by Bhagavan Das (Published in 1920)
1. THE EVOLUTION THEORY AS HELD IN THE WEST TODAY
[Page 1] As a single tree with its endlessly diverse parts, root and trunk and branch and leaf, core and layer and fibre and bark, grows up out of a single simple-looking seed, and grows up by successive small steps; even so has everything in the world which can be at all looked upon as a system, a unified aggregate, an organism, a diversity dominated by a unity, grown up by infinitesimal successive steps out of a nebulous plasm by continual differentiation and integration. Such is the evolution theory, which has been gradually coming more and more to the front amongst thinkers since the middle of the nineteenth century , and which has transformed science and literature in the modern West as completely as a turn of the kaleidoscope transforms the arrangement of the [Page 2] colored pieces of glass and produces an entirely new figure. Star-systems, solar systems, planets; the mineral, the vegetable, the animal and the human kingdoms existing on one of these planets, i.e., our earth; the individual organisms composing these kingdoms, the individual mind of the animal and the human, and finally, the groupings of men in societies, and in the domestic, ecclesiastical, political, professional, industrial and other institutions which constitute the organs of the social whole — are all seen to have gradually and slowly developed out of small beginnings.
Extremely valuable work has been done along these lines, most admirable collections of facts made, luminous inductions generalized out of them, the law of analogy justified more and more, and the growth of all and each seen to be as the growth of one.
2. ITS INCOMPLETENESS
But obviously something more — perhaps the most important thing — remains to be done. What is the good of building up the finest palace if no one can be found to live in it ? The material coefficient has been prepared with much labor; the spiritual coefficient has to be joined to it. To know that the growth of all is as the growth of one is not enough. It is only the beginning, the preparation, the [Page 3] pioneer work, the strong and indispensable foundation, if we would have it so, for the further and complete knowing that all lives are the One Life, then for the feeling of that common life running through all, and finally for the deliberate living of such a common life; the realization in thought has to be followed up by the realization in emotion and then in conduct, of the solidarity, first of the human race, and then of all living beings whatsoever; and as it is rapidly becoming clear that all matter is living, that there is no dead matter, “all living beings” will soon be seen to mean the whole universe.
3. THE SUPPLEMENT REQUIRED
For this auspicious completion of the labour, a further step has to be taken. As the textbooks of science stand today, revised in the light of this great theory, they are descriptions of the how of things, they are not explanations of the why of the process; they set forth the effects, they do not really touch causes. The why is the purpose, the end and aim, the final cause, as rightly named by Plato; and the how is the subservient means. The one is Spiritual; the other Material. Evolution, professing to explain everything else, does not explain itself. That which explains evolution, why it takes place, is the Owner of the palace and the gardens, Who indeed has planned and built and evolved and developed them [Page 4] and spread them out for His own satisfaction, without Whom they are empty and desolate indeed.
When the further step is taken by the workers in the field of evolutionary research, of extending the Law of Analogy, which they now confine mostly to the growth of organisms (at least so far as the larger organic wholes are concerned), to the birth, decay and death, and the rebirth or reproduction of these also; and when we carefully study the why of the world-process as a whole, then will the spiritual counterpart of the material appearance be found.
Only when the embryo has attained a certain minimum maturity of form within the womb, does viability descend upon it. Only when the body, the material sheathing of the human being, has arrived at a certain stage of development, does self-consciousness appear in him. Only when he has arrived at a certain further stage can the “All-Self-Consciousness” manifest within and inspire him. In Theosophical language, as the lower becomes more and more fit, so does the higher enter more and more fully into it, and abide in it; having influenced it towards maturity from above, from a distance, so to say, until the entrance, even as the master guides the construction of the house from without, until it is ready for his occupation. Even so, only when the collection of the facts showing evolutionary growth is completed by further facts of this and also of the subtler worlds, relating to decay and death and [Page 5] rebirth, individual as well as racial, then only can the true metaphysic descend into it and fulfil its purpose.
4. NEED FOR CRITICISM
As the recognition of one's deficiencies is the primary condition of the search for the remedy, and divine discontent (vairãgya) is the only means of finding the Divine, we might usefully dwell on those of the current evolution theory.
The old Creation theory, in India called the Ârambhavãda, made only one large assumption, of omnipresence, omnipotence and omniscience, which could create everything out of nothing at one stroke. The new Evolution theory (which, with completions, is called the Parinãma-vãda in Samskrt literature) makes endless small assumptions at every step. What the former did at one infinite stroke, this does by infinitesimal changes, differentiations and integrations, formations and dissolutions, variations and selections. The marvel is as great, the unintelligibility no less, to the thinker who does not permit himself to mistake mere familiarity for intelligibility, mere slowing down for complete rest, the infinitesimal for anything less than the infinite. The need for final explanations becomes, if possible, deeper than ever. Formerly it was the pastime of God, or His benevolence and compassion, the wish to share His joy with other conscious beings, [Page 6] or to have His glory seen and sung by such. Now, for the time being, even this has been lost, and no other clearer purpose has risen in its place; and the Force behind each step of the evolution is called the Unknowable.
Of course, even as in the house that is being built, the builders, directly or indirectly but inevitably, feel the guidance of the owner, even so the investigators of evolution, the collectors of facts, the makers of lesser generalizations, cannot help sensing the Something which is behind and around all evolution and involution and perpetual re-volution; but they do so somewhat dimly, and often even ignore the feeling, as not of any obvious use to the work immediately in hand. This naturally leads to errors of omission and commission, of interpreting facts wrongly, of emphasizing the smaller, unimportant and subordinate ones, and minimizing the greater and more vital; even as ignorance of the needs and purposes of the owner leads builders to leave things undone or make excrescences in the house. And the errors are not insignificant and negligible. They have vital consequences. A wrong outlook upon life may make it all barren, pessimistic, quarrelsome, fevered, desperate, instead of joyful, loving and fruitful. An apparently small defect of sanitation, ventilation or drainage, may mean the difference between disease and health, life and death, to the occupant of the house. [Page 7]
5. SPENCER'S UNFRUITFUL RECOGNITION OF THE SPIRITUALPRINCIPLE AS THE UNKNOWABLE
Herbert Spencer, whose collection of facts is the most comprehensive amongst the Western workers, and who, therefore, was the readiest to receive the fulfilling inspiration of the Spirit, postulates the Unknowable, at the very outset of his encyclopaedic system of Synthetic Philosophy, in answer to the Final Why, in place of the Eternal Reason (of the Joy of Self-assertion and Other-denial) which will explain all. And in so far as he recognises and declares the Presence of this Unknowable Absolute behind and through all the phenomena of the Relative, he rises to his duty as a true scientist and philosopher. But because his collection of facts is incomplete, because he could not seriously take into account the facts of the superphysical worlds, because he had not before him the complete history of any complete cycle, from birth, through growth and reproduction and decay, to death, of any sun-system or planet or race or sub-race, because he could not venture to push the Law of Analogy far enough, therefore his recognition of the Unknowable, the Absolute, the Anirvachanîya or Indescribable, as the Vedãntin names It, remains vague, cloudy, meaningless and devoid of living use. He just mentions it, once for all, so to say, and does not revert to it again, whereas he should do so constantly, throughout the [Page 8] story of the Relative, if not to make the latter really intelligible (for a mere Unknowable could scarcely do that), yet at least to prevent the reader from forgetting that there was something left for further research.
