Theosophical University Press Online Edition
(Lecture delivered August 18, 1929)
You have listened in the last musical number to a severely classic piece beautifully rendered in the best style of European musicians. We have been in a melomaniac heaven for a short time, but now I am going to bring you down to earth, so to say, by trying to answer a number of questions on philosophical and other points that have been sent in to me with requests for answers.
Some of these questions are a bit humorous; some of them extremely interesting; and some of them are also profound. For instance, some good friend who evidently has been here in this our Temple of Peace listening to others of my lectures wrote to me as follows — this is an indirect question and occupies an entire page of handwriting. It is headed: "Questions we all ask."
"Many theosophist [I am glad he does not call us by the name theosophite] speakers warn against things psychic asserting that they are dangerous.
"Admitting that it is, what of it? The great oceans have always been dangerous, particularly so a century or so ago when they were uncharted and innocent of lighthouses and other modern aids to navigation. Yet there was never a lack of intrepid mariners who sailed its trackless, treacherous, wind-swept wastes in their crude vessels. The result of their pioneering: an ocean-voyage is now comparatively safe. That same intrepid spirit working through man is now exploring the depths.
"The air is dangerous, but we find intrepid men and women solving the problem of aerial navigation, notwithstanding many unselfish sacrifices of life and limb.
"Life itself has proved a tossing stormy sea to the great majority — but parents do not say it is 'too dangerous. We will not let our offspring live to be buffeted by its hurricanes and tempests.'
"Many of our industries are extremely dangerous. Men and women engaged in them come and go, but the work goes on. Polar exploration is dangerous, but Commander Byrd was besieged by thousands of applicants for the present expedition.
"It is even dangerous to cross the street. Is there any phase of life where danger does not lurk? Is there any phase of danger that man does not challenge?
"It may even be dangerous to send you questions of this nature."
Well, I feel that it is I myself who may be walking into the danger. In answering this question, I may remark that the dangers above enumerated are true. No theosophist would presume to deny a word of this indirect question. The theosophist is not a fool, whatever other faults he may have; but nevertheless I must point out that the analogy drawn in this indirect question between dangers of psychic and dangers of the material world is a false analogy. Here in this world we are grownup individuals more or less, acquainted more or less with the world around us, brought into this environment by nature and fitted for its environment. Nature directs us in many ways. Here is where our present center of consciousness lies. But psychic matters — what do you know about them? Practically nothing. It is true that psychic forces are a part of us; but our central consciousness in the present stage of evolution is not located wholly on the psychic plane, for our psychic senses of report on that plane are practically undeveloped; which is quite different from the case which exists on this physical plane where we are at home so to speak. Do you now begin to see the difference that I am attempting to draw?
Let me try to make this a little more clear. Exploring the secrets of matter is a dangerous thing of course. For instance, some of the chemical experiments that have been made by the army of chemists during the last two or three centuries have taken valuable human lives, but men have not hesitated before this danger and have gone ahead and have gained knowledge of great value in chemistry. But would you ask a little child to go into a laboratory and mix all kinds of dangerous chemicals in order to find out what the effect of such mixtures might be when subjected to experiment? No, because the child knows nothing about chemistry: and in an exactly similar fashion the average man and woman knows practically nothing about psychic matters, or the psychic world or psychical energies, practically nothing at all, although on the other hand it is quite true that his whole intermediate nature is psychical. This sounds very paradoxical, and so it is, but it is nevertheless true.
There is in the Occident a real Cimmerian darkness, an absolute darkness, mentally speaking, with regard to psychological mysteries. In the Occident men know no more about these psychological laws than they do about spiritual things and much less than they know about the physical and physiological characteristics of their fellows. In fact the average Occidental does not know anything of the strange mysteries locked up in his intermediate nature.
Every normal man and woman must have periods of thinking, periods of experience, in which he has been amazed to find what is in himself or in herself — horrified perhaps by the self-revelations that have ensued to him or to her: and, on the other hand, inspired perhaps sometimes at hearing the still, small voice, the spiritual nature within whispering inspiration which at the time seems almost divine.
