Questions We All Ask by G. de Purucker
Theosophical University Press Online Edition

Vol. 1 No. 4 (October 22, 1929)

QUESTIONS THAT ALL OF US ASK

I have received so many questions from interested inquirers that I am beginning to feel like an animated encyclopedia, or a perambulating dictionary. Most of these questions have come from outsiders who are interested in what theosophy has to teach on the subjects which interest them. I think that this is a very good sign indeed of the manner in which theosophic thought is affecting the mind of the public; and before trying to answer these questions, some of which touch upon the deepest problems of human life and of nature, I am going to read them all to you, in order to give you an idea of what kind of questions people ask, thus showing what their minds are brooding upon, what they are interested in, and what they want to know.

People may talk about this being a very materialistic age, in which nothing interests except the things of matter — how to make money quickly, or how to choose a wife or a husband, or how to break the bank, or how successfully to run some commercial enterprise, or whatnot — but I don't believe that these things are the only ones which interest serious and broad-minded folk. On the contrary, I think that questions such as the above run in the minds of people who have not yet learned to see the wonderful possibilities in themselves. For there are most lovely horizons of vision, of insight, of possibilities of many kinds within each human being; and the questions that men and women ask along these higher lines in which they find deep interest are like the whisperings of their souls — queries which must be answered before they can have peace.

Yes, these are the things which really and deeply move and interest men and women, and only incidentally do things of matter move and interest them. I suppose that there are really very few men or women who spend much time, when it really comes to matters of importance, in giving serious thought to anything except to those things which are profoundly worth while, such things, for instance, as are embodied in the following questions: Whence came I? Who am I? Whither am I going? Am I or am I not? Is all this an illusion: is it a mockery of the hope within my breast, or is it real? These are the questions that thinking men and women ask; and they are certainly going to have an answer — otherwise, no system which does not answer them will or can stand.

How glad we are, teachers and exponents of the age-old wisdom-religion which has stood the test of unnumbered ages, and which has never failed to answer any question that any inquiring human soul has asked, that in the light of our blessed Theosophy we can give adequate answers to human souls.

I have twenty questions jotted down on the paper that I hold in my hand, and I am going to try to answer them, or some of them, this afternoon. The answers of necessity will be brief, but I will do my best to make them as clear and responsive to the questions as time and circumstance will allow me to do. Here are some of the questions:

"Who am I, and what am I?"
"What am I here on this earth for?"
"Am I all mind, or all matter, or both mixed?"
"What is mind?"
"What is matter?"
"Has matter any real being per se?"
"What is force or energy?"

Now, friends, you may see why I said at the opening of my lecture to you this afternoon that I felt as if I were an animated encyclopedia or a perambulating dictionary. Kind friends sent these questions in to me, and I feel that they won't be satisfied until they get responsive answers to these questions — and indeed theosophy enables us to give responsive answers.

"Who am I and what am I?" What answer would you give to that question? I would like to answer this first question by asking in my turn a question, after the style of Socrates of old Greece. What do you mean by this "I"? Which I? The I of the streets, or the I of the counting-house, or the I of the study, or the I of the home, or the I of the prison: in other words, is it the spiritual I, or the human I, or the animal I? Which is referred to here?

For the above reasons this question is vague. In the first place, according to our wonderful theosophical teachings, the I here which I think is unquestionably meant, is the human I, the ordinary human soul: and to the theosophist this is an expression distinctly vague because the human soul includes, in a general way, all the factors that I have just pointed out: it is a consciousness center to which various names in different religions have been given. Some philosophies and religions call this particular consciousness center soul, others call it the ego, others consider it to be both soul and ego as one unity, and others look upon it after still other manners, and therefore give to it other names; but the questioner evidently means: Who is the human soul, and what is the human soul?

It is that entity which is neither immortal nor mortal per se, and which is the seat of will, consciousness, intelligence, and feeling in the average human being. It is not immortal because it is not pure enough to be truly impersonal; if it were, it would not be human but superhuman. It is not wholly mortal, because its instincts, its movements, the operations of itself, are in a sense above purely mortal things of matter.

