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A Form of Tapas-Yoga
A crime against one is
A crime against The One
Within the great Law these messengers are at work, for there is naught outside the Law. But it is for those who serve the Light to render impotent the servants of the darkness. And just as the darkness seeks to spread its balefulness throughout the world, and to enthrone might over right, tyranny over freedom, so must those who are servants of the Light know no distinction of frontier nor of faith nor of peoples, must help to hurl might and tyranny from their ruthless dominance and re-establish right and freedom in their strength.
There are some who would know something of a Tapas-Yoga by the performance of
which the Light may shine more and more, and the darkness shrink away. These
notes are compiled for them, with the grave warning that only those who are pure
in heart, humble in mind and selfless in action, can hope to serve the Light
faithfully and without danger to themselves. The Light is no respecter of
persons. It [Page 3] shines upon all alike, and those who
seek to become its channels must know that it must needs burn their weaknesses
as it will burn all weakness everywhere, and as it will burn strength no less -
to the purification of both. Let them then first enter upon the Way of their own
Purification, that the Fire of Light consume them not, but flow through them to
burn away the weeds of wrong that the flowers of right may have space to grow
and cover the earth.
George S. Arundale
1939 [Page 4]
A CALL FOR PURE WILL
WE need in the world men and women of pure Will who will become on a very small scale a Guardian Wall against tyranny, oppression, persecution, violence, and the war spirit everywhere.
So to become is a form of Tapas, which is to say a form of purification through the Fire of the Divine Spirit in each of us. Such men and women must have to some extent achieved a purity, a directness, an impersonality, a calmness, of Will which shall enable them to receive or draw into its clear flames all those impurities of life which tyranny, oppression, persecution, violence and the war spirit everywhere in fact constitute.
To form part of such a Guardian Wall which protects the world, and especially the weak, against these impurities, is one of the great acts of Yoga. But so fraught is it with danger to him who performs it that it may be undertaken only by the few, and even by them only after careful preparation and self-purification.
It must of necessity be attempted only by those in whom there dwells the spirit of impersonality, [Page 5] of goodwill for all without one single exception, of careful and constant self-control, of deep understanding as to the spiritual, the inner, the true reasons for all that is going on in the world today, of perfect trust in the universality of the Law of Love and of the Law of Justice, yet who realize themselves to form part of these Laws - to be among their humble agents and incarnations in the world.
A Yoga of Will
Those men and women of pure Will who attempt the arduous task of performing this high and difficult Yoga must become receptive to all that is going on in all parts of the world, and plan periodical meditations, acts of Yoga, not only to stem the tide of wrong, but no less to strengthen the tide of right. They must be in a constant state of instant reaction to the world’s major events both in the darkness and in the light. But the work must be done in a condition of uttermost peace, reverence and unfrontiered understanding.
Of Love and Justice
They must know without doubt that Love and Justice rule everywhere, and they must honour that knowledge even in the face of the appearances that distress us so much in the outer world. They must be able so to live and so to act that while they realize the universality of the Love and Justice of God, they know they are part of that Love and Justice, and must act accordingly, act in the name of Love against hatred, in the name of Justice against tyranny.[Page 6]
Preparation for this Tapas-Yoga:
Those who desire to attempt to help to bear the stress and strain of the world’s heavy burdens must pay every attention to the strengthening of the various bodies which will be occupied in bearing the load. Thus only will these bodies be constantly fit in health and keenness for the service they are privileged to be called upon to perform.
The Dedication of the Physical Body
The forces of the physical body must be preserved intact and not dissipated upon any self-indulgencies. It must, of course, be kept scrupulously clean, both as to the body itself, especially the hands and feet, and as to the clothes it wears. Pure food, a regular and well-balanced vegetarian diet, varied to suit individual needs, good exercise, restful sleep, are vital. The night life of theatres, clubs and other amusements is most injurious to all real living. Smoking, and the taking of alcohol save under medical advice, render this Tapas-Yoga not only fruitless but destructive of its very purpose. The body must be trained to gracefulness, dignity, unhurried movements and constant poise. It must be so harmonized that while in emergencies it can with ease do extra work, normally it must blend so perfectly with its fellow-vehicles as to need little if any attention. To be able to ignore a body is a sign of its healthiness.
It must be remembered that the physical body is the outermost channel through which the power for good flows into the outer world. It must therefore [Page 7] be treated as such. No more sacred is any temple than the bodies of man, or indeed those of any other creature.
We go to Church. We worship in Temple and Mosque. Yet each body is a living Church, a living Temple, a living Mosque. Do we treat them as such?
The Dedication of Feelings and Emotions
The forces of what we call the astral body, the vehicle of the feelings, emotions and aspirations, must similarly be preserved intact, and the sacred body be guarded against any self-indulgencies. The forces appropriate to this body must be trained ever to flow upwards, never under any circumstances downwards. And it must be nourished on the purest feelings and emotions. Constant watchfulness is required lest forces which in the past have flowed downwards, as may then have been right, continue so to flow. The creative power of sex may only be invoked in its appointed sacramental setting, as an act of deeply reverent ecstasy reminding us that, even as we are, we are Gods. Even the slightest indulgence may often be, usually is, the beginning of a stream which in time will become an overwhelming and disintegrating avalanche.
The Dedication of the Mind
The forces of the mind must be directed to the search for the Real, for Truth, not, as some mistakenly say, for the sake of Truth, but for the sake of that powerful, wise and beautiful Service which Truth alone can give. The Light of Truth alone prevails [Page 8] over the darkness of ignorance. And although Truth is ever elusive - for as soon as we think we have grasped it, we find that it escapes from our hold - yet in the very seeking and temporary holding of it we are discovering Truth, since Truth is everywhere.
The mind must not with us be the slayer of the Real. It must be the discoverer of the Real, and then the servant of the Real.
Each Vehicle for Service
Each vehicle is for that service which is the truest self-discovery and self-realization. And the world would be more advanced on its pathway of civilization were some of its greatest men and women intent upon service rather than upon power, upon duty rather than upon prestige. Until life is supremely dedicated to Ahimsa, harmlessness, there must ever be confusion and unhappiness; and out of these arise war, hatred and all other impurities.