Now, while I have made these remarks they do not mean that the theosophist considers that knowledge regarding psychical matters is a wrong thing to have. Our view is just the contrary. Knowledge of psychic matters is indeed needed; but such knowledge must be gained by the methods of esoteric training in order to safeguard the student and experimenter from peril and possible disaster, of which insanity and disease are the least. Men going into these not merely uncharted psychical seas, but into regions of human nature which are virtually unknown to the Occidental, because the average man of today has not studied them, find them to be almost non-understandable regions of thought. The uninitiated experimenter is in far worse shape and condition in foolishly venturing into these unknown realms than was the mariner sailing the uncharted sea in the frail barks of a few hundred years ago, or than is the chemist working with some hitherto unknown but obviously dangerous physical elements that he may have just discovered. There is nothing to guide the psychical experimenter or would-be student if he is not guided by some initiate. He is utterly alone and wholly ignorant of what he may find. Furthermore, in the things of merely physical matter, a man risks loss of or damage to his physical body alone; whereas in psychic matters (and this is the most important element of the argument) he risks loss not merely of his sanity but the possible "loss" of his soul.
Do you know where temptations come from? They come from within of course. But that is not saying very much to the point, because everything, you know, comes from within. Temptations not only come from within, of course, but they also come from the psychical realms. Examine yourself and you will see that this is true. There are no kinds of inflowing, tempting, powers or energies proceeding from the higher or spiritual nature on the one hand; and on the other hand temptation never comes from that which is brutal or ugly or revolting or repulsive. These latter things repel and do not tempt. Temptation catches you in the weak places of yourself — in this intermediate nature called the psychical or human soul — and how little do Occidentals know about this part of our nature; all those Occidentals, that is, who have not studied the ancient wisdom-religion of the ages today called theosophy.
It is indeed a very dangerous thing to explore, without proper guardians, these things of the psychical realms. If a man cannot withstand — or a woman either for the matter of that, for I am not going to except them — even the normal temptations of the very simplest and easiest kind as is so frequently the case, how is he able to meet all the things that lie secret and latent in his own psychological apparatus and of which he knows little or perhaps almost nothing? Please think it over.
The name of these psychological energies or powers, to use a Christian New Testament word, is legion; and these various psychical energies and powers — these various substance-energies and substance-powers of man's intermediate nature — in the Christian New Testament, following the phraseology of that time, were called devils, demons. Not that they are devils or demons in the medieval Christian sense, for they are not personalized evil forces of that type: they are simply energies of nature, colorless in this, like electricity, like gravitation, like chemical cohesion, or whatnot. It is the use that the consciousness of the man makes of these psychical powers or energies that we call holy or evil; and as none of these psychical powers or energies are of a high character, the tendency therefore is towards evildoing, and towards the lower realms and spheres of nature.
I would like to deal with this question at greater length, but I have other questions here to take care of. I now turn to another question of quite a different type.
"Why should a turtle live two hundred years, and a man only seventy?"
I suppose you may think that I am going to say that I don't know why, but as it happens, I do know. What taught me? Theosophy. A man at the present period of human evolution does not necessarily live to the age of three score years and ten, according to the Jewish Bible, but in view of the involved conditions prevailing at this period of physical evolution, that lifespan is quite near the period allotted to man by nature before the physical body begins actually to break up. Of course here I speak of the general rule. In former ages mankind lived for a span of life far longer than now. The human body was then much more ethereal than it is at present: stronger, cleaner, purer, more harmonious within its own parts; and, on the other hand, in aeons to come, mankind will live far longer than men and women do at the present time, and for precisely the same reasons that governed the greater lifespan of the far distant past.
A turtle lives two hundred years because that period of time is, as we theosophists say, a turtle's karmic lifespan; just as something between fifty and ninety is the human average lifespan. Perhaps "average" here is the wrong word. I suppose that if we took the actual statistical average of the span of human life today, including the high mortality among little children, also all accidents, all suicides, all deaths occurring in epidemics and in war, then probably the average lifespan would be reduced to fifteen or sixteen or seventeen years.
