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This advice is only for those who will to lead the spiritual life, for it is not well for people to give up working for the fruit of action until the more potent motive has arisen within them, that spurs them into activity without the prize coming to the personal self. Activity we must have at all hazards; it is the way of evolution. Without activity the man does not evolve; without effort and struggle he floats in one of the backwaters of life, and makes no progress along the river. Activity is the law of progress; as a man exercises himself, new life flows into him, and for that reason it is written that the slothful man may never find the Self. The slothful, the inactive man has not even begun to turn his face to the spiritual life. The motive for action for the ordinary man is quite properly the enjoyment of the fruit. This is God’s way of leading the world along the path of evolution. He puts prizes before men. They strive after the prizes, and as they strive they develop their powers. And when they seize the prize, it crumbles to pieces in their hands - always. If we look at human life, we see how continually this is repeated. A man desires money; he gains it, millions are his; and in the midst of his millions a deadly discontent invades him, and a weariness of the wealth that he is not able to use. A man strives for fame and wins it; and then he calls it: “A voice going by, to be lost on an endless sea.” He strives for power, and when he has striven for it all his life and holds it, power palls upon him, and the wearied statesman throws down office, weary and disappointed. The same sequence is ever repeated. These are the toys by holding out which the Father of all induces His children to exert themselves, and He Himself hides within the toy in order to win them; for there is no beauty and no attraction anywhere save the life of God. But when the toy is grasped the life leaves it, and it crumbles to pieces in the hand, and the man is disappointed. For the value lay in the struggle and not in the possession, in the putting forth of powers to obtain, and not in the idleness that waits on victory. And so man evolves, and until these delights have lost their power to attract, it is well that they shall continue to nerve men to effort and struggle. But when the spirit begins to stir and to seek its own manifestation, then the prizes lose their attractive power, and the man sees duty as motive instead of fruit. And then he works for duty’s sake, as part of the One Great Life, and he works with all the energy of the man who works for fruit, perhaps even with more. The man who can work un-wearying at some great scheme for human good and then, after years of labour, see the whole of it crumbling to pieces before him, and remain content, that man has gone far along the road of the spiritual life. Does it seem impossible? No. Not when we understand the Life, and have felt the Unity; for in that consciousness no effort for human good is wasted, no work for human good fails of its perfect end. The form matters nothing; a form in which the work is embodied may crumble, but the life remains.

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But there are some in whose eyes this whirling dance of gnats in the sunlight is not the be-all and end-all of human life. Some in whose hearts a whisper sometimes sounds softly, saying that all the seeming clash and rush is but as the struggle of shadows thrown upon a screen; that social success, business triumph, public admiration are but trivial things at best, bubbles floating down a tossing streamlet, and unworthy of the rivalries, the jealousies, the bitternesses their chase engenders. Has life no secret that does not lie on the surface? no problem that is not solved in the stating? no treasury that is not scattered on the highway?

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An answer may be found without straying beyond the experience of every man and woman, and that answer hides within it a suggestion of the deeper truth that underlies it. After a week or a month of hurried town-life, of small excitements, of striving for the little triumphs of social life, of the eagerness of petty hopes, the pain of petty disappointments, of the friction arising from the jarring of our selfish selves with other selves equally selfish; after this, if we go far away from this hum and buzz of life into silent mountain solitudes where are sounding only the natural harmonies that seem to blend with rather than to break the silence - the rushing of the waterfall swollen by last night’s rain, the rustle of the leaves under the timid feet of the hare, the whisper of the stream to the water-hen as she slips out of the reeds, the murmur of the eddy where it laps against the pebbles on the bank, the hum of the insects as they brush through the tangle of the grasses, the suck of the fish as they hang in the pool beneath the shade; there, where the mind sinks into a calm, soothed by the touch of Nature far from man, what aspect have the follies, the exasperations, of the social whirl of work and play, seen through that atmosphere surcharged with peace? What does it matter if in some small strife we failed or we succeeded? What does it matter that we were slighted by one, praised, by another? We regain perspective by our distance from the whirlpool, by our isolation from its tossing waters, and we see how small a part these outer things should play in the true life of man.

