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The Divine Root of the Human Mind

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As a representative of the Theosophical Study Center in Jaipur and as a fellow of the Theosophical Society which has its Headquarters in Pasadena, California, I will, after an introduction relevant for this meeting, try to lay out in brief what is the origin or root of the human mind, and its properties when functioning in our world. Naturally it will follow that we have the power to improve our mind.

Theosophy teaches that the human being is of multiple constitution, a being whose various principles, though these are each rays emanating forth from the same origin, have received training on different levels in different parts of the universe, and reunite to form the self-conscious, thinking being, thus enabling human beings to become, by their own efforts, self-conscious gods. All religions are aimed at that only. Man, or rather his evolving mind, is the dharmakshetra-kurukshetra, the inner battlefield of his higher and lower nature during embodiment, which will finally lead him to divinity. Krishna has it said in the Anugītā that non-violence is the highest dharma. Therefore practicing non-violence is part of listening to our higher mind. Not only is non-violence towards each other, to all creatures and our planet immediately beneficial for the wellbeing of our present races, it also brings us to divinity. Wars are not necessary, exploitation is not necessary. We can reach our highest goal and ultimate destination without them.

Peace can be inner and outer. Violence can also be inner and outer. The ultimate result of religion will be to reach complete inner peace, based on full accomplishment of all that a man can accomplish in this kalpa or cycle of evolution, full experience of the jīva in all kingdoms of manifested nature, and full self-conscious understanding of all that can be understood. In other words, as far as the human race is concerned, to become fully human.

The heading of this section of the conference is World Peace through Interfaith Harmony. The word harmony comes from the classical Greek language, and means something like ‘perfectly fitting together’ (like two pieces of wood in a perfect construction). It is a better term than ‘tolerance’ because this term seems to signify mutual acceptance while still believing one’s own view to be the best. Tolerance has limits, because just under the surface their may be suppressed irritation. When the limit of tolerance is reached, one spark may cause an explosion.

Better, I would say essential, is to understand the mind and the divine root of the mind. Ultimately there can be no religion higher than the Truth. Every seeker is on a long pilgrimage to find Truth, ultimate understanding, ultimate inner peace, ultimate unstained, non-dual happiness, ultimate insight in the root of all problems, so that we can help others to cut the problems at the root. This means: there is only one religion, our common goal. At the same time everyone is a distinct god-spark, each with his own characteristic nature, having the ātman which is one with brahman at his core. Therefore there are as many forms of religion as there are people, as there are svabhāvas, i.e. individual natures. Everyone makes his own pilgrimage towards the same destination. But people cluster together in groups according to their particular attractions, past experiences, their particular needed training in harmony with the time and location in which each one is born. Nevertheless we are all brothers and sisters peregrinating towards the same goal. There is no reason to ‘tolerate’ each other, to push each other down, to compete, because, as one wise teacher said: “All living beings are there to help each other.” We can compare this with music. All sounds should be in harmony – if not, the result is unbearable for the ear. In western music we also use the term symphony, which means ‘sounding together’. Each instrument has its own party to play, every individual has his own particular character, but the violins sit with the violins, the cellos with the cellos, the woodwind instruments with the other woodwind instruments, etc. The result of all their various efforts is beauty, lifting the players and listeners above everyday moods, and almost into the divine, in the realm which we may call ‘higher beauty.’

Plato taught that there are three recognitions of the divine: he called them the True, the Good and the Beautiful. They are three in one.

