The Man-God Whom We Await
THE NEW BIRTH; WHAT IT IS; INSTANCES DESCRIBED
The religions and philosophies of the Orient and the Occident compared; their chief difference; The mistaken idea of death. Cosmic Consciousness not common in the Orient. Why? What the earnest disciple strives for. The Real and the unreal. Buddha's agonized yearnings; why he was moved by them with such irresistible power; the ultimate victory. The identity of The Absolute; The Oriental teachings; "The Spiritual Maxims of Brother Lawrence;" The seemingly miraculous power of the Oriental initiate; does he really "talk" to birds and animals? How they learn to know and read "the heart of the world." The inner temples throughout Japan. The strange experience of a Zen (a Holy Order of Japan), student-priest in attaining mukti. The key to Realization. An address by Manikyavasayar, one of the great Tamil saints of Southern India. The Hindu conception of Cosmic Consciousness. The Japanese idea of the state. The Buddhist "Life-saving" monasteries; how the priests extend their consciousness to immeasurable distances at will. The last incarnation of God in India. His marvelous insight. The urge of the spiritual yearning for the "Voice of the Mother." His twelve years of struggle. His final illumination. The unutterable bliss pictured in his own words. What the Persian mystics allusion to "union with the Beloved" signifies; its exoteric and its esoteric meaning. The "Way of the Gods." The chief difference between the message of Jesus and that of other holy men. The famous "Song of Solomon" and the different interpretations; a new version. A French writer's evident glimpses of the new birth. Man's relation to the universe.
MAN'S RELATION TO GOD AND TO HIS FELLOW-MEN
The great riddle and a new solution. The persistence of the ideal of Perfected Man; Has it any basis in history? The superlative faculty of spiritual sight as depicted by artists, painters and sculptors. Symbols of consciousness. The way in which the higher consciousness expresses itself. Certain peculiar traits which distinguish those destined to the influx. The abode of the gods; The conditioned promise of godhood in Man. What is Nirvana? The Vedantan idea. The Christian idea. Did Jesus teach the kingdom of God on earth? Is there a basis for belief in physical immortality? A new explanation. The perilous paths. Those who "will see God." Evolution of consciousness from prehistoric man to the highest developed beings.
AREAS OF CONSCIOUSNESS
The Divine spark. Consciousness the essence of everything. Axioms of universal Occultism. The great central light. The teachings of Oriental seers regarding the ultimate goal. Different stages of mankind. Births in consciousness. Physical consciousness: its limitations. Mental consciousness: the jungles of the mind. Soul consciousness; whither it leads. The irresistible urge. Why we obey it. Sayings of ancient manuscripts. Perfecting Light. The disciple's test. Awakening of the divine man. Is he now on earth? What is meant by the awakening of the inner Self. Is the atman asleep? The doctrine of illusion; its relation to Cosmic Consciousness.
SELF-NESS AND SELFLESSNESS
The Dark Ages. The esoteric meaning of religious practices. The penetrating power of spiritual insight. The mystery of conversion. The paradox of Self-attainment and the necessity for selflessness. The Oriental teachings regarding the Self. The wisdom of the Illumined Master. The test of fitness for Nirvana. What caused Buddha the greatest anxiety? Experiences of Oriental sages and their testimony. What correlation exists between Buddha's desire and the attainment of Cosmic Consciousness among Occidental disciples.
INSTANCES OF ILLUMINATION AND ITS AFTER EFFECTS
The wonderful brilliancy of Illumination. Dr. Bucke's description of the Cosmic Light; his opinion regarding the possibility of becoming more general. Peculiar methods of producing spiritual ecstacy, as described by Lord Tennyson and others. The Power and Presence of God, as a reality. The dissolution of race barriers. The effacement of the sense of sin among the Illuminati. What is meant by the phrase "naked and unashamed." Will such a state ever exist on the earth? Efforts of those who have experienced Cosmic Consciousness to express the experience; the strange similarity found in all attempts. Is there any evidence that Cosmic Consciousness is possible to all?
EXAMPLES OF COSMIC CONSCIOUSNESS, WHO HAVE FOUNDED NEW SYSTEMS OF RELIGION
The simple religion of early Japan. The inner or secret shrine: its esoteric and its exoteric office. The Mystic Brotherhoods. Why the esoteric meanings have always been veiled. The great teachers and the uniformity of their instructions. Philosophy as taught by Vivekananda. The fundamental doctrine of Buddhism. Have the present-day Buddhists lost the key? Is religion necessary to Illumination? The fruits of Cosmic Consciousness.
MOSES, THE LAW-GIVER
The salient features of the Law as given by Moses to his people. Had the ancient Hebrews any knowledge of Illumination and its results? The symbol of liberation. Its esoteric meaning.
Prenatal conditions influencing Buddha. His strange temperament. His peculiar trances and their effect upon him. Why Buddha endured such terrible struggles; is suffering necessary to Cosmic Consciousness? From what was Buddha finally liberated? The simplicity of Buddha's commandments in the light of Cosmic Consciousness. The fundamental truths taught by Buddha and all other sages. Buddha's own words regarding death and Nirvana. Last words to his disciples. How the teachings of Buddha compare with the vision of Cosmic Consciousness. His method of development of spiritual consciousness.
JESUS OF NAZARETH
The astonishing similarity found in all religious precepts; the distinguishing feature of the teachings as delivered by Jesus. His repeated allusion to "the light within." The great commandment he gave to his disciples. Love the basis of the teachings of all Illumined minds. The "Second Coming of Christ." The signs of the times.
PAUL OF TARSUS
His undoubted experience of illumination and its effects. Was Paul changed by "conversion," or what was the wonderful power that altered his whole life? Why Paul sought seclusion after his illumination. Characteristics of all Illumined ones. The desire for simplicity. Paul's incomparable description of "the Love that never faileth." The safe guide to illumination. The "first fruits of the spirit," as prophesied by Paul.
Mohammed a predestined Leader. Condition of Arabia at his birth. Prophecies of a Messiah. His peculiar psychic temperament; his frequent attacks of catalepsy; his sufferings because of doubt; his never-ceasing urge toward a final revelation. His changed state after the revelation on Mt. Hara. His unswerving belief in his mission; his devotion to Truth; His simplicity and humility. His claim to Cosmic Consciousness.
Swedenborg's early life. His sudden change from materialism. The difficulty of clear enunciation. His unfailing belief in the divinity of his revelations. How they compare with experiences of others. The frequent reception of the Light. The blessing of Cosmic Consciousness.
MODERN EXAMPLES OF INTELLECTUAL COSMIC CONSCIOUSNESS: EMERSON; TOLSTOI; BALZAC
The way to Illumination through intellectual cultivation; Emerson a notable example; The Cosmic note in his essays and conversations. Emerson's religious nature. His familiarity with Oriental philosophy; his remarkable discrimination; the peculiar penetrating quality of his intellect. His never failing assurance of unity with the Divine. His belief in a spiritual life. Did Emerson predict a Millenium? His writings as they reflect light upon his attainment of Cosmic Consciousness.
LEO TOLSTOI—RUSSIAN PHILOSOPHER
Tolstoi the strangest and most unusual figure of the Nineteenth Century; His almost unbearable sufferings; his avowed materialism; his horror of death; The prevailing gloom of his writings and to what due. Incidents in his life previous to his illumination. The remarkable and radical change made by his experience. To what was due Tolstoi's great struggle and suffering? Why the great philosopher sought to die in a hut. His idea not one of penance. The signal change in his life after illumination. What he says of this.
HONORE DE BALZAC
Balzac's classification as of the psychic temperament. His amazing power of magnetic attraction. His feminine refinement in dress. His power of inspiration gave him his place in French literature. The dominant motive of all his writings. His unshakable conviction of immortality. His power to function on both planes of consciousness. The lesson to be drawn from Seraphita. Balzac's evident intention, and why veiled. The inevitable conclusion to be drawn from the Symbolical character.
ILLUMINATION AS EXPRESSED IN THE POETICAL TEMPERAMENT
Poetry the language of Cosmic Consciousness. Unconscious instruments of the Cosmic law. The true poet and the maker of rhymes. The mission and scope of the poetical temperament. How "temperament" affects expression. No royal road to Illumination. Teaching of Oriental mysticism. Whitman's extraordinary experience. His idea of "Perfections." Lord Tennyson's two distinct states of consciousness; his early boyhood and strange experiences. Facts about his illumination. The after effects. Tennyson's vision of the future. Wordsworth, the poet of Nature. How he attained and lost spiritual illumination. How he again received the great Light. The evidences of two states of consciousness. Outline of his illumination. Noguchi—a most remarkable instance of Illumination in early youth; Lines expressive of an exalted state of consciousness; how it resulted in later life. The strange case of William Sharp and "Fiona Macleod:" a perfect example of dual consciousness; the distinguishing features of the self and the Self; the fine line of demarcation. How the writer succeeded in living two distinct lives and the result. Remarkable contribution to literature. A puzzling instance of phases of consciousness.
METHODS OF ATTAINMENT: THE WAY OF ILLUMINATION
The four Oriental methods of liberation. The goal of the soul's pilgrimage. Strange theory advanced. Revolutionary results that follow. How to perceive the actuality of the higher Self. Gaining immortality "In the flesh;" What Revelation has promised and its substantiation in modern Science. The prize and the price. Some valuable Yoga exercises to induce spiritual ecstacy. What "union with God" really means. The "Brahmic Bliss" of the Upanashads. The new race; its powers and privileges. "The man-god whom we await" as described by Emerson.
