Theosophical University Press Online Edition
(Lecture delivered November 30, 1930)
CONTENTS: The immortal instinct within you. — You and the universe are one. — You cannot flee from yourself. — Sir James Jeans on the question of mind and matter. Where he differs from theosophy. — Nothing to fear in sleep or death. — Borrowing the thoughts of other men. — What is a spiritual monad? — Evils in the train of ignorance. — Why do we return to earth? — Our origin and our destiny. — Theosophy explains the term "space." — Old age as it should be. — The mystery of sleep. — About dreams. — Journey of the inner consciousness during sleep. — Analogy between sleep and death. — Countless hierarchies in the universe. — Dr. Bigelow and his understanding of the doctrine of karma. — The scientific basis of ethics. — Children of cosmic space.
Children of mortality, sons of death, victims of a blind irresistible fate, hopeless, eternally without a future destiny, driven as sear and dead leaves before a crazy wind of fate — are you all that? What a picture! What a gloomy fantasm! What a nightmare! Your feelings, your instincts, your intuition, your intellectual faculties — what is the answer that they give to such fantasms as these? How do you feel about it? Your own consciousness is the standard by which you may test the problems of life. Don't follow other men's views merely because those views are popular. Think for yourselves! Be true men! Answer the immortal instinct within you! Follow it! For that instinct is not only a spiritual one, but an intellectual one also. It arises within you and is the influence that the inner god, the sleeping divinity which is the core of every human being, attempts to pass down through the clay of the human brain-mind with that human brain-mind's native ignorance, with its native atmosphere of darkness and chill.
How many men, alas, prefer to take the views, the fads, the theories, the hypotheses, which happen to be popular in the day in which they are enunciated, to the spiritual instinct, the intellectual instinct, the psychic instinct, even the physical instinct, which automatically rebels against the gloomy nihilism that I have just spoken of. For we know that man has willpower and intelligence; we know that man can think and feel and act with a will; and we know that in the core of his being he senses that he is not different from the universe in which he lives and moves and has his essence, and that he is at one with it, an inseparable part of the universe of which he is the child.
So, therefore, all is well, because what that universe is, that is you; what that universe is, you are that. You don't live outside of the universe, you are part of it, as a part is an integral portion of the whole. You are blood of its blood, life of its life, fabric of its fabric, being of its being. If not, then you are something different from boundless infinitude; if not, you are apart from it: and this means that there are two infinitudes then, boundless infinitude and you! This supposition is absurd. What the universe is, that you are; what you are, the universe is.
See how men differ among themselves! See how men differ from other lives, from the other multitudes and hosts and armies of beings which cover even the earth with pullulating vitality, and yet all are one in essence. Beyond the earth in the vast spaces of cosmic being, what must there be there, think you? What must there be? We are not different from the Universe; we are not exceptional; we are simply as a human host, parts of the All, parts inseparable from the whole, parts derivative from the whole. Hence the resultant, the deduction, that we must draw from these thoughts, is: All is well; for the universe is well, if is well run, it is well conducted, it is well organized, it is our very model and pattern of harmony and law. Therefore so are you.
Think! Don't take other men's thoughts and abdicate one of your own noblest faculties — that of independent intellectual and spiritual research. Think truly! Awaken the god within you, awaken your own individual spiritual faculties and powers! Think for yourselves, but think loftily and sublimely. You won't regret it. In doing so, you will find yourself, and happiness. There is no happiness like unto that. And when I say find yourself, obviously I don't mean the physical self; I mean the essential entity around which the physical and the astral, and the psychical and the mental, are builded as garments, through which garments the divine splendor of the essential self, which is at the core, which is indeed the core, of each one of you, works or tries to work, manifests or tries to manifest, its transcendent powers. In proportion as it succeeds in doing this, the cold mud of the brain is set aflame, and man cognizes, reasons, thinks, feels, is a man!
You have consciousness, intellect, instinct, inspiration, aspiration, life, willpower, reason, because the Universe has all these. You are not different from the whole of which you are an inseparable part. You simply exemplify and manifest as a part what the whole contains; and this thought is so obviously simple that no child will refuse to accept it. It is only sophisticated men — men thinking other men's thoughts instead of thinking for themselves, believing in fads and fancies of a time — who reject or turn aside from even the powerful noble instincts of their own essential nature.
