FROM THE UNREAL TO THE REAL
1- The Babe
Chapter 2- From Birth to Ten Years Old
Chapter 3- The Principles of Education
Chapter 4- From Ten to Twenty Years
Chapter 5- From Twenty to Forty Years
Chapter 6- From Forty to Eighty Years
THE THREE PATHS
7- The Way of Will
Chapter 8- The Way of Knowledge
Chapter 9- The Way of Love
THIS book is the second of the series containing the teachings received from the angel who inspired the volume entitled The Brotherhood of Angels and of Men.
Though some may dismiss these present teachings as being entirely impracticable, I nevertheless offer them for consideration because I believe that they contain much that is of value and significance at the present time, when the changing race-consciousness is finding old methods of education inadequate, and new ones are everywhere sought.
The errors and deficiencies of the book are due to my lack of competence to receive the angel's teaching in all its clarity and beauty; my hope is that gleams of the light of his wisdom may find their way through the darkness of my limitations and may serve to illumine the minds that are open to receive them; and particularly those responsible for the upbringing of the children of the new age.
Only broad outlines are sketched in this volume, offered now at the dawn of a new day in the evolution of race-consciousness; more detailed teaching may be expected as the sun climbs towards his zenith, for then human and angel consciousness will be united to form one splendid channel for the power, the wisdom, and the knowledge of That which is their common source. Human vehicles of consciousness will then have evolved a degree of refinement and responsiveness in which the new powers resulting from the fusion may be adequately expressed.
The angel has endeavoured to indicate the main principles and the ideal influences by means of which man may be enabled to develop to their full perfection the God-like capacities to which every son of man is heir ; hence the title : " Be Ye Perfect."
FROM THE UNREAL TO THE REAL
THE babe is a symbol of a new-born universe; it's first breath represents the breath of God as He breathes upon the face of the waters and its first cry the music of the voice of God, the sound of the Creative Word. The first breath and cry of the babe are the divine messages which he brings from God to man.
The babe comes straight from the Creator; he is a messenger of God, the most heavenly thing on earth and nearest of all things to the Divine.
The babe comes from the past and passes through the mother's womb on his way to the future. At birth, the past shines all about him, as the glory of the setting sun; the future he holds in his hands. Past, present and future form the trinity of his Godhead.
The babe is born in order to unite the past, present and future. The goal of every human life is to know past, present and future as one; to the fulfilment of this destiny everything must be subordinated.
Down to the moment of birth the babe is in the hands of God and by Him everything is subordinated to the fulfilment of his destiny. At birth the child is delivered from the hands of God into the hands of man; man must lead him back to God. The reason for his pilgrimage, the motive of his voluntary imprisonment in the flesh is that he may find the way from God and, through the material worlds, back to God.
The difference between the outgoing and the return is that as he goes forth, the hands of God support him; as he returns he supports himself. The lesson he learns is to release the power of God within himself, that he may walk alone. Having learned, he delivers himself once more into the hands which brought him forth, which guarded him invisibly and which now he fills with precious gifts of gold, of frankincense, of myrrh, symbols of the trinity within, whose triple powers he has used to conquer the material worlds and has translated into will and love and thought; these are the powers by which he reigns supreme throughout the worlds of form.
His destiny fulfilled, at last he kneels before his Father's throne ; the gifts with which his Father sent him forth, those precious jewels, hidden deep within his heart, are now effulgent rays of life, shining resplendent from the crown upon his kingly brow. He stands at His right hand, no longer child, no longer man, but child and man grown into God, his Father's equal and his Father's self.
This is the purpose, aim, and end of all that happens to the babe; to this should all things be subordinate.
As the child, symbol of the new-born universe, proceeds along his destined road, his progress and his growth must be entrusted to the wisdom of the life within, not ordered by a power from without. Despite the teachings of an ancient race, God does not interfere. He Who filled the form with life, knows well that no harm can come to that life, what≠ever happens to the form. He helps continually from within by the rhythmic impulse of the beating of His heart. At certain cyclic epochs of the universal and the human life, He pours forth an added power, illumines with an added light, quickens with an impulse from His will. By this He stimulates the universal soul, knowing that eventually the impulse will find expression in the form.
So should the parent cherish the child, seeking ever to illumine and strengthen the soul and leaving it free to use the added power for mastery of form. Therefore both the parents should concentrate their aid upon the soul in the child. Only such things as infancy and impotence prevent it doing for itself, should be performed for the body; every tendency towards self-help should be watched for, fostered, and encouraged, the ideal being to withdraw external aid in all things so soon as development permits.
The child must step forward into the world unhindered by too much guidance, unfettered by too much care. Even if at first he falls, let him rise alone, do not seek too soon to wipe away the childish tears; thus accustom him early to walk alone, interfering only when real danger approaches too closely. It is not well to stimulate the growth of habit, of childish idiosyncrasy; these limit the soul by making grooves through which the life-force learns to run, forming a personal character too soon.
Remembering his own childhood, the parent will encourage the babe to observe, and so will institute early in its life the growth of faculty and of knowledge, that the teacher may find rich material on which to work, when the child shall come to him as a pupil.
The greatest gift with which the parents can provide the soul to help him in his task of regaining the technique of life imprisoned in a form, is freedom; freedom of mind, of feeling and of action. In every nursery this should be the rule, that the child should have freedom. Freedom of body, not enwrapped by oppressive clothing which shuts out the air from his skin; freedom to crawl and kick and walk whenever the impulse arises. Freedom of feeling, not encompassed by a love that is too personal; not shut in by another's sense of possession of the form; rather should the parent be irradiated by a love, mingled with reverence, which recognises the privilege of parenthood, of receiving the wondrous messenger, direct from the hands of God. Freedom of mind, that the mental form may grow according to the pattern of the soul within, and not be shaped by the prejudices and limitations, or even by the acquired knowledge of those of greater age in worlds of form.
Thus shall the ego find no hindrance to the full expression of the many faculties he brings from many births and deaths. Thus, to the man, shall parenthood be a source of continual joy, a field of selfless service, an experience which shall enrich the content of his soul.
FROM BIRTH TO TEN YEARS OLD
THE periods of man's life, from birth to death, are marked by tens of years. During each period a special kind of life should be lived, suited exactly to the needs of the developing body and mind.
The first ten years should be devoted entirely to growth; every experience should lead to expansion of mind, of feeling and of body. The life≠force is pouring into the triple man-to-be, in all its abundance; let nothing stem its flow. Every cell must receive it, so that every organ may be quickened and every sense developed to the full. During this period the child must represent embodied life-force; later, he will represent embodied mind and finally embodied spirit. The inrush of the vital power is the dominant characteristic of the first ten years and gives the child his periods of tireless activity, drives him on to exercise and use the growing faculties, that later he may develop the spring-like resilience of muscle and of sinew. No limit should be put upon that active self-expression; the child should be allowed to tire himself and then to sleep in open air until his life-force is renewed.
The early years consist of alternating periods of activity and rest; their length should not be governed by any rule imposed from without; the resurgent life within will determine the time which each demands. The child should play till he is tired, lie down and sleep until refreshed, then play again ; play and rest, the twin companions of the first ten years, form, with nourishment, a trinity of essentials.
Nature should be his only teacher until the age of ten and play his only "work." The lessons he will learn in Nature's school are twofold: to observe and to express. No pressure should be brought to bear to make him catalogue or memorise. The child should not be asked to repeat, for repetition dulls the brain setting a limit to the power of observation, the capacity for comprehension and to the addition of new experiences; it turns into a single groove the energy which must be free to flow through every channel which thought, feeling and action can provide. The rule of the first ten years is to let the life-force flow free and unfettered and to use external influence only to guard from harm.
The growing body should not be too closely enwrapped; the clothing must be light, allowing the vital force to take its part in generating heat; there must be no pressure on the skin at any point, other than that of the child's own weight, and the movement of the limbs must be left free. Head, hands and feet should be left uncovered, neck and throat should be bare; these are the vital points of the body during the earlier years. The child, as far as possible, should live out of doors.
All children have affinity with trees whose life-force they absorb and whose greenery is beneficial to the growing form. The child should learn to love the trees, to greet them as his friends, to know the saplings as his playmates, the old trees as his god-parents.
