Victory of the Soul Over Circumstance: Lecture Video and Transcript

by Manly P. Hall, recorded on his 89th and last birthday, March 18, 1990 in Los Angeles at the Philosophical Research Society

Well, we have a very interesting subject this morning, and we’ll pause for a moment because it involves a concept that has had considerable distribution in Christian mysticism: and that is, the problem of the soul. In the Bible, there is a statement that says: the soul that sinneth, it shall die. And there is another statement in another place that says: but the spirit returns to God who gave it. And the problem of the difference between these two definitions has been a confusion two theologians for a long time.

Actually, according to the ancient beliefs in these matters, the soul was a vestment: the golden wedding garment, the garment that was to be worn to the wedding of the Lamb, and actually was a phase of the magnetic field of the human body. In other words, the golden wedding garment, or the soul, was a construction that arises within the magnetic field of the human aura. In other words, as the works of goodness, as the desire to grow increases, and the individual makes certain changes and improvements in his own life pattern, there are changes in the magnetic field.

Gradually, there becomes a transformation, and there appears in the field a luminous quality which represents the goodness of our hearts and minds. This goodness increases as we increase in righteousness, and in the end, it becomes a luminous vestment within the magnetic field or within the aura. And when it attains to this great magnitude, it is called the golden wedding garment.

Now this is the garment of righteousness, the garment that is earned by the labors of the life. It becomes also part of the great protection which guards the individual from within himself, as he increases in understanding and insight. In all practical purposes, therefore, the story of the golden wedding garment, or the soul, is the story of the visible changes in the constitution of the magnetic fields of the human body which tells us of the unfoldment and development of the being that has that body.

Also, the aura, or magnetic field, does manifest to some degree in the visible world. And, the works of the golden wedding garment are the labors of righteousness. As the individual increases in spiritual integrities, these integrities become a part of his essential consciousness. They are not moods that arise and fail. If the growth is genuine, these moods grow and continue until the individual, in that life, is transmuted and transformed.

Therefore, in a sense also, the soul becomes the stone of the philosopher, the mysterious alchemical mystery of the transformation of all base substances into the gold of wisdom. Therefore when we speak of the victory of soul over circumstance, we refer to the growth of inner light over the pressures and problems of outer living. We find gradually that the strength to do it right develops within ourselves. We are not saved, so to say, by some outside force or by some legal or legislative change. We grow from within, and as we grow stronger from within, the adversities of the outside become less. 

The golden wedding garment therefore, is also this mysterious elixir of life; one drop of which transforms 10,000 times its own weight. These terms which are used in mysticism to guard the secrets from the profane, are also in a way mysteriously correct, for they represent the tremendous increase of inward power resulting from the transmutation of the base elements of life.

Actually therefore, we have to realize that under normal conditions, we are of this earth, earthy. We are not bad, we are not evil. We are like all other creatures; we simply are made of certain substances and these substances gradually gain dominion over us, and we react to these pressures much as the animal does or any of the other kingdoms of nature. But these pressures, while they are present in the human being, are balanced by a tremendous power within the human being that is not present in the other kingdoms. In the other kingdoms, this greater power is left with group spirits or powers that protect orders of life, not individuals. 

With human beings, however, the protection becomes individual. This is one of the ways in which we distinguish humanity from all the other kingdoms of nature. Humanity has the power of redemption within itself and each individual has the power of redemption within himself. He must develop this power and must strengthen it and must permitted to manifest out into his daily life. And when he does so, he achieves the transmutation of the base substances of his body. Now, base substances in this case, though, does not mean evil substances. It simply means matter, material, substance as it is in earth and in the ground beneath our feet. It is the natural substance of the natural world. 

But the individual is not of this, though it may seem like plants, his root is in material things. Actually, as Plotinus tells us in his essay on the beautiful, while the roots of man are in the earth, the flower and the seed is in heaven. And the gradual growth up is told in one of the European folklore stories: Jack and the Beanstalk. The Beanstalk being the symbol of the spine with its various chakras and centers. 

