Conquest of Illusion J. J. van der Leeuw

Theosophical Publishing House 1928

J. J. Van der Leeuw

Chapter 9  The Justice of Life

Our being thus, from threshold unto threshold throughout the realm, is a joy to all the realm as to the King, who draweth our wills to what he willeth. --DANTE, Paradiso.

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The Problem of Injustice

ALL men expect justice from life but few there are that find it. The reward of the virtuous and the punishment of the wicked may have their place in novel and melodrama and perhaps explain their popularity, but the bare facts of daily life appear to show the opposite--the meek and gentle perish, the ruthless flourish. Can we wonder that many a man, not conscious of wrong-doing and yet deprived of the labours of his years and of all that he holds dear, cries out in agony that there is no justice in life and that, if there is a God this God cannot be a just One?

It is but a meagre consolation, inspired by our desires rather than by scientific observation, that the rewards and punishments, which are so obviously absent in life down here, should materialize in a hereafter where the just play harps in bliss and the wicked feed the fires of hell. It is but a second line of defense in which our wish for justice in life entrenches itself and where, seeing itself defeated by the facts of daily existence, it fights for the fulfillment of its hopes, in a hereafter, the conditions of which few can test or deny.

There is no doubt that life appears to deal out with a sublime indifference joy or suffering, happiness or misfortune to the good and the wicked alike; with impartiality the darts and arrows of an outrageous fortune appear to be scattered over this world, with an entire unconcern for the hapless individual who chances to be in their way. Do we not know only too many instances of brave and patient workers who never appear to receive the reward of their toil, and from whom even the little that they had is taken away? And how often is not success or power but the result of a ruthlessness which, regardless of ruin to others, carves its way through life and attains its end though it brings suffering to millions?

The great are but too often the ruthless; where the man endowed with imagination and compassion would shrink back from an action that would bring profit and power to himself but misery to others, the one who lacks this quality of sympathetic imagination will not be deterred by the sufferings of his fellowmen if he but attains his end. And when these ends have been attained humanity, in its adoration of power and success, is but too willing to forget the way by which they were achieved or maintained and sees but the dazzling height on which the successful man has enthroned himself. The meek may inherit heaven, they certainly do not inherit the earth; the more a follower of Christ endeavours to tread in the footsteps of his Master the more he shall find himself deprived of power and possessions, scorned by man as a failure and trodden underfoot by the successful and the great.

Must we then surrender and put by the justice of life with many an old myth or fancy in the lumber room of exploded superstitions, or is it possible that philosophy will hold out another hope for that which is so dear to most of us?

It would be well if, from time to time, when we contemplate the problem of the justice of life, we asked ourselves what we consider to be the things worth striving for and worth attaining, what we consider the highest reward in life and what the greatest evil that can overtake a man. It is clear that unless it is understood what we are to consider a good thing or an evil thing in life we cannot judge whether there is justice or not, since justice depends on the reward for good deeds done and the punishment for evil ones. Now it is surely no exaggeration to say that in the minds of the majority of Christian men and women reward, or the good things of life, consist in money, power and pleasure, evil in obscurity, loss and suffering.

There is no fault to be found with this appreciation of values in life; every human being, according to his nature and mentality, must have a sense of values expressing his level in evolution. But when nations call themselves with pride Christian nations, when we not only laud and praise the divine wisdom of Christ, but even demand that other nations and races too shall acknowledge him as Wisdom incarnate, then surely we should at least grant some measure of reality to the scale of values of which His words bear witness. And here we find no uncertain message; like a golden thread the teaching runs through the Gospel-story that there is but one thing worth gaining in life, one supreme value and that is the realization of the Kingdom within, the Kingdom of God. In this realization of divinity alone can be found peace, happiness and riches, compared to which the wealth of the earth is of no worth.

