Theosophical University Press Online Edition
(Lecture delivered August 17, 1930)
CONTENTS: Within you is the light of eternity. — The limitations of the argumentative brain-mind. — The secret of the physical atoms of chemistry. — The ten hierarchies of our own home-universe. — What do you mean by self-study? Can it lead to self-worship? — The ever-receding holy of holies. — What is a star? — Smashing the prejudices of scientific fanatics. — Why the repetition of a truth is good. — What has brought about the diversity in the universe? — The Gayatri, an ancient Vedic prayer: an interpretation. — What draws us back to earth? — What attracts us after death? — Will there be a preliminary meeting of all theosophists in May 1931? Dr. de Purucker firmly maintains his original position. — Fundamentally men are trustworthy. — Spiritual ideals cannot be voted upon. — It is ideas that rule the world. — Words from the Journal of the Swiss philosopher, Amiel. — Awake to a cognizance of the life sublime!
A speaker who has something to tell his audience which is real and beautiful and true because based on the very structure and operations of almighty nature herself, and who stands before an audience as a theosophical lecturer does, wonders, when beginning to speak, just how much of what he is going to say will sink into the minds of his hearers, so that through their minds these wonderful theosophical thoughts may reach the understanding heart of you, the center of consciousness. This center of consciousness is a brilliant flame, an inner light, which passes through the tissue of living veils of personality cast around it by evolution and will. It streams forth from the very heart of being, and may, rightly be called the very light of eternity.
It is to this light within you that I always address myself: this light which is not a physical brilliance at all, but nevertheless of which even the physical brilliance of the stars of the material universe is, as it were, a shadow. This light is composite of consciousness, love, understanding which is the root of intelligence; and these are not three things, but one thing, like a three-faceted jewel showing now this, now that, now the third aspect of itself.
The faculties which a human being shows, which he manifests, obviously spring forth from within him. They do not come from without. They arise in his own inner forum of consciousness; and just in proportion as the percipient ego, the self-conscious human being, can penetrate more and more inwards towards this flow of light, this light of eternity within, does the man who is this percipient ego enter into the deeps of himself, which is the same as saying into the deeps of the universe of which he is an inseparable part.
This light it is that I appeal to. I care nothing at all for argumentative brain-minds. It is these brain-minds of ours, although useful in ordinary affairs of life, which nevertheless cause divisions among men, which separate man from man and race from race, and bring about the misery and sorrow of the world. My appeal is to that within you which is eternal, for it is the very light of eternity streaming through you.
These observations are drawn from a part, a beautiful part, of the teaching of all the sages and seers of all the ages, a teaching existent among all men and in all times. Ye are gods, says the writer of one of the Christian scriptures, and he spoke truth. As men of course we are not gods; we human beings as human beings are but feeble and imperfect manifestations of the supernal splendor struggling to escape through the living tissue of the encircling veils and garments of the personal selfhood; but the inmost of the inmost of us, the core of the core of the heart of the heart of us, is a god, a divine being, not merely rooted in the universe but a very part of it — life of its life, bone of its bone, being of its being; and when once you understand this sublime thought, you will realize that you yourselves are — each one of you is — that universe, for each one of you is but an inseparable part of the incomprehensible whole.
Everything that is in the whole, as I tell you again and again from this platform, is therefore in each one of you, gods as you are in your inner parts; and each one of you is striving to manifest your transcendent spiritual powers through these crippling and encircling veils of the lower selfhood. This teaching really is the heart of the heart of all the great world religions and world philosophies. I allude to it on every Sunday when I speak to you, because it is all important.
How can a man understand the universe, apparently outside of him but of which he is really a part, unless he knows himself? It is not enough merely to feel, merely to think. You must know; and how do you know yourself? By studying things apparently outside of you? No, by going inwards, into your own consciousness — not the brain-mind consciousness, not the physical consciousness. These last are merely two of the veils, two of the garments, two of the living tissues, of the inmost of you. But the process that I now here refer to is going deeper within, into the deeps, and thereby following that still, small path of which the Hindu Upanishads tell us, leading ever more within. It will lead you to the very heart of the universe, if you follow it faithfully and without fail.
