Krishna says: "If I were not indefatigable in action, all men would presently follow my example. If I did not perform actions all these creatures would perish."
St. Paul acknowledged the same truth when he said, "For in Him we live, and move, and have our being." And the greatest poets have disclosed the same thing. Recognizing the truth indicated, we have a guide to discover the light in our own heart, and in the hearts of all. This light within the secret chamber of the heart, in its divinest manifestations may be said to be a ray from the infinite light. We are in it, and of it, and do not exist in any real sense outside of it. Having faith in this, we entertain an unshaken belief in our own immortality. Surrounded as we are by the fog of materialism, at first we perceive but a faint light. If we persevere in our search, the light will grow, — become more bright, until ultimately we shall realize our identity with the infinite light.
As we move along on our pilgrimage, proving all things by the rules that human experience affords, we come to know as a fact, what is merely suspected by others, that there is a Voice that speaks to us from within, called "the still, small Voice of Conscience" — "the Inward Monitor" — "the Voice of The Silence." This is the key to unlock the burglar-proof safe of the life of Socrates to the materialistic world. Without it all is dark and dismal, but with this key the real meaning of the life of the Saviors of the world may be understood; a reasonable motive may be perceived in their life work. The great sacrifices they have made, their self-denial, their love for humanity, may not be considered as mere waste of energy, but rather as a perfect scheme, a divine plan for the regeneration and salvation of the human race. The great ones of humanity have blazed the trees through the forest of error, made the rough places plain and leveled down the hills and mountains, — that all might be able to follow along the path.
The greatest error of Western civilization lies in its attempt to separate itself from God. For, as Cicero says, "Whatever that be which thinks, which understands, which wills, which acts, is something celestial and divine, and upon that account must necessarily be eternal." God is the highest reason. He is the Supreme Law. This Supreme Law manifests in and through us and throughout the entire Universe. Hence, the attempt to separate ourselves from the Supreme and from each other is vain and futile. We are one in essence, separate only in development — physical, intellectual and spiritual; separate as complex individual man differentiates from his fellows, having a higher and lower nature.
To illustrate: The centre of man, the real man, is divine. Hence we say man is a Soul, his body is a vehicle, an instrument. This soul is the master endeavoring to train and discipline the human nature, that it may come to realize its higher possibilities and divine origin. As we have learned, the Supreme is ceaseless, eternal motion — never at rest. Being omnipresent, it penetrates all things — in it "we live and move and have our being." Hence we can easily apprehend that the growth and expansion of our mental and spiritual faculties depends upon the discipline and purification of the lower nature that it may respond truly and completely to the divine motion which is the basis and source of its manifested power. When this is apprehended, we may have a correct concept of the meaning of the phrase, "the Voice from within."
Think of the greatest musical performer you have ever heard, or heard of. If you have heard the greatest musician at his best — under the most favorable conditions — with a perfect instrument, you can understand my meaning. Such a musician, with such an instrument, with such conditions, can lift an appreciative audience beyond their normal state to an immeasurable height. The musician himself, in love with his art, transcends the bounds of ordinary consciousness and ascends into the regions of celestial delights. The same may be said of the great singers. Then, again, think of the greatest musical performer having a bad instrument, attempting to entertain. I need not enlarge upon this. To attempt to simplify a matter of this kind, to even ordinary intelligence, could be likened unto the effort made to teach fishes to swim.
Let us think, then, of humanity as a whole, and individually. What an inadequate instrument humanity is for the divine breath — the divine voice. We may consider the matter in the same light as to each individual. Some thoughtless person may interpose that the Supreme is infinite in power and wisdom, and is able to destroy all discord in the universe and in humanity — and produce universal harmony. But the infinite is without limitations. The liberty of the infinite is as boundless as the Divine Wisdom. The Supreme is never shorn of the power of manifestation, the Divine Law and the Supreme are synonymous. Owing to the poverty of my language. I am compelled to say, by way of simplification, that the Supreme is true to its own nature; that manifestation, therefore, takes place according to the Law. No error can be permitted — absurdity is not to be thought of. No idea of injustice in the divine economy can be indulged. Who, then, can question the Almighty? The state of being that is subordinate, should not protest to the Supreme. Why should a single member of the human organism censure the heart and brain? In view of what has been written, it is quite unnecessary to answer the question of the thoughtless, Why was I placed here in this world?
