Man is an Immortal Being, clad in a garb of flesh, which is vivified and moved by desires and passions, and which he links to himself by a thread of his immortal nature. This thread is the mind, and this mind, unsubdued and inconstant, wanders out among the things of earth, is moved by passions and desires, hopes and fears, longs to taste all cups of sense-delights, is dazzled and deafened by the radiance and the tumult of its surroundings. And thus, as Arjuna complained, the “mind is full of agitation, turbulent, strong, and obstinate”. Above this whirling mind, serene and passionless witness, dwells the True Self, the Spiritual Ego of man. Below there may be storm, but above there is calm, and there is the Place of Peace. For that Self is eternal, and what to it are the things of time, save as they bring experience, the knowledge of good and evil? So often, dwelling in its house of clay. it has known birth and death, gains and losses, joys and griefs, pleasures and pains, that it sees them all pass by as a moving phantasmagoria, and no ripple ruffles its passionless serenity. Does agony affect its outer case, it is but a notice that harmony has been broken, and the pain is welcome as pointing to the failure and as bearing the lesson of avoidance of that whence it sprang. For the True Self has to conquer the material plane, to purify and sublimate it, and only by suffering can it learn how to perform its work.
Never let us forget, in the wildest storm of sorrow, that these early stages of our evolution, in which pain plays so large a part, are early stages only. They bear an infinitesimal proportion to our existence; nay, the two things are incommensurables, for how can we measure time against eternity, myriad years against an unending life? If we spake of the cycle of reincarnation as the infant stage of humanity, full of infantile ailments, we should utterly exaggerate its relative importance. Verily “our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory”. Therefore when the storm-clouds gather, look beyond them to the changeless sky; when the billows buffet, lift the eyes to the eternal shore. Let earth and hell pour forth their angriest forces to overwhelm, they shall only lift us upwards, bear us onwards. For we are unborn, undying, constant, changeless and eternal, and we are here only to forge the instruments for an immortal service, the service which is perfect freedom.
This is the second installment of a two-part series