The Theosophical Forum – October 1940

THE LAND OF THE SHADOWS — Martyn Witter

It was time to retire from the duties of the day and to enter the land of sweet repose and rest. But there is no rest for those who open their hearts to the woes of humanity. How can anyone rest when there spreads such unspeakable woe over the races of men? Instead there is joy in feverish activity, for there is so much to do. We must prepare for that cyclic moment when the races of men shall make the "Great Choice'. Oh, how many will perhaps fail in the struggle and be sent back to the bottom of the ladder to learn all over again, step by step! In this age of blindness how few there are of those who are preparing themselves to help this struggling orphan — humanity. But then the dismal valley of doubt and despair is occasionally lighted by the Spiritual Fathers. Where there is darkness there is in time a call for light — more light. The Great Ones have been waiting and waiting for a long time. But not until the pupil calls for truth, as one who is dying of thirst cries for water, can the Teacher instruct.

As the above thoughts ran through my mind, burning like searing irons, I slipped into that land of sleep. How long I slept I do not know but I awoke to find myself in that world where time is not; there is only a ceaseless flow of duration. Here all earth-life seems as a dream. Thought and existence appear inseparable; the thinker and Universal Life being indistinguishably and inseparably One. Only as a dim remembrance can one recall the earthly conceptions where physical space seemed to exist as distance separating one object from another. Oh, what illusions there exist in the "Land of Shadows" where men think that they are separate from one another. But, why did this "Land of Shadows" come into being? Why? To answer my own question I had but to turn thought upon thought. The answer came as a reflexion of thought upon the mirror of mind. It was silent, yet it spoke saying:

"It is because many another similar to you, knows not the answer to this question that the "Land of Shadows" is a necessity. You are the creators of yourselves and your lands of woe. Do you not know that suffering is the greatest of all teachers and that your land of woe is but the state of your own consciousness?"

In agony I cried for the veils to be rent apart that I might see and seeing know. This time the thought came as an almost unbearable surge of energy. It seemed to say:

"Know that you are the veil which hides the unspeakable from your eyes. It is only when the burning spirit within rises like a flame and consumes all, that the veil shall exist not. Until self is merged into Self, veils must necessarily exist. Know that when you seek knowledge for self it ever recedes. Know that only when you seek but to feed others, little caring whether you taste of it or not, shall knowledge be yours. Not until seeker turns into giver can the seeker receive reality instead of illusion."

It was then that I grasped an inner realization of the unworthiness of my shrine. Not until the giver gives solely for the motive of giving shall he be united unto that which is given. In the land of shadows, which we call the earth, how few there are of those who while giving do not take great pride therein.


The Theosophical Forum

THEOSOPHICAL UNIVERSITY PRESS ONLINE