Theosophical University Press Online Edition
(Lecture delivered March 16, 1930)
I see many friendly faces before me this afternoon. A theosophical speaker always looks to the souls inside the bodies that he sees before him. And after a little while, do you know, I no longer see the bodies. I really do not. I see instead something fine and splendid in each one of you, which I know understands what I am talking about, even though your brain-minds may pause and hesitate perhaps over my words.
Therefore, as I have already told you, it actually seems to me that I am talking to an audience of gods. For each one of you, in our theosophical teachings, is a divine being, a god, to use the good old Greek word; and there is no reason why we should remain blind, be enshrouded in veils of personality which hinder and becloud, which cripple and imprison, the divine splendor.
There are, at the heart of things, all the causes that the exterior universe expresses; and the marvelous variety, the amazing beauty, and the interesting diversity of the life that we see manifest all around us, are but the manifestations or the resultants of the outflowing of the currents of life and intelligence arising in the heart of the universe; and that heart is not centralized; it is not localized; it is not in any one place; but is, as the French philosopher Pascal so finely puts it in speaking of his conception of divinity, the center of a circle, or rather of a sphere, whose circumference is nowhere, because everywhere, and whose center therefore is everywhere, because localized in no one particular spot.
This means that every mathematical point of the universe is a center of consciousness, a center of universal life, and is what theosophists call a monad; and the heart of that monadic center is a god — not created by some still more grand entity, but the fruitage of evolution through aeons upon aeons upon aeons of time; and we human beings, as we evolve forth what is locked up in the core of our being, as we grow and progress and become grand, shall be cosmic in consciousness, instead of remaining merely human; and thus we shall evolve into being divine entities, gods, collaborators and co-workers with those other evolved entities who are merely ahead of us humans on the pathway of everlasting growth: evolution.
That is why I say that, when I speak to an audience, it seems to me that I am speaking to an audience of gods: not gods according to the old mythological conception of the Greeks or of the Hindus, or of any other ancient people: but gods in the primal philosophical sense of the word, as meaning the cosmic spirits, divine beings, the children of the cosmic life which is boundless, frontierless, beginningless, endless, because it is all that is.
What grand thoughts these are! Not imagined recently, not the product of any single human being's intellectual powers, but — call them a revelation if you like, in the sense of merely being revealed to those who have not yet understood truth, much as any science when first understood is a revelation of natural truth. These thoughts therefore are a revelation in that sense, brought to mankind, brought to their fellow men, by the great seers and sages of the ages, those titan spiritual luminaries some of whose names are known at the fireside of every civilized home.
You know their names — a few of them at least — just as well as I do. I will repeat some of these names again, simply as examples of what men I have in mind, and there are hundreds of them indeed in history: Gautama the Buddha, Sankaracharya, Krishna, all of India, as instances; Lao-tse and even Confucius, both of China; Pythagoras, Empedocles, even Plato and many more, of the Grecian lands; Jesus the Syrian: all these were titanic seers of human thought and genius. Such as they are the great seers and sages who have sent their spirits behind the veils of the outward seeming, penetrated deep into matter, into the heart of things, and then have brought back what they saw, and who gave their revealing to their fellow men formulated in human language; and therefore are they called seers, because they saw.
These formulations in human language are the great religions and the great philosophical systems of the past; and they all have, every one of them has, as a background, one identical Truth; and that identical truth today is called theosophy. Nobody has imagined theosophy; nobody has thought it out; it is not the fruit of the lucubrations of men who burned the midnight oil; and, do you know, we are having recently, that is, within the last fifteen or twenty years, corroborations by the greatest minds in modern scientific research and thought, of our theosophical doctrines — of teachings that theosophists have been giving out for fifty years more or less last past, ever since the modern Theosophical Society was founded; and these teachings are in some instances almost uncannily corroborated by modern scientific thinkers and researchers.
