"It is good to be at home again," said Mol Lang. "I love my home because here are my friends, and here is the congenial atmosphere of spirituality. I see about me the environs of my last objective incarnation, this present. For me there is no more birth, and no death of the body except through transition of the Logos. Here I passed the ordeal of the crisis and am become androgynous, for in me now are the feminine and the masculine; I am whole, not half, and I and my egoic mate are one individual We twain are one, and have come unto the Spirit in the sense uttered by the Savior when He said, 'Be ye therefore perfect, even as thy Father is perfect.' And thou, my son Phylos, wilt surely come into this same glory, for by thy karma it is so fixed. Yes," said he, reverting to his first thought, "it is good to be at home."
The old man arose from his seat and paced with stately erectness up and down the veranda. "Old?" Yes, as earth counts age; for Pertoz he was just in early prime, not yet come
to his two hundredth year by some forty-eight months. And age could never affect him more, for he was come to deathlessness; to bodily immortality. Of him, as of many, are the words of the beloved apostle, John. 1 At that moment he was in his astral form, his physical body being in his sleeping-room, where he left it, in order to cross interplanetary space for me. Curious thought! An inhabitant of Venus able to visit earth at will! Yet it is not really difficult. It merely involves the leaving of the physical body and plane at one point, and entrance to the astral, or psychic plane. From this latter it is as easy to return to the state of cause at any point, be it Alcyone, chief of the "Pleiads, glittering in their eternal depths," or even further, beyond ken of the telescope, as it is to return to the place departed from. The whole difficulty is in leaving the physical plane at all, and for the advanced esoterist this is as nothing, because the normal state of his soul is always in the astral or psychic instead of the physical. The difficulty with a student is in the repugnance he feels to the thought of returning to an inferior state of being, like life on earth. But the Life of Love is: "I serve." So we return.
That we were in the astral, disembodied state was no hindrance to Phyris' perception of us, for like all Hesperians she had the sight of the soul as you have ordinary sight, a mere commonplace power. Her eyes, as indeed those of all souls on this high plane of being, have psychic clairvoyance as a normal possession, though not the less endowed with ordinary physical vision on this account. As in the long ago of Earth, her eyes were still the same clear, calm gray, the kind possessed by Jesus of Nazareth. They were windows for her pure soul, which seemed to be just behind them, gazing out. This slender, graceful girl was no devachanic ideal, although not gross enough to be visible to eyes used only to perception of objective, earthly states of matter; her sweet, grave demeanor, her light laugh at something said by Mol Lang, her perfection of physical life, all breathed the fact
of her objective being, and bore evidence to the truth that her rule of life was obedience to the law. And yet I doubt if your eyes, my friends, could have seen her at all. No telescope will ever reveal human life on Venus; not that it is not there, but its forms are of the One Substance effected by a range of force rendering them imperceptible to earthly eyes. You will not think the air any less material, or electricity any less real, because your eyes cannot perceive them. Your eyes are very limited in their visual range; if the One Substance vibrates more or less rapidly than an exceedingly small length of time, producing correspondingly minute force wavelengths, your eyes cannot cognize such vibrations. It is the same with your ears and hearing. If your eyes and ears were not thus limited, you would see every sound and hear every sunbeam. Every rainbow would be vocal, while heat, which now you only feel, would furnish amazing wealth of sound and vision. So it is with the Hesperian people, their persons you could not see, their voices you could not hear, yet they would not be similarly limited in regard to your persons and voices. But so long as you fancy that because you have eyes you can see all that there is to be seen, and that your ears hear all that is worth hearing, so long will you depend on these organs, and gain that sort of false ideas of the Universe which must arise from entire ignorance of all except the tiny bit of creation you occupy. So long, too, will you depend on the telescope to reveal truths about other worlds; you will hunt for evidences of human life on the nearer planets, but you will never find any until you cease to expect that matter will reveal soul; it can not do it, for the finite can not reveal infinity. Turn it about; ask of the soul revealment of itself and of matter also, and all worlds will draw near to you, show their teeming vitality of life, and all nature will uncover such treasures as the hungry soul of science has never found before.
Phyris was able to look over all my past, over the other lives which I had yet to attain the power of re-collecting. She knew every deed, thought and motive of it all. Had she
oared to examine this history? No fear existed in my mind, for I did not know of such a past myself, and my ignorance preserved my peace of mind. I did not try to analyze the reason for my eager desire to win this maiden's good opinion. If I had, I should have railed at myself for a presumptuous fool. As it was, I was happy in the knowledge of my purity of purpose.
