Man’s mind is the human, desire is the devil.
Desire for sex and desire for power create hell.
Hell has dominion in the physical world, libra, sex, and in the psychic world, virgo–scorpio, form–desire.
|Vol. 12||NOVEMBER 1910||No. 2|
|Copyright 1910 by H. W. PERCIVAL|
NO word has antagonized and aggravated, upset and frightened, troubled and pained the human mind more than the thought and word hell. Nearly everyone is familiar with it, many cannot speak without it, some brood over it, but, outside a church and the confessional, few think long enough about it without prejudice to find out where it is, what it is, and if it is, why it is.
The thought of hell is postulated by all religious systems and is expressed by a word given to the people by the theologians of that religion. Even wild tribes entertain the thought of hell; though they have no set religion they look forward to some place or condition which is expressed to their minds by a word which stands for hell.
The thought of hell comes to us more particularly from Hebrew, Greek and Latin sources; from such words as gehenna, sheol, tartaros, hades. Christian theologians have gone back to ancient notions and have revivified, enlarged, painted, embellished, those old meanings into grotesque figures and scenery as suggested by the exigencies of the religion and the motives which prompted them. So hell has been described as a place wherein he who enters is made to experience suffering, torment, and torture of varying degrees of intensity and duration.
Hell is said to be somewhere out of this world. It is said to be in the center of the earth; and again, in the lower parts of the earth, and, to be situated beneath us. It is spoken of in such terms as the hole, the grave, the pit or pit of destruction, the bottomless pit, the land of shadows, the invisible place or region, the abode of the wicked. It is said to be a hollow, a cavity, a workhouse, a prison, a place of painful restraint, a covered or concealed place, a place of torment, a river or lake of fire, a place of disembodied spirits. It is also said to be deep, dark, all devouring, insatiable, remorseless, and of endless torment. It is described as a place where fire and brimstone burn unceasingly and where the worm gnaws and is never satisfied.
The theological hell has been used to impress upon the minds of people the urgent necessity for them to get religion and thus escape hell. But not contenting themselves with giving striking examples to grown people, theologians have industriously engaged in describing to little children some of the institutions of hell. In writing about some of the hells of Brahmanism, Monier Williams compares them favorably with the Christian hell and quotes a Roman Catholic book for children written by the Rev. J. Furniss. The Reverend father, in his description, has gotten as far as the fourth dungeon which is a boiling kettle. “Listen,” says he, “there is a sound like that of a kettle boiling. The blood is boiling in the scalded brains of that boy; the brain is boiling and bubbling in his head; the marrow is boiling in his bones.” He continues, “The fifth dungeon is the red hot oven in which is a little child. Hear how it screams to come out; see how it turns and twists itself about in the fire; it beats its head against the roof of the oven.” This book was written for the benefit of children by a father of the Roman Catholic church.
Monier Williams refers to another author who gives a broad comprehensive and general view of the end of the world and the fate of the wicked. He writes, “The world will probably be converted into a great lake or liquid globe of fire, in which the wicked shall be overwhelmed, which shall always be in tempest, in which they shall be tossed to and fro, having no rest day nor night . . . their heads, their eyes, their tongues, their hands, their feet, their loins and their vitals shall forever be full of glowing, melting fire, fierce enough to melt the very rocks and elements.”
Returning to particulars, Monier Williams quotes from the sermon of a celebrated preacher, who tells his audience what they may anticipate as their fate—unless they will get into that religion as their only ark of safety. “When thou diest thy soul will be tormented alone; that will be hell for it; but at the Day of Judgment thy body will join thy soul and thou wilt have twin hells; thy body sweating drops of blood, and thy soul suffused with agony. In fierce fire, exactly like that we have on earth, thy body will be, asbestos-like, forever unconsumed; all thy veins roads for the feet of pain to travel on; every nerve a string on which the devil shall forever play his diabolical tune of hell’s unutterable lament.”
