BOOK OF IMAGES
BOOK OF CONFIDENCES
Foreword . . . . page 1
Kavala’s Quest . . . page 3
The Heart of Parasan . . . page 7
The Trial of Lakshma . . . page 13
Shukram’s Nativity . . . page 18
The Doctrine of the Heart . . . page 23
The Maya of Imri . . . page 29
The Three Voices . . . page 34
Isandha Amongst Thousands . . . page 42
Sinbara Das, Mahout . . . page 49
Arayan’s Meditation . . . page 56
Narada-Adaran page . . . page 63
The Soul of a Sudra . . . page 71
Keshara the Sky-Walker . . . page 78
The Parable of the Mendicant . . . 84
The Shadow of Sadhanu . . . page 92
Sansara Devadatta . . . page 97
From the Sleeping Spheres . . . page 104
In the City of the Great King . . page 111
The Light in the Head . . . page 119
The Watcher at the Ford . . . page 126
The Passing of the Guru . . . page 133
GLOSSARY . . . page 189
FROM THE BOOK OF IMAGES
TALES HEARD AT DUSK AND
TRANSCRIBED AT DAWN
FOR THOSE WHO SEEK AGAIN
THE ROAD FORGOTTEN
Kavala’s Quest . . . . . . Frontispiece
Narada-Adaran . . . . . . facing page 64
Sansara Devadatta . . . . . . facing page 97
The Passing of the Guru. . . . . . . facing page 137
FROM THE BOOK OF CONFIDENCES
On Duty . . . . . . . page 149
On Faith . . . . . . . page 152
On Sacrifice . . . . page 155
On Patience. . . . .page 158
On Success . . . . . page 161
On Freedom . . . page 164
On Love. . . . . . . page 167
On Birth. . . . . . . page 170
On Death. . . . . . . page 174
On Purity. . . . . . page 177
On Perfection. . . page 180
On Initiation. . . . .page 183
I confess that I do not know the magic of Murdhna Joti, nor why he should have told me these tales, nor more than a little of what they may mean, beyond the meaning anyone can grasp. Read them for yourself and see: that is what Murdhna told me when I would have probed into his hidden self—that invisible, immortal Self, by which he never wearied of saying the unknown is to be known.
But this I do know, and therefore confess as freely as what I do not know: this, that there are voyages and voyages besides and beyond those by land, or water, or air. There are those voyages which we all nightly make into dream, into sleep—that voyage of discovery by an unknown route to find the Farther East—and from which we return to the familiar shores of waking no whit the wiser for our nocturnal quest.
Then there is that vaster Voyage by which we come from some other where to here, where we land more naked than any Crusoe. And, finally, there is that embarkation on a voyage from here to—Where, indeed?
Sometimes I think, or feel, or fancy—that Murdhna Joti was (and is) a Voyager merely passing through our worldly Universe, and that, small doubt, if Truth were known instead — of, talked of, he could tell many more, and more enthralling tales from his Book of Images—that is to say, from the log of his voyages—than any he told me.
Certain, I never encountered in Heroes, legendary or real, any (unless it be the mysterious Ramon Lull) who so fed my own dreams of magical voyagings in far spaces as this same Murdhna Joti. I dream of him often, and the dreams
are so vivid, so much more life-like than anything I experience in reality, that sometimes, even when my friends assure me I am wide-awake, I am secretly engaged in telling myself that I am dreaming—that life here is a mere book of fleeting images, and the life whereof Murdhna Joti more than hints, the only real life.
In other words, that I am myself an invisible, immortal Self, and not just what my friends and I call me. I wonder....
THIS was the eldest son who went to his father and said, “My younger brother is
wiser than I. He was born with a contented mind, and his thoughts have remained
always in order. Let him be in my stead. He will conserve all things and do
“What is it that you wish to do ?“ asked the, father.
“I desire another wisdom and I cannot find it here.”
“What is this wisdom which you seek, and where can, it be found?”
“I do not know what it is, nor where it can be had. But it must exist, otherwise how could I have any hunger for it, and if it cannot be found, how could the hunger persist?”
The old Brahmin spoke.
“Many have felt as you feel, my son; Kings’ sons and others; but always it arises in those who have too much or too little. It is not good. Make offerings, perform sacrifices, and seek communion with the gods. Siva is terrible. Vishnu is great. Brahma is all-powerful. Make search for Brahma. He is here as well as there. He is not to be found by journeying.”
Kavala answered, “Make audience, then, for me with Brahma, that I may ask this wisdom.”
But the old priest shook his head.
“Not even a Brahmin can do that. Each must find Brahma for himself. All the books say that.”
Kavala asked again, “But this wisdom that the books tell of, whence does it come? The preserved figs give food, but they do not produce fig-trees. Their seeds will not germinate. All that I have learned from the books is but a dried fruit. Where is the tree ?“
“Be content that the tree must exist,” said the King, “or you have eaten of its’ fruit. By learning you may instruct others in the things that have been, and govern wisely in the things that are. A King’s son must rule in his kingdom.”
“What is my kingdom,” said Kavala, “if I gain not this wisdom?”
After many days and much leave-taking, Kavala went his unknown way. At first he was tempted to repent, for at the time of parting the things of his life that had seemed of small account and unable to satisfy his emptiness took on hues of great value and his thirst for the unknown wisdom might well be but a strange fever, and the wisdom itself no more than a mirage in the mind of a sick traveler.
Wherever he went, he found all men contented with the dried fruit of their ancient wisdom, now become learning so great that everywhere there were temples in which priests dwelt who did naught but repeat to the hungry from the books they studied. Yet nowhere could he find where wisdom grew as fresh as once it grew in days of old.
When Kavala was come to forty years, half his life had been passed in this wandering and he was no wiser than before he had forsaken his possessions for this rudderless quest.
Each year, on the day of his departure, he had been accustomed to walk far, to pass the night alone in the forest, to meditate upon his journey’s object, and to scan his long wanderings. For always, it might be, he had been near to wisdom, or to the place where wisdom might be had. Perchance he had been, diverted in his thoughts for a moment, so that had wisdom’s voice been there, he had not heard. But each year, however long his path appeared before him, clear in all its details like a vision by lightning, he had been able to assure himself that at no single moment had he forsaken his object;
always his invisible goal had kept his mind’s eye sealed to its reckoning.
Once, as the end of his seventh year drew nigh, he had felt a great sadness and longing and a sense of failure, so keen that he thought he heard laughter—the bitter laughter of mockery. But he knew it was only the creak of his aching body, and he knew that wisdom was not to be found in any appeal of the senses, whether in the joys and softness of a king’s Son, or in the weary bones of a wanderer. A meteor had flashed across the heavens through the tree-tops, like the waving of a signal torch. But when he looked—for who knew whence wisdom might descend? —only the darkness touched him with familiar kindness, so that it might have been but a light in the head. Nevertheless, he had felt an accession of faith and of hope like a drink to the soul from some spring not of earth.
Again, on the night of his fourteenth year, he had thought to drop the ragged mantle of his body, now worn and frayed in the endless struggle. A storm raged in the forest, the rain drenched his chilled members and hid itself ceaselessly in the drinking earth. Almost he yielded to the thought that wisdom cannot be had upon this earth, which drinks and is ever parched. It would seem that only those who die can hope to find wisdom: all the wisdom that is spoken of in the books has come down from those long dead. Suddenly a star shone, vivid and bewildering. Not white, not red, but a great golden softness, as if the immense darkness were but a rent curtain on the other side of which lay shadowless light. But when Kavala rubbed his eyes to see the star was no more there, and he could not say that it might be only the will-o’-the-wisp of some dreaming flecked from his great lassitude and weakness. Nevertheless, a forgetfulness of his pains and disappointments came upon him, and his long journey seemed reasonable, and sure to come upon its wished-for issue.
Now on this twenty-first ending of his years of fruitlessness, there stood
sudden and sharp before his consciousness, defined with unrelenting vigor, two
pictures, one on either side of that emptiness like the hollow center-of a
flame, which was his goal. There stood, like a beautiful torch, himself, eldest
son of the king, fair youth in the midst of all the tenure that men covet, and
this youth gazing with luminous yet wistful eye straight into the heart of the
flame. On the other side of the unpierced blackness of the fire’s midst, the
bent, wan, flickering torch of what had once been a man, and this he knew, as hi
steps carried him slowly forward, to be none other than himself. Kavala, though
he saw both figures, nevertheless kept his gaze steadfast on the dark emptiness
which was the center of the flame. “It is the fuel of the fire,” he said,
not knowing that he spoke, but a peace entered him as the pictures vanished—a
peace that he had never known.
In the margin of the forest Kavala met a Bhikshu at the crossing of three paths. The mendicant spoke:
“What, do you seek in the jungle, King’s son ? ”
“I seek wisdom,” replied Kavala.
“No King’s son can ever find wisdom,” said the Bhikshu in a voice which fell hollow and dry, like pease in a beggar’s. bowl.
“I gave up my estate to go in search of wisdom,” said Kavala in the tone of respect which is used toward a holy man.
“Then why did you reply when I said, What do you seek in the jungle, King’s son? If you had given up your estate you would not have known that I spoke to none other than you.”
Kavala bent forward respectfully and took the mendicant’s bowl in his two hands.
“Let thy chela go forth and beg food for thee,” he said, “for I have found thee, O my Master.”
THE HEART OF PARASAN
PARASAN was a sudra, and the son of sudras before him, for a sudra may no more
change his lot than a thistle its leaves.
Of a day, the wife of Parasan went away, leaving only her body. The ghat is not for the wives of sudras. Parasan, being fortunate, dwelt not far from the river, which is kind to all castes. Thither he bore the body of his wife, and at the place where she had been accustomed to wash garments, gave to the waters her old garment to be laved.
On returning from the river, the heart of Parasan was heavy and his mind was troubled with questions. The mind of a sudra is dull from little thinking, yet the Atman in Parasan is the same Atman that is in all. It was this Atman which made heavy his heart and troubled the mind of Parasan. Being but a sudra, Parasan thought not of the Atman that stirred in him.
“I am but a sudra and I am alone. I will ask questions of the fathers. They will quiet my mind, and my heart being heavy, I will sleep and in dreams shall not be alone.”
So Parasan went to the hut of the head men of sudras. There the fathers of the village sat by the fire in grave silence.
“Masters, my wife is gone. My heart is heavy and my mind is troubled. Where now is my wife? Is she sudra still? Are there castes beyond Ganges?”
“The castes are one in death, but only a Brahmin may say what lies beyond death. The castes have always been in the world, like death. It is not for a sudra to question his lot, even in grief.”
Parasan asked again: “Is not a vaishya a man to be envied? Is not his lot in life richer than ours, and in death his body goes to the pyre?”
“Toil at thine own task. In the field of a vaishya are many stones that a sudra is spared. Or even if a merchant, he also is sudra for profits. Those who purchase are his lords. Those who carry his ashes are as heavy of heart as thou with thy, wife’s body to bear to the river.”
These things Parasan weighed, but with the mind of a sudra to which even a little thought is a great burden. As the Atman still troubled him he asked further of the fathers.
“The kshatriya reaps, but he sows not. There have been no wars, yet of kshatriyas there are as many as in war. How is it karma that a kshatriya should be idle when others toil through the day and in the night their labors spring up again for the morning?”
“The arm of of the kshatriya is yet more heavy in peace than in war. He has wounds a sudra cannot see, and in death his body is food for vultures and for dogs. Neither the ghat nor the river receives it. Mayhap for thy fault-finding hast thou been reborn in the body of a sudra. Be at peace. It is the will of the gods.”
Then the Atman troubled him further, so that Parasan asked within himself, “Which is I, and which is my caste?” And his heart grew heavier and his mind saw no light.
“Fathers, what is this which I am, and this my body? Am I sudra, or is caste of the body? How can there be karma and also the will of the gods ? ”
The fathers reproved him gravely.
“These are not questions which the fathers of sudras can answer. Bring not shame on the fathers with vain questions. Respect for the elders is proper for sudras. These things are
from old times. Our fathers before us have left us commandments. A sudra has but
to obey to fulfill his duties. Duties being performed, there is peace. That thy
heart is heavy and thy mind not at rest is a sign of sin. Only the Brahmins
should speak of these things which thou askest. For thee, it is a sin. Sin no
more, and peace will return.”
Parasan went away. But his heart remained heavy and his mind knew no peace. Parasan thought this was sin, not knowing that the Atman moved within.
One day, as he toiled at his tasks, his head weaving from side to side in the monsoon of questions, his shadow fell on a Brahmin returning from sacrifice in the temple. The Brahmin spat upon him, and pronounced a curse upon Parasan, upon his wife, upon his children, upon his fathers, and upon, all sudras, for defiling of a Brahmin with his shadow.
Parasan, being withdrawn into his heart and into his head, knew not that he had defiled the Brahmin, nor heard he the curse pronounced, but only the sound of speaking. He raised his head and seeing that a Brahmin stood before him, and, having heard the sound of speaking, Parasan addressed his questions to the Brahmin. For though it is not lawful for a sudra to touch a Brahmin, nor address a Brahmin, it is not sin for a sudra to make answer when a Brahmin has spoken.
“Master, I am a sudra whose wife is dead, and whose heart is heavy, and whose mind is troubled with questions. The fathers’ have said that only a Brahmin may speak of what lies beyond death. Who and what am I? When a sudra dies does caste die? Or when he returns into a body does caste wait for him here in the body?”
But the Brahmin, feeling himself defiled, cursed Parasan with a triple curse, naming the past, the present, and the future
“Sudra thou hast been, chandala do I condemn thee in this moment, and
pariah shalt thou be in thy dying. Go live with outcastes, and in death, mingle
thy bones with the dogs. Be gone, accursed defiler.”
So Parasan became an outcaste, and the fathers were troubled no more.
“This comes of vain questions,” said they. “It is evil karma for a sudra to question his lot. The gods turn from such. Parasan has been led, by sin to defile a Brahmin. Thus has he lost his caste. The Pitris will no longer protect him and in death he will not reach to the regions of Indra. Well for him if he become not a bhut.”
Parasan, being a pariah, could enter no village and approach no person. If his shadow came nigh a path the children stoned him, lest he defile the four elements and bring sorrow upon their village. He wandered with wild dogs and with other pariahs., sharing their scraps and their bones.
These things troubled him not, but his heart remained heavy and in his mind questions pressed sorely. Yet seeing the miseries of others, though they knew not his, he became the sudra of outcastes, both of men and dogs. Thus the dogs followed him, knowing not why, but receiving from him friendliness. Thus the lepers came to him, for he feared them not and was friendly. Thus the hungered and the sick amongst the pariahs followed him, receiving friendliness. Thus his tasks became great and the memory of his lot sank into abeyance. Only his heart and his questions remained.
All this was the Atman in each, yet none knew it, for they were but dogs and outcastes, and Parasan the friend of the friendless.
On the day that his memory died, there came into the company of Parasan an ancient. When at night the others
had ceased fom their sorrows in sleep, this old pariah spoke to Parasan saying:
“Brother of pariahs, let me serve thee.”
Parasan answered him: “Thou art old and art feeble. Respect for the elders impels me. Friendliness for the feeble impels me. Thy need is greater than all. Take, then, this place where I lie, and repose thee, for the leaves have been warmed by my body.”
After this, the ancient of pariahs spoke again to Parasan, saying:
“Can I not serve thee, who serves others?”
Then Parasan told of his heavy heart and his questions that pressed sore.
“What dost thou remember of thy past that has weighted thy heart and pressed-sore thy mind ? ”
But Parasan, who had lost the memory of his own ills in serving the afflicted, remembered naught but the friendliness of his tasks as a sudra, naught but the great love of his wife, naught but the soft touch of his children naught but the grave kindness of the fathers, naught but the love of the dogs and the pariahs. He knew not that it was the Atman who had ploughed the soil, and planted the seed, and tilled the new growth, and slain the weeds of false memory.
“Then why is the heart heavy and the mind oppressed?”
“It is because none can find peace but in sleep. It is because sorrow awaits all at the awakening. It is because love cannot conquer death. It is because none can point the way of life.”
The Atman which spoke in the ancient of pariahs let fall the veil.
“Know, then, O Parasan, Brother of pariahs and friend of dogs, there are many who can point the way of life, but few to follow it.”
“What is the way, Father of all that lives,” asked Parasan, whose heart had grown lucent and whose mind saw the light, but knew not that it was from the Atman, “that I may follow it, thus to help thither all who suffer and all who die?”
“Only those who love, truly serve,” answered the ancient; “only those who serve from love are troubled without ceasing by the Atman. The Self is in all and serves all, but only those know the Self who are lost in their love, so that memory of their own ills and sorrows dies, not to be born again. Thy love made the door for the Atman to enter thy heart. Thy service made the window for the Atman to trouble thy mind. Thy questions made the soil for the Atman to enrich with the dead weeds of caste and of memory. Thy humility has made ripe the harvest for those who know the truth. Ask thy Self thy questions and the Self will answer.”
Then Parasan, looking inward with reverted gaze, found the Self of all that lives. His heart was no more heavy, and his mind was no more oppressed. The point of his heart grew luminous, and in his mind was light which cast no shadows, for his heart was pure and his mind clean. And in that light all things were that have been, that are, and that will be. Seeing all, Parasan found the memory of the Self, the knowledge of the Self, the bliss of the Self.
Thus Parasan, Knower of the Self, saw all things in the Self, and the Self in all things. Thus he helps thither all who suffer and all who die.
This is the way of the Self, that all may find the Self.
So Parasan found the Self.
THE TRIAL OF LAKSHMA
BECAUSE of the karma engendered, one Lakshma, a merchant, came in contact with
the knowledge which had been his in former lives.
There is no knowledge without the Knowers. The Chela whom Lakshma had befriended in former lives became his wife. His service had sprung from the heart. This opens the doors of the mind; and thus the wise Upasana, the Chela, was able to befriend with the sacred seed of wisdom this Lakshma, who was born in ignorance.
It is thus that knowledge is gained, preserved, and, when the mind is opened, imparted by the knowers to those who are worthy.
Lakshma knew not that his wife was of the Chelas. She kept silence in regard to the past, busying herself in good works. The perfume of her good deeds anointed the nature of Lakshma, so that he became porous to enlightenment, knowing not the source.
To Upasana came the distressed in body and mind, as to a spring that fails not in the dry season.
Lakshma leaned much upon his wife, and took comfort in her merits. But a day came when, being merchant, he upbraided, seeing the, profits that came in by the door go out by the compound.
“It is good to, be charitable. We shall be long in the devachan from thy good works. But the spread hand holds not the grain. The custom decreases, while the poor return yet again to thy bounty, bringing their children.”
The Upasana answered him not with extenuations, but asked his will.
Lakshma, seeing her obedience, was freed for the time being from the merchant mind. Thereupon the waiting invisible whispered in his inner ear. For the thoughts which arise in men are sown there according to the nature of the soil, by those who see and are not seen—some of the good path, others of the evil one. This is according to the karma engendered in past lives and ripened in another through intensity of feeling or the power of a vow. Lakshma loved much, but knew naught of the power of a vow. So Lakshma felt the whisper as a thought in the mind.
“Or mayhap these have been children of ours in former days. Or is it that we have denied our children in old times, that they now come as the children of strangers, claiming their due ? ”
Upasana said never a word, looking cast down and meek.
Lakshma pulled at his beard.
“For this, it may be, the gods have denied us a child. These may be for a trial. If we deny not their need, we may become worthy the favor of the gods, and be no more childless. What thinkest thou ? ”
“They tug at my heart like a child at the breast. I starve to feed them,” answered the wife of Lakshma.
“It is well. Feed thou them all. I would not have thee starve, who are faithful and obedient—thou whom I love as both wife and child.”
After years, when the time of fecundity is past, Lakshma and his wife had a child.
The fortune of Lakshma had shriveled, for that which the merchant uses for his shelves had gone to the needy, and the poor pay only in thankfulness.
But the heart of Lakshma was full, like a field golden with a great
harvest. When fear would steal in, as a thief feels for the matting in the
night, Lakshma heard not the footsteps of fear. His treasures were well hidden
His merchandise was of ill brightness, attracting no barter from those who yearn for rich textures. Only the poor came to the door of Lakshma. With them he delt in full measure. One said to another:
“This is a merchant of craft. He fears robbers and hides his choice stuffs. Of a truth he is rich, else such cheerfulness of speech and full measure to lean buyers were not possible to this vaishya.”
Laksma, hearing, said joyfully to this ragged one:
“Of a truth, as thou sayest, I am rich beyond measure. I who had only wife, am no longer childless. In them am I rich. Their love fills my heart and flows out to all beings. The measures ye receive, know that the overplus is their largess.”
When Lakshma returned to his house this Upasana, knowing that the time was ripe, addressed herself to her Lord, feigning much care.
“Master, there be now three to be nourished, and one only to nourish them, for thy wife and thy child are helpless. Scant measures in barter will clothe thy dependents, and serve for ensuring thy son an estate.”
“Let not thy love grow stagnant, constrained by thy fears for the child. Let it flow ever onward and wider like waters whose sweetness is nourished by service which runs through all channels, enriching the land. Forget not our barren days when thy service to children of others moved the gods to grant us a son.”
Then this Upasana, who was of the company of nagas, perceiving that the
heart of Lakshma hearkened close to the inner voice, spoke softly and sadly,
trying him yet again.
“If so be that the child fall sick, naught have we for his comfort. I grow old and thyself near to the day of failing. Is it not tempting the gods to deny provision”
But Lakshma new no fear, his heart being filled with the two streams of love; full of the love which one gives, and full of the love which is given.
“The gods gave me thee in my loneliness. The gods gave us a child in our loneliness. Peradventure, the gods being nourished by sacrifice, will give aid in our failing.”
Upasana, perceiving that which is hidden: spoke yet again.
“But if thou diest, we shall be naked and spent. What if I know not the way to the gods? Even the gods cannot overcome karma. If the bridge break, the traveler fails. What woe will not fall upon thy child and upon thy wife, if thou be taken and we left ? ”
Then the heart of Lakshma was troubled through his love, and the evil ones gained entrance, whispering fear in the name of love.
Lakshma returned to his merchandise, saying naught, but in fear revolving the thoughts which the evil invisibles whispered into his inner ear.
His stories dwindled, his speech was no more cheerful. Emptiness and hunger surrounded him. When he thought of his son, fear handled his scale and scant were the measures he gave to the poor. When he thought of his wife, fear digged a pit in which he saw Lakshma cast, while none cared for the ones he loved. Lakshma forgot the gods.
Then Upasana in secret commanded the waiting Invisible.
Came to the door of Lakshma a thin child, mother, at ten, spent with the
burden of a babe ailing and starves.
The heart of Lakshma flowed with their misery. His hand sought his lean hoard. Whispered the evil-voice:
“This is not thy dole. Let the gods provide in their need. Else thy son and thy wife may be as these”
The hand of Lakshma shook, holding the thin bag as it were weighty and great, and needs be put back in its hiding.
Lakshma looked down at the hoard, but his eyes could see but the poor mother and child. His heart burst divided by pity and fear he thought love.
“Thy need is greater than mine. May this lighten thy burden, O child and thy child.”
Then Upasana smiled and the mist in the heart disappeared. Lakshma saw before him his wife and his son. The jewel in the lotus was not hidden, and in the power of the vow he beheld Upasana and the Invisible that is.
Lakshma became of the company of the Knowers.
Turiyavarsha, where all things can be seen, and the soul is fully aware, Guru
and Chela are one in their knowledge.
In Bharatavarsha, which is the land of works, the soul is servant to the blind. On this earth the gods become men, weighting themselves with ignorance that they may sink in the sea of matter, as a diver weights himself with a stone.
A son of wisdom, refulgent, glorious, put aside the garment of light, and came down, ready for re-birth. That day, in the house of a brahmin, a son was born where before there had been only daughters.
The family priest recited mantra. The new-born, with grave eyes and hands touching so that they formed the upward triangle, appeared to listen gravely.
“Out of Swarga has one of old time returned into the family line,” said the father, rejoicing. The mother looked at the child and inwardly gave gratitude to the gods and the pitris. But the priest touched reverently the child between the eye-brows.
“This one comes not back from the region of Indra,” he said. “Siva has marked him for his own. Let nadigranthams be read, and let a Holy One cast his horoscope. This is a Nativity.”
This was the seventh day of the second month, and the moon, like the child, was new-born.
The sacred scrolls were turned and being read gave this formula: “That which hath been, shall be. That which was
clean has taken on of defilement, that that which is defiled may be cleansed.”
The horoscope being cast, the Holy Man spoke in Locked words, nor gave he any key. These were his words: “Every star has its nadir. This one is under Shukra and Shukra is at the zenith. The gods have Lost one and man has not gained. The cycle is forty and four years, and the course is unmarked.”
The child was named Shukram, the rites were performed, and the thread received.
When he was seven he was entered in the temple that the priests might impart learning. He grew undefiled and breathed wisdom. At the time when men are said to be householders, Shukram was versed in the holy books and could answer all questions. The chief priest blessed him, saying, ” I am satisfied of thee, my son. Great is thy wisdom. Thou hast been faithful to the teachings of the gods and the rishis. In the name of Siva, of Vishnu, of Brahma, speak and the gods will requite.”
Shukram said, “Naked came I in, and was nourished. My mother bore me. My father clothed me. The temple has sheltered and fed me. Let me requite the gods for that which has been given to me already. The Self is in all forms. Naked again would I go forth and seek the Self in all forms, doing service to the Self.”
Then the chief priest exorcised him, saying: “Great is thy error. This is a sacrilege. Thou hast practiced sins in secret, following strange gods. Kansa, avatar of evil, possesses thee, defiler of the rules of the temple.”
After many days Shukram went out from the temple, naked indeed, for the priests scourged him, calling him unholy and accursed. His body was bruised but Shukram was without pain, for resentment was not in him. He remembered only
that he had been fed and sheltered, thinking only, “This, too, is the Self. The
Lord of life is the Lord of death. Brahma and Yama are one. When I was weak, I
was nourished. Now that I am strong, I can bear pain. The Self fed; the Self
strikes. This is birth.”
His family stoned him and received him not. His name was erased, and the tokens he had touched were put upon the ghat like a corpse and burned.
The earth bore him. The plants fed- him. He went naked, but the warm air clothed him. At night as he slept he dreamed he was in the Self. By day, as he walked, he communed with the Self; listening in silence to the three notes of the earth, of the air, of the water. They made song. Shukram stored in his heart the melodies that he heard. His breath was in unison.
From the fire of this his head was filled with raptures. Suddenly the sacred texts began to come forth from his memory and take on form and substance. A new life stirred in them. Their hidden meanings began to chant, addressing themselves to his understanding. Shukram was no more on earth. He forgot his body. The memory of his acquired learning melted, dissolved, disappeared. He was no more solitary, no more alone.
He was in the midst of a great congregation of beings and they traveled together. There was no earth. There was no air. There was no water. Everywhere was the Self in a crore of forms, and their speech was a song. As they sang their forms changed. There was no sun. There was no moon but there was light, and by that light he saw all things according to the notes of the Song of Life.
The forms appeared, vanished, reappeared, the notes varying in pitch and intensity. Shukram saw in the light that as the notes vibrated, many forms receded; as the tones varied, many
forms drew nigh; and knew that thus are the varshas created and the harmony
maintained. At middle distance the song of the forms was the note Ma. Those that
rose above this note seemed to draw near. The forms from which came the lower
notes took on deeper and yet deeper colorings till space was one.
When the higher notes predominated the light became golden inlaid with blue, like the flame from a lamp fed with pure oil and well sheltered from all winds: In this light a perfume appeared, as the oil and the flame shed an odour like the spirit of fine sandalwood. Shukram felt all beings within himself and himself he felt not at all.
There was neither morning, nor noon, nor night. There all things are, so that there is no memory, which is the stair of time.
In that varsha where the forms of the Self are called men, and space seems
empty, this harmony is not peceived, and memory hardens, the forms, so that they
cannot see, cannot hear, cannot smell, cannot feel all beings within themselves.
Thus they ascend and descend the stair of time.
Now men came to speak of Shukram as this Holy One. Those who were hungered
spoke to Shukram. Shukram answered them not at all. He felt only the Self. But
they went away fed and rejoicing, saying, “This Holy One hath fed me and I am no
more faint.” They did likewise by those who sought them and this varsha became a
path of good works where Shukram walked; he doing nothing at all.
Thus men who were naked came near him, and spoke of their need. Shukram answered them not at all for he heard only the Self. Yet they went away clothed and told boldly to all. “This Holy One hath given me wherewithal to be clothed,” and did like where any sought them for aid. Thus, in the path of Shukram, who knew naught of these sayings,
which give work for the looms grew in great plenty and all were clothed.
And in time men burdened with memory and bent from treading the stair, followed Shukram. But Shukram knew only the Self, not seeing that he was followed. Yet these men spoke without shame and affirmed, “This Master has taught us the way. We are the Self. That thou art. In the heart is this Self that all seek” And in the path of Shukram the bodies of men became temples and there was no more going to the interpreter’s house.
After forty and four years, in Bharatavarsha there began to be heard the three notes of the earth, of the air, of the water. And wherever these notes were heard storms ceased, plants grew abundantly, and the forms of men ceased from resentments, feeling no pain. Out of the eyes of men shone the light of the Self and the speech of men became gentle, so that it was no more speech, but a song.
When sons of wisdom came down, ready for rebirth, they did not cease to be gods when they became men, for no weights were needed. A path had been opened between the varshas, and men walked up this path as the gods came down. And this path is the path of the Self.
