I AM happy to have the privilege, as on
a former occasion, of bidding Godspeed to an offering from Geoffrey Hodson to
the world. His life is dedicated to kindliness, to helpfulness, and he has the
good fortune of being a link with non-human agencies animated like himself by
a practical spirit of goodwill.
Thus equipped, Geoffrey Hodson adds this further record of conclusions to which he has so far come regarding the Science of Growth, or the Science of Life-Growth and Life are one. I have read with interest and profit previous records, and I have read this one with no less satisfaction, for it discloses the important fact that the writer is tremendously sincere, that he is eager to help, and that he knows what he is writing about. It really does not matter what people say or write, it matters less whether or not we agree with them ; but it matters very much that they should have a profound conviction that their utterances are vibrantly true. Readers of this book may not find everything in it congenial to their needs, other pathways may, appeal to them more; yet herein is depicted a well-trodden road which some know leads to the One Goal. It is profoundly interesting to study roads that others tread and to note the marks which distinguish them from one's own road. One can tread one's own road more effectively, more swiftly, for a knowledge of the roads of others, for in essence all roads are one.
I am not, for example, prepared to say that Geoffrey Hodson has described my own road. He has not, though I grant certain similarities. But he has described both a road and certain characteristics common, perhaps, to all roads. For my own part, I am interested in being a connoisseur in roads, in, as it were, making a collection of roads, not for myself -I have my own- but to grow in understanding through appreciating the existence of much apparent diversity of road amidst a Unity of Purpose and of End. I delight in understanding, and the more the divergence from my own pathway the greater my delight to try to understand. I am sure Geoffrey Hodson's book will help towards greater understanding, and I am glad, therefore, to study it and to profit from it, as will be all who read books as much for wiser helpfulness as for personal advantage. A book may teach me much, but it will be a far better book if it does not stop short of teaching me - going on to inspire me to be more useful to others. I think Geoffrey Hodson's book does so go on, and the more a reader's own road diverges from any special and specific features described herein the more will he become catholic, provided catholicity is in him, as he watches the author at work painting a pictorial representation of that which he has heard.
Bombay, GEORGE S. ARUNDALE November 17th, 1928
The information contained in these talks does not originate from me. I have only attempted to hand on to my fellow-students the teachings which our elders in the spiritual life have so freely given to us in these days: hence the use, as a title, of the ancient formula, "Thus have I heard ".
London, 1928. Geoffrey Hodson
PART I: THE SPIRITUAL LIFE
I. The Way of Release
II. The Spiritual Life Day by Day
III. Nine Important Points in the Spiritual Life
V. The Training of the Vehicles
VI. Spiritual Realism
VII. Meditation in the Heart
VIII. The Attainment of Spiritual Consciousness
IX. Co-operation with Angels
PART III: THE WORLD-TEACHER
X. The Nature of the Lord
XI. The Coming of the Lord
XII. Campfire Gleams
L'Envoi: The Servants of the Lord
"My son, if thou come to serve the Lord, prepare thy soul for temptation . . . For gold is tried in the fire, and acceptable men in the furnace of adversity.
"He that loveth (wisdom) loveth life; and they that seek her early shall be filled with joy. He that holdeth her fast shall inherit glory; and wheresoever she entereth, the Lord will bless... For at the first she will walk with him by crooked ways, and bring fear and dread upon him, and torment him with her discipline, until she may trust his soul, and try him by her laws. Then will she return the straight way unto him, and comfort him, and show him her secrets. Accept no person against thy soul, and let not the reverence of any man cause thee to fall... Strive, for the truth unto death, and the Lord shall fight for thee.
"If thou love to hear, thou shalt receive understanding: and if thou bow thine ear, thou shalt be wise. Stand in the multitude of the elders; and cleave unto him that is wise . . . And if thou seest a man of understanding, get thee betimes unto him, and let thy foot wear the steps of his door.
"The knowledge of a wise man shall abound like a flood; and his counsel is like a pure fountain of life." .
Ecclesiasticus 2, 4, 6, 21.
THE WAY OF RELEASE
ONE of the great needs of the times is a regular system of meditative thought and spiritual selftraining for all men. It seems to be the solution, and the only solution, of the problems of the day, not alone for those who are aspiring to spiritual heights, but for the leaders and peoples of all the nations of the world.
In the West we have fallen into a habit of physical excitement and rush, and we live in such a state of noise, turmoil and selfish pursuit of pleasure, that we entirely forget the inner realities. In this fact lies an explanation of all the troubles of the world today. Nature, however, will inevitably pull us up, as a rider checks his horse, if we do not change the whole method and purpose of our lives. The cataclysms, wars and social and industrial troubles of the day are Nature's warning, her effort to arrest us in 'our headlong flight and to turn our attention in the direction of the real.
The practice of meditation is a way of release from the troubles, sorrows and difficulties of life, and that release is the one thing which all men are seeking. If it is to be complete and lasting, release must at least be threefold.
First of all there must be the release of our own inner powers, those diverse qualities which we have developed, age by age, in the hundreds of lives which lie behind us. In former lives many of us reached, positions of eminence in the great civilisations of the past, and all the powers and capacities which we then developed and, employed lie stored within us. It is of the utmost importance, therefore, that we should turn inwards and release them.
During the Great War, men who were thought to be puny and hopelessly inefficient individuals would suddenly, in a moment of acute strain and stress, emerge as men of action, decision and courage. They would astonish themselves and others at such times, and win, as a result of one action, all the respect that had been denied them during a long and apparently futile part of their military service. For a moment the power, which they had developed in military service during previous lives, shone forth and transfigured them.
Those who aspire to the spiritual life must not wait for the stress of outer circumstances to call forth that innate power; they must learn to release and employ it deliberately, and meditation is the way to achieve that release.
There is a second kind of release. Behind and above all that we ourselves have developed is the divine power which is our real existence. It is the force of our own inherent Divinity. It is the God which we are. As long as our attention is turned outwards to the external, the temporary and the fleeting, the God within us will remain asleep. It is within our power consciously to awaken and to release our divine potentialities here and now. If we are to tread the Path successfully it is essential that we do so. We shall need all the power and experience we possess in order to reach "the further shore "safely at this middle period of human evolution.
We may console ourselves, however, with the thought that we do not have to create energy. We have only to learn how to release it. Science has discovered, in a single atom, forces so great that, if released, they would wreck a continent. What, then, must be the power of the human soul? There is incalculable energy behind every one of us. Each of our bodies shuts off some of this energy, until, down here on the physical plane, very little of the hidden glory shines through.
The first step towards this second release is to try to realise what this power is; to trace it step by step to its source; to find our way inwards, through the bodies which veil its light; to pass beyond the emotional body to the mental, through the mental to the shining Augoeides above, where we shall find power, peace and joy beyond all normal human knowledge. There is indeed, no limit to the heights to which we may aspire; we may even touch the innermost heart of the Logos Himself and lose ourselves in Him. Such, in fact, is the real goal of meditation -discovery of, and union with, the Source of Power.
Thirdly, are we not seeking release from the sorrows and difficulties of life, from the unsatisfactory nature of human existence, consisting, as it does, of much pain that seems to last and of little happiness which seems so fleeting? Are we not groping in a dark world in which pain seems uppermost, seeking always permanent pleasure and finding it not? We seek release from pain, sorrow and uncertainty: we search for bliss which is eternal and serenity which is unshakeable. We seek eternal liberation.
There is a way of escape from the pain of earthly life, the limitations, the sense of being crippled, of possessing powers which we cannot express and from the disappointments which continually occur and recur in our lives. This way is to learn quickly the lessons that pain and sorrow teach and to turn inwards, away from them into the heart of reality.
These ills, of course, have their value: they are our teachers, and we overcome them by withdrawing from them, not by waging continual warfare against them. That method has been tried for countless ages and still fails. We do not protect ourselves against them by resistance, for by so doing we intensify their power and place ourselves more completely in their grip. We must withdraw from all our troubles until we see them in their right perspective, as ephemeral shadows cast by our personalities upon the screen of time and space. We must turn our faces away from the many shadows towards the one Light, and meditation is the way by which this great "conversion" may be achieved.
We must think our way inwards to the very centre of our being. There we shall find the light eternal shining; there we shall find the Peace which is unshakeable and which "passeth understanding". There is no other way. All the fleeting phenomena of life -shall we say all the passing news of the world?- especially those experiences which produce pain, exist to teach us to turn inwards. There alone shall we find the Kingdom of Happiness, towards which our Lord will guide us with His Own compassionate hands if we will but follow Him.[ The teachings of J. Krishnamurti. ]
If we need a further incentive, does it not lie in the fact that we can only teach others the way of release when we ourselves have found it? However much pity we feel for, and however hard we work amidst the sufferings of the world, we shall not be true helpers, reformers and teachers until we have learned to withdraw into the bliss of eternal peace, there to see all things in their true perspective, to attain to wisdom and to release the power by which alone we may become true healers of men.
When we ourselves have found and entered the gateway, we can lead our brothers in, but not before. If we look into the eyes of the great ones of the world, we see a serenity, a bliss and poise which nothing can disturb. The Head of the Order of the Star is our shining example, for, in spite of the strain of his great mission,[ See Part III.] happiness radiates continually from him. He has entered the Garden of Happiness and the sorrows of the world can touch him personally no more, however deeply he may feel for others.
How are we to achieve all this, the desirability
of which is so apparent to us all? There are five essential principles, the
consideration of which may show us the way.
1. Everything we seek lies within us.
We must cease the external search for happiness and try to find the heart of our own being, where alone lies the solution to life's problems and the pathway to eternal happiness and peace.
2. It is necessary to be absolutely still in order that the "Voice of the Silence" may be heard and the inner light, which is ever shifting, be perceived.
We are always in the presence of God. The highest spiritual planes are not far away in space but here. Nirvana is all about us. The voice of God is for ever sounding forth. We do not hear His voice and we do not see His light; we do not feel the bliss of Nirvana and we are not conscious of His presence, because we are so entirely wrapped up in ourselves and are making so much noise. This is equally true of nations as of individuals. The aspirant to the spiritual life must withdraw from all this: he must no longer allow himself to be swept along in the swirl of modern, human life and carried away by the thought-currents of the world. He must retire from time to time from these and establish within himself the centre of equipoise and peace. Then he will hear the Voice and see the Light, and a measure of the bliss and serenity of the higher worlds will begin to flood his being.
Thus silence is the second great principle. "Be still and know that I am God," said the Psalmist. A modern poet says: " How rare it is to find a soul still enough to hear God speak"; and again: "Be still before thy God and let Him mould thee."
3. In the stillness expansion of consciousness will take place.
Having turned inwards, having become still, we must then turn our thoughts to the contemplation of eternal things. We must let more of God come into our lives. We must reach out in an effort to gain a concept of His glory and to imagine His nature. Then we shall expand, and, finding our lives in Him, we shall find Him in ourselves.
4. Our bodies must be so purified that
they may express the beauty, splendour, expansion and vision which our meditations
The physical body must be perfectly refined. The hereditary effects of the excessive meat-eating and general coarseness of the last few generations must be eliminated by purity of diet and of life. The grit Master Koot Hoomi has said that our bodies must be free "even from the minutest speck of dirt".[ At the Feet of the Master, by J. J.Krishnamurti] Physical dirt has its counterpart in the astral body and also in the mind, and is, therefore, trebly undesirable. Our emotions also must be purified and cultured; we must refine our mind, overcome its tendency to separateness, egoism and criticism, and learn to think in terms of unity. In this way the subtle bodies are made sensitive, pure, beautiful and translucent to the inner light. [ This subject is dealt with more fully in Chapter IV.]
5. The solution of every problem is to be found in a realisation of the unity of all life.
Angel, man, animal, vegetable and mineral are all one. The message which we have to give to the world, which has fallen into the "great heresy" of separateness, is that of Unity. In order to deliver this message we do not need to be intellectual giants, able to speak, write or organise, for, if we have the right heart and attitude and ourselves have won a measure of the realisation of unity, we can all help. We can give the message continually in our daily lives. All that is required is a pure and loving heart, a certain power of concentration, and a will which brooks no obstacles.