The Vehicle of Law
Perhaps it will be possible for some to give active heed to that which is called the Intuition. It is through this body that pours the wonderful force which perceives the eternal Law in every form. Through this vehicle we are able to perceive Truth in its vehicle of Law, just as through the lower body of the mind we should be able to perceive Truth as concept-form, whether concrete or abstract, through the body of the feelings and emotions Truth in the form of desire, and through the physical body Truth in the form of very matter itself. [Page 9]
Intent on Truth
For the strengthening of the intuition the nature of the individual must be unruffled and unrufflable in mind, in feelings, in physical body, intent on Truth, without attachment to any of its forms, yet perceiving Truth in all forms. The vehicle of the intuition is directly connected with Life as Law, as the lower vehicles are concerned with Life as Form, for even the abstract mind is concerned with those forms which are the bridge between Life and Form.
Readiness for this Yoga:
What are the indications?
First, a steady stream of positive goodwill towards all, especially in the face of, in the midst of, criticism, ill-will, abuse, misunderstanding. Definitely, the members of this band of servants of the Will must be able to turn the other cheek if they are smitten on one cheek, not in a spirit of self-righteous resignation, but in a spirit of recognizing that Justice is the law of Life, and that in one way or in another the criticism, ill-will, abuse, misunderstanding, apparently justified or not, must result in good.
Never is non-violence in the face of violence, be the latter physical, emotional or of the mind, without its effectiveness, even though force may sometimes have to be met with force. Those who would perform this mode of Tapas-Yoga are non-violent in [Page 10] thought, in feeling and emotion, in word and in deed - always so far as their own immediate personal interests are concerned, and always, too, in all those things which are outside their immediate personal interests, yet within their larger personal interests as all life should be. And there must ever be the spirit of non-violence, even though strong action, strong words, strong feelings and emotions, strong thoughts, may be expedient for the protection of others and for strengthening Right against wrong.
Goodwill to All
Each servant of the Will is recommended to make a careful survey of himself especially in relation to others, so that he may be sure that he really has this positive goodwill towards all without exception. Thus purified, he will be able calmly, in all serenity, to roam throughout the world, strong unshakable, free from indignation and bitterness, free from all spirit of denunciation and of all sense of superiority, self-righteousness.
His aura will be pure and steadily rhythmic, gracious in its colours, with a strong, calm outward sweep. And it will always be attuned to that mighty aura of the Hierarchy which has the whole life of the world in its holy keeping.
He will thus have a sense of inner calm, of inner certainty, of inner power, of inner at-one-ment with [Page 11] the Will of the Ruler of the world and His Ministers - all of which he will for the most part express in Silence, in meditation, impersonalizing himself into pure channelship, always with dignity and with self-restraint, even though there may from time to time be occasion to fight, as Arjuna fought on the battlefield of Kurukshetra under the guidance of Sri Krishna. He will always hold two-thirds of himself in reserve.
Thus equipped he will be ready for this form of Tapas-Yoga, provided his various bodies are in a condition of health, of strength, of harmony.
Creative Power alive with the Real
I have already declared that the God-given creative power of a servant of the Will must ever be sent outwards to vitalize the Real. He must neither keep it for himself nor use it for himself. Within the married life, let me repeat, there must not only be restraint, reverent restraint on the part of the man, but each sexual act must be a sacred sacrament, performed before the very Altar of God. Outside the married life this creative power must energize the Good, the Beautiful, the True, as best he can see these. Outside the married life he must live in the power of the true celibate who marries himself to the whole world that he may bring forth the world’s upliftment.
Reverence, Goodwill, Compassion
Inside and outside the married life, towards different ends, the creative power is alive with tremendous [Page 12] reverence, with tremendous goodwill, with tremendous compassion. As these three off-spring of creativeness grow in sturdiness and good deeds, so will he know that his Divinity is awakening into Self-consciousness.
So will the outermost frontiers of his consciousness be fit for the expression of Tapas-Yoga. Without this, the physical body is likely to break under the strain which such Yoga imposes upon every vehicle without exception.
His feelings and emotions must be in special measure fraught with reverence, goodwill, and compassion. No surging waves of hatred or horror, nor any desires for vengeance, nor demands that wrath shall overtake the transgressor - none of these may mar the power and purity of his emotional nature. He must be utterly calm, and all the more penetrating in the force of his feelings and emotions, for that very calm which rises up into the heights and extends downwards into great depths. He may use strong words. He may perform strong actions. His thoughts may be vibrant with piercing definiteness. But he will be calm, and thereby bestow upon each feeling and emotion, upon each thought, a solemn and unchallengeable irresistibility.
The pure Will he invokes for service will be good will towards oppressor no less than to oppressed, no less towards the wrong-doer than to the victim of the wrong. [Page 13]
His mind is crystal clear with intentness upon the Mind of the great Hierarchy, so that it seeks to reflect the Will of the Ruler of the world, and not the hesitant expediencies of man. His mind becomes exalted, lifted up into the world-mind which is the thought of God. So does his mind become sharpened unto that piercing definiteness of which I have already spoken. The Masters, our Elders in that great Hierarchy, must be able to see into the depths of his feelings and emotions, so crystal clear are they, thus being able safely to vitalize them with the mighty movements which belong to this field of consciousness. The Masters must be able to see into the depths of his mind, so crystal clear it is, thus being able safely to vitalize it with the power of the mighty Plan of God which it is intended to reflect.
The Bodies Renewed
So must the physical body be renewed for Their use, and so does it become ready for this Tapas-Yoga of Transmutation. So must the body of the feelings and emotions be renewed for Their use, and so does it become ready for this Tapas-Yoga of Transmutation. So must the body of the mind be renewed for Their use, and so does it become ready for this Tapas-Yoga of Transmutation.
Attuned to Love, Law, Justice, Light
His intuitional body must similarly be dedicated by attuning it to the ever-functioning, the universally-functioning. Love and Law and Justice of both God [Page 14] and Man, as Man really is in his Being, though not always, apparently, in his Becoming.
