Chapter 4

Pangs of Desire


The pangs of desire form thick clouds of passion which conceal the true path from human eyes. They conceal a pit into which many have fallen.

There are two paths for man to follow: the path of joy, and the path of pleasure. Both these paths attract the soul of man. He who follows the path of pleasure never reaches the end; but he who follows the path of joy reaches life eternal.

There are three common states of man. The first state of man is the waking state that all acknowledge - in acting and interacting with the gross outer elements, the mind flowing outwards to the outer world of the senses.

Within the first state of man there is knowledge and there is wisdom. Knowledge makes itself known in the education of man: in understanding nature; in holy books; in speaking, and writing, and reading, and ritual; in singing, and chanting. Knowledge leads to comfort, success, and fame. Wisdom stems from higher mind. Wisdom leads to the eternal.

Within the first state of man, the waking state that all acknowledge, there are two kinds of mind: the pure, and the impure. The pure mind is that which is free from all desire. The impure mind is that which desires, whatever the object of its desiring. The object may seem pure, or holy; but the desire is impure.

There are many ways of telling sacred truths, and many levels on which they may be understood. What is profane to one may be sacred to another; but both profane and sacred are equally the result of creation, and when both result from desiring, neither is better than the other.

Mind is said to be the master of the man. They are wise who set mind over the senses, above the passions and bodily functions. Mind can lead them to understand the soul, but it can also lead them astray.

Those who believe in the power of mind are wise to set truth and light above lies and darkness. The mind of wisdom is the mind of reason. They are wiser who set the mind of reason above the mind of knowledge.

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If the physical body of man is the coach, the mind of reason is the driver, the mind of knowledge is the reins, the senses are the horses, and sense objects are the road ahead. All this is contained within the soul of man. Spirit in the soul of man is the master of the coach - the noble one who rides in glory.

The man with sure understanding rules his own life with a steady mind, like a good driver with well trained horses. With reason he holds his reins, transports his lord and master in comfort, and reaches the end of his journey with safety.

The man whose mind is unsteady is like a bad driver with wild horses. Lacking wisdom, he careers along an endless road with an empty coach, thundering on from death to death.

There are three common states of man. The second state of man is the dreaming state that most remember; in experiencing the ebb and flow of subtle inner elements, the mind is drawn inwards into the solitude of its own essential light.

As the birds which fly heavenwards roost amongst the leaves and branches of earthly trees, so all that is seen by the inner self in dreams comes to roost amongst the leaves and branches of the tree of heaven, to sleep there unseen.

In dream, the weariest minds are given a glimpse of the world of Spirit, and shown how vast are the fields encompassed by the mind. In dream, that which has been seen and heard and felt before, is seen and heard and felt again. Dreaming, the mind is master of all and encompasses everything. When the mind marvels, amazed at its own greatness, dreams disappear and the body sleeps in peace.

There are three common states of man. The third state of man is the sleeping state of peace that few remember; in enjoying the silence of tranquility such as existed before creation, the mind is set free from dreams and desires, thoughts and fears.

What is the mystery of sleep? As darkness falls, the rays of the setting sun seem as though withdrawn into their orb of fire. When darkness has fallen they burn unseen, and when morning comes they spread out once more over the face of the earth, for all to see.

While the earth sleeps in darkness, the sun illumines unknown fields in lands unseen.

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While the body sleeps the fire of life still burns, like a candle flame set in a window for the wanderer; like an eternal flame kept alight for generations to come. Neither ancestors nor descendants are forgotten while the body sleeps.

What is the mystery of sleep? As darkness falls, the bodily senses seem as though withdrawn into the greater power of the mind. When darkness has fallen they glow unaware, and when morning comes they spread out once more over the sense objects of this world, for all to experience.

It is in the waking state that mind has control. What a man thinks, so he becomes. What a man delights in, so he becomes. What a man hates, so he becomes. This is a mystery of eternity.

Mortal man is all desire. As his desiring is, so is his faith. As his faith is, so are his actions. As his actions are, so he becomes.

The man who lives under the thraldom of desire reaches the end of his earthly journey only to begin again. Life is a never ending circle for the man who lives under the thraldom of desire.

The wise man knows that his lusting, longing, liking and hating have arisen from their own coarse natures - from the material senses. When he recognises this he gives up wanting.

When past wrongdoings are repented and harm is wished to none, the restless pendulum of karma sways softly to a standstill.

As a raindrop again becomes one with the ocean, as a spark again becomes one with the fire into which it falls, as a breath again becomes one with the surrounding air, so the mind of man, shedding its burdens, again becomes one with the universal mind; with infinite consciousness.

