Paul Brunton Philosophic Foundation homepage > Notebooks of Paul Brunton > Category 20 : What Is Philosophy? > Chapter 1 : Toward Defining Philosophy

Toward Defining Philosophy

The old Oriental idea is to be lost in the Infinite. The new Occidental ideal is to be in tune with the Infinite.

Neither the psychoanalyst nor even the religionist seeks that full purification and total transformation of the human being which philosophy alone seeks and alone achieves. All other paths--including the mystical ones--seek to effect a particular purpose or a partial one: only this is informed enough and willing enough to fulfil the complete purpose for which man has been put on earth by the World-Mind and surrender absolutely to it. If the philosopher has any desire at all, it is to know, understand, and co-operate with the infinitely intelligent and perfectly efficient World-Idea.

It is a transcendental idea that the mind gets hold of and knows. It is a gathering of clear supra-mental perceptions. It is the higher reason, the discriminating understanding. It penetrates the whole being and remains. Thus it becomes naturalized and continues the natural consciousness of the man.

It is not only a right intellectual attitude towards life. It is also an exalted emotional experience of life. Nor is it only an occasional attitude and an intermittent experience. It is sustained through the day and throughout the year.

Philosophy is an explanation of life and a distillation of its highest knowledge. Consequently it includes metaphysics. But it is not identical with metaphysics, being far greater.

The complaint has been made not seldom that the Indian version of this quest is too largely a process of dehumanization. I must leave it to the public propagandists of Indian teachings to give their own defense in this matter. But the philosophic attitude seeks a balanced wisdom, a removal of negative, ignoble, sensualist, narrow-minded, unpractical, and fanatical traits from character and action. Beyond that it welcomes the fine flowering of human culture, the refinement of human living, and the enchantment of human quality.

There are two sets of critics who match themselves against philosophy. There are the hard materialists, on the one hand, and the imperfect mystics, on the other. The first are guided by reason but limited to sense-experience; the second are guided by intuition but limited to meditation-experience. Both are incomplete. Both are opposed to each other as well as to philosophy, which understands, appreciates, and accepts both as expressing necessary but partial views which should be included in a fuller and more integral view.

Philosophy overcomes the mystic's fear of worldly life and the worldling's fear of mystical life by bringing them together and reconciling their demands under the transforming light of a new synthesis.

Ours is a complete synthesis of mysticism, metaphysics, science, religion, ethics, and action. It offers a higher and wider objective than the earlier yogas.

Because its concepts are not merely the productions of a mechanical logic but the inspirations of a living soul, they are powerfully creative, dynamically stimulative. In philosophy, art consummates itself.

There is nothing spectacular in philosophy. Reasoned thought pitched at the highest level and directed inwards upon itself is one of its chief features.

Yoga is primarily the method and result of meditation. Philosophy accepts and uses this method and incorporates its results. But it does not stop there. It adds two further practices, metaphysical reasoning and wise action, and one further effort--the mystical insight into, and distinction of, the ego. Therefore we are justified in saying that the hidden teaching does go beyond yoga.

The battle to secure mental stillness must first be fought and won before the battle of the ego can be brought to an end. For it is only in that deep state wherein all other thoughts are put to rest that the single thought of "I" as ego can be isolated, faced, fought until its strength is pitilessly squeezed out and destroyed at last. The attainment of this inner stillness is yoga; this conquest of the ego in it and after it is philosophy.

Philosophy is not satisfied with a merely intellectual reflection of the truth, as in a mirror, but seeks direct vision of the truth.

Its evaluation of mankind is neither materialistically contemptuous nor mystically rosy. It sees the bright permanent essence along with the dark passing form.

Philosophy offers a manner of living which is a natural part of, and outgrowth from, its cosmically derived principles.

The practice of philosophy is an essential part of it and consists not only in applying its principles and its wisdom to everyday active living, but also in realizing the divine presence deep, deep within the heart where it abides in tremendous stillness.

People sometimes ask me to what religion I belong or to what school of yoga I adhere. If I answer them, which is not often, I tell them: "To none and to all!" If such a paradox annoys them, I try to soften their wrath by adding that I am a student of philosophy. During my journeys to the heavenly realm of infinite eternal and absolute existence, I did not once discover any labels marked Christian, Hindu, Catholic, Protestant, Zen, Shin, Platonist, Hegelian, and so on, any more than I discovered labels marked Englishman, American, or Hottentot. All such ascriptions would contradict the very nature of the ascriptionless existence. All sectarian differences are merely intellectual ones. They have no place in that level which is deeper than intellectual function. They divide men into hostile groups only because they are pseudo-spiritual. He who has tasted of the pure Spirit's own freedom will be unwilling to submit himself to the restrictions of cult and creed. Therefore I could not conscientiously affix a label to my own outlook or to the teaching about this existence which I have embraced. In my secret heart I separate myself from nobody, just as this teaching itself excludes no other in its perfect comprehension. Because I had to call it by some name as soon as I began to write about it, I called it philosophy because this is too wide and too general a name to become the property of any single sect. In doing so I merely returned to its ancient and noble meaning among the Greeks who, in the Eleusinian Mysteries, designated the spiritual truth learnt at initiation into them as "philosophy" and the initiate himself as "philosopher" or lover of wisdom.

Now genuine wisdom, being in its highest phase the fruit of a transcendental insight, is sublimely dateless and unchangeable. Yet its mode of expression is necessarily dated and may therefore change. Perhaps this pioneering attempt to fill the term "philosophy" with a content which combines ancient tradition with modern innovation will help the few who are sick of intellectual intolerances that masquerade as spiritual insight. Perhaps it may free such broader souls from the need of adopting a separative standpoint with all the frictions, prejudices, egotisms, and hatreds which go with it, and afford them an intellectual basis for practising a profound compassion for all alike. It is as natural for those reared on limited conceptions of life to limit their faith and loyalty to a particular group or a particular area of this planet as it is natural for those reared on philosophic truth to widen their vision and service into world-comprehension and world-fellowship. The philosopher's larger and nobler vision refuses to establish a separate group consciousness for himself and for those who think as he does. Hence he refuses to establish a new cult, a new association, or a new label. To him the oneness of mankind is a fact and not a fable. He is always conscious of the fact that he is a citizen of the world-community. While acknowledging the place and need of lesser loyalties for unphilosophical persons, he cannot outrage truth by confining his own self solely to such loyalties.

Why this eagerness to separate ourselves from the rest of mankind and collect into a sect, to wear a new label that proclaims difference and division? The more we believe in the oneness of life, the less we ought to herd ourselves behind barriers. To add a new cult to the existing list is to multiply the causes of human division and thence of human strife. Let those of us who can do so be done with this seeking of ever-new disunity, this fostering of ever-fresh prejudices, and let those who cannot do so keep it at least as an ideal--however remote and however far-off its attainment may seem--for after all it is ultimate direction and not immediate position that matters most. The democratic abolishment of class status and exclusive groups, which will be a distinctive feature of the coming age, should also show itself in the circles of mystical and philosophic students. If they have any superiority over others, let them display it by a superiority of conduct grounded in a diviner consciousness. Nevertheless, with all the best will in the world to refrain from starting a new group, the distinctive character of their conduct and the unique character of their outlook will, of themselves, mark out the followers of such teaching. Therefore whatever metaphysical unity with others may be perceived and whatever inward willingness to identify interests with them may be felt, some kind of practical indication of its goal and outward particularization of its path will necessarily and inescapably arise of their own accord. And I do not know of any better or broader name with which to mark those who pursue this quest than to say that they are students of philosophy.

We may generally distinguish three different views of the world. The first is that which comes easily and naturally and it depends on five-sense experience alone. It may be called materialism, and may take various shapes. The second is religious in its elementary state, depending on faith, and mystical in its higher stage, depending on intuition and transcendental experience. The third is scientific in its elementary state, depending on concrete reason, and metaphysical in its higher state, depending on abstract reason. Although these are the views generally held amongst men, they do not exhaust the possibilities of human intelligence. There is a fourth possible view which declares that none of the others can stand alone and that if we cling to any one of them alone to the detriment of the others we merely limit the truth. This view is the philosophic. It declares that truth may be arrived at by combining all the other views which yield only partial truths into the balanced unity of whole truth, and unfolding the faculty of insight which penetrates into hidden reality.

The worth of religion's contribution toward human life is admitted. The transcendent character of mysticism's goal is admired. The offering of metaphysics is respected. The necessity of disinterested practical service is accepted. The attitude which is attracted by one and repelled by the other is defective and incomplete. The coming age will require their synthesis. But these things, however good, are not enough. For there is need of adding to them another and still farther milestone on mankind's great march. And this is philosophy--that which harmoniously brings all these together and then transcends them.

Science suppresses the subject of experience and studies the object. Mysticism suppresses the object of experience and studies the subject. Philosophy suppresses nothing, studies both subject and object; indeed it embraces the study of all experience.

It is perhaps the amplitude and symmetry of the philosophic approach which make it so completely satisfying. For this is the only approach which honours reason and appreciates beauty, cultivates intuition and respects mystical experience, fosters reverence and teaches true prayer, enjoins action and promotes morality. It is the spiritual life fully grown.

The esoteric meaning of the star is "Philosophic Man," that is, one who has travelled the complete fivefold path and brought its results into proper balance. This path consists of religious veneration, mystical meditation, rational reflection, moral re-education, and altruistic service. The esoteric meaning of the circle, when situated within the very centre of the star, is the Divine Overself-atom within the human heart.

Philosophy refuses to compromise with truth; hence it refuses to place itself at the point of view which attempts to comprehend the Infinite with finite equipment.

The basis of philosophic living is simply this: the higher self feels nothing but the good, the true, and the beautiful; we are its projections and are to become its reflections. Why then should we not, here and now, discipline ourselves until we also feel only the same?

Philosophy is not a matter of theory alone. It is also a matter of conduct. It imposes responsibilities on the conscience and restraints on the will.

It accepts and endorses the modern method, that is, the inductive method as applied to facts which are universally verifiable, the way of cautious approach, the insistence on a habit of calm examination, the passion for clear truth and ascertained fact rather than mere opinion and personal emotionalism: in short, a scrupulously honest rigorous outlook and an impersonal attitude of mind more than anything else.

To separate the essential truth from its accidental overlay, the permanent fact from the personal dream, the full insight from its temperamental colouring--this is one task of philosophy.

The purpose of philosophy is to expel illusion from the mind and correct error. Truth will then appear of itself.

On Spinoza's Doctrine

(a) Spinoza taught that God was the whole of things in the universe. This brought him into the category of Pantheist. Philosophy says this is true, but only part of the truth. For God is not only immanent in the universe but also transcends it. God still would be God even if there were no universe.

(b) He declared that the unknown reality was Substance. Philosophy says this is only an attribute of Reality and as such still not the ultimate itself, no more than the quality of fragrance is the flower itself.

(c) He believed in Causality as science did in the nineteenth century, and as all must do who do not comprehend the final truth that Reality is nondual, and hence leaves no room for the duality of a cause and an effect.

(d) Spinoza's pantheism made him declare that everything is God. This is the theological outlook. The philosophical one declares that everything is a manifestation of One Infinite Reality. For if the ego also is God, then who is God?

(e) Spinoza's teaching that God has two attributes, Mind and Matter, that reality has two aspects, mind and body, made him a dualist. Philosophy knows only one reality--Mind. It admits causality only for the immediate and practical purposes of the illusory world.

(f) His teaching on how to live so as to fulfil the proper purpose of life is identical with philosophy's teaching. He saw that man so far must become wholly free inwardly and as free as possible outwardly. This is to be achieved by self-mastery, by overcoming desires, subjugating passions, and simplifying existence. This brings true happiness.

Philosophy is not only a body of doctrines to be believed because they cannot be found except by higher revelation, but also a way of life to be practised and a discipline of thought to be followed.

It is a grave error to regard philosophy as being identical with metaphysics. It is quite true that every philosopher is also a metaphysician but he is not a metaphysician only. He is also a mystic, a religionist, an activist.

It is the essential office of philosophy to declare the supreme worth of truth.

It is a doctrine inspired by divinity, founded on truth, and applied to life.

Every man has his own abstract view of his relation to the universe. In most cases it is either an unconscious or half-conscious one. But still it is there. To the extent that he seeks to make it a fully conscious and completely true one, he becomes a philosopher.

It is significant that in Sanskrit the term which stands for philosophy is also given the meaning of "insight." Hence an Indian philosopher was someone who not merely knew about things, like a metaphysician or scientist, but who had an insight into them.

It is the method of philosophy to direct each student, to show him the way, but at the same time to warn him that no one can travel the way for him.

Here is realism of an uncommon kind, for it mingles the spiritual and material, the ultimate and material realities.

The philosophy of truth is universal in outlook, all-comprehensive in scope. Consequently it makes no claim to displace any religion or to supersede any mystical or metaphysical system.

Philosophy interprets, after due reflection, the whole of the data supplied by the sciences. It generalizes and synthesizes the results of scientific observation and experiment.

It is not only a metaphysical doctrine to satisfy the reason in its acutest questionings; it is also a religious power to sustain the ego in its darkest hours.

Philosophy is the higher culture of life. To be philosophic is to live more fully.

Philosophy is at one and the same time a doctrine, a practice, and a realization.

Philosophy sets out to decipher the meaning of life. But it asks first if there be a meaning. It does not dogmatize, does not start with initial assumptions.

Philosophy is not a set of doctrines so much as an attitude of mind.

Here is a teaching which the intellect may accept and the conscience may approve. Here are complex ideas which will need time for the modern man to work them out in his own way; here are germinal conceptions whose full significances may at first remain unrecognized, but will disclose themselves as gradually as trees disclose themselves out of seeds.

The philosophic conception of spirituality is not of a state to be reached in the world beyond death or in an Oriental ashram or Occidental cloister beyond active life, but of a state to be reached here and now and within.

We call ourselves students of philosophy because we cannot take any name derived from a human teacher. We are not followers of this man or that man exclusively, but of the inner light.

It is the first operation of philosophic training to instill doubt, to free the mind of all those numerous suggestions and distortions imposed on it by others since childhood and maintained by its own slavish acceptance, total unawareness, or natural incapacity.

It is comprehensive enough to suit the modern taste, especially the modern Western taste which, while appreciating the simplicity and purity of a life like the best Indian yogi's--its freedom from desires and its indifference to possessions--nevertheless feels that it cannot and should not deny its own inclinations toward a fuller, more comfortable, and more artistic external life. Such a complete ideal, uniting the seeming opposites of contemplation and activity and combining apparently incongruous items like self-discipline and susceptibility to beauty, is more attractive and better justified to us. Without undue asceticism and without undue abnegation of the world, it yet inculcates the following of virtue and the pursuit of wisdom not less ardently than does the Indian ideal.

It is so all-comprehensive that it can be taken as far from the realities of ordinary living as the human mind can soar or brought as close to them as the human heart may desire.

Philosophy adjusts its spiritual help to suit the needs of those it seeks to help. It is religious with the religious believers, metaphysical with the metaphysical-minded, mystical with the mystically experienced, practical with the active. But with those who can appreciate its own breadth and integrality, it is all these things and more at one and the same time.

It is a life that is moral and rational, contemplative and active, in the truest and consequently the least conventional sense of these terms.

It is a knowledge achieved first in the state of contemplation and then confirmed by the process of reasoning, or vice versa. Thus the result is the same.

Certain truths are immovably fundamental to all worthy systems of mysticism and tremendously important to all mankind: there exists a supreme reality beyond the awareness of sense or intellect; there exists a soul in man which is rooted in this reality; the higher purpose of human life is to establish full consciousness of and communion with this soul; a good life increases happinesses and attracts rewards, but wrong-doing increases misery and attracts retribution.

Philosophy never ceases to affirm that the soul exists and that human consciousness can be raised to embrace it.

This--the recognition of the Soul's factuality--is the only doctrine to which every man may commit himself, whatever his other beliefs.

