If the sacredness of marriage were rightly considered, we should not have such a dismal story to tell of the failures in married life — the disasters, the mistakes, and the sorrow. In our modern life with all its reading and study and mental acquisitions, humanity seems to have lost sight of the fact that a real marriage is almost a divine institution. When marriage is accepted as a sacred sanction, a sacred gift, and a sacred power, and it is entered into understandingly by both man and woman, we shall have no more divorces. There are surely enough divorces today to compel us to take another view of marriage.
For marriage there should be great preparation, just as there is for everything else of a serious nature that is accomplished in life. This preparation should begin in rightly forming the character of the children. If children were rightly educated, the sacredness of all life would creep almost imperceptibly into their hearts. We need not talk to them of marriage, but we can give them even before they are ten years old some slight conception of why they are here and what is the meaning of life.
No man who has any respect for law and order should have the audacity to assume a position of responsibility which he knows very little about. It is the same with women. If this rule were followed in marriage, we should have true marriages and there would be no divorces. But marriage is taken up so lightly nowadays that the disasters that follow its many failures are pathetic. They bring heartache, sorrow, and disappointment; and one never knows how far the effects may reach of a marriage entered into without a full consciousness of its sacredness.
Our duty compels us so to fashion our children that before they are sixteen they can feel so deeply and profoundly the seriousness of life that there is no room in their minds for them to absorb the errors and weaknesses, the insinuations and the innuendoes, of false teachings and bad examples. We must educate our children on such a high key of morality, of honor, and of justice that they will have a firm anchorage in the great vortex of human life. How can you expect boys and girls to build their homes spiritually and splendidly and justly if they have no foundation of character on which to build?
Coupled with all the good intellectual training that we give to our children, we must give them primarily the moral education. We must teach them in their tender years, before they move too far away from us, what it means to live, to love, and to serve. We must imbue them with the idea of the greatness of human life, showing them so plainly and so clearly that they will accept it, that life is precious, sacred, divine; and that being divine, it is a part of eternity.
Boys and girls brought up in this way, with their thoughts rooted in the spiritual realities, will grow as the flowers grow, and by the time they have reached a point of decision, of selection of their life-companions, they will act slowly and understandingly, thoughtfully and wisely and rightly. They will realize that human life, rightly understood and rightly lived, is joy, and that this joy to be lasting must be built on high principles. Our power of service to humanity, our real joy, happiness, depend upon the education of the spiritual side of man — especially of the child.
The children in the Raja-Yoga School at Point Loma begin in their tender years to find themselves in their efforts, in their mistakes, in their disappointments, without fear of punishment. They begin to find that knowledge is within, that the glory of God is within, that the divine life is within, and in the simplest possible way they move towards it, just as they would towards a flower in the garden.
Why can we not make the whole world sing of the joy of living, the joy of loving, and above all, the joy of serving? Why can we not live out our highest aspirations? Because we have been for ages psychologized with the fear of punishment and the fear of that awful hell, wherein we were to be burning for all eternity. The teaching of karma, that as ye sow, so must ye also reap, does not condemn you to eternal punishment. It merely means that you shall reap the consequences of your own actions until you have learned your lessons therefrom, until you have canceled your indebtedness.
Nor can we move away from the spirit of forgiveness, because it comes right out of our divine natures. It breathes the Christos-spirit, it takes us away from our personality and our selfishness, and we have no more time to think of our wrongs. We ourselves, rather, must become an example to humanity which will challenge all thinking people to a deeper and more profound conception of life. Remember that they themselves are essentially divine, splendid qualities are sleeping within them. No matter how great the worldly success or the scholastic attainment, there must come that inward consciousness of divinity, best expressed in the spirit of loving and forgiving. When this is done, we shall know the meaning of eternal love, of eternal justice, and of the sacredness of marriage.
