The Soul is pictured in the ancient teachings as the real Self man. There are many different conceptions of what man is and what the soul. From Christian teachings we are led to believe that man has a soul, and may save it or lose it—the idea generally held in the West. But the conception of the ancients, and that of Theosophy, which is a re-presentation of this eternal idea, is different. The teaching is that Man is a Soul; that Soul is in fact the one who perceives; that it is vision itself, pure and simple, unmodified—not subject to change—and that it looks directly on ideas.
This idea presents the fact that the real Man in whatever condition he may be existing, whether asleep or awake, whether in a physical body during his lifetime, or whether in another form of body after death or before birth, or before the existence of this planet or this solar system—that this real Man was the same Perceiver, then as now, the same Soul all the time; the Creator of all the conditions that have arisen; the intelligent Creator of this universe, in connection with all the beings below him and all the beings above him. Man thus forms part of one great Brotherhood, and this bond of brotherhood extends throughout, from the lowest being to the very highest.
They are all Souls; even the very lowest forms of matter are none the less Souls, for in the lowest form of matter is the power to perceive, the power to act, the power to gain experience. The potentiality is the same in all, and that potentiality becomes a potency ever expanding as the Soul increases its range of experience. All the forms, the bodies, that compose the universe are the results of the experience and action of the souls inhabiting them. They are all the instruments of the soul, and we always act with others in any grade or class of beings. There is that unity of action which produces a similarity of instrument. In these similarities of instrument we play upon and are played upon by beings of the same class in the fullest degree, and by lower and higher classes in a greater or less degree.
So, taking this conception that the Self is the same in each being, no matter how great that being may be, nor how low, we get another idea in regard to soul—that soul also represents the acquired experience gained through evolution by each and every class of being. Each individual being is not only Self, but, in addition, the acquired experience gained through contact with all other beings. Realizing that there are individual souls, we can see that the only differences between souls are in their degrees of acquired experience. Taking the soul from this point of view, then, as the acquired experience of individuals, when we speak of God, or the Over-Soul, the Universal Over-Soul, we simply mean the acquired experiences, or wisdom, of every soul and all souls. That would be the meaning of the sentence in the Bhagavad Gita that the Self is “Wisdom itself, the object of Wisdom and that which is to be attained by Wisdom”—full consciousness of the union of all-souls, or Spiritual Identity.
If we are to try to relate these conceptions to language we would, perhaps, have to clear up many ideas which we now hold. Supposing there is a real language of the soul, what would it be capable of expressing? Undoubtedly every experience through which it had ever been.
Theosophy teaches the doctrine of reincarnation—of successive lives, both on this earth and in other states of substance and consciousness. Continuity of Consciousness, or Spirit, is preserved through all these states and environments, and the record of all that occurred in all these lives is present at all times in any one- life in manifestation, because the Self, the Spirit, is present. The language of the Soul would be capable of expressing all that we ever experienced.
In those past lives we have undoubtedly spoken different languages from those we now speak; in those personal existences we used languages now altogether deserted and forgotten by us as persons. But the memory of those languages must be there, if we are a continuing Self and preserve the continuity of experience gained, as well as the continuity of consciousness. Those old languages which we once used, in themselves amount to nothing, because any language and all languages are only the expression of the feeling and thought of the individual soul; his emotions, hopes, fears, ideas and aspirations. So there must be at all times behind any language whatever, the basis for it—the Soul and its experience. Where is that recorded? It is impacted in the imperishable part of man’s nature. It cannot be any spoken tongue what ever. What, then, is its nature?
To understand these propositions we have again to consider the philosophy of Theosophy. Theosophy points out that matter is in seven states or degrees of substances, and each of these with seven sub-states, the whole ranging from the very finest, most plastic and enduring state down to the very coarsest—what we may call the material plane, or matter as it is known and suspected by us, with its many differing gradations and combinations. Man, as the highest and most evolved being concerned in the evolution of this solar system, is clothed in all these seven states of substance derived from the original primordial substance—the homogeneous matter from which every form is evolved. These degrees of substance are indicated in the seven colors of the spectrum; they are also pointed to in the seven notes of the scale of music.
The notes and colors are not exactly what we think they are: they represent the seven great distinct states of matter; sound itself, or light itself, represents the homogeneous state from which the seven notes and the seven prismatic colors are derived. Our colors and our musical notes are only replicas of these—their reflections or correspondences in this one state of matter and sound with which we are acquainted. We know there are seven colors; we know that there are other octaves of color beyond those, which our eyes are unable to transmit to us—some so high, some so low that our eyes will not register their vibrations. The same is true with sound. We are able to detect several, but there are degrees of sound beyond the highest we are able to detect, and also sounds too low for us to hear.
Let us call the Soul the Ego; perhaps that, for us, is the most compact expression for what is meant by Soul, since it includes both the one who perceives and his perceptions, both the one who knows and his experiences. Well, then, the Ego has a language of his own, and that language is one of color, sound and symbol. It is a language that may be seen; that may be heard; that may be felt. It is by means of this language of the soul that the experiences of others may become directly known to us, comprehensible to us, no matter what vocal tongues we may use. This is why it was said in old times, as mentioned in the Bible, that the Wise understood every man speaking in his own tongue, although many different languages were used, then as now. It was because these Wise men could read back of the spoken language, that they knew the very thoughts, feelings and natures of the speakers. That is why in any person’s motion—even so simple an action as in moving from one chair to another—quality of the thought, the very nature of the person, is clearly shown by the assemblage of colors and shades of colors produced by the action. The same with any uttered sounds or speech, no matter what—the centers in the body are set in motion, each having its own particular tell tale colors and rates of vibration.
