So you see that if we regard the Infinite Reality as Perfect, we must drop all ideas of It Desiring or Lacking–and of it Growing or Improving–or of it obtaining more Power, or Knowledge. These ideas are ridiculous, for an Absolute, Infinite Reality, must possess All-Knowledge; All-Power; All-Presence, else it is not Absolute and Infinite. And, if It does not possess these attributes of Being, then It can never hope to acquire them, for there is Nowhere from whence they could be acquired–there is no Source outside of the All-Source. A Finite Thing, may lack, and desire, and improve and develop, for there is the Universal Source from which it may draw.
But the Infinite has no Universal Source, for it is Its own Source. Do you see the nature of the Final Question? If not we will again state it–it is this:
“Why should the Infinite Reality, which possesses all that may be possessed, and which in itself is the only Source of Things–WHY should It Desire to manifest a Universe from and within Itself?”
A little consideration will show you that there is no intelligent answer to the “Why,” either in your own minds, or in the writings and teachings of the greatest minds. The matter is important, to those who are confronted every day with some of the many attempts to answer this Final Question–it is well that our students inform them regarding the futility of such questioning. And with this end in view, we shall herein give a few of the wise “guesses” at the answer, and our reasons for considering them inadequate. We ask the student to consider carefully these remarks, for by so doing he will post himself, and will be saved much tedious and perplexing wandering along the dangerous places in the Swamp of Metaphysics, following the will-o’-the-wisp of Finite Mind masquerading as the Infinite Wisdom! Beware of the False Lights! They lead to the quagmire and quicksands of thought!
Let us now consider some of these “guesses” at the answer to the Final Question. Some thinkers have held that the Absolute was bound by a Divine Necessity to manifest itself as Many. The answer to this is that the Absolute could not be bound by anything, inner or outer, else it would not be Absolute and Infinite, but would be Relative and Finite. Another set of thinkers have held that the Absolute found within itself a Desire to Manifest as Many. From whence could come such an action-causing Desire? The Absolute could lack nothing, and there would be nothing for it to desire to gain, other than that which It already possessed. One does not desire things one already has, but only what he lacks.
Another school would tell us that the Infinite wished to Express itself in the phenomenal world. Why? Such a phenomenal world could only be reflection of Its power, witnessed only by Itself, and could contain nothing that was not already contained in the All. To what end would such a wish tend? What would be accomplished or gained? The Infinite All could not become anything more than It already was–so why the wish for expression? Some say that the whole phenomenal world is but Maya, or Illusion, and does not exist at all. Then who else than the Infinite caused the Illusion, and why the necessity? This answer only removes the question back one point, and does not really answer it. Some would say that the Universe is the “dream of the Infinite.” Can we conceive the Infinite Being as exercising the finite faculty of “dreaming”–is not this childish?
Others would have us believe that the Absolute is indulging in a “game” or “play,” when he makes Universes, and those inhabiting them. Can anyone really believe this of The Absolute–playing like a child, with men and women, worlds and suns, as Its blocks and tin-soldiers? Why should the Infinite “play”?–does It need amusement and “fun” like a child? Poor Man, with his attempts to read the Riddle of the Infinite!
We know of teachers who gravely instruct their pupils in the idea that the Absolute and Infinite One manifests Universes and Universal Life, and all that flows from them, because It wishes to “gain experience” through objective existence. This idea, in many forms has been so frequently advanced that it is worth while to consider its absurdity. In the first place, what “experience” could be gained by the Absolute and Infinite One? What could It expect to gain and learn, that it did not already know and possess? One can gain experience only from others, and outside things–not from oneself entirely separated from the outside world of things. And there would be no “outside” for the Infinite. These people would have us believe that The Absolute emanated a Universe from Itself–which could contain nothing except that which was obtained from Itself–and then proceeded to gain experience from it. Having no “outside” from which it could obtain experiences and sentences and sensations, it proceeded to make (from Itself) an imitation one–that is what this answer amounts to. Can you accept it?
The whole trouble in all of these answers, or attempted answers, is that the answerer first conceives of the Absolute-Infinite Being, as a Relative-Finite Man, and then proceeds to explain what this Big Man would do. This is but an exaggerated form of anthropomorphism–the conception of God as a Man raised to great proportions. It is but an extension of the idea which gave birth to the savage conceptions of Deity as a cruel chief or mighty warrior, with human passions, hates, and revenge; love, passions, and desires.
