Book: Building of the Cosmos and Other Lectures
Author: Annie Besant

Building of the Cosmos and Other Lectures By Annie Besant

Format: Global Grey free PDF, epub, Kindle ebook
Pages (PDF): 84
Publication Date: 1894

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THE four lectures printed in this volume were delivered to the delegates and members of the Theosophical Society, assembled for the Annual Convention at Adyar, Madras, on December 27th, 28th, 29th, 30th, 1893. They were intended to show the value of the teachings of H. P. Blavatsky as a guide to the obscurer meanings of the Hindu Sacred books, and so to vindicate at once the useful­ness of the Theosophical and the Hindu doctrines.

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BROTHERS, - When first the great Scriptures of the Hindu nation made an impression on European thought, that impression was one of a some¬what strange and remarkable character. There was a conflict amongst European thinkers as to the origin and as to the value of this ancient literature. On the one side, it was acknowledged that a pro¬found Philosophy might there be seen; on the other, the idea of finding such a Philosophy amongst a people regarded as less civilized than those who became their critics - that idea led to much of controversy as to the way in which these books had originated, and as to the influence which had been at work in their construction. And even today, when the depth of their Philo¬sophy is admitted, and the grandeur and width of their range of thought is no longer challenged, you find men like Professor Max Müller, who have given their lives to the study of these books, you find them speaking of the Vedas as the babblings of an infant people. You find them denying that there is any kind of secret or hidden doctrine ¬hidden under the veil of symbolism, concealed under the mask of allegory. It seems to me as though in the West it is impossible for thinkers to understand that you may have an infant race, and yet that race have Divine Instructors; that you may have a growing civilization, but have that civilization under the guidance of those who are specially illumined by the Spirit that is Divine. And so they have failed to understand the value of the Scriptures, seeing only the masses of the ancient people, understanding nothing of the dignity of those who stood above them as Teachers and as Guides. Trying to find what is called a purely human origin for the Scriptures, they have lamentably failed in their analysis: for where the Divine is put aside, the growth of no nation can be understood, and where the hidden Deity in man is ignored, no real grasp can be gained of Philosophy, or of Religion, or of civilization.

Now my attempt - and it must be a very imper¬fect attempt - in these lectures, is to vindicate the position that within the Hindu Scriptures you may find Philosophy, Science and Religion of the deep¬est, of the widest and of the most inspiring kind; that the Science of the West is slowly beginning to tread the paths which in these Scriptures are clearly traced; that the knowledge which the West is beginning to gather from observations of the external universe, is knowledge which may be more rapidly acquired by the study of the Scrip¬tures, which were written by those who studied the universe from within rather than from without. Thus we may read that in the Lotus-chamber of the heart with its ether-filled space we may see everything which in the external world may be found.

Both the heaven and earth exist within it. Both Agni and Vayu, both the Sun and the Moon … and what¬ever else exists in this Universe are there, so that in finding his Spirit, man also finds everything which exists in the Kosmos. This is a statement not only beautiful in its poetry, but accurate in its science; and by really finding the eyes of the Spirit, those eyes that pierce through every veil of external nature, we can gain know¬ledge at once more accurate and more profound than can be discovered when the study is pursued purely through the eyes of the flesh.

Now in pursuing this line of investigation, very great help has been given to us by that Russian lady and great Teacher known to us as Helena Petrovna Blavatsky. Her value to the world does not lie in the question as to whether she were or were not able to perform certain acts which others might be unable to rival. Her value to the world does not lie in whether she be a wonder-worker or whether she be a conjurer. These points are not the points by which ultimately she will be judged by posterity. From my own standpoint these so-called marvels are matters of comparative indifference; the whole of these, while interesting from one standpoint, I look upon as of compara¬tively small significance. Her real value was that she unveiled to us the secret of the Ancient Know¬ledge, that she put into our hands the keys by which we might ourselves unlock the gates of the inner sanctuary, that she came to us knowing the things of the Spirit and able to explain to us how we for ourselves might follow the clues which she gave; so that those who are instructed in this Esoteric Philosophy - spoken of in modern times as the Theosophical Teachings - those who are in¬structed in it can turn to the Vedas, can turn to the Puranas, and there find knowledge which from the ordinary reader is hidden. Thus she acts as a great Teacher, filling the function which in ancient times was carried on between the Teacher and the disciple: taking the Scriptures and unfolding their inner meaning and so opening the way for spiritual progress, making it possible for us to attain to the Ancient Wisdom of the temples. I am going to try to justify that view by showing - having taken certain teachings from the ancient Hindu Scrip¬tures - how these teachings become clearer and more easy to grasp, when they are read in the light which she has thrown upon them in the volumes spoken of by the name of The Secret Doctrine. I am going to support that teaching also by reference to the most advanced Science of our own day, showing you how The Secret Doctrine, which is really the most ancient Indian teaching, is sup¬ported on the one side in the West by what is called Science, and on the other side in the Past by the Scriptures, which may be made more in¬telligible, more coherent, and of which the ap¬parent contradictions vanish, when they are viewed in the light of these Secret Teachings of which a fragment only is given to the world.