THE DOCTRINE OF THE HEART
GHADR Singh, having taken the vow, received the instruction of the Master:
“Go forth. Seek out him who knows still less than thou, and—let him hear the Law. Then return.”
Ghadr Singh departed, full of confidence in the power of the vow, full of confidence in the Guru, full of confidence in the Law.
But those to whom he went, speaking of the Law, were full of conceits—some of pride, some of possessions, some of the conceits of ignorance. None saw what he saw. None gained confidence in the Guru, and he gained the confidence of no one. No one was raised to his state; hence doubts supervened, and Ghadr Singh fell into the state of those to whom he went forth.
“Master, why is this ? ” asked Ghadr Singh when he had returned to the Guru for enlightenment, and had told him of the state into which he had fallen. “Upon entering the state, I saw. Upon leaving the state, I saw. But while in the state I was the state. Is the sight different in different conditions of being?
The Guru replied: “The perceiving Power does not change. It is the same in all beings. Whether his sight is cast forward upon the state he is entering; or whether the sight is cast backward upon the state he is leaving; whether on this state, or that, or another, it is the same-Power.”
Having pondered these sayings, Ghadr Singh returned again to the guru with formal questions, for the modifications of the mind are many. As it is well known, Ghadr means rebel-
Singh was troubled with the insurrection of the mind, being unaware that the
mind of man is not self-illuminative, is not all-inclusive,
and is colored both from without and from within.
“Master, when I am with you, my mind is clear seeing, and the path is smooth. There are no difficulties and it seems certain that I will never again fall into error. When I am gone from you upon my own duties, there is once more division, and my faculties are confused. Some duties seem clear, but distasteful. Even as I consider the road to be followed, it disappears. I am alone and overborne.”
“This is the witness within thyself that that which was said is true. Upon entering the state, the path, is swallowed up in the state. Upon entering the form, the Soul loses its identity and becomes one with the form.”
“But does not the identity of the Soul depend upon the form assumed?”
“Were this true, there could be no immortality for the Soul. With the destruction of the form, the Soul would cease. Therefore men say, He was born; he lives; he grows old; he is dead.”
“Master, upon what does the Soul depend for its immortality?”
“Upon nothing at all. The Soul of man is Self-existent. It is one with the One. The Soul goes from state to state. There is no end to the states, for the Soul makes its own states. The Soul goes from form to form. There is no end to the forms into which the Soul enters, for the Soul is the creator of all forms. The mind of man is the sum of the states, both of the states which have been, and the states which are to be. The body of man is the modification within the state—both the bodies which have been and the bodies which are yet to be.”
“Master, who, or what, is the destroyer of forms ?”
“The Soul of man is creator. The Soul of man is also the destroyer. This is to be learned by the Soul. His identity proceeds from the One. The Universe is the image of the Self, and proceeds from the Self. The Soul imagines, I am this form; I am this state; I am this mind. These are temporal things. The Soul, being in its own nature immortal and free, wearies of its creations and imagines new and fair beauties, saying, here will I be happy forever. It casts its old bonds and enters into others which are new. This is Swarga for the Soul, to imagine new delights and to enter into them. It is life to the Soul, while it identifies itself with its creations. The hells of the Soul are its efforts to free itself from old forms and conditionings.”
“Is there, then, no rest for the Soul, nor any freedom to be had? Cannot the gods give aid, nor the rites of religion provide benefits?”
“These also are the Soul’s creations. These also are forms and states imagined by the Soul, In them the Soul delights until wearied. Then the Soul creates other gods, and enters other ceremonies. If the own nature of the Soul is freedom, all states are limitations and bondage. They are animated by the Soul. When the Soul withdraws, where is the state? It is withdrawn. It becomes an abstraction. There is this difference: the unemancipated live in the form and the state, like a spider caught in its web. The emancipated rest in their own nature. This is knowledge, power and bliss. They are like a spider which spins forth its web and indraws its web. They are not entangled in the web of creation. They put forth forms as a man puts forth speech, for another’s hearing and instruction. They indraw forms, as a man becomes silent after giving direction. The power of speech resides in man,
not in anything that he utters. The power of creation resides in the Soul, and not in its creations. As a man is intoxicated by his own power of speech and the words which he utters, the unwary Soul is intoxicated with the power of creation and the forms into which it enters. This is the road of unwisdom. It is the path of the descent of the Soul into the bondage of matter.”
Ghadr Singh, his head filled with doctrines, gave gratitude to the Instructor, left the terrace of enlightenment, and returned toward his dwelling place filled with the illumination received. He determined to spin his web like a mother-spider, who spins that her young may be sheltered and nourished. He walked swiftly, pondering words of wisdom to be uttered for the guidance of men.
A stone rose up and bruised his heel. As the life in his member made outcry, Ghadr Singh forgot the words of his wisdom, and spoke words of reproof to the road-mender, warning him against neglecting his duties.
At the field of the medlar trees a Vaishya waited and made him an offering for the fruit. Ghadr Singh, seeing that the price was insufficient for his needs, reviled the merchant, who went his way silent but filled with bitterness, hating all brahmins for their pride and conceit, which consider not the needs of another.
At the gate of the compound two children were playing at games. At sight of Ghadr Singh they shouted boisterously, making pretense, as is the way of Souls in small bodies. Ghadr Singh whipped them with harsh words for their trespass and unseemly conduct. The children went away crying and in fear.
Ghadr Singh sought his wife. In the women’s quarter he found her, weeping. The sight distressed Ghadr Singh, who asked her the cause of her sorrow. After much urging she
confessed that she had sat listening to the play of the children, taking delight in their mirth, and was grieving because they had been driven away unkindly.
Ghadr Singh reproved his wife with measured citations from Manu, pointing out the duties of wives and of children. His wife, being a religious-minded woman and loving her husband, received his correction with meekness.
Ghadr Singh went to the prayer-room and meditated long and earnestly. His meditation was disturbed by the pain in his heel, by thoughts of the advantage sought to be taken of him by the merchant, by visions of the two frightened children, and by the memories of his wife’s tears. Nevertheless, he forgave them all, both the animate and the inanimate, for the wrongs he had endured, and in this act of forgiveness found the satisfaction which he sought.
On his return to the Master next day, Ghadr Singh recounted to the preceptor the events that had befallen, and as the Master remained silent Ghadr Singh was moved to inquiries.
“Master, thou who hast patience with my ignorance, and charity for my misunderstandings, and compassion when I err, tell me for my enlightenment how I may help all these beings so that they sin no more.”
The Master’s eye rested upon Ghadr Singh, but the Master spoke not at all. But Ghadr Singh, because he was under the eye of the Master, saw his own nakedness and was ashamed. He saw that he had had no patience with ignorance, no charity for misunderstanding, no compassion for errors, and that therefore the sins of all the others were his own sins, and that his meditation was but a potion he had taken to gain forgetfulness from his own wrongdoing.
Then the Master spoke kindly to Ghadr Singh.
“The doctrine of the head gives correction. The doctrine of the heart gives consideration. The doctrine of the heart sees Souls. The doctrine of the head sees sins. The head sees the state. The heart sees the Soul. The way of emancipation is the heart doctrine.”
Ghadr Singh began to study the doctrine of the heart.
THE MAYA OF IMRI
IMRI, following the path, entered the fog of bewilderment. This is always a place where two roads meet. One road seemed the most inviting. It stretched away, smooth and fair, mounting evenly to brilliant skies, and at, the summit line he could vision, glorified, Imri jeweled with light, beacon of guidance for the multitudes of men.
This was the reflection of the Imri of dreams cast upon the screen of time, and is caused by the light of the Soul being broken and scattered by the myriads of desires in the heart. Imri did not know this. Full of zeal to be of service to all souls his haze was turned outward, thinking other souls separate from himself. The traitors of delusion that ensnare the steps of men were known to him. He had watched them snare others and was constantly warning against them, pointing all men to the path of the One Self. But since there is no separateness at all, these traitors of delusion were also in the heart of Imri, making merry in the fire of Imri’s devotion. This Imri did not know. Only those who are awake in the Self know this. To those who dream, the dream path is the real. Fair and full to them is the dream path, while the path of the real seems like a troubled dream.
Imri spoke to his preceptor, whose steps were moderated to his own: “This is the path.” And Imri turned to the left.
When Imri had so chosen and entered the path, the Guru walked behind him. After a time this was observed by Imri.
“Master, how is this? In the beginning, when first I found you, it was you who walked before. Then, I remember, for
a time we walked side by side. Now, though the way is fair and broad, your steps lag and it is I who lead.”
“This path is of thy choosing, not mine. I but go with thee a little way.”
“Is not this the path of the Self?”
“All paths are the Path of the Self,” replied the preceptor. The Self in each chooses its own path. There is no other way”
lmri was troubled, and reproved his preceptor. “I do not understand you. These are dark sayings. You, who are my preceptor, should enlighten me. I desire only to learn.”
“This is the path of learning,” answered the Guru, not answering Imri’s reproach.
Imri was vexed in his heart, thinking the Guru was devoid of sympathy, or weary of journeying, or perhaps had misunderstood him. He said to himself that those who are devoid of sympathy grow weary, and that weariness and lack of sympathy make one misunderstand. He felt forgiveness for the preceptor. Vexation left his heart and he turned sympathetically to the, Guru to speak kindly words.
But the preceptor seemed a great way off. So Imri waited till his preceptor should draw, near again.
But though he waited a space the Guru seemed no nearer. Vexation again rose in the heart of Imri, calling attention to the delay in the journey, and suggesting that it would be better to proceed, so as to prepare shelter at the day’s end for the preceptor. Imri felt a glow of satisfaction in this thought, and resumed his march.
When night came, Imri looked once more at the summit of the dream self. It stood crowned and radiant, but higher in the heavens than at starting, and while he gazed, farther than ever away. He had marched all day with full vigor and this seemed strange, for the way had been level and fair.
He made haste to prepare shelter for the night, thinking extenuations for his preceptor, and pondering the questions to be asked in the evening’s repose. But when the darkness spread the curtains of the night, the preceptor was not yet come. Then Imri feared that misfortune had come upon his preceptor. Instant anxiety for his welfare opened the gate of memory. Imri searched in thought over the day’s path; then sped him over their past wanderings to the time of his first meeting with the Guru. His heart warmed in the immediate memorial presence of benefaction received. From the fire of his gratitude the traitors of delusion fled in haste.
Imri rose and retraced his steps out of gratitude to the preceptor, to find him and aid him to shelter. In all this Imri had no thought other than gratitude. Though desire still lay hid in his heart, Imri did not know this, and therefore did not dream that he had strayed from the Path through wrong choosing. In dreams the path of the dream is the true path. The real is the path of waking. Nevertheless the path of waking lies through dream. How could it be other than this, if the life of men is a dream? Imri did not know that the ladder to waking from dreams lies in gratitude. He felt only gratitude, not knowing where it leads and not thinking.
Shukra, the star of evening, lighted his path. Before this star set, Imri found the preceptor. Imri thought that the Guru had hastened his steps finding him quickly. This was not true, for the preceptor had not moved. Only Imri had marched long and returned. Without moving is the journey on the path for those who have found the Path. Long is the journey of those who search for the Path. Desire had taken Imri on the day’s march. Gratitude had cut with a sword the return. Imri found the guru again through gratitude.
“I thought I had lost you, my Master. Where have you been in the day? We must hasten our steps to the shelter I have prepared for you and for me. Let me help you the rest of the way.”
“Look,” said the preceptor, smiling tenderly.
Imri felt a great lassitude, from relief at finding the preceptor, and from his long march. He looked where the guru was looking, over the path he had followed and from which he had returned. Beneath the gaze of the preceptor all things were clear in the darkness of the night, and clear in the languor of Imri.
Imri saw that the path he had followed was the myriad path of the desires hid in the heart, made golden by the light of the soul, The far summit of his dreams was the egotism of the head, desiring eminence. The multitudes for whom he had seemed as a beacon of guidance were other men following dreams like himself. Each one of the multitude saw himself as, Imri had seen himself. Each aspired to the path, and each saw himself leader of men.
Then humility was in the heart of Imri, and the sorrow of all souls was his, for he saw that the path he had followed led ever downward and that most men walk that way, following their dreams, thinking their dreams the path.
“Look further,” said the Guru, speaking kindly.
Imri saw a strange thing.
Constantly, at each step that they took, there sprang up before each man of the multitude two paths, one broad and full and fair seeming, pointing straight ahead in the line of their desire; the other, mounting steep and abrupt, seemed to end, or be swallowed in darkness. Few gave even one glance at the steep path. Most entered at once the fair way, which seemed straight, but which turned to the left.
“Master, teach me the meaning of this symbol. Why do all choose the smooth road, and none try the rugged path.”
“Dreams are born of the desires which are hid in the heart. All seek to enter the path, but they follow the voice of desire which is golden and sweet and enticing, luring men on. The path is the service of soul. When men aspire to enter the path, desire dreams an easy path.”
“Why do not the Masters and Gurus restrain them, and show them the path of duty?”
“It is the Master in the heart of each, which offers at each step that men take, the steep path you have seen.”
“Can not men see the true path?”
“They see, but they do not consider because of the desires hid in the heart.”
“Why do not the Masters speak, showing the true path ?“
“In their dreams, desire, clothed in the light of their souls seems to them the Master, and the voice of the Guru seems but a dream hard and unfeeling.”
“Can nothing be done to awaken these souls wrapped in the images of desire ?“
“In their dreams they choose always the road that seems fair and smooth. But the myriad desires bruise their feet. Then they consider and listen.”
“Ah,” said Imri, even as I was bruised and came to thee, my Preceptor in the beginning.”
“I was with you, always,” answered the Guru, “for whatever the path taken by mankind, that path is mine.”
THE THREE, VOICES
NARACHARYA, resting in the real, retained naught of the vestures three, for they are the lines for the ladder of descent into the worlds of mahamaya.
On the earth, which is the varsha of works, the disciples of the earlier race wandered in darkness, seeking that which was left them and lost. The cycles came and went. The false teachers working with the remains builded sects and divisions, Hard and fast were the doctrines they taught. Religions multiplied and the stones of the temples were for a sign of their greatness. Stony the faiths of men, and stony their hearts.
Half the priests looked backwards, worshipping as gods the Rishis of old. Other part sought to pierce the dark veil of the future, studying signs and portents that might prophesy the return of an avatar. Kalapani, the black water of ignorance, stretched its immemorial depths around the present, dividing the present from, the past, separating the present from the future. Children, old men, and women alone entered the sanctuaries and gave ear to the priests. Ignorance, fear, and love which has suffered and lost, alone remained to seek the sacramental presence and cry out to the invisible.
Souls entering the bodies of men entered the darkness of ignorance, for kaliyuga is the fruition of the desires which are hidden in the heart through many lives, and where desire is fulfilled, memory is dead. Souls departing from the bodies of men departed in the darkness of ignorance. Their works not being consumed in the fire of sacrifice, gave no light, and these perceivers of the three worlds, seeing only by the light of desire, saw not the higher worlds, the desireless worlds
of the Mahatmas. Thus the great wheel of parentless souls revolved and those who came in unwisdom into the varsha of works departed this world of works no wiser than before. The Souls which know not their source and which question not why they are in the land of works are the Anupadaka, the Parentless.
But the disciples of old days questioned without ceasing. They who of old had walked with the Master, seeing by his light, hearing by his hearing, striving under his guidance, surrounded by his wisdom loving the Master, were now unresting, searching for what they knew not, but only knew must be.
Entering now into this caste and now into that, through many births they wandered. But the laws of caste fretted them like ill-fitting sandal, for their natures were outcaste to usages without reason. They entered the temples as worshippers and as neophytes, but the rites of religion illumined them not at all, and they went forth, some driven and some by choice, execrated and heretic.
The occupations and appetites of men enticed them. They fought as soldiers, but the fierce joy of the kshatriyas was alien to them. As merchants in small booths and in shops filled with fine stuffs they sought profits wherewith to gain the joy of vaishyas. But the joy of the vaishya was not for them.
The songs of women lulled them, nevertheless unrest possessed them even in the new presence of the well-beloved. The hearing of mantras intoned in deep measures of sound brought echoes of former memories near to the horizon of their hopes. But, as is well known, echoes are heard only in their departing, and only in the aching recession stirred their hearts.“
Nevertheless, since they ceased not from the trial of questioning in all places, and rested in none, refusing the ritual,
of the dead, whether in religion, in philosophy, in song, in speech, or in the slave markets of the desires of men, the engendered energy of former devotion led them unwittingly on.
Came the cycle when the disciples, sheared of all hope, desiring no desire, not even for the knowledge of they knew not what, became content to do that which was at hand to be done, content that their doing fed another, healed another, blessed another. Then these disciples perceived that they were true sudras of the lowest order, serving others unthanked and unperceived, and not served by any. Then of a truth they perceived this perception that the highest see through the eyes of the lowest, for they perceived that the great Rishis of old days came but to serve. In the hearts of these disciples rose spontaneously the desire that they might serve like the Rishis of old days, where before they had desired that they might serve the Rishis.
This, Shravakas, is the desire that pierces to the far heart of those who rest in the real, for this desire, arising in the heart of man, rives the fetters of great Maya, so that the soul of the humblest chela is one with the Paraguru. It is the silver thread that breaks not, and that binds the three worlds to the world of the unmanifested.
Naracharya, resting in the real, awakened to the unreal, for this desire in the heart of man to serve all men, is the power of the vow which alone can arouse the Ahankara of those who are the Mahatmas of old days. All those who ask with this desire in the heart have found again that which was lost.
Naracharya in the midst of Ananda perceived the vestures three. Clothed in Manas, Buddhi and Ahankara once more, the Master once more entered the chosen body of the race,
threading the flesh upon, the vestments of light, as the fibers are threaded in the meat of the mango.
He sought out Maranu, his sword of old days, fiery and hotly impetuous in works. Maranu, swathed in the mysteries of bhuts, knew him not. Then the Master summoned bhuts, pisachas and pitris, who obeyed his will, and spoke sooth at the Guru’s bidding, so that Maranu half waked, became again the sword, cleaving a path in the minds of men. This Maranu had the heart of a warrior and the head of a child so that he loved fighting and marvels. By his blows and words many came to learn again of those powers that men had mis-used and forgotten.
But Junara, the sower, the well-beloved, the Master sought not at all. The Master smiled and waited. Junara knew Maranu and besought him humbly for wisdom. Maranu in answer replied:
“Over-young are you for great deeds and deep wisdom. Nevertheless some perception is in you, for you have sought me in humbleness for knowledge. Know, then, that I have had communication with spirits, and am filled with their knowledge. Me have thy chosen to spread and direct their works amongst men. Already Masters and Rishis have visited me in secret, pointing what is to be and be done. Great is my work for the future. I am filled with the vision.”
Junara questioned him further. “What is that which stirs within the seed making ready the germinal hour? It cannot be seen, but is present, awake before the awakening. I feel what cannot be told; what, I do not understand, yet know it is there and is speaking. Comes this reeling from far and how can its will be determined and service be rendered ? ”
Replied Maranu: “Perchance this is the echo in you of the great things that stir in me. I will consider your case. Perhaps the spirits will give me counsel in your behalf. Or even if the
Master is favorable it may be given to me to mention your name in his hearing. But these be sacred things. Are you prepared to give up all and follow me in this great work ? ”
Junara spoke again :
“All that men hold dear seems to me not dearly to be loved. The object passes but the hunger remains. That which moves in me is a thirst for the enduring. Without the Eternal all things are empty and unfilled. I seek the Eternal. Can It be found through men or through spirits? I do not, know if I am worthy to be servant to those who serve, yet would I serve. This feeling that stirs bids me serve, that I know.”
“This is for a trial, Junara. The great Beings try the natures of the neophytes through circumstances without and within. The chela sees only the circumstances, perceiving not at all that it is a trial and sifting. Each is tried according to his nature, so that what occurs seems only natural to him. There is the great Unknown in every known thing. Ponder upon the Unknown that is hidden in the midst of the known. All that is known comes from pondering upon the Unknown. With this be content until I shall give you further enlightenment.
Maranu went his way, unknowing the wisdom he had spoken, and in knowing that contact with the Master had “aroused in him the desire to be the doer, for the color of desire changes with every contact. Nor did Maranu know that every contact is a trial of the nature of the neophyte, both the good and the evil in the nature Maranu had desired ardently to serve like the Rishis of old days, but when the hour of service came, Maranu desired to appear as a teacher before Junara, who came seeking ,wisdom.
Whence came wisdom spoken by Maranu? From Naracharya of mankind. Whence came the conceit of Maranu?
From pride and self-sufficiency, which sprang from desire seeking wisdom as a possession of great value. Thus the heart of Maranu was a fiery sword, strong in battle, but the head of Maranu was a vaishya head, seeking profit. Of this Maranu, therefore, the wise Naracharya used the heart and not the head. But Maranu used the head and not the heart, gaining no further than the eye doctrine of the Law.
Junara, pondering upon the Unknown in the midst of the known, served Maranu, following faithfully, doing all things as directed, asking nothing but corrections, striving always in his head to understand the feelings that stirred in his heart. Thus the head became porous to the heart, receiving no guile.
Naracharya, patient in wisdom, awaited the germinal hour of Junara, the well-beloved, giving trial through Maranu, the hotly impetuous in works. Maranu, speaking to his servant, said:
“Junara, you have been faithful to my discipline, diligent upon my sayings: Come now into the presence of one whom I have discovered and greatly encouraged in marvelous things. He is humble like you, and under my corrections has grown to be of much service to me and my Masters. Being together, it may be that the veil of the mysteries will fall upon you as upon him and I shall have two instruments ready to my hand.”
Thus Maranu led Junara into the presence of Naracharya, Knower of the Eternal. Then the feeling in the heart of Junara rose to the head, rendered porous by pondering upon the Unknown in the midst of the known, free from guile through diligent service to the unworthy. Thus the eye saw and the ear heard that which is invisible and unuttered.
The eye of Junara saw through the body and circumstance and perceived the vesture of light in which the Teacher was clothed. The third eye of Junara perceived veritably this Knower of the Eternal. The knowledge that was his in former
births became again his vesture, and in this light he recognized, the Guru of former days, saw again the plan of the great work, and went on with the task unperceived by Maranu. Maranu, immersed in the images of the mind, by their deceptive light saw only the body and circumstance of the Teacher, perceived only a worker of marvels, through whom the spirits spoke at the wish of Maranu. In Junara he saw only a servant and humble.
Thus they went forth into the world of men. Naracharya of mankind; Junara the sower, the well-beloved of the Guru, the chela of power and of knowledge; Maranu, fiery of heart with the head filled with imaginings, thinking himself the doer and the witness.
Mankind were sifted in the three hidden sieves of the wise. According to their works in past lives, men followed Maranu, the great and the fiery, speaking boldly and claiming great wisdom. Among thousands of mortals a single one perhaps clove to the seed sown by Junara, seeking by service the germinal hour. Among those so striving perhaps a single one pierced through body and circumstance. Heart grown pure through pondering upon the Unknown in the midst of the known, head rendered porous through diligent service to the unworthy, that one perceived the vesture of light in which Nara the Teacher was clothed. Thus, knowing the Knower of the Eternal, he regained the knowledge which was his in ancient births, seeing that which is not visible, hearing, that which is not spoken.
The voice of Naracharya, the voice of Junara, and the voice of Maranu, these three voices are always in the world. The voice of Maranu is heard by those who seek they know not what, in the midst of body and circumstance. The voice of Junara is heard by those who seek by doing service and asking questions in the midst of body and circumstance. The voice
is heard by those who seek by doing service, by strong search, by questions and
by humility in the midst of body and circumstance. Among mortals few hear other
than the cry of the body and circumstance; fewer still hear the voice of Maranu;
few as the fingers
of the hand those who hear the voice of Junara; only those who cleave like the fingers of the hand hear the voice of Nara, Charya of mankind. Great Sifter, doctrine, of the heart, is the sifter of mankind.
ISANDHA AMONGST THOUSANDS
MANY were those who joined the company of the Master, drawn by the universal force of the Rishis, They know not why they came, but gave themselves diverse reasons, each according to his own nature.
Some traveled but a little way. These were they in whom the inner forces took the downward path of idle curiosity, channeled deep by much seeing and little understanding. They went away laughing. “This is no Master. He is but a fountain of dry sayings. He utters no novel things. All that he says can be read in old scrolls. “Why follow a mere parchment?”
Idle and vain their reasons for coming. Idle and vain their reasons for going. Nor did any of them perceive that not sifting, they were sifted.
Others of keen desires followed longer. These said within themselves, “How can we tell? Perchance this is in very truth a Master. A man of subtlety can perceive that his words are but masks for the unwary. If we follow patiently perchance we may see Wonders, and ourselves, by attention, learn how to perform marvels which will bring us a great repute.”
Giving themselves credit for deep wisdom they pressed close, but when they saw that devas were not commanded, when neither suras nor asuras were summoned, they murmured among themselves. When they saw of a surety that the work of the hands was done by the hands, and the work of the feet by the feet, and no visible effects wrought by invisible means, they reviled this Teacher of men.
“We have not been deceived, but being open and fair-minded, we have put this Guru on trial and have patiently
attended. It is known to us that when great Teachers come they bear marks and show works of distinguishment. He has not shown us the dead in their golden carapaces. He has not opened the door of communication with the Pitris. He has not walked on the waters of the past wherein are reflected our lives that have been. It is a sin to waste one’s time with those who do naught but repeat and recite the sayings that were taught us as children. We cannot encourage these vain repetitions. But we are not discouraged. We believe in wisdom and will seek elsewhere, and when we have found the great Teacher we will know him, for he will recognize us.”
So these followers of keen desires turned aside into other paths, searching for other Gurus who would bear marks and show works of distinguishment according to their nature.
Brahmins came, fertile with questions. They were deeply versed in the shastras and conversant with the dialectics of the eight schools, knowing all that had been taught, and needing not to refer to the scriptures, so learned were they. For a space they were greatly impressed by this Guru who listened to their disputations with attention. But their questions were asked of each other, each desirous to manifest his great lore; each ready to prove that the others were grievous in error and understood not the true interpretation of the Upanishads. They discoursed of Brahman, of Purusha and of the Prakriti. But when they fell silent at last, this Master spoke to them kindly and said of Brahman, of Purusha and of Mulaprakriti, “Wisdom is the realization: that thou art.”
Then these Brahmins withdrew from the presence of the Master, feeling contaminated by listening to one uttering blasphemies, claiming that he was Brahman, Purusha and Mulaprakriti.
“What,” said they to each other, “will become of the divine institution of caste if men are deluded by these follies con-
erning the Supreme Brahma? This is a Nastika who makes of himself the Deity. This is no true Guru, but a false saint possessed by an evil spirit which makes mock of holy things. From our youth we have lived the most pure lives, yet we do not esteem ourselves so highly as this. This man does not recite mantra; he mixes with sudras, pariahs, and wanderers. He goes not to the temple, he performs not the rites of purification, he follows not the ordinances of Manu, but speaks of holy things and the mysteries as though they were the heritage of all mankind.”
Came also rich Vaishyas desirous of trafficking in speech with the Guru, and offering rich offerings, for a sign. But when the Master gave no sign, and when the Master taught that those who had much should seek to enrich their exchanges by giving, much for little, and should not weigh the hand in measures sold to the poor, these merchants perceived that their standing was not recognized, and returned to their booths.
“Why give heed to every wandering faquir who goes naked through the land? Rishis of great renown in older days were pleased to incarnate in vaishya guise. A true Teacher would purify the religion that is extant among men, separating the spurious from the true. But this man’s sayings would reduce all merchants to penury and no merchandise could be had. We should descend in caste and become sudras. A true Guru would show us the way to mount to the caste of kshatriyas, or even in our case become Brahmins. True wisdom would have accepted our offer and shown us a sign, and being thus supported this man would have become known as a great Teacher and all would have prospered.”
In time even those who had been longest in the company of the Master grew weary of the journey or were disturbed by the defections of those who came, who listened, who departed on their several ways. The impatient ones asked:
Have we not adhered steadfastly for a long time to the company of this Guru? Have we not asked many questions concerning the Spirit, whence it comes, where it abides, and whither it goes? Have we not meditated with regularity upon the sacred syllable, considering the manifold applications of the Udgitha? Have we not sacrificed all for the Path of this Teacher, forsaking kinsmen, wife and children to follow him? We have made sacrifice, given in alms to these others, and yet we do not enjoy. What have we received? There is no end of things to be endured and no reward is forthcoming.”
“Were this in very truth the Master there would be no need for this constancy in abnegation and such lack on our part of things needful to our comfort. We ask but little and we receive not that. Or if indeed this be a Master, manifestly he is not of this world and therefore seeth not our need. He feels no lack and therefore we suffer as much as the slaves of an unfeeling Lord. We are no whit wiser than before. We have been deceived by sounds without sustenance. Those did wisely who left soon. Those did most wisely who soonest departed. Better were it for us to seek again to rejoin our castes and make peace with the religion of our fathers. Kinsmen, wife and children will rejoice at our return from this waste of wandering after strange teachers. Let us return to the faith of our fathers, make sacrifice, give alms, and once more enjoy the peace that comes from the established order of things.”
But Isandha, being filled with love for the Master, did not question the actions of the Guru: Gratitude filled heart, dissolved the rebellion of the mind, and made straight the angle of his vision. The subtleties of intellection disappeared and he saw without reasoning upon abstractions that the path which is not manifest is embodied in faith, love and gratitude for the Teacher who walks in the path of the predecessors.
