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    By Roza and Margarita Riaikkenen

    This is the revised text of a lecture given by the authors at a public meeting of the Theosophical Society (Pasadena) in Melbourne on June 10th1999.



    As the text of this lecture has been lost, we had to reconstruct it from our memory. Many events happened since and it seems that they had even in a sense toughened this “tough world”. On the other hand, we received some insights and new aspects of understanding which we would like to share with you. That is why we had to thoroughly revise this lecture and come out with new questions and ideas reflecting the changes that had occurred in the world and in our inner world.

    To be able to give a motivated answer to the main question of the lecture, we have to primarily define – what is “life”, and then – what we understand as “good life”. As this is, and always was a question of questions for every thinker in the world, we can find some meditations on this subject in the works of prominent thinkers of different descents.

    The famous Russian author and philosopher Leo Tolstoy, who searched for the definition of “life” in the works by Confucius and Lao Tzu, by the Brahmins, Buddha, Greek Stoics, Jewish Sages and Jesus Christ, chose the following: “Life is love of god and of your neighbour, giving people the good”. He chose it because in his opinion this definition embraced all the other of them.

    Tolstoy understood “god” as universal consciousness, the source of life. He understood the “neighbour” as any human being. Though we are seemingly separate and different from each other, but in the universal, divine, consciousness we are united. The more of unity in our understanding the closer we are to the universal consciousness. And Tolstoy came to the conclusion that if a person really wishes to live a good life and bring the good into the unity of life in his or her own way, then this person should understand the others’ good as important, sometimes even more important than the person’s own wellbeing. This means love to all the other manifestations of life, coming from the sense of unity with them.

    Easy to say, but usually difficult to achieve, as so many obstacles stay in the way of our sense of unity and our love! These obstacles are within us: fear, touchiness, selfishness, anger, attachment to habits, including the habits of mind, and so on. Fortunately, within us, we can also find something that may help us to balance these properties – it’s our conscience.

    When we listen to our conscience, it will always tell us what is best for us to do in given circumstances in order to produce the Good. If it were the only voice we are listening to, there would be no problem. The main problem appears when we listen to the voices from outside, which are many and each voice lusts to impose on us its opinion.

    Sometimes these voices belong to the tradition to which we are used to and cling to it. Sometimes they are the voices of the state authorities, and we forget that it were we who had elected them and provided them with the status, from the height of which they are now telling us their points. Very often these are the TV voices, which render for us the images of how we should look, feel and think.

    It is good to receive information for our knowledge and choices. But the problem appears when these voices tend to lead us in the opposite direction than that in which our conscience tells us to follow, away from the sense of unity and manifestation of love. They may scare us with the presumed intentions of the “neighbour”, which might be aggressive and potentially dangerous for us. And we forget about unity and start thinking in the terms of “us” and “them”.

    They may appeal to our ego and try to assure us that we deserve that what we enjoy and shouldn’t be “too generous” and compassionate to the less fortunate – if they are in such condition, then they obviously also deserve it, and shouldn’t be of concern for us. But, as Mother Theresa used to say, “When someone is hungry, it is not God who doesn’t provide for him, it is us who refuse to give him a piece of bread”.

    By behaving in such a way, we obviously violate the esoteric principles of unity and love, and accumulate the conforming karma. Can this be defined as a “good life”?

    So, why do we listen to all of these voices at all? Why do we submit to their manipulation? Why don’t we call our conscience to our defence in all the circumstances of daily life and ask it to discriminate the good from the bad?

    Maybe, sometimes it is because these voices tell us that what we would like to hear? Or maybe, it is easier and seemingly safer for us to conform than to take our own decisions and be responsible for them? And there is also the sense of “belonging”, which often makes us to believe that “we” are right and “they” are wrong, and that in any case our leaders know better what is “good” for us.

    But, if we are courageous enough to listen to our conscience and our sense of unity and love and resist the temptation of trusting others to make important decisions for us, understanding that the main responsibility for our actions is still with us, then our knowledge of the esoteric principles assists us immensely in building a deep and firm foundation for our decision making. It leads us to the way of life that is devoted to “the endless transmutation of death into the growth of Spirit, into the concentration of Its possibilities”, as life is defined in Kalagia by A.Naumkin.

    Then the toughness of the world and our own weaknesses become this “ore”, “raw material”, which we should by our effort and sacrifice transmute into the growth of our inner spirit. The more of toughness, the more of challenges, the higher the tension, the more of opportunities for transmutation.

    We can say that according to esoteric principles “good life” is life which is devoted to transmutation of any manifestation of “death” into the “growth of Spirit”. And that in fact we can only transmute “death” when we have it, i.e. when our way is tough!