But that period of time is not the average lifespan that I am speaking of. I mean that a man of normal vital strength, reacting against the normal life currents working in his constitution, probably lives about three score years and ten before his body definitely begins to break up. Why? Because it is worn out. That simply means that its atoms, or more accurately the electrons of the atoms, have become set or crystallized in a certain way or path of conduct, so to say, and being so crystallized they cannot easily change to accord with the changing conditions, and the result therefore is disease and death.
It is habit: I repeat it, it is habit which kills, yes, and it is habit which raises us also. Make for yourselves good habits of clean thinking, habits of aspiration, habits of high and noble thought, and they will react inwardly on your body as inevitably as do all forces which impinge upon the body towards which they are attracted.
"Who fixed the life cycle of man at 'three score years and ten'?" Nobody. That intangible entity, or rather non-entity, that intangible aggregate of forces that men call nature. It is the nature of things to be as they are at the present time; and by the same rule, formerly nature worked differently. In the future, nature will work differently again. What causes these different workings? Evolution, change, growth — one of the fundamental laws of the universe, which is progress, advancement.
"Who or what is Nature?"
How many times have I answered that question here! Now I find an echo of my many former statements coming from a learned American scientist who describes nature in the words of a theosophist, and using almost my own terms. In the August Review of Reviews, in the course of an article entitled "How long will you live?", Eugene Lyman Fisk, MD, Medical Director, Life Extension Institute, says:
"Who is Nature? What is her address? How often doest this female Mussolini issue decrees stating that this or that must be so? No, Nature is likewise an abstraction, a mere term to cover all forces in action in the universe — all incidents, happenings, phenomena."
True; but this does not mean that nature, in the theosophical sense, is a soulless mechanism. On the contrary, as I have so often pointed out on this platform, nature, to the theosophist, means invisible universes within the visible universe, invisible spheres within the visible, and invisible spheres enshrouding and enclosing this visible. Why is this particular one visible to us? Because our sense apparatus has been evolved by nature — nature, this abstraction of forces and matters — to cognise and sense and report to our consciousness this particular sphere in which we find ourselves. Other entities in other worlds living on and in spheres invisible to us, have a senseapparatus appropriate to those other spheres or worlds; and to them their spheres are as physical, as dense, and as solid (although in actuality they may be far more ethereal) as ours is to us.
Nature is the vast aggregate of all the hierarchies of consciousnesses in the boundless spaces of space, of which we sense but one small cross section, so to say, which evolution has given us the power to cognize and to sense by giving us the appropriate sense apparatus because of being there. And even this physical universe that we know somewhat of, so seeming solid, is mostly holes or so-called vacuity, as I have so often explained; and even with our imperfect senses — because of that imperfection of our sense apparatus — we know very little even about this physical, visible, so-called tangible universe in which our physical bodies move and live and have their being.
As our physical bodies are native to this universe, to this sphere, to this realm, so our intermediate or psychical nature lives in its own realm, on its own plane, in its own sphere; and our spiritual nature again does precisely the same thing in the spiritual worlds. So, do you see, man, considered thus, is an entity as it were rooted in the Divine and extending like a pillar of light, to use a figure of speech, a metaphor, through all the various stages or steps or degrees or hierarchies of cosmic being, from the Divine to ourselves.
Nature, then, being an abstraction means nothing at all considered as an entity. It is like the word chance. When we cannot explain something that happens, we say that it happened, we say that it is chance. But don't you see that we are saying nothing at all by using these phrases? We are simply stating that something came about. Do you explain a thing merely by saying that it came about? The word 'chance' explains nothing and therefore means nothing, and is a word disguising our own ignorance. Let us recognize this fact, for the first step to knowledge is recognizing that we do not know. Isn't that true?
Here is another question:
"Is not the materialistic psychology of the average university a detriment to the youth of our land in their realization of the simple and wonderful truths that may be found in theosophy?"
