From “In woods of God Realization” Granth –
(Lecture delivered at the Hermetic Brotherhood Hall, San Francisco, on December 24, 1902)
My Alter Egos, My Other Selves,
Here is a blackboard, a hard, solid substance. Suppose you rub the blackboard and rub and scrub it again. Can you make it transparent? No. Take a looking-glass; it may be soiled, dusty or dirty, but when you clean it, it is transparent. You have not made it transparent by your efforts, you have simply brought out what was already there. The blackboard was not of the nature of transparency and could not be made transparent by any effort.
The inherent belief strongly ingrained in every man about the possibility of his salvation, proves the intrinsic purity and sinlessness of the soul which is only apparently sullied for a time. This universal, native belief gives the lie to the unnatural dogma that the real Soul is sinful by nature, and would lead us to the conclusion that, like the blackboard, it can never be made transparent or pure. Man’s true nature is God. If God were not man’s own self never could there be the advent of any prophet or saint in this world.
Rama says, ―Be not afraid; come out; rally all your strength and energies and boldly take possession of your birthright; I am He. ― Be not afraid, tremble not.
When walking on Mount Sinai, Moses saw a bush aflame. He asked, ―Who are you; who is there? ― He may not have spoken aloud, but he was very curious as to the marvelous blaze which lighted up but did not burn the bush. The answer came out from the bush, ― I am what I am. This pure ― ’I am’ is your Self.
Your Atman, your real nature, is like the transparent diamond, the resplendent crystal. Place beside it something black and the crystal appears black; place beside the pure crystal something red and the pure crystal appears to be red, and so on. In reality the pure crystal is colorless. It is Beyond all tints, Beyond all redness, blackness, or any other color; it is what it is. Similarly, the Atma. of yours, the true Self of yours is ― What it is: It is pure ― I am.
Here is a man in India. He places beside that pure Self, the pure Atma, a dark rag, the Hindu color, and the Atma, crystal-like, is tinctured as it were with that color. The pure ― ‘I am’ becomes ― ‘I am a Hindu. ’ In America, besides the true Self, the pure crystal, the Atma that is colorless and Beyond all name and form, a Yankee places, say, a yellow rag and the unadulterated ― ’I am’ ― is colored as ― ’I am an American. ’ There comes another person, and beside the pure Atma and the transparent crystal, he places, say, a red rag or red piece of paper and the pure ― ’I am’ ― is tinctured as ― ’I am a woman. ’ Another places beside the Atma another kind of color, and says ― ’I am a Master of Arts. ’ Hence we see one says ’I am a Christian, ’ another says ― ’I am a Hindu,’ another says ― ’l am a Yankee,’ another says ― ’I am a John Bull, another says ― ’I am a child, ’ another ― ’I am a woman,’ another ― ’I am a lion,’ another ― ’I am a tiger,’ and so on. Here the pure, true Self, the untinctured, unsoiled, sparkling Atom, Om, or ― ’I am,’ is common to all, and is one and the same, unchangeable; there is in reality no coloring in it.
The coloring is put there by your own ignorant predication. Take an transparent glass and place beside it some color. The color does not sink into it: it is simply reflected in it and not attached to it. Crystal is always pure and colorless. The ― ’I am’ is all pervading, universal; it is present everywhere in you. The lion and the tiger show forth the same thought of ― ’I am’. This pure ― ’I am’ ― you are. You have no right to identify yourself with the colored piece of paper or rag beside you, for there was a time when this simple unadulterated Atma inhabited another form. The ― ’I am’― occupied another body. There was a time that you felt ― ’I am a lion’ or ― ’I am an ox in some previous birth. ’