Theosophical University Press Online Edition
(Lecture delivered January 19, 1930)
"In the beautiful land of sleep!" It was an exquisitely rendered musical number that we have just heard, containing this refrain. While I was listening to it, a thought passed through my mind, and the thought was this: How about the beautiful land of the waking world?
"The beautiful land of sleep!" How about the land of sleep being likewise the land of nightmares? The waking life is not necessarily all a nightmare, as some pessimists think. Why should human beings draw this distinction between what they call the beauties of the afterlife, or the beauties of the land into which the consciousness goes at what men call sleep, and the life of the waking world?
How beautiful is the world that surrounds us! The sunrise over the eastern mountain-tops is one of the most exquisitely beautiful things that I know; and it is so beautiful to me because it calls forth from within myself a harmony of understanding akin to the natural beauty which we see painted on the eastern sky. All beauty is in the consciousness of the perceiver therefore, where, in a very true sense, all things that we cognize are.
You cannot see beauty outside unless you have beauty within you. You cannot understand beauty unless you yourself are beautiful inside. You cannot understand harmony unless you yourself in your inner parts are harmony. Otherwise a stock or a block or a so-called insensate stone would have an appreciation of beauty and of harmony as we human beings have it. Do you see what I mean? I mean that all things of value are within yourself, and the outside world merely offers you the stimulus, the stimulation, of and to the exercise of the understanding faculty within you — bringing forth the sense of harmonious rhythm, the sense of beauty, and the conception likewise of what almighty love is. Men, know yourselves for what you are!
It is you yourself, both philosophically and scientifically, who paint the glories of the eastern sky, and it is merely the particular range of physical vibrations which reach your optic organ which is the stimulus calling forth the sense of beauty within.
Yes, verily, all things great and noble and true, as well as all things vile, are within you; and you can at any moment take your choice between following and ultimately becoming the god within, which each one of you is, or following the pathway downwards to beasthood; and I can tell you that there is no beast so vile as a human being who turns beastly. The prostitution of understanding, of all human faculty and power, to ignoble uses is far worse than anything that you can find outside of you.
Therefore, when we listen to beautiful things, like the song that we have just heard, let us remember that we are entering into one phase of human consciousness; and that there is indeed in human beings a vast range of understanding of beautiful things, because man's inner being is itself beautiful because it is a natural harmony.
There are other aspects of the universe besides the land of sleep, which are equally beautiful; indeed, outside of the land of sleep, which is one particular phase of activity of the human consciousness, there are other phases even more supernally beautiful. Fathom yourselves and find out what you are within you, and what you are really yourself — the powers within, the unexercised and therefore misunderstood faculties that you have within you.
I am supposed to answer questions this afternoon. Perhaps I have already answered a few with this preamble. There are unspoken questions; and it is interesting that a theosophical speaker is always in close touch, spiritually and psychically, with his audience; he is trained to be that. When I came to this platform, I felt many unspoken questions in the minds of some of you, perhaps in the minds of all, as to what was meant by the words of this song: "the beautiful land of sleep."
I can tell you, outside of what I have already said, that, mystically speaking death is sleep and a perfect sleep, and sleep is an imperfect death. The afterdeath state of consciousness and existence of a man or woman who has lived a decent life is a very beautiful episode, but by no one of nature's laws can you reasonably expect that if you have prostituted everything within you to ignoble uses in life, you are going thereafter to sense, to cognize, to know, to understand, and to live in harmony and beauty and peace, enfolded within the wings of almighty, universal, compassionate love. Nature is not mocked ever, and what you make yourself you will become; what you lay up for yourself in the fabric of your consciousness, which is the fabric of your character, you will be; and ye shall reap exactly what ye have inbuilt into yourselves, what ye have made yourselves to be. Ye will be and ye are now just what ye have made yourselves in the past to be; for all being is under the governance of nature's primal law, expressing itself in operation as cause and effect: and this is what theosophists call the law of consequences, nature's fundamental operation. And how just and consoling this doctrine is!