Well, I know just how this question ought to be answered, but I don't want to be thought to be hypercritical or offend any good friends. I would say this: I do think that the mental and psychical atmosphere of the average university, or indeed of any school whatsoever, with the exception of our own Raja-Yoga institutions, is not a particularly good training ground for human souls. The reason is that they are all materialistic in outlook and usually in system of training. Many of our educational institutions are run on educational fads and sometimes by educational faddists, and I say this with all respect to the noble men and noble women who often work night and day, and for a lifetime, in doing their best to fulfill their duty. But can you deny the fact?
For instance, in practically all universities the world over, the changing explanations of new discoveries in nature are at the time taught as natural truths, as rules of natural being, until the next ringing of the changes comes.
Now some of you may say: That is all right: people learn in that way; it is recognized to be a temporary step or stage to greater knowledge. Certainly, this is just what we theosophists say, but unfortunately the great majority of the teachers in the university do not either believe or say that. They rather say: "These are the truths of nature"; and yet in five or ten or fifty years those particular truths of nature are discarded relics of what is then called our fathers' time. For this reason I speak of this attitude as a materialistic one.
The spiritualistic — and please, I do not mean spookist: I am using this word in the proper sense as meaning the opposite of materialistic — the spiritualistic view says: Suspend judgment; know; study; examine; learn; keep your mind fluid; don't let it crystallize! And this spiritualistic view is one which is very rarely found in our largest educational institutions and in very few of our smaller schools. Therefore, with all the respect that I have for the very excellent work done along certain lines by practically all our universities, I am compelled in sheer truth to say that the questioner's point is well taken in my judgment: that the atmosphere and the teachings in the average university are detrimental to spiritual advancement, and particularly to the open-minded reception, as the child-heart receives it, of the truths of theosophy.
We have in our theosophical ranks, and have had, and will have more as time goes on, many university men — graduates, instructors, professors — but they are the splendid men and women they are despite the materialism of their training; their native impulses (high, aspiring, stirring, and rising towards the spiritual sun of their inner nature), could not be kept down by the materialistic instruction and training that they received. They sought truth because they were anhungered for it, and found it not, but found it here. This is a fact.
Here is an interesting question, very.
"Your Organization declares that brotherhood is a fact in nature. Yet when I take a walk in the country I see the lizards catching flies, the hawks catching smaller birds, and dogs chasing rabbits. Is this brotherhood? I know this has been a difficulty to many."
No, it is not brotherhood. And so far as these facts go, why doesn't the questioner also mention the humans who kill each other and who, as a rule, in the Occident not only prey upon the unfortunate beings beneath us for food and for sport — oh, my gods! sport! — but kill each other in the tens of thousands, yea, by millions, and do it in the name of law, do it in the holy name of peace! Is that Brotherhood? No, no!
How then, can the Theosophist say that "brotherhood is a fact in nature?" Now I have already told you what nature is. I have told you in other lectures that it is one vast, cohering organism comprising the root of things in the spiritual world, where all is harmony, peace, unspeakable bliss; and the worlds or the realms of matter in which we now find ourselves, where contrarieties, emnities, strife, discord, hatred, and other similar things exist. Nevertheless the root of things is celestial peace, and that root of things is the heart of the universe; and the day is coming, in the far distant aeons of the future, when the force flowing forth from the heart of things shall regulate and bring into harmonious adjustment through evolutionary progression the outlying frontiers in which we live at present and where now is spiritual obscuration.
Universal brotherhood is at the heart of things and is the expression of the law of the spiritual world, which underlies even strife. But what causes the strife, the discord, the disharmony, the inharmony, the lack of accord? Why, it is as obvious as can be, it seems to me. What causes men and nations to differ and quarrel among themselves? Selfishness, self-seeking — the deliberate (albeit sometimes half-conscious) using of the forces of nature for personal and selfish ends. And this is done by our free will, which is in itself, nevertheless, a divine power or quality.
We have wills; they are free. We are part of the energies of the universe, for we are inseparable from it; and we use our wills sometimes aright and sometimes awry. And when we use them aright we see the wondrous mysteries in the hearts and faces of our fellows and recognize greatness in their innermost being; for greatness is also in us, and greatness always recognizes greatness. And when we use these forces wrongly, unrightly, or awry, we employ the colorless forces of the universe, but do it evilly, seeking profit for self. Having free wills we use these energies; and we do it in ignorance of the law — the law of nature.
