THEOSOPHY, Vol. 6, No. 6, April, 1918
(Pages 276-278; Size: 10K)
THE IDEA OF GOD
EVERY student who comes in contact with the sublime teachings of the Wisdom-religion on the subject of Deity, of the great Causeless CAUSE of all, has a formidable succession of strata of mental deposits to disintegrate and dissolve in himself before he can grasp the reality of the Ever-present Hidden SELF including and permeating all nature.
When he has in some measure broken up and cleared away the débris of misconception and erroneous notions in himself, and essays to rouse his fellow man to the like perception and the like effort, the difficulties that confront him are, if anything, even more formidable.
For we are all soaked through and through with the barbarous and hideously materialistic and narrow personal selfish ideas that form the mental barriers of the race to which we belong, and that must be demolished before we can emerge into the free spaces of the spiritual life and see with any clearness something of what is implicit in the Great Ideas of Theosophy.
Our personal existence from birth to death is steeped in selfish considerations. Our parents exist for our sake, not we in any sense for theirs. The family is an adjunct to our well-being; our family is an adjunct to our business. Our patriotism is an adjunct to our politics. Our religion is an adjunct to our sins, and exists for no other purpose than to wash us white of them, and free us from their evil effects. Our soul is a possession of no particular value while we live, and not to be permitted to tax or burden us to any particular extent, or interfere in any way with any earthly thing, but of surpassing importance at the time of death, and must be "saved" at that time, because it constitutes our spiritual insurance, to be realized on in the shape of an annuity, enabling us to continue in heaven the enjoyments to which we have grown accustomed here.
No pagan or heathen or atheist idea of god and soul can be found on examination to compare in sheer sordidness with the conceptions that have become inbred in us till they are second nature; too intimate to be examined; too familiar to be realized in all their depth and depravity.
H. P. Blavatsky warned us that materialism is not only the anti-philosophical negation of pure spirit; it is also of conduct and action -- brutality, hypocrisy, and above all, selfishness; and more than all it is the disbelief in all but material things, a disbelief which has increased enormously during the last century, and which has led many, after a denial of all existence other than in matter, into a blind belief in the materialization of Spirit.
The tendency of modern civilization is a reaction towards a development of those qualities which conduce to the success in life of man as an animal in the struggle for animal existence. So when the religious impulse rises in us and we cry out despairingly, "Where, who, what is God? Who ever saw the immortal Spirit of man, so as to be able to assure himself of man's immortality?" -- when this recurrent question of the ages resounds in us also, we are but too apt to look for reply in gross directions, and overlook, ignore or deride the still small voice of the unplumbed silence within. Yet manifestly God without can never be known or recognized if it be not by the God within.
So she taught us the eternal but ever-new wisdom of the SELF in all things -- even the Self within. As many men on earth, so many gods in heaven, and yet these Gods are in reality ONE. Her philosophy has room for no other faith than an absolute and immovable faith in the omnipotence of man's own Immortal Self. This omnipotence comes from the kinship of man's spirit with the Universal Soul -- God! Man-spirit proves God-spirit, as the one drop of water proves a source from whence it must have come. When one sees mortal man displaying tremendous capabilities, controlling the forces of nature and opening up to view the world of spirit, the reflective mind is overwhelmed with the conviction that if one man's spiritual Ego can do this much, the capabilities of the FATHER-SPIRIT must be relatively as much vaster as the whole ocean surpasses the single drop in volume and potency. Ex nihilo nihil fit; prove the soul of man by its wondrous powers -- you have proved God!
This Fundamental Proposition is easy for some and difficult for others. The difficulty arises chiefly from the influence of centuries of education in the degrading doctrine that all are originally sinful. If we are originally sinful we must be inherently imperfect, and that which is inherently imperfect can never, by any possibility, become perfect. Many have not been directly taught this doctrine of original imperfection, but all their thoughts have been insensibly affected by it. God has been continually held up to us as a being outside or different from us, and hence we tacitly hold the doctrine of inherent weakness and imperfection. She taught that this imperfection is only in the lower elements -- lower because misunderstood and consequently misused and abused, with all their frightful consequences of grossly materialistic and anthropomorphic ideas of God, of Nature, and of ourselves.
She taught that evolution has a meaning and a purpose, a spiritual no less than an intellectual and a physical basis and resultant; that the Saviours and Christs and Buddhas of history and tradition are possible and a fact in nature, because of this ignored and overlooked side of evolution; that such Beings exist because they are the product of human and all evolution -- that is, of intellectual and spiritual evolution -- and that Themselves were once seemingly imperfect as ourselves. There came a time when they ceased to be sinning mortals, lay hold of the true ideas of God, of Nature, and of themselves, and set resolutely and steadfastly to work to disembarrass themselves of the evil and gross ideas that had formed their substratum of thought and action.
In essence, in possibility of soul and spirit, we are all perfect. So long as we deny this we prevent progress and keep back the exhibition of that actual spiritual perfection which we have at the centre.
The Wisdom-Religion addresses itself to the man who is ignorant of his own greatness; he may come out of that ignorance, and, by slow degrees or quickly, realize his oneness with the Great Supreme. This first lesson has to be learned even though we do not as yet realize its full meaning. The following of occult formularies and the running after this, that, and the other guide will come to nothing but loss. Thus seeking on the outside for God and the solution of the mysteries of our hidden Self we delude ourselves and reach the end of life none the wiser.
The evolution of the internal or real MAN is purely spiritual. It is not a passage through many and various forms of matter, as is the case in external evolution, but a journey of the Pilgrim-Soul through various states of not only matter but Self-consciousness and self-perception. All the time he is one and the same Soul, differing only in his incarnations, throughout his ever succeeding cycles of partial or total obscuration of spirit, or the partial or total obscuration of matter -- two polar antitheses -- as he ascends into the realms of mental spirituality, or descends into the depths of materiality. As we rise in the scale of development we perceive that during the stages through which we have passed we mistook shadows for realities, and the upward progress of the Ego is a series of progressive awakenings, each advance bringing with it the idea that now, at last, we have reached "reality;" but only when we shall have reached the absolute Consciousness, and blended our own with it, shall we be free from the delusions produced by our ignorant materialization of spiritual ideas.
Wherefore Theosophy sets us the first lesson to learn: That man is identical in Spiritual and physical essence with both the Absolute Principle and with God in Nature and has the presence in him of the same potential powers as exist in the creative forces of Nature.
"There is that, which upon the dissolution of all things else, is not destroyed. It is indivisible, indestructible, and of another nature from the visible. That called the unmanifested and exhaustless is called the supreme goal, which having once attained they never more return. This Supreme, within whom all creatures are included and by whom all this is pervaded, may be attained by a devotion which is intent on him alone."
THAT THOU ART, O LITTLE MAN. THOU ART THIS, BUT THOU KNOWEST IT NOT.
The Dead God
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