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BY JAMES ALLEN
THE POWER OF MEDITATION
THE TWO MASTERS, SELF AND TRUTH
THE ACQUIREMENT OF SPIRITUAL POWER
THE REALIZATION OF SELFLESS LOVE
ENTERING INTO THE INFINITE
SAINTS, SAGES, AND SAVIORS; THE LAW OF SERVICE
THE POWER OF MEDITATION
Spiritual meditation is the pathway to Divinity. It is the mystic ladder
which reaches from earth to heaven, from error to Truth, from pain to
peace. Every saint has climbed it; every sinner must sooner or later come
to it, and every weary pilgrim that turns his back upon self and the world,
and sets his face resolutely toward the Father's Home, must plant his feet
upon its golden rounds. Without its aid you cannot grow into the divine
state, the divine likeness, the divine peace, and the fadeless glories and
unpolluting joys of Truth will remain hidden from you.
Meditation is the intense dwelling, in thought, upon an idea or theme, with
the object of thoroughly comprehending it, and whatsoever you constantly
meditate upon you will not only come to understand, but will grow more and
more into its likeness, for it will become incorporated into your very
being, will become, in fact, your very self. If, therefore, you constantly
dwell upon that which is selfish and debasing, you will ultimately become
selfish and debased; if you ceaselessly think upon that which is pure and
unselfish you will surely become pure and unselfish.
Tell me what that is upon which you most frequently and intensely think,
that to which, in your silent hours, your soul most naturally turns, and I
will tell you to what place of pain or peace you are traveling, and whether
you are growing into the likeness of the divine or the bestial.
There is an unavoidable tendency to become literally the embodiment of that
quality upon which one most constantly thinks. Let, therefore, the object
of your meditation be above and not below, so that every time you revert to
it in thought you will be lifted up; let it be pure and unmixed with any
selfish element; so shall your heart become purified and drawn nearer to
Truth, and not defiled and dragged more hopelessly into error.
Meditation, in the spiritual sense in which I am now using it, is the
secret of all growth in spiritual life and knowledge. Every prophet, sage,
and savior became such by the power of meditation. Buddha meditated upon
the Truth until he could say, "I am the Truth." Jesus brooded upon the
Divine immanence until at last he could declare, "I and my Father are One."
Meditation centered upon divine realities is the very essence and soul of
prayer. It is the silent reaching of the soul toward the Eternal. Mere
petitionary prayer without meditation is a body without a soul, and is
powerless to lift the mind and heart above sin and affliction. If you are
daily praying for wisdom, for peace, for loftier purity and a fuller
realization of Truth, and that for which you pray is still far from you, it
means that you are praying for one thing while living out in thought and
act another. If you will cease from such waywardness, taking your mind off
those things the selfish clinging to which debars you from the possession
of the stainless realities for which you pray: if you will no longer ask
God to grant you that which you do not deserve, or to bestow upon you that
love and compassion which you refuse to bestow upon others, but will
commence to think and act in the spirit of Truth, you will day by day be
growing into those realities, so that ultimately you will become one with
He who would secure any worldly advantage must be willing to work
vigorously for it, and he would be foolish indeed who, waiting with folded
hands, expected it to come to him for the mere asking. Do not then vainly
imagine that you can obtain the heavenly possessions without making an
effort. Only when you commence to work earnestly in the Kingdom of Truth
will you be allowed to partake of the Bread of Life, and when you have, by
patient and uncomplaining effort, earned the spiritual wages for which you
ask, they will not be withheld from you.
If you really seek Truth, and not merely your own gratification; if you
love it above all worldly pleasures and gains; more, even, than happiness
itself, you will be willing to make the effort necessary for its
If you would be freed from sin and sorrow; if you would taste of that
spotless purity for which you sigh and pray; if you would realize wisdom
and knowledge, and would enter into the possession of profound and abiding
peace, come now and enter the path of meditation, and let the supreme
object of your meditation be Truth.
At the outset, meditation must be distinguished from _idle reverie_. There
is nothing dreamy and unpractical about it. It is _a process of searching
and uncompromising thought which allows nothing to remain but the simple
and naked truth_. Thus meditating you will no longer strive to build
yourself up in your prejudices, but, forgetting self, you will remember
only that you are seeking the Truth. And so you will remove, one by one,
the errors which you have built around yourself in the past, and will
patiently wait for the revelation of Truth which will come when your errors
have been sufficiently removed. In the silent humility of your heart you
will realize that
"There is an inmost centre in us all
Where Truth abides in fulness; and around,
Wall upon wall, the gross flesh hems it in;
This perfect, clear perception, which is Truth,
A baffling and perverting carnal mesh
Blinds it, and makes all error; and to know,
Rather consists in opening out a way
Whence the imprisoned splendour may escape,
Than in effecting entry for a light
Supposed to be without."
Select some portion of the day in which to meditate, and keep that period
sacred to your purpose. The best time is the very early morning when the
spirit of repose is upon everything. All natural conditions will then be in
your favor; the passions, after the long bodily fast of the night, will be
subdued, the excitements and worries of the previous day will have died
away, and the mind, strong and yet restful, will be receptive to spiritual
instruction. Indeed, one of the first efforts you will be called upon to
make will be to shake off lethargy and indulgence, and if you refuse you
will be unable to advance, for the demands of the spirit are imperative.
To be spiritually awakened is also to be mentally and physically awakened.
The sluggard and the self-indulgent can have no knowledge of Truth. He who,
possessed of health and strength, wastes the calm, precious hours of the
silent morning in drowsy indulgence is totally unfit to climb the heavenly
He whose awakening consciousness has become alive to its lofty
possibilities, who is beginning to shake off the darkness of ignorance in
which the world is enveloped, rises before the stars have ceased their
vigil, and, grappling with the darkness within his soul, strives, by holy
aspiration, to perceive the light of Truth while the unawakened world
"The heights by great men reached and kept,
Were not attained by sudden flight,
But they, while their companions slept,
Were toiling upward in the night."
No saint, no holy man, no teacher of Truth ever lived who did not rise
early in the morning. Jesus habitually rose early, and climbed the solitary
mountains to engage in holy communion. Buddha always rose an hour before
sunrise and engaged in meditation, and all his disciples were enjoined to
do the same.
If you have to commence your daily duties at a very early hour, and are
thus debarred from giving the early morning to systematic meditation, try
to give an hour at night, and should this, by the length and laboriousness
of your daily task be denied you, you need not despair, for you may turn
your thoughts upward in holy meditation in the intervals of your work, or
in those few idle minutes which you now waste in aimlessness; and should
your work be of that kind which becomes by practice automatic, you may
meditate while engaged upon it. That eminent Christian saint and
philosopher, Jacob Boehme, realized his vast knowledge of divine things
whilst working long hours as a shoemaker. In every life there is time to
think, and the busiest, the most laborious is not shut out from aspiration
Spiritual meditation and self-discipline are inseparable; you will,
therefore, commence to meditate upon yourself so as to try and understand
yourself, for, remember, the great object you will have in view will be the
complete removal of all your errors in order that you may realize Truth.
You will begin to question your motives, thoughts, and acts, comparing them
with your ideal, and endeavoring to look upon them with a calm and
impartial eye. In this manner you will be continually gaining more of that
mental and spiritual equilibrium without which men are but helpless straws
upon the ocean of life. If you are given to hatred or anger you will
meditate upon gentleness and forgiveness, so as to become acutely alive to
a sense of your harsh and foolish conduct. You will then begin to dwell in
thoughts of love, of gentleness, of abounding forgiveness; and as you
overcome the lower by the higher, there will gradually, silently steal into
your heart a knowledge of the divine Law of Love with an understanding of
its bearing upon all the intricacies of life and conduct. And in applying
this knowledge to your every thought, word, and act, you will grow more and
more gentle, more and more loving, more and more divine. And thus with
every error, every selfish desire, every human weakness; by the power of
meditation is it overcome, and as each sin, each error is thrust out, a
fuller and clearer measure of the Light of Truth illumines the pilgrim
Thus meditating, you will be ceaselessly fortifying yourself against your
only _real_ enemy, your selfish, perishable self, and will be establishing
yourself more and more firmly in the divine and imperishable self that is
inseparable from Truth. The direct outcome of your meditations will be a
calm, spiritual strength which will be your stay and resting-place in the
struggle of life. Great is the overcoming power of holy thought, and the
strength and knowledge gained in the hour of silent meditation will enrich
the soul with saving remembrance in the hour of strife, of sorrow, or of
As, by the power of meditation, you grow in wisdom, you will relinquish,
more and more, your selfish desires which are fickle, impermanent, and
productive of sorrow and pain; and will take your stand, with increasing
steadfastness and trust, upon unchangeable principles, and will realize
The use of meditation is the acquirement of a knowledge of eternal
principles, and the power which results from meditation is the ability to
rest upon and trust those principles, and so become one with the Eternal.
The end of meditation is, therefore, direct knowledge of Truth, God, and
the realization of divine and profound peace.
Let your meditations take their rise from the ethical ground which you now
occupy. Remember that you are to _grow_ into Truth by steady perseverance.
If you are an orthodox Christian, meditate ceaselessly upon the spotless
purity and divine excellence of the character of Jesus, and apply his every
precept to your inner life and outward conduct, so as to approximate more
and more toward his perfection. Do not be as those religious ones, who,
refusing to meditate upon the Law of Truth, and to put into practice the
precepts given to them by their Master, are content to formally worship, to
cling to their particular creeds, and to continue in the ceaseless round of
sin and suffering. Strive to rise, by the power of meditation, above all
selfish clinging to partial gods or party creeds; above dead formalities
and lifeless ignorance. Thus walking the high way of wisdom, with mind
fixed upon the spotless Truth, you shall know no halting-place short of the
realization of Truth.
He who earnestly meditates first perceives a truth, as it were, afar off,
and then realizes it by daily practice. It is only the doer of the Word of
Truth that can know of the doctrine of Truth, for though by pure thought
the Truth is perceived, it is only actualized by practice.
