This Creative Will not only causes movement in completed life, but all movement and action in life independent of the personal will of its individual forms. All the phenomena of the so-called Unconscious belong to it. It causes the body to grow; attends to the details of nourishment, assimilation, digestion, elimination, and all of the rest. It builds up bodies, organs, and parts, and keeps them in operation and function.
The Creative Will is directed to the outward expression of Life—to the objectification of Life. You may call this energy the "Universal Life Energy" if you wish, but, to those who know it, it is a Will—an active, living Will, in full operation and power, pressing forward toward the manifestation of objective life.
The Creative Will seems to be filled with a strong Desire to manifest. It longs to express itself, and to give birth to forms of activity. Desire lies under and in all forms of its manifestations. The ever present Desire of the Creative Will causes lower forms to be succeeded by higher forms—and is the moving cause of evolution—it is the Evolutionary Urge itself, which ever cries to its manifestations, "Move on; move upward."
In the Hindu classic, the "Mahabarata," Brahma created the most beautiful female being ever known, and called her Tillotama. He presented her in turn to all the gods, in order to witness their wonder and admiration. Siva's desire to behold her was so great that it developed in him four faces, in succession, as she made the tour of the assembly; and Indra's longing was so intense that his body became all eyes. In this myth may be seen exemplified the effect of Desire and Will in the forms of life, function and shape—all following Desire and Need, as in the case of the long neck of the giraffe which enables him to reach for the high branches of the trees in his native land; and in the long neck and high legs of the fisher birds, the crane, stork, ibis, etc.
The Creative Will finds within itself a desire to create suns, and they are formed. It desired planets to revolve around the suns, and they were thrown off in obedience to the law. It desired plant life, and plant life appeared, working from higher to lower form. Then came animal life, from nomad to man. Some of the animal forms yielded to the desire to fly, and wings appeared gradually, and we called it bird-life. Some felt a desire to burrow in the ground, and lo! came the moles, gophers, etc. It wanted a thinking creature, and Man with his wonderful brain was evolved. Evolution is more than a mere survival of the fittest; natural selection, etc. Although it uses these laws as tools and instruments, still back of them is that insistent urge—that ever-impelling desire—that ever-active Creative Will. Lamark was nearer right than Darwin when he claimed that Desire was back of it all, and preceded function and form. Desire wanted form and function, and produced them by the activity of the Creative Will.
This Creative Will acts like a living force—and so it is indeed—but it does not act as a reasoning, intellectual Something, in one sense—instead it manifests rather the "feeling," wanting, longing, instinctive phase of mind, akin to those "feelings" and resulting actions that we find within our natures. The Will acts on the Instinctive Plane.
Evolution shows us Life constantly pressing forward toward higher and still higher forms of expression. The urge is constantly upward and onward. It is true that some species sink out of sight their work in the world having been done, but they are succeeded by other species more in harmony with their environment and the needs of their times. Some races of men decay, but others build on their foundations, and reach still greater heights.
The Creative Will is something different from Reason or Intellect. But it underlies these. In the lower forms of life, in which mind is in but small evidence, the Will is in active operation, manifesting in Instinct and Automatic Life Action, so called. It does not depend upon brains for manifestation—for these lowly forms of life have no brains—but is in operation through every part of the body of the living thing.
Evidences of the existence of the Creative Will acting independently of the brains of animal and plant life may be had in overwhelming quantity if we will but examine the life action in the lower forms of life.
The testimony of the investigators along the lines of the Evolutionary school of thought, show us that the Life Principle was in active operation in lowly animal and plant life millions of years before brains capable of manifesting Thought were produced. Haekel informs us that during more than half of the enormous time that has elapsed since organic life first became evident, no animal sufficiently advanced to have a brain was in existence. Brains were evolved according to the law of desire or necessity, in accordance with the Great Plan, but they were not needed for carrying on the wonderful work of the creation and preservation of the living forms. And they are not today. The tiny infant, and the senseless idiot are not able to think intelligently, but still their life functions go on regularly and according to law, in spite of the absence of thinking brains. And the life work of the plants, and of the lowly forms of animal life, is carried on likewise. This wonderful thing that we call Instinct is but another name for the manifestation of the Creative Will which flows from the One Life, or the Absolute.
Even as far down the scale of life as the Monera, we may see the Creative Will in action. The Monera are but tiny bits of slimy, jelly-like substances—mere specks of glue without organs of any kind, and yet they exercise the organic phenomena of life, such as nutrition, reproduction, sensation and movement, all of which are usually associated with an organized structure. These creatures are incapable of thought in themselves, and the phenomenon is due to the action of the Will through them. This Instinctive impulse and action is seen everywhere, manifesting upon Higher and still higher lines, as higher forms of organisms are built up.
Scientists have used the term, "Appetency," defining it as, "the instinctive tendency of living organisms to perform certain actions; the tendency of an unorganized body to seek that which satisfies the wants of its organism." Now what is this tendency? It cannot be an effort of reason, for the low form of life has nothing with which to reason. And it is impossible to think of "purposive tendency" without assuming the existence of mental power of some kind. And where can such a power be located if not in the form itself? When we consider that the Will is acting in and through all forms of Life, from highest to lowest—from Moneron to Man—we can at once recognize the source of the power and activity. It is the Great Life Principle—the Creative Will, manifesting itself.
We can perhaps better form an idea of the Creative Will, by reference to its outward and visible forms of activity. We cannot see the Will itself—the Pressure and the Urge—but we can see its action through living forms. Just as we cannot see a man behind a curtain, and yet may practically see him by watching the movements of his form as he presses up against the curtain, so may we see the Will by watching it as it presses up against the living curtain of the forms of life. There was a play presented on the American stage a few years ago, in which one of the scenes pictured the place of departed spirits according to the Japanese belief. The audience could not see the actors representing the spirits, but they could see their movements as they pressed up close to a thin silky curtain stretched across the stage, and their motions as they moved to and fro behind the curtain were plainly recognized. The deception was perfect, and the effect was startling. One almost believed that he saw the forms of formless creatures. And this is what we may do in viewing the operation of the Creative Will—we may take a look at the moving form of the Will behind the curtain of the forms of the manifestation of life. We may see it pressing and urging here, and bending there—building up here, and changing there—always acting, always moving, striving, doing, in response to that insatiable urge and craving, and longing of its inner desire. Let us take a few peeps at the Will moving behind the curtain!
Commencing with the cases of the forming of the crystals, as spoken of in our last lesson, we may pass on to plant life. But before doing so, it may be well for us to take a parting look at the Will manifesting crystal forms. One of the latest scientific works makes mention of the experiments of a scientist who has been devoting much attention to the formation of crystals, and reports that he has noticed that certain crystals of organic compounds, instead of being built up symmetrically, as is usual with crystals, were "enation-morphic," that is, opposed to each other, in rights and lefts, like hands or gloves, or shoes, etc. These crystals are never found alone, but always form in pairs. Can you not see the Will behind the curtain here?
Let us look for the Will in plant-life. Passing rapidly over the wonderful evidences in the cases of the fertilization of plants by insects, the plant shaping its blossom so as to admit the entrance of the particular insect that acts as the carrier of its pollen, think for a moment how the distribution of the seed is provided for. Fruit trees and plants surround the seed with a sweet covering, that it may be eaten by insect and animal, and the seed distributed. Others have a hard covering to protect the seed or nut from the winter frosts, but which covering rots with the spring rains and allows the germ to sprout. Others surround the seed with a fleecy substance, so that the wind may carry it here and there and give it a chance to find a home where it is not so crowded. Another tree has a little pop-gun arrangement, by means of which it pops its seed to a distance of several feet.
Other plants have seeds that are covered with a burr or "sticky" bristles, which enables them to attach themselves to the wool of sheep and other animals, and thus be carried about and finally dropped in some spot far away from the parent plant, and thus the scattering of the species be accomplished. Some plants show the most wonderful plans and arrangements for this scattering of the seed in new homes where there is a better opportunity for growth and development, the arrangements for this purpose displaying something very much akin to what we would call "ingenuity" if it were the work of a reasoning mind. There are plants called cockle-burs whose seed-pods are provided with stickers in every direction, so that anything brushing against them is sure to pick them up. At the end of each sticker is a very tiny hook, and these hooks fasten themselves tightly into anything that brushes against it, animal wool, hair, or clothing, etc. Some of these seeds have been known to have been carried to other quarters of the globe in wool, etc., there to find new homes and a wider field.
