Open the Box

While in St Helena, the dearest object of the Emperor Napoleon’s love was his son, the King of Rome, who was in Austria in the hands of Metternich. A bust of the child was sent to the emperor from France, encased in a strong box. The British, naturally humane, passed it, and it arrived at St Helena.

The emperor was never seen so seriously agitated as when the case was placed on his table. He could not bear the delay in unpacking it. His servant, Saint-Denis, was too slow. The emperor seized the hammer and skilfully applied it. His whole being was focused on the process and he extracted nail after nail. In the end he took out the marble bust and gazed at it with love and the fullest attention.

The true Self, Atman, the principle of universal love, bliss, beauty and freedom, is encased in the body and mind. It is the object of supreme love. It is the ‘honey among all objects’. From it alone proceeds nature in its immensity and beauty, and the human mind, with all its profundity and its power of creating beauty, virtue and compassion. It is the root of the tree of Sansara.

Self is to be extracted from the box of spiritual ignorance by the hammer of the Yoga of Self-knowledge, by the elimination of the will to pleasure and egoity in any form. You must apply all your mind and be most serious in the act of opening the box. Do it yourself, for no one else can do it for you. It is the only duty, and any sacrifice needed to help this undertaking must be made without hesitation. Any sacrifice you make now is a great privilege. You will one day leave all you possess; but Truth lives in eternity.
Apply all love, seriousness and earnestness and you will re-discover your true Self, the Atman of the universe.


This article is from the Summer 2019 issue of Self-Knowledge Journal.