Such things, for instance, as these: force and energy, or, as we say, spirit and substance, are fundamentally one thing, not diverse, not in eternal contrast, but both of them phases, manifestations — two phases — of one underlying reality, which is the cosmic consciousness-life. Second, that electricity is material or substantial, an idea which would have been a scientific heresy of the first rank thirty or forty years ago, but is now a commonplace. Third, that matter as we know it — that is, the hard, physical matter which seems to us so solid, so seeming substantial — is the most immaterial, if I may use the word, the most unsubstantial, thing that we know of, built mostly of spaces, of holes; in other words built up of molecules which are composed of atoms, which atoms, as you know now, according to the ultramodern theory of science, are composed of a protonic center or atomic sun, and of electrons whirling with immense rapidity around that center, and that atomic center and those atomic electrons are separated by enormous spaces, thus reduplicating our solar system in each atom; and indeed the spaces inside the atom are relatively as great as are the spaces in our own cosmic sphere or solar system.
Where then is your matter as a thing-in-itself? Every step forward in the research and attempt to find a substantial basis of matter as being something distinct from energy, brings another proof that there is naught but energy, or spirit as theosophists say, and that matter is but one of its manifestations. Matter is holes, spaces, unreal, illusory. And just as a final thought: as one of the scientific corroborations of our old theosophical teachings, we have now some of the most eminent scientific thinkers telling us that the basis of things is — what? Matter as it once was supposed to be? No, but consciousness, or mind as some scientists call it. We won't quibble over the word.
So the fundamental reality is just what I have told you, according to modern scientific philosophy: the cosmic life-consciousness, or consciousness-life; and all the universe surrounding us is but expressions, manifold, diverse, of the hosts of living entities, of the individualities, pervading and causing this bewildering diversity which infills the cosmic spaces. That is to say the worlds visible and invisible — the realms exterior and interior; for I tell you that the universe is filled full with gods, and that the heart of everything is a divine being, manifesting feebly, ill, poorly, as yet, the divine energies within; but nevertheless the exterior entity could not exist unless it had its roots drawing life from the cosmic life of which it is an intrinsic, as well as extrinsic, and in both cases an inseparable, part. Now, please get this thought clearly. It will be very helpful to you, a real key to understanding others of our theosophical teachings.
I was asked the other day: "G. de P.," said this friend, "why is it that you talk to us so much about gods and about ourselves being gods?"
I said: "Why not? Why shouldn't I tell you a beautiful truth? Don't you see that everything of beauty becomes more beautiful as you understand it better, and that a good thing will bear repetition over and over again? And that if I can give you hope and enable you to know yourself, and to look upon life as a man should, to live as a man: and then tell you that behind the faculties and powers of your manhood lives and tries to express itself through your manhood a divine being — cannot you see that I am giving you a key to marvelous mysteries?"
He said: "Yes, I see it. I wonder if others do."
I said: "That is not my affair. My business is to deliver the message that I was sent to deliver to you; and I shall keep at it until my place is finally taken by someone else."
Here is the first question that I have received this week. It is a quotation from a theosophical book:
" 'When a man realizes his own divine nature, he will see divinity in everything.' — Can this be true?"
I ask you: Can it be untrue? The question is: If a man knows that he has a divine entity locked up in himself as the root of him, how will he look out upon the outside world, and how will he look within? That is the gist of the question. Recognizing himself to be essentially a divine being, he will see divinity everywhere, because he will see that all other beings are like him. Every atom then becomes to him a marvelous mystery of consciousness, and a mystery only in the sense of something grand and sublime, to understand better; not a mystery in the sense of some non-understandable problem which no human ingenuity can solve.
When a man sees and feels the divinity within himself, when he realizes the source of the mighty powers which he as yet manifests but feebly: it may be that when he realizes these truths, then, when he looks into the eyes of his fellow, he no longer looks into eyes of dull and unillumined flesh, but he sees a visible mystery in his fellow's eye; he senses the life behind; in fact, he sees a god looking at him out through the windows of his fellow's eyes, and he knows this, because he knows himself to be divine in the essence of himself.
