First published in 1945.
This online edition was created and published by Global Grey on the 26th June 2022.
Download ebook instead
(in PDF, epub, and Kindle ebook formats)
LIFE AND ITS MYSTERIES first appeared in serial form in The New Age magazine, and in response to numerous requests they are herewith published in one volume with their permission. A few revisions have been made and two chapters added entitled: "Future Life of Animals," and "Answers to Questions."
This book attempts to explain in a clear and logical manner some of life's mysteries. Mystery, of course is only absence of knowledge, for when we understand a thing it ceases to be a mystery. But since we never will know all, there will always be mysteries.
Some of the views expressed may not appeal to the orthodox or to the materialist, but they will prove acceptable to those who are seeking light regarding the deeper things of life—and to those who have in their home a chair forevermore vacant.
For the subject of immortality is today engrossing the interest of millions of people all over the world. Sorrow, suffering, devastation and death are clearing the earth of error and superstition and preparing the way for an influx of truth and knowledge of life beyond. When a dearly beloved one departs from terrestrial scenes belief in a vague hypothetical hereafter is of scant value. THEN, only definite knowledge of factual immortally is able to assuage grief and provide positive assurance of continued life and love and certainty of reunion.
We devoutly hope that the thoughts presented in this book will acquaint people with the truth of immortality; bring them comfort and consolation, and a better understanding of life and its mysteries. The reader, we hope, may have some of the peace and contentment which we ourselves have derived from this knowledge. We are deeply grateful for the help we have received from others in the preparation of this book.
FRANK L. HAMMER
San Francisco, March 1945
101 Parnassus Avenue.
Strange, indeed, that people who have implicit faith in life after death should imagine the soul to be new at birth. They do not reason deeply enough. If the soul lives after death it must, of necessity, live before birth, as the circle of immortality is not complete unless the living come from the "dead" as well as pass to them.
The soul has lived before, and is merely awakened when it comes to earth, being borne from another state to continue its development. Physical birth clothes the soul with a body of flesh, and countless people think this body the real man. "I am tired," "I am hungry," "I am sick," etc.; are common yet erroneous expressions, for it is the body clamoring for rest, food or attention.
And in this article we are confining our statements to man, the spirit; therefore, there need be no conflict with the theories entertained as to his physical origin. There are scores of volumes on anthropology, and every theory supported by an imposing list of authorities.
Questions most frequently asked pertaining to Birth we shall try to answer in this chapter. Those who believe that man's ancestry is animal usually ask this question: "At what stage of evolution did man come into possession of a soul, and evolve from an animal into a human being?" Man has always been man and a human being. But it was many ages before the soul spoke and the man heard, and in appearance resembled the brute more than the present form of humanity. But no one, regardless of animal propensities or aspect, ever was or is devoid of soul. Man is a child of God, not an offspring of a monkey. Both his origin and destiny are spiritual.
"Does the soul enter the body at conception, during gestation, or at birth?" There is a wide divergence of opinion on this subject. The truth is the union of soul and body begins at the time of conception, but is complete only at the moment of birth. The soul is related to the body as a cause to an effect, and is the matrix from which the body is formed. The cry when uttered by the infant announces that memory and thought have united, and that he is now numbered among the living. But it is only by growth and gradual development that he learns the use of his earthly instruments, the brain and the body.
"Were all souls created at the same time?" There is no age to the soul. It was never born; it can never die. It is part of the Deity and partakes of His Nature, changeless, eternal and indestructible. When occult students say: "He (or she) is a very old soul," they have reference to experience and wisdom. On earth the soul acquires experience through its entanglement with matter. And it is truly amazing how some people can live so long and learn so little!
Knowledge and truth are never forced on anyone and individuals can either hasten or retard their progression. Some souls evolve slowly, others rapidly, and the choice and consequences are theirs. Alas, years do not necessarily make a man wiser, only older.
Mysterious as are the ways of Deity, we do know that He operates through and with immutable and natural laws. Consequently, how, when and where one is born is in accordance with law, and not an accident. "Oh, why was I ever born?" we often hear people lament. The answer is: "Most likely they desired it, or else needed the lessons of the flesh."
Others insist: "I didn't ask to be born!" They probably did, only they don't remember it. Most of us imbibed too freely of Lethe water, forgetfulness ensued and, temporarily, memory of our heavenly home has been mercifully dimmed. Most souls are not rebellious at coming to earth, but when told their time of birth has arrived have submitted; even though some would probably have preferred remaining on the other side for a season.
Plato tells us: "The soul knows all things, learning is only recollection." He discovered that latent knowledge of mathematics and the sciences could be elicited from unlearned men. In other words, the soul exists prior to the body and has opportunities for acquiring knowledge and skill. These it brings to earth in the form of latent capacities and potential aptitudes. Whenever an individual possesses an extraordinary endowment of creative powers, a native ability or aptitude for literature, art or the sciences, we can be absolutely certain it is prior knowledge. The preparatory work was done by the person himself before birth, on other planes of existence, and are not gifts of God as erroneously called. Deity has no favorites, nor does He promiscuously shower unearned powers on anyone.
While education undoubtedly excites, exercises and determines the application of talent, it never has nor can produce a genius such as Pope, much less a Shakespeare or a Milton. Nor does genius arise from heredity, for different members of the same family with the same training in every respect will develop different talents. One can be a genius,. the other most mediocre, although gifted children are sometimes born in families capable of providing the requisite organization and facilities for its cultivation. However, when a man has genius, he manifests his natural superiority in spite of the greatest obstacles arising from circumstances, heredity or education.
Neither birth nor any of its attendant conditions are ever accidental; the inequalities and injustices arise from the opportunities or lack of them when born. To be well-born appears to have many advantages, but history does not bear out that it is of the greatest importance. One need only read the lives of illustrious men and women to learn that humbleness of birth and station have never been deterrents to fame and success. The shining immortals with few exceptions labored under tremendous difficulties, yet despite them achieved glory and acclaim. How one begins life is not important, but how one ends it is. It is no disgrace to be born in the gutter, but it is a disgrace to die there.
It is only too obvious that all men are not born with equal mental capacities; for there is a wide disparity in the degree of knowledge and skill with which people are endowed. One vast intellect like Newton's fathoms the profundities of science, while the mind of another can scarcely grope its way through the daily occurrences of life. These differences do not arise from external circumstances, but from conditions prevailing before birth. The same analogy is true when we leave this life. As our status here was determined to a major degree by our innate intelligence and ability, our standing in the community to where we are going will likewise be governed by the amount of wisdom and experience acquired on earth. This is all we take with us.
Entirely too much significance is given to the relative influence of heredity and environment. Some authorities have gone so far as to say heredity determines destiny; others maintain that environment is the controlling factor in an individual's life. There is no doubt these factors contribute to the formation of personality traits and habits, but there is a force stronger than either of these and that is character. Character, or lack of it, is the determining power of life. Many a strong, determined character has overcome the worst kind of heredity and unfavorable surroundings.
All spiritual thinkers are convinced that the powers of the mind and soul are derived from their Celestial Progenitor. There is slight reason for believing that mental and moral characteristics are inherited although many scientists make this claim. Mozart did not inherit what neither of his parents possessed, nor does any genius. Every man is his own ancestor so far as mental and spiritual endowments are concerned. Spirit is forever master and responsible for the incident of birth.
The belief that parents are the creators of their children is one of the greatest fallacies entertained by man, even some biologists. God is the Architect of the soul, not parents, who fashion the body only. The individual is a sovereign unit and not at the mercy of his predecessors. He inherits himself, and gravitates to the right parents, environment, organism for the manifestation of his tendencies. Every individual is integrated, a center himself from which he operates, is responsible and capable of selection and choice.
The lack of affinity between relatives puzzles many people of earth, for it is not uncommon for brothers and sisters, parents and offspring to feel deep antipathy toward one another. When parents and children meet for the first time on earth often there is but little affinity. Occasionally they are old friends brought together again through birth and then there will be genuine affection. Antagonistic souls, those who have violent hatred for each other have met before birth and accrued karma which they are now expiating. They have not been permitted to choose their environment, and this explains in some measure why you find such odd persons in groups where they do not seem to belong. They actually do not belong there, yet in order to have earthly expression take the opportunity open for birth, and come in an environment that is not the best for them.
We often see, in families of several children, one who has peculiar traits of character and personality entirely foreign to the others. The soul in that body desired earthly expression and came to an alien family, where he is usually misunderstood. Unfortunately, these odd persons seldom realize that this relationship exists only for the duration of earth-life, and that there are no deep, binding ties for such a one.
The blood tie has no permanence or significance unless augmented with spiritual kinship. Those who have relatives for whom they feel no affinity should make every effort to discharge whatever obligations were incurred by birth and relationship, thus obviating the necessity of future association.
While color and race begin on earth, they often persist for many years after the change called death, for the soul has learned to function through that particular channel. However, all race consciousness is gradually obliterated and the universal consciousness accepted.
There is no break in the chain of eternity and no interruption in the law of cause and effect. Not chance but justice rules our life. The soul is not new at birth, and is not much older at death, and will be born many times in spirit that it may attain perfection.
Man himself is the greatest mystery of all.
No study is more fascinating or of greater benefit than the subject mind. It has engaged the most powerful intellects of all ages, from the days of Aristotle down to the present. However, during the last two thousand years, that is with the exception of the last one hundred years, not much progress has been made in this department of science. Anatomists and physicians have studied the brain and ignored the mind, while psychologists have studied the mind and ignored the brain. The human mind cannot, by itself, become an object of investigation; it needs the medium of an organic apparatus.
It is mind which distinguishes man from the animals and man from man. While there is not much difference between one cow or one cat from another, the difference between one man and another is vast. In man the scale extends from the lowest point of idiocy to the highest endowment of genius. On the one side you have a Newton who can solve the most abstruse of problems, and on the other a man who can scarcely grope his way through ordinary life. The world has always recognized and paid tribute to greatness of intellect. A man is measured by what he is, and not by what he has.
"What is the difference between the brain and the mind?" It is astonishing how many people believe the brain and mind to be synonymous and use the terms interchangeably. While the relationship between the brain and mind is intimate, there is not the slightest similarity either in appearance or function. Their composition and activities differ as widely as the radio from the ether waves. The brain is a human radio, a receiving station or instrument. The mind is analogous to the ethereal atmosphere surrounding it.
Yet another comparison. The brain is the organ of the mind just as the eye is the organ of vision, or the ear of hearing. Naturally, the perfection of seeing or hearing will be in relation to the perfection of its organ. The same analogy applies to the mind.
Thought does not originate in the brain, nor is it created by the brain. And it is the mind which remembers, not the brain cells. It is the Ego, the "I," which thinks; mind is the substance which "I" uses, and thoughts are the tools. Thoughts are transmitted to the brain from the mind, and it therefore follows that the brain influences and determines the type and quality of thoughts received.
The matrix is unalterable. We know we have the same identity we had as a child, and throughout eternity we shall be the same.
Furthermore, the brain is physical and subject to evolution. The mind is spiritual and already perfect. The brain is personal and individual. The mind is universal. These distinctions are of primary importance for a correct understanding of mind.
We shall not burden you with a description of the brain. For our purpose here, merely let us state that the brain is the term applied to that part of the central nervous system which in vertebrates is contained within the skull. The brain readily lends itself to analysis and examination; not so the mind, although some philosophers have gone so far as to say mind is a product of matter. This is another error made by those who seek a material basis for all mental phenomena.
"What is the nature of mind?" Mind is a substance similar to the ether, which is the finest form of matter known; or it can be compared to a vast field of magnetism. This substance pervades the entire universe, and all particles of matter are held together by it. The molecules of the body never touch, but remain quite a distance from each other, and are also held in place by it. There are forces of repulsion between them which prevent contact, and they move freely in this ether or mind substance.
The ability of states of matter to interpenetrate and exist within other states is one of the great secrets of Nature. Higher states come into contact with the lower, and are harmonized into one single organism. Man cannot combine the lower forces with the higher, but Nature can, and this makes living organisms.
This is also the explanation of the so-called fourth dimension, which means the ability of a higher state of matter to interpenetrate and exist within a lower state. The fourth dimension is not measured at angles, length-breadth-thickness, but proceeds directly through matter.
In reality there is no definite line of demarcation between matter, mind and spirit, as they are the same substance at different rates of vibration.
Emerson gives us the clearest and most concise description of mind. He says:
"Mind is an ethereal sea, which ebbs and flows; which surges and washes hither and thither, carrying its whole virtue into every creek and inlet which it bathes. To this sea every human house has a water front. But this force-creating nature, visiting whom it will, withdrawing from whom it will, is no fee or property of any man or angel. It is as the light, public and entire to each, and on the same terms."
"Where is the mind located?" There is considerable diversity of opinion on this score. Many believe that the mind is within the skull. We said previously that mind is a universal substance permeating the universe. Emerson spoke truly when he said: "No man or angel has a monopoly on it, but is equally free to all."
The sum total of mind is fixed, although, like matter and energy, many changes can take place within itself. All the knowledge that ever has been or will be in the world is in it now. Our inventions and discoveries are but re-inventions, re-discoveries. Truly, there is nothing new under the sun. It is man's duty and privilege to develop his instrument, the brain, and draw unto himself whatever knowledge and power he desires.
Mind cannot be separated or divided, although in appearance it may seem so. Each individual mind is connected with universal mind. Every mind is in constant contact with all other minds and its Divine Source. That one mind is ever separate from others is pure illusion and the major cause of man's suffering. Everyone knows how contagious thoughts are and how easily communicated. All are living in this vast ocean of mind where the waves of other minds are passing on all sides.
"How is the mind connected with the body?" Practically all philosophers and thinkers have believed the activities of the mind to be in close connection with the brain. But that the brain is the sole seat of the mind is as erroneous as the belief that the mind is in the skull. There is no clearly defined spot of which we can prove that here, or there, at this place, the mind comes into relation with the cerebral organ. The mind exerts its influence through the parts of the brain, which differ according to the muscles or functions to be employed. All the parts of the brain are connected, but there is no common center through which all these activities pass.
The brain is the primary, but not the only vehicle of mind. The brain is the physical instrument without which no mental act is possible in a material world. There are no faculties so purely mental as to have no connection with the body. The primary seat of consciousness is in the brain, but there is a secondary one in the solar plexus.
