Theosophical University Press Online Edition
QUESTIONS WE ALL ASK
(Lecture delivered March 2, 1930)
It may interest you to know that in looking at a gathering of human beings like this, and in studying the faces, I never see the physical bodies really. The eye of course sees, but the mind comprehends something else, far more beautiful, even more beautiful than the handsomest man or the most beautiful woman here this afternoon — something splendid — for I tell you that it always seems to me, when I speak in our Temple to a public audience, that I am talking to an audience of gods. I sense the spirit in you. I sense the cosmic life. I see the flame of a burning, bright intelligence; and it is to this nobler thing within each one of you that I make my appeal here as a theosophical teacher on every Sunday afternoon.
My message is not one that is founded on anyone's say-so. It is not a message of a merely syncretistic system of thought — that is to say, a system put together by taking from the various great world religions and world philosophies certain beautiful portions and combining them together into one systematic whole, with more or less success. No!
But I always try to talk to you about real things, based on the operations and structures of the Universe, concerning which these various great world religions and world philosophies are merely formulations in human tongues, and formulated after the fashion of the founder of each one of these great systems of thought; but not one of which comprises as a whole the entirety of the archaic wisdom-religion of humanity, today called theosophy.
Can you imagine a universe which is consistent throughout itself, an organic whole, which is enlivened with a burning intelligence and a vital flow which ceaseth not at all, nor ever; because the universe, as theosophists understand it, is without frontiers, boundless, without a beginning, and without an end; and furthermore, the physical universe that we sense around us is but the outer veil or garment or sheath, the reflection of the invisible worlds behind the scenes; because what men call physical laws — the laws of physical nature — are but the reflection, the copy in our physical world, of the willpower and of the vital essences of the spiritual beings who guide and control the universe, and who infill, fill full, these invisible realms behind the physical universe that we see.
Consequently, the universe being thus an organic whole, and strictly coordinated, can be interpreted. It is not a senseless and crazy dance of fortuitously driven atoms. The universe being thus subject to law and order, can be expressed in human formulation, so far as its structure and operations go, as a system of thought which human beings can understand.
Great intellects, titanic spiritual seers, have sent their consciousness behind the veils of the outward seeming, deep into the womb of invisible nature, and have brought back what they have seen, and have formulated their knowledge into a grand system of thought. This system of thought is what we today call theosophy. It is the mother of all the great religions and great philosophies of the past time, and will be so of them of the future, for this reason: that everyone of these other great systems of thought has been founded upon the teaching of some great spiritual seer and sage, who did precisely what I have just spoken of — sent his spirit behind the veil of the outward seeming, deep, deep into the mystical arcana and abysses of the invisible worlds, and brought back and interpreted to his fellow men what he saw. Therefore were such men called seers.
There is a band, a company, a brotherhood, an association, of these great seers and sages living on the earth today. They are relatively perfected men, men who through evolutionary progress have reached a state of consciousness far beyond that of us ordinary human beings: they are living men who are the evolutionary fruitage of past ages of ceaseless striving towards a larger degree of perfection, and who have reached it.
We Theosophists call these great men the Masters of Wisdom and Compassion, also the Elder Brothers of the human race; and it is they who founded the Theosophical Society. They send forth at different times, as the centuries fly by and become engulfed in the ocean of the past, messengers from among themselves. Sometimes at very rare intervals one of themselves personally comes forth, and then you have the outstanding spiritual Titans of human history, like the great Buddha Gautama, like Sankaracharya, like Krishna, all of India; like Lao-tse of China; like Empedocles, Apollonius of Tyana, and many others of Greece; like Jesus the Syrian sage. The annals of history are full of the records of the work done by these great men.
Do you know why and how men can reach such a state of spiritual elevation? It is by becoming more fully what they are within themselves, by evolving forth what is within; for evolution is the bringing out, the unfolding, the unwrapping, what the evolving entity has in the core of its being. There can be no other evolution. A thing cannot become that which it is not in its inmost; nothing, no entity, can bring forth something which is not locked up within, lying latent, it may be, for the time being. Think! This is evolution as theosophists understand it, and we are evolutionists through and through.