Human beings have holy loves, they have aspirations, they have hope, they have vision, and many other similar qualities. These things belong to the spirit, which is immortal and deathless, and are transmitted, through this intermediate nature or human soul, which human beings ordinarily call I, much as the sunlight streams through the pane of glass in the window. The pane of glass is the vehicle or carrier or bearer or transmitter of this wondrous quality or force streaming from the spirit above. We human souls are like these panes of glass: we reflect as much of the golden sunlight of the spirit, as our evolutionary development enables us to do. Is not this simple? There is nothing difficult to understand about it at all.

Now, this human soul has nevertheless the seeds of immortality within it. Every human being who thinks, knows that the high and lovely qualities of which I have just spoken, and many more of which I have not spoken, can be cultivated to the nth degree, if people only will do so. When this is done in some grand and sublime degree, then you see what the human race can bring forth in the shape of the great sages and seers of the ages — the great, wonderful men and women who exemplify the deathless energies of the spirit: the Buddha, Jesus called the Christ, Apollonius of Tyana, Lao-Tse the great mystic seer and sage of China, Confucius — hundreds of them exemplify to what states of grandeur this human I, can attain when it allies itself straitly and directly with the spirit which is at the core of everything that is.

Thus we see what the human I is. It is conditionally mortal; it is conditionally immortal, if we ally ourselves by our will and our vision with the deathless spirit within and above us, and mortal if we allow ourselves to be dragged down into what is commonly called matter and material instincts and impulses, which are wholly mortal and which all die; and we thank the immortal gods that it is so, for the death of these lower things it is which frees the immortal spirit within us and above us when death comes, so that when we go to our sublime home for the inter-life period of rest and peace, we have only bliss and high vision and a memory of all that is great and grand in our past life.

You see the natural basis that ethics has in such thoughts as these: the basis that morals naturally have in right and noble living, in high thinking. These are no vain words: indeed, they are verily the teachings of the sages of old, and are the very basis of every religion, of every world religion that exists: the very basis of every great philosophy; and I tell you further, as I hope to point out today, the very basis of the facts of science, the facts of nature which are rooted in the fundamentals of the Great Mother, likewise reposes on the same spiritual substratum of being. This question, had I the time to answer it properly, would require the compass of a book.

"What am I here on this earth for?" I have already told you in large part: to expand your self-consciousness, to become yourself, evolving, growing, expressing that which is within you, in the very spirit of you; expanding in self-consciousness as time goes on, ever more and more, until not only are the signposts of genius passed, until not only are the signposts of seership and mastery over life passed, but in time to come the human race shall have evolved to the sublime degree of evolutionary development in the future when they shall rebecome gods, divine beings, — but self-consciously so.

Existing in the very beginning of this present stage of cosmic evolution in the bosom of the superspiritual source and root of all that is: leaving it as unself-conscious god-sparks, we passed through many existences and lives on various spiritual spheres, as also in various material spheres, among these latter our own planet Terra; in them all learning, growing, expanding, evolving, manifesting forth outwards what we are intrinsically and naturally within our inmost center. This is the procedure of evolution: becoming or manifesting what we are latently within; for in the name of truth, what else can a man or woman, or any other being for the matter of that, become except that which lies in the evolving entity itself? After the passage of many aeons of evolution after this manner, we shall re-enter, mystically speaking, or rebecome, or self-consciously recognize our kinship with the All, and thus find ourselves again in the bosom of the universal Life, but no longer as unself-conscious god-sparks, but as fully self-conscious gods.

This is the teaching of all the sages of all the ages, and any thinking man or woman must feel the instant appeal that it makes to both mind and heart. Deliver me from the moonshees and Sir Oracles of brain-mind knowledge, who think that they know all things, who indeed think that they know so much that they cannot know truth when they see it. The mind is already so full and packed with ideas and thoughts about supposed facts that they have lost the direct vision and simplicity of what some philosophers have called the child state.

