Then I posed a question to the Master:
"Would it not be well for those who wish to develop spiritually to follow you and your Brothers' example by selecting some secluded spot and growing undisturbed with their interior meditation and concentration of thought?
"There are many people in the world, in various countries, who are adhering to various creeds and Churches and who have been convinced that there is but one real way which the majority of men and women should but do not follow. This is the Way of the Christos. But with conditions as they are in the world today, civilization, as it is called, does not afford the conducive conditions under which they may quickly attain a higher spiritual state.
"The average man and woman are striving only for such things as gratification of pride and hoarding money, along with sexual pleasure and obtaining bodily comforts. They do not know the true reality and the objective of life. These things should be just a means toward an end, in other words, to afford the conditions by which the divine elements generally contained in man might grow and develop."
The Master, who had listened patiently to my outburst of enthusiasm, smiled and said:
"If those people have advanced so far as to be able to bear a life of seclusion, let them do so. But to do so, it would be, above all, necessary that they should possess some real knowledge. For only those with such knowledge will be able to live harmoniously together.
"As long as men move merely on the plane of belief and opinion, any such collective life would be anything but harmonious and would not be conducive to the tranquillity necessary for concentration.
"I have no doubt, though, that even under such unfavorable conditions, considerable advantage might be derived from the establishment of seminaries or schools where both science and truth would be taught, without the accompaniment of super- stition, or dogmatic teaching, of either science or religion.
"The actual attainment of illumination and realization would vastly improve the present civilization, and there is no reason why science, theology or religion and the New Testament under Jesus Christ could not be frankly taught so that it could be established that all are one in the Mind of God.
"If truth does not embrace these three, then we do not have truth, but illusion.
"At the present time, science is concerned with her deductions and speculations which are based on observations and logic. Her logic is good enough, but the powers of her observation are very poor, for she has not the spiritual understanding.
"Her observations are restricted to her imperfect faculties of sensual perception. Therefore, your science is based entirely upon external illusions.
"Churches and other religious organizations have founded themselves on one or more ideas and have not joined hands with science or told and taught the whole truth of creation. Their doctrines in many cases are contradictory to the fundamental law of Nature and creation, and they are left on the plane of illusion.
"Truth, as it has been taught metaphysically, is based strictly on books and words, not on spiritual exercises and the searching out of inner wisdom. The world's philosophers are restricted in their ideas to the findings of what they wish to find, and thus they are only following half-truth.
"Let me make it clearer," said the Master, for he saw that I was not fully grasping the meaning of his words. "I do not mean to say that modern science knows nothing about the external appearance of things. Science knows what it sees, but is not able to see well anything but sensual and external phenomena, the effects.
"Science knows nothing or little about the invisible causes which produce the very realistic physical effects. That is why that when she attempts to speculate about them, she errs. The reason for this is that causes are not the consequences of their effects but the consequences of still more interior, fundamental causes of which she knows nothing and from which she draws her logical conclusions regarding the ultimate effects. But she knows nothing of the tree of life, the eternal source from which all these transient phenomena spring.
"Regarding the churches, let me add that the priests are dedicated enough to the purpose to which they are giving their lives, but they have not been taught the true conception of the spiritual power which they possess. They dispute with one another because of the confines of dogma. The fact that the universal principles and powers are active in Nature, earth and all its living things is unknown to them.
"In their conceptions without the whole truth, they become narrowed down to personal things and they become limited beings. The great divine and infinite power which they call God, which exists everywhere and without which nothing can exist, is reduced in their minds, due to their ignorance, to an external cosmic deity of some kind, who can be persuaded by mortals to change his will and way. Your religion, as it is, is not a religion of the living God who still lives and Whose Will is being ever executed but of a God who Was.
"Therefore, modern religions are systems of superstition, from which the truth has been excluded and the infinite God has been dethroned from His eternal throne in the hearts of men and replaced with fallible mortal priests, who strive to be infallible, but who do not have the God-Realization to attain it.
