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knowing that however small it may bulk to-day,
there is no limit to the vastness to which it may
grow in the years which lie in front. He knows
that he fjiust succeed ; not a question of possibility
but of certitude, not a question of chance but of
definite reality. The Law must give back the
equivalent of that which he gives, and even if he
give but little, that little will come back to him, and
from that he will build in the future, adding always
something to the store, standing a little
higher with each achievement, with each new

88 In the Outer Court.

Already we know something of the way in which
he will build ; we know that he will begin with right
thought ; and we studied last week this control of
the thoughts, which is necessary in order that the
right may be chosen, and the wrong may be
rejected ; working steadily at that thought control
and knowing its conditions, understanding the laws
by which thoughts are generated and by which
thoughts act in the world and react upon their
generator, he is now in a condition definitely to
choose right thought for the building of his
character. And this stage of right thinking will be
one of the early steps that he will take while he is
traversing the Outer Court. First of all because
his right thinking affects others — and all those who
are thus candidates for tlie Temple have their
primary motive in the service of others — so that,
in the choosing of his thought, in the selection of
the thoughts that he either generates or permits to
come within his consciousness, his first motive for
such choice will be the effect that these thoughts
will have upon others, not in the first place the effect
they will have upon himself ; far above and be}'ond
all else he is qualifying for service, and therefore
as he chooses the thoughts to which he will bend his
energy, he calculates their action on the outer
world — how far they will work for helping, how far

The Building of Character. 89

they will work for strengthening, how far they will
work for purifying; and into the great stream of
thoughts that he knows must go out from his con-
sciousness, understanding how that stream is
working, he will send the thoughts that are useful
to others, with the deliberate purpose of this
serving, with the deliberate object of this helping
of the world.

And next he will consider the nature of the
thoughts as they affect himself, as they react upon
him to make his character, a thing that in a few
moments we shall see is of the most vital
importance, for liere indeed is the instrument by
which the character will be built ; and not only as
they react upon his character, but also as, in making
that character, they turn it into a magnet for other
thoughts, so that he, acting as a focus for high
and noble thoughts — not now, we may hope,
for thoughts that are actively injurious — will
deliberately make his consciousness a magnet for
everything that is good, so that all that is evil
may die as it strikes against him, as we saw
last week, and all that is good may flow into
his consciousness to gain there fresh nourishment,
to gain there fresh strength and fresh energy ; that
the good thoughts of others coming to him may go
out vrith new life-nnpulse given to them, and that he

90 In the Outer Court.

may act not only as a source of help by the thoughts
he generates, but as a channel of helping by the
thoughts that he receives, that he revivifies, and
that he transmits. And these will go to the making
of character, so thatiat the beginning of the building
this right thinking will be one dominant influence
in his mind, and he will constantly be watching his
thoughts, scrutinising them with the most jealous
care, in order that into this sanctuary of the con-
sciousness nothing may come which will offend, for
unless this be guarded all else is left open to the
enemy. It is the very citadel of the castle ; at the
same time it is the gateway through which every-
thing enters in.

And then he will learn in this building of
character — perhaps he has already learned — to
guard his speech ; for right speech, to begin with,
must be true, scrupulously and accurately true, not
with the commonplace truthfulness of the world,
though that be not a thing to be despised, but of
that scrupulous and strict truthfulness which is
necessary above all to the student of Occultism —
truth of observation, truth of recording, truth of
thinking, truth of speaking, truth of acting ; for
where there is not this seeking after truth and this
strenuous determination to become true, there is
no possibility of Occultism which is aught but a

