The Way of Power

Masonic, Occult and Esoteric Online Library

The Way of Power

By Lily Adams Beck

Chapter XII

In one point all who have seen agree, namely that Love is the basis of the Law on which the universe moves. I need not refer to this point of view in our own Scriptures. We are all acquainted with the thesis--though the harsh experiences of life leave some of us with, as we think, very good reason to doubt its truth. But why should it be so? Why should love lead us to realization of the powers? Why should St. Paul speaking in the very language of the Fourth Dimension assert it is necessary "that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth and length and depth and height------" But all can finish the sentence. Here we must turn to India again--that great commentator on the "occult." As Max Müller says of her:

"That which we can study nowhere but in India is the all-absorbing influence which religion and philosophy can exercise on the human mind. So far as we can judge of a large class of people in India, not only the priestly class but the nobility also, not men only, but women, what was real to them was the invisible. What formed the theme of their conversations, the subject of their meditations, was the Real which alone lent some kind of reality to this phenomenal world. This is the side of India which deserves our study because there has been nothing like it in the whole world. This is the highest summit of thought which the human mind has reached."

And these men and women were a branch of our own race. The language they spoke was drawn from a common source with our European languages. Their thought is our true heritage. It appears to me, considering its immense influence in Asia and also in Europe, that there is none better worth our study. The teaching of India is the unity of the universe and of ourselves with it, and this is really the teaching of the occult. Surveying man, beholding his greedy grasping ego with the desires and appetites which he has been taught to call personality and himself, India declares this ego to be the creator of ignorance and illusion, blinding us to the facts of our own world and the Land behind the Looking Glass, ignorant because it can know only through the channel of its fallible senses and can think only within the bounds of time and space which are its prisons. It is therefore unable to see anything as it is in itself and can visualize it only as it appears when viewed through the narrow slit through which its senses and consciousness command the world. To an organism built differently from ourselves all would appear quite differently and we cannot tell how. Thus we are imprisoned and cut off from the occult which is in truth the Real.

But in every man, hidden under the carapace of this ignorant, false and ape-like self, lies a true self which is immortal because it is a part of what India calls That (because it is indescribable) and which we call God. Very deep down in most of us lies that Self, forgotten save by fits and starts, unrealized, hidden by the objective ego which transacts all our daily business and usurps the throne of the true monarch. But it is there, and until a man recognizes the truth of its existence and essence he walks blinded in a world of false concepts and beliefs created by his ego, totally miscomprehending his relation to the universe and as much beyond as we cannot conceive. The realization of this truth is enlightenment; the man opens blinded eyes and gradually perceives the world, not as it seemed, but as it is, perfect in the beauty of Law, and himself an integral part of it; a relation nearer than any sonship or brotherhood, being Union. He will then gradually learn that what held him apart from his rightful ownership of power was the illusion of individuality which concentrated his desires on such illusory prizes as personal success and all it connotes, on a personal heaven and immortality, and baser preoccupations than these. For desiring these individual possessions he is deflected into the sandy desert of selfishness and is imprisoned more and more terribly in its solitudes of egoism. He has not learned the Law that this ignorance is utter darkness, weakness, and inability to react to and use the great currents of force sweeping around us. This deception of false-selfhood is as alluring and seemingly natural as it is dangerous. Edward Carpenter has a useful analogy:

"Each little leaf on a tree may very naturally have sufficient consciousness to believe that it is an entirely separate being, maintaining itself in sunlight and air, withering and dying when winter comes. It probably does not realize that all the time it is supported by the sap which flows from the trunk, and that in its turn it is feeding the life of the tree; that its self is the self of the whole tree."

So also beneath the tossing wave-crests is the urge of the illimitable ocean, and the individuality of each leaf, each wave is illusion. There was One, there is One, and but One, and we are a part of it.

Thus, being the tree, the ocean, the cosmic consciousness, we see that India accepts no doctrine of original sin but offers instead that of original power. We are the king who being drugged forgets his kingship in a nightmare of mad desires which though seemingly won can never assuage his divine homesickness with their dance of dying dreams. The Western faiths have recognized their unreality:

"Change and decay in all around I see;
O Thou, who changest not, abide with me."

But India strikes higher. "I,--man though I be--I myself am the Unchanging. I sit victorious above pain and change for I too am divine! I too am fathered by the starry sky! What I will I can do and be. Death has no power on that immortal Self."

But how is this great knowledge attained?

