G. de P. — You remember, Companions, that at our last gathering, instead of answering questions, I thought it would be interesting to make a test of the degree in which you have understood the teachings that have already been given in this KTMG. I am glad to say that, on the whole, the responses were eminently satisfactory. There was, indeed, noticed a certain lack of acquaintance with details of the teaching, but this was only to be expected; yet the fundamental ideas seem to have been clearly caught by you and were, on the whole, quite clearly expressed. I think that we had better continue with the same line of study tonight.
I am a little sorry that this is our last meeting before I leave on my lecture tour, because I had hoped to reinforce your understanding of the teachings by pursuing for a few meetings this new plan, which is not only interesting to me in testing your ability to grasp what you have already heard, but also strengthens your own understanding of the teachings. There is no way of learning so good, so practical and efficient, as to express the teaching that you have heard in your own words. Your own mind then becomes your teacher, for you are obliged to frame your thoughts into understandable language, and this makes a call upon certain mental and indeed spiritual faculties that the mere hearing of teachings does not so readily and easily evoke.
Following this plan, therefore, again tonight, I will begin with the first question, and anyone may answer who chooses. I would like then, first, to ask you: how do you understand the statement, which is so common in our esoteric teachings and equally common in the Hindu religious and philosophical scriptures, that the essence of man is the universe? How do you understand that statement? What picture does it bring to your minds?
Student D — That man is simply a ray, the highest essence of man is a ray of divinity from the All-divine that permeates everything.
G. de P. — Quite correct. May I then ask in continuation of the same line of thought: if man in his essence is boundless infinitude, the universe in other words, why is it that he has not boundless consciousness active at present? Why is it that he has not a functioning intellect which knows no circumscribing frontiers of knowledge? Why is his consciousness a human consciousness? Why is it not a cosmic consciousness?
Student M — I have explained it to myself in this way: the supreme essence in starting on its long evolutionary journey, deliberately surrounds itself with illusion, an ever deeper and deeper illusion of separateness, in order to develop an understanding and an appreciation of its own essential unity; and in discovering that, it realizes what is the meaning of compassion which is not only unity, but a self-conscious unity.
G. de P. — Yes, that is true as a general statement; but if you go no farther than that, dear Brother M----, you are immediately faced with this question: how is it that infinity takes unto itself the garment of finity, of finitude? How is it that boundless energy and power become very limited energy and power?
You have often heard me say that man is a composite entity. He lives in a composite universe — technically we say a tenfold universe, or a septenary universe on the manifested planes.
Oh, I beg your pardon, Brother E----, will you not speak first, and then I will continue my own explanation?
Student E — I was going to say that perhaps the question contains an implication contrary to fact. The question was asked: why is it that man has not a cosmic consciousness? Well, perhaps he has. I seem to see what might be called a scientific heresy or perhaps a religious heresy which we surely are trying to get out of — that of regarding man as something small and the universe as something very big, outside. But I don't see why the universe is big and man small. Man may have a cosmic consciousness, and if his consciousness be limited, then may cosmic consciousness be limited. We are all in the same boat as far as I see it.
G. de P. — From the philosophical standpoint that is admirably expressed. I will then continue what I was beginning to say before you spoke. Man has indeed a cosmic consciousness in the cosmic part of his constitution. He does not win that cosmic consciousness. He does not form it or evoke it from the vast deeps of space and time. He already has it essentially. He is it, to speak in a deeper way. He is that cosmic consciousness in the cosmic part of his constitution.
Man being a composite being, lives on at least ten planes, of which seven are manifested and three are recondite. Now the highest part of man's constitution is that which you have often heard me speak of as the heart of the heart of the core of the core of him — of his constitution. All the parts of his constitution which are inferior or exterior to this, all his other faculties and powers, meaning all the other planes of his septenary or tenfold being, are simply veils or garments of energy and consciousness, which by his own psychological magic, working through time and space, by means of evolution he has woven around himself, much as the cocoon is woven around its indwelling entity.
To say that infinity takes unto itself the garments of finity is what the brain-mind says. Actually it is not so because through boundless duration of time the universe remains tenfold. The universe you may figurate to yourself as a constant life-stream, or as rivers of life arising out of the heart of being, and continually carrying along innumerable hosts or armies of self-conscious and unself-conscious god-sparks, born of the very womb of the universe. It is these entities which freight these rivers of life. Indeed, these rivers of life are themselves actually composed of these self-conscious and unself-conscious god-sparks, which pass through the eternally enduring mansions of life, through the ten planes of boundless space, passing from the innermost outwards until the tenth is reached. Then retracing their steps, but with each step outward and with each step inwards again towards the center from which they originally sprang, they evoke, each one from within itself, divine and spiritual and intellectual and psychical and astral and vital and physical energies and faculties and powers. These divine sparks or monads on their return journey or after the turn of the cycle upwards, approach ever nearer and nearer to the divine source from which they originally sprang, but no longer as unself-conscious god-sparks, but as self-conscious gods constantly evolving forth more perfect manifestations of the inner ever-living energies.
Man indeed has, or rather is, a cosmic consciousness in his inmost. It is the heart of his being. It is actual infinitude. He has also a divine consciousness which is the link with the home-universe in which he now lives; and this home-universe is all that is comprised within the encircling zone of the Milky Way. In addition, he has also a spiritual consciousness by which he is karmically in relation with our own solar system and which makes him therefore a Son of the sun, for the spiritual sun is the spiritual heart and mind of our solar system. He has likewise developed or evolved forth from within his own spiritual deeps an intellectual consciousness, a manasaputric consciousness, which is the highest part of his own egoic individuality. He has likewise developed a merely human consciousness which is the kama-manasic consciousness, the consciousness in which he at present lives on this earth, the ordinary human consciousness. He has likewise developed an animal consciousness destined to grow into a human consciousness in time, just as the human consciousness is destined to grow into a spiritual one, and the spiritual one is destined to grow into a divine one, and so forth.
