THE LIFE OF JEHOSHUA
PROPHET OF NAZARETH
An Occult Study and a Key to the Bible
Containing the History of an Initiate
by Franz Hartmann, M.D.
Occult Publishing House 1888
Part 2 of 2 - For part 1
|The true history of Christ (An Allegory)||
|The mysterious Brotherhood||
|The mysterious Brotherhood , continued||
|The higher degrees||
|The sermon upon the mount||
|The doctrines of the Christ Spirit||
|The great renunciation||
|The final initiation||
THE DOCTRINES OF THE CHRIST SPIRIT
There is only one absolute Truth. Being universal, it is seen alike by all who are able to perceive it.
[Page 118] EVER since the most ancient times Divine Wisdom has taught the same doctrines through the mouths of the wise. Hermes Trismegistus, Confucius and Zoroaster, Buddha and Jehoshua, Plato and Socrates, Saint Martin and Jacob Boehmen, Theophrastus Paracelsus and Cornelius Agrippa, Shakespeare and Shopenhauer, and innumerable others have taught the same truths more or less complete, and each of these teachers clothed them in a form most suitable to his own understanding or adapted to the comprehension of his disciples.
For the sake of illustration, we will take a few examples from ancient books that existed before the Christian era; namely, the Bhagavad Gita, the books of Hermes Trismegistus, the Dhammapada of the Buddhists, and add corresponding verses of the Christian Bible, to show the similarity of these doctrines.
I. “The wise man, ever devout, who worships the One, is the most excellent; for I am dear above all things to the wise man, and he is dear to me”. — Bhagavad Gita, VII. 17.
2. “Embrace me with thy whole heart and mind, and whatsoever thou wouldst learn, I will teach thee”. — Hermes Trismegistus, II. 3 [Page 119]
3. “He who reflects and meditates receives ample joy”. — Dhammapada.
4. “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, with all thy mind, and with all thy soul”. Matthew, XXII. 37.
I. “I (Brahm) was never non-existent, nor thou, nor those rulers of men, nor shall any of us hereafter cease to be”. — Bhagavad Gita, II. 12.
2. “I am that Light, the Mind, thy God, who am before the moist nature that appeared out of darkness, and that bright lightful Word is the Son of God”. — Hermes Trismegistus, II. 8.
3. “He who has traversed this hazy and imperious world and its vanity, who is through and has reached the other shore, is thoughtful, guileless, free from doubts, free from attachment, and content, — him I call indeed a Brahmana”. — Dhammapada.
4. “Before Abraham was, I am”. — John, VIII. 58.
I. “He that spread out this All can never perish. No one is able to cause the destruction of the Eternal”. — Bhagavad Gita, II. 17.
2. “What is God? Immutable and unalterable Good”. — Hermes Trismegistus,
I. 22. “God
and the Father is Light and Life of which Man is made. If, therefore, thou
learn and know thyself to be of the Life and Light, thou shalt again pass
into the Life”. — Hermes Trismegistus, II. 50.
3. “He who takes refuge with the (eternal) Law is delivered from all pain”. —
4. “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my Word (power) shall
pass away”. — Luke, XXI. 33.
i. “As a man, having cast off his old garments, takes others that are new, so the embodied soul, having cast off the old bodies, enters into others that are new”. — Bhagavad Gita, II. 22. [Page 120]
2. “That which is unchangeable is eternal, that which is always made is always
corrupted”. — Hermes Trismegistus, II. 22, 23.
who knoweth that this body is like froth and has learned that it is as
unsubstantial as a mirage, will break the flower-pointed arrow of Mara and never
see the king of death”. — Dhammapada.
4. “That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit
Spirit”. — John, III. 6.
I. “This embodied (soul) in the body of every one, oh son of Bharata! is ever indestructible, wherefore thou oughtest not to mourn for any living thing”. — Bhagavad Gita, II. 30.
2. “Of the soul that part which is sensible is mortal, but that part which is
governed by reason is immortal”. — Hermes Trismegistus, I. 37. “Man is mortal because
of his body, and immortal because of the substantial Man”. — Hermes Trismegistus, II. 26.
3. “Happy is the arising of the Awakened. Even the gods envy those who are
awakened”. — Dhammapada.
4. “I live, but not I, but Christ lived in me”. — Gal.
II. 20. “He that hath the Christ
(in him) hath life, and he that hath not the Son of God hath no life”,— I John, V.
1. “A flowery kind of language is spoken by the unwise, who pride themselves in Veda words (in false reasoning and superficial logic), whose souls are full of lust, who regard (a sensual) heaven as the highest good. ... The doctrines of these men, whose minds are carried away by mere words, are not formed for meditation”.— Bhagavad Gita, II. 42.
2. “Terrestrial things do profit nothing the things of heaven; but celestial
things profit all things upon the earth”.— Hermes Trismegistus, I. 72. “To the foolish and evil,
wicked and vicious, covetous, murderous, and profane, I am far off, giving
to the avenging demons”. — Hermes Trismegistus, II. 56. [Page121]
3. “Men driven by fear go to many a refuge, to mountains and forests, to groves
and sacred trees, but that is not a safe refuge. . . . The thoughtless man,
even if he can recite a long portion of the law (prayer), but is not a doer
of it, has no
part in the priesthood, but is like a cowherd, counting the cows of others”. —
4. “Not every one that saith, Lord, Lord, shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven”. — Matt. VII. 21. “This people honoreth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me”. — Mark, VII. 6.
i. “Neither intelligence nor self-possession belongs to the undevout man. There is no peace for him who is not self-possessed, and without peace how can there be happiness?”— Bhagavad Gita, II. 66.
2. “He that through error of Love loveth the body, abideth wandering in
darkness, sensible, suffering the things of death”. — Hermes Trismegistus, II. 40.
3. “Fools of little understanding have themselves for their greatest enemies,
they do deeds which must bear bitter fruits”. — Dhammapada.
4. “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God”. — John, III. 13.
I. “Brahma is the oblation, Brahma is the sacrificial butter, Brahma is the fire, the burnt offering is by Brahma. Into Brahma, will he enter who meditates on Brahma in his work”. — Bhagavad Gita, IV. 62.
2. “The like always takes to itself that which is like; but the unlike never agrees with the unlike”. — Hermes Trismegistus, I. 84. “That which in thee seeth and heareth, the Word of the Lord and the Mind, the Father God, differ not from one another and the union of these is life”. —Hermes Trismegistus, II. 19. [Page 122]
3. “Without (spiritual) knowledge there is no meditation; without meditation there is no knowledge. He who has meditation and knowledge is near to Nirvana.'' — Dhammapada.
4. “He that abideth in me and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit, for without me ye can do nothing”. — John, XV. 5. “Whoso eateth (aspires) my (spiritual) flesh (substance) and drinketh (absorbeth) my blood (my power) dwelleth in me and I in him”.—John, VI 56.
I “Let the Yogins constantly practice devotion, fixed in a secluded spot alone, having thought and self subdued . . . thinking on Me, intent on Me”. — Bhagavad Gita. , VI 10.
from that dark light, be partakers of immortality, and leave or forsake
corruption”. Hermes Trismegistus, II, 78. “Why have you delivered yourselves over unto death,
having power to partake of immortality” “O ye people, men born and made of
the earth, which have given yourselves up to drunkenness and sleep and to the
ignorance of Good, be sober and cease your surfeit, whereunto you are allured
and visited by brutish and unreasonable sleep”. — Hermes Trismegistus, II. 75.
3. “The disciples of Gautama are always well awake, and their thoughts day and
night are always set on Buddha. Like a well-guarded fortress with defences
within and without, so let a man guard himself. Not a moment should escape,
for they who allow the right moment to pass suffer pain”. — Dhammapada.
4. “When thou prayest (meditatest), enter into thy closet (thy soul), and when thou hast shut the door (of the external senses), pray to the Father, which is in secret”. — Matthew. VI. 6. “Watch and pray, that you may not enter into temptation”. —Matthew, XXVI. 41.
I. “He who sees Me everywhere and everything in Me, him I forsake not, and he forsakes not Me”.—Bhagavad Gita, VI. 30. [Page 123]
2. “Shining steadfastly upon and around the whole mind, it enlightened all the
soul, and loosing it from the bodily senses and motions, it draweth it
from the body and changed it wholly into the essence of God. For it is possible,
o Son, to
be deified while yet it lodgeth in the body of man, if it contemplate the beauty
Good”. — Hermes Trismegistus, IV. 18.
3. “Self is the lord of self; who else could be the Lord? With (the lower) self
subdued, a man finds a lord such as few can find”. — Dhammapada.
4. “That they all may be one, as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that
they also may be one in us”.— John, XVII. 21.
I. “I am the source of all things; the whole (universe) proceed from Me. Thinking thus, the wise, who share my nature, worship Me”. — Bhagavad Gita, X. 8.
2. “The glory of all things, God, and that which is divine, and the divine Nature,
the beginning of things that are”. — Hermes Trismegistus, III. i.
3. “All that we are is the result of what we have thought; it is made up of our
thoughts”. — Dhammapada.
4. “All things were made by Him, and without Him was not anything made. In Him was (is) the life, and the life was (is) the light of men”.— John, I. 3.
1. “He who is the same to friend or foe ... to whom pain and blame are equal; who is silent, content with every fortune, steadfast in mind, and worships Me, that man is dear to Me”. — Bhagavad-Gitã, Gita.
2. “The strife of piety is to know God and to injure no Man, and in this way
it becomes Mind. Such a soul, being pious and religious, is angelic and divine.
After it is departed from the body, having striven for piety, it becomes the
God”. — Hermes Trismegistus, IV. 64.[Page 124]
3, “Let us live happily, not hating those who hate us; let us dwell free from
hatred among men who hate us. Let a man overcome anger by love, evil by good,
greedy by liberality, the liar by truth”. — Dhamm
4. “Love your enemies; bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them that persecute you”. — Matthew. V. 40.
The above examples, if their esoteric meaning is compared, will be sufficient to show the great resemblance between the doctrines of the “New Testament” and those of the Eastern sages. But the circumstance that they refer to the same fundamental truths is by no means an indication that the writers have plagiarized each other.
truth exists; it is as free as the air to all who are able to grasp it;
it can neither be invented nor monopolized by man. Men may grasp and remodel
express them in new forms; but the truth is one and universal; it may be seen
and described in one part of this globe as well as in another; it is eternal
and does not change; and the doctrines it teaches through the mouths of
whose minds are illumined by wisdom, a million of years hence, will be the
same which it taught a million of years ago. These doctrines The Spirit of Christ still
teaches to those who will listen to him; for he is not dead, but lives as an
immortal power whose name is Divine Wisdom, “The Word”. [Page 125]
which is said to have taken place in the history of the Jews is taking
Continually does Desire, to which Man is wedded, seek to alienate him from Reason,
and by appealing to Passion she often succeeds in his destruction.
GAY was the throng which crowded the halls at the fortress of Makur, where the birthday of Herodes the Great was to be celebrated. Stately soldiers with glittering armours and helmets, beautiful ladies clad in rich garments and adorned with their most precious jewels, filled the rooms; Nubian and Arabian servants were seen hastening through the corridors; the walls were adorned with costly hangings and with an abundance of garlands and flowers, to prepare for the banquet, for a great orgy was to take place in that castle, to please the great king; while in its subterranean dungeons languished the prophet John the Baptist. Let us throw a glance at the supposed history of those times.
Herodes Antipas, the king of Judea, was an object of hate and fear to the Jews, who, in their turn, were to him an object of ridicule and contempt. Trusting in the power of the Roman army, by which he was supported, and in the favour of the Emperor, he laughed at the mutterings of the discontented people, as long as they did not disturb his comfort. Only when one or the [Page 126] other of those rebellious spirits, more daring or more ambitious than the rest, became too obnoxious to him, he nodded his head, and the noise-maker paid the penalty for his rashness by a slow death of starvation upon a cross or by the more merciful punishment of execution by the sword.
He was a great profligate; but his profligacy would not have been an object of serious reprobation by the Jews, who were themselves an indolent and profligate people, if he had not continually offended their vanity by treating them and their religion with mockery and disdain; but under the existing circumstances, his licentiousness formed one more welcome pretext for the discontented people to denounce him in private and to point at him scornfully and hatefully whenever it could be done without any risk to themselves.
He was married to an Arabian princess, the daughter of a neighbouring king. His wife was a beautiful, modest, and unpretending woman; but having become satiated with her charms, he became subject to an animal passion for Herodias, the daughter of his half-brother. This proud and ambitious woman accepted his proposals, and to remove the most important impediment in the way for the accomplishment of his incestuous design, the king made up his mind to murder his wife. The plan failed, because the queen, having discovered the plot through the information received by a faithful servant, fled with a few trustworthy friends across the frontier to Arabia, to seek refuge in the house of her [Page 127] parents, This incident and the circumstances connected with it created a great scandal all over the country; but Herodes, infuriated at thus having the mask torn from his face, considered any further attempt at secrecy unnecessary, and resolved to defy public opinion. He therefore took Herodias to his court, and lived with her in open disregard of all decency and propriety.
