|rosanista.tripod.com||Simplified Scientific Christianity|
This series of articles, based upon the writings of Max Heindel, the Western Mystic, is the concluding number embodying the messages he sent out through monthly lessons to his students. These lessons, reprinted since this great soul was called to a greater work in the higher worlds on January 6th, 1919, may be found in the following books in addition to the present volume: "Freemasonry and Catholicism"; "The Web of Destiny"; "The Mystical Interpretation of Christmas"; "The Mysteries of the Great Operas"; "The Gleanings of a Mystic"; and "Letters to Students". These writings comprise the later investigations of this seer.
The helpful messages and the spiritual encouragement that the readers have received from the inspired words in the earlier volumes we know have been far-reaching in their effects. We also feel that in years to come enlightened and advanced students and seekers along mystical and esoteric lines will realize more and more the true value of the works of Max Heindel. His words reach the very depths of the heart of the reader. Many who have read his first work, "The Rosicrucian Cosmo-Conception", have been thrilled by their contact with it.
Max Heindel, who was the authorized messenger of the true Rosicrucian Brotherhood, lived the teachings which he taught. Only one who has suffered as he suffered during his lifetime is able to touch the heart strings of humanity. Only he who has felt the labor pains of spiritual birth which has admitted him to the realms of the soul can write with the power to thrill his readers. As the result of such a spiritual birth the writings which Max Heindel has bequeathed to humanity will live and bear fruit. May the readers of this book feel the heart throbs of this great lover of humanity, who sacrificed his very physical existence in his desire to impart to man the wonderful truths which he had garnered through his contact with the Elder Brothers of the Rosicrucian Order.
When Nicodemus came to Christ and was told about the necessity of rebirth, he asked, "How can these things be?" And we also with our inquiring minds are often anxious for more light upon the various teachings concerning our future. It helps us if we can feel that these teachings fit into physical facts as we know them. Then we seem to have firmer ground for our faith in other things which we have not yet proved.
It has been the writer's work to investigate spiritual facts and correlate them with the physical in such a manner as would appeal to the reason and thus pave the way for belief. In this way it has been his privilege to give light to seeking souls on many of the mysteries of life. Recently a new discovery was made which, though it seemed as remote from connection with the coming of Christ as east is from west, throws considerable light on that event, especially on the manner of our meeting with the Lord "in the twinkling of an eye" as the Bible has it. Our students well know how distasteful it is to the writer to relate personal experiences, but sometimes, as in the present case, it seems necessary, and we shall crave indulgence for using the personal pronoun while relating to the incident.
One night some time ago while in transit to a place in a far country where I had a mission to perform, I heard a cry. Though the human voice can be heard only in air, there are overtones which are heard in the spiritual realms at distances exceeding those traversed by wireless messages. The cry was close by, however, and I was on the scene in an instant, but not soon enough to give the needed help. I found a man sliding down a slanting embankment, bare of vegetation, perhaps a dozen feet in width, and as it proved on subsequent examination, almost smooth, and without a fissure which would have afforded a hold for his fingers. To have saved him would have involved materialization of both arms and shoulders, but there was no time. In a moment he had slid over the overhanging precipice and was falling to the floor of the canyon below, probably several thousand feet, though I am not certain, being a poor judge of distance.
Prompted by a natural spirit of fellow feeling I followed and on the way observed the phenomenon which is the basis of this article, namely, that when the body had attained a considerable velocity, the ethers composing the vital body commenced to ooze out, and when the body crashed into the rocks below, a mangled mass, there was very little if any ether left in it. Gradually, however, the ethers drifted together, took form, and hovered with the finer vehicles above the mangled corpse; but the man was in a stupor unable to sense or realize the fact of his altered condition.
As soon as I saw that he was beyond present help I went on; but on thinking the matter over it dawned on me that something unusual had happened and that it was my duty to find out if the ethers left that way in everyone who fell, and if so, why. Under old-time conditions this would have been difficult, but the advent of the flying machine claims many victims, especially in these unfortunate war times. It was therefore easy to ascertain the fact that when a falling body has attained a certain velocity, the higher ethers leave the dense body, and the falling man becomes insensible. As the body reaches the ground, it is mangled, but the poor man may regain consciousness when the ether has reorganized itself. He will then begin to suffer from the physical consequences of the fall. If the fall continues after the higher ethers have left, the increased velocity dislodges the lower ethers, and the Silver Cord is all that remains attached to the body. This is ruptured at the moment of impact with the ground, and the seed atom passes on to the breaking point, where it is held in the usual way.
From these facts we came to the conclusion that it is the normal air pressure which holds the vital body within the dense. When we move with an abnormal velocity, the pressure is removed from some parts of the body and a partial vacuum formed, with the further result that the ethers leave the body and flow into this vacuum. The two higher ethers, which are most loosely bound, are the first to disappear and leave the man senseless after they have produced the panorama of life in a flash. Then if the fall continues to increase the air pressure in front of the body and the vacuum behind, the more closely bound lower ethers are also forced out, and the body is dead before it reaches the ground.
It was found by examining a number of people in normal health that each of the prismatic atoms composing the lower ethers radiated from itself the lines of force which set spinning the physical atoms in which it is inserted, enduing the whole body with life. The united trend of all these units of force is toward the periphery of the body, where they constitute what has been called the "Odic Fluid," also designated by other names. When the air pressure from without is lowered by residence in a high altitude, a tendency to nervousness becomes manifest because the etheric force from within rushes outward unchecked; and were the man not able to shut off the outflow of solar energy in part by an effort of will to overcome the difficulty, no one could live in such places.
We had heard of "shell shock" and we were aware that numbers of people who had not even the slightest wound were found dead on the battle field. In fact, we had seen and spoken with people who had passed out in this manner but were at a loss to know why death has resulted. They all disclaimed fear and were unanimously in their assertion that they had suddenly become unconscious and a moment later they had found themselves in that they had not a single scratch on their bodies. Our preconceived idea that it must have been a momentary fear at a particularly close call which though unrealized, had caused their demise, prevented a full investigation; but the ascertained results of the consequences of a fall led us to believe that something similar might take place in this connection, and this surmise proved to be correct.
When a large projectile passes through the air, it creates a vacuum behind it by the enormous velocity wherewith it moves, and if a person is within this vacuum zone while the shell is passing, he suffers in a measure determined by his own nature and his proximity to the center of suction. His position is in fact a reverse replica of the man who falls; for he stands still while a moving body removes the air pressure and allows the ethers to escape. If the amount of ether dislocated is comparatively slight and is composed only of the third and fourth ethers which govern sense perception and memory, he will probably suffer only a temporary loss of memory and inability to sense things or move. This disability will disappear when the extracted ethers are again fitted inside the dense body—a much more difficult achievement than where the physical body succumbs and the reorganization takes place without reference to that vehicle.
Had the people thus hurt learned now to perform the exercises which separate the higher and lower ethers, they might have found themselves outside the body in full consciousness and perhaps ready for their first soul flight if they has had the courage to undertake it. However that may be, it is safe to say that on their return to the dense body they would have experienced very little if any inconvenience, and in case the vacuum had been strong enough to extract all four ethers and cause death, there would probably have been no unconsciousness such as overtakes the ordinary person; for it was discovered that the people who said that they felt unconscious for a moment only were wrong. It required a time varying from one to several days in the cases we investigated before the vital body was reorganized and consciousness re-established.
Let us now see what bearing these newly discovered facts have on the coming of Christ and our meeting with Him. While we lived in ancient Atlantis in the basins of the earth, pressure of the moisture-laden mist was very heavy. This hardened the dense body, and as a further result the vibrations of the interpenetrating finer vehicles were considerably slowed down. This was especially true of the vital body, which is made of ether, a grade of matter belonging to the physical world and subject to some of the physical laws. The solar life did not penetrate the dense mist in the same abundance as is present in the clear atmosphere of today. Add to this the fact that the vital bodies of that day were almost entirely composed of the two lower ethers, which further assimilation and reproduction, and we shall understand that progress was very slow. Man led mainly a vegetative existence, and his main exertions were devoted to the purpose of obtaining food and reproducing his kind.
Had such a man been removed to our atmosphere conditions the, lack of exterior pressure would have resulted in an outflowing of the vital body which means death. Gradually the physical body grew less dense and the amount of the two higher ethers increased, so that man become fitted to live in a clear atmosphere under a decreased pressure such as we have enjoyed since the historical event known as the "Flood" when the mist condensed. Since that time we have also been able to specialize more of the solar life force. The larger proportion of the two higher ethers now found in our vital bodies enables us to express the higher human attributes appropriate to the development of this age.
The vibrations of the vital body under the present atmospheric conditions have enabled the spirit to build that which we call civilization, consisting of industrial and artistic achievements and of moral and spiritual standards, the industrial and moral excellence being as closely connect and interdependent as the artistic achievement is dependent on a spiritual conception. Industry is designed to develop the moral side of man's nature, art to unfold the spiritual. Thus we are now being prepared for the next step in our unfoldment.
Let it now be remembered that the qualifications necessary for our emancipation from the conditions prevailing in Atlantis were party physiological; we had to evolve lungs to breathe the pure air in which we are now immersed and which allows the vital body to vibrate at a more rapid rate than did the heavy moisture of Atlantis. With this in mind we shall readily see that future advancement lies in freeing the vital body entirely from the trammels of the dense body and letting it vibrate in pure air.
This is what happened in the lofty altitude exoterically known as the "Mount of Transfiguration." Advanced men of various ages, Moses, Elijah, and Jesus (or rather the body of Jesus ensouled by Christ) appeared in the luminous garment of the liberated soul body, which all will wear in the New Galilee, the Kingdom of Christ. "Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom," for it would interfere with the spiritual progress of the day; so when Christ appears we must be prepared with a soul body and thus be ready to part from our dense body to be "caught up and meet Him in the air."
The results of the investigation which form the basis of the present article may give us an insight into the method of transition when compared with the information given in the Bible. It is said that the Lord will appear with a mighty sound like the voice of an Archangel. We read of thunders and the blasts of trumpets in connection with the event. A sound is an atmospheric disturbance, and since the passage of a projectile made by man can lift the vital bodies of soldiers out of their dense bodies, it needs no argument to prove that the shout of a superhuman voice could accomplish similar results more efficiently—"in the twinkling of an eye."
"When shall these things be?" asked the disciples. They were told that as it was in the days of Noah (when the Fifth Epoch was about to be ushered in), so should it be in the Day of Christ. They ate and drank, they married and were given in marriage. But some who perhaps seemed not so different from the rest, had evolved the all-important lungs so that when the atmosphere cleared they were able to breathe pure air, while others who had only the gill clefts perished. In the Day of Christ when His voice sounds the Call, there will be some who will find themselves with a properly organized soul body, able to ascent above the discarded dense bodies, while others will be like the soldiers who meet death from "shell shock" on the battle fields today. May we prepare for that day by following in His steps.
There are at the present time many who, judging from the signs of the times, believe Christ to be at the door and are watching him in joyful anticipation. Though, in the opinion of the writer, the "things which must first come to pass" have not taken place in many important particulars, we must not forget that He gave warning that "as it was in the days of Noah, so shall be in the day of the Son of Man." Then they ate, drank, and made merry; they married and were given in marriage up to the very moment when the flood descended and engulfed them. Only a small remnant was saved. Therefore we who pray for His coming will do well to watch also lest our prayers be answered before we are ready, for He said, "The day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night."
But there is also another danger, a very great danger which He pointed out, namely, "There shall be false Christs;" and "they shall deceive even the very elect, if that were possible." So we are warned that if people say, "Christ is here in the city or there in the desert," we are not to go, or we shall certainly be deceived.
