(The numbers given below are only to assist in future references)
GOD leads man while man is misleading himself; the higher nature
watches over the stumblings of the lower mortality: this is the tangle and contradiction
out of which we have to escape into the into a clear
knowledge, the self-unity to which alone is possible a faultless action.
That thou shouldst have pity on creatures is well, but not well, if thou art a slave to thy pity. Be a slave to nothing except to God, not even to His most luminous angels.
Beatitude is God's aim for humanity; get this supreme good for thyself first that thou mayst distribute it entirely to thy fellow-beings.
He who acquires for himself alone, acquires ill though he may call it heaven and virtue.
In my ignorance I thought anger could be noble and vengeance grandiose; but now when I watch Achilles in his epic fury, I see a very fine baby in a very fine rage and I am pleased and amused.
Power is noble, when it overtops anger; destruction is grandiose, but it loses caste when it proceeds from vengeance. Leave these things, for they belong to a lower humanity.
Poets make much of death and external afflictions, but the only tragedies are the soul's failures and the only epic man's triumphant ascent towards godhead.
The tragedies of the heart and the body are the weeping of children over their little griefs and their broken toys. Smile within thyself, but comfort the children; join also, if thou canst, in their play.
“There is always something abnormal and eccentric about men of genius.” And why not? For genius itself is an abnormal birth and out of man's ordinary centre.
Genius is Nature's first attempt to liberate the imprisoned god out of her human mould; the mould has to suffer in the process. It is astonishing that the cracks are so few and unimportant.
Nature sometimes gets into a fury with her own resistance, then she damages the brain in order to free the inspiration; for in this effort the equilibrium of the average material brain is her chief opponent. Pass over the madness of such and profit by their inspiration.
Who can bear Kali rushing into the system in her fierce force and burning godhead? Only the man whom Krishna already possesses.
Hate not the oppressor, for, if he is strong, thy hate increases his force of resistance; if he is weak, thy hate was needless.
Hatred is a sword of power, but its edge is always double. It is like the Kriya of the ancient magicians which, if baulked of its prey, returned in fury to devour its sender.
Love God in thy opponent, even while thou strikest him; so shall neither have hell for his portion.
Men talk of enemies, but where are they? I only see wrestlers of one party or the other in the great arena of the universe.
The saint and the angel are not the only divinities; admire also the Titan and the Giant.
The old writings call the Titans the elder gods. So they still are, nor is any god entirely divine unless there is hidden in him also a Titan.
If I cannot be Rama, then I would be Ravana; for he is the dark side of Vishnu.
Sacrifice, sacrifice, sacrifice always, but for the sake of God and humanity, not for the sake of sacrifice.
Selfishness kills the soul; destroy it. But take care that your altruism does not kill the souls of others.
Very usually, altruism is only the sublimest form of selfishness.
He who will not slay when God bids him, works in the world an incalculable havoc.
Respect human life as long as you can; but respect more the life of humanity.
Men slay out of uncontrollable anger, hatred or vengeance; they shall suffer the rebound now or hereafter; or they slay to serve a selfish end, coldly; God shall not pardon them. If men slay, first let their soul have known death for a relief and seen God in the stricken, the stroke and the striker.
Courage and love are the only indispensable virtues; even if all the others are eclipsed or fall asleep, these two will save the soul alive.
Meanness and selfishness are the only sins that I find it difficult to pardon; yet they alone are almost universal. Therefore these also must not be hated in others, but in ourselves annihilated.
Nobleness and generosity are the soul's ethereal firmament; without them, one looks at an insect in a dungeon.
Let not thy virtues be such as men praise or reward, but such as make for thy perfection and God in thy nature demands of thee.
Altruism, duty, family, country, humanity are the prisons of the soul when they are not its instruments.
Our country is God the Mother; speak not evil of her unless thou canst do it with love and tenderness.
Men are false to their country for their own profit; yet they go on thinking they have a right to turn in horror from the matricide.
Break the moulds of the past, but keep safe its genius and its spirit, or else thou hast no future.
