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Religious Gathekas

(To be read at the Service of Universal Worship)

Religious Gatheka Number 16

Stages in Following the Message

There are three stages of action which the sincere followers of the Message have to pass through, and the difficulty is that each stage has the tendency to keep back the followers of the Message from going to the next stage. And the reason is that every stage that the sincere followers of the divine Message has to go through in his life has no end of interest and happiness in it. Another thing is that one stage is quite different from another stage, and therefore each stage is a kind of contrary action to the previous stage.

Now these three stages may be called, Receiving of the Message, Assimilating of the Message, and Representing the Message. For a sincere mureed, the first stage can be so interesting that he may think it is never enough; that endless knowledge and the heart of the seeker after truth which is never full – fill it, and there is still a place to fill – may receive for ages and it is yet never enough. And when the receiver of the Message is in that stage, then the activity of the further stages remains unaccomplished.

For the next stage, which is the stage of assimilation, is most necessary; very few can imagine how long it takes for the spirit to assimilate knowledge of truth. One assimilates it by the power of contemplation, by pondering over the subjects that one hears, by practicing the teachings in one's life, by looking at the world from the point of view which has been told, by observing one thing in its thousand different positions. Many, before assimilating the knowledge, wish to reason it, wish to discuss it, wish to justify it, and see how it fits in with one's own preconceived ideas. In this way they disturb the digestive fire of the spirit, for as the mechanism of the body is always working to help assimilate the food, so the spirit is constantly working to assimilate all that one learns through life.

Therefore, it is a matter of patience and it is taking life easily without troubling the mind too much over things, and allowing the knowledge which one has received as a food of the spirit to have time to be assimilated. By trying to assimilate knowledge before the time man loses his normal health; it is just like taking a drug to help digest food, which is not beneficial in the end.

But the third process is also necessary; and those who care little for the third stage, of representing, miss a great deal in life. A person who has seen something beautiful, who has heard something harmonious, who has tasted something delicious, who has smelled something fragrant alone, has enjoyed it, and yet not completely. The complete joy is in sharing one's joy with another. The selfish one who enjoys himself and does not care for others, whatever he enjoys, things of the earth or things of Heaven, his enjoyment is not complete. So it is in this third stage, that the following of the Message is fulfilled, when a soul has heard and has pondered upon it and has passed the same blessing to the others.