Here is no new cult seeking followers, no new church pleading for members. Philosophy is the wisdom of Life itself. Whether people study it now or neglect it will not affect its eventual destiny.

Philosophy affirms, not on the basis of theoretical speculation but on that of direct experience, that every human being has a divine soul from which it draws life, consciousness, and intelligence.

The teaching is comprised of three parts: (a) the truth-principles, (b) the meditation methods, (c) the mystical experiences.

Genuine philosophy is a living force actively at work in molding the character and modifying the destiny of its votaries.

Here in philosophy he will find thought become mature, mysticism become lucid and sane, everything in his life put into balance and proportion. Here all that is bizarre and eccentric, unrealistic and exaggerated has no footing.

Philosophy is Greek in that it rejects extremes and seeks a balance of all man's parts, but Indian in that it venerates the transcendental.

The Greek quest for an ideal which combined balance with serenity is itself combined in philosophy with the quest for truth and reality.

The philosophic ideal is not merely an intellectual one, but also a mystical one, not merely practical, but also emotional. It develops harmonies and balances all these different qualities.

In affirming the reality and supremacy of Mind, philosophy lays down both its first and its last principle.

This is philosophy which opens the way to bigger thoughts, wider minds, and finer ideals; which makes the quest for truth an inner adventure and a religious duty; and which finally points to a supernal divine stillness as the place where the revelation must be made.

To observe physical things or events with scientific accuracy yet think about them on a deeper metaphysical level, to feel in a human way yet without falling victim to the obscuration and distortion of human passion and emotion, to benefit by only the best in art and culture, to withdraw from thoughts into the still transcendental intuition of being itself, and finally to put into one's life in the everyday world the calm balanced result.

Why is philosophy the love of wisdom? Because as such it leads to a quest for what is Timeless, the Universal, the True, the Real, the Enduring Peace-Bestowing Satisfaction: that is, the Absolute which alone is free from all relativities.

The notion that a man requires no special schooling in philosophy is a nonsensical and superficial one. For philosophy tries to do in complete consciousness and in complete thoroughness what the unphilosophical are always doing in an unsystematic casual and unconscious way. It seeks to impart a proper understanding of the meaning of the world so that those who have to live in this world may live aright, successfully, and more happily.

The Buddhist looks forward mainly to the cessation of suffering, the Vedantin mainly to the attainment of bliss. The philosopher looks to both.

Metaphysical curiosity is not enough for philosophy. It needs to know, not merely to speculate. It also needs the holy uplifts of real religion.

Philosophy has its discipline as well as its holiness, its metaphysical abstractions as well as its practical sages. By its very definition it cannot be one-sided and lack balance. Its reactions are emotional as well as intellectual but both exist in equilibrium and harmony. It is not only a way of thinking but also of living.

Philosophy does not affirm its facts arbitrarily or dogmatically. They are put forward, as they are found by the human mind when at last its development is capable of comprehending the subtlest of all truths, in orderly, rigorous, logical form.

Our doctrine provides a scientific case for ethics, for compassion, for service.

Philosophy is scientific in that it must deal with facts, not with pious hopes or idle theories.

Philosophy usually prefers a balanced position between extreme conventional views. But it prefers its own unconventional view to the others most of all.

The popular view merely looks at life; the philosophic view looks into life.

The central point of our program rests, however, on the firm foundation of the ultimate wisdom--hitherto kept in a hidden school for the privileged few but now to be made available for all whose ethical outlook and mental capacity can grasp it.

Philosophy does not deal in unverified assertions or mere opinions. If it accepts revelations as part of its teaching, it does so only because the revealers have proven themselves to be utterly reliable, only because they have gone through the most strenuous mental emotional and moral discipline. Much of its teaching, however, may be put to the test of evidence and reasoning, and this test is not only welcomed but required.

More than a thousand years ago, Theon of Smyrna wrote: "It may be said that philosophy is the initiation into and tradition of real and true Mysteries." And he mentioned that this initiation begins with purification but ends with felicity.

Here in philosophy man's noblest aspirations receive their highest fulfilment. Here his searching after truth achieves satisfying finality.

Philosophy is at one and the same time a religious cult, a metaphysical system, a mystical technique, a moral discipline, and a practical guide.

Philosophy puts in definite form ideas which meet the subconscious need of some and sets down clearly ideals which express the fine but vague aspirations of others.

This is the gospel of inspired action, of dynamic philosophy, of rational religion, of balanced mysticism.

Philosophy not only gives its votaries a doctrine to study but also a method of worship, not only a way of life but also a technique of meditation.

Note the similarity to Jesus' "Seek ye first the kingdom of heaven and all these things shall be added" in The Wisdom of Solomon: "I preferred Wisdom before sceptres and thrones, and esteemed riches nothing in comparison with her . . . All good things together came to me with her, and innumerable riches in her hands. . . . she was the mother of them. If riches be a possession to be desired in this life, what is richer than wisdom that worketh all things?" The quest of philosophic wisdom is also the quest of the kingdom of heaven.

The teaching which philosophy offers deals with matters of permanent rather than topical interest. The counsel which philosophy gives deals with the general course of human life rather than with particular personal vicissitudes.

Philosophy is both a tradition of knowledge and an achievement in experience.

It prefers individual advancement to the illusion of gregarious advancement. It sees the home as not less holy than the ashram.

What is the ultimate explanation of this universe wherein we dwell? What are the final concepts of its meaning which transcend all previous concepts and render them imperfect? It is the business of a philosopher to find out these things.

Even after a man's religious faith has fallen to pieces and he stands for a while in doubt and confusion, there will inevitably arise within him the need of finding a fresh intelligible picture of the universe, for he cannot rest satisfied with a merely negative attitude toward life. And he will have to construct it out of the findings of scientific materialism, if nothing better comes to his hand. This mind will necessarily try to make sense of the universe and to harmonize its seeming contradictions into a logical unity.

It is not quite the same to go in search of a faith to believe in as to go in search of a truth to understand. Philosophy, however, unites the two endeavours.

Philosophy rests upon the basis of intuitive perception and mystical insight.

The philosophic view is not only attractive to reason and appealing to emotion, it is also fortifying to conscience. It provides indeed the best dynamic for a nobler life.

It is to be judged not only as a metaphysical system but also as a moral influence.

Just because philosophy's statements are so definite, this should not be misconstrued as being dogmatic.

We are not constructing a closed and rigid system of philosophy but rather revealing an attitude of mind which can lead to truth.

Contrary to conventional beliefs, philosophy does no harm to whatever is worth retaining. It makes religion truly religious, rationalism more rational, and mysticism soundly mystical. It takes away their follies, true, but it leaves their facts untouched.

Dharma = moral living.

Galen, the celebrated Greek physician and thinker, saw this point. Although not a Christian himself, he praised the early Christians of his time (second century) because, "Day and night they strive that their deeds may be commendable and that they may contribute to the welfare of humanity; therefore each one of them is virtually a philosopher, for these people have attained unto that which is the essence and purport of philosophy . . . even though they may be illiterate."

Because philosophy provides a view of life's landscape from the mountaintop, it provides the truest fullest view.

It is not concerned with theories that might be, but with things that incontestably are.

Against the barrenness of materialistic denial, it offers the urgently needed values and explains the practices of meditation, intuition, and aspiration.

Philosophy is the quest grown up, equipped with maturity and judgement and balance.

It cannot be easily classified for it is at once a doctrine requiring some faith, a teaching needing some study, a morality for obedience, and a technique for practice.

It is a doctrine which is alive with ethical feeling, rich with metaphysical truth, rare in its freedom from religious and racial prejudice, the solvent of many problems.

Calmness and balance are the most admired virtues in the philosophic code. The first is developed to the extent of becoming superb self-composure, the second until it integrates utter opposites.

Plato wrote that philosophy is a kind of death. He meant that the desires and interests, the matters and activities of the outer world must be surrendered in a certain way and at certain times. This is to be done invisibly and secretly in the deepest part of the soul. It is there to become an abiding condition, a permanent attitude, a total withdrawal from what a man normally lives for: thus he dies to the world. It is also to be done differently at specially reserved times by the process of extremely deep meditation. Consciousness is reversed from things and thoughts to its own pure Self.

Others besides Plato have compared philosophy to the art of dying while yet still living. In Buddha's case it meant dying to all desires which sought satisfaction in the outer world, renouncing that world in order to enter the monastic world of monks and nuns. In the philosopher's case this is not a necessary outcome, although it was a perfectly logical conclusion for the Buddha to make. The philosopher seeks to free himself as much as possible from worldly chains, but the essence of his achievement is more positive than merely leaving the worldly life.

Such a teaching has been called pessimistic. We answer: how can it be so when it teaches the way to the ending of all sorrow, the way to the achievement of all serenity? Where is the pessimism in denouncing the baser joys for the sake of receiving the better ones? The teaching would be pessimistic if it saw no hope at all for humanity and if it denied the worth of all satisfaction, but, on the contrary, it offers an immeasurable hope and shows the way to transmute lower into higher satisfactions.

It is the philosopher's desire to think authentically, to push aside prejudice and bias in order to get at the solid facts.

Will philosophy ever become, like religion, a social force? The answer is that it is already a social force since everybody has some kind of outlook upon life, however primitive it be--it is only that his philosophy is unconscious. We who study it, deliberately, try consciously to become philosophers.

Philosophy cannot be limited to being some metaphysical system, or an ethical code, or a kind of logical enquiry, or somebody's opinions about this and that: it must give a whole overview, a fruit of enlightenment.

If this teaching is less dramatic than others, it is also safer. If results take longer to appear, they are also certain and lasting.

The advantages of pursuing the path of Gnana Yoga, of an enquiry into Self, are manifold. It starts from the standpoint to which we are accustomed, by taking self as we find it. It does not start from some divine Brahman whose existence is initially known to but one man in millions (since it is to be apprehended only in Samadhi). The enquiry into Self, moreover, accepts this world as real, and does not ask us to go against every attribute of common sense. It permits our minds to work along their natural lines of thinking. It follows the method most suitable to our Western scientific minds--that is, it works from the known to the unknown.

It is a study which imparts gratifying significance to the universe and consoling harmony to its phenomena. It is a study which restores religious faith because it demonstrates that the forces behind our human existence are not blind and unconscious but intelligent and benign.

Philosophy constitutes the supreme keystone of all man's evolutionary building. The way to it is the predestined path to which he must ultimately come when he has exhausted all other cultural roads, all personal hopes, all worldly guides. It is the acme of his higher culture and the last lap of his ethical ascension. Its statuesque intellectual grandeur is akin to that of Himalaya. And as that mighty range mingles hard brown granite with soft white snow, so does this unique system mingle hard rational thinking with sensitive mystical meditation.

These ideas do not stand alone--not that it really matters even if they did, provided they are true ideas. But we can bring to them the support of high-grade minds, perceptive metaphysicians, fine poets, contemplative mystics who lived in the beatitude of divine union, and even a few top-ranking nuclear physicists and Astronomers-Royal.

It begins with the statement that the men of today are not completed beings.

The world has yet to discover that the teaching of this philosophy is the most brilliant of all intellectual systems, the most religious of all religious paths, the most mystical of all mystical techniques.

Philosophy can smilingly await its hour, for all roads lead to it, none away from it. Life is a mystery. Mystery provokes inquiry. Inquiry leads eventually to discovery. Discovery, by stimulating thought upon itself and by evoking intuition about itself, can end only in philosophy.

The teaching is thus both an inheritance from the past and a precursor of the future.

On the term `philosophy'

If you ask what is philosophy, the answer must begin with what it is not. It is not about guesses and speculations, not about beliefs produced by human wishes nor superstitions produced by human traditions.

Anyone may become a college professor of philosophy without becoming a mystic, but to become a philosopher he must also become a mystic.

The academic teaching of philosophy is a necessary part of educational effort but it is mainly metaphysical and logical, an intellectual effort without soul, without intuitive feeling, and a collection of varying human opinions, speculations, and theories. To become fully worthy of its title it must remake men, awaken their higher possibilities, show also the need and practice of non-thought.

It may be asked why I insist on using the word "philosophy" as a self-sufficient name without prefixing it by some descriptive term or person's name when it has held different meanings in different centuries, or been associated with different points of view ranging from the most materialistic to the most spiritualist. The question is well asked, although the answer may not be quite satisfactory. I do so because I want to restore this word to its ancient dignity. I want it used for the highest kind of insight into the Truth of things, which means into the Truth of the unique Reality. I want the philosopher to be equated with the sage, the man who not only knows this Truth, has this insight, and experiences this Reality in meditation, but also, although in a modified form, in action amid the world's turmoil.

Viewed from the standpoint of the house in which we all have to live--that is, the body--Advaita Vedanta seems to deal only in ultimate abstractions--however admirable and lofty its outlook. The body is there and its actuality and factuality must be noted and, more, accepted. This is why I do not give any other label to the ideas put into my later books than the generic name philosophy. I do not call it Indian philosophy since there are ideas in the books which do not belong to India at all. I do not identify it with any particular land, race, religion, or teacher from the ancient past or the modern present. Philosophy cannot be limited only to abstract ideas. It includes those ideas but it also includes other things. Its original Greek meaning, "love of wisdom," concerns the whole of man, and not only his abstract thoughts, intellect, feelings, body, or relation to the world around him. It concerns his entire life: his contacts with other people, the morality which guides him in dealing with them, and finally his attitude towards himself. Philosophy must be universal in its scope; therefore, it may embrace ideas which originate not only in India or in America or in Europe, but in every other country and in every other period of civilization. Not all ideas are philosophical, but only those which are true, useful, in harmony with the World-Idea, and able to survive the test of practice and applicability.

There is a kind of understanding combined with feeling which is not a common one here in the West, indeed uncommon enough to seem more discoverable and less puzzling in the Asiatic regions. It is puzzling for four reasons. One is that it cannot be attributed to the intellect alone, nor to the emotional nature alone. Another is that it provides an experience so difficult to describe that it is preferable not to discuss it at all. A third is that although the most reverent it is not allied to religion. A fourth point is that it is outside any precise labelling as for instance a metaphysics or cult which could really belong to it. Yet it is neither anything new or old. It is nameless. But because there is only one way to deal with it honestly--the way of utter silence, speechless when in contact with other humans, perfectly still when in the secrecy of a closed room--we may renew the Pythagorean appellation of "philosophy" for it is truly the love of wisdom-knowledge.

I regret to state that most academic people mistake the history of philosophy for the study of philosophy.

The term philosophy we reserve for the philosophy of truth, which is the harmonious and balanced union of all these elements in their perfected state. We shall not here use this term for the academic wordplay, the sterile jugglery of technical terms, the toying with unreal and distant issues which so often passes for philosophy. This integrality is more in accord with the ancient and essential meaning of the word, derived as it is from the Greek sophia (wisdom or ultimate knowledge) and philos (love).

I have avoided the risk of starting a new movement or founding a new church only by taking the risk of causing confusion among those belonging to the old movements, the old churches. For by my giving so broad a name as "philosophy" to this teaching, a name to which they are already accustomed and with which they are already familiar, they will take it to be a harmless barren intellectual playing with ideas remote from us in history time relevance and usefulness. They will fear no rivalry from it and will mostly ignore it and thus leave others, who can appreciate its timeliness, to work at it in peace.

Philosophy cannot be taught by lectures alone: life in the larger sense is also its classroom. Its best teachers come without prepared notes, without programmed courses, but with the catalytic power to inspire ideas and deeds.

Do not confuse the quibbling over phrases and the hair-splitting over words with philosophy. It is nothing of the sort. Their concern with non-problems is entirely outside its own province.

The simple name "philosophy" is an old one and it is enough for this teaching. Mentalism is its metaphysical branch, mental quiet is its mystical practice, and the Overself is the ultimate Consciousness of man.

The appalling modern misuse of this ancient term, calling anybody's whim, opinion, speculation, guess, or fancy his "philosophy," is reprehensible.

I insisted on giving the word "philosophy" its original Greek meaning even though it has been manhandled by this time to mean all sorts of different things from science to religion to opinion.

