I think you're right that each of us has a responsibility to make the world a better place. But political reform is only one of a vast spectrum of things that people can work on. Someone could produce great art. Another writes books that make a difference in people's lives. A third works very long hours teaching school, making a difference in the lives of one batch of children every year. I think it's important to recognize and accept the light of creative contribution in others when it comes out in ways that differ from those that you or I might express it. Some people may find theosophical meetings as a way to "recharge their batteries" so that they can go back into life and make a difference in their own way, doing something that appears to be completely unrelated to the meetings. I don't think we can judge them based upon their eagerness to undertake our own favorite endeavor. Our best way to help others be better contributors to the world is to give them a general sense of inspiration that will naturally seek its own outlet in their lives. Apart from that, of course, it's fine to draw to us others who share the same interests, so that we can work together doing that work that best expresses our individual calling in life.
-- Eldon Tucker, from an email dated October 25, 2003
By B.P. Wadia
[From THUS HAVE I HEARD, pages 323-26.]
Knowledge by suffering entereth Life is perfected by death.
He who holds the Keys to the secrets of Death is possessed of the Keys of Life.
THE BHAGAVAD-GITA advises "a meditation upon birth, death, decay, sickness, and error." People consider such meditation inauspicious and morbid. Death is dreaded, like anything else not understood.
The recent death of Sarojini Naidu should awaken some minds to the contemplation of Death, its meaning, its purpose, and the process involved. Where is Sarojini now? Could she have withered and become nothing, she who asserted:
Say, shall I heed dull presages of doom Or dread the rumored loneliness and gloom, The mute and mythic terror of the tomb?
Sarojini certainly was never afraid of Death. Many people have claimed that death has no terror for them but self-analysis has soon revealed that the claim was not true. Epictetus quotes Socrates and describes the fear of death as a bogey:
For just as masks seem fearful and terrible to children from want of experience, so we are affected by events for much the same reason as children are affected by "bogies." For what makes a child? Want of knowledge. Want of instruction ... What is death? It is a bogey. Turn it round and see what it is: you see it does not bite. The stuff of the body was bound to be parted from its airy element, either now or hereafter, as it existed apart from it before. Why then are you vexed if they are parted now? If not parted now, they will be hereafter. It is to accomplish the revolution of the universe, for it has need of things present, future, and past and done with.
Implicit in this are the purpose and the process of death. Reflection on the above will lead to fresh enquiry. Thousands avoid solving the mystery of Death by plunging into a round of life which leads to death. They do not like to think that they are going to be overtaken by death. Avoiding meditation on death they miss out on learning the meaning, the purpose and the processes of Life and of Living.
Sarojini Devi was a mystic at heart. Her mind used the medium of verse to convey to her beloved humanity intimations about the real nature of Life and therefore of Death. She lived within herself creatively; she handled the plastic stuff of poetry and fashioned messages which made the whisper of the Spirit audible to many men and women. In her personal experiences and in mundane affairs, she read their universal significance. Her world was a wondrous gallery in which hung her suggestive and thought-provoking symbolic expressions -- images which, like Plato's Ideas, pointed to macrocosmic principles enshrined in microcosmic events. Very often we come upon clear indications that she used that wing of which Vaughan wrote to "soar up into the Ring."
Let us climb where the eagles keep guard on the rocky grey ledges, Let us lie 'neath the palms where perchance we may listen, and reach A delicate dream from the lips of slumbering sedges, That catch from the stars some high tone of their mystical speech.
Her pain of body, her anguish of heart, and her attachment to family, state, country were to her not only personal experiences. They held for her a universal import -- not to sadden but to gladden. More -- each was more than a cloud with a silver lining; each was a mysterious star which shed its radiance to soothe and to energize.
Those who heard Sarojini's songs felt the charm of the lyrics; but those who studied her poems glimpsed her vision that real life is in the spiritual consciousness of that life, in a conscious existence in Spirit, not Matter, and for such Death took on a new meaning. Who can tell, however intimate the friend, of the extent of her realization of that Vision? How can she help experiencing the truth that real death is the limited perception of life? Her songs and her speeches indicate her faculty of sensing conscious existence outside of form, or at least of some form of matter. When we sense immortality the sting of death is dead. She is no more.
While she rests, her songs in troops Walk up and down our earthly slopes, Companioned by diviner hopes.
Nationals of India and lovers of the Beautiful everywhere can by reflection on the death of Sarojini learn the mystic fact that real Death is not of the body but of the heart and that real Life is not of the senses but of the Soul.
The question about the state of soul or of consciousness when the corpse is disposed of demands an answer. Krishna implies that the post-mortem state of man begins thus:
Who so in consequence of constant meditation on any particular form thinketh upon it when quitting his mortal shape, even to that doth he go, Oh son of Kunti.
By Linda Rollison
[From THE TEMPLE ARTISAN, published by The Temple of the People, Halcyon, California, April-June 2003, pages 4-14.]
Theosophy teaches us that if we want to understand others, we first must understand ourselves. When we listen to the still small voice of the soul, we discover that what it tells us is always in line with the eternal virtues prized by all cultures in all times. These simple virtues have become almost jokes in our modern materialistic madness. We know collectively that honesty and kindness to others are valuable traits. All literature, even popular entertainment such as movies, is full of the theme of the triumph of the simple virtues. We have not really forgotten them, but we seem to have put them on a back shelf in our minds and hearts, since they stand in the way of material success, which depends upon the principle of divide and conquer -- the antithesis of Unity.
When we find the source of truth and dependable guidance in our own inner life, many of the problems in our modern world fall into a more realistic perspective, including those of the people we touch in our daily lives. When we begin to accept the fact that, according to Theosophy, each of us is responsible for everything that occurs in our lives, the good things as well as the difficult, our eyes are open to the underlying patterns of cause and effect in every phenomenon.
We can look at the many wars raging on our earth today as examples of one side being oppressed by the other side, or we can open our eyes a bit wider, consider the fact of karma, and realize that everyone gets what they deserve, just as we do. We begin to see that when we see someone acting incomprehensibly, we can just look deeper within and see how we might act the same in their circumstances.
Consider for a moment the tremendous current of fear, amounting to terror, running through western civilization in recent months. Events have occurred which seem to threaten our base of power, our security in protected affluence, our control of economic dominance, and we are afraid. We find that we can identify the enemy, people who look different from us, who believe in some foreign religion, whose lives seem very remote and incomprehensible. Politically we decided that the way to deal with this fear is to annihilate this identified enemy, in order to recover our former state of bliss.
But were we really so happy and successful before? Is it possible that what is happening is the natural karmic result of the egregious imbalance instituted by the western world over centuries of colonization and oppression of other peoples? Can we imagine what would be the karmic result in our own lives if we subjugated and exploited another person without concern for his welfare? How long would it be before some retribution fell on us? As Theosophy teaches, nature's laws will not suffer to be broken forever. There will be an adjustment, as surely as the sun will rise each morning. And nature's law is Love. It sounds so trite and corny, but it is still as true as it ever was.
Who does not know this, deep in his own heart? Who among us could say that his deepest and most secret basic need is not to be loved? Do we imagine that we are the only ones who have this need? Theosophy says that Love is the basic common denominator of humanity. Once we start to love ourselves, we begin to turn that love around and shine it on those around us, and ultimately on all our brothers and sisters around the world. If we look at our identified enemy with love and compassion, we may see that he is just like us. He has the same needs and desires for life and liberty, and if he were not oppressed, he would not rise up in anger. And when we can truly see that our enemy is our self, fear evaporates.
When we can truly accept that what happens is according to the law of karma, whether we completely understand it or not, what is there to fear? We created the situation we find ourselves in, and only we can find the way out. We are responsible for what happens to us individually and collectively. If we find ourselves born into the race that rules the world in a dark age of materialism and despair, then perhaps we are here because we are the ones who can bring the light of the dawn of a brighter age to shine upon us all.
We cannot keep this light for ourselves. It belongs to everyone. But if we can find it in our own hearts, we can shine it upon all we meet. We cannot achieve this all at once, and if we find that we fail from time to time, we are told to simply pick ourselves up and try again. It is in the trying that the force of light is generated, and that force of the light of Love is the one weapon we have against the darkness of ignorance and terror.
Theosophists may find it very useful to use an act of imagination when faced with a problem or dilemma, putting ourselves in the position of that which we cannot seem to understand. After all, if we accept the Unity of all Life, we realize that whatever we perceive is only a reflection of our own being, just as we are a reflection of it.
We recently had a brilliant young scientist visit us and meet with us to discuss the theosophical ramifications of some current scientific research. One of the subjects he brought up was the use of animal parts as transplants in medical treatment of human beings. One way of approaching such a prospect is to imagine oneself as the recipient of such treatment, or as the animal who is the donor. The recipient may be grateful for a new lease on life and not be concerned about the source. Surely, gratitude is a powerful anodyne to negativity. The animal, though, has given a vital part of its life for the life of another. Does it feel grateful also for the opportunity to be of service to humanity? Did it have a choice? Is one human life so precious that it is worth robbing another being of viability? What will the person cured do with the new life that has been granted to him at the sacrifice of another? What karmic ties might be laced together in such a concatenation of life forms and destinies?
It may be that when considering such complex issues the student of theosophy comes to no conclusion. But that in itself is part of theosophical teaching. If we find that we don't completely understand some issue, we are told to hold it in abeyance until we do understand. We need not judge or condemn, but we can remember the issue, after looking at it from all sides, and wait until we get more information or more insight.
