Clara Codd

Many people have a frame of mind similar to that which was mine when I was young. I used to wonder what life meant, for I felt that somewhere a vast meaning lay behind all natural phenomena. I think that man ever since he could think and reason, has been asking certain fundamental questions: who he really is? why he is here? what is the meaning and purpose of life and whether it has any goal? The great religions have essayed to answer him, and in the main their answers are similar. Today science and psychology are also giving him certain answers, and these answers are very wonderful and inspiring.

Studying the universe one is aware that there are fundamental and far reaching laws. Indeed the rules of the universe are so few and so fundamental, continually repeated in greater or smaller measure, that one may vision a great deal by the process of analogy.

Take for instance the Law of Cycles. The circle has always been the immortal symbol. A sea voyage will show us the eternal circle of the earth and heavens. And what is true of space is also true of time, the energy that always returns upon itself, so that evolutionary advance is always as the Greeks told us, by a spiral. Did we ever know an evening that never turned again to another morning, or a winter that was not followed by another spring?

Why should we stop there? The Ageless Wisdom tells us that the cycle of youth, maturity, old age, will turn again to youth once more in another, newer body. And what is true of man is also true of a race, a planet, a solar system, and, after unthinkable millennia , of the immeasurable universe itself. These cosmic evolutions are called in the ancient Indian scripture the “Days and Nights of Brahma.”

Rhythm Underlies Form

In matter, these ever-succeeding cycles produce the rhythmic undulations which underlie all forms. A voice speaking produces rhythmic waves or cycles in the air around it. Infinitely quicker ones, vibrating through the ether, translate themselves to our consciousness as light and caught by the human instrument adapted to receive them cause the phenomenon, “I see.” Still infinitely quicker ones, travelling through still finer forms of interpenetrating matter, are produced by thought, emotion, will.

These rhythmic changes go on eternally, for all matter is alive and conscious - though not with the intellectual consciousness we associate with ourselves - and these unceasing changes from second to second are called phenomena, a word which means the appearances only. We therefore see what things appear to be at any given moment. Behind the phenomenal universe, and the true cause of it, lie Plato’s “noumena.”

The threefold personality of man - body, emotions, and thoughts - changes from second to second. Is there an Eternity back of it, as there is a player back of music and a poet behind words? The ancient sages tells us that behind the ever-changing threefold self lies, deeply hidden, an eternity - an eternity which is forever one with the underlying life of the universe.

That one underlying life and consciousness of the universe is what man means by “God.” “God is a spirit,” said the Christian Teacher to the woman of Samaria, “and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.” That day is approaching, for there is everywhere a mounting tide which will ultimately take the form of universal mysticism, the “new religion” already forming in the world.

For what is a religion but an attempt to define a symbol and dogma the incommunicable life? And, as Benjamin Kidd writes, none of them lasts forever. They come as the waves of the sea at different times in the world’s history to different peoples at different stages of evolution. They provide, says he, the mental mould into which the dawning civilization flows. Just as man or a race has its day and then reincarnates in a new form, so all thought-moulds of men have their day and reappear in a new guise. Humanity as a whole has its great days. One such great day is closing now, and the young new form is beginning to appear.

“Ye are Gods”

Behind all rhythmic change lies Eternity. Behind developing man lies a “divinity that shapes our ends, rough-hew them how we will,” a Deity which alone is immortal in him. All the great Teachers have declared that. The Christ, quoting Kind David, said, “Ye are gods,” and continued, “and all of you are children of the most High.” And, say the Buddhist scriptures, “Look within; thou art Buddha.”

Here we come upon another universal law. There is no evolution without an involution, and so, in an infinitesimal beginning, is held all the promise and potency which is afterwards revealed. Who, without knowing it, could picture that a tiny acorn held within it the future giant of the forest? And who, to look at man, can realize that here is a god in the making?

But why this process, cry some, with all its attendant ignorance and pain? Has a child the knowledge and experience of a man? Is he ever born full-armed and mature? Life alone is eternal. The forms in which life clothes itself disappear again and again to reappear in ever higher and better guise. It is in his eternity that man is made in the image and likeness of God, for every son of man, however undeveloped and degraded, is also forever a son of the Most High. That heritage no one can take from him. From One Source the spirit in man comes, travels the same immortal journey, and one day reaches the same blessed goal.

