Lesson One: The One
- Short Introduction to the main branches of Yoga
- Introducing The Gnani Yoga Lessons
- The Question of Questions
- One Great Fount
- What Souls have thought and said about this One
- The Absolute
- Examining the reports of the Intellect
- Introducing the Intellect
- Eternity and Time
- All Powerful
- All Knowing
- The Existence of such a One
- The Highest Minds of the Race
- One Life Underlying All Diversity
- It lives in us, with us, and through us
- Central Thought
Short Introduction to the Main Branches of Yoga
The Yogi Philosophy may be divided into several great branches, or fields:
- Hatha Yoga
- Raja Yoga
- Bhakti Yoga
- Gnani Yoga
Hatha Yoga deals with the physical body and its;
- Preservation and maintainence Laws
Raja Yoga deals with the mind and its:
Bhakti Yoga deals with the Love of the Absolute - God, Self, Allah, Tao, Christ, and all the other many word labels given to that which know as God.
Gnani Yoga deals with the scientific and intellectual knowing of the great questions regarding Life and what lies back of Life - " the Riddle of the Universe!"
Each branch of Yoga is but a path leading toward the one end:
Those who wish first to develop, control, and strengthen the physical body, so as to render it a fit instrument of the Higher Self, follows the path of Hatha Yoga.
Those who wish to develop the will-power and mental faculties, unfolding the inner senses, and latent powers, follows the path of Raja Yoga.
Those who wish to develop by knowing - by studying the fundamental principles, and the wonderful truths underlying Life - follows the path of Gnani Yoga.
And those who wish to grow into a union with the One Life by the influence of Love, follow the path of Bhakti Yoga.
But it must not be supposed that the student must ally himself to only a single one of these paths to Self-Realization.
In fact, very few souls do.
The majority prefer to gain a rounded knowledge, and acquaint themselves with the principles of the several branches, learning something of each, giving preference, of course, to those branches that appeal to them more strongly. This attraction being the indication of need, or requirement, and therefore, being the hand pointing out the path.
It is well for everyone to know something of Hatha Yoga, in order that the body may be purified, strengthened, and kept in health in order to become a more fitting instrument of the Higher Self.
It is well that each one should know something of Raja Yoga, that they may understand the training and control of the mind, and the use of the Will.
It is well that everyone should learn the wisdom of Gnani Yoga, that they may realize the wonderful truths underlying life - The Science of Being.
And most assuredly everyone should know something of Bhakti Yoga, that they may understand the great teachings regarding the Love of Life. The author cannot understand how we may learn any of the branches of Yoga without being filled with a sense of Love and Union with The Source of All Life. To know of the Giver of Life, is to love That, and the more we come to know of That, the more love we can manifest.
Introducing The Gnani Yoga Lessons.
In this course of Lessons, of which this is the first, we shall take up the subject of Gnani Yoga - The Yoga of Wisdom, and will endeavour to make plain some of its most important and highest teachings.
And, we trust that in doing so, we shall be able to awaken within you, a still higher realization of your relationship with The One, and a corresponding Love for that in which you live, and move and have your being. We ask for your loving sympathy and co-operation in our task.
The Question of Questions
Let us begin by a consideration of what has been call the Question of Questions - the question: What is reality?
To understand the question we have but to take a look around us and view the visible world. We see great masses of something that science has called matter. We see in operation a wonderful something called force or energy in its countless forms of manifestations.
We see things that we call forms of life, varying in manifestation from the tiny speck of slime that we call the Moneron, up to that form that we call Human.
But studying this world of manifestation by means of science and research - and such study is of greatest value - still we must find ourselves brought to a point where we cannot progress further.
Matter melts into mystery - force resolves itself into something else - the secrets of living-forms subtly elude us - and mind is seen as but the manifestation of something even finer.
But in losing these things of appearance and manifestation, we find ourselves brought up face to face with a Something Else that we see must underlie all these varying forms, shapes, and manifestations.
And that Something Else we call Reality, because it is real, permanent, and enduring.
And although men and women may differ, dispute, wrangle, and quarrel about this Reality, still there is one point upon which they agree, and that is that Reality is One - that underlying all forms and manifestations there must be a One Reality from which all things flow.