Here is the first question that I have to answer today; I will take these questions up in the order in which I have received them.
"Do I understand you to say in your lectures that the universe is run, not by blind forces, but by intelligent beings, consciously cooperating with nature's laws? If this is so, then I am full of admiration for those beings who run the cosmic clock with such exactitude. I know that if we humans undertook to rise each morning for a month exactly at the same time, we would surely fall down on the job (I am speaking for myself, anyway). But there we see the suns and planets and the old dead remnants of moons behaving with perfect rectitude, as though their difficulty would consist in not keeping correct time. Do you think that they could sleep in if they wanted to?"
No, I don't think that they could! I don't think that they could for the simple reason that, by the law of karma, of cause and effect, otherwise the law of consequences of which I have just spoken, they made themselves to be what they are, and they cannot be the thing which they themselves are not. Vacillation, change, are the signs of imperfect beings, and the only changes that we humans can cognize in the heavenly bodies are they which exist in their evolutionary course as we can comprehend it. But their changes are strictly governed by the wide sweep of universal operations.
What a lovely universe it would be if we were to raise our eyes to the violet dome of night and see the stars running races around the sky, or running circles around each other, and the planets darting hither and yon!
No, I don't think that they could "sleep in," even if they wanted to. You must know, I take it, that theosophists do not teach that this world is a material universe only, dead inside, and by some strange magic outwardly moving and performing all the manifold operations of the cosmic mechanism. Theosophists teach, on the contrary, that all nature is invigorated, inspirited, enlivened, with the cosmic life which is energy, the finest form of energy, or of force; and that we human beings are not exceptions to the general rule prevailing everywhere in the universe, but are merely one example or one expression of what exists everywhere else, modified only by our own human characteristics, the expression of the indwelling individualities.
Why should we be so utterly different from everything else? The idea is an absurdity. We are learning entities, and with each new thing that we learn, we come more and more to understand that we are an intrinsic and inseparable part of the universal life, of the universal mechanism, and that there is one thing that we never can do, and that is to leave the universe. Consequently, all the faculties and powers that the human being knows of and has existing in himself are merely reflections of what exists everywhere else. Otherwise whence came they?
Is a human being, again, such an unparalleled exception that he alone in all the vast spaces of infinitude is the only entity that has consciousness and will and moral faculty, and comprehends love, and has understanding and consciousness? How absurd! No. We say that the human tribe, the human race, is merely one small family of the vast hierarchies infilling the universe, hierarchies of bright and sparkling intelligences, of which we sense the infallible operations in the perfect working of the cosmic machine.
Do you see the point? Man is rooted in the universe; draws all his facilities and powers and life thence. Or, is he mayhap outside of the universe and different from it? If so, please explain to me how. If man contains something, therefore, that the universe does not contain, then the part contains more than the whole. And is that possible? No, obviously not.
You see, our ultramodern scientists are doing very wonderful things in these days. Their researches behind the veils of the seeming, of the apparent, are bringing to light new and wonderful truths in the way of discovery, that is, new and wonderful so far as the Occident goes; and it is an amazing and most interesting thing to theosophists that every one of these newest discoveries is on all fours with theosophical teachings, at least in principle. The ancient wisdom of the human race, the wisdom religion of mankind, which is not a religion, but religion per se —which has no dogmas, which has no creeds, which does not demand that you must believe this or that, unless it appeal to your spiritual and intellectual and moral senses — is the formulation in human language of the discoveries of the great seers and sages of past ages, who have sent their inquiring spirit behind the veil of the visible into the invisible, into the very womb of being, and have brought back wisdom, knowledge, and have formulated them in religio-philosophical shape; and this formulation today is called theosophy.
Now, some of our scientists, as I have just said, are coming so close to some of our theosophical doctrines, that theosophists are on tiptoe, we are alert, we are wide awake, in checking off one discovery after the other that approximates more or less closely each one of our theosophical teachings. It is fascinating to us to see how these things are coming to pass.