THE SELF AND SYMBOL
Thou most Divine! above all women Above all men in consciousness.
Thou in thy nearness to me Hast shown me paths of love. Yea; walks that lead from hell To the great light; where life and love Do ever reign.
Thou hast taught to me a patience To behold whatever state; However beautiful and joyful; however ugly and sorrowful.
To know that these are—all!—but The glimmerings of the greater life— Expressions of the infinite.
According to the finality of that moment Now to come; in the eternal now, which thou Sweet Presence, hast awakened me to— I see the light—the way.
An everlasting illumination That takes me to the gate; the open door To the house of God. There I find most priceless jewels; The key to all the ways, That lead from Om to thee.
A mistake—an off-turn from the apparent road of right Is but the bruising of thy temple, Calling thy Self—thy soul— The God within; showing thee, The nita of it all; which is but the half of me.
And as thy consciousness of the two The nita and the ita, comes to thee A three is formed—the trinity is found.
Through thee the Deity hast spoken Uniting the two in the one;
Revealing the illusion of mortality The message of Om to the Illumined.
Man is essentially a spiritual being.
The source of this spiritual Omniscience we may not, in our finite intelligence, fully cognize, because full cognition would preclude the possibility of finite expression.
The destiny of man is perfection.
Man perfected becomes a god.
"Only the gods are immortal," we are told.
Let us consider what this means, supposing it to be an axiom of truth.
Mortality is subject to change and death. Mortality is the manifest—the stage upon which "man in his life plays many parts."
Immortality, is what the word says it is—godhood re-cognized in the mortal. "Im" or, "Om"—the more general term—stands for the Changeless. Birthless. Deathless. Unnamable Power that holds the worlds in space, and puts intelligence into man.
Biologists, even though they were to succeed in reproducing life by chemical processes from so-called "lifeless" (sterilized) matter, making so high a form of manifestation as man himself, yet could never name the power by which they accomplished it.
Always there must remain the Unknownable—the Absolute.
"Om," therefore, is the word we use to express this Omniscient, Omnipotent and Omnipresent power.
The term "mortal" we have already defined. The compound immortal, applied to individual man, stands for one who has made his "at-one-ment" with Om, and who has, while still in the mortal body, re-cognized himself as one with Om.
This is what it means to escape the "second death," to which the merely mortal consciousness is subject.
This is the goal of every human life; this is the essence, the substance of all religious systems and all philosophies.
The only chance for disputation among theologians and philosophers, lies in the way of accomplishing this at-one-ment. There is not the slightest opportunity for a difference of opinion as what they wish to accomplish.
Admitting then, that the goal of every soul is the same—immortality—(the mortal consciousness cognizing itself as Om), we come to a consideration of the evidence we may find in support of this axiom. This evidence we do not find satisfactory, in spirit communication; in psychic experiences; in hypnotic phenomena; and astral trips; important, and reliable as these many psychic research phenomena are.
These are not satisfactory or convincing evidences of our at-one-ment with Om, because they do not preclude the probability of the "second death;" but on the contrary, they verify it.
However, aside from all these psychic phenomena, there is a phase of human experience, much more rare but becoming somewhat general, that transcends phenomena of every kind.
The western world has given to these experiences the term "cosmic consciousness," which term is self explanatory.
The Orientals have long known of this goal of the soul, and they have terms to express this, varying with the many types of the Oriental mind, but all meaning the same thing. This meaning, from our Occidental viewpoint, is best translated in the term liberation, signifying to be set free from the limitations of sense, and of self-consciousness, and to have glimpsed the larger area of consciousness, that takes in the very cosmos.
This experience is accompanied by a great light, whether this light is manifested as spiritual, or as intellectual power, determines its expression.
The object of this book is to call attention to some of the more pronounced instances of this Illumination, and to classify them, according as they have been expressed through religions enthusiasm; poetical fervor; or great intellectual power.
But we have also one other argument to make, and this we present with a conviction of its truth, while conceding that it must remain a theory, until proven, each individual, man or woman, for himself and herself. The postulate is this: immortality (i.e. godhood) is bi-sexual. No male person can by any possibility become an immortal god, in, of and by himself; no female person can be complete without the "other half" that makes the ONE.
Each and every SOUL, therefore, has its spiritual counterpart—its "other half," with which it unites on the spiritual plane, when the time comes for attainment of immortality.
Sex is an eternal verity. The entire Cosmos is bi-sexual. Everything in the visible universe; in the manifest, is the result of this universal principle. "As above so below," is a safe rule, as far as the IDEA goes. This hypothesis does not preclude perfection above, of that which we find below, but any radical reversion or repudiation of nature is inconceivable.
"Male and female created he them." This being true, male and female must they return to the source from which they sprung, completing the circle, and gaining what?
Consciousness of godhood; of completeness in counterpartal union. Not absorption of consciousness, but union, which is quite a different idea.
Out of this counterpartal union a race of gods will be born, and these supermen, shall "inherit the earth" making it a "fit dwelling place for the gods."
This earth is now being made fit. This fact may seem a far distant hope if we do not judge with the eyes of the seer, but its proof lies in the emancipation of woman. Its evidences are many and varied, but the awakening of woman is the cause.
This awakening of woman constitutes the first rays of the dawn—that long-looked for Millenium, which many of us have regarded as a mere figure of speech, instead of as a literal truth.
The argument is not that there has been no individual awakening until the present time; but that never before in the finite history of the world has there been such a general awakening, and as it is self evident that conditions will reflect the idea of the majority, the fact that woman is being given her rightful place in the sense-conscious life, proves that the earth will be a fit dwelling place for a higher order of beings than have hitherto constituted the majority.
The numerous instances of Illumination, or cosmic consciousness which are forcing attention at the present time, prove that there is a race-awakening to a realization of our unity with Om.
Another point which we trust these pages will make clear is this: So-called "revelation" is neither a personal "discovery," nor any special act of a divine power. "God spake thus and so to me," is a phrase which the self-conscious initiate employs, because he has lost sight of the cosmic light, or because he finds it expedient to use that phraseology in delivering the message of cosmic consciousness.
If we will substitute the term "initiation," for the term "revelation," we will have a clearer idea of the truth.
Perhaps some of our readers will feel that the terms mean the same, but for the most part, those who have employed the word "revelation," have used it as implying that the plan of the cosmos was unfinished, and that the Creator, having found some person suitable to convey the latest decision to mankind, natural laws had been suspended and the revelation made.
It is to correct this view, that we emphasize the distinction between the two words.
The cosmos is complete. "As it was in the beginning, it is now and ever shall be, worlds without end."
A circle is without beginning or end. We, in our individual consciousness may traverse this circle, but our failure to realize its completeness does not change the fact that it is finished.
We can not add to the universal consciousness; nor take away therefrom.
But we can extend our own area of consciousness from the narrow limits of the personal self, into the heights and depths of the atman and who shall set limitations to the power of the atman, the higher Self, when it has attained at-one-ment with Om?
It is not the purpose of this book to trace the spiritual ascent of man further than to point out the wide gulf between the degrees of consciousness manifested in the lower animals and that of human consciousness; again tracing in the human, the ever-widening area of his cognition of the personal self, and its needs, to the awakening of the soul and its needs; which needs include the welfare of all living things as an absolute necessity to individual happiness.
Altruism, therefore, is not a virtue. It is a means of self-preservation—without this degree of initiation into the boundless area of universal, or cosmic consciousness, we may not escape the karmic law.
The revelations, therefore, upon which are founded the numerous religious systems, are comparable with the many and various degrees of initiation into THAT WHICH IS.
They represent the degree which the initiate has taken in the lodge.
It may be argued that this fact of individual initiation into the ever-present truth of Being, as into a lodge, offers no proof that this earth is to ultimately become a heaven. It may be that this planet is the outer-most lodge room and that there will never be a sufficient number of initiates to make the earth a fit dwelling place for a higher order of beings than now inhabit it. This may, indeed, be true. But all evidence tends toward the hope that even the planet itself will come under the regenerating power of Illumination.
All prophecies embody this promise; all that we know of what materialists call "evolution" and occultists might well name "uncovering of consciousness," points to a time when "God's will," "shall be done on earth as it is in heaven."
All who have attained to cosmic consciousness in whatever degree, have prophecied a time, when this blessing would descend upon every one; but the difficulty in adequately explaining this great gift seems also to have been the burden of their cry.
Jesus sought repeatedly to describe to his hearers the wonders of the cosmic sense, but realized that he was too far in advance of the cyclic end; but even as at that time, a number of disciples were capable of receiving the Illumination, so to-day, a larger number are capable of attainment. If this number is great enough to bring about the regeneration—the perfecting—of the earth conditions, then it must be accomplished.
We believe that it is. We make the claim that the Millenium has dawned; and although it may be many years before the light of the morning breaks into the full light of the day, yet the rays of the dawn are dispelling the world's long night.
In his powerful and prophetic story "In the Days of the Comet," H.G. Wells, tells of a great change that comes over the world following an atmospheric phenomenon in which a "green vapor" is generated in the clouds and falls upon the earth with instantaneous effect.