Consider how this sublime thought clothes you as men with high dignity; see the responsibility inherent in your lives as men. You recognize yourselves as collaborators with the gods in the great cosmic work — and the universe is filled full with gods. Like you not the name? If so, you make me think of what a clever Irish writer recently said. He said: "Our fathers were afraid of ghosts, but we moderns are afraid of names." Call these gods then cosmic spirits, or archangels, or angels, or whatnot: Dominions, Principalities, Powers — what does the name signify? It is the thought involved which is all important.
These gods which fill the universe full are our parents, our kin. They have produced us, not "created" us, but somewhat after the manner in which an earthly father will produce from his own being his physical child. As the child in a sense is a part of his father, so have these divine beings in the universe produced or evolved forth the demigods who in their evolutionary course on earth we call men. We are gods in our inmost, demigods because children of the gods, and on earth we are men. And we demigods, we men, who are gods in our inmost, are living in bodies of flesh at the present time, bodies composed of atoms, of chemical atoms; and what are these atoms? Are they different in essence from us? No. Has not an atom, each one being an inseparable portion of the universe just as every man is, everything essentially within it that a man or a god has? Verily so, for these atoms, even the physical atoms of chemistry, are but the outer living tissue of the divinity at the heart of every atom — of each one of the atoms.
Therefore it at once becomes obvious that every man is a little universe, a microcosm; every god is a greater universe; while at the other extreme every atom even is an infinitesimal universe.
Gods, demigods, and atoms — gods, men, and atoms — are the subjects of our study together today. Do I choose these three, gods, men, and atoms, because I mean thereby to signify that these three hierarchies or classes of beings are the only self-conscious entities in boundless infinitude? Not at all. But simply for purposes of easy understanding I have taken three interlocking and interblending hierarchies. In our own home-hierarchy, which comprises all within the encircling bounds of the galaxy, the Milky Way — that is, our home-universe — ten, so teaches the sublime wisdom-religion of the archaic ages, are the subordinate hierarchies or stages or steps, from the highest to the lowest, within this our home-universe; and these ten include within their compass all the classes of living beings existent within this home-universe.
What are these ten classes, according to the ancient enumeration? They are the following: gods, demigods, daimones, men; then, coming to our earth, beasts, the plant kingdom, the mineral kingdom, and the three kingdoms of the elementals below the mineral kingdom — ten in all. Note well that every cosmic hierarchy in boundless space is divided in the same way; but some of these cosmic hierarchies are high and some are low, if we use our own Milky Way as a convenient standard of reference. There are no frontiers to infinitude.
Did not every great seer and sage teach that within a human being lie all the mysteries of the universe? Man, know thyself, was the profound injunction of the Delphic Oracle. Why was so much emphasis laid on this injunction? Because the way to wisdom, the way to knowledge, the way to understanding, lies within man himself. The understander is within.
Some people like to be on what they consider the safe side in religious and philosophical questions. I met a man once who had joined a certain church. I said: "Why? From what you tell me, you really don't believe in those teachings." "No, I don't." "Well, why did you join?" "Well, it is good to be on the safe side. I may be wrong, you know." This prudent individual reminds me of a joke that was sent in to me yesterday, or a day or two ago:
An old lady in church was seen to bow whenever the name of Satan was mentioned. One day the minister spoke to her and asked her why she did so. "Well," she replied, "politeness doesn't cost anything, and then — you never know."
I have known people to come into The Theosophical Society on much the same grounds. They like our teachings; they think that these teachings are fine, are scientific, philosophical, and religious; but I have always felt that there was a little something about these people that did not ring quite true; and I remember in one case that I spoke to a comrade in this connection, and I said (I will call him Jack): "Well, Jack, why did you join?" "Well, I liked the idea of joining." And I said: "Why? You are not — well, I don't mean to be unkind, Jack — but you are not doing exactly as you ought to do." "Well," he said, "I will tell you why, G.deP. I thought that perhaps, after all, your teachings might be true; and that after I joined The Theosophical Society, and accepted these ideas with my intelligence such as I have evolved it, these teachings might be a sort of protection against my doing things that I might do if I were outside."