Those fads and fancies and theories and hypotheses, whether religious or philosophical or scientific, are now matters of a bygone generation. The crass materialism of our fathers is dead; our greatest scientific philosophers today are preaching the doctrine that consciousness is the fundamental essence in the universe. Get this thought and hold to it! Consequently, the fundamental essence in each one of you is consciousness, because, as said, you are an intrinsic, integral, and essential part of the cosmic whole. You cannot really lose yourself even if you try to do so. You cannot flee from yourself, try as you will; for yourself will chase yourself into the remotest chambers even of your unconsciousness, which men call deep sleep or death.
What does Sir James Jeans, one of the greatest of ultramodern English scientific philosophers, have to say about this question of mind and matter? Please understand that I don't quote Sir James Jeans because I, as a theosophical thinker and teacher, approve of or endorse everything that he utters, because most emphatically I don't; but he has said some excellent things, some exceedingly good things, and these things are the same in essential particulars as is the teaching of the ancient wisdom-religion of mankind today called theosophy; and it is the good things which he has said that I quote, quoting him for the things which struck me, as a thinking man, as being true. He says in his recent book, The Mysterious Universe:
Today there is a wide measure of agreement, which on the physical side of science approaches almost to unanimity, that the stream of knowledge is heading towards a non-mechanical reality; the universe begins to look more like a great thought than like a great machine. Mind no longer appears as an accidental intruder into the realm of matter; we are beginning to suspect that we ought rather to hail it as the creator and governor of the realm of matter — not, of course, our individual minds, but the mind in which the atoms out of which our individual minds have grown exist as thoughts.
The new knowledge compels us to revise our hasty first impressions that we had stumbled into a universe which either did not concern itself with life or was actively hostile to life. The old dualism of mind and matter, which was mainly responsible for the supposed hostility, seems likely to disappear, not through matter becoming in any way more shadowy or insubstantial than heretofore, or through mind becoming resolved into a function of the working of matter, but through substantial matter resolving itself into a creation and manifestation of mind [theosophists say of which mind is a function — G.de P] . . . 'consciousness.' . . .
And while much in it may be hostile to the material appendages of life, much also is akin to the fundamental activities of life; we are not so much strangers or intruders in the universe as we at first thought.
Now, here is where, according to our theosophical way of thinking, Sir James Jeans falls down. He speaks of mind, or as we say of consciousness, as being "hostile to the material appendages of life," but as consciousness and life are but two phases of the same thing, and as matter is but another phase of the essential underlying consciousness, the illogic of his idea becomes immediately apparent, for he has constructed a hypothesis of which the cardinal principles are in irreconcilable conflict. It is astonishing that he does not see this. Nevertheless the mere fact that he speaks of mind, of which our individual minds are as it were atoms, is most excellent good logic, sense, and philosophy, for the fundamental idea is typically a doctrine of the ancient wisdom-religion of mankind today called theosophy. Sir James gets the fundamental thought, and yet seems to be afraid to go the full length of his own Ariadne's thread of intuition. He is still psychologized with the old idea that men are accidents, albeit thinking and self-conscious accidents, in an automatically acting and a fortuitously born universe.
On the contrary theosophists say that men are essential, intrinsic, inseparable, parts of the universe itself; and not only man, but every other entity and every thing that is; because all together they make the universe. Far from being "intruders" or "strangers" or accidental voyagers, we are pilgrims into the realm of the material universe, and the vast spaces of boundless space — visible and invisible — are our native home, our native habitat. There is our native land — here, there, everywhere. Isn't it obvious? Go outside the universe, if you can. Leave it, if you can. Vain and futile thought! You are here. Go ye ten thousand billion light-years beyond Sirius, and you will still be in the boundless All, for that boundless All is boundless infinitude; and ten thousand billion years of light-time beyond Sirius is as naught in the frontierless, beginningless, endless spaces of illimitable infinitude. There is your native home, my Brothers. Native of boundless space am I; natives of boundless space are you. Children of infinitude you are, having in you in potentia or in actu everything that boundless space contains. boundless space is your home; and the core of the core of your being is the heart of the universe — a heart which, quoting Pascal who in turn quoted ancient pagan writers, is like a boundless sphere having its center everywhere and its circumference nowhere, because neither center nor circumference are anywhere in especial.