Thus we often see that the great king of selfishness in Man is more enamoured of some Vice generated by the reasoning intellect, the half-brother of Wisdom, than of his legitimate wife, Knowledge, the daughter of Intuition; and when the latter sends her faithful servant, whose name is Conscience, to him, to reproach him for his infidelity, he attempts to kill her and drive her away from his heart. But when Conscience has once departed, Vice begins to show herself openly in defiance of all restraint.
Among those who most denounced his immorality was John the Baptist. Fearless and uncompromising, his voice thundered like the roar of a lion through the desert, and its echo was heard at the palace of the Tetrarch. Death and destruction and a day of judgment were foretold by the prophet, and repentance enjoined. Tyranny, vanity, and cowardice always go hand in hand; and for a while Herodes became seriously frightened. Thinking that at all events it might be well to make an attempt to escape the penalty due for his sins, he sent to John to inquire by what means the angry God could be pacified. John, however, was inexorable. He replied [Page 128] that divine justice could not be bribed or bargained with. No prayer, no sacrifice, no ceremony, he said, would avail. He demanded cessation of the incestuous intercourse, a return to Knowledge, and a separation from the ambitious woman.
Reproaches and accusations always smart when they are based upon truth. Such language Herodes was not accustomed to hear, nor would he submit to be made to appear to himself a villain. Still more angry was the beautiful Herodias, because she saw her plans for the future and her position threatened by the fanatical reformer. It required but little persuasion on her part to induce her lover to give the order for the arrest of John the Baptist, and to imprison him in the fortress of Makur.
More than this Herodes was not willing to do. He did not want to kill Reason, but he wanted to silence its voice whenever it was unwelcome to him. In vain Herodias wept and represented to him that John deserved to be punished by death, and that she could not be contented as long as the prophet was permitted to live, because his very presence was a reproach to her. Herodes knew that John, who was of a noble family, had many influential friends, and that to kill him would be to court an open rebellion; but there was still another cause which prevented him from consenting to the request of Herodias and to murder the prophet; for he suspected that perhaps, after all, the prophecies foretold by John might come true; and if so, what better means of [Page 129] protection against the ills that were to come, could he find than the prophet himself, who might act as his counsellor.
Moreover, John, imprisoned in the subterranean dungeons below the castle of Makur, was there as little capable of annoying the king, as if he had been already dead. There he might preach and denounce as much as he pleased; there was no one to listen to him. He therefore treated the requests of Herodias for the death-punishment of John the Baptist, as the results of a womanish whim, and he at last forbade her to mention this subject again.
But who can baffle the designs of a woman whose vanity has been offended ? Who can silence the voice of vice, if reason is not permitted to speak? Herodias knew the weak points in the character of Herodes, — his sensuality and love of pleasure, his lewdness and pride, — and she resolved to have recourse to a trick, to extort from him that which she no longer dared to ask.
Herodias, as may well be imagined, was a beautiful woman. Stately was her form, and faultless her features. From her large dark eyes, overshadowed by long, drooping lashes, seemed to flash a supernatural fire, which made men her slaves, while a bewitching smile played around her lips, as if she were rejoicing over the victories she so easily gained over the senses of men. Her bearing was full of haughtiness and pride: thus must Judith have looked as she entered the tent of Holofernes [Page 130] to cut off the head of the king; thus may have looked Messalina when she feasted upon Roman patrician blood. But while she might have been regarded as an incarnation of pride, and a personification of lust, she appeared nevertheless very modest. These lips which seemed to scorn the world, could flatter and plead, this graceful form could bow down at the approach of the royal voluptuary, and submit to the embraces of one whom she despised at heart.
What did she care for Herodes ? His person was nothing to her but an instrument by which she hoped to attain that which she desired, — the crown. If he had not been a king, she would have spurned him and detested his touch; but she well knew that the surest way for a woman to render a man her slave, is to appear to be submissive to him, and to obey his wishes even before they are uttered. Thus she ruled over Herodes, while Herodes dreamed of ruling over her.
She had committed a mistake by asking of him the life of John the Baptist; she ought to have been more careful, and induced Herodes to offer that life to her spontaneously, and apparently without her request. This mistake had to be remedied; for the head of John the Baptist had to fall, if she did not want to live in constant dread of his influence. “Who is this John”, she said to herself, “that we should hesitate to put him to death? A beggar, like so many others that we have silenced when they became too noisy, and no one dared to reproach us for it. He, a worm, has [Page 131] dared to crawl into my path, and to oppose my will. I will not recede; I will crush him under my foot and go on: let his blood come upon himself”.
She had asked for a clandestine interview with Kaiphas, the high-priest of the temple at Jerusalem, and one night he came to her in disguise. She asked him for his aid to annihilate John the Baptist, or to find a pretext to have the prophet accused and condemned by law as a heretic and infidel; but while Kaiphas offered no serious objection to the imprisonment of the prophet, whose violent speeches were liable to produce a schism in the church and to lessen the authority of the clergy, he would not listen to any proposals in regard to his murder; for John was of his caste, — even if he was a renegade, — and he harbored a certain amount of admiration for him.
Thus the beautiful Herodias was left to her own resources. She once attempted to have recourse to some practices of sorcery, in which she had received instruction from an Egyptian woman; but her ceremonies were of little avail, because the powers of evil which she invoked could not affect the pure soul of John the Baptist: they reverted to her own bosom and filled her heart with despair.
But if the powers of darkness were not able to do her bidding, there was a being, ever ready to comply with her wishes, namely, her own daughter Salome, the fruit of a former marriage of Herodias; a charming girl of about fifteen years, who was universally acknowledged [Page 132] to be the most beautiful young lady at the court of Herodes, and a most graceful dancer; and it had not escaped the attention of Herodias, that the eyes of the lascivious king often rested with a passionate glare upon the unripe charms of her daughter.
One day Salome had found her mother in tears, and after begging her to confess the cause of her sorrow, Herodias took her daughter into her confidence and confided her secret to her. Then the two women concocted a plan which was to cost John the Baptist his life. Salome was not a malicious girl; but she was exceedingly frivolous, inconsiderate, and vain, and flattered herself she was able to accomplish a thing in which even her mother had failed to succeed, and to outwit the king. As to John the Baptist, she cared no more for him than if he had been a slave.
In pursuance of the plot into which they had entered, Herodias made arrangements for a great festival to be held at Makur, to celebrate the birthday of the king. To that place the court resorted with a gathering of selected guests. Herodes was to be surprised by the magnificence of the feast.
The banquet was opened in a large hall of the castle. On three sides of the room tables and couches were arranged in horseshoe form, opening towards the entrance, which was hung with heavy curtains. In the midst of the half-circle upon a somewhat elevated platform there was a throne for the king and Herodias, while at both sides the courtiers and the ladies were [Page 133] seated. Costly wines and rich viands were served, music and songs and various plays increased the hilarity of those present, but the best of all the performances was to come off at midnight.
At that time a number of selected beauties of Jerusalem, expert dancers, entered. They were dressed and ornamented in a manner calculated rather to expose their charms than to hide them. They performed an Arabian dance, that excited the senses of the half-drunken king to the utmost degree. But now in the midst of it the dancers made room, the heavy curtain opened, and Salome the beautiful whirled into the room, nude, excepting a transparent film-like texture, thin as a spider's web, serving as an ornament during her dance. As the beauty of the moon, the queen of the night, surpasses the stars, so the beauty of Salome outshone the rest of the dancers, as she went through the most graceful gyrations. Her magnetic gaze was directed upon the king, as if he were the sole object of her desires and the rest of the assembly did not exist for her; and when the dance ended and a storm of applause filled the room, she stood before the king, looking imploringly at him, her hands folded over her palpitating bosom. She was the personification of vanity and desire.
“A kingly entertainment, indeed!” stuttered
the intoxicated Tetrarch, who had not recovered from his surprise. [Page 134]
“And worthy of a kingly reward!” said Herodias, in a loud voice, so that all present could hear it.
This remark excited the pride of Herodes. “Yes!” he said; “ask whatever thou desirest, and thou shalt receive it from me”.
“Then give me at once the head of John the Baptist, laid upon a golden plate”, answered Salome.
For a moment the king stared at her in terror and in surprise. He saw that he had been outwitted; but he was too proud to retract his promise, and, as if ashamed of his hesitation, he answered with a forced laugh and sent one of the most stalwart servants immediately to execute the command.
The above is an account of events supposed by many to have taken place in Palestine at the beginning of the Christian era, although there is no historical evidence for it; but what every one may know by his own self-examination is, that in the kingdom of the soul of semi-animal man selfishness is the king, represented as Herodes; and the voice of reason, represented as John the Baptist, cries like a voice in the wilderness. In many cases man does not wish to listen to that voice, nor does he wish to destroy it, unless, reduced by Passion, the daughter of Desire, he complies with her request, destroys his own reason, and thereby himself.[Page 135]
Truth is self-existent and independent of the opinions of men. It has not
a stone upon which
to rest its head, nor does it require any logical argument
to support it.
It is known to all who are willing to receive it when it enters their heart.
A CRY of indignation arose all over Judea when the foul murder of John the Baptist became known. The rich and the poor alike denounced, in unmeasured terms, that act of tyranny and cowardice. It seemed as if this had been the straw that broke the long-enduring camel's back, and in many parts of the country an open rebellion was threatened; for John was not merely a general favourite with the people and the accepted prophet of the Nazarenes; he was also of the Levitic caste, whose members were considered sacred. Now was the time for the long-expected Saviour to come. If he had appeared at that time and proved his authority by a few miracles, he would have had no end of admirers; but the redeemer did not come.
The Romans, full of security in their superior strength, remained quiet and looked upon the existing confusion as disinterested spectators. They knew that there was no hero among the Jews who could act as a leader, and the few persons who were inclined to act as such, counteracted each other's efforts by their own petty [Page 136] envies and jealousies. The Jews claimed that something must be done, but there was no one to do it; they all waited for Jehovah to perform some miracle, but the miracle was not performed; nor would an open rebellion without a great and heroic leader have been successful, for the Romans were well prepared for such an event; and although they seemed to be inactive, they silently took measures to suppress an insurrection. They acted wisely in not irritating the excited populace, for soon the sensation caused by the murder ceased to be a novelty; bread-and-butter affairs became again more important in their eyes than politics, and even the noisiest braggarts who had fought great battles with their tongues, quieted down.
At the beginning of the excitement Jehoshua was traveling in Judea; but when he heard of the murder of John the Baptist, he returned to his friends, the Nazarenes, to consult with them what measures were to be taken. He well knew that while the passions were raging, it would be useless for him to preach the gospel of wisdom to a people whose reason was dead, and any attempt on his part to occupy the position of a leader would have immediately caused him to be suspected of being a political agitator. To occupy such a position was not his desire. It was not his intention to interfere with the political institutions of the country; but to raise humanity up to a higher region of thought, to bring them nearer to a realization of the nature of true manhood, and to elevate their character and their sense [Page 137] of morality, upon which a change for the better in their external condition would follow as a natural consequence.
All external conditions are the outcome of internal conditions. This is as true in regard to a people as it is true in regard to a man, a society, an animal, a plant, or a rock. We cannot change the nature of a tree by trimming its branches; we cannot change the character of an animal by depriving it of its limbs; we cannot change the character and the natural conditions of a people by forcing upon it conditions which are unnatural, because they are not the outcome of interior growth. The law of Karma is an universal law which acts within communities, yea, even within solar systems, as it acts in regard to individuals. A vice forcibly repressed, unless displaced by a virtue, will accumulate strength until the pent-up force is followed by an explosion. Man is whatever he makes himself by his thoughts. A people on the whole may be looked upon as a compound individual, made up of a great many personalities, and yet being one entity to which the same law applies. A vicious man would drop back into vice tomorrow, if his sins were forgiven today; a people that cannot bear freedom would soon return to slavery, even if they were liberated by some miracle-worker.
Individuals, as well as communities, grow spiritually in proportion as they rise up to a higher ideal. If their ideal is lowered, they sink; if it becomes exalted, they [Page 138] will be elevated accordingly; slavery is an unnatural condition for men, but a natural condition for slaves; freedom is only made for the free. What will merely external reforms amount to, as long as the heart is not reformed ? Does a villain become less of a villain if we dress him in beautiful garments ? What will it serve to cut the branches of evil as long as the roots and the trunk remain ? Heroes are the product of the growth of ideas. Reformers come when the time for reform is ripe; if they appear and bloom prematurely, they will produce no fruits. Luther and Napoleon were the products of their times; they did not create reforms before the necessity for reform had created them; the characters that appear upon the stage of life are the products of previously existing ideas; external life is merely a shadow-picture, representing upon the wall of matter the picture contained within the magic lantern of the mind. Ideas are everything; personalities, if compared with ideas, are nothing. Persons are only useful if they are instruments for the execution of ideas; a person who is not a vehicle for an idea is merely a corpse.
