(Lecture delivered February 15, 1931)
CONTENTS: Shifting brain-mind theories. — Unvoiced intuitions. — Theosophy no new-fangled thing. — Repetitions of key doctrines. — What is energy? — Means of cognizing inner worlds. — The pathway of chelaship. — Advances of modern science. — Consciousness is spiritual energy. — The cosmic ladder of life. — An eternal pilgrimage. — No ape blood in human veins. — Relation between visible and invisible worlds. — Spiritism not theosophy. — Is humanity an exception to universal law? — Destiny of the human dead. — Interchange of life-atoms. — Locations of invisible worlds. — The consistency of nature.
Friends: If I belonged to a certain class of people — and I don't — I would tell you that my habit of looking at my audiences for a moment or two before beginning to speak to them is because I desire to come en rapport with them — I with them and they with me; but actually I follow this habit of looking at my audiences in order to discern, if I may, within your faces, expressing itself there, and also in your eyes, some touch of the inner splendor, that inner light of wisdom and peace, which theosophists call the buddhic splendor or the buddhic glory, which arises from the deep fount of divinity dwelling in the heart of each human being. It is to this divinity within that I endeavor always to appeal.
I care not a snap of the fingers for the brain-mind asseverations, dogmas, ideas, and popular thoughts which govern the world today, because all these are but transitory and represent fugitive stages in mental development and they will pass. Not a snap of the fingers do I care for them, although naturally, my Brothers, they are to be taken into account, because they form the one thing that any theosophical lecturer must meet — yea, and overcome — when he speaks to his audience: he must overcome these mental prejudices or views by the power of his strong human sympathy and by virtue of having an understanding heart.
As a matter of fact, we are en rapport. You and I already understand each other on inner planes. I have already told you in the few words which I have said to you this afternoon something that you won't forget, a verity that I repeat on every Sunday when I stand here on this platform: that my audiences are human beings and therefore are human in body, but that they are composed likewise of spiritual energies. It is these inner spiritual entities whom, with the inward eye, so to speak, I can see sitting in solemn conclave on the azure seats of the gods — a poetic way of speaking, it is true, but nevertheless declaring a great principle; for every son of man, every human being, is allied in his inmost to the very heart of the universe of which he is an expression; and all that is noble and fine in a human being, all that makes him truly man, springs forth from this fount of divinity within each one of us. It is to that fount that I appeal always.
Your brain-mind thoughts and theories change with every lustrum of five years. New brain-mind thoughts and theories then come into vogue, and the old ones pass out of fashion. Why should any theosophical lecturer waste his time in appealing to those brain-mind prejudices and fashions of thinking? A theosophical teacher, a theosophical lecturer, a theosophical writer, has truths to give to the world — not his truths, not our truths, but the truths belonging to the common wisdom-religion of mankind, which is as old as thinking men, which is ancient of days, and which is living even yet in men's hearts as unvoiced intuitions; and it is these intuitions which I wish to evoke in your own hearts; it is these intuitions which I wish to bring out to your own recognition, so that you yourselves in thinking may see the truth, may see the light. In other words, I desire to appeal to the Master of Wisdom in the core of each one of you so that that Master of Wisdom may become your own preceptor, your own teacher, your own infallible Guide.
Every one of you has an inward eye, an inner vision; and you have forgotten it: most of you, many of you at least, have forgotten that you have inner senses with which you can contact the inmost secrets of being; and I remind you that the physical senses are but the outermost expressions of these inmost ones.
This teaching is not new; it is as old as the ages. Don't accept it merely because I tell you it. Accept it however if it appeals to you as true. If it appeals to you as false, then reject it, abhor it, discard it. All through the ages there has been taught in varying ways, in different times and to different races of men, the same fundamental system of natural verities, which today, formulated as we now have it, is called theosophy.
People really don't understand what theosophy is. So many of them think that it is some new-fangled thing, a new-fangled scheme of interpreting nature and man. It is not. Test it yourselves; examine the ancient literatures; read them; study them; compare them; test them; and then you yourselves be the judges of what you find. That seems to be a fair proposition. I say this because I have often told you that you will find as the heart of all these ancient literatures, embracing the religious, philosophical, and scientific thought of all past time this one fundamental original stream of natural verities or truths of which I have just spoken and which today is called theosophy.