In addition to the beast or animal consciousness he has likewise evolved forth a physical apparatus, comprising a certain physical or instinctual consciousness, more accurately an astral-physical consciousness, which is his vital power conjoined with the linga-sarira or astral model-body and his physical body. Actually, man functions on all these planes at one and the same time, functions on all the ten different grades or planes of his constitution, but not in all with equal power at the same time.
I will now answer my own question with more definiteness, after thus having given you this brief universal picture. Although man is cosmic at the heart of the heart of him, he is not cosmic in the human part of him. Why? Because the human part of him is an ego which he has evolved out from within himself, and this partly evolved egoic center of consciousness obviously has a reach of relationship or a reach of consciousness exactly concordant with its own partially developed inner energies. Similarly and on a higher plane he has evolved a spiritual ego, the source of all that is great and noble and beautiful in mankind. Indeed, higher still he has evolved a divine ego of a cosmic reach still grander than that of the spiritual ego, which has a reach of consciousness grander than that of the merely human ego. So then, while man functions on all the ten planes of his constitution and while he is conscious on all of them, he is not self-consciously cognizant of his consciousness on any plane except that one which at the present time he is most active in, that is to say, the human ego.
Now, if you can get those points clearly in your mind, you will readily see how man can be at his inmost heart the universe itself, one with the universe — bone of its bone, blood of its blood, life of its life — and yet not be more than vaguely conscious of it, because the human vehicle which he has evolved and in which he now lives and functions is not yet capacious enough, fine enough, far enough evolved, to take in or comprise the cosmic consciousness. It is perhaps somewhat like a jellyfish living in sea water. The substance of the jellyfish is the same as the substance of the surrounding sea. But the jellyfish, an ego so to speak, is a condensed and therefore limited entity; and can only understand or comprehend, if we can say a jellyfish has understanding, in accordance with its own small degree of limited development. Nevertheless, while it is only self-conscious on that limited plane and in that limited vehicle, it is in the universal life from which it sprang and unto which it shall ultimately return, plus the karmic attributes of evolution or impressions that it shall have gained.
Sir James Jeans, the eminent English physicist and astronomer, recently wrote in his book, The Mysterious Universe, one of the most remarkable statements that I have ever known a modern scientist to make. His words are: "No matter how far we retreat from an electrified particle, we cannot get outside the range of its repulsions and attractions. This shows that an electron must, in a certain sense at least, occupy the whole of space." When you remember that an electrified particle is what modern science calls an electron, one of the component elements or building bricks of a physical atom, it becomes clear that so infinitesimal an entity, despite its limits or finitude, is likewise universal in its reach, or, what comes to the same thing, in its actions and in its corresponding reactions.
That is exactly the idea of the ancient wisdom. It is exactly the idea of the noblest systems of philosophical and religious teaching in Hindustan, and it applies definitely to the point of discussion that we are studying at present. If then the physical electron can be at once limited in sphere of action and in sphere of consciousness, and yet be of universal essence — or what comes to the same thing of universal reach — why should not, why must not indeed, the very center or heart or core of the electron, or the very center or heart or core of a human being, be also cosmic? It is obviously so. A man's inmost is cosmic, because it is of the essence of the heart of the cosmic energy-substance. Therefore man's inmost is the universe. I trust that I have made this explanation at least a little clearer.
Many Voices — Yes.
Student O — I have tried to explain it to myself in this way. There is a difference between consciousness and memory. We live through consciously many things that we don't remember afterwards; and so I have thought of time on this plane as vibration, having even its smallest vibration; and man living in reality conscious on all the planes, each such vibration could be considered as a little manvantara and pralaya. I think that these are called in The Secret Doctrine nitya pralayas and nitya sargas manvantaras. Between two such manvantaras is a pralaya during which man is cosmically conscious, but does not remember it the next moment in the manvantara that immediately succeeds. I don't know if this statement is correct.
G. de P. — It is a correct thought; and curiously enough, Brother O----, it leads me to the next question that I was going to ask, which is also a matter upon which we touched at our last gathering here. I then tried to explain to you that the devachani so far as size goes may be smaller than the smallest atom. In his inmost he has a cosmic consciousness. He undergoes the devachan, the limited devachanic dream world experiences, because the devachani's only partly-evolved ego is capacious enough to take in only that much of consciousness which its partly-evolved state permits.
Now the evolution within the human being of a mahatma — and as you know a mahatma already lives in each one of us — the manasaputric essence within us, is simply a raising of the human ego into spiritual egoship. The development of a mahatma is simply a quickened evolution achieved through initiation. If there be no initiation, the state of mahatmaship will indeed ultimately be reached, but only through the slow, long processes that universal nature follows. All initiation, all evolution, is simply an unwrapping process, an unfolding process, of what is within.
May I now ask you what do you understand by the phrase son of the sun? Anyone may answer.
Student W — My feeling, my thought, is that one whose consciousness is on the solar plane of consciousness is a son of the sun in fact. We are, according to the plane on which we keep our consciousness, and if we keep that consciousness continuously on the solar plane, we then realize ourselves as sons of the sun. Is that right?
G. de P. — Absolutely so; very well said indeed. This solar son within us is the manasaputra which we inherently are. It is the manasaputric essence within us. It is rightly called son of the sun. If you will examine some, in fact most of the cartouches of the ancient Egyptian kings, you will see the title given to them is Son of the Sun. It means that they had passed through at least the fourth initiation and had become self-consciously cognizant of the solar essence within themselves, had begun not only to know it but to be it, to live in and with that part of themselves, instead of in and with the imperfectly developed brain-mind as ordinary men do.
This son of the sun, while correctly described as being the solar essence within us, is nevertheless an egoic entity. It is a being; and hence again I repeat: remember always that man is a composite entity. In him lives a god; above the god there lives what we may call — because it is so difficult to understand it otherwise — the cosmic essence. There lives in him also a subordinate divine entity which we may call the spiritual soul. Then there lives in him, as an entity, the manasaputra, the son of the sun. There lives in him also as a functioning entity and very strong in us today, the son of the moon, the lunar entity, which is each one of us as a human being. There lives in us also an animal.