As this peculiar vapor descends, it has the effect of putting every one to sleep; this sleep continues for three days and when people finally awake, their interior nature has undergone a complete change.
Where before they "saw dimly," they now see clearly; the petty differences and quarrels are perceived in their true perspective. Instead of place, and power, and influence, and wealth, being all-important goals of ambition as before the change, every one now strives to be of service to the world. Love and kindness become greater factors than commercial expediency and business success.
In many respects, Wells' description of the great change and its effect upon people, corresponds with the effect of Illumination.
The sense of entering into the very heart of things; of growing plants; the birds and the little wood animals; the intense sympathy and understanding of life described by him, sounds like the effect of cosmic consciousness, as related by nearly all who have attained it.
How the world's activities are resumed after the change, and under what vastly different incentives people work, form a part of the story, which is written as fiction, but which contains the seed of a great truth.
This truth is expressed in science, as human achievement, and in religion as fulfilled prophecy, but the truth is the same.
Both religion and science point to a time when this earth will know freedom from strife and suffering. Even the elements which have hitherto been regarded as beyond the boundaries of man's will, may be completely controlled; not may be, but will be. Manual labor will cease. National Eugenic societies will put a stop to war, when they come to the inevitable conclusion, that no race can by any possibility be improved, while the most perfect physical species are reserved for armies.
Awakening woman will refuse—indeed they are now refusing—to bear children to be shot down in warfare, and crushed under the juggernaut of commercial competition.
Those who realize the signs of the times, look for the birth of cosmic consciousness as a race-consciousness, foreshadowing the new day; the "second coming of Christ," not as a personal, vicarious sacrifice, but as a factor in human attainment.
"For I am persuaded," said St. Paul, "that neither death nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature shall be able to separate us from the love of God."
If we interpret this in the light of cosmic consciousness, we realize that we shall know, and experience that boundless, deathless, perfect, satisfying, complete and all-embracing love which is the goal of immortality; which is an attribute (we may say the one attribute) of God.
We are not looking for the birth of a Christ-child, but of the Christ-child; we are not looking for a second coming of a man who shall be as Jesus was, but we are anticipating the coming of the man (homo), who shall be cosmically conscious, even as was Jesus of Nazareth; as was Guatama, the Buddha.
That there may be one man and one woman who shall first achieve this consciousness and realization is barely possible, but the preponderance of evidence is for a more general awakening to the light of Illumination.
"We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed in the twinkling of an eye," said St. Paul.
The prophecy of "the woman clothed with the sun, and with the moon under her feet," is not of a woman, but of Woman, in the light of a race of men who have attained cosmic consciousness.
Nothing more is needed to make a heaven of earth, than that the great light and love that comes of Illumination, shall become dominant.
It will solve all problems, because problems arise only because we are groping in the dark. The elimination of selfishness; of condemnation; of fear and anger, and doubt, must have far greater power for universal happiness and well-being than all the systems which theology or science or politics could devise. Indeed, all these systems are sporadic and empirical attempts to express the vague dawning of Illumination.
In the fullness of its light, the need for systems will have passed away.
THE NEW BIRTH: WHAT IT IS: INSTANCES DESCRIBED
The chief difference between the religions and the philosophies of the Orient and those of the Occident, lies in the fact that the Oriental systems, methods, and practices, emphasize the assumption that the goal of these efforts, is attainable at any moment, as it were.
That is, Oriental religion—speaking in the broad sense—teaches that the disciple need not wait for the experience called death to liberate the Self, the atman, from the enchantment or delusion, the maya, of the external world. Indeed, the Oriental devotee well knows that physical death, mrityu, is not a guarantee of liberation; does not necessarily bring with it immortality.
He well recognizes that physical death is but a procedure in existence. Death does not of itself, change the condition of maya, in which the disciple is bound until such a time, as he has earned liberation—mukti, which condition may be defined as immunity from further incarnation.
Immortality is our rightful heritage but it must be claimed,—yea, it must be earned.
It is a mistake to imagine that death makes man immortal. Immortality is an attribute of the gods. But since all souls possess a spark of the divine essence of Brahman (The Absolute), mukti may be attained by earnest seeking, and thus immortality be realized.
This condition of awakening, is variously named among Oriental sages and chelas, such for instance as glimpsing the Brahmic splendor; mutki; samadhi; moksha; entering Nirvana; becoming "twice-born."
In recent years there have come to light in the Occident a number of instances of the attainment of this state, and these have been described as "cosmic consciousness;" "illumination;" "liberation;" the "baptism of the Holy Ghost;" and becoming "immersed in the great white light."
Baptism, which is a ceremony very generally incorporated into religious systems, is a symbol of this esoteric truth, namely the necessity for Illumination in order that the soul may be "saved" from further incarnations—from further experience.
The term cosmic consciousness as well describes this condition of the disciple, as any words can, perhaps, although the term liberation is more literal, since the influx of this state of being, is actually the liberation of the atman, the eternal Self, from the illusion of the external, or maya.
Contrary to the general belief, instances of cosmic consciousness are not extremely rare, although they are not at all general. Particularly is this true in the Orient, where the chief concern as it were, of the people has for centuries been the realization of this state of liberation.
The Oriental initiate in the study of religious practices, realizes that these devotions are for the sole purpose of attaining mukti, whereas in the Occident, the very general idea held by the religious devotee, is one of penance; of propitiation of Deity. This truth applies essentially to the initiate, the aspirant for priesthood, or guru-ship. No qualified priest or guru of the Orient harbors any doubt regarding the object, or purpose of religious practices. The attainment of the spiritual experience described in occidental language as "cosmic consciousness" is the goal.
The goal is not a peaceful death; nor yet an humble entrance into heaven as a place of abode; nor is it the ultimate satisfying of a God of extreme justice; the "eye for an eye" God of the fear-stricken theologian.
One purpose only, actuates the earnest disciple, like a glorious star lighting the path of the mariner on life's troublous sea. That goal is the attainment of that beatific state in which is revealed to the soul and the mind, the real and the unreal; the eternal substance of truth, and the shifting kaleidoscope of maya.
Nor can there be any purpose in the pursuit of either religion or philosophy other than this attainment; nor does the unceasing practice of rites and ceremonies; of contemplation; renunciation; prayers; fasting; penance; devotion; service; adoration; absteminousness; or isolation, insure the attainment of this state of bliss. There is no bartering; no assurance of reward for good conduct. It is not as though one would say, "Ah, my child, if thou wouldst purchase liberation thou shalt follow this recipe."
No golden promises of speedy entrance into Paradise may be given the disciple. Nor any exact rules, or laws of equation by virtue of which the goal shall be reached. Nor yet may any specific time be correctly estimated in which to serve a novitiate, before final initiation.
Many indeed, attain a high degree of spirituality, and yet not have found the key of perfect liberation, although the goal may be not far off.
Many, very many, on earth to-day, are living so close to the borderland of the new birth that they catch fleeting glimpses of the longed-for freedom, but the full import of its meaning does not dawn. There is yet another veil, however thin, between them and the Light.
The Buddha spent seven years in an intense longing and desire to attain that liberation which brought him consciousness of godhood—deliverance from the sense of sin and sorrow that had oppressed him; immunity from the necessity for reincarnation.
Jesus became a Christ only after passing through the agonies of Gethsemane. A Christ is one who has found liberation; who has been born again in his individual consciousness into the inner areas of consciousness which are of the atman, and this attainment establishes his identity with The Absolute.
All oriental religions and philosophies teach that this state of consciousness, is possible to all men; therefore all men are gods in embryo.
But no philosophy or religion may promise the devotee the realization of this grace, nor yet can they deny its possible attainment to any.
Strangely enough, if we estimate men by externalities, we discover that there is no measure by which the supra-conscious man may be measured. The obscure and unlearned have been known to possess this wonderful power which dissolves the seeming, and leaves only the contemplation of the Real.
So also, men of great learning have experienced this rebirth; but it would seem that much cultivation of the intellectual qualities, unless accompanied by an humble and reverent spirit, frequently acts as a barrier to the realization of supra-consciousness.
In "Texts of Taoism," Kwang-Tse, one of the Illuminati, writes:
"He whose mind is thus grandly fixed, emits a heavenly light. In him who emits this heavenly light, men see the true man (i.e., the atman; the Self). When a man has cultivated himself to this point, thenceforth he remains constant in himself. When he is thus constant in himself, what is merely the human element will leave him, but Heaven will help him. Those whom Heaven helps, we call the sons of Heaven. Those who would, by learning, attain to this, seek for what they can not learn."
Thus it will be seen, that according to the reports offered us by this wise man, that which men call learning guarantees no power regarding that area of consciousness which brings Illumination—liberation from enchantment, of the senses—mukti.
Again, in the case of Jacob Boehme, the German mystic, although he left tomes of manuscript, it is asserted authoritatively, that he "possessed no learning" as that word is understood to mean accumulated knowledge.
In "The Spiritual Maxims" of Brother Lawrence, the Carmelite monk, we find this:
"You must realize that you reach God through the heart, and not through the mind."
"Stupidity is closer to deliverance than intellect which innovates," is a phrase ascribed to a Mohammedan saint, and do not modern theologians report with enthusiasm, the unlettered condition of Jesus?
