The other limit is a complete renunciation of that personality,
the greatest concern with the life of the infinite Universe,
in full accord with it, the transfer of all our desires
and good will from one's self, to that infinite Universe
and all the creatures outside of us.3
The nearer to the first limit, the less life and bliss,
the closer to the second, the more life and bliss.
Therefore, man is ever moving from one end to the other;
i.e., he lives. THIS
MOTION IS LIFE ITSELF.
And when I speak of life know that the idea of it is indissolubly
connected in my conceptions with that of conscious life.
No other life is known to me except conscious life, nor
can it be known to anyone else.
We call life, the life of animals, organic life.
But this is no life at all, only a certain state or condition
of life manifesting to us.
But what is this consciousness or mind, the exigencies
of which exclude personality and transfer the energy of man outside
of him and into that state which is conceived by us as the blissful
state of love?
What is conscious mind? Whatsoever we may be defining,
we have to define it with our conscious mind. Therefore,
with what shall we define mind? . . .
If we have to define all with our mind, it follows that
conscious mind cannot be defined. Yet all of us,
we not only know it, but it is the only thing which is
given to us to know undeniably. . . .
It is the same law as the law of life, of everything organic,
animal or vegetable, with that one difference that we see
the consummation of an intelligent law in the life of a plant.
But the law of conscious mind, to which we are subjected,
as the tree is subjected to its law, we see it not,
but fulfil it. . . .
We have settled that life is that which is not our life.
It is herein that lies hidden the root of error. Instead
of studying that life of which we are conscious within ourselves,
absolutely and exclusively--since we can know of nothing else--in
order to study it, we observe that which is devoid of the
most important factor and faculty of our life namely, intelligent
consciousness. By so doing, we act as a man who
attempts to study an object by its shadow or reflection does.
If we know that substantial particles are subjected during their
transformation to the activity of the organism; we know
it not because we have observed or studied it, but simply
because we possess a certain familiar organism united to us,
namely the organism of our animal, which is but too well
known to us as the material of our life; i.e.
that upon which we are called to work and to rule by subjecting
it to the law of reason. . . . No sooner has man lost faith
in life, no sooner has he transferred that life into that
which is no life, than he becomes wretched, and
sees death. . . . A man who conceives life such as he finds
it in his consciousness, knows neither misery, nor
death: for all the good in life for him is in the subjection
of his animal to the law of reason, to do which is not
only in his power, but takes place unavoidably in him.
The death of particles in the animal being, we know.
The death of animals and of man, as an animal, we
know; but we know nought about the death of conscious mind,
nor can we know anything of it, just because that conscious
mind is the very life itself. And Life can never
be Death. . . .
The animal lives an existence of bliss, neither seeing
nor knowing death, and dies without cognizing it.
Why then should man have received the gift of seeing and knowing
it, and why should death be so terrible to him that it
actually tortures his soul, often forcing him to kill himself
out of sheer fear of death? Why should it be so? Because the man
who sees death is a sick man, one who has broken the law
of his life, and lives no longer a conscious existence.
He has become an animal himself, an animal which also has
broken the law of life.
The life of man is an aspiration to bliss, and that which
he aspires to is given to him. The light lit in the soul
of man is bliss and life, and that light can never be darkness,
as there exists--verily there exists for man--only this solitary
light which burns within his soul.
We have translated this rather lengthy fragment from the Report
of Count Tolstoi's superb lecture, because it reads like
the echo of the finest teachings of the universal ethics of true
theosophy. His definition of life in its abstract sense,
and of the life every earnest Theosophist ought to follow,
each according to, and in the measure of, his natural
capacities--is the summary and the Alpha and the Omega of
practical psychic, if not spiritual life. There
are sentences in the lecture which, to the average theosophist,
will seem too hazy, and perhaps incomplete. Not
one will he find, however, which could be objected
to by the most exacting, practical occultist. It
may be called a treatise on the Alchemy of Soul. For that
"solitary" light in man, which burns for ever,
and can never be darkness in its intrinsic nature, though
the "animal" outside us may remain blind to it--is that
"Light" upon which the Neo-Platonists of the Alexandrian
school, and after them the Rosecroix and especially the
Alchemists, have written volumes, though to the
present day their true meaning is a dark mystery to most men.
True, Count Tolstoi is neither an Alexandrian nor a modern
theosophist; still less is he a Rosecroix or an Alchemist.
But that which the latter have concealed under the peculiar phraseology
of the Fire-philosophers, purposely confusing cosmic transmutations
with Spiritual Alchemy, all that is transferred by the
great Russian thinker from the realm of the metaphysical unto
the field of practical life. That which Schelling would
define as a realization of the identity of subject and object
in the man's inner Ego, that which mites and blends the
latter with the universal Soul--which is but the identity of subject
and object on a higher plane, or the unknown Deity--al1
that Count Tolstoi has blended together without quitting the terrestrial
plane. He is one of those few elect who begin with
intuition and end with quasi-omniscience. It is
the transmutation of the baser metals--the animal mass--into
gold and silver, or the philosopher's stone, the
development and manifestation of man's higher SELF
which the Count has achieved. The alcahest of the
inferior Alchemist is the All-geist. the all-pervading
Divine Spirit of the higher Initiate; for Alchemy was,
and is, as very few know to this day, as much a
spiritual philosophy as it is a physical science. He who
knows nought of one, will never know much of the other.
Aristotle told it in so many words to his pupil, Alexander:
"It is not a stone," he said, of the philosopher's
stone. "It is in every man and in every
place, and at all seasons, and is called the
end of all philosophers," as the Vedanta
is the end of all philosophies.
To wind up this essay on the Science of Life, a
few words may be said of the eternal riddle propounded to mortals
by the Sphinx. To fail to solve the problem contained in
it, was to be doomed to sure death, as the Sphinx
of life devoured the unintuitional, who would live only
in their "animal." He who lives for Self,
and only for Self, will surely die,
as the higher "I" tells the lower "animal"
in the Lecture. The riddle has seven keys to it,
and the Count opens the mystery with one of the highest.
For, as the author on "Hermetic Philosophy" beautifully
expressed it: "The real mystery most familiar and,
at the same time, most unfamiliar to every man,
into which he must be initiated or perish as an atheist,
is himself. For him is the elixir of life, to
quaff which, before the discovery of the philosopher's
stone, is to drink the beverage of death, while
it confers on the adept and the epopt, the true
immortality. He may know truth as it really is--Aletheia,
the breath of God, or Life, the conscious mind
This is "the Alcahest which dissolves all things,"
and Count Tolstoi has well understood the riddle.
H. P. Blavatsky
Lucifer, November, 1887
1 Or Life-origination, Life-fusion, Life-division,
Life-renewal and Life-transmission.
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2 "Mistaking" is an erroneous term to use.
The men of science know but too well that what they teach concerning
life is a materialistic fiction contradicted at every step by
logic and fact. In this particular question science is
abused, and made to serve personal hobbies and a determined
policy of crushing in humanity every spiritual aspiration and
thought. "Pretending to mistake" would
be more correct.
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3 This is what the Theosophists call "living
the life"--in a nut-shell.
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"No Religion Higher Than Truth"
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