It is possible, and in initiation it is always done, to separate these different parts of the human constitution so that actually they can live apart, at least temporarily, although most intimately interconnected, all working together, and yet functioning separately. And, indeed, that is nothing strange. Examine yourselves today. You know perfectly well that you are living in the human portion of your constitution where abide your human longings and loves, hates and fears, aspirations and griefs. You know perfectly well that in you there is also a beast entity. The animal entity of themselves is very attractive to some human beings, and they degrade their humanity by allying the self-conscious part of themselves with the beast instead of with the manasaputra part.
Never forget this part of the teaching, because it is a great key: man is a composite entity. Those were among the last words of the Lord Buddha, and he added, before he expired: "Work out your own freedom." He referred to the teachings that he had given to his pupils throughout his life, among which were just those that I have been telling you here. You can ally yourself with the god within you, or you can degrade your humanity by becoming at one with the beast within you.
Now you must not think from these words that the beast within you, that is a part of you, is different from you. It is simply the lowest part of you; and this beast by evolutionary progress in time will become a human part in you. But the human part of you by that time will have become a solar part of you, a manasaputra; and our present manasaputric part, at about the same future time will have become something loftier still. Furthermore, the present spiritual soul at about the same future time will have become divine or an inner god.
As you see, every part of man is evolving. Man is a composite entity. He is a little universe; and I may add here, just to carry on the teaching to its end and round it out, that it is the destiny of every human being in the far, far distant aeons of the future to become a universe — first a sun glittering in the spacial deeps, and then a solar system, and then a universe infilled with its armies of evolving entities. Who and what are they who will thus become these armies of evolving entities? They are what now exist in man as the life-atoms existing in and on man's ten planes of existence.
So, then, in asking you what is meant by the phrase a son of the sun, just what is your understanding of the origin of this son of the sun, this manasaputra? Can someone answer that question?
Student F — May I attempt to answer it, G. de P.? It seems to me that the last three questions are linked together, and the answer in the most general terms lies in the teaching regarding the outbreathing and the inbreathing of Brahma. In the teaching, as I understand it, it is of the very nature of the highest to seek to manifest itself to itself. In order to manifest itself to itself out of itself, it sends forth from its own essence that which becomes its veil or garment, and this becoming manifested is of course on a lower plane than is the essence of the entity itself. But this veil or garment, thus emanated, which is composed of innumerable entities, also manifests or sends out from its nature another veil, and thus becomes the heart of this second veil which includes all the entities or life-atoms which form that garment or veil. So that there is a heart within a heart. Thirdly, this last emanated living veil or garment, on a still lower plane manifests and clothes itself with those entities that we would speak of as the gods. Next in order, the gods out of their hearts send forth their own sparks in order to build vehicles of manifestation for themselves on a lower plane. Next, these entities likewise, the dhyanis and the manasaputras, out of their heart send forth sparks or life-atoms of themselves, which become the human monads. The human monads in their turn send out sparks of themselves which become the beast monads, in their turn building for themselves succeeding veils on still more material planes.
In each instance of emanation, that which is the emanator is higher than the emanation and thus is the heart of its emanation. We can thus in thought reverse the stages of emanation, going constantly higher and deeper, until we come to the essential divinity of all. Hence it is that in the heart even of the lowest manifestation or emanation there is involved the very heart or essence of the universe. In the course of evolution which is the so-called outbreathing, this heart of all things invests or clothes itself in garments of ever-increasing manifestation or materiality. Then the inbreathing comes, which is the involution of matter but the evolution of the inner spiritual: the unwrapping, the coming out of the outer living garments, of that spiritual essence which is continuously at the heart of all things.
In our own stage of evolution we are seeking to find that which is our spiritual heart, that which is the son of the sun. But even when we have found this self-consciously, there will be another further unwrapping, another loosening of the living garments, of the sunlight garments, until as this procedure reaches its end for this cosmic manvantara, we find ourselves once more as the very essence of the All, plus self-conscious divine existence.
G. de P. — Very well said; it is very well put indeed. What you have said contains the main points of the teaching. I am glad that you have grasped it so well. That is the doctrine of evolution or unwrapping, and the doctrine of involution or inwrapping. Neither is superior to the other. Both take place concurrently throughout eternity, and obviously so. Pause a moment in thought. As the spirit evolves forth or unwraps its latent living powers and faculties, this is equally an involution of all material existence; and, inversely, as material faculties and powers evolve forth their energies this is an involution or inwrapping of spiritual faculties and powers. The latter is the descent of spirit, the former is the ascent of spirit.
Similarly, as a man grows spiritually greater, he evolves forth the spiritual heart of him, but involves again the lower parts of him, laying these lower parts of him aside as seeds for the next period of cosmic evolution.
Evolution and involution proceed concurrently. What is the evolution of spirit, which is taking place now because we are on the upward grade, on the ascending arc, is the involution of matter. Matter involves or disappears pari passu as spirit evolves or appears. Conversely, on the downward grade or the coming into that manifestation, called the descending arc or the shadowy arc, the outbreathing, the opposite process takes place, which is the evolution of matter, the appearing of matter, and pari passu there occurs the involution or inwrapping of the spiritual.
We hear a great deal about evolution in the modern world, but very little about involution. The Occident doesn't know anything about it as yet. They will know about it in time.
It is the destiny of every human being, as his consciousness progresses steadily towards an ever-enlarging cosmic reach, to pass from humanity into self-conscious divinity, ultimately to become a sevenfold sun, then a sevenfold solar system, then a sevenfold universe, then a still sublimer universe, and so on for ever. Deduction: the universe in which we now live was once a human being, or an entity holding an evolutionary status like that of our own humanity. Our own glorious day-star was in far past aeons of cosmic existence a limited but self-conscious entity like us human beings. What a sublime conception this is to ponder over in our moments of quiet thought. I have just spoken of human beings only, but that was merely taking an instance for purposes of illustration. Every tiniest atom that chants its chant of life as it lives, that sings the song of its own individual keynote, its swabhava, has the same destiny before it. We human beings, and therefore every glittering sun, indeed every universe, was once a simple life-atom. That life-atom had at its heart all the capacities, powers, faculties, possibilities, potentialities, that the ages have since evolved forth. Therefore, everything that is is, in the heart of itself, the universe in which we live and move and have our being. I think that this point of thought has now been pretty well clarified.