If we claim truth for the words of Christ there is no escape from the conclusion that reward in life can only mean a fuller realization of the Kingdom, while punishment can be only understood to mean estrangement from that highest Good. Thus we have no choice; if we desire to call ourselves Christians and uphold the truth of Christ's teachings we must also uphold that justice in life means that the good shall gain a fuller realization of that which is of the greatest value the Kingdom of God, and that the wicked as a result of their evil deeds shall find themselves far from that supreme happiness. The fact that they gain many of the things of this earth, such as power and possessions can, in the light of Christian teaching, never be taken as a possible equivalent or substitute for that which alone is worth having, the realization of the Kingdom within, and on the other hand, even if all the evils of life were poured forth upon a man and, like Job, he were to find himself the chosen of misfortune, even then a realization of the Kingdom within should more than outweigh these worldly evils; from a standpoint of justice the man would indeed have his reward.

Too often, however, we are not Christians but only members of Christian Churches and as such we extol to the heights the glories of Christ's teaching and are intolerant of the heathen who fail to embrace it, but we do not think of applying this teaching to the problems of our lives. Our Christianity is a frail plant which can only flower in the hot-house of Church worship and which dies a speedy death when brought into the cold atmosphere of our daily lives; on Monday morning our sense of values changes and we do not desire the Kingdom of God, of which we sang so fervently the day before, half as much as the increase of our business. Then too the problem of the justice of life presents itself in a very different light; in church indeed we praise the blessedness of the saints as the highest reward, but at home we are quite willing, more than willing, to forego these rather nebulous rewards of heaven for the more tangible rewards of the earth; the one bird in the hand is still worth more to us than all the birds that ever were in the heavenly bush.

Consequently we complain that life is not just because the man who follows in the footsteps of Christ does not get rich, does not get honoured and famous, does not attain to high position or political power, but is far more often a failure from all social standpoints, trampled under foot in the struggle for existence. But our complaints about the injustice of life remain essentially unchristian and we can only indulge in them if at the same time we are willing, and honest enough, to express our entire disbelief in the message which Christ brought to humanity and for which He gave His life. If we cannot be Christians we can at least be sincere.

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Substitutes for Justice

The problem yet remains for the majority of men that life deals her cards in an entire indifference and disregard of persons, if anything, with a slight leaning towards the wicked. Even if our Christianity is real to us it is difficult, when we see the tyranny of evil and ignorance over the gentle and the wise, to refrain from wondering whether there is justice for the individual. There is no doubt, it leaves a feeling of dissatisfaction, of incompleteness in our minds to see the incompatibility of a man's actions with the results that seem to come to him in life; unconsciously, if not consciously, we all desire to see life complete, balanced, the good rewarded and happy, the evil punished and miserable.

A novel or drama with an incomplete, unhappy ending is hardly ever popular; even if life cheats us out of reward and punishment we can at least demand them from fiction, and much of the gratification we gain from the stories we read, or see on stage and screen, is derived from the fact that here at least things happen as they should--the hero is rewarded, the villain defeated. Our starved sense of justice comes to life again under such circumstances and when, from the reading or the contemplation of such soul-satisfying dramas, we return to our daily lives, we cannot help but see how lacking they are in logic and reason. But then life is neither logical nor reasonable.

Another substituted remedy for our dissatisfaction with life's dealings lies in our conceptions of a life after death. Even if the good does not receive the reward of his actions in this life then surely he must get it after death, there if not here will he receive the bliss which is his by rights. Let the wicked rejoice in their ill-gotten gains in the brief span of life that is theirs, soon the time will come that amidst gnashing of teeth and bitter tears they suffer the just retribution for their evil deeds. Then, from the everlasting bliss of heaven, the good can smile down in a divine complacency on the everlasting torments of the damned; yes, in the strange mentality of some it would even seem as if the life of blessedness gained an additional flavour from the contemplation of sufferings which have no end.

From a psychological standpoint the joys of heaven and the sufferings of hell are but a substitute for that justice which we do not find in daily life; in the life after death the incomplete fragments of life are supplemented and made complete by the reward or punishment lacking here.