The trees may be the teacher of the child; from them he will learn all that he need know of birth, of death, of strength and straightness, of sheltering service and of poise; of bending to a force which, erect, may not be withstood; of seeds and their begetting, of birds and insects who share with him the service of the trees. He should sleep in hammocks swung from their branches, with air and vitality flowing freely about him. He should play round their trunks ; their branches and their leaves should shelter him from rain. Next to his human guardians and his invisible friends, the trees are his most valuable companions. From the first, he should approach them as living, breathing and conscious beings, friends who know him well and speak to him with swaying branch and rustling leaves; left to himself he will learn to interpret their speech. At the same time, the need for sunshine must be borne in mind.
In these years the child will benefit from the companionship of animals and of other children. No child should spend his first ten years separated from these three; trees, animals and others of his own age.
No limit should be set to the play of his imagination, other than the correction of deliberate falsehood in the world of objective fact. His teaching should be of one kind only, he should be taught to observe. There is no need to fill his mind with names and words, nor much necessity to aid the drawing of conclusions; he must be left free to learn these things for himself. Let knowledge sink, and not be driven, into his mind; trust the childish intuition and the guidance of the higher self to make the most of all that he observes.
The human life and love with which he is surrounded must tend to make him impersonal. From the very first he must see that, like the animals, the trees and birds, he is but part of the scheme, a unit of no greater importance than any other. The greatest gift of character with which he could emerge from the first ten years of his life is that of impersonality; can he but preserve it through his later years, he will be saved from many sorrows.
Affection for the child must show itself in wise and loving care, and most of all, in self-restraint in all things with which he is concerned; on no occasion should he receive the sense of special privilege, even when ill; though all things needful are provided, they should be as means to cure the illness, not as special gifts or privilege to the child; he should not know the meaning of personal privilege.
The only rules with which his life in early days must be governed, are those necessitated by consideration for the welfare of the community; to them he must readily subscribe; he will learn them quickly, if taught to notice their observance in animals, birds and trees. The reason for restriction, if need of it arise, should always be to safeguard the general well-being of the whole; action should be regarded as right or wrong, according to that rule.
Thus the first ten years should be passed in growing, in observing and in becoming impersonal; then he is ready to learn.
THE PRINCIPLES OF EDUCATION
THE principle by which the teaching of the child should be governed, is that all knowledge is available to him as soon as he is capable of acquiring it. Thus, schooling should have as its object to train him to acquire knowledge, to develop in him the capacity for obtaining any knowledge which he requires. Knowledge itself, as an object of learning, is not the goal of education; that goal is the development of faculty and the acquiring of wisdom.
Education should be accompanied by meditation. Meditation should be so designed as to be progressive in its nature, both as regards the age of the student and the levels of consciousness attained. He cannot be educated until the channels through which he will acquire knowledge are open; they can only be opened by meditation.
The levels of consciousness, their characteristics, the vehicles by which they are employed, the means whereby the consciousness can be focussed in any one of them at will, must become familiar to the student in the early years of his school life. The principles and laws of natural science must be studied arid applied to life and to consciousness, so that the scholar may quickly discover that his own nature and that of the world in which he lives, are governed by exact laws.
Principles, rather than facts, must be the object of study. The practice of confronting the mind of the scholar with great collections of facts, is a hindrance to the development of his faculty for acquiring knowledge. It is a crudity which must disappear from future methods, for both mind and brain are blunted by a plethora of facts; rather should they be stimulated, quickened and illumined by the discovery of principles. One principle realised, in all its perfection, is of more value than a thousand facts.
The most obvious fact in the world of form portrays but a fragment of the truth of the principle of which it is an expression. Facts chain the mind to the illusion of separateness, principles uplift it towards a realisation of unity. As the relation of facts and phenomena to each other may lead to the discovery of a principle, so the study of principles will lead to the realisation of unity, which is the highest illumination of which the human mind is capable.
The aim of education is the development of pure reason, of capacity for abstract calculation and of will. The few but necessary facts which the student must learn, must not be memorised; they must be meditated upon, until the principle which underlies them is revealed. When many principles have thus been discovered, further and deeper meditation will reveal their unity, whereupon a perfect comprehension of the chain of causation, from inception to objective expression, will be gained.
A practical application of this might be employed with success as follows: the student or class (if the latter, it should be small, and consist of those of like temperament, mutual ideals and between whom there is personal affection), should be given a series of facts capable of co-ordination, which express a common principle. The facts chosen may be historical, psychological, scientific, political, mathematical or artistic ; the student should meditate upon them, and, raising his consciousness to the highest level he has yet learned to reach, seek to discover the common principle.
The teacher should also meditate, taking care not to influence the mind, feeling or brain of his charges and should endeavour to assist them to gain self-illumination from the super-mental or intuitional levels; the student must continue to meditate until he finds the principle, no matter how long it may take. When a number of principles have been discovered in this way, those which do not present difficulties of coordination beyond the attainments of the students should be collected and made the subject of a further meditation, until illumination is gained.
In one direction only should the student be made to feel the pressure of the curriculum of the school; he must be trained to extreme and scrupulous accuracy of thought; accuracy of feeling and of action following as a natural corollary. From accuracy of thought springs precision of action, and these two are essential, both for the acquirement of wisdom and its expression in life.
The effort of the teacher must ever be to lead the pupil to the source of knowledge, which is wisdom. That source is no external library in any world; it is the encyclopedic wisdom stored in the treasure-house of the soul. It is dual in its nature, consisting of the garnered harvestings of a thousand cycles of life in worlds of form. The wisdom which he has wrested from life, the fruits of his pilgrimage, the essence which he has distilled from sorrow and from joy, the precious attar from every rose which blossomed in his heart, life after life, is the treasure of the soul, priceless and indestructible; it is the vision splendid, the glory of the heavenly man, the jewel in his Father's crown.
The symbol by which this wisdom may be represented is that of two long-petalled flowers connected by a sphere, one pointing to the heavens, the other to the earth below, the sphere mid-way between; the downward pointing petals golden and green, with a shining heart of palest yellow, the sphere a silver ball, the upward pointing petals gleaming white. The lower flower is formed by the radiance of the wisdom of the soul stored in the sphere; it shines down upon and envelops the enlightened man; the higher is also formed by the radiance from the sphere; its upward flowing light becomes the bright chalice into which the wisdom of the Father, the wine of the Logos, will flow.
As the wisdom of man is the essence of every experience of planetary life, so the wisdom of the Father is the essence of every experience of universal life; the wisdom of the Supreme is the spiritual wine by which, alone, the soul of man may be refreshed; it is the nectar of the gods, the sacred ambrosia; it is also the life-blood of the universe.
As man wins wisdom through many lives, in diverse forms and worlds, so God gains universal wisdom through many solar systems, through many universes. As God treads the mighty spiral of His evolutionary pathway, through the worlds and systems which He brings forth, maintains, and destroys in the vast procession of that continuous creation of which His wondrous life consists, the fruit of His many gardens throughout space is Wisdom. He is the Tree, which ever grows in the eternal Eden of the universe; Adam is man's lower self, Eve his higher; the serpent is the teacher, the symbol of wisdom; neither Eve nor Adam sinned, they sought wisdom. The serpent is successively the teacher of the growing man, the Guru of the soul, and later the initiator and illuminator who fills the upward pointing chalice with the wisdom of the Father, so that in the sphere wisdom of man and of God are mingled; thus is man's wisdom dual. The sphere is Eden's apple, the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil.
The teacher should keep this symbol ever before his mental eye; it would be well to paint and carve and model it, and set it up as ornament in every room where the sacred rite of teaching is performed. Meditation on the Tree, growing amid the fair beauties of Eden, on the man, the woman, and the snake, will aid both teacher and pupil in their complementary tasks of directing towards, and reaching, wisdom.
FROM TEN TO TWENTY YEARS
THE years from ten to twenty must be spent in initiating the search for wisdom under the guidance of the teacher; it is the age of the bird in man, the period when he is learning to stretch forth his wings and soar towards the lofty realms, the illimitable heights of pure reason. Within himself he must find the bird, whose wings will bear him thither. He is not yet animal and man, he is bird and man; from the age of ten to twenty years he must bestride the bird of his soul.