Though dissociated from earth life, my soul development was but little more than before. Therefore, to me, Phyris seemed a sort of goddess; and to have estimated only as perfect human herself and her wondrous occult powers, would have been an impossibility with me. To have found that I was in love with her would have frightened me. I am glad that I was then prevented that thought. But deep in my soul it was true, nevertheless, and the leaven was working. Closer knowledge was not to have the effect of detracting from her exalted position; but it was to raise me to the understanding that these psychic powers were attributes of human nature, for in itself human nature is essentially godlike.
By the way, what is the mundane idea of God? You say that God is, omnipotent, omnipresent, eternal. Very good. But the earthly idea of these things is very narrow. Conceptions can never rise higher than their source, hence God is, although a noble ideal, not nearly so great to the world as He is to Hesperus. Do you say that I am inconsistent, denying my own high claims for Man, and that I am virtually negativing the statement that conceptions can rise to the level of their source? I reply that the Father limits the height of the source. "What do I mean?" I mean that He speaks to the but partially developed human soul on the earth plane from the level of human principle in Himself, but from no higher plane. Hence, the terrene conception of Him is that of a perfect Person, all-powerful, ubiquitous, eternal, but a person; whereas He is impersonal. But to the Hesperian, God speaks of Himself and His works from the level of Spirit, which is above soul; it is the level of the Over-Soul of Emerson. I hope you will study that statement, for nothing
I have said means more, is more important in all this book.
I have said that the earthly conceptions of omnipotence, omnipresence and eternity are narrow. It is true. The first means only the most extravagant exercise or suspension of known laws, but scouts the existence of fearful, wonderful, unknown laws. Omnipresence means to the non-occult mind a variety of vague, impracticable ideas, only the few recognizing it as immanency and constant self insertion and creation. Finally, eternity; the mind readily agrees to unlimited, endless time, yet is aghast at a mere decillion, almost refusing credence. Yet one is to the other as all to nothing. '
At the time I first met Phyris my ideas of God were similarly limited, and when I saw her exercise powers which no terrestrial man ever dreamed that even God could possess, I was truly aghast. Love her? Not then. Respect her, adore her, as a Hindoo does an image of his God, yes. But the seed was sown; its growth sure.
Mol Lang left me in the large parlor of his home, whither we three had gone, and when only Phyris was here besides myself, I immediately was constrained by a diffident fear of my gentle hostess. Although she soon dispelled this feeling, I nevertheless felt relieved when a young man entered and she introduced me to--
"My brother, Sohma."
As I looked upon the two, and remembered Mol Lang's appearance, I thought: "What splendid physique these people have, how graceful and perfect every line; it is as if the body were moulded upon the soul, and perfect in its every physical contact."
"Yes, thou art right in thy thoughts," said Sohma. He had replied to my thought, as Mol Lang and Phyris had: "Thou art right. We make our physical lives correspond to our rigid adherence to law, though that adherence is to us a second nature, not onerous, nor even in its exercise consciously applied. Excesses, intemperance, indulgence of that nature so pleasant to the animal senses, these have no attraction, but instead are utterly repugnant. Vegetarians strictly,
never taking life for any selfish purpose, is it wonderful that our material frames conform to our soul shapes?"
"Truly not," I replied, "but in my case how could conformity to law change the appearance of an unhandsome maturity? My body is already grown, completed in obedience to laws not wisely nor very closely kept. I see you possessed of occult wisdom, but I am not, and find it hard to remember what I have heard of it; as for making the knowledge practical, impossible!"
"Phylos, my brother, the occult adept is born, not made. His or her knowledge. is from within, not from without. Unto thee shall be given the key of the Spirit, and behold, the All-Knowing will enter into thy soul, and though no man shall teach thee, neither any book, yet shalt thou become aware of all things, for all things are of our Father, and that is the Spirit. 1 But ere the Spirit come in, the house must be swept, and, my brother Phylos, I would that thou wert not destined to endure this ordeal. Yet the occult that knoweth all things is born of many lives, and in these has been evil. Thou art so born; it is karma."
Mol Lang had now returned clothed in his material body, and I alone was in the astral, yet not solitary in the sense of loneliness, for my friends were not separated from me as a result of our diverse physical conditions. True, I could not array myself in material form, for I was in Venus, and my body was in a distant planet. This condition was the reverse of disability, however, for in going from place to place I had but to desire to be in the more distant, and I was there, though this power enabled me to have such freedom only in Hesper, and a sense of restriction consequently arose. Discontent was growing in my soul; I felt already a stranger on this high soul plane whereto my friends were born. Though I knew nothing of earth because my earthly self was in the Sach in the care of Mendocus, yet I had a most uncomfortable feeling
of foreignness; a feeling that some other and previous condition, somewhere, was not strange, and I had a longing to be again in its familiar environment. Poor me!
316:1 NOTE.--Kindly see St. John xvii; 21-26.
320:1 St. John xvi; 13.
Next: Chapter VI: An Indirect Answer