But on the other hand, if we do not investigate, how shall we know? May we not run the risk of rejecting Christ by refusing to hear all claimants and judging each according to merits? When we examine the injunctions of the Bible upon this point, they seem bewildering and altogether subversive of the end they are supposed to help us attain, and the great question,: How shall we know Christ at His coming?" is still rife. We have issued a pamphlet on this subject but feel sure additional light will be welcome to all.
Christ said that some of the false Christs would work signs and wonders. He always refused to prove His divinity in that sordid manner when asked to do so by the scribes and Pharisees, because He knew that phenomena only excited the sense of wonder and whetted the appetite for more. Those who witness such manifestations are sometimes sincere in their efforts to convince others but they are generally met with an attitude of mind which says in effect: "You say you have seem him do so and so and therefore you believe. Very well! I also am willing to be convinced. Let him show me."
But even supposing a Master were willing to prove his identity, who among the multitude is qualified to judge the validity of the proof? No one! Who knows the sign of the Master when he sees it? The sign of the Master is not a phenomenon which may be repudiated or explained away by the sophists, neither is it something the Master may show or hide as he pleases, nor can he take it up and lay it aside at will. He is forced to carry it with him always as we carry our arms and limbs. It would be just as impossible to hide the sign of the Master from those qualified to see, know and judge it as it would be for us to hide our members, from anyone who has physical sight. On the other hand, as the sign of the Master is spiritual, it must be spiritually perceived, and it is therefore is impossible to show the sign of the Master to those who lack spiritual sight as it is to show a physical figure to the physically blind.
Therefore we read: "A wicked and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign, and there shall no sign be given unto it." A little further on in the same chapter (Matt.16) we find the Christ asking His disciples, "Whom do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?" The answer developed that though the Jews saw in Him a superior person, Moses, Elias, or one of the prophets, they were incapable of recognizing His true character. They could not see the sign of the Master, or they would have needed no other testimony.
Christ then turned to His disciples and asked them, "But whom say ye that I am?" And from Peter came the answer weighted with conviction, quick and to the point, "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God." He had seen the sign of the Master, and he knew whereof he spoke, independent of phenomena and exterior circumstances, as emphasized by Christ when He said, "Blessed art thou, Simon, Son of Jonah, for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven." In other words, the perception of this Great Truth depended upon an interior qualification.
What this qualification was, and is, we learn from the next words of Christ: "And I say also unto thee that thou art Peter (Petros, a rock,) and upon this rock (petra) I will build my church."
Christ said concerning the multitude of materialistic Jews: "A wicked and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign, and there shall no sign be given unto it but the sign of the prophet Jonah"; and much speculation has been the consequence among equally materialistic Christians in latter times. Some have contended that an ordinary whale did swallow the prophet and later cast him ashore. Churches have divided on this as on many other foolish issues. But when we consult the esoteric records we find an interpretation which satisfies the heart without doing violence to the mind.
This great allegory, like so many other myths, is pictured upon the film of the firmament, for it was first enacted in heaven before it was staged on the earth, and we still see in the starry sky "Jonah, the Dove," and "Cetus, the Whale". But we will not concern ourselves so much with the celestial phase as with its terrestrial application.
"Jonah" means dove, a well recognized symbol of the Holy Spirit. During the three "days" comprising the Saturn, Sun, and Moon revolutions of the Earth Period, and the "nights" between, the Holy Spirit with all the Creative Hierarchies worked in the Great Deep perfecting the inward parts of the earth and men, removing the dead weight of the moon. Then the Earth emerged from its watery stage of development in the middle Atlantean Epoch, and so did "Jonah, the Spirit Dove," accomplish the salvation of the greater part of mankind.
Neither the earth nor its inhabitants were capable of maintaining their equilibrium in space, and the Cosmic Christ therefore commenced to work with and on us, finally at the baptism descending as a dove (not in the form of a dove but as a dove) upon the man Jesus. And as Jonah, the dove of the Holy Spirit, was three Days and three Nights in the Great Fish (the earth submerged in water), so at the end of our involutionary pilgrimage must the other dove, the Christ, enter the heart of the earth for the coming three revolutionary Days and Nights to give us the needed impulse on our evolutionary journey. He must help us to etherealize the earth in preparation for the Jupiter Period.
Thus Jesus become at his baptism, "a Son of the Dove," and was recognized by another, "Simon Bar-Jonah," (Simon, son of the dove). At that recognition, by the sign of the dove, the Master calls the other "a rock," a foundation Stone, and promises him the "Keys to Heaven." These are not idle words nor haphazard promises. These are phases of soul development involved which each must undergo if he has not passed them.
What then is the "sign of Jonah" which the Christ bore about with Him, visible to all who could see, other than the "house from heaven" wherewith Paul longed to be clothed; the glorious treasure house wherein all the noble deeds of many lives glitter and glisten as precious pearls? Everybody has a little "house from heaven." Jesus, holy and pure beyond the rest, probably was a splendid sight, but think how indescribably effulgent must have been the vehicle of splendor in which the Christ descended; then we shall have some conception of the "blindness" of those who asked for "a sign." Even among His other disciples He found the same spiritual cataract. "Show us the Father," said Philip, oblivious to the mystic Trinity in Unity which ought to have been obvious to him. Simon, however, was quick to perceive, because he himself had by spiritual alchemy made this spiritual petros or "stone" of the philosopher which entitled him to the "Keys of the Kingdom"; an Initiation making usable the latent powers of the candidate evolved by service.
We find that these "stones" for the "temple made without hands" undergo an evolution or process of preparation. There is first the "petros," the diamond in the rough, so to speak, found in nature. When read with the heart, such passages as 1st Cor.10:4, "And did all drink the same spiritual drink; for they drank of that spiritual Rock (Petros) that followed them: and that Rock was Christ," are illuminating in this connection. Gradually, very gradually, we have become impregnated with the Water of Life which sprang from the Great Rock. We have also become polished as "lithoi zontes" (Living Stones), destined to be grouped with that Great Stone which the Builder rejected; and when we have wrought well to the end, we shall finally receive in the Kingdom the diadem, the most precious of all, the "psiphon leuken," (the white stone) with its New Name.
There are three steps in the evolution of "The Stone of the Sage": Petros, the hard rough rock; lithon, the stone polished by service and ready to be written on; and psiphon leuken, the soft white stone that draws to itself all who are weak and heavy laden. Much is hidden in the nature and composition of the stone at each step which cannot be written; it must be read between the lines. If we hope to build the Living Temple with Christ in the Kingdom, we would do well to prepare ourselves that we may fit in, and then we shall know the Master and the Sign of the Master.
In this connection we will give some extracts from the wonderful poem by Longfellow which is called "The Legend Beautiful."
"In his chamber all alone,
Kneeling on the floor of stone
Prayed the Monk in deep contrition
For his sins of indecision,
Prayed for greater self-denial
In temptation and in trial;
It was noonday by the dial,
And the Monk was all alone.
"Suddenly, as if it lightened,
An unwonted splendor brightened
All within him and without him
In that narrow cell of stone;
And he saw the Blessed Vision
Of our Lord, with Light Elysian
Like a vesture wrapped about him,
Like a garment round him thrown."
This was not the suffering Savior, however, but the Christ feeding the hungry and healing the sick.
"In an attitude imploring,
Hands upon his bosom crossed,
Wondering, worshiping, adoring,
Knelt the Monk in rapture lost.
* * * * * *
"Then amid his exaltation,
Loud the convent bell appalling,
From its belfry calling, calling,
Rang through court and corridor
With persistent iteration
He had never heard before."
This was his call to the duty of feeding the poor as Christ had done, for he was the almoner of the Brotherhood.
"Deep distress and hesitation
Mingled with his adoration;
Should he go, or should he stay?
Should he leave the poor to wait
Hungry at the convent gate,
Till the Vision passed away?
Should he slight his radiant guest,
Slight his visitant celestial,
For a crowd of ragged, bestial
Beggars at the convent gate?
Would the Vision there remain?
Would the Vision come again?
Then a voice within his breast
Whispered, audible and clear
As if to the outward ear:
'Do they duty; that is best;
Leave unto thy Lord the rest!'
Straightaway to his feet he started,
And with longing look intent
On the Blessed Vision bent,
Slowly from his cell departed,
Slowly on his errand went.
"At the gate the poor were waiting,
Looking through the iron grating,
With that terror in the eye
That is only seen in those
Who amid their wants and woes
Hear the sound of doors that close,
And of feet that pass them by;
Grown familiar with disfavor,
Grown familiar with the savor
Of the broad by which men die!
But today, they knew not why,
Like the gate of Paradise
Seemed the convent gate to rise,
Like a sacrament divine
Seemed to them the bread and wine.
In his heart the Monk was praying,
Thinking of the homeless poor,
What they suffer and endure;
What we see not, what we see;
And the inward voice was saying:
'Whatsoever thing thou doest
To the least of mine and lowest,
That doest unto me!'
"Unto me! but had the Vision
Come to him in beggar's clothing,
Come to mendicant imploring,
Would he then have knelt adoring,
Or have listened with derision,
And have turned away with loathing?
"Thus his conscience put the question,
Full of troublesome suggestion,
As at length, with hurried pace,
Towards his cell he turned his face,
And beheld the convent bright
With supernatural light,
Like a luminous cloud expanding
Over floor and wall and ceiling.
"But he passed with awe-struck feeling
At the threshold of this door,
For the Vision still was standing
As he left it there before,
When the convent bell appalling,
From its belfry calling, calling,
Summoned him to feed the poor.
Through the long hour intervening
It had waited his return,
And he felt his bosom burn,
Comprehending all the meaning,
When the Blessed Vision said,
'Hadst thou stayed, I must have fled!"
Let me tell you a story:
Ages and ages ago—so long ago in fact that it was almost as far away as yesterday—darkness enveloped the earth, and men were groping for the light. Some there were who had found it and who undertook to show men the reflection thereof, and they were eagerly sought. Among them there was one who had been to the city of light for a little while and had absorbed some of its brilliancy. Straightway men and women from all over the land of darkness sought him. They journeyed thousands of miles because they had heard of this light; and when he heard that a company was traveling towards his house, he set to work and prepared to give them the very best he had. He planted poles all around his house and put lights upon them so that his visitors might not hurt themselves in the darkness. He and his household ministered to their wants, and he taught them as best he knew.
But soon since his visitors murmured. They had thought to find him seated upon a pedestal radiant with celestial light. In fancy they had seen themselves worshiping at his shrine; but instead of the spiritual light they had expected they had caught him in the very act of stringing electric lights to illuminate the place. He did not even wear a turban or a robe, because, the order to which he belonged had as one its fundamental rules that is members must wear the dress of the country in which they lived.
So the visitors came to the conclusion that they had been tricked and swindled and that he had no light. They they took up stones and stoned him and his household; they would have killed him had it not been that they feared the law, which in that land required an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. Then they went away again into the land of the darkness, and whenever they saw a soul headed towards the light, they held up their hands in horror and said, "Do not go there; that is not a true light, it is as a jack-o-lantern and it will lead you astray. We know there is absolutely no spirituality there." Many believed them, and thus came to pass in that case, as so many times before, the saying that was written in one of their old books: "This is the condemnation, that light has come into the world but men love darkness rather than light."