6. HOW THAT PRINCIPLE UNDERLIES ALLEVOLUTIONARY AND OTHER PROCESSES
As it is, hasty readers, and not merely hasty readers but more industrious delvers in the field of evolutionary investigation, have sometimes, in the first flush of the finding of this great idea, rushed to the conclusion that they had come to the bottom of the Universe, finally and completely abolished all the old superstitions, and explained everything. They have gone the way of the astronomer who declared with a sensational flourish: “I have swept the heavens with my telescope and found no God” — a statement perfectly true, by the way, for God indeed is not to be found by looking outwards, with a telescope, at the surface of the visible heavens, but by looking inwards, with concentrated and attentive mind, into the depths of one's own being, which is then seen to be identical with All Being. God was verily hiding within the wielder of the telescope and smiling while the hands were sweeping the heavens with the instrument. So a physiologist spoke of the brain secreting thought as the liver secretes bile, and [Page 9] others accepted the teaching; till one, erstwhile a disciple and propagandist, happened to study the works of some idealists, and discovered that while the so-called producers, liver and brain, might have something in common, the so-called products, bile and thought, had very little similarity with each other; and that between objective phenomena and subjective phenomena, between so many thousands or millions of vibrations at one end of a nerve and a sound-sensation or a colour-sensation at the other end thereof, there was a gulf which could not be bridged by lightly declaring the former to be the cause of the latter. Later scientists have gone even further, and declared that physical phenomena have to be explained by and reduced into terms of the psychical, and not vice versa and thus have come to the point where the influx of spiritual metaphysic can take place, completing, re-arranging and making new for them the whole scheme of knowledge and feeling and conduct, even as a stream of rays of light, converging in a cone to the pin-hole in a pin-hole camera, reappears on the other side, reversed and re-arranged, without losing any valuable and useful fact that it possessed before. The scientific world is beginning to realise that while the testimony on which all its knowledge of realities is based, is the testimony of the five senses, these senses do not testify to their own reality; while they prove the existence of other things, their own existence they cannot prove. The [Page 10] eye sees all things; itself it does not see. The ear hears all sounds; itself it does not hear. Their existence is proved only by the Consciousness behind them. This Principle of Consciousness sees the eye and hears the ear. As the sense-organs cognize, so various emotion-organs feel, and action-organs act. But the Principle of Consciousness behind cognizes the senses, feels the emotion-organs and moves the muscles. It gives existence to, keeps going and at will puts to sleep everything and all things, even as the audience, by attending or otherwise, brings the playhouse into being, and keeps it going, or closes it.
7. HOW THE EVOLUTIONIST MUST COME TO IT AT LAST
This Principle the scientist has to come to, more and more closely. Shrî Harsha, the William James, in brilliance, of the India of a thousand years ago, and deeper-seeing than he in insight into causes, spoke of the Self-disbeliever as the defaulter who, having successfully dodged the tax-collectors all night through the devious lanes of the town, went to sleep in a dark porch towards the morning, and woke up in the broad daylight to find that his shelter was the threshold of the chief tax-assessor's office building, and that the collectors were smiling benignly upon him. [Page 11]
Even so the modern evolutionist, after having dodged more or less successfully the upholders of special creation, through the winding pathways of infinite and infinitely-changing environments, endless spontaneous variations and survivals of the fittest, and incessant differentiations and integrations and dissolutions and re-integrations — all perfectly true, finds at the end, when he is feeling most self-satisfied, that he has walked into the arms of an even more formidable, exacting and ruthless account-keeper; that he has only come to the conclusion that the infinite possibility of all possible forms is already present, from the beginningless beginning, in the primeval biophore, the atomic speck of life — this same Infinite Potentiality, plus all Actuality, being what the Vedãntin calls Brahman, which is, and wherein is, “All, everywhere and always”.
8. THE PRINCIPLE OF CONSCIOUSNESS IN DIFFERENT ASPECTS
Herbert Spencer himself seems to have felt uncomfortable, and asked himself how all the richness of later development in religion could arise from the primitive man's shadow, through ancestral ghost and gods, if the shadow was really all shadow, a pure falsehood. And he confesses (Principles of Sociology, Vol. Ill, p. 170) that there must be some element of truth in the primitive notions, and again, in the [Page 12] postscript to the last edition of his First Principles, he states that no views or theories of religion or metaphysic are either controverted or supported by his descriptions of facts, and that these views and theories have to be worked out for themselves by persons interested in such matters. He seems to have realized that if nothing can come out of nothing in affairs material, surely the same law should hold good in affairs psychical. The perception of the shadow and the conception of the ghost — are these, or are these not, the same ? If not — whence the difference ? The primitive notion of the ghost, and the systems of theology and religion of today are not identical; and if different, how has the difference been implanted ? Professor Lombroso's investigations in spiritualism, and his conversion to a belief in the actual existence of ghosts, will explain. Having, as he thought, disproved the original Fiat, the (a) Primal Will, and (b) Imagination, and (c) Active Being or Substance of God, the evolutionist, even otherwise than by psychical research, has to accept all these again, no doubt with a more specific meaning, under the names of (a) persistence of survival or instinct of self-preservation, and (b) spontaneity of variation in (c) an endless activity of struggle for self-maintenance and other-resistance amidst an infinity of possible and actual forms and environments. God, who was invisible and far-away, has appeared all around us, amongst us. [Page 13]
8 (a). IN BIOLOGY
The evolutionary biologist set out with the determination to abolish the very words vital force and reduce into terms of the non-vital forces — as if they were any better understood and were less mysterious — all the manifestations that were ascribed by common ignorance and superstition to that mysterious vital force. But after digging up whole mountains, he is still as far from discovering the particular mouse he wanted as ever before; though in the course of his labours he had incidentally made many other most valuable finds, like the sons of Aesop's peasant who, dying, told them to dig for hidden treasure in the ancestral field, and so ensured a deep and thorough upturning of the soil and a rich harvest. Verily the biologists' nucleus and protoplasm are the reflections of soul and body, Spirit and Matter, and the living cell's powers of reproduction and metabolism and contractile irritability are the same old discarded Will and wise Imagination and Active Being, in more specific form. God, who was distant, has come nearer, so near as to be immanent in every cell of the living temple. As the Vedãntin says, the mother, forgetting where she had put away her baby, went about distracted, crying for it all over the town; and ultimately returning home in despair, found it safely tucked away in her own bed. [Page 14]
8 (b). IN SOCIOLOGY
The growth from the priest-king-patriarch, of the sociologists' ecclesiastico-professional, politico-military, and domestico-industrial, or, more briefly, the educative, regulative and sustentative factors of society, and the intellectual, militant, and artist-craftsman, or brãhmana, kshattriya and vaishya types of individuals — can be accounted for satisfactorily only by the eternal presence in the Principle of Consciousness of the same constituent elements of Imagination, Active Self-assertion, and Wilful Expansion by means of substantial possessions.
