Happiness is but a dream...
H.P. Blavatsky, 'Forlorn Hopes', Collected Writings Volume XII, p. 392-394
Since happiness is but a dream on earth, let us be resigned, at least. To do this, we have but to follow the precepts of our respective great and noble Masters on earth. The East had her Sakyamuni Buddha, “the light of Asia”; the West her Teacher, and the Sermon on the Mount; both uttered the same great, because universal and immortal, truths. Listen to them:—
“ Crush out your pride ,” saith the One. “ Speak evil of no one, but be thankful to him who blames thee, for he renders thee service by showing thee thy faults. Kill thine arrogance. Be kind and gentle to all; merciful to every living creature. Forgive those who harm thee, help those who need thy help, resist not thine enemies. Destroy thy passions, for they are the armies of Mara (Death), and scatter them as the elephant scatters a bamboo hut. Lust not, desire nothing; all the objects thou pinest for, the world over, could no more satisfy thy lust, than all the sea water could quench thy thirst. That which alone satisfies man is Wisdom—be wise. Be ye without hatred, without selfishness, and without hypocrisy. Be tolerant with the intolerant, charitable and compassionate with the hardhearted, gentle with the violent, detached from everything amidst those who are attached to all, in this world of illusion. Harm no mortal creature. Do that which thou wouldest like to see done by all others. ”
“ Be humble ,” saith the Other. Resist not evil, “ judge not that ye be not judged. ” Be merciful, forgive them who wrong thee, love thine enemies. Lust not; not even in the secresy of thy heart. Give to him that asketh thee. Be wise and perfect. Do not as the hypocrites do; but, “ as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise .” [Luke vi, 31.]
Noble words these. Only how far are they practicable, in the Nineteenth Century of the Christian era, and the tail end of the Brahmanical cycle? Alas! While a Protestant Bishop was opposing these precepts, consequently his Master, here in England, by showing the impossibility of any civilised State carrying them out in practice—(civilisation first, and Christianity afterwards?)—a French journalist of note was doing the same across the Channel. Reviewing the Buddhist Lectures of Professor Léon de Rosny, of Paris, Anatole France makes his readers feel that it is a Forlorn Hope, indeed, to think that the present generations of Europe will ever attempt to carry out the noble commandments of either Christ or Buddha; and hence that true Theosophy is doomed to be, for the present, a failure in its practical realization.
Ah me! [he writes] If He did live, as I firmly believe He did, Sakyamuni was the most perfect of men. “He was a Saint!” — as Marco Polo exclaimed, after hearing his history. Yea, he was a Saint and a Sage. But this kind of Wisdom is not suited for the ever active European races, for the human families that are so strongly possessed by life. The Sovereign panacea discovered by Buddha as a remedy against the Universal evil, will never do for our temperaments. It demands renunciation, and what we want is to acquire; it teaches us to desire nothing, and lust and desire are stronger in us than life. As a final reward, we are promised Nirvana, or absolute Rest, when the thought alone of such a rest creates a feeling of horror in us. No; Sakyamuni Buddha has not come for us, nor can he save us––whatever M. de Rosny may do or say!
No; He cannot. But no more can Christ, as it seems. Buddha was not alone in offering the remedy of “personal indifference” to the allurements of this world, or care for the self of matter, as a panacea against the world’s evils, its sins and temptations. The “Kingdom of God” of Jesus, is but another name for “Nirvana.” His injunctions to take no thought for the morrow, nor as to what we shall eat, drink, or clothe our body with, but to live, as “the fowls of the air and the lilies of the field” are but another version of the teachings of Buddha (Vide Matth. vi, 24-34 and vii). Both the Masters tried to impress their followers with the idea that “Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof”; but so far, the Buddhist laymen alone have tried to follow the injunction, while the Buddhist clergy have done so literally, and do so to this day.
Many and great are the reforms enacted in this age; and yet, as year rolls after year, each bringing some new light, each speeding the wheel of progress and civilisation, no new reform seems to affect or alter the old man.