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THEOSOPHY WORLD -------------------------------------- June, 2000
An Internet Magazine Dedicated to the Theosophical Philosophy
And its Practical Application in the Modern World
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(Please note that the materials presented in THEOSOPHY WORLD are
the intellectual property of their respective authors and may not
be reposted or otherwise republished without prior permission.)
"The Sin of Speech," by B.P. Wadia
"Blavatsky Net Update," by Reed Carson
"Islam," by M.O. French
"The Living Dead," by A. Trevor Barker
"A Psychological Problem (A True Story)," by Alice Copeland
"Spiritual Teachers and Avataras," Part II, by Boris de Zirkoff
"Talks With Myself," by Julia W.L. Keightley
"Finding the Self: A Study from THE SECRET DOCTRINE," Part I,
by Herbert Coryn
> That which lives and thinks in man and survives that frame, the
> masterpiece of evolution -- is the "Eternal Pilgrim," the Protean
> differentiation in space and time of the One Absolute
> -- H.P. Blavatsky, THE SECRET DOCTRINE, II, 728
THE SIN OF SPEECH
by B.P. Wadia
[From THUS HAVE I HEARD, 153-57.]
One of the evils by which modern society is debased is constant
misuse of the power of speech. Too many talk for the sake of
talking: small and random talk, business talk, often inimical, at
home or at office; jests at the expense of friends and especially
of foes which may degenerate into gossip; and there are also
malice and backbiting; and lies, which in political circles pass
under the name of diplomacy and elsewhere under that of courtesy
or cleverness or what not.
In all these, there is at work a common factor, which is rarely
taken into account -- the corruption of the speaker's own mind
and morals, character and health. Indulgence in destructive
speech poisons the human system and injures it as few types of
venom do. Many who indulge in it, however, are not wicked but
thoughtless. If only they would listen to the saying that "a
single word may ruin a whole city or put the spirit of a lion
into a dead fox" they would start thinking. Selden has well
said: "Syllables govern the world." The mischief done by words at
the UNO, in parliaments and through the press begins in clubs and
homes, at lunch counters and around tea tables.
Real knowledge about words and sounds, meanings and tones, is
highly important. Our "civilized" people neglect it.
Sound, Word and Speech are regarded as profoundly important by
the mystics, the philosophers and the philologists; each values
them from his own angle of vision. GUPTA VIDYA, the Esoteric
Philosophy and Occult Science have a special point of view,
rooted in the synthetic power of perception. The mystic looks
upon words as living; the philosopher uses them as vehicles for
his own thoughts and speculations; the philologist is interested
mainly in their lineage. The Occultist uses words as living
messengers of incommunicable secret and sacred verities, using
their sound values and their color tones to reveal the
indissoluble relation between the spiritual, the psychic and the
material; between the divine, the human and the animal; between
the invisible and the visible; between the good and the evil.
The primal vibration, Sound emanating from the Unmanifest, is
named the Word - SHABDA BRAHMAN. It is called the Logos by the
Greeks, whose wisdom Apostle John used to begin his gospel: "In
the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the
Word was God." This is the PRANAVA, the AUM, of Eastern
Esotericism. Krishna in THE BHAGAVAD-GITA proclaims It as one of
His VIBHUTIS, Excellences -- "Of words I am the monosyllable OM."
The sound values of words and phrases -- MANTRAS - are not a
matter of serious study by our learned men of today, though the
creative and destructive powers of sound are beginning to be
accepted by some medical men and by some musicians. But the
power of sound, the potencies of words and language, even as
ordinarily used -- these are TERRA INCOGNITA for men of modern
knowledge. The mysterious and mighty magic of speech at which
Carlyle hints is desecrated every day and every hour by leaders
and the led alike. Even Hindus who believe in their tradition
about the power of MANTRAS, speech-sounds, never think of the
power brought into play in their daily use of language. A
superstition has grown up that MANTRAS belong only to Sanskrit,
the language of the Gods. But, whether men curse or bless in
English or in Hindi, words and phrases and tones of all tongues
have an invisible influence. They soothe or irritate, depress or
energize, not only those who hear, but also those who speak.
