G. de P. — I am now ready to answer questions.
Student — Does any part of the higher triad incarnate or imbody itself between earth-lives?
G. de P.— The higher triad essentially is the spiritual monad and is linked to its own inner god, the divine monad. But being a spiritual entity it could hardly be said to incarnate itself or to inflesh itself or even to imbody itself in vehicles or encasements equivalent to what our bodies of flesh are on earth. The spiritual monad — or the reincarnating ego in all its parts or aspects — is what is called the higher triad. Strictly speaking, however, the reincarnating ego is the manasic part of this higher triad. But even this manasic part, the lowest part of the higher triad, does not actually enter bodies of flesh, but overshadows them. In other words it illuminates, or sends a ray from itself into the astral realms, or works through the astral or ethereal body of the entity, and it is this ray therefore which conveys the triadic essence and its principles and qualities, and thus ultimately forms or composes the human being.
No, the higher triad cannot be said to imbody itself anywhere at any time, unless indeed we suppose, and the supposition is true, that the higher triad or peregrinating monad imbodies itself in vehicles very similar to its own spiritual type or character.
Nevertheless the higher triad may be said to imbody itself in a spiritual body which is an efflux from its own heart — the deposit, the lees or dregs, spiritually speaking, of what itself casts forth. In an exactly similar way, the physical body is the lees or dregs or deposit of the astral man, the astral monad.
The answer therefore is no, with the explications that I have just tried to give.
Student — We are told that at our death a certain part of us returns to its parent-star. Is that part the manasaputra which enlightens the manasic principle?
G. de P.— Oh, no indeed. The part which returns to its parent-star is the divinest essence of the individual. The use of this word return, however, is a purely human usage. You must not think of this divinest part of the entity at mere physical death streaking through cosmic or solar space like the tail of a comet. That is not the idea. Its very essence is its parent-star, and its interaction with that star is through a space of time so long that to us humans it would seem like eternity. Even during the life of the human being on earth it is as much in and of its parent-star as it is after the death of the fleshly integument which we call the physical man.
What therefore is meant is this: that it becomes more divinely conscious of being at one with its parent-star. Taking on the vehicles of incarnation or of imbodiment on any planet dims its light to a certain extent. It is conscious of this dimming of its own light. It is conscious of the drain on its vitality, mystically speaking; but when it has cast off these imbodiments, when it has thrown aside its existence as a sevenfold entity and becomes unifold in essence or monadic again, then it rebecomes fully conscious of its own glory, and this change of its consciousness is technically described as a return or ascent to its parent-star. Do you understand the idea?
Student — Thank you, I do. But may I know then what happens to the manasaputra at the death of the physical body?
G. de P.— The manasaputra returns to its own realm as every other part of the human constitution does at death. When the sevenfold entity breaks up and dissolves — and this dissolution we call death — each part of that sevenfold constitution immediately "returns," instantly in some respects, to its own realms, to its own sphere. Hence, the divine returns to the divine realms, the spiritual returns to the spiritual realms, the higher manasic part or manasaputra returns to its own proper home or dwelling. The passional and emotional part returns to its proper habitat in the higher atmosphere of the earth; the vital part is attracted back to the vital reservoir of the planet on which the body dissolves or dies, and finally the physical returns to the earth from which it is drawn. "Dust to dust" is the old ecclesiastic saying. So far as the body goes, this saying is one-seventh part of the truth.
You will find these facts of the dissolution of the sevenfold entity stated with fair clearness in all the ancient literatures, not always with perfect clarity, because these facts deal with some of the teachings of the inner mysteries of the Schools, and of course these mysteries have always been closely veiled. But Vergil, the Latin poet, for instance, towards the end of one of his books, in describing the death of one of his heroes, uses words which clearly set forth that the body returns to earth, the "breath" to the air, and so forth. Furthermore, in many of the ancient literatures you will find set forth in more or less embroidered statement the true fact that the solar part of the man returns to the sun, the lunar part of the man returns to the moon, the body is given back to earth, while the spirit returns to the divinity from which as from a fountainhead it issued forth.
Man is a composite entity. How many times have I repeated this statement! It is a wonderful key. Man is a microcosm. He contains in himself every principle, essence, faculty, matter, substance, and energy, that the Boundless contains. Now see how this wonderful thought, how this wonderful doctrine, strikes at the roots of human selfishness. Once a man realizes that he is but a transitory compound gathered around an immortal, divine-spiritual center — immortal only in the theosophical sense of enduring through eternity but only by growing which means changing — once a man has this idea implanted and fixed in his consciousness, then his sense of values changes. He becomes gentler, kindlier, more thoughtful of others. He realizes his own personal impermanence and the impermanence of the things which ordinary men place such value upon. He then lives for the grand things. He lives in eternity where his aspirations and hopes are fixed.