And what is this locked up splendor? It is the inner god within you, the immanent Christ, the Buddha. As the Orientals put the phrase: "The Buddha comes forth" or manifests himself. The name by which we call this inner splendor matters nothing at all. Seize the idea, because the idea is the important thing. It is an idea pregnant with wonderful thought, and it will give you keys to many sublime avenues of consciousness, have you the wit enough to seize it.
Every one of you human beings is an incarnate god, an incarnate divinity, locked up in flesh at the present time, and therefore but feebly expressing the divine powers within you. Every one of you, every normal human being, is such. Yes. And when evolution, which means unfoldment, interior growth, allows this body of flesh to manifest the transcendent powers of the god within, then you have your Christs, you have your Buddhas, you have the spiritual and intellectual titans of the human race.
This is one part of the message which I ring into your ears on Sunday after Sunday, because it contains the very essence of hope, of comfort, of consolation, and explains the cosmic powers that be. It keeps men morally straight, for men can forfeit what is rightly theirs by evil living — which means living contrary to the laws of nature. The rewards of success, which means merely obeying the laws of spiritual being, are wondrous. It is a pathway, this pathway of evolution, which is endless. Sons of the Sun as ye are, every one of you a manifestation of a divine spark, having your parent-star, every one of you can express these interior spiritual powers, if ye will.
"Greater things than I do," said Jesus, called the Christ, "shall ye do." And in the same Christian scriptures you will find the expression: "Ye are gods!" How true! Our theosophical doctrines are true keys, explanations of so-called religious problems which, because men understood not the explanations of them, have drenched fields with blood and have given birth to enduring hatred and misunderstanding.
Theosophy is hermeneutic, as the old Greeks used to say — that is to say, it is the interpreter. Theosophy interprets the old religions and philosophies of the past, and shows that in the background of each one is the same identic message. It shows that the divine powers within men have been working from untold ages in the past. It shows men their divine origin, that they are incarnate gods, that all kinds of possibilities lie before the man or woman who seizes this truth and lives in accordance with it.
Not only does theosophy fill men's lives with hope, but death — that bogey which, out of ignorance, frightens men — loses all its terrors. You can march through life unafraid; you can face what men call death not merely with a smile, but with your heart singing a very paean of victory.
Knowledge is a sacred thing; knowledge is not only power, it is more than power: it is a thing which belongs to the gods. But knowledge can be misused. Mark you: it is not the beasts who misuse their bodies, unless these beasts be spoiled by contact with man and feel the vibrations emanating from him, more or less touching and ruining their lives. The beast in the wilds lives a natural life; he abuses no powers.
It is men who abuse the faculties and energies and powers within them and who fill the earth with sadness and grief. And how unnecessary! How utterly wrong it is! Instead of cooperation and helping each other, they fight each other and strive, the one against the other. If the Theosophical Movement with its grand teachings, with its sublime doctrines, does nothing else except to do a little towards changing men's hearts, it will have achieved a mighty success.
This question of death: I met a man the other day. His face was lined with pain, and gloomy. His atmosphere literally exuded gloom. He made me very sad. I had to struggle against the feeling. And, do you know what was on that man's mind more than anything else? It was: "What is going to happen to me when I die?"
I said to him: "Aren't you satisfied?"
"Satisfied? What on earth do you mean? I don't know anything about it. I cannot be satisfied unless I know something about life."
"Well," I said, "you have just been talking about your wonderful theories, which you say the scientists teach. You are evidently not satisfied just to become a peck of dust, perhaps to stop a bunghole, as perhaps even Caesar's dust did."
"No, I am not satisfied. I think that life is just a great, big, horrible nightmare."
"Well," I said, "my dear boy, if I were you, I would not live in a nightmare. I simply would not! There is no necessity for it. Do you think that your intellectual power is greater than that of the great seers and sages of the ages? What have you done to prove your intellectual superiority? The fact is that you are a mere follower of theories. You are not thinking thoughts of your own. You are adopting someone else's opinions and ideas. No wonder you are gloomy. You are making your own interior holy of holies a perfect — " I won't tell you the word that I used.