This is a brilliant and fetching description in comparatively modern times. But as minds become more enlightened such picturesque arguments lose weight, and so such kinds of hells are going out of fashion. In fact, with the constantly increasing number of new cults, the fashionable belief now is becoming: there is no hell. So the pendulum swings from one extreme to the other.
According to the kinds of minds who come into physical bodies, the beliefs of man in, against or about hell have changed and will change from time to time. But there is that which has given and still causes opinions and beliefs about hell. Hell may not be what it has been painted. But if there is no hell now then there never was a hell, and all the great minds who have wrestled with the subject have wrestled with something which had no existence, and the countless millions of the past who have lived and have thought about hell have looked forward to and worried themselves about a something which is not nor ever was.
A doctrine which is held in common by all religions contains something within it which is true, and what that is man should learn. When the figures and fresco work are laid aside, one finds the essentials of the teaching to be true.
The two essentials of the doctrine are, first, suffering; as the result of, second, wrong action. There is something in man which is called conscience. Conscience tells man when not to do wrong. If man disobeys conscience, he does wrong. When he does wrong he suffers. His suffering is proportionate to the wrong done; it will be immediate or deferred as determined by the causes which led to the action. Man’s inherent knowledge of right from wrong, together with the suffering which he has experienced, are the two facts behind his belief in hell. These cause him to accept the doctrinal hell of the theologian, which is planned, constructed and installed with the furnishings, instruments and fuel, necessary to the work in hand.
From the complex religious system to the simple faith of an uncultured race, each plans and fixes up a hell as a place and with the things which are fit to cause the greatest discomfort and pain to the inhabitants of the hell. In tropical countries the native religion furnishes a hot hell. People living in polar temperatures have a cold hell. In the temperate zone people have hot and cold hells. Some religions vary the number. Some religions provide twenty-eight or more hells with sub-divisions and departments so as to have accommodations suited to the requirements of all.
The ancient religions provided hells for those of their faith. Each of the many denominations of the Christian religion provides a hell, not for those belonging to its denomination and who believe in its particular doctrines, but for other Christian denominations, the people of other religions, and those who believe in no religion. From hells of a mild and intermediate state to those of most intense and enduring agony, hells of all kinds and degrees are believed in.
The chief factor of a religion’s hell is its devil. Each religion has its devil and each devil varies in form and the service rendered from other devils. The devil serves two purposes. He tempts and entices man to do wrong, and he is sure to catch the man who does. The devil is allowed all the freedom he wishes in his efforts to tempt man, and if he succeeds in his efforts he gets the man as his reward.
The fact behind the belief in the devil is the presence in man of desire and its influence and power over his mind. Desire in man is his tempter. If man yields to the prompting of unlawful desire—unlawful as determined by his conscience and his moral standard—he is chained by that desire as securely as the devil is said to hold his subjects in bondage. As many forms of the pains and passions attendant upon unbridled desire, so many devils and hells and means of suffering are there.
The minds of children and the credulous and the fearful have been warped and unfitted for their positions in life by the diabolical doctrines of theological hells. God has been blasphemed and the devil slandered by the crabbed, mean or ebullient expounders of the doctrine.
It is wrong to terrorize mothers and children and to frighten people with dread doctrines about hell. But it is well for everyone to know about hell, where, what, and why it is, and what man has to do with it. There is much that is true in the general statements about the theological hells, but the doctrines and their variations have been so discolored, overdrawn, warped, misshapen, that the mind antagonizes, ridicules, refuses to believe or ignores the doctrines.
Hell is not eternal punishment, neither for the body nor for the soul. Hell is not a place in which before or after the “day of judgment” human dead bodies will be resurrected and cast where they will burn forever and ever without ever being consumed. Hell is not a place, where infants or the souls of infants and of the unbaptized go and receive torment after death. Nor is it a place where minds or souls receive punishment of any kind because they did not enter the bosom of some church or accept some particular creed or special articles of faith. Hell is not a place nor pit, nor hole, nor prison, nor lake of burning brimstone into which human bodies or souls are dumped after death. Hell is not a place for the convenience or disposal of an angry or a loving god, and to which he condemns those who disobey his commands. No church has a monopoly of hell. Hell is not for the benefit of any church nor religion.