Coming now to another question: why is it that the devachani, being freed from the encumbering weight of the astral and physical garments, should not have an even larger, profounder, nobler consciousness than that of its dream state?
Student J — Because the teaching is that in devachan we live our highest aspirations and highest hopes and longings, experienced during the life last passed, all over again; and if our consciousness has nothing higher than that, we obviously cannot experience a cosmic consciousness. If we don't have that cosmic consciousness on earth, we cannot have it in devachan.
G. de P. — Perfectly true. Let me then go to the next question on this same line of thought. You have been told that the only difference between an ordinary human being and a Master of wisdom and compassion and peace is that the latter has freed himself from the trammels and blinding veils of the lower part of his constitution, and therefore lives in the higher parts. Now then, as the devachani has cast off these lower and blinding veils, why is it that the devachani's consciousness is not that of a mahatma?
Student B — Because the devachani's dream state is not a self-consciously achieved mahatmic consciousness as is the case with the mahatma.
G. de P. — That is it, exactly. Your answer is correct, and J----'s answer also is correct. The two answers are seen from two different angles. The mahatma has, already while living as a man, become self-consciously at one with his spiritual nature. He has allied himself, to some degree at least, self-consciously with his inner god. Therefore when in physical life his consciousness is mahatmic. The average man's consciousness is human, and when he dies his consciousness becomes the devachanic beautiful dream state. As J---- has pointed out, he lives in the resultants or effects of karmic consequences of the stream of spiritual thoughts he had while in the physical body. But the mahatma when casting off the body enters either into the world again — in other words takes up a new body in order to help his fellows — or he enters the nirvana for a time.
May I ask now: Can you tell me the difference between the buddha of compassion and the pratyeka buddha?
Student W — The pratyeka buddha is one who has passed through all the degrees of initiation on his way to nirvana, and enters nirvana, his whole aim being, although a holy, pure, spiritual entity, to enjoy nirvanic bliss throughout the remainder of the manvantara. But a buddha of compassion passes through the same initiations and all of them on his way to nirvana. I understand that on the way he fills his soul with love, with compassion, for all that is, all along the journey, so that finally he himself becomes the supreme choice, and when he stands on the threshold of nirvana, he is the choice, he is compassion itself, and therefore refuses nirvana and remains within the world in order to help on humanity.
G. de P. — That is correct. I might add as a slight correction that the pratyeka buddha does not necessarily pass through all initiations. Just as you say, however, the buddha of compassion must pass through every stage or degree of initiation, but the pratyeka buddha sometimes does not do that. Rarely he does. The essential difference is just as you have so beautifully set it forth: the buddha of compassion is one who having won all, gained all, gained the right to cosmic peace and bliss, renounces it so that he may go back as a son of light in order to help humanity, and indeed all that is. The pratyeka buddha passes onwards and enters the unspeakable bliss of nirvana, and there he remains for an aeon or a million of aeons as the case may be. Whereas the buddha of compassion, who has renounced all for compassion's sake, because his heart is so filled with love, continues evolving. Thus the time comes when the buddha of compassion, although having renounced everything, will have advanced far beyond the state that the pratyeka buddha has reached; and when the pratyeka buddha emerges in due course from the nirvanic state in order to take up his evolutionary journey again, he will find himself far in the rear of the buddha of compassion.
Now, Professor R----, I think you wanted to ask a question, or make a statement perhaps?
Student R — I was thinking about the devachan, but you moved on to the next point.
G. de P. — Well, please state your thought.
Student R — Is not the entity in devachan really in a very high state, with just a flavor of the past incarnation? Is it not the teaching that the entity has passed to a really very high part of his nature — not the ordinary personality simply in a transcendent condition, but to a very high part of the manas, as H. P. Blavatsky says, with just enough of the flavor of the memories of the past life to carry on the connection between incarnations?
G. de P. — Just so, but it is this that you call the flavor of the personality which makes it the devachan. If the excarnate human being were strong enough in the spiritual life to be utterly oblivious of the imperfect personality that it has cast off, if the devachani were sufficiently evolved to live self-consciously in the spiritual part of itself, it would not need to undergo the devachanic experience, but would in fact be a mahatma. It is precisely because the devachani is so closely inwrapped within the karmic consequences of the spiritual longings and aspirations of the life just passed that it is a devachani. It is not high enough to rise above even its own spiritual aspirations, but is caught therein as a bird is caught by bird lime. Whereas the mahatma is so strong spiritually that he can rise even above his spiritually individual aspirations. He is much more impersonal than the devachani. His consciousness therefore is more universal, more cosmic. It seems very simple indeed to me.
Student R — Yes. May I ask also if the mahatma can or does refuse nirvana in order to come back as a buddha of compassion; or is that choice reserved only for those who have attained the very highest bodhisattva state?
G. de P. — The mahatmas of course are not yet buddhas. A buddha is a mahatma of the highest grade. A mahatma is one who has become self-consciously alive in the spiritual part of his constitution, whereas a buddha is one who has become self-consciously living in the divine-spiritual part of his constitution. There are mahatmas who can enter a lower grade of nirvana — a very few actually do this. Most of them prepare to become buddhas of compassion, and therefore to renounce a nirvanic state. They are already far above the devachanic state, and when the body is cast off they return, either to live as a nirmanakaya in the auric atmosphere of the earth and thus to work for mankind invisibly, becoming the living stones in the Guardian Wall, to use our own mystic speech, or they reincarnate anew.