Other plants, like the thistle, provide their seed with downy wings, by which the wind carries them afar to other fields. Other seeds have a faculty of tumbling and rolling along the ground to great distances, owing to their peculiar shape and formation. The maple provides its seed with a peculiar arrangement something like a propeller screw, which when the wind strikes the trees and looses the seed, whirls the latter through the air to a distance of a hundred yards or more. Other seeds are provided with floating apparatus, which enables them to travel many miles by stream or river, or rain washes. Some of these not only float, but actually swim, having spider-like filaments, which wriggle like legs, and actually propel the tiny seed along to its new home. A recent writer says of these seeds that "so curiously lifelike are their movements that it is almost impossible to believe that these tiny objects, making good progress through the water, are really seeds, and not insects."
The leaves of the Venus' Fly-trap fold upon each other and enclose the insect which is attracted by the sweet juice on the leaf, three extremely sensitive bristles or hairs giving the plant notice that the insect is touching them. A recent writer gives the following description of a peculiar plant. He says: "On the shores of Lake Nicaragua is to be found an uncanny product of the vegetable kingdom known among the natives by the expressive name of 'the Devil's Noose.' Dunstan, the naturalist, discovered it long ago while wandering on the shores of the lake. Attracted by the cries of pain and terror from his dog, he found the animal held by black sticky bands which had chafed the skin to bleeding point. These bands were branches of a newly-discovered carnivorous plant which had been aptly named the 'land octopus.' The branches are flexible, black, polished and without leaves, and secrete a viscid fluid."
You have seen flowers that closed when you touched them. You remember the Golden Poppy that closes when the sun goes down. Another plant, a variety of orchid, has a long, slender, flat stem, or tube, about one-eighth of an inch thick, with an opening at the extreme end, and a series of fine tubes where it joins the plant. Ordinarily this tube remains coiled up into a spiral, but when the plant needs water (it usually grows upon the trunks of trees overhanging swampy places) it slowly uncoils the little tube and bends it over until it dips into the water, when it proceeds to suck up the water until it is filled, when it slowly coils around and discharges the water directly upon the plant, or its roots. Then it repeats the process until the plant is satisfied. When the water is absent from under the plant the tube moves this way and that way until it finds what it wants—just like the trunk of an elephant. If one touches the tube or trunk of the plant while it is extended for water, it shows a great sensitiveness and rapidly coils itself up. Now what causes this life action? The plant has no brains, and cannot have reasoned out this process, nor even have acted upon them by reasoning processes. It has nothing to think with to such a high degree. It is the Will behind the curtain, moving this way and that way, and doing things.
There was once a French scientist named Duhamel. He planted some beans in a cylinder—something like a long tomato can lying on its side. He waited until the beans began to sprout, and send forth roots downward, and shoots upward, according to nature's invariable rule. Then he moved the cylinder a little—rolled it over an inch or two. The next day he rolled it over a little more. And so on each day, rolling it over a little each time. Well, after a time Duhamel shook the dirt and growing beans out of the cylinder, and what did he find? This, that the beans in their endeavor to grow their roots downward had kept on bending each day downward; and in their endeavor to send shoots upward, had kept on bending upward a little each day, until at last there had been formed two complete spirals—the one spiral being the roots ever turning downward, and the other the shoots ever bending upward. How did the plant know direction? What was the moving power. The Creative Will behind the curtain again, you see!
Potatoes in dark cellars have sent out roots or sprouts twenty and thirty feet to reach light. Plants will send out roots many feet to reach water. They know where the water and light are, and where to reach them. The tendrils of a plant know where the stake or cord is, and they reach out for it and twine themselves around it. Unwind them, and the next day they are found again twined around it. Move the stake or cord, and the tendril moves after it. The insect-eating plants are able to distinguish between nitrogenous and non-nitrogenous food, accepting the one and rejecting the other. They recognize that cheese has the same nourishing properties as the insect, and they accept it, although it is far different in feeling, taste, appearance and every other characteristic from their accustomed food.
Case after case might be mentioned and cited to show the operation of the Will in plant-life. But wonderful as are many of these cases, the mere action of the Will as shown in the growing of the plant is just as wonderful. Just imagine a tiny seed, and see it sprout and draw to itself the nourishment from water, air, light and soil, then upward until it becomes a great tree with bark, limbs, branches, leaves, blossoms, fruit and all. Think of this miracle, and consider what must be the power and nature of that Will that causes it.
The growing plant manifests sufficient strength to crack great stones, and lift great slabs of pavement, as may be noticed by examining the sidewalks of suburban towns and parks. An English paper prints a report of four enormous mushrooms having lifted a huge slab of paving stone in a crowded street overnight. Think of this exhibition of Energy and Power. This wonderful faculty of exerting force and motion and energy is fundamental in the Will, for indeed every physical change and growth is the result of motion, and motion arises only from force and pressure. Whose force, energy, power and motion? The Will's!
On all sides of us we may see this constant and steady urge and pressure behind living forces, and inorganic forms as well—always a manifestation of Energy and Power. And all this Power is in the Will—and the Will is but the manifestation of the All-Power—the Absolute. Remember this.
And this power manifests itself not only in the matter of growth and ordinary movements, but also in some other ways that seem quite mysterious to even modern Science. How is it that certain birds are able to fly directly against a strong wind, without visible movement of their wings? How do the buzzards float in the air, and make speed without a motion of the wing? What is the explanation of the movements of certain microscopic creatures who lack organs of movement? Listen to this instance related by the scientist Benet. He states that the Polycystids have a most peculiar manner of moving—a sort of sliding motion, to the right or left, upward, backward, sideways, stopping and starting, fast or slow, as it wills. It has no locomotive organs, and no movement can be seen to take place in the body from within or without. It simply slides. How?
Passing on to the higher animal life—how do eggs grow into chickens? What is the power in the germ of the egg? Can the germ think, and plan, and move, and grow into a chicken? Or is the Will at work there? And what is true in this case, is true of the birth and growth of all animal life—all animal life develops from a single germ cell. How, and Why?
There is a mental energy resident in the germ cell—of this there can be no doubt. And that mental energy is the Creative Will ever manifesting. Listen to these words from Huxley, the eminent scientist. He says:
"The student of Nature wonders the more and is astonished the less, the more conversant he becomes with her operations; but of all the perennial miracles she offers to his inspection, perhaps the most worthy of his admiration is the development of a plant or of an animal from its embryo. Examine the recently laid egg of some common animal, such as a salamander or a newt. It is a minute spheroid in which the best microscope will reveal nothing but a structureless sac, enclosing a glairy fluid, holding granules in suspension. But strange possibilities lie dormant in that semi-fluid globule. Let a moderate supply of warmth reach its watery cradle, and the plastic matter undergoes changes so rapid, and so purposelike in their succession, that one can only compare them to those operated by a skilled modeller upon a formless lump of clay. As with an invisible trowel, the mass is divided and subdivided into smaller and smaller portions, until it is reduced to an aggregation of granules not too large to build withal the finest fabrics of the nascent organism. And, then, it is as if a delicate finger traced out the line to be occupied by the spinal column, and moulded the contour of the body; pinching up the head at one end, the tail at the other, and fashioning flank and limb into due salamanderine proportions, in so artistic a way that, after watching the process hour by hour, one is almost involuntarily possessed by the notion that some more subtle aid to vision than the achromatic lens would show the hidden artist, with his plan before him, striving with skilful manipulation to perfect his work.
"As life advances and the young amphibian ranges the waters, the terror of his insect contemporaries, not only are the nutritious particles supplied by its prey (by the addition of which to its frame growth takes place) laid down, each in its proper spot, and in due proportion to the rest, as to reproduce the form, the color, and the size, characteristic of the parental stock; but even the wonderful powers of reproducing lost parts possessed by these animals are controlled by the same governing tendency. Cut off the legs, the tail, the jaws, separately or all together, and as Spallanzani showed long ago, these parts not only grow again, but the new limb is formed on the same type as those which were lost. The new jaw, or leg, is a newt's, and never by any accident more like that of a frog's."
In this passage from Huxley one may see the actual working of the Creative Will of the Universe,—moving behind the curtain—and a very thin curtain at that. And this wonderful work is going on all around us, all the time. Miracles are being accomplished every second—they are so common that we fail to regard them.
