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Cosmic Consciousness, by Richard Maurice Bucke, [1901], at


C. P.

Born 1822. Has been all his life a laboring man. Was, and is, esteemed as a saint and sage by every man who knew and knows him. His conversation is enlightened to an extraordinary degree. Is, of course, uneducated. Attained to Cosmic Consciousness in the year 1859, when he was in his thirty-seventh year. An informant, who knew C. P. well, says: "He has been a great dreamer of curious and remarkable dreams. His chief charm is his wonderful exposition of the Scriptures. He is the very embodiment of the living Christ. He despises money. One feels in his presence that here is a brother. His letters are the most charming I have ever received. The most curious and strange thing in his case is that he believes that death ends all. He has been a fine public speaker for forty years; first in the Methodist church, then for a time in a semi-infidel vein, but since his enlightenment his talks have been mostly Biblical. He has strong socialistic views."

The writer of the present volume has had two long talks with C. P. and can testify to his extraordinary intelligence. His want of faith in the continuance of the individual life seems at first sight to set him apart from the class of men having Cosmic Consciousness; but, first, as before noted, we must make great allowance for range of spiritual life on that plane; and, second, it must be noted that his conviction was, probably, to him, more optimistic than would have been that of the usual eternal life. He believes, is indeed sure, that after death he will be absorbed into God, and that in losing his individuality he will gain something

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much more valuable. His feeling, his conviction, his knowledge (as in all these cases) is that the best will happen. He gives a slightly different interpretation to this best—that is all.

In July, 1895, C. P. published a book, in which he endeavored to set forth some of the spiritual results of illumination in his case. Such a task is no light one, as many besides C. P. have found. It is, in fact, in all cases really an impossible task, as Paul, Whitman and others have testified. C. P. was less qualified than have been some other men of the class for the enterprise, and his attempt, though exceedingly interesting, cannot be pronounced a perfect success. The following quoted passages will show, however, to whoever can understand them, that C. P., beyond all doubt, belongs to the order of men treated of in this volume—a fact which was positively known to the present writer long before the book quoted was written. C. P. says:

* Paul said "the Jews missed the kingdom of heaven because they sought it by the deeds of the law of Moses"—by the righteousness of the moral law—"instead of seeking it through righteousness of faith" in the perfection of the order of existence—the faith of the Christ. They could not see that there are two separate and distinct kinds of righteousness, or laws—one imperfect, for the imperfect or carnal mind, and the other perfect, for the perfect or spiritual mind, which two states are as separate and distinct from each other as sheep are from goats [132: 13].

The life is not in believing there is a divinity somewhere, but in knowing it.* To know the Word of the Truth, and to have its spirit generated in the mind and heart, is to have its pure offspring—its Son—begotten within, consciously crying "Father" with certitude [132: 19].

The government of the carnal mind, which hath not the Son of Divinity begotten in it, hath no actual knowledge of what the only true Divinity is.* No one knoweth the names of the actual

* The same misconception is universal, or almost universal, to-day. To every man who has had the smallest flash of Cosmic Consciousness this is as clear as day, "Unless your righteousness," says Jesus, "shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees." And he does not mean to exceed in degree, but in kind. "Except a man be born anew." "If any man is in Christ he is a new creature"—not the old creature bettered, but another, a new, creature.

* Here again is a distinct and absolute mark proving the writer to have had the Cosmic Sense. No merely self conscious man knows of God as he knows of mundane matters of fact. Every Cosmic Conscious man does so. He knows by actual inward vision just as he knows (by self consciousness) that he is a distinct entity.

* In other words: The merely self conscious mind may believe in God but cannot know Him—has never seen God, can never see Him. The only men who can and do know the Deity are the Cosmic Conscious men (the consciousness of the Deity and of the Cosmos being p. 301 the same thing). What C. P. very properly calls the congregation of Christ is simply made up of those who have been illumined. This illumination is the sole basis of certainty in these matters. If all the world had Cosmic Consciousness all would agree on many basic questions of religion and philosophy which are now disputed—though doubtless other questions, many of which are not in sight at the present time, would arise and be disputed upon.

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[paragraph continues]

Divinity and its Lamb until these are written in their understandings by special revelation to each one individually. On this Rock of the actual revelation of the Christ in the mind by its eternal Father the congregation of the true Christ is built. This is the sole immovable basis of certitude; and the world may continue to divide indefinitely into disagreeing sects until it receives this revelation, because it can have no certitude until then; but all who receive it see eye to eye, and they cannot disagree [132: 20].

* It was of this very part—this Son begotten in him—which was the spiritual mind, that the Spirit of Truth said, "Thou art my Son: this day have I begotten thee." And he knew the very day he was begotten—the very day he became conscious of being made alive to this Father of his understanding, because this spiritual Son in him spontaneously "cried Father" with natural certitude as it had not cried before. And thus this begotten Son of the eternal Spirit of Truth so cries in every one in whom it is begotten, so that they, and they only, know how the first born was begotten. And these only know what the dominion of the Divinity is, for, "Except a man be thus born again he cannot see it" [132:22].

