Questions We All Ask — G. de Purucker

No. 38 (June 17, 1930)


(Lecture delivered March 9, 1930)

You will get an inkling of what I have in my heart to tell you today, when I say that I am bringing to you an old, old message out of the far horizons of past time; a message which is ever new, always welcome, bringing peace, consolation, and happiness, to human hearts; a message which is not founded on the say-so of anybody, but is a formulation in the language of men of some of the most recondite and abstruse mysteries of the universe, telling us men who we are, what we are, whence we come, why we are now here, and whither we go. It is the message of the great, illuminated, titanic, spiritual seers and sages of the human race, a message which is in the background of every great religion and philosophy that the world has ever known: an identical message, expressed in different forms and in different tongues in different ages; but the same message of truth always.

This theosophists call today theosophy, or the wisdom-religion of humanity, or the ancient wisdom; but the name is entirely unimportant. This ancient wisdom tells us, in the first place, that the universe and man are fundamentally one, that the roots of things are the same in all; and that these roots of things and of all the hierarchies of conscious and self-conscious entities are the cosmic life-consciousnesses or consciousness-lives; that, therefore, each human being has a pathway which he may tread, and by which he may reach the heart of the universe: the pathway of his own inner spiritual self, to use the phraseology of archaic Hindustan; for as each one of you is an inseparable portion of the cosmos in which we live and move and have our being, and of which each one of us is an atom of life, so to say, therefore, being such an inseparable part, everything that is in the boundless, frontierless spaces of space, of beginningless and endless infinitude, is in you also, latent or active, or partially active, as the case may be; and that the whole process of evolution is the bringing forth in ever larger measure of what is within.

The universe is not a lunatic universe. Its very essence is harmony, its procedures are rhythmic, and the destiny of man is a sublime one; but that destiny is not an end. When he shall have reached his sublime ending on this planet, he then passes to other mansions of life, ever moving, because activity, motion, in other words change, which is growth, progress, evolution, is the fundamental law of universal being. There is never a stopping place anywhere beyond which there is naught. The idea is inconceivable.

Therefore, thus it was that the Delphic oracle, as interpreted by the ancient Greeks, bore engraven on the portico of its temple: Gnothi seauton, "Know yourself"; for in knowing yourself, you are on the way to know all things, and to know them, not merely to think thoughts about them; to know them, because real knowledge is being, and in the core of your being you are the boundless All, for you are inseparable from the universe of which you are a particle, a god-spark. You have all within and above you.

Do you catch the thought of this sublime archaic teaching? If you do, then life possesses a meaning henceforth; living becomes a noble exercise of all the faculties, active or latent, in the human constitution; and growth is seen to be but an unrolling, an unwrapping, a pouring forth, of what lies still latent within: as the oak lies latent in the heart of the acorn, until circumstances cause it to grow, or allow it to grow, and bring forth, unwrap, unfold, what is within.

Furthermore — and please listen carefully — this means that every one of you is, in the core of you, a living god; that every one of you is a divine being manifesting, alas, but feebly as yet, its transcendent powers, but nevertheless manifesting them; and imperfect as this manifestation is, it is a fountain, the source, of all that is noble and great within you — inspiration, aspiration, the working of almighty love in the human heart, compassion, pity, self-forgetfulness, self-sacrifice.

Oh! what a sublime destiny is before the human race, for we shall, in the future aeons, in the aeons of the aeons of time to come, be collaborators and co-workers with the gods which infill the universe — with those spiritual beings, those cosmic spirits, call them by what name you will. Let us not be worshipers of words, but followers of sublime ideas.

Even now we are such collaborators and co-workers in our small human way; even now the host of men, the human host, takes its part in the cosmic work on this earth: plays its part — as best it may? No, no, alas, but plays its part nevertheless. They who play the part nobly, recognizing the divinity within, are the great heroes of humanity, the great sages and seers; they are the movers of men, the makers and the unmakers of civilizations; they are they who sway men's souls; and their message always is: Come upwards, be yourself; and they who are more feeble, who do not, because they will not, express the transcendent faculties within, are the average men; and beneath these are the men who prey upon each other.