Therefore, when man sleeps or when he dies, all is well. He is here on earth as a man because he is passing through one phase of his aeon-long evolutionary journey. He has become man from lower stages of his own line of evolutionary unfoldment. From man he will become a god; and man already shows godlike qualities — consciousness which can plumb or which tries to plumb the universe, intuition, intellect, which grip the problems of life and solve them. Are these attributes not godlike? Man has the instinct of eternity in his breast; he senses that all of him is of the universe. So, whether a man sleep or whether he die, all is well, and because he has come here now, it means that he came here before and will come again, for he goes and returns on the cyclic round.
How did man come here? How did you come here? By accident? By chance? By fortuity? What are these? These are words. What do they mean? Nothing — except that, when you cannot explain a thing, you say, "It happened so." They are confessions of ignorance. No man today believes in chance. Everything exists because it must exist. Each thing or entity is but one link in a chain of events enduring from age to age; and every link on the forward movement or on the upward climb is a nobler link of evolutionary experience than the one next preceding it.
I told you on last Sunday, my Brothers, that sleep and death are not essentially different, that they are the same, two manifestations of the same process: death being a perfect or absolute sleep, and sleep being an imperfect and incomplete death. In either case, there is the loss of personal consciousness; in either case there is the loss of the active willing to do, to achieve; in either case there is rest, there is peace; in either case there is digestion and consequent assimilation of what the consciousness has just previously experienced, be it in the day preceding the night-sleep, or be it in the lifetime preceding the devachan, as theosophists say — or the heaven world following a lifetime on earth. In either case it is sleep-death, death-sleep; for they are essentially one. It is rest; it is repose; it is peace; it is supreme bliss; especially so in death, for in death the rest is so absolute, the consciousness is so perfectly withdrawn from the fevered forces of material life that its native faculties and powers work more naturally and more freely, because liberated from the crippling bonds of the body and of the lower mind. The entity in death has cast off physical mortality and has put on the garments pro tem of the spirit which is deathless, because that spirit is the fundamental energy of the universe, expressing itself as incomputable hosts of atoms of spirit which are individual monads, each one being the source or fountainhead or root of a manifesting entity such as a man.
Strange creatures, we human beings: nature proclaims so loud all around us just what life is and what death is, and what sleep is, and we are blind, blind, blind, blind! And why blind? Because we won't see what is the essential self. We prefer to take other men's brain-mind thoughts and accept them as our own. These other men are just like you: speculators, dreamers, thinkers, some of them intuitive, some of them not intuitive at all. Therefore, our theosophical teaching is: look within yourself for truth and peace and happiness. You will there find fountains of wisdom illimitable, and fields of consciousness which you yourself may explore; for it is you yourself: the universe. Become acquainted with yourself; be your own inner spiritual essence.
You manifest feebly intellect, feeling, consciousness, intuition, and many other similar attributes and faculties which are all caused in your constitution by the working of a spiritual ray streaming into your constitution from the apex of that constitution which is the spiritual monad just spoken of. Hence our theosophical teaching is: follow this ray, which you manifest so feebly, to its source and become greater, and thus become progressively greater in the very things which make you what you are in your best and noblest. Following the self ever more inwards to the self, becoming more and more yourself, your higher self, your consciousness will in time, in future aeons, at last become cosmic, because the god within you, your own inner spiritual sun, so to speak, has a consciousness of universal reach.
