Theosophical University Press Online Edition
(Lecture delivered June 15, 1930)
CONTENTS: Does the average theosophical lecturer realize his ethical responsibility? Ethics are not a mere convention. — Is every man a spiritual law unto himself? Is the world a cosmic anarchy? — Dr. de Purucker answers the question: "Who sent you, and by whom were you taught?"— Sure tests of a true theosophical messenger. — Each one of us is the way and the light. — Theosophical belief in world teachers based on a profound and mysterious doctrine. The two classes of world teachers explained. The case of H. P. Blavatsky. — Dr. Robert A. Millikan and cosmic rays. — The "superstition" of the ancients has become the scientific teaching of today. — Professor Eddington and mind-stuff. — An explanation of universal cycles. — Where theosophy and ultramodern science meet. — The true theosophist. Self-forgetfulness leads to the self divine.
Does a bringer of a great message stand in the light which he tries to give to others — not as a hindrance to that light, do I mean, but does he realize the full purport of what he himself is saying, throwing his thoughts through words into the hearts and minds of his fellow human beings? I mean, does the average theosophical teacher and lecturer realize the heavy responsibility that lies upon him for the ideas and ideals that he gives to others, thereby changing the current of their thoughts, consequently molding their characters, and hence altering their destiny?
This is indeed a heavy responsibility; and I will tell you frankly that sometimes I have marveled at the courage — shall I call it courage, or perhaps is it not rather ignorance, the blindness, the audacity — of some whom I have heard speak, telling tales of what they thought were the teachings of the wisdom religion, and utterly incognizant, apparently, of the effect that what they say might have upon the characters, and therefore upon the destiny, of those who listened, who understood, who therefore were affected, and whose lives were, in consequence, changed.
Am I my brother's keeper? How can I be otherwise? Is not every son of man the keeper of his brothers, in the sense that he acts upon them, and their minds and hearts react against what he says to them? Do you see the heavy ethical responsibility that lies in all this? And, without any wish to be unkind, I will tell you frankly that when I read the reports of some of the lectures that have been given on public platforms by itinerant speakers, itinerant lecturers, my heart is oft sunken in my breast, for I know what such men are bringing upon themselves by talking as they talk.
There is law in this universe — things are not ruled by chance — and a man cannot think or speak or act without affecting other beings, to their weal or to their woe. The sense of ethical responsibility has been largely lost in the Occident. Men do not realize that our whole exterior universe is but the garment or shadow of something invisible, of the inner life, of which each human being, and indeed every entity, is an inseparable part; for all entities and things are rooted in this inner life, and therefore it is obvious that whatever any one of us may do reacts with corresponding force upon all other entities and things.
Ethics are not a convention; morals are not a convention; they are rooted in the harmony, in the central laws, of being. The good old rule: Do as you would be done by, is not a mere conventional phrase, found out, invented, by some great mind, but is a simple statement of natural fact; and I feel a heavy responsibility on every Sunday afternoon when I ascend this platform and talk to you. I do not choose and weigh my words, because that would make what I say to you so stilted and artificial that your very brain-minds would tire before you had fully heard what I have to say.
But I come with a heart filled with a love for my fellow men, and with a desire to give to them the best that is in me, and all that I can give; and thus at least in some small degree I can give unto you what I myself have received. I know that it is good; I know that it is wonderful; I know the help that I have had; and with my heart filled with this spirit, I know that no matter what mistakes I may make — and no human being is exempt from error — nevertheless my heart is pure, and therefore whatever I have to say goes to you with purity and sincerity and manhood behind it. Please remember this.
I speak rather strongly on this matter, because I feel rather strongly about it. Each one of us is a keeper of his brothers, for we are inseparably bound together by unbreakable bonds of destiny and of origin, because we are fundamentally all one. In religious matters especially, in matters of high philosophy in particular, in matters of science also very greatly, it is by no means unimportant what a lecturer, a speaker, has to say to others. That man is a hypocrite — and I withdraw not one word of this — who will stand on a platform and tell you things as truth which he himself in his heart of hearts does not know to be true. Pity him, for the laws of harmony, of inner beauty — which is spiritual symmetry — which control and guide the universe, will bring to him his guerdon of recompense or retribution. Even unto these men of mistaken genius, our sympathies should go out unstintedly, for I can tell you one thing: that the great and the strong, the high and the noble, are less in need of human sympathy and pity than are those who err.