The daily news media provide us with endless opportunities to exercise our ability to analyze and understand the confusion and apparent injustice that run rampant in our modern world. Lately there has been a lot of publicity about misdeeds in the Catholic Church. Do we condemn these recreants and assume that they are the enemy of virtue because of the revelations of their activities? Certainly if we, or someone we loved, were a victim of these abuses, we might find it harder to be fair in our thinking. But the theosophist has learned not to make judgments of our fellow human beings based on appearances, or on publicity, or on anything. Whether we are the victim, or just an observer, we have the tools to arrive at understanding, if we will.
Theosophy teaches us that when we open our minds and hearts to the higher vibration of spiritual aspiration, we also activate the lower polarity of sensuality. Our material world is composed of such dualities or polarities. Life is motion, and life as we know it consists of the alternating current of awareness between the extremes of any number of the myriad such partnerships that make up our world and indeed our universe. Knowing this fact, we can apply it to any phenomenon we witness. We can even find compassion for others who may not be aware of this truth, and thereby may be unconscious victims themselves.
As William Q. Judge once said, "Consciousness is everything." Shining the light of understanding based on eternal principles upon the convolutions of ignorance and abuse brings the theosophist the ability to relate his own life experiences to everything around him in his world. Understanding with his mind can open his heart to the knowledge that all people are doing the best they can subject to the limitations restricting them. All deserve his support and acceptance. All men are our brothers, no exceptions. This is the key to understanding everything that seems to baffle us in our world.
The light of the mind allied with the love of the heart is a wonderful thing. The theosophist learns quickly that if he sincerely follows the guidelines given by the Masters for millennia, since the dawn of time and all times, he finds peace in his heart, life becomes an endless stream of joy and love, and his neighbors and indeed his entire worldwide community become his family and his best friends.
But theosophy teaches us that we have a duty to perform. This philosophy/science/religion belongs to all humanity, whether they know it or not. The Temple of the People is the Temple of Humanity, and the very universe can be expressed as one Man, which of course means one Person, not gender limited. This is the Christ, the first one of all, the symbol and reality of our unity and interdependence.
How is the theosophist to share what he learns with the world, when usually the world doesn't want to hear about these teachings? It is still too busy mucking around in material confusion and trying to extricate itself from the resulting quagmires and worse, to listen to lectures about simple human virtue and self-responsibility. Is it possible for the theosophist to have any effect at all upon the lives of others, either individually or collectively?
Certainly, there is enough information in our teachings to indicate that humanity is in a state of spiritual starvation, and that these teachings are badly needed. This need, and the karmic opportunity provided by the cyclic changes that are upon us, are the reasons why they have been given again to the world. Truth has tremendous power to heal; and truth, given life by an individual, becomes an inspiration to all he meets. It isn't necessary to teach others truth. Everyone sees it differently anyway. But it is very helpful to be the truth that one sees as real and enduring.
When we accept the truth of the Unity of all Life, we begin to know that the world's problems are our problems. Nothing happens to one unit of humanity that does not happen to all, on some level of manifestation, whether all are aware of it or not. We cannot perceive anything unless we contain it in ourselves. If we see wrongdoing in our brother, it is only because we contain the potential for such behavior in ourselves. As long as we are capable of seeing the wrong in others, we have not fully conquered our own vulnerability to doing such wrong ourselves. We have a choice. We can continue blindly to blame others for the evil in the world, or we can accept responsibility for it ourselves. We can accept the fact that all humanity is evolving toward greater and greater consciousness of all creation, and that we are all evolving together. None of us can attain a higher level of development until all attain it. We can see that there is only one path ahead of us if we desire to fulfill our destiny, as shown us by all the great Teachers of all time. We can embrace our brother and sister as our own, and begin to work together with them, instead of against them and their interests.
It sounds simple and easy, put this way; but anyone who has begun to try to live this way knows that tests and obstacles will crop up as soon as he makes the vow to his Higher Self to live Unity. The forces of separateness are strong and well-established, having been invited in and firmly ensconced in tradition and usage for at least six millennia. These forces dwell in each of us, as well as in the race collectively. But each test is an opportunity to discover more details, to pull out more weeds in our soul's garden, to clear the way for a bit more light to shine. Hope and Faith are great friends to one who really wants to make a difference. We can keep them near us and give them plenty of room to breathe. When the darkness seems too huge, and threatens to engulf us, Hope and Faith will give us courage and strength to carry on.
We are told that the battle is already won on inner planes. The darkness of our material lives is already giving way to the Light of Grace and Compassion, of togetherness and cooperation. Sometimes we have to clean the fog off the lenses of our vision to see evidence of this inner victory, but it is there. If it were not, how could we know these things? And the simple magnificent truth is that when we know we can change ourselves, we know we can change the world. Each one, working faithfully in his tiny sphere of life, has the power to affect all humanity for our mutual benefit and the benefit of all life on our planet. We are not asked to do great deeds. We are only asked to do our duty to the best of our ability. It is in the doing of all the little things, and remembering that there are no little things, that we can make a difference.
This is the great secret of Theosophy: our absolute interconnectedness extends to all planes of our being. We share the atoms of our bodies, the astral stream of our feelings, and the mental impulses of our thoughts. We are not separate, as we appear to be. That is an illusion. We are all one, in fact and in reality. When one person has the idea of loving our brothers and sisters unconditionally, we all have this idea. Some may ignore it for a time, but the more such thoughts are born in human minds and passed along, just by the power of thought, the more strength this idea gains, until it is the only thought on the subject, and humanity is ready to move on to the next level of development.
After all, once we discover that "they" are we and that our enemy is our self, what choice to we have but to love all without boundaries? This may sound hopelessly idealistic and impractical; but this is what theosophy teaches us, and Those who brought this knowledge to us in this cycle have lived its truth to the utmost degree, and discovered that it is what is real, and all else is false and useless.
We don't have to take Their word for it, though. Theosophy teaches that we learn by investigation on our own, discovering in our own experience what is true and what is not, gradually building up the body of truth that we know is real. Wisdom is not just knowledge, but knowledge refined by the fire of experience. And once we have gathered some little shred of true wisdom, it changes us and therefore all humanity forever. It connects our consciousness with the greater consciousness of all being. Bit by bit, these little pieces of truth, each discovered in some remote corner of the human condition, begin to knit themselves together into a garment big enough for all.
The theosophist has a big job to do -- but this job also represents a tremendous privilege. We have all the help we need on inner planes and all around us. We may look like a small helpless bunch, but that too is an illusion. There are no little things.
By John M. Prentice
[From THE THEOSOPHIAL FORUM, September 1945, pages 422-24.]
We might best paint his portrait as a great organ composition, with the Vox Humana stop subtly stressed. Curious that the more he sought to lapse into reticence and quietude the more the searchlight of publicity focused upon him. He became obscurely prominent in life and in death. To the Lodge members, his passing was as the sudden hushed ending of a trumpet in some vast old cathedral. He was -- and suddenly he was not.
Born in a small country town in the middle of the last century, his karma caught up with him rapidly. One night when about a year old, he went to bed with a perfectly healthy body. The next morning, he awoke with a left foot stricken and deformed. The remainder of his life he limped heavily, dragging an almost useless limb, supporting himself with a heavy stick. Physical pain was to be his lifelong, hourly experience, but no one ever heard him complain as his will soared in magnificent triumph.
Having learnt a trade, he acquired a wife. She was an outstanding character who also triumphed over many disabilities. He left the country town to embark on a career in the capital. The excellence of his products and his honesty and sincerity in business brought him a measure of success. This enabled him to leave his family well provided for when he laid his pain-racked body aside.
His first outstanding experience was in the Salvation Army. His preaching in the open air brought many to salvation. His forte was an emotional appeal to bring penitent sinners back to the fold. Then in 1894, he heard the brilliant lectures of a great exponent of Theosophy and joined the Lodge.
Prior to this, he had dreamed of a public career in the local Legislature with his spare time devoted to the service of the State. On one momentous occasion, however, his gift of oratory failed him. Some overwhelming sense of the grotesqueness of his withered limb paralyzed his speech and struck him dumb. A complete fiasco resulted. Thereafter, he never spoke in public again. He stayed on the outside looking in, a hidden worker knowing politicians and diplomats. They beloved him for his wise counsel and aid in planning and law making.
Theosophy became the abiding passion of his life. Night after night, he dragged himself to Lodge meetings, participating in its activities. His home was a focus of local activity. Many friends were called to the waters, "without money and without price."
Many sorrows came to him, which he bore with meekness and fortitude. His wife was bedridden and invalid for many years, doubling the domestic duties that he performed so cheerfully. She finally emerged healed, rendering devoted service in his last crisis and surviving him by many years.
At the outset of a great career, a brilliant daughter of his died under the most tragic circumstances. This drove him back on his own resources. He emerged unshaken. Although never given to loudness, he was perhaps quieter, tenderer, more sympathetic in understanding, and kindlier of heart.
The secret of his inner life was his early recognition of his Master. What is now being written is not done lightly and involves nothing psychic. He saw the Schmiechen portraits of two of the Masters, painted under H.P. Blavatsky's influence. He recognized one as someone he had always known. Nothing was said of this, mind you, save only to two or three of his most intimate friends and then under pledge of Esoteric secrecy. This living Reality obtained from him reverence, devotion, and most willing servitude. Even as the Syrian Avatara revealed Himself to His disciples on the road to Emmaus, so did his Master walk with him in his rose garden and sustain him as he dragged his weary limbs to tramcar or train en route to the Lodge.
Then the final calamity came. He could no longer ignore a bodily pain that he had refused recognition for several years. This led to a diagnosis of a malignant growth. It was literally eating him up and was now beyond surgery. He accepted his death sentence quietly. Indeed, he longed for the end, anxious to lay aside this physical vehicle and go home.