He hungered upon the Master’s walk, seeking to do him service. Therefore to him the Master spoke without indirections, as saying, “Isandha, this woman is weary and her child is feeble.”
Then Isandha would carry the child and lift up the mother’s heart with tales of great Rishis who came of old among men, teaching by example. And as they talked and walked, the woman would forego her weariness, the child gain in strength, and Isandha unvexed with knowledge that he was making sacrifice, enjoyed the hundred-fold bliss of the seraphs who perform no works, their period of karma being exhausted.
Or as the Master might say, “Isandha, this old man is near to the time of his parting. Assuage thou his passing.”
Then Isandha, filled with the Master’s love, entered into the darkness of the sorrow of those who die old, yet still longing for life, more life. Mixed with the heart of the ancient, the eternal youth of his love pierced the gray world of the dying. The old man stepped on the bridge of faith that is feeling, became clothed in the covenant of the immortal and departed the old body as a man throweth away old garments and putteth on others which are new. And Isandha, transported in love and in service, knew the hundred-fold bliss of the departed, and saw the hosts of souls in the golden zones of the Devaloka. Their bliss was his bliss. The knowledge of all their works was his knowledge.
Or as the Master might say, “Isandha, seest thou this repentant sinner shrouded with the undying memory of his sins. Canst thou not lighten his gloom?”
Then sinless and stainless Isandha, showing his sins, for his love made him one with the sinner and his sins, entered boldly into the midst of the memories of the sinner. Then the mind of the sinner, like a dead sun robbed of its rays, feeling the warmth and the love of Isandha, rose from the
Kamaloka. Seeing others all round about here in the world sick in their sins, they entered into the partnership of works, giving courage and counsel to all to rise from their despondencies and fare forward to newer and better works, thus slaying the memories of past evils. And Isandha, filled with compassion for all who sin and suffer, had the knowledge of those who walk on the waters of the past herein are reflected our lives that have been, and entered into the hundred-fold bliss of the Saviours of mankind, the bliss of the many Masters of Compassion.
Or as the Master might say, “Isandha, at a day’s journey, or peradventure at a month’s distance, there are those afflicted. Their malady is such that they resent all help given them.”
Then Isandha, light of heart that the Master found him worthy for usage, went joyfully and carried the message of the Master to all who would listen. When they bruised him with stones, devas received the blows, and Isandha knew not that his body was beaten. When they reviled him for performing unrequited service, suras lengthened their cries to antiphonal chants so that the ears of Isandha were rapt to melodies divine and awakening. When here and there one who was afflicted came out from the stubbornness of the strange malady and hearkened to the healing of Isandha, the doors were opened and the Spirit descended upon this Isandha, so that the bliss of All-being was his, and the knowledge of the Spirit was his and he knew that there is no separateness at all.
Thus those who sought did not find, but Isandha who did not seek, being content in love for the Master, seeking only to do him service, found that which the curious could not find; which those of keen desire could not find; which learned Brahmins, fertile with questions, could not find; which rich vaishyas, desirous of trafficking in speech with the Guru, and
offering rich offerings for a sign, could not find; which those who had been longest in the company of the Master could not find. Yet Isandha found how to perform marvels, how to command the devas, how to summon both the suras and the asuras, how are wrought visible effects by invisible means. Isandha found the ultimate division of time, so that all that had been and all that is to be joined hands in his immediate presence. He found the knowledge that all beings seek in every path, and he enjoyed the bliss of all worlds and all beings.
Seeking not he found, for he was filled with love for the Master. He hungered upon the Master’s walk, seeking to do him service. For the Master is the embodiment of the path which is not manifest, and the service of the Master, whether near or far, and performed for all men alike, is the path of seeing, is the path of hearing, is the path of knowing, is the path of Being. Without reasoning upon abstractions, this path discloses the Brahman, the Purusha, the Mulaprakriti, as everywhere, though they cannot be found by much seeing, by much hearing, by much knowing. This path is the true Udgitha, and in the divine resonance of love, of service and of faith, was gained by Isandha, without subtleties in the company of the Master.
SINBARA DAS, MAHOUT
SINBARA Das prospered exceedingly.
By speech alone he guided his elephant, clothing sound reasons in soft tones.
When the troop came to deep waters where the ford had been, the head man smote with his iron in vain. The elephants trumpeted one to another, denying the efficacy of effort. They swayed from side to side, trembling, fearing the sharp iron, fearing more the rush of waters as they said:
“Abstain, abstain from disturbing our meditation. We bear in our bosom the seed of further harvest. The plain of Iran waits. Delay us not.”
The mahouts held counsel. The younger drivers, headstrong from uniform experience and knowing no language than the commands of their chiefs, cursed the great bodies and small heads of the beasts; cursed the deep waters running yellow with blessings for the starved soil and parched fields of Iran; cursed the far mountains, elder brothers of the plain, for the unseemly melting of the snows; cursed the bland air of the uplands; cursed the hot sun of the spring; but the herd obeyed not their oaths nor their adjurements.
The older drivers, seated around the raj-mahout, advised encampment and the preparation of sacrifice.
“It is well known, Master of men and of elephants, ” said they, “that those strive in vain who seek to make head against the will of the gods. These are religious beasts obeying according to their natures. To beat them because of the high waters is to prick against the gods through them. We are far from home. If we are not patient in this adversity it may well
be that the gods will punish us our rebellion by smiting our women and children. It would be well that we should wait till Surya turns his hot eye. Then the snows will sleep, bland air return to the mountains, the waters, unnourished, will recede, and the work of the gods, not being hindered, will pass, and we can resume the journey. We have food in plenty and provender lacks not for the herd. Of a truth, this is a sign that we should abide in peace. Being but drivers of elephants our lot is hard and rest comes but seldom. Veritably, this is our gift from the gods, did we but read with the eye of gratitude, the signs.”
Thus, one by one all spoke, each according to his nature, esteeming his experience sufficient and his understanding complete, seeking no other rendition of the meaning of circumstance.
But the raj-mahout remained with his mind swaying from side to side, hearing within himself the diverse trumpeting of duty and of fear. Upon the ceasing of speech, his attention returned from the abstraction within to the circumstances without, for his was the false abstraction due to the pressure of circumstances. Goaded by the sharp iron of necessity, as the beast is goaded by the sharp iron of the mahout, the headman spoke.
“Sinbara Das, hast thou no word? All these have spoken, tendering the aid of advice and opinion, but the obstacle remains. The merchants will have cause for reproach and the administration of punishment upon the company, I being chief. Silence is not seemly while the road of efficacy remains unfound. In times of stress it is customary for all to speak. There is no other way known to seek a way than by much speaking and a multitude of counsels. The will of the gods is to be known only through the voices of men, and whom the gods choose for their vessel, through him comes the speech of
the gods, giving true direction. Manifestly these others are not chosen, for the way is not found. Sacrifice having been made, interpretation is needed. It is known that the gods are present where sacrifice has been made. Speak, that it may be known if the sacrifice has been sufficient.”
Sinbara Das, putting off the garment of silence, uttered wisdom to fools, for by what means can a fool weigh wisdom?
“Master of men and of elephants, the snows perform only their own duty and know no other. The tall mountains hold in custody only that which is theirs. The yellow waters, being a mixture, know only the meditation of action and run swiftly and deep, meditating only upon the seed in their bosom. The herd is confused in its duty, hearing the voices of the duties of the water, and fearing the duty of another which, as is well known, is full of danger.
“It is not well to curse Father Surya, setter of the duties of all. It is not well to curse the snow, nor the mountains, nor the bland air, nor the yellow water, nor the obedient elephants, for they be ignorant of the duties of others, seeking only to learn their own duty well. But we, being mahouts and men, are of superior caste to all these. It is our duty to know the duties of these younger brothers of the mountain, of the snow, of the air, of the waters, of the herd, and instruct them in the coherency of all duties. We being faithful to the duties of our caste will be true interpreters of the will of Surya, shining on all, and the duties of each will then become the bridge of the waters. It is by understanding, not by doing, the duty of another, that Antaskarana, the bridge is formed.
“I have obeyed thy injunction and have spoken.”
Sinbara Das spoke in the words of men; answering to the injunction of the raj-mahout. Yet, since the air is a common air, both for man and for beasts, and performing its duty well carries all sounds, whether of men or of beasts, whether of
wisdom or of fools, therefore the air carried the tones of Sinbara Das to all who had ears; to the head-man who listened with the ear of perplexity; to the older drivers who heard with the ear of tamas, to the younger drivers who heard with the ear of rajas, and to the elephants who heard with the ear of sattva.
Being faithful in the perforrnance of their duty, the elephants were confused only in their sense of duty, interpreted, for their understanding through the tamas an rajas of the older and the younger drivers, not fully faithful and learned in the performance of their own duty.
The younger drivers, heady with rajas, reviled Sinbara Das, saying,
“This troop of words hath indeed the sound of much wisdom but the belly of our understanding remains empty and not nourished. Better, O Head-man, had he not spoken.”
The elder drivers in their turn and after their manner complained with fault-finding.
“Master of men and of eleplants,” complained they, “this Das means well, beyond doubt or objection, but like a false bale from a swindling merchant, there are many wrappings of speech which being removed and the content examined show small measure of value. It is clear that Sinbara Das has hidden in his heart more desire to find favor with thee through soft tones than sound reason. This is not respectable in morals
nor good as means of obtaining the desire hidden deep in his heart, seeing the wisdom of experence required in a head-man.
“Or, peradventure, Sinbara Das, in the depths of his cunning, prepares in advance the fortifying excuses which, softly clothed at the occasion, will deceive the Master of Merchants and cause in the end thy replacement as raj of mahouts, him-
self being cunningly disposed to that end. After much counseling and the opinion of all, no way has been found. Even thy superior wisdom is perplexed and discerns no true interpretation. How, then, should Sinbara Das discern that which thou hast not discerned?
“We have spoken with reverence to the gods and with gratitude towards thee. Sinbara Das is a disturber of the will of the gods, and has no respect for his elders, nor gratitude towards thee. Gratitude towards superiors, respect to elders, reverence to the gods, is true duty. Let Sinbara Das be silent, or, if needs his conceit must have speech, let him talk to the elephants. We have said.”
In this way do men and mahouts speak when tamas and rajas are present, causing whirlpools in the waters of the understanding, drowning the sense of duty. Thus they cannot Lord the turbulent waters of the mind, and though the air, performing its duty, brings to their ears the voice of wisdom as well as the clamor of folly, they perceive naught but circumstance, which is the echo of folly. They give heed only to the voice of conceit and prejudice.
Upon the ceasing of uttered complaint by the elder mahouts, the herd recommenced trumpeting, and the waters recommenced the sound of rushing. The raj-mahout, perceiving by this renewal of clamor that there had been silence, and confused only in the sense of his duty, withdrew his attention to the silence that had been.
He perceived further that at the time of the speaking of Sinbara Das the herd had ceased to trumpet, and that the tones of Sinbara Das had blended with the rushing of waters., The sounds of conceit and of prejudice which encompassed the speaking of the younger and elders therefore entered not at all in the mind of the head-man, seeking to resolve the perplexity of unlearned duty.
The soft tones of Sinbara, clothing sound wisdom, bridged the confusion of the head-man, yet aroused the conceit and the prejudice of those who were indolent and headstrong, not seeking the significance of circumstance.
Therefore this head-man of mahouts addressed further injunction to all.
“Let Sinbara act as seemeth best unto him. If his understanding is a ford through this difficulty of circumstance, let him take the direction of action, whereby the duty of all may be joined. Those who cannot see the way should follow those who have perception. This is duty, and all joining in the act of faith, the bridge will be complete.
“Sinbara Das, thou hast spoken in obedience to my injunction; obey further.”
Sinbara Das, having in his heart well meaning toward all, approached to Gunga, smallest of the elephants, at the rear of the troop, for there is precedence among beasts as among men. As among men, they too go by the appearance of greatness.
Now the karma of Gunga was meritorious. She had been allotted to carry the timbers for the sacred platform in the Mother river so that the breast of Gunga, the sacred river, might not be troubled at the period of the pilgrimage thus was she called Gunga after this service, and thus had she Sinbara Das for a mahout, who had named her, and who now named her named.
But the other mahouts remaining seated as before, the raj of mahouts spoke as became a wise head-man.
“See ye that Sinbara Das has moved to his place and confers with his servant? Act, then, like him. The first step in wisdom
is to emulate the actions of the wise.”
Thereupon there took him each man to his elephant, and seeing Sinbara Das speak to the meritorious Gunga in mod-
erate speech, giving explanations in soft tones, accompanied with interpretative touch and gesture, confidence entered—they knew not how—into their hearts and overflowed, yellow with blessing, and into the heads of the mahouts. Confidence being in the hearts and in the heads of the mahouts, the herd became tranquil and attentive to further interpretation.
Then Sinbara Das walked in friendliness by the side of Gunga, his arm on her trunk, moving tranquilly with her into the rush of waters where the ford had been, full of faith in the power of Surya, setter of the duties of all.
Then Gunga, remembering the lesson learned of the sacred river and the transport of timbers for the platform for bathers in the sacred waters, aroused by the friendliness of Sinbara Das, interpreter of Surya, reached forth her trunk, lifted up Sinbara Das Out of the rush of waters to his place between her ears, and marched steadily and tranquilly through the waters. Then the great of the herd followed Gunga, perceiving that where the small can go the great can follow.
Thus in the prosperity of Sinbara Das all prospered and received commendations from the Master of Merchants. But Sinbara Das prosered most for he gained in the fullness of the comprehension of Surya, which is obtained only by those who seek to unite the duties of all into the coherency which bridges difficult circumstances.
ARAYAN Das entered the service of those who led great caravans to far countries and returned thence laden with selections of rare stuffs, spices that ministered to the senses, ornaments of unknown beauty, jewels like eyes beckoning scintillant behind veils. From the usufruct of these the master merchants derived wealth and powers and received the consideration of princes.
“We have ventured and we have gained. This is our Karma.” Thus the Master of Vaishyas addressed the company of great merchants.
“Kings and princes there are, but these are all reapers and not sowers. Their karma is that of merit won in past lives. Being now rulers they but devour their own past, eating of substance and not of increment. We, by our hardihood in the living present, make a two-fold profit. We profit by our present merit and thence assimilate to ourselves the virtues of these Lords.
“In the chiefs of our caste is the real wisdom of the ages. We, deal not in growing things. They are but the crude material for the labor of sudras who have sight but not sense. Only the wise know how to reap the subtle gain from refined stuffs. In the wool there is naught but the labor of sheep and of goats, but in fine shawls and rich textures, in fine hammered wares and much polished jewels our eyes of understanding perceive the manifold merits of transmigration. Into them have passed the labor and the karmic merit of many men.
“The animal sees but his food in the midst of his works, and gains food. The sudra sees but his wage, and gains food
and shelter and the rest which follows fatigue. Kings and princes see only the rare dyes and patterns marvelous to behold, fitting to adorn the bodies of rulers and the women rulers. Rulers are but refinements of sudras; they see only the present. One earns his wage to spend it; the other spends the wage he has earned.
“We have the subtle sight of the past, the present and the future. This is the refinement of karma. Our stamina is perpetually renewed by both sudra and king. We assimilate the labor of all. Consideration is our due. Without us the channels of karma would be blocked up and there would be neither rulers nor ruled. We neither sow nor reap, for we are the Masters of sowing and reaping. Verily to be Vaishya leaves naught to be desired. Are we not the Lords of Life?”
Arayan Das, seated in the midst of the grave company, entered from the dharana of attention into the dhyana of contemplation. Thence he went into the samadhi of concentration through hearing the uttered wisdom of these merchants, who had risked the labor of sudras and had gained the profit of kings, and who now spoke as befits the accumulated wisdom of brahmans and sages. Arayan Das, who through many years had followed the path of seeing, and who had seen many marvelous things, now passed from the concentration of seeing into the concentration of hearing. He passed from the marvelous into the marvel.
When he had returned back from the company of the merchants into his own house, and when he had returned back from the concentration of hearing into his own body of thoughts and desires, Arayan Das assumed the posture of meditation and began to reflect upon what he had heard.
At first the posture of meditation was not easy. Arayan Das was disturbed by the members, as, in the company of the merchants he had been disturbed by the presence of the
servants performing their offices. His arms desired movement, when he desired to be relieved of his arms. His legs desired uprightness when his desire was the posture. His organs desired attention when he desired them to be still.
“Why is this,” thought Arayan Das, “that my members should be full of desires when I desire no use of my members ? ”
Then there rose up in his mind a thought which had not been thought by Arayan Das, but which he had seen in the sacred writings, “The body is but a sertvant for the use of the senses.”
“Verily,” thought Arayan Das, “this is a saying not merely to be seen, but to be heard; and not merely to be heard, but to be considered with attention.”
Whereupon, his mind being intent upon the saying, his members fell asleep and his body no more troubled him. For the memory of the body being slain, its members sink into abeyance and are as if they were not. The subject of his attention being lost, the mind of Arayan Das returned upon its contents.
He saw in his memory the company of merchants. Their faces returned familiarly, one replacing another, until he ceased to see the company but felt himself in the presence of them all. He was astonished to find himself no more like Arayan Das, but as a great merchant, intimate with himself. His mind went out to far places; he inspected offerings, he purchased of the best, he gave, low prices as if they were largess. He made up the caravan, watching to arrangement of stores. He returned to the marts and displayed his assortments. He conversed with princes. He bargained with dignity and condescension. He sold his accumulations at large prices and returned to the place of converse with his fellow merchants. He discoursed with them, discussing the philosophy of life.
Of a sudden Arayan Das re-perceived the faces of the company of grave merchants, saw himself listning to their discourse with the dharana of attention. His thoughts reverted to his mind’s action, as before, in assuming the posture, they had reverted to the body and its members.
“ Why is this,” thought Arayan Das, “that my mind should be filled with images when I desire no fancies to disturb my meditation?”
Then there rose up in his mind a saying which he had seen in holy writ: “The senses are the members of the inner body, and they are but servants for the mind’s use.”
“Verily,” thought Arayan Das, “this is a saying not merely to be seen, but to be heard, and not merely to be heard, but to be considered as a subject for contemplation.”
Whereupon, his mind being absorbed in contemplation of the nature, use, function, and powers of the senses, the throwing of images ceased. For the power of the senses is two-fold: to acquire impressions and to throw impressions; but being only members and servants of the mind, when the mind is elsewhere, the memory of the senses is slain. They sink into abeyance and are as if they were not. The subject of this contemplation being lost, the mind of Arayan Das returned once more upon its contents.
He heard in his memory the words of the company of grave merchants. The sounds returned familiarly, the tones of one replacing those of another, until he ceased to hear their voices, and became reverberant of their ideas. He was as astonished to find himself no more a listener, but as it were a mind, intimate with itself. He saw within himself ideas coming and going, thought giving utterance to soundless volumes, uniting, separating, changing, his form remaining no instant the same. He sweated internally, bewildered as a sudra, working at sharp tasks, more and more dull, seeing nothing of reward
for the day’s toil but the night’s rest. He passed into the trading ideas of the merchants, feeling, seeing, hearing naught but the possible amassment from other men’s sowing of desires and reaping of experiences. His form changed by instants, profitable thoughts arising in the midst of unprofitable thoughts; ideas of usance, of luxuries, of emoluments and enjoyments, of sudras, of princes and of merchants. He saw himself eating of every man’s substance, gaining of every man’s gain, waxing great, becoming respected, considered with consideration by all. He relaxed; his mind took on the appearance of venerated wisdom, and himself that wisdom giving utterance.
Of a sudden, Arayan Das re-perceived the voices of the merchants, saw himself absorbed in the ideas they uttered, and concentrated in the samadhi of desire. Then his thoughts reverted to the nature, use, function and powers of the mind.
“Why is this,” perceived Arayan Das, “that I should be absorbed in the imaginings of the mind, when I desire no misconceptions to disturb my meditation ?“
On the bridge of this perception he perceived, as he had heard the voice of a writer of holy things, this saying: “The mind is but the inner body, and exists as a servant for the Soul’s use.”
“Verily,” reflected Arayan Das, with a comprehension that includes what is unknown to those who are deceived by the modifications of the mind, “I perceive this is a saying not merely to be seen or heard, or considered with attention. This is a saying to be lived by me.”
Whereupon being intent upon the nature of that living, the memory of the mind was lost, for when the Soul is elsewhere the mind is as if it were not, and misconception sinks into abeyance.
The subject of this deliberation being lost, the Self of Arayan Das returned upon its content. The bliss of correct cognition illumined his Soul. He neither saw, nor heard, nor pondered, but became in all things as all men. He was sheep and goat and wool. The shining was like a jewel beckoning scintillant behind veils. He was sudra and vaishya and kshatriya, absorbed in the bliss of all beings. This is the state known in words as Beatific, the union by absorption of all lesser things and states. He understood all, because he had become all.
Of a sudden, Arayan Das re-perceived all things and creatures in himself, and himself in all. His feeling became sight, hearing, life; all in one Voice that filled him and was himself.
“Why is this,” Arayan Das heard the Voice, “that I should be filled with all life and all experience, when I desire no cognition to disturb my meditation ? ”
In the soundless akasa of the Voice, Arayan Das perceived that which is without form or substance, the memory of that which hath been and ever is, and of which all that hath been, and all that is, is but the image and the servant. He seemed to become absorbed in that which is without form and without substance, of which nevertheless there is this saying: “All that is, exists for the sake of the Soul’s experience and emancipation.”
Of a sudden, Arayan Das perceived the chain of manifested being; the sleeping body, awake only in its own world, knowing no higher; the sleeping senses, awake only in sensation, knowing nothing higher; the sleeping mind, awake only in ideas, knowing nothing higher; the sleeping Soul, awake only in the varying modifications of the mind.
“Verily,” perceived Arayan Das, “I perceive that the true mission of life is the service of Soul, and not the service of
body, or sense, or mind, or their desires. Nothing is to be grudged, nothing envied. All things are serviceable to him who serves Soul.”
The supporting Soul having been withdrawn from the service of form, the manifested world of form, both the visible and the invisible, sank into abeyance, and the Soul called Arayan Das returned upon the Container of all. No-thing remained of Arayan Das but the cognition of Soul.
By degrees Arayan Das lost the cognition of both subjects and objects of meditation; and entered into Dispassion. From this state there is no return, for it arises from the knowledge of Soul as distinguished from all else.
Arayan Das entered into the service of the great caravan of life. Sudras saw a body which they named Arayan Das. Merchants saw keen senses which they named Arayan Das. Kshatriyas saw a mind which they strove to enlist or ally or conquer. This they denominated Arayan Das. Arayan Das saw none of these. He saw Souls.
The paraguru saw return, by the successive steps of meditation, to the service of the Masters a chela who had wandered to far countries and fulfilled Karma.
There is this saying: Karma is service.
NARADA and Adaran, pursuing each his path, the one of dharma and the other of karma, entered the varsha of works. Narada by reason of agreement on higher planes with those who watch; the progress of the worlds, had put aside all knowledge that was his in former births. Upon entering this world of conditioned existence he drew together the mind and the five senses in oder that he might obtain a body, might use that body, and might leave it again. Thus he came naked into the world, naked of body and naked of mind, depending upon what he might find there of good and of evil. He was as one new-born into the world of ignorance from the world of wisdom, helpless as a seeing man is in darkness.
Adaran, pursuing the path of tanha, which is the path of those driven by the compulsion of old tendencies, entered the varsha of works by reason of disagreement in higher worlds with the own nature of the Soul. The path being one for all, Adaran also, hovering over the stormy sea of human life, tossed by the fierce winds of desire, disappeared into the vortex and came naked into this varsha of works, thirsting for what he might find here of good and of evil, helpless as a blind man is in light.
Like a sentinel, sleepless and vigilant, the power of the vow he had taken watched over Narada blind in the world of works. Like a jackal watching outside the rim of the fire, the power of the kama, vigilant with propensities unglutted, lurked in the shadow of the senses of Adaran, blind in the world of works.
Being naked of body and mind, both Narada and Adaran entered the caste of sudras. They served both the good and the evil, their food, of body and senses and mind, was harsh, bitter and astringent, or else impure, tasteless and rotting, such as was cast aside and rejected by those whom they served.
The pleasures that they had arose only from sleep, idleness, and carelessness, tending to stupefy the soul. Being thus miserable they took counsel, one with the other, seeking amelioration of their lot.
“Ours is an evil case, brother,” said Narada the sudra to Adaran, sweaty and vile in the mud by the river. “We are even as this mud, trampled by man and beast, vile with the vileness of both, and defiling them in return. ”
“It must be that we are not wise. Here floweth the water, pure for the drinking of all, in the midst of this waste and this vileness. There flowers the lotus, rooted in vileness, yet opening its petals to the sun, white with purity, expanding an incense as the air were a temple, worshipful of the unseen. Could one learn the wisdom of water and the language of the plants, mayhap our case might improve.”
“Seeing what thou seest, dull though thy senses are, thy mind is the mind of a fool,” replied Adaran. “This mud is vile and much trampled, lacking the power to resent. Thy water, flowing craftily, encroacheth ever on the land’s domain and takes little by little to itself for its bed this land that thou seest as mud. Thy pure lotus, learned in duplicity, puts on the sweetness of white, and unperceived by both, makes food of the mud, and drink of the waters. Its incense expanded is mere offering to air, which is wiser than earth and the water, that thus the air my be lulled by sweet flatteries, and perceive not that the lotus is stealing its substance. It opens its petals to the sun as the insects come out of their holes to the heat of the fire, that they perish not of the cold.”
He spat with contempt, and continued.
“This is the speech of all that is; and the wisdom of the earth, of the water, of the air, of the fire, and of all that lives is to nourish one’s self by the labor of others. The most ignorant, work the most and have least sustenance. It is ignorance and weakness which suffers. Let us seek wisdom and strength that we suffer no more, and enjoy our enjoyments out of the weakness and ignorance of those lesser than ourselves. It is the law of all life.”
But Narada, feeling his misery without resentment, drank of the water, laved in the water, smelled of the sweet lotus, and rested himself on the dry bank in the warmth of the sun. He had no food, but a feeling of nourishment spread within him, so that he gave thanks in his heart for the land that remains, ever renewed from the mountains; for the waters that flow, ever renewed by the rains; for the lotus, ever renewed from fresh seeds; for the sun, ever renewed by its own shining.
“Tell me this, O my brother, wiser than I,” said he to Adaran, caked in dry mud by his side and chewing the cud of bitterness from thinking on the cruelties he suffered. “Though all these that thou knowest seem to renew by the bounty of others, yet the sun shines renewed each day with no fuel. What is this secret of the sun, for it must be a secret of surpassing wisdom?”
“The sun is alone in his strength, solitary and proud in his wisdom. He is renewed out of his pride, and feeds on the bodies of all that live. They but sport at his pleasure. In the end they yield up their essences to him. They become smoke and dust and ashes, but the sun lives on. They live on others that live, but he lives on the death of all. Fire, that consumes all, is his food. Toil is the ghat that consumes us. Let us return to our toil lest we be consumed before our time.”
Thus they went on side by side, each toiling, at the same tasks, Narada consumed by toil yet nourished by the fires of his sufferings, feeling gratefulness for the earth under his feet, gratefulness for the plants that clothed him, gratefulness for the grains that fed him, gratefulness for the inner strength ever renewed that sustained him in the midst of his tasks and his miseries, so that his eyes became dulled to bodily things, but opened to inner perception. Thus he heard the voice of the dust; thus he heard the voice in the rice; thus he heard the voice of peace in the midst of the sunlight; thus he heard the voice of the silence in the midst of the clangor of the world. These voices caressed him, becoming a song, sweet and low, the song of life in the midst of death, the song of the bliss of life in the midst of the sorrows of this world. Because he had put aside the higher knowledge to gain entrance into this world, the mansion of pain and of sorrow, Narada remembered naught of the agreement made on higher planes, but the power of the vow overcame the magic of those who prey on the weakness and ignorance of others. The Soul of Narada followed the path by feeling, as the seeing man in darkness finds a path by feeling. Out of the good in this world he gained good. Out of the evil in this world he gained good, gaining the feeling of the presence of the One Essence in all things whether they be evil or good.
Thus they went on side by side, each toiling at the same tasks, Adaran consumed by toil, consumed yet more by the fires of resentment that burned within his vitals, feeling resentment for the dull earth that he spurned with his feet, feeling hatred for the rags that covered him, feeling loathing for the food that fed him, feeling hatred of the strength ever renewed that would not let him die, so that his inner eyes became dulled, but opened to outward perception. Then he perceived the power that dwells hidden in persistence and
strove fiercely to overcome his tasks and gain the favor of the head-man of sudras. He heard the voice of commendation of the head-man; he heard the voice of appointment with command over sudras yet more vile than he; he heard the voice of ambition, the voice of greed, the voice of the lesire for comfort, the voice of the desire for life, more life. He hearkened to these voices till they became one cry and an echo, the cry of those who command and the echo of those who, obey. Thus he gained the knowledge of this world and became possessed of the mighty magic which preys on the weakness and ignorance of others. Out of the good in this world he gained evil. Out of the evil in this world he gained evil. Thus he entered the path of feeling, as the blind man entering the light finds a path by feeling, and gained the feeling that the impure is pure, that the evil is good, that that which is not soul is soul, that the non-eternal is eternal.
