Theosophical University Press Online Edition
(Lecture delivered November 3, 1929)
I have here in my hand quite a bunch of questions that have been sent in to me for answer. How shall I answer them? Shall I take a few questions and give to each of them a long answer, or shall I give a very short answer to every question of this bundle? I think that I will do exactly as I have been doing before in these lectures — follow the inspiration of the instant; largely because, as you must know, you as my audience give me something in the way of inspiration. I feel it when a question and its answer interest you, and I also feel it when these do not interest you.
The first question that I have to answer is an old favorite of many people. I don't know why it ever should be a favorite. I think it is an old mental nuisance. At any rate, it comes popping up serenely before our attention very frequently, and has been asked doubtless millions of times through past ages, and it is the following:
"Which came first, matter or mind?"
Now, if we said that mind came first, then we should have a universe of mind, and no matter in which it could express itself — and who can believe that? Contrariwise, if we say that matter came first, then we should have a universe of matter without any mind to direct it, or to hold it in coherent, organic unity; and who can believe that? How could it exist, how could it obey any laws at all, since there would be no laws, without mind as the source of law and order, and beginning and end? How could such a condition possibly be?
So theosophists say that neither came first: they both came together; and, speaking with still greater accuracy, they never "came" because they always are, always have been, and always will be. Try to figurate in your mind a time when there never was any mind in the universe or, on the other hand, a time when there never was any substance in the universe. You cannot imagine either case. But you can always conceive of a time and times when mind and matter — the two sides of the same fundamental essence — existed, just as they do at present and just as they will exist in the eternities of future duration.
In the Middle Ages, as all know, the scholastics of the times had another favorite question which they always propounded to themselves and to each other, and this question was never answered satisfactorily, and it was this — among other similarly favorite questions: "Which came first, the egg or the hen?" We may ask ourselves today why men should have thought that it was necessary to begin this biologic line with an egg or, on the other hand, to begin it with a hen. How about the biologic originals of either hen or egg? In those days the scholastics knew nothing about what modern scientists call evolution. They were psychologized with the idea that things were created by Almighty God more or less as things now exist. But we moderns are no longer under the same psychology — at least I am not, and I don't think that you are so psychologized.
A humorous English philosopher, a scientist who lived not very long ago, thinking over these matters, thought that he could go the scholastics one better, and in consequence he is alleged to have remarked, humorously of course: "A hen is merely an egg's way of making another egg." Well, isn't it the fact?
No, I don't think that the egg came before the hen or, contrariwise, that the hen came before the egg. They both came together, so to say; and exactly the same remark applies to the case of mind and matter, or spirit and substance. Mind is material: otherwise it could not affect matter; but this word matter does not necessarily mean "physical" substance. There are several kinds of substances or matters in the universe: spiritual matter, intellectual matter, psychical matter, astral matter, physical matter, and matter below the physical; and there is mind everywhere, and as the great Latin poet Vergil says, it is a fiery flame which permeates all things, and invigorates things, and gives to them the fire of life. Such is mind.
But mind is nevertheless material — but of a matter of its own ethereal type. Mind is therefore substantial; but what is matter per se? In itself it is an illusion, as I have often explained before from this platform. It has no real being in itself. Physical matter, for instance, is simply the effect produced on our very imperfect physical sense apparatus by the energy inherent in points of electricity, according to the latest scientific dicta; and matter, therefore, is energy. Energy and matter are one. Theosophists say also that spirit and substance are one, and force and matter on planes beneath spirit and substance are merely reflections or condensations of spirit and substance.
Mind and matter are one, and these two constantly interact: they are dual in nature and a pair of opposites, inseparable each from the other and therefore always together; and the whole purpose and effort of evolutionary progress, in other words of growth, of advancement, is the raising of matter into becoming its essential self: mind. Mind is but the reflection of consciousness, looking at the matter from a still more fundamental viewpoint; and consciousness thus becomes the ultimate essence of the universe.
The next question is the following:
"Is God the origin of evil as well as of good?"
What a series of suppositions is here! Who and what is God? Who and what is evil? Who and what is good? Do evil and good, as a matter of fact, have an origin, and is each forever distinct from the other? I do not admit any one of the postulates just mentioned by me which seem to be intrinsic in the question asked. How difficult is it not, then, to answer a question containing postulates or ideas which seem to be impossible of acceptance! But let me try to answer it as best I can.
