Man, Visible and Invisible
From a Talk by Robert Crosbie
Theosophy, May, 1920
“There are two kinds of beings in the world, the one divisible, and the other indivisible: the divisible is all things and the creatures, the indivisible is called Kutastha, or he who standeth on high unaffected. But there is another spirit designated as the Supreme Spirit—Paramatma—which permeates and sustains the three worlds.”—Bhagavad-Gita.
In considering these statements, our immediate tendency is to make a separateness—a division—in our minds; but to understand nature at all, to understand ourselves at all, we may not make any such division. Both the divisible and the indivisible, and the Supreme Spirit, exist within each and every being. The “three worlds” exist in the nature of man as a being. Man, “visible and invisible,” is Man, “divisible and indivisible.” There are different classes of visible beings, as well as different classes of invisible beings, but whatever we may know of those different classes must come from a perception within ourselves. For that perception, however high, there is no stoppage any where; it may reach to the utmost confines of space. The power in each one is the Supreme Spirit.
When w look at a human being with our physical eyes, we are able to see only the form; when we listen to the speech of a human being, we are able to understand only the sounds that we hear, or the ideas that the words convey. We can not tell just what a human being is, just what his possibilities are, or what knowledge is his, either by looking at him or by hearing him speak. We may know this or that presentment, or the various circumstances under which we came in contact; we may gain ideas from those contacts; but to know one through and through, root and branch, is not given to any mere physical thinker. So there is in the human being that which is invisible—that power of perception and expression of which we sense only a part. That invisible part of man has never been fathomed, though it exists in all of us, and from it all that is visible has sprung.
Spirit is invisible, yet can we think of a place where Spirit is not? Spirit is everywhere, in everything, the cause, the sustainer, of all that was, is, or ever shall be. Spirit is not outside of us; the same Spirit is in all; whatever differences we may be able to perceive in any other are not differences of Spirit, but differences in range of perception. All our powers rest upon that One Spiritual Nature. The limitations placed upon the power to express are not made by any external force whatever, but made by ourselves, by the ideas that we hold. Our range of perception is governed by the ideas we hold in regard to ourselves, our nature, and the life about us. These ideas that control our physical lives and our minds are, in fact, the limitations in ourselves; yet, however varied, however high, however low they may be, their very permanency rests on the Spirit itself and every one of them springs from perceptions of Spirit. Truth and error both spring from perceptions of Spirit, and by the very power of Spirit are sustained. Ideas rule actions, and, as ideas have, like actions, their cycle of return, so we create a vicious cycle in which we become involved, from the one single fact that we constantly identify ourselves with this, that, or the other condition. But this very power of self-identification is from Spirit.
Visible man—his body, his physical instrument—alone is a growth from below upwards. The physical body is merely the shell of the man, made of matter of the earth, from the three lower kingdoms—mineral, vegetable, and animal—and is being constantly renewed from day to day, constantly worn out from day to day. Man, himself, is that invisible power and entity which inhabits the body, which is the cause of its present construction and development from lower forms of consciousness. Man, himself, is above all physicality. From the physical point of view, man, himself, is absolutely invisible. He is that which acts. No form may restrain him. No form can in any real sense contain him. Any form may be the focus from which he may and can act.
The Real Teaching is that the man himself, as spiritual being, descends from the plane of spirituality, or spiritual self-consciousness, step by step, through all the stages of condensation of matter; that he meets the uprising tide of form from the lower kingdoms, and when the most perfect form of all has been brought to its highest stage of development, he enters it. Not until the invisible man enters the physical instrument, could there be humanity at all. So we, as human beings, are the product of the higher Divine Spirit, of all the knowledge of a past immensity of time, and also, of all that lies in the lower kingdoms, which constitutes our lower nature.