In this world of darkness and, ignorance gained Narada the presence of the Eternal. In this world of works Adaran gained only the loss of the Eternal. Side by side in the path of sudras, one gained the strength of service and the other gained the service of the strength of others weaker than himself.
When the time for the fulfilment of vows and the end of works was at hand: side by side Narada and Adaran, spent and old, sought the forest. There, in the dust by the path of beasts they countered the hut of a beggar. The beggar lay crumpled in the dust of the path. He, spoke not, but his parched lips cried for water. He spoke not, but his glazed eyes cried for food. He moved not, but his crumpled limbs cried for healing.
Narada, having the inner feeling of service, gave drink to the parched lips, laved the tired eyes, fed the wasted body, and anointed the crumpled limbs. Adaran having the inner,
feeling of his own needs saw only the thatched hut which he entered, casting himself upon the piled leaves of the hermit’s pallet.
Night drew near to hide all the things of this world, that the things of the other world might be seen, and saw the three in the hut together. Adaran lay upon the hermit’s couch. The hermit lay well within the hut on the garments of Narada. Narada lay upon the bare earth hard by the hole of the hut, naked and cold, that the chill of the night might not reach to the beggar.
Thus they lay at ease and content, waiting the night, and held converse.
“My time is at hand. What lies beond I know not, but I know that it will be even as this world. What the strong have they will keep. What the weak have will be taken by the strong. Naked came I into this world, and I have taken according to my strength. In the next world, if indeed there be such, I will follow the law of all worlds. I will take what I can and yield up little as may be. I am content.” Thus Adaran. The old hermit lay still, with closed eyes, pondering what had been spoken.
“I, also, have received much, but have had little to give. It has been a good world. I feel it may well be that in the next world there will be more to give and less need to take. Even it may be there is a world where all strive only to be first in giving. There is need for such a world, and it must be that there is wherewithal for all needs. I would be better content were all content, each according to his needs. What sayest Thou,
O Pitar? ” Thus Narada.
The Father, being moved by the services rendered and by the term of Pitar, meaning Father, addressed to him by Narada, opened the doors of speech and assuaged the soul of Narada.
“It is even as thy feeling tells thee, O Son, who hath administered to the necessitous. All worlds are knit together in one bond. A common path, ascending an descending, is the path of the Pilgrimage. Those who follow the path of service enter upon the ascent of the path. It is steep and winds up-hill all the way. In the beginning its pleasure is as poison, but in the end like the waters of life, for it is the path of knowledge of the three worlds. It begins in service without requital. If pursued it leads to service requited by words. If pursued it leads to service requited by gratitude on the part of those who need no service. If pursued further, service accompanied by gratitude from those who need no service leads to love for those who have this gratitude. Love and further service lead to the station of the vow. Thereafter, if pursued, service to all men in gratitude and love for those who sustain the three worlds without thought of recompense, leads to the end of the path, which is the bliss of Emancipation.
“Those who follow the downward path find it in the beginning sweet as the waters of life, but in the end like poison. If pursued it increases selfish desire; selfish desires lead to the thirst for power; power leads to the gratification of propensities; the gratification of propensities leads to the loss of powers, and leaves the soul an abandoned wreck.
“Both paths are the path of Soul, but the Soul chooses its own path. By one road it enters into the bliss of all Souls. By the other road it enters into th misery of all Souls, knowing no, Soul, knowing only misery.”
In the night which opens the doors of the other world, Adaran departed on the road by which he had entered this varsha of works, and returned to the kamaloka. There propensities torment the Soul which there sees no other Soul, but sees only thirst without assuagements.
Narada departed on that road by which he had entered this varsha of works and came to the other world. There, waiting at the threshold, was the old hermit, transfigured, radiant, self-shining in the company of the Shining Ones.
“What thinkest thou, Narada, of the varsha of works” Thus the Master to the Chela, returned into the company of those who dwell upon the higher planes.
Narada, shining with the shining of love and of gratefulness, answered, “I think, O Father, that the world of darkness and ignorance among men is a good world only to those who know no other and better world.”
THE SOUL OF A SUDRA
WHEN the sun was ready for the northward journey and the moon was new, the allotments were made to the sudras. The vi1lage hotri, having tested the favorable conjunctions of the planets, performed the ceremonies of the sacrifices and recited the traditions of old. For sacrifices and speech are sacred works, and unless the auspicious moment is chosen and the five agents of all works are in harmony, only evil Karma is engendered.
Offerings having been made to the sun and to the moon, to the earth, the air, the fire and the water, the priest gave utterance to the wise sayings which have come down from those of old times.
“It is ever thus, my brothers. The ancient, constant and eternal Spirit is the source of the works and the fruits of all. He enters the earth and the elements feel the germinal impulsion. Thus the spirit migrates from the sun to the earth, from the earth to the plants, from the plants to the beasts of the field. Thus are the three agents quickened.
“From the moon he quickens the Pitris, the Fathers, and in man are all agents conjoined in one, that all may prosper. Thus is the primeval transmigration of the one into the many, and thus is the metempsychosis effected, and the return of all souls to the One is hastened.
“From the beginning the immortal thus becomes the mortal, that experience may be gained; the one becomes the many, each seeking that which is comformable to its own nature. That which was pure becomes impure through tasting of
both good and evil experiences. These are the connecting bonds of action. According as the field is tilled so is the harvest, and thence cometh the weeds and the grain; the noxious and the beneficent, both of plants and of beasts and of men, both growing in the same field, both embodying the same Spirit.
“Let your works be a sacrifice of the impure to the pure, of the evil to the good, of the mortal to the immortal, and thus shall the Spirit, which shines in all, shine forth in you.”
Then the tillers went forth, each upon his allotment, and each labored according to his own nature, some with fixed affection and others with fixed disliking for the circumstances of his field of action. In some, anger raised rebellious thoughts against the weeds which sprang up, sucking the moisture from the soil. In others anxiety bruised the heart as the stones of the field bruised their heels. In others fear chilled their hearts lest the great heat should destroy the tender herbage. In none was there the full performance of his own duty, through the diversion of attention lest the other agents in nature fail in the performance of their duties. None perceived, the One Spirit present in all their actions whether pure or impure, but all tasted of the good and evil experiences of life, and thus were the duties of all confused, and nature thrown into disorder.
But Kapilavastu, slave of circumstance like the others, performed faithfully his allotment, and by the sweat of his brows kept body and soul together. Thus were the higher and the lower agents united in harmonious action and his field glowed green in the sunlight, and at evening took on the color violet.
But the mind of sudras is dumb through much hearing and little understanding, and circumstances but a harness whereby the soul tugs at the bodily cart. Nevertheless, faith entered through the pores of his understanding as the body
became purified through toil without rebellion: Like a stone warmed by, the sun, though understanding was absent, the warmth of faith was present.
As the hotri wandered through the fields among the sudras, he came near the field of Kapilavastu, and approached this sudra of comfortable mien. Perceiving the, priest, Kapilavastu made obeisance in respect to the presence of one wiser than himself. Thus obedient to the distinctions of caste and of nature, faith quickened the dumb mind of Kapilavastu and speech came to him without effort.
“Whence, O wiser than I, cometh the nature of man ?“
Answered the priest with a wisdom hardly to be comprehended by those who have no understanding. And Kapilavastu attended with a faith hardly to be acquired by those who rebel against circumstances.
“The nature of man cometh from the acquired experiences of the elements of the earth, from the several natures of the plants, and from the knowledge of the beasts of both good and evil habitudes. All these are united in the body of man through the transmigration. The house being thus prepared and, ready, enters the ray from the sun and thus is the metempsychosis effected whereby the Spirit becomes Man.”
Kapilavastu pondered this saying as the buffalo ruminates the food gathered in his journeying. The traditions of old began to germinate and swelled to further questioning.
“Are there, then, two natures in man, both the nature of the sun and the nature of the moon; both the nature of the transmigrations and the nature of the metempsychosis ? ”
“Verily thus hath it come down, from the fathers. In all things are the two natures, but in man they both shine forth, now the one nature and now the other, both the immortal and : the mortal both the good and the evil dispositions of all.
From the one nature, faith; from the other, desires. From the one, understanding; from the other, the yoke of circumstances hardly to be borne.”
“What binds the soul to the body, the mortal to the immortal, the evil to the good, O elder brother ? ”
“Karma binds the soul to the body, seeker of light. Body and circumstances are of the past, fruit of former actions. But the soul is the sower seeking further fruit according to his acquired wisdom. From this wisdom cometh faith and the necessity of further works. Works breed desire. Desire breeds good and evil experiences. Those who are attentive to the traditions of old seek to perform their actions in faith and not from desire, and in this manner is the soul freed from bondage.”
Hearing in this manner from an elder the secret of the transmigration and of the metempsychosis, Kapilavastu clove unto and respected it. He became intent upon the faithful performance of duty, which makes less difficult and more easily to be born the burdens which fall to the allotment of sudras. In time, body and circumstahce partook of the nature of Kapilavastu, freeing his mind from necessious bondage. Thus is the transmigration from the higher to the lower nature accomplished, and body and circumstance become the true sudra, servant to the mind.
The mind of Kapilavastu, freed from the bondage of desire, became like a willing and suitable field for the allotment of sudras. Assiduous only upon tradition, the mind of Kapilavastu was enriched in two ways, both the mortal and the immortal. His mind was enriched with the acquired wisdom of the earth, of the air, of the water, and the spirit of the elements, of the plants, of the beasts of the field, so that he knew without reasoning from cause to effect all that is comformable to the
several natures. The discrimination which comes from the sattva of the transmigrating life illuminated his understanding and he chose without preference the pure rather than the impure, the good rather than the evil experiences of all natures. This is the process of the metempsychosis from the lower to the, higher nature, whereby bondage is transformed into; union.
This union being accomplished, his mind became enriched with the immortal. The traditions of old, germinated by faith, nourished by works in unison with the transmigrating life, took root in the mind of Kapilavastu. They became food for thought to the soul of Kapilavastu, reflecting the acquired wisdom of the Fathers. His mind became the eye of wisdom, seeing without effort both the ascending and the descending life, so that he knew, without reasoning upon abstractions, suras from asuras, evil spirits from good, the pure in heart from those whose natures are rajasic and tamasic.
Harmony came about in the five principles of being and this accomplished, the union took place between the higher and the lower nature whereby the Self is seen in all things, and all things are perceived in the Self.
Into those sudras who rebelled against circumstance, entered the acquired evil experiences of the three elements of the earth, of the air, of the water. The discontent of Nature enveloped them. Weeds flourished in their fields; their beasts were unruly; evil desires rose in their hearts. Envying the two distinctions of good and of evil, they observed their enslavement; they reasoned one with another concerning Kapilavastu.
“This sudra is favored of the gods, or else hath some potent magic of evil. His strength surpasses his burdens while we are burdens down by our lot. His field shineth green in the
sunlight while ours are parching for sustenance. Perhaps a bhikshu has blessed him, or else—as is like—he is compacted with some bhut whose powerful commerce with evil sustains him.”
So they came to Kapilavastu with questions, demanding the mantram spoken by the bhikshu.
“I know not of bhikshu nor mantram. I but follow upon the tradition of old which the hotri hath told us, and cleave unto and respect it. So also will peace and strength sufficient to your necessities come to you.”
When he had answered them, some went away more certain than ever, desiring within themselves to meet some wandering ascetic and from the bhikshu gain a mantram of power.
Others, reasoning on abstractions, returned to Kapilavastu in the night and roused him from slumber.
“We know that you have a compact, for you are not sick while we are distempered. It is tonight the dark side of the moon. Come with us to the forest that we also may make compact with the bhut and prosper as thou.”
“Prosperity comes not from commerce with bhuts. I but listen to the voices of the earth, of the air, of the water, to learn the wisdom of the elements of the plants, of the beasts. Thus may you learn to work with nature and not against her, and the spirit will shine on us all.”
These others went away more certain than ever in their disappointment.
“Of a surety the evil powers protect him and he in recompense holds fast their secrets.”
Thinking thus, they went about their ways, alert to advantage themselves one of another, hoping by this means to arouse favorable consideration from the powers of evil and thereby gain good fortune.
The inhabiting soul of Kapilavastu dwelt at peace, in a mind enriched by both the mortal and the immortal. The mind of Kapilavastu dwelt at peace in a body and circumstance made fruitful by harmony. The sattva of spiritual living illuminated the three worlds—of the body, of the mind, of the soul.
When the time of parting came, each went its own way enriched with the harvest of union.
Being but a sudra, the body of Kapilavastu received not the rites of the ghat, returning to the elements by the natural dissolution of the particles, blessing the world of the elements as the germ in the rice.
Being but the mind of a sudra, the inner body of Kapilavastu returned to the region of Indra by the stair of the devas, knowing naught but the bliss of the departed, according to the tradition of old.”
But the Soul which was Kapilavastu returned to its own place in the arupa lokas of the communion of souls, as is written, in the commentary. ”Swapita,” as is written: “Swa,” to his own; “Apita,” is he gone.
From Swapita cometh the memory of those who departed in faith after a life filled with works performed in faith, thus enriching the traditions which live in the hearts and minds of men. This faith inspires men in the performance of duty, making less difficult the allotment of souls in the hard path of sudras.
When the great wheel Anupadaka revolves once more, He who was Kapilavastu will return once more to the fields of allotment. Verily he will return once more to his own in this varsha of works. Who will recognize Him who was Kapilavastu when soul and mind and body are once more conjoined in the field of circumstance?
KESHARA THE SKY-WALKER
THE oxen, their necks fast in the yoke, ploughed slowly forward, in the white dust of the shadowless road, walking upon their shadows. The ungreased wheels of the cart sang like crickets as they turned upon the axle. The cud of contentment united the oxen to their task, the harmony of a single note sustained the wheels, and the white dust purred at their passage.
Alone upon the cross-piece Keshara sat motionless, eyes closed, ears stopped, the goad asleep between his knees. Yoked with inexorable Karma he could neither enter the land of sleeping not flee the zone of waking. For Keshara, seeking that which was lost, had come to the end of works where effort seems a vain exertion and life a shadowless road.
Awake, Karma, in the invisible form of memory, pressed upon him dishes bitter as aloes which he tasted through the feeling of loathing. When he sought the darkness of sleep, Karma, changing to the invisible form of imagination, pictured before his mind’s eye unending stretches of shadowless road, white hot in the acrid dust of unendurable repetition. His soul entered into the modifications produced by the mind. In the blur of his inner self Karma became invisibly and inextricably intimate with his own being. Feeling became hearing and found fault in his own inner voice.
“I, who have been named Keshara, the Sky-Walker, have been so named in derision. Memory and imagination are not wings but an evil affliction from the gods. Is there no end?”
Feeling and hearing became sight. He saw Keshara, seeker of the path to that which was lost, wandering from caste to
caste, from teacher to teacher, passing through countless experiences, finding no rest. He saw himself more and more desolate, cheated of fruition, at last a driver of oxen, companion of a cart, drowning in a river of dust. Self-pity, the shadow of compassion, clothed him in drab vestments.
“These beasts are more blessed than I. They have neither memory nor imagination. Each day is food and drink to them. Each night opens to them the wide harbor of rest. Nature assoils them their sins. For me there is no end of toils. While the day serves, I am the slave of dumb brutes with whom there is no communion of soul. When the sun rests, I become the slave of my body, a dumb ox which I must water and feed and shelter. While these cattle sleep I am the slave of my mind, bruised by memory, goaded by imagination. There is no place where I may lay my head.”
Soul and mind conjoined in the: body of Keshara with the organ of thought, as oxen and cart and dust were conjoined, Keshara swayed to and fro between the three worlds, slave of the powers he had himself aroused.
The oxen seemed to swerve in the track. In the midst of the indistinguishable dust of the three worlds of waking, dreaming, sleep a formless heap took on the outlines of a man. He neither moved nor spoke, but his halt breathing seemed to give a fraction of life to the heaped powder of the roadway.
In the bitterness of the irreconcilable elements of being, Keshara heard himself revile the prostrate pilgrim.
“Lie there, thou dust. You are nearly home. Delhi is but a crippled day’s march. Or, if that discontents you, mayhap it is written thou shalt return to dusf even where thou liest and be spared further useless exertion. Mayhap Death, which denies me, may be carelessly kind to thee.”
Assuredly, as is written in the commentary, at this ultimate moment of time in the journey of Keshara, a gnarled and
wasted hand closed and unclosed in the heap. And in the imagination it can be seen that thereupon Keshara goaded the oxen so that the creaking cart pitched in, the rut.
“Mock, if you will, with mute appeal to me who am more miserable than thou. Yet will I serve thee kindly, and give thee yet more plentifully a garment for thy nakedness, or, it may be, a white shroud for thy wedding with Death. Death and the dust are the bonds which alone level all distinctions of rank and of caste.”
The wain staggered on, lured by the lengthening shadow ahead: Keshara, inert upon the cross-piece, swayed with the swaying of the cart, as it moved with the slow pace of the oxen.
Suddenly, the sun, heaving the gaunt, earth before him, deserted the skies. Night leveled all distinctions of road and of roadside. The oxen, sensing the friendly herbage and the lotion of water near at hand, turned the consenting cart into the open field.
Roused by the absence of motion, Keshara descended from the cross-piece, unyoked the cattle, led them to water, gave them millet from the sack, and released them to ponderous freedom in the communal silence of night. Then he carried his own feet to the margin, bathed and fed his body, and returning, lay under the cart to seek once more in sleep that which, in the world of waking, men vainly seek.
Shortly a separation of the soul and the mind from the body of Keshara occurred in the darkness. As in a dream, soul and mind freed from the bodily yoke took on renewed and unruly vigor and bent Keshara back over the pathway. Memory dragged him back through the dust and the darkness. Imagination trebled the distance and gave eyes to the dust which rose up and surrounded him with accusative witness.
The chill of the night was transformed into fear. In the metempsychosis he had the sensation at each step, as the dust slipped beneath his sandal, that he was trampling the formless heap of the pilgrim. He felt the passionless torment of the helpless, heard the speechless lamentation of the unpitied of this world.. His mind contracted with pain. He saw a wasted hand close and unclose, plucking feebly at his ankle. His inner breathing grew halt, then impossible. He sank in the dust by the pilgrim and became in turn himself a pilgrim, spent and emptied into a formless heap in the arid waste of the roadway of life—the faint outline of a man.
Now the pilgrim arose, took on the form of Keshara, and gravel considered him in his plight: The soul and the mind of Keshara became indistinguishable from the pilgrim. Memory and imagination having fulfilled their dharma, dissolved. Karma, satisfied for the time, was not, and all things were one; the power of cohesion, which makes all separateness, disappeared with the disappearance of the connecting bonds of action.
Without memory and without imagination there is neither the world of waking, nor the world of dreaming. Only the world of the real remains in the silence, and in the real there is no Karma. In the real there is neither dust, nor oxen, nor pilgrim nor Sky-Walker; neither any memory of Karma which was nor any imagination of things to be. In the real there is no separateness at all, nor any speech, nor anything to be heard, nor anything to be seen. In the real there is naught but the communion of the Self, and in this Self-communion there is that which in the world of waking seems as forms and in the world of dreaming seems as voices. It is in the real that the Self is as a spectator without a spectacle.
But when the silence melts into the voices, and the voices melt into forms, and the forms melt into dust, and oxen, and
pilgrims, and Sky-Walkers, then the Self comes forth into the world of waking through the land of dreaming. Then Karma awakes while the Self sleeps. Soul and mind are once more conjoined in the form with the organ of thought. Memory and imagination are once more yoked together to the cart, and the white dust of the shadowless road stretches forth, horizoned with unendurable repetitions.
Keshara, seeking that which was lost, was roused from the silence by the returning breath of the body. Surya, hidden by the revolution of the great wheel, once again opened the eye of day as one new-born. The breathing of the rested cattle seemed an oblation to the real. An incense rose from the herbage and mingled with the breath of his body, with the breathing of the oxen. The running waters chanted with an auspicious rhythm. The dust, stirred by the morning breeze,— moved in faint formless waves of inaudible accompaniment. Like memory transformed into feeling, a subtle transmigration from all things enveloped Keshara. His body glowed, soft and cool and subtle, brother to the dust. His breath
seemed fragrant, melodious, as though water and herbage in some, mystic metempsychosis had become an expanding and singing incense within him. His mind, lightened, free and enamored, spread and rose like the smoke of the incense to greet the sun. His soul caught the fire of imagination and lighted the spatial depths of all things.
He perceived standing near the roadway, white, immaculate like a symbol, a pilgrim resting upon his staff. And this pilgrim, tall, shining, beneficent, seemed to reach from earth to sun. The dust embraced his sandals; his hands offered salutation to herbs and to waters. His head seemed one with the sun. A radiance, as of woven strands of light, spread into all places. And from all around, from earth; and sky and light, from dust and cattle, from herbage and waters,
from pilgrim and Keshara, the enthroned peace intoned the unison.
“That which thou seekest is here. I enter the earth supporting all living things by my power. In all creatures I am the life. The brilliance of the sun which illuminates the whole world, and the light which is in the moon and in the fire, are the splendor of Myself. I am the sweet smell in the earth. I am the taste in water. I am the breath of all breathing. From Me come memory, knowledge. All that is, is the image of Myself.
“As dreaming is the image of waking, so is the waking world the image of the real. I am this. I am that. I am thou. I am not to be remembered. I am not to be imagined. All that is, springs from me; I do not spring from them.
“Farther than far am I when sought in memory. More hidden than darkness am I when sought in imagination. More unendurable than endless repetition am I when sought for in works. Heavier than matter am I when sought for in forms. More bitter than aloes am I when sought for in separateness.”
Suddenly, as assuredly is written in the commentary, the ultimate division of time returned upon Keshara, expanded like a glowing sphere, became the eye of wisdom, and he saw all things in the light of the Real.
Keshara, once more seated upon the cross-piece, became the Sky-Walker, for he had found that which was lost.
THE PARABLE OF THE MENDICANT
THIS is the tale of Lokushna, the great Lord, which the Guru told the assemblage, his voice falling evenly on all alike without distinction of rank or of caste:
In a vision of the night, there stood before Lokushna a Yaksha who had the power to assume what form he would, if only the king had ever imagined it.
Lokushna, seeing before him the form of Death, grim and ineluctable, cried out:
“What wouldst thou with me, O Death? Knowest thou not that. I am King?”
Death answered: “Thou. Or thy kingdom.”
“Spare me yet awhile, O Death. I am not ready, and my people have need of me. Be merciful and compassionate, O Death.”
“Thou, or thy kingdom.”
Lokushna considered awhile. Born of the Kshatriya caste, he had faced death in many forms. The stamina of former deeds gave him succor.
“Thou wilt have us both in time; me and my kingdom. All that is but waits thy will. Act as seemeth best unto thee.”
The demon took another form—pride—terrible, implacable, mighty.
“I will spare thee yet awhile, if thou wilt prostrate thyself before me. Be servant unto me and I will make thee Lord of all, so that all that lives shall fear thee. Otherwise I will degrade and out-caste thee. Poverty and dishonor are worse than death.”
Lokushna trembled within him, seeking resources. The dim memories of former lives as sudra and as chandala gave him faint succor. At last he answered.
“I can do battle with thee better without than within. Lord of all am I already, save only of myself. My people love me. I would not have any fear me. Do thy evil; I fear thee not, now that I see thee naked as thou art.”
Then the Yaksha took on the form of humility and spoke reverently:
“Great King, thy courage is equal to my own. Let us woship together Bow down with me before the King of Kings.”
Lokushna reflected upon this request, made with respect. Merchant memories of lives spent as a great Vaishya gave him succor.
“Peace be with thee, my Brother. I respect all beings of every kind, but I worship and bow down only to the Self in all beings, making commerce and communion of all Souls.”
Then the Yaksha put on garments of light, moon-coloured, soft, bewitching, so that Lokushna saw standing before him the veritable Illuminated One. The King fell on his knees before this wondrous being and with joined palms made obeisance. For the King had many times imagined in himself the hour when the Master would appear to him. Seeing now the Master, Lokushna, the great Lord, humbled himself, saying:
“Master, what wouldst thou of me, thy servant?”
The voice of the demon answered so that the sound seemed to the King like honey and the tones like incense spreading from golden censers.
“I am well pleased with thee, my servant, for thou hast recognized me in the midst of all disguises. The visions of other forms were but the trials of thy novitiate. Truly hast thou seen; wisely hast thou discerned. One final test there is;
prepare thyself, and be forewarned in time. Listen only to me, and I will give thee wisdom.”
The Maharaj kissed in gratitude the shining hem of the garmet of the Great Being. “Master, thy servant here is ready for thy guidance. I will do thy will.”
Then the demon lifted Lokushna and sat with him, giving him counsel.
“Brother and Companion, thou hast passed already the final test—obedience to my will. I am thy Secret Doctrine and henceforth I will abide with thee, unseen of any save thyself. Thou hast but to obey my Voice in thine inner ear, remembering the greatness of the tasks allotted unto thee. Thou shalt be my Voice in the world. I will be thy Voice within thee.”
In the morning the King sat in judgment in the courtyard of the palace. On his one side was the Preceptor, chosen from among those who seek nothing and nothing reject, that the King may have counsel in doing even justice. On the other side of the King reposed the sacred scrolls of the Upanishads, that the King may seek wisdom without going to the interpreter’s house.
The court-yard thronged with men of all castes, come to witness the administration of justice, some accusing, and some accused.
The officers thrust forward a young girl, newly wife of one accused of defiling his caste.
“Lord,” spake the minister of justice, “this woman admits knowledge of her husband’s guilt, and knowledge of where her husband lies safely hidden, yet refuses to speak and give testimony.”
Said the King: “What hast thou to say, woman?, Confess his hiding place and thou shalt be forgiven.”
“Master, I love my husband; evil though his crime has been; I cannot betray him.”
“Thy duty is beforehand to thy King. Confess, or thou shalt surely die.”
“Lord, have mercy on me. My tongue refuses to speak and betray him who is my lord.”
Into the inner ear of the King whispered the Voice of the Vision. “Justice before mercy. She has defied Thee, the King. This cannot be forgiven. Surely she must die.”
Lokushna spoke calmly, but sternly, saying to the officers:
“Deliver this woman to the executioner. She has defiled justice. Therefore, let justice be done.”
A deep murmur pulsed like a wave in the still lake of the court-yard, and all men whispered, “Great is thy fidelity to duty, O King.”
There was led forward a neighboring raja, taken in battle for failure to yield tribute to the Maharaj. He stood erect, though weighted with chains, and gazed level upon the King.
“What hast thou to say, ingrate and traitor, that compassion should be bestowed upon thee as an alms of my bounty?”
The Prince replied: “Lord, I ask not alms, nor would accept them from the King, of Kings. I demand justice. Thy gatherers forced usury of my subjects, taking license, not taxes; therefore I defended my people against extortion.”
Whispered the Voice in the ear of Lokushna: “This is contumacy; stubborn pride superadded to rebellion against thy authority. Moreover, this wretch has blasphemed the name of the Most High. Sins against thee and against thy God cannot be countenanced. Compassion is impossible.”
Lokushna spoke, gently and sorrowfully. “I would have spared thee, for mercy knows no distinctions. But thou hast pridefully spoken calumny of the officers of the kingdom, and blasphemy of the Most High of Kings. Were these sins
not rebuked, rebellions would distract the people, and the wrath of God be invoked. Officers, let him be kept in chains in a dungeon without light and with pariahs for companions, till his pride is humbled.”
A roar rose in the court-yard like to the breaking of waves upon a rock-hewn shore. All men rose as one man and made obeisance before the King, saying in deep tones:
“Lord of all, thou hast this day preserved thy subjects from evil and humbled thyself before the King of Kings. May our God requite Thee, O Defender of the people and of the faith.”
There were brought before the King certain priests and professors of religions accused of inciting riots and destructions, the followers of the one upon those of the others. Lokushna inquired of each in turn his extenuation. Each in turn professed himself guiltless of evil intent, having been earnest only in the propagation of his faith.
The Voice whispered in the ear of the King. The King spoke aloud so that all men might hear.
“Ye be all manifestly earnest and devout men. Ye have confessed your sins unwittingly committed in haste through religious zeal. Such fervor should be controlled, but encouraged, that ye may continue faithful servants of the established order. Your fidelity to your conviction is commendable. Do not the things which peril the safety of all and tend to bring true religion into disrepute. There is room for all good growths. Go do no more violence. Ye are freely pardoned for the sake of God, whom ye serve.”
Then the multitude, like a receding wave prostrated themselves before the King, and chanted in unison:
“O King, thou art this day sovereign of all our hearts. Peace be unto Thee, for we have this day been witness of Thy divine justice and
When the court-yard had been emptied of the throngs and there remained only the King, the mendicant, and the sacred scrolls of the Upanishads, the Maharaj turned to the Preceptor.
“Did I not well, O Bhikshu, in the several administratians of justice?”
“Hadst thou asked me before the administration, I would have answered: Search the Upanishads. In them is the wisdom of the ages.”
The Voice whispered in the King’s ear:
“Lo, this beggar speaks with Thee as with an equal, denying the sacred institutions of rank and of caste, as he were Thy brother and companion—thus to Thee, who art King Initiate.”
Lokushna clapped his hands and thereupon the officers came running.
“Drive forth this upstart who presumes upon the favors which I have shown him.”
Obediently the officers scourged forth the mendicant, who walked calmly out to the forest, whipped with blows and with revilings.
The Maharaj remained alone. He stretched forth his hand and taking the sacred scroll of the Upanishads, began to read of Vivaswat and of Manu, of Ikswaku, and the Rajarshees of old.
