The World of Shells and Soul
[from the book LIVING THE LIFE ]
by B.P. Wadia
© 2009 Online Teosofiska Kompaniet Malmö
Hear what the Voices of the Silence say –
All joys are yours if you put forth your claim.
Once let the spiritual laws be understood,
Material things must answer and obey.
While the swinging between pleasures and pains is allowed to go on, experiences are gone through but the lessons are not learnt. The Esoteric Philosophy teaches that after pleasure comes pain and that then virtue should follow. This happens only when pain has led to honest inquiry as to its cause and to a sincere search for it. Ignorance and illusion, low-mindedness and delusion are creators of pain. Only when pain's educative value is sought do we hear the message of the God of Pain. This is the initial step on the Path of Practice.
The pain that the neophyte undergoes is an experience and particular curve of the ascending spiral of soul evolution. It begins in the personal karma of the psychic nature. The probationer-chela of today is tested on the psychological side of his nature. This test begins when personal Karma precipitates the forces of accumulated destiny. The would-be chela has to learn that no Karma of his, emerging from the near or the distant past and whether good, bad or indifferent, is useless to him. When he proclaims that all life is probationary, he soon comes, if he is earnest, to assume the position: ”I am willing to be tested.” Immediately this statement of The Voice of the Silence takes on a new meaning: ” ‘Great Sifter‘ is the name of the ‘Heart Doctrine,‘ O Disciple.” Who and what will help him?
If his earnestness deepens his sincerity he will find this answer: The Esoteric Philosophy and the true Instructors will help. The probationer has turned into a neophyte on the Path and recognizes the place and the power of the Hierophant. He need not depend on his own ingenuity to overcome his self-made destiny in fact he should not. He has to acquire the art of seeking guidance at every turn from his Discipline, his Rules and Precepts. Nothing else will aid him to Victory.
At this stage his personal Karma takes a new shape: he sees it not only as revealing defects to be deplored but also as affording avenues to quicker progress. The powers of virtues and of knowledge come thick and fast and begin to function within him, producing changes on the psychological as well as the physiological side of his personal constitution. This necessitates the giving up of some of his past habits, mannerisms and customs and the adopting of some practices of real soul and mind asceticism. 'The Holy War is waged according to plan and deliberately. Most of the time, most of the neophytes under tests and trials do not see that the forces which bring varied afflictions on their whole personal being are good and beneficial powers. ”Why does only the evil come?” each cries. If he were to inquire and to insist upon an answer he would learn that he is able to perceive afflictions and weaknesses because of his inner growth.
At this stage of soul evolution the Guru and the Hierophant teach the Antahkaranic being in him, not his Kama-Manasic being. The Manasic being or the Inner Ego brooding over that Antahkaranic being stirs up in him the muddy waters of Kama Loka. Unwisely he identifies himself, with his egotism and pride, his selfish ambitions and, alas! he knows not that he is making the task of his Inner Ego doubly difficult. Unconsciously to himself he spurns the aid near at hand, looking in the opposite direction for succour and solace. This is the very first lesson that the neophyte who has dedicated himself to the treading of the Path must learn: (There are probationers who have not dedicated themselves; such are cleaving to mundane existence in varying degrees and the trials of such were referred to in the preceding article of this series. ) But the Esoteric Philosophy teaches the dedicated ones to cease to worry and be anxious about their bad Karmic precipitations, and to identify themselves with that which is beneficently powerful on the causal plane within. That which comes down and out is of the past – so much fæcal matter, useless for building health, useful only as an indicator of our present inner state of aspiration to build a centre of strength and calm and dispassion.
How can we know that such a centre is emerging in our Antahkaranic being? By observing what dirt and dust and filth is being thrown out, causing no doubt pain and shame to us. One of the temptations of this stage is, ”Let me change my environment.” At this stage there is no question of deserting the Path of the Masters, of giving up the accepted Discipline, but the temptation is, ”Let me change my environment! ” – as if we were not going to carry along with us our Kama-Manasic forces and as if these were not going to continue to throw out our fæcal matter!
The fight of the neophyte in this stage is not in the outer sphere of environment; it is between his Kama Manas and his Antahkaranic being on which the radiation of his Inner God and his Guru is focused. He is that being, and not the Kamic tendencies, propensities
and impulses. Whatever the nature of his moods and ebullitions, they are not caused by anyone or anything outside. Outer persons and events are not even the real agents of his probationary testing. These outer persons and things do not try him. The inner Kamic forces of the Elemental world are the primary and the real agents of his testing. This inner process is so complicated that it takes a long period to fathom the meaning of the process, to get over the ensuing evil. In this stage the neophyte is learning to discern, not yet even to endure. The test of endurance will follow only when he has learnt that his foes are within, are of his own household, and that it is of no use to blame secondary causes.
How unequivocal and emphatic is The Voice of the Silence :–
Think not that breaking bone, that rending flesh and
muscle, unites thee to thy ”Silent Self.” Think not that
when the sins of thy gross form are conquered, O Victim
of thy Shadows, thy duty is accomplished by nature and by
man. (pp. 32-33)
Pertinent is the distinction made between the inner and the outer. Sins of the body are effects of the sins of the Kama-Manasic being. The destruction of the outer sins is not to be achieved by seeking a new environment but by fighting the Tanhaic Elementals .and the skandhaic Lives which are within. These produce the sins of the gross body.
In this stage we must learn the art of being present at our own funeral – a very important stage in the – developing life of the neophyte. When he dies the death as a Kama-Manasic being and witnesses that funeral he knows something profoundly fundamental. To be present and watchful at that funeral he must focus his sight on the corpse; and as a spectator he must witness the death of his papa-purusha, his form of former sins. It is the calm, courageous; persistent identification with the God within which enables him to discern that his enemy is not created by Mother Earth but by his own Kamic actions. Among the mourners he will not find his companions but a vast concourse of living Kamarupic beings. His companions will rejoice at his freedom from bondage to the lower, his attaining the light of the Higher. He surveys the Kingdom of the Dead from the altitude of the Kingdom of the Quickened, on his way upwards to the Kingdom of the Living.
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