Theosophy World Home Page
THEOSOPHY WORLD ---------------------------------- February, 1999
An Internet Magazine Dedicated to the Theosophical Philosophy
And its Practical Application in the Modern World
To submit papers or news items, subscribe, or unsubscribe, write
(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.)
"Encyclopedic Theosophy Glossary," by Sarah Belle Dougherty
"The Path is Life Itself," Part I, by Eldon Tucker
"Do We Have A Cycle Closing Now?" by Dallas TenBroeck
"The Road of Sensitivity," by Katinka Hesselink
"Taking an Ten-Day Vipassana Meditation Course," by Ray Tomes
"Blavatsky Net Update," by Reed Carson
"Fogies or What?" by Sy Ginsburg
"To Friends Both Far and Near," by Carmen Small
"Eternal Man," by Dara Eklund
"Forty Years at Headquarters: The Theosophical Society, Point
Loma, California," by Iverson L. Harris
"The Speech of the Gods," by C. Johnston & George Russell
> Those of us who profess to have a sincere desire to add our mite
> to the betterment of man should ask ourselves: are we interested
> solely in the light which these great ideas can shed on our own
> limited environment, or are we moved to live and work so that
> the sun of truth may shine in the souls of all men everywhere?
> -- James A. Long, EXPANDING HORIZONS, 234
ENCYCLOPEDIC THEOSOPHICAL GLOSSARY
by Sarah Belle Dougherty
Theosophical University Press has gone online with the electronic
version of the current working manuscript of the Encyclopedic
On January 15, 1999, Theosophical University Press began
publishing online, as a work in progress, the current manuscript
of the "Encyclopedic Theosophical Glossary" written under G. de
Purucker. It will go online serially, at:
-- beginning with the letters A and B, until the entire
manuscript is available to the public. Editorial and scholarly
review of the Glossary will proceed, and changes will continue to
be made as specific areas are updated and corrected in light of
modern scholarship. Grace F. Knoche's Introduction states the
> In 1930, within a year after succeeding Katherine Tingley to the
> leadership of the Theosophical Society with international
> headquarters at Point Loma, California, Gottfried de Purucker
> proposed to his Literary Committee that work begin on an enlarged
> glossary which must pass the test of scholarship and also meet
> the exacting test of fidelity to the universal wisdom-teaching as
> restated by H. P. Blavatsky. The proposal was received
> enthusiastically. Professor Charles J. Ryan was appointed to
> spearhead the project, assisted by Drs. Lydia Ross, Grace Knoche
> (Sr.) and, briefly, Gertrude W. van Pelt, all long-time students
> of THE SECRET DOCTRINE. In the beginning, as material was
> collected, Dr. de Purucker dictated emendations and/or additions
> to his private secretary, Elsie Savage, and, as convenient, to
> Helen Savage, Irene Ponsonby, and Margherita Siren. Progress,
> though steady, was slow, and to respond in part to the immediate
> demand for a handbook of frequently used theosophical and
> oriental terms, Dr. de Purucker, with the aid of Geoffrey
> Barborka, issued his OCCULT GLOSSARY in 1933.
> By the spring of 1934 it was clear that someone was required to
> coordinate the growing file of manuscripts received from the
> contributors who by then also included Drs. Henry T. Edge and
> Joseph H. Fussell, joined later, for the Sanskrit terms, by
> Judith Tyberg. So, on March 23, G. de Purucker appointed
> Geoffrey Barborka chairman of the Glossary Committee, a post he
> filled with unremitting diligence, . . .
> Inevitably when several people contribute to a work of this kind,
> there is bound to be unevenness of quality due to differences of
> educational background and temperament. The editor's role, as G.
> de Purucker conceived it, was not to bring the whole into a unity
> of style, but rather to examine every term and make corrections
> and additions as required. This he did until May 1941;
> thereafter, for another year, he continued to clarify moot
> questions, and also saw to it that Masoretic points were added to
> the Hebrew characters on all Qabbalistic terms.
> This project has always been close to my heart, for I was
> privileged to take Dr. de Purucker's dictation on all Glossary
> material from 1935 to 1942. In the 1980s an editorial team
> composed of A. Studley Hart, Sarah Belle Dougherty, Elsa-Brita
> Titchenell, and myself began a careful review of the Glossary.
> While it was possible to make editorial changes to modernize the
> text, improve the style, and remove obviously dated material,
> much work remains to be done: the extraordinary advances that
> have revolutionized our thinking in every branch of learning
> since Dr. de Purucker's death in September 1942 -- in the
> proliferating scientific disciplines, in psychology and
> parapsychology, in Tibetan and Egyptian language studies and
> Gnosticism, for example -- make it imperative that the content of
> the manuscript be updated. Furthermore, several important
> theosophical books -- including several books by G. de Purucker
> and H. P. Blavatsky's Collected Writings in 14 volumes -- have
> been published since the glossary was originally written,
> containing terms that need to be reviewed for inclusion.
Much of the material, however, is of value even in its present
form, particularly that dealing with theosophical and
philosophical concepts. This working online edition will,
however, contain some differences from a final edition. For
example, due to the current limitations of the ASCII character
font -- particularly when dealing with a thorough transliteration
of Sanskrit and Hebrew words -- as well as for ease of searching,
it will not include diacritical marks.
We hope that those using the Glossary will send in to the
Editorial Committee (at email@example.com) errors of fact
or typography that they find, along with any comments and
THE PATH IS LIFE ITSELF, PART I
by Eldon Tucker
[From THE THEOSOPHIST, Adyar, India, August 1975, 315-24.]
In a study of theosophical literature, one encounters the concept
or Teaching of the Path. Various descriptions of how to tread
the Path of Holiness exist. Descriptions range from such codes
of conduct as the ten Paramitas to simpler requirements such as
the Four Noble Truths of Buddhism and the Golden Rule of
Christianity. Entire books on undertaking the Path can be found
in theosophical literature, such as LIGHT ON THE PATH and THE
VOICE OF THE SILENCE. As in a study of any aspect of the
theosophical teachings, one must take care not to take things in
a dead-letter, literal sense. For the teachings of the esoteric
philosophy, Gupta Vidya, are mostly clothed in such a manner as
would be understood by the general public, which indicates that
any particular presentation cannot give the complete picture.
For instance, in speaking of the conflict between the Kurus and
the Pandavas in THE BHAGAVAD GITA, Dr. de Purucker explains:
> The question is easily answered: to little children we give
> storybooks; to those who cannot understand the meaning of peace
> and quiet and the enormous strength that lies in these, we talk
> of battle and of fighting, because there is always a victor and a
> vanquished. Thus in the literatures of the world secrets of
> mystic truths were written in the epic vein in order to meet the
> mental characteristics of those ages. But behind all this there
> were the esoteric schools which taught truth and compassion more
> directly ...
> -- G. de Purucker, FOUNTAIN SOURCE OF OCCULTISM, 5
It is important to keep in mind that the actual understanding and
wisdom contained in the theosophical teahings is far beyond the
grasp of the general student. We students of Theosophy who find
it yet right to live a life in the world must settle for those
crumbs of the Wisdom that may happen to fall our way. Each
glimpse of the Wisdom of life comes as a bight, luminous, starry
flash as one's heart melts in love, his mind glows with light,
and his world appears a different, vaster place. Unless willing
to give up everything, though, we must settle for but occasional
glimpses and shadows of the real teachings of life. As the
Mahatma Koot Hoomi said:
> Is any of you so eager for knowledge and the beneficent powers it
> confers as to be ready to leave your world and come into ours?
> Then let him come; but he must not think to return until the seal
> of the mysteries has locked his lips even against the chances of
> his own weakness or indiscretion. Let him come by all means, as
> the pupil to the master, and without conditions; or let him wait,
> as so many others have, and be satisfied with such crumbs of
> knowledge as may fall in his way.
> -- THE MAHATMA LETTERS TO A.P. SINNETT, 3rd ed., 9
This is not to say that to still live a life in the world is
wrong. It is foolish to deny that one is oneself. Dreaming of
what one might do millions of years hence is of no help to one's
place in life today. W.Q. Judge explains:
> My own experience in Occultism and in trying to live the Higher
> Life has conclusively shown me that we are placed by karma
> wherever we may be and that we cannot gain by trying to "alter
> mere surroundings," we thus only run away from the very test
> given us for the object in view.
> -- William Quan Judge, PRACTICAL OCCULTISM, 61
There are Laws in life, summarized in the doctrine of karma,
which exist and work despite any last-minute repentance,
squirming, closing of one's eyes, and denials, that one may
choose to resort to.
> Especially have you to bear in mind that the slightest CAUSE
> produced, however unconsciously, and with whatever motive, cannot
> be unmade, or its effects crossed in their progress -- by millions
> of gods, demons, and men combined.
> -- MAHATMA LETTERS, 204
> It is false pity as well as an esoteric crime for any so-called
> teacher to mislead aspiring students by promising them anything
> that is not the truth of the ages: THERE IS NO SHORT PATH, NO
> EASY WAY; for inner growth, inner unfolding, inner evolution is a
> matter of time and, above all, of self-effort. There are moments
> when the truth may seem to be cold and unacceptable, but this is
> the fault of the neophyte and not the fault of the teacher, and
> only proves that the student is not yet sufficiently awakened to
> recognize the true from the false, the right way from the left.
> -- FOUNTAIN SOURCE, 24
One is as subject to the Laws of Nature as is anyone else. Every
action irrevocably brings its effect. Being a student of
Theosophy makes one no more immune to the effects of selfishness
and personal desire than is a crass materialist or a gushy,
sentimental psychic. Every action cannot help but have its
result. The circumstances one finds oneself in today, right now,
this very instant, are precisely those which one has put oneself
in. All eternity, numberless manvantaras and kalpas and cycles
of one's existence, all the joy and sorrow and learning and
forgetting, the totality of one's being, have led to THIS MOMENT!
And in order to truly realize what is happening at the very
moment, one must see both his outside and inside circumstances.
He must not only know what is going on outside himself; he must
also clearly see his real place in life without any delusions or
To truly progress spiritually, to being to set one's feet on the
holy path, one must take one's life in hand and begin to self-
consciously direct his mastery of it. One need not go out to
seek trials and tribulations to aid one's spiritual unfoldment.
The very events that come to one in life are those very things
most needed to be mastered.
> ... the one who cannot control himself in the affairs of daily
> life and does not know who or what he is, cannot control the
> events and experiences that inevitably arise around anyone who
> succeeds, even in small degree, in approaching that 'straightest
> of all gates.'
> -- FOUNTAIN SOURCE, 16
The whole secret of self-mastery, of setting one's feet on the
Path, is put forth by Dr. de Purucker:
> No one will progress a single step to the more expanded selfhood
> which already is his own higher nature, until he learns that
> 'living for self' means descending into still more compacted and
> restricted spheres, and that 'living for all that is' means an
> expansion of his own soul into becoming the larger life.