It was not so easy. The illness had almost completely consumed his pain-tormented body. Ere the call came, it had reduced him literally to skin and bone. Even so, his mental faculties never failed. He was bright and cheerful, utterly rejecting any suggestion of sympathy. Those who came to administer consolation went away themselves consoled. All through the interminable days, a Presence comforted him. Recognized only by him, it seemed to absorb his consciousness at times.
Onlookers could watch dumbly. Here was something happening from which they were debarred. This Reality transcended normal experience. Even the attending physicians were awed. As to the existence of the Masters, others might doubt and question. He knew. Only the genius of a poet like Robert Browning could resolve it into words:
That one Face does not vanish, rather grows, And decomposes but to recompose, Becomes my Universe that lives and knows!
Some of those who have grown old in the Theosophical Movement say that of all they have met he stands preeminent. They see that he has outdistanced his contemporaries in making Theosophy a living power in his life and death. We find a hint at what this means in a Comment on LIGHT ON THE PATH. This volume was beside his bed when Death reached out for him.
Through great cycles of time, successive incarnations in gross matter may yet be his lot; but he no longer desires them, the crude wish to live has departed from him. When he takes upon him man's form in the flesh, he does it in the pursuit of a divine object, to accomplish the work of "the Masters," and for no other end. He looks for neither pleasure nor pain, asks for no heaven, and fears no hell; yet he has entered upon a great inheritance that is not so much a compensation for these things surrendered, as a state that simply blots out the memory of them. He lives now not in the world, but with it; his horizon has extended itself to the width of the whole universe.
[From THE THEOSOPHICAL MOVEMENT, August 1960, pages 372-79.]
Each human soul has to work hard to improve and refine his body to subdue his desires and feelings and to control his mind, to establish a perfect harmony between the head, the heart, and the hands, which will ultimately transform the human tabernacle into a living temple of a living god. And this is brought out in his poem, "By An Evolutionist."
The Lord let the house of a brute to the soul of a man, And the man said "Am I your debtor?" And the Lord -- "Not yet: but make it as clean as you can, And then I will let you a better."
If my body come from brutes, tho' somewhat finer than their own, I am heir, and this my kingdom. Shall the royal voice be mute? No, but if the rebel subject seek to drag me from the throne, Hold the sceptre, Human Soul, and rule thy Province of the brute.
Thus, he emphasizes the full responsibility of the human soul, as does Theosophy.
Tennyson echoes the Theosophical teaching about sleep and death and after-life in his magnificent poem "In Memoriam."
If Sleep and Death be truly one, And every spirit's folded bloom Thro' all its intervital gloom In some long trance should slumber on;
Unconscious of the sliding hour, Bare of the body, might it last, And silent traces of the past Be all the color of the flower;
So then were nothing lost to man; So that still garden of the souls In many a figured leaf enrolls The total world since life began;
And love will last as pure and whole As when he loved me here in Time, And at the spiritual prime Rewaken with the dawning soul.
We are told by his son Hallam, in his "Memoir" of his father, that the latter had prepared the following note on these particular verses:
If the immediate life after death is only sleep, and the spirit between this life and the next should be folded like a flower in a night slumber, then the remembrance of the past might remain, as the smell and the color do in the sleeping flower. In that case, the memory of our love would last as true, and would live pure and whole within the spirit of my friend until after it was unfolded at the breathing of the morn, when the sleep was over.
Tennyson's belief in immortality and perhaps his recognition of the logical necessity of passing through many lives to achieve union with the Divine are indicated by the following statements of his, quoted by his son:
I can hardly understand how any great, imaginative man, who has deeply lived, suffered, thought, and wrought, can doubt of the Soul's continuous progress in the after-life.
If the absorption into the divine in the after-life were the creed of some, let them at all events allow us many existences of individuality before this absorption since this short-lived individuality seems to be but too short a preparation for so mighty a union.
About knowledge and wisdom, the doctrine of the head and of the heart, Tennyson says in "In Memoriam,"
Who loves not Knowledge? Who shall rail Against her beauty? May she mix With men and prosper! Who shall fix Her pillars? Let her work prevail ...
A higher hand must make her mild, If all be not in vain; and guide Her footsteps, moving side by side With wisdom, like a younger child:
For she is earthly of the mind, But Wisdom heavenly of the soul.
Tennyson shows throughout his writings that he stood for the unity of nations. World government is much talked about today, but he envisioned it long ago and in "Locksley Hall," he wrote:
When I dipt into the future far as human eye could see; Saw the Vision of the world, and all the wonder that would be. Till the warm-drum throbb'd no longer, and the battle-flags were furl'd In the parliament of man, the Federation of the world.
He was fortunate enough to live for more than six decades after having visualized this grand and noble dream, and we find a still higher and deeper note in "Locksley Hall Sixty Years After:"
Love your enemy, bless your haters, said the Greatest of the great; Christian love among the Churches look'd the twin of heathen hate ...
Here and there a cotter's babe is royal-born by right divine; Here and there my lord is lower than his oxen or his swine ...
Authors-essayist, atheist, novelist, realist, rhymester, play your part, Paint the mortal shame of nature with the living hues of Art ...
When the schemes and all the systems, Kingdoms and Republics fall, Something kindlier, higher, holier -- all for each and each for all? ...
Earth at last a warless world, a single race, a single tongue -- I have seen her far away -- for is not Earth as yet so young? ...
Only That which made us, meant us to be mightier by and by, Set the sphere of all the boundless Heavens within the human eye,
Sent the shadow of Himself, the bondless, thro' the human soul; Boundless inward, in the atom, boundless outward, in the Whole ...
Follow you the Star that lights a desert pathway, yours or mine. Forward, till you see the highest Human Nature is Divine.
From the Theosophical point of view, Nature's New Year, which begins at the time of the Christmas festival, is supposed to be the best occasion for noble resolves. Tennyson brings out his thoughts in the following verse:
Ring out old shapes of foul disease; Ring out the narrowing lust of gold; Ring out the thousand wars of old, Ring in the thousand years of peace.
Ring in the valiant man and free, The larger heart, the kindlier hand; Ring out the darkness of the land, Ring in the Christ that is to be.
Almost at the close of his life, he wrote "Crossing the Bar:"
Sunset and evening star, And one clear call for me! And may there be no moaning of the bar, When I put out to sea ...
For tho' from out our bourne of Time and Place The flood may bear me far, I hope to see my Pilot face to face When I have crost the bar.
It is interesting to note what his son wrote: "The philosophers of the East had a great fascination for my father, and he felt that the Western religion might learn much from them of spirituality."
In 1869, he started a Metaphysical Society. At its meetings, the brightest minds participated in discussions on such subjects as "The Commonsense Philosophy of Causation," "The Relativity of Knowledge," "The Emotion of Conviction," "What is Death?" Tennyson was grieved at the scorn that the theological and the agnostic parties showed toward each other, and considered that if the two could meet on a friendly footing, it would do much toward the clearing up of misunderstandings as well as toward "the cultivation of charity in controversy and mutual esteem." It was with this object that the Society was started. At that time, Darwin's theory of evolution was prominent in men's minds, and Tennyson for one thought that, although "evolution in a modified form was partially true," some of Darwin's disciples had drawn unwarrantable inferences from the theory. A free interchange of ideas between theologians and scientists was therefore thought desirable.
It has been said of him that he bent his nineteenth-century intellect to the task of naturalizing and spiritualizing scientific and metaphysical ideas and their phraseology in an unprecedented fashion. This adaptation of his art to his age was his chief claim to originality. He was representative of the bland fusion of old thought with new thought and ancient style with modern in one pellucid stream of genius. Through his poems, he was able to contribute to several of the reforms of the Victorian era. Before he died, slavery had been abolished, the Criminal Code was changed, new labor laws were established, the Poor Law was swept away, the condition of workers in mines and factories had been ameliorated, and good schools for the poor were started. Poems like "The Charge of the Light Brigade" popularized him among the masses, and three-penny editions of his works were brought out. He was regarded as the poet of the people. Thus he grew to a ripe old age with the quiet dignity of some prosperous patriarch of antiquity and until the moment of death preserved the even faculties, the calm equability of nature in her health.
For years before his death, he was absorbed in one thing only: "to have a clearer and fuller vision of God." We learn from his son's "Memoir" that "during the day he lay on the sofa and looking out at the great landscape, he had wonderful thoughts about God and the universe and felt as if looking into the other world."
On the last day of his life, he said to his physician, Dr. Dabbs, "What a shadow this life is, and how men cling to what is after all but a small part of the great world's life!" The medical bulletin that Dr. Dabbs published the day after his death reads:
On Thursday, October 6th, 1892, at 1:35 a.m., the great poet breathed his last. Nothing could have been more striking than the scene during the last few hours. On the bed a figure of breathing marble, flooded and bathed in the light of the full moon streaming through the oriel window; his hand clasping the Shakespeare which he had asked for but recently, and which he had kept by him to the end; the moonlight, the majestic figure as he lay there, "drawing thicker breath," irresistibly brought to our minds his own "Passing of Arthur."
He was buried in Westminster Abbey. The pallbearers were the aristocracy and the intelligentsia of England. The Abbey was crowded from end to end. His own poems, "Crossing the Bar" and "The Silent Voices," were sung. The tributes paid him were remarkable not only for their universality but also for their depth of feeling.
On the tablet erected in the churchyard at Freshwater, in memory of Tennyson and his wife (who died four years after him and was buried there), the inscription bears the following significant lines:
Speak, living voice! With thee death is not death; Thy life outlives the life of dust and breath.
