Three worlds surround, penetrate and bear up this physical world, which is the lowest, and the sediment of the three.
|Vol. 6||MARCH, 1908.||No. 6|
|Copyright, 1908, by H. W. PERCIVAL.|
CONSCIOUSNESS THROUGH KNOWLEDGE.
ONE who would become the knower of himself, and the knower of all else, must come to this knowledge while he has a physical body: he must learn to distinguish himself from all that enters into the constitution of his physical body. To many this is not an easy task, but for one who is ready for the work, nature will provide the means. Knowledge is attained by means of a series of illusions and delusions and the becoming freed from them. In each of the worlds through which man passes he is deluded by the spirit of that world and lives in its illusions; from these he awakens only to pass through an analogous process in the world next beyond. Many worlds must be passed through, many illusions and delusions perceived and lived through, before that conscious something which man calls himself, I-am-I, shall find itself in its native world and learn to know itself and that world in a fuller degree than it now knows itself in this physical world. What is usually called knowledge is only a fragmentary knowledge and is to that of the world of knowledge as the knowledge of a child is when compared with that of the man of matured mind.
That conscious something which man calls himself has an instrument which is of the matter of the world in which he is to live. For man to live in all the worlds he must have as many bodies as there are worlds, each body being the instrument made of the nature and matter of the world to which it belongs, that he may contact each world, act in that world and have that world react in him.
The breath (♋︎), through long periods of involution, has provided for itself a body of life (♌︎); the body of form (♍︎) has been built; life has been precipitated in and about the form, thus a physical body (♎︎), has resulted. Through the physical body made and held by breath, through form and life, desire (♏︎) becomes apparent; by the contact of mind with the physical body, thought (♐︎) is produced. The power of thought distinguishes man from the lower worlds and, by thought, he must work with himself for others.
Man, the mind, from the Sanscrit manas, is essentially a being who thinks. Man is the thinker, knowledge is his object, and he thinks in order that he may know. The thinker, manas, knows, in the world of its own being, but it knows in that world only that which is of a like nature to itself. Man, manas, the mind, is not of the same nature and matter as the physical body (♎︎), nor of the matter of form-desire (♍︎–♏︎), nor of the matter of the world of life-thought (♌︎–♐︎). The thinker is of the matter (if we can call this high state of being matter) of the nature of breath-individuality (♋︎–♑︎). As such it may be in the spiritual world of breath-individuality, when freed from the lower worlds, and know itself in the degree in which it can relate itself to them, but it cannot by itself alone in its own world know the lower worlds and their ideals. To know the ideals and worlds which are contained within the spiritual world of knowledge, the thinker, man, must have bodies in which he must live and come in touch with each of the worlds, and through those bodies learn all that the worlds can teach. For this reason, man, the thinker, finds himself in a physical body living in this world to-day. Life after life the mind will incarnate until man shall have learned all that each of the several worlds can teach him; then only may he become freed from the bonds which the lower worlds forge about him. He will become free though he be still living in all the worlds. The difference between the free-man and the bond-man or slave is that this slave or bond-man suffers in ignorance, unmindful of the cause of suffering and of the means of liberation, and remains a slave until he shall awaken to the cause of his slavery and determines to enter the path of his liberation. On the other hand, the free-man is in the world of knowledge and though he lives and acts in all of the lower worlds he is not deluded, for the light of knowledge illumines the worlds. While living in his physical body he sees through the illusions of the physical world and the worlds which lie between it and the world of knowledge, and he does not mistake one for the other. All paths are seen by him, but he walks by the light of knowledge. Men are slaves and cannot at once perceive the path to the world of knowledge, but they suppose they know the things of all the worlds as soon as they begin to see the world.
Having entered the infant body, our schooling begins with our first conscious recognition of the world and continues until the end of physical life when, still as children, we depart. During a life, as little is learned by the mind as a child learns in one of the days of its school-time. The child enters school and accepts as true what its teacher tells it. The mind enters its physical body and accepts as true what the senses, its teachers, tell it; but the teachers are able to tell only that which they have been taught. After a time, the child in school begins to question the teacher concerning the teaching; later, when the faculty of thought is more fully developed, it is able to analyze some of the teaching and to prove it a fact or fallacy, or sometime to go even farther than the teacher into the realms of thought.
In a child, the mind is taught by the senses and the mind accepts as true all that the senses tell it. As the child grows, the senses are more fully developed and impart to the mind what is called a knowledge of the world; so that the mind first awakens to the reality of the physical world by means of the physical senses. As it continues to live in the physical world the senses are more fully developed and the world appears in many-tinted shapes and figures. Sound is interpreted into noise, melody and symphony. The perfumes and savors of the earth convey to the mind the delights of the body; the palate and touch bring to the mind craving appetites and the feeling of the reality of the senses. The mind thus experiencing the world through the senses at first thinks: all these things are true, these things only are real; but as the mind continues to think it runs the gamut of the senses and reaches out for knowledge. More than the world, the senses cannot give. Then the mind begins to question. This is the condition of humanity at present.
