imposition of periodic silence.
(b) Abstaining from untruthful or injurious speech.
(c) Guarding against useless talk.
(d) Abstaining from asking questions out of curiosity, or from the weakness of prying into the affairs of others.
(e) Abstaining from egotistic speech, i.e., not making statements about our Divine Soul in terms of our animal nature.
(f) Guarding against airing and enumerating our own faults and weaknesses lest our speech lend strength to these.
(g) Speaking only that which is true, and that only at proper times, to proper people, under proper circumstances.
This or a like discipline will enable us to perceive the truth of the aphorism:
Attain to knowledge and you wilt attain to speech.
By Reed Carson
This month important improvements have been made to the member's profile report. The report had become so large that it had become quite unwieldy to print out and took a long time to calculate. With the new enhancements just installed, you can select to receive a report on just those individuals in a particular state or a particular province or a particular country and the report is quite fast. (To report on everyone is still an option and takes about 45 seconds.)
Now it is also possible to select just those who have been recently added within the last 35 days.
Sometime back a user of this report suggested that it be sorted by zip code (or postal code outside of the U.S.). When I installed and tested that option it turned out to be surprising useful. I found someone within driving reach of me that I would not have suspected! Also postal codes can handle cases of variant abbreviations and mispellings. So now the default method of sorting the report is by zip and postal code. The option to sort alphabetically by name of the city is still available.
For interest, the top of the report now says how many people are in the report. You can, for instance, easily determine how many new members have joined in the last 35 days around the world!
Some people have written me and asked about finding people in different areas of the world. With these changes that should be distinctly easier to do.
As a result the report is much more convenient and much faster. Hope you "go to it" and enjoy it. I will be glad to hear how you evaluate the new zip code sorting.
Just to remind you, the way to access that report and these new features, is, as before, to click on "members" on the home page http://www.blavatsky.net, fill in userid and password and choose "profiles". Then you will be presented with the new page with all the above options.
I might share with you that in testing this report I discovered I had omitted my own zip code. Because of my blank zip code I sorted out near the bottom of the New York State members. I didn't find myself listed near my actual physical neighbors. So you may want to include your zip code so you will be found. Blank zip codes sort last. Also some of you give your city but not your state. It will help you get found by others reporting on your state if you go back and fill in your state. Of course, on its own, the BN system does not know what cities are in what states.
This month we discovered another interesting indicator of how this site is rated by the internet community. The site http://websmostlinked.com attempts to list web sites by the number of links on other pages that point to them. It is a form of "vote" by the internet community. If you type in blavatsky.net into that homepage, it shows this site as ranked at #20625 out of 416921 sites in that database. (It was some 17,000 earlier this month.) In other words there are only some 20,000 other sites with more links to them than this site. But that is remarkable! There are zillions of sites. In the world at large, Theosophy is an obsure subject. So being in the top 5% or better of internet sites seems quite a good rating in perspective. You may wish to visit there and inquire about some other site of special interest to you.
Nine articles by Judge have been added this month. Number 7 in the syllabus for BN-basic is now online.
Informally I hear very positive descriptions of the new SD class in New York City at the Lodge at 72nd street and very positive reports of the Manhattan Study class on 32nd street. The class at 32nd st. will be holding a special summer event on July 16th. Details next month.
There is a bug that prevents the private email feature in the profile report from working. I had it fixed yesterday but as this goes to press it is not working again. Will be fixed soon. You do like computers don't you?
There are now 1956 members including 88 who joined last month. Of all those, 1191 are visible in the profile report.
By M.O. French
[From THE THEOSOPHICAL FORUM, June 1949, pages 348-52.]
Islam, misnamed Mohammedanism by Christian Commentators, means submission to the will of God. This is one and the same as the theosophic doctrine of submission of the lower self to the Higher Self. Furthermore, Mohammad specified that no priest, idol, graven image, or aught else should stand between Man and Deity. Since this proscription would deprive any priesthood of their perquisites, prerogatives and power, piety arose in wrath against such an impious premise. In consequence, Islam has been subjected to a constant campaign of calumny.
An unprejudiced study of Islamic institutions and of the resultant civilization that glorified Asia Minor for a brief period might serve to stimulate the tolerance that is inseparable from any concept of brotherhood. Before God, all men are united as brothers in equality. This is exemplified in the Islamic mosques where king and commoner, potentate and peasant, prostrate themselves in the very apotheosis of spiritual equality. Every line of those mosques depicts the artistic instinct of Arabic architecture for symbolizing an archetypal dynamic symmetry in a balanced combination of curved lines and straight ones. They are destitute of altars and images that might interpose a barrier between the intuition and the immanent Christos.
In Alcoran, a formal ritualism is prescribed that inculcates religious observances as bodily habits. This serves to obscure all esoteric aspects, but is well calculated for the discipline of those who live wholly upon the physical plane. The prescriptive regulations extend to the minutest details of daily life, including ablutions, marital relations, diet, economics, politics, and sociology. The intent was to rectify the chaotic conditions existing in Asia Minor, where disintegrative influences were leading backward to the depravity of unadulterated barbarism at an alarmingly rapid rate. Christianity had spread westward to replace the decadent tyranny of Rome, but had failed to penetrate the tribal areas of the no man's land that lay between India and Europe.
Mohammad was a personage of destiny who was inspired for a specific purpose. From the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem, he was transported on the "Journey through the Celestial Spheres" that constituted his "Initiation." It garbed him with the psychological power to perform his tremendous task of leavening the loaf of a species of "ersatz" bread made up of the most heterogeneous elements. The psycho-magnetic spiritual energy that flowed from him is exemplified in the results of his mission. Within a century of his demise, 632 AD, his Islamic adherents had established an empire that extended from the Indus in India to the Atlantic, including what are now southern Russia, northern Africa, and Spain. In extent it exceeded Rome at its zenith and its conquest, in the view of this writer, had been accomplished with less brutality and more tolerance than that which has marked the forcible extension of most ideologies.
The moral precepts of Alcoran are eminently ethical and a strict observance of the spirit rather than of the letter of the Koranic Law will lead on to the saintly asceticism of an initiated Sufi. With respect to the alleged propagation of Islam by the sword, Mohammad's admonition was: "And fight for the religion of God against those who fight against you; but transgress not by attacking them first." In regard to the common practices of priesthoods, he states:
Moreover they who conceal ANY PART of the scripture which God hath sent down unto them, and sell it for a small price, they shall swallow into their bellies nothing but fire ... These are they who have sold direction for error, and pardon for punishment: but how great will their suffering be in the fire!
The "fire" is that of thought, AGNI. The proscription in regard to ecclesiastical deceptions and tracking in "indulgences" is specific. The obloquy cast upon Islam for permitting polygamy to the number of four wives has been considerable. It may be compared with the sexual habits of the occidental male, as recently unfolded, to the detriment of the latter. Alcoran advises: "But if ye fear that ye cannot act equitably TOWARDS SO MANY, MARRY ONE ONLY ... Very strict provisions in regard to what constitutes equitable treatment of a wife are set forth in the following paragraphs.
The accusations concerning intolerant destruction leveled against Islam appear to have as little foundation in fact as do the moral strictures of the Christian pot calling the Islamic kettle black. It was Julius Caesar who destroyed the Alexandrian Library in 48 BC and not an order from the Caliph at the later date of the Islamic conquest. The Emperor Theodosius destroyed all that was left by Caesar in 389 AD.
The glory that was Islam, like the glory of Spain, proved very brief. The ninth century saw Charlemagne in Europe and Harun al-Raschid in Asia Minor as the two dominant figures on the world's stage. The ENTENTE CORDIALE between them was close and, apparently, sincere. The immense spiritual energy generated by Mohammad had created the great structure of empire, but "the creation is ever slave to the creator." Wise and just provisions had been laid down in Alcoran for the governance of its adherents, together with much of the ancient wisdom that runs like a golden thread throughout all scriptural literature.
The vast edifice erected on this foundation proved very brittle and unenduring. Corruption and decadence infected the entire structure. The infamous cult of the Assassins entrenched itself in mountain fortresses and power was lacking to utterly destroy this terrible cancer. Finally, Hulagu, grandson of Jenghiz Khan, came down from the north to exterminate them and then proceeded to disrupt the remaining fabric of Islamic empire.
As Il-Khan he replaced the last of the Abbasid Caliphs at Baghdad in 1258. To the west, the wanton destruction of the Holy Sepulcher in 1009 had brought the Crusades against Islam. What was left was beset between the Mongol horsemen and the Frankish knights.
The last great dynasty of Islam, the Mamluks, came from Egypt to offset them both. The Mamluks were sultans who had been slaves and their example renders most "self-made" plutocrats of the western world tame by comparison. Decadence and dissolution continued thereafter. The isolated Umayyad dynasty in Spain continued to sustain a high Moorish civilization until Granada fell before Ferdinand and Isabella when Columbus was en route to America.
We may well ask what was the cause of Islam's disintegration and the answer is enlightening. Primarily, the followers of any very strong leader take on his likeness by imitation until they resemble so many coins from the same mint. Otherwise, they will not pass as currency in the community.
In his early life, Mohammad attained enlightenment and achieved the initiation of the celestial spheres by a life of relative asceticism and solitary meditation. In initiation, he was led into temptation by having his innate powers revealed to him, or the kingdoms of the earth offered to him.
