making of the universe: training the body

“The next lesson removed the reward of sacrifice to a region beyond the physical world.

First, by a sacrifice of material goods material welfare was to be secured. Then the sacrifice of material goods was to bring enjoyment in heaven, on the other side of death.

The reward of the sacrificer was of a higher kind, and he learned that the relatively permanent might be secured by the sacrifice of the relatively transient – a lesson that was important as leading to discriminative knowledge.

The clinging of the form to physical objects was exchanged for a clinging to heavenly joys.

In all exoteric religions we find this educative process resorted to by the Wise Ones – too wise to expect from child-souls the virtue of unrewarded heroism, and content, with a sublime patience, to coax their wayward charges slowly along a pathway that was thorny and a stony one to the lower nature.

Gradually men were induced to subjugate the body, to overcome its sloth by the regular daily performance of religious rites, often burdensome in their nature, and to regulate its activities by directing them into useful channels;

they were trained to conquer the form and to hold it in subjection to the life, and to accustom the body to yield itself to works of goodness and charity in obedience to the demands of the mind, even while that mind was chiefly stimulated by a desire to enjoy reward in heaven.”


Annie Besant

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