We are all human. To err is human; but let us at least make our errors rebound upon ourselves alone, if we can, and not make others suffer for our imperfect and wrong thoughts and for our misdeeds. Above everything else let us remember that we must not mislead others. Nature will not tolerate it, for harmony, justice, truth, are the very heart of things, and it is this symmetry in law, this harmony in law, which keeps things coordinated, organized, and everything running in orderly sequences.
The first question that I have received for answering this afternoon is the following:
Do theosophists teach the necessity of organization and system in human affairs, especially in religion; or do they hold the belief that every man is a spiritual law unto himself, and is his own pathway unto the Divine?
We do hold that every man is his own pathway unto the Divine. We do not hold that every man is a spiritual law unto himself, for that would mean that there is no heart of being, that there is no fountain of light and intelligence, but that the world is a cosmic anarchy in which everything is driven hither and yon, by impulses arising solely within the individual: in other words it would mean that there is no cosmic organization, but that everything is disorganized, that there is no cosmic system, but that everything is unsystematic.
Of course theosophists believe in organization and system. But in the case of religion, do we believe in systematized religion and in organized religion system — the fruitage of men's mere brain-minds, their unilluminated minds — no matter what great claims may be made for such a system? No, in such we do not believe, at least, I do not, speaking as one theosophist. But just because I believe that every man is his own pathway unto the divine within himself, to the god within, just so do I believe that things fundamentally run in organic and systematized sequences: in other words that there are law and order in the universe, and that law and order should prevail in every well-thought-out organization or system. In fact law and order mean organization and system.
Do I then believe in "organized religion"? If this phrase means merely another ecclesiastical system, another yoke on the overburdened shoulders of an already priest-ridden world, then my answer is, No. Immortal gods, save us from the fate of our fathers!
Precisely because every man in the core of the core of his being is a divinity, a god, and is therefore his own pathway unto divinity (precisely as Jesus the great Syrian initiate said, when he declared, "I am the way") for that reason I bow my head before the opinions of no other man; for my appeal is to the god within.
But contrariwise, just because I am a god — feebly, poorly, manifesting through my human mentality, an imperfect vehicle — do I recognize that all other men and entities, whether they be gods, intermediate, high, or low, likewise have at the core of the core of each one of them a bright and flaming intelligence, an inner god.
And therefore do I believe in system, in order, in organization; for when heart meets heart, when understanding meets understanding, when sympathy responds to the call for sympathy, all disputes about the soul stop (as Emerson so nobly said), and men instinctively recognize that they must help each other, for they are all limbs of a common spiritual entity; and in order to help each other, they must organize, and each one give up the lower part of himself to the mutual welfare and benefit of all; because in so doing he gains most, he gains intimate union, communion, with the god within, each one of these inner gods being an expression of the love which is the very cement of the universe, holding things in order, in system, in organization; for love is magnetic, it is electric, it is all-permeant and holds everything in harmony and peace.
Suppose, on the other hand, that every man or every self-conscious and thinking entity equivalent to a man on earth, were a personal law unto himself, then what should we see everywhere? Disorganization, disorderliness, lawlessness, consummate anarchy, and hate and selfishness rampant. Pause a moment in thought over this, I beg of you. Yes, theosophists believe in organization and in system; but we are not slaves to either. We are not a church; we have no priesthood; we have no dogmas. Each one of us spiritually speaking is a priest-king, exactly as every human being is so in the inmost of the inmost of himself, if he only knew it; but being a priest-king in our divine part, we have the sense of kingly union, or raja-yoga, with all that lives.
