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- AE in the Irish Theosophist - 2/53 -
separate by time, would not the daily harvesting of wisdom render unnecessary the long Devachanic years? No second harvest could be reaped from fields where the sheaves are already garnered. Thus disregarding the fruits of action, we could work like those who have made the Great Sacrifice, for whom even Nirvana is no resting place. Worlds may awaken in nebulous glory, pass through their phases of self-conscious existence and sink again to sleep, but these tireless workers continue their age-long task of help. Their motive we do not know, but in some secret depth of our being we feel that there could be nothing nobler, and thinking this we have devoted the twilight hour to the understanding of their nature.
--February 15, 1893
There are dreams which may be history or may be allegory. There is in them nothing grotesque, nothing which could mar the feeling of authenticity, the sense of the actual occurence of the dream incident. The faces and figures perceived have the light shade and expression which seems quite proper to the wonderworld in which the eye of the inner man has vision; and yet the story may be read as a parable of spiritual truth like some myth of ancient scripture. Long ago I had may such dreams, and having lately become a student of such things, I have felt an interest in recalling the more curious and memorable of these early vision.
The nebulous mid-region between waking and unconsciousness was the haunt of many strange figures, reflections perhaps from that true life led during sleep by the immortal man. Among these figures two awoke the strangest feelings of interest. One was an old man with long grey hair and beard, whose grey-blue eyes had an expression of secret and inscrutable wisdom; I felt an instinctive reverence for this figure, so expressive of spiritual nobility, and it became associated in my mind with all aspiration and mystical thought. The other figure was that of a young girl. These two appeared again and again in my visions; the old man always as instructor, the girl always as companion. I have here written down one of these adventures, leaving it to the reader to judge whether it is purely symbolical, or whether the incidents related actually took place, and were out-realized from latency by the power of the Master within.
With the girl as my companion I left an inland valley and walked towards the sea. It was evening when we reached it and the tide was far out. The sands glimmered away for miles on each side of us; we walked outwards through the dim coloured twilight, I was silent; a strange ecstacy slowly took possession of me, as if drop by drop an unutterable life was falling within; the fever grew intense, then unbearable as it communicated itself to the body; with a wild cry I began to spin about, whirling round and round in ever increasing delirium; Some secretness was in the air; I was called forth by the powers of invisible nature and in a swoon I fell. I rose again with sudden memory, but my body was lying upon the sands; with a curious indifference I saw that the tide was on the turn and the child was unable to remove the insensible form beyond its reach; I saw her sit down beside it and place the head upon her lap; she sat there quietly waiting, while all about her little by little the wave of the Indian sea began to ripple inwards, and overhead the early stars began softly to glow.
After this I forgot completely the child and the peril of the waters, I began to be conscious of the presence of a new world. All around me currents were flowing, in whose waves dance innumerable lives; diaphanous forms glided about, a nebulous sparkle was everywhere apparent; faces as of men in dreams glimmered on me, or unconsciously their forms drifted past, and now and then a face looked sternly upon me with a questioning glance. I was not to remain long in this misty region, again I felt the internal impulse and internally I was translated into a sphere of more pervading beauty and light; and here with more majesty and clearness than I had observed before was the old man of my dreams.
I had though of him as old but there was an indescribable youth pervading the face with its ancient beauty, and then I knew it was neither age nor youth, it was eternalness. The calm light of thought played over features clear cut as a statue's, and an inner luminousness shone through the rose of his face and his silver hair.
There were others about but of them I had no distinct vision.
He said, "You who have lived and wandered through our own peculiar valleys look backwards now and learn the alchemy of thought." He touched me with his hand and I became aware of the power of these strange beings. I felt how they had waited in patience, how they had worked and willed in silence; from them as from a fountain went forth peace; to them as to the stars rose up unconsciously the aspirations of men, the dumb animal cravings, the tendrils of the flowers. I saw how in the valley where I lived, where naught had hindered, their presence had drawn forth in luxuriance all dim and hidden beauty, a rarer and pure atmosphere recalled the radiant life of men in the golden dawn of the earth.
