We are so prone to condemn others and let our own faults go by that sincere disciples are taught, as a discipline, to cultivate their moral sense by inspecting their own faults, and let others do the same for themselves, but when the occasion demands condemnation, that it shall be of the wrong act. This cannot apply to a judge, or any other proper inquisitor, teacher, or guide. It is meant solely for those who, believing that our span of life is so short that there will be no time left if we busy ourselves with faults of others, prefer to improve their opportunity by pruging themselves, by cleaning their own doorway, by taking the beam ouf ot their own eye.
-- W.Q. Judge, "FORUM" ANSWERS, page 27
By B.P. Wadia
[From LIVING THE LIFE, pages 17-22]
All family feuds, all class struggles, all national wars, and all religious crusades are but reflected ramifications of the eternal strife between the higher and the lower selves of man. For the student of Occultism, one of the earliest lessons acquired is a realization that battles in the outside world are but shadowy replicas of those fought within us.
The meaning and import of wars, small and great, will ever be missed as long as this great truth is not perceived. International wars would not precipitate themselves if class struggles, creed hatreds, and caste prejudices did not exist in nations. Competition between youth and age or between man and woman would not take place in a society if family relations of the right order and kind subsisted. Thus, we reach the individual who is at war with his neighbors and next of kin because his hands war against his head, his mind against his heart, or his pride against his principles.
A struggle between our material and spiritual selves is constantly going on. Students of Theosophy learn of the nature of this struggle, and the thoughtful among them acquire the knowledge of the relative strength of the combatants and their respective sources of recruitment and recuperation while the battle lasts. We all know that the triumph of Spirit over Matter, Wisdom over Nescience, and Love over Hate must ultimately be. This theoretical understanding is of little avail while hatred is consuming love, fanning the fire of lust in our own nature.
Not only is there a constant struggle going on within us, but we are recommended to maintain it until victory is won, until Wisdom-Light streams forth from our hearts, dispelling the darkness of ignorance, and until Love radiates its justice and bliss from our minds, revealing the order in the midst of chaos. An enlightened heart and a compassionate head are the marks of the Spirit-Man, higher, greater, and nobler than the good man of intelligent mind and of sympathetic heart is. It is necessary to make this distinction between the good man and the spiritual man. As earnest appliers of Theosophic teachings, we have left the life of actual vice behind us and we distinguish between it and the higher life. We are, however, apt to mistake the life of negative goodness for the life of the spirit. "It is not enough that you should set the example of a pure, virtuous life and a tolerant spirit; this is but negative goodness -- and for Chelaship will never do," wrote a Master once. Other and higher than negative goodness is positive spirituality.
Our virtues and vices make us by turn good and bad. The equipoise whereby these are controlled and resolved into faculties of growth and service has to be attained if positive spirituality is to be manifested. Just as human love is higher than and superior to lust, and lust by constant feeding on itself cannot become love, so also Divine Spirituality is of a quality more profound and rare than is human goodness, which also, merely augmented, does not give birth to Spirit-Wisdom. The difference between good and bad is one of kind; the gulf between goodness and spirituality is not one of mere degree.
A clear intellectual perception of this fact is helpful. A soldier receives an added impetus for fighting if he theoretically understands the inherently vicious nature of his enemy; he fights with more heart if he assimilates that understanding. This assimilation is a wonderful asset, without which it is almost impossible to win the victory over our lower nature. The constancy and steadfastness so necessary to maintain the struggle come to birth in our hearts. Understanding our philosophy by mind does not bring us the vitality that understanding by heart bestows. Assimilation of teachings is a phrase commonly used. Its psychological significance is not generally sensed. Let us grasp by the power of the heart the vital difference between the good man and the spiritual one.
The struggle between the good and the spiritual in the outer world is represented in us by the conflict of duties. There are those who do Duty's "work and know it not," for in them the conflict of duties has not ever arisen. The good people of the world though devoid of ideas about soul growth and spiritual progress glimpse the verities of life better than the one in whose own universe a conflict of duties takes place. Only then do the perplexing questions arise. "What am I?" "What are my relations to others?" A good mother will continue to be only good until circumstances compel her to consider the wisdom or unwisdom of her attitude to her own child, or the justice or injustice of her attitude to others' children. Conflict of duties opens a vista of the world of Spirit.
A proper balance struck and sustained between different and conflicting duties transforms our goodness into spirituality. The higher life consists in right adjustment of our different duties into a harmonized Dharma, whereby the property of our Ego becomes manifest. Everything and all beings have their respective properties, some aspects of which have become patent, other aspects of which are still in a condition of latency. As latent aspects of our property manifest, they often clash with those that have already found objective expression. Thus, conflict of duties arises. Our dharma -- a great word on which meditation is necessary -- is the means of our becoming. We are what we are because of our dharma. By the fulfillment of dharma, we grow. We become different from what we are. Herein the basis of inner growth lies, the conflict between opposing and enduring forces.
Spirit forces endure. These are superior to forces of evil as well as goodness. The struggle against our lower nature is often construed as a struggle against vicious tendencies. It is not always recognized that we suffer from the defects of our qualities -- a hard type of obstacle to overcome, because as a rule we find and make excuses for it. Downright wrongdoing we condemn even in ourselves. If by Karmic propensity or for other reasons pertaining to the domain of the occult, evil precipitations take place in our everyday life, we are able to recognize them as such. We have enough decency left in us to perceive that evil is evil and wrongdoing is wrong. There are precipitations of exaggerated virtues and malformed habits. It is difficult to see these exaggerations and malformations. Conflict of Theosophic duties arises in reference to these. The only power that can save us from erring is heart understanding of our philosophy.
In our eagerness to learn the various phases of the philosophy, we sometimes forget that there is a practical method of undertaking study itself. Of course, we must possess adequate knowledge of our general principles and propositions. That ought not to preclude our undertaking a close study of those specific Theosophical teachings that form answers to our intimate and personal problems. We have a personality that is learning the ways of the Impersonal. It has tendencies that we desire to demolish. It has modes of expression that we desire to change. An earnest man who wants to live the life should learn to choose from the vast body of our teachings those specific ones that will help and enable him in his struggles against his lower self. All our problems, be they of the Ego or of the personality, of the Self of Spirit or of the self of matter, have their solutions in our philosophy. The infinite complexities of mind and morals are treated therein. Discriminatingly, we ought to search for those that are medicine for our particular ailments.
The maintenance of a constant struggle against our lower nature ought to be a scientific process. With many of us, it is a matter of sentiment. A mere desire to keep the body in health does not make it healthy. A scientific understanding and application of bodily laws prove effective and so it is with psychic and spiritual health. Special study from this personal standpoint clears the obstacles that conflicting duties create. Our lower nature is composed of lives of a lower grade of evolution. Our higher nature organisms are built of intelligences of a more-elevated type. Each is trying to manifest its respective property-dharma, and hence the eternal conflict.
Our bodily and sensuous nature cries for its own life. Our feelings crave their own self's expression. Our minds suffer the torments of Tantalus when we curb and control their natural thirsts. These constituents of our lower self have their own properties. Among them, a war is raging as may be seen in the dissatisfaction in full-blown personalities devoid of spirit-energization. When the Fire of the Highest Self with its Compassionate Reason, its Illuminating Intuition, and its Creative Will-Power touches the lower, we feel grave discontent. When the study and practice of Theosophy make the fight fiercer, let us not surrender in confused depression. Let us not forget the propositions involved in the ethical problem of the Conflict of Duties.
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, all that we think and all that we feel and all that we do is weighed in the scales of destiny. 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 therefore 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 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. He is weighed -- think now -- he is weighed against Truth itself; and have you ever heard of Truth being bribed or swayed or persuaded or changed or 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; and 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 the heart is weighed down by evil doing and attraction to the lower things of earth, it falls; and 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 filled with wonderful meanings, and I think the noblest is this: 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. If there were any pardon in the Universe, the Universe itself would be thrown 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; and the retribution is human in magnitude and the compensation is likewise human in magnitude. This is the infinite justice of Mother Nature, Nature that is Spirit, which is Divinity and the nature around us, for they are one.
When a man is persuaded of 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 as to 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 he is weighed in the scales, not by any theatrical weighing such as is given in the symbolic picture, but weighed in the scales of destiny. Those very same scales 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 ever compensated unduly for what he has not earned, for this would be ridiculous; and 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. We are all sparks of the divine Heart, we all have an equal chance, and eternally have an equal chance; and 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, for there is no human destiny so low or so base that cannot from this instant forward be altered marvelously for the better, if you will. For the heart, when you wish to order for the better, 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? Through many chambers of the Father, as the Avatar 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 guide and leader? Horus, the divine Spirit, the chief guide of my footsteps, when I allow it -- following the Egyptian ritual. It is all done as it were by the same forces that prevail in these material spheres: that cause the suns to radiate and the celestial orbs like our earth to rotate, and that 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 law of Nature, the laws of Nature.