"Well," he said, "what do you know about it?"
I said: "I won't tell you what I know about it. You would not believe me, and I would simply set your mind against me; but this I do know, and will tell you: that I know enough to know that I know less than the great titan-men who have made and unmade civilizations by the thoughts of splendor which they have brought forth. Those men are big enough for me. Their doctrines I have studied with sympathy, and I am going to study them more, and if I like them, I am going to make them a part of my own life."
He said: "Whom do you mean?"
I said: "I mean such as these: Jesus the Syrian, the Buddha-Gautama, Sankaracharya, Lao-tse, Plato, Empedocles, Apollonius of Tyana — in fact, all the great seers and sages, and I have just named a mere few."
He said: "You expect to live after death?"
I said: "What do you mean?"
"Why," he said, "you know what I mean."
I said: "Yes, I know what you mean, but I want you to understand what I mean; and therefore, in order to clarify your ideas, I ask you to explain to me what you mean by death, and what you mean by life after death. Define your words. Let us have our words definite, and then I will talk to you."
"Well," he said, "life and death — while we are here, that is life, and when we are no longer here, that is death."
I said: "That is wonderfully clear." I said: "What happened before you came here? Is that death?"
"Well, I didn't come here. I just was — or was not. I don't know."
"Well now, look here, " I said. "I have already made an impression on your mind. You are not quite so set in the notion that your ideas are the end-all and be-all of the vast universe. I am going to lend to you a few of our theosophical books. Will you promise me that you will read them?" He said: "I will!" And I hope he does. He will get hope and consolation and explanations of things; and I think that that awful exudation of gloom that I met with when I last saw him won't afflict me when I see him the next time. If it does, I will give him another jolt.
Now, here is a question that was sent in by a dear friend:
"What may the average person, neither very good nor very bad, expect after death? How soon does he regain consciousness? Is life on the next plane unfolded to him all at once, or gradually? Is his coming there known so that he is expected; just as when born here? Seeing that everyone must die sometime, one would like to know 'where one is at' — to use the vernacular."
How would you answer that question, or rather, this series of questions? You see what this friend wants. He wants to go on being just himself. From his words only it would appear that he does not want to improve, and that he does not want to grow to be something else than his present imperfect self. Apparently he does not want to evolve to be something far grander and greater. He does not want to change. He just wants to continue as now he is. Merciful gods! Does any man or woman in this room want to be for ever just what he is now? I see that you are not all speaking at the same time, so the answer is obvious.
I tell you that I do not want to be for ever the same as I am now; I want to grow; I want to become what is within me, to bring forth the god within; and I cannot be a god as long as I am a poor, imperfect, feeble-willed, half-baked human intelligence. Now, that is what we are. Let us face the facts. What is going to happen to me after death? Just to continue along the same old rut of imperfect personal consciousness? No! Not for me!
Furthermore, does any one of you really believe that, even in this one life, you are the same person that you were twenty years ago, ten years ago, five years ago — that you have not learned anything, that you have not expanded, that you have not changed? You cannot help yourself: you are changing all the time, growing, expanding, becoming greater, enlarging. And the whole pity of it is that with ordinary human beings this evolution, this change, is so terrifically slow.
And the reason is that you cannot wake men up. You prod them a little bit; and then they stir uneasily in their sleep; and then the snores begin again. I don't mean this unkindly, but you know it is true. And then when something comes along that does give a man a real jolt and wakes him up, bless me, what a howl he raises! He makes the very welkin ring; or else he goes and broods, and becomes gloomy — simply exudes gloom. Aren't we queer folk!
Let me tell you: you are not two consecutive seconds of time the same being. You are changing with every second, and you have been changing since evolution began on this earth, with every second of time. And when sorrow comes, when grief appears in our life, when pain comes upon us, oh, I tell you, friends, take them to your heart; for they are the awakeners of us! Pleasures send you to sleep; the so-called joys send you to sleep. It is sorrow, it is grief, it is change which you don't like — it is precisely these three things which are our awakeners. Oh, get the truth! It will give you strength; it will give you peace; it will enable you to meet the problems of life with an illuminated mind; it will bring you help and comfort.
