Prayer is not a petition…
“It is a mystery rather; an occult process by which finite and conditioned thoughts and desires, unable to be assimilated by the absolute spirit which is unconditioned, are translated into spiritual wills and the will; such process being called ‘spiritual transmutation.’ The intensity of our ardent aspirations changes prayer into the ‘PHILOSOPHER’S STONE,’ or that which transmutes lead into pure gold.”
This week we continue section V of “The Key to Theosophy” on page 66 and begin
“IS IT NECESSARY TO PRAY?”
In “THE FUNDAMENTAL TEACHINGS OF THEOSOPHY” – “ ON GOD AND PRAYER”
“…ENQUIRER. Do you believe in prayer, and do you ever pray?
THEOSOPHIST. We do not. We act, instead of talking.
ENQUIRER. You do not offer prayers even to the Absolute Principle?
THEOSOPHIST. Why should we? Being well-occupied people, we can hardly afford to lose time in addressing verbal prayers to a pure abstraction. The Unknowable is capable of relations only in its parts to each other, but is non-existent as regards any finite relations. The visible universe depends for its existence and phenomena on its mutually acting forms and their laws, not on prayer or prayers.
ENQUIRER. Do you not believe at all in the efficacy of prayer?
THEOSOPHIST. Not in prayer taught in so many words and repeated externally, if by prayer you mean the outward petition to an unknown God as the addressee, which was inaugurated by the Jews and popularised by the Pharisees.
ENQUIRER. Is there any other kind of prayer?
THEOSOPHIST. Most decidedly; we call it WILL-PRAYER, and it is rather an internal command than a petition.
ENQUIRER. To whom, then, do you pray when you do so?
THEOSOPHIST. To “our Father in heaven” — in its esoteric meaning.
ENQUIRER. Is that different from the one given to it in theology?
THEOSOPHIST. Entirely so. An Occultist or a Theosophist addresses his prayer to his Father which is in secret (read, and try to understand, ch. vi. v. 6, Matthew), not to an extra-cosmic and therefore finite God; and that “Father” is in man himself.
ENQUIRER. Then you make of man a God?
THEOSOPHIST. Please say “God” and not a God. In our sense, the inner man is the only God we can have cognizance of. And how can this be otherwise? Grant us our postulate that God is a universally diffused, infinite principle, and how can man alone escape from being soaked through by, and in, the Deity? We call our “Father in heaven” that deific essence of which we are cognizant within us, in our heart and spiritual consciousness, and which has nothing to do with the anthropomorphic conception we may form of it in our physical brain or its fancy: “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the spirit of (the absolute) God dwelleth in you?” *
* One often finds in Theosophical writings conflicting statements about the Christos principle in man. Some call it the sixth principle (Buddhi), others the seventh (Atman). If Christian Theosophists wish to make use of such expressions, let them be made philosophically correct by following the analogy of the old Wisdom-religion symbols. We say that Christos is not only one of the three higher principles, but all the three regarded as a Trinity. This Trinity represents the Holy Ghost, the Father, and the Son, as it answers to abstract spirit, differentiated spirit, and embodied spirit. Krishna and Christ are philosophically the same principle under its triple aspect of manifestation. In the Bhagavatgita we find Krishna calling himself indifferently Atman, the abstract Spirit, Kshetragna, the Higher or reincarnating Ego, and the Universal SELF, all names which, when transferred from the Universe to man, answer to Atma, Buddhi and Manas. The Anugita is full of the same doctrine.
Yet, let no man anthropomorphise that essence in us. Let no Theosophist, if he would hold to divine, not human truth, say that this “God in secret” listens to, or is distinct from, either finite man or the infinite essence — for all are one. Nor, as just remarked, that a prayer is a petition. It is a mystery rather; an occult process by which finite and conditioned thoughts and desires, unable to be assimilated by the absolute spirit which is unconditioned, are translated into spiritual wills and the will; such process being called “spiritual transmutation.” The intensity of our ardent aspirations changes prayer into the “philosopher’s stone,” or that which transmutes lead into pure gold. The only homogeneous essence, our “will-prayer” becomes the active or creative force, producing effects according to our desire.”
Next time we continue through Section 5 ~ “IS IT NECESSARY TO PRAY?” in “THE FUNDAMENTAL TEACHINGS OF THEOSOPHY” in “ ON GOD AND PRAYER”.
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