Friday, June 22, 2007

97 Cadogan Gardens, London, Saturday,
January 4th, 1913

What a power is love!

It is the most wonderful, the greatest of all living powers.
Love gives life to the lifeless. Love lights a flame in the heart that is cold.
Love brings hope to the hopeless and gladdens the hearts of the sorrowful.
In the world of existence there is indeed no greater power than the power of love.
When the heart of man is aglow with the flame of love, he is ready to sacrifice all
even his life.
In the Gospel it is said God is love.
There are four kinds of love.
The first is the love that flows from God to man;
it consists of the inexhaustible graces,
the Divine effulgence and heavenly illumination.
Through this love the world of being receives life.
Through this love man is endowed with physical existence,
until, through the breath of the Holy Spirit
-- this same love--he receives eternal life
and becomes the image of the Living God.
This love is the origin of all the love in the world of creation.
The second is the love that flows from man to God.
This is faith, attraction to the Divine, enkindlement,
progress, entrance into the Kingdom of God,
receiving the Bounties of God, illumination with the lights of the Kingdom.
This love is the origin of all philanthropy;
this love causes the hearts of men to reflect the rays of the Sun of Reality.
The third is the love of God towards the Self or Identity of God.
This is the transfiguration of His Beauty, the reflection of Himself in the mirror of His Creation. This is the reality of love, the Ancient Love, the Eternal Love. Through one ray of this Love all other love exists.
The fourth is the love of man for man.
The love which exists between the hearts of believers is prompted by the ideal of the unity of spirits.
This love is attained through the knowledge of God, so that men see the Divine Love reflected in the heart. Each sees in the other the Beauty of God reflected in the soul, and finding this point of similarity, they are attracted to one another in love. This love will make all men the
waves of one sea, this love will make them all the stars of one heaven and the fruits of one tree. This love will bring the realization of true accord, the foundation of real unity.
But the love which sometimes exists between friends is not (true) love, because it is subject to transmutation;
this is merely fascination.
As the breeze blows, the slender trees yield. If the wind is in the East the tree leans to the West, and if the wind turns to the West the tree leans to the East.
This kind of love is originated by the accidental conditions of life.
This is not love, it is merely acquaintanceship; it is subject to change.
Today you will see two souls apparently in close friendship; tomorrow all this may be changed. Yesterday they were ready to die for one another,
today they shun one another's society!
This is not love; it is the yielding of the hearts to the accidents of life.
When that which has caused this `love' to exist passes, the love passes also;
this is not in reality love.
Love is only of the four kinds that I have explained.
(a) The love of God towards the identity of God. Christ has said God is Love.
(b) The love of God for His children--for His servants.
(c) The love of man for God and
(d) the love of man for man.
These four kinds of love originate from God.

These are rays from the Sun of Reality; these are the Breathings of the Holy Spirit; these are the Signs of the Reality.
Paris talk

In the Bible it is said that God breathed the spirit into the body of man. What is the meaning of this verse?

Answer.--Know that proceeding is of two kinds: the proceeding and appearance through emanation, and the proceeding and appearance through manifestation. The proceeding through emanation is like the coming forth of the action from the actor, of the writing from the writer. Now the writing emanates from the writer, and the discourse emanates from the speaker, and in the same way the human spirit emanates from God. It is not that it manifests God--that is to say, no part has been detached from the Divine Reality to enter the body of man. No, as the discourse emanates from the speaker, the spirit appears in the body of man.

But the proceeding through manifestation is the manifestation of the reality of a thing in other forms, like the coming forth of this tree from the seed of the tree, or the coming forth of the flower from the seed of the flower, for it is the seed itself which appears in the form of the branches, leaves and flowers. This is called the proceeding through manifestation. The spirits of men, with reference to God, have dependence through emanation, just as the discourse proceeds from the speaker and the writing from the writer--that is to say, the speaker himself does not become the discourse, nor does the writer himself become the writing; no, rather they have the proceeding of emanation. The speaker has perfect ability and power, and the discourse emanates from him, as the action does from the actor. The Real Speaker, the Essence of Unity, has always been in one condition, which neither changes nor alters, has neither transformation nor vicissitude. He is the Eternal, the Immortal. Therefore, the proceeding of the human spirits from God is through emanation. When it is said in the Bible that God breathed His spirit into man, this spirit is that which, like the discourse, emanates from the Real Speaker, taking effect in the reality of man.