And in our bodies is the Will at work? Most certainly. What built you up from single cell to maturity? Did you do it with your intellect? Has not every bit of it been done without your conscious knowledge? It is only when things go wrong, owing to the violation of some law, that you become aware of your internal organs. And, yet, stomach and liver, and heart and the rest have been performing their work steadily—working away day and night, building up, repairing, nourishing, growing you into a man or woman, and keeping you sound and strong. Are you doing this with your reason or with your personal will? No, it is the great Creative Will of the Universe, Universe,—the expression of the purpose and power of the One, working in and through you. It is the One Life manifesting in you through its Creative Will.
And not only is this all. The Creative Will is all around us in every force, energy and principle. The force that we call mental power is the principle of the Will directed by our individual minds. In this statement we have a hint of the great mystery of Mental Force and Power, and the so-called Psychic Phenomena. It also gives us a key to Mental Healing. This is not the place to go into detail regarding these phases—but think over it a bit. This Will Power of the Universe, in all of its forms and phases, from Electricity to Thought-power, is always at the disposal of Man, within limits, and subject always to the laws of the Creative Will of the Universe. Those who acquire an understanding of the laws of any force may use it. And any force may be used or misused.
And the nearer in understanding and consciousness that we get to the One Life and Power, the greater will be our possible power, for we are thus getting closer and closer to the source of All Power. In these lessons we hope to be able to tell you how you may come into closer touch with this One Life of which you and all living things are but forms, shapes and channels of expression, under the operation of the Creative Will.
We trust that this lesson may have brought to your minds the realization of the Oneness of All—the fact that we are all parts of the one encircling unity, the heart-throbs and pulsations of which are to be felt even to the outer edge of the circle of life—in Man, in Monad, in Crystal, in Atom. Try to feel that inner essence of Creative Will that is within yourselves, and endeavor to realize your complete inner unity in it, with all other forms of life. Try to realize, as some recent writer has expressed it, "that all the living world is but mankind in the making, and that we are but part of the All." And also remember that splendid vistas of future unfoldment spread themselves out before the gaze of the awakened soul, until the mind fails to grasp the wondrous sight.
We will now close this lesson by calling your attention to its
There is but One Power in the Universe—One Energy—One Force. And that Power, Energy and Force is a manifestation of the One Life. There can be no other Power, for there is none other than the One from whom Power may come. And there can be no manifestation of Power that is not the Power of the One, for no other Power can be in existence. The Power of the One is visible in its manifestations to us in the natural laws and forces of Nature—which we call the Creative Will. This Creative Will is the inner moving power, urge and pressure behind all forms and shapes of Life. In atom, and molecule; in monad, in cell, in plant, in fish, in animal, in man,—the Life Principle or Creative Will is constantly in action, creating, preserving, and carrying on life in its functions. We may call this Instinct or Nature, but it is the Creative Will in action. This Will is back of all Power, Energy, or Force—be it physical, mechanical or mental force. And all Force that we use, consciously or unconsciously, comes from the One Great Source of Power. If we could but see clearly, we would know that back of us is the Power of the Universe, awaiting our intelligent uses, under the control of the Will of the All. There is nothing to be afraid of, for we are manifestations of the One Life, from which all Power proceeds, and the Real Self is above the effect, for it is part of the Cause. But over and above—under and behind—all forms of Being, Matter, Energy, Force and Power, is the ABSOLUTE—ever Calm; ever Peaceful; ever Content. In knowing this it becomes us to manifest that spirit of absolute Trust, Faith and Confidence in the Goodness and Ultimate Justice of That which is the only Reality there is.
Peace be with you.
THE FOURTH LESSON
THE UNITY OF LIFE.
In our First Lesson of this series we spoke of the One Reality underlying all Life. This One Reality was stated to be higher than mind or matter, the nearest term that can be applied to it being "Spirit." We told you that it was impossible to explain just what "Spirit" is, for we have nothing else with which to compare or describe it, and it can be expressed only in its own terms, and not in the terms applicable to its emanations or manifestations. But, as we said in our First Lesson, we may think of "Spirit" as meaning the "essence" of Life and Being—the Reality underlying Universal Life, and from which the latter emanates.
In the Second Lesson we stated that this "Spirit," which we called "The Absolute," expressed itself in the Universal Life, which Universal Life manifested itself in countless forms of life and activity. In the same lesson we showed you that the Universe is alive—that there is not a single dead thing in it—that there can be no such thing as a dead object in the Universe, else the theory and truth of the One underlying Life must fall and be rejected. In that lesson we also showed you that even in the world of inorganic things there was ever manifest life—in every atom and particle of inorganic matter there is the universal life energy manifesting itself, and in constant activity.
In the Third Lesson, we went still further into this phase of the general subject, and showed you that the Creative Will—that active principle of the Universal Life—was ever at work, building up new forms, shapes and combinations, and then tearing them down for the purpose of rebuilding the material into new forms, shapes, and combinations. The Creative Will is ever at work in its threefold function of creating, preserving and destroying forms—the change, however, being merely in the shape and form or combination, the real substance remaining unchanged in its inner aspect, notwithstanding the countless apparent changes in its objective forms. Like the great ocean the depths of which remain calm and undisturbed, and the real nature of which is unchanged in spite of the waves, and billows of surface manifestation, so does the great ocean of the Universal Life remain unchanged and unaltered in spite of the constant play of the Creative Will upon the surface. In the same lesson we gave you many examples of the Will in action—of its wondrous workings in the various forms of life and activity—all of which went to show you that the One Power was at work everywhere and at all times.
In our next lesson—the Fifth Lesson—we shall endeavor to make plain to you the highest teachings of the Yogi Philosophy regarding the One Reality and the Many Manifestations—the One and the Many—how the One apparently becomes Many—that great question and problem which lies at the bottom of the well of truth. In that lesson we shall present for your consideration some fundamental and startling truths, but before we reach that point in our teachings, we must fasten upon your mind the basic truth that all the various manifestations of Life that we see on all hands in the Universe are but forms of manifestation of One Universal Life which is itself an emanation of the Absolute.
Speaking generally, we would say to you that the emanation of the Absolute is in the form of a grand manifestation of One Universal Life, in which the various apparent separate forms of Life are but centers of Energy or Consciousness, the separation being more apparent than real, there being a bond of unity and connection underlying all the apparently separated forms. Unless the student gets this idea firmly fixed in his mind and consciousness, he will find it difficult to grasp the higher truths of the Yogi Philosophy. That all Life is One, at the last,—that all forms of manifestation of Life are in harmonious Unity, underlying—is one of the great basic truths of the Yogi Teaching, and all the students of that philosophy must make this basic truth their own before they may progress further. This grasping of the truth is more than a mere matter of intellectual conception, for the intellect reports that all forms of Life are separate and distinct from each other, and that there can be no unity amidst such diversity. But from the higher parts of the mind comes the message of an underlying Unity, in spite of all apparent diversity, and if one will meditate upon this idea he will soon begin to realize the truth, and will feel that he, himself, is but a center of consciousness in a great ocean of Life—that he and all other centers are connected by countless spiritual and mental filaments—and that all emerge from the One. He will find that the illusion of separateness is but "a working fiction of the Universe," as one writer has so aptly described it—and that All is One, at the last, and underlying all is One.
Some of our students may feel that we are taking too long a path to lead up to the great basic truths of our philosophy, but we who have traveled The Path, and know its rocky places and its sharp turns, feel justified in insisting that the student be led to the truth gradually and surely, instead of attempting to make short cuts across dangerous ravines and canyons. We must insist upon presenting our teachings in our own way—for this way has been tested and found good. We know that every student will come to realize that our plan is a wise one, and that he will thank us for giving him this gradual and easy approach to the wondrous and awful truth which is before us. By this gradual process, the mind becomes accustomed to the line of thought and the underlying principles, and also gradually discards wornout mental sheaths which have served their purposes, and which must be discarded because they begin to weigh heavily upon the mind as it reaches the higher altitudes of The Path of Attainment. Therefore, we must ask you to consider with us, in this lesson, some further teachings regarding the Unity of Life.