It takes divinity to recognize divinity. It takes greatness to recognize greatness. You cannot recognize a great man unless you have greatness in your own heart. You cannot understand a truth unless you have that truth in yourself. If you have it not, you can be preached to and taught till the crack of doom, and your apparatus of consciousness will always give an unready response. You do not understand. But when you have it within you, then instantly comes the response! Ha! I know, it is so! Divinity recognizes divinity. Greatness recognizes greatness. This then is the meaning of the theosophical saying: When a man recognizes the god within himself, he will see divinity everywhere, because he will know that the same cosmic life working in his own being works everywhere.
Therefore, when I address an audience, I always feel that I am speaking to an audience of gods. A god myself in my highest parts, I recognize my kin, and my appeal is to the god within you. Understand this, and then you will no longer ask: Can it be true?
Sometimes people do not fully understand what I say. Possibly that is due to lack of perfect fullness of thought in any one lecture, but this is inevitable. However, these lectures are printed, as you understood from the announcement that was read, by The Theosophical Club here at Lomaland; and of course no one lecture can possibly contain all the facts which I have adduced in support of our theosophical arguments, nor all the illustrations that I have at different times brought forth to clarify our theosophical truths. Consequently, when some individual reads one of these pamphlets, it may be that he sees but one little glow or sparkle of light, and naturally he does not fully understand; but if he desires more light he will ask me questions, and that is good and fine.
Here let me read to you the comment of an English lady, quite eminent as a scientist in her own line, which is astronomy, I believe, who recently read one of our pamphlets entitled Questions We All Ask, and sent her comment in to a friend who had sent her this pamphlet to read, and this friend sent the lady's comment to me. The daughter of the late Sir Edward Fry, an English astronomer, made the following comment on Questions We All Ask, Number 4, as my friend reported in substance the comment that was made:
"Your writer seems to mix up ethical assurance with scientific proof. But I expect you would differ from me here, and I should prefer to say that Spirit is all-pervading rather than spirits — though I doubt if our human category of number applies at all."
This comment does not seem to be very consequential in thought, but I get her idea, I think. I would now like to comment briefly upon this comment. She says that I mix up ethical ideas with scientific proof. In the first place, will someone please tell me what scientific proof is, or means? I know what they call scientific proof; but after a thing has been scientifically proved, then along comes some uneasy sort of man and upsets the whole fabric of proof, and shows how wrong it was; then they have to prove something else, seek another kind of proof.
For instance, everybody in science was comfortable and happy with the nature and structure of the universe as these were understood, until Brother Einstein came along and upset the whole foundation of science, knocked the props out from under the structure — and there was much scientific dust!
So you see that this talk about scientific proof leaves me rather cold. I am a great student of science; I love reading scientific works. It is, in fact, my favorite reading — partly for my amusement, and partly for my edification — and I have learned a great deal from my scientific study.
Next, I would like to know if this scientific blue-stocking, this kind and gentle Miss Fry, would venture baldly to state that science is immoral or unethical. My, what a hullabaloo of protest there would then arise! Every scientist would be rushing to the rescue with all the scientific apparatus at his disposal in order to fill the breach made in the scientific wall by a bombshell of that kind.
Now, which do they prefer: to have an inmoral, unethical science; or what they claim that science is — the very foundation of ethics, because they claim that science is classified truth as far as that truth is understood. Therefore, when I am accused of mixing up assurance of ethics with scientific proof, who is right and who is wrong? Who is the real friend of science — I, who recognize that all truth is fundamentally ethical, and therefore refuse to divorce natural harmony or what we humans call right, from the facts of natural being; or people who say that science is one thing and ethics is something else, and that there is an impassable gulf between them? I for one positively refuse to accept the natural existence of such a gulf. To me, science is fundamentally religious; it is a research for truth; it is an attempt to probe into and to sound and to understand the structure and fabric of the universe and the laws which make that universe understandable by men.