All this offers the metaphysical and psychological basis for the
precept that those who aspire to simple and high living, to feel
devotion to the Supreme and to Humanity, should guard their
speech. We must learn the place of silence in our daily living.
In useless babbling we fritter away soul force. We should
cultivate the power to listen. But the modern style of living,
laboring, even loving, encourages talk and more talk. Modern
society is very suspicious of the silent fellow! "One never
knows," it says, "how can bread be earned and how can business be
done without proper phrases, suggestive remarks, flattery and
threats?" "What would club life be without conversation, salty
and peppery, pungent and smart," says the social drone and
butterfly. As to love, "What nonsense! How can you make love
without endearments?" And yet it is taught that the human devotee
receives into his heart the grace of the Divine Lover, which is
silent when his own heart and mind and tongue are silent. Is it
not said that the GURU speaketh not and yet the pupil learneth?
The misuse of speech results from the mishandling of the mind.
Petty mind, petty speech; mean mind, mean speech; wandering mind,
rambling speech; seeing mind, sage speech. Without wisdom,
speech cannot be true or good or beautiful. Speech is
personified as one of the wives of Dharma. Speech that is not
properly wedded to the Lord of Law and Duty is compared to a
prostitute -- unchaste, though she is pretty, false though she is
Between mind and speech, understanding and words, there is a
kinship. Plutarch, introducing his life of two grand orators,
Demosthenes and Cicero, refers to himself -- "It was not so much
by the knowledge of words that I came to the understanding of
things, as by my experience of things I was enabled to follow the
meaning of words." Wisdom enshrined in words does not come to us
by a study of words and idioms, construction of phrases and
sentences, and the like.
We are called upon to control wrong speech and to cultivate right
speech. Meditation (or TAPAS) on Speech, according to THE
BHAGAVAD-GITA, is to be on gentleness of words. These are words
that causes not excitement or anxiety; on true words; on friendly
words; on words of Holy Writ. THE LAWS OF MANU (iv. 138)
advocate practice of the rule belonging to SANATANA DHARMA, the
Immortal Wisdom-Religion: speak true words pleasantly, but never
unpleasantly, and avoid falsehood even though it be pleasant to
oneself or to another. A sevenfold exercise is recommended to
the earnest and sincere aspirant as part of his self-discipline:
(a) Self-imposition of periodic silence.
(b) Abstaining from untruthful or injurious speech.
(c) Guarding against useless talk.
(d) Abstaining from asking questions out of curiosity, or from
the weakness of prying into the affairs of others.
(e) Abstaining from egotistic speech, i.e., not making statements
about our Divine Soul in terms of our animal nature.
(f) Guarding against airing and enumerating our own faults and
weaknesses lest our speech lend strength to these.
(g) Speaking only that which is true, and that only at proper
times, to proper people, under proper circumstances.
This or a like discipline will enable us to perceive the truth of
> Attain to knowledge and you wilt attain to speech.
BLAVATSKY NET UPDATE
by Reed Carson
This month important improvements have been made to the member's
profile report. The report had become so large that it had
become quite unwieldy to print out and took a long time to
calculate. With the new enhancements just installed, you can
select to receive a report on just those individuals in a
particular state or a particular province or a particular country
and the report is quite fast. (To report on everyone is still an
option and takes about 45 seconds.)
Now it is also possible to select just those who have been
recently added within the last 35 days.
Sometime back a user of this report suggested that it be sorted
by zip code (or postal code outside of the U.S.). When I
installed and tested that option it turned out to be surprising
useful. I found someone within driving reach of me that I would
not have suspected! Also postal codes can handle cases of variant
abbreviations and mispellings. So now the default method of
sorting the report is by zip and postal code. The option to sort
alphabetically by name of the city is still available.
For interest, the top of the report now says how many people are
in the report. You can, for instance, easily determine how many
new members have joined in the last 35 days around the world!
Some people have written me and asked about finding people in
different areas of the world. With these changes that should be
distinctly easier to do.
As a result the report is much more convenient and much faster.