Revolutions hew the past to pieces and cast it into a cauldron, but what has emerged is the old Aeson with a new visage.
The world has had only half a dozen successful revolutions and most even of these were very like failures; yet it is by great and noble failures that humanity advances.
* * *
Atheism is a necessary protest against the wickedness of the Churches and the narrowness of creeds. God uses it as a stone to smash these soiled card-houses.
How much hatred and stupidity men succeed in packing up decorously and labelling “Religion”!
God guides best when He tempts worst, loves entirely when He punishes cruelly, helps perfectly when violently He opposes.
If God did not take upon Himself the burden of tempting men, the world would very soon go to perdition.
Suffer yourself to be tempted within so that you may exhaust in the struggle your downward propensities.
If you leave it to God to purify, He will exhaust the evil in you subjectively; but if you insist on guiding yourself, you will fall into much outward sin and suffering.
Call not everything evil which men call evil, but only that reject which God has rejected; call not everything good which men call good, but accept only what God has accepted.
Men in the world have two lights, duty and principle; but he who has passed over to God, has done with both and replaced them by God's will. If men abuse thee for this, care not, O divine instrument, but go on thy way like the wind or the sun fostering and destroying.
Not to cull the praises of men has God made thee His own, but to do fearlessly His bidding.
Accept the world as God's theatre; be thou the mask of the Actor and let Him act through thee. If men praise or hiss thee, know that they too are masks; and take God within for thy only critic and audience.
If Krishna be alone on one side and the armed and organised world with its hosts and its shrapnel and its maxims on the other, yet prefer thy divine solitude. Care not if the world passes over thy body and its shrapnel tear thee to pieces and its cavalry trample thy limbs into shapeless mire by the wayside; for the mind was always a simulacrum and the body a carcass. The spirit liberated from its casings ranges and triumphs.
If thou think defeat is the end of thee, then go not for the fight, even though thou be the stronger. For Fate is not purchased by any man nor is Power bound over to her possessors. But defeat is not the end, it is only a gate or a beginning.
I have failed, thou sayest. Say rather that God is circling about towards His object.
Foiled by the world, thou turnest to seize upon God. If the world is stronger than thou, thinkest thou God is weaker? Turn to Him rather for His bidding and for strength to fulfil it.
So long as a Cause has on its side one soul that is intangible in faith, it cannot perish.
Reason gives me no basis for this faith, thou murmurest. Fool! if it did, faith would not be needed or demanded of thee.
Faith in the heart is the obscure and often distorted reflection of a hidden knowledge.
The believer is often more plagued by doubt than the most inveterate sceptic. He persists because there is something subconscient in him which knows. That tolerates both his blind faith and twilit doubts and drives towards the revelation of that which it knows.
The world thinks that it moves by the light of reason, but it is really impelled by its faiths and instincts.
Reason adapts itself to the faith or argues out a justification of the instincts; but it receives the impulse subconsciously, therefore men think that they act rationally.
The only business of reason is to arrange and criticise the perceptions. It has neither in itself any means of positive conclusion nor any command to action. When it pretends to originate or impel, it is masking other agencies.
Until Wisdom comes to thee, use the reason for its God-given purposes and faith and instinct for theirs. Why shouldst thou set thy members to war upon each other?
Perceive always and act in the light of thy increasing perceptions but not those of the reasoning brain only. God speaks to the heart when the brain cannot understand him.
If thy heart tell thee, Thus and by such means and at such a time it will happen, believe it not. But if it gives thee the purity and wideness of God's command, hearken to it.
When thou hast the command, care only to fulfil it. The rest is God's will and arrangement which men call chance and luck and fortune.
If thy aim be great and thy means small, still act; for by action alone these can increase to thee.
Care not for time and success. Act out thy part, whether it be to fail or to prosper.
There are three forms in which the command may come, the will and faith in thy nature, thy ideal on which heart and brain are agreed and the voice of Himself or His angels.
There are times when action is unwise or impossible; then go into Tapasya in some physical solitude or in the retreats of thy soul and await whatever divine word or manifestation.
Leap not too quickly at all voices, for there are lying spirits ready to deceive thee, but let thy heart be pure and afterwards listen.