All the schools of the higher Oriental thought, as well as many of the great philosophical minds of the Western world, have agreed upon the conception of the Unity of Life—the Oneness of All Life. The Western thinkers, and many of the Eastern philosophers arrived at this conclusion by means of their Intellectual powers, greatly heightened and stimulated by concentration and meditation, which latter process liberated the faculties of the Spiritual Mind so that it passed down knowledge to the Intellect, which then seized upon the higher knowledge which it found within itself, and amplified and theorized upon the same. But among the Eastern Masters there are other sources of information open, and from these sources come the same report—the Oneness and Unity of Universal Life. These higher sources of information to which we have alluded, consist of the knowledge coming from those Beings who have passed on to higher planes of Life than ours, and whose awakened spiritual faculties and senses enable them to see things quite plainly which are quite dark to us. And from these sources, also, comes the message of the Oneness of Life—of the existence of a wonderful Universal Life including all forms of life as we know it, and many forms and phases unknown to us—many centers in the great Ocean of Life. No matter how high the source of inquiry, the answer is the same—"All Life is One." And this One Life includes Beings as much higher than ourselves, as we are higher than the creatures in the slime of the ocean-bed. Included in it are beings who would seem as archangels or gods to us, and they inform that beyond them are still higher and more radiant creatures, and so on to infinity of infinities. And yet all are but centers of Being in the One Life—all but a part of the great Universal Life, which itself is but an emanation of The Absolute.
The mind of man shrinks back appalled from the contemplation of such wonders, and yet there are men who dare to attempt to speak authoritatively of the attributes and qualities of "God," as if He, the Absolute, were but a magnified man. Verily, indeed, "fools rush in where angels fear to tread," as the poet hath said.
Those who will read our next lesson and thus gain an idea of the sublime conception of the Absolute held by the Yogi teachers may shudder at the presumption of those mortals who dare to think of the Absolute as possessing "attributes" and "qualities" like unto the meanest of things in this his emanated Universe. But even these spiritual infants are doing well—that is, they are beginning to think, and when man begins to think and question, he begins to progress. It is not the fact of these people's immature ideas that has caused these remarks on our part, but rather their tendency to set up their puny conceptions as the absolute truth, and then insisting upon forcing these views upon the outer world of men, whom they consider "poor ignorant heathen." Permit each man to think according to his light—and help him by offering to share with him the best that you possess—but do not attempt to force upon him your own views as absolute truth to be swallowed by him under threat of damnation or eternal punishment. Who are you that dares to speak of punishment and damnation, when the smell of the smoke of the hell of materialism is still upon your robes. When you realize just what spiritual infants you still are—the best of you—you will blush at these things. Hold fast to the best that you know—be generous to others who seem to wish to share your knowledge—but give without blame or feeling of superiority—for those whom you teach today may be your teachers tomorrow—there are many surprises of this kind along The Path. Be brave and confident, but when you begin to feel puffed up by your acquirement of some new bit of knowledge, let your prayer—our prayer, for we too are infants—be, "Lord, be merciful unto me, a fool!"
The above words are for us, the students of the Yogi Philosophy—the teachers of the same—for human nature is the same in spite of names, and we must avoid the "vanity of vanities"—Spiritual Pride and Arrogance—that fault which has sent many a soul tumbling headlong from a high position on The Path, and compelled it to again begin the journey, chastened and bruised. The fall of Lucifer has many correspondences upon the occult plane, and is, indeed, in itself an allegorical illustration of just this law. Remember, always, that you are but a Centre in the Ocean of Life, and that all others are Centres in the same ocean, and that underlying both and all of you is the same calm bed of Life and Knowledge, the property of all. The highest and the lowest are part of the same One Life—each of you has the same life blood flowing through your veins—you are connected with every other form of life, high or low, with invisible bonds, and none is separate from another. We are speaking, of course, to the personalities of the various students who are reading these words. The Real Self of each is above the need of such advice and caution, and those who are able to reach the Real Self in consciousness have no need for these words, for they have outlived this stage of error. To many, the consciousness of the One Life—the Universal Life—in which all are centres of consciousness and being—has come gradually as a final step of a long series of thought and reasoning, aided by flashes of truth from the higher regions of the mind. To others it has come as a great illumination, or flash of Truth, in which all things are seen in their proper relations and positions to each other, and all as phases of being in the One. The term "Cosmic Consciousness," which has been used in the previous series of these lessons, and by other writers, means this sudden flash of "knowing" in which all the illusionary dividing lines between persons and things are broken down and the Universal Life is seen to be actually existent as One Life. To those who have reached this consciousness by either route just mentioned—or by other routes—there is no sense of loss of individuality or power or strength. On the contrary there is always a new sense of increased power and strength and knowing—instead of losing Individuality, there is a sense of having found it. One feels that he has the whole Universe at his back, or within him, rather than that he has lost his identity in the great Ocean of Life.
While we are speaking of this phase of the subject, we should like to ask you if you have ever investigated and inquired into the real meaning of the much-used word "Individuality?" Have you ever looked up its origin and real meaning, as given by the standard authorities? We are sure that many of you have no real idea of the actual meaning of the term, as strange as this statement may appear to you at first glance. Stop now, and define the word to yourself, as you have been accustomed to think of it. Ninety-five people of a hundred will tell you that it means something like "a strong personality." Let us see about this.
Webster defines the word "Individual" as follows: "Not divided, or not to be divided; existing as one distinct being or object; single; one." The same authority informs us that the word arises from the Latin word individuus, meaning "indivisible; not divisible." Does not this help you to gain a clearer idea of the Individuality that knows itself to be a Centre of Consciousness in the One Life, rather than a separate, puny, insignificant thing apart from all other centres or forms of Life, or the source of Life? We think it will help to clear your mind of some of the fog that has not as yet lifted itself.
And while we are on the subject of definitions, let us take a little look at the word "Personality," that is generally believed to be a synonym of "Individuality," and is often so used. Webster tells us that the word "Person" originated from the Latin word persona, meaning "a mask used by actors," which word in turn arose from two other words, per, meaning "through," and sonare, meaning "to sound," the two combined words meaning "to sound through." The same authority informs us that the archaic meaning of the word was "a character or part, as in a play; an assumed character." If you will think of Personality as "a mask used by an actor," or as "a part in a play," or as something used to "sound through" or to speak through, by the real Individual behind the mask of Personality, then perhaps you will see a little further into the Mystery of Personality and Individuality.
Oh, dear students, be not deceived by the mask of Personality which you may happen to be wearing at this moment, or by the masks which are worn by those around you. Realize that back of your mask is the great Individual—the Indivisible—the Universal Life, in which you are a centre of consciousness and activity. This does not wipe out your identity—instead it gives you a greater and grander identity. Instead of your sinking into a Nirvana of extinction of consciousness, your consciousness so enlarges as you unfold, that you will in the end feel your identity to be the identity of the Universe. Instead of your gaining Nothingness, you gain Allness. All spiritual growth and unfoldment gives you a constantly increasing sense of relationship with, and agreement with, the All. You grow into Allness as you unfold. Be not deceived by this chatter about Nothingness, and loss of Individuality, in the Oriental thought, although some of the presentations of its teachings may so seem to mean at first reading. Remember always that Personality is the mask, and Individuality the Real One.
You have often heard persons, claiming to be acquainted with the teachings of Theosophy and other expositions of the Oriental Wisdom Religion (including our own presentation), asserting that the Oriental mind was ever bent upon attaining a final stage of Nothingness or Extinction in Nirvana. In addition to what we have said, and to what we shall say on this subject, let us quote from the inspired writer of the "Secret Doctrine" (a standard Theosophical work) when she says, in that work on page 286, Vol. I: "Is this annihilation, as some think? ... To see in Nirvana annihilation, amounts to saying of a man plunged in a sound, dreamless sleep—one that leaves no impression on the physical memory and brain, because the sleeper's Higher Self is in its original state of absolute consciousness during these hours—that he too is annihilated. The latter simile answers only to one side of the question—the most material; since reabsorption is by no means such a dreamless sleep, but, on the contrary, absolute existence, an unconditional unity, or a state, to describe which human language is absolutely and hopelessly inadequate... Nor is the individuality—nor even the essence of the personality, if any be left behind—lost because re-absorbed." As J. Wm. Lloyd says, in connection with the above quotation, "This seems conclusive proof that Theosophy does not regard Nirvana as annihilation, but as an infinite enlargement of consciousness." And we would add that this is true not only as regards the Nirvana of the Theosophist, but also of the consciousness of the Unity of Life—the Universal Life. This too is not annihilation of individual consciousness, but an "infinite enlargement of consciousness" as this Western writer Lloyd has so well expressed it.