"Love has departed, but fear rules mankind very little nowadays, for men are very desperate. Each individual seeks his own God and forgets that his brother is looking for one. Each one wants to be saved at the expense of another, and each one wants to obtain a reward which he has not merited.
"Almost all of our civilization think that to live is the object of life; few realize that man's objective in life can only be one reasonable objective -- namely, to benefit humanity. He can only hope to live life eternal who obtains the power to live, not in himself, but in the spiritual elements of humanity.
"Your theology should above all lead the way and should give the priest or minister the basis upon which should come the power to spiritually perceive the truth. The majority of clergymen today do not have the spiritual perception or do not dare to trust their intuition more than the dogma presented by the church permits. It is true in this day that if he dares to assert truth, he ceases to be a minister and is considered a heretic. Almost everything in the church is left to intellectual investigation along, and little is done in the way of intuitive development of the power of the heart. Therefore, they look through a telescope: they see but they do not feel what they see, and what they see is usually not right, but builds a false conception of Nature and MAN.
"Man is nothing more or less than the living organism or instrument through which the Universal One-Life acts. In other words, he is an intellectual.
"The organization of man's brain compared to that of an animal is far superior and enables him to be an instrument of manifestation of the highest principle in the universe, which is called the principle of divine wisdom or the flow of the Christos through him.
"The instrument through which the divine principle acts in man and through man, working from the inside outward upon the external world, is the organism of the soul. Through this the Spirit of God finds the soil to grow into the individual form. Thus it finds its motivation for its development and food from which it may draw its strength.
"As long as man is not acquainted with the Self and soul and with the processes going on within himself, he will have little power to guide and control. He will be a victim of environment, not growing through the wisdom within. For in the soul and the Self is contained the wisdom to promote his world, both as an individual and as part of a social group. He will become his own master and attain. He will know Christ and the Lord of this earth.
"He will, under these conditions, be superior to the animal and plant-life. The ignorant depend upon the conditions prepared for them; the knowing one can choose his conditions himself.
"For many centuries a superstitious belief was prevalent among both the ignorant and the learned. It was believed that man was a finished being, incapable of any further organic improvement. It was, or course, known that during his lifetime, his knowledge could grow, and that as he advanced in age, he could learn things which he did not know when he was young. Thought and intellectual activity were looked upon as something incomprehensible, as a force without matter, as an activity without substance, as a nothing.
"They did not know where man stored the knowledge which he acquired, nor what became of it when he died. They did not know whether or not after the death of his body he would have another, perhaps a still greater opportunity to acquire know- ledge. And if he could learn something after 'death' and without having a body, they asked, what was the object of his having any physical body at all? None could tell.
"The scientists rejected such questions as unworthy of their consideration, and they preferred annihilation to confession that there was something in the wide expanse of nature which they did not already know. The theories advanced by the theologians were not more satisfactory than those of the scientists, for they believed -- or professed to believe-- that man was a complete being, having come in a finished state out of the hands of his Creator and, as a punishment for his subsequent bad behavior, was imprisoned upon this planet. They furthermore were of the opinion that, if a man were leading a pious life, or, after leading a wicked life, obtained pardon for his sins and the favor of God, he would after his death become a superior being, be ushered into a paradise, and live in a state of never-ending enjoyment.
"Since the publication of 'Esoteric Buddhism' the opinions of the scientists and those of the theologians have been equally shaken in their foundations. The old truth, which was known to the scientists but which had been almost entirely forgotten during our modern age of materialism -- that man is not a finished being, incapable of any further organic development, but that his body and his mind are continually subject to transformation and change, and that no transformation can exist where no substance exists, because force cannot exist without substance -- has become almost universally known. It was demonstrated to the scientists that their science extended only over a very small portion of that mysterious being called Man; that they only knew his outward appearance, his shell, but they knew nothing of the living power acting within the mask which is called the physical body.
"It was made logically comprehensible to the intellect that God is the divine spiritual element in man, which alone will continue to live after all the lower and imperfect elements are dissolved, and that therefore a man in whom God did not exist in a state of divinity could not, after the death of his body, jump into a higher state for which he was not fit, and which he was not able to attain while alive."