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The Labors of Hercules - The Purpose of this Study
Key Thoughts

Four key thoughts can be given here which express the underlying purpose of the creative process and the objective of both the Cosmic Christ and of the individual aspirant. They give us the clue to the working out of the plan. Taken together they embody the entire story of the relationship of spirit and matter, of life and form, and of soul and body.

First: "Nature expresses invisible energies through visible forms." Back of the objective world of phenomena, human or solar, small or great, organic or inorganic, lies a subjective world of forces which is responsible for the outer form. Behind the outer material shell is to be found a vast empire of BEING, and it is into this world of living energies that both religion and science are now penetrating. Everything outer and tangible is a symbol of inner creative forces and it is this idea that underlies all symbology. A symbol is an outer and visible form of an inner and spiritual reality.

It is with this interplay of the outer form and the inner life [11] that Hercules wrestles. He knew himself to be the form, the symbol, for the dominance of the lower material nature made its presence felt with the facility of agelong expression. At the same time he knew that his problem was to express spiritual being and energy. He had to know in fact and in experience that he was God, immanent in nature; that he was the Self in close relation to the Not-Self; he had to experiment with the law of cause and effect, and this from the standpoint of the initiator of the causes in order to produce intelligent effects. Through the twelve signs of the zodiac he passed, struggling to work subjectively and trying to reject the lure and the pull of the outer tangible form.

The second key thought can be expressed in the words: "The conception of a concealed Deity lies at the heart of all religions." This is the mystic realization and the object of the search that humanity has carried on down the ages. The exponents of the world religions have embodied in their teaching one aspect of the search, accepting the fact of God as a basic premise, and with their heart's love and devotion and worship proving the reality of his Existence. The testimony of the mystics of all time and races is so vast that it now in itself constitutes a body of proven facts and cannot be gainsaid.

The scientific investigators have sought through a knowledge of the form to find truth, and have brought us to a position of wide knowledge and at the same time to a paralleling conception of our profound ignorance. We have learned much of the outer garment of God through physics, chemistry, biology and other sciences, but we have struggled into a realm where all appears to be hypothesis and inference. All that we surely know is that all forms are aspects of energy; that there is an interplay and an impact of energies upon our planet; that the planet is itself an energy unit composed of a multitude of energy units, and that man himself is likewise a composite bundle of forces and moving in a world of force. This is where [12] science so wonderfully has led us, and this is where the astrologer, the occultist, the idealist and the mystic also meet and testify to a concealed Deity, to a living Being, to a Universal Mind, and to a central Energy.

In the unfolding drama of the heavens, in the conclusions of the scientific enquirer, in the mathematical computations of the astrologers, and in the testimony of the mystic, however, we can see a steadily emerging manifestation of this concealed divinity. Little by little, through the study of history, of philosophy and of comparative religion, we see the plan of that Deity becoming significantly apparent. In the passage of the sun through the twelve signs of the zodiac, we can see the marvellous organization of the plan, the focusing of the energies and the growth of the tendency towards divinity. Now, at last, in the twentieth century, objective and subjective have become so closely blended and merged that it is almost impossible to say where one begins and another ends. The veil that hides the concealed Deity is wearing thin, and the work of those who have achieved knowledge, the program of the Christ and of his Church, the plans of the hidden band of world workers, the Rishis and the occult Hierarchy of our planet, is now focused upon leading humanity on to the Path of Discipleship, and training many of the more advanced so that they can become the knowers and initiates of the new age. Thus men will pass out of the Hall of Learning into the Hall of Wisdom, from the realm of the unreal to the Real, and from the outer darkness of phenomenal existence into the light that shines always in the kingdom of spirit.

The third key thought gives us a clue to the method. Down the ages the words have sounded forth: "I am he . . . who awakens the silent beholder". It has become apparent to seekers in all fields that within all forms there is an urge to intelligent expression, and a certain livingness which we call consciousness, and which in the human family takes the form of a self-awareness. [13] This self-awareness when truly developed, enables a man to discover that the concealed Deity in the universe is identical in nature, though vastly greater in degree and consciousness, with the concealed Deity within himself. Man then can become consciously the Onlooker, the Beholder, the Perceiver. He is no longer identified with the matter aspect, but is the One who uses it as a medium of expression.

When this stage is reached, the great labors start, and the warfare is consciously in progress. The man is torn in two directions. Habit entices him to identify himself with form. The new understanding impels him to identify himself with the soul. A reorientation then takes place, and a new and self-directed effort is initiated, which is portrayed for us in the story of Hercules, the Sun-God. The moment that the intellectual altitude has been achieved, the "silent Beholder" awakens into activity. Hercules starts upon his labors. The human being, hitherto swept along on the urge of the evolutionary tide, and governed by desire for experience and for material possession, comes tinder the control of the divine Indweller. He emerges as the aspirant, reverses himself, and begins to work through the twelve signs of the zodiac, only now working from Aries to Pisces via Taurus (anti-clockwise), instead of working in the ordinary human retrogressive fashion, from Aries to Taurus via Pisces (clockwise).

Finally, the changing focus of the life and the steady application to the twelve labors in the twelve signs enables the disciple to become the triumphant victor. Then he can comprehend the significance of the fourth key thought and can exclaim in unison with the Cosmic Deity:

"Listen to this great secret. Although I am above birth and rebirth, or Law, being the Lord of all there is, for all emanateth from me, still do I will to appear in my own universe and am therefore born by my Power and Thought and Will."
(The Bhagavad Gita, as compiled and adapted by Yogi Ramacharaka). [14]

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