In the Orient, the would-be initiate shuts out the voice of the world, that he may know the heart of the world. Many, very many, are the years of isolation and preparation which such an earnest one accepts in order that he may attain to that state of supra-consciousness in which "nothing is hidden that shall not be revealed" to his clarified vision.
In the inner temples throughout Japan, for example, there are persons who have not only attained this state of consciousness, but who have also retained it, to such a degree and to such an extent, that no event of cosmic import may occur in any part of the world, without these illumined ones instantly becoming aware of its happening, and indeed, this knowledge is possessed by them before the event has taken place in the external world, since their consciousness is not limited to time, space, or place (relative terms only), but is cosmic, or universal.
This power is not comparable with what Occidental Psychism knows as "clairvoyance," or "spirit communication."
The state of consciousness is wholly unlike anything which modern spiritualism reports in its phenomena. Far from being in any degree a suspension of consciousness as is what is known as mediumship, this power partakes of the quality of omniscience. It harmonizes with and blends into all the various degrees and qualities of consciousness in the cosmos, and becomes "at-one" with the universal heart-throb.
A Zen student priest was once discovered lying face downward on the grass of the hill outside the temple; his limbs were rigid, and not a pulse throbbed in his tense and immovable form. He was allowed to remain undisturbed as long as he wished. When at length he stood up, his face wore an expression of terrible anguish. It seemed to have grown old. His guru stood beside him and gently asked: "What did you, my son?"
"O, my Master," cried out the youth, "I have heard and felt all the burdens of the world. I know how the mother feels when she looks upon her starving babe. I have heard the cry of the hunted things in the woods; I have felt the horror of fear; I have borne the lashes and the stripes of the convict; I have entered the heart of the outcast and the shame-stricken; I have been old and unloved and I have sought refuge in self-destruction; I have lived a thousand lives of sorrow and strife and of fear, and O, my Master, I would that I could efface this anguish from the heart of the world."
The guru looked in wonder upon the young priest and he said, "It is well, my son. Soon thou shalt know that the burden is lifted."
Great compassion, the attribute of the Lord Buddha, was the key which opened to this young student priest, the door of mukti, and although his compassion was not less, after he had entered into that blissful realization, yet so filled did he become with a sense of bliss and inexpressible realization of eternal love, that all consciousness of sorrow was soon wiped out.
This condition of effacement of all identity, as it were, with sorrow, sin, and death, seems inseparable from the attainment of liberation, and has been testified to by all who have recorded their emotions in reaching this state of consciousness. In other respects, the acquisition of this supra-consciousness varies greatly with the initiate.
In all instances, there is also an overwhelming conviction of the transitory character of the external world, and the emptiness of all man-bestowed honors and riches.
A story is told of the Mohammedan saint Fudail Ibn Tyad, which well illustrates this. The Caliph Harun-al-Rashid, learning of the extreme simplicity and asceticism of his life exclaimed, "O, Saint, how great is thy self-abnegation."
To which the saint made answer: "Thine is greater." "Thou dost but jest," said the Caliph in wonderment. "Nay, not so, great Caliph," replied the saint. "I do but make abnegation of this world which is transitory, and thou makest abnegation of the next which will last forever."
However, the phrase, "self-abnegation," predicates the concept of sacrifice; the giving up of something much to be desired, while, as a matter of truth, there arises in the consciousness of the Illumined One, a natural contempt for the "baubles" of externality; therefore there is no sacrifice. Nothing is given up. On the contrary, the gain is infinitely great.
Manikyavasayar, one of the great Tamil saints of Southern India, addressed a gathering of disciples thus:
"Why go about sucking from each flower, the droplet of honey, when the heavy mass of pure and sweet honey is available?" By which he questioned why they sought with such eagerness the paltry pleasures of this world, when the state of cosmic consciousness might be attained.
The thought of India, is however, one of ceaseless repudiation of all that is external, and the Hindu conception of mukti, or cosmic consciousness, differs in many respects from that reported by the Illumined in other countries, even while all reports have many emotions in common.
Again we find that reports of the cosmic influx, differ with the century in which the Illumined one lived. This may be accounted for in the fact that an experience so essentially spiritual can not be accurately expressed in terms of sense consciousness.
Far different from the Hindu idea, for example, is the report of a woman who lived in Japan in the early part of the nineteenth century. This woman was very poor and obscure, making her frugal living by braiding mats. So intense was her consciousness of unity with all that is, that on seeing a flower growing by the wayside, she would "enter into its spirit," as she said, with an ecstacy of enjoyment, that would cause her to become momentarily entranced.
She was known to the country people around her as Sho-Nin, meaning literally "above man in consciousness."
It is said that the wild animals of the wood, were wont to come to her door, and she talked to them, as though they were humans. An injured hare came limping to her door in the early morning hours and "spoke" to her.
Upon which, she arose and dressed, and opened the door of her dwelling with words of greeting, as she would use to a neighbor.
She washed the soil from the injured foot, and "loved" it back to wholeness, so that when the hare departed there was no trace of injury.
She declared that she spoke to and was answered by, the birds and the flowers, and the animals, just as she was by persons.
Indeed, among the high priests of the Jains, and the Zens (sects which may be classed as highly developed Occultists), entering into animal consciousness, is a power possessed by all initiates.
Passing along a highway near a Zen temple, the driver of a cart was stopped by a priest, who gently said: "My good man, with some of the money you have in your purse please buy your faithful horse a bucket of oats. He tells me he has been so long fed on rice straw that he is despondent."
To the Occidental mind this will doubtless appear to be the result of keen observation, the priest being able to see from the appearance of the animal that he was fed on straw. They will believe, perhaps, that the priest expressed his observations in the manner described to more fully impress the driver, but this conclusion will be erroneous. The priest, possessing the enlarged or all-inclusive consciousness which in the west is termed "cosmic," actually did speak to the horse.
Nor is this fact one which the western mind should be unable to follow. Science proves the fact of consciousness existing in the atoms composing even what has been termed inanimate objects. How much more comprehensible to our understanding is the consciousness of an animate organism, even though this organism be not more complex than the horse.
There is a Buddhist monastery built high on the cliff overlooking the Japan Inland sea, which is called a "life-saving" monastery.
The priests who preside over this temple, possess the power of extending their consciousness over many miles of sea, and on a vibration attuned to a pitch above the sound of wind and wave, so that they can hear a call of distress from fishermen who need their help.
This fact being admitted, might be accounted for by the uninitiated, as a wonderfully "trained ear," which by cultivation and long practice detects sounds at a seemingly miraculous distance.
But the priests know how many are in a wrecked boat, and can describe them, and "converse" with them, although the fishermen are not aware that they have "talked" to the priest.
Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, the latest incarnation of God in India, and the master to whom the late Swami Vivekananda gives such high praise and devotion, lived almost wholly in that exalted state of consciousness which would appear to be more essentially spiritual, than cosmic in the strict sense of the latter word, since cosmic should certainly imply all-inclusiveness, rather than wholly spiritual (spiritual being here used as an extremely high vibration of the cosmos).
We learn that Sri Ramakrishna was a man comparatively unlettered, and yet his insight was so marvelous, his consciousness so exalted that the most learned pundits honored and respected him as one who had attained unto the goal of all effort—liberation, mukti, while to many persons throughout India to-day, and indeed throughout the whole world, he is looked upon as an incarnation of Krishna.
It is related of Sri Ramakrishna that his yearning for Truth (his mother, he called it), was so great that he finally became unfit to conduct services in the temple, and retired to a little wood near by. Here he seemed to be lost in concentration upon the one thought, to such an extent that had it not been for devoted attendants, who actually put food into his mouth, the sage would have starved to death. He had so completely lost all thought of himself and his surroundings that he could not tell when the day dawned or when the night fell. So terrible was his yearning for the voice of Truth that when day after day passed and the light he longed for had not come to him he would weep in agony.
Nor could any words or argument dissuade him from his purpose.
He once said to Swami Vivekananda:
"My son, suppose there is a bag of gold in yonder room, and a robber is in the next room. Do you think that robber can sleep? He cannot. His mind will be always thinking how he can enter that room and obtain possession of that gold. Do you think, then, that a man firmly persuaded that there is a reality behind all these appearances, that there is a God, that there is One who never dies, One who is Infinite Bliss, a bliss compared with which these pleasures of the senses are simply playthings,—can rest contented without struggling to attain it? No, he will become mad with longing."
At length, after almost twelve years unceasing effort, and undivided purpose Sri Ramakrishna was rewarded with what has been described as "a torrent of spiritual light, deluging his mind and giving him peace."
This wonderful insight he displayed in all the after years of his earthly mission, and he not only attained glimpses of the cosmic conscious state, but he also retained the Illumination, and the power to impart to a great degree, the realization of that state of being which he himself possessed.
Like the Lord Buddha, this Indian sage also describes his experience as accompanied by "unbounded light." Speaking of this strange and overpowering sense of being immersed in light, Sri Ramakrishna described it thus: "The living light to which the earnest devotee is drawn doth not burn. It is like the light coming from a gem, shining yet soft, cool and soothing. It burneth not. It giveth peace and joy."
This effect of great light, is an almost invariable accompaniment of supra-consciousness, although there are instances of undoubted cosmic consciousness in which the realization has been a more gradual growth, rather than a sudden influx, in which the phenomenon of light is not greatly marked.