We must break the bonds of the lower separated self and dedicate our whole life to the service of our brethren. When once we have glimpsed the vision splendid of the unity of life no earthly sorrow has power to wound us. The joy of working with the great Leaders and Teachers of humanity will live in our hearts and shine through our eyes.
They will help us to grow, so that we may become more efficient and more responsive servants. By Their guidance we may find the way of release, and in Their strength we may lead mankind along the pathway to liberation and to peace.
THE SPIRITUAL LIFE DAY BY DAY
ALL aspirants to the spiritual life experience great difficulty, in the early days of their endeavour, in translating spiritual truths from the realm of theory into actual daily practice. Perhaps one reason for this is to be found in the Church training which many of us received in our youth. We were brought up to regard things religious as separate from things secular. In the spiritual life, every day is a holy day and all work is performed as a sacred duty. All day long our attitude towards life must be religious in the truest sense of the word, and we may no longer divorce our weekday from our Sunday lives.
We must think deeply upon this subject and resolve day by day to carry out, conscientiously and in detail the teachings we receive. With this end in view, we may take each suggestion in such a book as At the Feet of the Master, and make it a living reality in our lives. Often we shall fail, but with determination we shall eventually succeed in eliminating the; inherent weaknesses of our nature, for upon the spiritual path we cannot be defeated unless we lay down our arms.
Failure in the little things of daily life can, undoubtedly, delay our progress towards the Master's feet. He sees the aspiration of the soul burning like a flame above our head. He longs to answer this aspiration and to take us into His Service, for lie has urgent need off every single helper in His mighty labours for the world. However eager we may be to step into the deep stream of the spiritual life, He is infinitely more eager to welcorne us there. He sees the-Adept-to-be and the potentialities for service in each one of us. He knows the agony and ignorance of the world. He hears the moan of pain going up from the whole planet, from animals and humanity alike. If, therefore, anyone of us shows the slightest promise of being fit to serve, He meets us halfway because of the world´s need Thus it has been said that, for every step which a man takes towards the Master, He takes two towards him.
But He also sees he fetters which bind us, and must often find Himself obliged to wait until we have freed ourselves. We so often shut ourselves out from Him by the limitations of the personality; we remain imprisoned by the daily failures and indulgences, which though they may seem small and insignificant to us, nevertheless form the many bars of a cage against which the wings of our aspiration beat in vain.
There is no room for personality in the spiritual life: neither is there a place on the Path of occultism for childish idiosyncrasies, moods, self-indulgences, emotional outbursts and the littlenesses of human life. If we seek to enter the Path with these unconquered we shall bring trouble and suffering upon ourselves and others, and inevitably injure any work in which we may engage.
The horse-chestnut provides us with a useful illustration of the necessity for this impersonality. The fruit is surrounded by a thick husk or shell. In the course of time this husk becomes brittle and develops a number of spikes. The spikes harden until a protective, prickly covering is formed. In due time the nut falls to the ground; the shell breaks open and the shining fruit is revealed. Only then is it capable of producing a tree.
The time for the breaking of the shell has come for us. The personality, with all its spikes, must be shattered. We must be willing to undergo that process just as the chestnut does. We cannot travel on the Path until we have, in some measure, rid ourselves of personal idiosyncrasies, the sense of separateness, the likes and dislikes, the moods, depressions and other characteristics of the smaller self.
This close attention to the details of spiritual training may seem petty and unnecessary to the soul who would travel swiftly and with knightly ardour to the goal. In dwelling upon the romance of spiritual achievement, however, we must remember that the heights of the spiritual mountain may only be climbed by the steady elimination of one weakness after another. If, when inspired by the lives of the spiritual leaders of the race, we aspire to follow in their footsteps, we must not forget the daily concentration, the deliberate crushing out of every human indulgence, the slow building in of qualities, the pain, the infinite weariness and the untiring effort by which they have attained. Daily, even hourly, we must consider the main principles involved in the life of the spirit, and endeavour constantly to put into practice the teachings we have received, giving them concrete expression in our lives. Let us keep the romance, the vision splendid, but let the inward realisation have the effect of perfecting the outer lives. Whatever we may have achieved in the past, here, unmistakably, is our field of work in the present. In this way we may throw off the fetters which bind us and be ready to take up the work that the Master is waiting to place in our hands.
The realisation of our limitations may well make us serious, but let us remember that this is the greatest adventure that anyone could undertake. It is an exploration into the inner fields of our consciousness. There are peaks to be climbed; views, peoples, cities to be seen. Vast stores of knowledge and power are waiting to be discovered deep within ourselves. The exhilaration of the lofty heights awaits us and may even be experienced at the very entrance to the Path which leads to the mountaintop. Let us, then, bring an intense joy, which springs from the vision of the goal, into the tedious work of self-training. Let us work, every day and hour, like a great artist, filled with the inspiration of his vision and the joy of its realisation, working at our lower natures as a sculptor at a block of marble until the hidden beauty is revealed.
Joy must be allied to the seriousness and responsibility which we feel. Though the human element may give way and a hundred and one circumstances delay us, there is no power on earth which can prevent our ultimate attainment: we cannot be beaten: we shall inevitably achieve if we will. From the first moment the effort is made we are predestined to reach our goal for "the power that worketh in us" [ Ephes., 3, 20. ] is the power of God.
The power is within us. It is a question of releasing, not of creating energy. By regular meditation we may gain a glimpse of the potency of the soul; we may see the goal of human perfection and gradually awaken to a realization the enormous force which is at our disposal. When once this is touched, all doubt, all sense off failure disappear. The ego, the real man, reigns supreme. The omnipotent white fire of Atma [ The highest spiritual principle in man. ] is behind each one of us, and we can call upon and release it when facing the problems and the duties of daily life and in our difficult task of training and perfecting the hitherto neglected vehicles in which those duties are performed. Because this power is irresistible it will bring joy into our work, so that we shall almost dance our way through life. Though sorrows and difficulties surround each one who is earnestly seeking the Light, the joy and the romance of the adventure outweigh the pain.
Let us take each sorrow and trial and make of it a new weapon, a sword with which to fight and conquer evil and to cut the fetters which bind the soul. The Master is waiting for us to be free to help him. The power of the spiritual will is within us and we may go forth in its strength, inspired and determined to be free to live the spiritual life and obey its laws throughout, even in the "daily round, the common task" which make up so large a part of our lives.
IMPORTANT POINTS IN THE SPIRITUAL LIFE
1. Frequent impartial and dispassionate
selfexaminations must be made.
In our daily meditations we must search the deep places of the heart with systematic thorough to find the causes of our faults and failures. The whole life of the aspirant needs to be systematised, and all thought, feeling and action made to conform to the ideal which he has embraced. He should regulate the use of his bodily powers, deliberately selecting those activities which lead directly to the goal he has in view. Regular review of the daily life, of action, feeling and thought is essential if this is to be achieved.
2. Trace the errors and deficiencies, which examinations reveal, to their source in the inner nature, and decide upon the best method of eliminating them.
A weakness is always found to be due to the absence of a virtue. For example, take worry which arises from fear. If we find ourselves to be worrying continually we should try to build faith and courage into our characters. It is useless for us to attempt the Path unless we are certain that the scheme of things is perfect and all-wise. Worry and depression are denials of the wisdom of God in planning and ordering His universe. They must be replaced by absolute faith and complete trust in Him.
Self-centredness is a common error into which we are prone to fall. We are all inclined to think of everything in terms of our own personal reaction to it. Thus our cosmos becomes all ego. We have, however, no self; that which we think of as self is only a shadow cast by a great light; the light is the reality, not the shadow which it casts. We may conquer self-centredness by meditating back to reality and into union with the great Self of whom we are an expression and a part. Similarly, all weaknesses may be eliminated by building in the qualities or virtues of which they denote the absence.
3. Pay daily and hourly attention to conduct, speech, feeling and thought, continually checking looseness, impurity, coarseness, general lack of tone and any other particular errors revealed by the regular reviews.
We must deliberately mould the character ever nearer and nearer to the ideal, which has been expressed in the phrase "Live nobly". [ From the things of Mr. J. Krishnamurti. ' ] The whole tone of our lives must continually be refined until our nature becomes truly spiritual in every aspect. We should become like a tree which is responsive to every ray of light, sways to every passing wind of the upper air, bending to superior force but always springing upright in the end and remaining firm and immovable in the earth. We should be sensitive to every vibration of the spirit, yet rocklike in resisting the promptings of the lower nature.
We must discover and express the adept within; realise that he already exists in the eternal Now, and that the Master always sees that perfect man in us. We may even throw our thoughts forward and try to live in the consciousness of the adeptto-be, seeing the ray on which he stands, striving to catch a glimpse of his appearance, drawing inspiration and power from him and trying to realise that, in the consciousness of the Logos, his perfection has already been attained. That adept is drawing us towards him ever and always, for we are just as much the product of our future as of our past. [ From the teachings of Annie Besant. ] Realisation of that truth will help to purify and to perfect our daily lives.
4. Continually repeat the act of self-dedication. Daily and hourly renew the consecration of the whole life to the service of the Lord. Live in the light of that consecration.
Like the disciples of old we must know that the hand of the Lord is upon us and that His power supports us in all our undertakings. We, too, must become dedicated servants of the Lord.
5. Perform regular meditation.
This should consist of four elements
(a) Meditation directed towards gaining an expansion of consciousness and deepening the realisation of spiritual verities.
(b) The refinement of the vehicles.
(c) The acquirement of virtues and the mastery of every weakness.
(d) The radiation of love over the whole world. [ See my book First steps on the path, 2nd Edition. Pages 45 to 30.]
6. Strive to win a living realisation of the actual existence of the Christ, both as a divine and perfect consciousness within every man and as the Great World-Teacher and Saviour of men.
To "touch the hem of His garment," to reach out continually to Him, to become one with Him and to live always in His presence must be our constant endeavour.
7. Bear the presence and blessing of
the Lord as though He were actually everywhere and live present all the time.
In our everyday world we are ever within the Holy of Holies. Every place we enter and every person we meet may receive His blessing through us. One part of our consciousness should be dwelling in His presence and another part should be turned outwards to perceive and relieve the needs of the world. This should leave very little, if any, to be centred upon ourselves.
8. Watch continually for wider fields of service and fresh opportunities of pouring the blessing and healing love of the Lord upon the world.
Let His love pour from our hearts continually. If we invoke the help of the angels they will ensoul this love and bear it on its mission of healing and blessing to individuals, groups, places or wherever there is need. [ See Part II.]
9. Build in especially the three virtues which form the basis of the spiritual life.
Strive in all things to be strong, humble and pure.
THROUGH life after life, for thousands of years we have hoped and planned to be born at this epoch of the world's history; for now the gateway of the Path leading to the spiritual life is open wide, and the Great Teacher has come again to His world. Our karma has brought us into incarnation at this time, thereby giving us an immense opportunity for making rapid progress.
The last great event in our lives was individualisation, when we passed from the animal to the human kingdom. The next will be the taking of the First Initiation. That possibility is before us if only we accept the outstretched hands of the Great Ones.
Regular training will be found extremely valuable in fitting us for the spiritual life, in making us strong enough to bear its strain and in fitting us to serve the World-Teacher. A simple but effective discipline is given here, as an example from which the student may evolve a method suited to his particular temperament.
At Night. Learn the verse for the next day from the book, Daily Meditations from "At the Feet of the Master," by A Server.
In the Morning. Meditate on the verse, on the practice for the week given in the same book, and on the virtue for the month as given below, for a total period of not less than five minutes. Endeavour to build the virtue into the character, and determine to let it shine through each action during the day. Practise the radiation of Love over the whole world. Let the heart open like a rose, and try to pour a mighty torrent of love through it into every form of life in the manifested world.
At Midday. Perform an act of recollection and repeat the Star invocation or a Peace Prayer. Repeat the Radiation of Love.
At night. Review the day as a whole, viewing every action in the light of the ideal. Examine every failure impartially, and resolve, with firm determination, that it shall not be repeated. Repeat the radiation of Love. Surrender the self to the Master's keeping during sleep and aspire to serve Him while out of the body.