It is a natural law that as a thing grows it changes. So then, how strange does this question sound! Not only this question, which springs from a very kindly heart, but any question alike unto it.
"How soon does he regain consciousness?"
Now, let me tell you something. Nature is far kindlier than we humans actually seem to want her to be. We humans want nature to run along the lines that we humans think are best, and nature does not do it. She runs along her own lines; and the sooner we realize it, the better. For then we shall understand that we human beings, as inseparable parts of the universe, shall find peace, shall find happiness, shall find real growth, when we become cooperators and collaborators with the great laws which rule the universe.
When you die, when the body dies, the human part of us lapses into a peaceful, blessed unconsciousness. Nature is very, very kindly; but that high, divine flame within us, the god within, the product of aeons and aeons and aeons and aeons of cosmic evolution, is always awake. It is a god. And we humans are not yet it. Man is a bundle of energies, and this bundle forms his consciousness. We have within us a divine part, a spiritual part, a human part, an animal part, and a physical part. Now, the divine as yet manifests in us but very slightly indeed; the spiritual slightly more, but still in so small a degree that we humans are merely living in our ordinary consciousness, the reflection of the divine-spiritual.
When a man dies, the human part of him — that part of him which loves, which hates, which aspires, which goes down, which longs for things of beauty and splendor, and which is attracted to the pigsties of matter, where he eats the husks — the human part of us, with its ups and downs, passes into merciful unconsciousness; and the lower part remains so until the next incarnation on earth. Nature is merciful. Just as you do in your sleep at night — you forget the troubles and sorrows of the day — so does this lower part of the human consciousness rest in quiet unconsciousness, in quiet and in unconsciousness.
But the higher human part, the part of you which loves, which is pitiful, which is compassionate, which finds such peace and joy in helping others, the part of you which understands self-sacrifice, all the nobler part of you, is, after death, in a perfect dream of unspeakable bliss — just like a dream, when a man lays himself down in bed at night — a dream of bliss, and so remains until the time comes for the reincarnating ego again to take up a human body on earth. The laws of nature then draw it back to its former field of action; and thus the little child is born, and a new life on earth for that ego begins.
I tell you that nature is very merciful. There is no pain after death. For the average man there is but bliss in a sweet and peaceful dream. You lay yourselves down in your bed at night. You have a beautiful dream, and then you awaken in the morning. You don't know anything of the passage of time. You are precisely the same man as when you laid yourself down in your bed the night before, so far as any great change is concerned; for the interval of time has been too short for any change to take place. So it is with the between-lives period. The last life on earth and the present life; and the next life, and the next incarnation. You see?
So the answer to the question: "How soon does the human ego regain consciousness?" is: In its higher part it never loses it; and its lower part, the unhappy part, the unpleasant part, the imperfect part, sleeps in utter quiet and unconsciousness. How merciful! No heaven on the one hand, and no hell on the other hand. No unmerited state of bliss; no unmerited state of everlasting pain.
Nature is utterly just. Ye shall reap in your next life what ye have sown in this one. Ye are now the fruit of what ye yourselves have made yourselves to be in your last life.
The other questions contained in this particular question are thus answered. Or perhaps — I wonder! Do you like the idea that when you die you are going to be raised a "spirit"? Just like you are now? That you are going to retain your present imperfect human consciousness, and all that you call your present imperfect personality? Growing perhaps, perhaps evolving, but remaining always the same person. I call upon you to think, and you will realize that this is impossible. You are not two consecutive seconds of time the same personality. Nature's fundamental law is change. You could not grow if you were statically immortal. You know what immortality means. It means continuing just as you are forever and forever and forever and for ever. No change. No improvement. No real evolution, because that would mean a change in yourself, which would mean that you are no longer the same. What a horrible outlook to believe in such static, unchanging immortality. Nature does not tolerate it for an instant.