[From THE THEOSOPHICAL MOVEMENT, October 1960, pages 451-54.]
Know that the stream of superhuman knowledge and the Deva-Wisdom thou hast won, must, from thyself, the channel of Alaya, be poured forth into another bed.
-- THE VOICE OF THE SILENCE
Were mere knowledge enough, all those who study Theosophy would be Theosophists. That most of them have remained a part of the great rabble that surrounds them, are prone to fall a prey to the lower forces within, and without them is evident from the very fact that they seem to have halted by the wayside and are marking time. The chief sign of spiritual progress -- the ability to minister to the soul-needs of others -- is hardly visible. Friendliness has too often departed from their smile, encouragement from their advice. What is it that ails the student fraternity?
That their studies have taken them forward is evident. Progress there definitely has been -- a progress that has affected for good their lives and the lives of those who have surrounded them. Yet, this progress is hardly enough. The Cause of Theosophy demands a far greater measure of altruism and of service and therefore expects from its votaries a much-advanced step towards Wisdom. What, then, is the power that has halted their growth and dulled their intuition? What is it that has roped the students into larger or smaller circles and stayed their progress to the Gates of Gold?
The answer is not difficult of formulation. Any student of the Wisdom-Religion recognizes that the Philosophy and the Code of Conduct based upon it are universal. The universal in the student must reach out to the universal in Nature if he desires to attain to Wisdom. If that contact is not established, if the universal within the man cannot speak to the pervading universality without, then for him Theosophy remains just another philosophy denuded of all contacts with the divine. Since the universal can have no relationship with the temporary and the divisional, the chief mark by which its activity is known in the man is by his ever-widening impersonality.
Therefore, where true progress is found lacking in a student, where charity has dwindled and sacrifice is poor, there it can be affirmed that the student has swerved from the path of impersonality. This impersonality and it alone must motivate the student's steps upon the Arya Path. Anything less than the impersonal -- however good, however charitable -- can have no affinity with the universal and therefore can neither impart its warmth to the student nor bestow on him even a little of its power to benefit mankind.
It is the craving for happiness, the desire to lead a life of comfort, the instinctive turning away from pain, defeat, and ignominy, which throw the student back from the impersonal to the personal. When do I fall from impersonality? I do just that whenever a shadow of an unfriendly sentiment projects itself from out of my past onto my work in the present. I fall from impersonality when in the very effort towards virtue and universality I preen my peacock feathers and say, "How wonderful I am!" I am intensely and grossly personal when I refuse to let go of the memory of an unjust wrong and hoard the sequence of the incident, image-by-image, and word by word. I have strayed far from the path of impersonality when I study Theosophy, give my assignment, or discharge my service with the ultimate aim of securing my own private advancement.
To the personal man, possessions are the very breath of life. The craving for wealth, fame, and power absorbs his being and though he finds that he remains dissatisfied even when his ambition is achieved, he blinds himself to the lesson which Nature teaches him and in his ignorance rushes from surfeit to surfeit of possession. It is interesting, therefore, to find out what exactly the student should possess.
Broadly speaking, his Karma tries out his strength and gives him that circumstance, possession, or the want of it, which he needs in order to learn from life. Impersonality never meant the utter paucity of possessions. The bankrupt soul is not, nor can it ever become, the impersonal man. Just as there is a wide gulf between poverty and bankruptcy, so does a gulf exist between the charitable who give their all and those who squander their possessions for the ephemeral joys of the moment. The impersonal man has worldly possessions but he is not their slave. On the other hand, he has possessions vastly different. These take the form of powers that give a deeper insight and a virile and more altruistic approach to life. Therefore does LIGHT ON THE PATH say:
Desire possessions above all. But those possessions must belong to the pure soul only, and be possessed therefore by all pure souls equally, and thus be the especial property of the whole only when united.
This surrendering of possessions to a common pool, this joint sharing of soul-possessions, is of the essence of impersonality. A student struggling his lonesome way along would have to surmount great difficulties if the avenues of impersonal sharing existed not for him. The existence of a Lodge or a Group will thus be seen to be a very great help to the disciple. He has to understand that the cohesive force of a Group or a Lodge comes from this pooling of the impersonal vitality contributed by each individual Associate, and that this vitality waxes and wanes even as the Associates share or refuse to share of their possessions of the soul. Therefore, when I attend a meeting or a class and feel bored or become critical of the platform speaker, I become for that moment personal and as it were withdraw my own contribution from the pool, leaving it that much weaker, to the detriment of my faltering brother on the platform. If this is what I do, how can I expect to progress beyond a certain limit, for by my own personal acts, I cut my self off from the ways of impersonality and the larger consciousness in which it works?
When I become personal, it is no hand of an arbitrary God that forbids my entry into the realms of universality. The barriers are of my own making; the judgment debarring me from progress is passed by me. When I lie or lust or thieve or kill, when I become angry or vengeful or jealous, I conjure up around myself a whole host of invisible lives which breathe the same sentiment as I do and which, surrounding me as it were in a capsule, shut me off from all realms save those which are congenial to their nature. These lives are my progeny, the heirs to my terrestrial thoughts. I cannot disown them or disentangle myself from their tenuous capsule until the magnetic cohesive force with which I endowed them is exhausted. This exhaustion takes place in time but may be accelerated by the strength of an indomitable will, or by the power of a vow, or by the change of polarity that occurs when the Self by a supreme effort oversteps the regions of the personal.
All students come wrapped up in their own capsules of lives created by their personal living. They throb to a newer vibration as they get closer to the Philosophy. Then, as their smoldering aspiration bursts into flame, they envision a larger life and Karma helps them to be "newly born." But, as days and years roll by, the pressure of life hems the student in, until he slips from the impersonal into the personal. But this failure, or even many repetitions of it, need not deter the disciple from his efforts at impersonalized actions. Arjuna on the Kurukshetra field shows how the mind of the disciple clings even to the personal attachments of a brother, a friend, or a preceptor; and, so clinging, Arjuna fails for full ten chapters to understand that Krishna's voice is the song of the all-pervading Universality. The sequence of Arjuna's questions as one Gita chapter merges into another shows how the storm-tossed mind can by questioning rise from the overwhelming prostrating grief of the first chapter, through the hopes and the anxieties of the succeeding chapters to the vision and the adoration of the Impersonal and the Endless.
Concentration, contemplation, and meditation are valuable possessions of the impersonal disciple. They become precious when they are obtained as the fruits of a rigid impersonality and of a determined denial of all personal recognition. Unattainable? Hardly so, for every time that the mind dwells upon metaphysical truths, a union is established between our incarnated Manas and the ubiquitous Buddhi. Here, then, is the first step for attaining to impersonality -- the inducing of a close union between Manas and Buddhi by the placing of the mind on the Philosophy.
Can the student striving over a period of time maintain a dedicated attitude throughout and so keep this conjunction alive beyond the period of his study? To achieve this is his only hope for progress. The effort has to be continued in the face of heart-breaking failures. And yet, if the attitude is rightly oriented, the student will not have to wait long. He succeeds or fails in the measure in which he translates into impersonal yet powerful acts and feelings the results of the close union between his Manas and Buddhi. The knowledge gained during that union is sacred; and, because it is universal, it has to be offered on the altar of human service.
When we prepare to listen at a study class, have we contrived that our Manas clings to Buddhi for that short time? Have we brought the treasure acquired by us through this union for our fellow disciples to share? Have we during the class remained consciously impersonal and by the force of that awakened impersonality created a channel through which help and assistance could come to the whole class? If we have, then let us consolidate our efforts and proceed to further attempts at service in wider fields. If not, then start afresh, having faith that good alone comes of our sincere efforts at impersonal service.
By George William Russell
[From THE CANDLE OF VISION, Chapter XVII, pages 143-52.]
Hy Brazil, Ildathach, the lands of Immortal Youth which flush with magic the dreams of childhood, for most sink soon below far horizons and do not again arise. For around childhood gather the wizards of the darkness and they baptize it and change its imagination of itself as in the Arabian tales of enchantment men were changed by sorcerers who cried, "Be thou beast or bird."
So by the black art of education is the imagination of life about itself changed, and one will think he is a worm in the sight of Heaven, he who is but a god in exile, and another of the Children of the King will believe that he is the offspring of animals. What palaces they were born in, what dominions they are rightly heir to, are concealed from them as in the fairytale the stolen prince lives obscurely among the swineherds.
Yet at times men do not remember, in dream and in the deeps of sleep, they still wear scepter and diadem and partake of the banquet of the gods. The gods are still living. They are our brothers. They await us. They beckon us to come up to them and sit upon equal thrones.
To those who cry out against romance I would say, "You yourself are romance. You are the lost prince herding obscurely among the swine. The romance of your spirit is the most marvelous of stories. Your wanderings have been greater than those of Ulysses. You have been Bird of Paradise and free of immensity, and you have been outcast and wingless, huddled under the rocks, and despairing of the Heavens.
If you will but awaken the inner sight, Hy Brazil, Ildathach, all the lands of Immortal Youth will build themselves up anew for you no longer as fantasy but in vivid actuality. Earth will become magical and sweet as ever. You will be drunk with beauty. You may see the fiery eyes of the Cyclops wandering over the mountains and hear the Bell Branch shaken, the sound that summons the spirit home."
From long pondering I have come to believe in the eternity of the spirit and that it is an inhabitant of many spheres, for I know not how otherwise I can interpret to myself the myriad images that as memories or imaginations cling to it, following it into the body as birds follow the leader in the migratory flock.
