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manhood, we too must be to some extent expressions of this eternal Christ; and it is in virtue of that fact that we stand related to Jesus, and that the personality of Jesus has anything to do with us. Here is where the value of our belief in the interaction of the higher and the lower self comes in. Fundamentally our being is already one with that of the eternal Christ."
Very interesting are the chapters on the Atonement, which make up about one-third of the entire book. They form an invaluable bridge from the old orthodoxy to the newer vistas of to-day. We must, however, pass on to the closing section of the book, and touch on the views put forward concerning Salvation and Resurrection. Our author holds the doctrine that sin and selfishness are two expressions for the same thing. “If sin is selfishness,” he says, “salvation must consist in ceasing to be selfish, that is, it represents the victory of love in the human heart. This may be represented as the uprising of the deeper self, the true man, the Christ man in the experience of the penitent.
Wherever you see a man trying to do something for the common good, you see the uprising of the spirit of Christ; what he is doing is a part of the Atonement. In church or out of church, with or without a formal creed, this is the true way in which the redemption of the world is proceeding. Every man who is trying to live so as to make his life a blessing to the world is being saved himself in the process, saved by becoming a saviour. Ordinary observation ought to tell us that untold thousands of our fellow-beings, even among those who never dream of going to church, are being saved in this way. This is the true way to look at the matter. The Christ, the true Christ who was and is Jesus, but who is also the deeper self of every human being, is saving individuals by filling them with the unselfish desire to save the race. It is this unselfish desire to minister to the common good which is the true salvation.”
“And who, pray, is the judge? Who but yourself? The deeper self is the judge, the self who is eternally one with God. The pain caused by sin arises from the soul, which is potentially infinite and cannot have its true nature denied. If you go and live over a sewer, you will be ill. Why? Because you were never meant to live over a sewer. The evil therein attacks you, and the life within you fights to overcome it, and in the process you have to suffer. It is just the same with your spiritual nature. You cannot continue to live apart from the whole, for the real you is the whole, and, do what you will, it will overcome everything within you that makes for separateness, and in the process you will have to suffer. This is what the punishment of sin means. It is life battling with death, love striving against selfishness, the deeper soul with the surface soul. It is our own spiritual nature that compels us to suffer when we sin, and there is no escaping the sentence; if we sin we must suffer, for we are so constituted that what sin does, love with toil and pain must undo. No eleventh hour repentence can evade this issue; in fact, it may be the beginning of it. If we have been treading a wrong road, repentance is turning round and taking the way back. If we have been living a false life, repentance is the beginning of the true, and just in proportion as the false has been accepted, so will the true find it difficult to destroy the lie. You are the judge; you in God.”
Lastly, we come to the resurrection of Jesus, and this is likely to be for many people the most startling part of the book. To begin with, our author accepts the resurrection and the subsequent recognition of Jesus by the disciples, as facts: “It is almost indisputable that in some way or other the disciples must have become convinced that they had seen Jesus face to face after the world believed Him to be dead and buried.
It is clear that the earliest Christians were absolutely certain that the body of Jesus after the resurrection was the body of Jesus as they had known it before, although apparently it possessed some new and mysterious attributes. In my judgment, also, insistence upon the impossibility of a physical resurrection presumes an essential distinction between matter and spirit which I cannot admit. The philosophy underlying the New Theology as I understand it is monistic idealism, and monistic idealism recognizes no fundamental distinction between matter and spirit. The fundamental reality is consciousness. The socalled material world is the product of consciousness exercising itself along a certain limited plane; the next stage of consciousness above this is not an absolute break with it, although it is an expansion of experience or readjustment of focus. Admitting that individual self-consciousness persists beyond the change called death, it only means that such consciousness is being exercised along another plane; from a three-dimensional it has entered a four-dimensional world. This new world is no less and no more material than the present; it is all a question of the range of consciousness. It is this view, the view that matter exists only in and for mind, that leads me to believe that less than justice has been done by liberal thinkers to the theory of the physical resurrection of Jesus.”
It is doubtful if such a startling proposition has ever before been put forward in such a simple and matter-of-fact way. The change called death, it is suggested, is the passage from three-dimensional to four-dimensional being; neither less nor more than that. But our author goes on the make the direct application to Jesus: “Imagine a being free of a three-dimensional world trying to converse with a being still limited to a two-dimensional world, and we have a clew to what I think may have happened after the crucifixion of Jesus. The three-dimensional body would behave in a manner altogether unaccountable to the two-dimensional watcher. The latter, knowing only length and breadth, and nothing of up or down, would see his three-dimensional friend as a line only. The moment the three-dimensional solid rose above or sank below his line of vision, it would seem to have disappeared like an apparition, although as really present as before. To the two-dimensional mind it would seem as though the solid were a ghost. Does this throw any light upon the mysterious appearances and disappearances of the body of Jesus ?
Here, then, we have a being whose consciousness belongs to the fourth-dimensional plane adjusting Himself to the capacity of those on a three-dimensional plane for the sake of proving to them beyond dispute that
Life is ever lord of death,
This seems to me the most reasonable explanation of the post-resurrection appearances of Jesus, and the impression produced by them on the minds of His disciples.
In consonance with this idealistic view of the subject the ascension becomes understandable; it simply means that when Jesus had done what He wanted, the body was dissipated."