Mind is dependent on the body, not for existence, but for the power of acting in the material world. Mind can function without the body, but not the body without the mind. In reality the mind functions much more actively and freely without the impediment of its physical instrument. This is demonstrated during the dream state, hypnosis, trance and astral traveling. "The mind, though intangible, is the real structure, like a field of force," says Stromberg, the famous scientist and astronomer.
Prophecy is no more wonderful than memory.
"How many minds have we?" Much confusion has arisen due to the different terminologies by which mind is designated and the numerous minds man is supposed to have. One hears expressions such as subconscious, unconscious, superconscious, conscious; animal and human mind; lower and higher; subjective and objective, that the layman gets bewildered, and fails to progress as he otherwise might.
Man has one mind, not numerous or several minds; but one mind capable of functioning in manifold ways. The simplest differentiation of mind activity we have found to be the conscious, subconscious and superconscious. One frequently hears the subconscious spoken of as the unconscious mind. These terms are a contradiction and an impossibility. Mind is always conscious. Because we, the self or ego, are not conscious of its activities does not indicate that mind is not functioning or that it is "unconscious."
We are aware only of that phase of mind manifestation to which the self is identified, but the entire mind is conscious all the time. The mind is fully awake during sleep, anesthesia and when the brain is unconscious due to injury or disease. The brain may not be receiving impressions, but nevertheless they are registered in the subconscious mind.
No manifestation of mind is more alert and active than the subconscious. It never rests or sleeps. It is the storehouse of all experiences and race memories. It is this mind which takes care of the vast demands of the physical body, regeneration and healing. It can be trained to become a most efficient and helpful servant. But it is capable of being only a servant, and should never be permitted to be master.
"Is memory in the brain or the mind?" Memory is not in the brain cells or neurones, but in the mind. Memory is a faculty of mind using the brain for its instrument. Memory is that faculty which stores every impression made upon mind and retains it as subconscious knowledge of previous thoughts, sensations, perceptions or other mental experiences, capable of being returned to consciousness.
This process of returning memory records of former experiences is properly called recollection, and may be voluntary or involuntary. Memory is the storing function. Memory is the library in which life's volumes are stored. The librarian is recollection. Plato said: "The soul knows all things, learning is only recollection."
The imperishable mind substance records every wish, desire, thought and act of life. Nothing is ever lost but is registered for eternity. The thoughts and acts are reproduced on the sensitized mind substance similarly, as music on a disc; of course with this exception, phonograph records can easily become damaged or broken, while it is impossible in any way to deface or destroy what is engraved on the mind substance. Because something may be forgotten does not mean it is out of mind. A great many forgotten memories can be revived with hypnosis and frequently come to the surface during delirium and anesthesia.
Life's imperishable record has various names; the orthodox referring to it as "The Book of Life." Others, "The Judgment Day," the "Akashic Record," or the "Astral Light." It is this record which is man's judge when he comes before that Higher Tribunal where absolute justice is meted out, and which determines his place in the heavens.
Not only man but everything which exists has its own imperishable record. Animals, plants and minerals are likewise surrounded by their auras. And it is a comparatively simple process for one whose spiritual faculties are well developed to read this record of life in both animate and inanimate forms. He can look into an individual's life and read any page therein. The first hour of life is just as easily read as yesterday's.
To explain this process more fully we will quote from a famous seer of the last century:
"The spectral forms of the long ago are indelibly fixed in the 'astral light,' which is the spiritual atmosphere of the universe, where myriads of forms hang on the gallery walls in an imperishable world of spiritual entities. Nothing that ever has been is lost to the vision of the seer; nothing that now is can be hidden from his piercing gaze; nothing that shall be is wholly veiled from his prophetic glances."
A few years ago a prominent motion picture producer said over the radio, that he saw the possibility, through the law of vibration, of getting in contact with any event of the past, no matter how remote. For example, instead of reading Lincoln's Gettysburg speech, or The Sermon on the Mount, we could get in rapport with those particular vibrations, and see and hear the great Emancipator and wise Master just as they were then. Impossible, you say? Not at all. This was a prophetic vision of an inspired and advanced mind. However, one thing is certain—when this occurs, histories both Biblical and secular will have to be rewritten.
"Do animals have mind?" Most people at some time or another have speculated on the degree of intelligence possessed by animals, particularly the dog, horse, elephant and ape. All animals manifest some degree of mind. Plants too, show wonderful ingenuity in devising plans for catching light and moisture, attracting fertilizing insects, preserving and scattering their seeds. "Appetency" is the term usually applied to mind in the vegetable economy. "Chemical affinity" is the operation of mind in the mineral kingdom, while "instinct" is referable to the intelligence displayed by animals.
Animals live in the same ocean of mind substance as does man, but they have not man's complex nervous system, or his highly developed brain. Animals are equipped with the type of brain best suited for their specific requirements, no more nor less. All creations are provided with the organization most compatible with their needs.
However, there is a vast difference in the amount of intelligence possessed by the highest level of animal life and the lowest level of human life. Human beings have extra neurones which make culture and progress. Man has the power of modifying and altering his environment and circumstances, which in turn will act upon him in the future. He has the power of choice, of free will; he can anticipate the future. The animals cannot. No one can, for instance, imagine a dog or an ape sketching out for itself what it is going to do tomorrow.
It has been pointed out that birds’ and insects’ reflexes are so perfect and numerous that they can evolve much further in a progressive way. They do it all because they cannot help it, like a machine set in action. Birds build their nests in the same way, with the same materials as their ancestors, and make as good a job of it the first time as the last. All their actions are in regular sequence, one action being the predecessor and initiating cause of the following event.
How differently this faculty operates in animals and man! The beaver has constructed his dam the same since the first beaver was placed upon earth. The swallows build their nests exactly the same. The spider spins his web, without the slightest deviation from the original pattern. But man, what a contrast between the first dwellings, places of mud or stone, to the mansions of the present! The magnificence of architecture and beauty of design!
Human class has progressed due to knowledge that is passed on from one generation to another—knowledge of structures, arts, music, books, etc.; which belong solely to the human class of life. The accomplishments, however progressive, in the life of an individual animal are lost to the rest of its species at death.
Speech and language have also had enormously important roles in the evolution and advancement of man. Plus speech man has associated with his body an immortal principle or spirit which is denied animals.
The gift of immortality, bestowed on no other form of life, proves conclusively that man is a separate and distinct creation, and possessing a Divine force. It is impossible for man to have evolved from an animal not having this force. Man has the power, when he learns to use this force, to place himself in rapport with the Infinite Being. Men are not hybrids but sons of God. There are no "missing links" in the Divine plan of creation. Mind is the connecting link between dust and Deity.
The rock on which many scientists have wrecked their ships is materialism. In their studies they have eliminated this Divine force or spirit, and its workings, saying: "A force is the result of atomic movements." True, all forces are—except the force which first starts the atomic movements.
Man, like God, has the power to create. He is the architect of his character and the moulder of his destiny. Thoughts are the tools man uses to bring about whatever condition or change he desires.
The lowest manifestation of mind is sensation—the highest, imagination. There are beings higher than man as man is higher than an insect. All are partakers of universal mind.
There is only mind—Universal Mind. Our mind is the use we make of this mind.
The mystery of thought! In infancy our bodies awaken to enjoy the world into which we are born. Then our minds awaken to curious questioning and restless desire for knowledge. Then our souls awaken to conscious search for life's spiritual meaning and purpose.
What is thought? Thought is a product of mind—not the brain. The material scientist says: "A certain formation of brain cells creates a certain kind of thought." Whereas certain thoughts produce a certain brain cell formation. Thought has the same relation to the mind as the wind has to the atmosphere, for thought is the mind's vibration, and thinking is the process of setting the mind into motion.
Where do thoughts come from? There are three primary sources. Firstly: It is possible, through deep, spiritual contemplation, to receive thoughts directly from Universal Mind. Every human being can contact his Heavenly Father without the aid of any intermediaries, either spiritual or physical. "To be pure in heart" is the only stipulated requirement.
Secondly: Many thoughts emanate from the subconscious mind. Deep within this mind there takes place an involuntary accumulation of impressions and suggestions which come to the surface after a more or less prolonged gestation. Indeed, this storehouse of memory, this record of life, is a prolific source of thoughts and many people are entirely too much under its influence.
Thirdly: The principal fountain of thought is the mental atmosphere which is permeated with the thoughts of other people, both embodied and disembodied. We have all had the experience of wondering where some thought came from; it was probably in the "air," and our brains, being sensitive receiving sets, "picked" it up.
There is no such thing as original or isolated thoughts; what is new is their manner of expression or restatement. We cannot conceive of anything which is not; the ideas are somewhere existent and have always been in the mind substance. Our task is to give new shape and semblance to the thought elements which otherwise remain undifferentiated and formless. And those whose patterns are the most unlike the whole mass or group thought are considered the most original.
Thoughts resemble the temperament of the person in whom they appear. Consequently, no one's thoughts should constitute another's authority any more than every head should be forced into a hat of fixed pattern or unalterable dimensions.
Many people are totally unaware of the power of thought and the effect it has upon their lives. These people invariably consider failure, misfortune, unhappiness and numerous other undesirable conditions as things that just accidentally happen, whereas they are created by the individual's wrong habits of thinking.
Similarly, liberation from these conditions is achieved through right thinking. In order to change the outer environment, it is necessary first to change the inner. If you do not want an undesirable fate or future, do not contemplate an undesirable one. Think about what you do want—not about what you do not want.
Right thinking is the key to health, happiness, prosperity and success. The power of thought can either fill our lives with good or leave them utterly empty. Everything one needs for his well-being exists in the universal mind. It is ours for the taking, for we are heirs to the kingdom of God, co-sharers with His opulence, wisdom and love.
Plato said: "All reality exists in the mind. The outer phenomenon, that which appears, is only its outer expression. The visible universe is the reflection of the invisible."
Everything in the universe had its origin in thought, wrought out and preserved in stone, iron and wood, which upholds all structures from a toy to a battleship. All art, literature, music, law and religion existed first in the mind. Burn all books, destroy all churches, demolish all art and they would all be embodied again and again through thought—the creative force, for it is impossible to destroy mind wherein exists their eternal pattern or idea.
Thought is the power that heals. Disease, like all else, has its origin in mind; therefore, the mind must be healed first. The mind must become harmonious before the body can be, because mind through thought is the power that rules and governs the body.
People have been killed by thought. Fear and worry have buried many of their victims. Hatred, envy and jealousy have wrecked countless lives. Poisonous thoughts affect the body like poisonous drugs. Persons in public life have been made deathly ill and often their lives shortened by the volume of destructive thoughts sent them on the ebb tide of popularity. This has happened to practically all reformers, leaders, religious and moral teachers who labored for the welfare and upliftment of humanity.
Men, animals and plants all grow from within. Life is sustained by the drawing in of congenial matter and by the expulsion of foreign matter. The law of attraction is found throughout all life. Our mind always attracts thoughts which are akin to our own and resists those opposed to our mental constitution. The mental atmosphere is filled with thought forces from which we attract only those which are like our own. If you are gloomy, sad, full of worry and vexation, you are certain to attract similar thoughts, which will make you sadder and more gloomy. On the contrary, if you are confident, hopeful and cheerful, you will attract that kind of thoughts to you.
Mind, like the body, grows on the food which nourishes it, and takes on the nature of the thing it dwells upon. And the food of the mind is thought. Therefore, the mind either becomes refined, sensitive, spiritual; or gross, material and dull; determined by the nature of thoughts which constantly occupy its attention. Thoughts are reproduced on the countenance. Sensual thoughts create a sensual face; spiritual thoughts create a beautiful, spiritual expression. Not only does our youth leave us, but our face tells how it has left us. Faces are open books wherein is written the history of our thinking.
How you have thought is revealed by the lines indelibly engraved in the palms of your hands, by the shape of your head and how you walk. An index to the thoughts of another is to imitate his posture and walk, then observe the effect it has on your thinking. Involuntarily, you will feel and think as the person you are imitating. There are no "secret" vices or habits. They are loudly proclaimed on the countenance. Emerson truly said: "What you are speaks so loudly no one can hear what you are saying."
Thoughts are the essence of heaven and hell. People say there is no hell, yet have one in their hearts and carry one around in their minds. For heaven and hell are not localities, but states of consciousness. "And what matter where I be, if I be still the same?" Persecuting memories, or a condemning conscience, put a man in hades whether he lives upon this earth or elsewhere. Peace of mind and serenity of spirit are bliss. And the heaven we will find on passing over is one we have prepared by our thinking and by the service rendered to our fellow men.
Few pleasures are comparable to a trained and cultivated mind. The mind is developed by thinking and not by cramming it with other people's thoughts and opinions. It is not a bucket to be filled, but a dynamo to be set into motion. There are no limits to its accomplishments, for the soul already knows all things; we only need to develop our instrument so that it can draw upon this inexhaustible storehouse of knowledge. A mind which has been strengthened by discipline can meet vicissitude and disaster with greater fortitude and courage. And it is never too late to undertake its cultivation, for, unlike the body which attains its zenith early in life, the best years for mental productivity come in the latter years after the body has lost its prime.
It is impossible to learn anything which will not be of use to us sometime. There is a true story of a professor at Cambridge who, at the age of eighty, began the study of Latin. When asked by curious observers of what use Latin would be at his age, he replied: "I intend to use it in my next life."
As today our powers are not of heritage only, but acquirements from previous lives before coming to earth, so studies today undertaken, no matter how near to the evening of our days, will surely bear fruit, not alone in our present life, but in the future.
"Guard well thy thoughts, for thoughts are heard in heaven," is a literal truth and explains the efficacy of prayer. For thoughts are the links between invisible substance and the visible form. Thought is a tangible substance and, united with will, is a projectile. The motive power of thought will be explained in the following chapter entitled: "Telepathy."
Few of us demand enough from life. We should bear in mind that we are not beggars, but heirs to the Kingdom.
What is telepathy? Telepathy is a faculty of mind, and is the power which the mind has of communicating its own thoughts and receiving the thoughts of others without employing the known channels of the senses or any other physical agencies.
Telepathy is no recent discovery nor is it occult in manifestation, but is old as thought and normal as thinking. That thought forces arrive at their objective, regardless of distances or barriers, has long been known to many philosophers, and that the mind has the power of affecting inanimate objects and persons at a distance dates back to prehistoric times.
As there are forces in the human personality besides those employed for muscular and chemical purposes, so there are faculties in the mind that far transcend the ones we use in objective thought and thinking. These higher faculties, most fortunately, are yet dormant in mankind as a whole. Better give children dynamite than entrust the creative powers of thought to selfish and ambitious men.