A man is born as a little child. He has but little more thought and feeling and imagination and intellect than the young of the beast has, and is even more helpless — a pitiful little bit of humankind. But watch as the child grows. Note the wonder that takes place. Watch the growth in understanding. Sense the increase in magnitude and in depth of feeling, as the little child grows. See the child bring out from itself — ever more and more evolve in other words, evolve forth from within itself, which is what evolution really means — all the inner faculties. See him expand more and more as time goes on and as he grows to adulthood. Then it would seem as if the man, having reached maturity, had reached the boundary of all that he could do in that one life, and he remains steady there for a while, and uses or abuses (alas!) his powers; and then little by little you see another wonder beginning to take place: you see strange things happening in that man as he ages, until finally, if the life has been nobly lived, there is a richness, a mellowness, of understanding and of thought and of feeling in the old man, sinking into decrepitude physically, but expanding inwardly, which is godlike. Or, if he has lived evilly, wasted his powers, you see the second childhood preceding what men call death, and the spectacle is pitiful.
Now, isn't all this wonderful? From a microscopic human seed so small that no unaided eye can see it, there grows through many stages an entity who becomes a six-foot man, we will say. He makes a number of gestures, good, bad, and indifferent, on the stage of life, and then after a little more time we see him fade, until one day, like a wind-blown tree, he crashes and his place knows him no more.
It is ignorance which is the parent of fear; fear is the parent of hate; fear and hate are the parents of dishonesty. Fear not at all. There is no need to fear. Fear yourself, if you long to fear something, as most men do. Men usually don't feel satisfied unless they can be afraid of something! Fear yourself then. Yes, I mean reverence the god within; for that is one entity with whom you cannot play the traitor! That god within is your savior, you yourself, your own inmost being, the source and fountainhead of all that is good within you; and when I say good, I mean everything that is worth while within you — thought, consciousness, intellect, intuition, reason, feeling, love, forgiveness, pity, kindliness, the sense of brotherhood — everything that is decent and grand springs from it.
The thought is significant. It is a significant thing that we see a microscopic human seed become a six-foot man and express wonderful faculties and do marvelous things — perhaps shake the very foundations of civilization with the force of his ideas; produce marvels, it may be, of beauty — mechanical, intellectual, or what not; and then fade away, and decay, and die.
Nature repeats herself everywhere. What she does in the grand she reproduces in the small; and the reason for this is that there is one fundamental law or system of action, of operation, in the universe, which expresses itself therefore in every part of the universe, being its fundamental current of consciousness-vitality. Man is born, reaches the culmination of his powers, and dies because the physical universe does the same thing in the great as man's physical body does in the small. But the essential man was there as the consciousness-center around which the personal man, the astral-physical man, was builded. The reincarnating ego came back to earth and overshadowed — did not enter, but overshadowed — this human seed, which thereafter began to grow into the six-foot man.
You cannot not come back; you came here because you builded yourself in past lives, builded your character, to come here again; and just as there are these different stages of growth in the life period on earth of a reincarnated ego, by the same law of analogical action which is an aspect of the fundamental law of boundless space, we began as entities in the beginning of this cosmic life period as unself-conscious god-sparks, sparks of the cosmic central fire, and we have been evolving ever since, living and living and living and living, and dying and dying and dying, swinging backward and forward like a pendulum of consciousness throughout the ages, until we are now here as men.
And if we follow the forwards-moving evolutionary current, as we must and as we will, in time to come we shall blossom forth as gods, fully self-conscious god-sparks: having been in the beginning unself-conscious god-sparks, we shall in future aeons of time become self-conscious gods. Is that the end of our growth? No. There are no ends. The term is foolish. We shall ineluctably go on forever; for space is frontierless; and when the theosophist speaks of space, he does not mean only our own physical universe. That physical universe is but a cross-section, one plane, as it were of the illimitable universe which to us as physical men is invisible and impalpable. The theosophist means by the word space particularly the inner and invisible worlds, the roots of the entities and things which show themselves in our physical universe; for our physical universe is merely the outer garment, the physical body, of what is within; and these within-things, this ineffable within, express themselves or expresses itself, through the outer veil or garment or body, just as the essential man expresses himself through the outer garment or veil of the astral-physical garment or body.
Even a dramatist like Shakespeare speaks of the seven ages of man. You probably all have read the famous passage that I have in mind. Let me, however, read it again to you. It is interesting. It is found in Shakespeare's As You Like It, Act II, Scene 7. It is the melancholy Jaques who speaks:
All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages. At first the infant,
Mewling and puking in the nurse's arms.
