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The Word and the Way
IX. Of Reason and of Inspiration

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Within man's being are two attributes so central that by the degree of their growth relative to one another they rule in large measure over the expression of all other attributes he has.  These two attributes are to receive and to impart.  They are known by name as Om and Na: names held in reverence by all who are entrusted with that knowledge, not lightly to be spoken.

 

To speak of Om as the feminine principle and of Na as the masculine principle, or of the one as negative and of the other as positive, is but to approximate only in small measure to the greatness of these two attributes, which stand as two central principles within the universe of being.  Great is their power within all creation, far surpassing the comprehension of man, or of angel within the heavens of the earth.

 

By the power of Om put forth is the power of Na drawn forth in manifestation, the one as it were setting in motion the other.  From which it will be understood that, in manifestation, Om has priority, setting in motion the power of Na.  Yet both are, in fact, co-equal and complimentary, one within a single whole, and their presence pervades all things in which life and motion are manifest.

 

In man the attribute of Na is normally transcendent.  In women the attribute of Om is normally transcendent.  In every person the powers of Om and Na relative to one another are determined by the pre-natal conditions governing his or her birth.  The state of relative imbalance thus resulting may endure even up to the summit of the second resurrection realm of being, though in lessening measure as the grade of growth advances.

 

At entrance into etherea the balance of Om and Na in the being becomes complete.  Thus the man or woman becomes a complete being, as he or she was not complete before.  Nonetheless the man remains a man and the woman a woman in their completed, etherean form.

 

By the presence of Om in man is he capable of receiving inspiration and of distinguishing the real from the unreal, seeing and feeling and knowing beyond the surface appearance of things.

 

By the presence of Na in man is he made able to reflect, to reason, to analyse, to compare, to proceed deductively and inductively, to express logic.  When the presence of Na is superabundant in a man his reason is dominant.  His powers of logic and analysis become very great.  He can deduce powerfully and accurately from the data his exterior senses have assembled.  But, having little insight, he sees little below the surface of things and his judgment is superficial.  He can take account only of the facts he can see and know.  He is ill-equipped to take account of the facts and conditions of which he does not yet know, notwithstanding that these may be the decisive factors in his undertaking and may even make valueless, because unreal, the whole edifice of thought which he has by reason and logic and analysis thus erected.

 

If such a man is a scientist, or historian, or philosopher, or in government, or in business, or simply fulfilling his function as a parent, he will be at best superficial, lacking insight, unequal to developing the fullness of the tasks which are his.

 

The man in whom the power of Om is well developed so also his capacity to receive inspiration. Because of this he has insight.  Thus he is able to see beyond the apparent facts, more nearly to the root of the matter; to discern the cause behind the appearance; to distinguish also more sharply what is significant from what is not.  When his reason, working upon the facts presented, the data assembled, can proceed no further, the presence of Om within him enables him to perceive a line of advance.

 

It will be understood therefore that the power of Om and the power of Na are as twin powers upon the unfolding pathway of discovery, no matter what the field in which the advance of knowledge is sought.

 

The more interior the nature of the study, the more the data transcend or lie beyond the field of man's external senses and their capacity to analyse, to measure and record, the more must man, if he will advance his knowledge, proceed by inspiration, seeking to develop in himself the power of Om, which is there within him awaiting development.  For it shall be said that though man cannot attain completeness of being before he enters the etherean estate, he can, even while on earth, approximate closely to the balance of Om and Na within him.

 

It may be understood therefore that as faith and knowledge stood as the twin instruments of man's advance towards the Father upon the path of spiritual unfoldment, so too do the powers of Om and Na within him stand as the twin instruments by which he may advance in his exploration and knowledge of the phenomenal universe without end or limit.

 

It shall further be understood that as faith had the initiative in respect of each advance towards spiritual knowledge, towards knowledge of the real, so also does the power of Om hold the initiative in every advance in man's understanding of the universe in which his being is set.

