There never was a time in the history of the world when the feeling of immortality was absent. The idea may not always have been clothed with the same mental forms by all races and at all times, yet there was ever that inner feeling that life does not become extinct upon death. And if no further reasons were available, this alone would go far to demonstrate the fact that the soul is the mainspring of existence, now and always, and in all things; for what is a dead body without this energizing force? True, it is not dead in the strict sense of the word, as each atom of that body has a life of its own, but coherency is not present, and that which we recognized as the individual is gone. If, as a few of our scientists and modern-day philosophers still hold, the soul with the faculties transcending the physical, were merely the highest expression of physical life and if death were the culmination of all, we should, indeed, find our efforts a sore trial and our lives lamentably purposeless.
However, feeling well assured that the existence of the soul as the guiding and intelligent factor in human life is beyond serious dispute, we may better appreciate the declaration that true, healthy and substantial growth takes place from within outwards. It should, of course, be understood that there is no desire to disregard the physical body, for that is a most important agent in the evolution and growth of the soul. We must hold in mind the fact that the body is the temple, dwelling or instrument of the soul, and if that temple be not kept sweet, clean and healthy, the expression of its divine occupant will be correspondingly imperfect. The body is the point of contact, the battleground, between the higher and lower planes of being, and to bring about the best results and highest expression of both body and soul, an harmonious interplay and relationship must be established. If the commanding self within is given its liberty, and to do this a natural, clean and wholesome physical, moral and mental life is necessary, it will seek out its own way and conditions best adapted for its further development, finally blossoming into the perfect flower.
Is it not a fact that we know very little about the nature of man? We are in the habit of looking upon his exceedingly complex being as little more than a physical body, without analyzing his nature closely and even without taking cognizance of the fundamental classification as given by St. Paul, viz: body, soul and spirit — much less the detailed sevenfold classification of Theosophy, accepted of old in the East, and now commanding the attention of the unprejudiced and intelligent in the Western Hemisphere.
An ancient Oracle declared, "Man Know Thyself:" and it is the greatest injunction ever given, for if a man know himself, he will have an understanding of every phase of his surroundings, no matter in what domain of Nature. In times past it was taught that man was an exact copy of the Universe, in miniature, and therefore contained within himself the essence of all kingdoms below, as well as the unlimited possibility of attaining to conscious Godhood. This is the teaching of the old Wisdom Religion, or Theosophy, now brought forward for consideration and acceptance through the medium of The Universal Brotherhood and Theosophical Society and is worthy of our most serious attention; for, if true, it is necessarily the most important idea we can possibly grasp and act upon. We know it is unreasonable to suppose that we have reached our present state of evolution in one lifetime, nor can we attain to the state of Godhood in one short life, so that here the doctrine of rebirth, or reincarnation, fits in and is the only sensible explanation of the most important life-problems. The scoffers and doubters may say what they will, but this doctrine, coupled with its twin doctrine, the Law of Karma, or to speak more plainly, that law by which "we reap as we sow," at once affords an entirely reasonable and comprehensive basis from which to make a study of man.
What a vast difference it makes when the student has good and sufficient ground for entertaining the idea of his own divinity and potential greatness? It creates a new hope and a new joy in living and consequently disposes of the almost hopeless indifference so long displayed in the inquiry into the nature of the human being and its possibilities. Under the influence of these doctrines, man becomes more keenly alive to his surroundings, including the various kingdoms below him, which, instead of continuing to be mysteries, aid him in his comparative studies, so that he soon obtains a clear recognition of the spiritual chord running through all nature. The lower kingdoms offer many interesting and instructive analogies in this study of the soul's growth and its unfoldment may well be likened unto the development of a plant from the seed. Vegetable life grows from within outwards, because the invisible life which produces the growth is within the seed, and here we may further add that the seed-germ also contains within itself the ideal types and forms of the future plant, humble grass or giant oak. These types and forms exist in the Ideal World, generally invisible to our present senses, or, to put the statement somewhat more scientifically, they exist in a higher state than we are at present able to perceive, and, in becoming visible on the physical plane, undergo a gradual change from the finer, higher and inner plane of being, to the grosser and more material without. In some cases, as for instance the Lotus Flower, the complete form of the plant is visible in the seed; but whether we see the ideal form or not, it must exist for it would be utterly unreasonable to conclude that the vegetable, animal or human forms would always develop along certain and well defined lines, if there were no model to follow. Without this ideal type, or to use a homely phrase, without this mould for the thousands of different forms, the world in which we live would reflect a bedlam of "freaks of Nature" and chaos. Harmonious development and order would be impossible, if, indeed, we should be able to exist here at all. Has it never appealed to you as a sort of miracle that the ears, eyes, nose and other organs and parts of the human form develop in the proper place with such unvarying regularity?