8 (c). IN PHYSIOLOGY
So also, the physiologist's nervous, glandulovascular and muscular systems (with their repeated triple subdivisions), evolved, out of centrosome-chromatin-protoplasm or endoderm-hypoderm-ectoderm, can be really explained only by reference to the same psychological triplet of Imagination, etc., better called Cognition, Desire and Action, ever present (in mutual solution and neutralization) in that Absolute Consciousness which is made up of the Self, the Not-Self, and the Relation of Interplay, between them, of the nature of Denial of one another. [Page 15]
8 (d). IN CHEMISTRY
The chemist, too, having resolved the world of matter into atoms, valencies and composition-properties, in order really to understand what these mean, must translate them into terms of consciousness; the same old desiring and desirable Self as substance, Its activity as affinity, and Its wisdom or imagination as special sense-property, and these together as being the underlying significance of the chemical triplet.
8 (e). IN PHYSICS
So the physicist, having arrived with admirable industry at the general fact and conception of Force, manifesting in many forms with many material coefficients of these forms, finds that the thing Force is wholly unintelligible. He gives it different names, he calls it energy, power, resistance, push, pull, negative, positive, defines it in terms of weight and work and distance and measure and number — but cannot really bring it home to himself, until he sees it as Will, his own will, his own desire, with its branchings in negative passion and positive action, and its many transformations (Imaginations) in our psychical and physiological functionings, with the help of the various Substances, material coefficients, physical bases, vehicles, organs, receivers, foci, diffusers, which make up the living body we know so well yet so little. [Page 16]
8 (f). IN MATHEMATICS
Even the mathematician, that wielder of the most exact of sciences, must ultimately take refuge in the airy nothings of metaphysic, which, being airy, are, as the breath, far more incessantly necessary to our life than solids or liquids. Who ever saw the geometrician's point that had a position but no magnitude, or the line that was all length but no breadth, or the sphere whose center was really and truly equidistant from all points of the periphery ? These are all purely metaphysical conceptions. The only such point that we know and feel and realize is our self-consciousness, our Ego, which is here and now and yet cannot be measured, the only such line is our memory-expectation, that stretches continuously before and after, the only such sphere is our field of consciousness, our Kshetra, our rounded-out being, wherein everything and all experiences exist always, and each point of which is neither more nor less distant than any other from that central Self which is the Kshetrajña, the owner and the knower of that field, who moves over it from point to point, at will, in the shape of Attention. The geometrician's definitions stand for Desire, his axioms for Knowledge, his postulates for Action; and out of these three the whole of his science is built. Even the arithmetician's one, his many, his zero — are all entirely unfixable in the concrete, for none [Page 17] ever saw a one that had not many parts, and none ever held a zero in his hands. These are all fixable only as metaphysical conceptions, corresponding to the same Triad of consciousness, the one Subject, the manifold Object, and the relation of Negation between them, viz., the unconsciousness of sleep, in which the manifold merges into Nothing.
Thus do we see that all paths of enquiry, if only resolutely pursued, bring us to the selfsame goal — that metaphysical conceptions form the very foundations of every science, and that when the house of matter is ready, the Spirit unfailingly comes in to occupy it, the Spirit, the Master of the house, who knows all its ins and outs, all its many departments, co-ordinates and utilizes them all; though the mason, the carpenter, the brick-maker, the glazier, the plumber, the electrician, the painter — each knows about his own and no other.
But another illustration, an historical one, of this fact is that when material science had made sufficient progress, there was an inrush of spiritualism in the lower sense of ghost-phenomena as well as the higher sense of spiritual philosophy, Theosophy and metaphysic. The same facts of the life of matter out of which Herbert Spencer built up his system of synthetic philosophy, with many gaps that require filling, and many generalizations that are one-sided and require revision, and with the why of everything unexplained—these same facts are evolved by [Page 18] Madame H. P. Blavatsky in her works, written during the same epoch as Spencer's, from spiritual data, the basic principles of the Supreme Consciousness, in a manner which supplements to our satisfaction the results of the evolutionists, fills up their gaps, revises and rectifies their generalizations, explains anomalies, and helps us on towards the reason why for all this toil and turmoil.
9. THE SCIENCE OF THIS PRINCIPLE OFCONSCIOUSNESS OF THE ABSOLUTE For as there is a Science of the Relative, so is there a Science of the Absolute, the so-called Unknowable, the Principle of Consciousness. This latter science is discernible as ramifying through, and indeed constituting, the very science-ness and rationality in the former. It is metaphysic subjectively and mathematics objectively. The element of uniform, law and order, and balancing up, and cyclic periodicity, in the midst of unruly multitudinousness, is the subject-matter of this science. In continually equilibrating up the Relative within Itself, the Absolute manifests as the Omnipotent Will which upholds as well as circumscribes Omniscient Imagination and Omnipresent Action, while It Itself finds possibility of manifestation only through them, in turn. This Universal Consciousness imposes by Force, by Might, by Energy, by Eternal Shakti, [Page 19] the law of unity, of uniformity, of the Axioms, upon the riot and disorder of the infinite material of the Definitions and the endless movement of the Postulates; and, in the first proposition of Euclid, creates, by the intersection of the two circles of Purusha and Prakrti, the equilateral and equiangular Jîvã, with three equally important functions of mind and three equally indispensable components of body. It imposes, by the wisdom of the Rule of Three, the law of just ratio and proportion on the ir-ratio-nal multiplications and divisions of the countless numbers of the world-process.
10. THE LINK BETWEEN THE SCIENCESOF THE RELATIVE AND THE ABSOLUTE
To bridge over the gap between the modern evolution theory and the old Brahma-vidyã and Âtma-vidyã, or metaphysic and psychology, we have to consult the History of the World-Process, as given in the Purãnas and in Madame Blavatsky's The Secret Doctrine, for corrections and additions to such modern collections of facts as are contained in Spencer's monumental writings. These corrections and additions may be briefly noted as below:
(a) While Spencer recognizes and mentions the fact of Dissolution, as the complementary reaction of Evolution, he does not bring out its full significance. It was pointed out by others, in his lifetime, that his [Page 20] statement of the instability of the homogeneous required to be supplemented by a statement of the instability of the heterogeneous. He replied that he had made the needed statement in the form that the heterogeneous tended to become more heterogeneous. But this only means that the element of homogeneity still left in the product after a course of hetero-genition, breaks up further. It is not that complement and converse or opposite which is wanted, viz., that as the homogeneous tends to become the heterogenous, so, per contra, the heterogeneous tends to become homogeneous. There are opposing currents in the stream of the World-process, because it is made up of the opposite Factors of Spirit and Matter. This fact, of dust back unto dust, through living body, Spencer has not clearly brought out. He seems to have stopped at the half-truth — of dust to living body, and did not fully realize the other half— living body to dust again — in all its fullness, as applying to all systems of planets and suns and stars, as well as organisms of microscopic bacilli. Theosophical literature has endeavored to supply this lack, taking wide views of astrogeny and geogeny, which Spencer could not deal with, either in their physical or their superphysical aspects.