How true was the saying of the great Syrian mystic, Jesus, when calumniated and persecuted. He said of his enemies, addressing his own inner god: "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do." Ignorance also is a bane to us men. If we knew what we were doing; if we knew that we were throwing into disarray the forces of the universe, arousing evil passions in ourselves and in other men, could we only realize this fundamental truth of nature, that all things have a common root in ceaseless peace and harmony, no same man would then tolerate discord and evil in himself but would work to enlighten and aid his brothers. Ignorance is the greatest foe of men.
Universal brotherhood — that is to say, the fundamental spiritual unity of everything that is in the vast universe — is the basic law of being. But all entities have free will in varying degree: those beneath men who prey upon each other; men who prey upon them and upon each other; beings somewhat greater than men who prey less upon each other but whose natures are not yet perfectly concordant and assimilated to the universal forces, the universal laws; and then still higher and therefore less discordant beings; and so forth throughout the hierarchies, until the discordance and ignorance finally vanish as we rise on the scale of the ladder of life; and when we reach the spiritual realms, there, as I said, is celestial peace.
"Some years ago I studied Buddhism and was impressed by the first of the Four Noble Truths, namely that life in a physical body was a painful experience from birth to death. I understand that Katherine Tingley was never tired of declaring: "Life is Joy." Are you able to harmonize these two apparently conflicting points of view?"
I have just done it in answering the preceding question. The root of being is celestial peace and unspeakable bliss, for it is the fundamental harmony of the universe which keeps things in order. Reflect! If that fundamental harmony existed not, there could be no laws, no law; there would be naught but chaos and cosmic anarchy. There is where life is joy — the essence of life is inexhaustible bliss. It is only the free wills of entities who exist in the bosom of our Mighty Mother — nature, so called — it is the misuse of this divine quality of free will by the hosts of beings which brings about the discord and the lack of harmony that are evident all around us.
Life is joy, in the heart and at the heart of things, as Katherine Tingley says: but as we at the present time are passing through that particular phase of our long evolutionary journey which keeps us in spheres of matter, in the lowest parts of the ladder of life, where beings and entities are learning, are mere children, and are therefore more or less ignorant, we see disunion, strife, discord, lack of harmony, arising out of the cooperating action of wills and their mutual conflict.
But the slightest penetration of our intelligence behind the veil of the seeming, behind the veil of the appearances, will show you that that which holds the stars in their courses, so that they vary never, which keeps the vital currents throughout nature always running smooth and strong, which colors the flower with its wondrous beauty and gives to it its geometrical form and outline, that which instills love and aspiration and self-sacrifice and purity in the human heart, spring themselves, these things, from the heart of things, where abide celestial peace and unspeakable bliss and frontierless knowledge.
"Christianity teaches the duty of giving thanks to the Creator for his tender mercies and loving kindness displayed towards his children."
I have never seen it, in truth. I know that such is the teaching of Christianity, but I have never seen where all these tender mercies and loving kindness exist. I have never seen a sign of it all. During the course of my answer to a preceding question I mentioned the hosts of beings who prey on each other, the men who kill each other by the millions, cold-bloodedly sometimes in the very streets of our cities, the heartbreaking, heartless actions of man towards man, and man towards woman, and of woman towards man: if we were created according to this old-fashioned theory to do these things, or rather, as it is said, not to do them, for which purpose we were given a will to struggle against doing them, then oh, how beautifully everything was laid in order to entrap our souls! I do not care to discuss this question any further because it will readily lead me into making statements seemingly unkind although not meant unkindly and I don't wish these lectures to contain any attack upon any person's belief. I leave the matter here and proceed to the next point.
"Theosophy postulates an impersonal, causeless cause. Do you believe it to be possible to feel personal gratitude to a benefactor so remote and inconceivable?"