Mohammad chose the role of pontiff and potentate. Gautama had the same experience under the Bo Tree and Mara the Seducer (one of whose names is Kama as God of love) tried to tempt him into becoming Patriarch of an exoteric religion for the salvation of humanity. He, however, had renounced his throne as Prince of Kapilavastu and was not trapped by this subtle enticement. Similarly, Jesus was led into the wilderness to be tempted of "the devil," as set forth in chapter four of Matthew. He, like Buddha, repudiated the temptation to become either an ecclesiastical or a political leader. He remained a spiritual one.
Thus it is that "Lead us not into temptation" is included in prayers to Divinity. Gautama and Jesus became increasingly ascetic with advancing years. Mohammad, corrupted by the corrosive sublimate of adulation and dictatorial power, became addicted to luxurious living, lust, and the political expediencies of combining compulsion with compromise.
Like so many automata, his adherents reflected both the virtues and the vices of his example. Furthermore, his rigidly restrictive precepts were embodied in the "holy writ" of the sacred scriptures in Alcoran. This gave to them a paralyzing power far in excess of the statutory edicts of any Caesar. The complete manacling of all individual initiative is illustrated in the "Bill of Rights" that governs Islam. The instructions of the Prophet are as follows:
Mohammad: "How wilt thou decide when a question arises?" Mu'adh: "According to the Book of Allah." Mohammad: "And if thou findest naught therein?" Mu'adh: "According to the sunnah of the Messenger of Allah." Mohammad: "And if thou findest naught therein?" Mu'adh: "Then I shall apply my own reasoning."
Maurice de Saxe, MARECHAL DE FRANCE, said that that "Laws are by no means sufficient for government of an army. You must have living laws at the head of the troops." Thereby he spoke a mouthful. Into all scriptural texts, by imperceptible degrees, there creep ecclesiastical alterations, interpolations, or interpretations. Likewise, statutory provisions become the dead letter of outmoded laws, totems, or tabus as the wide cycles of time effect mutation.
"The law," as Justice Cardoza said, "should be founded upon a philosophy that will mediate between stability and progress." That "law" lives in the cleansing pulsations of the spiritual blood stream flowing through the pure of heart, mankind's spiritual leaders. Its pulse keeps time to the rhythm set by the Heart of the Universe. It cannot be confined between the covers of any book, or restricted to the utterances of any personage.
By A. Trevor Barker
[From THE HILL OF DISCERNMENT, Theosophical University Press, 1941, pages 293-302.]
One of the difficulties that we are all faced with, in studying this great philosophy, is not so much that as a result of it we do not come to recognize and know certain things. Our difficulty is rather in translating the implication of those ideas into action.
Now, it was because we came to the recognition that this is a difficulty the majority of us need to solve, that we were led to choose the title for this series of lectures, "A Rational Basis for Ethics." What we are trying to do with each subject that we take up is first to consider very briefly what the teachings are. Then we will try to extract the ethical implication from the metaphysical teaching, and see how we are going to translate it into action in our lives. That makes the philosophy a living power in our lives if we want it to be so.
I am taking for granted tonight necessarily that you are familiar with the subjects of the two preceding lectures in this series. The first was on the Sevenfold Constitution and Powers of Man. The second one dealt with Cyclic Law, Reincarnation, and to some extent Evolution. That is the background upon which the great Teachers of life and knowledge have thrown, as it were, upon a screen, the marvelous solutions and explanations that they have to give of the great mysteries of the life after death.
There are at least three ways that this title "The Living Dead" can be understood, because, as you will have divined, that title comes from the Mystery Schools of old time. The Living Dead can be understood as those who have put aside their mortal body -- the people that colloquially we call dead people, but who, according to all the great religions of antiquity, and therefore in the teachings of Theosophy, are still indeed living. We can understand the title in that way, and we shall consider the Theosophical teachings on the subject from that point of view.
Then again, this phrase can signify living people, or those that we call living, but who nevertheless are really and truly dead, in the sense that they are unawakened -- spiritually asleep. These people were called by those in the Mystery Schools of antiquity the profane -- those who have not been awakened to the reality of the spiritual life.
And there is yet another way of looking at that title: those fewer in number, who, whilst still living in the body they have dared to die in their personalities -- who have dared to lose their personal lives, and have been reborn, spiritually speaking, and have therefore found their lives.
So we will try briefly to study the subject from these three points of view, amongst others.
May I try to give you a brief sketch of just what the Theosophical teachings are about the passage from what we call life through the intermediate worlds into the afterlife, and back in cyclical return to earth again? The teachings on this subject in Theosophical philosophy are very rich. They are treated in great detail, and their implication is of tremendous importance and significance for us here. Then, when I have given you that picture, I will try to extract some of the implications of an ethical kind from it. First, at the moment of death, everybody -- whether dying quietly in their beds, whether what is called insane, or dying by accident or violence -- everybody -- young, old, under all conditions -- everybody experiences, in the last fleeting moments, when the cord of life is snapped, a complete review of every incident of the life from first to last. That is the first point we want to get the significance of, for surely it means that we have to remember that in the memory of Nature nothing is ever forgotten. Do not let us deceive ourselves for an instant that any single one of our actions can be lost. We may choose to wipe it from our memories and forget it, but the soul memory cannot forget; the memory of Nature does not forget; and therefore sooner or later we have got to face the implications and consequences of our own acts.
Then, the review completed, the whole of the being that is left -- the fivefold man -- goes into that intermediate realm which in some parts of Christian doctrines is known as purgatory: into that region of purgation where the higher and lower elements of the being of the man are separated into their component parts. Therefore think of all that is left other than the body and life going into the great intermediate realm, and there instantly being subjected to a process by which the lower material parts of the man's being begin to separate by downward attraction from the spiritual efflorescence of his being, which is attracted inevitably upwards, upwards, upwards.
That is a process that happens without the man's will. If he dies a normal death, he goes into that after-death condition but without the power to initiate new actions. He is in a subjective world; he can no longer will, perceive and know in a conscious way. He is rather like a man in a dream, or if his life has been very material it will be perhaps more like a nightmare.
Then he experiences what is known as the second death. Now please note this particular teaching, for of all teachings it probably has the greatest significance for those who want really to be reborn either during life on earth, or after death. The separation of the higher principles from the lower, leaves the lower to separate and disintegrate into their component parts -- the lower consisting of all that is necessarily transient in Nature: the passions, the evil thoughts, the hatreds, all those qualities that are essentially impermanent and of the nature of death. They are doomed to fade out since there is no permanent survival of man's personality. And directly those principles are separated, the last process of which is a struggle resulting in another or second death. Then the man is reborn into the Heaven world.
Now what gives him birth there? It is simply his spiritual aspirations, his religious yearnings, his philosophical and spiritual meditations of a lifetime; the high, beautiful and holy things that the man's heart was set upon during life; the innumerable mystical dreams and imaginations that most of us weave during life and never have a chance to work out and translate into action. They are ideal pictures, beautiful imaginings, true ideas -- unfulfilled spiritual hopes. Now it is these things, not the will -- whether personal or spiritual -- which cause a man to be reborn, spiritually speaking, in the Heaven world which in Theosophical teaching is called the world of Devachan or Sukhavati, the Land of the Gods.
What happens when he gets there, when he enters into that state of consciousness? For that is what it is, a state of consciousness. He is reborn as a little child as he was on earth, and his first recollections will be those that he had on earth -- of his mother, his parents, his family, and from that tiny baby-like beginning will be evolving the abstract effects of his own spiritual thinking, the causes of which were generated in the thought-life of the man's last personal incarnation. There, in that after-death state he will be surrounded with all those that he loved and left on earth, by the ideal picture of them, the idealized personalities of father and mother, husband or wife, and friends. He will be provided, as it were, by the creative power of his own imaginative thinking, with the opportunity of carrying to the nth degree his philosophical and mystical researches into the secret ways of the inner heart of Nature. He will be able to enter into the companionship of the great thinkers, the great Sages and Teachers of the human race. He will be able to work out these ideas and translate them, as it seems to him, into action. Yet he is really only living in a glorious dream world, but full of happiness, peace, bliss and the power of the spirit.
And when the full tide of the assimilation process, gradually waning, finally leaves him, with all the spiritual effects of his last personal life fully worked out, assimilated into the fabric of his spiritual being, what happens? Why, the efflorescence of that last life on earth, the fruit of that human soul, is gathered up into the bosom of its Father in Heaven, merging into union with the Spiritual, there to experience the vast panoramic vision of all its past existences -- each incarnation as it were the pearl upon the golden thread of life and consciousness. And in the memory of the Immortal Seer is seen every one of the causes that led to such and another effect in life after life on earth: that which he had done of good bringing beautiful results and that which he had done of evil resulting necessarily in suffering. Finally he sees as a whole the past life that he has just completed, and the destiny which he himself has created of the life that is about to open in his next incarnation -- seeing as it were in the ideal thought of his own inner Divinity, the plan laid down there in his own highest spiritual self for the life which he is about to embark upon. This is just like an ideal architectural plan of a universe to be -- in this case the future life of a man on earth. Then when that wonderful vision of all that he will have to go through is complete, the triumphs of the spirit that he will experience, and the failures due to the blows of karmic destiny -- the results of those things of an evil kind which the man had generated in past existences: when all has been seen, he begins to descend step by step, drawing back to himself the life-atoms, the very matter through which he had experienced the passions, desires, and thoughts -- good, bad, and indifferent -- of the last personality; drawing them all together by the power of attraction and finally emerging on the stage of life once again as a little child.
