Theosophical University Press Online Edition
(Lecture delivered November 23, 1930)
CONTENTS: Sleep and death are brothers. — Every awakening is a new incarnation. — The essential difference between sleep and death. Death is a fulfillment of spiritual yearnings. — What causes dreams? — Dreams of the post- mortem period. — The marvel of the growing child. — Does an extra-cosmic God create your destiny? — Where do our inner powers come from? — Death is a time of assimilation. — What speakers on psychism say. — An explanation of the varying quality of dreams. — The length of the devachanic period. — What about the utter materialist? — A word about suicide. — Leonhard Euler, the Swiss mathematician, on "Sleep and Death." — Do you need proof of the strength of your inner god? — Katherine Tingley's Invocation: "O My Divinity!" — Did a world-soul use the body of H. P. Blavatsky as an instrument? — The divine labor of the Masters of Wisdom. — Have the fiery courage of the god in your heart of hearts!
Sleep and death! For how many ages have men thought over these two, these two interruptions of human consciousness: one so obvious, sleep, that we all are cognizant of it and yet pause in wonder when we think of it; and the other, death, an apparent utter cessation of consciousness, presenting a problem, so some say, that no human spirit has ever solved. And they say this untruly and unwisely; for I tell you, my Brothers, that each one of you, given the right key, can solve all the mysteries of sleep and therefore of death, because sleep and death are psycho-physical brothers. Hypnos kai thanatos adelphoi, said the ancient Greeks: "Sleep and death are brothers." It is true. Exactly the same succession of events takes place in death that ensues when we lay ourselves in bed at night and drop off into that wonderland of consciousness we call sleep; and when we awaken rested, composed, refreshed, reinvigorated, and ready for the fray and problems of the daily life again, we find that we are the identic persons that we were before the sleep began. In Sleep we have a break of consciousness; in death also there is a break of consciousness. In sleep we have dreams, or a greater or less unconsciousness; and in death we have dreams — blissful, wondrous, spiritual — or blank unconsciousness. As we awaken from sleep, so do we return to earth again in the next reincarnation in order to take up the tasks of our karmic life in a new human body.
Here then is one difference between sleep and death, but a difference of circumstance and by no means of kind: after sleep we return to the same body; after death we take upon ourselves a new body. We incarnate, we reincarnate, every day when we wake from sleep; because what has passed, what has happened to us, what has ensued, while the physical body is asleep, is identic, but of very short term, with what takes place, with what ensues, with what happens, when and after we die.
Death is an absolute sleep, a perfect sleep, a perfect rest; sleep is an incomplete death, an imperfect death, and often troubled with fevered and uneasy dreams on account of the imperfection of the conscious entity — call it soul, if you like — which the human ego is. Death and sleep are brothers. What happens in sleep takes place in death — but perfectly so. What happens in death and after death, takes place when we sleep — but imperfectly so. We incarnate anew every time when we awake, because awaking means that the entity which temporarily has left the body during sleep — the brain-mind, the astral-physical consciousness — returns into that body, incarnates itself anew, and thus the body awakens with the psychical fire again invigorating the blood and the tissues and the nerves. Sleep and death are brothers.
Death has no real terrors. There is no death, if by that term we mean a perfect and complete, an utter and absolute, cessation of all that is. Examine yourselves, examine your consciousness, examine your feelings, examine your thoughts, look into your own self, test it, and you will find that what I tell you is true. Have you ever feared in going to your bed and in lying down and in losing consciousness? No. It is so natural; it is so happy an occurrence; it is so restful. Nature rests and the tired brain reposes; and the inner constitution, the soul if you like so to call it, is temporarily withdrawn during the sleeping period into the higher consciousness of the human being — the ray, so to speak, is absorbed back into the inner spiritual sun.
Just exactly the same thing takes place at death; but in death the worn-out garment is cast aside; the repose also is long, utterly beautiful, utterly blissful, filled with glorious and magnificent dreams, and with hopes unrealized which now are realized in the consciousness of the spiritual being. This dreaming condition is a panorama of the fulfillment of all our noblest hopes and of all our dreams of unrealized spiritual yearnings. It is a fulfillment of them all in glory and bliss and perfect completion and plenitude.