We are responsible; every one is the keeper of all the rest, of all other things; and his responsibility becomes consciously, self-consciously, the heavier just in proportion as his own evolution is the more advanced. Do you expect much from the stone, or from the insensate stock? But you expect a great deal from a god, or from a god-man. Yes, every human being is a pathway unto the divine, the pathway of his own consciousness; and this divine is attained by man's union with his own inner god. Aham asmi parabrahma: "I am the Boundless" in my interior parts, as truly said the Hindu sages of old. And with that grand conception comes immediately the necessarily subsequent thought: Tat twam asi: "That art thou!" What a text these two statements of truth furnish for a lifetime of reflection! What a sublime hope!
I get all kinds of questions sent in to me for answer. The one I next take up is a personal one. I will tell you that I hesitated to bring it with me to the Temple this afternoon for obvious reasons. I will read to you this question, and then probably you will understand just how I felt when I myself first read it.
May I ask a personal question, without wishing to give any offense? Sometimes in your lectures you speak of yourself as having been taught, and as having been sent. Who taught you and who sent you? With apologies for the personal character of this question.
I could give you two answers to this question, and either one would be true. I am inclined to give you both answers! They will supplement each other.
In the first place, when one's heart is filled with the sense of an unaccomplished duty, and this goads you and pricks you and gives you no rest, then what does one do? If it is a right thing to be done, then you do it. That is what sent me, and this is one answer to the question. Every normal man and woman has at least at times the same feeling, the same inspiration from within, the same urge to do — to go and to deliver the message with which the heart is filled, and in my case this is the message which I have been taught. This overpowering inner urge therefore, is the first answer to the question. And the second is like unto it, and complementary of it. It is this: I was taught by the same teachers who sent H. P. Blavatsky to deliver her message to the world. There and by them was I trained; and this is the second answer to your question.
"Believe not," said in substance the Syrian sage of old to his disciples, "men when they come to you and tell you: 'Lo! I am the Christ, follow me!' Or when another one comes and says: 'Lo! I am the Christ, follow me!' Believe them not." But when one comes before you, in the name of the Christ-spirit, and tells you to follow truth whose ringing tones are heard in every normal heart of man, and who speaks in the name of the god within, in the name of the inner Christ, in the name of the inner Buddha, then, said in substance the Syrian sage, "He is my own. Follow him."
Do you see the difference? No theosophical teacher, lecturer, messenger, writer, will ever tell you, for instance: I alone bring you truth. But he will say to you: "I am a student of truth; this is what I have learned; this is what I have been taught; thus have I heard, therefore this is the message that I come to bring to you. You yourselves, each one of you, are an inner god in the inmost of the inmost of you. There within you is the foundation of truth everlasting, therefrom flow illumination and the soothing and refining spiritual influences of love and harmony and kindliness and compassion and pity and peace. Follow these."
He will also tell you at the same time that the great seers and sages of the human race, forming a brotherhood still extant on earth, are an organization, a society, teaching a formulation of divine truths, these truths expressed and systematized in human categories and language so that men's minds can understand them; and this systematic formulation of natural law and truth is the wisdom-religion of all the ages, today called theosophy.
Thus will a theosophical teacher speak to you. Thus will a theosophical writer speak to you. And I can tell you that the statement of Jesus, one of these Masters of Wisdom, is not contradictory of what I have just pointed out when he said: I am the Way, and the Life. Do you think that it was the young Hebrew man alone who spoke? Do you think that the body alone spoke? The body itself and by itself is naught but a carcass. No, it was the bright and flaming intelligence speaking through that body, it was the living god within it; and every one of you is such a god in his inmost parts; and therefore every one of you can say, with equivalent truth and with the strength and power and conviction belonging to his own status on the evolutionary pathway: I am the Way and the Life everlasting. So indeed are you! Therefore ally yourselves, each one of you, with your own inner god, and thus know the truth. It was the Christ within, the inner Buddha, the god within, who thus spake.
It is rather curious that three questions on closely similar lines of thought came in to me for answer this afternoon. The third and last is the following:
I am interested in your Sunday afternoon lectures, and I would like to ask you a question. I have not infrequently heard some people talk recently about world teachers. Do theosophists believe in world teachers, and if so, who and what are they? And what are the signs by which ordinary human beings may know them and recognize them?
