Prepare to Answer Dharma
[from the book LIVING THE LIFE ]
by B.P. Wadia
© 2009 Online Teosofiska Kompaniet Malmö
Many passages in The Voice of the Silence are so many direct messages to anyone who belongs to ”the sacred tribe of heroes” ; such are” the few” to whom the Golden Precepts are dedicated. On pp. 55-57 is a compact passage which begins :–
Thou hast to be prepared to answer Dharma, the stern law,
whose voice will ask thee at thy first, at thy initial step:
”Hast thou complied with all the rules, 0 thou of lofty hopes? ... ”
The implication of the statement that one has to” be prepared,” and not only prepare himself, is significant. The Teachings of the Esoteric Philosophy and the Great Teachers who are the custodians of those Teachings aid in preparing the earnest aspirant who has resolved to serve the Cause and determined to live the Life.
This passage emphasizes not the discharging of our debt – a huge one – to Karma but the need for preparing ourselves to answer Dharma. It suggests a short cut – what to do with and how to handle Karma.
Karma knows neither wrath nor pardon and seems blind in its justice; but what is Dharma? It is called ”the stern law.” It is different from Karma; it reveals the right way of overcoming Karma. Whatever our Karma, it can be overcome by Dharma. Karma is related to the fate aspect; Dharma, to the free-will aspect. Karma teaches us to say, ”Endure, suffer. pay your debt”; but Dharma says, ”This is the way to learn, to pay your debt and ascend to heavenly heights.”
Action which is duty is one aspect; action according to the Code of Law and laws is another. In any state worthy of its name, a citizen is free to live his own life as he pleases, but his country's codes of law prevent his liberty from degenerating into licence. Similarly every soul is free to act as he chooses, but the Voice of Dharma warns him if he chooses wrongly, and if it is not heeded the soul loses his caste. The Code of Law of Nature is there to help, not to hinder. It can be and should be used by the person who has the perception that the universe is governed by moral principles and is always maintained in order.
Our appreciation of the fact that we, no one or nothing else, are responsible for our present state prompts us to seek the right way to determine our duty as well as to discharge it. Ordinary men and women, even those who are well educated, are more concerned with Karma, with what they call duties, and see numerous conflicts of duties. The student of the Esoteric Philosophy and the Science of Occultism learns not to regret his present Karma but to seek the right way of action, whatever his Karma. He soon finds that Dharma, the stern law, forms the inner religion of his heart.
The practice of this” stern law” implies discipline the discipline of raising the self by the Self. Many rules of life ramify from this basic requirement. The aspirant has” lofty hopes ” and these hopes converge into the one grand hope to gain the Great Wisdom of the Great Sacrifice necessary for the Great Service. The principles and rules of the Esoteric Philosophy demand that we sincerely attempt to live by the power of Theosophy; the strength of the knowledge of the Wisdom-Religion should be built into our very Prana, Life or Vitality.
This knowledge cannot be acquired unless the aspiring practitioner honours the principle of silence and secrecy. Nature is silent; she observes profound secrecy and yet she opens her secret chambers, lays bare her treasures before the gaze of one who works on with her, and even makes obeisance to him. He who thinks too much of himself soon boasts of himself before others, and that almost immediately tarnishes his brain, mind and will. Man is a creator; by thought he creates words, and the rules of the Inner Life demand that he be non-violent in thought and speech; more, that he be loving in the recesses of the mind and polite, pleasant and truthful in the use of words. To live the Life, therefore, requires a calm reflection of and persistent attention to the practice of Universal Brotherhood. Therefore the second question which follows the one about complying with all the rules is – ”Hast thou attuned thy heart and mind to the great mind and heart of all mankind? ”
The metaphysical aspect underlying the teachings implicit in the doctrine of Universal Brotherhood should be grasped. H.P.B. states:–
Occultly and Kabbalistically, the whole of mankind is
symbolized, by Manu in India; by Vajrasattva or Dorjesempa,
the head of the Seven Dhyani, in Northern Buddhism; and by
Adam Kadmon in the Kabbala: All these represent the totality
of mankind whose beginning is in this androgynic protoplast,
and whose end is in the Absolute, beyond all these symbols and
myths of human origin. (Glossary: ”Humanity”)
... the spiritual, Monad is One, Universal, Boundless and Impartite,
whose rays, nevertheless, form what we, in our ignorance, call
the” Individual Monads” of men. (S.D. I, 177 )
It is not difficult to comprehend, even with the lower mind, the fact that Humanity is of the same substance, spiritually and morally. At the other end, our bodies are composed of the same substances and essences – that also is not difficult for the lower mind to accept.