But the proceeding through manifestation (if by this is meant the divine appearance, and not division into parts), we have said, is the proceeding and the appearance of the Holy Spirit and the Word, which is from God. As it is said in the Gospel of John, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God"; [John 1:1.] then the Holy Spirit and the Word are the appearance of God. The Spirit and the Word mean the divine perfections that appeared in the Reality of Christ, and these perfections were with God; so the sun manifests all its glory in the mirror. For the Word does not signify the body of Christ, no, but the divine perfections manifested in Him. For Christ was like a clear mirror which was facing the Sun of Reality; and the perfections of the Sun of Reality--that is to say, its light and heat--were visible and apparent in this mirror. If we look into the mirror, we see the sun, and we say, "It is the sun." Therefore, the Word and the Holy Spirit, which signify the perfections of God, are the divine appearance. This is the meaning of the verse in the Gospel which says: "The Word was with God, and the Word was God"; [John 1:1.] for the divine perfections are not different from the Essence of Oneness. The perfections of Christ are called the Word because all the beings are in the condition of letters, and one letter has not a complete meaning, while the perfections of Christ have the power of the word because a complete meaning can be inferred from a word. As the Reality of Christ was the manifestation of the divine perfections, therefore, it was like the word. Why? because He is the sum of perfect meanings. This is why He is called the Word.
And know that the proceeding of the Word and the Holy Spirit from God, which is the proceeding and appearance of manifestation, must not be understood to mean that the Reality of Divinity had been divided into parts, or multiplied, or that it had descended from the exaltation of holiness and purity. God forbid! If a pure, fine mirror faces the sun, the light and heat, the form and the image of the sun will be resplendent in it with such manifestation that if a beholder says of the sun, which is brilliant and visible in the mirror, "This is the sun," it is true. Nevertheless, the mirror is the mirror, and the sun is the sun. The One Sun, even if it appears in numerous mirrors, is one. This state is neither abiding nor entering, neither commingling nor descending; for entering, abiding, descending, issuing forth and commingling are the necessities and characteristics of bodies, not of spirits; then how much less do they belong to the sanctified and pure Reality of God. God is exempt from all that is not in accordance with His purity and His exalted and sublime sanctity.

The Sun of Reality, as we have said, has always been in one condition; it has no change, no alteration, no transformation and no vicissitude. It is eternal and everlasting. But the Holy Reality of the Word of God is in the condition of the pure, fine and shining mirror; the heat, the light, the image and likeness--that is to say, the perfections of the Sun of Reality--appear in it. That is why Christ says in the Gospel, "The Father is in the Son"--that is to say, the Sun of Reality appears in the mirror. [Cf. John 14:11; 17:21.] Praise be to the One Who shone upon this Holy Reality, Who is sanctified among the beings!
After the body is put aside and the spirit has obtained freedom, in what way will the rational soul exist? Let us suppose that the souls who are assisted by the bounty of the Holy Spirit attain to true existence and eternal life. But what becomes of the rational souls--that is to say, the veiled spirits? ["Veiled spirits" here signify rational souls, souls not possessing the spirit of faith. Cf. "Soul, Spirit and Mind," p. 208.]

Answer.--Some think that the body is the substance and exists by itself, and that the spirit is accidental and depends upon the substance of the body, although, on the contrary, the rational soul is the substance, and the body depends upon it. If the accident--that is to say, the body--be destroyed, the substance, the spirit, remains.
Second, the rational soul, meaning the human spirit, does not descend into the body--that is to say, it does not enter it, for descent and entrance are characteristics of bodies, and the rational soul is exempt from this. The spirit never entered this body, so in quitting it, it will not be in need of an abiding-place: no, the spirit is connected with the body, as this light is with this mirror. When the mirror is clear and perfect, the light of the lamp will be apparent in it, and when the mirror becomes covered with dust or breaks, the light will disappear.
The rational soul--that is to say, the human spirit-- has neither entered this body nor existed through it; so after the disintegration of the composition of the body, how should it be in need of a substance through which it may exist? On the contrary, the rational soul is the substance through which the body exists. The personality of the rational soul is from its beginning; it is not due to the instrumentality of the body, but the state and the personality of the rational soul may be strengthened in this world; it will make progress and will attain to the degrees of perfection, or it will remain in the lowest abyss of ignorance, veiled and deprived from beholding the signs of God.

Question.--Through what means will the spirit of man--that is to say, the rational soul--after departing from this mortal world, make progress?

Answer.--The progress of man's spirit in the divine world, after the severance of its connection with the body of dust, is through the bounty and grace of the Lord alone, or through the intercession and the sincere prayers of other human souls, or through the charities and important good works which are performed in its name.


Question.--What is the condition of children who die before attaining the age of discretion or before the appointed time of birth?

Answer.--These infants are under the shadow of the favor of God; and as they have not committed any sin and are not soiled with the impurities of the world of nature, they are the centers of the manifestation of bounty, and the Eye of Compassion will be turned upon them.

Some Answered Questions
Part Four -- On the Origin, Powers and Conditions of Man