Here again is a human heart asking for a sign! And with perfect right and propriety! The question is absolutely right and justifiable. Are you going to trust your immortal destiny to all and sundry, unless you see the insignia majestatis, the signs of majesty — spiritual and intellectual? You would be foolish to trust anyone in so serious a matter unless your own spiritual nature recognized the majestic spirituality of the one whom you accept as your teacher.
Of course theosophists believe in world teachers. But do we believe in all claimants who may announce themselves as world teachers? Certainly not! What kind of people do you think theosophists are? Are we a lunatic society? No. I have been in the Theosophical Movement as an active Fellow of The Theosophical Society for more than half my lifetime, a good deal more, and from boyhood I have been trained in theosophical thought, and I have not found that theosophists are either brainless or lunatical. I have found them on the whole to be a very solid-minded, thoughtful, careful body of people, very earnest at heart, very true, very kindly. Yes, theosophists believe in world teachers, but we accept only the real ones, and only where the insignia majestatis are clearly discernible.
Now, there is a very mysterious doctrine about this our belief, or rather a doctrine that is mysteriously wonderful, recondite, grand, on which our belief is founded, and I am going to give to you a brief outline of this doctrine. Detail I cannot now go into. It would take me a dozen days, lecturing all day long, and half the evening besides, I dare say, to set forth in its fullness what this mysteriously wonderful doctrine is; but the following is a brief outline of it.
The universe is filled full with gods, with cosmic spirits if you like the term better — with divine beings, hierarchies innumerable of them; and these hierarchies innumerable are the very framework and structure of the universe both invisible and visible. And the visible is but a cross-section of the universe, as it were, so that the invisible realms and spheres, filled with these entities — divine, quasi-divine, and but little higher than human beings — these invisible realms, I say, are therefore by far the larger part of the body corporate of the boundless spaces of space.
Everything that exists has its niche and place in nature's majestic scheme and structure. This is the hierarchical idea and it also means that nothing ever can be lost or radically separated from all other things. The human race, for instance, is a hierarchy on the human scale of evolution. Consequently, with the world filled full, infilled, with divine beings in all stages of evolutionary progress, varying as men also vary in their smaller degrees, and just as we have great men and men intermediate in power and character, and inferior men, just so are the gods existent in all stages of evolutionary advancement. Furthermore, all things hang inseparably together. All things are fundamentally inseparable, so that what happens in any one portion of the Universe, ultimately affects every other portion of the universe.
Is our earth, therefore, with its burthen of inhabitants radically separated from the rest of the boundless universe? How can that be? Of course not. We do not occupy such a unique and perfectly inexplicable situation. We are but one small globe in a boundless universe, yet that small globe has all the powers and potentialities of divinity within it, for it is an inseparable part of the whole, therefore partaking of every part of that whole.
Consequently, what these gods do who infill and actually make the universe is felt even by men on earth; and as all beings everywhere are all interconnected, we humans receive occasional visits, as it were, from one or another of these divine beings whose karma — in other words, whose origin and destiny — is connected with ours. These divinities, these divine beings, cannot manifest directly in and upon physical substance, for their own spheres of activity are entirely too pure and high. They cannot immediately and directly touch or influence physical substance, except by remote control, so to speak. Therefore, their way of reaching mankind and teaching men is through vehicles properly trained and prepared: high-minded men, spiritual men, men in whom the inner god is at least beginning to manifest itself.
Such a great man was the Buddha; such a great man was Jesus; such another man was Lao-tse; such a man again was Sankaracharya, the great founder of the Adwaita Vedantic School in India.
Furthermore, these world teachers come at periodic times, and this is an important fact to remember. Everything in nature moves in cycles, in orderly sequences. There is no disorderly action. Do you get this clearly? These world teachers manifest their transcendent powers at proper times, at cyclical intervals. Study history as far as history is known, and you will see their appearances, which will give you important hints for study.
