THE BROTHERHOOD

OF RELIGIONS

BY

SOPHIA WADIA

 

CONTENTS

 

FOREWORD BY GANDHIJI • • • • • xi

 

INTRODUCTION • • • • • • xiii

 

THE BROTHERHOOD OF RELIGIONS • • • • 1

 

THEOSOPHY  THE SOURCE • • • 19

 

THE PLACE OF THE "GITA" IN THE INDIA OF

TO-DAY • • • • • 35

 

THE WAY OF THE SUPERIOR MIND • • • • 47

 

THE LIGHT OF SHEKINAH IN DAILY LIVING • • • 63

 

THE TEMPLE OF SOLOMON • • •  81

 

THE DAY OF THE ENLIGHTENED ONE • • • • •  99

 

LORD BUDDHA: How WOULD HE SOLVE OUR

WORLD PROBLEMS? • • • • • • 115

 

BUDDHA AND MODERN INDIA  • • •  131

 

THE UNKNOWN GOD • • • • • • • 145

 

SELF-EDUCATION AND SELF-GROWTH • • • 161

 

THE PHILOSOPHY OF MORTIFICATION • • • 175

 

NANAK-THE GURU OF THE SIKHS • • • 189

 

THE FELLOWSHIP OF FAITHS • • • 197

 

THE SPIRITUAL BASIS OF SOCIAL SERVICE • • •  207

 

EAST AND WEST-THE CLASH OF CULTURES• • • 223

 

UNITY THROUGH CULTURE • • • • •. 237

 

THEOSOPHY THE SUMMATION • • • 247

 

GLOSSARY • • • • • • 261

 

INDEX • • • • • • • • • 273

 

 

TO ARYAVARTA,

 

WHOSE IMMEMORIAL WISDOM MAKES INDIA THE MOTHERLAND

 

OF ALL WHO LOVE THE PATH OF THE SPIRIT

 

 

INTRODUCTION

 

From different quarters numerous friends have been calling for a collection of lectures, one or more of which they have heard. In response to their repeated requests this compilation has been made from the stenographic reports of a faithful scribe to whom my thanks should go. The lectures have been edited a little, but the style of extempore speech has been retained. Perhaps I should inform the reader that English is not my mother tongue, and ask him therefore to view with a lenient eye any defects or inaccuracies of language that may have crept in.

 

It is but natural that a certain amount of repetition of ideas, etc., has occurred. The presentation lacks that orderly sequence which a planned and consecutively written book would maintain; the lectures that compose it have been chosen from among many delivered at different places and under different auspices during five years; yet in the selection of the reports and in their arrangement an effort has been made to preserve some order from the standpoint of thought. Thus the various religions are not examined in their formal setting; I have sought rather to bring out the line of ideation which reveals religious expression and religious living as worth while and useful in any sphere of existence. The spirit of service and the unity of knowledge are the two chief genuine

 

The Brotherhood of Religions                                                          XIV

 

expressions of Religion; hence, I have included in this volume lectures delivered under such auspices as the Social Service League, the Rotary Club, and the like.

 

My warm thanks go to the few friends who have helped me in the making of this book, but a special debt of gratitude is owed to a very dear comrade who had "looked through the MS” and read the proofs and had been looking forward enthusiastically to the appearance of the small volume Theodore L. Crombie. Karma did not permit him to live to see the book in its final shape, but the legacy of his friendship is between its covers and goes to enhance whatever of merit it may have. Salutations to him!

 

Triple has been my source of inspiration:---First, India, the modern heir of ancient Aryavarta, whose sacred Akasha: has given me constant energization; secondly, the great example of Gandhiji, the awakener 'Of the India of the twentieth century, who has blessed this compilation by writing a short Foreword, and whose counsel, if followed by even a few sincere hearts, would enable the book to fulfill its mission; and thirdly, and above all else, Theosophy, to which Gandhiji refers: the teachings of H. P. Blavatsky and of her most faithful pupil and co-worker, W. Q. Judge, have been the inspirers and the sustainers of all my efforts.

 

Something must be said about the subject which forms the title of the book---"The Brotherhood of Religions.*

 

* The following was given as a broadcast talk from the Bombay Station of the All-India Radio on the 2nd of November, 1938.

 

Introduction                                                                                       XV

 

The religious instinct is one of the most forceful of human instincts. By the aid of right knowledge man can press that instinct into his own service and so can secure for himself the peace of enlightenment; and more, become instrumental in bringing that inner peace of conviction and of faith to his fellow-men. On the other hand, allowing his mind to be corrupted by false knowledge and sordid notions man becomes the slave of that instinct and soon learns to feel hatred ,and jealousy which are potent causes of riots and of wars. Our country' of India suffers from the evil effects of religious fanaticism: communal riots, rooted in creedal superstitions, have blackened the fair name of the Motherland. But religious riots are not an exclusively Indian phenomenon. A very long chapter of dark deeds resulting from religious bigotry occupies .a prominent place in the history of Christendom. A similar charge can easily be proven by the aid of history against other creeds.

 

Numerous are the remedies suggested, one of them being the discarding of religion altogether. Many among our young men and women, fancying themselves civilized and advanced, want to reject the light of religion whose very existence they doubt; they question, but they are not honest enough mentally to seek for the answers which the story of the origin and the evolution of religions provides. Judging hastily they repeat the catch-phrase---" Religion is the opiate of the people; down with religion!" Not investigating they miss a most important fact which a careful study of religious history reveals, viz., that religious knowledge imparted by great sages and teachers is

 

The Brotherhood of Religions                                                          XVI

 

enveloped by narrow creedalism manufactured by theologians and priests. Light and darkness ever chase each other in the whole of Nature and so we have in the sphere of religions the Wisdom of the Prophets and the dogmatism of the priests---the former to be used for the enlightenment of our minds, the latter to be rejected for the sake of our Souls.

 

A comparative study of religions soon convinces us of the important verity that there exists a community of ideas which make up the One Universal Religion. These ideas are noble and inspiring and sages, teachers and prophets have put them forward in every age and in every clime. These ideas are submerged in the clash of creedal beliefs which narrow men's minds and create the orthodoxy which corrupts men's hearts. Let us undertake the comparative study of religions not for the sake of pushing or glorifying our own pet creed, but for the honest purpose of perceiving the Truth underlying every religion. Truth ever agrees with Truth; Truth can never agree with falsehood, nor can falsehood always agree with falsehood.

 

Now, the highest and the noblest function of religion is dual: first, to give to man knowledge about his own Soul and Spirit, by which he can ennoble his mind and elevate his feelings; secondly, to give to man the strength born of perception to be a good neighbour to his fellow-men, to be a helper of the needy and a servant of his community and of his country. Without an adequate knowledge of his own constitution, of how to overcome his own weaknesses and to radiate forth his own qualities he will not be a good neighbour, an unselfish helper, an efficient servant of humanity.

 

Introduction                                                                                     XVII

 

Self-discipline is the basis of true religion, for only a disciplined man, whose mind and heart are under his own Soul's control, will be able to render real service to others. Acquisition of knowledge is necessary and therefore we must change the habit of thought that religion is a matter of mere belief. To believe without understanding is degrading to our manhood; such blind belief leads to intolerance, bigotry and fanaticism and incapacitates us for living in peace and with goodwill towards all. As a factor of Soul-discipline an appreciation and not only a tolerance of other people's religions is necessary. Jesus did not say, "Love thy Christian neighbour as thyself" but "Love thy neighbour as thyself"---be that neighbour pagan or heathen of any kind. Muhammad, the Prophet of Arabia, has given a most telling definition of Infidel. In Al-Quran it is said, "The infidels are unjust doers "---not idolaters, not Hindus, not Zoroastrians, not Jews, not Christians, but "unjust doers"; and if one who calls himself a follower of the Prophet is unjust in his actions what shall we call him? And again, listen to another of His sayings: "The best of men is he from whom good accrueth to humanity. All the creatures of Allah are His family; and he is most beloved of Allah who trieth to do most good to God's creatures." So if a Hindu in India, or a Jew in Palestine, or a Zoroastrian in Iran does good to others is he not one of the faithful in the eyes of the Prophet? It is this spirit of inner understanding which every great Teacher has tried to bring to the masses of men.

 

In our India to-day, nay more, in the whole of the world to-day, religious perception would help to unite

 

The Brotherhood 0f Religions                                                        XVIII

 

man to his brother man, nation to nation. Discarding and destroying of religious superstitions and dogmatism is necessary, but it is equally necessary, first to understand and then to accept the truths common to all religions, taught by all sages, preached by all prophets. In this task the Theosophical writings of H. P. Blavatsky and W. Q, Judge are a very great help.

 

In a variety of ways, in different forms and in many languages, from the most ancient to the most modern times all the Great Instructors of humanity have taught certain Truths from which human ignorance and credulity have again and again drawn away our minds and our hearts. Shri Krishna in the Bhagavad-Gita speaks of the repeated efforts periodically made to teach humanity the self-same Truths which enable us to destroy unrighteousness and to take the Path of Righteousness.

 

In one of the sacred texts of the Jains, the Uaradhyayana, it is written :---Learn of the true road leading to final deliverance, which the Jinas have taught; it depends on four causes and is characterised by right knowledge and faith: 1. Right Knowledge; II. Faith; III. Conduct; IV. Austerities. This is the Path taught by the Jinas who possess the highest Wisdom.

 

From every existing religion we learn one stupendous truth---religion must be lived if we ourselves are to serve our  fellow-Souls. To live religion means to bring fourth that which is noble and good in ourselves. The effort in this direction immediately reveals that in us

 

Introduction                                                                                      XIX

 

evil. also exists; The moment we aspire and begin to express unselfishness we encounter the force of selfishness which is in our blood. Even a cursory examination of our motives and our methods of action brings us face to face with the root-problem of life---our own capacities and limitations, the cause of misery which is so wide-spread, and in no long time we come upon the central problem of all religions---the Nature of Deity.

 

Now, if we study the concepts of God or Deity, not as they are taught in churches and temples, in mosques and synagogues, but in the words of the Prophets and the Sages, we soon come to recognize that God is Law. Truth manifests as Law. As God and Truth and Law exist and function everywhere, Deity's omnipresence is clearly perceived by our minds. If God is omnipresent “It” is in each one of us. Therefore, our capacities and our limitations are the outcome of the operation of Law which works in flawless Justice. Our mental powers and limitations, our moral strength and weakness, our body and the environment in which it is born, in which it lives and labours-all, all are effects from causes. However hidden and however puzzling it may all appear at the starting-point, the truth of the words of the Christian apostle strikes us: "Be not deceived; God is not mocked; for whatsoever a man soweth that shall he also reap." And the instruction of the Buddha in the Dhammapada soon becomes clear to us and we see the operation of the Great Law.

 

All our tendencies of character are the offspring of consciousness, dominated by consciousness, and made

 

The Brotherhood of Religions                                                           XX

 

up of consciousness. If a man speaks or acts with a sullied consciousness, then suffering follows him, even as the wheel of the wagon follows the hoof of the bullock.

 

All our tendencies of character are the offspring of consciousness, dominated by consciousness, and made up of consciousness. If a man speaks or acts with an unsullied consciousness, then happiness follows him ever, just as his shadow.

 

To live religion is to work with the Law which is divine, which is just, which is omnipresent. Not blind obedience to any person, but an intelligent co-operation with the universal and impersonal Law of Cause and Effect, both of which are expressions of the One Truth that is what is needed. The real proof of the Brotherhood of Religions consists in this fact: whatever the religion in which one is born and has been brought up, the moment he begins to live religion intelligently and rationally, at that moment he is bound to become a brother to all human Souls, irrespective of their caste, creed, race or nationality. It is the feeling of Brotherhood which brings peace to our hearts and enlightens our minds to overcome our own aches and pains and to be of help and of service to others. There is much talk of Brotherhood, but little of the living of the life of a brother to all men and women as Souls. If each of us strives to be a brother to all, very soon we shall see for ourselves the truth of the Brotherhood of Religions.

 

« Aryasangha, " Malabar Hill, Bombay, India.

                                                                             SOPHIA WADIA

 

 

 

THE BROTHERHOOD OF RELIGIONS

 

A LECTURE DELIVERED UNDER THE AUSPICES OF THE UNITED LODGE OF THEOSOPHISTS AT BOMBAY ON THE TWENTY. SECOND OF OCTOBER, 1933.

 

 

 

FRIENDS,

 

The first thought that we want to put before you in reference to our subject is one engendered by sadness that it should be necessary to discuss it. A civilization that necessitates the existence of many mutually antagonistic religions cannot really be a great one; for many, varied and contradictory religions imply that knowledge is absent, that speculation is rife, that belief is flourishing. Religion in its true sense is a binding force, uniting man to man; hence conflicting religions which separate man from man are not spiritual expressions, but actual destructive forces. Moreover, it is a well-known fact among the learned and the scholarly that debate on religious topics can become not only warm but even extremely hot !---while among the masses religious differences are the cause of enmity, and jealousy, and even of strife leading to blood-thirstiness. No, the fact that opposing religions flourish must be taken as a sign of decadence in our civilization. Along two lines of activity it is sought to remove this blemish and defect. One is the rejection of every form of religious belief; materialistic 'science shows the way of rejection, a perilous way, for in clearing the jungle of, superstitious belief and fanaticism, it also destroys the ancient trees which give knowledge and which make sacrifices possible. The

 

The Brotherhood of Religions                                                              4

 

way of science is the way of destruction---with the evil the good also is wiped out. Then there is the second method: one which some of our friends in Bombay want to adopt, the way of friendliness to all religions the method of bringing them together, the popularizing of the idea that all religions are great and good. That certainly is a noble method, and yet it too has its limitations. The real success of any movement for the fellowship of faiths will depend upon the depth of perception of all who mould and shape it. The danger of this second method lies in permitting, under the guise of tolerance, in all religions, the very crass and superstitious beliefs which are one of thee main causes of the difficulty our civilization is facing. Claims of an exclusive nature are the very life-force which keeps many religions going; and therefore all such claims, which pit creed against creed, and religion against religion, have to be rejected, not connived at. There is a great deal of hypocrisy, conscious and unconscious hypocrisy, in matters of religious belief, and the great task of any movement for the brotherhood of religions is to emphasize that such hypocrisy leads to danger, and defeats peace and enlightenment.

 

Here, as in other matters, Theosophy brings both knowledge and peace; peace without knowledge and understanding is but a fiction, a pleasant fiction no doubt, but in the long run it is harmful. Communal riots, in this very city, have shown that an armed truce is no peace. We need knowledge, a basis of real understanding of our subject. And we must begin by stating the fundamental position of Theosophy in the matter. Theosophy says that the source of all religions

 

The Brotherhood of Religions                                                              5

 

is one, which source is divine; but it adds that all religions without exception are overlaid with evil, and are full of corruption. All are true at the source; all are false on the surface.

 

In this statement two opposing factors must be noticed. If one says: "All religions are true because all have a divine source, and therefore I accept any and everything from any and every religion, " one will be preparing oneself for the lunatic asylum! On the other hand, if one says: "All religions are corrupted, let us throw them all out," one is ready for spiritual suicide. To be rational, and every student of Theosophy is a true rationalist, one must accept, after study and reflection, the fact that all religions have truth but that all religions, without exception, are full of evil and are saturated with corruption.

 

Let us proceed  then to examine the process by which the truth of Religion gets overlaid with the falsehoods of religions. Perhaps the Theosophical position will become clear if we draw your attention to the fact that Theosophy is not a religion, but that it is the one Religion, the Divine Source which underlies that which is true in any religion. Theosophy is the Ageless Wisdom; Sanatana-Dharma, the Eternal Religion; Bodhi-Dharma, the Wisdom Religion. It has been known on this earth ever since man became a thinking man, and though the mighty art becomes lost to the world from time to time, there are always the few elect who practise it. In its practical bearing
this art is purely divine ethics. That is why students of Theosophy seek the fountain-head, go to the source, and are at once the friends and the enemies of all differing religions.

 

The Brotherhood of Religions                                                              6

 

The enemies? Yes, for Theosophy does not desire ever to sail under false colours. It refuses to compromise. Therefore it fearlessly declares that it rejects every claim to superiority made by the Pope or the Patriarch, by the Mobed or the Maulana, Theosophy does not accept Jesus as the only begotten Son of God, any more than it accepts Muhammad as the only supreme Prophet. Theosophy rejects the claim that the Dharma of the Hindus is superior to other religions, or that Zoroastrianism is the only creed that teaches purity. Theosophy thus does away with every exclusive claim which results in creating and maintaining many religions, all mutually hostile and contradictory to each other.

 

The question naturally arises: But how did these different and differing religions, with truth within them, come into being? By what process have they come to occupy the place which they do occupy in our civilization? Understand the true Theosophical position. May I here just say that much harm has been, done by a pseudo-theosophical teaching on the subject, as you will notice when you realize the inwardness of the real Theosophical position. What is that Theosophical position? This: No Rishi, no Buddha, no Mahatma, no Christ, no Prophet, ever tried to establish a religion. Each and everyone of them was a reformer. Each and everyone of them was a Protestant. i, e., he protested against the falsehood of prevailing religious views. Each and everyone of them exposed the vagaries and lies and corruption of religions; each and every one of them taught a Way of Life, a Way to Wisdom a Way to Brotherhood.

 

The Brotherhood of Religion                                                                7

 

It is entirely untheosophical to say that all Rishis and Prophets came out of Their Occult World of Light, into our mortal world of darkness, in order to establish a new religion: On the contrary, They came to restore, the one Eternal Religion. Did Krishna come to establish a new religion? No---He came to restore the mighty Art that was lost, an Art which was already ancient in His ancient world of five thousand years ago. The Gita does not establish new religion; it teaches the Way of Life.

 

Take the Buddha. Did he establish the Northern and Southern Churches of Buddhism? He was a Hindu, born in the Kshatriya caste; and when He saw rottenness and corruption all around Him, caused by religious ignorance and priestly cunning, He reiterated the old, old truths taught by His Illustrious Predecessors.

 

Did Jesus come to establish a church? Was it He who founded the most ancient of the Christian churches, the, Greek Church? Would, He tolerate the creed which goes under the name of Roman Catholicism, or what passes as the Anglican, or any other protestant denomination? Jesus would do with the overdressed bishops and priests and money-collectors" in the churches what He did with the money-changer’s in the Jewish temple. Jesus did not come to establish a religion; He tried to purify the faith of His fathers, for remember He Himself was a Jew; and Judaism, had become degraded and corrupted. Once again, like Krishna, like Buddha, Jesus taught a Way of Life.

 

A long line of Zarathushtras, ever and anon, also

 

The Brotherhood of Religions                                                              8

 

 

 

showed the Way to Knowledge and the Way of Life, trying to save the old Iranians from blind belief and moral death. The central teaching of Zoroastrianism is: "There is one Path, the Path of Purity; all other paths are false." And yet since Zoroastrianism forbids proselytism and it is a good point in favour of this religion what then is to happen to the millions who are not born Zoroastrians? Is there no path of purity for them? Of course there is. What Parsi can prevent anyone not a Parsi from practising "good thoughts, good words, good deeds"? The Parsi community can prevent a person's going to the Fire Temple, but who can prevent anyone's kindling the Fire of Ahura Mazda in his own heart? If you study carefully even the fragments that now remain of the Religion of Fire you will find that the great line of Teachers known as Zarathushtra always and ever taught, like Jesus, like Buddha, like Krishna, a Way of Life.

 

What about Muhammad, the Prophet· of Arabia? Islam, like Christianity, proselytizes; also, like Christianity, it makes claims. But let me read something to you. Listen to this :---

 

Those who believe not in Allah and His Messengers, and would make a distinction between Allah and His Messengers, and say, we believe in some, and reject others of them, and seek to take a middle way in this matter; these are really unbelievers, and we have prepared for the unbelievers an ignominious punishment. But they who believe in Allah and His Messengers, and make no distinction between any of them, unto those will He surely give their reward; and Allah is gracious and merciful.

 

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This is a purely Theosophical attitude. And it is to be found in Al-Quran, the fourth chapter, verses 150 to 152. Or take this other quotation, from the same scripture. (Chapter XVI, 125-128) :---

 

 

 

Invite men unto the way of thy Lord, by wisdom and mild exhortation; and reason with them in the better way: for thy Lord well knoweth him who strayeth from His path, and He well knoweth those who are rightly directed. If ye punish, then punish with the like of that wherewith ye were afflicted: but if ye suffer wrong patiently, verily this will be better for the patient. Wherefore do thou bear opposition with patience: but thy patience shall not be practicable unless with Allah's assistance. And be not thou grieved on account of the unbelievers; neither be thou troubled for that which they subtly, devise; for Allah is with those who keep their duty unto Him and those who are doers of good.

 

And yet it is said, "But true Muslims must oppose idolatry and destroy idols." Al-Quran says, "Invite men unto the way of thy Lord by wisdom and mild, exhortation." And listen to this other definite piece of instruction (Chapter VI, I08-I09) :---

 

We have not appointed thee a keeper over them [ the idolaters] ; neither art thou responsible for them. Revile not them unto whom they pray beside Allah, lest they wrongfully revile Allah without knowledge.

 

I have purposely quoted Al-Quran, for much abuse, and misunderstanding exist; let us not put on the shoulders of the Prophet the sins and the blunders of His followers. Muhammad too taught a Way of Life.

 

Then how did these many religions come to exist? How did the Way of Life and of Wisdom become a

 

The" Brotherhood of Religions                                                           10

 

religious creed? If you study the history of any religious movement you will trace three Stages, three periods, during, which the true becomes corrupted, the good becomes vicious. The first period is the period of the Teacher the, Reformer, the prophet. The function of every spiritual Teacher is a twofold one: first, to, expose the corruption of religious creeds and secondly, to teach the way of the Inner Soul Life. Then comes the second period: after His death, the true disciples, apostles, pupils, try to systemize the teachings and to promulgate them as faithfully as possible by repeating what the Teacher gave or recorded. In the third period the priest comes to the fore, and organizes out of the teachings another religious creed! you will find that every spiritual movement has suffered thus, and that the priest of every creed is the enemy of the Prophet. Therefore many sane and wise and pure Christians look upon the Christian church today as anti-Christ. And of course it is true, for the church indulges in those very practices which Jesus tried to overthrow. Our own Theosophical Movement, alas, has suffered and is suffering from the same corruption and degradation. That is why with so many of you Theosophy is in disfavour. There are thousands upon thousands in India who don’t yet know the difference between Theosophy and pseudo or false theosophy, between the period of the Teacher, H. P. Blavatsky, and the period of the priests. Our U. L. T. Movement has among its missions the very task of re-establishing the Way of Life. But to return to our subject.

 

You can study the establishment of an organized

 

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religion if you take one of the modern faiths. Take for example the religion of the, Sikhs. Nanak is regarded as the founder and the prophet. He was a contemporary of Martin Luther and in many respects the work Nanak undertook is similar to that of Luther, which produced the Reformation in Christendom. Nanak, [like Buddha, was born a Hindu.; and, like Buddha, He saw, even as a, boy, through the absurdities of a creed organized by priests. At the time of His thread ceremony his iconoclastic spirit expressed itself most forcibly. The story is beautiful and has its moral. Let me tell it to you.

 

Everything was ready. The purohit called the boy to attention. Nanak looked into the eyes of the priest and asked: "Pandit, what is the use of this thread? What purpose does it serve? What is the meaning of wearing it ? "

 

The purohit explained: " You see, dear boy, no one can perform any rite, social or religious, without it. The thread purifies and will entitle you to be a man of your caste, who has religious rights and religious duties. No thread, no religion."

 

But Nanak argued: "Yet, if a man puts it on and changes not his ways? All our caste men are not pure; yet they all wear the thread and they, all perform ceremonies; therefore the thread has not purified them all."

 

The purohit did not know what to say, "Argue not! " he shouted. "It is so written in the Shastras and our forefathers have all done it. Enough!"

 

Then the influence of the Infinite and Invisible Presence  came upon Nanak, and He uttered these

 

The Brotherhood of Religions                                                            12

 

memorable words: "0 Pandit, from the cotton of compassion spin out the thread of love. Make the knots of purity, truth and self-control. Let the mind remain concentrated on that thread. That thread never breaks, never need be changed, never can be lost. Revere those who wear such thread! "

 

The purohit was touched. The wise words of the young boy, gently yet firmly spoken, awakened the priest-initiator to some perception. He spoke: "Good and true are the words you have uttered. But now, look at all this expense and trouble taken in your behalf. Surely you can see that you must accept the thread and wear it."

 

"Enslave myself? " enquired Nanak. "No, I  would rather give my life. I cannot put it on. True conviction gains respect. True and truthful living brings perfection. No, I cannot wear this."

 

Imagine the confusion in the assembly! There was much entreaty. The priest threatened and the friends flattered. Both threats and flatteries alike failed. His own mother, at last, said: "Please, do it for

my sake. Do not disappoint me, son!" "Mother, I obey you, " answered Nanak and He took the thread. He had shown the way, had set the example by His words. He had made it clear that the form matters nothing without the life. He who has the real Life needs no form, though he may use the form for some good reason of the outer life. In Nanak's case, He followed the form side only out of filial obedience.

 

This boy growing up continued the work of the poet Kabir and other religious reformers. He wanted to do away with the quarrels between Hinduism and

 

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Muhammadanism. He taught and practised the Way of the Inner Life. And the result? To-day we have not only Hinduism and Islam, but one more---Sikhism! Nanak was a man of Peace. The Sikh religion is that of the martial race of whom India is legitimately proud. But does not the story illustrate what we have been considering? Did Nanak want Sikhism as known to-day?

 

It is human credulity, man's mental laziness, man's moral flabbiness which are responsible every time for the organizing of religion.

 

Then what shall we do? Destroy all religions? Certainly not. But neither shall we accept all religions. Each religion can be utilized to purify our social and corporate life. Followers of each creed can undertake the work of a return to the first principles of their own religion, if that task appeals to them. Let such followers earnestly and sincerely seek the light which the Teacher and the Prophet gave. Let them pass from belief to knowledge, from rites and ceremonies rooted in custom and superstition to the Ritual of Life based on Wisdom and Compassion, to be found in their scriptures. Seek the Way of Life, and remember that religious pride, the sense of religious superiority, the exclusiveness which divides man from man, is irreligion.

 

This will require study, comparative study of religions. If a Parsi, for example, desires to know more about the Path of Purity, Ashoi, he will find in the Gita, in the Dhammapada, in the Sermon on the Mount, in the sayings of the Jewish Prophets, many a hint, many a warning, many a teaching. If a Brahmana

 

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desiring to attain Mukti, Liberation, would study the conception of Ahura Mazda, would learn why the Asura he dreads is Ahura, the Great Light of Sacrifice, he would avoid the pitfall of false Mukti or Liberation. Study the philosophy and the truth enshrined in the two words, Ahura and Asura, and much confusion of Hindu creedalism will vanish. Let the Muhammadan really become the truly "faithful," let him live up to those quotations which we read, and he will become a Sufi, a Mystic, and will run with love in his heart to embrace his fellow-men rather than with a sword to pierce their flesh.

 

What is the great vision that arises before us in the India of to-morrow as we dwell upon the possibilities of this true brotherhood of religions? It is a vision of the Temple Invisible, not made with hands, in which the Soul will call all the faithful to Prayer, and Where the mind of man will be the intelligent priest, and. the heart of man will feel the substantial strength of the Great Presence. In the sight of that Invisible Temple what need is there for any church, any mosque, any synagogue? Who wants to go to a Fire Temple who has the warmth of Atar in his own heart? Who wants to go to a Church who has realized that Christos is within each one of us? Who wants to take flowers to a Mandir of Vishnu or of Shiva, who has left the soiled shoes of passion and pride and prejudice behind, and whose life is full of flower-like actions, of gentle and kindly understanding, of humility and charity, of the power to protect and the inspiration to regenerate?

 

True Religion of the Heart and of the Mind is born only when ignorant beliefs, superstitions of customs

 

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and claims of creeds die. It is this vision to of a Spiritual Regeneration which inspires us here in this Lodge to labour for the coming cycle. The age of true democracy, of Spiritual Democracy, is what we are working for. And it will not arise till religious competition, religious bigotry, and religious pride are killed. Let us adopt the saying of Muhammad: "Let there be no compulsion in Religion, " and side by side with that teaching let us also recognize that the greatest of sinners can overcome evil by spiritual knowledge, as Krishna taught. Let us pray as Jesus instructed in the Sermon on the M aunt. There is no time to read that Sermon to you to-day, but just remember that we must enter into the closet of the heart, and pray in silence. Think of these words, and then think of the hymn-singing going on in the churches at this very hour !

 

In examining together here the limitations of religious creeds, and the evil existing in all of them, we have also seen the beauty and the strength of real Religion. In quoting Nanak's story we learnt what each boy and each girl ought to learn; in reading from Al-Quran we learnt what true tolerance means: how we should respect and revere all true Teachers and Prophets. From the Bible we learnt the way of real prayer, of true worship: the meditation in the silence and secrecy of our closet, our own heart.

 

And now let us close by reading One more extract, taken from the Zoroastrian Gathas; the great speech of the Teacher of the Fiery Wisdom :---

 

Ye who have come from near and Ye who from far have come, seeking knowledge! Now listen with attention and

 

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ponder with care all I say. On this occasion weigh my words, so that false doctrines may not assail your soul any more. Man walks the wicked way because of his varna, colour, i.e., inner belief which manifests in his words.---( Yasna, XLV, 1.)

 

" Ye who come from far and near, " and what was the teaching given to them? It was the teaching of the two primeval forces of Spirit and Matter which develop as good and evil in the human kingdom. But please note there were those from afar, and those who were near. They were not all Zoroastrians, but all were enquirers, seekers after truth, and to them all the lesson about good and evil was given. The choice offered is not merely whether or not to put on sacred thread and sacred shirt, not merely whether or not to go to the Fire Temple when alive and to the Tower of Silence when dead; the choice offered is between good and evil. The Way of Life, the Way of Life ever.

 

To realize the ideal of the spiritual democracy we must seek for the Soul within, which is good as this Gatha implies; it must be true, as the Sermon on the Mount indicates; and it must be full of beauty. Confucius, the great Chinese Teacher, once said that when we love that which is beautiful, we do so without constraint, and naturally. To be beautiful of soul, He said, we must make our thoughts sincere.

 

The short cut, if we may put it so, to true Religion, which necessitates getting away from all creeds, is to look upon the human Soul as a triad of the Good, the True and the Beautiful. That is what the Greeks did, and that is what we should do.

 

And so in closing let us invoke upon us all the Blessings of the Great

 

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Teachers whose Light ever is True, whose Life ever is Good, whose Words ever are Beautiful. The great Adept, Shankaracharya, in his Vivekachudamani, The Crest Jewel of Wisdom, describes Them as the Great Peaceful Ones who live, regenerating the world like the coming of spring. Let us then invoke Their Blessings so that religious strife may cease, and the Light of the One Religion shine on us, uniting us all in one glorious Universal Brotherhood.

 

 

 

 

THEOSOPHY THE SOURCE

 

A SPEECH DELIVERED AT THE PARLIAMENT OF RELIGIONS, BOMBAY, ON THE NINTH OF MAY, 1936.

 

 

FRIENDS,

 

It is but appropriate that, in this Parliament of Religions, Theosophy be given a place at the end of the programme, after the representatives of all creeds have had their say. For Theosophy is not a religion, but the Soul of all religions, the common source of all faiths. Theosophy is the fountain-head of eternal, immemorial and ever-consistent Truth. It.is the very root of the original great Banyan Tree, and from the world of Spirit it sends forth the branches of the various religions and the shoots of the many creeds. These religions, alas, have now been overlaid with errors; not one has escaped the hand of time. Each has become polluted, each is full of corruptions and superstitions. If any proof were needed that this is so, the strong and fearless paper that we just listened to,* differentiating between the religion of Jesus and that of the present Christian churches, would be a conclusive one. And what is true of Christianity is also true of other faiths. And yet each at its source is divine, natural and true. This dual recognition of basic truth and of gross and palpable error at the surface has sometimes caused confusion in the minds of the people and they have asked: "Is Theosophy

 

* By SHRI J. C. KUMARAPPA, an Indian Christian belonging to a well-known South Indian family.

 

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the friend of religions or their opponent?" And the answer itself is puzzling. Theosophy is the Peacemaker among different religions, but only in their pure and noble aspects; Theosophy opposes all special claims, as it opposes priestcraft and superstition in every form and under every mantle; Theosophy ever befriends and honours Truth wherever and by whomsoever it may have been uttered. Theosophy is the enemy of untruth no matter under whose authority that untruth be promulgated. Thus it is indeed a difficult position that Theosophy occupies in the modern world.

 

But in that very position lies Theosophy's first and vital message to all of us. We are closing to-day this Parliament of Religions. In it recognition and appreciation of all, or almost all, faiths has found place. That is well, that is indeed a great, a splendid step, yet it is not enough---something more needs to be understood. We must go back to eternal and universal principles and define religion itself. Theosophy defines religion as dharma is defined in the Karnaparva of the Mahabharata: "That which supports, that which holds together the peoples, that is dharma." We say, that is religion. Religion is therefore a unifying power par excellence, and not a separative force. That which unites man to man is religion. That which labels a man as distinct and separate from other men, separating him from his fellow-beings, that is not, cannot be, religion. This does not mean that the different forms of religious thought are necessarily wrong, but that the special claims made on behalf of anyone form are wrong. Therefore in the Declaration ; of our United Lodge of Theosophists

 

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we find a clause which describes the attitude of the true Theosophist in matters of religion: "The true Theosophist belongs to no cult or sect, yet belongs to each and all." What does it mean? It means that every real student of Theosophy is called upon to make a dual distinction, a twofold differentiation. And it is this distinction that the world needs today. First, we must learn to distinguish between the truths common to all religions on the one hand, and the falsehoods and superstitions also to be found in all creeds without exception, on the other. To differentiate between truth and falsehood, that is the first step. Next, we must distinguish between the common truths of the different faiths and the variety of expressions of those truths. The same principles are given out in different garb, and these differences of form are not meaningless; they have a purpose and a raison d'etre. Let us illustrate. We must learn to distinguish between the true and the false. Thus every religion teaches the great and significant fact of the immortality of the Spirit in man. That is a universal truth. But when it comes to the method of realization of that immortal and divine Spirit, ah! then we find disagreement, and each one claims his own method as the only true one. Some say that only in a Shiva temple is communion with God possible; others declare that the Vishnu temple is superior. Muslims believe salvation to be possible only through the one Prophet, while Christians believe that Jesus is the only door, and if you happen to be a Roman Catholic you cannot be saved even by Jesus alone : you must also recognize the Pope!

 

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These exclusive and unique claims cannot all be true; they bring about strife and disunion among men; they are absurd and illogical. They are but arrogant superstitions, and any man holding them thereby narrows his mind and injures his heart, Such false notions it is which are destructive of real religion since they divide man from man. In passing we might note that often these very dogmas and superstitions and even some evil practices are themselves but the gross and distorted shadows of some misunderstood religious symbol. Originally they represented some aspect of truth, but they have now become misinterpreted and corrupted. So the first distinction is between truth and falsehood.

 

What is the second distinction every Theosophist is called upon to make? What is the difference between the sacred thread of the Hindu and that of the Parsi? None whatsoever. Both represent and symbolize the very same idea. What is the difference between the Muslim in his mosque on Friday, the Jew in his synagogue on Saturday, the Christian in his church on Sunday ? None. Are they not all three expressing the same aspiration even though their form of worship is different? So the second distinction enables us to perceive the same underlying ideal back of the variety of outer expressions. First, we must distinguish between that which is true in all religions and that which is false; and then we must learn to see behind the various expressions of religions one and the same truth. How shall we do this? By what process?