There are times when God seems to be sternly on the side of the past; then what has been and is, sits firm as on a throne and clothes itself with an irrevocable “I shall be”. Then persevere, though thou seem to be fighting the Master of all; for this is His sharpest trial.
All is not settled when a cause is humanly lost and hopeless; all is settled, only when the soul renounces its effort.
He who would win high spiritual degrees, must pass endless tests and examinations. But most are anxious only to bribe the examiner.
Fight, while thy hands are free, with thy hands and thy voice and thy brain and all manner of weapons. Art thou chained in thy enemy's dungeons and have his gags silenced thee? Fight with thy silent all-besieging soul and thy wide-ranging will-power and when thou art dead, fight still with the world-encompassing force that went out from God within thee.
Thou thinkest the ascetic in his cave or on his mountain-top a stone and a do-nothing? What dost thou know? He may be filling the world with the mighty currents of his will and changing it by the pressure of his soul-state.
That which the liberated sees in his soul on its mountain-tops, heroes and prophets spring up in the material world to proclaim and accomplish.
The Theosophists are wrong in their circumstances but right in the essential. If the French Revolution took place, it was because a soul on the Indian snows dreamed of God as freedom, brotherhood and equality.
All speech and action comes prepared out of the eternal Silence.
There is no disturbance in the depths of the Ocean, but above there is the joyous thunder of its shouting and its racing shoreward; so is it with the liberated soul in the midst of violent action. The soul does not act; it only breathes out from itself overwhelming action.
O soldier and hero of God, where for thee is sorrow or shame or suffering? For thy life is a glory, thy deeds a consecration, victory thy apotheosis, defeat thy triumph.
Do thy lower members still suffer the shock of sin and sorrow? but above, seen of them or unseen, thy soul sits royal, calm, free and triumphant. Believe that the Mother will ere the end have done her work and made the very earth of thy being a joy and a purity.
If thy heart is troubled within thee, if for long seasons thou makest no progress, if thy strength faint and repine, remember always the eternal word of our Lover and Master, “I will free thee from all sin and evil; do not grieve.”
Purity is in thy soul; but for actions, where is their purity or impurity?
O Death, our masked friend and maker of opportunities, when thou wouldst open the gate, hesitate not to tell us beforehand; for we are not of those who are shaken by its iron jarring.
Death is sometimes a rude valet; but when he changes this robe of earth for that brighter raiment, his horseplay and impertinences can be pardoned.
Who shall slay thee, O soul immortal? Who shall torture thee, O God ever-joyous?
Think this when thy members would fain make love with depression and weakness, “I am Bacchus and Ares and Apollo; I am Agni pure and invincible; I am Surya ever burning mightily.”
Shrink not from the Dionysian cry and rapture within thee, but see that thou be not a straw upon those billows.
Thou hast to learn to bear all the gods within thee and never stagger with their inrush or break under their burden.
Mankind have wearied of strength and joy and called sorrow and weakness virtue, wearied of knowledge and called ignorance holiness, wearied of love and called heartlessness enlightenment and wisdom.
There are many kinds of forbearance. I saw a coward hold out his cheek to the smiter; I saw a physical weakling struck by a strong and self-approving bully look quietly and intently at the aggressor; I saw God incarnate smile lovingly on those who stoned him. The first was ridiculous, the second terrible, the third divine and holy.
It is noble to pardon thine own injurers, but not so noble to pardon wrongs done to others. Nevertheless pardon these too, but when needful, calmly avenge.
When Asiatics massacre, it is an atrocity; when Europeans, it is a military exigency. Appreciate the distinction and ponder over this world's virtues.
Watch the too indignantly righteous. Before long you will find them committing or condoning the very offence which they have so fiercely censured.
“There is very little real hypocrisy among men.” True, but there is a great deal of diplomacy and still more self-deceit. The last is of three varieties, conscious, subconscious and half-conscious; but the third is the most dangerous.
Be not deceived by men's shows of virtue, neither disgusted by their open or secret vices. These things are the necessary shufflings in a long transition-period of humanity.