Peculiar are some of the notions entertained about telepathic communications. Many people deny this power to man, but have no doubt that animals possess it. Still more singular is the idea that the radio transmits and receives vibrations via the ether, but that man has no such power. Regardless of what anyone believes or disbelieves, it is only too evident that our minds are constantly filled with a surge of ideas, coming and going, over which we exercise little control.
Most people are helpless victims in regard to telepathy because they are not cognizant of it, and, consequently, do not select their thoughts which are constantly in their atmosphere. Their minds have not been trained to discriminate, or choose only such thoughts which are useful, constructive and beneficial, and reject those which are selfish, destructive and pessimistic. They are at the mercy of every adverse thought which comes their way and readily succumb to dejection, melancholy and moods.
Many people mistake telepathic suggestions as emanating from their minds, whereas they have been sent them by individuals who wish them to act in a certain manner. It is always unwise to accept any thought or suggestion without first examining its purpose and purport; for, unless we know from where suggestions come, we are mere tools in the hands of people who may be designing and unscrupulous. All people are the recipient of others’ thoughts and not always to their benefit.
Rulers are well aware that thought is no imaginary thing, but a powerful force to be reckoned with and, whenever possible, to be controlled. Not for nothing does every country employ hordes of skillful and high-salaried propagandists, for the leaders fear, more than anything else, the awakening of the masses. It is only because their minds are controlled that the people follow their leaders to death and destruction.
How telepathy works escapes all analysis. Numerous theories have been advanced to account for its operation, the most logical one being the omnipresence of mind. Through the existence of a universal ether, constant and pervading all space, all minds are in continual communication with other mentalities, and have the power of influencing them without the aid of any mechanical devices.
Whatever this force may be, it must pass across a greater or lesser distance to produce its manifestations. It cannot be transmitted across a void. It must have some means of conduction. The "carrier" for thought vibrations is this magnetic mind substance, and telepathy underlies and ramifies through all the diversified effects and is the basic principle of all mental phenomena.
Thoughts are not indefinite abstractions, but are powerful, vital forces endowed with form, color and odor. They are visible to clairvoyants and audible to clairaudient people. They have motive power, traveling with incredible speed, reaching almost instantly the remotest spheres, and there is no diminution of power or strength regardless of the distance traversed. We know for a certainty that entities who no longer employ physical organs of any kind can and do transmit and receive telepathic messages.
Uninformed people often scoff at telepathy on the grounds that experiments performed are frequently far from being accurate or reliable. Telepathy is perfect. But telepathy as a faculty and as a mode of communication are entirely different. One is the method of communication—the other is the mind's ability to communicate in that way. They are as different as thought and speech. There is the ability to think, while language is merely the system of symbols used for the expression of ideas. Everyone has experienced difficulty with the ambiguity of words. We have certain thoughts in mind, but when conveying them to the mind of another, in speaking or writing, often an entirely different idea is formed. Is it any wonder, then, that error should prevail when untrained instrumentalities undertake to read minds?
Successful mind reading requires years of persistent practice and intense concentration. Also, there are several obstacles which prevent any appreciable degree of accuracy. Chief among these are a phlegmatic temperament, dense organism and lack of rapport between transmitter and receiver. Just as some people are born to sing and others are not, so some people are naturally endowed for the pursuance of the mental sciences. While these faculties can be cultivated to a limited degree, these powers appear to be more or less hereditary for they often run in families for generations.
Experience has proved that an emotional relationship forms the best basis for thought transference. Parents and their children are in close rapport, for mothers often intuitively know when their offspring are in danger. Husband and wife have been found very susceptible to each other's thoughts, particularly if happily married for a period of years.
Mrs. Upton Sinclair for one is able to get her husband's thoughts when thousands of miles apart. Furthermore, she is also able to see what he is doing. However, this phase of psychic perception is properly called clairvoyance. Interior and distant hearing is designated as clairaudience. It is sometimes erroneously believed that these psychic senses are extensions of the physical ones. They are in reality, soul senses, for the spiritual body has faculties analogous to its physical counterpart. Blind people frequently have their psychic senses highly developed, which accounts for their amazing ability to sense colors, location, etc. Everyone knows what Helen Keller has accomplished.
We read recently about a James Holman, who lived in London during the last century. He was known as the sight-seeing blind man, for, although totally blind, he traveled around the world alone, in utter darkness, and wrote several excellent travel books describing his adventures. "God took away my eyes that my soul might see" is sometimes true.
Clairvoyant people can easily see across oceans and continents, into closed boxes, sealed packets, etc. Clairaudient persons can hear at any distance, and also hear thoughts as distinctly as if spoken audibly. These faculties enable one to see and hear what is positively obscure, unseen and unheard by the physical senses. Some people exercise their psychic powers naturally and freely, while in others their activity is entirely dormant.
While only a minority of people have unfolded their spiritual faculties, telepathy, on the other hand, is the property in different degrees of all created things, both animate and inanimate. Jeans, the eminent astronomer, tells us that the planets have a system of intercommunication. Animals rely on telepathy almost exclusively, and some get the thoughts of human beings quite clearly. Birds, too, communicate with one another, and there have been a few great naturalists who could understand their language. Trees, plants and flowers have a telepathic interchange of thought which is compatible with their degree of consciousness. Flowers, particularly, are extremely sensitive, and like to have people to talk to them. And they know who loves them!
Many people marvel at the astounding accuracy of mind readers, who perform at fairs, bazaars and theatres. Accomplices and codes usually account for their amazing ability to get the right answer. Those with genuine occult powers do not commercialize them, or use them for the amusement of a curious, skeptical, and often vulgar, public audience. Indeed, they could not if they would. The delicate organism necessary for the catching of the subtle thought vibrations could not long endure the coarse and cross currents prevailing in such an atmosphere. Sensitive people would speedily become ill and their powers diminish and decline.
Some of the Hindoos possess genuine powers of high degree, and we have seen them read minds with perfect accuracy. But we must remember that in India the culture of mind is thousands of years old, while the Occidentals are just beginning to discover its existence.
Telepathy is the clue to the baffling mystery of several inventors simultaneously working on the same invention. Each believes he is the sole discoverer, then he learns another has patented the identical invention. It is said that when Professor Bell was perfecting his telephone, at least three other inventors were developing the same thing. In wireless telegraphy Marconi had three competitors, and, in many other inventions, who was first is still in dispute.
Men think ideas emanate from their minds, whereas "ideas are in the air," and inventive minds are naturally in rapport with the same ideas. This is also true with composers, musicians, writers, artists—all those engaged in creative work. They unconsciously draw upon this mental force that generates rays in myriad directions, and the sensitive souls catch most readily these helpful influences.
Telepathy is the foundation for the efficacy of prayer. If thoughts were devoid of power and locomotion, prayer would be of no avail; but we know that all prayers are heard. That prayer is answered is a fact that few will deny, as many people have received its benefits and blessings. However, mechanical mumblings and glib recitations are not prayers; these come from the lips and die on the lips.
Prayers, the cry of the soul in distress, the travail of the spirit, a moan of anguish, these are heard in the highest heavens and are always answered according to the need of the individual. This earth would be a dreadful place and life an unbearable experience if our Heavenly Father ignored our needs and was impervious to our despair and affliction. God has not abandoned this world nor forsaken His children; He hears their cries and, through His emissaries, administers unto them.
It is by means of telepathy that we can communicate with the dwellers on the Other side, for communion with the saints is a fact whether men ignore or deny it. We can send messages to the disembodied far more easily than to those in the flesh, because in their case we have not the heavy, physical matter to penetrate, but can contact the mind directly. Furthermore, as thought is the language in the world of spirit, no misunderstandings arise. Space, not even millions of miles, is no barrier; but it is our dull unreceptivity which prevents reception of thoughts.
Our loved ones "Over There" not only know what we are doing, but know what we are thinking. And the people of earth do not realize the agony and heartbreak that is experienced when they see that we no longer remember or have ceased to care. A loving thought is as welcome to the senses of the disembodied as is here a loving word or tender caress. If earthly people could only know how much comfort and happiness is derived from these thoughts of love and remembrance, surely none would be left lonely and neglected.
When a soul departs from this life, he should always be accompanied by thoughts of love and peace, by aspirations for his progression. The beloved "dead" assuredly have a claim on our love and care, and should never be forgotten and ignored when our kind and loving thoughts can reach them instantly and are treasured beyond all price.
Precious stones have their evolution and pass through many stages before reaching perfection. The most precious jewel of all is the soul.
There never has been a time when the desire to know the truth was so prevalent and strong. There never has been a time when there were so many intelligent men and women who were not content with surface knowledge, with the appearance of things or doctrines based on personal authority. They seek to penetrate into the hidden causes of things. In this advancement many mistakes will be made, much will be discarded, but it will only be the chaff which has served its purpose.
What is truth? Truth is an emanation of the Deity. Truth is the accurate verity and reality. It is the understanding by the mind of that which actually is. It is the unchangeable amid the changeable, the substance behind the shadow, the permanent within the transient form. Truth is a constant, not a variant. It cannot be added to or diminished from its sum total.
How can we know the truth? Truth has clearly defined characteristics by which it can be recognized. Among these attributes are its immutability and infallibility, which we see demonstrated in the natural and spiritual laws; for example, in chemistry, mathematics, physics, astronomy and music. These are exact sciences because their underlying laws of truth have been discovered. They are truths to all people everywhere. Truth operates just as undeviatingly and unerringly in other departments of life, only its laws are not so well known.
Truth comes from the Deity and is dispersed through myriads of intelligences, gradually reaching men distorted and dimmed. The Source is pure, but flows through imperfect and polluted channels, as the Fountain of truth has many tributaries. Then too, the human mind is so constituted that it can perceive only a fragment of truth at a time, and that fragment faintly. Just as the naked eye cannot gaze directly at the dazzling sun, so the mind of man cannot behold truth without being veiled.
For this reason truth has always been clothed with ceremonies, mysteries, symbolism and magic. In no other way would the masses accept it; furthermore, it has to be carefully concealed otherwise they would profane as well as reject it. Hence, Christ, Buddha, Confucius and Krishna and other great teachers taught the people in parables and allegories. Even today it is necessary to employ liberal use of ceremonies and rituals to convey truth to unevolved mentalities.
Proof that basic human nature changes little, if at all, is only too evident by its antagonism towards the truth. Indeed, men's opposition to and rejection of truth remains one of life's profoundest mysteries. Fables, folklore, legends, superstition and error find fertile soil. But of truth Albert Pike said:
"There is a singular obliquity in the human mind that makes false logic more effective than the true with nine-tenths of those who are regarded as men of intellect. . . . Each mind sees the truth, distorted through its own medium."
When we question why God made man as He has, we are going beyond our mental depth. However, if He had wanted all men to think alike, we can be sure He would have created them with that capacity. But since men are in diverse stages of unfoldment and their minds enshrouded in various degrees of ignorance, it is necessary to have different aspects of truth. Hence, the importance of being tolerant with those who choose to worship God differently than we do. All truth leads to the same goal, and all religions and philosophies which have stood the test of time contain some element of truth, otherwise they would have perished.
Rarely is it wise to uproot another from his accustomed belief or way of worship because we may think our method superior. It may be better for us, but not for him. If our religion is actually superior, the only way to convince him of it is by a superior way of living. Proselyting and propagandism are discouraged by advanced teachers, who tell us the best way to help others is to illumine the path they are in, for when a person has outgrown a particular faith or creed, it will no longer satisfy his needs and he will of his own accord seek another more compatible with his developing nature.
The most important thing is sincerity—to really believe that which we profess to believe—and example still remains the most compelling of arguments. An upright life is the living truth and works directly upon other lives. Truth planted in the hearts of Jesus and Socrates grew and yielded the fruit of noble lives. But it was their lives more than their teaching that influenced the lives of others and thus their good influence lifted up millions of those who had but a faint conception of the great truths that underlie right conduct in the more intelligent.
Truth emancipates while error enslaves. Consequently, throughout the ages every effort has always been made to resist truth and keep it from the people. From the days of early Greece and before, you will find proofs of it. Socrates was put to death. Pythagoras was driven from Athens. Anaxagoras was imprisoned on account of new ideas. Galileo was twice brought before the Inquisition and sentenced by those who believed they had the power to kill truth. Descartes, Aristotle, Newton, and Harvey were persecuted and condemned by those who thought truth could be destroyed.
Despite all the efforts of its most powerful and unscrupulous enemies, truth has never been destroyed and its sum total remains the same. Those who profit from exploitation of the masses may temporarily suppress it and plunge the world into darkness; but there are ever a few brave souls who keep the truth alive and prevent its enemies from totally extinguishing it.
There is the same hostile antagonism to truth in the year of our Lord 1945. Its exponents are silenced today just as effectively as centuries ago. The method is different, that is all. Now they are morally crucified and socially stoned; the cruelty has been transferred from the physical to the mental plane.
Its changelessness is another characteristic by which truth can always be recognized. Whatever varies with time, place, race or creed is not truth, but a temporary expedient, substitute or counterfeit. People often remark: "How truth changes!" For they discover that the "truths" of childhood and youth are no longer true in maturity and old age. Often prevalent beliefs of one century are discarded as utterly false in the succeeding one. For example, look at the school textbooks of fifty years ago and observe what radical changes have been made.
But truth does not and cannot change. If a thing is true today, it will be true tomorrow and forever. If a thing is true in the beginning, it will be true in the end.
What does change, however, is one's conception of the truth or eternal principles. As one grows older and perhaps wiser, his outlook upon life changes, his mental horizon expands, his intellectual and spiritual natures deepen and develop, and, consequently, he sees the same truth in another light, or perceives a larger view of it. Then, too, most of us during our early years were indoctrinated with beliefs contradictory to facts.
Many absurd theories and peculiar doctrines have been promulgated under the guise of truth. But believing a thing does not make it true, nor disbelieving it, untrue. People frequently confuse laws and decrees enacted by rulers for the government of men as truths. There are no such things as "man-made" truths. Man cannot create truth; he can only discover it. That which is created by man can be destroyed by man.
Truth is absolute. It is a fallacy to suppose that truth can ever be relative. Truth never conflicts or contradicts; for truth blends with truth as light blends with light. All the religious founders taught the same truths, the same cardinal principles. The hatred and animosity existing among their followers is not due to fundamentals, but to their accretions of theologies and doctrines.