There are questions which people often ask: Is philosophy socially desirable? Has it any practical usefulness? How will it help me? Where is the time for it, anyway? Such questions would not be asked if the definition of philosophy had been understood, for they betray the questioner's confusion of it with metaphysics.

We do not narrow the meaning of this expressive term down to the merely academic and theoretical. We cling to its ancient significance and declare that there is no other study whose rewards are so great as those of philosophy. But it is to be studied not only from ponderous books, but also from pulsating experience.

If the name "Philosophy" has been wrongly attached to the productions of merely intellectual guesswork, we have every right to restore it to its proper use.

It was implicit in the word itself, and well understood by the Greeks who used it, that the term "philosophy" referred not to worldly wisdom--in the sense that the Jesuit Baltasar Gracian used it--but to divine wisdom.

If some part of what is here comprised under the term "philosophy" is also discussed in the academic institutions, so much the better for them, but it is certainly not the most important part. Nor is the general attitude, the spirit behind it all, the same. Logic and linguistics have their place, but making use of them merely to get lost in words, in empty abstractions and futile hunts for non-existent meanings, is pseudo-serious delusion.

Philosophy's transcendental ``position''

Philosophy does not set out to please people but to guide them; not to be commercially successful but to be ethically successful; not to dispense with truth for the sake of holding followers but to dispense with followers for the sake of holding truth.

Philosophy occupies an unassailable position, which can endure and survive all the intellectual emotional and practical changes likely to happen in a man's life.

The philosophy of cosmic existence, of which human existence is merely a part, cannot change with, or depend on, changing human opinions. It is and must be eternal, the same with ancient peoples as with those yet to be born, independent of individuals who come and go. The intellect cannot deliver itself of such a philosophy.

There is nothing new here. It is an old truth and teaching. They are unchangeable, immutable. They do not vary with time.

It has the oldest tradition behind it which culture can offer yet it is ever fresh and new because it lives in the NOW: timeless.

Those who strive hard to penetrate the core of life's mystery will find their fullest result in philosophy.

Philosophy is unique. It alone offers a point of view which includes all other points of view, and yet transcends them. It alone is able to say that it both has a position and has no position. It alone is without particular interest in attacking other positions, yet is able, if necessary, sturdily to defend its own!

Although philosophy propounds statements of universal laws and eternal truths, nevertheless each man draws from its study highly personal application and gains from its practices markedly individual fulfilment. Although it is the only Idea which can ever bring men together in harmony and unity, nevertheless it becomes unique for every fresh adherent. And although it transcends all limitations imposed by intellect emotion form and egoism, nevertheless it inspires the poet, teaches the thinker, gives vistas to the artist, guides the executive, and solaces the labourer.

Most people look for labels, affix them or accept them, and then are forced to stand up for all the ideas bearing the label they identify themselves with. They limit their search for Truth as soon as they join a group. They must then accept untruths along with truths. Philosophy, as we use the term, cannot be limited to any single set teaching, for it is universal. It approaches the truth universally, free from prejudices, exclusions, and labels.

Philosophy refuses to regard itself in an exclusive sense. It admits all labelled points of view. But it refuses to limit itself to any of them. For they deal with apparent truth. The point of view which deals with real truth is really no point of view at all.

The would-be philosopher should not feel bound by labels, categories, and other fences which people want to put on others simply because they themselves live quite willingly surrounded by such fences and cannot understand someone who refuses to do so. Philosophy is a path which ends in the pathless--a way to the inner freedom which comes with truth.

It would be difficult to put philosophy into any category of its own for it has links with everything and with nothing, with particular religions and with no religion at all, with particular metaphysical systems and with none, with the different theologies and creeds, and so on; it has no organization and no one founder or apostle.

Philosophy competes with no teaching, religion, system. It stands by itself, unique.

Philosophy is not any man's personal possession. It is itself impersonal.

Such is the incontrovertible character of the philosophy of truth that it will always survive, however many civilizations rise and vanish, for both prolonged experience and sustained reflection always lead to and confirm it in the end.

Such teaching can never be useless and consequently can never disappear.

Its value and benefits

It is good and sensible to seek improvement of one's work. It is idealistic and noble to seek improvement of one's self. It is best of all to admire, know, practise, and realize Philosophy.

One of the first fruits of philosophy is perhaps the balanced understanding which it yields. In no other way can men arrive at so truthful, so fair, and so just a view of life, or indeed of anything upon which they place their thinking mind. And this splendid result could not come about if the philosophic quest did not bring the whole man of thought and feeling, of intuition and will, into activity in a harmonious and well-integrated way. Thus wholeness is holiness in the truest sense.

Why should we trouble our heads with philosophical study? Why is it not enough to practice goodwill towards men? The answer to the second question is that the feeling of goodwill may vanish at the first bitter experience of being injured by other men. It will not suffice to depend on feeling alone; one must also get thoroughly and rationally convinced that goodwill is necessary under all circumstances, and not only for the benefit of others, but even for our own.

Whoever understands philosophy truly will find it basically important not only in his thought but also in his career. He will find all crucial decisions will be influenced by what he has learned from philosophy or made by how it has shaped his character.

It provides him with a standpoint wherefrom to measure the correctness or error, truth or falsity, breadth or limitation of the views, theories, and statements presented to him by others. Like a keen cold wind it blows away the mists of superstition and foolishness. The ordinary aspirant is not capable of distinguishing between a sound doctrine and a fallacious one, between a competent teacher and an incompetent one or a self-seeking teacher and a selfless one, between the correct course to pursue in meditation and the incorrect one. The discipline will give him the education which will enable him to make such critical distinctions. It summons all these to the bar of severe scrutiny. It puts thought on its farthest stretch because it starts where science leaves off. It shows up the defects of an improper and unbalanced outlook. It stresses the need of making reason a governing wheel to control emotional adventures. It warns the mystic who would rightly extinguish the tyranny of intellect to develop it at some time or other, because he who would become divine must also fulfil himself as a man. It counsels him to balance the mind-stilling methods used in meditation with the mind-sharpening discipline of metaphysics and science.

Philosophy tells us how to live whereas the ego-mentality only tells us how to appear as if we were really living.

To be an intellectually conscious philosopher offers advantages in every way. For our conduct of life flows naturally out of our understanding of life. If the second is faulty, incomplete, or wrong, the first will be so too! For the appraisal of men and the values of things which determine this conduct are themselves determined by our understanding. Sound principles and correct theory afford the best guarantee that when action is taken it will be rightly taken. It is then possible to understand clearly what is being done and why it is being done. Therefore studies in the metaphysics of truth are not wasting time. It is here that the soundness of the philosophic attitude and the quality of its metaphysical knowledge save us on many occasions from falling into grave blunders.

Such studies as my books deal with may seem profitless to those unacquainted with their practical value. More than five thousand years ago the most famous of Indian sages pointed out: "Even a little of this yoga practice saves from great dangers." Quite clearly he did not refer to the common yoga but to the philosophic one, for the utter inability of most Indian yogis to save their own country is obvious to every critical observer.

The acquirement of spiritual wisdom does not necessarily prevent the disciple from making worldly mistakes; but because it develops the qualities which will prevent them, and because it takes to heart the lessons of experience, humbly and receptively, it does reduce the frequency of those mistakes.

The practice of philosophy tends to reduce the number of one's perplexities and to quieten the questioning mind itself. It keeps the thoughts well-balanced and the feelings clean.

He who will let these ideas take lodgement in his mind will find that as he penetrates farther and farther into the great hinterland of philosophy, getting to know it better and better, his appreciation of it and devotion to it will grow proportionately.

Philosophy explains life, guides man, and--by removing his misunderstanding about his own identity--redeems him.

The man who becomes thoroughly imbued with philosophical ideas finds his mind liberated and his feelings liberalized.

Not only does philosophical study inform the mind, it also elevates the mind.

The quest has three aspects: metaphysical, meditational, and morally active. It is the metaphysician's business to think this thing called life through to its farthest end. It is the mystic's business to intuit the peaceful desireless state of thoughtlessness. But this quest cannot be conducted in compartments; rather must it be conducted as we have to live, that is, integrally. Hence it is the philosopher's business to bring the metaphysician's bloodless conclusions and the mystic's serene intuition into intimate relation with practical human obligations and flesh-and-blood activities. Both ancient mystical-metaphysical wisdom and modern scientific practicality form the two halves of a complete and comprehensive human culture. Both are required by a man who wants to be fully educated; one without the help of the other will be lame. This may well be why wise Emerson confessed, "I have not yet seen a man!" Consequently, he who has passed through all the different disciplines will be a valuable member of society. For meditation will have calmed his temperament and disciplined his character; the metaphysics of truth will have sharpened his intelligence, protected him against error, and balanced his outlook; the philosophic ethos will have purified his motives and promoted his altruism, whilst the philosophic insight will have made him forever aware that he is an inhabitant of the country of the Overself. He will have touched life at its principal points yet will have permitted himself to be cramped and confined by none.

The sincere, who are honestly desirous of discovering Truth at whatever cost, will be helped within their limitations; the insincere, who seek to support their petty prejudices rather than to follow Truth, will have their hearts read and their hollowness exposed.

He who has sufficiently purified his character, controlled his senses, developed his reason, and unfolded his intuition is always ready to meet what comes and to meet it aright. He need not fear the future. Time is on his side. For he has stopped adding bad karma to his account and every fresh year adds good karma instead. And even where he must still bear the workings of the old adverse karma, he will still remain serene because he understands with Epictetus that "There is only one thing for which God has sent me into the world, and that is to perfect my nature in all sorts of virtue or strength; and there is nothing that I cannot use for that purpose." He knows that each experience which comes to him is what he most needs at the time, even though it be what he likes least. He needs it because it is in part nothing else than his own past thinking, feeling, and doing come back to confront him to enable him to see and study their results in a plain, concrete, unmistakable form. He makes use of every situation to help his ultimate aims, even though it may hinder his immediate ones. Such serenity in the face of adversity must not be mistaken for supine fatalism or a lethargic acceptance of every untoward event as God's will. For although he will seek to understand why it has happened to him and master the lesson behind it, he will also seek to master the event itself and not be content to endure it helplessly. Thus, when all happenings become serviceable to him and when he knows that his own reaction to them will be dictated by wisdom and virtue, the future can no more frighten him than the present can intimidate him. He cannot go amiss whatever happens. For he knows too, whether it be a defeat or a sorrow in the world's eyes, whether it be a triumph or a joy, the experience will leave him better, wiser, and stronger than it found him, more prepared for the next one to come. The philosophic student knows that he is here to face, understand, and master precisely those events, conditions, and situations which others wish to flee and evade, that to make a detour around life's obstacles and to escape meeting its problems is, in the end, unprofitable. He knows that his wisdom must arise out of the fullness and not out of the poverty of experience and that it is no use non-cooperatively shirking the world's struggle, for it is largely through such struggle that he can bring forth his own latent resources. Philosophy does not refuse to face life, however tragic or however frightful it may be, and uses such experiences to profit its own higher purpose.

The mastery of philosophy will produce a supreme self-confidence within him throughout his dealings with life. The man who knows nothing of philosophy will declare that it has nothing to do with practical affairs and that it will not help you to rise in your chosen career, for instance. He is wrong. Philosophy gives its votary a thoroughly scientific and practical outlook whilst it enables him to solve his problems unemotionally and by the clear light of reason. He will, however, be under certain ethical limitations from which other men are exempt, for he takes the game of living as a sacred trust and not as a means for personal aggrandizement at the expense of others.

Those who would assign philosophy the role of a leisurely pastime for a few people who have nothing better to do, are greatly mistaken. Philosophy, correctly understood, involves living as well as being. Its value is not merely intellectual, not merely to stimulate thought, but also to guide action. Its ideas and ideals are not left suspended in mid-air, as it were, unable to come down to earth in practical and practicable forms. It can be put to the test in daily living. It can be applied to all personal and social problems without exception. It shows us how to achieve a balanced existence in an unbalanced society. It is truth made workable. The study of and practice of philosophy are particularly valuable to men and women who follow certain professions, such as physicians, lawyers, and teachers, or who hold a certain social status, such as business executives, political administrators, and leaders of organizations. Those who have been placed by character or destiny or by both where their authority touches the lives of numerous others, or where their influence affects the minds of many more, who occupy positions of responsibility or superior status, will find in its principles that which will enable them to direct others wisely and in a manner conducive to the ultimate happiness of all. In the end it can only justify its name if it dynamically inspires its votaries to a wise altruistic and untiring activity, both in self-development and in social development.

If philosophy begins with doubt and wonder, it ends by taking away whatever doubts are left in the mind and converting the wonder into holy reverence.

It precisely states and positively affirms the spiritual destiny which awaits man.

A time eventually comes when this inner life blooms vigorously and richly within him, when the revelatory whispers of truth are heard clearly and unequivocally, when the joy of liberation from desires and passions shines constantly in his heart, and when deepest reverence suffuses his whole world outlook.

What is the worth of the philosophic attainment? Perhaps one of the best answers would be: suppose all men and women possessed it, what would civilized society be like then? It would certainly be freer of its present defects and fuller of realized virtues. War would be unknown, destitution would vanish; peace, knowledge, beauty, joy, and goodness would flourish.

Because one thought minted from the mind of a man who has searched long and far for truth is worth a thousand from the mind of one who has never searched for it at all, it would be time well spent to take up a few of these ideas. Each of them thus becomes a diamond with which to scratch the glass of ignorance.

Whoever wishes to endure life rather than enjoy it, to walk with saints or fly with angels, must look elsewhere. But whoever wishes to become an inspired, intelligent, brave, and good human being must look to philosophy. For it will make him acquainted with his divine soul, endow him with the power of right reasoning, fortify him against the chagrins and reverses of life, train him never to be hurtful and always to be helpful, and teach him the knowledge of true values.

Philosophy is a way of thought not merely for scholars but for everyone who wants to understand truth. It is a way of life not merely for monks but for everyone who is engaged in the world's activity. It offers the best in doctrine, the wisest in conduct.

Philosophy teaches men to trust and use their own powers, inspires them to develop the infinite possibilities latent within them. This is true self-reliance.

However subtle its doctrines may be, they are so solidly based and so all-comprehensive that the man who has once made them his own has gained a light for the rest of his lifetime.

The primary use of philosophy is not to console the suffering and give refuge to the unhappy. Religion can do that. People ought not come to it because they are tired of life and joyless. They should come because it can inspire their life and because they appreciate the beauty of its silent contemplations, the truth of its sublime ideas.

The aim of philosophy is not to desert activity but to inspire and illumine it, not to neglect meditation but to bring back its gains of peace and power to transform external life, not to give up reason but to warm and round it out by devotion. Only the neurotic, the dissociated, and the ignorant do otherwise. The wiser ones, better balanced, will let them actively collaborate with one another.

It is not a study which fulfils the expectation of personal profit in some form with which other studies are begun. It offers the truth for its own sake: because it is what it is, not for the rewards it does indirectly bring.

When a man who has developed an unwavering will and a concentrated mind, a serene contemplativeness and a magnificent dynamism, sets out to remake his external life for the better, surely he will accomplish not less but more than the man who has failed to develop these things.

The philosophic procedure leads not only to perpetual inner peace for the man himself but also to spontaneous action for humanity.

It teaches patience, confers wisdom, and instills magnanimity. It brings the human creature to full maturity. It liberates him from the conventional attitude of so many persons which covers, through real fear and supposed necessity, what they really are.

The immediate effects of this ascent in consciousness to the Overself are wide and varied. Torn emotions are healed and base ones purified. A flaccid will is brought to adamantine strength.

The divine character of his inmost being will become plain to him, and that not as a matter of wishful thinking or suggested belief but as firsthand personal experience.

Philosophy imposes charity--in Saint Paul's sense--on the heart, and bestows clarity--in Spinoza's sense--on the mind.

The worth of philosophy must be estimated not only by its intellectual truth or personal usefulness or social service alone, but by all three. Its unique merit lies not only in its transcendental reach but also in its balanced integrality.