Now, there are two kinds of world teachers — those I have just spoken of, divine entities who manifest through some great and sublime human being who has, through evolution and striving and aspiration and love, raised himself spiritually so that the god may manifest through him; and, on the other hand, there are human world teachers; and of these latter there are again two classes. One of these two classes we call avataras, and the other of these two classes, employing our own theosophical expression, we call the buddhas of compassion. The difference between these two classes of human world teachers is the following: an avatara is one who is, as I have just set it forth to you, a great and noble human being whose nature is translucent to the energies and illumination issuing forth from a divinity. Such an avatara was Jesus, such was Sankaracharya. These two are examples of human avataras, world teachers as we call them.
The other class of human world teachers are the buddhas of compassion; and do you know what these are? They are the noblest flowers of the human race, men who have raised themselves from humanity into quasi-divinity; and this is done by letting the light imprisoned within, the light of the inner god, pour forth and manifest itself through the humanity of the man, through the human soul of the man. Such a one we call a buddha of compassion. I feel that this last class is the nobler and higher of the two human classes, for, through self-directed evolution, as our beloved Katherine Tingley so frequently said — through sacrifice and abandoning of all that is mean and wrong, ignoble and paltry and selfish, through opening up the inner nature so that the god within may shine forth, in other words through evolution — they have raised themselves from mere manhood into becoming god-men, man-gods.
What, then, are the signs by which we may know these? Remember that these two classes of human world teachers are, on the one hand, a human being who becomes the human vehicle of a god; and, on the other hand, the buddhas of compassion who by self-directed evolution and effort have raised themselves from manhood into human divinity. What, then, are the signs by which we shall recognize one or the other of these two general classes?
The Buddha, the greatest and noblest of the sons of men who have ever lived in recorded history, the most compassionate, was the very incarnation of wisdom and love. He brought peace, he brought the knowledge of love and compassion unto his fellow men; not only by his example in his daily life and by his teachings did he show unto men the way everlasting, but he also taught his arhats, his disciples if you like, the great and wondrous mysteries of the esoteric wisdom-philosophy of the world. He founded what is perhaps today the noblest religion on earth; and in his name never has a drop of human blood been shed. Never has there been any direct religious persecution in Buddhist lands. Never has there been an intolerant ecclesiastical system and priesthood derivative from or founded upon the teachings of Gautama the Buddha!
"By what signs shall ye know them?" I have told you. How do you know a good man from an evil one? In this question you have the key to your answer. Shall I go into detail and blind your understanding and mislead you with a wealth of detailed illustration, because your experience may not be just the same as mine? Or shall I give to you a hint, knowing that your hearts will gather my meaning? The latter I do.
Do you know, since these world teachers come at cyclical periods, who the world teacher was who came most recently? At the proper turn of the cycle? It was the messenger of the Masters of Wisdom and Compassion, H. P. Blavatsky. It is moral and spiritual qualities which sway the hearts of men, and not talk. It is truth and love unbounded which steal into the hearts of men which sway their minds and therefore their destiny, and not talk.
H. P. Blavatsky came at the cyclical period: she suffered, she taught, and then when her work was finished, she went Home. Her case belonged to the first class of the two kinds of world teachers which I have described to you — a great and noble human being who was the vehicle of a lofty intelligence working through that grand human nature — a true world teacher.
Be not deceived! Nature is not mocked. I have heard it said that H. P. Blavatsky was not altogether such, because she had ways about her, and did things that the speakers did not like. What did she do? She smashed prejudices, she broke open stony human hearts, and let the divine light flow out and flow in. She battered to earth all mean and ignoble shams that came under her attention. With her titanic intellect, with the urge of the spiritual energy driving it and guiding it, she never hesitated to tell truth, and to tell it in no uncertain terms. I am reminded of Jesus in the Temple driving out the money-changers. He too was a "trouble maker"; he too was a "mischief maker." Pause and reflect!
This is a question of quite a different type.