 

This very Parliament of Religions is one way, and

 

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a powerful one it is. It serves to strengthen the bond of true religion, and to break the fetters of sectarianism. This Parliament was formed on the model of the one held in 1893 in Chicago, in the United States, and of which we all know, for it was attended by prominent Indians. But long before that Chicago conference, in one of its Three Objects, the Theosophical Movement advocated the comparative study of all religions, philosophies and sciences, and the demonstration of the importance of such study. As far back as 1877 when our Teacher Madame Blavatsky wrote her Isis Unveiled she showed this dual task as necessary for the eradication of materialistic atheism on the one hand, and the restoration of the pure Religion of Universal Brotherhood on the other. Thus Theosophy came as a peacemaker with its light dispersing the darkness not only of ignorance but also of false beliefs and dogmatic orthodoxy.

 

But what is Theosophy? What is this ancient source of all religions? Not something new which Madame Blavatsky invented; and those who are looking for new and original innovations are bound to be disappointed. Theosophy as a system of thought is as old as thinking man, himself. Even the word Theosophy itself is not new, was not invented by H. P. Blavatsky, the Founder of the present Theosophical Movement. The word has already been used before she used it. It was used in the middle of the last century. Nay, it had been used long before that, as far back as the third century of the Christian era, by Ammonius Saccas, the Guru of Plotinus, and the Founder of the Neo-Platonic School in Alexandria.

 

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Madame Blavatsky explains the word Theosophy. She calls Theosophy, Divine Wisdom, the "Wisdom-Religion," an expression which is the exact equivalent of Bodhi-Dharma familiar to us in Buddhistic culture-better known among. the Hindus as Brahma-Vidya, the knowledge of Brahman, i.e., Divine Wisdom. It is true Wisdom, eternal and universal, as differentiated from the knowledge of the intellect and the learning of the brain.

 

Some of you may ask: "But if Theosophy is such ancient and immemorial knowledge, why was it given afresh? Why was it necessary to promulgate again the truths of Brahma-Vidya and Atma-Vidya?"· Friends, because these ancient truths had become forgotten in the world of mortal men. They were hardly known in the western hemisphere. The concept of reincarnation, the sublime idea of the Law of Karma, the Law of moral compensation and of absolute justice, these were absolutely unknown in the West before our Theosophical Movement was launched. As for India, even in our India the educated Hindu scoffed at the spiritual inheritance of the Motherland, while orthodoxy enveloped the vast majority, and the Great Art of Krishna and Buddha and Shankara was practised only by a few. Picture to yourselves this city of Bombay in 1879 when Madame Blavatsky and her co-worker, Colonel Olcott, landed here. Consider the state of India as a whole. Even the Gita was not much known, and genuine spiritual effort was the practice of only a few.
We are not forgetting the work which flowed from the hearts of Ram Mohan Rai and Dayananda Sarasvati,

 

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noble sons of India. But it was Theosophy which alone linked East and West, and made the work of spreading spiritual knowledge all over the world imperative and possible.

 

Theosophy, Wisdom-Religion, has many aspects, and to-day it will not be possible to do more than touch upon only one of them. The time allotted to us is already generous and we do not wish to try the patience of our kind organizers to whom we feel grateful for this opportunity. What aspect then shall we consider? Let us look upon Theosophy as a Way of Life, a dynamic and spiritual Way of Life, bringing to man a new vision, leading him to the recognition of his own Divinity, energizing him to love and to serve his fellow-men. It is not ordinary good morals which Theosophy teaches. Its rules of conduct, its principles of action, are founded upon its philosophy and its psychology. Its philosophy deals with the origin and evolution of the cosmos; its psychology deals with the constitution of the whole of man---physical, psychical, mental and, last but chief of all, spiritual, which is the basic reality. The intimate relation between the Universe and man, between the Macrocosm and the microcosm, brings to birth the rules of conduct to be practised day by day. Theosophy must be lived, must be applied steadfastly and with assiduity in devotion.

 

That gives us another Theosophical axiom: "A Theosophist is who Theosophy does." Such a principle should be true of every religion, but nowadays religion is not a matter of actual living, but only of lip-profession and of outward observances. To be a

 

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Theosophist, however, one has to do Theosophy. The whole attitude of the practitioner undergoes a change, his relationship to others becomes a spiritual one as he knows himself more and more as a unit in a Spiritual Family. The Way of Life taught by Theosophy is precisely that realization, the realization that Humanity is essentially spiritual. Humanity is not composed of bodies---black and white, yellow and brown, male and female. Humanity is not composed---of minds---scientific, artistic, philosophic, political. Humanity is composed of Souls---every Soul a divine spark, the whole of humanity animated by the same universal essence, the same divine energy. We all recognize that God is everywhere, that God speaks through the sage and sings through the poet and acts through the saint; but all of us do not recognize that---God sweeps through the scavenger, and cooks in the kitchen and is the beggar in the street. All religious Prophets have taught us that God is omnipresent, present in the hearts of all of us, but we have not seen the implication of that stupendous fact, the spiritual identity of all Souls with the one Over-Soul, call it Atman, Alaya, the Universal Spirit, Krishna, Buddha, Ahura Mazda" Christos. What matters the name? That which alone matters is the reality.

 

To realize, to live that reality, that is our task. But to act, day by day, with the conviction that humanity is spiritual is not only difficult, it becomes well-nigh impossible, friends, when the God we are encountering is caught out telling a lie! ----when another God is discovered to be dishonest, and yet another to be greedy and lustful! It is most difficult for the human

 

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mind to perceive the God in the debauchee, in the prostitute, in the drunkard lying in the gutter! Why is it difficult? Because the method of realization that our humanity is spiritual is unknown or falsely practised.

 

Theosophy teaches that each one of us has first to unfold the divinity within himself. That is the beginning of the Way, for as we try to unfold our own divinity we encounter the weakness of our own mind, the vices of our own flesh and blood. Our difficulty in recognizing the Devi in the prostitute. the God in the drunkard, lessens, if it does not altogether disappear, when we find that each one of us is drunk with the toddy of anger and is passion wrought in a dozen different ways. The prostitution of the heart and the drunkenness of the mind within ourselves, dispassionately studied, enable us to understand the prostitute in the street and the drunkard in the gutter, nay more, enable us to perceive that the most direct and efficient way to help all prostitutes and all drunkards is by ourselves overcoming those tendencies within our own natures. To realize one's own Higher Self implies the recognition and subsequent purification of one's own lower self. Only when you have made a sincere effort to eradicate your own blemishes can you have true compassion for the weaknesses of others. Thus Theosophy transforms man into a self-reformer before he becomes a reformer of others. As we saw, "a Theosophist is who Theosophy does," and the doing of Theosophy begins with self-reform. Each must correct himself, discipline himself, purify himself. Each one must endeavour

 

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to radiate forth the Light of the One Self, and thus to disperse the darkness of his own ignorance and selfishness, ultimately spreading the one unfading Light of Spirit for the benefit of the whole of humanity.

 

Knowledge, true knowledge, is needed, but knowledge alone does not suffice. It is the energization to practise what we know to be true that our world needs to-day. "For even a little of this practice delivereth a man from great risk," as the Gita puts it. Our religion has become an outer show instead of an inner exercise. Theosophists are able to appreciate and, more, to understand, the psychological experimentation of Ramakrishna whose Centenary we are celebrating. And what better mode of celebration than this Parliament of Religions in the name of one who is said to have practised different religions? Ramakrishna, we are told, lived as mere believers in religion do not live, and therefore he was able to experience in his own consciousness what ordinary men of different denominations vaguely feel or inadequately understand about their own creed. To experience in consciousness the validity of the knowledge which is clear to our mind---that is a Theosophical practice.

 

In his efforts at this religious experiencing, Ramakrishna proves himself a Yogi with a vision of Universal Brotherhood. And speaking of Ramakrishna we must remember Vivekananda, his pupil and disciple. These two, in and through their relation, give us another great Theosophical truth---the life of the chela under the guidance of the guru. We have brought with us a quotation from Vivekananda because it appeals to us

 

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by its humility and its tenderness. You all know what a virile person Vivekananda was, and how he ---could roar like a lion; but just listen to his words, uttered on his arrival in his own city of Calcutta, after his return triumphant from his mission in the West. They exemplify the true attitude of a pupil to his teacher:---

 

If there has been anything achieved by me, by thoughts or words or deeds; if from my lips has ever fallen one word that has helped anyone in the world, I lay no claim to it, it was his. But if there have been curses falling from my lips, if there has been hatred coming out of me, it was all mine, and not his. All that has been weak has been mine and all that has been life-giving, strengthening, pure and holy, has been his inspiration, his words, he himself.

 

There is Vivekananda speaking as the chela, revealing not the strong virility of the mind, but the tenderness of the heart which is more powerful than virility. And these words all of us ought to remember, for we are apt in our local enthusiasms to give vent to hatred and to ridicule of others.

 

But now we must close. We began by stating that Theosophy was the fountain-head of all religions and philosophies. Let us end by showing how Theosophy speaks in the language of different religions. Eternal truth, the Wisdom-Religion, ever strikes the key-note of the immortality of the Spirit, but the same principle is given out clothed in different garments, expressed in different language. In the story of Guru Nanak at the time of His receiving the sacred thread the central philosophical view comes out very forcefully. We had brought the story with us hoping that we might read

 

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it together, and thus serve the purpose of our Parliament of Religions we would not have neglected Sikhism altogether. I was not present at yesterday's session and am therefore not sure if Sikhism was represented or not, but I do know no mention of it was in the printed programme. I should have liked, therefore, to read this story to you all, but time is short. Let us merely state that the story evinces a truly Theosophical attitude; Guru Nanak remained obedient to His mother, yet fearlessly declared His own conviction and explained that the outward symbol was nothing without the inner reality.

 

Understanding what Guru Nanak taught, that the Way to Spirit is within ourselves, we shall also be able to appreciate the saying of Islam: "There are as many ways to God as there are breaths of the children of men." The Prophet did not claim that He Was the only door to salvation; no, He stated that there are as many ways as there are men. And what is the nature of that Inner Traveller, the drawer of spiritual breath? The Gospel of St. John answers this when: it says, "It is the Light which lighteth every man that cometh into the world." And it was that same Light which was proclaimed by the Buddha, the Enlightened One---the Light of Nirvana. Did He not say, as we heard to-day, "Be ye lamps unto yourselves, oh ! ye Bhikkhus"? And He said it not only to His royal cousin and disciple Ananda, but also to Upali, the barber. Have you read the charming poem which Vivekananda wrote on Upali, the barber? Upali became an Arhat. How? By following the Path of Purity which the long line of Zarathushtras

 

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taught in old Iran. In the Gathas we read that "the Vohu-Mano, the Superior Mind 'in man, acts in him only who makes Druj, the evil, bondmaiden to Ashoi, Purity." And in whom is there no aspiration to be pure in mind, in morals, in body? Who is there among us who  aspire to become better, more useful, nobler than he is? And why this common aspiration in all human hearts? Because:---

 

 

 

I am the Ego seated in the hearts of all beings.

 

Note; please---not only in male Brahmanas, but also in women and Chandalas, In all without any exception. Krishna is seated in the heart of every one. He has hands and feet in every direction; He says that your feet, your hands, and mine, are His feet and His hands. 'What glorious days are ours with the conviction that we are all immortal and divine!

 

 

I myself never was not, nor thou, nor all the princes of the earth; nor shall we ever hereafter cease to be.

 

To realize that divine immortality, to shine forth the Light of the One Spirit---that is Theosophy, that is Brahma-Vidya, Atma-Vidya, Bodhi-Dharma, Wisdom-Religion: As indicated in the Vedic motto chosen by our Parliament, "Truth is one, Sages have called it by various names." And those Sages are not only of the past, but also of the present. The Great Theosophists are the living Embodiments of Eternal and Universal Truth, the constant source of inspiration and energization of those who have consecrated

 

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themselves to the spiritual service of the whole of humanity. They Themselves have called Themselves the Servants of mankind. They stand on the glorious summits of Wisdom and of Compassion, Custodians of eternal Truth, Guides and Friends of all men; They are our Teachers, the Gurus of the whole of humanity. We cannot close therefore without uttering a shIoka in uttermost reverence to express in a measure what we owe to Them:---

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE PLACE OF THE "GITA"
IN THE INDIA OF TO-DAY

 

A LECTURE DELIVERED UNDER THE AUSPICES OF THE NINTH INDIAN PHILOSOPHICAL CONGRESS, HELD AT POONA, ON THE TWENTY-SEVENTH OF MARCH, 1934.

 

FRIENDS,

 

The function of high philosophy and of great philosophers is to mould the thought of the people and to influence the even tenor of their lives. Unless the abstract formulae of philosophy concretely affect human society, the dharma of the philosopher is not completely fulfilled. In modern India high scholarship is further removed from the mind of the masses than scientific and other knowledge is from the mind of the populace in the Occident. And yet the fact Is well attested that, in the life of the people of our Motherland, currents of ancient culture still flow and these currents make them responsive to ideas and ideals of philosophy, and especially of religious philosophy----perhaps the most potent of influences in renovating the mind of the Race. To-day when India is choosing its future course, the work of the thinker and the educator is of supreme value.

 

With the Western world in a state of turmoil, very uncertain of its future, and even some of its thinkers turning for light to the ancient East, we cannot neglect the duty of warning all, that to attempt to pattern our new social order on the Western model is to court disaster. Nor do world conditions warrant a return to a pastoral life of religious simplicity. In fact such a return is impossible; but even if it were

 

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possible, India would frustrate her very aim and purpose by taking such a step, for she would be destroyed in no time by this present civilization in which strenuous trade competition is backed by guns and poison gases. Moreover, Royal Sages, Raja Rishis, and philosophers of high Kshatriya ideals are not absent from our ancient tradition and history. It is true that India rose to the zenith of glory, and service through her spiritual culture, yet such culture was not only that of the Sadhu and the Sannyasi, but also that of the rulers and administrators, the builders, of cities and empires, the painters of Ajanta and the sculptors of Ellora .

 

India as a participant in world civilization suffers from its disease---a divorce between life and philosophy. The lure of action has exerted its fascination on the entire West, and knowledge and ideas have been exploited and even prostituted for the improvement. of the life of physical comfort, in which sensuous gratification takes its toll India has been influenced by that lure and that fascination, But India has a further handicap: her religiosity, which is mistaken for spirituality. This has produced a conservatism as hard as iron, and wide-spread from kitchen to temple, and from the smallest of villages to the largest of capitals. This religious conservatism persists in spite of the efforts of Ram Mohan Rai and his Brahmo Silmaj, Dayananda Sarasvati and his Arya Samaj, Madame Blavatsky and the Theosophical Movement, and of Ramakrishna and Vivekananda. To-day the attempt, to break this conservatism continues in and through the person of India's twentieth-century saint---Gandhiji.

 

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The work before the Indian educator and philosopher is therefore dual: the release of the masses from conservatism, and the precipitation of a philosophy of life in which both ideas and actions, soul and body, Spirit and matter are accorded their proper place. A spiritual renaissance is due, and those who are participating in its manifestation must produce a philosophy of conduct, and a religion of life capable of inspiring the people and of energizing them to right endeavour.

 

This historic city of Poona brings to mind the renaissance in Maharashtra commenced by Mukundraj and Dnyaneshwar. The noteworthy feature of that renaissance as shown by the great Ranade is that it was not confined to this or that class, but permeated deeply through all strata of society-male and female, literate and illiterate, Hindu and Muslim alike. It was the influence of the Bhagavad-Gita which commenced that spiritual revolution some seven hundred years ago. The rendition of that Song Celestial in the phrase and the idiom understood by the people to-day would once again cause a spiritual revolution. Not only would it shake conservative India out of its religiosity and its smug self-satisfaction and their progeny---Tamas, inertia, but further, it would give our people the right foundations for a dynamic life in which the Soul is not neglected, in which the body gains recognition as the Nine-Gated City of that Soul, in which thought is not put aside but becomes the energy for all actions. It is to the Gita then that we must turn---not as a book of speculative philosophy

 

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or of dogmatic theology, but as a book of life, as a guide to conduct, as a solver of problems and an inspirer of noble deeds.

 

But the Gita is like a mighty ocean at whose shores infants can play, in whose depths giant Souls can swim. What aspects of that profound wisdom would suit our requirements? Which of the Gita teachings would restore to modern India her ancient spiritual status, without disabling her from participating in the affairs of twentieth-century civilization? Nay more; not only is it a problem of India's holding her own in the comity of nations. Shri Krishna Who opened the Kali Yuga incarnated not only for the sake of India, but for that of the Race as a whole; and therefore India is called upon to make: her own contribution towards the healing of a diseased world---a world distracted in thought, and disturbed in moral principles. Thus our work is twofold: to seek and to promulgate those particular Gila teachings which would, first, restore to India her lost spirituality and, secondly, enable her to help the world.

 

Let us study the Gita from this particular point, of view, seeking among its jewels those which will answer our purpose. We need the spiritual element or factor which would protect us against drowning in the muddy torrents of matter and sense life. We need the energic element which would enhance our worldly efficiency and enable us to build our home and our state. We need the element of inspiration which would reveal, for the building of home and state, the Heavenly Pattern, to borrow a thought from Plato.

 

Look: at out country to-day: its' rural simplicity

 

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steeped in ignorance and the expression of the innate culture of the masses hindered by illiteracy; its Westernized cities displaying a mongrel mentality; communal pride competing with national ambition. Then there is the intense desire for the life of the Spirit with its other worldliness, and the revolt against that desire which takes to the religion of social service. And such we have social servants who care not for the soul of the masses and wandering Sadhus who care not for their suffering bodies!

 

Do not we see here that divorce between the Sankhya and Yoga systems of philosophy which the Gita describes as false, adding that children only, and not the Pandits, look upon them as antagonistic to each other? The first lesson from the Gita which needs to be popularized in modem India is that of the rhythmic blending of the Sankhya and the Yoga systems spoken of in the second, third and fifth adhyayas of the Gita.

 

Of course we all know that the terms Sankhya and Yoga are peculiarly used in the Gila, but it is not necessary that we go into technicalities. Enough for us to note that it is that particular way of combining two opposing concepts which is most valuable and practical. That which in the Sankhya is regarded as a hindrance to the realization of the Highest, is pressed into His service by Shri Krishna who teaches the gospel of true renunciation and of true emancipation. Buddhi or Intellect is looked upon as a hindrance because Purusha is chained to Prakriti through the forms created by lntellect; Purusha, the Spirit in Man, must free itself from the snare 'of false identification

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With Prakriti which is due to Buddhi. This is the view of the Sankhya which therefore advocates knowledge without action, i.e., reaching to the world of Spirit beyond and separate from the world of matter and of actions. The Yoga of the Gita is generally designated, and, with good reason, as the Path of Action, and the Sankhya as the Way of Knowledge, but please note that the Yoga is named Buddhi Yoga. It very clearly indicates the place of Buddhi-Intellect , Pure Reason, or the Pure and Compassionate Reason which is the higher or spiritual aspect of Manas or Mind.

 

So in this teaching of the Gita we find that very combination of Soul and body, Spirit and matter, thought and action, of which we are in need. The realization that our own highest Ego is the Supreme Spirit, the One Self, is the end of knowledge; the obtaining of that knowledge leading to realization has been attempted by the shunning of actions, including duties; on the other hand, in these modern days, as we already saw; the lure of to do, to do, without any basis in philosophical principles, without a perception of metaphysical fundamentals, has overpowered the people---one of the reasons, we repeat, for the chaos now prevailing in the entire West.

 

Modern India is in need of instruction in that which the Gita calls Buddhi Yoga---the performance of deeds by the aid of Buddhi, our spiritual Soul, the spiritual aspect of human self-consciousness. This Buddhi Yoga may well be described as the Path of Descent of Buddhi into the mundane consciousness of man, giving him the capacity to act illuminatingly. The ordinary concept of Yoga, is the emancipation of the Soul from senses and its escape from the round of rebirth.

 

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The yoke of the Buddhi Yoga brings us the concept of infusing the spiritual energy of the Pure and Compassionate Reason into the Temple of the Body, so that the Ojas and the Tejas of the soul stream forth through every orifice of that body. This will enable people to live the Spiritual Life in the midst of human affairs, fulfilling all obligations, instead of retiring to the jungle or to the top of a mountain in order to be a Way from the conflicts and the sorrows of this world. And yet Buddhi Yoga does not imply the performance of any and every kind of action without knowledge, but of actions rooted in Soul-knowledge. All actions which spring from kama, desires and passions of the personal ahankaric self, must be given up, and such actions as are undertaken must be executed by the method given. What is that method? Vairagya---Disinterestedness, Detachment, Dispassion. Thus we remain in the world, we fulfil our obligations and perform our duties, We gain skill in action, but we act without any attachment to the fruits of action. This Buddhi Yoga is not the throwing away of possessions, but their retention for proper use. It is not the performance of mere good deeds but a comprehension of this world of deeds, Kriya Loka---the mighty magic of Prakriti. Buddhi Yoga is not running away from evil, but fighting and overcoming it. It is not the feeling of Ananda, the Bliss of the Soul, in its pure state, but the realization of Bliss in woe, of order in chaos, and of good at the very core of evil. It is not the fear of the world, but the love of humanity, which makes possible the descent of Buddhi into the body.

 

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Therefore this Buddhi Yoga may be described as the first exercise for the development of the future God Man.

 

Each one of us is Paramatman, and in each one of us Krishna dwells. In describing His Glories of Vibhutis in the tenth discourse, Shri Krishna began by stating: "I am the Ego which is seated in the hearts of all beings." In showing His Divine Form, Vishva-Rupa, Krishna exhorted Arjuna to act---not heedlessly, not in sorrow and anguish, but with real wisdom and contentment, with a mind and a heart fully satisfied. The mind must be satisfied, it must see the rationality of the advice given it, it must be enlightened by the spiritual vision of the heart. In other words Krishna exhorts Arjuna to perform Buddhi Yoga.

 

Krishna Himself is the actor; Arjuna and Duryodhana are also actors; so are the blind Dhritarashta and the observant Sanjaya. Each acts his part but the knowledge which the Song of the Lord imparts is the knowledge about the Spirit of Man manifesting Its Glory and Its Grace in Samsara, and Its baffling puzzlement. The two chief character are Arjuna and Krishna. Arjuna may be compared to the Indian Nation of to-day---confused as to its dharma, dejected because the family is divided, but compelled by karma to take the field of duty, dharmakshetra. And who is Krishna? Who else can be the Parthasarathi, the Charioteer, save the natural leaders of the people, the educators and guides? If evolution does not proceed apace, it is because the leaders themselves are confused: Picture Krishna, silent, looking on and

 

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Looking round, when Arjuna threw down his Gandiva! To the assembled scholars and philosophers we would say: “Rise up, and out of the abundance of your knowledge preach to the politicians as well as to the people the doctrine, of the Immortal Divinity in the heart of each."

 

These two figures of Krishna and Arjuna are symbols---one of the end, and, the summation of human evolution, Man become God; the second is the symbol of Man seeking Wisdom which would make him God. God each one of us is at heart and in latency, but to show forth that Divinity we must first know the Purusha by the effort of mind and intellect and then act out our part in daily life in terms of that Wisdom. Sankhya, Buddhi-Yoga, and Avatara, are the three words of the Gita which need to be studied and understood and popularized in modern India.

 

In this land of ours temples by the thousand and shrines by the million exist; but to light them up with the Light of Old a few priests of the New Order are necessary---those who will recognize that there are no untouchables, no infidels, no aliens; that those evil of heart are the real untouchables, but that they too have to be served; that the wicked in mind are the infidels, but that they too have to be helped; that the ignorant are the aliens, but that they too have to be educated. The Gita is not only the leveller which brings rich and poor alike to the same status; it also is the awakener, the uplifter, which raises the Chandala and the Brahmana, the man and the woman, the native-born and the foreigner to power as to peace. Each one of us is Krishna-Arjuna incarnate, and we number three hundred and fifty

 

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million! If but a few would prepare themselves to lead, to teach, to inspire, soon would the day dawn when from end to end India would become, united, contented and active in service to all. May India's Rishis find among their people many chelas who will thus prepare themselves not only to gain Mukti but also to renounce its bliss in the cause of human service !

 

 

 

THE WAY OF

THE SUPERIOR MIND

 

A LECTURE DELIVERED UNDER THE AUSPICES OF THE GATHA SOCIETY AT BOMBAY ON THE FOURTEENTH OF MARCH, 1932.

 

FRIENDS,

 

The question of questions which every intelligent man ought to ask, and which every earnest soul does ask, is the very question which the holy Zarathushtra put to Ahura Mazda in the first Gatha: "What is the Path of Vohu-Mano, the Superior Mind, walking which man is recompensed with peace and power and glory? "

 

We are going to study together the Path of the Superior Mind, of Vohu-Mano, of which the Gathas sing. In doing so we must keep in mind that the right perception and correct understanding of a subject like this demands a certain breadth and depth of Vision---breadth that comes from a comparative study of religious   philosophies, and depth which results not from study only, but from reflection, from meditation, from contemplation. If the key to the Avesta and Pehlevi languages is in the Vedas, the key to the philosophy of the Gathas and the Vedas themselves is in that Universal Code of Experience which is made up of the true thoughts and the grand ideas of all those who have possessed the gift of Vohu-Mano, of the Good-mind. We find justification for such an idea in the Yasna itself. Is not a clear and pointed reference made there to ''the former religions," which are praised, religions followed by those who have "the conscience  that loves

 

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the right"? Whatever the man or the woman, one whose conscience loves the right ultimately arrives at the Universal Vision of the Divine Intelligence working at every point of space.

 

The Way of the Superior Mind brings us truths which are identical with those we find in what the Chinese Lao-Tze described as the Path of Virtue, Tao Teh. In the Bhagavad-Gita Krishna speaks of Purushottama, the Man of Supreme Virtue. In other places the same fact is defined and described differently. But just as one and the same idea can be expressed in various languages, so also it is true that one and the same idea can be explained in various ways, We all recognize that not understanding the language of another debars us from understanding him; but we do not all recognize that the non-understanding of ideas differently expressed also takes away from our appreciation not only of other people's ideas but also of our own. We all know the value (and the Gatha Society perhaps more than anyone else) of the study of languages; let us not neglect the Soul of languages, namely, the ideas, the concepts, the images, the symbols. And when we engage ourselves in the comparative study of ideas, images and symbols, we arrive at an appreciation of the whole and not only of a partial truth. So, without troubling you with perpetual citations and quotations, I shall try to put before you the results of a study of Vohu-Mano, the Superior Mind, as it is found expounded not only in the Gathas, but also in other philosophies.

 

First, it must be noted that there are numerous aspects of Vohu-Mano, the Superior Mind, not contradictory to each other, but

 

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supplementing each other. There is the aspect of Universal Intelligence, Chit or Chaitanya; there is the emanation aspect of the manifested Mind, Mahat or Maha-Buddhi; there is the human aspect, Manas or Manasaputra; there is the hierarchical aspect which the Greeks termed Logos, and by which the Amesha-Spenta aspect of Vohu-Mano . can be understood. And there are others.

 

Adopting the good old way, let me first give you the metaphysical basis, then come to the kingdom of human individuals, and finally apply the teachings to our own daily living. For each one of us must learn to walk the Way with the aid of the Superior Mind in him.

 

There are many to-day who dislike metaphysical " jargon, " as they call it. " Leave alone, " say they, "philosophical 'speculations. '" "Be practical," is their advice. But they are verily unpractical people who will act without a basis of thought; they are like quacks who prescribe medicine without any knowledge of the human body and its ailments. Study of philosophy, of universals, is necessary for working out the details of daily encounters. Study of religious philosophies, however, must not be divorced from ethical application. If we learn the truth, we must live that truth; otherwise life becomes a nightmare.

 

First then as to the metaphysical background. The entire universe, in which solar systems swim as fishes in an ocean, is a Living Universe. Life is omnipresent and ever-existent. The first, the primary, quality of Life is Intelligence, Divine Thought, called in Hindu philosophy Mahat. It is Chit, Cosmic Ideation; it is named also Maha-Buddhi,

 

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the Great Cognition. Ahura Mazda is the omnipresent, ever-existent Life, and Vohu-Mano is the co-eternal and co-eval Intelligence of Life which may be compared to and called Light---Light which radiates from the Source of All, Ahura Mazda. Life and Light, Ahura Mazda and Vohu-Mano and Vohu-Mano is the Light of the Universal Life.

 

It is said in one of the Upanishads that Atma, the Self, is in all things, but it does not shine forth equally in all things. So also, Ahura Mazda, the Divine Life, is in all men, all creatures, all things, but its Light does not shine forth equally in all beings and all things. The Light of Ahura Mazda, the Intelligence of Ishvara, is the power of perception. Life perceives itself with the Light of Intelligence; Vohu-Mano, the Divine Mind, reveals or unveils the nature and the power of Life in any given space, at any given time, The Light of Vohu-Mano, the power of perception, exists in all, in stones and dust, in plants and shrubs, in insects and birds, in reptiles and quadrupeds, as well as in men and women; but in each it marks a different stage of evolution. Our power to perceive shows what stage of progress we have reached. Divine Mind is called great and good because through its effort evolution proceeds on its upward arc and reaches its final goal. Now let us pass on from the function of Vohu-Mano as the, Maha-Buddhi, the Divine Mind in nature as a whole, to another function, connected specifically with the human kingdom. While, Life manifests intelligence everywhere, it is only in the human kingdom that it unfolds the power of reflection and of reason.

 

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Consciousness is present everywhere, but its reflective power appears only in the human kingdom. The animal-mind has not the power to name itself, to know itself, to say: "I am So and so." The animal intelligence perceives and responds to the universe, and so do vegetable and mineral intelligences, but this consciousness is not self-consciousness. We said that intelligence could be compared to light. Let us push the analogy and say that the dim candle-light of intelligence in the mineral has increased and become the oil-lamp of intelligence in the vegetable kingdom, and once again has in- creased and become electric light in the animals. The light of intelligence increases with the evolution of the lower kingdoms till the human kingdom is reached. Then a new kind of intelligence comes to birth; a new function of Mahat, a new aspect of Vohu-Mano is at work.

 

 

In the lower kingdoms Vohu-Mano enables the intelligence to grow, to gather force, to concentrate; to the human kingdom Vohu-Mano gives another boon, brings another gift. It is a triple gift, this gift of self-consciousness. By this gift Vohu-Mano introduces into the intelligence of the animal man: first, the power to know oneself as distinct and separate from others; secondly, the ability of that self-conscious intelligence, as a distinct entity, to reason, i.e., to compare and to contrast; and thirdly, the power to express in speech that reasoning. Thus human intelligence and the power of speech are intimately related to one another, and both are but aspects of Vohu-Mano, the Superior Mind. In this function

 

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students of the Hindu Puranas will recognize Vohu-Mano as the host of Manasaputras, the mind-born sons of Brahma or Viraj, who, emanated by their father, take residence in human bodies, become human souls, mix and mingle with the animal soul of the animal-man which evolution has brought to a concentration, to a saturation point.

 

In this view of the origin and genesis of man the ancient scientists part company with the modern scientists. The latter have not yet found the “missing link” between the animal and the human kingdoms, whereas that link was well known to the ancients. It is that link, which lies hidden in this particular function of Vohu-Mano, the Avesta Prometheus, the Avesta mind-born son of the Creator, Ahura Mazda. The gift of Man or Manas brings the human soul the power of choice, of free-will, of moulding his conduct, and to this power Zarathushtra appeals when he begins his grand sermon recorded in Yasna XLV .

 

We have arrived at an important concept in our study. It is this: we of the human kingdom have the power to know ourselves, to reason, and to express in words to other thinking minds our own ideas and cogitations. This faculty of self-consciousness is the characteristic of human intelligence par excellence. It is the result of the special action of the Divine Mind in the human kingdom. Man's freedom of will, man's power to choose, are man's greatest faculties. All other capacities spring from this basic faculty of volition, free-will and self-determination. And it is this free-will inherent in Man or Manas, the human thinker, which has produced the most puzzling phenomenon

 

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on earth-that of evil.

 

In the Zoroastrian philosophy we must distinguish between Angra-Mainyu and Akem-Mano. Angra-Mainyu is Matter, which has resistance and thus make's evolution possible. Its function is that of a brake. Therefore Spirit and Matter are coeval and co-eternal; they supplement each other, they complement each other. That is the highest metaphysical view of these two Spirits, and it is presented in the Gathas. It is a misnomer, philosophically speaking, to call these two "good" and "evil" ; for, to us as human 'beings, good and evil imply moral qualities virtues and vices---while as the primary pair, these two Spirits, Mainyus, are the centripetal and centrifugal forces, and one without the other is an impossibility. Spirit or Spenta-Mainyu is like the seed which cannot fructify without Angra-Mainyu or Matter, the soil. Therefore Angra-Mainyu is not our real adversary, though in later Pehlevi writings it is this aspect which is emphasized.

 

But when we come to Akem-Mano, the evil mind, ah, then we have another' story! Let us remember the distinction between these two: the one but an impersonal force in Nature, essential for manifestation and evolution; the other the personal mind in man from which proceeds what we call evil. This is an important distinction for it reveals that outside of the human kingdom there is no such thing as evil. Our only enemy is the evil mind in us.

 

Let us look at ourselves, as we are today, with a view to analyzing our various principles. 'We are human souls with freedom of choice, and we are able

 

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to name and to know ourselves, we are able to argue and to reason for ourselves, and we are able to express our ideas in words. However limited in capacity or vast in genius, each one of us possesses these powers of the human soul.

 

We find ourselves in a body of senses, of flesh and blood. In that body certain primary functions take place which it is necessary for us to understand. Take this analogy: our body is like a telegraph office at which messages are received and from which also they are sent out.

 

First we find that impressions come to us through our senses and that they are registered. These impressions produce a result. Because the, body is a vital organism the phenomenon of sensation occurs. Sensations are produced by outer impressions, because our body is a battery in which is stored vitality or life-energy. Just as we store electricity in a battery, so our body stores, for its own use and consumption, life-energy, that energy by which the body remains a living organism. When the body fails to use the energy gathered, or is unable to gather any more, death results. So all our experience of heat and cold, of light-rays, of sound-waves and so on are sensations.

 

Secondly, in the body are appetites, hunger for nourishment, hunger for companionship and so on. These appetites are another force and reside in the body; in fact, they are the cause and the maker of the body. These appetites coming in contact with outer impressions and the resulting sensations beget emotions. Emotions are psychological phenomena, as sensations are physiological phenomena. Just as we

 

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feel heat and cold because of sensation, so we feel love and hate because of emotions. In the body the power or force of appetites expresses itself in desires or emotions.

 

Thus we see that the Soul in the body contacts in a most intimate way both sensations and emotions, and in trying to use them gains knowledge, gathers experience. To protect the Soul against the dangers and to guide it through the snares pertaining to sense-life, divine Kings and Teachers lived with infant humanity, giving rules of life and of conduct. But as the Soul passes from the kindergarten classes to higher standards it asserts its individuality and begins to act on its own. Then it is that the Soul identifies itself with those sensations and emotions in the wrong way, by the incorrect method, thereby lending them its own reasoning power, and thus comes to birth the evil mind, Akem-Mano. It is not this group of sensation emotions which produces evil; in fact, both sensations and emotions, as we just said, are necessary to provide experience for the Soul. But the wrong association of the Soul with them imparts to them a reasoning power and begets the lower or evil mind, the cause of all our troubles.

