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THEOSOPHY WORLD ------------------------------------- March, 1998
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
the intellectual property of their respective authors and may not
be reposted or otherwise republished without prior permission.)
"The Prize Goes Unclaimed" by Eldon Tucker
"Dark Brothers" by Jerry Schueler
"Wonderful Sharing" by Thoa Tran
"The Black Brotherhood and Magicians" by Liesel F. Deutsch
"Theosophy and Ethics" by Professor G. N. Chakravarti
"Dark Brotherhood" by Paul Johnson
"Is There an Evil Brotherhood?" by Eldon Tucker
"Spiritual Gifts and Their Attainment" by A. Trevor Barker
"Neophytes in Popular Film?" by Pam Giese
"Apollonius of Tyana"
> The Theosophical Society was founded by the Masters of Wisdom
> ... to give to mankind a religio-philosophical and scientific
> explanation of life's riddles, based upon the natural fact of
> Universal Brotherhood, which would bring about a moral and
> spiritual revolution in the world.
-- G. de Purucker, "The Main Purposes of the T.S.," MESSAGES TO
THE PRIZE GOES UNCLAIMED
by Eldon Tucker
[based upon a September 8, 1994 posting to firstname.lastname@example.org.]
As we take Theosophy and bring it into the activities of our
daily lives, our personal interests come strongly into play.
Those things we like to do determine how we live out the
Teachings, how we bring them into the world and influence the
people and surrounding environment.
If our interests are in art and music, we give it a theosophical
touch. If we are strongly involved in interpersonal work,
perhaps as psychologist or social worker, we use our new-found
wisdom to fashion new techniques of helping others, and to enrich
the content of our interaction with them. And if we are school
teachers, we may pose good questions, leading the children to
think in the right direction, and work to continually train them
to keep open minds and continually reconsider what they thought
they knew and took for granted.
We need to make a distinction, though, between our personal
interests, based upon the personalities we have fashioned for
ourselves in this particular lifetime, and the actual content and
nature of the Teachings themselves. What is given us is quite
distinct from how we may give personal expression to it. If we
don't carefully make this distinction, we lose sight of the true
Gupta Vidya, the Wisdom-Religion. When we take our personal
interests, and project them onto Theosophy itself, we no longer
gaze directly on its face, but instead look at an idealized mask
of our own personality.
A simple description of Theosophy is that it is a gateway to the
Mysteries, a semi-veiled exposition of introductory Mystery
teachings. The wondrous part of it is that it is just that:
semi-veiled, leaving open the possibly of entry into the outer
court without a key. The outer door has been left ajar, rather
than shut and locked. We may step inside if we dare.
It is easy to confuse our personal interests with the right way
to do things. We may assume that since we do so much good in the
world that everyone should follow our lead and do the same sort
of work. We forget that any form of service to others, any form
of contribution to the well-being and betterment of humanity is
quite personalized, and must be self-devised. Forgetting that,
we become short-sighted and start picturing others, with
different interests and activities, as apathetic, as non-caring,
as wasting their time in "unreal" pursuits. We have erred in
seeing things through the narrow perspective of our
personalities, rather than opening up and gazing upon the big
Consider the socially-oriented person. This man or woman may
care deeply about how others feel, and have an interest and
aptitude in helping them solve personal problems. There may be a
talent in providing psychological assistance to troubled people.
Such a person, taking too narrow a view of things, might call on
others to "get real" and start doing things to help people, doing
"real" things. But what are real things? How are the others,
with other involvements, not also making a contribution?
Tolerance is important. Not just tolerance for different views
and ideas about things, but tolerance for different approaches to
making valid contributions to the good of others, different
approaches to giving outward expression to the highest in life.
It is different, though, when we approach the Teachings, when we
approach the Path. Although the means that we employ to engage
the Process may vary, that which we approach is one and the same
thing. The Treasure that we approach is the same, even if the
means of sharing it varies widely by individual temperament.
As students who would enter the Stream, we see that our study of
the Mysteries is a *real* activity, something leading to inner
transformation and very real changes in others and the world.
First we attain the treasures, and the means of sharing them will
naturally follow. Hard work making the nicest of wine bottles is
fruitless, a waste of time, should the bottles remain empty,
because we have neglected wine- making itself.
Going after the wine, we find an approach that challenges our
highest natures, the highest parts of us accessible at this point
in evolution: the spiritual-intellectual. This is what we train
in, Buddhi-Manas, and it opens up a new part of ourselves that
was not present before.
There are many ways to confuse the making of wine bottles with
the going after the wine. One is found in the assertion that in
the dynamics of the personality is the only real basis of growth,
leading to transformation of self and society. Another is that
the wisdom to be shared comes from psychism, from the fruits of a
quest for phenomena and powers. A third is in an even-more
material quest: to provide food, shelter, and physical health to
the helpless and incapable of society. In all cases, we become
preoccupied in too low a part of our natures in our search for
Wisdom. These can all be ways to personally share what we have
found. They are but empty wine bottles, though, if they are
uninspired activities, activities lacking the inspiration of a
rich inner nature, aglow with an awakening spirituality and
wisdom. An awakened spiritual- intellectual nature provides the
wine to fill these bottles we may fashion, bottles of whatever
We can have a moderately healthy life and not be preoccupied with
body building. We can have some naturally- unfolding occult
powers without being drawing into a craving for power and
phenomena. We can have reasonable psychological health, without
an obsession with psychological well-being. And we can have a
reasonably active intellect, with challenging things to read,
study, and talk about. All the various parts of our nature can
be active and healthy. And the next step is the higher Human
Nature, the spiritual- intellectual, the inspired-mind nature.
This is what we nurture, what we would have flower in our lives.
It provides the wine that gives the contents and value to our
outer lives. This part of us is "where the action is," and we
seek to make it the seat of our consciousness. It is the part
that we train in, that the Wisdom-Religion promotes in its
followers. And it is a faculty that is there, ready to be
tapped, waiting for us to make it a part of our lives.
There are great Treasures to be found in our philosophy. They
provide a beckoning gateway to the Mysteries. There is just the
smallest step to take, a small step beyond the books in the right
direction. And taking that step is the most important thing that
we should be doing. The outer activities in our lives will
naturally follow. Let's embrace the Mysteries and live for the
Until this step is taken, Theosophy may seem to be a mass of
philosophical theory and speculation, with but bits and pieces of
eastern thought worthy of sharing with western thought. But that
is only while we keep our eyes shut! And we don't have to; our
eyes can open any time we choose!
I'm reminded of a shy teenage boy, sitting beside a girl he would
date. He has only to ask her out and she'll happily say "Yes!"
But he burdens himself with doubts and lets fear and uncertainty
hold his tongue silent. The easy words are not spoken and the
prize goes unclaimed.
THEOSOPHY AND ETHICS: ALTRUISM INCUMBENT BECAUSE OF COMMON
ORIGIN, COMMON TRAINING, COMMON INTERESTS, COMMON DESTINY, AND
By Professor G. N. Chakravarti
[From REPORT OF PROCEEDINGS AND DOCUMENTS OF THE 1893 PARLIAMENT
OF RELIGIONS, pages 129 to 132.]
One of the greatest fallacies that are committed in the spiritual
life, both in the East and West, is that because the spiritual
teaching advocates the subjugation of the flesh and the giving up
of the gratification of the senses, the way can be attained by
falling away from the duties that one has to perform, and by
retiring into the forests and jungles to meditate upon something,
heaven knows what. Not so, however, can the animal tendencies
and the overpowering attractions created throughout a series of
incarnations be conquered, not so can one pass out of the wheel
of births and rebirths. If he runs away, a chain a thousand
times stronger brings him back on the arm of the wheel of birth,
to be broken, pounded, maimed, and injured until he regains his
position again. The fallacy arises from the fact of putting
forward the physical body and the energies of the physical plane
above everything else in the universe. Think you that merely by
taking the physical body out of the center of activity you kill
the activity of the mind? A prison with its iron bars is not more
stringent in confining you within its bounds than the thought,
the passions, the desires, the grand attractions that you have
every moment of your life created on the plane of the mind.
Every moment of your life you are thinking of matter, and,
according to the esoteric teaching, every thought that comes out
of your brain has a potency for good or evil, it has a kinetic
energy, a momentum which goes on rolling from time into time
eternal. All these bands which you have been forging from
incarnation to incarnation cannot be so easily broken. The body
alone is not the whole of man. When I entered that most
beautiful and magnificent of the harbors of the world, your own
harbor of New York, I was delighted, I was edified by looking at
that grand statue of Liberty with the torch of knowledge,
equality, and fraternity in its hand. But it was not without a
shadow of regret that I looked upon it; my sensation was not
altogether free from cloud. I thought: Is liberty really
possible thus? Is liberty to be attained merely by the
intellectual appreciation of the thing? Is liberty really
possible when the mind of man is enslaved with the thousand
passions that work in his bosom? Is liberty possible when the
heart of humanity is rent into a thousand pieces by the darts of
selfishness? (Applause.) So long as the root of the poison, the
root of selfishness, flourishes luxuriantly in the heart of the
people. – Why liberty? Why unselfishness? Why must fraternity
forever remain a mere term, an illusion never to be realized.
Instead of fraternizing with each other, what have you got in the
West? A struggle for life; the higher trampling upon the lower;
and still you talk of liberty! Where is liberty to be found? Not
until your soul has been liberated from the turmoil and the
various passions that are now storming in your nature, can you
realize that ideal which you want to set up in that glorious
monument in the harbor of New York.