Student — There was a discussion in the San Diego Lodge recently regarding memory, and I would be glad to have a little more illumination on that subject. Why is it that an old person whose mind has practically gone, will have such a keen recollection of childhood experiences? And to just what extent is memory registered in the brain-mind; and is the real memory outside of the body?
G. de P.— The real human reminiscence inheres in the migrating entity, in the reincarnating ego. Therefore the memory of the human being inheres in the human essence which is the reincarnating ego. The reason why very old people think, or rather have, recollections of childhood is because the cycle of life is returning upon itself to a new beginning — spiral fashion. The mind at death, and perhaps for a few years previously to physical death, has already begun to pass in review the millions of incidents, events, and the few great facts of consciousness and feeling that the past life has contained or has brought forth. As the old human being approaches nearer and nearer to what men call death, the physical memory grows feebler and feebler with regard to incidents and events that then take place, and hence as is obvious approaches more nearly the state of the child. Nevertheless important events inhere permanently in the essence of the migrating ego, and because the mind of the man approaching death is feeble and the will has less control over it, the mind automatically reproduces the more striking events that impressed its consciousness forcibly in childhood and youth. These are reproduced almost as automatically as are the sounds on the disk of the phonograph.
In such an aged human being the tablets of memory are being read anew, but backwards as it were. The strings of thought and feeling to which we were tied during growth from childhood to adulthood are now being unwound and untied anew and laid aside.
Student — Thank you. Then it is not the brain-mind that is remembering, that has the memory —
G. de P. — Oh no. The brain-mind is a mere instrument, and in fact one of the feeblest instruments of the human being, but the one, strangely enough, in our present stage of evolution to which he is the most straitly or strictly attached. The brain-mind nevertheless is a very important instrument of consciousness, but it is for all that a low, material instrument. The brain-mind per se cannot reason clearly. Its operations are quasi-instinctual. The real faculty of genuine reasoning is something higher. Strictly speaking, reasoning is vision — vision of truth. The brain-mind merely reflects what the intellect reasons or intuits.
I may add, furthermore, in answering the first part of your question, that what men call the childishness of great age has also to do with something else, which is not often spoken of. Death, while being as we all know a dissolution of the then living man, is also a preparation for the infancy which will follow death — for a change in the state of consciousness in other spheres.
You will understand this more clearly if you understand what devachan is. The devachani begins his devachan with his consciousness dwelling on those spiritual longings or yearnings that were the first to appear in the consciousness of the man when he was incarnated on earth — in very early life. Devachan is a going over, a repeating, of all the noble, spiritual, impersonal, beautiful, holy aspirations and thoughts that the man when alive had, beginning from early childhood, and continuing until the time when he lost personal consciousness at death or just before death. Here is the marvel of it all, that instead of running them over quickly in the consciousness, each such noble aspiration, beautiful yearning, and unfulfilled spiritual hope, is in devachan repeated by the devachani over and over in the consciousness, and is thus looked at and experienced from a thousand different and new angles of view or inspection. All the changes are rung, so that if you take a single aspiration that the man had when in physical life, in the devachan it is repeated and repeated and beautified and glorified and seen from many different angles.
Student — If one has had no consciousness in earth-life of aspirations until one comes to physical maturity, would the life in devachan, in spite of that, begin with the unconscious aspirations and pass these in review? Or could one be said to begin his life, his growth, in devachan with the first self-directed inspirations and longings to live aright that the man had before death?
G. de P.— I think I understand your meaning but I also think that there is a little misunderstanding. Devachan is not a growth. It is not a new phase of life and experience. It is not a realm of causes, in other words. It is a realm of spiritual and intellectual effects, of results of all that was noblest in the past life, also of sublime rest or repose; and is, therefore, somewhat like a beautiful dream, the nature of the dream depending upon the life of the individual when he was awake.
Everything of a spiritual and truly intellectual character that the living man experiences will come again to the consciousness of the devachani, but a thousandfold beautified, glorified. Devachan in another sense of the word is a digestion and assimilation of all that was beautiful and glorious in the life just lived. If there was very little of beauty and of spiritual glory in the life, the devachan will be very short. If the life has been filled from childhood until death with unfulfilled spiritual hopes, unfulfilled yearnings of spiritual grandeur and beauty, and with self-forgetfulness, then the devachan will be a very long one and an exquisitely beautiful one. The devachan is actually the place where character is — I cannot say formed — but where character is consolidated, where character is shaped. The reason of this is that our permanent character consists of all the spiritual and intellectual evolution of the ego.
