The Theosophical Forum – October 1946



Where is the road to Emmaus? Where are the pilgrims who once trod that busy thoroughfare when Christianity first challenged the thought life of Asia Minor?

We are those pilgrims whose footsteps now echo, as it were, out of the seemingly distant past. Like the two disciples of Jesus who walked along the road to Emmaus, our dual natures, our Higher and Lower selves, are also challenged as we ponder the whys and wherefores of life. We are re-enacting in this 20th century that Biblical narrative which so beautifully portrays the two pilgrims communing "together" on the road to Emmaus, which is as the highway of life, earth, air and water; the "three score furlongs from Jerusalem to Emmaus."

We, too, on this old, old path are tired and hungry at the close of day, and find, as did the disciples, that at times the road is steep and stony. We feel the same deep soul-longings for the Friend, who through His compassionate love for mankind became a "living sacrifice," a Way of Life, which like the road to Emmaus leads the disciple through sacrifice and service to Recognition.

"Many are called but few are chosen." Among all the souls on the road to Emmaus, only the two disciples were selected to be the companions of Jesus, the Christ, who drew nigh unto them, but they knew Him not. "A shepherd knoweth his sheep and calleth them by name and leadeth them." Even so, Jesus walked with His disciples and bade them tell of their sorrow, for they were greatly troubled. When they had related the tragedy of the crucifixion Jesus said, (St. Luke 24: 25, 26) "O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the Prophets have spoken!" . . . "Ought not Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into His Glory?" … "and He expounded unto them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself."

"When Jesus made as to go further, the disciples constrained Him, saying, "Abide with us, the day is far spent." . . . and He went in to tarry with them."

Thus it came to pass that the Stranger entered into the inn with the disciples, where they sought rest and refreshment. They were tired and hungry after long hours at the trial and crucifixion of Jesus in Jerusalem. They, also, had struggled with His adversaries whose crown of thorns had caused blood to fall upon their own hands as they raised the vinegar of mockery and thrust the spear of doubt into the body of Humanity; and in so doing forfeited the privilege of witnessing the Light of the real Sacrifice, in the inner room with the two disciples; where "He took bread and blessed it and gave it to them, and their eyes were opened, and they knew Him . . ." and their hearts "burned" within them.

Surely there is consolation in this thought for the disciple suffering despondency today, as in the dual nature of discipleship he trudges along his road to Emmaus unaware of the Presence of his Friend. When the eye of the material self is focussed upon the dark illusions of men, which are the barriers to perception by the spiritual eye of intuition, the disciple fails to recognize his radiant inner god and hears not that same Voice which "expounded" to the disciples at the inn, the Scriptures of the Ancient Wisdom. However, the Light on the Path seeks the disciple no matter where he is, or what he is doing, and finds him, even though it be somewhere on the road to Emmaus.

In this graphic epoch one may perceive secrets of Life as taught in Theosophy, in the power of Attraction and Repulsion, in Love and Hate, and in the relation of all Life through Unity in Universal Brotherhood.

Theosophists accept the teaching of life after death, the continuity of Life, and rejoice as did the disciples, who, "in that same hour hurried to Jerusalem" and told their brothers the glad tidings; but Thomas refused to believe unless he could see the print of the nails. And as they were talking together Jesus stood in their midst, saying, "Peace be unto you." To Thomas, He said, "Reach hither thy finger and behold my hands, and thrust it into my side and be not faithless but believing." And Thomas's eyes were opened and he believed. Then Jesus saith unto him, "Thomas, because thou hast seen thou hast believed, blessed are they that have not seen and yet believe."

Thus, over the highway of life forever blows the "Wind of the Spirit," Its divine Motion, Ideation, impregnating with its Breath the concepts of disciples who are learning that Sacrifice is not in giving up, but in giving; not in losing life, but in gaining Life, that they may have it more abundantly for the pilgrims on the road to Emmaus, . . . Mankind.

Theosophical University Press Online Edition