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Cosmic Consciousness by Ali Nomad


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Gautama, prince of the house of Siddhartha, of the Sakya class, was born in northern India in the township of Kapilavastu, in the year 556 B.C., according to the best authorities, as interpreted and reported by Max Muller.

The Japanese tradition agrees with this, practically, stating that O Shaka Sama (signifying one born of wisdom and love) was born as a Kotai Si, crown prince of the Maghada country.

We have the assurance that as a youth, Gautama, like Jesus, exhibited a serious mindedness and an insight into matters spiritual, which astonished and dumbfounded his hearers, and the sages who gave him respectful attention.

Some accounts even go so far as to state that at the very moment of his birth the young prince was able to speak, and that his words ascended "even to the gods of the uppermost Brahma-world."

Divesting the traditions that surround the birth and early life of the world's great masters, of much that has been interpolated by a designing priesthood, we may yet conclude that a certain seriousness, and a deep sympathy with the sorrows of their fellowmen, would naturally characterize these inspired ones, even while they were still in their early youth.

It is evident that the young Prince Siddhartha was subject to meditation and that these meditations led at times to complete trance.

It is reported that one day while out riding in all the pomp and accoutrements of the son of a ruling king, he was visited by an angel (a messenger from the gods of Devachan), and told that if he would lessen the sorrows of the world that he must renounce his right to his father's kingdom and go into the jungle, becoming a hermit, and devoting his life to fasting, prayer and meditation, in order to fit himself for the work of preaching the "way of liberation," which consisted of, first of all, to take no life; be pure in mind; be as the humblest, which latter admonition found little favor with the world of his personal environment where caste was and still is, a seemingly ineradicable race-thought.

The sorrows of humanity weighed heavily upon his heart, and the superficialities of the wealthy and ostentatious court in which he lived, irked his outspoken and truth-loving spirit.

Surrounded, as he was, by wealth and ease, with time for contemplation and a mind given to philosophic speculation, the young prince found no sense of comfort or permanent satisfaction in his own immunity from want and sorrow. He pondered long upon the way to become freed from the "successive round of births and deaths," and thus pondering, he sought solitude in which to find his questions answered.

Fasting and penance have ever been the gist of the instruction given to those who would "find the way to God," and so to this end Gautama fasted and prayed, and practised self-sacrifice.

But the attainment of liberation was not easy, and Siddhartha suffered long and practiced self-mortification assiduously, at length being rewarded; and "there arose within him the eye to perceive the great and noble truths which had been handed down; the knowledge of their nature; the understanding of their cause; the wisdom that lights the true path; the light that expels darkness."

The terrible struggle which characterized the attainment of cosmic consciousness, by so many of the sages and saviours of history, is, we believe, clue to the fact that no one individual may hope to rise so immeasurably above the plane of the race-consciousness of his day and age, except through intense and overwhelming desire.

Gautama abandoned his heritage, his relatives, his wife to whom he was devoted, and his infant son, as we have previously stated, not because Illumination is purchasable at so terrible a price, but because his desire to _know_ transcended all other desires, and in order to be free from the demands made upon him, he must of necessity, seek solitude.