Mohammed is said to have swooned with the "intolerable splendor" of the flood of white light which broke upon him, after many days of constant prayer and meditation, in the solitude of the cavern outside the gates of Mecca.
Similar is the description of the attainment of cosmic consciousness, given by the Persian mystics, although it is evident that the Sufis regarded the result as reunion with "the other half" of the soul in exile.
The burden of their cry is love, and "union with the beloved" is the longed-for goal of all earthly strife and experience.
Whether this reunion be considered from the standpoint of finding the other half of the perfect one, as exemplified in the present-day search for the soul mate, or whether it be considered in the light of a spiritual merging into the One Eternal Absolute is the question of questions.
Certainly the terms used to express this state of spiritual ecstacy are words which might readily be applied to lovers united in marriage.
One thing is certain, the Sufis did not personify the Deity, except symbolically, and the "beloved one" is impartially referred to as masculine or feminine, even as modern thought has come to realize God as Father-Mother.
In all mystical writings, we find the conclusion that there is no one way in which the seeker may find reunion with The Beloved.
"The ways of God are as the number of the souls of men," declare the followers of Islam, and "for the love that thou wouldst find demands the sacrifice of self to the end that the heart may be filled with the passion to stand within the Holy of Holies, in which alone the mysteries of the True Beloved can be revealed unto thee," is also a Sufi sentiment, although it might also be Christian or Mohammedan, or Vedantan.
Indeed, if the student of Esotericism, searches deeply enough, he will find a surprising unity of sentiment, and even of expression, in all the variety of religions and philosophies, including Christianity.
It has been said that the chief difference between the message of Jesus and those of the holy men of other races, and times, lies in the fact that Jesus, more than his predecessors, emphasized the importance of love. But consider the following lines from Jami, the Persian mystic:
"Gaze, till gazing out of gazing Grew to BEING HER I gazed on, She and I no more, but in one Undivided Being blended. All that is not One must ever Suffer with the wound of absence; And whoever in Love's city Enters, finds but room for one And but in Oneness, union."
These lines express that religious ecstacy which results from spiritual aspiration, or they express the union of the individual soul with its mate according to the viewpoint. In any event, they are an excellent description of the realization of that much-to-be-desired consciousness which is fittingly described in Occidental phraseology as "cosmic consciousness." Whether this realization is the result of union with the soul's "other half," or whether it is an impersonal reunion with the Causeless Cause, The Absolute, from which we are earth wanderers, is not the direct purpose of this volume to answer, although the question will be answered, and that soon.
From whence and by whom we are not prepared to say, but the "signs and portents" which precede the solution of this problem have already made their appearance.
Christian students of the Persian mystics, take exception to statements like the above, and regard them as "erotic," rather than spiritual.
Mahmud Shabistari employs the following symbolism, but unquestionably seeks to express the same emotion:
"Go, sweep out the chamber of your heart, Make it ready to be the dwelling-place of the Beloved. When you depart out, he will enter in, In you, void of yourself, will he display his beauty."
The "Song of Solomon" is in a similar key, and whether the wise king referred to that state of samadhi which accompanies certain experiences of cosmic consciousness, or whether he was reciting love-lyrics, must be a moot question.
The personal note in the famous "song" has been accounted for by many commentators, on the grounds that Solomon had only partial glimpses of the supra-conscious state, and that, in other words, he frequently "backslid" from divine contemplation, and allowed his yearning for the state of liberation, to express itself in love of woman.
An attribute of the possession of cosmic consciousness is wisdom, and this Solomon is said to have possessed far beyond his contemporaries, and to a degree incompatible with his years. It is said that he built and consecrated a "temple for the Lord," and that, as a result of his extreme piety and devotion to God, he was vouchsafed a vision of God.
As these reports have come to us through many stages of church history and as Solomon lived many centuries before the birth of Jesus, it seems hardly fitting to ascribe the raptures of Solomon as typifying the love of the Church (the bride) for Christ (the bridegroom).
Rather, it is easier to believe, the wisdom of the king argues a degree of consciousness far beyond that of the self-conscious man, and he rose to the quality of spiritual realization, expressing itself in a love and longing for that soul communion which may be construed as quite personal, referring to a personal, though doubtless non-corporeal union with his spiritual complement.
Although the pronoun "he" is used, signifying that Solomon's longing was what theology terms "spiritual" and consequently impersonal, meaning God The Absolute, yet we suggest that the use of the masculine pronoun may be due entirely to the translators and commentators (of whom there have been many), and that, in their zeal to reconcile the song with the ecclesiastical ideas of spirituality, the gender of the pronoun has been changed. We submit that the idea is more than possible, and indeed in view of the avowed predilections of the ancient king and sage, it is highly probable.
"Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth For his love is better than wine."
Again he cries:
"Behold thou art fair my love, behold thou art fair, thou hast dove's eyes."
The realization of mukti, i.e., the power of the atman to transcend the physical, is thus expressed by Solomon, clearly indicating that he had found liberation:
"My beloved spoke and said unto me, 'Rise up my love my fair one, and come away. For lo, the winter is passed, the rain is over and gone.
"'The flowers appear upon the earth; the time of singing of birds has come, and the voice of the turtle dove is heard in our land.
"'The fig tree putteth forth her green figs, and the vine with the tender grapes gives a goodly smell. Arise my love, my fair one, and come away.'"
It is assumed that these lines do not refer to a personal hegira, but rather to the act of withdrawing the Self from the things of the outer life, and fixing it in contemplation upon the larger life, the supra-conscious life, but there is no reason to doubt that they may refer to a longing to commune with the beautiful and tender things of nature.
Another point to be noted is that in the spring and early summer it is with difficulty that the mind can be made to remain fixed upon the petty details of everyday business life. The awakening of the earth from the long cold sleep of winter is typical of the awakening of the mind from its hypnotisms of external consciousness.
Instinctively, there arises a realization of the divinity of creative activity, and the mind soars up to the higher vibrations and awakes to the real purpose of life, more or less fully, according to individual development.
This has given rise to the assumption, predicated by some writers on cosmic consciousness, that this state of consciousness is attained in the early summer months, and the instances cited would seem to corroborate this assumption.
But, as a poet has sung, "it is always summer in the soul," so there is no specific time, nor age, in which individual cosmic consciousness may be attained.
A point which we suggest, and which is verified by the apparent connection between the spring months, and the full realization of cosmic consciousness, is the point that this phenomenon comes through contemplation and desire for love. Whether this love be expressed as the awakening of creative life, as in nature's springtime, or whether it be expressed as love of the lover for his bride; the dove for his mate; the mother for her child, or as the religious devotee for the Lord, the key that unlocks the door to illumination of body, soul and spirit, is Love, "the maker, the monarch and savior of all," but whether this love in its fullness of perfection may be found in that perfect spiritual mating, which we see exemplified in the tender, but ardent mating of the dove (the symbol of Purity and Peace), or whether it means spiritual union with the Absolute is not conclusive.
The mystery of Seraphita, Balzac's wonderful creation, is an evidence that Balzac had glimpses of that perfect union, which gives rise to the experience called cosmic consciousness.
It is well to remember that in every instance of cosmic consciousness, the person experiencing this state, finds it practically impossible to fully describe the state, or its exact significance.
Therefore, when these efforts have been made, we must expect to find the description colored very materially by the habit of thought, of the person having the experience.
Balzac was essentially religious, but he was also extremely suggestible, and, until very recently, Theology and Religion were supposed to be synonymous, or at least to walk hand in hand. Balzac's early training and his environment, as well as the thought of the times in which he lived, were calculated to inspire in him the fallacious belief that God would have us renounce the love of our fellow beings, for love of Him.
Balzac makes "Louis Lambert" renounce his great passion for Pauline, and seems to suggest that this renunciation led to the subsequent realization of cosmic consciousness, which he unquestionably experienced.
Nor is it possible to say that it did not, since renunciation of the lower must inevitably lead to the higher, and we give up the lesser only that we may enjoy the greater.
In "Seraphita" Balzac expressed what may be termed spiritual love and that spiritual union with the Beloved, which the Sufis believed to be the result of a perfect and complete "mating," between the sexes, on the spiritual plane, regardless of physical proximity or recognition, but which is also elsewhere described as the soul's glimpse of its union with the Absolute or God.
The former view is individual, while the latter is impersonal, and may, or may not, involve absorption of individual consciousness.
In subsequent chapters we shall again refer to Balzac's Illumination as expressed in his writings, and will now take up the question of man's relation to the universe, as it appears in the light of cosmic consciousness, or liberation.
MAN'S RELATION TO GOD AND TO HIS FELLOW-MEN
The riddle of the Sphinx is no riddle at all. The strange figure, the lower part animal; the upper part human; and the sprouting wings epitomize the growth and development of man from the animal, or physical (carnal), consciousness to the soul consciousness, represented by woman's head and breast, to the supra-conscious, winged god.
No higher conception of life has ever emanated from any source, than the concept of man developed to a state of perfection represented by wings (a symbol of freedom). These winged humans are sometimes called angels and sometimes gods, although the words may not be synonymous.
The point is, that no theory of life and its purposes seems more general or more unescapable than that of man's growth from sin (limitations) to god-hood—freedom.