Thus, how do I find my way through this life? 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 this last life I carved this one.
What are these halls or chambers through which Anu, Every-man, 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 does so 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 peregrinational 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. We understand each other; but how could you explain understanding to one who does not know what it 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; and the portals of understanding fly open wide, and ideas and thoughts enter into your minds, into your souls. The right knock has been given.
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 are 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, because it speaks a universal language that needs no words. But the brain-mind speaks a language of words that have to be interpreted from mind to mind. Therefore is the heart so much the greater. You all know this as well as I. 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, a 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.
Example: I love truth, so does every human being in this room. That is a statement directly from the heart. The mind immediately says, "Well, what kind of truth, what do you mean by truth: 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 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," a universal language every human being understands. You do not need to argue about it. You accept it. The brain-mind is the former of arguments. The heart says truth 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 that 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 himself, 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 not ensouled. 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!
By Paul N. Rooke
[Roza and Margarita Riaikkenen, "THE LAWS OF LIFE" AND "THE RETURN OF THE PRODIGAL SON," ed. Andrew Rooke (Canada: Trafford, 2004), http://www.trafford.com/robots/03-2170.html, also http://members.optusnet.com.au/lawsoflife, $29.]
With great interest, I read the compound book "THE LAWS OF LIFE" AND "THE RETURN OF THE PRODIGAL SON" by Roza and Margarita Riaikkenen. It employs a wide range of sources from different spiritual traditions and the personal experience of the authors in Russia and Australia.
The fundamental principles of the laws of life are based on the teachings communicated by Alexander Naumkin, a young Russian artist and spiritual teacher now resident in Siberia. In the early 1990's, Naumkin spent many months in the harsh and deprived environment of the Altai Mountains in central Russia. Insights from his meditations high in the snowy wastes of the Altai were set down in his epic work, KALAGIA, published in Moscow in 1993.
The word "Kalagia" derives from Sanskrit, referring to the call from the Hierarchy of Light to "come to me." That is, for us ordinary humans to aspire to the knowledge and mechanisms that enable us to reach a higher state of consciousness to help alleviate suffering in the world and for the sake of our own self-development. This book had only been available in Russian over the last decade, becoming a modern spiritual classic in some circles.
Note the timeliness of these teachings. They came just after the breakup of the Soviet Union in the late 1980's. Because atheism was a central tenet of Communism, the Russian people have lived in a metaphysical vacuum for most of the last century. The teachings embodied in KALAGIA have come forward at a time in which both Russia and the world at large greatly needs them. In THE LAWS OF LIFE, the authors extensively refer to these teachings, translating some sections of KALAGIA into English for the very first time. Interestingly a large section of KALAGIA is composed of meditational diagrams rather than text, and THE LAWS OF LIFE follows this style by incorporating a wide range of fascinating spiritual diagrams for those who learn visually as well as through the text.
Through their work, the authors have offered us a lucid and thought provoking analysis of the laws of life making extensive quotes and comparisons with the works of theosophical teacher HP Blavatsky, particularly her SECRET DOCTRINE. THE LAWS OF LIFE begins by describing the process of creation, the manifestation of all life from Spirit. Spirit is ultimately unknowable to us, but it manifests in many forms and frequencies, some of which are comprehensible. Our mission in life is to understand that we are part of spirit and that spirit is part of us. Ultimately, we must reunite with our spiritual source through a process of co-creation with it. The laws of life govern this process and we must endeavor to work at all times in harmony with these laws.
The authors expound the laws in a way that correlates with this process of involution of spirit into matter and then of evolution of matter back to spirit. They describe the laws from a number of standpoints, often indicating the ways in which the laws affect the individual searcher, the person earnestly attempting to understand more of his or her spiritual roots.
The authors discuss the laws in six major categories. The first explains the laws of unity. These proclaim that spirit and its manifestation are the same, that spirit manifests in different degrees of intensity in time and space, working through the divine force of love. Endowed with free will, the life forms through which spirit manifests work to resolve the competing elements of their being back into harmony with spirit.
The second category discusses the enormous cycles in time over which spirit manifests. It takes trillions of years to complete the process of manifestation into matter and resumption to spirit to be completed. The authors introduce these ideas of the destiny of time and the differing vibrational rates of matter. These ideas help explain how spirit separates the different forms in which it takes shape and how these different forms govern the direction of our search.
The remaining sections of the book detail laws that affect our lives immediately. They explain the laws of the cosmic magnet and the cosmic converter. These show how we attract to ourselves the experiences we need for our spiritual growth and how we pass these experiences to others falling behind us on their spiritual path.
A great deal is written about the law of karma and how it can be applied in our daily lives. Particular emphasis is given to our responsibility for our karma, and how we should accept it and work positively with it. The authors emphasize that karma is the tool through which our daily teachings are received and that it should be embraced as such.
The final group of laws discussed is those governing our search for harmony with spirit. These laws define the many ways in which we can achieve harmony with spirit co-creating with it. This is done in service and through sacrifice to develop the selflessness needed to achieve the ultimate joy of rejoining the light.
The book is written in a mature and penetrating style. It will appeal to readers with genuine thirst for spiritual knowledge and understanding. It gives out the time-honored truth in an idiom refreshing to the early twenty first century mind, in a way that should keep the reader returning for further metaphysical stimulation.
THE RETURN OF THE PRODIGAL SON is the second of the two books in this compound volume. It is the sequel to THE LAWS OF LIFE. It takes as its subject the "Prodigal Son," the soul who has strayed from his spiritual source and who seeks to return to it. The writers give us an engaging and challenging account of his struggle to reunite with his creator. Explained and exemplified in the first book, the laws of life provide a background against which we can understand the Prodigal Son's struggle.
The second book begins with an outline of the Prodigal Son's place in the universe. It tells us that he and the universe are one. It points out that the dimensions of the universe in which we have chosen to dwell define our concepts of time. We derive our energy from the universe and return it. We are a creation of the universe and we co-create with it. Once the Prodigal Son realizes his integral identity with spirit and genuinely yearns to return to his spiritual source, his search has begun and his life takes on an entirely new meaning.
At this stage of his development, when he has been reborn spiritually, he must take the next step. This is to assess his state of spiritual health. The authors provide criteria for doing this. In particular, these are the stage of life reached and the way to evaluate his level of energetic health. This section of the book hints at the theme that underlies the entire writing. This theme is that of adopting a holistic or spirit-centered view of the world and one's place in it. This contrasts with the much more wide spread Ego-centric world view that defines one's place in terms of a separation of the individual from the universe surrounding him. The authors go on to say this sense of separation is the cause of most of the Prodigal Son's problems and confusion.
Once the Prodigal Son has come to understand his true place in the universe, he then becomes capable of understanding the laws so carefully explained in the first book. He comes to realize the relevance, power, and potential for his spiritual growth. He comes to accept them and work with them to help himself and those with whom he comes into contact. He begins to co-create with spirit and to work with it in a process of mutual growth.
Most of the reminder of the book is devoted to practical ways in which the seeker can achieve spiritual reunion. It discusses different methods of spiritual evolution at length. There is a very interesting chapter on the different types of Yoga that can be fruitfully pursued to this end. Methods of concentration and meditation are suggested to help us focus our psychic energy and ways of applying this in the everyday material world are described. The importance of working with spirit and through the universal laws to create greater harmony for all living things is recurrent in all their suggestions.
The book is full of practical tips to assist and encourage the searcher. Suggestions are given for purifying oneself and maintaining faith whilst continuing the search. The authors advise us on ways of coping with adversity and of developing consistency and integrity in determining the path and adhering to it. Many examples are given of the use of a spiritual value system in addressing life's problems. Examples of these are the temptation to take drugs or to rely extensively on others when facing life's challenges. A great deal is written about working with the law of karma to sensitively meet, learn from, and overcome the difficulties we have created for ourselves, in order to help us to achieve our spiritual reunion. The importance of our thoughts and choices and the need to achieve balance between all living things and ourselves is emphasized continually in this part of the book. We are left with no doubt that we alone determine the rate of our spiritual progress.
The final part of the book gives us a hint of what can be expected when the search for spiritual reunion nears its conclusion. We are told that the purpose of the Prodigal Son's search is to break free of the ideological boundaries, or cocoons, that he has built around himself. This must be done in order to align his consciousness ever more closely with that of the universe at large. His search will lead him through series of initiations that ultimately allow him to shatter the shackles of human existence and experience the freedom of reunion with spirit.