Remember that a nirmanakaya is a lofty human being, a mahatma, who has simply thrown off his physical body, and all the other parts of his constitution remain together. In other words, he is a man just as he was before death, or before he cast off the physical body. He lives in the auric envelope of the earth. To say that he lives in the astral world would be true, but that phrase is too vague a way of speaking. The astral world is too extensive for such a phrase to be definite enough. To say that he lives in the earth's auric atmosphere is more correct.
Student P — You have said that a mahatma is one who has allied himself with his own inner being, with his spiritual being. In this life where we now are, we have been told that when we sleep it is possible for us to grow, in a sense, in that in sleep we can learn spiritual lessons. In such states, just as in practical life, it is possible to step outside of one's self so that one may endure pain or sorrow, for instance, withdrawing from that physical body. Then in meditation it is possible to think of a withdrawing from the physical body and allying oneself with one's spiritual essence. Then, further than that, it is possible to think of a withdrawing and an allying oneself with all there is, with all mankind, and to be universally helpful. Are these the progressive stages, known to yourself for instance, or are they only imaginary stages or becoming one with nature in the perfect thought known to a true student or a chela?
G. de P. — Do I understand you to ask whether a chela or a student can achieve this?
Student P — No, Sir. I think he can achieve it. But I wondered whether it was an imagination of mine as a way to such progress, as for instance the desire to live in a world of pure thought, which is of course a desire to ally oneself with one's higher inner spiritual self, and doing this through meditation but not with violence, and with the desire to help others. Are these truly the stages through which a mahatma passes, or is it only a very beautiful dream of the student that it might be?
G. de P. — No, it is by no means a dream. It is one of the paths of study that every chela follows. I would not say that a mahatma has to pass through this stage, because actually he has already advanced beyond it. He has already attained and passed that stage.
May I also say that meditation is an excellent word but one which has often been misused by inaccurate writers of theosophical literature, so that many people consider meditation to be a difficult procedure to follow in order to live in the highest part of oneself. The best form of meditation that I know is the constant thought, yearning, aspiration, to be my best, to live my noblest, and to keep this thought with me day and night. It is indeed the best form of meditation. One does not need to go into his private chamber, or into his closet, and to sit or to stand or to lie, and with an effort of the will try to whip the brain to think of certain things. Indeed, I doubt whether that is at all advisable. I do not say that you meant that by your question, certainly not, but what you have said has given me just the opportunity that I have been waiting for to make a brief explanation. The best meditation is a yearning to be one's best and to live one's noblest, and if this yearning is derivative from the spirit of compassion, welling up in the heart like a holy river of energy, it will lead one quickly to the Gates of Gold.
Meditation and concentration! How well I remember, when a young man, after having joined the Theosophical Society, the many erudite brain-whacking articles and essays that I heard and read. Concentration means simply centering your mind on a point or object of thought and holding to it, which is one of the easiest things in the world to do, and the way by which to accomplish it easily, is to be interested. If you are really interested in a thing your mind automatically will concentrate itself upon that thing. Meditation is closely similar to this: it means not only being interested and therefore centering the mind upon a point of thought, but also mentally passing in review the various aspects and phases of the point of thought.
Student T — There is a difference between the human consciousness on earth and the human consciousness in devachan. Is it right to ask what is the difference between the consciousness of the mahatma or one who has attained cosmic consciousness on earth, and his state in nirvana?
G. de P. — Certainly it is right. I think the difficulty lies in the usage of the words cosmic consciousness. I would not say that the mahatma is one who has achieved cosmic consciousness while living in the body. He has achieved spiritual consciousness which, indeed, in a true sense is cosmic also.
You are justified perhaps in your query, but when nirvana is once entered it becomes cosmic consciousness per se, and all the sense of personal limitation which prevails when one is living in the body is dropped or cast aside. The nirvani becomes a spiritual energy enjoying cosmic consciousness, cosmic peace, cosmic bliss, without any distractions of the person or of the individual.
Student T — Am I right in thinking then that nirvana is really a state of the very highest activity?
G. de P. — It certainly is.
Student T — That it is most significant for all life that is going on?
G. de P. — It is. The nirvani is one who is "blown out of existence" — but not out of essential being. Only the divine and the spiritual and the manasaputric essence remain unencumbered, untrammeled, unshackled, ungarmented, unobstructed, by all the lower energies and planes of the human constitution. Nirvana means, therefore, perfect, total, complete oblivion of all the lower five degrees or planes of the universe.
Hence, the personal man is literally blown out of existence; but when you remember that the personal man is only a temporary group of life-atoms, and that it is in the personal man that arise all our sorrow and pain, all our human wretchedness and misery, all our suffering and unhappiness, all our ignorance and limitation, you will immediately see that to have all these things blown out is ananda as the Hindus put it, perfect bliss. You know those three words that are so commonly used in the Vedanta, sat-chit-ananda, usually run together as a compound: sachchidananda. Sat means pure existence — the Occidental would say, pure spiritual being. Chit means consciousness, pure consciousness, not any particular activity of an individual consciousness about things, but consciousness in itself, Das Ding an sich, as the Germans say. Ananda means bliss, containing no distracting and therefore limiting ideas of any kind, but pure consciousness in the spiritual realms, undistracted and undisturbed by anything inferior to itself. This is the state of nirvana.
Of course, in our own esoteric philosophy, the teaching is very clear that even nirvana has an end for any entity, although it may last for an almost unthinkable term of human years. When nirvana does end, then the individual must begin his evolutionary course anew, but naturally on a higher plane than before.
There are certain reasons, you see, from what has just been said, why even the nirvana can be looked upon, if chosen for oneself, as a species of sublimated spiritual selfishness. After all, when reduced to the last analysis, it would actually seem that the attempt of anyone trying to gain nirvana for himself is a solely individual yearning to free himself from manifested life, to stand apart in utter peace and utter bliss, in pure consciousness, and without regard for anything else.