Actually however, the soul constitutes the some of the things we have done well. It is the sum of the victories, little ones mostly, by which added together becomes the basis of redemption. The individual, in other words, must save himself. He cannot be saved by any outside power, nor can he be destroyed by any outside power. He must grow according to his own inward life and the powers that were bestowed upon him when he was set forth as a creature in this great world. 

Each individual therefore, is building his own wedding garment. He’s building his own soul out of his departments, out of his way of life, out of the parts of his nature, out of all these circumstances which occur to him every day. Life is a series of small victories over doubts, uncertainties, temptations. Wherever there is a victory there is another flash of light in the soul body. And gradually this body becomes luminous like the Christmas tree which Luther uses to describe it. 

This soul body, then, is gradually building up, and out of its building comes the securities of life. Out of the power of this increasing soul body comes the power to still improve more rapidly and make further growth. The immortality of man is growing up in him in a mysterious substance. His bodies have a material immortality in the earth; his spirit has an immortality in heaven. And between these two is the soul, the bridge, the mysterious elixir of transformation which we find in our daily living.

I think it is well therefore, to remember that even small, nice things, nicely done are important. It is important when the unkind word is not spoken. It is important when the individual gives the small deed of goodness, which may be a momentary inconvenience. It is important that the person receives the insight and the wisdom to recognize that every small victory, added to all other small victories, forms the great victory which we call salvation.

Salvation is nothing therefore, but the victory of reality over illusion. The victory of the truth over error, the victory of unselfishness over selfishness, as in every case, is the victory over the negative by those things which are positive and contribute to the common good. Therefore we think of the soul now as a mysterious, luminous vestment. And we know by going back to the ancient writings, and the ancient pictures on the walls of temples and in Scrolls of ancient times, that these pictures showing the robes of royalty, showing the vestments of the high priests of Israel, showing the wonderful garments of glory of the Indian sages. All these are pictures of this mysterious, magnetic, internal soul garment.

The individual, according to the ancient Cabbalists and mystics, cannot enter Heaven in the physical body alone. Therefore he must leave the physical and go forth in the robe of glory. And the robe of glory is first a plain white garment, the garment of innocence, the garment of purity, the garment of the effort not to do that which is wrong. To purify the life, to live constantly in the light of reality. After a while this garment is given a further development, and in the description of the Tabernacle in the wilderness, we find the description of the garments of the priests, and of the high priests of the tabernacle, and the Temple of Solomon the King. We find similar descriptions in Egypt, also in India and China, mysterious, glorious robes, great and stately symbols, all of which were recognized about them physical representations of the invisible energies that emanate from a redeemed person. 

Now a redeemed person is not one who saved by something. The redeemed person is one who outgrows the limitations of which he has placed upon his own life. We all view ourselves in one way or another. We think of ourselves as well as we know ourselves. We look in the mirror and we say this is my self. And this is not true. What we are seeing is a shadow, and because of the eyes see only shadows, this is all of the being that we see. 

A mystic or clairvoyant under certain conditions may see more, but for the average person, the visible form which we behold is the real self. It is this same self that dictates our appetites, that demands our attention, that requires that we fulfill its ambitions. It is this shadow that has an appetite which can result in physical ailments. It is this shadow that breaks homes, it is this shadow that breaks laws, it is this shadow also, that perpetuates the distance between the individual and the happiness and truth we are all seeking.

So in this shadow is the power of darkness and it has no reality whatsoever. It has merely the fact that we do not have the eyes to see, and as (Jacob) Boehme says, those who have eyes let them see. Because all of these things that we talk about are available to the eyes of the soul, but they are not available to the eyes of the mind. And the eyes of the soul, to meet the old requirements, a development of faculties that are latent until they are developed by the unfoldment of the integrity of personal life. The magnetic field of the individual begins very largely as a physical support. It is something to nourish the body, to maintain it and to protect it. Gradually as the time goes on after one embodiment or another, this magnetic field begins to register the moral qualities of life. It gradually begins to show the colors of good and evil. It begins to represent the part of us which is invisible and tells us the sad story of ourselves. The story of the individual who in the midst of a great wisdom remains untouched by the truths that he needs so badly. And in our present day, with the pressures and confusions of the hour, it is obvious that there must be a victory of soul over body. There must be a victory of cause over the effect. There must be a victory of realities over illusions.