And then the whining school-boy, with his satchel
And shining morning face, creeping like snail
Unwillingly to school. And then the lover,
Sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad
Made to his mistress' eyebrow. Then a soldier,
Full of strange oaths and bearded like the pard,
Jealous in honor, sudden and quick in quarrel,
Seeking the bubble reputation
Even in the cannon's mouth. And then the justice,
In fair round belly with good capon lined,
With eyes severe and beard of formal cut,
Full of wise saws and modern instances;
And so he plays his part. The sixth age shifts
Into the lean and slipper'd pantaloon,
With spectacles on nose and pouch on side,
His youthful hose, well saved, a world too wide
For his shrunk shank; and his big manly voice,
Turning again toward childish treble, pipes
And whistles in his sound. Last scene of all,
That ends this strange eventful history,
Is second childishness and mere oblivion,
Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.
What a picture! A theosophist in reading this — at least, I do — asks himself, I ask myself, what kind of men must Shakespeare have known? Follow nature's laws of self-control and high thinking and noble living, and your old age will be a wonder to see: full of lofty thought rendered glorious and splendid with the increasing brilliance from the inner god flooding your physical brain; an old age broken it may be in body, bent and feeble it may be in body, and lame, but wise, full of wisdom and having a heart expanded with pity for all that lives, filled with love and understanding for all that lives.
Death comes suddenly, and sleep comes suddenly. Watch yourself as you fall asleep. I wonder how many of you will succeed? Most people lie down, and after a shorter or a longer period they are asleep. What has become of them? What makes that body lie there resting itself and either breathing easily and peacefully or snoring like a pig? What has happened? What has become of that energetic entity which enlivened, which filled with flame and fire, that body, and made the man a man? We are so accustomed to sleep that we do not think about these things. Nature is shouting the truth to us on every hand, and we are as deaf as adders to nature's voices, and as blind as bats in the sunlight. What has happened to that sleeping man? What has become of his thought? What has become of his feeling? Where is even his usual physical energy? In sleep he moves but little; he may turn in bed; he may mumble a bit in his sleep; but so does an infant.
I will tell you what has happened: sleep is caused by the withdrawal from the physical body of the entity which filled it with its flame and gave it active life. That is sleep. And when that withdrawal of the inner entity is complete, the sleep as sleep is relatively perfect and there is relatively perfect unconsciousness — the sweetest sleep of all. For then the body is undisturbed, rests peacefully and quietly, rebuilds in its system what was torn down during the hours of active work or play.
If the withdrawal of the inner entity — call it the mind, call it the consciousness, call it the soul, we won't quibble about words is — incomplete or partial, then dreams occur: fevered dreams, sweet dreams, but dreams; for the entity, the consciousness, the mind, the soul — call it what you like — still in this last case feels the attraction of the physical part of itself, the physical man, still feels that physical man working on it psychomagnetically, as it were; and its unconsciousness is disturbed by the vibrations of the physical man, of the animate body. This produces evil dreams, bad dreams, fevered dreams, strange dreams, unhappy dreams.
If the withdrawal is somewhat more complete than in this last case, but not yet wholly complete, then there are happy dreams, dreams of peace. Finally, as I have already said, if the withdrawal is complete, so that the influence of the physical body cannot affect the entity which has withdrawn itself, then there is relatively complete unconsciousness, for the tired mind is resting also; and for another reason, a reason upon which I will touch with reluctance, but I feel it incumbent upon me somewhat to complete the picture of what happens when you sleep; the brain registers naught; for it is utterly quiet in these cases of utter unconsciousness in sleep. The brain registers naught of what the consciousness itself is experiencing. That consciousness is resting, but resting as it were half-awake, as a man may rest in quiet thought, eyes closed in a doze, not in a sleep, still conscious of what is going on around, but not fully awake; and in this state, this inner consciousness, call it the soul if you like, or the mind, or the inner man, is in another world, drawn to that other inner and invisible realm or plane or world or sphere, to which cause and effect — the law of karma as theosophists say, the cause and effect of thoughts just previously thought, of actions previously done, of feelings previously felt — have given it the direction it follows. Do you understand me?
