The Path – September 1895


Mental evolution is not the end nor the aim of man's existence. The human Ego endowed with self-consciousness evolves through the agency of the mind. The expansion and cultivation of the mind is, therefore, a means to an end, a method and not an ultimatum. Just here lies the fallacy and the failure of nearly all our modern methods of education. Mental experiences however varied or exact are but the steps by which we rise to the delectable Mountains of Truth; but when the summit is gained the steps by which we climbed are lost in the cloudland below, while we are merged and lost in the grandeur of the above and the beyond. The knowledge that is of most worth is not the changing experiences, nor the transitory ideas of daily life, but that which is Eternal, — the Ideals where Nature and Divinity meet and mingle, and in the final comprehension of which the consciousness of the Ego becomes universal. Its environment is now boundless space and no longer the narrow bounds of the tabernacle of flesh. Its limited and limiting ideas have evolved into Divine and Universal Ideals, and man is at one with the Over-Soul. Evolution is a meaningless jargon if it comes short of this final consummation. Theosophy teaches this supreme realization as to the destiny of Man, the goal of Humanity. That which makes it possible is the Divinity in man ever evolving toward its source. That which retards it is the selfishness in man, the bondage of the personal equation, the outgrowth of his self-consciousness which he mistakes for the end, whereas it is but the beginning of his really human evolution.

It is thus through a clear apprehension of the nature of man as a complex and composite being that he may work, if he will, intelligently toward his goal. He need not drink to the last dregs the varied experiences of his lower nature, for he may unfold the wings of his spirit and soar in the empyrien. He who is born to Divinity need not end in despair. He will never become lost or bewildered if he will follow his highest ideals. If he will relinquish self he may gain all. He that would save his life — the personal and selfish — shall lose it, but he that will lose his life for My sake — the divine and eternal — shall find it. It is thus that the Divine and inspired teachers of men voice in another form the philosophy and the science of evolution as taught in Theosophy. The truth is within our grasp and if we reject it and suffer we have only ourselves to blame.

Man will never reach perfection through intellectual evolution. Brain-culture and soul-culture are by no means synonymous, nor does intellect comprise or bound the realms of knowledge. Even if to these we add Athletics and Moral Philosophy our curriculum is by no means complete. What the Gymnasium and field are to physical development, the mind is to range and power of thought; and as the athlete emerges from the one, so does the Ego from the other, armed and equipped for the real work of life.

Brain-culture, all that usually passes for education, only clears the ground for building of character and the real evolution of the Ego. The materials are now within reach, and real discrimination begins. Ideas are now put into action, and from the moving panorama of events, and the varied experiences of life, Ideals are at last discerned. The brain is like a mirror in which the Higher Manas is reflected. The result of this reflection is human intelligence or self-consciousness. These are the terms of the human equation, the solution of which by the mathematics of experience will solve the riddle of life. The unknown quantity is the real man, the Divine Ego. Nor is the Higher Manas the final source of Man's potentiality. Itself impersonal, and yet the source of man's personality, it still shines by a reflected light. The real Logos lies far beyond. The "light of the Logos" is Divine Compassion, and this light it is in which the Higher Manas dwells, as the lower mind is fed from the higher. It is thus we may "enter the light, but never touch the flame." The real Logos, the Atmic ray serene, the "Father in Heaven" of the Christos, dwells in impenetrable darkness in the Great Unknown and forever unknowable. Evolution is not mere expansion and the broadening of experience, it is in the highest sense an ascention; born of aspiration; guided by intuition. To perceive this is to awaken into life from the sleep of the senses. To strive toward it is the real evolution of man. To attain to it is to complete the cycle of Necessity. This is the destiny of Humanity, the real meaning of life, the journey of the human soul; and the possibility of its realization lies in the Divine origin and nature of Man.

Selfishness, greed and lust forever defeat it. Divine Compassion alone assures it, and intellect alone also can never realize this Supreme Ideal. But when intellect opens the window of the mind to the light of truth, and the Higher Manas beams like the full-orbed moon upon the field of man's conscious life, then will the Sun of Truth expand man's vision and reveal to him his Divine Nature and destiny: A child of Earth imprisoned on a star; yet at home among the constellations: A clod, a word, a beast, a man; but destined to become a God. "All that I am is the result of what I have thought;" not of the mere process of thinking. Mind is the Theatre; but the goal is Perfection.


1. Concluded from August number. (return to text)

The Path