The Cosmic Body
The Cosmic Body
Mankind needs a new religion. New, not in its essence or its principles, but in its applications. I have already talked about this a good deal and given you innumerable explanations concerning the more obscure passages in the Bible—particularly in the New Testament. Have I succeeded in making myself understood? Only time will tell. I am not at all sure that I have, for the minds of human beings are so deformed that it is almost impossible to get them to understand that their conception of religion is wholly inadequate. If it were adequate, would they always feel as though they were in a void? Would they always be so ill, distraught, and disorientated? If their conception of religion were adequate, they would all be immersed in peace and light—and this is very far from being the case. Of course, every now and then one meets people who are content with life, but when I talk about happiness, I am talking about a stable, lasting condition, not a fleeting, ephemeral happiness. Everybody experiences happiness at some time or another, but only briefly. A man is happy because he has just got married; but before long his wife leaves him and he is unhappy. Or he has a child and that makes him happy; but his child turns out badly and he tears his hair in grief. Or he is happy because he has come into a fortune; but as he squanders his fortune, he soon begins to worry about where his next meal will come from. True happiness can endure, but it can only endure if it is based on a proper understanding of its nature. As I have so often said, happiness is a state of consciousness that is the result of how one understands and feels things. Human beings cannot be happy if their minds and hearts are continually pervaded by bizarre, dark thoughts and destructive feelings and emotions. This is why the work of initiates from time immemorial has been to teach men love and wisdom, for the light of the mind and the warmth of the heart give birth to harmonious movement, to a constructive, well-balanced activity.
As long as men and women have not attained this light and warmth, their actions will always contain certain negative elements that are liable to distort or even destroy their own happiness and that of others. And this is what hell is. Hell is not a place that exists in some distant corner of the universe; it exists here on earth, in the hearts and souls of those who delight in disorder and anarchy. And there are a great many such people in the world today, people who have embraced the philosophy of anarchy, without realizing the dangers lying in wait for them. Sooner or later, such people will be destroyed. If they had studied the laws of nature and seen how the universe was created, if they had learned about all the different regions of which it is composed, and all the different creatures that inhabit those regions, they would have understood that they, too, were an integral part of this living body of nature and that their behaviour must harmonize with the whole. If their anarchical attitude becomes too troublesome, nature will simply take a purge and expel them. Anarchists are never tolerated for very long. If other human beings do not exterminate them, nature intervenes and does it herself, for she cannot allow disharmony to prevail. Disharmony is a tumour, a cancerous growth in her body, and she takes the necessary steps to get rid of it.
This is what initiatic science tells us. And once initiates understand this truth, their one great fear is to become a tumour in the cosmic body by failing to vibrate in unison with it. Initiates fear only one thing, and that is to find that their psychic state is such that their vibrations are at variance with universal harmony, for they know what is in store for them if this happens. This is why they always strive to conform to, and vibrate in unison with, the great body of the cosmos. If singers in a choir or musicians in an orchestra refuse to sing or play according to the score, they will be dismissed immediately, for they destroy the harmony of the whole. This is why I say that anarchists are very stupid, because this is exactly what will happen to them. If they were intelligent, they would understand that they cannot prevail for long, for they are always liable to meet and be annihilated by those who are even more anarchical than themselves. In any case, if they are not destroyed by other human beings, they will be destroyed by the laws of nature, for these laws are terrible and implacable. The teaching of the Great Universal White Brotherhood is the teaching of hierarchy; and hierarchy supposes a synarchy. Synarchy is government by an elite, by the head; but government today is in the hands of the lower organs—stomach, belly, and genitals—in the hands, that is, of the ignorant masses. It is the masses that rule, the masses that make the decisions and give orders, and as long as it is the masses—the cells of the stomach—that govern, mankind will not make much progress, for the cells of the stomach are only interested in money, pleasure, and food, and the freedom to do whatever they please. They are not capable of interesting themselves in anything more elevated. The function of these cells is to digest; that is all they know how to do. It is not their business to make decisions or give orders; that is the function of the cells of the brain, which, thanks to the faculties of sight, hearing, speech, and so on are in a position to lead and govern. For the time being, the cells of the brain—the initiates—are silent; they have disappeared, hidden themselves. When they saw how human beings behaved, how violence was becoming more and more prevalent, how brute force, ambition, and the lower appetites were gaining the upper hand, they went away and left mankind to its own resources.
