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Prove all things; hold fast that which is
Better than the life of a hundred years
of the man who perceiveth not the deathless state is the short life of
a single day of the man who senses the deathless state. Him I call
a true Teacher who knows the mystery of death and rebirth of all beings,
who is happy within himself and enlightened.
"Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?"
And the disciples answered: "Some say that thou art Elijah, and others
Jeremiah, or one of the prophets."
"Verily I say unto you, among them that
are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist.
And if you will receive it, this is Elijah who was destined to come.
He that hath ears to hear, let him hear."
The wise in heart mourn not for those that
live, nor those that die. Never the spirit was born; the spirit shall
cease to be never. Never was time it was not. End and Beginning
are dreams! Death hath not touched it at all, dead though the house
of it seems! Nay, as when one layeth his worn-out robes away, and, taking
new ones, sayeth, "These will I wear today!" So putteth by the spirit
lightly its garb of flesh, and passeth to inherit a residence afresh.
The soul passes from form to form; and the
mansions of her pilgrimage are manifold. Thou puttest off thy bodies
as raiment; and as vesture dost thou fold them up. Thou art from
old, O' Soul of man, yea, thou art from everlasting.
There was a beginning. There was a
beginning before that beginning. There was a beginning previous to
that beginning. Death and life are not far apart. When I look
for their origin, it goes back into infinity; when I look for their end,
it proceeds without termination. Life is the follower of death, and
death is the predecessor of life. What we can point to are the faggots
that have been consumed; but the fire is transmitted elsewhere.
O youth or young man, who fancy that you
are neglected by the Gods, know that if you become worse you shall go to
the worse souls, or if better to the better, and in every succession of
life and death you will do and suffer what like may fitly suffer at the
hands of like. This is the justice of heaven, which neither you nor
any other unfortunate will ever glory in escaping. Take heed thereof,
for it will be sure to take heed of you. If you say --I am small
and will creep into the depths of the earth, or I am high and will fly
up to heaven, you are not so small or so high that you shall not pay the
fitting penalty. And thinkest thou, bold man, that thou needst not
to know this? --he who knows it not can never form any true idea of the
happiness or unhappiness of life or hold any rational discourse respecting
All souls are subject to the trials of reincarnation.
They know not how they are being at all times judged, both before coming
into this world and when they leave it. They do not know how many
transformations and mysterious trials they must undergo. The souls
must re-enter the absolute substance whence they have emerged. But
to accomplish this end they must develop all the perfections, the germ
of which is planted in them; and if they have not fulfilled this condition
during one life, they must commence another, a third, and so forth.
There have been thousands of changes in
form. Look always to the form in the present; for, if you think
of the forms in the past, you will separate yourself from your true Self.
These are all states of the permanent which you have seen by dying.
Why then do you turn your face from death? Die happily and look forward
to taking up a new and better form. Like the sun, only when you set
in the West can you rise again with brilliance in the East.
I have held and hold souls to be immortal.
Speaking as a Catholic, they do not pass from body to body, but go to Paradise,
Purgatory, or Hell. But I have reasoned deeply, and, speaking as
a philosopher, since the soul is not found without a body and yet is not
body, it may be in one body or in another, and pass from body to body.
From Spirit, the Life of the Universe, proceeds the life and soul of everything
that has soul and life.
Who knows how many fleshly forms the heir
of heaven occupies before he can be brought to understand the value of
that silence and solitude whose starry plains are but the vestibule of
Spiritual Worlds? A lifetime may be needed merely to gain the virtues
which annul the errors of man's preceding life. The virtues we acquire,
which develop slowly within us, are the invisible links that bind each
one of our existences to the others --existences which the spirit alone
remembers, for Matter has no memory for spiritual things. The endless
legacy of the past to the present is the secret source of human genius.
One great distinction between Theosophy and
is that the latter, represented by the Southern Church, entirely denies
(a) the existence of any Deity, and (b) any conscious post-mortem life,
or even any self-conscious surviving individuality in man. Such at
least is the teaching of the Siamese sect, now considered as the
form of exoteric Buddhism.