Therefore, the very essence of science is ethical, its very essence is moral; that is what I, the Leader of The Theosophical Society, say; and I refuse to recognize any science or any branch of science which is unethical and immoral as being founded on natural truth. I claim that it is not true science.
Now, to jump, as this gentle lady does, from this thought to spirit and spirits makes me desire to say the following: You Occidentals are awfully fond of dealing in lovely abstractions. You think that if you can abstract an idea from a collection of data, you have achieved a wonder. But have you learned anything? Now, please understand me. I do not deny the value of abstraction considered as a process of thought. It has its value. But which do you prefer: to say that length, breadth, depth, exist per se, or to say that there are long things, broad things, deep things? I prefer the latter. I have never seen, heard, or in any other wise ever sensed, such a thing or entity as length apart from things which are long; and I make the same comment with respect to all other abstractions so commonly used in the place of concrete realities. Do you get the idea?
We talk of the cosmic life, or of the cosmic consciousness; but these words life and consciousness, when so used, are admittedly abstractions, and we use them as such; but we do not make the mistake of thinking that there is such a thing as cosmic life or cosmic consciousness apart from beings which live and which are conscious. Life as such is an abstraction; the actual thing is that there are living entities. Consciousness as such is an abstraction; the actual truth is that there are conscious beings. Man as such is an abstraction; the actual fact is that there are men. Do you get the idea?
Therefore does theosophy teach that the universe is infilled with, filled full with, conscious beings in all-various degrees of evolutionary development: high, higher, higher forever; and low, lower, lower, so far as we humans are concerned — both series reaching endlessly in the respective directions. Theosophists do not deal in abstractions alone and make the mistake of thinking that we are thereby thinking something, nor do we cheat ourselves with words.
I hope that you understand this thought, because it is a very important one. On it is based a number of vastly interesting ideas. Had the Occident remembered this truth of philosophy and religion, it had not wasted centuries of religious thought in disputing about the nature of what it is customary in the Occident to call God, nor covered fields with blood, human gore, shed, alas, in an attempt to convince others that certain ideas held by their proponents were the very nature of the cosmic spirit.
Instead, there would have been no persecution, there would have been no theological squabbles and arguments and bloodsheddings about the nature of Divinity; but men would have realized the primal truth that God as such is merely an abstraction, a word signifying, as an easy way of speech, that the universe is filled full with gods, cosmic spirits, living beings of high spiritual stature or evolutionary grade.
On earth is there one big man, whose name is humanity? No, but there are hosts of men. Polytheism is true when you really understand it, and understand what it means.
Therefore, in answer to this kindly-hearted Miss Fry, I would like to suggest that she take a course in theosophical study before she criticizes, and that she realize that dealing with abstractions in the favorite Occidental way is less wise than thinking thoughts of concrete reality, and having courage to face the truth when it comes into the heart. Study a thing before you criticize it.
I prefer to think and believe, because I know, that the universe is filled full with gods, cosmic spirits, divine beings, bright and flaming intelligences, call them by what name you like — for the name matters naught — rather than to think that there is naught but one huge cosmic spirit, the maker and creator of the universe — who made an awful mess of it, by the way! — and that we exist by sufferance, and perhaps will be saved, or perhaps will be damned; and furthermore that we are to throw all the burden of the irregularities and miseries, the wretchednesses and imperfections, with which the world is filled, onto the shoulders of some supposititious entity whom men have created in their own image and called God! Think about it, and you will see a profound reason for our theosophical beliefs.
The very imperfections that you see in the universe — it is not perfect, as is obvious — show that they are the results of the operations of the lives and thoughts of the thinking, yet imperfect intelligences, which nevertheless are growing and evolving.
The same remarks along this line that could be applied to us unevolved, imperfect human beings, apply with equal force to the vast diversity and multiform range of finite characteristics which the universe contains. We humans are not perfect, but we are evolving; we are growing; and the same remarks apply to all other entities, high and low, with which the universe is filled. There is a sublime future before us; and the universe shows exactly the same thing. It shows sublimity, grandeur, and it also shows imperfection. Pray get the idea and dwell upon it in your hours of quiet meditation.
