us generate ourselves
[from LIVING THE LIFE, pages 123-129]
by B. P. Wadia
© 2006 Online Teosofiska Kompaniet Malmö
The Theosophical neophyte values The Voice of the Silence as a book of divine discipline. What type of discipline is divine discipline? It may be defined as archetypal discipline: it includes the discipline of the body and the sensorium, of the mind and the heart; it is the discipline of the whole of the personal man: what he should eat and how he should study; when he should put his body to sleep, of the why of dreams, of the way of waking, and of the how of doing things. This discipline affects his motives as well as his methods.
Who is the Disciplinarian?
(a) The Inner Self beyond the personal man.
(b) The Esoteric Philosophy or the Science of Occultism.
(c) The Instructor, representing the Guruparampara.
The Inner Self is divine in essence as well as in substance; the Esoteric Philosophy is also divine in origin and content; the real Chain of Teachers is made up of links, each a possessor of Divine Wisdom, whose realization of the truths of the World of the Spirit is genuine and deep enough to enable him to pour out Compassion in the shape of instruction for the benefit of others.
There are worldly, ambitious, and moneymaking gurus; there is worldly and false knowledge; but there are many good and earnest men who desire to learn, to grow in power. The shadow of divine discipline is mundane discipline.
In The Voice of the Silence, there are two golden precepts – sounds enshrined in words – whose reverberations must be heard if their real meaning and import are to be osmosed:
O Disciple, unless the flesh is passive, head cool, the Soul as
firm and pure as flaming diamond, the radiance will not reach the
CHAMBER, its sunlight will not warm the heart, nor will the
mystic sounds of the Akasic heights reach the ear, however eager,
at the initial stage.
Both action and inaction may find room in thee; thy body
agitated, thy mind tranquil, thy Soul as limpid as a mountain
The radiance of the Spiritual Sun, the Light of the Logos, warms not the hearts of men; it reaches not the chamber or cave of the heart; and naturally, therefore, its radiance and voice are of no avail to the man of the world. The divine discipline is the training of the personal man so that the Hidden Light and the Soundless Sound are known. For this, a prescription is given in the two verses quoted above.
However, something more than eagerness is demanded to attain divine discipline. Both action and inaction must find room in the learner; he must learn to act without caring for the fruits of action; he must act and yet feel within himself that he is not acting, i.e., that he is not the actor.
”The path of action is obscure,” says the Gita (IV, 17). ”Even sages have been deluded as to what is action and what inaction.” He who learns to see ”inaction in action and action in inaction” is described as a wise man.
The neophyte finds himself fettered by self-made fate; these fetters cannot be broken or done away with; they have to be faced and transmuted. Each and every fetter represents an effect, and care and knowledge are required in handling it. The right technique consists in examining our duties. The so-called conflict of duties can and should be resolved by every neophyte at the initial stage. Duty spells necessity; that which is necessary must be done; on the other hand, that which is unnecessary should not be done. Practice of this rule of divine discipline takes us a long step towards freeing ourselves from the fetters of fate.
In deciding what is necessary and what unnecessary, we must not succumb to the demanding or persuasive voice of desires, or to the machinating and plausible pleading of the mind; we must seek guidance from that in us which is unaffected by the desires arising from the sensorium and from the mind. Within us is the Guide, Philosopher, and Friend called the Higher Manas. But – he is far distant from Kama-Manas that is ever busy with the senses and the organs, with the flesh and the devil. Therefore, we must seek aid from without: from the Divine Teachings we can obtain help readily and easily. No one can become a neophyte without aspirations; no one can become an aspirant without knowledge. To become a learner, study is the first step; knowledge purifies and elevates spiritual aspirations; Soul aspirations lead to the actual living of the higher life, and thus the neophyte is born.
The performance of necessary duties and the strict avoidance of all unnecessary actions develop both discrimination and detachment. Soon the neophyte is led to perceive that his new knowledge points to a higher necessity – the doing of deeds that are not only personal duties or karmas. The Divine Virtues of Charity and Sacrifice call for deeds and not only for words, for actions and not only for thoughts and feelings. Divine discipline requires that ideation and imagination be used in speech and deeds, and harmony be established between words and acts so that no further room is left for Karmic action.
Bearing all this in mind, let us return to the prescriptions offered in the verses quoted above about the discipline of body, mind, and Soul.
(a) The flesh to be passive; the body to be agitated.