Give me the child's heart and the child's unsophisticated vision, unspoiled by the false lessons learned during life; for verily before we die, we have to unlearn very largely what we think we have learned in order to regain the child state of vision and trust, which is that inner spiritual knowledge latent in the core of our being.

"Am I all mind or all matter, or both mixed?" I would say none of the three: I am not all mind; I am not all matter; I am not a mere mixture of mind and matter. Only relatively can this third be said. Do you know why I give the answer thus? On account of the unnecessary and naturally false antinomy, contradiction, in the idea that there is a fundamental or radical difference between mind and matter. There is no such logical or fundamental difference. Can you have in the universe two absolutely radical — that is, from the root up — contrasted things: mind on the one hand, and matter on the other hand? Two infinites? No.

They are one, fundamentally one; and mind on the one hand, and matter on the other hand — or to put it in another way, spirit on the one hand and substance on the other hand — are but two poles of the same thing, two manifestations of the same underlying reality.

What is this underlying reality? Let me call it consciousness. It is mind; it is matter; it is spirit; it is substance; it is form; it is formless; it is energy or force; and it is what is called matter, the supposed opposite or carrier of force. Why, even our modern scientists are beginning to tell us that energy or force and matter are fundamentally one: that what we call matter is but a manifestation of a showing forth of what energy is, of what force is. They have even gone so far now as to say that the fundamental of everything is electricity, which from one viewpoint is considered to be matter and from another viewpoint is considered to be energy, or the resultant of energy.

In the days of our fathers, it was thought that there was nothing but matter and that force was merely a mode of matter, one of its movements, so to speak. But whence arose these movements? Now scientific opinion is going to the other extreme, and in many quarters we hear voiced the opinion that, strictly speaking, there is no matter at all and that fundamentally there is naught but force and energy.

We theosophists take the middle course between these two extremes; we say that both mind and matter exist, but neither is. These are philosophical terms; they exist, that is to say, they have all appearance of being: they are the modes or manifestations or manners of manifestation, of the fundamental, underlying reality which in the age-old wisdom-religion is called pure consciousness.

Therefore, having these thoughts in view, it is proper to say that I am not all mind, which answer would limit me merely to this human mind, because that human mind was in the mind of the questioner. In my inmost parts I am far greater than mind. The root of my being is undiluted consciousness. On the other hand, I am not all matter, because matter is an illusion which has no actual existence per se; and I can be said to be mixed of mind and matter only in a relative sense: as a being imperfectly evolved, I manifest forth imperfect things, among which are mind and matter; but the root of me, the fundamental thing in me, the core of me, is pure consciousness, rooted in cosmic consciousness, and this core of me manifests through the underlying energy-center of my being which center theosophists call the monad, and which has often been incorrectly spoken of as the soul.

I hope that the man who asked this question is here.

"What is mind?" I have already answered it. "What is matter?" Now we come to something perhaps more familiar. I will answer the next question at the same time. "Has matter any real being per se?" No, none. What then is matter? Well, philosophers, some of them, say that matter is that which manifests force; substance is that which manifests spirit; that matter is the vehicle through which energies work.

That is all right as far as it goes — no objection to that expression whatsoever; no objection to that way of looking at things — but by that we merely describe a process; we are not telling what matter is. Is matter, or does it merely exist? In other words, is it a noumenon or a phenomenon: does it exist in itself, or is it merely an appearance? You know the meaning of the Latin word "exist," "to show an appearance of things," existere. But matter is not. Let me try to give you an idea of what I mean here.

I always like to quote the eminent men of science whenever I can make them pay tribute, whether they want to or not, to the age-old theosophical philosophy; and it is most interesting to see how their latest discoveries are bringing them into line with our fundamental theosophical teachings, which have been invented by nobody, which are older than the enduring hills because they are as old as human beings, as old as thinking man, and man is older than the hills; belonging to no nation, belonging to no race, universal teachings which are the same in every country on the globe, and in every geological age, for they are formulations of the truths of nature as seen by the great seers and sages.