This state of affairs will last until such time as human beings, ill, exhausted, and on the verge of extinction, finally realize that they are incapable of finding the solutions they need by themselves, because they are too degenerate, their desires are too material, and they know nothing either of the spiritual world or of the methods they should be working with. The day they understand this, they will begin to call on this elite, on the initiates who still exist and are still at work, but who have left mankind to learn what can only be learned from harsh experience. It is not that these beings are cruel; it is just that they keep an eye on mankind and wait for the right moment to act. They have no desire to meddle in the affairs of the world for the moment, for human beings are incapable of producing anything but war and tragedy. You will object that this is not true; that there are a great many people who long for peace. True, but those who long for peace are weaklings, incapable of doing anything to bring it about. Nobody listens to them; they have no part in making the decisions that count. The decision to make war, for instance, is in the hands of those who have money, prestige, and power. It is they who prepare wars and decide when and where they will take place.
What did Jesus mean by the words, 'Thy kingdom come'? The notion of the kingdom of God is not very clear to Christians. Many of them see the kingdom of God as somewhat like an earthly kingdom, with a monarch, Cabinet ministers, a police force, and so on. But it is not that. The kingdom of God is an order that is far beyond the grasp of human beings, and no amount of explanations can convey an idea of it. The only way to understand this state is to live it, and in order to live it, we have to uproot ourselves, that is, we have to discard our old, mistaken notions and embrace new, true ones. It is as though we had to leave the dusty, crowded roads of the plains and climb to the top of a mountain, where the air is pure and the view immense.
If human beings want to understand the kingdom of God, the first thing they must do is stop living in the midst of anarchy. Yes, there is still a great deal that needs to be said on this subject. For one thing, an attitude that would generally be termed anarchical is not always and necessarily bad. It is the state of mind of someone who intends to live his life in his own way and refuses to be subject to the established order. Whether that order be good or bad, he wants to live according to his own ideas, and, in fact, it can happen that his ideas are superior to those of the established order. In this case, society would consider him an anarchist, but in the eyes of heaven he is no anarchist, for he aspires to more love, more fraternity, and greater justice. From the point of view of the initiates, an anarchist is one who refuses to recognize the divine order, who denies the existence of a Lord of the universe and of higher entities and forces, who refuses to acknowledge that there are higher laws to which he must submit. Such a man may be in perfect accord with a society composed of millions of his fellow men who have no spiritual life, but he is an anarchist in relation to the sublime intelligence of the universe, because he transgresses its laws.
Actually, most human beings are anarchists without realizing it. Outwardly they may be thoroughly decorous and law-abiding---so much so that some of them are awarded with medals by a grateful society—but although they have never transgressed a human law in their lives, they are ready to transgress every inner law. They respect the laws of society only because they are afraid of being found out and punished if they break them; but even though the divine laws are far more to be feared than the laws of society, people do not seem to be afraid to break them. If people are reasonably intelligent—or simply lucky—they can always side-step the laws of earth, but no one, however astute or intelligent, has ever been able to evade the divine laws, because another, higher intelligence is always there, watching and recording everything they do. Evil-doers are always found out and punished because, without their realizing it, their misdeeds always leave a trace on the invisible plane. Even a thought or a feeling leaves a trace. Even though you may not actually commit a crime, if you entertain evil thoughts, these thoughts leave their trace, not only on you but on your surroundings. This is why the law—divine law, that is—is able to track you down, and before long you yourself begin to feel the effects of those evil thoughts.
The main reason why human beings make no attempt to control their thoughts and feelings is that they simply do not believe that divine justice exists. They confuse divine justice with human justice, and as so many of them manage, in spite of their crimes, to elude human justice, they imagine that they will also be able to elude divine justice. They have never studied the question sufficiently to realize how different the two are: divine justice may not lay its hand on you outwardly, but it will certainly reach you inwardly. If you examined the state of health of criminals who have supposedly eluded justice, you would see that they are inwardly in ruins, their physical and psychic health devastated. Outwardly, there is still something that holds them together, but one day even that will collapse, for it is the inner dimension that sustains and nourishes the whole, that serves as the foundation of the whole structure. If the inner dimension collapses, sooner or later the outer dimension will also collapse. Divine justice is instantaneous. At the precise moment of breaking a law, something within you crumbles. It often takes years, however, for this inner decay to show itself outwardly. This is why, for example, one sometimes meets women who are veritable demons inwardly but who are still outwardly beautiful. And the reverse can also be true. But I have already talked to you at length about this,1 and I do not wish to talk about it again today. Today I prefer to stick to the question of anarchy.