Why do we dream when we sleep? Is it the reflex action of the molecules of the cortex of the brain, or an automatic reaction of the nervous system of the body? Explanations such as these that have been given at various times contain each one its own small modicum of truth. But all such explanations describe merely the bare physical mechanisms of the thing. Behind the mechanism there is a mechanic, so to speak. Dreaming is a withdrawal of the self-consciousness, and it is this which produces sleep; and, on the other hand, it is the greater, the perfect, the absolute, withdrawal of the same self-consciousness, of the thinking and self-conscious entity leaving the body — casting it aside as a worn-out garment — that brings about death: yes, and this is the case even in the death which comes as the sequel of disease, or which comes as the sequel of accident or of violence. The mechanisms in all cases are the same.
We dream when we sleep because of the thoughts that we have had, and the emotions that we have experienced, and the deeds that we have done during the waking day tiring the brain. Similarly we dream when we die; but our dreams in this case are not at all distorted by the influences of the psycho-physical part of us, as always takes place in the dreams of mere sleep; but the body being cast off at death and the astral part being left behind to decompose in the astral realms, the spiritual nature is finally freed and thereafter feels no terrestrial influences more. The soul has now returned to its own spiritual source; it has withdrawn into the bosom of the spiritual part of the human being, into the part much higher than the human soul is; and there the soul, purified of all material yearnings, rests in its own sphere, in perfect peace, in perfect bliss, dreaming dreams of all the deeds that it longed to do and could not do; seeing the accomplishment in its consciousness of all the nobler acts that it wanted to achieve in the life last past and that it could not or did not achieve — dreams of spiritual beauty, dreams of spiritual happiness, dreams of spiritual peace, dreams of unspeakable reality; because these dreams of the post-mortem period, being spiritual dreams, are more intensely vivid, more intensely real, to the experiencing consciousness than is our original consciousness in the physical body when awake.
This physical body of ours interferes with our perception of reality, and dims and tarnishes our vision and nobler feelings. It beclouds the consciousness; it weighs it down; it distorts both thought and feeling. In physical life the passions of all kinds have their play in all their fevered heat; but after death all that is left behind; there is then nothing at all to interfere with the utter bliss of the disembodied entity, which is now freed.
Death and sleep are brothers. Nay, more, they are one, and only called brothers because they are two aspects, so to say, of the same thing — the spiritual and the physical — two phases, two manifestations, of the same thing, which is consciousness.
Pause a moment in thought: A little child is born. Its faculties at birth are undeveloped. It shows but little more actual intelligence when born than does the young of the beast. But as the days fly by, as the weeks become the months and the months the years, we see a great wonder taking place before our eyes. We see the growth of self-consciousness; we see a marvelous and yet familiar fire of understanding in the eye of the little one; we begin to see the self-consciousness of the supernal light of spirit. The inner faculties, including the mind, are beginning to show themselves; and this process continues until adulthood is reached, and the man is then in the plenitude of his powers for that life so far as evolution has brought them forth.
But where do these inner powers come from? Don't let your minds be psychologized by the ideas of the materialism of the past, which have been abandoned by the leading thinkers today, scientific and other. Where do these powers come from that the child shows? I repeat. We see intellect inscribing works of genius which shake the hearts of men, giving birth to all the beautiful things which ornament human life — we know and love the poet, the seer, the philosopher, the religious teacher, producing all the wonders that the genius of man brings forth — and I ask you again, where do they come from? Furthermore, in following the same line of thought, why is it that some men are so great, and others less great and others less great still? And above those who are so great are the nobler scattered few — the noblest flowers of the human race, the titanic intellects and spiritual seers of humanity. Again I ask you: where do these powers come from?
Did a God create a man so, according to the old outworn theory, predestinating one child to the hovel of misery, and predestinating some other child to be born in the palace of the prince; predestinating one child to be a genius, and some other man to live his life long hungering for self-expression and unable to bring forth what is within him from lack of power to self-express the faculties of the inner god? Will you believe that — that some God, some extracosmic God, created men so? Then you belong to the past ages, you are a Medievalist in mind, and before you stand the unsolvable problems of cosmic and human responsibility and justice.
