The one and the many
As we have stated in previous Lessons, all philosophies which thinkers have considered worthy of respect, find their final expression of Truth in the fundamental thought that there is but One Reality, underlying all the manifold manifestations of shape and form. It is true that the philosophers have differed widely in their conception of that One, but, nevertheless, they have all agreed upon the logical necessity of the fundamental conception that there is, at least, but One Reality, underlying All.
Even the Materialists have conceded this conclusion, and they speak and think of a something called "Matter," as the One--holding that, inherent in Matter, is the potentiality of all Life. The school of Energists, holding that Matter in itself is non-existent, and that it is merely a mode of manifestation of a something called "Energy," asserts that this something called Energy is One, fundamental, real, and self-sufficient.
The various forms of Western religious thought, which hold to the various conceptions of a Personal Deity, also hold to a Oneness, inasmuch as they teach that in the beginning there was God, only, and that all the Universe has been created by Him.
They do not go into details regarding this creation, and, unlike the Oriental teachers, they fail to distinguish between the conception of the creation of shape and form, on the one hand; and the creation of the substance of these shapes and forms, on the other hand. But, even accepting the premises of these people who hold to the Personal Deity conception, it will be seen that the Reason requires the acceptance of one or two ideas, viz., (1) That the Deity created the substance of these shapes and forms from Nothing; or else (2) that he created them out of his own substance--out of Himself, in fact. Let us consider, briefly, these two conceptions.
In the first conception, i.e., Creation from Nothing, we are brought face to face with an impregnable obstacle, inasmuch as the human reason positively refuses to think of Anything coming from Nothing.
While it is perfectly true that the finite human mind cannot undertake to limit the powers of the Infinite; or to insist that the possibilities of the Divine Power must be measured and limited by the finite power of Man--still it must hearken to the report of its own highest faculties, and say "I cannot Think it," or else blindly accept the teachings of other finite minds which are equally unable to "Think it," and which have no superior sources of information. The Infinite Power has endowed us with reasoning faculties, and evidently expects us to use them to their full capacity--else the gift were a mockery.
And in the absence of information from higher sources than the Reason, we must use the Reason in thinking of this matter, or else refuse to think of it at all.
In view of the above thought, let us then consider the report of the Reason, regarding this matter, And then, after having done so, let us apply the test of this report of the Reason, to the highest teaching of the Yogi Philosophy, and see how the latter stands the test.
And, after having done this, we will apply the test of the Higher Consciousness to the same teachings. Remember this always, that while there is knowledge that transcends Reason--that is knowledge that comes from the Higher Regions of the Mind--still even such information of the Spiritual Mind does not run contrary to Reason, although it goes beyond it. There is harmony between the Spiritual Mind and the Highest Reason.