The Altar of Truth

By G. de Purucker

There is truth in the universe. What is that truth? It is the universe itself. Its laws are the courses of action of that universe manifesting itself in cosmic terms; and a true philosophy, a true religion, a true science, attempts to interpret these essentials in formulations of thought. The illuminated human intellect can so interpret these essentials because we, as offspring of the universe, have all the faculties and powers latent in us that the universe has.

Now the faculty of understanding is something we can evolve. This does not mean that we must build up an organ of understanding much as we will build a house of wood and bricks. Our understanding is within us, not without; and as we grow in self-consciousness, we shall understand ever more clearly the manifesting of the inner light. Yet, though truth comes ultimately from within, we can learn much from the fruitage of the mature thought of another mind. Even though it is an importation into our mind and not the fruitage of our own inner revelation, we can learn much if we take it into ourselves and honestly ponder over it and seek to understand it.

But are we going to take somebody's say-so and prove all things that come to us by that? If so, we are merely testing one dogmatic declaration by another dogmatic declaration. Anything we accept from outside, we take either on trust or faith, unless we have the faculties developed within ourselves of judgment, discrimination, intuition, and understanding. These we can develop by deep thinking, meditation, refusal to accept others' say-so, and by the exercise of will power in an inflexible determination to solve questions for ourselves, cost us what it may. As we thus exercise ourselves, as surely as the sun deluges the earth with light will we attain to what we are seeking: the faculty of proving all things by knowing them for true or for false.

Today, as in every age, people are searching for truth, and their approach is a scientific one. But how much more is there to learn! The more we know, the more we realize there is to know; the more we learn, the more we learn that there are still greater heights to climb. Great knowledge brings modesty; increasing knowledge brings increasing reverence for truth. Only those of limited understanding who have not in themselves that burning love of truth and truth alone, as founded upon the facts of the cosmos, can establish imaginary bounds and say: "Here truth ends! Farther we may not, we cannot go." Who can place limits to the soaring human spirit?

What is needed is a radical change in human consciousness. When this takes place, and if it be directed by the forces of light and heart flowing from within, then the human race need have no fear of anything within or without. But such a change in human hearts, minds, and will is a matter of long-time education, and comes not overnight. Yet a very great help towards its coming is the acceptance of a spirit of reverence for truth so great that nothing will be held of value before it; and hence all religious and scientific discoveries would be placed as an impersonal offering upon the altar of truth. What a beautiful ideal, not alone for scientists, religionists, and philosophers, but also for each of us to follow. There would then be no more enunciations of dogmatic hypotheses or theories, but a reverent placing of a life's work on the altar of that divine ideal, everlasting truth.

 (From Sunrise magazine, December 2002/January 2003; copyright © 2002 Theosophical University Press)

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You must be the change you wish to see in the world. -- M. K. Gandhi