I believe that only a person whose heart is burning with compassion for the suffering in the world can go the Path of Liberation. I am becoming more and more discontent with these so-called "democracies" of the world that leave the rich richer and the poor poorer. We are all humans, and we all deserve basic rights, whether we were born into higher families or not. Evidently world governments still do not feel the same as me. You would think that in this time of extreme strife, the people of the world would band together instead of further dividing, fighting among one another. I want to fix it, hopefully through peaceful political means like Gandhi, a true inspiration to me. But regardless, I want a stop to this. I am wondering, if I follow the Path of Liberation, wouldn't I be helping myself more than others? I am wondering if it would be more prudent to go the way of Hagrid, to help the others reach Liberation first? I know that sounds crazy because I am not far down the path at all really, but I believe, and please don't think I am being arrogant, that with great power comes great responsibility. If I don't help the suffering of the world, how do I know someone else will? I am willing to abandon any hope of liberation if I could at least put a stop to all of this suffering, this madness that we call our world. Am I going about it the right way?
Wow, I can hardly think of a more important and beautiful question!
The motivation expressed in this question is itself an important step on the Path of Liberation. I can imagine a space ship approaching the earth and on board they have an instrument which catches the 'mood' of the majority of the dwellers of the planet. What would they hear on approaching earth? Surely it would be a long, strident, heart-rending scream of intense agony? If we perceive only the faintest glimmer of this scream, how can we not want to jump in to end the suffering of millions of people?
Compassion for the suffering in the world is a sign that the bud of the Lily is beginning to swell. The Divine Spark in the heart is beginning to glow more strongly. But beside motivation we need a plan, and the means to carry it out.
My counter question to the above question is: who is in a better position to help people escape from the prison, someone still in it, or someone who has already escaped?
One who has already escaped has the experience, the know how, the means to help others escape!
Let me draw your attention to that wonderful analogy of the dream in The Chymical Wedding.
Before starting his walk to the castle, Christian Rosycross dreams he is in a deep, dark pit, together with a great number of other people. They're all struggling to get to the top so they have a slightly lesser feeling of oppression, but no matter what they do, they stay IN the pit. If there are those who wish to help each other, what can they do? Help someone get to the top? But as soon as you get to the top, someone else gets pushed to the bottom!
But then, suddenly, the lid is taken off the pit, and a cord is lowered seven times to allow people to escape. Christian Rosycross is pulled out, and, as soon as he is free, he helps to pull people out. This is the simple illustration of what I mean. Inside the pit Christian can do nothing. Outside of it he can help get people out.
Of course it would be selfish if we were to say, "I want to be liberated. I want to get out of this madhouse. I want to get back to God and the rest of you can jolly well look after yourselves." But a person with that attitude would have no chance of being liberated. That's not how it works! Liberation works only when we don't want it just for ourselves. Liberation works only when our heart is torn by the incredible suffering, and we feel compassion for the suffering millions. If we just want to be liberated because we're fed up with our own suffering, it isn't the Lily in our heart that's yearning for liberation. It's just our own ego disguising itself as an angel of light.
I just want to quote a section from the question again:
I am wondering if it would be more prudent to go the way of Hagrid, to help the others reach Liberation first?
There is a mistaken assumption here, and I know how it has arisen. I'm possibly at fault for not explaining this properly.
I have explained through the years that Hagrid is a Bodhisattva who has chosen to come back to help people find the Path of Liberation. Instead of "going on" (as Dumbledore puts it), Hagrid is "punished" (by his own heart) and is forced to become "Keeper of the Keys" to help the Harry Potters of this world find Hogwarts and defeat their own Voldemorts.
But that's a very incomplete picture! The point is, that Hagrid was already liberated, but that's not made obvious in the story. Don't forget, we're dealing with symbols only, and they have their limits. Hagrid, despite his depiction as an uneducated drunken, stupid and naive yokel, is a liberated Bodhisattva who has achieved liberation, but has come back.