And if there be any functioning consciousness in his Nirvanic body of Light, he must become that Light, having no longer to seek it, or to find it, or to follow it. Such is for him Nirvana.
Let each would-be servant of the Will bestir himself in all active dedication to these great steps of preparation. He must devote some time each day to them, not by straining towards them, but by quietly and peacefully entering into them and becoming one with them. He may find it helpful to pursue his dedication in some open space of undefiled nature, where the rhythm and harmony of its growth are in no way distressed by the intervention of man. Or he may find the necessary stimulation in Temple, or Church or Mosque, or in some other sacred place. Or he may find it sufficient to commune within himself, anywhere, at any time, in any surroundings. Or music may help him, or chanting, or the wind, or the songs of the birds and the humming of insects, or the warm friendliness of Mother Earth, or the stern messenger rays from our Lord the Sun.
Testing of Progress
But he must take all this preparation with the utmost seriousness and sense of offering, with no reservation or holding back. And he must be able from time to time to note progress, to discover that [Page 15] his Self is steadily, even if slowly, gaining control over his self. It will be for him to judge as to how he is getting on, in all impersonality, in no spirit of fear nor in any spirit of favour, to judge whether he is yet fit to run to risk which descends upon all who perform that Tapas which is the science of changing evil into harmlessness and good into power.
The Way of Vigil
And as he thus proceeds upon the Way of Vigil, he must guard with all care against ever wanting anything for himself. Not a single desire for his own benefit must find form in words, for only as he forgets himself can he learn how to remember the world. So many of us expect attention, expect favours, expect to be given work to do, expect appreciation, expect recognition, expect understanding. A true member of this Band of Servants of the Will expects nothing, asks for nothing, is content to lift up his eyes unto the hills whence, as well he knows, will come all the help he can ever need, for it is the help of God Himself, and of the Gods.
He will have left far behind him all jealousies, all depressions, all sense of injustice, all sense of wrong. These indeed work havoc with Tapas, and destroy it utterly, as does all expectation from others whoever they may be, however near, however dear.
Are these foundations of this Tapas-Yoga well and truly laid? If so, let there be action. But if not, let him beware lest they crumble into pieces and bury him beneath them for centuries.[Page 16]
The Tapas of Transmutation:
What is the action?
In the purity and power thus evoked from their Divine sources, to open the doors of his Being to darkness that it may trouble less the world, or that at least it may decrease its harmfulness, increase its harmlessness; and to open the doors of Being to the Light from within that it may stream forth and give light to the unfolding world.
Each must know he is ready
But let not the impurity without encounter impurity within, or it will strengthen the inner impurity, wreck the individual himself, and intensify the very evil which is sought to be dissolved.
Thus is it essential that no one shall be content with hoping he is ready, with thinking that at least he may try to do his best, with the pseudo-heroism that he will make the attempt - let him be broken if he must. He must know he is ready. He must perceive that he is fortified against his weaknesses, that he is positively conquering them. They must be growing less, and some must have become transfigured.
Tapas is for the Hardy
The servants of the Will must be no weaklings. They must be soldiers, spiritual athletes. Tapas is for the hardy, the strong, the determined, the utterly dedicated. [Page 17]
Crucibles of Fire
But if the preparation be in truth achieved, then the wrongs in the world may be sought out, and into their midst the pure devotee of Will, the pure servant of Tapas, may come and stand and face them. Knowing he is their master - he is not ready if a single doubt confronts him - he opens to them his Being, his Godlike crucible, in which the Fires of his dedicated Soul flame upwards and consume all dross. Into his Fires pours the wrong, and in utter selfless-ness, in complete understanding, his pure Blessing intensifies the Fires to their mighty purposes and the wrong in the wrong becomes purified to its rectitude.
Messenger of His Elders
He stands in no opposition, in no spirit of denunciation, in no attitude of judgment. He looks upon those who seem to be the instruments of the wrong as he might gaze upon a glorious image which had become subjected to a terrible desecration. He reverences the image, but seeks to remove the pollution. He looks upon the person of the wrongdoing with all his impersonality, with all his calm, with all his reverence, goodwill and compassion, with all his understanding, with all that spirit of universality in which, through Yoga, he has been dipping his own individuality to its adjustment. But he looks upon him also with the eyes of Power, of Law, of Light, with eyes which have become the servants of inexorableness. He brooks naught which is athwart the Will of God. He stands as a messenger of the Elders, and leaves that very messengership to have its way, its say, its sway. [Page 18]
He, the Light, meets the Waves of Dark
Indeed, he has less concern with persons and infinitely more concern with the dark waves of wrong, of injustice, of persecution, of tyranny, of treachery, of might, which move over the surface of the lands and engulf the weak and the helpless, the poor and the suffering, and all that might grow happily into the Light of our Lord the Sun.
Such waves he meets. Towards them he advances. To them he opens out his Being in the strong Silence of his communion with the great Hierarchy of Those who draw Their Will, Their Wisdom and Their Glory from out the mighty Silences of Universal Being. These waves enter into him in their darkness. But in him is no darkness at all, neither shadow of turning. In him is but Light, the Light that flickers not, nor grows dim, but ever shines more and more brightly to the glory of our Lord of Light the Sun, until at last in the infinite distances of Becoming, Man himself becomes a Sun Light. He speaks no words. In him are neither feelings nor emotions, neither hopes nor fears. In him the mind is deeply calm and utterly unruffled by thought. He is but HE, a God hastening on the road of His Becoming, but hastening in the spirit of His likeness unto His Father, softening all the paraphernalia of growing, all the individuality and personality of growing, all the little notes of movement with their cadencies, with their little harmonies and fleeting discords, to the eternal Melody of Life as it sweeps through his life, and all other lives, in rich and stately cadencies, glittering in the Sun Light as it [Page 19] pours in music-falls from those Heavenly reservoirs of Divinity to which he has gained access through a searching Vigil of Preparation.