Hope you "go to it" and enjoy it. I will be glad to hear how you
evaluate the new zip code sorting.
Just to remind you, the way to access that report and these new
features, is, as before, to click on "members" on the home page
http://www.blavatsky.net, fill in userid and password and choose
"profiles". Then you will be presented with the new page with
all the above options.
I might share with you that in testing this report I discovered I
had omitted my own zip code. Because of my blank zip code I
sorted out near the bottom of the New York State members. I
didn't find myself listed near my actual physical neighbors. So
you may want to include your zip code so you will be found.
Blank zip codes sort last. Also some of you give your city but
not your state. It will help you get found by others reporting
on your state if you go back and fill in your state. Of course,
on its own, the BN system does not know what cities are in what
This month we discovered another interesting indicator of how
this site is rated by the internet community. The site
http://websmostlinked.com attempts to list web sites by the
number of links on other pages that point to them. It is a form
of "vote" by the internet community. If you type in
blavatsky.net into that homepage, it shows this site as ranked at
#20625 out of 416921 sites in that database. (It was some 17,000
earlier this month.) In other words there are only some 20,000
other sites with more links to them than this site. But that is
remarkable! There are zillions of sites. In the world at large,
Theosophy is an obsure subject. So being in the top 5% or better
of internet sites seems quite a good rating in perspective. You
may wish to visit there and inquire about some other site of
special interest to you.
Nine articles by Judge have been added this month. Number 7 in
the syllabus for BN-basic is now online.
Informally I hear very positive descriptions of the new SD class
in New York City at the Lodge at 72nd street and very positive
reports of the Manhattan Study class on 32nd street. The class
at 32nd st. will be holding a special summer event on July 16th.
Details next month.
There is a bug that prevents the private email feature in the
profile report from working. I had it fixed yesterday but as
this goes to press it is not working again. Will be fixed soon.
You do like computers don't you?
There are now 1956 members including 88 who joined last month.
Of all those, 1191 are visible in the profile report.
by M.O. French
[From THE THEOSOPHICAL FORUM, June 1949, pages 348-52.]
Islam, misnamed Mohammedanism by Christian Commentators, means
submission to the will of God. This is one and the same as the
theosophic doctrine of submission of the lower self to the Higher
Self. Furthermore, Mohammad specified that no priest, idol,
graven image, or aught else should stand between Man and Deity.
Since this proscription would deprive any priesthood of their
perquisites, prerogatives and power, piety arose in wrath against
such an impious premise. In consequence, Islam has been
subjected to a constant campaign of calumny.
An unprejudiced study of Islamic institutions and of the
resultant civilization that glorified Asia Minor for a brief
period might serve to stimulate the tolerance that is inseparable
from any concept of brotherhood. Before God, all men are united
as brothers in equality. This is exemplified in the Islamic
mosques where king and commoner, potentate and peasant, prostrate
themselves in the very apotheosis of spiritual equality. Every
line of those mosques depicts the artistic instinct of Arabic
architecture for symbolizing an archetypal dynamic symmetry in a
balanced combination of curved lines and straight ones. They are
destitute of altars and images that might interpose a barrier
between the intuition and the immanent Christos.
In Alcoran, a formal ritualism is prescribed that inculcates
religious observances as bodily habits. This serves to obscure
all esoteric aspects, but is well calculated for the discipline
of those who live wholly upon the physical plane. The
prescriptive regulations extend to the minutest details of daily
life, including ablutions, marital relations, diet, economics,
politics, and sociology. The intent was to rectify the chaotic
conditions existing in Asia Minor, where disintegrative
influences were leading backward to the depravity of
unadulterated barbarism at an alarmingly rapid rate.
Christianity had spread westward to replace the decadent tyranny
of Rome, but had failed to penetrate the tribal areas of the no
man's land that lay between India and Europe.