Strange as it may seem to us, colors may be heard, sounds may be seen, and forms may be experienced, because all are merely different rates of vibration—the motion of Intelligent Consciousness, or Spirit. They are all correlated, and one does not exist with out the others. They are merely aspects of that which is the real propulsion of the soul itself, or the conscious being. So, in our thoughts we have a great combination of colors and sounds, constantly changing their form, or appearance. Our brain is the finest material instrument we use. It, like everything else we use, is an evolution. It is the organ of thought on this plane of substance where we are now acting. If we think high and noble thoughts, then our brains become very susceptible to that kind of use. Every kind of thought has its own particular rate and range of vibration, its own particular colors. If we were acquainted with ourselves, in reality, we could read thought as we now read a book. We could read thoughts as we now hear sounds. If our brains are trained to high thoughts while we are awake; if we try to understand what we really are while occupying this physical instrument; what this body of ours represents; what it is capable of—then gradually the brain will begin to respond to something of our higher knowledge. It will carry forward and transmit more and more of the Language of the Soul, of all the garnered experience of the past.
The ideas that we have, even in regard to Spirit and Soul, to Life hitherto, here and hereafter, are those we have been taught. They are nearly all personal and keep us entirely on the personal plane—the plane of merely physical existence. They give us no true ideas whatever of the real inner self. We have not yet begun to think—in any true sense, in any true direction; and it is only true ideas that will give us knowledge of the inner nature of man. Our habits are merely memory impacted in our nature, whether they be habits of body or habits of thought. We do not store knowledge anywhere but within ourselves; but sometimes we forget where we have hidden it, or we cover it up with a lot of the useless rubbish of mere mental activity. Most of our mental activity is applied solely to the things of this life, to things of the body; so, mankind is continually moving along a false path. No being, however high, can prevent this, because each man is Soul, is Spirit, is Consciousness—is of the Highest, however he use and apply his powers.
Theosophy endeavors to present to man what his real nature is; that he is first, last, and all the time SPIRIT. Spirit means Life and Consciousness—the power to see, to know, to experience. We all have that. That is common to all of us. It is not separate in self—it is the One Life in all beings of every grade. But we, as individuals, have evolved into individuals from the great Ocean of Life. We are Individualized Spirit, and so we each have a separate individual existence, which is continuous. In that sense we are an evolution, but an evolution of Spirit, not Matter—an evolution of Knowledge, not of form only. This has been obtained through observation and experience; whatever differences exist are because of more or less experience, or a better adaptation and application of it; there is no difference in the Source or Potentialities of any being. All this we shall find out, if we move along the Path shown. For it is not an uncharted path. Remember, others have been along that path before us. They are our Elder Brothers—Jesus, for example; Buddha for another; and all those who came at different times as Saviours to the many different peoples. They had all acquired the Language of the Soul. They all had a common body of knowledge. They come amongst men from time to time, as the intelligence of humanity progresses, and give out as much of that knowledge as the then existing state of humanity permits. They came again in our own time; and greater than Those who so came there has not been. Why should anyone say that? Because other Saviours came to separate and distinct peoples, but the Message of Theosophy is not to any one nation, not to any one class of beings, but to the whole world.
That knowledge is obtainable by any self-conscious being for himself, for it is not a question of our ideas, of our present perceptions of morality or success, nor of external power, but of Spiritual perception—of the Language of the Soul. We may make all the mistakes in the world, according to the world, in the body and through the body, and yet have a power of Spiritual perception that would do away with all “mistakes. We would not have to’ have any vicarious atonement, but would be able to act in a proper relation with every being. Our thoughts and actions would be in accord. (but we would have to go through the crucifixion of the false ideas in ourselves, and arise as the Saviour did, to the right hand of the Father—the Ego free from all these delusions which have caused him to maintain himself in sin, sorrow and suffering.
All men desire Spiritual knowledge, yet the great bulk will not abate one jot or tittle of their mental and physical absorption in present and worldly things to obtain the spiritual knowledge they say they ardently long for. They will have to move on through suffering and pain till they really desire to know the truth about themselves. If any man thinks he can get that knowledge by merely desiring to possess it, or by desiring to possess it for himself alone, he is not in the position that would permit of his knowing it. The Language of the Soul can be acquired only when the being realizes that his duty is not to himself, but to the highest interests of his fellowmen; not to “save his own soul” but to lead as many of his neighbors as he possibly can in the direction of the Truth, desiring nothing for himself.
This very attitude opens the flood-gates of spiritual knowledge within himself. Then he becomes the true enjoyer, using every power he has, all the knowledge he has, to benefit others. The man who has come to that knowledge and is on the road to its realization finds “spiritual knowledge springing up spontaneously in him self in the progress of time.” He requires no books to tell him; he cares not what religions have been, that now are, that ever will be. He knows the truth about himself and consequently the truth about all others.
Why do not all men take the path to this realization? Is it because they have no organs of perception, are incapable of seeing? No, it is because they will not listen; they will not take what is given and try it out. They will rather follow anything that promises some success in this life. Yet they know just as well as anyone that they cannot take a single one of the “successes” away with them from the earth. When they go, they leave on earth every earthly thing they have accumulated. And they have to go, because they do not belong here; they are of Spirit, not earth; they are only working in this matter for awhile. They all know that, and yet dream of “possessions.”
No one damned any of us to this condition in which we find so many. No conditions compel us to stay in a state of mental unrest, inactivity or ignorance. All these things are imposed on us by our own hard and fast conclusions as to men, things and methods. These keep us fast bound in our present conditions and will continue to hold us, as long as we maintain that attitude of mind, and cling to false ideas of God, of Nature, and of Man. We keep the doors closed of our own will. In ignorance? Yes; but who remains ignorant? Those only who will not hear, those only who doubt the Language of the Soul.