Questions We All Ask — G. de Purucker

No. 49 (August 12, 1930)


(Lecture delivered June l, 1930)

CONTENTS: Curious ideas regarding theosophists. What must a theosophist believe? Shall I reincarnate as a mosquito? — Heard over the radio: Belief in Judgment Day, Adam and Eve, Noah's Ark, incompatible with the reincarnation theory. God's heavy responsibility. — Is God a cosmic fiend? — Finding for the Christians their Christ. — Science often crystallized dogmas. — What were we before we were born? Where were we? — Every tree, every flower a teacher. — A word about the 'living dead.' — What are the tests of a true theosophist? — Does a theosophist ever get love-weary? — The Occidental viewpoint in regard to the study of the self.

I have been wondering, while listening to the beautiful piece of music for the violin, Raff's "Cavatina": as to just what you were expecting to see in a theosophical teacher — some imposing individual, someone putting on airs of importance? Instead of that you see only a man. Some people today have extremely curious ideas as to what we Theosophists are. Even today, after the more than fifty years of teaching that the Theosophical Movement has given to the public, some people seem to think that theosophists believe that the souls of human beings reincarnate in the bodies of the beasts, and that from the bodies of the beasts they return again into human flesh — all of which is entirely fantastic and wrong, for it is not our teaching nor our belief.

As an English girl said to me many years ago: "You know, I am interested in some of your theosophical teachings; but I just simply cannot swallow the idea that in my next birth I am going to be a mosquito or a cab horse!"

I said: "You won't be; you certainly won't be. Your soul, the spirit within you, on account of the stage of evolution that it has attained, is separated by an almost impassable gulf from the evolutionary stage of the thin and slender ray of light which animates the feeble body of a mosquito, or from the somewhat stronger ray of light which animates the body of a cab horse. You would not be at home in the body of a mosquito."

"No," she said, "I would not! But what must you really believe in order to become a theosophite?"

I said: "You mean a theosophist."

"Oh, it does not matter — fites or fists," she said, "they are pretty much the same!"

I answered: "You are not obliged to believe in anything. You are not obliged to accept any dogmas. We have no formal creed to which you must subscribe. All you need to do is to give an honest adherence to the principle of universal brotherhood."

And she answered, "I like that, I will sign!"

That young lady was a highly intelligent person.

Does anyone here really think that theosophists as intelligent people believe that a human being, with the almost godlike splendor of his mind and will, reimbodies himself in the physical vehicle of a flea, or of a mosquito, or of a cab horse? If you do so believe you are quite wrong.

There is a certain perversity of mind in some people. As a matter of fact, nine hundred and ninety-nine people out of a thousand in the Occident today know pretty well just what we theosophists do teach, at least along the lines of our public doctrines. But I think that the root and cause of much of the popular misunderstandings of what our theosophical doctrines really are arises in the bosom of the churches.

This noon, coming into my office, I found a communication from one of my comrades here stating that this morning, over the radio, there was broadcast a dialog on "Reincarnation," originating in the I. B. S. A., which I presume stands for the International Bible Study Association, or something like that. I do not like to advertise the vagaries and follies of other people, and especially of such well-meaning people as those who broadcast this morning evidently are; but I thought that I would speak of it this afternoon, in illustration of what I have just said, that there is a certain perversity of mind in some people which prevents them from being fair in their treatment of others who differ from them.

Now, isn't that perverse? If a theosophical speaker were to say anything against the sincere religious convictions or beliefs of anybody on earth, he would not be a decent theosophist, and we would tell him so very quickly.

The friend who wrote to me this communication, said that he rushed for his notebook — he is a rapid stenographer — and thought that he would take down bits of this radio dialog, in order to send these scraps of the dialog in to me for my perusal; and he did so. He arrived at the receiving instrument when the dialog had almost been completed, but he got some few stray bits of this Christian wisdom which was broadcast into the ether, and I am going to read these bits to you. They will interest you; they may make you laugh. It made me sad to think that any intelligent man should stand before a radio audience and utter poppycock, foolishness, of this type, which he must know arises out of his own ignorance of the doctrines that he is attempting to talk to his audience about.