Hell has dominion in two worlds; the physical world and the astral or psychic world. Different phases of the doctrines of hell apply to one or both of the two worlds. Hell may be entered and experienced while in the physical world and the experience may be extended into the astral or psychic world during physical life or after death. But this need not and should not cause any one terror nor fear. It is as natural and as sequential as life and growth in the physical world. The dominion of hell in the physical world can be understood by any mind which is not enough warped nor too dull to be prevented from understanding. The dominion of hell in the psychic or astral world can also be understood by one who does not insist that there is no astral or psychic world and one who does not believe that death ends all and that there is no future state after death.
To each man will at sometime be proven the existence of that something which is expressed by the word hell. Life in the physical world will prove it to every man. When man enters the psychic world his experience there will furnish another proof. It is not necessary, however, for man to wait until after death to experience an astral or psychic hell. That experience may be had while living in his physical body. Though the psychic world may be an experience after death it cannot be there intelligently dealt with. It may be known and intelligently dealt with while man lives in a physical body and before death.
Hell is not stationary nor permanent. It changes in quality and quantity. Man can touch the borders of hell or explore the mysteries of its depths. He will remain ignorant of or learn from his experiences according to the weakness or the strength and capacity of his mind and according to his willingness to stand the tests and admit the facts according to his findings.
There appear to be two kinds of hell in the physical world. There is one’s own personal hell, which has its place in his physical body. When hell in one’s body becomes active it produces the pains with which most people are familiar. Then there is the general or community hell, and in which each person has some part. Hell is not at once discovered, and if it is, it is perceived dimly and as an individual whole. No sharp outlines are seen.
As man continues to explore he will discover that “the devil and his angels” may take for—though not physical form. The devil of one’s own personal hell is one’s overmastering and ruling desire. The devils’ angels, or the little devils, are the lesser appetites, passions, vices and lusts which obey and serve their chief desire, the devil. The chief desire is strengthened and enthroned by his army of little devils, the desires, and he is given power and allowed dominion by the mind. While he is given or allowed dominion the devil is not perceived and hell remains an unknown though active realm. While man obeys, parleys or makes bargains with or yields to his desires and lusts, the devil and hell are not known.
Even though man traverses its borders and experiences some of the pains found on the outskirts of the domain, these are not known at their true value and are considered as the misfortunes of life. So life after life man comes into the physical world and he scouts hell’s borders, and enjoys some little pleasures and pays for them the price or penalty of hell. Though he may get well into the domain he cannot see and does not know it to be hell. So hell remains unseen and unknown to men. The sufferings of hell follow the unnatural, unlawful and extravagant indulgences of the appetites and desires, such as inordinate gluttony, the excessive use of drugs and alcohol, and the variations and abuses of the sex function. At each gateway of hell there is an inducement to enter. The inducement is the sensation of pleasure.
As long as man follows the natural instincts and desires he will not know much about hell, but will live a natural life with its attendant natural pleasures and with an occasional touch of hell. But the mind will not be satisfied to leave any part or state of the universe unexplored. So in its ignorance the mind at some time goes against the law, and when it does hell is entered. The mind seeks pleasure and gets it. As the mind continues to enjoy, which it must do through organs of sense, they become dulled; they lose their receptivity and require a greater stimulus; so the mind is urged by them to make the pleasures more and more intense. In search of more pleasure, and endeavoring to increase the pleasure, it goes against the laws and at last receives the just penalty of suffering and pain. It has only entered hell. The mind can get out of hell after it pays the penalty of the suffering resulting from the unlawful act which caused it. But the ignorant mind is unwilling to do this and tries to escape the penalty. In order to escape suffering, the mind seeks as an antidote more pleasure and is held in the fastnesses of hell. So the mind from life to life accumulates, link by link, a chain of debts. These are forged by thoughts and deeds. This is the chain with which he is bound and with which he is held by his ruling desire, the devil. All thinking men have travelled somewhat into the domain of hell and some have gone well into its mysteries. But few have learned how or are able to take observations, hence they know not how far they are in, nor do they know what course to take in order to get out.