As it was in that far-away yesterday, so also it is today. Men are running hither and thither seeking for light. Often like Sir Launfal they travel to the ends of the earth, wasting their whole lives seeking for the thing that they call Spirituality," but meeting disappointment after disappointment. But just as Sir Launfal, having spent his whole life in vain search away from his home, finally found in the Holy Grail right at his own castle gate, so every honest seeker after spirituality will, shall, and must find it in his own heart. The only danger is that like the company of seekers mentioned, he may miss it because he does not recognize it. No one can recognize true spirituality in others until he had in a measure evolved it in his own self.
It may therefore be well to try to settle definitely, "what is spirituality?" to give a guide whereby we may find this great Christ attribute. In order to do this we must leave our preconceived ideas behind, or we shall certainly fail. The idea most commonly held is that spirituality manifests through prayer and meditation; but if we look at our Savior's life, we shall find that it was not an idle one. He was not a recluse, He did not go away and hide Himself from the world. He went among people, He ministered to their daily wants; He fed them when that was necessary; He healed them whenever He had the opportunity, and He also taught them. Thus He was in the very truest sense of the word a servant of humanity.
The monk in "The Legend Beautiful" saw Him thus when he was engaged in prayer, rapt in spiritual ecstasy. But just then the convent bell struck the hour of twelve, and it was his duty to go and imitate the Christ, feeding the poor who had gathered around the convent gate. Great indeed was the temptation to stay, to bathe in the heavenly vibrations, but there came the voice, "Do thy duty, that is best; leave unto thy Lord the rest" How could he have adored the Savior whom he saw feeding the poor and healing the sick while at the same time leaving the hungry poor to stand outside the convent gate waiting for him to perform his duties? It would have been positively wicked for him to have stayed there; and so the Vision said to him upon his return: "Hast thou stayed, I must have fled."
Such self-indulgence would have been absolutely subversive of the purpose he had in view. If he had not been faithful in little things pertaining to earthly duties, how could it be expected that he would be faithful in the greater spiritual work? Naturally, unless able to stand the test, he could not be given greater powers.
There are many people who seek spiritual powers, wandering from one so-called esoteric center to another; who enter monasteries and like places of seclusion, hoping by running away from the world's clamor and glamour to cultivate their spiritual nature. They bask in the sunshine of prayer and meditation from morning till night while the world is moaning in agony.
Then they wonder why they do not progress; why they do not get further upon the path of aspiration. Truly prayer and meditation are necessary, absolutely essential to soul growth. But we are doomed to failure if we depend for soul growth upon prayers which are only words. To obtain results we must live in such a manner that our whole life becomes prayer, an aspiration. As Emerson said:
"Although your knees were never bent,
To heaven your hourly prayers are sent,
And be they formed for good or ill,
Are registered and answered still."
It is not the words we speak in moments of prayer that count, but it is the life that leads up to the prayer. What is the use of praying for peace on earth on Sunday when we are making bullets during the whole week? How can we pray God to forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us when we carry hate in our hearts?
There is only one way to show our faith, and that is by our works; It does not matter in what department of life we have been placed, whether we are high or low, rich or poor, it is immaterial whether we are engaged in stringing electric lights to save our fellows a physical fall, or whether it is our privilege to stand upon a platform to give out the spiritual light and point out to others the way of the soul. It is absolutely unessential whether our hands are grimy with the lowest labor, perhaps digging a sewer to maintain the health of our community, or whether they are soft and white as required when nursing the sick.
The determining factor which decides whether any class of work is spiritual or material is our attitude in the matter. The man who strings the electric lights may be far more spiritual than the one who stands upon the platform; for alas, there are many who go to that sacred duty with the desire to tickle the ears of their congregation by fine oratory rather than to give heart-felt love and sympathy. It is much more noble work to clean out the clogged sewer, as did the despised brother in Kennedy's "Servant in the House," than it is to live falsely in the dignity of a teacher's office, implying a spirituality that is not actually there. Everyone who tries to cultivate this rare quality of spirituality must always begin by doing everything to the glory of the Lord; for when we do all things as unto the Lord, it does not matter what kind of work we do. Digging a sewer, inventing a labor saving device, preaching a sermon, or anything else is spiritual work when it is done in love to God and man.
It is now several years since the teaching of the Elder Brothers was first published in The Rosicrucian Cosmo-Conception, and we have since added to our literature. It now seems appropriate that we take stock of our work to see what we have done with the talents entrusted to our care.
In the first place let us realize that the reason why we are students of The Rosicrucian Teachings is because at some time we have been dissatisfied with the explanations of the problems of life given elsewhere. We have all sought light upon the riddle, and some among us, like the man spoken of in the Bible saw a pearl of great price and went and sold all we had and bought the pearl, which symbolizes knowledge of the Kingdom of Heaven. In other words, some among us have been so anxious to find light and so overjoyed when it was found that we have given our whole life, thought, and energy to this work. Previously assumed obligations prevent the majority from enjoying this great privilege, but everyone of us, if we have been helped, is bound under the law of compensation to make some return, for interchange and circulation are everywhere correlative to life, as stagnation is to death.
We know that we cannot continue to gorge ourselves upon physical good and retain what we have eaten, and that unless elimination maintains the equilibrium, death soon follows. Neither can we with impunity gorge ourselves with a mental diet. We must share our treasure with others and use our knowledge in the world's work or run the danger of stagnation in the quagmire of metaphysical speculation.
During the years which have elapsed since The Rosicrucian Cosmo-Conception was published, students have had ample time to familiarize themselves with its teachings. We can no longer excuse ourselves by saying we do not know the philosophy because we have had no time to study it and therefore cannot explain it to others. Even those who have had the least time to study because of the duties which call them in their work in the world ought now to be sufficiently posted to "give a reason for the faith" which is within them, as Paul exhorted us all to do. Even if we do not succeed in showing the light to everyone who asks for it, we owe it to ourselves, to the Elder Brothers, and to humanity to make the attempt. Our own soul growth depends upon the share we have in the growth of the movement wherewith we have connected ourselves, and it is therefore expedient that we should realize thoroughly what the mission of the Rosicrucian Teachings is.
This you will find thoroughly and clearly elucidated in the introductory section of the "Cosmo." Briefly stated, it is to give an explanation of the problem of life which will satisfy both the mind and the heart, and thus solve the perplexities of the two classes of people who are now groping in the dark for want of this unifying knowledge, and who may be broadly spoken of for the purposes of our discussion as the church people and the scientists. By the first term we will designate all who are led by sincere devotion or kindliness of nature, whether belonging to a church or not. In the second class we mean to include all who are looking at life from the purely mental viewpoint, whether they class themselves as scientists or not. It is the aim and object of The Rosicrucian Cosmo-Conception to widen the spiritual scope of a rapidly increasing number among these two classes who realize more or less clearly that there is a lack of something vitally important in their present view of life and being.
You will remember that when David desired to build a temple for the Lord he was denied the privilege because has had been a man of war. There are organizations in the world today which are always fighting other organizations, always finding fault and striving to tear down, thus warring just as much as David did in ancient days. They cannot with such a state of mind be permitted to build the temple which is made with living stones of men and women, that temple which Manson in "The Servant in the House" speaks of in such beautiful terms. Therefore, when we go about endeavoring to spread the truths of the Rosicrucian Teachings, let us always bear in mind that we may not with impunity decry the religion of anyone else nor antagonize him, and that it is not our mission to war against his error, which will manifest itself in due time.
Do you remember that when David had passed out and Solomon reigned in his stead, the latter saw the Lord in a dream, and asked for wisdom? He was given the choice of whatever he might ask, and he asked for wisdom to guide the people. This answer, in effect, was given him: Because it was in your heart to ask wisdom, because you have not asked for riches or long life or for victory over your enemies or anything like that but have prayed for wisdom, therefore that wisdom shall be given you and much more than that. Therefore it may be well for us at this time to devote ourselves to heartfelt prayers for wisdom, and in order that we may recognize it, it will be well to discuss what true wisdom is.
It is said, and truly, that knowledge is power. Knowledge, though in itself neither good nor evil, may be used either for one purpose or the other. Genius merely shows the bent of knowledge, but genius also may be good or evil. We speak of a military genius, one who has a wonderful knowledge of the tactics of war, but such a man cannot be truly good, for he is bound to be heartless and destructive in the expression of his genius.
A man of war, whether he be a Napoleon or a common soldier, can never be wise, because he must deliberately crush all finer feelings of which we take the heart as a symbol. On the other hand, a wise ruler is big-hearted as well as having a powerful intellect, so that one balances the other in promoting the interests of his people. Even the deepest knowledge along religious or esoteric lines is not wisdom, as we are taught by Paul in that wonderful thirteenth chapter of first Corinthians, where he says in effect: Though I have all the knowledge so that I could solve all mysteries, and have not love, I am nothing. Only when knowledge has wed love, do they merge into wisdom, the expression of Christ principle, the second phase of Deity.
We should be very careful to discriminate properly at this point. We may have discrimination between what is expedient for the attainment of a certain end and what hinders and we may choose present ills for future attainment, but even in this we do not necessarily express wisdom. Knowledge, prudence, discretion, and discrimination are all born of the mind; all by themselves alone are snares of evil from which Christ in the Lord's prayer taught us to pray that we might be delivered. Only when these mind-born faculties are tempered by the heart-born faculty of love does the blended product become wisdom. If we read the thirteenth chapter of first Corinthians, substituting the word wisdom for the word charity or love, we shall understand what this great faculty is that we ought so ardently to desire.
It is, then, the mission of the Rosicrucian Teachings to promulgate a combined doctrine of the head and the heart, which is the only true wisdom, for no teaching that lacks either of these complements can really be called wise, any more than we can strike a chord of music on one string; for as the nature of man is complex, the teaching which is to assist him to cleanse, purify, and elevate this nature must be multiplex in aspect. Christ followed this principle when He gave us that wonderful prayer, which in its seven stanzas touches the keynote of each of the seven human vehicles and blends them into that master chord of perfection which we call the Lord's Prayer.
But how shall we teach the world this wonderful doctrine received from the Elder Brothers? The answer to this question is first, last, and all the time: By living the life. It is said to the everlasting credit of Mohammed that his wife became his first disciple, and it is certain that it was not his teaching alone but the life which he lived in the home, day in and day out, year in and year out, which won the confidence of his companion to such an extent that she was willing to trust her spiritual fate in his hands. It is comparatively easy to stand before strangers who know nothing bad about us and to whom our shortcomings are therefore not patent, and preach for an hour or two each week, but it is totally different thing to preach twenty four hours a day in the home as Mohammed must have done by living the life. It we would have the success in our propaganda that he had in his, we must, each and everyone of us, begin in the home, begin by demonstrating to those with whom we live that the teachings which guide us are truly wisdom teachings. It is said that charity begins at home. This is the word that should have been translated "love" in the thirteenth chapter of first Corinthians. Change this also into wisdom and let it read, wisdom propaganda begins at home. Then let this be our motto throughout the years: "By living the life at home we can advance the cause better than in any other way." Many skeptical families have been converted by husbands or wives in the Rosicrucian Teachings. May the rest follow.
This is a subject which ought to interest everybody, for surely we all desire to be successful; but the question is what constitutes success? And to this question perhaps each individual would have a different answer. But a little thought will soon make it clear that whatever path we pursue in our desire to attain success, that path must follow the evolutionary trend of mankind. Therefore there must be a general answer as to what constitutes success and what is the secret thereof. It would be a mistake, however, to try to find the solution of this problem just by examining the life of man during our present age. Paying regard to what he has been before and with an eye also to the future development of humanity is the only way to obtain the perspective which is necessary to arrive at the proper answer to this momentous question.