(b) The head to be cool; the mind to be tranquil.
(c) The Soul to be firm and pure as a flaming diamond; the Soul to be as limpid as a mountain lake.
The flesh represents sensuous cravings, e.g., gluttony. The worldly indulge the bodily appetites. The activity of the flesh and the titillation of the senses produce bodily ailments, and even the signal of disease is not heeded. Bodily health is necessary for discipleship. Therefore, the neophyte has to learn to distinguish between two types of corporeal agitation. Even modern science recognizes that the body may be thrown into agitation under a wave of strong feeling. Thus, attractions of personal affection that make people cling to life in the body, aversion to or fear of death, and all other likes and dislikes agitate the brain and the body.
However, desires of the sensuous nature and aspirations of the Soul produce two distinct kinds of agitation. Agitation in and of the body can be engendered (a) by the without – by the cravings aroused by the sights, sounds, etc., of the world of objects; and ( b) by the response of our higher nature to our aspirations which are built around our ideation and imagination. The first type of agitation of the body is a great hindrance in the living of the higher life. Therefore the neophyte is told to make the flesh passive – i.e., inactive, to prepare it to be receptive. The corpus must be made ready to be a receptacle. The second type of agitation has to be inducted into the brain and thus into the whole sensorium. It is this second type of bodily agitation that is referred to when we are asked to make our ”body agitated.”
Next: Hot heads can never succeed in the neophyte's life. In Letters That Have Helped Me (p.106, Indian ed.), Mr. Judge makes pointed reference to the heating and cooling influences and to the excitement and calmness of the mind and of the body. In the neophyte's discipline, the mind plays the most important part. The starting point is the handling of the desire-mind. The head in the human body is the organ par excellence of the lower mind, and the mind made tranquil becomes the channel of the Soul.
The complexities of the lower mind or Kama-Manas are many. The Secret Doctrine points out that ”Mind is a name given to the sum of the states of Consciousness grouped under Thought, Will, and Feeling.” (I, 38) The part played by ideation and by memory is also referred to. The Secret Doctrine (II, 701) contains also an important statement of practical significance to the neophyte: ”The ordinary man has no experience of any state of consciousness other than that to which the physical senses link him.”
The neophyte must come out from among them who are ”cabin'd, cribb'd, confin'd, bound in” by their senses. He must recognize the Manasic nature of his being and perceive the necessity of disciplining the senses for which a prior disciplining of the mind is essential. A quiet reflection on the two statements of The Secret Doctrine will bring him to the realization that ”matter, after all, is nothing else than the sequence of our own states of consciousness, and Spirit an idea of psychic intuition” (I, 542). Kama-Manas, Manas freed from Kama, and lower mind influenced and guided by the human Soul, the Higher Mind, are three distinct states of consciousness, in each of which thought, will, and feeling function. The mind cannot become tranquil when swayed by doubts and fears, attractions and aversions. Our disposition must be free from the taint of sensuousness, agreeably inclined to pure reason based on philosophical principles, and the will must be steadfastly resolute to follow the dictates of our divine conscience. A tranquil mind is not a passive mind; it is concentrated and is receptive to the influences and impresses of the Human Soul, the Ego, the Inner Ruler – a ray of the Divine Mind.
Theosophy teaches that the intimacy between the Divine Ego and the human personality is not established in the man of flesh until the neophyte learns to evoke by purity, sacrifice, and control the power and the radiance of that Divinity.
When the mind is freed from desire and then is trained to unfold its inherent latent powers, it becomes firm and pure under the benign influence of the Divine Man; it reflects the firmness of the diamond and sparkles steadily with the colors of the Akashic heights. The second image shows that the personal soul becomes like unto a mountain lake, limpid and translucent.
In the calm of the Soul lies real knowledge. Experience of holy, celestial Joy is the real sign of true spiritual life.
The mountain symbolizes the far-sightedness of Prometheus himself reflected in the purified waters of the astral personality that is capable of responding to the Wisdom of the Great Lord who dwells on the high altitude of the plane of Spirit.
Just as the worldly man reflects in his deeds and words worldly illusions and delusions, so the neophyte begins to reflect, in his actions and speech, the sacrifices and wisdom of the Divine Man. The goal of the neophyte is to become divine here, in his present embodied state, purified of the dross and dregs of Kama, and shining with the Power of the Immortal and the Eternal.
B. P. WADIA
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