Said the divine Gautama, the Buddha, "He who gives himself up to vanity,
and does not give himself up to meditation, forgetting the real aim of life
and grasping at pleasure, will in time envy him who has exerted himself in
meditation," and he instructed his disciples in the following "Five Great
"The first meditation is the meditation of love, in which you so adjust
your heart that you long for the weal and welfare of all beings, including
the happiness of your enemies.
"The second meditation is the meditation of pity, in which you think of all
beings in distress, vividly representing in your imagination their sorrows
and anxieties so as to arouse a deep compassion for them in your soul.
"The third meditation is the meditation of joy, in which you think of the
prosperity of others, and rejoice with their rejoicings.
"The fourth meditation is the meditation of impurity, in which you consider
the evil consequences of corruption, the effects of sin and diseases. How
trivial often the pleasure of the moment, and how fatal its consequences.
"The fifth meditation is the meditation on serenity, in which you rise
above love and hate, tyranny and oppression, wealth and want, and regard
your own fate with impartial calmness and perfect tranquillity."
By engaging in these meditations the disciples of the Buddha arrived at a
knowledge of the Truth. But whether you engage in these particular
meditations or not matters little so long as your object is Truth, so long
as you hunger and thirst for that righteousness which is a holy heart and a
blameless life. In your meditations, therefore, let your heart grow and
expand with ever-broadening love, until, freed from all hatred, and
passion, and condemnation, it embraces the whole universe with thoughtful
tenderness. As the flower opens its petals to receive the morning light, so
open your soul more and more to the glorious light of Truth. Soar upward
upon the wings of aspiration; be fearless, and believe in the loftiest
possibilities. Believe that a life of absolute meekness is possible;
believe that a life of stainless purity is possible; believe that a life of
perfect holiness is possible; believe that the realization of the highest
truth is possible. He who so believes, climbs rapidly the heavenly hills,
whilst the unbelievers continue to grope darkly and painfully in the
So believing, so aspiring, so meditating, divinely sweet and beautiful will
be your spiritual experiences, and glorious the revelations that will
enrapture your inward vision. As you realize the divine Love, the divine
Justice, the divine Purity, the Perfect Law of Good, or God, great will be
your bliss and deep your peace. Old things will pass away, and all things
will become new. The veil of the material universe, so dense and
impenetrable to the eye of error, so thin and gauzy to the eye of Truth,
will be lifted and the spiritual universe will be revealed. Time will
cease, and you will live only in Eternity. Change and mortality will no
more cause you anxiety and sorrow, for you will become established in the
unchangeable, and will dwell in the very heart of immortality.
STAR OF WISDOM
Star that of the birth of Vishnu,
Birth of Krishna, Buddha, Jesus,
Told the wise ones, Heavenward looking,
Waiting, watching for thy gleaming
In the darkness of the night-time,
In the starless gloom of midnight;
Shining Herald of the coming
Of the kingdom of the righteous;
Teller of the Mystic story
Of the lowly birth of Godhead
In the stable of the passions,
In the manger of the mind-soul;
Silent singer of the secret
Of compassion deep and holy
To the heart with sorrow burdened,
To the soul with waiting weary:--
Star of all-surpassing brightness,
Thou again dost deck the midnight;
Thou again dost cheer the wise ones
Watching in the creedal darkness,
Weary of the endless battle
With the grinding blades of error;
Tired of lifeless, useless idols,
Of the dead forms of religions;
Spent with watching for thy shining;
Thou hast ended their despairing;
Thou hast lighted up their pathway;
Thou hast brought again the old Truths
To the hearts of all thy Watchers;
To the souls of them that love thee
Thou dost speak of Joy and Gladness,
Of the peace that comes of Sorrow.
Blessed are they that can see thee,
Weary wanderers in the Night-time;
Blessed they who feel the throbbing,
In their bosoms feel the pulsing
Of a deep Love stirred within them
By the great power of thy shining.
Let us learn thy lesson truly;
Learn it faithfully and humbly;
Learn it meekly, wisely, gladly,
Ancient Star of holy Vishnu,
Light of Krishna, Buddha, Jesus.
THE TWO MASTERS, SELF AND TRUTH
Upon the battlefield of the human soul two masters are ever contending for
the crown of supremacy, for the kingship and dominion of the heart; the
master of self, called also the "Prince of this world," and the master of
Truth, called also the Father God. The master self is that rebellious one
whose weapons are passion, pride, avarice, vanity, self-will, implements of
darkness; the master Truth is that meek and lowly one whose weapons are
gentleness, patience, purity, sacrifice, humility, love, instruments of
In every soul the battle is waged, and as a soldier cannot engage at once
in two opposing armies, so every heart is enlisted either in the ranks of
self or of Truth. There is no half-and-half course; "There is self and
there is Truth; where self is, Truth is not, where Truth is, self is not."
Thus spake Buddha, the teacher of Truth, and Jesus, the manifested Christ,
declared that "No man can serve two masters; for either he will hate the
one and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the
other. Ye cannot serve God and Mammon."
Truth is so simple, so absolutely undeviating and uncompromising that it
admits of no complexity, no turning, no qualification. Self is ingenious,
crooked, and, governed by subtle and snaky desire, admits of endless
turnings and qualifications, and the deluded worshipers of self vainly
imagine that they can gratify every worldly desire, and at the same time
possess the Truth. But the lovers of Truth worship Truth with the sacrifice
of self, and ceaselessly guard themselves against worldliness and
Do you seek to know and to realize Truth? Then you must be prepared to
sacrifice, to renounce to the uttermost, for Truth in all its glory can
only be perceived and known when the last vestige of self has disappeared.
The eternal Christ declared that he who would be His disciple must "deny
himself daily." Are you willing to deny yourself, to give up your lusts,
your prejudices, your opinions? If so, you may enter the narrow way of
Truth, and find that peace from which the world is shut out. The absolute
denial, the utter extinction, of self is the perfect state of Truth, and
all religions and philosophies are but so many aids to this supreme
Self is the denial of Truth. Truth is the denial of self. As you let self
die, you will be reborn in Truth. As you cling to self, Truth will be
hidden from you.
Whilst you cling to self, your path will be beset with difficulties, and
repeated pains, sorrows, and disappointments will be your lot. There are no
difficulties in Truth, and coming to Truth, you will be freed from all
sorrow and disappointment.
Truth in itself is not hidden and dark. It is always revealed and is
perfectly transparent. But the blind and wayward self cannot perceive it.
The light of day is not hidden except to the blind, and the Light of Truth
is not hidden except to those who are blinded by self.
Truth is the one Reality in the universe, the inward Harmony, the perfect
Justice, the eternal Love. Nothing can be added to it, nor taken from it.
It does not depend upon any man, but all men depend upon it. You cannot
perceive the beauty of Truth while you are looking out through the eyes of
self. If you are vain, you will color everything with your own vanities. If
lustful, your heart and mind will be so clouded with the smoke and flames
of passion, that everything will appear distorted through them. If proud
and opinionative, you will see nothing in the whole universe except the
magnitude and importance of your own opinions.
There is one quality which pre-eminently distinguishes the man of Truth
from the man of self, and that is _humility_. To be not only free from
vanity, stubbornness and egotism, but to regard one's own opinions as of no
value, this indeed is true humility.
He who is immersed in self regards his own opinions as Truth, and the
opinions of other men as error. But that humble Truth-lover who has learned
to distinguish between opinion and Truth, regards all men with the eye of
charity, and does not seek to defend his opinions against theirs, but
sacrifices those opinions that he may love the more, that he may manifest
the spirit of Truth, for Truth in its very nature is ineffable and can only
be lived. He who has most of charity has most of Truth.
Men engage in heated controversies, and foolishly imagine they are
defending the Truth, when in reality they are merely defending their own
petty interests and perishable opinions. The follower of self takes up arms
against others. The follower of Truth takes up arms against himself. Truth,
being unchangeable and eternal, is independent of your opinion and of mine.
We may enter into it, or we may stay outside; but both our defense and our
attack are superfluous, and are hurled back upon ourselves.
Men, enslaved by self, passionate, proud, and condemnatory, believe their
particular creed or religion to be the Truth, and all other religions to be
error; and they proselytize with passionate ardor. There is but one
religion, the religion of Truth. There is but one error, the error of self.
Truth is not a formal belief; it is an unselfish, holy, and aspiring heart,
and he who has Truth is at peace with all, and cherishes all with thoughts
You may easily know whether you are a child of Truth or a worshiper of
self, if you will silently examine your mind, heart, and conduct. Do you
harbor thoughts of suspicion, enmity, envy, lust, pride, or do you
strenuously fight against these? If the former, you are chained to self, no
matter what religion you may profess; if the latter, you are a candidate
for Truth, even though outwardly you may profess no religion. Are you
passionate, self-willed, ever seeking to gain your own ends,
self-indulgent, and self-centered; or are you gentle, mild, unselfish, quit
of every form of self-indulgence, and are ever ready to give up your own?
If the former, self is your master; if the latter, Truth is the object of
your affection. Do you strive for riches? Do you fight, with passion, for
your party? Do you lust for power and leadership? Are you given to
ostentation and self-praise? Or have you given up the love of riches? Have
you relinquished all strife? Are you content to take the lowest place, and
to be passed by unnoticed? And have you ceased to talk about yourself and
to regard yourself with self-complacent pride? If the former, even though
you may imagine you worship God, the god of your heart is self. If the
latter, even though you may withhold your lips from worship, you are
dwelling with the Most High.
The signs by which the Truth-lover is known are unmistakable. Hear the Holy
Krishna declare them, in Sir Edwin Arnold's beautiful rendering of the
"Fearlessness, singleness of soul, the will
Always to strive for wisdom; opened hand
And governed appetites; and piety,
And love of lonely study; humbleness,
Uprightness, heed to injure nought which lives
Truthfulness, slowness unto wrath, a mind
That lightly letteth go what others prize;
And equanimity, and charity
Which spieth no man's faults; and tenderness
Towards all that suffer; a contented heart,
Fluttered by no desires; a bearing mild,
Modest and grave, with manhood nobly mixed,
With patience, fortitude and purity;
An unrevengeful spirit, never given
To rate itself too high--such be the signs,
O Indian Prince! of him whose feet are set
On that fair path which leads to heavenly birth!"