He seeks his Elders
But let me say also that one who would become in very truth a servant of the Will for this Tapas-Yoga must ever seek the company of those wiser than himself that he may guard against that inevitable weakness of the flesh, however willing may be the spirit. Let him not be alone, but perform his Tapas-Yoga invoking an Elder whom he trusts, humbly invoking a comradeship in the uplift of which he feels exalted, raising his eyes unto that Hierarchy in whose Blessing he has determined to live and move and have his being for ever.
He is harmless
If he would help to render all evil harmless, as indeed he can, he must himself be harmless, he must raise harmlessness in himself to the highest power he is able to reach. He must be greatly harmless in everything that pertains to each of his bodies.
Sensitive to wrong
If he would know what and where is wrong, as indeed he can, he must gain deep sensitiveness to wrong as it manifests itself first in himself, and also in all immediately around him. He must guard most carefully against living in that false paradise which gives the illusion that all is abundantly well with him. [Page 20] All is not perfectly well with any of us, and if we aspire to be servants of the Will through the performance of the Tapas-Yoga of Transmutation, we must first exercise ceaseless vigilance with regard to ourselves, sure that there is much about which to be constantly vigilant in our own lives.
And he must learn to be willing, even eager, that others should to his face criticise his faults without his falling into the dangerous mistake of immediately retorting with his idea of theirs. To be able to listen quietly without self-defence is a sign of growing fitness for this Tapas-Yoga.
He utilizes Power-Centres
He should, when entering upon this Tapas, take every advantage of any favouring conditions which may surround him. If he be living at or near a great centre of power, he utilizes its purifying strength to fortify him. There are many centres of power in almost every part of the world-centres of power associated with Temples, Churches, Mosques, meeting places which are used for activities of spiritual uplift, places where great personages have lived or are living, headquarters for noble philanthropic activities, places where the sea is especially noble in nature, where great mountains soar to the heavens in their glorification of God, where an almost tangible peace pervades the landscape, where towering trees or scintillating glades tell in their different ways of the majesty of nature, where the good have lived humbly to man but greatly to God. [Page 21]
The Peaks without invoke the Peaks within
A sunrise, a sunset, a cascade of music, the awesomeness of a storm, the peace of a forest, the delicacy of a glade, the example of a hero, the inspiration of a saint, the exhilaration of a genius - all these and many other peaks in the great range of the universal consciousness are favourable settings for the purifying of his Tapas, even though the spirit of each and all of them can be evoked from within without external aid, since all that is highest without dwells verily within.
The All becomes known in the One
Serenity, Harmlessness, Graciousness, Reverence, Understanding, Protection, Calm, Deliberateness, Silence, are among the qualifications for this mode of Tapas, and in particular the power to draw together the individual and the universal, so that the All may become known in the one, and the One in the All.
He stands as a Crucifix
A servant of the Will must be willing to perform his Tapas-Yoga anywhere to any purpose that may appear especially expedient. He must, therefore, have no prejudices, be in no way attached to any particular country, even though he may have special love for an individual land. He must have that adaptability which comes from the growing universalization of his consciousness and life, so that he may with ease enter into the spirit of every country, and while reverencing its heights have deep understanding of its shortcomings and weaknesses. He [Page 22] must be able to go to any country or contact any faith and rejoice in its towering heights, while at the same time being aware of its man-evolved deficiencies. He must be able to take his stand in any country or in any faith and cause its splendours to gain deeper richness as the darknesses enter into him FOR ADJUSTMENT. He has no need to single out either the strength or the weakness. Both will come to him as he stands in their midst. The strength will issue from the Fires fortified, ennobled. The weakness will find transmutation in the Fires flaming from his crucible.
He will stand in a Silence which spreads far and wide, penetrating the whole land with a lifting of all the concrete sounds of growth into the regions of their abstract and archetypal counterparts, of their essence and real purposes. He will stand in a Power which knows no fear nor prejudice, but spreads far and wide in ennobling impersonality, lifting each earthly less into its heavenly more. He will stand as a Crucifix, with feet strongly together, arms outstretched, head erect, and eyes bringing the majestic distances of the Eternal into the very present itself. Upon this Crucifix will very darkness itself be outstretched to the glorification of the Light it too must serve, will very wrong be crucified to harmlessness to its eventual turning towards the Light.
A Messenger to Nature
It is interesting to note that the wrongdoing within the human kingdom has its very definite repercussions upon the sub-human kingdoms, for I notice [Page 23] in certain countries that the whole of the vegetable kingdom - the trees, the flowers, the shrubs - are enveloped in a cloud of depression which induces a very unfortunate lifelessness. It is the same, of course, with the mineral kingdom. The very earth itself, the plains, the rivers, the hills, the mountains, wilt under the evil of the wrong being done to man by men. It is the same, too, with the animal kingdom. Its denizens are hindered in their growth, as man is hindered in his. It becomes clear at once that wrong committed in one part of the Universal Consciousness spreads over the whole of the Consciousness and slows it down, weakens its forward movement, its spiritual vitality. It becomes abundantly clear that life is one, and indivisible, even though it may have a number of constituent and relatively independent elements. We shall have to learn that we cannot mind our own business without learning how to mind all business, for there is not any business in any part of the world which is not ultimately our business too.
This mode of Tapas-Yoga is indeed a recognition of the fact that our business is universal, only we must know well how to take care of it - ever in understanding.
So is it that each servant of the Will must seek not only to render harmless the wrong at work in the human kingdom, he must no less seek to free the sub-human kingdoms from the dark clouds in which this wrong has wrapped them. He must be a messenger to men, but he must also be a messenger to the earth, to the hills, to the mountains, to the [Page 24] trees, the flowers, the shrubs, the animals, indeed to all living creatures, for wrong anywhere means wrong everywhere. Civilization, growth, halts as wrongdoing stalks abroad.
Instruments of Love and Justice
Let each servant of the Will constantly remember that he is an instrument of the Love of God and of His Justice. Not to determine the nature of His Love, moulding it, confining it, in his image of it, nor to determine the nature of God’s Justice, moulding it and directing in it terms of his measurement of it. But to cause God’s Love and Justice to pour through him as he stands strong in Tapas, not knowing, perhaps, what it is that surges through him, nor whither it is directing its power, but resting in the Lord and trusting simply in Him.
