He saw in a vision evidently, about the ninth hour of the day, an angel of God coming in to him, and saying unto him, Cornelius. And when he looked on him, he was afraid, and said, "What is it, Lord?" And he said unto him, "Thy prayers and thine alms are coming up for a memorial before God."
The Acts of the Apostles 10: 3-4
You can ask yourselves the question: what connection exists between Cornelius with his vision and us, who live in the 20th century - people with modern ideas; men sophisticated, with critical minds; men who claim to have mastered the forces of nature. We have to constantly bear in mind the following thought: our outlook and theories, our explanation of Life do not represent the actual world as it is in reality – these are only our concepts of the world. What the world is in reality is an enigma which even if we were given a million years of life we wouldn’t be able to solve it.
The quoted verse relates to the individual life of man. On the Earth, in the present state of his development, man has a threefold relation and does three jobs: to himself, to his neighbour, and to God. When we speak about man, we have to ask ourselves the question whether we are referring to his individual life, or to the life he manifests in his relations with his neighbours, or to the Life which manifests itself when we are connected to God, because in any of these three viewpoints, the world takes a different perspective.
If we decide to find out how modern science views Life we will see that it has the following concept: personal or individual life cannot continue after death; life is contained inside the body and is solely a product of the body; thinking is a product of the brain and consequently, when these organs are destroyed, both life and thinking perish forever. So modern science says; such are its concepts. According to it, thinking is a product of the brain, but from a purely philosophical point of view in the world there are organs that exist with a function other than the energy-producing one. If Life originated from the cells of the body and if thinking were in truth a product of the brain, as science states, then its conclusions are correct. But we have three types of organs and three types of functions: organs producing energy, organs releasing energy, and organs transmitting energy. If we take for an example a shell of a modern military gun and the tiny fuse igniting the explosive, I want to ask you, ''Does the gun generate energy in any form?'' No, it only passes and directs the energy. The gun has not produced the explosive, its function is only to release that energy which through a certain transformation of the molecules inside the substance expands their volume and thus produces an explosion. There are also other organs which release energy. Let’s say we have a prism exposed to sunlight, which refracts the sunrays and due to that, certain colours become visible; and I ask you, is it the prism that creates the colours? No, it only refracts the rays, and even if the prism breaks, the colours will continue to exist. In the same way, the energy of human thought exists even after the brain is destroyed. In that sense we can say, that the brain is a device through which the Divine Thought; the initial Divine Energy is refracted and manifested in the form of mind and thought. Therefore, the brain is not a source of thinking; it is only an organ transmitting thought; while the Divine Thought continues to exist even after this organ perishes.
In this way, we live in a Divine world, where certain organs exist, which are imperishable. We know that in the physical field there exists certain compounds which undergo transformations, but in the higher worlds, and in the initial higher conditions of matter there exists unchangeable compounds. I call them stable compounds – initial types, out of which the world of today is built. This world in its physical manifestation we call a physical world, i.e. it does not possess the higher consciousness, which exists in the Spiritual World. For instance, your fingers do not have the sensitivity your brain has, and your ears do not have the sensitivity to perceive light, as your eyes do. What is this sensitivity of the eyes due to? Quite naturally, we can give various answers to this question, but we have to first adopt one statement as a starting point of our reasoning. In Mathematics, there is an axiom stating: any two lines equaling a third line equal each other; in other words, we always have to have one condition, one measure, as a starting point. This sensitivity is a function of the human soul.
Now, I have no time to tell you what the soul is like. The human soul is something large; it manifests itself both individually, in man and collectively. In truth, the soul is one; Life is one; but those who do not comprehend this philosophical concept may come up with very wrong views when I say one and many souls. Just the same, as they talk, for instance, about the acorn: the acorn is one, but when we plant this acorn, first it builds up one branched sprig with three branches; then three more are formed above; till it ramifies more and more and forms thousands of individual leaves and acorns.
Someone, who has no idea of the acorn’s nature, while looking at the tree, will consider the leaves as separate individuals; however, they all come from and are contained within the acorn – within this seed. This seed is God. Create the conditions and plant that seed within yourselves and it will unfold all talents, all secrets, and wonders. This seed, this acorn can shrink; it can grow; it can transform itself into a beech, a bear, a whale, a man, an Angel. This seed is within – it is one, and at the same time, many. Therefore, things can unite or disperse depending on the viewpoint: if we look from above, things will seem numerous; if we reach downwards, we will see that all things are sustained by the one trunk. We should apply the same point of view to all people: for me, some of them are like leaves; others – like branches, like roots, like seeds, like unripe fruit. Quite naturally those of you, who belong to the leaves, will not understand my philosophy, because your lifespan is short – it is a six-month’s life. When spring comes, you become beautiful, wonderful; yet when autumn comes and frost falls, you wither and say, “Our time has gone.” Some day a storm may break the branches of your tree in two and eventually your whole tree may fall. But even then and there, in the soil, one acorn will remain, which contains Life and says, ''I have the power to bring you back to Life,'' – and it falls down to the soil, drinks up its sap of life and restores all things back to life. Where, then, is the end of all things? This is a constant process, as infinity has no end. When the leaves fall on the Earth, do not think that the entire world has come to an end. Do not think like Nastradin Hodza,1 who said, ''When my wife dies, that will be the end of half the world. When I die, the whole world will end.'' This world may die, but the other, the Divine World will not – not at all. Why do we experience death, why is our world imperfect? When we reach a certain point, we have to transform ourselves into new flesh in order to receive a new impulse for work of the soul.
