This Book is written by Arthur Osborne.

This believe: I tell you what I know
From own experience; nothing of hearsay;
What I have tried and proved and found it so,
Following a guide, a Master of the Way.


But first what sense-perception tells us all.
The world in endless vista trails away
Into a past remote beyond recall.
Endlessly too the future looms ahead.
Between the two your pin-point life-days fall,
From the being born up to the being dead.
And then the ripples that you caused subside;
Another holds your office, sleeps in your bed,
While Life moves on with unperturbed stride,
As though you had not been. Even while you are,
Nothing is there secure, little for pride.
Health is on loan from time; frustrations mar
Ambition and achievement; friendships end
In death or forgetting. From afar
Old age creeps on, filching the zest you lend
To work and pleasure, chilling the vital power,
Still narrowing the circle you defend
Of life’s attachments, till the final hour
When thoughts, drawn in from schemes for which you fought,
From work you lived for, office held or power,
From wife and friend, from child, things sold and bought,
Converge on one point only, your next breath;
Stripped of attachment, to naked being brought,
To be squeezed out through the narrow womb of death.


So far goes sight; so far men agree;
But probing into what comes after death
Their views diverge. Varied but mainly three The stands they take.
Some there are who hold
Death is the end: nothing again to be,
Nothing to know; for all your tale is told,
And that poor thing that rots in the dark ground
Is all that is of the once manifold
Lover of fair faces and sweet sound
That trod the earth and thought that he was you.
Others there are who see life girdled round
With brighter spheres of forms forever new,
As much more vivid than the earth-forms here
As peacock’s throat than sparrow’s dingy hue.
There (a spaceless ‘there’ as dreams appear)
Forces bred up on earth but out of sight—
Courage that goes straight on in spite of fear,
Or twisted guilt submerged from the clear light
Of conscious mind—rise and surround a man
In outer forms of terror or delight;
His own brood, hidden for the earth-life span,
Now torturing his disembodied soul
Eternally if evil; but for who ran
Life’s race on earth to the appointed goal
Peace everlasting, bliss past words to tell.
Others declare that this is not the whole.
One season’s harvest can’t forever sell,
Or one life’s balance, whether good or bad,
Consign eternally to heaven or hell.
Man’s inner life materialises, clad
In incorporeal forms, they too admit;
But thus the reckoning, whether glad or sad,
Is closed, books balanced: there’s an end of it.
Thence he returns once more to life on earth,
At that same level he himself made fit
By use or misuse of his former birth:
Free once again to rise, or free to sink,
The architect again of his own worth.
Again the bell tolls; again the brink
Of death is crossed to living more intense,
More heaven or hell, than earth-bound mind can think.
Thus a man’s life brings on its recompense,
Rising before him. Inexorably the Wheel
Swings round from growth to harvest, from the dense
Earth-life that builds to regions that reveal
What there he built. And thus from life to life
Can man increase in stature, till he feel
A brimming joy in what before was strife
And no more yearn to earth-ways, no more cling
To memory or desire, as with a knife
Cut off all craving. Nothing again can bring
Rebirth or grief or death to such a one,
Free as the stars, free as the winds that sing
His glory on the hill-tops, beyond the sun,
In his own radiance gloriously bedight,
Absorbed unending in the Unbegun,
Beyond the parting of the day and night,
Changeless, he sees the changing world aright.


Not equally at fault these views.
The first Alone is wholly wrong. The next contains
All that man needs of truth to be well versed
In his own interest, and from petty gains
Followed by great loss to turn and seek
His heritage of bliss, purchased by pains
Prepaid but transient, in prospect bleak,
Like Muslim’s dower for his unseen bride,
In retrospect nothing of which to speak.
The third view also can as well provide
Incentive and a way—all that men need.
Yet these three views of man, however wide
They move apart, all spring from the same seed
Of error, for they all alike declare
You are that sentient body whence proceed
Cravings like roots, like branches in the air
Thoughts and ideals; hedged by necessity.
Mere fantasy! No such thing is there!
You are pure Consciousness, Eternity,
Wherein birth, death and world are but such stuff
As dreams are made on. No hyperbole!
Just as a night-time dream seems real enough,
So long as it lasts, within your mortal mind,
So your life’s journey, whether smooth or rough—
Between deep hedgerows fragrantly entwined
With honeysuckle, all the air athrob
With singing of the birds, your steps combined
With those of loved companion, such as rob
Exhaustion of its pain, night of its fears,
Or over arid crags, where not to sob
For weariness were hard when the sun sears
And only thorn-trees cast a stunted shade,
While all ahead the naked shale appears—
All that same dream-stuff out of which is made
You mortal self. All that is known or seen,
With you in it, a pageant is, displayed
Harmless in you, like pictures on a screen.
Awake! For dawn has set the sky aflame!
Awake from dreaming what has never been
To find the universe entire a game
Forever changed, you evermore the same.