Now we live largely in a world of illusions, and in a sense as we have a physical existence now, all the elements that make it up, all the habits that we have, all the institutions we maintain, the entertainment we choose the ideas of education we keep, all of these apart and what might be called the obscuration of ignorance. And they are part of the negative individual magnetic field. While we live in the negative field we react to the negative factors, and little by little these negative factors destroy us, or at least they impoverish the spiritual values within ourselves. Until finally inside of ourselves, the colors and luminous forms of the magnetic fields become clouded and dark and dismal. 

The magnetic field of the narcotics addict is another pathetic thing. The magnetic field of the person who has no integrities, no values, who lives upon the surface of ignorances, is bad. And also, this magnetic field being negative, perpetuates itself from within itself, and little by little, the individual who has gradually become more and more vicious finds that his viciousness increases. And so finally he reaches a point where he must change or lose the values of the incarnations through which he has passed.

So there comes a time in this rather strange affair when there has to be a shift between negative and positive. There has to be the movement on the part of the individual to put his own inner life in order. He’s going to have to realize that there is no way of escaping the consequences of his own misdeeds. He can escape the terrors of dictators and the terrors of the clouds and sky, but he cannot escape the catch of the terrors of his own conduct. So little by little, the individual finds a pain arising within himself. The magnetic field is troubled, and in its trouble, it fails to support the personality. The magnetic field no longer personally develops and therefore it’s not there to take care of health problems. The energies of the magnetic and etheric fields no longer protect the person against infections and things of that kind. Little by little of their positive power has been drained off. Little by little area every ounce of energy which they possessed has been misused until there is nothing left.

Under these conditions that comes always a time in the life of the individual where he must change to survive. And it very often happens that this change for survival is not accomplished until the deathbed scene. There before the end of everything, as far he knows, he suddenly realizes the fundamental mistake he has made. His faith is not great enough to reveal the fact that no matter what he has done, salvation is inevitable. He must go on until he grows up to what he should be. And while he disappears out of this life, perhaps in a very sad state, ultimate victory is inevitable. For everything that is created by the divine mind and the divine hand must come through it, must fulfill its purpose. It must achieve that for which it was intended.

And so we find that the individual, physically, shows gradually the results of a sellout. He no longer has good health, he no longer has peace of mind. He has fears, he has dreams he has nightmares, he develops all kinds of habits in an effort to encourage some kind of help or strength. But this type of strength, inspired by narcotics and alcohol, will never get him anywhere. Little by little, everything gets worse and worse, until finally the individual, stripped of all of his energies and powers by the abuse of them, comes to face himself. And he must do so. 

Now we also have, therefore, another interesting analogy to make. After all, the world as we know it is also a being. The planet in which we live is a person. Not a person as we know it, but a person as an integration of various conscious attributes, sufficient to enable it to maintain its essential purpose: to support life in space. Now this planet also is subject to the results of the confusion and the misuse of power which we find around us every day. The planet has its golden wedding garment. It also has its magnetic field, its order, and its robes of righteousness, but it is also gradually damaged just as the person is damaged by the failure of the integrities of life.

Now in the case of the planet, that is somewhat different. The planet has a new relationship and that relationship is as a host, or as we might say, a guardian or a parent over forms of life which develop and unfold within it. So that the planet itself is really a place for things to grow and live and develop. Now when these things that are put here to live and grow and develop go bad, when little by little all of the opportunities that have been given by nature are perverted and misused, then the earth becomes ill. It becomes incapable of fulfilling its proper destiny. It cannot do for us the things that it should do because we have drained away all of its resources in misuse. 