Here are the paragraphs taken down in shorthand [the words in square brackets are G.deP.'s comments]:

"The thousand years will be the Judgment Day [Doesn't that sound familiar!] and that is when all the wrongs of earth will be made right. How much better and more reasonable that is than to keep on coming here to earth as a little baby thousands of times, especially when we don't know who we were, and suffering for some wrong we are not conscious of having committed.

"If you want something that will not lead you astray, take what the Bible said and forget the dreams and imaginings of a demon-controlled medium."

"Now, Frank, I had only one question; now I have got another one. Reincarnation teaches that every time a baby is born, in that baby is a soul of an individual that lived on the earth before. Now there are many more people being born than are dying. Now, can you tell me where these extra souls are coming from? I should think the supply on the other side would be exhausted."

". . . Anyone who believes in reincarnation must of necessity reject the Bible entirely; for the Bible teaches that man is a direct creation of God, who first created Adam and Eve and then told them to replenish the earth. Their first children were born before anyone had died."

"Now, here is my question: Whose soul got inside of those babies? From then until now the population of the earth, although reduced to eight persons at the time of the Flood, has, on the whole, been gradually increasing, thus proving that the reincarnation theory is absolutely a fraud and a deception."

"Well, I cannot answer any questions. It does not figure out just right when you come to think of it, does it?

"Now, when we understand what the Bible really teaches [He is wise!] and realize that all of the old creedal ideas that are so repugnant to reason [He has learned wisdom!] have no support in the Bible, but that it holds out a real hope of life through the resurrection, I don't see why we should go on hunting around for a lot of other foolish notions that are no better or more reasonable than the creeds themselves. I am going to stick to the Bible. I like it, and I believe it is the truth."

What do you think of that? This speaker is going to stick to the ideas that the world was created in six days and that God Almighty grew so tired on the seventh day that he had to rest. He is going to believe that the world is about six thousand years old and perhaps a little older, and that the other half of mankind began its existence from a rib, which was taken out of the first half of mankind. He is going to believe that the grasses and the vegetation and the fruit trees existed and brought forth their kind before there was any sunlight to enliven and fructify the earth — and much more of the same kind of thing.

This radio broadcaster knows nothing at all about our teaching of reincarnation. He takes it for granted that God created Adam and Eve, and that Adam and Eve had their children; and he says that if reincarnation is true, where did the souls in these children's bodies come from?

Taking the literal Biblical story for truth, of course he cannot believe in so reasonable a doctrine as reincarnation and must believe, I suppose, that God created the souls for the children of Adam and Eve, thus throwing upon God all the heavy burthen and responsibility for all that Adam and Eve, and their children and the later members of the human race, did wrong and did aright, did and left undone.

How about the illumination that modern science has thrown upon the nature, origin, and destiny of the world and of mankind? Do the Christian churches teach the Bible literalisms today, even if they reject the credos?

Isn't it foolish to talk in this way and set up your own understanding of the literal meaning of a religious scripture as being the explanation of what the divine has done? If God — do you believe in him, the old-fashioned Christian God? — if God created every soul that is born in the body of a little child out of nothing, God according to the theory, being all-wise and all-good, then God foresaw and permitted all that every man and that every woman does; for God being all-wise, eternity and infinitude and all that in them is are in the divine vision. Therefore God is responsible, and not the human beings; and to say in the same breath that a human being is created with a free will is simply an evasion of the issue, because even if this were so, knowledge of the use that would be made of that free will by human beings must have existed from eternity in the divine mind, and therefore in creating souls, the divine mind must have created them knowing and therefore permitting the use of these free wills in such or such or another way. This obviously takes all sense of moral responsibility away from human beings. At any rate it relieves man of the onus of moral responsibility.

