Distracted with worldly cares and troubles, and wearied and perplexed with the mysteries and problems of life, at last fell into a deep sleep, and had a vision. In my dream I stood in the center of an open space, out of which ran highways and byways of all forms and of all dimensions; and into these avenues men and women were ceaselessly pouring. Into some of the roads men were rushing as if for dear life, and in their eagerness to gain a good position in the forefront of the crowd were elbowing their neighbors on either side, and treading on the heels of those immediately in front. Others were moving slowly along, with heads bowed, ever and anon halting at some byway or other, hesitating, and then returning from whence they started, as though in doubt and fear, and not knowing which way to take. Although there were many roads leading away from the area, what to me appeared singular was the almost unanimity of the vast concourse, who were making their exit by one or two well-beaten tracks, worn hollow by the countless thousands who had previously trodden the same paths. Whilst other roads, obscure and almost unnoticed, had evidently been traversed by but a few, and even as I watched only one now and again singled himself out of the crowd, or rather struggled his way out, and entered one of the less frequented roads, albeit earth's garb of verdue, soft and yielding, invited the tired feet.
Bewildered at the strange sight skirted the edge of the busy throng, seeking an explanation. Coming near the entrance of perhaps the largest and most frequented road, I heard a deep and sonorous voice, resonant and clarion-like, above the babel of noises, and hastening forward came upon a knot of persons, in the central figure of which stood an aged man of venerable and patriarchal aspect, whose voice had attracted me. Just as I reached the spot the voice ceased, and the small body of men dispersed, some with derisive laughter, others with contempt and scorn written on their faces, whilst one or two appeared impressed and thoughtful. Attracted by his personality and gracious demeanor, I lingered near to catch the echo of his words, and the meaning of his discourse. As though anticipating my thoughts, the aged man came towards me, and divining the innermost secrets of my soul, addressed me, without any preliminaries, in words so beautiful, and tones so sweet, as to compel my attention and acquiescence.
"The people you observe making their way towards one or another of these roads are all engaged, consciously or unconsciously, in one great quest, the search for happiness. Once upon a time there were no outlets, or if any, very small ones, to this area, and the roads you see have been fashioned by the pilgrims seeking that something, which, when found will confer a permanent rest and peace. Like many another I have trodden many of these pathways, but unlike thousands of others, I at last discovered my error before it was too late, and found the true and any way, and in gratitude for my deliverance, I attend here day by day, hoping to meet some responsive soul who will listen to my words, and heeding them, enter the way of peace that leadeth to eternal life.
"Like all humanity I yearned for rest of soul and peace of mind. I went down the road to the right there, and toiled over hills of difficulty, trudged over roads strewn with obstacles, and through rivers of affliction and suffering. I set about to return. This was perhaps more difficult still. I had need of all my strength and energy to fight my way back again through the foolish and eager throng. At last I reached this area again, and in pity for the misguided crowd I raised my voice in warning. A few listened and held back, but the great mass of deluded humanity jeered and laughed at me and went forward, many to their doom.
"Other roads I trod, less frequented and somewhat quieter and less dusty and worn, and for a time I imagined I was on the right track, but soon I was awakened out of my spiritual coma, and the old yearning returned. Returning again I tried other ways, but the result was exactly the same, disappointment and soul weariness.
"Weary, dejected, and sorrowful I plodded over this area seeking light and truth. Many professed to know the way and pointed it out to me, but I had already previously traveled it, and knew they were false prophets. At last, despairing of my search, I wandered aimlessly backwards and forwards in a kind of sullen despondency. I had wandered thus to the extreme end of this open space, when I observed a narrow and contracted opening, which had hitherto escaped my notice, and as I stood hesitating, a light shone from Heaven illumining everything around. Dazzled by the brilliancy of the light ventured forward, and immediately past the entrance a sign-post stood out prominently, and upon it I read the words: 'The Road to Heaven.' Devoid now of all fear I walked boldly forward, and at last reached the abode of perfect peace and happiness. Henceforth, I come here to point out the way to others. I know whereof I speak; come, weary soul, follow me, your sorrows shall cease, your perplexities vanish, and your troubles shall be no more "Instinctively I followed my guide. I was stripped of all my possessions, prejudices, desires, and fears, and started my journey even as a little child. We waded through the river of intense suffering, by the swamps of doubt, skirting the forest of uncertainty, over the hill of self-surrender, through the desert of solitude, climbing the stile of humility, through the valley of perfect love, and so into the green and fragrant pastures of Truth.
Then my vision faded, a sweet calm stole over me, and my dream became a reality. Life for me had taken on a new meaning and a new joy.