The Discovery of the Self
Someday, perhaps, when each of us knows himself more truly than he does at present, we shall be able to dwell in the very hearts of ourselves and therefrom perform the Tapas-Yoga appropriate to the uniquenesses of each of us. Then shall we know our respective form-Rays, our respective colour-Rays, our respective sound-Rays, and the octaves of each. And we shall know, too, where is the centre of each of our vehicles of consciousness.
Unravel the threads of past wrongs
And if we are conscious, as indeed we must be conscious, of wrongdoing, of causing, of having caused [Page 25] suffering and distress, of having used our faculties to triumph over others and to abase them, then we shall be busy, at whatever cost, about the undoing of it all, about the unravelling of the threads which we have woven into ugly patterns. We shall be severe with ourselves, we shall challenge ourselves, we shall be drastic with ourselves. Right and Justice are ever ready to triumph over wrong and injustice, and to change them from their darkness into their Light.
The Woe of Redemption is yours
There is no wrong in our lives which we cannot set right. There is no suffering which we have caused, no distress, no injury, no callous victory, which we cannot retrieve, for if once there be the constant will to retrieve, retrieve we must, for we shall be setting in motion a wheel of righteousness which will roll on and on until we triumph in the redress we make. And the time will come when we shall even cherish our wrongs, for we shall see that they help us to draw near indeed to all who themselves either commit wrong or who suffer under wrongs committed upon them. There is naught in life which has not its glorious goal, not even the evil, the wrong, the tyranny, the oppression, the pain and suffering. And while woe must come to those who inflict all these, it is the Woe of Redemption which has its climax in the splendid and noble ruggedness of a battle-worn soul. We need have no fear of our faults. Let us face them and mould them into a great pathway of Understanding and Service. [Page 26]
WE MUST BEAR IT!
HOW hard is this work of becoming a brick in the Guardian Wall of the Will may perhaps be gathered from the following account of one of my own activities as a humble servant of the Will. It is a record of a particular night’s work in Germany, written down after returning to my physical body at Adyar, and the phrase so constantly repeated was the phrase which I found myself speaking as I returned to the outer consciousness, which I found myself saying over and over again until I could fully control my physical plane consciousness: “Sometimes, oftentimes, I think I cannot bear it.”
I should like to point out that such work has to go on night after night without any intermission, but is of many different kinds. I have included the record in this book so that those who desire to become servants of the Will for the particular purposes indicated must be under no delusion as to its simplicity and lightness. It is very hard work, needing bodies as spiritually athletic as we can make them. It is work which often seems too hard, unbearable. It is work which would certainly move us to indignation, even to hatred, had we not a poise and an unfrontiered understanding which naught can shake. If we once move from our centres of perfect poise and allow [Page 27] ourselves to be swayed by that which beats upon us, we shall do far more harm than good and shall render ourselves useless for this kind of work.
Sometimes, oftentimes, I think I cannot bear it. For I go into the places of black desolation where cruelty reigns unchecked, where mercy is unknown, where the lust of savages seeks out its victims and covers them with fearful suffering and terrible dishonour.
Sometimes, oftentimes, I think I cannot bear it. For round about me, surging up to me in pathetic and pitiable clinging are those to whom naught is left but utter despair. Behold a friend! Is there, then, by chance, even the feeblest glimmer of hope?
Sometimes, oftentimes, I think I cannot bear it. Families, families, families - grandfathers and grandmothers, fathers and mothers, children, children, children, relatives, close friends, the joys of marriages about to be blessed, little ones about to be born, peace, prosperity, hard living, but thankfulness for the mercies of love and comradeship.
Into it all bursts gloatingly calculated savagery, and tragic ruin desolates into inconceivable agony. Unbearable agony? Sometimes, and then desperate suicide. Otherwise … it must be borne, and is.
Sometimes, oftentimes, I think I cannot bear it. I see all these things. They cannot be hidden from me. No muzzling of the press, no lying declarations, [Page 28] can conceal the truth from me, for I have the right, I have the duty, to know, and therefore to help as best I can.
In the radiance of my colour body and under the symbol of Him who is Lord of all I move among the black clouds of desolate despair. And the little children cling to me weeping for the love that is no longer theirs. Young men and women challenge me to justify my radiance, and to fulfil the Star. Young wives and young husbands hold up to me their newborn babes and passionately demand that I shall deliver them. The old look at me dumbly, dishevelled, eyes dimmed by the darkness within.
Sometimes, oftentimes, I think I cannot bear it. For the evil-doers laugh at me. They dare me to save their victims. They laugh and laugh and laugh.
Sometimes, oftentimes, I think I cannot bear it. All the horrors of the past - the horrors of the persecution of the Christians in ancient Rome, the “holy” inquisitions of the Middle Ages - all are reborn, the utter savagery of them all is reborn, in the power of the deeper iniquities which today are within the compass of man.
Sometimes, oftentimes, I think I cannot bear it. And so-called Christian countries throughout the world, and countries pretending to observe the precepts of mighty Members of the Company of Compassion, remain content to suffer those whom they have placed in authority over them, their rulers and [Page 29] governments, to remain silent, to take no action, to make no denunciation.
Sometimes, oftentimes, I think I cannot bear it. And while civilization is being feverishly, ruthlessly, in the crude manner of the ancient destroyers of the noble, and of the blood-befouled haters of the weak, broken into pieces, some nations there are which are afraid of being hurt, and connive at any expedient, honourable or dishonourable, to keep them safe!
Sometimes, oftentimes, I think I cannot bear it. These nations suffer their governments to maintain cordial relations with those who work iniquity, for they have no courage to denounce it and make war upon it. When wrong is condoned, is protected from attack, its armies are advancing upon the right and are attacking it. There is war, but these nations choose to turn their backs upon it and say it is not there.