Student — But is not that growth?
G. de P.— No, because the growth was made during the life last passed, where will and intellect were consciously applied to ends and purposes. Perhaps you could say that sleep and assimilation of food are a phase of growth. Putting it in this way, then I would not object to saying that the digestion and assimilation of experiences and of consciousness in the devachan could be called a phase of growth; but technically the word growth is incorrect. Growth is increase, it is development, and in the devachan there is no increase or development of the fundamental consciousness. There is a digestion and an assimilation and a framing or shaping of the essential character of the man wholly depending upon what use the man made of his faculties when last alive on earth. It is therefore akin to sleep.
Student — May I ask about the zodiac and man, in connection with what Mr. Judge says, that modern astronomers have not yet come to know that man is himself a zodiacal highway through which his own particular sun makes a circuit? You have given us so many pictures of the stars that I would like to ask now for a more definite picture of the analogy pointed out by Mr. Judge: the analogy of the journey of our own sun through our own human zodiac, and that of the great pilgrimage of the earthly luminary.
G. de P.— The total course of human evolution on this planet may be divided into twelve stages or grades from the beginning to the end, and each one of these twelve stages or grades of evolution is of its own type or character, exactly as the twelve houses of the zodiac, or the twelve signs or the constellations of the zodiac, has its own type or character. The journey of the human sun, to use your own decidedly poetic phraseology — this human sun being the inner god — through these twelve stages of evolution on our planetary chain, therefore brings forth by evolution from the inner god twelve different qualities or characteristics through and by that planetary chain in that cosmic time period.
Your question is a very esoteric one. I have answered it as fully as I can, but I admit rather vaguely.
Student — I would like to return to the question regarding memory. We hear very little about memory, and to me it is one of the great mysteries. You stated before that the memory resides in the reincarnating ego. Now am I right in saying that this is the same as intuition, and that if intuition is spiritual memory, then I take it that the instinct, the physical memory, is something that would reside in the life-atoms as they return to the body during incarnation. Am I correct?
G. de P.— You are correct. What you say is perfectly true with one minor exception. Instinct is not physical memory as you state, but is rather the psycho-astral memory of which the physical memory is a reflection, and this psycho-astral memory resides in the essence of the astral or ethereal life-atoms. You remember what the great Plato had to say about all this, that all the workings of consciousness were reminiscence, recollection, remembering, of the activities of the consciousness in other lives. Therefore intuition, I really believe, could very readily be called the unlocking of the doors of the memorized treasury of past lives — intuition being immediate consciousness, instant recognition of truth or of things or of individuals.
But there is another side of intuition again, and I may describe it imperfectly perhaps as the native working of the spiritual consciousness. But again, even this last, as I reflect upon it, could properly be called the reminiscence of a grander life cycle passed in former manvantaras. Yes, I believe that you are right on all points. The next question, please.
Student — Following your thought about devachan, can you give us a fuller explanation about the gestation state before birth?
G. de P. — The gestation-state before birth?
Student — Yes. In The Mahatma Letters there are several allusions to a condition, which, I understand, is called the gestation state.
G. de P.— Oh, what you refer to is the state before the devachan — the gestation state of the disimbodied ego. You spoke about the gestation state before birth. Which one do you mean?
Student — Perhaps I misunderstood. I thought the higher principles went into this condition called gestation before birth, and that before birth there was this gestation state on the spiritual plane which corresponded to the state on the physical plane just preceding physical birth.
G. de P.— There is of course a gestation state before physical birth, but I think you are referring to the psycho-spiritual gestation state which precedes the devachan. Now the term gestation in the latter sense is a term adopted from human existence. It does not mean, however, that the devachani is born of parents who are in the devachan and has to go through a gestation in the devachan as the physical babe has to pass through a phase of physical gestation. The word is merely a human term adopted from human life in order to explain how it is that before the excarnate entity can become conscious in the devachan it must have prepared itself for the devachanic spheres — and this preparation, this final casting off of the ties of the life just passed, the teachers have called the gestation period. In other words, every state of consciousness has its beginning, its culmination, and its end. This applies to human life, to the devachan, and in fact to every phase of being. Is the answer responsive to your question?
Student — Yes. I now understand that it is on that plane. It is equivalent to preparation for birth on a higher plane.
G. de P.— Not exactly. It is a preparatory state passed through by the reincarnating ego which that ego undergoes as it sinks into complete unself-consciousness of the life just closed. This final casting off of the last thread of personal recollection of the earth-life, and the gathering in of the threads of its own consciousness in preparation for the devachanic period, is the gestation period of which you speak.