When men, lost in the devious ways of error and self, have forgotten the
"heavenly birth," the state of holiness and Truth, they set up artificial
standards by which to judge one another, and make acceptance of, and
adherence to, their own particular theology, the test of Truth; and so men
are divided one against another, and there is ceaseless enmity and strife,
and unending sorrow and suffering.
Reader, do you seek to realize the birth into Truth? There is only one way:
_Let self die_. All those lusts, appetites, desires, opinions, limited
conceptions and prejudices to which you have hitherto so tenaciously clung,
let them fall from you. Let them no longer hold you in bondage, and Truth
will be yours. Cease to look upon your own religion as superior to all
others, and strive humbly to learn the supreme lesson of charity. No longer
cling to the idea, so productive of strife and sorrow, that the Savior whom
you worship is the only Savior, and that the Savior whom your brother
worships with equal sincerity and ardor, is an impostor; but seek
diligently the path of holiness, and then you will realize that every holy
man is a savior of mankind.
The giving up of self is not merely the renunciation of outward things. It
consists of the renunciation of the inward sin, the inward error. Not by
giving up vain clothing; not by relinquishing riches; not by abstaining
from certain foods; not by speaking smooth words; not by merely doing these
things is the Truth found; but by giving up the spirit of vanity; by
relinquishing the desire for riches; by abstaining from the lust of
self-indulgence; by giving up all hatred, strife, condemnation, and
self-seeking, and becoming gentle and pure at heart; by doing these things
is the Truth found. To do the former, and not to do the latter, is
pharisaism and hypocrisy, whereas the latter includes the former. You may
renounce the outward world, and isolate yourself in a cave or in the depths
of a forest, but you will take all your selfishness with you, and unless
you renounce that, great indeed will be your wretchedness and deep your
delusion. You may remain just where you are, performing all your duties,
and yet renounce the world, the inward enemy. To be in the world and yet
not of the world is the highest perfection, the most blessed peace, is to
achieve the greatest victory. The renunciation of self is the way of Truth,
"Enter the Path; there is no grief like hate,
No pain like passion, no deceit like sense;
Enter the Path; far hath he gone whose foot
Treads down one fond offense."
As you succeed in overcoming self you will begin to see things in their
right relations. He who is swayed by any passion, prejudice, like or
dislike, adjusts everything to that particular bias, and sees only his own
delusions. He who is absolutely free from all passion, prejudice,
preference, and partiality, sees himself as he is; sees others as they are;
sees all things in their proper proportions and right relations. Having
nothing to attack, nothing to defend, nothing to conceal, and no interests
to guard, he is at peace. He has realized the profound simplicity of Truth,
for this unbiased, tranquil, blessed state of mind and heart is the state
of Truth. He who attains to it dwells with the angels, and sits at the
footstool of the Supreme. Knowing the Great Law; knowing the origin of
sorrow; knowing the secret of suffering; knowing the way of emancipation in
Truth, how can such a one engage in strife or condemnation; for though he
knows that the blind, self-seeking world, surrounded with the clouds of its
own illusions, and enveloped in the darkness of error and self, cannot
perceive the steadfast Light of Truth, and is utterly incapable of
comprehending the profound simplicity of the heart that has died, or is
dying, to self, yet he also knows that when the suffering ages have piled
up mountains of sorrow, the crushed and burdened soul of the world will fly
to its final refuge, and that when the ages are completed, every prodigal
will come back to the fold of Truth. And so he dwells in goodwill toward
all, and regards all with that tender compassion which a father bestows
upon his wayward children.
Men cannot understand Truth because they cling to self, because they
believe in and love self, because they believe self to be the only reality,
whereas it is the one delusion.
When you cease to believe in and love self you will desert it, and will fly
to Truth, and will find the eternal Reality.
When men are intoxicated with the wines of luxury, and pleasure, and
vanity, the thirst of life grows and deepens within them, and they delude
themselves with dreams of fleshly immortality, but when they come to reap
the harvest of their own sowing, and pain and sorrow supervene, then,
crushed and humiliated, relinquishing self and all the intoxications of
self, they come, with aching hearts to the one immortality, the immortality
that destroys all delusions, the spiritual immortality in Truth.
Men pass from evil to good, from self to Truth, through the dark gate of
sorrow, for sorrow and self are inseparable. Only in the peace and bliss of
Truth is all sorrow vanquished. If you suffer disappointment because your
cherished plans have been thwarted, or because someone has not come up to
your anticipations, it is because you are clinging to self. If you suffer
remorse for your conduct, it is because you have given way to self. If you
are overwhelmed with chagrin and regret because of the attitude of someone
else toward you, it is because you have been cherishing self. If you are
wounded on account of what has been done to you or said of you, it is
because you are walking in the painful way of self. All suffering is of
self. All suffering ends in Truth. When you have entered into and realized
Truth, you will no longer suffer disappointment, remorse, and regret, and
sorrow will flee from you.
"Self is the only prison that can ever bind the soul;
Truth is the only angel that can bid the gates unroll;
And when he comes to call thee, arise and follow fast;
His way may lie through darkness, but it leads to light at last."
The woe of the world is of its own making. Sorrow purifies and deepens the
soul, and the extremity of sorrow is the prelude to Truth.
Have you suffered much? Have you sorrowed deeply? Have you pondered
seriously upon the problem of life? If so, you are prepared to wage war
against self, and to become a disciple of Truth.
The intellectual who do not see the necessity for giving up self, frame
endless theories about the universe, and call them Truth; but do thou
pursue that direct line of conduct which is the practice of righteousness,
and thou wilt realize the Truth which has no place in theory, and which
never changes. Cultivate your heart. Water it continually with unselfish
love and deep-felt pity, and strive to shut out from it all thoughts and
feelings which are not in accordance with Love. Return good for evil, love
for hatred, gentleness for ill-treatment, and remain silent when attacked.
So shall you transmute all your selfish desires into the pure gold of Love,
and self will disappear in Truth. So will you walk blamelessly among men,
yoked with the easy yoke of lowliness, and clothed with the divine garment
O come, weary brother! thy struggling and striving
End thou in the heart of the Master of ruth;
Across self's drear desert why wilt thou be driving,
Athirst for the quickening waters of Truth
When here, by the path of thy searching and sinning,
Flows Life's gladsome stream, lies Love's oasis green?
Come, turn thou and rest; know the end and beginning,
The sought and the searcher, the seer and seen.
Thy Master sits not in the unapproached mountains,
Nor dwells in the mirage which floats on the air,
Nor shalt thou discover His magical fountains
In pathways of sand that encircle despair.
In selfhood's dark desert cease wearily seeking
The odorous tracks of the feet of thy King;
And if thou wouldst hear the sweet sound of His speaking,
Be deaf to all voices that emptily sing.
Flee the vanishing places; renounce all thou hast;
Leave all that thou lovest, and, naked and bare,
Thyself at the shrine of the _Innermost_ cast;
The Highest, the Holiest, the Changeless is there.
Within, in the heart of the Silence He dwelleth;
Leave sorrow and sin, leave thy wanderings sore;
Come bathe in His Joy, whilst He, whispering, telleth
Thy soul what it seeketh, and wander no more.
Then cease, weary brother, thy struggling and striving;
Find peace in the heart of the Master of ruth.
Across self's dark desert cease wearily driving;
Come; drink at the beautiful waters of Truth.
THE ACQUIREMENT OF SPIRITUAL POWER
The world is filled with men and women seeking pleasure, excitement,
novelty; seeking ever to be moved to laughter or tears; not seeking
strength, stability, and power; but courting weakness, and eagerly engaged
in dispersing what power they have.
Men and women of real power and influence are few, because few are prepared
to make the sacrifice necessary to the acquirement of power, and fewer
still are ready to patiently build up character.
To be swayed by your fluctuating thoughts and impulses is to be weak and
powerless; to rightly control and direct those forces is to be strong and
powerful. Men of strong animal passions have much of the ferocity of the
beast, but this is not power. The elements of power are there; but it is
only when this ferocity is tamed and subdued by the higher intelligence
that real power begins; and men can only grow in power by awakening
themselves to higher and ever higher states of intelligence and
The difference between a man of weakness and one of power lies not in the
strength of the personal will (for the stubborn man is usually weak and
foolish), but in that focus of consciousness which represents their states
The pleasure-seekers, the lovers of excitement, the hunters after novelty,
and the victims of impulse and hysterical emotion lack that knowledge of
principles which gives balance, stability, and influence.
A man commences to develop power when, checking his impulses and selfish
inclinations, he falls back upon the higher and calmer consciousness within
him, and begins to steady himself upon a principle. The realization of
unchanging principles in consciousness is at once the source and secret of
the highest power.
When, after much searching, and suffering, and sacrificing, the light of an
eternal principle dawns upon the soul, a divine calm ensues and joy
unspeakable gladdens the heart.
He who has realized such a principle ceases to wander, and remains poised
and self-possessed. He ceases to be "passion's slave," and becomes a
master-builder in the Temple of Destiny.
The man that is governed by self, and not by a principle, changes his front
when his selfish comforts are threatened. Deeply intent upon defending and
guarding his own interests, he regards all means as lawful that will
subserve that end. He is continually scheming as to how he may protect
himself against his enemies, being too self-centered to perceive that he is
his own enemy. Such a man's work crumbles away, for it is divorced from
Truth and power. All effort that is grounded upon self, perishes; only that
work endures that is built upon an indestructible principle.
The man that stands upon a principle is the same calm, dauntless,
self-possessed man under all circumstances. When the hour of trial comes,
and he has to decide between his personal comforts and Truth, he gives up
his comforts and remains firm. Even the prospect of torture and death
cannot alter or deter him. The man of self regards the loss of his wealth,
his comforts, or his life as the greatest calamities which can befall him.
The man of principle looks upon these incidents as comparatively
insignificant, and not to be weighed with loss of character, loss of Truth.
To desert Truth is, to him, the only happening which can really be called a
It is the hour of crisis which decides who are the minions of darkness, and
who the children of Light. It is the epoch of threatening disaster, ruin,
and persecution which divides the sheep from the goats, and reveals to the
reverential gaze of succeeding ages the men and women of power.