Be not repelled by the world's crookedness; the world is a wounded and venomous snake wriggling towards a destined off-sloughing and perfection. Wait; for it is a divine wager, and out of this baseness, God will emerge brilliant and triumphant.
Why dost thou recoil from a mask? Behind its odious, grotesque or terrible seemings Krishna laughs at thy foolish anger, thy more foolish scorn or loathing and thy most foolish terror.
When thou findest thyself scorning another, look then at thy own heart and laugh at thy folly.
Avoid vain disputing; but exchange views freely. If dispute thou must, learn from thy adversary; for even from a fool, if thou listen not with the ear and the reasoning mind but the soul's light, thou canst gather much wisdom.
Turn all things to honey; this is the law of divine living.
Private dispute should always be avoided; but shrink not from the public battle; yet even there appreciate the strength of thy adversary.
When thou hearest an opinion that displeases thee, study and find out the truth in it.
The mediaeval ascetics hated women and thought they were created by God for the temptation of monks. One may be allowed to think more nobly both of God and of woman.
If a woman has tempted thee, is it her fault or thine? Be not a fool and a self-deceiver.
There are two ways of avoiding the snare of woman, one is to shun all women and the other to love all beings.
Asceticism is no doubt very healing, a cave very peaceful and the hill-tops wonderfully pleasant; nevertheless do thou act in the world as God intended thee.
Three times God laughed at Shankara, first, when he returned to burn the corpse of his mother, again, when he commented on the Isha Upanishad, and the third time when he stormed about India preaching inaction.
Men labour only after success and if they are fortunate enough to fail, it is because the wisdom and force of Nature overbear their intellectual cleverness. God alone knows when and how to blunder wisely and fail effectively.
Distrust the man who has never failed and suffered; follow not his fortunes, fight not under his banner.
There are two who are unfit for greatness and freedom, the man who has never been a slave to another and the nation that has never been under the yoke of foreigners.
Fix not the time and the way in which thy ideal shall be fulfilled. Work and leave time and way to God all-knowing.
Work as if the ideal had to be fulfilled swiftly and in thy lifetime; persevere as if thou knewest it not to be unless purchased by a thousand years yet of labour. That which thou darest not expect till the fifth millennium, may bloom out with tomorrow's dawning and that which thou hopest and lustest after now, may have been fixed for thee in thy hundredth advent.
Each one of us has a million lives yet to fulfil upon earth. Why then this haste and clamour and impatience?
Stride swiftly, for the goal is far; rest not unduly, for thy Master is waiting for thee at the end of thy journey.
I am weary of the childish impatience which cries and blasphemes and denies the ideal because the Golden Mountains cannot be reached in our little day or in a few momentary centuries.
Fix thy soul without desire upon the end and insist on it by the divine force within thee; then shall the end itself create the means, nay, it shall become its own means. For the end is Brahman and already accomplished; see it always as Brahman, see it always in thy soul as already accomplished.
Plan not with the intellect, but let thy divine sight arrange thy plans for thee. When a means comes to thee as thing to be done, make that thy aim; as for the end, it is, in world, accomplishing itself and, in thy soul, already accomplished.
Men see events as unaccomplished, to be striven for and effected. This is false seeing; events are not effected, they develop. The event is Brahman, already accomplished from of old, it is now manifesting.
* * *
As the light of a star reaches the earth hundreds of years after the star has ceased to exist, so the event already accomplished in Brahman at the beginning manifests itself now in our material experience.
Governments, societies, kings, police, judges, institutions, churches, laws, customs, armies are temporary necessities imposed on us for a few groups of centuries, because God has concealed His face from us. When it appears to us again in its truth and beauty, then in that light they will vanish.
The anarchic is the true divine state of man in the end as in the beginning; but in between it would lead us straight to the devil and his kingdom.
The communistic principle of society is intrinsically as superior to the individualistic as is brotherhood to jealousy and mutual slaughter; but all the practical schemes of Socialism invented in Europe are a yoke, a tyranny and a prison.
