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THEOSOPHY WORLD --------------------------------------- June, 1996
An Internet Magazine Dedicated to the Theosophical Philosophy
And its Practical Application in the Modern World
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(Please note that the materials presented in THEOSOPHY WORLD are
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"Looking to the Future" by John Paul Rolston
"Theosophy in Tibet: The Teachings of the Jonangpa School"
by David Reigle
"The Masters Revealed" by Dara Eklund
"Ergates: The Energetic Worker" by Rich Taylor
"Embarking on a New Attempt" by Rodolfo Don
"The Paracelsian Order" by John H. Drais
"Theosophy in the Computer Age" by Jerry Hejka-Ekins
"What Are the Life-Atoms?" by Bee Brown
"Teaching the Soul Direct" from a conversation between Charles
Johnson and Madame Blavatsky
"Rights, Duties, Privileges" by Henry T. Edge
LOOKING TO THE FUTURE
by John Paul Rolston
In his article, "Yours Till Death and After, H.P.B." William Q.
Judge writes that in London he once asked H.P.B. an important
question: "What [is] the chance of drawing the people into the
Society in view of the enormous disproportion between the number
of members and the millions in Europe and America who neither
knew of nor cared for it?"
We might well ask the same question today. While in the last few
years, two major biographies (by Cranston and Washington) and a
host of articles has appeared on H.P.B. (in GNOSIS, SMITHSONIAN,
WIRED, and most recently TRICYCLE), how many people in the world
have heard of H.P. Blavatsky? Of those who have heard of her,
how many have any depth of knowledge as to the teachings she
delivered last century? As for Mr. Judge and his writings, he is
largely unknown today even among a majority of Theosophists! It
is easy to feel that the Theosophical effort has failed, or at
least that it has lost vitality and relevance today.
Yet H.P.B.'s answer to Mr. Judge's question seems equally
applicable then as now:
"When you consider and remember those days in 1875 and after, in
which you could not find any people interested in your thoughts,
and now look at the wide-spreading influence of theosophical
ideas--however labeled--it is not so bad. We are not working
merely that people may call themselves THEOSOPHISTS, but that the
doctrines we cherish may affect and leaven the whole mind of this
century. This alone can be accomplished by a small earnest band
of workers, who work for no human reward, no earthly recognition
. . . "
While very few in the general population have heard of dear old
H.P.B., the ideas she endeavored to inculcate have begun to take
root. Daily reports on Near Death Experiences, Out of Body
Experiences, a growing acceptance of reincarnation and karma, a
shift in scientific thinking toward an appreciation of the
intelligence of nature, and the role of consciousness in
evolution -- all these trends and more show that "Theosophy"
(under whatever name) has made and continues to make progress in
We can see that "race mind" is indeed changing before us. In
"Another Theosophical Prophecy" William Q. Judge writes, "The
Sanskrit language will one day be again the language used by man
upon this earth, first in science and in metaphysics, and later
on in common life." This was written in 1886, when hardly a
person in America had heard the word "karma." Today dozens of
Sanskrit words have entered the public vocabulary: yoga, chakra,
guru, swami, avatar, mantra, Tantra, Veda and Vedanta, pandit,
padma, Buddha, bodhisattva, bhakti, shakti, Krishna, kundalini,
maya, mandala, sadhana, shanti, prana, nirvana, deva, akasha,
Brahmin, yogi, raja, ayurveda, ashram, vipassana, samadhi,
ananda, atman, Mahatma, Mahayana, sutra, puja, and a host of
other words and proper names.
In many ways we can see that the Theosophical Movement has been
successful. But this is no longer the end of the 19th century,
and perhaps the Movement and its needs have changed. It is
certainly undeniable that Theosophy has lost the spotlight that
it once had during H.P.B.'s's lifetime. How, in the pluralistic
"global village" of the 20th century, can we best serve our
Teachers and their philosophy?
Certainly that is a very personal question. Each individual
finds their own strengths and is drawn into what seems to them
the most fruitful activities. But three things must hold our
First, it is clear that the Victorian English of H.P.B.'S,
William Q. Judge and other founding Theosophists is no longer
the vernacular of the masses. The Theosophical teachings very
much need effective new statements to keep the message fresh.
This does not imply that we throw out the "core" literature which
has formed the basis of our teachings. Rather, we need to use
those "core" works as a foundation from which to publish short,
topical presentations of the teachings in modern language,
referring frequently to the original literature for inquirers who
seek to go deeper.
Second, the media of communication are different from what they
were in H.P.B.'S's day. Last century public lectures given by
charismatic speakers drew large crowds. Today television, movies
and computers have become the major entertainers, and
Theosophists have hardly begun to take advantage of these media.
The New York ULT hosts a weekly panel discussion carried by a few
local t.v. stations, and many Theosophical centers have begun to
develop WWW sites, on-line archives of classical Theosophical
literature, and one group even hosts a live on-line study class
(Theosophy Lodge On-line).
But the classic texts of Theosophy have yet to make it to CD-ROM,
and there is as yet only the tiniest worldwide network of leading
Theosophical thinkers and writers via email. Many older
Theosophists are deeply suspicious of technology and the unknown
it seems to represent, and this hinders full usage of the
Internet and multimedia technology.
Third, Theosophists this century have been in general rather
insular. Unlike last century, when H.P.B.'S and Col. Olcott
established ties with many philosophical and spiritualistic
groups in India and elsewhere, Theosophists today have rarely
been exposed to much more than the history and teachings of their
own particular "wing" of the Movement (ULT, Pasadena T.S., Point
While Buddhism, Hinduism and Islam have made a major impact on
Western cultural centers, and while academia has taken a marked
interest in Eastern thought, Theosophists have largely wasted
opportunities to establish ties and find common ground with other
traditions. The teachings of Tibetan Buddhism, Gnosticism,
Vedanta, Gurdjieff, Ken Wilber, Marianne Williamson, Satya Sai
Baba, to name just a few, have teachings in many ways similar to
Theosophy, and yet Theosophists as a whole have not embraced
these movements nor sought allies there.
It is certainly true that Theosophy has a somewhat different
approach than many of these movements, and sometimes there is an
undeniable element of psychism or other dangerous tendencies in
new spiritual groups in the West. This is no reason not to seek
out the common ground and emphasize the basics that Theosophy and
these new groups share. Nearly all of them would accept the
three fundamental propositions of our SECRET DOCTRINE, and that
alone should be enough to work together in many projects.
Often pride, ignorance, and lack of motivation have sequestered
Theosophists, particularly in those Theosophical traditions which
have sought to preserve the "core" teachings of Theosophy from
being watered down or endangered by syncretism. But
open-mindedness coupled with discrimination will show that
Theosophy can find allies and host joint projects with groups
without being swallowed up by them.
H.P.B.'S expressed the hope in the KEY TO THEOSOPHY that by the
end of the 20th century there would be "a large and accessible
literature ready to men's hands [and] a numerous and UNITED body
of people." We may as well be frank that a good part of what may
be called "Theosophical" literature in the widest sense today has
not come from Theosophists, but from Eastern teachers and popular
movements trying, with or without success, to absorb and express
the perennial philosophy. We must also face the fact that
Theosophists were not able to maintain a united body very long
after the passing of H.P.B.'s.
But numerous active and healthy centers may in the long run
produce even more good than a single united body -- especially if
those centers recognize one another as helpmates. Therefore it
is time we Theosophists recognize the Buddhists, Vedantins,
Sufis, and New Age traditions as fully our equals, pursuing the
same goals that we pursue, and capable of serving the Masters'
plans as fully as we are.
By updating our teachings into modern English, by using modern
technology, and by establishing ties with other perennial
traditions, Theosophists may carry on H.P.B.'s work even more
effectively, and prevent Theosophy from becoming a spiritual
source of for fewer and fewer seekers. Let us use any and every
means which promulgates the IDEAS of Theosophy, whether or not
the label "Theosophy" will be attached to those efforts.
