And what if a man lives on earth again?
Above the surging waves of life a sweet note arises, which all the waves catch, echo, and repeat, — and thus the never ending song of Brotherhood Eternal proclaims of that one dominant voice, which in all is heard.
Inside the deepest laws of nature the same great breath divine, the fiery spirit of man's soul and its changeless self shines as mover, keynote, and the starry germ of life, passing through many re-embodiments of matter.
Throughout the vistas of the time and their harmonious change it darts and flits as some swift daring bird, achieving hope and carrying the glorious message of the endless ages, whose sufferings are to be consoled and labors vindicated in the great harmony of Karma, that sweetest Law of Justice, which with the tenderest motion surely leads the aspirants to the Divine through many a dark passage of man's own dreaming.
For the enraptured eye of him, who knew the blessed visions beyond the curtain of death, life's great veil of the phenomena of matter is scintillating with the joy of Heaven.
As the early riser in the morning greets the sunlight and knows it to be the same, though it appears azure and gold and red in the skies, blue on the waters, purple on the mountains and sparkling emerald on the dew fresh grass, so the returning heaven-dweller perceives the divine thrill of pearly opalescence running through all the tints of the awakening human fire-gleams of the mind and telling the great message that all Life is One.
It is this that gives the sameness to the thoughts and feelings of me and thee and him and catches the mental essence of the passing dreams of color on to the white screen of ideality, where death and loss and parting are unknown and where to think is to possess.
It is this that makes out of every tear of sorrow a mirror wherein the soul's treasure is again reflected, so that the soul stops weeping and smiles gloriously in silent admiration, seeing an image of the reality which is above all woe.
It is this that shines in darkness, takes power and satisfaction from itself, and counts for nought all personal gain or loss, and heeds neither blame nor praise from those who cannot know. It loves the tragedies and carries its banners into the thick of the fray. As says a poet: "Then I saw a terrible mystery, that all souls gather where there is battle, where hearts and helmets are being broken, and shun the places where the spirit has its bed of sleep." Here the soul learns that the most frightful shadows are those projected from its own lower nature, through which the heart fails to shine, and which the soul fights then to the end.
It is this that makes it possible for man's life to become a poem and a song. All beauties of his thought which have been won in battle gather around him, bright and fairy-like, yet potent and real. An army it is indeed, and work for an artist to instill them with greater glow and splendor. But there are poems of the sacrifice, and then the fairy messengers of thought and their harmonious array acquire a soft and cheering voice, a simple garb, a quiet loving posture, and all their enticing power is substituted by the white childlike simplicity of those who found the one home of all humanity and in their joy of ministration forgot the smaller matters. The Great White Spirit of the Sun shines on such a poem from beginning.
It is this that urges men to dare the Promethean lot of those who are brave enough to find reality in the ideal, even though it makes them see their bodies bound in the dark and stormy valley of Caucasus, their feet washed by the tears of the ocean-daughters, who cannot help now any more, their livers torn by vultures of their own awakening mental skies, which are destined to be made clear and bright and illuminated by a promised child-redeemer; a new born mystery of the soul.
It is this light of love given, which drowns the shadow of love taken, for how can love be taken, when it is within already. At evening's twilight it makes the meditating soul all blissful with the love it sends to all the world through its clear mental skies, and when it is so, no dear friend and companion is absent. There is no loneliness, no doubt, no fear for those who dare to seem to others all in darkness and in shadow and in nothingness the mourners of the past which is not past for them, the Utopians of the future which they carry with them; lost and wandering birds in others' sight, but in truth the messengers of the great golden everpresent cycle, which is the ark of man's salvation.
It is this that makes the heart worship and love one mystery, one treasure and one fire in all the fires of the world. By the oneness of this fire the heart grows one itself and spreads its vision throughout the world. The black lilies that grow on the ruins and the graves, where heroes fought and died, though unfortunate but true, — those are the dearest for the heart, for they are besprinkled with the immortal dew of the great unknowable mystery above this life, its evil and its sadness. And though of the black lily the heart has in itself a golden counterpart, the vision of the black flower and the sparkling dew enchants it into the primeval purity divine. Evil and suffering of the past turn to be films, which are gone, containing treasures which will never go, and the flower of time is bursting into the air of the eternal light.
The Seven Fires burn in man. The Mind — the fifth — is a link. It sees them all, it recognizes all. It changes passing dreams into imperishable ideas. It divides the wheat from the chaff, dissolves the shadows, saves the truth. It links the gems of thought with the conscious unity and scorns the material base. It came into this world to be a victor and a lord, not the servant of selfishness and passion, and of those forms of matter into which they harden. It came from the changeless kingdom and is not frightened when its embodied song is dying. It repeats it in new lives again and again. The songs grow into poems, the poems grow into the great drama of the whole human kind. Then the song never stops till the cycle runs its course, for the song and cycle become one and fly on the wings of the same bird. All is provided, the bird is waiting, oh! let us hasten, brothers, to go out with our thoughts and hearts towards the sweet spacious fields of all this humanity of ours! The bitterness of life is frightening? O, no! It is not the bitterness of life, but of life's illusion projected on the screen of the separateness. Life is sweet; the joy of life is pure and boundless; earth, water, air and fire are vibrating with it, and only our shells of selfishness are painstricken. Since we know it well after so many sufferings of the dark ages, that have just passed, now is the time for each strong soul to leave below its chrysalis and prison and to enter the fresh and balmy air, where there is neither me nor thee, but the one great light of the human race. That which looks as a far distant Utopian dream below, will be a potent thought above, — and what is the difference between thought and deed on those clear heights? Reared in their fresh air, clear-headed, free from desires, unmindful of the lot of our own personal shells below, here shall we get that strength and daring, before which the mists shall vanish, scattered by their light and warmth.
