THEOSOPHY, Vol. 16, No. 5, March, 1928
(Page 202; Size: 4K)
[Part 5 of a 12-part series]
A TRUE ascetic is one who cares not whether he eats or doesn't eat, or what he eats. The manner of his incoming or outgoing concerns him but little. That he may be able in every action consonant with human life to do the right thing, at the right time, and in the right way, is what concerns him all the time.
He would look to the spirit of the action, and acting as spirit whatever he did in any direction would be for the great end in view: the benefit of all beings of every grade.
How many of us have had other ideas? How many of us have considered that we may, by some practice or another, arrive at a stage far beyond our fellow-men?
The world to each of us is what we make it. What we get out of the world is what we put into it. We cannot get anything else. The world stands to us according to the quality of our attitude towards it, according to the ideas we hold in regard to it.
We may dismiss from our minds all ideas of semi-starvation, all ideas of becoming something ourselves. This last we ought to get deep in our hearts -- a perception of the selfishness of becoming something ourselves, of gaining anything for ourselves.
The true effort is to do the best we can in every direction for the sake of all others. In so doing we are what the doing procures. We strive not to become; we strive to do. There is nothing selfish, nothing personal in that attitude and action.
The true ascetic is one who tries to get all the knowledge and all the power he possibly can, in order that he may lay these at the feet of his fellow-men and do them service.
There is nothing forbidden to him in the whole universe. With Saint Paul he will consider that now all things are lawful to him, but all things may not be expedient. He judges the necessity for any action from the need of the case in hand, and finds that his hand is not stayed in any direction by any rules whatever, or any ideas that may prevail among the men of his time.
True asceticism is not refraining from nor denying anything or anybody. It is the acceptance of all; the right use of all. For everything in great nature of whatever kind has been produced by the beings in the world, and is a natural evolution -- everything.
Where we have erred is in the improper use, the abuse of the very powers we all possess. The most sacred of all our powers have been sacrificed on the altar of selfishness. The true ascetic knows that.
[Part 6 of a 12-part series]
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