I will quote first, in order to show you what matter is in the opinion of eminent modern scientists, from a very eminent British scientific philosopher, a man as well known in the social circles of his country as he is in the scientific circles: the Honorable Bertrand Russell. He said:

To the eye or to the touch, ordinary matter appears to be continuous; our dinner-tables, or the chairs on which we sit, seem to present an unbroken surface. We think that if there were too many holes the chairs would not be safe to sit on. Science, however, compels us to accept a quite different conception of what we are pleased to call 'solid' matter; it is, in fact, something much like the Irishman's net, 'a number of holes tied together with pieces of string.' Only it would be necessary to imagine the strings cut away until only the knots were left.

This is very clever, because it is true. I have often pointed out that what is called 'matter' is mostly 'empty space' as popularly called: vacancy, vacuum, vacuity; and the actual solid points of my own physical body, for instance, who am a six-foot man and more, are utterly invisible even under the most powerful microscope. If I could gather the actual so-called 'solid' energy-points of my body, I mean the electrons of the atoms, composing my body, into one single point, and do away with all the 'matter' which makes the seeming bulk and size of my body, that collective point would be so small that you would have to hunt for it with a powerful magnifying glass, with a microscope; and I am not certain that you could even then see it.

So what is your 'matter'; your wood, and your lead, and your steel, and your trees, and your stones, and all the rest of it? Mostly holes, so-called 'empty space,' vacuity. What is it all then but an illusion? But by 'illusion' we Theosophists do not mean something that does not exist; we really mean illusion, something which we, in seeing it, do not understand because we do not see the noumenal causal substance behind it or beneath it. What we see is an illusory or deceptive presentation. That is what we mean by an illusion.

Let me read to you another extract of the same type of thought, from a very modern book, The Romance of Chemistry, by William Foster, Ph.D., as I find it on page 36. Dr. Foster is professor of Chemistry in Princeton University. He says:

It has been computed that one cubic centimeter (less than a small thimbleful) of a gas, say oxygen, at standard temperature and pressure, contains approximately twenty-seven billion billion [twenty-seven quintillion] molecules. Professor R. A. Millikan says we can now count this number with probably greater precision than we can attain in determining the number of people living in New York City. . . .
. . . W. R. Whitney of the General Electric Company has calculated that if the molecules in a glass of water could each be changed into a grain of sea-sand, the sand thus produced would be sufficient to cover the whole of the United States to the depth of one hundred feet.
If we poured a quart of water into the sea and, after complete mixing with the entire body of water, dipped out from any part of the sea another quart of the liquid, the second quart would contain many thousands of the original molecules which were poured into the sea.

So incomputably numerous are the molecules in a glass of water!

I suppose that you know what the modern scientific conception of an atom is: that it is no longer an ultimate particle of substance; and, according to the latest theories of science, an atom is furthermore composed of elements or particles still smaller than the atom, and called electrons, of two kinds: the positive kind, which is called protons, and the negative kind of electricity-points of negative electricity which are commonly called electrons.

Furthermore, the atom has frequently been likened in structure to a solar system, with a central proton or group of protons as the atomic sun, and an electron, or numerous electrons, whirling around this central protonic nucleus in an orbit or in orbits very much after the fashion in which the planets circle around our sun. Again, these spaces in the atom which separate electrons from the protonic nucleus, or electron from electron, are relatively as great as are the spaces separating planet from planet and planet from sun in our own solar system.

Thus you see that an atom in its structure and bulk is mostly so-called empty space. That is what your matter is: your wonderful "solid" matter, the most unreal, unsolid, unsubstantial, illusory thing that human intelligence has ever speculated upon.

What is behind or underneath matter, as its noumenal or causal principle? That is the question to be answered. But this writer, Dr. Foster, on page 37 of his book, writes as follows:

An atom is therefore largely a vacuum. It has been computed that if the nucleus of a helium atom were represented by a pea, its two planetary electrons could be represented by two peas a quarter of a mile away. Imagine that a tiny demon possessing vision infinitely keen is standing, gun in hand, an inch from an atom. Now if the little demon fired a ball the size of an electron at the nucleus of the atom, there is hardly a chance in a billion that he could hit the almost infinitely small bull's eye.
As stated by Bertrand Russell, the electron of the hydrogen atom goes round its tiny orbit very rapidly, covering, under normal conditions, about fourteen hundred miles per second, which means that it has to revolve seven billion times in one millionth of a second! In other words, the electron completes seven billions of its years in a millionth of a second!

