by B P Wadia
© 2003 Online Teosofiska Kompaniet Malmö
The writer has a rare volume published by John Chapman of 142 Strand, London in 1851. It contains an instructive essay -- "Elucidation and Analysis of the Bhagavd-Geeta -- Theosophy of the Hindus" in three parts -- (a) Introductory, (b) Summary of the Gita, and (c) Hindu Cosmogony, containing a "Note on the Occupations of the Four Castes." Consider the theme of Repentance on which "January Searle" (George Searle Phillips) writes in this book. He is a mystic and a scholar, as the contents of the volume clearly show.
Writing on Repentance, he refers to "a nameless and super-sensuous power which keeps the heart pure." Man's stability depends upon his faith in this power, which also "strengthens each good resolution." Sinner though he be, man should have a correct view of self-reliance for this. "This noble virtue is the pivot on which life turns." We must obey our inner
convictions to be truly self-reliant. He points to the prevailing mental attitude -- intellectual reasoning -- and hints at "the new revelation of whose advent the idolatry itself is the sure and certain sign." He points to the Fourth Chapter of the Bhagavd-Gita and the well-known pronouncement of Krishna about the incarnations on earth of the Divine. "One revelation closes and another begins." He describes thus the "idolatry," "the cultus of the age.":-
"We are the idolaters of science, art, manufacture, and commerce; we have no longer a Temple for the Worship of the Invisible, for we no longer believe in the invisible. Our civilization is an intellectual organism, and there is no room within its pale for reverence."
In the opinion of the writer, who calls himself "January," looking like Janus at the past and the future, a good man can live outside the pale of idolatry and "listen to what the Spirit saith unto him." Referring to the struggle between mind and soul (and its continuing in a new dimension today) he writes:-
"Let the intellect have free development and play, and occupy all its sphere; let it sift and reason; let it sit in judgment and pronounce sentence on all lies, frauds, and deceitful inventions -- on all tricks of men devised to enslave the mind and strip it of its right and liberty; but quench not the spirit; trust it rather to the end; for its silent whispers are the breath of God, and the source of all insight and wisdom."
Man, as an individual, is a part of the great whole in which family, society, and nation have their places. As such, man has his beliefs that make him "in all things either too intellectual or too superstitious." His duty to himself calls upon him to examine his beliefs and convictions.
"Do not think, that it matters not what you think." A wrong philosophical formula brings disaster. Every man, however unlearned, has a philosophy by which he lives. It is, therefore, his first duty, his duty to himself, to think aright. "Beware of indifference -- for this is death to the soul."
The fundamental principle of self-examination comes next.
"There are eternal and infinite distinctions between right and wrong, which no intellectual demonstrations to the contrary can ever put aside. Hold by the right, though thou perish on its golden horns. It is better thus to die, than to die living with the wrong. The conscience is the dial of the man; do not blot out the image of God that burns upon its sacred disc."
Will the greedy commercial man, the wrathful retaliationist in society, the over-sexed man of lust, accept this truth about "eternal and infinite distinctions between right and wrong?" Does the modern psychiatrist, the psychosomatic doctor, or the psychoanalyst affirm that lust is lust? Does he try to make allowances and to gloss over sex aberrations, upsurges of anger, monetary covetousness, and thus without meaning to do so push the poor patient through the "gates of hell" of the Sixteenth Chapter of the Gita?
To one aspiring to a new dawn, the January of the calendar of soul life, our esteemed author advises "to stand upon his conscience and to respect the moral law." There are thousands today who look to a new dawn. If they turn within, their call of repentance will be heard. It has been said in an ancient text that, "Time produces penance and meditation." However wrong and sinful we may have been in the past, it is never too late to mend. Only the door of death shuts off the grand opportunity. If we have not tried to take it while we had it, we shall find it more difficult to recognize in another incarnation. Says our author:
"The soul is always pure, and delights not in frauds and sorceries, but is forever enamored of that divine beauty in whose image it is fashioned."
He puts a great psychological truth forward:-
"A man ought to be so well balanced that sin should be foreign to his nature; in other words, he should be master of himself, and suffer no miasma of the passions to foul the purity of his spirit. We are to use, not abuse, our faculties, which even in their lowest functions, are all good and proper to man, and can only be rendered evil by lawless fruition."
He advises us to guard against the lawless use of our mental, moral, and bodily faculties. Who among us has not erred, blundered, and even sinned? What of that? "Life is too short to waste in useless regrets; and regret itself is disease."
"So long as there is vitality in the conscience there is hope for the man," says our author, and he calls all who have erred or sinned to repentance, of which there are two kinds -- the theological and the intellectual. About the first, he says:
"All the dreadful penalties and horrid pains recorded in the penal statutes of Christianity against the sinner, take such absolute possession of his nature that he is scared into madness, and sits in mute and awful despair, amidst the ruins of his intellect."
"To a mind not diseased by the awful dogmas of innate depravity, with eternal torments as its consequences, repentance of our sin is a holy act, and brings with it both pardon and consolation. I know not how this happens, for it is dark and mystic in its process, although so beautiful and beneficent in its results But we get a true insight here into the mystery of atonement; for the meaning is this -- at-one-ment with God; and the repentant man is once more in harmony with God's laws, and is thus literally at-one-with Him."
"We are safe without dogmas" -- Christian, Judaic, or Hindu. "Morality is the keystone of the world's arch." What is sin? What is morality?
Selfishness uses the power of Hate and sin is born: the sin of money and all types of greed; the sin of lust and all other passions; the sin of wrath and all expressions of violence.
The foundation of morality and virtue is selflessness. From it spring Compassion for all, Love for all, Charity for all. Universal Ethics can be learnt by Faith in the Self within. Every transgression against them can be remedied by Repentance. We have to learn the true language and speech of Repentance. The sound of that speech is silence and secrecy. "Thus have I heard."
B. P. WADIA
From "Thus have I heard", pages 266-70. Utgiven av Indian Institute of World Culture, 1959.
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