Golden Precepts of Esotericism — G. de Purucker

Chapter 1

The Path to the Heart of the Universe

There is a hunger in every human heart, which nothing can satisfy or appease — a hunger for something more true than ordinary human beings wit of, a hunger for the real, a hunger for the sublime. It is the nostalgia of the soul, of the spirit-soul of man. The source of this longing is the homesickness brought about by the soul-memory of our spiritual abode, whence we came and towards which we are now on our return journey.

Men unconsciously, intuitively, unknown to the brain-mind, see the vision sublime on the mountaintops of the mystic East; and oh! this yearning homesickness for the indescribable, for the immortal, for the deathless, for that which brings unutterable peace and a love which is frontierless in its reaches! Every human heart feels this, and it is the saving power in men, the thing which gives them hope and aspiration, which raises their souls with the recognition of the glory that once was theirs.

Light for the mind, love for the heart, understanding for the intellect: all three must be satisfied in every man before he has real peace.

There is a path, a sublime pathway of wisdom and illumination which begins, for each human being, in any one incarnation on this earth in the present life, and thereafter leads inward, for it is the pathway of consciousness and spiritual realization leading ever inward, more inward, still more inward, toward the mystic East, which is the heart of the universe, and it is the core of you — the rising sun of spiritually divine consciousness within you.

Every faculty, energy, everything, is in the core of the core of your being, which is your road, so to speak, by which you grow out from the heart of Being, which is your spiritual selfhood.

The path to the heart of the universe is one and yet different for every human being. The meaning is that every human being himself is that pathway — that pathway which is builded of thought and consciousness and of the fabric of your own being. It is builded of the stuff of nature’s heart.

There is a long road; it is also broad. It is the road whereon you have nature’s streaming current of energy with you, and following this road you will reach perfection in due time; but this is the road of long-enduring slow evolution, moving ahead little by little in each life, through the incalculable ages.

There is another road, steep and thorny, difficult to follow, but which the Great Ones of the human race have trodden. It is the quick road, but the difficult one. It is the road of self-conquest, the road of the giving up of self for the All, the road by which the personal man becomes the impersonal Buddha, the impersonal Christ; the road by which the love for your own is abandoned, and your whole being becomes filled with love for all things both great and small. It is a difficult road to follow, for it is the road of initiation; it is the steep and thorny pathway to the gods; for when you climb the heights of Olympus you must tread the pathway as there it lies before you.

In the Orient there have been from immemorial time four paths* which the four classes or types of men, according to this ancient theory of Hindustan, follow.

*These four pathways correspond very accurately with the four grades, social and political, of the early civilizations of Hindustan in the Vedic period: the sudra, the agriculturist; the vaisya, the commercial man; the kshatriya, the administrator, the warrior, the king, the prince, in short, the world of officialdom, etc., and fourth, the brahmana, the philosopher, the sage.

The first is karma marga, the “path of action” — salvation by works.

The second is bhakti marga, the “path of devotion” — salvation by faith.

These two paths or these two systems of improving the heart and mind of men are also more or less known in the Occident, and have been respectively called salvation by works, and salvation by faith. But these two paths are not the highest.

The third path is raja-yoga marga, the “path of raja-yoga”: the path which the striving entity follows in order to attain freedom and light; to attain that real union with the self within by means of self-devised efforts. And the fourth path, considered to be for the choicest of men, was called jnana marga, the “wisdom path”: the path of the great seers and sages and, generally speaking, of the noblest portion of mankind.

Beautiful are the pathways, sublime the goal, and quick the feet of them who follow the way of the still, small voice within, which way leadeth to the heart of the universe. This is the core of the messages of the great Mysteries of antiquity — the union of the simple human being with his divine source, with the root of himself, linked as that is with the All, for that core is a spark of the central Fire, a spark of divinity; and this spark is in everyone.

Divinity is at the heart of you. It is the root of you. It is the core of the core of your being; and you can ascend along the pathway of the spiritual self, passing veil after veil of obscuring selfhood, until you attain unity with that inner divinity. That is the most sublime adventure known to man — the study of the self of man.

Thus you will climb the mountains not merely of Parnassus and of Olympus, but you will in time, by following this inner pathway of self-knowledge, grow so greatly in understanding and in inner vision, that your eyes will take in ranges and sweeps of inner light, unveiling to you the most awful, because the holiest and the most beautiful, mysteries of the boundless universe.

The first step on the pathway to the heart of the universe is to recognize the truth that all comes from within. All the inspirations of genius, all the great thoughts which have made and unmade civilizations, all the wonderful messages that have been delivered by the Great Ones of the earth to their fellow human beings — all these come forth from within. The battle of union, towards union, for union, with your own inner god, is more than half won when you recognize this truth.

How splendid is the pathway seen after that! How glorious is it! Leading ever more inward and inward, which is the same as saying upward and upward, ever higher and higher, till you become at one with your own kin — the gods — who are the governors and rulers of the universe, and of whom men are the children.

