Just as if someone waiting to hear a voice which is pleasing to him, should separate himself from other voices, and excite his hearing to the perception of the more excellent sound, when it approaches. Thus, also, here it is necessary to dismiss sensible auditions, except so far as it necessary, and to preserve the animadversive 1 power of the soul pure, and prepared to hear supernal sounds.
— Plotinus 2
Though my soul may set in darkness, it will rise in perfect light; I have loved the stars too truly to be fearful of the night.
— Sarah Williams 3
Now Faithful play the Man, speak for thy God: Fear not the wicked’s malice, nor their rod: Speak boldly man, the Truth is on thy side; Die for it, and to Life in triumph ride.
— John Bunyan 4
For those who may begin to suspect that treading any path must be less tedious than going through a long list of hints and tips, the following selections were chosen as a fitting end to this chapter and a tonic for the weary soul:
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s devotional prayer
Chant the name of the Lord and His glory unceasingly That the mirror of the heart may be wiped clean And quench that mighty forest fire, Worldly lust, raging furiously within. Oh name, stream down in moonlight on the lotus heart, Opening its cup to knowledge of thyself. Oh self, drown deep in the waves of His bliss, Chanting His name continually, Tasting His nectar at every step, Bathing in His name, that bath for weary souls. . . .
Oh, my mind, Be humbler than a blade of grass, Be patient and forbearing like the tree, Take no honour to thyself, Give honour to all, Chant unceasingly the name of the Lord
Oh, Lord and soul of the universe, Mine is no prayer for wealth or retinue, The playthings of lust or the toys of fame; As many times as I may be reborn Grant me, Oh Lord, a steadfast love for Thee. . . .
Ah, how I long for the day When an instant’s separation from Thee, Oh Govinda, Will be as a thousand years, When my heart burns away with its desire And the world, without Thee, is a heartless void.
Prostrate at Thy feet let me be, in unwavering devotion, Neither imploring the embrace of Thine arms Nor bewailing the withdrawal of Thy presence Though it tears my soul asunder. Oh Thou, who stealest the hearts of Thy devotees, Do with me what Thou wilt — For Thou art my heart’s beloved, Thou and Thou alone.1
Éliphas Lévi’s stirring words summing up the consequences of the philosophical dogma of Hermes
Man is the son of his works; he is what he wills to be; he is the image of the God he makes; he is the realisation of his ideal. Should his ideal want basis, the whole edifice of his immortality collapses. Philosophy is not the ideal, but it serves as a foundation for the ideal. The known is for us the measure of the unknown; by the visible we appreciate the invisible; sensations are to thoughts even as thoughts to aspiration. Science is a celestial trigonometry: one of the sides of the absolute triangle is the nature which is submitted to our investigations; the second is our soul, which embraces and reflects nature; the third is the absolute, in which our soul enlarges. No more atheism possible henceforward, for we no longer pretend to define God. God is for us the most perfect and best of intelligent beings, and the ascending hierarchy of beings sufficiently demonstrates his existence. Do not let us ask for more, but, to be ever understanding him better, let us grow perfect by ascending towards him. No more ideology; being is being, and cannot perfectionise save according to the real laws of being. Observe, and do not prejudge; exercise our faculties, do not falsify them; enlarge the domain of life in life; behold truth in truth! Everything is possible to him who wills only what is true! Rest in nature, study, know, then dare; dare to will, dare to act, and be silent! No more hatred of anyone. Everyone reaps what he sows. The consequence of works is fatal, and to judge and chastise the wicked is for the supreme reason. He who enters into a blind alley must retrace his steps or be broken. Warn him gently, if he can still hear you, but human liberty must take its course. We are not the judges of one another. Life is a battlefield. Do not pause in the fighting on account of those who fall, but avoid trampling them. Then comes the victory, and wounded on both sides, become brothers by suffering and before humanity, will meet in the ambulances of the conquerors.1
Helena Blavatsky’s closing thoughts of “Instruction No. 1” to her Esoteric Section
As to the sincere believers, they will be rewarded by seeing their faith transformed into knowledge. True knowledge is of Spirit and in Spirit alone, and cannot be acquired in any other way except through the reign of the higher mind, the only plane from which we can penetrate the depths of the all-pervading Absoluteness. He who carries out only those laws established by human minds, who lives that life which is prescribed by the code of mortals and their fallible legislation, chooses as his guiding star a beacon which shines on the ocean of Maya, or temporary delusions, and lasts for but one incarnation. These laws are necessary for the life and welfare of physical man alone. He has chosen a pilot who directs him through the shoals of one existence, a master who parts with him, however, on the threshold of death. How much happier that man who, while strictly performing on the temporary objective plane the duties of daily life, carrying out each and every law of his country, and rendering, in short, to Caesar what is Caesar’s, leads in reality a spiritual and permanent existence, a life with no breaks of continuity, no gaps, no interludes, not even those periods which are the halting places of the long pilgrimage of purely spiritual life. All the phenomena of the lower human mind disappear like the curtain of a proscenium, allowing him to live in the region beyond it, the plane of the noumenal, the one reality. If man by suppressing, if not destroying, his selfishness and personality, only succeeds in knowing himself as he is behind the veil of physical Maya, he will soon stand beyond all pain, all misery, and beyond all the wear and tear of change, which is the chief originator of pain. Such a man will be physically of matter, he will move surrounded by matter, and yet will live beyond and outside it. His body will be subject to change, but he himself will be entirely without it, and will experience everlasting life even while in temporary bodies of short duration. All this may be achieved by the development of unselfish universal love of Humanity, and the suppression of personality, of selfishness, which is the cause of all sin, and consequently of all human sorrow.2
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