Looking back on that other life which began to dominate this there are a thousand things I cannot understand except I believe that for myself and for all of us there has been an eternity of being and that many spheres are open to us.
If these images are not earth-born, from what land, Elfland, Heaven-world, or God-world, do they come? I have chosen but a few images out of many to explain why I think our dreams and visions come often in all completeness into our sphere out of other spheres of being and are not built up from memories of earth.
Looking back upon that other life through the vistas of memory I see breaking in upon the images of this world forms of I know not what antiquity. I walk out of strange cities steeped in the jewel glow and gloom of evening, or sail in galleys over the silvery waves of the antique ocean. I reside in tents, or in palace chambers, go abroad in chariots, meditate in cyclopean buildings, am worshipper of the Earth gods upon the mountains, lie entranced in Egyptian crypts, or brush with naked body through the long sunlit grasses of the prairies.
Endlessly the procession of varying forms goes back into remote yesterdays of the world. How do these self-conceptions spring up? How are they clothed with the state of ancient civilizations? If when I perceived them they were the newest things in the world, and the images were minted that instant by the imagination, out of what treasury of design came the fitting scenery, the always varied buildings, garments, and setting of wood, plain or mountain?
Are they not rather, I ask myself, memories of the spirit incarnated many times? And if so, again I ask myself is it only on earth there has been this long ancestry of self? For there is another self in me which seemed to know not the world but revealed itself to the listening bodily life in cosmic myths, in remote legends of the Children of Darkness and the Children of Light, and of the revolt against heaven.
And another self seemed to bring with it vision or memory of elemental beings, the shining creatures of water and wood, or who break out in opalescent color from the rocks or hold their court beneath the ponderous hills. And there was another self which was akin to the gloomy world of the shades, but recoiled shuddering from them. And there was yet another self that sought out after wisdom, and all these other selves and their wisdom and memories were but tributary to it.
I found the gates of sleep too often thronged with fleeting presences as I sank into unconsciousness. I was outcast from that innermost being when waking. I saw but for an instant back into the profundity. At times, it appeared to the imagination as the gate of Eden:
With dreadful faces thronged and fiery arms.
Out of what sphere came that being taller and mightier than human, whose body seemed wrought out of flame and whose eyes had the stillness of an immortal, and who seemed to gaze at me out of eternity as I waked in the night.
It was so lofty and above humanity that I seemed to myself to be less than an insect, though something in me cried out to it in brotherhood, and I knew not whether I had fallen from its height, or was a lost comrade lagging far behind in time who should have been equal and companion but was too feeble to rise to such majesty.
I know that I have not been alone in such imaginations for there are few whose intent will has tried to scale the Heavens who have not been met by messages from the gods who are the fountains of this shadowy beauty, and who are, I think, ourselves beyond this mirage of time and space by which we are enchanted.
I have spoken to other seekers like myself upon this quest, recognizing identity of vision and experience. But I have not been able to devote to every mental image the thought which might make its meaning or origin intelligible. We cannot do that for the forms we see move continuously in visible nature, for we pass them by thinking intensely but of a few of them. But our psychology must take account of every experience of the soul.
I have not found in latter-day philosophical writers the explanation of my own experiences, and I think that is because there has been an over-development of intellect and few have cultivated vision, and without that we have not got the first data for fruitful speculation. We rarely find philosophical writers referring to vision of their own, yet we take them as guides on our mental traveling, though in this world we all would prefer to have knowledge of earth and heaven through the eyes of a child rather than to know them only through the musings of one who was blind, even though his intellect was mighty as Kant's.
It is only when I turn to the literature of vision and intuition, to the sacred books and to half sacred tradition, to the poets and seers that I find a grandiose conception of nature in which every spiritual experience is provided for. I have not entered the paradises they entered but what little I know finds its place in the universe of their vision.
Whether they are Syrian, Greek, Egyptian, or Hindu, the writers of the sacred books seem to me as men who had all gazed upon the same august vision and reported of the same divinity. Even in our own Gaelic wonder tales I often find a vision which is, I think, authentic, and we can, I believe, learn from these voyages to the Heaven-world more of the geography of the spirit and the many mansions in the being of the Father than we can from the greatest of our sightless philosophers.
The Earth-world, Mid-world, Heaven-world, and God-world spoken of in the Indian scriptures are worlds our Gaelic ancestors had also knowledge of. When Cormac enters the Heaven-world and is told by those who inhabit it, "Whenever we imagine the fields to be sown they are sown. Whenever we imagine the fields to be reaped they are reaped," he saw the same world as the seer who wrote in the marvelous Upanishad:
"There are no chariots there or roads for chariots. The soul makes for itself chariots and roads for chariots. There are no joys or rejoicings there. The soul makes for itself joys and rejoicings. For the spirit of man is creator." The visionaries of the future will finally justify the visionaries of the past.
I do not feel that my knowledge is great enough to do this, nor have I been able to steal from a life made busy by other labors enough time or enough thought even to use in the best way the little I know.
I would like to vindicate my predecessors in Ireland and correlate my own vision and the vision of my friends with the vision of those who went before us, for I think when we discard the past and its vision we are like men who, halfway up a mountain, decide foolishly to attempt the ascent from another side of the hill and so continually lose the height which was gained.
Our Gaelic ancestors had the gift of seership, and I had thought at one time to reconstruct from the ancient literature the vision of the universe they had, a labor which might be done by any who had vision of his own and who was versed in the comparative study of the religions of the past, and so make intelligible to those who live here today the thought of their forefathers, and enable them to begin anew the meditation towards divine things so often broken up in our unhappy history.
All literature tends to produce a sacred book by an evolution of thought of the highest minds building one upon another. A literature as continually imaginative, visionary, and beautiful as the Gaelic would, I do not doubt, have culminated in some magnificent expression of the spirit if life had not been drawn from central depths to surfaces by continuous invasions.
I think that meditation is beginning anew, and the powers which were present to the ancestors are establishing again their dominion over the spirit. To some there come startling flashes of vision and others feel a hand of power touching them thrust out from a hidden world.
Whether they know it or not they are the servants of gods who speak or act through them and make them the messengers of their will. I have written down some of my own thoughts and experiences that others may be encouraged to believe that by imagination they can lay hold of truth; and as something must be written about the geography of the spirit by way of guidance to those who rise within themselves in meditation I will try briefly to reconstruct the Celtic vision of Heaven and Earth as I believe it was known to the Druids and bardic seers.
Let no one who requires authority read what I have written for I will give none. If the spirit of the reader does not bear witness to truth he will not be convinced even though a Whitley Stokes rose up to verify the written word. Let it be accepted by others as a romantic invention or attribution of divine powers to certain names to make more coherent the confusion of Celtic myth.
By Marjorie M. Tyberg
[From THE THEOSOPHICAL FORUM, April 1939, pages 242-45.]
Resolve to be thyself; and know, that he Who finds himself, loses his misery.
-- Matthew Arnold
Every year is enacted the ancient marvel. Part of life has withdrawn to the invisible, returns, and tree and plant burst out in leaf and blossom. Every morning, this ancient marvel performs when the Self that withdrew to its invisible borne returns to resume physical body and waking life. With every child that is born, there is the marvel of an infinitesimal seed coming to manifest as infant, youth, and man.
What is that which is awake throughout the whole cycle? What is the Unseen that produces the visible, the bodily? Are we, the day selves, asleep, who know it not? Truly, the Great Awakening for us will be when we know ourselves as the Self who put forth Spirit, Soul, and Body and abides, watching and waiting for the sleeper bound in the palace of form to awaken to the day of Self-consciousness.
In the past, that Self has won the power to send forth rays of Itself, seeds of humanity on a planet that begin the cycle of life to come to flower in godhood. For planets, too, have their periods of rest and withdrawal, followed by return to material form and physical activity. The Moon died, but its seeds of life remained in space. With a planetary dawn, these awoke, we among them, beginning our day on our new Earth home. Humanity is the Earth child, human from the first in structural intent, even as the human embryo is recognized to be.
There is cooperation in the Universe. The Sun, Moon, Stars, and Planets combine to build Humanity. Superior hierarchies of beings, the young Humanity's Guardians, prepared a befitting form for man, then awakened latent mind in him. Science and history have told us of the evolution of form and something of what mind has done for man, but they evidently cannot tell what happens when the cycle of destiny turns upward and latent DIVINITY has its turn to hold sway.
This does not look likely at present. Fourteen of the known civilizations have gone down. We read accounts in the daily newspapers of most of the conditions that prevailed when they fell. Fear, nerve-racking uncertainty, and distrust of human destiny are prevalent. With all this, the future looks black indeed. This crumbling is to make way for the new to be born. The poet Lowell was wise when he wrote in "The Cathedral," "Change is the mask that all continuance wears." The Spirit and Divinity in man are waiting to take command and direct the activities of the New Day.
This is to take place on Earth, where humanity is presently stationed. There will be no escape to a brighter star, to a heavenly home of eternal bliss. The ancients tell us that death is a stairway reaching to the stars, but with every rebirth, we step down and back to Earth, to be human here, even as the violet will be a violet next spring, and not an astronomer. Sleep may be a quick ascent to the stars, but there is as quick a descent, and we wake where sleep overtook us the night before. All this is familiar but full of meaning not yet realized by us.
What is unfamiliar is the program for Humanity's New Day on Earth, that Day when the Divinity within each of us, that Self of Union and Will, shall, on the luminous upper arc of our destiny, express itself in the relations and institutions of life on Earth.
