Preparation for the Journey

This article was transcribed from the November 2001 issue of “The Theosophical Movement,” a publication of Theosophy Company (India).
The more thou dost advance, the more thy feet pitfalls will meet. The path that leadeth on, is lighted by one fire—the light of daring, burning in the heart. The more one dares, the more he shall obtain. The more he fears, the more that light shall pale—and that alone can guide.

The Voice of the Silence

He who would set out in quest of the unknown has to equip himself for the journey. Those who have returned from the pilgrimage have said that the road is steep and winds uphill to its rocky top. They say that grey mists will overhang its rough and stony height and all be dark beyond. Preparations must therefore be made for all eventualities. Haphazard planning is not conducive to success. There are no basecamps there for retreat and shelter; nor can the pilgrim tarry long in any one spot. On a precipice, to halt is to invite disaster. To give up the effort is to admit failure—the only failure known in Occultism.

There are things that the ordinary person has gathered round him and that he cherishes, but which must now be abandoned because they would become encumbrances and even hindrances on his pilgrimage. The love and attachment for what he was wont to call the good things of life have to be abandoned. The burden that the pilgrim must himself carry has to be light. One more important consideration must weigh with the pilgrim and that, too, long before he takes one step forward on the solemn journey. He has to realize that he will have to travel on alone. There will be no friend or teacher to hold his hand in his hour of difficulty. The victory must be achieved by him unaided.

On this pilgrimage, the outer senses are no great help and too often will be found to be deceptive. Knowledge that is available through religions or modern science will be of no avail in realms towards which the disciple sets his course. With his moorings cut in the world of the senses, with a sense of negation that marks his rejection of earthly knowledge, he finds himself groping in the darkness like a blind man. It is in this unrelieved darkness that he must find his strength. It is in this gloom that he has to face himself.

If, knowing of these difficulties, the student still hungers for wisdom, then may he prepare in earnest to enter the Path that leadeth on.

The new teachings that will come to him (revealed in the teachings that are his already) are chiefly directed towards the cultivation and development of the inner, luminous life. Until the first step has been taken in this development, the swift knowledge that is called intuition will continue to elude him entirely. Without it, he cannot proceed on the dangerous road, nor yet understand the guidelines that lie hidden in the very words that he has often read upon the printed page.

The initial step towards development of the inner senses and therefore of the inner life requires that the eyes become incapable of tears. This implies that the aspirant must face and conquer his simple human nature and attain an equilibrium and a poise that cannot be shaken by any personal emotion. He has to learn to retain his balance in dangerous places and equally well on level surfaces. Falls are often disastrous and invariably retard the movement forward. The test of his strength comes to the disciple in the circumstances of his life when nature brings to bear upon his trembling soul the keenest enjoyment and the bitterest pain along with the anguish of loss and despair. Until he learns to bear these shocks without loss of equilibrium, the inner senses must remain sealed. This negation is for the good of the disciple lest he get the power without the foresight and the will to control it. There have been those who have violated Nature's laws and have forced entry into forbidden territory. Such pay the penalty for their wrongdoing, losing their physical and psychic health and becoming dangerous derelicts in the process. Such have been "mediums" and "spiritualists" who through ignorance and passivity have, albeit unwittingly, lent themselves as tools for the ruin and dereliction of many.

In all times, visionaries and rare sensitives have left a living testimony to the fact that the inner senses exist. Clairvoyance, clairaudience, telepathy and mind-reading are now acknowledged to be facts demanding investigation. Why then should not the student understand that such super-senses exist in him and that with proper guidance they can be opened as avenues to a higher, a more profound and deeper delving into the essence of things? Only, the way in which he proceeds to acquire the new faculties has to be such as violates no laws in super-nature. Light on the Path explains the position in detail.

If the student wishes to shorten the period of travail, then has he to convince himself beyond even the shadow of a doubt that everything that is perceptible to the ordinary sight has something more important hidden within it. Ordinarily, in the rush of life, he is glamoured by the outer senses and through the force of habit forgets that he has the use of inner organs and senses which alone can give meaning to life. Says Light on the Path: "The microscope has opened a world to us, but within those encasements which the microscope reveals, lies a mystery that no machinery can probe. The whole world is animated and lit, down to its most material shapes, by a world within it."

It is an axiom in life that for pursuing the path of Occultism the eyes must become incapable of tears. But the equanimity and pose that result from such a state can be obtained only when the tears have ceased to flow because the hold of the emotional nature is loosened and the aspirant stands immunized against the oscillations that the turbulence of pain and pleasure is wont to generate. He has to learn to distinguish this state of an equanimity of vision from those other states where the eyes remain tearless from causes other than the dominance of the Soul. Thus, the same outer appearance of tearlessness may arise when he assumes a callous indifference towards life or when he hardens his heart, steeling it against love and charity and mercy. A similar dryness of the eyes may follow upon an exhaustion that is the result of the deadness that characterizes old age or that comes close upon a period of intense suffering. The eyes may then be incapable of tears, but each such case makes the entrance to the Path impossible.

This initial duty which the aspirant assumes, namely, that he will not allow himself to be shaken by the emotional part of himself, has to be chosen by himself alone. This duty does not exist for other men. The choice must be his—deliberate, and the result of a free exercise of his will. The imposition of that duty is his also. There are no supervisors to enforce compliance. Swooning pleasure and intense and excruciating pain, both physical and mental, come to the disciple not because of past Karma but because he invokes his great enemy—his own lower self. They arise through the intensity of aspiration or the power of a vow not to abandon the fight against his lower self till the battle is won. When he enters upon this discipline in earnest, then does his internal sight open gradually upon the world that is hidden behind the outer show of things. His study takes on a depth that no scholarly pursuit of texts and scriptures can accomplish. Through the development of inner senses, he qualifies to inquire of the earth, the air and the water of the secrets they hold for him. He has come from out of the multitudes, and the earth and nature make their obeisance to his genius.

To become a Buddha one has to break through the bondage of sense and personality; to acquire a complete perception of the REAL SELF and learn not to separate it from all other selves; to learn by experience the utter unreality of all phenomena of the visible Kosmos foremost of all; to reach a complete detachment from all that is evanescent and finite, and live while yet on Earth in the immortal and everlasting alone, in a supreme state of holiness.

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