In other words, seven quadrillions of its years in one human second. For all we know, in this short space of time a planetary electron may live the entire course of its life, and then vanish for an equivalent period of repose, only to return again to resume its cyclical coursing about the protonic nucleus. How do we know that on these infinitesimal bodies called electrons there may not exist infinitesimal intelligences, beings possessing will and consciousness and feeling and all the other energic spiritual and intellectual faculties and capacities that we humans have, live the courses of their lives in these tiny solar systems invisible to us on account of the grossness of our sense of vision? I repeat it: How do we know that infinitesimal entities may not live and run all their life course in these infinitesimal spaces even as we do on our own dust-speck, our planet Terra, in this small part of what we call the cosmic spaces? The thought is very suggestive: the atom on the one hand, composed of its infinitesimal structural parts; and the vast spaces that our intelligence and senses apprise us of somewhat on the other hand.

How well we recognize the truth of the ancient Hermetic axiom: "What is above is the same as that which is below; and what is below is the same as that which is above"; for nature is ruled by one universal all-permeant consciousness, which, in order to give it a name we call the cosmic consciousness; and its operations and its essence are the same in all and through all, and therefore its laws are the same through all and everywhere, and its manifestations and the results of its operations must be at least closely similar everywhere in both great and small, in the cosmic and in the infinitesimal.

That is what matter is. It is truly only an illusion. As I strike my hand on the desk before me, we hear the sound of the blow, and both hand and desk seem quite solid; but both are really so-called empty space striking empty space, and the repercussion, the noise which you hear, is an electromagnetic phenomenon, as our ears receive it.

We theosophists likewise, with the ultra-modern scientists, say that the quasi-ethereal basis of what we call matter is electrical in character; but behind this basis, and underneath it, and beyond it, and above it — use what word you will — there are vast ranges of substances and matters still more ethereal, running up through constantly etherealizing stages or ladders of life until we attain spirit and then superspirit and then Divinity — and then what? We humans know not. All we do know is that there is no reason for stopping there; our imagination is powerless to go farther, the wings of its vision carry it no farther into the Great Mystery.

But with constantly expanding vision as we evolve more, shall we know more: and the more akin, the more alike, shall we become to the Divine within us. So that the time shall truly be, in the far-distant aeons of the future, when we shall confabulate with the gods.

Has matter any real being per se, then? No.

"What is force or energy?" — the next question. It is that which produces matter in a sense; it is matter, because matter is nothing but another term for the manifestation of force or energy. But is force or energy something of which we can know somewhat by the study of matter? Yes, to a certain extent we can, but force or energy, and most emphatically physical force or energy, is not the ultimate. Force or energy is merely etherealized or spiritualized matter, if you like to put it in that way; but theosophists prefer to put it in the other way: matter is merely sleeping energy, dormant force, spirit in that particular phase or mode or event of its eternal being, manifesting itself in the form of atomic infinitesimals which in a sense are actually little souls, learning entities, enshrining growing or evolving beings of what we may rather quaintly call infinitesimal size. It is exceedingly difficult to find the proper and appropriate words with which to clothe the thought in matters so abstract and, to the Occidental mind, unusual as those which we are now discussing.

We human beings are not the only hierarchy of self-conscious entities in this vast universe. Let us remember this and make place in our minds for the idea of vast hierarchies of intelligences and consciousnesses in all-various grades of evolutionary development. If there is one thing about theosophy which, more than any other, is helpful to us, it is that it takes all the egoism out of us, and gives to us peace and joy in the sense of oneness with the universal life.