We do not need to go into details to a great extent. We may mention that in the earlier epochs of our evolution when man-in-the-making was coming down from the spiritual world into his present material existence, the secret of success lay in a knowledge of the physical world and the conditions therein. It was not necessary at that time to tell humanity about the spiritual world and our finer vehicles, for these were facts patent to everybody. We saw and lived in the spiritual realms. But we were then coming into the physical world, and therefore the schools of Initiation taught the pioneers of mankind the laws which govern the physical world and initiated them into the arts and crafts whereby they might conquer the material realm. From that time until a comparatively recent date humanity has been working to perfect itself in these branches of knowledge, which reached their highest expression in the centuries just prior to the discovery of steam and are now in their decadence.
At first thought this may seem an unwarranted statement, but a careful examination of the facts will very quickly develop the truth thereof. In the so-called "dark ages" there were no factories, but every town and village was full of small shops in which the master, sometimes alone and at other times with a few journeymen and apprentices, wrought the works of his trade from the raw material to the finished product, exercising his skill and creative instinct and putting his heart and soul into every piece of work that left his hands. If he were a blacksmith, he knew how to produce ornamental ironwork fit for signs, gates, and other things which went to make up the quaint beauty of those medieval villages and towns. Nor did his handiwork ever leave him entirely; as he walked about the town he might look upon this, that, or the other ornament, and pride himself upon the beauty thereof; pride himself also in the knowledge of how he had won the respect and admiration of his fellow townsmen by his artistic and conscientious work. The joiner who made the framework of the chairs, also upholstered them and made those artistic designs which we are today seeking to follow. The shoemaker, the weaver, and all other craftsmen without exception produced the finished article from the raw material, and each took pride in his handiwork. Also they toiled long hours, but there was no murmur or complaint, for each found a satisfaction in this exercise of his creative instinct. The song of the blacksmith to the accompaniment of the hammer on the anvil was a fact in every shop, and the journeymen and apprentices felt themselves not slaves but Masters in the making.
Then came the age of steam and machinery and with it a new system of labor. Instead of the production of the finished article from the raw material by one man, which gave satisfaction to his creative instinct, the new plan was to make men tenders of machines which produced only parts of the finished articles. These parts were then assembled by others. While this plan decreased the cost of production and increased the output, it left no scope for the creative instinct of a man. He became merely a cog in some great machine. In the medieval shop money was indeed a minor consideration; the joy of production was everything; time mattered not. But under the new system men commenced to work for money and against time, with the result that the souls of both master and men are now starved. They have lost the substance and retained only the shadow of all that makes life worth living, for they are laboring for something which they can neither use nor enjoy. This applies to both master and men.
What would we say of a young man who should set himself the goal of accumulating a million handkerchiefs which he could never by any possible chance use? Surely we should call him a fool; and why should we not place the man who spends all his energy and foregoes all the comforts of life to become a millionaire, in the same category? This system cannot continue, for it is giving man a stone when he asks for bread, and there must be some other development in store for him. New standards must be in the process of development, new ideals must be looming up to give us a wider vision. For hints as to the trend of evolution we must look to those among us who are most gifted with inspiration, the poets and seers. James Russell Lowell sounds perhaps the clearest note in his vision of Sir Launfal. A knight leaving his castle imbued with a desire to do great and valiant things for God, is going to join the Crusaders and seek the Holy Grail in far distant Palestine. He leaves his castle self-satisfied, proud, and arrogant, bent on his mission. At the castle gate he meets a poor beggar, a leper, who stretches out his hands asking for alms. Sir Launfal, however, has no compassion, but in order to be rid of the loathsome thing, he throws him a golden coin and endeavors to forget him.
"But the leper raised not the gold from the dust, 'Better to me the poor man's crust, Better the blessing of the poor, Though I turn empty for his door. That is not true alms which the hand can hold; He gives only the worthless gold Who gives from a sense of duty; But he who gives from a slender mite, And gives to that which is out of sight—That thread of all-sustaining beauty Which runs through all and doth all unite—The hand cannot clasp the whole of his aims, The heart outstretches its eager palms, For a god goes with it and makes it store To the soul that was starving in darkness before.'"
But what of Sir Launfal? Could he be expected in such a frame of mind to attain success and find the Grail? Certainly not. So disappointment after disappointment meets him, and finally he returns to his castle, discouraged and humbled in heart. There he again meets the leper, and at the sight of him,
"The heart within him was ashes and dust;
He parted in twain his single crust,
He broke the ice on the streamlet's brink,
And gave the leper to eat and drink."
Then, having fulfilled the task of mercy, the reward comes with it:
"The leper no longer crouched by his side'
But stood before him glorified,
* * * * * * *
And the Voice that was softer than silence said,
'Lo, it is I, be not afraid!
In many lands, without avail,
Thou hast spent thy life for the Holy Grail;
Behold, it is here—this cup which thou
Didst fill at the streamlet for me but now!
This crust is my body broken for thee,
This water the blood I shed on the tree;
The Holy Supper is kept, indeed,
In whatso we share with another's need;
Not what we give, but what we share—
For the gift without the giver is bare;
Who gives himself with his aims feeds three:
Himself, his hungering neighbor, and me.'"
In these words lies the secret of success, which consists in doing the little things, the perhaps seemingly disagreeable things which are close to our hands, instead of going afar and seeking for chimerical phantasms which never develop into anything definite or tangible.
What will doing the former accomplish for us? may be pertinently inquired. Again we may take the answer from a poet, Oliver Wendell Holmes, who tells us of the little chambered nautilus. It first builds a small cell only large enough to hold it. Then as it grows, it adds another chamber which is larger and which it then occupies for the next period of growth, and so on until it has made a spiral shell as large as it can, which it then leaves. This idea he puts into the following lines:
"Build thee more stately mansions, O my soul,
As the swift seasons roll!
Leave thy low vaulted past!
Let each new temple, nobler than the last,
Shut thee from heaven with a dome more vast,
Till thou at length art free,
Leaving thine outgrown shell by life's unresting sea!"
When we have come to this point, we have obtained success—all the success that we can get in our present world—and we are entering a new sphere of larger opportunities.
From time to time, seemingly following a law of periodicity, the same difficulties crop up in the minds of students. At the same time a number of letters from different parts of the world ask for information on a subject, at another time on a different one, but after years the same subjects are revived. While help is given the individuals who ask, it may be that many more are interested in the same subject at the same time, hence this lesson on the death of the soul, which seems to exercise the mind perhaps because death of the body is so common and frequent.
Some years ago we published a lesson on "The Unpardonable Sin and Lost Souls" in connection with the sacraments which we were then explaining. It was there stated that all the sacraments have to do with the transmission of the seed atoms, which form the nuclei of our various bodies. The germ for our earthly body must be properly placed in fruitful soil to grow a suitable dense vehicle, and for this reason, as stated in Genesis, 1:27, "Elohim created man male and female." The Hebrew words are sacr va n'cabah.
These are names of the sex organs. Literally translated, sacr means the bearer of the germ; and thus marriage is a sacrament, for it opens the way for the transmission of the physical seed atom from the father to the mother and tends to preserve the race against the ravages of death.
Baptism as a sacrament signifies the germinal urge of the soul for higher life, the planting of a spiritual seed.
Communion is the sacrament in which we partake of bread made from the seed of chaste plants, and in which the cup symbolizing the passionless seed pod points to the age to come, an age when marriage will be unnecessary to transmit the seed through a father and mother, but when we may feed directly upon cosmic life and thus conquer death.
Finally, Extreme Unction is the sacrament which marks the loosing of the silver cord and the extraction of the sacred germ, until it shall again be planted in another N'cabah, or mother.
As the seed and ovum are the root and basis of racial development, it is easy to see that no sin can be more serious than that which abuses the creative function, for by the sacrilege we stunt future generations and transgress against the Holy Spirit, Jehovah, who is the warden of the creative lunar force. His angels herald birth, as in the case of Isaac, John the Baptist, and Jesus. When He wanted to reward His most faithful follower, Abraham, He promised to make his seed as numerous as the sands on the seashore. He also meted out the most terrible punishment to the Sodomites, who committed sacrilege by misdirecting the seed; and the sin of Onan who wasted it is also a pointer in the same direction.
We are told in the Bible that mankind were forbidden to eat of the Tree of Knowledge under pain of death. But instead of patiently waiting for the periods of propitious interplanetary conditions Adam knew Eve, and since then she has borne her children in pain and suffering subject to premature death. Therefore the abuse of this sacred function for gratification of the passional nature, and particularly perversion, is recognized by esotericists as the unpardonable sin. It is to this James refers when he says, "There is a sin unto death. I do not say that ye shall pray for that."
But esoteric investigations have proved in this case, as with all other forms of hell preaching, that God and nature are much more lenient and merciful to man than man is to his fellows. Though the retributive justice meted out to those who have lived lives of sin and vice was found in all cases to be severe, nothing nearly as serious as the "death of the soul" occurs. So far as we have been able to learn, only the Black Magician who consciously misuses the seed for malicious purposes faces anything so serious as that implied in the phrase; and there would really be no need of going into the subject at all except that it throws side lights upon other matters of value to the student.
To understand this properly we must first call to the mind the sharp definitions of the terms spirit, soul and body as given in The Rosicrucian Cosmo-Conception. It is there stated that in the beginning of manifestation the Virgin Spirit, a spark from the Divine, involved itself in a three-fold veil of spirit-matter and thus became the Ego.
The threefold spirit cast a threefold shadow into the realm of matter, and thus the dense body was evolved as a counterpart of the Divine Spirit, the vital body as a replica of the Life Spirit, and the desire body as the image of the Human Spirit. Finally, and most important of all, the link of Mind was formed between the threefold spirit and its threefold body. This was the beginning of individual consciousness, and marks the point where the involution spirit into matter is finished and the evolutionary process whereby the spirit is lifted out of matter begins. Involution involves the crystallization of spirit into bodies, but evolution depends upon the dissolution of the bodies, the extraction of the soul-substance from them, and the alchemical amalgamation of this soul with the spirit.
At the beginning of evolution man consisted only of spirit and body,—he was soulless; but since then each life lived on earth in the great school of experience had made him more and more soulful according to the use which he has made of his opportunities. This is shown in the different gradation between the savage and the saint which we see all about us. It is the loss of the soul which is involved in the experience we describe as the death of the soul. The spirit itself can of course never die seeing that it is a spark from the Divine, without beginning and without end. How then can the death of the soul be brought about, and what is the real meaning of the phrase? This is a subject the writer does not like to dwell upon, but for the sake of the important side light it throws upon spiritual advancement, as already said, the facts will be given.
In the foregoing we have seen that the threefold spirit has projected a threefold body and that the purpose of evolution is the extraction of the threefold soul from his threefold body and the amalgamation thereof with the threefold spirit. Now mark this point for this is the important crux of the whole matter, a very valuable and important piece of information which will help the student to a more definite understanding of the subject than has hitherto been given: Much is said in esoteric literature about "the path"; but though to the initiated who already know, the statements of what it is and where it is are plentiful, this information has never before been given to the exoteric student. Paul tells us that to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritual minded is life and peace. This is the exact truth, for the Mind, which is the link between the Spirit and the body, is the path or bridge, the only means of transmission of soul to spirit. So long as man is carnally minded and turns his attention to worldly successes, cherishing as his motto proverb, "Let us eat, drink, and be merry for tomorrow we die," all his activities are centered in the lower part of his being, the personality, and he lives and dies like the animals, unconscious of the magnetic drawings of the spirit. But at length there comes a time when the yearnings of the spirit are felt, and the personality sees the light and sets out to seek its Higher Self across the bridge of mind. And as flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God, the body is crucified that the soul may be liberated and joined to its Father in Heaven, the threefold spirit, the Higher Self.