“This is well, O Great One,” whispered the Voice. “Thou art like unto them, O Restorer of the mighty art which was lost.”
Lokushna, well pleased, summoned his scribes and began writing a commentary and interpretation upon the Upanishads.
When the Guru had spoken this parable he remained seated upon the beggared earth looking inward with reverted sight. His disciples with great respect remained in unchanged pos
tures, meditating upon the parable. Only Padani, least of the listeners, moved quietly among the assemblage, seeking further enlightenment. He severally made inquiries and severally received their enlightenments.
The ministrants of the several religions spoke with accord. “It is a good tale,” said they, “although it has in it elements of which we disapprove. Yet it showeth how even a great Raj can be simple, just and pious in his attitude. Without doubt our God helps those in high places to administer justice.”
The professors of the eight schools of philosophy spoke with accord though differing much in their interpretations of all things. “We think, as whole, that the tale was worth telling. Not to speak of serious defects in the bhikshu’s manner of speech, nor of certin fantasies of thought far from original nor of a certain sameness and repetition unpleasing and unnecessary to refined ears, there yet remains a valuable lesson to be derived, young man. This: had we been the Preceptor, the King would not have needed the Voice to enable him to administer justice.”
Padani spoke to a Vaishya who replied, “it is not for me to criticize a Maharaj, but had I been the King, I would have set free and forgiven the woman newly wedded.”
Padani accosted a Kshatriya, resting upon his shield. “Had I been the King,” said this one, “I would have set free and honoured the Prince.”
Padani spoke to an outcaste. “I forgot in the listening,” said he, “that I am a pariah. It is not meet for me to speak an opinion.” But Padani urged him for enlightenment and the chandala spoke, with reluctance.
“Had I been the King, I would have scourged the professors of religion and would have consulted the Preceptor about the case of the Prince.”
“And what of the wife newly wed?” urged Padani.
“That I cannot answer, for I have never had a wife. But I think I would have forgiven, her and pardoned her husband; or, in default, I would have consulted the Upanishad.”
After a time, as the bhikshu and his chelas wandered toward the forest, Padani consulted the disciples severally, seeking enlightenment, and severally received their replies. All answered alike: “None can tell a tale like our Master. He is our Voice. Would that he had been the Preceptor of the Maharaj. Justice had been done.”
At nightfall Padani remained to serve the Guru while the others went with their begging bowls to the villages round about the margin of the jungle.
The Guru looked at Padani.
“Master,” said Padani, “I think that the Maharaj is an image of all men. The vision of the night is the three qualities taking what form they may. The Voice, is it not the voice of the Lower Self, taking the forms which arise from the desires of the imagination ? ”
The Guru looked favorably Upon Padani, who continued:
“And I think that the mind of man is the Kingdom of the Maharaj, with its distinctions of rank and of caste and its imaginations of religion and philosophy, deluding the Lord of the body and the mind.”
The Guru still regarding him, the disciple spoke further:
“And I think, Master, that though this is a parable, it is also the tale of a veritable Maharaj. And I think, O Father, That thou wert the mendicant who was Preceptor in the courtyard of Lokushna.”
The Preceptor made no reply to Padani, who, nevertheless, was content, and being content, became absorbed in the mind of the Guru, thus gaining the subtle sight of the subtle-sighted.
THE SHADOW OF SADHANU
SADHANU, sunk in the sea of circumstance, sought a way. Being an outcaste, despised of all, he accepted the opinion of all, and had contempt for himself. Life, therefore, was loathsome to him and he longed for annihilation.
It being forbidden to outcastes to approach other than pariahs, or to speak to other than pariahs, or to gaze upon other than pariahs, Sadhanu had for companions the beasts of the field and his fellow pariahs. They, like himself, all miserable after their kind, also sought a way, but none could find it, though wandering from one evil case to another.
Sadhanu, being thus alone, communed with his shadow, darker in the midst of life.
“Shadow,” said he, “thou art mine only faithful servant and companion. Thou hast never cursed me, but share my lot day after day. Whither goest thou when the night comes? Hast thou then peace?”
The wise shadow of Sadhanu bowed toward Sadhanu as Sadhanu made obeisance, but being only a shadow spoke no words of reply.
“Shadow, thou meetest me as I have met thee. Is this mockcry, or is it encouragement, or is it perchance that in thee is a teaching power? Can a man learn lessons from his own shadow?”
Thus the shadow of Sadhanu pointed the path to this pariah, despised and rejected of men. Denied communion, Sadhanu sought communion with his shadow, and his shadow returned
him, in so far as it was able, that which he had given. Thus was Sadhanu driven inward upon himself by his shadow.
So Sadhanu pursued himself with questions seeking a way.
“Is it, then, that all men and all nature return me, in so ; far as they are able, that which I have given unto them? Is this the meaning of Karma? Is it thus that the metempsychosis has been wrought? So that at last I am reduced to the shadow of my Self? When the night comes my shadow goes, but in the morning light returns to me, unchanged save as I change.
“Whither go I when the night comes? Last night in dreams I was a prosperous Sudra. My Master spoke kindly to me. His wife gave her first born into my hands with confidence. The child played with my beard, stroking me as I have seen it stroke the beard of my Master. I was at peace in a fair world. Surely, to be a Sudra, servant to a kind Master, is veritably the way. It is thus that the metempsychosis is wrought. Let us sleep, and perchance the dream will return unto me.”
In the morning Sadhanu, having no food, wandered to the river that he might bathe and might fill his belly with water.
By the margin a woman was cleansing garments, while her child played on the bank. Of a sudden, a butterfly flew with dancing wings near to the child, who cried out with joy, spread her arms and ran dancing after the butterfly. Over the wide waters danced the butterfly. Headlong over the high bank danced the child.
The mother smote the air with the cry of agony.
“Save my child!”
Her cry reached the ear of Sadhanu. Her agony reached the heart of Sadhanu. But Sadhanu, who had longed for annihilation, feared death. Knowing the deep waters, seeing the crocodiles resting on the sand-bank in the midst of the stream, he trembled in all his members.
“I am but an outcaste. It would defile the child and offend the gods. O Indra, O Vishnu, O Rudras, O Daityas, hear a pariah’s prayer and save the child. O Shiva, hear a pariah’s prayer and spare tbe child.”
A small hand showed above the water. A small head showed above the water. A small voice rose above the water.
“Save my child!” cried the mother, with the voice of one drowning.
Sadhanu, his soul rent by the cry of the child and the cry of the mother, durst look upon them in violation of the law of pariahs. He saw the mother of his dream. He saw the veritable child of his dream. Sudden, he forgot the law of outcastes, he forgot his fears, he forgot himself. As in a dream he saw his shadow leap headlong over the high bank. He saw the great crocodiles slip craftily into the water. He saw his shadow stretch crumpled upon the water. He saw as in a dream shadow and body blend. He saw the bodystab like a lean and hungry knife deep into the body of the rushing, wrestling water and draw the child forth from the womb of death. He saw the mother and the bank. He saw the shadow go before, like a priest at the head of a procession. He heard as in a dream the snap of hungry jaws as his shadow gave the child into the mother’s hands.
He saw as in a dream a prostrate woman on her knees before him. He heard as in a dream a voice molten with gratitude saying, “Saviour! Saviour!”
As in the dream, he saw the woman give the child into his hands with confidence. As in the dream, the child nestled in his arms, stroking his beard. He was at peace in a fair world.
Then this woman, wife to a Vaishya, spoke equally with Sadhanu, seeing a saviour and not an outcaste, and besought him to come with her to her Lord.
The Vaishya, hearing, stroked his beard, and sought communion within himself. “Thou shalt have reward. Here is my store. Take of my silver, as seems good to thee.”
Sadhanu shook with fear. “Master, I know that I have defiled thy wife, meriting death for my offense. Have compassion. Be merciful. Speak not of my offense to the Hotri. Let me go my way.”
Then the child ran to Sadhanu and nestled in his arms saying, “anna,” “narjol”— “brother,” “saviour.”
Then the mother spoke reverently to her Lord. “Master, be not offended with me. But use the silver to procure purification for the saviour of our child, that he may re-enter the caste of Sudras.”
“The gods have spoken through thee, well-beloved,” answered the Vaishya. “We will make offering to Brahma, to Indra and Vishnu, for that they entered into the heart of this pariah to save our child. We will make an offering to Shiva for that he entered late into the belly of the crocodiles to spare our child. I will speak to the hotri, reciting the miracle, and he will prescribe the rites of purification for thee and for the child and will procure the ceremonies of initiation of this Saviour and Brother into the caste of Sudras. “Wilt thou,” and he turned to Sadhanu. “abide in my house and be servant in my household?”
Sadhnu made obeisance to the Vaishya as in the dream, and as in the dream, he saw his shadow make obeisance.
“Master, Lord,” said he to the Vaishya; but in his dream it seemed to him that he addressed his shadow. “Thou hast taught me the way. This is the meaning of Karma and thus is the metempsychosis effected.”
When the village hotri had listened to the tale of the Vaishya, he prescribed the rites of purification for the wife and for the child. He procured the ceremonies of re-entrance for Sadhanu into the caste of Sudras. Having consulted the ordinances and the shastras, he spoke to the Vaishya with the authority which is vested in Brahmins.
“Sadhanu has well spoken. This is Karma. This is the metempsychosis. That which Sadhanu hath done in old lives was the cause of his re-birth in an evil womb and amongst outcastes. But, veritably, in old days, thou, being then of his caste, rendered equable and brotherly service to him without thought of thyself. He hath returned unto thee, even while outcaste, so soon as he was able, that service which thou performed for him in easier case. This is the mystery of the metempsychosis and of karma.”
And to Sadhanu also the priest-spoke, but not with authority.
“Brother,” said the wise Hotri, “there be two institutions of caste: that of this world, and that of the other. The castes of this world are but the shadow of the other. The true caste is of service. All those who serve without thought of themselves are Brahmins. Let this be treasured in the heart as the secret initiation into the castes of the other world. There, the four castes are but degrees of service.”
Thus Sadhanu, sunk in the sea of circumstance, despised and rejected of men, sought and found the way.
THE wife of Bhima, the sudra, seeing her Lord discontented with his lot, critical of all things, contemptuous of her administrations to his comfort, took a leaf, a flower, and water, and offered them unto Indra Prince of celestial beings, praying for the return of that which had been, before the bud of love had been eaten by the worm of discontent.
Indra, looking in the Telltale Picture Gallery, transfused the offering. She bore a daughter, and her she named Sansara, meaning the return of that which hath been of old.
“My Lord’s love will now return to rebirth towards me, Indra having blessed me with a child.” Thus communed she within herself, not knowing that the rotation means death as well as life.
Bhima, critical of all things, knowing only Kali the black age, resentful of the responsibility of life, cursed his wife.
“Is it not enough to be burdened with a wife aging and ailing, in my hard lot of sudra? Shall my Master increase my wage one anna for thy fecundity? If I am to be further afflicted of thee, why hast thou not delivered me a man-child, that in the lean time of my failing strength would bear my yoke while I shrivel by the hole of the hut?” And he spat upon his hands—the sign of contumely.
The child, seeing the blackening of the image in the Tell-tale Picture Gallery, cried. In haste the mother cupped the small mouth to the fount.
“Lord,” saith she, “I did fear to lose thy love, and made offerings praying to Indra that thy love might return to me
through the child. Have compassion of me, that from Sansara thy love may be reborn.
Bhima reviled the gods.
“Who art thou that should seek devadatta—gift from the gods? What knowest Indra of the life of a sudra? Verily, he hath sent me that from which all men desire but to escape—sansara, the wheel of the rotation of evil things. What share hath a sudra in celestial things?”
In his inmost heart he perceived only evil, being of those who desire to eat of the blossoms of life; believing that creatures are produced alone through the union of the sexes; esteeming the enjoyment of the objects of their desires the supreme good; not perceiving that the serpent coiled around the stem of the blossoms of life is born of their lusts and desires.
He pronounced judgment upon the woman, in contravention of the established order of nature; in violation of natural duty; not giving as he would receive, rejecting the allotment of fortune cast by the dice of the gods.
“Go hence, thou and thy Sansara. See if thou canst gain sustenance from Indra, thou and thy deva-datta. I will have none of thy gift from the gods.”
Now when the wife is driven forth by her husband she loseth caste, as all know. So this woman became like unto us who be outcastes all, the sansara of deeds done of old, unwished-for result of actions performed when the Lord of the body is blinded by passion and desire, rendering judgments adverse to the own nature of the Soul.
She wandered forth, finding the soil of sustenance grow lean and yet leaner, the burden of the child great and yet greater as her strength diminished. But Indra, looking ever and anon into the Telltale Picture Gallery, saw that the rose of mother-love should draw sustenance from the water, from
the air, from the sun, as well as from Bhumi, the earth, which men in their passions partition each according to the strength of his desires, allotting to the distressed only room to suffer and to die;
The child grew abundantly, fed by the mother’s love, flourished by Indra through the fountain of the mother’s faith.
In the seventh year, birth into womanhood came to the child; slender as a leaf, fair as a flower, sweet as the waters of life. Indra, looking through the image in the mother’s heart, gave her the vision of the Telltale Picture Gallery, which is not of this earth; and the mother, repeating the swelling utterance of the heart, had communion with the child.
“Daughter,” said she, seeing with closed eyes, speaking with uttered words unutterable love, sansara appoacheth for me as for thee. Thou goest to the bloom of life and I go to the bloom of Indra, Prince of celetial beings. Go thou to life as to a bridegroom. I go to death as to my nuptial. Indra sent thee to me. Through thee hath Indra comforted me all the days of my widowhood. Let Indra unite us in death as in life, O my pearl of great price. Cleave to celestial things, whatever thy lot may be. Remain like a leaf, like a flower, like sweet water, O my Sansara. May Indra treasure thee. Svasti.”
The dusk fell. The primeval silence, as it received the benediction of parting, whispered in all the spaces of the wide calm,. “Svasti,” for the benefiting of the world of created beings. Indra, seated in the Gallery, smiled in heavenly understanding, and all the pictures in the Gallery swayed in the soft music of the worlds united.
Sansara performed the offices, and when the sacred waters had received the tired form of the pilgrim for the last pilgrimage, prayed to Indra that the waters of death and the waters of life might find issue in the ocean of his love.
A priest from the temple, walking with the ostentation of piety, beheld from the covert of his roving eyes this child woman divested of all but the visible garment of trusting innocence, divested of all protection but the invisible garment of Indra’s love.
“My, child, what seekest thou ? ” Thus this Tirthika; his voice like honey, his heart like poison. “Whatever thou seekest is as nothing to thyself, pearl of great price. Come thou with me to the temple and recompense, in greater measure than that which thou hast lost, shall be thine. Or if, per-adventure, thou hast still preference for this that thou seekest, we will make offering to Indra, thou and I together, and he will grant thee thy heart’s desire.”
Thus, this Brahmin, using the holy power of speech to compass unholydesires; thus this pretender of sacramental things, using the godlike to, cloak the demoniacal.
Sansara, seeking the pearl of great price, hearing the name of Indra, charmed with the mantram of sound, as a babe is charmed with the magic of color and sound propounded by the cobra; pure in heart, in the innocence of ignorance, turned her gaze like sweet waters upon this false Brahmin. Inclined like a leaf upon its stem in obeisance to the priest, she lifted her face like a flower.
“Father,” said she, while the Pictures in the Gallery glowed with the impartation of her faith, “my mother is in the Devachan, the place of Indra, whither she went last night. Indra hath sent me to thee. Be it done according to thy desire.” This she said, not knowing that it is the sacramental phrase of Indra, who sustains the world of celestial beings.
Then this Brahmin led her to the temple and to the chamber of the priests of the temple. And when he would have done violence to her, the elemental beings, who watch in the Gallery of the Telltale Pictures, erased his image from the Hall of
Indra. A great tear dropped from the eyes of Sansara and rolled upon the floor toward the seam of the paving stones. The greedy Brahmin, seeing the tear deceived by the elemental beings he had himself ensouled, took it to be a pearl of great price. His lust of possession was transformed into the desire to possess the pearl which he saw. His unholy eyes forsook Sansara, his unholy hands reached forth to seize the pearl. Indra, tenderly smiling upon the golden carapace framing the celestial mother, led Sansara forth, like a leaf tenderly carried by the breeze, like a flower tenderly plucked by the gardener, like sweet waters flowing, tenderly forth from a spring.
Thus divested of all visible means of protection does Indra vest with invisible safety all those who cleave to celestial things.
Thus, those who in the name of Indra seek to despoil celestial things, deceive only themselves and those who desire their desires, transforming their own hearts into the abode of infernal beings. Those who entrust to the Prince of celestial beings walk surrounded by the invisible through all places, foul and clean alike, seeing no evil, receiving from Indra recompense greater than that which was lost.
Came Sansara to the forest. The creeping serpents showed her how to walk in silence. The running beasts showed her how to find the path over obstacles. The flying things taught her how to surpass the visible by means of the invisible. The earth supported her. The water taught her the voice of nature. The whispering breeze confided in her the music from afar. The sun jeweled her with jewels of great price, so that she walked celestial, robed in the investiture of, heavenly looms. Beggars and outcastes, pariahs and Chandalas, the refuse swept by mankind into the by-ways of the jungle of this world, were healed of their distempers. “This,” said they, “is veri-
tably from the Gallery of Indra”; and the elemental demons fled them in haste. They became her court, watchful that no soilure might come near this pearl of great price.
Indra, from afar, looking in the ancestral light, restored their images, and the tell-tale song of life reached from the abode of the gods to all the men of earth, Kshetra and Kshetrajna being in union.
* * * * *
Bhima, the sudra, come to the lean time of his failing strength, lay withering by the hole of his hut, seeking warmth of the sun. His master rejected him. The dogs scorned him. His bones revolted within him, escaping out of his cracked skin. The breeze chafed his lips. The rains came and fell drop by drop, pouring poisoning his sores. He lifted up his voice to Indra.
“Lord, send me death as a gift. Lord, if there be devadatta, grant we vision of my wife that it may comfort me, as of old she gave me her ministrations. Lord, let Sansara return whom I drave with her mother.”
The sounds reached to Indra, but he gave no sign of hearing. Bhima lifted up his voice once more in his misery:
“O Indra, Prince of celestial beings, be it done unto me according to thy desire, but grant that my hard lot fall not upon them whom I used hardly; grant the burden of my sins fall upon me alone.”
The sacramental phrase reached to Indra, reached to the images in their golden raiment. The wife of Bhima smiled, and in the music of the Gallery the smile translated itself into a song:
O Indra, the love of my Lord has returned;
Sansara, my pearl of great price.
O Indra, his love has returned unto me;
Sansara, my pearl of great price.
Bhima, lifting up his eyes, dying though he knew it not, saw with the vision of the two worlds. Saw he his wife; received he the administration of her love. Saw he, as a picture from a Gallery, a young girl moving in the path from the forest. As she came nigh, the breath of her garments moving in the breeze whispered Svasti,” benefiting all the creatures of the three worlds.
Her glance, like healing, rested upon Bhima. “Sansara,” cried he. But she, not cognizant of the signification of names, answered in tones like running waters, sweet and low:
“My Father, I have found thee, thanks be to Indra.”
Thus, in the Kali yuga, where the three worlds are inextricably interwoven and interblended, and all things seem contrary to their true intent and meaning, does Indra bring together in union those who love, those who repent, and those who cleave to celestial things. By the power of the Telltale Pictures is this accomplished, moved by Indra, Prince of celestial beings.
This is the tale that was told by Somaruna to the pariahs gathered about him in the jungle, to alleviate their hard lot, the unwished-for result of deeds done in the past, that they might not murmur against the allotment cast by the dice of the gods; but that, loosing the desire hid in the heart, they might find the pearl of great price.
But when they besought him for explications, Somaruna answered them, saying:
“The meaning of a tale that is told must be sought in that which is untold. Search for the Telltale Picture Gallery where all things may be seen and known, reviling not devadatta.”
FROM THE SLEEPING SPHERES
ANELOKA the hotri, doing service among the villagers for many years, saw the miseries of mankind growing no less. His eyes dim from vigils by the dying, his body bending beneath the yoke of other’s burdens, his mind questioned the providence of life. He returned to the temple and bowed with joined palms before the idols of the gods.
“Lord,” he questioned, “what will become of these, thy chiden and mine, when I am spent? O Surya! O Indra! O Pitars! how can the Gods feast upon celestial foods and be gratified with heavenly enjoyments when all that lives must suffer ? ”
The temple images remained calm. The folded smile upon their tranquil faces changed not at all. Their folded hands, like lotus buds, remained unopened. Their stony eyes gazed level as before upon the vast vague distances.
Aneloka went to his cell and stretched, his gaunt members upon the bench, chill as the silence of the gods.
“If the Gods will not hear my prayers, I will go to the assemblage of the Gods and demand audience,” said Aneloka within himself, traversing the corridors memory. “There must be a way. ”
The breathing night enveloped him. The lengthening darkness entered him. The corridors of memory wavered, disappeared. Aneloka slept.
Janir, the king, sat at council with his ministers. Their postures bespoke reverence. Beneath their bowed, heads their long beards seemed like the smoke qf incense rising from unseen censers.
“The miseries of my people grow no less,” said the King. “What have ye to say of the stewardship entrusted to your hands?”
“Great King,” replied the ministers, “long have we served thee, and faithfully, as before we served the King, thy Father, according to the established order of the Kingdom. Inequalities are the order of nature, and the resultant miseries are from the will of the Gods.”
“Had ye served the people more, ye had served me better, and mayhap the will of the Gods had been more equably disposed. Think on these things, for as the King is not separate from his people, it may be that as the established order of, the Kingdom is changed, the ministers of the King may become likewise the ministers of the Gods, and the inequalities of nature be assuaged.” And he dismissed them.
Janir remained alone in the kingdom of his thoughts.
“The miseries of my thoughts grow no less,” he questioned within himself. “Am I then King only over my people, but the subject of my mind? Can I be truly happy with my mind filled with discontented and rebellious thoughts? Can a King be happy when his people suffer? There must be a way.”
He lay upon the divan piled with fine silks and softest furs, but they pricked him with daggers so that his members were bruised. A hundred and one were the, channels of thought beckoning the King to traverses unknown.
“Amongst so many, there must be one which leads to the Gods and the abodes of the Royal Sages of o1d,” thought the King. “May that path be mine, in sleeping as in waking. My heart is sore afflicted to alleviate the distresses of my people.”
One by one the channels of thought wavered, widened, disappeared, till only the channel of the heart remained open. By that road the King entered into sleep.
Nadirjana, grown rich upon the usance which all, castes yield to the merchant, discoursed with his wife upon the increment of life.
“The Gods have been bounteous to us. Our sons and daughters prosper. Wealth comes apace seeking me as custodian. Fair wert thou as a child when first I saw thee as wife. Age has but dowered thee with inner beauties becoming each day more visible to love. Yet doth my happiness weigh upon me like a great burden.”
Nahlanka comforted him with questions adapted to draw forth his wisdom.
“What, Lord, lacketh to thee for thy well-filled age or present enjoyment? Thou hast all that men, hold dear, gained by thy provident disposition. There be Kings and Brahmins, inheritors from birth, whose estates are not more favorable than thine; while the disinherited of fortune be many as the sands swept hither and thither by the winds of the desert. Or, if anything be lacking to thee, canst thou not, out of the abundance of thy wealth and the surety of thy provident disposition, garner whatever nature hath in store ? ”
Nadirjana replied considerately, but the burden of his thought made his tones weary.
“Aye, the disinherited of fortune. Is it only in sleep and in death that distinctions of rank and of caste cease? Who am I that I should be favored while others want? For the few, too much; for the many, too little. Satiety for the one, starvation for the others, while nature provides in overplus for all. Is there no administration of nature? I suffer that I cannot relieve the sufferings of all. There must be a way.”
Nahlanka soothed him with caresses as a mother her child.
“Weary art thou, my beloved, with the cares of the day. Sleep, while I watch that none come nigh to disturb thy repose, and in the morning thou shalt find a way.”
So Nadirjana, sheltered by the administration of love, slept while other eyes kept watch over his breathing. His thoughts waverd, widened, disappeared, till but one channel remained. By that road departed Nadirjana, he knew not where.
Naroni the outcaste, stripped of all that men hold dear, held converse with himself.
“Self-communion,” reflected he, “is the last sacrment of the soul. Behold, I am as one dead while yet alive. Therefore is the whole earth my home, the sky my roof-tree, the moon my lamp, the invested night my jewelry of state, and all mankind my tenantry. Lacking all that men hold dear, I have all that the gods enjoy. Alive while dead, I am as a god among men. Yet as a god would I do more for men than do the veritable gods. Forbidden among men, I will dare adventure among the gods, if haply I may return with some gift for, men. There must be a way of reconciliation between the gods and men.”
In this self-communion the boundaries between the earth and sky wavered, widened, disappeared. Naroni, without moving, traveled the unknown path, ascending to the sleeping spheres.
And as on earth the Song of Life sounds as a cry, in dreams it sounds as a hundred and one Voices echoing the desires of the waking man; in deep sleep, it filleth all with the bliss of the communion of soul. On the return its sempiternal echoes once more take form according to the desires hidden in the hearts of men. Only those who have gained all or lost all that men hold dear seek in the silence of waking to retain the hearing of the song of life.
So, Aneloka the priest woke in his cell and lay still, trying to piece together the fragments of a wondrous dream, whose golden threads hung just beyond the fingers of memory. He
opened his eyes and through the slit in the wall of the dark chamber saw the sifted gold of the new-risen sun.
“It was Surya that I saw,” he murmured. “And in his singing light was the song, of the everlasting, but the words of the song I cannot remember. Till the song returns, I will go forth and serve all men without distinction of creed, declaring the presence of the Imperihable in the midst of all perishable things, that the souls of men may be fed. In this way alone may immortal service be rendered by mortal deeds, and the miseries of mankind grow less.”
Janir, the King, returned from sleep by the road through which he had entered into sleep. He lay without moving, reflecting upon a vision of the night.
“I cannot remember all the words which the Rishi spake,” reflected the King. “But by his divine power my delusion is destroyed. I am collected once more; I am free from doubt, from despondency and grief, and will do his bidding. As a King I will serve all my people without distinction of caste, for a true king is the servant of all. If I am indefatigable in action, all men will presently follow my example and the inequities of nature will cease, all men becoming ministers of the Good Law, and performing Dharma according to the limitations of their own natures. The way has been found; I will tread it.”
Nadirjana the merchant returned to waking from he knew not where. Without opening his eyes he asked in his thought, “Nahlanka, where art thou?”
Nahlanka, not knowing that he wakened, was still holding his hand, as a mother comforts her child.
“I have dreamed,” spoke the merchant, “that we went, thou and I, upon a pilgrimage to sacred places where the gods receive all, without distinction of rank or of caste or of creed
or condition. And I thought that each man was called to show the contents of his scrip where naught was visible but his most cherished possession, if so be he might be found to have wherewithal to enter the sacred portals.”
“I know that thou didst enter,” murmured Nahlanka. “But though I held fast thy hand through the night, and slept not, yet I dreamed of the surety of the provident disposition which hath made me know no lack all the years of our love and our life together.”
“And I, dreamed that each had some gold in his scrip, yellow as the new-risen sun. And I thought that the gold was love, and The minting marks of value betokened the service rendered to others. So all entered, but when we came to depart, none might carry larger gifts from the gods, than would fill his scrip. Only those could bring back to earth the language of the gods whose scrip contained coinage of service to all, without distinction. So I do not remember the speech of the gods, but at parting I dreamed thou wouldst remember the interpretation of my dream.”
Nahlank smiled in contentment. “Thou hast garnered what nature hath in store, and I think if we serve all men as we have served each other, thinking it love and not service, the language of the gods will become understandable to us.”
Naroni the outcaste woke without moving, so that the boundaries between the land of sleeping and the land of waking, between this world and the other world, existed not in, his thoughts.
“And I saw,” he reflected, “Surya, Indra, and all the Pitars, shining in one glory in which was the glory of the moon, and the glory of the stars, and the glory of the sun. And I saw that all those who are men in the land of waking become Gods in the land of deep sleep. And I saw that all those
remain Gods in the land of waking, if so be they are those who having gained or having lost all that men hold dear, still tread the path of the immortal in the midst of perishable, things, knowing that love is the path, and service the builder. And I saw the chief of Pitars come down as a merchant, and Indra become a king among men, and Surya become a hotri laboring for the salvation of all.”
IN THE CITY OF THE GREAT KING
THE tiger came
down from his lair in the hills, creeping light and obscure as the breath of
suspicion; lean as the parched stalks in the fields, tense for the kill.
The goats, sensing the bhuts that ensoul the man-eaters, broke from the children’s care. Then the villagers came forth, running with gongs and with incense. The crones beat upon the gongs, crying the incantation:
“Hail to thee, Kali, goddess of death. Hail to thee. Be compassionate and receive the offering.”
Upon the instruction of the hotri, a she-goat, newly slain, was placed upon a flat stone, her blood inviting the tiger to partake of the offering made to the elemental demons.
The eyes of the tiger licked up the sight. The bhuts looking forth through the channel provided whipped his tongue hot with anticipatory revels. His body remained motionless but his pads opened and closed like flames darting forth and withdrawing.
Two ancients lighted the incense, fanning the spark with their breath, placing the pot near the she-goat. The smoke rose trembling, while the ancients chanted:
“Hail, and again, Hail. Hail to thee, Yama, god of death. Be merciful and drink of the dying breath of the she-goat.”