Let me read to you something that I have here. I read an extract taken from a lecture delivered on Friday, July 26, 1929, before the general meeting of the Institute of Philosophical Studies in London, England, by Sir Oliver Lodge. He entitled his address "Beyond Physics" — Metaphysics in short — and he made the following remarks which I will now quote:
But my point is (and after all, it is a platitude), that life and mind are not excluded from the universe, and that therefore it need not always be running down into disorder. It may all the time be more under control than we know. At any rate, the operations of life can take the random materials of carbonic acid, and water, and build them up into an apple-tree. Life confers upon the assemblage a specific and even beautiful form, with the marvelous possibility of continuing that organization for any length of time. . . . It means the introduction of a biological and teleological element into an otherwise complete scheme of physics. . . .
"In so far as life acts at all, it is an organizing and directing power. Well, I want to recognize that on a cosmic scale.
". . . No one can claim that a rose is the product of random forces. Some people may try to think that a planet is such a product, but on the whole, they must realize that they fail.
"It is needless to multiply illustrations. The meaning of what I am saying is clear enough. The time has come when we ought to try to bring life and mind into the scheme of Physics, and we shall not fully understand the nature of the physical world until we do.
"But now comes the perennial difficulty: what must be the nature of these entities, if they are to interfere with and operate on matter? How can things of one category act on things of another? The first step is to reply that conspicuously they do, whether we understand it or not. And the second step is to make some attempt to understand how they do it."
Immortal gods! Here is an ultramodern scientist talking like a seer of ancient days, and also talking like a modern theosophical lecturer. This uninitiated and yet naturally great man, finds his chief difficulty in understanding how things of one category like mind, spirit, can act on things of another category, such as matter, body, etc. The scientists will never bridge that apparent gulf until they learn and accept what the teaching of the ancient wisdom is: that these two classes are not two categories, but are comprised in the one frontierless range of the universal life. Spirit and substance are fundamentally one, two poles of the same underlying reality. Force or energy, and gross, brute, physical matter, are fundamentally and essentially one thing. And, amazing enough, that is likewise one of the dicta of the greatest among ultramodern scientific thinkers, and why Sir Oliver did not remember it or at least mention it, I cannot undertake to say. That one fact of esoteric being and archaic theosophical doctrine would have solved his problem and given him the Ariadne's thread leading him on to discoveries of unparalleled magnitude.
Nevertheless, there are two general categories of beings such as Sir Oliver Lodge outlines them, the spiritual on the one hand, ranging downwards through many intermediate stages to the material on the other hand; but most emphatically there are not two categories of radically, essentially, fundamentally different entities, different things. The roots of both categories are the same — all spiritual beings and all material beings — the roots of them, the essence of them, are one; for spirit and substance are fundamentally one thing.
These two categories or ranges of beings in the universe are the spiritual beings on the one hand, and material existences on the other hand: both classes rooted in the same cosmic reality, which is cosmic or universal consciousness and life; but as each entity everywhere is a learning entity, a growing and therefore active being, consequently we have the vast diversity of the universe around us, everything differing from everything else, because it is at a different point of its evolutionary journey through duration or endless time. And, as I have already said, we human beings are but one of such families, differing from other hierarchies or families of active and learning entities.
The category of spiritual beings in the universe comprises what you may call, if you like, cosmic spirits. If you were a Christian religionist, doubtless you would call the spiritual beings by the names given to them in Christian theology, as found in the works of the pseudo-Dionysius, called the Areopagite, to wit, counting upwards: Angels, Archangels, Principalities, Powers, Virtues, Dominations, Thrones, Cherubim, and Seraphim; but theosophists do not use these Christian words. We use the good old words of the entire human race: we say gods and demigods. Under this name we comprise the innumerable hosts of the spiritual beings infilling and guiding the invisible universe of which the physical universe is the shell or outward expression.
Human beings are but evolved divine entities, not yet expressing the divine powers locked up in the human consciousness; but nevertheless evolving; and in the future the human race shall become a race of demigods, and still later in evolutionary time a family of gods self-consciously collaborating with still more evolved beings, inspiring and guiding and guarding the universe, even as now they do.