The problem of evil so called in this old-fashioned Christian view becomes unsolvable and the problem of good becomes equally unsolvable. I can tell you that any human conception of divinity which makes of that divinity a cosmic fiend, creating some men unto damnation everlasting and others unto an everlasting and unearned heaven, is a conception that I reject with horror. The universe is guided by justice and almighty love; and monstrous human vagaries and dreams such as these have no place outside of the nightmares of literal and uneducated and heartless men. I do not say this unkindly, but I am giving you a few of the thoughts that as a young man, even as a little boy, I had.

My father was a Christian clergyman, a good and noble-hearted man, and I remember well the many conversations that we had upon these subjects. I remember having often seen the heartache in his face; but before he passed away, I saw knowledge break through his mind like the coming of a glorious sunlight, and he told me that I had freed his soul.

No, life is guided by infinite justice; love is the very cement of the universe — it is the very heart of things; and love, with its expansive power, will penetrate everywhere, and nothing can withstand its influence: no human heart is adamantine or stony enough to shut out its beneficent and life-giving rays; for it is the very core of the fabric of being, and men who act by love and with love and through love, expressing itself in human mind and heart as kindliness, fraternity, goodwill, brotherliness, and compassion, are working with the very laws which govern and control the Universe, and thereby show their kinship with the immortal gods — with the hierarchies of the divine beings who hold the universe in charge and in guidance.

Before leaving this matter I would like to point out one thing more: that we theosophists, among the other work which we have to do, also have a feeling that it is our duty to show to Christians the real meaning of their Bible in its two parts: to show them that like all ancient religious and philosophical scriptures, their Bible has a mystical and esoteric basis, and that if you can understand the real meaning of the Jewish Bible and of the documents which form the New Testament of the Christians, you will find there the same wisdom-religion of mankind which is today called theosophy. The literal interpretation of any ancient world scripture or philosophy is one which will never give you truth, for all these ancient world scriptures and philosophical documents were written in a cipher, in metaphor, in tropes, in figures of speech. Theosophy gives to you the real key. This is a very definite statement, but it is a true one, and with this key you can open all these old religions and philosophies, open their doors; and thereby you can discover the same fundamental system of religio-scientific thought in the background of them all, which fundamental system is, the ancient wisdom-religion of mankind today called theosophy.

So therefore, no theosophist would reject the scriptures of the Jews or the scriptures of the Christians, or the scriptures of the Buddhists, or the scriptures of the Hindus, or the scriptures of the Taoists, or those of the Confucianists. None at all. Theosophists say: Study them, probe them; go to the bottom of them. Get the truth underneath the often ludicrous surface meanings. There in the deeper meanings you will find theosophy.

Do you remember what I have often told you theosophy is? It is the formulation, in human language and terms, of the structure, processes, and laws, of the universe; and theosophists are finding for the Christians their Christ, finding for them the real meaning of the Christ; and this is done by telling them to study themselves; for in the core of every one of you there lives a god, your own divine essence, a divine being is in the very heart of the heart of the heart of each of you; and the mystical Christians of today begin to have some adumbration of that fact, and they call this inner divinity the immanent Christ, and the Buddhists for ages have called it the inner Buddha; and the Hindus speak of it as the Brahma in the seven-gated city of the self within.

In you is the essence of divinity; and future ages, as evolution brings into ever greater manifestation the powers locked up in you — future ages, I say, will bring forth these spiritual-divine powers, and in those days of the aeons of the aeons of the future, men will walk the earth like gods and behave like gods, and speak like gods, for they will think and feel like gods — and all this simply means that evolution will bring forth in the future what is at present locked up within. Each one of you is a child of the gods who guide and control the universe according to law — which law is the essence of their own being; and you are children of the gods, and your future is to become gods like unto your divine parents. Even the Christian scriptures speak of this in their declaration: "Know ye not that ye are gods?"

Here is a very interesting question that I have received:

I have never been able to believe in the special creation of each human soul, even when a sincere Episcopalian. Such a dogma seemed to me to render the inequalities of human existence even more inexplicable, and it is certainly not in harmony with the New Testament teaching that "God is love." But what were we before we were born, and where were we? I spoke of my difficulties to a clergyman. He had no answer to give, and was so much troubled himself that he begged me never to mention the subject again.