Even the nature of the infernal torments and the celestial joys is a product of our earthly desires and fears; the hell of the northern peoples is as cold as the hell thought out in the tropics is hot. In a similar manner the activities in man's celestial home change with the fashions of the ages; for the Egyptian rich wheat fields and harvests produced without labour, for the Red Indian the happy hunting grounds with plentitude of game and unending sport, for our Teutonic forefathers Walhalla with plenty of fighting and beer drunk from the skulls of former enemies, the Mohammedan's paradise is resplendent with houris and who can think of a Christian heaven without harps and everlasting hymns of praise?

No, even our nebulous beliefs that somehow after death all will come right, cannot solve our problem of the injustice of life; it is too patently man's own creation. Also the just-wait-and-see-what-happens-to-you-when-you-are-dead attitude hardly gives us that justice which we desire to see now in life; it is a very meagre consolation for the victim to know that after death the one who robbed him will suffer untold agonies while he himself is bathed in a self-righteous bliss. If man is to believe in the justice of life he must have 'grounds more relative than this.'

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The Doctrine of Karma and the Justice of Life

It is inevitable that the life of man on earth should be unintelligible as long as it is considered by itself instead of as part of the great cycle of life which every individual being accomplishes from beginning to end. We all complete the creative Rhythm in our own evolution; we all grow from the unconscious unity of primitive man through the separateness of intellectual man to the conscious unity of spiritual man; we all grow from the savage to the saint in our pilgrimage through these worlds of matter. In one single life we appear but to advance a step on this long path towards perfection and we cannot avoid the conclusion that it is through many lives on earth that we complete our cycle of evolution.

When thus we see one life in its causal connection with lives preceding and following it, we realize the utter impossibility of finding the justice, for which we seek, realized in a period not complete in itself. As well might we consider one single day in our life and demand to see that day a complete whole, balanced within its own limits; every day of necessity continues the work of previous days; we wake up with the results of the actions we did the day before or earlier yet; we continue the relations with our fellowmen which we began previously, and our whole day's work is inextricably bound up with the work of previous days. The same interconnection exists between the days of our greater life, each of which is one life on earth; it is our action in one life which produces results not only in that same life, but in lives to come. The ties for good or evil, which we make in any one life with our fellowmen and which at the end of such a life are but too often left incomplete and unadjusted, will be taken up in some next life when once again we meet those whom we have wronged or helped. How else could our evolution be a continuous one if there were not this causal connection between our different lives on earth; each life being both the harvest of previous ones and in its actions the seed for a harvest in lives to come?

Here then appears a new hope for justice in life; if man's successive lives on earth are all causally connected then the circumstances in which he finds himself born in some particular life, the advantages or disadvantages, the good or ill fortune, which come to him, however unjust they may appear, must necessarily be connected with and caused by the events of his previous lives. The explanation of the apparent injustices of life is then that the misfortune of one man and the good fortune of another are the result of their own respective actions in the past, the just consequence of their own behaviour. We can hardly look upon them as rewards or punishments since the lives of man are bound together in a chain of cause and effect and in that causality it is as inevitable that actions bring their own results as it is with regard to physical happenings. The law of cause and effect takes the place of a God who deals out rewards and punishments; if we offend against the law the result must inevitably follow. It does not help to say that we did not know the law or that we are sorry for what we did; he who holds his hand in the fire must of necessity burn his fingers, whether he knew that fire is hot or not.

According to this doctrine of karma, as it is called in Hindu and Buddhist philosophy, we at the same time undergo the effects of our past actions and by our actions now cause the conditions of our future existence; our entire evolution is one connected whole. The apparent injustices of social life now become intelligible; the man who in past lives has ever tried to benefit his fellowmen will be born in circumstances and with possibilities which will give him a wider scope for his powers for good, he who did but seek himself and brought evil to others will be born in conditions where through suffering he will learn the inviolable unity of life.