According to initiatic science, an anarchist is someone who refuses to submit to the divine order of creation, and this means that nine-tenths of all human beings should be classed as anarchists. People's understanding of anarchy is usually based on political or social criteria, but these are inadequate; the only true anarchy is anarchy in relation to heaven. Of course, in actual fact, many people are doubly anarchical, being anarchical in their attitude both towards earth and towards heaven.
Think of the parable of the prodigal son, who left his father's house because he was bored and went out into the world in search of freedom and adventure. To begin with, he enjoyed the novelty of it all, but his enjoyment did not last long and his fortunes gradually deteriorated. Wherever he went he was a foreigner, and people distrusted him and refused to give him work. So the poor young man began to suffer from hunger, thirst, and bitter cold; he had nothing to eat and nowhere to live, and he began to regret having left his father's house. He remembered that there he had had everything he needed; everybody knew who he was, and his father and mother and the whole family loved him. He knew now from his own experience that neither love nor pity ruled the world, and so, a wiser and a humbler man, he decided to go back home. And his father recognized his son in the miserable, half-starved creature who appeared before him dressed in rags and covered with dust. The Gospel adds that he welcomed him with open arms and ordered the fatted calf to be killed to celebrate his return. Of course, his brother was rather angry at all this and grumbled a bit, but the father soothed his feelings and reminded him that he should be generous to someone who was destitute.
1 See Creation: Artistic and Spiritual, chap. 9. Izvor Collection, N°. 223.
The story of the prodigal son is the story of all those who, instead of living in harmony with divine law, want to do exactly as they like and take pleasure in being anarchical. And, as I have said, the worst form of anarchy is that which reigns within man. This is why the goal of all initiatic schools is to induce human beings to return to their Father's house, to the safety of that 'secret place' of which Psalm 91 speaks ('He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty... He is my refuge and my fortress; my God, in him I will trust'), and which the forces of evil cannot enter. Human beings always seem to be glad to get away from this secret place in which they are under the protection of the Lord. They are eager to live their lives in their own way by breaking God's laws and getting as far away from him as possible. Well, let me tell you that people like that have a great deal of suffering in store for them. Their constant tendency to be out of step and to disobey means that their destiny requires them to suffer. But those who have already suffered a great deal, and whose sufferings have brought them understanding, are ready to return to their Father, to that 'secret place'. This is why they join a spiritual brotherhood, an initiatic school, for to do so symbolizes a return to the divine order.
Many years ago I talked to you about this 'secret place' in which man is invulnerable. It is a world of such harmony, a world in which the vibrations are so intense and so pure, that the slightest negative element is immediately rejected and cast out. Jesus said: 'I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing. Whoever does not abide in me is thrown away like a branch and withers; such branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned.' This expresses exactly the same idea. Find and take refuge in this fortress, therefore, so that you may be protected and nourished. How can anyone fail to understand this? Human beings are all anarchists, they all want to break away from the Lord in the hope of getting something more, something which, in fact, they can never get. Before launching out blindly like that, they would do much better to study the laws and understand how things are likely to turn out. But they are like the prodigal son: he too should have seen what life was like in his father's house and compared it with the life he would find in the outside world, where men claw, bite, and hack their way to success. But he did not study anything, the poor wretch; he just imagined what he would find. And this is what all anarchists do, they imagine. This is why I advise you all to examine the whole question very thoroughly to see what is in store for you if you continue on the path of anarchy.
This question of laws is so easy to understand. Suppose you overeat: you will not be prosecuted in the name of any human law—no policeman will come and arrest you—but you will suffer from acute indigestion. In the name of what law are you laid low and put to bed? The laws of nature are not those of human beings. Human beings will come and see you and commiserate with you in bed, but however much they sympathize, they will not be able to cure you; only nature can cure you. If you start to obey the laws of nature again you will be cured. You must learn these laws of nature, the divine laws that rule the intellect, the heart, and the physical body. You should know exactly what everything you say and do represents in the way of energy, see where these energies go, and make sure that they do not disturb or harm anyone. In the Tales from the Arabian Nights there is a story about a merchant who sat down to rest from his travels and eat some dates, and as he ate he threw the stones carelessly in different directions. Suddenly, a monstrous genie appeared and declared that he would kill him. 'But why?' stammered the unfortunate merchant; 'What have I done?' When you were throwing those stones away,' replied the genie, 'my son was passing by, and you threw one into his eye and killed him. Therefore I must kill you.' Of course this is only a legend, but there is great meaning in it.