Furthermore, it is not the higher spiritual part of our constitution which becomes the devachani. It is the higher human part of us which enters into the devachan. It is the human entity in its spiritual-intellectual essence which becomes the devachani, and it is precisely that casting off of all the less perfect and less spiritual attributes of the human being which constitutes the gestation or preparation period which you have spoken of. This occurs when all the lower human elements have finally dropped away from the consciousness of the entity, and it then sinks into the purely spiritual-intellectual state. This is its birth into the devachan — the word birth here being merely a figure of speech, just as we might speak of a man sinking into a dream, his birth into the dream state.
Student — If I am right in thinking that there is a consciousness belonging to every part of the septenary constitution, then that phase of consciousness is continuous all the time on its plane although we are cognizant only of the one plane on which we are acting?
G. de P.— That is correct.
Student — And if we live in our entirety, or on all planes, we could be conscious, we could be aware, of all the phases of consciousness as and when we will.
G. de P.— Just so. That is the stage of the incarnate Buddhas of Compassion. They are self-conscious on all planes of their constitution. We human beings are conscious with relative fulness in only one part of us, in the human part, partly conscious in the lowest triad and with intimations only of the consciousness of the higher triad. It is precisely because our self-consciousness is centered in the human part that we have the devachanic existence after death. The other parts of us, although belonging to us, and returning to us at the next rebirth, we have not mastered in fulness; nor have we passed beyond or forgotten their respective states of consciousness. We have not as entities collected them into our self-consciousness, and the consequence is that these other parts of us drop away from our self-conscious perception. We lose consciousness of them — at least temporarily.
Every part of the human being of course belongs to the human being, which is a compound entity and at the same time is a unit. Here again is one of the mysteries of consciousness. I have often been astonished that among the questions asked of me in these gatherings, the questions regarding consciousness seem to interest you so deeply, and I am glad to see this, because it shows that you are really thinking and hunting for truth within yourselves — becoming self-consciously acquainted with yourselves.
Student — Knowing how much misery and sorrow and suffering there are in the world today, is it selfish of us to try to forget these and to turn our eyes to the beautiful and sweet side of life? Sometimes I have found that dwelling even in thought on the gloomy and morbid state of life almost paralyzes me; but in forgetting it, or rather in leaving it alone, are we selfish and cowardly and without mercy in doing so?
G. de P.— Your question is a profound one. You have stated in it the problem which every human being will someday have to solve. You have set forth to your own consciousness the choice which one day we all shall have to make. It is this, which path shall we follow: the path of peace and happiness for self alone, the path of the pratyeka buddhas — a holy path, to be sure, a beautiful path, yes — or shall we, on the other hand, choose the path of self-renunciation for the world, a path of sublimity, a path of personal sorrow, but nevertheless a path with the sunlight of eternity shining upon it, and with the reward of the gods awaiting us after long aeons.
No, it is not wrong to hold strongly to the beautiful side of life. It is in fact a duty to do that; but it becomes a spiritual selfishness if by so holding to the beautiful side of life we become selfishly absorbed in it and thus forgetful of our brothers and of the world. We must indeed hold to the beautiful things, to the beautiful side, but at the same time we must work for others, and try to bring them into the life beautiful.
It is like a man whose heart yearns to help the world, and yet he loves all things of beauty. He loves all holy and great and noble things. There is no contradiction here. The man must cultivate his love for the beautiful, for the grand, for the sublime, for the true. He must hold to these by day and by night and all the time; but while doing so he also must work to make others see and long for the same grand things, and he must help others to have that same sublime consciousness of which he himself is beginning to get a few fugitive gleams.
The Buddhas of Compassion are, really, far holier than the Pratyeka Buddhas. The Buddhas of Compassion live for the world. They renounce everything of a selfish character. They give up their own spiritual goals in order to return along the path so that they can help their fellow beings who are less progressed than they themselves. But while doing so, they live nevertheless in the glory and beauty of life. They live in the light. Their own inner life is a beacon of divine light.
They never at any time lose their connection with the spiritual side of being; and the strange and beautiful thing about the path of renunciation is the following: it is, after all is said, the quickest way of spiritual growth. It is the way by which we advance the most rapidly, although apparently it is the slowest because we abandon the longing for personal or rather individual attainment. Is not this an interesting paradox, that by remaining behind, refusing salvation for ourselves in order that we may help our fellows, we obtain salvation more quickly than do the Pratyeka Buddhas who, fascinated by the glory on the distant mountaintops, forget everything else and leap towards it in individual spiritual exaltation. The pratyekas are finally passed in evolutionary growth by the Compassionate Buddhas who have turned around on the Path and who extend their helping hands to others less spiritually and intellectually strong than they — to those toiling behind them.