It is odd that two questions should have come in to me containing matter of almost identic type. Yes, as I have pointed out in discussing the former question, how different are the teachings of the ancient wisdom-religion of mankind which form the key and the background of all the great religions and philosophies of the past: different from the teachings, on the one hand, of modern religious Occidental thought, dogmatic as it is; and, on the other hand, different from the teachings of scientific materialism, which only too often is as crystallized in dogmas as is the Occidental religious thought.

The doctrines of the wisdom-religion give you hope; they teach you to look upon yourselves as collaborators with the gods, who guide the universe; for that, in fact, is what you are. They show you that you are responsible for what you do: that as ye sow, so shall ye also reap, and that ye are indeed reaping what ye have sown — a doctrine of responsibility and hope, for it means that ye can carve your pathway into the future as ye will and how ye will.

You can make yourself relatively soon — without waiting for the slow tedious evolutionary process, but by exercising your innate divine powers — you can make yourself, I say, a quasi-divine being before the generality of the race reaches that stage. Those men who have succeeded in doing this are the great and spiritual luminaries who have so brightened the pages of human history in the past. Jesus the Syrian sage, Gautama the Buddha, Krishna and Sankaracharya of India, Lao-tse and Confucius of China, Pythagoras, Plato, Empedocles, Apollonius, and many more of the Grecian lands, and others again whose names are even today household words in every civilized home.

These are the men who, through will and understanding and hard study, and self-discipline above everything else, have become more or less allied with the god within. They have manifested the transcendent powers of this inner divinity, and therefore shine as teachers, leaders, of their fellow men. Think of the hope in that! Think of its beauty! Think of the justice of it! Think of the dignity it clothes men with!

Ye are what you make yourselves to be. Climb and grow in increasing splendor, spiritually, intellectually, and even physically. Or, go downwards. Choose! Ye are gods in your inmost parts. Be they! Be it, each one of you, in thought, in action. Fill your lives with the splendor of the love within you. Be loving and ye shall be lovable. Your faculties will grow and increase, and ye shall shine in splendor among your fellow men. Conviction will lie in your voice, and your very face will carry hope and consolation to others.

"What were we before we were born, and where were we?" Such is the question. We were what you might call spiritual atoms of life, spiritual souls if you like to adopt a popular expression, resting in utter peace, in utter bliss, after the last past lifetime on earth, as ye rest at night after a hard day's work; and just as ye rise in the morning refreshed and ready for the fray anew, to act and conduct yourselves like men, so when this centuries-long rest and repose of the soul, the human soul, is completed, ye are drawn back to earth, to the field of your former labors, to the scenes ye loved before, to the hearts ye stimulated, or that ye broke. What ye have done ye shall pay for; and is not this just? Could any normal man or woman do an unjust act, bring tears to a human eye, and feel happy, unless that same hand wiped those tears away, and unless reincarnation gave you the chance to do this?

Nature is innately just, exact, methodical, in her operations. Ethics are not a matter of mere convention. They are based on the very structure and fabric of the universe. If ye sow seeds of hate, envy, disintegration, dislike, ye shall reap some day the seeds ye sowed; and if, on the other hand, ye sow seeds of kindliness, brotherhood, helpfulness, pity, mercy, compassion, and love, ye shall reap what ye have sown; and how manly it is so to act, so to live, and so to die!

"Where were you?" You were winging your way in the spaces, carried whither your impulses and attractions drew you, indrawn into the bosom of the divine part of you, your monad, your inner god. That inner god, when freed from the human chains binding it, localizing it on earth, passes in its wonderful peregrinations to other planets, to other spheres both visible and invisible, and especially invisible; and the human soul, resting in the bosom of the monad, of its divine part, of its parent, is carried along with it, until the attraction draws the monad again towards earth. The human soul then begins to awaken: begins, so to say, to stir uneasily in its rest, for it is recognizing nature's call to be up and doing anew; it is now refreshed, it is now rested; and in a little while a baby is born and a new life begins for that same human ego.