> -- FOUNTAIN SOURCE, 19
And from a practical standpoint, as a theosophist:
> Mere brain-mind acquaintance with theosophic textbooks does not
> prove the genuine theosophist. The genuine theosophist is he who
> has love for mankind in his heart, combined with a deep knowledge
> of the theosophical teachings, and who carries these teachings
> into actual practice in his daily affairs.
> -- G. de Purucker, MESSAGES TO CONVENTIONS, 196
> I think the proper way to correct the evils in the world is by
> beginning on ourselves, and to leave the other fellow alone. Be
> an example unto the world, be a light unto the world, think what
> you believe, live what you preach, AND LEAVE THE OTHER FELLOW TO
> WORK OUT HIS DESTINY.
> -- MESSAGES TO CONVENTIONS, 202
That is, working as a theosophist, which is working to set one's
feet on the Path, is much more than reading and discussing
theosophical textbooks. One must develop a genuine love for
mankind. And at the same time one needs the wisdom or
discrimination to know how to apply this love. One must be hard
and uncompromising on oneself and yet remain tolerant and
forgiving to others. Other people mst be allowed to make their
own decisions. It is best that one only offers help when asked
for. Unwanted help can be more of a curse than a blessing to its
recipient. It is only when one is capable of seeing a problem
clearly enough that he can recognize his need for help and ask
for it that the help would be beneficial.
In living a life of compassion, one offers to those whom life
brings before one such aid and help and relief as they really
need and seek even if they have not consciously formulated the
need for the type of help offered.One offers the help that is
really needed; and even should the call for help not have been
conscious, the person will intuitively sense it is right for him
and gladly accept it.
> Notice that neither the Buddha nor Jesus the Avatara, nor
> Krishna, went around establishing soup-kitchens and charitable
> organizations and hospitals and things like these, great and
> beautiful though these often are. They were feeding and raising
> the hungry souls of men; they were clothing their spiritual
> nakedness with the sheaths of consciousness, the garments of
> truth, knowing that when they did these things, a multitude thus
> ensouled would attend to the material wants of our fellow human
> -- MESSAGES TO CONVENTIONS, 208
The principle involved in knowing when it is right to offer aid
to a fellow human being is simple. If he displays a need that
one can fulfill, one should gently, quietly offer to share one's
inner and outer resources. But all one should do is make the
offer. If and until it should be accepted, one should go no
farther. It is never one's duty to force anything on another
mature human being.To do so would be to interfere in his karma
and forge karmic bonds with him that would hold one back from
spiritual progress. And one also binds oneself to another when
offering and giving aid with a personal, from-me-to-him
consciousness.This latter type of karma is what would be called
good karma, though equally restrictive to one's progress, because
It is only when action is done without thought of self, purely
impersonally, that one is freeing oneself from the wheel of birth
and rebirth.But no student of Theosophy is purely impersonal.
There is always some element of personal pleasure and enjoyment
in doing good to others. The whole process of putting one's feet
on the path of holiness is one of gradual growth towards the
ideal, the archetype. It does no good to pretend to be acting
without thought of self, impersonally, when one is not. The
actual process of self-genesis, of self-becoming, of evolution,
is one of clearly seeing the present, lit up from the background
with the light of that ideal, but not clouded over with the Maya
of self-delusion and wishful thinking.
> IT IS NO USE TO FAST SO LONG AS YOU FEEL THE NECESSITY OF EATING.
> The whole groundwork of spiritual progress then comes to this:
> CHECK YOUR DESIRES AND LEARN TO CONTROL YOUR MIND.
> -- Sven Eek, ed., DAMODAR AND THE PIONEERS OF THE THEOSOPHICAL
> MOVEMENT, 303
It is all a matter of seeing how life is unfolding and making
plans to experience it based on what one sees is actually
happening, both inside and outside of oneself. At every point in
life one comes to a crossroads, be it large or small, and one is
constantly deciding the future pathway in life. To set one's
feet on the path, one simply pays attention to these crossroads
in life that continually arise and constantly makes the right,
the impersonal, the unselfish choice. And after a while -- it
may take a few years, it could be countless lifetimes, it all
depends upon the person -- one discovers that the place in which
he naturally finds himself in life is being a neophyte being
trained by one of the Masters. In any case, where he finds
himself is that place in life where he belongs, however much he
may not wish truly to face it.There is nothing wrong in finding
oneself in a life in the world, a worldly life. The only thing
that would be wrong would be to pretend to be what one is not and
thus miss making the conscious, correct choice at each of the
many crossroads in life.
One thing easy to lose sight of is the actual extent of one's
knowledge of the theosophical teachings.
> I will tell you plainly that our theosophical doctrines in their
> esoteric aspect can lead to two things: one is supreme light, and
> the other is insanity or black magic.
> -- THE DIALOGUES OF G. DE PURUCKER, I, 254
As we can see from the above clear-cut statement by Dr. de
Purucker, we have not really grasped much of the actual
teachings. A general student of Theosophy is neither insane nor
bathed in supreme light.Knowing but the terms and concepts that
the teachings are clothed in does not mean that one has any
inkling of the teachings proper. A man is ever encouraged to
break his molds of thought, to free his thinking or manasic
perception of the specific forms, concepts, molds that have been
used to embody his understanding. He is encouraged to see beyond
what is happening in his mind to what actually is happening in
life. And this of course is reflected A POSTERIORI in the mind,
in manas; but one does not truly see life if the reflection
happens first, A PRIORI, in the mind. The mind gives expression
to one's direct perception of life; it is not its function to
define what is out there, only to assimilate and digest what one
has already seen directly, via intuition or buddhi. This is why
Koot Hoomi says of false and sincere beliefs:
> Those who have believed and followed us have had their reward.
> Mr. Sinnett and Hume are exceptions. Their beliefs are no
> barrier to us for they have NONE. They may have had influences
> around them, bad magnetic emanations the result of drink, Society
> and promiscuous physical associations (resulting even from
> shaking hands with impure men) but all this is physical and
> material impediments which with a little effort we could
> counteract and even clear a way without much detriment to
> ourselves. Not so with the magnetism and invisible results
> proceeding from erroneous and sincere beliefs.Faith in the Gods
> and God, and other superstitions attract millions of foreign
> influences, living entities and powerful agents around them, with
> which we would have to use more than ordinary exercise of power
> to drive them away.
> -- THE MAHATMA LETTERS, 455
The decision to set one's feet on the path, and the actual
process of doing so, is all up to the individual. He must become
sufficiently conscious of his situation to be able to calmly take
his self in hand and begin his self-genesis. He must recognize
his place in life and understand the situation accurately enough
to be able to properly help himself and ask others more advanced
for the help he actually needs. But he must of course deserve
the help. A man is never helped out of a troublesome situation
that is his own fault, that he knowingly got himself into. The
help generally given the aspirant is aid in helping himself.
> The fact is, that to the last and supreme initiation every
> chela -- (and even some adepts) -- is left to his own device and
> counsel.We have to fight our own battles, and the familiar
> adage -- "the adept BECOMES, he is not MADE" is true to the letter.
> Since every one of us is the CREATOR and producer of the CAUSES
> that lead to such or some other RESULTS, we have to reap but what
> we have sown.
> -- THE MAHATMA LETTERS, 305
One great aid to spiritual growth is a study of the theosophical
teachings. An intellectual understanding of some of the vaster
doctrine -- which really represent the developed ability to
intuit spiritual things -- is a necessary prerequisite to the
actual experiences found in Initiation. As Damodar, an accepted
> Before a person can have the privilege of being admitted as a
> chela even, he has to pass through a succession of lives, and
> prepare himself THEORETICALLY for the task. ... The man has to
> study theoretically first, and develop within himself this germ
> of adeptship, before he can ever hope to approach the Secret
> Sanctuary in any capacity.
> -- DAMODAR AND THE PIONEERS OF THE THEOSOPHICAL MOVEMENT, 305-6
> The student must first grasp the subject intellectually before he
> can hope to realize his aspirations. When this is accomplished,
> then comes the next stage of meditation which is "the
> inexpressible yearning of the inner man to 'go out towards the
> -- DAMODAR AND THE PIONEERS OF THE THEOSOPHICAL MOVEMENT, 399
And so we see that an intellectual study of Theosophy has great
value. In fact, the first three Initiations consist primarily of
study of the teachings, of an unfolding understanding of the
Esoteric Philosophy. It is not until the fourth, the beginning
of the Great Initiations of the Solstices and Equinoxes, that one
actually goes into other realms and experiences as realities the
doctrines of the Ancient Wisdom, Gupta Vidya. There is reward in
study of the theosophical teachings, however advanced one may be.
> ... I had to study for fifteen years before I came to the
> doctrines of cycles and had to learn simpler things at first.
> [Mahatma Koot Hoomi]
> -- THE MAHATMA LETTERS, 141
Spiritual evolution is actually the process of REMEMBERING. For
the state one finds himself in at any moment is bud a sad
reflection of the actual reality one has always been in, it is
just a matter of point of view. From the standpoint of the
persona or human Monad this lifetime is one of new experiences,
new EVOLUTION. But from the standpoint of the reembodying Ego or
Monad the present life is primarily one of remembering, of the
EMANATION of already- evolved faculties of consciousness. And
from the standpoint of the Manasaputra or Spiritual Monad the
present life is but a passing flash of the CREATIVE
consciousness, of the here-and-now awareness. And the higher and
higher one looks within, from self to higher self to still higher
self, the less the present life is seen as something new, the
more the present experiences are understood as a remembering of
things learned and experienced and evolved in countless ages
> We speak of the higher principles as "sleeping" in a man, a form
> of speech which is perhaps correct as a manner of expression, but
> really it is the lower ones which are asleep spiritually and need
> awakening ... Our higher principles are actually entities living
> on their own planes, individual beings, fully conscious and
> thinking entities. ... Our higher parts are not inchoate,
> unco-ordinated, undeveloped, sleeping things. There are a unity
> of entities, a spiritual Kosmos in miniature.
> -- G. de Purucker, FUNDAMENTALS OF THE ESOTERIC PHILOSOPHY, 314
[to be concluded]
DO WE HAVE A CYCLE CLOSING NOW?
by Dallas TenBroeck
In regard to the closing of a gate in 1897-98, there was
considerable speculation at one time. We are now 100 years
later, asking if another such cycle may be coming to a close.
One of the best way to answer such questions is to look for the
original references and then decide what, philosophically, we can
get out of them in the way of useful and present-time
The sun never sets, a period of rest never begins without the
hope, or the certainty, that the economy of Great Nature will
always bring on a renewal, a reawakening. Why should this hope
or certainty exist? Consider that Nature (the Universe, our World
and Solar system) contains all, and has provided us with life up
to this moment -- a life in which we rejoice (or suffer)
depending on our nature and character.