 

So there are two minds in us, the inferior and the superior. The mind which identifies itself with appetites and gives them strength is the evil mind, Akem-Mano, the animal soul in us. The mind which discriminates and gives to the appetites only their rightful due, that is the Soul Mind, the Superior Mind, Vohu-Mano, also in us. The force of the animal mind is pride. the separative tendency of Ahamkara

 

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(Egotism), while that of the Good Mind is the unifying power of Compassion. Pride competes and separates; Compassion co-operates and unites. Pride begets anger and punishment; Compassion begets mercy and justice. Therefore is Vohu-Mano given the quality of protecting mercy and made to preside over the kingdom of the dumb.

 

All of us desire to get away from egotism and from anger; all of us wish to feel the peace of contentment, the power of co-operation, the uplift of compassion. But mere desire and wishing will not do. All of us suffer from weaknesses and vices. Do the Gathas show us a way out? Do they give us practical instruction? They certainly do. In a wonderful passage in the Ahunavaiti Gatha we get the answer. Listen to this quotation from Yasna xxx :---

 

When suffering falls on the sinful, then, through their own good mind, they recognize Thy sovereignty, oh ! Mazda; the Superior Mind in them gives direction to those who make Druj, the Evil, handmaiden to Ashoi, Purity; (xxx, 8. )

 

Compare this with the teaching of the Bhagavad-Gita where Krishna says that the afflicted who begin to seek Him are dear unto Him. Compare it also with the first of the Noble Truths of the Buddha, that suffering is. Everywhere it is the same teaching: Sorrow awakens the higher aspect of our mind, sorrow is the great educator and hence it has been said: "Woe to those who live without suffering!" Those who in their pride see no weakness in themselves, those who in their egotism are blind to their own suffering, for them there is no help. But when we note our suffering

 

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and trace it to some weakness within ourselves we get the light of the Superior Mind, of Vohu-Mano, and by that light we overcome our weakness and we cease to do evil.

 

But that is not enough. The Gathas, like other holy books, do not stop at negative virtue, i. e., absence of vice; they advocate, like the Gita and the Dhammapada, positive virtue. Listen to this other passage from Yasna XLVIII :---

 

The motives, words and deeds of that man are wise and pure, who keeps his own mind wise and pure, 0 Mazda; his will and his yearning is for the common good of all ; finally, he is one with the Infallible Law which is Thine. ( XLVIII, 4· )

 

Here we get the steps of the Path of the Superior Mind. Note the three stages. Wisdom and purity of mind will make our motives and words and deeds pure; that is the first. Secondly, we must wish for the common good; we must develop altruism. And thirdly, we must make ourselves a channel for the Law of Ahura Mazda, and repose ourselves in, take refuge in that Law of Ahura Mazda, that law which is the 'inherent principle of the Life of the Universe, the divine energy which we find in our own hearts.

 

Permit me one more quotation and I have done.

 

It is from Yasna XXVIII, and is a prayer or an invocation addressed by Zarathushtra to Ahura Mazda :---

 

In veneration, with upraised hands, I ask this---the beginningless spiritual joy of Mazda; the power to multiply righteous actions; the insight of Vohu-Mano, the Superior Mind; thus will I propitiate the Soul of the World. (XXVIII, 2. )

 

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Zarathushtra, the great Teacher, had a fully developed Superior Mind; in Him Vohu-Mano was fully incarnate ; and yet He invokes the help of Ahura Mazda for His own Superior Mind, His own Righteous Soul. You remember that we said that in one of its aspects Vohu-Mano was an Amesha-Spenta. For the success of His mission Zarathushtra invokes the cooperation of the Amesha-Spentas. We have no time left to study fully the nature and constitution of the Amesha-Spentas in the Zoroastrian philosophy. But please do not look upon them as individual or personal beings. Each Amesha-Spenta. including Ahura Mazda, is but a collectivity of Divine Powers, Spiritual Forces; Shaktis. To pray to them as if they were dispensers of health, wealth and happiness is to go counter to the instructions of the Gathas. Each one of us possesses the power of every Amesha-Spenta ; and by the power of the Supreme Mind or Vohu-Mano in us we can gain proximity to, and even complete unison with, Life Universal, with Wisdom Supreme. This is promised us in the Gathas.

 

What have we learnt?

 

We have learnt that within each one of us two minds are at work---the inferior whose chief quality  pride or egotism, and the Superior whose great virtue is Wisdom or Compassion. All dislikes, all hates, all fears, spring from the pride of egotism; all likes, all loves, all friendliness, spring from the Compassion of Wisdom.

 

Our motives, words and deeds, are born of our thoughts; knowledge and altruism purify and enlighten our reason, our thinking, our ideation; the illumined

 

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mind is the Superior Mind---the illumined mind is Vohu-Mano, and is one with Ahura Mazda. Knowledge about mind, Man, Soul, Urvan, Spirit, Fravershi, must be obtained. Mere belief will not save; mere pride in one's religion will not help ; knowledge and knowledge alone will save and help. There is much of make-belief and of superstition about religious matters; and we must also guard against mystification and mystery-making while we prosecute the study of the mystic element in religion.

 

Look at humanity around us; it is like the great space in which so many different places exist. What a variety of minds, evil and superior, surround us ! Let us look at them for a moment.

 

There is the gutter mind full of filth ; there is the slum mind full of poverty and of disease; the stupefied and drugged mind like an opium den; the quarrelsome mind like the liquor-shop; and the mind which is like an unswept street, full of litter, a picture of untidiness; and then there is the city mind, sharp and keen and competitive, as well as the village mind, simple and unsophisticated and clean. These places of evil and of ill-health are within us, and the city and the village are also within ourselves. We must make tidy our streets, and abolish the liquor-shops and the opium dens of our own Akem-Mano or evil mind. But let us not make it a desert mind---vast and clean but unfruitful, in which tempests are bound to arise. Let our minds be like a fair garden, a beautiful orchard, where joy is felt, where nourishment is obtained. Let our minds be like deep mines in which diamonds of purity and rubies of power, and emeralds which

 

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delight and sapphires which inspire, are to be found. Let our minds be like mountain peaks of magnificent height, from which we are able to view miles and miles of territory, peaks whose awe-inspiring beauties are perceived by men from a distance also of miles and miles.

 

Friends, such mountain peaks are Master Minds, all Sons of Vohu-Mano, all possessors of superior vision. Such Master Minds were Zarathushtra and Jesus, Lao-Tze and Confucius, Rama and Krishna, Buddha and Shankara. Let us raise our eyes and behold the glory of those majestic mountains. What a sublime and stupendous range They make! Let us praise Them by silent repetition of holy thoughts, let us bow our heads in true invocation, with confidence because of inner conviction based on knowledge, so that Their blessing may come to light our own minds, so that we too may become in the process of time possessors of the higher Wisdom and Compassion, of the Superior Mind, of Vohu-Mano.

 

 

 

THE LIGHT OF

SHEKINAH IN DAILY LIVING

 

A LECTURE DELIVERED UNDER THE AUSPICES OF THE ISRAELITE BROTHERHOOD AT BOMBAY ON THE SEVENTEENTH OF JANUARY, 1933.

 

FRIENDS,

 

It gives me indeed great pleasure to be in your midst this evening to study together with you some problems of life by the Divine Light of Shekinah, the wife, mother and daughter of Adam Kadmon, the Heavenly Man. Shekinah of your Jewish philosophy is Deva-Matri, Mother of the Gods, of the Hindus. Just as from the womb of Deva-Matri the ten Prajapatis come forth, so also from the womb of Shekinah emanate the ten Sephiroths. The Sephirothal Tree of Life has also its counterpart in Hindu Theogony. Again, both the ten Prajapatis and the ten Sephiroths are subdivided into two groups of three higher and seven lower Hierarchies. This will at once show us that we can find true correspondences between the two systems, the Hindu and the Hebrew, when we study them from a truly philosophical point of view.

 

And before we actually go to the practical application, in the daily life of man, of the teachings about Light, it is necessary that we understand the metaphysical and philosophical basis of our subject. According to the secret traditions of the Jewish philosophy the basis and the foundation of existence itself is Ain-Soph. In recent centuries this sublime conception has been anthropomorphized, and generally Ain-Soph is spoken of as the" Supreme God." But if you go to

 

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the Chaldean Kabalists you will find that Ain-Soph is "without form or beginning ... having no likeness with anything else. "Ain means no-thing, and Ain-Soph is the birth-less and deathless, beginningless and endless, unchanging and unchangeable Absolute Principle. Study if you like your own co-religionist and philosopher, Philo, who calls the Creator, Logos, the Word, and this Logos, he says, is next to the "Limitless One." I am not saying this for the sake of metaphysical erudition and to use philosophical jargon, but because I want to emphasize that a wrong notion about Ain-Soph is responsible for many crudities of custom and of belief among the modern Jews.

 

Ain-Soph, then, is the first great idea of the Hebrew philosophy---it is the basis and the foundation of existence.

 

Next consider the concept of Adam Kadmon, the Heavenly Man, the Celestial Man, the Supreme Man, the Archetypal Man. Who is this Heavenly Man? He is the vehicle of Ain-Soph; through him all manifestation proceeds. Please note that Ain-Soph is the symbol of Existence, IT IS; It never is not. Adam-Kadmon is the symbol of Evolution and Dissolution. He becomes the channel, the mediator, the vessel, the vehicle (I am purposely using these words) of Ain-Soph, thus making manifestation possible, as also bringing about the dissolution of the universe. Hence it is said that Adam-Kadmon knew and recognized Shekinah and Shekinah only.

 

Now, those of you who are familiar with your prevailing religious traditions will notice that I have cut right across the orthodox explanations and common

 

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beliefs. I am one of those who firmly believe that in the ancient Hebrew tradition there are mighty and profound truths which, once understood, will deliver the Jewish community from superstitions and purify it, not only to its own betterment but to that of its work also.

 

The Jewish people everywhere are facing a dual problem: the problem of orthodoxy and of heterodoxy. Those of you who have become blind slaves to the synagogue-tradition are like parrots locked up in cages. Some of your people are immensely wealthy---well, they are like Zanzibar parrots, very gorgeous, and they are locked up in cages of gold; the poor among the orthodox are like common or garden parrots locked up behind iron bars. But locked up in gold, or locked up in iron, or locked up in tin---the orthodox are certainly locked up; and unless they escape the enslavement of superstition and blind dogmatism they are sure to produce the death of their ancient .and profound philosophy. The second class, those who are not orthodox but who are rank materialists, deniers of the reality of the Soul, are like crows, free indeed, yes, for nobody wants to waste a cage on a crow! But leaving wholesome food aside they go to the dust-bin of materialism and atheism! The community divided between these two types is endangered.

 

How can you save your religion from both orthodoxy and heterodoxy? By knowledge, by study. The orthodox believe, the heterodox do not believe; but neither study with the right aim and for a correct purpose. Religion ought to set a man free, not encage him.

 

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Your religious creed has not set you free; your religious philosophy can give you that true freedom. For do not believe that those who have become materialists are really free; licence is not freedom, and no true freedom is possible without the recognition of the Soul. And the Soul is above the fetters of narrow dogmatism, and of orthodox belief.

 

Historians and sociologists have praised your communal brotherhood, and rightly so, but they have not pointed out to you the grave danger of communal brotherhood when that brotherhood becomes exclusive and sectarian. What is the whole world suffering from to-day? Not from gross wickedness but from partially practised brotherliness! There is the brotherhood of the Jews, the brotherhood of the Parsis, the brotherhood of the Muslims, the brotherhood of the Hindus, but each group thus united by brotherhood fights against and becomes most unbrotherly towards all other similar groups likewise united within their own community. Robbers unite to rob, gangsters. unite to hold up, politicians unite to make wars, and in the religious sphere rabbis unite, but so do the mobeds of the Parsis, and the maulanas of the Muslims. A greater conception of Brotherhood can the Jewish people set before the world if they will study their traditions and their religion by the aid of other religious philosophies. And please do not think I say this out of mere idealism. No, the basis for what I am saying is in your own religion.

 

The ideal of Universal Brotherhood is not foreign to your own traditions, and again and again it has been perceived and preached within your ranks.

 

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Some of the Jewish Fathers, as for example Simon ben Azzai, have declared that "the greatest principle of Judaism is the belief in the common brotherhood of all mankind." But, alas, how many among the modern Jews know this, how many care to read and to study the sayings of their own Fathers? So study becomes necessary, and of all studies comparative study of the various religions is the best calculated to free you from the curse of superiority complexes, for you will learn that Ain-Soph is the foundation of other edifices as well as of the Jewish synagogues, that Adam-Kadmon is the Father of other peoples as well as of the Jews, that Shekinah, the Divine Light, shines in other homes as well as in Jewish homes.

 

And for you who are sons and daughters of India it is but natural that you should study your own religion in the light of the Hindu philosophy. You will then find that Ain-Soph corresponds exactly to the Parabrahman of the Hindus, and the Absolute in modern philosophy. Study the nature of Ain-Soph by the aid of the Upanishads and you will see what a wonderful picture, what a grandiose concept of Ain-Soph will arise. Then, Adam-Kadmon, whom Philo named the Logos, the Word, is none else but the Shabda-Brahman of the Hindus, the "Word made flesh" of the Christians, Uttama-Purusha, the Supreme Man, the Ancient of Days of the Bhagavad-Gita. And the third, Shekinah, the Light, is Shakti, the power which creates, the Veil of Parabrahman, the Maha Maya, the Great Power, which hides as well as reveals. Many are the aspects of Shekinah. She is the Light of Speech, as Vach is the Light of Speech among the Hindus. Again,

 

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Shekinah is the Light of Grace, as Gayatri is among the Hindus. It is this supreme spiritual Light that we want to study together, and we must do so with an eye to finding the practical applications to our daily living.

 

Therefore we must pass from the Macrocosm, the Universe, to the microcosm, Man. Apply this triplicity of cosmic principles to each man or woman in his or her divine nature. In each one of us is the Spirit, which is called the Crown, Kether, because it makes every human Soul a King. It is the Crown which raises mortal beggars to the state of immortal royalty. Kether, the spirit, corresponds to Ain-Soph and, like Ain-Soph, it is beginningless and endless, birth-less and deathless; it ever was, it now exists, it ever and ever shall be; for it the hour never, never strikes. Therefore it is said that Kether, the Crown, does not change its name; it is always the "Long Face," and the "Ancient of Days." Then, in each one of us there is Chokmah, Wisdom, and that corresponds with Adam-Kadmon, the Heavenly Man, in the universe. When by the power of his inherent Wisdom, Chokmah, man becomes wise, becomes enlightened, then he becomes the Heavenly Man. Adam is transformed into Adam-Kadmon, the terrestrial has become the Celestial. Lastly, in each one of us there is Binah---Understanding, and it represents in man Shekinah, the Light of the Universe. It is by the Light of Binah that we find our own Innate Wisdom or Chokmah, and we attain Immortality by the aid of our own Kingly Soul, Kether. Man is the microcosm, and is but a miniature copy of the Macrocosm, the Great

 

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Universe. The Light of Shekinah is not outside of us but within our own minds, Binah; the Wisdom of Adam-Kadmon is not outside of us but is within our own hearts, Chokmah; the Existence of Royal Freedom belonging to Ain-Soph, beyond light and darkness, beyond birth and death, is not outside of us but is within our own Mind and Heart who wear the Crown, Kether, by self-effort. Now note for a moment the corresponding terms in Sanskrit: Kether is the Human Spirit, Atma; Chokmah, Wisdom, is the vehicle of that Spirit, called in Hindu terminology Buddhi; Binah is the Thinker, the Human Mind-Soul, called Manas by the Hindus. Each man, each woman, in the highest aspect is triune---Atma, Buddhi, Manas; or Spirit, Wisdom, Understanding; i.e., Kether, Chokmah, Binah.

 

So you see what is implied in the title of our lecture---the Light of Shekinah is the Light of the Human Soul or Binah. It is that Light by which all human Souls see and understand and act; we cannot live as Souls without that Light, however dim. That Divine Light is in all beings, but in all it does not shine forth. Shekinah is also one of the names of the Kingdom, the Kingdom of God or of the Spirit, the Kingdom of Light or Nirvana. Where is that Spiritual Kingdom to be established? On earth, Malkuth. Human Souls living and labouring on earth, utilizing the Light of Shekinah, must transform this earth of sin and sorrow into Malkuth, the Kingdom of Light and of Righteousness. Those and those only who sincerely, fearlessly and persistently labour by the Light of Binah Shekinah are the chosen of God. Are the Jews the

 

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only Chosen People? Who are the true Chosen Ones? Not those who merely run to the synagogues, but those who in their own lives live by the Light of Shekinah, who in their bodies raise the Tabernacle, who by their hands build the Temple of Solomon. They are the Kings of the World; they are the Chosen of God. The Kingdom must be taken by violence, i.e., must be attained by self-effort. This is beautifully expressed in Psalm xv:---

 

Lord, who shall sojourn in Thy tabernacle?

Who shall dwell upon Thy holy mountain?

He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness,
And speaketh truth in his heart;

That hath no slander upon his tongue,
Nor doeth evil to his fellow,

Nor taketh up a reproach against his neighbour.

 

And again in Psalm XXIV, it is said, "He that hath clean hands and a pure heart." Please note, no mention is made of outer rituals. It is not said that those who follow this or that orthodox custom will sojourn in the Lord's Tabernacle. No, only spiritual and inner qualifications are referred to, virtue and purity, truthfulness and unselfishness, these are the keys which will open the gate of the Kingdom.

 

Alas, most men and women are ousted from that Kingdom. And who has ousted them? They themselves. Ordinary men and women who live not by the light of the Soul, but by the light of the senses, are named by the Kabalists " Wanderers." It is said in the Kabalah that "whirling of the Soul" takes

 

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place, and that the Soul wanders and can find no rest until it reaches Palestine, the Promised Land---not some geographical locality, but the condition of Spiritual Enlightenment. This  “whirling of the Soul," or Gilgoolem, is not understood by most Jewish people to-day. Gilgoolem, whirling, is the cycle of human reincarnation, the cycle of necessity. As long as man does not know himself as Binah, as long as he does not see and live by the Light of Soul, the Divine Light of Shekinah, so long is he an exile from the Kingdom, he is a Wandering Jew, he is an outcast from the Promised Land, the real and spiritual Palestine.

 

What prevents men and women from living by the Light of the Soul? Do they not want to know? Do they not want to learn? They do. But there are false lights which cast strange shadows, and cause immense glamour, and men and women go whirling, and whirling, and whirling, chasing shades and shadows and shells, all empty of Reality, empty of Truth, empty of Spirit. Man is not ignorant of wickedness; man does not suffer from total absence of Light; he suffers from the prevalence of false lights. How many false lights surround us! There is the false light of the wrong customs and conventions which every child learns at home. There is the false light of materialistic education---from the primary school to the post-graduate course. There is the false light of religious, sectarian and dogmatic creeds---the mosque against the temple, the synagogue against the church. There is the false light of communal pride and of national greed. There is the false light of

 

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business competition and of individual success. And above all there is the false light of human pride, of human egotism, of stupid exclusiveness.

 

Get this idea very clearly and please think about it: humanity and human beings do not suffer from crass wickedness, but from misplaced loyalties. Man, to be loyal to his own religion, becomes disloyal to his brother-man; to be loyal to his community and to its customs and prejudices, he becomes narrow, dogmatic and sectarian; to be loyal to his country he goes to shed the blood of his fellows of another country. Everywhere we find disunion, strife and divisions among men in the name of religion, of loyalty and of patriotism! And all this hatred, all this unbrotherliness and enmity, will not cannot vanish as long as the Light of Soul, the Light of Binah, the Human Mind, is not recognized and utilized.

 

Binah is translated "understanding." And it is a good subject for contemplation. An injunction is found in Psalm XLIX which bears on this very point:

 

"My mouth shall speak wisdom, and the meditation of my heart shall be understanding." True meditation is from the heart, and it brings understanding to the mind, and then only our words become wise. All of us as human beings are called upon to understand, not only with the mind, but with both mind and heart, all the phenomena of life, all customs and manners and beliefs, all that is said and done, and above all to understand ourselves. But do we? How many among us live by the light of understanding? Just think of it, friends! You get up in the morning after a night's sleep---do you understand what has happened? Do

 

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you know what sleep and waking are, and how to make use of them? Then, if you are orthodox you will say your prayers---do you understand what you pray, or why or how or to whom? And if you are not orthodox, if you are a modern man called civilized, you do not say any prayers, but instead you read your newspaper---and do you understand what you read? No, you accept what is in your favourite paper because it is in print, without investigation, without thought and without any real understanding. Then men go to office; they say to earn their bread---is it so? Sometimes it would seem as if they went to earn not bread, but very expensive sweetmeats! Do they understand what money is, and how it should be used, or how greedy they themselves become, and why? Do they remember Psalm LXII with its wise advice, "If riches increase, set not your heart thereon"? Alas, ethics are out of fashion, and people have made of their religion a mere outer form.

 

True religion is a matter of daily life. Take, for instance, women who do not go to office, but remain at home and preside over the kingdom of the kitchen. Where is their understanding? Do they understand the values of rice and vegetables, and why meats are poisonous and certain vegetables unhealthful? Do they understand their children as "Souls? Do they understand how to make their own homes true centres of Light and of Peace ? No, they do not! Where is the Light of Binah or Understanding? Absent! I am not even referring to the higher aspect of Chokmah or Wisdom. For how can people be wise when they do not possess even understanding, when they do

 

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not think it necessary to use their own minds, .and to act intelligently as thinking beings? The Light of Wisdom will only become manifest when men turn away from the shadows and deceptive lights of the senses, and try to live by the Light of Understanding.

 

Now, there are four departments in which all our life activities can be classed; thoughts, feelings, words and deeds. We think, we feel, we speak and we act, and in thus thinking, feeling; speaking and acting, we whirl, we go round and round, we are imprisoned in the circle of Gilgoolem, we are born and we die, and we are born again. 'What is the remedy? We must apply to this fourfold activity of each one of us the doctrine that the Light of Understanding should be used. Let us see how this can be done; we shall begin with our thoughts.

 

All people think; yet most people know not the power and the influence of thought. What do most people think about? Petty affairs of personal life. How many try to carry in their heads some noble thought as they walk the streets of Bombay? Are not most heads, alas, vacant or full of trivial thoughts which do not help in the understanding and the solving of the problems of life? What should be done? Study---study your own great scriptures, and in doing so try to understand them as applicable not only to the Jews but also to the Gentiles, not only to the Hebrews but also to the heathen. Religious books---deal with the Soul, and the Soul is the reality for all men and all women, without distinction of caste or creed. If you have some noble Soul-idea on which to think you will save yourself a lot of trouble. That

 

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is the first thing, the light of ideas and thoughts. Learn to feed your mind each day by reading and study, as you feed the body.

 

Next, our feelings. What are our feelings? For most men and women humanity is merely a word. People feel love and affection for their own kin and friends; but even there, if that love is not responded to, disappointment, irritation and anger result. If our thoughts are petty, our feelings are personal. We do not love; for the sake of love, but to get something in return. What is the remedy? To develop the quality of justice which is true mercy. Just people who are not merciful become harsh; merciful people who are not just become sentimental. The one without the other will not do. Justice and mercy must go together, for they are but two aspects of true Love, of Love which is impersonal. Think of justice to others and to yourself, and your love will become purified of its selfish element and be more and more impersonal.

 

Then consider speech. How to radiate the light of speech? What kind of words do we generally utter? Do our words illuminate the minds of others? Do they inspire the hearts of others? What a waste of force and energy takes place through small talk, smart talk, shop talk! Idle talk soon becomes gossip, and gossip soon degenerates into backbiting. What shall we do? Two things: learn to practise silence every morning, and try not to speak idle words during the day. That is the first daily observance---silence; second, memorize one or two good sayings every morning, and use those good sayings in

 

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your conversation during the day. Try to remember apt and apposite teachings of true philosophy, of true wisdom, so that your speech may help others, may enlighten their minds and energize their hearts.

 

Action is the fourth factor to be considered, "Depart from evil, and do good," is the injunction of all the Great Ones, and your Psalms contain the identical saying. All of us are actors, all of us have to labour, have to do deeds. We do many unnecessary things; and it is essential that we chase out of our lives all that is not essential, not necessary. Ask yourselves each time you want to do something if it is necessary and essential that you should do it. Duties have to be fulfilled, and cannot be abandoned, but duties are those actions which must be performed because they are necessary to be done. Because men and women indulge in all kinds of actions which are not necessary, they fail in the right performance of duties. So the first step is to eliminate all unnecessary actions. Secondly, we must learn to link up all actions, all duties, to their archetypal source. When our duties are linked up with great spiritual verities they become sacramental. Make each act of yours a sacrifice in the spiritual sense. You open your eyes in the morning---it is a sacrament, a holy act; you close them---that too is sacrificial. The bath is a sacrifice, eating is a sacrifice, learning and teaching are a sacrifice, giving alms and receiving charity are a sacrifice. Make every act a channel for remembering that you are a Soul, a regal person, wearing the Crown of Life, Kether.

 

We have seen how it is possible to reflect the Divine

 

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Light, the Light of Shekinah, in our daily lives, as we think and feel, as we speak and act. That Light can be made to illuminate the mind, the feelings, the power of speech, and the power to act---can radiate its divine influence. Yes, when the Light of Shekinah has been lit up within and is brightly burning it will show itself through the channel of the mind in universality, through that of the feeling---nature in impersonality, through that of speech as inspiration, through that of action as sacrifice. It is the pure flame which will bring universality, impersonality, inspiration and thus make of life a joyful sacrifice wherein every act will be an act of worship, a true sacrament.

 

Begin this fourfold effort, consciously and deliberately, and you will know---not only believe---that Shekinah, the Divine Light, exists. And persevering you will know and not only believe that Adam-Kadmon, the Heavenly Man, exists. And by the aid of Those Great Immortal Ones symbolized by Adam-Kadmon, you will pass on from death to Immortality, from the unreal world to the Reality of Ain-Soph.

 

How grand is life; how petty we make it! The imagery and the conception of the Chosen People is correct, but neither the Jews nor any other community are "Chosen," The Deathless Race of immortals are the Chosen of Ain-Soph: Those who live by the Light of Shekinah, Those who serve and sacrifice with the aid of that Light. Their minds possess true Wisdom which is universal. Their Hearts reflect true Love which is both just and merciful, which is Impersonal Compassion; and Their lives are dedicated to the self-sacrificing Service of others. May we all touch the

 

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Grace and Power of the Divine Mother, Shekinah. Wisdom, present everywhere and at all times.

 

 

THE TEMPLE OFSOLOMON

 

A LECTURE DELIVERED UNDER THE AUSPICES OF THE ISRAELITE BROTHERHOOD AT BOMBAY ON THE FIFTH OF FEBRUARY, 1936.

 

 

Friends,

 

It is a pleasure to be in your midst once again and to speak for a second time for your Association. When your secretary, Mr. Ezekiel, asked me to speak for you, he also suggested that I should choose as my subject "The Temple of Solomon." And so here I am, and to begin with, it is necessary to say a word on the treatment of that fine topic.

 

For the study of our subject the first thing to learn is that Truth and Wisdom are free, are the common property of all men who are sincere and pure, and that all who study and live the life of the Soul can acquire Wisdom. Truth and Wisdom are universal, not the special property or possession of anyone people, of anyone race, of anyone religion. All religious philosophies, all scientific religions, unite at their source, which is one, common and universal. The same principles of philosophy, the same facts of science, the same experiences of religion, are to be found in every era of our long, very long, human history. That is one great fact which you will kindly bear in mind while you are listening to the lecture this evening. Secondly, because the same universal truths are to be found at the core and the heart of every great philosophy, these truths are explained in different languages and in different ways. Just as

 

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behind the same word in the different languages one common idea is to be found, so also behind the many different expressions of the same religious truths a common meaning is to be found. Take an example: the word Mother: the English word conveys an idea, and we know who and what a Mother is; but the same feelings and ideas are conveyed to us by the French Mere or the Spanish Madre or the Sanskrit Mata. So these two facts or, to be more accurate, this twofold fact, we must remember. The teaching about the Temple of Solomon is a universal teaching, to be found not only in the Old Testament and in the Rituals of the Freemasons, but also in other texts of religion, of philosophy and of the science of the Soul. Secondly, to understand the meaning of the Temple of Solomon we must possess the key which will open for us its true beauty, its real significance.

 

Thus, then, the teaching about the Temple of Solomon is universal and not only Judaic. It conveys a mighty truth which is of practical value, and like all genuine spiritual verities it breaks the bondage of caste, creed and community, and sets us free to breathe the invigorating air of cosmopolitan altitudes.

 

And with this fundamental idea in mind, let us begin. It is not necessary for us to examine in a scholarly way if the wise King Solomon ever lived, or, if he lived, whether he built the Temple of Temples. Nor do we wish to discuss why, if he was so wise and pious and holy as to have recorded his knowledge and experience in the Proverbs, and to have been favoured of the God of his royal father David, did he err with women, so that he had many, many wives

 

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and more concubines! We shall leave the learned scholars to settle all these disputed points. Archaeology, geography and history have their own problems and they are interesting subjects to study, no doubt, but we shall not deal with them here. We shall turn instead to the underlying spiritual significance of the verities which the Temple of Solomon, studied as a symbol, conveys. Of high practical value is this question: what did the writers and the recorders who described in such detail the Temple and its erection try to tell us? Again, what do the Freemasons even to-day try to do when they enact the Rite of the Widow's Son, Hiram Abif, who played such an important part in the building of the Temple? Neither the orthodox Hebrews nor the ordinary Freemasons can tell us much about it. We shall try to put before you, in as simple a way as possible, the meaning of the Great Myth of the Temple of Solomon: what, as a symbol, the Temple stands for. And please remember that mythology is truer than history. Mythology is of the Soul---history is of the body. Round the physical life---events of great Teachers and Kings, legends arise, it is said. The legend of Solomon belongs to mythology. This does not mean that his life-story is all false, all but a fiction, a mere fairy-tale. No, for legends and myths are forms of Soul-history, and this history of the Soul is more real than the history of the body. That is why we are going to leave aside the outer history of the physical side, and confine ourselves to the inner or Soul aspect.

 

Once this is understood, if we go to the Old Testament we come

 

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across this description which no longer seems strange. You will find it in The First Book of Kings, VI, 7 :---

 

When it was in building, [it was built of stone made ready before it was brought thither: so that there was neither hammer nor ax nor any tool of iron heard in the house, while it was in building.

 

Now, any architect, any carpenter, any mason will tell you that not even a hovel or a hut can be built without sound and noise! How is it possible then that so great and wonderful a Temple was erected without noise, and in absolute silence? This particular description belongs to the language of symbol and metaphor.

 

This allegorical language is deliberately used, first because the old world generally used symbols and metaphors; and secondly, because the spiritual Instructors, Sages, Saints and Poets purposely wrote in such symbols and metaphors so that the man in the street and the scholar in the academy would understand their teachings, each in his own way, each according to his own Soul development. The Temple of Solomon is such an allegorical teaching.

 

Take another example, also from the Old Testament.

 

Head chapters XL to XLIV of Ezekiel, the Prophet of wonderful visions. There he describes his own vision of a Temple in Heaven itself. Or turn from the Old to the New Testament. In the Gospel according to John there are strange words put in the mouth of Jesus. It is interesting to note how on one occasion Jesus spoke, attacking the desecration of the Temple

 

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by the orthodox priests, and they became very angry, and the crowds were swayed and Jesus said:---

 

Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.
Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple
in building, and wilt thou rear it up in three days?

 

But he spake of the temple of his body.

( St. John II, 19-21 )

 

Add to the Vision of Ezekiel and to these words of Jesus, the statement of another great Jew, St. Paul. In his First Epistle to the Corinthians (VI, 19) he asks: " What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost?" These quotations---and there are many others---all show that the Temple as a symbol was a familiar figure of speech among the people of Judaea.

 

This symbol of the Temple was also used in other ancient civilizations. In Persian tradition, and also in India, we come across the Temple in relation to the body, and the erection of this Temple is made to symbolize the evolution of the human body. But it is not the symbol of the whole and entire circle of evolution; it represents one particular curve of that large circle. Let us understand this.

 

The whole of the human kingdom may be divided into two classes of people: there is the large majority of people who live a humdrum existence, without understanding the meaning and purpose of life, who drift like straws on the surface of water, who believe in this and believe in that, without enquiry, without questioning. They enjoy and they suffer, they laugh and they weep, they obtain money and then they

 

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lose it, and going "about it and about" they pass on to death. Such people do not perform their duty as men, for they do not use their reason, and they live as animals live---in their feelings and desires and act according to their instincts and impulses. Then, there is the second class---a small division of the human kingdom. They are the men and women who have determined to use their reason, to seek and to know for themselves the meaning and the purpose of life. They do not live by blind belief and blind faith, but instead they make use of their reasoning faculty. Obtaining knowledge about life, mind, Soul and Spirit, they take their evolution into their own hands, they direct their own lives. Look around and see how many people there are who live without an objective, without any goal in life; but you will find some, however few, who determine for themselves their course of life, and carve out their own destiny. The whole circle of human evolution is thus divided into two---one part is represented by the first class of people, and the second part is represented by those who have taken their evolution into their own hands.

 

It is the second class which in symbolical and allegorical language are said to be building the Temple of Solomon. The first large class, the majority of people, are not building any Temple---they are building hovels and huts and houses: they are the poor in Spirit and the sick in Soul, though they be millionaires respected by the world or strong-bodied people full of physical health. Those who use their own reason, those who are trying to master their own fate and destiny, they and they alone, are building the Temple

 

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of the Soul. How pregnant the "Song of Solomon" becomes when interpreted correctly! "Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it." (Psalms CXXVII )

 

So the Temple is the body, and the builder of that Temple is the Soul. That is why in the building of that Temple no tools are required, and no noise of hammer or chisel is heard. Now note the three factors. First, there is the Soul, and every Soul is a potential Solomon, a potential Wise Ruler. Every Soul is not wise now and here, alas, no! but every Soul can grow and become wise like King Solomon. Secondly, all of us as Souls, at our present stage of evolution, are living in some kind of a building. Just as a rich man lives in a palace and a poor man lives in a chawl, so also every Soul lives in some kind of a body. Poor Souls live in unevolved bodies, bodies which are gross, insensitive, coarse-fibred; sick Souls live in bodies with bad habits and of low tendencies; ordinary good Souls live in good, clean and healthy bodies; and so on. So each one of us, now and here, is a Soul living in a body. Soul and body are two factors; what is the third? The power and the faculty of changing and transforming that house into better living quarters for the Soul. Take an example---a man lives in his own small ordinary bungalow; then he becomes rich; he desires to repair and to renovate that bungalow, to make it more comfortable and more beautiful; and he does so because he now possesses money and can afford to pay the bills of the architects and the masons. So also when a human being through suffering and experience grows and

 

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learns that real virtue is of the Soul, that real happiness is in the Soul, he seeks knowledge of Soul Science, so that he can repair and renovate his dwelling-place and make it a fit place for a divine Soul to live in. The Great Architects and the Great Builders are the Prophets and the Patriarchs, and They offer him the knowledge of how to build. But in spiritual things a man himself has to work; he cannot hire his labour for money. He must become his own repairer and his own builder. This knowledge of building the Temple is the third factor.