Sometimes, oftentimes, I think I cannot bear it. There is war. There is degradation. There is dishonour. And out of these must come suffering. Where wrong is widespread, where the forces of barbarism are triumphing over the forces of civilization, where peace and brotherhood are in danger, there let there be the sternest denunciation at whatever cost, and let the spirit of war be solemnly invoked to halt the evil that threatens the whole world.
Some nations and their governments are counting and counting and counting the cost. And they go on [Page 30] counting while the cries of the helpless are sounding terribly in ears they would make deaf. They see their fellow-men, they see women and children, plunged in their thousands into ghastly misery. And they say they cannot afford to help them. It is too expensive. They must think of themselves first. So they go about seeking all manner of compromises, all kinds of adjustments. They rush hither and thither, and declare they are much pleased with the cordial relationships they have maintained or have perhaps established. They sign documents. And the forces of barbarism laugh and laugh and laugh. They laugh because these things make not one jot or tittle of difference to them. They laugh because they see the selfishness of statesmen and of nations which is ever being used to guard their peoples from discomfort, to preserve them from war, to keep them comfortable in the midst of others’ agony.
Sometimes, oftentimes, I think I cannot bear it. Where are the countries, where are the peoples, where are the statesmen and leaders, who prize honour and justice above safety, who have the courage to run risks for the sake of delivering the weak and oppressed, who are willing to stake their very existence upon an offering of their all in the cause of freedom?
The peoples are willing, but the statesmen are weak. They are afraid, and rush hither and thither in vain attempts to ensure a peace which they are ready to buy at almost any price. And while the world is waiting for action, for the vindication of [Page 31] honour and justice, for the guarding of civilization from its undermining by barbarians, for men, and women whose spirit is the spirit of greatness and courage and not the spirit of expediency and procrastination - while the world is waiting for these, cruelty goes on its way unchecked, mercy remains trodden underfoot, the lust of savages continues to have its fill, and thousands upon thousands of hapless victims are thrust down into bottomless hells.
Sometimes, oftentimes, I think I cannot bear it. But I must bear it, for they cannot. I must give them all I have to give, for all that they had, their very moral courage itself, has been torn away from them.
I must bear it, and I must seek out others who also will bear it.
What others are not doing we must strive to urge them to do. But whatever others may or may not be doing, we at least must do our duty even though, almost alone.
We cannot do more than this, and more than this is not expected from us.
God’s in His heaven, and if we will but strive to be gods on earth, all will yet be well.
Yes, I will bear it, and happily.
“Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto Me.” (Matthew 25, 40.) [Page 32]
A CALL TO THE SPIRITS IN PRISON
Theosophist, Dec, 1925.
HERE is another example of the work of a servant of the Will, a piece of work I had the privilege of undertaking so long ago as 1925 when first I entered into this service. There were not at that time the particular urgencies which now confront us. But urgency there always is of one kind or of another, and servants of the Will must be ready for all urgencies, for all emergencies, for a very wide range of service.
In this particular case the Will was employed to try to help out of their enslavement a number of those who, having served the forces of darkness, and having under the Law entered into the prisons of their own making, were at last, also under the Law, ready for release if they could hear the voice of a messenger of the Light calling them to be free once more. Varied indeed is our work, but none of it beyond our capacity to perform if we will make the foundations of our service pure and impersonal, as I have described in the earlier portions of this book. And even if we cannot always remain at the heights which sometimes we find ourselves able to reach, we can at least lift up our eyes unto the hills we have [Page 33] ascended, resolve to ascend them once again, and again and again, until we dwell for ever in the summits.
Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord?
Or who shall stand in his holy place?
He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart;
who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity,
nor sworn deceitfully.
He shall receive the blessing from the Lord, and
righteousness from the God of his salvation.
At this great moment, as you see how light must ever penetrate and triumph over darkness, as you see a Son of the Light once more an inevitable victor over fleeting shadows, I exhort you, out of the love you have watched me use against you, out of the power of the King which is its irresistible form, to cast away your darkness and enter into the Light - your true home, wanderers from it though you have been for long ages. I speak to you, as well you know, in the name of the Lord of Light and Life and Glory, Whose consecrated Messenger I am, Whose Star I wear in sign of my authority.
Know, my brothers, that on your present road you cannot ultimately prevail, for it leads but backwards till once again you find the Road of Light. At the utmost you can but retard, and as time passes even this power wanes. Look back upon your pathway and you cannot but observe how little by little the struggle moves to your ever-increasing disadvantage. Be not blind and foolish. Cease to deceive [Page 34] yourselves, for the longer you continue to walk in the shadows of your own creation, the ruder the awakening into the Light. Look with me down the vistas of the past. Observe with me your so-called victories. Do you see them now? What are even the best of them, those in which I see you take most pride, but short-lived, not one single one of them preventing our Lords of Love and Wisdom and Compassion from drawing nearer and nearer to them the children of the Fire, to which race, my brothers, you too belong though you would deny your origin.
In terms of time you may here and there have won a fleeting retardation, at a price to yourselves far beyond the length of retardation you have achieved, but look again at these “victories” of yours, the mightiest of your onslaughts, look with me as I am permitted to allow you to do; has any one of them - look, my brothers, look - even for a moment ruffled the deep calm waters of Eternity as they pursue their way in Divine relentlessness upon their appointed course? Ah! Yes. You now see of what nature is your futility. Know, then, it is not too late to change.
Cease, brothers, to be the slaves we know you to be, though you think yourselves kings in your self-created delusion. You cannot make an Eternity out of the time-shadows of your own creation. You cannot stay time, be your power what it may, for time is the servant of Eternity, and moves but in accordance with the Eternal Laws, to which you give such unwilling allegiance, fulfilling as imagine you are breaking. Eternity is outside your [Page 35] grasp, but you are within its all-embracing dominion. Look within yourselves. Is not Eternity the heart even of your being? How seek you to fashion out of it its own negation!