One of the great reasons for this delusion that mere retirement
from the scene of the world leads to spiritual progress, is
probably due to the fact that in India it is regarded as the
ideal of spiritual life; you have so many persons there roaming
about the country without any ostensible end in view. Some of
them are working for the good of humanity, although they don't
work in the same way as you do. I confess, and I confess plainly
before you, that there are hundreds and thousands of sham yogis
who sham and wear the garb of holiness so as to satisfy the
cravings of the flesh and to gorge their stomach upon the charity
of the people. I do not mean to say that there do not exist
ideals of simple unselfishness, the ideals of spiritual purity,
even among those who spend every moment of their life in the
contemplation of the divine and in serving humanity with all
their heart, and that their soul is pure, which really is the
necessary consequence of the realization of the higher life. But
what I do mean is this: that this imitation of things only proves
the existence of the genuine article, and there are quite enough
to deceive the world by leading it to believe that in India, the
land of spirituality, a life of laziness, a life of elimination
of one's duties, is sufficient. Not so. In the Shastras,
Krishna very pointedly says: What is the use of your retiring,
because even your body will not go on without acting? And why can
you be so selfish? Why can you be so degraded, that your hands
and feet may work only for the few feet of flesh that is in you,
and not for the world into which you are placed, not for humanity
of which you are a factor? What is the use of retiring into the
jungles and considering yourself to be a pure saint, when your
minds revel simply in the infection of the tremendously vicious
and the foul moral atmosphere of your own mind? It is pure
hypocrisy. And it is said in the Bhagavad-Gita (reciting
Sanskrit) that the man is a hypocrite who does retire in this
way. Not only our teachings in the sacred rolls go to show what
is this ideal life. It is not to retire from the world. Even
the popular traditions and mythological fables lead you to the
same conclusion, to the rigid and the strict performance of one's
duties. On this point I am going to relate to you one of the
finest stories that can be found in our sacred literature,
showing you what ideal of duty has been held before India, in
spite of the degeneration of our present days.
There once reigned a king renowned for piety, renowned for
devotion, and who never refused to grant any favor asked of him.
There was also a sage who at that time was one of the spiritual
gods of the country, and once upon a time this sage took it into
his head to try the piety of this virtuous king. He came to him
and asked him if he would grant him a favor. Out of the
generosity of his heart the king at once said, "Why, yes;
anything you want." The sage said, "I want your kingdom, I want
nothing short of that." Realizing the ephemeral nature of all
possessions, considering as trash the most glorious throne on
which a human being can sit, without a moment's hesitation the
king gave away his kingdom. That was not all. The custom is in
India that if you make a present to Brahma, here represented by
the sage, you must give some gold along with it. The sage
reminded him of that custom. He was confused; he knew not what
to do; he had parted with all that he had, and whence was the
gold to come? Yet he was not to be balked. He was not to be
taken out of the sphere of his duty. He said, "Yes, I will give
you the gold, and let me know, holy sage, what is the proper
quantity." He was told that seven kotis of gold were required for
such a present as this. Well, the king went with his royal queen
to the market, and there he was prepared, for the sake of
performing a duty to Brahma, to hold his wife up in the open
market to be sold away as a slave. The wife, devoted as the
Indian wife is, the ideal of chastity, the ideal of spiritual
exaltation and purity, regarded not the lot, although her husband
the king was the very sunshine and lotus of her heart, and it was
without a pang of regret that she went out and said, "Verily, I
will stand by you in the path of Karma, in the path of virtue;
through me must you perform what is right." She was sold and
fetched only four kotis of gold. There were three yet to come.
The king himself offered himself to be a slave to somebody, and
he was taken out to be a chandala, that is, a person whose duty
it is to assess taxes upon bodies who come out to be burned on
the bank of the great river. Thus, they parted.
The wife had a little son along with her, to whom no extra
allowance of meal was given by her master. Out of the portion
allotted to her did she support this child. But one fair morning
when this child was sent out into the garden to cull certain
flowers used in the worship of the master, a black, venomous
viper crept out of its shady retreat and put an end to the
sunshine of the queen's life. This little child was dead. With
that child in her arms, with ashes in her breast and with tears
in her eyes, she went out to the burning ghat, the place where
the dead were burned, to consign the last relics of the dearest
one to the flames, as is the custom in India. What is it that
she saw there? Her own husband, the king who never before his
wife had refused anything to anybody, was standing there with the
rod of his master, demanding tax for everybody that was burned.
In vain did the wife plead her poverty, in vain did she plead her
desperate condition, in vain did she plead to his heart as being
his own truest one and the child their own. Immovable as the
rock stood the king. He had his duty to perform to his master,
and no human being, however sacred, was to swerve him from that
rigid path of duty. At a moment like this the sage was
satisfied, the gods were glorified with such devotion, such a
rigid idea of duty, and, says the fable, came down from heaven
fiery cars with gods in them to take the husband, wife, and child
living, up to the heaven of bliss. This, then, is the ideal
which is laid down in the Indian Shastras, to be reached by every
human being according to the light that is in him, according to
the strength that is in his breast. And, indeed, from the very
conception of Indian philosophy, this has already been laid
before you as in their view of life possible.
The universe I tell you springs from one source and returns to
the same source. In the first half of its evolution there is
differentiation, there is parting, but in the latter half of its
course there is again involution, reuniting, and each man
advances according to his realization of this unity of all
beings. The more totally a man realizes the essential unity of
all existence, the more advanced is he on the plane of being.
This being the case, you cannot cut yourselves away from the
mass, you cannot shrink from the world's garments that lie around
you. It is for you to realize that you cannot leave your brother
behind. Ties unseen, ties unbreakable, ties which are in the
nature of things, really bind you to the whole, and therefore
with the whole mass you progress, This view of things leads you
to perform your duty, to sacrifice yourselves for the good of
others, because thus alone you can realize the unity of all
being, thus alone you can see the links that bind you to your
brother, and thus alone, therefore, can you make spiritual
progress. It is nothing but the realization of the unity of all
created beings. It is therefore a law which no one can subvert,
that it is only upon the cross of sacrifice that you can atone
for your sins, it is only from the altar of suffering that you
can catch the spiritual fire; only by burning itself does the
candle show light to the world. Even so with the human being.
You must burn your personality, you must discard all that you
love and all that attracts you before you can reach the realms of
the spirit. This is the grand work that we have to perform, and
not run away to the jungles like cowards. You have to meet and
face bravely and like a hero a thousand trials and troubles that
meet you in your dreary journey through this vale of tears, and
as you conquer each weakness it becomes a rung in the ladder of
progress. Each little act that you do by sacrificing yourself
for the benefit of humanity becomes a lovely bloom laid on the
altar, made to the spirit that you worship.
In this task, I need hardly say, there are great sufferings,
great pains. As soon as you begin to live the life of
unselfishness, why all the lower forces of your nature awaken
with redoubled activity, and then begins to rage within you a
warfare more stormy than any that you can imagine on the physical
plane, more bloody than the battle of Thermopylae, more vigorous
than any in the field of life. It is majestically represented in
the allegory of the eternal fight between God and Satan. Yes,
your heart's blood will have to be shed in this mighty struggle;
but you have no reason to despair, because if your devotion is
unflinching, if you really pursue the truth, if you have got a
glimpse of the eternal sun, nothing can vanquish you, and out of
the dust and storm arising in this fearful struggle the moral
hero will come with a crown of unsurpassed resplendence and
beauty, decked with the diamonds of eternal peace, eternal life,
and eternal bliss.
by Jerry Schueler
[based upon a September 29, 1994 posting to email@example.com]
Some theosophical students have a jolly good time talking about
the Dark Brothers and the Dark Brotherhood. I would like to jump
in, and say a few words of my own on the subject.
The "Dark Brotherhood", call it what you will, does exist. It
opposes the "White Brotherhood," is just as powerful, and will
live just as long -- relative only to Globe D of our planetary
chain (where matter and spirit are so carefully balanced).
I do not believe that there is any real conspiracy or collusion
between individual black magicians. But then again, I do not
believe that "black magicians" have anything to do with the Dark
First, permit me to clear up a typical misperception. Those on
"the left hand path" have nothing, specifically, to do with the
Dark Brotherhood. The "left-hand path" refers to the Tantric
path of sexual magic where a woman (karmamudra) sits to the left
of the male tantrica.
In certain Tantric rites, a male tantrica would have a woman sit
to his right - without sexual union. The "left-hand path" was
considered a perversion of the "pure" Tantricism by the purist
(spelled puritan) faithful.
The phrase refers, in general today, to any and all practitioners
of sexual magic which involves a physical partner. Period. If
you want to consider this "evil," then OK, but it has nothing to
do with egotism or selfishness or the lose of one's "soul."
I agree that the whole idea of a conspiracy or organization of
any kind between people who are exceedingly egotistical and
selfish is a contradiction. But those kind of people refer more
to black magicians than to the Dark brothers of the Dark
To reach spirituality with a sense of personality makes you at
best a god or goddess and at worse a Titan, not a member of the
Tibetan Buddhism views six segments of living beings all tied
together in this universe, and two of these are the gods and the
titans (jealous gods). HPB also describes these six realms,
almost as if she believed in it.
While early theosophical literature talks about the possible loss
of one's "soul" and a wasted life, I would submit that this is
pure theory, and that in practice the number of "totally evil"
persons is quite small and not worth scaring young children
I would also submit that a "good" person "with some occult powers
may be able to hold off the after-death states for a period of
time," as well. The magical techniques used for this have
nothing to do with one's goodness or one's evilness, but rather
with one's motive.
I can envision a situation where an "evil" person dies, and then
sees his entire life flash by him, and perceives the wrong that
he/she has done to others, and feels intense regret, sorrow, and
remorse, and then eventually returns to life to try and make
I believe that the polar opposites of good and evil exist. Both
good and evil battle for control of the direction of the world,
and both have equal status and power. The notion that only good
exists is simplistic dualism (I must say though, that it sure
would be nice if this were the case). This idea is probably the
single-most reason why I left the Christian Science church.
Christian Science too wants to believe that you can hold on to
the good and throw away the evil. I wish everyone with this idea
a lot of luck.