The authors write in a thorough, analytical style, which associates with their training as scientists. This resonates well with much of modern day western thinking. We find a helpful intellectual framework for understanding the ideas of KALAGIA and THE SECRET DOCTRINE upon which the book is based. When the book emphasizes the personal search of the Prodigal Son, it does not do so from a purely selfish point of view. Much is said of the use of a Theo-centric viewpoint to improve the Self to help others, and to develop the ideals of selflessness to better channel the powers of the universe to assist those in need of spiritual guidance. They take a series of highly abstract ideas and express them at the personal level in a comprehensive and comprehensible way. They succeed this in a book that can be read repeatedly without failing to provide fresh inspiration and insight. Much of it can be used as a tool of learning and later for contemplation and continuing application in life.
I recommend both THE LAWS OF LIFE and THE RETURN OF THE PRODIGAL SON to all earnest searchers.
By Annie Besant
[A lecture that appeared in LUCIFER, August 15, 1890, pages 450-60.]
The Egyptian Sphinx will be familiar to every one of you, either by its pictured semblance, or possibly by the vision of its actual form. To me, and I dare say to many of you, there has always been a certain fascination in that mighty Sphinx, so serene in its composure, so absolutely still, so impressive in that stillness, with, as it were, the wisdom of ages sculptured on its impassive face. Few I think can have looked at it without feeling the fascination of the mystery of its wise eyes and fast-locked lips; few can have seen it without dreaming fantastically whether questions addressed to it might not possibly win answer to many problems of the world.
I have thought sometimes about that creed, so strange to many. Although it came from the East, it is of the thought of all climes and ages. That thought of the world that we speak of now as Theosophy, has in itself much likeness to that sculptured Sphinx, so much promise of answer to mystery and so much silence in face of the questionings of the world -- silence that has been profound for centuries, but silence that more recently has been broken. Tonight I am to try if it were possible to sketch for you something of what that Sphinx has to say of the world-questionings, to strive to give you in some fashion a rough answer, as it comes to some of us from the lips of the thinkers of the East.
Theosophy is a vast subject, embracing as the whole of human life at once. It is a philosophy, a science, and a religion. In dealing with it, one can but sketch it in roughest outline, hoping that even the outline may stir some thinkers to enquiry, and by their study, they may fill in details necessarily left untouched in a lecture.
For many of us, in whom the habit of study has grown through a lifetime given to it, to many of us it seems as though years of careful thinking would only bring us as it were to the threshold of the subject that I am to treat tonight. There are still many problems left unanswered to those given so long to study. No reply has come to many questions. In this mere one-hour lecture, those of you new to the subject can expect many questions that remain unanswered. Much may seem puzzling. Much may seem impossible. It is only by years of study that you can hope to grasp the explanation of even some of the problems that I set before you.
Tonight, then, in sketching my outline, I propose to try to present to you Theosophy first in what it says as to the Universe; then in what it says as to man and his destiny; .and lastly in what it says touching human duty. Under those three heads, I shall have more than enough to say. In taking it in this fashion, with a sketch of the philosophy of the Universe, with a sketch of the destiny of the human race, with a sketch of the ethical system that is based upon the philosophy -- in so dealing with it, I hope to succeed in leaving at least some coherent impress on your minds, something that perchance may win one here and there to go further into that which I can unfold to so small an extent.
And now first then, as to what Theosophy tells us as to the Universe, the view of the Universe that it puts before us, the line of thought along which it leads us when we face the vast problems of existence. To the Theosophist, the Universe is but the outbreathing of the eternal and universal life.
Has it ever struck you how we find rhythm throughout Nature everywhere? Turn to the lowest forms of animate life, to those small infusoria that only the microscope can enable you to study and to scrutinize. Even as you watch that speck of animated matter, you see the rhythm of the breathing -- outbreathing and the inbreathing -- that is part of the very life of that lowly form of existence.
Just as you find rhythm is the lowest, so right through the universe similar rhythm is found: everywhere rising and falling, everywhere expansion and contraction, everywhere the ebbing and the flowing, whether you look at worlds, or whether you look at atoms; and to the Theosophist, this Universe as a whole pulses with the same rhythm that you find in its minutest portions. The outbreathing of the universal life is the Universe; the inbreathing is the disappearance of that Universe once again; and so through the endless ages of eternal life, so through the whole of that eternity that stretches behind us and before us, we see the outbreathing and the inbreathing of the living, we see the formation and the disappearance of the Universes.
While we can study the Universe, we cannot study the source of its periodical life; we cannot use words regarding that center and source of all existence that shall not in the very using be self-contradictory and incomprehensible. We cannot speak of It as life, for life is but one of Its aspects, and It is All. We cannot speak of It as intelligence, for intelligence is but a phase, and It is the essence of everything. Before that Unknowable, human thought can only be silent.
Imagine some such infusorium, as I spoke of, trying to describe to its fellow infusoria the thinking and the arguments of intelligent man. You can guess how blind would be its groping; you can imagine the follies and the self-contradictions that it would utter. Further than it is below us are we below the Center and the Essence of Life; and before that, the Universal, we can but bow in silence, knowing that all our thought is but impertinence, and that any word of ours would be but audacity and not reality. From THAT, which in one of its aspects to us is life, the Universe proceeds.
Think of this life, as for clearness you may imagine it, pulsing outwards through infinite space. Imagine then this life differentiating itself, as our Theosophical philosophy puts it, into seven stages or planes of existence. Imagine it pulsing outwards through these seven stages. It becomes more and more "material," as we call it. It proceeds with the most ethereal of spirit at the innermost, the most material of matter at the outermost. Then you grasp the first fundamental thought of the philosophy, the sevenfold plane of existence. With each sevenfold plane of existence, there are sevenfold series of organisms fitted to inhabit that plane, and sevenfold consciousness existing in each of these planes.
Thus everywhere in your Universe you have this fundamental conception: Seven stages of existence, uttermost spirit above and uttermost matter below, and between those two poles of spirit and of matter stretch every kind of form of animated existence, each stage suitable to its inhabitants, each series of organisms fitted for that plane of existence on which they live.
This notion of the sevenfold existence is not a mere dream. Has it never struck you how strangely this "seven" meets you everywhere? In light, which is one, you have seven colors, which united make the whiteness of the light. In the sound that is music, you have seven notes in your scale, and your eighth is but a repetition of the first on a higher plane. Throughout Nature, you have the suggestion of this seven-stepped existence, so to speak; you have it in light and in color perceptible to the eye, as in sound to the ear; and you have it, we are taught, through the whole of the Universe, making one mighty unity with the sevenfold diversity of existence.
When once you have grasped that fundamental notion, then simpler before you will stretch the idea of the different beings, each suitable to the plane of existence on which it lives. Then you will begin to realize that there may be existence other than your own. There may be intelligences under conditions that differ from those that surround you. Each stage of being will be suitable to its environment. Each will have a consciousness fitted to its own surroundings. You are fitted to the world that you are on, this terrestrial matter that is the third of the planes that we know of. On other planes are lives in other stages than yours, other forms of consciousness. Those other lives and other forms of consciousness are not supernatural although they are superhuman, for they are all as natural as your own lives, living, thinking, as you live or think, but on a different plane, on a different stage, of conscious existence.
Reaching then that point of thought, you will see the Universe evolving along these different lines. You will see what you call spirit gradually descending, as we phrase it, into matter and climbing upwards through matter to self-consciousness, and so reaching once more the goal from whence it came. So that to us all existence is a cycle, and the very object of existence is the gaining and the gathering of knowledge and of experience.
Spirit becomes self-conscious through its union with matter. Spirit becomes self-conscious as it descends through matter and climbs up from it once again. And so in treading that mighty cycle, so in passing through these various stages, it gathers up into one all knowledge and all experience, becoming perfect through the experience through which it passes, and taking back at the ending all that it has gained in the course of that pilgrimage of millenniums.
When that view of the Universe has worked itself into your thought, when you realize that you are part of this mighty whole, that your individual self is a portion of that evolving life, that your humanity is the very image in small of the Universe at large, that the evolution of humanity is the great object of this mighty cycling through eternity, then you have caught, as it were, the first glimpse of this great philosophy of life, you have taken your first steps on that path of knowledge that takes us so far onwards into the future, as well as gathers up for us all the treasures of the past.
From this rough outline of this cosmic view, this view of the Universe as a mighty and evolving life through the seven stages, turn from that to man, the microcosm. He reproduces, as it were, in himself the very essence of this total evolution, the man sevenfold as the Universe is sevenfold and each stage of the human life corresponding to a stage of the Universe.