(6) The second fact which the Puranãs and The Secret Doctrine supply is that of Reproduction on all scales. The three main events in the life of every [Page 21] organism are birth, marriage and death. The evolutionists have dealt with birth and growth principally; not with decay and death to the same extent, as said above; nor with marriage and reproduction as fully, though these constitute the third outstanding feature of life. The tendency to multiply by reproducing themselves is as inherent in all beings as to be born and to die. Even as a tree is born from a tree, an animal from an animal, a man from a man, even so is a god born from a god, a kingdom from a kingdom, a race from a race, an idea from an idea, an epoch from an epoch, a cycle from a cycle, an aeon from an aeon, a planet from a planet, a sun from a sun, a star-system from a star-system, an atom from an atom, a cell from a cell, a sound from a sound, a visible picture from a visible form, and so on endlessly. Infinity surges everywhere.
By the recognition of these two further facts, in their full significance, the work of the evolutionists is completed, so far as description is concerned, and the course of the world-process is seen to run in an endless cyclical spiral.
(c) The last addition which ancient metaphysic endeavors to make to modern evolutionary science, in terms suited to current needs, is the addition of the Why and Wherefore, the Purpose and Meaning of evolution, reproduction and dissolution, the inner explanation and reason of the appearance which we call the world-process. It explains why (and also, in [Page 22] a re-arranged form, how) all this endless and ceaseless change and motion appears within Eternal Changelessness and Rest; and makes the bewildering multitude of physical and super-physical details intelligible as a synthetic and perfectly co-ordinate unity, wherein there is an appropriate place for every department of science, and every variety of religion, and all possible beliefs and ideas. It tells us of the passionless Absolute which is the Source of the Psychic Energy without the belief in which no religion can exist, and which is also the locus of that Material Substance without the belief in which science is impossible. It also shows us that belief in personal gods of higher and higher grades is in perfect consistency with, nay, required by, strict science. It helps us to realize that this Absolute is that very Principle of Consciousness with which all individual consciousnesses are identical. It brings home to us the fact that every atom contains the whole world at the same time that it is contained in that world; that everything is everywhere and always, because it is all of the very substance of consciousness, in eternal simultaneity, while manifestation is in and by succession — as the biologist has also discovered when he says that the primeval biophore contains, in the shape of an infinite number of id-s, the seeds or potencies of all forms of all species that develop subsequently in the course of ages. Finally, it enables us to reconcile all possible differences by a judicious combination of both the [Page 22] opposite extremes that may be in seemingly hopeless conflict, by means of the great fact that the two ultimate archetypes of opposites, Self and not-Self, are present in eternal and inseparable combination in that selfsame Principle of Consciousness.
11. UNIVERSAL CONSCIOUSNESSAND ITS TWO ASPECTS, PHYSICAL AND PSYCHICAL
This Principle of Consciousness, Universal Consciousness, pervades all, supports and maintains all, makes possible all memory and mutual understanding and sympathy and help between living individuals, and indeed all recognition by them of each other as individual consciousnesses, which would otherwise be wholly impossible; wills the perpetual to-and-fro swing of life and death, integration and dissolution, inspiration and expiration, under laws which are parts of Its Being, Its Nature, Its Sva-bhãva; imagines the endless forms which illustrate that swing in atom and star-system; makes and breaks souls and bodies, jîvas and koshas, cores and crusts; is ever present in, and always, and in a see-saw fashion, assimilating and also differentiating, both subjects and objects, knowers and known, desirers and desired; leaving nothing inanimate, but only permitting illusive appearances of more animate and less so. It is the Principle which bridges the chasm between the psychical and the physical, for it holds together both in Its hands, [Page 24] imagines and creates both by Its will. Because It identifies Itself with a form and a colour by Its own will and imagination, therefore It becomes an eye which can see forms and colours; because It identifies itself with a sound, It becomes an ear and can hear sounds. There is no chasm between vibrations and sensation, between physical and psychical, because both are present at both ends of the nerve. The vibrations are the vibrations of a living substance, the sensation is a sensation in substantialised or materialised Spirit. Because the Self has identified Itself, by Its will and imagination, with a material body, and not only with one but with all, in its universal aspect; therefore living bodies, pieces of matter in which the psychical aspect is more prominent, can cognise other bodies in which the material aspect is more prominent. Only by regarding all forms as en-soul-ed and all souls as in-form-ed, or em-bodi-ed, though in some the one aspect and in others the other is predominant, may we fill up this chasm.
12. INDIVIDUAL CONSCIOUSNESS AS PRODUCT OF COGNITIONAND ACTION RUNNING IN AND OUT OF EACH OTHER
Even as the electric spark is the result of the two kinds of electricity, positive and negative, running into each other after separation, even so life, individualized life, is the running into each other of the [Page 25] forces or aspects belonging to the two halves of the principle of Consciousness, Brahman, the two poles named Spirit and Matter, Self and not-Self. The force belonging to the negative pole, or not-Self, may be said to correspond with kãma-prãna, the lower personal passion and its allied selfish intelligence; the other with Buddhi, the higher and impersonal passion or compassion and unselfish reason. The running together of the two makes the light of manifest life, or mentality. Thus we have the Self, or Âtma, and Buddhi, or compassionate wisdom and higher or self-sacrificing desire, on the one hand; and the Not-Self, or Body and Prãna, or passionate vitality and lower or selfish desire on the other; and between them the Manas. And even as the longer-circuited and the more complexly twisted the incandescent wire, the richer the light; even so the more complex the organization of the material sheath and the more numerous its concatenated hormones and mutually stimulating secretions and excretions, the richer the manifestation, in individual intelligence, of the Principle of Consciousness.
Thus then, we may see that it is this Principle which brings about the superimposition — adhyãsa — of each other's qualities illusively, on subject and object, and so, bridging over the gulf of opposition between them by the very act of creating them both from within Itself, brings them into relation with each other, and maintains the perpetual motion [Page 26] of this infinite world-process. It pervades all; within. It all live and move and have their being: It cannot be upheld by anything else than Itself.
But we have to remember that it is not the individual consciousness that has this supreme power of sustaining and regulating the world-process. The dissatisfaction felt with such otherwise excellent expositions of Idealism as that of Berkeley is due to this impression left by them that the individual consciousness is the all in all (though that was not Berkeley's intention). It is the Universal Consciousness, or if we like it better, the Universal Principle of Consciousness — for it covers all those manifestations also which are popularly called even unconsciousness, or subconsciousness or supra-consciousness, waking, dreaming, slumbering, etc. — which is that sustainer of the Universe, and which includes all individual consciousnesses as identical with Itself, as so many infinite points, foci, of Its manifestation.
13. THE NEXT STEP FOR MODERN PSYCHOLOGYAND THE SCIENCE OF THINKING
Modern psychology has discovered that no mental phenomenon stands by itself wholly unconnected with others. There is not even a single sensation which can be called a simple state of consciousness. Every such apparently single and simple sensation is also only a point, a factor, an element in and of the total [Page 27] complex consciousness of the moment, of any given individual; its supposed singleness is only an appearance, i.e., an illusion, a mãyã, due to that individual directing his attention to it, so making it the most prominent feature of that complex consciousness for the time. So also has modern psychology discovered, or is discovering, that thought and emotion and volition can never be completely dissociated. Each sensation is connected with a desire, each desire with an impulse, a tendency to action. There is no emotion but has a more or less distinct background of ideas; no idea but is tinged, however slightly, with an emotion; neither of these, again, but is directly or indirectly associated with a conation, however incipient. Modern psychology is thus discovering the fact of the continuum of the individual consciousness.