And this inquiry into this One Reality is indeed the Question of Questions of the Universe.
One Great Fount
The highest reason of Man - as well as his deepest intuition - has always recognized that this Reality or Underlying Being is One, of which all Nature is but varying degrees of manifestation, emanation, or expression.
All have recognized that Life is a stream flowing from One Great Fount, the nature and name of which is unknown - some have said unknowable. Differ as we do about theories regarding the nature of this One, we all agree that it can be but One.
It is only when we begin to name and analyze this One, that the confusion of tongues results. But this too, is part of it all.
Let us see what humans have thought and said about this One - it may help us to understand the nature of the It.
What Souls have Thought and Said about this One.
The materialist claims that this One is a something called Matter: self-existent; eternal; infinite; containing within itself the potentiality of Matter, Energy, and Mind.
Another school, closely allied to the materialists, claim that this One is a something called Energy, of which Matter and Mind are but modes of motion.
The Idealists claim that the One is a something called Mind, and that Matter and Force are but ideas in that One Mind.
Theologians claim that this One is a something called a personal God, to whom they attribute certain qualities, characteristics, etc., the same varying schools, Oriental and Occidental, have taught that the One is a Being whose Life constitutes the life of all living forms.
All philosophies, all science, all religions, inform us that this world of shapes, forms and names [nama rupa] is but a phenomenal or shadow - a show-world - back of which rests reality, called by some name of the teacher. But remember this, all philosophy that counts is based upon some form of monism - Oneness - whether the concept be a known or unknown God; an unknown or unknowable principle; a substance; an Energy, or Spirit.
There is but One - there can be but One - such is the inevitable conclusion of the highest human reason, intuition, or faith.
And, likewise, the same reason informs us that this One Life must permeate all apparent material forms, forces, energies, and principles must be emanations from that One, and, consequently of It.
It may be objected to, that the creeds teaching a personal God do not so hold, for they teach that their God is the Creator of the Universe, which He has set aside from Himself as a workman sets aside his workmanship. But this objection avails naught, for where could such a Creator obtain the material for this Universe except form Itself ? And where the energy, except from the same Source ? And where the Life, unless from It's One Life ?
So in the end, it is seen that there must be but One - not two, even if we prefer the terms God and It's Universe, for even in this case, the Universe must have proceeded from God, and can only live, and move, and act, and think, and be, by virtue of It's Essence permeating it.
In passing by the conceptions of the various thinkers, we are struck by the fact that the various schools seem to manifest a one-sidedness in their theories, seeing only that which fits in with their theories, and ignoring the rest.
The Materialist talks about Infinite and Eternal Matter, although the latest scientific investigations have shown us Matter fading into Nothingness - the Eternal Atom being split into countless particles called Corpuscles or Electrons, which at the last seem to be nothing but a unit of electricity, tied up in a knot in the ether - although just what the Ether is, Science has yet to declare. And energy, also, seems to be unthinkable except as operating through matter and always seems to be acting under the operation of Laws - and Laws without a Law Maker, and a Law Maker without mind or something higher than Mind, appears to us as unthinkable.
And Mind, as we know it, seems to be bound up with matter and energy in a wonderful combination, and is seen to be subject to laws outside of itself, and to be varying, inconstant, and changeable, which attributed cannot be conceived of as belonging to the Absolute. Mind as we know it, as well as Matter and Energy, is held by the highest occult teachers to be but an appearance and a relativity of something far more fundamental and enduring, and we are compelled to fall back upon that old term which wise men and women have used in order to describe that Something Else that lies back of, and under, Matter, Energy, and Mind - and that word is Spirit.
We cannot tell just what is meant by the word Spirit, for we have nothing with which to describe it. But we can think of it as meaning the essence of Life and Being - the Reality underlying Universal Life.
Of course no name can be given to this One, that will fitly describe it. But we have used the term The Absolute in our previous lessons, and consider it advisable to continue its use, although the student may substitute any other name that appeals to them more strongly.
We do not use the word God (except occasionally in order to bring out a shade of meaning) not because we object to it, but because by doing so we would run the risk of identifying The Absolute with some idea of a personal God with certain theological attributes.