I need not weary you with the Sanskrit terms that we familiarly use among us in dealing with the sevenfold aspect of man. I am taking the thing rather than the name, and am trying to clear your conceptions rather than to burden you with a difficult terminology.
Think, then, of man as sevenfold in his nature; think of each of these aspects in man as corresponding to the aspects in the Universe. Think of the highest, the seventh aspect of all, as being the spark of the universal Spirit, as the very life of the life of the Universe in man, a spark from the universal fire in the very center of man's being, a pulse of the eternal life. Then passing from that highest and most abstract part of man, think of the human spirit that is its vehicle, as you might have a lamp encircling the flame, the spirit that, in union with the eternal spark that I spoke of, and in union also with the highest mind in man, forms that upper triad of which the Theosophist so often speaks.
The union of the divine element with the human spirit and with the loftiest mind forms the true individuality of the man, which existed in the past and will exist in the future. In conjunction with that higher trinity in man is the fourfold aspect of his lower life; the physical body that he has in common with the brute, and its astral counterpart; the life that animates that body, the mere animal life just as any brute may live; then the passions and the emotions and the lower intellectual faculties that you may find in your horse and your dog, as you find them in the man, the same in essence although not in degree.
Thus you have this lower part of man; this physical life, with his emotions, with his lower intellect, with his physical body. There you get the lower and the transitory part of man, whose life is of the earth from which it comes, and that goes back to the earth and scatters when death at last touches him. It scatters, not in a moment, but gradually disappearing, not at once, but not any the less certainly. For that which is eternal in man is not his physical body, is not his animal soul; it is that higher trinity I spoke of: the spark of the eternal life, the human spirit that is its vehicle, and that highest and noblest intellectual portion that knits him to the divine, and that cannot perish but must endure forever.
Looking thus at man, you have our Theosophical conception of the human being. The higher trinity, the lower quaternary: and all man's life upon the earth is the attempt to evolve, to render perceptible, the Higher Self within him, and to conquer and hold in subordination the lower life that comes from earth.
Here we come to that portion of our teaching that raises much of opposition from those who do not think, but only deride or scoff at what they cannot understand. The Theosophist says to every one of you, "In you, whether you know it or not, there resides this higher trinity that is part of your heritage as man. It is for you to evolve it if you will, and to render active what in most today is latent. You can render it active if you will. Latent in you there is the glorious possibility, which belongs to every child of man, of conquering the lower and of evolving the higher, with all that that conquest and all that that evolution means."
These higher powers of what we call the Manas, or the mind in man, those powers, though latent in the majority, are beginning to show themselves in many of our own race and of our own time. Not as yet is the highest showing itself; not that spark of the everlasting life nor the very spirit in which it dwells; but the lower, the third of the trinity of which I speak, this higher mind of man is beginning to show itself in our present race, and signs of it are not wanting that everyone of you may discover.
It is not in the normal that you must seek for information about these awakening powers in man; it is in the abnormal and not the normal that you must look for the further evolution. For it is only in those who are a little way ahead in their evolution that you will find these powers dawning, unless you can evoke them in the ordinary man by using certain artificial means that, by rendering the lower part of man quiescent and lethargic, will enable the inner self to shine more brightly forth.
You may study, if you will, now as a recognized science the phenomena of Clairvoyance, which you get in connection with the mesmeric and hypnotic trance. In the trance, you will find some of these powers partially evolved, suggesting to you what they will be in the days to come, when their full development has been reached.
Glance for a moment at some of the well-known hypnotic phenomena where the body being thrown into a state of trance, the lower quaternary is for a time paralyzed. Your bodily organ of vision has been closed. Your ears are deaf to every outside sound. All in you that is purely physical has been thrown to sleep, is helpless and unconscious. It is when the physical is most unconscious that the psychical can best testify of its real existence and it is when all the organs of the mind are dulled and helpless that the mind itself is able to manifest its supremacy. Then you can get vision without organ of vision. Then you can get hearing without the organ of hearing. You can see hundreds of miles away. You can hear across a continent. You can converse across an ocean, for the mind knows no barrier of time or of space, and it can converse with other minds when once the lower life is made quiescent and still.
In your hypnotic phenomena, you will find this vision, this mental activity, without bodily organ. If you like, you may exercise your mental perception under conditions where all bodily vision is impossible, as in the diagnosis of obscure diseases, the description of internal organs, as described before medical men repeatedly, the postmortem examinations of the body testifying to the reality of the vision of the Clairvoyant.
Here you are not dealing with what you may think merely fancies of the Theosophist; you are dealing with the testimony of the laboratory and of the dissecting room, that comes from men of science revered wherever civilization has made its way. You can go to Charcot or to Liebault. You can go to Heidenhain or to many other scientists in France or Germany. They will give you the evidence of this abnormal exercising of the human mind, of this exercise of mental faculty without bodily organ, of this seeing without eyes, when the mind sees, perceiving without bodily assistance.
You can go yet further, and to a person under such conditions you can project your own thought, so that the thought becomes visible and audible to him. You can take a blank piece of paper and on that paper throwing your own thought-image, the person you have hypnotized will see what you desire. He shall see, and your thought to him becomes material because he judges it mind to mind. Remember what I said as to the seven states of consciousness.
By James A. Long
[From EXPANDING HORIZONS, pages 113-17.]
In the Christian Scriptures, we read that the Master Jesus said, "Except ye become as little children ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven." A statement so simple that for years and years we have failed to give it the attention it merits.
To whom was he speaking? To little children? To boys and girls? Not at all. He was speaking to adults, those who had problems both material and spiritual, and who had come to the Master for help. He knew their struggles, and he saw in their faces exactly what anyone might see today in the faces of men and women everywhere.
In times of crisis, we become so caught up with the current of the moment that we lose sight of the fact that the immediate situation is only one point in a long series of situations, the culmination of years, perhaps lifetimes. Not recognizing that, we lose perspective and cut ourselves off from the value of those experiences that, if understood, would help us resolve our dilemma. So, blinded by confusion, we think we are being imposed upon, not only by others but by life itself. As a result, we blame everybody else -- our neighbors, our business associates, maybe even our family and close friends, or the government, the world, anything -- but ourselves. Jesus must have seen that in the eyes of those to whom he spoke those words. How clouded was their consciousness, how many thick veils they had allowed to be built between what they were when the Master saw them, and what they were as children.
All of us have made our lives difficult beyond need. For millennia, we have prided ourselves on our learning, our erudition, our understanding of truth. Yet the teachers of the race have ever reminded mankind that the heart-doctrine is to be preferred to the eye-doctrine: the learning that is native to the heart, the intuition, the spiritual will of man, rather than the learning that is purely intellectual and motivated by the human will. Can't we realize that the enigmas of life are solved not by mere reason, but by intuition; not by sentimentality, but by judgment?
Those of us who love children are astounded at the pure intuition they express, amazed at times at their clear perception. Everyone knows that the hardest questions to answer are those asked by the very little ones, who uncannily go right to the core of the basic issues that often confound the world's philosophers. And we will never satisfy our children by using reason or sentiment alone; but how their eyes sparkle when we appeal to their innate intuition and judgment.
Why then did the Master urge his followers to become as little ones if they would attain the kingdom of heaven? Did he want them to return to childish pranks, and to act and think literally as children? Certainly not. He was appealing to that quality which was like unto the child. Let us look at ourselves today. What happens to us as we grow up? We go through school, perhaps university if we are fortunate. We begin to feel as though we are learning a great deal. But what do we do with that learning, whether it is scholastic or practical, religious or scientific? In many cases, we merely file it away in our minds for possible later use. This process goes on for years and, as a result, when we are confronted with real decisions, when we are plunged into the maelstrom of life's vicissitudes, what do we do? In our anxious state, and even after sober reflection, we attempt to pull out of our mental filing cabinet those things that we think will solve our problem, only to find that they do not solve it at all, either to the satisfaction of ourselves or to others who may be involved.
Now why? If we had stored the value of each experience in our heart, in the permanent part of our consciousness, then when we are brought face to face with serious matters, instead of trying to worry out the answers with our mind, we would discover that the heart, having taken over, would quite naturally lead us to the right solutions. The intuition then would have become our guide and the mind its obedient servant, the implementer of its directives -- not its master.
It might seem a most onerous task for those of us who are older and have made many mistakes, perhaps even grave ones, to become in a short time like a child. That is not the case. The Master Jesus knew it was not too hard or he would not have admonished the people of his day to do just that. And especially is it possible once a man has determined to give his life in service.