We are a very imperfectly developed host as yet, we humans; so imperfectly developed, indeed, that up till a very recent time, a certain large proportion of our physical scientists — the biologists in particular I am speaking of — thought that men were but progressed apes, evolved beasts; and I have often wondered — I have lectured upon this subject here in this our Temple of Peace before, and I cannot go into all the details of what I then said because today I have no time to do so — I have often wondered, I say, if these theorists ever stopped to think whence came the sublime faculties and powers that man manifests, and that no beast does.

Does man possess these uniquely in the boundless spaces of frontierless infinitude? What an extravagant idea! The very fact that men think, and think nobly; the very fact that men can forget themselves, and live for others; the very fact that men can love and aspire, can feel for others and forget themselves; the very fact that men know what inspiration and aspiration are, and are never satisfied, is a proof of similar entities feeling and thinking and acting similarly elsewhere.

We prove the case, we, the human host. Think! Otherwise shall we drop back into the old familiar egoism of the days when the Darwinian theory had its scientific sway, and say that there may be other planets and other solar systems, and that they may be inhabited, but that we don't know where there is any proof of it?

I answer: All we do know is that this earth is inhabited by self-conscious, thinking beings. Yes, we do know that. Why should we be singled out as the only instance of self-conscious and intellectual and spiritual power in boundless infinitude? Is this a lunatic universe? What is there about this dust-speck of ours, this little earth of ours, that it should bear the only thinking, feeling, self-conscious beings in boundless infinitude?

I put the proposition in that way, and your whole logical instinct carries you off your feet, and you admit: Of course it is so; we are not and cannot be exceptions, we humans merely prove the rule that consciousness is universal; and were our faculties more fully developed, we should sense this truth so strongly that we would not even argue about it.

I am here to answer "Questions We All Ask." The fact is that I want you to answer your own questions. A man addresses a question to me. I try to answer it for him. In doing so I may satisfy myself, but have I satisfied him? Yes, on one condition only: that I strike a responsive note in his consciousness, vibrating synchronously with the vibration of my own soul. Then he is convinced. But you never know anything that does not come from within yourself. Do you get that truth? I repeat it in other words: you cannot know anything with knowledge certain and real until you are it. And you can be anything that you make yourself to be, for boundless infinitude is in the core of your being.

So, by talking to you in this way, I am trying to give to you ideas which will give you food for thought, so that you may answer your own questions in the silences. No theosophist ever tells you that you must believe a thing. Theosophists tell you: Here is the theosophical teaching. Is it clear to you? Is it logical? Does it answer the questions of your thinking mind? If it does, then study theosophy more fully. You will receive immense help.

But do not believe anything on blind faith, for neither will you be helped by attempting so to stultify your intellects, nor can you then give help to others.

What kind of mind has a man whose corridors of consciousness are filled with the empty echoes of other men's words, instead of being filled with the vibrating energies of his own life-thought? Be! That is our Theosophical teaching.

The first question — and I have many before me, I will take them up in the order in which I have received them — thus reads:

The San Diego Sun, January 29, 1930, page 3, reads: In the depths of the ocean off the Bahama Islands, lies a fantastic world. Few men have seen it. Its forests are of coral trees — golden, rose, and mauve, their branches as transparent as the lace fans carried to bull-fights by senoritas of Seville. Weaving in and out among the coral branches are tireless schools of fishes, some small and brilliant in color, some large and voracious, all hunting or being hunted.

"Question: Is it a universal law that every form of life must prey upon some other form of life?"

And then follows a quotation from Shakespeare, which is:

"Master, I marvel how the fishes live in the sea." "Why, as men do a-land: the great ones eat up the little ones." — Pericles, Act II, Scene i

It is true. It is quite true. Taking it by and large, everything lives on some other thing in this our material world; and the saying of a modern poet that nature is red in tooth and claw, stated as a matter of mere fact, is true; but stating a mere fact which everyone knows, in significant words, is not an explanation, and not being an explanation, it should not be accepted as philosophy in aphoristic form.