Is then the problem of the injustice of life at last solved? Can we at last say that life is just, since the law of cause and effect works with never-failing exactitude? We certainly have seen how the events and circumstances of one life are connected with previous ones, but even so the question remains, what causes the difference between the cycle of evolution of one individual and that of another. The evolution of no two human beings is the same and the very fact of their difference shows an inherent inequality. Justice demands equality, inequality suggests injustice and the question remains, why are the paths which human beings go in their evolutionary cycles so very different?

If we trace this inequality to its beginning we must mark; as such the moment when the individual emerges from the group-life of nature, when from the group-life, which dominated animal existence, there is born the individual human being. This moment of individualization marks the beginning of the human cycle of evolution and, since this moment must of necessity be different for all human beings their evolutionary cycles must be different too.

In theosophical literature it is explained that the individualization of the animal from the group-life to which it belonged, takes place only in the case of domestic animals and that it is their close contact with man and their response to human qualities of emotion or mind which causes the actual birth of the individual from the group-life of the animal species. When the animal is thus 'individualized' its next appearance on earth will be as a human being; the beginning of its human cycle of evolution is marked by that especial response of the domestic animal which causes it to individualize. It is further taught that there are different ways or modes of individualization; the animal may be born as a human being through love, wisdom or devotion, the so-called right modes of individualization, and also through fear, hatred, or pride, the so-called wrong modes of individualization. It is described in several theosophical works how this mode of individualization affects the entire evolutionary cycle of the human being who thus emerges from the animal kingdom. If the individualization takes place through love and devotion the path of evolution will be smooth and harmonious, joyful and constructive. If, however, individualization takes place through hatred or fear, caused generally by human cruelty to the animal, then the entire evolutionary cycles of the unfortunate human beings who thus emerged into individuality are branded with all the vices and attendant miseries to be found in human life; their evolution is retarded, they suffer untold agonies in their constant rebellion against their spiritual superiors, they develop into heartless oppressors of their fellowmen, thus making even more evil 'karma' which will bring yet more suffering; in short, they seem to evolve through evil-doing and through suffering. Yet it is clear that the animal cannot help its mode of individualization and that the individual who thus emerges from the animal species is not responsible for the treatment which the human beings in charge of those animals have given them. Yet as an individual he has to suffer all the miseries and misfortunes of a wrong mode of individualization, life after life. Where then is justice?

The law of karma does indeed show us how different lives are interconnected, how the events of one life produce the circumstances of the next, as such it explains much and is a most valuable addition to our knowledge of the method of evolution. What, however, it does not and cannot explain is why some human beings should be born as individuals in a way which brands them as evil and rebellious for their whole further evolution, whereas others should have the apparently unfair privilege of individualizing in the right way and evolving along lives of harmony and joy. The problem of justice therefore is not solved by the doctrine of karma which does but teach the causal connection between successive lives; the problem has only been shifted back to the beginning of human evolution and the inequality between one man's evolution and another's still remains unexplained.

So often we think that we have solved a problem when we have restated it in unusual terminology or else have shifted it back a few hundred thousand years. However valuable the doctrines of reincarnation and karma are we must recognize that fundamentally and ultimately they do not solve the question of the justice of life. That question is of a different order altogether and we damage rather than enhance the nobility of the doctrines mentioned when we try to make them serve as solutions for problems which belong to the domain of ultimate Reality. The doctrines of reincarnation and karma belong to the world of relativity; their value and teaching is scientific, not philosophical. From the philosophical standpoint it matters little indeed whether the inequality in man's lives is caused by the arbitrary decision of a Deity who places each soul in different circumstances, or whether it is caused by the difference in modes of individualization from the animal kingdom; the problem of injustice remains.

It is difficult for many to see whether an answer really solves a problem or whether it merely restates it or shifts it back, and it would be a useful work to show in religion, philosophy and science the many instances where, an explanation of the method, or the way in which events take place, is accepted as a solution or explanation of the fundamental and ultimate reason of the entire process. The doctrines of reincarnation and karma give a most valuable exposition of the process of individual evolution in our world, as such the doctrines are true and of the utmost importance, but they do not finally solve the problem of the apparent injustice of life. That problem still demands a solution.