Whether this consummation is brought about through an unbroken chain of upward tendencies from the lowest forms of life to the highest; or whether it is symbolized by the old theologic idea of man's fall from godhood to sin, the fact remains that we know no other ideal than that represented by perfected man; and we know no lower idea than that of man still in the animal stage of consciousness.
Artists, painters, sculptors, wishing to depict the beauty of spiritual things, must still use the human idea for a model—refined, spiritualized, supra-human, but still man.
It is a truism that man epitomizes the universe. Therefore, the law of growth, which science names evolution, may be studied and applied with equal precision and accuracy to the individual; to a body of individuals called a nation; and to worlds, or planets.
The evolution of an individual is accomplished when he has learned through the various avenues of experience, the fact of his own godhood; and when he has established his union with that indescribable spiritual essence which is called Om; God; Nirvana; Samadhi; Brahm; Kami; Allah; and the Absolute.
A Japanese term is Dai Zikaku. The Zen sect of Japanese Buddhists say Daigo Tettei, and one who has attained to this superior phase of consciousness is called Sho-Nin, meaning literally "above man."
Emerson, the great American seer, expressed this Nameless One, as The Oversoul, and Herbert Spencer, the intellectual giant of England, used the term Universal Energy.
Emerson was a seer; Spencer was a scientist, which word, until recently, was a synonym for materialist.
But what are words?
Mere symbols of consciousness, and subject to change and evolvement, as man's consciousness evolves. The student of truth will recognize in these different words, exactly the same meaning. The "eternal energy from which all things proceed" is a phrase identical with "The Oversoul," or "The Absolute," from which all manifestation comes.
Man's evolution, then, is an evolution in consciousness, from the subjective awareness of the monad to a realization of the entire cosmos.
Each phase of life is a specific degree of consciousness and each successive degree brings the individual nearer to the realization of the sum of all degrees of consciousness, into godhood—the highest degree which we can conceive.
Such, briefly, is a statement of that phenomenon which is attracting the attention of occidental students of psychology, and which has been fittingly termed "the attainment of cosmic consciousness."
The phrase expresses a degree of consciousness which includes the entire cosmos—not only this planet called earth, and everything thereon, but also the spheres of the Constellation.
Not that this degree of consciousness carries with it the power to express in words, that which it is. In fact, the one who has had this marvelous awakening, cannot adequately describe, or even retain, a full comprehension of what it signifies.
All-inclusive knowledge would indeed, preclude the possibility of expression. Therefore, even if it were possible to retain in the finite mind, the full realization of cosmic consciousness, words could not be found in which to express it to others.
Thought is the creator of words, but thought is but the material which the mind employs, and cosmic consciousness transcends the mind, engulfs the soul, and reaches to the trackless areas of Spirit.
It may be doubted if any one may retain a full realization of cosmic consciousness, and remain in the physical body.
Great and wonderful as have been the experiences of those who have sought to relate their sensations, it is probable that these flashes of insight have been in the nature of cosmic perception, and have lacked full realization.
Of those who have had glimpses of that larger area of consciousness which includes an awareness of eternal unity with the cosmos, there are, we believe, many more than students of the subject have any idea of.
This century marks a distinct epoch in what is called evolution.
The end of a kalpa, or cycle of manifestation, is symbolized by the presence on a planet of many avatars, masters, and angels.
By their very presence these enlightened ones arouse in all who are ready for the experience a glimpse of that state of being to which all souls are destined, and to which all shall ultimately attain.
A time when "gods shall walk the earth" is a prophecy which all nations have heard and looked forward to.
That time is now. We see the effect of their presence in Peace Conferences; in abolition of child labor; in prison reform; in the amalgamation of the races; in attempts at social equality; in National Eugenic Societies, and above all, as we have before stated, in the Emancipation of Woman. In fact, it is seen in all the various ways in which the higher consciousness finds expression.
One of the characteristic signs of this awakening, the Millenium Dawn, as it has been named, lies in a very general optimism shining through the mists of doubt and unrest and inexpressible desire, which accompany the new birth in consciousness.
Amid the seeming chaos of present day conditions is it not easy to discern the coming of that dawn of which all great ones of earth have foretold—a time when "the earth shall be made a fit habitation for the gods"?
"The heavens" is a term employed to specify the Constellation which is composed of planets and stars, but we use the term "Heaven" also to mean a state of happiness and bliss attainable through certain methods, a consideration of which we will take up later.
The immediate point is that this planet is being prepared for a position in the solar system consistent with that which is the abode of the gods—Heaven.
This proposition is made in its literal meaning. Corroborative of this statement, which is consistent with all prophecies, is the information recently given to the world, by Camille Flammarion, and other great astronomers, that "the earth is changing its position in the heavens at an astonishing rate." The idea that "there shall be no night there," is foreshadowed by the estimate that this change will give to the earth a perpetual and uniform light, and heat.
The New Thought preachment of physical immortality is but a faint and imperfect perception of this time, when "there shall be no death," because the animal man, subject to change, shall give place to the changeless, deathless, spiritual man; not through cataclysms, and destruction, but through the natural birth into a higher consciousness.
The Occidental mind is easily affrighted by a name. Perhaps we should not specify the Occidental mind, but rather the mind of man among all races is easily put to sleep by the hypnotism of a word.
The word Pantheism is a bugaboo to the Occidentalist. He fears the destruction of the Monistic faith, if he admits that man is in essence a god, and that therefore there are many gods in the one God, even as there are many members to the one physical organism.
Nevertheless all literature, whether sacred or profane, teaches the attainment of godhood by Man. This can not mean other than the attainment of realization of godhood, by the individual and the retention of this realization to the end that reincarnation shall cease and identity with the cosmic, principle, be established, beyond further loss, or doubt, or strife, or death.
This is what it means to attain to cosmic consciousness. It is inclusive consciousness. It is not absorption into the vast unknown, in the sense of annihilation of identity. It is consciousness plus, not minus.
An ancient writing says:
"And thou shalt awake as from a long dream. Thou shalt be like the perfume arising from the flower in which it has been so long enclosed. And thou wilt float above the opened flower. And thou wilt say 'There is time before me in eternity.'"
There is nothing in the testimony of those who have described, as best they could, their emotions upon attainment of this consciousness, which would argue the absorption of the individual soul into The Absolute.
There is no testimony to argue that the attainment of cosmic consciousness, carries with it anything approaching annihilation of sentiency.
Rather it would seem to testify to an acceleration of all the higher faculties.
That this would be a more apt interpretation may be seen by comparing the different reports of those experiencing the phenomenon of Illumination.
Nevertheless there has been much controversy regarding the meaning of the terms nirvana; samadhi; dai zikaku, etc.—words expressing the condition which we are considering under the phrase cosmic consciousness.
WHAT IS NIRVANA?
Let us consider briefly, what is meant by Nirvana, and see if it is not highly probable that the word describes the state of consciousness which we are considering, referring later on to the question, and its interpretation by the various schools of religion and philosophy.
It is apparent that the most learned sages of the Orient fail to agree as to the exact meaning of Nirvana. Occidental writers and leaders of the Theosophical philosophy, differ somewhat as to its import, but at the same time we find enough unity on this point to make it evident that the state of Nirvana is a desirable attainment—the goal of the religious enthusiast.
Going back for a moment, to a consideration of the earliest recorded religion of Japan, we find that Sintoism means literally "the way of the gods," meaning the way in which men who have become god-like, found the path that led thereunto, but as to exactly what conditions are represented by godhood, how indeed, is it possible for man to know, much less to express?
Since we are conscious of a divine and irresistible urge toward the attainment of this state of being, it is hardly consistent with what we know of merely human nature, that the way lies in the direction of loss of identity, or in other words, in what is popularly comprehended as absorption. That this idea prevails in many Oriental sects of Buddhism and Vedanta we are aware, but we are confident that this idea is erroneous, and comes from the fact that it is impossible to describe the condition of consciousness enjoyed by the initiate into Nirvana, which term we believe, is identical, or at least comparable with cosmic consciousness.
The very fact that external life represents so universal a struggle for attainment of this state of being, or higher consciousness, indicates at least, even if it does not actually guarantee a fuller, deeper, more complete state of consciousness than hitherto enjoyed, rather than an absorption or annihilation of any of that dearly bought consciousness which distinguishes the self from its environment, and which says with conviction "I am."
It is admitted that those who have experienced liberation, illumination, mukti, have reported their sensations with such relative vagueness and with such apparent variance of conclusion as regards the meaning of the experience that the reader is left to his own interpretation of the character of that state of being, other than a general uniformity of description.
Referring to the pleasure which the lower nature feels under certain conditions, the late Swami Vivekananda says:
"The whole idea of this nature is to make the soul know that it is entirely separate from nature and when the soul knows this, nature has no more attraction for it. But the whole of nature vanishes only for that man who has become free. There will always remain an infinite number of others for whom nature will go on working."
But did Vivekananda employ the phrase "nature has no more attraction for him," to describe the sensation of unappreciativeness of the wonders of the natural world? We think not. Rather the gentle-hearted sage meant to report the fact that the soul is no longer held in bondage to the external world, when it has once attained supra-consciousness.
If this expression referred to the pleasure the true lover of nature feels in the out-of-doors, he might well say "I trust that I shall never attain to that state of consciousness. Or if attainment be compulsory, then shall I prolong the time of accomplishment as long as possible."
