Man and the Universe

From a lecture by G. de Purucker

In the Occident there has always been one favorite way of trying to find out the reality of all that is. This way or method is by looking without, by a study of external things, by supposing that truth exists outside of the thinker; and the result is that we see arising in all Occidental thought, religious and scientific and philosophical also, a dichotomy, a division, as between the outside, the objective or the seen, and the inside, the subjective or the seer. This method is not right or correct, for it is bad psychology and therefore it is all wrong. This division is purely imaginary, and therefore it does not exist per se.

The universe is. This is a fact. Man is. This also is a fact. Does man exist apart from the Universe in which he lives and moves and has his being? Or, contrariwise, is man a part of the Universe in which he moves and lives and has his being? The latter, of course. Man is an essential part of the Universe. He is by no means separate and distinct and different from the Universe. What the Universe is, that also is man, for man is an intrinsic and inseparable part of it. Inversely, what man is, that also is the Universe, for man is sprung from the Universe, is in the Universe — is, so to say, body of its body, life of its life, thought of its thought, soul of its soul, spirit of its spirit.

Here then in our thought we envisage the vast All. We know that it is; and we human beings realize perfectly well that we are in it and of it. We cannot ever leave it, we cannot go out of it. We are parts of the Universe, inseparable parts; and therefore, just because we are the same in our constitution, in our essence, as the Universe is, hence can we know the Universe. Man is the microcosm of the vast surrounding Macrocosm, the little world expressing in itself — this little world of man — everything that the Great World has and is.

Pause a moment in thought and consider what this conception means. It means, first, that the Universe is your home, your homeland, a homeland filled with wondrous mysteries; a homeland indeed where we are at home, it matters not whether it be in the most distant star, or in the tiniest atom. We are akin and familiar with Stella Polaris and with the majestic constellation of Orion. Scorpio has seen us, and Sagittarius has known of our presence. Every energy in the Universe, every substance in boundless Space, exists in parvo in man. Inversely, every energy that works through man, every substance composing man's constitution, likewise exists everywhere in the Universe. Deduction: In the words of the Hindu Upanishad: Tat twam asi: That, the Boundless Universe, That, O Disciple, thou art!

Now, what does man show, what does he manifest, as attributes and qualities and energies of his constitution? He manifests intelligence, he manifests intuition, he manifests discrimination, judgment, will-power, love, compassion, consciousness, and all the other spiritual and intellectual and psychic attributes and faculties which all men show. As each one of us, therefore, is an inseparable part of the Boundless Whole, therefore of necessity the Boundless Whole has every one of these attributes and qualities and energies. This is obvious, because the part could not show forth what the Whole lacks. All these attributes and energies and powers exist in the boundless Spaces, but not in the Western conception of existing alone in one supreme Being who rules the earth, who rules the spheres, the suns and stars, with an iron hand. If so, then we must believe that he is a very bad ruler, for there is suffering in the world; there is pain among men and elsewhere; there are battle and strife among men; despite the fact that we know that men are learning to love each other, to understand each other, and to help each other.

The cosmic Intelligence is composed of vast armies or hosts of minor intelligences. There is no such thing as Man as one entity, but there are men; there is no such thing as Divinity as one entity, but there are gods; there is no such entitative thing, for instance, as Horse, but there are horses; so likewise there is no such thing as one supreme cosmic intelligence, but there are innumerable cosmic intelligences; and these cosmic intelligences express themselves by their energies, by their mentalities, by their will-powers, and by all the other faculties which they manifest, even as man manifests them also; and in doing so they produce the wonderful, entrancing variety which makes universal Nature so fascinating to the student, to the scientist, to the true religionist, to the genuine philosopher.

Again, nowhere in the Universe do we see the handiwork perfect, absolutely perfect, divinely perfect, which only a cosmic super-divinity could produce; but contrariwise we see everywhere growing things, evolving entities, learning beings, progressing units. Men prove this rule. The beasts prove the rule; the vegetation, the beautiful flowers, prove the rule; the varieties and differentiations in the stones and the atoms also prove the rule. Likewise when we examine the stellar spaces, and the astronomer considers this star or that, or the growing nebula, or the comets, or our sun and its planets: everywhere do we see differentiation, individualism, plurality, all existing and collaborating together within the encircling compass of a grander, greater, unifying Cosmic Life; and this grander and greater unifying Cosmic Life is not a finality, but is only one of armies of other grand and unifying Cosmic Lives which fill the frontierless ranges of the cosmic spaces.

Man is the Hierarch, the head of the Hierarchy of his body; and just as the atoms form our body, so is it with us men as entities of a greater being. We are, so to say, human atoms of a greater cosmic entity, and we are all held together in bonds of union within the life-sphere of this greater entity, let us say of our solar system; and that indeed is exactly why this solar system exists as an entity. Everywhere we look we see growing things, we see imperfection, which means that the beings composing these imperfect groups, such as humanity, the earth, the planets, the stars, the suns, are all learning, progressing, advancing. Isn't it a noble thought to realize that there is no injustice in the Universe, to understand that all things move according to law and order, and that we are all akin, that the Universe is our home, that when the Universe began in this period of cosmic evolution, we were there also as life-atoms? And when the Universe shall have finished its present period of cosmic evolution, we likewise shall then be there, for verily we are the Universe, and the Universe is we, for the twain are essentially one.