 

All of us are Souls dwelling in bodies, and we must acquire the art and the knowledge of repairing, nay, of completely renovating our body, so that it shall become pure and holy-a wonderful Temple for a wise Solomon. This labour of renovating or of resurrecting our body takes time, and therefore the human Soul has to go through many lives on earth. Reincarnation is the Hebrew Kabalistic doctrine of Gilgoolem---the Whirling of Souls. Each one of us, according to his actions and endeavours in many previous lives, finds himself or herself in the present state. Sometimes in a male body and at other times in a female body; sometimes in a rich condition, at other times in poverty; in one life as a Jew, in another life as a Gentile; in one life as a Hindu, in another life as a Muslim; but through each life the Soul learns and evolves. Each one enjoys and suffers, misses many opportunities, embraces a few, but at long last he comes to a clear perception that the real life of the Soul does not depend upon his outer circumstances, on his race or religion, on his creed or country, but

 

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fundamentally on his own efforts, his own exertions. Then it is that he is preparing himself to become one of the Chosen People.

 

This doctrine about the Chosen People must be understood. Most Jews misunderstand it. Just as they have forgotten and do not truly understand their doctrine of Gilgoolem, so also they have an entirely wrong conception about the meaning of the expression, "the Chosen People." Let us think calmly and dispassionately for a moment: the Jews claim that they are the chosen of God, but our Muslim brethren also make a similar claim---there is no God but one God, Allah, and Muhammad is His Prophet; those who are not Muslims are kafirs or infidels. Turn to Christians---what do they say? Jesus is the only begotten Son of God, and those who are not Christians are heathen, and beyond the pale; some Parsis also have a similar foolish notion; to them birth in a Zoroastrian body means perfection of the Soul! And among the Hindus we have the Brahmanas---ah ! they too are very proud, they belong to the highest caste. And what are Jews and Muslims and Christians to them? Mlechchas!

 

See how absurd all this is for a thinking, reasoning man ! Yet behind this arrogant superstition of almost every race and religion there is a truth; what is that truth? Truly and really speaking who are the Chosen People? The Chosen People are those Souls who have determined to guide their own lives by the use of their own reason; who have resolved to let superstitions go, to question every habit and custom of their lives, and who seek aid and guidance from the

 

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Soul within their own hearts. Such persons may be Jews or Gentiles, Christians or heathens, men or women, rich or poor, young or old, those distinctions and differences matter not; in them the Soul has made a resolve and that Soul has thus become "Chosen of God." Therefore you must not look upon yourselves as being Chosen Ones simply because you are Jews in this life, that is, wearing Jewish bodies. You know as well as I do that there are bad and wicked Jews, immoral Jews, evil Jews, just as there are bad and wicked and immoral men and women in all other communities---how could such Jews be the Chosen of God? Of course they are not.

 

How shall we know if we are the Chosen Ones?

 

This is very easy. Each one of us must ask himself whether he has in him any streak of the six and seven things hateful to the Lord. What are they? Go to Proverbs, chapter VI, verses 16 to 19, and see for yourselves what these things are :---

 

These six things doth the Lord hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him:

 

A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief,

 

A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.

 

Pride, falsehood, cruelty, wicked thinking, mischief making, bearing false witness and sowing of discord---could anything be clearer? To abstain from these seven sins is the Lord's commandment, and that commandment must be a lamp unto each one of us.

 

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Of what avail can it be merely to wear a Jewish body, or to observe outwardly Jewish rites, if the mind and the heart are not free from these impurities? Your Hebrew Prophets and Patriarchs who taught the real doctrine of the chosen People are not carefully studied by you. You must study your own scriptures and also your mystical books---the Zohar and the Kabalah, and then you will understand.

 

In the entire human kingdom the process of evolution brings a man to enter the race of the Chosen People, by seeking Soul-knowledge, and with its aid beginning the task of erecting the Temple of Solomon. Among the Hindus there are seven-storied and nine-storied temples and these stories symbolize the degree of knowledge acquired. Wherever Pure Magic and the Wisdom Religion are studied, their practitioners and students are known as Builders for they build the Temple of Knowledge and of Secret Science. There are two classes of Builders: speculative and operative. In Freemasonry they use these terms also, but not quite correctly, for Masons as well as Jews have lost the real knowledge of how to build the Temple. When students study theory they are called Speculative Builders, but when they begin to practise the art in their daily lives, and to exemplify in works their control over Nature and Nature's forces then they are called Operative Builders.

 

Here we get the instruction as to where to begin: we must begin with theory, we must study before we practise, and the first step is to recognize that the Soul is neither Jew nor Hindu, neither male nor

 

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female; that the Soul is not dependent on the mosque or the synagogue; that the Soul itself contains the powers which when evolved will make it wise like Solomon, and ruler over the kingdom of body and senses, of brain and mind. Without taking this first step you cannot pass from the kingdom of the dead to the Kingdom of the Quick and the Living. So each one of us, whatever his race or religion, must aspire, and then endeavour, to become one of the Chosen People.

 

Thus, theoretical study is the first step, and practice is the second. For if we desire to be the Chosen of God we must become the actual builders of the Temple. What substances and what qualities shall we need for our task? What are the requirements for building a Temple?

 

First, we shall need pure material, durable material, beautiful and elegant material. We are building a Temple---not even a Palace for a King, but a Temple for God, the Real Man, the Soul within us. Secondly, we shall need the correct measurements and proportions of the various parts of the Temple, that is, we must work not only on the body, but also on thought, will and feeling. This Temple of the Soul must not be lopsided but a well-proportioned building. And thirdly we shall need industry and perseverance to go on with our task till the Temple is completed and the God within us finds it a worthy residence.

 

Turn first to the necessary material. We shall need food for our body, for our mind, for our heart. These are the three great constituents of Man---body, mind and heart---and pure and clean, healthful and nourishing food for these three parts of the Temple

 

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must be garnered. By the food we eat and by what we drink we cleanse or taint the body, we increase or spoil its health; and what is true of the body is also true of the mind and the heart. All of us know what food for the body means; but most people do not even know that the mind and the heart require food. Study and reading are the food for the mind; without these the mind is starved and ultimately perishes. So we must cultivate the habit of reading and studying. Right in this building you have a reading-room and a library available to you. How many among you visit them and make use of the books that are there? Mental lethargy and passivity are terrible faults. Awaken your minds, and learn to feed them that they may grow in strength and vigour. And likewise feed the heart.

 

What is the food for the heart? Loving deeds and good and thoughtful actions; not only good actions, but good and thoughtful actions. This kind of food we eat, the quantity we eat, are both important for the body; the kind of books we read and the understanding of their contents are important for the mind; the kind of actions we perform--day by day, hour by hour---with our hands or with our tongue, are important for our heart.

 

Turn to the question of proportions: in the Temple the Holy of Holies is the most important chamber and in the Temple of the Soul, the heart is the Holy of Holies. We must learn to retire within our own heart. Meditation is essential to unfold the heart energy. And we must begin to recognize our duties and our deeds as outer works for the glory of the Soul

 

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within. Actions should be the direct and visible expression of the Soul or Heart energy. Our words and our deeds are often mistaken, and our duties confuse us, because we have not been taught the value and importance of the Holy of Holies. Next to the heart, our mind is important. It is the uncultivated mind which causes disease of the heart. Because we do not study and think, because we do not read and reflect, our heart fails to guide our actions, ceases to give us help in the performance of our duties. So every day we must read and study the science of building the Temple of the Soul, and we must make a strong effort to practise the art of deliberately doing good and thoughtful deeds.

 

Thirdly, this task is going to take a long time, but there is no need for impatience or discouragement, for we shall succeed if we keep steadfastly at our undertaking. Industry and perseverance win, ever and always.

 

So begin with the mind, and study and learn, and thus you will be speculative builders; next, turn to the heart, apply that which you have learnt, and become operative builders. And if you build day by day you will soon witness that the Holy of Holies is not an empty place; you will feel that there a Real God with a Potent Voice abides.

 

The Holy of Holies is the seat of wisdom and of virtue; mind is the Magic Wand of the Soul who is wise and virtuous; and when these two come into power, our words become true and good, our deeds become acts of loving sacrifice. The Wise King Solomon has given us in his own life a model and a

 

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pattern, and if we try to follow his great example, we too shall build our own Soul's Temple full of light to dispel the darkness of others, full of beauty to make the life of others beautiful, full of sacrifices to reveal that in sacrifice is real happiness, real joy. That is the meaning and that is the message of the Temple of King Solomon, the Wise Ruler, the Great Man of Israel.

 

 

THE DAY OF THE

ENLIGHTENED ONE

 

PRESIDENTIAL ADDRESS DELIVERED UNDER THE AUSPICES OF THE BUDDHA SOCIETY AT THE ANANDA VIHARA, BOMBAY, ON BUDDHA JAYANTI, THE TWENTY-FIRST OF MAY, 1932.

 

FRIENDS,

 

We have gathered here this afternoon for a solemn and a sacred purpose. Taking advantage of the Law of Cycles, or of Periodicity, we can and should use this festival which, bears a triple significance connected with the glorious mission of Gautama, the Buddha. It is certainly appropriate that our "Buddha Society" this year has set apart three days for the celebration  of the triple festival, and for that all of us must offer our thanks to the parent and friend of the Society, Dr. A. L. Nair.

 

It is unnecessary to detail the story of the festival with which all of you are familiar. Let us immediately proceed to bring our minds to dwell upon the beneficent ideas which the Enlightened One put into motion some 2500 years ago; and as we do that we shall kindle in our hearts the Tathagata Light, and thus we shall attract His ever vigilant attention, and draw upon ourselves His ever living compassion. In the dark stillness of the night the mountaineer's attention is drawn to some little light in the valley below; so it is with our Lord and His true Disciples. He and His Bodhisattvas, looking down from Their lofty peaks of evolution on our world steeped in the darkness of ignorance and of selfishness, see a little light here or there,

 

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the Light of Pure Devotion, of Unselfish Effort, of Dauntless Courage to know the truth; and seeing that Light, Those Compassionate Ones make a response. How shall we obtain that blessing? Let us lay aside our petty cares and sorrows, our little joys and pleasures, and at least for an hour raise our consciousness to that other World and there try to inhale the fragrance of great moving ideas, such ideas as belong to the Land of the Buddhas, the Enlightened Ones. Beneficent as such an exercise would be in ordinary times, even more so will it be during these days when our city is suffering from the effects of carnage, of anger. *

 

The most prominent factor, the idea which energized the Buddha to the greatest extent, the ideal which touched the very core of His heart was the removal of sorrow and suffering from this world. His Birth was a sacrifice and His Death a sacrifice also; for are we not taught that when He put away his corpus and donned the glorious Nirmanakaya Robe, He resolved to watch over suffering mankind? His profound compassion was ever devising methods of renunciation---of His palace and throne; of His Queen and son---and, when the time came, of His hard won peace of Nirvana itself! And so it is but right that we who love and admire and revere this Man among men should think of our sorrow-laden, suffering world. Has the Message of the great Lord anything to offer to our twentieth-century civilization? He solved the problem of suffering. Can that solution be of any aid to our world of to-day---machine---mad, sense-mad,

 

* These were caused by riots between Hindus and Muslims.

 

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sex-mad? And, among countries, has that Message any special teaching for this land of India---the land of His birth, the land of His labours, the land He loved and served most directly?

 

When we look around and brood over the situation in every quarter and especially in India, we do not find it difficult to conclude that in the reconstruction of our shattered world, educational reform must occupy the very first place. Of the numerous problems of education, that of adult education is the most pressing one; from one point of view adult education is more important even than infant education; because the future generations can be better taken care of if the grown-up generations can be speedily educated and cultured. And we might safely assume that the most important item, in any programme of adult education, is that of self-education and self-growth. And here we see very clearly that the Message of the Buddha is of immense value for the whole world to-day.

 

What more direct or what more telling instruction "is there for the entire West than the second and the third of the Buddha's four noble truths---the Cause of Sorrow and the Cure of Sorrow? Enveloped in pride the West is now becoming conscious of its weakness; it is finding out that Soul is not matter-born, nor is sense-gratification real living. Its thinkers are perceiving how the magnificent achievements of human intellect are being despoiled; they are beginning to wonder why their markets are glutted with a million things for which millions are hungering, and they are beginning to remark upon the incapacity of those who have, and who debase in use that which they have.

 

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Some of these advanced thinkers are looking about for what they call a "New Asceticism." For them and for their world the teaching of the Dhammapada will prove a boon and a blessing. We in India need to note that all is not well with the West; its most advanced thinkers do not find the radio, the gramophone, the motor-car, the aeroplane, to be instruments which produce real culture; much less are these channels of economic prosperity or of spiritual peace. The most thoughtful in the West are seeking for the cause and the cure of human woe and human discontent. There are numerous lessons which India can learn from the West, but the most important one is that unless moral culture goes hand in hand with mental achievements, the greatest of scientific inventions leads not to a life of beauty, virtue and peace.

 

All that the Great Master taught has been simply epitomized in the terse aphorism: "Cease from evil, do good, attain Nirvana." Evolution and its attainment are thus summed up. How many people there are who have passed by this teaching because of its very simplicity! The Compassionate One has amplified the teaching: for evil He prescribed medicine, for good He recommended exercise, for realization He offered nourishment. Let us pause on that. The Buddha prescribed medicine for the Great Disease, that archetypal disease from which all aches and pains of body, mind or feeling arise; secondly, the Buddha taught how men and women should live in a normal way, i.e., according to the Norm of the Universe itself; thirdly, the Buddha provided special

 

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nourishment, absorbing which, assimilating which, the mortal becomes immortal, the individual is transformed into the universal, the Ocean of Nirvana empties itself into the drop of our own human consciousness. Let us dwell on these three fundamentals of the Buddha's Message. They can benefit the whole world, West and East alike; for they are an appeal and an injunction to man as man, to every mind, to every heart, without exception. These three fundamental ideas about overcoming evil, manifesting good, and becoming Light Universal, apply to all young or old; rich or poor; brown or white; man or woman.

 

" Cease from evil, do good, attain Nirvana." We must cease from evil. What is the Great Disease? What is the remedy? In the conception of the Buddha there is an archetypal disease: one tabularity and innumerable tables; one triangularity arid innumerable triangles; one
"diseasedness " from which all aches of head or heart or hands. What is that archetypal disease? The Buddha says: Tanha, the thirst for life. What kind of life is it which produces this disease? The life of egotism, ahamkara; the heresy of a belief in the personal self, attavada; the delusion of the personality, sakkayadithi. There has been a mighty war of words among the Buddhists themselves. Some say Buddha did not teach the existence of the Soul in man; others say that He did; there is a reconciliation. The Master taught both. There is no surviving ahankaric personal self, but there is the Immortal Nirvanee hidden in each one of us, the latent slumbering Buddha also in each one of us.

 

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But let us not spend our time to-day on this dispute, but pass on, after noting that the lower or persona1 consciousness which calls itself "I" and whose characteristic is the appropriation of objects of the universe, whose chief quality is the desire for possession, and who is the prototype of miserliness and of greed, is to be killed past resurrection. There is a false "I" in us who identifies itself with the sex and the family and the race of the body. When a person says "I am a man," or "I am a Hindu," or "I am an Englishman," or "I am a Semite," and forgets that he is the Soul above all personal distinctions, he refers to the false "I" of ahamkara. Ahamkara, egotism, is the womb of all pain, all disease. Such a speaker who says "I" from the personal point of view, may speak kind words but he cannot speak immortal words; he may impart knowledge but not wisdom; he can become a patriot but not a prophet. The incessant round of birth and death---of pain at birth, of decay in growth, of loneliness caused by death---this continuous passing through agony and sorrow, is the destiny of the egotistic ahankaric "I" A very profound presentation is this of the Great Master, for when He teaches "Cease from evil" He includes in that evil, affections and attachments, family ties, national ties, racial ties. It would require a lecture in itself to give even an outline of what in the conception of the Buddha is evil and its prolific womb. Enough for us to learn today that the "I" which like the peacock struts on the stage of life and which imposes itself upon everyone among us as we walk the way of world is the cause of

 

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our own sufferings and sorrow. If we desire to eradicate the anguish and the pain which are ours, then we must eradicate the personal self. Hearing this truth, people sometimes ask: "What remains? When the very 'I' that I am has to be done away with, then surely annihilation must result!" Not so, my friends, put the answer to that comes in the second fundamental idea of our threefold aphorism, to which we must now turn.

 

"Cease from evil, do good." To do good---but what is good, and how to do it? The Master gave a set of exercises to be daily gone through. He asked us to live normally, i.e., according to the Norm of the Universe of which man is an integral part. The Good which the Buddha defined is as profound and as far reaching as His conception of Evil. Look for the Pattern of the Universe, He said. The stars in the firmament, crystals under the ground, pearls in oysters of the sea, all show a pattern; a protoplasmic cell, like the human body, is founded on a pattern; the rosebud blossoms, and the star of the jasmine falls, according to pattern. Life, taught the Great Buddha, is a mighty Wheel of Perpetual Motion. That great universal Wheel or Chakra contains within itself numberless smaller wheels, so that each being has his own wheel of life with a pattern all its own, which pattern changes with the present motion.

 

The praying-wheel of the Buddhist is a graphic symbol which conveys this fundamental truth. Your life, my life, the life of everyone, is a wheel with a pattern and a motion. The pattern is the result of past karma, and represents what we know as fate or

 

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destiny; the motion, on the other hand, is the energy of present karma, present action, and stands for the effort of our free will, our self-energization and self-choice. Please note the two aspects of karma; by present motion or endeavour we change the pattern of past karma, thus building our future fate through our own self-induced and self-devised efforts.

 

Ordinarily people define all pleasant things as good karma, and all unpleasant things as evil karma. The Buddhist's conception of Good is of a very different order. To become good, to bring out the good in us, we must try to reproduce in our own wheel of life that pattern which is in harmony with the Pattern of the great Universal Wheel. The praying-wheel moves with every chant---Aum Mani Padme Hum. Have you thought of the significance of this practice? It teaches us that our present effort which moves the wheel of life should be in accordance with the wisdom enshrined in that great and potent mantra—Aum Mani Padme Hum. What does the sentence mean? It is generally translated "Oh, the Jewel in the Lotus," but it really means much more, for it refers to and explains the profound truth about the nature of Good. How? The Great Universe and the small man are intimately and indissolubly linked. The sentence really means, "I am in Thee and Thou art in me," or " I am That I am."

 

To do good or to be good implies that we must seek for the Universal Pattern in the performance of the daily duties of life; that good which the Buddha asked us to perform frees us from bondage. Good works of the ordinary kind are binding; and bondage, in the final

 

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analysis, means pain and suffering. That real and spiritual kind of good which liberates manifests only when we incorporate in our individual lives universal aspects. Within each one of us is a Universal Being, the future Nirvanee, the future Buddha. The awakening of that slumbering divine consciousness spontaneously begets this real kind of goodness, very different from our personal concept of what goodness is. Each one---mother, father, child; labourer or merchant; soldier or priest---must revolve his wheel and pray: Aum Mani Padme Hum; Aum Mani Padme Hum. In doing our acts and in living our lives, in the daily performance of duty, we must shape ourselves according to the Divine Pattern of the Universal Wheel. This, by the way, is the same truth which our Hindu philosophy imparts through its magnificent pantheon of gods and goddesses. For every walk in life, for every stage in evolution, for every age and condition, there is an appropriate god or goddess; different people worship different gods and goddesses, i.e., they try to become worthy of relationship with them. And in the real sense man, the microcosm, carries within himself the entire pantheon which is of the Great Universe, the Macrocosm.

 

And that brings us to the third aspect which we want to consider. "Cease from evil, do good, attain Nirvana." How is Nirvana attained? As the lower ahankaric self is put away, as the higher Individual Thinker and Creator in us grows more and more universal in its action in daily life, gradually and slowly Divinity is attained. This teaching of Nirvana is grossly materialized and corrupted.

 

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Nirvana is not some distant world; Nirvana is a state or a condition of consciousness which the human thinker, the human mind, attains within himself. Just as our knowledge of philosophy or mathematics is within ourselves; just as our sympathies, our compassion, our justice and mercy, are within ourselves; so also the Wisdom of Divinity, the Universe of Peace and Power, are within ourselves. Neither does a man annihilate himself because he attains Nirvana, nor does he move on into a new locus or world; he has succeeded in annihilating every obstruction to clear vision, every limitation to clear understanding, every impediment to clear expression. The perception, understanding and action of a Nirvanee are universal in cause and in effect. Such a Being, bathed in glorious Light Nirvanic, need not pray with lips, Aum Mani Padme Hum; His very life, in every thought and word and deed, is the embodiment of that truth. He blesses the streets as He walks them; He heals by his touch, He enlightens by His thought, He strengthens by His smile, by His very glance. Such Buddhas, such Emancipated Nirvanees, provide through Their life actions and examples the necessary help for all the world.

 

And so we return to the suffering world and to our own suffering India. The Message of the Buddha is individualistic in this sense, that it is a message addressed to the individual. It is for all who want it, without any distinctions; it can cure all who practise it without exception. But each one must make the effort himself, each one must energize himself from within. Humanity cannot be changed in the mass,

 

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men and women cannot be reformed by proxy, but each can reform himself or herself. One individual after another must learn to cease from evil, to do good and thus attain Enlightenment. Just as at this very moment we are experiencing in our India that political action is dependent upon the stamina of the individual as a social being, so also is it with the world at large. Take an example. By law the United States of America have abolished alcoholic drink; but this political enactment has caused and is causing them untold difficulties. Here too we want to eradicate the curse of drink and our fair picketers have done good service in that noble cause. But where would be the necessity of law if through self-education men and women brought themselves to recognize the truth? Some of us need no picketers at tavern doors.. Why? Because we have learnt to picket the gates of our own senses. The Buddha’s way was not through political action, nor even through social service as we know that institution; it was through instruction and an appeal to men and women individually to take themselves in hand. The five Rules of Conduct, the Panchasila, give us the necessary weapons to cease from evil, and if we practise them in life we shall have taken the very first necessary step in the reconstruction of India and of the world. Each one must reform himself, that India may be reformed, and India must reform herself because the world needs her help and spiritual guidance.

 

Organizations and organizing for everything have become so universal a regime in our civilization that we overlook the method of reform which the great

 

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spiritual Teachers have invariably adopted. "Cease from evil, do good, attain Nirvana." Let us learn to be good as individuals, to be charitable individually to individuals, to be careful of our own neighbour's good individually, to be attentive to the individual wants of those around us. That is an aspect of Buddhism also which the modern world and India sorely need.

 

And now we must close. We have just had in this city of ours a most ghastly experience. Do you remember what was said only a month ago when we studied together the architecture of "The City which Buddha Built"? Alas! our Buddha Society's work has not yet spread widely enough to touch those masses with its inspiration. During the last few days we have seen crime---the manifestation of anger, of pride, of exclusiveness; and all in the name of religion! What would our Lord say, if He came to our city of Bombay to-day? What would He say to these men with minds, who have acted worse than beasts? Would He not say to those rioters: "Oh! ye who stab and wound your Mother India whose earth feeds you, whose rivers assuage your thirst, whose air you breathe---how will you atone for your crime? How will you pay for the sin of matricide? Retire to your own hidden heart, and within you will find a man who is neither Muslim nor Hindu, neither Pathan nor Sikh; a man who must love his brother man. Kill the Muslim and the Hindu in you, and be that Man whose religion is Brotherhood. Hatred ceaseth not by hatred but by love. Love your fellow men." And would He not say to some of our Muslim

 

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brothers, with His divine smile on His lips: " Your prayers are disturbed by the infidel's tom-toms? But what about all the clangour of passion made by the infidel within your own blood? Can you silence that?" And would He not say to the Hindus: " You are shocked by the killing of the cow? But what about the animals sacrificed at some of your shrines? And worse still, what about the sacrifices demanded and in many cases exacted from your women kind, girl wives, devadasis, widows? " And to us of the "Buddha Society" what would our Lord say? Can we not hear His words to spur us on to greater efforts ? " Shave your minds clean of all indolence, remove from your hearts all pride, don the robe of pure deeds of renunciation, carry the begging-bowl of Brotherhood to receive charity so that you may offer sacrifices. In this Vihara, light the Light of Ananda, of joy serene, of bliss supreme, the Light which will end all strife in Bombay, and which will shine for the guidance and the inspiration of all men and women everywhere!" Let us kindle that Light in our hearts, that through us it may shine upon others. Let us learn to chant in life the sublime mantra, Aum Mani Padme Hum; Aum Mani Padme Hum!

 

 

 

 

LORD BUDDHA: HOW WOULD HE SOLVE
OUR WORLD PROBLEMS?

 

A LECTURE DELIVERED UNDER THE AUSPICES OF THE BUDDHA SOCIETY AT THE ANANDA VIHARA, BOMBAY, ON THE

TWENTY-FIFTH OF NOVEMBER, 1934.

 

 

FRIENDS,

 

Anyone who reads the newspapers---especially those from London, New York or Paris---is bound to admit that a mighty chaos prevails everywhere. Political and financial upheavals; the breaking down of social restraints in private life, which affects public morality; the failure of the churches, more evident than the failure of the organized religions in the East, and a dozen other events clearly show that the "old order changeth yielding place to new." Large numbers of thinkers believe these signs to indicate the coming failure of this which we call our civilization. The influence of the West on the East, and especially the exploiting influence of the Westerner on the Oriental, is great; the impress made by the church missionary, the foreign salesman, the alien ruler, is deep indeed, so that the brand of the Occident is visible in the speech and in the dress, in the habits and in the manners of many young men in our large cities like Bombay. Unless the East wakes up to the recognition that a mighty revolution of ideas and actions is upon the western hemisphere, and threatens to engulf the eastern, Asia also will suffer along with Europe, the Americas and Australasia.

 

When reading of this or that event which disintegrates the very Soul of man in the Occident I have

 

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often wondered, as perhaps many of you have, as to the best safeguard within the power of the Asiatic which would prevent our being drawn into the chaos brought by the West upon itself. Looking for some historical current in the past evolution of Asia which we could harness in our service to-day, again and again one comes upon a continent-wide event which took place, an event which is most intimately connected with the mighty work of Gautama the Buddha. Of Course I refer to the spread of Buddhism to Ceylon and further south; to China and further east; to Tibet in the north; and to the very shores of the Dead Sea in the west. Immediately following the stupendous rise of the sublime Empire of Asoka, went the
missionaries to the West, influencing Egypt and Greece and Judea, three centuries before the Christian Era. They were Revolutionaries, Spiritual Revolutionaries, those Therra-Puttas, sons of the Therra, whose disciples became famous as Therapeuts, as healers of diseases of body, mind, and soul. Later, century by century, the Light of the Buddha spread, in the South and the East and the North. It is to that event, which influenced the destiny of Asia and of lands beyond, that our minds turn when we seek for some historical root which would heal our disease and help us in our plight.

 

Naturally we come upon the question what would Gautama teach if He were in our midst? What would the Enlightened One do face to face with our world problems? What would the Buddha preach to His own people in India? What message would He offer to the peoples in other lands? We want to find

 

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answers to these questions; we want to reconstruct, out of the teachings known as the Buddhistic teachings, answers which would help us, which would guide our steps away from the path of destruction to that of real progress and of Soul prosperity, in the wake of which alone all true prosperity follows.

 

Let us take a journey in imagination. The Buddha is. here in our midst, in our India---born to some Kshatriya Rajput, a Maharaja with many palaces and more motor-cars! He will find near at hand the Chamber of Princes in which he is welcome to make suggestions for reform and renovation. Do you think that the Buddha would spend His time and energy there? Of course not! Turn to His own kingdom yielding wealth, comfort and ease, with a Resident in respectful attendance to tell Him what to do! Do you think the Buddha would accept the advice of the political leader or consult the Resident? Probably not---why probably?---certainly not. He would quote Shakespeare and say: “A plague on both your houses! " He would see in no time that to occupy His throne would be to fetter His movements and to enslave His very Soul. What would He do under such circumstances? Why, He would find a simple way out---highly disconcerting to other Princes, highly disappointing to His father; He would disavow the royal ways of life,---don the robe of renunciation and declare that Vairagya had touched His flesh and blood, His mind and His very Soul! The Resident would argue and remonstrate, but he would soon apply his mind to finding another successor to the Gadi! For a little while there would be newspaper publicity---head- lines

 

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on front pages--- "The Prince of Motor-Land Becomes a Sannyasi" ; a few nationalist papers would discuss vaguely the wisdom or otherwise of the step taken; a few weeks more, and the Prince who had donned the Bhagava Robe would be forgotten!

 

What would the Buddha do next? He would quietly look around and seek some ally in the sphere of thought, of ideas and ideals. Having a philosophy to offer, a doctrine of Noble Life to preach, He would naturally seek the most suitable platform, that which would offer Him the most suitable audience. He would try to find newspapers and periodicals at hand through which He could preach His Dhamma. Then He would find religious organizations, political clubs, social service institutions, colleges and academies, societies whose names are legion. He 'might try tentatively to approach these, using the Wisdom of the Dragon which He possessed. And it would not take Him long, friends, to ascertain that He was not wanted in most places! Fancy the Nationalist papers, including the London "Thunderer" and the Hussian "Pravada," printing the Message which would say in polite language: "Politics are toys for children to play with"---and then add the well known Johnsonian dictum that such patriotism is the last refuge of scoundrels! If permitted He would point out to the political leaders of every land: "Gentlemen, all of you, assembled within the League of Nations or remaining outside, are hypocrites. You say that you want Peace but although you are in power in your own countries you still allow armaments to be manufactured, poison gases to be invented, armies, navies and

 

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air-forces to be maintained. "No" the public press, its sheets and columns, would be closed to the Buddha, and such papers as would be open to His pen would have little influence and less circulation.

 

As to organized religions, each with its claim to superiority, they would not have Him either! His eclectic philosophy would not suit any of them. The orthodox Hindu would say: "How can we have Him in our temples? He walked arm in arm with Upali, the barber; He took water from the out caste untouchable woman, Matanga! Moreover, He was not even born in the highest caste of Brahmanas!" The orthodox Parsis would say: "Oh! yes, He is a very great Man, no doubt, but you know after all He is a ‘durvand'; He will have to be born a Zoroastrian and then only will He attain real Wisdom!" The Muslim, the Jew, and the Christian, each claiming respectively for Muhammad, Moses and Jesus a unique position, would look askance at the infidel and the heathen! No priest of any kind would be His friend, though not all priests would attack Him openly, for that would make them unpopular!

 

Neither politicians nor priests could be His allies. What about men of science and men of philosophy? Both would respect the Buddha for His knowledge; yet both would look askance at Him. When scientific discoverers and inventors were told that He knew much more than they but that He would not teach them because they were not morally fit, they would smile with a superior curve of the lip. When He would take philosophers to task for word-weaving and idle speculating while the masses were perishing for

 

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guidance, they would find Him wanting in logical acumen!

 

You will admit that the picture drawn is not an exaggerated one: the Great Master would not find it possible to work among and with those who are the producers of the present chaos, and who, instead of finding a way out, are sustaining that chaos because their vision is befogged by passion, their moral perception weakened by lack of courage and by increase of fear which goes under the name of tact !

 

What then would the Great One do? He would begin to preach directly to the masses and the multitudes. And what would He preach? How would He begin? It seems to me that He might begin with His famous teaching embodied in verse 167 of the Dhammapada,

 

Be not a friend of the world.

Do not adopt habits which harm.

Do not live in thoughtless sloth.

Do not accept doctrines false .

 

"Be not a friend of the world!" Those are strange words indeed from the lips of One who befriended the world, and preached and taught and served the world for forty-five years, after sacrificing His all---His throne, His Queen, His heir! What kind of a world did He mean when He said: "Be not its friend"? What kind of a world did He Himself befriend, making to it the gifts of service and sacrifice? In this appeal and injunction is to be found Buddha's doctrine of Maya, His concept of the world as Reality and of the world as illusion. This doctrine

 

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of Maya Illusion, His description of the world process, would appeal to men of high science, mathematicians and the like; it would draw great praise also from scholarly philosophers. Let us try to understand this doctrine of Maya---Illusion. It is greatly misunderstood by philologists and Orientalists and their westernized Indian followers, even of the Pandit class. The Lord Buddha would define Matter---Prakriti as ever changing, ever shifting. The stability and the solidity of matter is an appearance, He would say. The Reality of Matter is incessant Motion: not for a moment is any object the same, stable and firm. Now, this concept of Prakriti, Nature or Matter, is taught to-day even by modern science. What else is its Wave-Theory of Matter? Some time ago, the mathematical philosopher Bertrand Russell, writing about matter, said in so many words that science and philosophy were demonstrating the truth of the Buddhist and Hindu doctrine of Maya: Let me show what he tried to explain. Take this table: it is solid; it came here some time ago; it is here and is going to be here for many, many years. It is composed of molecules, which in their turn are composed of atoms. And an atom is made up of electrons, positrons, protons, neutrons, deutrons, and alpha-particles! As said by a modern writer on science, the pastime of atom-building has developed new interest now that the fundamental building blocks of the scientists have advanced in number to six! From the atom as a unit, we have come to alpha-particles, and these ultimate particles of matter have two properties (1), they are invisible, impalpable; and (2), they are not stable but in

 

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constant motion. A scientific authority described the universe as built of particles that are wavicles, and wavicles that are particles. Well, so far up-to-date science is accepting the doctrine of Maya. But scientists remain far, far away from the solution to the problem of Reality. If matter and the universe are unstable particles and invisible wavicles, what is stable and real? The Buddha has answered that question, has solved that problem. How?

 

Within this ever moving world there is a resting, a reposing world of which the Buddha spoke so often as the "Other World." What keeps and sustains this table, enabling it to retain its shape made up of wavicles and particles? An inner binding vital energic shape. Buddhistic philosophy describes this world of Maya as a shadow, but a shadow of what? There can be no shadow without an object, and without a light thrown on that object. A shadow implies three factors---shadow, object and light. Now, it is said that the World of Nirvana is the Land of Pure Light, shadow-less. That is the Real World; and that very reality abides within this changing, shifting world of illusion and Maya. The Enlightened One having attained the Light of Nirvana spoke of this world of shadows when He said: "Be not a friend of the world." He taught the search for that Repose which is the World of Light. Seek for that great Stability, He said, and when one has obtained it one is safe, at peace in the storms of change, enlightened in the darkness of ignorance.

 

By what method, by what process, are that Repose and that Peace, that Light and that Wisdom, to be

 

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secured? Shall we resolve to enter that distant world by committing suicide in this world of Maya? No! The Enlightened One described Nirvana not as a change of place, but as a changed state of consciousness, of human intelligence. Remember the aphorism:

 

Nirvana is not a change of conditions, it is a change of condition. Nirvana is not a geographical locality, it is a focusing of the mind-consciousness differently. Just as there is a difference in vision when our eyes are properly focused and when they are, out of focus, so it is with mind-consciousness. Cross your eyes, even in play, and the world before you is a very different world indeed! Now, all of us ordinary mortals are cross-eyed, mentally speaking. The World of Reality and of Light is here, but looking at it cross-eyed we see shades, shadows, objects out of focus, out of proportion. How shall we get over our cross-eyed mind-consciousness? The verse already quoted gives the threefold prescription:---

 

Do not adopt habits which harm;

Do not live in thoughtless sloth;

Do not accept doctrines false.

