In the Western World, for nearly two thousand years, the immortality of the soul has been preached and set before the people as a theory only. Modern religious teachers have failed to present it as a reasoned truth, and make it so obvious and reasonable as to become ingrained in the mental life of humanity. It has been the theme of many a romance and poets have filled their sweetest songs with the lofty idea. Yet the truth of the matter is that man fails to realize his Divinity and therefore his immortality to him is not a fact. Yet he feels it vaguely deep down in his heart. For if the majority of mankind truly believed there was no such thing as the immortality of the soul, do you not suppose that everyone would rebel against such a mockery as life would then become?
The short life we live here on earth is but a link in the chain of evolution. The comings and goings of mortals for their brief span on this earth seem purposeless and unaccountable, unless we believe that the soul has an immortal destiny to fulfill. Each earth-life is a fragment of the soul's experience, during which it clothes itself in the form and circumstances most suited to the particular stage it has reached in its evolution.
Further testimony as to the immortality of the soul, is that among all the people of this one planet alone, there are no two with the same character, showing that each one expresses a different degree of evolution, each one his own phase of the unfolding of nature. The full blown rose was first a bud with tightly folded petals, but the power to expand came from the life within. So each of us is at a different stage in an endless unfoldment, and the expanding life-force behind is that of the immortal soul. If we would study Nature, we should find that she is always ready to give us lessons from which we may learn our own divinity and immortality.
The perverseness of the human mind is such, that it is inclined to argue all meaning out of truths that should be self-evident. This may not be so strange after all, for if a great truth is given forth as mere head knowledge, being conceived only as a supposition, its acceptance as a truth depending upon the reasoning faculty, what influence can it have upon the world other than as a mere theory? That which proceeds only from the mind reaches no further than the mind, but for it to affect the life there is need to reach the heart.
Only those people who, through bitter experience perhaps, have come to realize that the soul is immortal, that it is unchanged by the dissolution of the physical body, and who live so that every act performed is an expression of their higher nature, untouched by any thoughts of self, only they are able through loving deeds to touch the hearts of men.
Such are better able to teach than the most learned theorists, for they have gained wisdom from experience — the truths which they would impart to others are a part of life itself. Such will reach the hearts of men, even though their minds know it not. Why is it that at times we feel such a burst of pure joy or sadness which springs spontaneously from within, and seemingly has no connection with passing events? It may be that the heart caught the joyousness of the heart of Nature, or the sorrow of the world may have moved us to pity.
Are we all content to be so dense and unfeeling that the real heart-touch affects us not? Surely herein lies the difference of the effect between theory and practice. One appeals to the intellect alone and is felt to be cold and heartless. The other energized by the life of man is a living example, and the majority of people are not so blind, but that they can distinguish between the false and the true.
The mere theory may appear attractive to those minds who have not as yet transcended the beguiling and deceiving side of their nature which would make illusions appear a reality. But is there not in all men a deep seated voice of conscience which knows the real from the false, and does not our ability to choose between the two depend upon our heeding this inner voice?
As soon as the night of illusion is passed, as soon as humanity is strong enough to overcome the lust of passion, greed, jealousy, and the vices of the lower nature which eat away the true and noble qualities in man, just so soon will the sunlight of the soul break over the mountains of discouragement and perplexity which we have built up from mole-hills. The sun rising high in the heavens will disclose and purify the tainted lives, until all the world will be a harmonious expression of Joy, and the melodies which flow from the heart will unite in one universal symphony of love and good-will towards all men.
In our eagerness to hasten the coming dawn let us not forget that each individual must live the life which he would have the world live. High ideals require that man shall ever ceaselessly strive after the good and pure.
To sum up all, the immortality of man can never be realized so long as men lead narrow sordid lives or are satisfied with mere mental speculations. For such men live as if the soul were not immortal, and then immortality becomes a dead theory. But if men will but begin to live for Brotherhood, they will find that the unselfish life is Joy; if they will live as if they were souls, then they will feel immortality in their hearts, and will not doubt or theorize any more.
Universal Brotherhood PathTHEOSOPHICAL UNIVERSITY PRESS ONLINE