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The Erroneous Nature of the Problem

Once again we must analyze the problem itself and see whether or not there is an element of error in it which may make it incapable of being solved.

Let us then consider the problem of justice and see whether it is right in itself. Man, seeing the inequality of circumstances and fortunes in this world, demands some form of compensation which will finally make every one's portion of good and evil equal to that of all others. This, put somewhat crudely, is the fundamental demand behind the question of the justice of life for the individual.

A certain pettiness underlies such clamouring for justice; we would fain see the Deity seated on His throne above, portioning out the delicacies and woes of life with an impartiality and an unfailing correctness of weight and measure of which a village grocer might be proud, and we follow with jealous eyes the portions which our fellowmen receive, comparing them surreptitiously to our own and measuring them off one against the other so as to make quite sure that all are equal. Is that a mentality from which a philosophical question, let alone a philosophical answer, can ever be produced? And even if the question were not essentially wrong is our concern over it compatible with human dignity?

Apart, however, from the not very exalted level of thought which produces the problem, and notwithstanding the controversy there has been over it throughout the ages, the question itself is impossible. The demand for justice is ultimately the demand that each separate human being shall get an equal deal from life and that the sum total of joy and of pain shall be more or less the same for all. The problem therefore is based on the conception of ourselves as separate individuals, detached from all others and living a life of our own, self-contained, with its end and purpose in itself; only in this conception of a separate individuality can the problem of justice have any meaning. But this sense of separateness is a basic illusion, truly inevitable in our cycle of evolution, just as the exteriorization of our world-image is inevitable, but none the less an illusion. In our everyday consciousness, permeated as it is by illusion, we feel ourselves sharply and distinctly separate from our fellow-creatures and in this feeling of separateness we produce problems which we cannot ever solve.

Such a problem is that of the justice of life, of the justice or injustice of the Deity who is supposed to be responsible for all of us and who, in our minds, should give each one of us an equally fair treatment. The problem is rooted in a sense of separateness which is illusion, consequently we can ponder over it for many centuries, but we shall never find a solution.

If we would know reality we must overcome the illusions in the problems which our intellect presents, instead of accepting them without suspicion. Thus alone can we come to living knowledge?

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Justice in the World of the Real

Let us then once again withdraw from the illusion of our world-image with its hosts of errors and misconceptions and enter that world of Reality where, in silence and peace, we can know things as they are, where we can experience the reality which is so vainly sought in this problem of justice. Where, in the world of relativity, the separate individual is the outstanding reality, the opposite is experienced in the world of the Real. There the outstanding and overwhelming experience is the fundamental unity of all that is and in that unity the multitude of creatures and things appear as notes in a vast musical composition. We ourselves are lost in the unity of the whole and in the light of that experience our normal sense of separateness looks absurd and pitiable.

Unity in the world of the Real is such a very different thing from even our highest conceptions of unity in daily life. Here we always think of unity as a combination of things which are separate; in the world of the Real we realize that unity is not union; the multitude of separate things no more combine to make up unity than the fractions contained within the number one produce the unity of that number by being added together. Unity is a fundamentally real thing; multiplicity is but a way of contemplating and experiencing that unity.

When we enter the world of the Real we no longer persist as individuals, surrounded by a world which we are not; we are all that is and our individuality seems to have merged in the All. In the world of Reality we thus live in and through everything, we are everything; and our dearly beloved illusion of a separate individuality, distinct from all other individualities, appears but a pitiable distortion, a terrible misconception. In the world of Reality the demand of justice for the individual is almost repulsive, it is so utterly impossible and incompatible with things as they are. In the blindness and illusion of our world-image we may fancy ourselves to be separate and distinct, yet, all the time, the fact remains that we never are separate, but are fundamentally and essentially one in being and reality. In that reality we not only share, we are the life of all creatures in a fullness of utter unity which is incomprehensible to our consciousness in daily life. The demand for justice is therefore meaningless in that world; it does not matter whether a thing happens to that part of reality which I call myself or to the part which I call someone else, all are one in utter unity; what happens to someone else happens to ourselves, there is but one Reality in which and through which all happens.