Nor does the word Principle appeal to us, for it seems to imply a cold, unfeeling, abstract thing, while we conceive the Absolute Spirit or Being to be a warm, living, acting, feeling Reality.
We do not use the word Nature, which many prefer, because of its materialistic meaning to the minds of many, although the word is very dear to us when referring to the outward manifestation of the Absolute Life.
Of the real nature of The Absolute, of course, we can know practically nothing, because it transcends all human experience and Man has nothing with which we can measure the Infinite. Spinoza was right when he said that to define God is to deny It,
for any attempt to define is, of course, an attempt to limit or make finite the Infinite. To define a thing is to identify it with something else - and where is the something else with which to identify the Infinite?
The Absolute cannot be described in terms of the Relative. It is not Something, although it contains within itself the reality underlying Everything. It cannot be said to have the qualities of any of its apparently separated parts, for it is the All. It is all that really is. It is beyond Matter, Force, or Mind as we know it, and yet these things emanate from it, and must be within its Nature. For what is in the manifested must be in the manifestor - no stream can rise higher than its Source - the effect cannot be greater than the cause - you cannot get something out of nothing.
But it is hard for the human mind to take hold of That which is beyond its experience -many philosophers consider it impossible - and so we must think of the Absolute in the concepts and terms of its highest manifestation.
We find Mind higher in the scale the Matter or Energy, and so we are justified in using the terms of Mind in speaking of the Absolute, rather than the terms of Matter or Energy - so let us try to think of an Infinite Mind, whose powers and capacities are raised to an infinite degree - Mind of which Herbert Spencer said that it was a mode of being as much transcending intelligence and will, as these transcend mere mechanical motion./p>
Examining the Reports of the Intellect
- Introducing the Intellect
- Eternity and Time
- All Powerful
- All Knowing
- The Existence of such a One
Introducing the Intellect
While it is true (as all occultists know) that the best information regarding the Absolute comes from the regions of the Self higher than Intellect, we are in duty bound to examine the reports of the Intellect concerning its information regarding the One.
The Intellect has been developed in us for use - for the purpose of examining, considering, thinking - and it behoves us to employ it. By turning it to this purpose, we not only strengthen and unfold it, but we also get certain information that can reach us by no other channel. And moreover, by such use of the Intellect we are able to discover many fallacies and errors that have crept into our minds from the opinions and dogmas of others - as Kant said, the chief, and perhaps the only, use of a philosophy of pure reason is a negative one. It is not an organon for extending, but a discipline for limiting!
Instead of discovering truth, its modest function is to guard against error. Let us then listen to the report of the Intellect, as well as of the higher fields of mentation.
Eternity and Time
One of the first reports of the Intellect, concerning the Absolute is that it must have existed for ever, and must continue to exist forever. There is no escape from this conclusion, whether one views the matter from the viewpoint of the materialist philosopher, occultist, or theologian. The Absolute could not have sprung from Nothing, and there was no other cause outside of Itself from which it could have emanated. And there can be no cause outside of Itself which can terminate its Being. And we cannot conceive of Infinite Life, or Absolute Life, dying. So the Absolute must be Eternal - such is the report of the Intellect!
This idea of the Eternal is practically unthinkable to the human mind, although it is forced to believe that it must be a quality of the Absolute. The trouble arises from the fact that the Intellect is compelled to see everything through the veil of Time, and Cause and Effect.
Now, Cause and Effect, and Time, are merely phenomena or appearances of the relative world, and have no place in the Absolute and Real. Let us see if we can understand this.
Reflection will show you that the only reason that you are unable to think of or picture a Causeless Cause, is because everything that you have experience in this relative world of the senses has had a cause - something from which it sprung.
You have seen Cause and Effect in full operation all about you, and quite naturally your Intellect has taken it for granted that there can be nothing uncaused - nothing without a preceding cause.
And the Intellect is perfectly right, so far as Things are concerned, for all Things are relative and are therefore caused. But back of the caused things must lie that which is the Great Cause of Things, and which, not being a Thing itself, cannot have been caused - cannot be the effect of a cause.
