Universal Brotherhood – November 1898


It is always difficult to know what we are doing, and more difficult yet is to know how we do it. The thousand and one functions of our body take place without ourselves being conscious of having given the necessary orders, nor do we know how these orders are given and executed. The reason of it is that our thoughts are on a different plane from our instinct, and the latter can only be understood when we become conscious on the plane of instinct.

The action of our intellect is thinking. This comprises observing, coordinating and concluding. Now, what is a conclusion? It is a supposed fact on the thought plane. Thus we start from real facts and arrive at supposed facts, either by going backward by considering the real facts as effects and trying to find the causes, or by going forward by considering the real facts as causes and trying to find out the effects. When we start from supposed facts instead of from real ones, the thinking lacks a real base and is less sure; but if we once start from a given fact, our conclusions become realities for us and also causes for new conclusions, and so forth. By "real" I mean that of which we are sure of having taken place.

We thus see that thinking is a process by which we try to establish a tie which connects two facts of which one is a reality and the other a supposed fact. We call the tie between facts "Karma," and thus thinking is a search after Karma, and correct thinking must be one with the law of Karma. Thinking takes time because the physical modifications in the brain, by which thought-images become conscious to us, require time to take place.

Intuition is something like thinking with the difference that it takes no time, and thus cause and effect are simultaneous. Intuition therefore is the absolute knowledge of the law of Karma, and for the intuitive faculty time cannot exist whereby cause and effect are separated when thought of.

Of our thinking we mostly know only a series of brain-pictures, but how these pictures are really connected we do not know. This connection is also intuition as it absorbs no time. We instantaneously jump from one image to another across an unthinkable abyss. We could not think if we had no intuition, because our thoughts or mind-pictures would be without connection. Now, if we arrest the modification of the thinking principle and stop with the last mind picture without adding a new one, then if we can do this, we are on the intuitional plane and live outside of time and consciously within Karma. Nothing of it can be expressed in time and mind, and therefore it is incomprehensible to the intellect.

It is easy enough to form mind-pictures, but by intuition alone such pictures are formed which follow each other in true karmic order, and by even a little intuitive faculty the thinking is immensely intensified.

A word about instinct. We say that animals have instinct, because naturally, without thinking, they do the right thing according to their species. This is simply the result of their obedience to laws and orders provided for them by the devas who preside over them respectively. They could not think of doing otherwise, because they have not yet the faculty to think. Even we, when mindless, act the same; for instance a person during sleep-walking will pass the most dangerous places without hesitation, where when awake and in possession of his mind, he would never dare to pass. But we had to give up our obedience to our (let us call them) instinct-devas, in order to develop our thinking principle, just as we have to give up the latter for the time during which we want to concentrate on intuition. But of course no step of the ladder can be left out, and unless we have done with our mind plane we cannot rise to the plane of intuition. Far be it from me to say that we have to live in intellect or dry-reason alone, before we can get ready for a higher plane; we know that Manas (the principle of Mind) has a double aspect and that the real intellect is the higher Manas, which overlaps already into Buddhi (the principle of Intuition).

Man cannot go back in development, and when he has reached the buddhic plane, he cannot possibly lose his faculty of free will and begin again, like the animal, to blindly obey some presiding deva. Thus, even on the plane of intuition he has a choice, and Buddhi must then necessarily become to him a duality. What these conditions may be we cannot even guess at; we can only think with rapture of a condition which awaits us, in which we shall have an absolute knowledge of cause and effect without the least hesitation or doubt.

Universal Brotherhood