Arising from the same cause, and akin to the theories advanced above are similar ones, which hold that the Absolute cannot dwell alone, but must forever bring forth souls from Itself–this was the idea of Plotinus, the Greek philosopher. Others have thought that the Infinite was possessed of such a consuming love, that It manifested objects upon which it could bestow Its affections. Others have thought that It was lonesome, and desired companionship. Some have spoken of the Absolute as “sacrificing” itself, in becoming Many, instead of remaining One. Others have taught that the Infinite somehow has become entangled in Its Manifestations, and had lost the knowledge of Its Oneness–hence their teachings of “I Am God.” Others, holding to a similar idea, tell us that the Infinite is deliberately “masquerading” as the Many, in order to fool and mystify Itself–a show of Itself; by Itself, and for Itself! Is not this Speculative Metaphysics run wild? Can one in calm thought so regard the Infinite and Absolute Being–All-Wise–Causeless–All-Powerful–All-Present–All-Possessing– Lacking Nothing–Perfect One–as acting and performing thus, and from these motives? Is not this as childish as the childishness of the savage, and barbarians, in their Mumbo-Jumbo conceptions? Let us leave this phase of the subject.
The Higher Yogi Teachings hold to no such ideas or theories. It holds that the Answer to the Secret is vested in the Infinite alone, and that finite “guesses” regarding the “Why” are futile and pitiful. It holds that while one should use the Reason to the full, still there are phases of Being that can be considered only in Love, Faith, and Confidence in THAT from which All Things flow, and in which we live and move and have our being. It recognizes that the things of the Spirit, are known by the Mind. It explores the regions of the Universal Mind to its utmost limits, fearlessly–but it pauses before the Closed Door of The Spirit, reverently and lovingly.
But, remember this–that while the Higher Yogi Teachings contain no “guess,” or speculative theory, regarding the “Why” of the Divine Manifestation, still they do not deny the existence of a “Why”. In fact, they expressly hold that the Absolute Manifestation of the Many is in pursuance of some wondrous Divine Plan, and that the Unfoldment of the Plan proceeds along well-established and orderly lines, and according to Law. They trust in the Wisdom and Love of the Absolute Being, and manifest a perfect Confidence, Trust and Peaceful Patience in the Ultimate Justice, and Final Victory of the Divine Plan. No doubt disturbs this idea–it pays no attention to the apparent contradictions in the finite phenomenal world, but sees that all things are proceeding toward some far-away goal, and that “All is Well with the Universe”.
But they do not think for a moment, or teach in the slightest degree, that all this Unfoldment, and Plan of the Universe, has for its object any advantage, benefit or gain to the Absolute–such a thought would be folly, for the Absolute is already Perfect, and Its Perfection cannot be added to, or taken away from. But they do positively teach that there is a great beneficial purpose in all the Plan, accruing in the end to the developed souls that have evolved through the workings of the plan. These souls do not possess the qualities of the Infinite–they are Finite, and thus are capable of receiving benefits; of growing, developing, unfolding, attaining. And, therefore, the Yogis teach that this building up of Great Souls seems to be the idea of the Infinite, so far as may be gained from an observation of the Workings of the Plan. The Absolute cannot need these Great Souls for Its own pleasure, and therefore their building-up must be for their own advantage, happiness and benefit.
The Yogis teach, on this subject, that there can be only ONE Real Perfect Being–Perfect without experience–Perfect from the Beginning–but only ONE! In other words, they teach that there can be no such thing as Absolute Perfection, outside of the Absolute Itself–and that not even the Absolute Being can create another Absolute Being, for in that case there would be no Absolute Being at all, but only two Relative Beings.
Think over this for a moment, and you will see its truth. The ABSOLUTE must always be “the One without a Second”, as the Yogis express it–there cannot be two Perfect ones. And so, all Finite Beings, being Finite, must work their way up toward the plane of Perfection by The Path of Life, with all of its lessons, tasks, cares, pains, and strivings. This is the only way open to them–and even the Absolute cannot have it otherwise, and still be the Absolute. There is a fine point here–the Absolute is All-Powerful, but even that All-Power is not sufficient to enable It to destroy Its Absolute Being. And so, you who have wondered, perhaps you may now understand our words in the First Lesson of this series, in which we said that the message of the Absolute to some of the Illumined has been: “All is being done in the best and only possible way–I am doing the best I can–all is well–and in the end will so appear.”