Theosophists say that these inner powers in a man were developed in other former lives on earth, lives lived in the past; so that when the reincarnating ego comes back to earth on its cyclical pilgrimage around the spheres, spheres inner and spheres outer, it comes back as a treasure-house of talents, talents and genius laid up in the treasure-house of itself: faculty, power, both being the fruits of human experience, such experience as you are gaining even now every day. The reincarnating ego comes back rested, reposed, from its Devachan, as theosophists call it, from the "heaven world," if you like the phrase better; and it comes back rested, having assimilated the spiritual experience which it had garnered to itself, to its consciousness, in these wondrous and vivid "dreams" of the devachan. The post-mortem period is a period of spiritual and intellectual digestion, of assimilation of the experiences acquired during the life just closed or previously closed. So also is sleep a period of assimilation, and the rebuilding of the tired entity which sleeps. This is a brief outline of the close similarity, indeed identity, of death and sleep.
Death and sleep are essentially one. Sleep is an incomplete and imperfect death. Death is a complete and perfect sleep. Consider: consciousness, relative immobility on the bed, then lack of consciousness, followed by dreams, or perhaps unconsciousness. Death is an absolute sleep, a perfect sleep, in which the enshrouding body and the inferior part of the inner constitution of man have been cast aside as so much deadweight enclosing the fiery consciousness of the spiritual part of man's constitution. Otherwise, the two processes respectively of death and of sleep are identic. Sleep and death are one process expressing itself in two phases of manifestation.
You hear a great deal sometimes from so-called speakers on psychism (and I desire to use no words that may hurt or wound anyone) about what happens after death or during sleep. What they tell you is, practically all of it, fragments of misunderstood teachings of the old religions of the Orient — grand old religions as they even yet are, wonderful when you have the key to them, but easily misunderstood and therefore misinterpreted by those who possess not the keys to open their real meaning.
As a matter of fact, when a man sleeps — lays himself down on his bed and drops off, as people say, into unconsciousness — the astral body of him, the link between the physical body and the next superior part of his inner constitution, slowly oozes from the physical body and remains outside of it, but always very close to the physical body and attached to that physical body by astral-vital bonds of union; and when this vacating of the physical body is imperfect and not complete, then dreams, and usually evil dreams, trouble the sleeping brain. Dreams themselves may be dreams of beauty, they may be dreams of horror, they may be intermediate between the two, or they may be trifling dreams, and it is common to speak of evil dreams and good dreams; but whatever the type of dream may be, all varieties of dream depend upon, first, the life that the man leads generally, and second, upon what the man has last thought and last felt and last done before he fell asleep. Just so is the case of the devachan, the heaven world, after death, except that in the case of the devachan only dreams of spiritual beauty take place. If the man during his life has had lofty aspirations, has aspired towards, has yearned and hoped and labored for, lofty and beautiful things, and has been unable to translate these yearnings and aspirations into action, then all his devachanic dreams are sublime; for his spiritual consciousness is at work in a most vivid and real way, running over the gamut of all the things that it longed to do and hoped to do and could not do but now is doing — in thought-consciousness, which men call dreams.
He who was a musician on earth, in the devachan weaves in thought music of indescribable beauty; the poet in the devachan makes poems which are spiritually unearthly in their splendor; the philosopher, due to his spiritual faculty of going behind the veil of the outward seeming, when in the devachanic state goes into the very womb of being in thought. In all cases, the entity in the devachan, in the heaven world, dreams his beautiful dreams exactly according to the way he lived in the last life, and according to the thoughts of grandeur and beauty and unrealized splendor that he had when last living in the body.
Contrariwise, those who have led an ignoble existence, whose physical lifetime had been brightened by no thought of beauty or of impersonality or of self-forgetfulness, and who had no yearnings at all of a lofty kind — what is there for such death-sleeping entities to dream of? Little indeed. And therefore their post-mortem state is one of almost complete unconsciousness, because during the life last passed they built up no treasury of aspiration, of love, of hope, of yearning for sublime things; and consequently the mind rests in unconsciousness, for it has no seeds in itself producing dreams of beauty and splendor.