Only at the end of a course in these studies can their intellectual, ethical, and practical importance to mankind be adequately assessed. If they do no more than rationally establish without reliance on any supernatural revelation the existence of a Deific Principle and thus confirm the profoundest yearnings of the human heart; if they do no more than dispel the current orthodox errors and unorthodox illusions about the Supreme Mind and reveal a new and truer way of thinking about it; if they provide a proper basis for the belief that death cannot really touch us; if they trace out the secret significance of all the struggle and sorrow in this life and proffer the hope of a new and better one here and now, they will surely have done enough. But the world view which is developed here can do very much more than that. For the theoretical worth of man, the personal happiness of his existence, and the practical contribution of his citizenship depend partly upon his discovery of a world conception which not only satisfies his own head and heart alike, but also serves the social interest.

Action should be soundly based so as to render the chance of failure as necessarily impossible as human capacity can render it. This means it should be based on philosophical principles. The mental mastery of these principles will help to give a right direction to the whole of one's life, just as the correct focusing of a camera will help to ensure satisfactory results in the finished photograph. Every man has worked out the basic ideas by which he lives but only the philosophic man has worked them out consciously. Because of the soundness and impartiality and penetrativeness of its approach, his judgements in the most perplexing matters of practical conduct will therefore be more reliable than those passed by so-called practical men themselves.

Such teaching arouses man to knowledge of his relationship to the divine, gives solace to his heart and peace to his mind.

Each person who brings more truth and goodness, more consciousness and balance into his own small circle, brings it into the whole world at the same time. A single individual may be helpless in the face of global events, but the echoes of the echoes of his inspired words and deeds, presence and thoughts, may be heard far from him in place and time.

The man who boasts that he can manage very well in life without studying philosophy, forgets that to possess no philosophy merely means to possess bad philosophy. For it merely means that like an animal he holds an unexamined, unanalysed, and uncriticized view of life. The need of philosophical study is simply the need of understanding our existence.

Philosophy ennobles human character and dignifies human personality.

But if there is nothing weakly sentimental in philosophy, it kindles the most delicate feeling and the deepest felicity that its votary could ever have as a human being.

The philosophic discipline balances a man's mind and stabilizes his feelings. It enhances his sense of values to the point of fastidiousness in responding to the world around him. For him life is full of interest, meaning, and benefit.

With more understanding of life, there comes more interest in life.

It may be shattering to the preconceptions and misconceptions of those who believe that Enlightenment is only for the dreamer and the escapist to hear it affirmed that this is not so, that it is equally attainable by the person who is at home in the world and by the lover of beautiful forms, sounds, and colours. But clearly such a person would need to be exceptionally well balanced or he would soon lose his way. This is another reason why philosophy holds the quality of balance in such high estimation.

Even the glimpse is so dazzling that it can never be forgotten and will tend gradually to reorientate the whole life. Henceforth this new element with all the immense assurance it conveys will characterize his inner life. Thus his outward life becomes a consecrated one. He feels safely held by a power higher than his own. He becomes strong enough to meet life face to face, not suborned by its hardships any more than by its happinesses. "The life of that person is beautiful and blessed who has properly and adequately known the Mind which exists within the mind," says an old text, The Yoga of the Sage Vasistha. The quest is not a coldly intellectual affair nor a vaguely dream-life one. He who has adequately comprehended its significance is stirred to his innermost depths with a devotion to it, a reverence for the Real which spreads outward and in time comes to animate both his feelings and his activities. If the Supreme escapes all definition, it does not escape life.

The undivided mind, the single vision, the unified life--these are final offerings of philosophical activity.

The first awakening to intellectual and artistic values in a young person is an important event, as the first awakening at puberty to sex is a dynamic one. But the first awakening to the vision of what philosophy has to offer transcends them all.

If philosophy gives a man nothing more than a loftier conception of himself than he otherwise would have, it would still be a worthwhile study. Yet it is not a conception which makes self-conceit, vanity, and pride grow bigger. On the contrary, it is more likely to be accompanied by a sacred humility.

Philosophy has brought refinement to art, truth to metaphysics, a higher level to science, nobility to ethics, and wisdom to living.

The philosopher cannot expect to be entirely exempt from disabilities which the whole race suffers. But he can expect to be exempt from avoidable sufferings caused by egoism, unruly passions, lack of will, and lack of foresight. He finds the universe is good and friendly and trustworthy but this is true only because he has established harmony with the Mind behind it. All others who live in discord with it will have to suffer until they learn to amend their ways and eradicate within themselves the causes of this discord. Inevitably Nature will hurt them and Fortune oppose them until they do.

To have no other goals than physical excellencies, however good and necessary these may be, keeps a man less than he could become. Even to set intellectual and artistic goals is still not enough, however admirable they may be. All these can find their place if they are crowned by the highest excellence of all, which is the spiritual.

Do not ask philosophy to tell you how to make a success of your career or business but only how to make a success of yourself. It is possible that the first will follow as a consequence of the second, but it is not inevitable. Therefore do not believe, as certain American cults have led their followers to believe, that prosperity is the necessary accompaniment of spirituality.

It is one of philosophy's best services to show its votaries that there is a higher relation between men and the earth and a hidden connection between them and the Infinite Power.

It is the duty of philosophy to supply principles, not to work out programs. But whoever has thoroughly grasped those principles should be able to apply them in most imaginable situations, although the success of his application will depend upon the extent of his equipment and the quality of his knowledge of the technical factors involved in them.

Philosophy is not for the entertainment of idle lives but for the enrichment of eager ones.

Philosophy bears the most distinctive and most significant mission in the contemporary world. It brings a great light to the service of mankind and confers a joyful blessing on those who accept it. Yet few perceive this.

It brings the everyday events of life into a broader perspective. This calms fears, quietens nerves, and creates detachment.

Philosophy can help us to attach correct values in our activities as a human being, both physical and cultural. It can provide the base for a code of conduct which will discipline yet benefit us and certainly not harm others.

To pass on this philosophical knowledge is as necessary as to pass on essential forms of agricultural or industrial knowledge.

Philosophy sees the whole route and therefore can correctly point out the next step forward to those who are still groping their way along it.

Only when there will be genuine inner acceptance of these ideas will there also be an outer expression of them in spontaneous activity.

Philosophy brings a man to serenity, it is often said. But it also brings him to the capacity for gentle laughter, for the humanist power of enjoying life.

Philosophy cannot give any man complete happiness, because it cannot make him completely oblivious of every tragedy which is happening around him. But it can give him the greatest possible happiness that life on this earth can yield. And this will not have the fragility and transiency of every other kind but will rest upon a rocklike, lasting base.

When a man sticks to unshakeable principles and abides by unalterable ethics, he derives an inner strength which not only is protective but also makes him feel secure.

If philosophy disciplines his desires, it also consoles his sufferings. If it chastens him in rapture, it also sustains him in frustration.

As he grows in wisdom, he automatically gains in strength.

A mind freed from its weaknesses and illuminated by the Overself, a life guided from within and ruled by truth--these are some of the rewards the quest offers him.

Such a life, purged of grossness, freed from littleness and stripped of low desires, honest in action and truthful in thought, will expel many useless fears.

One of the first fruits of this obedience to philosophic ideals will be his liberation from that narrow provincialism of outlook which fosters national prejudice and harbours racial hatred.

It guides him toward intellectual integrity; it encourages him in emotional purity; it elevates him into moral tranquillity.

Another consequence of this study and these practices will be such self-command, such serenity in the midst of adversity, such unruffled poise amidst outward disturbances, so sure a centre for ethical life, that the unusual contour of his character might well be envied by lesser men.

There is a deep joy in this growing perception of life's larger meaning, a profound comfort in the ever increasing knowledge of its beneficent purpose.

That satisfaction which fate so often denies man in the outer world, he may find through philosophic effort in the inner world.

The power of philosophy begins to show itself when it begins to vibrate in us as a new inner life.

Whoever has confirmed through a lifetime the truth of philosophy, felt its power and obeyed its counsel, will know its worth.

In its tenets he can find confirmation of his loftiest feelings.

In their enthusiasm, the younger advocates and eager defenders of this doctrine may outrun their facts, but that does not invalidate the doctrine itself.

No one who sincerely and intelligently follows philosophy for even a few years could fail to become a better man as a direct result. If anyone does fail to do so, be sure he is unintelligent even if sincere, or insincere even if intelligent, that he has followed only his own ego-prompted imagination and miscalled it philosophy.

It teaches us to profess and inspires us to practise the noblest of ideals.

It teaches us what to do in the dilemmas of conscience wherever they arise in the art of living.

We need these truths to fortify us against ourselves and to nerve us against our enemies within.

It is of great value alike to those who are practising self-help and self-improvement techniques as to those who are striving to develop a more spiritual life.

Our reward arises in an exaltation of soul.

Its wisdom born out of marmoreal calm, its moral code enframed in gracious compassion, philosophy stands peerless above all other offerings.

Coleridge: "It is folly to think of making the many, philosophers. . . . But the existence of a true philosophy, or the power and habit of contemplating particulars in the unity and mirror of the idea--this in the rulers and teachers of a nation is indispensable to a sound state of religion in all classes."

Because the philosophical approach to the soul is the most comprehensive of all, it is the best of all. For it alone satisfies the needs of the whole man and does not starve any of them. Other ways may suit the primitive or even medieval type of seeker but they will not suit the modern, with his complex nature and richer experience, so well as the philosophical one. Indeed all these others converge in it in the end.

The achievements of true philosophy are immensely inspiring. They break down limitations which would otherwise seem insuperable.

The worth of this teaching does not depend upon the numbers of people who espouse it. The weaker the response which it receives from the world in general, the stronger should be the effort put forth by the few, if they really believe in it, to keep it alive.

Philosophy, with its balanced scheme of living, its recognition of both higher and lower needs, its enrichment and not negation of human existence, has more to offer us than anything else.

The philosophic movement is a loose and free one. Its strength cannot be measured by numbers or institutions, for externality and rigidity are out of harmony with its teaching and character. Yet, unorganized and unadvertised though it be, it is not less vital and not less significant than more visible movements.

Those who are impressed by numbers, who associate the bigness of a movement with the truth or worth of its teachings, will fail to understand that the smallness of philosophy's following is entirely disproportionate to its quality, its truth, and its worth.

Does it matter so much that they are numerically small if they are spiritually great? Is it not better to be with God in a tiny group than to be with pseudo-God in a large majority?

This system is not a hobby for the diversion of tea-table gossips; on the contrary, it constitutes a completely adequate answer to the problem of living. It is more relevant to life than anything else imaginable. It satisfies the spiritual hunger of our times.

Philosophy alone has the most to offer the man of thought and feeling and action, for its truths are final, its ethics unsurpassable and its wisdom impeccable, its serenity unique.

Philosophy provides a standard of human excellence.

He will find in philosophy a support which is enduring, because its first principles can never change.

Its strength will carry him through every crisis, whether it be a personal or a national one. Its wisdom will guide him in every situation and vindicate itself later in the result.

If philosophy has commanded the allegiance of brilliant minds and noble characters, it is because no other teaching could suit their natures and meet their needs so well.

Here, in philosophy, he has at last reached what is fundamental and essential for the understanding of life's general purposes and for the proper conduct of his personal ones.

The sense of liberation which comes with the advent of philosophy derives not only from its manifold theoretical and practical merits but also from the release it confers from the narrow particularism of attitude which besets most men. One is no longer a religionist only, a mystic only, an ascetic only, a metaphysician only but, within reasonable limits, all these and more. There is a wholeness of outlook, a wholesomeness of feeling which is even greater than their mere sum.

In philosophy a man can find everything he needs for his spiritual guidance throughout life. His religious, mystical, metaphysical, and ethical requirements are all provided for. If he faithfully follows its teaching, no other system will ever attract him again.

Philosophy can become effective in society only after it has become effective in the individual.

When our eyes have been opened to the true meaning of man, when we know that this is not to be found in his transient personality but in his enduring essence, life will possess a quality it never had before.

The adept who is an adept in truth and not merely in yoga can and will prove to be a thoroughly practical man of the world. I have some friends who, while not being so far advanced as such adeptship, have nevertheless progressed to some degree on its path, and in every case they occupy positions requiring expert administrative capacity in business or professional worlds, and they possess adequate knowledge and ability to deal with concrete problems of life and affairs.

Whoever thinks wills and acts by the light of, and in harmony with, these truths attains goodness free from mere sentimentality, wisdom unmarred by intellectual arrogance, and strength purified from low egoism.

The inner life made worthwhile, made beautiful wise and virtuous, the consequence is an outer life made worthwhile.

These teachings do in the end help one to live more effectively and even more successfully, but this can only happen after they have been fully studied and comprehended. But that is a process which takes quite a long time.

When wisdom comes into a man's mind, wasted effort goes out of his life. For when he understands men and events, he understands how to put himself into a proper relation to them.

The man who can combine the serenity and concentration of the yogi with the practicality and activity of a worldling is the man this world needs.

Even if such a man fails to win successes in the business or professional arena, he will grandly win his own self-respect.

Whoever truly catches the spirit of philosophy in his heart will find his creative intelligence stirred up to new expressions, his aesthetic feelings refined to new appreciations, and his moral purposes tuned to new resolutions.

The worth of what he has learned and practised will show itself in his adjustments to adverse situations, equally as in his reactions to joyous ones.

If philosophy cannot show a way out of any particular distress, it can show how to refresh the heart's endurance of it and renew the mind's facing towards it.

If a man can accept the teachings of philosophy but cannot bring himself to obey the precepts of philosophy, let him stop at this point. Let him shut himself up inside both the necessary and imagined limitations of his character and his circumstances. Even such a theoretical knowledge will not be devoid of value. It constitutes a first step.

We may get more wisdom from a single philosophical maxim than from whole pages of prolix, diffused, and long-winded writings.

Those who want to disentangle the meaning of dark mysterious symbolisms, such as those of the Hindu tantrik texts and the European medieval alchemists, and who have the years to spend on such time-wasting procedures, will not find the less obscure and more direct statements of philosophy to their taste. But it is certain that they will be able to extract from those chaotic masses of unintelligible verbiage nothing more, and nothing more valuable, than what they can find ready to understand with tremendously less effort and time in the modern philosophical writings.

The great virtue of expressing propositions in the clearest possible terms is that it helps to expose in all their nakedness both the errors and the truths thus stated. When a philosopher enters a public forum and elucidates the controversial issues in politics, economics, or ethics, he helps both sides to see what is sound and what is weak in their positions. Thus he helps them more truly than by taking sides himself.

These truths, being everlasting and world-wide, give us shelter in periods of violent storm, provide us with refuge in times of distress, and protect us with prudence in years of smiling fortune.

When foundational principles are wrong, practical errors will not only remain but go on multiplying themselves.

There is nothing in life to which philosophy cannot be related nor the philosophic attitude applied. It is in critical moments that he will display the fruits of his philosophic progress as unsuspected power and unexpected initiative, as unruffled calm and unwavering fortitude.

The harsh critic who rejects philosophy finds it nothing more than a bundle of words. But the sincere practitioner of many years experience finds it life-giving and soul-refreshing.

A teaching which helps men and women to meet adversity with courage, opposition with serenity, and temptation with insight can surely render a real service to the modern world.

Philosophy teaches its votaries to aspire towards the best that is in them.

Those who know nothing, or next to nothing, of true philosophy brush the mention of it aside as "fantastic" or dismiss the results of its mystic practices as being "beyond the range of credibility." It is just as logical to brush aside the best in religion and dismiss the best in art.

When philosophy applies its full wisdom to any question of human conduct, faith, or purpose, it immediately separates itself from other approaches because they are partisan, limited, partial, and in bondage to the ego.

To bring a well-informed and well-educated mind to bear upon all questions, to keep feeling in proper balance with reasoning, to deny the ego its insatiable demand for rulership--this gives a man poise, frees him from lamentable prejudice, and imparts perspective to his conclusions.