Mohammad was a personage of destiny who was inspired for a
specific purpose. From the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem, he was
transported on the "Journey through the Celestial Spheres" that
constituted his "Initiation." It garbed him with the
psychological power to perform his tremendous task of leavening
the loaf of a species of "ersatz" bread made up of the most
heterogeneous elements. The psycho-magnetic spiritual energy
that flowed from him is exemplified in the results of his
mission. Within a century of his demise, 632 AD, his Islamic
adherents had established an empire that extended from the Indus
in India to the Atlantic, including what are now southern Russia,
northern Africa, and Spain. In extent it exceeded Rome at its
zenith and its conquest, in the view of this writer, had been
accomplished with less brutality and more tolerance than that
which has marked the forcible extension of most ideologies.
The moral precepts of Alcoran are eminently ethical and a strict
observance of the spirit rather than of the letter of the Koranic
Law will lead on to the saintly asceticism of an initiated Sufi.
With respect to the alleged propagation of Islam by the sword,
Mohammad's admonition was: "And fight for the religion of God
against those who fight against you; but transgress not by
attacking them first." In regard to the common practices of
priesthoods, he states:
> Moreover they who conceal ANY PART of the scripture which God
> hath sent down unto them, and sell it for a small price, they
> shall swallow into their bellies nothing but fire ... These are
> they who have sold direction for error, and pardon for
> punishment: but how great will their suffering be in the fire!
The "fire" is that of thought, AGNI. The proscription in regard
to ecclesiastical deceptions and tracking in "indulgences" is
specific. The obloquy cast upon Islam for permitting polygamy to
the number of four wives has been considerable. It may be
compared with the sexual habits of the occidental male, as
recently unfolded, to the detriment of the latter. Alcoran
advises: "But if ye fear that ye cannot act equitably TOWARDS SO
MANY, MARRY ONE ONLY ... Very strict provisions in regard to
what constitutes equitable treatment of a wife are set forth in
the following paragraphs.
The accusations concerning intolerant destruction leveled against
Islam appear to have as little foundation in fact as do the moral
strictures of the Christian pot calling the Islamic kettle black.
It was Julius Caesar who destroyed the Alexandrian Library in 48
BC and not an order from the Caliph at the later date of the
Islamic conquest. The Emperor Theodosius destroyed all that was
left by Caesar in 389 AD.
The glory that was Islam, like the glory of Spain, proved very
brief. The ninth century saw Charlemagne in Europe and Harun
al-Raschid in Asia Minor as the two dominant figures on the
world's stage. The ENTENTE CORDIALE between them was close and,
apparently, sincere. The immense spiritual energy generated by
Mohammad had created the great structure of empire, but "the
creation is ever slave to the creator." Wise and just provisions
had been laid down in Alcoran for the governance of its
adherents, together with much of the ancient wisdom that runs
like a golden thread throughout all scriptural literature.
The vast edifice erected on this foundation proved very brittle
and unenduring. Corruption and decadence infected the entire
structure. The infamous cult of the Assassins entrenched itself
in mountain fortresses and power was lacking to utterly destroy
this terrible cancer. Finally, Hulagu, grandson of Jenghiz Khan,
came down from the north to exterminate them and then proceeded
to disrupt the remaining fabric of Islamic empire.
As Il-Khan he replaced the last of the Abbasid Caliphs at Baghdad
in 1258. To the west, the wanton destruction of the Holy
Sepulcher in 1009 had brought the Crusades against Islam. What
was left was beset between the Mongol horsemen and the Frankish
The last great dynasty of Islam, the Mamluks, came from Egypt to
offset them both. The Mamluks were sultans who had been slaves
and their example renders most "self-made" plutocrats of the
western world tame by comparison. Decadence and dissolution
continued thereafter. The isolated Umayyad dynasty in Spain
continued to sustain a high Moorish civilization until Granada
fell before Ferdinand and Isabella when Columbus was en route to
We may well ask what was the cause of Islam's disintegration and
the answer is enlightening. Primarily, the followers of any very
strong leader take on his likeness by imitation until they
resemble so many coins from the same mint. Otherwise, they will
not pass as currency in the community.
In his early life, Mohammad attained enlightenment and achieved
the initiation of the celestial spheres by a life of relative
asceticism and solitary meditation. In initiation, he was led
into temptation by having his innate powers revealed to him, or
the kingdoms of the earth offered to him.