That in brief is an imperfect picture of the Theosophical teaching about the life after death for those people who die a normal, natural death at the end of their life period. I have purposely left out all the exceptions to the general law, because it would take us too far afield. But when we discover what the implications of these ideas are and we try to work out how to translate these implications into action in terms of ethics, then we begin truly to think; then indeed life begins for us and takes on an entirely different aspect than merely reading about these things in an intellectual way and leaving it there.
We spoke about the review of the past life. That is an automatic process, and we have already seen the implication that nothing is forgotten in the book of Nature, or in the Soul's memory. The man has passed from earth, necessarily leaving behind all his purely material possessions. Then you have the teaching about the separation of the principles and the second death. Now what are the implications of this idea? First that in terms of a man's spirituality, to the extent to which during life the higher and divine nature of the man had dominated the lower personal nature, to that extent he will pass with speed through the intermediate worlds and purgatorial regions: if a spiritual, if a holy life and pure one, the lower nature will just fade away. The higher will then gravitate upwards, rising like a cork does in the sea -- it cannot help itself. Because the lower nature had been transcended during life there is very little to disintegrate, and so it vanishes away like the mist before the rising sun. We see at once the tremendous spiritual benefit to the man who lives in terms of ethics during life even in that one fact.
Consider another aspect of it. Supposing the reverse kind of life had been led, and you have before you the life of a materialist, a man who has lived in the animal nature, pursuing the objects of the senses, living in his desires, the spiritual nature given no attention to -- perhaps hardly wakened at all. The center of gravity is in the animal soul. He must pass a long period in the purgatorial regions, to the extent that he dies with active, vigorous hatreds and passions and desires, and he must suffer the unsatisfied longings which he can no longer assuage in the after-death world. He will experience these as a terrible nightmare, as a nightmare about which he is unable to do anything about. A sufficient reason indeed for living an ethical life here -- but still worse is to come, because it is just such individuals who can be most easily attracted and drawn into the mediumistic vortex of the spiritualistic seance. Earthly is that animal soul by nature, and earthly are the forces that attract to the spiritualistic seance. And then that disincarnate animal -- almost devil -- seeks to satiate the animal passions, vicariously as it were, through the human beings that he is brought into contact with through the medium. Unfortunately many are the cases of insanity, suicide, and obsession, that are caused by such people. Not only do they damage the living, but through the excesses that they commit they gradually build into themselves worse and worse tendencies in that part of their nature than they had actually done during earth life. So you get an ethical implication there at once -- the condemnation as a practice of getting in touch with these entities through the mediumistic seance, and at the same time a tremendous incentive to leave behind, to turn around from that kind of life while living on earth, because after death it is too late. You cannot do anything about it.
Now the third, and as I think, the most important application of this far-reaching doctrine: what is it that really causes a man to be reborn in the Heaven-world or Devachan? It is really a state during life of spiritual ignorance, a state of spirituality, of spiritual yearnings, spiritual imaginings and striving, but without that deep understanding of the laws of Nature which would enable the individual to translate that ideal thinking into action in the living present, and therefore he has to work them out in an ideal state instead of here in the objective universe. That means that it is really a state of illusion, although much nearer reality, than earth-life -- much nearer; nevertheless, from the point of view of a really spiritual self-conscious being such as any of the great Sages and Seers, the great religious Teachers of the human race -- from their point of view it is a state of ignorance, and it is something that can be transcended by a certain process. What is it? It is simply this. In the after-death state, the spiritual nature, by its predominance, goes instantly into the higher worlds and expresses itself there in a rebirth of the spirit by transcending all the actions of the material, passionate, lower nature. In order to extract the ethical implication, we have simply to realize an idea. That idea is that it is possible for us -- you and I -- at this moment, any time, from day to day, from hour to hour, to die to everything that is of a character that prevents the expression of our own high, divine, spiritual nature and powers. Those things of a lower nature are keeping us from a realization of the God Within, which are keeping us from being incarnate Gods here in the temple of the body. To avoid the illusory state -- necessary, beneficent and useful as it is -- of the Heaven-world, we simply have to take a high ethical standard of life and realize it in the body here and now. That will mean to lose our personal lives completely from an ordinary point of view. It will be to follow the advice of the Initiate Paul: to die daily that he might be reborn in Christ. This is a possibility for us, and it simply means translating ethics from the realm of the ideal into the living present through action here and now. That is one of the main implications of the whole of the after-death teaching of Theosophy: the possibility first, and then the necessity, the impelling necessity for those who want to live in terms of the spiritual idea --to do the thing in the only place that it can be done, which is on earth here where we are. Here alone we can learn so to dominate the lower man by the power of the spirit that we become actually reborn during life.
There is one last idea I want to draw your attention to: the plan that our Paramatman, our own Father in Heaven, has for each one of us; the plan that our own Inner God shows to us before we come into this world, of the incarnation that we are about to embark upon. That is something of tremendous importance, for deep down in the spiritual nature of our own being there is that which knows the justice of every single accident that will come to us in the life that is opening: the justice of the rewards and the retribution that we experience seemingly perhaps in some automatic way once the incarnation has begun. For if there is such a picture, such a plan of the ideal working out of our destiny -- a destiny that we ourselves have created -- then it rests with us so to live during life that we human, thinking entities can reflect purely and perfectly that ideal plan for the living of our lives that exists in the mind of the God Within. And if we learn to do that in our daily meditation, as we listen for the voice of the Inner Warrior, our Inner Deity, our Personal Savior, we will have revealed before our own Inner Spiritual Eye, step by step, the pathway which that Inner Divinity wants us to follow if we only will. The price of it is simply the willingness to live an entirely different sort of life. The price is a willingness to translate into the living present those simple ethical principles that all the great Teachers of the human race have laid down as essential and necessary for the saving of the souls of men.
By Alice Copeland
"No," said the hospital surgeon, "he won't regain consciousness. He may live two weeks, perhaps a month. But recovery is impossible after such an accident."
"But he knew it was his sister speaking."
"That's strange! He didn't recognize his wife nor his father or mother an hour ago," continued the surgeon.
"I saw that my brother was unconscious, nevertheless," I explained. "He told me why he had called for me. Then he asked me to attend to some important business. He also said that Father and Mother had been here and had gone to his home with his wife. He even gave me his new phone number, and said that if I telephoned at once I might catch Father and Mother before they left town. "
"I don't understand," answered the surgeon. "He hasn't spoken since the accident. He is totally unconscious, and will probably remain so. However, your parents are leaving for home on the next train."
"How strange! He talked so intelligently!"
A look of amazement was the surgeon's only answer as he followed a beckoning nurse.
I too was amazed and decidedly perplexed. If "totally unconscious," how could a man talk intelligently? A man is unconscious and yet conscious at the same time. This is impossible, I thought. Yet something unusual was happening. Had the impact of a head-on collision driven the consciousness completely out of the body? If so, how could it function?
I took Charles's hand in mine. No response from the touch. The brain was stunned beyond doubt, yet the tongue had given utterance to intelligent reasoning. Could I call him back to his body? This had been done in similar cases. I called his name and he answered, again requesting me to attend to the business he had already mentioned. And so I left him.
The unexpected happened. When I visited him the following day he was fully conscious. His mind was brilliant, particularly when discussing his business of commercial flying. However, a change that seemed psychological had taken place. More recent events -- his marriage, wife and home -- now seemed but casual relationships. Only his sister and earlier memories interested him, and he begged repeatedly for me to take him to my home.
A few weeks later the truth of the surgeon's diagnosis became all too real. The change, which we call death, was drawing near. Finishing the dessert I had brought, he asked in a businesslike way that I rearrange his pillows and straighten out his helpless body. Then with a happy smile he said, "Now I'm ready. Get the car and take me home with you."
That last happy smile! No, not even death could take it. "The man that was, that is, and will be." He lives, here by my side! Close the grave! Drive home, please!
Two months later a baby girl was born. When six weeks old, June and her mother began visiting me regularly. Six months later the mother said, "If this baby could walk I couldn't keep her from running over here. She cries if I push her carriage in any other direction."
This remark challenged my attention to the baby's joy at seeing me. She would actually jump out of her mother's arms into mine. This might have been a mere childish caprice but further remarks from bath parents provoked further notice.
"She's not like any of my other children," said the mother.
"She's not like a baby girl at all," remarked the father, giving voice to a thought of my own, for airplanes and mechanical toys interested her far more than dolls. Her first utterance was her own baby word for an airplane. Noting this I thought of Charles's enthusiasm over flying and began to observe June's other mannerisms. Yes, they were like my brother's in many ways. The likeness was almost uncanny.
One day the mother called attention to the baby's left hand and foot. "The osteopath says they're perfectly normal, but she won't use them." It then flashed into my mind that during Charles's last days he would not use his left hand or leg. The doctor said there was nothing wrong with them. It was just a notion that he couldn't use them. Then there was this unusual affection for me, merely a neighbor!
