The beautiful message that Theosophy has to give to those who mourn, those who sorrow, applies not only to death and those left behind by the passing ones, but just as much to those who are not yet touched by death, to all those who have to live on this earth where there is more of sorrow and trouble and weariness of spirit than of happiness and real peace. For I wonder if any tenderhearted man or woman can really be happy in a world like ours, when we see surrounding us on all sides the most awful proofs of man's inhumanity to his fellow-men. How can we retire into our water-tight or spirit-tight or heart-tight compartments of life when we know what is going on around us, not only among men, but among the helpless beasts: suffering and pain and sorrow, and on every side the cry of these martyrs raised to heaven?
We talk about those who mourn and restrict it, each one of us, to our individual selves. How then? Do we not love the hand of kindliness extended in sympathy and understanding to others, who suffer lonely, who sorrow in loneliness? Death itself is nothing to grieve at. We have been through death a thousand times and more on this earth. We know it well. It is an old experience; and here we are back again. But we feel for those who mourn while they live: mourn for the loss of beloved ones; mourn for the loss of fortune, so that they are in difficulties to give even the physical bread to the bodies of those they love; mourn over the difficulties to find work so that they may work like men and women and feed the mouths of their hungry children; mourn because they have lost friendship, lost love, lost hope, and perhaps most awful of all, lost trust in their fellow-men.
Every son and daughter of man mourns, or he or she is heartless. The man who cannot mourn and who does not mourn to my mind is inhuman; and so great and wonderfully is nature builded that it is precisely this divine capacity for mourning that gives us sympathy for others, and to the mourners the hearts of understanding; and, strange magic of the human spirit, mourning, sorrow, suffering are our wisest friend. How these enrich our hearts! What priceless treasury is the expansion of consciousness that comes when mourning sets its often burning but always healing hand on our hearts! We sacrifice; but in this sacrifice is purification, is the awakening to the greater life. It is in sorrow, it is in mourning, it is in the evocation by these of pity, of compassion, that we learn truly to live. Even little children know what sorrow is, and how blessed it is for them that they may learn life's greatest thing: to learn and become enlarged by it, made grander by it. How pitiful is the man who cannot feel for others and is enwrapped solely in the small prison of his minuscule self. Where in him is grandeur? You seek for it and find it not. But the man who has suffered feels for all the world. On his heart each cry of mourning falls like a scalding tear, and he is made grand by it. Nature here works a magic, for in this process is born rosy hope, a star-lighted inspiration that comes from the enlarged consciousness.
Blessed peace, the most exquisite joy and happiness that human hearts and minds can bear, is the appanage or spiritual heritage of those whose hearts have been softened by suffering. They who never suffer are the hard-hearted ones, unripe in their own restricted consciousness. The man who has never suffered knows not what peace is. He has never entered into it. The man who has never experienced sorrow knows not the surcease nor the blessedness that comes when quiet comes.
It is to those who mourn — which comprise really all the human race — that Theosophy brings its own, its ineffable doctrine of hope and peace, and this because it teaches us to understand. The French have a proverb: Tout comprendre c'est tout pardonner, the meaning of which is: if you fully understand you forgive all.
Isn't it clear to us that inner grandeur comes from enlargement, and that enlargement of our consciousness as we say, of our understanding and of our heart, comes from suffering? Joy too can bring the smile to our lips and the light of happiness to our eyes; but isn't it a mere truism that all of life's ordinary joys turn to ashes in the mouth? Isn't it also true that the joys of life all too often make us selfish? We grab the joys to us, afraid lest we lose them. These commonplace joys often narrow us. But fellow-feeling, sympathy brought about by suffering, make the whole world akin. The man who has known naught but joy in life perhaps does not mind inflicting sorrow upon a fellow. He is not awakened. He does not understand. He is misled. He is ignorant. But the man who has suffered, the woman who has suffered, who has mourned, these are they who are great in their gentleness, who are great in their understanding because they comprehend, take in; they are enlarged, they are magnified. And the extreme of this is glorification in its true original sense. They become glorified, the next thing to god-men on earth.
Such simple thoughts! I dare say that every child knows them and understands.
So our blessed message to those who mourn is this: Fear not the bright and holy flame. It will make you men and women, not mere males and females. What is the great and outstanding characteristic mark of the god-men who have come among us from time to time? It has been the understanding heart: so that they could speak to the woman in trouble and help; to the man in ignorance and bring him succor and peace; to the little children and they will understand. For the great man's own simple heart speaks to the simple direct heart of the child before it has been sophisticated, spoiled by the falsities which it all too often learns as it grows up and has to unlearn in order to be truly a man, truly a woman.
To those who mourn comes the blessed Gospel: let the holy flame enter into your hearts as a visiting god. Treat it very friendly. Welcome it. Receive it as a guest; and that guest, sorrow-clad,
will cast off the habiliments of mourning, and you will realize that you have been entertaining unawares a god. And that god is you. Then you have entered into your own.
The Theosophical ForumTHEOSOPHICAL UNIVERSITY PRESS ONLINE