Whether or not he knows it, every thinking man living in the physical world is in hell. But hell will not be truly discovered and the devil will not be known to him by ordinary and easy natural methods. To discover hell and know the devil one must proceed to do it intelligently, and must be prepared to take the consequences. The consequences are in the beginning suffering, which steadily increases. But in the end there is freedom. One need not tell anybody that he is going to find hell and master the devil. He can and must do both while living in the world.
To find hell and meet the devil one has only to resist and conquer and control his ruling desire. But man does not often thus challenge the great underlying and ruling desire of his nature. This great desire stands in the background, but he is the chief of all his angels, the little devils, the lesser desires. Man therefore, when he does challenge the devil, meets only one of his captains or underlings. But even challenging one of these is enough to give the challenger a great battle.
One entire life may be taken up in overcoming and controlling some one of the lesser desires. By fighting and overcoming some particular appetite, or by refusing to be dominated by and work for the attainment of some ambition which is wrong, a man conquers one of his devil’s angels. Still he does not meet the big devil. The great desire, his master-devil, remains far in the background, but is manifested to him in its two aspects: sex and power; they give him hell—after the pleasure. These two, sex and power, have their origin in the mysteries of creation. By conquering and controlling them intelligently one solves the problem of existence and finds his part in it.
A determined attempt to overcome the master desire is a challenge to and a summons of the devil. The purpose of sex is unity. In order to know unity one must not be overcome by desire of sex. The secret and purpose of power is the attainment to intelligence which helps all. To be intelligent in this manner one must overcome and become immune to the desire for power. One who is controlled by sex desire or who has desire for power cannot know what unity is nor what that helpful intelligence is. From its experience through many lives the mind seeks development, either through intellectual processes or by aspirations to divinity or by both. As the mind continues to progress in its development it meets with many difficulties and must put by or subdue many of the allurements of the senses and many of the attractions of the mind. Continued growth and development of the mind inevitably causes it to engage in the great struggle with the devil, the struggle with sex, and after that, final subjection of the devil by the overcoming of the desire for power.
Mystics and sages have portrayed and described the mind engaged in the struggle, by such portrayals or descriptions as that of Laocoon, the labors of Hercules, the myth of Prometheus, the legend of the golden fleece, the story of Odysseus, the legend of Helen of Troy.
Many mystics have entered hell, but few have overcome and subjected the devil. Few are willing or able to continue the fight after the first set-to and so, after they have been bruised and scarred by the devil’s double goad of desire for sex and desire for power, they have given in, abandoned the fight, been beaten, and they remained subject to their desires. During the struggle, they suffered as much of the goad as they were willing to stand. After having given in, many have thought they have conquered because of the rest after the fight and because of certain successes which follow as the reward for submission after the fight. Some have condemned themselves as idle dreamers and foolish for having engaged in a ridiculous or impossible undertaking. There are no outward signs of success when one has fought and overcome his devil and passed through hell. He knows it, and all of the details connected with it.
The grossest kind or degree of hell, is suffering or torment through the physical body. When the physical body is in health and comfort there is no thought nor suggestion from it of a hell. This health and comfort zone is left when the functions of the body are disordered, injury to the body is inflicted, or when the natural cravings of the body are not satisfied. The only kind of physical hell possible for man to experience is felt while living in this physical world. Man experiences physical hell as the result of hunger and pain. When food is needed by the body hunger begins, and the hunger becomes more intense as the body is refused food. A strong and healthy body is more susceptible to the pangs of hunger than one already emaciated and worn out. As food is denied the body and the body cries out for food, the mind is impressed and intensifies the hunger by thinking of the food which it has not. As the mind continues to think the suffering of the body is intensified, and day after day the body becomes more gaunt, and wild. Hunger becomes starvation. The body becomes cold or feverish, the tongue parched until the body becomes a sheer skeleton and all the while the mind makes the body’s suffering more intense by thinking of the body’s wants. One who produces suffering by voluntary fasting does not thus experience hell except in its mildest phase, because the fasting is voluntary and for some purpose and intended by the mind. In voluntary fasting the mind does not intensify the hunger by giving way to the longing for food. It resists the thought and encourages the body to hold out for the period intended, and usually the mind tells the body that it shall have food when the fast is ended. This is quite different from the hell endured from involuntary starvation.