Control of Speech
THE TRAINING OF THE VEHICLES
WHILST training and refining the physical and subtle bodies it is important that we should not antagonise them, for if we are to succeed we must have their co-operation. It sometimes appears that our bodies become our worst enemies when we attempt to tread the Path. One reason for this is that, as egos, the process of descent into matter has been completed; we have passed the deepest and most material point in our long pilgrimage and are now travelling on the upward arc of evolution. The matter of which our bodies are composed is, however, still on the downward arc, and therefore feels the urge towards greater density, materiality and coarseness. [ From the teachings of Annie Besant, C.W.Leadbeater and other Theosophical writers]
The conflict between the ego and his bodies, due to the upward and downward urge, is further complicated by the presence of a semiconscious entity in each body. This entity is called the bodyelemental and is a summation of the consciousnesses of each individual cell of the body. Evolution, for this being, consists in learning to respond to coarser and more material vibrations. Hence it imparts to the body a further tendency towards materiality. This elemental is active in all the subconscious and unconscious operations of the body. In the physical body this includes the beating of the heart and the circulation of the blood; in fact, all the functions which are performed without our conscious attention. As our evolution proceeds, we shall assume an increasing control over, and relegate more and more of our activities to, the body elemental. The mind will then be free to work on the higher planes.
The astral elemental delights in violent and coarse vibrations. Our task is to restrain and master this tendency towards emotional excitement. It is one of our definite duties, as a race, to refine the matter of our bodies, to make it more malleable to thought, and so prepare it for the use of the egos who will follow us in later rounds. As in olden times, a preceding hierarchy prepared the matter of our bodies for us, so we, in our turn, must quicken the evolution of the atoms of each plane for those who will use them after us. We do this quite naturally by our use of matter to form vehicles of consciousness. We greatly quicken this process, however, by the practice of meditation. By forcing the matter of our bodies to vibrate with increasing rapidity -as we do in meditation - its evolution is quickened and its nature refined, so that it becomes responsive to higher and higher rates of vibration.
The atoms of which the bodies of the Masters are composed are very highly evolved. One notices throughout history that the bodies of great men frequently disappeared, leaving no trace or record of their place of burial. Enoch, Moses, Elijah, Jesus, and the Master the Prince in more than one of His incarnations [ See The Hidden Side of Christian Festivals, by C.W. Leadbeater, published by the St. Alban press, Sydney. ] seem to have disappeared altogether at their death. The matter of their bodies, being so highly evolved, was extremely valuable. It is most probably preserved, for to allow it to be dissipated would be occultly uneconomical. We are told that the bodies of the Lord Buddha are still preserved, and have been used again, at least once since He forsook them. This is probably the great principle underlying the custom of mummification as carried out by the Egyptians. In later times the knowledge of the real meaning seems to have been lost and only the form preserved.
The secret of the mastery of the bodies is detachment. We conquer them by withdrawing from them and by affirming our egohood apart from them. All through our long journey of evolution we have been accustomed to identify ourselves with our bodies and to regard their desires as our own. Now that we hope quickly to reach the journey's end, we must dissociate ourselves from our bodies and their desires. When we feel the insistent demand for the gratification of desire, we must recognise it at once as purely bodily activity with which the ego has no concern. Almost immediately the force of diminish, and we may then bring ego to bear upon it and silence its clamorous voice, until, by steady and continuous endeavour, that voice will be still for ever.
The ideal for the physical body is that it should be strong, healthy, refined and responsive; for the emotional, that it should be sensitive, pure and translucent; for the mind, that it should be harmonious and steady, yet supremely flexible. In addition to these ideals we must be filled with understanding; we must seek wisdom rather than knowledge, principles rather than facts, and learn to use our intuition, and no longer rely upon analytical thought, discussion and argument alone.
Mr. Krishnamurti says that to achieve this we must first be free from prejudice; secondly, we must be discontented; and thirdly, we must have a heart and mind that are simple. The ultimate goal for the mind, he says, is the purification of the self, the development of the individual uniqueness; for the emotions, to have immense affection and yet be detached; and for the body, beauty, refinement, culture and behaviour -"for with behaviour dwells righteousness". [ From the teachings of Mr. J. Krishnamurti.]
To obtain these ideal conditions we must neither weaken our hold upon our bodies by self-indulgence, nor antagonise them by too much asceticism and unwise self-discipline, but rather gain their cooperation by choosing the via media in all things.
[ From the teachings of J. I. Wedgwood.]
As we saw in the last chapter, neither the physical body nor the physical elemental submits readily to control: they do not want us either to meditate ,or to live the spiritual life. We are continually aware that they are resisting our attempts in these directions. They wish to move about, to be fed or to sleep, to be amused and excited; anything, in fact, but to feel the life being withdrawn from them into the higher consciousness. If we are to succeed in our quest, however, we must obtain their allegiance and co-operation.
With steady perseverance the body will gradually
become submissive, so that it may be thrown, at will, into any mood or used
for any kind of work. Until this time comes the physical body can, and does,
interfere very seriously with our work. This is partly because we put so much
consciousness into it; we think of ourselves as our bodies.
Every time we do this we increase their power of resistance. Every time we think of ourselves as spirit we withdraw consciousness from them and, therefore, weaken their power of resistance.
The body should be like a pencil -an automatic instrument- nothing more. It must become a mere tool entirely lacking will of its own. No impulses, which could in the least disturb us, should ever arise from it. Only a small part of our consciousness should be required to run it efficiently; the major portion -the 99%- should be best in the hither part of our nature.
It has been said that the foundation of all occultism is self-forgetfulness. We must cultivate disinterestedness in ourselves. After all, we are not so very important; our niche in the world is a very small one; we are only as pebbles on the seashore. It is true that we help to make the whole complete, and, as single pieces of mosaic, to add colour to the picture, but, apart from this, our individual value is small indeed. If we realise this we shall lose that sense of self-importance with which so many of us are imbued. Self-centredness is a very great obstacle on the Path. When we have acquired the mental attitude of disinterestedness we shall find that it has communicated itself to the body, which will then be less able to obstruct us in our work.
To some temperaments, all this attention to detail may seem to make the spiritual life and selftraining a somewhat mechanical process and to, be contrary to the ideal of simplicity which has been set before us. The objection is perfectly valid, and, doubtless, to such temperaments this presentation will make no appeal.
On the other hand, we belong to many temperaments
and pass through many phases of development, and it seems inevitable that, at
some time, attention to the details of self-training and knowledge of the constitution
of man should become essential. There may also be times when this will be unnecessary,
or it may even impede us in the swift flight which we aspire to make from the
realm of form and shadow into the very heart of reality.
Even when that flight has been made -and it must be made and oft repeated until we learn to dwell eternally in the land of Light and Truth- we still find the necessity for making all our experiences, spiritual and occult, absolutely real on all the planes upon which we are at work. We must, in fact, become spiritual realists. The need of today seems to be for more men of this type rather than for philosophers who withdraw from the world to dwell in the realms of poesy and philosophy.
However great their work in the higher worlds may be, they play but a small part in physical life. The spiritual realist, however, brings everything down to the matter-of-fact everyday life; he makes his philosophy and his doctrines apply to the problems of the world and brings all his faculties to the search for their solution.
Our relation to the physical plane for example and to the people amongst whom we live is of the utmost importance. It is essential, that we become strong centres of harmony, so that it is impossible for vibrations of disharmony to affect us. We must become so happy, serene, poised and courteous that even ill-mannered and ill-tempered people find themselves behaving politely in our presence. Manners play a much greater part in the spiritual life than we sometimes realise. Self-control, courtesy, tact and consideration for others contribute to those perfect manners which spring from a recognition of, and reverence for, the God within all those with whom we come in contact. These qualities shine forth in all their perfection in the Great Ones. We shall do well, therefore, to imitate them, and to be always courteous and harmonious in our relations with our fellowmen.
If we remember that God dwells within us and that we aspire to become servants of the Lord and followers of the Masters of Wisdom, there ought, surely, to be a certain kingly quality and a true nobility in our bearing. Yet how readily we forget our high calling! How soon we lose the atmosphere of the spiritual life or the influence of a devotional or ceremonial meeting and become reabsorbed in our ordinary affairs! Do we not find ourselves quickly slipping back into our shells of self-centredness and gossiping in a rather haphazard, free-and-easy way, sometimes in careless, thoughtless, or even unrefined language? We have forgotten the God within, the kingly of the Lord, His majesty and His power.
We should try, therefore, to retain a living knowledge of His presence, the atmosphere of spiritual gatherings, of Church services or Masonic ceremonies, and to attain thereby to a noble bearing and a dignified attitude towards life.
This aspiration is beautifully expressed in the following prayer of the Church
"We who have been refreshed with Thy heavenly gifts do pray Thee, O Lord, that Thy grace may be so grafted inwardly in our hearts, that it may continually be made manifest in our lives. Through Christ our Lord. Amen."
Also in the closing sentences of the Confiteor "that we may be filled with the brightness of the everlasting light, and become the unspotted presence Mirror of Thy power and the image of Thy goodness. Through Christ our Lord. Amen." Whenever we feel a sense of upliftment and spiritual greatness, we should try to retain it and make it a fixed quality of our character. Nobility should be the mark of all the servants of the Lord as they, move amongst the people of the world. Therefore let us be noble, high-minded and courteous. Let us live like kings, like divine egos, splendid and godlike, so that as the Lord times nearer and nearer to the world He will have noble servants round Him who will be really worthy to serve Him in His great mission to our earth.
To achieve this we must be intensely practical in the pursuit of our ideals and our spiritual aspirations must find expression in the everyday affairs of our life.
IN THE HEART
[ From the teachings of J. I. Wedgwood ]
THE practice of retiring into the heart is one the most useful forms of meditation. Love is the foundation of all our work, and by retiring into the heart we may evoke all the love which is within us, and, in addition, draw down into our personal nature the powers and qualities of that supreme love, which is the characteristic of the Christ consciousness.
The ability to retire into the heart -not the physical heart but that region of the aura which corresponds to it- depends much more upon method than upon strain and effort. We must acquire the faculty of letting the consciousness sink into the heart, of drawing all the forces of the aura inwards and centring them there. This gives the sensation of retirement from the external worlds into a place of perfect seclusion and peace, where we may pass into the presence of the Master and enter into union with Him.
If we practise regularly we shall acquire the faculty of passing easily into different levels or states of consciousness. This is part of the training of the occult life. We must educate our different bodies to serve as separate vehicles, independently of each other, so that we can, at all times, focus our consciousness and carry out our work in any one of them. Then we shall be able to meditate and work in the heart, in the head, in the emotional, mental, causal or buddhic [ Theosophical terms to denote the vehicles of the higher self and the Christ consciousness respectively.] vehicles at will.
The neophyte is less likely to injure himself when attempting to do this, if he is meditating in the heart rather than in the head. The heart immediately gives warning of strain or incomplete relaxation by palpitation. When this occurs it is wise to rest for a time, and to pay careful attention to relaxation before continuing to meditate. It is useful occasionally to interrupt the meditation and look at the body in order to see that it is perfectly relaxed. We should never attempt to fix our consciousness upon, or in, any physical organ, particularly the solar plexus. We are all very seriously warned against this dangerous proceeding.
When we retire into the heart, however, we really withdraw our consciousness and the forces of our aura into the etheric centre of the heart. The whole nature is then, refreshed and illuminated, after which we may allow the aura to expand and its forces to flow forth freely once more, charged with the Buddhic life-force which we have received and for which we then become a channel. We may, if we wish, think of the Master's presence in the heart, of His love; as filling us to overflowing and transfiguring us with its power. Or we may think of the heart as a wonderful rose which opens wide and stretches out towards the world in deep compassion. Through the heart, thus opened wide to the sufferings of the world, the Master's love will flow. His power and blessing will pour forth through us, as a roseate and golden stream, to enfold all those whom we wish to serve. When once we have found the Master in the heart, we may draw our brethren into His holy presence, that they too may drink deeply at the fountain of His love.
