The Theosophical Forum – March 1936

HIGHER EDUCATION — THE TWICE-BORN — Marjorie M. Tyberg

That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the spirit is spirit.
Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. — John, iii, 6, 7.

When a human being is born, and often for months previous to birth, the tender love of parents, the scientific care of physicians and nurses, are given to prepare for the new-comer a sound healthy body, to insure a successful physical basis for life in the strange world into which the babe is entering. It does not surprise us that the tiny though beautifully complex little body can grow through stage after stage to adulthood, wonder of wonder that this after all is. Nor, when parents, teachers, schools, carefully thought-out systems of education, refined and cultured home and social environment have helped to produce young men and women capable of successful family life, civic duty, patriotic and humanitarian service, are these results any more than we expect from the training of the intellectual and moral faculties as they are understood in our world today. All this may happen, and yet, has the innermost Self that "drew from out the boundless deep," and sought a vesture in the outward world, even been glimpsed? Does this Self brood and hover over the budding human being, only to recede unrecognised? Can this deepest, wisest, permanent one, who is the link with eternity, be educated into conscious function in human life in the world before it "turns again home?" Do human beings get completely born?

There is in our day a severe reaction against lop-sided eternity after death, an eternity of personal salvation. Young people and many older ones have outgrown that idea. Hell has no longer any horrors for them. Some have even been heard to say that if they could enjoy eternal bliss while their fellow-creatures were burning in hell, they themselves would merit fire and brimstone. It is over-poweringly evident that religious teaching, to win respect today, to gain response from hearts and minds, must present an all-inclusive, universal view of human destiny, some supremely great unifying purpose, some challenge that will stir into activity the deepest deeps of human will and compassion, some call to spiritual adventure that will urge us on to pierce into the unknown, invisible world and win its whole secret.

When in the fifteenth century in Europe there was a revival of ancient culture with a corresponding liberation of intellect, the minds of men turned with joy, with renewed adventurous energy, toward the conquest of the external world. Today again there has been a revival of ancient learning. This renaissance of the archaic Wisdom-teaching, the purpose of H. P. Blavatsky and of the Theosophical Society, draws the attention of humanity to the conquest of that inner world of man's own nature which holds the key to the understanding of all Nature's mysteries and makes man a conscious co-operator in the activity of the universe as an entity, the Great Self in which everything lives and moves, and has its being. It is education in this larger sense, incorporating the elements of the archaic training, that will restore the balance between the objective and the subjective life which is so sore a need in our time. The Way opens inwards. It leads to the second birth, the bringing into function of the higher intellectual and spiritual faculties of mankind.

The works of H. P. Blavatsky are full of enlightenment regarding the higher education that is a spiritual birth, the birth of an inner Self of union and will, whose range of activity is not only on earth, not only for one earth-life, but has a range of experience in the visible and invisible realms and preserves an unbroken thread of consciousness through sleep and waking, and through death to rebirth. From the philosophies, religions, mythologies, and traditions of the world she gathers the evidence of the existence of the Great Teachers of mankind; in a stupendous work of higher criticism she traces all of the sacred books to their source in a primal Wisdom-teaching given to races earlier than any our histories record. And, anticipating by many years the findings of archaeological science, she points to the sacred edifices scattered over the earth, the pyramids, the towers and temples, as the halls of this higher education, which has ever been available to those of any race or any period who were prepared to receive it. For many centuries have these sacred ruins stood in silence and mystery until the wheel of destiny moved upward to the point where the light from the distant forgotten past could once more shine into the hearts of men and quicken the knowledge of the source from which all systems and teachings of wisdom sprang and from which, when the clock of progress strikes a spiritual keynote for mankind, they and all beings can draw renewal.

The most heartening message brought to mankind in the nineteenth century revival of the most ancient wisdom is that for millions of years there have been Teachers, Initiators, who preside at the awakening of man's spiritual faculties in life after life on earth, who guide him from stage to stage of the inner development that makes of him a dwija or one twice-born. The existence of this Hierarchy of Compassion, serving in every race and age, directing human beings, who are each and all a part of Truth in the Cosmos, in the finding in their own inner natures the pathway to greater and greater knowledge of that Truth, reveals to us a new and sublime conception of man and his destiny. It gives us a glimpse of the heights to be mounted step by step in love and service by every man. The nebulous eternity of bliss offered by dogmatic religion is replaced by the supreme adventure of conscious rebirth in self-built vestures of ever increasing power and purity. The ancient wisdom gives assurance that man is at home in the universe; that he may learn to traverse earth and sky in freedom and full knowledge of the Way, reading the secrets of Nature, from that of the tiny seed to that of flaming stars. A glorious, all compassionate eternal life — rest when the Great Being in whom we live slumbers for an eternity, and waking with it at the dawn of another Day, with ever the radiant purpose of setting alight in beings lower in the scale of evolution than himself the intellectual and spiritual fires kindled during the initiation or higher education that made of him one twice-born, born of the spirit, who has entered upon not only the inner joy of the mystic, but the peace and power of one awakened to conscious unity with a divinely intelligent universe.


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