Before he enters the period of animal man, in which he can no longer fly, he should know no touch of passion; the creative urge should not descend into the flesh, until his first flying-time is passed. He must learn the principles of creation, but not experience the facts. Creative force, thus stored and not expressed, will give intense virility of body and of mind; he will be strong, yet pure; it is the ideal time for flight, the time in which the soul may use her wings. The body also must be birdlike in its growth, lithe, active and light ; strong, not with the strength of weight and size, of muscle and of bone, but with the vital energy of abundant nerve-force; it must be trained to a lightning swiftness of obedience to the will, of answer by the limbs to impulse through the brain.
At this time he must develop skill of hand, and eye, and brain, swift accuracy, exact judgment of pace or swing, of distance and of height, of movement and of weight. All these he best may gain among the trees, which he may climb, even to the topmost branches, learning to swing, agile and graceful, from stem to stem.
There is no better playground, no finer gymnasium in all the world, than a great wood of tall old trees, of beech, of oak and fir; here he may play, till the body becomes birdlike in the skill and certainty with which it swings through the air, arid moves among the trees. In these years, the symbol he should keep before his mind is that of the bird, which he should seek to emulate as far as a human body will allow; learning silence and swiftness of movement, the perfected instinct of direction, the mastery of the element in which he lives, the perfect development of all his powers.
At the same time he must develop the capacity for inward flight, for moving from fact to principle, from principle to wisdom, and gain the habit of seeking the essence rather than the form, of discriminating between the temporal, the external, the unreal, and the eternal. He must acquire a thirst for the real.
When he has gained familiarity with the vestures of his soul, his vehicles of flesh, of feeling, and of mind, and has learned to know himself a thing apart, at once their ruler and their life, he enters freely and at will into the formless worlds.
He has laid the foundation of the temple, which he will complete in later years, and he has acquired the faculties, which he may perfect before he dies; he has seen the vision by which his life must be ruled, he knows the purpose of his being, he has planted within his heart the seeds of wisdom. Though the time may come soon when he may fold his wings and concentrate upon another aspect of his being, yet the seeds will germinate; silently they will grow. Once more, in later years, the wings will be unfolded, and having borne the boy and rested for awhile, will become strong enough to bear the man in his maturity.
Then may the seeds of wisdom grow into a mighty tree, and the tree bear fruit; such is the promise of his later years, for which, in the earlier days, he now prepares. The fruits of his life largely depend upon the wisdom with which he is guided, taught, and trained in the first twenty years of his life.
To that great and noble task the teacher is called.
FROM TWENTY TO FORTY YEARS
THE child now enters the third ten-yearly period of his life, the period of the animal-man. From the years of twenty to forty the world is his school, which he must enter, and in which he must be tested; only the advanced soul can pass through this period and retain hold upon the bird-man of his youth. He leaves the birds and trees, who teach him no longer, and enters the world of men in search of manhood. Manhood begins with the first conscious contact with creative fire which surges up within him and demands expression; until the means for that expression are found, there will be conflict in his soul.
From that conflict, will is born. Whether he suffers defeat, or rises triumphant over desire, will is born ; the difference between defeat and triumph being shown in the rapidity of the growth of the will. If he has been taught aright, learning from animal, flower, bird, and tree, he will be ready for the fight.
The teacher's task in earlier years is to forewarn him of the conflict, that, forewarned, he may be forearmed ; to explain its nature, purpose, mechanism, and goal; to see always that the pupil stands aloof, regards the subject as a science, establishes an attitude which is impersonal; that he knows, but feels not, that he understands creation, but is not touched by desire.
While coldly scientific in his earlier years, the pupil must learn to recognise the creative fire and the creative act as sacred, as by far the most sacred thing throughout the realms of nature and objective life; he must be trained from the first to approach it with reverence amounting to awe, to see it as the most directly God‑like manifestation of the God which is himself; he must see creation as a solemn rite, a microcosmic drama of macrocosmic genesis, a ceremonial in which the microcosm and the macrocosm meet.
After he has gained a scientific grasp of the necessary laws which govern creation in the worlds of form, his whole attention must be directed to its spiritual expression; love and nature will teach him all the rest. He must learn to use creative force as a source of power which he taps and directs at will; he must learn the channels of its flow, that he may create at will in formless worlds, in worlds of thought and feeling, regarding its expression in the world of flesh as of least importance, and as soonest to be laid aside.
So will he learn the proper outlets for creative power; his use of them and the extent of his knowledge will decide whether he shall suffer defeat and become a slave of passion, a clod, with brain and nerve be-dulled, or conquer and become a man of fire, a genius, who turns his god-like gifts to the service of his will.
The proper channels are: the HEART, through which the force may flow as ever deepening compassion for the world; the THROAT, giving to his voice an irresistible power of command; the EYES, giving to him the vision of the seer ; the TOP OF THE HEAD, giving him freedom from the flesh, and power to range the worlds invisible. These he must learn to use with eve-growing power, reserving the fifth, the physical creative channel, for the special purpose of physical creation.
The creative force is a fire which either burns, sears, and finally consumes the soul, or refines, illumines and empowers it with god-like energy and will; there is no middle way, though man may seek a compromise, pandering to his desires. Each time he gratifies his lusts, he bemires the wings of the soul, until only in some far distant time can she ever hope again to spread her bright pinions abroad and bear him to the regions of the spiritual worlds.
One thing alone may
save him from the depths into which the misuse of the power divine threatens
to plunge his soul. That saving power is love; for if he procreates with love,
love that is true, unselfish, faithful, and ever seeking to serve, then, and
then alone, will he save himself from lust.
Love, and love alone, will guide him in the years from twenty to thirty through the difficulties of his entry into manhood; therefore after twenty he should seek for love, should meet the partner of his life-one trained and taught as he has been, a friend, companion, fellow-student of the science of the soul; one who, also having known the joy of flight, will see that their souls' wings, though they may rest, are kept free from the mire of lustfulness, the slime of sensuality and vice. Together, full of love, they may unite and lead each other through the dark maze of earthly life, of which their teacher has given them the key.
The teacher now retires, for he is needed no more; each has found his complement, and will find in each the other's teacher. Thus is the true purpose of marriage revealed: to teach. Each teaches the other, each is the pupil, each welcomes every lesson taught and grows in wisdom.
The goal of marriage is the perfecting and the beautifying of the soul, not the creation of the flesh; that is an incident. Man errs, and deeply errs, in laying stress upon the incident and ignoring the goal.
The years from twenty to forty should thus be chiefly devoted to work, to love, to marriage and to parenthood. Through these years, like a silver thread, should be woven the experiences of the life the man lived as a pupil; it is the thread which will guide him from youth to manhood, through manhood to maturity, when he will bring to full fruition the promise of his earlier years. His life and love will be enriched by parent≠hood, a high mission, to which he is called by the Divine Parent, Who established him in fleshly form and lent him His own power to create.
To his own children he will make return for all the love his parents have him. From the very first he will seek to guide their feet to wisdom; surrounding the body with every necessary care, he will leave the soul free to develop as it will. He must surround the child with harmony and beauty, for these are the expressions, in the lower world, of wisdom's self. He must regard the child as God regards His universe, as something into which he has put life, as a form which he has created and must cherish, until its destiny is fulfilled.
At the age of forty comes the time when he must be celibate, if once more he shall unfold the wings he learned to use in his virginity. Once more he must mount the great bird, and continue the flight of his early years. Onwards and upwards must he fly, soaring towards the sun. The swan, which bore him o'er the waters in his early years, has now become an eagle, which shall bear him to the sun. Every power of mind and body will be needed if he is to embark upon that great flight from earth to heaven, from heaven to the throne of God.
FROM FORTY TO EIGHTY YEARS
EIGHT cycles of ten complete the normal life of man ; in each and in all he must work out all that is significant of the numbers governing the year and the decade. At forty the first cycle is closed, and a new one begins in which he will repeat, in a spiritual cycle, that which he has experienced in the earlier material one; he will begin to reap the spiritual fruits of his material sowing. These later cycles may be passed in tens of lives or tens of years, according to the development of the soul.
At forty he must be born again; it is the natural age of birth into new worlds of spiritual consciousness. At fifty he must be free of his bodies, which should hamper him no more; having mastered them, he lays them aside at will, and mounts freely upon the wings of the great bird into the realms of immortality; henceforth he is free and immortal, a spirit wearing bodies, instead of bodies enclosing spirit. The Godhead which came forth and was made man returns, taking the manhood up into God. The abyss has been crossed, the gulf has been bridged. Man and God are one.