What have theosophists to say regarding the so-called cosmic rays so marvelously investigated by the American scientist, Dr. Robert A. Millikan? Does this all mean that the universe is in a continuous state of regeneration instead of being in a continuous state of running down, as former scientists used to teach?
This is a good question. It shows that people are beginning to think. You know, I suppose, what the old idea was in the days of our fathers and grandfathers: that we lived in a wholly material universe, and that there was not anything else. There was not any interior — no invigorating, no inspiriting, interior; there was just the shell of things, an empty shell. In fact it was not even thought of as a shell; it was just it, and there was no interior at all. Everything ran according to what are called natural laws, arising nobody knew how or whence; and consequently everything ran haphazard according to these laws. Atoms chased each other all around the universe; and that was all there was to the idea; and in fact it seemed to be the idea that atoms did not run in circles except by chance! This was the happy conception. "Fortuitous concourse of atoms": those of you who have my age will remember what a noble phrase that once was thought to be.
Now our scientists are beginning to see visions and to dream dreams. They know more about things; they do not dogmatize — so much! They are beginning to think more, and to have a vision. That is a great and saving grace — having a vision. It opens the doorways to the entrance of truth into human hearts and minds, and inculcates modesty. We now find our great scientists saying that the so-called material universe is not fundamentally matter at all — that matter is nothing but another form of energy, and in fact that energy and matter are fundamentally one thing, which is precisely what theosophists teach and have always taught, and precisely what the ancients, the great men of the ancients, in all countries and in all ages have taught.
The superstition of the ancients, called superstition by our fathers and grandfathers, is the orthodox scientific teaching of today, at least in general principles. We have men like Professor Eddington in Britain speaking about the fundamental of the universe as being mind-stuff. How familiar this sounds to those who have studied the thoughts and the literary works of the ancients! How familiar to theosophists this is! Only we give to this cosmic fundamental another name; but what does the name matter if the idea is the same, if this courageous and eminent scientist has seized at least the end of the Ariadne's thread which will lead him out of the labyrinth of ignorance and materialism into the glorious sunlight of spiritual and intellectual freedom?
Cosmic Rays! Millikan has done a wonderful work, adopting an idea first enunciated by a German scientist. The great American has carried out in research work and development of theory this fundamental idea, until his energy and tireless faculty of resourcefulness and research have enabled him to see, and in seeing to tell us, what he has found out about one of the unknown parts of the universe: these cosmic rays.
When you remember that the entire physical universe is builded of atoms, and that these atoms themselves are builded mostly of holes, so-called empty space — merely called empty because we do not know what that still finer substance called emptiness is, with which even the atoms are filled — when you realize that the so-called apparently dense and physical universe is mostly holes, empty spaces, then you begin to see how unsubstantial this material universe is, and your mind is led on by thought after thought, if you follow logical processes, first to sense, then sensing to begin to realize, then realizing to see, that this physical universe is but an expression, an organic garment, so to say, of the energies, powers, forces, faculties, and of the directing intelligences, existing behind the veil in the invisible realms and worlds.
Cosmic Rays: what are they supposed to be today? I will read to you something that was sent to me yesterday or the day before, by a friend. It is a clipping from the Times newspaper of Los Angeles. I won't read all of it, because it is a bit long. I will read a few extracts.
Cosmic rays have their origin in the energy released when clusters of hydrogen atoms fall together in interstellar space and create the common elements out of which the universe is made. . . .
In his 'cycle in cosmos,' the California Institute head advances a theory which sets aside the age-old scientific belief [Age-old! seventy or eighty years, a mere scientific babe, and already forgotten, gone to the dust heap!] that through the gradual loss of energy the universe eventually will again become a void without form. Instead of this gloomy forecast, the cycle-theory holds out hope that electrons annihilated in the stars do not die, but have a rebirth in radiant energy which ultimately becomes the stuff of which new stars and worlds are made. . . .
This cosmic cycle-theory supposes that the annihilation of positive and negative electrons in the stars gives rise to the radiant energy which produces hydrogen. A 'falling together of hydrogen atoms' then occurs as the next step in the recreative process.