Mohammad chose the role of pontiff and potentate. Gautama had
the same experience under the Bo Tree and Mara the Seducer (one
of whose names is Kama as God of love) tried to tempt him into
becoming Patriarch of an exoteric religion for the salvation of
humanity. He, however, had renounced his throne as Prince of
Kapilavastu and was not trapped by this subtle enticement.
Similarly, Jesus was led into the wilderness to be tempted of
"the devil," as set forth in chapter four of Matthew. He, like
Buddha, repudiated the temptation to become either an
ecclesiastical or a political leader. He remained a spiritual
Thus it is that "Lead us not into temptation" is included in
prayers to Divinity. Gautama and Jesus became increasingly
ascetic with advancing years. Mohammad, corrupted by the
corrosive sublimate of adulation and dictatorial power, became
addicted to luxurious living, lust, and the political
expediencies of combining compulsion with compromise.
Like so many automata, his adherents reflected both the virtues
and the vices of his example. Furthermore, his rigidly
restrictive precepts were embodied in the "holy writ" of the
sacred scriptures in Alcoran. This gave to them a paralyzing
power far in excess of the statutory edicts of any Caesar. The
complete manacling of all individual initiative is illustrated in
the "Bill of Rights" that governs Islam. The instructions of the
Prophet are as follows:
> Mohammad: "How wilt thou decide when a question arises?"
> Mu'adh: "According to the Book of Allah."
> Mohammad: "And if thou findest naught therein?"
> Mu'adh: "According to the sunnah of the Messenger of Allah."
> Mohammad: "And if thou findest naught therein?"
> Mu'adh: "Then I shall apply my own reasoning."
Maurice de Saxe, MARECHAL DE FRANCE, said that that "Laws are by
no means sufficient for government of an army. You must have
living laws at the head of the troops." Thereby he spoke a
mouthful. Into all scriptural texts, by imperceptible degrees,
there creep ecclesiastical alterations, interpolations, or
interpretations. Likewise, statutory provisions become the dead
letter of outmoded laws, totems, or tabus as the wide cycles of
time effect mutation.
"The law," as Justice Cardoza said, "should be founded upon a
philosophy that will mediate between stability and progress."
That "law" lives in the cleansing pulsations of the spiritual
blood stream flowing through the pure of heart, mankind's
spiritual leaders. Its pulse keeps time to the rhythm set by the
Heart of the Universe. It cannot be confined between the covers
of any book, or restricted to the utterances of any personage.
THE LIVING DEAD
by A. Trevor Barker
[From THE HILL OF DISCERNMENT, Theosophical University Press,
1941, pages 293-302.]
One of the difficulties that we are all faced with, in studying
this great philosophy, is not so much that as a result of it we
do not come to recognize and know certain things. Our difficulty
is rather in translating the implication of those ideas into
Now, it was because we came to the recognition that this is a
difficulty the majority of us need to solve, that we were led to
choose the title for this series of lectures, "A Rational Basis
for Ethics." What we are trying to do with each subject that we
take up is first to consider very briefly what the teachings are.
Then we will try to extract the ethical implication from the
metaphysical teaching, and see how we are going to translate it
into action in our lives. That makes the philosophy a living
power in our lives if we want it to be so.
I am taking for granted tonight necessarily that you are familiar
with the subjects of the two preceding lectures in this series.
The first was on the Sevenfold Constitution and Powers of Man.
The second one dealt with Cyclic Law, Reincarnation, and to some
extent Evolution. That is the background upon which the great
Teachers of life and knowledge have thrown, as it were, upon a
screen, the marvelous solutions and explanations that they have
to give of the great mysteries of the life after death.
There are at least three ways that this title "The Living Dead"
can be understood, because, as you will have divined, that title
comes from the Mystery Schools of old time. The Living Dead can
be understood as those who have put aside their mortal body --
the people that colloquially we call dead people, but who,
according to all the great religions of antiquity, and therefore
in the teachings of Theosophy, are still indeed living. We can
understand the title in that way, and we shall consider the
Theosophical teachings on the subject from that point of view.