Nature is by no means a bloody-mouthed Moloch, devouring its own offspring. Nevertheless it is a fact in our material world that everything lives on some other thing, or on other things; and every human heart sensible to compassion, with feelings of pity, must have been wrung in looking out upon the world around us, and seeing what takes place. And oh! how our human hearts leap in gladsome recognition when some great man comes among us, one of the saviors of men, and preaches the gospel of pity and compassion, of mutual helpfulness instead of mutual strife, and shows that nature could not endure, the framework of Being could not endure, a fugitive instant, if nature were based on chaos, and if the heart of things were naught but discord and strife.

The heart of things, as the noblest seer in human history, Gautama the Buddha, has told us, is harmony sublime; and compassion and self-forgetful service in pity are not only a duty of every self-conscious thinking being, but bring their own unutterable, ineffable rewards; for by so doing, you become a collaborator, a co-worker, with the divine powers which hold the universe in rhythmic harmony. It is in the things of low, material existence — it is in the low material worlds — that discord and strife are found; the reason being that these worlds are so far away from the spiritual center of our hierarchy that they feel its divine rays of harmony but feebly.

This greatest and noblest seer of the human race, of whom I have spoken, is known in the Orient by the name of Gautama the Buddha. Sakyamuni, the sage and seer, with his gospel of boundless love and pity, showing the reasons of things, merely echoed the wisdom-religion of immemorial antiquity today called theosophy, for he was one of our greatest teachers. He came from the same great Brotherhood of the Masters of Compassion and Wisdom, and was one of the noblest among them.

Everything preys on everything else, if you keep your gaze on the mud; but lift your eyes to humans, and already you begin to see in them the striving of a nobler spirit; already you begin to perceive in the nature of man, however feebly they may yet be manifest, sublime self-forgetfulness in the service of others; compassion, pity, love. And I tell you, as I have told you before, that these things are but adumbrations, foreshadowings, of what is to come in the future, for future mankind on this earth will be a race of human gods.

I will tell you the truth: they will be human Buddhas, every one of them, or, as you Occidentals are accustomed to hear, Christs, walking the earth. We have not yet reached that sublime evolutionary stage, alas, but we shall reach it. Every one of you in his inmost parts is a Christ; every man of you, every human being of you, every woman of you, in the inmost parts, is a living Buddha.

Yes, imperfectly evolved things act imperfectly. Small minds think little thoughts; and most things on earth at present are imperfectly evolved; and in those lovely vistas of the future which even now the seer can discern, we know that to these future noble humans, the men of today will seem like monsters, with our ungoverned passions, with our unholy and often beastly thoughts.

Think! Ally yourself with the god within, rather than with the outward, exterior, physical animal; and raise the lower into becoming one with the higher. Think! This is the message of all the great seers and sages of the human race. Not one of them has varied an iota from this identical truth. Man, know thyself, for in you lie unspeakable beauty, powers indescriptible, and the energy of almighty love which is the very cement of the universe — that which keeps things in order, in rhythmic, harmonious movement; each working for all, and all for one.

But as I have said, in our grossly material sphere, things prey upon other things. But we humans can mitigate this horror greatly. We have arrived at the point already when we are beginning to discern a new and brighter vision, a vision sublime of the future; and we can so live that instead of injuring our fellows, we can help them; and instead of working against them, let us cooperate with each other, and in cooperation find peace and happiness. Thereby you set your feet on the path leading directly towards illumination. You are evolving by exercising your own will, by what my beloved predecessor Katherine Tingley called self-directed evolution; and you are thereby playing a truly human part in the great drama of human life on this planet.

I would that I had time to develop this thought more at length. Almost every word that I have here uttered has brought to me, as I spoke, new vistas to left and to right, of beautiful things to tell you. Think of them yourselves. You have all the faculties in you necessary to do so.

