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The wise Solomon spoke of "the holy spirit of discipline." Statesmen of every nation today advocate the practice of discipline by the citizen. Sometimes it is sought to impose discipline from without, and then, invariably, soon or late, rebellious tendencies break loose. The lesson of the Sages, ancient and modern, is that there is only one discipline truly efficacious and that is Self-discipline. From within his own consciousness a man must evolve his own code of discipline. No one can be coerced for long by another, be the other politician or priest; the feeling that the politician is exploiting his loyalty and patriotism, the priest his devotion and faith, arises and rebellion of some kind occurs.

Robert Burton in his Anatomy of Melancholy speaks of "the fear of some divine and supreme powers, which keep men in obedience." Nevertheless, the growth of human conscience and of moral insight does take place, however indirectly, as these are not directly taught. Then the fear of powers, divine or demoniac, is overcome and the mind becomes ready to exclaim: "Rebellion to tyrants is obedience to God!"

Therefore discipline from within one's own mind must arise and become the guide to conduct. In the early stages of this looking within for guidance of outer acts, the person's own motives are hidden from him. Pride and self-regard are so natural to his being that the Egotist becomes the disciplinarian. Declaiming that he is the master of his fate and the captain of his soul, he proceeds to devise ways and means to express his own soul's freedom. This does not take him very far. Soon his pride and self-regard, subtly disguised, begins to function, covering his ambition for money and popularity with the veneer of a desire to do good, for which these are necessary.

The ways of Providence and Nemesis are strange. In earning money, in gaining fame, in wielding power, in practicing kindness, charity and sympathy, in pouring out love itself, the human mind-soul learns the art of disciplining its personal self. Strength of character, the habit of gentle service and the manifesting of devotion to the interests of loved ones begin to unfold. But pride continues to rule the will. Self-regard dies hard. Both hide their faces subtly and unless these are perceived and noted true self-discipline cannot be undertaken with success. When one aspect of our lower personal self tries to discipline another, it is a contest between the Devil and his disciple.

The Soul's disciplining of its personal self is the higher, true discipline. It begins to operate only when the foibles of the good, kind, affectionate, but all the same egotistic person stand revealed to the inner Divinity which shapes its own ends, however rough the hewing by the personal ego. The human being is a sprite, an elemental, posing as a godling. Karma tears the veil off his consciousness and reveals him as possessing in germ the powers of the Spirit, of a God, and as capable of evolving into a Sage-Seer. Then only does the real discipline begin.

The discipline of the disciple seeks the true teacher who has the faculty of imparting knowledge without coercion or controlling the freedom of the will. A true guru does not make slaves of his disciples; does not claim obedience from them. The disciple has grown to recognize that docility and receptivity are necessary if he is to acquire the knowledge imparted; that concentration and reflection are necessary if he is to understand, to discern, to evaluate; that obedience to the teaching carries within itself the higher obedience to the teacher.

In the course of his development he perceives how the great Guru, the Self-realized Teacher, in instructing the self-prepared pupil, is Himself the Sublime Pupil of the Most High, whose Body, invisible and, visible, is Living Nature Herself. The real Guru observes the Divine Discipline of obeying Nature and, having obtained mastery over Nature's Law and laws, obeys them. Thus the disciple learns the lesson of true discipline – to obey Teachings and Teacher, the former permeating Living Nature, and the latter embodying the Wisdom in the single book-volume of His Disciplined Brain. And so there is this piece of instruction in H. P. Blavatsky's Voice of the Silence

Desire nothing. Chafe not at Karma, nor at Nature's changeless Laws. But struggle only with the personal, the transitory, the evanescent and the perishable.

Help Nature and work on with her; and Nature will regard thee as one of her creators and make obeisance.

And she will open wide before thee the portals of her secret chambers; lay bare before thy gaze the treasures hidden in the very depths of her pure virgin bosom. Unsullied by the hand of matter, she shows her treasures only to the eye of Spirit – the eye which never closes, the eye for which there is no veil in all her kingdoms.

From "Thus Have I Heard", pages 215-17
. Utgiven av Indian Institute of World Culture, 1959.


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