Spirit and matter are not two things. They are one, seen
by us as two. The reason is that the former is not distinguishable
while the latter is distinct. The former is not evident
while the latter is. The spirit is mans own being, his real
being; the spirit is his knowing faculty, his intelligence.
The very intelligence that distinguishes all things is man's
How can this intelligence see itself? It is the task
of the spirit to feel matter, and at the same time it is
the work of the spirit to feel itself. Matter cannot feel
the spirit; spirit has to feel it in order to be evident.
What happens when spirit cannot feel itself is shown in
the story of the twenty peasants who went on a journey and
after crossing a river they wanted to know if everyone was
there. Each counted and said that there are nineteen because
each forgot to count himself. It is the same with the spirit;
the spirit distinguishes everything except itself just as
the eyes cannot see themselves. The eyes see all things,
but no one has ever seen his eyes except as a reflection
in a mirror.
Another and most important fact is that no matter can
exist without spirit. Spirit is its existence and spirit
is its life. With any object, sweet or sour, fragrant, cold
or hot, whatever be its quality it is the phenomenon of
spirit working through that object which makes it distinguishable
in one way or another. If one were to ask whether there
was a link between spirit and matter, the answer would be
that there is none. There is no gap between the two because,
as has been said, they are not two things they are one and
the same. It is simply that the distinguishable aspect of
the spirit we call matter, and its finer aspect which cannot
be distinguished we call spirit.
People use the word spirit in different senses. Spiritualists
have called spirit the soul that has departed from the earth.
Religious people have called spirit the being of God. And
both are right, although both explanations are limited.
It is not only spirit that is the being of God. Matter is
the being of God too. I once met a young man, who said to
me, 'I don't believe in God, the hereafter, or the soul.'
I told him that I did not wish to make him believe in these
things, that this was not my intention at all. Then the
young man asked what I believed, for he wanted to continue
the conversation. I said, 'It is very difficult to put one's
belief into words, but I would very much like you to tell
me what you believe?' He said very easily, 'I believe in
eternal matter.' I said, 'My belief is not very far from
yours, for the very same thing that you call eternal matter
I call eternal spirit. It is a difference of words. We really
believe the same thing.' Matter cannot be eternal, but if
the young man wished to call that which is eternal matter,
I had no objection. I was quite willing to call it matter
The difference between what we call an object and a living
being is the difference in the degree of spirit they absorb.
Darwin died with out finding the missing link. But there
is no missing link. If there were any link that was missing
it would have been found. There is a constant outpouring
of spirit on matter, which is its own substance, and according
to the degree which spirit touches matter, the matter forms
into an object or into a being. Thus the difference between
the lower creation and the higher creation is that of the
degree of the spirit which they are capable of absorbing.
There is the same difference between a spiritual person
and a material person.
The question arises, why if spirit and matter are one
and the same, is there then a need for anything or anyone
to absorb spirit? Matter is something that is ever changing,
it is continually going through a process of change and
we call this change destruction or death. We say of matter
that it is decomposed or destroyed. In reality it has taken
another form but this form is also changed by spirit and
made into something else. Only, in order to distinguish
it we give the first aspect of the object one name and the
next aspect of the same thing another name. For instance
in one condition a substance is called coal, and in another
condition it is called diamond. It has gone through a change.
The value is different, the name is different, the appearance
is different. The spirit has changed it in one condition
to a certain degree and in another condition to a different
When we study the lower creation, insects, birds, and
beasts, and when we study their instincts, the intelligence
that they show, the sympathy to which they respond, we can
clearly notice that they are awakened to life according
to the spirit they are capable of absorbing. We see among
human beings how one is standing in the midst of all that
is good and beautiful, his eyes open but his heart is closed.
He does not see anything although happiness is at hand;
he does not know it. And there is another person awakened
to all that is good and beautiful, ready to appreciate it
and to be grateful for everything good that comes his way.
There is one man whose thought reaches the highest level
that thought can reach, and there is another who thinks,
but his thoughts can rise no higher. What is the reason
for these differences? They all come from the varying ability
of these people to absorb spirit.
The soul is likened to a ray of the sun. And what is
the ray of the sun, what causes it? It is the motion of
the sun, the motion of the light. The light waves cause
a space between one wave and another wave, just as in the
sea a gap is formed between one wave and the next wave.
There is no gap in reality, it is only a temporary condition
of the rising of the water that makes a space between two
waves. These two waves are a temporary condition of the
water of the sea. The water of the sea remains, but these
waves formed for a moment rise and fall again. If we say
that five waves are coming it is in our conception that
they are five, but the phenomenon is only momentary. They
are and they are not.
And it is so with souls. If we say that there are many
souls, it is true, just as there are many waves or many
rays of sun. If we say that there is only one spirit, it
is truer still, just as there is only one sea and one sun.
The waves are an action of the sea; the rays are a manifestation
of the sun; the souls are a phenomenon of the spirit. They
are and they are not. They are because we see them, and
they are not because there is only one being.
Those who separate soul from body are looking from the
same point of view as the one who sees spirit and matter
as two different things. The sight has made the eyes in
order to see, but in making the eyes the sight has become
limited. The sight had a much greater power before it had
eyes. By limiting itself to the eyes the sight's power has
become less. So it is with the soul. The soul manifesting
as a body has diminished its power considerably, even to
the extent that it is not capable of imagining for one moment
the great power, life, and light it has in itself. Once
the soul realizes itself by becoming independent of the
body that surrounds it. The soul naturally begins to see
in itself the being of the spirit.
What is consciousness? Consciousness is the knowing faculty,
but it is the knowing faculty when it has some knowledge.
It is only then that we can call it consciousness. One is
conscious of something, consciousness must always be conscious
of something. When consciousness is not conscious of anything
it is pure intelligence. It is in this realization that
the greatest secret of life can be revealed.
One might say that the experience of pure intelligence
is possible only for the only Being, for God, but no one
can stand outside of that one Being. Therefore, each and
every one is in the only being, the only Being includes
all. Undoubtedly there is a certain process by which one
can attain to this pure intelligence. Man is not conscious
of it any more. He has lost the habit of experiencing what
pure intelligence is. But all the meditations and concentrations,
the whole process by which the mystic treads the spiritual
path, brings us finally to the realization of that pure
intelligence. And if one asks what benefit one derives from
it, the answer is that since all that benefits us comes
from one source, that source must be perfect, it must be
all-beneficial. It is beyond our limited imagination, but
it is the greatest thing one can attain in one's life.