The next question is very much alike unto the first:

"It was about two weeks ago that I attended a lecture. The speaker said: 'We are all each the other's brother; men are the elder brothers of the animals, the animals are the elder brothers of the trees and plants, etc., etc.' If all this is true, what are we going to eat, or have we to go on eating our younger brothers?"

You know, friends, some of the questions sent in to me are real posers. I could spend a week answering that one question, talking to you for three hours, if my voice would stand it, every day, and I should not feel, at the end of the twenty-one hours, that I had done my duty in full.

Let me ask you a question: If you don't eat your youngest brothers, what will you eat? And our youngest brothers are the minerals and the vegetables. You can, at least those of you who wish to do so, no longer prey upon the bodies of the helpless beasts. Meat-eating, however, is not a crime. I do not mean that. Many theosophists eat meat. I have been a vegetarian, a confirmed, almost an enthusiastic, vegetarian, for many years. Only a little while ago I began eating a little meat on the doctor's orders. But I hate it. I do not like it; and I am going to stop it again just as soon as I myself feel that I can.

Man is naturally frugivorous, a fruit eater. Do you know that the strongest beasts on earth today are the vegetarian beasts: the most muscular, the most powerful, and the longest lived? Long life, in a certain sense, depends upon the food that you eat. Nevertheless, meat eating theosophists do not look upon as a crime. We do not like it, we hate it indeed; but in view of all the circumstances involved, we do not look upon it as a crime.

I am going to let you into a little theosophical secret. It belongs to our higher teachings, to those teachings which as a rule we do not give out in public, simply because one has to be trained through long study to understand them; but I will try and make this secret somewhat clear. Everything in the universe lives for everything else. In our view, the greatest heresy and the only real heresy: that is, a wandering from natural fact and law — is the idea that anything is separate, distinct, and different essentially, from other things. When we look out upon the nature around us, we see nothing but coordination, cooperation, mutual helpfulness; and we see that this rule of fundamental unity is so perfectly universal that even living on the bodies of other things nature permits, because there is a deep, a familiar kinship.

Do you know what this cosmic, so-called law of strife is, manifested for instance in the slaying by men of beasts and eating their bodies, and in the striving of man with man, and of thing with thing? Do you know what it is significant of? Listen carefully. It signifies almighty love prostituted! Now think! What is it that men commonly call evil? Is there such a thing as evil per se, that is, evil in itself, so fundamental that it is a part of the essence of the universe?

No. Evil is the misuse of forces, of your faculties, of your intelligence: the misuse of them, the crooked use of them. And by so acting, you make, as theosophists say, bad karma, which you must reap. You have put things out of equilibrium, and you must restore that equilibrium. This is nature's fundamental law.

This fact illustrates how all things are linked together, woven together. You could not live unless other things gave up their lives to let you live; and I mean this. If you did not eat one particle of food, if it were possible for a human being to live on air and on nothing else, he would still be living at the expense of the hosts, innumerable hosts, of entities, atomic and other, which are in the air, and which form his body.

Think! I want you to think over these things. I am not showing to you a gloomy picture. I am showing you a helpful one. I am showing you that even the evil in the world, the suffering and the sin, the misery and the pain, are overseen by almighty love, and that these things are distortions, evil usings of faculties for which the misusers, the perpetrators, will have to pay. And yet, so beautifully is the universe balanced, even in its grossest parts, that this disruption of entities by other entities, gives to these disrupted entities an upward urge.

A tiger leaps upon and kills a man and eats the flesh. What is it that the tiger eats? The flesh. Do you think that the tiger eats the thought, the love, the hope, the aspiration, the divine possibilities: all the faculties and powers and energies that make a man man? A dreadful occurrence this is in fact, but there it is. In these grossly material worlds such things exist; and I tell you that we men are largely responsible for it, even for what the beasts do. You may notice how a beast is modified by his close association with human beings. A man can ruin a dog; he can ruin a horse, a cat, a bird: spoil the natural intuition, the instincts, and the impulses, and thus debase the beasts who trust him and live with him.