These thoughts are not new. They are very old. Men have thought these thoughts for ages upon ages. Only in our Western lands have men lost sight of these fundamental realities or laws of existence. But now the truth is coming back to men; now the age-old Wisdom of mankind is being taught again, anew, to the West. And here is a most interesting thing: some of the great scientific thinkers today, Eddington and Jeans of England, for instance, Planck of Berlin, Bohr of Copenhagen, even the great Einstein of Relativity-fame, and Millikan in the United States, as well as a score of others, say that the fundamental thing in the Universe is 'mind-stuff,' consciousness, and that the vast material sphere which seems so solid and hard such as the stones — all the material sphere — is essentially, fundamentally 'mind-stuff.' It means that every star, that every atom, is fundamentally a living being, just as we men are. It means that every atom that vibrates in any particle of substance is a living entity, whether that particle of substance be a beauteous flower or a bit of wood or the flesh of my hand, or a chemical element, or what not. It means that every atom is a learning, growing, evolving entity. Therefore it was that the ancient thinkers spoke of the stars as living beings — stellae animalia, "The stars are animals." And 'animal,' in the original sense of the word, meant a living entity, an individual having an anima, or life-soul.

What a different outlook such thoughts as these sublime ideas give to man. They give him hope; they show him that the Universe is not crazy, that it is builded on law and order, which indeed are obvious, for it works with regularity and precision; and if the Universe is alive, and alive everywhere, so are you alive, and alive everywhere; and the life of the Universe is your life, for you are an inseparable part of that Universe.

The heart of the heart of man is the heart of the heart of the Universe, for the consciousnesses which infill the boundless spaces are merely our elder Brothers, or our younger Brothers as the case may be, living in the same Cosmic Life in which we live, filled with the same cosmic energies which infill us, having the same origin that the Universe and we also had, and all marching forward to that grand evolutionary consummation of things in the distant aeonic future, when the Universe shall have rebecome divine, and we shall have rebecome divine with it. For just as we are evolving, so is the Universe itself evolving.

Evolution in its Latin root means: unfolding, unwrapping, bringing out, what is within: as a flower unfolds from its seed — the flower verily was in the seed! I do not mean corporeally; I mean that all the energies that produce the flower, all the laws that bring the flower forth, all the patterns of shape and color, were in the seed; and just so is a man who is the seed of a god to come in the future, because the divine and spiritual and psychical and physical energies are even now within his being, within his mind and within his heart. Evolution means bringing all these out into man's life, showing them, manifesting them, expressing them. Evolution means spiritual development, and intellectual development, and psychical development, and ethical development, and physical development.

Yes, every part of the Universe is alive, just as we men who are parts of the Universe are alive; and there are beings even in our own Home-Universe — which includes all within the encircling bounds of the Milky Way — who are more high than we are by far, just as we as individual men are far more evolved than are the atoms which make our bodies. I mean that in the Universe there are super-gods and gods and inferior gods and demi-gods and what the ancient Greeks called Heroes, and then also great and noble men, whom some call Masters of Wisdom and Compassion and Peace; and then come the average men, and then the beasts of earth, and then the plants, and then the mineral kingdom. Everywhere we discern an amazing Ladder of Life, each rung of which is a little higher than the one underneath it, and each rung itself ascending steadily to divinity. It is up this Ladder of Life that we men climb step by step, and ever going higher; and those men who strive the hardest to evolve, those men whose minds and hearts are filled with the strongest love for the noble and beautiful things that man has locked up within himself — these are the men who advance or evolve the most quickly. Such men in time become the titan spiritual intellects of the human race, the great spiritual Sages and Seers, such as Gautama the Buddha, Jesus the Avatara commonly called the Christos, Sri Sankaracharya of India, Laotse and Confucius of China, Apollonius of Tyana, Pythagoras, Empedocles, and Plato, and many, many more.

These Great Men are by no means all on the same evolutionary grade. Some are higher and greater than others. But my point of thought is illustrated and proved by them. Their existence simply means that these Greater Men have brought out more than we, the average men, have brought out, what is within: that they have evolved, unrolled, unwrapped, manifested, the faculties and powers lying latent in all mankind. Just exactly as the oak, the noble majestic oak, grows from the life in the little acorn; so exactly the same principle is it which prevailed and worked in the human seed — a microscopic entity, but which in proper circumstances will grow into a six-foot man, expressing the spiritual and intellectual and ethical principles and powers, capacities and faculties, that the full-grown man has. This sublime conception is the meaning of the Oracle of the God Apollo in Delphi in Greece: Gnothi seauton: "Man, know thyself"; for the essence of the man is the essence of the Universe.

There is a force at work in the world today, a spiritual and intellectual energy, working strongly among men, more powerfully than at any other time in recorded human history in the Occident since the time of Jesus the Avatara, the Syrian Sage. This force shows itself in endeavors among men everywhere to break up old and crystallized mental conditions, to set men free, spiritually free, intellectually free, and at the same time to strengthen the moral instincts in us. We see the evidences in the world around us today. Old institutions are passing, and it is our duty to understand this properly, and where we can to lend a helping hand to save what is good in the old. No age has been without its own virtues. Every age has had its good, and the wise man will always pick out the good wherever he may find it, and hold it as a treasure, for each good is a part of the working of the souls of men, an expression of the divine spirit within each human being.

(From Sunrise magazine, August 1952; copyright © 1952 Theosophical University Press)

The real man is not some special individual of unusual and remarkable gifts, who will lead you to the heights. The real man is he who is conscious of his own essential divinity and acts accordingly. This divinity is a power that shows to every man the god in himself; that brings home to the minds of men and women the fact that, being immortal souls and parts of the great scheme of eternal life, they have sacred duties to perform.

So, instead of expecting the real man to come from some unexpected quarter, heralded by the angels, let us look for him even in our midst, wherever we may be; because it is possible for any man to have the knowledge of his own essential divinity; and once he has that, he has a key that opens up his whole nature. It carries him out into such an atmosphere and realm of thought, into such a breadth of vision, that he no longer accepts the limitations that were his yesterday. — Katherine Tingley

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