The contact with philosophy leaves him in time elevated in feeling, stimulated in ideas, and cultivated in aesthetic taste.

If someone were to compile a list of the famous ones who found in philosophy the truth they could find nowhere else, the names would stretch from the Far East to the Far West, from pre-Greek antiquity to postwar modernity.

Philosophy engages the entire being and should develop a balanced, useful, happy, and wise individual who has attained inner poise.

To those who can see, this is the truest way of improving humanity, for it treats both first causes and final effects.

The first feeling is one of astonishment that such a large area of knowledge and experience should exist among us humans and yet be almost unknown to most of us.

The living proof of these benefits will be himself, possibly on the surface but surely inside himself.

If philosophy can provide us with correct principles for thought and behaviour it has done enough; but of course it can do very much more, for it can help to find explanations of our own existence and the universal existence.

It is the difference between living on the instinctual level of animals and on the celestial one of the Enlightened Minds.

We may call that ideal worth following which brings people closer to knowing the truth about life, which offers them what is real, not illusory, which improves and refines character, and which can be tested by practicable action.

In the end all students will become philosophers in the ancient sense of this term--that is, "lovers of wisdom"--and therefore not only feel the Divine but also understand it. Not only this, but they will be able to help others to attain like understanding and be desirous of doing so. The greater their knowledge, the greater their power to help others. Moreover, knowledge of how the Divine works is a safeguard against the pitfalls, pseudo-teachers, and evil ones, for they can then be perceived instantly. Philosophers will not then be deceived by face values. Jesus said, "Be ye harmless as doves but shrewd as serpents."

It is at the critical moments of life that philosophy proves its worth, but only to the degree to which it has previously been followed and applied.

He who has ascended to these higher levels of being, reflects the changed point of view in all his personal relationships. Resentment collapses, forgiveness arises.

If he applies philosophy as much to himself as to his situations, he will be always in command of them.

By following the philosophic life, he will be spared some of the troubles and trials of human life, but he cannot expect to be spared all of them. He may even get new ones, but in that case there will be adequate compensations.

How many persons have told me that it was the help and support got from these philosophic ideas, truths, and principles which enabled them to endure periods of public terror or private distress without nervous breakdown!

The knowledge of philosophy takes the bitterness out of tragedy and the frustration out of adversity.

He should not only seek the highest quality of consciousness within himself and try to realize it constantly, but also seek the highest quality of his life in the world--so as to have a fit channel through which to express this realization.

Philosophy reduces a man's emotional tensions and increases his mental tolerances. In this sense it is quite serviceable to human beings, but of course it does far more than that.

It is in the hour of tribulation that the practice of philosophy proves its worth. In every human life there are critical situations when external resources and loving consolation are simply not enough to meet the emotional need. It is then that we must draw on inner resources and tap our spiritual reserves.

The larger outlook resulting from these studies, the long horizon of ever-developing stages which it puts before us, tends to reduce the haste and strain of day-to-day living. It relaxes and stabilizes the human disposition.

I recall the experience of shipwreck which happened to me in the Red Sea many years ago when I was travelling on a 5,000 ton cargo steamer which happened to be the only ship sailing at around that time from a certain port. Our ship was smashed in two during the darkness of the night by another steamer four times as large. It rammed us, crushed and broke our steamer into two halves. We sank because we were carrying a cargo heavier than the ship was designed for which consisted of uranium-rich sand, black sand. Luckily the process of sinking took some time, enough to let the few passengers (only a dozen of us) get off safely in a small boat. What I wish to say about this little episode is that when I became aware of what had happened a great calm descended on me together with a great faith and a great patience, and I had to laugh at my travelling companion, a Portuguese bishop who shared the cabin with me. He was highly excited, waved his arms and muttered his prayers. I take this as an illustration of the contrast between the value of philosophy and the value of dogmatic religion.

The more he understands life, the more contented he will become.

When he is led by metaphysical studies and mystical experiences to realize the vastness and tracklessness of what still lies before the human adventure, he becomes not terrified, as Pascal was, but awed and humbled.

Philosophy alone can show a way out of the dilemmas in which science, religion, metaphysics, politics, and economics have unnecessarily involved themselves. But it can do this only if one is prepared either to undergo the philosophic discipline, which creates the correct insight into these dilemmas, or else to accept the findings of those who have already undergone it.

No price can be put on what it means to a man to be in possession of an entirely trustworthy system of principles, laws, and truths for the understanding and conduct of life. No situation exists in which he cannot make use of them to his advantage.

When the philosopher enters the arena of public affairs with his calm unbiased judgement, his contributions towards the public good have a lasting value commensurate with his freedom from the small personal incentives which actuate the work of those who have not achieved the philosophic attitude of mind.

The social value of philosophy is its ennoblement of human relations.

The study of philosophy will free men from extreme attitudes, and especially from violent fanaticisms. It can show them that other points of view may have their place too.

The philosopher's capacity for historical anticipations is not only the consequence of his broad impartiality, profound penetration, and patient acquisition of all the essential facts, but primarily it is the consequence of his ability to discern the working of karmic causes and effects.

It is not likely that the limited little human mind can understand the cosmos. But philosophy can give us clues which make all the difference between blundering in utter blackness and groping in twilight.

It develops into a wisdom that is never priggish, a goodwill that is never sentimental.

Such a teaching could not turn a man into a fanciful visionary--as the world, confusing philosophical mysticism with the wild aberrations that it mostly knows, may think--but only into a valuable citizen.

When a man or woman comes into fuller awareness of the True Self he arrives at the same time at the discovery of his true work, together with the capacity to perform it. Such an individual usually has innate ability--but the development of this ability depends upon his struggles to achieve it. Also, its sphere of activity may not necessarily be what he at first believes. In this case, disappointments and frustrations will arise to serve as indications that he has yet to find the right road. The appearance of talents and capacities can be hastened if one acquires better balance.

All this said, we may now say that in this bewildering world and its bewildering activities there is a place for each man and if he has not found it, it is primarily because he has not found himself.

We must hold to the value of wisdom, which gives to man so much dignity and goodness, so much honour and usefulness, but we must hold to it above all because it is part of that goal which God has set before us for attainment on this earth.

"God hath not created anything better than wisdom," wrote Muhammed. Also the prophet declared that his followers would be rewarded ultimately, not according to their performance of prayer, fasting, charity, or pilgrimage, but only according to the degree of their wisdom.

Its inspired practicality



Bradley defined philosophy as the finding of bad reasons for what one believes by instinct but Aldous Huxley has endeavoured to improve on this. He says, "finding bad reasons for what one believes for other bad reasons--that's philosophy."

In India, popular ignorance gradually identified philosophy with those monks and anchorites who had fled from the world and its woes to monasteries or mountains.

It was once the fashion of many people to sneer at philosophy and to regard philosophers as a ridiculous compound of foolishness and fatuity, but time has begun to change all that.

The notion that there is something futile about philosophy is quite correct when applied to what passes under that name very often, but quite incorrect when applied to genuine philosophy; and it is genuine philosophy which is here presented.

The value of knowing truth lies in its potency for making clear the art of fine living. A philosophy which is not strong enough to vivify personal life is no more than a dry dusty intellectualism, and when philosophy becomes a mode of intellectual wrestling, contributing little or nothing to action, it falls rightly into neglect. Its proper business is to rescue man from mechanical and unintelligent activity and put him on the path to a deliberately wise existence. It should be an insurance against making ethical errors or undertaking stupid enterprises, and its study is the premium to be paid for this valuable insurance.

Here then is a teaching, very old and very wise, which summarizes all human knowledge, actual and possible, and which shows man how best to shape his personal and practical life. I am not its originator. I can but try to re-present it to a troubled, broken, and blinded world which waits for this knowledge in modern form, as a benighted traveller waits for the dawn.

This philosophy rightly understood and rightly used will make men who make history. It calls for people who are ready and able to raise it above the status of a tea table topic, and to devote to its study and practice not merely an occasional free evening, but their whole lives; who will not only understand these great truths intellectually, but feel their transforming power in their hearts, and courageously live them in everyday life. For whoever masters this philosophy will soon feel its invigorating influence in every sphere of his activity, and in its light he will walk life's ways with calm assurance.

The Need

Once I stood on the wide pavement of Broadway. All around flashed and reflashed the electric advertising signs of "The Great White Way." A ragged young man bearing a bundle of newspapers came up to me, thrust a paper close to my face, and shouted raucously, "Man and woman shot." The never ending roar of motor traffic dinned in my ears. Crowds of people pressed by me: expectant faces intent on snatching an evening's pleasure, tired faces eager to get home after a day's toil, painted faces striving to retain a semblance of beauty, hard ominous faces emerging from New York's underworld with sinister intent. There was the stir of exultant activity. I looked around at the crowd which jostled me, and peered questioningly into the faces which moved like a cinema film before my eyes. Which one seemed to express the attainment of inward happiness? Which one revealed a serene detachment from its destructive environment? I turned away, sadly disappointed in my quest. Nearly all had been suborned by the temptations that form such an alluring accompaniment to modern existence. They did not understand that the transitory is true but trivial, the eternal is true and great. They did not understand that baronets cannot escape broken hearts, nor millionaires the miseries of disappointment. They did not know that once a man has taken measure of the suffering which is inherent in life, the wrinkled demon of reflection will pursue him into the very haunts of revelry. He may view with pleasure a hundred happy figures dancing in gay abandon, when lo! its sneer sounds abruptly in his ear, "and even these are but dream figures dancing towards their silent graves." And so they wander through the years alternating between the red flames of passion and the grey coolness of calculation, until the little candles of their lives have guttered out.

They who think that the purpose of human incarnation is to increase pleasures and accumulate property have learned nothing from the instability of life and insecurity of possessions which have marked the period now passing.

The greatest evils of our age are not in its outward materialism but in its inward ignorance, and not in its practical inventiveness but in its mental unbalance.

When we mistake transient sense gratifications for true happiness we suffer later for our error. When we fail to discriminate between what is perishable in our lives and what is truly enduring we rely upon illusory values. The future tempts or torments us; the past keeps us half-buried in its memories; while the truth which could lift us into a region that liberates us from all temporal tyrannies is disdained. Yet peace, sublime and ego-free, can exist for us only when we learn to live, as it were, upon the pinpoint of a moment where all hopes for the future are not allowed to imprison us, and where equally all memories of the past are merely held and do not hold us.

We attain peace, as Buddha pointed out, when we are free from all desires.

Inspired Action

Inspired action is the means of reconciliation between seclusion and society, the service of the noisy crowd with the silence of lofty thought. Spirituality ceases to be a monopoly of the cloister, comes out of the confinement of church, temple, monastery, or mosque, and walks in the marketplace among busy men.

For philosophy teaches us that there is no sharp division between the world of surrounding things and the world of internal aspirations, that both are of the same ultimate essence of mind. Therefore the philosopher will despise nothing because it is supposed to be material, just as he will discard nothing because it is supposed to be anti-spiritual. He has glimpsed the great mystery of all existence, and knows that all things are within and participate in the Overself. Philosophy is identical with action and not with inertia. To make it anything less is to abuse words, for as the "love of wisdom" it must include the application of wisdom.

"Love cannot be idle," says Ruysbroeck.

"I preach you the truth, O monks, for deliverance and not for keeping idle," says Buddha.

The hidden teaching affirms that the universal manifested existence is a Becoming, a change from one condition to another. It is absurd to suggest that a truly spiritual life must be a static one. A static human existence is impossible, and whoever seeks it seeks in vain.

Life in the active world is simply expression, and the divine life can be lived everywhere.

No defense need be made to the fanatics who decry and denounce our desire to get some comfort and convenience from the earth's resources. Western civilization, so condemned by Oriental critics, possesses much that is admirable, despite its obvious faults.

Man is not called upon to renounce his great discoveries and works, but to renounce selfish usage of them.

There can be no salvation in the attitude of mind which denounces the West as wicked and material Occidentalism and upholds an ascetic disdain of material things.

The God Who is to be found within ourselves must also exist equally outside ourselves in the phenomenal universe, else how would He be Infinite?

No, we must rebut the accusation of materialism as stupid, and point out that a better name would be realism. Life in activity is as real as life in repose; expression is no less divine than meditation; and they who have discovered the divinity within themselves will forthwith recognize it throughout the universe.

The Balanced Life

We need to achieve a balanced life with a wise alternation between action and repose, work and meditation, being positive and being passive.

Only the philosopher has the orientation of outlook which enables a man to take his political, social, and economic bearings correctly.

It may not be often that the floors of city offices are trodden by the feet of those who also wander in the caves of mystic contemplation; nor the hubbub of the stock exchange heard by those who also hear the sweet silence of the inner self. The combination in one personality of the two opposite characteristics of meditation and action may be infrequent, but there are those who have achieved it, and who realize that work is not only to make a living, but a life.

When there are more such men and women in towns and cities, when they walk in the hard metropolitan streets and the busy bartering places revealing a serene state of mind which is held and maintained no less among crowds than in solitary places, the soulless character of so much of modern life will be redeemed. The philosophy of inspired action of such persons brings blessings on mankind. Such persons have accepted their lot in worldly life and seek to do their duty; they turn occasion into opportunity and bring the sense of sublimity into their prosaic hours. Their own diviner peace and spiritual poise is blessing to their neighbours like fresh dew on a parched land.

Another name for inspired action is unselfish work. The spiritual man will work no less hard than the average man; his work will be done well, with understanding, calmly, with detachment. His aspiration is towards Perfection, the Supreme Divinity, and this attitude will be seen in all his work, even in the meanest task. He works without the fever of ambition or greed, and he does not allow any pains or pleasures, difficulties or problems to move him from the ideal he has set before him. With calm and equable spirit he does his best. More he cannot do.

A man who is attuned to cosmic harmonies cannot fail to express harmony in all his worldly activities.

This is a quest to be undertaken by those who have suffered and smiled and are still ardently alive, not for those heavy humourless persons who are ascetically dead. Therefore let those of us who are condemned to toil for our daily bread not forget to toil for the spiritual Bread of Life. The notion that a spiritual man may not work vigorously in the world of business and industry is as nonsensical as the notion that a man who can compose perfect music may not eat a hearty dinner.

There is nothing to prevent the sage from being a successful businessman, and nothing wrong in practical activities, for the simple reason that he will not cease being a sage nor lose himself in his activities, and he will remain rooted in Reality amid the world of thoughts and things.

Voltaire wrote of Marlborough that he had a calmness in the midst of tumult and danger "which is the greatest gift of nature for command." Thus even a soldier can derive great benefit from yoga.

Daily meditation will overcome the materializing effect of constant contact with worldly influences, by bringing together the inner and outer selves in communion with each other: one giving strength and light to the other, and the latter expressing this inspiration in active life.

We are able to live a complete and creative existence only after we have arrived at a true attitude towards life through spiritual unfoldment. Only then can we walk the world's ways in safety.

In the end we may learn whether our feelings were wise or deceptive, our thinking sound or unsound, by the experience which comes from our consequent acts. Dreamers, escapists, and ascetics who shy away from activity deprive themselves of this valuable test.

We shall find we must have the strength to say "No" to a thing before we have the inner right to take it. We must learn how to renounce a thing before we can possess it.

We must learn to remain ultramystically aware always, even while we are externally occupied with any matter in hand. Our work will not suffer, but be all the better for the poised emotion and peaceful mind which this brings.

Philosophy combines a lofty idealism with an intense practicality.

This teaching can be understood only by those who try to live it: all others merely think they understand it. Only those who have incorporated it in their lives for a number of years can know how intensely practical philosophy is.

The practicality of the philosophical quest is something few men discover until they are far advanced on the quest. If the dreamers, the fanatics, the visionaries, the lethargic, the feckless, and the failures seem to be the ones most vocal about the quest, that is merely because they are hardly on the quest at all but only stand around its entrance.

Practical philosophy is the art of living so as to fulfil life's higher purpose.