Yes, and I will tell you more. It is very mystical what I am going to say, and perhaps I should not go into it, because you may think that the matter is too deep; but I am trying to answer with some fullness the question I have read. The author of this question is more or less of a true mystical mind. The animals are the offspring of human beings, even as men are the children of the gods. Now think! You Occidentals are not accustomed to these thoughts; they strike you as strange, outlandish, weird. But think, I repeat; get the keen, rigid, inflexible logic of these thoughts. Note how they fit into each other and explain each other; and your Occidental egoism will die a natural death.

I tell you that the beasts are the offspring of the passions of men, for every thought is a thing, every human passion is a movement of matter, and is ensouled with energy; and man, in expending this energy out of the fountain of his being, casts it forth. Do you think that it is lost forever, or annihilated?

There is no such thing as annihilation. The thought had a beginning, as we say; it is ejected; the man acts and thinks, and the thought, the emotion, is cast into the thought-atmosphere of the world, and it ensouls a beast, a tree, a flower, just as human beings are sired by gods, for we are offspring of the cosmic spirits. Think!

I am not telling you anything strange and new; I am telling you what all the great seers and sages of the ages have taught; they have all taught the same truths; and this afternoon the mood has come upon me to tell you some few of these truths. I want you to think about them.

When you leave this Temple this afternoon, if you can do no better in understanding me than to say: "What was that man talking about?", even then I shall feel that I have already aroused thought in your mind; and if I can arouse even an antagonistic idea, I shall be glad. I challenge you! I am a fisher for men's souls, as every theosophical teacher has been. Give me the person whose mind will protest, if he does not understand, rather than the person who will sit like a stock or a so-called senseless stone when he hears matters spoken of that he does not understand. Friends, get the understanding heart!

So my suggestion is that if your soul is moved with pity at the idea of eating the flesh of the unfortunate beasts whom so many human beings live upon, then live upon clean and sweet food, the vast range of the vegetable kingdom, pure water, fruit-juices, and you will have amply sufficient to sustain health and strength, and your sleep at night will be peaceful and quiet and blessed.

"Our personality, as I understand it, is the vehicle through which we express ourselves on this earth-plane; hence, to use it rightly is not so much a matter of subduing it — and certainly not of killing it — but of transmuting it into harmony with the higher self: all its energy being still retained, but correlated with the purposes of the higher self.

"I think many devoted students have stumbled over this, and have allowed themselves to become inactive, when the personality with all its powers should have contributed all its energy to the purposes of the higher self under its guidance.

"Am I wrong in this?"

The questioner is absolutely right! There is a totally wrong idea in the world that the way to obtain the kingdom of Heaven 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. The body is but the instrument of the spirit within; and it is the genius within, the thinking entity, conscious, feeling, aspiring, with sublime thoughts — this is the thing which should discipline the lower personality into making it a fit vehicle for expressing the transcendent powers of the spirit.

Don't kill your personality; don't annihilate your personality in the sense of wiping it out. Nature gave it to you, or rather, to speak more truly, 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.

Now, instead of killing the evolutionary work of aeons upon aeons in the past, cleanse it! Raise it! Discipline it! Make it a man — the temple of a living god! Oh, the picture that I have seen of men subduing the body, as they thought, and yet with minds crooked and degraded with corruption!

I tell you that 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.

Raise the personality. Cleanse it; train it; make it shapely and symmetrical to your will and to your thought. Do you see the idea? Do you see it? A man will never attain the kingdom of Heaven, to use the ordinary Christian phraseology, merely by living on potatoes and carrots, nor by sleeping only half an hour a day or night, nor by lying on a bed of spikes, nor by abstaining from this and doing that merely with the physical body.

