When people, either educated or uneducated, can look upon life as optimistically as do the Theosophists, then we may have some home for humanity. We must have such hope; we must believe in ourselves; we must believe in our god-like natures; we must believe that brotherhood is a fact in nature; and that the world that most of us live in, is a very small world in comparison with the great one that we have next to know.
-- Katherine Tingley, THE TRAVAIL OF THE SOUL, page 183
By B.P. Wadia
[From LIVING THE LIFE, pages 3-6.]
One of the difficulties under which students of Theosophy labor is the practical and therefore one-sided or distorted view they take of the Wisdom Religion. Theosophy takes the place of an outworn creed. It provides a better field for philosophic speculation. It is a new science, instructing where modern knowledge breaks down. Through the many theosophical associations, it affords avenues of altruistic expression.
Few recognize the synthetic character of Theosophy. It is the religion of the Spirit, free and immortal. It is the philosophy of the Heart, for us to practice universally, all the time. The Science of Life instructs us in self-devised methods of never-dying energies moving in the direction of Universal Self-Consciousness. It teaches the Higher Altruism, calling for self-correction and growth from within. Done on the part of every being, this results in the growth of all.
It is curious that we make the science of Self to be applicable to everything but the Self. It is curious that we see its laws operating in all beings but us. Everyone lives by a power within, a power with an eclipsed, non-recognizable influence. This takes place because in the sphere of deeds, other people's will guides our organs of action. Similarly, on the plane of feelings, other people's emotions energize our heart. We do our thinking by proxy. Our heads are replete with thoughts of other men.
The student should recognize two fundamental principles fully. Theosophy is a synthesis of religion, philosophy, and science. As a synthesis, it primarily concerns itself, touches, and affects the causal forces of the Self thereby producing myriad forms as effects. Then, his task will become less difficult.
Such recognition inevitably leads him to study theosophic truths from three points of view -- spirit, mind, and matter. It leads him to apply truths in the three distinct spheres of heart, head, and hands. Such study and practice convinces him that synthesis proceeds from within his spiritual Being. Through his actions, it affects the deeds of others. Through his likes and dislikes, if affects the pleasures and pains of others. Through his thoughts, it affects the minds of others. In turn, others affect him in like manner. If in study Theosophy reveals itself as a synthesis of religion, philosophy, and science in applying its tenets and doctrines, we soon begin to sense that an additional or fourth factor exists, a kind of oversoul, which is the Higher Altruism.
Altruism is the Absolute whose three aspects are the religion to live, in terms of the philosophy to learn, of the science to be practice. To practice, to learn, to live -- for and as the ALL -- is to manifest the Living Power of Theosophy.
This living power of Theosophy is latent, buried deep in the heart of every man. Therefore, everyone not yet Theosophist is Theosophist in embryo. It ought to be clear to an intelligent student that his task, however difficult, is not complex. Theosophy advocates the simple life by insistently pointing out in a hundred ways that the power by which we live is of a simple character, both in its origin and in its operations.
Men have strayed away from this simplicity and have assumed a million complexes by looking for knowledge outside of the Self, for divinity in other than the Self. Thus started on the inclined plane of retrogression, we see division where solidarity exists. It is division between science and religion, between inanimate and animate, and between secular and sacred. In place of "the immanence of God and solidarity of man," some proclaim God in heaven and men to be the children of dust and worms on earth.
This blunder and its correction that Theosophy puts forward have to be understood and applied by each student in his own life. Unless this is done, Theosophy will remain a religion, a philosophy, a science, a mode of charity, and a method of philanthropy in contradistinction to other religions, philosophies, sciences, and methods of altruistic efforts.
H.P. Blavatsky has complained in more than one place that solidarity in the ranks of Theosophists did not exist in spite of the fact that they were able to preach religious truths and to put before the scientific world wonderful information in an instructive way. The religion of Universal Spirit fails to inspire most of us when a fellow Theosophist hurts our feelings or to give us courage to stand by him when he is unjustly attacked. Our philosophy of the One and Undivided Self evaporates into impracticality when we have to say that the moral leper, the intellectual prostitute, and the psychically drunk are our brothers. This will continue as long as we do not apply the Synthesis of Theosophy to purify our lower nature and create a higher perception of altruism.
The Living Power of Theosophy must become the power by which we live. As we have a material instrument and an energizing mind and as we are in being spiritual, we must live as spiritual beings our Religion of Joyous Immortality that ensouls and illumines the mind. Aided by the philosophy of Theosophy, we must let that mind energize our house of flesh so that the latter is no more a palace of pleasure, but rather a Temple of the Living God, the Ruler who rules from within.
By J.D. Beresford
[From THE ARYAN PATH, January 1936, pages 25-28.]
If through the Hall of Wisdom, thou would'st reach the Vale of Bliss, Disciple, close fast thy senses against the great dire heresy of Separateness.
When of writing this quotation from THE VOICE OF THE SILENCE, the whole world, as represented by its Rulers, its Statesmen, its vocal public, and its Press is preaching and practicing this "dire heresy of Separateness." In every country of Europe, in America, and the Far East, we see men and women drawing together in a common cause but that cause is, without exception, an ideal of Nationalism. Men unite and find agreement among themselves only to serve their personal ends in the name of the nation. In Germany, to quote a single example, "the brotherhood of blood," the claim to be of one family, is to be used for the furtherance of an ambition that must completely disregard the interests and welfare of all other families of different blood.
In Nationalism, we see the Egotism of the individual exhibited on an enlarged scale. Behind it lies the self-seeking of those whose interests will be served by racial alliances against the common enemy. Nietzsche spoke of the Christian ethic as a "slave morality." In precisely the same sense, Nationalism may be described as slave immorality, the practice of evil under the shelter of the mass, which is a defense for the feebleness of the unit.
Moreover, no church that has ever preached the commandment of Christ, that we love one another, has yet been able to avoid that heresy of Separateness, so clearly condemned by the great fundamental tenet of Theosophy. The reason for this can be deduced at once from the Nietzschean criticism just quoted. The vice of Nationalism is inherent in the teaching of the Christian Churches. The individual avoids personal responsibility by alliance with the mass; and his personal vanity, his intolerance, and his hatreds may all find vent in being directed against a creed regarded as heterodox, even though such a creed be derived from the teachings of the same Master he professes to serve.
The reverse of slave morality is individualism, though not of the kind advocated by Nietzsche, which is a Western form of Hatha Yoga, or Separatism. The individualism of Raja-Yoga, taught by Theosophy, is also by way of renunciation but by another method and with another object. "Tis from the bud of Renunciation of the Self, that springeth the sweet fruit of final Liberation," but the way of renunciation is not by Separateness, nor by isolation from the world. "Not by withholding from works does a man reach freedom from works, nor through renunciation alone does he win Supreme Success" (BHAGAVAD-GITA, III, 4), but by the desire for spiritual union with all mankind.
Here is the plain direction of Theosophical teaching, as it is clearly set forth in the Ancient Wisdom and repeated in other forms by all the great Teachers and adepts, including notably the Christ whose new commandment the churches have so pitiably failed to keep. Yet it may well seem now that the world is falling into a chaos of hate and insanity. Why, we must all be asking ourselves, have so few been able to find the golden key to the first of the Seven Portals, "Dana, the key of charity and love immortal?" Why are so few able to "bear love to men as though they were brother-pupils, disciples of one Teacher, the sons of one sweet mother?"
There can be but one answer to that question. The fault is in ourselves. We read great Truths such as those already cited in this article; we believe that they are words of wisdom; but we are unable to put them into practice in our own lives. We profess to be Theosophists, but have not taken one true step towards the attainment of its teaching. We concern ourselves with the problems of esoteric knowledge, seek to understand the mysteries, and forget the statement of that adept who said, "Though I understand all mysteries and all knowledge ... and have not love, I am nothing."
It is that the world trembles again on the verge of chaos, of war, hatred, and insanity.
How then can we, earnest Theosophists, win this key to the first portal? How is it possible for us, average men and women, to acquire a selfless love of humanity, without distinction of race, creed, or color? Let us first observe ourselves and then see if we can interpret the direction of the Masters.
Now is it not true that there are very few who are capable of a deep and selfless love even for those who are dearest to us -- husband, wife, son, or daughter? When we are put to the test, we shall find an element of selfishness in our attitude towards them. We expect some return, and if we do not receive it, we are disappointed. Moreover, this kind of human affection nearly always contains an element of criticism, based on the standard of what we assume to be our own perfections. We desire to alter the objects of our affection in some respect or another, so they may be nearer this ideal of our heart's desire. We are not giving freely but with an ultimate purpose. We love in order to win some return. We are defending our own personalities.
Equally vain will be our efforts if we seek to love humankind as an exercise in self-discipline. If we go about the world with a determined smile, practicing self-control, seeking to cure ourselves of the habit of criticism, endeavoring by a continual mental effort to find good in everyone we meet, generously (as it seems to us) trying to overlook in others the faults that we cannot help observing, training ourselves to serve what is intrinsically a selfish purpose, we may make better citizens, we may even find a measure of happiness, but we shall never learn the true nature of love. Moreover, we shall run the risk of suffering a dangerous reaction, since all self-discipline undertaken for purely intellectual reasons, is liable to provoke rebellion in the personality.
Kill out desire; but if thou killest it, take heed lest from the dead it should again arise.
-- H.P. Blavatsky, THE VOICE OF THE SILENCE, page 15
This method, admirable as it may be in some respects, strengthens the natural tendency to objectify the personality, to build up a mental conception of the Self that is no more than an intellectual fantasy, a chimera that will not long survive physical death. (Sakkayaditthi, the delusion of personality. See THE VOICE OF THE SILENCE, page 4.) Those who have no hope of finding the golden key, self-discipline of this order may serve an excellent worldly purpose, but not by these means can we fit ourselves to pass the first gate.
But having thus observed ourselves and agreed that not by this or that way can we take our first step in the true path, whither shall we go for a direction? The Masters tell us that each of us must find a personal solution of his or her own problem, that in this matter there can be no golden rule, no magic formula, no dogma, by subscription to which we may walk in safety.
