Higher and lower Manas are figured allegorically as the two inseparable companions of man through life, the one his Guardian Angel, the other his evil Demon.
On the 21st of December, with the Winter Solstice, when the sun begins to move northward, we shall be entering the Cycle of Resolve. It is appropriate, therefore, that we reflect here on the nature of Man. For to know what we really are is the first step toward becoming what we ought to be.
When we say "Man" what do we mean? Of which man do we speak? Is it the man of flesh, of desire, of reason or of conscience? Which aspect of ourselves represents the Real Man in each one of us? The concept we hold of our own nature is vitally significant; for it determines our way of life and moulds our own character.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the 52nd anniversary of which was celebrated earlier this month, calls for a recognition of Man qua Man, above distinctions of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. Its Article 1 states: "All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood."
Reason and conscience are indeed the characteristic features of human consciousness. It is they that make man a free and responsible self, endowing him with the power to think. Alas! although a Thinker, a Manasic being, man has to regain his lost kingdom, the kingdom of spiritual perception. Too often, at present, instead of moving prompted by "reason and conscience," man follows blindly the impulses from without, those arising from the objects of sense and his separative and divisive attractions. The key to his self-reform lies within his own mind.
As St. Paul, a great Initiate, has said:
That ye put off the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts;
What better resolve could we make than to put off the old man, and, renewing ourselves in the spirit of our minds, put on the new man?
Should not this be our common resolve? The higher consciousness is within each one of us; for we are all emanations from the Divine, on our return path thereto. This higher consciousness is what St. Paul rightly designates "the spirit of our minds" and it is through this spirit that we can renew ourselves, abandon the old ways of lust and greed, of enmity and wrath, of selfishness and bitterness, and take to the path of nobility, of purity and of brotherhood.
Mind, then, is the key of this renewal which brings to birth the New Man, "which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness."
The mind, through long association with lower desires and separative tendencies, has lost its moorings in the Spirit and become the slave of matter. Thus enslaved, it views all things from a material basis and has become almost totally divorced from its own higher nature. It is awake to the call of ahamkara, egotism, and asleep and deaf to the voice of altruism which is that of the Spirit, one and indivisible. The mind, thus imprisoned by kama, lower and selfish desires, is passionate and unclean. To liberate it and make it clean, self-discipline is essential, that divine discipline taught by all the great Teachers of humanity down the ages.
The sadhana of self-restraint and of the control of the mind constitutes the renewal referred to by St. Paul, which is followed by the birth of the New Man.
Through positive control, through deliberate efforts, must the mind be freed from its imprisonment in matter and made receptive to the divine influx from above. The human mind is dual in its potentiality. It is both physical and metaphysical. The physical mind is the lower aspect, connected with the spiritual consciousness. The bridge between them lies in reason and conscience.
Reason must be directed towards the values of the Spirit and conscience awakened and made responsive to them through the presentation of divine ethics before man becomes truly Man. The animal man must become the human man.
The race-mind must be brought to think on the higher plane, and then men will act as brothers to one another. We need urgently a different basis for thought and action—a basis so fundamental as to bring about a total change of attitude. Man must be transformed, or rather must transform himself, in the renewal of his mind and thus obtain a conscious direction.
The transformation requires control of the mind, and such control is attainable through direct methods. Distractions must first be eliminated through patient and persevering effort and the habit of control established. The Silent Thinker behind the mind must be given back his rightful place and will assume control and watch the thought processes, rejecting all those which are undesirable and cultivating the true, the good and the beautiful.
Should not this be our resolution for Nature's New Year on December 21st and our celebration of the Christmas season? What better contribution could we make to the world than to create in us the New Man? And so, again in St. Paul's words, let the following be our resolve:
Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice.
Nurture your mind with great thoughts. To believe in the heroic makes heroes.