That at least is the general tendency, the higher elevates the lower. But unfortunately there are examples of the opposite where the lower personality becomes so strong in its materialism and where the mind becomes so firmly enmeshed with the lower vehicles that the personality refuses to sacrifice itself for the spirit, with the result that the bridge of mind is finally broken. The soulless personality may then continue to live for many years after this separation has taken place, and may perpetrate the most outrageous acts of cruelty and cunning until it succumbs. Black Magic which involves the perverted use of seed obtained from others is generally used by these soulless personalities for the purpose of satisfying their demoniac desires. Often they obtain power in a nation or a society, which they then delight in wrecking.
Meanwhile the spirit stands naked; it has no seed atoms wherewith to create further bodies, and it therefore automatically gravitates to the planet Saturn and thence to Chaos, where it must remain until the dawn of a new creative day. It may seem unjust at first sight that the spirit should be thus made to suffer though it has committed no wickedness; but on further thought it will be understood that as the personality is the creature of the Higher Self, the responsibility exists and cannot be evaded. Fortunately, however, such cases grow increasingly rare as we advance upon the pathway of evolution. Nevertheless, it behooves all to set their faces earnestly towards the goal so that the light on the path that leads toward our spiritual ideal, the union with the Higher Self, may grow brighter day by day.
At the end of the Taurean age, about 4,000 years ago, "God's people" fled from the wrath to come when they left Egypt, the land where they worshiped the Bull. They were led in their flight to the promised land by Moses, whose head in ancient esoteric pictures is adorned with wreathed ram's horns, symbolical of the fact that he was herald of the Aryan age of 2100 years, during which each Easter morning the vernal Sun colored the doorposts red as with the blood of the lamb, when it passed over the equator in the Constellation (not the sign) of the ram Aries. Similarly, when the sun by precession was approaching the watery constellation Pisces, the Fishes, John immersed the converts to the Messianic religion in the waters of Jordan, and Jesus called his disciples "fishers" of men. As the "lamb" was slain at the passover while the sun went through the constellation Aries, the Ram, so the faithful have in obedience to the command of their church fed on fishes during Lent in the present cycle of Pisces, the Fishes.
At the time when the sun by precession left the constellation Taurus, the Bull, the people who worshiped that animal were pronounced heathen and idolaters. A new symbol of the Savior, or Messiah, was found in the lamb, which correspond to the constellation Aries; but when the sun by precession left that sign, Judaism became a religion of the past, and thenceforth the bishops of the new Christian religion wore a miter shaped like a fish's head to designate their standing as ministers of the church during the Piscean Age, which is now drawing to a close.
By viewing the future through the perspective of the past, it is evident that a new age is to be ushered in when the sun enters the constellation Aquarius, the Water-bearer, a few hundred years hence. Judging by the events of the past it is reasonable to expect that a new phase of religion will supersede our present system, revealing higher and nobler ideals than our present conception of the Christian religion. It is therefore certain that if in that day we would not be classed among the idolaters and heathen, we must prepare to align ourselves with these new ideals.
John the Baptist, preached the gospel of preparedness in no uncertain words, warning people that the ax had been laid at the root of the tree. He cautioned them also to flee from the wrath to come, when the Son (Sun) of God should come, fan in hand, to separate the wheat from the chaff and burn it up. Christ likened the gospel to a little leaven which leavened a measure of flour.
At first sight the method of John seems to be most drastic, laying the ax at the root of the whole social structure, while the leavening process mentioned by Christ appears to be more gentle; but in reality it is even more thoroughgoing and drastic, as will be evident if we consider carefully what takes place when we make a loaf. It is a chemical revolution, a miniature war, involving an entire transformation of every atom of flour in the vessel; none can escape the action of the leaven, and there is a sound as of continual cannonading, explosion of bombs and shells, until the force of the leaven is spent and the dough transformed to a light sponge. But this war of the atoms, this chemical revolution, is absolutely indispensable in the process of bread making, for if the leavening process were omitted, the result would be a heavy, unpalatable, indigestible loaf. It is the transmutation wrought by the leaven which makes the loaf wholesome and nutritious.
The process of preparation for the Aquarian Age has already commenced, and as Aquarius is an airy, scientific, and intellectual sign, it is a foregone conclusion that the new faith must be rooted in reason and able to solve the riddle of life and death in a manner that will satisfy both the mind and the religious instinct.
Such is the Western Wisdom Religion promulgated by the Rosicrucian Teachings; like the leaven in the loaf, it is breaking down the fear of death engendered by the uncertainty surrounding the post-mortem existence. It is showing that life and consciousness continue under the laws as immutable as God, which tends to raise man to increasingly higher, nobler, and loftier states of spirituality. It kindles the beacon light of hope in the human heart by the assertion that as we have in the past evolved the five senses by which we contact the present visible world, so shall we in the not distant future evolve another sense which will enable us to see the denizens of the etheric region, as well as those of our dear ones who have left the physical body and inhabit the ether and lower desire world during the first stage of their career in the spiritual realms. The mission of Aquarius is aptly represented by the symbol of man emptying the water urn.
Aquarius is an airy sign having special rule over the ether. The Flood partly dried the air by depositing most of the moisture it held in the sea. But when the sun enters Aquarius by precession, the rest of the moisture will be eliminated and visual vibrations, which are most easily transmitted by a dry etheric atmosphere, will become more intense; thus conditions will be particularly conducive to production of the slight extension of our present sight necessary to open our eyes to the etheric region. California's production of psychics is an instance of this effect of a dry, electric atmosphere, though, of course, it is not nearly so dry as the air of the Aquarian Age will be.
Thus faith will be swallowed up in knowledge and we shall all be able to utter the triumphant cry, "O death, where is thy sting; O grave, where is thy victory?" But it is well to realize that by aspiration and meditation those who are longingly looking for that day are taking time by the forelock and may quite easily outstrip their fellows who are unaware of what is in store. The latter, on the other hand, may delay the development of extended vision by the belief that they are suffering from hallucinations when they begin to get their first glimpses of the etheric entities, and the fear that if they tell others what they see, they will be adjudged insane.
Therefore the Rosicrucian Teachings have been charged by the Elder Brothers with the mission of promulgating the gospel of the Aquarian Age, and of conducting a campaign of education and enlightenment, so that the world may be prepared for what is in store. The world must be leavened with those ideas:
(1) Conditions in the land of the living dead are not shrouded in mystery, but knowledge regarding them is as available as knowledge concerning foreign countries from the tales of travelers.
(2) We now stand close to the threshold where we shall all know these truths.
(3) And, most important of all, we shall hasten the day in our own case by acquiring knowledge of the facts concerning the post-mortem existence and the things we may expect to see, for then we shall know what to look for, and neither be frightened, astonished nor incredulous when we commence to obtain glimpses of these things.
Students should also realize that a serious responsibility goes with the possession of knowledge: "to whom much is given, of him much shall be required." If we hide or bury our "talent," may we not expect a merited condemnation? The Rosicrucian Teachings can only fulfill their mission in so far as each student does his or her duty in spreading the teachings, and therefore it is to be hoped that this may serve to call the attention of the student to the fact of his individual duty.
The etheric sight is similar to the X-ray in that it enables its possessor to see right through all objects, but it is much more powerful and renders everything as transparent as glass. Therefore in the Aquarian Age many things will be different from now, for instance, it will be extremely easy to study anatomy and to detect a morbid growth, a dislocation, or a pathological condition of the body. At present medical men of the highest standing admit regretfully that their diagnosis are only too frequently erroneous as shown by post-mortem observation; but when we have evolved the etheric sight, they will be able to study both anatomical structures and physiological processes without hindrance.
The etheric vision will not enable us to see one another's thoughts, for they are formed in still finer stuff, but it will make it largely impossible for us to live double lives and to act differently in our homes than we do in public. If we were aware that invisible entities now throng our houses, we should often feel ashamed of the things we do; but in the Aquarian Age there will be no privacy which may not be broken into by anyone who desires to see us. It will avail nothing that we send the office boy or maid out to tell an unwelcome visitor that we are "not in." This means that in the new age honesty and straightforwardness will be the only policies worth while, for we cannot then do wrong and hope to escape detection. There will be people whose base characters will lead them into ways of wickedness then as now, but they will at least be marked so that they may be avoided.
The student can easily conjecture a number of other conditions that will result from the extension of sight which will come with the Aquarian Age, and by living as near to that state as possible, he will be placing himself in a position to become one of the pioneers of that age when "there shall be no night," and when the "tree of life" shall bloom unceasingly by the transparent etheric "sea of glass" which permeates all things.
It is well known to students of the Rosicrucian teachings that we as spirits are immortal, without beginning and without end; that we have gone to the great school of experience many life-days in the past each time clad in a new child's body of finer texture, in which we lived for a time varying from a few hours to a lifetime, and when a day at life's school had been completed, we shuffled off this mortal coil, worn out and decrepit, to return to our heavenly home for rest and assimilation during the night of death of the lessons learned; later to be reborn and take up our lessons where we left them when we were called home from the previous session of the school of life.
During each day at life's school we met other spirits and formed ties of love and hate. In later lives we met again so that the debts of destiny thus incurred might be liquidated. And so our friends of today are those we befriended yesterlife, and our enemies are those with whom we were at variance in the forgotten past. Thus we are continually weaving the web of destiny on the loom of time, and creating for ourselves a garment of glory or gloom according to whether we have worked well or ill.
But we do not work out our individual destiny only, for as the proverb says, "No man liveth unto himself." We are grouped in families, tribes, races, and nations, and in addition to our individual destiny we are tied by the family and national destinies because we are under the guardianship of the angels and archangels who act as family and race spirits respectively. It is these great spirits who imprint on our seed atoms the racial form and features of the physical body. They also implant the national loves and hates on the seed atoms of our finer vehicles, because the race spirit broods like a cloud over the land inhabited by its wards, and the latter draw all the materials for their finer bodies from this atmosphere. In this race spirit, as a matter of actual fact, they live and move and have their being. From it their vehicles are formed. Yea, with every breath they breathe in this race spirit, so that it is absolutely true that it is nearer than hands and feet. It is this race spirit which imbues them with love or hate for other nations, thus determining the unfriendly and distrustful relations which obtain between certain nations and the trust and confidence which exists between others.
According to the teachings of the Rosicrucians, every spirit is reborn twice during the time it takes the sun by precession to go through a sign of the zodiac, once as man and once as woman. This is done in order that it may gain the experiences to be had in that sign from the viewpoint of both sexes. There are many modifications to this rule according to the necessities of individual spirits, for the law is not blind but it is under the administration of great beings called the Recording Angels in the Christian terminology. It is their duty to watch the Clock of Destiny and see when the time is ripe to reap the harvest of the past, and this applies both to individuals and to nations. Therefore if we study the characteristics of the nations recently locked in a titanic struggle, together with the aims for which they were fighting, and look back over the pages of history, it needs no seership, scarcely even intuition, to place them and thus see how the springs of the recent war were generated in the distant past.
It has, in fact, been suggested by historians that the sons of Albion are a re-embodiment of the ancient Romans. In the light of esoteric investigations this is not quite true, for there are a number of alien strains present. But they have been so fused in the dominant race that it may be said to be practically a fact.