The carnal mind* can talk about the "Fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man," but it realizes nothing of either, because this Son of God is not begotten in it [132: 23].

Moreover, he said, "At that day"*—the day when they should be conscious of this Spirit's having come to them—"ye shall know that I am in the Father, and ye in me, and I in you." And as it was impossible for the man to be personally in them, and they in him, it is clear that when the Spirit of Truth had written itself clearly in their consciousness this would be both the Father and the Son in them, and they in that, and the work was purely that of a spiritual mental state [132: 24].

"He that was least in the kingdom of heaven was greater than John,"* because those who entered into that were made perfect by the fullness of Light of the eternal Spirit. Hence "the law of the prophets were until John, but with him began the preaching of the kingdom of God" [132:31].

And to these (the enlightened) it is entirely clear that this Divinity,* being

* Needs no comment; is simply a statement of the definiteness of the new birth—that is, of the oncoming of Cosmic Consciousness.

* God is the Father of each one of us; but no one, without illumination, can realize what these words mean.

* Needs no comment.

* Jesus looked upon himself as the first man of the new (Cosmic Conscious) race. Among merely self conscious men none ranked higher than John, but the least man of the new order would be greater than he.

* One aspect of the Cosmic vision.

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eternal, all existence must be eternal, because all Truth is simply the Truth of existence. To these existence is one eternal immensity of infinite existence, acting with infinite force, in an inevitable, infinite, therefore absolutely perfect order, in whose perfection, or truth, all things and their action must of necessity be included, and this Paul expressed in the one comprehensive, basic sentence, "All things are of the Divinity" [132: 68].

The apostles were ministers of the new Covenant,* which was based on this Rock, which was an entirely new basis of ratiocination, and they were not ministers of the old covenant of the moral law at all. The moral law, being the knowledge of good and evil, is the "ministration of death," while the new law is the ministration of life.

The old is the minister of condemnation, which is the death, and the new is the minister of justification, which is the life, hence those who pass into the dominion of the new necessarily pass out of the dominion of the old, and thus they must be "made free from the old," and it is thus that there is no condemnation, no death, to those who are in the Covenant of the Christ" [132: 73].

This* reveals the boundless radiance of the infinite face of the real Divinity, beaming on him who sees it its equipoise of "Mercy and Truth" [132: 75].

And when this Christ* is formed in the mind and heart it is known to be the "Spirit of faith" in the infinite order of all existence as all true, and for this reason it "resisteth not the evil" which is an inevitable part of the Order, and seen in the Light of the whole Truth to be all good, having a perfect use [132:140].

*And it is thus that this Spirit of Faith in the whole Order is the Christ formed in the mind, and this is the "Lamb of God which taketh away all sin"—by taking away all resistance of the natural Order of existence. When this Christ is formed in the mind then it has the perfect Light by which all the things of the Divinity of all Truth are clearly understood. Then, and only then, it knoweth how all the things of the new Covenant are spiritually discerned, for then, and only then, it knoweth the only true Divinity and its Christ. And then the mind knoweth

* The "Rock" is, of course, the Cosmic Sense. Whether or not any of the apostles, besides Paul, had themselves Cosmic Consciousness, their work was on that plane, since the object of it was to preserve and extend the teaching of Jesus. In Cosmic Consciousness there is no condemnation, no sin, no evil, no death. This may be a hard saying, but it is true.

* "This" refers to the Cosmic Vision, the "'Brahmic Splendor."

* "This Christ," i.e., Cosmic Consciousness. When that comes to a mar he can say, as Whitman says: "There is in fact no evil" [193: 22].

* To the self conscious mind there is good in the world but also a great deal of evil. To the Cosmic Conscious mind all is good; there is no evil. The chief function of those few Cosmic Conscious minds that so far the world has had has been to reconcile (as far as may be) the self conscious mind to the Cosmic order, which seemed to the one perfect, to the other imperfect. Whitman expresses this very well in a short poem [193: 4161:

"When the full-grown poet came,
Out spake pleased Nature (the round impassive globe, with all its shows of day and night), saying, He is mine:
But out spake too the soul of men, proud, jealous, and unreconciled, Nay, he is mine alone; p. 303
—Then the full-grown poet stood between the two, and took each by the hand;
And to-day and ever so stands, as blender, uniter, tightly holding hands,
Which he will never release until he reconciles the two,
And wholly and joyously blends them."


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with entire certitude, by its own experience, that all that the first-born, Paul, or any of the believers, had of the knowledge of the Truth (and they had its fullness) came to them by internal revelation, and not by any external "signs and wonders" [132: 140–1].

By being perfectly enlightened by the Spirit of all existence he was reconciled to it all, therefore could not resist any part of it as if it had no right to be; and he cheerily saw that the way to the peace and harmony of mankind with each other was through the reconciliation to, or harmony with, the infinite Order, which he saw to be all Truth, therefore infinite perfection [132:247].


Next: Chapter 21. The Case of H. B. in His Own Words