THEOSOPHY IN TIBET: THE TEACHINGS OF THE JONANGPA SCHOOL
by David Reigle
[Book of Dzyan Research Report from Eastern School Press,
reprinted with permission]
Some seven centuries ago there arose in Tibet a school of
teachings which has many parallels to Theosophy. This is the
Jonangpa school. Like Theosophy which attempted to restore
teachings from "the universally diffused religion of the ancient
and prehistoric world"  it attempted to restore teachings of
the earlier Golden Age. Like Theosophy which teaches as its
first fundamental proposition "an omnipresent, eternal,
boundless, and immutable principle on which all speculation is
impossible, since it transcends the power of human conception,"
 it teaches a principle which is permanent, stable, quiescent,
and eternal, which is devoid of anything but itself, or "empty of
other" (gzhan stong), and which therefore transcends even the
most subtle conceptualization. And like Theosophy, it was
persecuted by the orthodoxy.
A Secret Doctrine
The teachings of the Jonangpa school were originated by Yumo
Mikyo Dorje (yu mo mi bskyod rdo rje), an eleventh-twelfth
century yogi. He was a student of Soma-natha, the Sanskrit
pandit and Kalacakra master from Kashmir who translated the great
Kalacakra commentary Vimala-prabha into Tibetan. Yumo is said to
have received the Jonangpa teachings while practicing the
Kalacakra six-limbed yoga in the Mt. Kailasa area of western
Tibet. The Jonangpa teachings include primarily the Kalacakra
transmission and the "empty of other" or shen-tong (gzhan stong)
doctrine. Yumo expounded these as a "secret doctrine" (lkog pa'i
chos).  He did not, however, put these teachings into
writing; so we do not have from him a work called The Secret
Doctrine, like we do from H.P. Blavatsky. The task of putting
them into writing was left to a successor, Dolpopa.
The Heart Doctrine
These teachings were passed down orally to Dolpopa (also written
Dolbupa, 1292-1361) who set into writing the shen-tong or "empty
of other" teachings in his most famous book, The Mountain Dharma
-- The Ocean of Definitive Meaning (ri chos nges don rgya mtsho).
These teachings are referred to as the "heart doctrine" (snying
po'i don), so Dolphin describes his book as the "Lamp of the
Heart Doctrine." 
Regarding the heart doctrine, H.P. Blavatsky states: 
> To any student of Buddhist Esotericism the term, "the Mystery of
> the Eye," would show the absence of any Esotericism. Had the
> word "Heart" stood in its place, then it would have meant what it
> now only professes to convey. The "Eye Doctrine" means dogma and
> dead-letter form, church ritualism intended for those who are
> content with exoteric formulae. The "Heart Doctrine" or the
> "Heart's Seal" (the Sin Yin), is the only real one.
Golden Age Tradition
Dolpopa wrote another famous book, The Fourth Council (bka' bsdus
bzhi pa), which lays out the relationship between the four yugas
and the decline of the doctrine. In the Golden Age (krta yuga)
the teachings of the Buddhist sacred canon were understood
correctly, but this understanding was gradually lost as the third
age, the second age, and the dark age progressed. Thus many
Buddhist writers of later ages who no longer had the true
understanding wrote commentaries which do not explain the
teachings correctly. It is Dolpopa's purpose to restore the
correct understanding as it was in the Golden Age. Hence he
refers to the Jonangpa teachings as the "Golden Age Tradition"
(rdzogs ldan lugs). 
In the Theosophical article entitled "Tibetan Teachings" H.P.
Blavatsky's Tibetan correspondent agrees that the Tibetan
Buddhist canon has a dual meaning, and that many Buddhist
commentators have not understood the true meaning: 
> No doubt but that the Chinese and Tibetan Scriptures, so-called,
> the standard works of China and Japan, some written by our most
> learned scholars, many of whom -- as uninitiated though sincere
> and pious men -- commented upon what they never rightly
> understood, contain a mass of mythological and legendary matter
> more fit for nursery folk-lore than an exposition of the Wisdom
> Religion as preached by the world's Savior. But none of these
> are to be found in the canon; . . . [the canonical texts]
> contain no fiction, but simply information for future
> generations, who may, by that time, have obtained the key to the
> right reading of them.
Note: Dolpopa's books were banned in the 17th century and became
extremely rare. In the 1970's and 1980's a few of his books were
located and reprinted. In 1990 Matthew Kapstein visited what had
been far eastern Tibet, now western China, where some Jonangpa
monasteries had survived, and obtained for the U.S. Library of
Congress a complete set of Dolpopa's Collected Works. These were
reprinted in Delhi in 1992.
The Jonangpa Teachings: Kalacakra and Maitereya
The Jonangpa teachings are based primarily on Kalacakra and the
works of Maitreya. I have elsewhere provided evidence linking
the "Book of Dzyan" on which The Secret Doctrine is based and the
lost mula Kalacakra Tantra.  An important passage from a
letter of H.P. Blavatsky to A. P. Sinnett also links the Book
of Dzyan and the work of Maitreya: 
> I have finished an enormous Introductory Chapter, or Preamble,
> Prologue, call it what you will; just to show the reader that the
> text [of The Secret Doctrine] as it goes, every Section beginning
> with a page of translation from the Book of Dzyan and the Secret
> Book of "Maytreya Buddha" Champai chhos Nga (in prose, not the
> five books in verse known, which are a blind) are not fiction.
Blavatsky here refers to a secret book of Maitreya as opposed to
the five books known. It is noteworthy that there came to Tibet
from India two schools of interpretation of the Maytreya works: a
doctrinal or analytical school whose textual exegesis is still
current, and a meditative or practice school thought to have
disappeared several centuries ago. According to Leonard van der
Kuijp, this school did not die out but rather became the basis of
the Jonangpa teachings: 
> As such, future research may show two things. Firstly, the
> forerunner of the so-called Jo-nang-pa position and the 'Great
> madhyamaka' was the meditative, practical school that grew up
> around these teachings of Maitreya[natha]. In course of time,
> other texts which expressed similar sentiments, or which were
> interpreted as maintaining similar ideas, were added to the
> original corpus of texts on which this tradition based itself.
> In the second place, it may become possible to show that
> Dol-po-pa's efforts could be characterized as an attempt to
> redress the 'Meditative School' according to the normative
> methodology of the 'Analytical School'.
The specific book of Maitreya on which the fundamental Jonangpa
doctrine of shen-tong or "empty of other" is based is the
Ratna-gotra-vibhaga, also called the Uttara-tantra. This book
contains a synthesis of the tathagata-garbha or "Buddha-matrix"
teaching. The tathagata-garbha teaching of a universal matrix or
Buddha-nature, which all people have, is so different from other
Buddhist teachings that Buddhist writers disagreed on how to
classify it. In Tibet, it was classified by some writers as a
Madhyamaka teaching, and by others as a Yogacara teaching, though
it did not fit well in either category. An early Chinese writer,
Fa-tsang (643-712), put it in its own separate category beyond
the three accepted ones of Hinayana, Madhyamaka, and Yogacara.
 Analogously, H.P. Blavatsky speaks of a seventh school of
Indian philosophy (darsana) beyond the six accepted ones, the
esoteric school: 
> This is the view of every one of the six great schools of Indian
> philosophy -- the six principles of that unit body of Wisdom of
> which the 'gnosis,' the hidden knowledge, is the seventh.