And let not any pride mar the work! For, after all, we are only useless servants, — very imperfect channels of the returning cycle, and all our glories and ideals and utopias, which we make true, are simply foreflashes of that which must come from the forgotten past, gliding through us into the future. No poet, no philosopher ever speaks of dreams and fancies, but either of reminiscences of that which was or prophecies of that which is to be. All he can do is to abridge, to mix, and to distort, but even that he cannot do so freely as he thinks, — if he is earnest and sincere. Let us then forsake pride. Our best thought of freedom belongs, perhaps, to a mountain shepherd of some unknown country of the ancient times; our best expression of the sense of justice came, perhaps, to us from some modest devoted mother keeping order among her children. The deepest thoughts may have come to us from the humblest channels, called out by sympathy, by the heart attracted. Let us send them also from the heart, relinquishing all sense of our importance, (1) for then only that which we send out, will be fresh and sweet and healing and will not strike with terrifying force into the minds of others, but will softly fall like some flower-flakes or a golden rain, and it will give rest, hope and trust and be as a mother's care for the new born of the new cycle.
Thus we transmit our peace, our fears, our doubts, our hopes into the future. We are the threads on the great woof of life and we are the weavers. The beauty of the future is the radiance of our threads and their harmonious interblending. It is for us to choose whether our threads will roll around themselves in selfish lumps and fill the space with meaningless color-blotches, or whether they will spread out and weave together the shining rope of life. It is for us to decide whether we will greet every human being: "Come, dear brother; oh! how we have missed your tint and shade of color in the great pattern of our work! or whether we dropping him thus undo ourselves. Shall we look on every foreign nation as so many curios good only for a museum, or shall we say to the nations of the seven islands: "From each island a sweet song is wafted on the morning breezes. It seems to come from the great Angels of the rising Sun. What grand shapes are on the smooth and glistening sea? Are they their shadows, or are they simply dawn-colored mists, purple, gold and blue? Are they the fairies or the angels of the islands? Each is more fair than others, each shall we love the best."
Who can then blame the sweet Law which penetrates the world? No jewel more precious can be found than understanding of the depth of mercy therein contained. The Law invites us to take a full hand in making future patterns of our life. Who could see more freedom in any religious conception? Therefore it is called Karma in the East, the web of our own weaving, our own deed and doing, that of the past, returning into the present, so that nothing might be lost, that of the present sent ahead into the future to prepare our way according to our secret wish. And though we serve the Law imperfectly, how perfectly it serves us, preserving our smallest thought, word or deed, including even our own identity and its lining. And who would like to exchange his own identity for that of another? Therefore the Blessed Law complies with our own secret wish, perfectly keeping away from us that confusion, which would be for us above all dooms and terrors. It is so merciful, that when we have done a wrong and are distressed, and our light is dim, and our skies are dark, and all joys are void and pale and annoying to our inner nature, it is so merciful then to shut those joys away from us, that the pain and cry of our heart might not be insulted, it is so sympathetic as to cry with us: "Come back, dark deed, that I might undo thee," and lo! by the great mercy of the Law the dark deed comes back in all its breadth and length and depth, that the spirit of a man might undo it by its fiery look and better chance and will, so that nothing remains, only the mercy of Karma, which becomes a mercy of a human heart.
Invisible and unassuming, yet it is an anchor of our hopes and trust, and the invisible light of its eternal mercy, surety and fitness of all things, when we find refuge in it and work with it, burns like a pillar of a radiance above our own identity. Thus we open way to our own Divine Fathers, who are the servants of the Law, in their great planetary life. Then, if we choose, we become ourselves the conscious channels between them and the peoples of our humble earth and all its creatures. Then shall we nearer approach in our liberality and mercy to the Great Law, — and as the Sun sends its light on the deserts and the meadows, and as the rain falls on the just and the unjust, so will our heart shed its light and love of equal brilliancy to all our brothers, — and not for us, but for them, it will be left to decide how much light they must take and how soon they must proceed. There is no screen for the light of the heart on its own transparent sunny plane, and all especial attentions on the earth are simply acknowledgments in the bodies of that which souls already have spoken and accepted.
The Karmic Law may be likened to a wheel of gems. The centre of it is motionless, eternal, sure, divine. Its rays like fiery spokes illuminate, cheer, and liberate all the revolving gems of meaning, love and life in all the cyclic changes of the world. It separates the gems of the spiritual essence in all things from the chaff and husks; the husks it drives away, the gems it attracts along its rays towards its radiant centre. This motion produces other smaller wheels inside the greater wheel, and so on and on, so that the Law grinds by day and night and grinds exceeding fine. As the wheel turns, our chances come and go. At the next turn we get what we left in the same arc before: so much illusions or so much bright helping deed and thought; so much of clear central light or so much darkness, pain and sadness of our outer crusty, unrejected shell.
Then the aspirant will hear the voice not only of Theosophy but of the silent speech of the Great Law itself calling to him through every star and dewdrop, man and angel and all that lives: "Arise, dear child, awake, and join thy numberless companions throughout all nature in our progressive pilgrimage towards the Unity of Life through our labors in the Unity of Truth and Love."
1. All importance which we have, belongs to our heart, — and we know that our heart is not ours, but belongs to all we love. The personal question may just as well collapse. (return to text)
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