The nostrils of the tiger expanded, contracted. His lips whetted his teeth as a whetstone whets the knife. His body quivered as the bhuts leaped and danced within him in the ecstacies of their enjoyment of the near presence of Kali, of Yama, of Shiva.
The men of the village gathered together the flock. Little Daikal lagged, weeping the loss of the she-goat, his foster-mother, playmate and friend. Suddenly, shouts arose and an outcaste standing upon the rim of the field felt a prism of light—red, orange, black—shoot white-hot across his vision. The boy was no more There by the stone.
The villagers lifted up the chant of lamentation:
“Hail,, hail. Kali and Yama have rejected the offering. Shiva has torn our hearts. Hail, hail, to the merciless one. Be benevolent, O Shiva, and return not again.”
The outcaste heard not the lamentations. Compassion thundered in him and pulled him like lightning after the tiger, bounding toward the jungle. Like a ghost, like a bhut, like a demon urged to possession, he raced, now smoke, now fire, now heat, now flame, after the tiger.
The man-eater stood in his lair over the child, his head sinking and falling from side to side as a burden is shifted; his tail weaving from side to side as a sword waves in the hands of a swordsman; his gaunt body a cavern of demons dripping carnivorous thoughts. The outcaste burst through , the thicket. The bhuts panted unutterable ecstacies.
In the morning Daikal came back to the village, unmarked save only the mark on his forehead, blood-red where the tongue of the tiger had scorched him.
“It is the mark of Shiva—his anointment,” pronounced the hotri to the Fathers assembled. “Shiva has spared the child, but the outcaste will be seen not again. Henceforth the child is of no caste, for the gods have marked him their own. Let there be none to question his going or coming, lest the tiger return to visit the wrath of the gods upon all.”
That night came Narayana to the village. And when he had told the tales of instruction, and the time for the propounding of questions was come, the hotri presented Daikal before the
company in the open space set apart from venerable custom to signify the separation between the Sannyasis and the men of this world.
“He belongs no more to our world,” said the hotri. “Enlighten him, Father, regarding the things of the world of the gods.”
Then the villagers sounded the invocation of the questioners:
“Enlighten us yet again, O Gurudeva.”
The invocation having been sounded, the Guru told the assemblage the tale of the City of the Great King. The child lay at the feet of the Sannyasi whose beard covered the forehead of Daikal. And this is the tale of the City of the Great King told by the Guru for the enlightenment of all.
* * * * *
One Panchajanya, signifying the trumpet of the gods, grown weary of Ananda, the bliss of the gods, looked forth upon Bharata, the varsha, of men, thus gaining the outer as well as the inner vision.
Seeing souls blinded by ignorance as the cobra is blinded by his hood, creating misery out of the poison of their passions, Panchajanya gave attention. He heard from afar the groans of the afflicted. Compassion rose within him and a great longing, to carry to the men of earth some part of the bliss of the gods.
He spoke to the assemblage of the gods, inquiring if any knew the means of descent from the abode of the immortals to the abode of the mortals. Brihaspati enlightened him:
“None can serve in that world and retain the vesture of this world. The immortal must become mortal, clothing himself in the live veils. This is the Good Law from immemorial time, lest the kingdom of the gods be invaded by souls unfit for heavenly enjoyments, and confusion reign in heaven as
on earth from the admixture of the unfit with the fit. Thou must live as a man and teach godlike wisdom to the men of earth.”
Panchajanya enquired further from Brihaspati, Guru of the Devas:
“How shall one clothe himself with the five veils? What shall one carry with him to nourish the men of earth? How shall one clothed with the five veils find his way back to the assemblage of the gods from the dark varsha of earth?”
These are the questions asked by Panchajanya, and this is the answer made by Brihaspati, Father of gods and of men:
“Firmly must thou think of the miseries of the men of earth. This will carry thee whole through the five veils of the intermediate spheres. Firmly must thy heart be fixed in devotion to alleviate the miseries of the men of earth. This will enable the gods to send down nourishment for the men of earth. Steadfastly must thy mind remain fixed in concentration upon the immortal in the midst of unenduring things. Thus shalt thou find the way back to the assemblage of the gods from the dark sphere of earth.”
Panchajanya, thus favored by Brihaspati with instruction, sounded the conch of contentment:
“I take the vow of the highest service possible to be rendered to the men of earth,” cried he. And the assemblage of the gods sounded in choral accompaniment to this vow.
“It is well,” said Brihaspati. “Prepare for thy descent to the City of the Great King.”
When Panchajanya entered the City of Maya he found himself a Brahmin of priestly caste, beloved by his brethren and honored of the high priest. But when he rendered the highest service to the worshippers thronging the temple, teaching them to seek within, saying that the Lord of this body is nameless, dwelling in numerous tenements of clay; when he
taught that as a single sun illuminateth the whole world, even so the One Spirit illumines every body; when he taught that man requires but one temple, the temple of the God within when he taught this ancient, immemorial wisdom to the souls walled in by matter, the high priest forbade him utterance, and his brother priests bore accusative witness against him before Mara, the Great King.
The Great King pronounced judgment.
“The lower castes exist but to sustain the Brahmins; the Brahmins exist but to support the Great King. Confuser of castes, false teacher of the fraternity of mankind, death is thy allotment.”
Then they fell upon him, rending his mortal vesture, giving the body of Panchajanya to the dogs and the vultures.
Ejected from the caste of Brahmins, Panchajanya entered the caste of Kshatriyas. Upon re-entering the City of the Great King he found himself general of the armies, beloved by his soldiers, trusted confidently by the Great King. Rebellion rose among the people because of the exactions of the priests. Panchajanya at the head of his soldiers rode forth to parley with Vasuki, a wanderer who incited the people against the established order. But when he had heard the recital of Vasuki, and observed the miseries of the people, Panchajanya returned to the court of the King.
“O Great King, thy people starve for the bread of life. Let the priests be punished and thy people will name thee The Blessed.”
But the priests of the temples had the ear of the Great King Mara frowned.
“I did nominate thee to bring me the head of Vasuki. Thine own head be the forfeit.”
The blood of Panchajanya glistened upon the pave.
Ejected from the caste of Kshatriyas, Panchajanya sought further service by re-embodiment in the caste of the Vaishyas. Upon re-entering the City of the Great King he found him-self a great merchant, farmer of the revenues of the royal court, with servants by the tens, by hundreds and by thousands, restless to do his will and profit by his munificence. Famine came upon the land. Panchajanya remitted the taxes of the poor and increased the usance upon the revenues of the temples, the nobles and the merchants. Seed rice gave he to the peasants from the royal granaries and mated buffalo to the herd-smen who fared ill. The priests consulted, the nobles rebelled, and the merchants bore witness against him before Mara, the Great King.
“Thou hast perverted the established order of nature, which provides that the strong shall survive, though the weak perish by crores. Betrayer of trust, thou shalt surely die.”
Upon the word of the Great King, the body was torn from Panchajanya and thrust out through the gate of refuse.
Ejected from the caste of merchants, Panchajanya sought new garments in the caste of Sudras. Upon re-entering the City of the Great King, he found himself lowest of the low, servant of the Chandalas who sweep the courtyards in the palaces of Maya, City of the Great King. These reproached him that he swept as diligently the unseen refuse as the visible. In the darkest corner of the courtyard he found the Jewel of the Great King. The chandalas bore accusative witness against him.
“Thou, lowest of the low, hast sought to steal the choice jewel of the Great King. Let his body feed the, jackals.”
Thus adjudged Mara the Great King.
Ejected from the caste of Sudras, Panchajanya sought rebirth in the body of a pariah, refuse of mankind, forbidden the gates of the City of the Great King. Wandering through
the country of the Great King, Panchajanya found other out-castes, some from one defilement, some from another. With these he journeyed from village to village. Humbly he sought to serve, telling in one place the tale of Panchajanya, the Brahmin; telling in one place the tale of Panchajanya, the great Warrior; telling in one place the tale of Panchajanya, the great Merchant; telling in one place the tale of Panchajanya, the Sudra, lowest of the low; but telling not twice in the same place the same tale; telling not two tales in the same place; telling not in any place the tale of Panchajanya, the outcaste. Then the Asuras, enemies of mankind, seeing that where Panchajanya wandered, men dragged their weary way with hope new lambent in their hearts, roused the bhuts, the demoniac passions of men that infuse the souls of animals.
A tiger rent the vesture of the five veils from the soul of Panchajanya, who returned to the assemblage of the gods.
“Mankind hath been helped in small measure, but what hath Panchajanya gained for the gods by his pilgrimage?”
Thus the question propounded by the assemblage of the gods. Thus the answer made by Brihaspati:
“He hath kept ajar the door of Joti, the inner vision, and thus made easier the path of the descent of the gods to man; made easier the ascent from man to the gods, without confusing the two worlds.”
* * * * *
Narayana leaned forward and breathed upon the child, who rose and made obeisance. The blood-red mark of Shiva had disappeared. When Narayana departed for the forest, the child followed closely in the steps of the Master.
As the villagers returned to their huts the head-man questioned the hotri.
“Father and friend of the village, say, if it seemeth well unto thee, where lies this City of the Great King?”
The hotri, musing upon the instruction, answered:
“This is a matter not written in the Brahmanas, but it may be that the body of man is the nine-gate city of his abode, and that the gates of the City of the Great King swing inward and outward to those who serve the immortal, while rendering highest service to mortals in the midst of unenduring things.”
The head-man pursued further:
“And if it be conformable to answer, tell me, O Comforter of the afflicted, who is this Great King who dwelleth in the city of his abode?”
“That, each man has to find out for himself,” replied the hotri.
THE LIGHT IN THE HEAD
TO Narayana came at nightfall Nilkandi, home from wars, who seated himself among the listeners, and when the time for questioning arrived, remained silent in the midst of the company.
The villagers, according to the example set by the headmen, looked neither to the right side nor to the left, their breath rising and falling evenly as they leaned upon the tones of the sannyasi, so that his words seemed to come from all alike.
In the familiar quiet of evening the children, like the young growth at the edge of the forest, swayed in the swaying of the discourse, following the example of the elders, so that the meaning of the Guru seemed to enter the pores of all alike.
When Narayana had told the assemblage the tale of the Wandering Eye peering in all places for that which is near at hand, seeking in dark places that which is the light of the world, not recognizing that Jyotis is the light-in the head, he pronounced the word Atha, meaning “peace be in you.” Then, the peace being present in the hearts of all, he repeated the colophon from of old, his tones uniting with the familiar quiet as the raindrops unite with the field, the teaching united with the understanding of the listeners, head-men, elders and children, as Guru and chela become one in the Soma.
“He who is in the sun and he who is in the heart, they are one and the same. This Spirit cannot be found by much seeking, for he who seeks thus believes that the Spirit is in another place and therefore absent from himself. The Spirit cannot
be found by seeking in the temples, for he who so seeks knows not that he is the temple of the most High. The Self cannot be found outside the self. But a wise man beholds the Self within. Like a child, like a sage, he sees the Self in all things and all things in the Self. There is no other religion than this.”
“Verily,” heard Nilkandi within himself, this is a true Warrior. Take his orders and obey them, not as though he were a General, but as though he were thyself, for he is thyself. There is no separateness at all.” Whereat Nilkandi marvelled at this voice in the silence.
Inaudible mutterings stirred in the hearts of the listeners, echoing in their minds, in their heads, and produced in each one desires according to his nature, as the rain-drops quicken the life in the fields.
A cobra which had come out of its hole and swayed in rhythm with the voice of Narayana, groped its way out of the circle, returning once more to the jungle. A child whispered to its parent, “It goes to seek the Self in the darkness.”
A Vaishya, in whose nature dwelt the spirit of barter, addressed the Guru with the appearance of great respect.
“Master,” said he, “thou knowest, and all here, that I desire spiritual knowledge, esteeming it of great price. I am ready to perform sacrifice if indeed wisdom may be acquired. But there be many contradictions of utterance among those demanding alms and promising rewards in future births for meritorious deeds. How shall a man, among all these, determine the true teacher and the true teaching?”
“By one’s self determining to be true.”
“But in this world of Maya how shall it arrive that we be not deceived to their profit by false teachers, we being ignorant of the true way?”
“By oneself being true in this world of deception, the self is transported to the world of truth. Without moving is the traveling upon this path.”
The vaishya stroked his palms as those do who merchandise without fixed prices, appraising the custom before naming a price. A sudra who sat near in the posture of humility, forsook his posture and sat at ease as among familiars. For the sudra is the shadow of the vaishya, and memory not being left behind where sudra and vaishya go, the sudra but acted according to the inner perception of the example set. The vaishya continued his questioning.
“Lord, how shall a merchant fulfill his dharma and yet gain spiritual knowledge? Shall a vaishya forsake all without assurance? For of a surety the merchant who parts with his possessions without recompense loses not, only his goods, but his credit with the masters of caravans, credit being lost, confusion falls upon that merchant. Caste is lost, and with the loss of caste, loss of all. It is a sin to lose caste. Instruct me, who am desirous of profiting by thy words.”
“All castes are of the Spirit, but the Spirit is not of any caste. In one who is seeking the Spirit it is unworthy to be troubled over caste. The dharma of a merchant is to buy and sell. In him who sells as he buys, assiduous only that value be given, the Spirit is present in all transactions, and the way has been found. The Spirit cannot be found by those desirous to buy by one scale, desirous to sell by another.”
A night-bird flew hither and otherwhere over the company and then hastened with beating wings through an opening of the forest. A father whispered to his child, “The Wandering Eye is seeking the Self.”
The merchant rose as one whose time has been wasted in profitless custom. “I am accustomed to treat and be treated with respect. I preceive that it is profitless to treat with those
who do not respect the caste of vaishyas, and who reply with evasions to direct questions asked with respect by sincere seekers.” Then the vaishya departed without the salutation of respect accorded to Yogis.
The sannyasi remained in the posture of equal-mindedness, as one who sees not nor hears aught amiss. A child seated behind Nilkandi touched his hand holding the shield. “Hast thou found the Self, O soldier with a shield ? ” Nilkandi took the child’s hand in his, but answered not the question. Nevertheless, the child found companionship in his touch and murmured, “Atha, O Warrior. I will stay with thee.”
After a season, the sudra exercised the power of speech, asking as one who places the Guru upon probation.
“Master,” said this sudra, “it is not meet for a sudra to question the Elders, but it is well known to all here that this is a merchant of dignity and repute. It is evident to all present that he departed in discontent and in doubt. His influence will be lost, and even his dissatisfaction may be visited upon us. Peradventure he will speak words of disparagement of religion, turning many from the path. Why, Lord and Venerable, didst thou not answer directly the direct questions of good and sincere vaishya, whose caste is entitled to the respectful consideration of all men?”
The sannyasi remained, silent, as one who heareth no question addressed him. A bat, vaulting from an orchid rooted in the rotting bark of an ancient tree, flew crookedly up a path through the jungle. Two children, a girl and a man-child, whispered to each other. “It is peering in all places for that which is near at hand.”
The sudra rose slowly and made obeisance to the company, such as is customary. He made salutation to the Guru such as is accorded by custom to outcastes. For both pariahs and sannyasis are of no caste, the one being rejected by all castes
and the others being rejecters of all caste. Thus by subtility did this sudra accord, to the Venerable One the treatment accorded to pariahs. Said the sudra, “It is the duty of a true man of caste, even of the lowest caste, which am I, to follow the example set by the superior caste. In this way is defilement avoided, and true religion preserved.” And so went his way after the merchant.
His saying was received with respect by the company, accustomed to the restriction of caste and the religion of castes. According to the, example set, most part of the company rose and went their way to their familiar abodes, some cording salutation, some not according salutation, some making the customary obeisance of respect, some not making the accustomed obeisance of respect, some with uttred complaints, some with inaudible mutterings.
There remained only the child and Nilkandi. The Yogi remained silent, as one who has been transported to another world without leaving this world, seeing by the light of Jyotis the beings of another world.
After the interval of respect proper to be maintained upon the departure of the elders and after the measure of restraint proper to be accorded to the presence of an elder, the child spoke as is proper for a child to a sage. “Father,” said the child, “this is a Warrior and thy peace is in him tell me if he has found the Self within, for though he holds my hand and it comforts me, he has not yet spoken to me.”
The Guru returned to this world without leaving the other world. For a child is, veritably, O Companions, an inhabitant of the two worlds, and so Narayana gave attention to the questioning of the child. The luminosity of his eyes lighted up the meditation of Nilkandi, so that he spoke, but whether he spoke to the child or the sannyasi, or whether he spoke in
the voice of this world or of the other world—of this matter the commentary does not relate discernibly.
But it is written in the commentary that both the child and the sannyasi heard and understood with equality of hearing that which was uttered by Nilkandi.
“I, Nilkandi, having slain all my foes in honorable battle, and being without a country, came hither to this company seeking if there might be a further service in which to enlist. This child hath taken possession of my shield by the power of faith, and holdeth fast my hand by the might of trust. This Venerable One has spoken truths that have laid hold on my understanding, which is simple as a child’s. A voice has spoken in me. I marvel mightily at four things.”
The child spoke: “Father, wilt not thou speak to this, my Warrior, of the four marvels?”
A leaf fell from a pimpala tree and alighted upright upon the ground. From the leaf, the quality of sattwa shone with a clear soft light, like to the glow of a lamp sheltered from all winds.
Narayana spoke. “The merchant mind seeketh the Spirit; but in his daily calling, the vaishya seeketh profit, not to render service. The sudra mind seeketh the Spirit; but in his daily work seeketh his wage, not to render service. The mind of the company seeketh the Spirit; but in its daily life, performs only the ritual of the repetition of familiar habitudes, not seeking guidance. The beasts seek the Spirit; but each acts according to his nature, not knowing the light in the head.”
Nilkandi spoke: “O child like a sage, and thou, Venerable One like to a child, enlighten me, Masters, upon this voice in the silence, which is the real marvel.”
From the pimpala leaf came the singing light, as all the air of evening were musical, playing soft notes upon the earth; the grass, the stooping skies, the young jungle growth, the
trees, the moving creatures of the night. Uniting them in the full scale of the heavenly notation, the light of the spheres joined to the light of the pimpala leaf. The light of the earth and the light of the stars joined into one light—Jyotis, the light in the head.
The Voice of the Silence spoke: “Only the Sage, the Warrior, and the Child hear my Voice, for in them only is there true service. The sage seeks to enlighten those who are oppressed. The warrior seeks to defend those who are oppressed; The child trusts all. Each follows the light in the head, and so hears the voice of the silence, finding the Self in all things and all things in the Self.”
There remained in the forest of the jungle’s dark growth, Narayana; Nilkandi, seated among the listeners; the child holding the hand of Nilkandi. The villagers come and go in the darkness, seeking the Spirit; but through the day’s life, following the desires hid in the heart.
Jyotis, light in the head, illumines only the path of service. The Voice of the Silence is heard only in the singing light of Jyotis.
Nilkandi has joined issue from seeking further service and has found the heart of the two worlds—the heart of the sage, and the heart of the child.
THE WATCHER AT THE FORD
VIKHARAM, looking inward, beheld deathlessness, and found the sages who repose behind the veil of time; who rest, go forth, do their work, and return. The four castes and the four yugas are in them, but they, rest in the eternal; they descend and reascend the stair of time which men call variously birth, youth, manhood, death.
From that zone where the sages dwell, in the singing light, Vikharam entered the stair of the seven steps, the stair each step of which becomes denser and darker. As the fine-drawn filaments of light knit closer and closer, the body of fire that makes the shining house of the immortals silvered into finest ether; clothed itself in thoughts of service to the unholy castes of men; put on the desires of earth, knocked at the door of mother-love, entered the chrysalis; and at the tenth moon Vikharam once more gazed outwardly through child’s eyes, calm and undisturbed. Thus was the journey downwards which men call birth.
“This is our first-born, child of out great love,” said the householders, Mother and Father. “Our cup is filled. We are now the Trimurti—Father, Mother, Son.”
Narada, they named him; “my Narada,” his mother called him. “He is grave like a man, like an elder. He is wise beyond speech, more than men.”
And the father: “He is silent, like a man in the arms of the beloved; content, filled with tenderness, no more desiring, desiring only that love forevermore endure.”
She who had been only wife, became as mother, and grew every day richer in the doubled largess. He who had been only husband, became as father, and grew every day more gentle, enriching others with the benevolence of a full heart. So was sown the seed of Satya, the golden yuga, in the midst a Kali, the black age.
“We have a son,” quoth mother and father to each other. “He will inherit after us. His children will live after us. Our names will be remembered in generations to come. Men will say in remote times, these were the parents of Narada, the Blessed One. We shall live again in him and in them when these our bodies shall have returned to the grey parchment. It is good to be a Father. It is good to be a Mother. It is good to have a son.”
So these parents of Narada gave thanks to their God; they made offerings in the temple and revered the priests speaking in the name of their God. Their hearts being filled, their love being content, they saw not the miseries of earth, nor heard the lamentations of those who mourn. Or if perchance the drawn notes of another’s agonies made discord in the, sweet silence of their love, they gave thanks to their God, that He spared them the common lot, and made Him offerings in the temple, that all men might be drawn to the true faith. Or again, if the shadow of another’s woe fell across the sunshine path they trod, they besought him to seek the priests and make his peace with the true and loving God whom they worshipped, that His bounty might bring healing and fulness of joy.
Thus they erected the four pIllars of all faith as is written in the commentary on the incarnations of Vikharam: the pillars of sincerity, of devotion, of steadfastness, of integrity. The four pillars being thus erected, they entered upon the fifth year of the days of Narada, Son of Man. As is well
known to those who ponder the path of probation, the fifth is the pillar of Light, which reveals all as the balance of Karma even unto the number nine. If the faith of the householders proceeds from the sattva of understanding, the nidanas of perfection are builded into the columns and the temple is complete. If the faith of the householders is of the quality which proceeds from the sattva of misunderstanding of the true nature of the soul, the fifth column falls, and great is the fall thereof, causing also to fall the four pillars erected. Thus is the number nine the number of justice and the number of mercy, the number of perfection, or the number of death, according to the faith of the householder.
These parents, knowing naught of the mysteries of the Incarnation, but content in love, sought no other knowledge. They worshipped the lamp and not the flame of, the unfed fire of the soul. They knew only their God, knowing not Him who is the origin of all the gods and of the adepts. They knew only Narada, their son, knowing him not as Vikharam, ancient of lives, companion of the sages who repose behind the veil of time.
But Vikharam, beyond time and space and therefore beyond all forms and appearances, waited the fateful balance of the manvantara of householders.
Upon the face of Bhumi the earth, fell the chill dark clouds of Kali, the black age. Men shivered and groaned under the weight of the iron harvest of past sins heaped to the balancing point. They forsook their gods and spread tales that soon there would be no more light; that Nyima the sun would diappear and all men perish miserably. Fierce struggles began and men fought in whirlwinds for a place in the sun while yet some light lasted. Other masses made sacrifices to their gods that the earth might be cleansed of her offences and the sun be restored.
Those who had wives and children crying to them for food and for shelter began slaying each other that their own might be saved. Dreadful diseases ravened over the lands.
The parents of Narada saw not, heard not, heeded not. Illumined by the virtues of former living, filled with the light of their love, how could they know hunger who hungered not at all? Came a day when the, priests of the sects, seeing ruin for them and their gods in the ruin of the people, without whom there are neither gods nor priests, gave up their external exclusions and besought all men to make sacrifice. But their gods had left the earth, mutilated by the mutilation of men’s hopes, dead with the death of men’s faith.
Each leader of tribes assured his own people that peace could not come again upon earth until they only should rule over all others. So caste fought with caste until the supremacy of misery was imposed upon all alike. The shrines of old, then marketing places and, the fields and roadways were heaped with the bodies of heretics. Each esteemed that his miseries were caused by the sins of his neighbor; yea, even by the accursed of his own household. The darkness grew more intense till many affirmed that there had never been other that darkness; that the sun was a myth of madmen, of priests and of fools, and would nevermore shine again. Thus came the balance point of all when both the pillars of sincerity and devotion, the pillars of steadfastness and integrity trembled and shook, as waver the lines of familiar things in the engulfing darkness of night.
By the sacrifice and the loss of that which they hold most dear are men purified of their sins. The mission of Vikharam being so far accomplished, the divine ray once more began to separate itself from the human, returning to the central flame.
“Our child is sick,” cried the mother. “Our son falls ill of some malady,” cried the father. Their love and their faith cried out conjointly, “Let us take him to the sacred pool of healing and implore our God for succor.
The priests enjoined sacrifice, and the remaining elders chanted mantrams and intoned orisons. Narada looked at them with patient eyes, suffering all, but receiving naught from the ministrations.
“Look how his sight grows distant. Son, canst thou not see thy mother? Son, canst thou not gaze upon thy father? Son, have pity on us who love thee, and return again to us.
A mist came up from the heart and covered their eyes. A silence came up from the heart and covered their ears. There was no going that eyes could witness, no sound of departure that ears might hear, but when they looked and when they listened, Narada was no more there. The light had failed, so that the eye could not-see; the air had sunken, so that the ear could not hear.
The mother crooked her arms in vain, they ached only with the void. Memory tugged at her heart, but the breast felt no pull of dear hunger. Her love seemed a thing that had broken in twain.
The father carried but clay in his arms; carried but lead in, his heart, he who had nestled sunlight in his arms, and singing gold in his heart. Kali, the black age, entered the secret recesses of their inmost being through the door of love, when Narada went away into the darkness and the silence, where human eye could not follow, where human ear could not attend, where human love could not enter.
“The grief of all mankind has entered our heart,” cried the parents. The fountain of our life has dried up. We are drowned in the sea of all sorrows.”
Loving the form and appearance, they had not learned to discern the soul as from forms and appearances. Their religion forsook them. Relying upon mortal religion, how could they learn the true nature of the soul as being entirely distinct from any experiences, and disconnected from all material things, and dissociated from their understanding? They knew and loved Narada. They neither knew, therefore, how could they love, Vikharam, the deathless, the immortal, the three-tongued flame of the four wicks?
Yet in the brotherhood of death is the door to understanding of the mystery of life; of the understanding that the universe exists for the sake of the soul alone; for the emancipation of the soul from bondage to mortal things.
Purified by their sorrows from all sin these parents partook of what was left of the offering and entered upon the religion of works. In memory of Narada they entered into the sorrows of all who had loved and lost. This is the way of all knowing. In sympathy for another’s speechless grief, something stirred in the tomb of their hearts. In assuaging another’s tears, the fountain within them unsealed.
Narada was gone, but Vikharam never left them at all; never went from the heart of the mother; never departed from the heart of the father. In the speechless depths of their souls he moved to and fro, stirring the waters of compassion for all that lives. Clothed in the undying vesture of the, Nirmanakayas, Vikharam lightened their hearts, spoke in the thrilled silence which becomes audible only to those who hear no more the sweet-tongued voices of illusion. Like the eternal music of the golden spheres his presence translated the voice of the silence.
“Only forms are; of this world, dear Mother. Only appearances are of this world dear Father. Only here are there
tears and the black doom of parting, dear Parents. As sunlight from far spaces illumines the darkness of this world, so love shines afar from its source, giving light and warmth in the midst of mortal things. On the other side of night is the day still shining. On the other shore of death is the
soul that illumines the clay.
Compassion gave them sight. Compassion gave them hearing. Compassion gave them knowledge. In the midst of forms and appearances they found while living the ford between the living and the dead. They found the Watcher at the Ford. Vikharam, watcher at the ford, met them deathless and shining. The Soul, which takes what form it will, took on the form of Narada, transfigured, transformed, translucent.
“Thou hast found us and we have found thee, O Narada, O our Son.
Thus Father, Mother, Son, were once more one.
Thus was the mission of Vikharam achieved. Thus was the mission of Narada achieved. Thus was achieved the germination of Satya, the yuga of the divine upon this earth, in the midst of the forms and appearances of Kali, the black age of bondage to mortal things.
THE PASSING OF THE GURUS
As the day of works drew toward its closing, the Master spoke but little with the disciples. Although he had been long among them, teaching and exemplifying the Good Law, they, living always in the present, postponed understanding and application to the morrow. Therefore, they were not ready when the hour came.
Left to themelves, unanswered questions arose, demanding solution, and they discussed anxiously, seeking to postpone the inevitable.
Sandhya, embodied complacence, spoke first.
“Nimittika, the law of embodied existence, cannot be gain said,” said he. “Life comes and life goes, the Lives uniting and separating. Even for a Sannyasi the time comes when the sack must burst and the grain be spilled. In my opinion He whom we all love, fortifies himself by that meditation called Isolation, for the great change. We have done much and have heard much. Be comforted; we will carry on the great work.”
Having heard wise words formerly uttered by the Master, the disciples were comforted, some saying in their hearts, “We shall have a worthy successor in Sandhya.”
Nakula, he who had received most at the Master’s hand, was besought also for the expression of his opinion, some of the disciples thinking him favored of the Master, because he, had received much.
“I think that the Master is troubled over what may befall, fearing divisions amongst us. Doubtless he is absorbed in the
modification of the mind called memory and is therefore, in, the state denominated meditation with a seed. Be comforted. Although he presently understands not the full measure of our devotion, yet shall we nobly sustain the work begun by him.”