But it has to make a further advance. Even as a single sensation is only an inseparable and organic part of a total of individual consciousness, even so is every so-called total of individual consciousness an organic and inseparable part of the Universal Consciousness. Even as nature, the object-world, is interlinked in all its parts, even more so is the subject-world a breakless unity. The chain of causation stretches unbroken, akhanda, from end to end of time; all things are acting and reacting on all other things simultaneously in boundless space; the whole contains the parts in actual and specific detail, each part contains the whole in general potency; the tree [Page 28] contains the seeds, each seed the tree; all sensations are being sensed, all desires felt, all acts done, everywhere, always, by the All. But at any one point, only one sensation, or one desire, or one act is more prominently attended to by that point of consciousness. Further, when any such jîva-focus, having, in accordance with the cyclic laws of its own particular being, imposed on it by that Universal Being with which it is identical, come to its finest point of personality and egoism, begins to disperse towards Impersonality, this knowledge of its own unbroken continuity with all else arises within it.
14. ITS COMPLETION AND CONVERSIONINTO ADVAITA METAPHYSIC
When modern psychology discovers this, it will become converted into metaphysic, Advaita Vedãnta, the “non-dualistic or monistic crown of knowledge”, which sees that there is only One Consciousness without a second, of which all apparently and illusively separate ones are so many points of manifestation. This is how Nyãya and Vaisheshika, corresponding, roughly, with logic-psychology and physics, merge into Yoga and Sañkhya, superphysics and psycho-physics; and these into the two Mîmãmsãs, the Unity of Action - and the Unity of Thought.
An Indian apologue tells of a band of passengers who set out on a long, difficult and dangerous journey, wandered off from each other, on different errands, [Page 29] and met again after long years. Then to make sure that all was well, they counted each other. But every counter counted all his companions but not himself, and so none could obtain full tale. And there was much perplexity and sorrow, till some one remembered, and counting himself also, corrected the oversight, the primal error of Avidyã, “ forgetfulness of Self”, and secured full and assured tale of eternal deathlessness for all. By no counting of details outside, no heaping up of endless particulars of physical or superphysical worlds, may that assurance be gained. Much interesting and instructive work, no doubt, and valuable lessons and experiences, and excellent and indeed indispensable occupation, may be gained. But until man sees himself, his Self, the Self, the count is incomplete, the final secret hidden, the why unknown, the bondage and the slavery to things and forces outside unbroken, the oneness of all life and all nature unrealized, that perfect same-sightedness unachieved which sees the same Life-Principle manifesting everywhere, the same law of the rhythmic swing of life and death, joy and sorrow, good and evil, evolution and dissolution, working ceaselessly in all creatures, from insect to Star-ruler, the Law which carries eternal assurance of all experiences and equal justice to all souls.
Metaphysic is thus the necessary completion and unification of all sciences, physical and superphysical. It explains the essential laws of all the manifestations [Page 30] of the Universal Principle of Consciousness, in infinite individual lives of combined spirit and matter, of whatever grade of subtlety or density. It enables us to understand the why, as the sciences tell us the how. [See The Science of Peace, and The Science of the Sacred Word; or the Pranãva-Vãda of Gãrgyayana, by Bhagavan Das]
15. PRACTICAL CONSEQUENCES
But what is the practical bearing, the pragmatic consequence, as it is called now, of this particular understanding ? Just this. The mere descriptions, available in modern works, of the evolution of worlds, kingdoms, living beings, the human race, its complex societies and institutions, no more dispense with the study of this Science of the Self than a description of edibles dispenses with the actual eating of them to maintain life. Science, it is universally acknowledged, is useless if we cannot make it subserve life. The knowledge of evolution is useless unless we know also its purpose. Only when we know the purpose can we definitely and deliberately tread our proper path in life, can we make the forces and materials available help on that purpose. This knowledge of the why, of the Svabhãva of Brahman, which includes and regulates the ends of the pursuant and then the renunciant life, is the true spiritual knowledge, Parã-Vidyã; all else, however glorious and far-reaching in detail, is material knowledge, Aparã-Vidyã.
16. THE SCIENCE AND ART OF FEELING
Of this Science of the Self, this Science of the Svabhãva underlying and constituting the Universe, a very important and integral part is the Science of Bhakti, Love Divine; to understand and practise which, it is necessary to study the emotions; for "this constantly changing and moving life that surrounds us is formed by the hearts of men, and as we learn to understand their constitution and meaning, will we grow able by degrees to read the larger word of life".
The modern evolutionist develops all existing social institutions, domestic, political, ecclesiastical, professional, industrial — out of the primitive patriarch-priest-king, with the help of assumptions of emotions and their expressions, continually at work. These are allowed even in the lower animals. Herbert Spencer describes how " on the approach of some formidable Newfoundland or mastiff, a small spaniel, [Page 2] in the extremity of its terror, throws itself on its back with legs in the air. Instead of threatening resistance, by growls and showing of teeth, as it might have, had not resistance been hopeless, it spontaneously assumes the attitude that would result from defeat in battle; tacitly saying 'I am conquered, and at your mercy'. Clearly then, besides certain modes of behaviour expressing affection, which are established still earlier in creatures lower than man, there are established certain modes of behaviour expressing subjection". The italicised words name the emotions assumed. So peace, defiance, arrogance, civility, respect, self-restraint, propriativeness, rudeness, insubordination, desires, passions, maternal feeling, sex-feeling, wish to be liked, maternal yearning, humility, love, favour, prayer, sympathy, submission, grief, gaiety, imitation, fear, deception, independence, callousness, etc., are the words indicative of emotions which are abundantly used by the evolutionists, and the existence of these emotions is constantly taken for granted by them and employed to explain developments step by step, without any attempt to explain the genesis and evolution of the emotions themselves. Also, somehow, the worse emotions are magnified and the better ones minimised in these explanations — possibly because of the rooted feeling that they belong more naturally to earlier "animal-like" and "savage" conditions, and of the persistent notion, we may almost say bias, that civilisation has grown up out of [Page 3] savagery. The "struggle for existence" is emphasised over much; the at least equally operative and unmistakable and indispensable "alliance for existence" is almost overlooked. The idea that savage-dom may be a condition of degeneracy from older civilisations, while not wholly repudiated, is allowed somewhat reluctantly in a few unmistakable cases. The analogy of a human family, wherein three or four generations might be living simultaneously, all the members at very different stages of individual development, is not utilised sufficiently in interpreting the facts of the sociological history of the Human Race as a whole; nor is the primitive and innocent "savage", corresponding to the childhood of the individual, sufficiently distinguished from the degenerate and cruel savage, corresponding to other and less healthy stages in the life of the individual, though recognition is undoubtedly growing of the two distinct kinds of "savages", viz., the primitive and the degenerate. The Secret Doctrine supplies the needed corrections on this point, as stated before. A study of the psychology of the emotions helps us to understand in what ways the less healthy conditions arise, and how they may be treated, from stage to stage of the individual as well as the racial life, so as to minimise pains and magnify pleasures, and enable the wheel of each cycle to run smoothly in its appointed course. We need no proof that the family, the clan, the tribe, the race, [Page 4] has its root and source in the emotions of love, and all integrations of individuals and groups and organised societies and nations are ultimately due to the emotions of sympathy and mutual helpfulness; while per contra, partitions, separations, dispersals, wars, destructions and dissolutions of the same are due to the emotions of antipathy and discordant selfishness. It behooves us, therefore, if we wish to promote the cause of co-operation and peaceful progress, carefully to sort out all the emotions which help it on from those which hinder it.