When these hydrogen clusters combine under the influence of low conditions of temperature and density existing in interstellar space, the third progressive step in the cycle has been completed. The speculation supposes further that these heavier elements, including helium, oxygen, and nitrogen, become parts of nebulae, and that the fifth stage in the endless creative and annihilative chain occurs when these elements, condensed from nebulae, form the stars, wherein the atoms are again broken down, unleashing energy again. From energy to stars, or from stars to energy, no beginning and no ending is the picture presented by the new theory of material change.
. . . it appears to be proved that cosmic rays are born at the point on the creative chain where the heavier elements are formed by hydrogen and that they obtain their energy from this formative process.
Well, in substance this is a return to an old theory of an English doctor, a chemical researcher, who died in 1850, Prout, whose theory was that the fundamental element of all the range of the chemical elements was hydrogen, and that idea has now become the practically orthodox theory of scientists today as regards the genesis of chemical elements.
Theosophists do not object to the names that scientists give to these things. We have not the slightest objection to calling these rays cosmic rays, and to saying that all the subsequent elements after hydrogen are born by agglomerations of hydrogen atoms, which by their union and combinations produce all the other elements of the range of the chemical scale.
So far, it is all good; but after all, this is but a picture of effects. It presents only a cosmic effect and says not a word about causes. It reminds me of a man seeing a series of automobiles rushing along the road. Are you going to be satisfied by saying, as an explanation of this phenomenon, that you saw numbers of curious-looking things chasing each other along the road, things which are neither pulled nor pushed, but all proceeding in the same direction? No. Your intelligence tells you that there is something within or behind this phenomenon. There is a purposive energy, a directing intelligence, a conscious power, behind it all, and so theosophists say when we envisage the physical universe around us that there are directing energies, intelligent powers, which produce the manifold diversity in the physical universe that we see and which universe is so coherent, so consistent, so logical, so consequential in its orderly processes.
Everything works together like clockwork. Everything is organized, systematized, most marvelously, most wonderfully. What does it? What produces it? Whence does all this wonderful symmetry, this orderliness, this organic unity, arise? Could the cosmos exist ten consecutive seconds of time if there were not orderliness and law, which signify intelligence, guiding it? Just imagine what utter disorderliness, lawlessness, chance, would signify! In fact you cannot imagine it because it is inconceivable. In fact such a state does not exist. It is a fantasy of the mind, like a fantasy that I have in my mind when I imagine a paved concrete roadway from the earth to the moon. I can talk about that, and I can mentally see it, but I know that it cannot exist. It is what the great Greek, Plato, called a fantasy. No, what theosophists have to say about these so-called cosmic rays, and about a great many other things, is reduced to one simple principle, and it is this: that behind and within the marvelous phenomena and productions of physical nature, exist and work vast and complex hierarchies of conscious, self-conscious, and intelligent, and sentient beings.
As regards the part of the question asking whether there be a continuous state of regeneration instead of the old-fashioned idea of the universe being in a continuous state of running down, I gladly add the following observations: The universe, like everything else, like all manifested entities great or small, has its time periods — its beginning, its culmination in evolution or growth, its decay, and its end — but phoenix-like, after a long period of cosmic rest, the universe springs into life from the ashes of the former phoenix; and this new universe is in very fact both interiorly and exteriorly, spiritually, psychically, and physically, the reimbodiment of the preceding universe, of the universe that was, in other words of the former phoenix-universe. And this, I may add in passing, is the esoteric meaning of the Greek legend of the phoenix.
The old scientific idea that the universe was running down, and was but a machine, has only this much of truth in it: that there does indeed come a time in the universe, as there does in the life of man, when it sinks into repose, or dies as the phrase runs; but this really is a liberation of the enchained cosmic-spiritual, cosmic-psychic and cosmic-physical energies. But during its entire life period of manifestation, the two processes of building up and of decay work together continuously and without break of continuity. We die daily, said the Christian Apostle Paul, and he uttered a great truth. The atoms of the physical body of man have their life periods and die, and then are renewed, and this continues as long as the physical body of man lasts.