The very consciousness of Life that every man feels within him, comes not from something belonging exclusively to himself as a separate or personal thing. On the contrary, it belongs to his Individuality, not to his Personality, and is a phase of his consciousness or "awareness" of his relation to the One Universal Life which underlies his existence, and in which he is a center of consciousness. Do you grasp this idea? If not, meditate and concentrate upon it, for it is important. You must learn to feel the Life within you, and to know that it is the Life of the great Ocean of Universal Life upon the bosom of which you are borne as a centre of consciousness and energy. In this thought there is Power, Strength, Calm, Peace, and Wisdom. Acquire it, if you are wise. It is indeed a Gift from the Gods.
In this lesson we are not attempting to build up your idea of the Unity of Life by a series of arguments taken from a world of phenomena in which separateness and non-Unity is apparent. No such arguments would suffice, for it would be like trying to prove the existence and laws of color to a man born blind, by arguments taken from his world of darkness. On the contrary we are appealing to that region of the mind in which is stored the capacity for intuitively apprehending truth. We are endeavoring to speak in tones which will awaken a similar vibration in that part of your mentality, and if these vibrations be started into being, then will you be able to feel and know the truth, and then will your Intellect eagerly seize upon the new idea that it finds within itself, and will proceed to apply the same to the various problems that have been bothering you in the past.
This consciousness of Unity must come from the higher regions of the mind, for the Intellect alone knows it not,—it is out of its field. Just as one may not know that the earth is round by means of his senses which report quite the contrary, but may and does know this truth by abstract reasoning and higher intellectual effort; so may one know the truth that All Life is indeed One, at the last, and underlying, by the higher faculties of the mind, although his senses and ordinary intellectual processes fail to so inform him. The senses cannot inform man that the earth is round, because they cannot see it as a whole, but only in part—while the higher reasoning faculties are able to visualize the earth as a whole, and know it must be round. And the Intellect, in its ordinary field can see only separateness, and cannot report Oneness, but the Higher Mind sees Life as a Whole, and knows it to be One. And it is the Higher Mind that we are trying to bring into the field of consciousness in the appeal to you in this lesson. We trust that we may be successful—in fact we know that we shall be so, in many cases, for we know that the field is ready for the sowing of the seed—and that the call has been heard, and the message passed on to us to answer the call—else these words would not have been written.
The consciousness of the Unity of Life is something that must be experienced before the truth may be realized. It is not necessary for one to wait until he acquire full Cosmic Consciousness before he may realize, at least partially, the Oneness of All Life, for he may unfold gradually into the Cosmic Knowing, experiencing at each stage a fuller conception of the underlying Unity of Life, in which he is a centre of consciousness and manifestation. But there must be at least a partial unfoldment before one is able to feel the sense of Unity. To those who have not unfolded sufficiently to gain at least a glimmering of the truth, everything appears separate from every other thing, and there is no Unity of All. It is as if every leaf on a mighty tree were to consider itself a being separate and distinct from everything else in the world, failing to perceive its connection with the branch or limb, and tree, and its unity in being with every other leaf on the tree. After a bit the unfolding consciousness of the leaf enables it to perceive the stem that connects it with the twig. Then it begins to realize certain relationships, and feels its vital connection with the twig and the few other leaves attached to the same twig. Later on, it unfolds sufficiently to perceive that certain other leaf-bearing twigs are connected with the same branch, and it learns to feel its relationship with all twigs and leaves springing from that branch. Then again, a little later on, it begins to realize that other branches spring from the same limb as its branch, and the sense of relationship and dawning Unity begins to widen still further. And so it goes on, until at last, the tiny leaflet realizes that the life of the tree is the life of all of its parts—limbs, branches, twigs, leaves, blossoms, fruit, seed, etc., and that it, itself, is but a centre of expression in the One Life of the tree. Does the leaf feel less important and real from this discovery? We should say assuredly not, for it must feel that behind its tiny form and limited strength is the strength and vitality of the entire organism of the tree. It must know that the tree is ever at work extracting nourishment from the earth, air, and water, and transmitting that nourishment to its every part, including our little friend the leaflet. It knows that the sap will rise in the Spring to renew the manifestations of life, and it knows that although its leafy form may wither and die, still the essence of its life—its real Life—does not die but remains ever active and strong awaiting its chance for future expression and re-embodiment. Of course this figure of the leaf and the tree fails us if we attempt to carry it very far, but it will give us at least a partial idea of the relationship between the life of the person, and the One Life.
Some of the Oriental teachers have illustrated this idea to their students by various familiar examples and figures of speech. Some bid the student hold up his hand, and then point out to him that each finger is apparently separate and distinct if one does not look down to where it joins the hand. Each finger, if it had consciousness, might well argue that it was a separate individual, having no relationship with any other finger. It might prove this to its own satisfaction, and to that of its listeners, by showing that it could move itself without stirring the other fingers. And so long as its consciousness was confined to its upper two joints it would remain under the illusion of separateness. But when its consciousness at last permeated the depths of its being, it would find that it emerged from the same hand from which also sprung the other fingers, and that its real life and power was vested in the hand rather than in itself, and that although apparently separate and independent, it was really but a part of the hand. And when its consciousness, through the consciousness of the hand, broadened and widened, it would perceive its relationship with, and interdependence with, the whole body, and would also recognize the power of the brain, and its mighty Will.
Another favorite illustration of the Eastern teachers is the stream of water flowing over a rocky bed. They point to the stream before it comes to a rocky place, and show the chela (student) that it is One. Then they will move a little way down the stream and show him how the rocks and stones divide the stream into countless little streams, each of which might imagine itself a separate and distinct stream, until later on it again joins the main united stream, and finds that it was but a form of expression of the One.
Another illustration that is frequently used by the teachers, is that which bids the student consider himself as a minute cell, or "little-life" as the Hindus call it, in a body. It may be a cell in the blood performing the office of a carrier or messenger, or it may be a working cell in one of the organs of the body; or it may be a thinking cell in the brain. At any rate, the cell manifests capacity for thought, action and memory—and a number of secondary attributes quite wonderful in the way. (See "Hatha Yoga," Chapter XVIII.) Each cell might well consider itself as a separate individual—in a certain sense it does. It has a certain degree of something akin to consciousness, enabling it to perform its work correctly and properly, and is called upon at times to manifest something like judgment. It may well be excused for thinking of itself as a "person" having a separate life. The analogy between its illusions and that of the man when seen by a Master, is very close. But we know that the life of the cell is merely a centre of expression of the life of the body—that its consciousness is merely a part of the consciousness of the mind animating the body. The cell will die and apparently perish, but the essence of it will remain in the life of the person whose body it occupied, and nothing really dies or perishes. Would the cell feel any less real if it knew that behind its Personality as a cell, there was the Individuality of the Man—that its Real Self was the Man, not the cell? Of course, even this figure of speech can be carried only so far, and then must stop, for the personality of the man, when it is dissolved, leaves behind it an essence which is called Character, which becomes the property of the Ego and which accompanies it into after life according to the Law of Karma, of which we shall speak in future lessons. But back even of these attributes of Personality, is the Ego which exists in spite of Personality, and lives on and on throughout many Personalities, and yet learning the lessons of each, until at last it rises above Personality and enters into higher sphere of Knowing and Being.
Still another favorite illustration of the Hindu teachers is that of the sun beating down upon the ocean and causing a portion of the water to rise in the form of vapor. This vapor forms clouds which spread all over the earth, and which eventually condense in the form of rain drops, dew, etc. This rain and dew form streams, rivers, etc., and sooner or later every drop finds its way back to Mother Ocean which is its Real Self. Separate though the dewdrop be, yet it is a part of the Ocean, no matter how far distant it may be, and the attraction of the Ocean will surely, and without fail, draw it back to its bosom. And the dewdrop, if it could know the truth, would be so much happier and stronger, and braver if it could know that it was superior to accident, time and space, and that it could not escape its own good, and that nothing could prevent its final triumph and victory when at last "the dewdrop glides into the shining sea." How cheerfully it could have met its many changes of form. and the incidents of its journey, if it could have gotten rid of the illusion of separateness, and knew that instead of being a tiny insignificant dewdrop it was a part of the Mighty Ocean—in fact that its Real Self was that Ocean itself—and that the Ocean was continually drawing it toward it, and that the many changes, up and down, were in response to that mighty power of attraction which was slowly but irresistibly drawing it back Home to Rest, Peace, and Power.