We are also endowed with curiosity, and with a desire to find out
how and why things are as they are. What are our powers? What is
our particular equipment? How can we use it? These are all common
questions we ask ourselves, and one another.
In the matter of cycles we find that in a year we go through
several, and some have more vitality than others on the surface.
But even winter may see the secret growth and nurturing of those
seeds that will form the harvest of next Autumn. So there is
open as well as secret work progressing all the time. We have
to investigate and discover its methods.
These changes are universal, and when day changes to night and
activity to rest, or Summer becomes Winter we seek to discover
the reasons for change. It is so also in the occult cycles of
activity and rest. But whether one or the other is presently
active, work proceeds. And when this happens the work will still
Even during that which is night to some, there is activity
elsewhere. It is a ceaseless urge to grow, to experience, to
learn. The move to progress which is innate in each one of us,
as in all the rest of nature-even to the tiniest atom continues.
It is the beating of the great secret Heart, symbolized in
antiquity by the Central Spiritual SUN -- it is an intimation of
this Sun of Life, reflected in our hearts that we note as the
innate, persistent sense of individual immortality -- one that
leaves its insistent mark everywhere.
In her article THE ESOTERIC CHARACTER OF THE GOSPELS ["Lucifer,"
Nov, Dec 1887, Feb 1888] HPB gives (in a footnote) at the
outset an important date relating to occult cycles and the ending
of the ...
> Age of Pisces -- and the starting of that of Aquarius -- a cycle
> of 2,155 years -- not long, but very occult as the influence of
> sun and zodiac changes in a subtle but definite way (details not
> all given).
HPB predicts that psychologists will thereafter have extra work
to do as the psychic idiosyncrasies of humanity will enter on a
great change. She refers to this in her FOURTH MESSAGE TO THE
AMERICAN SECTION IN CONVENTION IN 1891:
> The period which we have now reached in the cycle that will close
> between 1897/98 is, and will continue to be one of great conflict
> and continued strain. If the T.S. can hold through it, good; if
> not, while Theosophy will remain unscathed, the Society will
> perish-perchance most ingloriously-and the World will suffer ...
> the critical nature of the stage on which we have entered is as
> well known to the forces that fight against us as to those that
> fight on our side. No opportunity will be lost of sowing
> dissension, of taking advantage of mistaken and false moves, of
> instilling doubt, of augmenting difficulties, of breathing
> suspicion, so that by any and every means the unity of the
> Society may be broken and the ranks of our Fellows thinned and
> thrown into disarray.
Reviewing the history of the last 100 years we can decide whether
this prophecy has been fulfilled or not. How many FTS have
honored HPB by the close study and learning of that Theosophy
which she and the Masters of Wisdom jointly presented? Are the
ranks of the T.S. one pointed, united, wise and active? Or, is
there much work left to be done? Each one has to think of these
things and answer to themselves. Exactly what is/was the work to
be done for ones' self and for others?
Returning to the matter of intersecting cycles:
> Simultaneously there is the ending of the first 5,000 years of
> Kali Yuga cycle ( Total time: 432,000 years for that grand
In THE SECRET DOCTRINE (Vol. I, p. 612) she indicates that the
year 1897 will witness a large rent being made in the Veil of
Nature whereby "materialistic science will receive a deathblow."
This date has passed and we have witnessed in the last 100 year a
series of great discoveries, in physics, chemistry, astronomy,
mathematics and biochemistry that have revolutionized our concept
of the atom and the molecule and the interaction of forces and
energies on the most subtlest, as well as the grandest
electro-magnetic scales and ranges of measurement.
The rediscovery of the "astral body" and the "astral plane"
whereby all material forms are made to cohere, and especially
those biochemical mixtures in which intelligent consciousness and
life of a higher character is seen (plants, animals, humans).
Science has in fact already entered the realm of energy that
leads to an understanding of the power of the astral and the
Pranic energies that make forms possible and given them the life
they enjoy as entities with a definite purpose in the great
scheme of things.
The psychological origins and potential achievements of human
consciousness -- and its unknown ranges -- have been sensed and
vaguely sketched. It remains for a serious and concentrated
investigation to clear away the concept that all this vast
interacting group of diverse molds or model-forms that underlie
the many physical forms and keep them "living" is moved by one
central cooperative INTELLIGENCE and many INDEPENDENT BUT
VOLUNTARILY COOPERATING INTELLIGENCES.
Man's consciousness represents one of the most advanced powers
focused in such a form at this time, and from this condition the
doors open to an understanding of the Universe, its purpose (see
SD I 268) and he can understand what his own duty and
responsibility is as he passes through the successive degrees of
initiation that are possible to him -- by his own determination
Writing on this concept Mr. Judge in THE OCEAN OF THEOSOPHY (p.
4) says: this
> ... is an age of transition, when every system of thought,
> science, religion, government, and society is changing, preparing
> for an alteration into that state which will permit the race to
> advance to the point suitable for these elder brothers to
> introduce their actual presence to our sight.
Another article speaks of the "precursors of HPB," of the vow
taken by Tsong-Kha-Pa in Tibet to send a mission to the West each
And we can trace from that date in the 14th Century, the imprint
of the work of various "Messengers" whose task it was to revive
in the West the memory of the esoteric Wisdom.
In the 15th Century We had the revival in Florence of the study
of Plato spearheaded by Paschalis, Pico della Mirandola and
The next century (16th) saw the work of Giordano Bruno,
Paracelsus, Van Helmont, Reuchlin and Trithemius.
And then came that of Boehme (17th Century), Eugenius
Philalethes, and with them the Rosicrucians, Hermetic
Philosophers and Fire Philosophers.
In the 18th Century we have St. Germain, St. Martin, Cagliostro
and Mesmer. Also the Cambridge Platonists worked then and so did
Thomas Taylor who translated the Greek philosophers into English.
And of the future, HPB tells us:
> it is the esoteric teachings, and the initiates of the Future,
> whose mission it is, and will be, to redeem and ennoble once more
> the primitive conceptions so sadly profaned by its crude and
> gross application to exoteric dogmas and personations by
> theological and ecclesiastical religionists. The silent worship
> of abstract or 'noumenal' Nature, the only divine manifestation,
> is the one ennobling religion of Humanity.
> -- THE SECRET DOCTRINE, I, 381fn
THE ROAD OF SENSITIVITY
by Katinka Hesselink
[November 2, 1997]
Mother Teresa helped write a book called A SIMPLE PATH. It is a
remarkable book full of a simple dedication. There is no doubt
in my mind that she describes the road of Bhakti Yoga, the way of
Love in service of humanity.
I have long had the strong suspicion that the capacity to be
vulnerable is the same as to have real inner power. It is the
power to mourn one's way through pain and loneliness instead of
running away from them by reading books, listening to lectures,
doing your work, having a hobby or simply watching television.
That capacity is essential.
Mother Teresa seems to say the same thing in a very different
way. (This is a translation back into the English from the
> People are unreasonable, unlogical and selfish,
> -- Love them anyway.
> If you do good, there will be people who accuse you of selfish
> -- Do good anyway.
> If you are successful, you will make unreal friends and real
> -- Be successful anyway.
> Your good deeds will be forgotten tomorrow,
> -- Do good deeds anyway.
> Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable,
> -- Be honest and frank anyway.
> What has cost you years to build, can be destroyed very quickly,
> -- Build anyway.
> People who need help, can attack you when you help them,
> -- Help them anyway.
> When you do your utmost for mankind, you will often get small
> thanks for your pains,
> -- Do your utmost anyway.
> -- Mother Teresa, A SIMPLE PATH, 1995
Find in vulnerability the capacity to give. The one who can live
by that token, without building up defenses, has real inner
In daily life we do have defenses. That is the most visible part
of our personality in most cases. If the wall around our
weakness is strong enough, it seems as though there is strength,
but meanwhile we often don't even know what is behind the wall.
We often fear the biggest disasters if the wall should fall.
Still, the student of life, the lay chela, will have to break
through those defenses if he or she really wants to live and work
in service to mankind. Actually that wall around the inner man,
will be broken. It will begin to crack because of the strong
will of the chela and by the necessity to be tested for inner
purity that follows from that. The lay chela should be prepared
to see the following happen when the student is accepted as
> The first is the throwing outward of everything latent in the
> nature of the man; his faults, habits, qualities or subdued
> desires, whether good, bad or indifferent.
> -- H. P. Blavatsky, THE SECRET DOCTRINE, Part III
So all good tendencies as well as tempting daydreams, the talents
but also the egoistic urges will come out in the open. The
natural advice in such cases is of course to investigate and keep
Before all this can happen, there has to be the sensitivity that
makes it possible to investigate everything that lives inside us.
The sensitivity that Krishnamurti talks about includes
vulnerability in my opinion. I think vulnerability goes hand in
hand with the selfless Love we talk about so often. If the love
is there, vulnerability is there, if there is vulnerability love
cannot be far.
The deeper and all-pervading the love is, the easier that
vulnerability will automatically come out of itself. From that
vulnerability grows an inner strength that is protection: exactly
when the I is no longer there to protect itself. That strength
is also the energy that can be used to look inside and thereby
comes into being even more sensitivity for everything that is
hidden there. It is like a snake biting its tail: looking inside
takes energy. The one who has the courage to look, discovers
vulnerability. From that comes sensitivity which carries within
itself Love for the Whole. For instance because the knowing of
ones own vulnerability means that the vulnerability is also
recognized and accepted in someone else.
The acceptance of vulnerability also means that less time needs
to me spent searching security's in different fields of life.
Love and sensitivity are the ground in which the strength can
grow, so that there is the energy to look even deeper, at even
more vulnerability. In this way the freedom of even deeper Love
can grow. This circle goes on and on, just as long as we have
the courage to look inside. I think in the end that
vulnerability, strength and love merge together.
Our personality is like a shield, made to protect us from that
vulnerability. The person that can face that vulnerability in
the depth where selfless Love grows, will see in the process that
the personality becomes less powerful. In its place comes the
emptiness in which there is the freedom to be full of love for
the All. Because at that point there is the capacity to be
sensitive to the people around us, whether we liked them in the
past or not. So then there is a feeling of oneness with all of
mankind. In that feeling of oneness there is strength, because
when we feel Love, action becomes possible and problems can be
Mother Teresa showed that strength in a unique way, I feel. Her
approach did not need the support of endless, complicated
theories about the nature of the universe. She lived her Love
for the poorest in a way that made her an example to many people
around the world. Her nuns live in the same poverty as the
people they reach out to, counting on the help of God if
something goes wrong.
This goes to the point where they don't take everything that they
are being offered. Their oath of poverty must remain intact.
They eat what the poor people eat: they live in the same
vulnerable position as they do and that is where they get their
strength. I hope that the going of Mother Teresa does not mean
that the spirit of self-sacrifice and vulnerability will be lost.