What then is theosophy? It is the formulated system of natural religion-philosophy-science, embracing the verities of infinite nature, and teaching therefore of the structure, operations, and laws of nature as they have been and are visioned, seen, experienced, witnessed, by all the great sages and seers of the ages past and present. All of them through an ascending series of initiations have sent the percipient part of themselves, the seeing part, the visioning part, the thinking part, the intuitive part, the self-conscious part, behind the veil of the outward seeming of nature which surrounds us. They have gone behind the veils into new and marvelous realms of being and there themselves at first hand have quaffed of the waters of truth. Drinking of those sublime Pierian springs, they bring back to their fellow men and formulate in human tongue what they themselves have seen and have found; and these various formulations were, in past ages, the original sources of the ancient philosophies and religions. All these great sages and seers having seen the same verities, having found the same truths, in the invisible spheres of being, and having formulated this same body of truths which they had discovered, it is clear then that behind all the literatures, within all the literatures, under the words, in the words, behind the words, you will find this one fundamental system of natural scientific religio-philosophy.
I have often before from this platform told you these same facts, first because they are very important and their repetition is exceedingly good because it accustoms Occidental minds to ideas which to these minds are relatively new; second, because these few fundamental ideas are very decidedly important keys opening up other more difficult and more recondite aspects or parts of our theosophical philosophy; and third, because on every Sunday when I speak to you from this platform, in addition to the many who come either frequently or continuously, I realize that there are always many newcomers among my audiences, and it is only fair that in order to make what I say more comprehensible I give to those newcomers also the same key doctrines so frequently mentioned.
All through the ages, and in all the ancient literatures, even as we have them today, you will find the declaration made by the noblest intellectual thinkers, the greatest and sublimest spiritual seers, of the human race, that this physical universe of ours is but the outer garment, the veil hiding others within it or behind it, which latter are invisible to physical eyes, unheard by physical ears, untouched by any physical senses, because belonging to spheres of energies and matter which are not those of our physical world. All our various sense apparatuses are builded to contact only the physical world as it is around us at present. It is for this reason that we cognize this physical world by means of our senses.
This teaching of the existence of these inner and invisible worlds is a very, very old one. It is a teaching or doctrine that has stood the test of the most searching examination of the titanic intellects of all past ages. Pause therefore a moment in thought over this fact, for it proves that at the least, it is a teaching worthy of our most serious consideration. The greatest men who have ever lived have taught it; and they all taught their fellow men also how to find themselves the pathway so that for themselves they could prove what they were told by their teachers and preceptors, the great sages and seers.
Yes, verily, the invisible worlds exist; and this outermost world of ours is but the veil hiding the inner worlds, just as man's body is the veil hiding the energies, substances, which pulse and pulsate and work and express themselves through him. It is obvious, therefore, that these inner worlds are the causal worlds, that they are the causes of even what we see in this gross material physical world. This material world is the effect, the aggregate effects, of what takes place in and on the inner worlds and spheres and planes. These inner worlds and spheres and planes you can call worlds of forces or energies if you like.
But what is energy as taught even today by the greatest of ultramodern scientific researchers? It is matter; or conversely we can say that matter is but crystallized or equilibrated energies. This is an old theosophical doctrine, actually as old as the ages of mankind, and it signifies that matter or substance on the one hand and spirit or energy on the other hand are fundamentally one thing. So, when one speaks of inner worlds composed of energies or forces, it is exactly the same as if one were to speak of inner worlds composed of substances of a more ethereal type than those which our sense apparatus can cognize on account of the latter's imperfect stage of evolutionary development having brought it to the point only of being able to perceive substances and energies on its own plane.
Furthermore, a human being can, by means of his inner faculties and powers, cognize and recognize these inner worlds. There is a means of leaving this outermost garment or veil, of leaving it deeply entranced, if you like, sound "asleep" if you like — call the condition by whatever name pleases you — but in any case there is a means of casting off for the time being this outer veil of physical selfhood, leaving it and going upon the most marvelous, the sublimest, adventure which it is possible for a human being to undertake — the journey in and through some, at least, of the invisible worlds, spheres, planes, call them what you like.
