THEOSOPHY, Vol. 75, No. 11, September,
THE assurance of the Teachers of Theosophy that in due process of time the faithful and persistent student may know both the Teaching and Them is perhaps the most significant point in the entire system of science and philosophy synthesized in the ancient Wisdom-Religion.
It is significant because it invites the test, puts that test directly in the student's own hands, encourages him to make it, and provides minor proofs and abundant evidences of its verity throughout the process.
No religion can give such assurance, because no religion is scientific. To prove the asserted verity of the Christian religion, for instance, one has to die -- which supplies no proof at all to the living. The testimonies of living Christians to the authenticity of their faith are no more than evidences of emotional disorder, temporary or permanent. In the stern laboratory of human life and experience, and the intellectual honesty of the cool observer, such testimonies but illustrate the frailness of the witness. They are as fanciful and illogical as the babblings of a child, however sincere and devoted the nature of the Christian.
Religion promises no more than hope -- hope for ultimate translation into a state that to the well-balanced mind is anything but desirable. For after a well-lived life with its wonderful colorings of human experience, its clean-fought battles, successes, failures -- all the vast variety of incident and experience woven into a stout fabric of character and stamina, what warrior could desire the soft monotony of any "heaven"? Even earth with its mixture of joys and woes is better! All very well to be quiet for a little while, have an opportunity to patch up the wounds and get rested; but an eternity of it!
The Teachers of Theosophy say in effect: "Here are the facts of life, together with a clear exposition of your own relation to them, and time-tested suggestions as to how to deal with them. Learn the theory, make the applications -- and keep on doing it. In time you shall know for yourself, and consciously be of the company of other Knowers."
This is as simple and straightforward as the statement of a practical chemist, who might say: "Here are two elements; go into this laboratory where the equipment is complete and where every opportunity for intelligent work is available; combine the two elements and you will have a certain compound. You won't have to die to prove this, nor call upon your tricky emotional nature, nor pray, nor even sing any platitudinous songs. Just go to work and the result will disclose itself." By following his directions, the product of observation and experience, one will know what he knows.
Why do not students of Theosophy push through to knowledge? Doubtless some do. Those who do must know. It is obvious that the great majority do not.
The few Knowers do not run about telling non-knowers what They know. Such proceeding, under the laws of the study itself, would evidence but the ignorance of the tellers. No, they are busy at their work, which is always Knowers' work, whatever it may appear to be; and there is no waste energy or waste motion with Knowers. They do what can be done, and all that can be done, with the materials available and for those who will permit. Supervision by non-knowers will not disclose the essential nature of Knowers' work, nor even that they are Knowers. "The work of the ascetic is neither pure nor dark, but is peculiar to itself."
Students fail to push on and through to Knowledge on account of the very same obstruction that bars the mind of the Christian, or any other sincere religionist: the emotional nature. Controlled and rightly employed, this department of the being is an instrument of the utmost value; without it indeed his conscious spiritual evolution cannot be accomplished. For broadly speaking the emotional nature includes all that mysterious area of the human being which forms the connecting link between the spiritual man and the physical man. It is the Second Line of Evolution of the Secret Doctrine: the intellectual and psychic. Until these sheaths of the Soul are understood, and consciously attuned to the inner being, by exercise and by dispassion, "Knowing" in any comprehensive sense is impossible; once they are set in order, the rest must be natural and easy, for body and brain, being effects, quickly fall into line of themselves.
One might think that when an intelligent man hears that Knowledge can be had, provided certain steps can be taken, and recognizes the undoubted possibilities which a mere casual study of the Theosophical philosophy discloses, he would never be able to rest until he had proved for himself the verity of the teachings. The fact is, he never thereafter can -- but he tries to! Hence the numbers of the dissatisfied, the weary, the ill-balanced, the unhappy, the nervously strained and highly sensitive men and women within the Theosophical area. One cannot drink of the pure waters of this wellspring of human existence without incurring responsibilities. Even a few sips, and the process of resolution within the nature of the partaker has begun! Things commence to happen, both inside and outside the student.
Well-defined and orderly methods of procedure are clearly set forth for the student's guidance. These have been tested by ages of observation and experience, and proven by the Knowers. One of them is indicated in the admonition that there is no going back. The truth-seeker must ever travel on; an abyss opens up behind him at every step. Nor is stoppage safely possible; the pursuit of Knowledge is a continuous process.
Any logical mind can perceive the verity of these observations. Nature's own processes prove them on every hand. The truth-seeking student perceives them, assents to their verity; but here, with many, the oppositional nature, stirred as never before by the tonic waters of the eternal verities which have already been intellectually grasped, begins to erect its obstructions. A forceful and independent person "hates" to bind himself to rules, whatever they are and however clearly the necessity is sensed. That such binding is voluntary appears to make little difference. "I like this, and I don't like that. I am unlike anybody else, I have to find my own way. My circumstances are such that I am unable to conform. There are so many other worthy and enjoyable things I want to do, and surely the entire nature must receive attention and be cultivated. I am satisfied with what I already have, for a time." These and a thousand other seemingly valid excuses are thrown up by the aroused nature.
The bewildered student seeks to follow at one and the same time the path to Knowledge and the voices of this complex brood. But Truth is a jealous Master -- not an outside Master, but the true, inner One. For the student's own nature is Truth itself, and once he has called upon it in sincerity, it will thereafter drive him forever, regardless of the direction he may try to follow, in vain attempt to satisfy the ever-restless emotional nature which he is permitting to guide him. Inconsistency with one's own self results; come its attendant ferments. Inner disturbance makes outward disturbance. Nature, as epitomized in every department of the Student's being, revolts.
No one, whether his outcome be success or failure, is exempt from the effects of the struggling nature. Those who win through to Knowledge and become Knowers have not been exempt from the common lot, which has been found too severe by the failures and the part-failures. The Voice of the Silence shows the course, points out the obstructions, indicates the landmarks of the Path to knowledge, tells how to recognize them. This is a book of instructions, not just a poem! Its message to the thoughtful emerges in words like these: "Unless you are determined to go through, whatever happens, better not start!"
The ringing and soul-energizing words of all the Knowers down the ages to students who have already started are Push On! Never mind your feelings, never mind your circumstances, never mind your bodily health or lack of it, never mind the surrounding personalities, never mind your Karma -- for you are making it -- never mind anything or everything -- Push On! The goal is worth all that it costs, is real, tangible, glorious, satisfying, the only goal worth striving for, because it includes them all. Push On!
Meantime, They say, fulfill every duty gladly and willingly: this is the right employment of the tricky kamic(1) nature. Be glad that you have duties and difficulties, find pleasure in meeting the smallest of them as well as the greatest, enjoy whatever the currents of life bring to you that can be enjoyed, and strive with the deepest interest and consideration to understand and evaluate such sorrows and disappointments as come along, too. These are the great "opposites" that the kamic nature enables you to feel, and by discerning between which you shall learn and become strong. Use everything as a means of learning, thus in time all, all, will be seen to be useful and valuable.
Such a modulus for life never lacks for opportunity. It can be applied every day, and every hour and every moment of every day -- in any circumstances, any company, wherever one is, however one feels. It so has to be applied, sooner or later. The sooner, the easier. Delay makes one's own path more widely divergent each moment from the noble self-proving Path to Knowledge.
Seek this wisdom by doing service, by strong search, by questions and by humility ... There is no purifier in this world to be compared to spiritual knowledge; and he who is perfected in devotion findeth spiritual knowledge springing up spontaneously in himself in the progress of time.