It is easy for a man, so long as he is left in the enjoyment of his
possessions, to persuade himself that he believes in and adheres to the
principles of Peace, Brotherhood, and Universal Love; but if, when his
enjoyments are threatened, or he imagines they are threatened, he begins to
clamor loudly for war, he shows that he believes in and stands upon, not
Peace, Brotherhood, and Love, but strife, selfishness, and hatred.
He who does not desert his principles when threatened with the loss of
every earthly thing, even to the loss of reputation and life, is the man of
power; is the man whose every word and work endures; is the man whom the
afterworld honors, reveres, and worships. Rather than desert that principle
of Divine Love on which he rested, and in which all his trust was placed,
Jesus endured the utmost extremity of agony and deprivation; and today the
world prostrates itself at his pierced feet in rapt adoration.
There is no way to the acquirement of spiritual power except by that inward
illumination and enlightenment which is the realization of spiritual
principles; and those principles can only be realized by constant practice
Take the principle of divine Love, and quietly and diligently meditate upon
it with the object of arriving at a thorough understanding of it. Bring its
searching light to bear upon all your habits, your actions, your speech and
intercourse with others, your every secret thought and desire. As you
persevere in this course, the divine Love will become more and more
perfectly revealed to you, and your own shortcomings will stand out in more
and more vivid contrast, spurring you on to renewed endeavor; and having
once caught a glimpse of the incomparable majesty of that imperishable
principle, you will never again rest in your weakness, your selfishness,
your imperfection, but will pursue that Love until you have relinquished
every discordant element, and have brought yourself into perfect harmony
with it. And that state of inward harmony is spiritual power. Take also
other spiritual principles, such as Purity and Compassion, and apply them
in the same way, and, so exacting is Truth, you will be able to make no
stay, no resting-place until the inmost garment of your soul is bereft of
every stain, and your heart has become incapable of any hard, condemnatory,
and pitiless impulse.
Only in so far as you understand, realize, and rely upon, these principles,
will you acquire spiritual power, and that power will be manifested in and
through you in the form of increasing dispassion, patience and equanimity.
Dispassion argues superior self-control; sublime patience is the very
hall-mark of divine knowledge, and to retain an unbroken calm amid all the
duties and distractions of life, marks off the man of power. "It is easy in
the world to live after the world's opinion; it is easy in solitude to live
after our own; but the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps
with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude."
Some mystics hold that perfection in dispassion is the source of that power
by which miracles (so-called) are performed, and truly he who has gained
such perfect control of all his interior forces that no shock, however
great, can for one moment unbalance him, must be capable of guiding and
directing those forces with a master-hand.
To grow in self-control, in patience, in equanimity, is to grow in strength
and power; and you can only thus grow by focusing your consciousness upon a
principle. As a child, after making many and vigorous attempts to walk
unaided, at last succeeds, after numerous falls, in accomplishing this, so
you must enter the way of power by first attempting to stand alone. Break
away from the tyranny of custom, tradition, conventionality, and the
opinions of others, until you succeed in walking lonely and erect among
men. Rely upon your own judgment; be true to your own conscience; follow
the Light that is within you; all outward lights are so many
will-o'-the-wisps. There will be those who will tell you that you are
foolish; that your judgment is faulty; that your conscience is all awry,
and that the Light within you is darkness; but heed them not. If what they
say is true the sooner you, as a searcher for wisdom, find it out the
better, and you can only make the discovery by bringing your powers to the
test. Therefore, pursue your course bravely. Your conscience is at least
your own, and to follow it is to be a man; to follow the conscience of
another is to be a slave. You will have many falls, will suffer many
wounds, will endure many buffetings for a time, but press on in faith,
believing that sure and certain victory lies ahead. Search for a rock, a
principle, and having found it cling to it; get it under your feet and
stand erect upon it, until at last, immovably fixed upon it, you succeed in
defying the fury of the waves and storms of selfishness.
For selfishness in any and every form is dissipation, weakness, death;
unselfishness in its spiritual aspect is conservation, power, life. As you
grow in spiritual life, and become established upon principles, you will
become as beautiful and as unchangeable as those principles, will taste of
the sweetness of their immortal essence, and will realize the eternal and
indestructible nature of the God within.
No harmful shaft can reach the righteous man,
Standing erect amid the storms of hate,
Defying hurt and injury and ban,
Surrounded by the trembling slaves of Fate.
Majestic in the strength of silent power,
Serene he stands, nor changes not nor turns;
Patient and firm in suffering's darkest hour,
Time bends to him, and death and doom he spurns.
Wrath's lurid lightnings round about him play,
And hell's deep thunders roll about his head;
Yet heeds he not, for him they cannot slay
Who stands whence earth and time and space are fled.
Sheltered by deathless love, what fear hath he?
Armored in changeless Truth, what can he know
Of loss and gain? Knowing eternity,
He moves not whilst the shadows come and go.
Call him immortal, call him Truth and Light
And splendor of prophetic majesty
Who bideth thus amid the powers of night,
Clothed with the glory of divinity.
THE REALIZATION OF SELFLESS LOVE
It is said that Michael Angelo saw in every rough block of stone a thing of
beauty awaiting the master-hand to bring it into reality. Even so, within
each there reposes the Divine Image awaiting the master-hand of Faith and
the chisel of Patience to bring it into manifestation. And that Divine
Image is revealed and realized as stainless, selfless Love.
Hidden deep in every human heart, though frequently covered up with a mass
of hard and almost impenetrable accretions, is the spirit of Divine Love,
whose holy and spotless essence is undying and eternal. It is the Truth in
man; it is that which belongs to the Supreme: that which is real and
immortal. All else changes and passes away; this alone is permanent and
imperishable; and to realize this Love by ceaseless diligence in the
practice of the highest righteousness, to live in it and to become fully
conscious in it, is to enter into immortality here and now, is to become
one with Truth, one with God, one with the central Heart of all things, and
to know our own divine and eternal nature.
To reach this Love, to understand and experience it, one must work with
great persistency and diligence upon his heart and mind, must ever renew
his patience and keep strong his faith, for there will be much to remove,
much to accomplish before the Divine Image is revealed in all its glorious
He who strives to reach and to accomplish the divine will be tried to the
very uttermost; and this is absolutely necessary, for how else could one
acquire that sublime patience without which there is no real wisdom, no
divinity? Ever and anon, as he proceeds, all his work will seem to be
futile, and his efforts appear to be thrown away. Now and then a hasty
touch will mar his image, and perhaps when he imagines his work is almost
completed he will find what he imagined to be the beautiful form of Divine
Love utterly destroyed, and he must begin again with his past bitter
experience to guide and help him. But he who has resolutely set himself to
realize the Highest recognizes no such thing as defeat. All failures are
apparent, not real. Every slip, every fall, every return to selfishness is
a lesson learned, an experience gained, from which a golden grain of wisdom
is extracted, helping the striver toward the accomplishment of his lofty
object. To recognize
"That of our vices we can frame
A ladder if we will but tread
Beneath our feet each deed of shame,"
is to enter the way that leads unmistakably toward the Divine, and the
failings of one who thus recognizes are so many dead selves, upon which he
rises, as upon stepping-stones, to higher things.
Once come to regard your failings, your sorrows and sufferings as so many
voices telling you plainly where you are weak and faulty, where you fall
below the true and the divine, you will then begin to ceaselessly watch
yourself, and every slip, every pang of pain will show you where you are to
set to work, and what you have to remove out of your heart in order to
bring it nearer to the likeness of the Divine, nearer to the Perfect Love.
And as you proceed, day by day detaching yourself more and more from the
inward selfishness the Love that is selfless will gradually become revealed
to you. And when you are growing patient and calm, when your petulances,
tempers, and irritabilities are passing away from you, and the more
powerful lusts and prejudices cease to dominate and enslave you, then you
will know that the divine is awakening within you, that you are drawing
near to the eternal Heart, that you are not far from that selfless Love,
the possession of which is peace and immortality.
Divine Love is distinguished from human loves in this supremely important
particular, _it is free from partiality_. Human loves cling to a particular
object to the exclusion of all else, and when that object is removed, great
and deep is the resultant suffering to the one who loves. Divine Love
embraces the whole universe, and, without clinging to any part, yet
contains within itself the whole, and he who comes to it by gradually
purifying and broadening his human loves until all the selfish and impure
elements are burnt out of them, ceases from suffering. It is because human
loves are narrow and confined and mingled with selfishness that they cause
suffering. No suffering can result from that Love which is so absolutely
pure that it seeks nothing for itself. Nevertheless, human loves are
absolutely necessary as steps toward the Divine, and no soul is prepared to
partake of Divine Love until it has become capable of the deepest and most
intense human love. It is only by passing through human loves and human
sufferings that Divine Love is reached and realized.
All human loves are perishable like the forms to which they cling; but
there is a Love that is imperishable, and that does not cling to
All human loves are counterbalanced by human hates; but there is a Love
that admits of no opposite or reaction; divine and free from all taint of
self, that sheds its fragrance on all alike.
Human loves are reflections of the Divine Love, and draw the soul nearer to
the reality, the Love that knows neither sorrow nor change.
It is well that the mother, clinging with passionate tenderness to the
little helpless form of flesh that lies on her bosom, should be overwhelmed
with the dark waters of sorrow when she sees it laid in the cold earth. It
is well that her tears should flow and her heart ache, for only thus can
she be reminded of the evanescent nature of the joys and objects of sense,
and be drawn nearer to the eternal and imperishable Reality.
It is well that lover, brother, sister, husband, wife should suffer deep
anguish, and be enveloped in gloom when the visible object of their
affections is torn from them, so that they may learn to turn their
affections toward the invisible Source of all, where alone abiding
satisfaction is to be found.
It is well that the proud, the ambitious, the self-seeking, should suffer
defeat, humiliation, and misfortune; that they should pass through the
scorching fires of affliction; for only thus can the wayward soul be
brought to reflect upon the enigma of life; only thus can the heart be
softened and purified, and prepared to receive the Truth.
When the sting of anguish penetrates the heart of human love; when gloom
and loneliness and desertion cloud the soul of friendship and trust, then
it is that the heart turns toward the sheltering love of the Eternal, and
finds rest in its silent peace. And whosoever comes to this Love is not
turned away comfortless, is not pierced with anguish nor surrounded with
gloom; and is never deserted in the dark hour of trial.