Man’s higher nature is not divisible. It is constant, eternal and true. The lower nature is impermanent and changing, but the invisible man within is the one who makes the changes, who forces on the changes, and who gathers experience and knowledge through them. There is no static condition for any instrument whatever in all the kingdoms, in all the worlds and in all systems. Never-ceasing motion, the power to move on and on, in greater and greater ranges of perception, is the birth-right of every human being. We are like the one who went out from his father’s house and dwelt among the swine and fed upon husks. The time must come for us to say, like the prodigal son, ‘ will arise and return to my Father”—I will arise and resume my own real place in Nature; using all the instruments that I have, I will work to the end that all beings may share in all knowledge, that they may progress in a consecutive range of steps, ever on and upward, without the breaks and obstacles that a false conception of our nature brings about. Such is the whole object of the ancient Wisdom Religion—that man may resume his own birthright. No being or beings of any grade can confer upon man the knowledge that he alone can get. That knowledge is all in reserve in the invisible part of his nature, the result of every experience of all his immense past; it is right with him, although he has made his physical instrument of such a nature that it will not register what he, as the real being—the invisible man—knows.
Man, the invisible being, eternally is; for him there is never for an instant cessation of consciousness. The curtain rings down on one scene to immediately rise on another. When the body is at rest, the man is still acting and thinking, in another way, in a finer form, on planes not so restricted as is the physical plane. There he has freedom. There he sees and feels and hears and speaks and acts (as he does on the physical plane) but he can be here, there or elsewhere, wherever his thought brings him, wherever his desire is; he can move freely and unhampered by gross physical material. The power of perception of all kinds of substance, and of all kinds of beings is the power of everyone of us, but that power to see lies behind the physical eye; it belongs to the eye within—the eye of the soul.
How shall we recognize that power? By acting from the basis of our eternal, divine nature; by assuming our own identity; by ceasing to place dependence on any philosophy, on any science, or religion, or any statement whatever; by depending on the reality of the inner, true, spiritual man; by clarifying our mental conceptions; by thinking right thoughts and by acting in accordance with them. In that way, every channel in the body becomes open to what goes on when, as spiritual beings, we leave the physical instrument at night, and are active on the inner, spiritual planes of being. Each and every human being must open up those channels on his higher nature for himself. He must know for himself, and the only place where he may know is within himself. Each one, in reality, stands at the center of the universe, and all the rest are pictures and sounds and experiences, in which he may see the play of spirit.
How may we obtain a resumption of divinity? It can not be obtained by much speaking, nor by argument. It can be obtained only by taking the position. Always we act in accordance with the position assumed. So let us take the highest position, the position that is shown by everything in nature. The highest of the high is ours. We must assume that high position. We must affirm it. How else can we gain a knowledge of immortality than by taking the position of immortality? We assume and act in accord with the position of wickedness very easily. If we take the high position, we not only act in accordance with the greatness of the position taken, but we come to a realization of it within ourselves, where is all perception of it, all fulfillment of it.
What knowledge could we have of immortality from the point of view of mortality? What idea of perfection could we get from the basis of imperfection? None but a faulty one. The highest idea on that basis would merely be less imperfection. Real perfection does not mean a relative perfection; it means an intimate knowledge of the essential basis of everything that exists in nature. True spirituality is not a hazy condition; not a mere existence without action; but the power to know and to do, to have what the ancients called ‘all-knowingness.” When we reach “all-knowingness” then are we truly divine—-divine in knowledge, divine in power, acting through every conceivable state of matter, and through every conceivable instrument. And that is our great destiny. Just let us seize it. Life is ours. Spirit is ours. Consciousness is ours. Eternal existence is ours. Just let us take it.
The greatest of all knowledge does exist. All the experience of the past, all the civilizations that ever have been, have produced beings who now are the custodians of all the knowledge that has been gained. That knowledge is waiting for us as soon as we shall take the necessary steps to fit ourselves to become the possessors of it. That knowledge includes all intellectual knowledge, all spiritual knowledge, and all knowledge of every force in nature. Great and powerful as are some forces that we know of now, there are forces to be known that far transcend them all. The power to destroy a world is reachable by the one who takes the right step; but the one who takes the right step will never destroy. He will only build. He will use all the power that he has to construct a path on which humanity may travel the way that he has gone.
If, then, we all think of ourselves as eternal invisible beings, acting through visible impermanent instruments, we shall get a better and truer conception of life; and if we will try to reach inward to the innermost part of our heart of hearts, we shall find a greater vision ours—a power to perceive in wider ranges, to greater depth, with more effect than can ever be gained by our physical organs of sight. As one of our Great Teachers said, “All nature is before you; take what you can.” It is for each one to listen, to learn, to apply.