Success in this endeavour demands unification of the forces of our nature. The normal human being is a very complex individual. His nature may be so changed by external circumstances, by moods of depression, fear, sadness, worry or anxiety as to make him temporarily almost unrecognisable. All these separate aspects of our nature divide the aura into many parts, and cause areas of it to take on a life separate from that of the aura as a whole. When we are physically tired, for example, our fatigue shows itself in the aura as clouds and floating patches of dull grey matter, which sometimes choke up the force centres and cause the outer edge of the aura to become dull and opaque. If we learn to control and unify the forces of our aura we can prevent these changes and avoid the temporary closing of the spiritual channels. Meditation in the heart floods the aura with vibrations of love, compassion and profound, pity for the suffering of the world. As the wave of power sweeps through us, all the forces of our nature become unified, imprisoned and far more capable of complete control.
When the body is at ease and we have withdrawn into the heart, we shall find it possible to unify our consciousness with that of the Master. Success in this endeavour demands self-forgetfulness, a quality very difficult for most of us to acquire: It necessitates our getting completely out of our shells, and few of us ever do that. If we examine ourselves we shall find that we live enclosed almost entirely in a- shell of our own thoughts, ideas, ideals, personal peculiarities, petty self-indulgences and habits to which we have grown accustomed and to which we cling. Some people carry all this unnecessary impediment with them throughout the whole at their lives.
These little idiosyncrasies, personal tastes and peculiarities of manner, which we think make up oft personality, in reality form a barrier around us which shuts us out from the world and from the Master's presence. The psychoanalyst calls them complexes. They must go, for we cannot take them into the presence of the Master. We must go to Him naked and as a little child, with nothing except the immortal spirit within us, a burning devotion and an inexhaustible love. When the shell of our personality haw been broken and lies at His feet and we can stand upright upon it, thereby making the sign of the cross, then we can enter the Master's presence and bear His gaze; then we may see Him face to face.
If we can attain to complete self-forgetfulness, we may gain a very great realisation of His presence by meditation in the heart: True union with Him always implies that, the personal self is dead; that we have learned to live for Him and for the world; that we desire to be more and more like Him and less and less like our old selves. Very few people are prepared to make this renunciation of self; they cling to all that they have built around themselves in the preceding years of their lives. Perhaps this is the reason that, in our time, so few people find and tread the Path to perfection.
There are many ways by which the ideal of Self-forgetfulness may be reached. Music may be used to unify and harmonise the forces of our nature and to lift us out of ourselves. At a concert or an opera, or when listening to music at home, we may enjoy it with one part of our consciousness, while with another we strive to mach a deeper realisation of union with the Master.
A beautiful landscape, pictures, a photograph of one of the elders amongst us, the portraits of the Masters and of the Lord may be a very great help in lifting us out of ourselves into the larger consciousness of the Master.
There is one simple initial step which is sometimes overlooked. This is the attainment of a cheerful attitude of mind. If the Master's consciousness is touched, however slightly, one of the first impressions one receives is that He is in a state of bliss, of unshakeable joy, of divine gladness. One would not wish to take moods of depression, sadness and anxiety into that glorious consciousness. We must first lift ourselves into an elevated mood and a cheerful frame of mind. Having unified the aura and mustered all our forces, we may then focus them m the heart and sink into the Master's presence. We shall unfailingly find Him there if we will but forget ourselves.
If we practise these things regularly we shall gradually acquire the habit of retiring into the higher consciousness. We may even begin to experience a continual craving to do so if only for a brief time, and to pass into that state of consciousness where there is peace and joy, where the breakers, beating on the shore of the outer world, and the turmoil and the maelstrom of the sea of earthly life cannot be heard or felt. Wonderful refreshment and a sense of newness of life will be gained each time we do this. It is good, therefore, whenever there is an opportunity, to make a habit of retiring into the quiet places of the soul, using such aids as music, pictures, landscapes and the beauties of a sunset sky as a means whereby to rise from the lesser to the greater self.
Meditation is not something which we do; it is a state which we enter, a condition of consciousness which we induce in ourselves. One part of our higher consciousness is always in a state of meditation and contemplation. The God which we are is for ever beholding the face of our Father which is in heaven. We must enter into that higher consciousness and share its meditations; use the eye of the God within to see God, for with the eye of God alone may God be seen.
The poems of Mr. Krishnamurti are redolent of the atmosphere of the spiritual worlds. Whilst reading them, or meditating on and into them, one is lifted almost unconsciously into those lofty realms where he has learned to dwell. All his writings have this special quality of spiritual realisation, and the aspirant to the higher life is advised to read and study them. A list of his books is given at the end of this chapter.
Gradually, as we persevere in these practices, the whole of the consciousness is transferred from the personal to the higher self. We begin to "live" there, and, reversing the present situation, come down here for purposes of work. The Masters dwell eternally in that land of unbroken bliss and boundless power. We must strive continually to cross the bridge of the mind into Their world so that eventually we may learn to pass freely backwards and forwards --inwards for strength and light and outwards for service to the world.
Nature has placed many of us in incarnation in the West. We are being borne upon the crest of a wave of materialism and of intense physical activity. We must learn to achieve and to maintain that spiritual poise and inner realisation which was ours in olden days. We no longer enjoy the close physical companionships of long ago, when we prayed and worked together in the temples, monasteries and mystery schools, for we are now spread all over the world. The old association remains but it is now mental. We are united by our common acceptance of the teachings of the Ancient Wisdom. No matter in what part of the world we may be, we are in reality one body corporate. Our ancient friendships and relationships show themselves today as we draw together in the same great cause, and follow the same glorious Leaders, who are the Masters of the Wisdom, and Their exalt representatives in the outer world.
There are signs, however, that we shall once more be drawn together physically in spiritual centres and communities, and that the happy companionship in service may be renewed in modern times. In the meantime we must work hard to achieve the perfect purity, selflessness and inner realisation, which was ours when our lives were lived in the shelter of the ancient temples and in the inspiring presence of the Masters, who were their hierophants and priests. We may not see Them physically today, but we may find Them in our hearts and see Them through the eyes of our fellowmen.
The following prayer-quoted from The Aquarian Age, May-June, 1924 - is given here as an unfailing means of finding the Master in the heart. It should be meditated upon phrase by phrase with deepening realisation, until the full beauty and truth of the final words become matters of experience.
"O Gracious Lord, I enter Thy radiance, and approach Thy presence, bearing with me the service done in Thy name, and for Thee. I seek to become a more efficient server, and I open my heart and mind to the power of Thy Love, and Thy Joy, and Thy Peace.
"In Thy presence, Thy Love floods my being, Love which is gentleness, kindness, helpfulness. I must therefore be loving, gentle, kind and helpful to all men.
"In Thy presence, Thy joy pervades me, joy which is light, radiance and eternal youth. I must therefore bear Thy joy to those who are sad and depressed.
"In Thy presence, Thy Peace enfolds me, and fills me with contentment, certainty, rest, stillness, Thy peace which passeth understanding. I must therefore be a centre of love, joy and peace in the world.
"I place my hand in Thine with all love and trust and confidence, for Thou art indeed my Lord. From the unreal lead me to the Real, from darkness to Light, from death to Life Eternal. At Thy feet, and in the Light of Thy Holy Presence, I strive to realise what I am. I am not this body which belongs to the world of shadows; I am not the desires which affect it; I am not the thoughts which fill my mind; I am not the mind itself. I am the Divine Flame within my heart, eternal, immortal, ancient, without beginning, without end. More radiant than the sun in all his noonday glory, purer than the snow, untouched, unsullied by the hand of matter; more subtle than the ether is the Spirit within my heart. I and my Father are One.
"I worship Thee. I adore Thee; Thou my Life, my Breath, my Being, my all. I am in Thee and Thou art in me. Lead me, O Gracious Lord, through Thy illimitable Love to union with Thee, and the Heart of Eternal Love.
" In Thy Love I rest for evermore."
[ Note - Bishop C.W.Leadbeater gave this prayer to his class in Melbourne, Australia, for a daily meditation. Every world was thought over for many months; then thought out as to its connection with every other word. There is a deep occult significance in the combination of words, sentences and ideas. There should be a pause after each phrase with deep meditation.]
BOOKS BY MR. J. KRISHNAMURTI
PROSE: At the Feet of the Master; Education as Service; Self-PreparationTowards Discipleship; The Path: Who Brings the Truth?: The Pool of Wisdom: By What Authority? : Temple Talks: The Kingdom of Happiness: Let Understanding Be the Law: Life the Goal: Life in Freedom: Now: Purpose of Education: Tradition which has lost its Soil: Value of the Individual: The Pathless Reality: Experiences and Conduct.
POEMS: Come Away; The Search;The Immortal Friend:The Song of Life..
THE ATTAINMENT OF SPIRITUAL CONSCIOUSNESS
THE beginner in occult studies usually takes up the practice of meditation with great enthusiasm, but when he finds that the immediate results are small, his enthusiasm begins to wane and he tends to neglect the regular discipline and self-training which he undertook. It is of the utmost importance, however, that when that time comes he should steadily persevere lest the results of his first efforts should be lost. Meditation is really a process of boring through a disused passage in the brain, and through the different bodies, into the consciousness of the higher self. That passage can never be bored by sporadic efforts. A week of sustained, regular meditation shows very definite progress in the boring, but a few days of neglect is sufficient to close the passage again.
In true meditation the ego pierces down
from above while the personality reaches up from below. If the effort is maintained,
flashes of light begin to pass between them. One day the passage will be entirely
opened and the great illumination will occur. Even then meditation must still
be practised regularly, so that the passage is kept open as a channel for the
forces from above. There is no more intense suffering than that of one who has
reached and known the great illumination and who, through negligence or for
some karmic reason, falls away from the great light. We may protect ourselves
against such a tragedy by regular meditation, which will maintain a permanent
passage between the personal and the egoic consciousness, and keep those two
aspects of our nature mutually attuned.
The great lesson which we, of the western world particularly, must learn in the occult life is never to look for visible results. As the Bhagavad-Gita teaches, we must learn to work without ambition, and yet work as assiduously as the most ambitious. We must persevere for years before any marked change occurs, and we must be supported by a faith which is beyond knowledge and beyond belief. The inspiration, under which the task was first attempted, was indeed a profound intuition, resulting from an egoic vision of the goal of liberation. To the ego, that vision remains clear until the goal is reached. Temporary darkness inevitably descends upon the personality in the shadow world below. It is then that our determination and faith are tested, and our strength and courage grow. He who fights on steadily in the darkness will win through to a fairer vision, a more profound belief in his innate Divinity and in his power to win the prize.
The problem, for most of us, is to find a way by which to rise above the personal, separated self into a. consciousness of the One Self, where unity abides and mighty power is stored. Down here in the physical body we often feel very small, limited and lacking in vision and in power. Yet we may take heart from the fact that we are very much greater people even out of the physical body, during sleep, than when we are awake. Those who know state that often it is a great surprise when they meet in the flesh those with whom they work in the invisible worlds, and notice how relatively ineffectual and lacking in confidence they are when compared with their potency and usefulness In the subtler world.
If this be true when only the lowest vehicle is laid aside, how much greater must be the real self of every man, clothed only in the "Shining Augoeides," -as the Greeks called the radiant vesture of the higher self of man. This being so, while recognising its importance, we need not be too solemnly serious about the great quest upon which we have embarked and the meditative exercises which it demands. We should rather treat meditation as a great adventure in the inner worlds. It does not matter very much if we fail at first. Real failure in this, or indeed in the spiritual life, as previously stated, is impossible unless we lay down our arms. We are bound to win in the end; no power in existence can hold us back, for we are partakers of the omnipotence of God.