If communism ever re-establishes itself successfully upon earth, it must be on a foundation of soul's brotherhood and the death of egoism. A forced association and a mechanical comradeship would end in a world-wide fiasco.
Vedanta realised is the only practicable basis for a communistic society. It is the kingdom of the saints dreamed of by Christianity, Islam and Puranic Hinduism.
“Freedom, equality, brotherhood,” cried the French revolutionists, but in truth freedom only has been practised with a dose of equality; as for brotherhood, only a brotherhood of Cain was founded — and of Barabbas. Sometimes it calls itself a Trust or Combine and sometimes the Concert of Europe.
“Since liberty has failed,” cries the advanced thought of Europe, “let us try liberty cum equality or, since the two are a little hard to pair, equality instead of liberty. For brotherhood, it is impossible; therefore we will replace it by industrial association.” But this time also, I think, God will not be deceived.
India had three fortresses of a communal life, the village community, the larger joint family and the order of the Sannyasins; all these are broken or breaking with the stride of egoistic conceptions of social life; but is not this after all only the breaking of these imperfect moulds on the way to a larger and diviner communism?
The individual cannot be perfect until he has surrendered all he now calls himself to the divine Being. So also, until mankind gives all it has to God, never shall there be a perfected society.
There is nothing small in God's eyes; let there be nothing small in thine. He bestows as much labour of divine energy on the formation of a shell as on the building of an empire. For thyself it is greater to be a good shoemaker than a luxurious and incompetent king.
Imperfect capacity and effect in the work that is meant for thee is better than an artificial competency and a borrowed perfection.
Not result is the purpose of action, but God's eternal delight in becoming, seeing and doing.
God's world advances step by step fulfilling the lesser unit before it seriously attempts the larger. Affirm free nationality first, if thou wouldst ever bring the world to be one nation.
A nation is not made by common blood, a common tongue or a common religion; these are only important helps and powerful conveniences. But wherever communities of men not bound by family ties are united in one sentiment and aspiration to defend a common inheritance from their ancestors or assure a common future for their posterity, there a nation is already in existence.
Nationality is a stride of the progressive God passing beyond the stage of the family; therefore the attachment to clan and tribe must weaken or perish before a nation can be born.
Family, nationality, humanity are Vishnu's three strides from an isolated to a collective unity. The first has been fulfilled, we yet strive for the perfection of the second, towards the third we are reaching out our hands and the pioneer work is already attempted.
With the present morality of the human race a sound and durable human unity is not yet possible; but there is no reason why a temporary approximation to it should not be the reward of strenuous aspiration and untiring effort. By constant approximations and by partial realisations and temporary successes Nature advances.
Imitation is sometimes a good training-ship; but it will never fly the flag of the admiral.
Rather hang thyself than belong to the horde of successful imitators.
Tangled is the way of works in the world. When Rama the Avatar murdered Vali or Krishna, who was God himself, assassinated, to liberate his nation, his tyrant uncle Kansa, who shall say whether they did good or did evil? But this we can feel, that they acted divinely.
Reaction perfects and hastens progress by increasing and purifying the force within it. This is what the multitude of the weak cannot see who despair of their port when the ship is fleeing helplessly before the storm-wind, but it flees, hidden by the rain and the ocean furrow, towards God's intended haven.
Democracy was the protest of the human soul against the allied despotisms of autocrat, priest and noble; Socialism is the protest of the human soul against the despotism of a plutocratic democracy; Anarchism is likely to be the protest of the human soul against the tyranny of a bureaucratic Socialism. A turbulent and eager march from illusion to illusion and from failure to failure is the image of European progress.
Democracy in Europe is the rule of the Cabinet minister, the corrupt deputy or the self-seeking capitalist masqued by the occasional sovereignty of a wavering populace. Socialism in Europe is likely to be the rule of the official and policeman masqued by the theoretic sovereignty of an abstract State. It is chimerical to enquire which is the better system; it would be difficult to decide which is the worse.
The gain of democracy is the security of the individual's life, liberty and goods from the caprices of the tyrant one or the selfish few; its evil is the decline of greatness in humanity.