Our search for security has the downside that an essential
vulnerability is lost.
TAKING AN TEN-DAY VIPASSANA MEDITATION COURSE
by Ray Tomes
Everybody's experience that does a vipassana course is very
different, as is each course that a person does.
I have just returned today from another course (making three
courses plus one serving). The following is a brief update with
regard to the latest course which you may also use should you
This course was still very hard work, but was much smoother than
the others as I was able to be more mindful of the times that I
began to lose control. The highs were a little less high but the
lows were much higher. The result was more time spent on
reducing my backlog of bak karma or sankara. Sankara are the
formations stored on the body which represent blind reactions to
things and range from simple things like scratching an itch
without thinking to going into a rage when someone abuses us.
There wasn't time to count, but I am sure that I eliminated well
over 1000 different sankara on this course and some of them arise
many times before one gets equanimous and breaks the reaction
pattern sufficiently to eliminate them.
After seven days I had cleared most of my body of sankara but a
fair amount of tangle remained in my brain (a fair indication of
the fact that I have spent 30 years doing computer software
development and trying to work out the formula for the universe).
The clearing of the garbage around my spinal column had left a
very narrow thread (say 1 mm) and there were a number of pain
points in this. I broke through to a new finer level of
perceptions which I took to be the next plane in theosophical
language. The spinal column then cleared to even finer and the
pain points eventually dissolved to become really tiny sharp
points and I realised that they were in the positions of the
chakras. I then looked for the crown chakra which I had never
been able to find before and there was a tiny point there. Upon
observation it grew a fine filament downwards while the spinal
column grew upwards to nearly meet in the centre of my head
before they both turned and headed for and installed my third eye
chakra. There were little disks and whirling things and the
whole thing seemed like something out of Heath Robinson or Monty
I asked the teacher if the points in my back were the chakra and
he replied that Goenkaji (the main teacher in India) didn't hold
much interest in chakra and that I should just keep treating them
as sensations to observe as in the end the whole body is a
Subsequently at night I had a major resolution in my mind
regarding the apparent conflicts between my scientific research
of 15 years and my Vipassana experience after expressing
(silently internally three times) my wish for such a thing. When
I then meditated most of the remaining very tight sankara that
had resisted change all dissolved very rapidly and after this my
crown chakra opened up to about 25 mm diameter and it was like a
column of light or water just gushed through for a long time
after which I felt an extremely fine pair of lips kiss me on the
top of the head.
The adventure ahead seems certain to involve more spiritual
pursuits and further integration of mind/science with
I did the first Vipassana course in May this year, then served
(cooking and such) on one in July and did another one
August/September. Before doing these I had long ago (at age
11-13) rejected religions because they didn't substantiate what
they taught but seemed to ask for blind faith. However it is
clear that I threw the baby out with the bath water. The real
goodies were being hidden!
I have totally changed my patterns of how I spend my time and
what I read since learning Vipassana.
The following is part of what I typed into my computer shortly
after the first course in reply to someone on internet doing a
book project about the experience of doing Vipassana. The
additional courses have provided just as many new experiences.
The first day of sitting cross-legged was agony. I am 50 years
old and have an old back injury which became extremely painful
and my knees and ankles also hurt. I had made a commitment to
stay for 10 days and I have always believed in keeping to my
commitments. However I could not imagine that I could bear 10
times as much pain and it seemed that there was no hope for
completing the course. I approached the assistant teacher with
my problem and he suggested sitting with my back to the wall.
This was immediately before Goenkaji's first video discourse, and
I was enthralled by what he had to say. He described my
experience and his style was so refreshing to me that my spirits
lifted. Never before had I encountered such wisdom that was
consistent with my own experience. I looked forward to future
As the days went by the pain didn't get any better, but then
about the 3rd day I was thinking "my leg is in pain" and suddenly
the meaning of the words and the experience coincided - my legs
were in pain but I was not, I was an observer of my legs in pain.
I recognized that this was a technique that I had used at the
dentist to avoid panic and pain and from then on I was mostly
able to observe the pain without becoming involved in the
cyclical chain of avoidance. I enjoyed Goenkaji's 2nd and 3rd
discourses also and was struck by the description of the mind as
being "full of chattering monkeys and wild horses with the odd
rampaging elephant". I know that this is a true description for
all people, but I have been considered by my friends to have had
an additional dose and to use thinking to excess. It was a real
battle to get control of my mind but I was hooked on the idea and
The events of the next few days are now almost a blur. They were
so amazing that I cannot relate some of them and what follows is
the less spectacular things that happened to me, although they
are far beyond my expectations for what I might achieve on the
course. These days were a roller-coaster ride. I experienced
both highs and lows that exceed anything else that I can compare
the experiences to. I visited heaven and hell several times
each. It seems that this experience is connected with aspects of
my behavior such as impulsiveness, impatience and not following
instructions carefully but rather thinking that I know best. It
is also no doubt connected with my determination and dedication
to the task at hand.
When we had become adjusted to detecting the subtle body
sensations I was immediately able to observe old and present
injuries and some improvement was noticed. For decades I have
suffered from blocked nose and sinuses. I took my awareness up
the inside of my nostrils and discovered two pairs of sharp
points of pain and observed these for a while. Suddenly two jets
of sensation shot very rapidly out through my cheekbones and
shortly afterwards another two. I realized that these were my
sinus passages and that they had become unblocked. Shortly
afterwards the sinuses themselves emptied and my head was much
clearer. Later a similar experience happened with my ears when I
observed inside them and found the long wriggly passages would
suddenly clear and again some further sinuses emptied. These
"operations" were repeated perhaps a dozen times each over the
remainder of the course and the next 10 days.
I soon became aware of sensations in my lower abdomen which
relate to some discomfort in my bowels. Observing these
sensations relieves the discomfort. As a result of other things
the discomfort returns but gradually the repeated easing becomes
more established. It seems like this will take time but for the
first time in 15 years it seems like the remedy to my bowel
problems is within my reach as all visits to doctors have done
nothing to ease, let alone reverse, the situation.
At times I became very clear of gross sensations and was able to
scan my entire body from head to feet and back several times per
second. At such times the individual sensations from every part
of my body were quite clear and very precisely located so that it
seemed like my awareness was very many times greater in a very
much smaller time. At other times gross sensations dominated
parts of my body and scanning was impossible. I fell into the
trap of craving and aversion for these conditions and gave myself
a roller-coaster ride being at incredible highs with the most
magic energy coursing through me and then within a day being in
the depths of despair.
My friends had thought it funny that I, an incessant talker, was
going to be silent for 10 days. In fact that was not a
difficulty. On the 10th day of the course we were allowed to
talk. When I discussed the course with other students I was
surprised to discover that the subtle body sensations were
present all the time without any effort on my part. In rapid
succession I was confronted by the effects of certain habits that
I had developed and which I had varying degrees of awareness of
before. When I interrupted someone I had one sensation, when I
had critical thoughts about what someone was saying I had
another, and when I talked too much without being sensitive to
others a third body sensation occurred. These were rapidly
established as reliable indicators and before long I was able to
stop myself whenever I began to do these things.
What I have gained from practicing Vipassana:
As a result of observing the nasal and ear passages my sinuses
have become much clearer and I can smell many things which I have
not smelt in decades. A walk up the road a couple of days after
the course was a delight.
I am now very much more aware of previous bad habits in relation
to talking and listening and can mostly catch these quite
quickly. Some situations are still quite difficult in this
regard but I remind myself that all things can change.
My driving has slowed down by about 20 km/h which pleases my
wife. I am much more patient with other drivers and much more
often look for the possibility to be generous with people who
want to change lanes or get out of side streets. I get body
sensations if I become impatient or inconsiderate in my driving.
I have steadily attacked piles of papers lying around the house
and completed or begun jobs which I have long procrastinated over.
Some of these seemed like huge mountains and required a lot of
courage and persistence, but I began to do these things today
instead of tomorrow. Every day I do something towards tidying up
old messes and mostly catch myself when I am about to create a
new one. I have become much more considerate of my wife in the
things that I do around the house.
In my new found zeal I have at times made mistakes, sometimes
quite big ones. This has lead to some suffering, but eventually
I realize that I am craving or avoiding something and I am able
to move on from the mistake. My impulsiveness and impatience are
still there to some extent but it feels like they are diminishing
with each painful lesson.
Talking with friends and relatives has been much more about real
issues rather than avoidance of these. I have tried to temper my
enthusiasm and allow my new calmer disposition to be present,
listening more and not judging, often knowing things about people
before they tell me and knowing when to hold back also. In some
cases when others are speaking very critically about third
parties then I feel distressed and find it difficult to remain
audacious. This will require further concentration or the
prevention of such situations.
There are many things that I have worked out by the intellect in
my life as I generally have not had faith in the teachings of
others. Vipassana has allowed me to directly experience so many
things that it has truly created an entirely new reality, or
should I say that it has dispelled many illusions. This has not
always been comfortable and I know that further discomfort lies
ahead but I now feel firmly established in continuing to keep on
taking one more step down that road. There have been periods of
doubt and confusion, particularly involving the fact that my wife
is practicing a different technique. It seems that I am finding
an acceptance of this now but I also know that there may be some
more lumps in the system.
Learning Vipassana has been the greatest gift I have ever
received and my life has been changed so much that it can never
be the same again. I know that I will give assistance to others
who also want to take this ride but otherwise the future seems so
much less certain than it did before. Who knows what tomorrow
BLAVATSKY NET UPDATE
by Reed Carson
We are very pleased to have set up a "help desk" for questions
concerning Theosophy. A number of individuals with long
experience in the field have volunteered to be available to help
with questions. We think this is a fine service and are pleased
that it indicates in yet another way that Blavatsky net has grown
beyond the activities of just one person.
We have spent much time during January working on bn-study, the
soon to be activated online discussion list concerning the Secret
Doctrine by Madame Blavatsky. After some searching we have
decided to plunk down the necessary funds and use Lyris, an
advanced piece of software that manages discussion lists. It has
numerous features that make the back-office operation of the list
much easier, it will make the list experience be smoother and of
a higher quality (though in ways you may just come to take for
granted), it offers four degrees of participation for each of
you, and it has a very strong option for rummaging through the
archives that will accumlate.
Here are the four degrees of participation from which you will be
able to to choose:
-- You receive all the email of the discussion list as soon as it
is ready (and has been moderated.)
-- in the early morning hours, all of the preceeding day's
discussion is combined into one email and sent to those who
select this option.
-- in the early morning hours, all the subject headings of the
preceeding day's emails are combined into one email and sent to
those who select this option.
