The Theosophical Forum – July 1937

THE FOOLISHNESS OF THE WISE — Charles E. Ball

Mahomet is reported to have said "Two things are an abomination to me, the wise in his infidelities and the fool at his devotions." To its everlasting credit, amidst much that is reprehensible, the present age is coming to be of the same opinion. The false intellectualism which has so long held sway is passing away and rationalism is being aimed at, a "one-pointedness," one might say, and an intelligent co-ordination of ways and means This is good, as from one point of view it denotes the extinction of the specialist and the "one-track mind." Perhaps the real and great difference between the wise man and the ordinary man is that they think differently.

Those who are sensible enough to look for the occult in the commonplace know something of the great significance of that human currency — words, and in these coins of thought can be traced the rise and fall of the moral, spiritual, and ethical life; good words are degraded or dropped, and neutral or insidious words are substituted.

Glance at the news-sheet and note the words in general use in international matters particularly: Imperialism, Spheres of Influence, Tariffs, Diplomatic Pourparlers, Dementis, Pacts, Understandings, and so forth, all more or less used to conceal thought.

To glance at such a work as The Laws of Manu is as though one were reading a story of the "once on a time" period, especially if one reads the section "On the Military Class," V, 54.

The king must appoint seven or eight ministers, who must be sworn by touching a sacred image or the like, men, whose ancestors were servants of kings, who were versed in the holy books, who are personally brave, who are skilled in the use of weapons, and whose lineage is noble.

And V, 44, referring to a King:

Day and night must he strenuously exert himself to gain complete victory over his own organs, since that king alone, whose organs are completely subdued, can keep his people firm to their duty.

In fact, so wonderful are the counsels of this section that it might be issued as an addendum to Machiavelli's The Prince and The Art of War.

To read through such a work is to bring home poignantly the great difference between the days when the Dharma existed as a fact, an atmosphere, a Gnosis, and these times when to the world at large there is nothing beyond the horizon of human life itself. Though such works insist upon the rigid recognition of justice and the true facts of life, such as the knowledge of human frailty, there is no sentimentality In V, 22 we read:

The whole race of men is kept in order by punishment, for a guiltless man is hard to be found through fear of punishment, indeed, this universe is enabled to enjoy its blessings.

But note the following:

But where punishment, with a black hue and a red eye, advances to destroy sin, there, if the judge discern well, the people are undisturbed.

Holy sages consider as a fit dispenser of criminal justice, that king, who invariably speaks the truth, who duly considers all cases, who understands the sacred books, who knows the distinctions of virtue, pleasure, and riches.

These are times of the greatest significance and urgency and the duty of all students of Occultism is to inculcate the return of the human race to the teachings and the practice of the Eternal Religion of the Masters of Wisdom, our Elder Brothers.

Our personal non-entity as "entirely phenomenal beings produced by Karman" is balanced by our eternal significance as Sons of the Sun, not merely here for a time, but for all time, the only reality being neither the phantoms of past or future but the now. To an occult student the lesson of our times is the recognition by us as Deva-Egos of the entirely mayavic character of the present (more particularly) Western regime and its sinister tendencies as shown in its language, art, literature, and medicine. Selfishness a, I'outrance is its breath and raison d'etre, and death and destruction its approaching fate, as a whole.

"It is evident, then," as Soyen Shaku writes in The Sermons of a Buddhist Abbot,

that by purity of heart is meant absence of ignorance and self-will But it is not a negative condition, for the most essential postulate of Buddhism is that in each of us there abideth the indwelling reason of the universe, which, when released from the temporal bondage of ignorance and self-will, becomes the master of itself by reducing everything to subjection and restoring it to its right place.

In a pure heart, therefore, the universal reason manifests itself in its full glory and works its own destiny unmolested. What one with such a heart wills is what makes the bird sing and the flower smile, what has raised the mountain and makes the water flow. He is hungry and the universe wishes to eat, he is asleep and all the world hibernates. This sounds extraordinary, but the enlightened understand it perfectly well.

As a man thinketh so is he. All can make a start at once to pierce the illusions and deceptions of life by discernment and non-attachment.


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