All things that are express the Absolute and, though the expression in relativity is in countless modes or creatures, it is but one Reality that is so expressed; unity and multiplicity are but different ways of experiencing the same reality. The manifold and apparently separate manifestations in the world of the relative are as the many separate notes out of which a great symphony is built up; there is necessarily difference between the notes and they are grouped differently into chords and harmonies, yet the symphony is one. How absurd would be the suggestion of injustice in the difference in place allotted to the different notes, in the fact that one note may form part of a majestic opening chord whereas another note is almost lost in a minor passage. The symphony is one and we cannot attribute separateness to the single notes or chords; they all are the symphony and the symphony is one. Each note has its meaning only as part of the symphony; the symphony is not a collection of notes grouped together into a unity, but every note is part of the symphony. The composition as a whole is the fundamental reality; understanding that we can say that there is no such thing as a separate note in that unity; every note shares the beauty of the whole and shares the life of every other note; the life of the symphony.

Thus are we one; the rich variety in the world of the relative, the many apparently separate creatures and objects are but the notes and chords of the eternal Symphony of creation. No note can possibly be spared in that Symphony, no note has a separate existence, the life of the whole is in each one of them and each one shares the life, the joys and the sufferings of all the others. The demand for equality or for justice for the individual shows but that our individual has not yet realized itself as part of the Symphony, and hears only its own meaningless sound reverberating through the void of illusion. What a difference when we realize that we are the Symphony, the Hymn of creation; we then know that we give meaning to all other notes just as they give meaning to us, that there are no separate notes, but that all are eternally and inseparably part of the eternal Song of Life.

When we have once realized unity in the world of the Real and have seen what a distorted view the illusion of separate individuality really is we no longer ask for justice or for equality. However miserable our own individual fate may seem to be and however glorious that of another we know that w share the life of all and that, in the unity of all, our sorrow is as essentially part of the Song of creation as the joy of our neighbor. What happens to him happens to us, our fate is his fate, what we do to him is done to ourselves, what he does to us he does unto himself. In the Vision of Reality we gain detachment from our own particular fate and circumstances; living as we do in the unity of all things in the world of the Real we can no longer see any individual density as separate in its misery or joy, once we are all things simultaneously. We are the hand that strikes us and the hand that blesses, we are the multitude of living things, the whole world around us, as swell as the world within. Where now is our demand for justice, what meaning has justice for us when we realize unity? The very desire to have exactly the same as our neighbor has become absurd since we know that we are that neighbor as well as that which he receives.

It is this realization of unity of which Dante sings in the third Canto of the Paradiso. Here the poet meets the spirits whose eternal place in heaven is represented by the realm of the Moon, a lower cosmic sphere where those live who, in the religious life, have been prevented from keeping their vows inviolate. Thus Piccarda, with whom Dante enters into conversation, says:

And this lot, which seemeth so far down,
Therefore is given us because our vows were slighted,
And on some certain side were not filled in.

Dante wonders whether these spirits do not yearn for the higher realms of Paradise, implying that they might be discontented with their lot, or envy those who are place nearer to the heart of things in eternal bliss. He thus asks Piccarda:

But tell me, ye whose blessedness is here,
Do ye desire a more lofty place,
To see more, or to make yourselves more dear?

It is the earthly demand of justice, which here, in Paradise, has lost its meaning:

With those other shades first she smiled a little,
Then answered me so joyous
That she seemed to burn in love's first flame.

Brother, the quality of love stilleth our will,
And maketh us long only for what we have,
And giveth us no other thirst.