Let us recall the history of Rome and remember that the democratic spirit, after the first seven kings had reigned, manifested itself in the formation of a republic, which then began a war of aggression to obtain the mastery of the world, and in the course of this campaign it became engaged with Carthage in a mighty struggle for the mastery of the Mediterranean Sea. To gain expansion westward the Romans endeavored to expel the Carthaginians from Sicily. Carthage at that time was a great sea power, but she was defeated by the Romans in 260 B.C. on her own element. Following up this advantage Rome transferred the war to Africa and was at first successful, but Regulus, the consul whom she left behind, was finally worsted and made prisoner. A series of naval disasters to Rome ensued, and Carthage was about to regain more than she had lost of Sicily when Tetulus, the Roman Consul, gained another decisive victory over the Carthaginians in 241 B.C., who there upon undertook to evacuate Sicily and the adjacent islands. This ended in the first Punic War, which was twenty-two years in duration.
But Carthage was not to be so easily conquered. Finding Rome her match at sea, she resumed hostilities by acquiring a foothold in Spain, and the great Carthaginian general, Hannibal, who heartily hated Rome, attempted the conquest of that city during the second Punic War, which was declared in 218 B.C. His plans, nurtured in secret, were carried on with unexampled celerity. He crossed the Pyrenees from Spain to France, fought his way over the Alps against every obstacle, and descended upon Cisalpine Gaul with but twenty-six thousand survivors of his army of fifty-nine thousand men. After several defeats of the Romans came the great battle of Cannae in 216 B.C., where Hannibal's victory was complete. Macedonia and Sicily declared for the conquerors, and Hannibal marched even to the Colline gate of Rome. But finding this city too strong for him, he withdrew to southern Italy, where he was finally defeated and Carthage forced to sue for peace. Thus Rome became the mistress of the Mediterranean.
But the hate of Hannibal was unabated, and when he and his compatriots, the Carthaginians, were reborn in landlocked Prussia, while the ancient Romans occupied the British Islands as mistresses of the seas, it was inevitable that in time a great conflict must take place. As the ancient Punic Wars generated the recent conflict, so will this war in due time bring its renewal of the struggle unless we show a spirit of kindness in dealing with the vanquished foe, instead of dealing with them as Rome did in that ancient past, without mercy and without consideration. The power to harm others must be taken from the militarist of the Central Empires. It is absolutely imperative that the world should be made safe from a repetition of this catastrophe, but the measures taken to secure this desirable end should be such that not only do they ensure peace for the present life, but also for those future life-days when we shall meet in another guise those with whom we were recently at war.
Justice ought to be done, but it should be tempered with mercy in order to avoid perpetuating hate, and therefore such harsh measures as, for instance, the industrial boycott are wrong. It should be sufficient to see that the Central Empires get no more than a fair share of the world's trade. The new American nation, which is not yet under the domination of any race spirits, sees more impartially and therefore more clearly than any other what is right. Therefore it is to be hoped that the American ideas of justice will prevail. Let us remember that one wrong never can and never will right another, and that we must live and let live.
Strange as the statement may seem, it is nevertheless true that the great majority of mankind are partially asleep most of the time, notwithstanding the fact that their physical bodies may seem to be intensely occupied in active work. Under ordinary conditions the desire body in the case of the great majority is the most awake part of composite man, who lives almost entirely in his feelings and emotions, but scarcely ever thinks of the problem of existence beyond what is necessary to keep body and soul together. Most of this class have probably never given the great questions of life, Whence have we come, why are we here, and whither are we going? any serious consideration. Their vital bodies are kept active repairing the ravages of the desire body upon the physical vehicle, and purveying the vitality which is later dissipated in gratifying the desires and emotions.
It is this hard-fought battle between the vital and desire bodies which generates consciousness in the physical world and makes men and women so intensely alert that, viewed from the standpoint of the physical world, it seems to give the lie to our assertion that they are partially asleep. Nevertheless, upon examination of all the facts it will be found that this is the case, and we may also say that this state of affairs has come about by the design of the great Hierarchs who have our evolution in charge.
We know that there was a time when man was much more awake in the spiritual worlds than in the physical. In fact there was a time when, although he had a physical body, he could not sense it at all. In order that he might learn how to use this physical instrument properly, conquer the physical world, and learn to think accurately, it was necessary that he should for a time forget all about the spiritual worlds, and devote all his energies to physical affairs. How this was brought about by the introduction of alcohol as a food and by other means has been explained in the "Cosmo" and need not be reiterated. But we are now face to face with the fact that mankind has become so completely immersed in materiality that, so far as the great majority are concerned, the invisible vehicles are thoroughly focused upon physical activities and asleep to the spiritual verities, which are even derided as the imagination of diseased brains; also those who are beginning to awake from the sleep of materialism are scorned as fanatics, fit only for the madhouse.
If this attitude of mind were consistently followed, the spirit would eventually become crystallized in the body. The heaven life in which we build our future vehicles and environments would become increasingly barren; for when we persistently hold the thought that there is nothing but what we contact through our senses (see, hear, feel, smell, touch, and analyze), this mental attitude cultivated in the earth life persists in the Second Heaven with the result that we may there neglect the preparation that would give us a field of endeavor and instruments wherewith to work in it, and as a result evolution would soon cease.
According to the Rosicrucian teachings, the soul is the extract of the various bodies; it is garnered by experience that involves the destruction of the particular bodies from which this living bread is derived and which is to be used as a pabulum for the spirit. In the ordinary course of evolution the perfection of the various vehicles is gradual, and the soul substance is then garnered and assimilated by the spirit between earth lives. But at a certain period in the larger life when we are entering upon a new spiral, a different phase of evolution, it is usually necessary to employ drastic measures to turn the spirit out of the beaten pathway into a new and unknown direction. Formerly when we possessed less individuality and were incapable of taking the initiative ourselves these changes were accomplished by what may be called great cataclysms of nature, but which were in fact planned by the divine Hierarchies who guide evolution, with a view to destroying multitudes of bodies that had served the purpose of human development in a given direction, changing the environment of those who had learned the possibilities of a new road, and starting these pioneer people upon a fresh career. Such wholesale destruction was naturally much more frequent in the earlier epochs than in later times. Lemuria had all the requisite conditions for numerous attempts at making a fresh start with one group when another had failed and had been destroyed. As a matter of fact, there was not merely one flood in Atlantis but three, and a period of about three-quarters of a million years elapsed between the first and the last.
We may not expect that the method of wholesale destruction and a new start can be abrogated until we as a whole awaken to the necessity of taking a new road when we have come to the end of the old, but a new method is being used by the Invisible Directors of evolution. They are not now making use of cataclysms of nature to change the old order for something new and better, but they are making use of the misdirected energies of humanity itself to further the ends they have in view. This was the genesis of the great war which recently raged among us. Its purpose was to turn our energies from seeking the bread whereof men die and to create in us the soul hunger that would cause us to turn from material things to spiritual. We are, as a matter of act, commencing to work out our own salvation. We are beginning to do things for ourselves instead of having them done for us, and though unaware of the fact, we are learning how to turn evil to good.
Some may think this war affected only those few million men actually engaged in it, but a little thought upon the matter will soon convince anyone that the welfare of the whole world was involved to a greater or lesser degree so far as economic conditions were concerned. There is no race nor country that escaped entirely, nor can any go on in the same tranquil manner as before the war broke out. Kinship and friendship were ties which reached from the trenches of Europe to every part of the globe. Many of us were related to individuals in one and perhaps both groups engaged in the strife, and we followed their fortunes with an interest commensurate with the strength of our feeling for them. But in the nighttime when our physical bodies were asleep and we entered the desire world, we could not escape living and feeling the whole tragedy with all the intensity whereof we were capable, for the desire currents swept the whole world. In the desire world there is neither time nor distance. The trenches of Europe were brought to our door no matter where we lived, and we could not escape the subconscious effect of the spectacle which we there saw. Furthermore this titanic struggle produced effects which could never be equaled by a natural cataclysm, which is so much quicker in its action and so much shorter in its duration, besides being localized and incapable of generating the same feelings of love and hate which were such important factors in the World War (WWI).
During the previous career of man it has been the object of the divine Hierarchs to teach him how to accomplish physical results by physical means. He has forgotten how to utilize the finer forces in nature such as, for instance, the energy liberated when grain is sprouting, which was used for purposes of propulsion and levitation in the Atlantean airships. He is unaware of the sanctity of fire and how to use it spiritually, therefore only about fifteen per cent of its power is utilized in the best steam engines. It is well of course that man is thus limited, for were he able to use the power at the command of one whose spiritual faculties are awakened, he could annihilate our world and all upon it. But while he is doing his best or his worst with the faculties at his command today, he is learning the lesson of how to hold his feelings in leash to fit himself for the use of the finer forces necessary for development in the Aquarian Age, and pulling the scales from his eyes so that he may commence to see the new world which he is destined to conquer.
Two separate and distinct processes are made use of to accomplish this result. One is the visit of death to millions of homes, tearing away from the family group the husband, father, or brother, and leaving the survivors to face a grey existence of economic privation. The sun existed previous to the eye and built that organ for its perception. The desire to see was naturally unconscious on the part of the individual who did not know and had no concept of the meaning or use of sight; but in the world soul, which created the sun, rested the knowledge and requisite desire that worked the miracle. Similarly in the case of death: when our consciousness had first become focused in the physical vehicles and the fact of death stared us in the face, there was no hope within; but in time religion supplied the knowledge of an invisible world whence the spirit had come to take birth and whither it returns after death. The hope of immortality gradually evolved in humanity the feeling that death is only a transition, but modern science has done its best to rob men of this consolation.
Nevertheless, at every death the tears that are shed serve to dissolve the veil that hides the invisible world from our longing gaze. The deep-felt yearning and the sorrow at the parting of loved and loving ones on both sides of the veil are tearing this apart, and at some not far distant day the accumulated effect of all this will reveal the fact that there is no death, but that those who have passed beyond are as much alive as we. The potency of these tears, this sorrow, this yearning is not equal in all cases, however, and the effects differ widely according to whether the vital body has been awakened in any given person by acts of unselfishness and service, according to the esoteric maxim that all development along spiritual lines begins with the vital body. This is the basis, and no superstructure can be built until this foundation has been laid.
With regard to the second process of soul unfoldment which is carried on among those actually engaged in warfare, there are probably but few who have had as unique an opportunity to study actual conditions on the whole of the extended line of battle as the writer. Notwithstanding all the brutality and hellishness of the whole thing he feels confident that this was the greatest school of soul unfoldment that has ever existed, for nowhere have there been so numerous opportunities for selfless service as on the battle fields of France, and nowhere have men been so ready to grasp the chance of doing for someone else. Thus the vital bodies of a host of people have received a quickening such as they would probably not have otherwise attained for a number of lives, and these people have therefore become correspondingly sensitive to spiritual vibrations, and susceptible in a higher degree to the benefit which may be derived from the first process previously mentioned. As a result we shall in due time see an army of sensitives among us who will be in such close touch with the invisible world that their concerted testimony cannot be crushed by the materialistic school. They will prove a great factor in helping us to prepare for the higher conditions of the Aquarian Age.
"But," some may ask, "will they not forget when the stress and strain of war are over? Will not a large percentage of these people go back into the same rut where they were before?" To this we may answer that we feel confident it can never come to pass, for while the invisible vehicles, especially the vital body, are asleep, man may pursue a materialistic career; but once this vehicle has been awakened and has tasted the bread of life, it is like the physical body, subject to hunger—soul hunger,—and its cravings will not be denied save after an exceedingly hard struggle. In the latter case, of course, the words of Peter are applicable: "The last state of that man is worse than the first." However, it is good to feel that out of all the indescribable sorrow and trouble of the war good is being wrought in the crucible of the gods, and it will be a lasting good. May we all align our forces and help extract the good, so that we may be shining examples to help lead humanity to the New Age.
