The Theosophical Forum – April 1940


Reverence is a godlike quality. I have a notion that the gods revere where we wonder only, and I think that the adult reveres where the child merely wonders. To me reverence is a mark of advancement in evolution; and the irreverent person is to me by so much short of wit, for it is vastly easier to criticize and to make fun, than it is to understand and in understanding discover reverence. It is difficult to understand, and I know myself that reverence grows apace in him who has the understanding heart.

I wish all of us had the understanding heart. I foresee that had we it, the most difficult points of philosophy would become easy to us all. For I have discovered one very interesting thing in my own life; that when I am vexed, troubled, anxious, worried with a problem, I never receive help from the brain, but always from the heart. The head seems all too often to increase the burden, because it is full of imaginations and often vacuous problems; but the heart understands, for there is a higher intellect in the heart than in the head. Or, if I might so phrase it, and I think correctly enough, there is more intellectual power in the heart-life than there is heart-life in thought.

It is small wonder, I believe, that the ancients used to place the focus of man's ordinary attention in the head; but his real intellect, his understanding, his intuition, his spiritual capacities, his sense of ethical responsibilities, in the heart.

Thus the Egyptians in their hieroglyphic representations, never showed the weighing of the brain or the head. They weighed the heart against the light feather of Truth. It was the heart that was weighed; and it is a curious thing that in the ancient Occultism, which still is the only true and best, it is the heart that is supposed to contain the higher parts of the human being. These thoughts are rather new to the Occident because we retain but something only of the ancient ideal wisdom; although even in the Occident today we have retained the truth that love abides in the heart and not in the head.

So mark you, just along this line of thought: If you are doubtful whether someone loves you, watch that person, and if you find that person governed merely by prudential reasonings: is it wise? shall I gain? what will be thought of me? you can be fairly certain that that person's affection for you is not deep. There is a wisdom of the heart which is instinctive and instant, immediate and unquestioning, and it is far greater a protection to the innocent and to the sincere than is the always broken-up and merely prudential thinking of the head. You think it over.

I think that the greatest gift the gods can give to any of us is the understanding heart. It is eternally forgiving, it is full of charity, it is pitiful, it thinks of others before itself. It is wise, wise with the wisdom of the ages — for it is the breathing within us of the god-wisdom.

And remember, the heart is not the emotions. Oh, just there so many stumble on the path constantly. For the emotions are all too often connected with the head, as you will find, and perhaps have found; but the heart knows, and the heart is always hoping against hope that truth will be understood, that others will understand and help. The emotions are full of hot fire, of jealousy, suspicion, resentment. They have no vision, the emotions. So when we speak of the understanding heart, we never mean the emotions in which some people live and boast that it is a rich life. It is a poor life, a thin and a hungry, for the emotions are satisfied never. They are like the pisachas of ancient India, described by the visionaries thusly: beings of immense (or small) body, consumed with immense thirst or hunger, and with but a pin-size mouth, so small that a pin might not enter in; and they starve, and they thirst, and are not ever satisfied. This is figurative of the emotions; and it is a strange thing that it is just these pisachas which are the astral imbodied kama-rupic emotions of dead men, built up during life on earth by those who have lived in the psychic nature, the brain-mind, and the emotions.

The heart is the center of the spiritual-intellectual fluids which in conjunction with the manasic akasa filling the skull and permeating the brain, make the complete man, and the perfect man when they are fully harmonized and unified. Oh, pray the gods to give an understanding heart, and make that prayer real in your lives by yourselves opening the way for the gods that give it. Then your lives will be full of guidance, full of reverence, and rich with peace. All blessings will be yours.

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