Modern psychology, apparently, continues to believe that each emotion or feeling is something suis generis, that an organic connection between emotion and emotion is not traceable, that it is vain to try to reduce any one into terms of any other, and that a classification of these mental phenomena that is genuine, genetic, and not arbitrary, is impossible.
But this is not the view of the ancient Indian thinkers. They classify all the emotions into two groups, rãga and dvesha, love and hate, sympathy and antipathy, like and dislike. There is not space, and this is not the occasion, to go into details. We must confine ourselves to the barest possible sketch, leaving the reader to pursue the study, if be cares to, in works specially dealing with this subject and included in Theosophical literature.[ See The Science of the Emotion, by Bhagavan Das] [Page 5]
Sympathy, love, attraction, liking, as has been generally observed, go with pleasure; hate, dislike, repulsion, antipathy, with pain. The Yoga-Sutras (III, 7, 8) expressly state this; so also does the Bhagavad-Gita indicate this in many verses (III, 34 and others).
To understand what pleasure and pain are, we have to go to those ultimates of the universe, the Self and the Not-Self, which cannot be explained away, nor explained into anything simpler, but which explain all else. In the words of Manu (IV, 160), to feel the power of the Self is pleasure, to feel the power of another-than-Self is pain. The feeling of the "more-ness", the expansion, of the Self, is the feeling of pleasure. The feeling of the "lessness", the contraction, of the Self, is the feeling of pain. This is so true that psychophysicists have observed "that pleasantness is attended by increase of bodily volume, due to the expansion of arteries running just beneath the skin . . . Unpleasantness is accompanied by the reverse phenomena ". (Titchener, An Outline of Psychology, 1902, chapter V, page 118) The instinct of language correctly describes faces as expanding into a smile and contracting into a frown.
These forces of attraction and repulsion, in their simplest elemental forms, are the appetite for food and the turning away from what is not such or the reverse of such. In their more complex and higher forms they become love and hate proper, as between individual [Page 6] and individual, and no longer between individual and food. The ultimate fact is the same, that all likes and dislikes, whether for articles of food and poison or friends and enemies, are forms of desire, the desire for Self-maintenance, Self-realisation. But inasmuch as the Self has a lower aspect — that wherein it has identified itself with one particular limited physical body and become a separate individual; and a higher aspect — that wherein it ensouls all physical bodies and is one and common in all; therefore complications arise and appetites become transformed into emotions. There is no reason for the progenitive instinct except that the Unlimited One Self cannot be cribbed, cabined and confined in one small piece of matter, but ever seeks to assert its Infinity by multiplication. There is no reason for the parental instinct of protecting the young, except that the Self of the parents is preserving itself in the progeny. All unselfish love in all its shapes is the light and glory of the One Self. At the same time, in order that even such spiritual Love may have an opportunity for manifestation, there must be material coefficients, bodies; and so, even such love cannot be wholly dissociated from a certain minimum of that selfish desire which preserves one's own body. But the two are as the ends of a see-saw. When selfish love is strongest, impersonal or unselfish love is at its lowest; not wholly absent even then; for the cruelest tyrant wishes to keep the slave alive to give opportunity for the exercise of his [Page 7]unchecked will upon him. Briefly, when we find that our being, our life, is enhanced by another individual, directly or indirectly, we feel the emotion of love. And on the other hand, when it is diminished and reduced, we feel hate towards him.
Analysing in more detail, we find that love implies: (1) That "contact", in the most general sense, with an object, has at some time been found to result in pleasure. (2) That there is a memory of this past fact. (3) That there is an expectation of a similar pleasure occurring in the future on the contact being repeated. (4) That there is a desire for such pleasure and such repetition of contact and association, and (5) That while contact and association are possible, an absolute union or absorption is not. Where such absorption is possible, as between feeder and food, the desire remains as desire only. It does not advance to the condition of emotion proper, which is the attitude of one living individual towards another living individual. Such individuals can enhance each other's personal being, i.e., each other's bodily life, only indirectly by various kinds of services and attentions.
Hate may be analysed similarly.
If this analysis is correct, then we may define emotion briefly as the desire of one individual to associate with or dissociate from another individual, combined with an intellectual cognition of the other individual's ability to help or hinder his well-being. As the first [Page 8] subdivision of emotion in general, we find that where the cognition is one of helpfulness we have love; where it is of hindrance we have hate.
At the next step, for further subdivisions, the word ability gives us the clue. The ability of the other individual may be superior to one's own, or equal, or inferior.
On the side of love then, where we have the consciousness of equality, we have affection, or love proper. Where we have the consciousness that the other is superior, we feel reverence. Where we know the other to be inferior, we feel benevolence.
So on the side of hate, we have hate proper or anger, fear, and scorn.
These may be regarded as the six principal emotions, the psychical forces, by the interplay of which between individuals, the various sociological institutions are evolved, and which, by action and reaction amongst themselves, develop the most subtle and elusive forms and phases of sentiments and feelings appertaining to the complex forms of "civilised" life, and the very varied and artificial relations of human beings brought about by such.
Thus we may readily distinguish grades and degrees under each of these six: e.g., respect, esteem, admiration, reverence, adoration, worship, under the one sub-head of love towards the superior; or superciliousness, contempt, scorn, disdain, etc., under that of hate towards the inferior. [Page 9]
It will be found on examination that all possible emotions can be analysed into shades and mixtures of these primary ones combined with differences in that element of intellectual or cognitional ideas which is an essential factor of their composition. Thus jealousy is repulsion felt by one individual towards another, plus the consciousness of a possible or even probable superiority of a special kind thereof, which superiority will enable that person to gain exclusively and appropriate for himself something which is desired by both.
Wonder is attraction, the desire to approach, to imitate, plus the consciousness of the superior greatness of the object in some unexpected and extraordinary respect or degree, and of the uncertainty of one's ability to so approach or imitate him. The extraordinariness is the cause of the uncertainty. The physical manifestation is a general expansion of the features, open eyes, open mouth, "wide-eyed wonder" — consequent on the feeling of pleasure, accompanied by the arrest of motion — "standing stock-still," "struck dumb" — which corresponds naturally to the uncertainty above mentioned. In the case of the emotion expressed by such a phrase as: "I am lost in wonder at your audacity", the wonder may be genuine, when the above analysis will apply, or ironical; and then, in the analysis, repulsion should replace attraction, such wonder being a form of scorn, the superior greatness and extraordinariness being in a [Page 10] respect which the utterer considers evil. Disgust is fear in some respects, plus scorn in others.
Vanity, by ordinary usage, is something reprehensible. Yet it is a sentiment on the side of attraction. It is love for the sake of being loved more. It is the wish to please in order to obtain more pleasure in return. That the word has acquired evil associations is due to two causes. Even when vanity is "innocent or childlike", it is an object of contempt to unloving and hard and egoistic individuals; and secondly, the word is sometimes used in a different sense altogether, as a form of pride, a different emotion. Shame may be said to be vanity, plus the consciousness of something in oneself which takes away the power of pleasing others so as to attract them.