God, I suppose, means — but do you know what this word means? I don't know, because there are so many definitions given by varying minds. Therefore, truly, I don't know just what it means. I know what people think the word God means, but if you can tell me just what the average, intelligent, educated man means when he says God, then you will tell me that this man understands God, and therefore comprehends God, and therefore has an intelligence great enough to take God in, and therefore is larger than God is. I refuse to admit this.
To the theosophist the cosmic spirit is beyond all possibility of human understanding or comprehension, for the human understanding, the human spirit, is but a ray of the ocean of infinitude in consciousness, and the drop of water cannot contain the ocean, except perhaps in a very mystical sense which is beside the frontiers of the present argument.
My mind, like your mind, though rooted in the infinitudes, is still the child of finitude. In the inmost of the inmost of every human being there is everything, for his spiritual essence is rooted in the heart of the universe, and this heart is everywhere: it is not a point in space, but is universal. God, I suppose, as a word merely means what is popularly called cosmic mind or cosmic soul.
Well, I could argue until the evening came about this matter, but I do not choose to do so. Call God, then, the cosmic spirit — if indeed there be such a thing as an individualized cosmic spirit, and this again I do not believe.
What is evil? Here again is another difficult question. Evil is largely relative. I know that I think certain things are evil or bad, and I am pretty certain also that some other men would not so consider them. Evil, I repeat, is a relative thing. Actually what men call evil is imperfection. Evil is whatever lacks perfect beauty, perfect harmony of being. That is evil. On the other hand, what is good? Good is everything that is contrary to evil, and therefore is harmony, perfection — both relative of course in the same way that evil is relative.
So you see what this difficult and complex question involves. As I have told you before, I don't desire to hurt anybody's feelings, and very frequently I am in a position where I find it difficult to speak without trenching on matters that are bound to hurt somebody's prejudices or opinions. But it is my duty as a theosophical lecturer to tell you just what theosophy teaches about things, and that I try honestly and sincerely to do. But I can hardly make a step in my explanations without feeling that I am treading on some poor dear heart's private and harmless preconceptions and prejudices.
You know what the Jewish Bible has to say about good and evil, and about their connection with the Lord God. We do not teach things similar to what I shall read to you, and I merely call your attention to these extracts from the Jewish Bible on account of their historical interest. In the third chapter, sixth verse, of the Prophet Amos: "Shall the trumpet be blown in a city, and the people not be afraid? shall evil befall a city, and the LORD hath not done it?" And in Isaiah, chapter 45, verse 6 and following: "I am the Lord, and there is none else. I form the light, and create darkness; I make peace, and create evil; I am the LORD, that doeth all these things."
Unquestionably sentences such as these that I have just read to you from the Jewish Bible have an esoteric meaning of their own, which it would take, however, too much time to explain to you today. My point in quoting these extracts is neither to approve of them as they stand in literal form, nor to puzzle you, but to show you what an ancient religious work has to say.
Now, as the Christians adopted the Jewish Bible, and therefore its teachings, and as however much they tried to modify and interpret those teachings according to their own religious viewpoint, nevertheless they had to take passages such as these, and therefore became responsible for them; and yet they tell us that their God is the author of all good, the divine Father in heaven, the maker of all harmony, the source of all love — therefore we must infer that love creates evil and consequently disharmony.
Now, theosophists don't believe this at all. It is not the teaching of the ancient wisdom, today called theosophy. We say that evil and good are simply human words expressing imperfection on the one hand, and relative perfection on the other hand, not merely in human beings but in all other entities. And second, theosophists say that there is no "creation": that there never has been, and never will be; but that all things that are — high and low, spiritual and material, divine and sub-material — are composed of hosts of evolving consciousness-centers: souls, spirits, call them what you like: every one of them marching on its upward way to betterment. Consequently, that those entities and things which have not progressed so far as others have, the superior entities call evil; and these evil ones in their turn call those entities below themselves evil in their turn, and so forth and so forth. Both evil and good thus are seen to be relative conditions depending upon the entity which sees and describes.
Even in human customs evil and good are relative things. In this country, for instance, it is considered an evil or bad thing for our mothers, wives, sisters, and daughters, to expose any part of their persons except their hands and their faces, or rather I mean that it used to be in the days of my childhood. But in Arabia, for instance, a woman may expose any part of her person, and is not thought the worse for it, but she must not show her nose. Showing of the nose and mouth is considered to be a crime against the law of God; but obviously it is merely immoral or unethical because against the customs and habits of the people and of the time.