As valuable as are all these illustrations, examples, and figures of speech, still all must of necessity fall short of the truth in the case of the Soul of Man—that wondrous something which has been built up by the Absolute after aeons and aeons of time, and which is destined to play an important part in the great Cosmic Drama which it has pleased the Absolute to think into existence. Drawing its Life from the Universal Life, it has the roots of its being still further back in the Absolute itself, as we shall see in the next lesson. Great and wonderful is it all, and our minds are but illy fitted to receive the truth, and must be gradually accustomed to the glare of the Sun. But it will come to all—none can escape his glorious destiny.
The Oriental writings are full of allusions to the underlying Oneness, in fact the entire Oriental philosophies rest upon it. You may find it everywhere if you will but look for it. The experience of Cosmic Consciousness, which is naught but a sudden or gradual "awareness" of the underlying Unity of Life, is evidenced everywhere in the Upanishads, that wonderful series of teachings in the Hindu classics. Every writer in the collection gives his evidence regarding this awareness of Unity and Oneness, and the experiences and mental characteristics arising from the same. The following quotations will give an idea of the prevalence of this thought:
"He that beholds all beings in the Self, and the Self in all things, he never turns away from it."
"When to a man who understands, the Self has become all things, what sorrow, what trouble, can there be to him who once beheld that unity."
The Hindu father explains to his son that the One Life is in all forms and shapes, points out object after object, saying to the boy: "Tat tuam asi, Thou art that; That thou art."
And the Mystics have added their testimony to that of others who have experienced this consciousness. Plotinus said: "Knowledge has three degrees: opinion, science, and illumination. The last is absolute knowledge founded upon the identity of the knowing mind with the known object."
And Eckhardt, the German mystic, has told his pupils that: "God is the soul of all things. He is the light that shines in us when the veil is rent."
And Tennyson, in his wonderful verse describing the temporary lifting of the veil for him, has described a phase of Cosmic Consciousness in the following words:
"For knowledge is the swallow on the lake That sees and stirs the surface-shadow there, But never yet hath dippt into the abysm, The Abysm of all Abysms, beneath, within The blue of sky and sea, the green of earth, And in the million-millionth of a grain Which cleft and cleft again for evermore And ever vanishing, never vanishes. . .
And more, my son, for more than once when I Sat all alone, revolving in myself That word which is the symbol of myself, The mortal symbol of the Self was loosed, And past into the Nameless, as a cloud Melts into Heaven. I touched my limbs, the limbs Were strange, not mine—and yet no shadow of doubt, But utter clearness, and through loss of Self The gain of such large life as matched with ours Were Sun to spark, unshadowable in words, Themselves but shadows of a shadow-world."
And not only among the mystics and poets is this universal truth experienced and expressed, but among the great philosophers of all ages may we find this teaching of the Unity of Life originally voiced in the Upanishads. The Grecian thinkers have expressed the thought; the Chinese philosophers have added their testimony; the modern philosophers, Spinoza, Berkeley, Kant, Hegel, Schopenhauer, Hartman, Ferrier, Royce, although differing widely in their theories, all have expressed as a fundamental truth the Unity of Life—a One Life underlying. The basic teachings of the Vedas are receiving confirmation at the hands of Modern Science, which while calling itself Rationalistic and inclining to a Materialistic conception of the Universe, still finds itself compelled to say, "At the last, All is One."
And in nearly every human soul there is a secret chamber in which the text of this knowledge lies hidden, and in the rare moments in which the chamber door is opened in response to poetry, music, art, deep religious feeling, or those unaccountable waves of uplift that come to all, the truth is recognized for the moment and the soul feels at peace and is content in the feeling that it is at harmony with the All. The sense of Beauty, however expressed, when keenly experienced, has a tendency to lift us out of our consciousness of separateness into another plane of mind in which the keynote is Unity. The higher the human feeling, the nearer is the conscious realization of the underlying Unity.
This realization of the Unity of Life—the Oneness of Life—the Great Life—even when but faintly experienced, renders Life quite a different thing to the person. He feels no longer that he is a mere "part" of something that may be destroyed—or that he is a tiny personal something, separate from and opposed to all the rest of the Universe—but that he is, instead, a Unit of Expression—a Centre of Consciousness—in the Great One Life. He realizes that he has the Power, and Strength, and Life, and Wisdom of the Whole back of him, upon which he may learn to draw as he unfolds. He realizes that he is at Home, and that he cannot be thrust out, for there is no outside of the All. He feels within himself the certainty of infinite Life and being, for his Life is the all Life, and that cannot die. The petty cares, and worries, and griefs, and pains of everyday personal life are seen for what they are, and they cease to threaten and dominate him as of old. He sees the things of personality as merely the costume and trappings of the part in the play of life that he is acting out, and he knows that when he discards them he will still be "I."
When one really feels the consciousness of the One Life underlying, he acquires a confident trust and faith, and a new sense of freedom and strength comes to him, for is he not indeed delivered from the bondage of fear that has haunted him in his world of separateness. He feels within him the spiritual pulse of the Universal Life, and at once he thrills with a sense of new-found power and being. He becomes reconciled with Life in all its phases, for he knows these things as but temporary phases in the working out of some great Universal plan, instead of things permanent and fixed and beyond remedy. He begins to feel the assurance of Ultimate Justice and God, and the old ideas of Injustice and Evil begin to fade from him. He who enters into the consciousness of the Universal Life, indeed enters into a present realization of the Life Everlasting. All fear of being "lost" or "eternally damned" fades away, and one instinctively realizes that he is "saved" because he is of the One Life and cannot be lost. All the fear of being lost arises from the sense of illusion of separateness or apartness from the One Life. Once the consciousness of Unity is gained, fear drops from the soul like a wornout garment.
When the idea and consciousness of the Unity takes possession of one, he feels a new sense of cheerfulness and optimism entirely different from any other feeling that he has ever experienced. He loses that distrust and hardness which seems to cling to so many in this age who have arrived at the Intellectual stage of development, and have been unable to progress further. A new sense of peace and harmony comes to one, and illuminates his entire character and life. The bitterness engendered by the illusion of separateness is neutralized by the sweetness of the sense of Unity. When one enters into this consciousness he finds that he has the key to many a riddle of life that has heretofore perplexed him. Many dark corners are illuminated—many hard sayings are made clear. Paradoxes become understandable truths, and the pairs of opposites that dwell in all advanced intellectual conceptions, seem to bend around their ends and form themselves into a circle.
To the one who understands the Unity, all Nature seems akin and friendly. There is no sense of antagonism or opposition—everything is seen to fit into its place, and work out its appointed task in the Universal plan. All Nature is seen to be friendly, when properly understood, and Man regains that sense of harmonious environment and at-home-ness that he lost when he entered the stage of self-consciousness. The lower animal and the children feel this Unity, in their poor imperfect way, but Man lost this Paradise when he discovered Good and Evil. But Paradise Lost becomes Paradise Regained when Man enters into this new stage of consciousness. But unlike the animal or child, which instinctively feels the Unity, the awakened soul of man possesses the Unity consciousness, coupled with intelligent comprehension, and unfolding spiritual power. He has found that which he lost, together with the accumulated interest of the ages. This new kingdom of Consciousness is before the race. All must enter into it in time—all will enter into it—many are entering into it now, by gradual stages. This dawning sense of Unity is that which is causing the spiritual unrest which is now agitating the world, and Which in time will bring the race to a realization of the Fatherhood of God and the Brotherhood of Man, and his kinship to Every Living Thing. We are entering into this new cycle of human unfoldment, and the greatest changes are before the race. Ye who read these words are in the foremost ranks of the new dispensation, else you would not be interested in this subject. You are the leaven which is designed to lighten the heavy mass of the world-mind. Play well your parts. You are not alone. Mighty forces and great Intelligences are behind you in the work. Be worthy of them. Peace be with you.
Carry with you the Central Thought of this lesson:
CENTRAL THOUGHT. There is but One Life—a Universal Life—in the world. This One Life is an emanation from the Absolute. It infills all forms, shapes and manifestations of Life, and is the Real Life that each imagines to be his personal property. There is but One—and you are centres of consciousness and expression in that One. There is a Unity and Harmony which becomes apparent to those who enter into the consciousness of the One Life. There is Peace and Calm in the thought. There is Strength and Power in the knowledge. Enter ye into your Kingdom of Power—possess yourselves of your Birthright of Knowledge. In the very center of your being you will find a holy of holies in which dwells the Consciousness of the One Life, underlying. Enter into the Silence of the Shrine within.
