(1) Spark of Divinity
We may not be God, but we are of God—even as a little drop of water is of the ocean. Imagine it torn away from the ocean and flung millions of miles away. It becomes helpless, torn from its surroundings and cannot feel the might and majesty of the ocean. But if some one could point out to it that it is the ocean, its faith would revive, it would dance with joy and the whole of the might and majesty of the ocean would be reflected in it.
(2) Man Is the Image of God
Man alone is made in the image of God. That some of us do not recognize that status of ours, makes no difference, except that we do not get the benefit of the status, even as a lion brought up in the company of sheep, may not know his own status and therefore, does not receive its benefits; but it belongs to him, nevertheless, and the moment he realizes it, he begins to exercise his dominion over the sheep. But no sheep masquerading as a lion can ever attain the leonine status. And to prove the proposition, that man is made in the image of God, it is surely un necessary to show that all men admittedly exhibit that image in their own person. It is enough to show that one man at least has done so. And will it be denied that the great religious teachers of mankind have exhibited the image of God in their persons?
(3) Life Is a Mere Bubble
Our existence as embodied beings is purely momentary; what are a hundred years in Eternity? But if we shatter the chains of egotism, and melt into the ocean of humanity, we share its dignity. To feel that we are something, is to set up a barrier between God and ourselves; to cease feeling that we are something is to become one with God. A drop in the ocean partakes of the greatness of its parent, although it is unconscious of it. But it is dried up as soon as it enters upon an existence independent of the ocean. We do not exaggerate when we say that life is a bubble.
(4) Life and Death
It is as clear to me as daylight that life and death are but phases of the same thing, the reverse and obverse of the same coin. In fact, tribulation and death, seem to me to present a phase far richer than happiness or life. What is life worth without trials and tribulations, which are the salt of life? ... I want you all to treasure death and suffering more than life and to appreciate their cleansing and purifying character.
The body must suffer for its ill-deeds. We die to live once more, even as we live to die at last. Life, therefore, is not an occasion for joy, nor is death an occasion for sorrow. But there is one thing needful. We must ascertain our duty in life and continue to discharge it till we die.
Death is at any time blessed, but it is twice blessed for a warrior who dies for his cause, i.e. Truth. Death is no fiend, he is the truest of friends. He delivers us from agony. He helps us against ourselves. He ever gives us new chances, new hopes. He is like a sleep, a sweet restorer. Yet it is customary to mourn when a friend dies. The custom has no operation when the death is that of a martyr.
(5) Freedom of Choice
Man has reason, discrimination and free-will such as it is. The brute has no such thing. It is not a free agent and knows no distinction between virtue and vice, good and evil. Man being a free agent, knows these distinctions and when he follows his higher nature, shows himself far superior to the brute but when he follows his baser nature, can show himself lower than the brute.
But this free-will we enjoy is less than that of a passenger on a crowded deck... Man is the maker of his own destiny in the sense that he has freedom of choice as to the manner in which he uses his freedom. But he is no controller of results. The moment he thinks he is, he comes to grief.
It is man's special privilege and pride to be gifted with the faculties of head and heart both, that he is a thinking no less than a feeling animal, as the very derivation of the word shows. ... In man reason quickens and guides the feeling. In brute the soul lies dormant. To awaken the heart is to awaken the dormant soul, to awaken reason is to inculcate discrimination between good and evil.
(6) Man's Primary Duty
It is the duty of every human being to look carefully within and see himself as he is and spare no pains to improve himself in body, mind and soul. He should realize the mischief wrought by injustice, wickedness, vanity and the like and do his best to fight them.
Man's estate is one of probation. During that period he is played upon by evil forces as well as good. He is ever prey to temptations. He has to prove his manliness by resisting and fighting temptations. He is no warrior who fights outside foes of his imagination and is powerless to lift his little finger against innumerable foes within or what is worse, mistakes them for friends.
It is not man's duty to develop all his faculties to perfection; his duty is to develop all his Godward faculties to perfection and to suppress completely those of contrary tendencies.
It is inherent in man, imperfect though he is, ceaselessly to strive after perfection. In the attempt he falls into reverie. And just as a child tries to stand, falls down again and again and ultimately learns how to walk, even so, man, with all his intelligence, is a mere infant as compared to the infinite and ageless God.
The goal ever recedes from us. The greater the progress the greater the recognition of our unworthiness. Satisfaction lies in the effort, not in the attainment. Full effort is full victory.