The inmost of the inmost of you is a god, a living divinity; and from this divine source there flow downwards into your human mentality all the things that make men great, all the things that give rise to love and mighty hope and inspiration and aspiration, and noblest of all, self-sacrifice.

In yourself lie all the mysteries of the universe. Through your inner self, your spiritual nature, you have a road reaching to the very heart of the universe. If you travel that road leading ever within, if you can go into yourself, go behind veil after veil of selfhood, deeper and deeper into yourself, you go deeper and deeper into the wondrous mysteries of universal nature.

Knowing yourself, you progress more quickly than the average running of the evolutionary course; and when this pace is quickened to the utmost, there are initiations, short cuts in fact, but only for those who are fit and ready to take these difficult, very difficult, short cuts. Growth proceeds step by step.

This pathway is spoken of as a road, yet it is the unlocking of the heart of man — not the physical heart, but the heart of his being, the essence of the man; in other words the unlocking and development of his spiritual and intellectual and psychical powers and faculties. This is the doctrine of the heart, the secret doctrine, the doctrine which is hid. The eye doctrine is that which can be seen and is more or less open.

Those whose inner faculties and powers have come more into actual operation and into conscious functioning, whose inner natures have been more developed, as they grow from childhood towards manhood, in any one life, are the fit, the neophytes, whose natures are opening, and who have the ears to hear and the eyes to see what is put before them.

Those who have the intuition of something greater within, of something splendid and grand, of something which is growing within the heart and within the mind, like the budding flower: these are the ones who shall finally see more; these are the initiates developing into the great seers and sages.

There is no favoritism in nature. The old, old rule is a true one. Man takes what he himself can get — what he himself is.

Man is an inseparable part of the universe in which he lives and moves and has his being. There is no separation whatsoever between his roots and the roots of the universe, there is no distance between them. The same universal life flows through all things that are. The same stream of consciousness which flows in the mighty Whole and through the mighty Whole of the universe, flows therefore through man, an inseparable portion of that universe. This means that there is a pathway by which you may come into intimate relation with the heart of the universe itself; and that pathway is you, your own inner being, your own inner nature, your spiritual self. Not the self of ordinary physical man, which self is just a poor reflection of the spiritual brilliance within, but that inner self of pure consciousness, pure love for all that is, unstained by any earthly taint — your spiritual being.

Following this pathway to your own inner god, your higher self, you will reach all the mysteries and wonders of boundless infinitude, through infinite time; and such happiness and peace and bliss and beauty and love and inspiration will fill your whole being that every breath will be a blessing, and every thought a sublime inspiration.

How can one live the life so as to advance on this pathway? A clean heart, a pure mind, an eager intellect, the searching to obtain an unveiled spiritual perception: these are the first steps of the golden stairs, ascending which you will pass into nature’s temple of wisdom. This “living the life” has naught to do with foolish asceticism, such as torturing the body, and all such vain and self-destructive methods. Not at all.

There is a totally wrong idea in the world that the way to obtain the “kingdom of heaven” (to use the ordinary Christian phraseology) is by giving up your manhood; that the way to grow strong is by becoming a fool; and that the way to attain divine peace and harmony is by becoming an imbecile on the earth. The so-called ascetic is on the wrong path. A man will never attain the kingdom of heaven merely by living on potatoes and carrots, or by sleeping only half an hour a day or night, or by lying on a bed of spikes, or by abstaining from this and doing that merely with the physical body.

Oh, the picture that I have seen of men subduing the body, as they thought, and yet with minds crooked and degraded with corruption! Wickedness is not in the body; evildoing is not of the body. The body is an irresponsible instrument of your will and of your intelligence. It is your will and your intelligence which you must train; and then you train yourselves and you become truly men and are on the pathway to human divinity.

Do not kill your personality; do not annihilate your personality in the sense of wiping it out. You have brought it into being yourself; it is a part of you, the emotional and psychical part of you, the lower mental part of you, the passional part of you, the evolutionary work of aeons upon aeons in the past. Raise the personality. Cleanse it, train it, make it shapely and symmetrical to your will and to your thought, discipline it, make it the temple of a living god so that it shall become a fit vehicle, a clean and pure channel for passing into the human consciousness the rays of glory streaming from the god within — these rays of glory being rays of consciousness of the spirit, of the spiritual or divine consciousness.

It is not the fall of the personal which frees the spiritual man; it is the raising of the personal into becoming spiritual, which is the work of evolution. This is the same thing that natural evolution in its slow age-long process is trying to accomplish — to raise the lower up to become higher — not to kill it, not to down it.

Be the holiest and noblest and purest that you can think of. Then you can forget your body. You can forget your personality which the body expresses; and by personality I mean all the lower faculties of you: the lower mental and the emotional part of you, your whims and your little this and little that. Salvage your lower portions to nobler and superior uses.