Our minds reel when we try to form a mental image of That which has had no cause, because, generally, we have had no experience in the sense world of such a thing, and therefore fail to form the image. It is out of our experience, and we cannot form the mental picture. Yet our mind is compelled to believe that there must have been an Original One, that can have had no cause.
This is a hard task for the Intellect, but in time it comes to see just where the trouble lies, and ceases to interpose objections to the voice of the higher regions of the Self.
And, the Intellect experiences a similar difficulty when it tries to think of an Eternal - a That which is above and outside of Time. We see Time in operation everywhere, and it take it for granted that Time is a reality - an actual thing.
But this is a mistake of the senses.
There is no such thing as Time in reality. Time exists solely in our minds. It is merely a form of perception by which we express our consciousness of the Change in Things.
We cannot think of Time except in connection with a succession of changes of things in our consciousness - either things of the outer world, or the passing of thought-forms through our mind. A day is merely the consciousness of the passing of the sun - an hour or minute merely the subdivision of the day, or else the consciousness of the movement of the hands of the clock - merely the consciousness of the movement of Things - the symbols of changes in Things.
In a world without changes in Things, there would be no such thing as Time. Time is but a mental invention. Such is the report of the Intellect.
And, besides the conclusions of pure abstract reasoning about Time, we may see many instances of the relativity of Time in our everyday experiences.
We all know that when we are interested, Time seems to pass rapidly, and when we are bored, it drags along in a shameful manner. We know that when we are happy, Time develops the speed of a meteor, while when we are unhappy it crawls like a tortoise. When we are interested or happy our attention is largely diverted from the changes occurring in things - because we do not notice the Things so closely. And while we are miserable or bored, we notice the detail in Things, and their changes, until the length of time seems interminable.
A tiny insect mite may, and does, live a lifetime of birth, growth, marriage, reproduction, old age, and death, in a few minutes, and no doubt its life seems as full as does that of the elephant with her hundred years.
Because so many things have happened!
When we are conscious of many things happening, we get the impression and sensation of the length of time. The greater the consciousness of things, the greater the sensation of Time. When we are so interested in talking to a loved one that we forget all that is occurring about us, then the hours fly by unheeded, while the same hours seem like days to one in the same place who is not interested or occupied with some task.
People have nodded, and in the second before awakening they have dreamed of events that seemed to have required the passage of years. Many of us have had experiences of this kind, and many such cases have been recorded by science.
On the other hand, one may fall asleep and remain unconscious, but without dreams, for hours, and upon awakening will insist that she has merely nodded. Time belongs to the relative mind, and has no place in the Eternal or Absolute.
Next, the Intellect informs us that it must think of the Absolute as Infinite in Space - present everywhere - Omnipresent. It cannot be limited, for there is nothing outside of itself to limit it. There is no such place as Nowhere. Every place is in the Everywhere. And Everywhere is filled with the All - the Infinite Reality - the Absolute.
And, just as was the case with the idea of Time, we find it most difficult - if not indeed impossible - to form an idea of an Omnipresent - of That which occupies Infinite Space. This is because everything that our minds have experienced has had dimensions and limits.
The secret lies in the fact that Space, like Time, has no real existence outside of our perception of consciousness of the relative position of Things - material objects.
We see this thing here, and that thing there. Between them is Nothingness. We take another object, say a yard-stick, and measure off this Nothingness between two objects, and we call this measure of Nothingness by the term Distance. And yet we cannot have measured Nothingness -- that is impossible.
What have we really done?
Simply this, determined how many lengths of yard-stick could be laid between the other two objects. [Ed note: The Sanskrit word Maya literally means Measurement and describes the function of Mind - to measure, judge, and compare.]
We call this process measuring Space, but Space is Nothing, and we have merely determined the relative position of objects. To measure space we must have three Things or objects, i.e.;
- The object from which we start the measure
- The object with which we the measure
- The object with which we end measurement
We are unable to conceive of Infinite Space, because we lack the third object in the measuring process - the ending object. We may use ourselves as a starting point, and the mental yard-stick is always at hand, but where is the object at the other side of Infinity of Space by which the measurement may be ended? It is not there, and we cannot think of the end without it.