The Building of Character, 91

danger, there is no possibility of anything but fall,
deep and terrible, in proportion to the height to
which the student may have climbed. For this
quality of truth in the Occultist is at once his
guide and his shield ; his guide, in that it gives
him the insight which enables him to choose the
true road from the false, the right-hand path from
the left ; and his shield, in that only as he is covered
with this shield of truth, can all the delusions and
the glamours of the planes through which he passes
fall harmless. For it is in the practice of truth in
thought, in speech, and in act, that there gradually
wakes up that spiritual insight which pierces
through every veil of illusion, and against which
there can be in Nature no possibility of setting
up a successful deception. Everywhere veils are
spread, everywhere in the world of illusion this
deceitfulness of appearances is to be found, until
the spiritual insight can pierce through the whole
of them with unchanging and direct vision. There
is no such thing as the development of spiritual
insight, save as truth is followed in the character,
as truth is cultivated in the intellect, as truth is
developed in the conscience ; without this nothing
but failure, without this nothing but inevitable
blunder and mistake.

The speech first of all, then, will be true, and

92 In tJie Outer Court,

next it will be gentle. For truth and gentleness are
not in opposition, as too often we are inclined to
think, and speech loses nothing of its truth by being
perfect in its gentleness and perfect also in its
courtesy and its compassion. The more true it is
the more gentle it needs must be, for at the very
heart of all things is truth and also compassion ;
therefore the speech that reflects the innermost
essence of the Universe can neither causelessly
wound any living being, nor be false with the
slightest shadow of suspicion. True and gentle
then the speech must be, true and gentle and
courteous ; that is said to be the austerity of speech,
the true penance and sacrifice of speech which is
offered up by every aspirant. And then out of
the right speaking and the right thinking, inevitably
must flow right acting ; that, as an outcome, must
be the result of this flowing forth from the source.
For action is only the manifestation of that which
is within, and where the thought is pure, where the
speech is true and right, there the action must
inevitably be noble ; out of such sweet source the
water can only be sweet in the flowing, out of the
heart and the brain that have been purified
necessarily the action must be right and good. And
that is the three-fold cord by which the aspirant
is bound alike to humanity and to his Master ; the

The Building of Cho. racier. 93

three-fold cord which, in some great reHgions,
stands as type of this perfect self-control ; self-
control in thought, in speech, and in action — that is
the triple cord which binds the man to service that
is perfect in its character, which binds the disciple
to the Feet of his Master ; the three-fold cord which
may not easily be broken.

When all this is realised, and the beginning of
it attempted, this candidate of ours will begin a
very definite method of practice in his building of
the character, and first he will form what is called an
" Ideal ". Let us have clearly in the mind what we
mean when we use the word " Ideal." The mind
working within itself builds an internal image, which
is made as the mind grows in strength out of much
that it draws from the outer world ; but although it
draws the materials from the outer world, the idea is
the result of the internal action of the mind upon
the materials. An idea is at its highest an abstract
thing, and if we realise how the abstract idea is
formed in the mere brain-consciousness, we shall
then have a very clear view of what is meant by an
ideal ; a little enlargement of the idea will give us
exactly what we require. Let me take the ancient
illustration, an abstract idea of a triangle. The idea
of a triangle may be gained at first by the brain-
consciousness working in the child through a study

94 -^^ ^^^^ Outer Court.

of many forms which he is told are triangles. He
will notice that they are of many different shapes,
that they are made up of lines which go in very
different directions. He will find — when he looks
at them separately and with this brain-consciousness
of the child — he will find them exceedingly
different, so that looking at them at first he will see
them as many figures, and will not recognise certain
underlying unities which give them all the same
name. But as he goes onward in his thinking he
will gradually learn that there are certain definite
conceptions which underlie this one conception of
the triangle ; that it always has three lines and
no more ; that it always has three angles and no
more ; that these three angles put together have
always a certain definite value, and that the three
lines, called the sides of the triangle, bear certain
relations to each other, and so on. All these
different conceptions he will gain as he studies, and
the mind, working upon the whole of these, extracts
from them what is called an abstract idea of a
triangle, which has no particular size, and no
particular shape, and no particular angles taken
separately. And this abstract idea is made up by
the working of the mind on all the many concrete
forms, so far as the brain-consciousness is concerned.
What greater idea this may be the reflection of, I