That is what the great seers and sages of the past have done; that is what was taught of and achieved in the initiation chambers of the past; and there are men on earth today who have gone through the tests, who have passed them successfully, who have been over the borderline and who have entered into the sublime things of the inner life — yea, and also into those things which are not sublime, but which must also be known if man's knowledge of nature is to be complete. Theosophy shows you how to do this, among many other things.
Every normal human being has energies, faculties, powers, within him or her, that he or she wot not of; they wit not what they have within them; and do you know what is the master key to finding out what you have within yourselves, ultimately leading you to become a Master of Life? Do you know what this master key is, I ask? I have told it to you so often already from this platform. I now repeat it in the words of Apollo of Delphi: Man, know thyself! Do you now begin to understand?
You are a child of the Universe, inseparable from the universe, your cosmic parent. You are in it forever; you cannot ever leave it, being an inseparable part of it. You are throughout of its essence. You are born of its blood, born of its flesh so to speak, bone of its bone, life of its life, thought of its thought, substance of its substance, energy of its energy. Consequently, all that the universe contains you contain either in germ or more or less developed. Those parts of you, of your constitution, which yet lack development, you can develop; and as you develop these inner parts you come into synchronous vibration — to use a term popular today and easily understood — you become synchronously vibrating with those parts of the inner worlds which now you cannot cognize, because your present vibrations are different from them. Coming thus into synchronous vibration with these inner worlds, you immediately cognize them and recognize them and can begin to understand them. There is the master thought, the master key to achieving the beginning of this sublime adventure.
Know thyself, O son of man! For in thee lie all the mysteries of the universe. Thou art its child; inseparable from it shalt thou ever be; for it is thou and thou art it. This is the pathway to all wisdom, to all knowledge, to all achievement. It is also therefore the pathway of evolution — of evolving, of unfolding, what is folded up or latent within you.
Do you know that you are in a certain sense inhabitants of these inner worlds even now? In this sense just as much so as you are inhabitants of this rocky sphere we call earth, a child, physically speaking, of the physical universe which surrounds us. Your spiritual roots pierce infinitude. You as a physical man hang like a pendant, as it were, like a jewel, from the root of your spiritual selfhood, the heart of the heart of you. The origin of this spiritual selfhood is the cosmic soul, the divine spirit. You in your inmost are a spark of that central flame, each one of you. Have I made this wondrous thought clear?
These few words point to the pathway sublime: knowing yourself, following the self of you ever more and more inwards, you become ever more and more in self-conscious connection, and you vibrate ever more and more synchronously with, these inner worlds and spheres.
Is there anything weird about all this, anything uncanny, anything cheap, anything that even the average man cannot at least understand the fundamental thought of? There is not. And yet these few simple key thoughts, key doctrines, that I have already laid before you this afternoon and on so many other occasions, are the genuine master keys by which you can open the most secret chambers of the invisible universe. What I have told you also briefly outlines the pathway of discipleship, of chelaship as we theosophists say.
Now, how are you to find this inner part of yourself? Is it by concentrating upon the part of yourself in which now you live — upon this very part which shuts you out from the inner worlds, which hides the vision sublime: the personal selfhood which restricts and limits and condenses your thought around the petty brain-mind self? No! It is by casting all this aside, in order to go inwards, more and more inwards, to the spiritual center at the core of your being.
A most excellent rule to find this spiritual self is the following: Whenever you have impulses to indulge in selfish action, refrain. Whenever you seek purely personal self-advancement, and particularly when others lose by it, then "abhor" the temptation, as Shakespeare says. Ah! This alone is a spiritual exercise which requires a true man's strength, the willpower and energy of a true man. Weaklings cannot do it although indeed they may dream of doing it, and this dream is a good thing because some day they will pass from dreaming to action.
How merciful nature is! Imagine weaklings who cannot even control their own little petty personal passions and desires obtaining the mysterious keys to nature's wondrous secrets, and going into her inner chambers where they as weaklings belong not yet!
You know the old, old saying of the ancient sages: Forget the self if thou wouldst find the self. Cast aside the limited, small, personal self, if thou wouldst find the impersonal, cosmic self in your heart. If thou wouldst find thy life, abandon thy Life — lose it. Such also was the teaching of the great Syrian sage, Jesus, echoing the words of all the sages and seers of all the ages; and it is utter truth.