These cosmic spirits, these gods, these bright intelligences, these cosmic lives — call them by what name you will — are in all the grades of evolution, from high to low; and we human beings are but one of the hosts, one of the armies, of living and conscious beings which fill the Universe; and therefore do I say that, having the same origin as all other entities, the heart of the heart, the core of the core, of each one of you is a god, a living entity, seeking to express itself on this plane; and as time passes it will express itself continuously with ever larger measure of success; and this is evolution: the bringing forth, the unfolding, the bringing into manifestation, of what is locked up within the evolving entity.
"Is there a universal law of gravitation such as is spoken of on earth as gravitation?"
Yes, I am sure there is. The scientists assure us that there is, as far as they know. Here we see one of the lovely things about our scientific thinkers; they positively refuse to be dogmatic, except some of them! And some of them are. Such men have cobwebs in their brains. They simply cannot move away from the thoughts of their fathers of the preceding materialistic generation of scientific thinkers; but every now and then the Good Law sends along somebody like Brother Einstein, and — things happen!
There is a universal law of gravitation, and I will tell you a little theosophical secret just here. What we know about gravitation in the physical sphere is only one half of gravitation. The other half of gravitation is repulsion. The scientists have not discovered this other half yet, but some are suspecting it; and this bipolar gravitation exists on all planes; and there is a proof of the truth of this other half of gravitation, which we call repulsion, in the fact that whenever a comet approaches the sun and whirls around it, its tail invariably points away from the sun; away from it as it approaches the sun, and away from it as it leaves the sun.
It is true that our scientists ascribe this fact of the extraordinary behavior of the comet's tail to other causes, such as the effect of incident light on the particles of the comet's tail. But there are, furthermore — and I will let you in to another little secret of ours — several kinds of gravitation: spiritual gravitation, and astral gravitation, and physical gravitation, are three kinds only. I suppose you know that the great Greek philosopher Empedocles, among others, spoke of the fact that the two elemental or primal forces of the universe are what he called love and hate, or, as our modern scientists would say, attraction and repulsion, which, in one sense, they feebly express under two other phrases, centrifugal and centripetal action.
Doubtless the scientists may have other explanations, or think that they have. At any rate, this question that I am answering is asked of a theosophist, and my answer therefore is: Yes, there are many kinds of gravitation, but all have the same fundamental principle of bipolar action, as it were; attraction and repulsion. Electricity illustrates it.
"Does purity conduce to lightness and impurity to heaviness?"
This question is a little vague. I don't know whether the questioner refers to ethics or limits his idea to physical bodies; but I think that a general answer could be given according to our theosophical teachings to the effect that purity does indeed produce lightness. It etherealizes things; and impurity or adulteration has the contrary effect — at least morally. I don't know quite what the questioner had in his mind, and consequently my own answer is of necessity a bit vague.
Here is an interesting question.
"Many persons who are sympathetic with the principles of theosophy dislike the idea of joining an organized society of any kind, and disapprove of the principle of leadership. They say such things hinder the development of individual responsibility, and are not necessary for the discovery of truth within oneself, which must be done by personal efforts. Mr. J. Krishnamurti, for instance, has lately disbanded his organization as unnecessary for sincere truth seekers.
"Can you explain the fallacy in this, and give your reasons for building up a great organization under a single head?"
Yes, the reason is the easiest thing in the world to understand! It is the difference between an army and a mob; the difference between having a source of information, of truth, on the one hand; and merely hunting for it, on the other hand. It is the difference between organization, law, order, and their contraries. There is the gist of the answer. I tell you that union is strength and that disunion is weakness.
Mr. J. Krishnamurti, an earnest young man, a Hindu, brought before the world by one of the Theosophical Societies having its headquarters in India, has my sympathy in some ways for the very difficult task he has undertaken. I like always to seek the points of contact, of friendship; I detest casting mud or making slurs, and I never do these things. But that fact does not prevent me from telling what I feel it my duty to tell.