It is a grave mistake to regard these matters as having no more than a theoretical interest, to be played with or not according to one's taste. Whoever finds the answers to the questions, whoever knows what man really is, what his prenatal and post-mortem destinies are, what his highest good is, will necessarily find that his practical everyday living is much affected by them.

The notion that illumination must turn a man into a mere dreamer, unfit for practical life and incapable of coping with practical situations, is true only when it is of an imperfect kind, or when the man is not properly prepared to receive it, or when it is too short to be full yet deep enough to unsettle him. Illumination in the philosophic sense, however, need not deprive a man of the capacity for energetic action, although it will deprive him of the feeling of hurried action. He will do his necessary work in the world, not with slovenly weakness but with quiet calm.

Wisdom begins only when you apply in practice what you absorb in theory.

He must use the teaching in his daily life to know its practical value and to prove its practical truth. As he progresses he will discover that the more he uses it, the more he gains in power and strength.

It is uncommon to find an individual who, in a single personality, combines a highly spiritual outlook with a truly practical character. He who succeeds in effecting this combination is rare, but he is the type that the coming age needs and demands. For he can prove and demonstrate convincingly to all the world that loftiness of philosophic ethics will not be a weakness in practical life. On the contrary, because it is informed by knowledge and based upon wisdom, it will be a source of strength.

The effect of his studies and meditations will slowly but surely reveal itself in his life. His world outlook will sparkle with vitality, his speech will form itself with precision, his deeds will be wise and more virtuous. For philosophy, unlike metaphysics, is not only a theory to be learned from books but even more an integral way of life to be practised in society.

The common misconception that philosophy bears no practical relation to ordinary life is due to ignorance. The proper understanding of philosophy would greatly reduce human sin and suffering, would discipline brutal men and selfish women, would dissolve fanatical strife and creedal conflict, would inspire us to put into concrete shape the loftiest ideals of our imagination, would bring a beautiful solace to offset the disappointments bred in homes, offices, fields, and factories. These are tangible things and refute the allegation that the philosopher shuts his eyes to the harassments and activities of common life. The misconception has arisen, however, because so many misguided theologians and so many fantastic dreamers have passed themselves off as philosophers.

Philosophy will show a man how to find his better self, will lead him to cultivate intuition, will guide him to acquire sounder values and stronger will, will train him in right thinking and wise reflection, and, lastly, will give him correct standards of ethical rightness or wrongness. If its theoretical pursuit is so satisfying that it can be an end and a reward in itself, its practical application to current living is immeasurably useful, valuable, and helpful.

It is not that truth has to be made practical, for it is the most practical thing which exists. It is that men have to become better instructed in it, as well as in the higher laws which reflect it, and then live out what they have learned.

It is quite proper to seek personal advantage even when embracing a religious cult or a spiritual teaching. If men thought they would get nothing at all from it, few would ever embrace one. But this is not the spirit in which to embrace philosophy. That is to be sought in utter purity of motive, because truth is to be sought for its own sake, whether its face is ugly or pleasant. Nevertheless, personal advantages accrue. Philosophy teaches how to be well and live well, how to avoid misery and attract happiness, how to bear suffering and achieve peace of mind. Its values and results are as related to practical living as anything could be, but eyes are needed to see them.

Not to escape life, but to articulate it, is philosophy's practical goal. Not to take the aspirant out of circulation, but to give him something worth doing is philosophy's sensible ideal.

If leadership and guidance, inspiration and light are ever to come to humanity from mystical circles during this colossal upheaval, be sure that they will come only from those who have wedded head to heart and contemplation to practical service.

It is a false ethic which would tell us that material things are valueless, that worldly prosperity is worthless. Philosophy is full of common sense along with its rare uncommon sense. Therefore it teaches giving the proper value to material things, appraising worldly prosperity properly by pointing out that inward quality and inner life must support it for genuine happiness.

The philosopher may walk unfalteringly and surefootedly because he sees reality and understands the truth of life.

To bring the divine presence into the midst of one's work and one's work continually into the divine presence--this is an inspired and worthwhile active life.

There is a direct relation between the abstract concepts of metaphysics and the concrete problems of individuals, between the ultimate principles of the one and the immediate needs of the other. But most people are too short-sighted to observe this relation, too blurred mentally to comprehend. They regard metaphysical truth as a dispensable luxury, or a leisure hour hobby, without which they can get along quite well if called upon to do so. On the contrary, it is basic for character, foundational for behaviour, solutional for problems, and prophylactic for troubles. If at first it seems intangible, in the end it becomes invaluable. Yes, Philosophy is tremendously practical but only those who know it from the inside, who have felt its power in trying circumstances and followed its guidance in perplexing ones, know this. In good and bad periods, through long spells of ordinary routine and sudden turning points at critical times, it shows its practical benefits, its everyday applicability. Its ability to steady the emotions during times of perplexing crisis and to quieten the nerves in places of distracting noises proved itself during the war.

The time has gone when the philosophic and the practical, the religious and the realistic, the spiritual and the material are to be regarded as being mutually antagonistic; today we must regard them as working to a common end and purpose, as reconcilable in ultimate unity. Thus our actions should come to be visible emblems of the invisible inner life in which we must take our roots.

Philosophy says he has to bring his scheming mind, his rational mind, his concrete mind to bear upon solutions to his practical problems; but he must work them out under the inspiration of the soul, else they are solutions that solve little.

Those same capacities, applied to worldly careers, professions, or businesses, are more likely to bring a man success than failure. We often hear that philosophy is useless to hungry men or poor men. This is false. For the quality of intelligence and character developed by it is higher than the average and therefore its possessor will know better how to rid himself of hunger or poverty than will the possessor of an inferior quality of intelligence and character.

How shall I act rightly and wisely? This is the problem which faces every man. Hence philosophy not only teaches a way of thought but also a way of action. This is inevitably so because, unlike mysticism, it is concerned not merely with a segment of life but with the whole of it. There is something defective about a teaching if it forgets the ultimate purpose for which it itself exists, if it leaves its followers in the air, and therefore cannot be successfully applied in practical action. We may understand the value of our intellectual formulations only when they are put to the test in actual practice. In putting an idea, a theory, or a doctrine to the practical test or in bringing a way of living into practical operation, we enable it to reveal its truth or falsity, its scope or limitations, its merits or demerits. A doctrine must be tested not only by its intellectual soundness but also by its practical results. The first test can be instantly applied but the second only after a certain time has elapsed. Thus the good is separated from the bad, the right is distinguished from the wrong, the true is divided from the false, either by intelligence in the sphere of abstract ideas or by time in the sphere of spatial things. The first shoots of wheat and weeds cannot be distinguished by ordinary sight or knowledge, but give them time to grow up to maturity and everybody can distinguish them. The barrenness or fruitfulness of any teaching is in the end inexorably ascertained by applying the test of historical results, that is, the test of time.

Nothing could be more practical than applied philosophy. The student will find his will strengthened by its definite affirmations, so that he will bring a bolder heart to the troubles and duties of everyday living. He will find his feelings less disturbed by the evil in other men's characters and deeds. He will find his thoughts inspired by its declaration of the benevolent purpose and supreme intelligence behind his life.

The philosophic way is neither to live a crippled ascetic life out of touch with the times nor to give itself up totally to the foolishness of the times.

When knowledge is worked out in action, reflected in attitude, and formed in the entire life, then only does it become real.

Even as the narrow ascetic seeks to deny life, so the more tolerant philosopher seeks to affirm it. It is true that the materialist does the same, but he does it in ignorance of what life really is, and he does it for the benefit of the little fragment of his own personality alone. The philosopher, on the contrary, works in the light of higher knowledge and works for the benefit of the All.

When these thoughts pass down from his head to his heart and from his heart to his will, only then will he really be a student of philosophy. The heart must be opened to them, the will must be directed by them. With that his life will change, at first little by little, into a blessed one.

It is not enough to convert thoughts into deeds. The latter must also be done in the right place and at the right time, if they are to achieve their object.

The effects of the discipline show themselves in his handling of worldly affairs, in his swift resourcefulness during urgent situations, his calm balance during critical ones, and his practical wisdom during puzzling ones.

Philosophy demands that we actualize our ideals. Wisdom must flower in deeds that accord with it or it is not wisdom. Action is the decisive factor, the acid test of all mystical, metaphysical, and religious pretensions to a superior ethic. Therefore the ethical values, such as compassion and integrity, which arise from the interior experience of metaphysical and mystical meditation must also be upheld in the exterior space-time world.

The practical contact of life will supply a test of the worth of his dominant ideas, a means of verifying the truth of his holiest beliefs, and an indicator of the grade or strength of his moral character.

He does not and cannot separate life from philosophy. Those who assert that it is a study for mere dreamers are wrong.

The artist, working through the medium of imagination--whether he imagines scenes or sounds--creates a beautiful piece. The philosopher, working through the same medium but seeking self-improvement, creates a beautiful life.

Being a philosopher is being alive, not denying life. Philosophy is bought at a price, nothing less than a man's whole life, which is to be directed thereafter by a blend of intuition, intellect, and revelation. If therefore anything is thrown away, it can only be because it is not worth keeping.

Although it is far better to read philosophy than to ignore it altogether, it is immeasurably better to feel the emotional urge and inner drive which are needed to bring about its application to day-by-day living. If they are lacking but the wish for them is present, two things can be done that will help to attract them. First, begin to pray to the higher power for such a grace. Second, establish contact, fellowship, or discipleship with those who are themselves impregnated with such resolve, fervour, and deep yearning.

Although philosophy is eminently practical, it does not, like materialism, lose itself wholly in such practicality. It does not throw away its fine intuitions, noble dreams, and wise thoughts while planting its feet firmly on earth. Rather does it seek to hold a reconciling balance between its dreams and its deeds, between the inner life and the outer world.

The philosopher is a practical man. He understands quite well--as much as any materialist--that he has to live out this physical life to which he was born in the physical world of which he is a part. Therefore, although it is metaphysically graded as being like a dream, it must be dealt with properly, adequately, efficiently, and attentively.

Philosophy must have an interest for men of flesh and blood, must be of service to those who live in a practical ordinary world, must have bridges to religion and art and science, must not be isolated from lesser forms of inquiry even though it seeks the higher ones.

If it were not in closest contact with the facts of human life, it could not be philosophy. But the real reason why it is charged by critics with promoting dreaminess and with being unpractical is that they are interested only in some of the facts whereas philosophy is interested in all of them.

His basic values may become firmer and more positive as his understanding of philosophy becomes fuller. They support him during the difficult periods of adjustment to the world in which he has to live and work. They guide him ethically and protect his character.

The ascetic who wants to keep his life "simple" does not want the "burden" of possessions. The hedonist sees no burden in them, but rather beauty and comfort. He welcomes them. The philosopher, able to absorb both views, reconciles and accepts them, for he recognizes the play of Yin and Yang through all life, including his own.

By pointing out the way of development immediately ahead of the aspirant, as well as the goal remotely distant, philosophy shows its practicality.

The materialist says he can enjoy peace of mind only if all his material needs and satisfactions are obtained. The idealist says he is indifferent to such material things because peace of mind can only follow spiritual satisfaction. The one is stating a quarter of the truth, the other three-quarters, because both are looking at different aspects of life. Neither one is looking at the whole of life. This requires man to secure a varying minimum of money, clothes, shelter, food, fuel, and so on, whoever he is and whatever his outlook. His inner needs will still have to be met, but these depend on his evolutionary stage as to their nature and quality.

Philosophy does not approve of deterioration in the quality of human welfare and its justification in the name of so-called spirituality.

The philosophic mode of life coheres with the metaphysical system behind it. The one is a practical expression of the thorough thinking of the other. The confidence which fills the first harmonizes with the certitude which stamps the second.

The philosophical life is a simple life, partly because it seeks to escape unnecessary anxieties, partly because it wants to save time and energy for what seems more desirable.

Those who regard it as a disincarnate entity hovering in the air have not understood philosophy. It does not separate action from thought, conduct from consciousness, nor society from self. But neither does it commit the materialist error of making action, conduct, and society end in themselves, any more than it commits the mystical error of making ecstasy, feeling, and visions end in themselves.

It is an ironic fact that the philosophic way of living, far from being suitable for dreamers, misfits, and escapists only, is in the long view the most practical way of all ways of living.

Philosophy is intensely practical; yet, because it is also well balanced, it judges neither by results alone nor by intention alone, but by both.

This teaching recognizes that Mind is the primary element in life, but it recognizes also the contributions of the physical and the intellectual. Its aim is to enable the student to maintain all effort in correct proportionate balance.

The last test of what intellect, intuition, or feeling offers as the truth must be provided by the will. In the realm of doing, we discover its rightness or wrongness.

It is not enough to grasp spiritual realization intellectually. We have to embody it physically.

Pragmatism is of the adolescent stage of mental development. It is crude realism directed towards utility and satisfaction only. Its weakness lies in its acceptance of satisfaction and utility as the test of truth. Each man may have a different definition of what satisfies and is most useful, hence contradictions arise. Pragmatism can see truth only in the fruits of effort, which is only partially correct. Philosophy also sees truth in its fruits of practice, but it tests theories also. Pragmatism only tests practice. It deals only with one aspect of philosophy, what man can do; it forgets to take the world as it is. The world is forever changing, partly due to Nature and partly due to man. The two aspects taken together form the basis of philosophical thought and study. In favouring the one aspect only, pragmatism is one-sided and imperfect philosophically.

It does not agree with either the fools who are infatuated with worldly life or the fanatics who condemn it, but finds a reasonable equilibrium of attitude between them.

We may hopefully expect to find, and we shall not be disappointed, that the noble principles of philosophy are visible in the noble results of philosophy.

Is it a merely theoretic, vaguely academic matter? No! For those who rule states or pass laws are guided in their actions and decisions by their outlook on life generally as by their ability to rule themselves. This is most often half-conscious or instinctual. Philosophy brings both the lower and the higher sources into clear consciousness.

Power will tread on the heels of knowledge only if we apply it.

If its disciples fail to put philosophy into practice, their failure does not invalidate its truth nor derogate its worth but does show that they are only half-disciples.

The only education worth the name is that which prepares a pupil for life, that which teaches him how to live.

It is here, in a simple, common situation that one finds oneself, that philosophy has its place, just as much as in the profoundest movement of thought.

Only those who know some of the secret laws of the universe know that this is not a teaching for mere dreamers and irresponsible escapists. They know that the ultimate peace, safety, and health of a people depend on the extent to which the principles of living under these laws are understood.

The man who faithfully obeys the injunctions and practices the regimes of philosophy can never be a failure, whatever the world says. Nor can he be unemployed, for he understands that his real employer is the Overself and that the work he is doing will not end while life does not end.

Even a limited amount of the practice of philosophy produces disproportionately larger gains.

He believes, intuits, perhaps even knows that the Real, the True, the Good, and the Beautiful are the best things in life and the most worth seeking, that their quest will lead him through mystical regions and ethereal experience. But that is no excuse for deserting critical judgement and practical sense.

Philosophy affects the whole of life: not only thought but also action, not only consciousness but also diet.

The philosopher knows just as well as anyone else the importance of money. He does not, like the ascetic, take a vow of poverty nor, like the fanatic, decry its power to bring happiness. But neither does he give it the value which the materialist gives it. He is balanced.

The need is for a combination of practical self-interest with idealistic soul-interest.

With wisdom in temptation and fortitude in tribulation, guided by noble principles rather than by momentary impulses, he will expound the nature of philosophic ethics by the nature of his everyday living.

Practical life will benefit in every way if the inner life is inspired by philosophy. There is no danger of the man becoming a vain futile dreamer or of his brain becoming deranged. Look for such dangers in the cults, psychic and occult, not here. The philosopher may sit on his mountaintop if he elects to, but he will not consider that this is the best way to live, the ideal. It may serve a special and temporary purpose, or satisfy his temperament, but he will be just as ready to descend into the valleys and cities if the Overself bids him.