I will repeat: when the sleep is what men call utterly unconscious sleep, it is so because the inner entity, mind, soul, consciousness — call it what you like — is the least affected by the psychomagnetic vibrations of the body and of the brain in particular. It itself, this consciousness or mind, is in a doze, resting, but with a certain amount of its consciousness remaining, which the brain, however, cannot register as a dream, because the separation between the body and the consciousness which has left it is too complete. But while this consciousness is thus half-awake, so to speak, half-resting, it is in that particular world, invisible to human eyes, to which its feelings and thoughts in the previous moments and hours have directed it. It is there as a visitant, perfectly well protected, perfectly guarded, and nothing will or can in all probability harm it — unless, indeed, the man's essential nature is so corrupted that the shield of spirituality ordinarily flowing around this inner entity is worn so thin that antagonistic influences may penetrate to it.
The world is full of mysteries; and I think that the man who says that this is so, and it cannot be that, and that the universe stops here, and nothing but that is possible, is a foolish man.
But now, mark you, my Brothers. I have briefly described what sleep is. Death is exactly the same, but absolute instead of imperfect. Death is an absolute sleep, a perfect sleep. Sleep is an imperfect, an incomplete, death. Hence, what happens when you sleep in that short period of time, is repeated perfectly and completely and on a grand scale when you die. As you awaken in the morning in the same physical body, because sleep is not complete enough to break the silver chain of vitality uniting the inner, absent entity with the sleeping body, just so do you return to earth after your devachanic experience, or experience in the heaven world, the world of rest, of absolute peace, of absolute, blissful repose.
During sleep, the silver chain of vitality still links the peregrin entity to the body that it has left, so that it returns to that body along this psychomagnetic chain of communication; but when death comes, that silver cord of vitality is snapped, quick as a flash of lightning (nature is very merciful in this case), and the peregrin entity returns to its cast-off body no more. This complete departure (I use ordinary human words) of the inner consciousness means the snapping of that silver cord of vitality; and the body then is cast aside as a garment that is worn out and useless. Otherwise, the experience of the peregrin consciousness, the peregrinating entity or soul, is exactly the same as what happened to it during sleep, but it is now on a cosmic scale. The consciousness passes, and before it returns to earth again as a reincarnating ego, it goes from sphere to sphere, from realm to realm, from mansion to mansion, following the wording of the Christian scriptures, which are in the "Father's house."
Nevertheless, in a sense it is also resting, in utter bliss, in utter peace; and during this resting time it digests and assimilates the experiences of the last life and builds these experiences into its being as character, just as during sleep the resting body digests and assimilates the food it has taken in during the daytime, and throws off the wastes, and builds up the tissues anew; and when the reawakening comes it is refreshed. So is the reincarnating ego refreshed when it returns to earth.
Therefore, fear not at all. All is well; for the heart of you is the universe, and the core of the core of you is the heart of the universe. As our glorious day-star sends forth in all directions its streams of rays, so does this heart of the universe, which is everywhere because nowhere in particular, constantly radiate forth streams of rays; and these rays are the entities which fill the universe full. There are those which are beginning in one universe their evolution; there are those which have become through evolution men or beings like unto men; there are those which from manhood have already evolved into godhood; there are those who from godhood have evolved into becoming super-gods; and so on. The universe is filled full with gods and other creatures, other entities: demigods, men, all kinds of entities existing in all-various stages of evolutionary growth.
I wonder if any human being here thinks that men are the only self-conscious, thinking, intelligent beings in boundless space. Of course not. The fact that we men think and feel, have intuition, have understanding and will, proves that these things, these qualities, these faculties, these powers, exist everywhere; for how otherwise could they be in us? Can the part be greater than the whole? And if the part, a man, shows certain faculties and powers, de facto from that very fact, the whole, the universe, must contain them also.