So my most crucial point is that we should understand that, despite all our individualities and characters, we are one in goal, one in essence, we form an all-encompassing brotherhood of pilgrims. Best would be if the world could disconnect from and leave behind its dogma’s, opinions, ritual forms, wiseacres, and turn itself towards the heart message of all – to be found in the Koran, the Veda’s, the Jain Āgams, the Popol Vuh of Meso-America, the Zohar of Qabbalism, the Bible, the Buddhist Sūtra’s etc. etc. who all, in their original purity come forth from the divine mind, and extract from these what is the original divine wisdom, i.e. Theosophy – to use a classical Greek term adopted in modern times – without its cultural garments and sometimes even political interpretations. The outer interpretations made up by the imperfect human mind may seem contradictory, and therefore produce strive and hatred. But all religions in all times came from the same divine source, brought to us by divine messengers presenting themselves in the forms of rishis, avatars, dhyāni-buddhas, heavenly dragons, prophets or whatever name they have been given. These enlightened beings, who all went through the human experience in earlier times, understood the core message and came to help struggling humanity. Together such beings may be called the Order of Compassion, because it was compassion which brought them to descend into the human mire of lies, hoping to stimulate at least those who were yearning for higher insight. Of course they never came to create division and strife among humanity. They came according to time and circumstances. Now the time has come to see the unity, the one root, the Truth, through religious diversity.

Outer violence, resulting from strife and division, is a reflection of the inner mental struggles of the manas, the human mind. Why is that so? Why cannot the manas be just peaceful, in equilibrium, positive and beneficial for all life? One could also put the question in other terms: Why did “God” create or allow the possibility to think evil, create havoc, cause violence as well as peace? Did “God” make a mistake, or is evil innate in natural law? The apparent existence of evil has turned great parts of the world away from religion: with the help of God or the gods the world seems to be no better than without it.

Theosophy teaches that the cycle of life on whatever scale is the pilgrimage of jīvas, monads, living sparks of the divine fire. When the universe comes again into being, at the beginning of a Day of Brahmā, or a kalpa, or a lifetime of Brahmā, the jīva is purely spiritual. But jīvas exist in an infinitude of layers of being, and some are low (comparatively) and others are developed further.

All living beings are there to help each other, as said. The ‘Law of laws’, says Theosophy together with Mahayana Buddhism, is Compassion. Islam and Christianity speak of Compassion that works on all levels of the visible and invisible universe. Then why is there suffering, violence, inequality, strive? Isn’t that contradictory to the very idea of compassion – which I just called the Law of laws?

The answer runs thus: In the beginning, after a long period of pralaya or cosmic sleep, the jīvas or monads brought forth from within themselves children-monads or children-jivas (to coin a term) which they had absorbed in former cycles of development, and which enlivened and “populated” the universe according to their character. The higher jīvas involved themselves into vehicles built of the lower ones. In this way jīvas manifested themselves as the kingdoms of nature and through the kingdoms of nature, first in the form of elemental beings (thus forming the tattvas and mahābhūtas), then the mineral kingdom, the plant, animal, human, and superhuman or divine kingdoms. They did so according to the law of karma – the necessity to meet with and care for one’s former connections, and according to the law of compassion, in which the higher always helps the lower in development, so that the lower itself may become the higher. Ultimately, the law of karma and the law of compassion are the same.

Thus the jivas, through millions of years of successive births and deaths, learn to express themselves more fully and continuously influence the elemental, mineral, prāṇa and kāma vehicles by refining them and raising their consciousness to higher levels. But none of these conscious beings possesses a mind (otherwise than an instinctive one) or self-consciousness, nor a conscious power of distinction between what humans call good and bad. The best of all creatures on this planet became mindless humans – which had at most a latent desire for the power to think and to understand. They were like candles without a flame. And as you know, a flame from outside can light innumerable candles – and once they burn they maintain the flame from within themselves. But out of themselves they will not light up.

Jīvas of far loftier type, who had been humans in the far past and had then developed the full power to think and self-consciousness came to our help. Now having the status of immortal kumāras, they had to descend as it where, because of the ancient karmic link with us – who are their younger brothers – and compelled by their own inner compassion to unenlightened humanity. These particular kumāras were called ‘the children of mind’ – i.e. mānasaputras. Their basic nature is mind, because the are sons of mahat – cosmic mind-intelligence. Thy are a class of our solar ancestors, forming the higher, uniquely human part of our being, far ahead in evolution of our animal part.  The Sun is, besides the source of vitality in our universe, the focus of the spiritual intelligence in our universe, the focus of the divine-spiritual entity ‘behind’ the solar system.