Man knows, if he thinks at all, that there are many universes, many lives, and glorious achievements for all men; and that life can even now be made beautiful and helpful and optimistic. But first he must have the basic idea that the spiritual man is immortal, hence that man is essentially divine in nature. Then we shall have a new conception of deity — not as a personified being, but as a superb, wonderful, full expression of divine perfection. With this knowledge of essential divinity which every man can find within himself, there must come a higher education for the youth. The child that comes to us is not all ours; he is a part of the great scheme of life, and he has a great mission to perform. It is not for us to attempt to limit the possibilities of that child, for wisdom is to be learned even from the lips of little children.
When a child comes to us, who can tell the mystery of its birth? Science goes just so far, but it does not take us into the spiritual realm. It does not bring us to the realization that that bit of humanity is essentially divine, that we have a sacred responsibility in giving it its due. You can educate it, love it, pet it, provide for it, suffer for it, sacrifice yourself for it; but you fail in your duty to your child until you can give to it that which it expects from you. You are the teachers. Children are not put in our keeping just to be cared for on the physical plane. We must give them the realization of their essential divinity which they are entitled to. Maybe the child, within its own nature, unable to speak or act, may teach its parents something about the spiritual life.
You have your money and lose it, you have your property and lose it, but once you get that divine force, that divine consciousness that you are a part of the great universal scheme of life, you have found the treasures of the law. You can suffer then understandingly. You may be without a friend, without shelter — never mind, you have this treasure, the consciousness of your essential divinity. That is the keynote of man's life — to find his divinity and realize his heritage. Then he immediately understands his own responsibilities. He does not have to be taught them: he knows within himself his own responsibility to himself, to his children, to his city, to his nation, and to the world at large. This responsibility is ennobling.
With the consciousness of their own essential divinity, mothers and fathers must necessarily have a broader view of life, for if they have it not, how can they give it to their children? So that not only do we need a higher education for the youth, but for men and women as well.
When we have a new conception of ourselves, a new conception of the responsibilities of married life, then something new happens: we become optimistic instead of pessimistic. We have risen above that limited idea of one life, our vision opens as we begin to see the greatness of the divine and the greatness of man, with his possibilities. Then man is made anew, he is blessed in his own knowledge, in the reality of his consciousness that he is essentially divine. It is something so sacred, it is within the heart of every human being and every man has felt it.
So in order to do justice to our children, there is a sacred duty for the parents, and that is to know themselves. When you find yourself you then have the secret to give to others who have it not. And here is where you should press into the atmosphere of home-life something new, something that makes you forget your trials and troubles.
The children come into your life right out of the unknown world, the world of living reality. They may know more than we do, and it is for us, in bringing them into the exterior and everyday world, to search within our own hearts, find the key to the situation, and then awaken the children to this reality. Then our anxieties and our worries would be lessened because in the broader conception we would be working in harmony with the divine law, our whole natures would be alive and afire and aglow with that beautiful reality of the divine life.
The real child or youth is humanity's promise for the future. We must, of course, consider this child as being born to the real man and woman living the real life in a promising environment, with at least partial understanding. I shall make very little attempt to treat of the outer man, who lives entirely in the dollar-and-cent world and considers this one life the only one, because his ideas are very limited with regard to the divine scheme of existence. But, rather, I shall speak more of the inner man.
It is an ancient teaching that the child should be cared for from its very conception — that there should be preparation for the incoming soul. Those mothers who have talked most seriously to me on the subject, and who seem to have the greatest concern for the welfare of their children, tell me that they are not well satisfied with the little that they have in their hearts and minds, with no basis upon which to work. The child has been born into this world many times before. The child is a glorious, heaven-sent gift to the real man and woman, but the gift is not so exclusively theirs that the child is outside the workings of the divine laws and the wonderful natural laws that are always acting.
The mother should be the real teacher from the time the child is conceived; and from then on, if the child is placed in the proper environment and has the proper education — both spiritual and worldly, in the right degree — that child has the promise of offering an example of probity, sincerity, and virtue.