Did we desire to be more aloft,
Our longings were discordant from his will
Who here assorteth us,

And for that, thou wilt see, there is no room within these circles,
If of necessity we have our being here in love,
And if thou think again what is love's nature.

Nay, 'tis the essence of this blessed being
To hold ourselves within the divine will,
Whereby our own wills are themselves made one.

So that our being thus, from threshold unto threshold
Throughout the realm, is a joy to all the realm as to the king,
Who draweth our wills to what he willeth;

And his will is our peace;
It is that sea to which all moves
That it createth and that nature maketh.

Clear was it then to me how everywhere
In heaven is Paradise, e'en though the grace
Of the chief Good doth not rain there after one only fashion.

No words could express with more dignity or beauty the all-pervading unity of the world of the Real in which such thoughts as discontent with the place that is ours in the unity of the whole, or envy of those who are more highly placed than we, are quite impossible. It is indeed true that if we can but think what is 'love's nature' we must see that there is no room within the realm of reality for the desire to be more aloft or for longings, discordant from the Supreme Will. Love is realization of unity and in that realization man transcends his individuality and shares the life of the whole. The being of every creature in the world of Paradise, of divine Reality, is a joy to all 'from threshold unto threshold through the realm'; the experience of each one is the experience of the whole.

As long as we are bound in the illusion of separateness we demand justice and cannot find it, when we transcend illusion and experience reality the problem of justice becomes superfluous in the very much greater truth we then have found. Thus it ever is, our problems are incapable of solution as long as we are bound to the illusion that produced them, and lose their meaning when that illusion is conquered. Solved they never are; where solutions are claimed we can be sure that error is abroad.

It is then clear that, as Dante has it, 'everywhere in heaven is Paradise, even though the grace of the chief Good does not rain there after one only fashion.' The mystery of ultimate Reality is multiplicity in unity; the unity is as real and eternal as is the variety of relative beings, consequently, though there must be inequality in life and fate, yet the inequality is but part of the eternal unity and can therefore never be called injustice.

In the practice of life the knowledge gained in the world of Reality means equanimity with regard to our own fate, compassion for the fate of others. Here again the intellect, in its inability to comprehend reality, will misinterpret and misunderstand that which it cannot contain. Thus it will say, 'if justice is but an illusion of the separate self there is no longer any necessity for justice in daily life; since all are one I can treat my fellowmen badly and take all I can for myself, since my advantage is theirs too in the unity of all and their sorrow is mine. Thus I do no more wrong when I kill my neighbor in order to rob him as when I give him the best I have.' To the intellect this may seem but a logical conclusion from the experience of reality, yet it is but a distortion of truth, such as the illusion-bound intellect always makes.

The fact that in the world of the Real we share the joys and sorrows of all creatures just as they share ours in no wise means that it therefore does not matter how we treat our fellowmen. On the contrary the only way in which we can interpret our realization of unity in the world of the relative is through love for all creatures; just as any unkind or hurtful action is a denial of the Reality in which all are one, so are self-sacrifice, love for all that lives and service of our fellowmen the expression in the world of relativity of that supreme Reality which can never be fully expressed here, the utter unity of all that is. Love, indeed, is the nearest approach to Reality we can find in the world of the relative, in love alone does man conform to his being in the world of the Real.

Love is more than justice; 'an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth' is justice indeed; love is to forgive those that persecute us and to do good to them that hate us. The law of Moses expresses justice, the law of Christ expresses love; justice is the demand of those bound in the world of illusion, love the joy of those who know Reality.

It is then true that, as long as we live in the illusion of separateness and clamour for justice, we find ourselves incapable of solving the problem of the injustice of life; when we have transcended the illusion of separateness and have entered the world of the Real, we no longer desire to solve the problem because we see its error. Life is not concerned with the questions and errors of our illusion-bound consciousness; life is more than just, life is one. In that unity of all that is, the problem of the justice of life is transcended; the reality of the unity of life is experienced.

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