Cornelius was not an uneducated man, in my belief he should have possessed deep knowledge; he was initiated, because God shall not appear before foolish people. It will be foolish for a great musician to play before a man who cannot hear and then ask him what he makes of the music; such a man will answer, ''I can only see how you are moving your fingers to and fro.'' And the musician will say, ''You are stupid,'' meanwhile both are stupid. Or, imagine a painter who has painted a beautiful picture, and shows it to a man who cannot see, and asks, "How do you see it?" and that man answers, "There is a canvass before me, but this canvass is a little bit silly here and there, you must have bought it some place," and the artist will say, ''What a simpleton you are, you don’t understand anything.'' They are both simpletons – the one for not seeing and the other, the painter, for not understanding that the other man is in no condition to understand. In the same way, when a Higher Being comes to us, we have to be able to understand the inner nature of all things. I have read many works of philosophy, I go through them every day and at times I burst my sides with laughter; some philosophers resemble men who cannot see – they work gropingly and write, "This world is a canvass with imperfections; with too little suffering; and all men are fools." You are right, I say, but these conclusions are valid for you only. This world is more than a canvass, more than these up and downturns; there should be Light in the eyes, ears, in the mind, in all the brain centres of the man, in all his strengths and abilities; so that he may understand things. And the one who understands the world must have lived a long life – one life only is not enough for a man to understand the world. What can you comprehend within a life-span of twenty, thirty, fifty, or one hundred years – under the present conditions in the world, what philosophy can you learn? You will constantly read in the papers which army2 is the prevailing one; how many people the Romanians killed; how many prisoners-of-war the Bulgarians have captured; what inventions the Germans have made. For example, the Germans have devised 42-cm guns; the French are developing a 52-cm gun; the Americans – a 54 cm gun; the Germans had so-and-so zeppelins, the French – so-and-so airplanes; I ask you – what philosophy will you learn from all that?
Laws exist that regulate things. Wars break out for a reason. What are the reasons when a storm arises and dust swirls in the air? The scientists say that someplace the air has been heated more; someplace – less; and currents have originated. Why should air be heated and why should it be cooled; can't we do without that? No, we cannot. You may say it’s something bad, because there are storms which destroy houses. Yes, but at the same time the storms will bring you moisture, will clear the air, etc., i.e. to the vegetable kingdom they will do more good than harm. What are the reasons for a war to break out? It is a storm in the Spiritual World, which comes to refresh people. After that storm, the people will become very intelligent; writers will appear who will reason very intelligently. Now we can only see the harm but in fifty years we shall return to see the outcome. In the Divine World everything comes into use and nothing happens by chance. The one killed on the battle field was meant to be killed; the one who had his house burned, he had to have his house burnt; if one had a leg cut, it was because this leg had to be cut. Statistics exist, proving the natural course of events; there are laws, regulating the events in Life which only seem to occur by chance – for example, how many ships shall sink and how many should be built for ten years; when will the period of the greatest number of sinking set in and then – the period of the least number of sinking; or let us take for example fires: how many houses should burn every year; then let us take for example births and deaths – how many people have to be born and how many have to die each year. And more: I have, for example, the study of a mathematician, who is also an astrologer; and he did calculations in the following way: for ten towns in England he studied the number of the boys and girls born in the course of ten years; and afterwards he succeeded to mathematically establish with an error of one percent only how many boys and girls will be born in each of these towns in the course of the following ten years. Some reach even farther with their calculations and foretell, let us say which tickets will be the winning ones in the next draw of a lottery, which is drawn four times in a year. Therefore, a law exists, that regulates things. This is a new science, which has deep roots and a rational foundation.