In the first place, how many times here, from this platform and elsewhere, have I not said that the road to divinity lies within yourself. That sublime knowledge each one must seek for himself within himself; for the pathway to divinity is exemplified by the Greek maxim: Man, know thyself, for thou art a living god, and in knowing thyself thou shalt know all the mysteries of the universe.
How often have I not pointed out that you should believe nothing, naught, in nothing, unless your own conscience tells you, and with no uncertain voice, that such or another thing is true! But why is the world filled full with heart-broken searchers for truth? Why do men quarrel and fight with each other? Because they have not the truth, nor have they a Leader in whom they can trust, and to whom they can go for enlightenment. Teachers they know not, because they will not know them.
There is no reliance on anything today — not even on the inner light, which every true theosophist teaches it is our duty to follow. Men today do not know whither to turn for help and light, for solace, for comfort, and peace. And do you think you can answer that insatiable hunger of the human soul for light by saying: "There is none except in yourself"? It is perfectly true as a bald statement; but it is not the whole truth.
Theosophists are members of a Society which was founded by the Masters of Wisdom and Compassion as an organized body to gather into its ranks all hungry human hearts and minds, to give them teaching which would bring them light and help, having a certain source of knowledge, called a leader and teacher, who is duly and properly authorized and qualified to communicate the light. That is why it is my duty to teach as I do, and to organize as I do. I am a fisher for the souls of men. Every true theosophical teacher is.
And one of my first lessons is this: Look within! Within you lie all knowledge, all wisdom, all peace, all comfort, all love. Within you, locked up in the god within each one of you, are all the faculties and powers which the divinities themselves possess, and which you must bring forth and will bring forth in the course of ages. But I am pledged to help you. Knock, and the door will be opened unto you; ask and ye shall receive.
Why send your children to school if teachers are not needed and if children can learn all that they need without having teachers? Why have your land dotted with institutions of learning, if every man can know everything without preceptors and guides? Do you see the point?
Therefore I tell my brothers this: Accept nothing that you hear from me which is contrary to the dictates of your own conscience. You may fail in so doing; you may lose in so doing; nevertheless the rule is good, and should be followed, because in following this rule, that is if you make a habit of obeying your sense of right and wrong, however mistaken your judgment may be and however often you may mistake, nevertheless in following that rule you are on the pathway leading to light. You are thereby exercising spiritual faculties. But this is not all that could be said.
I have spoken of what I may now call the anarchical side, where there is no body of students with a teaching head, no centralized organization. But I could also speak of the other extreme, which theosophists likewise avoid; and that is the extreme of excess of organization and blind credulity, which is as wrong and as morally weakening as is the other.
I tell you that we Theosophists want no dogma-ridden men, no dogma-ridden world. Do you see my meaning? I make no invidious criticisms. I am not pointing my finger in any specific direction. I cast no slurs and throw no mud. I seek the points of contact and of unity. I merely point out, in answer to this question, what it is my duty to tell you: that we are neither anarchical on the one side, in the sense of believing that no organization is the right thing, nor are we ridden, on the other side, with the idea that an iron-bound, hide-bound, spirit-stifling organization is the right thing.
We F.T.S. say that organization is strength, that union is power, that a centralized organization, a centralized authority, makes for progress, if that authority be exercised by one who knows how to do it and does it impersonally and with love in his heart; and this same rule holds with even greater strength in the case of a teacher, and particularly of a teacher of the esoteric wisdom.
As a matter of fact, this problem so called that I am now speaking about to you is no new one. Every human being is faced with it in his own home, in his own land. Whither shall I send my child to be educated? Shall I allow him to run the streets and let him grow up as "nature" will have him grow — running wild, with no control, no supervision, no instruction, no grand ideas, just a little human beast? Or shall I send him, on the other hand, to some school where he will be drilled, so that all individuality is drilled out of him? Neither, we say. Send him to some place, which you will examine first and will feel to be a place where there is an illuminated authority — as far as you can find it — someone who knows how to teach, who knows what to teach, and who will neither cripple the child's soaring intelligence and growing willpower on the one hand, nor allow him to run wild on the other.