Theosophists say that there is change and growth from better to better, to still better to still better. There is never a best; because there is never an ending. There is a continual enlargement of consciousness, a continuous expansion of the bundle of consciousness which man is. He goes to all the invisible worlds of the universe one after the other, during the eternities which are required for evolution. The cosmic life is full of mansions of experience. Growth is endless; there is endless improvement, but never an end.
Oh, how happy I am that I am changing, that I am not forever the same imperfect individual that I have been in the past, nor will be forever what I am now! What a blessed thought that is, I leave it with you.
These thoughts are new to the Occident. They have not been taught in the Occident for thousands of years. They are to Occidentals unaccustomed ideas, and therefore they puzzle us Occidental men at first, but only at first. When we see their real meaning, and understand the steady trustworthiness of these teachings, then they steal into our hearts and minds, and capture us by storm; and how willingly we surrender — to ourselves, to the awakening consciousness of better things.
You will come back to earth all right. And let us hope that you will be a little better than you are now.
Here is a question of quite a different type:
"Scientific men tell us that energy and mass, or force and matter, are not essentially different, but are only two different kinds of some underlying reality. Can you tell us what is that one thing from which force and matter both spring?"
This is an old thought that I have often spoken about here in our Temple of Peace. It is our theosophical teaching that substance and energy, that force and what men call matter, are fundamentally one thing: two aspects, two phases, of the same underlying Reality. This was a revolutionary idea in our Occidental world when the Theosophical Society was founded in the Occident in 1875. The scientists would none of it. They said: "It is utterly heretical, scientifically impossible. We have probed into the very abysses of nature, and we know better. Force is but an offspring of matter. There is no force per se. There is nothing but dead, unimpulsed matter." But if you asked them probing questions, they would say either: "We do not know," or "Well, force is a mode of motion," or some other equally unilluminating thought.
But now we have ultramodern scientists telling us the same thing that theosophists have been teaching for so long: that force and matter are fundamentally one thing; and some of the great scientific theorists today, great men in their own lines, are telling you that the fundamental thing in the universe is — what? That this reality, of which force and matter are but two phases and aspects, is just what theosophists have been teaching it to be, and what our predecessor theosophists have been teaching it to be for innumerable ages in the past, to wit: consciousness.
Consciousness, mind as some call it. I prefer the word consciousness. Mind-consciousness, they say, is the fundamental thing in the universe. Therefore our science today, from having been materialistic, has become idealistic.
Consciousness is the underlying one thing of which force and matter, or spirit and substance, are merely the two aspects. We may call matter crystallized forces, if you like. We may speak of force as etherealized matter. The manner of expression matters not, for it comes to the same thing. But both matter and force are phases or aspects or expressions of the underlying reality — consciousness.
Now, mark you the following: This very vague and general, this very abstract, way of speaking of the fundamental reality in the universe, theosophists do not particularly like. We see objections to it — not to the idea so much, but to the phrasing. We say — and we have all antiquity with us, the most illuminated intellects, the most penetrating, spiritual, intuitive men of the past with us — we say that you may speak of the underlying reality as being consciousness or mind, if you will, when you use this as a mere manner of expression. But actually the fundamental thing is vast hierarchies of spiritual beings — gods, cosmic spirits, call them what you like. The universe is filled full with gods; and we human beings are but a minor hierarchy, a minor family, a minor expression of the same rule of nature.
Look at the host of men. Is there one man on the earth, just one big man? No, there are men. Is there consciousness and is there mind in the Universe? Yes, considered as a mere abstraction of actuality; but it is really consciousnesses and minds which are back of the manifested universe: the directing powers, the guiding intelligences, the bright and flaming spirits, which infill the universe. It is these which give such variety to the cosmos, which produce manifestation, which produce the individualities of all the hosts of things that we see everywhere around us.
Do you catch the thought? Men are but a copy in the small of what exists in the great. Just as the universe is infilled with gods in the invisible realms, each god existing in his own hierarchy, and on his own plane or in his own realm, or in his own sphere; so are we men on this our own planet earth, and so are the self-conscious inhabitants on other planets.