Thirdly, the man who is intermediate between one of noble soul and one of ignoble soul has a devachanic or heaven-world state which is indeed one of dreams, but of dreams much less vivid, much less clear, slight, vague; and his rest period in the devachan is short. Do you understand the idea? It is easily understood.
The man who is noble in heart and in intellect, who cannot find an outlet on earth for the expression of his inner faculties, lives long in the devachan or heaven world after his decease, because in that devachan he finds an expansive expression of all the best parts of his inner constitution, of his psycho-spiritual being; and his stay in the devachan or heaven world may be for several thousands of years. On the other hand, the utter materialist, the man of base, ignoble existence, has after death a period of almost complete unconsciousness, and, furthermore, at its completion returns to take up a body in a worse condition of physical existence than the one he previously was in. Such a man had his chances of improvement, spiritually and mentally and morally, in the last life, and either ignored those chances or neglected them. He failed to pass the examinations of life in his last incarnation on earth, and thus by nature's laws is demoted to a lower state of human existence.
You see, therefore, that man cannot trifle with nature's laws. Man makes himself to be exactly what he becomes: what he wills, what he desires, what he instinctively turns to, he will obtain. If his desires and yearnings are sublime and lofty, he proceeds steadily forward in evolution from good to better; but if he neglects his chances and lives a gross life involved in physical appetites and yearnings, he returns to the same thing in his next incarnation, but on a lower grade than he had before, and his pathway is downwards — unless, indeed, he reforms his character and begins to climb anew.
Yes, keep the thought in your mind, my Brothers, that sleep and death are one — not two, but one. Remember that when you lie down to sleep on your bed you die a little death. This will cast out fear from your hearts when you realize its truth. Death will thus become familiar to you. The thought of death will become friendly; and when your time comes to die you will die gladly and you will die with a will. I repeat that death and sleep are one. Sleep is an imperfect, incomplete death; and death is an absolute, perfect, complete sleep; but sleep and death are essentially one process of change.
Remember that you are a child of infinitude, each one of you, inseparable from the boundless universe in which we all live and move and have our being; remember that you are well taken care of by almighty nature's laws, which brought you here, which will take you out from this life, and which will infallibly guide you on your way. Trust yourself then to death in happy confidence; die with a strong and happy will; die with gladness when your time comes; be not afraid. Mock at the phantom of death — mock at the old hideous specter which the fearful imagination of ignorance wove in the hearts and minds of men. Mock at that specter, that evil thing of the imagination! Cast it out! Remember that you are well taken care of.
What ye will receive either in life or in death, and how ye will receive it, lies wholly in your own control. Have you dealt well and wisely with the talents — to use the metaphor of the Christian New Testament — that have been entrusted to your hands? Have ye fought a good fight? Have you been faithful to your charge? Have you been clean in life and decent in thought? Angels, indeed, the teachers do not expect men to be; but men can at least realize that they are men — expressions in physical body of an inner, divine being, the inner god of each one of us. As ye live, as ye think, as ye feel, and further as ye act correspondingly, so will be your sleep — either the sleep at night or the sleep of that longer period which men call death. When ye rest — in the body or out of the body — ye will dream in either case, digesting, assimilating, and building into yourself as character what you have made yourself to be. Every man is the maker of himself — for man is his own parent. Naught else rules your destiny, naught else guides your evolution.
Ye are gods feebly manifesting your transcendent divine powers through bodies of flesh. Live accordingly, and receive the guerdon of the gods when ye die. Be not afraid.
I tell you, my Brothers, that when one who has studied our wondrous theosophical teachings receives the light, it becomes his duty to pass that light on to others, to awaken others, to give them what he himself has received. No true theosophist will ever tell you to believe anything merely because some lecturer says so, or because the theosophical leader says so, or because it is written in our books. Never! Every true theosophical lecturer will tell his audience: This is the teaching of the ancient wisdom-religion of mankind today called theosophy. The great seers of the ages have tested it, have proved it, have sent their percipient consciousness behind the veil of the outward seeming and seeing, have known, and knowing have brought back what they themselves learned, and thereafter have taught.