Long-continued and abject fear of Jehovah had made the Jews a nation of cowards. They had no power to help themselves, because they excluded the saving grace of God from their hearts. They needed an external saviour, an outward redeemer, one that would come riding upon the clouds, presenting credentials to secure an undisputed belief in his authority to save; a god, invested with thunder and lightning to destroy [Page 139] their oppressors. They were a people amongst whom individual selfishness had become so concentrated, that no true patriotism was to be found. There was at that time no Marcus Curtius among them, willing to sacrifice his personal self for the benefit of his country; those who were called patriots, were inspired by the love of self and of vanity; they expected to receive some reward from almighty Jehovah.
The more their self-confidence failed, the louder became their appeals to the god which they had created in their imagination. The odour arising from burning bodies of animals went uninterruptedly up to the clouds, to tickle the nostrils of the sleepy deity, to wake him up and induce him to fulfil his promises and to send the long-expected redeemer: but Jehovah would not awaken.
Such times were propitious to increase the authority of the priest and to fill the money-bags of the church. Not to allow any profit to escape the clutches of the church, the temples were partly turned into stables and bazaars, where animals of various kinds, such as were used for sacrifice, were kept for sale. Cattle and sheep, goats and pigeons, were waiting for the priestly butcher knife, to have their throats cut after a bargain was made. Helpless beasts were killed to please the bloodthirsty god; while those who killed them suffered ferocious monsters to grow up within their own souls.
Those who speculate upon human vanity and greed, easily accomplish their purpose. At those times the [Page140] ignorant believed that to obtain gifts from God, it was necessary to make gifts to the church; then as now those who were able to pay for expensive ceremonies and church-service were considered the most pious and worthy to be respected. Well may the better-informed Pharisee then as now have laughed in his sleeve at the foolishness of the pilgrim who emptied his savings into the treasury of the church, to buy with material wealth things which could exist nowhere but in his own imagination; but deception was considered to be unavoidable and necessary, to secure a firm footing for the church in the hearts of the people and to keep them in subjection to the laws of order.
Clad in long-flowing robes, upon which were embroidered in gold, sentences from the sacred scrolls, the Pharisees went about public places, praying in loud voices and making a public display of their piety. No more did God speak in the hearts of men, for men had lost their power to hear; but instead of the voice of God they heard the voice of the priests, who claimed to be the keepers of the truth. They said that their words were the words of God, and to prove their authority pointed to the books of the law and the prophets and explained them in a manner most suitable to the interests of the church. But the people believed what they were told, for their John the Baptist was dead, having been killed by their own Herodes, and could not enlighten them in regard to this matter.
Owing to the ignorance and selfishness of the scribes, [Page 141] external worship had become entirely divorced from the internal one, and empty forms and ceremonies were considered of far more importance than knowledge. Religion became a servant of clerical interests, and matters of theology became mixed up with political affairs.
All attempts to unite the interests of church and state will always degrade religion and weaken the state by creating a rival power within the latter. True Religion has no other interest but the ennobling of the soul; she is above all temporal and egoistic considerations; she does nothing for the purpose of gaining material wealth or to gratify personal ambition; such things are done by the church, but not by religion. A government that needs the assistance of priestcraft to frighten the people into submission is a government of slaves, and itself a slave to the church. It is weak, and becomes still weaker by dividing its power with the Pharisees. Religion ought never to be used as a means to accomplish an unreligious purpose; true religion has for its purpose the final union of Man with the universal God, and rests upon a knowledge of the nature of the relations existing between God and Man; but the foundation upon which priestcraft rests is the self-love of man and his desire to obtain rewards which he does not deserve. This selfishness is inherent in the animal nature of Man; it is the rock upon which sectarianism rests, and it is as everlasting as the mountains; for as long as men exist in semi-animal forms, their higher aspirations will be mixed with selfish desires. As long as they possess [Page 142] no knowledge of self, they will be helpless and ignorant; as long as they cannot protect themselves against their own selves, they will look to the state for the protection of their bodies, and to the church for the salvation of their souls. They may do away with certain forms of superstition and abolish some creed; they may for a time imagine themselves to be free; but as long as they are not free from their own selfish desires, they cannot be really free: for the devil who keeps them in chains is within their own selves; he goes with them to the church and wherever they go. If they do away with one superstition, it will be merely to replace it by another; if they break the chains of one master, they will soon crave for another to protect them against their own selves.
As long as men are not able to govern their own desires, as long as they possess
merely opinions but not knowledge, they cannot be free, and require a master to
lead them; but they have a right to demand that their master should know more
than they know themselves, and that he should assist them in gaining knowledge
and not force them to remain ignorant. However much it may be in the interest of
mankind to attain knowledge, it is not in the interests of their masters that they
should attain it; for if men were to attain knowledge, they would become free and
need no other master but their own selves. Thus the interests of priestcraft are in
continual conflict with religion, and will remain so until mankind comes a step
nearer to God in spite of the resistance offered by the church.[Page 143]
At the time of which we are writing, the alliance between the state and the church at Jerusalem was not very strong; for the views of the Romans in regard to theology were different from those of the Jews. But the Roman government recognized the rights of the Sanhedrin to have laws of its own, and it even lent its aid to enforce these laws; and thus while the want of energy among the Jews, originating in their religious beliefs, made it easy for the Romans to keep the Jews in subjection, the recognition of the temporal authority of the church created — so to say — a Jewish government within the Roman government, weakening the latter and producing conflicts between the two, besides nourishing a rebellious spirit among the Jews, which had to be kept down by the overwhelming power of the Romans.
Similar conditions may be found to exist even at this day in that “Jerusalem” known as the Mind of Man. In a well-governed Mind the king of Reason enlightened by Wisdom ought to rule supreme; but if he forms an alliance with Selfishness, Reason will lose its power, [Page 144] and a kingdom of Ignorance will be established within the kingdom of Reason. Then will the edicts of the “church” enter in conflict with the laws given by the legitimate ruler, and Reason will be lost unless Wisdom comes to its aid.
the processes that are continually going on within the Mind of individual
men resemble the processes taking place within the Mind of Humanity; and
as the thoughts of individual man find outward expression in his features
and in his
acts, likewise the thoughts of Humanity find expression in personalities
and historical events; for the visible world is nothing else but a stage
upon which the
inner life of humanity is enacted, a place where man's subjective and real
existence finds an external representation in that sphere of illusions called
the physical world. [Page 145]
THE GREAT RENUNCIATION
We can attain the High only by rising above that which is low. The life of
the God in Man
necessitates the sacrifice of his attraction to the animal elements existing in his constitution.
GREAT was the joy with which the Nazarenes welcomed him whom they now recognized as their Master. His mind had expanded, his spirituality had become strong, and his very presence seemed awe-inspiring and holy. There was no wavering or uncertainty in his decisions; he had grown to that full stature in which man's thoughts become his words, and words become acts; he had gained the power to control his own mind, and in doing so he controlled the minds of others. His superiority was so self-evident, that his former friends now became his disciples, and his followers looked upon him as if he were something more than mortal, — a god. Nor was such a belief unjustifiable; for he had become so much united to his own divine inner Self, that the divinity of the latter seemed to permeate even his mortal frame and to attract to itself other spiritual influences of the same kind, whose presence was manifested on several occasions.
Thus once he went with some of his disciples upon the top of a high mountain, and as he stood there, he became deeply immersed in meditation, while his companions, [Page 146] not wishing to disturb the sacred silence, watched him from the distance. Then it appeared to them as if a light of a supernatural kind were emanating from him, and in that light they beheld the presence of two Adepts, whom they supposed to be Moses and Elias of old.
Such an occurrence need not be regarded as impossible or incredible by the sceptic. The Higher Self, the divine Adonai, the “Spirit” of Man, is not a poetical fancy or a metaphysical hypothesis to those who have risen up to his sphere. There are perhaps few persons who have not at least once in their lives, perhaps during the days of their childhood, felt that such a “guardian spirit” was near, and there is abundant evidence in the biographies of heroes and saints, in ancient and modern history, going to show that man's Higher Self may manifest itself visibly to the lower self, and that it may have spiritual intercourse with its own equals, in the same sense as a mortal man may communicate with other mortals upon this earth.
As to the nature of man's divine Self we are informed by the ancient Bhagavad Gita, that: “In this world there are two existences, the perishable and the imperishable. The Perishable consists of all living things, (the Senses, etc.); the Imperishable is called the Lord on high. But there is another, the highest existence, called the Supreme Spirit, who as the eternal Lord (Iswara) [The Logos (Christ), John x 9] pervades the three worlds and sustains them”; [Page 147] and we are furthermore informed by the same source, that: “Some by meditation perceive the soul within themselves by themselves . . . , while others, who know it not, hear of it from others, and worship, and these too, devoted to the sacred doctrine, pass over death”.
These views are amply corroborated by the teachings of Jehoshua, who speaks of himself on many occasions, as if he had become one with that divine Self, while the apostle Paul and others repeat the same doctrine in regard to the corruptible and incorruptible body. [Colossians i. 27. II Corinthians iv 16. I Corinthians xv 53].
Again he began to teach in the towns of Galilee and Judea, and more than ever his fame spread over the country and penetrated even within the walls of Jerusalem. The members of his family, who were astonished to see him acquire such a renown, went to him, to claim him as one of their own. But Jehoshua had outgrown that stage in which ties of blood form any attraction to man; he had become one with his soul, and that soul was not the son of a mortal woman. He was a genius, and the Universal Spirit his Father; he was above all terrestrial considerations, living entirely in the realm of the Ideal. Our parents are the progenitors of the physical forms which man temporarily inhabits during his earthly life; but that form is not the real self of the regenerated man, who existed from all eternity. [John v 26].
Jehoshua therefore said: “Who is my mother, and who are my brethren? He who does the will of our [Page 148] eternal Father is my brother, my sister, and mother”. [Mathew xii. 50] He was so taken up and absorbed by the one grand idea of universal fraternal Love, that he lost sight of the earthly ties that bind personalities to each other. In his superior state he ceased to be an individual man in all but external form; it was as if his soul had become unconscious of inhabiting a separate state of existence, and had mixed with the universal indivisible divine Spirit.
How can such a superior state be realized by those who cling to the illusion of Self ? How can it be understood by an age whose fundamental principle upon which its religion and science, politics and social intercourse are based, is the illusion of Self, and to which a renunciation of personal existence appears to be identical with annihilation ? And yet Christians claim to believe such things in theory; for the fundamental doctrine upon which original Christianity was founded is the sacrifice of personal existence, which leads to a resurrection in a life beyond personality and mortality.
What is the signification of the Christian Cross ? Is it merely a memento of an historical event, to remind the present generation that some eighteen hundred years ago, an honest man was executed as a criminal by being nailed to a cross ? Then if that man or God had been executed by means of a gallows, a gallows would have become the emblem of the Christian faith, and [Page 149] gallows in the place of crosses would now be seen in churches and houses and upon the tops of the spires of Christian places of worship. No! The Cross has a far deeper signification; it is a symbol that was known thousands of years before the advent of modern Christianity ; it may be found in Indian cave-temples and upon relics dating from antediluvian times. It cannot mean the death of a god, for gods are immortal and cannot be killed; it means the entire cessation of all thoughts of self — of all self-love, self-will; it means the mystic death, the renunciation of everything belonging to personality and limitation, and the entering in a life in the Infinite, Unlimited, and Eternal. This renunciation of Self is the great “stone of contention” in the way of those who desire to become immortal while they yet cling to their personal self. [Mathew viii 35]. This superior state is one of spiritual consciousness above all sense of personality; it is a happy, and therefore a “heavenly”, state. It requires no keys of bishop or pope, nor any permission to be obtained by a clergyman, to enter its portals; it merely requires the power and the ability to give up one's love for the lower self and to join the consciousness of the Higher Self, which already exists in “heaven”.