The healthy person does not begin to understand what the hell of physical pain is until he has had some such experience as a jumping toothache. If he has an eye gauged out, his jaws crushed, breathing made difficult; if he falls into a vat of boiling acid or loses his scalp, or if he has an eating cancer in the throat, all instances of sufferings caused by so called accidents and of which the newspapers are full, any such experience will put one in hell. The intensity of his hell will be according to his sensibilities and his capacity to suffer, as well as to the intensifying of the suffering of the body by a horrified and apprehensive mind, as was the case with the victims of the Spanish inquisition. Those who see him will not know his hell, though they may sympathize with and do for him what they can. To appreciate his hell one must be able to put himself in the sufferer’s place without being overcome by the pain. After it is over the one who suffered such hell may forget it, or have a dreamy recollection of it only.
There is no such thing or state after death as the theologian’s hell, unless the architect-decorator is able to carry with him the pictures he has painted during his physical life. This is hardly probable; but even if able, others than he would not experience them. The picture hells do exist only for the one who had painted them.
Death is as natural as birth. The states after death are as natural and sequential as the consecutive stages of growth in the physical body. The difference is that, from infancy to full manhood, there is a clustering, a coming together, of all the constituents of man’s make up; whereas, at or after death there is a gradual putting off by the mind of all the gross and sense parts, and a return to a native ideal innocence.
The mind who clings most passionately to fleshly sensations and takes its greatest delight in them will have the severest hell. Its hell lies in the separation of the mind from the desire and sensation, in the after death states. The hell ends when the mind separates itself from the sensual desires which cling about it. At death there is sometimes, but not always, a continuity of identity as the same person of sense as in physical life. Some minds sleep for a time after death. Minds of personalities who hold to the notion that they are made up of and dependent upon the senses have the fieriest hell. The after death hell begins as soon as the mind is free from the physical body and seeks to give expression to the dominating ideal of its past life. The ruling desire of the life, reinforced by all lesser desires, claims the attention of the mind and tries to compel the mind to admit and acknowledge allegiance. But the mind cannot, because it is of a different realm and it seeks freedom from such desires as are not in keeping with some ideal held while in life but which it was unable to give full expression to. Hell lasts only for the period required by the mind to free itself from the desires which prevent it, the mind, from seeking its own realm. The period may be but of a moment or it may be of long duration. The period, the question of the duration of hell, is that which has given rise to the eternal or endless hell of the theologian. The theologian estimates the period of hell to be endless—as an infinite extension of his notion of time in the physical world. Physical time, or the time of the physical world, does not exist in any of the after death states. Each state has its own measure of time. According to the intensity of sensation an eternity or period of immense duration may seem to be drawn into a moment, or a moment may be extended to an eternity. To a comprehensive mind of quick action, an eternity of hell may be an experience of a moment. A dull and stupid mind may require a long period of hell. Time is a greater mystery than hell.
Each mind is alone responsible for his long or short hell after death as well as in life. During the period after death and before he can go beyond hell, the mind must meet and overcome the devil. In proportion to the strength of the mind and the definiteness of thought, the devil will take form and be perceived by the mind. But the devil cannot take form if the mind is not able to give him form. The devil does not appear the same in form to all minds. Each mind has its own devil. Each devil is fairly matched in quality and power to the respective mind. The devil is the desire which has dominated all the desires of the life just ended, and his form is a composite form made up of all the worldly and fleshly thoughts of that life. As soon as the devil is perceived by the mind, there is a battle.