Therefore test the teaching yourselves. Prove it yourselves. Don't take anything on mere faith. If anything that is ever said to you in a theosophical lecture hall appeals to you as wrong, then reject it with all the strength of your being; and if anything is ever said in a theosophical lecture hall that appeals to you as truth, then be true men and hold to that truth with a will and with courage. Have the courage of your convictions and proclaim them, and thus help us Theosophists to pass on the glad tidings that we have received in common. You may make mistakes in following this splendid rule of spiritual and intellectual independence; but even if you should make a mistake or indeed many mistakes, nevertheless you will be exercising your own faculties and inner powers; and this exercise will give them strength, and in time you will gain a clearer vision as you live.
In order to round out the thought regarding death, do not for a moment imagine that the theosophist ever teaches or approves of self-murder, commonly called suicide. This is always wrong, because it is immoral and cowardly. The fate of the suicide is a sad one, indeed a terrible one, and it is good and right that the truth concerning suicide be told. The suicide willfully cuts short the life that nature, or as theosophists say, that karma, intended to be longer, and he has thus placed himself in a post-mortem condition in which he must live and suffer greatly until the term of his lifetime, had he lived on earth, is closed. The fate of the suicide is an awful one. I have elaborated this matter on other occasions, in other lectures, to which I now refer you.
Leonhard Euler, who died in 1783, a very famous Swiss mathematician and a very remarkable man, who was unusually intuitive in some ways, wrote the following, which I have extracted and which I will now read to you:
Sleep furnishes something like an example (prefiguration) of the state of the soul after death, as the union of soul and body is then in a great measure interrupted; yet the soul ceases not from activity, being employed in the production of dreams. These are usually disturbed by the remaining influence which the senses exercise; and we know by experience that the more this influence is suspended, which is the case in profound sleep, the more regular and connected are our dreams. Thus, after death we shall find ourselves in a more perfect state of dreaming which nothing shall be able to decompose. It will consist of representations and reasonings perfectly sustained.
This is one of the most remarkable passages concerning sleep and death that I have ever found in a European writer. An initiate into the Mysteries could not have written more to the point and with greater effect. Euler is perfectly right. Our dreams are the more vivid, the more real, to the consciousness just in proportion as the inferior part of us, the body and the astral-vital parts, are utterly quiescent. When this lower part of the human constitution is cast off in death, then the spiritual consciousness expands over its own fields of activity, which are the cosmos, the universe; and the psychomental part, commonly called the soul, is withdrawn into the bosom of this spiritual part and rests there in its devachan of blissful, peaceful dream.
And now a few words: When a man while alive on earth can ally himself with his own inner god, with the divine entity at the very root of his being, then he dreams no more but becomes divinely self-conscious — becomes godlike in his consciousness; for then his consciousness takes cosmic sweep, expands to embrace the solar system and even beyond; and though living on earth he walks among his fellows as a god-man. This not only can be done but has often been done, and done again and again; and the great titanic seers and intellects, the great spiritual visionaries of the human race, were just such god-men: the Buddha, Sankaracharya, Jesus the Syrian, Lao-tse, Krishna, Pythagoras — oh! a host of them — were such god-men; some were greater than others, but all, each one of them, in greater or less degree, had become at one with his own inner god, with what the modern mystical Christian calls his immanent Christ, the Christ dwelling within him: theosophists say the inner god.
There is one inner god for each human being. This inner god is your own divine essence, for a human being is composite; he is not just soul and body. Examine yourselves; examine your own instincts; examine your intuitions. Have you no intimations of things which are beyond your ordinary human understanding — sudden and wonderful flashes of light? Have you not at least in some degree the vision? Cannot you see, even though it be only at times? It is the light from above, from within — from within and above you, from your own inner god, which produces these wonderful moments of light and of inspiration. O my Brothers, why not become at one with this divinity within you? Why be like the swine in the sty, groveling in the mud, when within you is a god?