People sincerely believe in things like this that I have just mentioned, and carry their beliefs into legal effect: imbody their opinions, preconceptions, prejudices, customs, and habits, in their written codes of law; and thus we get the various forms of: Thou shalt, and Thou shalt not. Thou shalt not work on the Sabbath day, for it is holy. But other people do work on the Sabbath day, and do not find it holy at all. Some people even amuse themselves on the Sabbath day, and love to play on the only day of the week in which they have freedom from toil.
Is such an act intrinsically wicked, or is it merely "evil" because it offends the prejudices of other people? The latter of course. Evil, therefore, is obviously relative.
These are just illustrations of how people otherwise good and sensible allow themselves to be taken in by custom and habit embodied in words. I think we may say, then, may we not, that evil is in itself a condition or thing relatively imperfect to other things or entities and conditions: the evil thing in itself is what is evil in some people's opinion, or in itself imperfect; and in fact, turning from human customs to the actual feelings of our hearts and the intuitions of our minds, we see that evil is what is imperfect, undeveloped, inharmonious, productive of pain and suffering; and contrariwise, that good is what is beautiful, harmonious, lovely, kind, brotherly, sweet, and clean.
But, O immortal gods! what would the gods think of our human judgments of things? What we humans call good to the Immortals would unquestionably seem to be hopelessly depraved — but again relatively, I mean.
So when you ask: Did God create good and evil? you see what a tangle of ideas we come upon when once we try to analyze so seeming simple a question as this. I have tried to throw a little light on the matter from the standpoint of the theosophical teachings.
Here is another question to be answered:
"I am told [I am glad he said that!] that theosophists believe that all the so-called misfortunes of life are of our own deserving, and work out for our ultimate benefit. Why then does the higher nature try to warn us against disasters, thus depriving us of necessary discipline?"
Well, it is true that all the misfortunes of life we ourselves have made for ourselves. We have deserved them, because we are the parents of them. They come upon us because we ourselves receive them, and are merely receiving the reaction, the effects, of the seeds of thought and act that we have sowed in the past — a wonderful doctrine which theosophists call the doctrine of consequences, or karma.
But I never heard before that the higher nature tries "to warn us against disasters, thus depriving us" of receiving the inevitable consequences of what we have done. That would be impossible. It is true that the higher nature warns us constantly. It enlightens us always. It is eternally pointing the way to things higher and better than those which we know and follow at the present time, and in this sense our spiritual being may be said to warn us against disasters.
But the idea that these constant intimations of truth, these constant intuitions of beauty and harmony and of urgings towards a clean and noble life, should be considered as depriving us of the necessary discipline which it is in the very nature of our evolution to undergo, does not follow at all. There are times indeed in life when the higher nature — and please think over this carefully and don't judge my words too quickly — when the higher nature actually leads us into paths of trial so that we may grow by reacting successfully against the trials.
How does a child grow? What would become of a child which was protected against every possible avenue of experience: coddled, shielded, having no chance to breathe its own life, no chance to learn to walk, to feed itself, to clothe itself, to meet any of the lessons of life whatsoever? What kind of a mother would she be who would try to bring up her child after this way? A child learns through experience, and its higher nature — for the time being its parents which are its natural guardians — see to it that it is learning, see to it that it has a chance to learn easily and properly, that the lessons it has to face and meet and overcome be not too severe at any one time; for the latter indeed would spell disaster.
The higher nature within us works with us learning human souls in much the same way. Think it over. This is all a battle of Self against self: not exactly a fighting each other, but nevertheless a constant enduring against odds, and this is, in a way, a spiritual exercise. It is exercise that makes us strong, that makes us lithe and vigorous, ready to face still greater trials and difficulties. The greatest friend that we have, the noblest cleanser of all, is sorrow, or is pain, for the heart must be cleansed by pain even as gold is tried in the fire.