With wider vision I saw how far withdrawn from strife they had stilled the tumults of nations; I saw how hearing far within the voices, spiritual, remote, which called, the mighty princes of the earth descended from their thrones becoming greater than princes; under this silent influence the terrible chieftains flung open the doors of their dungeons that they themselves might become free, and all these joined in that hymn which the quietude of earth makes to sound in the ears of the gods.--Overpowered I turned round, the eyes of light were fixed upon me.
"Do you now understand?"
"I do not understand," I replied. I see that the light and the beauty and the power that enters the darkness of the world comes from these high regions; but I do not know how the light enters, no how beauty is born, I do not know the secret of power."
"You must become as one of us," he answered.
I bowed my head until it touched his breast; I felt my life was being drawn from me, but before consciousness utterly departed and was swallowed up in that larger life, I learned something of the secret of their being; I lived within the minds of men, but their thoughts were not my thoughts; I hung like a crown over everything, yet age was no nearer than childhood to the grasp of my sceptre and sorrow was far away when it wept for my going, and very far was joy when it woke at my light; yet I was the lure that led them on; I was at the end of all ways, and I was also in the sweet voice that cried "return;" and I had learned how spiritual life is one in all things, when infinite vistas and greater depths received me, and I went into that darkness out of which no memory can ever return.
--March 15, 1893
The Mask of Apollo
A tradition rises up within me of quiet, unrumoured years, ages before the demigods and heroes toiled at the making of Greece, long ages before the building of the temples and sparkling palaces of her day of glory. The land was pastoral, all over its woods hung a stillness as of dawn and of unawakened beauty deep-breathing in rest. Here and there little villages sent up their smoke and a dreamy people moved about; they grew up, toiled a little at their fields, followed their sheep and goats, they wedded and grey age overtook them, but they never ceased to be children. They worshiped the gods with ancient rites in little wooden temples and knew many things which were forgotten in later years.
Near one of these shrines lived a priest, an old man whose simple and reverend nature made him loved by all around. To him, sitting one summer evening before his hut, came a stranger whom he invited to share his meal. The stranger sat down and began to tell him many wonderful things, stories of the magic of the sun and of the bright beings who moved at the gates of the day. The old priest grew drowsy in the warm sunlight and fell asleep. Then the stranger who was Apollo arose and in the guise of the old priest entered the little temple, and the people came in unto him one after the other.
Agathon, the husbandman. "Father, as I bend over the fields or fasten up the vines, I sometimes remember how you said that the gods can be worshiped by doing these things as by sacrifice. How is it, father, that the pouring of cool water over roots, or training up the branches can nourish Zeus? How can the sacrifice appear before his throne when it is not carried up in the fire and vapour."
Apollo. "Agathon, the father omnipotent does not live only in the aether. He runs invisibly within the sun and stars, and as they whirl round and round, they break out into woods and flowers and streams, and the winds are shaken away from them like leaves from off the roses. Great, strange and bright, he busies himself within, and at the end of time his light shall shine through and men shall see it, moving in a world of flame.
Think then, as you bend over your fields, of what you nourish and what rises up within them. Know that every flower as it droops in the quiet of the woodland feels within and far away the approach of an unutterable life and is glad, they reflect that life even as the little pools take up the light of the stars. Agathon, Agathon, Zeus is no greater in the aether than he is in the leaf of grass, and the hymns of men are no sweeter to him than a little water poured over one of his flowers."
Agathon the husbandman went away and bent tenderly over his fruits and vines, and he loved each one of them more than before, and he grew wise in many things as he watched them and he was happy working for the gods.
Then spake Damon the shepherd, "Father, while the flocks are browsing dreams rise up within me; they make the heart sick with longing; the forests vanish, I hear no more the lamb's bleat or the rustling of the fleeces; voices from a thousand depths call me, they whisper, they beseech me, shadows lovelier than earth's children utter music, not for me though I faint while I listen. Father, why do I hear the things others hear not, voices calling to unknown hunters of wide fields, or to herdsmen, shepherds of the starry flocks"?
Apollo answered, "Damon, a song stole from the silence while the gods were not yet, and a thousand ages passed ere they came, called forth by the music, and a thousand ages they listened then joined in the song; then began the worlds to glimmer shadowy about them
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