He is a pillar, supporting the bridge which spans the gulf; his feet become a pedestal resting upon foundations sunk deep and immovable into the earth, his head a fair capital, bearing, with unwearying strength, the weight of the bridge and of those for whom it has been raised. His brothers will cross, upborne by his strength, from Godhood to man, from manhood back to God. He is an Atlas who supports the world; upon his shoulders, bowed beneath its weight, rests the k‚rmic burden of the world. He is the mountain upon whose sides the vineyards flourish, whose summit is lost above the clouds which veil its beauty and sunlit glory from the labourers in the fields below. The fertile slopes support their bodies, the unknown heights call ever for their daring, inspire them to take the path by which they, too, will pierce the clouds, and find the freedom, light, and sunshine of the world above.
At sixty, his flights begin to take him further from the haunts of men and nearer to the home of God. His humanity decreases still further, as his Godhood grows; yet he remains on earth, a man to those whose vision cannot show them more than man, a God to those who see the Godhood shining through the man; to men he is a man, to Gods he is a God.
At seventy he veils his glory, lest it should dazzle the eyes of men, and blind them with intensity of light. Though the glory of his divinity shines resplendent through all his work, he but rarely reveals it through his person. For him, that person ceases to exist, it has been displaced by his work.
At eighty, if all things have gone well and k‚rma is outworn, the three worlds claim him no more, he stays or goes at will; he is free. He enters upon a new phase, is born again in higher worlds, and treads a new cycle of the mighty spiral, glorious and infinite, up which his giant soul is climbing, through regions immeasurable and limitless, towards the heart of That from Which he first came forth.
In order to achieve this great result and win the prize of bliss eternal, from the fortieth to the fiftieth year he must undertake the task of emancipating himself from the age-long delusion of separateness. He must learn to pierce the veil of illusion, must know that many shadows may be cast by the one light, that though the shadows may be as countless as the sands upon the shore, the Light is one , into that Light he must rise, must discover himself therein, and for ever win release from self-identification with the shadows of the shadow-world, through which he has evolved. He must learn to pass " from the unreal to the real, from darkness to light, from death to immortality."
To aid him in this great
task he must practise continually the art of UNIFICATION,
the supreme art from which all other arts are born. He must learn to see himself
in every form, to find himself in every guise, to recognise the light which
is himself, behind every shadow which it casts upon the ever-moving sands of
space and time. He may begin with men, with animals, plants or gems, with rocks,
trees, flowers, birds, his own race or another, the down-trodden, the fallen,
the saint or the Saviour; he may take the mass or the individual, the tree or
a single leaf, the ocean or a single grain of sand. In his long pilgrimage he
will have found an affinity with nature, or with men, which may serve as starting
place, from which he may commence the journey from affinity to unity, from unity
Using the object to which he feels most drawn, he will meditate, seeking to find himself therein, to know and feel in and with another's mind and heart. Meditating, he will strive to catch the rhythm of another's life, and blend his own therewith; he will listen to the music, search for the vision, and feel the pulse of another's soul, and having found, know them as his own. Life thus becomes for him a great experiment, the world, for him, a studio in which he practises his art. No longer does he ask what does his brother think or feel; no longer does he dwell on colour or on form, of landscape or of leaf, of shell or diatom, for he knows that that which once seemed to reveal, now serves but to conceal the knowledge he desires.
He seeks the soul of all things, great or small; to find it he must become the shell, the diamond, the blade of grass, the floweret, the eagle or the dove; he must become his brother man, must know him better than he knows himself, must see, more clearly than he, the vision of his life. He must learn to drop a portion of himself down through the worlds into another's heart; he must fall into the depths of another's soul, as a pebble falls into a well.
If the varied garb of nature draws forth sweet beauty from his soul, then to nature he must retire. Seated beneath the wide-spreading branches of an ancient tree, he may seek to pass into its soul; may learn to feel the mighty forces which surge from root to trunk, from trunk to stem, from stem to leaf, and through the leaf flow outwards in radiant and magnetic streams into the air; he may learn to sway with the tree under the pressure of the winds, to feel the strain and leverage by which its uprightness is maintained, may feel the evolving consciousness within, stretching along the lines of force which govern its growth, answering to the forward driving impulse of the Will Divine; may feel Its power pulsing through atom and through cell. If a leaf fall from the tree, he too must fall, knowing himself one with the leaf, and as it spins and floats, caught by the eddies of wind, he, too, must spin and float, and know the feel even of the lightest pressure of air-streams striking into the leaf-curves above and below ; he must sink with the leaf, fluttering to the ground, and there find rest, merged with a thousand other leaves.
Thus, day by day, with unwearying patience, he will meditate, seeking to enter the inmost heart, the very life of the tree. With intensity of desire, with concentrated and unwavering mind, he will rise to that level of unity where life of tree and life of man are known as one. Until achievement has been reached, this must be the daily practice of his life; every craving for the objects of desire, every longing for union with the object of his love, which he has ever known, must be transmuted and directed with flame-like aspiration, unconquerable determination, to union with the life behind all form, to find the soul of unity, the very essence of union, to lose himself in the ocean of the one life, to unite himself with God.
If he seek to pass in thought through bark and trunk towards the heart of the tree, though he may feel its life, he will not lose himself therein; he must rise in thought above the realms of form, past trunk and stem and leaf, past even the ideation of colour, of form, to that level from which alone the life within all forms can be revealed; then may he sink into the heart of the tree and know its very life. Thus exalted he may descend through worlds of form, back to the densest, holding the vision of the Self, bringing to the cells and fibers of his brain the knowledge of the One.
Then should a bird take refuge behind the leafy screen and rest upon a branch, his soul will flow into the bird, like a river to the sea. The power of inmost union will thus be made manifest and fill his soul with joy; he will exult in his new-found power; one with the bird he, too, will preen feathers and scrape beak upon the bark, know the ever-watchful instinct, hear every lightest sound, see every shadow that passes over the sky, and feel within himself the calling of the mate, the direction of the nest; he will feel the balance of the feather-covered form, sustained with ease, by lightly-griping claws, upon the swaying branch. Then, as the wings are spread for flight, he too shall fly, shall know the happiness of outstretched wings, the buoyancy of air, the swift passage of the wind, the downward swooping flight, and come to rest again beside his mate.
Then he may turn to things by men regarded as inanimate, a rock, a mountain side, a pebble or a shell, and find their living heart, and for a time answer to their rhythm, and know the meaning of their life; or he may choose a landscape, as the angels do, and merge himself therein, until he knows the whole as One.
The beast of burden he may enter, too, and share its load, know the tension of straining muscles, feel the beating heart, the sublime patience, the willingness to serve, the wondrous beauty of the soul of every animal that lends itself to man. He must learn to know the feel and balance of a body supported on four feet, the weight, the size, the strength, the dimly comprehending mind, he must share the torment of the flies on summer days, the pressure of the collar, the soft and tender lips bruised by the bit; the glad release from harness, the freedom of the pasture, the succulence of the green grass, the refreshment of the long and cooling draught, the uncomprehending fear of man's brutality, the answer of the brute-soul to the love of man, when that love is bestowed. Thus may he meditate upon the beast of burden, most faithful servant of man.
Then he may pass to man himself, and strive to know the meaning and the ideal of another's life, the lessons he must learn, and how, and why; learn to see that in his present state his past is revealed, that from past and present he may intuit the future. This lesson he must learn if he would free himself from the bondage of separated form, and escape into the knowledge of the unity of life. Every man he meets must be his brother, not because of similarity of form, or membership of race, but from a knowledge of the identity of life. His fallen sister of the lustful life he must know, and if need be, enter into her soul, and share the searing degradation of her way of life. Despite the horror, the agony, the shame, he must know no division between himself and her, for there is but One Life, and therein the two are one.
Then, and then alone, may he truly heal and teach, then only may he save; not by the application of external force, but by sharing the life within, by illuminating the soul, by bestowing his own new-found strength and knowledge upon the immortal self which dwells within, that through it the soul may be made clean.
So, into the heart of every man, in every walk of life, of every race and creed, he must find an entrance and learn to see himself ; even if the eyes are filmed with age, or bloodshot with indulgence and with vice, or dimmed by multitudes of lusts, or shining with the dazzling radiance of sainthood, or the fire of genius, through each and all he must see the shining of the light which he loves beyond all other lights, the light of the One Life, in which he himself is merged, the light of his own soul. Thus he will find himself in every man.