The reason why the path of the Buddhas of Compassion is the more rapid path of achievement thus becomes obvious, because it is an exercising and therefore a training of our noblest and loftiest and divinest faculties. It is giving exercise to the most beautiful qualities within us, to the divine and spiritual parts of our being. Having this continual exercise these parts grow strong and grow strong more quickly. You understand, do you not?
Student — Yes, thank you.
Student — Recollecting a portion of the teaching you gave us at some length during last autumn in connection with monadic evolution and the sishtas — on which you threw a great deal of light, the first light that we have had, I think — it seemed as if there were a gulf measured off by vast evolutionary periods, between the different kingdoms, such as the vegetable, animal, human, and so forth. Then, you told us, above the human kingdom there were three higher kingdoms, commonly spoken of as dhyan-chohanic types of evolution. Now, our mahatmas are, some of them, spoken of as chohans. It occurred to my mind that there are relatively few of such beings on earth, and that these few seemed to be here, in their relation to the chohanic evolutionary hosts, as sishtas. If so, the degree of compassion that they have reached is far beyond any other so far conceived of in our study of evolution.
Now the point of the question that I wanted to ask is in continuation of the subject of consciousness. It seemed that they as our teachers are connecting links between our human host and that sublime chohanic host, and constitute as it were an open door, or a road of ascent, between our human host and the chohanic host. Can you give us some more light on this matter?
G. de P. — On the whole, that is exactly right. The Masters are of many grades and degrees. There are some who are but slightly more than advanced chelas. There are others who are Masters of these last. There are others again still higher, who are the Masters of the Masters of these last; and so the ladder of spiritual evolution extends upwards through all the grades of life to the very gods. Each grade of the Masters is a rung on this ladder of life, and this particular ladder of life is in its totality what you have often heard me call the Order of the Buddhas of Compassion. It is our own holy order, that is to say the order in which we are aspirants, learners, workers. We are linked — we are connected rather, through and by these various links ascending ever higher — with the very gods who themselves exist in hierarchical stages.
You have often heard me speak of the heart of the universe, and I sometimes have wondered whether this phrase heart of the universe has ever been mistaken, misunderstood, to mean a locality or a certain unitary entity.
Please don't so understand it. It is but a graphic phrase. It means that vast and inexpressible ultimate — and even this word ultimate is wrong. Really, there is no ultimate; but I mean that vast and inexpressible aggregate of the rungs of the ladder of life which has no beginning, which has no ending, and which runs continuously and without interruption more and more inwards forever. It is almost impossible to describe these things in ordinary human language. But see what a magnificent prospect this opens out to the one who succeeds, who wins on, who achieves: first discipleship, then masterhood, then chohanship, then a grade still higher, and so on throughout endless duration forever.
Carefully remember this: it is all within you even now. The heart of the universe is your divine heart. Individually, you as individuals are, each one of you, the boundless universe. Again, the universe is one in diversity and yet is diversity melting into unity.
Student — You have very clearly answered a part of my question. It would seem, from a study of the evolution of the hosts of beings, that there are, so far as we are informed, a limited number of those exalted human beings belonging to the mahatma order or grade that are spoken of as chohans. It would seem as if they have a relation to the next evolutionary tide of souls; just as the sishtas are described as having relations to other succeeding evolutionary tides of souls. Is that true?
G. de P.— There is certainly an analogy there, but not an identity. The sishtas are the remnants left by an advancing life-wave of entities in order to provide the vehicles for the same wave when it returns.
Student — Yes, I understand that clearly. Now if there are three other life-waves above the human, and if these other three are commonly referred to as dhyan-chohanic life-waves, then it would hardly seem as if they were in an active manvantaric condition on the earth at present.
G. de P.— Oh, but they are. That is simply the wonder of it all!
Student — Then we are very far from being conscious of it?
G. de P.— That also is true. We are very far from being self-conscious of it.
Student — Then in that sense none of the mahatmas are sishtas. Yet, they are rungs or degrees on the ladders of life between us and those monadic hosts.
G. de P. — I think I now see to what your mind is tending.
It is a most intricate subject of thought that you have touched upon. I hope that I can make my answer clear.
