Though love repine, and reason chafe, There came a voice without reply — “’Tis man’s perdition to be safe When for the truth he ought to die.”
— Ralph Waldo Emerson 1
Self-preservation is the first law of nature; Self-sacrifice the highest rule of grace.
— Anonymous 2
To the good I would be good; to the not-good I would also be good, in order to make them good. With the faithful I would keep faith; with the unfaithful I would also keep faith, in order that they may become faithful. Even if a man is bad, how can it be right to cast him off? Requite injury with kindness.
— Lao Tzu 3
It is a matter of fact that every form of life can only grow at the expense of other lives, consuming them unremittingly and unquestioningly.
Life is built up by the sacrifice of the individual to the whole. Each cell in the living body must sacrifice itself to the perfection of the whole; when it is otherwise, disease and death enforce the lesson. 4
A jewel polished on the grindstone, a victorious warrior wounded with weapons, an elephant emaciated on account of rutting, a river with its waters [lit. sandy bed] shrunken in winter, the moon with an only digit remaining, a young woman become languid through amorous sports, and persons whose wealth has been bestowed on supplicants
— all these look graceful by their slenderness.5
While The One sustains All, Nature emancipates Its Intelligence gradually and with inexorable certainty from the confines of elemental life to the glory of the Ideal Man. But even though we all are integral parts of the same Imperial Oneness, we do not feel the truth of the fact: apathy and sin have numbed the heart and bred ingratitude.
He who enjoyeth what hath been given unto him by them, and offereth not a portion unto them, is even as a thief.1
To the Gods, indeed, the excellent offering is a pure intellect and an impassive soul, and also a moderate oblation of our own property and of other things, and this not negligently, but with the greatest alacrity. For the honours which we pay to the Gods should be accompanied by the same promptitude as that with which we give the first seat to worthy men, and with which we rise to salute them, and not by the promptitude with which we pay a tribute.2
Compassion-Sacrifice “diffused through all the parts of nature, actuates the whole stupendous frame and mingles with the vast body of the universe” 3 from the highest Avatar down to the lowest form of life, nourishing and nurturing all. This is the “LAW of the LAWS.” 4
Very difficult it is for an embodied jiva to realise the first truth of Vedanta and Buddhism that life, embodied and individual life, in any form, is essentially not worth living — because all its pleasure is embittered with pain, and, even more, because it cannot be maintained without the intense selfishness of unremittingly absorbing other individual lives.5
The maintenance of the right attitude and its unbroken expression through continuous right approach to all the problems of life compel man to recognise his own individual responsibility to all beings of all kingdoms, to Nature herself. The prolific mother earth, the cleansing waters, the vitalizing fire, the health-giving air, the constructive and regenerating electrical and magnetic forces — to all these is due a great debt. The colour and fragrance of flowers on earth, the brilliance of distant orbs in heaven, the nourishment which plant life bestows on our bodies, that which the beauty and majesty of space bestow on our minds — to them we owe a mighty acknowledgement. Men recognise obligations for kindness done and service rendered by fellow men; we have not yet begun to realise our responsibility and our duty to all the kingdoms of Nature.6
Our Saviours, the Agnishvatta and other divine “Sons of the Flame of Wisdom” (personified by the Greeks in Prometheus), may well, in the injustice of the human heart, be left unrecognised and unthanked. They may, in our ignorance of the truth, be indirectly cursed for Pandora’s gift; but to find themselves proclaimed and declared by the mouth of the clergy, the evil ones, is too heavy a Karma for “Him” “who dared alone” — when Zeus “ardently desired” to quench the entire human race — to save “that mortal race” from perdition, or, as the suffering Titan is made to say:
From sinking blasted down to Hades’ gloom. For this by the dire tortures I am bent, Grievous to suffer, piteous to behold, I who did mortals pity . . . (verses 237-40)
The chorus remarking very pertinently:
Vast boon was this thou gavest unto mortals. (verse 253)
Prometheus answers: Yea, and besides ’twas I that gave them fire,
Chorus: Have now these short-lived creatures flame-eyed fire?
The chorus remarking very pertinently: Vast boon was this thou gavest unto mortals. (verse 253)
Prometheus answers: Yea, and besides ’twas I that gave them fire, Chorus: Have now these short-lived creatures flame-eyed fire?
As “the whole order of nature evinces a progressive march towards a higher life,” 2 the Promethean Titanomachy is “the symbolical representation of the great struggle between divine wisdom, Nous, and its earthly reflection, Psyche, or between Spirit and Soul, in Heaven and on Earth.” 3
. . . the Dhyani-Buddhas of the two higher groups, namely, the “Watchers” or the “Architects,” furnished the many and various races with divine kings and leaders. It is the latter who taught humanity their arts and sciences, and the former who revealed to the incarnated Monads that had just shaken off their vehicles of the lower Kingdoms — and who had, therefore, lost every recollection of their divine origin — the great spiritual truths of the transcendental worlds.
Thus, as expressed in the Stanza, the Watchers descended on Earth and reigned over men — “who are themselves.” The reigning kings had finished their cycle on Earth and other worlds, in the preceding Rounds. In the future manvantaras they will have risen to higher systems than our planetary world; and it is the Elect of our Humanity, the Pioneers on the hard and difficult path of Progress, who will take the places of their predecessors. The next great Manvantara will witness the men of our own life-cycle becoming the instructors and guides of a mankind whose Monads may now yet be imprisoned — semi-conscious — in the most intellectual of the animal kingdom, while their lower principles will be animating, perhaps, the highest specimens of the Vegetable world.4
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