Finding the self, he will find beauty everywhere; despite the ugliness of form, he will know the joy of union with the life in every form; for him all barriers will melt away, as he himself becomes the living embodiment of the unity of life. Should angels pass before his entranced vision, he will be one with them too, will share the glory of their life of freedom from the clogging densities of form, of instant obedience to the One Will, of tireless and unending labour in the service of that Will.
This is the way of freedom, this the pathway to knowledge, to power and to love, to the ecstasy which never ceases, which nothing can bedim, which neither comes nor goes with seasons or events, but is eternal, increasing in intensity with the growing capacities which the soul acquires as the long pilgrimage draws to its close.
Upwards into the serene heights of eternal bliss the soul of man may climb, and having climbed, dwell there for ever, shedding forth continually radiance and power on all who follow after, on all who dwell imprisoned in the darkness of the worlds below. Into that world of peace unshakable, of poise which nothing can disturb, God invites His children from age to age, calling them home. From that land come forth the Saviours of men, the messengers of God, seeking ever the sheep which have strayed into the darkness, into the deep ravines, caught in the thorns, lost in the dark woods, imprisoned in the deep pits of earthly life. Theirs is the task to rescue, to win, to lead, to draw and to bear within their arms the wandering ones, and carry them back to their spiritual home.
They are the great ambassadors of God. They live on earth to form an embassy, through which They may represent the glory, the splendour, the bliss of the land in which They dwell, the embodiments of unity. Masters of life, conquerors of form; illumined by the vision of the highest; they keep alive the flame of idealism in the souls of men, lest it should die out, and dying, leave mankind without a light to guide him on his long journey through the dark night of time and space. They and Their angel servers, Their shining brothers, live but to show to men the way from the darkness to the light.
The turning point is past, the depths have been plumbed, man enters the pathway of return, which will lead him back to his eternal home. His angel brothers bid him haste upon the way, call him to the path of swift unfolding, bid him release himself from slavery of circumstance, give him their strength and knowledge that he may take his destiny into his own hands, may rule his life, expand his soul, release the powers of the immortal self, and know himself a God, an unconquerable ruler, a spiritual king.
From fifty to sixty he establishes himself m the inner world into which he has won an entrance; he learns to live therein, and yet to maintain order and precision in all his actions in the world without. The light of the inner world illumines every word and every deed; he is the inspired teacher, the interpreter of the law, the wise one, the counselor and guide of those who, having witnessed the power and splendour of his flight, seek eagerly to follow close behind.
He becomes to the man what the teacher was to the youth, but now he teaches in another way; no longer does he impart knowledge, or even lead to principles, he simply inspires; the fact of his achievement is sufficient. His pupils drink freely at the fountain of his wisdom, each one imbibing to the full, according to his capacity; his presence in their midst is all they need. Thus does he teach.
Even while he inspires, he grows, penetrating deeper and deeper into the world which he has made his own. As he grows and penetrates, upon his entranced sight the gleams of an ever brighter light, a more brilliant glow, begin to fall; he senses the existence of an even fiercer flame than that which has been lighted in his heart. Upon his music-charmed ear another sound begins to fall, like the distant thunder of an approaching storm. Towards that light and sound he feels his spiritual senses drawn, something within him answers them, a flame leaps forth from his eyes to meet the light; within himself he hears an answering sound, a low yet thunderous roar; by these he is impelled to travel onwards, deeper into the heart of being, further into the depths of his own soul.
Into his actions and his words in worlds below, an added power comes; a greater force, a fiery will begins to be added to his all-embracing love; his face grows stern, greater tasks are undertaken, heavier weights are borne, as wider fields of labour in the worlds of form give proof of greater power in the formless worlds. He exerts a quickening energy upon all who come within his reach, a dynamic power reveals itself in every task he undertakes.
Having become a lover of the world, he now becomes a leader; where once he drew by powers of compassion, and by love, he now rules with resistless will; he walks the earth, a giant among men, towering o'er them all.
Then all the forces of disruption, all the powers of hate, let loose their venom arid their spite, and seek to stay his progress, to undo all his work, to blind the eyes and hearts of men, and to divert their minds, till they see but a twisted and distorted view of the greatness which once they so admired; they turn trust into distrust, love into hatred, and courage into fear. Those whom once he knew as closest friends become his enemies; he feels the bitterness of love denied, his heart is pierced by treachery and guile.
Still must he labour on, fearless and undaunted; however dark the way may seem, however much his heart and feet may bleed, he shines with ever-growing glory in the higher worlds. Serene and poised immovable, he sees the dawning of a new light, hears the thunder of a new sound, feels his body tremble at the descent of a new power. He knows that naught can stay his progress on the Path, for already he begins to hear the striking of the hour when his irrevocable destiny shall be fulfilled.
Thus it is that men marvel at his firmness, his courage and endurance, and wonder at his faith. They cannot see the light at which his flaming torch of dauntless courage and faith unshakable is lit; they only see the struggle and the tears, which, as he is still imperfect, delay, but cannot stay, the steady and majestic progress of his labours upon earth. By these trials of his strength, by the all-conquering power which he wins from them, he becomes established in the spiritual worlds. There his stature increases day by day, and from fifty to sixty he moves towards the light and sound which guide and call him ever onward, nearer to That in which, his labours ended, he shall be merged.
So man shall pass onwards into the light and disappear from mortal gaze. Thus is his destiny fulfilled; this is the road which stretches from infinity to infinity; this road the feet of every man must tread, this is the way for every soul. This is the pathway pre-ordained by God, along which every living thing must pass into eternal peace.
At last the purpose of the woes of life, of birth and death, of love and hate, of sorrow and of joy is revealed; by them alone can man become a God; they are his true teachers, they draw forth the hidden divinity, they release the God-like energy imprisoned in the soul. This pathway many men and many angels have trodden; already the universal garden has begun to bear fruit. When all have passed along the road, then every star will be a flowering bed, watered by the broad rivers of interstellar space. This is the dream which God the Father dreams. Man, a living creature in His dream, himself will one day dream creative dreams, will call forth stars from nebula, stars to which he himself will be a sun.
You, who read, and knowing not the immortal self within, feel yourself swayed by every passing breeze, by the strong winds of desire, who feel yourself imprisoned in the grip of circumstances, and believe not in any destiny or goal, to you the angel speaks, telling you the meaning of your life, its purpose and its end. He bids you rise up in your God-like strength, call forth the will divine, which is your deepest self, and set forth upon the road. There is no obstacle on earth, or in the heaven above, that can stay your progress, when once you take the road. However much you have dallied hitherto, henceforth cast aside your sloth, and invoke the powers of your soul by meditation and by prayer, call up the strength which only waits your call to reveal itself to you in unconquerable power; master the desires of the flesh, control and purify your thoughts, and send up from your heart the cry for light, the prayer for guidance, the aspiration, which will unlock the power to lift yourself above the bonds of earthly circumstance, so that you may begin to know yourself the ruler of your fate, a God with limitless power to mould yourself into the likeness of Him from Whom you came.
Thousands of your race have already achieved this great result; others press on; already the road is thronged with aspirants, men and women who have outstripped their race, and are within measurable distance of the goal. They and their angel fellow-travelers call you to the road, hold out their hands in welcome, offer you their growing strength and knowledge. Will you not come, and prove for yourselves, beyond all gainsaying, the truth of all that you have read? There is no other test, nor can you honestly deny, until you have dared as they have dared, and found as they have found. We call to you and bid you hear and answer the call to rise up and become your greatest self; to live your life with every faculty developed to the full; to know the joy of full expression of every power of your heart and mind.
Wake from your sleep, dreamers of mankind, for while you sleep you know not what it is to live. Your brains are dulled with sloth, your eyes bedimmed by sleep ; your hearts are unlocked treasure-chests, because you love yourselves alone.