The battle is not of pitchforks, thunder and lightning, fire and brimstone, as against body and soul. The fight is between mind and desire. The mind accuses the devil and the devil accuses the mind. The mind commands the devil to go, and the devil refuses. The mind gives a reason, the devil answers by showing a desire which the mind had sanctioned during physical life. Each desire and action done or consented to by the mind during life is insinuated and impressed upon the mind. The desires cause torment. This suffering is the hell-fire and brimstone and torment which has been twisted by the theologian into his theological hells. The devil is the master-desire of a life, trimmed into form. The many forms which the different churches have given to their devils are due to the variety of devils and desires, given forms after death by so many individual minds.
Some religions of our time are not as considerate as those of old. Some of the old religions allowed the mind to pass out of hell that it might enjoy its reward for the good which it had done while in physical life. One denomination of the Christian religion holds back its devil and lets man get out of hell, if his friends will pay his fine and counsel fees to the church. But no case will be taken for any man who was not shrewd enough to get into that church before he died. He must remain in hell always, and the devil may do with him as he pleases, so they say. Other denominations lessen their incomes by being more rigid in their decisions. There is no business-like or other way out of their hell. If you get in you must stay in. Whether you get in or keep out depends on whether you do not believe or do believe in the creed of each of those churches.
But whatever the churches may say, the fact is that after the devil, the desire in form, has shown and accused the mind of all the wrongs he has done during life, and after the mind has suffered the torments caused by the burning desires, then the devil can no longer hold the mind, the mind parts company and there is an end to that hell. The mind goes on its way to enjoy its period of rest or to dream through its ideals, preparatory to its return to the physical world to begin another term of schooling in its class in life. The devil remains in its desire state for a while, but that state is not then hell for the desire. Having no mind, the devil is unable to continue as a form and so is gradually resolved into the particular desire forces of which he was made up. That is the end of that particular devil.
Hell and the devil should not be thought of with fear and trembling. Hell and the devil should be thought of by everyone who can think and who has an interest in his origin and future. He is a bugaboo to those who are still suffering from a twist given their minds by early training. We may be sure if hell and the devil do exist we cannot escape them by trying to run away and remaining ignorant of them. The more one knows about the devil and hell the less he is afraid of them. Ignore them if we please, but they will continue until we know them and do away with them.
But why should the mind suffer hell, and what is the purpose of it? The mind suffers hell because it has not achieved mastery over itself, because its faculties are not developed, co-ordinated and adjusted to each other, because there is that in it which is ignorant, which is against order and harmony, which is attracted to sensation. The mind will be subject to hell until it develops and adjusts its faculties, replaces ignorance by knowledge and attains mastery over itself.
The purpose of the world and desire, the devil, is to exercise and educate the mind by furnishing it experiences through sensation, that it may distinguish between the action of its own faculties and the results of sensation, and that by the overcoming of the resistance offered by desire the faculties of the mind be developed, and so the mind finally arrives at an understanding and mastery of itself and from a mastery of itself, to a knowledge of itself, and freedom. Without experience, no sensation; without sensation, no suffering; without suffering, no resistance and without resistance no self-mastery; without mastery, no knowledge; without knowledge, no freedom.
Hell is furnished to the mind by desire, which is a blind and ignorant animal force and which craves the contact of mind, because its expression through sensation can be intensified only by the mind. Desire delights in pain as much as in pleasure, because it furnishes sensation, and sensation is its delight. Sensation does not delight the mind, the higher mind, not incarnate.
Hell is the battle field of the mind and desire. Hell and desire are not of the nature of the mind. If the mind were of the nature of desire then desire would not give hell or suffering to the mind. The mind experiences hell because it is different and not the same in kind as that of which hell is made. But it suffers because it has taken a part in the action which resulted in hell. The mind’s suffering lasts through the period which it takes to separate itself from that which is different in kind from it. In freeing itself from desire and hell after death it does not find freedom for ever.