As all the disciples had been instructed in the states called modifications, and recognized in the saying of Nakula words formerly employed by the Master, believing him to have been favored by the Master, they were comforted and some thought in themselves:
“Greatly as we shall regret the departure of Him who was sent, we shall not be left without a Head. Nakula will be the Antaskarana, the link between the world of the Nirmanakayas and the world of embodied men.”
Alone among them all, Sahadeva had retained cheerfulness of demeanor. Being embodied fancy, and the friend of Nakula, and it being known that the Master had often treated him tenderly in his follies, his opinion seemed valuable.
“What is there to fear,” said he, “even though the Master go hence before we are ready? His words will remain with us and from them we can erect goodly structures of thought and opinion for them who come after. I doubt not his silence amongst us is due to his foretasting of heavenly bliss, the reward of labors well performed. These states have been with each of us, and we, being his disciples, it must be that his states are ours. While He rests in the devachan, we will not be idle, but go forward in full confidence.”
Sahadeva was congenial to the company and they, recognizning sayings formerly uttered by the Master, were comforted. Some among them, assuaged in their hearts, and knowing the friendship of Nakula and Sahadeva, and not perceiving the contradiction in their opinions, accepted both the opinions, and thought within themselves:
“The one hath the memory and the other the imagination to accomplish great things. Between them we shall have guidance as to the will of the Master, and further sustenance after the Guru hath forsaken the body.”
While the disciples thus discussed among themselves, a little way apart, that the Master might not be disturbed in his repose, Iran, who first had loved the Guru, sat by him, his senses assiduous in attention, his mind afflicted with forebodings, his heart torn, with grief.
He bowed his head to conceal his tears, if peradventure the Master might waken. The beneficent fingers of the Master rested upon his head.
“Grieve not, Iran,” the fingers seemed to say.
“Lord,” thought Iran in his heart, “what shall we do that Thou be near, so that we may continue to walk in thy footsteps through good and evil report?”
Through contact with the Master’s fingers, Iran seemed to hear in his heart, “Sow the seed ye have received at my hands, that it may spring up in the hearts of men. Water it by service in the name of the Good Law. Even as the plant grows in the hearts of men, so shall your eyes be opened that ye see. Nourish it by following in the path of the Predecessors. Even as the hearts of men emulate the example set, so shall your ears be opened that ye hear. Faithfulness is the path of hearing. Seek me in the hearts of men and thou, shalt assuredly find.”
The, disciples returned to the presence of the Master, and Sandhya spoke gently to him:
“Master, remain with us that we have guidance and direction.”
But the Master answered not. Then Nakula spoke considerately to him:
“Lord, when thou goest, who should be chief amongst us that we remain of one mind, and divisions come not upon us?”
But the Master gave no sign. Then Sahadeva spoke to him pleasantly:
“Master, if it be thy will, make appointment gaving to each his due measure, that thy seed may not be spilled or scattered, and we, knowing thy will, may abide it.”
But the Master remained silent. Silence fell upon the disciples. The Master’s hand was withdrawn from the head of Iran. Seeing the withdrawal, Sahadeva, Nakula and Sandhya spoke to Iran.
“Iran, what is thy interpretation of this that all have witnessed ? ”
“I fear much that we have been remiss in devotion, and therefore amiss in application of the lessons imparted, seeing that we remain whole while the Master suffers in silence.”
This not being of a satisfying nature to the company, Sandhya reproved Iran, saying. Were this thus, we would not have been chosen to be his disciples.”
Nakula reproved Iran, saying, “Verily, the Master hath selected us from among many candidates for his favor.”
Sahadeva reproved also in his turn, saying, “Iran, we have been the acceptable instruments of his teaching: otherwise thou deniest the efficacy of the Good Law.”
Iran, shaken with grief, moved with love for the Master, answered:
“May it not well be that we have been accepted because of merit acquired in former lives rather than from devotion in this? May not our longing rather than our love have urged us to this presence? He who comes among embodied men seeking only to do them service can refuse no one. I fear that he dies from lack of the sustenance of understanding devotion from us.”
This being unsatisfactory to the company, each felt in his heart, “The fears of Iran proceed from a dubious mind. Manifestly he has learned little from the Master’s teaching, and has acquired the eye doctrine rather than imbibed the doctrine of the heart. The disciple must have unbounded confidence in the Master’s ability to impart, unlimited confidence in his own ability to learn. As for me I have both, and therefore it is my belief that our love sustains the Master in his present trial; and if we hold fast he will conquer in this trial and acquire a further initiation. And we also, unless it be Iran, will benefit by the Master’s advancement.”
Comforted by these conformable thoughts, the disciples remained silent, repeating remembered and imagined words of the Master, not perceiving that Wisdom lies in application, not in memory; understanding devotion in service, not in imaginings.
When the ultimate moment arrived, the Master sat upright on the pallet whereon they had laid him, and gazed upon the company.
“He sees not,” murmured the disciples, observing that the Guru looked fixedly, by the power of meditation concentrated at the hour of death, with his vital powers placed between the eyeblows.
“Yet seeing not, he sees,” felt Iran, in the midst of his tears.
They bespoke him seated upright among them.
“Lord of all,” they besought him, “remain with us yet a space, lest we perish and all truth with us.” The eyes of the Master remained undeviating.
“He hears not,” said the disciples in their despondency.
“Yet hearing not, he hears,” thought Iran, in the midst of his affliction.
They strove to support the Master, thinking he could no longer sit erect; to persuade him by gentle insistence to recline
again upon the pallet. But he moved not, nor yielded to their insistence.
“He feels not,” cried the disciples, overwhelmed with, the grief come upon them.
“Yet, feeling not, he feels,” felt Iran in the laceration of his heart.
“Om! I must go. Atha, Svasti, Om!” breathed the Master. “He hath given up the ghost!” cried the disciples, as the Guru melted upon the pallet.
“He hath gone to his own place,” heard Iran in the burnished depths of his fathomless love. “Swapita. . ..”
When they had washed him, and vested him with the vestments, they lighted the ghat. In the mounting flame of the burning body they thought to perceive the departing soul of the Guru. In the drifting smoke of the pyre they thought to see the vanishing bhut of the Guru. Iran, plungd in meditation, felt the great peace of no immediate incorporeal presence inhabiting his love.
Thereafter, the, disciples remembered the Master for a season, and spoke in his name. But as they had been content to live in reflected light, darkness came upon them as memory declined. Some became of the complacency of Sandhya, hearkening to his words. Some partook of the memorial utterances of Nakula, unaware of any change in themselves, Some reflected themselves with the fancies uttered by Sahadeva, imagining thy were receiving further teachings of the Master.
In time Sandhya, Nakula, and Sahadeva, accepting as the apportionment of their dues the devotion of the disciples, remembered imagined words spoken privately to each of, them by the Guru. They ordained many special ceremonies which the disciples accepted, reverently as leading to heaven, to powers, to objects of enjoyment, and to the receipt of communications from the Guru.
Divisions soon came upon them, and after a generation, there arose three sects of religion, three systems of yoga, and three schools of philosophy, in the name of the Master, from the single life, the single teaching, and the single example of the Master. Depending upon interpretation and not upon application for their understanding, dependent upon interpreters and not upon service for the path, the company perceived not the contradictions propounded in the name of the Master.
When Iran had speech with them, they reproved him patiently with explications. Sandhya explained that the Master was departed, and to continue to adhere to that which had been was to worship the bhuts. Nakula explained that the Master could no more be reached directly, and the teaching could only be understood by interpretation. Sahadeva explained that with interpretation continued as an exercise, by the practice of the imagination, the further will of the Master was being followed and the messages received of new import, correcting the former teachings.
Iran, not being satisfied, searched diligently the sayings of the Master, and finding them not conformable with the teaching and example of Sandhya, of Nakula, and of Sahadeva, sorrowfully went his way.
Solitary and deserted of the company, Iran in loneliness and isolation sought for the space of seven years to find the way, having naught to sustain him but the love of the Master, the example of the Master, the words of the Master.
When the ultimate moment of his trial arrived, he communed within himself.
“Master,” communed he, “while thou wert present in bodily form, we had sure guidance. I can no more find thee through the medium of the senses, for of thy bodily form naught
remains. Where, then, is the Path open to thee? Where is the triple thread of Brahman that shall bridge the wide interval to thee?”
Asking these questions within himself, the Self seemed to reply.
“Remains the recorded word of the Master. Remains the example of the Master. Remains the love of the Master who hath the whole of nature for his object.”
So Iran determined to seek in these the strength to for-evermore endure. “For love of thee,” he cried, “I will serve all men in love, telling them of the good law.”
Thus taking the whole of nature for his object, Iran rose in his love and service to the plane where the Masters are, and entered into conscious communication with the Guru to whose bidding he had devoted his life.
FROM THE BOOK OF CONFIDENCES
On Duty . . . . . . . page 149
On Faith . . . . . . . page 152
On Sacrifice . . . . page 155
On Patience. . . . .page 158
On Success . . . . . page 161
On Freedom . . . page 164
On Love. . . . . . . page 167
On Birth. . . . . . . page 170
On Death. . . . . . . page 174
On Purity. . . . . . page 177
On Perfection. . . page 180
On Initiation. . . . .page 183
These are not “tales,” but confidences given me long ago, which meant to me a thousand tales—especially that one telling of how there ever walks among the simplest of people, as among the rich and the learned who are humble in heart, one who can understand their problems and help them to see by their own, light.
I do not know if these dialogues were with one sage or with several. They were told me in strange circumstances, in different places, and after the event—recounted with much reticence and naming no names—had been over seven years gone by, thus become lawful of the telling for one who was quite another being than the one to whom he Sage gave ear and counsel.
THE YOUTH: Tell me, O Sage, why I do not know my present duty—if it may be told to me. In whatever way I look, I see no clear issue; I see no immediacy of obligation.
The Sage: It is because the ways of Karma are inscrutab1e, to thee.
The Youth: But surely I do see that as I am now, as my relations are now, so I have made myself and them from of old-time.
The Sage: It is but speculative knowledge to thee. Thou hast not seen in thyself now the present error that ever builds anew the Karmic disability of thy next incarnation—and of how many more, Alas!
The Youth: Tell me, then, O Sage, wherein thou see’st I lag on the path of duty; wherein I leave undone that I shou1d do.
The Sage: Dear Youth, thou look’st too far away to see thy duty. It lies at hand. Thou Iook’st for the great responsibilities of proven Souls, while the small plain duties which are thine own are overpassed. To do great duties is to be by natural impulse incapable of failing in the small. Thy gaze fastened on other duties than thine own in other, lives hath made thee blind to those that now await thee. Hast thou asked thyself, “Whom and what do I seek to serve ? ”
The Youth: In my heart I have said, I would serve the Masters.
The Sage: They serve the least of men with joy, as They serve the whole of Nature.
The Youth: But I know not how to serve Them.
The Sage: They, be sure, can not tell thee. Thou art in thine own place, and They in Theirs, each with duties as inexorable as those of atom or of Sun. Not even They can tell another Soul its duty, save in Principle and Plan. Nor wilt thou learn, until the small plain duties have been found by thee. Doing those duties in simple faithfulness, thou doest unto Them. Only when duty is done for Duty’s sake owed to the Self of all ceatures, will the reward of duties, “higher” to thy mind, present themselves in due and natural order.
The Youth: Thou see’st I am born in a fortunate family where the lowly “duties” are performed for me. Shall I, then, discard these services?
The Sage: Mayst thou, not have a duty by that very relation of served and server? Is thy servant treated with consideration and not with arrogance? Dost thou know him, too, as brother, whatever the difference in caste? Dost thou expect faithful service for his sake? Dost thou show grateful appreciation for his ministrations, yet so wisely that presumption grows not forth in his nature? Art thou able to perform his duties better than doth he, because the light of Manas doth more illuminate thine every act, and bring his service to higher excellence?
The Youth: I have never thought of duties in those ways! I have taken the relation as did my father before me, as others of the world do see it, too.
The Sage: There is no relation of life and no duty in it which will not yield thee knowledge. First observe, then Learn, then teach by example; by precept teach when thou
hast found thy duty to all men, the humble as the great, in every duty. Only so is a beginning made to bring all the world to duty.
The Youth: o Sage, I owe thee gratitude. I go with happiness of heart to fulfill the law of Duty.
HOUSEHOLDER: O reverend Sage, my way is weary, and among my burder there is none harder to be borne than my loss of faith in human nature. In no one even of my household have I met with other than disappointment, greed, ingratitude, and betrayal of the trust I have reposed in now one, and then another, who has misunderstood the offering of my heart. Is there way I may be assured that somewhere, to someone, there may be given faith which will rest stable as yon mountain peaks?
The Sage: E’en yon mountain peaks, my Friend, will sometime pass away, dip beneath the ocean’s brim, as will those persons that have dishonored thee drop from their place in the scene now limned before thine eye. But, ‘tis only the foolish man who places his faith and trust in persons, however near or fair. Can it be thou would cherish but a mask in place of the Man himself, in place of the Soul that discards one mask but to assume another? Human nature is not to be trusted: this the Wise of all the ages know.
Householder: Alas, I can not live in such despair of all those who surround me! I shall go mad. Better a false faith than none at all, so long I have thought; but even this cold comfort fails me in the end.
The Sage: ‘Tis, not the end, but the beginning, Comrade. To gain true faith, one must renounce his old false faiths.
That faith is wronged is sign and surety of its true existence and of its noble usance.
Householder: Thy words are as a blessing and as a promise unto me. Tell me more fully, that this hope which stirs in me may know fulfillment. May I,then, have true faith in thee?
The Sage: Not e’en in me, howe’er more justly than in those who have hitherto wronged thee sore. I, too, have a human nature. I, as a person, have mine own path to take—a path obscure to all others but myself—a path on which save to myself dark clouds may often seem to rest. Couldst thou rely on one, think you, now praised, and then cast off by all thy fellow’s?
Householder: Some mystery lies here. There is that in thee I could trust beyond all clouds, beyond all the evils that might encompass thee. Always would I know that thou wert true. But there is naught I have to make thee richer; no knowledge of mine could make thee wiser; no love of mine could add unto thy happiness. And so, as I fear not that thou couldst advantage thyself of what is mine, I may give freely of my love and faith to thee.
The Sage: But in that free giving, I do partake richly of all thou hast! In that free and undemanded faith, thou partakest of the deep waters of Faith itself—that shoreless faith, which is in the heart of every being, without which no being could sustain his life. To something, higher, nobler than his human nature, every being gives his faith. Come Comrade, dost thou truly trust thine own human nature?
Householder: Dost ask me? No. How could I? Every day unworthy thoughts and deeds spring from it. I see. I see! I can not trust, I can not have faith in human nature, for that I, too, am not trustworthy; I do not have faith in myself.
The Sage: One further step wilt, then, thou take? There is That in every human being to be trusted—That which stands behind his human nature, the Witness, the Spectator, the Knower, the Judge, the Avenger of every thought and deed—noble or ignoble, pure or vile. That may be trusted.
In That all Faith resides and comes to rest. It is the Power which is exhaustless and eternal, the Power at any time to take a better course, when the old is exhausted, when the old has brought defeat, disgrace. However much my friend may betray me, I can have faith that some day, somewhere, he will repair the evil done to me and that all beings, however long ago. That is impartial; That expects nothing; That can not be added to nor taken from; It ever is, the Source of Faith.
Householder: That, then, in thee I trust. Thou art That. Knowing That in Thee, now I can have faith to see It in my fellows.
The Sage: Yea, It is in every one. And if one uses thee despitefully another day, know through thine own human nature how a God is crucified in His. That God, that Self, is to be trusted—not the human nature which ever seeks to lure and blind. Nor shouldst thou close thine eyes as thou walkest among human pitfalls. Deal with human nature as thou findest it, and from the similitude found in thyself. The betrayals of all the world can not affect the One Reality and thy faith supreme. Its just Law may be trusted to right every wrong in this great Universe.
Householder: The more they do betray, the more they need of this knowledge thou hast disclosed to me?
The Sage: How canst thou not live, Comrade, till thou hast passed on this mighty Hope, till thine own Faith is full established, till thine own Compassion for sinful human nature is complete?
Householder: I give thee, O Sage, my gratitude and my life.
THE MOTHER: O Sage, I seek enlightenment. I would know what is the law of Sacrifice.
The Sage: It is a law that fills the whole of life. But thou needst to hear no letter of that law; thy life is formulate of sacrifice.
The Mother: Indeed, I know not sacrifice. For my children five, no denial of my own desires is deprivation unto me. No service of them, cost me time, strength, or labor what it may, but gives me joy. Still—the days go by—the children grow as the springing flowers in sweet soil and sun,—but the perfume of them lacks; they look ever for brighter sun and richer soil, and forget the labors of the cultivation. Thus, then; I ponder—does my knowledge fail? Do I know all the law of sacrifice?
The Sage: Thy knowledge hath not failed thee, for that it brings fresh question to thy soul. Wouldst thou learn the great law in its fullness, thou must needs give up thy love to-sacrifice. Sacrifice this dearer joy to thee for the better of thy children. It is in them the sacrificial fires await the
The Mother: How, then, O Sage, to light them? They are of fortunate family wherein no need for sacrifice appears to them.
The Sage: No one so fortunate in possessions of wealth in gold; or mind, or family, but finds, the way of sacrifice before him ever. But, of little merit is the sacrifice of one
possession unto another, of things external with unwilling mind. Real sacrifice is undisclosed, and useless any sacrifice soever, have as urge comes from the Inner, Unrevealed—which is not child nor mother nor babe nor man, but THAT, the Altar and the Sacrifice in every being. How couldst thou constrain thy children to thy will in this? How couldst thou expect obedience to the mere precept: “Sacrifice”? The Soul demands to see its own necessity.
The Mother: Is there not some first step in holy living might clear their Soul’s bright vision, then?
The Sage: The first step toward noble sacrifice, even in the household life, is the covenant of participation. Thou hast made unto thy children all the endowment hitherto; they unknowing, have sarificed their right to serve and share the sacrifice. Make engagement, then, together for participation—each one, a sharer in the common weal of Home, to give some time, some duty now given or performed by thee. Thou shouldst have thy just share. It is not even justice that renders less or more than justice to each one. Flinch not: each one at first may feel the irk of unaccustomed habitude, but in due establishment of the cycle, pleasure will arise, the bright face of duty will appear, the humble pride of well- assumed responsibility. What was once a sacrifice will be to them, like yours, a joy.
The Mother: O truly, I would they might know that joy mine own unselfish selfishness has denied them. Why have I not seen before? I thought I was unselfish!
The Sage: The eyes of the virtuous are oft blinded by their very virtues. “Unselfish” is but one of opposites, while Selflessness regards not either, seeing clear between them. The selfless mother looks not to her children’s wants, but to
their needs. She looks not alone upon her children, but sees in hers all others for whom her sacrifice would be equal. In her own she sees members of a great universal Family entrusted. to her care, to learn through her their universal duties. And thus, her sacrifice is that of knowledge.
The Mother: O Sage, may I know more, that I may do unto the law of justice in the sacrifice!
THE SAGE: O little man, how is it thou dost hurl thy book upon the floor and stamp upon its covers? In what hath it offended thee?
The Child: I will not study it! I hate, these lessons! I cannot learn; I do not want to learn them! See, it is a book of numbers.
The Sage: But when I hold it in my hand, I see within its pages not enemies—but friends, friends true of many years.
Hast ever thought a world without the numbers in it? A week today thou startest on thy journey. Without the number seven, how shalt thou know thy time? Thy father takes thee upon the ship when he hath given recompense for thy passage—a number of the coins men have agreed is righteous—for the service. How canst thou indicate e’en thy name but by number of the letters in it? The colors of the rainbow, the strings of the lute, the members of thy body—how would thy speech confuse them all but for the numbers that mark their place and part? Watch thy speech and thought just for one day, and see what use are numbers to thee! They are thy friends, and to be better known and understood. But so, even as I saw thee now, wouldst thou. use thine enemies?
The Child: Enemies are for killing and destroying as they do on battlefields!
The Sage: Those who know say otherwise. Enemies are to be subdued, guided, used. Of old, the greatest triumph was the number of the prisoners taken in lawful war.
The Child: But then they chained and tortured them sometimes.
The Sage: There is a kind of enemy in each one needs torturing and chains! And few are those whom the arch-fiend Impatience fails to assails For thee—I would have seen thee hurt me more quickly than the book, in thine impatience.
The Child: Dost thou think I really harmed the book by those few scars.
The Sage Nay, not by the scars we see; but by thine anger. Its impress is a scar invisible on every sleeping life of that form called the book. Released and wakened in ages yet to be, they will confront thee and demand their reckoning. Nor are the book lives all that the destructive power of thine impatience stirred with responsive thrill. One blow of hammer upon steel resounds to the confines of space. One pebble thrown into a quiet pond disturbs its every drop. Dost think the air is empty, Lad? Where’er thine eye fell in thy wrath, where’er thy voice sent its discordant notes, myriads of beings caught the message and passed it on throughout the universe!
The Child: But people are angry and impatient every day.
The Sage,: Not the wise, not the just, not the mighty! And thou wilt see the fairest plans of the fortunate shattered by one word on the lip that bespoke impatience of another’s frailty or of ignorance; that shot forth heat of condemnation for the carelessness or stupidity of another. In one such word have congregated all the host of misused lives from of old-time.
The Child: Father, I thought not of all these things.
The Sage: Then think, my Son, and learn, and Try. Then, when the time comes again and oft—as come it will till the enemy is fast enchained—when vexation and impatience seek to rend thy soul in twain, the calmness of thy reason shall be stronger, and allay. Within the chalice of thine heart a magic Essence is: it rests immovable and calm though it pour forth to all the universe of balm and healing. It is the source of Patience, the source of Love, the source of that Compassion which would not harm the smallest of the small more than the greatest of the great; which would bestow on enemy e’en greater care than that upon a friend; it remains immovable in Calm and Patience whatever storms may rage or enemies from without seek to invade.
The Child: O, now I see, that thou wouldst have received mine anger for all the rest! Father, may I come to be like unto thee!
THE MERCHANT: O reverend Sage, wilt come unto mine house and bless it? For then I feel prosperity at home and in the mart would follow ever after.
The Sage: Nay. Better were it that I stay here where I am, where all men may seek my counsel. My obligation is to bless no one man or merchant, but all men the whole world through.
The Merchant: I asked not to be blessed as merchant, for I have prospered mightily. Houses and ships are mine, and far-flung fields; but in my household there are discords and discontents which trouble me. Indeed, of late, they so harass my soul, that it is cause for the last turn of the cycle showing my profits in abatement and other merchants reaping where I have sown.
The Sage: Thou wilt go on to ruin, if thou dost not hold thy mind serene. Canst thou know under what auspices to purchase, with mind divided between the duty of thy business and thy personal hurt or anxieties or fears? Canst thou see clear the problems of thy business when thy mind clears not in the problems of thy soul?
The Merchant: Ah, but would I could have that success within my household, ever I have had in the mart!
The Sage: And why not so? Success of one and of the other are both alike in principle. Dost know just how thou camest by this success?
The Merchant: Assuredly. The chiefest cause of my success is that I have used justly all who served me equally in justice, nor have I tolerated those of sour face, harsh manner, and fault-finding of their fellows, to stand in my place, as all subordinates do, before the general public which every merchant undertakes to serve.
The Sage: Thou hast named first the human factors in thy business. And wisely thou hast done so. I may then take for granted thou dealest honestly and justly with those who seek thy wares.
The Merchant: But I can not dismiss my wife, nor son, nor mother from the household for those things done I could not in my business tolerate!
The Sage: When thou hast dismissed a subordinate, didst thou do it in wounded pride and anger, or in justice, according to agreements made? In regret for him dismissed, or to impress upon him thine own most high importance, and thy most severe condemnation that he has used the place provided by thee without its due responsibility?
The Merchant: No one hath ever said I was not fair in all my business dealings. But my feelings were not involved, as in the quarrels of mine household!
The Sage: Thou hast said truly. How then, canst thou be fair at home, save thou first restrain all thy feelings, and have only justice, with wisdom, in their stead?
The Merchant: That I can understand. But couldst thou know the things they do, and what they say—indeed, I could not in shame tell them unto thee!
The Sage: Thou hast no need to do so. But this I know: that when man hath put all desires for himself away from
his heart; when he hath ceased to expect and demand save that is freely given; when he hath ceased suspicions and complaints, as well as refutation of any criticism given of himself: he then comes to know the principles of harmony in his own soul, from which there runs to all an accord and a symphony. Others may not hear; but he has concern only that the right word be spoken by him. Others may not feel in response to the generous love that thrills his own soul; others may not see the signs of one who is free from desire and anger and self-defense; but his clear unfaltering purpose will bless them none the less; his steadfast benevolence, though it chafe the worser part of them, will some day stir their
better part, and a better course be taken for that his true life gave assurance of it.
The Merchant: Success like that is difficult and slow to come by I well perceive, while unsensed failures crowd the doors of life.
The Sage: The Wise think not in terms of high success nor of dire failure. The Wise think not in terms of Time, but of the Soul. It is the Soul engaged in household or in mart— its needs met in one as in the other place. And who shall say just what each Soul needs for its experience? A calm and tranquil mind can meet all needs of others and all experiences, as blessings given and as knowledge gained.
The Merchant: I go to meditate, O Sage, on what thou hast revealed me of myself. In blessing me this day, thou hast blessed many. My gratitude is thine.
THE SERVANT:Humbly I do crave audience of thee, O Sage, who hast declared in the assembly-place that all men—caste or color as it may be—are thy brothers.
The Sage: Humbly do I grant this hearing to thee. May my wisdom be sufficient to thy needs.
The Servant: O Wise One, it is strange, and I know not of how great sin, that I feel I am more rich, more free than those I serve. But so, I am not angered at a harsh command, nor at the blame for blameless deeds, nor at the scorn for my humility, nor for poor food and airless shelter such as is my lot.
The Sage: Who came a Prince may wander earth in rags, one more turning of the wheel. But he may yet regain his kingdom, having found the free spaces of the Soul. Dost think the Soul may e’er be fettered, which is bright, bodiless, and free? Soul’s knowledge o’erspans all circumstance, and it is that hidden lore which stays thine anger at contumely and injustice.
The Servant: O Sage, still deeper goes my hardihood: in my heart a pity reigns that they, so rich in worldly things, should be so small; that they, so schooled in every art, should be so ignorant of gentle usance; that they—with all to bless and benefit, are yet unhappy, restless, flitting from one pleasure to another that never satisfies.
The Sage: I see thee seldom now at the assembly-place, while once thou camest always, sure as the sun in its rising on a clear atmosphere.
The Servant: The dwelling where I serve is far away. There is not time when I am through my duties to compass the hour on foot. And—my fault it is, I can not ask for the recompense of my service when it is forgot. In four moon’s time it is, my wage has not come to me.
The Sage: But, how then will it be when thou goest hence, and some other follows thee at the post whose needs are greater? His suffering thou wilt have prepared for him by such uncertain course. See’st thou not thy freedom is far from full, so long as thou dost hesitate to ask for justice e’en to thyself? In asking that, thou askest for all—for those as well whose duty is in the payment to thee. Full well I know, before, thou served a master to the end, unrecompensed. And that was well. He had in time of plenty been fair and just to thee, and then he came to need. Dost think ever to be a servant-man?
The Servant: Such is my Karma, and I rest content with Fate.
The Sage: Never dost thou complain at thy lot, nor wish a wider circle of thine energies?
The Servant: Never, O Sage.
The Sage: Thou knowest fully the duties of thy calling, and none may teach thee more in this?
The Servant: So has it been said by thee, O Sage.
The Sage: Alas, thou art content with thy perfections, while yet is imperfect service in the world; while yet masters do impose on those of weaker fibre. Thou art content to be at peace with those who scorn thee and thy caste, while thou mightst help the little band at the assembly-place only with thy presence the sign of promise unto brotherhood of all
mankind. The loveliest plant in all this verdant vegetation is lesser in its knowledge than yon crawling worm that with effort gains its aim. The Lords of Light are Will-Born Lords. For them it never were enough to gain Their own Soul’s peace: They would bring all men to strive unto perfection. Not acting for Themselves. They yet do act for weaker, helpless, ignorant brothers. Perfect in Their service, They would help all men to better serve—both served and servers; perfect in Their duty, They would bring all mankind to see clear-eyed their duty, and arouse their Will, the better to fulfill it.
The Servant: O Sage, I see I am a son of passive Yoga. Where may I begin to better serve the world?
The Sage: The duties unfulfilled by thee to mankind and thyself must first be met in thy present station. Then, thy chains will break asunder. The Good Law will out-fling its gates to the road ahead, whereon thou wilt meet thy destiny— new duties, new relations, which will demand thy Will and Effort. One lesson learned means but higher striving; one fault shows undreamed virtues yet to be. He only is a slave ,who serves not at all the rest; he alone is bound who stagnates in his, own content and satisfaction. The Ever-Striving” are the Ever-Free!
The Servant: O Sage, thou hast shown to me a higher world while yet in this. No less shall I be uncomplaining of my lot, for that I shall see in whatever injustice may he dwelling there, injustice to my kind which I may mitigate. Not less well shall I perform the tasks allotted to me, for I do them unto all. Each one may be a fair exemplar of right service. So may I serve the world!
The Sage: Blessings on thee. Go forth in happiness of heart, for thou, hast seen a vision of the Law.
THE MAIDEN: O reverend Sage, my heart tells me to seek thy counsel. Yet my reason would abstain, for how shouldst thou—ascetic—know that I would ask concerning Love?
