Compassion, tenderness and dispassion

Book 3 – Sutra 23
Union with others is to be gained through one-pointed meditation upon the three states of feeling – compassion, tenderness and dispassion.

Some understanding of this will come if the student will compare this sutra with one in the first book (Sutra 33). The union here dealt with marks a step further than the previous attainment. In that, the nature of the aspirant is being trained to harmonious peaceful association with all around him. In this, he is taught to identify himself with all other selves through concentration upon what are sometimes called the “three states of feeling.” These are:

  1. Compassion, the antithesis of passion which is selfish and grasping,
  2. Tenderness, the antithesis of self-centeredness, which is always hard and self-absorbed,
  3. Dispassion, the antithesis of lust or desire.

These three states of feeling when understood and entered into, put a man en rapport with the soul of all men.

Through compassion, he is no longer occupied with his own selfish interests but enters into and suffers with his brother; he can adapt his vibration so that it responds to his brother’s need; he is enabled to share in all that is taking place in his brother’s heart. This he does through the keying up of his own vibration to respond to the love nature of his own ego, and through that unifying principle all hearts everywhere are open to him.

Through tenderness, that compassionate understanding works out into practical expression. His activities are no longer ingoing and self-centered but are outgoing and inspired by an unselfish heartfelt desire to serve and aid. This state of feeling is sometimes called mercy, and characterizes all the servers of the race. It involves active help, unselfish intent, wise judgment and loving activity. It is free from any wish for reward or recognition. This has been beautifully covered by H. P. Blavatsky in The Voice of the Silence in the following words:

“Let thy Soul lend its ear to every cry of pain like as the lotus bares its heart to drink the morning sun.

Let not the fierce sun dry one tear of pain before thyself hast wiped it from the sufferer’s eye.

But let each burning human tear drop on thy heart and there remain; nor ever brush it off until the pain that caused it is removed.

These tears, O thou of heart most merciful, these are the streams that irrigate the fields of charity immortal.”

Through dispassion, the aspirant and server stands free from the karmic results of his activity on behalf of others. It is, as we know, our own desire which binds us to the three worlds and to others. “Binding to” is of a different nature to “union with.” One is full of desire and causes obligation and effects; the other is free from desire, produces “identification with” and has no binding effects in the three worlds. Dispassion has more of a mental quality than the other two. It might be noted that dispassion brings in the quality of lower mind, tenderness is the emotional result of dispassionate compassion and involves the kamic or astral principle, whilst compassion concerns also the physical plane for it is the working out into physical manifestation of the two other states. It is the practical ability to identify oneself with another in all the three world conditions.

This union is the result of the egoic oneness brought down into full activity in the three worlds through meditation.


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