I think a lot of folks misinterpret the idea of the Pratyeka
Buddha as well as the Dark Brotherhood. They are not the same
thing. In Mahatma Letter IX, KH calls the "Brothers of the
Shadow" or Dark Brothers, "the Sorcerers," "the Elementary
Spooks," and "our most potential Enemies." In Letter XLIX, KH
mentions "the Red Capped Brothers of the Shadow" suggesting that
the Dark Brotherhood referred to the Red Caps of Tibet.
If we read all of the Letters, as well as what HPB has to say, it
seems to me that they meant the Dark Brotherhood to be the polar
or dualistic opposite to the White Brotherhood. If we consider
the White Brotherhood to be good, then the Dark Brotherhood must
The Sanatana-Dharma (An Advanced Textbook of Hindu Religion and
Ethics) says that "the measure used in Ethics at the present
stage of evolution, by which the rightness or wrongness of an
action is decided, is the tendency of the action to promote or to
hinder Union." (p 265)
By this we can say that whatever tries to help us progress upward
through the Arc of Ascent is "good" and whatever tries to pull us
downward along the Arc of Descent (which G de P calls the Shadowy
Arc) is "evil." By this measure, you can tell those who are in
the Brotherhood of Compassion and those who are in the Dark
Brotherhood. Most members of both groups who are incarnating,
are totally unconscious of their membership.
The Pratyeka-Buddha is another story. This is the Arhat of
Hinayana Buddhism. However, we have to remember that the term
Hinayana (lower vehicle) is a Mahayana term, meant to be somewhat
disrespectful. The Pratyeka-Buddha is one who fully sees the
Maya and illusiveness of the world. He views the world as a
mental projection, and unreal. Other people are also unreal
mental projections, phantasms, ghosts.
The Pratyeka-Buddha is not really selfish in the sense that we
think of the word. Once you recognize that all aggregates are
unreal (one of Gotama's last teachings) then why have compassion
over an illusion? Once you understand that life is a dream, why
deliberately fall back asleep in order to have more dreams of
helping people? In other words, they lack compassion simply
because they fail to see anyone to have compassion for. And,
technically they are correct - all of us needy people are
ourselves illusions, asleep to the truth of things. I am not
saying that this view is "right" but simply trying to point out
that they are not selfish in the same way that we normally think
of the term.
by Thoa Tran
[based upon February 8 to 12, 1998 postings to
I'm drinking my decaffeinated coffee, thinking how cool the
Internet is. Via the discussion lists, I'm able to interact with
theosophists, people who can discuss about the Absolute, sacred
geometry, and black magic. I can be a busy person, a bed-ridden
person, a fly on the wall, or maybe even incarcerated (do they
allow prisoners access?) and still be a part of the conversation,
even if it's only as a listener.
Theosophists are pretty neat people. The people I live, work and
play with daily are not theosophists, with the exception of dear
Mark. Granted, theosophists love to argue. But who can argue as
well as a theosophist? I thank those who responded to my posts so
that I don't feel like I'm typing to nowhere land. I don't
always get my answer, but I appreciate the attempt. I understand
the time that it takes to respond to a post. I used to be pretty
prompt in my responses, but I will just have to be a laggard at
this time of my life. Thanks, folks. I love you, wo/man!!!
I'm just being sentimental, because we need more tender emotion
expressed in this world!
I believe that it is through "paradox, humor, and fun" that we
are able to see the whole picture. When looking at something, I
wonder about the other side of the coin, and whether each side
contains a little bit of each.
It is through fun that we see the possibilities of things, that
it can be more than what it is. When we were children, we think
of a box as a million things, a spaceship, a boat, a house, etc.
As we grow older, a box no longer suffices. We don't want a
crappy box, we want that mysterious Mega-tron that would shoot
bullets and costs $100.00. As we grow even older, that Mega-tron
becomes a limited plastic toy that feebly shoots bullets, and we
long for that speed boat.
If we stop having fun, then that is what life will be, a series
of short goals that we become disenchanted with once we've
reached them. By having fun as adults, we can still look at that
box and see psionic transmitters. Fun enables us to throw up
our arms and do a crazy dance, when things don't go our way. As
they say, it's the journey that counts.
What is the Theosophical Society? What sets it unique from other
organizations? One of its object (let's say, the first) is to
promote the Brotherhood of Humanity. Another of its object (say,
second) is to discover the mysteries and the truth. If we focus
on the first object, we can do volunteerism, etc., without
enriching our knowledge of the mysteries of life. Why would I
need the T.S. for that? There are countless organizations that I
could lend a hand to that is devoted purely to service, no
scholarship needed, no theosophical rules and politic required.
If I focus on the second object, I would be greatly stimulated by
little inklings of the mysteries that I learned and comprehended.
The danger of that is that I could have all this great knowledge
without doing anything to promote the Brotherhood of Humanity.
On the other hand, would not knowing the mysteries open one up to
the Brotherhood of Humanity? Certainly, a true student of
occultism would realize this, and not just focus on the power
aspects of occultism.
For me, an inkling of the mystery makes me feel like Ramakrishna,
makes love flow from my heart, and makes me more kind and
tolerant of others. When you actually feel the mystery, the
material and power aspects become unimportant. When you feel the
mystery, you feel interconnectedness with all beings and life.
With this interconnectedness, you would not want to hurt others,
for you feel that they are like yourself.
People follow the path in myriad ways. I would give them all
credit for starting somewhere, and would be hesitant to blanket
describe them as selfish. My feeling is that if one truly
follows the path, eventually one could not avoid the
understanding of the Universal Brotherhood. Some can go straight
into doing whatever they can for the "orphan humanity", but
others need to be at certain stages of development.
I believe that understanding, tolerance, and setting good
examples will do more good than making people feel that they are
selfish. My personal belief is that building a strong inner
foundation will enable the person to be more effective helpers of
An ignorant helper of humanity can sometimes do more harm than
good, although the chances of hurting by helping are little. I
was more concerned with effectiveness. I have periods where I am
out to the world, and periods where I am in seclusion to
strengthen my foundation. Both periods are valid, and I have no
apologies for either periods.
So-called "selfish" people in spiritual movements are also a part
of orphan humanity. They are also lost and trying to find
themselves. In finding themselves, they will be stronger as a
helpful Brother. Perhaps the most effective way for theosophists
to spread the value of service, is to keep on performing service,
and promote service through discussions and news items of areas
of service needed. You can describe to a person a great dish,
but it would not really make them hungry until they see you
eating with gusto that delightful dish.
I agree that the theosophical leaders, if they were really
concerned about their brother theosophists, would put themselves
on the line and be open, in order to communicate and understand
If a leader were truly an open-hearted theosophist, he would put
himself out in the line of fire, and wisely defuse the arguments.
In this way, he would do more to unite theosophists and gain
respect, rather than through terse communication. Any truly
great people would put themselves out in the open, even under the
real threat of bullets, such as Gandhi and Martin Luther King. I
don't think that such a leader would have to worry about bullets,
just a bunch of theosophists with great vocabulary. Is the TS
important enough for that step to be taken?
On the other hand, what step can the dissenting theosophists do
to unite with the TS? Does one be direct and accusing? Or can one
quietly perform services for the TS while putting your influences
in? I have no idea how resistant the TS is to changing ideas. If
the leadership would not be influenced, then how about all the
different lodges setting their own focus?
And what about spreading the influences to other lodges via
communication? You start with one, spread to a group, spread to a
lodge, spread to other lodges, until it touches the leadership?
Naive? Why not? Communication can be powerful if done smartly.
I understand the widespread concern regarding theosophy reaching
the masses. I also consider that to be important.
To me, the problem is not the order of the objectives. I don't
think changing the order would make much difference. Even the
layman would love to learn of the mysteries. I think the most
effective action is making areas of communication accessible to
the masses. This could be done by distributing books geared
toward the layman, perhaps books with lots of pictures and easy
to understand writing.
A good example of that would be the series of books on the
esoteric by Thames and Hudson. Their books are large, with
writing that would not insult the intelligence, yet would not be
tedious for the layman, and is 50% pictures. This, I think,
would be appealing even to a child.
Perhaps someone with a good knowledge of the important
theosophical works would be willing to simplify them and portray
the ideas pictorially. This someone would also have to have
clear and friendly communication skills. This condensing will
not insult the original works. Think of these books as a bridge
to deeper knowledge.
If communication is done via the Internet, the discussions should
also allow for simple and naive inquiries, and even crassness.
The response should be tolerant, kind, helpful, and related to
the tone of the writer. The layman could be uneducated or could
be working on a doctorate. Respond in a way that the questioner
would understand, but do not insult the intelligence of the
writer. And, my personal preference, a few jokes and poetry
makes the environment more pleasant.
Consider that the "scholarly elite" were laymen who have crossed
the first bridge and wants to continue crossing more bridges.
There are places for them, too. The only thing is that, as
people further in their search, they should not forget to walk
back to the first bridge once in a while and assist the new ones
The best way to reach people is through communication and
acceptance. Accept them where they are at, and work with them
from their strength. If you want to push people away, then tell
them that they are not good enough where they are, and that they
should be ashamed of themselves. Why not give constructive ideas
without pinpointing blames, or blanket categorizing people? You
can influence friends, but you can't influence enemies.
Actually, you can influence your enemies, but that would be the
strategy of war.
Many of us follow ahimsa, so I don't think we'd want to do that.
Make friends first, see what they are about, let them know what
you are about, let them see what you are passionate about, and
positively glow about your passion. In that way, you can be
persuasive and charismatic. Believe me, I know it works.
When people like you, they are more than willing to do whatever
they can for you. This is from my personal observation from
former workplaces, and from extracurricular activities. I am not
the type to take advantage of it, perhaps that is a part of it.
I did notice that when I make a suggestion of change because I
cared, people are quick to respond. And sometimes people goes
above and beyond my request. All this surprised me.