The reason why the mind must contact and work with desire, which is different from and not it, is that there is a quality in one of the faculties of the mind which is of the nature of desire. This quality is the dark faculty of the mind. The dark faculty of the mind is that in and of the mind by which desire attracts the mind. The dark faculty is the most unruly faculty of the mind and the one which makes suffering possible to the mind. The mind is attracted to desire because of the dark faculty of the mind. Sensuous and sensual life in physical bodies, and the universal principle of desire, have power over the mind. When the mind conquers and controls its dark faculty, desire will have no power over the mind, the devil will be tamed and the mind will suffer no more hell, because there is nothing in it which the fires of hell can burn.
Freedom from hell, or the devil, or suffering, can be attained only while in the physical body. Hell and the devil are overcome by the mind after death, but only temporarily. The final battle must be decided before death. Until the final battle has been fought and won, the mind cannot know itself as a continuously conscious being of freedom. Each mind will in some one physical life engage in its fight for freedom. It may not come out victorious in that life, but the knowledge gained through its experience of the fight will add to its strength and make it more fit for the final struggle. With continued effort there will be inevitably a final fight and it will win in that fight.
Desire or the devil never urges the final struggle. When the mind is ready it begins. As soon as the mind resists being driven by desire and refuses to yield to any of the desires which it inherently knows it should not yield to, then it enters hell. Hell is a state of suffering of the mind in its effort to overcome its own ignorance, to gain self mastery and knowledge. As the mind stands its ground and yields not, the devil becomes more active and uses his goad and the fires of hell burn more scorchingly. But unless the fight is entirely given up the fires are lit afresh by the remorse, regret and agony of the mind for its having yielded and its seeming failure. As it renews the fight or continues to stand its ground, all the senses are taxed to the limit of the strain; but they will not break. All the wiles and instincts and insinuations resulting from the ages of desire will appear in the path of the mind in its “descent” into hell. The fires of hell will increase in intensity as the mind continues to resist them or to rise from them. As the mind refuses to gratify or give way to each of the ambitions which beckon it on, and as it refuses to yield to the gnawing or yearning of sex, the burning grows fiercer and fiercer and then the fires seem to burn out. But the suffering is not lessened, for in its place there comes an emptiness and a feeling of being burnt out and an absence of light, which is as terrifying as the hottest fire. The whole world becomes a hell. Laughter is like an empty cackle or a groan. People may appear to be like maniacs or deluded fools who chase their shadows or engage in useless games, and one’s own life seems to have dried up. Yet even in the moment of most intense agony the mind will know that it can stand all tests, trials and tribulations of whatever kind if it will, and that it cannot fail, if it will not yield, and that it will overcome if it will hold out.
The devil to be fought is not in the body of any other woman or man. The devil to be fought and overcome is in one’s own body. No other person or body than one’s own is to be blamed by the one who has challenged the devil and has entered hell. Such a notion is a trick of the devil, who thus tries to throw the mind off the track and to prevent the one fighting from seeing the real devil. When one blames another for what he suffers, that one is surely not fighting the true fight. It shows that he is trying to run away or shield himself from the fire. He is suffering from pride and egotism, or else his vision is too clouded and he cannot go on with the fight, so he runs away.
The mind will know that if it yields and gives way to the seductions of the senses or to its ambition for power, that it can not in that physical life become immortal and gain freedom. But the mind who is ready knows that if it will not yield to the senses or to the ambitions, that it will in that life subdue the devil, quench hell, overcome death, become immortal and have freedom. As long as the mind can suffer hell it is not fit to be immortal. That in the mind or of the mind or with the mind that can suffer from hell-fire cannot be immortal and must be burned out for the mind to be consciously immortal. Hell must be passed through and its fires must burn until all is burnt out that can be burned. The work can only be done by man voluntarily, consciously and intelligently and without repining. There is no compromise. Hell beckons no man and is shunned by most men. Those who are ready for it will enter it and overcome it.
In the December number, the Editorial will be about HEAVEN.