The sciences progress to the limits of the senses, but there they must stop unless they intend to investigate more than the senses can teach.
Religions also are built on the senses, and are for those minds, infant and adult, who do not wish to leave the beaten paths where teachers of sensuous pursuits have led. Though professing to be spiritual, religions are in their doctrines and teachings materialism, though a little more spiritualized than physical science. Thus the mind is deluded through life by the teachers of all classes.
The mind cannot by sensuous perceptions become freed from the illusions of sense. After many adventures and crises, man begins to doubt the reality of the world and of the senses which he had thought so real. He learns that what is called knowledge is not real knowledge after all, that what he thought to be beyond doubt often proves to be the most unreliable. Man should not become despondent and a pessimist because he sees that all so-called knowledge is as child’s play, that those who say they know are as children playing shop and soldier, quoting fables and explaining to each other how the wind blows, the stars shine and why they happen to be, and how they, the children, came into the world and from where.
One should, at this stage of his training, remember his infancy: how he then too believed the physical world unreal, as he does now. The reason that the physical world seemed unreal then was that he was not then well enough acquainted with the senses of the physical body and, therefore, the world was to him a strange place; but the strangeness gave way to familiarity as the mind worked with the senses, and so the world gradually appeared to be real. But now, having outgrown the senses, he has reached a similar plane, but opposite to the one he left in infancy; as he had grown into the reality of the world so he is now growing out of it. At this stage, man should reason that as he had at first believed the world to be unreal, then to be real, and is now convinced of its unreality, so also might he again see the reality within the present unreality; that these are stages which the mind experiences from one world to another, only to forget them again and then find them anew until all worlds are passed through, both in the coming and in the going. When the physical senses are outgrown he is at the entrance of another plane or world which to him is as uncertain and unfamiliar as the entrance to this world. When this fact is understood then life takes on a new import because man, the mind, the thinker, is destined to know all things. To the mind, ignorance is misery; to do and to know is the nature and fulfillment of its being.
Should man attempt to quit his physical body, or by asceticism torture it into submission, or to sit in a darkened room that he may see invisible things, or to develop astral senses and an astral body to sport about with in the astral world? Any or all of these practices may be indulged in and results may be obtained, but such practices will lead only away from the world of knowledge and cause the mind to wander aimlessly about, more uncertain than ever as to who, what and where it is, and cause it to be unable to distinguish the real from the unreal.
When the mind asks itself who and what it is, and the unreality of the world and the limitations of its physical senses dawn on it, then it becomes its own teacher. At first, all appears to be dark, as the light of the senses has failed. Man is now in darkness; he must find his own light before he will be able to wend his way out of the darkness.
In this darkness, man has lost sight of his own light. In the unreality of the world, his light has appeared to man as unreal as any of the objects of sense, or of the procession of illusions. The senses would teach man to consider his light to be as unreal as are all other things of which they had been the interpreters. But among all unrealities, the light of man is that alone which has remained with him, unchanged. It is by that light that he has been able to become aware of the senses. By his light only is he able to know of the littleness of his knowledge. By his light he is able to know unrealities; by his light he is able to know that he is in darkness and to perceive himself in the darkness. This light he now perceives is the only real knowledge which he has had throughout all his experiences in life. This light is all that he can be sure of at any time. This light is himself. This knowledge, this light, himself, is that he is conscious, and it is himself to the degree in which he is conscious. This is the first light: that he is conscious of himself as a conscious light. By this conscious light, himself, will he illumine his path through all the worlds—if he will but see that he is a conscious light.
At first this may not strike into the understanding with the fullness of light, but it will be seen in time. Then he will begin to light his own path by his own conscious light, the only light which will unite with the source of light. By his own conscious light, man will learn to see the different lights of the worlds. Then the physical senses will take on a different meaning than that of their unreality.
To enter the world of knowledge after seeing all the worlds, man as a conscious light must remain in and know his physical body, and through his physical body he will learn to know the world as never before known. Out of the darkness of ignorance man must call all matter into the light of knowledge. As a conscious light man must stand like a column of light within his body and illuminate it and through the body interpret the world. He should leave a message in the world from the world of knowledge.
When one first awakens to the knowledge that all that he truly is is conscious, that which he truly is is not only conscious as the word is commonly used, but that he is a conscious, living and unfailing light, then or at some succeeding time it may be that he, as a conscious light, will in a moment, in a flash of light, connect himself with Consciousness, the permanent, changeless and absolute Consciousness in which universe, gods and atoms are such by reason of their development, in which they reflect or exist as conscious beings in Consciousness. If man as a conscious light can so conceive of or come in touch with absolute Consciousness, he will never again mistake its shadows on the senses for his conscious light; and however far he may wander from his path, it will be impossible for him to be in utter darkness, because he as a light has been lit and he reflects from the indestructible, changeless Consciousness. Having become conscious that he is a conscious light, he can never cease to exist as such.
(To be continued.)