The attributes of this Divine Self are Peace, Power, Beauty, Truth, and Wisdom. They dwell in that Inmost Self, which even the most modern thinkers are now bidding us seek. How would it help us if that Self, which has won consciousness of divinity and knowledge of the cosmic pattern of life in long ages of planetary, solar, and starry experience, were in command, were encouraged, invoked to pour down through the purified channel of mind and feeling its wisdom and light? Let us picture it.
You will know that we are, in our inmost, divine beings waiting to manifest. I will know that too. Then we have a spiritual rock of ages on which we may stand. We would have a common ground of divine origin, of hope, interest, and purpose, firm enough to support us in working out our destiny as individuals.
As individuals it must be; individuals so much our whole selves that we can rejoice in the diversity of mankind, inevitable because there is in each of us an essential characteristic, a creative individual waiting to manifest fully. Picture us as so truly ourselves that we want others to be themselves, to enjoy what they can add to the tapestry of life. For, not unison but harmony is the highest ideal, and only conscious individuals can unite to produce the cosmic harmony that is to be. The less developed do not unite, they merge, and we have herd-consciousness and the chance for mob psychology to be used in exploiting the less evolved entities. Harmony is never born from herd-consciousness. If the performers cannot play their own instruments, there is no music.
We must learn to differ without dividing. Accept others. They offer new and happy combinations and associations of individuals aware of their powers and possibilities. Do you believe that human minds actuated by selfish desire for possessive power and material advantage over their fellows might devise means that threaten wholesale destruction of the human race? Do you believe that human minds illumined by light from the Divine Self cannot conceive some godlike, friendly, convincing way of dissolving human differences? It is unworthy or unholy to hold too limited a view of human possibilities.
What makes man human is the power to control, to restrain harmful, separative feelings, thoughts, speech, and acts. What strife will be avoided when this power of inhibition, when spiritual will, is used, NOT to build these barriers of misunderstanding and bitterness? The exercise of this power liberates a new sense of proportion, a fresh glimpse of realms of activity under our own control that exhilarates, that brings spiritual humor, and a rich and harmless zest to life.
It is said, too, that the joy, the calm, the peace, and certainty of the true mystic may be the common religious experience of humanity in the future -- that inner reconcilement, that stilling of the transitory, doubting self by the enduring divine inner Self, which has blest those of whatever religion who have sounded the depths of their own natures. It is said, too, that the realms of beauty, meaning, and power to which artists, poets, musicians, and inventors have occasional access, may become the common field of vision of Humanity in the bright future. What boundless possibilities for the operation of invisible, integrating, non-violent influences in that meeting-place where Spiritual Power, Love, Truth, Beauty, and Harmony abide.
The gift of Theosophy to Beauty is the cosmic framework that reveals man a child of Divinity, fostered and guided by Spiritual and Divine Hierarchies of Sun and Stars that watch over Earth and us. The Cosmic Myth -- myriad forms of which have nurtured art, literature, and religions in all ages -- lifts all conceptions of life, truth, and beauty -- and duty -- to higher levels of cooperation, consciousness, and creative realization. Once apprehended, this Truth will form the basis for world-unity, new social imagination, purer art, greater poetry, wiser living, and power to call upon resources of inward attainment in the regulation of human affairs. In this Awakening to the Self, we may be laggards or we may be adventurers in cosmic ideas, leaders in the conquest of the spiritual frontiers within, and Self-Discoverers in this cyclic dawn of a New Day for Humanity.
By Phillip A. Malpas
[The following comes from a series that appeared in THE THEOSOPHICAL PATH, under Katherine Tingley as Editor and published at the Point Loma Theosophical Community. It later appeared in book form under the title TRUE MESSIAH: THE STORY AND WISDOM OF APOLLONIUS OF TYANA 3 B.C. -- 96 A.D., published by Point Loma Publications.]
ADVICE TO AN EMPEROR
I will follow your advice," said the Emperor Vespasian to Apollonius, "as I think every word you have uttered is divine. Tell me then, I entreat you, what a good Prince ought to do?"
"What you ask," said Apollonius, "I cannot teach. Of all human acquisitions, the art of government is the most important, but it cannot be taught. However, I will tell you what, if you do it, you will do wisely.
"Look not on that as wealth that is piled up in heaps, for what is it better than a heap of sand? Nor on that which arises from taxes, which men pay with tears, for the gold so paid, lacks luster, and is black. You will make a better use of your riches than any sovereign did, if you employ them in supplying the necessities of the poor, and securing the property of the rich.
"Fear the power of doing everything you wish, for under this apprehension you will use it with more moderation.
"Do not lop away such ears of corn as are tall and most conspicuous, for herein the maxim of Aristotle is unjust. Harshness and cruelty of disposition weed out of your mind as you would tares and darnel out of your corn. Show yourself terrible to all innovators in the state, yet not so much in the actual infliction of punishment, as in the preparation for it.
"Acknowledge the law to be the supreme rule of your conduct. For you will be more mild in the making of laws, when you know you are to be subject to them yourself.
"Reverence the gods more than ever, for you have received great things at their hands, and have still much to ask.
"In what concerns the public, act like a prince; and in what relates to you, like a private man.
"In what light you ought to consider the love of gambling, of wine and women, I need not speak to you, who from your youth never liked them.
"You have two sons (Titus and Domitian), both according to report of good dispositions; keep them, I pray you, under strict discipline, for their faults will be charged to your account. Use authority and even threats, if necessary, and let them know that the empire is to be considered not as a matter of common right, but as the reward of virtue. It is to be their inheritance only by their perseverance in well doing.
"Pleasures become, as it were, denizens of Rome, are many in number, and should be restrained with great discretion. For it is a hard matter to bring over at once an entire people to a regular mode of living. It is only by degrees a spirit of moderation can be instilled into the mind, and it is to be done sometimes by a public correction, and sometimes by one as private as to conceal the hand that does it.
"Suppress the pride and luxury of the freedmen and slaves under your subjection, and let them understand that their modesty should keep pace with their master's greatness.
"I have but one more observation to make, and that relates to the governors sent out to rule the several provinces of the empire. I do not mean such governors as you will send out yourself, for you will employ only the deserving, but I mean those who are chosen by lot. The men sent out so ought to be suited, as far as can be made consistent with that mode of election, to the several countries over which they are appointed to preside. They who understand Greek should be sent to Greece and they who understand Latin to such countries as use that language. I will now tell you why I say this. Whilst I was in Peloponesus, the Governor of that province knew nothing of Greek, nor did the people know anything of him. Hence, there arose innumerable mistakes. For the people in whom he confided suffered him to be corrupted in the distribution of justice, and to be treated more like a slave than a governor.
"I have said now what has occurred to me today. If anything else occurs, we shall resume the conversation at another time. At present, discharge your duty to the state to the end that you may not appear more indulgent to those under your authority than what is consistent with that duty."
Vespasian loved Apollonius and took great delight in hearing him talk of what antiquities he saw in his travels, of the Indian King Phraotes, of the rivers and wild beasts found in India, and above all of what was to be the future state of the Roman world, as communicated to him by the gods. Quite evidently, Apollonius was preparing the world for the entrance to the dark ages, as a definite plan and life work.
As soon as the affairs of Egypt were settled, he decided to take his departure, but before doing so expressed a wish that Apollonius should go with him. The Tyanean philosopher declined, as he said he had not seen Egypt as he ought, nor had he conversed with the gymnosophists, the Egyptian ascetics. He added that he was desirous to compare the learning of the Egyptians with that of the Indians, and to drink of the source of the Nile.
"Will you not remember me," asked the Emperor when he understood that Apollonius was determined to make the journey into Ethiopia.
"I will," said Apollonius, "if you continue to be a good Prince and to be mindful of us."
Euphrates lost control of his better feelings altogether when he had heard the advice of Apollonius to Vespasian.
"I agree to everything proposed," he said loftily. "What else can I do when the masters have spoken? There is one thing that remains to be said. Oh King, you should approve and countenance that philosophy that is consonant to nature, and shun that which affects to carry on a secret intercourse with celestial beings. For they who entertain such unsound notions of the Gods fill us with nothing but pride and vanity."
This was directly leveled against Apollonius, who had the patience to make no reply, but departed with his companions as soon as Euphrates had ended. Vespasian was annoyed and changed the conversation by giving orders to admit the magistrates and to form the new council. Forever after, the Emperor looked upon Euphrates as a jealous meddler who spoke in favor of democracy, speaking not as he really felt but as he thought most opposed to Apollonius. Even so, he was not dismissed from the councils nor was any mark of displeasure shown.
Dion, on the other hand, he loved, in spite of his agreement with Euphrates. Dion was affable and pleasant-spoken, and his dislike of the disputing and argument was probably the reason he failed to oppose Euphrates.
After the sacrifices, the Emperor offered presents for them to choose. Apollonius pretended to wish for something and asked what the Emperor was prepared to give him.
"Ten talents now, and all I have, when you come to Rome," said Vespasian.
"Then I will be careful of all you have as if it were already mine," said Apollonius. He would take nothing. "These men will not despise your gifts," he said, glancing at Dion and Euphrates.
The gentle Dion blushed and said, "Reconcile me to my master Apollonius; for it is the first time in my life I have contradicted him."
"I did that yesterday. Now ask something for you," said the Emperor.
"Then give Lasthenes of Apamea in Bithynia his military discharge," said Dion. "He was a fellow-student of philosophy with me before he took a desire for the uniform of a soldier. Now he wishes, I hear, to return to his philosophy."
"Let him be discharged, and because he loves you and philosophy, let him receive the usual long service rewards as though he had served his time," said the Emperor.