And, as we also said in that First Lesson: “The Absolute, instead of being an indifferent and unmoved spectator to its own creation, is a striving, longing, active, suffering, rejoicing, feeling Spirit, partaking of the feelings of Its manifestations, rather than callously witnessing them. It lives in us–with us–through us. Back of all the pain in the world, may be found a great feeling and suffering love.” And in this thought there is comfort to the doubting soul–peace to the troubled mind.
In the Sixth Lesson, we shall proceed to deliver to you the further Message of Truth, concerning “how” the One Absolute manifests Its Mental Images as Universe; Universal Life; and Forms and Shapes; and Individualities, and Personalities. We had hoped to include the whole Message in this Fifth Lesson, but now find that we have merely laid the steps by which the student may reach the Essential Truth.
But, lest the student may be left in an uncertain state of mind, awaiting the conclusion of the consideration of the subject–and lest he may think that we intend teaching him that the Universe, and all in it, including himself are “Dreams,” because we have said that All Things are Thought-Forms in the Mind of the Absolute–lest this misunderstanding may arise, we wish to add a few parting words to what we have said.
We wish to impress upon the mind of the student that though all Things are but Thought-Forms in the Mind of the Absolute Being, and that while it is true that the entire Universe of Universes is simply a Thought-Form held in the Mind of the Absolute–still this fact does not mean that all Things are “illusions” or “dreams.” Remember this, now and forever, O Student–that that which is held in the Absolute Mind as a Thought-Form IS, and is all there IS, outside of the Absolute Itself. When the Absolute forms a Thought-Form, It forms it out of Its own mental substance–when the Absolute “holds anything in Its Mind,” It holds it in Itself–for the Absolute is ALL-MIND.
The Absolute is not a material Being, from which Material Beings are created. It is a Spiritual Being–a Being whose Substance is akin to that which we call “Mind,” only raised to Infinity and Absolute Perfection and Power. And this is the only way it can “create”–by creating a Thought-Form in Its Mental, or Spiritual Substance. The faintest “Thought” of the Absolute is more real and durable than anything that man can create–in fact, man can “create” nothing, for all the hard and real material he uses in his “creations,” such as steel, diamonds, granite, are but some of the minor Forms, “thought” into being by the Absolute.
And also remember this, that the Absolute cannot “think” of anything, without putting Itself in that thing, as its Essence. Just as a man’s Mental Images are not only in his mind, but his mind is in them, also.
Why, you doubting and timorous ones, does not even the finite “thinking” of Man manifest itself in physical and material changes of form and shape?–does not a man’s every thought actually “create” physical forms and shapes, in his brain-cells and physical tissue? You who are reading these words–yea, while you are reading these words–are “creating” changes of form and shape in your brain-cells, and physical organism. Your mind is constantly at work, also, in building up your physical body, along the lines of the Instinctive Mind (see previous series of lessons)–you are mentally creating in a miniature universe, every moment of your life. And yet, the idea of the Absolute “creating” a Universe by pure Thought, in Its own Mind, and thereafter causing the work of the Universe to proceed according to Law, by simply “Willing” it so, causes you to wonder, and perhaps to doubt.
O, ye of little faith, you would deny to the Absolute even the power you possess yourself. You plan things in your mind every day, and then proceed to cause them to appear in material manifestation, and yet you doubt the ability of the Absolute to do likewise. Why even the poets, or writers of fiction, create characters in their minds–and these seem so real, that even you imagine them to be actual entities, and you weep over their pains, and smile at their joys–and yet all this is on the finite plane. Why, even the “imaginations” of your petty finite, undeveloped minds, have sufficient power to make your physical bodies sick, or well, or even to cause you to “die,” from some imagined ailment. And yet you doubt the power of the Absolute, to “think” things into being! You tiny students in the great Kindergarten of Life–you must learn better lessons from your little blocks and games. And you will–this is the Law.
And you who are filled with the sense of your smallness, and “unreality”–know you that so long as you are “held in the Mind of God,” then so long are you “remembered” by Him. And so long as you are remembered by Him, no real harm can befall you, and your Reality is second only to His own. Even though you pass out of your mortal frame–doth he remember you in His Mind, and keeping you there, he holds you safe and unharmed. The greatest satisfaction that can come to one, is to be able to fully realize that he, or she, is held firmly IN THE MIND OF THE INFINITE BEING. To such comes the knowledge that in THAT LIFE there can be NO DEATH.
Peace be with you in this Realization. May you make it your own!