A war-weary world, red with the blood of millions, the hope of its future, the flower of its young manhood, is groaning in agony, praying for peace, not an armistice, a temporary cessation of hostilities, but everlasting peace, and it is striving to solve the problem of how to accomplish this much desired end. But it is striking at effects because ignorant of or blind to the one great underlying cause of the ferocity of the people, which was but barely hidden under a thin veneer of civilization before it burst into the volcano of destruction which we have recently witnessed and are now lamenting.
Until the connection between the food of man and his nature is understood and the knowledge applied to tame the passions and eradicate ferocity, there can be no lasting peace. In the dim dawn of being when man-in-the-making wrought under the direct guidance of the divine Hierarchs who led him along the path of evolution, food was given him of a nature that would develop various vehicles in an orderly, systematic manner, so that in time these different bodies would grow into a composite instrument usable as the temple of an indwelling spirit which might then enter and learn life's lessons by a series of embodiments in earthly bodies of an increasingly fine texture. Five great stages or epochs are observable in the evolutionary journey of man upon earth.
In the first, or Polarian Epoch, what is now man had only a dense body as the minerals have now, hence he was mineral-like, and it is said in the Bible that "Adam was formed of the earth."
In the second, or Hyperborean Epoch, a vital body made of ether was added, and man-in-the-making had then a body constituted as are those of the present plants; he was not a plant but was plantlike. Cain, the man of that time, is described as an agriculturist; his food was derived solely from vegetation, for plants contain more ether than any other structure.
In the third, or Lemurian Epoch, man cultivated a desire body, a vehicle of passions and emotions, and was then constituted as the animal. Then milk, a product of living animals, was added to his diet, for this substance is most easily worked upon by the emotions. Abel, the man of that time, is described as a shepherd. It is nowhere stated that he killed an animal for food.
In the fourth, or Atlantean Epoch, mind was unfolded, and the composite body became the temple of an indwelling spirit, a thinking being. But thought breaks down nerve cells; it kills, destroys, and causes decay, therefore the new food of the Atlantean was dead carcasses. He killed to eat, and so the Bible describes the man of that time as Nimrod, a mighty hunter.
By partaking of these various foods man descended deeper and deeper into matter; his erstwhile ethereal body formed a skeleton within and became solid. At the same time he gradually lost his spiritual perception, but the memory of heaven was always with him, and he knew himself to be an exile from his true home, the heaven world. In order to enable him to forget this fact and apply himself with undivided attention to conquering the material world, a new article of diet, namely, wine, was added in the Fifth, or post-Atlantean Epoch. Because of indulgence in this counterfeit spirit of alcohol during the millenniums which have passed since man came up out of Atlantis, the most progressive portion of humanity is also the most atheistic and materialistic. They are all drunk for even though a person may say, and say quite truthfully, that he has never touched liquor in his life, it is nevertheless a fact that body in which he is functioning has descended from ancestors who for millenniums have indulged in alcoholic beverages in unstinted measure. Therefore the atoms composing all present day Western bodies are unable to vibrate to the measure necessary for the cognition of the invisible worlds as they were before wine was added to the diet of humanity. Similarly, though a child may be brought up today on a fleshless diet, it still partakes of the ferocious nature of its flesh-eating ancestors of a million years, though in a less degree than those who still continue to feast on flesh. Thus the effect of the flesh food provided for man-in-the-making is deep-seated and deep-rooted even in those who do not now indulge in it.
What wonder then that those who still partake of flesh and wine return at times to godless savagery and exhibit a ferocity unrestrained by any of the finer feelings supposed to have been fostered by centuries of so-called civilization! So long as men continue to quench the immortal spirit within themselves by partaking of flesh and the counterfeit alcoholic spirit, there can never be lasting peace on earth, for the innate ferocity fostered by these articles will break through at intervals and sweep even the most altruistic conceptions and ideals into a maelstrom of savagery, a carnival of ruthless slaughter, which will grow correspondingly greater as the intellect of man evolves and enables him to conceive with his master mind methods of destruction more diabolical than any we have yet witnessed.
It needs no argument to prove that the recent war was much more destructive than any of the previous conflicts recorded in history, because it was fought by men of brain rather than by men of brawn. The ingenuity which in times of peace has been turned to such good account in constructive enterprises was enlisted in the service of destruction, and it is safe to say that if another war is fought fifty or a hundred years hence, it may perhaps all but depopulate the earth. Therefore a lasting peace is an absolute necessity from the standpoint of self-preservation and no thinking man or woman can afford to brush aside without investigation any theory which is advanced as tending to make war impossible, even if they have been accustomed to regard it as a foolish fad.
There is plenty of proof that a carnivorous diet fosters ferocity, but lack of space prevents a thorough discussion of this phase of the subject. We may, however, mention the well known fierceness of beasts of prey and the cruelty of the meat-eating American Indian as fair examples. On the other hand, the prodigious strength and the docile nature of the ox, the elephant, and the horse show the effects of the herb diet on animals, while the vegetarian and peaceable nations of the Orient are a proof of the correctness of the argument against a flesh diet which cannot be successfully gainsaid. Flesh food has fostered human ingenuity of a low order in the past; it has served a purpose in our evolution; but we are now standing on the threshold of a new age when self-sacrifice and service will bring spiritual growth to humanity. The evolution of the mind will bring a wisdom profound beyond our greatest conception, but before it will be safe to entrust us with that wisdom, we must become harmless as doves, for otherwise we should be apt to turn it to such selfish and destructive purposes that it would be an inconceivable menace to our fellow men. To avoid this the vegetarian diet must be adopted.
But there are vegetarians and vegetarians: In Europe conditions cause people now to abstain from flesh eating to a very large extent. They are not true vegetarians for they are lusting for flesh every moment of their lives, and they feel the want of it as a great hardship and sacrifice. In time they would of course grow used to is, and in many generations it would make them gentle and docile, but obviously that is not the kind of vegetarianism we need now. There are others who abstain from flesh foods for the sake of health; their motive is selfish, and many among them probably also lust after the "flesh pots of Egypt." Their attitude of mind is not such either that it would abolish ferocity very quickly.
But there is a third class which realizes that all life is God's life and that to cause suffering to any sentient being is wrong, so out of pure compassion they abstain from the use of flesh foods. They are the true vegetarians, and it is obvious that a world war could never be fought by people of this turn of mind. All true Christians will also be abstainers from flesh foods for similar motives. Then peace on earth and good will among men will be an assured fact; the nations will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks that they may cease to deal death, sorrow, and suffering, and become instruments to foster life, love, and happiness.
Our own safety, the safety of our children, the safety of the human race even, demands that we listen to the inspired voice of the poetress, Ella Wheeler Wilcox, who wrote the following soul stirring appeal in behalf of our dumb fellow creatures:
"I am the voice of the voiceless,
Through me the dumb shall speak,
Till a deaf world's ear
Shall be made to hear
The wrongs of the wordless weak.
"The same force formed the sparrow,
That fashioned man the king;
The God of the Whole
Gave a spark of soul,
To furred and feathered thing.
"And I am my brother's keeper,
And I will fight his fight,
And speak the word
For beast and bird
Till the world shall set things right."
The recent titanic struggle among the nations in Europe upset the equilibrium of the whole world to such an extent that the emotions of the people who lived in even the most remote regions of the earth were stirred as they had never been stirred before, the people expressing anger, hate, hysteria, or gloom according to their nature and temperament. It is evident to those who have studied the deeper mysteries of life and who understand the operation of natural law in the spiritual worlds that the inhabitants of the invisible realms were affected in perhaps a greater degree than those who lived in physical bodies, which by their very density make it impossible for us to feel the full force of the emotions.
After the outbreak of the war the tide of emotions ran high and fast, because there were no adequate means of checking it; but by dint of hard work and organization the Elder Brothers of humanity succeeded after the first year in creating an army of Invisible Helpers who, having passed through the gate of death and having felt the sorrow and suffering incident to an untimely transition, were filled with compassion for the others who were constantly pouring in, and became qualified to soothe and help them until they also had found their balance. Later, however, the emotions of hate and malice engendered by the people in the physical world became so strong that there was danger they might gain the ascendancy; therefore new measures had to be taken to counteract these feelings, and everywhere all the good forces were marshaled into line to help restore the balance and keep the baser emotions down.
One of the ways in which most people contributed to the trouble and helped to prolong the war which they were praying might end, was by dwelling on the awful side of it and forgetting to look at the bright side.
"The bright side of that cruel war?" is probably the question which arises in the mind of the reader. "Why, what can you mean?" To some it may perhaps even seem sacrilegious to speak of a bright side in connection with such a calamity, as they would put it. But let us see if there is not a silver lining to even this blackest of clouds, and if there is not a method by which the silver lining could be made wider and wider so that the cloud would become altogether luminous.
Some time ago our attention was called to a book entitled "Pollyanna." Pollyanna was the little daughter of a missionary, whose salary was so meager that he could scarcely obtain the bare necessities of life. From time to time barrels filled with old clothes and odds and ends arrived at the mission for distribution. Pollyanna hoped that some day a barrel might come containing a little doll. Her father had even written to ask if the next barrel might not contain a discarded doll for his child. The barrel came, but instead of the doll it contained a pair of small crutches. Noticing the child's disappointment her father said: "There is one thing we can be glad of and grateful for, that we have no need for the crutches." It was then that they began "playing the game," as they called it, of looking for and finding something for which to be glad and thankful, no matter what happened, and they always found it. For example, when they were forced to eat a very scant meal at a restaurant, not being able to afford the dainties on the menu, they would say: "Well, we are glad we like beans," even though their eyes would rest on the roast turkey and its prohibitive price. Then they started to teach the game to others, making many a life the happier for learning it, among them some in whom the belief had become so fixed that they could never again be unhappy.
At last they were really starving, and Pollyanna's mother had to go to heaven to save the expense of living. Soon her father followed, leaving Pollyanna dependent upon the bounty of a rich but crabbed and inhospitable old maiden aunt in Vermont. Despite the unwelcome reception and undesirable quarters assigned her at first, the little girl saw nothing but reasons for gladness; she literally radiated joy, drawing under its spell maid and gardener and in time even the loveless aunt. The child's roseate mind soon filled the bare walls and floor of her dingy attic room with all manner of beauty. If there were no pictures, she was glad that the little window opened upon a landscape scene more beautiful than any artist could paint, a carpet of green and gold the like of which not even the cleverest of human weavers had ever woven. If her crude washstand were without a mirror, she was glad that the lack of it spared her seeing her freckles; and what if they were freckles, had she not reason to be glad they were not warts? If her trunk was small and her clothes few, was there not reason for gladness that the unpacking was soon done and over? If her parents could not be with her, could she not be glad that they were with God in heaven? Since they could not talk to her, ought she not to rejoice that she could talk to them?
Flitting birdlike over field and moor she forgot the supper hour, and being ordered upon her return to the kitchen to make her meal there of bread and milk, she said to her aunt who expected tears and pouting, "Oh, I am so glad you did it, because I am so fond of bread and milk." Not a harsh treatment, and there were many of them at first, but that she imagined some kindly motive back of it and gave it a grateful thought.