We have exhausted its strength, its beauty, its wisdom, its love, all of these things until there is nothing left. And we have only bodies, empty bodies with empty minds, and in those moments of great decision, the laws of life move in. The law says it is not possible to fail. There can be delays, there can be mistakes, but in the long run things must come through. That which is created by the divine power will never rest until the divinity within it gains supremacy over all the rest. 

And so we have what we might call emergencies. These emergencies are wars, pestilences, they are health problems, weather problems, earthquakes, all kinds of indications of trouble. They correspond very closely with the nervous breakdowns of individuals. They have their parallel in the ulcers and the abscesses that torment us. They also, as we sweep through the sky, they have the migraines that are in space also. 

In other words, a sick planet is more or less revealed in the sickness of things that live upon it. And those things that live by sickness and live on a sick planet must be corrected. They cannot be allowed to go until they destroy. It is possible, according to the ancient writings, for a race or a nation to vanish from its own misdeeds. But the life in that nation cannot vanish. The powers of living and growing go on. And there is not one single fallen angel that must not be redeemed. And so gradually, those things that fail utterly, fade away and in their place come new things in which there is a greater amount of integrity. 

We are in such a state at the moment. Today we are facing again the result of continual abuse of resources. We are in the same position as the old alcoholic who has continually gone on drinking until he has nothing left but ulcers and pain. Years ago in the Klondike, was a successful gold miner who found it rich and lived riotously for a couple of years and got very ill. And the little paint from the puny doctor up there said there’s only one thing for you to do; get to the Mayo brothers and have let them take care of it. So he went to Mayo brothers and they took about 2/3 of his stomach and they said to him if you live on milk toast for the rest of your life, you can have quite a few years yet. And he was so delighted that he went home, and on his arrival, staged a banquet for all his friends. They all got beautifully drunk together and the next morning, he was dead.

Now this is symbolic of the way things go. And it is symbolic in a way of the plans of nature which are very simple, very obvious, but have strange truth behind them. An inevitable fact that you have to obey or else. Now when you find a country or a world as it is today, it is the same thing in nations and in planetary populations as it is in towns and in our private homes, always where there is something wrong, the inner life of the person is injured. And this golden wedding garment, this soul body which we are gradually building up, is damaged and delayed and frustrated by the excesses of a poor and unthoughtful generation. 

We have every possible way to understand this. We have it every day. We have it in every newspaper. It comes to us every time we turn anything – this troubled world. But what the records do not necessarily tell us is the troubled individuals. The persons we know in the same block, practically under the same skin, we do not recognize as passing through the same kind of crisis.

The crisis in the person becomes the crisis in the race. And those mysterious powers that destroyed the lost Atlantis are gnawing at the roots of our civilization. Everywhere there has to be integrity or in time, when it becomes obvious that the individual or the group will not redeem itself, then it is put away and another takes its place. But that other is the same one with a new chance, a new opportunity and a new environment, but usually a more strenuous lesson.

So in the study of all these things, we sometimes also say to ourselves, why should we try to improve our natures? Why are we all studying in the effort to be a little more than we have been? We are studying very definitely, because inside of us is something that is suffering. There is pain in the heart, in the mind. There is worry, there is anxiety and there are constant compromises of integrity with bitter consequences. 

All these things are happening to us every day and we do not know what to do about it. We feel that there should be someone to make a law to put these things straight. This is impossible because we cannot make laws for each other. We must make a law for ourselves and live it. And the only remedy for the problem is not to try to legislate out of it, but to get out of it through the positive application of principles to our own conduct. And this is beginning to get more or less obvious. We are beginning to see that a beautiful plan is endangered. Endangered by the selfishness and cupidity of individuals. And that stupidity and selfishness arises from the magnetic field. This magnetic field is the first source of this sickness. It is the result of eternal compromise and eternal selfishness, unbridled ambition, every type of corruption and demoralization. These things have sickened the source of our vitality. They have sickened the invisible supplies which we require in order to grow and fulfill our destiny. 