A suggestion of reincarnation made me wonder if, by some chance, the soul of my brother had slipped into this baby's body. Reason told me such a thing was impossible, for each soul builds a body of its own. But June's unusual development as the months passed somehow demanded unusual attention.
One day June's mother left her with me. Before leaving she gave me June's lunch saying: "You may have to sing to her before she'll take a spoonful of anything. You know I'm having difficulty weaning her." With these words she was off, and to my surprise and great relief, the baby watched her departure without even a whimper, although it was the first time the mother had left her in anyone's care.
In due course it was lunchtime. Holding her in my lap, I began to sing, coaxingly presenting the spoonful of milk, carrot juice, and other good things. But no, June wasn't the slightest bit interested in the menu. I coaxed and coaxed, and sang and sang. (I was reminded of Charles's passion for music.) Finally she did take a wee bit of milk, soon pushing the spoon away as she turned her little face up to mine, a most amazing thing happened. This baby, who had not yet even lisped "mamma" or "dadda," stood up in my lap, put her little arms around my neck, and using my brother's pronunciation of my name, "Alice," in unmistakable words called: "Allie, Allie."
Shortly after this amazing happening, some friends dropped in. June was naturally a little shy before strangers and, taking her in my arms, I told them of the surprise the baby had given me.
With such interest and curiosity as might have been expected, one of these friends, pointing to me and said: "June, who is this?" Without a moment's hesitation the little one replied: "Allie," and then nestled closer in my arms.
So the day wore away. When the mother arrived, rushing in with outstretched arms, the look of anxiety fading into one of joy, the climax came. Then grief of grief! Who could have imagined such a thing! The baby refused to go to her mother.
Naturally I was very much disturbed and resolved to fathom this mystery of consciousness. A short time after these events June's family moved to another country. When she was gone I tried to separate her in my mind from any thought of my brother, but one question after another would torment me. What is consciousness? Where does it reside? If Charles could use his unconscious body (or tongue) and speak to me as he did at the hospital, could he not do the same thing with this unselfconscious child? Why had she called me by name? She had never heard it spoken by anyone.
These were distressing questions, for my brother was a noble character and could never have taken possession of another's property, much less another's body! No, I would not! I could not believe that his soul had incarnated in June's body. And yet, something unusual had happened. "Is consciousness independent of a physical body," I asked. Charles' presence somehow seemed as distinct as a fragrance that fills the air.
Fifteen years have passed. In the meantime I have studied this problem of consciousness. June's recognition of me -- or perhaps I should say her calling me by name -- started this quest into the powers which motivate all things visible. A biological demonstration of the operations of one's body proves that something apart from the man himself is governing the conduct of every atom or blood corpuscle in his marvelous and mysterious physical mechanism.
Now I am reasonably satisfied that there exist other bodies, coadunated but not consubstantial, of more etheric material, but BODIES none the less. In one such form DESIRE stimulated by WILL clothes itself, and momentum follows.
I think of a stone thrown across a pond. It skips under and over the surface of the waters as far as the impulse of the thrower carries it. Then that momentum exhausted, it sinks to the bottom. So it was with this desire body. It lasts, after the death of the physical body, as long as the combined impulse of will and desire which surcharged it lasts.
Using the above analogy let the stone stand for the desire body, and let the thrower stand for the impulse that directs it. Because of its qualities it endures after separation by death from the physical body. Very much evidence is to be found in substantiation of this fact in an ordinary seance room. It is usually this desire body that a medium can and does bring into materialization. If so used, a disintegrating desire body can be made to act as an astral spook. But the departed soul of a deceased person is quite apart from all these phenomena.
The human soul is sleeping. In due time, when freed from these astral or desire bodies it ascends into Devachan or Heaven for a period of assimilation and bliss.
What seemed to have happened in the case of my brother? His desire to be at my home was so great during his last weeks on earth, and particularly at the time of his death, that a certain momentum was the consequence, the momentum that brought him to me. Furthermore, this same desire body, which caused the conversation at the hospital, must have been conscious of success.
Is it not reasonable to suppose -- yes, even to believe -- that such an accomplishment might provoke the desire for repetition so that the baby's unselfconscious brain could be used to call me by name? Who knows? Let the reader take this as I give it, as a possible explanation of a psychological problem.
I do not believe -- nor can I find any religious or philosophical teachings that vary with this disbelief -- that my brother arbitrarily took possession of the baby June's body. What seems to me of vital importance, however, in view of these psychological possibilities, is the need of guarding our children with pure love -- and not sentimental coddling -- and clean minds, in order to protect them from such psychological influences as seem to permeate the atmosphere in which we live. We have it in our power to dispel evil influences by impersonal LOVE and not by fear.
For further proof of my contention I must add that baby June is now growing to young womanhood, a devoted daughter to a devoted mother, her own sweet normal self.
As for my consciousness of my brother's presence, that has passed. I know he sleeps! In time will incarnate in a body of his very own.
By Boris de Zirkoff
[From a tape recording of a private class held on September 1, 1954.]
I wonder about the discussion of the Teachers and Avataras and Messengers and what have you. Where do you fit in a mystic like Joseph Smith? He founded a rather recent religion. It seems to have a great power and has a great deal of sincerity within it. Or where do you fit in someone like Mary Baker Eddy? She probably wasn't the mystic that Joseph Smith is, but she also founded a great school of thought and a religion.
Yes. We also have a Movement that is now know today as Baha'i. That's another one. There are a number of others. Some of them are known in the Occident, some only in the Orient. In the Orient, for instance, was Ram Mohan Roy [1774-1833], a very remarkable individual of modern India, of the days of Blavatsky, more or less, or a little later. We find others in Muhammadanism, and in some of the Sufi leaders. They all fit the same picture. They are simply modifications of the same fundamental impulse fragmenting itself, an impulse in fragmentation, rays of rays, subdivisions of subdivisions.
You realize that the farther away the subdivision is, the farther away from actual truth it is, the more diluted it is with relative error. You realize that. Everything has at least some degree of error in it in our day and age, in our cycle of illusion. The closer it is to actual truth the more pure it is. The further away it is from it, from the source, the more mixed it is with relative error.
We find that many movements have been started by people who had but a partial mystical insight. They were started by people who had confused spirituality with psychism. They were started by people who had not been trained in any occult school. These people were mystically inclined from former incarnations. They caught a certain truth, a part of an idea. They mixed it with a certain amount of error and gave it out. Unquestionably they were and are a part of the pattern. They do a certain amount of good. They help in some respect, perhaps locally, perhaps in one country, perhaps only one type of people in various countries, but only one type of mind.
None of them can be rejected. None of them should be looked upon as merely a den of error and iniquity. Of course not! These lesser individuals are not occultists in the technical sense of that word. They're not Initiates. In other words, they're mystics.
Some of them are psychic visionaries. You take Smith. He's a psychic visionary. He got a vision. It was partially correct. There was a tremendous ethical value in it, you see. He built up something that was ethically very strong. It was by no means a sideshow for his gratification. It had a moral and ethical and spiritual value in the building up of a new country. Obviously he was doing it under some guidance. I do not have the slightest evidence to think that he realized where the guidance was from and where the dividing line was between truth and error. Let's, by all means, reckon them as part of an overall pattern, however relatively mistaken they may have been in various lines.
Mary Baker Eddy is another one. She made a tremendous shift in human consciousness from matter to mind. Beyond that, the effort degenerated, beyond that. It had, though, a mission to perform. It would be a great fallacy to imagine that the modern Christian Science work is synonymous with Mary Baker Eddy. It is not. It has rammed itself into a lot of bypaths and ended in building up a church. The original effort was certainly part of a thought current. It cannot be disregarded. The same applies to a multiplicity of others.
She was so close to Blavatsky in many of her ideas about matter and energy and mind. They were contemporary to one another.
These things are very interesting. We must use this general idea to build in ourselves a greater appreciation of all movements. We need to be sympathetic to all of them without shutting out any of them. Somewhere in their core they all had a spiritual truth. That does not mean for us to fall away from what we consider to be a greater truth, a truth that satisfies us more than any other. Let us not exclude the others from the overall picture, one that builds thought, human understanding, and mutual sympathy.
Is it possible that with the various ideas that we've been given, that we are able to break down old thought currents, at least in America? Perhaps our work is not just so that they could accept the theosophical ideas.
Yes. It's quite possible.
The same would apply to Hindus working on their own Hindu field, you see. They would have a greater chance than we. The effort of the hierarchy of Adepts is not limited to religious and philosophical movements. I hasten to say that they do not work in politics, which divide people. They most certainly project ideas which some enlightened and broadminded social workers, whether in the political field or otherwise, might catch. You see, for instance, the building of a new commonwealth of nations on this continent. It was done as it was by high Masons and some Rosicrucians back of them. That effort was definitely part of the work of the hierarchy, but none of the violence that ensued from it. That's our own human contribution.
Judge pointed out that that the conflict between science and theology was part of the liberation process that went on for several centuries in Europe. So we can't draw the line and say, "This is it" and "This is not it." The same current runs through all sorts of movements. Wherever thought has struggled to be free under whatever sky or clime or nation, wherever thought has struggled to be free, there was the influence of the hierarchy of compassion and light. You can always tell it by whether the struggle was for spiritual freedom. If it was, no matter what it was, it had a modicum, a particle of the current from the same spiritual source.