THE BLACK BROTHERHOOD AND MAGICIANS
by Liesel F. Deutsch
[based upon a September 30, 1994 posting to firstname.lastname@example.org]
I've started thinking about what my own beliefs are re good and
evil. I most often just try to see the plus side. I try to work
darn hard on my own character traits, those which I find
undesirable; and try to ignore what I consider evil in others --
unless they get into my hair too much, in which case I give them
a biting piece of my mind.
For one thing, I go along with the idea that thinking and talking
about evil things like black magicians and black brotherhoods
reinforces undesirable thought forms. For example, reading about
evil has made me feel that maybe I'm evil too, and I bet it has
given you the same feeling too at times. (When you stop to
really think about it, you realize that you're not evil. We're
humans with favorable and unfavorable traits.) Thinking/talking
about negative things has that effect, because, as Serge King
taught us, the Unconscious doesn't differentiate between Myself
and Other. Say something negative, either about yourself or
someone else, and the Unconscious reacts negatively. Say
something nice either way and the Unconscious tends to become
more genial with pleasure.
So, with that in mind, I don't watch hardly any cops and robbers
etc. stories on TV. The news brings enough horrible real
happenings to suit me. Sometimes I sit there and send blessings
to the people so negatively involved. When I want to relax, I
watch sitcoms, or concerts. As for reading matter, after years
of spiritual/psychological fare, I must confess, I've lately
discovered Lilian J. Braun's "The Cat Who ..." mysteries. She's
a charming story teller, and her murders are never very gaudy, so
I've made an exception. My teachers may not be pleased, or else
might think I'm using my judgement. I enjoy Braun's tales..
So how should I deal with the ideas of "good" and "evil", and
black magicians? I imagine most theosophical students reading
this grew up under the very strict Puritan-American guilt trip
which emphasizes being a lowly sinner, born in evil. I grew up
with the same ethic in Germany. We tend to consider us evil to
begin with. To add to that, nowadays, we're trying to deal with
a world full of violence, both physical and mental.
In my life, I've been influenced enough by Buddhism to talk about
"ignorance" instead of "sin", even though I've had cognizance of
some of the worst of it. Or maybe because I've come in contact
with some of the worst of it. I can't believe that human beings
could do such horrible things to each other if they really
understood what they were doing? They put false values on their
deeds, or rather values other than the usually accepted ones, and
then come up with these gruesome misdeeds.
To give you a very up to date for instance, recently I heard the
two white authors of "The Corner" talk about the mindset that
existed among the folks who populpated the "corner", a hangout
for drug addicts. Their standards of dealing which each other
were entirely different than our usual, and the 2 men talked
about the difficulty they had with one addict, while retraining
him to be drug free and able to cope in the normal world. The
standards at the "corner" were a kind of contorted brotherly
hanging together ... a very twisted kind of loving, in which
some of them got killed off. When he tried to apply these same
standards to the normal world, they didn't go over well, nor give
the desired effect. This was at times very unsettling to the
newly drug free young man.
If people do the wrong thing because they don't know any better,
at least they can learn to change their ways, at some time. So
if I hear of kids toting guns to school, I try to do something to
help change them, but if I want to try to help them change their
ways, I need to do it very lovingly - even if it's tough love -
or it won't work. If I can't lovingly convince them, they'll
keep on smuggling in guns. I included Tough Love, because the
loving act might be to put one's foot down and give these kids
some discipline, guide lines over which they may not step, or
some such thing.
I think love, and the power that comes from knowledge and wisdom
are the positive energies that can help turn things around. I
think black magicians and negative people aren't very loving.
Only loving yourself, isn't enough. Loving is learned while
dealing with others, not only yourself. Groups who try to turn
young people around along those lines are springing up all over
these days. They try not to think of these as evil kids. "Hate
the deed, but love the doer." said Martin Luther King.
I don't know whether anyone can change a black magician, or
whether their habits are already to ingrained. Someone like
that, Serge taught us, gets at you through your fears, so I'd try
not to be afraid. To me, these are all positive rules to live
by, but somewhere inside me there's still a vestige of the
negative ethics I was brought up with.
Speaking of people more advanced in Wisdom versus black
> ... from first to last, from Pythagoras down to Eliphas Levi,
> from highest to humblest, everyone teaches that the magical power
> is never possessed by those addicted to vicious indulgences.
> Only the pure in heart 'see God' or exercise divine gifts -- only
> such can heal the ills of the body, and allow themselves, with
> relative security, to be guided by the 'invisible powers'....
> 'magic has nothing supernal in it'; it is a science, and even the
> power of 'casting out devils' was a branch of it, of which the
> Initiates made a special study. 'That skill which expels demons
> out of human bodies, is a science useful and sanative to men'
> says Josephus."
> -- ISIS UNVEILED, I, 218
If you should be meandering through AB's "Path of Discipleship",
I think you can get the idea that one must be ethically pretty
solid before one is initiated into the more advanced esoteric
wisdom. That's always helped me when I've thought of black
magicians. Serge told us that he'd met any number of them when
he served in Africa. And again, he told us that they rule by
fear. As for instance, if one of them wanted to cast a spell,
he/she makes sure the "victim" would know about what he was doing
and then the victim would get scared, and do all the damage to
himself. He also told us that black magicians never got to being
How different were the qualities I noted upon meeting Serge
(there were 70 of us at that workshop) He's a very loving person,
very much at ease, and unafraid. He taught us the rudiments of
what he knows, a philosophy and techniques based on establishing
love, harmony and peace. He also told us there was a group of
Hunas working together around Hawaii, where he lives. I've met
two more people like him. Both were Theosophists. Both have, in
different ways, had a very positive influence on my life. So I'd
rather talk about them any old time, than those old looking but
not being black magician. Besides, I never knowingly came across
one of them.
And from C.W. Leadbeater, INNER LIFE, 4th ed., 127, we read:
> There is no hierarchy of evil. There are black magicians
> certainly, but the black magician is usually merely a single
> solitary entity. He is working for himself, as a separate
> entity, and for his own ends. You can not have a hierarchy of
> people who distrust one another. In the White Brotherhood
> every member trusts the others; but you cannot have trust with
> the dark people, because their interest is built upon self ...
> Matter is not evil. Spirit and matter are equal. Matter is not
> in opposition to spirit. We find matter troublesome because of
> the bodies we have to use; but we are here in order to learn what
> without the physical life could not be conveyed to us. The
> physical plane experiences give a definiteness and precision to
> our consciousness and powers which we could never acquire on any
> plane, unless we had spent the necessary time on this. But why
> do people bother about evil? There is plenty of good in the
> world, and it is better to think of that, for your thought
> strengthens that of which you think. To think and talk so much
> about black magicians unquestionably attracts their attention to
> you, and the results are often exceedingly undesirable.
by Paul Johnson
[based upon a September 26, 1994 posting to email@example.com.]
On the question of possible "Dark Brotherhood" intervention in
the history of the Theosophical Society [TS], to disrupt and
paralyze it -- yes and no.
First, the same caveat about the "Dark Brotherhood" that I would
make about the "Great White Brotherhood." To see them as
organizations with titles, officers and such is to materialize a
spiritual concept and thus to make a travesty of what HPB
In her teaching, the Mahatmas are exemplars of a future state of
human evolution, having attained levels of wisdom, love, and
power that we will all reach in the distant future. As such,
they are harbingers, a vanguard, way-showers WHO BY THEIR
INHERENT NATURE are uplifting forces inspiring progressive
development. No need for fancy titles or hierarchical
organizations or meetings in hidden places.
Do Jupiter and Saturn have meetings and titles in order to figure
out how to cooperate in the solar system? The higher the degree
of spiritual evolution, the more such trappings are left behind.
Therefore, by analogy one can identify the Dark Brotherhood as
exemplars of past states of human evolution who exemplify
primitive conditions of consciousness that we should be moving
away from. As such, BY THEIR INHERENT NATURE they drag down the
progressive evolutionary flow of human history, thwart the
enlightening, liberating movements of their time, etc. Again,
there is no need for organizations, titles, meetings, etc.
Of course, the idea of power is also part of the concept of the
Dark Brotherhood, but selfish power that is anti-social in
nature. In today's world one might nominate Khomeini, Falwell,
Zhirinovsky as all beings who somehow draw on collective energy
but use their power in an anti-evolutionary direction.
Now, in this abstract definition, one can look at TS history in a
broader way. To say that the TS was aided by the GWB means that
it was inspired and encouraged by beings who were far in the
To say that it was disrupted by the DB means that it was opposed
and thwarted by the anti-progressive forces of the time. For
example, there was a Brahmin takeover of the TS of sorts, after
which the anti-caste platform of the Society was quietly
relegated to a back seat. Or, in Steiner's case, a
Christo-centric, German-speaking cultural chauvinistic trend that
spun off a large chunk of the Society's membership, energy, etc.
And so on through TS history -- a steady progressive movement,
aided by "forces of light" but constantly disrupted by
anti-progressive forces seeking to undermine that movement.
I apologize for naming names above, and my suggestions are only
that, but the general principle of progressive vs. regressive
energies is, I think, the healthiest guide to examining this
question without getting into paranoid weirdness.
IS THERE A BROTHERHOOD OF EVIL?
by Eldon Tucker
[based upon a September 27, 1994 posting to firstname.lastname@example.org.]
There is also discussion of the path of evil in "Fundamentals of
the Esoteric Philosophy" by G. de Purucker.
The dark path is described in terms of degrees of failure in
evolution. It starts with normal, unawakened people, called
"soul-less" because they do not have spirituality awakened in
their lives, to "lost souls" where an entire lifetime is wasted,
and onwards, through progressively worse degrees of failure
ending with destruction of one's inner nature, and a form of hell
after our evolution on earth is complete (being "ground over" in
an Avitchi Nirvana and then having to restart evolution).