 

In this day man's reason, working through the analytical method, the disciplines employed by reason in deduction and induction, has grown to be a giant.  Those who wield it with great power have assumed priority of place as the arbiters of man's understanding. There is, they say, nothing that reason cannot solve, and that those who would advance into realms beyond man's capacity to reason and measure are pursuing illusions and are prisoners of fancy and of superstition.  Thus man's progress in all those realms of knowledge which are beyond the reach of man's powers of reason, and in which causes lie beyond man's capacity to analyse and explain with his external senses, are discounted and held in abeyance, much to man's detriment.

 

The time is now come when man's needs are such, when the pressures upon him are such, both upon individuals and upon his societies, that the balance must be redresses, so that the powers of inspiration and reason stand co-equal, side by side, as the twin instruments of man's advance in the art and science of living.

 

The first and most important step forward is to be enabled to distinguish clearly between the grades and origins of man's inspiration.  For the inspiration that comes to man is of many orders and from many sources.  Were man to treat them all as of equal merit he would presently be overwhelmed in folly and darkness.  It is because this came about in past times that reason has gained its present rule and pre-eminence.  That man may distinguish sharply between the different kinds of inspiration upon his these words are written.

 

The inspirations that come to man may be marshalled in five orders, according to their source of origin.

 

The first order of inspiration comprises the impulses that man receives through the living mechanism of his own corporeal body.  Among these are hunger, and sexual desire, and pleasures of all kinds derived through the impulses excited through the senses of hearing, sight, sound, smell and touch. Of these the greatest and strongest inspirations are the impulses of appetite, sex and, in this day, narcotics.  Many men are ruled by these to their detriment, for while thus ruled over by their bodies they are blind and deaf to reason and to the higher orders of inspiration.

 

The second order of inspiration is that which man derives from all things and persons around about him.  From all these he receives inspiration according to the development of the power of Om within him. By virtue of the power of Om he draws from them the inwardness of what they have to give, meaning by inwardness that which lies deeper than form or colour or speech as such, and is of the impact of the real nature of the object upon his senses.  In this, reason has little part to play, for the impulse of the inspiration thus received stands outside and beyond the power of reason to analyse or evoke.  Examples of this are the inspiration received from music and from all sounds, from the beauty of flowers and birds and all created things, and from the words of others and from what they communicate, as by painting and writing and dancing. 

 

All these express, in fact, the power of thought.  All the objects of nature from which man draws inspiration are the Father's thought, manifest within them according to His infinite invention and the wonder of His purpose revealed in their functioning.  Thus from all these man received inspiration indirectly from the Father.  All that he receives as inspiration from his fellow man is also of the nature of thought, given form, made objective in words, or in act, or in behaviour.

 

In the matter of inspiration from the creations, no man can go far wrong.  It will enlarge his understanding; magnify his awe and his love for the Almighty.  But the inspiration man received from his fellow man should be judged as to its value by whether it leads him forward on the upward path, the path of overcoming, or leads him aside from the Way, or upon the downward path, increasing his bondage.  It is not hard for man to distinguish between one and the other, once he has had the Way set before him.

 

The third order of inspiration to which man is open and subject is the inspiration received by him from the first resurrection heavens, the lowest heavens of atmospherea.  This inspiration is ever present with him in all that he thinks, speaks and does, by night and day, waking and sleeping, for this realm of being presses closely on man, so that he is never apart from it while in mortal form.

 

As has been said, within the lower heavens, adjacent to the mortal realm and interpenetrating it, are to be found all the accumulated thought-forces of the past that are still undissipated and unredeemed, together with those thought-forces of a mass order which are continually being added and built up by the thoughts and acts of men in this day.