Euphrates wrote his request and asked the Emperor to read it in private. Instead, he read it before them all. Directly or indirectly, whether for himself or others, all his requests had money for their object!
Apollonius smiled. "How could you, who have so much to ask from a monarch, speak so much as you did in favor of a republic," asked the philosopher. Euphrates was tried and found wanting, and as in all such cases, turned savagely against his superior in philosophy. He is even said to have been on the point of throwing a log of wood at Apollonius soon after the Emperor left Alexandria. Apollonius bore all philosophically and with patience, and Philostratus, following Damis, reports the incident with all charity and with forbearance.
The Emperor often wrote to Apollonius and invited him to visit and confer with him, but without success. Nero had given liberty to Greece, to the surprise of all, and the result was a revival of some of its glory and a harmony such as the country had not known even in its best days. Vespasian with undue severity punished some disturbance with a loss of this liberty. Apollonius wrote these letters on the subject.
From Apollonius To the Emperor Vespasian Health
You have enslaved Greece, as report says, by which you imagine you have done more than Xerxes, without calling to mind that you have sunk below Nero, who freely renounced that which he had.
From Apollonius To the Emperor Vespasian
Nero in sport gave liberty to Greece, of which you in seriousness have deprived them, and reduced them to slavery.
In spite of this refusal to meet Vespasian again, Apollonius did not conceal his joy when he heard that in all other respects Vespasian governed his people well, as he considered much was gained by his accession to the empire.
UPPER EGYPT AND ETHIOPIA
Apollonius stayed at Alexandria as long as he thought necessary and then decided to visit Upper Egypt and the Egyptian gymnosophists, ascetics. Menippus by this time was entitled to speak to others, as he had completed his term of silence. He, the faithful, was left behind to watch Euphrates. Dioscorides was left also, as he was not sufficiently robust for the journey; Apollonius advised him not to go.
There were about thirty disciples in all, many having joined the eight faithful ones since the desertion of the others on the way to Rome. To these, Apollonius quoted the saying of the Eleans to the athletes who go to compete at the Olympian Games, "You who have endured labors fit for men who come to Olympia, and have not been guilty of any mean or illiberal action -- go on boldly; but ye who are not so qualified, go where you please." Many disciples, understanding the saying to apply to them as not being fit to go, remained with Menippus at Alexandria. There were twenty of them. Those that went numbered no more than ten.
After prayers and sacrifices for a good journey, they set out towards the Pyramids on camels, with the Nile on their right hand. They went in boats part of the way, to see all that was worthy of notice, and no city, or temple, or sacred spot was passed by unobserved. Everywhere they interchanged knowledge with learned Egyptians, whenever they met together. The boat of Apollonius resembled a sacred galley on a mission such as the annual procession to Delos.
On the frontier between Egypt and Ethiopia, Apollonius came to a place where four roads meet. Here were heaps of unstamped wedges of gold, flax, ivory, and aromatic roots, perfumes, and spices. To this spot, the Egyptian merchants came and left a very fair exchange of Egyptian merchandise for what they took, and this manner of exchange lasted to the day of Philostratus. Apollonius compared the trade as superior to that of the Greeks, who ever seek to make vast profits, justifying them by saying they have to dower a daughter, to set a son up in life, to pay a large debt, to build a house, or merely that it would be a shame not to die richer than one's father had.
"How happy the world would be if riches were not held in such estimation! How happy it would be if equality of rank flourished more than it does? Iron would remain black," he said in happy phrase, "if men lived in harmony and goodwill, and the whole earth would appear like one great family."
The sages sat in their boat on the river with open books on their knees, talking of philosophy and one thing and another, when they saw a beautiful youth, hardly yet a man, in a small cheap-looking skiff. He hailed the boat in which Apollonius was and said, "I see you are Sages, and as a lover of wisdom, I ask permission to join your company."
While he was approaching, Apollonius lowered his voice and saying the youth was of good character deserving of what he asked, gave a rapid account of his story and his resistance to temptation, choosing poverty rather than to wrong.
When the young man, whose name was Timasion, entered the boat, Apollonius asked his name and story, which after some hesitation he frankly gave, exactly as the Tyanean had foretold a few minutes before. The disciples shouted with amazement, much to the confusion of the youth, but they told him they were not laughing at him, and that the matter was one of which he knew nothing, so pacifying him. This youth Timasion, who had joined them in the district of Memnon, proved a useful guide.
There was a curious law at Memphis that an involuntary homicide should dwell in the country of the gymnosophists until purified and absolved by them.
Apollonius, seeing a man alone in the desert, asked who he was. Timasion said, "You had better ask me, for he will be ashamed to tell you. He is such an involuntary murderer who has wandered in the desert for seven months and the gymnosophists still withhold their pardon."
"I am afraid you speak to me of men who have not much wisdom to boast of," said Apollonius, "if they refuse expiating him. I fear they know not that Philesius whom he killed was descended from Thammus the Egyptian who formerly ravaged their country."
Timasion was vastly astonished. Apollonius told him how this man was the thirteenth in descent from the enemy of the gymnosophists and that he ought to have been acquitted at once of his involuntary crime, and even had it been voluntary, they might well have crowned him.
"Who are you, stranger," asked Timasion in wonder.
"One whom you will find among the gymnosophists," answered Apollonius, who then told him what steps to take to have the man purified by the rites enjoined by Empedocles and Pythagoras, for he himself at that time might not speak to a man polluted with blood. With due ceremony, Apollonius bid him go, cleansed from all crimes, after the rites had been accomplished.
The gymnosophists of Egypt are as much wiser than the Egyptians as the Indians are wiser than themselves. They were taken in by a mean trick played by Euphrates. This unworthy philosopher sent Thrasybulus the Naucratite to them for the express purpose of misrepresenting Apollonius. They were told the Tyanean was going to visit them in order to degrade their philosophy in glorifying that of India. They were told that he came full of refutations of their tenets, allowing no influence to the sun, nor the heavens, nor the earth, but that he gave them whatever motion, force, and position he wished. This is significant of the fact that the Indians knew other things of the motion of the sun and stars and their positions than were common knowledge at the time.
Sowing his seeds of mischief at Euphrates's bidding, Thrasybulus left.
Now here is a little drama of the workings of the law of there being no accident in nature to one who is devoted to philosophy, which forms so important a tenet of the system of Iarchas. The gymnosophists received Apollonius in a queer haughty sort of way, treating him with some lack of courtesy and indifference. Damis was surprised, and while Apollonius was bidden by them to wait until they were ready to receive him, he asked Timasion if they were wise and why they acted in this strange fashion towards Apollonius. Timasion said he could not understand it at all, for they were usually courteous enough, as they had been to Thrasybulus not fifty days since. He himself had taken Thrasybulus in his ferry.
"Now, by Minerva, I see it is all his scheming," exclaimed Damis hotly. "Well, that man thought me unworthy yesterday to know who he was," said Timasion. "If it is no secret, tell me who he is?"
"He is the Tyanean," said Damis.
"Then the secret is out," exclaimed the youth. He told Damis how even Thrasybulus in his passage with him down the Nile had told him he was ashamed of his mission to fill the gymnosophists with suspicion against Apollonius.
Timasion went out to the gymnosophists, which he knew well, and returned to Damis with the information that they would be with Apollonius next day, full of their suspicions. To Apollonius he said nothing.
They all slept under the Egyptian stars after their frugal evening meal.
By James Sterling
In this haunting abysmal world, Sparkling rays of resplendence exist, Of dazzling spiritual light. For those who have turned within, Away from the abounding illusion, There is a fountain, a dancing spring of life. Within the depths of a soul, The seer's eye of Siva Opens like a tiny infant who cries In joy of his new found world. Nature's radiance exists in all, Never discriminating, never denying the truth. We are as the gods, But live unknowing in lives of strife Unconcerned in our own sacred temples. Round after round we travel; Time still has a thoughtful rhyme. "We still have time," we think, But fear death as well. But how much time? Enough for this and for that, But never for solitary moments of introspection To "Know Thyself." Bewailing gods cry, Dwelling on faceless humanity's Vacant, empty temples, Waiting patiently for those who dare to seek. The cold wind blows nature's dead leaves Around the stone tombs of the dead; Wailing altars to be fulfilled In another cycle and time.
By Boris de Zirkoff
[This talk comes from the second part of the tape recording on "Chapter XII of FUNDAMENTALS OF THE ESOTERIC PHILOSOPHY, Part III," made of a private class held on June 16, 1954.]
I do not fully understand the reaches of these Teachings. The best amongst us merely gropes, reaching out towards some understanding. THE SECRET DOCTRINE has a great deal on it, scattered here and there. With an index, you can find an enormous amount of that material for study.
We find the paragraph just read and commented upon voiced in THE SECRET DOCTRINE in other terms. HPB speaks therein of three parallel lines of evolution: Monadic, Manasic or intellectual, and astral-physical. Then she explains where these come from. She uses slightly different language, but the idea is the same.
To understand this, grasp better the history of earth and humanity as a whole. What or who came from the moon? Where did the Manasic hierarchies, the Sons of Mind, come from? They are sun-like, solar.
Do not be discouraged. Simply touching upon it, we get ideas going. We grasp a bare outline, filling it in a little at a time. Up against difficult problems like this, many students give up. Not seeing the whole picture, they feel bad, even though no student in the outer world sees it. I known people in Point Loma and elsewhere who have studied THE SECRET DOCTRINE for half a lifetime -- 40, 50, or 60 years. Now old, they still face the same problems.
They have gathered great understanding, although many keys are still missing. There are many paradoxes, seeming contradictions. These students understand the intellectual profundities partially. They persevered, applying Theosophy in daily life and making it a tremendous power in the lives of men and of themselves. Even so, they must wait for another incarnation when we can better grasp them using a better-trained brain structure.