Evolution is from within outwards. Train your mind; train your will; train your heart; train your intelligence. 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. They won't bother you any more, and you will walk the earth like a human god, and behave like a god. Therefore, begin even now to express the god within. You can, and oh, the reward that comes from this is unspeakably grand and beautiful!

By all means, do not kill out the personality in the sense of destroying the evolutionary work of ages. That is not nature's will; that is not nature's intention. Her intention is to bring forth men, high-minded men, and to turn them into gods. The questioner is right all through.

"A broken, crooked, physical body often contains a beautiful mind, while a beautiful body sometimes houses a crooked mind. Why?"

That question, to most men, is a problem, isn't it? I have seen beautiful women, I have seen handsome men, and I have rarely seen a nobly-shaped body shelter a shapely soul. Isn't it strange! And I have met ugly men and plain women whose features were irradiated with splendor and beauty. I will tell you why this is. It is dependent upon what theosophists call karma, which is the teaching of the fundamental law of natural being, that what ye sow ye shall reap, sometime, somewhere, in this or in some future life on earth.

The average human being expresses pretty well just what the state of evolutionary development is that he or she has attained; and in most cases, the accumulated karmic tendencies, the accumulated karmic thoughts, prejudices, will, faculties, etc., all that you have built up yourself to be in the past, are more or less evenly balanced; and because there is no strong or predominating influence among them, therefore the human being thus produced is more or less of an average human type, with few or no outstanding or strong tendencies, either upwards or downwards.

But, on the other hand, there are certain cases where there is an overpowering or predominant tendency in either direction, upwards or downwards, for good or for evil; then when this bundle of energies called man reincarnates, this predominating or overpowering tendency will manifest itself preeminently, in other words come out into manifestation the first, and before the other characteristics or traits. This is obviously only natural.

Now, if that strongest characteristic or predominant trait happens to belong to the lower part of the sevenfold constitution of a man who is, nevertheless, without a strong psychomental attraction towards matter or towards evildoing, then it may be that the energies inherent in that human being sweep out with ease and more or less symmetrical flow, and build up a human body which is unusually attractive and good to look at. But of course any such mere physical body is very transitory, and after the passage of a few years, will slowly fade away. Thus it is that some bodies show a more or less evenly balanced bundle of energies in a man's or woman's constitution, and thus produce a symmetrical and shapely form.

On the other hand: why is it that so many great men of genius — not the great sages and seers who are godlike — but so many men of intermediate genius — poets, scientists, philosophers, artists, musicians, whatnot — are so often decrepit or ugly, or even unpleasant to look at? I ask you why? It is one of the easiest things in the world to understand why. In these cases there is a pent-up energy of greatly predominant character which is urgent in its desire to express itself through the man's personality, and it rushes forth during the man's lifetime, even from childhood, without easy, harmonious, symmetrical flow, but as it were in surges; and this injures the body, deforms it possibly even in feature and limb, because the growth, due to this sweeping and overpowering influence, is unsymmetrical and one-sided, and the body as always responds slavishly to the power or powers working through it.

Do you now grasp the thought which I have so briefly attempted to portray, to set forth as a picture? Overmastering, pent-up energy in a sense deforms the body, injures it, and this produces what we human beings call ugliness, plainness, unsymmetrical features, etc., due to the rush of and usually intermittent flow of the pent-up energies within. It is a case of a predominant energy called genius seeking to express itself through human flesh.

But in future ages, as evolution perfects its work, things will not be so. The time is coming, as men improve and evolve, as they learn to control and to conquer their energies, their inner faculties and powers, by the sweet and refining influences of the spiritual consciousness and will, when growth, even in one life from childhood to manhood, will take place easily and quietly and symmetrically; and beauty of body will be the result, thus properly and adequately expressing the transcendent beauty and harmony of the spirit-soul within.