And who would blame him? Why should we strive for the attainment of a state of being described so unattractively as to give us the impression of entire loss of so enjoyable and unselfish a sensation as love of nature?
The Vedantic idea, according to interpreted translations is that out of The Absolute, the All (Om), we come, and therefore back to it we go, being now in our present state of consciousness, en route, as it were to return.
But returning to what? That is the unanswerable problem of all religions; all philosophies; all science. If we return to a void, such as some interpreters of the Vedas declare, then surely this urge within mankind toward this annihilatory state would hardly be expected. It would be inconsistent with that instinct of self-preservation which we are told is the first law of nature.
Compared to this Vedantic concept of the Absolute, the Christian's simple, and very empirical ideal of eternal happiness is preferable.
To walk streets paved with gold and play a harp incessantly while chanting doleful praises to a Deity who ought to become wearied of the never-ceasing adulation, would still be a more desirable goal of our strife, than that so inaccurately and unattractively described by many students of Oriental religions and philosophies as the state nirvana, or samadhi.
Again quoting from Vivekananda's Raja Yoga:
"There are not wanting persons who think that this manifest state (our present existence) is the highest state of man. Thinkers of great caliber are of the opinion that we are manifested specimens of undifferentiated Being, and this differentiated state is higher than the Absolute."
Although as Vivekananda says there are thinkers who make this claim, the idea does not find ready acceptance among theologians, either Eastern, or Western. Neither do philosophers, as a general thing incline to adopt this view. The reason for this general disinclination is not difficult of discovery. It is due to the present state of man on this planet.
If man, as we see and know mankind, is the highest state of Being (not merely of manifestation, but of Being) "then," they say, "we have nothing to hope for."
But have we not? May we not hope that man will manifest, on this planet a fuller realization, of that which he is in Being, and that, far from dissolving what consciousness he has, he will but plus this consciousness by a larger—an all-embracing consciousness that shall make earth a fit habitation for god-like men?
In Vivekananda's Raja Yoga we find the following:
"There was an old solution that man, after death, remained the same; that all his good sides, minus his evil sides, remained forever. Logically stated, this means that man's goal is the world; this world meaning earth carried to a state higher and with elimination of its evils is the state they call heaven. This theory, on the face of it, is absurd and puerile because it cannot be. There cannot be good without evil, or evil without good. To live in a world where there is all good and no evil, is what Sanskrit logicians call a 'dream in the air.'"
It is not necessary to argue here that there is no such thing as positive evil.
St. Paul said: "I know and am persuaded that nothing is unclean of itself; save that to him who accounteth anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean."
And again we are assured that "there is nothing good or bad, but thinking makes it so;" which means that evil has no more foundation in reality than has thought, and thought is ever-changing; transitory. Evil therefore may be entirely eliminated by thought, since it is created by thought.
That there is a condition of mankind which has been alluded to as "evil" is self-evident. The term has been employed to describe a condition of either an individual, or a society, or a nation or a race, wherein there is in harmony; disease; unhappiness. Anything that makes for suffering on any plane of consciousness, may be termed "evil" as here used.
Let us consider for a moment if it be illogical to imagine a world in which this in harmony has been eliminated. Imagine a family in which all the members radiate love and unselfish consideration. Add to this, or we may say complementary to this, we have perfect health and prosperity; and over and above all we have a conviction of immortality, eliminating doubt and fear and worry as to future sorrows or partings, with no knowledge that there are others in the world suffering.
Do we not find it quite possible, to say the least, and even desirable, to live in such a family, particularly if we had previously acquired a knowledge of that which is evil and that which is good—merely terms used to describe limited, or enlarged consciousness.
If we admit the desirability of living in such a family, why not in such a world? "Logically stated," says the Hindu swami, "this means that man's goal is this world (earth planet); carried to a state higher and with the elimination of its evils, this world is the state (place) they call heaven."
Again we must question. Why not?
This planet we call earth, is a great and marvelous work, whether it be the work of an abstract God, or whether it be the work of the god in Man.
And whether this earth be the gift of an abstract God, or whether it be the generating bed of the life now upon it, the fact remains that we have no business to despise the gift, or the work of self-generation. Our business is to enhance its beauties and eliminate its ugliness. Why have we prayed that the will of God which is Love, "be done on earth as it is in the heavens," if we despise the planet and hope to leave it?
Although the general impression given in all religious systems is that the perfected soul leaves this earth, yet there is nothing in any of them to prove that it does so, or if it has hitherto, that it shall continue so to do. We have no right to assume that the outer life—the external, manifested life which we perceive with our physical senses, is all there is to this earth and that when we leave this outer life, we go to some other place. The invisible life on this planet is unquestionably far greater than the visible but both visible and invisible doubtless belong to the planet earth.
The Absolute, presumably occupies all space, and therefore it may as reasonably be postulated that this state of Nirvana or Samadhi, may be entered within the area of this planet's vibrations, as in that of the other planets. The finite mind cannot conceive of a state of being apart from motion, space or time, even though these concepts are crude in their relation to the state of consciousness to which the sum of all consciousness is tending, whether the individual would, or not.
We speak of "the heavens" when we refer to the immeasurable, and little known region of the solar system, and we use the same term when we refer to a state of being in which the perfected soul of man will finally enter. And this term implies that when we are thus in heaven, we are with God, if not absorbed into God.
Jesus, the master, taught the coming of the kingdom of God on earth and urged mankind to pray for its coming, asking that the will of God (or gods) be done on earth as it is in the heavens, from which it is not illogical to infer that the earth itself, as a planet, is not outside the pale of that blissful state which we ascribe to God, and which, at the same time, we expect to enter without being swallowed up in the sense that we lose that consciousness which cognizes itself as an eternal verity.
If then, the "heavens" as applied to the planets revolving above the earth in the solar system, and "Heaven" as a term used to describe a state of happiness, bliss, samadhi, nirvana, or "life with God," be synonymous it may reasonably be inferred that in the solar system are planets upon which live sentient beings, in a state to which we on earth, are seeking to attain; a state wherein so-called evil has been eliminated and the good retained.
In fact, we may see with none too prophetic eyes the elimination of evil right here in the visible. All who have attained a glimpse of Illumination have reported the loss of the "sense of sin and death," and have retained this feeling of security and "all-is-well-ness" as long as they have lived thereafter.
From the old conception of "evil" as a positive, opposing and independent force, modern thought, in all its branches, namely science; religion; social evolution, and philosophy, has arrived at the conclusion that evil is not a power or force in and of itself, but that it is evidence of a limited degree of consciousness which sees only one side of a subject—only a limited area of an infinitely wide and varied manifestation of the one supreme consciousness. Therefore, it is, that evil per se, does not exist as power, but that it is the effect of a misapplication of power.
The cure then, for this state of Relativity, is found logically enough, in an extension of individual consciousness.
That this idea is logical may be deduced from the fact that as the mind expands, through the various channels of learning; observation; contact with each other, and by the many roads of Experience, altruism becomes more general. Almost every one readily admits that the world is "growing better," as they express it.
This means that the individual consciousness is becoming broadened, deepened, enlarged; and this enlargement makes it possible to show that the happiness of each one, means the happiness of all, and that no one human life can reach the goal of freedom and eternal life (mukti, which can mean nothing less than godhood) unless he does so by some one of the many paths of selflessness.
Up through the perilous paths and the devious ways of brute consciousness toward a more or less perfect perception of that blissful state which the Illumined have sought to describe, each individual has come to his present state; and it is only by virtue of the ability to look back over the path, and to look onward a little into relative futurity, that each may record the fact of his gain in consciousness, and what this gain means to the future of this earth.
But who is there who cannot see that each step in attainment of consciousness brings with it a corresponding freedom from suffering?
The planet itself does not make us suffer. The latest discoveries of astronomers indicate that as the standard of morality (using the term "morality" in its true sense), becomes higher, the position of the earth itself becomes changed, in its relation to the solar system.
In this way, it is expected that a uniform temperature will prevail all over the earth's surface; and with the cessation of war, and of competition (which is mental warfare) cataclysms, storms, and earthquakes will cease. When we come, as we will, in succeeding chapters of this book, to a review of the experiences of those who have attained cosmic consciousness (mukti) we will find that, in each instance, there has come a realization of the nothingness of sin and consequent suffering.
The trouble then, is not with the earth as a planet, but with the lack of consciousness of earth's inhabitants, which lack makes possible all the suffering which afflicts human life.
Those who have attained to the state of cosmic consciousness in both Occidental and Oriental instances of this perception, have reported an abiding sense of rest and peace and satisfaction—a condition which we associate with accepted ideals of heaven as taught in Occidental creeds and among some schools of Oriental philosophers, and sects of religious worship.
There is a far greater unity of idea between the Oriental and the Occidental methods and systems, as to the goal of ultimate attainment than is generally believed, or understood.
The highest expression of Japanese Buddhism differs from Hindu Buddhism and from Vedanta, and the many other forms of Hindu philosophy and religion, in the same way that the Japanese, as a nation, differ from their Hindu brothers.
The Japanese emphasize, more than do the Hindus, the preservation of the nation, and to this end, they are called more "practical" minded, but with the Japanese, as with all the Orientals, we find an intense contempt for any one who would seek to preserve his physical existence, or hesitate at any personal sacrifice.