How eternal is the Lama of Tibet? Is that Lama related in some way to lesser Buddhas? Is he behind some of the rays of the lesser Buddhas?
You mean the Tashi Lama and the Dalai Lama? Yes, that was a spiritual hierarchy, a successorship of Teachers whose inner self was illumined at times by a ray from Gautama the Buddha. I say it was so, because I think that it is not so any longer. That isn't anything that I could prove or disprove. There was a prophecy in Tibet that this successorship is going to end with the fourteenth Lama. The present one is the fourteenth. It is quite possible that he is not any longer what the others were.
Such things have happened in many parts of the world. A successorship of Teachers will last a certain period of time. The successorship then comes to an end. The mission of that particular line is accomplished. Some other line will start someplace else.
The Tashi Lama and the Dalai Lama, both of them, embodied through the history of that successorship -- and that was from the days of Tsong-ka-pa, the great reformer -- embodied a certain ray, a certain spiritual influence. This overshadowing influence was from Gautama the Buddha, from what might be called the Silent Watcher of the globe. They transmitted that influence to lesser individuals in the hierarchy.
All that is very difficult to understand. To some people it is quite unbelievable. They have traveled or even been to Tibet or read books, authentic books from Tibet, and have found that there were thousands, and tens of thousands of ignorant, illiterate, dirty, filthy monks in Lamaism who were just living on the fat of the land.
Granted that it exactly so, but so is the case in Roman Catholic countries. There are thousands and tens of thousands of priests living on the fat of the land in their ignorance too. Somewhere inside the Roman Catholic hierarchy there still is a nucleus of spiritual life. There still is a center of true occultism even if we can't put exactly our finger on it; otherwise it would have collapsed long ago.
That may sound like a strange thing to you but the same thing is in Tibet only far more so. There is a great deal of genuine spiritual inspiration and knowledge in the Tibetan hierarchy. On one side it is the ignorant lamaistic monks, lamas. Within, there is a considerable spiritual light, which is kept there for future generations. Buddhism will be purified. It will be cleansed. Some great spiritual movement will come out of it. The time isn't right for it yet. So the light has to be kept within. The fire has to be fed, fueled until a more spiritual era is at hand.
Perhaps, in initiating spiritual movements, a Teacher may create confusion?
That is an important thought and we've sort of left it high and dry. How can some spiritual movements breed confusion? Well, they do and they don't. They do not create confusion as a direct action, but it produces as an automatic reaction from elsewhere. It's almost, almost like this story.
Look out on the seashore and sometimes on the mountains, in caves. They're full of bats, owls and night things and moths and this and that and the other. These things spend part of their time there, mostly the daytime, because they hate the sunlight. They hide in those dark and humid and rather unfriendly places. You go in with a strong light. It may be a torch. It may be a big flashlight. It may be anything else. What happens? Everything that sits on those walls and columns and floor and ceiling gets into a complete uproar. They have to get away from the light you have brought in. They can't stand it! Some may attack it. Some may try to get away from it. They live in the darkness. That is what they prefer. It is their nature to be so.
You worked to introduce a great light. That light has not personally confused you. The natural, automatic result has been a complete uproar of every night thing, every darkness thing that is in those caves.
By analogy, we aspire to something nobler, greater than what we had so far. We strike some great truth, or a series of truths, a new philosophy of life. To us, it opens tremendous vistas. It broadens our horizons. For the first time in our life we have struck something that explains a myriad of problems that were unexplained.
Suppose we have discovered the Teachings of Theosophy as so many people had. Suddenly things begin to make sense. Suddenly we realize that there is a far greater life to be lived and far nobler ideals that some people live by. We rush to it. We embrace it wholeheartedly. We begin to apply it, at least to some small extent, in our life. We introduce that spiritual light into all sorts of dark nooks and corners and caverns in our lower self, which was quite undisturbed before, before the discovery of that light.
Those nooks and corners and caverns that are chuck-full with bats and owls and night moths just as well. There comes about a great uproar in the student. He has aroused into confusion, a welter of confusion, a lot of forces and energies within himself. They were quietly slumbering before he introduced that new spiritual light in his mind. He hasn't done violence to himself, not at all. It is a natural process, a part of his purification. He has to drive all these night things out of himself and illumine the dark corners of his own being.
The same applies on a larger scale in the world. The powers that be are far greater and stronger and wiser than any individual human being. They use the help of some of their workers. They use some of us human beings as helpers. They introduce a great thought, or a series of great, challenging, world-shaking ideas into the thought-atmosphere of the world, which had forgotten these ideas. They introduce them either through men, through books, through events, in maybe in a half a dozen other ways. There will be, metaphorically speaking, a great light. It will be like striking a match, or opening a flashlight in the middle of a relative darkness.
There will be the automatic reaction sooner or later of all the dark elements in the world. These elements will be driven to despair by the introduction of that light. They will realize that their time has come, or is about to come. They will have to yield. They don't want to. The natural result of the introduction of a great spiritual thoughts or movement of spiritual thought will be in due time a clash between that current and the ugly, negative, selfish, ignorant, brutal things that that light challenges. For the time being, but only for the time being, there would be a welter of confusion in the world or in part of the world, until it calms down. How is it ever going to calm down? It will calm down by the gradual elimination of the ugly stuff. It will calm down by the introduction of these spiritual forces so that the nooks and corners are clean.
In this same connection, is it not possible that some individual will appear who may demonstrate great powers and might be mistaken for a great sage too?
Yes. Oh, yes. Certainly there is the possibility of the appearance from time to time of people with considerable power. They may have psychic power, even physical if you like. I would say they even might be halfway spiritual, or appearing to be spiritual because we are so mistaken about these things.
Such a one will have a following. He will do a certain work. He will mislead thousands of people who will sooner our later find themselves with burned fingers. His work will eventually fall apart, because again it is the current of evolution.
Our karmic record in the past is complex. Many of us have done many evil things in the past. From time to time our own karma will almost demand that we pay retribution. That payment may come in the form of our being misled by false Teachers. At the cemetery, as our lives have come to an end, we have a chastening experience, a very hard one to go through. A lot of people seem to have it in their own life for a pattern to be misled by false Teachers who appear to be the real thing. Is that what you have in mind?
The Theosophical Society is prey to seers and prophets. This is in connection with varieties of either Isaiah or Daniel. Just such an individual, as you described him, will appear and show the way for only a time, for only a time. It's written very, very tragically in some instances.
In either Isaiah or Daniel. Yes, I would imagine that these men, who were certainly spiritual Teachers, would have pointed out something like that. There seems to be this tragedy in the world that every good thing has a counterpart. A real coin has a false coin, a counterfeited coin. We don't balance each other in the spiritual. The true is always stronger ultimately. Yet the false coin turns up every now and then and misleads a lot of people. It is heartbreaking to know, to see people mislead. Heartbreaking. Yet they have something to learn by means of being misled. That's another matter.
Take for instance Mohammed. He was not a bad man, not at all. He was not an occultist. He was not an Adept. He was a sort of a militant leader who was at the same time a mystic. He got a glimpse of a vision that was primarily directed to his own countrymen. His whole spiritual outlook was militant. He formed a religious institution, a movement that was of a militant nature, which was going to spread his own view of truth with a sword.
There is no question that he had a place in history, no question. He was karmically due to come because of the karma of millions of people to whom he had a message.
We will never identify, the Theosophists will never identify Mohamed, and the Muhammadist religion, with a great spiritual movement, which it is not. It has a place. It has a message. There are some very fine things in the Koran. There are scriptures.
It is a militant outfit that has a political angle, also a social angle, and is not reflecting, not showing the warm, the lofty, spiritual warmth and inspiration of, let us say, Buddhism, and the great prophets of Israel, or the Egyptian religion, or the great philosophers of Greece and Rome. It doesn't have the same keynote at all. Yet, for militant people as the Arabs were and still are, it has a place in the economy of nature.
You must remember that nothing can take place in nature but has a role to play. Nothing can happen by chance. That doesn't mean for us to follow something that is less than what we feel is true.
Islam and Moslems and Mohammed, that's all the same thing.
Yes, they are all the same thing. Islam is the usual name in India, but Muhammadanism is another, and Muslim is another word in India for that. They are growing in number. I'm not surprised that they are, because we have so many militant people in the world, in the Orient particularly. They are militant in the sense that they prefer violence to the gentle ways, so it would have an appeal today among non-Arabic nations
Mind you, the whole of Pakistan -- that's Hindu. They're Muhammadans. They're Hindu as far as their race is concerned. They're just as much Hindu as our friend here. They have embraced Muhammadanism because of their militant attitude, a constant running around with knives. Obviously their religious views reflect this peculiar psychology.
We in the Occident are not without blame. We have had centuries and centuries of militant Christians who exhibited exactly the same militant psychology. They too were running around with weapons and with stakes and other implements of torture, spreading their so-called Gospel. They tried to outwit the Muhammadans and to liberate by means of Crusades, which means violence, the supposed tomb of their savior.