I deeply regret to have to answer such interesting questions in so offhand and brief a way, but my time is so limited in any one of these Sunday afternoon lectures that I can do little more than give you a bare outline of an idea, and a few helpful and illuminating thoughts. I therefore leave with you the sketch of the explanation that I have given to you. I want you to take these thoughts home and think them over. If I have aroused even your mental antagonism I shall not be unhappy, because I shall feel that I have made you begin to think; and if I have aroused your sympathetic interest, then I shall be happier still; because then I know that you will soon be one of us theosophists, helpers in our beautiful, in our sublime, work for human betterment and intellectual liberation.

"Thomas Carlyle said: 'Nature, what art thou but the living garment of the Infinite?' That being so, how can we best live in order not to mar this garment, but to be in harmony with it?"

I have already told you this afternoon in answering other questions what the real answer to this question is. Briefly it is this: By being and by expressing what you are within, in your own higher parts, in your spiritual nature. Be harmonious, be kindly, be sympathetic, be loving, be forgiving. Learn to forgive; learn to love. Love and forgive. Then your body, and even nature outside, will automatically follow suit and react with sympathetic concordance of vibration with the vibrations issuing from you.

But let me tell you that there is something far higher than merely trying to live in accordance with physical nature. What is the use of living merely quietly and having a symmetrically developed body, a so-called beautiful body, if there is no shining splendor within you? Oh, give me the fire of the spirit, give me the inner faculty and power to express the god within, and I will gladly let the body go. Let me be a man, and feel myself on the pathway to becoming humanly divine. Then all exterior nature, and my body also, will need no further especial care or attention from me.

When a man's heart is filled with the beautiful peace of love, and with the love of peace; when he realizes his oneness, intrinsic as well as extrinsic, with all that is; when he feels that he cannot even breathe without affecting the outermost bounds of the universe; when he feels that he is an intrinsic and inseparable part of the kosmic whole, vibrating in unison with the energies of boundless infinitude, if I may so express it — Oh, how imperfectly of course — when he feels these things, his whole outlook on life is changed, for he consciously feels the god working within him. Correct, refine, dignify, and clarify your personality by letting the god within it shine through it, and you need bother not at all about any other things of good, for they will all automatically and naturally be added unto you.

One last question:

"Which is the greater sin, or harm, to our spiritual unfoldment: Selfishness, or weakness of mind that allows selfish souls to rule, often against our higher judgment?"

Can there be any question about which is the more harmful? It is selfishness, of course, for even weakness of mind is the fruit of selfish action in the past. Selfishness, the foundation of all degeneration, of all moral decay, of all mental and physical weakness, is restrictive; it is crippling; it binds you in, and leaves you no room to expand and to grow. Selfishness is the root of all evil, and therefore of weakness of mind, of lack of faculty, of lack of power, of lack of judgment, of lack of discrimination, of lack of a feeling heart. Everything that cripples the native facilities of the human constitution, arises out of what we humans call selfishness. It brings about a deplorable and evil-working view restricted to your own little circle of thought. You are then a prisoner, imprisoned in your own selfishness, and therefore are you fearfully crippled in life's noblest battles. Selfishness makes you a prisoner — and your prison is your lower self!

Oh! the feeling of freedom, of true manhood, when one leaves the prison of the lower selfhood and feels one's oneness with the All; for in very truth I tell you that you are that All in the mystic arcana of your own inmost being. In you is everything in germ; and your pathway in the future is towards divinity — not to some vague personalized divinity, not to God; not that, not that — but towards the divine faculties and powers of your own heart of hearts, the core of the core of your being, what the Hindus call the atman, the spiritual self; for that self is rooted in the self of the universe, and therefore the life of the universe is your life, and the future of the universe is your future, is your destiny.

I tell you that each one of you is an incarnate god, although manifesting but feebly its transcendent faculties and powers. "Ye are gods," as the Christian scripture truly says. Each one of you is a divinity expressing at present but feebly its sublime powers, it is true, but nevertheless expressing them in some degree. Be a man, and look to the Mystic East where you will see the sunrise: and in that East which is your own higher nature, I call upon you to see the vision sublime of the god within you — the immanent Christ, the living Buddha. Be it!

Theosophical University Press Online Edition