The senses run outwards to the world of matter; but the wise man who seeks immortality looks within himself, and finds his own soul. Foolish men chase outward pleasures and find death; but the wise do not seek eternity in those things that pass away.

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The human soul is neither male nor female, nor yet neuter. But when the soul occupies a physical body, it takes the form of that body, and is bound thereby.

The human soul, filled with dreams and desires and the need for sustenance, becomes born and unfolds in a physical body, through life to death. Then it seeks rebirth and unfolds again in new bodies, according to its content.

There are three common states of man. There is also a fourth, uncommon state: the awakened life of pure consciousness, combining the essence of the three. From consciousness itself comes the proof of its own reality, where the mind bears silent witness; neither awake nor asleep, yet all knowing, all loving, above all comparison, unseen and untouched.

From consciousness alone comes the proof of its own reality; consciousness is greater than life itself, and needs no justification.

As the sun and the moon have been appointed to order the life of this planet, so has the lord of life appointed rulers within the body: the soul that dwells within the innermost heart, and the passions that dominate our lives. The rule of the sun and of the soul oversee the path that leads to heaven, and to the sun. The rule of the moon and the passions oversee the path that leads to hell, and to the moon. Without consciousness that governs life, both paths eventually lead back to this world of men.

In life and in nature the body of man lacks pure consciousness. Who has the power to will consciousness to his own body? But there is a place in man where Spirit may enter, unbeknown. Within that place supreme consciousness grows and radiates.

Consciousness should be the goal of all men. Dreamers dream that they have it already; thinkers think that they have it already; boasters boast that they have it already.

When consciousness enters the heart, the feelings of others become our own.

The wise man who sees all life in his own being, and sees his own being in the lives of all others, can never again feel sorrow or fear. This is consciousness.

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When consciousness governs speech, we speak to all men. When consciousness governs breath, we breathe unsuspected perfumes. When consciousness governs sight, we see immaterial forms. When consciousness governs hearing, we hear unuttered words. When consciousness governs thinking, we know the unknowable.

Consciousness of life is greater than life itself. Life is evident in our seeing, in our speaking, in our hearing, in our thinking - yet we can live without these things; we may be blind, or dumb, or deaf, or feeble minded. It is consciousness of life that gives life.

Desire for the world of the senses entraps the soul. The quality and content of the soul determines the quality and life style of its physical body; the nature and circumstance of the physical body determines the fate of the soul. Freedom or bondage are the choice, and dependence on the senses makes for bondage.

Thoughts are the fuel on which the flames of desire feed. Without fuel, the fire is at peace in its own resting place within the elements.

When thoughts are still and bondage shed, the soul finds peace in its own source. When the mind, too, finds peace in its own source, falsehoods and delusions which have distanced it from truth can no longer stand in the way.

Quietness of mind is greater than any battle between good and evil. Tranquility at all levels stills the pendulum of karma. In peace the soul is one, able to feel the joy of eternity.

Sound is a worthy sacrifice. Speech and breath are sound and silence: whilst man is speaking, he cannot take in breath; whilst man is taking in breath, he cannot speak. In waking or in sleeping, the one is constantly being offered in sacrifice to the other. Man can only sacrifice that which is truly his own.

The man who is ruled by his own body can never be free from pleasure and pain. His ruler takes him to death. The man who lives in the joy of Spirit is freed from all bondage; his ruler takes him to eternal life.

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He who is pure in heart wins all. But who is pure in heart? Let him who wishes for success wish first for Spirit.

The Spirit who visits the human heart and rests there in glory is he who sees all and knows all. He becomes one with mind, bringing love, peace and joy to the heart.

The universe of God's creation is a trinity of word, form, and Spirit.

Man's body is a castle with eleven gates; so said the ancients. When Spirit enters and rules this castle, man is freed from bondage of tyrants; freed from sorrows; freed for all time.

When the killer thinks he kills, and when the victim thinks he dies, both are mistaken. The soul of man filled with Spirit cannot kill, and cannot die.

Wise men speak of higher soul, and lower soul - and they speak the truth. Lower soul is the soul of man alone, bound by the gross elements - by good and bad, light and dark; whose content is the inner feeling, and who governs the body and deeds of man. Higher soul is Spirit in the soul of man.

The universe of God's creation is brought to consciousness by the quickening power of Spirit.

Higher soul, whose content is Spirit, is immortal, free from the light and darkness, reward and punishment which influence human thoughts and actions; free from rebirth, pride, desire, and death. Lower soul, whose content is the inner feeling of man, falls often into confusion, finding itself swept helplessly along in the turbid waters of earthly life.