The Seven Great Mysteries
The Theosophical Mahatma known under the initials K.H. speaks of
seven great mysteries of Buddhist metaphysics: 
> In connection with this, let me tell you before, that since you
> seem so interested with the subject you can do nothing better
> than to study the two doctrines -- of Karma and Nirvana -- as
> profoundly as you can. Unless you are thoroughly well acquainted
> with the two tenets -- the double key to the metaphysics of
> Abhidharma -- you will always find yourself at sea in trying to
> comprehend the rest. We have several sorts of Karma and Nirvana
> in their various applications -- to the Universe, the world,
> Devas, Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, men and animals -- the second
> including its seven kingdoms. Karma and Nirvana are but two of
> the seven great MYSTERIES of Buddhist metaphysics; and but four
> of the seven are known to the best orientalists, and that very
Maitreya's Ratna-gotra-vibhaga, source book of the
tathagata-garbha or "Buddha-matrix" teaching, opens by listing
seven vajra-subjects. Vajra means diamond; and the analogy is
given in the commentary by Aryasanga that like a diamond is hard
to penetrate, so these subjects are hard to understand. Thus
they may be called mysteries. Here is this opening verse:
> 1. Buddha, doctrine (dharma), community (gana = sangha), element
> (dhatu), enlightenment (bodhi = nirvana), virtuous qualities
> (guna), and lastly buddha-action (karma); these seven
> diamond-like subjects (vajra-pada), are in brief, the body of the
> whole text.
> [notes: Dhatu is perhaps the key term in the
> Ratna-gotra-vibhanga. Its basic meaning is "Element" (Hookham),
> also "the Germ (of Buddhahood)" (Obermiller), "the Essence [of
> the Buddha]" (Takasaki), "buddha-nature" (Holmes). The seven
> vajra-padas each have a conventional (samvrti) and an ultimate
> (paramartha) aspect.  Dhatu when obscured is called
> tathagata-garbha; when unobscured it is called dharma-kaya.
This text gives these seven vajra-subjects from the standpoint of
non-dual wisdom (jnana). In other words, it gives them in a form
which is not very accessible to the mind. Thus readers should
not expect to find the seven great mysteries spelled out clearly
for them in this text. For as H.P. Blavatsky says regarding one
of the stanzas she translated from the "Book of Dzyan:" 
> Its language is comprehensible only to him who is thoroughly
> versed in Eastern allegory and its purposely obscure phraseology.
However, some of these seven subjects, such as karma, are given
in a form which is more accessible to the mind (i.e., from the
standpoint of prajna) in a work which forms part of the standard
monastic curriculum, the Abhidharma-kosa by Vasubandhu. 
The One Element
The key term in Maitreya's Ratna-gotra-vihhaga is dhatu, or
element. It is described in the following important verse:
> 80. It is not born, does not die, is not afflicted, and does not
> grow old, because it is permanent (nitya/rtag-pa), stable
> (dhruva/brtan-pa), quiescent (siva/zhi-ba), and eternal
> (sasvata/g.yung-drung). -- Ratna-gotra-vibhaga or Uttara-tantra,
> by Maitreya, verse 80
As noted earlier, this one thing, dhatu or element, may be called
tathagata-garbha or Buddha-nature when obscured, and dharma-kaya
or body of the law when unobscured.
The one element is also a key concept in the Theosophical
teachings as found in the Mahatma letters:
> However, you will have to bear in mind (a) that we recognize but
> one element in Nature (whether spiritual or physical) outside
> which there can be no Nature since it is Nature itself, and which
> as the Akasa pervades our solar system, every atom being part of
> itself, pervades throughout space and is space in fact, . . .
> (b) that consequently spirit and matter are one, being but a
> differentiation of states not essences, . . . (c) that our
> notions of "cosmic matter" are diametrically opposed to those of
> western science.
> Perchance if you remember all this we will succeed in imparting
> to you at least the elementary axioms of our esoteric philosophy
> more correctly than heretofore. 
> Yes, as described in my letter -- there is but one element and it
> is impossible to comprehend our system before a correct
> conception tion of it is firmly fixed in one's mind. You must
> therefore pardon me if I dwell on the subject longer than really
> seems necessary. But unless this great primary fact is firmly
> grasped the rest will appear unintelligible. This element then
> is the -- to speak metaphysically -- one sub-stratum or permanent
> cause of all manifestations in the phenomenal universe. 
> We will say that it is, and will remain for ever demonstrated
> that since motion is all-pervading and absolute rest
> inconceivable, that under whatever form or mask motion may
> appear, whether as light, heat, magnetism, chemical affinity or
> electricity -- all these must be but phases of One and the same
> universal omnipotent Force, a Proteus they bow to as the Great
> "Unknown" (See Herbert Spencer) and we, simply call the "One
> Life," the "One Law" and the "One Element." 
These last three epithets, the "One Life," the "One Law," and the
"One Element," correspond well to the Ratna-gotra-vibhaga's terms
tathagata-garbha, dharma-kaya, and dhatu, respectively.
Tsong-kha-pa's Critique of the Jonangpa Teachings
The Jonangpa teaching of a permanent, stable, quiescent, and
eternal dhatu or tathagata-garbha or dharma-kaya which is "empty
of other" (gzhan stong) and therefore ultimately beyond the range
and reach of thought, was apparently criticized by Tsong-kha-pa,
founder of the Gelugpa or "Yellow Hat" order. One of
Tsong-kha-pa's most famous books is the Legs bshad snying po, or
"Essence of True Eloquence," which he wrote after emerging from
his highest enlightenment experience, so it is thought to give
his final insights.  While it never mentions names, the
object of much of its critique is identified by
Gelugpa exegesis as Dolpopa and the Jonangpa teachings.
Tsong-kha-pa, 1357-1419, lived just after Dolpopa, 1292-1361.
This critique is of much importance to Theosophists, since
Dolpopa apparently teaches the first fundamental proposition of
The Secret Doctrine, and Tsong-kha-pa apparently refutes it; yet
Tsong-kha-pa is regarded by Theosophists as "the reformer of
esoteric as well as of vulgar Lamaism,"  and as "the founder
of the Gelukpa ("yellow-cap") Sect, and of the mystic Brotherhood
connected with its cheifs,"  "the founder of the secret
School near Shigatse, attached to the private retreat of the
In regard to this question, we may compare a Brahmin
Theosophist's comments on a somewhat analogous situation with
Gautama Buddha and Sankaracarya, remembering that Theosophical
sources place Buddha's death in 543 B.C. and Sankaracarya's
birth shortly after in 510 B.C.: 
> The movement of Lord Buddha must have produced an enormous
> confusion in this land as you may all imagine and the great
> philosopher who took upon himself the task of restoring order is
> Sankaracharya. He preserved the essence of what Lord Buddha had
> said and spoke as was suitable to the people of the time. For
> example he substituted the Vedantic Parabrahman for the
> Buddhistic No-thing [emptiness, sunyata] ... The object of our
> great reformer was not to teach any esoteric science but to
> restore order in a country which could not bear up the boldness
> to catch the truth that Lord Buddha taught and consequently fell
> into confusion. He therefore did not take up things in any
> puranic fashion to trace the operation of tile cosmic law which
> has brought about this wonderful variation in manifestation from
> the one nonmanifestation. That the world is an illusion and
> Parabrahman is alone real is a good cover under which shelter
> could be taken under circumstances which require a revelation of
> esoteric truth for clearing up ... Note here my friends, how the
> great philosopher has evaded the business of giving out esoteric
> truths which alone serves as a unifying power at reconciling the
> apparent contradictions in ancient writings.
> The Teacher wanted only to impress upon the minds of the students
> that the universe is one in its essence and apparently many in
> its manifestation. That has had its own share of evil effect on
> the minds of the students at least as they are found now. The
> vast majority of Vedantic students learn by their study only the
> quibble "Parabrahman truth, everything illusion." I shall not now
> go into a declamatory flourish of language against our poor
> Vedantists but I shall say a few things for your benefit and
> guidance in the study of the Bhagavad Gita from the standpoint of
> the ancient yajnikas. To these philosophers, Nature is not an
> illusion but the eternal ground of evolution, of an infinite one
> existence which permeating every point in the infinity of space
> or taking the place of the heart in all, tries to obtain a more
> and more vivid consciousness by its own ideal life processes.
> This heart of the universe, existing everywhere in it, is called
> by them the eternal yajna-purusha or the purusha who underlies
> all cosmic manifestations.