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In this world the spiritual life is gradually to be won, and by means of this world the lessons of the spirit are to be learned - but on one condition. This condition embraces two stages first, the man does all that ought to be done because it is duty. He recognises, as the spiritual life is dawning in him, that all his actions are to be performed, not because he wants them to bring him some particular result, but because it is his duty to perform them ­easily said, but how hard to accomplish! The man need change nothing in his life to become a spiritual man, but he must change his attitude to life; he must cease to ask anything from it; he must give to it everything he does, because it is his duty. Now that conception of life is the first great step towards the recognition of the unity. If there be only one great life, if each of us is only an expression of that life, then all our activity is simply the working of that Life within us, and the results of that working are reaped by the common Life and not by the separated self. This is what is meant by the ancient phrase: “give up working for fruit” - the fruit is the ordinary result of action.

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Devotion to the embodiment of the Self spoken of as the Avatâra may be nourished and increased by reading and meditating on His sayings and the incidents of His life on earth. It is a good plan to read over an incident and then vividly picture it in the mind, using the imagination to produce a full and detailed picture, and feeling oneself as present in it, a spectator or an actor therein. This “scientific use of the imagination” is a great provocative of devotion, and it actually brings the devotee into touch with the scene depicted, so that he may one day find himself scanning the akashic record of the event, a very part of that living picture, learning undreamed of lessons from his presence there.

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Even still higher mankind must rise. Beyond the glorious devachanic world opens yet another more glorious, the region of Samadhi, where a few of our race can function, though it is utterly unknown to the vast majority. It is a region there thought entirely changes its character and exists no longer as what is called thought on the lower planes; where consciousness has lost many of its limitations and acquires a new and strange expansion; where consciousness knows itself to be still itself, and yet has widened out to know other selves as one with it, so that it also includes the consciousness of others; it lives, breathes, feels, with others, identifying itself with others, yet knowing its own centre; embracing others and being one with them, and yet at the same time being itself. No words can express it; to be known it must be experienced. This great expansion gives a hitherto unknown unity; the divisions of earth are lost, for we are nearing the centre and looking outwards, thus feeling the oneness, instead of dwelling on the circumference and seeing the multiplicity. Then all that has been felt of service to those above us and compassion to those below us takes a new aspect, foreshadowing a yet more perfect unity - the unity of those who are higher and, just because they are higher, who realise their oneness with all below, seeing mankind in the unity of its spiritual nature instead of in the diversity of its material manifestations. Then outflows that compassion that sees itself and knows itself in every human soul, that understands all and therefore is able to help all, that feels with all and therefore is able to raise all, that in the worst and most degraded still realises the possibilities that to it are actualities, seeing in every man what he is in reality, not what he is in appearance, seeing him as he will be (as we should say) in the future, as he eternally in the eyes of those who know. There incomprehensible problems find simple solution, and things that seem unknowable come within the limits of the knowable; man, rising higher and higher, finds wisdom more far-reaching, power mightier, love more all-embracing, till even to the freed spirit it seems as though there could be no higher climbing, no greater possibilities to be realised. Then before it unfolds a yet mightier world which dwarfs all that went before. One other range is still within the limit of human vision - within the reach, I dare not say of human thought, but to some extent of human apprehension, where Nirvana binds up all these glories of humanity, and where its possibilities are seen and realised and are no longer mere lovely dreams. Life beyond all fancy of living, activity in wisdom and power and love beyond men's wildest imaginations, mighty hierarchies of spiritual intelligences, each seeming vaster and more wonderful than the one before. What here seems life is but as death compared with that life, our sight is but blindness and our wisdom but folly. Humanity! what has it to do in such a region, what place has man in such a world as that? And then ­sweeping as it were from the very heart of it all - from the LOGOS who is its Life and Light - comes the knowledge that this is the goal of man’s pilgrimage, that this is man’s true home, that this is the world to which he really belongs, whence have come all the gleams of light that have shown upon him in his weary journey. Then it comes into the dazzled consciousness that man has been living, and experiencing, and climbing from the physical to the astral, from the astral to the devachanic, from the devachanic to the samâdhic, from the samâdhic to the nirvanic for this end: that he might at last find himself in the Logos whence he came, that he might know his consciousness as the reflection of That, a ray from That. The end of this mighty evolution - the end of this stage of it, for final end there is none - the end of this stage is that each should be in his turn the new LOGOS of a new universe, the perfect reduplication of the Light whence he came, to carry that Light to other worlds, to build from it another universe. That which awaits man is that mighty growth into the God, when he shall be the source of new life to others, and bring to other universes the light which he himself contains.