Universal Brotherhood Path – August 1900


The science of the relations between cosmos, or the macrocosm, and man, the microcosm, is considered by Theosophists to be occultism. So fascinating and desirable is a knowledge of this that all manner of short cuts have been tried to obtain quick advancement therein, and the main reliance has been placed on the well established methods of purely intellectual investigation; however, the result has not been satisfactory. While one may obtain a grasp by this method of one of the aspects of this all-embracing science, it does not lead to the Wisdom whose conclusions are universally applicable, that is to say: final, synthetic judgment or absolute knowledge on universal problems. More diversified methods are needed for essaying these relations. Occultism demands, besides intellectual, also moral, psychic and spiritual attainments; the result of investigation will be limited or one-sided according to the particular faculty or method which is being employed.

Man's spiritual nature is yet an unexplored field to the majority of mankind. The first step toward its recognition is an intellectual affirmation. There is so much in the kingdom of life lying near to experience that every person is easily able to observe for himself; a superficial knowledge even leads to the certainty that man is endowed with unlimited possibilities. There are higher qualities in him than those which relate to the merely sensuous part of existence. However, to become truly cognizant of one's own inner depths and to attain to the faculty of correctly viewing one's condition as well as the conditions concerning Humanity in its racial, sociological and moral developments, it is quite certain that much more than the most exquisite training in the intellectual gifts is required. It needs the application of all faculties with which human consciousness is endowed.

There is a place in the heart of man where contact is uninterrupted with the eternal source of life. Therein resides an agent that comprehends the highest consciousness. Even the physical heart outlasts the mind and all the other functionaries of the body. During the period of a normal span of life the mind may become a complete blank, as is the case in insanity, and still the heart can beat for years, sustaining life; whereas, when the heart stops, everything is at an end. The heart, therefore, as a vehicle of life is superior; it corresponds to something in the superphysical world which is more enduring than mind. The heart is also wiser. Insane people are capable of uttering great truths. All impulses come from it: the ceaseless activity of the life force, the desire for knowledge or dictates of conscience, and all else that incites to thought and action. These impulses are translated first by the mind and then by the brain. Man is a dual being with two contrary avenues, — one leading from the soul downward, — the other from the sense consciousness upward. The Soul, the higher Ego, constantly tries to reach the lower, but on account of the latter's density, the divine promptings are not transmitted correctly, all the impulses becoming tainted with the accumulated idiosyncrasies of the personality.

It must be remembered that the lower man with his mind has been built up from antecedents which took aeons of time going through all the kingdoms of nature below man, during which the mind has acquired tendencies and predilections entirely its own. Consequently it can not be expected that the promptings of the soul will be received in their purity unchanged. These are tainted always according to the mind's own established characteristics. The mind at present is the master in authority, but the heart is the King. The heart holds the key to the relations with universal Mind, — God. The development of the mind and the conscious participation of these relations with the universal mind depends upon the ability to go inward in search of that wisdom.

At the present stage of development mankind stands at the height of materiality, both physically and mentally; individualized spirit is completely involved in mind and matter; the truth is veiled and divinity obscured, consequently the power to cognize the intimate relations with nature and cosmos is practically latent. However, the spiritual faculties are gradually coming back with the progressive manifestations of the evolutionary wave, and the hopes of mankind for better days and things will be realized in the ratio as civilization is able to recede from materiality.

"The heart must thrill in response to every sigh and thought of all that lives and breathes." This is universal sympathy.

It requires faith in the reality of the ideal constitution of cosmos to know anything about life. Along with it comes the knowledge of one's own divinity and perfectibility. It may be initiated by intellectual inquiry, but this is a slow and unreliable process, because it leads more often into error if not accompanied by intuition. But, if the intellectual power is brought into service in connection with intuition, it acts like a bridge over which one can cross to a knowledge of one's interior nature and of universal problems. The proof will come in due time. The sympathy of man for man is founded on something real which must be recognized some day by all men. No one can escape the burden of cooperative work in the economy of the cosmos. There is no state of feeling equal to the joy that a realization of comradeship or soul-union brings to any human being; this feeling must expand from the sympathy which is felt for individuals to include the whole human race. Questions concerning the interior soul-life of humanity become illuminated from the plane of universal consciousness by flashes which pass from the heart to the mind. Pure intellect alone could never fathom any question to its ultimates. All that intellect devises can be contradicted and argued away by the same process.

Much error as yet exists regarding self-evident truths based largely on ratiocination, entirely the product of the mind. Such false notions, for instance, "that charity can breed evil", could never have emanated from the heart. With respect to this, let it suffice to assume that so long as charity is done in the right spirit, it is of the right kind. Whatever the appearances may be, the law will take care of the consequences to the last extent. The fact is that the bestower of charity is the real beneficiary in the end. To conceive of any proposition concerning human life and cosmic relations correctly, that is to say with any degree of certainty approaching truth, one must have immovable faith in the ideal cosmos, universal justice, eternal harmony.

Man is a composite being who has many vehicles for reflecting God, or the highest principle in nature. One may be constituted so as to be like a centre of radiant beauty of mind and soul; another may be less so, and still others impenetrable, reflecting next to nothing of divinity. Many a person comprises in himself all these stages at different times. According to the degree of equilibrized state of mind, one may reflect forth the sublimest truths during one period, and in another period be as dense as a rock, and so forth in all gradations. This is due to the veil which interposes from the lower propensities brought over and belonging to the differentiated kingdoms. Still, as human being, he stands midway between the highest and the lowest forces of nature, and therefore he is the only point of contact. The spiritual forces can only reach the regions of matter, likewise the minds and hearts of men and organized intelligence of any sort, through such vehicles as stand on the planes which are to be reached.

Man's usefulness as a vehicle for the unfoldment of the universal plan is measured by his ability to reflect and diffuse the forces and consciousness from higher planes. With every success thereby attained, he lifts himself and becomes better able to receive more and give out more. At this stage his progress is different from what may have been considered the process of growth before. Up to a certain point progress means accumulation which pertains to the personality, but as a universal vehicle, growth means assimilation pertaining to individuality, which keeps growing till its identity is that of the cosmos itself. All that has been assimilated remains from life to life; it constitutes man's individuality, serving as a vehicle for divine reflections. Whatever men have given to the world that was of great value was what of infinite wisdom they had assimilated. To be able to bring these pictures, thoughts and experiences down to the plane of cognition by others, is genius. It is builded up from faith in oneself, faith in the stability of nature and faith in the ideal cosmos.

Theosophical University Press Online Edition