Let us ask ourselves this simple question: what is the foundation in the child's consciousness that allows his intuition and judgment to operate so beautifully? He is freshly arrived from another shore. And at his tender age he is unencumbered by an awareness of his past or his future, so that he has a truly virgin consciousness with which to prepare for the experiences ahead. He has come into life, as Wordsworth so graphically phrased it, "trailing clouds of glory."
What does the child bring with him most of all? It is trust -- that genuine foundation upon which the spiritual growth of the world must be built. What human being who has any love in his heart cannot recognize that implicit trust in the eyes of a child who newly looks upon a world and his parents as greater than himself, to whom he can always turn? But as he goes through life, he finds less and less trust in the hearts of those with whom he must associate. As a result, he becomes confused, maybe even bitter.
To become as little children! There is a simple way of doing this which has been the same all down the ages: Man, know thyself! That injunction was not new to those who worshiped at the temple of Apollo, or who listened for and believed in the oracles of ancient Greece. It is timeless, as potent today as when first enunciated. The only way we can know ourselves is to search our consciousness. If we can do this honestly, we will stop blaming others for our trials. But we are so cluttered up with our filing system of mental facts, which we are so fond of, that we cannot break through to our hearts where intuition and help reside. Once we determine to face ourselves and assume the full responsibility of our circumstances, then the gods stoop down to help, at unexpected times, through unexpected persons, and in unexpected ways. This is an inviolable law and offers the foundation in fact of the famous expression of Hercules to the wagoner: "Put your shoulder to the wheel; the gods help those who help themselves." Until we become as little children, we shall never attain that state of consciousness where we feel the full value and help of the spiritual forces that protect mankind.
By John Vorstermans
[Based upon the November 14, 2004 posting to the firstname.lastname@example.org theosophical mailing list.]
I have just returned from triennial conference of the Indo-Pacific Federation of the Theosophical Society that was held in Singapore from November 5-7.
Six New Zealand members attended the conference, including Vicki Jerome, the incumbent Federation Secretary. At the business meeting of the conference, which I attended in the capacity of New Zealand delegate, Vicki was reappointed Secretary for the next three years. Congratulations are due Vicki.
The Conference was a special experience where we met members from Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Myanmar (formerly Burma), Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, the Philippines, and Australia. We also met up with Joy Mills from the United States, Terrazine Kind from Brazil (current President of the Central and South American region), and Radha Burnier, International President, who was the guest speaker.
During the three days, we spent quite a bit of time exploring how we could help the Indo-Pacific Sections in a practical way. Many delegates spoke about what they were doing in their countries and the struggles they encountered. Some countries, particularly Bangladesh, Myanmar, and Indonesia, are struggling with getting literature and support from the Society for speakers as well as books in their own language. Japan, Ceylon, and Korea were not represented at the conference, but in these countries, the Theosophical Society is really finding it difficult because there is little literature in the indigenous languages and little apparent enthusiasm.
For example, Indonesia has many books in Dutch, some translated into Indonesian as much as forty years ago. The problem is that the language has changed quite a bit since then, making the books unreadable. A new lodge has been formed in Jakarta for young people. They all speak English, so it is an English-speaking lodge. They are translating books.
In addition, there was talk about getting material translated into Mandarin for China, but we struggle to find members who understand the literature well enough to translate the material. Professional translators are not effective unless they have a good understanding of the literature and are very expensive.
Pedro, Indo-Pacific Federation President, raised the idea that perhaps we could hold regional seminars or workshops, getting people from each region to attend. This might be in Bangladesh, for example, or a neighboring Indian state that speaks the same language (Bangala), and another perhaps in or close to Pakistan and so on.
Perhaps better-off countries like New Zealand, Australia, and the Philippines could help by providing funds to help locals travel to these seminars or workshops. It would not require huge funding in New Zealand dollars, but is one way we could help our fellows in the spirit of our Objects and a service by our Section.
I was quite humbled by the stories I heard during the conference. We do not know how lucky we are in New Zealand with all our resources. Compared to many of the Sections that were present, we are swimming in abundance! I was impressed with what some individuals are doing in some of Asia-Pacific countries to make a difference.
We had some interesting workshops in which we looked at essentially what we do as an organization. Although working with different subject areas, all workshops seemed to come out with similar thoughts. It came through strongly at the conference that Theosophy is not about TEACHING people but rather about EXPLORING together in groups what we understand as the timeless wisdom. It was emphasized that Theosophy is about Meditation, Study, and Service; it is about living a certain type of life.
Radha inspired us with her talk on Relationships, our relationships to each other and the environment and the animal kingdom.
Vic Hao Chin Jr. also gave a very interested talk. I was very impressed with him and the work of The Philippines Section, which focuses largely on Service. He said he has found that when starting to work with Service, people just pop out of thin air to help.
Members who might at the beginning seem reluctant to help in service, once they start, find it takes them over. His Section is doing well, with no shortage of workers. One big thing they do is starting primary and secondary schools. They train teachers, run the appropriate curricula, and include theosophical concepts of tolerance or acceptance, sharing, charity, and mediation. (Note that the Pakistan Theosophical Order of Service also trains teachers to educate and start small schools in under-privileged areas.) This is helping to make a real difference in the country.
I look forward to next year when Vic will be our guest at the School of Theosophy in New Zealand.
Joy Mills also gave a great inspiring talk and facilitated a discussion on the Essentials of Theosophy. She talked on the theme of putting what we know into practice through living the life about which we have learned. It is not until we make practical what we know intellectually that we really begin to know that which we seek.
The next step is how New Zealand can help to make Theosophy stronger in the Indo-Pacific region. I know we have a lot of work still to do in New Zealand, but that does not mean we cannot lend a little support to our brothers and sisters overseas also. We have to be careful not to become only inward looking.
This was a special time and I have been honored to be able to attend the conference in the capacity of official delegate from the New Zealand Section.
[From LUCIFER, October 15, 1891, pages 113-20.]
The incidents upon which my story turns happened in the summer of 1886. I was then living in the northern suburb of one of our large manufacturing towns. For some years past, my leisure time had been entirely occupied with research in almost every phase of Western occultism; in short, I had little taste for anything but the mystical. I haunted the second-hand bookshops during the day in search of curious literature, and when successful in finding some old worm-eaten tome, fustier than a charnel house, my homeward footsteps after the day's work were swift and airy as these of Mercury when acting as special messenger to the gods in convention assembled!
Needless to say, I burned the candle pretty evenly at both ends, frequently retiring to bed in the morning twilight with my mind full of thoughts and my brain still at high pressure on the track of some clue to the problem in hand. Under the abstracting influence of this fascinating study, I rapidly developed a phase of absence of mind that ran very close at times to hallucination of an interesting character.
On one occasion, the servant being absent from the house, I had been asked to go into one of the cellars and draw some ale from a barrel for the use of a brother whom Paul might, in a lenient mood, have counted among the "men of years" to whom strong drink was allowed. I took a key from a basket and proceeded with jug and candle in hand to the cellar. Placing the candle on the barrel so that it gave me the light I needed, l drew a generous jugful and returned to the room where supper was already in process, placed the jug upon the table, and put the key into the basket upon the sideboard. I took my place at the table in the midst of a profound silence, and following the eyes of all those present, I saw to my amazement the key-basket in the middle of the table quietly discharging from its meshes what was undeniably "table-beer!"
Amid much laughter from my friends, excited no doubt by my own evident astonishment, I arose in confusion of mind to prove that a trick had been somehow played upon me, but on looking at the sideboard, I found only a dry jug with a key in it! To this day, I do not understand how it was that I saw the jug filling under my very eyes, or why it did not change into a key-basket sooner than it did. Someone has suggested that it was a case of temporary hallucination and that I covered the basket with the thoughtform of the jug that I had in my mind.
On another occasion, I was undressing for bed, and when half way through the process conceived the idea that I was getting up, and unconsciously commenced dressing, only correcting my impressions of time when I emerged from my room upon the darkness of the house. I then discovered that I been deluded even as to the nature of the light in my room, which, although gaslight, I had been quite willing to regard as daylight when the idea of dressing came to me.
These incidents, which were by no means the only ones of the kind that occurred to me at the time of my narrative, will serve to show that my researches in occultism were in active process, but not yet completed! In fact, the more interesting my studies became to me, the more interesting, as a subject of serious study, did I become to those around me!
Let me introduce you to my den. There it is! It was a bedroom and study in one, you see. The curtain and screen in the center formed the necessary division that, in a normal case, might have also served to divide the day and the night, the hours of labor from those of rest -- but to me it was a mere arbitrary distinction, a line that might easily be overstepped, and often was.