Then again, this phrase can signify living people, or those that
we call living, but who nevertheless are really and truly dead,
in the sense that they are unawakened -- spiritually asleep.
These people were called by those in the Mystery Schools of
antiquity the profane -- those who have not been awakened to the
reality of the spiritual life.
And there is yet another way of looking at that title: those
fewer in number, who, whilst still living in the body they have
dared to die in their personalities -- who have dared to lose
their personal lives, and have been reborn, spiritually speaking,
and have therefore found their lives.
So we will try briefly to study the subject from these three
points of view, amongst others.
May I try to give you a brief sketch of just what the
Theosophical teachings are about the passage from what we call
life through the intermediate worlds into the afterlife, and back
in cyclical return to earth again? The teachings on this subject
in Theosophical philosophy are very rich. They are treated in
great detail, and their implication is of tremendous importance
and significance for us here. Then, when I have given you that
picture, I will try to extract some of the implications of an
ethical kind from it. First, at the moment of death, everybody
-- whether dying quietly in their beds, whether what is called
insane, or dying by accident or violence -- everybody -- young,
old, under all conditions -- everybody experiences, in the last
fleeting moments, when the cord of life is snapped, a complete
review of every incident of the life from first to last. That is
the first point we want to get the significance of, for surely it
means that we have to remember that in the memory of Nature
nothing is ever forgotten. Do not let us deceive ourselves for
an instant that any single one of our actions can be lost. We
may choose to wipe it from our memories and forget it, but the
soul memory cannot forget; the memory of Nature does not forget;
and therefore sooner or later we have got to face the
implications and consequences of our own acts.
Then, the review completed, the whole of the being that is left
-- the fivefold man -- goes into that intermediate realm which in
some parts of Christian doctrines is known as purgatory: into
that region of purgation where the higher and lower elements of
the being of the man are separated into their component parts.
Therefore think of all that is left other than the body and life
going into the great intermediate realm, and there instantly
being subjected to a process by which the lower material parts of
the man's being begin to separate by downward attraction from the
spiritual efflorescence of his being, which is attracted
inevitably upwards, upwards, upwards.
That is a process that happens without the man's will. If he
dies a normal death, he goes into that after-death condition but
without the power to initiate new actions. He is in a subjective
world; he can no longer will, perceive and know in a conscious
way. He is rather like a man in a dream, or if his life has been
very material it will be perhaps more like a nightmare.
Then he experiences what is known as the second death. Now
please note this particular teaching, for of all teachings it
probably has the greatest significance for those who want really
to be reborn either during life on earth, or after death. The
separation of the higher principles from the lower, leaves the
lower to separate and disintegrate into their component parts --
the lower consisting of all that is necessarily transient in
Nature: the passions, the evil thoughts, the hatreds, all those
qualities that are essentially impermanent and of the nature of
death. They are doomed to fade out since there is no permanent
survival of man's personality. And directly those principles are
separated, the last process of which is a struggle resulting in
another or second death. Then the man is reborn into the Heaven
Now what gives him birth there? It is simply his spiritual
aspirations, his religious yearnings, his philosophical and
spiritual meditations of a lifetime; the high, beautiful and holy
things that the man's heart was set upon during life; the
innumerable mystical dreams and imaginations that most of us
weave during life and never have a chance to work out and
translate into action. They are ideal pictures, beautiful
imaginings, true ideas -- unfulfilled spiritual hopes. Now it is
these things, not the will -- whether personal or spiritual --
which cause a man to be reborn, spiritually speaking, in the
Heaven world which in Theosophical teaching is called the world
of Devachan or Sukhavati, the Land of the Gods.
What happens when he gets there, when he enters into that state
of consciousness? For that is what it is, a state of
consciousness. He is reborn as a little child as he was on
earth, and his first recollections will be those that he had on
earth -- of his mother, his parents, his family, and from that
tiny baby-like beginning will be evolving the abstract effects of
his own spiritual thinking, the causes of which were generated in
the thought-life of the man's last personal incarnation. There,
in that after-death state he will be surrounded with all those
that he loved and left on earth, by the ideal picture of them,
the idealized personalities of father and mother, husband or
wife, and friends. He will be provided, as it were, by the
creative power of his own imaginative thinking, with the
opportunity of carrying to the nth degree his philosophical and
mystical researches into the secret ways of the inner heart of
Nature. He will be able to enter into the companionship of the
great thinkers, the great Sages and Teachers of the human race.