"Do the stars or suns and their planets, if any, come into being fortuitously or by chance, or is there an inner governing life-essence ruling the entire course of their existence from beginning to end, as religion says is the case with man and his so-called soul?" Certainly the latter. Will you please tell me, if this be not so, what fortuity or chance is? I can tell you what they are, just as you can tell me what they are, if you pause to think a moment.

When a man does not know how a thing has happened, or how it happens, he says that it "happened," that it comes about through "chance." What then is this word chance? It is a word signifying our ignorance. We are cheating ourselves with a word. The stars and the suns and the planets, the meteors and nebulae, and all other celestial bodies, are ruled and governed by a soul whose fiery life courses through them as it courses through us. They are all on different stages of evolutionary progress or growth, cosmic growth, for they have their cycles even as we human beings have them.

You may remember the beautiful words of Vergil, the Latin poet, in his Aeneid, book VI, verses 724-727, as translated by an English poet:

"Know first, the heaven, the earth, the main,
The moon's pale orb, the starry train,
Are nourished by a soul,
A bright intelligence, whose flame
Glows in each member of the frame,
And stirs the mighty whole."

The idea here is not that this bright intelligence of cosmic sweep is what the Occidental mind pictures to itself when it uses the term God. For the sake of immortal truth, friends, do not limit our conception of these wondrously beautiful thoughts by a word like that, with its unfortunate Occidental implications of theological and popular fantasies. Let us rather think of the cosmic life, of the cosmic spirit, that great intelligence "whose flame glows in each member of the frame, and stirs the mighty whole," even as the human soul glows in each of us, and stirs us.

Look at the beauty of the picture that this gives to us — an animate universe filled full with bright intelligences, filled full with gods, demigods or half-gods, quarter-gods, so to speak, with beings striving to become gods, like us humans; and also those sublime entities whom we may call supergods: and the ladder of life ranges through all these from the highest that we can conceive of through beings less in intelligence, less evolved, down to humans, and below them.

I have already frequently told you from this platform what evolution in theosophy is, — the bringing out or unwrapping of what is locked up within the evolving entity. What else can develop except what is within yourself, or within any other evolving entity? Neither you nor it can become anything which is not latent within you or it. That is evolution as the theosophist understands it: not the adding of something into yourself from the outside, after the manner of a mason putting a brick into a wall; but the bringing out, the self-expression, of innate powers and faculties of the spirit within.

In opening my lecture this afternoon I made a promise that I would try to answer all the questions that I had on my list. I have answered very briefly eight of them. That leaves twelve more still to be answered, and as my time for this afternoon is now drawing to a close, before leaving you I will give you another thought about this matter of stars and suns and so forth, because it is very interesting and it will show you some of the beauties of the deeper sides of our wonderful theosophical philosophy — our religion-philosophy-science.

You know, I suppose, that there exist in the cosmic spaces, what have now been recognized to be dark nebulae by modern astronomers. These so-called dark nebulae are clouds of cosmic matter, or nebulae which are not shining, which are not bright, but which are dark — at least they appear to be dark by comparison with the bright nebulae and with the scattered clusters of suns. Astronomers have photographed these dark nebulae, which cover vast stretches, and you may see some of these dark patches in the Milky Way.

It was long customary in England to call these dark patches coal-sacks, because they are so black. They are sometimes of various shapes, more or less round and sometimes stretches of darkness in the body of the Milky Way; and when they are photographed they look exactly like black clouds of a very rugged and storm-cloud appearance. They are actually of enormous extent, spacially speaking, enormously extensive, and probably because those in the Milky Way are nearer to us than the bright nebulae, they seem to be far more extensive than the bright nebulae are.

Theosophy will tell you that these dark nebulae are, if I may use the expression, mother-matter — that is an expression which will be easily understood by you. In the theosophical teachings there are actually two classes of these dark nebulae, one class which is in the very beginning of cosmic evolutionary development and represents what we may call primordial matter, matter in its highest state. This matter is not spiritual substance, but an intermediate state between spiritual substance which is the origin of things, and gross, physical matter.