I could tell you quite a lot of funny stories about people who have joined us in the past, and in certain instances about some people who have dropped out of membership. I will tell you that I am not eager for that kind of Fellows in The Theosophical Society. I direct my appeal always to the real inner man, to the essential spiritual manhood of you. I would not give a snap of the fingers for all the wealth of the world and all the power of the world if I could bring them into the Theosophical Movement but by doing so lose my own soul. I know that having found myself, my real inner spiritual self, I have found all, for at will I can enter that portal opening inwardly to the Mystic East, and thereafter follow a pathway which, if I pursue it faithfully, will lead me to the very heart of the Universe, past the portals of the sun, our own glorious day-star. I mean every word of this and mean it literally. It is to this element in you, my Brothers, that I always make my appeal.
In connection with what I have just said, a question was sent in to me that I will now read. It seems to fall into place here.
If a man looks within too intensively, is there a possibility of his becoming a self-made man who worships his creator?
This is a rather clever question because it points out that there is always a chance of a man losing his spiritual way, and worshiping himself. My answer to this question is a positive negative, because any such lower self-examination is morbid. It is not the study of and aspiration towards the spiritual being within that I have heretofore spoken of. You cannot study this inner spiritual life of you too intensively. It is compact of truth, of almighty love, of compassion, of pity, of all the elements in the universe which produce, through the intelligence and hearts of men, kindliness, brotherhood, gentleness, and things of good and high report. This study of our spiritual being shows us that we must break through the enshrouding veils of the lower selfhood and penetrate within to the divinity, to the inner god, which is the heart of the heart of each one of us. Then, when we have reached that sublime goal, we shall have the impulse to turn around, as do the glorious buddhas of compassion who turn backwards on the path, and help our fellows trailing along behind. This compassionate act is what all true spiritual saviors of men do.
The self-study which I was told to teach is not the study of the lower personal elements of our being, but it is the study of the god within, your inmost being; and the way consciously to reach it is to break through the encircling veils of the lower personality, to pass these, to break down these barriers if need be, and to cast them aside, but in any case to enter into the holy of holies within us. How wonderful this adventure is! This inmost of us, which I have called a holy of holies, as soon as you reach it fades away into something still more sublime on the distant mountain peaks of hope, and then ye pass onwards, and reaching that more distant goal ye find that the same experience happens again. But at each such recurrence of this sublime experience the stage of understanding and consciousness attained is higher than the previous one; and so it continues, each stage being higher still, ever more high, until ye reach the portals of the spiritual sun, not only the spiritual sun within you but also of that very day-star which is the source of all life and light on our earth.
Our fathers thought that our physical sun was but a huge furnace burning itself out. What an amazingly puerile conception! The ancient Mystics taught that every star in the cosmic spaces was but the luminous veil or garment of a god, just as they also said that every body of every human being is but the outermost veil of a divine entity working through that outermost veil.
There are times when I take pleasure in smashing, if I can, the old prejudices of so-called religious and scientific fanatics, if by doing so I can let light in to darkened minds. As a matter of fact men's minds today are in deep obscurity and lack spiritual illumination because the men of our present day have been brought up in the old scientific and religious materialistic teachings of our fathers. Even today the universities teach this materialism from their lecture platforms, despite the astonishing progress that scientific discovery and research have made; the books that you read in the libraries are written with this moribund materialism as their main theme; and yet I tell you that this materialism, at least in the minds of the great men of the world, is now dead. The scientific and religious teachers of the world no longer accept it. No truly eminent man believes today in that old materialism; and some of the greatest scientific minds of the day are thinking of new and lofty intellectual departures; these men are seeing visions and dreaming dreams of spiritual truth. A few of them are even talking of mind-stuff as being the foundation of the universe; and as a great English scientist wrote a short time ago, the materialism of our fathers was a scientific superstition — the scientific materialistic thought of our forefathers was a superstition — as much so as was the belief in devils and witches; and yet that same materialism is still taught today to your children and youth. The whole thought-world of the Occident is still filled with it, although everybody who is well-informed now knows that it is untrue. And yet it is taught, and therefore it shapes the minds of our youth, and their minds are still more or less governed by it.
Do you now understand why I love to smash these scientific and religious fantasies of a bygone day? On the contrary, I assert that the world is filled with gods and that every living thing and the so-called inanimate things also, are trees of life, with their roots above in the spiritual realms, with their trunks passing through the intermediate spheres, and their branches manifesting in the physical realms. Such a spiritual tree also is man. So also is a beast. So also is a plant. So also is a demigod. So also is a god. So also is a super-god.