Simplicity is another of truth's characteristics. Never is truth complex of structure or difficult of comprehension; but so simple is its language that even little children can readily understand it. On the other hand error is always contradictory and so abstruse no one can make any sense out of it. The pure and undefiled mind of a child is a perfect receptacle for truth and, consequently, its perception of it is accurate and acute. Conversely, the minds of adults adulterate all they contact, including the truth; for truth, like water that flows through impure channels, becomes polluted and contaminated. So, if we are desirous of obtaining truth undefiled, we must keep its channel, the mind, as free as possible from obstructions—unclean, selfish, intolerant and hostile thoughts.
Moreover, truth, like a mathematical equation, always proves itself. All truth is demonstrable. St. Paul the Apostle once exhorted his brethren to "prove all things; hold fast that which is good," and a better precept never was given. Faith is required to live, and most of us have more faith than we realize. Yet faith is no substitute for knowledge, but should be used in conjunction with it. And, when we are looking for actual facts concerning this universe, we should not be satisfied with faith alone, but should endeavor, by all the means at our command, to see whether the things represented by faith are truly as they are represented. Otherwise we are apt to accumulate more fables than facts. Better an ounce of truth than a ton of theory.
Faith has the same relation to knowledge that a scaffolding has to a building. When the structure has been completed, we can dispense with the scaffolding. And so it is with life; we need faith until we know. We must rely upon faith where we cannot see and when we do not understand.
Departure from truth results in intellectual suicide. The inevitable fact that no one believes or trusts the habitual liar is bad enough; but this is not the only or the worst penalty for intellectual dishonesty. His faculty of discernment becomes so blunted from misuse that he can no longer recognize truth. Hence, he is victimized by those who practice deception and dishonesty. And, as he is unable to distinguish truth from untruth, he often follows false prophets who lead him astray, aye, even to destruction and to death.
Those who know the truth and live a lie close the door of heaven upon themselves; while those who live a falsity believing it to be truth will attract to themselves those who will enlighten them.
There are those who insist it to be of minor import whether their beliefs are true or not. Such people can be likened to the foolish man of the Scriptures, of whom the Master spoke: "A wise man, which built his house upon a rock; and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not; for it was founded upon a rock." "A foolish man, which built his house upon the sand; and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell; and great was the fall of it."
He who builds his house of life on truth builds upon an eternal foundation. He who builds his house of life on error builds upon a shifting and unstable foundation. Eventually, all those who pre-ter or mistake falsities for truth must retrace their steps and enter the lofty and enduring road that leads toward God. The truth or secret of things is revealed from within.
Neither time nor clime alter Truth.
In a universe governed by unalterable and immutable laws have men free will and, if so, how much? Or are the Mohammedans correct in their belief that a man's fate is bound around his neck at birth?
It is true that all which happens to man is in accordance with law, as there is no such thing as chance or accident; every event is adamantly linked to a preceding cause and to a subsequent effect. But that man is devoid of volition and a puppet in the hands of a higher power is contrary to logic and contradictory to Divine Nature. It is debasing the Deity to think that we are enmeshed in the web of life, futilely trying to extricate ourselves like flies entangled in a spider's weaving. This implies that our efforts for progression and advancement are amusing to the Ruler of the Universe. Such a concept makes God a lower creature than man; for no earthly father would hold his children in bondage when he had the power to free them.
Then, since we have free will, what is the extent of its scope? Is it relative or absolute? The freedom of the will is real, although it is also relative and conditioned. Man is surrounded by necessity, but is free to choose. In other words, man is both bound and free.
Man is bound or conditioned by inheritance, environmental limitations, physical constitution, habits, prejudices, ignorance and transgression of natural and spiritual laws. He has also inherited a brain having a certain anatomical structure, and physiological aptitude and quality. In childhood and youth he had an environment not of his choosing, the influence of parents, home and school surroundings and education, when his nervous system was most impressionable.
His nervous organization and personality have been built by what he has inherited and what he has acquired from environment. It is with this behind him that, when he arrives at maturity, he has to use his brain in shaping his further course of action. Choice and free will he has, but with the instrument he has inherited and modified by early years. For this reason, environment, training and education are so important. But the power to do must not be confounded with the power to will. One is limited, the other is unlimited.
Men are conditioned by all of the aforementioned, but principally by their karma, or the Law of Cause and Effect. The operation of this law creates destiny, and destiny is fixed. It is not uncommon for people to find themselves in distasteful situations and painful predicaments from which they are utterly unable to free themselves. They rail and wail against their luck or fate. But neither mythical luck nor fickle fate is responsible for their plight, for they have forged the chains now binding them. True, it may have been done in ignorance; but ignorance of the law excuses no one, whether on the physical, moral, mental or spiritual planes.
But, as we created our destiny, we can change it, and we have within ourselves all the necessary power to change our life and environment into one of our liking. But the change must come from within and not without. Instead of attempting to change our environment we should change ourselves, and the environment will automatically respond.
Moreover, there are certain fixed principles in life which men must obey; for these will ruthlessly discipline or destroy those who attempt to pit their will and strength against them. No man can, for example, violate the eternal verities of honesty, decency, love and brotherhood without paying the penalty.
This applies likewise to all natural laws. No amount of supplication, prayer or agony will change these laws one iota. Stick your hand into the fire and shout to the Almighty till your voice is gone, but your hand will continue to burn. So with all natural laws. You violate these laws by starting certain causes; the effects will follow as surely and inevitably as the pain follows the burn on the hand.
Karma is both immediate and remote. Many causes now obscure, were initiated prior to earth life and are exhausted here. Similarly, we are daily establishing other causes whose effects may not be apparent until we have "passed over." Hence, the great importance of starting only those causes whose effects will be beneficial. For this is certain: whatever has been set in motion and whatever has been commenced must be finished. There is no cessation, suspension or modification of this law. By every thought, desire, wish and act we are creating future karma or destiny, either good or bad, from which we cannot escape.
What is the will? Is it a primary or secondary urge? Will is the self in action. Wherever there is true volition, there the ego is expressing itself. The strong-willed person has achieved a sufficiently stable character that determines the issues of each conflict. His desires are classified and subordinated to purposes and ends upon which he has previously determined. The weak-willed individual is the slave of his desires and appetites and tries to satisfy them all, no matter how destructive and disastrous they may be.
Though apparently we are all born with a fixed capacity of intelligence, which cannot be increased, it can, however, be trained or left untrained. But we need be under no such fatalistic predetermination of character. That is the product of training, and, later, of personal choice. Anybody except the outright imbecile or idiot, too stupid to profit by example, can be developed into a decent, normal, useful person. If he becomes a criminal instead, it is not because he was born so, but because he chose to be. Otherwise, why subject him to punishment?
All systems of punishments are based on responsibility and accountability which, in turn, rest on the relative freedom of the will. All men realize that a plea of no free will would be a feeble defense in a court of justice, and a much weaker one before their conscience. Furthermore, men never deny responsibility in connection with their good deeds; only when their choice has been unwise or unethical do they attempt to disclaim accountability. He who from such derangement of his intellect is incapable of distinguishing right from wrong should be committed to an institution where his actions are governed by another.
Even children can tell right from wrong and know they have the ability to choose their course of conduct. When little Willie breaks the neighbor's window or pilfers from his mother's purse, his parents do not excuse him on the ground that he has no free will; but instead, impress upon his mentality, or anatomy, that the consequences of such actions are painful. Later, Nature teaches him that retribution is inevitable and a fundamental rule of life, and that transgression brings with it an absolutely set payment as basic as a burned hand when exposed to the fire.
"I do not believe in free will," you say. Well, the very fact that you are at liberty to believe it or reject it proves you have choice. Otherwise, there would be no alternative. So long as man has the power to think he has the power to choose.
Life is a succession of choices, and, when we do not like the consequences of our choices, blaming the Deity is foolish and futile. Instead of wasting time in useless regret and vain excuses, we should determine to be more careful NOW. If we have chosen unwisely in the past, we can today, through the exercise of our free will, put into operation causes whose effects will be beneficial in the future.
Others contend free will is an impossibility in a universe of immutable and changeless laws. It is only because of unvarying law that man can have free will at all. In a world of chance and accident, devoid of plan and purpose, man could not have an atom of choice. Because certain causes always produce certain effects is man able to predict with any degree of surety what the outcome of his actions will be.
There is, of course, a central purpose, a general plan, to existence, and we have to follow this whether we want to or not. Anyone who has lived for any length of time can see that. For human affairs are subject, like the rest of the universe, to general laws and, in a large view of men's activities, free will can be left out of account and necessity takes its place. Kant says "that the force of circumstances is too strong for free will, and that the laws may be traced in the conduct of a mass of human beings, which are invisible in the individual." The Creator of the universe has a plan and purpose to which all created things are subject.
Some assume that, because God is omniscient and knows what men will do, there is no possibility of free will. God's omniscience does not preclude men's exercise of choice any more than children are deprived of freedom because their parents usually know quite well how they will react under different circumstances.
And this is certain, if only God's will prevailed on earth, it would be a paradise. But, simultaneously with men's exercise of their will began the existence of evil. For evil is not a person, but a force created for good, but which can be used for malevolent purposes. Man's perverted use of this force has brought into the world suffering, sorrow, misery, disease, war, pestilence and all manner of ungodly conditions. And these creations of man's volition will exist as long as he persists in blindly pursuing his erring way.
No perspicacity is required to realize that absolute free will without absolute wisdom would be an unmitigated curse; the worst conceivable calamity which God could impose upon man. When we consider what man in his ignorance has done with limited will and power, just the thought of what would happen had he absolute free will fills one with apprehension and terror. But God is merciful and, in His infinite love and wisdom, limits and controls man's freedom of action.
As men grow in spiritual stature, they gradually see the folly of independent action and submit to Divine guidance. And, in relinquishing their will, they are directed by the influence of that Higher Wisdom and moulded and guided into the path of true happiness.
"Where does free will function in times of war, when men are compelled to fight?" is a question on the lips of many today. Free will is never entirely abrogated, for there is always an alternative. True, the alternative is usually worse than the duty or responsibility one is trying to evade. Nevertheless, it is there. It often takes more courage to face public opinion than it does to face artillery.
Furthermore, man as a member of a large human family accumulates collective karma which is often discharged collectively, as in war or some other national contingency. He also derives numerous benefits and privileges from his country and, in turn, incurs duties and responsibilities and, in time of war, the welfare of the country supersedes the welfare of the individual. This truth is tersely and beautifully explained in the second chapter of the Bhagavad Gita, where Arjuna, who does not want to slay his kinsmen and friends, asks Krishna which is the right course to pursue—to fight or not to fight. Krishna replies: "This Real man that inhabiteth the body, O Arjuna, is invulnerable to harm, hurt, or death—therefore, why shouldst thou trouble thyself further about the matter? Instead face thy Duty in the matter, manfully and resolutely. . .. He who, in his ignorance thinketh: 'I slay,' or 'I am slain,' babbleth like an infant lacking knowledge. Of a truth, none can slay—none can be slain."
The soul is perfect in its pure essence. It is from its union with matter alone that all the imperfections, error and evil arise; but these do not affect its inner germ essence, for they are not its cause, which is the Absolute and Supreme Intelligence, which is God. The soul is responsible for its desires and for its choice of actions, and for this reason God established causes and effects. The soul, being immortal, came from God and must return to that Great Soul from which it issued. But as it was given to man pure and undefiled, free from all stain and error, it cannot ascend to that Celestial Abode until it shall have been refined and purified from all the evil it has wrought and all the errors and faults committed through its union with matter.
In the future life we will be able to perceive and trace the ineffaceable consequences of our idle words and evil deeds, and our remorse and grief must necessarily last as long as the consequences themselves. When we return to our Father's home, we will have to give an account of our wanderings and render a report of the stewardship which was entrusted to us. We are rational beings endowed with free will and, therefore, are held accountable both here and hereafter.
How strangely entangled are the threads of Destiny from the Distaff of Life!
Many people wonder whether miracles ever took place. Others believe they may have happened in Biblical times, but are somewhat skeptical whether they actually happened. They share the opinion of the agnostic who says: "A miracle is an unusual phenomenon which never occurred." Many agree with Hume's idea: "A miracle may be accurately defined, a transgression of a law of nature by a particular volition of the Deity, or by the interposition of some invisible agent." Webster, however, approaches the truth in his explanation: "An event or effect in the physical world, beyond or out of the ordinary course of things, deviating from the known laws of nature, or transcending our knowledge of these laws."
Nature is indeed known to us only in a very limited degree, and known laws are few compared to the many unknown laws. And although the circumstances of the occurrence or miracles may appear unusual, they are never contrary to nature, but only contrary to nature as known to us, for everything that happens, or has happened, or will happen, can happen only through law.
Also lack of knowledge creates a belief in miracles. Happenings which we cannot explain are miraculous to us and, as we never will know all, there will always be miracles. Moreover, things that an ignorant, undeveloped man considers miraculous are quite simple to the educated and learned philosopher. Superstitious people consider all unusual things marvelous, everything not encompassed within the realm of their limited understanding.
Furthermore, any event called miraculous now may easily cease to be so at some future time. Many things commonplace today would have been considered miracles not so long ago, for example, the wonders of electricity, radio, aeroplane, television, all these would have been called miracles a few years ago.
The conquest of numerous diseases by science would have been regarded miracles a century back. Then, certain diseases meant certain death, for men did not know their cause and were powerless to effect a cure. So knowledge dissipates miracles.
The greatest objection to miracles seems to be that facts are against them. Well, are they against them? Science declares that the universe is governed by great, natural laws, whose action is definite, constant and unchangeable; and for miracles to be produced these laws would have to be overridden, intermitted, or set aside. And this, scientists insist, cannot be done, for any interference with natural laws would instantly plunge the universe into chaos, if not destruction. They argue that natural law repudiates and rejects the idea of divine intervention; that God does not, and cannot, interfere with the laws He has created and controls. In other words, they believe that He is bound by His own laws.
Now, what is the nature of Deity? Is He omnipotent or is He not? He IS omnipotent and, therefore, is not bound by any law. If He created them, He can overrule them or destroy them. Some of the theories advanced by scientists who doubt the omnipotence of Deity are far more incredible, implausible and improbable than the truth—which is that the All-powerful Supreme Being can and does intervene in the affairs of men. It is much more reasonable to believe that He cares for His creations than to accept the scientific theory that there is nothing but cold, natural law, devoid of feeling and intelligence. Apparently men are not content to create God in THEIR likeness, but must ascribe to Him their limitations as well.