Therefore may we properly call this first class of dark nebulae stretches of mother-matter or primordial matter. We may also perhaps call them matter in a state of dissociation, or matter in which the component atoms exist in dissociated form.

Now, this first class of dark nebulae comprises nebulae which are very young cosmically speaking, in the sense of the development of worlds to be, for they are on their way in the process of the making of worlds. The bright nebulae are stages much farther advanced towards the making of suns and worlds.

The second class of the dark nebulae are at the other end of evolutionary development: they are what may be called cosmic dust — dust of the cosmic graveyards, if we may so express it. And probably most of the dark nebulae or so-called coal-sacks in the Milky Way belong to this second class.

How did the ancients know about these dark nebulae — a discovery of very recent years? Let me read to you something. I have translated an exceedingly interesting passage from an ancient Hindu work, which is known in the Sanskrit tongue as the Manava-Dharma-Sastra, usually translated as the Scriptures of Manu. Manu is supposed to have been, in far distant times, a Hindu sage of very high degree. In the first book of this archaic Sanskrit work, verses 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10 are as follows — and I may say in passing that it is very difficult to translate these ancient thoughts into language of modern times, first because the words are unusual, and second because the thoughts are new to us, with our sophisticated Occidental minds; but I have done my best and will now read my translation to you.

"This physical universe was become quiescent darkness, indistinguishable, without its characteristic forms; inconceivable, unrecognizable, as it were wholly sunken in deep sleep." (5)

(Asid idam tamobhutam aprajnatam alakshanam: apratarkyam avijneyam prasuptamiva sarvatah.) (5)

Here we find precisely what theosophy also tells us. The dark nebulae of the first class are here alluded to, and they are, as I have just said, mother-matter, which in a sense we may also call sleeping matter or dormant matter: matter in the very beginnings of things before its cycle comes to awaken into pronounced, manifested activity.

"Thence the Self-becoming, celestial, unmanifest, of cyclical power, manifesting this physical universe, the elements and so forth, came forth, dispelling the darkness. (6)

"That one, to be perceived by a faculty transcending the senses, subtle, unmanifest, ancient, consisting of all beings and things, unthinkable, shone forth verily of itself. (7)

"It — Swayambhur — sunken in deep thought, desirous to engender from his own body, sent forth all-various progeny: into these it sent forth seed. (8)

"That became a golden egg, shining forth thousand-rayed. In this — egg it reproduced itself, ancestor of all the world and beings. (9)

"What that cause was, unmanifest, continuous, both the illusory and real, from it came forth Individuality, called by men Brahma — Expander." [The self-expanding Soul] (10)

Tatah Swayambhur bhagavan avyakto vyanjayann idam: mahabhutadi vrittaujah pradur asit tamonudah. (6)
Yo 'sav atindriyagrahyah sukshmo 'vyaktah sanatanah: sarvabhutamayo 'chintyah: sa eva swayamudbabhau. (7)
So 'bhidhyaya sariratswat sisrikshur vividhah prajah apa eva sasarjadau: tasu bijam avasrijat. (8)
Tad andam abhavaddhaimam sahasransusamaprabham. Tasminjajne swayam brahma sarvalokapitamahah. (9)
Yattatkaranam avyaktam nityam sadasadatmakam takvisrishtah sa purusho: loke brahmeti kirttyate. (10)

It is very remarkable that in this extract, although it is written in the style of a bygone age, we may see the whole procedure of cosmic evolution outlined in a few lines. How did these ancients know that the beginnings of things were "darkness"?

The Hebrews also taught, but in a very small and restricted view, of these matters, practically the same ideas; and let us remember that the Hebrews were one small people in a district of Hither Asia. "Darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of the Elohim moved upon the face of the waters." Then came light.

My time for closing this afternoon has now come. I will try in my lecture on next Sunday to interest you further by answering some or all of the other questions that I have on my list; and I shall try to do so with the same earnest desire to enlighten and help that I have felt today. I thank the kind friends who have sent these questions in to me. I do not know whence most of them come, but I personally have found them very interesting, and I may also add that I have learned not a little from studying them.


Vol 1, No 5

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