How different from this is the teaching of our Lord: "Can I remain in utter bliss when one single human heart beats in pain?" Give me, rather is the thought, the suffering of personal existence, so that I may help and comfort others instead of attaining the purely selfish bliss of individual paranishpanna. Such is the teaching of the Buddha. It is also the teaching of our holy school. Such a noble choice brings its own reward, because nature in the end will not have any of her children stand aside in selfish isolation. It is against nature's fundamental law of unity, of union. We are all here together. We are all interlocked and interrelated. We help each other whether we will or whether we nill. "For a time, and for half a time, and for times," to use the mystic language of the Christian New Testament, we may set ourselves aside, stand aside and allow the rushing river of evolution to pass us by, but sooner or later nature will have no more of it, and then we must go forth again for our own benefit in order to grow, to grow greater and more universal.
Student M — I understand that for that being of which the spiritual sun is the heart, cosmic pralaya would be equivalent to death in the case of the human individual. Therefore it follows that during that cosmic pralaya there is a devachanic state for that being?
G. de P. — Yes, pralaya means dissolution. In the case of a man it is death. In the case of a solar system or sun, it is also a death, but death of its lowest composite parts. But it also means that the solar entity will enter upon a lofty, sublime, state of consciousness, which corresponds to the devachan in the case of a human being.
Of course things are relative. What the human calls his devachan would be a nirvana to a life-atom, and indeed to all the hosts of life-atoms which form his body. The devachan of a solar system would be a paranirvana to us human beings. All these things are relative.
Student W — May I ask whether the pratyeka buddha begins his evolution anew after he has concluded his nirvanic bliss throughout the remainder of the manvantara, and whether the nirvani who seems also to be enjoying a state of spiritual selfishness begins his evolution anew with the beginning of a new manvantara?
G. de P. — Each such case, of course, Doctor, is regulated by the karma of each such case or individual. The evolution begins anew at exactly the proper karmic point. One of our teachers, Master M, I believe, in The Mahatma Letters uses the analogy of a watch which has run down or stopped. Let us say that that stopping is the nirvana, which indeed is a stop so far as all the lower personal or individual existences are concerned. Let us say that the watch begins to go again: obviously it will begin to run from exactly the point at which it had stopped. Thus does evolution begin anew for the pratyeka buddha or for any nirvani, at the exact point where previously it had entered the nirvana or had become a nirvani. Is the answer responsive?
Student W — Yes, it is responsive in a way; but Master KH in The Mahatma Letters speaks of the failures of dhyan-chohans, and says that they must begin their evolution in the beginning, that is, with the elemental kingdoms. Therefore I thought that if they must pass through all the lower kingdoms in order to reach the human stage again, and then only regain what they had lost — their spiritual and high intelligence as in devahood, at the end of the seventh rung in the seventh round — I wondered where the pratyekas would really begin their evolution anew.
G. de P. — Your question is a little complicated, Doctor. The pratyeka buddha begins his evolution anew at the exactly appropriate point in space and at the exactly appropriate time, all depending upon the individual's karma. Of course, it would be impossible to say offhand just where any particular case would begin a new evolutionary course; but it begins at the point in space and at the point of time which karma calls for.
The failures in dhyan-chohanship, that you speak of, must not be considered as beginning their evolution anew in the elemental kingdoms. That is quite inaccurate. They have already attained dhyan-chohanhood, and it is alone due to these "failures" that a new evolution of a planetary chain can take place. These dhyan-chohanic failures are lofty spiritual entities — failures it is true, because they were not quite evolved enough to have gone beyond the reach of karmic attraction drawing them to a new planetary chain. They had failed in attaining, let us say, the last degree of cosmic initiation, but nevertheless they are truly spiritual entities. Hence, when the new planetary chain is about to begin its evolution anew, these dhyan-chohans who didn't make the last sixty or seventy feet of the grade, are then ready albeit as laggards, sluggards, failures, to inaugurate the evolution of the new planetary chain by setting and governing its spiritual pattern — and this indeed they do. They awaken first, even before the elementals, and by their activities, by their presence, by their energies working on the cosmic matter of that locality, they set forth and inaugurate the grand plan of the new planetary chain to be. They are borne in ahead of the elementals to the proper point in space and there begin their work, their grand plan.
When this grand plan is outlined or laid down in the cosmic place which karma destines, then the elementals are borne in as the next grade of cooperating entities, and begin to build on this plan which the dhyan-chohans have outlined or laid down. The dhyan-chohans then mingle with these elementals. They don't themselves become elementals, but they mingle the lowest part of their essence with these elemental beings, and thus guiding these elementals in their work, the beginning of the superstructure of the planetary chain to be is safely laid, is safely inaugurated. The beginning of a new planetary chain takes place.
Furthermore, in due course, after the three kingdoms of elementals, thus guided by the dhyan-chohans who had failed to make the full grade, have done their work, then come the remaining six classes of monads, which in due course of time build up the planetary chain and complete it.
Is the answer now satisfactory to your question? You have touched upon a very profound matter of cosmogony, indeed.
Student W — Yes, it is satisfactory, notwithstanding what is said in The Mahatma Letters to A. P. Sinnett.
Student T — We have a saying: "once a man always a man." Therefore the monadic essence after it has entered the kingdom of man, will not enter the lower kingdoms. Is it always true, once a dhyan-chohan always a dhyan-chohan?
G. de P. — Certainly. Once a god, always a god. But be not too exacting in attaching and using any such perfectly accurate and true statement. Take the phrase, once a man always a man, and nevertheless forth from the depths of man's inner being can pour the rivers of the life-atoms, and he is involved with these life-atoms with which he mingles the lower parts of his constitution. They are his own progeny, his own children.
He has brought them forth and he must work with them and raise them. He cannot help it. Such is nature's law. So that while he in his own essence remains always a man, once the human stage has been reached, he nevertheless has the lower part of his constitution formed from these rivers of life-atoms which have come forth from his being. Do you understand?
Student T — Yes, thank you.
Student S — Professor, I had a question to ask about the nirvana, but before asking it, may I get a point clear in Dr. W----'s question? In it she seemed to differentiate between a pratyeka buddha in nirvana and a nirvani. Is not a pratyeka buddha when he goes into nirvana a nirvani?
