=1 "Of tracts and brochures"
Of tracts and brochures
A pox on newspapers and radio!
Teetering on the nuclear brink, wracked by libidinous furies, stricken vicariously by napalm, I reach for surcease to my morning post.
There is Such a Place as Hell! exclaims the Rev. J. C. Ryle of the Evangelical Tract Distributors, Inc., Alberta, Canada.
“Who could doubt it?” I mutter, eager for Alberta's message. Loud and clear it rolls out of the West:
- “When the Lord Jesus Christ comes to judge the world He will punish all who are not His disciples with a fearful punishment.”
Boggle. Bomb at both ends. I try the East. A brochure carries a frontspiece portrait a benign saint. Meditation and Life, Solutions in Yoga by Swami Swanandashram, Yogiraj, Uttar Pradesh, India. Price: offering ego to Him and f.2.50. “...and francs 2.50!” I think but push my paltry mental being aside. The King of Yogis speaks to me where I live:
- “Darkness, stagnation and headlessness and also delusions – these are born of the increase of inertia and rotten food. Inertia born of unwisdom, is the deluder of all dwellers in the body; that bindeth by headlessness, indolence and slath (sic).”
The syntax is a little loose but the penetration of that coinage: slath. Could that be the Rev. Ryle's trouble? Onions and slath? Or could it be too much wind blowing where it listeth? For Swamiji says:
- “When the stomach is filled half at the time of eating a natural warning is coming from inside in the form of wind, burping. The yogi does not take food after that natural warning.”
Somehow I sense the gulf widening between East and West, between Swami Swanandashram and the Rev. Ryle. Could any ecumenism bridge it? Could they meet even in heaven?
One sympathises with Canada's esoteric insight:
- “A heaven containing all sorts of characters indiscriminately would be miserable discord indeed.”
Unless the reverent gentleman could perhaps enter deep trance using Yogiraj's method:
- “Some Hatha Yogis perform living underground, they practice to empty their stomach, to control and stop the breathing and the heart's pulpitations and the pulse beating. These are yogic magics.”
First slath and then pulpitations. Do you have the numinous hint of whirling on the wheel of life? Have these concepts carried you away, as they have me, from all limitations, from both the cold and the hot wars?
If so, you are ready for Rev. Ryle's evangelical agape:
- “Do you believe the Bible? Then depend upon it Hell is eternal. It must be eternal, or the very foundations of Heaven are cast down. If Hell has an end then Heaven has an end too. They both stand or fall together.” (my italics)
What a good slogan for an uplift bra, I think, and at once I realise that mental slath has seized me. I turn to the Swami:
- “Heavy loss comes in a big factory also, the loss came through the workers, managers, directors. The owner of the factory is now sitting in some other country. (Pakistan, perhaps?) As soon as he gets a trunk-call of that loss, pulpitation starts in his heart. The roots of all the trouble are ego, my and mine.”
My and mine begin to experience a pulpitation, a trunk-call. Much more of this and Time Magazine will look like serenity itself.
- “The pit”, intones Alberta, “the prison, the worm, the fire, the thirst, the blackness, the darkness, the weeping, the gnashing of teeth, the second death – from ‘No hell’ to ‘No God’ is but a series of steps.”
I'm done. One last try in the Himalayas. Succour from the wisdom of the East:
- “Natural propensities and tendencies of the senses to run after their own objects external and internal, the senses, eyes are running to see the beautiful colour of the world. Millions of insects are dying, seeing the colour of fire, they jump upon it and are burnt. Deers are charmed by the flute-playing and are caught by the hunters, due to the temptation of hearing. Elephants are caught due to touch-temptation. The hunters dig a pit round an artificial she-elephant in a forest. The elephants come to touch their bodies with the artificial elephant and fall in the pit and are caught by the hunters.”
No, no, I can't take any more. There's Rev. Ryle's damn pit again.
With an artificial she-elephant, yet.
Anybody got any LSD? Technological mysticism could not be worse than my morning post. And yet... and yet in both the Swami and the Reverend I intuit a true vocation. I am sure that in their presence I would feel the Divine. The words proliferate and confuse but true spirituality shines through the words of every questing man. And what man is not on his quest?