These few illustrations must suffice here to indicate that all emotions are capable of reduction into terms of love and hate, and none is sui generis except these two.
From the above it follows that the virtues and vices of mankind are only the emotions become fixed and wide-reaching. The emotion of love, originally aroused from time to time, and finding vent in helping a small circle, spouse, children, parents, relations, friends, when it becomes a settled habit,and is felt as a continual undercurrent of " feeling-tone " in the consciousness towards all with whom the individual comes into contact, and even towards those who are absent, and ultimately for the whole of creation, becomes that altruism which is the sum-total of all [Page 11] the virtues. So repulsion becomes egoism, that selfishness which is the essence of all vices. To each emotion will be found a corresponding virtue or vice. Very often language gives the same name to the temporary and fleeting aspect as well as to the more permanent one. Parental love, aroused and exercised from time to time, becomes confirmed into persistent benevolence to the weak. Thankfulness and appreciation, often brought into play, settle down into a habit of seriousness and earnest aspiration, and the chivalrous virtue of reverence for all that is good and great. So, on the other side, passing fits of anger or scorn, becoming habitual, make up the vice of peevishness or malevolence, or that shallow mockery which is "the fume of little minds".
Having thus, all too cursorily, seen that the emotions are the material of which are made up the virtues and the vices which stimulate and determine the healthy development and happiness, or otherwise, of all social conditions, institutions, organisations, we ought next to consider what laws govern the mutual action and reaction, the mutual organisation and evocation of these emotions. For only when we have determined these laws shall we have in our possession an organon of education, for the deliberate cultivation, governance and elimination, of good, useful and evil emotions respectively.
Observation shows that amongst average individuals, in whom neither selfishness nor unselfishness is [Page 12] unmistakably pronounced and predominant, "emotions tend to create their own likeness" (using "likeness" to mean another emotion, on the same side, out of the two main categories). Love will produce love; anger, anger; pride, pride; fear, fear; distrust, distrust; and so on between "equal" individuals. If they are unequal, scorn will beget fear, and fear scorn; compassion will generate gratitude and reverence, and reverence compassion; and so on.
But when an individual is predominantly selfish, over-firmly set on the Path of Pursuit of things worldly and material, the Pravrtti-Marga, then emotions in another, whether of the love side or of the hate side, will tend to arouse in himself corresponding emotions of his own side and nature, viz., the hate side. Thus humility, accompanying weakness and prayer, will arouse that contempt which distorts and perverts the benevolent word "pitiable" into the scornful word "pitiful"; compassionate greatness will breed awed fear and distrust and suspicion; the advances of love cause repulsion and anger. And much more so, of course, the emotions of the same evil kind, in another, will arouse evil ones in him.
On the other hand, when the individual has consciously or subconsciously passed on to the Path of Renunciation of worldliness, Nivrtti, self-sacrifice, unselfishness, then even the evil emotions of another, and much more the good ones, will arouse in him only corresponding good emotions. Fear will arouse [Page 13] compassion and the effort to reassure and soothe and help; pride will evoke the sad humility of friendliness, or a quietly smiling and paternal benevolence; anger and irritation will evoke only more gentle patience and friendliness and effort to appease; and so on. These laws can be worked out into the minutest details and correspondences.
17. ITS USES
Having found these laws, we have found our weapons of war against our enemies — the vices and sins of man, our tools of industry and helpfulness for the happy and peaceful progress of all. We now understand, in terms of reason and not merely of sentiment, what the genealogical relation is between the emotions, and why hatred can never cease by hatred but only by love; why God is love, and why it is absolutely necessary to achieve first the kingdom of the righteous and loving spirit, for thereupon, and only thereupon, will all the riches of matter add themselves. And because we have the understanding, because we have the power — and "knowledge is power", and "to know where danger lies is half the way to victory" — therefore we can now deliberately compel ourselves to love instead of hate any and all living creatures, who are all, equally with ourselves, manifestations of the same common Self; we can compel ourselves to love the individual, even when it is [Page 14] necessary to cause pain to hisbody for the ends of justice to himself and to others, in the spirit of the surgeon who hurts only to cure.
It may be said that knowledge of the right course of conduct is not always enough to induce us to pursue it, and that the flesh is often weak when the spirit is willing enough; but the mere fact that we have cared at all to follow the study, and have had the patience to work out the results thereof, is itself proof that the needed desire to do right, to follow out in practice the result of the theoretical studies, has arisen also, while the other and opposite desire, which blindly runs after its objects without caring to ask why and whether it will hurt a fellow-creature thereby or not, has begun to wane, sufficiently to allow all this study of theories and causes, though it may yet be very far from being properly subdued. It is now only a question of time and perseverance; the Higher Self, new-born within the man, will wax steadily, and the old lower self weaken, till Universal Brotherhood, nay, Universal Identity of Spirit and Organic Unity of nature is realised by him. And when it is realised by a fair number of human beings, then the hoped-for Federation of the World will come.
Herbert Spencer, philosopher of encyclopedic knowledge and dispassionate thinking and careful reasoning, writing in 1879, says that: " Co-operation . . . is necessarily hindered both by ignorance of one another's words, and by unlikeness of thought [Page 15] and feeling. . . Those who are wholly unlike in their emotional natures or in their intellectual natures, perplex one another by unexpected conduct. . . . Diversities of custom, too, become causes of dissension. Where a food eaten by one people is regarded by another with disgust, where an animal held sacred by one is by the other treated with contempt, where a salute which the one expects is never made by the other, there must be continually generated alienations which hinder joint efforts. Other things equal, facility of co-operation will be proportionate to the amount of fellow-feeling. ... In the absence of considerable likeness, the political aggregates formed are unstable, and can be maintained only by a coercion which sometime or other is sure to fail. Though other causes have conspired, yet this has doubtless been a main cause of dissolution of great empires in past ages." [Principles of Sociology, ii, 277, 278.)
And the same benevolent and at that time aged philosopher of nearly eighty years, writing some twenty years later, at the close of the last century and of his work and life, in conclusion of his great system of Synthetic Philosophy, on The Prospect of Human Institutions, gropes doubtful, dim-visioned, now hoping, now fearing, and sees in improvement of moral character and increase of voluntary and conscious co-operation the only hope, but sees no certainty of such improvement and such increase. He could [Page 16] rescribe no sure way of helping these on. He had contented himself with the word Unknowable, and had not taken the pains to see that this which was truly Unknowable, no doubt (for by what sense shall we know the Knower ?), was also the most known, the nearest, the dearest, his very Self which, unknown and unknowable by other-than-Self, is ever most intimately known to Itself. Who can know the Knower of all, except Itself ? Spencer's vision was turned largely outwards; even the facts of psychology he examined more objectively than subjectively; the love-aspect of the Self did not manifest in him very actively in this life; and the sanctifying touch of vairâgya, divine discontent and mystic aspiration, he did not feel. He had other and most valuable work to do and he did it; but by itself, the work is incomplete. And this is no wonder, for the very condition of manifestation is inequilibrium. He did not sufficiently bring home to himself, and analyse to the bottom, the phenomena of emotion; he did not cultivate them. He felt the lack in old age, and borrowed neighbours' children to play with. Beautiful and pathetic spectacle! If he had known a more passionate love earlier, and studied the ancient literatures and other aspects of life, e.g., the superphysical, which, gentle philosopher as he was, and ever on his guard against biases, he could not help treating with some contempt — he might have seen the truths which complete his system. He might have seen the working, [Page 17] in the psychical half of the world-process also, of the swing of that evolution and dissolution which he saw somewhat incompletely in the physical half. He would have seen that these two halves of the swing are made by the descent of Spirit into matter and its re-ascent out of it; by the more Impersonal becoming more Personal, and again more Impersonal on an ever higher level; by the Universal Consciousness appearing to contract into Egoism, and again appearing to expand out of it into Universalism; he would have seen that Will, Imagination and Activity, the Ãnanda, Chit and Sat of the Vedãntin, were the three aspects of that Consciousness which guided and governed all manifestations; and he would have seen that persistent enquiry leads to a substitution, for "the theory of Creation by an extra-cosmical Personal God", after a passage through "the theory of Evolution", on a higher level, of "the theory of perpetual Creation and Dissolution of all forms, actions and relations by the Omniscience, Omnipresence and Omnipotent All-love of the Immanent Universal Self".