Let us start with ourselves, and try to imagine a million million miles, and then multiply them by another million million miles, a million million times. What have we done? Simply extended our mental yard-stick a certain number of times to an imaginary point in the Nothingness that we call Space.
So far so good, but the mind intuitively recognizes that beyond that imaginary point at the end of the last yard-stick, there is a capacity for an infinite extension of yard-sticks - an infinite capacity for such extension.
Extension of what? Space?
No! Yard-sticks! Objects! Things!
Without material objects Space is unthinkable. It has no existence outside of out consciousness of Things. There is no such thing as Real Space. Space is merely an infinite capacity for extending objects.
Space itself is merely a name for Nothingness. If you can form an idea of an object swept out of existence, and nothing to take its place, that Nothing would be called Space, the term implying the possibility of placing something there without displacing anything else.
Size, of course, is but another form of speaking of Distance. And in this connection let us not forget that just as one may think of Space being infinite in the direction of largeness, so may we think of it as being infinite in the sense of smallness.
No matter how small may be an object thought of, we are still able to think of it as being capable of subdivision, and so on infinitely. There is no limit in this direction either.
As Jacob has said: "The conception of the infinitely minute is as little capable of being grasped by us, as is that of the infinitely great."
Despite this, the admission of the reality of the infinitude, both in the direction of greatness and of minuteness, is inevitable.
And, as Radenhausen has said: "The idea of Space is only an unavoidable illusion of our Consciousness, or of our finite nature, and does not exist outside of ourselves; the universe is infinitely small and infinitely great."
The telescope has opened to us ideas of magnificent vastness and greatness, and the perfected microscope has opened to us a world of magnificent smallness and minuteness. The latter has shown us that a drop of water is a world of minute living forms who live, eat, fight, reproduce, and die.
The mind is capable of imagining a universe occupying no more space than one million-millionth of the tiniest speck visible under the strongest microscope - and then imagining such a universe containing millions of suns and worlds similar to our own, inhabited by living forms akin to ours - living, thinking men and women, identical in every respect to ourselves.
Indeed, as some philosophers have said, if our Universe were suddenly reduced to such a size - the relative proportions of everything being preserved, of course - then we would not be conscious of any change, and life would go on the same, and we would be of the same importance to ourselves and to the Absolute as we are this moment.
And the same would be true were the Universe suddenly enlarged a million-million times. These changes would make no difference in reality. Compared with each other, the tiniest speck and the largest sun are practically the same size when viewed from the Absolute.
We have dwelt upon these things so that you could be able to better realize the relativity of Space and Time, and perceive that they are merely symbols of Things used by the mind in dealing with finite objects, and have no place in reality. When
This is realized, then the idea of Infinity in Time and Space is more readily grasped.
As Radenhausen says:
"Beyond the range of human reason there is neither Space nor Time; they are arbitrary conceptions of man, at which he has arrived by the comparison and arrangement of different impressions which he has received from the outside world. The conception of Space arises from the sequence of the various forms which fill Space, by which the external world appears to the individual person. The conception of Time arises from the sequence of the various forms which change in space (motion), by which the external world acts on the individual person, and so on. But externally to ourselves, the distinction between repletion of Space and mutation of Space does not exist, for each is in constant transmutation, whatever is, is filling and changing at the same time - nothing is at a standstill."
And to quote Racket:
"The world has neither beginning nor end, in space nor in time. Everywhere is centre and turning point, and in a moment is eternity."
Next, the Intellect informs us that we must think of the Absolute as containing within Itself all the Power there is, because there can be no other source or reservoir of Power, and there can be no Power outside of the Absolute to limit, confine, or conflict with It.
Any laws of the Universe must have been imposed by It, for there is no other law-giver, and every manifestation of Energy, Force, or Power, perceived or evident in Nature must be a part of the Power of the Absolute working along lines laid down by it.
In the Third Lesson, which will be entitled The Will-to-Live, we shall see this Power manifesting along the lines of Life as we know it.
Next, the Intellect informs us that it is compelled to think of the Absolute as containing within Itself all possible Knowledge or Wisdom, because there can be no Knowledge or Wisdom outside of It, and therefore all the Wisdom and Knowledge possible must be within It.