The Building of Character. 95

am not now considering ; but it is thus that in the
brain what is called an abstract idea is built, which
has neither colour nor shape nor any special
characteristic of any one form, and which unites
within itself that which makes the many forms of
it a unity. And so when we build an ideal it is an
idea of this abstract kind, it is the work of the
image-building faculty of the mind, which draws out
the essence of all the different ideas that it has
gained of great virtues — of that which is beautiful,
of that which is true, of that which is harmonious,
of that which is compassionate, of that which is in
every sense satisfying to the aspirations of the mind,
of the heart. From all these different ideas, as
they have been seen limited in manifestation, the
essence is extracted, and then the mind constructs
and throws outwards a vast heroic figure in which
everything is carried to perfection ; in which
everything touches its highest and most complete
expression ; in which we no longer deal with the
things that are true, but with truth ; no longer with
the things which are beautiful, but with beauty ; no
longer with the things that are strong, but with
strength ; no longer with the things that are tender,
but with tenderness ; no longer with the beings who
are loving, but with love ; and this perfect figure —
mighty and harmonious in all its proportions,

g6 In the Outer Court.

grander than anything we have seen, only not
grander than that which in rare moments of inspira-
tion the Spirit has cast downwards into the mind —
that ideal of perfection it is which the aspirant
makes for himself as perfect as he is able to conceive
it, knowing all the time that his most perfect
dreaming is but the faintest shadow of the reality
whence this reflection has come. For in the world
of the Real, there exists in living light that which
down here he sees, as it were, in faint reflection of
colour, hanging high in the heavens over the snowy
mountains of human aspiration ; it is still only
the shadow of the Reahty whence it has been
reflected, all that the human soul may image of the
perfect, of the sublime, of the ultimate All that we
seek. This ideal he forms is still imperfect, for it
must needs be so ! But, however imperfect it may
be, none the less for him it is the ideal according
to which his character is to be built.

But why make an ideal 1 Those of you who have
gone so far with me in the working of thought will
know why an ideal is necessary. Let me take two
sentences, one from a great Hindu scripture and the
other from a Christian, to show you how Initiates
speak of the same facts, no matter in what tongue
they talk, no matter to what civilisation their words
may be addressed. It is written in one of the most

The Building of Chamcter. 97

mystical of the Upanlshads, the Chhdndogya :
" Man is a creature of reflection : what he reflects
upon, that he becomes ; therefore reflect upon
Brahman."* And many thousand years afterwards
another great Teacher, one of the builders of
Christianity, wrote exactly the same thought put
into other words : " But we all, with open face
beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are
changed into the same image from glory to glory." t
Beholding as in a glass : for the mind is a mirror
and images are cast upon it and are reflected, and
the Soul that in the mirror of the mind beholds the
glory of the Lord is changed into that same image
from glory to glory. So that whether you take
the Hindu speaker or the Christian, whether you
read the scripture of the Indian or the scripture of
the Western Sage, still the sam.e teaching of the
Brotherhood comes out to you — that you must have
the ideal before you in order that you may reflect
it, and that that on which the mind is constantly
dwelling will inevitably be that which the man
shall become.

And how shall the building towards the ideal be
made ? For that is the question that we must now
consider. By contemplation : definitely, with full
purpose, choosing his time and not permitting him-

* op. cit.t III. xiv. I. t2 Cor. iii. l8.