The consciousness of this mighty self in us must evolve as the body evolves from lower types on its upward way. As it has taken ages to disengage the divine strength of the Apollo from the brute strength of the ape-man, so it takes time and experiences many and great to give a man the wisdom enabling him to realize and act on the knowledge that within the rocky shell of his false ego lies the Pearl of great price--which is power and realization. And, seeing what time and experiences are needed for so vast a triumph, return again and again to school in some form awaits not only humanity but all life, until it has attained self-realization of the True in itself and therefore in the whole--piercing through the deceptive layers of personality to the inmost kernel of being, which is Divine and universal instead of individual and partial. "For," says Paul, "the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God." That is the higher race developing its super-consciousness with the attendant powers.

But all creation is in different stages of evolution and there are those who are near the goal or far from it, living in the midst of self-sown conditions and reaping the fruit of their own acts as ascent or descent in the evolutionary scale. For error to be "forgiven" is as impossible as for virtue "to forgo the high reward of its own increase," and therefore every man is compelled by the law of his being to reclimb any height from which he has fallen in accepting, though but for a moment, the code of a lower level of soul-evolution, which once having out-soared he should have left forever. But the Law knows neither wrath nor pardon. Neither the thought nor the deed can be undone and the only thing that matters is to climb out and up. If an animal having developed lungs commits himself to life in the water he must take the consequences. It was well enough while he breathed through gills. It is madness now. There is no question of forgiveness. He must get out and understand conditions better. And that he may do so that law of the universe which is called Karma (the result of deeds and thoughts whether high or low) will, if he has retrograded, flog and persuade and discipline him, if needful, through eons of accumulated experience, until he listens to the voice of the Divine which is his own and knows that a plunge into an outgrown element is unthinkable. There is no discipline worth the name but what one gives oneself.

This Law applies to all life of every sort and kind throughout the universe, for all must hear the voice of its own divinity. All is steadily working out the realization of the Divine Self-hood which is One, Alone, and Self-subsisting, in whom we live and move and have our being, for outside that there is nothing, "as certain also of our own poets have said.

The aim of all experience in however many existences, under whatever form, is to develop love. And why? Because love is the unifying cosmic force. All the loves and relationships of life work in harmony with that aim. They each and all transcend individuality and break down the bars of egoism. This is seen with parent-hood, with the love of man and woman, with all love. Says India: "In truth, not for the husband's sake is the husband dear but for the sake of the Immortal Self!" Patriotism also transcends individuality, and need I speak of the mystic's yearning and self-consuming fire at the heart of all true religious passion? There is no love which does not toil with passionate energy at that cosmic end of breaking down the poor individuality on which we pride ourselves and restoring us to the Whole and to the climbing way which leads to power and unity.

See how the dog's love for man and the answering love meeting it break down the barriers between the two great families of life, overleaping the gulf of lack of speech and uniting and setting each a stage higher. How instinctively we worship every act which illustrates this truth of love. We know, though all logic is against it, that if a man of infinite attainment sacrifices his life to save an imbecile child he has done well, and in doing it has served vast ends. For every love with faithful hands destroys the prison of selfhood, brick and bar, until "there is neither day nor night remaining any more, no existence or non-existence, but only One." Or, in the words of Paul: "When that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away."

The separate, the individual, must pass as starlight is extinguished in blue air and sunshine, and for this reason Love is the fulfilling of the Law.

This is the teaching of the one Absolute Reality. It does not for a moment assert that the phenomenal world about us is illusion, but it does assert that our false concept of selfhood working through fallible senses and bounded intellect prevents us from seeing the world as it really is and until we know it as it is we cannot act upon it with power. "Know Thyself" was the inscription on the Temple of the Delphic Oracle, and it sums up all that can be said of life, for the man who knows himself as he is knows his powers and can use them.

Our vital need of this knowledge explains the passion of those who know to share it with others. Hear the words of Krishna in the Song Celestial of India:

"Meditating on the Real Self, blended into it, seated firmly in the knowledge of it, loving it with fierce devotion, the wise are freed from bonds. Their eyes are cleared from the smoke which fills the eyes of men blinding them and they pass into those high states from which is no return to the lower planes. Blessed beyond measure are such. Verily those who see the Real Self underlying all that seems to be,--the only Reality in the world of apparent reality,--find inexpressible joy in the knowledge and consciousness of the Real Self. And having entered into this consciousness they pass into the kingdom of Eternal Bliss and Peace."

I give another example from that strange and ancient Christian Gnostic Gospel, the Pistis Sophia, which some scholars refer to the second and some to the beginning of the third century after Christ. The Christ is teaching his disciples on the Mount of Olives:

"And Andrew answered and said: 'Lord, I marvel exceedingly how men in the world and body of this matter if they come out of this world can pass through the firmaments and the great Invisibles and inherit the Kingdom of Light. This matter is hard for me. [In other words, how men can realize and use their powers?] And the Spirit of the Saviour was roused in him and he cried aloud and said: 'How long am I to bear with you? Have ye not understood and are ye ignorant? Know ye not that ye and all angels and archangels and Gods and Lords and the great Invisibles and their whole glory are one with another, out of one and the same paste and the same matter and the same substance and that ye are all of the same mixture?' And they all threw themselves at Jesus' feet, saying: 'Lord, forgive our brother the sin of ignorance.'"