By following this rule of action you exchange the small, the restricted, the petty, those things which make you limited and blind — you exchange them, I say, for the grand, the sublime, the great, the universal, and come into self-conscious possession of your spiritual self, or rather your spiritual self comes into possession of you, the personal man, and uses it as a vehicle through which it can manifest its transcendent faculties and powers. You cast off the garment of the petty personal selfhood and by so doing come into active possession of energies and powers now lying latent within you, which energies and powers are springs of consciousness and action which are the noblest part of your constitution, and which at present you know not how to use.
An ethical teaching, do some of you perhaps say? By the immortal gods, it is an ethical teaching! By the immortal gods, it is indeed ethics! I tell you that ethics are no mere human conventions however much man may clothe them in conventional thoughts, but are based on the harmony and love at the heart of the universe, which are the very essence of the universe, the very soul of the cosmic flame which keeps all things together, working together, hanging together, harmonious and cosmically peaceful. Ethics are very real because based on nature herself. Ethics means doing aright; right means harmony; right means law; and law is cosmic justice which is universal love.
I know by my own experience that what I tell you is true; and I too have found out how devilish hard it is sometimes to control the personal self. I know it well. I have been through it; and I have no blame at any time for any brother who fails. All I say is: Rise again! Set your face forwards, and march! Every time you fall, pick yourself up again and go at it with a newer and a stronger will. That is the way of success; and every one of you can succeed — can succeed in bringing out these wondrous faculties and powers within your heart, within your mind, within the inner part of your constitution — the spiritual and intellectual and psychic part; and you can then use rightfully and properly these various powers which thus you awaken, but only for impersonal ends; for the instant they are abused, then you lose them. You lose them because they are of cosmic character and reach and therefore require a consciousness having a cosmic reach to control them.
The man whose convictions and thoughts are centered around his petty personal self cannot wield the scepter of the gods; but the god within you knows its own, and one of these days it will seize the scepter of power, it will claim its own — what is within; and thereafter you will live like a god among your fellow men, act like a god among your fellow-men, because you will think like a god and feel like a god. The divine within you will have come forth into active being in your life.
Look at the papers, the magazines, the remarkably interesting scientific books, that are printed today voicing the new dreams and visions and intuitions of our greatest scientific men. Consider how our greatest scientists are now teaching truths belonging to the ancient Occultism of the ages, today called theosophy. These great scientific men now tell us that the fundamental thing in the universe is not matter, but consciousness — mind-stuff some of them call it; and they say that the material sphere, the material universe, is but the flowing forth, as it were, from within of this fundamental consciousness or mind-stuff — in other words, that the physical universe is the resultant or consequence of the operations of the cosmic consciousness. Excellent! Most excellent is our thought; only theosophists, following the ancient tradition of the wisdom of the ages, say consciousnesses; for our teaching is that the cosmic consciousness is more truly explained by saying that it is plural, not singular, and that it is composite of all the innumerable hosts, multitudes, armies, hierarchies, of intelligent and conscious and self-conscious and quasi-self-conscious, beings living in these invisible worlds and spheres and planes and universes.
They are of all-various degrees or stages in evolutionary development, these inhabitants of the invisible worlds. There are those which (or who) are very high, and there are others which (or who) are very low, lower even than mankind; and the intermediate stages of cosmic existence visible and invisible are filled with beings appropriate to those stages or planes of the universe. Are you human beings so dense of understanding, are you so blind to what nature proclaims on every hand, that you cannot understand the significance of variety, differences, differentiation, in the universe? Are you so blind that you think that men are the only self-conscious, thinking beings in boundless space and the only ones that have existed or can exist throughout endless and beginningless eternity?
Mind-stuff is the fundamental essence of the universe — consciousness, others say. Are we human beings on this little dust-speck of earth the only products of this infinite 'consciousness'? What a fantastic perversion of truth and fact! Why, my Brothers, the fact alone that we men exist proves the rule of what I have said; for there is no explaining why human beings should be the sole exceptions in infinite time and space. One rose, as I have said before, proves the existence of other roses. One thinking man proves the existence of a race of thinking men. What nature produces in the instance she produces because it is merely a law, a rule, and consequently what she follows in the instance or in the particular she follows because it is the rule in the universal.