In "The Mahatma Letters," there is mention of the Mamo-Chohans,
whom rule over the Pralayas or outer periods of death and decay.
(We're safely gone from the scene, having departed into Nirvana
upon destruction of the earth.)
One aspect of organized "evil" involves other planetary chains.
We can experience hell-like worlds, places of suffering, since
our Earth Chain is not on the lowest plane. There are other
planetary chains yet on lower planes. To have an experience on
one of these chains would seem hell-like. To visit the highest
globes of one of these chains would be an Nirvana of pure hell,
as compared to the relatively lofty consciousness we have on the
globes of the Earth.
Purucker goes to considerable lengths to distinguish the
spiritual-material polarity from good and evil. He explains how
it is possible to be material, and yet good, or how it is
possible to become spiritually evil. A simple way to describe
spiritual evil is what happens if one awakens his higher
faculties and yet remains focused in a strong sense of
personality. The sense of personality and separateness is raised
into the higher principles, along with a "not caring" that takes
on monstrous proportions. Instead of the sweet coolness of good
spirituality, there is the killing, icy coldness. There is a
vast penetration into the secrets of nature. Personal powers and
dominion over nature and other people becomes the prime
motivator, rather than selflessness and a dedication of life for
others. Hatred is left behind as a waste of energy. Like J.R.
Ewing on "Dallas," one may be likable, but deadly if one gets in
his way. There is absolutely no thought of others, the sense of
personality and individual separateness reigns supreme.
What does this sort of path end with? Personal destruction. The
duration of one's existence depends upon how deep in one's
spiritual nature that the evil has crept. (Picture a cavity; if
it gets too deep, a root canal is necessary.) An totally evil
person may have but a wasted lifetime. An evil person with some
occult powers may be able to hold off the after-death states for
a period of time, but meets with dissolution as the "second
death" is faced and the good part of Manas (for him -- nothing)
separates from the Kamarupa. Still more evil, someone may be
able to persist even longer. The longest that one exists,
though, is to the Pralaya, at which death ensues, since the evil
person cannot persist after the dissolution of the inner worlds
on which he clings to existence. (What about the Mamo- Chohans
ruling at the Pralayas? Another story ...)
It is wrong to picture an hierarchy of good, and another of evil,
both of equal status and power, both battling for control of the
direction of the world. There is but one order, and that is
good. The apparently organized forces of evil are failures in
life, those failing in the process of evolving into matter in
order to acquire self-consciousness and to raise that treasure
back into the spirit. That process is failing for them, and if
totally failed, just means that it must be started anew.
The failures may band together, in some loose-knit manner, but
because of the nature of their consciousness, they cannot trust
each other nor be depended upon to support any organized
structure, unless it is in their self interest. Any cooperation
not based upon self-benefit would have to be out of fear. If
stronger individuals can control weaker ones, the weaker ones,
although untrustworthy and treacherous, will do what they are
told, until their boss turns his back ... I would not use the
term "Dark Brotherhood," because that implies some sense of
brotherliness, at least among fellow members, and any sense of
that type of consciousness is lost early on in their development
Another important aspect of good and evil, of spiritual success
and failure, regards the major turning points in cycles. At the
turning point when the push into material existence ends and the
return to the spiritual begins, like at the middle of the Fourth
Round, there is a point of failure. Some do not make the turn,
but go lower. It is not a happy fate. Purucker mentions it in
passing, but does not go into much detail.
Should we be concerned with any of this? Not really. But what if
we aren't perfect? Certainly we all have various personal flaws,
and make mistakes and are evil at times. True. But it is not
100 percent purity that makes us good, it is the strength of the
pull towards the higher. The stronger the sense of a draw to
higher things, the safer we are from the corruptible, the more we
raise ourselves into the incorruptible. Picture a good compass.
It is good because it is free- moving. It can be bumped but
always wants to return to true North. It has a strong desire to
be oriented in that direction. Were it not free-moving, and
therefore responsive to being knocked off the true, it could also
not be free to continually adjust as the compass changes
What makes the compass good is the persistence in returning to
North, the strength that the pull of the North is felt. Someone
evil may no longer respond to the call of the North, but do
everything according to his own agenda. We cannot be mislead,
though. When the pull of the spiritual is a compelling force in
our lives, we are safe from any bump that life may throw our way.
SPIRITUAL GIFTS AND THEIR ATTAINMENT
by A. Trevor Barker
[From THE HILL OF DISCERNMENT, Theosophical University Press,
This title, "Spiritual Gifts and their Attainment," you may
possibly be thinking -- and I am not at all sure that I would not
agree with you -- is something of a misnomer directly we begin to
examine its significance. However, the expression was used by
William Q. Judge in an article that he published many years ago
in his inspired magazine THE PATH. He there inquired into the
question of spiritual gifts: as to whether there actually are
such things as gifts of any kind that are bestowed upon any human
You remember, H.P.B. in the first volume of THE SECRET
DOCTIRNE laid it down as a fundamental principle of all spiritual
effort, and an underlying law of our own being, that there are no
special gifts or privileges that man is heir to. On the
contrary, she said, every spiritual, intellectual, psychical or
physical power that anyone is able to bring forth, manifest, and
show to the world, any such power or faculty, has been developed
by his own striving, by his own effort.
In what sense, therefore, can we understand this question of
so-called spiritual gifts? I think it is true to say that our old
friend St. Paul was responsible for the term "spiritual gifts";
and he included in the term such qualities as faith, vision, and
the knowledge of the performance of feats which in those days
were called miracles, such as healing; and likewise the
performance of various other actions of a very good and spiritual
character. Yet he pointed out in his EPISTLE TO THE CORINTHIANS
that, excellent as these things undoubtedly are, and useful in
their proper place, nevertheless there were spiritual qualities
that transcended all these, and that the gift of Charity (so
translated in the Bible) -- which incidentally is the first of
the Divine Paramitas of THE VOICE OF THE SILENCE -- was said to
transcend all these. In fact that it was possible to have all
these other gifts, and if they were not permeated and irradiated
by Compassion, they were worth nothing. Therefore we have to
come to the conclusion that spiritual gifts, if they mean
anything, are those which are bestowed upon the human being who
has given up his personal life; and they thereby become an
instrument in the hands of his own inner and higher nature -- a
channel in fact for the power of the Supreme Spirit to pour forth
into the world. All mystics, all disciples, of all ages, have
borne witness to the fact that, though they had given up
everything that from a personal and worldly point of view might
be considered to make life worth living, nevertheless they
treasured above everything that power to do, to will, to know,
and to serve their fellows. They entered into the purified
Temple of their own being once they had passed through the
experience of losing their physical lives, of giving up the
things that prevented the light of the Supreme Spirit from
flooding into the purified Temple of the body.
This is the subject of the whole discourse of THE BHAGAVAD-GITA.
If you study carefully the first Discourse of this wonderful
spiritual allegory you will find there the four characters that
give us a clue to the symbols that are used throughout this great
epic. First there is, of course, the Divine Teacher Krishna in
the three or four aspects of the Supreme which he severally
adopts and acts through in his instruction of Arjuna. Krishna is
the symbol of the Supreme: he is the Paramatman, the Self: that
Self which is the same in you, in me, and in all creatures
everywhere; that Self which is the object of all our strivings,
all our aspirations, all our searchings for Truth; our answer,
once we have done the work that will enable us to perceive the
precepts of gods and men in our own hearts. If we are searching
for the true spiritual gifts, then we shall turn to THE
BHAGAVAD-GITA and see whether we can kindle the lamp of spiritual
knowledge through the fire that burns and glimmers through the
pages of that ancient book.
Krishna is the first character then, whose words of instruction
we shall listen to as he teaches his disciple Arjuna; and Arjuna
is the symbol of the higher mind -- the Higher Manas, as we
should say in our technical Theosophical language -- as he stands
on the battlefield of his being, on the field of Kurukshetra. He
stands, as all spiritual pilgrims do, upon the battlefield of his
own being: the Higher Manas, the higher mind, the real
individuality in you and in me.
Then you have the character of Dhritarashtra, the blind King, and
you can regard him as the lower unpurified mind: the personality
in all its unattractiveness. He is blind, he is unable to see a
Finally you have the fourth character, Sanjaya, the Brahmin
Teacher, who represents the voice of conscience, actually
standing for the link between the Higher and the lower Manas in
much the same way as Buddhi is the principle that unites the
higher mind to the supreme spirit, Atman -- as those of you will
recognize who are aware of our Theosophical arrangement of the
inner nature, and the principles that go to make up man's
constitution. Sanjaya, the voice of conscience, is that which
enables the lower personal man to wake up and begin to listen to
the first whisperings and promptings of his own higher nature.
And so we come to inquire as to what really is the nature of the
work that we have to do on ourselves if we are going to succeed
in developing the spiritual faculties that all men desire, and
rightly desire, to find unfolding within themselves; for these
are the powers and faculties that we can share with all men.
This work and training take nothing from any human creature, but
on the contrary, once this inner fire is kindled in the heart of
any one of us, he becomes to a very small degree a channel
through which spiritual and regenerating ideas flow to the world
What, then, is the nature of this work? I will try to find
language to give at least some ideas about it. First of all we
shall not be interested in these subjects unless we have already
come to the conclusion that there is a spiritual power that it is
possible for us to contact; that there is something in the depths
of the heart, or in the spiritual part of our being, that, if we
could only learn how to reflect, to become, to manifest it, at
least for a decent part of our waking life, would greatly benefit
ourselves as individuals, and likewise those around us. We
recognize that the spiritual power is there if we can only reach
it; but according to the particular point in the ladder of
evolution that we stand at, we are in the position of
Dhritarashrta. We have a lower personality, a mind and emotions,
that are more or less turbulent, more or less attached to the
objects of the senses, to all that makes up the outward
attractiveness of the earth or world. That personality is
probably engaged in the struggle for existence; or, if born into
circumstances where there is no such struggle, then it has a
still harder time, for it has more to learn, more to give up, and
less incentive to enter into the performance of action which
calls forth capacity to attend to the daily duties and learn how
to perform them in a way that will open up the possibility of
knowing the true individuality -- something quite different from
the consciousness for so long experienced in what is really and
truly the tomb of personal life.