The glory of Divine Love can only be revealed in the heart that is
chastened by sorrow, and the image of the heavenly state can only be
perceived and realized when the lifeless, formless accretions of ignorance
and self are hewn away.
Only that Love that seeks no personal gratification or reward, that does
not make distinctions, and that leaves behind no heartaches, can be called
Men, clinging to self and to the comfortless shadows of evil, are in the
habit of thinking of divine Love as something belonging to a God who is out
of reach; as something outside themselves, and that must for ever remain
outside. Truly, the Love of God is ever beyond the reach of self, but when
the heart and mind are emptied of self then the selfless Love, the supreme
Love, the Love that is of God or Good becomes an inward and abiding
And this inward realization of holy Love is none other than the Love of
Christ that is so much talked about and so little comprehended. The Love
that not only saves the soul from sin, but lifts it also above the power of
But how may one attain to this sublime realization? The answer which Truth
has always given, and will ever give to this question is,--"Empty thyself,
and I will fill thee." Divine Love cannot be known until self is dead, for
self is the denial of Love, and how can that which is known be also denied?
Not until the stone of self is rolled away from the sepulcher of the soul
does the immortal Christ, the pure Spirit of Love, hitherto crucified, dead
and buried, cast off the bands of ignorance, and come forth in all the
majesty of His resurrection.
You believe that the Christ of Nazareth was put to death and rose again. I
do not say you err in that belief; but if you refuse to believe that the
gentle spirit of Love is crucified daily upon the dark cross of your
selfish desires, then, I say, you err in this unbelief, and have not yet
perceived, even afar off, the Love of Christ.
You say that you have tasted of salvation in the Love of Christ. Are you
saved from your temper, your irritability, your vanity, your personal
dislikes, your judgment and condemnation of others? If not, from what are
you saved, and wherein have you realized the transforming Love of Christ?
He who has realized the Love that is divine has become a new man, and has
ceased to be swayed and dominated by the old elements of self. He is known
for his patience, his purity, his self-control, his deep charity of heart,
and his unalterable sweetness.
Divine or selfless Love is not a mere sentiment or emotion; it is a state
of knowledge which destroys the dominion of evil and the belief in evil,
and lifts the soul into the joyful realization of the supreme Good. To the
divinely wise, knowledge and Love are one and inseparable.
It is toward the complete realization of this divine Love that the whole
world is moving; it was for this purpose that the universe came into
existence, and every grasping at happiness, every reaching out of the soul
toward objects, ideas and ideals, is an effort to realize it. But the world
does not realize this Love at present because it is grasping at the
fleeting shadow and ignoring, in its blindness, the substance. And so
suffering and sorrow continue, and must continue until the world, taught by
its self-inflicted pains, discovers the Love that is selfless, the wisdom
that is calm and full of peace.
And this Love, this Wisdom, this Peace, this tranquil state of mind and
heart may be attained to, may be realized by all who are willing and ready
to yield up self, and who are prepared to humbly enter into a comprehension
of all that the giving up of self involves. There is no arbitrary power in
the universe, and the strongest chains of fate by which men are bound are
self-forged. Men are chained to that which causes suffering because they
desire to be so, because they love their chains, because they think their
little dark prison of self is sweet and beautiful, and they are afraid that
if they desert that prison they will lose all that is real and worth
"Ye suffer from yourselves, none else compels,
None other holds ye that ye live and die."
And the indwelling power which forged the chains and built around itself
the dark and narrow prison, can break away when it desires and wills to do
so, and the soul does will to do so when it has discovered the
worthlessness of its prison, when long suffering has prepared it for the
reception of the boundless Light and Love.
As the shadow follows the form, and as smoke comes after fire, so effect
follows cause, and suffering and bliss follow the thoughts and deeds of
men. There is no effect in the world around us but has its hidden or
revealed cause, and that cause is in accordance with absolute justice. Men
reap a harvest of suffering because in the near or distant past they have
sown the seeds of evil; they reap a harvest of bliss also as a result of
their own sowing of the seeds of good. Let a man meditate upon this, let
him strive to understand it, and he will then begin to sow only seeds of
good, and will burn up the tares and weeds which he has formerly grown in
the garden of his heart.
The world does not understand the Love that is selfless because it is
engrossed in the pursuit of its own pleasures, and cramped within the
narrow limits of perishable interests mistaking, in its ignorance, those
pleasures and interests for real and abiding things. Caught in the flames
of fleshly lusts, and burning with anguish, it sees not the pure and
peaceful beauty of Truth. Feeding upon the swinish husks of error and
self-delusion, it is shut out from the mansion of all-seeing Love.
Not having this Love, not understanding it, men institute innumerable
reforms which involve no inward sacrifice, and each imagines that his
reform is going to right the world for ever, while he himself continues to
propagate evil by engaging it in his own heart. That only can be called
reform which tends to reform the human heart, for all evil has its rise
there, and not until the world, ceasing from selfishness and party strife,
has learned the lesson of divine Love, will it realize the Golden Age of
Let the rich cease to despise the poor, and the poor to condemn the rich;
let the greedy learn how to give, and the lustful how to grow pure; let the
partisan cease from strife, and the uncharitable begin to forgive; let the
envious endeavor to rejoice with others, and the slanderers grow ashamed of
their conduct. Let men and women take this course, and, lo! the Golden Age
is at hand. He, therefore, who purifies his own heart is the world's
Yet, though the world is, and will be for many ages to come, shut out from
that Age of Gold, which is the realization of selfless Love, you, if you
are willing, may enter it now, by rising above your selfish self; if you
will pass from prejudice, hatred, and condemnation, to gentle and forgiving
Where hatred, dislike, and condemnation are, selfless Love does not abide.
It resides only in the heart that has ceased from all condemnation.
You say, "How can I love the drunkard, the hypocrite, the sneak, the
murderer? I am compelled to dislike and condemn such men." It is true you
cannot love such men _emotionally_, but when you say that you must perforce
dislike and condemn them you show that you are not acquainted with the
Great over-ruling Love; for it is possible to attain to such a state of
interior enlightenment as will enable you to perceive the train of causes
by which these men have become as they are, to enter into their intense
sufferings, and to know the certainty of their ultimate purification.
Possessed of such knowledge it will be utterly impossible for you any
longer to dislike or condemn them, and you will always think of them with
perfect calmness and deep compassion.
If you love people and speak of them with praise until they in some way
thwart you, or do something of which you disapprove, and then you dislike
them and speak of them with dispraise, you are not governed by the Love
which is of God. If, in your heart, you are continually arraigning and
condemning others, selfless Love is hidden from you.
He who knows that Love is at the heart of all things, and has realized the
all-sufficing power of that Love, has no room in his heart for
Men, not knowing this Love, constitute themselves judge and executioner of
their fellows, forgetting that there is the Eternal Judge and Executioner,
and in so far as men deviate from them in their own views, their particular
reforms and methods, they brand them as fanatical, unbalanced, lacking
judgment, sincerity, and honesty; in so far as others approximate to their
own standard do they look upon them as being everything that is admirable.
Such are the men who are centered in self. But he whose heart is centered
in the supreme Love does not so brand and classify men; does not seek to
convert men to his own views, not to convince them of the superiority of
his methods. Knowing the Law of Love, he lives it, and maintains the same
calm attitude of mind and sweetness of heart toward all. The debased and
the virtuous, the foolish and the wise, the learned and the unlearned, the
selfish and the unselfish receive alike the benediction of his tranquil
You can only attain to this supreme knowledge, this divine Love by
unremitting endeavor in self-discipline, and by gaining victory after
victory over yourself. Only the pure in heart see God, and when your heart
is sufficiently purified you will enter into the New Birth, and the Love
that does not die, nor change, nor end in pain and sorrow will be awakened
within you, and you will be at peace.
He who strives for the attainment of divine Love is ever seeking to
overcome the spirit of condemnation, for where there is pure spiritual
knowledge, condemnation cannot exist, and only in the heart that has become
incapable of condemnation is Love perfected and fully realized.
The Christian condemns the Atheist; the Atheist satirizes the Christian;
the Catholic and Protestant are ceaselessly engaged in wordy warfare, and
the spirit of strife and hatred rules where peace and love should be.
"He that hateth his brother is a murderer," a crucifier of the divine
Spirit of Love; and until you can regard men of all religions and of no
religion with the same impartial spirit, with all freedom from dislike, and
with perfect equanimity, you have yet to strive for that Love which bestows
upon its possessor freedom and salvation.
The realization of divine knowledge, selfless Love, utterly destroys the
spirit of condemnation, disperses all evil, and lifts the consciousness to
that height of pure vision where Love, Goodness, Justice are seen to be
universal, supreme, all-conquering, indestructible.
Train your mind in strong, impartial, and gentle thought; train your heart
in purity and compassion; train your tongue to silence and to true and
stainless speech; so shall you enter the way of holiness and peace, and
shall ultimately realize the immortal Love. So living, without seeking to
convert, you will convince; without arguing, you will teach; not cherishing
ambition, the wise will find you out; and without striving to gain men's
opinions, you will subdue their hearts. For Love is all-conquering,
all-powerful; and the thoughts, and deeds, and words of Love can never
To know that Love is universal, supreme, all-sufficing; to be freed from
the trammels of evil; to be quit of the inward unrest; to know that all men
are striving to realize the Truth each in his own way; to be satisfied,
sorrowless, serene; this is peace; this is gladness; this is immortality;
this is Divinity; this is the realization of selfless Love.
I stood upon the shore, and saw the rocks
Resist the onslaught of the mighty sea,
And when I thought how all the countless shocks
They had withstood through an eternity,
I said, "To wear away this solid main
The ceaseless efforts of the waves are vain."
But when I thought how they the rocks had rent,
And saw the sand and shingles at my feet
(Poor passive remnants of resistance spent)
Tumbled and tossed where they the waters meet,
Then saw I ancient landmarks 'neath the waves,
And knew the waters held the stones their slaves.