The consequence of this thought, then, is that just as our earth is populated not only with human beings but with all the hosts of entities beneath the human, just so also wherever nature builds mansions of life, she populates them; and the invisible spheres and worlds are filled with such mansions of life, each one carrying its hosts or inhabitants, each kind of inhabitant, each kind of hosts of inhabitants is appropriate to the world, inner or outer, visible or invisible, on which it is, appropriate to and fit for life on the inner plane on which it is, on the inner sphere on which it lives and exists and has its being.
Life is universal. If life is not universal, then life is restricted. What proof have you of that fantastic idea? Some people say they don't know whether life exists on other planets. Of course they don't. You have not been asked to prove it. But merely because you make a statement declaring your ignorance, what kind of logical sense have you to suppose that such a declaration of ignorance is an argument against the opposite proposition that because life is here and life is universal, therefore it must exist elsewhere? Not only on the physical planets which we can see with our eyes, but in other solar systems of our physical universe and also in the inner and invisible worlds do hierarchies, armies, hosts, multitudes, of living beings exist.
Do you realize that our ultramodern scientists are today actually hinting at the existence of these inner and invisible worlds, perhaps without realizing what they are doing? Indeed, they are so hinting. They are beginning to talk about the possibility of an ether within the atom and therefore universal, because atoms are everywhere — an old, old, old thought, ancient as thinking man; and this etheric world is an inner world, an invisible world, a world or plane permeating all physical existence; and nevertheless it is but the shell of worlds still more ethereal: it is the garment of the cosmic life next in grade of ethereality to our gross physical sphere. It is what theosophists call the lower astral world.
But within this inter-atomic ether, there are other ethers, other and more ethereal grades of substance and being, leading directly inwards, or upwards if you like, to the realms of spirit, and spirit also is substance; for, as I have already said, energy and matter are fundamentally one; spirit and substance are fundamentally one; and as I have already told you the fundamental essence of the universe is consciousness, which is therefore likewise substance, because consciousness is spiritual energy.
Often on other occasions when speaking here, friends, I have adverted, always briefly, to certain facts, to which I allude again today. I have tried to show you how the inner structure of the universe is: that the entire cosmic system of universes is of a hierarchical type, extending from what men call spirit, in other words from the most ethereal, the most spiritual substances and energies, "down" through constantly thickening veils of matter until we reach our own physical sphere; and then descending still lower than our physical sphere on the cosmic ladder of life.
Because we human beings happen to be living on this one particular rung of that ladder of life — on this plane, in this world, of this series of worlds and planes — we are living as it were on only a cross section of the real universe, comprising, as the real universe does, the inner and invisible as well as this outer and visible range of existences; and this outer and visible universe is visible to us only because our sense apparatus has been builded through evolution to cognize the vibrations appertaining to this physical sphere. That is all.
All these different worlds and planes and spheres are inhabited, whether they be visible or invisible, each with inhabitants of its own kind, who are entities that vibrate synchronously — to use this expression so popular today — with the energies and substances which make these inner and interior and invisible worlds. That is why they are conscious there as we are conscious here.
We humans are merely pilgrims on this plane, in this world; we are merely staying here for a time, for one reincarnation on earth. We have been here often before in other reincarnations, and we shall come often again, but each such passage through this sphere is like stopping off at an inn of life. Yet the pilgrim passes on, goes to other worlds, to other spheres, to other planes, and does just as he does here, learning, learning, learning, in each; building up experiences, strengthening character, gaining wisdom, gaining understanding and, noblest and most beautiful of all, perhaps, evoking almighty love and sympathy out of the fountain of his inmost being, which fountain is his own inner godhood, the essential divinity which is his own heart of hearts.
Just as the Christians today, who are of a mystical type of mind, speak of the immanent Christos, the immanent Christ, or as the Buddhists speak of the inner Buddha, so do theosophists speak of the inner god. It is the same thought exactly in all cases, but expressed in differing words. All evolution, all development, all growth in every line and in every way, is simply bringing out what the evolving, growing entity has within itself — for the word evolution means just that: unfolding; and unfolding is growing, growth; and growth is evolving. As I have so often said to you from this platform, future ages of mankind here on this earth will have evolved, brought forth — that is unfolded — the divinity within; and this earth will be populated by a race of human gods in the far distant aeons of the future.