Now these ailments are well known to the ancients. We find in the various clinics of Hippocrates, and later in the writings of Paracelsus von Hohenheim, that the ancients were well aware that the great source of our pain is inside, not in the world. That the world suffers because we are wrong. And that we are suffering because not of the failures of the world, but of our own failure to put our own lives in order. 

Now we have a new world civilization here today that is the most complicated that man has ever known. A civilization in which all kinds of conflicting ideas float about in the air, in which nations are ready to go to war to the death over wealth or power or authority. And this is just a little bit of an enlargement of the ruthlessness of the individual, who moving in upon a competitor, seeks to destroy him. The selfishness of the individual, multiplied, becomes a vast host of beings that perpetuate selfishness in space and all around us. Now the planet itself is sickened and the earth under our feet is corrupted. 

Now there’s only one way we can solve this and that is to make the changes in ourselves. And we can say, perhaps, what so what? Supposing a few of us do make these changes, how are we going to face the millions who are not going to change? They’re going to go on and do it wrong as long as they can. Well, the answer is very, very simple. What they do they must face. But when we change, that change is personal and to ourselves. No matter how bad the rest can get, we can get better. No matter how many mistakes they make, we do not need to make them. And the proof of the matter is that at the great harvest time, when it comes for us to go and join the ages in the sleep between incarnations, we will take with us everything that is good and nothing that is not our own can know us. Therefore even though in life we are penalized, in the great life of things we are rewarded. And it is better to be rewarded for the good things than to continue to suffer the penalization that we must all suffer while all these things go wrong.

So here we have religion. Religion, which is probably the world’s most beautiful source of inspiration, divided into sects and creeds with various mysterious social changes, with wars and riots and intolerances of all kinds. Religion, which should be the source of unity and goodness, is likewise divided and that religion which is divided will fall just as all the other things fall. And when it does fall, people will say it was reformed by some mysterious divine power. It was reformed because each individual who understood the facts changed their attitude, and in changing their attitude, changed the destiny of the faith.

Everything begins with the improvement of the individual. This is his realm, this was created for his perfection, this was put up into existence that he might grow and earn his place in the great house of the cosmos. Everything that is good was come through him, and it will come to him from the great sources of good. And the great sages and the Rishis of the saviors who have come to teach mankind, have come to bring encouragement and strength and redemption. It is like the alcoholic, who becoming very badly sick, will bring in somebody to console him and try to help him to get over it. So he will bring in the physician or something who will tell him to stop drinking and try to help him to stop so that he can go out and redeem himself and go forward.

So there are physicians of souls who have come to help us. Not to do it for us, because they cannot, but to inspire us to make the changes ourselves which are essential to our well-being. Just a little change here and there in our social structure would cut down our divorce rate probably fifty percent. A little change in some of our rules about this and that would probably cut down most of the problems that we suffer the juvenile delinquency. These things represent neglected areas and we’re waiting for something. We’re waiting for laws and the government to change these things, but the only person who can change them is the family itself. It’s the united gathering of the parents and the children, bound together to do what is right. And although there may be many who fall upon the right hand and many upon the left hand, the just family shall not be moved. All that the achievements we can make, if they are right, are immortal. 

That is one of the mysteries of the old writings, that every time a truth was demonstrated it received wings, it became an angel. And truths become immortal, the realities become immortal and those who cling to them are those who live with them gain their own immortality. That which is true shall not die, that which is false cannot live. This goes through nations it goes through everything. It becomes part of our priceless heritage, it becomes part of our hope of glory. 

So we know that today, we are at a critical point and that all the available resources of civilization must be united to achieve a positive transformation of our purpose for existence. We will not cease or perish if we do not make the grade, but we will go back again into a hard labor, into struggle and strife, to gain once more to the degree that we are now abusing the knowledge and wisdoms of life.