In The Chymical Wedding we have a very similar story. Christian enters the Sepulchre of Venus and sees Venus, i.e. Love, lying asleep, naked. AFTER he achieves liberation, i.e. the New Consciousness, i.e. the resurrection of the King (the Spirit) and the Queen (the Soul) he is "punished" by having to become gatekeeper of the castle.
Harry does the same, of course. When he arrives at King's Cross, his scar is gone. He has defeated Voldemort as far as his personal self is concerned. As I pointed out long before Book 7 was written, the scar symbolises the egocentric consciousness. So Harry is now free of self.
Dumbledore points out to him that he can "go on" or return to the world to defeat Voldemort for the sake of the world. Harry doesn't hesitate for a second. It doesn't even occur to him that he has a choice. How could he leave his friends and beloved, and in fact the wizarding world, to endure the inferno of Voldemort's rule?
I think it's time to explain a bit more about the Path. You see, the Path begins with Liberation. After that, the journey back to God begins. This journey is a dazzling process of transfiguration after transfiguration, right through the seven Cosmic Planes, from ever greater Power to even greater Power, from one unimaginable glory to the next, taking millions and millions of years of our earth time. If I were forced to turn this into a symbolic story, I would have to perhaps say that after liberation, the human being becomes like a planet, providing source and sustenance to millions of people, later on becoming like a star, like the sun, like Sirius, giving (spiritual) light to billions of entities on planets, and after that becoming a cluster of stars in a zodiac, and so on. Only symbolically, of course. The idea I'm trying to convey is that of extreme radiance, of life-giving effulgence which seems almost limitless.
Now that is what's postponed by the true Bodhisattva of compassion. He achieves his own liberation, but then stops there, being "punished" by the compassion in his inner Sepulchre of Venus, to return to earth voluntarily, to help defeat Voldemort for the world.
When people talk about the Path they talk mainly about the first stage, self-liberation, because beyond that is out of our reach for the present.
But then the question remains: What do I do about the suffering in the world the injustice, the triumph of evil and violence?
Well, while we're in the gigantic jail, it's great to have nurses and doctors to look after the sick prisoners, and psychiatrists and counsellors to help people and stop them going mad. They're necessary too, and we couldn't really do without them. But obviously liberation is the permanent solution, while looking after sick prisoners is necessary but doesn't solve the basic problem: our imprisonment.
If you want to do good in the world, fine, but realise that it doesn't solve anything.
There's another important aspect to this: the basic law of this dualistic universe. As Voldemort said, through Quirrell: There is no good and evil. That's right! You cannot define good and evil. People have been trying to do good for thousands of years. What's the result? As said in the question above, injustice prevails. We have all these institutions in the world to deal with suffering: UNICEF, Doctors without Borders, Help for Child Soldiers, Greenpeace, help for refugees, the list is very long. Individuals realise they can't achieve anything on their own, so they band together, believing that union is strength. But what happens? An organisation is set up to protect refugee children, for example. So the next thing we hear is that the little girls are being raped by the staff. A church sets up an education system to turn children into good Christians. Next thing the church is being sued for millions because of sexual abuse by its priests.
In Harry Potter it was Hagrid, good, compassionate Hagrid, who put the spiders in the Forbidden Forest near the School. That's symbolic for the dualistic law: whenever Good manifests itself in this world, it will eventually transform into evil. See my post Hagrid and the Spiders.
You can set up as many philanthropic organisations as you like; they will turn into blood sucking spiders in the end. That's the law! There is no good and evil. If you try to do good, it will eventually turn into evil, and every evil will gradually produce good results as well.
In this dualistic universe every action has an equal and opposite reaction. Just a simple example. If you join any kind of organisation, or set one up, and you propose some sort of reform to make the world better, there will be an immediate reaction to oppose what you're doing. That's the basic law of this universe.