We see Mind, Wisdom, and Knowledge manifested by relative forms of Life, and such must emanate from the Absolute in accordance with certain laws laid down by It, for otherwise there would be no such wisdom, etc., for there is nowhere outside of the All from whence it could come.
The effect cannot be greater than the cause.
If there is anything unknown to the Absolute, then it will never be known to finite minds. So, therefore, All Knowledge that Is, Has Been, or Can Be, must be Now vested in the One - the Absolute.
This does not mean that the Absolute thinks, in any such sense as does Man.
The Absolute must Know, without Thinking.
It does not have to gather Knowledge by the process of Thinking, as does the person who knows nothing about meditation - such an idea would be ridiculous, for from whence could the Knowledge come outside of itself?
When a person thinks, they draw to themself Knowledge from the Universe source by the action of the Mind, but the Absolute has only itself to draw on.
So we cannot imagine the Absolute compelled to Think as we do.
But, lest we be misunderstood regarding this phase of the subject, we may say here that the highest occult teachings inform us that the Absolute does manifest a quality somewhat akin to what we would call constructive thought, and that such thoughts manifest into objectivity and manifestation, and become Creation.
Created Things, according to the Occult and Religious teachings, are Thoughts of God. Do not let this idea disturb you, and cause you to feel that you are nothing, because you have been called into being by a Thought of the Infinite One!
Even a Thought of that One would be intensely real in the relative world - actually Real to all except the Absolute Itself - and even the Absolute knows that the Real part of its Creations must be a part of Itself, for it cannot be anything else, and to call it Nothing is merely to juggle with words.
The faintest Thought of the Infinite One would be far more real than anything man could create - as solid as a mountain - as hard as steel - as durable as the diamond - for, verily, even these are emanations of The Mind Of The Infinite, and are things of but a day, while the Higher Thoughts - the soul of Man - contains within itself a spark from the Divine Flame itself - the Spirit of the Infinite.
But these things will appear in their own place, as we proceed with this series. We have merely given you a little food for thought at this point, in connection with The Mind Of The Absolute.
The Existence of such a One
So you see, good friends and students, that the Intellect in its highest efforts, informs us that if finds itself compelled to report that the One - the Absolute - That which it is compelled to admit really exists - must be a One possessed of a nature so far transcending human experience that the human mind finds itself without the proper concepts, symbols, and words with which to think of It. But none the less, the Intellect finds itself bound by its own laws to postulate the existence of such a One.
The Highest Minds of the Race
It is the veriest folly to try to think of the One as It is in Itself - for we have nothing but human attributes with which to measure it; and It so far transcends such measurements that the mental yardsticks run out into infinity and are lost sight of.
The highest minds of the race inform us that the most exalted efforts of their reason compels them to report that the One - in Itself - cannot be spoken of as possessing attributes or qualities capable of being expressed in human words employed to describe the Things of the relative world - and all of our words are such.
All of our words originate from such ideas, and all of our ideas arise from our experience; directly or indirectly. So we are not equipped with words with which to think of or speak of that which transcends experience, although our Intellect informs us that Reality lies back of our experience.
Philosophy finds itself unable to do anything better than to bring us face to face with high paradoxes.
Science in its pursuit of Truth finds it cunningly avoiding it, and ever escaping its net. And we believe that the Absolute purposely causes this to be; that in the end people may be compelled to look for the Spirit within themselves - the only place where we can come in touch with our essential Unity with All.
Those who have looked inside have experienced this as the answer to the Riddle of the Sphinx:
"Look Within for that which Thou needest."
But while the Spirit may be discerned only by looking within ourselves, we find that once the mind realizes that the Absolute Is, it will be able to see countless evidences of its action and presence by observing manifested Life without. All Life is filled with the Life Power and Will of the Absolute.
One Life Underlying All Diversity
To us Life is but One - the Universe is a living Unity, throbbing, thrilling and pulsating with the Will-to-Live of the Absolute. Back of all apparent shapes, forms, names, forces, elements, principles, and substances, there is but One - One Life, present everywhere, and manifesting in an infinitude of shapes, forms, and forces.
All individual lives are but centres of consciousness in the One Life underlying, depending upon it for all degrees of unfoldment, expression, and manifestation.
