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14

 

of meditation and of silence. Not the silence which goes with meditation, but the one which Thomas Carlyle eulogizes: “Silence, higher than the stars, deeper than the mystery of death.”

 

Years have past since I have read anything connected with Theosophy, but my experience is that whatever we learn is very seldom lost. I realized this when I met MEHER BABA, whose house in Meher Center “On-The-Lakes” is practically next door to my present home When I was included in the people who were invited to come and meet him, I was glad that my theosophical studies of so many years ago had acquainted me a little with Eastern religious thinking. It was quite an event for me to be at last in the presence of an exponent of that profound philosophy, and, though we were allotted only five minutes each, it left a deep impression on me. It brought back to me memories of the Orient and I thought of the little serious group which so ardently studied the Bhagavad Gita, and of the discussion that followed those gatherings which goaded us on to further studies.

 

Though at first it seems difficult for a Western-trained mind to obtain a clear conception of the underlying principle of Oriental philosophy, such studies reveal the amazing fact that fundamentally these religious teachings are not so alien to our ideas as is commonly believed. A better authority than I confirms this. Eckermann, in his Conversations with Goethe, tells us how, talking about the spiritualism of the French philosopher, Victor Cousin, the conversation turned upon Indian philosophy. “This philosophy,” the great German poet-philosopher said, “contains absolutely nothing foreign. On the contrary, all epochs through which we pass our-selves are being repeated in it. We are sensualists, as long as we are children; idealists, when we love and attribute qualities to the beloved object, which really do not exist. Love falters, and we doubt its faithfulness, and we become sceptics before we realize it. The rest of life is immaterial, we just let it go at its will and we end up with quietism like the Indian philosophers.”

 

‘Quietism’ was the nickname applied in Seventeenth-Century France to that mystical movement of which the outstanding figures were Fenelon and Madam Guyon. This quietism, outwardly so different from the Indian mysticism and asceticism, is inwardly and spiritually identical. The German philosopher, Arthur Schopenhauer, points out that one of the writings of Jeanne de la Motte Guyon gives, in abbreviated form, exactly the teachings of Vedanta, and even using the selfsame metaphors. It is absolutely

 

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