There is also a popular tradition that when one goes out at night one must carry a light. This external light symbolizes the inner lamp that you must keep burning in order to protect yourself against evil spirits. For just as wild beasts hunt their prey at night, so do many evil spirits roam freely at night, seeking to harm human beings, until at cock-crow they are obliged to disappear. But human beings are so ignorant; they leave their doors wide open night and day for any entity to enter and lay waste their inner world.
So there you are, my dear brothers and sisters, do as you please; cut yourselves off from the Lord and maintain your independence if you like, and you will see what your destiny will be. For my part, I do not need to wait and see; I already know what it will be. How do I know that? I only have to see a person's attitude and I can immediately sense what he wants from life. The goals of those who cut themselves off from God and from the fellowship of initiates, who turn their back on the light, are necessarily extremely banal and mundane. They want wealth, power, and glory; they want to be able to gratify their appetite for food and drink and sexual pleasure. In other words, their ideal is not very lofty; on the contrary, they spend their time in the filth and slime of the lowest regions, and the only possible outcome is misfortune and suffering. As you see, I only need to know a person's ideal and I can immediately tell you what his final destination will be; he will end up exactly where his ideal has led him. When you possess initiatic science, nothing is easier than to prophesy. When you know which track a train is running on, you know exactly which towns it will go through and where it will end up. Every station-master is a prophet. And astronomers are prophets too, because they can tell you the exactly where the planets will be years in advance. All those who are really proficient in any science are prophets. Predictions for the future are based on an occult science.
There, this is what I wanted to say about anarchy. All these intellectuals who think they are God's gift to mankind must learn that their philosophy of breaking away from the centre can only lead to enslavement and total restriction, for there can be no freedom far from the centre. What is in store for you if you withdraw from the light and warmth of the sun? Darkness, cold, and death. And the sun symbolizes the initiatic confraternity. The Psalmist says, 'I walk before the Lord in the land of the living,' and this 'land of the living' is the true confraternity, the sun, for in the sun dwell the noblest, most luminous of beings. That which we call sunlight is the vibrations, emanations, and radiations of these incandescent beings. The light that illuminates the planets comes not from the sun itself but from the sun's inhabitants. The sun is a richly fertile, cultivated land, a very advanced civilization, and it is the inhabitants of this land that project light out into space. All this will one day be discovered by scientists, but initiates have known it for ages, for they have travelled in their etheric bodies into every region of space and visited the sun and the other planets. Believe me or not, as you please, but I am telling you the truth.
It is a great mistake to think that to belong to an initiatic confraternity implies that you have to restrict yourself and forfeit your freedom; on the contrary, only in such a confraternity will man find freedom and happiness. True self-realization can be achieved only in the one true brotherhood, the Great Universal White Brotherhood which exists in the higher world and of which our own Brotherhood here on earth is no more than a reflection. Also, if you think that it depends on your decision to belong or not to belong to that great Brotherhood, that too is an illusion. Some people may say that they do not want to belong, but the truth is that they would not be accepted. If they were worthy to join it, they would be eager to do so, but it is not all corners who can be accepted just as they are. Each one has to work for years and years and prove that they are worthy before being allowed to join this confraternity. Perhaps you will say, 'But I have never done anything to earn it, and yet I have been accepted as a member of the Universal White Brotherhood.' Yes, but the Brotherhood here on earth is no more than a vestibule; it is not yet the Holy of Holies. It is much more difficult to be accepted into the Brotherhood on high, but once you are accepted your name is inscribed in heaven and you receive all the gifts and all the help you need every day; just as the employees of a company here on earth receive a salary, family allowances, and so on.
Perhaps you are thinking, 'Where on earth does he get all that?' Well, you have read the Gospels: surely you remember that Jesus said, 'See, I have given you authority to tread on snakes and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy; and nothing will hurt you. Nevertheless, do not rejoice at this, that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.' Once your name is written in the book of life you will not be forgotten. You will be given strength, health, and joy. You will feel that support, advice, and guidance are bestowed on you, and even if you do have to endure trials and difficulties, you will find either that they will not last so long as they used to or that you are stronger and more able to deal with them. This is the Gospel, the living Gospel; and it is up to you now to make the necessary effort to enter this fortress, this secret place, for once you are there you will be safe. There is a Sanskrit text that says, 'A pilgrim has reached the far bank of the river, an arhat is born, a new dvija, a saviour of the world,' and in Christianity this idea is expressed by the quest for the Holy Grail. In one form or another, all religions speak of this confraternity under the rulership of Christ.
