The Theosophical Forum — November 1943


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, and 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, and 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 karman, inescapable destiny which 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. But 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 beings 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 which we call karman: 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. And 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. But 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 which 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, and 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 his strength is 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 which 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; and 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 burthens his heart with these weights. And 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 which 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 which he himself has not merited; and no man is ever unduly compensated 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. What encouragement it gives to us. It is a doctrine of hope, for there is no human destiny so low or so base which cannot from this instant of beginning 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 which have lived there, and feelings which are higher and sweeter and purer by far than those we have passed through.

This is a wonderful symbolic picture of reality. And 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 Avatara 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 the guide and the leader? Horus, the divine Spirit, the chief guide of my footsteps, when I allow it — following the Egyptian ritual. And it is all done as it were by the same forces which prevail in these material spheres: which cause the suns to radiate and the celestial orbs like our earth to rotate, and which 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 won't 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, Everyman, 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? 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. And 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 and understanding each other, and speaking to each other and reading together and studying together. We understand each other; but to one who did not understand what understanding is, how could you explain understanding? 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 and comes to the different portals, and gives the knock of power; and when challenged gives the words of power which 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, and stopped, and back you go.

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. It is the heart that is the unifier of men. And the reason? Because the heart speaks a universal language which needs no words. But the brain-mind speaks a language of words which have to be interpreted from mind to mind. Therefore is the heart so much the greater. You all know this as well as I do. Out of the heart come the great issues of life, for in the heart are love and intuition and discrimination and understanding and self-sacrifice and pity and compassion and purity and goodness and truth and troth and honor; and out of the mind of man come disputes and wranglings and quarrelings, 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, and all kinds of men and all kinds of 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. It is a universal language every human being understands. You don't need to argue about it. You accept it. The brain-mind is the former of arguments. The heart says troth 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? With the heart. It speaks a tongue universal; therefore we say, 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 or 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 which is of help to others, he is a man, for he is ensouled. And 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 recognises spirit, divinity recognises divinity, the man in me recognises 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!

      — Talk given at Point Loma, California, March 15, 1942, at the close of a public meeting.

The Theosophical Forum