The Sage: Hearts’ loves of many ageless pasts may dwell e’en in an ascetic’s soul. Found in the heart is not love, alone, but knowledge. Nay, Love is Knowledge. If love be in thy heart, what need hast thou to ask of Love?
The Maiden: Thus soon thy words resolve the doubt. I thought I loved two suitors for my hand, and now I see that I can love them neither.
The Sage: Well may it be so, but not surely. One instant veil might fall away from before the still shrine of thy Soul, and thou mightst see in new light from of old a companion of the future in one of these. Might be, not till yet another life is destined to return to thee a fitting mate. But, when the gods do hide their intent from thee, seek tear aside the veil. Let love come in train of the Good Law, in order of Great Nature—besought not, flouted not, but come as waking comes in the sweet springtime dawn.
The Maiden: Dost thou give promise I shall truly know Love when it comes?
The Sage: Assuredly. Thou mayst rest on this: Love is an Initiation. If thou knowest it not, it is not Love.
The Maiden: Tell me, then, Father, what Love should be! For many I have known went smiling to a life of promised
joy, hand fast in hand, who found but pain and disillusionment—not Love.
The Sage: They—one or other, or might be, both of them—loved the land of pleasant dreams; they sought for happiness alone, not to be worthy of the Initiation; sought not knowledge of the Soul of each, nor knowledge of the Great Pulsing Heart within all Nature.
The Maiden: But Father, surely there are few in days of youth who care to speak the things of Mind and Soul? I weary grow at times, and find myself lonely, and apart in thought from those who ever chatter, chatter cleverly, and make their mirth of coarse unseemly things. They e’en make mock of Love.
The Sage: When thou shalt find true Love, shalt find one homogeneous to thy nature; to whom all Life is consecrate, who will have ardency to take with thee the Bright Track of the Soul. And in that embodiment of thine own love, shalt find all others for thy love, thy joy, thy patience, and compassion. Thou shalt know thy love is true, if thou art Friend to him, Mother, Sister, Daughter, and Companion; if to thee thy needs of Friend and Father, Son and Brother all find fulfillment in him, yet leave the doors flung wide to the world of all Friends, Fathers, Sons and Brothers; all Mothers, Sisters, Daughters, to know in all a deeper kinship, and to make thee tenderer, wiser, and more thoughtful to thine own near Karmic bond. Never can true Love be ministrant where is exclusiveness—where happiness is sought for two alone; never where is sense of possession, be it of body, mind, soul, of house or wealth; never where is demanding of the other what may be taken only in participation, the gift of Life and Law and Duty. In duties of the mated state to family and race, well-fulfilled though love of the Great Self
of all creatures, there doth prepare a new embodiment of valor and of virtue in the world. Wise Ones of all the past in ancient times came down to save to Man pure household fires, that from them might be kindled the Sacred Altar-Fire of Service, to Mankind.
The Maiden: Duty seems ofttimes a harsh word to mine ears, and I would have in love the greatest joy. Can such joy be sinful?
The Sage: Can that natural be wrong? Must Duty kill out Joy? Or Joy be incompatible with Duty? I but speak of Joy that is enduring, of Duty that is blessing, in the bond that binds, not two, but all hearts to the Whole.
The Maiden: Such love must be rare to find.
The Sage: Rare as is the flower of Udumbara Tree!
The Maiden: Yet, for all that, might one, then, not take a lesser love?
The Sage: Depends, O Daughter. Depends on how bright the flame of self-sacrifice burneth in thy heart. Depends on how steadfastly thou canst abide by chosen course. Depends on need thou knowest to exist in other lives concerned. Have been those who saw the karmic marks of destiny, who dared fulfill though stepping into shade themselves, who helped others find the skyline by that course—and in themselves a Greater Love disclosed undreamed of, radiant galaxies of space.
The Maiden: O reverend Sage, may I see the Truth and do my whole Duty, if e’er the chalice of Love’s sweet waters, or scant or generous, be pressed unto my lips!. Unwitting, I craved sure counsel of thee, who in universal love knoweth of all Love’s lesser joys and beauties: for thy wisdom, now, my gratitude!
THE FATHER: Emancipated One, twelve hours since, they say a babe was born unto my house and me. But what miracle is it hath transpired? My soul is shaken as by unwonted bolt hurled from the sky. No babe gazed at me that first breathing space in air of this world; no babe searched mother’s countenance with eyes of piercing intent! Since, I grant, he sleeps as babes do sleep, nor even mouthing at the breast, doth see us either one. I do beseech thee, answer: Whence comes this Soul and why?
The Sage Hast thou not pondered answer for thyself in the long days of preparation—of building this holy tabernacle men call the body?
The Father: Assuredly, have I done so. And long before, when reverently I sought among the maidens her worthy to be mother of my children, her whose fair graces might be transmitted to them, whose virtue might make them strong for service and attainment. Her I did find at last, and then my vision pictured the cling of roseleaf baby hands, the pink of tiny face. I heard exultant baby sounds, the pattering feet to be. Yet—sweet and precious though the vision was, I knew the price my dear one must needs pay, and oft my fears for her would blur the colors to a somber grey. Bravely and shining she bore the pangs when her hour came. But I did not know that birth is terrible for the one who comes!
The Sage: Terrible to thee, who hast gazed on that not lawful to thine human eyes. Thou hast glimpsed a soul in
moment of undertaking cross of flesh. Thou hast unwittingly partaken of mysteries untold.
The Father: Do all come thus, or is it but for mine own son a miracle of life?
The Sage: Thus do all come, with vision roving future years, seeing the needed gain, as at the end of life, that life unfolds its meaning clear—the justice of its defeats and pains. But are those go—the Good and Holy—whose vision spans the gulfs twixt many deaths and births. Such open eyes again on earth with sight majestic, prescient of plan and purpose for those beings near, and for countless other souls yet to draw within the aura of their presence.
The Father: O Wise One, may such an one be he?
The Sage: Ask not Seek not to pierce that mystery which is his own, and which the future must disclose to thee, in its good time. Study in thy babe that which appears to thee as open book, and knowing only that, thou shalt find, thyself in him and him in thee.
The Father: But now, where has that Soul withdrawn who looks not here with seeing eyes?
The Sage: To its own place, from which it neither comes nor goes. Thou hast that place, while still thou art awakened here. All have that place, and to it—though ‘tis but a mode of saying—all retire in still watches of the, night, then when we sleep. And just as Wise and Holy Ones at death span vaster reaches of bygone lives than does the ordinary man, so, too, while in a body, They live in other worlds, awake here as well as there. Thy babe--though not a babe, but Soul—now wakes there more than here. Here he sees not, speaks not, hears not. The time will come, as rain prepares the soil for budding plant, when here, environed by thy love
and care and guidance, he will awake, and hear and see and speak, forgetful of the bright spheres whence ever shines his light. Yet, in further time, once more shall he remember.
The Father: And to remember would be once more to pass the portal of birth—a birth while yet in life? Shall even I remember so some time-in the waiting aeons?
The Sage: Not highest being lives and moves by law for him alone, but for the whole. Such birth may some achieve e’en yet, in Kali Yug, and Alas, how many stay within the darkness that springs from ignorance for barren and unnumbered ages!
The Father: What, O Teacher, of those who come to birth in perfect forms, breathe momently, and go? Are they those who are achieving or those unworthy to find e’en a birth in body?
The Sage: But by the moment’s breath they have achieved unto their purpose. Their ante-natal state was for their learning, was for softening, or strengthening parents’ hearts, was for rounding the mold of Karma with all who had expectancy of their coming and grief for their failure to incarnate that time and place. Yet, by the very failure, mayhap, they will open the portal of second birth to those they touched in that brief contact with drifting wing of other spheres.
The Father: How long, then, will such souls wait expectant unto another birth?
The Sage: Why came they? Is that done for which they undertook the passage? Some, as blooms on tree that fail to bud, repeat as seasons do; others must await fruition in the hearts of those they seek.
The Father: It doth appear to me that Birth is responsibility assumed by him who comes, as by those who call him here.
What communion must there be in higher space they know not here! But here, why might it not be accomplished?
The Sage: It may be, and it is—by those who know the wisdom of the Great Ones, who see the purpose of the birth of races, and of beings, of planets, stars, and worlds in endless sweep; and then, so live to fill the general Plan. Not love to one child, only—however perfect, helpless, or afflicted; not duty to one family alone; not sympathy for one race alone can e’er bring peace or knowledge. Birth has been for all who live, as death must come unto all mortals: inescapable for all, these two modes of the One Life bind all men and worlds into One Brotherhood.
The Father: O Father who art Brother to all men, I do return unto my house with opened mind and lightened heart. May thy words sink deeper still within my soul and there grow to understanding. My gratitude to thee.
THE STUDENT: O Honored Sir, my friends have sent me to thee, in the hope that thou mightst give to me assuagement with thy words of wisdom. My first loved friend is dead. Long have we together pored the scriptures and philosophies; only a week since did we speak of birth and death as we paced beside the stream in sunset hour, but to me now all words of books or men are, empty forms, as is the life I must henceforth mum lonely through.
The Sage: So living, thou wouldst live a life itself a death, O Young Man. But thou mightst find in death that which is life.
The Student: How canst thou tell me so? Thou didst not sit beside his bed those gasping hours, waiting for help that did not come. Thou dost not know there was no need for him to die, in full tide of his manhood, in peerless strength and beauty, his mind ripe for knowledge and for fame!
The Sage: I know that death was not a loss to him. I know he knows not death, nor loss of thee, nor loss of any fair perfection life here did hold for him.
The Student: Then only I know death? It is but mine own sorrow I lament?
The Sage: Tis so. Thou grievest for thine own despair, not rejoicing in thy friend’s release. And so do press upon thee the sorrows of all mankind to whom death is inevitable and incomprehensible and withering and blasting of their brightest hopes. As thou learnest sorrow by their sorrows, so
Death doth teach thee thou hast not known friendship till thou hast made of all mankind thy friend.
The Student: No, ‘tis true. I had not thought that others suffer as myself. And yet I know death ever is, even as birth and youth and sickness and decay. Oh, why must these things be for men and me!
The Sage: They need not be. To him who knoweth life, its Law, its import and its purpose, birth and death are but as sacraments adminitered in due order of the cycles by That which survives, o’er rides and rules, and knows all earth-born changes—Itself That Life.
The Student: My friend and I did speak of immortality together, but I could not compass the abstraction.
The Sage: Doth not thy friend live now, then, in that to be at peace thou hast to learn of his continuing life?
The Student: It is so, O Sage. Did I but know him not snuffed out as is the candle’s flame which disappears in darkness, I could take up again my life’s torn web, and weave anew.
The Sage: Never again canst thou weave a web of beauty save thou learnest what Life and Death have now brought to thy door. It is thy time of sacrament. Wilt make use of pain that thou hast suffered, of pain thou hast subdued, for helping of all friends to reach to knowledge and to peace? If so thy heart inclines, thou shalt surely learn the secret of immortality this side of death.
The Student: O revered Sage, a shame falls on me for my private grief. Teach me more of immortal life for all men.
The Sage: One only Fact there is—Immortal Life. From Life we came, in Life we live and move, to Life we go—
bearing with us ever to other planes or states or places the Life we are. Thou didst not miss communion with thy friend when after a long day of pleasant intercourse thou didst seek the night’s repose? Thou hadst, in very truth, that communion still. So now, the love that bound you kinds you still, is still the true communion—love, that ne’er was seen, nor touched, nor weighed, nor measured. Thy friend’s bodily arc of existence here is broken, but not his love. Cement thy bond in other reaches of the soul. Day time here is that soul’s night. So live in loving thought and purpose for others here that night time be thy day. And thou wilt bring back with thee into thy night what will illumine its dark spaces—knowledge thou hast communed with him you loved here in a body, who now is bodied only in eternal vesture.
The Student: Do others know these things save thee, Revered One?
The Sage: All may, and many do. For who, Wise, crosseth over to the other Shore of embodied existence, leaves multiple strands of living thought and precept, his own substance, here, by which his Ceaseless Beinghood bridges the space between the Worlds of Mortal and Immortal. And thus, still the world is brought, when he has passed, to Duty and to Knowledge.
The Student: O most life-giving Sage, my gratitude shall never end. The death of my loved friend hath taught me Life.
THE REFORMER: Good Sir, ‘tis said that thou art wise. But one young man who doth set store by all thy sayings hath come to me with repetitions that do offend my firm convictions. I come to question if thou art safe guide to youth.
The Sage: Honesty doth well become all men—or wise, or foolish, saint or sinner. Assuredly, thy questioning is welcomed, and humble is my hope to give thee fitting answer.
The Reformer: ‘Tis said by him thou teachest—morals are not of soul but earth; of place, of race, and person.
The Sage: Wouldst thou call lewd the naked savage, for that one in man-ordered lands would be confined so walking on the thoroughfare?
The Reformer: The savage knows not more than beasts, and morals he has none.
The Sage: Thinkst thou to be more moral than the savage that man who walks in perfect garb, lies on his lips and lust in his heart?
The Reformer: It be such I would reform.
The Sage: Did statute-book e’er seal the lips of man, or prohibitions e’er sweep clean his heart?
The Reformer: But the punishment of evil deeds will restraint effect on others not so bold to do them, looking in face the consequence.
The Sage: ‘Tis in the heart that deeds are done. One channel closed, the heart will find new ways to fulfill its black
desire. Nor yet are all the crime-laden behind barred doors; the weaknesses of “good men”—though unperceived, unknown to others—serve to make possible the heinous acts of known more “wicked men.”
The Reformer: These sayings have no warrant to mine ears. How can the temperate man, who uses not profanity, narcotics, nor strong drink be other than a bulwark to—the whole community?
The Sage: Hast thou never seen such temperate men, yet drunk with temperance? Hast thou not seen those men-with every virtue of the undone sins, yet living lives a mesh of undone deeds of service?
The Reformer: Oft have I mused the flowers growing lush from all past plants’ decay. Then what is Evil? What is Good? And what is Purity?
The Sage: ‘Tis neither this nor that. One act of blessing done today in past time had been a curse. The same act done in hate by one might be the act of highest love done by nobler man. And even blackest evils may be turned to powers for good by Him whose Purity is established, and Knowledge sure.
The Reformer: Mayhap thou knowest a friend I had, become so fanatical with temperance, his reason was obscured? But surely, it were better not to do a virtuous deed than to commit a sinful action?
The Sage: That day is but postponed when the neglected deed of mercy will become a deadly sin. When will to act for service slackens, it becomes desire that feeds in every heart all baser passions.
The Reformer: Good Sir, thus dost thou cast a light on questionable deeds of many good men I have known. How
could they be at fault I pondered, when living lives of rectitude and kindness in their households? Yet, greed was in them, and so, injustice done to others.
The Sage: Thou didst judge by reputation and not by character, which is the Soul. The pure Soul dispenses love and justice equally, home and abroad. Uncensored, verily, grows in him respected of his fellows for place and power the tree of false righteousness, till its poisoned branches interlace in network impossible of escape, save unto a further downward course. But pain and suffering destroy the glamor of base deeds for ignorant, sinning men, and the force turned once to evil reverses its direction by shock of woe. So my once a Christ have turned unto the Light!
The Reformer. But may not the ordinary man—like me—know even now the measure of that line between the evil and the pure, the impure and the good?
The Sage: Always! This path of razor’s edge is known of oldtime and told in many a sacred scripture. So moving, comes the time when sins and errors no more foil, will he but think and act according to that Pure and Bright One shrined within his heart, as throned in heart of highest being; will he but act for all men, for the world, but not for self. Knowledge of what ‘twere good to do might sometimes fail him, but Right Motive, never. Mistakes may daunt his courage in moment’s weakness; but that done unto the Highest is there received. His will to do and undo ever strengthens, until he-holds both life and death in his firm hand.
The Reformer: Great Sage, I see I can—I must—reform myself. For myself, and for none others now must I ordain a higher life, a deeper purity. Thy blessing I would crave, and my gratitude I offer.
THE TRUTH SEEKER: May it be permitted, O kindly Sage, that I write down upon my tablet thy truth speaking words, as thou dost utter them?
The Sage: What is mine to give thee may not be garnered on the page, nor may the pen record it, albeit the utterances may be copied true. Long-used have been my words, and the truth within them was never mine alone.
The Truth Seeker: So far have I gone upon my way to find the truth, so many teachers have I heard expound their doctrines, there is confusion of sounds and thoughts within my mind, and I would have comparison before me, to judge and learn aright.
The Sage: Then, listen with thine heart. But, first wilt tell me what thou seekest in my discourse? What thou dost expect to find?
The Truth Seeker: I seek the truth—naught else.
The Sage: And it were bitter—then?
The Truth Seeker: I have not found it where ‘twas said it came with happiness, health, and wealth. I had them all, but had not truth. And now, I have them none; I have naught to lose to find that Truth is bitter.
The Sage: If, then, no lure of happiness were thine, might be learning would content thee—knowledge of high philosophies and sciences?
The Truth Seeker: If it were that Truth lies there. In Science I have sought. It hath prepared mine intellect, but
hath not spared me self-deception. Philosophies, as well, I studied. They something lack: they do not feed my soul. I only ask to take the road to find the truth, where’er the road may lead. Yet all have said, “Lo, here—’tis mine!”— save thee. Alas, I sense in thee some strange reluctance to further mine advancement. Am I unworthy to receive it? Mistakes abundant I have made; false learning have I much; virtues of mine are frail and few. All I can offer is my great craving to comprehend the mysteries of life and death, of joy and sorrow, of ignorance and knowledge.
The Sage: But O, my child, what wouldst thou do with all that knowledge?
The Truth Seeker: Methinks the way were long that travels to Perfection, but I would strive thereto—did I but know the way to go!
The Sage: Thou art thyself the Road of Truth; thou art thyself the object of thy search; in thine own heart—imperishable—the seeds of anciently known wisdom that need but wakening to light of day; that have been waiting for the living water, denied thee, though ‘tis even in the world for thirsting souls.
The Truth Seeker: Father, why is it, if these things be so, I have so long been tracking desert sands?
The Sage: Mayhap, that thou mightst know the desert heat and peril; mayhap, that thou mightst come to know fair hidden desires rare but mirages of the soul; mayhap, that thou, lonely, mightst discover thou canst not travel by thyself—and learn.
The Truth Seeker: Are, then, my fellow men the links I’ve missed to draw my soul unto the Diamond Soul? Must be, again, for that man-made Science yet takes no reckoning
for poor Humanity, it failed me and must fail all? Philosophies do much discuss the whence and how of Universe and Man; they much do analyze the minds and acts of men. Yet, somewhere I do know they miss the Secret.
The Sage: Only when ever philosophers have lived their high philosophies, have they blessed the world, for so they gave it life and made a link with man. The Perfect Knowledge cloth include all sciences, all philosophies, in one grand whole—mere phases of the One Binding, Knowing Life in all men, in every being. Such is Knowledge worth the search of myriad aching years—Perfection that is Truth, and Truth that is Compassion, fruit of Service and of Sacrifice.
The Truth Seeker: O Sage, wilt thou point to me the Way?
The Sage: Seek companionship with other strivers for perfection. Search thyself, and them. Question thyself, and them.
Serve them, according to thy Karma and thy wisdom, according to the scriptures of the Wise of all time. And then, for thee, time will mature, when thou self-helped and helping other selves, will find the Way grown clear before thine eyes, thyself in company of Great Others, who guard Knowledge in the world, till men prove adequate unto the Trust.
The Truth Seeker: My gratitude to thee, while I do vow my life unto the Purpose.
THE DISCIPLE: O Teacher, long have I been following upon thy words of wisdom, and yet not once hast thou addressed me concerning the initiation.
The Sage: Nor do we speak of birth while drawing our first breath; nor do we speak of death as we yield up our life.
The Disciple: I pardon crave for my presumption, but all the books devoted to things holy do largely tell of strange and awesome trials that have to be endured, and lives of HoIy Ones like Buddha and Christ bear mark of them surpassed in mighty hours.
The Sage: My son, hast thou been listening for rolling thunders? Hast thou been looking for sight divine or terrible? Dost thou not know that daily thou dost come into initiation? that hourly thou dost present thyself unto a trial?
The Disciple: Thou speakest strangely to mine ears. My life is lowly and constricted by naught but small plain duties. In those I fail not, as they are there to do, and necessary, nor could I recreant be—but yet they lift me not to spiritual planes.
The Sage: Thy practice falls below thine aspirations, it doth appear, for when one acts in full performance of necessary, rightful duty, he then doth rove the plane of Spirit. Thine understanding failing thee in this, thou hast now regarded the Pathway of thine evolving life as outside thyself. The Path lies in thy duties—nor doth highest being bow to
greater law than law of duty by all duties, and thus to the Whole. Dost love-thy duties?
The Disciple: How could one love such drear routine as binds me?
The Sage: So might yon stars speak on their great cyclic course; so might tides and seasons lament their ordered law; so might thine heart reject its system of pulsation. On, endlessly, do repetitions grave their knowledge in the Book of Life. Even vagrant comet learns its place at last searching again same places of the sky wouldst thou, then, hope to come to thine initiation in other order—unique within all Nature to escape the repetitioned sweep of daily toil? Would not love only be to do each humble labor as though it were exalted; to serve the powerful, the rich, the ignorant, as they were Holy Ones?
The Disciple: Would I could do so! But where my Karma stations me, they think not of things of Soul; much would they scoff at all that I would say, and scorn my loftiest ideals.
The Sage: Then, blest th’ou art in power ,and place and part to seem as nothing in their eyes: too oft cloth pride of progress, and untimely adulation mar the silent work within. And who doth know but these—”sinners” of now—may next life be to thee as preceptors? Great sins are soon crossed o’er with steadfast purpose and sacrificial will.
The Disciple: I think, revered One, I would be more steadfast were I ever sure the way to go. Wouldst thou but say to me—”go here,” “stay there”—so no mistake could be, unmurmuring I would rejoice to do thy bidding nor mourn my slow ascent of toilsome Path.
The Sage: An I were to say—”do this,” “do that,” thou wouldst surely fail of the initiation. The muscles of thy
will were never strengthened, did I push or pull thee one way or the other. Mistakes thou mightst not make but could not tell how ne’er to make another. Mistake were only mine that I would steal from thee thy sovereign power of choice which makes of thee a God.
The Disciple: Worse confounded is my reason for these words of thine. Doth not the Scriptures say, “Not my will but thine be done ? ”
The Sage: The Higher Self of me, of thee, of all men is unseparate: That is thy highest light and law and will, for thou art That. Act thou as by that light, thou canst wrong no man. Act according to that law, thou doest by the law of Holiest Ones. Act by that pure choice, no longer pity for thy weak self shall drown the light; thy will becomes Compassion Absolute.
The Disciple: O Most Revered, a light shines through my heart as ne’er before, for all my seeking gaze. It is thy light, and yet I see by mine.
The Sage: Then thou, in this, hast found initiation, for thou hast seen by eye of Spirit. The holy Mysteries are not of sight or sound of matter, which is but vasty screed for thy perceptive understanding. So, then, may that light grow, till the jungle growth of thy nature lies all revealed; till thou, the God, dost see the man’s perceptions clean and clear. The Buddha and the Christ came by long path of discipline and service; came by degree—by many minor steps like this of thine—unto Initiation’s final door.
The Disciple: Never may I lose the spirit of this hour! My heart has beat with thine. Mine eyes have glimpsed what may be. O Teacher, what gratitude is due thee—may my daily duty bear the witness!
Ahankara—the conception of “I”; egoism
Akasa—the spiritual essence of Ether
Ananda—bliss; name of Buddha’s favorite disciple
Antaskarana—the bridge between man’s divine Ego and his lower mind
Arupa—bodiless; without rupa or “form”
Atha, Svasti—peace be in you; words of blessing
Atman—the Univerial Spirit
Bharata Varsha—an ancient name for India; also, earth-life, the land of works
Brahma—the Progenitor; first of the Hindu trinity
Brahman, Brahmin—teacher; the highest of the four castes in India
Brahmanas—Hindu sacred books, composed by and for Brahmans
Brihaspati—the planet Jupiter; the personified Guru and priest of the gods in India
Buddhi—Universal Soul; the spiritual soul in man
Chela—a disciple; literally, “child”
Daityas—giants, Titans and demons
Das—a willing servant
Deva—a god, from the root div “to shine”; a celestial being, whether good, bad, or indifferent; there are 33 crores of devas
Devachan, Devaloka—”dwelling of the gods”; a state intermediate between two lives on earth, where the soul rests before a new incarnation
Devadatta—”gift of the Gods”
Dharana—attention, first step in meditation
Dharma—natural law or “duty”
Dhyana—a state of abstraction transcending sensuous perception
Dzyan—Wisdom divine knowledge
Elementals—Spirits of the elements—earth, air, fire water; forces of nature
Ghat—a stairway leading down to the river; where the Hindus burned their dead
Guru—Spiritual Teacher; teacher of any science
Hotra, Hotri—a priest
Indra—King god of the firmament
Ikshwaku—the son of Manu and grandson of Vivaswat (the Sun); founder of a line of Solar Kings
Jyotis—“light in the head”; illumination
Kali—black; the goddess of Death
Kaliyuga—the iron or black age; our present period
Kamaloka—”place of desire”; where the soul casts off its kamarupa, before waking to the joys of Devachan
Kansa—Indian ruler—like King Herod in character
Kapilavastu—“yellow dwelling”; birth-place of the Buddha
Karma—physically, action; metaphysically the law of ethical cansation;
the universal law of harmony which operates incessantly to restore disturbed equilibrium
Kshatriya—warrior; second of the four castes
Kshetrajna—the conscious Ego—that which reincarnates
Lakshmi—”prosperity,” fortune; the Indian Venus
Loka—a world, sphere or plane Mahamaya the great illusion of manifestation
Mahatma—”great soul” Manas—mind
Mantram (Mantra)—chants of occult power
Manu—great Indian legislator Manus—guardians of the race cycles of evolution
Manvantara—a period of manifestation, as opposed to Pralaya, dissolution or rest
Mara—god of Temptation the “destroyer” and “death” (of the Soul); one of the names of Kama, God of love
Mulaprakriti—“the root of nature”; undifferentiated substance
Nadigrandtham—certain sacred scriptures relating to Karma
Naga—”serpent”; applied to masters of wisdom
Naracharya—the teacher of men Narada—one of the seven great Vedic Rishis; ruler of events during various Karmic cycles
Narayana—“mover on the waters” of space; a title of Vishnu, the pervading life-principle
Narjol—saviour; glorified Adept
Nidana—the twelve causes of existence; the chain of Karma
Nimittika—law of embodied existence
Nirmanakaya—a great soul that sacrifices the personal bliss of Nirvana to help mankind
Nirodha—the uniform flow of the mind in meditation
Nyima—astrological name of the Sun
Om—the most sacred of all words in India, used in invocation
Pisachas—ghosts or demons who haunt men
Pitris, Pitars—“ancestors”—the spirits of races which preceded our mankind
Prakriti—material Nature in general, as opposed to Purusha, spiritual nature and Spirit
Rajarshee—“King-Rishi’’ or King-Adept
Rishis—primeval divine beings
Rudras—lords of the three upper worlds; one of the classes of incarnating spirits
Samadhi—from Sam-adha, “self-possession”; the highest state of Yoga
Samskara—impressions left upon the mind by individual actions or external circumstances
Sandhya—”twilight”; the period between the “Day” and the “Night” of Brahma, or between two Manvantaras
Sannyasi—Hindu ascetic who has renounced the world
Sansara—human rebirths or transmigrations, represented as a wheel ever in motion
Sattva—truth; one of the three qualities or divisions of nature: Sattva, the good, pure and pleasant; Rajas. causing action, restlessness and inordinate desire; Tamas, idleness, passivity, ignorance and indifference
Shastra—any work or treatise of divine or accepted authority; Shastri, one learned in divine and human law
Shravaka—a listener who attends to religious instruction
Siva (Shiva)—Destroyer and Regenerator; third person of the Hindu trinity
Soma—a drink said to be made from a rare mountain plant by initiated Brahmans; used in initiations when the man is reborn, and his spiritual nature overcomes the physical
Sudra—the lowest or servant caste
Suras—high gods or devas
Surya—Spiritual Sun; the offspring of Aditi (Space)
Swarga—heavenly abode; paradise
Swapita—swa, “to his own”; and apita, “he is gone”; said at death, particularly of men spiritually wise
Third Eye—the “deva-eye” or eye of wisdom
Tirthikas — “heretical teachers”; infidels, unbelievers
Tribhuvana—the three worlds—Spiritual and Psychic (or Astral) regions, and the Terrestrial sphere
Trimurti—”three faces” or triple form”; the trinity
Udgitha—Om is the Udgitha, the Highest Self
Vaishya—merchant, third of the four castes
Varsha—a region of the world or universe
Vishnu—the Preserver; from the root vish, “to pervade”; second person of the Hindu trinity
Vivaswat—“bright one”; the Sun
Yaksha—a class of evil demons
Yama—god of the dead
Yoga—“union”; the science, of devotion
Yuga—there are four Yugas or ages during the evolutionary cycle
(1) Krita or Satya Yuga, the Golden Age; (2) Treta Yuga, the Silver Age;
(3) Dwapara Yuga, the Bronze Age; and (4)Kali Yuga, the Iron Age.
These Ages vary in length, the first being the longest and the last the shortest
Kavala’s Quest . . . . . . Frontispiece
Narada-Adaran . . . . . . facing page 64
Sansara Devadatta . . . . . . facing page 97
The Passing of the Guru