At no time in the known history of the world has the human family suffered such dire distress or had to endure such extreme pressures as during the past few years, and the contemplation of these things must inevitably turn men's minds into new channels and bring thoughts that possibly they have never had before. Serious questionings are arising all along the way, among all classes of people, as to the whys and the wherefores, as to the meaning of the world's turmoil and agony, and as to what will come out of it all.
It is absolutely impossible to answer Humanity's questions in the truest and most profound sense if we depend solely upon the intellect; for it matters not how much a man may have cultivated his intellect, nor how much culture he may have, the higher knowledge can never be reached by these alone. And we realize when we contact such minds that they have lost their way, in a sense; that by trying to work out the great scheme of life and all the mysterious problems of life and death from the standpoint of mere intellect they are touching but the fringe of Truth, they are leaving the heart cold and dead, they have not the Heart Doctrine.
The world is weighed down with mental subtleties. We need something more; man is a spiritual being, and the principles governing life are spiritual principles. It is these that we must bring into action in our everyday lives, from the simplest and smallest act up to the greatest. In such an endeavor the sincere student finds the real sacredness of time. He is reminded that if he does amiss, even in little things, he is sowing seeds that must bring their harvest, and bring him face to face with the very obstacles — perhaps in a new form — that he has been trying to run away from. There can be no temporizing. Man must find himself through spiritual knowledge and reach that point of spiritual discernment and courage where he shall recognize the Christos Spirit in every man — the Eternal Truth.
Real knowledge, in the deeper sense, comes from the inner life, from realizing that man is his own saviour, that all the powers of earth and heaven, all the blood that may be shed, and all the atonements that might be offered, can never bring to him his heritage. Not until he seeks the Light within and finds the Higher Self, the Divinity within, and learns to love life because it is so sacred and because it possesses sacred moments and grand opportunities all along the way, can man come into his own.
There must be no more temporizing, no more playing hide-and-go-seek with ourselves, sometimes on lines of justice and sometimes on lines of injustice; sometimes on lines of selfishness and sometimes on lines of generosity and brotherhood. The two forces are ever active within us, and the sooner we get away from the idea that temptation comes from without, the sooner we realize that we must look within both for the temptation and the power to overcome it, the quicker we shall come to that knowledge which belongs to every man — that he holds the Key, that the Kingdom of Heaven is within himself, or a hell, the possibilities of which exceed anything that the men and women of today ever heard of or imagined. The forces of Light and Darkness are within.
The two forces are there, and the great drama of life goes on from day to day, and from year to year, from generation to generation, and through the centuries all down the ages. Until man learns self-control and self-mastery, until he exercises his heaven-bestowed birthright of divine power, he will be the victim of the lower forces that go for the destruction of the noblest and the best, just as long as the brain-mind is permitted to be the playground of evil with no self-determination towards the good.
We may preach for eternity, we may have the greatest educational systems, the greatest religious systems, the greatest writers, artists, poets, we may have everything to inspire us to right action, but if we have not begun to build within ourselves, to feel the necessity of finding something more within ourselves than we have had in the past, unless we can become something greater and grander than ordinary men and women, and know that we are something more than merely intellectual, mere flesh and blood, we are on the wrong path. We must reach a point where we can feel the Power of the Soul, and use it for the betterment of our Nation and all Nations. One of the most dangerous tendencies of the age is a sort of crystallization, a hardening of conventionalism. We become crystallized in our thoughts and ideas; we become hardened in our conventionalism, and we leave no room for the soul to act. We refuse to acknowledge the soul-life; the divine life we ignore, and so we throw aside one of the most precious keys to the solution of life — the essential Divinity of man.
I am certain that if men would but search the history of the past and study causes, they would find that the errors and confusion of today, and the Karma of the present hour, have been produced through lack of knowledge of the Higher Self; there has not been a realization that the Immortal Man, the Real Man, does exist. Consequently, to find true understanding and spiritual strength we must turn about and face the new issues with that quality of courage that belongs only to the Soul, to the Divinity within.
Spiritual courage is a quality which marks one who has realized that he is essentially divine, which endows him with a measure of knowledge that can come to him only through his inner nature, which at that moment makes him conscious that he is something more than he seems, part of the universal scheme of life, and in harmony with the wonderful forces of nature. In spite of his having made mistakes, in spite of having faltered, of having done injustice to others, once he realizes that he and every man inherits the power to be his own savior, he can make his life an expression of divine law.
The consciousness of Divinity is the key to human life. For lack of this key Humanity has been drifting for ages. In finding it we unlock the door to the grandeur of soul-life and its golden opportunities; for only through the recognition of the Soul's Divinity can a Universal Brotherhood of Humanity be established and become a living power instead of a hopeless dream.
It is one of the greatest pities that poor humanity cannot always find itself in an exalted state, ever working in consonance with its highest aspirations and the noblest ideals that man possesses. A time like this is to me, a very solemn time, a very beautiful time, when we can evoke from the innermost part of our natures something quite new, something that will bring home to us the power of the soul and make us feel more and more that we are essential parts of the great Universe, and that the future happiness, the future deliverance of humanity, absolutely depend upon our making nobler and more unselfish efforts.
(From Sunrise magazine, April 1952; copyright © 1952 Theosophical University Press)