This erring race of human beings dreams always of perfecting their environment by the machinery of government and society; but it is only by the perfection of the soul within that the outer environment can be perfected. What thou art within, that outside thee thou shalt enjoy; no machinery can rescue thee from the law of thy being.
Be always vigilant against thy human proneness to persecute or ignore the reality while thou art worshipping its semblance or token. Not human wickedness but human fallibility is the opportunity of Evil.
Honour the garb of the ascetic, but look also at the wearer, lest hypocrisy occupy the holy places and inward saintliness become a legend.
So many strive after competence or riches, the few embrace poverty as a bride; but, for thyself, strive after and embrace God only. Let Him choose for thee a king's palace or the bowl of the beggar.
What is vice but an enslaving habit and virtue but a human opinion? See God and do His will; walk in whatever path He shall trace for thy goings.
In the world's conflicts espouse not the party of the rich for their riches, nor of the poor for their poverty, of the king for his power and majesty, nor of the people for their hope and fervour, but be on God's side always. Unless indeed He has commanded thee to war against Him! then do that with thy whole heart and strength and rapture.
How shall I know God's will with me? I have to put egoism out of me, hunting it from every lair and burrow, and bathe my purified and naked soul in His infinite workings; then He himself will reveal it to me.
Only the soul that is naked and unashamed can be pure and innocent, even as Adam was in the primal garden of humanity.
Boast not thy riches, neither seek men's praise for thy poverty and self-denial; both these things are the coarse or the fine food of egoism.
Altruism is good for man, but less good when it is a form of supreme self-indulgence and lives by pampering the selfishness of others.
By altruism thou canst save thy soul, but see that thou save it not by indulging in the perdition of thy brother.
Self-denial is a mighty instrument for purification; it is not an end in itself nor a final law of living. Not to mortify thyself but to satisfy God in the world must be thy object.
It is easy to distinguish the evil worked by sin and vice, but the trained eye sees also the evil done by self-righteous or self-regarding virtue.
The Brahmin first ruled by the book and the ritual, the Kshatriya next by the sword and the buckler; now the Vaishya governs by machinery and the dollar, and the Sudra, the liberated serf, presses in with his doctrine of the kingdom of associated labour. But neither priest, king, merchant nor labourer is the true governor of humanity; the despotism of the tool and the mattock will fail like all the preceding despotisms. Only when egoism dies and God in man governs his own human universality, can this earth support a happy and contented race of beings.
Men run after pleasure and clasp feverishly that burning bride to their tormented bosoms; meanwhile a divine and faultless bliss stands behind them waiting to be seen and claimed and captured.
Men hunt after petty successes and trivial masteries from which they fall back into exhaustion and weakness; meanwhile all the infinite force of God in the universe waits vainly to place itself at their disposal.
Men burrow after little details of knowledge and group them into bounded and ephemeral thought-systems; meanwhile all infinite wisdom laughs above their heads and shakes wide the glory of her iridescent pinions.
Men seek laboriously to satisfy and complement the bounded being made of the mental impressions they have grouped about a mean and grovelling ego; meanwhile the spaceless and timeless Soul is denied its joyous and splendid manifestation.
O Soul of India, hide thyself no longer with the darkened Pandits of the Kaliyuga in the kitchen and the chapel, veil not thyself with the soulless rite, the obsolete law and the unblessed money of the Dakshina; but seek in thy soul, ask of God and recover thy true Brahminhood and Kshatriyahood with the eternal Veda; restore the hidden truth of the Vedic sacrifice, return to the fulfilment of an older and mightier Vedanta.
Limit not sacrifice to the giving up of earthly goods or the denial of some desires and yearnings, but let every thought and every work and every enjoyment be an offering to God within thee. Let thy steps walk in thy Lord, let thy sleep and waking be a sacrifice to Krishna.
This is not according to my Shastra or my Science, say the men of rule, the formalists. Fool! is God then only a book that there should be nothing true and good except what is written?
By which standard shall I walk, the word that God speaks to me, saying “This is My will, O my servant,” or the rules that men who are dead, have written? Nay, if I have to fear and obey any, I will fear and obey God rather and not the pages of a book or the frown of a Pandit.