 

These three steps are necessary---you see they have naught to do with microscopes and telescopes! That is where modern scientists would part company with the Buddha, if He were here. Philosophers would accept His propositions, but would try to interpret them very learnedly. They would argue that His Nirvana or World of Light can be known by mental gymnastics; moreover, they would say, the great creative artists having glimpsed Reality as Beauty

 

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have presented it for the contemplation of the philosophic mind. The Buddha would object to this on many scores, the first of which would be this. He would say to the philosopher.: "You want to gain Nirvana by a vicarious process; you are dependent on the artist." Secondly, "Has the painter, the sculptor, the composer, perceived the true Light of Repose and of Wisdom? Being man, possessing creative ability, the artist creates, yes, but it would be folly to mistake the portrait for the living man; the painter can create a portrait, but he is not able to create the living man!" The Buddha would insist that the learned like the unlearned must take three steps---in reference to habits, in reference to mind, in reference to beliefs. Modem philosophers do not always like the practice of philosophy; they can talk of Reality and unreality very learnedly and even brilliantly, but let them have a toothache and their words and wisdom are gone! As to artists it is well known that they do not believe that purity of life and rules of ethics are to be applied to them. They want to feel free and unrestrained, and we know how often they live lives of dissipation and of immorality!

 

To them, and to all, the Master would repeat His verse, declaring most emphatically that unless a man overcomes his wrong habits of life, his mental laziness, his false beliefs, he cannot enter the kingdom of Light. And why are these things so important? Why is there so much insistence on overcoming evil, on doing good? Ethics and morality are fundamentals in the teachings of the Buddha. Sorrow and suffering are due to moral lapses---sins of commission and of omission.

 

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We are made cross-minded by our desires, Tanha, Trishna, Kama. We have made our desires and longings so real that in place of Light we see shadows, in place of Peace we see strife, and that which is Real is covered over for us with unreality. Here it is that our Lord would expound His doctrine of Avarana, Coverings. Let us try to understand it.

 

Our habits of body and of mind, our beliefs and notions, cover over Truth and Light and Wisdom and Peace. Nirvana is covered over for man because of man's own ignorance---the obstructions which he himself has raised. His own desires prohibit him from enjoying and realizing Peace. These desires, Kama, lust; Krodha, anger; and Lobha, greed, create for  each one of us a different world. The world of Nirvana is ever one and the same, and it is within us, but the worlds of shadows are ever-changing and many. Each  one of us lives in a world of shadows peculiar to himself. Each one of us has his own longings and out of them each creates his own world. As men and women, one by one, realize this truth and overcome tanha and trishna, the world of war, of poverty, of disease, will fade away.

 

Leaders in the political world cannot succeed unless spiritual ideals of self-control and self discipline are practised by themselves. That is why throughout history kingdoms have come and gone; the deeds of Alexander and of Napoleon have not endured, but the Message---the ideas expressed in the words of Krishna and Buddha, of Zoroaster and Jesus---is alive and vibrant.

 

So you see that Buddha, if He were in our midst,

 

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would not concern Himself with political action. He would say: "Change the hearts of a sufficient number of men and women, and a political structure, eminent and glorious, will arise spontaneously like a sapling growing into a tree. "That is how the Empire of the Mauryas, culminating in that of Asoka, grew on the soil ploughed by the Buddha and His Bhikkhus.

 

Similarly, if He were here the Lord Buddha would not enter the field of social service. He would point out that unless a man gives up his selfish and evil desires he is bound to continue to create slums, disease and death. To remove the slums without transforming the slum-makers is to see your time, money and energy wasted.

 

Positively and constructively, the Buddha, if He. were here, would tackle the problem of adult education; not by teaching the facts of science, of history, of economics, but the facts of ethics and of philosophy: Soul-hygiene, mind-cleanliness, purification of desires and feelings, control of tongue and of speech. This to all men and to all women because all are Souls, divine in origin and in substance. He would stress the building of homes by young men and women, and He would give them as their motto:

 

"Purity is Prosperity." He would say to the women of India: " Sisters, conquer the home by the guidance of sons, brothers, husbands. Go to the legislatures if you must, but neglect not the work of moulding the present and future heroes of India."

 

And His message to the international world, to the men and women of the West, would be the same: " Conquer the sins of the blood, control the longings

 

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of the flesh, fight the evil in you, be men and women of peace, and you will generate a force, you will create a power, against which even machine-guns will fail. When you have chased away the many worlds of shadows built by human passions and greed, you will have obtained knowledge and vision to build the kingdom of Soul prosperity and mental peace."

 

In this land of India, the country which gave birth to the Buddha, in the hearts of many a son and many a daughter of the Motherland, there is the seed of spiritual possibilities. Watered by the Wisdom of the Enlightened One those seeds will sprout, and once again there will emerge garden after garden of fragrant flowers, orchard after orchard of luscious fruits, which not only will satisfy and nourish our millions at home, but will also offer to the hungry world, to the famished nations, food for a new life, strength for a new existence, vision for the building of their own new civilization. That is what the Buddha would teach and offer to this world of chaos, if He came in our midst again to befriend the world.

 

 

BUDDHA AND MODERN INDIA

 

A LECTURE DELIVERED UNDER THE AUSPICES OF THE PRARTHANA SAMAJ, BOMBAY, ON THE SEVENTEENTH OF MARCH, 1936.

 

FRIENDS,

 

It is a pleasure and privilege to be in this historic place which arose out of (the labours of the great and noble son of India-Raja Ram Mohan Rai. One of the purest, the most philanthropic and enlightened men modern India has produced, the Raja was not only a social and a religious reformer but also a spiritual potency of a high order. As holy as he was learned, he saw the root-cause of the fallen condition of our ancient India. He laboured constructively, and  in the Brahmo Samaj is enshrined the fount of inspiration which can help many a son and daughter of India even today. But to understand the mission of Raja Ram Mohan Rai we must look at him against his proper historical background. He is one of those flowers on the Tree of Indian Evolution which blooms, now and again, to remind us, the children of the Motherland, of her hoary spiritual culture. Through him ancient Aryavarta proclaimed once again the message of the purity of religion which cleanses people from the pollution of sectarianism. We spoke of a historical background: during many centuries there has been ever and anon a conflict raging in our country between religious sectarianism and Universal Religion. Noble minds and enlightened hearts have arisen again and again to fight the evil of religious sectarianism,

 

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and to show the way to the Universal Religion of Wisdom and Peace. Raja Ram Mohan Rai was one such man---one of those rare flowers whose immortal fragrance inspires us to rise above the narrowness of creeds and castes and classes.

 

In several respects the times and the circumstances of Raja Ram Mohan Rai can be compared to those of the great Buddha. While the magnitude of the attack delivered against the evils which surrounded them was different and the methods pursued by them were also different, the evils were similar, if not almost identical. What was the evil that surrounded the Buddha? It was not to an irreligious people that the great Tathagata came, but to a people steeped in religious superstition. There were both religious ignorance and religious orthodoxy---these invariably make a pair, and their progeny is always the same, namely, superstition on the part of the masses, which priestcraft exploits. There flourished in the time of the Buddha a religion which taught that there was god, or gods, outside of man, and that, to gain happiness in this world or peace in the other, men and women should propitiate this god or these gods; in other words Atman, the Self, was overlooked and that engendered other-dependence. Self-dependence was forgotten; other-dependence was widely practised. The Laws of Manu lay down as a cardinal and fundamental principle that self-dependence brings bliss, other-dependence breeds misery. Now, this evil of depending on others for spiritual salvation crops up every time, for the priest ever flourishes in the world. And the priest is always with us because the spiritually

 

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poor are always with us; the function of the priest is to exploit the religiously ignorant and the spiritually poor. Just as the rich capitalist of to-day could not flourish if labourers did not exist to be exploited, so also priests would not exist if religious ignorance and superstition did not encompass the masses of men. While the priest is always with, us, the Prophet, the Seer and the Sage come to us at intervals. Thus a Mighty Thinker, a Mighty Compassionater, like Buddha, arises in the world when "adharma or unrighteousness  flourishes and dharma or righteousness decays." You will remember the famous slokas of the Gita:---

 

I produce myself among creatures, 0 son of Bharata, whenever there is a decline of virtue and an insurrection of vice and injustice in the world; and thus I incarnate from age to age for the preservation of the just, the destruction of the wicked, and the establishment of righteousness. (Gita, IV, 7-8)

 

But while a Krishna or a Buddha incarnates among men at long intervals, Yuge Yuge, from age to age, there are lesser potencies, spiritual stalwarts all the same, who arise by reason of their own spiritual fervour. The divinity within man asserts itself, and in the very process of reincarnation, i.e., evolution of the Soul through many lives, come to fruition such wise hearts as that of Raja Ram Mohan Rai.

 

While speaking of these two types of Divine Men, Helpers of Humanity, Gautama the Buddha and Raja Ram Mohan Rai, we find a very striking point of view on matters of religion in the message which each of

 

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them gave to his own day and generation. In the declaration of principles of the Brahmo Samaj we have an injunction that is worth noting: "No sect shall be vilified, ridiculed or hated." The mission of the Brahmo Samaj, as Ram Mohan Rai conceived it, was not to make a new sect, not to form a new religion, but to abolish religious ignorance and superstition and to bring men to self-dependence, to reliance on the Atman, the Self within. These words from the Brahmo Samaj Declaration bring to our minds almost identical words of a great Buddhist: "Honour thine own faith and do not slander that of others."

 

The mission of the Buddha was to deliver humanity from the pain of the Soul, the misery of the mind. He not only said that He had freed Himself from the tyranny of the selfish self; He also asserted with all the strength of His mighty compassion that such freedom was possible for every man and every woman. Nay more, the Buddha, not only spoke of the possibility of attaining Wisdom and Peace, but further asserted that it was more natural for man, manushya the thinker, to overcome evil and pain than to remain subject and slave to selfishness, ignorance and pride. Therefore He taught a Way of Life which not only hundreds but thousands adopted and followed, making India happy and prosperous. That Way of Life is what India needs to-day. For once again religious orthodoxy and religious ignorance have overtaken our country, and there is yet another force of destructive character which we have to face. Side by side with religious ignorance there is the materialistic tendency of the modern mind which tries to laugh out of court

 

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philosophical idealism and religious mysticism. Between ignorant degrading religious superstition and arrogant and brutal materialism the human Soul has little chance to show its divinity, grace and strength.

 

There are certain fundamental aspects of the mission and the message of Buddha which we sorely need in the India of to-day. The very first one is the one most needed: the evaluating of each man or woman by his or her own worth and not by outer caste or class, family or social status. All over the world humanity employs the method of evaluating people by outer marks and not by inner characteristics. How much money a man possesses is considered a question of greater importance than what virtues are in his character. This also is the principle underlying the existing differences of caste in our India to-day. A Brahmana by birth is called a Brahmana though he be a rascal of the first water! Cringing sycophants born to Kshatriya parents are called Kshatriyas when in reality they are cowards and belong to that caste which may rightly be called untouchable. The Bhagavad-Gita establishes that as a principle, but it was forgotten in the day of Buddha, as it is disregarded to-day even by some who recite the Gita every morning! The Buddha has taught us the art and the technique of evaluating man by his own inner worth. Turn to the Canto of the Brahmana in the Dhammapada. Note verse 394:--

 

O thou of evil understanding, what avails thy matted hair, what avails thy deer skin? Outwardly thou cleanest thyself, but within all is darkness.

 

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In the whole of this canto the Buddha gives us actual virtues and qualities by which we can discriminate between the good and the evil, between the apparent and the real, between the showy shadow and the spiritual force. The Tathagata Himself, on more than one occasion, showed us by His own example that the inner man was to be considered, and not just the outer show. Look for example at the treatment He meted out to Upali, the barber, and to Devadatta, His own royal cousin. When Upali of the barber caste asked the Master,
"Lord, is Nirvana also for such as I ? " the answer was: "Yes, of course, the Dhamma is for all, and Nirvana also. "But do not make the mistake that people sometimes do make; do not overlook that opulence in itself is no more an obstacle than poverty; that He Himself, the Great Buddha, was born a Prince and yet He attained. Ananda, the favourite disciple, was a cousin as royal by birth as Devadatta. The latter was not, however, of royal heart as Ananda was. The inner life, the motive of the hidden heart, the spring of ideation which colours the whole of our life---it is that which determines the worth or the worthlessness of man. It is the cultivation of the inner reality of Soul-life that the Buddha taught. It was this inner attitude, this Soul-vision, that made India magnificently great and gloriously prosperous in the days gone by. One phase of that glory and that grandeur was shown forth by the Bhikkhus who followed their Guru and who served the country after the Master departed. Another phase of the splendour of the inner and spiritual life manifested in the Empire of Asoka, the beloved of his people.

 

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Thus, in modern India we need not have a new religion but the old Way of Life which Buddha taught, which Krishna taught before Him, and which other Teachers have taught elsewhere. The Way of Life which the Buddha taught can be traced in two places: in the precepts and the sermons He has left behind, and secondly, in the example He set, in the experiences He went through and in the actions He performed. As we just saw, one of the most striking things about the message, exemplified also in the life of the Buddha, was the uttermost disregard of the outer paraphernalia of religion and the uttermost care in the due observance of the discipline of life. "What avails thy matted hair? What avails thy deer skin? " And yet He was most strict with Himself in observing the discipline of life, and He made strict rules for the Bhikkhus to adopt and to follow. But the principle was control of mind, control of the senses, and only in order to help and to facilitate this inner discipline, suitable aids from without.

 

The Way of Life which Gautama the Buddha taught may best be described as direct action. In His own life He practised this method. What do we mean by direct action? We can best illustrate this by an example or two from the life of the Great One, and by His very mode of presenting the teachings to the public of the India of 600 B.C. We are deliberately taking these examples because they illustrate the principle of direct action which the Buddha employed.

 

In His youthful days, as a Prince, He wanted to know something about the world of people---the great world outside the palace. What did He do? He did

 

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not seek information from some companion; He did not ask for a report from some courtier. He ordered His chariot: "Channa, yoke my chariot; I shall ride and see beyond." You all know the story of what He saw---pain and sorrow, decay and death. This is what we call direct action.

 

Next, what did He do? Another example of direct action: "These will befall me: death will overtake me, decay in me will ensue; why should it be so? " He did not send for soothsayer, He did not consult priest; there is not any record of His having talked the matter over with His royal Father or His beloved Queen. He used His method of direct action and began to think out the answer to the problem of pain, suffering, death. When He found that His search for the answer was being impeded and hampered by the life of the palace He took His weapon of direct action in His hands and He marched out of His palace with this noble and world-honoured resolve :---

 

…… I,

Who ache not, lack not, grieve not, save with griefs.

Which are not mine, except as I am man;

If such a one, having so much to give,

Gave all, laying it down for love of men,

And thenceforth spent himself to search for truth,

Wringing the secret of deliverance forth,

Whether it lurk in hells or hide in heavens,

Or hover, unrevealed, nigh unto all :

Surely at last, far off, sometime, somewhere,

The veil would lift for his deep-searching eyes,

The road would open for his painful feet,

That should be won for which he lost the world,

And Death might find him conqueror of death.

 

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So much for His action in His own life.

 

Now turn to the grand Message which He delivered. Buddhistic metaphysics have taxed giant minds: the doctrines of the twelve Nidanas and the five Skandhas are erudite and profound philosophical truths; but in preaching His Message to the people He did not begin with such complex metaphysics. When He came to the five Bhikkhus at the Deer Park near Benares, and when He set into motion the wheels of the Chariot of Righteousness, what did He say, how did He begin? He knew what they themselves, those five Bhikkhus, were troubled about---the aches of life, the round of birth and death, and the escape from these. He also knew that every home had its own Kisagotami, the woman who had lost her babe and came to beg the Master to bring it to life, and who suffered agony while learning the lesson that death comes to all. To the problems of humanity---the meaning of human inequality, of human competition and avarice, and of human suffering---He gave a direct answer. What did He preach to the people for forty-four years? To His own Bhikkhus He taught many secrets and much of esoteric lore. He said on one occasion :---

 

As the leaves in my hand are few in number and far more are the leaves on the tree above, even so, oh Bhikkhus, what I have perceived and not communicated to you is far more than what I have communicated to you.

 

But to the world? It was always the direct answer to their direct problem. Sorrow and suffering do exist and they are rooted in kama, tanha, trishna. Uproot the thirst of lust and greed, and sorrow and suffering will cease.

 

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Now this mode of tackling our mental and moral problems, our everyday life problems, by direct action is a habit very much needed in our modern India. Ignorant people with religious zeal and fervour pray to some god or gods when problems arise and when their safety and steadiness of life are threatened. So called educated people have recourse to dubious and questionable ways, and somehow manage to muddle through their troubles and problems till death comes as a deliverer and a friend. Very few people face and handle and tackle their problems to their solution. So also in our mental and moral life. How many people question their own habits and customs or their own morals or the correctness of their own mental view-points? Not only politically are we slaves and servile, but in other walks of life also. And applying Buddha's axioms and principles we can go further and say that our very political slavery is but an effect of, and a result from, our social and religious slavery; and we are slaves to outer customs because we are slaves to our own personal habits. If we are slaves to religious orthodoxy, to bigotry and to sectarianism, it is because we are slaves of our own passions and of our own mind. Free yourselves from the inner and subjective slavery of the narrow mind, the mean heart, and all other freedoms will naturally follow.

 

So the Buddha's Way of Life which we need to copy in modern India is the application of the method of direct action. But it must not be applied to others; it must be applied to ourselves. And in making that application we must proceed from the

 

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innermost principle of our constitution, the mind, the first and most natural instrument in and through which the Soul acts. Thus we shall secure for ourselves rules of conduct which will produce a healthy integration between our inner, psychological and spiritual nature on the one hand and our outer, physiological and material nature on the other. Thus also we shall solve the problems of religious differences and communal clashes; for, once we live according to the teachings of the great Buddha, we shall live the Universal Religion of Man.

 

For many centuries past the message of the Buddha has ceased to work its miracle in our India. Buddhism exists mainly in superb caves and rock temples like Ajanta. But even these are replete with a vitality that can inspire the heart and charm the mind. Have you ever thought what any good Buddha image is saying to you as you sit in front of it and try to hear its message ?---for though India has forgotten the greatest of her sons He has not forgotten the Motherland. Continuously He smiles with gentle love through every statue and image and picture---the smile which reproaches the wicked and the ugly, the smile which encourages the good and inspires the aspiring Soul. And while He smiles listen to Him and you will hear Him say:---

 

Alas, alas, that all men should possess Alaya, be one with the Great Soul, and that possessing it, Alaya should so little avail them !

 

Behold how like the moon, reflected in the tranquil waves, Alaya is reflected by the small and by the great, is

 

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mirrored in the tiniest atoms, yet fails to reach the heart of all. Alas, that so few men should profit by the gift, the priceless boon of learning truth, the right perception of existing things, the knowledge of the non-existent!

 

Of teachers there are many; the MASTER-SOUL is one, Alaya, the Universal Soul Live in that MASTER as ITs ray in thee. Live in thy fellows as they live in IT.

 

Thou hast to saturate thyself with pure Alaya, become as one with Nature's Soul-Thought. At one with it thou art invincible; in separation, thou becomest the playground of Samvritti, origin of all the world's delusions.

 

All is impermanent in man except the pure bright essence of Alaya. Man is its crystal ray; a beam of light immaculate within, a form of clay material upon the lower surface. That beam is thy life-guide and thy true Self, the Watcher and the silent Thinker, the victim of thy lower Self. Thy Soul cannot be hurt but through thy erring body; control and master both.

 

Compassion is no attribute. It is the Law of LAWS eternal Harmony, Alaya's SELF; a shoreless universal essence, the light of everlasting right, and fitness of all things, the law of Love eternal.

 

The more thou dost become at one with it, thy being melted in its BEING, the more thy Soul unites with that which Is, the more thou wilt become COMPASSION ABSOLUTE.

 

 

THE UNKNOWN GOD

 

A LECTURE DELIVERED UNDER THE AUSPICES OF THE UNITED LODGE OF THEOSOPHISTS AT BOMBAY ON THE FIRST OF MAY, 1932.

 

FRIENDS,

 

"The Unknown God" was the object of worship and adoration, as well as of study and meditation, all over the world in cycles of yore; people with their minds and their hearts contemplated upon, drew near to and endeavoured to know THAT which was unknown. And as old civilizations were permeated by the spirit of Wisdom, it was not idle curiosity about the invisible universe, but deep longing, profound yearning, which made men seek humbly and reverently, yet confidently and courageously, the Hidden Self---the Spirit of their own

Souls, and the Spirit of the Universe. From the days of old Atlantis, everywhere, in India and Egypt, in Iran and Turan, the Unknown Mystery at the Heart of the Universe was the object of holy contemplation.

 

Then descended upon men the cycles of darkness and of ignorance; superstition and belief followed; and yet the power of the ancient habit was such that many followed in a mechanical way the worship of the Unknown God. Such was the position in Greece, the cradle of European and Western civilization, in the first decades of this Christian era. Having forgotten the details and even the principles of right worship, of the correct method of meditation, the

 

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Greeks of the first century were raising many altars, were erecting numerous shrines and among them was the altar to the Unknown God.

 

Read The Acts of the Apostles in the New Testament. When St. Paul, driven by the fanatical Jews from one place to another, came to Athens, his eyes met with strange sights. Very much like the disturbed cities of our present world was the city of Athens---like New York or London, like Paris or Bombay. There were religious ferment, philosophical enquiry, curiosity about the invisible, superstitious rites and blind belief in claimants of all sorts and kinds, necromancy or what is now called spiritism. Occult arts were practised by half-baked money-mongers---so-called astrologers and palmists, healers and soothsayers and fortune-tellers. Athens, like our Bombay, was full of all these!

 

To such an Athens Paul came. And it is said" his spirit was stirred in him" when he saw the city given wholly to this idolatry---for idolatry truly it was. There were Epicureans and there were Stoics amongst his hearers, and Paul caused a commotion by his downright style of speaking. And some cried: "Who is this babbler?" And others answered: "Oh he? He seemeth to be a setter-forth of strange gods!" They did not understand what Paul preached---the doctrine of the hidden Christos and of the Crucifixion and the Resurrection of Christ, and of the example of Jesus which Paul held up for their contemplation. And so some Greeks eager to know brought him before the Council of Elders and asked him: "May we know what this doctrine is that you speak of? It sounds to us so strange; it sounds somewhat new; so tell us." The

 

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recorder of the Acts---remarks that the Athenians were full of talk---they liked either to tell or to hear some new thing---perhaps especially to hear their own voices; not unlike our city either! So Paul let his silver tongue move, and he said to the crowd gathered at Mars Hill:
"Ye men of Athens; I tell you, ye suffer from superstition. You worship the god of food, and the god of sense, and the god of health, and the god of beauty, and many strange gods besides! But I also see that some of you offer humble devotion at an altar raised to the Unknown God. Without knowledge, in ignorant faith, you invoke the Unknown God, the God you do not know, but the God whom you would like to know. Then let me tell you that THAT which is unknown to you can be known. But know that that God from whom came this solid earth, this blue dome of heaven, dwelleth not in temples made with hands. Not in jewelled idols is He imprisoned; nor in beautiful statues is He confined. And He is not served by men's hands as if He needed things---like a master from his servants. He is your life and your breath, and the life and the breath of all things. And, learn, oh Athenians! He has made of one blood all nations of men living on this earth, and these nations will live on lands for cycles which are from Him. And I say unto you---Seek that God, search after Him, and find Him; and you will find Him, for He is not far from anyone of us. In Him we live and move and have our being; and what I say has also been said by some of your own great poets. Remember, ye and I and all are His offspring---and this means that we all have sprung from His

 

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bosom. We are like unto God and so how can we imagine that God is of gold, or of silver, or of stone, graven by art and by man's device! But some of you have grown into idols; some of you are like unto stone---hard; and others are like unto silver and gold; but in reality ye are like unto God, though ye know it not. Therefore, do what Jesus did: He resurrected Himself. God is being crucified in the heart of stone and in the heart that worships silver and gold. Resurrect yourselves and you will know THAT which is now unknown to you. For that God within you whispers to you the assurance that you can be made over by your own will, by your own undertaking."

 

It was a great speech, and among those who became truly converted was Dionysius.

 

Now, why have I paraphrased this wonderful sermon of Paul? Because we are able to proceed right away to the study and understanding of our subject. To the men and women of Bombay we can say: "Look for the Unknown God, but let not your zeal override your discretion; let not your aspirations be exploited; do not fall prey to the lure of the Unknown, but seek that Unknown by the power of your reason and of your mind." And please note the ideals which Paul held out: The Unknown can be known---that is the first thing. It can be known by everyone---that is the second. That Unknown is everywhere, for in It we live and move and have our being---that is the third fact. That Unknown Deity is not in any shrine made with human hands---not in church or synagogue; not in temple or mosque; and that really implies that God is not to be found in the outside world---the

 

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fourth fact. And, lastly---note the Theosophical doctrine---Paul says that the Unknown God "hath made of one blood all nations of men," that is, he preaches Universal Brotherhood. And then the practical problem---how shall we proceed to know the Unknown?

 

And now let us take up point by point the facts which Paul taught, each of which is a Theosophical truth.

 

I.---The Unknown can be Known.

 

The very first fact deals with our title, the Unknown God; not unknowable, not something that cannot be known, but that God which is unknown. Finite minds, because they are petty, passionate, personal, are disabled from knowing the Unknown; but the purified mind, the enlightened mind, can know God, can understand the nature of Deity and the Laws by which It works. Those who say that Deity or God in Nature and in Man cannot be known are materialists. Do not think that materialism flourishes in scientific circles only; there are many kinds of materialism and it is one kind of religious materialism to say that God should be prayed to, should be propitiated, but cannot be known, cannot be understood. If Man's mind cannot know the mystery at the heart of the Universe, then evolution has no meaning, pain and sorrow and experience have no purpose, and life itself is not worth living. Paul taught what Buddha and Krishna before him had taught---the Unknown is not unknowable, it can be known. The mighty, the stirring refrain of the Upanishads, TAT TWAM ASI---" THAT THOU ART, " which the Teacher repeats to the pupil, flowers in that other

 

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experience and realization, AHAM EVA PARAM BRAHMAN---"I AM VERILY THE SUPREME BRAHMAN." Unless you start right, on the right, on the correct foundation, you are bound to go wrong, and modern Theosophy follows her ancient Mother, Brahma-Vidya or Atma-Vidya, and says: "Be sure that God is knowable, however unknown It may be to you to-day."

 

II---It can be known by everyone.

 

That is the second proposition: It can be known by everyone. No spiritual Teacher has ever said that it is the privilege of the few from which the vast majority is barred. All, all, without exception, have within themselves the possibility and the opportunity of knowing God. True Gurus are spiritual democrats---Jesus accepted as His disciple one who had been a harlot; the Buddha accepted, nay welcomed, Upali, the barber, into His Sangha. And do not forget the Gita :---

 

 

Even if thou wert the greatest of all sinners, thou shalt be able to cross over all sins in the bark of spiritual knowledge. (IV. 36)

 

There is no bar for a profligate, a drunkard, any kind of a criminal, "even the greatest of all sinners," but he must obtain the boat of knowledge, that he may rebecome pure and innocent; and how shall any one obtain the Higher Knowledge, this greatest of purifiers? The straight answer comes in the ninth discourse, in verse 30.

 

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Even if the man of most evil ways worship me with exclusive devotion, he is to be considered as righteous for he hath resolved aright. Such a man soon becometh of a righteous Soul and obtaineth perpetual happiness.

 

That is the way: "Worship Me, [Krishna] with exclusive devotion," and immediately the question arises: Who and where and what is Krishna?

 

III---In It we live and move and have our being.

That is the third point which Paul makes, and that is the answer to the question which we raised. Who and where and what is Krishna or God? We live and move and have our being in Him. Is it not 'the same profound idea which the Upanishads and the Gita offer? Turn to the thirteenth chapter of the Gita and read the splendid, the supreme description of what our object of Wisdom should be:---

 

 

It has hands and feet in all directions; eyes, heads, mouths, and ears in every direction; it is immanent in the world, possessing the vast whole. Itself without organs, it is reflected by all the senses and faculties; unattached, yet supporting all; without qualities, yet the witness of them all. (XIII. 13-14 )

 

Having resolved rightly to worship Krishna, the Supreme Spirit, we must be touched by the grandeur

 

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of boundlessness, the profundity of depthlessness, the glory of all-pervasiveness. We must recognize that He is indeed everywhere, within and without---a hidden Presence. He is not some Person, sitting or standing in some high Loka or in some low Tala, beyond the sky or within the bowels of the earth; but the One God is Life, omnipresent, boundless and eternal. Students of this Lodge will recognize in this treatment of Paul's their own familiar first fundamental proposition of The Secret Doctrine: In God or the One Life we live and move and have our being.

 

IV.---He dwelleth not in temples made with hands.

 

You will note that we are getting closer and closer to the practical and ethical aspect of our subject. The Unknown God is everywhere---a great Presence, hidden, invisible, but an actual Presence all the same. If we are to know this Mighty Presence which pervades space as air pervades the earth and surrounds it, by what method can it be known? Paul gives one negative and one positive instruction. What is the negative one? "He dwelleth not in temples made with hands," says Paul. Now, there are many kinds of temples; we are all familiar with churches and mosques, that is, religious temples; but there are laboratories and observatories which are scientific temples, and you will not find God there either; and there are temples which human desires build---the temple of art and of music, the temple of nation and of race, aye! even the temple of family; look for God in these and you have begun wrongly. True it is that Krishna is everywhere; true it is that Christ

 

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is everywhere, but all Teachers tell us: "If you begin by looking for God in these outer temples which human hands and human feelings and human thoughts have built you will begin wrongly." Where then shall we begin? Turn to the tenth discourse of the Gita and study the vibhutis, the divine excellences of Krishna which the Lord enumerates, and note the very first one :---

 

 

I am the Ego which is seated in the hearts of all beings.

 

We cannot possibly understand how Krishna is everywhere, how He is Vishnu among Adityas, and Marichi among the Maruts, and so on, unless we begin with the fact that He is in our own heart. Oh! my brothers, what a wonderful, what a stirring concept that is : the Lord, the One God, the Great Omnipresent Deity, resides in us. Each one of us is a Temple of the Living God. Did not St. Paul say: "Ye are dead and your life is hid with Christ in God" ? Verily, our true Life, our life in Spirit, is hid with the Divine Ego, the Christos, the Atman, seated in the innermost recesses of our own heart, and unless we become conscious of that Spiritual Essence, we are like unto dead matter, we are soulless people, blind to our own Divinity. We can quote verse after verse and teacher after teacher to show how Deity is first known in our own heart and then only can It be sensed and realized in the Universe outside.  And thus we pass on to the positive instruction of Paul.

 

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V.---It hath made of one blood all nations.

 

How has that Hidden and Unknown Deity shown Itself, manifested Itself? "It hath made of one blood all nations." Universal Brotherhood is a fact in Nature, the supreme truth of manifestation. Nowadays everybody talks about Brotherhood, and yet unbrotherly acts flourish, both in individual and in national life. Why? Because people begin at the wrong end. If they do not know their own Divinity, if they do not see that within themselves lies the faculty of being brotherly to others through the realization that we are all of the same essence, they must fail. People pray and cry to God; if they would only go within their own hearts and pray to their Father who is in secret, as Jesus advised, they would succeed better. You cannot see Unity in Nature, the One in the Many, until you find the Seer, the Witness, the Sakshi within. Any and every religion that leaves out of its count men and women of other faiths is a  false religion. If your religion teaches you that you

are safe for Heaven and that the heathen are bound for Hell---then your religion is false; if your religion teaches you that there is only one true Prophet of God and all others are untrue, your religion is false; if your religion excludes from your temples mlechchas, and teaches you to avoid all contact with the "untouchabIes," your religion is false. Surya, the Sun, does not exclude anyone from its light and heat; Vayu, the God of Air, gives breath to every lung and every nostril; the Sages recognize the Divinity of wicked fools, the Saints see the possibility of emancipation for even the most fallen minds. Nothing in the Universe is single, save and except, alas! the lost Soul,

 

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or more accurately, the soulless being, he who has lost his Soul by persistent denial of the true Life, the Life of the Spirit, and egotistic assertion of his own pride, his own personal and separative material life. It is a grand spiritual concept, this of Universal Brotherhood, and in its behalf the voice of those who have known God is ever raised.

 

But now we must devote a few moments to the consideration of the practical aspect. What steps shall we take? How shall we begin to transform ourselves from dead units into living Spiritual beings? After describing the nature of the Unknown God, Paul talked to the Athenians about Resurrection and the Second Birth. "Unless the Christ be born in you," said Paul, ye are dead units. "The  deluded do not see the Spirit in the body," says Krishna. Unless the Spirit in this body of ours, the Christ as dwelling in the heart of everyone, becomes the Doer and the Actor, we may live and labour, eat and enjoy, but we are not alive, we are dead units. If we want to live in the real sense, then we must seek and find, search for and realize the Inner God, the Spiritual Self, in our own heart. There are two great Words which Theosophy has brought forth in every age---PURITY and SURRENDER.

 

Each one must purify his corpus. We decent human beings turn away from a dirty sight and hold our breath because of a foul smell, but there are sights and sounds and smells which we do not recognize as ugly and dirt". We pollute our senses: not only when we speak falsehood do we pollute our tongue, but also when we hear slander and do not protest, we pollute our ears. When

 

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we feel cruel or hateful we pollute our hearts. When we think mean and low thoughts we pollute our brains. And what does all this pollution do to us? This pollution smothers the God within, nay, drives the God from within the shrine of our own heart. The Gita speaks of this body as the nine-gated city of the Self; the nine orifices should be kept so pure, so clean, so shining, that what streams forth from them is of the nature of light or radiance. What are the marks of the beneficent and the beautiful objects in Nature? Light and Grace, like to the Sun. To be Surya-Vanshis, of the ancient line of the Solar Race, we must become like unto Surya, the Sun---gracious and kindly and ever serviceable. We are impure in a hundred directions; and every day, in a dozen ways and more, we scatter impurity around. Impurity is of the nature of Ahriman, and Zoroastrianism proclaims that there is only one Path to God, the Path of Ashoi, Purity. Purity is the great need of our civilization---mad with sense-life; mad with sex-life; polluting and desecrating nature with meaningless talk and harmful gossip and ugly noise; cruel in its sports and cruel in its food. Let us aim at Purity. But you cannot become pure without knowledge; for you must learn what purity is and how you can purify your own nature. That is why we emphasize the study of Theosophy so much in this Lodge. We must acquire knowledge, but remember that knowledge comes not by study alone, but only as the result of application and of practice of that which is studied.

 

The second Word is SURRENDER. The natural concomitant, the natural friend of impurity, is

 

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egotism. People talk a great deal about sacrifice; they talk about charity and doing this and that for somebody. Sacrifice and Service begin with the death of the lower and personal self, the death of ahamkara, egotism. To be a Servant of Humanity is to become a Companion of the Great Masters and Their wise Chelas. It is not so easy to serve humanity; for even purity and knowledge may lead you astray unless you have acquired humility. In the Christian theological allegory, Satan, Lucifer, fell, not because he was not pure---he was an Archangel; not because he was ignorant---he possessed knowledge. He fell because he was proud and arrogant, and Luciferian pride is the sin of all sins, the vice of all vices. So begin to curb your egotism, to humble your pride. And what is the way? Surrender; self-surrender. "Give up thy life if thou would'st live." People do not understand what that means how can they? In the first place those who are controlled by the lower self and all of its forces cannot possibly know what it means to give up the personality in which they are centred. It is only the realization of the Divinity in us that enables us to surrender the lower self of pride and of egotism.