G. de P. — Yes, he is, because the term nirvani is simply a generalizing term for any entity in the nirvanic state. I noticed also the point you referred to. But I think that Dr. W---- spoke of nirvanis in general. The pratyeka buddha is a particular instance.
Student S — This is my question: is there not some time in the evolution of a buddha of compassion when he too must enter into nirvana, because the existence of nirvana is in nature's laws. And if so, then for a buddha never to go into nirvana would be against nature's laws. It would seem to indicate that nature provided something as a temptation for people to fall into. Of course, I know that is not so. It seemed to me the only explanation was that perhaps, in the course of the evolution of a buddha of compassion, there are times when certain lessons must be learned by retarding his own individual progress — by going into nirvana.
G. de P. — That is really a profound question that you have asked, and I am glad you have brought it forth. I will answer it. But as a prefatory observation, you should not think that the nirvana is something to be looked upon as a retarding of progress, or as a species of delay, or as a punishment. That is not the idea. The entity does not renounce nirvana merely because he longs to have a quicker evolutionary progress. That itself would be a selfish idea. He renounces nirvana because nirvana is union with the divine universe, and this renunciation is sublimely unselfish and grand, and he makes this renunciation only in order that he can remain in the manifested world and help all that lives.
Now, answering your specific question, yes. Even for a buddha of compassion there comes the time — there will inevitably come the time — when for that particular current of cosmic evolution nature will imperatively demand that he rest, and his duty then will be to renounce the manifested existence and to take his turn of nirvanic being. It may be illustrated in the case of the physical body on earth. A man of great willpower, of strong vitality, of good health, can stave off the inroads of disease and even threatening death much longer than can the frail man; but sooner or later nature will demand that the body be cast aside. It is good that it is so. The results are excellent. In the case of human beings the analogy is the devachan. In the case of the buddha of compassion it is entering the nirvana — or perhaps the paranirvana.
But that is not the instance alluded to when the distinction was drawn between the buddha of compassion and the pratyeka buddha. In this distinction there enters the element of deliberate choice. Which path shall I follow — the path of personal rest, utter peace, bliss, and living in the divine; or the steep and thorny path of individual manifested existence, but yet it is an evolutionary road, and finally it leads to the heart of the universe.
Student K — May I ask a question? Is not renunciation of nirvana merely an instance in large of what we experience in having joys of renunciation all along the path of life? We have these daily opportunities; and as we grow in consciousness and grow in strength and in vision, do we not have opportunities in a similar way to make that very renunciation which is, perhaps, just as great for the consciousness at that point as is the renunciation of the buddha in his far higher evolutionary stage? Is not renunciation of nirvana the great instance of what actually occurs many, many times on a smaller scale on the lower rungs of the ladder of life?
G. de P. — It is so. The training for mahatmaship is precisely along that line of beginning at the beginning. They begin at the beginning and begin at once. And each time when a man makes an unselfish choice, a choice which is beautiful because it is grand and manly, he has by so much prepared himself for that grand final choice, which will some day surely come to him. He is thus gaining strength for that last and supreme effort. You are quite right. Don't think for a moment that the renunciation so often spoken of in our esoteric literature is all pain and all sorrow and all misery! I tell you, Companions, that this renunciation is bliss so exquisite, so keen, that therein lies a very danger — the actual danger of a self-conscious feeling of personal or individual spiritual superiority. Wrench this feeling from your heart and cast it forever out. It is a serpent which will bite and sting and poison your inner life. Be impersonal.
Student K — May I ask one question more, Professor?
G. de P. — Yes. I myself was going to ask questions this evening, but please ask your question!
Student K — Well, I will answer one then. I will answer the question that you asked about the manasaputric consciousness: whence came the manasaputric essence in ourselves? Am I correct in seeking the explanation which seems to clarify it for me in your teaching with regard to the fact that we are composite of legacies, of portions, respectively from the seven planes of nature, and from the seven sacred planets, so that therefore a part of our essence is from the sun? That is why we are sons of the sun. But equally are we not sons of the parent-star?
G. de P. — Perfectly true.
Student K — Are we not also sons of the astral-vital parts of our nature?
G. de P. — Certainly. I have often told you that man is a composite entity. How often have I not repeated it? This means that every cosmic part of the great Mother has given its quota to the making of man.
Universal nature produced man, its child, an inseparable part of itself. Therefore that child has within itself every part of the universal mother. The part is contained within the whole, and enjoys every faculty latent or active, every energy, of that whole; but this general statement is not all. The more particular teaching is that in our solar system, every one of the sacred planets — each one being the fourth-plane planet of its own sevenfold chain — gives its own particular and characteristic quota or stream of life-atoms to the building of our planetary chain. Consequently there is in man a solar and a lunar essence, a Saturnian, a Jovian and a Martian essence, an Hermetic or Mercurial essence, and a Venus essence. I am speaking now of our own particular seven sacred planets which means the seven planets intimately related with the building of our planetary chain, and from each one of these seven sacred planets there comes to our earth a characteristic and particular vital flow fraught with living entities. Of course our earth reciprocates in kind as among these seven sacred planets. Furthermore, there are other groups of sacred planets connected with other arrangements of a similar kind in our solar system but these do not concern us so intimately.
Our manasaputric consciousness arises out of the fountain or source of our own core of being. But in order to awaken this manasaputric essence into functional activity, other manasaputras — intimately connected with us by karma, with individuals each to each — entered into the immature constitutions of the humanity of the third root-race in this fourth round and inflamed or stimulated the latent manasaputric essence of the individuals. After inflaming the manasaputric essence hitherto lying latent in each individual, the "savior" manasaputras, the inflaming manasaputras, left this sphere — in other words, left behind them a host of individuals with an awakened manasaputric essence or instinct or capacity or faculty or organ, call it what you like.
It is this manasaputric essence, this solar flame within us thus brought into active work, which is now our higher manas — indeed, the buddhi-manas within us.
