The Vision of the Heart


H.P.B.'s mission was a manifold one, yet a unity exists throughout all she said or did. Just as we can unravel the secrets of Nature from one point if we know the laws of geometry, and from one number if we know the laws of mathematics, so if we know one part of her mission we can appreciate all its other aspects provided we use the law of analogy and apply it with strict logic. In the use of logic the sequence of things leaves no gaps. If a gap is found there is a mistake in our logic, for unity is the basis of all life.

We are told in one place, for instance, that her mission was ethical and moral. Again we are told that she tried to engender a new vision in the heart, to lead the individual to recognize his own divinity. Further, she had to convince him of his spiritual energy. Having done these things, she tried to make him utilize this energy and transform himself into a self-reformer before he tried to become the reformer of others.

With respect to the new vision referred to above, what relation has the heart to visions or to daily life? Vision could here refer to "that on which the heart is set," or the "line of life's meditation," and every one of us knows that we have some kind of an ideal towards which consciously or unconsciously we direct our steps in life. It is to the realizing of this vision that H.P.B.'s efforts were directed. If our vision is that we are animals, born today and dead tomorrow, then our life will be on that pattern and apathy will take the place of energy. It was for this reason that she pointed all the time to man's divinity. Man is the Supreme Brahman; he is "God"; he is Spirit; he is the Ego, Krishna is "the Ego seated in the hearts of all beings," and therefore, logically, everything in the universe is a vehicle of the Divine. Man, she tells us, is indeed the vehicle of the one indivisible and absolute Omniscience. Matter and time of the one indivisible and absolute Omniscience. Matter and time are illusory. Though man has heard this through all the ancient philosophies and religions, he has not yet recognized it as applying to himself. But at the present state of evolution he is at the point where he can begin to recognize this. The mind of the race is beginning to see the unity underlying Nature and getting to the point where it is possible, with effort, to grasp that all, save Spirit, is matter, matter-vehicles of that Spirit, at different grades of evolution or emanation.

If we can sense this vision, especially as given in the Gita, how shall we next sense our position in the vision? How shall we try to recognize our divinity in this respect? There is no other way than by thought, by application, by aspiration. When we turn to the application aspect, we know that we are dealing with energy, for without it nothing can be accomplished. Not having thought of the recognition of divinity and the need to bring the heart vision into being, we have forgotten that energy is ours to use on any plane. On the material plane we are familiar with the fact that we can achieve nothing without energy being used. Now, we have to convince ourselves that we have energy on the other higher spiritual planes and we can use it. With the vision of our divinity, the recognition of the vision and the conviction that we can bring the vision to actuality, we have the necessary background for our future growth.

The next part of H.P.B.'s mission was to make man utilize these energies and not let them lie fallow. To let them lie fallow means apathy, death, destruction. To utilize them is to transform the user and others. But she tells us that we must be self-reformers before we set out to reform others. Only when we know the difficulties of self-reform can we appreciate the difficulties of others in their self-reform and be able to help them.

In our endeavours to reform ourselves we need to understand that the heart in which the new vision is to take shape stands in the physical body, from the point of view of analogy, for the higher nature, and the distinctive quality of the higher nature is universality. Therefore we can think of the vision of the heart as a universal vision, that of Buddhi or of intuition. A universal vision unites the isolated facts given to us by the mind into one. Whole so that the Whole is seen as "an immense chain, whose links are all connected" (S.D., I, 604). Separate one of these links, H.P.B. tells us, by breaking the chain, "and all passes into annihilation" (Transactions of the Blavatsky Lodge, p. 138). In other words, each "must think of himself as an infinitesimal something, not even as an individual atom, but as a part of the world-atoms as a whole, or become an illusion, a nobody, and vanish like a breath leaving no trace behind." (Ibid.)

The majestic reach of this idea opens the mind to a condition beyond "head-learning." But without it we can only reach head-learning, great intellect. The function of the mind is to understand "facts"; that of the heart or of soul-wisdom is to see the links between the facts, making each fact a part or portion of the chain of facts which is the Universe. When the mind dwells on a fact or on many facts but forgets these links, it becomes isolated and leads us astray. Hence it is that without soul-wisdom we cannot understand facts rightly or put them in their right place in the chain of the Whole. This is what happens at the destruction of the world. Odd "facts" or beings, unlinked to the Whole, fall apart and are annihilated, just as facts which we learn later are not true facts vanish from our mind with the further knowledge we have gained.

Facts come to us through our senses; and sense-impression, as The Voice of the Silence tells us, we cannot trust. Which shall we believe today, the vision of the heart, man as divine, linked to all, or what we see, an isolated being during life or a dead body with life departed and nothing left? But even in a dead body life is there, for it is present in the atoms of the body, and so the cycle of life in one form or another goes on and on. So it is with intelligence and heart qualities also. That we do not see these still acting is immaterial, for logic tells us that if all is one Whole, then intelligence and heart must function again the vehicles of matter until they are able to blend themselves with the Whole having forged more and more strongly the links between themselves and the Whole. As an English writer, Claude Houghton, has put it: "As parts we must perfect ourselves that, as a reunited whole, we may be perfect."

Head-learning can become that "great intellect and too much knowledge" which are a "two-edged weapon in life and instruments for evil as well as for good." Hence in our own life we have to watch what intellectual facts we recognize without testing them for their universality. No fact given us today by any kind of science should be accepted even as a working hypothesis unless it fits, logically, into those known universal facts that Theosophy offers to us. In practical life, no student of Theosophy who is earnest should accept and live by any ideas that do not have this universal appeal. And universal here means not only all material units but also those units of time which exist in duration. That is to say, universality in respect to time is duration, a knowledge that the time element is only a part of the one Universal Duration, and any fact that is limited to "our" time is not Universal and therefore not correct, however much our reason, unlit by universal intuition, tells us to the contrary.

Our knowledge of reincarnation helps us to view present-day problems in the light of other incarnations and not merely in the light of this one, and it is this continuous vision of the heart that we must not let die or be dimmed by "expediency" in terms of present-day difficulties.

This mental attitude takes root in the attitude we have towards our own reformation. In our own life do we act with a universal background or a one-life background? Do we act as individuals interested in Theosophy or as "pupils" of the Messenger of the Masters, H.P.B.? We need self-reform to bring our ideals into objectivity.

This we can do if we remember that each of us is "an emanation from divinity on its return path thereto" (The Key to Theosophy, p. 214); and if we take to heart the following warning: "Not one of its [Humanity's] Units can escape its unconscious mission, or get rid of the burden of its co-operative work with nature" (S.D., II, 446). For, the universe is "a whole balanced by the exquisite adjustment of parts." (Isis Unveiled, II, 542)





to return to the table of contents