 

Theosophy opens the ancient Path of all Noble Souls, and in this Lodge we teach purity, sacrifice and surrender. But you must learn the mystery of your own divine Ego by your own effort. On the Path to the Great Gurus purity and surrender are the great keys that unlock the mystery of the sanctuary. Without purity you cannot enter the Path. Without

 

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surrender you cannot walk the Path. You must surrender everything. Are you strong? Then surrender your strength. Are you weak? Then surrender your weakness. Are you poor? Then surrender your poverty. Are you wealthy? Then surrender your wealth. People must learn and seek and find the Altar, the Shrine, on which true surrender can be made.

 

Offer to the Krishna, the Christos within, the leaf of good thought, one good thought every day; the flower of sacrifice, one sacrifice every day; the fruit of wise speech, one wise sentence every day; the water of compassion, that life-giving water which assuages the thirst of those who know still less than ourselves; point out the Way to one seeking Soul every day. And thus the Unknown God will become known. And that one God in you will become manifest. Those who have realized the unknown God, the Great Masters, will then become your Teachers and your Helpers---those Masters who watch and guide and bless the race of humankind. The Great Jnanis live, and from among Them came the Message which we promulgate here, the Message of Theosophy brought by H. P. Blavatsky whose death anniversary we observe and commemorate next Sunday.*

 

* White Lotus Day, H. P. Blavatsky's death anniversary, is observed by the United Lodge of Theosophists every year on the 8th of May.

 

 

 

SELF-EDUCATION AND SELF-GRO\VTH

 

A LECTURE DELIVERED UNDER THE AUSPICES OF THE MUSLIM STUDENTS' UNION AT BOMBAY ON THE THIRTY -FIRST OF MARCH, 1932.

 

FRIENDS,

 

In thinking about the subject of our study this afternoon my mind naturally turned to the future of the Muslim Community in the India of to-morrow. And, as your Association is composed mainly of the rising generation of Muslims, naturally my reflections turned in the direction of your, own future and that of all young Indians, that is, of the individuals who will, be the guides and the leaders of Mother India in the near future. Some of you will make your mark in the public history of this great country; to others of you may come opportunities to serve our land unknown by the public---as fathers in the family; as honest traders who, unknown, make wealth for the Community and the nation to which you belong.

 

It is a very interesting question this---which is the more powerful influence? Will the country's destiny mould your destiny? Or will your own individual destiny help to shape the Karma of Mother India? Our environment affects us, it is true; but it is equally true that we impress our environment by our achievements, be they of the mind or of the labour, of our hands.

 

As we brood over the current history of any people, or any community we are struck by the common fact that everywhere two classes of human beings are at

 

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work, each contributing in their own way to the making of history. First, there is the large class who are influenced and moulded by the changes in environment outside. Then, there is the second small group of individuals whose ideas and actions mould and shape the very environment in which they live. Thus, in the coming days, in this ancient and honourable land, there will be the few whose minds and morals, whose efforts and endeavours, will mould and shape the future of the country; and there will be the very large class whose homes will be coloured, whose happiness will be made or marred, by the atmosphere they breathe---not only by the breezes that blow from the Arabian waters, but also by the moral and the intellectual air which their minds will inhale and their characters exhale.

 

When we think of these two classes, in relation to the rising generation, we once again naturally come upon the cause that distinguishes them: what makes the man who moulds his country's destiny, and on the other hand what force keeps a man in the walk of ordinary life, that walk which takes its impress and colouring from the surroundings in which he lives? An examination will yield the answer to any of you. The self-made man who consciously and deliberately moulds his own life and his own destiny, is also the active maker of the story of his land. Those who, from an early age, allow themselves to be influenced and impressed by their circumstances, be they of opulence or of adversity, join the large class of citizens who are not the makers of the laws of the land, but who simply allow themselves to be shaped and formed

 

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by laws which others make. This is the lesson of history everywhere. Neither India nor the Muslim community is an exception to that working fundamental of history. And so our ideal emerges as a lesson of universal history---that self-made men are the builders of nations, the founders of civilizations, the creators of cultures.

 

A self-made man educates himself. The moment you put forward that statement you bring within the reach of all the process of making themselves. It is a general belief, and certainly there is a basis for it, that self-made men are those who, rising from the ranks of the poor, have become rich through their own efforts. Our world is given so much to measuring, everything in terms of money and wealth that unless a man succeeds in accumulating wealth he is not considered successful! Such a false and, moreover, a degrading standard must be rejected if we desire to make a worth-while contribution to the progress of the world. Who then should be regarded as a self-made man? One who has educated himself into a position where he is not tossed about by the currents of life which surround him, but controls them; nay more, shapes those currents of life, moulds the very powers of existence. If we classify self-made men thus, we make room for those who have accumulated material wealth, but who use it not for self-aggrandisement and personal glorification, but for the common good of their fellows, and thus do take part in the moulding of the destiny of the race and the country to which they belong.

 

How is a self-made man born? How does he come

 

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into being ? By self-education, By educating himself he has grown such mental limbs, such moral proportions, that he is able to sway the destiny of all who contact him, the destiny of his land and of his people. It is of such self-education and such self-growth that I want to speak to you this afternoon. Proceeding from the mass of humanity to which he belongs we must see what the individual can do with himself.

 

It is impossible to study any vital subject which affects the well-being of people without perceiving this intimate union between the individual and the human race to which he belongs. There is a deeper and a truer view of heredity than is generally accepted, and it reveals that a man not only inherits tendencies and characteristics from his parents and grandparents, but that he also is heir to the capacities and the deficiencies, the virtues and the vices, of the race and the country in which he is born. Thus, you, my Muslim brothers, each one of you is a noble heir to the legacy of Islam---and what a legacy! The legacy of Muhammad and of Arabia, of Ali and the Sufis, the legacy of the beauty of the Alhambra, the learning of Cordoba, the legacy of Akbar, the greatest of the Moguls, and of Abul Fazl, his wise minister. It is in great and noble soil that the consciousness of each of you is directly rooted. In your bones is the earth conquered by the Moors, in your brains is the stuff dreamt of by generations of singers and poets and kings. And more---and certainly the greatest of your privileges---belonging to this most ancient of lands, you have imbibed the influence and have been inspired by the deeds of generations of Hindus, many of whom embracing the

 

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sword of Islam accepted the creed of Allah. Out of that vast and long past you emerge---and what a vista of the future lies before you! What will you do with the future---each one of you individually? For, once again, it. is the individual who, educating himself, grows and becomes the educator of millions. Individuals make the race, as soldiers build an army. Your tremendous and inspiring past is in your hands---it comes to you as a trust, for you to use now and here in moulding your own fate, in shaping your own character, so that in the days to come you may help your brothers of other communities to mould and shape the destiny of our India, whom we all love, whom all of us desire to serve.

 

This line of thought must show you that you have all ready in your hands a wealth to use, a weapon with which to destroy the evil and the weakness in you, a veritable chisel with which to knock off bits of hard and unwanted stone so that the beautiful Soul in each one of you may emerge like a statue from a block of marble. Immediately we have given a meaning to the expression "self-education," that is, the education of the self-rejection, destruction, transmutation of the lower and the animal self, and the creation of the higher, the divine, the noble Self. Growth of the Soul, the real Self, results from education of the lower or personal self. Iblis and Allah are engaged in an eternal Jehad, the Holy War, and the battlefield is the heart of man. We want to examine this ancient Sufi doctrine in the light of modern knowledge, and may I take this opportunity to appeal to you not to neglect, not to overlook, the mystical element in your religion,

 

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the esoteric or occult side of Islam, which has a very significant message for the entire world of to-morrow. Do not reject religion and become materialistic. Do not forget science and become superstitious. Make your religion scientific, and your science religious.

 

Modern psychologists are not yet in a position to accept the propositions of Asiatic psychology---whether Hindu or Buddhistic or Islamic. But there are indications, there are signs, that the most advanced Western psychologists are fast approaching the triple division of consciousness which was fully accepted and explained in the ancient Eastern world. We hear a great deal nowadays about the subconscious, normal consciousness and the superconscious. But very little practical attempt is made to press into the service of education the findings and the teachings of our old Asiatic psychology.

 

For the proper study of our subject of self-education and self-growth it is necessary for us to have some clear idea about our own human self and our own human constitution. When we speak of educating the self, what do we mean? Who is the educator in us? What is it that is being educated? The Bhagavad-Gita, which, by the way, you ought to study, speaks of raising the self by the Self, and says that the Self is the friend of self, and self is also its own enemy. What does it mean? There are two selves in each one of us, the lower and the higher. It is the lower self which is to be raised, through education; and it is the Higher Self who is the Teacher and the Friend, the Educator who can guide and lead each one of us to supernal heights.

 

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In our normal consciousness, as ordinary human beings, there are two strata, representing respectively Good and Evil, Allah and Iblis, Christos and Satan, Krishna and Kansa, Buddha and Mara, Ahura Mazda and Ahriman. Man is man everywhere, and as Al-Quran teaches: "Wheresoever ye turn there is the face of Allah." (II. 109) So all of us must learn to acquire the universal view-point. Every man, Hindu or Muslim, Christian or Jew, it matters not, has within him the Light, the Nur of Allah; there are no kafirs in the kingdom of God. But there is an infidel, a kafir, in each one of us, and when we break the Law of Nature it is the infidel who is to the fore. When a Muslim lies or lusts, he is the infidel; when a Muslim drinks or hates, he is the infidel. So each one of us is divine and demoniac, a mixture of good and evil. Hence in our normal consciousness sometimes worth-while expressions manifest, and at other times worthless ones show

themselves.

 

Now, what is the subconscious? It is that aspect---of our being which in religious, psychologic and mystical language may be described as the Tempter. The aggregate of lower tendencies, of weaknesses, of bad habits and so forth, which from time to time overpower our normal consciousness and being, these are the subconscious or the lower self. Surging up from the lower part of our body and nature, this force or power of the tempter within overrules the heart of love and the head of wisdom. Those men and women who fall prey to it, who do not fight it, who will not overthrow it, such fail in the sublime task of self-education. Like a boa-constrictor it twists round the

 

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whole tree of our being and breaks us in two, nay, in a hundred pieces. This serpent of self, hiding within us, curled up, hissing from time to time, with the power to destroy with its fangs our very Soul this is the subconscious. Beware, I say, of following the method of the modern psycho-analyst, and, by touching it and probing into it, arousing it. There is a world of wisdom in the Oriental proverb, "Let the serpent sleep!" And we find its equivalent in the West in the expression, "Let sleeping dogs lie! "

 

Turning from that lower pole to the other pole, let us ask---what is superconsciousness? It is that aspect of our being which may be named the Genius within us, the Divine Ruler, sitting at the core of our consciousness. Into our normal everyday consciousness the afflatus of Divinity can and should descend from time to time, if not continuously. Within our brain are cavities which modern science finds empty, and there are tiny glands whose true function is unknown; but the ancients knew it---the Alchemists of Islam, the Sufi Mystics, knew it. The power of our divine, spiritual and superior Self falls into our brain cavities and heart chambers like lightning and kindles the great Fire of Wisdom, lights the glorious Light of Compassion. Those men and women who prepare themselves by true self-education receive this Light of Genius, this Strength of Divine Heroes, this Effulgence of real Kings. Such persons become the true leaders and guides of their peoples and of the world. It is to such spiritual leadership, my friends, that India and the world call you.

 

You will naturally exclaim: "The method, please !

 

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The way!" If I have delayed, dwelling on general principles, and have taken time to describe the constitution of man, it is not only because these are more suitable for a public lecture, but also because a clear knowledge of these principles is the first step, the preliminary requisite. You cannot undertake the education and foster the growth of your own self until you know the nature and the character of that self! Secondly, you must have already noticed that the objective, the central purpose of the process, has been described. What is it? The curbing, controlling, purifying of the lower, the subconscious, or personal self; the energizing, the evoking, the impressing of the superconsciousness in us so that the light of Genius, the freedom of Kingship and the valour of Heroism may manifest themselves. As soldiers of Islam, please never forget the great Islamic proclamation that the pen is mightier than the sword. Take the words of power left behind by great pens and with those swords of ideas cut your cowardice in two, slay the foe of foes, your own egotism and selfishness. And remember in that connection the great saying of the Buddha: " He who conquers himself is mightier than the conqueror of worlds."

 

Now, is there any Ideal, any Talisman, any Taviz, any Mantra, which would facilitate this dual task---of eliminating the lower subconscious activities and of engendering the higher, superconscious inspiration in our normal daily lives? For Muslims I do not know of any better verse than a teaching plainly given in the traditions of Islam. I am purposely quoting Muslim authorities, because you will more quickly rise

 

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above the heresy of separateness if you destroy the superstition and arrogance with which sectarians have corrupted your faith, as sectarians have every other religious creed. There is enough of Universality and Impersonality in your own religious Teachings. Listen to this:---

 

God said: "My servant draws nigh unto me by work of supererogation, and I love him; and when I love him, I am his ear, so that he hears by Me, and his eye, so that he sees by Me, and his tongue, so that he speaks by Me, and his hand, so that he takes by Me. "

 

Sublime! What are works of supererogation? Works not absolutely required of each person for his own salvation, but which are done for the sake of greater perfection. To be good, to be charitable, to be faithful, to be loyal, to be kind---these all are our duties; they are not works of supererogation. Take your own stage and station in life: to pass examinations at your schools and colleges, that is your duty; but to take yourself in hand, to mould yourself in the likeness of the future Hero, so that your charity and your justice become the same, your wisdom and your love become the same, your actions and your sacrifices become the same, those are works of supererogation. Self-education is bringing out in your head knowledge, and in your heart wisdom, that quality of divine purity which unites all men in a vast and glorious Brotherhood.

 

Ask yourselves, then---do you hear through your ears voices and words fit for Allah, the Divine and Universal Self; do you see through your eyes sights

 

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and scenes which are worthy of the Self's beholding; do you speak the language suited to God's Holiness; and do you act in the daily duties of life the part of the One Omnipresent Deity? That is the test, for that is the goal. We must measure our success or our failure in education and in growth by the standard of Divinity. And so I shall close by reading again the words of your own holy Islamic Tradition, in which you will find all that you need to educate yourselves, to grow into the splendid pattern of Allah Himself:---

 

God said: "My servant draws nigh unto me by work of supererogation, and I love him; and when I love him, I am his ear, so that he hears by Me, and his eye, so that he sees by Me, and his tongue, so that he speaks by Me, and his hand, so that he takes by Me. "

 

 

 

 

 

THE PHILOSOPHY OF MORTIFICATION

 

A LECTURE DELIVERED UNDER THE AUSPICES OF THE UNITED LODGE OF THEOSOPHISTS AT BOMBAY ON THE SEVENTH OF JANUARY, 1934.

 

 

FRIENDS,

 

It is a well-known fact that every religion lays down for its votaries Some discipline of life, and every discipline without exception advocates control of all vices, control of sense-life. This discipline of control demands mortification of one kind or another, and among such mortifications is fasting. We want to study together the philosophy underlying mortification, and it is appropriate, for our Muslim brothers are now observing the Fast of Ramzan. And this will help us all to gain knowledge and understanding of the principles of what a fast means and why it is so often recommended. This knowledge seems all the more necessary since numerous people nowadays rush to fast for this, that and the other thing, because of the high value Gandhiji has placed on the institution of the Fast.

 

Let us approach the subject from the Muslim point of view. In the second chapter of Al-Quran, the month of Ramzan is named as a suitable month for fasting and mortification. And why this particular month of Ramzan? For a double reason First, it was during the month of Ramzan that Muhammad had the first vision, heard the first message, which revealed to Him the mission of His own life. Hence, the month of Ramzan is looked upon as holy and

 

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sacred, for in this month began the work of the Prophet of Arabia. That is one reason. But why observe a fast and why mortify ourselves instead of rejoicing and making merry that the mission of the Prophet began? That brings us to the second reason. Muhammad Himself was fasting, was mortifying Himself, when He had this vision. It is a very interesting story, and as students of psychology and of the psychical sciences it would be well for us to look into it.

 

Allow me, therefore, to give you in a few words the background of the birth of the religion of Islam. It was the seventh century of the Christian era. The influence of Judaism and of Christianity had penetrated into the deserts of Arabia, and had mixed and mingled with the native culture, of which the holy place now famous as Mecca offers a good example. The people of Mecca were proud of their descent from Abraham through Ishmael, and they worshipped at their temple which they claimed had been founded by Abraham himself. This temple is even to-day famous as the House of Allah---the Ka'bah. The Ka'bah existed long, long before the days of Muhammad. Madame Blavatsky described this temple as "not large but very original." She says that it is "of a cubical form 23 by 24. cubits in length and breadth and 27 cubits high, with only one aperture on the East side to admit light." But let me read to you what she writes :---

 

In the north-east corner is the "black-stone" of Kaaba, said to have been lowered down direct from heaven and

 

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to have been as white as snow, but subsequently it became black, owing to the sins of mankind. The "white stone," the reputed tomb of Ismael, is in the north side and the place of Abraham is to the east.

 

It is interesting to remember this, for once again the relic of an older religion passes on into the new. It was at Mecca, where this temple was, that Muhammad was born. It was at the Ka'bah that He worshipped long years before His vision and His mission. Nay more in order to show you once again that every prophet is a reformer and a protestant, it is necessary to draw your attention to the fact that many people of Mecca, and among them Muhammad Himself, were dissatisfied with the social and religious corruption prevalent at that time. A number of stone idols had been erected at the Ka’bah and these were known as Intercessors between man and God and were called the "Daughters of God." A reaction against this religious corruption had set in, and many good as well as studious men had given up formalism in religion and were seeking Truth. Such people tried to find out what Abraham of old had taught, and took an attitude towards religious practices and beliefs somewhat like that of the true agnostic. They did not disbelieve, but they wanted to know and were full of doubts. But these people recognized that within themselves were Light and Guidance and Inspiration. Among them was young Muhammad. He was a Hanif, that is, belonging to this growing band of enquirers known as Hunafa. So please note that, born and brought up in orthodoxy, Muhammad had revolted. Add another fact-Muhammad through His marriage

 

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with Khadijah, the wealthy widow, fifteen years His elder, had obtained a good social status; for she was rich; in fact, she had employed young Muhammad as a merchant, and he looked after her interests so well and so worthily that she married Him, and His own conduct earned for Him the title of the Trustworthy, Al-Amin. He was already known as Al-Amin and also as Hanif prior to His first vision.

 

Now, Muhammad in His search for religious Truth undertook a practice of retiring with his family, for one month every year. His place of retreat was a desert hill near Mecca known as Hira---now world famous, for it was at this place that the first Message was heard by Muhammad. The time was the month of Ramzan. In this retreat Muhammad fasted and prayed, holding communion with His own Soul, on Mount Hira. It is reported that Gabriel showed Himself to Muhammad and said: "0 Muhammad, Thou art Allah's Messenger and I am Gabriel." Somewhat disconcerted, in distress of mind, for He may have disapproved of mediumistic and psychic intercourse, Muhammad came to His wife and related the vision; her reassurances gave Him self-confidence. On their return to Mecca she took Him to a very old man who knew the Scriptures of the Jews and the Christians, and this old man declared that the heavenly Messenger who had come to Moses had now come to Muhammad. Thus assured, Muhammad took His mission seriously and earnestly, and commenced to labour as the Prophet of God.

 

You might well ask---but what has all this to do with the philosophy of mortification? I purposely

 

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wanted to approach the subject from the Muslim point of view, so that we might know why some of our Muslim friends are observing the Fast of Ramzan. We get two teachings from this particular incident in the life of Muhammad. One, the efficacy of silent meditation and of right mortification, resulting in some inner vision; secondly, a more important factor this, Muhammad had undertaken the retreat for self-exercise---the practice of soul and sense control. The fast was not imposed upon Him; the retreat was not a matter of orthodox injunction: the retreat and all that it meant was undertaken by Muhammad for His own discipline and His own penance; it was self-induced and self-devised. It was an anti-orthodox action.

 

And that brings us to our first principle. Never take up a psychological and religious exercise merely because some holy book, some religious text, says so. Try to understand its rationale. Enquire into its meaning. All penance, all mortification, as all contemplation and meditation, must result from an inner urge. Unless there is that urge of the Soul good results will not come. Take our Muslim friends who are fasting. The mere act of fasting, observing the letter of the law, will not bring spiritual vision or unfold Soul-power. That is why, year after year, the orthodox observe fasting in the month of Ramzan and yet make no progress. It is not physical fast alone which Al-Quran requires. No, we must be moved not by the letter that killeth, but by the Spirit which giveth life. The first principle of true Soul-exercises is that the inner movement of the Spirit must precede

 

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the outer movement. Soul before mind; mind before senses and the body.

 

As regards fasting, this principle was well enunciated by the Chinese Sages of old. We come across it in the old records. It is said that, in the days of old, one Yen Hui came to the Sage Confucius, and said: "Master, I cannot go further in the Spiritual Life. I venture to ask for the right method."

 

Confucius replied: "That method is fasting. You have the method in a word, but how will you fast? "

 

Yen Hui answered: "We are poor. We cannot afford to drink, nor do we eat horse or cow, goose or pigeon, nor even onions and garlic. Can this be regarded as fasting? "

 

The Sage replied---please note the answer: "It is fasting appropriate enough, but it is not the fasting of the mind."

 

"And may I enquire what fasting of the mind is?

And the Wise One answered: "Maintain a perfect unity in every movement of your will."

 

   " How? "

And the Teacher explained: "You will not wait for the hearing of your ears, but for the hearing of your mind. And not even for the hearing of the mind, but for the hearing of the Spirit." So, Spirit first, mind next, body last. That is the right order, ever and ever.

 

Soul-Science which advocates control of the senses or purification of the evil in us, always says: "From conscience to mind and feelings, and then to body and actions." The same again is true for the acquirement of Wisdom: true knowledge comes first in the Soul, and then only to the mind and the brain.

 

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Theosophy is the rational explanation of all things and of all phenomena. We have, therefore, to obtain an explanation as to each and every kind of mortification. It is a self-evident fact to everyone that we have within us weaknesses, vices, evil. The very fact that we are able to recognize that we have these weaknesses and this evil is clearly indicative of the existence of that which in us is the Recognizer. What is there in us, who is there in us, who says: "I have such and such a weakness. I am proud, or I am fearful, or I am jealous"? The Soul in us is the Perceiver, the Observer, the Recognizer. If we had no Soul we should not register our own limitations. A soulless man has not the capability of naming and describing his own vices. Take an example. Take jealousy---one of the most powerful forces, one which raises the thickest fog, blinding, maddening. When the mood of jealousy rises in a man he is like one drunk intoxicated with fumes so powerful that the Soul fails to bring help or guidance; the man becomes soulless, at least for the time being. Now this is a very important lesson in psychology: as long as we are able to note, to register and to analyse our vicious tendencies and our moods, so long the Recognizer who is the Soul is there. So do not be dejected even when you are overwhelmed with your weaknesses---moral lapses or mental limitations; as long as you note and recognize them you have within reach the guidance and the help of your own Divinity within you. But, on the other hand, if you do not take adequate measures for the eradication of the vicious tendencies and positive weaknesses you have already recognized, then you are acting most unwisely. When a

 

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man recognizes his weakness and takes no step to overcome it, he faces two dangers. First, that weakness is bound to gather strength and to grow; and secondly, the voice of conscience and the guidance of the Soul will become weaker and weaker, and in the struggle between the lower and the higher in each one of us, the lower will win out.

 

It is for this reason that all Spiritual Teachers have recommended mortifications. Because mortifications weaken the lower, Muhammad recommended a month of self-denial, a month of fasting, but the term "fast," and the philosophy of fasting, must be properly understood. Similarly, there is among the Christians the season of Lent, a period of forty days of fasting. But like all other religious practices this rite of fasting for a period has become a mechanical and an outer thing, an empty shell from which Life and Wisdom have fled. In the example of Muhammad, as we saw; It was his dissatisfaction with the orthodoxy of the time that set him to search for the Truth of Soul Life; and in order to gain Wisdom He undertook a retreat of which fasting was but one item. The great Buddha advocated daily mortification: the Panchasila, the Five Don'ts---kill not, steal not, lie not, lust not, drug not-these teach every true Buddhist to mortify himself along the true lines and this mental fasting produces beneficial material results.

 

But so far as I know the most complete exposition, authoritative because most reasonable, and most reasonable because self-evident, is to be found in the Bhagavad-Gita. The key to the philosophy of mortification

 

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is to be found in verses 5 and 6 of the seventeenth discourse. Let us look at them :---

 

Those who endure gory austerities contrary to Holy Writ, wedded to hypocrisy and egotism, imbued with the strength of passion and power, thoughtlessly torturing the lives [assemblage of body-dwelling beings] which make up the body and Me seated in the innermost Heart----they are of Asuric, infernal, tendency.

 

Here we come across a fundamental proposition of Asiatic psychology and of Theosophy. First, there is the Soul, representing the spiritual pole in man, or Krishna who is residing, abiding in the body. Secondly, the composition of the body---it is made up of hosts or hierarchies of beings---we call them "lives" in Theosophical parlance. These body-dwelling beings or lives constitute the second factor, the Soul being the first. Between these two, in the middle so to speak, is the ordinary man incarnate who says: "I am So-and-So." This Incarnated Soul, this person, has an attitude towards the spiritual Krishna, and also towards the material body-dwellers or lives. If we forget our duty to the lives of the body and torture them, we take a wrong or faulty course. And so we come across the practical important teaching, namely, that mortification or tapas, if it injures the lives which make up the body, is not real mortification. To compel a body to do that which injures the health of the body is wrong; it means that in our Ahamkara, egotism, we have assumed that our body can do something, that we ourselves wedded to kama cannot do. If it is wrong to pamper the body and to allow it to have its

 

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own way, it is also wrong to torture the body and to compel it to act beyond its means and its capacities. Tapas-mortification-must be pleasing to Ishvara, the Lord in the Heart. This is the teaching of Eastern Occultism. Remember that aphorism: "Tapas must be pleasing to Ishvara."

           

Now, it is most significant that immediately after this injunction Krishna proceeds in the Gita to classify the three kinds of foods. Fasting is one form of tapas; and to fasting also the general principle applies, namely, that it must be pleasing to Ishvara. The Gita does not directly say anything about fasting; it names what foods are eaten by men and women of different temperaments. But in the same seventeenth discourse three kinds or types of tapas, mortification, are described. What are they? Tapas or mortification of the body, of speech and of mind. Curious as it may look, in the mortification of the body there is no mention of actual fasting. I shall only read to you the items :---

 

Worshipping the Devas or Gods

                     the Dvijas or Twice-born

                     the Gurus or Teachers

                     the Prajna or Wise Ones

 

Practising Saucam---Purity

                 Arjanam---Rectitude

                 Brahmacharyam---Chastity

                 Ahimsa---Harmlessness

 

Thus, we must become worthy of relationship with four kinds of holy beings through the practice of four virtues---this is mortification or penance of the body.

 

Time presses, otherwise we should go into details and see more clearly what is implied by such tapas.

 

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Similarly, there is no time left to understand the mortification of speech and of mind. But we must note how, or by what actual process, these mortifications are to be performed. The Gita says that not only is tapas threefold, of body, of speech and of mind, but further it is threefold also in its method. These mortifications have to be practised in the right way. What is it? We must have Shraddha, Faith, in the mortification we are performing; we must not look to the result or the fruit; we must not say, "I expect such and such an outcome of this penance." But we must perform tapas or mortification because it is right so to perform it, and that is possible because of our Faith in what we undertake. Any tapas or penance undertaken for gaining popularity, though performed with knowledge, is unstable and uncertain, while that performed without knowledge and in ignorance is dark and tamasic.

 

And now we must close. Our study this evening has once again shown the real power of Theosophy. Is it not wonderful that the action and the injunction of the Prophet of Arabia, seen by the light of the Gita, brings us added inspiration, brings us more enlightenment? In this Lodge we always endeavour to break down the barriers that the creeds of the religions erect; we teach and advocate not only tolerance towards all religions, but an understanding and an appreciation of all religious philosophies. We attempt to make men and women not only broad in tolerance, but also deep in wisdom. This Lodge sends each one of us more and more to the Light of Allah, of Christos, of Krishna within us. Touching that Holy Light within, we feel the Great

 

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Presence and then we recognize our Manhood superior to Hindu-hood or Parsi-hood or Muslim-hood. Man, Manushya, is higher and grander and nobler than religious creed or social status can make him. Theosophy frees the man from all limitations.

 

Thus, we have learnt what right tapas or mortification is. Let us close with a thought of Those who have come to the end of mortification---the Great Tapasvis who through lives of effort have freed Themselves from impurity of body, harshness of speech, wavering of the mind; who have defeated the foes of man-hardness of heart, rigidity of mind, craving of the senses. And our thoughts, directed towards Those Holy Ones, will bring us strength to fight our own foes of blood and brain, and to rise triumphant, members of that Godly Company of the---Immortals.

 

 

NANAK---THE GURU OF THE SIKHS

 

A SHORT TALK DELIVERED UNDER THE AUSPICES OF THE SIKH ASSOCIATION AT BOMBAY ON THE FOURTEENTH OF NOVEMBER, 1935.

 

 

FRIENDS,

 

In their invitation to us all to participate in a holy festival, the anniversary of Guru Nanak, the Sikh Association made use of a noble saying of the great Teacher: "None is my, enemy, none an outsider, all are mine, my brethren." Sikhism is a distinct and separate religion to-day; but as this very saying shows Nanak did not establish that separate religion. Like His illustrious Predecessors, Jesus in the West or Confucius in the East, Nanak inaugurated a spiritual reformation. He belongs to a long line of spiritual reformers whose superb works grace the pages of Indian history. In that line of reformers His own immediate Predecessor was Kabir, and to that same line the illustrious Buddha Himself, the Great Enlightened One, belonged. These spiritual reformers ever endeavour to free Indian men and women from the fetters of caste and the superstition of creed; they offer knowledge and show a Way of Life. No prophet ever came to establish a new sect; all prophets but show the Path of Noble Living, and Nanak did the same.

 

What India needs to-day, what the whole world needs to-day, is not a new sectarian religion, but the old, old Way of Life. Not by blind beliefs does a man obtain peace or wisdom; but by living righteously, by treading the Noble Way, Arya-Marga, man attains to

 

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Enlightenment which is Joy, and to Sacrifice which is Service. It is that Way of the Nobles, the Aryas, which Krishna and Buddha taught in ancient days, and which Guru Nanak once again showed to a people who had become weakened by priestcraft and darkened by ignorance. He began His mission early in life, and the epoch He put his stamp upon was the last quarter of the fifteenth century. Let me narrate to you the story of how Nanak handled the pandit appointed by His father to teach Him the alphabet. When the pandit began, Nanak looked straight into his eyes: "Can you really teach me something?" He asked. " Then teach me the way to free myself from bondage."

 

The pandit was angry. "What do you know about bondage and liberation? "

 

"I am a mere boy, but I can tell you something, " said Nanak. "Listen, and you will learn to read and write words in their true sense! Burn attachment, rub it well, and pour a little water of wisdom and you have ink. Let your intelligence be the paper and write with the pen of love and begin: 'Praise to the Infinite and the Unknowable. ' "

 

That was how Nanak began His mission. I need not repeat His sane argument with the purohit who offered Him the sacred thread. When' He grew up to be a young man, His father wanted Him to earn a livelihood and tried to persuade Him in a variety of ways, but Nanak had always a ready answer, as for example on the occasion when the father suggested that He keep a shop. "But, father, I do keep shop. My shop is made up of time and space and is stored with truth and self-control I have a few customers

 

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and they profit who buy from me and I accumulate that wealth which service brings."

 

His iconoclastic attitude to formalism and ritualism in religion comes out well in the words He uttered at the holy city of Hardwar. He arrived there, accompanied by His faithful friends, Bala and Mardana. One morning, at the beautiful bathing-ghat where pilgrims facing the sun were performing religious rites, came Nanak and His two friends. Nanak saw the pilgrims throwing water eastwards towards where the sun was. Nanak gently slipped into the Ganga, turned to the west and began throwing water westwards. There was a quick commotion! The Brahmanas shouted: "Who are you? To what caste do you belong? From which---village do you come ?"

 

"I have no caste, " said Nanak. "As to my native village, it is that where there is neither day nor night. " “Foolish fellow," murmured one of the Brahmanas, "let me tell you what to do."

 

Nanak asked, "What are these wise fellows all doing? "

 

“Don't you know? They are giving water to their dear departed ones," explained the Brahmana.

 

“I am right, then," said Nanak. “I have a field in my village and I am trying to irrigate it."

 

"Ignorant fellow!" said the pandit. "How can the water reach there?"

 

“In the same way," replied Nanak, "as the water thrown by these friends will reach the dear departed ones." And He added, "0 wise Pandit, and 0 ye misguided men, learn that a man reaps what he himself sows."

 

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On another occasion when He was asked whether He was a Hindu or a Muslim, He said: "If I say I am a Hindu, I shall be giving you a wrong impression; but I am not a Muslim. Five elements compose this body, and within the Unmanifest plays. "

 

I could keep you long here telling you many stories of Nanak who had a tremendous sense of humour; also, I could give you a long lecture on the spiritual philosophy which He taught. But this is not the occasion for either. What can modern India obtain as a practical message from the life and teachings of Guru Nanak? What would He say to us all who live in India in these strange and troublous times?

 

First, Nanak would attack the folly of racial and religious divisions which prevail to-day. He would blame, by making fun of them, the proud Brahmana, the dogmatic Mussulman, the exclusive Englishmen, and even His own follower, the martial Sikh. He would say to them all: "Perish the ritual by which you forget the True! Castes are folly, labels of names are folly; by abiding pure amid the impurities of the world, the way of religion is found. "

 

It is lack of unity and brotherliness which befogs our vision; it is egotism and ahamkara which cause evil and its progeny---suffering. Therefore, Guru Nanak would inspire everyone to fight against his own lower nature. He would say to us all, repeating His graphic words:---

 

Renounce evil, cultivate virtue, evil brings suffering. Those who do not discriminate between a clear reservoir and a dirty pool, sink in the morass. Soiled within by

 

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the dirt of greed and falsehood, why wash the outside? Cleanse thyself of greed, falsehood and calumny.

 

But how to overcome these weaknesses? How to cleanse ourselves of greed, falsehood and calumny? The Guru would recommend each one of us to undertake the quest of wisdom and obtain knowledge, so that we may fight the evil within. Not in some one book, but from that of which the Adi Grantha Sahab is a superb symbol. Just as the fifth Guru, Arjunmal, gathered together the teachings of his predecessors, so each one of us must seek the ever constant and consistent Truths which have come down to us, age after age, from every quarter of the globe, for in those Truths we obtain what all of us are seeking-Peace and Happiness and Enlightenment and the Power to serve and to sacrifice. Thus we would realize the truth of Guru Nanak's Message with which we shall dose:---

 

You say, 0 pundits: "As darkness is dispelled when a lamp is lighted,

 

So by reading the Vedas sinful inclinations are destroyed!" I say to you: "When the sun riseth the moon is not seen. Where divine knowledge appeareth, ignorance is dispelled."

 

 

 

THE FELLOWSHIP OF FAITHS

 

PRESIDENTIAL SPEECHES DELIVERED AT A MEETING UNDER THE AUSPICES OF THE ALL FAITHS LEAGUE AT BOMBAY ON THE TWENTY-NINTH OF MARCH, 1934.