I most certainly do not. I do not feel any gratitude to an impersonal, causeless cause. I am not an idiot. Do I feel gratitude to the wood because it is wood, and because it is hard: or to the stone because it is cold, and because it is hard? No. I feel gratitude when I see the Christ-light shining in the faces of my fellows, when I see the buddhic splendor enlighten their souls, so that they do noble actions, give themselves up to the service of others, and manifest the laws of the universal spirit. I am grateful then that good men and noble women live. More, I have gratitude in my soul which passeth all understanding of those of you who have not felt it, to those great sages and seers, who for many lives in the past and at the present time also have given up everything for us, for the salvation of us, their fellows. These great seers and sages are and were living Buddhas, living Christs.
You may say: Oh, but what splendor and what joy are theirs, on account of the high state of evolution and power and wisdom and knowledge and love which they have reached! Yes, it is so, and in greater degree even than I choose to tell you. But does that change my gratitude? Is my gratitude to be purchased or to be quenched because I know that a noble, an unspeakably noble, action receives its merited dues?
I am grateful to the immortal gods who once were men in far past aeons and who now as spiritual beings oversee the destiny of this earth and of mankind, and indeed of our solar system: who guide, who enlighten, the spirits of men, who stimulate all noble inspiration and all intellectual vision in us, so that instead of the long, long, long drawn-out pathway of merely material evolution, there is, as it were, a short cut to perfection through their care of and attention to us. They are the Law because they imbody the Law: and the Law in its essence is infinite mercy, for it is infinitely just, and its very nature is cosmic harmony. To all these I am grateful. I am also grateful to my fellowmen today for noble actions done impersonally, for in these also I sense or can feel something noble and sublime. I am grateful, I repeat, to all these, but to no impersonal causeless cause, which words are merely other ways of saying the boundless All.
For if on the one hand I am not grateful to an abstraction, I am not ungrateful to high spiritual realities. I am simply not grateful to an abstraction because it would be idiotic. I myself am a child of the boundless All even as you are, for all of us are sparks of the central spiritual Fire; and are ye so egoistic that you should be grateful to yourselves? But when men recognize spiritual beauty and harmony of the spirit in others, all men bow their heads in reverence. Then we are grateful.
The question that I am now going to read to you comes from one of our younger students here. I did not expect to receive from this young lady the questions that I am going to read to you. Listen:
"What is heredity? Is it true that children inherit qualities from their parents? Does this not go against the karmic law?
"Why do children often have an antipathy towards the water, dogs, lizards, etc., when other children delight in these same things?
"Is there such an art as Astrology? Do you believe in it, or is it similar to clairvoyance? For instance, 'they' say persons born in a certain month have common traits, characteristics of that month. Is this so?"
Heredity first. "Is it true that children inherit qualities from their parents?"
It all depends upon what you mean by the word "inherit." If you mean that a child is born, so to say, a tabula rasa, a blank page upon which at birth nature begins to write the legend of its character to be — then I say that children inherit or take over everything from their parents. But that idea of a tabula rasa is not true. Children, and therefore men and women, don't come into the world by chance and without a past because they never have been here before. They come into the world precisely because they have been here before and are attracted back by natural attraction, by the psychomagnetic attraction which cannot be stayed nor denied, and this produces reincarnation in the fields of earth-life where in former lives we sowed the seeds that we now return to reap as flowering plants.
Therefore, when children are born of parents, as of course they are, theosophists use the word inherit in another sense. The reincarnating egos bring their own character with them from the other lives: this do these children coming again to birth. And from their parents they receive a hereditary impress which is strictly accordant with the characteristics of the souls thus reincarnating. Do you see what I mean? If a reincarnating soul has a character which, let us say, is represented by characteristics A, B, C, D, E, F, but not G, it is drawn to a father and mother who can give it a body nearest to, or the most akin to, characteristics A, B, C, D, E, F, but not G. Another mother and father to another reincarnating soul, will give a body which is the nearest to A, B, C, D, E, F, G, and perhaps something more.