We've always had our share of centuries of militant Christianity from which, fortunately, we have now departed. We haven't got clean hand yet. We're not using those methods, neither Crusades, nor stake, nor inquisition to achieve our end. That's an improvement. If the Muhammadans in the Orient could achieve that much they would become rather peaceful people compared to what they are today. There's a long way to go to reach the gentleness of The Sermon on the Mount.
The odd thing is that some of these people, not all of them, but I think most of them, are very sincere. Sincerity is by no means a synonym of wisdom, since they are fanatics. I'm sure Hitler was perfectly sincere, and so were a few others. This type of person is quite sincere. He really believes that this is the way to do things. That is tragedy to the nth degree.
If somebody advocates an idea with not much sincerity, you can either uncover the insincerity or convince him to the contrary. But when a man advocates something with utmost sincerity, and his entire mind and heart is in it, and it happens to be a wrong thing, why there is nothing that you can appeal to. He's sincere.
Some people imagine that just because a person is sincere therefore he is wonderful. Sincerity is not a synonym of wisdom. As a matter of fact, a great deal of sincerity has gone in history with a great deal of violence and iniquity by people who are utterly sincere in what they believed. What they believed was fundamentally wrong. It's a tragedy.
Jesus, who was a Christ, is given greater recognition in the world than any man in history.
Do you mean in the religious field? Yes, yes, that is possible. It might appear so from our standpoint, I think. If we lived in the Orient we would find that the Buddha is given greater recognition. It could be only a toss-up you might say between the two. As far as the Occident is concerned, and even portions of the Orient, the individual known as Jesus the Christ seems to have been given a particularly high recognition. This was probably justly so. He must have been a very great individual.
His Teachings -- whatever their actual wording -- must have impressed the people of his age with especially great spiritual momentum. Unfortunately, they have been greatly misunderstood and twisted. In fact, within 200 years to 300 years of his lifetime, a powerfully organized church took over and from that time on Christianity has never been tried.
Suppose we were to be able by waving some magic wand to make away with all the distortions, all the twisting, and all the wrong things that have gone on or are going yet in organized Christianity. Suppose we were able by some magical way to fill the existing churches and Christian communities with the Teachings out of the Gospel, The Sermon on the Mount, if nothing else? Obviously, we would have a revival, a resurrection of a tremendous spiritual force throughout Christendom.
That force potentially exists in the Christian Teachings. A resurrecting, rejuvenating, reinvigorating ethical and spiritual force potentially exists in the Teachings. Anybody can find it by reading the Gospels, if nothing else, of the New Testament. It hasn't got power to do its work because it's saddled with man-made theology and warring sects. There are conflicting currents fragmenting themselves into little pieces and sub-pieces, and divisions and sub-divisions, until the whole spiritual momentum is lost. It has been lost for centuries.
That does not mean that within the actual message which can be written on a very few pages of a book, just a few pages, for the gist of the message. There is in that message a tremendous revitalizing force, a force that could make out of our churches and our Christian communities fountainheads of great inspiration.
Is it ever going to take place? I don't know. I don't know. It may or it may not. I hope it does. If it does, it will save the Occidental world from stagnation. If it does not, the churches will simply disintegrate and some new individual is going to turn up with a new message appropriate to the age. I would hate to see all these Christian communities and all the Christian work go to pieces because there is a potential great spiritual power in it that can be used for good.
What to my mind communicates the real greatness of the man is that in all of his writings and in all of his works, no one has found a flaw. They have shown a greatness of spirit, a great power. That's most amazing. In no one utterance can be found fault with. Simple world have been used and the responses have been whole volumes. This is what amazes me about this particular man. That's why I can understand why he is believed to be by so many the Avatara.
Yes. That is true. As long as an individual is the real thing, you will not find any flaw in his utterances, even without full translation, even without full translation. Some people have tried to find flaws and contradictions. Yes, there are seemingly contradictions. They are contradictions in translation only. You go to the original, not the actual language that he used, which would have been Aramaic. We don't have any originals in Aramaic. If we go to the Greek original, it's close enough, from which the translations were made. You will not find the contradictions that exist in the translations.
Take for instance, in the translated Gospel, a statement like "My father and I are one" and a little further on, "My father is greater than I." These contradictions are very distressing to some students. But if you go to the original of the same, the contradictions are easily eliminated.
The Gospels should still be re-translated by some student of the occult knowing Greek well. They would show meaning that many people, most people, do not even suspect, a greater meaning, a still nobler meaning.
Today I was thinking about these words and how a misinterpretation might be attached to them. On the cross, it was said to one of the men that was crucified, "thou be with me in paradise." That's the way that I have heard it. "Thou be with me in paradise." That's a promise. On the other hand it seems that Jesus was asking this man if he wished to go.
Is that a question?
That's a question. This day, will thou be with me? Otherwise, if the individual did not have that feeling, it was this choice as a free man or a free soul to reject. It would seem to me the more logical to suppose that he asked this man the question rather than make a statement.
That is possible. I don't think I could say one way or another without looking up what the Greek text was. It sounds logical.
Here are these words that may be interpreted either way.
Yes. There are many things like that in the Gospels. The misinterpretation of a saying has given rise to all sorts of sects. The misinterpretation of certain passages has given rise to the Inquisition.
You know how many things can be drawn out of wrong deductions. You've heard about the habit, the custom in India, which today is practically dead, about widows being thrown into the flame and the pyre that consumes the body of their husband. Well, that grew out on a basis of a misinterpretation of a verse in the old scriptures of India. Tragic what the human mind can do on the basis of a twist of truth.
Yes, that is an important subject by itself. The subject is the extent to which we grasp truth, relative truth, for all truth is relative. It is relatively greater and greater as we grow in understanding of the facts of nature. I think we should pay close attention and watch ourselves in our reactions to certain truths and facts of nature. We often twist them. We often confuse them. We often deceive ourselves and delude ourselves into believing that so-and-so is so-and-so, but it isn't.
The human mind, in its higher potencies, is spiritually clairvoyant. In its lower portions it is highly psychical and therefore greatly tainted with emotionalism. Emotions are very necessary as a driving power in all our actions, but they certainly have to be purified from all dross, accumulated dross, and illumined by spiritual insight, before we can trust them.
Go back to where we started our evening's discussion. This subject of Teachers, seers, sages, and guides -- because that's what they are -- is encouraging. It is a subject that lifts us up. It gives us a sense of the true value of things, a sense of guidance, a sense of protection, an underlying realization that we are not alone. We realize that somebody is watching, watching all the time, registering our efforts for good and counting, we might say, every action and thought and feeling in our hearts that is on the right side of the karmic ledger.
I do not mean by that guidance any kind of a set thing. It is rather that we can become aware as time progresses. We become aware of the fact that there is a constant, gentle or stronger push from the individuals ahead of us. We have a push and a pull as well.
The human race is constantly being led, whether it recognizes it or not. That is immaterial, whether it recognizes it or not. It is nevertheless being constantly shown the way. Through the pages of history there are signposts, direction posts, which enlighten the human race. These signposts show it where the road lies to the achievement of greater spiritual knowledge.
These signposts are not just soulless posts. They are individuals. It is these individuals who are the signposts. They are symbols. They are the embodiment of certain ideals. They appear. They stand. They hold something. They might not say a word. Here is a book they write. Here is something they show. Here is a direction they point to. They stand as witness to the existence of a greater knowledge, to the existence of a greater world. They are living testimonies that every human being can achieve something far, immeasurably far greater, than what he is at any one moment.
The appearance of these witnesses to truth is a tremendous inspiration, an enthusiasm to many people, an encouragement to others. It is an actual power to some. It enables them to make an effort within their own lives. They can become identified with that particular movement which that individual symbolizes at any one stage of history.
That effort might be a religion. It might be a philosophy. It might simply be a non-religious thought, of a great spiritual ideal, or an ethical realization, something that people can grasp.
It is not a complex theology, not at all. These men who come have a great depth of knowledge. Yet, they adapt their message to the simplicity of the average human mind, while leaving deeper depths of knowledge to those who can receive them.
All these men have their exoteric work for the world at large. Their esoteric work is for pledged disciples, who are always very few. These disciples are the only ones who are able mentally, emotionally, and spiritually to grasp the profundities of the technical Teachings, something which the popular mind cannot grasp.
The popular mind needs certain ethical ideals, simple thoughts that will feed their starving souls. It is primarily to them that is addressed the exoteric work and message of the great Teachers.
These Teachers, as said before, succeed each other in rightful succession from age to age, sometimes in one part of the world, sometimes in another. They are like heralders, whom bring a message, and then retire. They are like individuals who come and strike some mystic gong. That gong reverberates for a certain time and then gradually is heard no more. Then another comes and strikes the same gong again with the same fundamental keynote, or one of its vibratory variations.
Life acquires a deeper meaning when we can realize inwardly that there is that succession of Teachers from immemorial ages in the past. That succession of Teachers stretches through the present moment into the immensity of the untapped and unmanifested future. We students somehow or other are part of that body. We are connected in some mystical way with the passing on of that light. Every one of us is part of a succession of his own, in the sense that each one of us can pass on the light to somebody else and play the part of a Teacher to somebody. When we realize these things, life acquires a deeper meaning.