It is populated today by a race of beings — who are you and I — who are very far from being gods, and who are overgrown apes, some people think; but I don't so think; for there is not a drop of ape blood in human veins; although there is human blood in the veins of the ape, and that fact accounts for the ape's close physical likeness to man.
I have a number of questions this afternoon which I have been holding for answer. The first of them is as follows:
What relation have the invisible worlds, that theosophists speak so much of, to our world?
Every possible relation. Our world is a part of the universe; these invisible worlds are other parts of the universe. They are as real on their own planes as this world is on this plane. These worlds are all interconnected, interlocked, interrelated, interworking, interchained; for all together they form one vast hierarchy on the cosmic ladder of life. Among them there are ranges of worlds which are far higher than ours, and there are other ranges which are inferior; but all are interconnected.
Our world is the result, the effects, of the lives, operations, entities, energies, of other and invisible worlds, just as a human body, a man's body, is the result, the garment, the effect, of what that man himself is, considered as an energy, as a consciousness; and consciousness is a substance, albeit spiritual substance. The real man is invisible; he is in fact a bundle of energies, which means a bundle of spiritual and ethereal substances. His consciousness is centered in the ethereal, invisible part of his constitution; and the human body is but the deposit, the lees, the bark — as I have already said, the effects — of the inner causes. The man himself is his inner energies, his inner substances, his thoughts, his feelings, his emotions; and these are energies; matters therefore are they, but spiritual matters, for energy and matter are one fundamentally; spirit and substance are one fundamentally, each expressing itself in its own way. Do you get the thought? Therefore man's body is the outermost expression of the inner entity, of the ethereal-spiritual entity. Man's body is the deposit, the lees, of what the man inwardly is.
Our physical sphere, considered as a physical body, analogically is exactly the same, making the necessary changes of facts and circumstances; for it is the inner worlds, corresponding to man's inner constitution in his case, which are the causes of the physical universe, and our physical world therefore is the effects, the effectual world. Therefore our world has every possible relation with the inner worlds. It is inseparably connected with them all. As the monads of human beings leave their bodies, they go into these inner worlds on the pilgrimage, the wondrous adventure, that I have already spoken to you about; and again they come from these inner worlds into reincarnation here and thus become men again.
These inner worlds, therefore, are very closely connected with us; they are the sources of the movements of the physical sphere, just as the sources of the movements of a growing thing, of a plant, of a beast, of a man, lie in the invisible atoms which compose that growing entity. Growth is from within outwards. Yes, a lovely flower is born out of the invisible realms into its physical expression; it is an expression of energies, energies of a certain type, as this lovely pink flower before me is representative of one type of energy, and this other flower is representative of some other type of energy, and these other flowers at my side again represent other inner energies.
Thus it is that men differ among themselves in character, for each one is the expression of the energies and substances of an individuality, of an ego, which produces the differing characters that men have; but all such productions are from within outwards. A lovely rose, the gentle violet, are expressions on this plane of the lovely rose and gentle violet on the inner planes working themselves outwards into this physical plane. So also as regards a human being.
The real men are invisible, my Brothers; and please don't confuse what I am telling you this afternoon, and what I have already told you, with the doctrines of certain people who are today very numerous in the world and for whom as individuals I often have high respect: I mean the Spiritists. I say not one word in criticism of their beliefs; they have as much right to their beliefs as I have. I only ask you not to confuse our theosophical teachings, the teachings of the archaic wisdom-religion of mankind, with the teachings of modern Spiritism. In many instances there are close likenesses between the two, but there are also very fundamental, very radical, differences.
If these invisible worlds exist, are they inhabited, and what kind of inhabitants have they?
"If these worlds exist." Do you doubt it? Why does the questioner say "if"? I have known philosophers to say, "If man exists." Do you doubt the fact of his existence? Now, such views as those implied in this question come from the state of thinking and the kind of thinking common and popular in the times of our fathers, of our grandfathers and great-grandfathers, who thought that they knew pretty much all that the universe could tell them, and that modern Occidental science had said very nearly the last word possible of all human experience. And then come along Roentgen, and Becquerel, and Mme. Curie, and Einstein — and among them all the props are completely knocked out from under the structure of the sacred science of the previous age. Ideas new and startling to the Occident came into men's minds, and they began to wonder. Now they are beginning to say, "Why, these ideas which seem so new are in reality very old; they have been taught for ages." Yes indeed, in modern times these old ideas have been given a new expression with new turns; but that is all. It is verily so.