The following is a beautiful thing:

Notwithstanding the persistent call of the open spaces, it is apparent that many people cherish an inner preference for a dwelling place "among the trees." Why? Do sturdy trunks and sensitive whispering leaves speak a language that the soul of the observer can interpret sufficiently at least to suspect that he is in the presence of divinity, a divinity that desires to commune and mingle with the divinity that is stirring within man, quickening his imagination, steadying his emotions, and developing a serenity of spirit that trees are a majestic imbodiment of — teaching him to unfold naturally as trees do. Is not every flower and tree a teacher?

A poet here speaks. Yes, indeed. Every tree, every flower, every atom of the mineral crunched under your feet as you tread the surface of the earth: everything that is, had you the seeing eye, you could learn from. Have you never looked into the bosom of a flower? Have you never studied the beauty, symmetry, glory, around you? Have you never looked at the rising or the setting sun, and marveled at the paintings on the western or eastern horizon? Have you never looked deep into the eye of a fellow human being, looked with a seeing eye on your own kind? Have you never found marvels there?

Are ye dead? Why, everything is a teacher, have ye only the ears to hear, the senses to take the teaching in. How well Shakespeare understood this, how beautifully he expresses it in his As You Like It, Act II, scene 1:

Sweet are the uses of adversity
. . . .
And this our life . . .
Finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks,
Sermons in stones, and good in everything.

What a wonderful world we are surrounded with, and how blind men and women are as a rule! I have trained myself to open the seeing eye, and nature speaks to me in tones which grow with each year of my life more entrancing, more wonderful, because I myself am growing greater inside. My understanding is broadening and deepening. The whispering of the trees, the susurrus of the leaves and their rustling, the slow boom of the waves on the shingle of the shore, the chirp of the cricket, the cooing of the dove, the sound of a human voice — strident though oft it is — contain marvels for me. I recognize my kinship with all that is; I realize that I am but one element in a most marvelous mosaic of life in which I am inseparably bound, and that even as the vision grows it becomes ever more beautiful and sublime; and I know, I know that the vision sublime is there, and I strive to see it ever more clearly.

No wonder that the old Greek philosopher Pythagoras spoke of some people whom he called the living dead — alive in their bodies indeed but asleep in their souls, without vision nobly to see, unconscious of the cosmic stream flowing through their own hearts. But when that inner something within you is awakened, once the Buddhic splendor, as theosophists say, begins to shine within you, however feebly in your own mind and heart, once you become conscious of your oneness with the cosmic life and intelligence, then you will obtain all that I have spoken of, because the god within you is beginning to act.

The next question that I have received for answer is the following:

It is asserted that The Theosophical Society is the one channel through which pure theosophy flows. It seems that other theosophical organizations make a similar claim. Many orthodox churches claim for themselves that their particular church is the chosen vehicle that pure Christianity functions through. This tends to bewilder the student and layman.

In the floral kingdom does the rose claim priority over the obscure violet, the pugnacious thistle, and other "lesser breeds without the law," or is it superbly and fragrantly indifferent about it? Is it beautiful by being what it is?

Yes! Its own beauty is enough. But this questioner does not state his question properly. The Theosophical Society through its succession of Leaders never has claimed that it is the only vehicle on this earth through which pure theosophy ever has flowed. On the contrary, our teaching is very clear that any genuine Theosophical Society, giving the message of our Masters of Wisdom and Compassion, and indeed, any organization not bearing the name theosophical which nevertheless teaches any genuine Theosophical doctrine, is a vehicle for a pure flowing of the theosophical truth. That is what I have often said myself. But do you find pure theosophy everywhere? I am positively forced to say in sheer honesty that I doubt it. I leave the decision with you.