Tsong-kha-pa in his highest enlightenment experience would have
achieved full insight into the operation of the twelvefold chain
of causation, and would have seen the future effects of whatever
teachings he might give. For the Buddhist enlightenment is, as
described by H.P. Blavatsky: 
> ... the attainment of that supreme perfection which leads the
> Initiate to remember the whole series of his past lives, and to
> foresee that of the future ones, by the full development of that
> inner, divine eye in him, and to acquire the knowledge that
> unfolds the causes (the twelve Nidanas called in Tibetan Ten-brel
> Chu-gnyi, which are based upon the "Four Truths") of the
> ever-recurring cycles of existence ...
Thus Tsong-kha-pa may well have chosen to give public teachings
which his insight showed him would be most effective in meeting
the spiritual needs of his future audiences, while at the same
time keeping his esoteric teachings from public view. His public
teachings did indeed radically transform Tibetan Buddhism, being
aptly compared to the Copernican Revolution wherein Europeans
discovered that the earth revolves around the sun rather than
vice versa.  His His on esoteric teachings was reported by
H.P. Blavatsky's Tibetan correspondent: 
> Our world-honored Tsong-kha-pa closing his fifth Dam-ngag reminds
> us that 'every sacred truth, which the ignorant are unable to
> comprehend under its true light, ought to be hidden within a
> triple casket concealing itself as the tortoise conceals his head
> within his shell; ought to show her face but to those who are
> desirous of obtaining the condition of Anuttara Samyak Sambodhi'
> -- the most merciful and enlightened heart.
We have another somewhat analogous situation in our own time with
Helena P. Blavatsky, 1831-1891, primary founder of the
Theosophical Society, and Jiddu Krishnamurti, 1895-1986, who left
the Theosophical Society in 1929 and spent the rest of his life
teaching that people should not rely on authority. For
Theosophists, he did not deny the Theosophical teachings, but
only repudiated the role of the Theosophical Society and the
beliefs accepted by Theosophists on authority as leading to
truth. He taught that one cannot come to truth through any
organization or belief.  For most followers of
Krishnamurti's teachings today, however, he also refuted the
Theosophical teachings, such as that of an omnipresent, eternal,
boundless and immutable principle which transcends the power of
human conception; just as for his own Gelugpas, Tsong-kha-pa
refuted the Jonangpa teaching of a permanent, stable, quiescent
and eternal dhatu or tathagata-garbha or dharma-kaya which is
devoid of anything but itself (gzhan stong) and so transcends
even the most subtle conceptualization.
1. The Secret Doctrine, by H.P. Blavatsky, 1888; reprint,
Adyar, Madras: Theosophical Publishing House, 1978, vol. I, p.
2. The Secret Doctrine, vol. I, p. 14.
3. See: "The Jo nan pas: A School of Buddhist Ontologists
According to the Grub mtha' sel gyi me lon," by D. S. Ruegg,
Journal of the American Oriental Society, vol. 83, 1963, p. 83.
4. See: The Buddha Within: Tathagatagarbha Doctrine According to
the Shentong Interpretation of the Ratnagotravibhaga, by S. K
Hookham, Albany: State University of New York Press, 1991, p.
5. The Secret Doctrine, Adyar 6-vol. edition, vol. 5, p. 407;
or, H.P. Blavatsky Collected Writings, vol. XIV, Wheaton,
Illinois: Theosophical Publishing House, 1985, pp. 444-45.
6. See: The 'Dzam-thang Edition of the Collected Works of
Kun-mkhyen Dol-po-pa Shes-rab Rgyal-mtshan: Introduction and
Catalogue, by Matthew Kapstein, Delhi: Shedrup Books, 1992, p.
7. H.P. Blavatsky Collected Writings, vol. VI, 1954; 2nd ed.,
Wheaton, Illinois: Theosophical Publishing House, 1975, p. 100.
8. See my: "New Light on the Book of Dzyan," in Symposium on
H.P. Blavatsky's Secret Doctrine ... Proceedings, San Diego:
Wizards Bookshelf, 1984, pp. 54-67.
9. The Letters of H.P. Blavatsky to A. P. Sinnett, 1925;
reprint, Pasadena: Theosophical University Press, 1973, p. 195.
10. Contributions to the Development of Tibetan Buddhist
Epistemology, by Leonard W.J. van der Kuijp, Wiesbaden: Franz
Steiner Verlag, 1983, p. 44.
11. See: The Awakening of Faith, trans. Yoshito S. Hakeda, New
York & London: Columbia University Press, 1967, p. 14: "In the
introduction to his commentary to the Awakening of Faith,
Fa-tsang made an attempt to classify all Indian Buddhism under
the following four categories: (1) Hinayana; (2) Madhyamika; (3)
Yogacara; and (4) Tathagatagarbha."
12. The Secret Doctrine, vol. I, p. 278.
13. The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett, compiled by A.T.
Barker, 1923; third and revised edition, Adyar, Madras:
Theosophical Publishing House, 1962, p. 107.
14. See: "The Sublime Science of the Great Vehicle to
Salvation," by E. Obermiller, Acta Orientalia, vol. IX, 1931;
reprinted as Uttaratantra or Ratnagotravibhaga, Talent, Oregon:
Canon Publications, 1984, p. 111.
15. See: The Buddha Within: Tathagatagartha Doctrine According
to the Shentong lnterpretation of the Ratnagotravibhaga, by S.
K. Hookham, p. 93.
16. The Secret Doctrine, vol. I, p. 106.
17. English translation by Leo M. Pruden as
Abhidharmakosabhasyam, from the French translation by Louis de La
Vallee Poussin, 4 vols., Berkeley: Asian Humanities Press, 1988,
1988, 1989, 1990. Includes commentary ( bhasyam). Karma is the
subject of chapter 4.
18. The Mahatma Letters to A. P. Sinnett, 3rd ed., p. 63.
19. The Mahatma Letters to A. P. Sinnett, 3rd ed., p. 89.
20. The Mahatma Letters to A. P. Sinnett, 3rd ed., pp.
21. English translation by Robert A. F. Thurman as Tsong
Khapa's Speech of Gold in the Essence of True Eloquence: Reason
and Enlightenment in the Central Philosophy of Tibet, Princeton:
Princeton University Press, 1984.
22. The Mahatma Letters to A. P. Sinnett, 3rd ed., p. 44.
23. The Theosophical Glossary, by H.P. Blavatsky, 1892;
reprint, Los Angeles: The Theosophy Company, 1971, p. 305.
24. H.P. Blavatsky Collected Writings, vol. XIV, p. 425.
25. For the dates, see: Five Years of Theosophy, [edited by
George Robert Stow Mead,] 1885; second and revised edition,
London: Theosophical Publishing Society, 1894, pp. 195, 236.
The quotation is from Thoughts on Bagavad Gita, by A Brahmin
F.T.S., 1893; reprinted as Some Thoughts on the Gita, Talent,
Oregon: Eastern School Press, 1983, pp. 100-103.
26. The Secret Doctrine, Adyar 6-vol. edition, vol. 5, p.
397; or, H.P. Blavatsky Collected Writings, vol. XIV, p. 432.
27. See: Contributions to the Development of Tibetan Buddhist
Epistemology, by Leonard W.J. van der Kuijp, p. 45: "I do not
think it an exaggeration to suggest that what Tsong-kha-pa
succeeded in doing constituted nothing less than a 'Copernican
Revolution' for Tibetan Buddhism, and the significance of his
reinterpretation of Indian Buddhism cannot be stressed enough,
particularly with respect to the later developments of Tibetan
28. In: "Tibetan Teachings," H.P. Blavatsky Collected Writings,
vol. VI, pp. 99-100.
29. See: Krishnamutti: His Life and Death, by Mary Lutyens, New
York: St. Martin's Press, 1990, p. 149: "Truth is a pathless
Land. Man cannot come to it through any organization,, through
any creed, through any dogma, priest or ritual, not through any
philosophical knowledge or psychological technique."