As long as there is selfishness, there will be pain. As long as there is avarice, there will be suffering. As long as there are hatreds, there will be sorrows. Every one of the negative things has to be overcome. And the old schools of wisdom set up discipleship and set up various rules and laws to govern the development of persons who wanted to grow, who wanted to be better. And all of these were based upon the fact that the person himself had to make the effort. He had to really, sincerely decide. He was not even able to try to find out whether what he was doing was really right or not; he had to decide that for himself. But if he was right he grew in wisdom and understanding. If he was wrong he did not. If he did not grow, he had to try again. Everything has to come out of the sincere effort to attain victory over the self-centeredness and indifference that we find.

We are now talking a great deal about the fun generation. There’s only one thing about it that seems to be important, and that is there isn’t much fun. Very little. And there will not be much fun as long as this is the fun generation, because the effort for fun is not controlled by anything. What is fun? Mostly extravagance, much immorality, and all kinds of competitions and mistakes in labor and work, the entertainment field. 

All these things are called the fun, and I can assure you from watching a little television now and then, that the fun in television is not very much. In fact, I hadn’t heard a good comedian on there in years because good comedy has to be honest, it has to be true and it has to be good as Mark Twain pointed out. And what we call comedy is a snickering sort of thing, is never be going to be any good. And yet we spend hundreds of hours in front of these boxes, taking on the murders and the selfishness of our time. And we try against that, to take this little seed of immortality in ourselves and expect it to survive this constant and continuous bombardment of negative factors.

And each person can have his own way. Now I know for instance, over a long period of time, I was interested in having a little fun. After all, working with heavy problems can be rather heavy, and I realized that if it got too heavy, I wasn’t going to be able to do what I should do. That I would get too tired, that I might get a little naggy now and then, or I might even lose my disposition, not that I ever had one, but there’s always a possibility of it being worse.

Then I suddenly discovered the world of other things. The people that are now wandering around in all these fun actions are really not having much fun at all. They’re really very largely spending money and waking up in debt. And those who spend enough money are waking up sick and those who are very wealthy are waking up dead. It is not a very progressive problem. So, we suggest looking around. There are all kinds of interesting and wonderful things to do, things that help us to learn. And we can go back to the old guild system that dominated Europe for centuries, that there was there was a joy in labor, and also there were various ways of growing beautifully and pleasantly. 

Remember the Meistersingers of Nuremberg. They were the actual regular workers, shoemakers and carpenters, all these people, but they formed music choruses and had a wonderful time with them. And all kinds of special celebrations and even the great gentry participated. Then they’re all today, there are all kinds of things – music, art, fine literature – there are more kinds of things to collect, there are hobbies and everything by which you can learn something, by which you can grow, in which you can combine pleasure with instruction and come out of the whole thing a little bit better enlightened and with a new appreciation for the wonders of life. 

But instead of that, we sit glued to the tube. And there we sit and watch mayhem that isn’t even real, that is merely written, compiled, and presented for the simple purpose of selling products. It is a very bad thing. We are falling for it, but we must be as individuals, pull out of it. And if we do pull out of it we will discover that we have never captured in it unless we capture ourselves. That there is no reason why the magnetic fields of the body should be contaminated. There are no reasons for why the individual has to lower his moral code in order to keep abreast of his time. If his time is below him, he must rise above his time. If there are things that he should be doing and he is neglecting, to have a fun that is never there, it is time for him to wake up.

Now, the answer has always been you can’t move all these people. You get one started and you put a law in and you think you’ve got something blocked and immediately, somebody comes up and objects. And there’s a great big political system, a big congregation of voters and so forth, and of course in mass of this nature, the majority is liable to rule, the majority is liable not to be right. Therefore, that isn’t the answer. You can’t simply make a law against this, a law against that. 