9? In the Outer Court.

self to be shaken from it, this aspirant who is
discipHning his own character will contemplate day
by day the ideal that he has builded. He will fix
his mind upon it, and constantly reflect it in his
consciousness. Day by day he will go over its
outline, day by day he will dwell upon it in thought,
and, as he contemplates, inevitably within him will
rise up that reverenre and that awe which are
worship, the great transforming power by which
the man becomes that which he adores, and this
contemplation will essentially be the contemplation
of reverence and of aspiration. And as he
contemplates, the rays of the Divine Ideal will shine
down upon him, and the aspiration upwards will
open the windows of the Soul to receive them ; so
that they shall illuminate him from within, and then
cast a light without, the ideal shining ever above
and within him, and marking out the path along
which his feet must tread. And in order that he
may thus contemplate, he must train himself in
concentration ; the mind is not to be scattered, as
our minds so often are. We have to learn to fix it,
and to fix it steadily, and this is a thing that we
should be working at continually, working at in all
the common things of life, doing one thing
at a time until the mind answers obediently
to the impulse, and doing it witli the con-

The Btnlding of Character. 99

centrated energy which bends the whole mind
towards a single point. No matter that many
things that you have to do are trivial ; it is
the way of doing them, and not the things that
are done, that makes the training v/hich results in
discipleship — not the particular kind of work that
you have to do in the w^orld, but the way that you
do it, the mind that you bring to it, the forces
with which you execute it, the training that you
gain from it. And it matters not what the life may
be, that life will serve for the purpose of the
training ; for however trivial may be the particular
work in which you are engaged at the moment,
you can use it as a training-ground for the mind,
and by your concentration you may be making your
mind one-pointed, no matter what for the moment
may be the point to which it is directed. For
remember, when once you have gained the faculty,
then you can choose the object ; when once the
mind is definitely in your hand, so that you can
turn it hither and thither as you will, then you can
choose for yourself the end to which it shall be
directed. But you may just as well practise and
gain the control in little things as in great ; in fact,
very much better, because the little things are
around us every day, whereas the great things come
but seldom. When the great thing comes,

100 In the Outer Court.

the whole mind arouses itself to meet it ;
when the great thing comes, the whole atten-
tion is fixed upon it ; when the great thing
comes, every energy is called to play upon it, so
that you may bear yourself well when the mighty
task is to be accomplished. But the real value of
the Soul is tested more in the little things where
there is nothing to arouse attention, nothing in any
sense to gain applause, where the man is
deliberately working for the end that he has chosen,
and is using everything around him in order that
he may discipline himself. That self-discipline is
the key of the whole. Guide your life by some
plan ; make to yourself certain rules into which your
life shall flow ; and when you have made them,
keep to them, and alter them only as deliberately as
at first you formed them. Take so simple a thing —
for the body has to be brought under control — take
so simple a thing as a definite rule of rising in the
morning ; fix the time that you feel is best for your
work, for your place in your household, and when
you have fixed it, keep to it. Do not permit the
body at the moment to choose its own time, but
train it in that mstant and automatic obedience
which makes it a useful servant of the mind. And
if you find after practising for some time that you
have chosen badly, then change ; do not be rigid

The Building of Character TOT

because you are striving to strengthen your will ;
be ready to change what does not work well ; but
change it at your own time and with perfect
deliberation ; do not change it because on the
impulse of the moment passion or bodily desire or
emotion may be ruling ; do not change it at the
demand of the lower nature that has to be
disciplined, but change it if you iind that you have
badly chosen. For never in ruling your own life
must you make your rule a hindrance to those
around you, or choose ways of self-discipline that
aggravate or interrupt others instead of simply
training yourself.