Theosophists throw no bricks at other people. I never cast mud at any other society. I think that it is a contemptible thing to do. It is true that there are today theosophical societies which do not teach all the original theosophical doctrines, even in a more developed and elaborate form, but actually do frequently introduce new ideas that are contrary to those original age-old theosophical teachings. But these societies are of course entitled to do that, if it pleases them thus to qualify and change their theosophical standing; and if the members of those theosophical societies like this and prefer it to the archaic traditions, I feel that they have at least a right to take their place in the sun — most emphatically so!

But when you ask a member of The Theosophical Society who knows its history — for instance, should you ask me, were you to ask me — my private opinion about it all, then I can only tell you that our chief happiness is in having continued from the first in unbroken succession and without change — which does not prevent a more elaborate and developed presentation — the teachings of the Masters of Wisdom and Compassion, whose messenger to the modern Occidental world, H.P.B., brought the principles of those teachings to us. I do not condemn those who differ from those teachings, but I do not accept them; that is my position and I believe it to be also the position of the vast majority of the members of The Theosophical Society. Those who differ from us have a perfect right to their place in the sun; they have a right to teach and to work, as long as they are sincere. Their sincerity and impersonality are the tests for gaining my respect, and if they have these they will win that respect. And if I can, I sincerely desire to work with them.

I long — and it is the dream and ideal of my heart — to bring back into union and indeed into reunion every society calling itself theosophical, and every member of every society who calls himself theosophical or his society theosophical. Let them retain their own societies; let them be loyal and true to their own president or teacher, or their chief officer by whatever title he may be called. If they are honest and true and believe that they have truth, they have my respect, although I may not be able to accept their teachings as being theosophical. But that is my affair; and what I here say as regarding my own stand in this matter applies equally to every member of The Theosophical Society, which I have the honor to lead. You have never heard a true theosophist throw mud, throw dirt, or speak in unjust and untruthful terms of any other human being. But that does not prevent us from studying the beliefs of other men and from expressing the results of our study, if such should seem good to us, in speech and in print. That may be our duty.

No, I have never said, nor has any one of my predecessors ever said, that The Theosophical Society is the only channel on earth through which the great Masters of Wisdom and Compassion work. That would be a preposterous claim. They work everywhere, where there is a chance to enlighten their fellow men, to help, to give light and truth. Our theosophical ideal is the glorious sun shedding its life-giving rays on all, nor does that sun look to the color of the skin upon which its rays fall, nor does it question what another's belief is, or where the individual was born or what his history was last year or a hundred years ago, or in the last incarnation, or in ten incarnations ago.

But all this does not mean that theosophists do not cling strongly to our own sublime theosophical teaching. It does not mean that we vacillate in principles which to us are true. On matters of principle we are adamantine; but it is the adamantine hardness of the diamond-soul — to use an ancient mystical expression — indifferent to its own woes, but hungering to alleviate the sorrows and troubles of others; hard as adamant for itself but tender to those who need help, reflecting in its crystal bosom every genuine ray of light arising in another human heart.

In all your Sunday lectures I hear you stressing love. To love means to help others, but I find a vast multitude who do not want to be helped, who prefer to drag their noses in the dust no matter how often one lifts and points them to the sun. I have observed men aiding unfortunate, disturbed fellows only to find their efforts balked by lack of initiative on the part of those being aided. Do you theosophists never become love-weary because of the hopelessness of your efforts?

What a gloomy picture! I tell you that it is not hopeless! It is the most hopeful thing that I know of. It is the most productive! If this kind questioner had ever felt his (or her) heart stirred by love there never would be any question of becoming love-weary! Love is too beautiful, too penetrating; it remakes the whole being; it is immortal; it never dies; it is all-forgiving, full of charity, never weary, for it is the very divine energy which holds the universe in its place and all things in order.

To love means to be harmonious, to fit in properly with all other things. Love-weary? Why, don't you know that human beings simply cannot resist love? — impersonal love, especially. Personal love is but a reflection of the divine love, of the impersonal love; and personal love is fallible, because the ray is so feeble. But once the soul is illuminated with love's holy splendor, then you live. Love-weary? Merciful gods!