In the study of miracles we can discard all ideas of accident and violation of natural law. But we cannot dismiss the action of intelligent beings other than man controlling and regulating these laws, for no miracles are performed by law alone, as behind all law there are intelligent operators. If you deny the existence of beings other than man, you have a hopeless task accounting not only for miracles, but for many other events which frequently occur.
Intelligence or mind is master of natural law. A higher law can be employed to overrule and direct a lower one. Intelligence can override it, vary it, and use it however it will, and can make it work. Christ more than once hinted that, by an increase of power, ascendancy is gained over the lower and physical laws; that by faith, knowledge and power men may control things that are around them, just as the body can be made subservient to the mind power. Indications of it also pervade the history of the race down to our time.
The Bible unquestionably is the greatest history of miracles. Angels are frequently mentioned in connection with them, and the angels usually appeared in human form. Furthermore, it is evident they possessed extraordinary strength and great wisdom. Then the question arises: "Who are angels?" Angels were once human beings who have progressed to the status of angelhood, for life is immortal and progression eternal. Some are sufficiently advanced to have planetary authority, and are superhuman to an indescribable extent. There are others who control the elements, and prayer for rain has been complied with innumerable times. Moreover, all grades of intelligences are utilized in some way as agents of the Almighty.
The Resurrection is regarded by many people as the most impossible of "miracles." However, this event was not at all miraculous, but some of its interpretations certainly are. Why should anyone think it incredible that Christ rose from the "dead"? Nothing unusual about it. All people rise from the dead. No soul ever inhabits a grave, crypt or tomb, but at death discards its material garment and rises in a spiritual body and continues life elsewhere. What makes the Resurrection take on the nature of a miracle, as defined by Hume, "a transgression of the law of nature," is due to men's ignorance of their true nature.
"If a man die, shall he live again?" This question has been pondered throughout the ages by all races of men. In the first records of any nation at all civilized or cultured, we find they believed in immortality. The Egyptians were among the first to furnish us with knowledge of this subject. Their architecture gives evidence that they believed in the life beyond. So do their mummies, which are still in a preserved condition. In fact, all ancient races possessed this truth which, in time, was lost to the masses or distorted, but always a few have kept this knowledge alive.
The minds of the untutored of every race could not conceive the idea of the life of the immortal soul as separate from the physical body. Hence, we have the embalming, pyramids, different methods of preserving the body, as once again, they believed it would be the dwelling place of the soul.
The same thing happened to the doctrine of the Christian religion. The rising of Christ from the "dead" was considered a physical resurrection, and even today there are people who firmly believe He resumed His physical body when three days later He appeared to the Marys and His disciples.
But, contrary to this belief, Jesus rose in His spiritual body; clothed Himself with a temporary materialized body for the purpose of identification. In no other way would the doubting Thomas' have recognized Him. He walked the earth forty days in this body. Though material, it was so ethereal that He appeared "suddenly in their midst." "He appeared in another form, the doors being shut," and He also, says the Evangelist, "vanished out of their sight." This power of materialization did not end with Christ. It still exists at the present time and has been witnessed by many.
Every event and every act in the life of Christ were in accordance with natural law. All His life He taught the truth of immortality and, after His crucifixion, demonstrated it by appearing objectively to many people. Nothing unusual about this. Many people have done the same. Many departed souls have appeared to relatives and friends before the burial of their bodies. We know of instances where they returned within sever hours after severing connection with their material forms. But no soul ever again assumes the physical body after death, for that, saying nothing about its impossibility, would be raising the body only to die again. The reference is to reclothing the spiritual body in such materialized garments as to be visible to the physical eye. At the time of the crucifixion many spirit entities clothed themselves, or materialized, and appeared in Jerusalem.
"If a man die, shall he live again?" is the question uppermost in the minds of people all over the world today, for they know that death has been having an unprecedented harvest in the past few years, and they seek an answer to this age-old query. Hundreds of thousands of American boys have been slaughtered on foreign soil. Their blood has mingled with the blood of the youths of other nations on the battlefields of hate and greed. The slaughter has been something the like of which the world has never seen, and so has the suffering, for those who went to war, for those who returned crippled, diseased, maimed and blind. But those who live to mourn will suffer the most.
And, on the eve of their departure to the unknown country, multitudes of young men think deeply and ask themselves many questions—questions relative to life and death. They ask, What manner of life awaits us Over There? Or is this ghastly, horrible world all we shall ever know? Is life to end abruptly before we ever have an opportunity to live? Or are there other worlds where better living, saner adventures may be had? Are justice, equality, brotherly love only myths, or do they have reality elsewhere?
Some of these boys seek solace in religion. Others take refuge in cynicism and bitterness. Many fortify themselves with a contemptuous and reckless philosophy. Many bewildered youngsters indulge in what they believe to be a "last fling." But alas, there is no "last fling" for a race of immortals dwelling in eternity; for life is a continuous stream of consciousness and cannot be broken into separate and isolated fragments. Life and death are one and inseparably entwined. What the world calls "death" is life's greatest and most beautiful adventure, for death holds the key which opens the door which cannot be opened any other way. It unfastens the gate to the spiritual realms where absolute justice, love, peace and harmony are the law. For those who do not possess actual knowledge of this truth, but must accept it on faith, we have the word of Him who knew the Father: "In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you."
The more we unfold the more beautiful life becomes.
Prayer and the power of God figure conspicuously in the performance of all miracles, and there is no record of any authentic miracle ever having occurred without them. Christ always gave the glory of His accomplishments to God: "The Father in me doeth the works." The prophets "cried out to God," or "called upon God" before they performed any miracle. These men of God lived and died in prayer, for they knew that without Him they could do nothing.
Another noticeable feature connected with miracles is the inconstant power of those who performed them. St. Paul, an outstanding healer, was not always successful and, like any other uninspired physician, prescribed wine for Timothy. Moreover, he was unable to cure his own infirmity. He writes: "For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And He said unto me, "My grace is sufficient for thee." Yet God wrought special miracles by the hands of Paul.
Moses, a healer of extraordinary powers, could not cure his stammering, and Aaron was his mouthpiece whenever he addressed his people. Only with perfection and with God there are no failures.
Healing formed an integral part of the ministry of the disciples and the apostles. And was it not their Master's command to "raise the dead and heal the sick?" Jesus was eminently practical and knew that men were not interested in their souls while hunger gnawed at their stomachs, so He first fed the multitude and then preached to them. The Disciples, following in His footsteps, healed as they preached, and it was their healing which attracted the people. Human nature remains much the same. People are still more interested in obtaining relief from their physical afflictions than in the welfare of their souls. And is not the human organism one of the greatest miracles on earth? But men in their colossal ignorance neglect, abuse, mutilate and desecrate this holy of holies, the temple of the Living God.
There never has been any cessation of miraculous healing; it is in our midst today. Countless people have had instantaneous and miraculous cures; many have been healed through faith and prayer, or the laying on of hands after doctors had pronounced them incurable. Many "incurables" have been made whole at the Shrine of Lourdes. Some physicians scoff at these cures, saying they are solely due to hypnotic influence acting on patients who are merely hysterical. Like the great Charcot, who denied the faith cures at Our Lady of Lourdes and then declared: "What does it matter if the patient gets well?" and sent patients to Lourdes to be healed.
Some twenty years ago a friend of ours was gradually going blind from glaucoma. At that time cures for this disease were more or less in the experimental stage, but he tried them all in the hope that one might effect a cure. Yet to no avail. He also submitted to several mental phases of healing, but with no better result. His eyesight finally became so impaired he could scarcely distinguish large objects. The world was closing in on him and he had reached the end of his resources. Then, one night in utter despair and abject hopelessness, he fell on his knees and cried: "My God, I have done all I could; I leave it to Thee." In that instant he was healed. From a state of almost total blindness, he no longer required glasses, not even for- reading.
Miracles are not always beneficial, but sometimes definitely retributory in character. We know a woman who was suddenly stricken blind a short distance from a bank where she was going to deposit a considerable sum of money which she had extorted from a poor man. She had loaned him the money for a stipulated period, at the end of which he was unable to repay due to unemployment and illness. But, nevertheless, she was determined to have her money. So she hounded and harassed the unfortunate man who, in order to get out of her clutches, borrowed the money elsewhere and repaid her. She paid dearly for her cupidity. Total blindness for over a year; many months more of only partial vision. Not only this, in her terror and confusion at suddenly being blind, she dropped her purse in the street and it was never recovered.
A modern miracle occurred at Dunkerque. In reading first-hand accounts one has the feeling from first to last that there was something miraculous about the entire ten days of evacuation; that there were forces at work not attributable to human beings. The whole thing, as one writer observed, "was covered with a strange feeling of something supernatural." The pier at Dunkerque, their only avenue of escape, was the unceasing target of bombs and shellfire throughout, yet it never was hit. "God sent a wind which crushed the Spanish Armada; this time God withheld the wind." The board of Admiralty thought they would be lucky if 30,000 could be saved, but 335,000 men escaped. If that was not a miracle, there never was a miracle.
Dunkerque's parallel is found in the book of II Kings, where Elisha and his servant found themselves surrounded by a host of chariots and horses sent by the king of Syria. Elisha possessed the disconcerting faculty of being able to hear what the king spake in his bedchamber, many miles distant, who for this reason sought to seize Elisha. The servant was frightened, so Elisha prayed that his eyes might be opened. He saw: "And behold, the mountains were full of horses and chariots of fire round Elisha. They that be with us are more than they that be with them." Then Elisha blinded them and escaped from the city.
The rescue of Rickenbacker and his men has indications of miraculous elements. Furthermore, five who were atheists did not come back atheists. Persons who have known such close escapes from death are not apt to deny either miracles or the power of God to act in the affairs of men.
How often people say: "That certainly was a miracle." They had missed a boat or train that met with an accident and loss of life. Thy were detained from keeping an engagement and, in doing so, avoided danger. Sometimes we are impressed to do certain things, or we have "hunches" to walk on another street, or avoid a particular place, and discover in doing so we avoided injury or disaster. Most people have miraculous escapes of which they are not even aware, for in truth "God has appointed His angels charge over us" and they, seeing more clearly, warn us of dangers of which we know not.
Then some remonstrate: "But why should only some people be singled out for Divine protection?" All people are under Divine protection, but, unfortunately, not all are sufficiently sensitive to catch the subtle thoughts of warning. And then how often people admit they received impressions and premonitions to do things, or act in a certain manner, but refused to follow and profit by them, invariably to their sorrow and regret.
Few miracles have exercised such fascination upon the human mind as the miracles of the Philosopher's Stone and the Elixir of Youth. Throughout all ages people have been interested in the prolongation of physical life and the transmutation of the baser metals into precious metals. Transmuting iron into gold was, and is known to the adepts, but there is another power, transmuting base, low qualities into noble and high ones. This Philosopher's Stone is in the possession of all men, but how few value it or use it!
The secret of the Elixir of Youth is known to those who have attained an advanced degree of development, and such individuals have the power to prolong life in the physical body far beyond the average age. This they do whenever it is necessary to complete a mission or perform a task, which requires their functioning in corporeal form. But they extend life at its prime, and not in old age. Like Moses, "who lived to be one hundred and twenty in full vigor nor was his eyesight dimmed," these persons retain their mental and physical vigor to the end.
Another miracle dawning upon the horizon is the discovery of the unseen world. It is destined to become like a newly discovered continent. We shall see its inhabitants and we shall hold communion with them, and we shall marvel how many thousands of years could pass with our being in ignorance of their existence. Then immortality will no longer be a question of faith, conjecture or theory, but every man will know definitely that life follows life and that death is a condition that has never existed.
People do not all die at the same time, nor do they all arise at the same time.
There is a story told about an old Spanish peasant who for years had heard people talk about equality, but in the village where he lived he never saw any evidence of it. Nevertheless, he was confident that something of which so much was said must have existence somewhere, so he went in search of it in other provinces and countries. He traveled extensively but was unable to find any more equality elsewhere than he had at home. So he finally came to the conclusion that those who spoke of equality had reference to the Other World.
Many people are of similar opinion, that so far as this life is concerned equality is either a myth or a vague ideal. However, opinions and appearances to the contrary, equality is neither a myth nor a hazy ideal, but a reality here and now. The divine truth of man's equality has been taught by the loftiest souls in every age, but God decreed it long before they ever expressed it. And we know of nothing which conflicts with the sublime axiom of equality except theories of men, some of which are entitled to respect, but are incapable of bearing the test of reason.
You ask: "Where is there any equality between rich and poor? Illiterate and educated? Fool and philosopher? Mediocre and talented? Servant and master? Subject and king? Saint and sinner? Man and angel? These all stand upon one common ground and form one eternal chain extending to the throne of the Most High. And no one has ever been able to prove, with any authority other than egotism and ignorance, that some links in this chain are unequal or inferior, although in this artificial state of society many labor under this delusion.
The first major source of the delusion of inequality is due to people confounding it with inequity. These are, however, as far apart as the poles, and resemble each other no more than do justice and injustice. Men have unequal opportunities for earning a livelihood, obtaining life's necessities, acquiring an education, culture and leisure, making provision for their families, illness, unemployment and old age; but inequity does not presuppose inequality, for equality is a law of Nature analogous to equilibrium and can neither be disturbed nor destroyed by any act or invention of man, although selfish interests may temporarily conflict and interfere with justice.
Then, from whence arise the vast disparities seen among men—the tremendous differences in ability, intelligence and morality? The answer is soul age. Men are on different rungs of life's evolutionary ladder, manifesting diverse degrees of unfoldment, and never on earth or elsewhere will all men be on the same level of mental, moral and spiritual development.
It is commonly believed that the "Fall of Man" was a completed and collective process. But, instead, souls are continually "falling" into materiality, imperfection and error; and, through a series of migrations, gradually reach earth and become clothed in the terrestrial bodies they attracted.
While evolution is now an accepted fact for all thinking people, involution, however, is regarded with considerable incredulity. Yet of necessity there can be no evolution without involution; therefore, souls involve before they evolve. Nature's Author being no respecter of persons, creates all men equal and unlike, and men's differences date from the time of their involutionary pilgrimage into matter, not from the time of physical birth. At this time souls already are endowed with definite personalities, marked characteristics, developed talents and pronounced sympathies and antipathies. Moreover, immense gulfs often separate their moral, mental and spiritual acquirements. As all men are dissimilarly but equally endowed, what is possible for one is possible for all; not contemporaneously, but eventually. Inasmuch as human nature is constant, no two men will ever be, or can be exactly alike.