Remembering this and gaining joy and courage from it, let us attempt to follow the process of attaining spiritual consciousness step by step, from the darkness of physical life to the light of the higher self. We may begin by entirely relaxing the body and looking at it, as though from outside, to make sure that it is relaxed. We then rise in consciousness into the emotional body and regard this in the same detached way. It may be visualised as an ovoid of light and colour, and if one is sufficiently sensitive its pressure may be felt upon the hands and face. The emotional body should be perfectly calm and peaceful during meditation. The consciousness is next raised to the mental body, as though to a region just above the head, care being taken meanwhile that the mind is kept steady and serene. The plunge from the personal into the glorious radiance of the causal world may then be attempted, and by constant practice we may gradually establish ourselves there, may share for a time the glorious and refreshing life of the ego, and eventually make causal consciousness the starting point for still greater flights into the inner worlds.
As an aid to the attainment of egoic realisation and detachment from the personality, as we rise plane by plane, we may mentally repeat the words "This is my physical body which I wear; it is not I. I am master of all my actions"; similarly, passing into the emotional body: "This is my emotional body which I use: this is not I. I am master of my desires"; and similarly, in the mental body. Ultimately, on reaching the causal level, we may affirm: "This is my Spiritual Self. That Spiritual Self am I" We may meditate upon "That am I," and try to enter into a realisation of our own Divinity and experience the light and power of the higher worlds. After a period of profound meditation and illumination we may return through the mental and astral worlds, drawing down the higher powers and storing them in the heart, returning finally to normal physical consciousness, determined that the light of the higher worlds shall shine forth in our lives.
Clairvoyant visions must not be taken for spiritual consciousness, nor should we expect the development of psychic powers. On the contrary, ordinary psychism is an astral cul-de-sac, down which many promising students have wandered and lost their way. We are taught to beware of the flowers of the astral world, for under each a serpent is coiled. [ The Voice of the Silence, translated by H. P. Blavatsky] We shall not find the way into the higher consciousness or to the Master's feet by the aid of clairvoyance. Sometimes students think that the appearance of 'visions and beautiful scenes during meditation is a sign of spiritual progress, but alien thought, however beautiful, is not meditation; it is gather a sign that we have allowed our attention to wander to external things. We must transcend the lower mental plane where thought-forms are built, for our object is union with the higher self and not the enjoyment of clairvoyant visions.
Meditation, if successful, produces a sense of actual union or of stepping into and becoming one with the glorious light of the higher consciousness and of being identified with that light rather than with the shadows cast upon the lower worlds.
Eventually this realisation will become permanent, and we shall learn to live always in the light of the higher self, emancipated from the illusion of personal separateness and of identity with the bodies. We shall then be prepared to enter o deeper meditative states, for beyond this stage óf meditation is one deeper still, in which all images, thoughts and mental conceptions fall away and only darkness and utter silence remain, The soul seems poised in the immensity of space, silent and alone. When this state of contemplation has been reached it can be maintained almost indefinitely It is in this utter stillness that the Void of the Silence is heard.
At this stage the deeper qualities and more divine attributes of the God which is man begin to be revealed, and the powers, by which they find expression, to manifest themselves in and through the waking consciousness. The neophyte may then learn to draw, from the rock of his innermost self, the sword of will by means of which he may win his way through all the difficulties and barriers which oppose him on the Path.
Atma, or will, is one of the last of the human powers to be fully developed. Will is far more than ordinary determination and persistence; it is an irresistible, burning energy before which all opposition melts away. If we can draw down a measure of this power into our personal consciousness, we shall find it an enormous help upon the Path.. Its action might be likened to that of a lightning flash which is relatively permanent. Any weaknesses, which we detect in ourselves, will quickly vanish if we are able to turn the burning power of the Atmic will upon them. If we release a measure of this fiery quality of will in sending out power and love into the world, we shall liberate an energy which will undoubtedly diminish the amount of evil in the world.
In order to release this power in ourselves, we must learn to live by will rather than by emotion and to transmute desire into will. A Master has said: "Do not wish for anything -- will it:" The reason for the resistless power of the Master's will is that it is utterly one with the will of God. We, in our turn, shall become omnipotent when, having discovered the Atma which is our deepest self, we have surrendered ourselves to God and united our wills with His will.
Before we may begin to prepare for this great consummation, we must decide what we mean by God and God's will. Our thoughts on this subject must be very clear. Some may think of the hidden life which is present everywhere; some, of the God within themselves, while others may think of a triune Being somewhere in the high heavens who is ordering the great scheme of the universe, He, in His turn, sharing the labours of a mighty Cosmic Ruler who is the Creator, Sustainer and Transformer of all worlds.
Although it is quite impossible to realise, with any degree of fulness, what God is, we may learn much if we approach our study of His nature by gradual stages. Knowledge of God must be reached by individual experience. No words' of another can bestow that knowledge upon us. Let us, therefore, consider some methods of meditation by which spiritual consciousness may be attained and knowledge of God be won.
The first step may be taken by means of deep meditation by the method already described. This will lead us into a state of profound contemplation in which some measure of the divine glory may be revealed. In order to bridge the almost immeasurable gulf that seems to yawn between that glory and ourselves and to pass from contemplation to union, we may turn for aid to one of the members of the Great White Brotherhood with whom we may have the privilege of association. Fellows of the Theosophical Society, for example, might choose one of the great initiate leaders of that movement. The Star member would naturally choose the Head of the Order, [ Since dissolved by the Head himself as of no value for spiritual purposes.] and would then dwell in thought upon him until he feels a measure of unity with him. Those occasions, when he is speaking at one or other of the great camps which he holds, provide exceptional opportunities for practising this method. With the utmost humility and reverence the aspirant may attempt to pass in thought into unity with the Great World-Teacher, with whom the Head of the Order is believed to be at one. Still plunged in meditation, he may pass from, and within the consciousness of the Christ, to that of the Lord Buddha; from that Mighty One he may seek to pass into the awe-inspiring presence of the Lord of the World Himself, the Spiritual King who is the Supreme Ruler of the evolution of this planet, and within whose all-embracing consciousness we live and move and have our being.
Inconceivably lofty though the consciousness of the King of our world is, we may still travel on, in imagination which will one day become reality, and, leaving our world behind, pass out into the solar system and try to reach up into the consciousness of the Logos of our system and to lose ourselves in Him. At this level thought ceases, imagination fails and only silence remains. In this profound silence a measure of the Divine Omnipotence, Omnipresence and Omniscience may be revealed.
Another way of approach to our heavenly Father is that of the interior link which binds us to Him throughout the whole long period of our evolutionary pilgrimage. Again to use this method we must first reach upwards to the consciousness of the ego in the causal body. When we have achieved some measure of success in this endeavour, we may try to realise that there is another state of consciousness deep within and beyond it, which is in a relationship to the ego similar to that of the ego to the personality. To that deepest self of man the name Monad has been given.
When, therefore, the light of egoic consciousness has begun to dawn, we may plunge more deeply into our inmost being, beyond the level of the higher mind into that of the intuition, and so upwards towards the Monad itself. Regular practice having brought us at least a glimpse, or perhaps the flavour, as it were, of these exalted regions, we may take the mighty leap from any kind of separateness into the great all-embracing consciousness of the Logos of our system, may surrender all individual existence in flame-like aspiration towards union with Him. [ Read C.W.Leadbeater's The Monad and Geo. Arundale's Nirvana in this connection. ]
We may not actually reach any of the lofty planes of Nature in the early years of our efforts, but if we practise regularly we shall certainly begin to breathe in the aroma of these higher levels of consciousness. Time and steady persistence will ultimately enable us to gain an entrance into them, until one day we dwell therein for ever.
These methods will not suit all temperaments, and the more mystically minded may realise that there is no actual need to take these long flights and difficult ascents, or to seek for intermediate aids, because God is here, all about us, and in no way separated from us by vast gulfs and yawning chasms. If we feel drawn in this direction, we may learn to throw ourselves into a state of consciousness in which we are continually aware of His presence. This also is a wonderful way to God. By it we seek to realise His presence everywhere, to throw open all the doors and windows of our soul that He may enter therein. The poet expresses this method of approach in lines of great beauty
The sun, the moon, the stars, the seas, the hills and the plains-
Are not these, O Soul, the Vision of Him who reigns?
Is not the Vision He? tho' He be not that which He seems?
Dreams are true while they last, and do we not live is dreams?
Earth, these solid stars, this weight of body and limb,
Are they not sign and symbol of thy division from Him?
Dark is the world to thee; thyself art the reason why; For is He not all but that which has power to feel "I am I"?
Glory about thee, without thee; and thou fulfillest thy doom
Making Him broken gleams, and a stifled splendour and gloom.
Speak to Him thou for He bears, and Spirit with Spirit can meet
Closer is He than breathing, and nearer than hands and feet.
God is law, say the wise; O Soul, and let us rejoice,
For if He thunder by law the thunder is yet His voice.
Law is God, say some; no God at all, says the fool;
For all we have power to see is a straight staff bent in a pool;
And the ear of man cannot hear, and the eye of mart cannot see;
But if we could see and hear, this Vison - were it not He? [ The Higher Pantheism, by Alfred Lord Tennyson. ]
As an objection to any of these practices, the suggestion may be offered that in these days there is no time for them, and that the claims of physical life are too insistent to allow of such complete self-dedication to the spiritual life and to the discovery of God. If, however, we observe the use to which we put our leisure, we shall see that there is time. What do we do when we have a quarter of an hour to spare? Do we not immediately look outwards for something which will interest or amuse us? We turn to music, take up a magazine or book, or listen to the broadcasting. Why not make a habit of using some of our spare time for turning inwards in search of spiritual interests, adventures and experiences? We shall find them so much more thrilling than any book or radio concert, and our whole life will gradually become filled with the one desire far spiritual realities, so that all other purely temporal interests fall away.
All the things which we think we like are not really worth possessing. They are but the flickerjag moonbeams reflected from the rippling waters of earthly life. If once we catch a glimpse of the eternal happiness, once enter the Kingdom of Happiness, [ See the teachings of Mr. l. Krishnamurti. ] we shall know the glory of the spiritual sun, and, by its light, assess all things at their true value. Each man must find his ideal, must decide what he would be. Then, having found, having decided, he ceases wishing and wills to be that upon which his heart and mind are fixed.
The great majority of us spend our whole lives in the pursuit of the temporary pleasures of life, while the eternal things are almost entirely neglected. It is true that many earnest people spend a certain time each day in prayer and meditation, but a few moments of set meditation at special times does not constitute the spiritual life. The, spiritual life has to be lived all day long, otherwise it will be many years, or even lives, before we begin to unlock the deeper powers of the soul and enter into the wider vision of life.
A suffering world is calling to us. Within us is the power to heal, waiting to be discovered and released. The Holy Ones, who live but to serve the world, are eagerly watching to see who next is coming to Them to share their age-long and tireless labours. Every forward step which we take opens a channel, through which They can pour Their force and blessing upon the world. Shall we, then, not find time to turn inwards and, seek the God within, that we may reveal Him to others, and that the spiritual life may become a living reality to us and to them?
Many are conscious of an insistent voice within them, prompting them to seek the inner life, but they hesitate. Many even answer the voice, but are half-hearted, clinging still to self-indulgences and worldly things. Although every earnest and sincere endeavour brings its own reward, no great measure of success may be attained until we are ready to surrender all. "Sell all that thou hast and distribute unto the poor."[ St. Luke, 18, 22.] "If any man come to Me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple", [ Ibid., 14, 26.] said the Master, expressing not His own will, but profound spiritual law.
We cannot have one foot in the temple and one in the outer world; that will only end in disaster and failure. We must be absolutely wholehearted if we are to succeed, for the spiritual quest demands all or nothing. Weaknesses may baffle us we may be defeated, again and again, but we cannot fail ultimately, if our eyes are fixed upon the goal and our wills set irrevocably upon the Path which leads thereto.
A glorious opportunity to win liberation from sorrow, pain, separation, doubt and from the wheel of life and death awaits each one of us in this life. We can pass from all earthly limitations into eternal happiness and unbroken peace, if we will but try. And in passing we shall lift up all men with us, even as did our Lord, [ And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw SUM" unto Me."-St. John, 12, 32.] for so does every son of man who enters into union with God.
If thus we reach upwards continually, invoke the Divine Will within us and employ it, our success on the great quest of the Holy Grail is assured.
