Give Us One Fact
The Path, March, 1888
Since last I wrote for THE PATH, the most distinct call I have heard from many students in The West is found in the cry: “Give us one fact!”
They have acquired the desire to know the truth, but have lingered still around the market places of earth and the halls of those scientific leaders of the blind who are the prophets of materialism. They say that some “scientific” men, while talking of Theosophy, have asked why the Masters have not “given us one fact on which we may begin and from which a conclusion might be reached”; and they—these students—most earnestly ask for that fact for themselves, even though they shall conceal it from the very men who have formulated the question.
Poor children. What are the facts ye desire? Is it some astounding thaumaturgical exhibitions that shall leave no room for doubt? If so, please say whether the feat is to be performed in the sight of thousands, or only in the presence of one postulant and his select circle? If the last, then ye are self-convicted of a desire to retain unto yourselves what belongeth to many. Or perhaps ye wish a statement of fact. But that would of course have to be supported by authority, and we, poor wanderers, have no force of authority in science or art; statements of facts coming from us would therefore be useless to you.
And I must tell you in confidence, as the messengers have before this been directed to do and have not failed therein, that an exhibition of thaumaturgical skill in the presence of a multitude would subvert the very ends the perfected men have in view. Suppose that some of those who know were now to appear in the busy hum of American life, where the total sum of objects appears, at this distance, to be the gain of wealth, and like the two young princes of Buddha’s time were to rise in the air unaided and there emit sheets of fire alternately from their heads and feet, or were to rise again and float off to a distance in plain sight of all; would that demonstrate anything to you? Perhaps in the breasts of some aspiring students might spring up the desire to acquire the power to do likewise. But pause and tell me what would the many do to whom such things are myths? I will tell you. Some would admit the possibility of a genuine phenomenon, seeking ways and means to do it too, so that they might exhibit it for an admission price. Others, and including your scientific fact-seekers, would begin by denying its truth, by ascribing it to delusion, and by charging those who did it, no matter how really spiritual those were, with deliberate fraud and imposture, while a certain section would deny the very happening of the matter and falsify the eye-knowledge of hundreds. 1 Still others would say “It is a God”!—”It is a devil,” with consequences to correspond. No, friends, the true teachers do not begin by laying the foundations for greater error and more fast-bound superstition than those we are trying to destroy.
Then I must tell you in all seriousness and truth that statements of the facts you really wish have been over and over again made in many places, books, and times. Not alone are they to be found in you new theosophical literature, but in that of older times. In every year for centuries past these facts have been given out,—even in English. They were told in the days of the German and English Alchemists, and by the Cabalists. But greed and wrong motive have ever formed the self-constructed barriers and obscurers.
The Alchemists of the pure school spoke of the gold they could make by means of their powders, and the salt, together with their mercury; and the Cabalists said that by pronouncing Jehovah’s name not only was the gold formed, but power obtained in all worlds. Very true statements. Are they not statements of fact? Did they satisfy the mass of seekers? So far from that, the result was to lead them into error. Many patiently sought for the powder and the proper combination of the salt or sulphur and mercury, so that they might make worthless gold metal, which today is exchangeable and tomorrow is useless, and which never could give peace of mind or open the door of the future. Then others went by themselves and tried various modulations of sound in pronouncing the supposed name of their Mighty God, until they today have some two-score sorts. What purblind ignorance this, for God is God and has not changed with the rise and fall of empires or the disappearance of languages; his name was once a different sound in ancient Egypt or India, in Lemuria, Atlantis or Copan. Where, then, are those many sounds of His Holy Name, or has that been altered?
“But where,” ye say, “is the fact in the pronunciation of the name of God?” The answer is by asking “What and who is God?” He is the All; the earth, the sky, the stars in it; the heart of man; the elemental and organic world; the kingdoms of the universe; the realm of sound and the formless void. It not the pronunciation of that Name to consist therefore in Becoming all those kingdoms, and realms, and power, focussing in yourself the entire essence of them, each and all at once? Is this to be done by breathing forth “Jehovah” in one or many forms? You easily see it is not. And your minds will carry you on the next step to admit that before you can do this you must have passed through every one of those kingdoms, retaining perfect knowledge and memory of each, commander of each, before you can attempt the pronunciation of the whole. Is this a small task? Is it not the task Karma has set before you, compelling you like children to repeat parts of the word in the varied experiences of repeated lives spent on earth, bringing you back to the lesson until it is well learned?
And so we are brought to ourselves. Our Aryan ancestors have made the declaration, repeated by thousands since, that each man is himself a little universe. Through him pass all the threads of energy that ramify to all the worlds, and where any one of those lines crosses him is the door to the kingdom to which that thread belongs. Listen to the Chandogya Upanishad:
There is this city of Brahman—the body—and in it the palace, the small lotus of the heart, and in it that small ether. Both heaven and earth are contained within it, both fire and air, both sun and moon, both lightning and stars; and whatever there is of the Self here in the world, and whatever has been or will be, all that is contained within it.
Vain it is to make search without. No knowledge will reach you from anywhere but this small lotus of the heart. Just now ye are binding it so that it cannot burst open. It is with the delusions of the mind ye bind it in a knot. That knot ye must break. Break loose from scholastic error, make of your minds a still and placid surface on which the Lord of the palace in the heart can reflect pictures of Truth, become as little children who are not hindered by preconceptions, and ye will have knowledge.
The only fact I have to offer you is—YOURSELVES.
1. We can agree with the writer, as we have seen just as wonderful things done by H.P. Blavatsky and next day heard accusations of fraud against her and charges of credulity against those who had seen.—[ED.]