That is, what the highest can do, man also can do. A great and true teaching. And later:

"The disciples cried out and said: 'Thou hast made us very exceedingly frenzied because of the Height thou hast revealed. Thou exaltest our souls and they become paths on which we travel to Thee because they issue from Thee, and they travail mightily, yearning to go forth from us to the region of Thy Kingdom.'"

So was Andrew informed that he was "of the same paste" as his Master, yet it is not to be supposed that in that moment he saw with the same diamond-clear perception. These processes are gradual, each secure on its basis before the next can develop and even when they appear sudden there is a long history behind them.

Power follows knowledge, and such knowledge brings an almost incredible liberation of force and energy, appearing "miraculous" to those who do not understand the law of being. This fact to which the faiths bear witness is of profound interest in view of the enlarging empire of science for, though our false concepts imprison us in a world where we are physically and mentally bound in the fetters of the three dimensions of length, breadth and height, these fetters fall at the touch of universal consciousness and we are admitted to perception of the occult world which lies about us and of which we are unconscious denizens, where time is not, where powers transcending the normal of our concepts are as natural as breathing, where perceiving the world as it is we act in accordance with it, as inevitably as we do here with "the world of false appearances." And those imprisoned by the normal concepts cry "A miracle!"

But it is said: "How unreasonable! We fell into illusion as to our relation with the Divine and must struggle back to what we need never have lost. Why?"

There is not a faith which has not had to wrestle with that question, and not one has answered it categorically. Israel, in the beautiful symbol of the lost Eden, shadows forth the teaching of the Upanishads, but is silent as to cause. Adam is at one with the Divine. Suddenly he develops separate consciousness and falls into duality and ignorance and loses his powers. On bleeding feet he must retrace the long ascent to union. The Buddha, approached with entreaty to reveal the secret, replies that the truth cannot be told, adding that if a man does certain things, molding his life according to the Law of Being, the Truth will meet him face to face when he is capable of receiving it. It does not concern him now, what does concern him is the Path which leads to it. This is what India calls "the noble silence of the wise." I have sometimes wondered whether the solution of this mystery may not be in the words of that great percipient St. Augustine, but otherwise applied, "Thou findest those whom Thou hast never lost," and our drama of loss and regainment be a part of the cosmic play or "Lila" as they call it in India, which we ourselves may smile at when we have waked from the hell of disunion, realizing that we were children dreaming ourselves in the dark, with the light all round us.

No doubt all the faiths are stuttering attempts to communicate this high knowledge each in its own language and all have their percipients, but I think the relation of man to the universe has never been so fully stated as in India. So many has she filled with the influx of wisdom that she may be said to have been the world's highest inspiration. China and Japan, Burma, and Ceylon, Java and the high solitudes of Tibet have knelt at her feet. Persia and Greece owe her their deepest thought and that great melting pot the city of Alexandria, which molded the spirit of the writer of our Fourth Gospel, drank of her wine. The greatest of the Greek philosophers breathed her fine air.

In the West she has met with much misunderstanding. We have lost touch, if we ever had it, with the wisdom of our own race in India. Accustomed to a more florid metaphysic, the West has stamped the utterances of the Buddha "(who taught the annihilation of sorrow) as pessimism! He taught that the weary round of rebirth ends in a state "deep, immeasurable and fathomless as the great ocean," and she asserts that he taught complete annihilation at death! She asserts that his teaching is only for the scholar and the intellectual when a little child may follow the Way. "Do and you shall know," is the teaching, though it adds that to reach the point where spirit, mind and body meet in a fusion of comprehension and power is a long process of evolution. She calls that teaching a religious egoism, the pivot and center of which is the destruction of the greedy grasping ego in man. Would that she would study the words of The Utterly Awakened!

It is said these truths are dreams of mystics and cannot be applied to practical life. Ask the mathematicians! They in the white fire of their winged science know how little worth are the logic of daily life and our crippled concepts of the universe. They of all people would not limit the boundless future which awaits the race.



Masonic Publishing Company

Purchase This Title

Browse Titles
"If I have seen further than
others, it is by standing
upon the shoulders of giants."


Comasonic Logo

Co-Masonry, Co-Freemasonry, Women's Freemasonry, Men and Women, Mixed Masonry

Copyright © 1975-2024 Universal Co-Masonry, The American Federation of Human Rights, Inc. All Rights Reserved.