Homogeneity prevails among unevolved people, while heterogeneity distinguishes the advanced; for the more highly developed a man becomes, the more unlike he is from the mass group. Man's differences and individualities unfold until perfection has been attained, at which time he returns to the Father, becoming one with Him. But oneness with the Divine does not imply annihilation or absorption, but a merging of consciousness and capabilities.
There is still another cause for men's disparity, other than difference in their soul age, and that is determined by themselves. We know that all souls do not make equal progress. Every sphere of life has its loiterers, shirkers, the "clever" who think they can get something for nothing; and the weaklings whose main ambition is to shift responsibility on others. Then there are the diligent, conscientious, ambitious, who utilize time and opportunity for advancement, forging ahead through labor and service. Naturally, in the next expression of life, the disparity between them will be even more apparent.
Inequality and inferiority are delusions afflicting juvenile minds and, in the higher realms of thought, none of this nonsense persists. Humbleness replaces haughtiness. Men of high moral and spiritual development know it is ridiculous to consider their younger brothers as unequals, and they extend a helping hand, just as those above them also render their aid. There is no pinnacle so high but that loftier ones are yet to be attained. No man is on the last lap of the evolutionary process, but is united to a larger whole. The saint in his infancy may have been a sinner, and the savage may one day become a philosopher. Evolution is a continuous and not a completed process.
Inequity, the product of undeveloped minds, has filled the world with untold sorrow and suffering. It has brought penury, poverty, privation, destitution, hunger, distress and anguish to millions of people, whose daily life is a crucifixion and a martyrdom of a struggle for existence. For this is an age of avaricious rapacity and sordid covetousness; an age of hypocrisy and commercial traffic, where the great ambition of men and nations is to try to overreach and rob the other half. On every side are avarice, lust, greed, selfishness, unkindness, mercenary cupidity, and the iron hand of insatiable power, which, under the mask of principles, commit all manner of atrocities. Human life has no more sanctity than that of insects. Wholesale slaughter has become the outstanding profession, and wholesale killers the outstanding personalities.
Yet, strangely, there are those who believe such an order of life is worthy of perpetuation. Recently, a shortsighted editorialist in his defense of this system opined: "What will happen to the institutions for the poor, if the rich, through excessive and unjust taxation, will no longer be able to contribute to their maintenance?" We ask: "Why continue their maintenance? Why not abolish them by eradicating their cause? Why are these monuments of man's degradation of man necessary or even tolerable? Are there different creations of men requiring different methods of treatment?"
Thoughtful and spiritual men well know why our prisons, almshouses and insane asylums are overflowing, and also well know it will never cease to be until the race is dominated by other motives than selfish profit. There is something radically wrong with a civilization that measures a man's equality by the size of his pocketbook. We can have no ideal society or better world until men are governed by brotherly love instead of selfishness and greed.
Just as Nature's ways are equal, so must become the ways of men. Political equality was the first step in this direction, and this is being followed by more economic equality. Most men are beginning to doubt that God created this world and everything in it for the private property and the enjoyment of a few, but to be equally shared by all. And, in the new order dawning upon the horizon, man will have to do something more besides accumulate wealth to be an object of respect and admiration.
Service will be the future badge of distinction. Contributing to the enlightenment and enrichment of other lives will be the hallmark of greatness. Recognition will be determined by the achievements advancing civilization. Cooperation and not competition will prevail.
The heartless desire to outsmart the other fellow exists only on the earthplane where material things are concerned. Nor is there any competition in spiritual things where service to humanity is involved. Motives actuated by a soul urge are in harmony, but, when it comes to money and material possessions, just the reverse condition is true. When two men love the same gold mine or oil well, entirely different feelings ensue, and it has not been unknown for one of them to dispatch the other into eternity.
The world's masterpieces of literature, art, science and music were not created through the force of competition. It was the love of the work the artist was doing, or the desire to benefit humanity. Milton, Dante, Shakespeare, Emerson, Plato, Wagner, Brahms, Beethoven, Michelangelo and a host of other great men were not trying to compete, and whether or not they accumulated wealth was a matter of minor concern. We know some of them died in poverty and yet, today, are immortal. Who ever achieved lasting fame because he monopolized a large portion of the world's money? If such a one is remembered at all, it is with thoughts of pity and contempt for his greed and avarice.
Who ever heard of a scientist discovering a cure for a dread disease or alleviation of pain and then locking it in a vault? Who ever heard of an inventor keeping his invention for himself and members of his family? They give them to the world and share them with all humanity. They know that what benefits one benefits all, for all the human race is one large family indissolubly linked together.
While the greatest of contests is life, the greatest of clarifiers is death, for on the threshold of eternity all men realize that equality is a law of Divine Justice. King and subject, prince and peasant, high and low, rich and poor, stand before the same tribunal and are judged according to their intrinsic worth and the service they rendered on earth. Rank, position, power and possessions count for naught; only spiritual riches enter the kingdom of God. For equality, like all natural laws, is constant, uniform and universal, and cannot be abrogated or suspended during earthly existence.
People do not change their character when they change their address.
Affinity is the force which keeps bodies together without any visible bonds and is inherent in all existing things. It is analogous to gravitation and acts on every particle of matter and spirit; hence it is not confined to our planet, but the worlds throughout space are linked together by these bonds of mutual attraction, which, interweaving in every direction, make the universe a whole. We are bound to them and they to us.
Its action is perhaps best understood in the mineral world, for in the study of chemistry you find it absolutely impossible to combine certain chemicals; they simply refuse to be combined. There you encounter its opposing law, the force of repulsion or antipathy, for certain chemicals, like certain individuals, have affinity for one another, while others have only antagonism.
In the human species the manifestation of affinity is chiefly physical, occasionally mental and, in rare instances, spiritual. On the physical plane, its action resembles that of chemical affinity, with this difference however. Chemical affinities in atoms are permanent and changeless. If you separate the atoms, they still maintain their affinities and, when again placed in the same relations, will manifest the same attractions. For example, the chemical affinity between sulphur and gold will forever be the same. It existed in the beginning; it will exist in the end.
But magnetic affinities, unlike chemical affinities, are not permanent. Their special attribute is change, and their attractions are merely temporary, soon wearing out, and when once exhausted are never renewed. These affinities, or a movement of the material atoms which compose the human body, are brought into the presence of another set of atoms for which they have a powerful affinity, and impress upon their subject that irresistible sense of attraction which is often mistakenly called love.
The affinities which draw two people together almost always end in depolarization; then ensues coldness, neglect, indifference followed by dislike and even loathing. Hence, it is that most affairs that are based on mere physical attraction have ended, and will continue to end, in the intense repulsion which sometimes impels the one to destructive measures to rid himself of the one who no longer attracts. Crimes of passion are so common that rarely a day passes in which they are not committed.
Whence arises the mysterious and inexplicable affinity or antipathy immediately felt at the first meeting of certain individuals? To some people we feel akin as if we had known them before, while others instantly repel us. We have heard people say that the antipathy they felt towards certain persons was so strong they could not bear to be in their proximity.
Not long ago a man told us that his son irritated him beyond measure. When the youngster was injured, necessitating the father visiting him, it almost made him ill to remain in the room with him for only a few minutes. And he knew the antipathy was mutual. Yet the boy had no obvious reason for hating his father, such as might be engendered by severity of discipline. The mother had charge of that and he idolized her.
When antipathy is immediate and instinctive, it frequently antedates physical birth. In the Mystery of "Birth," we tried to explain that the soul is not new on its arrival, but has lived previously elsewhere. During its anterior existence, relationships and associations were formed, some of which are being continued on earth. The soul, having a language and memory of its own, intuitively remembers and recognizes ancient friends and foes. It is not unusual for old enemies to be born in the same family, thus accounting for the intense hatred often existing between relatives. The intellect is not aware of the reason for the animosity, but the soul is fully cognizant of the cause.
It has often been said that first impressions are lasting and correct. This is true. When we feel intense aversion towards any person, it is wise to avoid him. This does not necessarily signify that such people are evil or unethical; but it does mean that, for us, any association with them would be neither fortunate nor profitable. Attraction is the soul's polarity and it is beyond the power of the intellect to change it; therefore, we cannot compel ourselves to love people for whom we have no affinity, irrespective of any admirable qualities they may possess.
Just as we established relationships before we came to earth, we now are initiating others, some of which will be renewed in the future life. Hence, the paramount importance of exercising care in forming associations, for, until every vibration of love or hate is exhausted, we will continue to meet these individuals again and again.
That one mind can obtain undue influence over another mind is well known, for such experiences are common enough. Those liberally endowed with animal magnetism often exercise the same hypnotic effect on their victims as a snake on a bird. Confidence men, unscrupulous salesmen and those who prey on the weaknesses of their fellowmen use the power of attraction to gain their ends. There are many unholy alliances where the weaker personality vainly struggles to free himself from his enslaver. In Somerset Maugham's Human Bondage we see such a relationship.
Children, too, have pronounced affinities and antipathies, but unlike their elders do not resort to hypocrisy and deceit. They are honest and sincere in their likes and dislikes, often embarrassingly so.
Likewise, animals never feign affection when they hate each other, and they can tell instantly through smell whether attracted or repelled towards one of their kind. If repelled, they promptly start to fight or walk away. Some animals in their native state are natural enemies and infallible instinct warns them of their approach and impending danger.
Affinity is the mind's law of attraction, and that we gravitate to where we belong is a truth recognized by proverbs of every country. "Like attracts like," "Birds of a feather flock together," "Water finds its own level," "Show me your company and I'll tell you what you are," all have reference to this universal law, for the mind is a magnet and draws to itself all things of like nature. We cannot attract that for which we have no inner response, no more than the needle of the compass can point in any direction except north.
If one attracts undesirable people or uncongenial conditions, he should give himself a careful analysis and find out why he attracts them. Often the cause will not be visible on the surface; its manifestation may greatly surprise him; but somewhere in the subconscious mind the seed was sown and this must be uprooted before any outer change can occur. Changing positions, localities and environments accomplishes naught so long as the inner response remains the same.
"For the thing which I greatly feared has come upon me," lamented Job. Of course it did. Nothing in the universe could have prevented it, for through the immutable law of attraction we draw to ourselves whatever we have been thinking. All thoughts eventually assume objective form and we then are surrounded by our mental creations. We can attract friends, health, wealth, success, happiness; or we can draw to us their opposites. One often hears persons say, when speaking of unfortunate events, "I knew that was going to happen," or "I expected to have bad luck." Their expectant attitude coupled with fear attracted and later materialized the conditions.
Affinity is the cohesive force of all associations, and on the mental plane draws together people with similar ideas, ideals, interests and ambitions. Professional, artistic, literary, musical and scientific people have their clubs and organizations. "Like attracts like" is the law throughout every sphere of life. Honest men are not attracted to dishonest; educated men to uneducated; clean men to unclean, nor pure minds to impure.
People frequently ask: "Are husbands and wives reunited after death?" If they love each other they are, otherwise not. On earth affinity manifests mostly on the emotional plane, but in the spiritual realms it is the law, and no people remain together long unless there is mental and spiritual affinity. Blood relationships sink into insignificance and attraction governs selection. Where there is love, there is no death. It is life that separates souls; death only separates bodies.
On passing to the next sphere of expression people immediately gravitate to the place for which they have prepared themselves by work and service. For contrary to popular fallacies death changes one no more than travelling to another city or country. It confers no benefits and effects no alteration in character. Therefore, the things for which we have affinity here, we will continue to attract Over There. Material interests and desires will bind us to the earth plane, while spiritual aspirations and inclinations will liberate the soul and enable it to function more freely.
Ultimately the miseries and materialities of this life become burdens. Human association no longer satisfies. The soul longs for its native eternity, for the power of the soul to anticipate realities is so perfect that, on its arrival there, a sense of familiarity steals over the mind, as though it had many times before witnessed the same scenes. And through the universal law of affinity we shall be reunited with those we love.
Man is so constituted that he can enjoy nothing alone.
What is individuality? How does it differ from personality? From character? Is it permanent or transitory? Do souls retain their individuality after death? These are recurring questions.
In the progression of nature, from the lowest living substance to the complex organization of man, everything follows the principle of evolution. Progression continues until the innermost is a perfected and individualized expression of Divine Essence. The principle of spirit existed eternally emanating from the fountain of spirit; but it could not be individualized and made manifest without organisms.
Man's ancestry is dual; Father God and Mother Nature, and earthly parents. From his celestial Progenitors he derives his individuality. It is the mold into which the soul is cast at spiritual birth. As ages often separate spiritual and physical birth, individuality is already formed at the soul's advent into the corporeal form.
Most persons first exhibit that character which they have inherited from their immediate progenitors; later, their individuality asserts itself. Individuality is the mental stamp we give our actions; we label everything with it. Every one of us has his own particular way of doing things; it is always unconsciously present and connected with everything we do. Individuality is not to be confused with peculiarities, mannerisms or eccentricities, for it is not a matter of externalities. It is innate and not subject to modification, alteration or eradication.
Individuality, or the foundation character, is innately divine and beautiful. It is godlike because it is an individualized portion of the Creative Principle. This radical and imperishable character is permanent. The progenitory character which man inherits from his earthly parents is alterable, and its patently acquired imperfections ultimately pass away; but his individuality remains forever the same.
Few, if any, individuals have ever been able to change the behavior pattern of their childhood, though in adult life they found themselves in entirely different surroundings and situations. The psychic life does not and cannot change its foundation, and the characteristics of an adult are noticeable in his infancy. A change of attitude in adult life need not necessarily signify a change of behavior pattern.
Psychiatry also has revealed that the phenomena of the soul life are of one incontrovertible and continuous pattern, that no change takes place from childhood to maturity. Students and thinkers of old reached the same conclusion, that is, that human nature has a fixed and unalterable basis. This, however, does not imply that man is not an accountable being, for man has free will and is the architect of his character.
Character is inherited and acquired. It is the medium through which the soul expresses itself, or that form by which the mind manifests. But the character is not the soul, neither is it an expression of man's inward nature. Inward nature is compelled to express itself through form, but such form may be the creation of an unfortunate parentage or education.
Character is the sum total of fixed habits gradually acquired by manner of thinking and living. Although not permanent, it is constant, for no one believes that any man can suddenly change his character. "A leopard does not change his spots," is the Biblical version of this truth. "If a man tells you the mountain has moved, believe him. But if he tells you he has changed his nature, believe him not," says the Mohammedan. And, like the cat in Aesop's fable who changed herself into a fine lady until one day at a banquet, when a mouse ran across the board, she completely forgot her acquired nature and became a cat again. Human nature may lie buried or submerged for long periods, but under stress or strain promptly asserts itself and comes to the surface.