Here is the essence of the New Theology. Now that we have come to the end of our analysis, it becomes evident that any detailed comment would be entirely superfluous. Every principle here put forward is familiar to all of us, and has been familiar for years. They are the self-same views that our own teachers gave forth a generation ago, and for which we have stood, through evil report and good report, through long years. It is not on the doctrines that we need to lay the emphasis. What we need to hold in mind is that these same age-old teachings are now breaking through, in the heart of the Christian Churches. We must be quick to recognize them there, and to welcome them. And we may further recognize, as very familiar to us, the inspiring spirit which is now speaking so clearly through this rather novel and unexpected channel. We may learn that there are many ways in which that spirit works, though working always toward the Great White Dawn.
(NOTE.—The Editor of The THEOSOPHICAL QUARTERLY has had the good fortune to receive from Mrs. Charles Johnston (née Vera Jelihovsky, and a niece of Madame Blavatsky), extracts from a number of letters which H. P. B. wrote to various members of her family in the years following the formation of the Theosophical Society in 1875. The letters, which are printed with the consent of the recipients, have been translated from Russian by Mrs. Johnston, to whom all our thanks are due for thus making available these unpublished writings of the foundress of the T. S.]
June 8, 1877 I have finished my article on Nirvana and the conceptions of the ancient Buddhists concerning God, the immortality of the soul, and cosmogony, as compared to the modern decadence of religious ideas. The Editor seems to be very pleased ... To be sure, my Master helped me to write it, yet it took me only two evenings. I shall send it to you to look at; possibly someone will translate it for you. I wish Vera would translate it for the Russian press. The article is a good one. Its learning is so great that all the Orientalists will have tremblings in their legs. I also send you Turgenyeff's poem on "the game of croquet at Windsor." I have translated it and received compliments for it. Note please that your relative is called "an accomplished lady” in the editorial note. . Life in this country is pleasant, just because you can abuse anybody with perfect immunity, not merely the Pope, but even the Editor of the Presidential organ, the New York Herald. Yet he is an untold power here. However, print will stand anything!...
Do not ask me, friend, what I experience, and how these things come about, for I cannot explain anything clearly to you. I do not understand it all myself. One thing I do know: that toward my old age, I have become a bric-a-brac store for the accumulation of various disused objects of antiquity. Somebody comes, winding around me like a misty cloud, and then, in one turn sends me out of my body, and I am no more Helena Petrovna, General Blavatsky's faithful spouse, but somebody else, born in a different part of the world, strong and mighty; as to me, it seems as if I were sleeping meanwhile, or at least dozed; not in my body, but beside it, as if there was some kind of a thread only binding me to my body, and not letting me go more than two paces from it. At other times I see clearly everything done by my body and I understand and remember what it says: I see awe, devotion, and fear in the faces of Olcott and others, and observe how the Master looks condescendingly at them out of my eyes, and speaks to them with my physical tongue, yet not with my brain but his own, which enwraps my brain like a cloud. I cannot tell you all, Nadya, and just because, though you are the best, most honest, and noblest of human beings, you are very religious, and you hold to the holy faith of your forefathers; as to me, though God sees that in reality I believe in the same things that you do,-yet I believe in my own way. You are accustomed to believe in the interpretations accepted by the Church, and the dogmas of orthodoxy, and though I feel that I know them correctly, and firmly, I do not understand them from the human point of view, but from the spiritual point of view, metaphysically, so to speak. For me, all the symbols, great and holy as they are in the eyes of the Christians, are still merely symbols invented by erring humanity for the sake of a surer and more universal comprehensibility. But I look through them —not at them at their very spiritual significance, and in order to come nearer to this meaning, I do not even notice that often do I overturn the objective in order to reach the subjective the sooner. In my ideal, Christ has incarnated, not in Jesus only, but in humanity in its totality; and as His flesh was crucified, so must all human flesh be crucified, before man—the inner man, the Ego-gets a chance to become the real man, the Adam Kadmon, the Heavenly man, of the Chaldean Kabbala. Christ is the symbol of the highest spirit of man,
, not of the soul. The soul is one thing, the spirit is another. There is a soul (anima) in every animal, in every infusoria; but the human spirit is a direct emanation of the Universal, Boundless, Endless Spirit of God, about which we sinful creatures ought not even to think, unless it be in the depth of our hearts, locking ourselves in solitude in the inner chamber, pronouncing His Name mentally, and by no means aloud. (Matthew, VI, 5-23). The flesh is the devil, the only devil in the world. There can be no other objective devils of any kind; and the whole world—not our planet alone, but the universe,—is divided into three parts: first, pure spirit; second, half-spirit, half-matter; third, gross matter, our flesh. Every atom of matter (flesh) whether it is earthly, or belongs to the human body, every grain of dust, before it reached its present aspect, was pure spirit, its own essence, so to speak. It is not in the crude material evolution of the physical world, as Darwin teaches it, that I believe, but in the double evolution, the spiritual walking hand in hand, and having always so walked, with the physical. In this I believe completely, just because I believe in the one Universal God, and the immutable logic and necessarianism of His laws, established once for all. This is why I do not believe in the creation of the world ex nihilo, nor in miracles, as the foundation of which we have to accept a temporary