Our own little planet is not the only inhabited globe in the boundless spaces of the universe. Our own little dust-speck called earth is not the only one which bears intelligent and conscious beings. How could you explain it, if that were the case? It would be a perfectly unsolvable enigma, if in all infinity — and remember what that means, frontierless Being — consciousness, will, and the splendid faculties that the human mind and heart lock up within themselves, exist on our own little planet only.
This last idea of our human uniqueness is an insane one. The very fact that we humans are here, that we humans manifest the transcendent powers of the human spirit, is a proof that they exist elsewhere. Some two billion human beings compose the population of the earth today. We are, each one of us, a god, a living divinity, in our higher parts, and how wretchedly and feebly that divinity can express itself through our imperfectly evolved intelligence and heart and moral sense!
So far as we humans are concerned, we are but poorly evolved vehicles, carriers, transmitters, of what the higher part of us has locked up in itself; but evolution will bring it all forth, and in the aeons of the aeons of the future men will walk the earth like gods, for they will manifest the transcendent powers within them.
In this connection let me read to you at this point a quotation. It was kindly sent in to me by a friend. It is taken from an article: "The Progress of Physical Science," by G. B. Brown, M. SC., published in the January, 1930, Journal of Philosophical Studies. The author writes in this extract:
Progress in physics consists in a progressive pushing of visible, tangible, ponderable bodies into an invisible, intangible, and imponderable space. So far, in fact, has this process gone that the problem of establishing any connection between physics and sensuous perception has become one of great difficulty.
This means that the roots of things are in the invisible worlds. That is the meaning of these scientific remarks. The causes of things are invisible; and now that the scientists are beginning to know something of what real physics is, they cannot find those causes in the physical world which is builded up mostly of holes, so to say, somewhat like a sponge, and they have to press their researches for causes behind into the invisible, the intangible, the so-called imponderable spheres.
You see, our scientists are becoming idealists. They are in fact idealists.
My next question is as follows:
"According to the principle of reincarnation, we spend a great deal of time in babyhood and childhood. Having to go through similar experiences for innumerable lives seems a great waste of time. Is it true, as I have heard, that theosophy teaches that, as the race develops, the proportion of time spent in babyhood and childhood will greatly diminish and that we shall attain far more quickly to adultship, as well as to a far higher grade of intelligence?"
Yes. As the years drop into the ocean of the past, and the secrets of the future become known to us, we shall find that we humans have changed, pari passu, with the years. We advance with equal step with the passing centuries, and the future will show us men for whom childhood and babyhood will be very much shortened. This shortening will be a result of evolution.
Let me tell you one or two or three theosophical secrets that really do not belong to a public lecture, but which I have an urge in me today to tell you about. The time is coming in the future when babies will be born almost adult. We may not like that idea at present. The reason is that we have cobwebs in our brains, for our brains cling to old and present-day customs and habits, and find it difficult to envisage a future where things will be differently arranged. We cannot move out of the old ruts. We think that nature ought to be always just as she is now. Isn't that brilliant!
The time is coming in the distant future when children will be born almost men — not full-grown, of course; will be born bearded, with a full set of teeth, and practically adult, although this does not mean that they will be born of full adult size. Any baby born otherwise will then be considered a monstrosity, a monster. The time is coming when children will walk practically from birth, and take part in the world's affairs within a short time after the date of birth — much as the chick at the present time leaves the egg, and almost immediately begins to walk around the barnyard.
Compare the human baby at present: a poor, helpless little lump of human flesh, often afflicted with disease, attackable by disease at every turn, utterly helpless, which cannot even feed itself — a miserable, often wretched, poor little thing. Consider this, and then think of what I have just told you; and which seems to you the better of the two?
Some other strange things are going to happen to humanity in the future. Before our human race leaves this planet, which will then go into its obscuration until the time of its reawakening comes: before our human race leaves this planet, I say — and this will be in the far distant future — man will have evolved forth two backbones. He will shed his skin every year, somewhat as the snake now does at its own cyclical periods; and in addition to shedding his skin, he will likewise shed his nails annually. Man, in those far distant periods, will no longer be born with the so-called manly ornament of hair on his face, or on his head, which we present humans think so beautiful; but hirsute adornments of the present kind in those days will be considered as monstrous, much as if a man were to grow today a beard from the middle of his forehead.