Think of this magnificent conception! See the beauty, the width, the profundity, of these theosophical ideas. There is in them nothing that is unreasonable, nothing that is offensive to spirit, to mind, or to understanding. Theosophists say, in common with the testimony of mankind of whatever race and of whatever era or age, that the universe is filled full with divine beings, with gods and demigods, and inferior gods, and super-gods: hierarchies of them stretching endlessly in both directions, upwards and downwards. And we human beings are at an intermediate stage between the elemental forces of the cosmic life on the one hand, and Divinity, our future home, on the other hand.
Within each one of you is a divinity, a living god, the source of all your present human powers, the source in you of pity, of compassion, of love, of understanding — the source whence you draw your conceptions of harmony and beauty. "Man, know thyself!" Ye are gods and the offspring of divine beings.
So beautiful and harmonious is the structural framework of nature that even your bodies are composite of little elemental lives, each one conducting and guiding its own life-atom; and every one of these smaller lives has its part and place and sphere of action in the physical body in which you live and through which you express yourself, even as the gods guiding and controlling the universe express themselves through us and through the hosts of other entities. In them we live, and move, and have our being, as the elemental entities actually making the physical body of each one of us, live, and move, and have their being in us; for what nature does anywhere she does everywhere, because throughout all runs one universal life, one universal, radical, essential, fundamental consciousness — therefore, one universal law.
This is an interesting question — they all are, as a matter of fact:
"It is not at all an uncommon experience that while sitting in a room talking with others, at the utterance of some single word or phrase there comes an overwhelmingly certain feeling, or intuition, that the whole scene — people, conversation, and all — has happened before. Yet we know for certain that it has not occurred before in this life. Is this a memory of a past life? Do we repeat our experiences in this way, either largely or in part?"
We have all had this experience, and oft it is so vivid that we know just what is next going to be done, just what is next going to happen. Most likely it is not the remembrance of a past life. Possibly so, but very likely not. In most cases it comes from the fact that there is a faculty in the human being, in the normal human being, which is not yet fully developed, and therefore shows itself but ill, but poorly: the faculty of knowing what things are coming to be; which faculty when it is developed, gives us the prophet, the seer, so called because he sees. It is an intuitive faculty, an exercise of the intuition, therefore a spiritual faculty — one of the faculties of your own inner essential divinity.
In such cases you know what is going to happen, what is going to be said, you anticipate the next step; and usually, alas, before the scene is completely unrolled, the connection of consciousness and thought is snapped. The explanation of it is, as I have just said, the work of the intuition showing the brain-mind in flashes of illumination what is next going to happen. This is the explanation in most cases.
But I am going to go a good deal farther, and take a great big step forward in explanation, and let you into a little secret of the teachings of the ancient wisdom. It is this: Just as nature repeats herself continuously, because repeating herself means following lines of least resistance — a procedure which nature always does, although each repetition is not an identity with the previous occurrence or event — just so, everything that happens is a repetition of what has happened in a former great period of cosmic existence, but not in a former human life of a few thousand years ago.
I am now referring to another universe, the parent of our present universe. It was the teaching of the ancient Persians, also of the ancient Greek and Latin Stoics, of the ancient and modern Hindus, that things repeat themselves according to cyclical law, because nature, in her unceasing movements and operations, always follows the line of least resistance, and when a pathway has once been blazed, it is nature's way to follow that path. The groove of action has been made, and events naturally follow in the groove. Either this, or you will have nature in all its operations pursuing the most difficult path, the unheard-of path, which is the path of greatest resistance; and we know that nature never does that.
Nature never acts in that way. The path of least resistance is the path always followed. Therefore it is that things repeat themselves from the beginning to the end, but each repetition is on a higher plane, with the gained wisdom of the past, making therefore each repetition a new cycle of life; and in certain circumstances, such a scene as this question describes, and its recognition, are a vision from out the well-spring of the consciousness of man, from out the storehouse of a past eternity, striking the present understanding mind like a flash of light of recognition, in the now reduplicated circumstances, and then we say: Why, how strangely familiar this is.