But the nature of the lower mind is combative and it is most difficult for it to perceive that Humanity is a Brotherhood also intellectually. The aspirant to Divine Wisdom in living his life must learn this teaching of the Occult Science :–
Each human being has his Manodhatu or plane of thought
proportionate with the degree of his intellect and his mental
faculties, beyond which he can go only by studying and developing
his higher spiritual faculties in one of the higher spheres of thought.
(Glossary:” Manodhatu ”)
The very essence of the discipline of the earnest practitioner is to fight those aspects of the lower mind' which create selfishness and egotism, to consider the good of ” all that lives and breathes.” The lower mind raises objections and barriers to transmuting the selfish mind of desires into the mind which moves by altruism, philanthropy and brotherhood.
The Secret Doctrine (I. 58) carries these beautiful and very useful words:–
If thou wouldst believe in the Power which acts within
the root of a plant, or imagine the root concealed under the
soil, thou hast to think of its stalk or trunk and of its leaves
and flowers. Thou canst not imagine that Power independently
of these objects. Life can be known only by the Tree of Life. ...
(Precepts for Yoga)
These philosophical propositions are necessary subjects for reflection; they brush away the dust of illusions and bring about the blending of Mind and Soul.
But who does not know that love for the whole, vast Humanity is an abstraction? To love Humanity in the mass is as difficult as it is to feel the omnipresence of Deity in the vastness of space. Deity is to be sought in the cave of the Heart, and correspondentially our text pointedly refers to the ”collective minds of Lanoo Shravakas.” For those who aspire to tread the Path of Chelaship this verse is not only important ; it is fundamental :–
Disciples may be likened to the strings of the soul-echoing
Vina; mankind, unto its sounding board; the hand that sweeps
it to the tuneful breath of the GREAT WORLD-SOUL. The string
that fails to answer 'neath the Master's touch in dulcet harmony
with all the others, breaks----and is cast away. So the collective
minds of Lanoo-Shravakas. They have to be attuned to the
Upadhyaya's mind – one with the Over-Soul – or, break away.
Each disciple is a string of the Vina, capable of echoing the tunes of the Soul. If a single string fails to answer appropriately to the touch of the Guru, it ”breaks---and is cast away.” The mind of the learner and the listener must be attuned to the Teacher's Mind; this implies assimilation of the minds of co-disciples. The conductor of an orchestra demands harmony between the players and himself. But this implies that each player, with his own instrument, must play in due harmony with all other players. The unity and harmony between co-disciples and co-workers may be called the horizontal unity, and the unity controlled and used by the Master may be named vertical unity. This latter does not end with the Master; from Him the ray of unity extends onwards and upwards to His Peers and Superiors.
It is necessary to get away from diffusive and vague abstractions; otherwise we shall not be attuned in our consciousness to ”Humanity's great pain.” To facilitate our task a Great Compassionate One has given these highly practical directions :–
A band of students of the Esoteric Doctrines, who would
reap any profits spiritually must be in perfect harmony and
unity of thought. Each one individually and collectively has
to be utterly unselfish, kind and full of goodwill towards each
other at least – leaving humanity out of the question.
At first sight this sounds strange. But Masters of Perfection are most practical and fully aware of the nature, character and limitations of the mind of the disciple. They try to bring the minds of the aspiring learners to a concrete picture. And so it is added :–
There must be no party spirit among the band, no backbiting
no ill-will, or envy or jealousy, contempt or anger. What hurts one
ought to hurt the other – that which rejoices A must fill with pleasure B.
Masters have but a single Will; all of Them have a single feeling – Compassion; a single Teaching, ancient and constant, is spread by each of Them, cycle after cycle. One Lodge or Fraternity, One School of Wisdom, exists, and Its Mighty Custodians are ever trying to reproduce a miniature copy of it in the mundane world. This is the true inwardness of the institution of the ”Path of Chelaship.”
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