In each great period of human evolution there is one grade of the mahatmic order which is more active than it is at other times. If you refer to those dhyan-chohans who are not of the present great period of evolution, but who nevertheless exist as the sishtas of coming cycles, in that sense your statement is perfectly true; and when these new and grander cycles of evolution come to a human race, then these grander dhyan-chohanic entities will manifest or work more forcefully and more strongly than they do at present.
Student — That was my question; and such an evolutionary tide must have its sishtas on the earth even at present, although to us in our limited consciousness of invisible realms these sishtas are too far evolved for us to cognize them. Yet it seemed to me that our Masters might be related to those sishtas of the future and far grander evolutionary tide in the mahatmic condition of evolution — instead of being as now limited to a comparatively few. Is that correct?
G. de P.— That is perfectly correct, if I understand you aright. But the usage of the word sishtas is inaccurate. These waiting grand ones are never called by the term sishtas. They are watchers, guardians — Silent Watchers is a general name for them. They are not sishtas; they are the elders, they are in the van of the race, they are far more spiritually and intellectually awakened than we. But, as I said, there is a certain analogy between the human sishtas and the Silent Watchers of any great life-wave. That indeed is true.
Student — That answers my question. Thank you.
Student — As the great ones in these different hierarchies exist on the various ascending rungs of the ladder of life, we are told that there are gods, but no supreme personal god. In thinking of the ladder of life, I am reminded that, for instance at school, there are the teachers, and the principal, and the superintendent, and so forth. Now I wish to ask: as these hierarchies become greater and grander, are there fewer individuals in them, or contrariwise?
G. de P.— Do you ask whether, as we rise in thought along the scale of the ladder of life, the entities occupying these grades become fewer and fewer as the summit of the hierarchical ladder is reached?
Student — Yes. Or do they become more in number?
G. de P.— They become fewer and fewer until we reach the summit and peak of any hierarchy. In our own spiritual hierarchy, for instance, that summit is an entity, the spiritual father, the Silent Watcher of our hierarchy. And it is the same with every other hierarchy, wherever that hierarchy may be. That is quite true.
Student — Then how is it with the universes? Does the same analogy hold true?
G. de P.— It does. But you must remember that these hierarchies never come to an end, for the universe is endless, boundless, without frontiers. The thought you have in your mind has often been alluded to and exemplified in what I have called the doctrine of hierarchies. All these hierarchies interlock, interblend, interwork, interexist; and in their incomprehensible aggregate forming whatever it may be — a solar system, a universe, or even the Boundless. This term boundless is, after all, but a descriptive term. It is an expression confessing human incapacity to understand frontierless infinitude, and beginningless and endless time or duration. It is a term self-confessing our incapacity to understand infinitude and eternity. We theosophists simply call it the Boundless. Most emphatically it does not mean one supreme entity, one supreme being.
Student — One would naturally think that as these beings become higher and higher they would ultimate into one great being. But it evidently is an incomprehensible.
G. de P.— That is it. It is an incomprehensible, verily. Please understand that the peak or loftiest point of any hierarchy is the Silent Watcher of that hierarchy; and he — we will speak of this entity as "he," if you like — he is the link with the lowest rung of another ladder of life, another hierarchy, which in its turn at its loftiest point has a Silent Watcher. And this last one, again, is but the link with the lowest rung of still another ladder of life; and so on throughout endless space.
And not only that. You must not consider these hierarchies as being one on top of another, like a series of apartments or flats in a dwelling house. They extend in all directions. They are hierarchies of consciousness. Do you grasp the thought?
Many Voices — Yes.
Student — Noticing the perfume from some flowers before coming to this meeting, it suddenly struck me very forcibly how those flowers seem to enjoy giving out their perfume. They were beautiful and they exhaled an exquisite odor. It seemed that there was more than simply some material idea of attracting the bee or the butterfly. They seemed to give it out from their inner nature. This fact brought to my mind what the holy man of Benares said about his teacher having been in a village and his very presence giving out a spiritual aroma that kept those people in a higher state through many of their difficulties. And this reminds me of the idea of our work, of the importance of being unselfish, and yet at the same time working as those do who are ambitious. I would like to hear a little more about this matter, following the thought of the flowers — the flowers giving out their perfume, beautifully, inspiringly; and yet at the same time they are working, making their seeds, and so forth.
G. de P.— Yes, a flower exhales its life in odor and in beauty. Now it so happens that evolution has given to us the olfactory organ with which we can take in and grasp the existence of this particular exhalation of vitality which we call the perfume of certain flowers; but this instance of the beautiful flower exhaling its life in sweet odor is not a single one, but exemplifies the universal rule.