-- you receive no emails from the discussion but, along with the
other participants, have the right to explore the archives of the
entire preceeding discussion using the very fine features of
By February 2 or 3, these options will appear available on your
membership record at BN and the discussion list will begin. We
still have a little programming left to do to relate Lyris and
the BN database -- and then it is launch time. At that time all
those who are subscribed in any of the first three categories
will receive notice.
It will be a moderated list. The participants will recieve one
email of seven quotes of the day from the home page in advance as
a focus for discussion and study. You will receive more info if
you are involved.
We have also spent considerable time in January improving the
bookstore and placing much more text across from some of the
books. We find some of the books so valuable that we wanted to
mention them here.
* A writer has found solid evidence for an earth-wide catastrophe
occurring around 9,500 BC. It happens that one of the Mahatmas
has given the exact year that Atlantis finally sunk. The
collected exact estimate of the scientific evidence happens to
be only 13 years different from the recorded date known to the
Master! That is in the Atlantis aisle.
* In the Archeology Aisle is the book Forbidden Archeology along
with its follow up. This masterly book supports the
Theosophical view of ancient history in a very valuable way.
It shows that indeed there were human beings walking the earth
millions of years ago and details how this information has been
excluded from the standard view.
Personally I think THE SECRET DOCTRINE does not support the Big
Bang theory. One book -- that is in the mail (THE CULT OF THE BIG
BANG) -- very strongly destroys the Big Bang theory and you can
read his effective summary until it comes (in a few days) -- in
the cosmology aisle. A master of Theosophy has said that matter
is in "continuous" creation (as opposed to the big bang).
Another book, BEYOND THE BIG BANG, goes beyond the big bang in a
way that has valuable overlap with Theosophy and matches the view
of the master, at least in this one point, and continues on very
Blavatsky said Darwin was right that evolution occurs but not
at all as Darwin said. She is being vindicated dramatically
decade by decade. The evidence that she was right is now very
strong. See Darwin aisle for details.
And there's more. See for yourself: http://www.blavatsky.net.
FOGIES OR WHAT?
by Sy Ginsburg
[based upon a May 16, 1995 posting to firstname.lastname@example.org.]
The Theosophical Society does not have to be a bunch of old
fogies sitting around only remasticating old expressions of the
perennial philosophy. Our branch, in fact, has lots of active
working people who are not retirees. We have more than 50
members under the age of 50.
Theosophy itself, as brought by HPB, and the historical religious
traditions are, of course, basic. But if we just sit around
rechewing the ancient wisdom, we will not attract many bright
young people who recognize that much about the universe has only
become generally known in the last 100 years.
We tend to forget the second and third declared objects of the
Theosophical Society which encourage the study of comparative
religion, philosophy and science and the investigation of
unexplained laws of Nature and the powers latent in humanity.
At our Branch there are more than 20 courses being offered and,
although, four of these are specifically Theosophical, other
things of more contemporary interest are being explored. These
include, for example, courses on the teachings of Edgar Cayce,
Gurdjieff and the Urantia book to name a few.
One of the most interesting courses, in my view, is a study group
entitled "Esoteric Science." The purpose is to try to understand
what science has discovered about the universe and how this is
related to Theosophical teachings.
The group includes several engineers along with others who just
want to try to understand what science is beginning to
acknowledge. The text being used is Itzhak Bentov, "Stalking the
Wild Pendulum" and will be followed by a second Bentov text, "A
Cosmic Book." A third text that will likely be explored is the
recent book by Norman Friedman, "Bridging Science and Spirit" ,
in which the author, a physicist himself, relates the teaching of
David Bohm's physics to the Perennial Philosophy and to the Seth
I appreciate that many on the Internet Theosophical discussion
lists are working independently, but you also have in your
independent studies likely been exploring some of these new
expressions. I know that these inquiries are going on at our
Branch and also in some other Branches, sometimes quietly,
sometimes not so quietly.
We are only "old fogies" if we make it so. We need not, and I
think, should not.
TO FRIENDS BOTH FAR AND NEAR
by Carmen Small
[A letter sent January 4, 1999 from Point Loma Publications to
friends throughout the world.]
With the old year closing and a new year opening it's a good time
to greet you with thanks for work accomplished and hopes for
careful plans ahead.
Point Loma Publications has had a very busy year and has reached
some of you with book orders, but in this letter we will outline
some of our accomplishments of the last year and plans for the
INTRODUCTION TO SANSKRIT, Part II, by Dr. Thomas Egenes was
published last year, the sequel to his best-selling part I.
(part II, 428 pages, $30.00).
We also have published THE ASTROLOGY OF THE LIVING UNIVERSE which
is Helena Blavatsky's insights on the seven sacred planets and
their influence on Earth and humanity (72 pages, $12.00) compiled
and edited by Henk J. Spierenburg.
In the upcoming year we will publish Dr. Spierenburg's OLD
TESTAMENT COMMENTARIES OF H. P. BLAVATSKY with THE PHILONIC
SECRET DOCTRINE from the collected writings of the neo-Platonic
philosopher, Philo of Alexandria. (Spierenburg's THE YOGA OF H.
P. BLAVATSKY is in process but will not be ready in 1999)
We will also be publishing WISDOM PRACTICE -- GATEWAY TO
ENLIGHTENMENT by G. de Purucker compiled and edited by Kenneth
Small which will contain de Purucker's teachings on Buddhism.
In addition we will be offering a series of tapes of both
historic, inspirational and of instructive interest including
talks by Boris de Zirkoff, Elsie Benjamin, Emmett Small, Judith
Tyberg, W. Y. Evans-Wentz, Gordon Plummer and Christmas
Our outreach to the general community through our bookstore,
"Wisdom Traditions" has been very successful this past year. We
moved to a larger location and have been hosting a variety of
classes, seminars and lectures.
Both "Wisdom Traditions Bookstore" and Point Loma Publications
are on the Internet, so please enjoy our web page or send us an
e-mail. You can find our catalogue on our web page and in the
upcoming year we will have a virtual bookstore on our web page as
We are very grateful for the wonderful assistance of Michael
Bartlett in bringing our web page into existence and to Paul
Bodor for the generous donation of computer equipment to further
the web page and other projects and our new web page host, Lama
Thubten and friends at Samaya.com.
Our thanks also to the many persons who support and assist us
with their help and donations throughout the year.
As we begin this last year of the century, we send you out warm
thoughts and best wishes. We hope that it will be a good year
for the wisdom tradition of theosophy and that we may find the
ideas that are the foundations of peace and compassion become
more and more accepted in the world.
For those of you who are surrounded by winter's cold, keep
buoyant spring in your hearts, as the old saying has it: "If
Winter Comes can spring be far behind?"
Our best thoughts and love,
by Dara Eklund
[A picture, as described below, appears in the HTML version of
THEOSOPHY WORLD. The picture is located at:]
This pastel diagram was drawn by Hetty Manske and Verna Ott
(pen-name: Vahnty) to represent the concept of the "Eternal Man"
in manifestation as a seven-fold being. It was subsequently
reprinted in Eileen Walker's "Expression" magazine, which
consisted of contributions from members of her creative writing
class. This class was held in the Manske's home in the early
Hetty and Verna taught children the principles of Theosophy
through art classes in Verna Ott's Whittier studio, and
eventually drafted their own syllabus for the course. Hetty
passed away around 15 years ago, but was always very interested
in art symbolism. In her notebook she speaks about the quality
of "Dark" as the absence of "Light," thus shown here on the
underside of the globe representing our physical body, directly
below the Sun image in the upper left. Even it partakes of light
as it rests in the realm of Prakriti (material life). Thus the
opposites represent a duality of spirit and matter, shown in the
diagram running through all the spheres, or principles of Man.
The Sun represents the Spiritual father of the Solar system and
might be considered Paramatman. Note that the globe symbol in
the upper right rests above the opposites and symbolizes Atmic
Principle, with its rays in all directions, but hovering beyond
the other principles, which are shown in descending order from
right to left. The Buddhic principle is shown with a six-pointed
star within the sixth globe; Manas with five points; etc. These
appear as artistic renditions of the geometrical figures, but
also expressing laws of color mixing and differentiation. At the
time of its conception the Esoteric Section Instructions with
their full-color plates were not in print. For a more exact
comparison of Man's principles see the description for Plate I
(facing page 580) on p. 529 of BLAVATSKY: COLLECTED WRITINGS,
There it states that the Atman is no principle, "But stands
separate from the Man . . . " The seventh principle is
therefore called in the E.S. the AURIC EGG. It was colored
Blue, as shown in the Vahnty diagram. Yet in exoteric parlance
it may still be considered as Atma.
In our art classes the children were taught that although there
were generally seven perceived rays when clear light is focused
through a prism, there is also the subtle presence of indigo,
which Hetty taught the class how to mix from other colors of the
rainbow. Thus, even the young could experience, how the one
produces the many.
FORTY YEARS AT HEADQUARTERS:
THE THEOSOPHICAL SOCIETY, POINT LOMA, CALIFORNIA
by Iverson L. Harris
Mme. Tingley, on a Theosophical Mission in Rome with Dr. de
Purucker, summoned Iverson from Point Loma, California, to join
her for secretarial work. Iverson had started serving her as
amanuensis when he was fourteen years of age.
Katherine Tingley was "Leader and Official Head" of the Universal
Brotherhood and Theosophical Society from February 18, 1898 until
her death on July 11, 1929 at Visingso, Sweden. Gottfried de
Purucker then assumed office as her Successor, and served as such
until his death on September 27, 1942 at Covina, California.
Before his death he had appointed Iverson Chairman of the Cabinet
of The Theosophical Society (Point Loma), which post Iverson held
Following is an address by Iverson L. Harris to The Blavatsky
Lodge, given at the headquarters of The Theosophical Society in
England (Adyar), May 10, 1973, London, England.
This address was in some respects a distillation of Iverson's
forty years of study and volunteer service at the Point Loma
Theosophical Headquarters, and of his memories of his close,
almost daily association with both Katherine Tingley and G. de
Purucker. It was received with expressions of warm appreciation
by officers of the Blavatsky Lodge and others who attended.
The summary, which follows, was privately printed for
distribution to friends by Katherine and Iverson Harris in
Iverson began by quoting passages from THE MAHATMA LETTERS TO A.
P. SINNETT, which he had cited more than forty years ago, in
October, 1932 at the European Convention of the Point Loma
Theosophical Society, at 70 Queen's Gate, London, presided over
by the late A. Trevor Barker, then President of the English
Section. For example, from pages 313-14, where, after
recognizing the criticisms or H.P.B. made by his correspondent,
a Master says:
> We, on the other hand, under the garb of eccentricity and folly
> -- we find a profounder wisdom in her INNER Self than you will
> ever find yourselves able to perceive.
And again, on. Page 203:
> After nearly a century of fruitless search, our chiefs had to
> avail themselves of the only opportunity to send out a European
> BODY upon European soil to serve as a connecting link between
> that country and our own.