So heredity is merely the attraction — and I am giving the idea in full now — of the reincarnating ego to the home, to the parents, which and who can give it a body and conditions most like its own character, and therefore fit for that character to express itself through. It is an old doctrine of the moribund, in fact of the actually dead, materialism of a bygone era, that children come from nowhere, out of nothing, or perhaps are made by God — forgetting what a responsibility is thus put on God — that children I say come into bodies haphazard more or less, and then that their character begins to come into being only from the moment of birth.
I make this explanation very brief, but giving you some fundamental ideas nevertheless, and you will find the entire doctrine all explained in our theosophical books. Thus you see that heredity properly understood does not run against the karmic law, stating that as ye sow in this life ye shall reap in the next and succeeding lives, and that what we are now we have made ourselves to be in past lives. That is the law of karma, or rather the doctrine of consequences. And is it not just? Here there is no room for chance, or fortuity, or for caprice, for these exist nowhere in the boundless universe. Therefore what I have just explained heredity to be is, as you see, merely the working out of karma, the law of consequences in nature.
As regards children who in some cases like water and dogs and lizards, and others who do not like them: these tendencies like all others are merely karmic characteristics, and depend upon perhaps a thousand, perhaps a million, tiny traits of character that have been built into the fabric of being in many past lives. Those associated with dogs for a long time, for instance, grow to love them, and that is why such people will be attracted to dogs in the next life, or even in the latter part of this life perhaps, and instinctively love them.
Others, perhaps, in this life may have received in childhood a psychic shock by being frightened by some dog, and therefore whenever such people see a dog they are frightened. Hence they don't like dogs.
Now as regards astrology: Yes, there is a noble science of true astrology which is not, however, known in the Occident; and the pseudo-art that is practiced under that name in Occidental countries today I call tell you is more looked down upon by theosophists, although in a kindly way, than it is by the most hard-headed, pragmatical, matter-of-fact, materialistic scientists. Why? Because theosophists know that there is a divine science of astrology, a true science of cosmic life, of which present pseudo-astrology is but a tattered and worn remnant derived to us from misunderstood teachings of the ancients. This true astrology was known to the seers and sages of the ancient days, and then properly called astrology; and I may add that this astrological knowledge still remains under the careful guardianship of the seers, the Masters of Wisdom, who founded the Theosophical Society.
In this spiritual astrology I believe. Indeed, I have studied it somewhat and know whereof I speak: it is not like clairvoyance, in that clairvoyance is an astral faculty, a faculty of no particular moral value, and one which is often disastrous to possess and often leading its possessor into trouble. Therefore clairvoyance, so called, is utterly different from the true knowledge and wisdom derived from the working of the spiritual eye. By this spiritual eye you can see and know instantly, instantly. This spiritual vision passes through matter as if the latter existed not. The thickest of stone walls cannot contain it, nor bar it, nor are there any barriers that stand in its way.
I close my lecture this afternoon by asking you: "What is love?" This is my last question. Is it something outside of a human being, or is it innate and inherent in the one who loves? Well, what kind of love do you mean? Love in the general sense of attraction, whether high or low? Or, to define it more particularly, human love or animal love or the love of planet for planet or of planet for sun, and of sun for sun, which is popularly called gravitation?
Let us take human love, and I can give you the clue to what I mean in Tennyson's words:
Flower in the crannied wall
I pluck you out of the crannies,
I hold you here, root and all, in my hand,
Little flower — but if I could understand
What you are, root and all, and all in all,
I should know what God and Man is.
Yes, love is the cement of the universe: that which holds all things in place and in eternal keeping; whose very nature is celestial peace, whose very characteristic is cosmic harmony, permeating all things, boundless, deathless, infinite, eternal. It is everywhere, and is the very heart of the heart of all that is.
Love is the most beauteous, the holiest, thing known to human beings. It gives to man hope; it holds his heart in aspiration; it stimulates the noblest qualities of the human being, such as the sacrifice of self for others; it brings about self-forgetfulness; it brings also peace and joy that know no bounds. It is the noblest thing in the universe. "Love ye one another" is a beautiful saying, for it is an appeal to the very core of your nature, to the divine within you, to the inner god, whose essence is a celestial splendor.
Vol 1, No 11