There are two different stages in the human evolution. And these two different stages may very well be called the minor and the major stage. In the Hindu Puranic symbology these two characters are called the younger and the elder brother. Just as there is a stage of childhood, when the child only knows what it wants, and is only happy when it gets it, no matter what may be the consequence, the stage of that minor state of the soul is when man in reality desires only what he can see, hear, perceive, touch - beyond that he does not care - only that is desirable to him - he does not wish for anything else.

          And the major state is that, when man has experienced life more or less, has known pleasure and pain, enthusiasm and disappointment, and he knows the variability of life, only then has he reached the stage of majority. Minor or major do not depend upon a certain age, nor do they depend upon a particular education. No, they depend upon the inner life. When one has gone into life as far as he could go and when he has passed the limit of the minor state, then he arrives at the major state. In the East there is a custom that has become a kind of religious etiquette, viz. not to wake a person who is asleep, but to let him sleep well; if this is not done it is considered a crime. In other words, you must treat the world according to nature and not to go against nature. Do not force the man in the minor state into the major; he must first sleep well before he can awake.

          Now about progress specially for the spiritual path. There are two different characters on the spiritual path. The first is the man who says; "Yes, I like to go on this path, but where shall I arrive?" He wants to know all about it before he travels on this path; if his friends are going with him, and if they are not, he is not ready to go either, because he is no sure of the way; he will not go alone and wants to know when and where he will arrive, and if it is safe to journey on that particular path. When he travels on the path he looks back and tries to look forward, asking, "Shall I reach the goal? Is it really the right path?” A thousand times doubt comes, fear comes, he looks back, forward, around; if others could only tell him how far he has journeyed; he is restless, he wants to know how far he is from the goal. He therefore is a child still, although he has a desire to journey. For him there are toys, the mystical hints for mental research keep him busy that he may look at the map of the journey to see where he goes.     

          Now to come to the conditions of the major state. About his character the Bible says: "Unless the soul be born again, it cannot enter into the Kingdom of God." In the first place, if I were to say what the journey is and its object, it would be this, that the whole creation was purposed for this journey, and if it were not for this purpose there would be no creation at all. And before a person takes this journey, he practises it in some form or other, in play, how he will make this, but he has not yet started in reality.

          For instance, a person desires to be rich, and he devotes all his time, his energy, his life, his thoughts to that object, and, so to speak, he journeys to that goal. If he desires power, he makes for that and gets it. If he wants position, he uses all his strength to reach his goal, naturally in a playing way. The proof of that is that every activity of which he is in pursuit, to attain the thing desired, brings him to the desire for something else. If he is rich, he wants to be famous; if he is famous, he wants something else; if he has one thing he strives for another and is never satisfied.

          It shows that man, externally busy in the pursuit of worldly things, is not satisfied in his soul, but that he has a constant yearning in his soul for something more, which keeps him uneasy. A very good explanation is that which Rumi, a great Sufi Teacher of Persia, gives us in his book, the Masnavi. There he says, "What is it in the reed flute that appeals to your soul, that goes through you and pierces your heart?" And the answer is: it is the crying of the flute, and the reason for its crying is that it once belonged to a plant, from which it was cut apart. Holes were made in the heart. It longs to be united with its source, its origin. And so the soul feels a longing for its origin. In another place in his book Rumi says; "So it is with every person who has left his original country for a long time. He may roam about and feel very pleased with all he sees, but there will come a moment when a strong yearning is in his heart for the place where he was born.”

          One sees that those in the world who have really suffered, who have been disappointed, are broken hearted, do not wish to tell anybody their experiences, don't want any company, but wish to be alone. And it is then, as if there was some one waiting with open arms, waiting for that soul to come as a child comes to its mother. This shows that there is somewhere a consoler, greater than any in the world, a friend dearer than anyone in the world, a protector stronger than any earthly one. Knowing that the world is not to be depended upon, he looks for that great one in himself.

          A friend who is a friend in life and after death, in pleasure and pain, in riches and poverty, one on whom you can always depend, who always guides aright, who gives the best advice, that friend is hidden in your own heart. You cannot find a better one. Who is this friend? Man's own being, his true, inner being. That friend is the origin, source, and goal of all. But the question arises, if that friend is one's own being, why then call him a friend, why not call him oneself? The answer is that no doubt, in this friend is really one's own being, but, when comparing the present realization with the greater self, one finds oneself smaller than a drop in the ocean. Man cannot very well call that friend himself, until man has forgotten himself, until he is no more himself. Until, and unless one has arrived at the state of perfection, he had better be quiet than insolent about that which he has not yet become.