THE MASTERS REVEALED?
by Dara Eklund
[from "The Theosophist", June, 1996]
The ancient sages recognized that proof of reality lies
ultimately in man himself, testing and discerning the facts of
Nature with his divine counterpart within. Know Man and you can
know God, say the mystics. According to the Pantheists: know
Nature and you may know God. Every outward scene has a
counterpart within to be discerned.
In his Introduction to ~The Esoteric Tradition~, G. de Purucker
> Believe nothing that your conscience tells you is wrong, no
> matter whence it comes. If the very divinities came to earth and
> taught in splendor on the mountain-tops, believe naught that they
> tell you, if your own spirit- soul tells you that it is a lie.(1)
This reflection is balanced by the idea that Elder Brothers are
the culmination of a natural evolutionary stage, forming a bridge
between Divine Beings and men. This evolutionary drama unfolds a
hierarchy of conscious Life, beings from life-atoms to gods, from
Buddhas to Dhyani-Buddhas and beyond. So that, while it is
claimed that "Truth is a Pathless Land," there is still a rugged
pathway that leads to that condition where "we see the world as
one vast plain, one boundless reach of sky.". There are those
who can guide us to it -- those who have gone on before. We in
turn have the obligation to aid our younger brothers as well.
G. de Purucker devoted an entire little booklet to ~The Masters
and the Path of Occultism.~ He states:
> Records exist -- to be investigated by anyone who has an open
> mind and who can see, and has brains enough to judge according to
> the preponderance of evidence -- showing that the great Seers of
> the ages have penetrated behind and beyond the veil of
> appearances; have gone behind that veil to the roots of things;
> have sent their souls deep into the womb of being and have
> brought back knowledge therefrom. Wonderful indeed are the
> systems of thought that these great Seers and Sages of the ages
> have formulated in human language, touching every phase of the
> human being; systems which are so symmetrical, so profound in
> philosophical and scientific reach, that every fact that exists
> in human psychology finds its proper niche...
> Great Intellects, titanic spiritual Seers, have sent their
> consciousness behind the veils of the outward seeming... have
> formulated their knowledge into a grand system of thought. This
> system of thought we today call Theosophy. It is the Mother of
> all the great religions and great philosophies of the past time,
> and will be so of those of the future; for this reason: that
> every one of these other great systems of thought has been
> founded upon the teaching of some great spiritual Seer and
Who then are the Masters? How may we know them? For the beginning
student it is first vital to know their message. If we,
illumined by the heart, act by the heart's guidance, we will by
this light reveal them to ourselves. This "light" does not mean
astral light, but the light of intuition, a wisdom of our divine
link with all Beings, both higher and lower than ourselves. Some
persons, using psychic means, claim they have seen the adept's
rooms clairvoyantly, and have cited their locales or identified
their previous incarnations. Yet, neither the brain-mind, nor
the psychic approach work. Why? Because: "The real *Mahatma* is
... not his physical body but that higher Manas which is
inseparably linked to the Atma and its vehicle (the 6th
In ~The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett~, we learn how rarely
they interact with Westerners. Yet, for the sake of their
beloved Aryavarta and to forestall the ever steeper decline
towards materialism in the 19th Century, they did so. In the
Master's philosophical teachings we find how we may touch the
"garment hem of truth", and in time achieve their wisdom. One
necessary condition is to become utterly impersonal. Another is
to cultivate the gratitude due to those from whom we receive the
teaching. Realizing ourselves as an integral part of the One
Life, there is service to others; there is a labor of lifetimes
to perfect. By such sacrifice alone may we hope to join them in
this endeavor, and become companions in the effort to uplift
Why not study the Masters' letters for their advice on how to
reach them. In "Some Words on Daily Life"(4) we are told
repeatedly that if we expect to have their help, we must apply
ourselves to the work of helping humanity. We are also told that
the highest Adepts work on the inner planes. Only through
interior development and constant upliftment of the One Life in
All can we achieve a similar state. The "revelation" must come
from within. This applies even with respect to the highly
revered Lord Buddha, who admonished:
> "Do not regard the Tathagata as a form. Regard him as the
> [embodiment of the] qualities of the dharmakaya, the Dharma
> Body." [Thrangu Rinpoche comments:] What does this mean? `Form'
> here means matter. Of course the enlightened state possesses
> three kayas, but the form-body is not the true Buddha. It means
> we should not think of the Buddha as being composed of physical
> characteristics, but should consider him as the embodiment of
> dharmakaya. `Dharmakaya' means the `body of enlightened
> qualities' [of perfect knowledge, perfect love and perfect
> capability]. This is the ultimate way of regarding the
In "Letters to a Lodge" Jasper Niemand (Julia Keightley) wrote
upon the matter as follows:
> Those who come to rely upon appearances (or sounds) of a Master,
> such as may be experienced by physical or psychic (lower) sense,
> soon lose touch with His true and real Being, for the cheating
> powers gladly rush in to deceive that person...
> When the Master Himself uses such forms as His temporary vehicles
> or modes, reaching a man by the only avenue as yet opened by that
> man, He trains the disciple to the use of the "spiritual
> quality," and the disciple is soon beyond the need and reach of
> form and sound manifestations, in the usual acceptation of
> "sound" and "form." In other words, the disciple is helped to
> enter that condition which is the One Master, Alaya's Self...
Niemand goes on to say that chelas under the *direct* supervision
are taught in more particular ways. However, regarding their
statement to "Form an image of the Master in your heart as a
focus of will-power," she states that this does not mean a image
of the Master's physical body.
> It means that you should dwell in thought upon the great
> qualities of the real Master, the perfected Being (not his house,
> or form, which he uses) and do this until your imagination warms
> to the sublime conception of absolute justice and wisdom, and the
> heart (the inner heart) kindles and emits its energies: the
> divine conception, immaculate, invokes the Soul; it arises in
> majesty and goes forth to find its own....
> To take in a literal sense the directions given to disciples
> living under conditions quite different from our own is to make a
> grave mistake. We live where gross magnetisms, lower psychic
> action and low grade emissions of nervous ether make up
> picture-forms which will vibrate into objectivity under the play
> of currents corresponding in grade wherever and however such
> currents arise. Therefore let us arise and go unto the Master
1. Point Loma, California, Theosophical University Press, 1935,
2. Point Loma, TUP, 1939, p.17, 19.
3. ~Blavatsky Collected Writings~, Vol. VI, p. 239, TPH,
4. ~B.C.W.~, Vol. VII, pp.173-75
5. ~King of Samadhi, Commentaries on The Samadhi Raja Sutra,~ by
Thrangu Rinpoche, p.95. Hong Kong, Rangjung Yeshe Publications,
6. ~The Irish Theosophist~, September 15, 1895, Vol.III, No.12,
pp. 209-11. Intended to be published in book form by ~The
ERGATES: THE ENERGETIC WORKER
by Rich Taylor, Editor
ERGATES ("The Energetic Worker") is a newsmagazine about
Theosophy around the world -- late-breaking events and new ideas
for successful teaching and learning, technology and book reviews
to support efforts to educate the public about Theosophy, and
correspondence from students everywhere.
ERGATES is published by students of U.L.T. San Francisco, and
maintains the U.L.T. tradition of impersonal contributions (no
names or ego-boosts) and holding to the lines laid down by the
Founders, but ERGATES does not limit itself only to U.L.T.
students or U.L.T. events.
Subscriptions are free of charge, but donations are very welcome
(and needed). We hope that all who receive ERGATES will read it,
comment on it, and circulate their copy to all who are interested
in the Cause of Theosophy.
To subscribe, write to U.L.T. San Francisco, 166 Sanchez St.,
San Francisco CA 94114 or send e-mail to ULTnews@aol.com.
THE PARACELSIAN ORDER
by John H. Drais
The Paracelsian Order as a theosophical organization has an
interest the "Truth". We know only too well that this truth can
never be expressed, but at least we can do our part to keep our
search for it on course. So much information was released by the
early Theosophical Societies that even today it is not well
digested. To make matters worse, the original flavoring has been
altered by too many cooks in the kitchen. Almost all, if not all
in fact, of the original writings have been "improved" by these
later hands so finding what the original actually said is getting
more difficult with each new publication.