This does not mean there are two selves in you,
One universal and the other bound
By name and form, a transient being who
From birth to death treads out his little round.
Rather amnesia. One born rich and great,
Pre-eminent over all around,
Forgets his own identity, so fate
Leads him to some factory that is his,
Did he but know, to queue up at the gate,
Imploring work. Only one self he is,
Yet twofold: so long as he forgets—
A life of labour and indignities;
Remember, and fate instantly resets
Life as it was before misfortune’s drag.
Or that poor knight who, fallen in folly’s nets
Travelled Spain’s dusty roads on a lean nag,
Windmills for foes, delusion for a flag.


How, from pure Consciousness quite unalloyed,
Unfettered being, unimpeded Bliss,
Was that high equilibrium destroyed
and your eternal state brought down to this?
And why? Such questions not at all contribute
To man’s awaking. Nought that is amiss
Can they set right. Every such dispute
Is useless, but not harmless; it misleads,
Lending this seeming world the attribute
Of real being, of something that proceeds
In course of time from that eternal state
That was before. Thus ignorantly it pleads
The cause of ignorance. In truth time’s spate
Of endless forms is no more than a dream,
While That-which-was remains. Early and late,
Time and the world, are shadow shows that seem
True being only to the clouded mind.
One question only is a worthy theme:
How to dissolve the subtle mists that blind,
What the entangled aspirant can do
To break the Lilliputian threads that bind.
Therefore I write to point a pathway through
The maze of fancied being to the true.


First, understanding—not philosophy,
For truth is simple; thought like a playful cat
With skein of wool tangles it wilfully—
Simply that Being is and you are That.
Therefore to know the essential self of you
Is to know all; but not by gazing at,
As one can know another, for Not-Two
The Ultimate. Knowing in that high sense
Is simple being. Being alone is true.
If understanding fails or can dispense
Only a murky glow, as from a lamp
That smokes and flickers in the wind, defence
From weakness, fortitude alone to tramp
The pilgrim way, can come from faith—not blind
But bearing deep experience’s stamp.
For sometimes in life’s daily round—behind,
Or rather breaking through, the drab routine
Of work and pleasure, comes into the mind
A stillness and a power, a force unseen,
Bearing conviction man is something more
Than thought can demonstrate or eyes have seen.
To hold to this even when the muffled roar
Of distant thunder is no longer heard
Through tinkling of the tinsel bells galore Is faith.
If faith too limps, there is a third
Platform for man’s take-off to beyond space—
That of the intrepid gambler who averred:
“This life has not so ravishing a face
That when adventure calls I still should cling.
For many causes men have risked her grace—
To climb a mountain or unthrone a king,
For art or science: I for the Supreme.
And if I lose it is a little thing,
But winning I win all. Give me the scheme,
The discipline! Count me with those who try!”
Similar but less noble will he seem
Who finds life bitter and, prepared to die,
Takes this last hope of joy worth living by.


 The next demand a wise austerity.
There is a seeming self, an evil ghost,
That covers up your true integrity,
Which to destroy is the last winning post,
Whatever path a man may travel by.
To understand even to the uttermost But not
accomplish this, or even try,
Were like an arctic traveller who sits
In armchair by the fire, and warm and dry,
A rug across his knees, in fancy flits
Through howling blizzard and wild snowy waste.
Not easily the ego-self submits,
But, like guerrilla warfare, if displaced
From one position rises up elsewhere,
And with shrewd strategy he must be faced.
No need for savage measures—better be fair;
Let him have all the body needs, no less—
Also no more. Watch out too for care
What others think of him, vindictiveness,
Grievance or emulation. If there is pride
In learning, deem its damage in excess
Over its value; lay your books aside.
If hope of visions or the healing touch,
Forswear it; if desire to be a guide
To others on the path, know that all such
Are cravings of the ego and abjure.
And do not let the phantom ego clutch
At dream-worlds to surround him and allure
With fancied being, thus to compensate
For life’s restrictions and to reassure.
All this is not the path, only the state
From which the prudent wayfarer sets out.
To start without it folly were as great
As try to run up Everest without
Equipment, just in tennis shoes and shirt—
Folly and danger both. Ever about
To turn and turn, build in a sudden spurt,
Demolish in another, forsake your plan
To dance the ego’s tune, can cause grave hurt.
The mind, pulled both ways, can betray a man
And leave him far worse off than he began.