In telling of what he had learned at Point Loma from childhood,
Iverson reminded his English audience, of the contributions made
to the success of the International Headquarters by distinguished
Britishers, who were personal pupils of H.P.B. in London: Dr.
Herbert A. W. Coryn, M.R.C.S., a member of H.P.B.'s Inner
Group; Reginald Machell, artist, a member of the Royal Academy;
Fred J. Dick, M. Inst. C.E., whose writings on the Mayan
Calendar are still in demand; 'Henry Travers Edge, who had met
H.P.B. shortly after graduating from Cambridge and bad dedicated
his whole life thereafter to volunteer Theosophical service in
England and after 1900 at Point Loma and Covina until his death
in 1946. He named other Britishers who, though not personal
pupils of H.P.B., bad helped to promote the cultural life at
Point Loma, such as Prof. W. A. Dunn, head of the Isis
Conservatory of Music; Prof. Charles J. Ryan, an indefatigable
contributor to our Point Loma publications on scientific and art
themes in the light of Theosophy; Reginald Machell's son,
Montague, still contributing valuable articles to current
Theosophical periodicals; Charles Savage, musician, and his four
sisters, Mrs. Frances Dadd, Mrs. Madeleine Clark, Mrs. Harry
(Elsie) Benjamin, and Mrs. Lester (Helen) Todd, as well as their
mother, Mrs. Florence Savage -- all from Liverpool. Prof.
Dunn's sons, Hubert and Rex from Croydon, both competent
musicians, teachers and directors. Last, but by no means least,
Kenneth Morris, Welsh Poet and Professor of History and
Literature at Point Loma. The speaker said that next to
Katherine Tingley and Gottfried de Purucker, he was more indebted
to Morris than to anyone else at the Headquarters, especially for
introducing him to, and arousing love and enthusiasm for, the
Wisdom Religion of Old China, examples of which he cited at
Iverson recalled the invocation, "0, My Divinity" as regularly
chanted by Reginald Machell at Point Loma's Sunday night
> 0 my Divinity! thou dost blend with the earth and fashion for
> thyself Temples of mighty power.
> 0 my Divinity; thou livest in the heart-life of all things and
> dost radiate a Golden Light that shineth forever and doth
> illumine even the darkest corners of the earth.
> 0 my Divinity! blend thou with me that from the corruptible I may
> become Incorruptible; that from imperfection I may become
> Perfection; that from darkness I may go forth in Light.
Iverson told of Katherine Tingley's having the children recite
daily the motto: "Do well the smallest duty, and when the day is
done, there will be no regrets, no time wasted. Then joy will
come." For those who might question this as being Theosophy, the
speaker quoted the following from Page 372 of THE MAHATMA
> Does it seem to you a small thing that the past year has been
> spent in your "family duties?" Nay, but what better cause for
> reward, what better discipline, than the daily and hourly
> performance of duty? Believe me my pupil, the man or woman who is
> placed by Karma in the midst of small plain duties and sacrifices
> and loving-kindnesses, will through these faithfully fulfilled
> rise to the larger measure of Duty.
Iverson cited two definitions of Theosophy as given respectively
by K.T. and G. de P., showing differences of emphasis rather
than of basic principles:
> Think of Theosophy not so much as a body of philosophic or other
> teachings, but as the highest law of conduct, which is the
> enacted expression of divine love or compassion.
> -- THEOSOPHY, THE PATH OF THE MYSTIC, 3
> Theosophy is a formulation in human language of the operations,
> structure, origin, present state, and destiny of the Universe.
> -- G. de P.
In support of this definition of Theosophy, Iverson cited the
following passages from THE MAHATMA LETTERS:
> The culture of Society more often inclines to lawn-tennis
> philosophy than to that of the banned "adepts," whose wider game
> has worlds for balls and etheric space for its shaven lawn.
> -- 330
> It is not PHYSICAL phenomena that will ever bring conviction to
> the hearts of the unbelievers in the "Brotherhood" but rather
> phenomena of INTELLECTUALITY, PHILOSOPHY and LOGIC, if I may so
> express it.
> -- 246
The speaker said that he and his fellow students at Point Loma
were often reminded of the following passages from H.P.B.'s THE
VOICE OF THE SILENCE:
> So shalt thou be in full accord with all that lives; bear love to
> men as though they were thy brother-pupils, disciples of one
> Teacher the sons of one sweet mother.
> -- 49
> Let thy Soul lend its ear to every cry of pain like as the lotus
> bares its heart to drink the morning sun.
> Let not the fierce Sun dry one tear of pain before thyself hast
> wiped it from the sufferer's eye.
> But let each burning human tear drop on thy heart and there
> remain, nor ever brush it off until the pain that caused it is
> -- 17-18
> Learn that no effort, not the smallest -- whether in right or
> wrong direction -- can vanish from the world of causes. E'en
> wasted smoke remains not traceless. "A harsh word uttered in
> past lives is not destroyed but ever comes again." The pepper
> plant will not give birth to roses, nor the sweet jessamine's
> silver star to thorn or thistle turn.
> -- 34
Iverson also repeated the following translation of the 'Golden
Verses' given by Pythagoras to the disciples of his Mystery
School at Krotona in Magna Graecia in the wonderful Sixth Century
> Do innocence; take heed before thou act,
> Nor e'er let soft sleep upon thine eyelids steal,
> Until the day's acts thou hast three times scann'd:
> What have I done? What done amiss? What left unwrought?
> Go over the whole account, nor aught omit.
> If evil, chide thee; if good, rejoice.
> This do, this meditate, this ever love,
> And it will lead thee into Wisdom's path.
Iverson also quoted another of G. de P.'s arresting
> Light for the mind, love for the heart, understanding for the
> intellect: all three must be satisfied in every man before he has
> real peace.
The speaker called attention to William Q. Judge's words used as
the motto of the W.Q.J. Club for young men, who repeated it
regularly at each of their Point Loma gatherings:
> What then is the royal talisman -- the panacea, finally? It is
> duty, selflessness.
He also cited the opening words of Judge's THE OCEAN OF
> Theosophy is that ocean of knowledge which spreads from shore to
> shore of the evolution of sentient beings; unfathomable in its
> deepest parts, it gives the greatest minds their fullest scope;
> yet, shallow enough at its shores, it will not overwhelm the
> understanding of a child.
At Point Loma Iverson said he had learned by heart and recited
from memory the English Poet Laureat John Masefield's verses, "A
Creed," which the speaker considered possibly the best simple
exposition in our language of the twin-doctrines of Karma and
Reincarnation. He also quoted the beautiful lines from "The Song
Celestial"-- Sir Edwin Arnold's metrical translation of THE
BHAGAVAD-GITA, which he said were often read at memorial services
for those who had passed on at Point Loma:
> Never the spirit was born; the spirit shall cease to be never;
> Never was time it was not; End and Beginning are dreams;
> Birthless and deathless and changeless remaineth the spirit for
> Death hath not touched it at all, dead though the house of it
> * * *
> Nay, but as when one layeth his worn-out robes away,
> And taking new ones, sayeth, "These will I wear today!"
> So putteth by the spirit lightly its garb of flesh,
> And passeth to inherit a residence afresh.
Kenneth Morris's beautiful verses "Valedictory" and "Meditation
-- Night" were recited by the speaker and are quoted below for
those who might not otherwise be able to find them:
> Dear Heart, the Silence that you loved has taken you,
> And thrown the limits of your life away;
> You are made whole: there is naught else to say.
> Because you were strong, no circumstance has shaken you;
> Because you were true, and hallowed every day,
> Dear Heart, the Silence that you loved has taken you,
> And thrown the limits of your life away.
> And now the Princes of the Spheres awaken you,
> And for your sake the Worlds of Light grow gay;
> And we, whose blessing speeds you, mourn not, Nay,
> We know the Silence that you loved has taken you,
> And thrown the limits of your life away!
> You are made whole; there is naught else to say!
> On the wings of the Lonely Bird,
> taking flight where the stars are flying,
> I go up to the Palace of Sleep,
> where the dead and the living are one;
> For adrift through the vague dim spaces
> comes music swooning and dying
> To call me away to the sapphire halls of the sun.
> I go up to the luminous Garden of Sleep;
> through the light of the Lonely
> To the realm where men are not,
> but the kingly Spirit of man,
> Who hath woven his robe of dream there,
> and abideth embodied only
> In the beauty and light that were ere the worlds began.
> Questing the Peace of the Seers,
> to the loved we mourned, departed;
> To the souls of the hate-marred here,
> -- there clear as the stars of the morn;
> To the God in me throned in the heaven-worlds,
> I go forth mystery-hearted,
> On the wings of the Lonely Bird, the Soul, upborne.
The speaker cited the following passage from the Preface (Page
viii) to THE SECRET DOCTRINE:
> But it is perhaps desirable to state unequivocally that the
> teachings, however fragmentary and incomplete, contained in these
> volumes, belong neither to the Hindu, the Zoroastrian, the
> Chaldean, nor the Egyptian religion, neither to Buddhism, Islam,
> Judaism nor Christianity exclusively. The Secret Doctrine is the
> essence of all these. Sprung from it in their origins, the
> various religious schemes are now made to merge back into their
> original element, out of which every mystery and dogma has grown,
> developed, and become materialized.
Commenting on the above passage, Iverson said: This statement
could readily be challenged by orthodox scholars, as it has been.
Few of us are well-enough informed to be able to establish its
validity; but H.P.B. wrote two large volumes in support of her
thesis; and these cannot be refuted by anyone. As for us
students of Theosophy, we must accept many such statements on
faith -- not blind faith, but faith based on the conviction that
there are those who are much more knowledgeable and wiser than we
To illustrate: Few of us know enough of higher mathematics and
astronomy to challenge the correctness of Einstein's Theory of
Relativity; but there are learned scientists who ARE qualified to
test its validity. So, who are we to dispute the testimony of
great Sages like Krishna, the Buddha and Sankaracharya in India;
of Laotse and Confucius in China; of Pythagoras and Socrates and
Plato and Apollonius of Tyana in the Greek world; of Ammonius
Saccas, Hypatia, Porphyry and Plotinus in Alexandria; of Jakob
Boehme and Paracelsus in the Middle Ages?
Let us remember H.P.B.'s modest words in the Introductory to THE
SECRET DOCTRINE, Page xlvi:
> ... to the public in general and the readers of the 'SECRET
> DOCTRINE' I may repeat what I have stated all along, and which I
> now clothe in the words of Montaigne: Gentlemen: "I HAVE HERE
> MADE ONLY A NOSEGAY OF CULLED FLOWERS, AND HAVE BROUGHT NOTHING
> OF MY OWN BUT THE STRING THAT TIES THEM."
