The Theosophical Forum – August 1946

PERSONAL PRONOUNS — N. A. Lewis

One of the most profound of teachings in the whole body of Theosophical thought is that of the Higher Self and the duality of man's nature. Students have found a great value, spiritual and practical, in learning to say, "Thy will, not mine, be done." To say "I" from the consciousness of this higher individuality in oneself, from the consciousness of the true Self, is an extremely beautiful experience. Whatever of Divinity man has brought to his experience he has brought through this consciousness, this knowledge of Self.

It is in the light of this higher experience that the real brotherhood of man becomes apparent. We are all one in the perfection of that higher plane, and we are divided in the tragic unconsciousness of it, or in the willful turning from it. Power, wisdom, and beauty stem from that inexhaustible cosmic source, and our evolution consists in spirited movement toward it. Surely, then, our individual fulfilment will lie in the fulfilment of the brotherhood of man, in terms of power, wisdom, and beauty.

And what is the path to that fulfilment? Service. That is part of the answer, that is what we are to do.

There is something else, too: Love! If service is the watchful eye or the helping hand of humanity, love is the heart of it. That is what we are to be.

In the language of love, a most prominent word is the personal pronoun, "You." It is constantly employed by the lover in expressing to himself and to the beloved the sense he has of expanded horizons, of extended consciousness. The pleasure he feels in saying it is in the fact that it means not only something personal, but also something larger and more inclusive. It expresses identification with something other than self and yet perceived as similar to self. In the expressions of transcendent love we find reference to the beloved as "My Other Self," which is regarded as divine. Theosophists can see in this that the lover is expressing his consciousness of his own higher nature. Perhaps equally important is the possibility that he is seeing and expressing the higher self of that other one, the beloved. Metaphysically, in such cases, the difference is only very slight indeed, and the lover experiences a "oneness" with the beloved. The lover says "You," however, or "We," but not "I."

In the same way, the student of yoga, or the man, let us say, who is becoming cosmically aware, experiences this "Other Self," and he regards it as divine. He can serve this other one, he can work "selflessly" in the service of the spirit. But should he say "You," or should he say "I"? Does he conceive of this higher self as the center of the universe and also as the center of himself? Or does he look outward into the world of men and brothers for that center, that focus, of spirituality?

Since it is everywhere, it must be in both places. Isn't that an important yoga, or joining (from Sanskrit yuj, to join), which unites the two? Lover, Love, and Beloved — Brother, Service, and Brother — Man, Life, and the Cosmos, can be united by practice of right Pronunciation of the great mantram, "You."


The Theosophical Forum

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