What did it mean to the American destiny and to the human channel through which that destiny was being formulated in the last century that the most illumined mind in the country, Ralph Waldo Emerson, twice talked to Abraham Lincoln in the White House at Washington during a dark year of the Civil War? What did it mean to Lincoln that the one man in America who could do so brought him a spiritual gift of hope, light, and fortitude? It is significant that a few months after Emerson's visit, Abraham Lincoln issued the preliminary proclamation of the Emancipation of the Slaves, an act which made the fighting of the war to the bitter end inevitable. To Emerson the war was an inescapable crusade. It was something holy in its resolve to remove the foulness of slavery from the land. Therefore he firmly opposed any end to the war which would not achieve this goal, or, in his own words, "Any peace restoring the old rottenness."

Philosophy aims at producing a group of men and women trained in mind control, accustomed to subordinate immediate interests to ultimate ends, sincerely desirous of serving humanity in fundamental ways, and possessed of philosophic knowledge which will make them valuable citizens. They will have balanced characters, based on refined feeling and exercised reason. It will be their constant endeavour to maintain a clear and definite outlook on the personal and public issues of the moment. Philosophy does not sit in helpless passivity when confronted with the spectacle of hustling cities and busy factories. Its supreme value to mankind lies in the solid ground it affords for a life devoted to the unremitting service of humanity.

In the magazine Lucifer, H.P. Blavatsky says, "If the voice of the mysteries has become silent for many ages in the West, if Eleusis, Memphis, Antium, Delphi have long ago been made the tombs of a science once as colossal in the West as it is yet in the East, there are successors now being prepared for them. We are in 1887 and the nineteenth century is close to its death. The twentieth century has strange developments in store for humanity."

The time has come to develop the knowledge and extend the understanding of a teaching which few know and fewer still understand. Occupied principally, as it is, with matters of eternal rather than ephemeral life, it finds today a larger opportunity for service than it could have found at any earlier period in consequence of the evolutionary forces which have been working on man's history, ideas, attitudes, communications, and productions. It is the most important knowledge which any human being could study.

There is no such thing as a merely theoretical philosopher. If anyone is not a practising philosopher, he has not understood correctly nor theorized properly.

Neither mysticism nor metaphysics is sufficient by itself. We need not only the union of what is best in both, but also the disinterested driving force of moral activity. Only when our metaphysical understanding and meditational exercises begin to interpret themselves in active life do we begin to justify both. The Word must become flesh. It is not enough to accumulate knowledge. We must also apply it. We must act as well as meditate. We cannot afford like the ascetical hermit to exclude the world. Philosophy, which quite definitely has an activist outlook, demands that intuition and intelligence be harmoniously conjoined, and that this united couple be compassionately inserted into social life. Like the heat and light in a flame, so thought and action are united in philosophy. It does not lead to a dreamy quietism, but to a virile activity. Philosophic thought fulfils itself in philosophic action. This is so and this must be so because mentalism affirms that the two are really one. Thus the quest begins by a mystical turning inwards, but it ends by a philosophic returning outwards.

This is the final test. Philosophy works. Whatever you do, wherever you go, it can be put to practical use. It cannot be isolated from life, for it is always intimate with life.

Its ``worldliness''

It is quite true that the full preparation for, and practice of, mysticism takes us away from life in the world. But its work need not stop there. The very same forces which activate it can later become the inspiration of a new life in the world, the foundation of an effective practicality.

Philosophy leaves the physical plane only to return to it, lets go of activities only to take them up again. For the physical world is as much its proper concern as any other. Everything is reverenced, every act turned into a religious rite.

Worldly life, which is either a trap or a hindrance to the unphilosophical, is a school of instruction and an avenue of service to the philosophical.

The self and the world are linked closely together: to understand the resulting combination both must be studied, and side by side. Otherwise the end of the road is half-truth, not the full truth.

Faced with the mystery of his own existence, man finally finds an answer in religion or mysticism. If he adds the mystery of the world's existence, he must look for his complete answer in philosophy.

The immature spirituality and incomplete enlightenment which sneers at life in the world and idolizes life in the monastery, which furthermore confuses defeat in the external struggle for existence with triumph in the internal struggle for God, is unphilosophical. We may strive for a place in society and the gains that go with it as strenuously and as determinedly as any ambitious man, so long as we remember to keep our earthly ambitions subordinate to our celestial ones, so long as we do not forget to strive also for a more abiding inner status and rustless wealth. We may aim at effective accomplishment and successful outcome of the work we are doing, whether it be banking or bricklaying. There is no harm in that and God will not hold it against us in the higher reckoning. The harm begins when we lose our sense of proportion and let the success itself become a supreme value of life, when we become blind to anything higher and insensitive to anything nobler, when we disregard ethical laws and social responsibilities in our thirst to attain it, when we are broken in spirit by failure and weakened in fibre by disappointment.

The philosophic aspirant is not asked, like the yogic aspirant, to quit the world. But he is asked to quit the world view which has kept him spiritually ignorant. Hence, outwardly he may live as full a life as he pleases if only inwardly he will live according to the higher laws of philosophic knowledge and ethics.

We are sent to this world to learn its useful lessons, and were we to succeed in blotting out consciousness of what is going on around us in it, we would merely be blotting out an opportunity to learn them. This is what happens if trance is prematurely achieved.

Let the metaphysical dreamers assert that the body is nothing, the world unimportant or even non-existent. To the philosopher both are significant, meaningful, and life in them purposive. Are they not, in the end, devices to extract the divinity within us?

The situations which develop from day to day afford a field for enquiry, analysis, reflection, intuition, and ultimate understanding in themselves, quite apart from the application of principles already learned.

However far from philosophy these matters and events seem to be, in reality they illustrate or exemplify some part of the teaching.

The philosopher seeks to live in his century. He is not so immersed in the ideas of antique centuries that he is unable to interest himself in the ideas of his own.

It would be a mistake to believe that the philosophic attitude does exclusively seek to enter into the world's life any more than it seeks to escape from that life. It uses and includes each of these movements but it does so only at the right time.

The practice of philosophy does not preclude one from living normally in the world, from marrying and begetting children, from acquiring possessions and dwelling in comfort, or from building a successful business or professional career. It does not regard the normal human life as inferior and illusory, nor the abnormal ascetic life as high and holy. It takes both in its stride and looks on both as correct in their own places because both are needed there, but it seeks to achieve at the earliest moment a sane balance which shall free the individual from the tyranny of both.

Philosophy does not ask the mystically minded to give up their mysticism but to expand it, to take a realistic view of the world situation and to adjust themselves to the century in which they live.

If he can combine and balance a practical attitude towards the world with a transcendental detachment from the world, he will fulfil man's higher purpose.

The rules which are laid down for monks should not be confused with the codes for non-monks. The latter need a realistic respect for financial values counterbalanced by an idealistic indifference to them. This makes necessary the finding of equilibrium between the two poles, a kind of inner bicycle riding.

Philosophy does not want to escape life but to fulfil it.

The ascetic aspirant seeks salvation from the world. The philosophic one seeks salvation in the world.

The world will not be overcome by running away from it nor by shutting our eyes to it, but by comprehending its significance and bringing it into co-operative, side-by-side association with our spiritual quest.

The worldly side of things must be included with the spiritual side, related to it, balanced by it, purified through it. This is the sane view of philosophy.

Mystical practice, religious devotion, and metaphysical reflection are not, with him, an escape from unpleasant and inconvenient facts or awkward and difficult situations, but contributions toward the proper and effectual way of dealing with them.

Not by moving further and further away from reality, blindly and obstinately, can the seeker discover truth. He must face the facts of common life before he can unveil those of the uncommon life.

The refusal to be realistic, the persistent looking aside from facts as they are, the being naïve under the delusion of having faith--this is not spirituality; it is simply mental adolescence.

The message for our times is: "The day of professional spirituality is past. It has bred religious hypocrisy and mystical futility. The day of a spiritualized mundane existence is here. We are to live in the world but not be of it. We are to set aside an hour a day for meditation and reflection but to attend to all other duties the rest of the day. Thus we shall have the chance which ascetics and monks lack, of translating spiritual ideas into spiritual deeds. The attraction toward the divine need not mean repulsion from the world. There is room in human life for both the heavenly and the earthly. To deepen knowledge and increase beauty, to spread compassion and to uplift man--this is our work today."

True spirituality for this age is to be found outside the cloister. Character is to find its needed testing ground in the world. Contemplation is to be practised as a preface or an epilogue to the day's work.

The orientation of modern spirituality, under the changed conditions of today, is not towards retreat from the world but towards a spiritualizing effort in the world.

The philosophic student cultivates correct attitudes towards life, fortune, men, and events until they are built into his character. In this way he is practising philosophy all the time, not merely during his reading hours.

The varied character of daily experience and the confirmation of summed-up total experience ought to enrich his understanding of philosophy as well as provide opportunities to apply it constantly.

To say that the inner activity of mystical life is quite compatible with the outer activity of worldly life is to deceive oneself. The mystic may--and in these times usually must--come to terms with the world, but it is not his inner guidance that bids him arrive at this compromise. It is outer compulsion that bids him do so.

We moderns have to learn how to pursue truth and practise meditation, how to worship God and overcome ego while in the very midst of active affairs, for no other way is open to us.

One man may find his way to the Overself by guardedly living in the world whereas another may find it through turning his back on the world. But before the first can complete his search he will have to retire temporarily and occasionally from the world, and before the second man can do the same he will have to test his inner life by temporary and occasional returns to the world.

It is one of the contributions of philosophy that it elevates useful work to the status of a component of spiritual activity, instead of degrading it, as mysticism does, as being detrimental to such activity. Hence, insofar as the philosophic student is striving to carry out his daily task honestly, efficiently, perfectly, and in the spirit of service, he is improving his own character for philosophic purposes too.

The philosophic student will not make the mistake of using the quest as an excuse for inefficiency when attending to duties. There is nothing spiritual in being a muddler. The performance of worldly duties in a dreamy, casual, uninterested, and slovenly manner is often self-excused by the mystically minded because they feel superior to such duties. This arises out of the false opposition which they set up between Matter and Spirit. Such an attitude is not the philosophical one. The mystic is supposed to be apathetic in worldly matters, if he is to be a good mystic. The philosophical student, on the contrary, keeps what is most worthwhile in mysticism and yet manages to keep alert in worldly matters too. If he has understood the teaching and trained himself aright, his practical work will be better done and not worse because he has taken to this quest. He knows it is perfectly possible to balance mystical tendencies with a robust efficiency. He will put as much thought and heart into his work as it demands.

Religion's prayer and mystical meditation can be, and are, used to forget grinding troubles and escape hard duties. The peace of mind thus felt is pleasant, but not of lasting benefit. For the meaning of the trouble or duty is missed, and its place in the man's development, lost. Philosophy, while not disdaining the use of prayer and meditation, does not allow them to become escapist and obscure the need of practical attitudes also.

During the moments of meditation he will find the wonderful possibility of what he can become, but during the hours of action he will find the wonderful opportunity of realizing it.

But life must not end in meditation or else it will become extremely, if not entirely, self-centered. Meditation itself must bear fruit in active expressions.

Henry Suso acquired a reputation for mystical wisdom and ascetic piety when he remained secluded inside a monastery for twenty years. He lost it in less than half that time when he emerged to live and act in the outside world. For there was the testing-ground which measured his real achievement, as well as the evil forces which would destroy such a man's good work.

The effectiveness of action is raised immensely when it is inspired by mystical means. The fruitlessness of meditation is widened immensely when it is kept aloof from action.

It is not only in meditation's deep well that the divine has to be found, but also in the daily routine. It has to be naturalized.

In the end, the art of life can only be learned by living. Reverie and meditations, thinking and study, mystical raptures and inner visions are only means to this end, not the end in itself.

To think out an ideal, a way of conduct, is only a part of the battle a man will have to fight with himself over himself. The other part is to do it. Only when the ideal is applied in action does it become wholly realized. This is why the monk's existence is not enough, any more than the worldling's is enough. We need the world of action and experience to draw out our latent resources, to give us the chance to develop in the whole of our being and not merely in thought alone.

Relation to religion & mysticism

Philosophy does not seek to displace religion but to deepen it.

Religion is not the final utterance of the Holy Ghost. That privilege belongs to philosophy.

Philosophy includes religion but not "a" religion. It is universal, not sectarian.

If religion is man's first gesture toward the Infinite Being, philosophy is his full commitment toward it.

Philosophy seeks to bring him into full consciousness of what religion only partly prepares him for.

In religion man gropes in the dark night for his higher self. In mysticism he moves less haltingly toward it in the breaking dawn. In philosophy he walks straight to its realization under the high noon.

Let him keep everything that religion has given him, provided it be real religion and not the pretense of it, but let him also seek everything that mysticism and philosophy can offer him. He cannot come to the second except through the first, nor to the third except through the second. If he combines them, greater reward will come to him.

Our personal concern is not with exoteric religions, which are all without exception in their period of decay and dissolution; it is with esoteric knowledge, the knowledge which was possessed by Jesus, Buddha, and Krishna alike and secretly taught to their closest disciples.

Philosophy is religion, is mysticism, but only when they have come to maturity. It has been reached by the best minds of the other two and by the best minds among the sceptics and atheists, but again only on their attaining maturity.

Any account of the philosophic life which left the impression that it had no place for religious veneration and personal prayer would be misleading. Practical philosophy calls for the regular pursuit of devotional exercises just as much as it calls for the regular pursuit of mystical ones. The four genuflections and associated prayers are the means to this. To neglect the duty of daily worship on the plea that one has risen above it is an excuse which is manufactured by the lower self to perpetuate its own sovereignty. The higher philosophic experiences are not open to the man who is too proud to go down on bent knees in humble reverence or spiritual pleading. The student's religious fervours and exercises will not be rendered obsolete and consequently rejected, but they will be assimilated to and made use of in the larger philosophic life. Philosophy would indeed be foolish if it were to kick away the ladders of religion and mysticism by which people may ascend to it. Just as food can never displace drink for the sustenance of a healthy body, so meditation can never displace prayer for the sustenance of a healthy spiritual life, any more than study can displace meditation. Worship and prayer are essential philosophic duties.

We must retain as philosophers whatever worthwhile things we possessed as religious believers. We must retain the principles even if we will have to vary the forms of religious worship, prayer, devotion, aspiration, and communion.

The faith in and the practice of reverential worship into which he was initiated by religion must not be dropped. It is required by philosophy also. Only, he is to correct, purify, and refine it. He is to worship the divine presence in his heart, not some distant remote being, and he is to do so more by an act of concentrated thought and unwavering feeling than by resort to external indirect and physical methods. With the philosopher, as with the devotee, the habit of prayer is a daily one. But whereas he prays with light and heat, the other prays with heat alone. The heart finds in such worship a means of pouring out its deepest feelings of devotion, reverence, humility, and communion before its divine source. Thus we see that philosophy does not annul religious worship, but purifies and preserves what is best in it. It does annul the superstitions, exploitations, and futilities connected with conventional religious worship. In the end philosophy brings the seeker back to religion but not to a religion: to the reverence for a supreme power which he had discarded when he discarded the superstitions which had entwined themselves around it. Philosophy is naturally religious and inevitably mystical. Hence it keeps intact and does not break to pieces that which it receives from religion and yoga. It will, of course, receive only their sound fruits, not their bad ones. Philosophic endeavour does not, for instance, disdain religious worship and humble prayer merely because its higher elements transcend them. They are indeed part of such endeavour. But they are not, as with religionists, the whole of it. The mystic must not give up being religious merely because he has become a mystic. In the same way, the philosopher must not give up being both mystical and religious merely because he has become a philosopher. It is vitally important to know this. Philosophy does not supersede religion but keeps it and enlarges it.

Just as science and religion meet and must meet in metaphysical philosophy, so religion and theology meet in mystical philosophy.

If it be true that the hidden teaching effectually reconciles religion science mysticism and philosophy, it does so in the only way in which they can be reconciled, by dropping them into their proper places and not by placing them all on an equal level. For it treats religion as an infant; mysticism, science, and metaphysics as youths; and philosophy alone as an adult.

