Those who will read our next lesson and thus gain an idea of the sublime conception of the Absolute held by the Yogi teachers may shudder at the presumption of those mortals who dare to think of the Absolute as possessing "attributes" and "qualities" like unto the meanest of things in this his emanated Universe.
But even these spiritual infants are doing well--that is, they are beginning to _think_, and when man begins to _think_ and _question_, he begins to progress.
It is not the fact of these people's immature ideas that has caused these remarks on our part, but rather their tendency to set up their puny conceptions as the absolute truth, and then insisting upon forcing these views upon the outer world of men, whom they consider
"poor ignorant heathen." Permit each man to think according to his light--and help him by offering to share with him the best that you possess--but do not attempt to force upon him your own views as absolute truth to be swallowed by him under threat of damnation or eternal punishment.
Who are you that dares to speak of punishment and damnation, when the smell of the smoke of the hell of materialism is still upon your robes. When you realize just what spiritual infants you still are--the best of you--you will blush at these things. Hold fast to the best that you know--be generous to others who seem to wish to share your knowledge--but give without blame or feeling of superiority--for those whom you teach today may be your teachers tomorrow--there are many surprises of this kind along The Path.
Be brave and confident, but when you begin to feel puffed up by your acquirement of some new bit of knowledge, let your prayer--_our_ prayer, for we too are infants--be, "Lord, be merciful unto me, a fool!"
The above words are for us, the students of the Yogi Philosophy--the teachers of the same--for human nature is the same in spite of names, and we must avoid the "vanity of vanities"--Spiritual Pride and Arrogance--that fault which has sent many a soul tumbling headlong from a high position on The Path, and compelled it to again begin the journey, chastened and bruised.
The fall of Lucifer has many correspondences upon the occult plane, and is, indeed, in itself an allegorical illustration of just this law. Remember, always, that you are but a Centre in the Ocean of Life, and that all others are Centres in the same ocean, and that underlying both and all of you is the same calm bed of Life and Knowledge, the property of all. The highest and the lowest are part of the same One Life--each of you has the same life blood flowing through your veins--you are connected with every other form of life, high or low, with invisible bonds, and none is separate from another.
We are speaking, of course, to the personalities of the various students who are reading these words. The Real Self of each is above the need of such advice and caution, and those who are able to reach the Real Self in consciousness have no need for these words, for they have outlived this stage of error. To many, the consciousness of the One Life--the Universal Life--in which all are centres of consciousness and being--has come gradually as a final step of a long series of thought and reasoning, aided by flashes of truth from the higher regions of the mind.
To others it has come as a great illumination, or flash of Truth, in which all things are seen in their proper relations and positions to each other, and all as phases of being in the One. The term "Cosmic Consciousness," which has been used in the previous series of these lessons, and by other writers, means this sudden flash of "knowing" in which all the illusionary dividing lines between persons and things are broken down and the Universal Life is seen to be actually existent as One Life.
To those who have reached this consciousness by either route just mentioned--or by other routes--there is no sense of loss of individuality or power or strength. On the contrary there is always a new sense of increased power and strength and knowing--instead of losing Individuality, there is a sense of having found it. One feels that he has the whole Universe at his back, or within him, rather than that he has lost his identity in the great Ocean of Life.
While we are speaking of this phase of the subject, we should like to ask you if you have ever investigated and inquired into the real meaning of the much-used word "Individuality?" Have you ever looked up its origin and real meaning, as given by the standard authorities?
We are sure that many of you have no real idea of the actual meaning of the term, as strange as this statement may appear to you at first glance. Stop now, and define the word to yourself, as you have been accustomed to think of it. Ninety-five people of a hundred will tell you that it means something like "a strong personality." Let us see about this.