"In the October (1929) issue of The Forum, Robert Andrews Millikan, the noted physicist, makes the following statement in an article entitled 'What I believe.' Under the heading 'The Reign of Law' he writes:
"'I now turn to the two major contributions to human progress. The ancient world, in all the main body of its thinking, believed that God, or Nature, or the Universe, whichever term you prefer, was a being of caprice and whim. Today, however, we think of a God who rules through law, or a Nature capable of being depended upon, or a Universe of consistency, or orderliness, and of the beauty that goes with order.'
"Is not this statement of the learned scientist wholly contrary to fact? Is it not only in comparatively modern times, even in our own day, and more especially fifty or one hundred years ago, that is to be found the concept of God as a being of whim and caprice to be propitiated by prayer and his decrees to be turned aside by supplication? Where in ancient literature is to be found evidence that the ancients believed in a universe or nature governed by law and order?"
This great scientist is in part right, and in part very wrong in his statement. It has been the custom, the habit, the bias of mind of the human race, the bias of its understanding, for many, many, many millions of years, according to our theosophical teaching, to be divided into two portions: on the one hand those who think, and on the other hand those who do not think. And those who do not think have always looked upon Deity, or rather the gods, as having some of the attributes of an ordinary man, with the average man's caprices and whims. Prayers have been directed to the divinities for rain, for success in war, for success in business and cheating, or for success in ordinary human life, and all the rest of the pathetic tale.
But just as that was the favorite form of Occidental religion until very recently, as you all know, even to the extent of saying that if you did not pray to Almighty God to do this or that for you, you were doing wrong and would end up in a very warm place — which is vastly more than any so-called pagan ever taught, or vastly less — nevertheless in all ages and in all countries, there have been great men, seers and sages, philosophers, true religionists, natural scientists, who have taught that the very nature of the heart of the universe was beauty, harmony — therefore order, law, love, and peace — and that the expression of these cosmic attributes throughout nature was the cause of the orderliness that the observant eye sees everywhere.
And they taught also, did these ancient seers and sages, because they were honest and truthful, that the disorderliness that sometimes one sees in nature, the things that go wrong, the warped things, the things dying before their time, and human beings in especial, were merely the proof of the vast hierarchies of evolving and therefore imperfect intelligences in nature, which intelligences, because they were collaborators in the great universal work, produced imperfect effects because they themselves were imperfect. Do you get this very important idea?
Therefore did they say that the immortal gods, in all their evolutionary grades — highest, intermediate, and low — were nevertheless not perfect, although incomparably more perfect than men. On such reasoning as this was the true polytheism of the ancients based; and if you have a philosophical bent of mind, you will see the enormous appeal that it makes, because it explains.
This eminent scientific gentleman is utterly wrong in his wholesale condemnation of the ancients as believing in a god or deities who were nothing but creatures of caprice and whim. He has not been a student of the ancient literatures, marvelous scientist though he is; and I will tell you where to find the teachings of the anients, wherein you will discover that it was they themselves who gave to modern thinkers the conception of a universe held in the grip of ineluctable law, bringing about an orderliness that could never be turned aside or stayed.
You will find all this in the doctrines of the Stoics of Greece and of Rome, in the Pythagorean and Platonic philosophies, in the teachings of Hindustan: you will find it all set forth, beautifully reasoned, and nature therefore adequately and fully explained.
Now, isn't it unfortunate that a great man like Millikan will make a wholesale statement which on the face of it is untrue, although he is undoubtedly an honest man; and I have no doubt that no one would regret more than he to have made a statement which is an untrue statement — untrue not by intention, but arising in misunderstanding.