Neither you nor I could exist if there had not been some starting point, some great universal idea. And this universal idea is eternal love. Before the child is born, the real mother has confidence in her husband because he is walking on the same path as herself in self-directed evolution. There is no halfway loving, because they are both living the real life and finding happiness and peace. These two that I speak of believe in the essential divinity of man. They know that their child is, in the deepest part of its being, a soul. So they have a rare treasure placed in their care. They know that it has two natures in one being: that the outer flesh-house, the mortal part that we can all see and love, is capable of great development even in one lifetime; but that their child's full advancement and progress in this life cannot take place if it is eternally confronted with only the environment of the outer man and has little if any touch of the inner.
I am confident that many mothers, in the deepest recesses of their nature, in their silent moments and unuttered feelings, do come very close to some of the sublime truths of the inner life without being able to explain them. The home of the real man and woman that I have spoken of is of a rare quality, built on spiritual and inner forces as well as outer. There the mother has a basis on which she can work. She guards her thoughts from the time when the child is conceived. She builds high ideals into her thought-life before the child is born.
Without this inner spiritual knowledge that I speak of, the key to the child's future is missing, and when its dear little eyes look out into the world, telling all humanity of the godlike things it has brought, it gets no answer, save perhaps from the innermost recesses of the mother's heart. For she is the creator, the one who is molding that character, possibly for glorious achievements and superb victories in self-conquest.
How lovely children are even in their mischief and their little difficulties! How marvelously more so would they be in rounding out the spiritual nature under the guidance of the real mother and father, who are not only the caretakers but the watchful angels. In the ancient days, the expectant mother was not under the pressure of the annoyances and trials of everyday life. She had a sacred obligation to perform, a tremendous, sacred right. She was about to receive the gods, so to speak, so she spent her time quite separated from the many unnecessary associations and pressures that bind the woman down to the everyday life of care and perplexities and anxieties. The husband understood that it was to be so. Thus the nurture and education of the child began even before it was born, in preparation by both father and mother.
It does not matter how poor a mother is nor how many struggles she may have, she can conceive of such a picture by throwing herself into her own sacred thought-realm, where the very silence will be full of music, beautiful surroundings, and golden promises. This is the story of the ancient wisdom and of the inner life of the mother. The mother and father who follow this path find the joy of life, and their greatest joy is in having the power to give enlightenment to their child.
As soon as a child is able to raise its hand in a temper, or to scream, or to say "I will" and "I won't," that is the time when mothers and fathers should begin to teach the child to know the duality of its own nature. We do not believe a mother will ever have success with her children as long as she loses her temper in trying to manage her child. She then goes down to the level of the child, and sometimes drags it lower down than it already is.
How many of our children and our young men and women do we prepare to meet life's battles? All down the ages we have been educated almost entirely in the outer life. The inner life has scarcely been considered at all, and so the real things are not accomplished, the great results do not come. If they did, the world would not be as it is today. We would not have so much crime, distress, suffering, and vice. If the child has been prepared through the rounding out of its character, so that its soul can breathe the invigorating fresh air of the eternal life, when it reaches the age which most parents realize is the time of greatest temptation for it, that boy or girl will not only be practical, sensible, pure, and good, but you will find it the strong boy or girl who can resist temptation. Such a one is wonderfully protected for the whole of its future, is not bewildered nor misled, and has even in its early years a comparatively clear insight into its possibilities.
The spiritual man takes in the needs of the outer life, adapts himself to it, does not run away from it but goes through it victorious. He is able to lift the burdens of humanity and to teach men by the beauty and simplicity of his own life. No man can become a real father, a real benefactor to his country, nor a real honor to his family and himself if he does not know something about the laws governing his inner nature, pointing to the essential divinity of man. So in dealing with our children, we must be clean and strong, pure and true and firm in our convictions, so that when those children look into our eyes we are not ashamed. Besides giving them the worldly things and ministering to their needs, we must give them one half of our time, one half of our nature, one half of everything that is blessed and true. So in your love of the true and the beautiful, you will find the great secret of living in such a way that life will be a joy, and the children of this coming time will receive blessings through you, so that you will make of your own home-life a heaven on earth for those who depend upon you.