I saw the mighty work the waters wrought
By patient softness and unceasing flow;
How they the proudest promontory brought
Unto their feet, and massy hills laid low;
How the soft drops the adamantine wall
Conquered at last, and brought it to its fall.
And then I knew that hard, resisting sin
Should yield at last to Love's soft ceaseless roll
Coming and going, ever flowing in
Upon the proud rocks of the human soul;
That all resistance should be spent and past,
And every heart yield unto it at last.
ENTERING INTO THE INFINITE
From the beginning of time, man, in spite of his bodily appetites and
desires, in the midst of all his clinging to earthly and impermanent
things, has ever been intuitively conscious of the limited, transient, and
illusionary nature of his material existence, and in his sane and silent
moments has tried to reach out into a comprehension of the Infinite, and
has turned with tearful aspiration toward the restful Reality of the
While vainly imagining that the pleasures of earth are real and satisfying,
pain and sorrow continually remind him of their unreal and unsatisfying
nature. Ever striving to believe that complete satisfaction is to be found
in material things, he is conscious of an inward and persistent revolt
against this belief, which revolt is at once a refutation of his essential
mortality, and an inherent and imperishable proof that only in the
immortal, the eternal, the infinite can he find abiding satisfaction and
And here is the common ground of faith; here the root and spring of all
religion; here the soul of Brotherhood and the heart of Love,--that man is
essentially and spiritually divine and eternal, and that, immersed in
mortality and troubled with unrest, he is ever striving to enter into a
consciousness of his real nature.
The spirit of man is inseparable from the Infinite, and can be satisfied
with nothing short of the Infinite, and the burden of pain will continue to
weigh upon man's heart, and the shadows of sorrow to darken his pathway
until, ceasing from his wanderings in the dream-world of matter, he comes
back to his home in the reality of the Eternal.
As the smallest drop of water detached from the ocean contains all the
qualities of the ocean, so man, detached in consciousness from the
Infinite, contains within him its likeness; and as the drop of water must,
by the law of its nature, ultimately find its way back to the ocean and
lose itself in its silent depths, so must man, by the unfailing law of his
nature, at last return to his source, and lose himself in the great ocean
of the Infinite.
To re-become one with the Infinite is the goal of man. To enter into
perfect harmony with the Eternal Law is Wisdom, Love and Peace. But this
divine state is, and must ever be, incomprehensible to the merely personal.
Personality, separateness, selfishness are one and the same, and are the
antithesis of wisdom and divinity. By the unqualified surrender of the
personality, separateness and selfishness cease, and man enters into the
possession of his divine heritage of immortality and infinity.
Such surrender of the personality is regarded by the worldly and selfish
mind as the most grievous of all calamities, the most irreparable loss, yet
it is the one supreme and incomparable blessing, the only real and lasting
gain. The mind unenlightened upon the inner laws of being, and upon the
nature and destiny of its own life, clings to transient appearances, things
which have in them no enduring substantiality, and so clinging, perishes,
for the time being, amid the shattered wreckage of its own illusions.
Men cling to and gratify the flesh as though it were going to last for
ever, and though they try to forget the nearness and inevitability of its
dissolution, the dread of death and of the loss of all that they cling to
clouds their happiest hours, and the chilling shadow of their own
selfishness follows them like a remorseless specter.
And with the accumulation of temporal comforts and luxuries, the divinity
within men is drugged, and they sink deeper and deeper into materiality,
into the perishable life of the senses, and where there is sufficient
intellect, theories concerning the immortality of the flesh come to be
regarded as infallible truths. When a man's soul is clouded with
selfishness in any or every form, he loses the power of spiritual
discrimination, and confuses the temporal with the eternal, the perishable
with the permanent, mortality with immortality, and error with Truth. It is
thus that the world has come to be filled with theories and speculations
having no foundation in human experience. Every body of flesh contains
within itself, from the hour of birth, the elements of its own destruction,
and by the unalterable law of its own nature must it pass away.
The perishable in the universe can never become permanent; the permanent
can never pass away; the mortal can never become immortal; the immortal can
never die; the temporal cannot become eternal nor the eternal become
temporal; appearance can never become reality, nor reality fade into
appearance; error can never become Truth, nor can Truth become error. Man
cannot immortalize the flesh, but, by overcoming the flesh, by
relinquishing all its inclinations, he can enter the region of immortality.
"God alone hath immortality," and only by realizing the God state of
consciousness does man enter into immortality.
All nature in its myriad forms of life is changeable, impermanent,
unenduring. Only the informing Principle of nature endures. Nature is many,
and is marked by separation. The informing Principle is One, and is marked
by unity. By overcoming the senses and the selfishness within, which is the
overcoming of nature, man emerges from the chrysalis of the personal and
illusory, and wings himself into the glorious light of the impersonal, the
region of universal Truth, out of which all perishable forms come.
Let men, therefore, practice self-denial; let them conquer their animal
inclinations; let them refuse to be enslaved by luxury and pleasure; let
them practice virtue, and grow daily into high and ever higher virtue,
until at last they grow into the Divine, and enter into both the practice
and the comprehension of humility, meekness, forgiveness, compassion, and
love, which practice and comprehension constitute Divinity.
"Good-will gives insight," and only he who has so conquered his personality
that he has but one attitude of mind, that of good-will, toward all
creatures, is possessed of divine insight, and is capable of distinguishing
the true from the false. The supremely good man is, therefore, the wise
man, the divine man, the enlightened seer, the knower of the Eternal. Where
you find unbroken gentleness, enduring patience, sublime lowliness,
graciousness of speech, self-control, self-forgetfulness, and deep and
abounding sympathy, look there for the highest wisdom, seek the company of
such a one, for he has realized the Divine, he lives with the Eternal, he
has become one with the Infinite. Believe not him that is impatient, given
to anger, boastful, who clings to pleasure and refuses to renounce his
selfish gratifications, and who practices not good-will and far-reaching
compassion, for such a one hath not wisdom, vain is all his knowledge, and
his works and words will perish, for they are grounded on that which passes
Let a man abandon self, let him overcome the world, let him deny the
personal; by this pathway only can he enter into the heart of the Infinite.
The world, the body, the personality are mirages upon the desert of time;
transitory dreams in the dark night of spiritual slumber, and those who
have crossed the desert, those who are spiritually awakened, have alone
comprehended the Universal Reality where all appearances are dispersed and
dreaming and delusion are destroyed.
There is one Great Law which exacts unconditional obedience, one unifying
principle which is the basis of all diversity, one eternal Truth wherein
all the problems of earth pass away like shadows. To realize this Law, this
Unity, this Truth, is to enter into the Infinite, is to become one with the
To center one's life in the Great Law of Love is to enter into rest,
harmony, peace. To refrain from all participation in evil and discord; to
cease from all resistance to evil, and from the omission of that which is
good, and to fall back upon unswerving obedience to the holy calm within,
is to enter into the inmost heart of things, is to attain to a living,
conscious experience of that eternal and infinite principle which must ever
remain a hidden mystery to the merely perceptive intellect. Until this
principle is realized, the soul is not established in peace, and he who so
realizes is truly wise; not wise with the wisdom of the learned, but with
the simplicity of a blameless heart and of a divine manhood.
To enter into a realization of the Infinite and Eternal is to rise superior
to time, and the world, and the body, which comprise the kingdom of
darkness; and is to become established in immortality, Heaven, and the
Spirit, which make up the Empire of Light.
Entering into the Infinite is not a mere theory or sentiment. It is a vital
experience which is the result of assiduous practice in inward
purification. When the body is no longer believed to be, even remotely, the
real man; when all appetites and desires are thoroughly subdued and
purified; when the emotions are rested and calm, and when the oscillation
of the intellect ceases and perfect poise is secured, then, and not till
then, does consciousness become one with the Infinite; not until then is
childlike wisdom and profound peace secured.
Men grow weary and gray over the dark problems of life, and finally pass
away and leave them unsolved because they cannot see their way out of the
darkness of the personality, being too much engrossed in its limitations.
Seeking to save his personal life, man forfeits the greater impersonal Life
in Truth; clinging to the perishable, he is shut out from a knowledge of
By the surrender of self all difficulties are overcome, and there is no
error in the universe but the fire of inward sacrifice will burn it up like
chaff; no problem, however great, but will disappear like a shadow under
the searching light of self-abnegation. Problems exist only in our own
self-created illusions, and they vanish away when self is yielded up. Self
and error are synonymous. Error is involved in the darkness of unfathomable
complexity, but eternal simplicity is the glory of Truth.
Love of self shuts men out from Truth, and seeking their own personal
happiness they lose the deeper, purer, and more abiding bliss. Says
Carlyle--"There is in man a higher than love of happiness. He can do
without happiness, and instead thereof find blessedness.
... Love not pleasure, love God. This is the Everlasting Yea, wherein all
contradiction is solved; wherein whoso walks and works, it is well with
He who has yielded up that self, that personality that men most love, and
to which they cling with such fierce tenacity, has left behind him all
perplexity, and has entered into a simplicity so profoundly simple as to be
looked upon by the world, involved as it is in a network of error, as
foolishness. Yet such a one has realized the highest wisdom, and is at rest
in the Infinite. He "accomplishes without striving," and all problems melt
before him, for he has entered the region of reality, and deals, not with
changing effects, but with the unchanging principles of things. He is
enlightened with a wisdom which is as superior to ratiocination, as reason
is to animality. Having yielded up his lusts, his errors, his opinions and
prejudices, he has entered into possession of the knowledge of God, having
slain the selfish desire for heaven, and along with it the ignorant fear of
hell; having relinquished even the love of life itself, he has gained
supreme bliss and Life Eternal, the Life which bridges life and death, and
knows its own immortality. Having yielded up all without reservation, he
has gained all, and rests in peace on the bosom of the Infinite.
Only he who has become so free from self as to be equally content to be
annihilated as to live, or to live as to be annihilated, is fit to enter
into the Infinite. Only he who, ceasing to trust his perishable self, has
learned to trust in boundless measure the Great Law, the Supreme Good, is
prepared to partake of undying bliss.