I am so deeply aware of these great difficulties that I must preface any attempt to cope with them, by the acknowledgment that I can give but one answer out of many. What follows must be accepted as a personal interpretation of the Ancient Wisdom, and there may well be other interpretations better fitted to those who have already taken their first step on the Path.
For me, then, and I speak more particularly to those who may happen to be in the same case, it seems that the preliminary phase that must precede all efforts after initiation must be by the realization of what Heine called the "divine homesickness," that consciousness of urgency in the true self, which Francis Thompson described in "The Hound of Heaven" and is spoken of by Jesus as the "hunger and thirst after righteousness." If we hear that call of the inner voice and refuse to obey it, we shall sin against our own Spirit, and must suffer for the sin in lives to come.
Yet many who hear that call and seek to answer it, make little further progress. Very often, they are tempted by it to separate themselves from their own kind, essay the difficult and sometimes dangerous experiment of unguided meditation and suffer the delusion of self-righteousness. (See paragraph 2 of page 4 in THE VOICE OF THE SILENCE.) Others may fall into the same snare by believing that they are called upon to preach to others the truths they have not yet comprehended themselves. These are the temptations of the mind that must now be mistrusted as a guide, giving place to that Soul-Wisdom that alone has been responsible for our "divine homesickness."
Throughout the ancient teaching, cropping up continually here and there, we find that the advice given to the disciple in this, the very first stage on the road to peace, is to seek humility through obeisance. All our adult life has been guided by the "Head-Wisdom" we call Reason; and our first surrender must be by way of the realization that Reason, as we know it, is founded on illusion.
We have to acknowledge our complete ignorance of the true wisdom, and learn that it can never arise from an intellectual source. Intellectual and spiritual pride will shut us out from the inner knowledge of what love is. For love necessitates a complete surrender of what we believe to be the personality, the false personality built up of pride in ourselves and critical judgments of others. There can be no true love even of those dearest to us, so long as we seek to change them in any degree. The disciple who wishes to take this very first step on the Path must remember always that he is a child in wisdom, the pupil and never the teacher.
We have to learn the lesson of humility by patient degrees, continually seeking within ourselves the seeds of that divine compassion from which the holy plant will presently spring.
If we find it difficult to love thus, simply and wholly, those whom we most deeply admire, how much greater is the task when we seek to extend our compassion to mankind as a whole! We may, it is true, conceive that attitude as an imaginative possibility, but that, alone, is no more than a fantasy, another form of self-delusion. We have to put our imaginings into daily practice. Consider, for instance, deliberately and deeply, all that is implied by the following text from THE VOICE OF THE SILENCE:
Let each burning human tear drop on thy heart and there remain; nor ever brush it off, until the pain that caused it is removed.
How many of us can claim such abandonment of the self as is necessary to reach the deeps of pity and sympathy implied by that passage?
Truly this way of Raja-Yoga is the hardest of all paths to follow, harder far for those of great will and intellect than the way of asceticism and self-immolation, for we may not separate ourselves from the world. We have to serve the way of the spirit in daily contact with our fellows, by which means alone can we realize that all men are one.
By James Sterling
Emptiness prevails throughout the universe; My mind is like a blank slate, Neither is there good to praise, Nor evil to condemn. Emptiness prevails. I am like unto a void, Existing between the pair of opposites: Happiness and sorrow, good and evil, Have little consequence on my Translucent, transparent soul. I am at my best in this void, Feeling nothing within -- the clock Ticks not, thirst for life is abated, Emotions are like the receding tide On an evanescent sea. Purification washes away Personality; My personality has vanished -- the birds All flew south for the winter. I am as empty as the mind of the Newborn babe; I know not who I am -- just a fleeting memory of What I was -- a dark mystery to Forget about and not care. Emptiness -- detachment of the soul Leaves knowledge and wisdom forgotten, Quiescence perfected. A channel Unveiled leaves destiny opening Like an unwritten book. To do my duty, to stay just empty and selfless, Solitary in the Ineffable void, it's really Just the same. Merging my form with the formless leaves Nothingness on this lowest plane. Only my soul's scattered wanderings Where Buddhist Emptiness of the Universe Joins the I AM.
By Paul N. Rooke
[From THE AUSTRALIAN THEOSOPHICAL SOCIETY NEWSLETTER, August 2004, pages 5-7.]
The Hopi legends speak of a Great Spirit who created a pact with Mankind. The four races -- red, yellow, black and white -- were all parties to the pact. Each was given two stones tables and told to hold and protect these. Each race had its own separate responsibilities to the world and each was told to live in harmony with each other. The racial responsibilities were allocated as follows:
The red races were the American Indians, and they lived in the east. Their role was the responsibility of the guardianship of the earth.
The yellow races were the Asians and lived in the south quarter of the planet. Their role was the guardianship of the wind.
The black races were the Africans and lived in the west. Their role was the guardianship of water.
The white races were the Europeans and lived in the north. Their role was the guardianship of fire, as in power and energy.
These tablets apparently exist. They are protected and have been observed by members of the Hopi tribe and others who have a sympathetic interest in the sacred traditions of the North American Indians. The Eastern tablets are kept by the Hopi elders in Arizona, the Southern tablets by the Tibetans in Tibet, the Western tablets by the Kikuyu tribe in Kenya in Africa, and the Northern tablets are held by the Swiss in Switzerland. The Hopi Indian who wrote the article that I read has seen the American and African tablets.
The Hopi predictions are uncannily accurate and were made at least ten thousand years ago. They concern the world that we are living in now, and they start to take effect from the mid 1600's, the time when the Spanish conquistadors came to America. The Hopi tablets predict several stages in American history and the outcomes for mankind associated with these are given.
The first stage is the coming of the turtles. This describes the conquistadors marching across America with their armor on their backs.
The Hopi then moved to the early twentieth century where they said that there would be a black ribbon that would come to cover America with bugs crawling all over it, and the ribbon would be shaken and the bugs would take to the air. This would be at about the time of the first great shaking of the earth that was World War I in the earlier years of the last century.
The Hopi then go on to describe the crisscrossing of the world by a cobweb upon which people would talk, the emergence of a tilted sign of life, (the Nazi swastika), and the sun rising in the west, not in the east. This was, perhaps, the Japanese rising sun. At this time, there would be a second shaking of the earth, which was World War II. Both shakings of the earth took place because man had not learned to live with his fellow man in the way that the Great Spirit required when the tablets were written, tens of thousands of years ago.
They then say that the saga will speed up at this stage and several other elements will be in it before the Great Outcome, a third world war. They talk of a falling of a gourd of ashes. I think this was the dropping of the A-bomb on Hiroshima in World War II. They then go on to say further in their projections that upon he who dropped the gourd of ashes, the gourd of ashes will later fall. This is significant for what might happen in America in the next ten or twenty years. After this there would be established in the house of mica on the east coast of the land of the turtles, which is obviously the U.N. Building. The Hopi hoped to be involved with putting their beliefs before this forum. They were not allowed to do so at this time (1950's). They then decided that they would have to communicate what they knew in English so that their beliefs would be conveyed to the world because they could see what was going to happen. Their traditions were later published in the 1960's as THE BOOK OF THE HOPI.
They went on to predict genetic engineering and sex-change surgery, to speak of an Eagle landing on the moon. Obviously, they were referring here to the successful Apollo mission of 1969. They predicted this as a time of great racial unrest in the United States. They went on to talk from here on of a decline in family ties, the hastening of the pace of life, and of families not having time for each other.
Then they came to their final prediction that was that a man-made house would be thrown into the sky. This I think refers to the join American-Russian space station that was launched in 1999. They said this would mark the beginning of World War III and the third great shaking of the earth if mankind did not wake up to itself and listen to what they were saying. They said further that at this stage, upon he who dropped the gourd of ashes the gourd of ashes could fall. In particular, they suspected that there would be a lot of heavy bombing of the American agricultural regions of the north of the United States. There would be a third world war. It would start gradually but would ultimately involve all of mankind. Man would survive it but only in much smaller numbers. The world would then go on to a more harmonious existence where the wish of the Great Spirit that all four races could live in harmony would finally be fulfilled.
[From LUCIFER, September 15, 1890, pages 19-24.]
On a mean bed, in a long, curtain-partitioned room, a child, with a beautiful though pale and delicate face, was lying. Her eyes had closed and a happy smile played around the well-formed, expressive mouth.
A stranger, used only to the dwellings of the rich, might have wondered at the contented, nay radiant, look upon the wan little face. The old-fashioned, patch-worked, calico quilt, which covered the thin form, did not hide the great fact that the child was deformed. Signs of poverty showed those who made this room their home had to struggle hard for daily bread. From the court beneath came the shrill cries of children, the brawling voices of angry mothers, and the rough voices of men. The air that made its way in at the open window was heavy with the odors of the stifling London slum. It crept up lazily to touch the cheek of the sick girl as though weary with its burden.
The furniture of the room, though poor and scanty, showed the presence of an active order-loving woman. All about was cleaned and well arranged. Near the window, placed to catch the first rays of the dawn and the last streaks of evening's waning light, was a heavy sewing machine. It showed plainly enough the employment of at least one of the occupants of the room. In the opposite corner placed slightly behind the headline of the bed to escape the notice of the invalid, some dozen empty fruit-baskets, piled one above another. An old, well-washed coster's barrow stood on end before them. [A coster is someone that sells fruit or vegetables in the street from a barrow.] The mantelpiece was ornamented with a bright tin teapot, the photograph of a man with a weather-beaten face in a sailor's hat and blue jersey (the dead father of the little girl), and a common yellow jug filled with wild flowers and grasses tastefully arranged.
Converted into a table by the help of an old board and a piece of flowered chintz, a rough wooden box stood near the bed with a cup of cold tea and two well-worn books upon it. Bright prints from illustrated newspapers were fastened upon the blue-tinted walls. The floor of the room shone with oak-stain and elbow grease. An air of comfort, even of refinement, revealed itself amidst the poverty of the place and sorted well with the presence of the frail child.