CO-OPERATION WITH ANGELS
In all our spiritual endeavours, we may learn much and receive great help from members of the glorious hierarchy of the angelic hosts. Let us then consider how we may contact and co-operate with them.
According to the Ancient Wisdom, an angel is a member of a parallel stream of evolution which progresses through this solar system side by side with humanity. This stream of angel-life has its lesser representatives amongst the nature-spirits, and reaches its height in the Seven Spirits before the throne of God, while, even beyond them there is the angelic aspect of the Logos Himself.
The title "angel" is given to all those members of that parallel hierarchy who have individualised those who have passed from the state of groupconsciousness -the state in which the nature-spirits and animals live- and, like men, have become selfconscious individuals.
There are angels at many stages of development, and on all planes of Nature except the physical. There are astral angels, mental or rupa angels and angels of the causal level or arupa angels; beyond them again are Buddhic and Atmic angels and so on, until we reach the great solar angels whose field of evolution and service is the whole solar system. Even beyond these are those mighty representatives of the angel race who range beyond our solar system, who belong to our universe and travel freely between the solar systems of which it is composed. This great hierarchy, of which Jacob had a vision at Bethel, is composed of countless myriads of beings.
Their method of evolution differs from ours in the one great characteristic that they do not, normally, take solid physical bodies. Therefore they are invisible to us and, in addition, do not appear to suffer pain or sorrow, or to experience desire, anger, hatred, jealousy, fear or any of the emotions which are such a potent source of trouble to mankind, but which, nevertheless, are also the means by which many of his special faculties are acquired. The angels, however, achieve a development which is, in every way, equal to that of man. Possibly their evolution is slower than ours in consequence of the difference of method, but eventually they reach the same goal, which is union with God and the complete unfoldment of their innate Divinity. Angels are always serenely happy and perfectly self-controlled, however active they may be. Unlike ourselves, they never lose their sense of unity with the great spiritual consciousness to which we give the name of God. Cooperation is the very essence of their method of work, separateness and selfishness are practically impossible to them. They are, for this reason, most valuable allies in all our work, and, at the same time, are eager to co-operate with us.
In order to work intelligently with them we must first have some knowledge of them and their methods of work. We may gain this by a study of ancient and modern literature concerning them. We must also realise them as living beings who are everywhere present, and who recognise, as we do, the value of and the necessity for co-operation between angels and men in the fulfilment of the divine plan.
Five important points should be decided in the mind before angelic co-operation is enlisted.
1. Decide clearly upon the kind of work which has to be done.
In all magic -and this is magic of the first order- clarity of thought is a primary essential. Vague and inchoate thought produces nebulous results
2. Decide upon the appropriate type of angel required.
A description of the seven types of angels is given in The Brotherhood of Angels and of Men,(1) an the nine orders are described in books dealing with the subject in Christianity. The classification, given by the angel teacher who inspired The 'Brotherhood of Angels and of Men is
Angels of Power.
Angels of Healing.
Guardian Angels of the Home.
Angels who build Form.
Angels of Nature.
Angels of Music.
Angels of Beauty and of Art.
3. Invoke all the power available for the purpose of the work.
The sources of power are
(a) The limitless and inexhaustible power of the God which is within each one of us.
(b) The power of the Logos of our system with whom we are in direct contact.
As we found in Chapter VIII, by rightly directed meditation we can discover these two sources of power and so learn to release a measure of divine energy through our work. The mere repetition, with fixed intent, of the phrase, "In the Name of the God within me," is sufficient to draw on that power to some extent. Practice in the continual employment of that power increases the measure of our ability to draw upon it. We should never forget that there is but One Worker, who is God, and one work which is His work.
(c) The power of our religion and its Founder. As Christians, for example, we have our link with the Lord Christ, and the repetition, with reverence and fixed intent, of the words, "In the Name of the Lord Christ," will unfailingly produce a descent of power. There is a reservoir of power behind every religion, upon which we can draw in a similar manner if our religion is a living reality in our lives.
(d) The power behind all movements and orders, which have as their object the upliftment of the human race.
All members of the Order of the Star for example are linked with the World-Teacher and with the power which is behind the present manifestation of His presence in the world. They can draw upon that power for their work.
Those who are Theosophists have the immense privilege of contact with the Great White Brotherhood through our outer leaders and through the Inner Founders of that Society -the Master M. and the Master K.H. Each of these Mighty Ones constitutes an inexhaustible source of power.
Similarly all Masons are in direct contact with the Master the Prince, who is "the Head of all true Freemasons throughout the world'.[ See The Hidden Life in Freemasonry and some Glimpses of Masonic History, by C. W. Leadbeater. ]
e) 'The power of the members of the Angelic Hierarchy. [ See the author's book The Angelic Hosts.]
A recognition of these and other sources
of power shows us that we have no excuse for feeling powerless or useless. The
question is not one of lack of power. Sometimes, perhaps, it is rather one of
self-centredness and apathy.
This brings us to our fourth important point in seeking co-operation with the angels.
4. Direct the power evoked into the work in hand by a powerful effort of will and a steady concentration of the mind.
5. Call, mentally, for the type of angel, or angels, appropriate to the work and bid them take charge of and assist the work.
We are not advised to invoke the angels without a specific reason, otherwise they will soon cease to respond to our call. Sometimes they attend upon us in a waiting mood, ready to serve in any particular work. At other times we may find them already engaged upon the work which we have decided to undertake. In all cases the union of human and angelic consciousness and power achieves a far greater result than is possible in the case of either working alone.
The angels, to some extent, need us, and we, in our turn, need them. They are free agents whilst we are not. We have our work in the world and the duty of caring for a body, which they have not. As a result, they can remain in, and with, a piece of work for any length of time, whilst we can only give it our passing attention. They are especially helpful on account of their ability to remain in attendance during the whole course of a work of healing or cleansing, blessing, exorcism or protection, or as long as the exigencies of the work demand. They bring to such work a vitality and a virility which give an immense power to everything they do.
Let us take a case of healing, as an example of work in which we may co-operate with angels. To satisfy the first of the five points given above, we decide to flood a sick person with divine life, so that all evil, limitation and disharmony may be-sweet away.
The type of angel for this work -the second point- would be the healing angels under the Archangel Raphael. We do not need to see them or even to know their appearance. The ego in each one of us sees and knows them well. We, as personalities, are concerned only with their mental selection and direction. In this case, therefore, we should make an appeal to the Archangel Raphael and his angels to assist in our work. The repetition of the invocation given in The Brotherhood of Angels and of Men will enable us to do this effectively. [ Loc. cit.. p. 53.]
We meditate to satisfy our third point, which demands the evocation of power upon the sources of energy appropriate to this work. They are the Lord Christ as the Healer and Saviour of the world and the Christ within ourselves. We might think of our Lord as saying: "I come that they might have life and that they might have it more abundantly." [ St. John. 10. 10. ] One of the characteristics of our Lord is that life seems for ever to be welling up within Him, and pouring forth upon the world in abundance and with boundless beneficence. We might think of Him in the capacity of Life-giver, and evoke His power by a sentence or prayer such as that suggested above.
We should then -fourth point- direct the force which we have evoked towards the person or persons who are ill, by the repetition of their name, by strongly willing that the power shall flood them, by visualising them as standing in the presence of the Lord, radiant with His life which is seen as a golden glory of Buddhic light. We need not limit ourselves to one person, but may treat a large number, even a whole infirmary or hospital by this means.
Finally, we should direct the angels to surround the sick person or group, to conserve and convey the power available and to see that the maximum result is achieved. Thus we should satisfy our fifth point. We might include in this the direction to remain with and sustain the sufferers and to lift them into the conscious realisation of the divine presence and of their own angelic companionship.
We may close with a final prayer that the sufferers may be held close in the everlasting arms and that the holy angels may encompass them. We must always safeguard such efforts as these by a surrender to the divine will in everything that is done. We then minimise the likelihood of error through ignorance or misdirection of force.
To take another example: suppose we wished to exorcise and bless a room, a suite of rooms or a house, where evil influences had been at work, or which were intended for use in connection with religious or spiritual work, such as an oratory or meditation room. The type of angels required would be the angels of power -the white angels from the Atmic world. Our inability to contact their world need not prevent our calling upon the agents of Atmic power. The ego, who transcends personal limitations, will carry out the work of invocation in the higher worlds as far as he is able. The great Atmic angels are glorious beings of white fire, generally crowned with white flames and bearing swords of flame in their hands. They are at least thirty feet in height and are the very embodiment of resistless power. We should call up, from within ourselves, all the power which we, as channels, are capable of bearing and conveying, and direct it in a resistless flood into the room or house, so that it sweeps through like a flame, burning up all evil and driving out all undesirable presences.
The angels will co-operate, breaking up all congestions of evil magnetism and driving away all dark entities from the immediate neighbourhood; they will guard the house from all intruders and assist in its magnetisation. Finally, we should ask the angels of power to remain for a time to insulate the place and the surrounding atmosphere, so that it may become a centre, of light, of blessing and of power.
We should never allow ourselves to become personal when working with the angels who are the embodiments of impersonality. We must never think of an angel as "my angel". The angels are free agents of the Logos and will co-operate with us whenever we provide suitable conditions.
A different angel, or group of angels, may respond every time we call. We must outgrow the human tendency to become personal, and realise that, as stated above, there is but One Worker who is God. If we do this we shall merge ourselves in the One Worker, forget ourselves in the work, and lose the sense of separateness and personality. Thus we shall be able to co-operate effectively with the angels, and become really efficient servants of the Lord.
THE WORLD TEACHER
THE NATURE OF THE LORD
THERE comes a time in the life of the aspirant to the spiritual life when the greatness and splendour of the Great World-Teacher and Saviour, whether the Lord Buddha, Shri Krishna, Zarathustra or Christ, begins dimly to be realised. As the years of devoted service pass, he draws nearer and nearer to his Lord, and illuminating flashes of perception enable him to approach His holy presence and to gain glimpses of His glorious existence. At first these experiences accentuate the enormous evolutionary distance between the devotee and the supreme object of his devotion and make it seem impassable. He cannot believe that One who is so immeasurably great can possibly be within his reach.
A full appreciation, realisation and knowledge of even a fragment of His consciousness, His nature and His glory is impossible to the neophyte at his present stage of evolution; but when at length this great illumination does come, it will, no doubt, be a source of wonder and joy to discover that there is no separation between the devotee and the object of his devotion, that His very greatness brings Him near. He is indeed near. Himself the embodiment of unity, He is not outside ourselves at all, but is part of us: He is our very selves.
These conceptions are difficult of apprehension for us in the West. Our minds are not trained in metaphysics. If we think of a person who lives at the "right hand of the Father," or even of a Master who is far away in retreat, we cannot easily conceive of that person being equally present within ourselves. The body of the Lord Maitreya is said to be in the Himalayas, yet His consciousness is everywhere present. There is a part of Him in every atom of every plane, and in every self-conscious being in every world.
The ego is practically free of the limitations of time and space. The succession of events does not exist for him; he lives in the eternal Now. There is also no separation in space at the egoic level; neither is there any lack of power there. There is, indeed, an abundance, a prodigality of force, which wells up within the centre of the ego and makes him practically omnipotent on his own plane, according to his development. He is limited only by his stage of evolution, and of that limitation he is hardly aware.
Within his limitations the knowledge of the ego is very great indeed. He knows all his past since he individualised; this is not past to him but present. He has also a fair vision of the future, the range of which also depends upon Iris degree of evolutionary advancement. He possesses the essence of all the capacities and qualities of character which have been developed through centuries of incarnation in the flesh.
The ego is the centre of our being in a way somewhat similar to that in which Christ is the heart of all manifested life on this planet, and the Cosmic Christ the heart of the universe.
As we found in Chapter VIII, there is another "being" using this term for want of a better which is in the same relationship to the ego as is the ego to the personality. This being is called the Monad which means "the One". The Monad is a still more interior state of existence than the ego, and the two might be thought of as a heart within a heart, or as a sphere of light, which is the ego, with a more brilliant point of light as the source of illumination in the centre of it, which is the Monad. Finally, beyond and within the Monad is the Logos, who contains within Himself all the millions of Monads of His solar system.