Now, you are starting to scratch the backs of your heads; this scratching might seem, at first glance, to have no meaning at all, but I know why it is happening. Or, someone has confused his work and puts his index finger on his forehead above his eyebrows; to such a man we say, "You have not judged right, and that is why you have confused your work," – you should judge carefully. In this laboratory above the eyebrows everything is stored that you need; there is your library where you can find the book; this and that page or this and that article of the law, which will enlighten you. Some have the habit of pressing their head but with pressing you cannot open a door; this is the way to crush nuts only. To be able to open the door of learning, men should have the key.
Hence, we have to live mindfully. Many books are written on the issue of what Mindful Life is. It is your task – you have to live according to the way you comprehend things because a student with no comprehension of his own will never understand the subject matter his teacher is teaching.
Now we are placed in the following contradiction. There is a legend, that God originally created two men on the Earth, but they could not get on well together; they started hating each other; and that is why God placed them in the two most distant places in space, so that they could not see each other. But they began to miss each other; started to love each other and in order to join, these two souls built a bridge and this bridge is the Milky Way. Therefore there is a way through which people can get on well together – and it is the Milky Way of Harmony, of Love. Christ descended via this way, too.
Some want to know what an Angel is; while what I want to know is what man is. The old Indians have defined man as a thinking being; then, what is an Angel? Angel in Sanskrit means servant, but it also means glowing fire, and also love. If you love, you are an Angel; if you do not love, you are a man. But I say to someone, "You are not an Angel, you are one of those souls, who have not agreed with their neighbour, and for that reason God has nailed you somewhere in space and you have no bridge to join you."
Peter in Sanskrit means spirit (Pitar); in fact, they told Cornelius, "Go to the Spirit, It will tell you all." Peter in Old Greek means stone. There exist living stones – only the Spirit can be a living stone. By stone Christ means things unchangeable within, Divine, mindful.
Cornelius had to pray – here is a task. Many still do not know how to pray; some say, "What am I expected to tell God, doesn’t He know?" And others ask how they should pray. If you ask a theosophist, he will tell you, "I am God, I have nothing to pray for, I will only reason." While the philosopher will say, ‘I will think.’ But prayer is necessary – it is the breathing of the human soul; it is communication between God and the human soul. When God speaks, you shall keep silent and listen carefully as a student and when He stops, He will tell you, "I want you to repeat what I have told you." The word prayer means to ascend and descend. There are people who talk incessantly; they are chatterboxes – even when they sleep at night, they talk, while they should keep silent. What is sleep? I will tell you; when you sleep, God teaches you lessons – because you are isolated from the external world, from family, house, etc., this is the time when God can speak to you. When man wakes up, God would tell him, "Repeat what I have told you." And what will this man repeat, if he has not heard and comprehended well God’s commandments? He will beat his wife, will spank his children and will live the whole day indisposed, because he has not comprehended the lesson, and has not understood the meaning of Life for this day.
When a Divine Messenger descends from Heaven to us, he wants to tell us that without Purity we will never see God; that without Holiness we will never comprehend Him; that without Kindness and Love, without Compassion and without Justice we will not feel Him. We have to understand what Love is. Some say, "We understand what Love is," some of you, I believe, do understand what Love is; but you have to understand it deeper. Love is always the stepping-stone to hatred; if you love Good - you will hate evil; if you love evil - you will hate Good. Consequently, Love alone cannot solve the question and bring deliverance to man, if it is not accompanied with a constant evasion of its antipode. Who, then, will save the world? - The Angel of Love, accompanied by the Angel of Compassion. Only in Compassion there is no shadow, only in the Mercy of God there is no division – we have to study the law of Compassion. For this reason this Angel came to Cornelius – to teach him the law of Compassion. And when the people of the world learn to be compassionate and apply Compassion everywhere, then all will live in peace. Truth makes men free, teaches him what is Good and what is wrong; who is foolish and who is wise; but it does not contain within itself the element to reconcile people; Love, too, alone can not bring about peace. Divine Compassion is the key that reconciles Justice with injustice, Wisdom with foolishness, Good with evil, so that they shall not fight within us. They say about someone, "He is good, I cannot stand him; he is foolish, I cannot stand him; he is bad, I cannot stand him." The World is not bad, what is bad is our understanding of things; we are bad within ourselves, and the world is very good. The soul which you hate agonizes, it suffers, it is chained somewhere in Heaven.
Some people now say, "You will never save your soul; you will eternally live in hell." And I ask, who among those philosophers is the advisor to God to know what He thinks? They are like the man who could not hear but listened to the great musician; and like the man who could not see and touched the canvass of the great artist. Are they the men who will show us the way to Deliverance, the way of the new civilization? No, they are not. He is the Angel who descended to teach us Compassion – Christ; in the soul of Christ there is Compassion and self-sacrifice. Sometimes you say, "We are very educated, that is why we shall hide, so that they will not demagnetize us, or rob us," no, open your safes, open your hearts, open everything! Do not shrink into yourselves like the snail, which protrudes its antennas and then draws them in again – you have to leave your shells. I do not talk to snails or shells – I talk to people who ask themselves the questions, "What is the meaning of my life, what is my purpose, what shall I do?" I answer: you have to learn Divine Compassion. Whenever I have spoken about Compassion, they have, every time, been angry with me, saying, "You wish us ill, you do not understand us." I understand you, I understand that you love Truth, Justice, but I have not met a compassionate person among men yet. Yet, deliverance is in Compassion – this is the teaching of Christ, this is the culture of the future.