 

FRIENDS,

 

This is the first public meeting convened in Bombay by the All Faiths League, which was brought into existence last year. The heresy of separateness is the sin of our civilization, and especially in our country differences of opinion on communal and national problems do grave and grievous harm. Perhaps in no country of the world to-day is the injury done to the people by sectarianism so great as in our India. We have differences in social manners and customs which in themselves are an obstacle; but add to them religious differences leading to intolerance and fanaticism, and you can well perceive how very beneficent the work of such a movement as the All Faiths League could be made. A question may be asked: But how can tolerance and friendliness among a few leaders of different religious denominations really and in an appreciable measure help to promote unity among the large numbers of the masses? We answer: Teach the leaders to recognize the value not only of tolerance but of appreciation of religious philosophies other than their own and their example will inspire the masses. True appreciation does not come through mere social parties, nor by avoiding in the name of tolerance honest and intelligent discussion of the various points of view. Some actual study is essential. And this League proposes to take

 

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up the task of bringing together for such study leaders and others o(all communities, all creeds, all persuasions, including the atheists and the rationalists, for they too have their own faiths, and thus it hopes to produce some harmony and unity, first in our city of Bombay, and then in the country at large. To-day, for our first public meeting, we have a good programme. *

 

Five able speakers have put before you ideas and views which can all be linked up, and it is necessary that they be so linked up. Swami Vishvananda struck the note of the unity of all religions, and thus has reminded you of the very basis and foundation of the work of the All Faiths League. The differences between religions are superficial, the underlying unity is deep and grand. But we live in an age of superficiality and so people, in their ignorance, their shallowness and their superstition, cling to superficialities and nonessentials, taking little or no cognizance of the deeper facts of life, and the sublimest of those facts is that man is divine in his own higher or spiritual nature. Not a miserable worm, born in iniquity and sin, but a veritable God in the making. All men, all women, in their innermost natures are of one essence, one substance. If this is the philosophical and metaphysical aspect presented in all great religions, the ethical aspect of the same truth is also offered by every Prophet and every Sage. What is that? The service of man

 

* The following five were the speakers at the meeting :---

I. Swami Vishvananda.  2, Dr. Clifford Manshardt.   3. Mr. A. R. Dimtimkar. 4. Raja ]ai Prithvi Bahadur Singh of Bajanc, Nepal.

5. Mr. R. P. Masani.

 

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qua man. The religion of service about which Dr. Manshardt spoke to us so practically is the common feature of all creeds, but once again a feature the highest aspect of which is often forgotten---for it is the service of man irrespective of his sex and creed, of his caste and class, of his race and religion. Our Muslim brother gave us a message. You will permit me to read a short quotation from Al-Quran. Islam is said to be a fanatical religion; but what did the Prophet of Arabia say?

 

Invite men unto the way of thy Lord, by wisdom and mild exhortation; and reason with them in the better way; for thy Lord well knoweth those who are rightly directed. If ye punish, then punish with the like of that wherewith ye were afflicted: but if ye suffer wrong patiently, verily this will be better for the patient. Wherefore do thou bear opposition with patience: but thy patience shall not be practicable unless with Allah's assistance. And be not thou grieved on account of the unbelievers; neither be thou troubled for that which they subtly devise; for Allah is with those who keep their duty unto Him and those who are doers of good. Chapter xvi. 125-128.

 

It is this spirit of the Prophet which the Muslim members of the League must evince, and the example which they will then set will not only shed glory on their own religion of Islam, but also inspire their less educated co-religionists. Then, we had a plea from Mr. Masani, and not only a plea but also an appeal, to do all that we can to make this city of Bombay unsectarian. Religious feuds and riots have tarnished the city's fair name in the past; let us all join hands to wipe out that blot; nay more---let us so endeavour,

 

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that Bombay may offer to the rest of India a great and noble example of true unsectarianism and liberality. As each country unites in the spirit of real Brotherhood, a basis for international understanding will be secured, as was ably explained by the last speaker.

 

But neither meetings nor orations will bring about that desired consummation. By what process can the rise and the growth of unsectarianism take place? Allow me to submit to you the idea that by one method only can man and groups of men succeed in cultivating the unsectarian spirit. That one method is that of self-education, self-discipline, and self-reformation. The failure of religions consists in their powerlessness to mould the affairs of life. At present, in every country, and in every stratum of society, there is a divorce between religious beliefs and daily living. The Hindu who believes in and reads the Gita and the Upanishads does not allow their influence to percolate into the routine of politics or social reform. The Parsi who repeats "good thoughts, good words, good deeds," repeats it mechanically, and sin in thought, and especially sin in speech, are not even recognized. And similarly with the Hebrew and the Christian and the Muslim! The Spirit of Religion is absent; only its shell exists and so we have gross superstitions, crass rivalries, and religious bigotries.

 

How then can we destroy the superstitions of the many religious sects so that the light of the One Truth, the One Religion, may shine forth? One of the tasks before this League should be precisely that the spreading of the knowledge of true Religion, and the first item in that knowledge is that Religion is not a

 

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matter of belief and lip-profession, not a matter of external and mechanical observances, not a matter of dogmas and rites, but one of daily living, hourly striving. People do not live by the knowledge of Religion; they can and they should endeavour so to live; and this League must see to it that they are enabled to do so. It is not really so difficult. People apply and make use of ordinary scientific knowledge because that knowledge is presented to them. The scientific knowledge of Religion is not offered to them, and that is why religions to-day have become a mere matter of form and denomination, of ritualism and ceremonialism, of going to the temple, the church, the synagogue or the mosque.

 

Religion in daily life will become easy once the people get accustomed, through knowledge and understanding, to the fundamental proposition that Religion is One and that it unites all men and all women. Just as we have got accustomed to the electric light and other electric appliances because we know how to handle them, so also knowledge of the first principles of the life of Religion will enable people to apply that knowledge in all the affairs of life, day by day. What are some of those first principles?

 

The foremost is the knowledge about man's own relation to great Mother Nature. It is necessary for men and women to learn that within them is a divine potency, and that the Soul is immortal. The impotent and weakening delusion that man is a slave of his destiny and is enchained by his circumstances, must give way to the grand and the noble view that Man is the Maker of his destiny and that it lies in him to rule

 

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his stars. This knowledge that every human being is an immortal Soul and that whatever his stage of evolution he can mould and shape his own character and conduct, is the starting-point of real education. Self education is the education of the self by the Self and the first lesson is that the Inner Soul is the moulder and the maker of all outer events and circumstances. The great Buddha taught :---

 

Pray not! the Darkness will not brighten!

Ask Nought from the Silence, for it cannot speak!

Vex not your mournful minds with pious pains!

Ah ! Brothers, Sisters! seek .

Nought from the helpless gods by gift and hymn,

Nor bribe with blood, nor feed with fruits and cakes;

Within yourselves deliverance must be sought;

Each man his prison makes.

 

This virile attitude of the Soul enables us to discipline ourselves; for naturally we find that opposed to the Soul is our lower nature, full of weaknesses and of follies. To overcome these, not only a distant view of philosophy but a near-at-hand acquaintance with it is absolutely essential.

 

You will notice, friends, that by presenting this fundamental as the first principle of life we have cut right across the distinctions and differences of the many creeds. Man is man in the first place and a Hindu or a Parsi, a Muslim or a Christian, a Hebrew or a Jain, in the second place only. Let each one, man or woman, regain his manhood; let him lose his sectarianism, his religious pride, his communal conceit, and

 

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he will open an era of enlightenment for the benefit of all. The world is made ugly by religious and racial feuds; let this All Faiths League aspire and labour to make it beautiful. A garden is beautiful, and our world can be made into a veritable garden if we recognize that human differences instead of dividing us should harmonize us. In a garden there are giant banyan trees which shade and shelter; there are shrubs that delight the eye; there are bushes of fragrant flowers and there are life-giving herbs. Do they fight with each other and clamour for place and power? If our highest hopes and ideals are realized by us even a little, we shall find that by purifying ourselves, by gaining knowledge of our own Soul nature, we can substantially aid in precipitating a garden of living trees and shrubs. By ourselves gaining a wise attitude to life we can render the highest service to our race. To enable people to gain this wise attitude seems to us the first task before the All Faiths League, and so it is in that task that we invite your active co-operation and your intelligent support.

 

 

 

 

THE SPIRITUAL BASIS OF SOCIAL SERVICE

 

A LECTURE DELIVERED UNDER THE AUSPICES OF THE SOCIAL SERVICE LEAGUE, BOMBAY, ON THE TWENTY-FOURTH OF MARCH, 1936.

 

 

FRIENDS,

 

The completion of a quarter of a century of any honest labour is a cause for rejoicing. For in our civilization of rush and doing many things, but accomplishing only a little, many works are started and then abandoned, and such perseverance extending over a quarter of a century is commendable and exemplary. But when that labour also happens to be one of love and service to our fellow men, our congratulations have to be coupled with appreciation and active support. Therefore, when Mr. Motivala, whose capacity for hard toil is familiar to many of you, brought an invitation from our respected President* for me to participate in the programme of this Silver Jubilee of the Social Service League, the call had to be responded to, and I am glad of the opportunity to be here to-day.

 

In thinking about an appropriate subject naturally my mind turned to the somewhat common notion that the institution of social service comes to us from the West. I do not altogether agree with that view, and no real student of ancient Indian history can accept it. First, looking at the basis of spiritual idealism which we come upon again and again, however far we penetrate into our historical past, we cannot help the conviction growing in us that Service was a canon of

 

 

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life, not only observed by Sages and Saints, but also by priests and princes. And leaving aside the ever-present Idealism, when we come upon actual historical monuments and documents, then no doubt is left in our minds that social service on an extensive scale was practised. Take for example the world-famous Edicts of Asoka, rightly called "sermons in stones." Not only do we find hospitals and doctors and medicinal herbs mentioned for men and women, but also for animals. Not only for the sick and disabled, but also for the healthy, do we find acts of social service undertaken. Proper treatment of slaves and servants was organized. (Slavery is to-day not in our midst, save the slavery to passions and prejudices: but we do employ servants and there seems a great need for educating the employer and not only the employee!) Roads with banyan trees, mango-gardens for recreation, wells dug at every half kos and rest-houses were there. Objectionable practices of animal sacrifices in religious rites were abolished, the Emperor himself setting the example of prohibiting slaughter of animals for the royal table. And more a Department of Social Servants was established composed of Dharma-Mahamatras, and a special set of officers was charged with the control of prostitution and with the supervising of women's morality. A most inspiring piece of royal instruction was issued for these social servants in which the Emperor speaks of all men as his children; and again he asserts: "My highest duty is, indeed, the promotion of the good of all." I could keep you here for a full hour narrating the magnificent social service rendered three centuries before the Christian era in this land of

 

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India, India the Mother of Rama and Krishna, of Buddha and Shankara, of Sita and Savitri. My object, however, is only to draw pertinent attention to the fact that social service as an institution is not of Western origin and does not come to us from the West, but was flourishing centuries before the dawn of the Christian era.

 

And why should we note this fact? Because the soul of social service then was a very different kind of energy from what it is today when we are adopting Occidental modes and methods of work. The motive of social service in the West is as noble as anyone can wish for. The desire to give comfort and status to fallen humanity is truly Aryan; and we cannot feel enough gratitude for the self-sacrificing labours of a whole army of workers labouring in different fields and many spheres. But it is imperative that Indian men and women engaged in social service should familiarize themselves with the moral and spiritual difficulties encountered by front-rank workers in Europe and America. They feel the need of a spiritual background to their work and they are not able to build that background because of the lack of a suitable social philosophy. The pre-war concepts of life, of the status of man, of social order, have completely broken down. The rude shock of finding that the followers of Jesus, called the Prince of Peace, could behave like beasts, has caused an awakening, and men and women are questioning the meaning of religion, of service, of altruism. Many social servants feel that until they have found themselves, and in some measure at least constructed within themselves a centre of peace and order, they

 

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are not able to render help to their fellow-men. More and more thinkers and workers are emphasizing the importance of Spirit without which material benefits help but little. In other words, social reformers and social servants are vaguely feeling the truth fully realized and expressed by the Emperor Asoka that acts of outer service are of little importance unless rooted in spiritual understanding. Therefore did he broadcast moral and spiritual instruction and he was most anxious that the, people should strictly follow the path laid down by Dharma. In one Rock Edict, Asoka proclaims that Bheri-ghosa, the sound of the war-drum, has been transformed into Dharma-ghosa, the proclaiming of Dharma. There was a deep and strong spiritual basis to the work of social amelioration and social uplift which Asoka undertook. And this spiritual basis was derived from the teachings of the great Buddha of whom Asoka was the faithful disciple. We find numerous Slokas and Suttas in the Buddhist Canon advocating that true Soul-charity. In the 'Samyutta Nikaya, for example, mention is made of the good that accrues to---

 

Planters of groves and fruitful trees,

And they who build causeway and dam

And wells construct and watering-sheds,

And to the homeless shelter give.

 

But let us turn from the glories of the past to the abject conditions of the present. We are surrounded by poverty and ignorance, by hunger and disease, and it is not necessary to argue that human duty and moral responsibility call upon us to fight these evils. To Western education we do owe this debt: it has aroused

 

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the dormant good feelings in the hearts of many who have found their way to social service. Lethargy and carelessness had taken possession of the hearts of our people left empty by the departure of spiritual knowledge. Forgetful of their own Wisdom which taught them to perceive the Divine everywhere, they lost sight of the path of human service and human brotherhood. Western education fired many, opened their eyes, stirred their hearts, and a nation-wide renaissance has been in progress. One marked feature, and a highly beneficent feature, is that India is eager to mould her future with the aid of the power of her past. In social service as in other departments of life we must try to utilize the principles of our ancient spiritual philosophy to vitalize and to shape the living present, and in selecting the title of our study this evening I had that central idea in mind. Let us, therefore, turn and look at some of the fundamental ideas which should inspire and guide the social servant in the village as in the town.

 

The basis of any and every form of social service is education. Not only education in the ordinary technical sense---school and college education or education of children and adults---but education of man as man. In an increasing measure the principle of mere charity is going into the background and that of education is coming to the fore. Two ideas are more and more being recognized: first, that the aim of social service should be to make men and women self-supporting; and secondly, that they should be taught to better their own conditions and to improve their own lot by self-effort. Economic relief and moral degradation should not go together---that is clearly perceived; but what

 

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type of effort and education would produce the needed equilibrium between a man's standard of living and his morality is debated in the most advanced social service quarters of London, Paris and New York. The problems, and there has been more than one problem, which have arisen out of the destruction and clearance of slums are problems indeed for which so far adequate solution has not been found. And solutions will not be found until some philosophical principles are discussed and decisions arrived at on the basis of true philosophy. Another problem under discussion may be put thus: which is the more pressing form of social service for the betterment of the people as a whole---to tackle the physical slums with their dirt disease and squalor, or to tackle the slums of the mind in which the rich and the moneyed classes themselves are badly involved? Once again the answer to this question needs a philosophical point of view. Mind, these are posers and problems which are troubling active workers in the most advanced forms of social service. We are bound to come upon them here in India, and sooner rather than later.

 

Now, I wish to submit that in our ancient psychology and philosophy certain fundamental principles are to be found, and in them the right solution of these and of other problems is locked up. Not only should Indian social service organizations adopt them with such modifications as are necessary for our era and conditions, but, further, their action and adoption will lead the way for our co-workers in Western lands. What then are the basic principles in which the poor, illiterate, suffering beneficiaries of social service organizations are

 

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to be educated? And more, the social servants themselves need that same education. Already some efforts are being made to educate future social servants and money is spent on promising young men and women who are sent to Europe and to America to learn this profession of social service. A far more pressing need of modern India seems to me to be a more thorough familiarity with the teachings of our own Indian psychology. The Upanishads and the Gita, the sermons of the Buddha and the Dhammapada, are not to be looked upon only as tomes of profound philosophy but also as practical manuals of psychology which teach us of the make-up of man, of his outlook on his environment and of the method by which he can overcome his obstacles and raise the standard of his own life, not only on the plane of economics, but also on that of morals and of mind. Our ideal social-servant monarch of old, the Emperor Asoka, made himself a graduate not of some foreign academy but of the lore of the Buddha and His illustrious Predecessors.

 

What then are these fundamental principles of human education, of the education of man qua man, which we want to learn and to popularize?

 

First and foremost there is the principle which touches not only a community or a nation, but the whole race of mankind. What is most generally talked about as the problem of untouchability issues forth from the same archetype as what is called the colour problem; and more---from that same archetype springs the world-problem of war. In a variety of ways the sin against Brotherhood expresses itself; high caste and low caste, Hindu-Muslim tension, communal rivalries

 

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and provincial jealousies in our own country spring from a common womb. In this same womb of unbrotherliness are begotten national pride and hatred of other nations, leading to exploitation of the weak by the strong and then to bloody catastrophes. The psychological and philosophical principle offered as a remedy is in our Upanishads and the Gita. In the modern world attention is focused on outer differences; in our ancient literature it is focused on the inner identity. What is the greatest and the most reiterated teaching of these old revered books? That the one indivisible and impartite Self is at the foundation of all things, great and small. The contribution by Indian philosophy of the axiomatic truth of the solidarity of men because of the immanence of Spirit has never been equalled. One can never tire of repeating the inspiring affirmation of Shri Krishna, which is the first of His Vibhutis :---

 

 

"I am the Ego which is seated in the hearts of all beings "---all beings, not in Brahmanas only, not in Hindus only, not in Indians only, not in men only, but in all beings: The One Self, the One Life, the One God, in all men and women all over the world! We speak of mill-hands and office-heads---they are hands and heads of "the One without a second," as the Chandogya Upanishad asserts. And speaking of mill-hands and office-heads, should we not remember the Gita once again :---

 

 

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It has hands and feet everywhere, eyes, heads, mouths and ears everywhere. It is immanent in the world, possessing the vast whole. (XIII. 13)

 

Now, what is the implication of this metaphysical proposition for the practical social service programme? If the hands which move the machine are divine hands, if the mouths of the foremen which give orders are divine mouths, if the heads of the managers which plan all activities are divine heads, can there be rivalry and enmity between labour and capital, between Trade Unions and Mill Owners' Associations? But because poor and starving bodies, or petty and mean minds, or ignorant and uncultured hearts, overpower the recognition of the Divine within all of us, our hands are striking our heads, our mouths are starving our stomachs! Teach the starving poor to look to their own Divinity and soon they will come upon a resourceful ocean of capacity to earn and to feed; but it is not only the starving poor who have to be educated. More terrible is the lot of the employer, the mill-owner, whose avarice and greed have blinded him to his Divinity within himself. In many respects the rich rolling in luxury are to be pitied more than the poverty-stricken men who are being exploited. Out of this principle arises the education of the Spirit in man, the culture of the Soul.

 

Now turn for a moment away from the world of Spirit which unifies and reveals the universe to be divine, and look at our conditions in which the competition of caste against caste, and race against race, flourishes. That was the approach of the great Buddha.

 

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Krishna in the Gita and the Upanishads approached the problem of human misery and human ignorance from the point of view of the Universal Self and dismissed the pain and the poverty of the human kingdom by a mighty sweep of philosophic vision. But the Buddha does not start with metaphysics. He does not start with Brahman and Atman. He starts with the phenomenal world in which sorrow is:---

 

The First Truth is of sorrow. Be not mocked!

Life which ye prize is long-drawn agony:

Only its pains abide; its pleasures are

As birds which light and fly.

 

The magnificent effort of all social service is to remove, to eradicate where possible, to weaken where eradication is not possible, human misery and human sorrow. But how many among the social servants have familiarized themselves with the deep penetration of the Buddha who put His unerring finger on the cause and the cure of human misery and human sorrow? We are spending thousands and lakhs of rupees on a hundred schemes for the alleviation of ignorance and disease and pain. But the root of the trouble has remained untouched. Please do not misunderstand; I am not unappreciative of those who are doing what they can to fight the evils of ignorance and of pain. This Social Service League is doing noble work and deserves what support we can give it. But let us not be blind to the facts of the case. Have we any other root of ignorance and misery to name than the one which the great Tathagata named? What grief springs of itself and springs not of desire? Tanha,

 

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Trishna, Kama---these are the roots of ignorance and of misery, says the Buddha. And because we men and women, mill-hands, and office-heads, social servants who toil and those for whom they toil, do not perceive this stupendous fact, diseases flourish though there are doctors to fight them, misery abounds though there are philanthropists to crush it.

 

So grow the strifes and lusts which make earth's war,

So grieve poor cheated hearts and flow salt tears;

So wax the passions, envies, angers, hates;

So years chase blood-stained years,

With wild red feet ....

 

When Arjuna asked Shri Krishna what is the root cause which impels a man to commit wrong in spite of his divine nature, the Lord gave the same answer which the Buddha did ;---

 

 

It is lust which instigates him. It is passion, sprung from rajas, insatiable, and full of sin. Know this to be the enemy of man on earth. (III. 37).

 

What steps have we taken, what steps are we taking, to fight this enemy of man on earth? What steps did the Buddha take? What did He teach man to enable him to conquer that enemy? The Panchasila, the “five don’ts"; Kill not, steal not, lie not, lust not, drug not. Are we teaching our mill-hands the "five don'ts"? And what is more important still, are we teaching our

 

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office-heads not to kill, and not to steal? The well-furnished offices on Ballard Estate and in the Fort, are they not meant for stealing and for exploiting? Forgive me, but are there not many robbers among them, though of course they are unconscious robbers? I am not saying this as an insult, but only to draw pertinent attention to the fact. And then not to lie---business would be impossible, say our office-heads, without some lies, white lies and even grey ones! But this is not so. And finally not to lust and not to drug! Mr. Motivala and his co-workers would find their task very difficult, more difficult even than now, if they, armed with the Five Precepts, went not only to Parel but also to the Fort, not only to Girgaum but also to Malabar Hill! Be that as it may, I am one of those who are convinced that, Herculean as the task may appear, in the long run the Buddha's way would be found to be the only short-cut. It implies self-reform first and foremost, the living up to the" five don'ts." And speaking of self-reform I cannot close without mentioning that Gandhiji's Sangha is based on that same ethical ideal of the Panchasila in his eleven rules* beginning with non-violence, ahimsa, and ending with universal brotherhood. The creed of Gandhiji's Seva Sangha is not imposed on others, it is self-imposed by its members, and demands rigid self-discipline, and therein lies the secret of its influence and its power, also its grave responsibility.

 

* The eleven rules of Gandhiji's Seva Sangha are: Non-violence, truth, non-stealing, brahmacharya, non-possession, body-labour, control of the palate, fearlessness, equal respect for all religions, svadeshi, and the spirit of unexclusive or universal brotherhood.

 

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I am not divulging any secret to a Bombay audience, or to any audience for the matter of that, when I say that I am a convinced student of Theosophy. In our philosophy we have a very definite outlook on the problems with which the social servant everywhere is concerned. In one of the writings of H. P. Blavatsky, our Teacher, we come upon a definition of what a Theosophist should not neglect. Let me read it to you. It sums up the Theosophical ideal of social
service :---

 

HE WHO DOES NOT PRACTISE ALTRUISM; HE WHO IS NOT PREPARED TO SHARE HIS LAST MORSEL WITH A WEAKER OR POORER THAN HIMSELF; HE WHO NEGLECTS TO HELP HIS BROTHER MAN, OF WHATEVER RACE, NATION, OR CREED, WHENEVER AND WHEREVER HE MEETS SUFFERING, AND WHO TURNS A DEAF EAR TO THE CRY OF HUMAN MISERY; HE WHO. HEARS AN INNOCENT PERSON SLANDERED, WHETHER A BROTHER THEOSOPHIST OR NOT, AND DOES NOT UNDERTAKE HIS DEFENCE AS HE WOULD UNDERTAKE HIS OWN---IS NO THEOSOPHIST.

 

We, therefore, appreciate and admire the efforts that you, Sir, and your colleagues are making. We wish you success and we appeal to the public of this great city to assist you in your endeavours. But we add that during the next twenty-five years your League should shape and mould its work more and more along truly spiritual lines, taking the guidance of India's two great books---the Bhagavad-Gita and the Dhammapada. Let us all join hands to serve the cause of human brotherhood, and in our active labours let us

 

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remember the deeds and the words of the greatest of social servants, Buddha and Asoka, Rama and Krishna. Let us toil to wipe out not only physical poverty, but also spiritual poverty. Let us dream of India as she was in days gone by---Aryavarta, the Land of the Nobles---when from Sopara in the West to Tosali in the East, from Gauri Shankar to Kanya Kumari, a happy and contented people lived by the Light of Dharma when the Rishis taught Wisdom, and when each man and each woman was a priest of life, a servant of society. The future is being built by the present. Let us exert ourselves in the present for the future.

 

That we all labour together, transmitting the same charge and succession ...

 

Till we saturate time and eras, that the men and women of races, ages to come, may prove brethren and lovers as we are.

 

 

EAST AND WEST---THE

CLASH OF CULTURES

 

A LECTURE DELIVERED UNDER THE AUSPICES OF THE BOMBAY INTERNATIONAL FELLOWSHIP, ON THE
TWENTY-FIRST OF NOVEMBER, 1932.

 

FRIENDS,

 

Your Fellowship is engaged in the noble task of composing differences of views and opinions. By disregarding the progeny of intolerance and dogmatism; it tries to bring to birth amity and friendship between peoples of differing beliefs; it tries to create a platform of common humanity. Therefore it naturally becomes one of your tasks to recognize the clash of cultures which surrounds us here in India. An intelligent, just and correct recognition of this clash will enable us all to broaden our sympathies while it will deepen our vision. That is the reason why I have selected this subject. It is not necessary for me to explain that I have not come here with a final solution to our problem! I merely wish to provoke thought---not argumentation but ideation---and with that end in view, without any preliminary remarks, I will plunge into my subject.

 

The fact that we are surrounded by and suffer from a clash of two civilizations needs neither proof nor demonstration. It is patent. We have only to look at our city, at its buildings and streets, and at the costumes of the people in those streets. Contrast the luxury of space enjoyed by the dwellers in the bungalows on Malabar Hill with the dinginess in which the hamal, the mali and the cook live; then

 

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turn to the West and look at the rooms of the mistress and the maid, say in New York, or even in Hampstead in London, or in Passy and Auteuil in Paris. It would be interesting and even instructive to paint the picture of Bombay, made weak and ugly by this clash. A hybrid or mongrel influence is certainly upon us.

 

But Bombay is not India. Numerous though the signs are in this city, and I dare say in other cities; caused by the clash of cultures, the vast peninsula of hundreds of thousands of villages has not yet begun to suffer from hybridization. And the problem arises whether India as a whole need experience the effects of the clash, especially as men and women in Indian cities are recognizing two important facts. What are they? First, all intelligent, discerning and thoughtful men and women, in East and West alike, recognize and acknowledge that the particular mode of progress which has made Western civilization has proved a failure. The West today is looking, in a hundred different directions, for a new and different mode of life and progress; and some of the Western thinkers are even looking to the East and to India. And so rightly many Indians who are au courant with the latest developments in the West become firm in their conviction that it will not do for them to build their New India after the Western pattern. That is the first fact---the failure of Western civilization.

 

Secondly, what is called Western civilization is mainly the social structure built by politicians, economists and financiers, to whom scientific discoverers and inventors have sold their services, and in

 

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some measure by theologians who have erected churches. That civilization structure is not created by poets and philosophers, though indirectly they have influenced the building. The Englishman of the street, and even of the club, does not "speak the tongue that Shakespeare spake"; he speaks business English, commercial and political English and uses the vocabulary of sport. The country where I was educated, dear France herself, is not the France of her poets and idealists, of a Lamartine or a Romain Rolland. Do you recall those striking lines of Lamartine? Let me quote them to you :---

 

 

Is that the France of to-day? No, alas not! Turn to Germany. Who built Germany---Goethe or Bismarck? Who prevails in Germany---Einstein, Thomas Mann? No. It is the politicians, the financiers. Thus, what is called Western civilization is mainly economic and political. It must not be called Christian, for in recent times the only Christian known to fame was Tolstoy! Was it not Bernard Shaw who said the Christian religion had as yet never been tried as a civilizing force? So we must distinguish; draw a line---of demarcation between Western idealism and Western

 

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civilization. The culture of the Western masses is not idealistic---not yet. And so the thoughtful Indian of to-day is face to face with the question---I submit that it is our chief problem here in India---whether the India of to-morrow should be the child of financier, industrialist, economist and politician. Shall we embrace that which the West is fast abandoning?

 

To restate the two points: One, the failure of Western civilization. Two, Western civilization represents the culture of commerce and applied science, and that civilization is face to face with a death-crisis.

 

And so India's problem may be formulated as a question, and we, who are India's sons and daughters, must seek for an answer; and the question is: What steps shall India take to avoid being caught up in the death-dealing storm which has already overtaken the West?

 

Here, most naturally, we must consider an important point of view. As you must know there is a school of thinkers which is convinced that for India there is nothing else to do but run· the gamut of Western industrialism and vicissitudes. You will remember that G. Lowes Dickinson, whose recent death all men of culture must mourn, submitted in his Report to the Albert Kahn Travelling Fellowships as far back as 1913 this particular view. He expected India to follow the West whether it liked it or not; to follow the West into all of its excesses, and to go right through on its way to what he termed a higher phase of civilization. We must, however, remember that this was before the War, and the War has changed many things; but it still is a fact that many hold to the view that India

 

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will have to go through industrialization, must experience the horrors of the machine age, must pass through the crisis of blank and bleak materialism.

 

This view, though held by such thinkers as Dickinson, in my estimation is not right. Human individuals can and do learn from other people's experiences and examples. And nations are but a collectivity of individuals. It seems very necessary that the builders of future India answer this conundrum. It is one of the problems your Fellowship should discuss and help us all to solve. I shall leave it at that, only stating that I am one of those who firmly believe that it is not essential for India to live through the horrors through which the West has gone and is now going.

 

This brings us to the consideration of another vital problem: if we need not go through the industrialism and materialism of the West, what about accepting and incorporating the good that there is in the West and all must admit that there is good. In trying not to inflict ourselves with the barbarism of the Age of the Machine and of Plenty, shall we also abandon the tongue of Shakespeare, the philosophy of Goethe, the idealism of the galaxy of the Celtic moralists and poets?

 

Let me read to you a pronouncement on the subject by the poet Tagore, with which I find myself in hearty agreement :---

 

Let me state clearly that I have no distrust of any, culture because of its foreign character. On the contrary, I believe that the shock of such forces is necessary for the vitality of our intellectual nature .... Though our assimilation

 

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of the European culture is imperfect and the consequent aberrations numerous, still it is rousing our intellectual life from its inertia of formal habits into glowing consciousness by the very contradiction it offers to our own mental traditions.

 

What I object to is the artificial arrangement by which this foreign education tends to occupy all the space of our national mind and thus kills or hampers the great opportunity for the creation of a new thought power by a new combination of truths. It is this which makes me urge that all the elements in our own culture have to be strengthened, not to resist the Western culture, but truly to accept and assimilate it, and use it for our food and not as our burden; to get mastery over this culture, and not to live at the outskirts as the hewers of texts and drawers of book learning.

 

In this we not only get a refutation of the deterministic view of the Dickinson school of thought, but we also find that it answers that other school of ultraorthodox Indians whose motto may be said to be "Back to the Vedas." A dead past because of its; distance lends enchantment, but however glorious that past we must not forget that it is the past. Equally to this the words of the poet may be made applicable: we have to accept and to assimilate from every era from that of the Moguls and that of the Mahrattas, from that of the Buddhists and that of the Aryans, from that of the Dravidians and that of their unknown and unrecognized forebears.

 

A living and vital civilization naturally grows on the soil of the past, and as clever gardeners our task is to treat intensively that soil, to manure it with suitable fertilizers---suitable to the soil itself---from Greek,

 

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European and American cultures, and to water it equally suitably with diligence and punctuality. Our Indian Tree of Life grows on a venerable and ancient soil, verily like Mother Earth herself, and layer after layer of our native culture and native civilization is touched as our intelligent labour digs into that soil. The tree must naturally show forth the influence of every layer of the soil of civilization, and if the Hindus try to trim the tree so that Muslim influence will not show itself, or vice versa, then they will kill the tree! En passant, let me point out that here is another important and very fascinating subject of study for your Fellowship. So we must let every layer of the soil of civilization yield its best for the growth of the Tree of India. And we must seek, intelligently and with discernment, such fertilizers' as Europe and America have to offer. Let us not make that soil so replete with foreign fertilizers that it loses its natural native hue and properties; that is what is happening to a great extent in Turkey and to a limited degree in Iran. Besides the soil and the fertilizers there is the question of the gardeners and the labourers---the leaders and the guides, and the masses whom they lead and guide. Your Fellowship can and should help to produce gardeners, i.e., leaders who will wisely note the nature and character of our native civilization and equally wisely select the type of aid India really needs from the Western hemisphere.

 

And that naturally brings me to the practical problems which are but aspects of the main problem.

 

First, India has already been grafting on to its life things from the West. We have allowed ourselves to

 

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be hypnotized by the phrase, "backward country." The country is not backward-fundamentally it is ancient. Understand and interpret its so-called backwardness in terms of its ancient lineage as well as of its ancient heritage. It is backward---in what? In industrialization---yes; in materializing disbelief---yes; in the ability to read and write---yes; but the effects, please note, of industrialization, of materialization, even of universal education in : Western countries, are being deplored by the many advanced thinkers of these countries. As a "back ward country,” under that hypnotic influence, we have borrowed things from the West which have greatly corrupted us. For example, men have taken to using Western dress. This is unsuitable, unhygienic, and ugly compared to our own native fabrics . and patterns. Smoking as a habit and cigarette-making as an industry have grown out of the desire to adopt Western modes of life.

 

There are a hundred other undesirable things Indians have taken from the West, which in the West itself are going out of fashion. Here I see advertisements of cinema films which were shown seasons ago in the West. This is but symptomatic. Indians have allowed themselves to be exploited, not only commercially and politically, but
---chiefly and fundamentally---morally and spiritually. Listen to the gramophone records in many Indian homes---records of Western music and song. They are not only poorly made for cheap selling in Indian markets---they also show poor taste, and once again are unsuited to our life. In ancient India people got up early to

 

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welcome Ushas, the Beautiful Dawn Maiden; to-day Indians go to bed late, having wasted their evening listening to second-rate songs by Western singers! Then they get up late and, copying the Westerners, begin their morning with tea and newspaper-reading! I could multiply examples, and I am not forgetting that there are exceptions, but it is in the small things of daily life that the clash of cultures becomes most apparent. Many of our gardeners, i.e., our leaders, are themselves suffering from this malady, and your Fellowship should endeavour to cute this particular ailment. Cheap and ugly things of the West and things which are being discarded by the more intelligent and refined in the West, are being bought and adopted by Indian cities, and if we are not careful, the ever active "bus" will take them to our poor yet still beautiful Indian villages!

 

I stressed the fact that Western civilization, which is looked upon as a failure, is founded upon political and economic culture, to which applied science and theology have lent their services. Nowadays there is a clamour for an idealistic programme. "Man is not made for the machine, but the machine for man" ;  “a great leisure is coming upon us; what shall our masses do with it? "---these and other such themes are subjects of constant discussion. "We must have an idealistic civilization; our poets and our philosophers must guide the destiny of the nation; they will disarm humanity where economists and politicians have failed," so say a growing body of thinkers and writers in the West.

 

Now it seems to me that in India we have ready at

 

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hand, as very basis, that Idealism; Idealism rooted in the religious sense is more natural to our masses than to those of the West. Educating our masses in Idealism is going to be a less difficult task, even may be named an easy task, compared to the efforts our Western friends and colleagues will have to put forth. But in devising our programme of mass education we once again face the grim facts of economics. There is no use denying the importance of bread---it is true that man does not live by bread alone, but it is equally sure that without bread he cannot live at all! The philosophy which doctors the body alone is wrong; that which looks after the Soul alone is equally wrong; so, in the Idealism on which we desire to rear our civilization we must take account of both body and Soul. And the starting point must be the Soul. If we begin with the body we shall have as a result plenty of food and of goods, with men and women at the same time starving---the problem of over-production and of glut. No, we must begin with the Soul, and give the body, that is, politics and economics, a subordinate place.