How could the prohibition of a priest or the malediction of a pope ever prevent a man from rising up to a higher region of thought or entering a higher state of consciousness ? If man's soul is able to wing itself up to [Page 150] those celestial heights, no interdict will be able to prevent it. How could the permission of a church enable man to enter into a region of thought which he is not able to enter, because he clings with the grasp of despair to his lower perishing self ? Verily a church claiming such a power is like the Pharisees of old, of whom Jehoshua said: “Woe to you, hypocrites! who devour the widows' houses, pretending to give spiritual gifts, while you do not possess them yourselves”, [Mathew xxiii 14].
doctrine of the entire renunciation of Self is the great mystery which
the Spirit of Christ has taught at all times through the mouths of the
sages; it is the great
secret which Jehoshua vainly attempted to bring to the understanding of a
selfish nation; it is the great truth which Divine Wisdom still continues
Jehoshua's disciples did not grasp this idea; for when he explained to
them that it
was necessary to give up personal existence, to gain that life which is eternal,
“they refused to go any further with him”. They, too, dreamed of a sensual
heaven; their aspirations did not rise higher than to gain an everlasting
terrestrial life in a material heaven, where, unburdened from gross matter,
their astral egos
might enjoy a life resembling the one upon this planet, but without the sufferings
of the latter; a life where there are still personal likes and dislikes,
attractions and desires, social intercourse and amusements; a life in a
limited, although ethereal
form, full of change, and therefore not self-existent and not eternal. [Page
But Jehoshua spoke of a heavenly state, where no one is married nor given in marriage; where there is no distinction of sex or race or of religious opinion; where each individual soul is a spiritual power, a note in the great symphony that constitutes the harmony of the All; a state in which we will all be one in Divinity, as we are now one in Humanity; an existence where all are cemented together by the universal principle of Love, where individual consciousness is swallowed up in the inconceivable happiness of eternal and universal existence, of which men cannot conceive intellectually as long as they cling to form, and which is therefore like nothing to them.
A kingdom after this pattern Jehoshua wanted to establish even on this earth. He wanted to unite all mankind by the power of fraternal love, to do away with injustice, superstition, and priestcraft, to bring each individual up to a conscious realization of his own divine nature, to induce men to cultivate their spiritual talents and to develop the spiritual powers which slumber in every soul. He well knew that all men are not alike, and that there can be no external equality upon the material plane as long as the process of evolution lasts. Permanent equality would mean a permanent cessation of progress; it would be characterized by an absence of that necessary stimulus which causes activity; but he knew that all men had the same natural rights for the attainment of knowledge, and that they all were entitled to see the truth and to strive after supreme and eternal [Page 152] happiness. He wanted to give them a higher, a true Ideal, which would raise them up into the highest regions of thought to a nobler conception of Man, and thus by ennobling them save them even from their material degradation, by and through their own efforts.
Great is the power of Wisdom! It captivates even those who are not able to see it, provided they do not wilfully repel its light when it seeks to enter the heart. The soul feels the power of wisdom, even if the intellect cannot grasp it. The doctrines of Jehoshua captivated the minds of the people; they began to look upon him as the promised saviour, who had come to destroy their enemies, to make the poor equals of the rich, and to supply all with comfort and happiness. Some believed him to be an incarnation of John the Baptist; others imagined they beheld in him the spiritual power of an Avatar. The Pharisees and the scribes of the temple at Jerusalem searched their sacred scrolls; but they could find no prophecy of any star that was to arise from Nazareth; they would not believe that any good could come out of that place. His language sounded insulting to them, because it exposed their failings; his doctrines were undermining the foundation upon which their church and its dogmas rested. He deserved death, and it was necessary by all means to secure his person, to prevent further mischief to the interests of the church. In Galilee he was secure as long as he created no political trouble with the Romans; the authority of the temple of Jerusalem did not extend beyond [Page 153] certain limits. They consulted with each other about means to coax him to come to Jerusalem; they tried to bribe his family to induce him to go there, and his brothers advised him to go. [John vii 3].
The idea of going to Jerusalem, to give the finishing stroke to his work, had already entered the mind of Jehoshua. He well knew the dangers connected with such an attempt; but now he had grown strong and powerful and risen above all personal considerations. His personal safety seemed to him not worthy of a moment's thought; it was the truth — not his person — that he desired to defend; and if his mortal body were to die in his attempt at defending the truth, the cause which he advocated could only gain by such a sacrifice.
In vain his friends pleaded that he should not thus risk his life. Dark clouds of the future rose up before his clairvoyant vision; but above these clouds he saw a light, as if a thousand suns were bursting forth in the sky, filling infinite space with its glory. He beheld his human personality like a hardly perceptible speck of dust in the boundless ocean of matter. Was it worth while to consider what became of such an insignificant thing, when the whole of humanity was to be saved from ignorance ?
Let the would-be wise of the world call such a state of mind a product of a “morbid imagination“, “hallucination”, or whatever they please. To the vulgar everything [Page 154] is vulgar, and the worm crawling under the ground can realize nothing else but the presence of earth. To the coward, courage would be an abnormal state; to the stingy, generosity is a pathological condition; to the foolish, knowledge belongs to the unknowable; to the selfish, unselfishness is an absurdity. When our philosophers will be able to answer intelligently the question, What is Matter? then will it be time for them to study what is Consciousness or Spirit. When our anthropologists will have learned something more about the constitution of Man than merely his phenomenal aspect, when our naturalists will know more than the mere superficial laws of nature, and our “Divines” are divine in truth and not merely in name, then will it be time to argue the questions of eternity and immortality with them. Until that time arrives, “the wisdom of the worldly wise will be foolishness in the eyes of Divine Wisdom”. [John vii 3]
In our utilitarian age the most useless things are looked upon as Real and Useful, and that which is of the highest use in the end is regarded as an Illusion. Matter is said to be all, and Spirit is said to be nothing. But of what use would Matter be without life and without thought ? how could we utilize Matter, if we had no Intellect to employ it, and what is the Intellect but an activity of matter produced by the stimulus coming from what is called “Spirit” or God?
The time of the festival of the Tabernacles was approaching [Page 155] preaching, and this was considered by Jehoshua as the most appropriate time for his visit to the capital of Judea. At that time the city would be filled with great crowds from the country, upon whose good natural common sense he might rely to a certain extent, because they were less sophisticated than the inhabitants of the city, whose opinions and sentiments change like the wind, where a hero may be glorified today and stoned to death tomorrow.
The followers of Jehoshua saw that the storm was approaching. Some of the more timid ones began to regard him as a fanatic, whose rashness was about to bring on his destruction, and they silently retired to their homes. Others believed that the long-expected day of judgment was about to appear and that some great miracle was to take place. They went with him, because they hoped to get some celestial reward, and they already began to dispute which one of them would be the greatest in heaven. Many believed that he would never reach Jerusalem alive, that the priests would cause him to be murdered on the way, to avoid the sensation which was certain to be created by his open arrest. Perhaps on account of these considerations Jehoshua kept his plan secret and did not start for the capital with the usual caravan, but left soon afterwards by a different route, going by the way of Sichem and through the country of the Samaritans, known as the place where works of charity are performed.
is said that when he entered Jerusalem, he rode [Page 156] upon an ass: nor
could it have been otherwise; for the truth cannot enter the soul of man unless
sitting upon the ass of self-conceit, and those who attempt to enter the temple
knowledge carrying that ass on their backs will be left outside. [Page 157]
There is only one Temple in which the Truth can manifest its divinity; it is that living and conscious organism which constitutes the soul and body of Man.
THE unexpected arrival of Jehoshua at Jerusalem was to the Pharisees of the temple like a thunderbolt coming from a clear sky. They had given up all hopes of drawing him into their net, and believed that he would not dare to come to Jerusalem, and now the bird arrived voluntarily and without any coaxing. But the bird was an eagle, and was likely to tear the meshes with his claws and punish his assailants with his beak.
The first information they received of the arrival of their enemy came through the triumphal shouts of the multitude at the temple, to which Jehoshua had immediately gone and where he inspired his hearers with the living fire of truth that came from his heart.
They went to the place where he spoke and they asked him by what authority he was teaching, and he answered them that he taught by the authority of that omnipotent power which inspired the ancient prophets; but that only those who were true themselves would be able to perceive the truth speaking in him; and when they asked him to prove that his doctrines were true, he said: “The doctrines which I teach are not my own, [Page 158] but it is the Truth which teaches them through me. He that teaches his own doctrines and theories speaketh of himself; he is acting under the impulse of earthly ambition and seeketh his own glory and not the glory of God; but he that seeks to glorify, — not himself, — but God, by giving expression to the truth of which he is conscious, is true, and no evil can be in him.[John vii 16]. Live so, that you may know the truth, not by external appearances and argumentation, but by its own inherent power.[John vii 24]. Be true, and you will know the truth”. [John viii 47].
“The organism of Man”, he said, “resembles a kingdom; its capital is the Mind, and its temple the soul. In that capital and temple there are many false prophets, as there are in Jerusalem. There are the Pharisees of sophistry and false logic, credulity, and scepticism; and the 'scribes' are the prejudices and erroneous opinions engrafted upon the memory. Do not listen to what these false prophets say, but listen to the voice of wisdom that speaks in your heart; for verily I say unto you, the temple, built of speculations which the scribes have erected, will be destroyed, and not one of the dogmas and theories of which it has been constructed will remain, when the day of sound judgment appears. [Mathew xxiv. 2]
“See the truth enters your heart, bearing the palm leaf, the symbol of peace. Let it abide in you, and abide yourself in the truth. There is no other worship [Page 159] acceptable to the universal God, but to keep his commandments, which he reveals to you through the power of Divine Wisdom, whose voice speaks in your higher consciousness. Love one another; and as you grow in unselfish love, so will you grow in wisdom.
“Those who are seeking for Truth in external things will not find it, for the external world is merely a world of appearances, and not of absolute truth. The Spirit of God is pervading the universe, but the physical senses are not constituted to see it; neither can the finite intellect comprehend the Infinite. Seek for divine wisdom within yourself; then will God come to reside in you, and you will find him. He that hates the truth hates God, for the Truth is divine and comes from God. If you let. the spirit of Wisdom abide in your hearts, it will guide you into the light of knowledge; but when it departs from your heart, then will you abide in the darkness of ignorance, and your soul will weep and lament, but the animal instincts within you will rejoice, for they love darkness and are sorely grieved by the light of the truth.
your hearts and see the image of the true God within them. He is not
to be found in man-made temples and churches; and if any one tells you,
is in this church, or he is in that one, do not believe it, but seek
for God within your
own heart. Let not the Pharisees and the scribes and the intellectual powers
of your mind mislead you, but listen to the divine voice of Intuition,
which speaks at
the centre of your own soul”. [Page 160]
It may easily be imagined that such language exasperated the Pharisees and the sceptics; nor would it be tolerated by them today. They attempted to have Jehoshua arrested upon the spot, but they did not succeed, because the populace took his part. There is an eternal battle going on in the mind of man and on the external plane between error and truth, between speculation and intuition, between true religion and priestcraft, and the two combatants are often so intermingled with each other, that it is exceedingly difficult to distinguish them from each other and to tell where the truth ends and where falsehood begins. Every attack made upon the erroneous opinions and the selfishness of the church autocrats is misrepresented by the latter as an attack upon religion; not upon their religious views, but as an attack upon religion itself. Their church is their God, and the interests of the church are their religion; it is all the God and the religion they know; they can form no conception of a God without priestcraft, nor of a religion without church-benefits. Having all their lives kept their minds within the narrow grooves prescribed for them by their creeds, having become accustomed to worship an unnatural, limited, impossible, and helpless God, who needs the assistance of the clergy to teach mankind; the universal, omnipotent, omnipresent Divinity, the Christ, whose light shines into the hearts of men is non-existent to them; and although they preach such Christ with their mouths, repeating the sayings of the ancient books of wisdom, without understanding [Page 161] their meaning, nevertheless they deny him in practice and reject him on every occasion. They preach love and act hate; they claim to love God, but the God they love is fashioned after their own fancies, and by loving him, they love nothing else but themselves. Their God is a limited, personal, circumscribed and narrow-minded God, and their love is equally narrow-minded and intolerant.
Such and similar truths Jehoshua attempted to bring to the understanding of the people in the temple of Jerusalem. “The spirit of Wisdom”, he said, “that speaks in me and through my lips, and whose voice every one of you might hear within his heart, if he knew how to listen to it, is the way, the truth, and the life. It is the light of the world, and he that followeth it, shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.[John viii 12]. He who has become conscious of the existence of that light within his soul will not die, for he then lives in the light and the light lives in him. [John vi 57] I am not asking you to believe what Jehoshua says, but I ask you to seek for the truth within your own selves, so that you may know that the truth is speaking through me; [John v 30] for the truth is self-evident to those that are true, and requires no other certificate but its own self. [John v 36] I am not here to do the will of the terrestrial elements composing that frame, but to do the will of the Supreme Intelligence, from whom all spirits are born. [John vi 38]. You are now [Page 162] worshipping something of which you know nothing; but the time will come when men will rise up to an understanding of that God who is not a product of the imagination of man, and must be worshipped in spirit and in truth. [John iv 22]. Salvation must come from within yourself; it does not come from without. It cannot be bought with sacrifices nor be conferred upon you by a clergyman, but it is attained by the sacrifice of yourself. If the spirit of God does not live within you, how can you expect to live ? [Romans viii 8] for the spirit of God is Life and is immortal in Man. The gods which men have created are the servants of their churches; but the true God is greater than the church. There is no temple worthy to be the residence of the God of Humanity, but the living souls of those who are pure in their hearts. [Luke xvii 21]. There is no salvation without sanctification”. [Hebrews xii 14].