 

Within this realm is little truth and much error; little of the real, much of illusion; little of light, much of darkness; little that lifts man up on the path of overcoming, but much that will entice him downward on the path of declension. Yet man is not bound to heed this inspiration or to obey it, even though he cannot wholly insulate himself from it while still in formal form.  He has within him the most potent fact of his existence--he light of his own soul.  He has also the capacity, according to his grade of growth upon the upward path, to receive and respond to inspiration of a higher order. This, if he will heed it and give it power within him, will hold him free from that which is of a lower order.  He has also, according to his grade, angelic guardians and inspirers, of which more shall be said later. If they are of the Organic realm of being they have power to shield him from the impact of the inspiration and of the impulses of the lower heavens, provided he is willing to heed them.

 

For man to stand free of the inspiration of the lower heavens, aware of its impulses perchance, but ruling over them by virtue of the grade of growth of his being, is a first potent step upon the path of overcoming.  In this matter it is of great service to man for him to know of the existence of the atmospherean heavens of the first resurrection, to know of the inspiration that comes from it to him, and to be able to distinguish it clearly whenever it impinges upon him.

 

As a guide to him to distinguish, this may be said: inspiration from the lower heavens is directed to the satisfaction of the self in man, of the self that regards itself as sovereign, that seeks its own satisfactions and aggrandisement, and desires to glut itself with experience pleasurable to its senses.  Inspiration of this order also magnifies and adds power to the inspirations which come to man through his corporeal body, and in particular from those of a self-indulgent order which are thus urged to excess.

 

Inspiration of this order is also directed towards the maintenance, the spreading and the growth in power of every kind of teaching or so-called knowledge which holds man in allegiance to the provably unreal and to that which has power to hold man back from the Way by holding him in allegiances which have no place upon it and which are repugnant alike to man's reason and to man's freedom.  In combating these man's reason is a powerful instrument, becoming always more so as man's real knowledge advances.

 

Within this order of inspiration are comprised the thought-forms and thought-forces of all those religions which divide men from one another, and are in conflict with one another.  Of this order of inspiration also is all that leads man into destruction and conflict with other men as individuals, nations or races; which condones or justifies the dealing of death and destruction, and the discrimination of man against his fellow man, by which they are injured, denied dignity and development.

 

The fourth order of inspiration is that which comes to man from the Organic realms of being: that is, from the second and higher resurrections.  Of such inspiration this book is an example.  Such inspiration may be distinguished from all others by all who have grown to be responsive to it even a little.  It is directed always to the elevation of man.  It is directed always from the base of love, by which none are harmed or sacrificed, but all are aided and strengthed.  It reveals wisdom greater than man's wisdom, giving him insight and understanding where before his knowledge and comprehension had faltered.

 

From this realm come those impulses, which strengthen man, to reject inspiration of the lower orders and overcome those impulses, which feed the self in man and lead him downward.

 

From this order of inspiration comes inspiration leading man to advance in every field of discovery, and inspiring him also, if he will but heed, that he may develop his discoveries and apply them so as to raise all men upward, ameliorating the burdens of ignorance, want, poverty, and error, which weigh upon them.

 

Such inspiration ever leads man towards peace, order, harmony, co-operation, sympathy, and understanding; towards sacrifice, where need be, for the elevation of others.  It leads man away from domination over others to his own advantage.  It leads man to desire to set others free, rather than to hold them in dependence or subservience.  Above all it reveals, to all who are willing to heed, the knowledge of the presence and supremacy of the Father, the All One, the Creator, and it reveals also the Way, and the discipline, which leads man upward towards Him.

 

The fifth order of inspiration is the highest of all.  It is the voice of the Father as it speaks within each man's own soul.  When man is young, on the pathway of his growth, he calls it the voice of conscience and records it as a faint impression of whose origin he is ignorant.  But as man advances on the Way, and his interior being more and more illumines and penetrates his consciousness, he hears the Father's voice with growing certainty and power.  Comes the time when he has so grown, and the Father's presence so illumines his being from within, that the Father's voice is ever present to him.  It is as if he lived with the Voice, which directs his steps and opens all things before him to his understanding.