My hands are outstretched to you, my brothers, clasp them and let me draw you close to me out of your darkness, brother-children of the Fire, brother-sparks from out the mighty Mother-Flame. You are not water that you can either quench the sparks in others or extinguish them - the essence of your being - in yourselves. As we are, so are you. In you is the radiance you see me embody. Become what you are. Two thousand years ago you killed the body taken as a habitation by the Lord of Love. What have you profited, blind servants of a Shade? Has not that very death become the call to Life Eternal to millions of your fellow-children of the Fire? The almighty power of Love fashions channels for its outpouring even from the very forces hatred - its dark shadow - hurls against it; for hatred is no more than a distortion of that all-pervading Love which ever knows how to straighten these distortions of its being. Resistless is the stream of the Love of God, and it shall sweep you back into itself, for you are of Love, my brothers, and must of your natures share in, yea, contribute to, its irresistible power and unstaying growth. Open your eyes as I touch them with the wand of vision. Perceive now the goal before you, towards which your footsteps must ever be directed, though you walk as drunken men walk home.
My brothers, I have no glory in my triumph, save a glory which I would have you share. I triumph for [Page 36] your good, in your service, as much as for the causes am appointed to guard. Somewhere, somehow, as perceive, though you may perceive it not, you are rejoicing because I am winning you from your thraldom. Somewhere I see you know that I am not your enemy, but your friend and brother, steadfast comrade on the path of Life and Light. Take these outstretched hands. We will walk together, brothers, and I will lead you, as is permitted to me, to the blessed Feet of the All-Compassionate, Who rejoiceth more over one sheep that has strayed from His fold, yet returns to it at nightfall, than over those that have safely remained within its protection. You are His sheep, He is your Shepherd - the Shepherd ever mindful of His flock, Who watcheth by night and by day in equal tenderness over all. I see you shrink. Have no fear that you cannot, dare not, face your Shepherd. Are you not His? And does He not know His own? I say to you that over your dark cold nakedness He will cast the sheltering mantle of His infinite Understanding, and you shall know a peace and a rest that have not been years for ages. Do homage, my brothers, to your own inner eternal light, and it shall shine upon your true pathway. Together let us break your fetters, so that you may be free to climb again, with me, your battle-friend, by your side.
Hark, my brothers, to the clashing discords of your being; are they not beginning slowly to die away into the distance? Are not the musics of your essential harmonies slowly but surely re-awakening in unfoldment to an inevitable triumph of achievement? [Page 37] Today shall the suns of your natures rise again to dispel your darkness. Already you feel the warmth of their glow. Already you perceive the early rays of their radiant light, the soft, young renewal of the eternal certainty of a majestic and glorious future.
Look not back into the night. Look forward into the Light, and all shall be well. Pain and suffering must be yours, for through you it has come to others. But I shall be with you to remind you that every agony the Law demands from you is a release towards the Light, and in the reapings of the terrible lonelinesses you have caused to others, in the reapings of the misery, sorrow, despair, which you have sown in others, yet shall you hear faintly sounded the note of an eventual peace, so be it that now you allow to enter into your hearts that ray of our Blessed Lord’s. Compassion which, in His Great Name, I, a Ruler in His Church, send forth towards you, bidding you give it a dwelling place in your sad, cold hearts. A brother knocks lovingly at your doors, shall all within be still and silent? I say to you, my brothers, come from your death into His Life. Come forth from your imprisonment into His Freedom. The blessing of the Great Brotherhood of the Light be upon you, weary wayfarers who have lost your way, that you may die out of falsehood into truth, that you may enter upon that karma of suffering which shall transmute the force of your hatred into a mighty power of love. There shall be no agony without the courage to bear it. Come forth then, my brothers. Come with me to Him Who waits for you with the longing [Page 38] tenderness of the Father for loved children, who for a time have gone forth from their true home into an outer darkness, but without whose return into the house of their Father His happiness must remain incomplete. Come, my brothers, come!
The spirit of persecution finds its abode where it may, but once it finds a dwelling place anywhere, the whole world is in danger of becoming its home.
Woe, therefore, to those who harbour it, for they are crucifying the whole world. [Page 39]
THE WORLD IS AT WAR FOR ITS SOUL
“FOR what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own
(Matthew 16, 26.)
Today the world is once again at war for its soul. So was it from 1914 to 1918, and though its soul was made safe, the safety seems to have been only for a time, for today there are those in the world who seek to gain the world, but who do not seem to know that the world they expect to gain can be but the body, the form, the outer husk. Their gaining of the world would be at the cost of the world’s soul and of their own souls no less.
The mighty Guardians of the world will not permit this. They will not allow the world to be gained at the expense of its soul. But the cost of the refusal and the pain of it depend largely upon those who are the world’s most civilized denizens - who dwell in the higher reaches of humanity.
If such as these hesitate, are afraid, allow their own interests, the interests of their countries, the interests of their faiths, to weigh more heavily in the balances than the interests of the world as a whole, then the cost of the refusal must needs rise, and the pain of it must needs be intensified. [Page 40]
On the one hand there are those who seek to gain the whole world for their selfish and narrow interests, and whose weapons of seizure are hatred, ruthlessness, persecution, the callous indifference to honour and justice, the contempt for mercy.
On the other hand there are those who sincerely abhor such barbarism, but who are unequal to cope with forces which deem all means justified to attain the end in view, and who hesitate to involve their nations in the horrors of war in order to preserve to the world its soul.
Such good people who fearsomely hesitate, who seek to placate rather than to denounce, and who are prepared to buy peace at almost any price, are almost as much a menace to the world as those who deliberately and openly seek to enslave it.
The world is at war. There are the forces of darkness which have no weakness or shame to declare their cause and to fight for it at all costs. There are the forces which seek some kind of compromise between darkness and light, willing that light shall compromise with her nature so that darkness may exalt hers. And there are the forces of the light, which know no compromise, which have no weakness or shame to declare their cause and to fight for it at all costs, knowing that great is the Light and it shall prevail, and knowing that no cost is too great in the service of the Light.
To which army do you belong? The answer is little in doubt.
Only a very small proportion of the world’s humanity is consciously fighting against the world’s soul, [Page 41] seeking to tear the world away from its soul. A very small proportion, but a proportion which cannot be ignored because it is highly organized and knows well how to use every artifice of might to crush Right underfoot.