We humans ordinarily do not like this — in that respect we are just like little children — but nevertheless the fact is so, and we soon learn, when we become thoughtful, that the real man faces the trials and difficulties of life in a joyous mood — do you see? — and conquers. Yes, it is the inner joy which carries us on to victory, the sense of feeling that we cannot achieve before we will to do it; and this could not be unless the very heart of the universe were harmony and love; and, as my splendid, great-hearted predecessor Katherine Tingley used to say, "Life is Joy," a very profound aphorism, for the heart of things is celestial peace and love and beauty. This essential fabric and structure of the universe it is, which has produced the harmony and so-called law that thoughtful men see and try to understand in the universe around us, and in our own hearts also.
The higher nature is always with us, constantly warning us in the shape of intimations and intuitions to be courageous, to face life boldly, to be truthful, to be clean, to be strong, to be sincere, to be upright, and many other such things; and these precisely are the very qualities in human nature which, when followed out continuously, protect us against disaster. The only real disaster that the spirit-soul of man knows is weakness, is failure, and is discouragement. Physical disasters and other things of physical life are often blessings in disguise, and I will say frankly that the higher nature teaches us how to meet these in the proper mood, and how best to come forth from them triumphant.
Here is another question very much like the other one. I don't know whether a misanthrope wrote these questions, or whether he is just a little bit melancholic:
"Will you tell us something of that strange law which operates to intensify our evil propensities at the very time when we are most in earnest in our efforts to control them?"
I don't know that this law is such a strange one. When you try to conquer anything that is an imperfection and therefore an evil in you — call it a yellow streak, if you like — why, naturally, you have a battle on your hands. Leave it alone, and you won't be bothered until it catches you unawares. That is where the so-called intensification comes from. There are evil things fighting for their very existence within us; they are evil energies and powers; they are the imperfect parts of our very being: part of our animal and mental being, so to say, which we have coddled, and indulged, and fed, and trained, and kowtowed to, and bowed down to, and given ourselves up to the domination of, so that they think they are, individually speaking, God Almighty within the human heart; and they will fight like God Almighty too, when you finally undertake to discipline them and to put them where they belong. They then know that their time has come, and fight desperately against the restraining and disciplining hand.
The intensification simply arises out of the fact that you have yourself to fight, the lower part of yourself; and it is not going to give up without a struggle. This is the same old simple doctrine that we all know and have heard from childhood. That is all there is to it. So it is not a particularly strange law. The more earnest you are, the more active you are, and the more eager you are, the more do you want to do the work quickly; and it is always more difficult to do a thing like that in a hurry than it is to take your time about it. Consequently, conditions and energies both are intensified.
But before we leave this question, let me tell you what I honestly think along the parallel line of thought. I don't believe that it does a bit of good to fight these things, to struggle against them. Why on earth make a martyr out of yourself? The rule is not good. A better one is to ignore. Forget them! Treat them with contempt! They are contemptible things. Turn your eyes to the light, and before you know it they have simply dissolved like the mists of the morning — die. That is what the old, the ancient, the archaic, philosophers of China — Lao-tse, for instance — said. Don't struggle; don't fight; don't quarrel. Be quiet! Be still! Be! — Think about it!
"Are consciousness and mind a duality, in the same way that energy and matter are a duality, or is it possible for consciousness to exist apart from mind?"
Well, it depends upon what kind of mind you mean. Do you mean our common human mind, or cosmic mind? This question is so broad that it is not easy briefly to answer it. Its breadth implicates a certain lack of definiteness, which in consequence implicates a certain necessary lack of definiteness in the answer.
Of course consciousness and mind in human beings are a duality. You cannot have consciousness on this plane without a mind through which it may work and pass. The mind is the transmitter, the stepper-down onto this plane, so to speak. But consciousness most certainly can exist apart from our human mind, the consciousness of the gods, for instance; but if so it certainly must have a mind of its own through which it works and functions according to the plane on which it happens to be at the time.
Furthermore, there are different kinds of mind, but one fundamental consciousness works through all these different kinds of mind. In man, for instance, there is the spiritual mind, and the ordinary human mind, and the animal mind, and the ordinary brain-mind. These are all minds, and they all reflect the stream of consciousness, each after its own powers and capacities. But the gods have evolved forth from within the core of their being a consciousness-mind superior to ours. Consequently they have a godlike mind through which their stream of consciousness manifests itself, through which it expresses all its sublime energies and powers; and in just the same way the human being has the consciousness-mind superior to the intermediate apparatus that the beast has.
So mind and consciousness always go together of course. But so far as any one entity is concerned, consciousness can exist apart from the mind of that individual — most certainly so.