There awaits you, if you will but open your eyes, if you will but stretch forth your hand, a life so vivid, so keen, so full of ecstasy and power, that your present existence seems, by contrast, but a living death. To awaken you, this book is written; to call you from the land of shadow into the land of light; to offer you the help of angels, of sages, saints, and spiritual kings; to bid you gird up your loins, and take to the road. The angels who guard and bless you, even while you sleep, will welcome you with joy into their world of splendour, and of light; and when you shall awake, angels and men together shall mount; cycle after cycle of the mighty spiral way, which winds throughout the universe into the cosmos, throughout the cosmos into the infinitude beyond. Singing for gladness, we will march, and angel hosts from worlds beyond our world will greet us as we pass. There, at last, sorrow shall be no more.
Peace and blessing from angels to men.
THE THREE PATHS
THE WAY OF WILL
THE way of will is at once the straightest and the hardest way of all. He who would tread this way must summon to his aid all the forces of his being and collect them into a single shaft. Having collected, he must concentrate them until the shaft has a needle-point. That point he must direct towards his goal, which is omnipotence. The man of will must use the powers of his nature as a general his army; must search out the weaknesses, and replace them by strength; must reinforce the breaches in the walls which guard the citadel of his divinity; must carefully prepare his armour and his arms, that in the shock of battle they may not fail. Thus the first essential is that he should pass his forces in view; seated upon his charger; - a great war-horse of snowy whiteness, symbolising truth - surrounded by his captains, he makes a splendid picture, as, in full armour, his banner floating in the breeze, from an eminence he passes his army in review; he examines its accoutrements, and all the necessary equipment for the war which shall decide the fate of the kingdom over which he is to rule.
First he inspects his physical forces, and notes their strength and weaknesses. Every cell of which his body is composed is, as it were, a soldier who must fulfill the soldier's duty of obedience; every organ is a regiment, and every member a brigade; the fibers of his nerves are messengers, which he, the head and heart, employs to order and direct the manoeuvres and operations of the forces under his command. His body must be healthy, strong, virile, sensitive, cultured and refined, and all the instincts which mark its animal descent must be transmuted into powers, used consciously by mind and will. The body must be bereft of all initiative, except that which guides a well-trained army to carry out the details and meet the emergencies which may arise during the fulfilment of the order of the commander-in-chief. Apart from this the body must be nothing more than an instrument with all its forces completely controlled; it must render absolute obedience to the will which gives it life.
So, too, with feeling and with thought; these branches of the army must be equally controlled and trained, and he must direct them towards the single objective, which is the fulfilment of his destiny. He must train himself to recognise an obstacle as an opportunity, to see in present failure a certainty of future success, to welcome resistance as a friend by whose aid he tests and strengthens all his powers; by the aid of obstacles, failures and resistances, he must march towards the goal on which his eyes are set. If he turns aside, it is but to right a wrong, to share his growing might with others, to study their failure and success.
As the soldier must needs encounter danger, suffering and death, so the man of will, as he rides along the road of life, will find his passage marked by tragedy. He must learn to know both the horror and the glory of war; its horror is the physical cruelty and death from which it is inseparable; its glory is the spiritual regeneration resulting from its heroism, self≠sacrifice and courage.
The man of will has trained himself by many lives of war upon the earth, but now he battles on another field and learns to conquer other worlds. He is an Alexander, never satisfied, but ever yearning to extend the boundaries of his kingdom, not outwards, over mountain range and desert, but inwards, where the boundless dominions of the spiritual world call with resistless voice to the explorer and adventurer within his soul. No longer does he seek to plant the banner of a single nation upon the citadels which he shall conquer, or on the unknown lands which he has discovered; the flag which he unfolds is embroidered with one word. That word is WILL, and signifies the power of the King Who sent him forth and Whom he serves. Under that flag he fights, explores and seeks great adventures. He rids the world of evil, he fills it with romance, and he makes pathways through unknown lands, for weaker feet to tread. Wherever he is, he commands ; wherever he goes, he leads; wherever he fights, he conquers, for within him there resides a power which is irresistible, a power which is not his own, but of which he is ever more and more the embodiment. In the heat of the conflict, in the exhaustion to which his labours reduce his body and his mind, that power uplifts him, till men call him the unconquerable. To that supreme will he, in his turn, is but an instrument, obedient as is his body to his mind.
The time shall ultimately come when he shall lay his arms aside, when those who have been his comrades and his followers through many lives of great adventure and glorious achievement shall know him no more as captain and leader of a warrior-band; for he shall be recalled to the peace and great rewards which await him in that City, where the King, Whom he has served throughout the centuries, shall crown him with the crown of His own kingship, and shall give him absolute command over the lands and peoples which he has made his own. Then shall he come forth to all his waiting people as wise counselor, as father, and as ambassador of his King; all the souls that loved and followed him through many wars, in many lives, shall find in him their saviour and their king; they, too, shall serve him as he has served his King; and he shall lead them along the path which he has trodden, till they, too, are crowned, and in the crowning, know the splendour and the power of the one resistless and eternal will.
Thus shall the man of will fulfill his destiny. He becomes a king in the power of the one King, an ambassador of the One Whose will he now knows as his own.
Will is the power which he wields, will is the blessing which he gives, for now he lights within the souls of all his subjects the fire of the same resistless will of which his own is a part. Under his touch, men feel its glowing flame arise within them; thus he gives to them their first glimpse of their own divinity, the first vision of the splendour which it is their mission to reveal. He fans these sparks into a flame, till all the people of his kingdom glow with the self-same fire by means of which he himself was lighted on his path; they learn to burn away all obstacles by the flame≠like intensity of their will, till one day, in their turn, and in their thousands, they will learn to rule and bestow upon the world the benediction of that Omnipotence whose priests they have become.
So down the ages the flame of will passes from the mighty Flame which lights the universe, through the glowing fires which men know as central suns, which pour forth life and light and power to system after system, down to the fiery life-giver of a single planet, its lord and ruler, who dwells thereon in absolute command, down through the spiritual kings who serve Him, the mighty Lords of Will, His regents and His agents, and through them to their followers, the peoples of the globe, and further yet, through animals and lower forms of life.
Arise then, ye men of Will; be renegades no longer; rejoin the ranks you have deserted and re-enter the service of this wondrous hierarchy of kings, in the sure knowledge that one day you, yourselves, shall win the power to command that vast army which is yourself; that one day, you, too, shall be crowned monarch of a world, and shall be named the Sun, and one day shall take your place amid the wheeling systems of the stars as Lord and Ruler of a Universe.
THE WAY OF KNOWLEDGE
THE way of knowledge is the way of light, and he who would tread that way must learn to cast aside all attributes which might veil the light; for his destiny is to become so filled with light, that it may shine through him to illumine all the world. From the beginning, therefore, he must divest himself of aught that would veil the light from the eyes of those whom, later, he will illumine.
Prejudice is the great weaver of veils, the greatest enemy of all who seek knowledge, the greatest barrier to illumination. Let the neophyte, in his search for knowledge, begin by studying himself, for only by self-knowledge may he gain a knowledge of the Self; only by self‑knowledge may he discover the many veils in which his long pilgrimage has enfolded him; only by self-knowledge may he find the way to tear those veils aside. Inwards, therefore, and not outwards must the student direct his search; having found the Self within, the self without will be revealed to him.
There is a pathway leading from the not-self to the Self, from the material to the spiritual, from ignorance to illumination; that pathway is the way of knowledge; one end of it is in the flesh, the other is in the spirit. The fleshly man must seek the entrance in the flesh, while his spiritual counterpart - the man that is within - must find the entrance in the spirit, and these found, the twain must walk towards the common center to which both these entrances lead. That common center is the Hall of Light, the place of illumination, the holy of holies, wherein spirit and matter are linked by light. It is no earthly building; it is no external shrine; it is the inner Temple of Light from which shines "the true light that lighteth every man into the world "; it forms the vessel through which the one light, which ever shines forth from the spiritual sun, reaches the darkness of the material worlds on its pathway of illumination.
Within that temple is an altar, and on the altar burns a flame which was lit when first the soul of man was formed, and burns continuously until the man has become the flame; then, like Samson of old, he leans with all his new-found might against the pillars of the temple, which falls in ruins at his feet; for he who has become a God, no longer needs an altar on which to worship that which he has become; so the temple falls in ruins, and the thousands slain are the thousand veils which he now has learned to cast aside, that the light may shine forth, undimmed, upon the world.