Why? Because this world is not THE world. We don't live in the Real World! This is a prison into which we have brought ourselves by our deviation from the Divine Plan.
This may sound like bad news, but it's actually wonderful. It's perfect! God, i.e. Spirit that created the whole universe, created a perfect universe where his creatures could carry on a plan of self development for ever, in ever greater joy and love. But part of perfection is freedom, and so His creatures have the freedom to follow the Plan or not. However as soon as a group of creatures decides not to follow the plan completely, a new plane of life is created where life is possible, but according to dualistic laws, and not the perfect laws of the Divine Universe. The simple-to-understand reason for this is that whatever is done NOT in conformity to the Divine Plan must not be allowed to exist eternally, as things do in the Divine Universe. Hence Good is eternal and Evil is temporary. That's how God keeps His Creation perfect.
It's very simple: you create anything within the Divine Plan: it will exist for ever. You create anything outside of the Divine Plan: it will destroy itself eventually.
And so we live in a temporary universe in which the basic law is: temporariness. This temporariness is achieved by duality. Duality creates, but it also destroys. In fact everything keeps going in circles - for ever. No matter what you do, all it will achieve is a faster turning of the wheel.
But it gets more complicated. Both good and evil (although indefinable) have been in existence for many thousands of years, and have grown in strength. They have huge force fields around the earth, and they govern human affairs.
As you may know, there's another group connected to Harry Potter for Seekers, and it's called Summa Scientia. I have posted some answers to basic questions there, too. In this connection please read What is the cause of evil?
The point there is that humanity has created force fields of good and evil, and these dominate the world. They cause wars, terrorism, genocide, holocausts, etc. And, as I say in that post to Summa Scientia, they possess individuals and make them commit unutterable acts of evil.
So what can you do to end the suffering in the world?
Go the Path of Liberation, and the forces of good and evil will lose their hold on you. Open the pure white Lily in your heart and you will know the truth. You will know how to liberate yourself in order that you can truly liberate others. And by no longer feeding them you'll be able to weaken the Voldemort that rules the world.
It may sound unbelievable and miraculous, but a person who is liberated cannot be harmed by evil, just as Harry could not be harmed by Voldemort after Harry returned from King's Cross. Remember, neither of the two Unforgivable Curses worked on Harry?
In my post How do we escape the Death Eaters? I show how a liberated person is able to expel evil forces which are possessing a person. It's very important that you read that, as it is a very major part of the answer to this question.
The point is, that as long as we are in the prison, we are totally powerless to do anything except shift deck chairs on the Titanic. If we are out of the prison, we can repair the holes in the hull!
Spectacular as it may sound, the New Consciousness brings faculties of unbelievable power and majesty. Just to give a few brief glimpses:
Love: a Love that can set people free from the forces of evil, and make them yearn for Liberation.
Wisdom: a wisdom that ensures all actions have liberating results for the people you're trying to help.
Knowledge: the New Consciousness can see into people's past and future and determine the causes of their problems, giving you the power to help them overcome their barriers.
To summarise: you become like Dumbledore. In his later years, anyway.
I guess this will shock some of you: there is such a thing as magic. A person who has caught the Golden Snitch, a person who has achieved the New Consciousness, can do magic. This is the magic of Love, as described in that Post 220 to Summa Scientia.
So what is my advice to those of you who sympathise with the above question? Read my answer to Nick�s question again and follow the four steps. Don't accept what I've said; test it out. By all means try reforming the world, and see how far you get. Read a lot about philanthropy and charity, and look at the results. Explore the prison until it suffocates you; explore the prison until its walls oppress you to screaming point! Then you'll be able to start yearning for God, for Liberation, not just for yourself, but for your brothers and sisters too. Then God will answer; the Lily will open, and the Prince of Peace will be born in your life.
Sirius will send his comforting rays to you to guide you, and so you will develop a new Mode of Life which will not take sides in the unending struggle between the twin forces of this world: good and evil, but your deeds will set people free!