I was asked the other day why I repeated so often what I had said on previous occasions. I answered: Because it is a wonderful, beautiful series of thoughts that I have been told to deliver from this platform; and also please remember that you cannot repeat a good thing too often. It is repetition which is the very soul of advertising, and when you have a truth to advertise and to give, tell it and tell it and tell it again, and with all the energy and earnestness which you have.
I am a believer in the divine source of the universe. Spirit is the root of things; and the gods and demigods and daimones and all the other vast armies and hosts of cosmic entities, invisible and those which we apparently see, are all collaborating together in the cosmic work; and they are the causes of the natural so-called diversity that you see everywhere — atom differing from atom, man differing from man, one demigod differing from others; and so forth throughout infinity. In these divine and spiritual entities lies the cause of the diversity of the universe.
This point may not interest some of you, perhaps, but uninitiated thinkers of all ages have pondered over the problem: What has brought about the diversity in the universe? It is the divine beings existent therein as the lives and intelligences of the universe; and of these divine beings men are one host. O my brothers, ye are gods — at present feeble and undeveloped human beings, but yet each one of you in his inmost is a god — each one of you in his heart of hearts is a divine being, a spark of the universal cosmic intelligence.
Strictly in connection with what I have said to you, about reaching the portals of the sun and passing beyond it into realms still more sublime, there came to me a question the other day which I will now read to you:
I do not understand what you mean when you speak of men as sons of the sun, implying that thereby some greater dignity attaches to them than is usually the case. I know what is meant by being sons of God [I do not], in the sense that when we turn from our crude, elemental, human ways, and sincerely try to follow the high ethics of Jesus Christ, we are redeemed from our earthly nature. But sons of the sun sounds like a Pagan idea to me. I do not wish to appear critical; I just do not understand. Can you explain further?
I most assuredly can explain further. "O spiritual sun, Father in heaven, giver of life and light, enfold us in thy radiance; awaken in us thereby thy own light in our hearts, so that it may flood our pathway and guide our feet on our journey to thy sacred seat." This is a paraphrase of an ancient Vedic prayer called the Gayatri, and is even today one of the most sacred verses of Brahmanism. I quote it for its esoteric significance and don't quote it as signifying sun worship, for that is not the idea at all.
The spiritual sun, of which the physical sun is but the outermost veil, is the channel through which all beings pass on one phase of their aeons-long evolutionary pilgrimage. It is for a time a home in which we must stay. Sons of the sun, said the ancients, are the sons of men. The sun is, men also are, and both are parts of the cosmic whole, both are productions of the cosmic life. You may say that instead of being sons of the sun we are brothers of the sun, and you would say aright; but as that brilliant day-star of ours in its spiritual essence, in its spiritual parts, is the fountainhead of the life with which our solar system is filled, the open portal through which streams the light of eternity — and I am not using poetical words — it is therefore perfectly correct to use the phrase sons of the sun, for in us, in each one of us, there abides a divine spark, a spiritual electric scintilla so to speak, a spiritual spark, drawn from the spiritual sun.
You Occidentals have been thinking for too long a time that the only power of thought resides in your own Occidental brains. Too long a time have you disregarded nature's outstanding fact that consciousness and the energy of the spiritual life inhere in all human beings. Why does this kind questioner call this idea a pagan idea, if not from this Occidental egoism which qualifies its own small portion of learning as the standard by which all the rest of mankind shall be judged? Yes, it is a pagan idea, because it is a true idea. It is also a pagan idea to say, as the writer of one of the Christian scriptures said, Ye are gods. It is typically pagan! Shall you reject a truth because some people whose minds are three or four hundred years behind the advancing times say that the truth is a pagan truth? You won't find this narrowness of spirit in other parts of the world.
Yes, it is a pagan idea, thank the immortal gods. Am I therefore a pagan? I am, in the above sense of the word, because I am a searcher for truth. Do you ask me: Are you a polytheist? I answer: I am, because although you must not imagine that I believe literally in the ancient, worn-out mythological teachings of Greece or of Rome, or of Hindustan or of China, yet I do believe, and in fact I know, that the universe is filled full with sentient, conscious entities, whom I call gods because I know that they are far greater than men are, but yet have intelligence and life and understanding, and in a sense have understanding hearts, and furthermore are the causes of the vast and seemingly bewildering diversity of the natural universe, because they are the roots of that diversity.