And now the path itself. Many the ways
That men have trod in their eternal quest
For That-which-is. Most suited to our days
A path lived in the world, like others dressed,
Working like others, with no rites or forms.
Turn to look inward and, with mind at rest,
All thought suspended, seek who, what, informs
The living self of you, wherein abides
The pure I-am-ness; probe beyond thought-forms,
Knowing that reason no reply provides;
Nothing for words, only experience;
Not thought but being, being that resides
Rather in heart than head, and issues thence.
Effort is needed. As easy it were to train
A pack of monkeys as the mind. Immense
Persistence. You dispose to calm; again
Thoughts rise insidiously, until once more
The sky is clouded over, and again
You banish, they return. Yet the still core
Of silence can be reached beyond the sound
Of strident thoughts and clamorous uproar.
In silence then, a treasure newly found,
Vibrant awareness rises in the heart,
Like the first crocus daring to break ground
Where lately lay the snow. Brief at the start,
Later spontaneous and pervading all,
Body-sensed, mind-known, and yet from both apart,
Remembrancer, whatever may befall,
More precious than all joys of former days.
Remembrancer, yet powerless to forestall
Resurgent ego; powerless too to raise
That state in you that is not won of right
But may unearned illumine all your ways:
As on some lesser Himalayan height
Facing the mighty Kanchenjunga veiled
In clouds. Sudden the haze parts. Bright
With dazzling whiteness the vast range is hailed
With cries of wonder, while the risen sun
Smites it with reds and golds. Briefly unveiled,
And then the haze drifts back, the splendour done.
Even such a glimpse of the eternal state
Is no assurance that the race is run,
No guarantee a man will not stagnate,
Or that the ego, temporarily dispersed,
Will not return, again to dominate,
A man’s last state no better than his first.
Unflagging dedication to the goal
Is needed still, incessant strife to burst
Delusion’s bonds, shrewdness to control
The ego’s stratagems; not to conceive
Of something to attain, but know the whole
Is now, let but that ego-self take leave
Who seeks to attain, the better to deceive.


Should this way prove too arduous, suppose
The ego-self exists. Such as it is,
And if it is, let it then dispose Itself to worship,
let its litanies
Ascend like incense-smoke about the feet
Of God in Whom the whirling galaxies
And a wild rose, the sum of things complete,
Is a vast harmony to which He said
“Be!” and it is. He Whose Mercy-Seat
Is the incorporeal world about us spread.
Whichever way you turn, behold His Face!
His signs are in the pathways that you tread,
And in the skies; yet in the secret place
Of silence in your heart is His abode.
His power is love. He draws you with His grace,
And with His grace, when needs, as with a goad,
Sharply He thrusts you back from the cliff ‘s edge,
Where folly leads or craving, to a road
Shielded from dangers, though with thorns for hedge.
Your constant prayer be that His will be done,
And to submit by your undying pledge;
Yet know that, prayer or no, it will be done,
Being no whim or caprice but the law
Of the Unending and the Unbegun, T
he harmony the ancient sages saw
Whereto the heavenly spheres in concord dance,
Which to resist were like a piece of straw
Blown in the wind, but which leads on past trance
To mystic union’s unimagined stance.


Some intuition of the butterfly
Impels the caterpillar to undergo
The rigorous chrysalis, gladly to die
To his own state for one he does not know.
How can he know in terms of nibbling leaf?
How dream of flight, being content to grow,
Not live? How will you bring to his belief
Twinkling wings that flit above a flower,
Gay as a lady’s wind-inspired kerchief?
What is enjoyment but an ivory tower?
But if life satisfies you, well and good;
Stay on your leaf and nibble. If some power—
Sense of eternity not understood—
Beckons, then follow; never count the cost
(It will cost all). Step forth as a beggar should
To claim a throne, counting his rags well lost;
And never look back, once the threshold crossed.