The French philosopher Ballanche believed that the world was the thought of God, written down for man to read, though few were able to decipher the script and most had lost the faculty of divining its meaning, though the text lay before them.
This conception was not unfamiliar to earlier times, indeed, in the ancient classics of the East, such as the ‘ Ramayana’ great stress was laid on the movements of birds, beasts and planets in relation to man’s condition and destiny. The Mahabharata states in no uncertain terms that when righteousness declines, the inevitable sequence, in the form of famine, drought, war, disease and disaster is mirrored in natural phenomena.
In a world where discord prevails and the distortion of loving-kindness and truth is lamentably patent, every thinking person is bound to pause and consider whither he is bound and how he may find some guiding thread to which it will be possible to cling, to avoid inevitable chaos. Not only do the machinations of politicians and leaders of nations seem meaningless to the majority, but we are conscious of the increased pace that carries us on to a dread unknown, and in the mad rush, what opportunity is given to take our bearings ? Indeed, should we find ourselves alone or tranquil for a space, we are likely to be dismayed, nor have we any idea how or what we can do to conjure up our inner resources. Having neglected our potentialities so long, we are not able to transmute our incomprehension into vision, immediately. Prophets and saints have appealed to man in vain, through succeeding generations, and each repudiation of their message has plunged him into deeper incapacity, retarding the growth of that which is his only means of deliverance.
The seed must lie alone in the silent dark, ere it can mature and manifest its fecundity, and man, if he does not learn to withdraw and be still, will never know the answer to his problems. Pity it is that we do not emulate the practice of the Red Indians, who, from the earliest years, taught their children to sit absolutely still for a period every day.
Any country lover, who leaves the city, knows how long he must sit alone and quiet before he is able to discern the myriad sounds and sights, and trace their origin, for he is still bemused by the clamour of urban life. So is man confused by the din of a profitless activity, while the frail craft of his life rises and falls alarmingly on the ocean of circumstance he is unable to control.
Is there then a solution for the individual ? Can he hope for security and guidance while being borne along on the maelstrom of an order superimposed on him by those who deny the working out of divine decrees ?
Yes, the waters of Jordan still hold their healing power, the meek may still inherit the earth, the pure in heart still see God. It lies in a comprehensive simplification of living, the evolving of a detached calm in which the heart and mind become aware of that which they not only may call upon for guidance, but which will prove to be an infinite treasure of security and peace to them. It is ever manifesting itself, but we are too preoccupied with trivialities to observe it, and it is therefore imperative that we take time off from futile busy-ness, to develop seeing without eyes and hearing without ears. Not only must we become quiet inwardly but our faculties must be dredged of sensations, appetites and artificial stimuli, for they are too clogged for spiritual apprehension to operate. This dredging is achieved by the reduction of desires, which otherwise consume the marrow of our being, growing, as they do, on what they feed upon, leading us to moral bankruptcy. Once the consuming fire of acquisition has subsided and we have gained a certain calm and poise, we shall become aware of a hush, heralding a new experience.
The state of the mystic is not due to special powers, but to a gift bestowed on him as a reward for his attitude, namely the patient waiting in loving expectation for the manifestation of divine power. Just as one recording the song of a rare bird, will wait over a long period and in any conditions, to capture its call, so should the soul wait for this response which will ever exceed the highest expectations, for it is said to be ‘ a dew, an elixir, a balm, a fire, a destroyer of all fear and sorrow, a delight, an anguish in its longing and the love it calls forth ; it is sweetness and might and a glory through which one is lifted to the pure crystal of God’s presence.’
And this unparalleled eventuality is open to all, whenever they cultivate quiet recollection in humility and faith. Let the world of appearances appear never so threatening, it will dissolve like mist under the rays of the sun, in the light of this inner vision.
Unhappy, restless man, bawling of peace and freedom, while nation bares its teeth at nation ; man who disregards the unequivocable panacea for his woes, the antidote to the poison of his presumption, the salve for his blindness ; man who seeks to rule the world controlled by his Master, whom he has failed to recognize and acknowledge ; puny, pitiful, prodigal, partaking of the husks which the swine eat, when he has but to turn homewards to receive a royal welcome, and to be clothed in wisdom, peace and love.