Her first convert was the housemaid, who used to look forward with dread to the weekly wash day and face Monday in a surly mood. It was not long before our little glad girl and Nancy feeling gladder on Monday morning than on any other morning, because there was not another wash day for a whole week; and soon she had her glad that her name was not Hepsibah, but Nancy, at which name the latter had been disgruntled. One day when Nancy remonstratingly said to her, "Sure, there is nothing in a funeral to be glad about," Pollyanna promptly answered, "Well, we can be glad it isn't ours." To the gardener, who complained to her that he was bent half over with rheumatism, she also taught the glad game by telling him that being bent half over he ought to be glad that he saved one-half the stooping when he did his weeding.
Near her home in a palatial mansion lived an elderly bachelor, a sullen recluse. The more he rebuffed her, the cheerier she was and the oftener she went to see him because no one else did. In her innocence and pity she attributed his lack of courtesy to some secret sorrow, and therefore she longed all the more to teach him the glad game. She did teach it to him, and he learned it, thought it was hard work at first. When he broke his leg, it was not easy to get him to be glad that but one leg was broken, and admit it would have been far worse if this legs had been as numerous as those of a centipede and he had fractured all of them. Her sunshiny disposition succeeded at last in getting him to love the sunshine, open the blinds, pull up the curtains, and open his heart to the world. He wanted to adopt her, but failing in this, he adopted a little orphan boy whom she had chanced to meet by the wayside.
She made one lady wear bright colors, who had before worn only black. Another lady, rich and miserable because her mind was centered upon past troubles, had her attention directed by Pollyanna to the miseries of others, and being taught through the glad game how to bring gladness into their lives, this lady brought an abundance of it also into her own. All unknown to the little girl she reunited in happy home life a couple about to separate, by kindling within their hearts that had grown cold a strong love for their little ones. By and by the whole town began to play the glad game and teach it to others. Under its influence men and women became different beings: the unhappy became happy, the sick became well, those about to go wrong found again the right path, and the discouraged took heart again.
Soon the leading physician in town found it necessary to prescribe her as he would some medicine. "That little girl," he said, "is better than a six-quart bottle of tonic. If anyone can take a grouch out of a person it is she; a dose of Pollyanna is more curative than a store full of drugs." But the greatest miracle which the glad game worked was the transformation effected in the character of her prim, puritanical aunt. She who had accepted Pollyanna in her home as a matter of stern family duty, developed under her little niece's treatment a heart that fairly overran with affection. Soon Pollyanna was taken out of her bare attic room to a beautifully papered, pictured, carpeted, and furnished room on her aunt's floor. And so the good she did reacted upon herself.
The story is fiction, but it is based upon facts rooted in cosmic law. What that little girl did with respect to the people in her environment, we as students of the Rosicrucian teachings can and ought to do in our own individual spheres, both in regard to the matters which pertain to intercourse with our relatives and immediate associates and with respect to the world at large.
As regards its application to war in general, instead of being gloomy at defeat or appalled at catastrophes recorded in sensational newspaper headlines, instead of adding our gloom, hate, and malice to the similar feelings engendered by others, can we not find a bright side even in such a seemingly overwhelming calamity? Surely there is reason to rejoice exceedingly in the thoughts of self-sacrifice which prompted so many noble men to give up their work in the world, their large incomes, and their comfortable homes for the sake of what to them was an ideal to make the world better for those who came after them, for they could not help realizing that they might never come back to enjoy the fruits themselves. Can we not rejoice likewise that many noble women, nurtured in ease and comfort, left their homes and friends for the arduous work of nursing and caring for the wounded? Throughout all there was a spirit of altruism, shared by those who though forced by circumstances to stay at home still put in their time knitting and working for those who had to bear the brunt of battle.
Great are the birth pangs by which altruism is being born in millions of human hearts, but through the superlative suffering of the later war humanity will become gentler, nobler, and better than ever before. If we can only take this view of the recent suffering and sorrow, if we can only teach others to look to the future blessings which must accrue through this pain and suffering, we shall ourselves be better able to recover from the strain, and be better qualified to help others do the same.
In this manner we can imitate Pollyanna, and if we are only sufficiently sincere, our views will spread and take root in other hearts; then because thoughts are things and good thoughts are more powerful than evil since they are in harmony with the trend of evolution, the day will soon come when we shall be able to gain the ascendancy and help establish permanent peace.
It is hoped that this suggestion may be taken very seriously and put into practice by everyone of our students, for the need is great at the present time, greater than it has been before.
Again the earth has reach the vernal equinox in its annual circle dance about the sun, and we have Easter. The spiritual ray sent out by the Cosmic Christ each fall to replenish the smoldering vitality of the earth is about to ascend to the Father's Throne. The spiritual activities of fecundation and germination which have been carried on during the winter and spring will be followed by material growth and a ripening process during the coming summer and autumn under the influence of the indwelling Earth Spirit. The cycle ends at "Harvest Home." Thus the great World Drama is acted and re-enacted from year to year, an eternal contest between life and death; each in turn becoming victor and being vanquished as the cycles roll on.
This great cyclic influx and efflux are not confined in their effects to the earth and its flora and fauna. They exercise an equally compelling influence upon mankind, though the great majority are unaware of what impels them to action in one direction or another. The fact remains, nevertheless, independent of their cognition that the same earthy vibration which gaudily adorns bird and beast in the spring is responsible for the human desire to don gay colors and brighter raiment at that season. This is also "the call of the wild," which in summer drives mankind to relaxation amid rural scenes where nature spirits have wrought their magic art in field and forest, in order to recuperate from the strain of artificial conditions in congested cities.
On the other hand, it is the "fall" of the spiritual ray from the sun in autumn which causes resumption of the mental and spiritual activities in winter. The same germinative force which leavens the seed in the earth and prepares it to reproduce its kind in multiple, stirs also the human mind and fosters altruistic activities which make the world better. Did not this great wave of selfless Cosmic Love culminate at Christmas, did it not vibrate peace and good will, there would be no holiday feeling in our breasts to engender a desire to make others equally happy; the universal giving of Christmas gifts would be impossible, and we should all suffer loss.
As the Christ walked day by day, hither and yon, over the hills and the valleys of Judea and Galilee, teaching the multitudes, all were benefited. But He communed most with His disciples, and they, of course, grew apace each day. The bond of love became closer as time went on, until one day ruthless hands took away the beloved Teacher and put Him to a shameful death. But though He had died after the flesh, he continued to commune with them in spirit for some time. At last, however, He ascended to higher spheres, direct touch with Him was lost, and sadly these men looked into each other's faces as they asked, "Is this the end?" They had hoped so much, had entertained such high aspirations, and though the verdant glory was as fresh upon the sun-kissed landscape as before He went, the earth seemed cold and dreary, for black desolation gnawed at their hearts.
Thus it is also with us who aim to walk after the spirit and to strive with the flesh, though the analogy may not have been previously apparent. When the "fall" of the Christ ray commences in autumn and ushers in the season of spiritual supremacy, we sense it at once and commence to lave our souls in the blessed tide with avidity. We experience a feeling akin to that of the apostles when they walked with Christ, and as the season wears on it becomes easier and easier to commune with Him, face to face as it were. But in the annual course of events Easter and the ascension of the "risen" Christ ray to the Father leave us in the identical position of the apostles when their beloved Teacher went away. We are desolate and sad; we look upon the world as a dreary waste and cannot comprehend the reason for our loss, which is as natural as the changes of ebb and flood and day and night—phases of the present age of alternating cycles.
There is a danger in this attitude of mind. If it is allowed to grow upon us, we are apt to cease our work in the world and become dreamers, lose our balance, and excite just criticism from our fellow men. Such a course of conduct is entirely wrong, for as the earth exerts itself in material endeavor to bring forth abundantly in summer after receiving the spiritual impetus in winter, so ought we also to exert ourselves to greater purpose in the world's work when it has been our privilege to commune with the spirit. If we do thus we shall be more apt to excite emulation than reproach.
We are wont to think of a miser as one who hoards gold, and such people are generally objects of contempt. But there are people who strive as assiduously to acquire knowledge as the miser struggles to accumulate gold, who will stoop to any subterfuge to obtain their desire, and will as jealously guard their knowledge as the miser guards his hoard. They do not understand that by such a method they are effectually closing the door to greater wisdom. The old Norse theology contained a parable which symbolically elucidates the matter. It held that all who died fighting on the battle field (the strong souls who fought the good fight unto the end) were carried to Valhalla to be with the gods; while those who died in bed or from disease (the souls who drifted weakly through life) went to the dismal Niflheim. The doughty warriors in Valhalla feasted daily upon the flesh of the boar called Scrimner, which was so constituted that whenever a piece was cut from it the flesh at once grew again, so that it was never consumed no matter how much was carved. Thus it aptly symbolized "knowledge," for no matter how much of this we give to others, we always retain the original.
There is Thus a certain obligation to pass on what we have of knowledge, and "to whom much is given of him much will be required." Perhaps it may not be out of place to recount an experience which will illustrate the point, for it was the final "test" applied to myself before I was entrusted with the teaching embodied in The Rosicrucian Cosmo-Conception, although I was, of course, at the time unaware that I was being weighed. It occurred at a time when I had gone to Europe in search of a teacher who, I believed, was able to aid me to advance on the path of attainment. But when I had probed his teaching to the bottom and forced him to admit certain inconsistencies in it which he could not explain, I was in a veritable "slough of despond," ready to return to America. As I sat in my chair ruminating over my disappointment, the feeling that some one else was present came over me, and I looked up and beheld the One who has since become my Teacher. With shame I remember how gruffly I asked who had sent him and what he wanted, for I was thoroughly disgruntled, and I hesitated considerably before accepting his help on the points that had caused me to come to Europe.
During the next few days my new acquaintance appeared in my room a number of times, answering my questions and helping me to solve problems that had previously baffled me, but as my spiritual sight was then poorly developed and not always under control, I felt rather skeptical in the matter. Might it not be hallucination? I discussed the question with a friend. The answers to my queries as given by the apparition were clear, concise, and logical to a high degree. They were strictly to the point and altogether beyond anything I was capable of conceiving, so we concluded that the experience must be real.
A few days later my new friend told me that the Order to which he belonged had a complete solution to the riddle of the universe, much more far-reaching than any publicly known teaching, and that they would impart that teaching to me provided I agreed to keep it as an inviolable secret.
The I turned on him in anger: "Ah! do I see the cloven hoof at last! No, if you have what you say and if it is good for the world to know. The Bible expressly forbids us to hide the Light, and I care not to feast at the source of knowledge while thousands of souls hunger for a solution to their problems as I do now." My visitor then left me and stayed away, and I concluded that he was an emissary from the Black Brothers.
About a month later I decided that I could obtain no greater illumination in Europe and therefore made reservation on a steamer for New York. As travel was heavy, I had to wait a month for a berth.
When I returned to my rooms after having purchased my ticket, there stood my slighted Teacher and he again offered me instruction on condition that I keep it secret. This time my refusal was perhaps more emphatic and indignant than before, but he did not leave. Instead he said, "I am glad to hear you refuse, my brother, and I hope you will always be as zealous in disseminating our teachings without fear or favor as you have been in this refusal. That is the real condition of receiving the teachings."
How directions were then given me to take a certain train at a certain depot and go to a place I had not heard of before, how I there met the Brother in the flesh, was taken to the Temple, and received the main instructions embodied in our literature, are matters of small interest. The point is that had I agreed to keep the instructions secret, I should naturally have been unfit to be a messenger of the Brothers, and they would have had to seek another. Likewise with any of us: if we hoard the spiritual blessings we have received, evil is at our door, so let us imitate the earth at this Easter time. Let us bring forth in the physical world of action the fruits of the spirit sown in our souls during the past wintry season. So shall we be more abundantly blessed from year to year.
Contemporary Mystic Christianity
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