Looking at this from another viewpoint, we see that God, the Logos, the Creator, the Preserver and the Transformer, is immanent throughout the whole system; there is no place where He is not. Within Him there are numerous cells, which are miniature expressions of His triple nature. These cells are the Monads. Each of these Monads who chose the human path of evolution finds expression as an ego, and egos ensoul successive personalities in the mental, emotional and physical worlds. The Logos, the Monad, the ego and the personality are the four successive links in the chain of human life, by which man is bound to God.
The relationship of the Christ to this planet is similar to that of the Logos to the whole solar system. He is immanent in every atom and present, as the Christ consciousness, in every man. He has attained to absolute unity with all manifested life, not as we may know that state, as a mental conception or even a spiritual illumination but as an actual, living and conscious union and identity. This is one interpretation of the doctrine of the Atonement, which is really the at-one-merit. By that supreme achievement of perfect unity or at-one-merit He shares all that He is with all life; and so He may be truly said to"save" the world.
It is a mistake, therefore, to think of the Christ and of the Masters of the Wisdom as being distant or separate from ourselves. Their physical bodies are, indeed, a long way from us, but Their consciousness is here, part of us, in us, in fact, is our consciousness. As we grow in the spiritual life, our realisation of this underlying unity increases, and we begin more and more to share in Their consciousness and Their work.
Another great truth to be remembered in considering this subject and in trying to understand the nature of our Lord, is that in His office of World-Teacher He is in complete unity with the second aspect of the Logos; has in fact passed beyond unity to identity. He is the second aspect of the Logos on earth. He is God, the Son. Inasmuch as the mighty Logos of our system can be manifested in one person, He is so manifested in our Lord, just as our Monad is manifested in our ego. The keynote of His teaching must always be love and union because He is the love aspect of God incarnate upon earth.
Whilst dwelling upon this stupendous fact, we must also remember that, by virtue of the great spiritual heights to which He has attained, the qualities of the other two aspects of the Blessed Trinity and of all the seven rays are also expressed in Him in their fullest perfection. Although we know Him as the Saviour of the World, the Lover and Healer of men, He is equally capable of acting as the World Ruler and King on the first ray, as the World Hierophant on the seventh, or as the Supreme Scientist, Artist or Devotee. He does so act, and can be contacted in His aspect of Head of any of the seven rays. He is, in fact, "all things to all men," but supremely and above all, the incarnation of the second aspect, the love of God upon earth. We must always approach Him, therefore, with the utmost reverence and humility, as the Masters and the holy angels always do.
His successor-to-be, the Chohan Koot Hoomi, the Master who inspired At the Feet of the Master -Himself a great Lord of Love beyond our understanding- says of Himself and Brother Adepts in relation to our Lord: "We are as dust beneath His feet." If these Mighty Ones so refer to Him, how deep must be our reverence. We may, however, still think of Him with love and joy and approach Him with gladness, for we must learn to combine reverence with joy, and worship with human affection and simplicity.
Christ is the Supreme Head of all religions. All prayers and their answers pass through Him. That is why He is called the Advocate and Mediator. He is the High Priest of humanity. He collects the prayer; and aspirations of angels and of men, enriches them with His wonderful life, offers them to the mighty Logos of our system, receives the downpoured blessing and response and sends It out in streams of light and power upon the world. Thus He brings consolation and encouragement to every human heart and a quickening influence to bear upon all manifested life.
All this great activity is in no way affected by the fact that, in His special office of World-Teacher, He periodically takes a vehicle and manifests through it to men on earth, as He did in Palestine and again is doing now; for only a minute fragment of His vast consciousness is needed for the work of founding a religion.
It is surely good for us to think along these lines; to try reverently to understand Him, to enter into closer union with Him and to show forth in our lives some of His beauty and His love. We must make our bodies translucent to His light,[ The teachings Geoge.S. Arundale.] so that they offer no resistance to His shining through us. "The path of the just is as a shining light, shining more and more unto the perfect day." [ Proverbs, IV, 18 from the Liturgy of the Liberal Catholic Church.]
We, too, are Christs in the becoming and all our individual contributions are required to enrich the beauty and splendour of God. When we evolve, He evolves, for even the Logos Himself is an evolving Being, as also is our Lord. The universe is one great Whole, which is daily growing more beautiful, more splendid and nearer to the archetype within the Creator's mind. He needs us for He evolves through us. It is a tremendous thought that if we dally by the way we retard the evolution of the whole solar system; on the other hand, if we spring forward on the Path in a sudden realisation or keen enthusiasm, the whole of evolution is quickened thereby.
We must try, therefore, to realise the unity everything and the utter oneness of the system. There is but one homogeneous which is God. We are as little motes dancing in the sunbeams which are His light. We must quickly perfect our natures, so that more of the hidden Divinity may shine forth in our lives, for thus lives and shines our Lord, the Saviour of men and the " Light of the World ".
THE CONING OF THE LORD
AT the present time the world is gradually being flooded by a mighty wave of the power of the Lord. As He draws nearer and nearer to our world every manifestation of Him becomes more powerful. Every Church service, every picture and talisman, every image and every thought-form of Him becomes a more perfect manifestation of His power and His presence. The Christ within the heart of every living thing will be more fully manifested as He Himself becomes more manifested in His disciple. The process is a dual one; on the one hand, a gradual perfection of the technique and capacity to serve Him in the chosen disciple, with the consequent hastening of His glorious advent to the whole world; on the other hand, an increase in the manifestation of the immanent Christ -equally Himself and part of His vast consciousness- in every form in every manifested world.
Under the influence of His coming, all Nature should have a new message for us. We should be conscious that our Lord is looking through the eyes of every human being, however apparently unevolved or lowly, for He is there, waiting for us to learn to see Him. If we cannot see Him there, we may find it difficult to see Him anywhere. Having once seen Him anywhere, we shall see Him everywhere.
The young movement, the Order of the Star, in this its springtime, is full of the most wonderful opportunities. The Theosophical Society, though itself but young, seems to be old by comparison, possessing as it does a deep well-established rhythm which is ancient and rich. One likes to think of Theosophy as a river into which flow many tributaries, from springs rising all over the earth, each enriching the river with its own especial contribution. We may trace back the rising of the river of the Ancient Wisdom to the time of the coming of the great Lords of the Flame from Venus. They came, robed in flame, six and a half million years ago, and were probably surrounded by hosts of great angels on Their long journey through space. Riding in Their chariots of fire, these glorious Shining Ones hovered, for a time, over the White Island which was to be Their home on the Earth which They had come to serve.
Many precious gifts were in Their hands, and on Their arrival upon earth the spring of the Ancient Wisdom rose, later to swell into a wide and flowing river. Since those far-off days that stream has never ceased to flow, and has been continually growing in volume and in strength. The culture of ancient Atlantis: the spirituality of India, with its profound philosophy learned from the many teachers who have trodden its sacred soil: the occult lore of Egypt, Persia, Greece, Palestine and Rome: these are some of the many streams which flowed into the river of Theosophy. The light of truth now shines upon the earth like the rays of the sun in all the glory of noonday, full of power, strength and beauty.
The Order of the Star is but in the springtime of its life. If we were in some lovely wood in spring, when all the trees were budding and the birds breaking into song, and, looking down a long green glade towards the shining sea, saw the sun rising resplendent in the early morn, the atmosphere of beauty and of promise which surrounded us would resemble that in which the Order of the Star is bathed in these early years of its life.
Those who have been called to membership of His Order must surely have experienced the deep happiness of answering to the call of their Lord and Master, and the longing to take the fullest possible advantage of this wonderful opportunity of serving Him face to face, under the same banner which they have followed for so many lives.
The teaching which He brings is slowly affecting the hearts and minds of men, whether Star members or not. It is a part of the Ancient Wisdom, but we find that certain special aspects of divine truth are being stressed. Mr. Krishnamurti tells us, for example, that there exists a direct road to liberation, and that the goal of union may best be reached by simplicity of heart. He shows us the direct road to union with the Master -union which He has achieved- which we may tread without the necessity for temples, churches, ceremonial and all the many forms with which religion inevitably becomes encrusted. We must pierce through all these in order that the shining glory and pristine beauty of the Truth may be revealed.
The technique of the new teaching is that of unification, which is the end and goal of the spiritual life as well as being the basis of all art. We have to learn to unify ourselves with the life which is in every form. We may practise this amidst the beauty of Nature. When we sit beside a fine old tree, for instance, we may try to pass into its consciousness; into the very soul of the tree fell the swaying of the trunk, the leverage of theroots, the pressure of the wind, the rising of the sap, the flow of the magnetic forces, the pulse of the heart which every tree possesses and the evolutionary urge of its soul under the impulse of the divine will. We shall feel this last as a kind of reaching outwards like stretching the fingers into a glove. If we get to the very heart of the tree we can actually share its experience of all these things.
Similarly with animals and men, we may learn to pass behind the form and discover the life within. We may see the goal towards which the ego is striving and understand the urge behind the soul, the ideal of which it has been dreaming during its many incarnations in the flesh. We may enter into the sorrows, griefs, joys and weaknesses of our fellowmen. If, having become one with them, we feel strong enough, then we may share our little strength with them. We cannot really help people until we can, in some measure, enter into their lives and know their difficulties as they are known to them.
The ideal of the final goal of liberation is also being placed before the world by Mr. Krishnamurti. In studying this great subject we find that liberation may be regarded as a relative state. When a plant blossoms in the sunlight it is liberated. When the butterfly emerges from the chrysalis and takes its first flight into the sunlit air it is liberated. When the animal becomes man, the savage civilised, the civilised genius and the genius adept, there is liberation. We must, therefore, strive to be like the butterfly and break the chrysalis of our past selves; then we may learn to spread the many coloured wings of the soul in joyful flight.
The chrysalis is useful for a time in order to protect us, but if we stay within its sheltering form too long it will become a hindrance to our growth. This is a danger which besets us all. We are inclined to cling to the chrysalis, enjoying the comfort and shelter within; we fear to open our wings in the sunshine. We must, however, have courage and strength to break the shell of selfhood and step out of ourselves into a new life. As Plotinus beautifully says, we must prepare ourselves to make the flight "of the alone to the Alone".
We need not think of liberation as entirely beyond our immediate attainment and as being reserved for the adept. Is there not a liberation for every day, for every month, for every year? Each day ought, surely, to bring its own liberation as we break off the shell of yesterday. We must remain free and fresh, and avoid becoming fixed, formal and, if we would hear and answer the call of the Masters. They have given us the great invitation: "Come out of your world into Ours." In Their world there is continual and unbroken service. Thought of self is an utter impossibility. Often our self-centredness forms the only obstacle which prevents our entering Their world.
Let us determine that all our chrysalis-fetters shall be broken. While our Lord is here this should be easy. His radiance shines upon us like the rays of the sun upon the chrysalis and the rosebud. The nearer He comes, the more rapid should be our unfoldment, which, like that of the butterflies and flowers, must be natural and without self-consciousness. Let us try to draw nearer to Him, to touch but the " hem of His garment ". Even though we may never see Him in the flesh, we may find Him in the quiet places of the heart, and having found Him, shall have discovered a source of strength, joy and peace which will be a defence against all the troubles of the world and a sure support amid the trials of the Path. These trials are inevitable. Not one of us who is seeking liberation will be exempt from the pain caused by the breaking of the chrysalis. If, however, we have found Him we can bear the pain, for His strength will support us and His love will heal our wounds.
[ Reprinted from The Herald of the Star. ]
An account of the camp fire meetings of the Order of the Star in August, 1927
IT may be of interest to describe the physical events which made the campfire gatherings at Ommen so happy, memorable and inspiring, and afterwards to attempt to give an impression of the far more important superphysical presences and powers which blessed those unforgettable evenings of spiritual communion and illumination.
For quite an hour before the official time of the lighting of the fire, we began to walk through the young pines towards the great clearing in which the fire was built.
Gradually the many circles of wooden seats were filled and we sat silent for a time in preparation for the arrival of Krishnaji, the Protector and our other leaders.