Bill, the coster, had learned from his father to keep things about him "ship-shape." He took a delight in having all around
"The Queen," as he called his only, much loved sister, as neat and pretty as the means at his disposal allowed. Bill was a prosperous coster with a pony and cart of his own and a little fund in the Savings Bank in case of need. Bill neither drank nor swore. As for marrying, he always declared he had never seen the girl that could hold a candle to his sister Polly.
The entrance of a respectable, middle-aged woman bearing a bundle of tailoring was welcomed by the invalid with a glad smile and the words, "Mother, dear, what a long time they have kept you today. I'm afraid you may be very tired."
"Eh, child, tired enough; but they don't care how long they keep you standing or how tired you be."
"Poor Widow Wilson was there before you, mother, and she was so weak and ill. She was worrying about her three mites of children. She locked them into her room before she started and had no bread to leave with them until she got paid for her work."
Mrs. East paused, bonnet in hand, and turned round quickly. "How do you know that," she said. "Have you been wandering again?"
"I've been down to the workshop," laughed the child, "but I did not wander. I was there sooner than you were. I looked into Widow Wilson's place. The children were all right, making patterns on the floor with a bit of burnt stick. I wanted to tell her, but could not make her see me."
"You would have frightened her to death if you had. She would have thought you were dead and that she had seen your ghost. I cannot think how you do it. How can you lie here all the while as still as a mouse and as white as a sheet? My people never had those ways.
"You get them from your father's folk. It came of living so lonely like on that dull Cornish coast and staring at the sea. Doctor says it is disease and you can see so far because your body is weak. I do not hold with that now. Your poor father was the strongest lad along the coast and the Cornish men ain't no way like the London linen props. He had the Seeing Eye, now and again, not that it did him any good as far as I could make out.
"His mother -- that is your Gran -- has the second sight. She saw the ship go down in which your father sailed, as plain as plain, and wrote to warn him not to go. The letter came too late. I never got it until a week after they had left the docks. She lost a good son and I lost a good husband. There ain't many such. Gran is healthy, though she is but a bag of bones, as a body need be. I wish Bill could save enough to take you down to Cornwall. Maybe your back would get strong down there."
"And leave you all alone? I'm well enough and very happy here."
"Then it does not take much to make some folk happy. I wonder if you would be happy if you had been standing in that hot shop for three hours hearing the women grumble and curse at the loss of time and the hardness of the loss."
"I was there, little mother. I will tell you what I saw before Bill comes in while you get supper. Poor Bill does not like to think I see more than others do. It makes him fear I am not long for this world -- silly boy! I wish you had the 'seeing eye.' You might be happy then, even at the workshop, for 'Perfect justice rules the world.' Things look quite different when you can see all round them. We are at school here, mother, and have to learn a new lesson. It is a lesson that will help us further on the road and make us happier in the end. Although it seems dull and lonely as if deserted while we struggle with our hard task, we are never left alone a minute.
"It is just the same with us as it was with Bill when he was at school. You used to make him take his book to the other end of the room and draw the curtain until he had learnt his lesson. You said it took him off his work to see you moving round. To him, when he had drawn the curtain, it seemed as though he were shut off and alone. He has told me so lots of times. You were here ready to help him just the same. You could have heard him, mother, if anything had been the matter, and he had called out. Bill goes behind the curtain now to please himself when he comes in from the night school though he did not like it when he was little. If people could lift the curtain and look behind when they liked, they would never learn their lesson.
"Now, today, at the workshop, you were not alone. Standing close beside you was a beautiful being, strong, pure, and good. It supported you in your fatigue. It gave you thoughts of Bill and me, to pass the time. It made you think of Gran in her pretty cottage by the sea and the happy times you had there when you were a housemaid at the hall. When you got vexed with the foreman for keeping you so long and when you listened to the girls cursing at their lot and agreed that what they said was true, a grey shadow throws itself between you and your invisible friend. It was quite plain to me that the thoughts of each person in that workshop were making for each a different kind of companion.
"Widow Wilson's mind was full of her children. She was silent and patient, though somewhat anxious and troubled. She had a thought in her head about some power that she kept saying was, 'An ever ready help in time of trouble,' and of One who was 'A Father of the fatherless.' I saw a golden ray of light spread itself about her so she could not hear the curses, or feel the hot stifling air. One glittering ray flashed out like lightning through the sky into the room where her children played. I followed it. I saw the eldest girl jump up, look round, catch up a broken mug half-full of water, and throw the water on the fire. The children had kindled it anew, in pulling out sticks with which to draw. The girl knew there was no wood but that left for tomorrow. Then I looked again at Widow Wilson and saw that the golden light of peace had wrapped her in.
"Near the workshop door stood Bullying Bess. She had come late and was last in the row of waiting workers. She had been drinking. Tongues of fire were darting round her. Her throat was dry and parched. Her head was hot and felt like bursting. She was in a rage at standing last. She did not care for the work that was awaiting her so much as the money she had to take. Her thirst was terrible.
"How I pity her. She had a terrible monster by her side, a tyrant who hisses constantly in her ear, 'Drink! Drink! Drink!' Hovering over her was her better Self, trying to beat off the demon. It would catch the creature by the throat and try to strangle him. It would call to Bess to rouse herself, come, and help in the fight. It tried to wake recollections of her dead mother and her own childhood, made miserable by a drunken father. It asked if she wished to make the childhood of her baby as miserable as drink had made her own. Though she listened, she would not fight. The better Self was pushed away. The drink-demon dragged her in its cruel clutches and now she is soaking herself with gin."
"Polly, what you are saying is horrible. Why would not Bess listen to you, months ago, when I brought her home that you might warn her what would come if she broke the pledge her poor mother persuaded her to take?"
"I cannot tell. Perhaps there is some lesson for her to learn through drink as I am learning mine through helplessness and pain. I only know what I see."
"Well, life is a mystery. It is hard for me to understand that justice rules the world, as you say, when we slave and slave and the master swallows all the profits and lives in grand style while many a poor woman who has no good son like our Bill to help her sits, sews, and starves."
"I do not think, mother, you would be willing to change homes with the master if you could see what I have seen today."
"Bless the child! What have you seen?"
"Well, they are going to have a grand dinner party tonight at his house and he went away early, didn't he?"
"Yes, that he did. I wondered what was up. Although he grinds others, there's no denying that he don't spare himself either, but he does it to please himself and that makes all the difference."
"No, mother, he does not do it, altogether, to please himself. He can scarcely help it now. He has chained himself to two tyrants and they drive him sometimes almost against his will. He has let the demon of Greed and the demon of Selfishness get hold of him. They push and hurry him along until he cannot tell where he is going. They have bandaged his eyes and made him live in the dark until he has lost the use of his sight. He is quite blind now.
"As he passed the women and girls in the shop this afternoon, he did not see how pale, tired, and anxious they looked. He FELT their silent anger and hate. I saw how each black thought that ran through the minds of the women, as he passed them, fed the demons and gave them renewed power. The silent curses and the hard thoughts went out like a dark damp cloud, settled upon him, and hung about him, making it impossible for his guardian angel to reach his heart.
"The cloud clung cold about him as he got into his one-horse closed carriage. It made his voice sound gruff and surly, as he said to the coachman, 'Home, and look sharp about it!' It sent a thrill of hurt feeling through the man, who had looked for a civil word, making him whip the horse when there was no necessity.
"The animal started with pain and dashed off nearly knocking down a little child. This made the coachman draw up suddenly and gave him a fright. He is a kind-hearted man and has children of his own. The shock angered him afresh and he swore under his breath and whipped the horse again. Another injustice formed additional dark clouds until inside and outside, round carriage, horse, and driver, a heavy pall of evil influence traveled.
"Wherever it passed, a deadly shiver ran through the air. It did not once lift its cold weight all the way home. It met, and drove through many clouds as black as or blacker than its own. The crowded streets are often filled with mere moving masses of varying darkness, lighted here and there by a ray of golden light surrounding a pure loving heart. These shades are the evil, selfish thoughts of men haunting the beings that gave them birth.
"When the master stepped from his carriage into the richly furnished hall, it was horrible to the seeing eye. Evil thoughts hung heavily in the air.
"The master is a rich man and his wife is a rich woman with money of her own, but they want to seem even richer than they are. Every two-shilling piece must do the work of half-a-crown. The wife is killing her soul and destroying her body working with her brain as unceasingly as does the hardest worked tailor at the workshop with her fingers to accomplish her self-imposed task.
"Mother, her work kills more quickly than yours. It helps humanity less. It feeds selfishness, pride, and ambition more. The coat you make keeps some poor man warm. They will carry on your good work for you long after they have passed from your hands. The money you earn clothes and feeds our bodies, helping us to stay here as long as we can to learn the lesson that life must teach. Her work does no one any good and the miserable creature knows it.
"Day after day, she plans and contrives new decorations for the house, new toilettes for herself and children, new economics for the household. Day after day, her guardian angel whispers unceasingly, 'What is the good of it all? What is the good?' She hears the voice and is sick and weary unto death. She dare not stand, grumble, and swear as the girls at the workshop do. She must keep a smile on her face and have a courteous answer ready for everyone who speaks to her. For she wishes that others to think her free from care, a lady.
"You would pity her, mother, as much as poor drunken Bess, if you could see and hear what I have seen tonight. Her thought and contrivances for show are bearing fruit. She has not toiled in vain. Sighs and moans of pain come forth from the carpets on the floor, the furniture in the rooms, the pictures on the walls, and the books in the cases. The cries of disappointed hopes, weariness, and suffering given forth by the men and women who made them are echoed again in low solos that tremble through the house. No health and happiness can abide there. It has no true joy.
"The servants are overworked and the worst instead of the best of their human nature is called forth. Though they wear pretty dresses, smart caps, and embroidered aprons, though they put on pleasant smiles, their aching limbs and rebellious hearts carry anxiety and hopeless sorrow wherever they go. In the kitchen, the cook is hot and worried, wasteful for want of time, and is unjust and cross to her assistants. The gluttony that 'hurries her off her feet' moves her soul in protest and she stirs disease into every dainty dish.