Consciousness is the fundamental thing in the universe, and along this line I desire to read to you a little extract from the work of a recent writer that I thought rather fine. It was written by a Dr. Bigelow:
Consciousness is continuous. That means you cannot, so to speak, pick up a single idea alone any more than you can pick up a single knot in the middle of a fish-net. You pick up any knot you like, but you will get at the same time what is tied to it. And if, at any point of the summed-up consciousness of a man's life, there is tied the record of an injury done to another man, that record will infallibly remain tied; and when, in a later life, in disentangling the threads of his own existence . . . he comes again to that particular point, that injury will return against him with the accuracy of a spring which expends when released the exact energy required to compress it, and the blow he receives will be just as hard as the blow he gave: action and reaction are equal and opposite.
This is a faithful exposition of what theosophists call our doctrine of karma, of consequences, that ye sow what ye reap, that ye reap what ye sow. Enjoy ye happiness and peace and riches in this life? Ye have sown them by corresponding action in some past life or lives. Suffer ye now? Are ye broken-hearted, weary, heavy-laden? You have done it to yourself, my Brother. Nature is not mocked. Her fundamental essence is consciousness and her fundamental law is reaction — consequences. What you put into the ground of your character, you will reap; what you sow into yourself by thought and will and feeling, makes your character. Thus you build yourself through the ages; and if you do evil to some other, that evil will come back to you. You know the old saying: "Curses come home to roost." They do, indeed.
Here is the scientific basis for ethics. Ethics are not mere conventions. There are indeed conventional ethics; but the essence of ethics, the fundamental principle that right is right and wrong is wrong, that dishonor is wrong and that honor is right, that just dealing is right and that unjust dealing is wrong — these fundamental things which I call ethics, are based on nature's fundamental law.
Sow beauty into your character by your thoughts and acts, and you will become beautiful. Sow love in your character by your aspirations and thoughts and acts, and love will build your character to be lovely, and you will meet the guerdon of love, which is love. Be lovely and you will be loved; be hateful, and the very fact of your thinking and feeling hate distorts your character, twists it. The torsion is tremendous, because your will and feeling are with it, and you will return with a twisted and distorted character, which may even manifest in a twisted and distorted body, the natural reaction on the physical body of the indwelling energy of your character.
Sow love, and reap it; sow hate, and reap it. Sow goodwill, deeds of kindness and brotherhood — and you will receive goodwill, and deeds of kindness and brotherhood. Be peaceful, and you shall receive peace; be kindly, and kindliness will be your guerdon. Forgive, and forgiveness will be yours. Strive, and you will gain; aspire, and what you aspire to you shall reap, for within you dwells an indomitable will springing from the very heart of the universe, and to a man who uses his will aright and who uses his will with a will, naught can oppose his progress. If he fails, it is because his will lacks practice; and if he uses that will for evil purposes, if he abuses it, nature will react upon him exactly according to what he did and gave.
Use your divine part, the divine part of yourself, that spiritual will — use it with a will on the side of right, of love, of peace, of brotherhood, of happiness to others. Nature's reaction upon you will bring back to you all that you have sown. Ethics are man's way of expressing his consciousness of the harmony and symmetry and beauty inherent in the universe.
I have many questions before me that I intended to try to answer this afternoon; but as the time for our closing has now come, I beg your indulgence in the postponement of my answers to them to a later date. But before closing, if you please, may I call your attention once more to a thought which to me is the best part of the thoughts that I can ever give to you. It is as follows:
You are gods, my Brothers; every one of you in the core of the core of your being is a god, a divine entity. Call it a spirit, if you will; we will not quibble over names. I use the good old term god, because gods you are; but if the term offends you, then employ your own. When I stand here and address this audience (and I wish you were thousands instead of the few hundreds here) I feel that I, a god in my inmost, am addressing an audience of gods, speaking to beings possessing godlike understanding, feeling that despite my imperfect words, your hearts are touched with what I have tried to tell you, because you have the understanding hearts of gods. Each one of you, to use the term of the modern mystical Christian, is the expression of an immanent Christ or Christos, endeavoring to express its transcendent powers through the medium of your imperfectly evolved mental and physical being. Each one of you is an inner Buddha, trying to express its wonderful faculties and powers through your imperfectly evolved mind and human consciousness.
But, nevertheless, you are essentially gods, children of cosmic space. You have never not been; you never will be not; for the essence of you, the core of the core of you, is boundless infinitude — the All; for each one of you is an inseparable and integral part of that All.
Vol 2, No 21