Now, when a theosophist speaks of the universe, does he mean merely the physical universe that he sees? No, no, no! I have already told you often that that physical universe is but the outer garment, the outer veil, hiding the wonderful secrets of the inner worlds and realms, worlds spiritual, worlds ethereal, existing in all-various grades and degrees of evolutionary advancement. So fully are theosophists evolutionists that we do not stop short at any frontier, but say that evolution applies to all things and everywhere, and during boundless eternity. It never began; endings it knows not. Evolution is growth, is progress, and all things grow and progress, and how can they do so unless there be the fields of life on which they may live and learn; and these fields of life are the worlds invisible and visible.
Therefore I beg you to think. Pause before you hastily judge. How beautiful is life when properly understood! With what dignity does the understanding of it clothe men's minds! Consider the one cosmic life, common to all things. Remember the one destiny, endless, always growing larger, growing greater continually, and common to all entities and things. Forget not the endless growth or evolution common to all entities and things.
In repeating the beautiful thoughts that it is my duty to lay before you, I do so with a purpose, hereinbefore stated: to drive home by repetition the sublime ideas; but yet I am not like the Negro preacher of whom I was reading this morning. Do you want to hear about that Negro preacher? I will read a paragraph to you just as a little mental diversion from these deeper thoughts. This humorous skit was sent in to me by a kind friend. I don't know from what paper it originally came. This is it:
Judge Brown: "Well Ephraim, what are you preaching to your flock these days? I hear you are making a mighty stir."
Ephraim: "Well, sur, yassur, I is, I gives it to 'um dis way: Fustly, I tells 'um what I'm gwine tell 'um, den I tells 'um what I said I wuz gwine tell 'um, and den I tells 'um what I done tole 'um."
I am not quite such a repeater as this Negro preacher, because at each separate time when I repeat a beautiful thought I try to vary it a little, to give you a little more than before of the wonderful light of the ancient wisdom-religion of mankind. Always remember that the things that are great are not the things which are seen. The things that are seen are results, effects, of the inner lives. The great things in life are those which are invisible, those which mystically draw us on to themselves, those which are greater than we and include us within the compass of their being. It is these greater things that interest real men. It is these greater things that you will discover in endless succession as you follow the mystical path leading ever more within towards the inner god.
O my Brothers, realize what you have locked up within you. Everything that the boundless infinitude contains is locked up within each one of you, active a little, latent greatly. But they are all there. See what this means for your future, as you grow and develop and bring out through evolution what is within you: unfolding, unwrapping, throwing forth from within outwards, just as a flower grows. So indeed does a flower evolve, or men or gods or worlds or suns.
The time is coming when a race of men your descendants of a far distant age in the future, will walk the earth, as I have told you on other occasions, and act like gods and talk like gods, because they will think like gods, and they will think like gods because the gods within them shall then have begun to manifest their transcendent energies, faculties, powers. There is the fundamental reason of their growth. You could not become a god unless you were one even now in your inmost; you could not have become a man unless you had had manhood latent within you from the beginning. Can an acorn, can an apple seed, bring forth respectively the oak or the apple tree unless these were lying latent there? No.
Here is also a question quite along the line of our thought. It is preceded with a quotation from Bulwer Lytton's The Coming Race, chapter 15, and the question itself follows:
"Minds accustomed to place happiness in things the reverse of godlike, would find the happiness of Gods exceedingly dull, and would long to get back to a world in which they could quarrel with each other."
Such being the case, should not a belief in reincarnation be very popular?
Yes, and a belief in reincarnation is and always has been exceedingly popular in the world. More than half of the human race today believes in it. But the citation from Bulwer Lytton's noteworthy book contains the key to the explanation why men come back into human bodies again and again. Their psychical constitutions are appetitive of what earth-life provides for them. In other words, men hunger for human life on earth! Being imperfect entities, their desires are imperfect; and it is nature's fundamental law that what we long for we ultimately always go to. What ye wish for, ye shall ultimately obtain. Now, please get the full sense of this profound truth. If ye crave and hunger after the things which hurt and blind both yourself and others, then ye shall have them in time, and the consequence is that ye will follow the downward way. If ye long for the things which expand the consciousness, which open the heart and develop the intellect; if ye love love and hate hate, and aspire for all that is great and noble and true; if ye wish to make of your human consciousness a cosmic consciousness, ye shall obtain it all in due course of time. The reasons are obvious, and lie in the fact that the currents of your vital energies are directed along the path which your mind and imagination open before you; and if your mind and imagination are centered on this or on that or on something else, thither will ye travel the pathway.