This may sound like Pantheism to some, but it is very different from the Pantheism of the schools and cults. Pantheism is defined as the doctrine that God consists in the combined forces and laws manifested in the existing Universe, or that the Universe taken or conceived as a whole is God.
Absolute, of the Yogi Philosophy - they seem to breathe but a refined materialism. The Absolute is not the combined forces and laws manifested in the Universe, nor the Universe conceived as a whole. Instead, the Universe, its forces and laws, even conceived as a whole, have no existence in themselves, but are mere manifestations of the Absolute.
Surely, this is different from Pantheism?
We teach that the Absolute is immanent in, and abiding in all forms of Life in the Universe, as well as in its forces and laws - all being but manifestations of the Will of the One. And we teach that this One is superior to all forms of manifestation, and that Its Existence and being does not depend upon the manifestation, which are but effects of the Cause.
The Pantheistic Universe - God is but a thing of phenomenal appearance, but the Absolute is the very Spirit of Life - a Living, Existing Reality, and would be so even if every manifestation were withdrawn from appearance and expression - drawn back into the Source from which it emanated.
The Absolute is more than Mountain or Ocean - Electricity or Gravitation - Monad or Man - It is Spirit - Life - Being - Reality - the One That Is. Omnipotent; Omnipresent; Omniscient; Eternal; Infinite; Absolute; these are Mankind's greatest words, and yet they but feebly portray a shadow thrown by the One Itself.
It lives in us - with us - through us
The Absolute is not a far-away Being directing our affairs at long range - not an absentee Deity - but an Immanent Life in and about us all - manifesting in us and creating us into individual centres of consciousness, in pursuance with some great law of being. And, more than this, the Absolute instead of being an indifferent and unmoved spectator to its own creation, is a thriving, longing, active, suffering, rejoicing, feeling Spirit, partaking of the feelings of its manifestations, rather than callously witnessing them.
It lives in us - with us - through us. Back of all the pain in the world may be found a great feeling and suffering love. The pain of the world is not punishment or evidence of divine wrath, but the incidents of the working out of some cosmic plan, in which the Absolute is the Actor, through the forms of Its manifestations.
The message of the Absolute to some of the Illumined has been, All is being done in the best and only possible way - I am doing the best I can - all is well - and in the end will so appear.
The Absolute is no personal Deity - yet in it it contains all that goes to make up all personality and all human relations. Father, Mother, Child, Friend, Lover - all is in It. All forms of human love and craving for sympathy, understanding, and companionship may find refuge in loving the Absolute.
The Absolute is constantly in evidence in our lives, and yet we have been seeking it here and there in the outer world, asking it to show Itself and prove Its existence.
Well may it say to us:
"Hast thou been so long time with me, and hast thou not known me?"
This is the great tragedy of Life, that the Spirit comes to us - Its own - and we know It not.
We fail to hear Its words:
"Oh, ye who mourn, I suffer with you and through you. Yea, it is I who grieve in you. Your pain is mine, your joy is mine. I suffer all pleasant and unpleasant through you, my children - and yet I rejoice beyond the confines of bodily life, for I know that through you, and with you , I shall live forever more."
And this is a faint idea of what we believe the Absolute to be. In the following lessons, we shall see It in operation in all forms of Life, and in ourselves. We shall get close to the workings of Its Mighty Will - close to Its Heart of Infinite Love.
Lesson One: Central Thought
There is but One Life in the Universe. And underlying that One Life in the Universe - Its Real Self - Its Essence - Its Spirit - is The Absolute, living, feeling, suffering, rejoicing, longing, striving, in and through us.
The Absolute is all that really Is, and all the visible Universe and forms of Life is Its Expression, through Its Will. We lack words adequate to describe the nature of the Absolute, but we will use two words describing its inmost nature as best we see it. These two words are life and love, the former describing the outer nature [relative manifestation], the latter the inner nature [Absolute consciousness].
Let us manifest both Life and Love as a token of our origin and inner nature.
Om Shanti, Satchidananda - Tat Twam Asi
[Peace be with thee, Truth-Consciousness-Bliss - Thou are that].
The Wave is not the Ocean but the Ocean is all the Waves.