We have no dogmas to promote. We have no belief system we think
is incumbent on anyone to believe. We appreciate all sincere
attempts to display the truth, even if it is not done in our way,
"the correct way", or imprinted with someone's stamp of
"authority". We do not accept the word of authority, even that
of the Masters, Blavatsky, Judge, or any of the worlds "revealed"
sacred literature. We do respect the opinions of those whose
life efforts demonstrate their sincere care for the "orphan
humanity". We think, among others, Blavatsky and Judge
demonstrated such a care.
Our Home Page is now on-line and ready for review, even though it
is still under construction. We have reproduced several
articles, the first in a series, and certify them as ACCURATE
REPUBLICATIONS OF THE ORIGINALS. We do not promiss they are free
from errors, either ours or those present in the originals. We
do want to be notified of any errors you may find in them, and we
will publish notations to suggest corrections to the originals.
Now on-line are:
* The Voice of the Silence (HP Blavatsky) Original Edition of
* "Culture of Concentration" (WQ Judge) The Path, 1888 & 1890.
* "Pen-Names of William Quan Judge" (Fussell & Small) Eclectic
* "The Paracelsian Order" (JH Drais) Theosophical History, 1991.
* "Roots of Madre Grande" (JH Drais) The Philosopher's Stone,
Viewing of these pages is best done with Netscape 2.01, but it
should be nearly as good on any browser. Turn on-line images on.
No large graphics, no frames, or other special features are used,
since we found most of our viewers can not yet take advantage of
If you like what you see (or if you don't like what you see)
please email me and let me know. I will notify you of updates
and additional publications as we proceed. If you have a link
you want included on our page, please give us the address. You
may link us to your pages as you wish. We do not yet have a
counter, so your responses will be greatly appreciated.
Try us as http://upanet.uleth.ca/~PARA/index.htm
John H Drais, Abbot
The Paracelsian Order
18372 Highway 94
Dulzura CA 91917-1216 USA
EMBARKING ON A NEW ATTEMPT
by Rodolfo Don
We are ready to embark on a new attempt to start a theosophical
discussion list on the internet. It seems to me that it would be
appropriate to go back to the founding of the Theosophical
Society and read what the founders wrote about theosophy and the
In "The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett", (letter #4) "The term
'Universal Brotherhood' is no idle phrase. Humanity in the mass
has a paramount claim upon us, as I try to explain in my letter
to Mr. Hume, which you had better ask the loan of. It is the
only secure foundation for universal morality. If it be a dream,
it is at least a noble one for mankind: and it is the aspiration
of the true adept." K.H.
In the same book, (letter #6) "The Chiefs want a 'Brotherhood of
Humanity,' a real Universal Fraternity started; an institution
which would make itself known throughout the world and arrest the
attention of the highest minds." K.H.
Further on, (letter #138) "You cannot have forgotten what I told
you repeatedly at Simly and what the Master K.H. wrote to you
himself, namely, that the T.S. is first of all a universal
Brotherhood, not a Society for phenomena and occultism." H.P.
In her message sent to the American Convention, April 7, 1889,
H.P.B. writes: "But our union is, and ever will be, our
strength, if we preserve our ideal of Universal Brotherhood. It
is the old 'In hoc signo vinces' which should be our watch-word,
for it is under its sacred flag that we shall conquer."
There is no mystery why the founders decided to give us our Three
Objects, and the First One: "To form a nucleus of the Universal
Brotherhood of Humanity without distinction of race, creed, sex,
caste or color". Like Master K.H. says: "It is the only secure
foundation for universal morality.....and it is the aspiration of
the true adept."
How do we work for Universal Brotherhood on a theosophical
discussion list? That is the question! We know how we participate
in conventional discussion lists: we have an opinion, we use our
reasoning and try to convince the others that our opinion is the
correct one. In the process our ego gets inflated. We hear very
little about Universal Brotherhood in those discussions because
that term is not welcome in the realm of the ego. Basically, I
must forget about myself in order to understand and work for
Universal Brotherhood. Universal Brotherhood means that Humanity
comes first. My primary concern should be the welfare of
Humanity, not my own welfare, whether spiritual or material.
Once we have our priorities straight, we realize that the mind
can serve us, but only to a point. We may have some questions
that require answers, and realize that the mind cannot provide
those answers. If we have the right motive: to serve humanity,
we will be able to transcend the mind. But, we must have the
right motive, otherwise it won't work. So, eventually, with the
right motive, we will get in touch with our True Self and find
It is true that theosophy is Altruism, and theosophy is also
Universal Brotherhood. Let us work to fulfil our First Object!
THEOSOPHY IN THE COMPUTER AGE
by Jerry Hejka-Ekins
There is much talk about the place of our booming computer
technology and its contribution to a new paradigm shift that is
without question taking place. Those of us with computers and a
connection to internet have the means to communicate
instantaneously with people of like interest and we can access
the major libraries of the world. Information is more available
and communication is more possible than ever. The technology is
here and those who are engaged in these activities are riding the
wave crest of change. Where it will lead us is still too early
to tell, and the consequences of today's technology will be
changing society in ways not yet predicted. On the other hand,
personal computers are only in about ten percent of the
households. For most of the population, this wave crest will
produce ample side effects that will bring about further changes
in society. For them, computers are still too complicated to
learn and too expensive to buy. They represent the backwash of
technology on the one hand, and an ever present potential market
on the other.
Also present with this new technology is a shift in the way
people are beginning to think about information. The platonic
concept of "Transcendental Truth" is now on the trash heap. The
whole concept of authority is falling more and more under
suspicion. Morals and ethics are becoming regarded as quaint
ideas of a less enlightened past. Western Society is regulated
more and more by laws and less by society's self regulation. It
is no wonder that the Theosophical Society, an organization born
in the Victorian age, has become irrelevant to the thinking of a
postmodern society. Here are a few examples:
The theosophical writings assume a transcendental Truth, and the
members of the Theosophical Society were originally committed to
seeking it. Today, transcendental truths are replaced by
relative truths. Nineteenth century Theosophical doctrines
suggest a moral and ethical code of behavior in common with the
world's major religions. Today, ethics are considered to be an
artificial construct used by the churches to control the
population. Rather than ethical choice making, people fall back
upon the law and calculate the risks against the benefits in
breaking them. Theosophical teachings such as the seven
principles, rounds and races, and cosmic evolution are understood
by only a very few and considered irrelevant by most. Interest
in psychic and spiritual development remains high because of its
potential utilitarian value. But other organizations have
capitalized upon these teachings and have exploited them to
better effect than the Theosophical Organizations.
So what significance does a Victorian organization have in a post
modern society? Obviously very little. If theosophy was
meaningful today, it would attract a significant percentage of
the population. It does not, and will not unless it somehow
connects with the needs of our postmodern society. But what are
those needs? How can the Theosophical Movement meet them? How
will the new technology help in meeting those needs? It what way
does the values of the Theosophical Movement interface with the
very different values of today? I hope that these and like
questions become grist for future discussion in future issues of
WHAT ARE THE LIFE-ATOMS?
by Bee Brown
[This article is written from my present understanding which I
hope with grow and expand as time and experience pass on. It is
a subject that has fascinated me for some time and the quote
below is the starting point of this article.]
> The new vehicle in any reincarnation gathers together and is
> composed of the same identical life-atoms that composed both the
> soul-structure and the physical body of the last incarnation on
> earth. Yet both these vehicles are in the new incarnation
> improved somewhat over their state or condition of development of
> the last incarmation for evolutionary growth by stages and
> changes is Nature's first law.