There is an ancient Sanskrit saying, exceedingly profound, mystical, esoterical, based on one of nature's fundamental laws, which no Occidental Orientalist has ever understood, and here it is, first the original Sanskrit and then its English translation: Yadyad devata kamayati, tattad devata bhavati: that is to say, in English: "Whatsoever an entity (a god, devata, is here taken as an example) longs for, that very thing the entity will become."
But men being as now they are, half god, half animal, their desires partake of both these classes of entities, and consequently they live partly in the spirit and partly in the material worlds. When a man dies, the better part of him is raised by its own attraction — irresistibly drawn upwards so to speak, or inwards, at any rate drawn to the spiritual realms; and when the long, sweet, and happy sleep of devachan is ended, the seeds sown in the last life and in previous lives in the very character, in the fabric, of the entity then in his spiritual rest — when the repose is ended, I say, these seeds will begin to grow, to manifest themselves, to open, and then the human being descends through the spiritual realms again to the fields wherein those seeds were originally sown, to earth-life.
It is a man's psychical hunger, his psychical thirst, in other words the appetites of his nature, which direct him hither or yon. Isn't it so? The same rule prevails when the physical garment of flesh is dropped, and consequently the soul is then drawn to what it feels to be familiar scenes, because it has had these scenes in its mental picture gallery during the life just passed, and has dwelt upon them in imagination, and has thus built up a fabric of energy. This is the devachan. When the reverse process takes place and the seeds of material appetites begin to awaken after the devachanic rest, they attract the entity back to the familiar fields of material existence. Thus is reincarnation on earth brought about, for a great part of the lower constitution of the human being is of earthly fabric and construction, compact of earthly thoughts and earthly passions and earthly desires which, although sinking at death into latency, ultimately awaken when the devachanic sleep is ended; and thus the entity is drawn back to earth-life.
Yes, men want to come back to "quarrel," as Bulwer Lytton so neatly puts it, in other words to be men again: to love with their little loves, to hate with their little hates, to play a few more antics on the stage of earth-life, to lay up for themselves more treasures on earth where thieves break through and steal, and where the rust doth corrupt. They want these things, and hence they come to earth again. At the present time men don't want to live like gods and to think like gods, and therefore to act like gods. Their appetites, their wishes, their thirst for existence, are not set with godlike ends as the goal.
Nevertheless you can change all this, and you can strive to be, even now, at least somewhat of the divinity within you. You can indeed do this. You can set for yourself a divine ideal and work towards it, strive to become it, and thus grow to be at least godlike men. All the powers of the divine are already in you. They are locked up in you. They are native to your spiritual self, to the god within you. That inner god is your essential being. Why not strive to become it?
Here is a little question that I desire to answer today. I promised to do so, although it stands apart from the thread of our thought. It is a question sent in to me by a boy in our school, fourteen years old.
When a cell divides by fission, do two new lives enter the cells thus formed, or is one of them still the same cell as the original?
This is a pretty good question for a boy of fourteen! The theosophical answer to it is briefly this: What happens when a father casts into the appropriate environment the human life-germ? Is the father the same as his son or his daughter? No. The one cell, when it divides into two, follows the same law. One remains what it was before, and the other or daughter-cell is the beginning of a new life which the parent-cell has produced. There is your answer in brief.
Another question before me is the following:
In the August issue of The Theosophist, edited by Dr. Besant, in a report of the Geneva Convention of Adyar Theosophists, your proposed congress for all Theosophical Societies to be held next year at Point Loma on August 11th is spoken of. But I also read that an effort will be made to call a preliminary meeting of the chief officials of these various societies to meet in May and to discuss ways and means, etc. It has been suggested that you convoke this preliminary gathering. Will it be done? It seems to me to cast an entirely different color on the whole thing and to give it more of a political aspect and less of a spiritual one.