It is natural for the person who is too indolent to think, or the one who is puffed up with intellectual pride, to drop into the notion that the Supreme has irrevocably fixed the condition of each individual, and that therefore human effort is of no avail to change the lot of humanity. But in the light of human experience, why not accept the notion that we are sharers in that perfect liberty which the Supreme enjoys, and that the advancement we gain depends upon the right use we make of our privilege to choose. As intimated already, we cannot assume that the Supreme Law is just and unjust; that it is a complex rule in which justice and injustice are mingled. To ordain that one should be a master and that another should be his slave would be injustice. There is no warrant for such an assumption. It would be logically fatal to the theory that the universe is regulated by Supreme Law. As Pope says:
"All nature is but art, unknown to thee;
All chance, direction which thou canst not see:
All discord, harmony not understood;
All partial evil, universal good.
And spite of pride, in erring reason's spite,
One truth is clear, whatever is, is right."
The immutability of the Supreme Law is acknowledged. With the Supreme Law there is no past and no future. It is the Eternal Now. We cannot say that it has been, or that it is about to be, — but that it is. And on account of its unchangeableness and perfectness it is right.
All that we behold in the world is the logical result of antecedent causes and therefore must necessarily be right. Every effect in its turn becomes a cause. And if we allow ourselves to take a calm view of human action we shall become reconciled to the notion that every act of an individual, including his thoughts, makes an indelible impression upon the soul. He weaves for himself a garment which he cannot cast off so long as the same weaving processes that produced the garment continue. He may change by degrees, in daily, hourly, momently action, the warp and woof of the garment; and, by right action purify the human soul, thus reaching the greater heights of perfection.
Because of the gross, materialistic condition of the mass of mankind, the Voice from within is but dimly heard. The tone is below even the middle tone of nature.
Remember that the Supreme power does not move to destroy, but to regenerate and build. Neither is there any coercion exercised on the individual, for that would be entirely inconsistent with the principle of perfect liberty which belongs to the Supreme. The voice within is continuously suggesting and soliciting, rather than commanding and compelling. We may gain the proper idea sought to be conveyed, by recalling the methods of the great sages and Saviors of mankind. The master does not seek to substitute his will and superior state of consciousness for the state and condition of the individual he is teaching. His aim is to draw forth the powers latent in the pupil, that he may do the work to his advancement himself. The opposite method would tend to destroy the consciousness of the pupil, and force his acceptance of truth blindly and without question. The pupil not apperceiving the truth, would remain stationary, and the voice from within, thrilling through such an imperfect instrument, would seem to utter an uncertain tone, just as the pure white light when transmitted through a colored medium, seems to be of the color of that through which it passes.
It appears to me that the perfect liberty of the Supreme Law vibrating in matter, imparts to each individual liberty of action, and because of the condition of the individual he does not seem to apprehend that he is free to choose. Outwardly at least, to screen himself and to avoid responsibility, he declares that he is not free; but when he tries to be true to himself, the voice from within, which is the real self, convinces him of his error. In his sober, meditative moments, he may realize and repeat after Holmes:
"From the deep caves of thought I hear a voice that sings,
Build thee more stately mansions, O my Soul,
As the swift seasons roll!
Leave thy low-vaulted past!
Let each new temple, nobler than the last,
Shut thee from heaven with a dome more vast,
Till thou at length art free,
Leaving thine outgrown shell by life's unresting sea!"
The idea of self-reliance must be kept steadily in view. We advance or recede by the exercise of, or the failure to exercise, the will. If the desires are impure and the will is weak, we know what will follow. The desires must be purified. We should have faith in the right. We should strongly desire to have the courage of our convictions, and to love truth for truth's sake. Heroes must possess these qualities. Such have made themselves glorious. As the "Dhammapada" says, "By one's self the evil is done, by one's self one suffers; by one's self evil is left undone; by one's self one is purified. The pure and the impure stand and fall by themselves; no one can purify another." St. Bernard says, "No one can injure me but myself."
In the consideration of this subject, it is necessary to understand that the cord of many strands — Karma and Reincarnation — runs through it; that each individual man has passed through many births, though they may be unknown to him. Each one may say, I am what I am in consequence of the work I have done on the human loom in many separate periods of existence. I have done the work myself, and I alone am responsible. I reap what I have sown. This, every rational, intelligent mind should recognize as just.
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