THE FIFTH LESSON
THE ONE AND THE MANY.
As we have stated in previous Lessons, all philosophies which thinkers have considered worthy of respect, find their final expression of Truth in the fundamental thought that there is but One Reality, underlying all the manifold manifestations of shape and form. It is true that the philosophers have differed widely in their conception of that One, but, nevertheless, they have all agreed upon the logical necessity of the fundamental conception that there is, at least, but One Reality, underlying All.
Even the Materialists have conceded this conclusion, and they speak and think of a something called "Matter," as the One—holding that, inherent in Matter, is the potentiality of all Life. The school of Energists, holding that Matter in itself is non-existent, and that it is merely a mode of manifestation of a something called "Energy," asserts that this something called Energy is One, fundamental, real, and self-sufficient.
The various forms of Western religious thought, which hold to the various conceptions of a Personal Deity, also hold to a Oneness, inasmuch as they teach that in the beginning there was God, only, and that all the Universe has been created by Him. They do not go into details regarding this creation, and, unlike the Oriental teachers, they fail to distinguish between the conception of the creation of shape and form, on the one hand; and the creation of the substance of these shapes and forms, on the other hand. But, even accepting the premises of these people who hold to the Personal Deity conception, it will be seen that the Reason requires the acceptance of one or two ideas, viz., (1) That the Deity created the substance of these shapes and forms from Nothing; or else (2) that he created them out of his own substance—out of Himself, in fact. Let us consider, briefly, these two conceptions.
In the first conception, i.e., Creation from Nothing, we are brought face to face with an impregnable obstacle, inasmuch as the human reason positively refuses to think of Anything coming from Nothing. While it is perfectly true that the finite human mind cannot undertake to limit the powers of the Infinite; or to insist that the possibilities of the Divine Power must be measured and limited by the finite power of Man—still it must hearken to the report of its own highest faculties, and say "I cannot Think it," or else blindly accept the teachings of other finite minds which are equally unable to "Think it," and which have no superior sources of information. The Infinite Power has endowed us with reasoning faculties, and evidently expects us to use them to their full capacity—else the gift were a mockery. And in the absence of information from higher sources than the Reason, we must use the Reason in thinking of this matter, or else refuse to think of it at all.
In view of the above thought, let us then consider the report of the Reason, regarding this matter, And then, after having done so, let us apply the test of this report of the Reason, to the highest teaching of the Yogi Philosophy, and see how the latter stands the test. And, after having done this, we will apply the test of the Higher Consciousness to the same teachings. Remember this always, that while there is knowledge that transcends Reason—that is knowledge that comes from the Higher Regions of the Mind—still even such information of the Spiritual Mind does not run contrary to Reason, although it goes beyond it. There is harmony between the Spiritual Mind and the Highest Reason.
Returning to the consideration of the matter of Creation of Substance from Nothing, we again assert that the Reason is unable to think of the creation of Something from Nothing. It finds the statement unthinkable, and contrary to all the laws of thought. It is true that the Reason is compelled to accept as a final truth, many things that it cannot understand by reason of its finitude—but this is not one of them. There is no logical necessity for the Reason to accept any such conception as this—there is no warrant in the Reason for any such theory, idea or conclusion. Let us stop here, for a moment, and examine into this difference—it may help us to think clearer, hereafter.
We find it impossible to understand the fact of the Infinite Being having always existed—and Being without Cause. We find it impossible to conceive of the nature of an Eternal, Causeless, and Infinite Being—to conceive the nature of, such a Being, remember.
But, while this is so, still our Reason, by its own laws, compels us to think that there must be such a Being, so long as we think at all. For, if we think at all, we must think of there being a Fundamental Reality—and we must think of that Reality as being without Cause (because there can be no Cause for the First Cause); and we must think of that Reality as being Eternal (because It could not have sprung into Being from Nothing, and therefore must have always been); and we must think of that Reality as Infinite (because there is nothing outside of Itself to limit It). Think over this statement for a moment—until you grasp it fully.
But there is no such necessity, or compulsion, in the case of the question of Creation from Nothingness. On the contrary, the necessity and compulsion is all the other way. Not only is the Reason unable to think of Creation from Nothing—not only does all its laws forbid it to hold such a conception—but, more than this, it finds within itself a conception, full-grown and potent, which contradicts this idea. It finds within itself the strong certainty that Whatever Really Is has Always Been, and that all transient and finite shapes, forms, and manifestations, must proceed from that which is Real, Infinite, Causeless, and Infinite—and moreover must be composed of the substance of that Reality, for there is nothing else Real from which they could have been composed; and their composition from Nothing is unthinkable, for Nothing is Nothing, and always will be Nothing. "Nothing" is merely a name of denial of existence—an absolute denial of substantiality of any degree, kind or form—an absolute denial of Reality. And from such could come only Nothing—from Nothing, Nothing comes.
Therefore, finding within itself the positive report that All, and Anything There Is, must be composed of the Substance of the Reality, the Reason is compelled to think that the Universe is composed of the Substance of the One Reality—whether we call that One Reality, by the name of The Absolute; or whether we call it God. We must believe that from this Absolute-God all things in the Universe have flown out, or been emanated, rather than created—begotten, rather than "made."
This does not mean the Pantheistic idea that the Universe is God—but rather that God, while existing separate and apart from His Universe, in his Essence, and Being, is nevertheless in His Universe, and His Universe in Him. And this, no matter what conception of God or Deity is had—or whether one thinks of The Absolute as Principle. The Truth is the same—Truth no matter by what names it is called, or by what misconception it is surrounded. The Truth is that One is in All, and All is in One—such is the report of the highest Reason of Man—such is the report of the Illumined—such is the Highest Teachings that have come down to the race from the great souls that have trodden The Path of Attainment.
And now let us submit the Yogi Philosophy to these conceptions, and reports of the Reason. And let us discover just what more the Yogi Philosophy has to say concerning the nature of the Substance of the Divine, which infills all Life—and how it solves the Riddle of the Sphinx, concerning the One in All; and All in One. We hope to show you that the Riddle is capable of solution, and that the old Yogi teachers have long ago grasped that for which the human mind has ever sought. This phase of the Teachings is the highest, and it is usually hinted at, rather than expressed, in the writings on the subject—owing to danger of confusion and misconception. But in these Lessons we shall speak the Truth plainly, and without fear—for such is the Message which has been given us to deliver to our students—and we will perform the Right action, leaving the Result, or Fruits of the Action, where it belongs, according to the higher teachings found in the "Bhagavad Gita," and in the Higher Teachings of the Yogi Philosophy.
The fundamental Truth embedded in the Wisdom-Philosophies of the East—the Higher Yogi Teachings—is the impregnable doctrine of the One Self in the many selves—the many selves in the One Self. This fundamental Truth underlies all the Oriental Philosophies which are esoteric in their nature.
Notwithstanding the crude and often repulsive conceptions and practices of the masses of the people who represent the exoteric, or popular, phase of the teachings (and these two phases are to be found in all regions) still there is always this Inner Doctrine of the One Self, to be found to those who look for it.
Not only is this true among the Hindus; but even among the Mahommedans, of all countries, there is an Inner Circle of Mystics, known as the Sufis, holding to this Truth. And the inner teachings of the philosophies of all ages and races, have held likewise. And the highest thought of the philosophers of the Western races, has found refuge in this idea of the Over-soul, or Universal Self. But, it is only among the Yogis that we find an attempt made to explain the real nature of the manifestation of the One in Many—the holding of the Many forms in the One Self.
Before proceeding to the consideration of how the One becomes as Many, as expounded by the Higher Yogi Teachings, it becomes necessary to speak of a matter upon which there has been much confusion and misunderstanding, not only on the part of the students of various Oriental Philosophies, but also upon the part of some of the teachers themselves. We allude to the connection between THE ONE—THE ABSOLUTE—in Its ESSENCE—and that which has been called the One Life; the Universal Life, etc.