Such unorthodox language was as intolerable to the Pharisees as it would be to their modern successors, if it were publicly repeated today. Such language, if tolerated, would overthrow the authority of the church and of that god who is believed to belong to the church. What would be the use for men to hire a priest to intercede with God, if God accepted no intercession ? What would become of the doctrine which taught that the Jews were the favourite people of Jehovah, if Jehovah had no favourites and was no respecter of persons, but a universal Spirit, dispensing life and light to all [Page 163] without partiality? “This man”, they said, “must surely be possessed of a devil”; and they consulted with each other how they might kill him; but they dared not to attack him openly, because he was very popular, for there were many among the crowd who had been mentally blind all their life, and who now became able to open their eyes and to see the light of the truth.
The people always admire courage and intrepidity; they well knew the dangers by which Jehoshua was surrounded, and the fact that he remained within the walls of Jerusalem and continued to teach in the temple, in spite of the threatening danger, gained for him their hearts.
There was an old law, which said that whoever attempted to create contempt for the prevailing methods of worship, or to cause disrespect in regard to the established forms of religion, should be stoned to death without the privilege of a hearing, without judgment, and without defence. According to this law, Jehoshua had many times incurred the penalty of death, but the Pharisees did not dare to arrest him, on account of his great popularity.
But an event occurred which brought on the end.
As the mind of man, the temple of the living God, becomes converted into a stable and trading shop, if selfishness is permitted to enter. likewise the temple of Jerusalem had become converted into a stable and market-hall by the selfishness of the Pharisees. The courts of the temple and even the interior halls were [Page 164] filled with stalls, where merchants sold their goods, and the noise made by the seller who praised his goods, and the buyer who attempted to cheapen the price, penetrated into the innermost sanctuary.
Grieved at this desecration, and while carried away by his ardour, he overthrew one of the stalls where trinkets were sold, and his enthusiastic listeners followed his example. Immediately the selfish passions of the audience were aroused; their instincts told them that an opportunity had arrived for plunder, and a fight ensued, during which the merchants lost their goods and were driven from the temple, while thieves enriched themselves with their stores.
This unfortunate occurrence broke the spell by which Jehoshua ruled the hearts of the people. Brute force can never be an ally for the promulgation of the truth. Wisdom is a spiritual power, and external measures are useless for its purpose unless they are guided by wisdom. For one moment only the great reformer had lost the mastery over himself, and now a crime had been committed. At that moment he had ceased to be a representative of the truth and become an offender — not merely against the laws of the church, but against the divine law of justice. As long as he contented himself with denouncing the selfishness of the Pharisees, he merely appealed to the power of reason, but by his perhaps involuntary and unpremeditated act, he had appealed to the unreasoning instincts of the populace and entered into relation with the elements of evil. [Page 165] By this act he had ceased to be a reformer, and become a disturber of the peace.
The Pharisees were not slow to recognize the advantage they had gained by this event. They now appealed to the sense of justice and reason, and Jehoshua had to leave the city to avoid arrest. He went to the village of Ephraim and remained there with his disciples.
History is said to be always repeating itself. Even the Pharisees of the world and the reasoning powers in Man are willing to listen to the voice of the truth as long as it does not come in conflict with their selfish interests. All men admire the truth, as long as he remains in his cage and does not threaten their self-interest; but when he overthrows a favourite creed, then will they drive him away from the city. Then will the spirit of Wisdom have to retire to some quiet place, to wait until the storm of the passion has ceased, when it may again attempt to enter the heart. [Page 166]
That which is impermanent and illusive depends for its existence on external
That which is real and permanent finds the necessary conditions within itself.
is not often that an error committed does not cause another. Jehoshua,
in overthrowing the stall at the temple, had committed a mistake; his
Jerusalem was another one; it was dictated by prudence and necessary to save
his person from danger, but personal considerations of any kind should never
be allowed to enter the mind of the true Adept, if they are in conflict
with justice. He
who has risen entirely above the sphere of selfishness, to that plane to
which few are able to rise, acts only in accordance with justice, — a justice blind to all
personal claims. Such justice demanded that he should have remained and
faced the consequences of the act for which he was morally responsible. He
well knew that if he were to deliver himself to his enemies, it was not
revenge that would await him; but he perceived that it was wrong for him
to have left Jerusalem, and that it would have been his duty to remain at
Moreover, the row at the temple had caused a misunderstanding in regard to
the doctrines he taught, and it was necessary to correct this mistake.[Page 167]
His first act of imprudence could not be remedied — the stolen goods would not be restored; but to remedy the second mistake was in his power, and the fact that it was his duty to return to Jerusalem was strongly impressed upon his mind. In spite of the entreaties of his friends, he therefore resolved to return, and he selected for that purpose the approaching festival of the Passover.
From a worldly and personal point of view such a resolution appears absurd; but from the standpoint of the higher self it was reasonable, because it was right. His reason and logic told him that, while he would expose himself to a great danger if he returned to Jerusalem, he would probably not even find an opportunity to explain his position; but his intuition told him that by returning he would act in accordance with justice. The intellect argues and speculates to find out what may be true, but Wisdom knows the truth without any argumentation. His intellect told him not to expose his person to danger; but intuition told him to go without fear: for even if the Pharisees would take undue advantage of him and act unjustly towards his person, that was their own affair, which he had not to consider; for no man can be made responsible for any other acts than those which he performs himself or wilfully causes others to perform. Logic came and told him that it would be far more reasonable for him to escape, for he would be able to do a great deal more good for humanity by continuing to live, than if he [Page 168] were to go to the capital and permit himself to be killed by his enemies; but Divine Wisdom bade him to go to Jerusalem, and to leave the consequences to God.
The preparations for the Passover festival had begun; the city became filled with strangers, and once more Jehoshua and his disciples were on their way to Jerusalem. It was publicly known that the Sanhedrin had issued an order to have him arrested as soon as he should enter the gates of the city; and when it became known at Jerusalem, that in spite of the threatening danger he was on his way to return, his friends rejoiced at his courage, and they went to the suburb to meet him. They received him with exclamations of joy and made him ride in their midst. Thus they entered the gates and baffled the vigilance of the priests, who did not dare to arrest him while he was surrounded by so many adherents.
Thus does the soul of man rejoice when, after a period of darkness during which the truth had departed, and sin and selfishness assumed the rule, wisdom, the king and saviour, appears again at the gates. At such a solemn moment the passions flee to their dens, superstitions retire to their corners. Peace accompanies the king and enters with him, and the whole interior world is filled with light and resounds with solemn harmonies, while from all the intelligent powers arises a glad Hosanna.
But the priests and Pharisees well knew that their doom was approaching, unless they acted without further [Page 169] delay. If they permitted him to remain at Jerusalem, he would indeed become a king of the Jews; for he gained all hearts, not so much by his arguments as by that power by which a superior spirit obtains the mastery over the masses.
The arguments which Jehoshua used while teaching in the temple were indeed unanswerable and his doctrines were sublime; but his ideas were too grand to be understood by the people; they could not grasp them intellectually, but they intuitively knew that he was right, and they believed not merely in his words, but in Him.
The Pharisees consulted with each other, and they agreed that it was not advisable to attempt to arrest him during that day; they resolved to wait until the following night, and they bribed one of his followers to inform them about the place where Jehoshua was going to spend the night, so that they might secure his person without difficulty.
Thus, if the truth has once entered the soul and the inhabitants of the mind have become conscious of his presence, all selfish desires will become subject to his supreme rule; nor will it be possible for doubts to obtain mastery over the truth as long as the light of knowledge exists; but when the night of ignorance again appears, and the intelligent spiritual powers which accompany the king fall asleep, then will doubts again appear, and by bribing Logic, one of the disciples of Wisdom, they will induce him to use his sophistry [Page 170] and to traduce his Master; for this “Judas Ischarioth” is easily influenced by selfish desires and external illusions; it can easily be made to traduce and pervert the truth: but if it allows itself to be thus employed, it would be better it had never been born; for when the day of sound judgment appears and wisdom returns, then will this false logic be forced to destroy itself by its own power, and by its own deductions annihilate itself.
The nearer this fallacious logic approaches the truth, the more dangerous will it become; for an argument which is false and touches the truth, becomes a traitor to it. Only when Logic embraces the Truth and remains one with it, can it be trusted.
The chief priests and the elders of the temple arrived; and as they dared not capture him in the midst of the crowd, they attempted to mislead him with their arguments. They tempted him, and asked whether or not it was just that they should pay taxes to the Emperor, or whether they should give up their whole life to the contemplation of the things of the Spirit. And Jehoshua answered them in parables, teaching that as long as man is inhabiting a corporeal form, it is his duty to provide for that form; but that he should not give to Matter that which belongs to the Spirit. He said that while the labour of the body and intellect may be employed for terrestrial purposes, they themselves, being of a terrestrial nature, man's higher intelligent powers and aspirations should always be directed towards [Page 171] the Eternal. The body and Intellect of Man is his servant, and it is the duty of the Master to provide for the needs of the latter; but the Master must not become the slave of his servant by making his wisdom subservient to the intellect or by employing his reason for the gratification of the animal self.
Then spake Jehoshua to the multitude and to his disciples, and said: “The Scribes and the Pharisees (the intellectual reasoning powers of man) have occupied the chair belonging to Divine Wisdom. If men speak wisely, observe what they say; but very often they speak wise words and do not act wisely. The priests put heavy burdens upon the people, grievous to be borne, but they themselves will not — nor can they — lift a finger to move them. All the works they do, are done for the purpose of being seen and admired by men; they ornament their clothing and make big arguments, and broad borders to their garments. They love the uppermost rooms at the feast, and the chief seats in the synagogues; they want to be greeted in the markets and be called Rabbi, Rabbi; but be not ye called Rabbi, for one is your Master, the Truth, and all ye are brethren. Call no man your (spiritual) father (by adopting his opinion); for one is your Father, the consciousness of the Truth. The Intellect seems now to you to be the greatest of the powers of man; but it can only be the greatest, if it is illuminated by Wisdom.
“Woe to you, Scribes and Pharisees, for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men, by preventing them [Page 172] from attaining spiritual knowledge. Ye neither go in yourselves, neither will ye suffer them that are entering to go in. You send your missionaries to encompass sea and land to make one proselyte; and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of evil than yourself, because you teach him to argue and use sophistry, and to cling to external illusions. Woe unto you, who are blind to the spiritual perception of the truth, while you pretend to be the keepers of it, ye blind guides who strain at a gnat and swallow a camel. You are like whited sepulchres, which appear beautiful outward, but which are within full of dead men's bones and corruption. Wisdom has departed from you, and will not return until you give up your hypocrisy and selfishness, and learn to worship the truth.
“He who is filled with the spirit of wisdom, possessing spiritual knowledge, is the heaven-ordained priest, the true shepherd, and those who love the truth know his voice; but the merely man-ordained and selfish priests, full of vanity and having no truth in their hearts, are like thieves that enter the sheepfold, not through the legitimate door of direct perception, but by climbing in through the window of argumentation”.
Such language was sufficient to wound the vanity of the Pharisees and their followers, and it was the more painful because it was true. Accusations or vilifications which are not just cause no pain to the self-conscious spirit; they drop like blunt arrows from the armour of him who rises above them; but the more an accusation [Page 173] approaches the truth, the more will it penetrate to the heart and cause a painful wound. If the death of Jehoshua had not been already resolved upon by the priesthood, this public exposition of their hypocrisy and untrustworthiness would have been sufficient to draw their venomous hate upon him: moreover, his death was now a matter of political necessity, for as long as the truth is permitted to remain, there is no security for priestcraft, sectarianism and erroneous opinions.
He had aroused the spirit of inquiry among the intelligent powers; he had dared to tear the masks from conceit and hypocrisy, and to hold up the nakedness of time-honoured superstitions to public contempt, and he was hated and feared by the orthodox Jews. They desired to kill him, because Logic easily becomes the enemy of the truth if Selfishness whispers in his ear.
As a matter of course, it was not to be supposed that the crowds which listened
to his language understood his ideas; for ideas, like trees, do not grow up and
unfold in one day like a product of Magic; they require time to take root in the
mind, to bring forth branches and leaves, to bear flowers and fruits; but some
seeds had been laid in the soil, and some persons commenced to think; some of
the intuitional powers within the mind had begun to wake up and become
receptive. Some remained in that condition, while others went to sleep again, like
a drunken man who opens his eyes as the thunder rolls in the sky, and then falls
back again into his stupor. [Page 174]
It may be asked: “Why should mankind be disturbed in their happy dreams ? Why should they be enlightened in regard to things which they do not care to know, being happy in their ignorance ? Is not the object of life the attainment of happiness, and how could we convey a greater happiness upon mankind, than by saving them the trouble of thinking, by taking the labour for their salvation upon our shoulders, so that they may spend all their time for pleasure and for the acquisition of luxury ? Is not the ideal golden age one in which all men are of one opinion, and what greater peace could we convey upon men than to cause them all to embrace one belief? If they would all believe as we do, they would be happy and bless us as their redeemers”.