Before that great consummation, many lives of study and research lie before the neophyte who would tread the way of knowledge. In all the many lives, before the great resolve was born, he has been drawing around himself veil after veil, each one concealing more and more the light which bums upon the altar of his highest self. Henceforth he must know himself as the " render‑of‑the‑veils," for such is his mission on the path of knowledge. First he will rend the veils which he has drawn about himself, then he will rend the veils of others, for every true teacher is a render‑of‑the‑veils. The greatest veil of all is prejudice, and therefore on this path, as on every other, he must become as a little child, confessing utter ignorance that, possessing no knowledge, he may have no prejudice; that, being empty, he may be completely filled; that, having an open and unclouded mind, he may offer a chalice, perfect in its translucency, to be filled with the light of knowledge.
Having become as a little child, ready to cast aside all that he thinks he knows, all that is prized of men, let him seek the pathway which leads from flesh to spirit. The entrance to that path is in the heart; from the heart he must find a passage to the brain, and through the brain into the worlds of feeling and of thought, in which the foundations of the Temple of Light are laid. The temple lies beyond, and from the world of thought he must build a mighty stairway up which he shall pass to find the temple door. Those stairs are built by study, by concentrated thought, and by unwearying pursuit of knowledge.
This is the way the pathway may be found and trodden, the steps be built and the temple door be found. Let the student lay aside his books, and leave his test-tubes and his scales behind, for he must learn to read in the book of nature, to treasure his discoveries in the test-tube of his mind, and balance his discoveries on the scales of his highest intuition; being emancipated from these superficial aids, let him retire into a place where he may be ensured a period of undisturbed peace. The cell, a country garden, the woods, the fields, some sandy nook beside the sea, some sheltered resting place upon a mountain side, may well suffice; there let him set forth upon the voyage of discovery. Let him tread the path that all the knowers of the world have trod, and find the self-same way that all the teachers of the world have found in search of the light, which now shines resplendent and glorious through their eyes.
Fear not the strangeness of the quest, fear not to relinquish all supports hitherto regarded as essential; fear not the ridicule of those who still cling to them, and who blindly hug their ignorance in the delusion that it is knowledge. To the light which you seek, their knowledge is as darkness, for all the men whom you have deemed so high in the realm of knowledge possess but the chaff, the husks, the shell - the kernel ever eludes them; so they dress up the shell and offer it as knowledge. There is hardly one among your men of learning today who is not blinded by prejudice, who does not mistake learning for knowledge.
Be guided, therefore, by the voice which teaches him who writes these words, the voice of an angel who has won his way by these self-same means into the presence of knowledge, and now offers himself to those who seek a greater light than that which shines in any university, a wiser teacher than any earthly professor can ever be; who brings the light of spiritual knowledge to illumine the darkness of mere earthly learning; who would lead you along the spiritual pathway to the very seat of knowledge, which lies deep within your truest self. Come, human brother, accept my guidance, and I will lead you to the goal.
Having obtained seclusion and complete repose, send forth an earnest invocation to the Gods of Light and to the Lord of Light, that you may be illumined in your quest; consecrate your life to the search, and swear a solemn vow that all the knowledge which you gain shall be dedicated to the service of your fellow-men. Seek knowledge, only that you may teach; seek light, only that you may illumine others; seek the power which knowledge gives, that you may rend the veils of prejudice and ignorance, in which the human race is so deeply enwrapped. Your office shall be a dual one, you shall become a torch-bearer and a render-of-the-veils.
Having offered up your prayer and sworn your vow, practise the art of setting your body utterly at rest, of stilling the tempest of your emotions, of quietening your mind, for this is an essential preliminary. When, throughout your inner and your outer nature, stillness reigns, think strongly of your heart as a cave, through which your soul must pass on its quest of light. Think quietly and steadily for many days of the cave within the heart, and try to concentrate your mind therein ; gradually, where all was dark, a light will shine - the light which is to guide you on the path. Sink deep in contemplative thought upon the true light, which lighteth every man, the gleams of which, at last, you begin dimly to perceive. As the light grows and begins to envelop you, rise upward, in thought, within yourself, to the middle of your head, where you will find an even greater light ; having found that passage, continue there to meditate upon the light. Think of yourself as a gleam from the One Light, as a spark from the One Flame, and strive with all your powers of thought and will to rise upwards - still within yourself - to that parent Light from which you sprang. Rise through your head, through feeling into thought, striving to drink thought-essence, to become embodied thought, and fix your mind unwaveringly upon the light, seeking the temple door.
The key is in your hands, I have given it to you; it is the knowledge that the gleam which is yourself emanates from the One Light, that the spark which you are is part of the One Flame, that gleam and spark must again become that which they are.
Gradually you will learn to travel by this road which leads from the heart to the head, and from the head towards the place of light. You will find your light illumined by an inward light, and you will learn to recognise its glow. By these daily meditative exercises you will have mastered all the many tendencies of feeling and of mind to escape from your control. You will have built the steps up which you now can pass towards the temple door. The key is in your hands, place it boldly in the lock, and, turning, enter the temple of light.
As you climb the steps, reach upward with all the power of your will, seeking to lift your soul free from its bodily encasement, as if you would rise above the great arch of the sky itself, in quest of light. The pass-word, which all who enter the temple must know, must form the subject of continual meditation; it is : "The gleam and the light are one," or "The spark and the flame are one." From concentrated thought upon this theme pass into meditation, in which all knowledge of the outer world is lost, from meditation pass to contemplation, in which all knowledge of yourself is lost, arid only the light remains.
Thus will you pass through the temple door, and having passed, you will need a guide no longer, for you will be in the presence of That which has guided you through every life since first your human incarnations were begun - your highest self, which is the embodiment of light. As you kneel before the altar on which the sacred flame is burning, he will refresh you with spiritual food, will place in your hands the sword with which, henceforth, you will become a render-of-the-veils, will give you the torch, by means of which all darkness may be dispelled.
Then at last, as standing
on the altar steps you look down upon the world in which you live, you will
begin to know. The light which now is yours will lay bare the secrets which
once were hid from you, and you may return to your studies and research with
certainty of success; for now the key of knowledge is in your hands, and the
chalice of your lower self is filled with wisdom's wine. Daily you must kneel
before the shrine, that the chalice may be refilled; having set your feet upon
the path, march onwards deeper and deeper into your innermost self, nor ever
rest, until at last the gleam once more becomes the light, the spark becomes
In your newly-directed search for knowledge, learn the meditative art; place before yourself the object of research, be it flower, jewel, animal, or man; keep them alive and meditate upon them in all their living and perfect expression of That which is immanent within them. You can≠not discover perfect truth unless the form in which you seek it is perfect, is living and unharmed. Meditate upon the immanence, seek the soul which keeps the form alive; finding the soul, meditate upon it, as you did upon the form, and seek from it its own knowledge of the way by which it lives arid grows, and having found that way, seek any know≠ledge which you need. The past, however remote, may be revealed to you that you may study the ways of the past; from that study, the processes of unfolding may be grasped. Having discerned the past, look reverently into the future, seeking to gain a vision of the whole. You cannot meditate upon a flower that is plucked or dead, for you have severed its connection with its soul, and so the flower does not know the way by which it lives; that knowledge is seated in the flower's soul.
Shun the dark ways of animal research as you would shun the vilest hell; there is no viler hell in all the cosmos than the vivisector's table; no greater blindness than that of him who thinks that by practising cruelty upon another portion of God's life, he may illumine himself. Did he but know, he is building veils so dense about himself, that a hundred lives will scarce suffice to find the way by which he may free himself from their dark folds; and even then truth will hide her bright face from his eyes, in her shame of that which he has done in her fair name. Seek truth among the living and you shall find living truth, and Nature's vast store of knowledge shall be yours. To this end I teach you the meditative way.
THE WAY OF LOVE
HE who would tread the way of love must discover that spiritual alchemy by means of which the lower love may be transmuted to the higher; must know the sacred science by means of which alone the baser qualities of soul, having been placed within the crucible of thought, may be subjected to the fiery heat of the will, so that their essence may be distilled, drop by drop, and thus place in the hands of the experimenter the long-sought elixir of life. From the base he will obtain the pure; from the imperfect, the perfect; from the impermanent, the everlasting. Until that science has been learnt, and all that is base has been made pure, man cannot become a saviour of the world.
A saviour of the world is one who has won emancipation from every human weakness, has trod the way of love, and treading, has become divine. Those who would follow in that path, which They with bleeding feet have trod, must learn the science by which They have achieved; must prepare the crucible of thought, must light within themselves the fiery power of will, and taking every vice, must make of each the subject of experiment, and so transmute them, one by one, into their opposing virtue; for above all things, the lover must be pure.