What I have told you this afternoon is the teaching of all the great sages and seers of the ages, who have lived and taught in all countries and in all ages. They teach one fundamental doctrine, although that doctrine is expressed in different languages because given at different times to different races of men, and given in different formulations; but it is always the same essential, fundamental doctrine — truth.
I have many questions to answer this afternoon. Here is one:
It is said that "form implies limitation." Is the god within the physical form of man limited by or to the capacity of the physical form, or is it free to mingle with the universe, regardless of physical limitations?
It does mingle with the universe; the universe is essentially itself. Furthermore, the god is not within the physical body. This is obvious. You human beings, we human beings, I, you, are simply feeble manifestations as individuals of a ray from the divinity at the core of each of us. This divinity, which is our own highest essence, our own highest being, manages to send a ray of its sublime, of its divine, essence through all the portions of man's constitution till finally it reaches the physical brain and gives it the light of thought and consciousness. The physical is but the vehicle, the last outward shell, of man's constitution; and this inner god dwells in its own realms and enlightens us with a ray; and this ray is our human soul. My inner god, or your inner god, in each case mingles with the universe, because it is a divine child of the divine part of the universe, of the invisible, spiritual, divine part of the universe, and therefore it is inseparable from the universe.
Indeed, even our physical bodies are inseparable parts of the universe: the atoms, the chemical atoms, of which our physical bodies are composed, are the same chemical atoms that compose the stone, or the wood, or the metal, or the planet, or the star which begems the violet dome of night. The atoms which compose my physical encasement leave me and return to me; so do yours; they pass through me or through you and return again. The physical body is but a more or less transient, more or less permanent, form, held together by the cohering life-will of the entity I call I.
Hence I ask you again: Why not follow this spiritual ray — this ray issuing to and in each one from your own inner god — why not follow it to its divine source? You can do it in consciousness. And, as you try, as you work to that end, you can so purify the lower part of your constitution that this ray will no longer be a feeble gleam of light touching and enlivening the physical brain, but will irradiate all your consciousness as a man, so that even in the physical body you can have a cosmic consciousness, because you then will have become at one with your own inner god. O my Brothers, I hope you understand. The teaching is so simple, and yet to Occidental ears so strange. Remember that it is the teaching of all the great sages and seers. It was the teaching of Jesus called the Christ; it was the teaching of Gautama Buddha; it was the teaching of all the other great ones. You hold it in your own willpower and imagination to achieve this grand consummation of all evolution. You can each one of you be a god. Be your own inner god, which is a spark of the central, divine fire of the universe. Pray think over my words with care.
Here is a question very much the same as the last:
Despite the conviction that there is a god within each and every one of us, may not an immortal mortal be pardoned for not seeing the way clear to take that inner god seriously?
Looking backward or scrutinizing the present, and observing the fearful things that men do — the periodical wars of slaughter for patriotic or political reasons, and of birds and animals for sport, man's inhumanity, greed, selfishness, covetousness, thirst for wealth and fame, the misuse of power, and adoration of the great god Mammon — all this does much to shake one's faith in the inner god.
True, there have been great souls who have accomplished beautiful things. True, that every man occasionally radiates flashes of divinity, even as a diamond now dull and unresponsive, when a vagrant beam of light from without enfolds it, brings to instantaneous birth exquisite bursts of flaming color that rival in purity and rarity the rainbow or the sunset. Yet this constitutes a deplorably insignificant modicum of goodness wherewith the whole world might be leavened.
It is obvious that the shortcomings emanate from the lower man. But the god within must be pitifully impotent to be so easily deposed from its throne, permitting the lower nature to usurp the kingdom. If it can be so easily dethroned, is it not an unstable thing to depend upon for guidance?
How may confidence in the inner god be restored — and maintained?