Now, Companions, it is almost time to close for tonight, but before doing so I desire to say a few words to you about chelaship, and about the training for the esoteric life. Chelaship, or the training for masterhood, is a strenuous and heart-stirring work. Every step of it is joy, although at times there come psychological reactions which must be guarded against. The chela life has often reminded me of the man who is engaged upon some important, fascinating, most interesting, but very strenuous physical work. He labors, he tires, the breath comes quick and fast, the sweat bedews his brow and body, but yet he feels growing under his hand a work of marvelous beauty. He is inspired to give to it every ounce of strength that is in him. The chela knows that over the distant hills, perhaps for him, if his karma is favorable, not so far distant there lies the temple of wisdom, and that its doors will open for him if he can reach it and reach it clean and strong. If he reaches it with soiled feet, with feet which he has not washed with the tears of his eyes and the blood of his heart, he must retrace his steps, or wait until the time come when no longer will the heart bleed, and no longer will the eyes be blinded with the tears of selfish personal devotion to merely personal ends. Then the eyes will be lightened with the undying inner flame, and the heart will beat only for others, because it will be utterly self-forgetful. Then beauty, then inexpressible joy, then unimaginable strength and peace, will enter into his life.
Chelaship means training for masterhood. In itself it is not difficult. In itself it is easy, almost inexpressibly easy. It means giving up pain, giving up sorrow, giving up anger, giving up lust, giving up selfishness, giving up all the things that injure and blind and cripple and retard us. It means being clean, sweet, fresh, strong, pure, beautiful. It means beginning to live the life of an incarnate god. I am not using these words poetically. It means becoming at one with one's inner god, ever more and more — a little at first, a little more at the next effort, for at each effort the chela gains more and more of the inner light, of the inner life, of the inner inspiration, of the inner buddhic splendor. In other words, it means becoming ever more and more at one with the inner Master. In every one of you there is now, even now, an exalted entity, a mahatma, the manasaputra that I have spoken to you about. Becoming a Master, means raising your humanity into mahatmaship.
Now consider a moment. Is it something so very frightful, is it something so very dreadful? Is there any reason or need why the eyes should be continuously blinded with tears, and why our feet should be continuously washed with the blood of the heart? Don't you see that it means exchanging things that injure and that retard and that pain, for things of inexpressible harmony and strength and beauty? It means exchanging weakness for strength. You have will — a divine faculty. You have intelligence — a divine faculty. You have life, which you can indefinitely prolong, in itself a divine faculty. Live in these! Live in them naturally. Let yourself grow naturally as the flower opens its petals, as the bud opens its heart.
The life of chelaship is a beautiful life, my Companions. Don't be discouraged if you fail, if you don't live up to your noblest. Don't even waste time in regretting. It is weakening. Simply make up your mind: I will not do it again! And then if you fail, repeat: I will not do it again, for by so doing I alone am the loser. The day will come when, by the constant repetition of the mantram, by the continuous aspiration of both the heart and the mind, and by the continuous striving or effort to be the best, the most beautiful, that is in you, you will suddenly be it, suddenly you will become it. You will be astonished at how readily and quickly you will grow, if you will just hang on like grim death. Never mind about death, should it come. You will come back to earth-life soon enough. I tell you that every member of our holy order, every member of the KTMG, is helped; but only helped when the help is impersonally taken. There is a paradox. You cannot be helped in a great effort like this unless you help yourself. You readily see the reason why: the Masters, the helpers, cannot grow for you. They cannot live for you. They cannot eat for you. You must grow and live and eat, yourselves. It is all very simple. The chela life actually is the simplest thing in the world: to be kindly, to be gentle, to be just, and to cultivate your spiritual and intellectual powers. At times it may be your duty to be severe. But if so, be severe with justice and kindness. Don't be swept away ever by anger or passion. Not only do they not pay, but thereby you make bad karma which some day you will have to meet and overcome. Then when the glorious day comes, you will hear the voice that you, perhaps, have been yearning to hear for many years past, when you will sense the presence of the teacher, and will then know that you have succeeded. It may be that even before you sense the presence or hear the voice, the beloved voice that you have been longing to hear, you will recognize that you are an accepted chela.
Strive after that which you love best and which you feel to be truest, and let all the rest go. Do your duty by all, and no matter at what cost to yourself, and you will find that there is an unspeakable joy in it all. You will almost revel in the sense of strength that will come to you, and in the sense of the new and grander life that you will feel. Then, sooner or later, there will come the opening of the inner eye, the vision, the opening of the inner sense, becoming cognizant of most wonderful and strange things around you.
I can give you perhaps an intimation, a little intimation of what this means. Has it never occurred to you to have suddenly a flash of inspiration, a sudden lighting up of the whole mind, and then you pause and wonder and ask yourself: why didn't I see that before? Has your heart never suddenly melted with pity, and you felt an unaccustomed warmth and peace? These are signs of the chela life. Has it never occurred to you to resist a favorite temptation and to overcome it, and to look down at the slain self, the ugly thing that formerly had you in its grip, and wonder how you could ever have been the victim of something so vile? I know you have had these experiences, Companions.
So don't look upon self-renunciation which you hear so much about in our books as being something which is very terrible! On the contrary it is exceeding beautiful. The sense of peace, the sense of growing faculty, the sense of inner growing power, the vision, the light, that all come, are treasures so great that nothing that I know of at least in physical existence can compare with them for an instant.
I remember when in this incarnation I first met my own teacher. I was not a bit astonished. It seemed the most natural thing in the world — as natural as would be the meeting with some dear friend. I had never seen him with these eyes before I saw him this time; and it was all very familiar and inexpressibly comforting and fine. It was just like meeting a dear, loved friend; and the beauty of that face, the gentleness, the kindly eyes, oh! it was worth all I had been through, all of the personal self that I had given up. I feel almost ashamed to introduce such an expression in the beautiful atmosphere of this gathering as "giving up." Indeed, my dear Companions, giving is receiving. Only the great can give themselves. You know what Jesus the Avatara said: Give up thy life if thou wouldst find it.