As all created and acquired things contain within themselves the elements of change and perishability, so character may be rebuilt or completely torn down and another constructed. Good habits can be acquired in place of bad ones and constructive principles for destructive ones. Determination, application and the emulation of those who have strong, determined characters are the tools for character building.
Unlike character, which is deeply ingrained, personality is a surface quality and is always flux. It is the mask which men put on or take off at will. There are people who change their personality according to their associates, surroundings, or objectives to be obtained. They exhibit one face to their family, another to friends, clients, servants and strangers. Many people have completely altered their personalities when they discovered it militated against their progress and success, or, to use the current expression, "streamlined it."
Personality is a definite asset for anyone aspiring to a public career. Actors and actresses with personality are box-office favorites. Physicians with a good bedside manner never lack for patients. Politicians with magnetism have the masses following them like the Pied Piper of Hamlin. Orators with eloquence hypnotize people into doing things which are totally prejudicial to their own interest and welfare. Often these moulders of public opinion and action have absolutely nothing to offer except their personality. The most worthless and weakest persons frequently have a fascinating personality. The minds of the masses lacking discrimination mistake glitter for gold.
Success is achieved by developing one's innate aptitudes and abilities, and not by imitating others. No one is intended to be a mere copy of someone else, but someone different and unique. Those who have accomplished the most and left an abiding imprint on human life are those who dared to be different.
Neither insanity nor idiocy can affect or change individuality, as these conditions pertain to that part of man that is transient and perishable. While often startling and radical changes occur in the personality and character manifestation, the inner and real man remains the same. Any knowledge, talent or skill a person had before his mental aberration he will manifest again when freed from the physical body. Defective brains and diseased bodies do not exist in the spirit world, as death mercifully terminates afflictions resulting from these causes.
But neither death nor the grave can cleanse the spirit of certain characteristics which adhere to it. The different races preserve a residue and for many periods continue to manifest these differences. Ultimately however, divergent races converge and assimilate, acquired and racial characteristics disappear and the universal consciousness is accepted.
Each individual will differ everlastingly from every other individual. There is no one type proper to all mankind. Human nature is organized and equipped for progression throughout the ages. Each faculty and quality of one's being is replete with an irresistible tendency to unfold in the direction of an endless career. Each individual will be developed in the likeness of its own interior character bequeathed by Father God and Mother Nature. There will be greater differences than we now have any idea of; we never have been the same and we shall be more different with the centuries.
Were spirits constituted alike, they would gravitate to one center, but being constitutionally dissimilar they can neither be merged into one another nor lose themselves—as some have been led to suppose—in the Universal Spirit or Great Creative Mind. You will not lose your individuality on "passing over"; you will know and be known by parents, children, friends and loved ones; such recognition is the principle of the law of affinity.
The ultimate purpose of Nature and God is to individualize the Divine and Universal Principle. But individualization does not mean separation from God and the rest of creation. The illusion of separateness has caused more sorrow and suffering than any other fallacy. The sun's rays are individual, but never severed from their central source. The branches and leaves are individual, but have no life apart from the parent tree. So with man, he is individual yet forever one with Father God and all created things. Summing up:
Individuality is what God has made man;
Character is what man has made himself;
Personality is the mask which he wears.
Life's hardest battles are waged within the human breast.
"All reality exists in the mind. The outer phenomenon, that which appears, is only its outer expression. The visible universe is the reflection of the invisible," says Plato.
"Unless a thing is apparent to the five bodily senses it has no existence," says the materialist.
Let us examine these two divergent viewpoints and endeavor to ascertain which is in possession of the truth.
What is it which has discovered the laws of all solid, measurable things of earth and sky? It is the mind. Upon what do they rest ultimately? Upon an idea. They are thought realized. But what is an idea? It is that which the mind sees. But can the mind see that which is not? No more than can the eye. These things which the eye sees—the atom, flower, tree, plant, house, etc.—on this side are objects; on the other or reverse side they are thought. Which is the reality, the invisible idea or its external form?
The spiritual origin of all things was uppermost in all Plato's thoughts. His doctrine may appear ambiguous, but in reality nothing in the universe is less obscure. Cause and reality are within; effects and unrealities are without and prove the invisible by the visible; and this is seen immediately when the reversal of the usual process is followed by reasoning—which is inductive, or from effect to cause, rather than from cause to effect.
The generality of men are convinced of the reality of things only in proportion as is evident to their senses. 'Whatsoever is invisible and imperceptible is for them doubtful or nonexistent. The external tests of truth and reality are, however, invariably deceptive. Reasoning from cause to effect is the one sure guide to truth; this, to be followed by analogy and association, as carrying direct evidence to the mind of that which is beyond the senses.
In order to understand life it is necessary that men should comprehend this great truth of reality; that nothing exists in the outer world except as produced and developed by an interior essence, of which the exterior is the representative. The arts and sciences demonstrate the truth of this principle, the divine pre-existent idea of every material manifestation.
For example, the artist first sees the picture in his mind before painting it on canvas. Then sometimes the objective result is so inferior to the original one he saw mentally, that he destroys it and creates another. 'Which is the reality? The reality is the indestructible model existing eternally in the mind substance.
Composers first hear their symphonies and operas in their minds before transcribing them on paper. They, too, experience difficulty in embodying the sublime melodies in concrete form. But the immortal score they heard with their inner ears exists eternally in the celestial realms, the home of all music and all ideas.
General knowledge of the reality and force of ideas would revolutionize the world. Rulers know their reality and their power and fear them more than bombs, torpedoes, guns and dynamite, because they know full well they cannot blast ideas out of existence. Consequently, they mobilize the minds of the masses at the same time, in the same way, and for the same purpose as the Army and Navy. Otherwise wars would be impossible. But the masses, ignorant of the process, permit their minds to be enslaved. Physical bondage they would resist to their last breath, but control of their minds, of far more worth, they relinquish without a struggle. The infinite pity of it all! Their minds in bondage they are no longer free, even with their bodies at liberty, and they follow the bellwether like a flock of sheep, no matter into what absurdity, even to danger and to death, not realizing that, so long as they act like unthinking sheep, they will share the same fate as sheep.
The battle cry of freedom has rung down through the ages and people are always looking for a liberator to free them. The people will never be free until they free themselves through the exercise of thought and their God-given prerogative to reason for themselves. Those who deny men this right are their enemies and exploiters.
Why fear to think? Who can prevent it? Bodies can be liquidated, free speech suppressed, but no power on earth can invade the kingdom of mind. The most powerful army cannot take possession of a single idea. The most cruel autocrat cannot destroy a solitary thought. No despot can hinder a man from thinking anything under the sun he chooses, or prevent him from sending these thoughts to others all over the world. And through the power of thought people can free themselves, for by uniting mentally they can effect any change they desire, accomplish any plan or project for the benefit of mankind. Thoughts are the tools man uses to bring invisible things into visible form.
The incontrovertible fact that nothing which truly affects man is capable of being measured, weighed, or calculated is further proved by memory. What is memory? It is seeing with the mind's eye the events of the imperishable past indelibly engraved on the etheric substance. If the past were not recorded, how could we see it? No reality has more power than a memory that taunts and haunts us with thoughts we would fain obliterate forever.
People cross oceans and continents hoping that, in a new environment, they may be able to forget; but they soon realize memories are not left behind with their material possessions. Like their shadows memory pursues them to the end of the earth and mocks every attempt to elude it. It even defies and survives the grave, as death effects no change save dissolution of the worn-out physical garment.
What is the initial cause of the formation of many narcotic and liquor habits? Not desire for, or liking of, drug or drink, but the effect which they produce—temporary oblivion, forgetfulness, an avenue of escape. Escape from what? Realities too painful to be borne. And where exist these torturing realities which drive people to such desperate and destructive acts to obtain alleviation? In the mind.
"It is all in their mind," people frequently say when others are in pain. Very true. Unless it were in the mind it could have no reality, as there is no feeling or sensation in the body of flesh.
"Money is the only reality in this material world," say the practical people, and proceed to turn life into it. For does not money command the labor of their fellow men, enable them to live in luxury and comfort? Does it not buy palaces, rare jewels, expensive cars, fine clothes, costly viands, priceless art? Does it not command power, affluence, and votes for public office? Yes, money buys all these things. It buys just about everything except love, loyalty, friendship, devotion, respect, happiness, health, peace, a passport to Heaven and God.
Occasionally people ask, since money is not the coin of the Heavenly spheres, what is the medium of exchange? There is only one medium of exchange and that is service. In reality, it is the only true one here; it is the only one with which realities can be obtained.
Since the mind can see that which is invisible to the physical eyes, may it not sometimes have the power to behold God? Atheists deny the reality of God on the grounds that no one has ever seen Him. They could just as logically deny the reality of man because no one has ever seen him. True, we are all familiar with the outer aspect of man, his physical body which is transient and changeable; but who has seen the reality, that which is within?
And has not God also an external form? The outer universe is a visible manifestation of the Indwelling Deity. Nature is the body and God the soul. God has the same relation to the universe as man to his body; He is the Spirit, the animating and sustaining Principle, for God is both formless and also with form.
So men who deny the reality of God's existence should also deny their own, if they wish to be consistent in their argument. No effect can be without a cause; therefore, it follows that man must have a cause, or origin, who is no other than God. We should believe in God because we believe in ourselves. This is the correct order and precedence of things. Man is sufficient to prove God's existence, and is the best proof we can possess. And in our search for God we should begin at the near end—man. The reality of man proves the reality of his Creator.
Is immortality a reality? Some claim not, and deny its reality on the same grounds that atheists deny the existence of God—no one has ever been able to prove it! Such assertions transcend all bounds of fallaciousness and presumptuousness. Obviously, persons undertaking to speak for all the swarming millions that have lived and are now living on earth do naught but advertise their dense ignorance. Instead of proclaiming that no one has ever been able to prove it, they should confine their statements to themselves and to their group of friends and acquaintances. We have known a number of these unbelievers and their rejection of immortality seems to be mostly due to their fear of it!
Ignorance is a poor authority. Immortality has always been and is today a reality to innumerable people who have not had any palpable experience or optical and auditory demonstration. Those who are conscious of their true nature have no doubt of its reality. How could it be otherwise? Since God and man are inseparable, man cannot escape immortality. Man's consciousness and intelligence cannot be annihilated any more than can the Deity's, as man exists co-eternally with Him. And immortality means nothing unless accompanied by intelligence, memory, recognition of friends and loved ones.
Furthermore, the scientifically proven facts of the indestructibility of matter and the conservation of energy have convinced many intelligent minds of the truth of immortality. In reality all created things are eternal.
Warp and woof of life are love and service.
Numerous are the reasons advanced of why the world has seemingly gone to pieces. Extraordinary is the ingenuity writers display in avoiding the natural and obvious explanation. Some even delve into astrology in their efforts to evade acknowledging the sole and direct cause which is none other than materialism. The destructive doctrine of annihilation with its inevitable outcome has superseded the Truth of immortality; nearly all semblance of morality has disappeared and corruption reigns supreme.
Rulers seem to be obsessed with the maniacal idea that civilization is advanced and people improved if the earth is drenched with blood; that human sacrifices will make this world better. Ostensibly, World War I was for this purpose and everyone knows the result. It set the stage for World War II and made a bumper crop of millionaires. Only money is sacred to materialistic people; human lives are conscripted but capital exempted. Only because the minds of the masses are drugged is such a preposterous condition possible; otherwise lives would be sacred and wealth conscripted.
The most imperative need of the world today is for a philosophy which shall destroy materialism, reconcile brother with brother, acquaint men with their origin, duty and destiny and enlighten them of the Truth of immortality. Universal knowledge of immortality will revolutionize the world because it will rationalize men's conduct. Men conscious of immortality will not hate or kill their fellowmen, realizing that what they do to another they do also to themselves and to God.
Now unenlightened and egotistical leaders believe that by purges, liquidations and wars they are destroying life, which would make their crimes infinitely more diabolical. They are worse than cannibals who believe that mankind is bred to be eaten; war lords think men exist to be slaughtered for their aggrandizement and power. Battalions they send to death for a piece of real estate. The loss of thousands of men they consider "negligible," but surround themselves with bodyguards.
This callous indifference to loss of life arises from their ignorance of a future life where a higher law and court of justice are encountered. If they had an inkling that, in the hereafter, they will be held accountable, they would speedily alter their conduct and settle their stupid disputes in a different manner. And when this knowledge becomes general, as it will, their power over life and death will end.
People are beginning to question, with considerable doubt and suspicion, the "divine" right of kings and rulers to conscript the life and freedom of their fellowmen. Did they derive it from on high or usurp it from the people? What right has anyone to deprive millions of souls of earthly expression? The physical body is the temple of the living God, the dwelling place of the immortal soul, and was given by God for its terrestrial expression. Destroying the body, whether one's own or that of another, is a sin and must be expiated. And murder is still murder when committed by thousands or millions with the consequences increased proportionately.
Many people wonder if adequate punishment exists for those responsible for making slaughter houses of their countries, filling hospitals with the maimed, crippled, blind and insane, creating incalculable sorrow, suffering and moral disorder. They need have no qualms on this score. God is neither mocked nor cheated. While rarely, if ever, are rulers brought to justice on earth, there is a hereafter, a place of stark reality where all men reap as they have sown. Death wipes out no deeds of infamy, cruelty and murder, but the instigator comes face to face with their consequences.
As everyone knows, or certainly ought to know, the law of cause and effect is not terminated at death, but is eternal in duration and universal in scope, eventually bringing to all their just deserts. Divine Justice is administered through this law, and both evil and good return to their originator. Just as in the realm of physics "action and reaction are equal," so on the moral plane cause and effect are equal.
When death comes to the liquidators, how will they greet their victims? And meet them they surely shall. Terrible are the consequences of murder. Through long centuries the cries and curses of the slain will ring in their ears. Faces glaring with hatred and mockery will constantly be before them, oceans of blood filled with ghastly corpses from which escape will be impossible. There will be no surcease from remorse, no peace for their soul until reparation has been made. Dante in his Inferno gives a graphic and accurate description of the fate of such as these. Not a pleasant future to contemplate, nevertheless it is not the doctrine of fear but the gospel of Truth. Not for naught are so many prayers said for the souls in purgatory.