And so the individual, or rather the personal man, when he is
awakened to the point where he recognizes the existence of the
spiritual nature within, arises and sets forth to seek out the
Ancient Teachers of the race. He aspires, and somewhere in the
depths of his own being he begins to experience the promptings of
conscience, to follow along and do certain simple, perhaps
everyday, actions helpful to others, or to carry out some simple
or more complex duties. Directly he begins to do that there come
the whisperings of the Higher Manas to the personality; and then
perhaps such a book as THE BHAGAVAD-GITA falls into his hands,
and he begins to study. The lower mind begins to be purified,
the emotions to be stirred, and as he goes on aspiring perhaps he
is fortunate in the companionship of others engaged in a similar
pursuit. Then one day comes that event when the aspiration of
the lower man evokes an outpouring of divine life from the
Buddhic splendor within him, the vehicle of that shoreless ocean
of spiritual life which is frontierless and boundless, and which
all men live in and are inspired by. He realizes that to take
this Kingdom of Heaven by the force of his awakened spiritual
will he must enter the Temple of the Heart. He must plunge deep
within his own nature; and if he does this, there will come that
flashing response which will mean that this personal man is no
longer left as a more or less rudderless ship, but that the
strength of his own true individuality descends into his own
heart as a flame. From that moment onwards he has in a true
sense set his feet upon the pathway that will carry him to the
heart of being itself; will take him to the source from which all
impulses of a spiritual kind flow into this universe.
The sublime possibilities for the human aspirant are so distant
that in a sense they hardly act as an incentive to push forward.
The man that enters upon this Pathway eventually becomes the
Mahatma, the Great Soul; but he has his long, long pilgrimage to
perform; and there has never been any secret made of it that this
state is not achieved at a single bound in one short life, but
demands steady, devoted, self-sacrificing effort toward one clear
objective with all personal side-issues dropped.
Somehow, one feels that in these days when the stress and storm
of world events touches us all so closely, men's minds are not so
concerned with high metaphysics. They want to know what is their
next step; they want to know what they have to do; and I believe
that we shall meet with success in our Work to the extent that we
can give a practical message. I do not mean in a material sense,
but a practical spiritual message to those who are interested in
spiritual things. There is nothing that any one of us has that
we believe of value in the spiritual life that we cannot share
with another. And so this matter of the first steps on the
Pathway is being discussed designedly tonight. It is the things
that WE CAN DO that are the most interesting for us; and we CAN
take the first steps on the Pathway that will lead us to make use
of the gifts of our spiritual nature.
QUESTION: What is the significance of Teachers for those who
enter upon this search?
ANSWER: There are Teachers in the world that it is possible for
you and me to reach. There are other Teachers that it may be
possible for us to reach if we are successful in our search --
our inward search; if we are successful in accomplishing a few
steps of what the alchemists of old called the Great Work. Our
Teachers are necessary for us.
What function do they play in our own pilgrimage? Let us reflect
on this fact: that it is very few -- probably it is true to say
that no one comes into contact with this Movement who does not
owe his knowledge of it to books or to other people who are
engaged in the Movement; and all of these efforts, the
literature, the teachings, are due to the sacrifice made by those
who have given their lives to teach. It will be found that if we
want to make progress in the real sense of the word we shall do
well to seek out that company, and try to be in the company of
what Mr. Judge described as "holy men."
And it should be remembered at this point that this does not mean
that we are seeking out someone who shall do our work for us,
because if we do that we shall be disappointed. That would
merely be the eternal looking outside of ourselves for something
that we would never find. We shall never find a true Teacher
until we have found something within ourselves that will enable
us to recognize the true Teacher when we come across him. The
example of such a one, the spiritual and philosophical
instruction, the inner spiritual stimulus, is such as to make him
the real heart and head of a Movement such as ours. You cannot
in a spiritual Movement expect that any real spiritual life will
exist unless there is a consolidated community of individuals
linked together by a common aspiration, a common purpose, with
spiritual Leadership that they trust, and with a common teaching
-- a teaching that is not only ethical, intellectual,
philosophical, and spiritual, but also universal in character.
QUESTION: Should we seek after this union with our Higher Self?
Is so much concentration on ourselves a spiritual selfishness?
ANSWER: I suppose everything can be a kind of selfishness. There
are such beings as Pratyeka-Buddhas in our philosophy: those who
seek their knowledge purely for themselves. Such beings exist:
such a path exists, and I believe this path is called the Path of
Liberation, a path that is followed by one who simply seeks
knowledge for his own self-satisfaction. And yet this is not the
path that the Teachers of mankind have indicated to us. They
point to the fact that these spiritual beings do exist who are
concentrated upon their own perfection; but that the true way is
to be found by a dropping of interest in all personal ambition,
all personal strivings for success, and living simply to be an
instrument in the hands of the only one Teacher.
QUESTION: Is it always necessary to experience suffering in order
to enter the Path?
ANSWER: There are many things that call forth the effort to
spiritual striving, according to the nature of the man. Take the
case of a scientist. I can conceive of a scientist, and even a
great one, who from his early life became absorbed in the pursuit
of knowledge, perhaps with the very highest ideal of offering up
his knowledge on the altar of the service of his fellows. I can
quite conceive that suffering as such may not touch his life for
a long, long time. Are you going to tell me that such a man who
truly follows his researches into the secrets of Mother Nature is
not following a pathway of evolution suitable for him --
knowledge and service of the race having called forth his effort?
Then there are people who would listen to no appeal, and yet
would be moved by the message contained in great art, in beauty.
That has opened up some channel in their spiritual being; but
sooner or later, if they progress upon the Pathway at all,
suffering will come. It cannot be avoided and it is the greatest
Teacher. That does not mean to say that you have to sit around
with a moping expression waiting for this suffering to descend
upon you. It will come in its own time, and it will unlock doors
when it comes.
NEOPHYTES IN POPULAR FILM?
by Pam Giese
I recently watched a bit of the old Marilyn Monroe/Clark Gable
movie "Misfits". It's one of my favorites. In many ways, it's a
story of Roslyn's (Monroe's character) spiritual awakening --
throughout the movie she's asking the right questions, but to the
wrong people at the wrong time, in the wrong context.
She's trying to see good and beauty and love but it keeps getting
turned wrong on her. The people around her are running away from
the very things that Roslyn wants to confront. She's a neophyte
starting on the path with all the forces working against her.
It's those final scenes out in the prairie where she painfully
gets a view into the reality of things.
It's in the raw expansions of the prairie the characters are
forced to confront the truth that in order to preserve the facade
of their own freedom, they are destroying the very symbol of that
freedom. Most people I know, hate this movie. I think it's
because it makes the viewer confront much of the same pain as the
I've known a lot of people like the cowboys in the movie --
people who live on the edge of society, existing by barter,
poaching, and odd jobs but never really buying into the whole
The sun is just starting to rise here. I love to see the
sunrise. It brings a sense of freshness and promise to the
world. Even when I lived in the city, driving through some of
the toughest parts of town, around sunrise, there was this sense
of hope -- old men sweeping off their walks, women hustling
children off to day care and school.
At sunset gangs roamed the same streets and were even known to
block intersections. It always reminded me of the Egyptian myth
-- Ra was born each day at sunrise and at that time he was young
and strong; but as the day goes on, Ra grows old, until finally
in his weakness, he is overrun by the power of darkness until he
can be born again.
APOLLONIUS OF TYANA
[reprinted with permission from Theosophy Magazine, Volume 24,
Page 385 et seq.]
The great Theosophist of the first century B.C. was Jesus the
Christ. The great Theosophist of the first century A.D. was
Apollonius of Tyana. The lives of these two men are marked by
striking similarities and by equally striking differences. The
similarities are found in their aim, purpose, and teaching, and
are explained by the fact that both were members of that great
Fraternity of Perfected Men who stand behind the Theosophical
Movement. The differences are found in their personal lives and
in the way they presented their philosophy.
Jesus is not a historical character. The great historians of the
first two centuries do not mention him. As Moncure D. Conway
says in Modern Thought:
> The world has been for a long time engaged in writing lives of
> Jesus. In the fourth gospel it is said:
> > There are also many other things that Jesus did, the which, if
> > they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world
> > itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen.
> The library of such books has grown since then. But when we come
> to examine them, one startling fact confronts us: all of these
> books relate to a personage concerning whom there does not exist
> a single scrap of contemporary information -- not one! By
> accepted tradition he was born in the reign of Augustus, the
> great literary age of the nation of which he was a subject. In
> the Augustan age historians flourished; poets, orators, critics,
> and travelers abounded. Yet not one mentions the name of Jesus
> Christ, much less any incident in his life.
Apollonius of Tyana was, on the contrary, a well-known historical
figure. The parents of Jesus -- whoever they were -- were
obscure and humble people. Apollonius belonged to a prominent
and well-known family, whose ancestors had founded the city of
Tyana where he was born.
The friends and disciples of Jesus were drawn from the poorer
classes. Apollonius was the friend of Kings and Emperors. He
was at one time the personal adviser of the Emperor Vespasian,
and the great Emperor-philosopher Marcus Aurelius admitted that
he owed his philosophy to Apollonius. Says Marcus Aurelius:
> From Apollonius I have learned freedom of will and understanding,
> steadiness of purpose, and to look to nothing else, not even for
> a moment, except to reason.