Thou mayst be deceived, wilt thou say, it may not be God's voice leading thee? Yet do I know that He abandons not those who have trusted Him even ignorantly, yet have I found that He leads wisely even when He seems to deceive utterly, yet would I rather fall into the snare of the living God than be saved by trust in a dead formulary.
Act according to the Shastra rather than thy self-will and desire; so shalt thou grow stronger to control the ravener in thee; but act according to God rather than the Shastra; so shalt thou reach to His highest which is far above rule and limit.
The Law is for the bound and those whose eyes are sealed; if they walk not by it, they will stumble; but thou who art free in Krishna or hast seen his living light, walk holding the hand of thy Friend and by the lamp of eternal Veda.
The Vedanta is God's lamp to lead thee out of this night of bondage and egoism; but when the light of Veda has dawned in thy soul, then even that divine lamp thou needest not, for now thou canst walk freely and surely in the eternal sunlight.
What is the use of only knowing? I say to thee, Act and be, for therefore God sent thee into this human body.
What is the use of only being? I say to thee, Become, for therefore wast thou established as a man in this world of matter.
The path of works is in a way the most difficult side of God's triune causeway; yet is it not also, in this material world at least, the easiest, widest and most delightful? For at every moment we clash against God the worker and grow into His being by a thousand divine touches.
This is the wonder of the way of works that even enmity to God can be made an agency of salvation. Sometimes God draws and attaches us most swiftly to Him by wrestling with us as our fierce, invincible and irreconcilable enemy.
Shall I accept death or shall I turn and wrestle with him and conquer? That shall be as God in me chooses. For whether I live or die, I am always.
What is this then thou callest death? Can God die? O thou who fearest death, it is Life that has come to thee sporting with a death-head and wearing a mask of terror.
There is a means to attain physical immortality and death is by our choice, not by Nature's compulsion. But who would care to wear one coat for a hundred years or be confined in one narrow and changeless lodging unto a long eternity?
Fear and anxiety are perverse forms of will. What thou fearest and ponderest over, striking that note repeatedly in thy mind, thou helpest to bring about; for, if thy will above the surface of waking repels it, it is yet what thy mind underneath is all along willing, and the subconscious mind is mightier, wider, better equipped to fulfil than thy waking force and intellect. But the spirit is stronger than both together; from fear and hope take refuge in the grandiose calm and careless mastery of the spirit.
God made the infinite world by Self-knowledge which in its works is Will-Force self-fulfilling. He used ignorance to limit His infinity; but fear, weariness, depression, self-distrust and consent to weakness are the instruments by which He destroys what He created. When these things are turned on what is evil or harmful and ill-regulated within thee, then it is well; but if they attack thy very sources of life and strength, then seize and expel them or thou diest.
Mankind has used two powerful weapons to destroy its own powers and enjoyment, wrong indulgence and wrong abstinence.
Our mistake has been and is always to flee from the ills of Paganism to asceticism as a remedy and from the ills of asceticism back to Paganism. We swing for ever between two false opposites.
It is well not to be too loosely playful in one's games or too grimly serious in one's life and works. We seek in both a playful freedom and a serious order.
For nearly forty years I suffered constantly from the smaller and the greater ailments, behind the wholly good I was weakly in constitution and mistook their cure for a burden that Nature had laid upon me. When I renounced the aid of medicines, then they began to depart from me like disappointed parasites. Then only I understood what a mighty force was the natural health within me and how much mightier yet the Will and Faith exceeding mind which God meant to be the divine support of our life in this body.
Machinery is necessary to modern humanity because of our incurable barbarism. If we must encase ourselves in a bewildering multitude of comforts and trappings, we must needs do without Art and its methods; for to dispense with simplicity and freedom is to dispense with beauty. The luxury of our ancestors was rich and even gorgeous, but never encumbered.
I cannot give to the barbarous comfort and encumbered ostentation of European life the name of civilisation. Men who are not free in their souls and nobly rhythmical in their appointments, are not civilised.