"In the nursery, there is sickness begotten of maternal vanity. Whooping cough has declared itself. The mother loves her babes, but she must trust them to a nurse that she has hired for good looks and low wages for the mother's presence is wanted in twenty places at once. Death hovers over one little bed, but no one sees it.
"Tired, anxious, racked with neuralgia, and torn with fear, is the mistress of that household as she meets the scowling master on the doorstep with a forced and patient smile. If you could lift the curtain, mother, you would see more beauty in our poor home than in that grand house at Brixton.
"Here comes Bill with the harebells and the grasses he has gathered for me on Tooting Beck."
By Beatrice Lane Suzuki
[From THE ARYAN PATH, May 1936, pages 217-20.]
There is a religious teaching in Japan that claims to be able to open the mind to see Reality. This is the Shingon or "True Word" school of Mahayana Buddhism. It is akin historically and spiritually to certain teachings in India, but like much that the Japanese have taken from others, it has been adapted to the Japanese mind and transformed by the Japanese spirit.
Shingon is said to have originated with the great teacher Nagarjuna, who discovered in a temple in South India the two precious sutras, the Dainichikyo (Sanskrit: Mahavairochana) and the Kongochokyo (Sanskrit: Vajrashekhara). But, according to Shingon, Nagarjuna thought out and systematized Sakya's teaching, Sakya was indeed his inspiration. Not all of Sakya's teaching is contained in the Pali scriptures. Shingon like Zen claims a secret transmission from the Buddha handed down orally and to a certain extent preserved in Sanskrit manuscripts. Nagarjuna handed down the sutras that he found through a series of illustrious teachers in India and China, until they came to Keikwa, the teacher of Kobo Daishi, the great scholar-priest-saint of Japan.
Kobo Daishi was a most remarkable man whether we view him as religionist, social worker, scholar, painter, sculptor, or general man of affairs. So tremendous was his prestige -- spiritual, artistic, and human -- that the remembrance of it has survived to this day, and almost all Japanese consider dim as one of the greatest geniuses that Japan has ever produced.
Kobo Daishi, to call him by his official and posthumous title, previously known as Kukai, was born in 774 A.D. He entered the priesthood while young. He practiced austerities and read the scriptures. When he found in an old temple the sutra of Dainichi, all his doubts cleared up. He resolved to go to China to learn the doctrine. He obtained Imperial permission and left for China when he was thirty-two years old. There he studied at the temple of Seiryuji in Choan under Keikwa and received Kwanjo.
Upon his return, he spread the teaching not only at the Imperial Court among the aristocracy but also among all classes of people. He opened up the mountain of Koya and established a group of temples there. This collection of temples, still existing today, is the chief headquarters for Shingon teaching. Here is the college systematically teaching the Shingon doctrine and the temples where daily practice is performed.
The main idea of Shingon is what cosmotheism. The universe is a manifestation of the Supreme Buddha, Mahavairochana, and is composed of six elements: earth, water, fire, air (wind), ether, and consciousness, making up the body of Mahavairochana. His thoughts, words, and actions make up the thoughts, words, and actions of the universe and are called The Three Secrets. We, as apparently imperfect reflections of him, are to try to make our thoughts, words, and actions as much like his as possible. How to do this is the teaching of the system of Shingon Buddhism.
The Shingon mandala is of great help, for to understand the mandala is to understand oneself. The two chief mandala are pictorial representations of the universe in symbolic presentation, the Kongo (Sanskrit: Vajradhatu) representing the wisdom side of the Eternal Buddha, and the Taizo (Sanskrit: Garbhakosha), the side of Compassion; the Kongo also shows the fulfilled enlightened aspect of the Buddha but the Taizo shows the growing universe. Although these pictures depict many Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, and others, remember that these many Buddhas and Bodhisattvas are not separate personalities but are simply the varied aspects of the one Eternal Buddha. In the phenomenal world, they may be seen as personal, but in the absolute world as the Dharmakaya.
All these holy figures and the symbology of their attitudes and the objects they hold must be considered a device (upaya) for opening the mind to see Reality. The method is different from that of Zen, but it is a striving for the same end. The mandala is to be regarded as the representation of the quality of the Eternal Buddha, Mahavairochana, and it reveals the divine nature of all beings. All appearances are contained in the mandala, whether dog, tree, stone, man, or Bodhisattva, for the whole universe is Mahavairochana. His substance is the Six Elements and his activity the Three Secrets.
The Shingon calls enlightenment Sokushinjobutsu, which means to become Buddha in this body, and the aim of all its practices is to attain this even if only in a slight degree. It has a variety of methods adapted to different classes of persons. For the more ignorant, there are ceremonies and rituals of all kinds to put them on the preparatory path. For the more enlightened, these rituals assume deep meanings. Some of these rituals are performances to symbolize the body, speech, and mind of the Eternal Buddha by means of gestures (mudra), words (mantra), and meditation (Dhyana).
These mystical teachings and practices are taught to priests and earnest laymen. Among them are the ceremonies of Kwanjo, commonly translated as baptism but differing much from the usual meaning of that word; rituals connected with the mandala and with the fire ceremony. Ceremonies are considered helpful rather than necessary. They make a path and are not goals in themselves. There is a special meditation connected with every Buddha and Bodhisattva aspect in the mandala. Besides these, there is the moon meditation and perhaps the most important and significant of all is meditation upon the letter "A" of the Sanskrit alphabet. Through these practices, spiritual perception is gradually cultivated and to some may come the summum bonum as in Zen, i.e., an insight into one's own nature and that of the Buddha, the One Reality.
The aim of the practice of the Three Secrets is to become one with the Dharmakaya (the Absolute Buddha). As the gestures represent his activity, we try to imitate them. As the sacred words represent his speech, we try to speak them. With our minds, we meditate on our oneness with him. If true enlightenment is not obtained fully in this life, then perhaps a glimpse will be given, and if not even this is vouchsafed, then it serves as a preparation for the future life.
We are Buddhas now in essence because we have the Buddha nature although phenomenally we seem far from it. The fundamental essence of Shingon teaching is that Buddha and all beings are one. This means not human beings only, for animals and plants have the Buddha-nature also and are aspects of Mahavairochana. Illusion surrounds us and obscures our vision of this truth. Bodaishin (Bodhisattva) exists in all things animate and inanimate and in both enlightened and unenlightened beings.
What is this Buddha-nature (Japanese: Bussho, that is, Bodaishin)? In our hearts, we have innate Buddhahood and can develop it. Sokushinjobutsu is to be obtained in this world, in this body, not after death as is taught by Christianity and certain Buddhist sects such as those that believe in Amida and his Pure Land. In this respect, Shingon resembles Zen. Both strive to realize that there is no birth and no death and that Buddhahood is Here and Now. Sokushinjobutso may be described as the opening of the Buddha's wisdom in us and the exercise of his compassion whereby we acquire his virtues and powers.
Shingon lays much stress upon this acquiring the virtues and powers of the Buddha and asserts that it is possible to do so. It says that by the practice of the Three Secrets we can acquire the powers and appropriate the virtues of the Buddha-well-being; happiness, compassion, and wisdom. Wisdom and Compassion are the two foundation posts of Mahayana Buddhism. The Shingon devotee makes four great vows at the beginning of his practice:
However innumerable sentient beings are, I vow to save them. However inexhaustible the passions are, I vow to extinguish them. However innumerable the Dharmas are, I vow to study them. However incomparable the Buddha-truth is, I vow to attain it.
Shingon systematic practice begins with the Kwanjo, which means that the aspirant deliberately of his own free will starts upon the career of the Bodhisattva. He then proceeds to learn the rituals with the view of endeavoring to realize his oneness with Mahavairochana. Practice must be united with Faith and by faith is meant faith in the teachings of Non-duality and Sokushinjobutsu. The two great sutras -- Dainichikyo and Kongochokyo explain the doctrine of Funi isshin (one Mind, not two), the former from the standpoint of Compassion and the latter from that of Wisdom.
Shingon explains the true nature of the Dharmakaya Buddha. According to Shingon, it is not empty and formless as in the teaching of some schools of Buddhism, but of real substance with which we can unite, substance that is true and permanent.
When we are enlightened, the Dharmakaya is found to be not formless and empty but active, and we understand the meaning of the Great Self and the true teaching of non-ego that is emptiness of the small self but not of the Great Self that unites itself with Mahavairochana.
According to Mahayana Buddhism, and especially Shingon, the conception of Nirvana is different from that as generally explained in Buddhism. Many writers on Buddhism consider Nirvana to be extinction but Shingon conceives of it as the Absolute Reality and equivalent to Enlightenment. In Nirvana, the self enlarges to become one with all other selves in Mahavairochana. In Nirvana, true individuality is not lost. Each individual is the center of the universe, but he must realize that all other beings are himself. This is anatta, which is different from the Hinayana conception. Shingon says that we must not cling to the small self but enlarge it to contain all others. This constitutes the Real Self and the knowledge of it is Nirvana that is full of Bliss.
The field of supreme enlightenment is Bodaishin. The great enlightenment of Mahavairochana is tranquil, bright, and filled with compassion for all beings. The sutra says that the Buddha sees all over the universe and knows that all can realize Buddhahood. The whole trouble with us unenlightened beings is that we regard ourselves as separate when in reality we unite in the Dharmakaya. This is the true meaning of non-ego.
What is Shingon?
It is the teaching of non-duality, of Buddha-nature, of enlightenment, of union with the One that brings the Vision of Truth and the Insight into Reality.
By A. Trevor Barker
[From THE HILL OF DISCERNMENT, pages 19-26.]