Jesus was not one of the traveling Adepts. There is no record of
his having been in any country save his own native Judea and
Egypt. Apollonius was the most famous traveler of his day. He
visited every country in the then known world with the exception
of Britain, Germany, and China. He traveled extensively through
Italy, Greece, Spain, Africa, Asia Minor, Persia, and India,
teaching wherever he went.
In Athens, Apollonius taught from the same porch which had once
echoed to the wisdom of Socrates. He lectured on the island of
Samos, where Pythagoras had conducted his school. He spoke in
the grounds where Plato's Academy had stood. He taught in the
Temple of Apollo in Delphi, above the entrance of which were
engraved those immortal words: Man know thyself! He was teaching
in Crete on the day of the great eruption of Vesuvius, when the
cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum were destroyed. He taught in
Italy, Spain, and northern Africa, which was then called
Mauretania. He lived for a long time in the city of Alexandria,
holding his classes in the Temple of Serapis. He went up the
Nile as far as Thebes and Karnak. He celebrated the festival of
Neith in the ancient city of Sais, where stands the ever-veiled
statue of this goddess with its inscription: I am all that has
been, and is, and shall be, and my veil no mortal has withdrawn.
And all of these travels were carefully recorded and preserved.
Jesus left nothing in writing. Apollonius was the author of
voluminous philosophical literature. All of his works were
collected by the Emperor Hadrian, and preserved in his place at
Antium. The records of Apollonius' life in Greece are so
important that, were it not for the works of Apollonius and the
books of Pausanius, we would have had no history of Greece
between the year 52 B.C. and the fifth century A.D.
There is, unfortunately, no accurate record of Jesus' life. The
one most commonly accepted is found in the four Gospels. But
this record was not written by Jesus himself, nor by any of his
immediate disciples. As Fauste, the great Manichean of the third
> Everyone knows that the Evangeliums were written neither by Jesus
> nor his apostles, but long after their time by some unknown
> persons, who, judging well that they would hardly be believed
> when telling of things they had not seen themselves, headed their
> narratives with the names of the apostles or of disciples
> contemporaneous with the latter.
The record of Apollonius' life is, on the contrary, quite
complete. It was written by a personal friend and devoted
disciple of Apollonius who was his constant companion for more
than fifty years, and who made a daily report of all that
Apollonius did or said during that time. This record was
transcribed and put into book form by one of the most famous
historians of the day, and was published in the year 210 A.D. --
more than a hundred years before the Gospels appeared.
The compiler of this book was Philostratus, who is called the
Talleyrand of the second century. He was a famous scholar, the
author of a large number of philosophical and historical books,
and the close friend of the Emperor Severus and his wife, Julia
Domna. Severus was a Neo-Platonist and Julia Domna was one of
the most famous women in history. She was a philosopher of note,
and surrounded herself with the greatest intellects of the day.
She also founded one of the great libraries of that age, which
was subsequently "cleared of its philosophical chaff" by the
Christian Emperor Justinian, and completely destroyed in the
sixth century by Pope Gregory.
The Emperor Severus and his wife were great admirers of
Apollonius, and it was at the Empress' request that Philostratus
compiled his Life of Apollonius from the manuscripts which had
been entrusted to her care. A copy of this work, written in
Greek, may be found in the Library of Congress. No English
translation appeared until the year 1809. In that year the
Reverend Edward Berwick, Vicar of Leixlip, Ireland, published his
own translation with profuse apologies to the Christian world for
the similarities (which all would notice) between the life of
Jesus and that of Apollonius.
The world today may be unaware of those similarities. The world
of the second and third centuries was only too well aware of
them. The Church of that day was basing its claim of Jesus'
divinity upon the miracles that he is said to have performed.
But Apollonius was performing the same miracles before their very
eyes, and at the same time refusing to call them miracles,
claiming them to be but expressions of natural law. One day
Apollonius met a funeral procession, bearing the body of a young
girl who had just died. He stopped the procession with these
> Set down the bier, and I will dry the tears being shed for this
In a few moments the maid arose and joined her friends.
Apollonius was asked how such "miracles" were possible, and
> There is no death of anything save in appearance. That which
> passes over from essence to nature seems to be birth, and what
> passes over from nature to essence seems to be death. Nothing
> really is originated, and nothing ever perishes; but only now
> comes into sight and now vanishes. It appears by reason of the
> density of matter, and disappears by reason of the tenuity of
> essence. But it is always the same, differing only in motion and
The "miracles" performed by Apollonius caused great consternation
in the young Christian Church. Justin Martyr, the great Church
Father of the second century, pertinently asked:
> How is it that the talismans of Apollonius have power over
> certain members of creation, for they prevent, as we see, the
> fury of the waves, the violence of the winds, and the attacks of
> wild beasts? And whilst Our Lord's miracles are preserved by
> tradition alone, those of Apollonius are most numerous, and
> actually manifested in present facts, so as to lead astray all
Ralston Skinner, author of The Source of Measures, believes that
this similarity "serves to explain why The Life of Apollonius of
Tyana by Philostratus has been so carefully kept back from
translation and popular reading." He says that those who have
studied this work in the original are forced to the conclusion
that either The Life of Apollonius has been taken from the New
Testament, or the New Testament from Philostratus' work. As the
New Testament did not appear until a hundred years after the
publication of Philostratus' book, the reader is left to draw his
Philostratus probably knew the commotion his book would cause in
the Christian world. Possibly he wrote it for that very reason.
For he was a devoted admirer of Pythagoras, and as such must have
taken pleasure in bringing into public notice the noble character
of one who was a strict and zealous follower of the Pythagorean
School. In defending the position of Apollonius, Philostratus
> Some consider him as one of the Magi, because he conversed with
> the Magi of Babylon and the Brahmans of India and the
> Gymnosophists of Egypt. But even his wisdom is reviled as being
> acquired by the magic art, so erroneous are the opinions formed
> of him. Whereas Empedocles and Pythagoras and Democritus, though
> they conversed with the same Magi, and advanced many paradoxical
> sentiments, have not fallen under the like imputation. Even
> Plato, who traveled in Egypt, and blended with his doctrines many
> opinions collected there from the priests and prophets, incurred
> not such a suspicion, though envied above all men on account of
> his superior wisdom.
Philostratus, then, must be admired as one of those who called
for a restitution of borrowed robes, and the vindication of
calumniated, but glorious reputations. And in bringing certain
parts of this old book -- now long out of print -- to the notice
of Theosophical students, the same object is kept in view.
This book, like all others of a similar character, has both a
literal and a symbolic meaning. If it is studied symbolically,
it will be found to contain the whole of the Hermetic philosophy.
Apollonius' journey to India represents the trials of a neophyte,
and his conversations with the Sages of Kashmir would, if
properly interpreted, give the esoteric catechism. Many of the
secret dogmas of Hermes are explained in symbolical language by
the great Adept Iarchas, and his words would disclose, if
understood, some of the most important secrets of nature.
Apollonius was born in the year 1 A.D. in the Greek town of
Tyana in Cappadocia. He came of an ancient and aristocratic
line, and was brought up in wealth and luxury. His birth, like
that of most great Teachers, was out of the ordinary,
> Whilst his mother was of child with him, Proteus the Egyptian God
> appeared to her. The woman asked him what she should bring
> forth. To which he replied: "Thou shalt bring forth me!" This
> you may suppose excited her curiosity to ask again who he was,
> and he said he was the Egyptian God Proteus.
When his mother neared the time of her delivery, she was told to
go to a certain meadow and gather flowers. When she approached
the meadow, a flock of swans formed a circle around her, singing
and clapping their wings. At the moment of Apollonius' birth, a
thunderbolt came out of the sky, arose to heaven and disappeared
in the blue.
The child Apollonius possessed great intelligence. At the age of
fourteen he was sent to the city of Tarsus, then a place of great
learning and culture. But Apollonius would not rest until he had
gained his father's permission to leave Tarsus and go to Aegea,
where he hoped to find a more congenial atmosphere and a greater
opportunity for philosophical study. In Aegea he soon contacted
disciples of the Pythagorean School, and at the age of sixteen he
adopted the Pythagorean discipline. From that time on he ate no
meat, drank no wine, wore clothes made entirely of plant fibers,
and allowed his hair to grow long. There he entered the Temple
of Aesculapius, was initiated by the priests, and learned the art
of healing as Jesus had learned it with the Therapeutae in Egypt.
Later he turned the Temple of Aesculapius into a Lyceum similar
in character to the Lyceums founded by Pericles. Cicero, and
Aristotle. Finally he took a vow of silence which lasted for
five years, during which period he never uttered a word.
At the end of his stay in Aegea he went to Antioch, where he
taught for many years. The platform of his work is described by
one of his biographers, Daniel M. Tredwell.
> He maintained that the only good was moral excellence, the only
> true satisfaction, independence of external circumstances, and
> consequently held that wealth was an obstacle to the development
> of virtue. The whole of his life was spent, the whole of his
> teachings are founded on the idea that all men are called to
> receive and practice truth. He speaks and acts as a reformer
> everywhere. He had no narrow notions of nationality, no local
> clique to serve. He came to no chosen people, but to all
All during those years his thoughts had been fixed on far off
India where he had been told that those Mahatmas lived who stood
nearest to the source of wisdom. During his stay in Antioch he
had acquired seven disciples. But when he spoke of a journey to
India, their enthusiasm waned. And so he finally set off on his
journey accompanied only by two scribes, one of whom could write
rapidly, the other beautifully. When he reached the city of
Ninus, a young man by the name of Damis attached himself to
Apollonius and accompanied him throughout all his subsequent
wandering. It was Damis who wrote the account of Apollonius'
travels which Philostratus compiled at the request of the Empress
After all their arrangements had been completed, the wanderers
set out upon their long journey, which would carry them into new
and strange places and finally lead them into the presence of the
Masters. Their first resting place was the city of Babylon,
where Apollonius met the Magi and was initiated by them into the
Chaldean Mysteries. The King of Babylon became his friend and
furnished him with camels and a guide for his trip.
