The Path – April 1894

THE FIRE-SELF (1) — Jasper Niemand

I hung from the horns of the moon and the name of the Fire-Self was whispered to me.

(The Fire-Self, the Sage, the Instructor, (2) whose awakener is the memory of man.)

The name of the Fire-Self was whispered from afar; I dropped from the moon (3) the better to hear; dropped, though the moon grew big with desire to detain me. (4)

Into the darkness I fell; (5) icy the rushing breath that bore me to the mouth of the cavern deep and small, the abode whence the Fire-Self springs." (6)

(Forth leaps the Fire-Glory, (7) the one, devouring the man who awaits It.)

That Self came not forth: by many a name I called It.

Called till the echoes were silent, (8) replete with sound and the rejection thereof.

Not a god whose name could conjure it up, the Fire-Self, whispered by the memory of Man.

Memory, when I questioned, upbraided me, saying:

"Is not Fire the devourer of all; of men, gods, powers, even of the worlds in space:

"How has It dealt with the moon, the mother-world from which we fell:

"Has not her light paled before It; how then callest thou upon It by a name:

"Are we not one, I, thou, and It: namest thou That-Which-Is by a sound?

"I alone am its forerunner. I, Thought, in the stillness reflect It. Hold forth to Itself Its own image, thyself; abandoner of gods and of names."

(So hotly burned memory within me; memory, the servant of the flaming one.)

"Come", I cried; "Come forth, Myself; I alone can receive and maintain Thee".

Thought blazed up as a sudden torch, blazed long, discovering the darkness.

Thrice at the mouth of the cave I called; the third time that Self sprang upon me.

The Fire-Self blazed throughout my being: the man lay in dust and ashes.

In vain the moon poured her chill rays upon his body; the Fire-Self licked them up as it ran: a new man leaped from the scintillant river.

A man without form, without name; a fiery spark in the blazing ocean. In effulgent brightness They walked the skies together. They looked upon the Unutterable.

Said the Flame to the spark: "Let us forth into the Beyond". They knew the omnipotent Darkness; together They became one with That. Together they issued forth from That; the Fire and the Spark as one Self, calmed and quenched with Knowledge.

At the mouth of the cave They parted. (They who can never be dissevered. They who can never be dissociated. Rulers in two worlds are They, each in his own, linked by a tense and living cord of Thought, the cord silvered (9) by the conquered moon, the gift giver.)

"Ere They parted, the Fire restored to the man-spark his form: man returned to the Fire-Self a part of Its Knowledge.

"Give me", I cried, "Thy chief secret at parting; let it go with me into the land without substance, where form is the only wisdom".

It fled, but I fled after; I laid my soul against Its fiery vesture.

"Unto me be it given to know Thee as Thou art. Give me Thy name that I may call Thee again; in Thee is my only real Life; a god (10) am I, now I know It".

The Fire-Self upreared, a gigantic pillar: the Devourer of worlds rose before me. (11) The Flame found a voice that was soundless, (12) mightier than the uproar of waters.

"If thou wouldst be Self of Myself, answer me this," said that voice.

"When is the Fire-Self greater than great? Speak aright and abide with Me forever."

"It is greatest when It leads Its sparks forth into the Silence and becomes the One Wisdom", I answered.

The Fire-Self receded, thrusting me forth as spent lava is spued from the volcano.

"Greatest am I" — spake the Glory, remonstrant, "when Man, the spark struck from myself, spends my Wisdom in the service of his fellows".

"Better is it", said the Fire-Self, "to give the heart knowledge to the hungry and the thirsty, than to over-run with Me the azure fields of Light. "When thou ridest thus, man art thou no more: That thou art from Which the heart of man set forth.

"But when thou bringest back the Memory thereof, when thou spendest that Life for thy fellows, That thou art to which I shall return; thou art thyself the goal called 'Great Compassion': to reach that goal I spend myself upon the worlds in space. Great is Wisdom, but greater is the use thereof. Be thou my outrunner; attain that Consciousness and the use thereof for Me. Call upon me then and I obey thee: My doors open only when the heart of man beats against them, calling in the name of its fellow man".


1. See Voice of the Silence, page 76, notes 23-24. (return to text)

2. Sometimes called "the Presence" by occultists. "For when the Presence is upon him, he knows more than others suspect or divine." — (Unpublished Mss. through H.P.B.) (return to text)

3. ". . . destroy thy lunar body . . ." — (Voice of the Silence, p. 11.) (return to text)

4. "Desire nothing". — (Voice of the Silence, pp. 13-14.) (return to text)

5. ". . . the twilight that precedes the valley of true light . . ." — (Voice, p. 4). (return to text)

6. See I Kings, ch. 19, v. 11-1;, where "the Lord was not in the rushing whirlwind, or in the earthquake or the fire, but was in the still small voice". Compare throughout this article with the Voice of the Silence, pp. 1,1, 11, 19, and on the One Master. Also Upanishads, ". . . the Ancient within who is difficult to see .... hidden in the cave . . . ." " . . the Self . . . smaller than small, greater than great, hidden in the heart of the creature." "The way lies through the heart". (return to text)

7. Compare Ezekiel, chap. 43; v. 2-6. (return to text)

8. Voice of the Silence, p. 10. The sounds "die and are heard no more". (return to text)

9. "Or ever the silver cord be loosed or the golden bowl be broken." — Ecclesiastes, ch. 12, v. 6. Occultists understand "the golden bowl" (the "cup") in an especial sense. The "conquered" astral — a higher body of astral (starry) substance. See also "Soma juice on Mount Meru". (return to text)

10. " . . before the mystic power can make a god of thee . . ." — (Voice, p. 12). (return to text)

11. "The Self of Matter and the SELF of Spirit can never meet". — (Voice p. 12.) Hence the worlds of form disappear. (return to text)

12. The Voice of the Silence; the heart consciousness. (return to text)

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