After this war Compassion will come. The disabled, who will be in the millions, with their thought will create a new movement – they will ask, "What was all that about, for what reason we fought if not to correct our previous mistakes?" The people of today who are fighting are civilized, they are not barbarians, and they will contemplate on this issue. They are now only quarrelsome men and women. The woman cannot stand her husband, because he cast a glance at another woman – how could he possibly look at another woman? Well, he should be blind not to look. The man, on his part, quarrels with his wife, too, when she casts a glance at another man.
Some say that Christ on his coming will put the world right. Christ is coming now to introduce the New Teaching of reconciliation between people, the teaching of Compassion towards everyone without making any differentiation – as with Cornelius. And when we start to pray and do good deeds, then God will send us to this Peter – to the Spirit. And the Spirit will bring us Joy and Rejoicing and will reveal to us the great tasks. The Spirit will create the Milky Way in our soul and we shall travel from one sun to another; from one planet to another and we shall see how great God is. Firstly, we shall head to the nearest star; then, after having lived there, we shall proceed to other stars. For each and every one of you there are great goods in store, a great future there, if only you embrace Compassion. What are you expecting now? - That Christ shall come to save you. I know that Christ has at least a hundred times lifted you from the earth; you have many times thrown yourselves into the water and Christ has saved you.
It is very clear what is happening in the world today – it is the arm of God at work; God is forming a new world. What will happen with Bulgaria? The situation of Bulgaria and of all people in Europe will be much better than it is now. When a corpulent man with a fat belly weighing one hundred and fifty kilos catches typhus and slims down to fifty kilos, they say, "Poor man!" While actually, he has now become a man, before this he was not a man. This war is healing us from a similar disease – all people are ill and God will heal them. Those who are dying now will revive again, like the leaves which fall – the new acorn will raise them from the dead and will bring them back to life. Nothing perishes in the world, the outer form is not the reason for the inner Life – as God lives so will we live with Him. Even in this world we have to make an effort to be good servants and good sons; to work honestly, so that when we return to Him, He could say that we have fulfilled His will.
Now some say, "I will not see God" – everyone shall see Him. When we join Him, he will say, "Why did you disgrace your name, why did you kill your brother, why did you dishonour your sister? You will return again." God will not talk sharply; I can imagine what He will say. He will give you a serious look and will say gently, "I am very sorry, son, that you have not yet understood My Compassion. Now, go back to the Earth to learn Compassion, return there to show men what I Am like. I Am the God of Compassion. They think I Am cruel, unmerciful, everybody is complaining about Me and discredits Me, and this is not good." And when people see the compassionate man, they will say, "Here is one, who is walking the ways of God." And now people say, "Even those, the religious people, are quarrelling." And that is why I am not asking you if you are religious; I am asking you whether you are compassionate. We can say about someone that he is a learned man, but has no Compassion – he is supposed to be an intelligent person, but says to his neighbour, "You are stupid, I cannot stand you." About another person we can say that he is a good person, has love, but does not have Compassion.
I want you to keep within you this morning one word only – the word Compassion.
In 1875, in Chicago, a gentleman was milking his cow by the light of a candle; the animal kicked the candle, the straw was set on fire and most of the city burned down. The cost of the damage was billions of dollars. When the fire approached his house, a wealthy man told someone who was there, "I will give you two hundred thousand dollars if you take my safe out." "Dash!" - said the other man running to save his life, as the fire was following on his heels.
Thus, the wealthy American had to run away without his wealth. Now someone may say, "If only I had been there to take the two hundred thousand dollars – what a stroke of luck it would have been!" Yes, but the fire is following on your heels. It is not money that decorates Life. And Chicago, having lost so much after the big fire, has now an even more magnificent outlook. Now, likewise, the war introduces the same into the world – on its ruins a greater culture will be built.
Now, if you understand the Spirit of Compassion, which God is sending to you, you will comprehend His teaching.
September 17, 1916, Sofia
1 Nastradin Hodza, or Hoca which means teacher in Turkish was a wise, witty man with a good sense of humour, whose stories have been told almost everywhere in the World. The year 1996 was proclaimed Nasreddin Hoca year by UNESCO.
2 The Master refers to the First World War, 1914-1918