At one period in their studies at Point Loma, the students
recited daily the following from H.P.B.'s THE VOICE OF THE
SILENCE, quoted by her from the Chinese Sage Shin-Sien:
> The mind is like a mirror; it gathers dust while it reflects. It
> needs the gentle breezes of Soul-Wisdom to brush away the dust of
> our illusions.
The speaker said he felt the following warning from THE MAHATMA
LETTERS was always timely -- perhaps more so now than ever
before, as we approach the Centenary of the founding of the
Theosophical Society in New York in 1875 by H. P. Blavatsky,
Col. H. S. Olcott, William Q. Judge, and others:
> Beware then of an uncharitable spirit, for it will rise up like a
> hungry wolf in your path and devour the better qualities of your
> nature which have been springing into life. Broaden instead of
> narrowing your sympathies; try to identify yourself with your
> fellows, rather than to contract your circle of affinity.
> -- 367
To emphasize the lesson contained in the foregoing, Iverson
quoted the quatrain from Edwin Markham:
> He drew a circle that shut me out,
> Heretic, rebel, a thing to flout;
> But love and I had the wit to win,
> For we drew a circle that took him in.
He said that the theosophical teaching learned at Point Loma
which had had the greatest influence on his own life from his
teens which he felt was of primary importance in bringing about
better relationships among men and nations here and now on this
earth -- even more than the metaphysical doctrines and the lofty
concepts of cosmogenesis and anthropogenesis in THE SECRET
DOCTRINE, was the following message transmitted by H.P.B. from
her Masters to her disciples:
> Behold the truth before you: a clean life, an open mind, a pure
> heart, an eager intellect, an unveiled spiritual perception, a
> brotherliness for one's codisciple, a readiness to give and
> receive advice and instruction, a loyal sense of duty to the
> Teacher, a willing obedience, to the behests of TRUTH, once we
> have placed our confidence in and believe that Teacher to be in
> possession of it; a courageous endurance of personal injustice, a
> brave declaration of principles, a valiant defense of those who
> are unjustly attacked, and a constant eye to the ideal of human
> progression and perfection which the Secret Science (GUPTA VIDYA)
> depicts -- these are the golden stairs up the steps of which the
> learner may climb to the temple of Divine Wisdom.
The speaker quoted the following from Page 24 of THE MAHATMA
> The CHIEFS want a "Brotherhood of Humanity," a real Universal
> Fraternity started; an institution which would make itself known
> throughout the world and arrest the attention of the highest
Iverson then called attention to the pronouncements of some of
the "highest minds" to indicate that the Theosophical
Headquarters founded by Katherine Tingley at Point Loma and
guided by her for some thirty years, was actually such an
institution. He quoted Dr. Henri La Fontaine, winner of the
Nobel Peace Prize in 1913, in a public address at the Isis
Theater in San Diego, as follows:
> You have here in your neighborhood, at the International
> Theosophical Headquarters, Point Loma, California, an example
> absolutely unique in the world and unique in history. You have
> here at Lomaland the headquarters of a worldwide organization,
> whose members are doing a wonderful work for the Peace Cause. At
> this splendid institution you can see men and women of
> twenty-seven nationalities living and working together without
> differences or disputes. It is a very active reality, something
> you can touch and see, where you can come and go, where you are
> welcomed as nowhere else, and whose people come to you every week
> to speak about Brotherhood. Couldn't you apply the principles
> they apply, to your own community? If you could do that; if you
> could apply those principles to your own lives, to your business
> relations, to your educational bodies, to your schools, you would
> give to the world the most splendid of examples. Perhaps it
> might be possible to make the State of California the first real
> State of Brotherhood -- the forerunner of the Brotherhood of the
> World. Even though we have an international court, the world
> will always be in a state of unrest until the Golden Rule is
> applied. That is my message to you. That is my message to the
> United States -- to be the forerunner of the Brotherhood of Man.
Iverson quoted briefly from an address given by Baron Kanda of
the Japanese Commercial Commissioners after a reception tendered
them in the Rotunda of the Raja-Yoga Academy at Point Loma:
> We have traveled over your entire country and visited over forty
> cities, but in not one have we seen anything like this; and where
> in the world is there such a spot? ... I of course wish that you
> had placed it on the other side of the Pacific instead of on this
> side ... We, who are from Japan, have Buddhism and Confucianism
> and Christianity; but we need something deeper and more unifying,
> and I hope in the future to see your institutions in Japan; for
> the Japanese believe in Universal Brotherhood.
The most brilliant editorial writer ever on the staff of THE SAN
DIEGO UNION AND EVENING TRIBUNE, E. H. Clough, who wrote under
the pen-name of Yorick, was quoted as follows after attending a
program given by the students at Point Loma:
> I am told that the inspiration of all this is from the woman who
> has organized and maintained that wonderful institution over
> there on Point Loma, compact of art, beauty, erudition, and the
> humanity that classifies mankind not in the categories of the
> merely material, but upon the broad basis of a spiritual force
> and law of which the material is only one incomplete
Writing in THE DETROIT FREE PRESS John Hubert Greusel was quoted
as speaking of Katherine Tingley's "sovereign ease in large
affairs" and that she seemed to combine in herself "the
constructive imagination of Catherine of Russia with the idealism
of a modernized Joan of Arc."
Professor Leonard Van Noppen of Columbia University, after
visiting Point Loma said to its assembled staff and students:
> I have visited fifty universities and colleges, and at not one of
> them have I been as impressed as I have been by even the little
> that I have seen here.
> I do not have to be told what is going on here. I feel it in the
> unison of voices, in the faces, the gestures and the tones. I
> see it in the harmony that prevails everywhere, which permeates
> the atmosphere, which vibrates in all of you, and these
> vibrations make me think that you are keeping step with the
> heartbeats of God. I have not had that feeling anywhere else.
Writing in THE DENVER POST Joseph M. Grady said:
> Lomaland is redolent of the aroma of Athens, and it has all the
> charm and beauty of the golden age of Greece. As soon as one
> enters the gates of the estate one feels intuitively that he is
> in the precincts of a home where all those things which brighten
> life are taught and practiced -- in the words of the wise old
> Plato, "the good, the beautiful, and the true."
Iverson told of the original Greek symposium, "The Aroma of
Athens," put together by Fritz S. Darrow, Ph.D. (Harvard) and
presented by Katherine Tingley and her students from time to time
in the Greek Theater at Point Loma, the first in America, the
arena built in 1901, the Doric stoa added in 1911. He recalled
that Reginald Machell played the part of Phidias, Dr. Herbert
Coryn the role of Socrates, and Iverson Harris Sr., the speaker's
father, that of Pericles. He quoted the following lines from the
Prologue by Kenneth Morris:
> High on a hill beside the western seas,
> That hath more wealth than Hvbla for the bees.
> That hath more blueness than the Aegean skies,
> Athens shall again arise, most fair, most wise,
> To shine upon the world.
And Socrates' Prayer, rendered by Dr. Coryn in his throaty
> Great Zeus and all ye other gods who haunt this place, teach us
> to esteem Wisdom the only riches; give us beauty in our inmost
> souls, and may the outward and the inward man be at one.
The speaker closed his address before the Blavatsky Lodge in
London by reciting the ancient Sanskrit invocation, the Gayatri:
> Tat Savitur varenyam bhargo devasya dhimahi: Dhiyo yo nah
with Dr. de Purucker's English paraphrase thereof:
> 0 thou golden sun of most excellent splendor,
> Illumine our hearts and fill our minds, so that we,
> Recognizing our oneness with the Divinity, which is the heart of
> the Universe,
> May see the Pathway before our feet, and tread it to the distant
> goals of perfection,
> Stimulated by thine own radiant light.
THE SPEECH OF THE GODS
by C Johnston & George Russell
[from THE THEOSOPHIST, December 1887, pages 171 - 76.]
The Theosophical doctrine, while endorsing many of the views of
the Darwinian system of evolution, has so supplemented that
doctrine with another -- that of man's spiritual descent or
downward evolution from the planetary spirits -- as to alter
entirely the view to be taken of man's character, constitution,
and dignity in the universe. Of man's various powers,
perceptions, and potencies, some belong to the arc ascending from
the Monera, some to the arc descending from the divine and
That the Aryan tongue, the language of the intuitional Fifth
Race, belongs to the latter category and is man's inheritance
from the planetary spirits, we hope to be able to show.
Philological research has demonstrated that the Indo-European or
Aryan languages are reducible to a few hundred primitive roots,
from which all subsequent stages and variations of language are
by various modes of combination derived. In these days of
enlightenment, when man is brought into unpleasant proximity with
several very disagreeable poor relations, it is interesting to
all mankind, and especially to the Aryan nations, to trace
exactly the source from which our ancestor -- the Aryan, not the
ape -- derived his few hundred primitive roots, for in their
source and character we have a measure of his mind, a finger-post
pointing either heavenwards to man's divine progenitors, or
ape-wards to the prognathous and hairy chimpanzee.
On the one hand we shall expect to discover a spiritual relation
between sounds and the various powers, forms, and colors and the
universe, the value of which was intuitionally perceived by the
earliest Aryans; on the other, we shall look to find the echoes
of the grunts and squeals of our poor relation perched on a tree
branch mumbling his acorns.
Roots, say the theorists, were at first either a matter of
convention, or were formed by imitating the sounds of nature, and
by exclamations and interjections. The chief objection to the
first theory (which indeed was never very seriously defended) is
that contrary to hypothesis the Aryan roots, as a whole, do not
express the wants and notions of such a primitive people as we
were led to postulate. We find for example comparatively few
words, such as BOW, ARROW, and TENT, while there are a great many
expressing abstract or reflective ideas like TO SHINE, TO FLY, TO
KNOW, TO BURN. The second also is all very well AS A THEORY, but
at the first rude contact with fact it collapses. We find very
few words which could possibly be formed according to its
principles, and this for the simple reason that there are no
distinctive sounds in nature accompanying the majority of the
ideas expressed in these Aryan roots.
The theory which we put forward, on the other hand, is that
sounds have by nature a spiritual or innate relation with various
colors, forms or qualities, and that the Aryan roots were formed
with a clear intuitional perception of this fact. It is probable
that the process of their formation was instinctive and
unconscious, rather than intentional and deliberate.
To make the theory more clear, we may say that it appears to us
that the entities on each plane have a spiritual relation to the
entities on the other planes. A particular sound, for instance,
corresponds to one color, to one taste, to one odor, and to one
simple figure or form. In order to connect the Aryan roots, or,
to speak more correctly, the sounds of the Aryan roots with their
values on the other planes -- thus showing their origin to be
spiritual and intuitional -- it will be necessary to analyze the
chief sounds used in this branch of human speech, and to assign
to them their spiritual values; and having discovered these
values to apply them to the Aryan roots or to the words of any
early language akin to the Aryan. It will be seen that besides
the values to be assigned to them intuitionally, a parallel
series of values will be discovered arising from physiological
reasons, such as the position of the organs of speech while
pronouncing them; but it must in all cases be borne in mind that
the intuitive is the primary meaning, though reasons for it
cannot, from its very nature, be stated argumentatively; in most
cases, therefore, physiological reason alone will be given. For
the convenience of those unacquainted with Sanskrit phonetics, we
will adhere as far as possible to the English alphabet.