          All occult schools all over the world prescribe as the first lesson, quietude: no discussion, no dispute, nor argument. The conditions for those on the path are altogether different from those of the outer world. The true knowers of life have kept their lips closed about that subject. No method has been successful and profitable other than the method of the prophets of all lands, who give man the first lesson of love for God. Of course, religious authorities of different times have kept humanity ignorant of the knowledge of God, and only given it the belief in God.

          Absence of knowledge has made the man of reason rebel against that which he could not understand. There remained no link between the two, and that is how the reign of materialism came to the world, a reign which is still spreading around. In such times of materialism there comes chaos in the world; all is confusion, unrest. All wish to do good, but don't know how. Such times Sri Krishna has called the decay of Dharma, when spirit has gone, and form only remains. No doubt, warning comes in time as intuition, to the soul, but the intoxication of life, the mist, is so great, that the message is not heard, not understood, not received until the messenger has disappeared.

          Now coming to the journey: What are the manner and the method of it? We see that when a person rises above all things of the world, as power, wealth, possessions, all that gives pride and vanity, there comes a desire in his heart, a remembrance of his origin, of the perfection of love and peace. No one in the world can pretend to have arrived at this stage, because every moment of his life speaks louder of what he really is than what he says. His first tendency towards humanity is a loving attitude, a charitable attitude, to such an extent that forgiveness leads every action of his life. He shows patience in his actions, tolerance to humanity and considers that each one has his own stage of evolution. He cannot expect a person to act in a way better than his point of evolution permits. He does not make his own law and want others to follow it; he follows the law for all.

          When a man's attitude is a loving attitude, a tendency to serve, to forgive, to tolerate, a reverence for all (good and bad, young and old) then he begins his journey. To explain what path this is: there is no better symbol for it than the path of the cross. No one without courage, without strength of will, and without patience, can go this path. When a person has to live among people of all natures, he must make his own character soft as a rose; make it finer, so that no one can be hurt by the thorns. Two thorns cannot harm each other. The thorns can hurt the rose, but the rose cannot tear the thorns. The journey begins with a path of thorns, and he must go barefoot. It is not easy to be tolerant, always to be patient, to refrain from judging others and to love one's enemy.

          It is a dead man who walks on this path: one who has drunk the bowl of poison. The beginning of each path is always difficult and uninteresting, hard for everybody. Ask the violinist, the first days when he practises the scales and he cannot even form the tones: often he has not patience enough to go on, till he can play so well that he is satisfied. The first part of the path is permanent strife, a struggle with life, but as one approaches the goal, the path gets easier: the distance seems larger, but the path is easier, the difficulties less. The journey is achieved first by realizing in oneself: what am I, am I body, mind, or what else am I? Do I originate from earth or from where else?

          As soon as one has started on the journey, one's lower nature rises up, all his follies and weaknesses want to drag one down to earth and the struggle of breaking these chains requires the strength of Samson. Then comes the struggle between beauty in matter and spiritual beauty. Beauty in forms is more realistic: spiritual beauty is hidden in mist, until one comes to a stage that spiritual beauty becomes the beauty which is a shining light.

          Another struggle is that when man has acquired knowledge, power, magnetism: he is conscious of having a greater power than others, of knowing more than others, of being able to do more than others. To use those faculties rightly is another struggle. He must not pride himself on those accomplishments. There is an enemy who starts with him on the journey, and never leaves him: his pride and spiritual egotism. It stays with him as long as he is on his path. Think of the temptation on having received inspiration and power, when one can think: I can do, know, understand more than you. That is a constant struggle till the end, and every moment one falls and tumbles down.

          Only the steady traveller will persist in rising up every time, as without patience he may lose the path. Those who journey on this path will get help. As Christ said: "Seek ye first the kingdom of God and all things will be given to you." The goal is the important thing, and the right attitude of the soul towards it, and not the things you meet on the path. The inner cult of the Sufi School which is now presented to the Western world is meant as a guidance on this path. Nobody in the world can carry a person on this path. The only thing is a little advice can be given by those who have journeyed on the path, to those who really wish to travel on it.