A Study in
George Sidney Arundale
First published 1926
Note to the
I AM naturally gratified that after a few months a second edition of Nirvana is demanded. I think the value of the little book has been more in the direction of suggestion as to lines of experiment than as a description of the conditions obtaining under the Nirvanic mode of consciousness. Frankly, the reader will find little description, for description is impossible; but he will find many impressions, and my advice to him is to pay just as much or as little attention as he feels disposed to the details of the various impressions, and to concentrate on the atmosphere of which they are particular expressions as the result of the medium, George Arundale, through which the atmosphere must needs filter. For example, I write of Lightning-standing-still. A reader might well exclaim: “Ah! I think I know what you mean. I should not call it Lightning, nor Lightning-standing-still. I should call it so and so. That would be the kind of filtration ix] I should get from that selfsame atmosphere which we both sense, but which I should describe so differently.” Let Nirvana help you to Nirvana, be your road what it may. All I can say is that I happened to take a route which I have described as best I could in the following pages.
With this latitude open to every reader, there is one door I want to shut in his face, and that is the door of common sense. If you have nothing but common sense at your disposal I am afraid Nirvana will mean little or nothing to you. To understand either Buddhi or Nirvana a distinctly uncommon sense is needed.
Common sense will not help you in these regions any more than it will help you to understand modern physics since Einstein. Bertrand Russell tells us in his A. B. C. of Relativity that a new kind of thinking must dawn upon our mental worlds as a result of the introduction of new conceptions and notions regarding physical things, even though these conceptions and notions be by no means yet entirely verified. He adjures us to start thinking in terms of these “modern physical notions rather than in terms of the notions derived from common sense and embodied in traditional physics”.
That is exactly what has to be done by those who have contacted the outer fringes of Buddhi and Nirvana. It is not common sense and the tradition of the lower worlds with which they are now concerned, but rather with an uncommon sense which is an extraordinarily refined sense, as yet extremely uncommon but some day to become common in its turn. Remember that the use of uncommon sense does not mean that we cease to be efficient in the lower worlds.
On the contrary, we become far more efficient, for we build with stone and not with sand. We live more truly because nearer to the Real, even though in its ignorance and common sense the outer world may laugh, ridicule, persecute, despise. Indeed, Bertrand Russell goes further than I should have dared to go, though by no means further than I should be prepared to go, in the following startling utterance taken from the same little book:
It is possible that the desire for rational explanation may be carried too far ... every apparent law of nature which strikes us as reasonable is not really a law of nature, but a concealed convention, plastered on to nature by our love of what we, in our arrogance, choose to consider rational. Eddington hints that a real law of nature is likely to stand out by the fact that it appears to us irrational, since in that case it is less likely that we have invented it to satisfy our intellectual taste.
A profoundly true utterance which, had it been widely appreciated in times gone by and were it widely appreciated today, would have saved many apostles of truth from persecution and martyrdom and would enable the world to derive far more benefit than it does from the researches of occultists and mystics - true pioneers, true seekers after “real laws of nature” through the “irrational” and superrational.
I have made many corrections and a number of additions and modifications in this new edition, and I have added a new chapter “Further Thoughts” - containing a few results of further meditations. I hope these also will prove interesting, and provocative of pioneering in the same direction.
G. S. A.
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