This is a confession, and a plea for help! It emanates from a mind colored and overweighted with the old teaching of the materialism of our fathers which is now dead, which is abandoned by the greatest thinkers of the human race today and which yet exercises its lethal influence, its deadening influence, over the minds of men. The situation is pitiful. A man writes to me a question: "I believe in the inner god and I know that he exists within me as my own inmost; and yet he must be a pitifully impotent entity within me to allow me to do the things that I do." Isn't the answer to his question obvious? It is this: Become at one with your own higher self! Be a man! Refuse to follow the inferior, and cast in your fortune with the superior! Turn to the sun, which you admit exists! Why will you regard the shadows? Turn to the light! There is your answer. Begin if you must in a small way, as all men do with whatever duty they begin to do; but be a man! Have the courage of your own conviction! Follow it! Improve yourself! Study! Reflect! Aspire! Hope! Live so that the god may manifest itself in both your brain and heart; and you will soon, very soon, know that the divine Master within you lives — and is your self!
A short time ago a friend, hearing the Invocation given at the end of our meetings, asked me what I understood the meaning to be of the phrase "that from the corruptible I may become incorruptible." I do not doubt that there are others as well as this friend who would appreciate hearing from you what you have to say about this, as your answer would be far more adequate than anything I could say.
Now, I do wonder if my answer could be or would be more adequate. The questioner has omitted to cite the other portion of this Invocation, beautiful as it is, which runs: "that from imperfection I may become perfection; that from darkness I may go forth in light." The invocation signifies the changing over of the inferior part of you to the higher; it means abandoning the mud for the aether; it means going out of the night, out of the shadows, into the glorious sunlight — and it also means giving up fevered unhappiness for ineffable peace. It means giving up ignorance for wisdom. It means throwing over hate, so that your heart may become irradiated with love. It means abandoning dislike so that your heart may be filled with forgiveness. These are all manly qualities. It takes a man to exercise them. And just in proportion as your character is virile, strong, manly, just in that same degree or ratio will your heart be filled with love and compassion and pity for those who injure you and abuse you. That is godlike! You have the power within you to be it and to do it. Why not use this power? Why not grow into being it? Why not become it?
Immortal gods, my Brothers: What is the matter with you all? I am not speaking only to you here; for as I stand before you and look into your faces I see recognition, I see that you understand me; but I am talking to the vast mass of humanity who are sleeping the sleep of the materialistic dead — materialists — filled with and following evil dreams, sunken in unhappiness, lacking peace, lacking spiritual and intellectual consolation, weaving webs of illusory phantasy all the time in their minds, entangling themselves in fevered emotions, refusing to go out into the rays of the life-giving sun. Ah! You exchange the "corruptible for the incorruptible" when you ally your consciousness with the divine ray within you. Then you pass from imperfection to perfection; then you abandon the corruptible, in order to become the incorruptible — in order to become one with the fundamental laws of the Universe which endure for aye. Doing this you go forth from darkness into light. This is one third of our Invocation: "O my Divinity, blend thou with me, that from the corruptible I may become incorruptible, that from imperfection I may become perfection, that from darkness I may go forth in light." This is our beloved Katherine Tingley's Invocation: it is masterly!
You stated in one of your lectures that a sublime spirit — I think you called it a world-soul [No, I didn't!] — used the body of Mme. Blavatsky as an instrument. Also you have stated that there is a line of succession of theosophical teachers, one following another without a break and all representing the same high spiritual beings; at least that is as I understand it. I wish to ask: Did a world-soul also use Katherine Tingley as an instrument, and is one using you? This is not intended to be personal, but you yourself have stated that you are Mme. Tingley's successor.
I have never at any time written or said that a world-soul used the body of H. P. Blavatsky or of William Q. Judge or of Katherine Tingley or of myself "as an instrument." I have said, and I now repeat it, that one of the Masters of Wisdom and Compassion and Peace, one or other of them, did at certain times employ the personality of one of these four as a vehicle through which to do certain things. That is a fact, and I have stated it, and I now repeat it. But these Masters of Wisdom and Compassion and Peace are simply great men: they are men, men who have evolved unto becoming like god-men on earth, but nevertheless men like you and like me. They are simply more highly evolved men than we are. It was they who founded the Theosophical Society in our age and who sent H.P.B. as their first messenger in order to found our Society and to give it certain age-old teachings that she brought with her, and these great Masters of Wisdom and Compassion and Peace, who are the elder brothers of the race, are indeed back of The Theosophical Society and are protecting it, if they do naught else; protecting it, however, only in so far as we members of The Theosophical Society keep it a fit instrument to do the work that they intended it should do. Should we fail, then the inspiration will cease — and rightly so. If the artisan's tool is broken, shall he use the broken tool or forge one anew?