Religion is man's quest of reality on its elementary level. Metaphysics is the same quest on its lower-intermediate level, and mysticism is the higher-intermediate one. In philosophy, the quest is completed on the highest plane.

There is something beyond mysticism. Peace is not the final goal of man. It is good but it is not enough. Just as religion must finally find its culmination in mysticism, so mysticism must find it in philosophy, and so metaphysics must find it in philosophic mysticism.

This is a special worth and admirable feature of true philosophy, that it does not leave behind and supersede earlier spheres of development but rather lets the later ones include and penetrate them. They are all necessary.

Man's fundamental need of the quest is first somewhat superficially assuaged by religion; growing stronger, it is next more deeply satisfied by mysticism. But only when the precious waters of philosophy are fully drunk is it finally and perfectly met.

Philosophy repudiates nothing in yoga, nothing in religion, nothing in mysticism that is correct or necessary. How could it when it draws its own lifeblood from the mystical intuition and the devotional attitude? But it does complete them by introducing what is further necessary and it does equilibrate them by shifts of emphasis and keeping them in place.

To pass from religion to philosophy is not to reject religion but rather to absorb its best elements and then integrate them into higher ones.

Philosophy carries us upward from lower to higher conceptions of the Deity.

We may understand how this movement from one standpoint to another becomes possible when we remember that we begin to learn astronomy on the assumption that the geocentric system--which is based on the belief that the earth is the centre of our universe--is valid, for this renders much easier the explanation of such unfamiliar themes as the poles, the equator, and the ecliptic. Later however we are told that this standpoint is only preliminary and that it was adopted for the sake of convenience in dealing with beginners so as to render their studies easier. The heliocentric system--which is based on the belief that the sun is the centre of our universe--is then put forward as being valid and the other is dropped. The instructional method used in the hidden teaching is similar. Here religion represents a preliminary standpoint for beginners in the study of life. After its values have been thoroughly absorbed, the latter gradually advance to the next standpoint, the mystical. When the students have won the fruits of meditation and reflection, they travel still further until they reach the third and final standpoint of philosophy, which develops ultramystical insight and practises disinterested activity. Thus each standpoint is a characteristic feature of a certain stage of inner evolution.

Philosophy can understand, and sympathize with, atheism as an expression of man's effort to free himself from superstition--albeit a clumsy, groping, and dangerous effort. But its own practice leads it to discover the godlike soul as man's real self, so it cannot help rejecting the materialism which would deny that along with the denial of God.

The voice of philosophy is necessarily more restrained, less shrill, than the voice of religion or cultism. But if this makes it quieter and less heard by the crowd, it also makes it better heard by the sensitive and more enduring in the result.

Where religion converts a man, philosophy transforms him. Where religion affects a part of a man, philosophy affects the whole.

Living synthesis, not anemic eclecticism

Philosophy is not one teaching among many others, to be chosen in rivalry amongst all. It is fundamentally different from them in kind and nature.

Just as Religion is larger than the religions, so is Philosophy larger than the philosophies.

Although philosophy is unique it is also all-inclusive.

The philosophic outlook rises above all sectarian controversy. It finds its own position not only by appreciating and synthesizing what is solidly based in the rival sects but also by capping them all with the keystone of nonduality.

The mystic who sees no utility and no purpose in breaking his own tranquillity to descend into the suffering world and serve or save its inhabitants, justifies his attitude by declaring that the sufferings are illusory and the inhabitants non-existent! Where is the incentive to altruistic action in this doctrine of nonduality, where the inspiration for art, where the impetus to science? The answer may not be obvious but nevertheless it lies enshrined in the very nature of these tenets.

It is not quite correct to state, as has been done, that this teaching represents the essence of the Indian Vedanta philosophy. Its sources have included it but they have also been many and varied. And, in the doctrine of higher individuality, for instance, there is an actual divergence between the two teachings.

Vedanta is superb, the most logical of all metaphysics; but because it is a metaphysic and a mystique, it is for me inconclusive. We need more a guide to how to live in the body and keep it well. We need to gather up a synthesis of knowledge--a key to the World-Idea, a practical guide to healthy living, a devotional and mystical system of prayer and meditation. The philosopher is unable to follow the Vedantin in ignoring the outer conditions of life to the extent that he does. Their proper handling is ignored only by paying a proportionate price in trouble of some kind. Let the Vedantin talk much and often of the non-existence of the body; you will find that in one way or another, in illness or in lack, he cannot help being aware of the body.

The thoughtful man is too much of a Buddhist to limit himself to Advaita. But counter to that, the intuitive man is too much of an Advaitin to limit himself to Buddhism. The wise man balances and blends the two in philosophy.

The absolutist metaphysics of Subramanya Iyer in the East and Lilian de Waters in the West declares only the One Reality; it would reject the whole universe as non-existent and the whole human race along with it. The dualist metaphysics declares that this Reality reveals and manifests itself in the time-space finite world. The integral metaphysics of philosophy says, however, that it is unwise and unbalanced to separate these two solutions of the mystery of life and then to oppose one against the other. They are to be fitted together, for only in such completeness can the full solution be found. Dualism answers the intellect's questions and satisfies the heart's yearnings but monism responds to the intuition's highest revelations. Both standpoints are necessary, for man is both a thinking and a feeling being; it is not enough to regard him only as an intuiting one. But this does not mean they are all on the same level. What is silently revealed to us by inner stillness must always be loftier than what is noisily told us by intellectual activity.

Philosophy does not dwell on the subject of nonduality. There are metaphysicians aplenty who will discuss or teach it for those who want to learn or listen. Philosophers neither support nor deny the doctrine. Here they are closer to Buddhism than to Hinduism.

The Advaitin who declares that as such he has no point of view, has already adopted one by calling himself an Advaitin and by rejecting every other point of view as being dualistic. A human philosophy is neither dualistic alone nor nondualistic alone. It perceives the connection between the dream and the dreamer, the Real and the unreal, the consciousness and the thought. It accepts Advaita, but refuses to stop with it; it accepts duality, but refuses to remain limited to it; therefore it alone is free from a dogmatic point of view. But in attempting to bring into harmony that which forever is and that which is bound by time and space, it becomes a truly human philosophy of Truth.

The comparative study of religion, mysticism, and metaphysics, as they have appeared in different centuries and in different parts of the world, will have a liberating effect on those who approach it in a thoroughly scientific independent and prejudice-free spirit. A comparative view of all the different spiritual cultures leads to a broader understanding of each particular one.

Where others present one with a statement of an issue or a description of a situation that is limited to a pair of opposites, the philosopher will either reconcile them or look for the third factor.

It is the joyous duty of philosophy to bring into systematic harmony the various views which mankind has held and will ever hold, however conflicting they seem on the surface, by assigning the different types to their proper levels and by providing a total view of the possible heights and depths of human thought. Thus and thus alone the most opposite tendencies of belief and the most striking contrasts of outlook are brought within a single scheme. All become aspects, more or less limited, only. None ever achieves metaphysical finality and need ever again be mistaken for the whole truth. All become clear as organic phases of mankind's mental development. Philosophy alone can bring logically opposite doctrines into harmonious relation with each other by assigning them to their proper places under a single sheltering canopy. Thus out of the medley of voices within us philosophy creates a melody.

Philosophy can be true to itself, to its highest purpose and clearest perception, only by discarding all bias and prejudice, narrowness and polemics, and accepting the visitations of grace through whatever mode it chooses to manifest. Philosophy must and does welcome the old and traditional but refuses to confine itself to that alone. It must and does greet the new and original if the holy spirit is therein too. It cannot be tied by time or place, group or race, celebrity or anonymity.

To attempt to construct a synthesis of truths drawn from different quarters is laudable, although in the end it depends on the judgement of the person making it. To attempt to mix the unmixable, to force oil and water into unity, is a different matter.

Philosophy does not indulge in a superficial, anaemic eclecticism but in a large and living synthesis. Thus, it wholeheartedly advocates the study of Indian spiritual culture if made from an independent standpoint and included in a comparative view, but it unhesitatingly refuses to swallow wholesale the same study from a convert's standpoint and as the follower of some guru.

There are fragments of this teaching to be found in ancient Rome amongst the Stoics, in ancient Greece amongst the Platonists, and in ancient India amongst the Buddhists. But they are fragments only. If you want the complete system, you must go to philosophy.

The intimate association of Eastern thought with Western culture, of ancient wisdom with modern knowledge, will give to each element a new and broader meaning while blending and harmonizing all of them. Philosophy combines in a truly catholic manner those elements of truth which are present in all these teachings but without any of their errors, absurdities, and archaic limitations.

The hidden philosophy is not something with which mankind at large is acquainted today. Many fragments of it have certainly found their way into the world, but the complete pattern of this philosophy has not.

Philosophy promotes the fullest intellectual independence, but not the freest intellectual anarchy. Therefore it adjures the student at the same time to gather up the harvest of the whole world's best thought from the earliest times to the latest.

The time has come to take in all the best of these currents and rise above narrowing loyalties. Only by such a synthesis can we arrive at Truth.

When this loftier standpoint is reached, these different schools and techniques are seen not as contrary but as complementary to one another.

The history of truth is an international one. It is from and for all the peoples of the world.

Each science can only deal in a limited range of facts. Philosophy takes up the results of all the separate sciences and puts them together. Then it takes up the results of all the arts, all the religions, all the yogas, and all the other branches of human activity. Finally it combines the lot. None of these branches can authoritatively pronounce on the meaning of universal existence, for this is beyond its sphere of reference. It may indeed talk foolishly when it ventures to do so. This is why philosophy is unique.

Philosophy is unique in this respect: no other teaching views life so broadly and yet so penetratingly.

Whereas most other forms of culture are mere branches of it and consequently emphasize one particular aspect of life, philosophy embraces its whole field.

Anything that concerns human life is grist for the mill of philosophic reflection and action. For philosophy does not merely concern itself with interpreting life but also with remolding it.

It is here that the beautiful balance of philosophy rejects at one and the same time two opposing ways which appear in the history of mysticism. The one would, through oversystematization and burdensome detail, turn its methods into rigid frozen complicated mechanisms, as if the inner being were a piece of engineering rather than a living thing to be nourished and warmed. The other would, through vague foundations, the pretext of freedom, and excessive individualism, turn its teachings into an anarchy of conflicting ideas and personal phantasies or an arena for contending personal ambitions.

Philosophy rises above sects and is therefore free from sectarian dispute, friction, and hostility. It is naturally tolerant, knowing that as men rise in cultural and moral development, their beliefs will rise in truthfulness and nobility.

As broad an investigation as the records of knowledge allow, and as deep a reflection upon the facts elucidated--this is the aim of the serious philosopher. He will be careful to take all the facts and all the evidence--so far as he can get them--into account, and not disregard such portion of it as is distasteful to him, not neglect those findings which are unknown to or unwanted by the kind of society in which he is brought up and lives.

Philosophy is free. It is both for those who seek an ideal or guidance from the leaders inside institutions and for those who will have nothing to do with institutions.

There is no room for a fixed and finished sectarianism here. The unfoldment of inner life must not be cramped into an arrested form.

The philosopher cannot take a one-sided view. He must stand on a higher level above such narrowness, and thus get a larger picture. It may not be possible for humans to be totally unbiased but it is possible to try to be fair and just. This requires an awareness of the other aspects. It does not require the fusion of differences, the mixing of the unmixable. They can be left where they are, each in its own place, contributing what it alone can contribute. Each can be reconciled into acceptance of the other's right to exist separately without invasion. A forced synthesis is pseudo-unity.

If philosophy accepts all viewpoints as being valid, it does not fall into the error of accepting them as being equally valid. It says that they are progressively valid and rest on lower or higher levels.

It readily grants the utility of these progressive stages at their time and in their place, but it rejects them as ends in themselves. Philosophy recognizes only one end to be attained--the Real.

Philosophy recognizes the all-importance of points of view. It knows that no results are tenable unless they are ultimate ones--that is to say, unless they are got by adopting the ultimate point of view.

Let the various insights and revelations out of which the well-established faiths and teachings have grown flourish as they find themselves, reformed and purified today if their needs so dictate, but why attempt to mix them all together? What would the result be but a kind of stew? If a synthesis is sought, say of the Buddhist and the Christian, let those who like one have it. But for others does not diversity, as in a garden, give more picturesque, interesting, and richer results?

Those who have not taken the precaution to study other teachings, other ideas, other experiences, and other revelations, but only the views of their own favoured teacher, may have learned the worst and not the best. And those who know only their own religion, their own nation's history and form of government may pay in some way or other for their ignorance. Comparative study will be part of the education of a better world. It will not only bring less prejudice and more tolerance, but also--what is more important--help to establish truth.

Each seer gets hold of some facet of truth and contributes that to the world-stock. Let us be tolerant.

None of these teachers tells, or seems able to tell, the whole story. Each gives out all he can--a fragment of it. The hour is at hand when they should be joined together, when a synthesis of truth should be made from all of them.

Whoever advocates a particular view usually produces plenty of evidence on its behalf but withholds some or all of the evidence on behalf of opposing views. It is only the philosopher who tries to get a complete picture of the situation from different sides. It needs more than a little imaginative effort to understand the other and unfamiliar ways of looking at a question. But the results are usually worthwhile.

We may fully sympathize with a standpoint and yet we need not hesitate to utter certain criticisms of it. How else can a just view be got?

It teaches men not to limit both the field and the freedom of their search by limiting themselves to a single teaching or a single teacher in the restricted and dependent tie of discipleship.

Physics, metaphysics, religion, and mysticism must unite before each can speak truth, which is a unique whole and not a particular fragment as they individually are.

But we shall not arrive at such a higher standpoint unless we arrive at clear thought about the matter. One of the trickiest obstacles in the way of correct thinking about these problems is the partisan habit of propounding a dilemma which presents one with the choice between two alternatives. Thus either one must accept materialism and reject religion or vice versa. The proper course to be travelled will not only lie between these two extremes but also take us into lands beyond them.

The Greek love of balance and sense of proportion are incorporated in philosophy as much as the Roman-Stoic love of self-mastery and sense of mental values.

Philosophical study welcomes lofty, wise, and inspired ideas "from every side," from every religion, from every century. Such width of outlook breeds tolerance, enlarges knowledge, promotes goodwill.

The dogmatism which vehemently asserts that only in its particular sect or creed lies final salvation has nothing to do with philosophy and is alien to the discovery of truth. This must be so, for the philosopher seeks balance and uses counterbalance whenever necessary.

Details are significant, but only in their relation to the whole, to the greater purpose of all life.

Philosophy criticizes any approach to truth which arrogates to itself the privilege of being the only path to enlightenment. For in practice philosophy makes use of any and every one needful. It is too spontaneous to limit its efforts to purely ancient or merely Oriental forms.

By refusing to join philosophy to any built-up structure, social or cultural organization, or particular group of people, this approach keeps its own freedom and bestows that same freedom on those who study it.

It is too time-wasting, muddling, negative, and one-sided to look for error in every other doctrine and then magnify it enormously. The atmosphere of criticism becomes habitual and leads to no constructive result. It is better to gather the flowers of wisdom and the fruits of peace.

The profit of a full and explicit picture of the universe is immense. It provides the seeker with a safe course and a correct destination. Otherwise his undirected efforts may spend themselves in a lifetime of groping wandering and haphazard movements. The greatest advantage can come only from a world-picture of the greatest completeness. Only with one that presents all principal aspects of the human entity, and of its place in this picture, can that entity understand how best to live out its incarnation.

We may try to take not a bird's-eye view of the world but a God's-eye view of it.

The wisdom embedded in philosophy belongs to all the ages, and not to any particular time.

As one reflects upon the majestic grandeur of this teaching, its amplitude and height, one feels like a traveller who stands for the first time at a vantage point of the Himalayas, where loftier and ever loftier snowy summits fill the whole horizon to his left and right, as far as his eyes can see.

Philosophy stretches itself out on all sides. It is limited only by the limits of man's capacity to comprehend it.