by "HOPE"

as published in "Theosophical Siftings" - Volume -2- 1889-1890

My DEAR------, ---Do you remember borrowing from me, earlier in the year, Mrs. Sinnett's "Purpose of Theosophy", and saying how very much you liked all that you could understand of it, but that you wished I had some book that would make it all plain, as you had no time to study ?

I have often thought of your wish, and will now try to state as clearly, and in as few words as possible, the " Truth that can make you free".

You told me that what the Church teaches about being "saved", and about a God who rewards and punishes just as he likes, and is all the while on the watch to catch you tripping, or else has mercy and forgives you all your sins when you know you don't deserve it — that all this does not satisfy you; and that the world seems full of injustice, and wrong, and misery — and sometimes you feel as if you could not bear it! Then, again, you told me you had heard a good deal about spiritualism, and how it seems to make some people very happy to fancy the spirits of those who are dead are dancing round all the time — knocking, and rapping, and writing on slates. And I remember how vigorously you said — "If there is another life beyond the grave, I hope I shall have something better to do than that !"

There is indeed something better and greater than all this. For God is not to be limited by man's ideas, or by anything else. He is everything, and He is in every atom of space. You are a part of Him, and so am I — so is every being on this earth, and in all the other worlds.

And if you ask me, " How can this be, when the world is full of evil — how can all this be God ? " I answer thus —

This is hard to understand, because men have drifted into the habit, for so many hundreds of years, of thinking and living as if this earth-Iife were the only real life, and this body of flesh the only real body. The truth is just the reverse of this. You — the real you — the Ego — are a part of the Great Eternal — a ray of the Divine Sun. You have always lived, and always will live, and up to the present you have kept on being reincarnated, i.e., born again and again in different bodies, with long “rests" as it were, between these earth lives — just as you have waked up, done a long day's work, gone to sleep, and passed the night in "dreamland", and so on, through all the years of this earth-Iife.

I do not think you need fancy it strange that you do not remember all this. You cannot even remember the beginning of this life. You cannot remember being born, though you were alive then. And you cannot remember half your dreams, or, mercifully, half your troubles. If memory were too strong, we would lose reason. Just fancy what our earth-lives would be if we went [Page 7] on merely remembering the bodily pain of each illness, or wound, or accident; and all the mental pain of losing dear friends, or, still worse, of being disappointed in them; of failures, and sins, and remorse! We should soon be quite mad! Though people cherish their griefs and pains, and make the most of them, you cannot deny that time and partial forgetfulness soften them, and that though all may seem changed, the same self goes on living through it all.

Look back at this one life of yours, of which you told me some of the changes ! — not one of the friends or relations of your earlier days is near you. You are "living in quite a different place, and doing totally different work from that to which you were brought up. All is changed, yet you still live on. But these changes do not come to you by chance, nor by special “providence", as it is called. Everything that happens to you, good or bad, pleasant or unpleasant, is the direct consequence of what you yourself have done before, either when younger in this life or another time you were in earth-body. It does not seem fair, when you first think of it, that we should suffer now for what we cannot remember doing last time. But you see it is not such a small personal matter as we have been accustomed to think it. It is a grand, unalterable, eternal law (called in Sanscrit “Karma") of cause and effect; and everything we do or say, or think even, sets going a train of effects of which we cannot see the end, which may even make a difference in other worlds. Therefore, whatever happens must be perfectly just, and you have nobody to thank for it or to blame for it but yourself! “As a man soweth, so shall he also reap". If people realized this, they would begin to be very careful in all their thoughts, words, and actions. It is not only “curses" that “come home to roost", but unkind words and thoughts (for thought is more powerful than action) — and when we seem to suffer innocently through the faults and weaknesses of others we are only getting what we have justly earned ourselves. And this is why some are born to wealth and health, and all good things — and some to poverty, and misery, and sin.

The good of it all is this:

That though with our memories we cannot go back through all this inter-weaving of cause and effect, the real self, the higher self or Ego, does know and understand it all, and profits by all the experience, and speaks to our lower self about it in the voice of conscience — intuition.

Therefore it is that you know quite well whether anything is right or wrong, without any need of a clergyman to tell you, for the highest of all teachers is within you, that Higher Self which is the Ray of the Divine Sun, however feebly it may show itself at first when you look for it, because of the heavy curtain of earthly feelings and desires that covers it.

This is what Jesus meant when he said: “Let your Light so shine before men, that they may see your good works" — not that they may praise you for them, but that they may see and understand that the good works follow [Page 8] naturally when the Light is shining clear within, and so may recognise what that Light is and whence it comes.

And then they will understand also that this Light is the only real thing there is in all the world. Evil is no reality. Misery, and pain, and sin, terrible and hard to bear as they are, are only the result of ignorance — the ignorance of all, those who have not awoke to the knowledge of their Higher Self, or grasped the truth that they, too, are immortal Rays of the Eternal Light, which is Love.

And until this great lesson is learned they must suffer, in the body, and through the body. But when the body itself has passed away, and all the sorrow and pain are hushed, still the real you, dear friend, will be there — the "Ego" which cannot die. Death hath not touched It at all, dead though the house of it seem.

Does this seem to you awful, or lonely ?

The glorious sunshine streams forth and gladdens the whole earth — is each little ray as it pierces the morning mists separate and lonely ?

When a man begins to perceive his Higher Self, he realizes at the same instant that every other human being (whether he knows it or not) has also a Higher Self like his own — as near to him as the little ray of Sunshine is to all the rest of the rays that make up the Light — with a body for it to dwell in and reap experience — which must be kept pure and holy as a "Temple of the Holy Ghost," as St. Paul calls it.

Therefore, instead of being lonely, when a man feels the Universal Brotherhood of all human beings, whether rich or poor, black or white, good, bad, happy, or miserable, a great desire comes over him to try and make every brother and sister realize it also; so that instead of passing their earth lives in misery, trouble, and sin, they too may, through the wisdom of the Higher Self, "shine more and more unto the perfect day".

And if they are many of them too fast asleep in earth-bound ignorance to awaken yet to the Light of Truth, we can begin at least by helping to purify and cleanse the Temple of the Body ready for the awakening of the higher consciousness, and begin that awakening by our love and sympathy towards them. Just because they are our brothers and sisters, nothing ought to seem too much trouble for us to take for them. These common sayings: "Charity begins at home", " You must think of yourself and not do too much", "You must not rob yourself", are all a mistake — illusion. You must forget yourself entirely, and serve the brother or sister who needs you to the utmost extent of your power in small things as well as in great, thus proving to him — better than by any amount of preaching — that Love is the Law of the Universe, and the Fountain of all Light.

Yours in loving sympathy,



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