When the personal shall have become transfigured; when the personal shall be able to manifest more or less fully the sublime inflow from the god within you — your own inner, spiritual-divine splendor — then you will walk the earth like a human god, and act like a god. For each one is the representation on earth of his own inner god, and you represent on the physical sphere as much of the divine essence streaming through your being as your evolution permits you to manifest. Therefore, begin even now to express the god within. You can, and the reward that comes from this is unspeakably grand and beautiful.

In proportion as you ally yourself with your own inner god, with the fountain of divinity which is constantly pouring through your own inner being, does your consciousness ascend and expand in power and reach, so that with inner growth comes expanding vision on the one hand and the expanding consciousness to interpret that vision on the other hand.

Turn your gaze inward, not outward; and this does not mean to be solely introspective and to abandon extraspection. That is not the idea. You must see in both directions. But do not seek for truth in any place except in the faculty which cognizes truth which is your inmost self, for it alone can cognize truth.

It is the active brain-mind, filled with thoughts of the day, filled with desires of the hour, filled with the prejudices and opinions which are so transitory — and which more than anything else this active brain-mind is afflicted with — which prevent your visioning of the truth, prevent your obtaining the vision sublime.

You cannot know truth except with the knower; you cannot understand anything outside of you except with and by and through the understander within you; and yet what is outside of you is likewise within you, for you are an inseparable part of the universe, of which you are a child. Every entity is an inseparable part of the boundless All, because he is its offspring, its child, so to speak, life of its life, blood of its blood, thought of its thought. And the way to obtain the vision sublime, and to see that vision sublime growing ever more sublime forever, is by looking within, following the still, small pathway of the inner consciousness. This is what is meant by the injunction: Man, know thyself !

Nothing then will mislead you, nothing then can mar or change what you are in your heart of hearts; for divinity will be fighting for you, divinity will carry your burdens. Where now your heart is torn and rent in pain and sorrow, so that oft you know not whither to turn, then shall peace and love come stealing into your heart and will guide, will enlighten, because they will illuminate, your pathway unto the gods, which pathway is yourself, your divine self, which is rooted in the divinity at the heart of things. Follow that pathway until you enter into the life of the cosmic divine as a self-conscious god.

The way by which to find this path, the manner of approach to it, is self-forgetfulness, just as when on the distant mountain peaks you see the dawn, and all things small and personal fall away from you. It is the self-forgetful man who is great; it is the self-forgetful woman who is sublime. Self-forget­fulness (marvelous paradox!) is the way to find the self divine.

Every faculty of man’s nature must be brought into activity in this high and sublime work. No imperfect entity can climb the heights of Parnassus; no human can ascend the peaks of Olympus unless he himself be a near-god, developing into godhood from manhood.

Therefore the intellectual faculty, being one of the noblest in the human inner constitution, also must be developed. There must be understanding as well as feeling. Both are necessary. When you have these two conjoined and sympathetically cooperating, you have the sage, the seer. You cannot reach the heights leaving part of yourself below in the valleys. You must go up — the whole of you. Train your mind; train your will; train your heart; train your intelligence.

When you turn to your greater self, which is the higher part of your own constitution; when you become the inner Buddha, when you become the Christ within you, although you give up the physical personality and the mental personality and the crippling things which distract you and worry you and cause you to fret and give you pain and sorrow, you enter into the sublime light of the spirit, and exchange the personality for divinity. It is worth giving up everything to attain it, for when a man gives up his life for the sake of the Christ within him he shall find it, because in so doing he finds the life universal.

In doing this you renounce nothing of intrinsic and real value. You give up nothing that is worthy and fine and noble. What you do is to throw off the shackles, the chains, that bind your interior faculties. What you do is to take the first steps into freedom and light.

Who would willingly remain in a dungeon? Give up your personal, lower, material self, your selfish life on this gross physical plane, and then you will begin to sense the existence of the life everlasting, with all its concomitant wisdom and power, and all the increase in faculty and vision that will then accrue to you. When you succeed in doing this, then indeed you will have the vision sublime.

There in the distant mystic East, on the mountain peaks of the spirit, you will see the rising sun. You yourself will enter into light and freedom. You will be subject to the dicta of none, controlled by none; you will be a free man: free in the spirit, free of intellect, because you will have become one with spiritual nature. You will have entered into the temple of the holy one within your own heart of hearts, and there, in the adytum, you will see your own inner god.

How wonderful, holy, sublime, inspiring as none other, is this truth: that within each one there is an unspeakable fount of strength, of wisdom, of love, of compassion, of forgiveness, of purity! Ally yourself with this fountain of strength; it is in you, none can ever take it from you. Its value is more excellent than all the treasures of the universe, for knowing it, being it, you are All.

For one bright intelligence pervades all things; and what is in the star is in the flower under our feet; and it is the instinctive recognition of this thing of beauty which has led the poet to speak of the flower as a star of beauty. The same life force pours through it as through the star; the same bright flame of intelligence gives to it its exquisite form, shape, color, and this is the same bright flame of intelligence that controls the passing of the stars along their cosmic ways.

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