For our doctrines to react practically on the so-called moral code or the ideas of truthfulness, purity, self-denial, charity, etc. we have to popularize knowledge of Theosophy... . For as everyone knows, total emancipation from authority of the one all-pervading power or law called God by the priests -- Buddha, Divine Wisdom, and enlightenment or Theosophy by the philosophers of all ages -- means also the emancipation from that of human law. Once unfettered and delivered from their dead weight of dogmatic interpretations, personal names, anthropomorphic conceptions, and salaried priests, the fundamental doctrines of all religions will be proved identical in their esoteric meaning. Osiris, Krishna, Buddha, and Christ will be shown as different names for the same royal highway to final bliss -- NIRVANA. Mystical Christianity, that is to say that Christianity that teaches self-redemption through our own seventh principle -- this liberated Para-Atma (Augoeides) called by some Christ, by others Buddha, and equivalent to regeneration or rebirth in spirit -- will be found just the same truth as the Nirvana of Buddhism. All of us have to get rid of our own Ego, the illusory apparent SELF, to recognize our true self in a transcendental divine life. If we would not be selfish, we must strive to make other people see that truth, to recognize the reality of that transcendental self, the Buddh, the Christ or God of every preacher.
-- LETTERS FROM THE MASTERS OF THE WISDOM
We recognize no higher authority than the writer of that letter does and therefore at least all Theosophists will pay a good deal of attention to these words that come from a great Master of Wisdom, although it is from an abridged letter. The point that I want to draw attention to is that it does not very much matter what you call this universal Divine principle in nature -- something that the Christian is accustomed to call "God." In older times in Egypt, they referred to it as Osiris. The Buddhists look upon it as Nirvana. The Hindus look upon it as Brahman, with the Teacher, the incarnate God, as Krishna.
(Many of you are probably familiar with Krishna through the Hindu epic of THE MAHABHARATA where he appears as the Divine Teacher speaking to Arjuna in very much the same way as the Jesus of the Gospels is the God incarnate giving his Divine message to the Theosophists of that age.)
I want to talk to you about the problem of how we are going to contribute something -- to do our part in solving the crisis towards which Europe and the Western peoples generally are hurtling at breakneck speed. You and I know, if we have read the signs aright, that something is on the way, and that something we are going towards very, very fast; and unless there is a universal Spiritual awakening immediately, particularly amongst the Western peoples -- this civilization is in danger of destruction.
Can the Theosophical Movement contribute to the solution of that problem in a dynamic and practical way that you and I as ordinary men and women can apply? Otherwise, we are going to talk high metaphysics and be generally and beautifully vague, not really getting down to brass tacks in our own lives, and certainly not bringing any real influence to bear upon the hearts and minds of the people at large or the world in general.
One purpose of the Theosophical Movement is to change the hearts and minds of the peoples of the world so that we can usher in a new world order. We do not base our purpose upon selfish and materialistic thinking and living, but rather upon the realization by each individual man that he is literally the Temple of an incarnate God. He IS an incarnate God. This Deity is his very essence, the root of his being, which means, if you understand it correctly, that we -- not as separate isolated personalities, but as Spiritual beings -- are one with the heart of the Universe.
Again not to be abstruse and metaphysical, but striving to find words to express the sublimity of the idea, the Universal Self is the same in any of us. It is that something in which we live and move and have our being. It is nearer to us than hands and feet and closer than breathing.
All men and women can, if they will, have at their command the knowledge, the wisdom, and the power to solve the world problem we are facing today, stopping this headlong rush along the broad road to destruction. Do you believe that to be a practical possibility? I do and that is why I am here tonight.
Every man and woman who seizes hold of the ideas that I am going to lay before you can in proportion to their sincerity, their determination, and self-abnegation become resolvers of chaos, first in their own lives, then in their homes, and then in their towns and nations. Thus by transforming and changing the lives of individuals, they become instruments for the universal splendor of Divine power, wisdom, and love to flow into the world. Wherever we live, we shall be able to bring to bear that resolving, ameliorating, inspiriting, purifying, energizing, and dynamic force of the Supreme itself.
It is useless to talk about serving humanity in some vague way and appealing to people in the mass. We cannot do it if we cannot go to a single individual and meet his needs and problems. Unless you and I as individual Theosophists are convinced from having proved it in our own lives, from having conquered ourselves, and are therefore able honestly and sincerely to declare a victory where we previously had defeat, we cannot do anything. It is useless to attempt to solve the world problem until we have solved our own problem. Theosophy is there if you want it.
If you do not want it, it has nothing to say to you. You may have suffered. You may have struggled. You may have had to register defeat in your moral and spiritual life. Show us the man or woman who has not! If you see men, women, and children around you that you want to help by bringing to them the saving and regenerating power of Spiritual knowledge, you recognize that you never can do it until learning the secret of regenerating your own life and making of yourself a reborn, spiritual man.
Does this mean years and years and years of studying endless books and a tremendously complex, metaphysical, and philosophical system or is it something you can apply here and now? Again, there is no time to teach men abstruse metaphysics and philosophy in this hour of universal crisis. The World is on the brink of collapse. It is not an economic collapse, but rather a spiritual one.
If a man collapses, it is because his spiritual life is at fault. If our own nation and homes are in chaos, misery, or disharmony, it is because the spiritual life of that home -- the spiritual lives of the individuals concerned in it -- is wrong. It is the mission of the Theosophical Movement at all times, but particularly in these hours when we are hurtling to destruction, to change this state of affairs and to change it rapidly -- but this means you and me. You cannot leave it to somebody else. The human race consists of individuals and you are one of them.
Perhaps by now you will be wondering how you can accomplish these things. First, you will have to ask yourself the question, "Do I believe that in my own inmost essence there is Divinity, Power, Wisdom, and Knowledge?" If you believe in it because you have experienced its strength and its peace then your problem is how to incarnate it in your life so that you become a center of conscious, dynamic, spiritual energy -- going out into the world as ordinary men and women but capable spiritually of doing extraordinary things. That is the first question you have to ask yourself, "Do I believe in the Divinity and power of my own innermost nature." If so, how are you to reach it and make it effective so that it will not only transform your own life, but also transform the environment around you?
Do you believe that the Sermon on the Mount is a practical affair, a practical statement that can be lived in this modern world by ordinary men and women? Do you regard it as a beautiful ideal to be put on the shelf somewhere and worshiped from a distance -- to dream about as a possibility for us in some infinitely remote future? Do you think that that great mastermind that lived and worked in Palestine meant what he said when he commanded all men to be perfect as their Father in Heaven is perfect? Many shrug their shoulders and say, "Stuff, platitudes, impractical nonsense!" What do YOU think about it? I believe it is not only practical, but also is sheer folly to ignore it.
Of course, it means if you are going to tackle it, you have to begin with being honest with yourselves and with others. It means sincerity; it means truth in daily living; it means love at all times, circumstances, and situations. I do not mean personal love. I mean Divine love, shining like the sun impersonally for all men, whether you like them or whether you dislike them, whether they are your friends or you think them your foes. Therefore, it means unselfishness, real unselfishness, absolute unselfishness, to the fullest extent and power of your being.
There are four keynotes: honesty, unselfishness, love, and purity of life, of beauty of thought, heart, and mind. Is that an impossible standard? If we are serious, it must not be an impossible standard. It has to be the only standard that is worth living by. It is the condition of our success. It is the condition of our power to save the situation today.
You cannot change yourselves, make yourselves over in a day, or conquer yourselves as you are with your feeble personal will. You cannot do it. We differentiate now the personal man from his Divine counterpart of which he is the child.
Somehow, you have to find the means of dropping that personal self and losing your ego, of losing your life and finding it in a spiritual regeneration and rebirth. You have to find the means of uniting the scattered parts of your being, parts pulled hither and thither in this direction and that. When they are unified, you can conquer yourself and transform your life, affecting the environment in which you live for good.
If you have reached the point where you have suffered enough, when you really hate the rotten, weak side of your nature, with its faults and weaknesses, and have within you that yearning of your heart towards what you may call God or Deity, or Goodness or Wisdom -- then you can do something.
Make no mistake about it, it means you have to exert every ounce of physical, emotional, psychic, intellectual and spiritual powers that you possess. You will have to go all out for it. You will have to dedicate everything that you are and have. Every day, surrender your personal will and your personal ego. If you know how to pray in the real sense of the word, which means the upward urge of your purified desire or aspiration to the God within you, to the universal and supreme Spirit that dwells within you and around you everywhere, it will flow into you. It will make you a new being instinct with power to change yourself and the world.
You cannot do it by yourself, but you need the power of the Supreme itself -- God, Buddha, or Christ. It does not matter what you call it. It is a Divine power, a Godlike power. Every one of us is an incarnate God. We have only to learn how to lose ourselves, forget ourselves, and make ourselves instruments willing to go anywhere, to do anything dictated by that inward power of Divinity to get a new direction in our lives, a God-directed one.
This is not an impossible dream, but minute-to-minute, hour-to-hour, and day-to-day direct guidance and inspiration. Every man and woman that lives can do that if he or she wants to. Moreover, it is the ONLY thing making life worth living.
There is an old saying that one man and God is a majority, and he, because one man dedicated, cleansed, purified, and filled with the power of the spirit, can work what seem to the ordinary man and woman miracles. They can change the lives of people and help them to recognition of their own divine nature.
I have seen it work. I have seen men and women who have all their lives registered spiritual and moral defeat transformed by just these ideas. They are ordinary men and women. Their faces reflect the splendor of a risen sun. They are able to bring into the lives of others, into their businesses, into their factories -- aye, into the very Parliaments -- the strength, peace, and spiritual vision that is theirs.
That work is going on, but it is not going on fast enough. The Theosophical Movement must wake up and do something about it. Wherever there is a Theosophical Lodge, provided those who are responsible for it have dedicated themselves strongly enough, they will become centers of that holy and spiritual power that will enable them to take the message of good news, glad tidings, hope, and spiritual beneficence everywhere they go.
The world problem is the individual problem. Once we change ourselves, and what is more, invoke the Holy Spirit within us to bring about that alchemical transmutation and change that can only take place in a dedicated life, then we will begin really to do something.
