The Theosophical Forum – March 1941


"Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil." When the Avatara Jesus made this beautiful statement to his disciples, he made it to help them. If you read the New Testament of the Christians, you will there see that this prayer, as the Christians call it, was given to them for use. And therefore the entire prayer is based on psychology and must be read from the standpoint of psychology. I don't mean the psychology of the present age, which is little more than a kind of — it is hard to describe — a kind of sublimated physiology; but I mean the psychology of the great seers, the titan intellects of all times, in other words, the science of the human soul, the intermediate part of man; not the spirit, not the body, but the soul.

The point is a subtil one: do you know that when you wish to avoid doing something that you realize is not good for you, one of the best things is not merely to face the fact, but to state it clearly through your own mind? Often the ugliness of the thought or of the action repels. The temptation is seen in its proper outlines. Thus it is never the Higher Self or the god within, what the Christians call God, which ever leads one into temptation. But the higher parts of our being, the spirit within, the god within us, is exercising upon us constantly the inner urge to do better, to be more, to strike out, to awake, to cast off the slumber and be and do. And often this wonderful brain mind, which is not, however, as yet fully evolved, cannot get the true import of the inspiration from above and it distorts.

Remembering these facts which you have been taught, this is the import of the Avatara's speech. The very fact that you will say to yourselves in an uprush of aspiration: Lead me not to follow paths which appear holy or which are veiled in the illusory colors or glory of what I want, lead me not to be tempted to what seems to be high, but deliver me from these things: These very thoughts in the mind make the temptation to lose all its seduction. The outline is seen for what it is.

You know the old fable about stripping off the garment which deceived the knight. He sees coming towards him the yearning of his heart; he is on trial, a knightly course of trial. Will he succumb to the temptation which seems to be the very yearning of his heart? Nobody knows. He is on trial, the trial of the knight. He steps up to the seductive illusion, pulls aside the enchanting veils and sees the death's head. This is the meaning.

The very fact that Jesus warned his disciples to take this as their aspiration every day, showed that it had a psychological veritable protection for his disciples; in other words, they were to build up what modern psychologists call a framework or wall of thought around the mind.

Modern psychology has struck one truth, and it is that temptations come to us because of what modern psychologists have called schizophrenia, a long, ugly Greek word which simply means the good old-fashioned statement that a man's nature is often divided against itself. Schizophrenia means split mind, split personality. The good old saying was, a mind is often divided against itself, or, we are in two minds about it. That is what they mean today with this horrible Greek word schizophrenia.

Now what is the psychology of this thing? It is this: Weld your mind together again into one and you won't succumb. Every decent man knows the truth of this if he examines himself. We fall into temptation because we allow our mind to become split, one part of the mind to bemean the other and then we scheme. "Can we not get away with it?"

In other words, don't try to ride two horses. Once the god within bathes our mind, our brain, with its holy light, with its love, schizophrenia becomes a horror of the past. Refusing to allow this mental division within ourselves, we become single-minded; we sense the inner divinity; and when this is possessed in extreme degree we have a Christ or a Buddha. These have appeared among us. There is no reason why they should not appear today.

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