That brief picture shows you where we stand. We believe in organization; we believe that union is strength and power; we believe in teachers — in fact in a succession of teachers, one coming after the other; and this is the ancient idea, the archaic idea of humanity universal.
I pity this Hindu youth, Mr. Krishnamurti; for, however sincere he may be, to my mind he shows a lack of reflective wisdom and a lack of knowledge of essential human nature. In disbanding the trusting hearts who look to him for comfort and help, as I understand is the case, I cannot feel that he is following the ideal imbodied in The Theosophical Society, established by the Masters of Wisdom as a nucleus of universal brotherhood, and as an organization energized and with a desire to help mankind.
I pray that, as long as I live, and whatever may be the success that I shall have, I may be true to the pledge that I have taken: to bring light and comfort to my fellow men and to be worthy of the trust put into my hands. I have a duty to perform in the world, given to me by those who sent me here, and I will do it; and I know that my fellow men will recognize the appeal, the logic of it all, and will see the difference between inflexible authority on the one hand, and utter lack of centralized guidance on the other hand. That is where theosophists stand — in the middle place.
There is light to be had, because there is system and order in the universe, the results of flaming intelligence and cosmic compassion; and anyone whose heart impels him to carry on the search indefatigably and with a mental refusal to take discouragement at any turn, but to carry on, will receive that light. This is a promise.
I will answer two more questions this afternoon, of which one requires but a brief response. It is this:
"In view of the present interest in and attitude to the Bible, please tell us the theosophical interpretation of the Book of Daniel."
I was not aware that there was any particular present interest in the Bible. There may be. I am not aware of the fact. But I can say this with regard to the Book of Daniel: this is a work written partly in a dialect of Aramaic, and partly in Hebrew; it is usually included in the bulk of the Hebrew scriptures, and is commonly called one of the Hagiographa, that is to say, one of the so-called holy books, holy writings, which are not considered to pertain, however, either to the Jewish Law or the Jewish Prophets. It is one of the books forming the third part of the sacred Jewish writings. It is a book which probably dates from the second century before the Christian era, and was undoubtedly, I think, written by some Jewish or Palestinian mystic at the time of the persecutions under the Maccabean domination.
It is not a particularly interesting book. Personally I prefer, however, the Book of Daniel to some of the other books which are considered quite canonical in the sense of belonging either to the Law or to the Prophets; and for the following reason: the Book of Daniel contains in symbolic form an excellent specimen of the mystical thought of Palestine in the second and third centuries before the Christian era; and this is shown with especial clearness in the angelology of the Book of Daniel, that is to say, its teachings to the effect that the world is filled with angels, as the word goes, in other words with gods, but in this Book called angels and spirits, existing in hierarchies, that is to say in grades or rungs on the ladder of life, from low to high, or from high to low.
That is also our theosophical teaching, and it is also the teaching of all the wise ancients; and that fact, I think, is the most interesting thing about this particular book. I do not know that it has any especial importance to a theosophical student. Of course, the Christians and the Jews like to think that the Prophet Daniel was especially favored by the Lord, by Jehovah, but — how about it? I don't see any proof of it, you know. Don't you think that we had better let the matter go at that? I do not like to say anything that will hurt the feelings of anybody belonging to some other faith. So to speak always seems an unkind thing to me; and yet there are times when, being asked questions, I hesitate as to how to answer them, because I hardly know how to tell the plain truth without stepping on somebody's toes, and I don't like to do that.
This is the last question:
"Answering on Sunday, February 2nd, at the Temple of Peace, a question pertaining to races living in cycles previous to the present time, and their predilection for looking without rather than within for the divine, and the creative source of things physical that everywhere confronted them, the statement was made in substance by the lecturer: 'It is not true that man in the past looked solely without; he searched within his own heart for a solution of the mystery of cause and effect and for the divine.'"