However, men themselves are responsible for their future condition and not some arbitrary being. In "Mystery of Mind" we mentioned the Akashic, life's imperishable record. This record is both man's judge and executioner. There is no tampering with this document, no judge or lawyer can "fix" it for you. One's secret history is told wordlessly and is forever known; the details of earth life are understood, all one's acts and their far-reaching consequences. Man sees what he has thought, wished, spoken and done without any palliating or extenuating excuses. Happy for us if we live so we can leave this world in good spiritual circumstances.
The first experience on entering the land of silence is usually seeing those who have preceded you; quite often the nearest and dearest of all greets the newcomer and perhaps has long been awaiting his arrival. Hence, the expression of peace frequently seen on the face of the departing one. At death the soul returns to its Father's house, the home from which it has too long been absent. Death is life's most beautiful adventure and is reserved for the last.
Life Over There is not so different from life over here, for it is a world of activity, labor and service, with every opportunity for realizing one's dreams, hopes and ambitions, continuing and perfecting interests and studies, and completing plans which perhaps were only commenced on earth. It is a land of eternal development and progression, and not a place of eternal idleness, stagnation, sleep and rest. Many believe that after death all is different with the individual. There never was a greater mistake. One neither gains nor loses through the episode of death.
After death man assumes his spiritual body, which has senses corresponding to all the external ones, and this body is beautiful or ugly as was the life the soul lived on earth. Those of great spirituality are dazzling and beautiful in appearance, while those who are unevolved or evil are dark and hideous. Here in this earth life the robes of honor are frequently worn by dishonorable men. In the next life it will not be so. The light from the temple within will clothe itself with a corresponding exterior. If our spiritual bodies are composed of goodness and truth, we shall be clothed with pure robes. But if they be composed of selfishness, vanity and evil, which are the errors of life, we shall be clothed with the filthy rags of impurity. There are no variations to this law.
There is a gradation or caste in the next world just as marked as among the dwellers of earth. But Over There caste is determined by mental and spiritual acquisitions; here, mostly by material possessions. On earth, men are respectively "worth" so many thousands or millions of dollars; in fact, they often are well nigh indistinguishable from their bank accounts. Here is injustice—there is absolute justice.
Space and time, as understood by us, are unknown in the four-dimensional world, and spirit people have incredible freedom of movement. Their power is higher than organic force, their will overcomes material gravity, and they can rise and float with the speed of light upon the ether. A voyage on the celestial seas is quicker and more easily accomplished than a telegraph operator can transmit events for the daily press. Will is their motive power, and, where they will to be, they are.
There are no barriers between this world and the spiritual spheres except the false ones which men have created in their minds. The spiritual worlds are around and above us, and we are under the constant scrutiny of its inhabitants. Their eyes are clairvoyant and they are well acquainted with what we are doing, and they also know well what we are thinking. If people realized that thousands of eyes witness every deed, there would be a great decrease in crime and evil-doing. If the transgressor knew that he was being watched and accompanied every step, from the planning to the execution of his crime, that his conduct was causing untold suffering and anguish to those who see what he is doing though powerless to prevent it, much of our crime would disappear.
How fares it with the multitude of young men slain for causes no one can understand? Prematurely wrenched from the body, they find themselves in the next expression of life bewildered and confounded, emotionally, mentally and spiritually unprepared. They are met and cared for by those who understand and they gradually are made aware of their new status. Liberated from the dense body, their consciousness expands and activity increases, affording them innumerable opportunities for sending thoughts to people on earth. Their telepathic ability to impress those in the flesh is mainly responsible for the growing interest in what lies beyond.
Always in time of war, when the exodus into the other world is so enormous, there is a deep desire on the part of many people to know what has happened to their loved ones. The soul within rebels at the materialistic doctrine of oblivion and one yearns for assurance and conviction of immortality.
This longing is stimulated by those over there who see the sorrow and suffering their departure is causing their families and friends, and they seek, through every avenue at their disposal, to impress them they are not dead but more alive than ever. Many people are aware of these thoughts although unable to see or hear their originators. But make no mistake, their voices will yet be heard.
Nothing is valued more by the boys in foreign lands, whether on earth or Over There, than greetings and remembrances from loved ones. These are treasured beyond all price, and people should daily send them loving thoughts and pray for their progression and enlightenment. Remember always, they are not "lost," but have only preceded you into the heavenly land where each of us will go in our turn. Those who pass on in youth have little karma to expiate and rapidly advance to higher planes. While the wicked go to a worse place, the righteous and innocent go to a world of surpassing beauty, happiness and peace.
The laws governing communication between earth and other planes of consciousness are definite and irrevocable, more rigid than the laws governing material communications. No caprice or will of man can change them one iota; he must familiarize himself with their operation and then comply with them. Those Over There are bound by these same laws, for by no means are they free agents, but are subject to many restrictions.
A phenomenon of clairvoyance is at best but an inferential evidence because it is not a matter of universal human experience. The same can be said about spiritual manifestations; they too are local, special and mostly private; although those who have received such evidence can affirm that immortality is true, and that the human soul can never be extinguished.
But the evidences which are worth anything are not outside. Man's immortality, to be of any practical service, must be experienced in his religious nature, felt in his soul, and not merely understood by his intellectual faculties. True evidences come through two inward sources of wisdom—intuition and reflection.
Those who dare to be truthful to these inward sources of knowledge will feel positive evidence of immortality, and external evidences will serve but as illustrations. When you find this internal conviction of immortality which no sophistry can invalidate, you have found a treasure beyond all price.
It is no more appalling to enter the next stage of consciousness than it was to come into this one.
Since the publication of Immortality a number of people have asked whether animals do not also have a future life. They said it was illogical and unjust that vicious and depraved human beings should enjoy immortality while noble and intelligent animals be doomed to extinction. This however, is not strictly true as many animals do live for a long time after death.
While animals do not possess an immortal spirit, they do have in common with man an astral or emotional body. This body is sustained by emotion as animals experience love, hate, fear, courage, jealousy, desire, etc. Emotion is what keeps them alive, their own and that of their former owner or master. Animals which are most closely associated with man, who reflect his intelligence, enjoy his protection and affection, live the longest.
The life principle is of course universal and eternal, and is the basis of all forms, mineral, plant, animal, human and angel. Individuality is achieved by means of form or organization, and this determines the degree of mortality or immortality. There is no definite line of demarcation where mortality ends and immortality begins; since there are degrees of intelligence in animals as there are in men.
Only man has an organization sufficiently integrated and a brain structure adequately developed to be a temple of the Living God. Animals have only the primary elements of life. There is, however, no annihilation and while some animals perish for all time at death, they are absorbed into the universal life and again animate other forms.
Some people have inquired whether there are animals and birds on the other side of life. Can anyone imagine a world without them? Animals and birds have their own sphere where they live for long periods for the joy and happiness they bring to man.
After death, devoted pets, as for instance dogs, remain on earth and continue to frequent their old haunts, occupy their favorite spots, and mingle with family and friends. People mourn and miss their pals while all the time they are still in their midst puzzled because they are no longer noticed. They do not know they are now invisible but believe they are no longer wanted and loved, and finally the animals leave disconsolate. Animal lovers on the other side seeing their distress care for them until their master passes over.
Great is the surprise and joy of many people after death to find waiting for them not only relatives and friends but amongst them a loyal animal companion, who has not forgotten his master but greets him with unrestrained delight. And this is one of the happiest of reunions, for there is a natural affinity between man and the noble horse and the faithful dog. The devoted companionship which death interrupted is resumed and continued for many years in that beautiful land where there are no partings, no tears and no misunderstandings.
"What Is Man?"
Man is an immortal spirit temporarily inhabiting a material body. This body is no more the real man than are the clothes he wears to cover it. To understand man it is necessary to study vastly more than his outer form. Men are begotten by God, and children of God are gods, just as offspring of animals are animals.
"How Many Bodies Has Man?"
Man has two bodies, a material and a spiritual which Paul calls the natural and unnatural body. At death man discards the physical and then uses the spiritual body for his instrument of expression. Man has no more use for seven or forty-seven bodies at one time than an animal has for that many tails.
"How Can One Unfold Their Spiritual Faculties?"
Higher human faculties unfold naturally when the right kind of life is lived conducive for their development. It is neither necessary nor advisable to form peculiar habits, or to have recourse to artificial means for stimulating them. Spiritual thinking and spiritual living are the requisites.
"Where Do Child Prodigies Get Their Wisdom?"
All prodigies are old in wisdom and full of experience. Their bodies are new but the soul within that body has behind it an ancient history. Prodigies and geniuses bring with them to earth the accumulated wisdom of their past; their extraordinary endowment of skill or talent is the result of innumerable years of preparatory study and struggle. A soul without a past suddenly coming into existence with well defined mental and moral characteristics and endowed with genius would be a freak, or a contradiction of natural law. Great musicians, artists, mathematicians do not begin or end their career on earth.
"Where Did Life Originate?"
Material scientists say from matter. Spiritual philosophers aver that the First Cause of all things is spirit or God. According to the ancients the first immigrants to earth came without material bodies, after having accomplished missions on other planets while incarnated in bodies adapted to conditions there prevailing. The regions of the far North supposedly were first inhabited by physical humanity. The "fall of man" into matter is a truth allegorically depicted in the Bible; his becoming gradually provided with clothes of skin and flesh, as a protection against the injurious influences of his surroundings on earth.
"Where Is God?"
Since God is omnipresent, where is He not? In Him we live and move and have our being, and we are this instant as close to Him as we ever will be. Intimate awareness of His presence is realized when we know that God and man are One.
"What Is the Perfect Religion?"
There is only one religion and that is perfect. Love. "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbor as thyself."
"Which Is the Most Important Law?"
Love is the law that rules the universe and is the most important one. He who observes this law is in harmony with all the others.
"Why Does God Permit War?"
When God endowed men with free will He undoubtedly knew they would abuse it. However, He does not arbitrarily deprive them of it because they choose to violate His commandments, but permits men to slaughter one another and to reap the consequences thereof. By the exercise of free will men make their own destiny, create their joy or sorrow, and in this way gain wisdom. It is blasphemous for men to pray to God to be "on their side" when they murder their brothers. If they wish to be on God's side they must keep His laws. If men do not like the suffering engendered by sin, they should cease sinning.
"Are War Criminals Ever Punished?"
Rarely if ever on earth, but there is a higher tribunal where all men receive their just deserts. The real war criminals are seldom known to the people who suffer the losses and bear the brunt of war, but they are known to God. Rulers are only an effect of the people they govern, and if the rulers are corrupt, so are the people. Until the masses become competent to rule themselves they will be controlled and exploited by politicians and profiteers. The key to liberation is in their own hands but they are too blind to use it.
"Why Does God Punish Innocent People?"
Firstly, God never punishes anyone, innocent or guilty. We punish ourselves by violating His laws. Secondly, there are no "innocent victims." Sooner or later our deeds overtake us and we reap as we have sown.
"Why Are So Many Prayers Unanswered?"
Many prayers are answered by remaining unanswered. Not all people pray wisely and it would be to their detriment if their requests were granted. All prayers are answered or unanswered according to the need and the ultimate good of the petitioner. Many think that prayer will change the laws of nature, or intervene between a cause and its effect. Asking God to change the law is futile. The wise man prays for guidance, to be shown how he can work himself out of the conditions he has created. Nor does God do for us what we should do ourselves. God moves when we move, and His hands are many hands. In heaven He works through angels, and on earth through men.
"Has Thought the Power to Heal?"
As thought has the power to make people violently ill, and even kill them, which it often has by bad news such as the passing of a loved one, it assuredly has the power to alleviate and heal. All things have a mental origin, and disease and its cure are no exceptions. Thought is the creative power and can be used either constructively or destructively. People can think themselves ill, unhappy and unsuccessful, or they can create the opposite conditions. By changing your opinion of yourself, you change yourself; and you certainly won't accomplish much until you think you can.
"What Is the Cause and Cure of Suffering?"
All suffering arises from violation of law on the physical, moral, mental or spiritual plane, whether committed knowingly or unknowingly, ignorantly or deliberately. It is a corrective and educational experience and altogether necessary. There can be no real emancipation from suffering until men can no longer derive benefit from its continuance. Ignorance is the cause of all suffering; and suffering will cease when ignorance ceases.
"Where Does Evil Originate?"
Evil or the devil is no person but a force created for good but used for evil. Nothing but good comes from the Infinite One or God. All evil has its origin in man; so if man wants to see the devil he should look within himself. Similarly, if he wants to find God he must see Him within himself and his fellowmen.
"Where Is Heaven and Hell?"
Heaven and hell are not localities so much as states of consciousness; current realities as well as future conditions. Remorse, regret and persecuting memories are the essence of hell; peace, serenity and love are the characteristics of heaven. Hell is the reflex of men's vices, crimes and sins; heaven is the effect of living in harmony with the laws of God. Every soul creates its own heaven or hell, here or hereafter; death changes only the situation, not the condition of the soul. "There is no rest for the wicked," is an actual truth. Repentance does not remit consequences, nor does death obliterate memory which is forever present torturing him with the past. God made this earth a heaven, but man is doing his best to make it a hell.
"Is Suicide a Disgrace?"
Suicide or self-destruction is a sin. No man has the right to take his own life or that of another. Furthermore, suicide accomplishes naught, but is in reality a jump from the frying pan into the fire. The individual does not run out on life as he supposes but finds himself more alive than before. He is bound to earth with his obligations still to meet, his problems to solve, his duties to perform, but no longer having his physical body it takes him longer. Instead of liberation he has found slavery. Those who are mentally ill when committing suicide are not held accountable for the act, but they are responsible for the conditions which prompted it. Such misguided individuals need help, and above all knowledge of immortality which would deter them from making such a dreadful mistake.
"Is There Any Justice in This Life?"
There is only one life and earthly expression is a brief portion of it. One cannot look upon a single span of life and judge of anything. If one were to take one day from this life and ignore preceding and following days, it wouldn't have the slightest plan or purpose. One must be acquainted with the whole; and taken in its entirety there is absolute justice in life.
"Who Are Angels?"
Angels were human beings who once lived upon this earth and who have attained the status of angel-hood. The soul continues its progress after death and evolves until perfection has been regained. Angels, like human beings, advance by rendering service to struggling mankind. "There appeared an angel unto Jesus, from heaven, strengthening him"; now, as then, they draw nigh in our hour of need and administer unto us.