In the further half of the room, you will see, by drawing aside the screen, my library on the right-hand side and my writing table on the left. There in the corner is a celestial globe, maps, and other paraphernalia of astral research. By the table is my lamp-stove, at which I make my tea or coffee when the nights are cold, or when I find I want a harmless stimulant. That is all, I think. What are those things? Well, yes, I did not intend you to see those, but they give me the opportunity to tell the facts that follow.
On the night of Wednesday, August 4, 1886, I sat alone in my room thinking of a hint I had received upon a problem then in my mind night and day. I wondered why I could not get a clue that would enable me to complete what would be proof of conclusions already arrived at by intuition. I was convinced that S knew all about it, and could have told me; indeed, might have done so, but that my too evident eagerness defeated its own end.
I was thinking thus, when my younger brother entered the room and said, "Are you disengaged now? I came a few minutes ago and saw you talking to someone, so I waited until he had gone. Can you tell me what this means?" He then handed me a book and marked a passage.
I answered him somewhat briefly, saying I was busy and wishing him goodnight, so he left the room. "Talking to someone," I repeated. What could he mean? No one had been in my room during the evening to my knowledge! I thought for some time, and then let the matter drop. After all, it was comforting to know that I was not the only dreamer in the house, and that if hallucinations were bad things, certainly delusions were not much better! I leaned back in my chair and resumed my thinking, until at last I became feverish and restless. "Thinking, thinking, all day and night; of what use is it? I have thought in every direction and can find no clue; it is of no use; and yet what is there of any use in a matter like this except thought?"
Thus, I ran on in my hopeless discontent, and my eyes rested for a moment upon a crystal ball that stood upon a tripod at the back of my table. Something in its form or brightness, or perhaps the happy conjunction of both in perfection, caught my eye, so that I remained watching it with critical appreciation for some moments. A sudden thrill of joyful hope ran through my heart as the thought flashed upon me -- "Try the crystal!" I had not used my crystal for some time past, and the idea coming at the extremity of my efforts seemed to open out another and possibly a successful line of investigation.
Eagerly I reached down a planetary ephemeris and noted the course of the moon. It was in the ninth house of my nativity, conjoined to the planet Mars and in evil aspect to Saturn and Venus, which were conjoined. "Bad, very bad," I thought, "and it does not look much like success; but as the moon is increasing in light, and in the House of visions and in an aerial sign, perhaps out of this collision of contrary forces I may get the lightning flash of truth. Who knows? At all events I'll try." In so thinking, I laid down my book. Setting aside my papers, I took up the crystal, dusted it, and set it upon the stand.
The night had advanced, and all in the house had retired to rest. I lit my stove and made some tea, which I drank without milk or sugar, my mind all the while running on the subject of my research. I sat for some time thinking of my forthcoming experiment, and then rose to make the necessary arrangements. I brought out from its corner a stand some three feet high, to which I fixed a circular top. Certain names and symbols were inscribed in gold letters on its black enameled surface. According to Trithemius and others, they were supposed to be efficacious in the use of the crystal.
On the table thus prepared, I set the crystal with its stand, a candle upon either side of it to equalize the light, and then, everything being ready, I noted the time -- it was just past midnight -- and turned out the gas. It was a curious thought that then occurred to me. There was I, in the latter half of this enlightened century, close upon the very heart of the most prosaic center of mechanical industry in the world, calmly turning out the gas and practically groping in the superstition of the dark ages in search of truth! One thing at all events was satisfactory; I had never persuaded anyone to follow me, and if I went astray and got lost the fault would be my own. I was willing to take the consequences.
Seated before the crystal, I continued gazing at it for some minutes. Then it became clouded by a white mist, which slowly disappeared, revealing what appeared to be a clear but starless sky, from which flashed forth now and then small lights like meteors or falling stars. A cool wind was playing over my face and neck and seemed to stir my hair. Suddenly a peculiar sickly sensation came over me. My brain grew hot and throbbed rapidly beneath my temples. A cold shiver ran down my spine. My heart jumped, faltered, and stopped. My sight failed. Nothing but silence and darkness seemed to be, and I was somehow absorbed in them.
Ages seemed to roll by while I, an atom, wedged in between those impenetrable walls, motionless and senseless, waited for something to happen. My anguish of mind was indescribable!
At last, thought came to my rescue. Was I dead or alive? I did not know. Where was I? I could not tell. Where did I come from? Stars, meteors, cool breeze, dark sky, white clouds, crystal ball -- ah! Nothing more? Crystal ball! Remember that! Crystal ball, crystal ball! I clung to that idea as a child will cling to its mother in the darkness. I followed it as a bloodhound will follow the trail. It was as if my very being lay in that single thought!
What was that? Something was giving way in the darkness! There was a rushing like a terrible cyclone through a mountain forest, and then a mighty crash as if the universe had fallen in upon itself! Then came silence followed by the soughing of a warm and gentle wind that fanned my cheeks and eyelids. I heard myself moan, a long, low, weary moan, as if a winter wind were belated and lost in a wilderness. Then a pale light seemed to penetrate the darkness, and far away, I could see what appeared like the breaking of the daylight. A few silvery streaks widened, united, and grew until the light became all but brilliant. In the midst of that broad belt of light, I saw the figure of a man apparently in the act of devotion. Then a power seemed to catch me up and carry me, with indescribable swiftness, towards that figure in the light. As I came nearer, I saw and felt that the figure was like me -- it was I -- and a cry of exultation escaped my lips.
A few minutes sufficed to assure me that I was in my room and seated before the crystal as if no change had ever taken place. The candles, from which I took my first measure of time, clearly showed that I had not been long unconscious. My watch showed seven minutes past midnight. I remembered that I had commenced my sitting at midnight and knew that I had spent at least five minutes in gazing at the crystal. Could it be possible that I had passed through an eternity of mental torture in so brief a time? It was so at all events, if the record of two burning candles and that of an honest chronometer were acceptable as evidence!
Shaking off the chilly sensation that supervened, I was in the act of rising from my chair when the thought came upon me that my experiment had failed! I had not discovered the clue of which I was in search; indeed, I had temporarily forgotten it, and had suffered unexpected and all but unbearable experiences in the attempt to find it. I resumed my seat with a sense of disappointment and shame and for a time sat thinking. The more I thought the more my courage returned, my determination to go forward with the quest growing stronger. Should I try the crystal again and perhaps suffer further agonies, or should I tax my thought and cling to the idea in my mind until it yielded to my importunity, and revealed that for which I searched?
I was deliberating on this point when the door of my room quietly opened wide. I waited, but as no one entered, I rose, went to the screen, and drew it aside. All was still, so still that I could hear the chirping of the crickets in the kitchen below stairs on the other side of the house. There was no wind stirring, but what else could open the door thus, even if imperfectly latched? I took a candle and went out into the passage. Everything was quiet. The doors leading from the passage to the bedrooms were all shut. I returned softly, closed the door, and sat the candle on the table before which I sat down.
The events of the night filled my mind, and beneath them lay the thought of a secret yet unearthed. My brain was abnormally active, and the effort to isolate myself for a fresh spell of thought upon the subject nearest my heart was repeatedly obstructed by the sense of a dread darkness and silence that seemed to hang around me like the memory of a nightmare. The walls of my room seemed to press heavily upon me. My breathing grew difficult. I felt that I needed fresh air and space in which to breathe, think, and move. I looked at my watch, it was after one o'clock. I decided to go out and walk off the impressions that seemed to gather round me. With this purpose in mind, I lapsed into a dreamy half-conscious state and may have remained so for some minutes before recalling my intention, when I immediately rose, and going quietly from the room, descended to the hall, where in the darkness I felt for my hat. Then having drawn the bolt and chain of the front door, I passed out, closing the door behind me.
The night was cool, moist, and very still, while the far-off stars blinked tearfully behind a veil of mist. I walked rapidly. Passing the old church, the wood, and the open fields, I made my way by a sharp descent to where the river bends to the service of an old mill, and turned at last along a lane to the left that crossed the river by means of a footbridge. I stopped there and leaned against a tree whose branches overhung the water.
It was a moonless night, and only faint starlight diffused itself upon the obscure scenery around me. How cool and refreshing it was to stand there after my rapid walk and listen to the sipping of the water at my feet! That river and I seemed to be the only living creatures in the world; and I was the less happy of the two, because the more uncertain and the more lonely. The river knew its course and followed it, whether amid the secluded woods or in the open fields, by quiet farms or through busy towns. By day as by night, it flowed without ceasing. From the hillside where it had its birth to the place where it joined the commonwealth of waters on their journey to the sea, as brook and stream and river, it stretched its full length along. It was uninterruptedly one, could be traced from its beginning to its end, and it could be understood. But could I be understood too? I shivered, perhaps at the thought of my own inscrutability, or perhaps I had cooled too rapidly.