Coming from Sūrya, the Sun, these mānasaputras who are the spiritual intelligences of our solar system, lit the flame of mind within us, we became thinking beings for the first time, through which a conscious link was created with our own jīvas. We then became self-conscious, gained the power of distinction between what belongs to the spiritual and what belongs to the animal side within us. We were thus given the dual choice between the old attractions, which represented the past, and the attraction of the divine. If we cling to the divine we will become full-blown gods ourselves, having knowledge of who we really are in the deepest sense of the word. This ultimate knowledge or omniscience for human being is also called  ātmavidyā.

So the human being had become a dual being: part god, part animal. Our manas in its purest and highest sense is the mānasaputra, that higher being. But the task of these high minds was to enter our frame of desires and animalistic impulses. It is the nature of manas to follow desire strongly, and that is why we, endowed with this power, have become worse than animals in many respects, because we can figure out plans to fulfill our lower desires, which then turn into intentional meanness, violence, selfishness, materialism, etc., because those who do not want to open their spiritual eyes, become captives of their yearning for physical, emotional and psychological satisfaction. Even the lower desires have a divine origin of course, useful pre-eminently in the animal kingdom. They are reflections of nature’s necessary impulses to survive, and are needed to attract matter by means of feeding, which than has the benefit of staying in our stimulating atmosphere of influence for some time, and also to procreate and thus provide bodies for generations still to incarnate. But isolated, misunderstood by a mind which becomes confused and loses its clarity in these hefty environment, they can become sources of craving for selfish satisfaction.

The mind is fed above all by the Great Misunderstanding that things can exist independently, and that we are isolated egos which can be served and satisfied individually and alone without affecting other things.  Every selfish thought or deed automatically becomes a source of suffering for others, whenever, wherever. All creatures being connected through the links of karma, we bring recurring suffering to ourselves – and then we complain that “the world” is cruel and violent. Cruelty, violence, indeed all thoughts and actions we may call genuine sins, come forth from the belief in the existence of isolated independent egos, independent of each other and of the laws of nature.  We know that all of us, including the speaker of course, are partly such captives – because we are also children of our time, and are still relatively young as mental and self-conscious beings – indeed very young compared to the ages upon ages of development we have still before us. At the same time all of us know that we have a higher side, recognizing the beauty of art and music, of the subtle meanings of myth and philosophy, of what is just and right, of what is altruism and compassion. This power of distinction rises above man-made laws. Imagine the enormous self-sacrifice of these great beings, the mānasaputras, who choose to involve themselves in this misery with the purpose of helping us their younger brothers/sisters, to give us a mind and self-consciousness and therewith the power to become gods ourselves, but also devils. They will remain involved for millions of years.

If we could understand that we form a unity, a brotherhood, together being part of one great spiritual and physical organism, and if we understand and respect each other, even then conflicts will still rise in our own minds all the time. These conflicts come forth from the different viewpoints which rise within us, because our incarnated mind, working through the physical brain, is as yet unable to full clarity and purity and to see the unifying factor in all apparent differences. Therefore we have no inner peace yet, and we won’t get it soon either other than on a relative level. We have a long battle before is. But if we have gained at least some wisdom, individually and as humanity, we will understand that all inner struggles are but part of the game, and can certainly not be solved by external struggle in the form of wars etc. So even though our inner battles will continue for millions of years yet to come, the very understanding that each other person or community also has to carry its burden, will create a different attitude. We may face future inner battles of which no common man can have the slightest idea yet, but being aware that we are brother pilgrims, mentally inspired by the same mind-born divine source, we may smile to each other, but not fight each other. Wars are useless, bringing about suffering among humans, animals, all entities who are part of our global and emotional ecosystem. External wars, among ourselves or with Mother Earth and all her living kingdoms, can be stopped long before our inner problems are solved. Our higher mind will guide us. All genuine ethics comes form the higher mind. There is nothing to worry about, and evolution will finally lead to a fully developed human mind, so that we become ourselves fit to function as mānasaputras in a future kalpa. But we must choose for our higher mind, and let this alone rule and control our emotions and action. Then wars end. Peace will prevail on Earth.

– Rajasthani

Lecture prepared for

International Peace Conference,

Ujjain 20 September 2009