[G. de Purucker, Esoteric Tradition, I, 268]
This paragraph gave much food for thought and a lengthy
investigation of what life-atoms were and how they operate. They
are also known as elemental essence and elementals yet even that
is inadequate because everything is composed of life-atoms that
began in many different ways. Even our thoughts create thought
elementals that are composed of life-atoms. How they came into
being is a huge subject in itself and not really assimilated in
my mind yet so I do not feel competent to write on this aspect of
Most of the information on life-atoms that I have came from G.
de Purucker and one or two other sources including THE SECRET
DOCTINRE, W Judge, A E Powell and bits picked up here and there.
This article is only my understanding of what I have read.
Now if it is correct that we attract to ourselves the same
life-atoms that we used in our last incarnation then it throws
much more light on the emphasis that various self-realised
persons have given to right living. While we are in incarnation,
we are meant to be the masters of our life-atoms if we are
prepared to exercise our will over them, otherwise they go about
their own evolution in their own way and we wonder why we get
into bad habits which then seem so hard to break out off. None
of the spiritual practices we adopt are easy to do but in a way
they are designed to educate our life-atoms to vibrate at a
higher level so that our soul may have a more effective vehicle
in the physical world. While we are concerned just with our
physical welfare, our life-atoms and our personality drift along
in the slow evolution of nature but when we take ourselves in
hand even just to stop eating something that isn't good for us,
we begin exercising our will over our life-atoms. It is they who
compose every part of us and are really not too bothered with
what our spiritual aspirations may be. They are consciousness
centres or monads intent upon their own evolution that will in
long ages hence become human monads with life-atoms of their own
G de Purucker places much emphasis on the fact the we are
composite beings and this thought has a way of reducing one's
feeling of self-importance. As I come to terms with the idea
that various monads and life-atoms make up the various vehicles
that my soul uses then it changes the way I see myself and
everything around me. The idea of coming back in my next
incarnation a little better than I am in this one seems a good
idea so what to do. There are so many methods around that
suggest ways to improve one's attitudes and spiritual status that
all we can do is choose the one that seems approproate to
ourselves. Then comes the practice of the chosen method and that
is where we run into our life-atoms who do not see the point in
changing. There are many methods that suggest a sort of go with
the flow but from what I have gathered by now, it is by the
exercise of our higher will over our lower aspects that progress
can be made.
Theosophy has given me the knowledge but I need to do something
with it if I want to realise and find the truth within it. By
practicing the method that I find suits me, I do so in the hope
that my composite being can be influenced to help rather than
hinder the evolutionary path we are all on because of the urging
of the soul to take charge of spiritual growth rather than drift
with the tide. The first attempts to meditate show how resistant
the life-atoms can be especially the thought ones that will not
keep quiet while I am intent on my new activity. It is the
struggle to overcome the habit patterns of our life-atoms that
can cause us to give up our practices rather than persevere and
show them who is boss.
In an article in THEOSOPHY IN NEW ZEALAND, March 1995, Jack
Patterson wrote a two-part article on "Elements, Elemental Essence
and Elementaries" and this is what started my interest in this
subject. He paraphrases from Chapter VI of FIRST PRINCIPLES OF
THEOSOPHY by C. Junarajadasa as follows:
> He explains at length the body consciousness of the three
> vehicles (of humans) as the life of mental, astral and physical
> elementals. He points out that this elemental life has stored in
> its memory banks an immense amount of experience in handling
> "bodies" or vehicles. During the personal life of a human being
> the elemental life of each body has a very close relationship
> with human consciousness and has a taste of individual
> experience. This experience can only be attained through
> association with other forms of life (vicariously) but thus gains
> a second-hand sense of being alive and conscious.
> The body elementals therefore protect the body by automatic
> reactions like closing the eye immediately against flying
> substances. This is rightly considered instinctive activity
> because the elemental world appears to have access to the
> Universal Mind from which the behaviour of all species is
> programmed. In fact the body elemental (probably from the
> etheric and astral level) is through the cell structure capable
> of carrying out the automatic or mechanical activities of the
> body such as the circulation of the blood, breathing and
> digestion and looks after the body while its controller is absent
> when asleep. Thought and attention must be given to learning to
> ride a bicycle or driving a car but when the skill is learnt the
> mental elemental takes over and the whole process becomes
> automatic - unless, of course, some out-of-the-ordinary situation
> develops which requires conscious control.
> Although human self-consciousness brings the gift of being able
> to choose how we will act it is a sad comment that for most of
> us, most of the time, the desires or inclinations of the body
> elementals rule our lives. It is sadder still that we are almost
> entirely unaware of this.
It is this lack of awareness of our physical composition that
allows our life-atoms to form habits and addictions on the
various levels of our being. Some people seem addicted to
negative thinking while others are slaves to alchohol. The
advise from the Masters to live a good and pure life has real
consequences when seen in the context of training our life-atoms
to obey our will rather than their own inclinations. With this
training we ensure that our life-atoms are easier to manage in
the next incarnation and so by aggregate training we may speed up
our own spiritual evolution during our future incarnations.
TEACHING THE SOUL DIRECT
[From a conversation between Charles Johnston & Madame Blavatsky]
Then she told me something about other Masters and adepts she had
known..., from Northern and Southern India, Tibet, Persia, China,
Egypt; of various European nations, Greek, Hungarian, Italian,
English; of certain races in South America, where she said there
was a Lodge of adepts.
"It is the tradition of this which the Spanish Conquistadors
found," she said, "the golden city of Manoah or El Dorado. The
race is allied to the ancient Egyptians, and the adepts have
still preserved the secret of their dwelling place inviolable.
There are certain members of the Lodges who pass from centre to
centre, keeping the lines of connection between them unbroken.
But they are always connected in other ways."
"In their astral bodies?" "Yes," she answered, "and in other ways
still higher. They have a common life and power. As they rise
in spirituality, they rise above difference of race, to our
common humanity. The series is unbroken. Adepts are a necessity
in nature and in super-nature. They are the links between men
and the gods; these ‘gods' being the souls of great adepts and
Masters of bygone races and ages, and so on, up to the threshold
of Nirvana. The continuity is unbroken."
"What do they do?"
"You would hardly understand, unless you were an adept. But they
keep alive the spiritual life of mankind."
"How do the adepts guide the souls of men?"
"In many ways, but chiefly by teaching their souls direct, in the
spiritual world. That is difficult for you to understand. But
this is quite intelligible: At certain regular periods, they try
to give the world at large a right understanding of spiritual
things. One of their number comes forth to teach the masses, and
is handed down to tradition as the founder of a religion.
Krishna was such a Master, so was Zoroaster; so were Buddha and
Sankaracharya, the great sage of Southern India. So also was the
"Have the adepts any secret records of his life?"
"They must have," she answered, "for they have records of the
lives of all Initiates. Once I was in a great cave-temple in the
Himalayan mountains, with my Master. There were many statues of
adepts there; pointing to one of them, he said: ‘This is he whom
you call Jesus. We count him to be one of the greatest among
"But that is not the only work of the adepts. At much shorter
periods, they send forth a messenger to try to teach the world.
Such a period comes in the last quarter of each century, and the
Theosophical Society represents their work for this epoch."
"How does it benefit mankind?"
"How does it benefit you to know the laws of life? Does it not
help you to escape sickness and death? Well, there is a
soul-sickness, and a soul-death. Only the true teaching of Life
can cure them.. The dogmatic churches, with their hell and
damnation, their metal ---
[FOOTNOTE: Streets paved with gold]
--- heaven and their fire and brimstone, have made it almost
impossible for thinking people to believe in the immortality of
the soul. And if they do not believe in a life after death, then
they have no life after death. That is the law."
"How can what people believe possibly affect them? Either it is
or it isn't, whatever they may believe."
"Their belief affects them in this way. Their life after death
is made by their aspirations and spiritual development unfolding
in the spiritual world. According to the growth of each so is
his life after death. It is the complement of his life here.
All unsatisfied spiritual longings, all desires for higher life,
all aspirations and dreams of noble things, come to flower in the
spiritual life, and the soul has its day, for life on earth is
its night. But if you have no aspirations, no higher longings,
no beliefs in any life after death, then there is nothing for
your spiritual life to be made up of, your soul is a blank."