Such fallacious arguments, full of sophistry, are often used by the followers of dogmatic theology. If all men could be supplied with an equal share of wisdom, they would all be equally happy; but opinion is not knowledge, ignorance is not wisdom, animal comfort is not the object of life, knowledge of external things is not the aim of existence, a merely imaginary salvation does not convey immortality. If all men could be transformed into stones, all would cease to suffer; if they were all enclosed in one common tomb, they would all be equally at peace.
The object of life is not life itself, but the attainment of a higher degree of perfection in the ladder of evolution; the attainment of a higher state of consciousness, [Page 175] which can be reached only through that spiritual knowledge which ennobles the soul. What would a being transferred into the spiritual realm do, if it possessed merely a knowledge of externals, but no consciousness for spiritual things, and consequently no power to perceive its surroundings ? What would it do in the realm of Divine Wisdom, if it merely possessed the artificial light of Logic, but not the light of the living Christ ? Surrounded by darkness, it would exist within the hell created by its own imagination, until the laws of its being would permit it to come back again to this earth, to seek for light in a new expression in form.
“Man has before him life and death; whatever he chooses will be given to him”. [John iii 13]. If he chooses to remain in darkness and ignorance, trusting that another will do his own work, his choice will be death in the spirit; if he wants to live he must work; for the truth, when it once enters the heart, will bring peace to the spirit;, but to the soul it will bring the sword with which to combat selfish desires and to conquer Self. [Sirach xv 17]
It is not “Morals” that we attempt to preach, but the awakening of the inner man to a realization of his own true manhood. It is not a scheme of salvation by which divine justice may be cheated, or a certain rule of conduct that we wish to establish, but the attainment of knowledge. The external conduct of a man, however good it may be, amounts to little as far as he himself is concerned, unless it is a true expression of the internal [Page 176] state of his mind. Good conduct accompanied with evil thoughts and desires is often a result of cowardice and hypocrisy.
As the evening approached, Jehoshua, with his disciples, retired to the house of a friend, to partake of the supper that had been prepared for them. He spoke to them of the immortality of that divine and universal essence contained in every soul, and how all souls in which this principle would become self-conscious, would thereby be rendered consciously immortal. He spoke of that divine life of Intelligence that renders the soul which it permeates luminous, like a ray of sunlight pervading a crystal globe, while the souls of those who were filled only with the love of self become dark, when the mortal intellect whose illusive light illuminated them during terrestrial life had become dissolved.
“He who clings to his lower self”, he said, “will die with the latter; but he who, even during his life upon this earth, rises above all selfish thoughts, and becomes conscious of being an integral part of the divine Spirit that pervades all creation, will live. The soul of Man, having during his terrestrial life become united with God, when the physical body dies, returns with the spirit to the divine Centre to which it is attracted by the laws of its constitution, and will bring its own light with it, thereby increasing the light of that Centre. Thus it will glorify God, and an increased radiance of Light will take place and bless the hearts of mankind. [John xxiv 17]. Partake ye all [Page 177] of that Light which gives life, for it is the nourishment of the soul, it will form the substance of the celestial body; [Mathew xxv 26] but the wine of spiritual love is the great fiery stimulus, that causes the souls of men to expand beyond the narrow spheres of self-adulation and personal existence, so that they may become like gods. There is no one to condemn you for your mistakes, unless you condemn yourself. Those who are unable to see the truth, will not be punished for their ignorance; but they will remain in darkness until they learn to open their eyes and to see the light; but those who are conscious of the truth and reject it, prefer death to life, and they therefore commit spiritual suicide, that unpardonable sin, which causes their own destruction”. [John xii 47].
They complained to him how difficult it was to keep the thoughts continually directed towards the Eternal and to exclude selfish desires, and he told them that in proportion as they would love all mankind they would forget their love of self, and that as their thoughts would reach up towards the Infinite, their own spheres of consciousness would expand beyond the region of selfish desires. Moreover, he taught them a prayer, which he had learned in Egypt from the book of “Kadish” and which they might repeat in silence, keeping their thoughts fastened to the sentiments therein, to prevent them from sinking into the lower region of minds. In its esoteric meaning it may be rendered as follows: [Page 178] —
“Let us glorify the universal Spirit of Divine Wisdom, from whose Light the consciousness of all beings originates; let us worship Him by sacrificing to Him all thoughts of self and all individual self-interests, and by rising up to His sphere in our thoughts and aspirations. May no earthly wish ever cause us to act against the universal Will of the Supreme, who rules all things in the visible and invisible universe by His unchangeable Law! May his power cause all mankind to grow in daily knowledge and to expand in Love, and may all men awaken to a realization of their true state as spiritual powers, temporarily connected with mortal forms! Let no thoughts of our past deeds, when we were in a state of darkness, mar our present state of supreme happiness, and let us forget all the evils that have ever been inflicted upon us by others. Let us strive to become free from all the attractions of matter and sensuality, and submerging our consciousness into that of the Universal and Supreme, become redeemed from the illusion of self, the source of all evil; for the mortal self of man is merely an unsubstantial shadow, while the Real and Substantial is the Indivisible, Eternal, and Infinite Spirit”.
While discussing such matters, the evening passed away and the sun sank down below the western horizon, when they arose to take a walk in the suburbs, to breathe the balmy air of spring and to pass the night in the garden of Gethsemane.
long as the soul of man is chained to its material [Page 179] form, there will
always be moments when that which is mortal in man attempts to assert its
claims. The love of life is an inherent property of the animal element in nature,
and the mortal parts in the constitution of Jehoshua seemed to feel the
impending doom and revolted. He therefore left his disciples and went a little
higher up on the hill, to seek consolation from the
Divinity in his soul and to gather courage and strength, and while he sunk
his thoughts down to the utmost
depths of his soul and seriously prayed to the Godhead within, he became lost
to all his surroundings. Again that divine Light which at the time of his Initiation
upon the Mount of Transfiguration had filled his soul, illumined his mind,
filling him with consolation and joy, so that he forgot that he was an isolated
realized his Unity with the Eternal Father of All. [Page 180]
THE FINAL INITIATION
The light of Divine Wisdom will not be seen in its purity until the clouds
of matter that obscure
the sight are dispersed; the sanctuary of the temple cannot be seen until the curtain is lifted.
THE light of torches appeared in the distance, the clang of arms resounded through the garden of Gethsemane, and the guardians of the temple accompanied by a crowd of fanatical Jews approached the grove where Jehoshua was absorbed in deep meditation while his disciples slept. The approach of the soldiers called him roughly back from the realities of the Ideal to the illusions of Earth, and the disciples fled in dismay; nor would the guard have permitted them to escape if they had remained; still less would they have suffered them to offer any resistance. They knew Jehoshua very well, for they had seen him many times in the temple; but the Truth they did not know face to face; they only knew it from hearsay and from the revelations made by Logic, the traitor.
They bound him and took him through the now almost deserted streets to the house of the High Priest, where he was kept a prisoner until the day began to dawn, and then they led him out of the city upon a hill and threw stones at him until he was dead, according to their law. [Page 181]
Thus the body of Jehoshua Ben-Pandira died; and as his great soul left its earthly tenement, the latter grew dark, having been deserted by the light of the spirit, and its tombs opened to let the vital powers escape; the veil of Matter, which during his terrestrial life had hidden the sanctuary of the Temple of the Universal Spirit from the sight of his soul, was now rent asunder, and the genius of Jehoshua went rejoicing back to the bosom of his eternal Father, to receive his final Initiation into that Mystery which can be known only to those who have attained a state beyond all imaginable isolated existence, but which consists in becoming one with that which really is and in partaking of its divine nature and universal self-consciousness. As his great Soul became resurrected from the grave of Matter, wherein it had been imprisoned during its terrestrial life, all the intellectual powers of his mind arose from their prisons and walked again in the bright daylight of Divine Wisdom.
After he had expired, they nailed his body upon a wooden cross and left it there exposed, as a warning to all who might henceforth dare to defend the truth against superstition and scepticism, and the hate with which they regarded him has descended upon their successors, so that even now, when the latter refer to Jehoshua Ben-Pandira, they speak of him merely as the man whose name ought not to be uttered.
His followers took the corpse down from the cross and buried it secretly, so that it should be no more desecrated, [Page 182] for they looked upon their Master with great reverence and almost worshipped him as a god. In fact, the belief that the person of Jehoshua had actually been a god gained more and more credence among the ignorant, and there was especially one man, named Peter, who, having been an ignorant fisherman, had become one of the disciples of Jehoshua, whose teachings he could not comprehend, and who now began to teach this erroneous doctrine. He was seriously opposed by Paul, a man of superior understanding, who taught that the universal God could not be a mortal man; but that He was eternal and omnipresent; that “He is before all things and by Him all things exist”;[Colossians i 17] and that the Christ is likewise an eternal, omnipresent principle, the first born and greatest of all spiritual Powers, constituting Himself the head of that universal spiritual Temple, wherein the Spirit of Divine Wisdom in his fulness dwells, and which not merely embraces all mankind, [Ibid iii II] but the whole of the Universe with all its inhabited worlds; that “church” whose High Priest is the Truth, whose dogma is universal fraternal Love, and whose knowledge comes to all who open their hearts to receive it. [Ibid i 27]
But Peter, whose spiritual perception had never been opened like that of Paul, and who was, moreover, a vain and ambitious person, wanting to rule and to occupy himself, the place of Jehoshua, taught that men could not be saved by the attainment of Divine Wisdom, but [Page 183] only through the authority of the church; and as there are always more people willing to take the easy road and submit to be saved by somebody, than such as are willing to use strong efforts for themselves, the doctrines of Peter found more adherents than those of Jehoshua and Paul, and thus Peter, by teaching a doctrine contrary to that of Jehoshua, became a traitor to his Master and denied him thrice even before the cock had crowed to announce the dawn of a new day of enlightenment to mankind. Thus the darkness of ignorance was re-established upon the Earth, and the sacrifice of Jehoshua was, to a great extent rendered useless by those who claimed to be his successors.
But the God that gave Jehoshua life and spoke through his lips is not dead. He still enters the heart without asking permission of the Pharisees and the Scribes. If his presence is once realized within the soul, then will man begin to know the King of the Jews, and bow down before Him. Then will the money changers, the sophists, and scribes be driven away. The three Sages from the East, the principal powers of Man, his Will, Thought, and Action, guided by the star of Wisdom, will come and offer a continual sacrifice to the new-born God; the soul of Man will become transformed from a stable into a temple, wherein Herodes, the king of selfishness, has no jurisdiction. The Christ growing strong within man will select those of his intellectual powers which are suitable to become His disciples; he will cure man's mental blindness, purify his [Page 184] mind of its leprosy, drive out the evil spirits of envy, malice, and lust from the soul, and make the virtues which have died, alive again, even if they have already begun to acquire a bad odour. New powers will awaken within, but their development involves the crucifixion and death of all that is evil and selfish in Man. Then when selfishness has died and been buried, will the free spirit within resurrect from its tomb, and its glorified form will become visible to the eyes of the soul.
Listen! A well-known voice, which no one can misunderstand, is calling within your heart. It is the true Saviour, speaking now as he did when he spoke in the heart of Jehoshua: “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life; no one cometh unto the Father but by me”. This Christ has never died, but men have spiritually died when they became unconscious of his existence. He has been always with you, but you did not know it; because your attention was attracted to your semi-animal self. He is your own God, the divine self of all men. He lives in that sphere where no separation and isolation exists; but where all are as one. He requires no substitute to speak to your heart, no deputy to enter into communication with you, no “successor“, for He is here Himself. He is yourself, and you will be He if you will merely open your eyes and become conscious of his Divinity within yourself by living in accordance with his divine Will.
Not to depend upon the promises of another man, even if they are said to emanate from a god; but to [Page 185] exert your own efforts and to put your trust in that which is divine within yourself; to become conscious of the existence of God by rising up to the highest regions of thought and to remain therein; this will be the religion of the future — the only religion worthy of an enlightened humanity. Then will the true faith be restored; the Scribes and Pharisees, priestcraft, superstition and scepticism will disappear, and our works will correspond with our thoughts. Then will our knowledge not be based upon the opinion of any other man, but upon our own power to see and perceive the truth, and upon an understanding of the laws of Nature and the corresponding nature of Man.
As long as men crucify the truth, and keep it hanging between superstition and doubt, the two thieves that steal the reason of man away, they will not be able to become self-conscious of its divinity. To obtain self-knowledge of the Truth, man must be one with it, and exalt it by exalting himself above the sphere of credulity into the region of pure spiritual knowledge. Eternal Truth is immortal, and cannot be grasped by mortal man; it can only be known to that principle which is immortal in man. The Truth can be known only to itself. [Page 186]
Woe to him who pretends to be a co-operator of God without being a
Let those who desire to reform the world begin by reforming themselves.