There is something beautiful about a human heart which can give itself without thought of recompense or of the pain that the giving temporarily may cause the giver. Just think of it. Love is peace; love is harmony; love is self-forgetfulness; love is strength; it is power; it is vision; it is evolution. Its power so expands the inner nature that slowly you become sympathetic, because you become at one with the entire home-universe in which you live and move and have your being; and because it is harmony itself, and because it is of the very essence of the core of the Universe, you become at one with the divinity in the heart of all things. Think of what that picture means.

Love is not weak. Love is not mawkish sentimentality. Love sometimes can be severe and stern, just because it is true love. Love is ever gentle in its sternness — sometimes stern when most forgiving and gentle. Impersonal love is divine. It illuminates the heart; it broadens the mind; it fills the soul with a sense of oneness with all that is; so that you could no more injure a fellow creature than you could do a wrong deliberately and willfully to some thing, or to the individual, that personally you love best on earth.

Love is mighty. It is the greatest thing in human life, because it is the greatest thing in the life of the gods, of which human life is but a poor and inadequate reflection. No! I never become love-weary. The more I love the more does my love grow, because the more expanded my nature becomes. I have no doubt that if I loved personally, for me, for mine, for myself: then I can tell you that within a short time I would doubtless grow weary of it. I would then hate myself.

But real love, impersonal love, runs in the other direction. The whole nature pours out its glorious stream of sympathy for all that is. Life becomes ennobled from the very beginning, and you see before you, even on those distant horizons of the future, of which I have so often spoken to you, you see there in the distance, complete understanding of everything, with everything, and a reunion of all entities and things into one consciousness, wherein hatred, strife, disunion, misunderstanding, will have vanished away.

You can have this feeling even now. It is in you. It is a part of you. Cultivate it. Be the god, at least in some small degree, which you are in your inmost part, and let the divine splendor pour forth.

There is such an infinite variety of things ranging from the bewilderingly beautiful to the grotesquely ugly, all intensely interesting to contemplate and study, without, that I find little or no inclination to look within. What shall I do? There is a ray of hope in the fact that good music strikes a responsive chord within. Is this latter a good beginning?

And then a quotation:

"What a man really has, is what is in him. What is outside of him, is a matter of minor importance."

And then a question:

Is anything of minor importance?

Many things are; many things are less important than other things, but only relatively so. Yes, this is a typical question emanating from a broad-minded, a big-hearted Occidental. Alas, such questions arise precisely because in the Occident for centuries and centuries and centuries past, all the teaching has been to look without, instead of looking within and then studying the without. It is thus that men have lost themselves. The averaged man in the Occident hears almost with wonder the teaching so familiar to the ages of the past and to the entire human race, that everything of value is within you. Your understanding is within you, your heart is within you, and the forces of the universe.

You could not understand, you could not feel, if you had them not within. Indeed, you would not even be. Isn't it obvious that the first thing for a man to study is himself, to study what he is within, and that there can be nothing so fascinatingly interesting and so interestingly fascinating as the study of the god within you?

"What shall I do?" What a pathetic question! Oh, my comrade and brother, have you never loved? Have you never given yourself unquestioningly, without thought of recompense or results? Given yourself to some noble work, to some big ideal? If you have not, you have the first lesson of life to learn. Such is the way to begin the study of the self: learn to forgive what you dislike within others. Learn to love. Then all the divine arcana of your inner being will become manifest unto what hitherto has been so unseeing or uncomprehending — your own imperfectly developed brain-mind and psychical nature. You will then feel the divine working within your own breast, and you will have neither peace nor rest until you can become allied more and more and ever more with this wonder within your heart.

That is the way by which to study the self. Give yourself. Learn to forgive. In doing so you will have your hands full; you will be meeting yourself at every turn, at every corner. And you will require all the manhood in you. But oh, the rewards — they cannot be told, so great are they! And learn to love, because when once you love impersonally, without thought of reward, loving beauty for love's sake, loving harmony and justice for love's sake, not for your own, you will come to know yourself, for the heart of the heart of you is divine love.

Theosophical University Press Online Edition