When we can live with others and ourselves a life of purity, selflessness, and love in terms of absolute honesty and sincerity, we have taken the first step. This is the first step on the small, ancient, and narrow way that leads to Life. Even in that short time, we shall have done enough to make a profound impression upon the collective state of the world's misery.
Just imagine if all the Theosophical and religious communities throughout the world were filled with regenerated, vital, spiritual, and purposeful men and women. Is there any limit to the possibilities? None. There would be no universal chaos under those conditions. We have to work a spiritual revolution and we cannot do it unless we work a spiritual revolution in OURSELVES. That we can do if we want to. Every man and woman of us has the responsibility to be up and doing in this hour.
By Steven Levey
Home is amongst the highest cause. It is the world of our lives And contains all of the Universal laws. The outer is only four walls But in our heart Lies the home of trust, so called. Therefore, whatever confusion Might pass before us Needs ever to be swept away, As a wind scatters whatever was Not tied down yesterday. There is beauty in this, because, Our neighbors may know, As a by-product of our love, Increased light in their lives. They may not know how or why But an uncommon peace may thrive. The wisdom of this Comes from toilsome practice. So let no one think That this practical knowledge Comes along by accident. And let us live without Expectation, but as those Who know, that compassion And right motive alone Can make of heaven The Earthy home.
By Erica Letzerich
(Erica Letzerich is an active worker for Theosophy in the Athens, Greece area. For more information on local theosophical work, write Theosophical Society in Greece; 25A, Voukourestiou Str.; Athens 10671; GREECE; +30 210-362-0702 [phone]; +30 210-361-0961 [fax]; or see their website at http://www.theosophicalsociety.gr.)
Mens Sana in Corpore Sano (A Health Mind in a Health Body)
All over the world, two billion people watched the opening of The Olympic Games. Here in Greece, as a natural consequence of the terrorist attacks that afflicted United States and most recently Spain, there was great tension in the air. As the countdown started, the heartbeat of Greeks accelerated. That was natural since after 108 years the Olympic Games have returned to its spiritual home. Would be everything be all right? Would Greece have the ability to make a great and safe opening?
The opening ceremony started. Soon we watched the ancient God Eros enter the Olympic stadium, hovering over the procession representing the different Hellenistic periods. The ceremony had moments of strong emotion. The crowd received the Iraqi delegation with great applause, whereas it did not receive the great American delegation so well. This was a natural consequence of the anti-American protests resulting from international resentment of the American invasion of Iraqi.
Today the Olympic Games are not only a world celebration for peace but also a practice of the ideals of the Universal Brotherhood using an organized system overtaking barriers including color, sex, nationality, and religion. Unfortunately, the effort could not trespass the barriers of the capitalistic premises so deeply rooted in our society, clearly an impediment for the practical ideals of Universal Brotherhood. With all the preparation for the Olympics here in Greece, debts face the government, certain to affect the lives of every member of society. We do not consider the poor, victims of our unjust system, seeing with their eyes the pomposity of the opening of the games while not having a loaf of bread to eat. Ironically, Eros seems to have forgotten the millions inhabiting of our planet that are victims of an unjust system, to be floating upon the pomposity of human hypocrisy.
Even so, the Olympic Games are of great importance for the world. They represent the ancient ideals of human perfection. Seeking to understand the deep meaning of the Games, let us make a short journey into its roots and symbolic meaning.
SETTING THE STAGE
What was the meaning of the Olympic Games in ancient times? We begin our search for an answer by analyzing the myth and etymology of "Olympus." The word "Olympia" is an adjective of "Olympus" from the Greek verb "labo" (shiny), so "Olympus" means shining or brilliant.
According to the writer Homer, Poseidon rules the sea, Hades the dead, Zeus the heavens, and Olympus is common to all three. The entrance to Olympus was a great gate of clouds, kept by the Seasons. It was where the twelve great gods lived, slept, and held court. In its great halls, they feasted on ambrosia and nectar while being entertained by Apollo's lyre.
Olympus is also the highest Greek mountain. Some say that on the great rocks of the mountain's peak, they can see the throne of Zeus. Such an association is profane.
In the ancient Greek Mysteries, Olympus was the residence of the twelve immortal Gods. The spiritual planetary hierarchy resided in Olympus; spiritual light comes to earth from this special place. Only the immortal gods could live there. In spite of their immortality, such Gods had human feeling and thought. They had the full complexity of emotional life including feeling jealousy and anger as they plotted and betrayed each other. Blavatsky refers to the gods of Olympus as sevenfold.
(1) Of the NOUMENA of the intelligent Powers of nature;
(2) of Cosmic Forces;
(3) of celestial bodies;
(4) of gods or Dhyan Chohans;
(5) of psychic and spiritual powers;
(6) of divine kings on earth (or the incarnations of the gods);
(7) of terrestrial heroes or men.
-- H.P. Blavatsky, THE SECRET DOCTRINE, II, page 765
The Olympic gods symbolize the full spectrum of manifestation from the most transitory everyday expressions to the most sublime aspects of life. Such forces reside in Olympus, universal space, the place where all phenomena of manifested life takes place, the unwrapped invisible robes of the eternal mother. This includes the very place where we now move and breath, reaching up to the most refined and sublime levels. Olympus also symbolizes the bridge that connects our lowers principles with the higher, that is Manas, which blends the transitory human nature with the divine. That is why the very word "Olympus" means shiny, symbolizing the intelligent active mind in the world of form.
The Greek word for Games is "agonas" (agony), meaning earnest endeavor, striving, anguish, or battle. It is also "psychomahito" (soul battle), a definition I found in the Dictionary of X.V. Giovanis. Therefore, we could translate "Olympic Games" as "the bright battle of the soul in the manifest world." The Games are the great battle or agony that takes place in Olympus, the universal space. There is no nobler and more challenging battle than the one that takes place within the self, in the heart and mind of humanity whose victory crowns one with immortality.
THE ORIGIN OF THE OLYMPIC GAMES
It is impossible to trace the origin of the Olympic Games, lost in the sands of time. Early Egyptians had their own games, with many sports mentioned in their ancient hieroglyphs. The Egyptian culture may have influenced the development of the Greek Games.
In Greek poetry and epics, we find different mythical sources ascribed to the origin of the games. In her "Theogony of the Creative Gods," Blavatsky tells us that:
For a myth ... means oral tradition, passed from mouth to mouth from one generation to the other; and even in the modern etymology the term stands for a FABULOUS statement conveying some important truth; a tale of some extraordinary personage whose biography has become overgrown, owing to the veneration of successive generations, with rich popular fancy, but which is no WHOLESALE fable.
-- H.P. Blavatsky, THE SECRET DOCTRINE, I, 425
ZEUS AND KRONOS
We read of the battle over the world between Zeus, the Great god, and his father, the titan Kronos. Zeus won and become the king of the Gods. To celebrate his victory, he established the Olympic Games. Apollo competed against Hermes in a foot race and with Ares in boxing. He won both. Note that Kronos also relates to the planet Saturn and is considered the god of cycles and boundless time.
Legend says that King Iphitos lived around 900 BC. Upset because civil war and plague were destroying Greece, he asked the oracle at Delphi what he could do to avoid catastrophe. The oracle suggested that he should hold the Olympic Games and insist on peace while they were going on.
Oenomaus, king of Pisa (a town near Olympia), had been told by an oracle that he would be killed by the husband of his beautiful daughter, Hippodameia. Trying to avoid this, he declared that whoever wished to marry Hippodameia must beat him in a chariot race. If the challenger lost, though, he would pay for his failure with his life. It was impossible to beat Oenomaus, because he used the chariot of this father, the god Ares, with immortal horses. Many young men that aspired to marry his daughter instead found death in the challenge of the chariot race.
Pelops and Hippodameia felt crazily in love. To marry her, Pelops had to win the race, so he bribed the King's driver, Myrtilus, promising him half of the kingdom. The driver replaced the linchpins of the chariot of Oenomaus with wax pegs, which melted when the axles heated up during the race, causing the wheels to fall off and the King's death. Winning the race, Pelops married Hippodameia and became King of Pisa. Instead of giving Myrtilus, the chariot driver, his reward, Pelops threw him into the sea, killing him. The sea west of Peloponnesus, where Pelops threw his body, yet bears his name, the Myrtoan Sea.
HERACLES -- HERCULES
Myth also considers the great hero Heracles responsible for founding the Games. One of his twelve tasks was to clean out the massive stables of King Augeas. Heracles diverted the river Alpheios so that it flowed through the stables. When finished with his heroic task, Heracles celebrated. He made a clearing in the sacred grove at Olympia and established the games there to honor Zeus.
History tells us is that the games started in Greece in 776 BC when Koberos won a race. (He was a young man from the city of Elis, the capital of the state in which the Games were held.) People lauded the winning athletes as heroes for life, often elevating them to the status of royalty in their hometowns. People erected statues in their honor around the extraordinary Temple of Zeus, near the Sacred Grove of Altis and the stadium at Olympia. The games endured for twelve centuries until by the Roman Emperor Theodosius abolished them, considering them but a pagan festival.
REVIVAL AND SYMBOLS OF THE GAMES
In 1896 with great glamour, the first contemporary Games took place in Athens in the Panathenaic Stadium. Historians consider Baron de Coubertin responsible for its revival. He conceived the Olympic Games to be a new civic religion, with its own symbols, traditions, rites, and ceremonies. In fact, an entire religious ritualism was included into the Olympic ceremonies. There were the Olympic oath, the parade-procession of countries, the lighting of the Olympic flame (by vestal virgins in the ancient altar to Hera in Olympia), and the symbol of the dove and interlocking rings.
THE INTERLOCKING RINGS
The most known symbol of the Olympic Games is the five interlocking rings. They represent the five continents. We find the five colors of the rings on most flags of the world. The plain white background of the Olympic flag is symbolic of the peace in the world throughout the games.
The loftiest ideal symbolized by the interlocking rings is that diversity coexists within the essential unity of life. This is the main concept found in the ancient wisdom: the essential unity of life. The five links symbolize our five continents, harmonically organized upon the system of interlocking rings. Therein, diversity expresses itself in the different colors of the ring, where harmonic interaction results in peace.