For such a one there is no more regret, nor disappointment, nor remorse,
for where all selfishness has ceased these sufferings cannot be; and
whatever happens to him he knows that it is for his own good, and he is
content, being no longer the servant of self, but the servant of the
Supreme. He is no longer affected by the changes of earth, and when he
hears of wars and rumors of wars his peace is not disturbed, and where men
grow angry and cynical and quarrelsome, he bestows compassion and love.
Though appearances may contradict it, he knows that the world is
progressing, and that
"Through its laughing and its weeping,
Through its living and its keeping,
Through its follies and its labors, weaving in and out of sight,
To the end from the beginning,
Through all virtue and all sinning,
Reeled from God's great spool of Progress, runs the golden
thread of light."
When a fierce storm is raging none are angered about it, because they know
it will quickly pass away, and when the storms of contention are
devastating the world, the wise man, looking with the eye of Truth and
pity, knows that it will pass away, and that out of the wreckage of broken
hearts which it leaves behind the immortal Temple of Wisdom will be built.
Sublimely patient; infinitely compassionate; deep, silent, and pure, his
very presence is a benediction; and when he speaks men ponder his words in
their hearts, and by them rise to higher levels of attainment. Such is he
who has entered into the Infinite, who by the power of utmost sacrifice has
solved the sacred mystery of life.
Questioning Life and Destiny and Truth,
I sought the dark and labyrinthine Sphinx,
Who spake to me this strange and wondrous thing:--
"Concealment only lies in blinded eyes,
And God alone can see the Form of God."
I sought to solve this hidden mystery
Vainly by paths of blindness and of pain,
But when I found the Way of Love and Peace,
Concealment ceased, and I was blind no more:
Then saw I God e'en with the eyes of God.
SAINTS, SAGES, AND SAVIORS: THE LAW OF SERVICE
The spirit of Love which is manifested as a perfect and rounded life, is
the crown of being and the supreme end of knowledge upon this earth.
The measure of a man's truth is the measure of his love, and Truth is far
removed from him whose life is not governed by Love. The intolerant and
condemnatory, even though they profess the highest religion, have the
smallest measure of Truth; while those who exercise patience, and who
listen calmly and dispassionately to all sides, and both arrive themselves
at, and incline others to, thoughtful and unbiased conclusions upon all
problems and issues, have Truth in fullest measure. The final test of
wisdom is this,--how does a man live? What spirit does he manifest? How
does he act under trial and temptation? Many men boast of being in
possession of Truth who are continually swayed by grief, disappointment,
and passion, and who sink under the first little trial that comes along.
Truth is nothing if not unchangeable, and in so far as a man takes his
stand upon Truth does he become steadfast in virtue, does he rise superior
to his passions and emotions and changeable personality.
Men formulate perishable dogmas, and call them Truth. Truth cannot be
formulated; it is ineffable, and ever beyond the reach of intellect. It can
only be experienced by practice; it can only be manifested as a stainless
heart and a perfect life.
Who, then, in the midst of the ceaseless pandemonium of schools and creeds
and parties, has the Truth? He who lives it. He who practices it. He who,
having risen above that pandemonium by overcoming himself, no longer
engages in it, but sits apart, quiet, subdued, calm, and self-possessed,
freed from all strife, all bias, all condemnation, and bestows upon all the
glad and unselfish love of the divinity within him.
He who is patient, calm, gentle, and forgiving under all circumstances,
manifests the Truth. Truth will never be proved by wordy arguments and
learned treatises, for if men do not perceive the Truth in infinite
patience, undying forgiveness, and all-embracing compassion, no words can
ever prove it to them.
It is an easy matter for the passionate to be calm and patient when they
are alone, or are in the midst of calmness. It is equally easy for the
uncharitable to be gentle and kind when they are dealt kindly with, but he
who retains his patience and calmness under all trial, who remains
sublimely meek and gentle under the most trying circumstances, he, and he
alone, is possessed of the spotless Truth. And this is so because such
lofty virtues belong to the Divine, and can only be manifested by one who
has attained to the highest wisdom, who has relinquished his passionate and
self-seeking nature, who has realized the supreme and unchangeable Law, and
has brought himself into harmony with it.
Let men, therefore, cease from vain and passionate arguments about Truth,
and let them think and say and do those things which make for harmony,
peace, love, and good-will. Let them practice heart-virtue, and search
humbly and diligently for the Truth which frees the soul from all error and
sin, from all that blights the human heart, and that darkens, as with
unending night, the pathway of the wandering souls of earth.
There is one great all-embracing Law which is the foundation and cause of
the universe, the Law of Love. It has been called by many names in various
countries and at various times, but behind all its names the same
unalterable Law may be discovered by the eye of Truth. Names, religions,
personalities pass away, but the Law of Love remains. To become possessed
of a knowledge of this Law, to enter into conscious harmony with it, is to
become immortal, invincible, indestructible.
It is because of the effort of the soul to realize this Law that men come
again and again to live, to suffer, and to die; and when realized,
suffering ceases, personality is dispersed, and the fleshly life and death
are destroyed, for consciousness becomes one with the Eternal.
The Law is absolutely impersonal, and its highest manifested expression is
that of Service. When the purified heart has realized Truth it is then
called upon to make the last, the greatest and holiest sacrifice, the
sacrifice of the well-earned enjoyment of Truth. It is by virtue of this
sacrifice that the divinely-emancipated soul comes to dwell among men,
clothed with a body of flesh, content to dwell among the lowliest and
least, and to be esteemed the servant of all mankind. That sublime humility
which is manifested by the world's saviors is the seal of Godhead, and he
who has annihilated the personality, and has become a living, visible
manifestation of the impersonal, eternal, boundless Spirit of Love, is
alone singled out as worthy to receive the unstinted worship of posterity.
He only who succeeds in humbling himself with that divine humility which is
not only the extinction of self, but is also the pouring out upon all the
spirit of unselfish love, is exalted above measure, and given spiritual
dominion in the hearts of mankind.
All the great spiritual teachers have denied themselves personal luxuries,
comforts, and rewards, have abjured temporal power, and have lived and
taught the limitless and impersonal Truth. Compare their lives and
teachings, and you will find the same simplicity, the same self-sacrifice,
the same humility, love, and peace both lived and preached by them. They
taught the same eternal Principles, the realization of which destroys all
evil. Those who have been hailed and worshiped as the saviors of mankind
are manifestations of the Great impersonal Law, and being such, were free
from passion and prejudice, and having no opinions, and no special letter
of doctrine to preach and defend, they never sought to convert and to
proselytize. Living in the highest Goodness, the supreme Perfection, their
sole object was to uplift mankind by manifesting that Goodness in thought,
word, and deed. They stand between man the personal and God the impersonal,
and serve as exemplary types for the salvation of self-enslaved mankind.
Men who are immersed in self, and who cannot comprehend the Goodness that
is absolutely impersonal, deny divinity to all saviors except their own,
and thus introduce personal hatred and doctrinal controversy, and, while
defending their own particular views with passion, look upon each other as
being heathens or infidels, and so render null and void, as far as their
lives are concerned, the unselfish beauty and holy grandeur of the lives
and teachings of their own Masters. Truth cannot be limited; it can never
be the special prerogative of any man, school, or nation, and when
personality steps in, Truth is lost.
The glory alike of the saint, the sage, and the savior is this,--that he
has realized the most profound lowliness, the most sublime unselfishness;
having given up all, even his own personality, all his works are holy and
enduring, for they are freed from every taint of self. He gives, yet never
thinks of receiving; he works without regretting the past or anticipating
the future, and never looks for reward.
When the farmer has tilled and dressed his land and put in the seed, he
knows that he has done all that he can possibly do, and that now he must
trust to the elements, and wait patiently for the course of time to bring
about the harvest, and that no amount of expectancy on his part will affect
the result. Even so, he who has realized Truth goes forth as a sower of the
seeds of goodness, purity, love and peace, without expectancy, and never
looking for results, knowing that there is the Great Over-ruling Law which
brings about its own harvest in due time, and which is alike the source of
preservation and destruction.
Men, not understanding the divine simplicity of a profoundly unselfish
heart, look upon their particular savior as the manifestation of a special
miracle, as being something entirely apart and distinct from the nature of
things, and as being, in his ethical excellence, eternally unapproachable
by the whole of mankind. This attitude of unbelief (for such it is) in the
divine perfectibility of man, paralyzes effort, and binds the souls of men
as with strong ropes to sin and suffering. Jesus "grew in wisdom" and was
"perfected by suffering." What Jesus was, he became such; what Buddha was,
he became such; and every holy man became such by unremitting perseverance
in self-sacrifice. Once recognize this, once realize that by watchful
effort and hopeful perseverance you can rise above your lower nature, and
great and glorious will be the vistas of attainment that will open out
before you. Buddha vowed that he would not relax his efforts until he
arrived at the state of perfection, and he accomplished his purpose.
What the saints, sages, and saviors have accomplished, you likewise may
accomplish if you will only tread the way which they trod and pointed out,
the way of self-sacrifice, of self-denying service.
Truth is very simple. It says, "Give up self," "Come unto Me" (away from
all that defiles) "and I will give you rest." All the mountains of
commentary that have been piled upon it cannot hide it from the heart that
is earnestly seeking for Righteousness. It does not require learning; it
can be known in spite of learning. Disguised under many forms by erring
self-seeking man, the beautiful simplicity and clear transparency of Truth
remains unaltered and undimmed, and the unselfish heart enters into and
partakes of its shining radiance. Not by weaving complex theories, not by
building up speculative philosophies is Truth realized; but by weaving the
web of inward purity, by building up the Temple of a stainless life is
He who enters upon this holy way begins by restraining his passions. This
is virtue, and is the beginning of saintship, and saintship is the
beginning of holiness. The entirely worldly man gratifies all his desires,
and practices no more restraint than the law of the land in which he lives
demands; the virtuous man restrains his passions; the saint attacks the
enemy of Truth in its stronghold within his own heart, and restrains all
selfish and impure thoughts; while the holy man is he who is free from
passion and all impure thought, and to whom goodness and purity have become
as natural as scent and color are to the flower. The holy man is divinely
wise; he alone knows Truth in its fullness, and has entered into abiding
rest and peace. For him evil has ceased; it has disappeared in the
universal light of the All-Good. Holiness is the badge of wisdom. Said
Krishna to the Prince Arjuna--
"Humbleness, truthfulness, and harmlessness,
Patience and honor, reverence for the wise,
Purity, constancy, control of self,
Contempt of sense-delights, self-sacrifice,
Perception of the certitude of ill
In birth, death, age, disease, suffering and sin;
An ever tranquil heart in fortunes good
And fortunes evil, ...