It was early spring when Apollonius and Damis began their long
journey. We can see them, mounted upon their camels, crossing
the desert wastes of Arabia, finally reaching the rose-scented
land of Persia where Omar, a thousand years later, begged that he
might be buried "so that roses might blow over his tomb." They
were received everywhere with enthusiasm, for their caravan was
headed by a camel wearing an ornament of gold, proclaiming to the
world that friends of the King of Babylon were upon the road.
And all through the sultry days, lulled by the sleepy tinkle of
the camel bells, Apollonius talked with his friend Damis.
Sometimes they laughed and spoke of trivial things. But
Apollonius always tried to bring the mind of his friend to the
consideration of spiritual matters, using the commonplace to
illustrate the divine. One day, shortly after they had begun
their ascent of the Hindu Kush, Apollonius said to Damis:
"Pray tell me, Damis, where were we yesterday?"
"On the plain," answered Damis.
"And where are we today?"
"On the Calculus, if I am not mistaken."
"Then," said Apollonius, "yesterday we were below; today we are
above. In what respect do these conditions differ?"
"In this," said Damis, "that yesterday's journey has been made by
many travelers; but this day's journey has been made by the few."
And so, in this simple manner, Apollonius was able to call the
attention of his friend to the Path and to the Few that find it.
On another day they were watching the great white eagles that
soared majestically above their heads. And Apollonius used this
occasion to tell his friend the story of Prometheus and how it
symbolized the Egos who incarnated in men long, long ago. Then
he explained the Indian origin of the Greek myths, and told Damis
> The Greeks and Indians have different opinions about Bacchus.
> The Indians affirm that Bacchus was the son of the River Indus,
> and that the Theban Bacchus was his disciple.
At last they reached the city of Taxila, which lies near the
modern city of Rawalpindi, close to the border of Kashmir. In
front of the city walls stood a large Temple made of porphyry and
enriched with ornaments of gold. There they rested until the
King was ready to receive them, and there, Apollonius, speaking
of the art of painting, told Damis how the mind itself paints
indelible pictures on the astral light.
Apollonius found the King of Taxila a philosopher and a disciple
of the very Mahatmas he was seeking. The King gave him the
necessary requirements for one who wished to study with the
Masters. He said:
> A young man must go beyond the Hyphasis and see the men to whom
> you are going. When he comes into their presence, he must make a
> public declaration of studying philosophy. They have it in their
> power, if they think proper, to refuse admitting him to their
> society if he does not come pure. And when no stigma is
> discovered, the youth's character is then examined. Such
> information as relates to the candidates individually, is
> acquired by a minute investigation of their looks. Wise men, and
> such as are deep read in nature, see the tempers and dispositions
> of men just as they see objects in a mirror. In this country
> philosophy is deemed of such high price, and so honored by the
> Indians, that it is very necessary to have all examined who
> approach her.
When Apollonius and Damis took their departure, they carried with
them a letter from the King of Taxila to the Sages of Kashmir:
> King Phroates to Iarchas, his Master; and to the Wise Men with
> him -- health. Apollonius, a man famed for wisdom, thinks you
> have more knowledge than himself, and goes to be instructed in
> it. Send him away learned in all you know, and believe that
> nothing you teach him will be lost.
According to the description given by Philostratus, the travelers
must have taken the same route across the mountains that goes
from Rawalpindi at the present day. They must have followed the
gorge of the Hyphasis (now the Jhelum river) and watched it
foaming and swirling between its ochre banks. They traveled
through the great deodar forests, and may have stopped for a
moment at the spot where Vishnu is said to have rested after the
Great Flood. They caught their first glimpse of the Valley of
Kashmir in the late summer, when the roses and lotus are in full
bloom. What they thought of this "emerald valley set in a rim of
pearls," Damis does not say. His mind was occupied with the
tales that Apollonius told him of the Dragons who lived in the
hills. But the Theosophist knows that the Dragons that
Apollonius was seeking were the Nagas, or Sages of Kashmir.
At last they reached the hill where the Wise Men lived. It rose
majestically from the plain, defended on all sides by an immense
pile of rocks. There was a Castle on the top of the hill.
Apollonius could see the entrance to the Castle, but Damis could
see only the cloud that enveloped it.
As soon as they had dismounted from their camels, a messenger
from the Masters appeared, wearing a caduceus on his brow. He
brought Apollonius a letter of welcome from the Wise Men on the
Hill. When Apollonius was conducted into their presence, their
Chief, Iarchas, addressed him in Greek, minutely describing the
journey which had brought him to Kashmir. Apollonius, following
the instructions given to him by the King of Taxila, asked
Iarchas if he would instruct him in philosophy. Iarchas replied:
> I will, with all my heart, for the communication of knowledge is
> much more becoming the character of philosophy than the
> concealment of what ought to be known.
Then Iarchas begged Apollonius to propose whatever questions he
pleased, "for you know you speak with men who know all things."
Remembering the inscription carved over the entrance of the
Temple of Apollo in Delphi, Apollonius asked: "Do you know
yourselves?" Iarchas answered:
"We know all things because we know ourselves. For there is not
one among us who would have been admitted to the study of
philosophy had he not had that previous knowledge."
Apollonius then asked: "As what, then, do you consider
"As Gods," Iarchas replied.
"And why Gods?" said Apollonius.
"Because we are good men," was the answer.
This conversation led naturally to a discussion of the Soul, and
Apollonius inquired what their teaching was in regard to the
"The same," said Iarchas, "as was delivered to you by Pythagoras,
and by us to the Egyptians."
This statement, so strange to modern ears, could not have been a
surprise to Apollonius. For both Homer and Herodotus had spoken
of that colony of dark-skinned Aryans, known as the Eastern
Ethiopians, who had taken their civilization and their arts from
India to Egypt in pre-Vedic days. Iarchas spoke at great length
about these Eastern Ethiopians, saying:
> There was a time when this country was inhabited by the
> Ethiopians, an Indian nation. Ethiopia did not then exist.
> Whilst the Ethiopians lived in this country now possessed by us,
> and were obedient to a sovereign named Ganges, they had all the
> productions of the earth in plenty.
Apollonius must have many opportunities, during his stay in
Kashmir, to observe the relics of this ancient connection between
Kashmir, Ceylon, and Egypt. For even today there is a little
island in the very center of the Valley called Lanka, which is
the ancient name of Ceylon. And the grand old mountain that
stands like a sentinel overlooking the Valley is called
Hari-mouk, the name under which the Egyptians once worshiped the
Iarchas told Apollonius many things about the state of the
country when it was inhabited by the Eastern Ethiopians, and
informed him that he was speaking from personal knowledge, as he
himself had been this same King Ganges in a former incarnation.
> . . . asked Apollonius if he could tell the last body in which
> he appeared, and in what condition of life he was before the one
> he was in at present. To this Apollonius replied: "As it was
> ignoble, I remember little of it?"
> "What?" said Iarchas, "do you consider the being pilot of an
> Egyptian vessel as ignoble? For I know you were one!"
> "You are right," said Apollonius, "I was."
Apollonius spent thirteen years with the Sages of Kashmir, and at
the end of his visit Iarchas gave him seven rings, which he was
told to wear alternately during the seven days of the week,
according to the particular planet that gave its name to the day.
When he was ready to depart, Iarchas furnished him with camels,
and at the end of ten days he had reached the sea. From there he
sent back a letter to Iarchas which read:
> Apollonius to Iarchas and other sages -- health. I came to you
> by land; you have given me the sea. In communicating to me your
> wisdom, you have opened the road to heaven. I will remember this
> among the Greeks; I will continue to enjoy your conversation as
> if still with you, if I have not drunk of the cup of Tantalus in
> vain. Farewell, excellent philosophers.
That Apollonius did not "drink of the cup of Tantalus in vain" is
witnessed by his later work. He brought the Wisdom-Religion back
to Europe and laid down lines of force which were continued by
his successor, Ammonius Saccas. He established an esoteric
school in Ephesus, and is said by some of his biographers to have
died at the age of a hundred years. By others it is claimed that
he lived to the age of a hundred and thirty, and by still others
that he did not "die" at all, but "disappeared from view."
In the very heart of the Valley of Kashmir there stands the
little town of Srinagar, the home of Sri-Naga, the
"Serpent-King." The present town was founded 300 B.C. by the
great Buddhist King Asoka, and was therefore in existence when
Apollonius was in Kashmir. There is a tradition among the
inhabitants of this town that a great Adept came there from
Europe in the first century, and that he died there.
A few miles beyond the outskirts of Srinagar are found the
magnificent ruins of an ancient Temple of the Sun. It stands
upon a high plateau facing the East, its trefoil arches forming
graceful frames for the mighty panorama of the Himalayas beyond.
So old is this Temple that the five Pandu brothers of Mahabharata
fame are said to have worshiped there. Everywhere appears the
figure of the triangle superimposed upon the square -- the
ancient symbol of septenary man. Philostratus' description of
the Temple of the Sun where Apollonius worshiped closely
resembles this ancient Kashmiri Temple of Martand.
A two-week's journey on mule-back will take the traveler up the
mountains into the little city of Lhadak, in Western Tibet.
There he may have the good fortune to discover an ancient
Buddhist monastery perched like an eagle's nest on the
overhanging crags. There the monks may tell him (as they have
told other travelers) of certain manuscripts in their possession
which were left to them by the great European Adept of the first
century when he passed through Lhadak. And on the other side of
the Himalayas, in the sacred city of Lhasa, there are said to be
other men who possess records of the Adept who taught in Europe
during the first century, and came back "home" when his work was
Perhaps, after all, Apollonius did not die in Europe, but started
out on a second journey to India, passing through all these
places on his way "Home."
Dedicated to the Theosophical Philosophy and its Practical Application