It was precisely the ancient religions and philosophies which in their inner meaning taught that the Universe is based on law and order, builded around imperishable centers which vary never, and which, each one, pursues an evolutionary course towards the divine pole star of the universe; and which further taught that the imperfect things that we see in nature around us, like us human beings ourselves, are imperfect because they are as yet not fully evolved.
And hearken, they taught more. They taught that there never is an ultimate, a final stopping place, beyond which the evolutionary stream of life cannot go. But, they said, no matter how great and how highly evolved such or another stream of life may be with all its component entities, there is veil upon veil behind and beyond the frontiers of the universe, stretching into other universes. Endings of evolution, as I have said, exist not at all.
Einstein teaches that there are no absolutes in the philosophical Occidental European sense: that an absolute is only a relative term, that everything is relative to everything else because existent in a universe composite of vast hosts of entities. This is our teaching, the teaching of the ancient wisdom, and it is the teaching of the modern philosopher, Einstein.
I tell you that our modern scientists are coming to — what? They are unveiling, little by little, the secret wisdom of the philosophies and religions of the ancient times, and are unveiling the real meaning of those ancient religions and philosophies; and therefore the bigoted, distorted, unfair understanding of these ancient religions and philosophies which you will find in our encyclopedias and modern European textbooks will, in a short time, all be deleted or radically changed to accord with the facts. Thank the immortal gods that it is so.
It is true: all the ancients were far more religious than we. To them nature was ensouled spirit, which was the root and cause of things; and the material world was merely the expression of the indwelling facilities and powers of spiritual beings expressing themselves, self-expressing themselves, and thus producing the manifold harmony and beauty and the inspiration, and also the cosmic diversity that we see everywhere around us.
Oh, what a wonderful conception this is, and how reassuring! An ensouled universe — not ensouled by an absolute God, but by endless hierarchies, numberless hierarchies, incomputably great in number because of infinite extension, of spiritual beings in all stages of evolutionary progress, from the greatest, to use a relative term — for there is, strictly speaking, no utmost greatest, but so far as our human imagination can reach — from the greatest to the least evolved; and beyond both these stretching endlessly in either direction.
Furthermore they taught that these divine beings, these spiritual and ethereal beings, lived in spheres or worlds of which they are the children, the offspring, therefore possessing bodies similar in type to the worlds in which they live, as we humans do in this physical world. They taught the existence of invisible worlds within the visible universe, these invisible worlds being the mainsprings, the fountains, of all the forces and activities expressing themselves in the material world.
So important is this idea to an understanding of theosophy, to an understanding of the common wisdom-religion of mankind, and to an understanding of the meaning of nature, that I have dwelt upon it at length this afternoon.
"In your series of pamphlets Questions We All Ask, No. 10, page 146, contains the statement: 'but psychic matters — what do we know about them? — practically nothing.'
"Pamphlet No. 11, page 174, says: 'The period between death and rebirth for the ordinary man and woman averages one hundred times the length of the thinking conscious life he has lived while last on earth.'
"Question: If for every year one lives on a physical world, one lives one hundred years in the invisible (to us) realms, is it not passing strange that with such a marked preponderance of experience of the latter kingdoms we know 'practically nothing' of them?"
First, in answer I say: Non peccavi, I have not sinned. I did not say that we know naught of the invisible or spiritual worlds in the lecture printed as Pamphlet No. 10. I spoke of psychical matters: the so-called ordinary psychical stuff of which you read so much in books in these days, and hear about so much in the daily press. Most of it is imagination, though some of it is based on facts adequately dealt with in the ancient wisdom.
The psychical world exists, but it exists in man. It is a part of his constitution, and my dear and respected querent, I fear, has not quite understood either one of the two extracts that he makes from these two pamphlets. In the second quotation, taken from Pamphlet No. 11, I was treating of the invisible worlds or realms through which the entity passes post mortem; whereas in the first pamphlet I was calling attention to the great amount of stuff that is printed about psychic matters, drawing attention to the fact that very little of actual truth was understood or known of just what psychic matters are.