Do you realize that human beings likewise exhale their life in odor, also in color and in sound, but we have not the sense apparatus to grasp either the sound or the color. We see the colors which the flowers exhale because we have the sense apparatus to see them. They also exhale sound, but we have not the hearing, the sense apparatus, to hear the sounds that they send forth.
Every atom of the enormous hosts of atoms composing the bodies of any entity has its own keynote of sound, sings its own chant or hymn continuously. It not only has its own singular keynote, but also that keynote changes through the ages. Now when you remember that a human being or a flower or a beast is, physically speaking, an aggregate of atoms, we recognize that had we the sense apparatus to take it all in, we should hear the life, the movements, of such an entity, as a wonderful song or harmony, as a chant. Also had we the proper sense apparatus we should see a human being clothed with iridescent beauty of color. But our senses for these are not as yet evolved. We are incognizant of many wonderful things that actually exist around us; and all these things that are exhaled or sent forth by any entity, be it flower or beast or man or other, are simply manifestations of its vitality — of the life welling up from the fountain within it and expressing itself in form and color and sound and odor and otherwise. Some of the beasts can see and hear things that human beings cannot. Some human beings can see and hear and otherwise have sense cognition of things that other human beings have not.
The training of a chela, not in the beginning of course, but the later training of a chela, is partly along these lines in order to make him more fully conscious of what exists in the universe around us. He becomes cognizant through this training of the manifestations of the life forces of the beings which surround him. He can accurately read the aura of a fellow disciple. He can see and interpret in the aura surrounding a beast what the beast's intentions or thoughts are. He can hear, by being in the presence of some other man, what the other man is thinking about and what plans he has. He does not have to think strongly about all this. The knowledge comes to him instinctively, just as we now see with our eyes the type of nose that a man has, or the shape of his shoulders, or what not. We do not think about how we see. Sight has become so customary that we no longer realize that it is very wonderful.
But the things that our senses show us, imperfectly evolved as they are, are nothing as compared with what actually exists. Had we the other senses evolved to enable us to take in what happens around us, we should know that a man in anger, for instance, is not only surrounded with an ugly dirty red which changes the color of his aura completely, but the sounds he inaudibly throws forth affect the ear with their jangling discords, and these are very unpleasant. We have five imperfectly developed senses: sight, smell, touch, hearing, and taste.
There are at least two other senses that human beings will physically evolve before they leave this planet — to some extent even in this fourth round. One will be the ability to see through material things, and I use the word see because it is the only one that occurs to me with which to describe this as yet unevolved faculty. It is not only seeing, it is also sensing. It is this sixth sense — and I am not alluding to the last or seventh sense, but to this sixth sense — which is the power to get cognition of what is within things: to see through them, to use the popular expression. This sense will be as instantaneous as our other senses now are. It will require no willing thought at all. It is like touch at present. You touch something hot, and you don't have to think about its being hot. You know it is hot.
We human beings have wonders in us that the present unevolved man knows nothing about, and does not even dream of. He has no realization at all that these wonderful things and as yet unevolved faculties and powers exist within him.
Student — This training in chelaship then I suppose would be a spiritual training in order to develop the sixth and seventh senses especially?
G. de P. — Oh no, the training in respect of these two senses is only a side issue, only a side activity. The training in chelaship is to bring out what the man has within him, and especially of a divine and spiritual and intellectual and psychical character — that is, the faculties and powers belonging to the higher part of his being. Obviously, therefore, such training means also evoking to some extent the inner but as yet latent senses, but this last is merely an incident. It is the least part of the training for chelaship. Much greater things than merely the development of the inner senses take place in the training for chelaship — grander and nobler things by far.
Let me tell you something. The fourth degree of initiation is the one where teaching and discipline continue indeed as they exist in the three previous degrees or grades, but nevertheless with the fourth degree something new to the initiant takes place: actual individual or rather personal experiencing of what happens on other planets, in other realms, on other worlds, so that the initiant may properly cognize conditions there. In order so to cognize, you must have previously, to some extent at least, evolved the proper inner sense apparatus — otherwise your journey into these interior realms or spheres, or even on other physical planets, would be more or less like a dream, a more or less crazy dream too. You would be conscious of being there, but could not interpret anything.
As a matter of fact, normal human beings during quiet sleep go to these inner worlds or planes; in some instances they go to other planets of our own solar system, but they remember nothing about it. They have indeed been there, but, having evolved no inner senses of cognition, the consciousness is not touched, and the consciousness not being touched, nothing can be recollected or brought back to mind. Do you understand?
Many Voices — Yes.
