There is an inmost center in us all where Truth abides in fulness. — Browning
Long, long ago, so long that Time itself has almost forgotten, there lived an innocent humanity who spent their days in peace and tranquility. In that early age the gods, of which there were many, lived and worked with men, teaching and reminding them of their spiritual heritage. However, the time came when this close relationship must needs draw to a close, for as man began to acquire self-consciousness and the power of intellect, the wisdom of the heart lessened. When strife and dissension and the rise of personality grew, the gods departed one by one.
A few of the strong ones among men, realizing what a terrible loss it would be to be left alone, sought out the remaining gods and begged them to stay, even if only for a while. But the gods, knowing the futility of tarrying longer, shook their heads sadly and refused. In departing one of them turned and said:
"That we cannot stay, you know, but there is one favor we will grant you: In the lands of the East we will build a citadel, and in this citadel we will leave our most priceless possession. You may at your own desire visit this citadel and partake of this treasure. All are welcome. But come only if your heart is true, and your mind free, for the name of the treasure is — Truth." Having thus spoken, the god turned and followed his companions.
During the course of the ages countless pilgrimages have been made by those wishing to partake of the treasure of the gods.
Some went with an impure heart and lost their way.
Some went and returned with pride, seeking to sell what they had gained, thus losing sight of the vision they had found.
The greatest number of those who went looked at Truth and saw it not. They returned in bewilderment, denying that there was truth, claiming that man was the victim of fortuity, destined for annihilation.
Many there were who glimpsed a veil of Truth and returned intoxicated with their vision, believing themselves possessed of the treasure of the gods, teaching what they believed, each according to his lights.
Some went and returned with nothing to say, but shone with the light of their own understanding.
A few went, but did not return, remaining to serve as guardians of the citadel.
The great ones who went and returned, gave freely of what they had received, whereby great civilizations were built and endured for centuries until the glory faded.
To all of these Truth remained aloof and silent, neither confirming nor denying what the prophets claimed in her behalf. But this we know: until that time when the gods return, the light shall never be extinguished in the citadel of Truth.
(From Sunrise magazine, December 1953; copyright © 1953 Theosophical University Press)