Listen to this question:
"If the sun looked like a man, that is, if it had eyes and a mouth, and sometimes smoked a pipe, it would be easier for the average man to realize that it is a conscious entity. Why is this?"
I consider this to be an interesting question. Legends sometimes put a man in the moon. Why should not they put a man in the sun — a sun-man, of course, not a human man? Well, the reason why the average human being finds it difficult to think that the sun is an entity, a conscious entity, is because he finds it very difficult to think of any other kind of self-conscious entity than he himself is. Is that a reason? How profound!
And yet, friends, on some of the other planets of our own solar system of worlds, there are inhabitants, and in a few cases inhabitants who have attained a higher stage than our man-humanity has on our earth, who would look so strange and queer to us that the average man here would never believe for a moment that they were sensitive, thinking, conscious entities. He would say: "They are monstrosities." Why? Because he thinks of himself. He wants to see a nose, and two eyes, and a mouth, and perhaps a pipe, and two legs, and two arms, etc.! Then the body would be to him a quite proper, conventional, human, and therefore must be a self-conscious, thinking entity!
We humans anthropomorphize, to use the popular term: we turn things willingly into human shape in our minds; and if we can do that successfully, then we are convinced, and we like it. We say: "Oh, yes, surely consciousness can exist there, because it is so like me!" But I can assure you that there are beings on other planets and in other spheres, who look upon us as most frightful monstrosities, or would if they saw us, and who would think that a creature looking like a forked radish as man does, with the extraordinary appendages that a man has, with hair sticking out of his skull and elsewhere on his body, is a most intolerably frightful, ugly kind of creature. I mean this.
Do you realize that the future races of men on this earth are going to be so sublimely beautiful that if we could see them today, envisage them in our minds, we should probably say: "My God, what a horrible-looking creature!" because we are prone to think that these future beings of beauty ought to be perfect examples of us, after the form we have now?
I suppose that if an elephant could talk, it would tell you: "What a horrible creature that keeper of mine is. Just look at his ears — tiny little things! Look at my ears! Look at his nose! He can't even pick up an apple with his nose, as I can!" So, therefore, if the elephant tribe were to be the judges of beauty, we should fare very badly.
That is the explanation why we want to put a couple of eyes and a nose and a mouth into the sun, and perhaps a pipe! This is humorous, and I mean it to be so; but I am also hinting at very serious things. We can draw lessons from these things — how imperfection of imagination, in other words how imperfection, or rather what men call evil in our hearts, can blind us to the truth.
Oh! Let us be generous hearted; let us be big minded; let us be open souled; so that when truth comes our way and knocks at our hearts, we shall be ready to receive the Christ or the Buddha — not the person of Christ-Jesus as told in Christian legend and story, but the Christ-light, the buddhic splendor which infills the universe, and provides the fountain of all the army of the sons of light, and of which a ray glows in every human soul and gives it stability, and power, and inspiration, and aspiration, and almighty love.
In the next question I shall descend from points of esoteric philosophy to the infinitesimal world of the physical universe.
"Is it the teaching of theosophy that the speed of light is the greatest possible speed in the universe?"
It is not. Light, our modern scientists say, is the greatest known physical speed, or rather the material energy or force or wave, or call it what you like, which has the greatest speed in passing from place to place. This is all right as far as it goes. We have no objection to the statement at all that light has the greatest known or recognized speed. But theosophists know that there are speeds of moving entities or energies, or forces if you like, within the universe compared with which the speed of light is a tardy laggard. I might instance gravitation as an example of things belonging to the universe of physical matter.
At the instant I do not refer to the speed of thought, nor to other great speeds belonging to the inner and invisible realms, but restrain my present remarks to material things, and therefore I say again: How about gravitation, which is supposed to act more or less instantaneously everywhere, so far as our measures can ascertain; and yet it most emphatically is not absolutely instantaneous, but gravitation, like any other expression of nature's forces, has its own relative speed. It has never occurred yet apparently to any open-minded, scientific thinker of our ultramodern era, to suppose, and therefore to suggest, that gravitation may likewise have a certain speed of its own in exercising its influence, and that it may pass from one corner, so to say, of the universe to another corner, in measurable time, or what men call time. If gravitation takes no time to pass anywhither but is instantaneously manifest everywhere, we theosophists do not know it. All we know is that gravitation is a material phenomenon, and therefore is the manifestation of an inner energy, and therefore is more or less localized or particularized, and therefore must have its own relative speed.