These teachings are barely touched upon in a chapter and elaborated in perhaps two or three other chapters. Do not expect to get a complete understanding and a thorough picture. You cannot do it. Strive. Reach out towards greater understanding and a more all-embracing picture.
Many students become impatient. They force their minds, producing mental tension, trying to grasp the whole thing and hold it clearly in mind. They cannot do it. They have not trained their minds enough.
Our teachers say immortality is conditional. This is a certain truth. Could it be unconditional? No, not for the reason just pointed out. Man is a composite being. As the Buddha said in the closing words of his life, "Brothers, all there is is composite and transitory, therefore work out your own salvation." This is the core of the philosophy of evolution.
For man as a thinking entity, Occultism designates that ultimate immortality or annihilation persists for a single Manvantara. He assures himself of immortality if the principles composing him as an intellectual, intuitional man have successfully risen to the monadic plane. They become one with the Monad, which shines upon them as a spiritual sun. He assures the loss of his soul if he has directed downwards into brute matter the energies of his Swabhava or essential characteristic.
This is similar to the teaching of great Christian mystics that a man finds redemption by the unification of his human consciousness with the Christos within him. Consider the idea of Original Sin and one's redemption from it. It is a theological distortion of a basic truth. Having fallen into lower worlds of matter, the human entity is really a denizen of spiritual realms. It works to regain its divine estate, which is both its ultimate goal and original source. By gravitating towards the monadic center of consciousness, the human entity rises. It raises itself into higher and higher states of consciousness.
The human entity must meet certain conditions before it can unify with the monadic essence and assure its immortality or future. Its lack of attainment, its failure to achieve immortality, also comes from meeting certain conditions. In this case, there is gravitation towards the lower spheres, matter-ward, into realms where there is less and less spirituality. Doing so, the individual goes backwards in evolution. This is not forever, but temporarily.
Win the struggle towards new conditions. We can only achieve growth through suffering. There are many failures, temporary defeats. New endeavors with their respective trials follow. Finally, the human consciousness forges a permanent connection with the monadic spiritual entity, the individuality, the highest part of itself.
On what scale should we consider this unification to take place? We take most Teachings from the standpoint of the planet on which we live, on which our evolution centers now. As a blueprint, the same ideas apply to any scale of being, yet it is best to interpret most Teachings from the planetary standpoint. This is closer to us and therefore more understandable. Of those degrees of attainment of which we may speak, interpret them in terms of our earth consciousness.
These are rather metaphysical thoughts, and sometimes it is difficult to formulate questions or comments about them.
Consider the infinite variety of characteristics that define us as human beings. They are due to our varied past. From one angle, each of us has his individual Swabhava or self-essence, different from that of anyone else. Like the leaves of the same tree, we are similar to one another yet more individualized. We have expressed much from within already. Our Swabhava has unfolded considerably compared with beings in the vegetable and animal kingdoms.
The astounding variety of human characteristics falls into categories. This deals with hierarchies. Dozens, hundreds, and even thousands of people may differ yet relate much closer to one another than to people in other groups. Those within another group of thousands relate more to one another than to anyone in the first. Humanity exhibits both variety and classification.
The twelve zodiacal signs comprise one category. Each person is born under the influence of a particular sign, which relates to so-called astrology. True astrology is a secret science of which we know next to nothing. Other classifications have something else behind them.
Every human being has within himself that monadic essence, that Monad, that Inner God, that highest spiritual divine Entity, from which he stems, in which he is rooted. Each individual human being has his own Inner God.
Are all these Inner Gods entirely different from one another? If we take a million human beings, does that mean that there are a million different Inner Gods or inner Monads? It would be too simple to say that a hundred million human beings come ultimately from a hundred million different divine beings scattered in the spaces of space. That is not so. Of innumerable Gods, the same Divinity may overshadow, imbue, or vitalize inwardly more than one man.
In the sky, you see many stars. They are all suns, divine beings. Picture the Divinity centered in one such star. Upon earth, there are human beings directly rooted in that Divinity inwardly. There may be dozens of men, perhaps lots more, all especially akin to one another. Karmically, they may separate in one life and draw together in another. They manifest karmic ties with noble, profound, and deep bonds of fellowship. In their inner natures, they stem from the same God. Each of these innumerable Divinities has many, many beings under their jurisdiction in various spheres of life.
Consider another standpoint. Go out on a clear night and see the stars. You may see a few thousand with your naked eye or millions through a telescope. By observation, you find yourself facing infinity. These stars are suns, just like ours, which is small. Some are smaller and others are immensely larger. They each manifest a Divinity on this plane.
A great many of these stars or Gods -- perhaps all -- have human beings on earth in direct lineal descendent from them. There is a particular Divinity centered in its star that overshadows and vitalizes along inner lines certain men on earth. Along with our earth, other planets have their inner spheres. On these planets and inner spheres are beings under the jurisdiction of Gods. Those Divinities may be the same or different from ours. This explains the bewildering variety among human beings.
Not understanding these Teachings yet, intelligent people ask, "Where are the gods? Can you see them as you see men?" You can see the Gods. Each time you gaze into the night sky, you see their physical manifestation. You just cannot see them spiritually. Looking at a sunrise or sunset, you see the physical aura of the Divinity most directly concerned with the structure of our solar system. You see the auras of Gods, the lowest emanations of their internal principles, which you certainly cannot see directly. This thought has immense implications and deductions. Dwell on it. Can a man look directly at the true countenance of our sun? No. Nor is it possible as a human being to penetrate into it. Even so, in due course of time, the inner principles of any of us will journey to the sun because they are children of that essence.
Many Christian expressions are rooted in the mystical symbology of the early days. According to legend, Moses talks to God in a burning bush. That is another example of the divine being associated with fire and light.
The Greek philosopher Herakleitos said there were gods in everything but not understanding the nature of things, no one else could see them. Everything in existence is composed of units subject to cosmic numerology. This relates to the formation and geometric design of hierarchies. Those hierarchies transmit vitalities that crystallize into entities directly associated with them. The true nature of astrology is this relationship of life to the heavens.
That is a fine trend of ideas. There is an entire science of numerological correspondence, symbolism, and spiritual geometry, full of mathematical implications.
Adept concepts influenced Greek thought. Scientific in nature, it uses mathematic equations and dialectical logic. One needs the intellect, grasping it by making observations or comparisons. One has to evolve higher senses within oneself. Those higher senses look at its symbols from a different perspective, the perspective of relativity. The student considers his figures, numbers, and concepts. By juggling numbers, he creates psychologically. As the Greek Pythagoras said, numbers form the basis for all things. The only difference between one object and another was their numerological arrangement. Numbers determined their natures and characteristics.
Through great minds like Pythagoras, the ancients have left us wonderful keys to the study of that science. Even among students of Theosophy, few have the time or desire to delve into these aspects of the Teachings. It has tremendous depth. It all interrelates. We could correlate anything, including music or colors.
Studying history, psychology, speculative philosophy, and liberal arts, I found how culture originates. This includes the creation of great art and the coming into being of genius, beauty, and philosophy. In each case behind that manifestation, there was a great educator or group of educators interested in subjects related to Neo-Platonism. These great minds gathered to study geometry and numbers, finding out what the Greeks talked about and applying it to architecture, art, and science.
In time, these ancient thoughts or universal ideas permeate our thought. They also operate as seeds from one age to another.
It is time to close. We are through with Chapter 12. For next time, start reading Chapter 13. It is quite long, so only read it all if you have time and leisure. Otherwise, just take one-half of the chapter.
We have covered Teachings abstruse and difficult to formulate in ordinary language. The same ideas will come up many more times. They will become more familiar as we throw further light on them.
From our evening's discussion, particularly gather the thought that keeps repeating itself. It is the interconnectedness of everything. We speak of principles, elements, rounds, races, hierarchical subdivisions, and zodiacal signs. It does not matter what portion of the human or the world constitution we consider. All of the Teachings are but facets of the one fundamental interconnectedness of all that is. It hangs together to such an extent that we can consider nothing wholly apart from the rest. It has its links. It has its connotations. It has its relativities, its relations to all else.
Take special courage and renewed hope from this thought. There is the interconnectedness of all that is. Our individual pattern is within that universal pattern of being. Within the outline of the universal hierarchical structure is the smaller outline of our own hierarchy and planes. Nothing is ever lost. Nature leaves out, forgets, or overlooks nothing. There is no atom or electron in the universal structure not an integral and inseparable part of that organic structure.
What does this mean on ethical lines? Under the impact of these Teachings, no one could feel disconnected. It may appear so only because of the weakness of one's mental and emotional apparatus. Feeling left out, we delude ourselves, nourishing fears of an imaginary future that rarely takes place.
We indissolubly connect with all that is. Each of us is indispensable to the whole. Even were we mere atoms, the universe could not go on without us. The universe could not exist deprived of one atom. The whole of the universe is potentially contained even in that one atom. In principle, this thought is correct, even if it seems overstated.
These Teachings stimulate a new faith in the goodness of spiritual life in us. They generate a surety that all is essentially well, in spite of the seeming and temporary confusions. When we give them due attention, filling our minds and hearts, they strike a responsive echo in us. They make us feel that we are at home in the universal structure. Whatever may be unpleasant, hard to bear, or temporarily distressing are but clouds that pass, borne upon some wind or other, across the azure sky of our inner selves. The sun of truth shines forever bright when they have passed. Not tinged by any sorrow, it is everlastingly the same in the depths of the human heart.