In this growth from within it is true that Earth, Water and Air and the beneficent Sunshine are absolute essentials to vegetable life, but the important thing to remember is, that the heart and life of the coming vegetation lies within the seed. So with the development of the soul within the body; the mode of training, the education, the environment, are all necessary features, but they simply bring about better conditions in which the soul finds opportunity for more perfect expression. This is most evident, for if the individual were not possessed of this possibility of development from within, the endeavor to expand his consciousness would be entirely futile. All things are possible to the soul, else how could we ever hope to gain an intelligent conception of anything? If man applies himself diligently, he may become proficient in any line or vocation, which demonstrates the power of the soul, if given an opportunity to get out of its shell. It simply needs a wholesome, clean, moral and natural physical and mental condition for its best manifestation, requiring no external stimulus to keep it alive, for it has an impetus of its own.
To bring about such desirable environment we must necessarily begin with childhood, as it is natural with children to see the truth in its simplicity, and their understanding of things is often a puzzle to the older heads. It is not a difficult matter, therefore, once we know what is right and how to impart it, to present to them simple Nature-truths and show that for the high purposes of life, the proper treatment and care of the body is needful, so as to make it a perfect instrument for the use of the Divine Soul. Few of us, indeed, are qualified to assume the high role of Teacher, with all that honored title implies, which fact behooves us to hasten to purify our own lives and thus attain to an harmonious, joyous and keenly alert state, enabling us to give expression to that fuller life of the soul. This we students are doing at Point Loma under the wise direction of our Teacher, Katherine Tingley, and we do not hesitate to say that already our lives are permeated with a new joy, a consciousness of greater strength and a higher purpose in life. The little orphans, waifs and others, who are so fortunate in having found permanent homes under the care of Katherine Tingley, are responding wonderfully to the old-new methods introduced by her, as those who have had the privilege of seeing them will testify. This work demonstrates positively what may be accomplished, and forcibly brings to our view the unlimited possibilities of the soul under this simple, yet effective, system of natural education, in which " Helping and Sharing" and self-reliance play such important parts.
With us it is no longer a theory, but an established fact that this mode of training will bring out the highest possibilities of the child and is therefore far superior to the old method of filling up the mental cavity by driving and cramming. Many parents realize only too well that much of the educational effort of this day is directed to — not what may be brought out, or developed in the young mind from within, but what can be forced into it from without. This gives rise to unwarranted rivalry and competition, frequently resulting in overtaxation of the mental capacities and later nervous wrecks and intellectual dwarfs. Further than this, it has a tendency to cultivate selfishness and relegate to the background the finer qualities of the nature, because they cannot find suitable soil in which to come to the surface, leaving the unfortunate ones victims of a one-sided education with the best part of their natures quite undeveloped. We must recognize the fact that true education does not consist in training the mental and physical faculties alone, but that the development of the spiritual qualities is of the greatest importance. This has been the conclusion of every great Sage since the beginning of time and all sacred Scriptures abound with the mandate. It is a fact, too, that human happiness depends entirely upon the manifestation of the spiritual side of our natures, as most of us well know that physical pleasures and the hoarding of wealth do not engender peace and true happiness.
If we hold in mind the pivotal idea that man is a divine being with unlimited possibilities under proper life-conditions, we can realize that the Golden Age, once existing upon earth, may come again. That such an Age actually did exist can no longer be doubted, for day by day our Archaeologists are uncovering evidences of civilizations far surpassing our own in many ways. Then, too, we cannot lightly pass over the thousands of legends and traditions extant in different localities, of the Godlike races supposed to have inhabited the Earth in times past. If we take the trouble to look deeply into these traditions, we invariably find that they rest upon some basis of fact. Our own civilization is truly great along material and intellectual lines, but it certainly cannot be said to have reached a point where we may claim that it is conducive to the highest spiritual development and thus to real happiness. In substantiation of this we have simply to turn for a moment and behold the misery and mental and bodily suffering to be found in every great city and in every clime. And we assert that the primal cause of all this evil is that we have forgotten our true relationship — one to another, we have forgotten the real purpose of life, and above all, that we are Divine Beings — Gods in truth — capable of scaling now almost unimaginable heights, if we but recognize our spiritual power, and give the soul, the true man within each, an opportunity to act out its divine nature and grow like the flower, reaching up to the Light.