I turned to continue my walk, and raising my eyes, saw close before me the figure of a youth. Somehow, I was not surprised. I did not start, nor did I wonder even for a moment how or why he was there; but it was evident to me that he wished to speak. I regarded him attentively. He was of my own height, rather tall, and slender built. The obscure light made his features somewhat indiscernible, though what could be seen of them was attractive rather than otherwise; and his eyes, wherein the uncertain light seemed to find a focus, were bright and penetrating.
"What do you want?" I asked, merely for the sake of opening a conversation that, from our respective positions, appeared inevitable.
"Nothing," he replied. "I have found you."
"Found me?" I questioned. "Why did you seek for me?"
"You called me," was the brief but amazing reply.
"Who are you then?" I asked.
"I am yourself, your unremembered self. I was in sleep when you called me, but I heard you, and have come a long way, a very long way to find you; and now I have found you, I am happy, inexpressibly happy, and I will never leave you; oh let me stay with you for ever!" He said this rapidly and leaned forward so that our faces almost touched, and the fire of his eyes seemed to burn into my own.
What had I heard? Was I dreaming? I stood for a moment almost stunned, gazing into those eyes whose light seemed to penetrate me through and through. Then the place seemed to whirl round me. I felt myself lifted from my feet and thrown to the ground.
When I regained consciousness, I was lying upon the floor of my room. My body, overspread by a clammy perspiration, was cold and stiff, but with an effort, I partially raised myself and looked around me to ascertain my position. I was lying with my head towards the door. The cold twilight was creeping in through the Venetian blind. The candles on the table were still burning, and as I saw at once had not been burning long. The chair in which I had sat -- it seemed only a moment since -- was overturned. The door was shut. I felt dazed and giddy, but with an effort, I got up, stumbled to the window, and hastily drew up the blind. The hazy morning light filled the room. I looked at my watch and found that it was nearly three o'clock. What had I been doing and what brought me on the floor were questions that I asked myself as I picked up the chair and flung myself into it.
Then the memory of all that I had passed through came back to me. One fact after another would beat in swift succession upon my brain. There was the awful silence, darkness, and agony of mind, followed by the crashing thunder of some mighty devastation. There was the far-off dawn and the strange aerial flight towards the specter of myself and the fever of thought and feeling that succeeded. Then I remembered the details of my passage from the house, the swift walk through the night air to the lane by the river, the rest beneath the willow, the reverie, and the mysterious youth!
All passed through my mind with that distinctness that marks the most wakeful impressions and with that consciousness that distinguishes between such impressions and our most vivid dreams. Again, those bright eyes seemed to look into mine through the misty light. Involuntarily I leaned forward and blew out the candles. "Yourself, your unremembered self" -- I seemed to hear it all again -- "and I will never leave you!" A strange weird feeling overcame me. I glanced nervously around. Yet, shall I be understood if I say, I was deliriously happy!
It was quite evident to me that I should have to endure until the morning had advanced some hours. No one would be astir until then, and I longed to see some human being, something that could move, think, and feel as I; an animal, anything that would give me a sense of the world in which I was. But most of all, I longed for the broad daylight, and the touch of some hand that was familiar to me; and as I looked out of the window, watching the growing of the day, I planned some excuse for going early to my mother's room.
At last the morning came. I heard the servant descend the stairs, and then began to prepare for my morning ablutions. When I was dressed again, I went out and was about to enter my mother's room when I heard the servant in the act of opening the front door. An idea occurred to me. I went quickly downstairs, and I watched as she released the chain and drew the bolt. As I passed out into the garden-plot before the house, she looked at me curiously. My appearance at that hour was an occurrence without precedent in her experience.
When I had stood a minute watching the birds flying about in the soft sunshine, I returned to the house and took the opportunity, while passing through the hall, to note that my hat was in its usual place upon the rail. Just then the servant came to sweep the hall-floor, and I noticed that there were no dirty footprints upon it; yet this was not curious perhaps, for certainly if I had unconsciously taken the trouble to bolt and chain the door upon my return, I should at least have wiped my feet, if only as a matter of habit.
The further I pursued my enquiries, however, the more certain was I that I had not left the house that night. Yet my walk to the river was no dream. Every detail was fresh in my memory, and the daylight only made them more certainly real to my consciousness. Nevertheless, it was of all experiences the most mysterious I had ever passed through. I was hopelessly perplexed as to the true nature of the occurrence, and it seemed as if one mystery was merely replaced by another.
I went to my room and occupied myself until breakfast time in making a memorandum of the events of the night, and when I at length joined the family at the breakfast-table, no one remarked anything unusual, nor could they know how dream-like they all appeared to me and yet how glad I was to be thus dreaming. I was glad to find they were ignorant of anything that had happened, and determined to keep the matter secret. I went to my business as usual, but during the day, I felt ill and called upon the doctor who told me I was suffering from a nervous affection of a peculiar nature and prescribed entire rest and change of air.
On reaching home, I went to my room. The associations that were called to my mind by everything around me were uncanny, and I felt that I could not get any rest there until I had regained health and strength in some degree; so I arranged to sleep in a room on the other side of the house. While preparations were in process for giving me some refreshment, I sat upon the edge of the bed. The declining sun threw its golden light upon the wall before me, and as I sat watching it, I remarked that it gave to the simple design of the wallpaper a peculiar beauty.
I had remained thus for a few moments, I suppose, when all at once, I felt a strange tingling sensation in the top of my head. It increased and burned intensely. I put up my hand to still the pain. Then, suddenly, it was as if my head had been split open and hot sand poured into it that ran through my whole body and out at my feet. I fell from the bed upon my knees and cried like a child.
For two days, I suffered from violent hysteria and then excessive nervous sensitivity developed. This affected my sight in a peculiar manner. Everything I looked at was present to my sight in all its detail with microscopic clearness, and the effect upon my system was extremely irritating. But the most extraordinary effect was that during the nighttime, when the room was dark, I could see everything clearly as if each object stood in a light of its own that blended with that of things adjacent, so that the room appeared to be filled with a soft bluish phosphorescence. I remained in this state for about a fortnight and then rapidly recovered.
When I look back at that period of my life, it seems at once the most horrible and the happiest. It was horrible, because of the insecurity that seemed to beset my sense of individual existence, for somehow I seemed to have suffered a division of myself into three separate beings, between which my consciousness wavered. It was a happy period, for as I then felt and afterwards knew most certainly, I had discovered the secret that I was in search of, "myself, my unremembered self!" But today I am wiser because of that experience, and I have found that happiness does not lie in the memory of the past, but in the life that now is, with all its golden possibilities, in our very hands.
[From THE THEOSOPHICAL MOVEMENT, February 1958, pages 131-35.]
With the help of Theosophy, men and women can transform their lives. Its "Universals" illumine the "particulars" of life, and then the latter, gathered together in evidence, throw further light on the whole of things. We can begin here with one such proposition, that "the 'Manifested Universe' ... is pervaded by duality" as an interdependent polarity of Spirit-Matter.
Man's duality comprises the inner Being and its instrument, the outer body. Body is again dual, inner and outer, but here we are concerned with the duality of consciousness -- Spirit, the immortal, infinite centre, and Soul, the vehicle of Spirit.
Soul is again dual: the higher Soul-Ego, rooted in Spirit, and the lower soul, mortal like the body it inhabits. The Soul-Ego is "awake" on its own plane, where its understanding and powers are godlike, but it "sleeps" on the lower plane because the personal soul in the ordinary man affords no instrument or field through and in which the higher can work.
We can understand this better by analogy. Our personal consciousness, however developed, is unable to perceive and act in the physical world, unless the physical senses and organs are in order. The personal ego of a man has no vision of physical objects if the bodily eyes are damaged. He cannot speak, however much he may know, if the vocal chords do not work. If so, the Soul-Ego is impotent, "asleep" on the personal level, because of the barrier imposed by the imperfect instrument there. Similarly, the lower soul "sleeps" on the plane of the higher. It is true that a current flows every night through the three planes of awareness, but without coordination.
The personal self is more or less aware on Jagrat, the waking plane, but it has little or no basis for functioning in Sushupti. It is like a sick man, semi-consciously aware of people moving about him, but remembering little or nothing afterwards. The Soul-Ego, active in Sushupti, is hardly able, in most men, to function in Jagrat, because the ignorance and delusions of the personal soul drug it, so to say, at that level.
How shall one adjust this personal nature, so that the dual Soul, acting as one in divinity, will be awake at both levels? The process has been described in many ways, but we must always find some fresh angle, otherwise we shall merely repeat, "Kill out desire" or "The brain must be made porous to the Soul's recollections" like a superficial churchgoer prattling about his creed.