Modern scientists like Eddington and Jeans and Planck and Einstein, and the great American Millikan and the rest of them — I mean the greatest men among them — are beginning to talk about consciousness being the fundamental reality of the universe; but may I ask you: has no one ever heard that thought before the present day? Indeed yes; for it is the commonest philosophical postulate that the race has ever known. Our modern great scientists are beginning to rediscover what in ignorance our forefathers had discarded; and all this is very fine.
May I however remind you, my Brothers, that theosophists say, not consciousness, but consciousnesses; for the world is filled full — the universe, boundless space, with all the universes within it — is filled full with hierarchies, multitudes, hosts, call them what you like, of conscious, sentient beings, more or less like us humans; some of them are higher, and some of them are lower, than we; but all are advancing, all are learning, all are growing, all are evolving, all are pilgrims on the evolutionary journey from eternity to eternity.
Man has no unique position at all in the cosmic scheme. Humanity is but one hierarchy, one kind, one type, of beings, among the hosts of hierarchies with which the Universe is filled full. The Universe, my Brothers, is filled with gods — gods of all kinds, of all classes and types, high, low, intermediate; and beneath them, less evolved than they, are other armies, other hierarchies, classes, hosts, of entities, which we may perhaps call demigods, or cosmic spirits; and then again beneath these in evolutionary progress, are still other hosts, until we reach men and beings like men on other planets in our own solar system and in other solar systems; and then beneath men there are beings like the beasts and the plants and the rocks; and beneath these again are other beings in the invisible worlds not so evolved even as they are.
"If these invisible worlds exist, are they inhabited?" Indeed they are inhabited just as ours is. I would very much like to hear some time the explanation of some man, or woman mayhap, who would attempt to prove this thesis: "Man is the only self-conscious or conscious being in the Universe, and the planet Terra is the only inhabited globe in boundless infinitude." He would have no easy task, would he? In fact the thesis is something that he could not prove. Among other things it would mean saying that this globe and its mankind, its inhabitants, are the only instance in infinitude and in eternity of the existence of living, conscious, self-conscious creatures. The thesis in fact is folly.
I tell you the very fact that men are here proves the existence of similar beings, entities, elsewhere. One man proves humanity; one rose proves a garden of roses — aye, and many gardens of roses. One speck of gold proves the existence of gold elsewhere.
"What kind of inhabitants have they?" All kinds of inhabitants. Don't think for an instant that the inhabitants of these other worlds must be just like men in shape, with two eyes and a nose and a mouth, two ears and two hands and two legs, and all the other appurtenances. Not at all. Our physical bodies are shaped as they are shaped merely because our evolutionary growth has brought us to this particular present type. In other ages even our physical bodies were far different from what they are now; and in future ages our physical bodies as then they will be will be far different from what now they are. Our bodies are changing slowly, just as and because of the fact that the inner man is changing slowly — improving, evolving, growing, because continuously bringing out in fuller measure what is within. In fact, these inner and invisible worlds are populated with beings in each case appropriate to such world or sphere or plane, just as is the case with men on earth.
In the spiritual worlds, the beings there are more spiritual than we are; in worlds less ethereal and less spiritual, the beings there are less ethereal, less spiritual, than the former class; and, furthermore, many of these worlds, inner, invisible worlds, are populated by entities far grander than man now is or than he will be a thousand million years from now; and, contrariwise, there are other worlds which are populated by entities less progressed than man is. It all is a matter of relativity. There are worlds of many kinds; but each is populated or inhabited by its own kind, appropriate to it, with bodies appropriate to it, just as is the case here on earth.
Are these invisible worlds and planes populated by the human dead?
No! Immortal gods! Just think for a moment: infinite space, infinite time, to be populated by the offspring of this little dust speck! — existing for perhaps only a few thousand millions of years in the past which is as nothing in infinite duration! The idea is ludicrous. Nevertheless the human dead are well cared for. I would that I could draw aside the veil hiding our esoteric teachings and tell you somewhat of our esoteric doctrines which are so satisfying in these respects and so beautiful; but I cannot do this. I can only repeat the words that you have already heard this afternoon: "Ask, and ye shall receive; knock, and knock aright, and it shall be opened unto you."