"What becomes of you then?"
"You reincarnate immediately, almost without an interval, and
without regaining consciousness in the other world." ....
"So that is what the adepts sent you forth to teach?"
"Yes, that and other things — things which are very important,
and will soon be far more important. There is the danger of
black magic, into which all the world, and especially America, is
rushing as fast as it can go. Only a wide knowledge of the real
psychic and spiritual nature of man can save humanity from grave
"Witch-stories in this so-called nineteenth century, in this
"Yes, Sir! Witch-tales in this enlightened age! And mark my
words! You will have such witch-tales as the Middle Ages never
dreamt of. Whole nations will drift insensibly into black magic,
with good intentions, no doubt, but paving the road to hell none
the less for that! Do you not see the tremendous evils that lie
concealed in hypnotism? Hypnotism and suggestion ---
[FOOTNOTE: Advertising, political campaigns, etc., etc., are
built on "suggestion." The opposite of this is "inspiration,"
such as that used by Gatto in his teaching methods. One enlivens
and allies itself to the potential "greatness" in each of us, the
other enlivens and allies itself to the weaknesses of man
entangled in his sensations and personality; one manipulates and
bewitches, the other sets-fire-to and transforms.]
--- are great and dangerous powers, for the very reason that the
victim never knows when he is being subjected to them; his will
is stolen from him. These things may be begun with good motives,
and for right purposes. But I am an old woman, and have seen
much of human life in many countries and I wish with all my heart
I could believe that these powers would be used only for good! If
you could foresee what I foresee, you would begin heart and soul
to spread the teaching of universal brotherhood. It is the only
"How is it going to guard people against hypnotism?"
"By purifying the hearts of people who would misuse it. And
universal brotherhood rests upon the common soul. It is because
there is one soul common to all men, that brotherhood, or even
common understanding, is possible. Bring men to rest on that,
and they will be safe. There is a divine power in every man
which is to rule his life, and which no one can influence for
evil, not even the greatest magician. Let men bring their lives
under its guidance, and they have nothing to fear from man or
RIGHTS, DUTIES, PRIVILEGES
by Henry T. Edge
[Reprinted from THE THEOSOPHICAL PATH, January, 1923]
On August 4, 1789, a large and unruly Parliament of excited men
sat in a hall at Versailles. It was the National Assembly of
revolutionary France, and it was framing a new constitution for
the country. But what was agitating the assembly at the moment
was the preamble to that constitution -- a Declaration of the
Rights of Man. Suddenly one of the members interposed with an
amendment. He proposed that the Declaration of the Rights of Man
should also be a Declaration of the Duties of Man. His amendment
was impatiently rejected, the majority being 575 against 433; and
the assembly proceeded to adopt almost unanimously the motion
that the preamble should consist only of a Declaration of Rights.
Human nature has not changed much since then. We still hear much
about the rights of man. About the duties we do not hear quite
so much. The lesson is applicable to the present situation, if
When we demand our rights, or promise other people their rights,
the motive concerned is self-interest, the self-interest of an
individual or of a class. When duties are spoken of, it is
conscience that is appealed to. Which is the better for the
welfare and progress of the individual -- self-interest or
conscience? Which is better for the welfare of the community?
This mention of rights and duties suggests that they are opposed
to each other. Rights are pleasant things, and duties are
painful things. Rights are what we want and can't get, and
duties are what we get and can't want. So perhaps it is
advisable to find another word that will suit the case better.
That is why the word `Privileges' was chose for the third of our
What are the Privileges of Man? Do they include the Rights or the
Duties or some of both?
I believe that a man's Rights and Duties and Privileges are
really all one and the same thing. But the word `Rights,' in
this case, means something that cannot be taken away from a man.
He does not have to clamor for this kind of Rights; no one can do
him out of them.
To be a Man, a human being -- is not that privilege enough? Does
it not confer power enough? For what is Man?
An ancient emblem represents him as having a human head, the body
of a lion, and the wings of an eagle. The human head represents
man's intellect; the lion's body, his daring and will-power; the
eagle's wings, his power of aspiration. With these divine gifts,
man can make himself what he will; and yet he abrogates them and
clamors for lesser things he calls his rights.
We do not need to clamor for our rights; we only need to
recognise them. The real Rights of man are his birthrights, and
we know that he is born of the Spirit as well as of the flesh.
Leastwise, however the doctrine and theology may run, it is an
indisputable fact that you and I are somehow mysteriously endowed
with a Mind and a Heart and a Will and good many other things
that money cannot buy and thieves cannot steal. The sooner we
recognise these gifts, the sooner we shall have our Rights. The
sooner we exercise these gifts, the sooner we shall do our
Duties. And, as to Privileges, all this will be privilege enough
and to spare. Let us claim our Birthrights.
Would you like to be a strong man or a weak man? A strong man is
self-dependent, but a weak man is always leaning on other people.
The weak man has his eyes fixed on the past and on the future,
but never on the present. The future is always getting away from
him as he goes, like his shadow thrown before him; and the past
is always receding from him. Only the present stays with him,
but this he seems to have no use for. He is the unpractical man.
The weak man is affected by the opinions of others, by praise and
blame; he is alternately exhilarated and depressed by the turns
of fortune. He lives in an atmosphere of expectation and fear
and is a creature of vain emotion. The strong man simply takes
his life as he finds it and acts strongly here and now in the
present place and the present moment.
Why be a weakling? Why not face boldly the life in which you find
yourself and determine to utilize you wonderful resources to the
Surely it is the venturous man who discovers things. The man who
waits for a lead never starts at all. Yet how many people there
are today who say feebly that they do not know the mysteries of
life, and that they can never know; people who demand to be shown
before they will move; people who will stay where they are until
they can see something better? These people do not realise that
it is often necessary to take a step first before you can see
where to plant the next step.
If you would discover something about the mysteries of your own
nature, you must have faith enough and grit enough to start. You
must not wait for knowledge to fall into your lap. The kingdom
of heaven has to be taken by might; it will not throw itself at
When we try to imagine the future of humanity, and can think of
nothing better than a lot of people, of different classes, all
clamoring for what they consider their rights, we do not get a
very edifying picture. What is needed is that people should be
taught to recognise their privileges -- the rights that they
have, not the rights that they think they ought to have. "Seek
ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these
things shall be added unto you," means that, if you attend to
your duties, your rights will take care of themselves.
Surely it is a privilege to have duties!
Man has many more rights and privileges than the thinks he has.
What he is clamoring for is mere pittance. There are rights and
privileges waiting to be claimed; but they are the price of duty.
A man who has not the faith or the grit to do his duty will stay
where he is and will go on hungering for his rights. But the man
who recognises that duty is his privilege will obtain all the
rights he expects -- and more.
And remember that your better nature has its rights as well as
your inferior nature. Why not give it a chance? And it is just
because you will not give it a chance that `Fate' steps in and
does it for you. The human race would soon perish from
self-indulgence if it were left to choose its own fate according
to its selfish desires. Fortunately, a power wiser and stronger
than our selfish desires steps in and gives us what is good for
us. What is this power? It is the power that rules our destiny;
it is our own real Self, the light behind our mind, the guiding
star of our lives. Why not recognise its claims and admit that
our higher nature has also its rights and privileges?
To follow duty is simply to recognise the claims of our higher
nature. What we call duties are the rights of our higher nature;
and when we sacrifice a duty to a personal pleasure, we starve
our higher nature to feed our lower.
So much has been dinned into our ears about our animal nature
that it is time a little more was told us about that spark of
divine creative fire that is in all of us. Then perhaps we would
have more self-reliance and not be expecting so much from systems
and regulations. If you think you are as good as the other man,
it is up to you to show it. No doubt social conditions are wrong
in many points; but they would stand a better chance of righting
themselves if a little more of the spirit of true self-reliance
and self-respect were abroad in the world.
Dedicated to the Theosophical Philosophy and its Practical Application