And now, finally, what is individual duty as regards Brotherhood? First, to realise that the very condition of the spiritual life is to see the same Self in all equally dwelling. The Self dwells in the outcaste as in the Brāhmaṇa, dwells in the most degraded as in the purest and the noblest; and there is one law of the spiritual life, that as you pour out to others, so shall your own vessel be filled with the water of life. Each of us, then, has a duty as a brother. We are the elders of those younger brothers of our race, and the Law of Brotherhood for the coming Society is, as I said, that every man born into a civilised community shall live under conditions that enable him to develop to the utmost every faculty that he brings with him into the world. That is the law of the coming civilisation. Every child born among you has a right to develop all that he has within him. No obstacles should be placed in his way. Facilities of development should be given. Some are not your equals, but you must not therefore stunt their growth. Every man has the God-given right to develop all that he possesses within him. You must put no artificial barriers. You must make no difficulties which shall be insuperable to them. You must help by virtue of your own longer evolution. You must learn together, in order that you may know the fulness of the Divine Life. But there is this great difference between the life of Matter and the life of Spirit. If on this table I had a heap of golden coins, and if I said I would give them to you, what a rush there would be for them. But why the rush? Because you know that with every gold mohur given away, there is one less to give away to those who are behind; and so every one wants to be in front, for suppose there is not enough to go round? Sometimes men might try to grasp two or three, so that they may have for the future as well as for the day. It is the law of matter that it perishes in the using; hence there is always struggle; hence it generates divisions, it is the parent of quarrels. But if you knew that there was enough for all, there would be no struggle; if you knew the last would be as the first, there would be no fighting. The law of the Spirit is quite other, for the Spirit lives by giving, not by taking. The Spirit increases by using, he does not waste. As the Spirit has three great aspects of Will, of Consciousness, of Intellect, these are the priceless possessions that we have, and that we can give away without fear of wasting. I have a truth that you have not, and go out and proclaim the truth among you; am I the poorer because you know the truth, or do I know the truth all the better, because in giving it I have appropriated it more thoroughly than I did before? There is no wastage, there is no diminishing; my truth is mine; and when I have given it to every one of you, and you all possess that truth, mine is no lesser. Truth never wastes in the sharing. As you can light one candle from another, and the flame never diminishes though you light a thousand from it, so it is in the case of truth. Knowledge lights new knowledge, so that the total illumination grows greater and not less. Hence if you have knowledge, do not give it among those who already share it, but go out to the ignorant and give it to them. If you are wise, your duty is to make others wise, and not to sit in your own study and enjoy the wisdom as though it were a miser’s treasure to gloat over. Knowledge that is not shared becomes a cancer in the brain, and the power to know diminishes and is finally lost, when you refuse to share with your ignorant brother that which you acquired from the boundless stores of Nature. And Purity? Are you pure, in order that you may wrap your garments round you and say to the impure: Stand aside. I will not be polluted. O my friends, the purity that can be polluted is not purity at all, but a garment cast over impurity, hiding it from the world. Purity cannot be soiled; purity cannot be stained; and the duty of the pure is to go out among the impure, in order that they may be purified and lifted to the higher standard. Some I know, would say: “Level down. Pull the educated down. Pull the Brāhmaṇa down. Pull the rich man down. Let us have equality.” Equality of what? Of ignorance, of misery, of poverty, of general wretchedness? Nay; lift up the poor to the level of the rich, and let all be comfortable, and none have superfluities. Lift up the ignorant by learning, and so let all be happy in the enjoyment of the treasures of the mind. Go among the sinners, the foul, and the debased, and raise them up to your own purity, and so let the whole nation be pure and educated and healthy and well-fed. And of this be sure–it is written in a Christian Scripture, and is written hundreds of times in your own–“God has made of one blood all the Nations of the earth.” Is there one man among you who has not the right to lift up his eyes and say to Brahman: “I am Thou”? Is there one man to whom we can deny the glory of the indwelling Divinity of Spirit? If that be so, and you know it is so, then as your body may have all the life-blood poisoned if a snake sheds his venom into the lowest part of the body; if that poison circles in the blood through all your body, your head and your limbs begin to be paralysed, and your whole body suffers; presently your body will die, though the wound was only in the foot. So it is with the Nation. If the poison is in the foot, in the lowest part of the National body, it spreads through the whole of the Nation, and no part of it is strong. If one man be poor, no rich man is perfectly happy in the enjoyment of his wealth. If one man be ignorant, no wise man can rise to the highest of his mental faculties. If one man be diseased, the health of the whole Nation is lowered. Oh! Nature is always teaching it to you. Plague begins in a filthy quarter of the town, but it spreads to a palace. In London, in the miserable dwelling of the seamstress, when she makes a ball-dress for a Court Ball, she at times stitches into it her fever, which is the outcome of starvation; and the ball-dress carries it down to the house of a noble, and so it catches the fair daughter of the family. She catches typhoid, and she perishes of the fever generated in the London slum. You cannot separate yourselves; you are brothers whether you will or not. You change your bodies; not one of you will go out of this hall with exactly the same body as you had when you entered it; some particles of your neighbour’s body have come into yours. Some of yours have come to me. If you are diseased, you infect others; if you are healthy, your health infects others; if you are drunken, you communicate the poison of drink; if you are plague-stricken, the plague germs run from you to the healthy man. God has so bound us together that we cannot break the chain. Bound as brothers in suffering we must be, if we will not be brothers in love, in health, and in compassion. And so, to you, my brothers, I say: Take heed to yourselves; you stand with the greatest opportunity opening before you, mighty possibilities lie in the near future, which are yours if your hands are pure and your hearts are clean. No Nation has lived, where its poor were despised. The fragments of the past warn you of the dangers of your present. Live the Law of Brotherhood; rescue the miserable; teach the ignorant; feed the starving; nurse the diseased; and, on our India, on her future, the Ḍeva of India shall pour out His blessing, when she lives the law that she has always recognised in theory. That Future shall be mightier than her Past has been, a resurrection of the Spirit, and the spiritualisation of the flesh.
[Footnote 1: “The law of the survival of the fittest is the law of evolution for the brute; the law of self-sacrifice is the law of evolution for the man.”]