But what you can do, is make a law for yourself. And I believe it was Woodrow Wilson who said on one occasion, it is better to fail in a cause that must ultimately win than win in a cause that must ultimately fail. And we have this problem on our hands today. We have mixed up in a cause that must fail, and we cannot necessarily depend upon others to see it our way. But we can try in every way possible, to contribute nothing to the decay of life, do everything that we can to make it better, do everything that we can to make ourselves more fit for the job that is ours. If we could see the invisible structure of man, a tremendous amount of vibratory power there, the ages that were necessary to build all these bodies and vibrate them and vitalize them so that we could produce a standing, thinking, feeling creature that had within itself the germs of its own immortality. 

We have all these things but we have not kept faith with them. And because we have not kept faith with them, we must now go back and start over. And we cannot be blamed for doing what is right ourselves. If the world doesn’t like it, it won’t bother us because we are only one person. But that one person, being right, is the secret of the beginning of righteousness. For in ancient times, there were a few who were the great souls that led. Today, we are in a different world. We are now in a world in which great Souls must arise from the common people of the earth, and in so doing, will make the simple laws of humanity dominant over the artificial laws and practices of our generation.

I think we have to therefore recognize that it is our part to build this soul body. That it is within our right and our privilege to control the development of our own inner lives. Although all others may be unhappy, we may still be a little unhappy, but if we are doing the best that we can, there is a certain reward. A good deed is a prayer, a bad deed is a curse. We’ve had too many curses and not enough prayers. And a prayer for good is in the simple things we do to help a person in trouble, to help our own children to stay within the principles of integrity, to start them out right and not allow them to follow in the ways of our own slipshod behavior. Everything that we can do as an individual, we can do without much probability of being punished for it. Whereas most of the things we are doing now, punishment is inevitable and obvious. 

Let us try doing it right. Let us try to be one with progress, one with the law. And in the mysterious wedding of the Lamb, which is described in the book of Revelation and which is part of our Christian heritage, those who attain the golden wedding garment come as great hosts of souls, luminous and beautiful, to attend the marriage of the lamb. And this is the idea of it all. The marriage of the lamb is simply the union of the individual soul with the world soul. And the return of the individual spirit to the spirit which is all spirit, always and forever the guiding power of life. 

We do not know where our life is going exactly. We know where it will go for a time at least if it doesn’t change its ways, but we do not know what lies ahead for the human being. But all of the great teachers of the world have given us a radiant, glorious picture of that which is waiting us. They’ve always given us the vision of that which comes to those who transcend the errors and follies of their times. And we have been given several great religions, which may differ the names they have given, but are essential and identical in their teaching. That it’s only those who live the life that can never know the doctrine.

So in little ways we can start living it, and into living it little ways we will grow in righteousness. So this is our job, this is nothing so terribly difficult. All we have to do is to prepare to live quiet, moderate lives. False ambitions have slayed the ages. The glory of Alexander is gone. Caesar is dead at Pompey’s parlor. Hitler and Mussolini have gone their way. All of the great dictators have left, and left nothing behind but monuments to Sodom. Little dictators have the same fate. Those who create a business and then bankrupt it for profit, all kinds of efforts to grow rich over the poverty of others, all of these things are part of the way of life that has come to too many people now, though a way of life that has resulted in the fact that our ingenuity has outstripped our integrity. 

We can invent many things, but we do not know how to use them. And that which we do not use, we will abuse. Once upon a time, there was a Roman who digging in his garden found a pot of gold. And he wrote a letter to the Emperor and he said I have found a pot of gold – what shall I do with it? And the Emperor wrote back and said use it. And the man wrote again to the Emperor and said, Sire, I do not know how to use it. And the Emperor replied, then abuse it. And that is exactly what happens. We have so many ways of getting things, but not very many good ways of using them. To have a thing means a power, when in reality it is an opportunity to grow, and unless we make more use of these opportunities, things are going to get worse.

Now we face a few years and a great transition. There is bound to be a major change – we’re asking for it, or if we’re not asking, we’re acting for it, we are demanding it. And out of this is coming some very interesting things. It isn’t all bad news. There are some tremendous efforts being made now. People are growing as they haven’t in a long time. There’s a certain and definite reason for believing that the individual is beginning to know that he is not something with a free will in space, but that he is a creature under law and that this law is a law of wisdom and mercy. 