So is it with the universe. The processes of regeneration and of degeneration are proceeding concurrently throughout the entire period of universal manifestation. One part of the universe may be sinking into repose, while another part may be rising into a new span of life.
I could say much more about this, but time is pressing. Our theosophical teaching is that a universe is an embodied entity, which proceeds along the evolutionary path through eternity, with intervals of manifestation or life succeeded by corresponding intervals of withdrawal of the inspiriting and invigorating energies within and behind the physical veil or garment; but these inspiriting and invigorating energies return again in due course of time to build up a new universe which is not only the child of the preceding universe, but is, in fact, a reimbodiment of all the constituent elements, powers, energies, faculties, of the universe that the preceding universe contained and had, and in fact was.
Splendid achievements have our modern scientists made, wonderful advances, not only in thought but in discovery; and it is especially to our ultramodern scientists that the theosophist renders due meed of grateful acknowledgment for the splendid work they do. To the theosophist the scientist is his best friend, and I mean here the great minds among them, not the mere camp followers: in very truth the great minds among the scientists are our unconscious allies. I could give you a long list of teachings of theosophy that we have enunciated during the last fifty years or so, and that have been proved true by later discoveries of our great scientific men. You will find these corroborations set forth in our theosophical books.
But here is a point to remember: whatever may be the theories or hypotheses of these great scientific researchers, many of these researchers are approaching close in their speculations and theories to the frontiers of the invisible worlds; many of these men, in the heart of the heart of each, know that intelligence is behind the veil of the outward seeming — and a few brighter and more illuminated minds among them realize that intelligences are behind the phenomena of material nature, and that this diversity of guiding agents is the cause of the diversities that we see in the physical universe — the cause of the orders, classes, grades, families, and species, among so-called animate things and likewise that these guiding agents produce the diversities that we see on the cosmic scale. I believe that in a little while, relatively speaking, the religion-philosophy-science of our greatest scientists will be the wisdom-religion of antiquity today called theosophy. I don't see how they can avoid coming to it. Each new discovery is bringing our greatest scientific minds closer and closer to us theosophists. For let me tell you that he is not a theosophist who passes his time in idle dreams. Life is earnest; life is real. He is not a theosophist who believes all things that he may be told.
He is a theosophist who lives and does theosophy — spiritually alert, intellectually awakened, psychically sensitive, physically healthy — and the last is the least important. Such a one has all the material foundation for becoming a true theosophist. A theosophist, therefore, is one who loves all things both great and small, who feels his heart beat in sympathy with all that is, who cultivates the faculties of intellect and will that he desires for the sake of devoting them on the altar of truth and of humanity, and not for his own selfish purposes. A theosophist is one who is ever ready to give up self for others; and who does it oh! so gladly! There is a joy in this which none may know who have not experienced it.
"To thine own self be true," as the great English poet-dramatist said, and "thou canst not then be false to any man." For being true to yourself does not mean true to your own interests, for that is disloyalty to your higher self, but it means to be true to the inmost of yourself, to your real self — the source, the fountain, of the best that is in you. Are you the garments that you wear, or are you yourself? You are yourself. Be true to it, true to the inner god, that bright and flaming intelligence-heart which is the root of your being and which also is your ultimate destiny.
Live, and in living learn; learn the truth, and in embodying truth, truly live. Be the god within you. Nothing then will mislead you, nothing then can mar or change what you are in your heart of hearts, for divinity will be fighting for you, divinity will carry your burdens. Where now your heart is torn and rent in pain and sorrow, so that oft ye know not whither to turn, then shall peace and love come stealing into your heart and will guide, will enlighten, because they will illuminate, your pathway unto the gods, which pathway is yourself, your divine self.
The way by which to find this path, the manner of approach to it, is self-forgetfulness, just as when on the distant mountain peaks you see the dawn, and all things small and personal fall away from you. It is the self-forgetful man who is great; it is the self-forgetful woman who is sublime. Self-forgetfulness (marvelous paradox!) is the way to find the self divine.
Vol 1, No 52