Let us look at the duality of birth and death, with its natural transit from one to the other. There are also two false gates, murder and suicide, which can be viewed as symbols of two false attitudes, two ways of reacting to the duality of satisfaction-frustration that life brings.
Observation shows two basic temperamental types, corresponding to the two basic delusions mentioned. Both attitudes create equally a false pattern in the personal man that makes him impervious to the Soul-Ego, thus rendering it unable to act.
The first attitude can be symbolized by the word "murder." It is the delusion of the person who, seeking for satisfaction in his own scheme of order and fulfillment, thinks he can, by force and violence, thrust any obstacle aside and get rid of it -- "murder" it, in other words. Such a person fights back at evil, sorrow, and trouble and tries to force circumstances to suit his will, sweeping aside the natural rights of others who seem to stand in the way of what appears desirable to him.
Those thus deluded range from the actual murderer who kills out of fear or for some fancied benefit, down to the prejudiced person who "murders" and violently rejects or distorts facts that will not fit his own theories. This attitude breeds fanatics who have "killed" everything except their object of devotion. It is at the root of the heresy hunts of the Inquisition, of McCarthyism, and of all intolerance of "something different." The supporters of capital punishment take their stand on this false platform. They say, "The murderer is a menace to society! Destroy him!" Even the sentimentalism of euthanasia proposals rest on the same delusion, saying, "Remove the pain and suffering out of our sight!"
From it springs also the false idea in education and in social politics, that one can condition people to a currently accepted mold and eliminate the "outsider." It is behind the foolhardy endeavors of agriculturists to "murder" Nature and ignore natural law in order to make growing things fit a mass food-production plan.
It reaches down to apparent trivialities and has to be tackled there first. It shows in the attitude of grumbling and indignation at anything that upsets our routine, our hold on possessions, or our attempts at achievement. It shows in the refusal to accept any fact or factor that upsets our ideas or our judgment of another. It is responsible for remarks like "Why on earth do you want that?" -- the implication being, "It's rubbish to me! Throw it out!" This is the insensitive adult's reaction to a child's treasures, as well as the "practical" man's reaction to the work of the imaginative writer or artist. Furthermore, we tread the path of "murder" when we try to push away the responsibility for a faulty piece of work, or for a mistaken action -- "The tools were bad." "The material was too poor." "It was so-and-so's fault." Behind all the reasons lurks, unrecognized, the demand -- "Shift the blame away from me! Murder the link between it and my own self-made image of satisfaction!" The smallest incidents show the same thing. A man thinks the time is five o'clock and on being told that the clock says only 20 minutes to the hour promptly retorts, "The clock must be wrong!" He automatically "murders" fact, for the sake of his personal impression.
Now this delusion that we can get rid of anything is so contrary to the vision and consciousness of the Soul-Ego that the latter can only remain "asleep" on the lower planes. How can its divine nature, with its universal, compassionate view, perceive and act through a personality that has thus violently mutilated its own capacity? In very truth, since the Universe is one, we can get rid of nothing. Under the law of conservation of energy, the thing "destroyed" will take other forms, and the greater the violence of the attempted elimination and exclusion of the unwanted object, the greater will be the "come-back." We can get rid of nothing. We can only adjust and transform, so that everything finally assimilates in the right way in the total scheme. "Cast no one out of your heart."
The opposite delusions, symbolized by "suicide," equally render the personal soul useless as a coherent vehicle for the Higher. The first type tries to force obstacles and troubles out of its closed circle; the second tries to flee from them. This has been better analyzed under the name of "escapism" by those of the opposite persuasion chiefly, since the "suicide" type is not critical by nature. In this category also, we have a wide range. There is the actual suicide that imagines that by doing away with the physical body he can free himself from the ills of life that he cannot face, or escape from the retribution for his sins. There is the gentle "other-worldly" person who floats away from harsh realities and from social evils demanding reform, into a dreamland where everything is as he wishes it to be. There is the scholar, aloof in his ivory tower. There is the dreamer who finds over-Herculean the effort to work out his grand visions in hard, unresponsive actuality, and who retreats back to the dream. A child, over-taxed by adult demands, parental or scholastic, will often refuse to make effort, taking refuge in some "collecting" activity that compensates without fear of failure.
There are those who seek release through drugs, sedatives, "tranquilizers," or who vainly endeavor to drown their sorrows and worries in drink. The avid patrons of the "dope" type of books, films, radio, television, or the chain smokers, the dancers "sent" by the rhythms of "Rock and Roll," are all treading the path of "suicide," of intoxication that deadens the Thinker in themselves. But so also are those who fling themselves into feverish activity -- business, pleasure, or "good works" -- in order to avoid having to stop and think. Others fly from their own tormenting, questioning mind into the bosom of a blind faith, whether religious or political. Others, imbued with the desire for freedom, feel space, time, matter, form, and the demands of human relationships as fetters rather than supports or means to power. They are, therefore, always in flight from one thing or another.
We recognize the trend in many things. There is the tendency to put off a specially difficult task, the omission of an unpleasant duty for fear of hurting another's feelings, the acute revulsion from the domination of others, the feeling of restriction at routine, and the pliability that, when subjected to pressure or persuasion, gives in, "suicides" its own will, in fact, for the sake of peace.
But just as the "murderer" cannot destroy whatever threatens his notions of self, so too the "suicide" cannot flee in reality from the responsibility of self, or from the necessity of material limitations. These will follow him as close as his shadow, and eventually he must accept them. For how can the steady, constant nature of the strong Soul-Ego find expression in an ever-shifting, fluctuating personal field? We must transform the shadow, to make it truly "the holder of the flame."
There is also a third group in yet more unhappy plight, which seems to oscillate between the two delusions "fight" and "flight" -- always torn between two points of view, two opposing objects of desire. These also keep the Soul-Ego "dead asleep."
Yet at death, for everyone, there is a natural working out of the energies. The being is able to get rid of all that it cannot assimilate into its ideal self-portrait. The "shell" thus thrown out undergoes progressive destruction on its own nightmare plane (yet leaving seeds behind for future fights) while the surviving personal consciousness flies away into its self-engendered heavenly dream. This too must end, and the being once more "accept the woes of birth." Death is only a breathing space.
In the word "accept" is the answer to the problem of transforming both delusions into working powers for the Soul. For the adjustment of the personal nature means:
ACCEPTANCE of whatever comes, of people, of events, of our own faults, as of outside evils. It is not passivity -- which is suicide -- but, until there is acceptance of a thing, how can one begin to change it or find its right place? Indignation, shame, pride, and fear distort the picture. Acceptance tranquilizes and impersonalizes the feelings. But it depends on:
EQUANIMITY: is a state of mind poised in balance between two poles. It arises from the realization of that truth that fuses opposites. The personal nature always takes sides. The Soul demands equilibrium. We must be able to see pleasure and pain, success and failure, effort and rest, past and future, and thought and action as ONE, before our heart can accept. Holding the mind steady at this center requires:
WILL: is a spiritual force, steady, constant, distinct from the fluctuations of personal desire. It cannot act except through the forms created by:
IMAGINATION: is the power that sets the boundaries of achievement. We cannot will what we cannot imagine. Thus, imagination needs knowledge out of which to create its patterns, and this demands:
STUDY: is the grasp of universal truths, of the nature of Soul and Spirit, so that the images may have a sure foundation. So that delusion does not enter once more, gather this knowledge with pure motive. The motive for study that makes the mind pure is:
SERVICE: is the only end to be kept in view, "to be the better able to help and teach others."
These six clear the field of the personal consciousness, but the still lower bodily field also requires adjustment in the senses and organs. The careful carrying out of everyday duties with accuracy, timeliness, and disinterestedness brings these into alignment. Then the awakened Soul can work in divine fashion at all three levels. The purpose of reincarnation is achieved.
We can recognize this mentally, but the heart learns more easily from the force of human example. So, if we consider such a figure as William Q. Judge -- the exemplar for us of a Disciple -- we can realize, in a living fashion, the powers enumerated.
He was "acceptance" personified, "the Friend of all Creatures," willing to work with friend or foe, meeting good and evil with brave heart and humor. Practical man and mystic in one, he had the true balance of equanimity, strength, and gentleness, and of drive and calmness. He had a will that held fast and an imagination that could equally conceive the profundities of the teaching and the administrative planning that made him so great an organizer. His study was devoted to the purpose of bringing the teaching to ordinary men and women, and on the plane of physical action, his meticulous attention to "the right way" of doing things not only conserved energy, but as a means to the greater expression of the Soul.
We have in him a wonderful practical example. May we find the power to follow!