There are, I suppose, as many reasons for studying Theosophy as there are human beings who ought to study it: I believe the number is computed at 1,600,000,000 generally. As one could not well enumerate sixteen hundred million reasons in one number of The Theosophical Forum, it seems best to pick out one of them; and as charity begins at home, and the fool looketh towards the ends of the earth, perhaps no apology is needed for introducing this one: —
Dai'r Cantata he is; formerly he dug coal under the mountains "by here"; and got nystagmus, or silicosis, underground, the way people do; and — and — and — . Oh, Dai bach, I know, I know I — nearly every incident in that long, long et cetera. And I know that you are not unfortunate.
Study you Theosophy, machgen i; and you shall go to your music again, and have your old joy in the tops of the mountains! You shall not blame God or man for what folk call your misfortunes; you shall be glad of them, for the power they bring you. For it is in Theosophy you will find about the Law of Karman; and that there is no such thing as injustice in the kingdom of the Sun and Stars: but we do ourselves elect what fortune shall befall us, and build our own fate and our own life and the very selves of us with our own thinking and doing; and there's not a place where we can be, nor conditions we can suffer, but we are there, and we are suffering them, because it is there only, and under those conditions alone, that we can learn the lesson the universe is waiting for us to learn and gain the strength and grandeur the time has come for us to gain. And it is in Theosophy you will learn about the Hero in Man; and that it is only the outside of you, the husk, that is the Welsh miner out of work, and his lungs clogged up with silicosis, or the world jigging its mad dance before his eyes with nystagmus; the Inside You is the one who has come marching down the ages, the Heroic Adventurer, advancing through lives of prosperity and lives of dire adversity towards his goal of Godhood. Study you Theosophy, Dai bach, and —
— Yes have I studied Theosophy, says Dai; and no one need speak a word of comfort to me again.
I laugh when I hear it said that Theosophy has nothing to give a man when he is down and out and in heavy trouble. Come to the Rhondda Valley if you think that; and I'll guarantee you'll change your mind. It is precisely then that he needs it most, and that it comes to him most grandly. The world has been desperately psychologized in one direction; I shall not be so harsh as to say, with cowardice. But the medicine for trouble, we have been taught to think, is to have a Greater Strength than one's own to rely on; a comfortable bosom to weep on; a cajolable omnipotence to pray to; a pitying, loving Savior to carry one's burden for one: — "I am weak but Thou art mighty." Were this a true fortification of the soul, one would say nothing; but it is precisely the opposite of that. When the mines are closed down, and the barren daylight hours are to be filled in somehow; when what coal he burns, for warmth or for cooking, Dai Seventy-years-old must pick up bit by bit on the mountain-top, on the refuse-dump from the mines, and carry home in a sack on his shoulder; and Dai Forty must remember an engagement daily at dinner-time, and "pretend nothing" while he slouches off down the squalid street that what food is in the house may be all for his wife and children: then such "spiritual comfort" begins to wear thin in time. One wearies of badgering an omnipotence that would seem to be either senselessly spiteful or engaged with other things; bosoms to weep on don't meet the needs of the case; it doesn't seem to matter that someone died to save you long ago: you are not saved, so far as the naked eye can see. It is not a re-stirring of the emotions, or tender sentiment, or prayers and tears that will help you then — for long. What is blowing without is a bitter, bleak and freezing wind; on no horizon shines any smallest glimmer of hope: there is no hope in this outer world. Weaken within, and one might as well go hang oneself at once; and to weaken means chiefly, to parley with self-pity; and does not one do that when he tries with prayer to move omnipotence to pity him? To rely on these emotional consolations is to reduce oneself inwardly to the condition of a jelly that won't jell; one cannot come by happiness that way.
The need is that we should know our own resources and bring them into play. Those resources are as great as are in the Universe; the Inmost Self in us is the Self of the Universe: Theosophy convinces you of the fact, and shows you how to get at them: these resources from within that are the only effective weapons against adversity. Comfort is con and fortis: you have to with-strengthen a man really to help him in his times of trouble. And there is no knowledge so helpful and strengthening as knowledge of Karman. To know it is to know that miserable conditions are but a tunnel that will end presently, and the track lead out into sunlit valleys. And it is to know that there are no dangers, no traps or pitfalls, for the man who steadfastly will not fear. It is to know that there is nothing to fear.
This endless chain of causes and their effects which are new causes, that is our life throughout eternity, can come by no breakdown. The thing that kills us is fear of a breakdown that cannot happen; worrying about it; making of it a ghost-cat to play ghast-lily with that poor mouse, our mind. Knowledge of Karman eliminates all that.
To give a man such knowledge is not, unless you are a fool (in which case what you give him is something else), to fling an icy douche over him (It's your own fault; don't kick up such a row about it!). It is we humans who busy ourselves with people's faults, set up law courts to punish them, and generally play fantastic tricks before high heaven. The Universe reacts to our actions impersonally, and knows nothing of rewards and punishments. Revenge is a disease of the human mind, and a concept that does not exist in the worlds above the human. Karman is not like that.
The heart of it is love; the end of it
Is peace and consummation sweet. Obey!
The word 'love' may be misquoted there; yet it is accurate. Love is the knowledge, innate in the Universe, of the One-being-ness of the Universe. Karman is the Universe's insistence on that. We must rise into universality, up from our limitations of selfhood; when we press backward toward those limitations, it hurts. Where would we be if it didn't?
Paul says judiciously, The law is a schoolmaster to bring us to Christ; but the word is paidagogos, from pats a boy and agein to lead; the pedagogue was not a teacher in the school, but the slave whose duty was to take his master's son to school every morning. If we take Christ as meaning the light that lighteth every man that cometh into the world, or our own Spiritual Monad, the saying is accurate Theosophically. For that is the Teacher in the School of Life. So the Law conducts us to the place where we may learn, receiving instruction from that Inner Divinity.
Now then, who is to say, It's your own fault? Whatever fate a man may be suffering, it is simply the place where he may learn. When you see a man in dire stress in the fell clutch of circumstance, how do you know that he has not earned the right to it by nobility? That it is not a place where he may learn very quickly and make great strides in his eternal education?
Is adversity a thing to fear then, or to hate? No, it is not. The three best teachers of a man, said the Druids, are bodily sickness, adverse circumstance, and the undeserved hatred of his enemies. They were right each time.
This then, Dai bach annwyl, is why you should study Theosophy; now in the time of your sorrow, steeping your mind in it; spreading the news where you can. For see you now: the man on fire to bring this sublime comfort to his fellows, remembers no sorrows of his own. His own sorrows have become for him only means of understanding, and depth of heart, and ability to do the thing and say the word of peace: his means of solving human problems.