THEOSOPHY, Vol. 14, No. 4, February, 1926
(Pages 173-174; Size: 8K)
[Part 3 of an 11-part series]He who, unattached to the fruit of his actions, performeth such actions as should be done is both a renouncer of action and a devotee of right action; not he who liveth without kindling the sacrificial fire and without ceremonies. Know, O son of Pandu, that what they call Sannyas or a forsaking of action is the same as Yoga or the practice of devotion. No one without having previously renounced all intentions can be devoted. He should raise the self by the Self; let him not suffer the Self to be lowered; for Self is the friend of self, and, in like manner, self is its own enemy. Self is the friend of the man who is self-conquered; so self like a foe hath enmity to him who is not self-conquered. The Self of the man who is self-subdued and free from desire and anger is intent on the Supreme Self in heat and cold, in pain and pleasure, in honor and ignominy. The man who hath spiritual knowledge and discernment, who standeth upon the pinnacle, and hath subdued the senses, to whom gold and stone are the same, is said to be devoted. And he is esteemed among all who, whether amongst his friends and companions, in the midst of enemies or those who stand aloof or remain neutral, with those who love and those who hate, and in the company of sinners or the righteous, is of equal mind."--Bhagavad-Gita, VI, 44-45.NOW in this passage there is the phrase "to raise the self by the Self," which means to raise the lower self, which is troublesome and mischievous, with the help of that which is good, that which is the Higher, that which is the nobler. "Raise the self by the Self" -- it does not say that you can raise the self with the help of mere books, or of teachers, or with the help of some religion or philosophy, but that you can raise the lower self with the help of the Higher Self. It is a process within ourselves, something that we have to do, each one of us, with the help of our own Soul.
Now what is the lower self? What is that which we call the Higher Self or the Soul? The lower self is that which acts because of and with our likes and dislikes. That which is known as the Higher Self does action which has to be done, i.e., Dharma, which means lawful and true Duty. Asking the reason for the doing of the action, and finding the right method of doing that particular action, the Higher Self acts. Take any action; eating is an action; walking is an action; speaking is an action. All these are generally done because we like it, or not done because we don't like it. That is the lower. People do things. Why? They say, "I like it." What has that to do with it? That is the action of the lower. Can you give a reason, can you point a way that is right according to true knowledge; that is Theosophy? Then it does not become an action of the lower, but an action of the Higher Nature -- the Soul.
All the actions of life which are done from the point of view of reason and discrimination, of giving the right value to a thing, that is the action of the Higher Self; through that the lower self is raised. How? We eat food, that affects the body; we walk, walking affects our body; we speak, speech affects our moral nature; we think a thought, that affects our mental nature. You can eat, but if your thought, reasoning and discrimination is not used, the food affects in a lower way for it is the action of the lower self. If your discrimination is used in eating, then your Higher Nature is affected also. Therefore Krishna says whatever you do -- eat or walk or sleep, all simple things -- do it for and as the Self. We are all Souls, and to act as Souls means that. That is the real and only religious ceremony each one of us can perform.
"He who kindles the fire, he is considered a spiritual man." What is the fire? The fire of knowledge, and that is the only kind of right sacrament that exists; all others are false. Right ceremony, the right ritual is the ritual or ceremony where the Soul is the actor. The Soul reasoning out, discriminating, performs the little duties of life, and thereby purifies the lives that make up the physical body, the moral nature, the thoughts, and that way the lower nature is raised and takes on the character of the Higher Nature, then -- there is only one Nature. The Masters have a body, a mind and moral nature, but that nature of mind, emotions, body, senses, is all purified, is raised to a very high position. Therefore there is no lower, mischievous, harmful, injurious nature in the Perfected Men. It does not mean They have no body, it does not mean They have no mind, it does not mean They do not feel and love, for They do; but it does mean that everything They do is done from the point of view of the Universal Self, from the point of view of the All. When we act as the Soul, we do not act for ourselves alone; when we speak as a Soul we take into account how other Souls are affected. To act as the Soul, is then, to reason and discriminate. What is discrimination? To give right value to things. We have to value them rightly. To value them rightly, we want to take note of the fact that this does not only affect us, but all people. Not a single thing we do fails to affect all people.
Living as the Self, raising the lower self by the help of the Higher Self is the task, the ritual, the ceremony that all of us have to perform, which many of us, most of us, thousands upon thousands do not perform. Who is a religious man? He who performs the ceremony every day, every hour, in every thing he does. The religious man is not the man who goes to church on Sundays, but he who is religious in every thing he does. He thinks as the Soul, of all subjects; he loves as the Soul, all humanity; he acts as the Soul, discharging duty everywhere and all the time. Thus the lower self is raised by the Higher Self.
[Part 4 of an 11-part series]
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