I did say something like that.
"Question: Will you please explain why so many ancient temples and other buildings in various countries, long buried and now being excavated and examined, reveal bronze and stone images of gods and godlings, also inscriptions cut deep in the mute marble 'To the unknown God.' How long would man have to look within for power and wisdom to create one original grain of sand, or a radiant sun rushing through space at incredible speed, ripening grain, painting rich tints on trees, fruits, and flowers, showering vitality and warmth on man and beast, with unwavering loyalty and punctuality as it speeds along its appointed orbit?"
Isn't this a beautiful thing — beautifully expressed? I am exceedingly sorry to have to say something that may destroy the feeling of beauty that this question has brought to you. But first, I must say that the questioner has not understood what I did say on that occasion. The idea of the inner vision is not that by looking within you are going to "create suns.'" The idea is that by looking within, in other words by knowing yourself, by following the inner pathway in thought and feeling to the Divinity within you, you become at one with the life of the universe and with the flaming fire which is the universal intelligence; that is to say, become at one with the lives of the gods and the intelligences of the gods of whom we humans are children, their offspring.
Furthermore, I have never heard of many inscriptions on mute marble, addressed to the unknown God. I have heard of one only, mentioned in the Christian New Testament, where it is stated that St. Paul, according to the legend, disembarking at the port of Phalerum, told the men of Athens when speaking to them from Mars Hill: "As I came along the road to your city, I saw an altar by the wayside, and on it was engraved this inscription: To theo agnosto: 'To the Unknown Deity.' "
That is the only inscription that I have ever heard of addressed to "the Unknown God"; and I may say that this unknown deity was simply the nameless mystery of boundless infinitude, because no human being, nor even the highest god in highest heaven, can ever understand it and therefore never can give it an appropriately descriptive name, for this mystery is the life-universal, the consciousness-universal; in other words the unknown God is an abstract phrase signifying That which is beyond human or even divine comprehension; and the gods and godlings that the questioner speaks of, the statues of bronze and of stone and of wood, were simply exemplifications of the attempt of the men of ancient times to figurate a divine thought by a thing of beauty, or by a purely conventional form after the manner of the Egyptians in their pyramids and obelisks, wherever they tried to figurate the same type of thought in a purely conventional and symbolic way.
It is possibly true that the ignorant, the uneducated, the illiterate and thoughtless of the ancients worshiped the images of the gods. But may I ask you what has been happening in the Occident for fifteen, sixteen, seventeen hundred years or more last past? How about the Occidentals who worship images also? Where is the difference except in name? Again, and I am addressing our Occidentals in general, how about the numerous mental images that you worship, such as success, power, wealth, personal preferment, etc.? Ye bow down to them and worship them, images graven on your hearts; and they are the more subtle and dangerous in that the physical eye does not see them, nor see their paltriness and material character.
It was human weakness and human love of figures that brought forth these statues of gods and godlings, and precisely because we know this do theosophists teach: Look within, turn your gaze away from the things of the material world; look into the deeps of your own spirit, into the Formless where naught but consciousness and light and love exist. There lie peace, wisdom, knowledge, power, strength, hope, compassion, pity — all the things that make men great.
And in conclusion, I tell you, as I have told you every time since I have been speaking here during these last months: Remember, and try to realize, the truth, that ye are gods in your inmost being, and the children of gods. Every one of you is the expression, imperfectly manifest because our vehicles are so imperfectly evolved, of a divine entity which is the source of all that is great in you, of all inspiration, of all your aspiration, of your love, of your hope, and of all the other things of human grandeur that I have spoken of. The pathway of evolution lies in following this truth, by realizing what is within, and this is the true way, the easiest road, along which human evolution proceeds most rapidly.
Evolution is the bringing out of what is within. Therefore, realize this truth: that this divinity within you is all you will be in the future. Ye are gods: each one of you is a living flame of consciousness and intelligence in the core of the core of your being.
Vol 1, No 40