A certain proportion of the world’s humanity is helpless in the toils of those who constitute this band of enemies of the world. But the vast majority of the world’s humanity does indeed belong to the army of the Light, its value and effectiveness largely depending upon the leadership it enjoys. In the world today there are few leaders. In the high places, in office and in power are those of small vision, of small political stature, timid, hesitant, ever afraid to run a risk for the sake of seizing an opportunity. So is it that the army of darkness, actually small in numbers, triumphs on every front, for as it advances, the leaders on the other side recede; as it insists, the leaders on the other side concede.
Abyssinia? Let the people of Abyssinia pay the price of the peace we want.
The Jews? Let them pay the price of the peace we want.
China? Let her pay the price of the peace we need.
What kind of peace is it that is thus purchased? Can we get a peace, can we enjoy a peace, can we retain a peace, which is bought with the martyrdom of the weak and helpless, with the blood of their injuries and with the terrible grief of their desolations? How dare we say: Peace in our time, O Lord! [Page 42]
Shall not this martyrdom, this blood, this grief, cry out for vengeance not only against those who directly caused it, but against us who lifted not a finger against it, only here and there a cry, for fear lest we become afflicted as these unfortunates in their hundreds of thousands are being afflicted every day?
Charity, it is said, begins at home. It is also said that it does not end there. Let it be further said that charity which stays at home and issues not abroad will soon wither and decay.
There is but one world. The world has but one soul. There is but one charity which, while issuing forth from the heart and encompassing the whole body, stops not there nor at the frontiers of any land or of any faith, but surges ever onwards and outwards until it reaches the rainbow’s end: and then … ?
Uncharitableness erects customs frontiers and at least demands dues in conformity or in conversion, if in no other forms. Charitableness knows no distinction of frontiers, not by denying them, but by accepting them, and in accepting asks no conformity or conversion, but remains content to give.
Charity has demanded from us that we shall go forth to save the afflicted, the weak and the grief-stricken, for thus only shall we save life - the one Life, ours and that of all that lives.
“For whosoever will save his life shall
lose it; but whosoever shall lose his
life for My sake and the Gospel’s, the
same shall save it.”
(Mark 8, 35) [Page 43]
We are very carefully saving our lives, yet if the Christ was crucified to save the world, can there not be some form of crucifixion for us to save the Abyssinians, the Jews, the Chinese?
I say that the Christ spirit is abroad in these days of darkness, seeking where it may abide in strength and holy purpose.
The Christ spirit has come down to earth in answer to the cry of those throughout the world who have become afflicted by the cruelties of man.
The Christ Himself is abroad, for “Lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.” (Matthew 28, 10.) Where is He? Where else could He be save where His children are afflicted, are desolate, are in despair. And as He comforts them, He looks upon the world and says: “Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.” (Matthew 10, 34.)
Who is taking up the sword? He needs today the soldier. He needs those who will take up their cross and follow after Him into the fight for love and justice.
Each country in the world is blessed by greatness and by the great ones who have embodied it for all to behold. Never more than now has that greatness been needed. Never more than now has the world needed the great.
Never more than now has the whole world needed to pool its greatness that the peoples of the world may arise therein to purge the world of its darkness lest it lose its soul. [Page 44]
And the greatness it needs is the greatness which made each nation chivalrous, noble, pure in sacrifice, strong in justice, rich in culture.
If such greatness be embodied by citizens in every and, then will the Saviours of the world lead them to victory.
In Europe let there be a Federation of northern lands. Let there be a Federation of the West. Let there be a Federation of the South. Let there be a Federation of the East. Let the United States of America help the world to save her soul, and let India the Mother of the Aryan world, regain the freedom of her own soul in helping the whole world to fight for the world soul.
Let every country put on the mantle of its greatness. Let each gird about itself the sword of service. Let each assume the crown of its righteousness. Let there be a world dedication to Universal Brotherhood. Then will the war of the world for its soul have been won.
Hurl yourself into the breach,
Send forth your being
Pulsating deeply, in intent irresistibly
To the very frontiers of your endeavour. [Page 45]
THE WILL OF THE SILENCE
THERE are times when to the servant of the Will the darkness becomes so oppressive, so apparently impenetrable, that no Light, no Colour, no Form, no Sound, seems able to affect it. It seems as if even the standing forth, as I have described it, achieves no result, for the darkness has put on its steely armour of absolute separateness, and points outwards its sharp sword of destruction. The Light stands against the darkness, and it would seem as if there could be victory to neither side, that both the darkness and the Light must have their sway in all the worlds.
At such times, however, the servant of the Will has one mighty power in reserve - that very Silence which is the Progenitor of Sound, supreme King of all, whose Voice is omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent. Retiring within his innermost Being, the calm and selfless servant of the Will may invoke this Father-Mother of manifested Life that it may work its irresistible Will. No servant of darkness dare invoke this Silence, this essence of the Life, the Light and the Glory of Being.
In utter silence invoking that Silence, all shall be done in accordance with the perfect Law, not as the servant of the Will may deem righteous, not to a victory such as he may will, not to such confounding [Page 46] of darkness as he may see to be the working of the Law, but as shall be the very Will of God Himself.
In uttermost surrender, in deepest joy, in perfect submission, in an ecstasy of transfiguration, the servant of the Will becomes one with the Will of the Silence, be it that the Will suffers the very darkness to move still unmolested on its way, be it that the very Light itself is suffered to recede before the darkness glorying in its triumph.
When the darkness is at its darkest and this Tapas of the Silence is performed, a mighty peace enfolds the servant of the Will who performs it, and he is transcendent whether he conquers or suffers the defeat that seems beyond redemption.
His trust is perfect. His co-operation with the ultimate Will he has invoked is flawless. He ascends into Heaven, if it so be willed, in happy radiance. Into Hell he descends no less gloriously. For it is the Silence that lifts him into Heaven, it is the Silence that sends him down into a Hell. The Lord hath lifted up. The Lord hath cast down. Blessed be the name of the Lord.
Tapas is Sovereignty of Adjustment