The facts as stated are correct. It has been suggested that I convoke this preliminary gathering, and I shall refuse. The situation is not an easy one to face. The effort which originated at Point Loma for fraternization and brotherhood among all theosophists and Theosophical societies whatsoever was a spiritual effort; and I greatly fear that if any such introductory meeting were held, the spiritual atmosphere or the spiritual appeal of the original idea would be lost; and, by the immortal gods, my brothers, I dare not take the chance! Too much is at stake! So, for my part, I shall be obliged to refuse.
My original invitation, however, stands just as it originally stood, and I am ready. The congress spoken of is not to be a universal congress to which anybody who is a theosophist belonging to whatsoever Theosophical Society may come and vote. That was not at all my idea. The idea was in no wise that this convention at Point Loma next year should be a political gathering with all the soul-killing atmosphere of such a political meeting; but my effort took the form of an appeal to the spiritual feeling in men's hearts and minds to be brotherly, to be kindly. The idea was to have the chiefs and perhaps a very few of the other principal officers of the different societies meet together and talk over their common problems together: to give each the other his hand and to converse as brothers. That is what I want; that is what I hope for; and that itself, I believe, should be the only and sole preliminary step to something greater to come in the future.
Never shall I consent, as long as I remain the Leader of The Theosophical Society, to bring down a spiritual ideal to be judged and to be discussed and sat upon by men, however splendid as men they may be, sitting in conclave and adopting the results of their deliberations by the expedient of counting upraised hands or noses, or the ayes and the nays. Has it never struck you men of the Occident that it is great men who prevail in the world? No truth is so common; but when the application of this truth is called for, men are doubtful and timorous in following it. It is ideas which move the world; it is ideas which make and unmake civilizations; and ideas do not originate in the multitudes, they originate always in the mind of some individual.
Are ye going to cripple that individual's power by subjecting his thought to the votes of those who, even with the best of good will, perhaps do not, because they cannot for the time, understand? Are ye going to kill a spiritual idea by subjecting it to the forms followed by political gatherings? I will have nought to do with such a thing. Here is my hand extended to any brother, to any human being, genuinely and sincerely. Come, my brother. Take my hand. Let us live in peace and harmony. Is not that enough? There is my pledge and there stands my honor.
When will men learn that the hope of the world lies within and not without? The way to stifle a great and sublime idea is to discuss it too much, and thereafter to vote upon it. Immediately questions of expediency arise: "Shall I, or shall I not? Is it best?" Doubt, suspicion, immediately enter in at the door thus thrown wide open.
But in the heart of man there is the light of eternity. Personally I will trust my fellow men. I have always trusted, and I have never yet appealed to this heart-trust in vain. There are some men who have tried to deceive me; but these men misunderstood me. Once, my fellow men understand me, there will be no more trouble. Fundamentally men are trustworthy. I trust them. Make an appeal to the god within your fellow and let the god within you be the one who appeals, and even though the one who hears the appeal may turn his back and pretend to be deaf, yet you have cast a seed into his mind and heart which will grow in the silences; and someday it will open, and your man is your captive — a captive of your heart, a lover of the love which you have given.
There is the difference between a spiritual plan, a spiritual ideal, and one which is tested and determined by the mere brain-mind adjudications of political conclaves.
In each of you is divinity — you are a god within a man — and the man is enshrouded, veiled, by a body of atoms; hence you are three, god, man, atomic vehicle. You in your physical being not only represent the universe, but I tell you that every one of you in his inmost is a living god. Take that thought home with you and ponder over it; and once it enters into your minds, once you catch the light, all things that are worthwhile will be yours.
As the Swiss philosopher and writer Amiel wrote in his Journal, of which I will read an extract:
Never to tire; never to grow cold; to be patient, sympathetic, tender, to look for the budding flower and the opening heart; to hope always; to love always — this is duty. . . . Every life is a profession of faith, and exercises an inevitable and silent propaganda. . . . Every man is a center of perpetual radiation like a luminous body: he is, as it were, a beacon which entices a ship upon the rocks if it does not guide it into port. . . . Such is the high importance of example.
Begin to be then the god within you. Dignify your lives by lofty thought; for I tell you that when you begin to feel like a god, it shows that you have begun to think godlike thoughts, and when you so think and when you so feel, your fellows will instinctively recognize the god within you, and love you for the love that you pour out into their hearts, thus awakening them to a cognizance of the life sublime.
Vol 2, No 9