This unwritten code has its origin, as have all Oriental traditions and concepts, in the teachings of religious systems. According to Oriental ethics, the person is very low in the scale of consciousness, when he considers his physical body as of comparative consequence, when the question of expediency, or of the welfare of his country, is in the balance.
Nevertheless, Japan has offered, far more than has India, a fertile field for the growth of materialism, owing to the fact that underlying the apparent observance of and loyalty to, religious practices, the Japanese temperament inclines to a practical application of the wisdom attained through religious instruction.
Therefore we find among the Illumined Ones of Japanese history, sages who taught the attainment of liberation through paths which are not generally accepted by interpreters of Hinduism.
For example, among the orthodox Sintoists, (the original religion of the Japanese, before the advent of Buddhism), we find that cleanliness of mind and body, was taught as the prime essential to attainment of unity with Kami, rather than contemplation, meditation and isolation, as with the Hindus.
And in the Christian world we have a corresponding admonition in the phrase "cleanliness is next to godliness."
Simple as this rule of conduct is, it nevertheless embodies the key to the situation, inasmuch as we are assured that "blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God."
Again Jesus told his hearers that they "must become as little children," evidently meaning that they must possess the clean, pure, guileless mind of a little child, if they would reach the goal of liberation, from strife; death (repeated incarnation); and all so-called "evil."
To this end man is striving, whether by rites and ceremonies of religion; by worship; by contemplation; by effort and struggle; by invention; by aspiration; by sacrifice; or by whatever path, or device, or system.
What, then is the goal, and how may it be attained?
Before taking up this question, let us go back a little over the history of human life and attainment, and trace, briefly, the evolution of consciousness, from pre-historic man, to the highest examples of human devotion and wisdom, of which, happily, the world affords not a few instances.
AREAS OF CONSCIOUSNESS
Consciousness may be termed, simply, "the divine spark," which enters into every form and phase of manifested life emanating from that one Eternal Power which materialists designate as "energy" and which Occultists, both Oriental and Occidental, best define as "Aum," God! The Absolute—The Divine Mind, and many other terms.
Consciousness, therefore, enters into everything—is the life essence of everything.
The materialistic hypothesis formerly predicated the axiom that there were two distinct phases of manifestation, namely organic and inorganic.
Organic life was sentient, or conscious, while inorganic life was insensate—a structure acted upon from forces outside itself, and dependent upon an exterior force for its action.
Other names for this differentiation, would be "matter" and "spirit." The point is, that the old materialistic philosophy failed to recognize the fact that consciousness, in varying degrees, characterizes all manifested life.
This fact every phase of Oriental philosophy recognized, and always has recognized. The assumption of the Christian Science devotee, that there is anything new in the postulate that "all is spirit," is possible only because of his ignorance of Oriental philosophy, as will be seen later on in these pages, when we take up the relative comparison between the Oriental and the Occidental systems of "salvation."
To resume therefore, we postulate the following recognized axioms of Universal Occultism.
All life is sentient or conscious.
All life is from the one source, and therefore contains this "divine spark."
All manifestation expresses degrees or phases of consciousness.
The degree of this consciousness fixes the status of the organism, and determines its classification, whether it is organic or inorganic; simple, or complex.
Every cell, each separate cell, in fact, has its own consciousness—that is each cell is a center of this power that we term consciousness; a group of cells with this power focalized to a given point, or center, makes an organ of consciousness, and so on up the scale through many many degrees of complexity of organism, until we come to man.
Webster defines consciousness as "the ability to know ones mental operations." But, we do not take this definition in Occultism, for the obvious reason, that it is not possible to state arbitrarily whether or not, the cell "knows its operations," and since all operations are necessarily mental in the final analysis, we assume that there is a phase of consciousness below that of cognition of "self," which may be termed "the unconscious consciousness," which again is synonymous with the phrase "automatic cerebration."
Coming up through the various myriad degrees of sub-conscious life (sub being here used as below self consciousness) we arrive at the stage of simple consciousness which characterizes the animal kingdom, remembering that consciousness in the abstract is not a condition, or state of environment. It is one of the eternal verities. It is just as Aum is.
The attainment of a wider and wider area of consciousness, is but the uncovering, or the attracting to a central point or to an individual organism of this that is. Thus consciousness, in the abstract, may say of itself "before creation was, I am."
That is what is meant when it is said that God is omnipotent, and omniscient.
The difference between mere power, or energy, and consciousness, whether considered from the standpoint of the organic or the inorganic kingdom, may be likened to the difference between a blind force, and a power that knows itself.
Consciousness is practically the great central light that "lighteth every man that cometh into the world." Without consciousness, manifestation would be darkness. Thus it is said, "the light shineth in darkness and the darkness comprehendeth it not." This applies to that tiny spark of divinity in which consciousness exists but where there is not realization of its divinity.
This fact is not applicable to the inorganic, or the animal kingdoms alone. Many men are not conscious of the light that shineth within them, save as there is an aggregate of cell consciousness which recognizes its focalized power as an organism.
Manifestation then, is the vehicle (carrying character) of universal consciousness, and we may logically assume that manifestation is due to the necessity of developing individualized entities, who may, through successive phases of conscious unfoldment, or uncovering of areas of Being, become gods.
The western writers, and indeed, many Oriental seers prefer to put it thus: "become fit to dwell with God, in eternal bliss and power."
To dwell with God, must be to become gods. Once more, we must remember that only gods are immortal. Souls continue to exist after the physical body has been discarded, for the reason that no body in these days, lives as long as its psychic counterpart or dweller. But, although the soul continues to exist on another plane of note of the scale of vibration, it does not argue that the identity shall continue eternally, except in such instances, as when the soul through numbers of incarnations shall have finally accomplished the purpose of its pilgrimage and attained to mukti (liberation from the law of change and death).
Returning to a consideration of what may be said to constitute certain specific phases of consciousness, we will take into consideration the phase of consciousness, which we see expressed in the mineral kingdom. That there is a distinct and separate character of consciousness thus expressed is evident from the fact that there is a law of chemical affinity, i.e. attraction and repulsion, which causes different minerals to respond, or to refuse to respond, as the case may be, to certain conditions or chemical processes, more or less crude in character.
From this to the vegetable kingdom we assume a step in advance, as vegetable life measured by complexity and refinement, responds with a greater degree of sensitiveness to the laws of evolution, as expressed in cultivation, selection and environment.
Even in this phase of manifestation, we find the law of Being, is measured by the perfection of species. Evolution of inorganic life, is as real, and as much a part of the plan, (or whatever name we choose), as is organic, and self-conscious life.
That which is less perfect, measured by the law of beauty and usefulness, we find gradually being exterminated. That the earth, as a planet, is obeying this cosmic law of evolution from grossness to refinement; from crudity to perfection; from the limited to the all-inclusive, is indisputable. As the motor power of electricity has become general, we find that beasts of burden are fast disappearing from the earth, according to the law of the "survival of the fittest," this law, always being subject to change. The "fittest" means that which is best fitted to the conditions of the time.
Brute force survives among brutes, in the degree that it is strong or weak; coming out of that expression of law into the mental areas of consciousness, we find that the mentally fit survive among those who live only in the areas of the mind; so on, into the spiritual, we will find the "survival of the fittest" will be those who are best fitted for spiritual eternity—for godhood.
Coming again, to our consideration of the term consciousness, we will take a brief survey of that phase of consciousness which we see manifested in the forms of life that have the power to move from their immediate environment; such for instance would include the fish in the sea; insect life; reptiles; the birds in the air; and all forms of animal life.
While expressing a very limited degree of consciousness, yet there is evident a certain degree or aggregate of cell consciousness, which transcends that of the mineral and vegetable life. This apparently advanced degree of consciousness, does not, as we have stated, presuppose a nearer approach to immortality, however, for the reason that we apply the law of the survival of the fittest to all manifestation, and that which is best fitted for certain stages of the planet's life during the process of evolvement, may be most unfitted for succeeding stages, and will, by the inexorable law of survival, be discontinued—discarded, even as the properties and stage-settings of a drama are thrown aside, when the play has been "taken off the boards."
It is admitted, therefore, that those forms of life having the power of locomotion, involve a more complex degree of consciousness, than does that of the mineral or vegetable.
In that phase of life that we see possessing the power to move, to change its immediate environment, even though not capable of changing its habitat we may perceive the beginning of that consciousness expressed as "free-will." Here, we assume, the organism recognizes its self as distinct from its environment, and from its counterparts, etc., but this recognition has not sufficient consciousness to assert that recognition, and so we say that there is no self-consciousness. There is what occultists have agreed to call simple consciousness, but this does not include a realization of identity, as apart from environment. This may be better understood if we separate these degrees or phases of consciousness into groups, applicable to the human organism, leaving, for a time the consideration of whether or not some human specimens are higher in the scales than are some animals.
Physical, or sense consciousness, is shared alike by man and the animals.
Beyond this phase of consciousness we may classify the human species in the following terms:
Soul (individual) "I" consciousness.
Physical self-consciousness is that phase of self-recognition which knows itself as a body distinct from its neighbors; from its natural environment. This awareness of the self it is that actuated pre-historic man when he manifested the blind force that is sometimes called "self-preservation," which force has erroneously been termed "the first law of nature."