The proceedings usually opened with some music, followed by a reading by Krishnaji of one or more of his own poems, after which he and Dr. Besant proceeded to light the fire. As the flames rose high up into the air, Krishnaji chanted the invocation to Agni as Lord of Fire, and they returned to their seats.
Then Krishnaji spoke, telling us the way to liberation, and of his longing to share with us his own happiness and emancipation from the sorrows of the world and to lift the whole world into that realm of beauty, light and splendour which he has entered.
As he spoke the darkness deepened. The sun, the Lord of day, sank behind the pines, glowing red between their stems as he gave us into the gentle hands of the Queen of the night.
The sky was serene and beautiful with many clouds. Wild birds flew above the tree tops and gradually, one by one, the stars appeared. Later the moon, rising through the pines, gave her light and beauty to the scene to which her consort had just closed his eyes.
The newly-lighted fire burned fiercely at first and then became a glowing and radiant body through which the burning skeleton of pine logs could be traced.
Such was the setting in which the Teacher once more gave the ancient teaching to man, and began another chapter in the new gospel of happiness and liberation; thus the story of the Bible of the future was continued in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and twenty-seven.
During the long silence which precedes the lighting of the fire, the hosts of the angels and of the dead gather from the four quarters of the earth. High up in the air the angels reproduce the great circular vortex which the campfire gathering makes down below. In their thousands they are collected into a vast ring of shining ones, forming a glorious living rim to the chalice which angel and human hearts are offering to their Lord.
As the quiet deepens and the auras of all
are blended more closely together, the form of a great lotus flower is produced
with the fire as the heart. When the logs are lighted and the flames arise,
the heart of the lotus blazes high up into the inner worlds. Within each human
heart a lotus is reproduced in miniature, and centre lights up as the symbol
of fire is display in all its beauty and power.
At the first words of the chant to the great god, Agni, the Lord of Fire, his representative appears -a mighty angel belonging to the order of the gods of Fire. A giant in stature, he towers high above the heads of the great crowd, a living flame, a magnificent fire-being inspired with an intelligence which "burns" with fierce intensity. He stands motionless, save that the flames which are his aura leap and play within him, and shoot forth like fiery wings as his power and his blessing are bestowed.
Other mighty figures are to be seen shedding the light of their beneficent presence upon the great assembly; other powers are released as their blessing is bestowed. High up in the heavens, above the ring of devas, the star of the Lord of the World shines forth. His is the influence which holds the people immovably firm, with a rocklike stability, in perfect steadiness, in mental and emotional equipoise. White, silver and blue, His power descends in a translucent stream and envelops the circle on the earth below. Where that influence manifests the hatred of the great opposers is of no avail. No external onslaught, no evil attacking force can disturb the harmony and safety of those within its protecting power. Over the heads of many of his chosen ones a star shines forth in miniature, in answer to the presence of His star which shines high above the leads of all. The great white power-angels stand on guard ringing the campfire round. Under such protection and in such power the Lord of Love bestows the blessing of His presence upon earth.
Others of His great brethren also appear. The presence of His predecessor, the first-fruit of humanity, seemed to shine forth with all. His beauty and splendour on one of the earlier evenings, as the Lord of Wisdom bestowed His blessing on the followers of His great brother, who is the Lord of Love. Near the wooden throne on which His chosen helpers in the lower world are seated, their Masters appear. The Lord of Love to be -the future Bodhisattva- comes to bless the labours which one day He will perform. In all His wondrous Christ-like beauty, He gives His blessing, sends forth His power and His love. His eyes are deep pools of wisdom and compassion, His heart a refuge and a sure retreat for those who tread the path of love. A beautiful smile irradiates His countenance as He enfolds angels and men within the embrace of His most tender love. Glorious indeed are the members of the race of the Tathagatas!
The Manu-to-be is also clearly to be seen near His great representative in the outer world ,the Protector of the Order of the Star. His power, mingled with that of the King; flows forth through her, for she, too, holds the vast assembly within the play of her auric power.
Closer even than these seems the presence and the power of Him in whose domain the work is done, the Prince whose guests we are. All Europe shares in the blessing of these evenings round the campfire of the presence of the Great Ones and of the love and wisdom of the Lord. And so the Prince gives His blessing in return, as like some courtly host. He welcomes us on the great continent which is in His charge.
Krishnaji rises to speak and the rending of the veils begins. He calls to that which lies hidden so deep within us that, as yet, we are unaware of its existence. He calls and calls, digging deeper and deeper to find in us that which he has found in himself. Layer after layer is uncovered. Veil after veil is rent. Prop after prop is taken away. Still he goes on calling, till at last the answer comes. So deeply hid is that to which he calls, that at first the answer is scarcely audible. Yet he hears, he knows and still he calls.
The deepest self, the veritable Atma, at last is stirred by the power of his liberated Atmic self. Deeper and deeper he descends into our inmost selves, until the naked spirit shines forth and answers to the call. So strange, so foreign is that deepest self that even yet we hardly realise its answer. Dimly we see the flashing light that passes from the central heart of angel and of man, living, or dead. He takes these flowing streams, these lightning flashes from angel and from man, and weaves them into a wondrous rope which binds the world ever more closely to Himself.
Slowly, as we learn "to see with His eyes," the boundaries of the campfire widen to include the world. All the peoples of the earth appear as if gathered on some great plain. All the peoples of the earth, the living and the dead, answer to the call. The Christ is calling to Himself within us and within all the world. The Christ within answers to the Christ without.
We seem to answer first, for we are near and we have Krishnaji with us to rend the veil. We know that we have answered. As yet, the world knows it not. One day the whole world must know, for Krishnaji belongs to the whole world.
The trees and plants are answering. Is the God within them less deeply hidden? Have they less for Krishnaji to tear away?
As he speaks, the spirit of the Christ descends,
as a great collective inspiration, into the hearts and minds of all. It draws
nearer and nearer in a great ring-shaped cloud of golden light. It hovers over
our heads, descends still lower, slowly and gently, like a warm summer rain,
till all are enwrapped in its beauty, its peace and all-compelling love.
The voice is silent.
Night after night, as he ceases to speak, a miracle occurs. Two thousand seven hundred people remain perfectly still. In that silence the splendour of splendours is revealed to the inner eyes. The figure of the Lord appears above the head of Krishnaji. The silence deepens. We are enfolded in His embrace, filled with tenderness and compassion as He draws near.
In the lower worlds there is a yearning, wistful tenderness in His face; in the higher, radiant and abundant joy. He watches with compassionate gaze as we disperse, the angels to their celestial regions, the dead to their several worlds, the living into the forest and the camp. A quiet hour of peaceful meditation follows until night falls. The darkness deepens. The campfire is deserted. Yet He remains.
All through the night we are enwrapped in His all-embracing love, held safe by His protecting power. Miracle of miracles-the Christ is here! Krishnaji has torn aside the veil, has led us into the very depths of our own being, and the splendour of splendours is revealed!
The last evening seamed to be the most wonderful of all. From the first the power of the Father of our race, the Manu Vaivasvata, seemed to brood over the assembly, as if His figure stood near the Protector of the Order.
His eagle eye seems to gaze upon the throng of His future servants and followers, the children of His new race. He sweeps the whole gathering with an appraising glance, as He waits for the physical work of the evening to begin. A glorious smile, strong yet tender, appears on His face, as Krishnaji begins to read the poem with which he opens the evening's proceedings.
Then follows the lighting of the last campfire, and a great Fire Lord appears. Surely this must be the God Agni Himself, who comes to bless the final gathering. The fire burns quickly and fiercely. The flames rise high and, bent by the wind, curve and flicker over our heads.
Then comes the closing talk. Krishnaji seems
doubly inspired tonight and to speak with unusual strength, firmness and inspiration.
Some measure of the Manu's mighty power must surely lie behind the force, energy
and depth of this great speech.
It is a night of fire. The fire itself, fanned by the night wind, burns more fiercely and brilliantly than on any of the preceding evenings. There is fire in Krishnaji's words, fire in his Message. " You must renounce; you must be clean, pure and strong. In you must be born the strength, the determination to climb to the mountain top."
In the last five minutes a change seems to occur. The voice softens, the overshadowing power of the Lord becomes the manifestation of His actual presence in our midst. In that last speech the Lord of Power gave way to the Lord of Love, who then shone forth in all His beauty as the embodiment of unity and truth.
Undoubtedly, great changes are occurring in the hearts and minds of many who are gathered here. Burdens are being thrown aside, imprisoned spirits being set free. The life force seems to flow more freely through us all. Souls bent down by the weight of ignorance, born of false values and the lack of spiritual insight, are learning to stand upright. Light is being let into the dark places of our lives; latent powers stir from their long sleep and begin to manifest themselves In us.
Liberation, like all else in this impermanent universe, must be relative. Even the minerals, jewels, trees and flowers can gain it; do attain to it. Men and women at all stages of development attain to the liberation of today. Through the liberation of today eternal liberation shines.
Between the present and the future are many tomorrows, each with its liberation, all shot with the colours and the light of the final liberation. All are complete at their stage; all are steps on the Pathway to Nirvana.
So today men say that they have found liberation. Krishnaji has set them free. The wisdom of the Lord has opened the prison doors. Men become simple in an hour. Nay, with one sentence He releases them.
Once more we have been shown the ancient Pathway which leads through the Kingdom of Happiness, to the eternal bliss of Nirvana.
THE SERVANTS OF THE LORD
A DREAM AT OMMEN
ON the night of August 11th, 1927, I dreamt that a large number of people from different parts of the world were addressed by a teacher as follows
"Many of you are gathered together in the service of the Lord and your sleeping bodies lie under His protection. Wherever you may be you are all channels for His life. He gives His life to the world through each one of you and as His mission progresses He will need you more and more. As the whole hierarchy serves Him in His great task in the inner worlds, so must you give yourselves to Him in the outer. His life needs many vessels, His wisdom many forms. No single form in the lower worlds can contain the whole. All our forces and all our lives must be placed at His disposal. His work must come first, His lightest wish be instantly obeyed.
"Though we work in many lands we must
be united in our service for Him. Watch, therefore, for the expressions of His
wish. Keep the channels open, that His life may flow freely through. He comes
in many lands in many forms. He visits all the peoples of the earth. Many men
and women in the outer world will become the channels of His teaching and His
life, for He seeks to reach the whole earth.
"Your added knowledge gives you an added usefulness and you provide Him with a means whereby He may link Himself more closely to the world. Learn to draw the men and women of the world into your hearts that through you they may pass into His presence.
"See that you keep the temple of your lives spotless and holy and your hearts open to Him that He may find a dwelling-place therein. Become His messengers, His priests ministering to the people in His name. Draw the whole world nearer and nearer to Him. Offer yourselves gladly as the channels for His life and if need be as targets for the hostility and criticism of a world that understands Him not. Be not afraid of aught that men can say or do, His power is invincible and His wisdom is perfect, therefore His mission cannot fail.
"This life is the consummation of many lives. The long desired opportunity is yours, if you would take it. Think not of yourselves, but of Him Lose yourselves in Him and in His service. So shall you tread the Path which his presence among men makes relatively easy for human feet to tread. So shall you win the liberation to which in His compassion He seeks to lead you. Intuit the wisdom behind His words; do not allow them to be barriers on the path along which the wisdom contained within them is designed to guide you. Leaders of men most of you will become, founders of the new civilisation, teachers in the new age, by virtue of His power and His wisdom enshrined in you. A new era has dawned. Become the messengers of the new light each through his own work, each to his own world. Through you and many others the blessing of the Lord will quickly reach the whole of the world.
"Maintain the thought of unity. Remember that there is but one work which is His work, that in His eyes there are neither greater nor lesser, that all who serve Him share equally in His most perfect love. Love one another that His love may be spread abroad. Serve together that your individual service may be more effective. Keep yourselves free from the delusions of the world. Fix your eyes upon the goal and strive continually to find your way nearer and nearer to the heart of reality, for that eternal and unchanging bliss which one day will be yours.
"I give you my blessing that you may serve Him the more effectively. Be towers of strength, lovers of your fellowmen and channels for the wisdom of the Lord."
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