they had become "oblivious of their own existence." Everything in them was spontaneous; nothing the result of effort. "They made no plans; therefore failing, they had no cause for regret; succeeding, no cause for congratulation" (p. 69). "They cheerfully played their allotted parts, waiting patiently for the end." They were free, for they were in perfect harmony with creation (p. 71). For them One and not One are One; God and Man. For they had attained to Tao, and Tao is greater than God. "Before heaven and earth were, Tao was. It has existed without change from all time. Spiritual beings draw their spirituality therefrom; while the universe became what we see it now. To Tao the zenith is not high, nor the nadir low; no point of time is long ago, nor by lapse of ages has it grown old" (p. 76). The great legislators obtained Tao, and laid down eternal principles. The sun and moon, and the Great Bear are kept in their courses by Tao.
"Thou dost preserve the stars from wrong;
And the most ancient heavens, through thee, are fresh and strong."
He who would attain to Tao must get rid of the thought of "charity and duty," of "music and ceremonies," of body and mind. The flowers and the birds do not toil, they simply live. That is Tao. And for man a state of indifference and calm, the ἀταραξία not of the sceptic but of the mystic, a passive reflecting of the Eternal, is the ideal end. "The perfect man employs his mind as a mirror. It grasps nothing, it refuses nothing. It receives but does not keep. And thus he can triumph over matter without injury to himself" (See p. 98.)
It would of course be presumption to attempt to assign a meaning to Tao, and still more to discover an equivalent in Western thought. But it may be lawful to say that Heracleitus often speaks of Λόγος as Chuang Tzŭ speaks of Tao. It is Necessity (ἀνάγκη), or Fate (εἱμαρμένη), or Mind (γνώμη), or Justice (Δική). In nature it appears as balance and equipoise; in the State as Law; in man as the universal Reason, which is in him but not of him. Sometimes it is identified with the mysterious name of Zeus, which may not be uttered; sometimes like the Ἀνάγκη of the Greek poets, it is supreme over gods and men. If it is hard to say what is the relation of Tao to God, it is not less hard to define the relation of Λόγος to Zeus. To speak of Chuang Tzŭ and Heracleitus as pantheists is only to say that, so far as we can translate
- Heracl. Eph. Rell. lxv.