Lacking Spirit, the soul of man that governs body and mind is itself governed by the forces of nature - by the universal powers created by God to govern the lives of minerals, of plants and animals.

Spirit alone has the power to raise the status of soul. By itself, soul is powerless to repudiate alien forces and seek as such as are proper to the lives of men.

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The fabric of man's feeling is woven through and through with threads of error and sin - the result of wrong thoughts, pride, and harmful behaviour. Lower soul of man, with his will, his mind and his heart, is powerless to remove these alien threads. Spirit alone has the cleansing power.

When man entertains thoughts of self, of pride, or of desire, he binds himself wholly to his lower soul, careless of Spirit and ignorant of the will of God. His passage through life is confused and uncertain, wandering blindly along false paths.

Though the sun shines on pleasure and suffering alike, it is untouched and unaffected by earthly passions. So the Spirit, both inside and out, is untouched and unaffected by earthly passions.

Man's body is a castle with eleven gates; so said the ancients. When Spirit dwells in the soul of man, man's body is known as a glorious temple. The mortal body remains under the power of pain and death; but the soul can rise to Supreme Spirit, and find there its glorious body of light.

Soul of man is the consciousness of life, the witness of all actions, and the light of the heart. Soul contains all the contents of man. Spirit entering the soul of man is joined with mortal sin; but when Spirit wills, he cleans the temple and ejects evil.

When the soul is brought to the awareness of Spirit, an inner gate is opened. With silence and with shouts, with joy and with suffering, the alien threads of sin are withdrawn.

Though the pangs of purification be intense, words cannot describe the joy experienced by the soul, when Spirit brings his purifying radiance.

In Spirit there is no caste or creed, worthy or unworthy. The supreme mystery of purification is to be received by all of mankind. It enters the soul of those whose mind is open, whose heart is sincere, and who abandons desire with a feeling of love. The supreme mystery of purification opens a door to admit Spirit.

Men of old shunned worldly goods and family ties in their desire for purification through Spirit. Rising above earthly desires, they followed the lives of pilgrims. "Man's desire for wealth and children is the desire for this world," they said. "And all such desire is vanity."

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By its nature, desire seeks fulfilment. Desire clings to a man and leaves him not, and only he whose desire finds fulfilment is free. Whose desire is in Spirit, Spirit leaves him not.

In truth, Spirit is not to be sought in vanity; neither is Spirit to be sought in seeking; neither is Spirit to be sought in desire; neither is Spirit to be sought in abstinence; neither is Spirit to be sought in a life of wandering.

Spirit is not to be attained by will. Will sets man apart from Spirit. Will sets up an impenetrable shield, hiding the light of Spirit.

That which is above all creation cannot be attained by action. The body of man is created to live on earth, and its achievements will belong to this world alone.

That which is above all creation cannot be attained by thinking. Thought is created to live on earth, and its achievements will belong to this world alone.

That which is above all creation cannot be attained by desiring. The passions are created to live on earth, and their achievements will belong to this world alone.

That which is above all creation cannot be attained by fasting. The austerities are created to live on earth, and their achievements will belong to this world alone.

That which is above all creation cannot be attained by inaction. The idleness of man is created to live on earth, and its achievements will belong to this world alone.

Beyond longing is thinking, and beyond thinking is pure reason. Beyond reason is pure Spirit. When the wise man recognises this he gives up longing.

When the passions of man flow together in Spirit, they create love. Where there is no love, there is no Spirit.

Love is not a choice to be made; love is a state to be attained. Those who attain it are five times blessed.

Love is the food of life, and partaker of the food of life; love is the food that devours the hungry. Who gives love, receives love.

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Love was first-born in creation, existing before the world of men. Love goes where Spirit goes, and Spirit goes everywhere.

Men speak of gods. When a wise man came to the god of love, he was granted a boon.

"What is your choice?" asked the god of love. "I cannot choose," said the wise man. "And I cannot impose," said the god of love. "But to know me is to know God, and that is a boon beyond all measure."

When love enters the heart, lust vanishes.

What in man is greater than the universe? Some say: "Mind can encompass the universe; it is mind." Some say: "Love can encompass the universe; it is love." Some say: "The light of Spirit outshines the brightest star and illumines the highest heaven. It is Spirit."

Spirit, hidden in all things and in all qualities, is the source of self knowledge and self sacrifice. With love, Spirit can lift mankind from the turmoil of birth and death, joy and suffering. Among the passions of man, love is supreme.

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