As earthly garbage is destroyed by fire, so must the garbage of the soul be burned by the fire of the will. Every vice, however low, will yield the precious attar which he seeks, every weakness will be found to conceal a strength, every error will reveal a truth; vice, weakness, error, these are the equipment with which man commences to tread the path of love. In order that they may be transformed into their opposites, man must retire into the laboratory of his soul, and there prepare the instruments of his research. Those instruments are thought and will; these two alone provide him with everything he needs; from their union a child shall be born; that child is love. Men know Him as Horus, and as Christ.
Having retired into the seclusion of the inner recesses of his nature, the would-be lover of his fellow-men must take stock of his resources, must search his earthy self for the herbs from which his essences shall be distilled. Detached from his desires, he will pluck them one by one from the soil of his nature in which they have so firmly taken root. Viciousness, lewdness, sensuality, impurity, selfishness, self-interest, cruelty, deceit, gossip, superstition, greed, and cunning, such are the names of the plants which he will gather in the wilderness of his lower nature, a wilderness which it is his duty to transform into the fairest of earth's gardens. Each plant which he has plucked he will place in the crucible of thought and subject it continuously to the fiery power of his will; nor shall the flame flicker, even by a hair's breadth, nor ever die, but shall maintain its fierce intensity until the roots, leaves and flowers have been utterly consumed. Then within that spiritual receptacle, the vehicle of his higher self, in which his immortality resides, the precious liquid which he has thus distilled shall be gathered, drop by drop. There it shall be stored until the secret dispensary of his soul is filled, shelf upon shelf, with those vital essences from which the universal panacea shall one day be dispensed. That panacea is love.
So he who would become a lover must first become a worker and a knower. He must be steeped in the knowledge of the science of the soul, and he must labour continually in the application of that knowledge; nor does he need to go abroad to obtain the materials for his research; for nature has ordained that each man produces within himself all the elements which he requires. So he directs the full force of all his powers of will and thought upon the products of his own being; not upon his being, not upon himself, lest, traveling inwards, he but describe a circle which closes on itself, and thus prevents all progress, rather than a spiral which shall wind, turn upon turn, up into the spiritual worlds; not on his being, therefore, but on the products of his being.
Nor must he pay undue attention to the weaknesses of other men, for only from his own may he gain strength. Each man is complete, each man is distinct, as are the facets of a jewel, and that which each distills from his own completeness will differ from the distillations of another. The great Alchemist alone can blend the myriad essences distilled by myriads of men into one glorious whole. Until that great experiment is complete He must labour without ceasing in that universal laboratory in which He, the Supreme Scientist, works from age to age.
The love which saves the world bears but small resemblance to that which men call love; it is a universal pouring forth of power, wisdom and knowledge upon every form of life; it knows no distinctions of age, of body or of soul. It does not choose between the insect and the man, the animal or the angel, the sinner or the saint; all are equally included in the glory of its wondrous flow. It does not judge the worth of man or beast, of angel, tree or flower, nor does it pause to measure out the blessing which it brings; such is the love which flows forth continually from the heart of Those who are the Saviours of the world by the mighty power of love. Their love seeks not to embrace, nor even to enfold; as it pours forth, it pervades every cell, every atom of the bodies of those who receive its down-poured beneficence.
Let the pilgrim on the path of love begin to imitate Their perfect way of loving, that he may learn to make his love akin to Theirs; for he, too, must learn to radiate a stream of glowing, rosy light as he pours forth his measure of the universal love; he must emancipate himself for ever more from the slavery of earthly love of form; no single form must ever hold his love within its grasp, no single person be the sole object of his love, for he aspires to be a universal lover. The love which he pours forth is directed to the soul, the evolving God within, to help it to evolve, not to the form. Gradually he must loosen every earthly tie, till no single person in all the world can lay claim to the sole possession of his love. He must love all, and with a love so tender, so compassionate, so full of divine beneficence, that in its glowing light and power all earthly love seems but the darkness of desire. Later the love of which he now makes sacrifice will return to him in fullest measure, when men shall see in him a saviour by the power of love, and seeing, shall pour forth to him a love which, by his office, he has taught them how to purify. The whole ideal of love must thus be lifted up; it must be disentangled completely from the clinging embraces of desire; the pilgrim must become pure, selfless and unsullied, if the love with which he shall save the world is to be pure and unsullied.
You who would tread this road, who feel the call of love, who yearn to heal, to teach and to save, must make your choice. Are you prepared to forgo all the happinesses of that which, hitherto, has passed with you for love, to renounce the earthly happiness of love returned? Feeling a growing pity in your heart, conscious of a growing power of love, are you ready to withdraw from every human tie, in order that your earthly love may be transmuted into love that is divine? The cell, the hermit's cave, the jungle, or the mountain side, offer you places of retreat where, seated alone, you may subdue the demons of desire and break the fetters which hold you in the thraldom of the flesh; yet, in truth, you need no physical retreat, your cell or cave is deep within yourself, and unless you have found them there, no outer retirement will avail you on your quest. Learn, then, to find the place of peace within; retire into the silence of your own being and there, in perfect equipoise of heart and mind, review the nature of the task to which your hand is set. Envisage clearly the goal you seek, then note the obstacles upon your path. Those barriers must be taken one by one and overcome. Seek not to destroy, but to transform; kill not lust, rather withdraw the love from it, and leave it to perish; kill not desire, withdraw the will from it, and leave it to perish; kill not the evil thought, withdraw thought from it, and leave it to perish. As you must withdraw from love of men and become a man apart, so must you withdraw from the man whom, hitherto, you regarded as yourself. Note well that you conquer by retreating, not by slaughter; withdraw yourself, therefore, from all that would oppose you; the way of victory for you is not by conquering your opponents, whether within or without, but by saving them. Every antagonist who comes against you must be won over to your side; from every power of evil which meets you on the path, withdraw the good, leaving the evil to perish by the way, until in every form of life you learn to see the good, and having learned to see, you learn to love, until, for you, all evil ceases to exist.
In the light of your growing love, evil is but good in the becoming - a necessary phase in the Divine alchemical experiment.
So shall you grow in wisdom, strength and knowledge, of which the saving love, which you aspire to irradiate upon the world, shall be com≠pounded. Love shall be your queen, and you her knight; she shall gird you in her armour, making you invulnerable; for against the power of love, naught in heaven or earth can prevail. Riding on the white charger of truth, which is her gift, you shall dispel all darkness, for no darkness can withstand the light of that love which is divine. Heaven's radiance shall play about your brow, the mystic rose shall bloom upon your breast, divine beauty, radiant as the morn, shall shine about your person; you shall become a veritable Galahad, and to you shall be given the vision of the Holy Grail.
Wait no longer, therefore, in the vale below, so deep that only with difficulty the sun's rays penetrate its gloom, but take the steep path, which now you see opening at your feet, for it shall lead you to the summit of the mountain which is ever illumined by the splendour of the spiritual sun.
You shall not find the road too hard, for the self-same power by which you see it shall enable you to tread its rugged way. If you can truly see, then you can truly tread. Pause not to regret the companions whom you leave behind; you shall find new lovers and new friends who shall leave you nevermore. Fear not the loneliness of spiritual adventuring; from the moment when you set your foot upon the road you will, henceforth, never be alone. Guides, both human and angelic, shall travel by your side, shall warn you of the dangers, and lead you to the goal.
Come then to the great adventure; prove for yourself that the glorious days of knight errantry have not departed, that Galahad and Percival still live, that the Holy Grail has not been lost, and that the King still presides at that Round Table which has existed since the world began. Weep not that you are leaving love behind; love is the prize which awaits you at the end of your quest. Heed not the tears of those who think they lose you; what they now lose for a brief time they shall find unto eternity. Earthly bonds and friendships, by their very nature, pass away; your ties with those to whom you will, henceforth, be united, shall nevermore be broken, for they are of a love which is eternal. Your true friends and lovers await you on the path; with them you shall enter into that perfect companionship which is found in spiritual realms alone.
On, therefore, to the summit. Those whom you leave behind, you will one day save, when you enter into the fulfilment of your destiny and become the Love of God Incarnate upon earth.