More and more the individual is becoming aware that out of his own integrity must come his own salvation. Realizing this and living accordingly, we can make a very powerful and positive contribution to the future of our people. There is no reason why we cannot do something every day to justify the belief that we are really working for a good cause. Now, as we here are trying to do a little something to help out as much as we can, and we are most grateful for the wonderful help we have received. And we finally discover that in our own little world, there are people who want to live well, who want to do better, who want to think better, who want to add something to the substance of life. They are tired of the bridge party and the drink fests, they are tired of the waste and luxury and the morning-after. And they are more and more hurt by the ravages of narcotics. 

And now, morality has come in and the sicknesses of immorality weigh heavy upon the race. We are in the midst of great evidence of being wrong. And we are also well shown what is right. This is the dedication of some part of our life to usefulness. It is to maintain the things. We have great emphasis upon freedom, upon individual rights, the individual has the feeling that he is perfectly justified in walking out on his family, deserting his friends, and turning against his nation, simply because he must be free. What is freedom? To him, freedom is the gradual building of a cage, which once it’s captured him, he’s worse enslaved than in any other way. Freedom is really a form of self-slavery for most people. It is the individual putting his own likes and pleasures ahead of the common good and his own well-being.

So these answers are not practical in our time, and we’re looking around and we’re seeing the gradual development of religion in a new way. We are coming closer and closer to a unity of faiths, which will be a tremendous step in the right direction. We are also coming to realize that religion is not simply attending a place of worship; it is bringing the truths of life into the home, into the family, and into the business.

The real religion is in the shop, in the house, in the school, in the hospital, in the courts. The religion is not something to talk about theology, it is to live the golden rule, to keep the ten commandments, to realize that regardless of all our sophistication, we will never be able to outgrow the Decalogue or the Sermon on the Mount. These are inevitable and eternal fixtures. We can break them, but we suffer. We can keep them and we will get well. And this is something each person does for himself. He does not do it because his neighbor has done it, or because the community is doing it. Maybe he hopes it will, but even if the community is doing it, unless it is a personal dedication of his own, it will not bring an end to his own misunderstandings and misuses of power.

So we hope that everyone will remember a little bit that this golden wedding garment is also, according to St. Paul, the garment of divine love. It is love rising triumphant. It is the proof that when we really sincerely love, we serve. And when we really, really love, we give. And when our emotions are false, we take. 

So in this, we have also the inspiration but for most people love has been paid a stranger. We hardly even love our own anymore if they interfere with our ambitions. We will desert those nearest to us if they hamper our freedom. Everything must be freedom, but no human being who is ignorant is free. And no human being who can be free, who holds immoral, unethical or materialistic institutions as important. 

We all have to recognize that freedom is the privilege to be right and that this privilege belongs to us all. And the reward of it is freedom from the disasters of our mistakes. And there is no way we could ever win this battle. Look at the sky, look at the stars. We can go a long time before we can rule them, or go out and even explore them, or take a chance to visit one of them without imperiling our own lives. 

We cannot change the infinite, but we don’t need to because the infinite is right. And we have no rightness greater. And the infinite is infinite love, infinitely manifested throughout infinite time and infinite space. And in this divine love we live, and as we live it, gradually it moves into us and becomes this radiant body of the soul. And the soul is the love in us becoming the love in humanity for all that lives. And when we have developed this and become part of a universe of love, we will have no more worry over the sins of the flesh. They will correct themselves beautifully, the little children will not be deserted, they will not come into the world sick to death before they are hardly born. 

These things must change. A genuine regard, coming from within ourselves, will not only help this but when we begin to practice this, the light of the soul inside of us will grow brighter and brighter until soul power becomes master over all the brute force of the world as it was mentioned by Mohandas Gandhi, so that all things are safe only when love makes the rules. And these rules made by love found in all the great religions of the world and also are inevitable and eternal in the human heart. 

Thank you.

[Applause]