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April – May 2019 – The Philosophic Life – from the Epilogue to The Hidden Teaching Beyond Yoga

PB asks: “What is the business of philosophy?” He answers: “Genuine philosophy shows a man how to live! …. The fruits of philosophy can be gathered only on this hard earth, not in some remote metaphysical empyrean. It embraces an individual and social labour which must visibly contribute to the welfare of our race and make itself felt in living history, or else it is not true philosophy. It must justify its existence by what it can do, not only by what it can imagine.” (p. 304, HTBY, 2015 paperback edition)

The epilogue points out lessons of philosophy in regard to art, pointing out that “…Art indeed is fuel for the philosophic enterprise…The production of genuine art is nothing less than the practice of genuine yoga…. The artist is on a perfect level with the mystic, only he seeks memorable beauty where the latter seeks memorable peace. For him thought has temporarily become what is felt to be the Real. Both come to acquire a fervent faith in the reality of their mental constructions. Both arrive unconsciously at the truth of mentalism through the same avenue – intense concentrated self-absorption in a single dominating idea or a single series of thoughts. Both are in the end conscious, semiconscious, or unconscious believers in mentalism.” (pp. 311-312)

The Doctrine of Karma is the next sub-heading in the chapter, followed by The Welfare of the World and A Philosophic View of the World Crisis. PB links the three topics together as he points out the significance of the omission of the teaching of Karma from Christian religion and the effect on the culture. Indeed, he points out that “…the omission has robbed the West of a religious belief which, in the turn of history’s wheel, must now be restored to the modern world for the scientific truth it really is. It is the duty of those who rule nations, guide thought, influence education, and lead religion to make this restoration. Truth demands it in any case, but the safety and survival of Western civilization imperiously demand it still more. When men learn they cannot escape the consequences of what they are and what they do, they will be more careful in conduct and more cautious in thinking. When they comprehend that hatred is a sharp boomerang which not only hurts the hated but also the hater, they will hesitate twice and thrice before yielding to this worst of all human sins.” (p. 322) PB has a great deal to say about Karma in this book and in many of his writings. It is such an important teaching that the topic of the next eteaching will be devoted to What is Karma?, the paperback published by Larson Publications, and other writings on Karma.

“The Welfare of the World” cites Einstein’s Theory of Relativity as a philosophical implication in that “no single thing in the whole universe stands isolated from anything else, no single thing exists in its own right. A web of interrelatedness stretches right across the world. Even the interdependence of modern society with its economic, political, and social reactions from one corner of the world to another—is alone enough to hint at this.” (p. 323-4) PB hastens to point out that the doctrine of non-violence is not meant for all men. “The Buddha meant it for monks and those ascetics who renounce the worldly life with its responsibilities. Like all true sages the Buddha recognized that there was no universal code of morality and that there were gradations in duty, stages in ethics.” (p. 325) The Buddha pointed out that “explaining and spreading the truth is above all charities.” (p. 327)

In “Philosophic View of the World Crisis,” PB writes: “The modern epoch was the most delightful and withal the most miserable of any. It was sired by Mammon, mothered by the misunderstanding of life’s end, and cradled in a comfortable automobile…. It sinks in a dismal decrepitude of ideals.” (p. 328) He points out that “…We can keep calmer and saner amid the terrors of our time if we keep to the truth of mentalism, if we regard these terrors as experiences whose stuff is ultimately as mental as the stuff of dreams.” (p.330) PB points out 4 wise lessons to be learned from the past: 1 ) We are at the end of a cycle when karma is closing all national accounts, 2)Develop the art of reconciling the forces of stability and change, 3) Learn wisdom from all experiences, from pain as well as pleasure, from cruelty as from kindness, and learn to express in the arena of everyday life just what we have learnt, and 4) Intelligence adequately sharpened, courageously accepted, and selflessly applied, is always the dominant factor in the end. (pp. 330-334)

“The philosopher is he who has come to the understanding of himself, while his philosophy is his ordinary experience of the world come to the understanding of itself.” (p.335) We urge the reader to peruse the final two pages of this epilogue to absorb PB’s inspirational comments on the quality of timelessness.