SOON after the death of Jehoshua a spook is said to have appeared to Peter and his associates, and assuming the shape of Jehoshua, to have said to those present: “Whosesoever sins ye remit, they are remitted to him; and whosesoever sins ye retain, they are retained”. Whether this self-evident falsehood, contrary to all the doctrines of Christ, was uttered by an Elemental, parading in the astral remnant of Jehoshua, or whether it was — like many other sayings contained in the Bible — a pious interpolation, made in the interest of the church, or whether it has an esoteric meaning, referring — not to the “apostles”, but to the memory of Man; — the acceptation of this doctrine completely neutralized all that Jehoshua ever taught; it caused divine wisdom, justice, and truth to be henceforth regarded as matters of little importance; it did away with the eternal God of the universe, and established in its place the rule of a man-made church.
Absurd and monstrous as such a doctrine will necessarily appear to all who are able to use the power of enlightened reason with which they have been endowed by God, it was nevertheless greedily grasped by the ignorant [Page 187] and by those who worshipped at the altar of Self; for in the place of the invisible and intangible God of Humanity, whose presence can only be perceived spiritually by those who are pure in their hearts, and whose eternal laws cannot be changed by men, it furnished them with visible and tangible gods in human shapes, who could be bribed and bargained with; with a church that had the power to permit mankind to sin, and nevertheless to admit them to heaven after their death.
The words spoken by Jehoshua, when he said: “Come unto me, all who are suffering sorrow, and I will give you peace. Follow me; my yoke is easy and my burden is light”, were now travestied by the rulers of the church, and misapplied by interpreting them in an external sense, entirely opposed to that which Jehoshua intended to convey; for he meant to say that those who would open their hearts to Divine Wisdom and follow the dictates of the Truth, would easily rise above the sufferings caused by the illusions of self; while the false prophets made it appear, as if those who would join their church and submit to their rules, would be saved from the labour which the acquisition of self-knowledge entails. In vain the apostle Paul denounced such an erroneous doctrine and said that he was preaching not a belief in a person, but a faith in the universal power of Christ [Galatians i. 12, 16] and that those who preached any other Christ but the Logos were teaching errors and belonged [Page 188] to the powers of darkness: his doctrine, like that of Jehoshua, was comprehended by few. He was denounced by Peter as being a visionary, and even his epistles were forged and falsified for the purpose of deluding the seekers after the truth. [G. Massey, “Paul the Gnostics Opponent of Peter.”]
Thus while the true and eternal, invisible and spiritual church of The Christ is based upon the Truth, the visible sectarian “Christian” churches upon this globe are based upon a falsehood; and while the former will exist eternally, the latter will exist as long as the powers of evil prevail.
The doctrine of a personal extra cosmic deity who can be bribed with sacrifices, was too much engrafted into the minds of the Jews to be easily eradicated by the teachings of Jehoshua and Paul; and when soon afterwards great misfortunes befell that nation, they were still more in need of a saviour to accomplish a work which they were too indolent to accomplish themselves. Jehovah did not fulfil his promises, and the claims of the newly made Christian god were taken into consideration.
“What shall we do to be saved?” asked the poor and oppressed; and the glad response was, “Join the church of the Nazarenes; and even if you fail to obtain any relief during terrestrial life, you will obtain untold pleasures in heaven”.
“But what must we do”, they asked, “to obtain such a heaven?” — “Nothing at all”, was the answer, “but allow yourself to be baptized with water and believe [Page 189] that God will save you through the power of the church; for he has resigned his authority and authorized the priests to bind or to loose: he has intrusted them with the keys to heaven and hell, and if you follow the dictates of those people whom God has appointed to rule in his place, you may believe yourself to be free of all danger”.
Such an advice was easy enough to follow. The sect of the Nazarenes grew; and as the number of its agnostic members increased, its gnostic members disappeared from sight; superstition took the place of knowledge, mere opinions the place of the true faith. The ancient doctrines of the sages contained in the books of Hermes, and the prophets which had heretofore been guarded with jealous care from the eyes of the ignorant, became the common property of those who were unable to understand their meaning; they misinterpreted them in various ways, divisions of opinions took place, and sects arose like mushrooms after a rainy night, and the desecration of the sacred mysteries soon began to claim its penalty in rivers of blood.
To the huts of the poor and into the palaces of the rich penetrated the gospel of joy and salvation made easy. The religious systems of the Romans were decaying rapidly, because they, too, had lost the keys of their mysteries, and the divine and intelligent powers pervading the Universal Mind, which had been allegorically represented by their deities, had begun to be looked upon as being the personal gods and goddesses, whom [Page 190] their images represented. The people believed their own religious opinions to be threatened by the new sect, and persecutions began. These persecutions merely served to strengthen the Christians and to give rise to a heroism almost unparalleled in history.
arenas in Rome resounded with the cries of the martyrs; Nubian tigers and
African lions were fed with living men and women, and the bodies of the
Christians, enveloped in combustible substances and set on fire, served as
living torches for the orgies of an insane emperor; but for every victim
hundreds of new converts joined the ranks. While the original gnostic Christians
had attained eternal life by that mystic death, by which the lower self becomes as
it were dead to all attractions of matter, while the spirit rises above the
plane of self, the new converts, misunderstanding that doctrine, imagined
to gain heaven
by sacrificing their physical forms. To die “for the sake of Christ” and
for the benefit of the church was considered a privilege, followed by an
reward, and thousands rushed voluntarily into the jaws of death; thus imitating
Indian religious fanatics, who, likewise in consequence of a similar misunderstanding,
threw themselves down before the car of the Juggernath, to be crushed by its
wheels, and to bargain away a short life upon this earth for an eternal enjoyment
in heaven. [The doctrine of the Hindus is, that he who succeeds in seeing
Dwarf hidden within the Car of the Juggernath, will attain eternal life. The “Dwarf” means the spiritual principle in the
soul of man, and the “Car” is
the body, and it is perfectly true that those who learn to know the Divinity
in their souls,
while living in the body, thereby attain spiritual consciousness. But the
ignorant, misunderstanding this doctrine, applied it in a literal sense.
They had a wagon
constructed, and called it the Juggernath, and as it was drawn through the
streets they crowded around it, to see a dwarf, whom they believed to be
hidden therein. Many were crushed by the wheels in their vain attempts to
dwarf, and as such a death was said to be meritorious, and to open the portals
of heaven, it became gradually fashionable to commit suicide in this manner.] [Page 191]
The church grew, being continually watered by rivers of blood, and it became a power, rivaling the power of the governments. Kings and emperors watched its growth with jealous eyes; and as they saw that they could not suppress it, they asked: “What shall we do to make this power useful to us ?” and the church replied: “Lend us the power of your arm, by which you enslave the bodies of men, and we will lend you the power by which we enslave their minds”. They accepted the offer, and made the pact with the church, and the Evil One, whose offer Jehoshua had rejected while in the wilderness, signed the contract, putting the name of “Christ” to the document.
The Christians ceased to be persecuted, and the church now became a persecutor in the name of Christ, being assisted in her work by the powers of the state. Europe was at that time overrun with idlers and vagabonds, and the “Holy Land” in the East, which they could not find in their souls, looked inviting for pillage and plunder. Religious fanatics inflamed the populace, and soon Europe emptied its dregs upon the “heathen”, and murder and rape were committed in [Page 192] the name of Him who taught the religion of universal fraternal love to humanity.
The God of the Christian church was as impotent as that of the Jews. He had no power to save his worshippers from the fate they deserved; but as he grew in size he increased the fanaticism and the greed of his priests. The “holy inquisition” was inaugurated, and fagots kindled by well-fed monks depopulated the country and filled the treasury of the church. Millions of human beings expired upon the rack or stake, in dungeons or upon the battle-field, and the most horrible crimes were committed by the God of the church that paraded in the mask of Christ.
At last a reaction began, for the age had become ripe for a change. The spirit of Luther overthrew the monster at Rome; but while he succeeded to a certain extent in driving back the powers of darkness that ruled the country, he could not remove the clouds that prevent mankind from seeing the light. By the side of the gloomy cathedrals of Rome, he erected churches, whose windows admitted more light; but when he entered therein, an army of devils followed him. His temples are built upon the same foundation as that of the church of Rome; namely, upon a belief in salvation by external means of that perishing thing called the personal self. Both churches, with all their subdivisions, are based upon the selfish propensities inherent in the semi-animal nature in man; both appeal to his selfish desire for reward and to his fear of [Page 193] punishment in the problematical hereafter. Both are resting upon the erroneous belief that Divine authority can be conferred upon man-ordained priests by a man-made church; but while the Roman church — if once the fundamental falsehood upon which she bases her claims is accepted — may appeal to Logic, the most powerful devil in man, to prove her other pretensions, the claims of the Protestant church for, Divine authority to save mankind are not so supported.
What is that thing which these people desire to save, whose existence they desire to preserve, whose life they crave to prolong ? What is this personal self ? It has no self-existence and possesses no life of its own. It is a continually changing conglomeration of principles, endowed with a continually changing consciousness. If it were not for the power of memory, which connects these continually changing states of mind with each other, and which is itself subject to change, no man would ever know that he is the same person he was an hour ago. The only thing in man which is not subject to change is his consciousness of the Eternal, and whenever he enters that state, he forgets that he is a person, becomes unconscious of the isolation of form, and is only conscious of being in the Infinite Spirit. These are facts, which require no arguments for proof, but which every one may know by reflection and self-examination: they are self-evident. But this consciousness of the eternal needs no salvation; it is already safe, for it is the consciousness of the [Page 194] Christ; the only state in which man can be immortal, because it is not subject to change. Salvation is therefore an internal process which no man can produce for another, but which each one must accomplish within himself. To enter that state of consciousness in the Eternal is the only possible salvation for man.
As long as men possess no self-knowledge, they will clamour for a belief; as long as they possess insufficient self-control, they will crave to be the slaves of a master; and priestcraft, assuming the garb of Religion, takes her harp and sings the sweet lullaby: —
“Come to me, all of ye who are troubled with sorrow; I will take the load from your shoulders. I will save you the trouble of thinking and of mastering your passions. I will make the battle for self-control easy for you by thinking for you and assuming control over you. I will take care of your thoughts while you live; I will give you bladders to swim and crutches to walk with, and you will rest warm on my maternal bosom. I will lull you to sleep when you die, and take care of you after your death”.
Thus the siren song is heard, while the ship glides along upon the storm-tossed waves of the river of life, and the helmsman listens, and dropping the oar he falls in a drowsy sleep and indulges in fanciful dreams, trusting the guidance of the ship to a form without substance or power, until it founders upon the rocks.
Great is the imaginary power by which men are deluded, and which is called the authority of the church. [Page 195] It has become a dangerous rival of the governments, and the day may arrive when the latter will curse the day when they signed the compact.
The unreality of the pretensions of the modern church has come to the understanding of the more enlightened masses. They have begun to laugh at her claims, but the church laughs at them. She clings for protection to the skirts of the goddess of fashion; the goddess gives her bright ornaments of brass and glittering tinsel; she furnishes her with pomp and elaborate ceremonies, and men are used to imagine that they are in need of these things: they borrow them from the church, and the latter again takes hold of the leading-strings.
And while this farce is played, the true church of the Christ is deserted. Clear and strong shines the bright sunshine of Divine Wisdom through the transparent roof of its dome, as it did in ancient times; but the crowds of worshippers that used to crowd the halls have deserted the temple. The sacrificial fires upon the altars have gone out for want of fuel; for those who used to worship in the temple of Wisdom now worship at the altar of Self. The temple of Truth, wherein all humanity unknowingly live and whose altars exist in the innermost centre of every human heart, is the temple, where the divine Redeemer still continues to teach, in spite of all the Pharisees and scribes by which he is now surrounded. External churches decay, unless they are upheld and supported by man; but this eternal [Page 196] temple needs no support from mortals: it will never cease to exist. It asks for no favours and fees; but the condition to be admitted to it is an entire renunciation of self. It requires no one to explain its doctrines, for the truth becomes clear to all as soon as they become able to see it, and all will recognize it by its beauty as soon as they draw the veil from its face. The foundation of that temple is knowledge, — not that illusive knowledge taught by mortal man, which refers merely to the illusions of sense, but that spiritual knowledge which arises from a realization of the truth. Fear and doubt do not enter that temple, nor is there any difference of opinion; because the truth is only one in the absolute, and all who know it have the same knowledge. There are no inducements held out in that temple to cause men to be virtuous but the beauty of virtue; there is no other penalty for the wicked but that which naturally follows the disobedience of the law. There is only one supreme Law, the Love of absolute Good. When men become satiated with the worship of self and of living on salt sea fruit, they will again return to the Temple of Wisdom to partake of the water of Truth.
There can be no higher wisdom than a realization of Divine Truth.