Art in modern times and under European influence has become an excrescence upon life or an unnecessary menial; it should have been its chief steward and indispensable arranger.
DISEASE AND MEDICAL SCIENCE
Disease is needlessly prolonged and ends in death oftener than is inevitable, because the mind of the patient supports and dwells upon the disease of his body.
Medical Science has been more a curse to mankind than a blessing. It has broken the force of epidemics and unveiled a marvellous surgery; but, also, it has weakened the natural health of man and multiplied individual diseases; it has implanted fear and dependence in the mind and body; it has taught our health to repose not on natural soundness but a rickety and distasteful crutch compact from the mineral and vegetable kingdoms.
The doctor aims a drug at a disease; sometimes it hits, sometimes misses. The misses are left out of account, the hits treasured up, reckoned and systematised into a science.
We laugh at the savage for his faith in the medicine-man; but how are the civilised less superstitious who have faith in the doctors? The savage finds that when a certain incantation is repeated, he often recovers from a certain disease; he believes. The civilised patient finds that when he doses himself according to a certain prescription, he often recovers from a certain disease; he believes. Where is the difference?
The north-country Indian herdsman, attacked by fever, sits in the chill stream of a river for an hour or more and rises up free and healthy. If the educated man did the same, he would perish, not because the same remedy in its nature kills one and cures another, but because our bodies have been fatally indoctrinated by the mind into false habits.
It is not the medicine that cures so much as the patient's faith in the doctor and the medicine. Both are a clumsy substitute for the natural faith in one's own self-power which they have themselves destroyed.
The healthiest ages of mankind were those in which there were the fewest material remedies.
The most robust and healthy race left on earth were the African savages; but how long can they so remain after their physical consciousness has been contaminated by the mental aberrations of the civilised?
We ought to use the divine health in us to cure and prevent diseases; but Galen and Hippocrates and their tribe have given us instead an armoury of drugs and a barbarous Latin hocuspocus as our physical gospel.
Medical Science is well-meaning and its practitioners often benevolent and not seldom self-sacrificing; but when did the well-meaning of the ignorant save them from harm-doing?
If all remedies were really and in themselves efficacious and all medical theories sound, how would that console us for our lost natural health and vitality? The upas-tree is sound in all its parts, but it is still an upas-tree.
The spirit within us is the only all-efficient doctor and submission of the body to it the one true panacea.
God within is infinite and self-fulfilling Will. Unaffected by the fear of death canst thou leave to Him, not as an experiment, with a calm and entire faith thy ailments? Thou shalt find in the end that He exceeds the skill of a million doctors.
Health protected by twenty-thousand precautions is the gospel of the doctor; but it is not God's evangel for the body, nor Nature's.
Man was once naturally healthy and could revert to that primal condition if he were suffered; but Medical Science pursues our body with an innumerable pack of drugs and assails the imagination with ravening hordes of microbes.
I would rather die and have done with it than spend life in defending myself against a phantasmal siege of microbes. If that is to be barbarous, unenlightened, I embrace gladly my Cimmerian darkness.
Surgeons save and cure by cutting and maiming. Why not rather seek to discover Nature's direct all-powerful remedies?
It should take long for self-cure to replace medicine, because of the fear, self-distrust and unnatural physical reliance on drugs which Medical Science has taught to our minds and bodies and made our second nature.
Medicine is necessary for our bodies in disease only because our bodies have learned the art of not getting well without medicines. Even so, one sees often that the moment Nature chooses for recovery is that in which the life is abandoned as hopeless by the doctors.
Distrust of the curative power within us was our physical fall from Paradise. Medical Science and a bad heredity are the two angels of God who stand at the gates to forbid our return and re-entry.
Medical Science to the human body is like a great Power which enfeebles a smaller State by its protection or like a benevolent robber who knocks his victim flat and riddles him with wounds in order that he may devote his life to healing and serving the shattered body.
Drugs cure the body when they do not merely trouble or poison it, but only if their physical attack on the disease is supported by the force of the spirit; if that force can be made to work freely, drugs are at once superfluous.