 

More than once I have pictured our city of Bombay and compared it with Alexandria of the second century of the Christian era. The Pax Romana brought into contact men of diverse races and faiths, and religious doubt as well as religious dogmatism prevailed. There was a great clash of beliefs. And arose in Alexandria Ammonius Saccas---the teacher of Plotinus and the founder of the Neo-Platonic School. The school of Ammonius, who was called God-taught, Theodidaktos, promulgated a particular scheme of

 

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human betterment; first and foremost to inculcate certain great moral truths, and secondly to reconcile all sects, religions and communities under a common system of ethics, based on eternal verities. Ammonius reconciled every system of religion by demonstrating an identical origin, and then tried to establish one universal creed based on ethics. Thanks to the comparative study of religions, the religious arrogance of every creed has received a death-blow. To-day only an ignorant person talks of his own religion as superior or best. But something more needs to be done; we must endeavour to achieve the object which the disciples of Ammonius attained. Origen, Longinus and Plotinus, who were the immediate disciples of Ammonius, succeeded in establishing what is known as the Eclectic School. Will you, Mr. President, and your Fellowship, make a bid for creating a vehicle in which Hindus and Muslims, Jews and Christians, Sikhs and Jains, Parsis and Atheists, will all join---forgetting their narrowness, showing forth their true Religion of giving more than taking, of Sacrifice which is full of power, of Compassion and Contentment surcharged with Peace? I know that the first step is to stop being intolerant, to respect the religious belief of others, nay, sincerely to appreciate the faiths of all men, but India will never rise to the glory she deserves till a Universal Religion energizes not the blood but the mind of all Indians. Distant may be the day for that Glorious Consummation, but a beginning is due and it is for such organizations as yours to give the lead.

 

 

 

 

UNITY THROUGH CULTURE

 

A SPEECH DELIVERED UNDER THE AUSPICES
OF THE ROTARY CLUB AT BOMBAY,
ON THE NINETEENTH OF JANUARY, 1937.

 

 

FRIENDS,

 

At the present hour, to a distracted world, no idea is of greater value than the idea that continents and countries, races and religions, are united, whether that unity be recognized or rejected by any of us. The world is one, and events taking place in China have their repercussions in Peru: the Chinese or the Peruvians, and masses of men everywhere, may disregard the fact; very generally they do; but the fact remains a fact; disaster to a single nation produces its effects on the entire world, just as a pin-prick on our little finger sends a thrill of pain through the whole body. If the idea---and has not Plato proven that ideas rule the world ?---if the idea be accepted that the intelligent recognition of the unity among the races of mankind is imperative for the very saving of our civilization, then international institutions, like your Rotary Club, have a very important part to play.

 

There is another international organization composed of Poets and Playwrights, Editors and Essayists, and Novelists, called the P. E. N. Club or the P. E. N., whose India Centre I had the honour of establishing in 1933. The Fourteenth International Congress of the
P. E. N. Club was held last September in Buenos Aires, the capital of the Republic of Argentina, at which delegates from some fifty countries were

 

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present. The notes of Peace, of Internationalism, of Universal Brotherhood were sounded by the writers of many countries and were heard by a magnificent concourse of people. The Government of Argentina not only patronized the Congress, but saluted the Spirit of Fraternity. Numerous local organizations vied with each other to welcome their guests, and among these was the Rotary Club of Buenos Aires. Your Rotarian Comrades were particularly gracious to the delegate from India. At a specially convened gathering they honoured this land of hoary culture, because they were touched by the message of ancient and honourable India. To you, as a token of fraternity, they sent this flag, and you will allow me the honour, Mr. President, of presenting it to you for the Rotary Club of Bombay.

 

What touched the Rotarians of Buenos Aires, and all others, high and low, of the Republic of Argentina, from its President to the citizen in the street, was the pertinent emphasis put by the Indian delegate on the necessity for the practical application of the basic principle of our mystical philosophy. What is that principle? The immanence of God and the solidarity of men. All over the world there is talk of Peace and of Brotherhood, and yet more than one war is now going on, and of rumours of war there is no end. Who does not want Peace and Order and Concord! Politician and priest, capitalist and labourer, all pay homage to the ideal of Universal Brotherhood. But the practical realization of Unity seems remote and even to be retreating. Why is this? Because there is a divergence between the way of living and the ideal

 

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which it is desired to realize. Unity and harmony between classes and communities cannot arise because a fervent wish is expressed in eloquent words. We have to labour to destroy divisions, and to persevere in that labour until we create harmony. The Way of Life which the ancient Sages taught enables the individual to integrate himself, to become whole, and such individuals, even though they be but a few, can enable organizations like the Rotary and the P. E. N. Clubs to fulfil their high mission with a success which is real and complete.

 

Now, what kind of culture would enable the Rotarians to manifest to the full their own splendid programme? The very fact that the Club is a nonreligious and non-political body offers a clue to the task. The Rotarian is expected to rise above the din of politics and the clash of religions. But, not satisfied with this negative aspect, your Club holds up the ideal of service---service to be rendered through every channel, but especially through the channel of business and professional activities. In other words, to use the old-world phraseology, the Rotary Club wants to restore to the modern world the high ideals of Vaishya Dharma---the Law of life for the trader, the merchant, the shopkeeper and the financier. Recognizing the limitations inherent in the world order as it is constituted at present, your Club desires to establish a world-fellowship of business and professional men, but with an eye to human service. The danger to our civilization does not arise from a proper recognition of the division of labour, which implies the existence of castes and classes; but it arises from

 

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false loyalty, from restricted allegiance, to one's own caste or class, to one's own nation or race. That culture which does not destroy differences but reveals interdependence also reveals the meaning of true patriotism, of true faith, of true loyalty.

 

In partial brotherhoods there is danger; such may develop, and we know have developed, germs of strife and of war. The danger which you of the Rotary Club and we of the P.E.N. Club have to guard against is that our enthusiasm and loyalty to our own partial fellowship may blind us to the requirements and even to the enthusiasms of others for their partial brotherhoods. The P. E. N. should not despise the marketplace, the Rotary should not disregard the humble driver at his wheel. Intellectually we all recognize that the author is dependent on the bookseller, that the merchant is dependent on the factory-hand, the capitalist on the labourer. But we need to translate that mental recognition to the real fields where Fair Culture grows---the fields of action, of daily and hourly deeds. For an adequate realization of the ideal of Unity we need that Culture in which our head and heart work in co-operation all the time. Ordinarily the heart of the man is in his home; his mind is in his office. To realize the ideal of Unity we need to carry the influence of an intelligent heart to the office; we need to offer the influence of method, of accuracy and punctuality, of attention to details, to the home. A division will persist as long as the heart is only loving and the head is only intelligent; let us have an intelligent heart and a compassionate head. It is the integration of society. It is this moral and spiritual

 

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culture which we need in our own lives to make them vital and useful; and, it is the same basis which civilization must come to possess if it. is to live and to grow.

 

In spite of divisions and strifes, perhaps because of them, the thoughtful in East and West alike perceive that good and evil, knowledge and ignorance, are present everywhere. What may be called the geographical sense of Internationalism has already energized and is working beneficence in our midst. For example, Rotarians recognize that there is good in the culture of other countries and of other peoples. In a very real sense the difficulty of space has been greatly overcome. We do not only travel extensively and quickly to other lands; we are now also able to appreciate and to enjoy cultural expressions of distant lands. The Republic of Letters, of Art, of Music, is a splendid reality. On the other hand, the historical sense of Internationalism is not much developed. We have not annihilated Time to the extent to which we have; annihilated Space. Though archceologists have contributed their great quota, men and women have not yet taken advantage of the cultures which speak through the voice of eras and eternities. We encompass the present in Space, but we need to encompass the past in Time. Especially in our country of India we need to go to the pre-Greek cultures-of Buddha, of Krishna, of the Seers and the Singers of the Vedas. We inherit the past, and we have to learn to adapt that inheritance to our practical activities in the present. The Wheel---your Club's symbol---moves from land to land; let it also move from. era to era.

 

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For, travelling into the past you will come upon those mighty ancient Truths which are enshrined in such fragments as the Dhammapada, in such poems as the Gita. In the third discourse of the Gita also there is a Wheel mentioned, the Chakra. Krishna says that the Wheel of Life and of Progress has been set in motion and that we have to lend our strength to keep it moving. If not ?---we have lived in vain.

 

 

He who, sinfully delighting in the gratification of his passions, doth not cause this wheel thus already set in motion to continue revolving, liveth in vain, 0 son of Pritha. (III. 16)

 

The action of this Wheel is expounded, but we have no time to go into that. This Wheel of Life is called in another place in the Gita a Machine, Yantra---the Machine of Life, the most powerful of machines. It crushes those who will not co-operate with Life Divine, but it takes those who work in harmony with Nature to the Highest Place. In verse 61 of the last chapter of the Gita is enshrined a principle with which we can begin to develop within ourselves the true Culture that leads to Unity, to Peace, to Enlightenment, With the presentation of that idea we shall close.

 

Shri Krishna says :---

 

 

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There dwelleth in the heart of every creature, 0 Arjuna, the Master—Ishwara---who by his magic power causeth all things and creatures to revolve mounted upon the universal wheel of time. Take sanctuary with him alone, O son of Bharata, with all thy soul; by his grace thou shalt obtain supreme happiness, the eternal place. (XVIII. 61-62 )

 

In the heart of every creature is the Master, the Lord. Not in that of the Brahmana only, not in the heart of the Rotarian only, but also in the heart of the Mlechcha, in the heart of the Socialist, and ah! yes, even in the heart of the prostitute and the pauper, there dwells the Light of Christ, of Buddha, of Krishna. It is the Divine Power of Life within us; and that Power not only takes but also gives, and through giving and sacrificing unites man to man the world over. The one singular condition of our realizing the motion of Divinity within us is the virtue of Trust. It is not faith in the blindness of ignorant belief and superstition, but faith which is enlightened because it arises from inner conviction based on knowledge. That is the energy we all need.

 

We must first trust that Unity and Peace are realizable, can be achieved. It is because our trust is weak, our faith superficial, that we do not succeed in our attempts to create peace and good-will among men. Without Trust nothing can be done. The home flourishes on Trust, the business is built on Trust, governments cannot remain steady without Trust. But this Trust can only come from our own Faith in our own Divinity. Men fear others because they lack Trust in their own Souls. Rotarians trust each other, but that

 

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is not enough----let us learn to trust all men and all women, and if our Trust is betrayed, let us trust even more so that the untrustworthy may prove worthy of Trust. For remember "Hatre ceaseth not by hatred, but by love." Similarly, wars cannot be ended by war, but by Peace, and Peace demands Trust. Let us take sanctuary with the Master in the heart of each one of us, and relying on our own Divinity, fear nothing. The Immortal Spirit of man is ever fearless, for no enemy can touch it, no evil conquer it. Let us keep in the company of that Inner Divinity and, trusting the Spirit within us, we shall trust all men as our brothers.

 

 

THEOSOPHY
THE SUMMATION

 

A TALK GIVEN UNDER THE AUSPICES OF THE PARLIAMENT OF RELIGIONS AT CALCUTTA ON THE SEVENTH OF MARCH, 1937.

 

 

FRIENDS,

 

With a noble and august motive the Swamijis of the Ramakrishna Mission have convened this Parliament of Religions to which men and women from the four quarters of the globe have come. In our India such Parliaments are not exotic plants; they are natural to our soil, for is not India the Garden of Religions? Here expert growers have attained supreme knowledge of their art, and their labours of love have given us many healthful herbs to cure Soul diseases, and numerous sweet flowers to offer in Soul worship. Generations of men and women have used the herbs to return to Soul sanity and spiritual health, and they also have inhaled the fragrance of the flowers to strengthen their hearts and to bring repose to their minds. So all thanks to our hosts, and our salutations to their guru in whose memory they have called us here.

 

It is but meet and proper that the voice of Theosophy be heard in this Parliament. Theosophy is the fountain-head from which all great religions have sprung. But when we say that Theosophy is the common source, we do not mean that all that is in the various religions assembled together would represent Theosophy; a mistaken notion to that effect prevails. Theosophy is not an assemblage of doctrines culled

 

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from various creeds: Theosophy is the Sacred Womb of Wisdom Itself, from which in all ages and yugas, on every continent now lost or still extant, Religion was born---Religion, not religions. Religions which differ one from the other are corrupted versions of the one Eternal Religion, Sanatana Dharma. Wisdom-Religion! Bodhi-Dharma, was, is and ever will be one and indivisible, and it antedates the Vedas themselves.

 

Theosophy, as the Mother of all Knowledge---religious, scientific, philosophic----knowledge verified and re-verifiable, is as old as thinking man. It teaches that man is not descended from the ape, but is a descendant of Divine Humanity. Our Teacher, H. P. Blavatsky, in her monumental work, the two volumes of The Secret Doctrine, not only traces the eventful story of ancient Aryavarta, but going still further back unveils for us the age when the Mind-Born Sons of Prajapati, the great Brahma, incarnated bodily on earth and taught the arts and sciences to early child humanity. Theosophy is that Primeval Wisdom-Religion taught by the Divine Ancestors, the Manasaputras and the Agnishwatta Pitris of the Puranas. The early Teachers of humanity were the Devarishis, the Brahmarishis and the Rajarishis of Hindu lore.

 

The direct return to that Primeval Wisdom is possible in this cycle when the first five thousand years of the Kali Yuga are behind us. Our world has become international, and is on its way to becoming cosmopolitan: that internationalism is superficial, and the real cosmopolitan spirit cannot be born of modern knowledge. A unifying force is necessary and Wisdom alone can bring to birth a United World.

 

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This Primeval Wisdom-Religion has, and always has had, two divisions: the Exoteric and the Esoteric. Using Indian terminology, the Exoteric is represented by the Saddarshanas, the Six Schools, each of which offers but one point of view. The Esoteric is the seventh point of view. The Six Schools are like the six cardinal points of East, West, South, North, Zenith and Nadir; the seventh is the Centre of the six-sided cube, and is known as Brahma-Vidya or Gupta-Vidya, the hidden or esoteric science. It is to that seventh view, the synthesized complete view, that Theosophy calls us. But this seventh view is not only Aryan. In the past, distant and near, much of the Primeval Wisdom-Religion was taught in other lands---among the peoples who originally lived on the continent which now we call the North, Central and South Americas; in Greece by Pythagoras and Plato; in Judcea by Jesus, the Anointed One; in Alexandria by God-Instructed Ammonius Saccas. Hence, while it is true that Aryan India possesses in a very full measure this Primeval Theosophy we must not overlook the Sufi mystics of Arabia, or Iran, the land of the Zarathushtras, or, in more recent times such Europeans as Paracelsus, Jacob Boehme, Claude de St. Martin, the Comte de St. Germain, and others, who lit their torches of Wisdom at the Fire kindled by Tsong-kha-pa in Tibet.

 

The modern presentation of Theosophy, exoteric and esoteric, is to be found in the recorded Message of H. P. Blavatsky. That much maligned, lion-hearted spiritual lady should not be judged by you on hearsay; on what others---friends and followers or enemies and

 

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strangers---think of her. Nor should her Teaching be appraised by reading the many interpretations and commentaries made after her death by those claiming to be her students. Many are the false and fantastic notions that have circulated under the name of Theosophy, and at the outset a sincere seeker must distinguish between the Theosophy of Madame Blavatsky and the speculative theories of pseudo-theosophy. If you want to judge of the Teachings of Jesus you must go to His Sermon on the Mount; you cannot expect to learn of His exalted code of ethics by listening to the various preachers of the many Christian denominations, or by examining the mode of life adopted by those who call themselves His followers. Similarly, if you wish to know the doctrine expounded by Shri Krishna, it is useless to go to the numerous commentaries on the Bhagavad-Gita. It is best and wisest to go directly to the Gita itself. And likewise, if you really wish to know what the Teachings of Theosophy are, you must go to the original source, to the books written by the founder of the present Theosophical Movement, that is, to the books and writings of H. P. Blavatsky. "From the Teaching to the Teacher." It is only through a study of her own books that you can judge of Madame Blavatsky as a teacher. And what are her books? They are four in number. First, Isis Unveiled, in two volumes, which shows what is wrong in theology, in science and in spiritism, while it offers the explanations of abnormal psychical and psychological phenomena. Second, The Secret Doctrine, also in two volumes, which gives in constructive form an account of cosmogenesis and

 

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anthropogenesis. Third, The Key to Theosophy, which answers all enquiries likely to occur to any of you, and in a simple form outlines the synthesis of science, philosophy and religion which Theosophy is. Last, but not the least, The Voice of the Silence, a small book, smaller even than the Gita, dedicated to the few, a book which enables the aspirant to the Higher Life to begin his arduous labours. The Way to Theosophic Life is enshrined in it, and to the outline of it we must now turn.

 

The Way of Life which, through yogic development, leads to the Great Renunciation, is possible for all provided that its right principles are understood in theory first, and that the early steps are taken with humility, yet with ardent earnestness. The Way is long and the labour is arduous and, as is implied in the sixth chapter of the Gita, death of body will intervene; but once the stream is entered and the gaze of the mind is fixed on the "Other Shore," ultimate success is bound to follow. What are the principles to be grasped by the mind? First, not to run away from the home to some Ashram, not to withdraw from the world to some mountain top.

 

If thou art told that to become Arhan thou hast to cease to love all beings-tell them they lie.

 

If thou art told that to gain liberation thou hast to hate thy mother and disregard thy son; to disavow thy father and call him "householder"; for man and beast all pity to renounce-tell them their tongue is false.

 

Believe thou not that sitting in dark forests, in proud seclusion and apart from men; believe thou not that life

 

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on roots and plants, that thirst assuaged with snow from the great Range---believe thou not, 0 Devotee, that this will lead thee to the goal of final liberation.

 

Then, do not begin with mere outer change, with external practices, but with the inner. Inner conversion, change of heart and of mind, must precede any form of outer discipline. How many thousands die, spiritually speaking, in this our loved land of India, because they start with the outer; control of the senses while the mind is wandering upon the objects of sense; washing the body while the heart is unclean; nibbling nuts and fruit while swallowing the flesh of anger, the meat of passion, the drink of greed! Such are the still-born Souls. Infantile mortality is one of our social problems, but oh! think of the other infantile mortality in Soul-life of thousands of so-called sadhus and faqirs ! Well-intentioned and well-meaning, many of them, but by what name does the Gita call them ?--- Vimudh-Atma, "false pietists of bewildered Soul." Then what should be done?
Listen :---

 

The selfish devotee lives to no purpose. The man who does not go through his appointed work in life---has lived in vain.

 

Follow the wheel of life; follow the wheel of duty to race and kin, to friend and foe, and close thy mind to pleasures as to pain. Exhaust the law of Karmic retribution. Gain Siddhis for thy future birth.

 

If Sun thou canst not be, then be the humble planet.

 

Aye, if thou art debarred from flaming like the noon-day Sun upon the snow-capped mount of purity eternal, then choose, 0 Neophyte, a humbler course.

 

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Point out the" Way "---however dimly, and lost among the host---as does the evening star to those who tread their path in darkness.

 

"Point out the (Way' "---but this stage has its own lure! The desire to serve and to help gradually becomes degenerate if it has not a firm spiritual basis. In the world of to-day the ideal of service is widely adopted---the desire to do, to do, is great, and that desire proves fatal to so many aspirants to Soul-life who rush in, trying to serve, forgetting that this most difficult of arts requires deep spiritual perception. We know many persons who come saying: “I want to serve humanity; I am ready to sacrifice everything. " Ask them: “ What have you got to sacrifice?" They have come to the Temple of the Lord empty-hearted, empty-headed, empty-handed! In our last quotation from The Voice of the Silence two injunctions are given: "Gain Siddhis for thy future birth" and "Point out the' Way'." One without the other will not do. Some there are who only want to sit for yogic development; others rush out to help and to serve; both go astray. The would-be yogi develops tamas, inertia; the would-be server, rajas, inordinate activity. What deludes them? Their own mental perception-narrow, coloured, superficial---and so the instruction:---

 

The pupil must seek out the Rajah of the senses, the
Thought-Producer, he who awakes illusion.

The Mind is the great Slayer of the Real.

Let the Disciple slay the Slayer.

 

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The fight is not with the senses. The fight is in the mind. The Fighter, the Warrior within, the Kshatriya, the Real Man, Nara, has to be found. Unless He is found there can be neither Soul Progress nor Soul-Service.

 

Within thy body---the shrine of thy sensations---seek in the Impersonal for the "Eternal Man"; and having sought him out, look inward: thou art Buddha.

 

To seek out the Eternal Man within---that is very difficult!

 

“Alas, alas, that all men should possess Alaya, be one with the Great Soul, and that possessing it, Alaya should so little avail them! “

 

Many people want gurus, and there are as many who want to be gurus---Nature always adjusts the supply to the demand! But why this craze for gurus? Because the virile dependence upon the Purusha within is absent. The spiritual life is not for the effeminate, the weak; men worship Durga, the Great Mother, because she rides the Lion, symbol of Majestic Law. "Save my Soul, save my Soul," people cry to others. The answer is: "Take the Kingdom of Heaven by violence." To rely on the Self, the God within, the Inner Ruler, is the beginning of real happiness and of peace spiritual.

 

Of teachers there are many; the MASTER-SOUL is one, Alaya, the Universal Soul. Live in that MASTER as ITs ray in thee. Live in thy fellows as they live in IT.

 

Unless the Spirit---Being in us has begun to whisper the message of Sat, Truth, we cannot speak but can

 

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only babble; we cannot serve, but only temporize. Says our book :---

 

Before the Soul can comprehend and may remember, she must unto the Silent Speaker be united, just as the form to which the clay is modelled is first united with the potter's mind.

 

Then it is that we really learn; otherwise what we call learning is only mental recreation.

 

If thy Soul smiles while bathing in the Sunlight of thy Life; if thy Soul sings within her chrysalis of flesh and matter; if thy Soul weeps inside her castle of illusion; if thy Soul struggles to break the silver thread that binds her to the Master; know, 0 Disciple, thy Soul is of the earth.

 

And this earth---what is it ?

 

“This earth, Disciple, is the Hall of Sorrow, wherein are set along the Path of dire probations, traps to ensnare thy EGO by the delusion called "Great Heresy. "

 

And what is that "Great Heresy"? The belief that we are separate from other Souls, the delusion that we are separate from the One Universal, Infinite SELF. We must destroy the sense of separateness of "thy Soul" and "my Soul." What binds together and unifies the Swamijis? The Soul of their guru, Ramakrishna. What will bind together all men, all women, of whatever nation or creed? The power, the Shakti of the Universal SOUL. Within each one of us is the One SPIRIT---some call IT Rama, some call IT Krishna, some call IT Buddha, some call IT Christ;

 

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what matters the name? The important thing is to realize IT. And when we have found IT within our own heart what shall we do? Use our realization to purify and to elevate the mind, to subdue and to destroy the passions, to control and to use the senses. In this book there are some wonderful things about the nature of Manas, the human mind, its control and its purification, but unfortunately we have no time left. When the body is becoming the nine-gated city of the Lord from which Kama-Krodha has gone, in which the Light of Buddhi shines with unfading glory---what next? When full of HIM we are nearing Liberation---then what? Our book says that there, are two Paths and to choose one becomes our right and our privilege. What are these two Paths? Path the first is Liberation; Path the second is Renunciation. The inner meaning of the profound expression Adhi- Yajna, the Great Sacrifice, is not always understood. The Great Sacrifice is the Renouncing of Moksha, the giving up of Liberation in order to endure for ever the miseries of the flesh for the helping of the world. Says our text:---

 

“Now bend thy head and listen well, O Bodhisattva Compassion speaks and saith:” "Can there be bliss when all that lives must suffer? Shalt thou be saved and hear the whole world cry? "

 

How many among us desire to enter the Peace of Mukti, the Bliss of Nirvana? At the beginning the aspirant wants to run away from the home; at the end the Soul that has fully bloomed wants to run away from this Sorrowful Star. . In Hindu Mysticism,

 

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Liberation in and through Samadhi is stressed, and the method of Adhi-Yajna, the Great Sacrifice, is almost forgotten. What is the goal?

 

This ;---

 

Self-doomed to live through future Kalpas, unthanked and unperceived by men'; wedged as a stone with countless other stones which form, the," Guardian Wall," such is thy future if the seven Gate thou passest. Built by the hands of many Masters of Compassion, raised by their tortures, by their blood cemented, it shields mankind, since man is man, protecting it from further and far, greater misery and sorrow.

 

Why be afraid of misery? Why be afraid of sorrow? Why be afraid of poverty and disease? These should awaken Divine Compassion, and make us repeat the Vow of Kwan-Yin, the Chinese Mother of Mercy.
What is that Vow?

 

Never will I seek nor receive private individual salvation.

Never will I enter into final peace alone; but for ever and
everywhere will I live and strive for the redemption of,
every creature throughout the world.

 

This makes man not God, but more than God. Such alone is the true Mahatma for whom "all Nature thrills with joyous awe and feels subdued."

 

The silver star now twinkles out the news to the night-blossoms, the streamlet to the pebbles ripples out the tale; dark ocean waves will roar it to the rocks surf-bound, scent-laden breezes sing it to the vales, and stately pines mysteriously whisper: "A Master has arisen, A MASTER OF THE DAY. "

 

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Such a Master, such a Sage, such a Guru, enables us to cross the ocean of Samsara; He is to us more than Brahma, more than Vishnu, more than Shiv, higher than Him there is naught. To such Blessed Ones, to such great Rishis, our salutations!

 

 

 

GLOSSARY

 

 

 

NOTE

 

In the text, Sanskrit and Pali words are spelt in the popular form current in India. In the Glossary, however, care has been taken to use the standard transliteration of the devanagari alphabet generally recognized by scholars.

 

Adhyaya. Chapter; one of the discourses of the Bhagavad-Gita.

 

Adityas. Belonging to or descended from Aditi, the Mother of the Gods; a class of Gods in the Hindu pantheon.

 

Agnisvatta Pitris. Lit. Pitris consumed by fire; the Creators of the first ethereal race of men; our solar ancestors.

 

Ahamkara. The conception of "I," self-consciousness or self-identity; the egotistical and mayavic principle in man, due to our ignorance) which separates our “I” from the Universal One Self; personality; egoism.

 

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264 The Brotherhood of Religions

 

Ahriman. The evil spirit of destruction; Matter as opposed to Spirit.

 

Ahura. In Zoroastrianism; the holy, the breath-like; the spiritual and divine.

 

Ahura Mazda. The Principle of Universal Divine Light, or Deity in the Zoroastrian religion;

 

Alaya; The Universal Soul; the basis or root of all things.

 

Amesha-Spentas. The personified six divine Forces who attend on Ahura Mazda, of which He is the synthesis and the seventh.

 

Arhat. The Adept who has become entirely free from any desire on this plane, by acquiring divine knowledge and powers; the same as Mahatma.

 

Aryavarta. The" land of the Aryas "; the name for ancient India.

 

Asura. The demoniac aspect in Nature as opposed to the divine or Daivic aspect ..

 

Atar. Fire.

 

Atma-Vidya. The highest spiritual knowledge; lit. knowledge of the Self, Atman.

 

Atman. The Universal Spirit; the Supreme Soul. Avatara. A Divine Incarnation; the descent of a God or some exalted Being, who has progressed beyond the necessity of rebirths, into the body of a mortal; a special incarnation of the World-Spirit in man.

 

Avesta. The sister language of Sanskrit; the sacred Scriptures of the Zoroastrians.

 

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Bodhi-Dharma. Wisdom-Religion ; the same as Brahma-Vidya or Theosophy:

 

Bodhisattva. Lit. he whose essence, sattva, has become bodhi, intelligence;. One who needs but one more incarnation become a perfect Buddha, or an Enlightened One.

 

Brahma. The first person of the Hindu Trinity; the creative force in Nature.

 

Brahmacharya. The practice of celibacy.

 

Brahman. The supreme impersonal Spirit; the Absolute.

 

Brahmana. A member of the first of the four castes in Hinduism.

 

Brahmarsis. Sages of a particular type who have attained Wisdom.

 

Buddhi. The spiritual Soul in man, the vehicle of Atman; also the Universal Soul or the Divine Mind.

 

Chandala. A man of the lowest stratum of Hindu society, treated by the orthodox as "untouchable."

 

Chela. A disciple.

 

Christos. The Divine Principle in Nature and in every human being.

 

Devadasis. Women devotees who surrendered all to the service of the Temple Deity; now a corrupted institution to which fallen women belong.

 

Devarsis. Divine Rsis; Sages of a particular type who have attained Wisdom.

 

Devi. A goddess.

 

Dharma. The Sacred Law; Religion; Code of duties; etc.

 

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Dharma-Mahamatras. Ministers and supervisors of public morals; guardians of ethics.

 

Durvand. A non-Zoroastrian.

 

Gandiva. The bow of Arjuna.

 

Gathas. Metrical chants or hymns, belonging to the Zoroastrian religion.

 

Guru. Spiritual Teacher.

 

Iblis. The personification of evil; Islamic Satan.

 

Isvara. The Divine Spirit in Nature and in man; the Inner Ruler.

 

Jnanis. Lit .. possessing jnana ; Wise Ones.

 

Kali-Yuga. The fourth age of the world; called black or iron age, our present period, the duration of which is 432,000 years.

 

Kalpa. Cosmic period of 4,320,000,000 years; a day of Brahma.

 

Kama. Lust; also the force of desires and passions.

 

Kamsa. The wicked king who was the uncle of Krishna; the prototype of Herod in the New Testament story of the slaughter of the innocents; the embodiment of the wickedness of the age to which Krishna came.

 

Karma. Lit., action; the Law of Cause and Effect, or Ethical Causation.'

 

Krodha. Anger.

 

Ksatriya. A member of the second or the warrior caste of Hinduism.

 

Logos. The "Word"; the manifested Deity.

 

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Maha-Maya. The" Great Illusion" of manifestation the universe which, in Hindu philosophy, as subject to change, is other than the eternal Reality.

 

Mahatma. Lit., "Great Soul"; an Adept of the highest order; an exalted Being who, having mastered His lower principles is thus living unimpeded by the "man of flesh," and is in possession of knowledge and power commensurate with the stage He has reached in His spiritual evolution.

 

Manas. Lit.," the mind"; the Higher Ego, or the sentient reincarnating principle in man.

 

Manasaputras. The divine sons of Mahat or the Universal Mind; the human Egos.

 

Mandir. A Hindu temple.

 

Mantra. Incantation; combination of certain sounds which, used with knowledge, produces a magical effect.

 

Mara. Personification of evil ; Buddhistic Satan.

 

Maruts. The gods of air; esoterically identical with some of the Agnisvatta Pitris, the human intelligent Egos.

 

Maulana. An orthodox Muslim teacher. Maya. Illusion.

 

Mlechchas. Lit., barbarians; outcasts; the name given

by the Hindus to all foreigners.

 

Mobed. A Parsi priest.

 

Moksa. ---Salvation; liberation; the same as Nirvana.

 

Moulvi. A scholar of Muslim lore.

 

Marichi. Chief of the Maruts.

 

Mukti. The same as Moksa.

 

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Nidanas; The twelve causes of existence, or a chain of causation; a fundamental of Buddhist philosophy.

 

Nirmanakaya. The Adept who has renounced Nirvana to become a member of that invisible Host whichever protects and watches over Humanity within Karmic limits."

 

Nirvana. The state of absolute existence and absolute consciousness (not annihilation as erroneously understood) .

 

Ojas, Power; energy; strength.

 

Paramatman. Lit., the Supreme Atman ; the Universal Soul.

 

Parthasarathi. A name of Krishna; Lit., the charioteer of Partha, a name of Arjuna.

 

Pehlevi or pahlavi. One of the ancient Iranian languages in which many Zoroastrian Scriptures are written.

 

Prajaipati. Lord of' creatures; Creator and protector of Life.

 

Prakrti. Lit., that which one presupposes; Nature in general; Nature as opposed to Purusa. These together are the two primeval aspects of the One Deity.

 

Puranas. A collection of ancient symbolical and allegorical writings.

 

Purohita. A Brahmana priest.

 

Purusa. The Supreme Spirit; the "Spiritual Self" in the Universe as in man.

 

Rajarsis. Royal Rsis; Sages of a particular type who have attained Wisdom.

 

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Rajas. One of the three great qualities; the driving power of Nature; in men, soul-darkening passion.

 

Rsi. An Adept; an Inspired One; in Vedic literature, the Poets and Singers through whom the' various. Mantras were revealed.

 

Sabda-Brahman. The Logos; the Word Made Flesh of the Hindus.

 

Sastra. Code: scripture; with the Hindus, any work of divine or accepted authority.

 

Siva. The third person of the Hindu Trinity; the destructive as well as the regenerative force in Nature.

 

Sloka. Lit., thing heard, i. e., sound; a verse; a strophe.

 

Samadhi. The highest state of Yoga; the highest condition of spiritual meditation possible to man on earth.

 

Samkhya. One of the six schools of philosophy in . India.

 

Sannyasi. A Hindu ascetic, one who has entirely renounced the world; one in the last of the four stages of life.

 

Samsara. The world-process; the cycle or round of existence.

 

Samvrtti. False conception, the origin of illusion, Maya.

 

Sephiroths. In Hebrew philosophy, the ten emanations of Deity.

 

Siddhis. The psychic faculties, the abnormal powers in man, of which there are two kinds, one embracing

 

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the lower, coarse, psychic and mental energies; the other exacting the highest training of spiritual powers.

 

Skandhas. Groups of attributes.

 

Sutta. The Pali form of sutra, an aphorism; a portion of the Buddhist Scriptures.

 

Tanha. Pali form of trsna, the thirst for life; desire to live and clinging to life on earth.

 

Tapasvin. Lit., one who practises tapas, mortification; an ascetic and anchorite; a contemplator.

 

Tathagata. One who walks in the steps of his predecessors; a title of Gautama Buddha .

 

Taviz. Talisman.

 

Tejas. Radiance; splendour; majesty.

 

Thera. Pali, the title given to a bhikkhu; a senior priest; an elder.

 

Trsna. The Sanskrit form of Tanha.

 

Tsong-kha-pa. The famous Tibetan reformer of the fourteenth century who introduced a purified Buddhism into His country; a great Adept; an Avatar of Buddha.

 

Upanisads. Treatises interpreting the Vedas esoterically, themselves the echo of the primeval Wisdom - Religion.

 

Vedas. The most ancient scriptures of the Hindus; sacred knowledge, cruti, heard by the Rsis.

 

Vibhutis. Powers ; Divine Excellences, for example, enumerated in the tenth discourse of the Bhagavad-Gita.

 

Vihara. A Buddhist Temple.

 

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Visnu. The second person of the Hindu Trinity; the preservative force in Nature.

 

Yasna. A Scripture of the Zoroastrians.

 

Yoga. Lit., union; the practice of meditation as a means of attaining to spiritual liberation ; also one of the six schools of philosophy in India.

 

Yuga. An age of the world, of which there are four; the one-thousandth part of a Kalpa.

 

Zarathushtra. A generic name for great lawgivers and reformers among the Zoroastrians; the last great Prophet and Reformer on whose teachings Zoroastrianism is based.