The Religion of the Future
Theosophist, May, 1883
Occultism teaches us that ideas based upon fundamental truths move in the eternity in a circle, revolving around and filling the space within the circuit of the limits allotted to our globe and the planetary or solar system. That, not unlike Plato’s eternal, immutable essences, they pervade the sensible world, permeating the world of thought; and, that contrary to chemical affinities, they are attracted to, and assimilated by, homogeneous universals in certain brains—exclusively the product of human mind, its thoughts and intuition. That in their perpetual flow they have their periods of intensity and activity, as their durations of morbid inactivity. During the former, and whenever a strong impulse is imparted on some given point of the globe to one of such fundamental truths, and a communion between kindred eternal essences is strongly established between a philosopher’s interior world of reflection and the exterior plane of ideas, then, cognate brains are affected on several points, and identical ideas will be generated and expression given to them often in almost identical terms.
The correctness of this doctrine was often ascertained by modern occultists, and is once more shown as something above a mere plausible conjecture just at present. A correspondent of our contemporary, the Indian Mirror, writing from Italy (see issue of March 31, 1883), tells us that it has been his good fortune since he came to Florence:
“To meet with a gentleman from Philadelphia, in the United States who has written a work, entitled ‘The Religion of the Future,’ which is still in manuscript. This gentleman, the author, was brought up as a Quaker, but would not be considered orthodox by that body now. His opinions have been modified so materially by his travels in England, Germany, and elsewhere, as to make him quite heretical.”
It is the brief summary of the manuscript of “the Religion of the Future”—as given by the correspondent—that attracted our attention. The name of the Quaker gentleman is not mentioned; but had we been told that the work was written by our “Lay Chela,” who, with regard to the fundamental doctrines explained by him, is the faithful amanuensis of one of the Himalayan Masters—we would have accepted it as a matter of fact. It is most probable that when the “Religion of the Future” is read in its completeness, there will be found more than one page and chapter, perchance, that will appear to the correctly-informed occultist as grotesque and heterodox. Yet though it may sin in its details, it is perfectly correct in its essential features as far as we understand it. Let our students of occult science judge.
“The peculiar tenet of ‘The Religion of the Future’ is that Matter and Life are equally eternal and indestructible; that the Universal Life is the Supreme Being, not necessarily Omnipotent, but of powers infinitely transcending anything of which we have a conception on earth; that man, on becoming fitted for absorption by moral purity, is absorbed into this Universal Life or Supreme Being, being subject to frequent appearances on earth, until that moral purity is attained; and that the sum of all the experiences of the noblest of animated beings, from all parts of the Universe, is added constantly to the intelligence of the Universal Life.”
We have italicized the most striking passages. Rendered in plain language and amplified, the Arhat esoteric doctrine teaches that
(1) “Matter and Life are equally eternal and indestructible, for—they are one and identical; the purely subjective—hence (for physical science) unprovable and unverifiable—matter becoming the ONE life or what is generally termed “Spirit.”
(2) The hypothetical deity (or God as a personal Being) as something unattainable by, and incomprehensible to, logic and reason, being never speculated upon or taught—since occult science takes nothing on faith, is classified with the highest of abstractions, and perceived and accepted in what we call “UNIVERSAL LIFE.”
(3) Omnipotent only through, and in conjunction with, the immutable, eternal Laws of Nature which are thus the basis upon which LIFE works, it is not “necessarily Omnipotent,” per se.
(4) That man is absorbed into, and becomes one with, the Universal Life, or Parabrahm, only after he is entirely purified, i.e., disenthralled from matter and gone beyond the sphere of sense—is a doctrine recognized alike by Buddhist, Hindu and other old Asiatic philosophies; as also
(5) that man is “subject to frequent appearances on earth,” until his double evolution—moral and physical—is achieved throughout the seven Rounds and he has reached the ultimate perfection. The latter doctrine is carefully explained by “Lay Chela” in the later “Fragments of Occult Truth.”
(6) And last, “the sum of all the experiences” of man from all parts of the Universe, “is added constantly to the intelligence of the Universal Life”—means simply this fundamental doctrine of the Secret Science: “UNIVERSAL INTELLIGENCE is the sum total, or the aggregate of all the intelligences, past, present and future of the universe.” It is the Ocean of Intelligence formed of countless drops of intelligences, which proceed from, and return to it. If they were all taken out, to the last drop, there would be no more Ocean.” (BOOK OF THE ARHATS, Sect. IV, leaf 39.) A further description of the author is thus given by the correspondent.
“I read his ‘Religion of the Future’ with very great interest. Without having any knowledge of what was being done in Calcutta, in the religious world, he had made a study of Hinduism, of Buddhism, and of Christianity, with a view to reconcile and harmonize them. Not having any acquaintance with any of the Eastern languages, the author of ‘The Religion of the Future’ had been obliged to rely entirely upon translations, but of these he had made a careful and judicious use. His admiration for the philosophy of Hinduism is enlightened and ardent. He gives an abstract of it in his work, and of the life and teaching of Gotama Buddha, for whom all who study the subject must have profound veneration.
“The peculiar ideas of the author are proceeded by an intelligent and appreciative review of the religious philosophy of Hinduism, of the life and teaching of Gotama Buddha, and of the life and teaching of Christ.
“Without putting faith in the modern manifestations of spiritualism, the author of ‘The Religion of the Future’ thinks there is evidence in modern life that spirits take part in human affairs—spirits both good and bad.”