... Endeavors resolute
To reach perception of the utmost soul,
And grace to understand what gain it were
So to attain--this is true wisdom, Prince!
And what is otherwise is ignorance!"
Whoever fights ceaselessly against his own selfishness, and strives to
supplant it with all-embracing love, is a saint, whether he live in a
cottage or in the midst of riches and influence; or whether he preaches or
To the worldling, who is beginning to aspire towards higher things, the
saint, such as a sweet St. Francis of Assisi, or a conquering St. Anthony,
is a glorious and inspiring spectacle; to the saint, an equally enrapturing
sight is that of the sage, sitting serene and holy, the conqueror of sin
and sorrow, no more tormented by regret and remorse, and whom even
temptation can never reach; and yet even the sage is drawn on by a still
more glorious vision, that of the savior actively manifesting his knowledge
in selfless works, and rendering his divinity more potent for good by
sinking himself in the throbbing, sorrowing, aspiring heart of mankind.
And this only is true service--to forget oneself in love towards all, to
lose oneself in working for the whole. O thou vain and foolish man, who
thinkest that thy many works can save thee; who, chained to all error,
talkest loudly of thyself, thy work, and thy many sacrifices, and
magnifiest thine own importance; know this, that though thy fame fill the
whole earth, all thy work shall come to dust, and thou thyself be reckoned
lower than the least in the Kingdom of Truth!
Only the work that is impersonal can live; the works of self are both
powerless and perishable. Where duties, howsoever humble, are done without
self-interest, and with joyful sacrifice, there is true service and
enduring work. Where deeds, however brilliant and apparently successful,
are done from love of self, there is ignorance of the Law of Service, and
the work perishes.
It is given to the world to learn one great and divine lesson, the lesson
of absolute unselfishness. The saints, sages, and saviors of all time are
they who have submitted themselves to this task, and have learned and lived
it. All the Scriptures of the world are framed to teach this one lesson;
all the great teachers reiterate it. It is too simple for the world which,
scorning it, stumbles along in the complex ways of selfishness.
A pure heart is the end of all religion and the beginning of divinity. To
search for this Righteousness is to walk the Way of Truth and Peace, and he
who enters this Way will soon perceive that Immortality which is
independent of birth and death, and will realize that in the Divine economy
of the universe the humblest effort is not lost.
The divinity of a Krishna, a Gautama, or a Jesus is the crowning glory of
self-abnegation, the end of the soul's pilgrimage in matter and mortality,
and the world will not have finished its long journey until every soul has
become as these, and has entered into the blissful realization of its own
Great glory crowns the heights of hope by arduous struggle won;
Bright honor rounds the hoary head that mighty works hath done;
Fair riches come to him who strives in ways of golden gain.
And fame enshrines his name who works with genius-glowing brain;
But greater glory waits for him who, in the bloodless strife
'Gainst self and wrong, adopts, in love, the sacrificial life;
And brighter honor rounds the brow of him who, 'mid the scorns
Of blind idolaters of self, accepts the crown of thorns;
And fairer purer riches come to him who greatly strives
To walk in ways of love and truth to sweeten human lives;
And he who serveth well mankind exchanges fleeting fame
For Light eternal, Joy and Peace, and robes of heavenly flame.
THE REALIZATION OF PERFECT PEACE
In the external universe there is ceaseless turmoil, change, and unrest; at
the heart of all things there is undisturbed repose; in this deep silence
dwelleth the Eternal.
Man partakes of this duality, and both the surface change and disquietude,
and the deep-seated eternal abode of Peace, are contained within him.
As there are silent depths in the ocean which the fiercest storm cannot
reach, so there are silent, holy depths in the heart of man which the
storms of sin and sorrow can never disturb. To reach this silence and to
live consciously in it is peace.
Discord is rife in the outward world, but unbroken harmony holds sway at
the heart of the universe. The human soul, torn by discordant passion and
grief, reaches blindly toward the harmony of the sinless state, and to
reach this state and to live consciously in it is peace.
Hatred severs human lives, fosters persecution, and hurls nations into
ruthless war, yet men, though they do not understand why, retain some
measure of faith in the overshadowing of a Perfect Love; and to reach this
Love and to live consciously in it is peace.
And this inward peace, this silence, this harmony, this Love, is the
Kingdom of Heaven, which is so difficult to reach because few are willing
to give up themselves and to become as little children.
"Heaven's gate is very narrow and minute,
It cannot be perceived by foolish men
Blinded by vain illusions of the world;
E'en the clear-sighted who discern the way,
And seek to enter, find the portal barred,
And hard to be unlocked. Its massive bolts
Are pride and passion, avarice and lust."
Men cry peace! peace! where there is no peace, but on the contrary,
discord, disquietude and strife. Apart from that Wisdom which is
inseparable from self-renunciation, there can be no real and abiding peace.
The peace which results from social comfort, passing gratification, or
worldly victory is transitory in its nature, and is burnt up in the heat of
fiery trial. Only the Peace of Heaven endures through all trial, and only
the selfless heart can know the Peace of Heaven.
Holiness alone is undying peace. Self-control leads to it, and the
ever-increasing Light of Wisdom guides the pilgrim on his way. It is
partaken of in a measure as soon as the path of virtue is entered upon, but
it is only realized in its fullness when self disappears in the
consummation of a stainless life.
"This is peace,
To conquer love of self and lust of life,
To tear deep-rooted passion from the heart
To still the inward strife."
If, O reader! you would realize the Light that never fades, the Joy that
never ends, and the tranquillity that cannot be disturbed; if you would
leave behind for ever your sins, your sorrows, your anxieties and
perplexities; if, I say, you would partake of this salvation, this
supremely glorious Life, then conquer yourself. Bring every thought, every
impulse, every desire into perfect obedience to the divine power resident
within you. There is no other way to peace but this, and if you refuse to
walk it, your much praying and your strict adherence to ritual will be
fruitless and unavailing, and neither gods nor angels can help you. Only to
him that overcometh is given the white stone of the regenerate life, on
which is written the New and Ineffable Name.
Come away, for awhile, from external things, from the pleasures of the
senses, from the arguments of the intellect, from the noise and the
excitements of the world, and withdraw yourself into the inmost chamber of
your heart, and there, free from the sacrilegious intrusion of all selfish
desires, you will find a deep silence, a holy calm, a blissful repose, and
if you will rest awhile in that holy place, and will meditate there, the
faultless eye of Truth will open within you, and you will see things as
they really are. This holy place within you is your real and eternal self;
it is the divine within you; and only when you identify yourself with it
can you be said to be "clothed and in your right mind." It is the abode of
peace, the temple of wisdom, the dwelling-place of immortality. Apart from
this inward resting-place, this Mount of Vision, there can be no true
peace, no knowledge of the Divine, and if you can remain there for one
minute, one hour, or one day, it is possible for you to remain there
always. All your sins and sorrows, your fears and anxieties are your own,
and you can cling to them or you can give them up. Of your own accord you
cling to your unrest; of your own accord you can come to abiding peace. No
one else can give up sin for you; you must give it up yourself. The
greatest teacher can do no more than walk the way of Truth for himself, and
point it out to you; you yourself must walk it for yourself. You can obtain
freedom and peace alone by your own efforts, by yielding up that which
binds the soul, and which is destructive of peace.
The angels of divine peace and joy are always at hand, and if you do not
see them, and hear them, and dwell with them, it is because you shut
yourself out from them, and prefer the company of the spirits of evil
within you. You are what you will to be, what you wish to be, what you
prefer to be. You can commence to purify yourself, and by so doing can
arrive at peace, or you can refuse to purify yourself, and so remain with
Step aside, then; come out of the fret and the fever of life; away from the
scorching heat of self, and enter the inward resting-place where the
cooling airs of peace will calm, renew, and restore you.
Come out of the storms of sin and anguish. Why be troubled and
tempest-tossed when the haven of Peace of God is yours!
Give up all self-seeking; give up self, and lo! the Peace of God is yours!
Subdue the animal within you; conquer every selfish uprising, every
discordant voice; transmute the base metals of your selfish nature into the
unalloyed gold of Love, and you shall realize the Life of Perfect Peace.
Thus subduing, thus conquering, thus transmuting, you will, O reader! while
living in the flesh, cross the dark waters of mortality, and will reach
that Shore upon which the storms of sorrow never beat, and where sin and
suffering and dark uncertainty cannot come. Standing upon that Shore, holy,
compassionate, awakened, and self-possessed and glad with unending
gladness, you will realize that
"Never the Spirit was born, the Spirit will cease to be never;
Never was time it was not, end and beginning are dreams;
Birthless and deathless and changeless remaineth the Spirit for ever;
Death hath not touched it at all, dead though the house of it seems."
You will then know the meaning of Sin, of Sorrow, of Suffering, and that
the end thereof is Wisdom; will know the cause and the issue of existence.
And with this realization you will enter into rest, for this is the bliss
of immortality, this the unchangeable gladness, this the untrammeled
knowledge, undefiled Wisdom, and undying Love; this, and this only, is the
realization of Perfect Peace.
O thou who wouldst teach men of Truth!
Hast thou passed through the desert of doubt?
Art thou purged by the fires of sorrow? hath ruth
The fiends of opinion cast out
Of thy human heart? Is thy soul so fair
That no false thought can ever harbor there?
O thou who wouldst teach men of Love!
Hast thou passed through the place of despair?
Hast thou wept through the dark night of grief?
does it move
(Now freed from its sorrow and care)
Thy human heart to pitying gentleness,
Looking on wrong, and hate, and ceaseless stress?
O thou who wouldst teach men of Peace!
Hast thou crossed the wide ocean of strife?
Hast thou found on the Shores of the Silence,
Release from all the wild unrest of life?
From thy human heart hath all striving gone,
Leaving but Truth, and Love, and Peace alone?
Happy Tweets begin January 2013!
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