Human beings look for a confraternity to join, of course, but never this one. They prefer to join a political confraternity and are ready to be massacred for an ideology that will soon be out of fashion and replaced by another one. They are not interested in putting themselves at the service of an ideal that would make them immortal and invincible. But for heaven's sake, if they really want to shed their blood, why cannot they at least choose a cause that is eternal? They just do not use their brains; they sell their freedom for too little. All their brave words about the price of freedom are just that, words. The truth is that they do not care two hoots for their freedom, their life, their blood. Someone who really wants to save his life entrusts it to a bank that will never become insolvent; to the bank of the sun, not to a ship that is sinking because it has a hole in its hull. I was still very young when I realized that I should never achieve very much if I relied on my own freedom, my own will, and my own intelligence. This is why I did everything possible to enter the divine order of the Universal White Brotherhood. And if you, for your part, continue to believe that you will achieve great things on your own without this confraternity, I can prophesy that what you gain in this way will be far less than what you would gain by joining it.
To possess your own house and have money in the bank—is that your idea of success? If so, when it is time to depart for the next world you will see that you have worked in vain—or, rather, you have been working for the benefit of thieves. So acquire all the material possessions you want, but know that you will be obliged to leave them all behind; whereas the things you acquire through your spiritual work will always be yours, and you will take them with you into the next world. Wherever you go, your capital, your wealth, all your precious stones will go with you and will benefit the whole world. You will probably think that what I am saying is very difficult to understand; it is as though I were speaking an unknown language. You would all understand me if I talked about higher mathematics, but people no longer understand the language I speak, although it seems to me that nothing could be clearer. It is not a sign of intelligence and freedom to refuse to submit to the great laws of the Universal White Brotherhood. The Gospels tell us that we are all obliged to serve a master. If we refuse to serve Christ and the light, we shall be obliged to serve the devil and the powers of darkness. This is a law. People say, 'Oh, you know, this thing about Christ and the light is not for me. I cannot accept that.' Well, if that is your attitude, you too will be unable to avoid falling into the power of dark forces. Those who seek to be free in their own way cannot find true freedom; they will find only slavery. They are influenced and controlled by other entities. Their ignorance is such that they are easily hoodwinked into thinking that they are following their own wishes and making their own decisions, while in fact they are working for others. Human beings are like children; they just do not understand. When small children want to be free, they are liable to do all kinds of stupid and dangerous things that will restrict their freedom even more. Young people—and adults, too, for that matter—have no more understanding of freedom than a baby. Only the wise know that if you want to be free you have to impose limitations on yourself. Others, on the pretext that they want to be free, let their wild beasts out of their cages, and then they are torn apart and devoured by them.
I happened to switch on the television yesterday, and what did I see? Four hairy ruffians who looked like animals, screaming and gesticulating incoherently. This, apparently, was a concert. Never have I heard anything so repulsive and discordant. But the audience—mostly young boys and girls—were wildly enthusiastic, clapping and jumping up and down and twisting about in hideous contortions. I could not help feeling sad at the sight. I thought to myself, 'My God, how can anyone understand human nature today? What is it in man's soul that has the power to estrange him from beauty to such an extent? How can four such villainous creatures be such a popular success?' I am not so strict and narrow-minded as to condemn young people for wanting to express their vitality and joy, but there was no joy here at all; the movements which should have been an expression of vitality were no more than horrible, unsightly contortions. Wild animals! Yes, the doors of their cages had been flung wide open, and they were prowling about, devouring whatever good there was in those so-called musicians while the crowd looked on and applauded.
Seeing this, I almost lost hope of ever leading human beings to something beautiful and meaningful. They are going to have to go all the way; they are going to have to touch bottom. How can people like that understand the magnificent laws of nature? They have never done any work on themselves; they do not even know that there is work to be done. The only thing they know is how to open the cages of their own wild animals. And they call that freedom, liberation. Yes, they are liberated, independent—unleashed.
Omraam Mikhael Aivanhov, The Bonfin, July 25, 1965