We know that gravitation is the stronger, the greater in effect, the nearer two bodies are together. All these ideas regarding gravitation are purely materially phenomenal; and I believe that gravitation, like light, is one of the forces of the universe, and has its own speed of passing from place to place, but that its speed is greater than that of light. Nevertheless I was not alluding to gravitation when I spoke a moment ago of energies and entities existing in the universe and having a speed so great that light compared therewith would be a tardy speedster.
Consciousness being the root of substance, therefore substance and consciousness are essentially one. Similarly consciousnesses are substantial; and as the very nature of consciousness is motion, movement, therefore consciousnesses are in motion by the nature of their essential being, that is, move according to time, that is, have a speed — and in fact, a speed so great, so incomprehensible to ordinary men that it is difficult to explain, and of course we have no means of measuring it, for all our methods of mensuration are connected with physical matter itself. In any case, compared with the progressions or movements of thought, such physical, material, movements of matter as are manifested in the speed of light or in that of gravitation are very, very slow. Pray think the matter over.
You may be interested to know that this doctrine of theosophy regarding the substantial nature of thought and consciousness, and their intrinsic or inherent characteristic of motion, is beginning to be whispered even in the lecture halls of our ultramodern scientific thinkers. But even thought and human consciousness themselves are slow as compared with energies still more spiritual. Such is our theosophical teaching; and these still more than spiritual energies to us would act with practical instantaneity everywhere. We have no means of measuring these spiritual speeds, so to say, except by our divine faculty of thought. We can easily conceive their existence, and can recognize the fact that they are; but how to mensurate their movements — it is yet wholly beyond the power of human physical laboratory instruments of any kind.
In this connection let me read to you something very interesting. A great name in the world is often nothing but a name; but sometimes behind the great name there is great worth. Fashion may make a great name. Theories loom large in their era in time, but are replaced by other theories. Thus also the names of men come and go in human reputation. So I don't quote any man because he has a reputation, nor because the world considers him great; but if he voices what our majestic ancient wisdom teaches us is true, then I quote him for the truth that he so intuitively voices.
I am going to quote two or three extracts from a very recent lecture given by a famous British scientist, Sir Oliver Lodge, in an address to the British Institute of Philosophical Studies, delivered on July 26th of this year, entitled Beyond Physics. This title is a translation of the Greek word "Metaphysics." This curious thinker, but in some ways intuitive man, used the following words which I will now read to you:
"We can think of phenomena before they have occurred; and indeed we might make preparations for observing them when, later on, they cross the diagrammatic line of visibility and seem to us to occur. In other words, I suggest that thought can penetrate even the inaccessible region, though it must be admitted without any physical justification or observable result, until the proper time arrives. We shall find that waves do exist that can travel quicker than light, though whether we ever utilize them is a question."
"In electrified space it turns out that waves can travel quicker than light. . . .
"I have already answered the question how waves of any kind can travel faster than light. Such waves seem to be mere forms, they are not open to investigation, they make no appeal to our instruments or our senses, no signal can be sent by them, for they convey no energy, the energy is all associated with the group-waves. When those group-waves travel slowly, the constituent waves are quick. . . . "
Let me interrupt a moment to say that Sir Oliver is here using words of his own invention in order to describe certain intuitions which he has concerning the nature and structure of the physical universe, and of the universe within the physical sphere. He speaks of what he calls group-waves or material waves in the universe as manifesting what he calls the directing energy of constituent waves — these latter waves being they which build up more grossly material waves or energy-waves or group-waves, which last make the physical matter that we know. He seems to say that in the last analysis, matter or material substance is these constituent or guiding waves which form and direct the group-waves making physical matter. I continue:
"The group-waves follow a path determined by the constituent waves, which therefore act as a guiding and directing agent, elusive in itself, but important as exercising control. The present idea is that certain group-waves constitute matter, and that this is a form of energy capable of being guided by something other than energy, something which acts as a guiding or directing principle. The guiding waves and the energy-waves are interlocked or interacting, and yet are distinguishable from each other.
"The whole thing is puzzling, because we have not got to the bottom of it. . . ."
