The Master was asked by the pupil to tell at
whose wish the mind of man, when sent forth for any act, proceeds on its
errand, by whose command the first breath goeth forth, and at whose wish the
mind of man, when sent forth for any act, proceeds on its errand, by whose
command the first breath goeth forth, and at whose wish do men utter speech. He
was also asked to tell what intelligent power directs the eye or the ear in the
performance of natural functions.
The reply given by the Master, thus approached
by the pupil, was that in respect to the ear, the brain, the speech of man, the
breathing, and the eye, the other organs are of themselves wholly unable to
act, but are the means whereby the real, but unseen, inner organs of sight,
speech, hearing, seeing, and breathing obtain touch with nature, make
themselves manifested, and become able to cognize outside objects.
The perfectly trained man, one fully grounded in
philosophy, who has gained control of these organs both within and without, and
who can locate his consciousness in the inner being, becomes really immortal
when death releases him from the connection with the body. but the ordinary
man, by reason of his being fully entrapped and deluded by the outer senses
which are always intimately connected with the inner ones, is compelled after
death to go into the Devachanic state and to return again to earthly life where
he takes up a fresh set of material organs and sense connections.
But there is another sort of consciousness which
cannot be expounded to one who has not himself gained an experience of it. It
is beyond description in words used on this plane. For it is different from the
known, above what we suppose to be the unknown, and not that which people here
adore as their highest conception of being.
Know, therefore, that the basis for the
operations of the mind, of the senses, of the organs is Brahman alone. Without
that we could neither taste, smell, hear, see, nor think.
Then to the pupil the Master said, so as to
impress it on his mind, "If thou thickest I know the form of Brahman well,
thou are not wise; but perhaps thou newest it thyself, if so then tell me."
To this the pupil replied that we cannot know or
describe Brahman, the substratum of all, in the ordinary manner by connecting
him with some things already known to us, but at the same time we are not able
to say that we do not know him. We feel the actuality of Brahman, but cannot
enter into a description of it as we would of an object, by giving its known
characteristics, or of a piece of land by its metes and bounds, its quality and
its vegetation. The knowing of it at last, its full realization, is a species
of awakening out of the present state, and then the knowledge bursts upon us.
By the real Self we gain and keep strength in the interior nature, and by
knowledge we become able to destroy the bonds of material reincarnation, thus
attaining conscious immortality. And by knowing this, one has discovered the
true aim of life. If this is not understood while a man is existing here on
earth in a body, then he will be compelled to reincarnate until he does
comprehend it. But the wise, who have directed their thoughts to all things,
and have at last come to recognize the real Self within themselves, are
possessors of conscious immortality and pass unfettered out of this life never
The elemental spirits of all grades that work in
nature on every plane, in air, water, earth, and fire in all their correlations
and combinations, were evolved from lower and less conscious states through
aeons of effort by the highest mind. This was a constant struggle between the
informing power of the mind and the heavy non-conscious material base which
alone existed before what we now call matter had been differentiated from
primordial cosmic substance. It was in ages long passed away, while the
elemental model of all material things was under construction. Without the
informing power, which was itself brought over from previous and incalculably
distant periods of evolution, the elemental spirits would not have come into
existence, as they had no power of their own to stir the depths of cosmic
matter. Hence their evolution is called the "Victory of Brahman."
They were evolved on many planes, each in a
different degree (2), and among them were the higher order related to fire,
air, and nascent mind. These being the highest were in possession of a consciousness
peculiar to their own plane of existence and were destined to become the
conscious human beings of the future. But it seemed to them that they had
themselves obtained the victory over cosmic substance and brought about their
And in order to raise these cosmic spirits by
gentle steps to a higher state of development, the highly progressed entities
from other Manvantaras appeared to then on their own plane and in their
own spheres of consciousness, but were not comprehended. Then the ruling
spirits of fire were unable to burn, and those of air unable to move, a straw
that was created before them. Next, Indra, representing the nascent power of
mind and imagination, advanced toward those who came to teach, but instead of
them perceived only the primordial root and basis of matter(3). For spirit as
distinguished from matter cannot be perceived. It is from spirit-the eternal purusha-that
matter is emanated, and together they form the two phases of the one Absolute
The elemental spirits had to fall down into
material existence, suffer in its toils, and at last by experience gain further
development through evolution.
But the principles of fire and air, and the
thinking man, are nearest to Brahman in the eternal scheme of nature's
And as Brahman flashed forth only to at once
disappear from the sight of the gods, so in like manner a knowledge of the
elemental spirits in this manvantara is evanescent and fitful. And in respect
to the psychological being called Man, he perceives the truth either directly
or by reflection. When he has perceived it by reflection, his imagination keeps
the images together through the means of the eternal base which is Brahman
itself. After repeated experiences of these reflections of truth he is at last
able to look directly on it, and then he many become consciously immortal.
A name of Brahman is expressed by the words
"The desire of it," and by that name it may be pondered upon. He who
has discovered what the true aim of life is should meditate upon it and make
all his desires bend to it. And as he progresses toward a knowledge of it, so
all beings are insensibly impelled to aid him in the search, because there
exists in all the desire to know the root of all things.
Thus you have been told the teaching of Brahman.
It stands upon penance, restraint of self, and sacrifice; the Holy books are
its limbs and the True is it abode. He who comprehends in their entirety and
subtle connection these teachings, and has shaken off all evil, has become
conscious of the endless, unconquerable world of spiritual knowledge.
(1) In the original this is called Khanda instead of Chapter.
(2) They are called devas or gods in the original.
(3) In the Sanskrit this is called Mulaprakriti.