Move out of your ruts of thought! Let the imagination work! Dream of the future! Things are not going to be for ever as now they are. I will go even a little farther than I have hitherto gone this afternoon. The time is coming when there will be no men and women on the earth; they will simply be human beings. Children will no longer be born as now they are born; for sex is but a passing and transitory phase of human evolution; and the race will outgrow it and come to some far nobler and better, loftier, and in every way more human, method of propagation.
In those days there will be no men and no women; there will simply be godlike human beings, sexless, walking the earth like gods and acting like gods and behaving like gods and thinking like gods. Indeed, our physical scientists tell us that some of the lower creatures even today do not bring forth their young as the mammals do. Nature has many ways of doing things, and we humans are going to change in the future just as much as we have changed in the past.
Furthermore, I will tell you that the time was, in the far distant aeons of the past, when human beings, the then races of that far, far distant time in the past, were androgynous. In that particular period that I am thinking of, which is the period of what theosophists call the latter part of the third root-race, human beings were hermaphroditic, double-sexed; and even today each sex bears remnants in the body of what the other sex normally develops at the present time.
Nature is constantly changing; change is growth; change is evolution, which means progress and advancement. Yes, the time is coming when babyhood and childhood will be extremely restricted. And so far as this sex-matter is concerned, I will tell you that if in those far distant days of the epoch of the future which I have in mind, a single human being is then born as (what do the biologists call it — a throw-back?) a sexual human being, he will be considered a monster.
I will answer one more question this afternoon, and then I shall take leave of you:
"Is not evolution a very costly process, seeing that it entails so much suffering in the elimination of the unfit? And not only for men, but also for the countless millions of beings inferior to him: birds, insects, animals, who have suffered for millions of years before his appearance on this earth? Life seems to be ever demanding new and higher forms in which to express itself. [That is true!] Is progress possible only through suffering? It is a great mystery: what light does theosophy throw upon it?"
I will say first that evolution is quite possible without suffering, and in the higher worlds, in the higher realms, evolution proceeds as normally and as easily and as painlessly as is the growth of a beautiful rosebud into the full splendor of its bloom. But we humans of the present are deeply sunken in matter, we entities of this our present Mother Earth. We prey upon each other; and nature reacts correspondingly. That is why suffering surrounds us and other beings on earth.
It is not a supposed cruel nature which forces it all upon us. Evolution itself is painless, because evolution is growth, development, progress; but in order to complete the thought, there is one minor phase of evolution which does entail a certain amount of suffering and pain, and this phase includes the cases where men are initiated, and of will and of deliberate purpose force the evolutionary process in order to attain the goal more quickly. In these cases there ensue what might be called growing pains.
But in the normal course of evolution, it is utterly painless. There is naught but the steady sense of expanding faculty, a lively feeling of inner growth and of expanding consciousness. No, evolution is neither costly nor painful per se. We humans at present live in a world of dense physical matter; and I tell you — and this is mystical, but it someday will be found to be scientific also — that we human beings are responsible for most of the suffering and misery on the earth today. Our emanations, streaming forth from us, affect the animals more than I dare to tell you from this platform. Our emanations, our vibrations, actually guide their lives. We are like gods to these lower things beneath us. They look up to us unconsciously, instinctively. And alas, how men, fallen gods as they are, do abuse their divine powers, and abuse the unfortunate beasts beneath them! Think it over!
Have pity, therefore, and be merciful. These qualities are godlike. Forgive your fellows. Learn to love your fellows, and let that love which fills your heart with its holy light and illumines your mind with its divine splendor, let it go out to all that lives, without bounding it, without laying frontiers for it; and your reward will be very great.
You will then become a beneficent power on earth, not merely beloved of your fellow-man, but a blessing to all beings. You will then be making a beginning in the proper use of the sublime faculties and powers native to the god within you. Ye are gods: each one of you is an incarnate god. Be it!
Vol 1, No 38