As regards the question of memory, remembering the experiences we have been through, I suppose that if I were to single out any one of you and ask you a point-blank question about how good your memory is, such as: Do you remember everything that you did this morning, or last year, or when you were five years old? how many of you could tell me in detail just what you did, or even recall, imperfectly it may be, the experiences you have gone through?
So the mere lack of remembrance of generals or particulars is an exceedingly poor argument against the fact of the consciousness passing through one experience after another whether in invisible realms or in visible ones.
But nevertheless you have a continuing consciousness, a generalized consciousness, that you have been through these experiences. Thus does the mental apparatus of the average human being work in our present age. It is true that, on the average, the ordinary man passes one hundred times the length of time in invisible realms that he does here on this very unevolved little dust-speck called Earth, our Mother Earth; and the mere fact that he does not remember these is no proof that he has not had such experiences many times in the invisible realms.
It is in the character that inheres the fact of all these experiences: for these experiences in the invisible realms have built themselves into the fabric of the consciousness of the individual human being, making him what he is, the consciousness-resultant which he is; and in this character resides the memory of what we have been through, although we are not able self-consciously, as a rule, to bring it into recollection. As even on this earth we are building by our experiences here a small part of the character which we are, just so in the invisible realms, having one hundred times the length in time and in experiencing life that we have on earth, our character is far more definitely and largely shaped thereby.
Just think it over. Examine yourselves in proof. Think of what you have within you: undeveloped powers, undeveloped faculties, that in the average human being now and again suddenly startle you by their unexpected appearance. You say, perhaps, of these things that they are thoughts, that they are hunches, that they are intuitions — call them by what name you like — but it is obvious that they exist in you, in your character. They are there, indeed, and there is no reason at all why, instead of having an occasional and small experience of that kind, such experiences should not be continuous and grand.
All you have to do is to open up the treasuries within yourself. You have, each one of you, eternity behind you, for the root of your being is deathless: it is a divine spark, it tastes never of death nor of stain of material things. It has been evolving in all the eternity of the past, in other universes, in other hierarchies of life: beginning at the beginning of each, and running through its courses, and reaching the culmination in each; in each one learning, learning, growing, growing, evolving — evolving faculty and understanding and power — finally reaching the end of any particular hierarchy, and then beginning new life-experiences on a higher hierarchy at its beginning, and pursuing therein a similar period of growth or evolution. Thus it is that all these experiences have built into you vast and, to the average man, utterly unknown powers and faculties.
If you could reach into the inmost being of yourself, you would discover that you are a very god, a divine being, with faculties so tremendously great that you could understand the universe; with powers so unspeakably tremendous, so ineffably great, that by the merest exercise of your will you could, if you would — listen! — sway the very movements of the solar systems or of the atoms in their courses. But you wouldn't. Yet you could. But you wouldn't! Do you understand me?
Because your whole nature, in your higher parts, is at one with the cosmic harmony and life, and because you are a child of the gods, you can, by reaching ever deeper into yourself, come to see, and therefore to understand, the godhood within you; and in the ordinary affairs and walks of life, those men who succeed even in material things — who succeed and nevertheless retain the respect of their fellows — are the men who, consciously, or unconsciously mostly, have seized hold of some intuition of the powers and faculties within them. They are the men with vision.
Then, so seeing, they exercise their will and work steadily to the ends they have in view; and the world says: That man is a success in life.
Now, I don't tell you this in order that you should use high spiritual powers for the gaining of material advantages, such as the piling up of a big fat bank account. You would soon cease doing this if you knew what was happening to you by thus misusing your spiritual powers. But I speak of this in illustration of what happens to some men unconsciously, and in further illustration of the fact that these powers and faculties do exist in man. When you can drink of these Pierian springs of the spirit within, then you are a poet, you are a musician, you are a philosopher, you are a true scientist; and greatest of all, you are a lover of all things that exist. Then you recognize your kinship with all that exists, knowing that you are gods; that each one of you is a god in his inmost being; and I say to you in concluding our study together this afternoon: Be that inner divinity!
Vol 1, No 32