Theosophists know this and know it well; and we try, whatever our faults may be, my Friends and Brothers, to keep our Society what its great founders meant it to be; and, thank the immortal gods, I can tell you in the honesty of my soul that up to this date it has remained and now is a fit instrument to do the work they intended it to do and is a fit channel for their teaching to and influence upon the world. We are very watchful; and keeping The Theosophical Society fit to do their work means at least two things: first, impersonal love for humanity expressed in doctrine and in act; next, fidelity to the noblest powers and faculties within each one of us, so that as a band of brothers we can say, when the Master comes, "Lord, I am ready." You can say this if your heart is filled with impersonal love for all that is, for all things both great and small; if you have no selfish motives behind your acts; if you do your duty by the Society and also by your family and by your nation; in other words, if you live as an honest man should live, filled with ideals, striving for the best, but never content with what you have already achieved, and always longing for more of the vision sublime. If we can do all this — and we have succeeded thus far — The Theosophical Society will live on into future ages as a fit vehicle for the Masters' work; and then it will do the work that it was intended to do: unite men into a brotherhood, a brotherhood of love, of peace, of self-respecting and energetic adherents and propagandists of the ancient wisdom-religion of mankind, teachers of mutual kindliness, who are haters of hate, who are lovers of love. All this will keep our feet following the path.
Thus, you see, it is not at all a question of a world-soul. I think that this expression is a very trifling one, because in the minds of most men it is an ambiguous one. What theosophists call the avataras only are individual expressions of a world-soul, and the avataras are few; and there is a very interesting and singular history about them, which I have no time to speak of this afternoon. It is the Masters of Wisdom and Compassion and Peace, who are great men, highly evolved men, great seers and sages, initiates, holding great power, possessing titanic intellect, and of titanic spiritual development, grand men, who are behind the Theosophical Movement, behind The Theosophical Society; and at times they do use certain rare ones in the Society as the vehicles or channels for a more intimate dissemination of their teachings and influence. Such was H.P. Blavatsky; such was William Q. Judge; such was our beloved Katherine Tingley.
Remember, my Brothers, that the world is guided by spiritual powers; that mankind is not lost in a physical wilderness. These great men watch over and protect the destiny of the human race, of which they themselves are individual parts. That is their sublime duty; that is their grand work. And at different times, as the ages fly by, when spiritual truths have been largely forgotten and materialistic impulses and movements are rampant in the world, then they send forth from their ranks a messenger, one carrying the age-old truths anew to mankind, teaching men how to become at one with each man's own inner god, teaching men the explanation of the riddles of life, giving to men a philosophy, a sublime philosophy-religion-science, which synthetic system is based on the structure and operations of the universe. In other words the duty of the messenger is to teach men truth and impersonal love.
Now, before closing, as is usual in our meetings in this our Temple of Peace, I feel impelled to call upon you once more to realize who you essentially are: to realize that each one of you is in his essence, and therefore most truly, a divine being, a god, a cosmic spirit, with which gods the universe is filled full, and each such god is a native of the invisible spiritual realms of the universe; and that consequently each one of you is but a feeble, poor, incomplete manifestation in your human nature of this divinity. Look at the hope in this teaching! Remember what you are — that you have this divine ray enlightening your minds, warming your hearts, all the time; that you have but to turn to it for it to grow always greater in its influence upon you; remember that practice makes perfect, that exercise brings strength, that striving for truth brings a larger visioning. Be therefore the god within you, the inner Buddha, the immanent Christ; for in that way peace and power, happiness and glory, strength and courage indescriptible, will be yours. Have no fear of anything in the universe. Fear is weak and destructive; fear deadens; fear blinds; fear kills. Have the fiery courage of the god in your heart of hearts, and be it!
Vol 2, No 20