The result of the long experimenting is that now, when the young man goes into the laboratory, textbooks are ready for him. A professor is there to warn him where the dangers of investigation lie. “Do not put,” he will say to him, “nitrogen and chlorine together; if you put them together without certain precautions, you will find yourself in fragments and your laboratory will be destroyed.” The boy in the laboratory now does not experience the dangers of earlier investigators. That, for him, is done. Men have come to show him the way, and the experience of the Past is the guide to the knowledge of the Present, and the warning to the dangers of the Future. So with Man. There were Professors, there were Teachers, round the infant races of our Globe. We call them Ṛṣhis; we call them Saints; we call them God-illuminated men; we call them Sages; Founders of Religions; and They said to infant humanity, as the Professor says to the boy in the laboratory: “Do that, don’t do the other. Here lies safety; there lies danger. Take our experience as a guide, and you will realise the existence of the law; your happiness lies in your obedience, in your conformity with law.” Hence, infant humanity started with the advantages of Sages to guide it who proclaimed the law.
Now, for a moment, put yourselves by imagination in the position of one of those infant races, hearing the words of the Teacher, and willing to learn. “If,” said the Teacher, “you follow that course of conduct, misery will result.” You may remember the words of the Lord Buḍḍha, that “as the wheels of a cart follow on the heels of the ox, so misery follows on the commission of evil. As the wheels of the cart follow the heels of the ox, so happiness follows on the commission of right.” And why? because, as we shall see to-morrow, right is harmony with law, and wrong is discord with it. And, as the law cannot be broken, as the law itself is inviolable, the man who dashes himself against it is like the ship that dashes against a rock; the rock remains unmoving, but the ship is shattered into pieces. So is it with the law, the expression of the Divine Nature.
Now the recognition of law was helped by those declarations of the Teachers. For when a man, disobedient and careless, committed a wrong act, he suffered; and then he said: “I was told that I should suffer; after all, the Teacher was right; I have made myself miserable by disobeying the law.” And the earlier lessons of man ran along these lines.
Let us see how it worked out. A savage. His passions are his guides. He knows none other. He wants and takes; he desires and grasps; but he is living among others who also want and take, who also desire and grasp, and, there is a conflict between the desires of one man and another. We will follow one man: He sees his neighbour’s wife; desires her; he takes her; perhaps, kills the husband–he is quite a savage, remember. He sees in his neighbour’s tent food that he wants; he strikes the man down, and takes away the food. And he thinks: “I have done well; I am happy; I have gained a beautiful woman; I have gained food; I am no longer hungry. This is the path of happiness for me.” But he has made enemies. The friends of those whom he may have struck down in his licentiousness, they are his enemies, and presently he has to die, perhaps is killed in revenge. But, what we call Death is only the striking away of the body in which the Spirit eternal is dwelling, and this ignorant creature, when the body is struck away, finds himself in the midst of people whom he robbed and murdered during his life on earth. He is surrounded by enemies; he finds on the other side antagonism and hatred; and he learns in the other world–the world we call Preṭaloka or Kāmaloka–he learns there that to do these things means sorrow, and that pain is the ultimate result of the desire unjustly satisfied. It makes a little impression upon him. But during his life, he has not only robbed and murdered: he has loved; perhaps he has loved the woman he stole; perhaps he has loved the child that was born of her. Those little seeds of love remain. The Spirit carries them with him as he passes out of the body, and when he has suffered in Preṭaloka the result of the evil he has done, he passes on to Piṭṛloka and to Svarga, to enjoy the good that he has accomplished; and the seed of love, selfish probably, desiring gratification, finds in Piṭṛloka satisfaction, and the power to love increases. And where there has been a seed of unselfish love, perhaps where the wife was ill, and the husband sat up at night, tending and nursing her although she was no longer a source of pleasure, but only a source of trouble and annoyance; that unselfishness grows out of love, even the animal love, or lust of the possessor, that remains as a little bit of unselfish seed to bear flower in Svarga. When he reaches Svarga, and finds there again the wife and the child he loved, then that little seed of love begins to grow, and grows through the life, the heavenly life, of happiness that he leads, and that is transmuted into a greater power of loving, which he brings back with him to his next birth, so that he finds himself on a higher plane of emotion than that he lived on in the last.