I should say we have not! Some of the words that Sir Oliver uses, and some of the things that he describes, would make one think that he had been attending some of the lectures in this Temple of Peace delivered by me during the last few months. I continue my quoting:
"It must be apparent that these are the kind of assertions which we have been constantly making about life. Life is a guiding and directing principle. It controls matter and energy with a certain spontaneity, and yet it differs from both. What we have wanted is a physical basis for such activity. The presumptuous and hypothetical suggestion which I want to risk is that these constituent waves of excessively high frequency, far higher than anything we have yet apprehended, may be the physical basis of life and mind. The ether is hypothetically full of them, their nature is unknown, and yet they are responsible for everything that exists. I suggest that they form the physical basis, though not in the least a material basis, for an idealistic interpretation of the universe, in which life and mind are supreme. They are a concomitant of the slow-moving group-waves which constitute matter, and they can travel at a nearly infinite pace — one is tempted to say like thought. . . .
"So now that we find that matter may be a localized peculiarity in the midst of an ocean of excessively rapid periodic influences, there is plenty of scope for the idea that the seat of our intuitive apprehensions is to be sought there, that whatever their ultimate nature may be, there is their habitat. We may presume that those periodicities are truly animated, and that they constitute the agencies and instruments through which we operate in the material sphere. The whole universe seems to be an animate structure far beyond our present apprehension; intelligent beings are making use of its constitutional periodicity; and upon that periodicity or wave-structure we ourselves and all animate beings are wholly dependent for any display of our vital or mental activities."
Immortal gods, what a change has come over the minds of our scientific luminaries! Indeed, this man is approaching some of the essential, fundamental postulates of the ancient wisdom philosophy, and he knows it not. Theosophists teach that the universe is animated from within outwards, works from within outwards, and that this animation is not the product of one fluid consciousness, homogeneous and ever-unvarying, but consists of innumerable hierarchies: hosts, armies, multitudes, of conscious beings, together composing the ethereal realms which are compact of life and of consciousness and of mind, for all these three — life, consciousness, mind — are substantial, and the physical world is merely the reflection of the interlocked activities of these substances, directed and guided by the so-called laws of nature, which are merely the reproductions in the outward, material sphere, of what takes place within that material sphere.
Thus you see somewhat of the reason and scope of the old Hermetic axiom: "What is above is as what is below, and what is below, the same is above," for the below is the reflection of the above. The material is the reflection of the spiritual. If not, what and where is the seed of permanency in things, their seeds of individuality? How much more might I say had I the time to talk to you at greater length!
Many more questions before me this afternoon remain unanswered; but I choose one that I shall use as the last question to answer this afternoon because, as I have told you before, one whom I deeply loved and revered, Katherine Tingley, a few weeks before she passed on said to me: "G. de P., as often as you can, close your lectures, your studies, in the Temple of Peace by telling your audiences of the god within." Here is the question:
"If we are going to become the future Buddhas, Christs, gods, as you said in the Temple on last Sunday, who are going to be the humans then?"
This question has reference to the far distant aeons of the future. The humans of that far future period will be the entities who are now the laggards in the evolutionary race — those who live in what we call the animal and vegetable kingdoms; but by that time they shall have evolved forth from within themselves sufficient of their latent divine powers to make them human; and this evolution of latent energy and faculty proceeds not according to the Darwinian theory, but is evolution as understood in theosophy: the throwing out, the unwrapping, the unrolling, the expressing, of the powers, faculties, energies, potencies, locked up within. As the child grows from a microscopic human seed, developing through the years of its growth what is latent in it — thus unwrapping itself, thus unfolding itself until it attains adulthood or full-grown manhood — thus does evolution proceed likewise in the case of the larger time scale of the human race.
In aeons to come men shall evolve into the human gods that they are already in their inner selves, and shall express equivalently grand faculties and powers in the bodies that then they shall have; and in those times we shall walk and confabulate with the gods, because they shall be our fellows, the evolved product of the humans of today.
In each one of you there is a divine being, an inner god, trying to express itself through the thick veils of mind and matter; and the whole purpose of evolution is the thinning of these veils, so that the light in the Holy Temple which is the human heart may splendorously illumine man. Then he shall be a living Christ, for the Christ-light shall be working in him. He shall have awakened the living Buddha in his being, or rather, shall have evolved forth the Buddhic splendor already in his soul.
You are gods, and the temple of cosmic Divinity!
Vol 1, No 22