The human dead are at rest; they live in a state of the utmost peace and bliss, in happiness beyond all human compare; they toil not; they labor not; there are no tears in their eyes; they are in perfect rest, resting in ineffable peace and bliss, until they return to this earth — children as they are, physically and psychically speaking, of this earth — until they return to this earth again to take up human bodies anew, to work off old debts, to pay off old obligations, to help those they have injured, and also to receive the help that is rightly due to them from their fellow men.
These inner worlds and spheres and planes are not populated by the human dead. These last are at peace. There is, however, an intercourse — continuous, steady, uninterrupted — of other classes of entities between our world and the inner worlds. It is all very wonderful. It is a study which is unspeakably fascinating. For instance, the life-atoms of all entities on whatever world they may exist are interchanged; but also there are other entities besides life-atoms which furnish the intercourse, if you like the word, as among the various worlds and spheres invisible and visible.
There is a part of man's constitution which is an inhabitant of every sphere in our own solar system, visible or invisible; and this part of our constitution we call the monad. But that part of us which is human, that is to say which we call man, the human being — the child of the monad — it rests after death and is at peace, until it comes to earth again.
Where are these invisible worlds located?
My Brothers, they are everywhere, literally everywhere. This very air which we breathe is permeated, is filled, with worlds, spheres, planes, which we cannot see nor hear nor taste nor touch, because our sense apparatus is not fitted for such cognition, not evolved to do it. Even as a man moves, as he walks the street, he passes through, it may be, the buildings, the countries, the lakes, the hills, the dwelling places, of entities inhabiting some of these inner worlds.
Do you think that the way in which we live on this earth and the manner of our existence here is in either case an exception in the universe? Clear your minds of that moldy old superstition that our world and that man are exceptions in the universe. We and our world are but instances of the universal rule, and merely exemplify it and prove it by the fact that we are here.
Remember the old maxim of the Egyptian Hermes: "As it is above, so is it below. What is below, the same is above." The reason is that universal nature's, fundamental law prevails everywhere, therefore providing a uniform rule of life, consistent, coherent, equal, the same everywhere; because this fundamental law permeates everywhere. This is a simple thought, yet it is a wonderful key for your hours of quiet meditation.
These inner worlds are everywhere, I say, and they are of many and various kinds. Some of them are so near, so to speak, to this, our own physical world, that the veil separating them from us is almost diaphanous, extremely thin. Mankind in the future will develop a new kind of seeing eye, the inner eye, and a new kind of inner feeling or sense, and then he will not only see and become conscious of these beings of the inner worlds, but he will be able, so to speak, to reach out a tactile finger and touch them.
Is it possible for human beings to have personal contact with the invisible worlds?
Nature's laws are very merciful and kindly. The average human being is utterly unprepared to have any conscious intercourse whatsoever with these inner worlds. He could only have such conscious intercourse at great risk to health — mental, psychical, physical. These inner worlds are ruled by energies of their own, and are inhabited by beings of their own — some friendly to man, very friendly, others hostile, deadly hostile. That fact need not surprise you. See how you men, men with consciences, ill-treat and mistreat the beasts — your own lower brothers. No, nature is merciful; she prevents the great multitude of men from having any cognition or intercourse with these invisible worlds, filled as they are with entities which in some cases are friendly but in other cases unfriendly, and with energies and powers that no human being, unless initiated, would know how to control, and which could easily tear him to pieces.
But there are some human beings nevertheless who can have this intercourse at will: some human beings who have followed the pathway of the inner god, the pathway to wisdom unspeakable, that I have already spoken to you about — and these are the great men of the human race and their disciples, their chelas, their pupils. These indeed, in the initiation chambers, have gone behind the veils. As a matter of fact they must do it, so that they may know, and knowing protect their weaker brothers. They indeed have followed this wonderful pathway leading ever more within. They have followed the pathway of initiation, which is the pathway to the gods; and they have been on the most wonderful adventure that any human being can undertake. They have left their humanity behind and, traveling through the spheres, have confabulated with the gods.