Such a Symbol reminds us of the foremost object of the Theosophical Society, Universal Brotherhood. In THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY, the inquirer asks:
How, then, should Theosophical principles be applied so that social cooperation may be promoted and true efforts for social amelioration be carried on?
The Theosophist answers,
Let me briefly remind you what these principles are -- universal Unity and Causation; Human Solidarity; the Law of Karma; Reincarnation. These are the four links of the golden chain which should bind humanity into one family, one universal brotherhood.
-- H.P. Blavatsky, THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY, in Section 12, "The Relation of the Theosophical Society to Political Reforms."
The dove and very blessed spirit of peace.
-- William Shakespeare, King Henry the Fourth, Part II (Westmoreland at IX, i)
In many different traditions, the dove symbolized peace and innocence. In ancient Greek mythology, it was the sacred symbol of Aphrodite, representing love and life. In ancient Japan, it carried a sword but symbolized the end of war. In Europe, one tradition said that if a dove flew around a house where someone was dying, his or her soul would be at peace. In addition, there are legends that say the devil can turn himself into any bird except a dove. In Christian art, the dove symbolizes the Holy Ghost, often painted above Christ's head. Blavatsky refers to it as the symbol of the Higher Manas with the glory of Buddhi.
THE OLYMPIC FLAME AND THE TORCH RELAY
It is but the Occultist, the Eastern Adept, who stands a Free Man, omnipotent through his own Divine Spirit as much as man can be on earth. He has rid himself of all human conceptions and religious side issues. He is at one and the same time a Chaldean Sage, a Persian Magi, a Greek Theurgist, an Egyptian Hermetist, a Buddhist Arhat, and an Indian Yogi. He has collected into one bundle all the separate fractions of Truth widely scattered over the nations, and holds in his hands the One Truth, a torch of light that no adverse wind can bend, blow out, or even cause to waver. Not he the Prometheus who robs but a portion of the Sacred Fire, and therefore finds himself chained to Mount Caucasus for his intestines to be devoured by vultures, for he has secured God within himself, and depends no more on the whim and caprice of either good or evil deities.
-- H.P. Blavatsky, COLLECTED WRITINGS, III, 267, "The Himalayan Brothers," in "The Spiritualist," London, August 12, 1881
The relay of the Olympic flame recalls a Greek race with torches, considered of profound liturgical value. It symbolized the fire that Prometheus stole from the Greek god Zeus. A fire was kept burning throughout the celebration of the ancient Olympics. Originally lit at Olympia during the opening ceremony, a relay carried the fire to the host city of the games. That fire rite is present in many ancient traditions. Blavatsky mentions that in:
Phrygia, Phoenicia, the Troad, Thrace, Egypt, Lemnos or Sicily, their cult was always connected with fire; their temples ever built in the most volcanic localities, and in exoteric worship they belonged to Chthonian divinities.
In ancient Egypt mythology, we find the Lion Goddess Sekhmet (worshiped in Memphis) as the wife of Pthah. Legend says Ra created her from the fire of his eyes to be a creature of vengeance to punish humanity for its sins. In ancient Greece, rituals to Aphrodite's husband, the Great god Hephaestus (Vulcan), expressed the cult of fire. Persians also worshiped the great Hindu god Agni. He had three forms: the sun, lightening, and fire. That great god is connected to everything that burns and is aflame, such as the sun, heat, and lust and passion.
Ancient civilizations had a universal belief that fire was a divine element related to the most elevated expressions of human nature but also paradoxically to human lust and passion. The fire of one's passions could damn him or her whereas the fire of purification could liberate one. In his first ennead, Plotinus mentions:
We may think of the Divine as a fire whose outgoing warmth pervades the Universe or upon whatsoever is transmitted by the one Soul (the divine first Soul) to the other.
The Olympic flame symbolizes the immortal principle within human nature, Atman. The torch relay reminds us of the help Elder Brothers provide in awakening the spiritual principles in humanity.
THE BRIGHT BATTLE
Today, the Olympic Games -- or Bright Battle -- keep alive in the modern world ancient ideals. Not generally understood by athletes nor society, these ideals do not base themselves upon competition, but rather upon the belief that mastery of the physical body went hand-in-hand with mastery of mind. In the Ancient Wisdom, this mastery was fundamental to being able to reach an elevated human condition or tread the inner path. In many scriptures of quite ancient religions, we find how important to a flourishing nobler character was physical development and discipline. It went alongside the cultivation of virtue.
Seneca mentions many individual and competitive sports in his philosophical writing. He advices, "Forget about 'the burn' and don't worry about 'the pain,' because the object shouldn't be 'to gain' hulking." He believed that moderate exercise would help the development of character, so according to him, one should exercise to obtain (1) a good mind, (2) good spiritual health, and (3) health of the body.
In THE VOICE OF THE SILENCE, Blavatsky also reminds us of the importance for spiritual development of keeping a balance between body and mind:
Thy Soul cannot be hurt but through thy erring body; control and master both, and thou art safe when crossing to the nearing "Gate of Balance."
Ancient civilizations considered a divine ability to achieve the elements required to be a good Athlete, including a physical level of perfect concentration, self-control, and discipline. In reality, the discipline of an athlete is akin to the discipline of the secret science, which includes self-denial, devotion to the Master, pure diet, and abstinence from alcohol. Unfortunately, society has lost such ideals and the purpose of many athletes is to win without cultivating Arete (virtue, esoteric excellence, and doing one's best.)
In his Golden Sayings, the Greek philosopher Epictetus relates how austere the discipline was that an athlete should follow. We can see the similarity between his thought and the first steps of self-discipline that one undertakes to follow the Path.
You must live by rule, submit to diet, abstain from dainty meats, exercise your body perforce at stated hours, in heat or in cold; drink no cold water, nor, it may be, wine. In a word, you must surrender yourself wholly to your trainer, as though to a physician.
Of course, Epictetus emphasized the body. His discourse was to athletes. Even so, he is similar to the esoteric rules of Blavatsky's Practical Occultism. In ancient cultures, obtaining perfection of the physical body was a necessary stage in spiritual development. Not without reason, the ancient games held by Egyptians, Hindus, and Greeks were dedicated to some deity.
In many of his Odes, Pindar attributes three reasons to the athlete's victory. First was a god's favor, which we may consider reverence towards archetypal symbols of perfection. Second was the athlete's lineage. Third was his Virtue or Arete. The ideal of virtue or excellence went deep in ancient Greek society. We find it in the poetry of Homer, expressing a mythological description of the Heroic age.
In Hinduism, human perfection is closely associated with the mastery of the physical body along with that of the emotions and mind. One means of self-realization is Dehvada (the body way). In the Hatha yoga tradition, one conquers and achieves liberation or salvation through Kaya Sadhana (physical perfection). In the Raja Yoga tradition, we find precepts in THE YOGA SUTRAS OF PATANJALI that also emphasize the need to develop a perfect condition in the physical body:
3.45 Perfection of the body consists in beauty, grace, strength, and adamantine hardness.
Domination of the physical body is intrinsic to the path of self-realization. Techniques such as pranayama (breathing exercises), asanas (body postures), and pratyahara (withdrawal of the senses) are closely associated with the functioning of the physical body whose mastery is fundamental to reaching a more elevated awareness. In this sense, sports are a way to control the body and consequently progress with control of the emotions and mind.
Heroes of the Ramayana and Mahabharata were versed in chariot, racing, archery, military stratagems, swimming, and wrestling. We hear that Gautama Buddha himself was great in archery, chariot, racing, horsemanship, and hammer throwing.
In the martial arts, we trace the origin of kung fu (not present into the Olympic Games) in the legend of the monk Bodhidharma (also known as Ta Mo) who traveled from India to China around 500 AD. Some say he visited Shaolin monks in the Hunan Province. While there, Bodhidharma awed the resident Chinese monks with his mastery of meditation. The secret was his physical discipline, something Bodhidharma saw lacking in the monks. He trained them in exercises designed to strengthen body and thus endurance.
According to legend, Bodhidharma attained such control that could bore a hole through a wall simply by staring at it in meditation for a number of years. The monks used these exercises, evolving them into kung fu. We credit Bodhidharma with spreading Zen Buddhism to China and forming the groundwork for modern kung fu, from which stemmed most rules and precepts governing today's martial art forms. For example, pranayama is a yoga technique that is greatly important in Tae Kwan Do, Karate, Judo, Sumo, and wrestling. It was one of the many techniques promoted by Buddhists in the Far East.
We find in many sports techniques closely related to the ancient science of yoga. Of course, when used to simply develop the physical body and disassociated from Arete (excellence, virtue, being one's best), such techniques do not help one to evolve a more elevated state of consciousness.
In Section 13 of THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY, H.P. Blavatsky has the inquirer ask:
I see, you regard only MORAL asceticism as necessary. It is as a means to an end, that end being the perfect equilibrium of the INNER nature of man, and the attainment of complete mastery over the body with all its passions and desires?
The Theosophist replies,
Just so. But these means must be used intelligently and wisely, not blindly and foolishly; like an athlete who is training and preparing for a great contest, not like the miser who starves himself into illness that he may gratify his passion for gold.
When dissociated from any virtue exercising the mind and emotions, the simple training of the physical body leads to ambition and narcissism. The athletic world in ancient times had elevated ideals, especially in ancient Greece, which deeply esteemed virtue and excellence. An athlete should develop his virtues to as high level as his physical skills. Those aspiring to tread the esoteric path are athletes of the soul. Teachers of all ages seriously recommend that they do not neglect their physical bodies. This balance between tending to the inner and outer nature we apply in everyday life so that we may develop into more harmonic beings. If mind and body act as one, united and controlled, one's possibilities are limitless.
Each of us is an athlete in the battle of life. Do not neglect the physical body, the very temple of your soul! Especially if you be a professional athlete, may the Olympic flame that shines into your soul illuminate that temple, the physical body! This place you find yourself in life is the great Olympic Games, the bright battle of the soul.