What at first may have been felt as a great emptiness in a world of selfishness and arrogance and ignorance, becomes enfilled with a greater companionship in which we can all partake because we are all intimately and intrinsically one. We are individual parts or atoms, all men, all of us individual particles and atoms of a body corporate, which we call the mankind of this planet. That body corporate or that great pilgrimage of evolving souls, is indeed under its guidance and is never left alone, but is led from age to age into ever increasing and widening horizons of knowledge.
By Julia W.L. Keightley
All things are Symbols; each is, at core, a truth. Not an event but has a spiritual significance. Not a moment but is informed by the Voice of the Soul. The actual occurrences, which are hereafter given as examples of this silent teaching, may help my other selves as they helped me, by drawing attention to the spiritual heart of things.
[From THE THEOSOPHIC ISIS, September 15, 1896, pages 257-58.]
THE DIVINE REPROACH
In a Church at Lubeck is an inscription, of which the following is a translation:
You call me the Master, and you do not ask of me. You call me the Light, and you do not see me. You call me the Path, and you do not follow me. You call me the Life, and you do not desire me. You call me the Sage, and you do not imitate me. You call me the Good, and you do not love me. You call me the Rich, and you ask nothing of me. You call me the Eternal, and you do not seek me. You call me the Merciful, and you do not confide in me. You call me the Lord, and you do not serve me. You call me the All-Powerful, and you do not know me. You call me the Just, and you do not fear me. If I condemn you, accuse yourselves only.
I read the Inscription. Said Myself to Me:
"It is the Divine Reproach.
"These thoughts are addressed to man in many tongues and throughout all ages by the Good Law. If thou hearest them with the heart, thou knowest them to be a Divine Reproach.
"In the silence the inner voice makes itself heard. Herald of the Soul, it asks: 'If I be for thee, who shall be against thee; and if I condemn thee, whither shalt thou flee?'
"To hear, and not to do, is to have heard with the ear only. To understand and not to obey, is to have sinned against the Holy One. He who has not heard, and who has not understood, of him no account is demanded. But he who knows and follows not, to him is addressed the Divine Reproach which is the judgment of the Righteous Law.
"Ye who are that Law embodied, Will ye incur the Divine Reproach?"
THE STORM CURTAIN
[From THE THEOSOPHIC ISIS, October 15, 1896, pages 281-83.]
In the house of a friend, a peculiar curtain attracted my attention. Often as I had stopped there, I had not seen this curtain before. We sat in an entrance hall of noble proportions, whose exterior wall formed the Northern end of the building, jutting out over a shallow lawn that ended in a bluff. The hall was a most harmonious oval in form; the curtain of which I speak hung from the cornice of its outer end, reaching from that high point to the ground, upon which it trailed a foot or more. The front entrance was thus quite concealed by this drapery of a dark blue color, very soft and thick in texture and embroidered along the borders with Egyptian hieroglyphs done in gold threads. Its great size, its even, pleasing sweep no less than its complete envelopment of the entrance, conveyed a most agreeable impression. It held my attention and gave me a soothing mental sensation, as though a gentle oblivion flowed from its folds. The meaning of one of the hieroglyphs read:
"This also shall pass by."
Contemplating it, I felt that here was something new, yet familiar -- strangely familiar to some hidden part of me that I could not fathom, which yet claimed kinship with this mysterious curtain, this sight that relayed the tension of nerve and brain. My first impulse to speak of it was checked by this mild satisfaction; I preferred rather to make contented observation of those interior impressions to which the curtain gave rise, as though it were the symbol of some living Truth. There was some urgency to speak, but I resisted it.
Abruptly, then, my hostess spoke. (How humiliating are those moments when another obeys the instinct whose monition we have disregarded!) "I see," said she, "that you notice my curtain, and though I make it a rule of awaiting questions about it, I feel really impelled to hope aloud that you like it."
"That curtain," I replied, "has such an individuality that one feels some discourtesy in discussing it to its face."
She laughed. "It certainly has a distinctive mission. It is a Storm-Curtain ... I see you are little wiser. Exposed as we are to the sweep of storms upon this bluff, the rain, the hail and snow, the all-pervading winds are driven through the crevices of the entrance doors, solid oak and closely fitted though they be; the very keyhole is an avenue of attack; nothing avails to keep out these chill afflictions when the north wind drives them home. So I have made this curtain. In fair weather it lies rolled up and unnoticed under yonder cornice, but in uproarious weather it secures the warmth and quiet of this hall. Listen!"
Stepping to the heavy curtain she drew the heavy folds aside. The simple action, as if by magic, admitted all the clamorous voices of the night. A cold blast drove fine particles of snow, like needle points, eddying through the joints of the doors: laughing at my involuntary shiver, the lady let the draperies fall again into place, and again the firelight flickered undisturbed across the quiet hall.
Said myself to me:
"Of a truth, it IS a symbol. Man, the Thinker and the Soul, fast rooted in Spirit, is projected into the Material. His mind hath contact with both; it is the universal avenue of communication with the interior and exterior alike; it is the threshold of a diviner Sanctuary. Guard well the hall of the mind."
"How then shall I guard it," I asked myself.
The busy voice whispered into the brain:
"When outer tempests rave, when outer darkness spreads, make fast the door of the mind, suffer not the entrance of material delusion. Against these insidious presences, let fall a curtaining peacefulness before thine inner shrine. Aye let it fall, this protective silence, this veil of harmonious acquiescence in the Law. Every man possesses and may control it: few discern and use it. In the heaven of the mind it rests, its nearness all unknown until some dread convulsion of nature rends the heart. Then help becomes an instant need. In that moment of necessity the mental curtain may be by the Thinker perceived. Can he but see, but grasp the use and meaning. Lo! He draws that curtain and shuts his mind to all the warfare of the senses and the brain.
"A deep stillness is thy true Being. Of that Silence I am the silent voice.
"In the hall of the mind seek then that calm protection. It is the Ever-Present, failing never. It exists in all alike, that power to dismiss the tempest, to enfold the mind with the restfulness of the heart of Trust.
"Ah! When the storm rack lowers, when tempests toss thy world, say then that these shall pass; shall return and come again, again to go with Time, the constant servant and revealer. When friends seem changed to foes, say then that this shall pass, that other lives shall bring thy foes to friends, thy friends to foes, while yet Thyself, the one, the constant friend, abideth ever. When trust of years is shaken, that also shall pass by. When thou, by Love betrayed, hast in thy turn betrayed Thyself, weep not, but rising, call to all the winds that this shall pass, is past, and shall not be the future. When all belief is undermined, when doubts and fears shall rive the pinnacles of hope -- fall, fall kindly curtain; in deep compassion shut the jarring world away. Enfold the hall of the fires with those sweet silences, the guides, the conductors to the inner shrine of the Rapt, the Lonely, the Assured Peace."
A CHILD AMONG SHADOWS
[From THE THEOSOPHIC ISIS, November 1896, pages 316-19.]
Upon the sands I saw a small child at play. He was building a fort to resist the incoming tide, and at this plan worked ardently enough, were it not for some annoyance whose source I could not see, but which interrupted the work. The child would stop, looking about it, would now lay down its wooden spade, or now with the tool upraised would pursue with much vehemence some object I could not see, and would then pursue its sand building, but warily and on the alert for fresh intrusion. Irritation so great and so spasmodic in so small a creature challenged my interest; I went nearer, and with a singular result.
The day was one of high wind and brilliant sunshine. Fleecy clouds hung low, scudding swiftly over the sky and casting as they passed their shadows, swift as themselves, upon the sands. These dark shades, chasing one another across the light sand surface, threw themselves, shade after shade, upon the child and his fort. They rushed on him like material presences, to be as such resented. Shrieking with anger at their suddenness, he would charge these unexpected intruders, would give chase as they charged down upon him, stamping upon and striking at them as he and they raced side by side. One after another the shadows ran at him; he grew bewildered, raged and fought, ran to and fro, could keep count no longer, and then, with swift change of mood, cast himself into their midst and fell to dancing.
Even as he passed thus from wrath to joy, from battle to dance, a cloud swallowed up the sun, the shadows vanished, the dancing child was left to dance alone. Vexed for a moment, he turned, pouting, to resume his fort building; the stealthy sea had stolen in and rippled gaily where his fort had stood. Then he turned a face of upbraiding towards sea and sky, cast himself upon the sand, and wept. A nursemaid hurried up to console the small creature, but it would have none of her, save with kicks and screams. I went to her assistance, and said to the child:
"Do you not see those were only shadows?"
He said: "That's what everybody says; they are so stupid. I don't care what the fings are; I want them to go away."
"But they are not real."
He replied: "Yes, they is. I SEE them."
"And what if you do," said I. "They do you no harm."
"They does, they does; they int'rupts my play. I can't play with them fings about."
"But," said I again, "they are shadows of the clouds; the sun makes them. You love the sun, you know. Look up and see how pretty the sun and clouds are up there."
He turned his curly pate upward upon my knee, stared, gave a big sigh, and remarked:
"It's pretty up there, but I'm playing down HERE, with them nasty black fings runnin' over my fort and chasin' me, and then the sea it came in just to spite me." And the small but unexhausted creature fell to kicking and screaming again, as shadow after shadow once more scurried over his little prostrate form.
"You foolish, naughty child" I began, sternly; his screams drowned the sound of my voice.