To begin with B and M (pronounced ba and am), if we analyze their
character and difference from other sounds and from each other,
we find that with the exception P (pa) a slight variant of B,
they are the only sounds which require the complete closure of
the mouth for their formation. Whether it is preceded or
followed by a vowel, B cannot be correctly pronounced without
first closing the lips and then opening them. It is evident
therefore that as Ba is the only sound which is made by the
bursting forth of the breath from closed lips. It is more suited
than any other to express "the beginning of life," or "life." M
differs from B in this, in that it is made not by the breath
coming from the just opened lips, but by closing them and
stopping the breath completely for a time, then the breath finds
an outlet by its upper channel, the nose. Taking these facts
into consideration, we perceive that it should mean something
extreme, like "end," "height," or "death," or more fully, the
stoppage of the life energy and its transfer to a different
channel. (We may here remark that this value agrees with the
characteristics of Siva, in the mystic syllable Om, or Aum,
representing Brahman the Creator, Vishnu the preserver, and Siva
the destroyer and regenerator). It is a similar sound to M, but
differs from it in this, that the stoppage of the breath, before
its transfer to the upper outlet, is incomplete. It means
"continuance" or change without any real end. P is a variation
of the sound for life, its significance is less though similar,
it means "formation of a part," "division," or "smallness.", The
principal characteristic of V is its indefiniteness. It means
"vagueness." F, its companion sound, means "airiness" or
"lightness," it would refer to floating or flying objects. The
harshest of the primary sounds is J (Ja), its meaning therefore
to accord with this peculiarity must be "matter," "heaviness," or
"earth" (as one of the five objective elements. The hard sharp
sound of K (Ka), at once defines its meaning – "hardness,"
"sharpness," or "brilliancy." The analogous sound of G (Ga) means
"smoothness," or " reflection." The Brahminical doctrine of
emanations teaches, as is well known, that absolute spirit, or
Parabrahm (the great underlying reality of the universe), by its
expansive activity created the First and Eternal emanation of the
Logos, or Spirit; from this was produced the second emanation of
ether, the astral light of the Kabbalists, corresponding to
akasa; from the ether was produced the element of light or fire;
from fire was produced air; from air was produced water; from
water -was produced earth; from earth was produced the vegetable
kingdom; from the vegetable kingdom were produced animals, from
Here we find that earth is, as it were, the turning point to
which downward evolution reaches, and from which upward evolution
begins. It is a remarkable and significant fact, but none the
less a fact, that, if we take the liquid semivowel or ethereal
series of sounds, and classify them in the order they come in the
throat and mouth, their intuitional or spiritual values in this
order will correspond accurately to the order of the elements in
this Kabbalistic doctrine of emanations.
The first of these ethereal sounds A (pronounced like the "a" in
Atma), is the first sound of the human voice formed farthest
within the throat, and the breath necessary to form all other
sounds must pass from the A, the value of A therefore is "God,"
the "first cause" or the "self." The next sound of this series is
R (ar, as in for), from its peculiar fullness and undefinable
sound, its meaning is "wind," "breath," "movement," or "spirit;"
it is the spirit which, in the words of Genesis, "Brooded upon
the face of the waters," and is the first emanation of the A or
God; after R comes the sound of H (hay) the sound for "heat," the
five elements in one aspect. Next comes L (el) the spiritual
value of which is "light." The other aspect of the fire
emanation, Y (yea) the sound succeeding L, means "compression" or
"the drawing together of things;" the next sound of this peculiar
class is W (way), the sound for "water"; marking the two limits
of the circular space enclosed by the pronunciation of this sound
are the two sounds of Ja and Ka, representing the quality of
material solidity of the next emanation, the earth, which thus
issues from the center of the water element.
> Let the waters be gathered together
> And let the dry land appear.
-- says the cosmogony in Genesis. The ethereal or semivowel
carry us down the earth element, which is, as we have seen, the
turning point of evolution. These ethereal sounds -represent the
objective and supersensual planes, whose peculiar types of being
have been called the fire, air, and water elementals. When we
reach the earth and the objective kingdoms, we come again to hard
sounds. Proceeding outwards from the earth we get the sound of
Ith which means "growth," or "expansion": with this sound came
the emanation or evolution of vegetable life -- to use the words
> The earth brought forth herbs.
After Ith comes the sound of F and B, representing the kingdom of
birds, fishes, and animals and the crowning evolution of man.
Close on the heels of life, follows death, represented by the
sound of M.
Let us compare this with the Upanishad.
> From that self (Brahman) sprang ether (or spirit),
> From ether sprang air (expansion and heat);
> From air sprang fire (light or color.) ;
> From fire, water; from water, earth;
> From earth, herbs; from herbs, food; from food, man."
Here we have exactly the order we have arrived at by taking the
spiritual values of the sounds as they occur in the human throat
> A, god
> R, spirit
> H, heat
> L, light
> W, water
> K, hardness
> J, earth
> Ith, growth
> B, life
> M, death
A few more sounds may be added:
> S (formed by a rapid series of sibilations), number
> D, descent or falling
> T, ascent
We will now try how far we may be enabled with the key obtained
to comprehend the intellectual and spiritual life of our
ancestors. Nothing remains in writing which tells of their
wisdom; but no historian could have taken the measure of it so
exactly as it is recorded in the bare roots which have come down
to us. The traditions about these men might be untrustworthy and
enlarged upon by the imagination of those who related them; but
their words contain a history which cannot be otherwise than
true, because they were intuitive.
It will be found that the examples given are of words of the very
simplest class, referring to actions, thoughts, and things, the
most likely to be first expressed in this newly developed faculty
of intuitive speech. We think that almost all the roots which do
not seem to be intuitive were formed by a conventional agreement
to regard one of these early words as applicable to several
different things, for example, K, hardness or sharpness, was used
in forming the intuitive word "Ak," "to pierce into," "Ak," "to
see," was evidently a result of this primary meaning.
It is easy to see what God meant to the old Assyrians, El, the
light; Bel, their sun god, seems to mean "he who lives in light,"
life and light are joined to express this idea. Aer, God of the
atmosphere, was another Assyrian god, he was also called Vul,
which is equivalent to Jupiter Tonans. Vul probably means "light
of the sky," here being used to represent the indefinite air.
Ahiah, "I am that I am," the name which was uttered from the
burning bush, is intuitive, being formed by a double
pronunciation of the word for the self or God. Pal, the Assyrian
word for "time" or "year," would mean division of light; Pu,
month, should mean a division. Mul, star, means "high light," M
being used here to express something extreme. To the Aryan race
death had the meaning, the "end of movement" or of the "breath."
Mar, containing the sounds for end and movement. Ur, sky, would
mean "wide air," as "Oo" means "width" and R, air. The root An,
endless, is intuitive, also Pu, threshed or purified, P being
used here to express division. Ku, to sharpen, is a word of the
same class as Ak, to pierce. In Kar, to make, there are combined
the sounds for hardness and movement; in Taks, to hew, the sounds
for, to raise, hardness, and number, the S, referring to what is
hewn away or divided. In Mak, to pound, to macerate, there is
the suggestion of ending with something hard. The united sounds
of hardness and falling are in Kad, to fall; and of division and
hardness in Pak, to come, and Pik, to cut. The letters which
form Skap, to chop, mean to cut and divide things. Other words
of the same class are Sak and Skar. In Sa, to sow, the
prevailing idea seems to have been number. Swid, to sweat, has
the sounds for number, water, and rolling down. Possibly the
idea of Swa, to toss, was taken from seeing things tossed about
upon the waves as Fath, to spread out, may have been from
observation of the aerial growth of tree branches. Swal, to boil
up, is clearly intuitive, as well as Wam, to spit out. Other
intuitive words are Yu, to bind, and Yas, to gird. Wa meant to
bind, either because it was observed that water acted as a girdle
to all things or through some confusion of meaning between it and
Y. It may be observed here that sometimes there is an
interchange of meanings between a sound and the one preceding or
following it; sometimes L has the meaning of R, or H of L, or Y
of W, or G of K.
S and W are joined into one word in Siw, to bind, the idea
expressed being the binding together of things. It has been used
with the intuitive value attached to it in Flu, to fly, swim, or
float. The Sanskrit Rasu, origin intuitively considered, would
mean the movement of things, and the Assyrian, Ris, beginning,
seems to have the same idea embodied in it. The root Al, to
burn, is intuitive, but the light seems to have suggested the
word rather than the heat. Knowledge is the reflection in the
mind of what is passing in the world, Gnu, to know, is a
combination of the sounds for reflection and combination. Than,
thinness, would seem to be the result of long continued growth.
Gol, a very common word for late, means "reflection of light,"
and the glistening appearance of ice probably suggested a word,
to freeze, Gal; a word of the same class is Gea, to glow. Tar,
to pass over, has sounds of which the intuitive value seems to be
"ascent through air." Thu, to swell, to be strong, and Fath, to
fly, are examples of the use of Ith.
As it would only be tedious to go on giving examples, after the
theory and the method of applying it for the purpose of
elucidating the meaning and origin of the roots has been made
sufficiently clear, we will add a few more only; they are Su, to
generate, to produce; Cuk, to shine, Mu, to shut up, to enclose;
Mi, to go; Bu, to be, to grow; Bars to carry; Kant, to cut; An,
to breathe; Spark, to scatter; Da, to distribute; and Greek, Ge,
the earth. A little thought will show at once what idea was
intended to be embodied in these words.
Reflecting on the extreme sensibility to sound which this
intuitive race possessed, a sensibility which enabled them to
find words exactly suited to express the spreading of tree
branches and the boiling of water, we cannot help wondering, were
they similarly affected by sounds external to themselves, and
whether the call of birds or the hoarser cries of animals
conveyed any meaning to their ear. The words which they employed
to express color, though, naturally enough, lesser evidence
remains of this, show that, for every hue they could find a note
of corresponding value on the plane of sound, R and M answering
respectively to red and violet, and each letter between to some
shade of color ranging from one to the other of the two
mentioned. A study of the forms used in the primeval alphabets,
and as symbols, would show that they recognized something more in
nature than mere matter, that the tracing of flower and leaf, and
the starry arch of heaven, and all beautiful things, were full to
them of deep spiritual significance, which the more intellectual
scientists of our time cannot see, though they weigh and analyze
and examine ever so much. If this essay could persuade even one
of them to develop the most god-like faculty man possesses --
intuition -- its purpose would be fulfilled.
Dedicated to the Theosophical Philosophy and its Practical Application