There are Seven steps of downward course from the All to One, from One, a Monad, to its Ray, from Ray. . . here Three are falling into Four.
The Monad sends its messenger, the Ray, upon its cyclic journey to the other shore.
Where has the Ray to journey, if not to the All again? But THAT dwells only in the darkness of the Unknown.
How is the Ray to win Self-consciousness eternal, so that its Monad may be radiant throughout?
It is through matter that consciousness appears, it is by limitations that we see the space, it is by multiplicity that we know the Unit.
It is by the non-self, by having fought with thoughts that are not ours, by being pressed with flickering flames of passion, which try to blind and quench our inner steady light; by being lost in the raging ocean of mocking dreams which entice our sunny hopes into their vortices and eddies but to tear them down; by the hardness and unwieldiness of our heart and the cruel sea-faring frame of death and negation, that we may affirm our Higher Self, whose silence speaks when once aroused in our own mysterious depths, and which rises proudly in its protest, Imperishable, Unconquerable, Divine, "A bright star dropped from the heart of Eternity; the beacon of hope on whose Seven Rays hang the Seven Worlds of Being." (S.D.I., p. 120.)
What will the Pilgrim do on these four lower planes, whither he has fallen? Will he send the thoughts of his heart to meet the thoughts coming from opposite direction, so that he may know the difference between the Inner Eternal Real Life and outer apparitions, or will he drift taking his enemies for granted. Will he attest the Unity seeing now for the first time disrupted shadows? Will he be aware that these upside down black reflections mean negations of the invisible white realities of him, who sees, of his own inner light, which makes the consciousness of these negations possible? Will he recognize in these dark and powerful outlines the first appearing edges of the reality more tremendous, vast and spiritual, than he knew before, or frightened will he shrink into ease again? Will the depths below awake the heights above? Will the stronger shadow reveal still stronger light, the outer spaces open inner spaces, so that he may forever live in a more glorious, more self-conscious light?
Impelled by Karmic Law he dwells on seven globes of these four planes. Not all at once he gains experience, but very slowly he descends without a shock. Nature is merciful and gives enough of time.
Seven times he has to journey through the seven globes of earth, of which his mortal eyes see only one, as it lies on the lowest plane of the four. At first he moves his shadows, but in the middle of his journey he descends himself.
When he begins to see the shadows to last beyond his thoughts, soft is their matter then, their aspect bright and joyous, their song melodious as that of a morning lark. Longer and longer do they last, passing through three stages of the elemental essence, and all seems a sport on the great field of space and time. When the fourth is reached, the shadows reflect more radiance of the steady thought and become "Sparks of the Lower Kingdom, that float and thrill with joy in their radiant dwellings." These will not be extinguished, for they are the great mineral World, and the Great Serpent of Spirit takes this end of his shadowy tail and makes it sparkle brightly. It is his great knowledge that makes atoms omniscient in their circular and scintillating flights. The smallest of the small has found refuge in the greatest of the great, and all angelic hosts are helped. Did not they deserve it? Have not they obeyed the call to grow, expand and differentiate to the smallest limits, so that each of them would have a field to help and interpenetrate mutually and to reach the oneness consciously by harmony of multiplicity? Has not each one of them made this grand work not for himself, but for all the Host of Hierarchies? Did not they weave this web of Light out of their own hearts, where Universal Music told them what to do, so that every atom which flashed out is one grand note of a celestial song?
The First, the Mother, heard and came down and took the singing, fiery things into her mouth. (1) Her magic touch gave the hearing powers to the atoms, and sent them back to the same angels who emanated them, with message from the Mother. This was the message of Life, the dreams coming back as living beings, the songs returning as radiant sisters, gifts rich and celestial, as only Divinity can make them. And the great privilege is given that Egos themselves will help and lead awakened atoms into the plants, plants into sacred animals, animals into men, and who will dare all hazards of past Karma and for that great joy, that their dreams came true by mercy of the Great Mother, that they are now alive, that they can answer back their love, that they now can be led into the eternal, instead of simply being absorbed by those who thought them out.
It is at this stage of evolution that crystallized and organic life awakes, and centres form themselves and grow from within. Herbert Spencer calls it integration, combining here two kinds, one which grows from outside, another from inside, while all the world of difference is between them. He did not discern the current of evolution rising from below to meet that descending from above, the new centres ascending in the angelic dreams to meet their Lords and be one with their thoughts and with their heart. Evolution is not presented to his mind in the shape of a cross between the upward and the downward stream. That part of his mind which discussed the subject seems to be dreaming yet, besides, this physical outside-inside adjustment is only a skin-deep shadow of the real one, which is life awakening in Life.
So it is now no more a returning of the shadows. It is Divinity itself, the greatest of the great, and yet so humble as to enter into the smallest things, it is the great One Life ascending Jacob's ladder, the stairway of angelic dreams, which descend toward it to give it form and dress.
Who then awakens now, the Shoreless Life in centres, essences and forms, or centres, essences and forms in Shoreless Life? Can consciousness exist without these two? See those crystallic, sparkling, joyous beauties! Wrapped in a seven-fold robe of glory they thrill in rapture of their morning dream — a dream so sweet, so tense, lasting through the ages. Oh how many things they learn! If we wish to examine these, in our own soul we can read the history of evolution.
Where has our essence acquired that fixedness of form, that instant grasp of geometric intuition, that rhythmic motion of the waves, that breezy flight of aerial forms? How many lessons learned? Do not we build our houses in a crystallic shape? Do not we desire transparency, which is the harmony of atoms? What suggested to man, if not a sparkling diamond and an electro — out-reaching amber, to "evolve his shining eyes, his floating hair," as Coleridge puts it? What represents the highest symbol of all, if not the dew-drop in the lotus? O sweet is the first touch of the mother and the memory is pure!
Then come the plants. See how gently they try to draw together and unite the riotous extremes. They do not crystallize suddenly, neither have they patience to form basalt hexagon-prisms out of solid lava with tremendous force and steady effort of millions of years. See how they unite in themselves solids, liquids, gases in one form. See the wonderful synthesis of forms, and how it was produced. It was done by gentle force of harmonious vibrations of vital force from the one centre to millions of cells and branches, all responding with one accord to the same intracellular soft and tender touch and flow; a splendid lesson to the human cells of societies and orders, which bids disaster to those who carry independence to that point of vigor, where soft response of tender nature is no more extant, or to those who depend not on their harmonious hearts but only on frigid rules. O morning roses, tell where have you got your sunny fragrance, tell how you drew the charm from Mother's endless treasures hidden, what made your cells so vibrant with one harmony of concord, that you produced a magic wonder. Teach us then magic, waft to our memory, when we were flowers, waft the fragrance of the morning of our own ancient genesis, blow to us the breeze of reminiscence, which is our pleasure now when we inhale thy balm, O roses, in gladness of the duties done, results achieved in distant ages.
Now come through shady woods, walk upon the meadow. Every wait of scent-laden breeze tells thee a story, which is written deep on the ancient records of your soul. In every scent you feel a force, a passion, a sigh, a joy, a strife. Even your face makes an expression, that you may read in a mirror. Look on your inner mirror, look as life to life, read the story, learn and understand.
And those forms, those leaves, those petals! Do not you see a strength in an oak-leaf, a tenderness and harmony in a rose, a violence in a thistle? Oh! even now you do remember, when your arm rises in a sweep of power in an oak-like carve, when it gently makes caressing motion in a curve of a rose-petal, when it strikes like a sharp thistle-leaf.
(To be continued.)
1. S. D. I. 291. "The first is the . . . . 'Mother' . . . (the serpent biting its own tail)." (return to text)
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