Another Voice said quietly, somewhere, "Why not take your own advice?"
I stood, astonished and silent. Again I heard the low admonishment.
"Thou poor, poor child! Hast THOU never fought with shadows? Hast never danced with shades or embraced a dream? Thy grief, thy joys, thine interrupted work, thy plans laid low, hast thou never for these arraigned the whole of Nature; never willed, for these, to turn aside her course? Oh, child, child, child!
"What, then, were these checks, these trials? Shadows all; shadows cast by the events of Life as the true sun shone upon them. And were those shadows never cast, so hadst thou never known the actualities from which they sprang; the truths whose passing images they were; the truths which cast their shades upon thine earthly consciousness, bidding it look upward, upward to behold the true source of shadows, and to see, behind the clouds of material Nature, the true Sun in its shining. Viewed from below, those shades were dark indeed. Knowest thou not that the Bright One has dark messengers?
"Yea; dark were the shadows, and of surpassing swiftness. The upward gaze alone descries the truth. Hadst thou looked to see whence they came and what their source, then hadst thou seen the glories of the Law; then, then that Sun, the heavens' azure hope, and in their midst the necessary features of great Nature. Are not her clouds the refreshment of earth? By them bedewed, is not her hardness broken up into fit receptacles for the most tender shoot, the most precarious blossom? Wide is the power of blessing possessed by a single attribute of Nature under the shining of the inner, spiritual Sun. Whilst thou art still in Nature, seek to understand her; so shalt thou find her clouds draw down a benediction upon the parched and arid soil beneath; that soil, thy slowly hardening heart.
"But thou, child, lookest down, not upward. Thou hast bemoaned, threatened, loved these shadows, contending and adoring turn about. When day was done, and interrupted work was swallowed up by tides of Time, hast thou not blamed the courses of thy stars; blamed Nature, the shadows cast by what? By thine own clouds filling all thine earth and sky. Who cast those shades? Thyself! What are yon clouds? Thyself! Who can dispel them? THE SELF!
"Turn, then, thy gaze behind the veil of Nature. 'The soul attracts a moist spirit when it continually endeavors to associate with Nature ... When, however, the soul earnestly endeavors to depart from Nature, it becomes a dry splendor, without a shadow and without a cloud.'
"Fighters of shadows! It is yourselves you contend against, fleeting images of that Self, sunlike beyond the darkness. Let pass these films of Nature, and, smiling on their mirage, look steadfastly above, behind the veil. And I -- when thus you contended -- was I harsh with thee, child?"
Its music ceased.
I went where the child lay, and raised him in my arms.
"Kiss me," I said. "Love me, for I have been naughty too, and I feel -- oh! -- so badly."
"Was you naughty to God," he solemnly asked. "Sometimes it hurts in here."
He laid one little hand upon his breast, and patted me with the other.
"Never mind," Said he: "God soon forgets."
He kissed me, and we went home reconciled.
By Herbert Coryn
[From THE THEOSOPHIC ISIS, May 15, 1896, pages 123-27.]
Throughout the history of the Theosophical Society, and in the history of each individual member, there are times when outer manifested growth is at a standstill, when energy is hidden, is working within rather than without. These periods alternate with others in which the accumulated head of energy bursts out in all directions, and some new phase of inner growth forces itself vividly upon our attention.
All growth, however really continuous, is cyclic in its manifestation. The rhythm of the "ages," the races, the centuries is epitomized in the lesser systole and diastole of our daily and yearly life. So with every individual there are times when, after a long period of uneventful work and inner growth he becomes suddenly aware that he has greatly changed since last the search-light of his own self-vision fell upon him. And indeed, a very essential part of the growth is that sudden fall of our own light upon us. It is more than a mere vision; it is an actual happening of something. An eye within us has observed something, and also an "I" -- and has emitted something, a formation ray into Chaos. But we are the Chaos, the eye, the "I," and the ray.
What is the Chaos? Is it really blind and chaotic, mere raw informed confusion? When "absolute rest," "Pralaya" and similar terms are used, it seems to me that they apply to the manifested and the manifestation only, to the outwardly active, to the, in some degree, comprehensible. Such terms can but convey one aspect of the truth. When the heart has performed a powerful systolic effort there follows an apparent rest or Pralaya. There is outwardly and apparently nothing doing. Is that really the case? Activity has only gone inward. Preparation is a-making for the next beat. The heart is silently filling up with blood. Its cells, outwardly resting and inactive, are internally active, building themselves up, looking after their own inner nutrition.
Sleep too is a Pralaya, an outer rest, but only so far as the body is concerned. The hours of outwardly motionless sleep are really spent by the bodily cells in internal recuperative activity. The inner man, freed by bodily sleep, is engaged in his own action, in assimilation of high energy, in learning.
It is the same in Devachan. To it, certainly, the term "rest" is applied, but it is filled with states of consciousness far keener than any that obtain on earth. By analogy, it would seen that the same must be true of Nirvana, of Paranirvana, and of all such processes of consciousness to which we apply the term "rest" or Pralaya.
The higher up we go -- up to the highest, if there were a highest -- the Pralaya only applies to the outer manifestation. We find consciousness and activity retreating further and further inward. They become at the same time more and more active in inner energy. At last there is nothing whatever in activity to which the term "manifested" could be applied, so we call it "absolute rest," "sleep of the worlds," even "dreamless sleep."
But what of the hinder side of that picture whose forward face is now a perfect blank? There must be there an activity to which our word "activity" cannot properly be applied. There must be a consciousness so supreme as to be in our conception unconsciousness, a light so intense as to be for us blankness, just as sound passes in amplitude and intensity into silence. We should not be deceived by words that relate only to the outer, even if that outer be now so far in that we must think of it as inner.
When a Universe is to come into being, Chaos, primordial substance, passive ideativity, personalized as the "Mother." This is energized by Light, actively conscious formativity, personalized as the "Father." What is this substance, Egg, Germ, and what is Light? What is fertilization? What relation has these terms to our own progression now? If the processes of the Worlds are those of our consciousness, let us examine that latter.
It often happens to us all, that without any noticed warning, a complete and active plan as to something to be done falls, or seems to fall, suddenly into our consciousness. It may be of something important, it may be of something trifling. For example, in former years the question of the ways and whereabouts of a summer holiday was much discussed. Suddenly this year, without apparent previous thought, the question rapidly and instantly decides itself. All the solved details and methods easily and at once present themselves, already worked out, complete. There is nothing more to say, nothing to think about.
That is what we shall do. It is a rounded plan, containing in itself the necessary energy for its fulfillment. In this process it is easy to see two not bindingly related elements: the plan and the energy infused into it. We often have complete plans, but like the opium-eater, no energy to carry them through. Then we are called procrastinators. Often, too, we have much energy but no plans or pictures of action into which to inject it. From this arises much human foolishness.
If we call the passive pictured plan the Mother, the energy the Father, and the act the Son, we have a rough example, in the complete mechanism of our summer holiday, of the usual Trinity of elements in all intelligent process, from the formation of a system of worlds downward.
Thinking this out fully, much difficulty in our metaphysical conceptions may disappear. Each element must be more fully considered. The energy comes from the root of I-MYSELF. The plan arises from the wide domain of consciousness that is not I-MYSELF. That latter is Spirit. The plan is Substance, semi-objective, though within consciousness. The energy of Spirit as it travels toward that plan to energize it, is Fohat. The resulting objective action is the objective universe in its continuously active motion and becoming. But the energy of Spirit is the Spirit itself. That ray of energy in the moving picture is the Spirit itself residing in the Universe.
So Krishna is in and also apart from the Universe. Krishna is the human soul as its indwelling Ego and energy, and also apart from it. Though I mold a plan, though I energize and am its energy, though I self-consciously reside in that plan and carry it out, though it is for the time my universe and the form of my out-breathing, yet at the very moment when I am engaged in carrying it out, from another standpoint I am apart from it and from every individual plan, residing in their totality as expressing my present manifestations. I am also apart, because in far greater measure at present unmanifest. Whilst carrying out one, another is being constructed, many others being simultaneously carried out.
In fact no plan is a thing to itself. It is the sum and resultant of all similar and former plans, and founded on their experience. Each of us is a different Ego in each of his plans, or each shows a new and special facet of him. No man but is the result of his past. Every plan, which seems a thing to itself, is yet a total or partial expression of the planner at that point of his evolution, and his plan is what it is because of the plans of the past, and contains their traces. There is ALMOST nothing, but not QUITE nothing, quite new in it.
Each of us is as many men as he has plans in hand, and also one man in and beyond them all. In his aspect as carrying out a summer holiday he is one man. As conversing with his friend the while, he is a distinct man within the former. Interrupting that to send off a business telegram he is a third man, or a third aspect of him is functioning, and so on indefinitely.
Thus the Great Self exists in each of us, and is carrying out through each of us a special aspect of the total plan. It presents a different aspect through each of us. For the soul is substance, the plan of a man. It is energized into a man by the ray of energic Spirit. And that ray, the Spirit itself, is also the man himself, who is also the plan in act. Thus we have the symbol of the tree with the roots above. Let each of us find himself, the Spirit, within the plan that he thinks to be HIMSELF. That alone is true self-consciousness.