IN the preceding pages we have attempted to draw a picture of Jehoshua Ben-Pandira, in whom the eternal Christ became manifest, for the purpose of bringing the mind nearer to an intellectual understanding of the real nature of Man, and the soul nearer to a realization of the presence of the real, living, eternal, and only true Christ, the Spirit of Divine Wisdom, that may become manifest in all who are receptive for it.
Many of the doctrines we have attempted to explain are not new. They are taught in Christian pulpits, and moreover they are also taught — but in different forms — in the pulpits of those whom the Christians are pleased to call the “heathen”. It will therefore be readily seen by the unprejudiced observer, that — while denouncing the abuses made of religion by priestcraft — neither Jehoshua nor ourselves have been attempting to overthrow the truth of Christianity, nor of any other religious system. We have attempted to show that, while the Christ whom the Christian sects are preaching is merely a human being, whose work of redemption is a thing of the past, the Christ taught by the spiritual perception of Man is an eternal, ever-present, [Page 198] infinite Power, whose work of redemption is still and continually going on within the hearts of all who worship the truth.
It may be left to those who are able to think, to decide for themselves, whether or not a belief in the existence of an historical personal Christ is compatible with their own intuition and necessary, sufficient, or useful for their salvation; but whether such a belief is justified by facts, or merely insisted upon as a necessity for those who are not yet able to grasp the deeper mysteries of religion, it seems self-evident that if such an historical belief is made the main pillar of the Christian faith, and if Christians are satisfied with such an external belief, they will not gain any real knowledge of the truth; for he who rests satisfied with an adopted creed or opinion will seek no further, and remaining idle, his progress will come to a stop.
have attempted to show that the events so beautifully described in the Bible
are allegories, representing occurrences which have not only taken place
in the past, but which are continually taking place within the psychic organization
man, and which will continue to occur in the future; for God, Nature, and
Man are one undivided whole; the processes going on within the Universal
continually mirrored forth within the mind of man, and the internally acting
powers of Universal Nature find their expression in external forms, as the
man find their external expression in his physical form and in his external
actions. [Page 199]
Whether a belief in an “historical” Christ walking upon the earth in the shape of a man is justifiable or not, it can only be useful to induce mankind to look up to him as an ideal whose example they may imitate. To enable us to live up to a high ideal, it is not necessary that the latter should have been incorporated in a gross material form: it is far more necessary that our ideal should take form within ourselves.
It is one of the fundamental doctrines of occult science, that man is the product of his own thoughts; he is that which he makes himself by the way he thinks and acts, for his external form is nothing else but an outward symbol of his internal character, modified by the want of plasticity of the gross matter composing his body, for gross matter is not sufficiently plastic to change in form as rapidly as his thoughts. The matter composing the soul is more plastic. If our thoughts are continually low and vulgar, it will become correspondingly degraded; but if we are continually thinking of a high Ideal, our Ideal will take form within ourselves. If we are satisfied with a belief in an historical Christ without seeking to cause or enable a Christ to grow within ourselves, such a belief will not be merely useless, but it, will be an impediment in our way to perfection.
The object of true religion is to ennoble mankind and to awaken men to a realization of the divinity of the Spirit within themselves. Religion in its theoretical aspect means a real knowledge of the relations which [Page 200] exist between man and the eternal Source from which his Spirit emanated in the beginning; religion in its practical aspect means the union of man with God, — a union that cannot be effected through the external interference or permission of a clergyman, but which must be effected by the power of the internal Will. There is no real knowledge to be attained by merely learning a theory; there is no real knowledge unless the theory is confirmed by practice.
We would not abolish the external forms of religious worship, because forms are necessary for those who live in a form to lead them up to higher conceptions of the truth by means of an idealization of forms, until they arrive at a state in which they may realize the existence of that which is above form and above expression in language; but if the practice of a religion is not at all in accordance with its theory; if the form is made to assume the prerogatives of the living spirit; if a knowledge of the truth is made to rest upon a belief in an improbable tale of an external historical event, while the truth itself is denied admittance; if religion, instead of being used to ennoble mankind, is made to serve the temporal purposes of the churches; then will the living spirit depart from the forms, and the forms themselves will decay.
Such a decay is almost universally observed. Even those who cling to the church must be aware of the fact that in visiting the churches they receive nothing but what they bring with them to the church, and that [[Page 201] a sermon is only effective upon the audience if it gives expression to the sentiments of the latter; but the masses of the people are beginning to look upon the promises made by the churches as being drafts upon a bank which does not exist, and upon the “places of worship” as serving rather for houses of fashionable resort and religious amusement, than as places where anything useful is taught. They instinctively feel that there can be no salvation by merely external means, and having been misled by the superficial arguments of our modern beer-house philosophers and inoculated with the poison of scepticism, they have begun to doubt the possibility of a life after the death of the body, and therefore they make no efforts to save themselves and to develop that internal power by which they might become conscious of a higher state of existence.
They have come to regard life as being its own object and to ridicule the idea of any conscious existence after the death of the mortal form. They look upon material comforts as being of supreme importance to man and the only means for the attainment of happiness. New luxuries are invented every day, and they become tomorrow indispensable necessities for existence; but still there is no contentment. The gratification of desires merely begets new desires as long as the power to enjoy that gratification exists, and thus the chains which bind man to matter are growing stronger day by day, while the claims of the imprisoned spirit are laughed at and neglected. Christ, being looked upon [Page 202] as being merely an historical person, a thing of the past, is sent away to the garret, and that higher state of consciousness which constitutes the true Christ in Man is a thing equally unknown to the layman as it is to the priest.
The world swarms with reformers. They are shaking the foundations of the Church and the State, and the temples are tottering; they resemble a swarm of birds flying around a tree, seeking to change the nature of the tree by picking at the leaves; they seek to trim the branches, while they have no means of changing the nature of the sap, and therefore their efforts are of little avail; they can merely produce ruin, but they cannot build up. Men have become unnatural and crave for unnatural things; external life, instead of being a true expression of the internal thought-life, is entirely out of harmony with the latter; words are no more the expression of thoughts, and acts are not in harmony with the words.
It seems that the only way to restore mankind to its natural condition is to assist it to rise up to a realization of the truth; not to establish a new religious system, based upon some new theory, but a religion based upon self-knowledge and knowledge of self. To do this, we need not present humanity with some new dogma, but we may submit to them some thoughts for their own consideration.
According to the Wisdom-Religion of the ancients, aboriginal Man was a spiritual power, emanating from [Page 203] the Great First Cause of all existence, descending gradually into Matter, and becoming more and more material during that descent, which lasted for millions of ages, until he became differentiated in corporeal and gross material forms of two different sexes. His incorruptible spiritual principle, the foundation of his existence, became, so to say, concentrated within the innermost centre of his being and veiled by matter of a corruptible kind. In consequence of this “Fall”, his communication with the world of Light was cut off, his “inner eye” closed to the perception of things of the spirit, while his external senses developed for the perception of corporeal and external things, From this state of degradation no mortal man can save himself, nor would any man ever make the attempt to rise again to his former state of spirituality, not knowing that such a state exists or is possible to attain; if it were not for that divine Light of the Logos, called the Christ, continually acting through the veil of Matter upon the spark of Divinity still existing within the soul of man and stimulating the same into activity through the powers of Intuition and Conscience, attempting to induce Man to seek for that higher state of which mortal man does not know, but of which the Soul feels, the existence. If man conquers the living elements acting within his material nature, and which are appealing to his love for animal life and animal pleasure; and if he follows the voice of Wisdom within, the gross elements of his “Soul” become gradually refined; the [Page 204] veil of Matter, which hides the spiritual world from his sight, becomes thinner, and at last he may arrive at a state in which he “dies” to the attractions of sense and is reborn in the spirit. This freedom from the attraction of Matter is that liberty for which man ought to strive; it is symbolized by the Eagle rising above the clouds of matter and enjoying the light of the Spirit. The true building of the Temple of Sol-Om-On consists, therefore, in the tearing down of the miserable hut built up of erroneous opinions and perverted tastes, — a hovel which we have erected ourselves by our own thoughts, and wherein we dwell. It consists in the opening of its walls and roof, so that the Light of the Truth may enter and drive away the darkness of its interior; it consists in the regaining of the power of the Spirit over Matter, — a power which is the natural birthright of immortal Man.
There are three stages by which this herculean task is accomplished and spiritual knowledge attained. The first is known to all men. It consists of the power to intuitively know the good from the bad, the just from the unjust, the pure from the impure, etc.; it is called “Conscience”, or, more properly, spiritual Inspiration. The second degree of receptivity consists in the capacity, not only to feel, but to understand intellectually, spiritual truths. It is a state known only to those who have attained it, and it is called interior Illumination. The third degree is only attained by few, and the great majority of mankind in the West do not believe that it [Page 205] exists. It consists in an entire opening of the spiritual senses, by which spiritual realities become objectively perceptible to the soul of man, and it is called divine Contemplation. It is the highest kind of worship and true adoration.
These three modes of perception are as natural and as easily comprehended by those who know by experience the higher nature of Man, as are the sensual perceptive powers of man's semi-animal body to those who have studied his perishable form; but to those who know nothing about the higher nature of man and who do not believe in his spiritual powers, anything higher than the semi-animal existence of man is incomprehensible and incredible, and man's spiritual powers do not exist for them.
have, however, even in the most ancient times, up to the present day, existed
men in whom this power of divine contemplation has been developed,
and who are therefore in possession of superior knowledge, and if we desire
to receive information in regard to spiritual things before we have attained
power to perceive them ourselves, we may look to those men for instruction.
Not that a belief in their doctrines should be the final end of our aspirations
knowledge; but as a traveler who has gone through a wilderness may indicate
the way to those who follow after him, so may the teachings of the Adepts serve
as landmarks and guides to those who wander about in search of the truth. Such
a man was Jehoshua the Adept.[Page 206]
Such men are not easily to be found within the churches of today; for ever since the representatives of the churches have lost the key to the understanding of the mysteries of religion, and begun to mistake the forms for the spirit, churchianism has become identical with narrow-mindedness and dogmatism. They cling to beliefs accepted from each other; while true Knowledge is free of foreign opinions and lives in her own realization of the truth.
The attainment of this knowledge is that glorious resurrection from the darkness of ignorance, by which the Spirit of Man, bursting the shell of matter, arises from the tomb in which he was imprisoned and regains his previous freedom. It is not a state to be expected in the problematical hereafter, when the physical body has returned to its elements; for death of the body can merely relieve us of things which have become useless to us : it cannot give us anything which we do not possess when we die. The object of man's life is to rise up higher in the scale of evolution, while he is living upon this earth; to develop new powers during his contact with matter; to acquire more strength and knowledge during his terrestrial existence, and on account of the latter; so that he may live in a higher state of consciousness and enjoy the possession of knowledge of spiritual truths, which he has acquired during his earthly career, unimpeded by the sensations arising from the sphere of illusions, when he re-enters the subjective state, the state of rest. [Page 207]
All the boasted knowledge of the science learned in schools contains no real knowledge whatever. It knows nothing of absolute truth. It is merely relative knowledge, and refers to the relations which external objects bear to each other; and all this knowledge, however useful it may be as long as we live in this world of external illusions and “objective hallucinations”, will be entirely useless to us when we enter that state in which those illusions do not exist. The only true science, which is really useful to us in time and eternity, in our present condition, not less than in the hereafter, is the practical knowledge of the Regeneration of Man.
This knowledge is acquired neither by the study of theology and philosophy, nor by moralizing. It does not depend on any theoretical information in regard to terrestrial or celestial things, nor can spiritual regeneration be attained by leading a virtuous life for fear of the consequences that are likely to follow if we indulge in evil; it can only be acquired by a realization of the truth within our own selves. There is nothing to prevent any man from arriving at such a realization, except the lower tendencies of his mortal nature. The process of spiritual regeneration therefore involves a continual battle with this lower self; an unceasing fight between spiritual aspirations and earthly desires, in which the Spirit must gain the victory over Matter.
Spirit is Substance, Reality, Unity. It is therefore indestructible, indivisible, impenetrable, incorruptible, [Page 208] eternal. Matter is an Aggregate, Multiplicity, Illusion; it is therefore unsubstantial, divisible, corruptible, and subject to continual change. If man gains complete mastery over the “Matter” composing his own constitution, then will the realm of spiritual knowledge open before him, and he will become conscious of the presence of Christ. Then will the curtain that hides the sanctuary of the spiritual Temple of Divine Wisdom be rent asunder, the Great Mystery will be revealed, and Man will know his own saviour. Then will he arise from the tomb of Ignorance and walk again in the bright daylight of immortal Truth, that existed in the beginning and will exist at the end.
As long as man does not know his own divine self, he will continue to seek in externals that which can only be found interiorly; as long as he has not found his ideal in his own soul, he will cling to external ideals; but when he awakens to the realization of the divine power within himself, he will cease to look for salvation in external persons and things, and instead of seeking for a Christ in history he will find the true Jesus within himself.
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