By G. de Purucker
[From WIND OF THE SPIRIT, pages 87-92.]
Our lives, our human destinies, are not the flotsam and jetsam of an arbitrary fate, but, as symbolized in the wonderful Egyptian ceremony or rite of the Weighing of the Heart of the Defunct, the scales of destiny weigh all that we think and all that we feel and all that we do. These scales weigh two things, as this wonderful Egyptian ritual so ably demonstrates. In one pan of the balance is the life-center, the human heart of the man who lived but now is dead. In the other pan of the balance is the Feather of Truth, of Reality, that naught can bribe, that naught can sway, that naught may persuade or induce.
We see in this symbolic ritual a wonderful exemplification of what we Theosophists call the doctrine of karma, inescapable destiny that none and naught in infinity may change, for it is divine law itself, which we call retribution when our evil-doings receive it, and call compensation when our goodness or good works receive it. Under the majestic atmosphere around all this ritual, the man attends no judge or sentence nor is there any pardon. He depends on naught but the very laws of being themselves. Utter true the balance weighs, naught sways it, naught causes it to rise, naught to fall. Think now. He is weighed against Truth itself. Have you ever heard of Truth bribed, swayed, persuaded, changed, modified, or influenced?
This is our Theosophical doctrine of compensation and of retribution that we call karma: that what a man sows, that he reaps, not something else. He cannot escape the reaping of it, for he himself, symbolized by his heart in the pan of the scales, is weighed against Truth. When the heart and the feather of Truth have an even balance, the heart is of the lightness and spirituality of truth itself, akin to truth. When evil doing and attraction to the lower things of earth weigh down the heart, it falls. The rising feather in the other scale is the witness, the testimony, against the earth-charged heart that cannot rise to make an even balance.
There is something truly majestic about this symbolic ritual. It is full of wonderful meanings. I think the noblest is its effect on us as human beings in our daily lives. What ye sow, that shall ye reap. There is not a word about pardon, and if there were any pardon in the Universe, it would throw the Universe out of the gear of infinite justice. No mere man can commit an infinite sin, for neither his spirit nor his soul nor again is his strength infinite in compass. His sins are human and therefore the weighing in the balance is human. The retribution is human in magnitude and the compensation is likewise human in magnitude. This is the infinite justice of Mother Nature -- of Nature that is Spirit or Divinity and nature that is around us, for they are one.
When a man realizes this greatest of facts in human life, his whole life as a man is thereafter changed. He begins to feel concern for his acts. He begins to feel concern as to what his thoughts may be. He feels concern over how he allow his feelings to run; for he, before his passing and what men call death, is himself the holder of the scales, the balance. Into his heart by his thoughts, and into his heart by his feelings, and into his heart by the action, by the consequent actions, following upon thought and feeling, he burdens his heart with these weights. After death, the scales weigh him. This is not a theatrical weighing as in the symbolic picture. He is weighed in the scales of destiny, those very same scales that bring me or you into this body or that, into this country or into this land or that, strictly according to what each man in former lives has built into himself in thought and feeling and aspiration and all the other human feelings and emotions. These things are not chance or haphazard.
Now then, is it not clear that when a man realizes these things, and they begin to flow into his heart and work upon him, his conduct thereby is of necessity changed? Precisely as the child who puts in his infantile innocence the finger into the candle flame -- does it not learn? It has learned. See the immense moral import of this wonderful symbolic representation of a man's heart, which is his selfhood, being weighed in the scales of cosmic justice, which no prayers can sway, which is utterly true, for the Feather of Truth is in the other pan of the balance. No man is unjustly condemned ever, nor suffers a hair-weight that he himself has not merited. No man is unduly compensated for what he has not earned, for this would be ridiculous. The universe is incomparably sane and beautiful.
The weighing of the heart, which is the man's own self, in the scale of destiny likewise shows us that we build our lives to grandeur or to debasement strictly in accordance with our own wish and will and aspiration. Our destiny lies in our own hands. One man is not credited with the x power to succeed and the next man credited with a y power to fail. No. We are all sparks of the divine Heart, we all have an equal chance, and eternally have an equal chance. If we fail, it is we who fail and pay the penalty; but once the penalty is paid, we begin anew with a new hope, another chance: I have paid my debt, I am now free, I begin again. See how manly this doctrine is, and what encouragement it gives to us. It is a doctrine of hope. There is no human destiny so low or base that one cannot alter oneself to be marvelously better beginning this instant. When you wish to order for the better, the heart begins to work and to work upon you, and to fill your mind with ideas nobler than those do that have lived there, and feelings that are higher and sweeter and purer by far than those you have passed through.
This is a wonderful symbolic picture of reality. What are these scales, and how does Nature do her work? Why, we see it around us all the time. How did I come into this body and incarnation? I came through many chambers of the Father, as the Avatara Jesus would phrase it. I came from the heaven-world, from the devachan, into this world through many planes of being, dropping downwards to this material world because I am attracted here. Who is my guide and leader? Horus, the divine Spirit, the chief guide of my footsteps, when I allow it -- following the Egyptian ritual.
The same forces that prevail in these material spheres do it all. These forces cause the suns to radiate and the celestial orbs like our earth to rotate, and cause all with confluent motion to pass from one sphere of the cosmic planes of destiny to some other plane. It all happens because it is all within the laws of Nature.
Thus, how do I find my way through this life? I find it by attraction. What I have made myself to be. I am attracted here, and that attraction will not allow me to go elsewhere. I myself have carved my own destiny, and I am carving it now, and in the next life I shall carve it anew; and let us hope more symmetrically than in the last life I carved this one.
What are these halls or chambers through which Anu, Everyman of the Egyptian ritual, has to pass before his heart is weighed against the Feather of Truth -- light as a feather, yet holding the universe in bonds that are never broken? What are these chambers and halls through which the divine soul passes? They are the various planes, the various worlds through which men after death find their way.
How does the defunct soul, when it comes to a portal and knocks for entrance, know the proper word? It knows by exactly the same instinctive knowledge and attraction that the incarnate soul coming from the devachan finds its way into its present family and into its present body. It cannot lose its way.
What is represented by the knock of the defunct -- a beautiful symbol again? It is simply, as it were, its approach to a new plane, a new world, a new stage of its way on its peregrination or pilgrimage, and it knows instinctively how to approach it, how to enter, according to the Egyptian ritual, how to say the words of power. They are in the soul itself.
It is experience, intuition, knowledge, the same thing we are using here now in understanding each other, and speaking to each other and reading together and studying together. Although we understand each other, how do we explain understanding to someone who does not understand what understanding is? When I say words that knock at your mind, when a speaker knocks at your heart, it is done with a thought, it is done with feeling, it is done with knowledge. The portals of understanding fly open wide, and ideas and thoughts enter into your minds, into your souls. You have given the right knock.
That is what is meant by the chambers or halls through which the soul passes, comes to the different portals, gives the knock of power, and when challenged, gives the words of power that allow him to pass. When you have built these words of power into yourself, you pass unchallenged. If you have not evolved to the point or are unworthy, if you have not built them into your soul, you find yourself challenged, stopped, and sent back.
It is an old truism of our god-wisdom that from the human heart come all the greatest issues of the world. They do not reside in the brain-mind, for the brain-mind is the great separator of men, the great deceiver. The heart is the unifier of men. Why is this? It is because the heart speaks a universal language that needs no words whereas the brain-mind speaks a language of words that have to be interpreted from mind to mind. The heart is so much the greater.
You know as well as I do. Out of the heart come the great issues of life. In the heart are love, intuition, discrimination, understanding, self-sacrifice, pity, compassion, purity, goodness, truth, troth, and honor. Out of the mind of man come disputes, wrangling, quarreling, an disinclination to understand the other man, hatreds, and all the other foul brood of man's lower nature, because it is about things out of the brain that men are continually quarreling. They never quarrel about the issues of the heart, for they are things of our common humanity.
For example, I love truth, and so does every human being in this room. That is a statement directly from the heart. The mind immediately says what kind of truth, what do you mean by truth? Do you mean Tim's truth or Charles' truth? You see, it flops right down and begins to argue and quarrel and spread around and to dispute about mere details; but the heart simply says, I worship truth, and every other human heart in the audience understands.
The heart says I love it. The brain-mind immediately begins to argue about it. All kinds of men and all kinds of women have different ideas about what love is and how far you should go and how far you should not go, how much you should trust and how much you should not trust, what kind of person I love and what kind I do not love.
The heart is infinitely beyond this. It simply says I love. Every human being understands this universal language. You do not need to argue about it. You accept it. The brain-mind is the former of arguments. The heart says troth is one of the most beautiful of actions in human conduct, to be full of troth. Where do we love this and admire it? With what part of us do we give allegiance, pay homage? We do so with the heart. It speaks a tongue universal; therefore, we say, out of the human heart come all the great issues in human life.
I will go a little farther. I will tell you that the human heart is the temple, dwelling, or tabernacle of a divinity; it is the dwelling of Horus, to follow the Egyptian ritual. Let me tell you something. Every time a man gives you his word and keeps it, especially at loss to him, that man is by so much acting as an ensouled man. Every time a man gives you his word and breaks it because it is convenient to him to break it, that man for the time being is unensouled. His soul is asleep. Every time a man takes advantage of a fellow human being, by so much his soul is asleep within him, it is not working. He is unensouled. Every time a man does some deed or thinks some grand thought that is of help to others, he is a man, for he is ensouled. When a man is fully ensouled, as all men on this earth shall some day be, when a man is free of soul we no longer have a man, we have a god living amongst us.
I think the most beautiful sight that we human beings can perceive ever is the light of ensoulment that dawns in the eyes of a fellow human being. If you have never seen that and never understood it, it is because your own soul is asleep, for in these things spirit calls to spirit, the spirit recognizes spirit, divinity recognizes divinity, the man in me recognizes the man in you, and this is ensouling. Oh that all men and all women so lived that they might manifest the divinity within them, and by so doing acknowledge the divine source of their own inner light!