If this typical modern scientist-philosopher could have seen all this, if he could have completed the Philosophy of Change with the Philosophy of Change-lessness, he would have had greater hope that after the sway of the militant and then of the capitalist and industrial egoism, the reign of co-operative universalism, or at least humanism, would supervene [Page 18] more and more fully, and the race pass into a period of the genuine higher Socialism which believes in giving rather than taking.
18. THE CONDITION OF TRUE COOPERATION AND THE SCIENCE OF CONDUCT
A recent writer (H. C. McCook: A Study in Natural Civics) says: " If Socialism as a form of human government would be equally or even approximately successful, it must first attain that perfect individual discipline and self-control, self-abnegation, self-surrender, and self-devotion to the good of the whole community that one sees in a commonwealth of ants". Those who have found reason to believe in the psychical, as well as the material, swing of evolution and involution, have no doubt that the condition of the commonwealth of ants will be attained by men on a far higher level, in the course of time. But we may well ask each other what we can do to facilitate the accrual of this much-to-be-desired internal condition of self-denial. A worldly motive, such as the gain of some object of sense, or an industrial or political objective, can, if at all, bring about such a result for a short time and amongst a limited number of individuals only, e.g., till the money is made, the law passed, the opposite party circumvented, the land seized, the enemy defeated and the war brought to a successful issue, and amongst only the members [Page 19] of the organised combine, or the class, or the nation. Yet worse, in integrating one set of individuals, differentiation from another set is emphasised, the spirit of aggression and greed of sensuous things strengthened, and by the action and reaction thereof internecine struggles are generated which rapidly nullify all the gains of the artificial integration. Therefore no such material unity serves our purpose; it is but a false and deceitful imitation of the Spiritual Unity which alone is adequate to the great task of bringing about the free surrender of the part to the whole, of the small self to the Great Self. The Buddha has said that Right Action arises from Right Desire, and Right Desire arises from Right Knowledge. Until the individual acquires the Right Knowledge that he is not the small but the Great Self, until the primal error of Avidya, this error of Self-limitation, is corrected, this thick veil of Self-ignorance and Self-forgetfulness removed from the eye of the man, until he sees that he is identified with not only his own body, or family, or parish or province, or country, or tribe, or clan, or caste, or creed, or nation, or sex, or colour, or race, but verily with all life — until then will the Right Desire, that is Universal Love, not arise fully within him; and unless such yearning for Universal Brotherliness arise within him, Right Action, continual helpfulness, the life of sacrifice, will not proceed out of him. [Page 20]
19. The Final Knowledge of the Oneness ofthe Universal Self as the One Purifier of the HeartHence it is that the Vedas say that without knowledge there is no liberation, emancipation in the fullest sense, not only social or political but spiritual, no final and real loosening of the bond of the heart, of the hard knot of egoism; as, on the other hand, without a preliminary diminution of that selfish interest which narrows and distorts the vision, the arising of disinterested and therefore true and universal Knowledge is not possible; and Krshna declares that there is no purifier like unto knowledge; and that after the purification, the individual must not and cannot cease from action, but must and will ever perform action without thought of fruit for himself but only of fruit for all, forgetting himself in the Great Self, intoxicated with devotion to the Supreme and the Whole, the sum-total of all Life.
Therefore the first and most important step in the facilitation of the longed-for millennium is the spread of the knowledge that the Self in all is One; the diligent crying aloud of the good message, so that it shall fall upon all ears and abide in some minds at least, to nurture the tender shoots of love; and thus gradually shall men more and more target, or learn to overlook, each other's superficial unlikenesses of thinking and feeling, of clothing and colouring, of [Page 21] saluting and speaking, which now alienate them so much from each other, and feel more and more the deep-seated likeness, nay, identity of Spirit, which should bring them all together in the bonds of love. When this old Wisdom is newly born again amongst men, with the perennial newness and freshness of beauty and the beauty of newness and freshness, then shall the differences of form and colour and temperament and caste and vocation, which now separate them, also begin to abate, and all shall begin to tread more or less diligently the triune path of Wise and self-Sacrificing Love, of Jnãna-Karma-Bhakti, of Universal Love Divine.
Verily, Love Universal, Love Divine, inspired by the Knowledge of the Unity of all life, and inspiring the good Conduct of deliberate helpfulness to all — such Love enables man to touch Nirvana on earth and transforms earth into heaven, the kingdom of heaven which is within us always. When we can weep with one eye for the woes of the world and smile with the other for its joys; when we know the comedy of knowledge and feel the tragedy of feeling simultaneously; when we feel the heartache of the mother over her child's broken toys, and all her endless worries and anxieties, and also the guardian father's smiling assurance that all is well and nothing [Page 22] lost which cannot be replaced; when we feel at once sad over breaking bodies and glad over the deathless Spirit; when we know and feel that the insect's flutter, the river's roll, the ocean's surge, the wind's unceasing sigh, the march of the moons, planets, suns, stars — is all part of One and the self-same Life, My Life, one continuity of living motion, the endless manifestations of One Living Energy, the incessant transformations of One Living Substance which is Consciousness — then indeed we sense Nirvãna even in the flesh, dimly at first, more and more clearly afterwards. For surely the Spirit is no more distant from, no less near to, any form of matter, gross or subtle, than to any other. All planes and grades and shades of matter are equidistant from It, all equally within Its consciousness; all equally governed and guided by the laws of the three aspects of that Consciousness as set forth in the Science of the Self. And liberation does not mean a change of many conditions, but of one condition. The mental vision that was turned outwards has only to be turned inwards. Then physical science is converted into Spiritual Metaphysic. The light shines ever, we have only to turn our eyes to it. When the veiling cloud of egoism melts away, then the Universal Sun shines forth..
Purchase This TitleBrowse Titles
- BROTHER ISAAC NEWTON
P.O. BOX 70
Larkspur CO 80118
Co-Masonry, Co-Freemasonry, Women's Freemasonry, Men and Women, Mixed Masonry
Copyright © 1975-2020 Universal Co-Masonry, The American Federation of Human Rights, Inc. All Rights Reserved.