This is the great “Arc”, as Plato called it, of the immortal journey of the spirit - the fundamental cycle of spiritual growth. The Indian scriptures call it the Pavritti Marga, the Path of Return. And it is significant that the world “vritti” means “wave length” or cyclic vibration. The Christian Scriptures call it the “Fall” (into matter) and the “Redemption” (into spirit). On the path of outgoing the vehicles of consciousness (for there is no form of individual consciousness apart from its upadhi or sheath) - body, heart and mind - are developed by coming under the play of the “pairs of opposites” which develop in man self-consciousness and self-motivation that he may know how to choose.

On the return journey the spiritual nature with its divine consciousness is born and in time attains its stature and fullness, taking over the command and use of that threefold self which had in the past developed by ruling, and which now, like the three Kings in the Bible story, lays its gifts at the feet of the true King, the “Christ in you, the hope of glory,” when at last he comes to the birth. The change in man’s nature is then so fundamental that the East calls him the “twice-born” and the West, the “divinized.” The flower of his soul has opened and the aroma of spirituality scents the air. Dr. Alexis Carrel writes: “Moral beauty is an exceptional and very striking phenomenon. He who has contemplated it but once never forgets its aspect.

But spiritual consciousness is beyond good and evil, the final “pairs of opposites.” God is neither good nor evil, but the Reality behind all appearances. In the words of the prophet Isaiah; “I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace and create evil. I the Lord do all these things.” We can also compare this with the famous saying in the Bhagavad Gita that He is the splendour of all splendid things but that He is also the gambling of the cheat. Spiritual consciousness is union with all life. And, as Professor Radhakrishan put it: “God is Life. Recognition of this fact is spiritual consciousness.” It also means the destruction of ahamkara, the sense of egohood, of I and mine, which has accompanied us through so many incarnations, but giving us a sense of individuality which persists even when the protecting sheaths of egohood have disappeared. But that sense is the root of what man calls “sin.” Selfishness alone is sin, but the Hebrew and Greek words translated “sin” do not originally presuppose anything blameworthy; rather they connote “missing the mark” as an archer might take a bow and shoot at a mark and, through lack of skill, go wide of it. There is no real “sin” in the universe, only lack of growth; and there is no evil embodiment eternally opposing God, but only an immutable Law of Cause and Effect, operating with serene and impersonal necessity. As one of the great Sages of the East has stated, Nature herself is devoid of either malice or good intention. The majority of human evils and pain are man-made, created by undeveloped man’s selfishness and greed and fear.

Humanity’s Hope

Only the God-man is humanity’s hope and succour. And He is latent in every human soul. Having attained deep union with all life, he has forever destroyed the seed of evil in him, that seed which is described in the Eastern scriptures as a-vidya, being “without the true knowledge.” The Christ used more than one simile to indicate the indescribable: the “pearl of great price” buried in the field of human nature and only to be found at the price of all that the personality has, that whole heartedness which is the real “purity of heart” which sees God; and also the “angel in a man which doth always behold the face of my Father in Heaven.” That interior divinity in us has never left the heavenly places, but sends his representative down here to gather experience, the food of his soul’s growth, the effervescence of which is taken back to him after death.

H.P. Blavatsky says that the deva hosts connect the immortal spirit with his new body at that moment before birth called “quickening,” and that to clairvoyant vision it looks like a light entering the baby’s brain. When in one life, it descends to the glowing heart centre or chakram, the spiritual consciousness is born. After death the same power draws the aroma of the closed life back to itself.

This tremendous truth is becoming more truly known and appreciated in these wonderful days. As Dean Inge has said, “Mysticism in the only real religion.” And, again H.P.Blavatsky says that our divinity longs to pour itself down into the lower personality but cannot do that until the personality has adored and worshipped. Hence the rapidly mounting interest today in all forms of yoga and mysticism. The day of the new race of man is approaching, the first truly spiritual race to inhabit this earth. And with it is coming the abolition of poverty and war and a universal recognition of the approach beyond, “out there,” but is he closer than breathing, and nearer than hands than breathing, and nearer than hands and feet.

All the great Teachers have taught that great faith. I do not think They ever founded religious dogma and organizations. Their followers did that. These times are full of tremendous presage and hope. It can never be better than in the poetic words of the ancient Hebrew prophet Isaiah: “They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.”

The Theosophical Journal 1965

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