G. de P.— Initiation and the training in chelaship are not only a quickening of evolution, although evolution will in the far future bring forth these new senses into active manifestation. Initiation and training are not only that, but also are the evoking, the evolving, of the power to understand and to be.
The man, the individual, has everything in him that the universe has, so wherever he may go in the interior worlds or in the outer worlds, he is essentially at home there. And he is the more at home in direct proportion with the greater degree that his inner being and its inner senses and faculties are awake. In other words, to enable him to cognize, therefore to know, therefore to retain what he knows, he must have the self-consciousness of realizing what he experiences in these interior worlds. I do hope that you understand.
Student — I was not speaking only of the flower, but also of the ethical aspect involved. Are we justified in enjoying life while there are such terrible things existent all around us? At the same time, are we not right in being like the flower, giving out something beautiful as part of our work, and not merely indifferently "doing things"? That is what the man of Benares said: "Don't be worried about doing things. Be worried about being."
G. de P.— That is quite right. It is a duty to keep the beautiful things, the noble things, and it is not wrong to enjoy them impersonally. Enjoyment of beautiful things never brings a surfeit. It never palls. It refines the nature. But the real point of importance is that we must never forget that we enjoy only in order better to help others. We must never become so self-involved in our own personal enjoyment that we lose sight of our greatest and noblest duty, which is to help others, to aid others, to give them the blessings that we have. We should in these respects be like the flowers, exhaling beauty and peace and goodness. Our lives should be like the beautiful flowers giving freely to all, impregnating every passing breeze with the inner beauty welling forth from within our own souls, so that the very breeze may thus carry our inner beauty to others and thus help them and charm them to copy us.
Furthermore, we should so live that we become ever more and more conscious of everything. This is the gist of it all. The Pratyeka Buddha, please understand, is not an evil being. He is not selfish in the ordinary human sense. The Pratyeka Buddha, on account of the spotless purity of his life and aspirations, is a holy entity, a very lofty and in many respects a beautiful character; nevertheless, after all is said, there remains the fact that he thinks of himself alone. His life is, therefore, restricted, and he will enter his nirvana and will remain in crystallized purity therein for aeons, advancing not at all. Whereas the Buddha of Compassion who lives for the world and in the world, but not of the world, is growing and evolving and increasing in inner grandeur all the time; so that in the far distant future, when the Pratyeka Buddha issues forth from his nirvanic state in order to take up a new course of evolution in some loftier existence than the one he left when entering the nirvana, he will be far in the rear of the Buddha of Compassion who has been evolving continually in the interim.
Student — I have often wondered in reading in the Christian New Testament the parable of the prodigal son, whether we should relate it to the manvantaric life cycle. If so, is there anything that we should attach to the part of the parable which has reference to the brother who went not forth and was somewhat aggrieved when the other brother returned rejoicing? When speaking of the pratyekas, I have wondered if there is any possible connection?
G. de P.— Well, there are usually certain analogical similarities between the parables or moral legends of the different ages. But I think that the parable of the prodigal son sets forth the joy which the teachers have when the wandering souls of men finally refuse to eat of the husks of life and return home — come back into the family.
You know the old Christian saying containing the statement that there is more joy in heaven over one sinner that repenteth than over the ninety and nine just men? The sinner that repenteth may be looked upon as another version of the parable of the prodigal son who finally returned home.
Student — In the Book of the Dead there is a reference to the initiant or departed one regaining different senses: for instance, the senses of hearing and smelling. Does this refer to the inner senses that you say a chela develops?
G. de P.— You are speaking of the Egyptian Book of the Dead?
Student — Yes.
G. de P.— No. Of course there may be an indirect reference, because all parts of nature being built alike, it follows that what exists in one part has its correspondences in all other parts. But I think that the reference in the Egyptian Book of the Dead is to what takes place after death, and in initiation also.
Student — There is also one passage that treats at some length concerning "opening the mouth," and I have wondered what that passage referred to. Can you explain?
G. de P.— You know, perhaps, that the mouth has sometimes been called in esotericism the organ of the creative logos. This simply means that the mouth in the physical body is one of the organs representing an inner power: the organ through which thought comes forth as words and modifies and changes the lives of our fellows. It is by the mouth, by the tongue, that we express the thoughts within us. It may be by gestures also, but particularly through the mouth. The opening of the mouth is a technical phrase of the ancient Mysteries. It refers to the gaining of a spiritual power, the power to communicate the esoteric wisdom so that it is understood of others. Do you understand me? It takes an initiate to be able to communicate the esoteric wisdom. The teacher must have the teaching crystal clear in his own mind. He must have in addition the ability to express in duly understood words the crystal clear thought which his own mind holds.