Many writers have spoken of the Universal Life, and The One, as being identical—but such is a grievous error, finding no warrant in the Highest Yogi Teachings. It is true that all living forms dwell in, and are infilled with the Universal Life—that All Life is One. We have taught this truth, and it is indeed Truth, without qualification. But there is still a Higher Truth—the Highest Truth, in fact—and that is, that even this Universal Life is not the One, but, instead, is in itself a manifestation of, and emanation from, THE ONE. There is a great difference here—-see that you perceive and understand it, before proceeding further.
THE ONE—THE ABSOLUTE—according to the Highest Teachings, is Pure Spirit, and not Life, Mind, or Being as we understand them in our finite and mortal expressions. But, still all Life, Mind, and Being, as we understand them, spring from, flow from, and emanate from, the One—and more than this, may be spoken of as reflections of the Life, Mind, and Being of The One, if we may be permitted to apply the names of finite manifestations to the Infinite Reality.
So, the Highest Teaching is that the Universal Life infilling all living things, is not, in itself, the Being and Life of THE ONE—but is rather a great fundamental emanation of The One, the manner and nature of which will be spoken of as we proceed. Remember this, please.
Leading up to the Supreme Idea of the One in All—All in One—let us examine into the report of the Reason upon the nature of the Substance—the Divine Substance—from which all living forms are shaped; and from which all that we know as Finite Mind is likewise composed. How can these imperfect and finite forms be composed of a Divine and Perfect Substance? This is the question that must occur to the minds of those who are capable of deep thought on the subject—and it is a question that must be answered. And it can be answered—and is answered in the Higher Yogi Philosophy. Let us examine the reports of the Reason, a little further—then shall we be ready for the Teachings.
Of what can the Substance of the Infinite be composed? Can it be Matter? Yes, if you are satisfied with the reasoning of the Materialists, and cannot see further into the Truth! These teach that Matter is God, and that God is Matter. But if you be among those who reject the Materialistic teachings, you will not be satisfied with this answer. Even if you incline toward a Non-mental Infinite, still if you are familiar with the results of modern scientific investigation, and know that Science has seen Matter resolve itself into something like Electric Energy, you will know that the Truth must lie behind and beyond Matter.
Then is it Pure Energy? you may ask. Pure Energy? what's that? Can you think of Energy apart from material manifestation? Have you ever known of such a thing? Do you not know that even the Electron Theory, which is attracting the attention of advanced Modern Science, and which holds that all things are composed of minute particles of Electric Energy, called Electrons, from which the Atoms are built—do you not know that even this theory recognizes the necessity of a "something like Matter, only infinitely finer," which they call the Ether, to enfold the Electric Energy as a unit—to give it a body, as it were? And can you escape from the fact that the most advanced scientific minds find confronting them—the fact that in all Energy, and governing its actions, there 'is manifested "something like Mind"?
And does not all this teach thinkers that just as Energy creates from itself, that which is called Matter, and then uses it as a vehicle of expression and action—so does this "Something like Mind" create from itself that which we call Energy, and proceeds to use it, with its accompanying phase of Matter, for its expression? Does not all advanced research show us that in all Matter and Energy there are evidences of the operation of this "Something like Mind"? And if this be so, are we not justified as regarding Matter and Energy as mere Effects—and to look to this "Something like Mind" as the more fundamental Substance? We think so—and Science is beginning to think so, too. And soon will Science be regarding with the most profound respect, the Metaphysical axiom that "All is Mind."
You will see by reference to our "Advanced Course in Yogi Philosophy, etc.," the general Yogi teachings regarding the Emanation of the One, known respectively as Mind, Energy, and Matter. You will see that the Yogis teach that Mind, Energy, and Matter comprise a threefold emanation of the Absolute. You will also see that it is taught that Mind was the Parent-Emanation—the Universal Mind; and that the Universal Energy was the Second-Emanation (proceeding from Mind); and that the Universal Matter was the Third Emanation (proceeding from Energy) In the same book you will find that the Teaching is that above Matter, Energy, and Mind, is the Essence of the Absolute, which is called Spirit—the nature of which is non-understandable to the mind of Man, the highest conception of which is the highest manifestation of itself—Mind. But as we cannot comprehend spirit otherwise, we are justified in thinking of it as Something like Infinite Mind—Something as much higher than Finite Mind as that is higher than mere energy.
Now, then—we have seen the folly of thinking of the Divine Substance as Matter or Energy. And we have come to know it as Spirit, something like Mind, only infinitely higher, but which still may be thought of in terms of Infinite Mind, for we can have no higher terms in our thinking operations. So we may then assume that this Divine Nature or substance is SPIRIT, which we will think of as Infinite Mind, for want of a better form of conception.
We have seen the folly of thinking of the Divine Essential Substance as the Body of God. We have likewise seen the folly of thinking of it as the Vital Energy of God. And we have found that we could not escape thinking of it as the Spirit, or infinite Mind of God. Beyond this we cannot think intelligently.
But do you not see that all this exercise of the Reason has brought us to the point where we must think that this Divine Substance, which the Absolute-God uses in the manifestation of Universal Life; the Universe; and all the forms, and shapes, and manifestations of life and things in the Universe—this Divine Substance which must be in All Things—and in which All Things must rest, even as the bubble rests on the Ocean—that this can be nothing less than Spirit, and that this Spirit can be thought of only as Infinite Mind?
And, if this be so, then indeed must All be Mind, and Mind be All—meaning, of course, the Infinite Mind, not the finite manifestation that we call Mind.
Then, if this reasoning has been correct, then must we think that All Life—all the Universe—Everything except the Absolute itself—must be held in the Infinite Mind of the Absolute!
And, so, by the exercise of our Reason—by listening to, and examining its reports, we have been brought face to face—eye to eye—heart to heart—with the Teaching of the Illumined Ones, which has come down to us as the Highest Teaching of the Yogi Philosophy! For this, indeed, is the highest conception of Truth in the Yogi Teachings—this, that ALL MANIFESTATIONS AND EMANATIONS OF THE ABSOLUTE ARE MENTAL CREATIONS OF THE ABSOLUTE—THOUGHT-FORMS HELD IN THE INFINITE MIND—THE INFINITE SPIRIT IN THEM—AND THEY IN THE INFINITE SPIRIT. _And that the only Real Thing about Man is THE SPIRIT involved in the Thought-Form, the rest is mere Personality, which changes and ceases to be. The Spirit in the Soul of Man, is the SOUL OF THE SOUL, which is never born; never changeth; never dieth—this is The Real Self of _Man, in which, indeed, he is "One with the Father."_
This is the point where the Reasoning Mind of Man has come to a sense of Agreement with the Highest Yogi Teachings. Let us now pass on to the Teachings themselves—let us listen to The Message of Truth.
In this consideration of the Highest Yogi Philosophy, and its teaching, we would again say to our students, that which we said to them in "The Advanced Course"—that we do not attempt to teach the "why" of the Manifestation of The Absolute, but rest content with delivering the Message of the Yogi Sages, which deals with the "how." As we stated in the lessons referred to, we incline to that school of the Higher Teachings, which holds that the "Why" of the Infinite Manifestation must, of necessity, rest with the Infinite alone, and that the finite mind cannot hope to answer the question. We hold that in all the Universal Mind, or in any of its Mind Manifestations, there is to be found no answer to this question! Wrapped in the Essence of the Absolute Spirit, alone, is this Final Answer!
The Sages, and Masters, from their high spiritual points of observation, possess many truths regarding the "how" side of the question that would appear almost like Infinite Wisdom itself, compared with our puny knowledge. But even these great souls report that they do not possess the answer to the Final Question—the "Why" of the Infinite Manifestation. And so we may be excused from attempting to answer it—and without shame or sense of shortcoming do we still say, to this question, "We do not know!"
In order that the Final Question may be fully understood let us consider it for a moment. We find the Question arising from the following condition:
The human Reason is compelled to admit that there is an Infinite, Eternal, Causeless REALITY underlying all forms of manifestation in the phenomenal world. It is likewise compelled to admit that this REALITY must comprise All that Really Is—and that there can be nothing Real outside of Itself. Arising from this is the Truth, that all forms of phenomenal manifestation, must emanate from the One Reality, for there is nothing else Real from which they could emanate. And the twin-Truth that these forms of manifestation, must also be in the Being of the One Reality, for there is nowhere outside of the All wherein they might find a place. So this One Reality is seen to be "That from which All Things flow"; and "That in which All Things live, and move and have their being."