The next stage, when all this has been clearly
recognised as the way in which the character is to
be builded, will be to study the character itself ; for
you are to work with knowledge and not blindly.
You will perhaps, if you are wise, in judging }'0ur
character, take some of the things that great men
have put before you as outlining a character which
will lead you to the Gate of the Temple. You
might take, for instance, such a tracing as is given
in the sixteenth discourse in the BJiagavad Gitd by
Shri Krishna to Arjuna, where he is telling Arjuna
what should be the qualities which build up the
divine character. You might take that as showing
you the qualities at which you should aim in build-

102 In the Outer Court,

ing yourself, and as marking out for you that
which you desire gradually to evolve. And if you
take it as it is sketched in the sixteenth discourse,
you find a list of qualities, every one of which might
well serve as part of your constant thought and
endeavour, remembering that the character is built
first by the contemplation of the virtue, and then
by the working out of that virtue which has become
part of the thought into the speech and the action
of daily life. And the list runs — however great it
is, we have time enough before us to fill it in —
" Fearlessness, Purity of Heart, Steadfastness in
the Yoga of Wisdom, Almsgiving, Self-restraint and
Sacrifice, and Study of the Shastras, Austerity and
Straightforwardness, Harmlessness, Truth, Absence
of Wrath, Renunciation, Peacefulness, Absence
of Calumny, Compassion to Living Beings,
Uncovetousness, Mildness, Modesty, Absence of
Fickleness, Boldness, Forgiveness, Fortitude, Up-
rightness, Amity, Absence of Pride — these become
his who is born with the divine qualities." Not are
his at once, but become his, and are made in the
building of the character. And you will find, if you
read these at your leisure and with care, that you
can group them together under very definite heads,
and that each of these may be practised, at first of
course very imperfectly but still steadily, and day

The Building of Character. 103

by day — with never a feeling of discouragement
at the lack of achievement, but only with joy in
recognition of the goal, and knowing that each
step is a step towards an end which shall be
achieved. And notice how through them run the
golden threads of unselfishness, of love, of harmless-
ness ; see how courage and strength and endurance
find also their place, so that you get an exquisite
balance of character, a character that is at once
strong and tender, that is at once self-reliant and
compassionate, that is at once a helper of the
weak and in itself strong and unmoved, that is full
of devotion and full of harmlessness, that is full
of self-discipline and therefore of harmony. Let
us suppose you accept that to some extent as an
ideal for the guidance of daily thinking, and you
begin to work it out ; let us consider a point that
is often found in connection with this effort, which
is often found in summing up many virtues together,
and which is much misunderstood ; pausing a
moment upon it, let us see how the building of
character towards this virtue will be carried on. It
is a name which is strange in English ears : it is
indifference ; and sometimes it is worked out in
detail as indifference to pleasure and pain,
indifference to cold and heat, indifference to
blame and applause, indifference to desire

104. /« the Outer Court.

and aversion, and so on ; what does it really
mean ?

First of all, it means that sense of proportion
which must come into the life of one who has gained
a glimpse of the Real amid the fleeting, of the
permanent amid the transitory ; for when once the
greatness of the goal has been recognised, when
once the numberless lives have been realised, when
once the aspirant has understood all the length of
time that lies in front of him, all the vastness of the
task that he is going to achieve, all the grandeur
of the possibilities that lie still unveiled before him ;
when he has caught some glimpse of the Real, then
all the things of one fleeting life must take their
place in proportion to the whole. And when a
trouble comes, that trouble will no longer bulk so
largely as it did when one life was all that he
realised, for he will begin to understand that he has
been through many troubles before, and has come
out the stronger and the more peaceful for the
passage. And when joy comes, he will know that
he has been through many joys before, and has
learned their lessons also, and has found amid other
things that they are transitory ; and so when a joy
comes or a pain, he will take it, not failing to feel
it, feeling it really far more keenly than the
ordinary man of the world can feel, but feeling it in

Thi Building of Character. 105

its true place and at its true worth, and giving
it only its real value in the great scheme of life. So
that as he grows in this indifference, it is not that
he becomes less capable of feeling, for he is ever
becoming more sensitive to every thrill of the world
within and of the world without — inasmuch as he
has become more harmonious with the All, he must
become more responsive to every shade of harmony
that is therein — but that none of these may avail
to shake him, that none of these may avail to
change him, that none of these may touch his
serenity, that none of these may cast a shadow on
his calm. For he himself is rooted where storms

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