He will be able to work out these ideas and translate them, as it
seems to him, into action. Yet he is really only living in a
glorious dream world, but full of happiness, peace, bliss and the
power of the spirit.
And when the full tide of the assimilation process, gradually
waning, finally leaves him, with all the spiritual effects of his
last personal life fully worked out, assimilated into the fabric
of his spiritual being, what happens? Why, the efflorescence of
that last life on earth, the fruit of that human soul, is
gathered up into the bosom of its Father in Heaven, merging into
union with the Spiritual, there to experience the vast panoramic
vision of all its past existences -- each incarnation as it were
the pearl upon the golden thread of life and consciousness. And
in the memory of the Immortal Seer is seen every one of the
causes that led to such and another effect in life after life on
earth: that which he had done of good bringing beautiful results
and that which he had done of evil resulting necessarily in
suffering. Finally he sees as a whole the past life that he has
just completed, and the destiny which he himself has created of
the life that is about to open in his next incarnation -- seeing
as it were in the ideal thought of his own inner Divinity, the
plan laid down there in his own highest spiritual self for the
life which he is about to embark upon. This is just like an
ideal architectural plan of a universe to be -- in this case the
future life of a man on earth. Then when that wonderful vision
of all that he will have to go through is complete, the triumphs
of the spirit that he will experience, and the failures due to
the blows of karmic destiny -- the results of those things of an
evil kind which the man had generated in past existences: when
all has been seen, he begins to descend step by step, drawing
back to himself the life-atoms, the very matter through which he
had experienced the passions, desires, and thoughts -- good, bad,
and indifferent -- of the last personality; drawing them all
together by the power of attraction and finally emerging on the
stage of life once again as a little child.
That in brief is an imperfect picture of the Theosophical
teaching about the life after death for those people who die a
normal, natural death at the end of their life period. I have
purposely left out all the exceptions to the general law, because
it would take us too far afield. But when we discover what the
implications of these ideas are and we try to work out how to
translate these implications into action in terms of ethics, then
we begin truly to think; then indeed life begins for us and takes
on an entirely different aspect than merely reading about these
things in an intellectual way and leaving it there.
We spoke about the review of the past life. That is an automatic
process, and we have already seen the implication that nothing is
forgotten in the book of Nature, or in the Soul's memory. The
man has passed from earth, necessarily leaving behind all his
purely material possessions. Then you have the teaching about
the separation of the principles and the second death. Now what
are the implications of this idea? First that in terms of a man's
spirituality, to the extent to which during life the higher and
divine nature of the man had dominated the lower personal nature,
to that extent he will pass with speed through the intermediate
worlds and purgatorial regions: if a spiritual, if a holy life
and pure one, the lower nature will just fade away. The higher
will then gravitate upwards, rising like a cork does in the sea
-- it cannot help itself. Because the lower nature had been
transcended during life there is very little to disintegrate, and
so it vanishes away like the mist before the rising sun. We see
at once the tremendous spiritual benefit to the man who lives in
terms of ethics during life even in that one fact.
Consider another aspect of it. Supposing the reverse kind of
life had been led, and you have before you the life of a
materialist, a man who has lived in the animal nature, pursuing
the objects of the senses, living in his desires, the spiritual
nature given no attention to -- perhaps hardly wakened at all.
The center of gravity is in the animal soul. He must pass a long
period in the purgatorial regions, to the extent that he dies
with active, vigorous hatreds and passions and desires, and he
must suffer the unsatisfied longings which he can no longer
assuage in the after-death world. He will experience these as a
terrible nightmare, as a nightmare about which he is unable to do
anything about. A sufficient reason indeed for living an ethical
life here -- but still worse is to come, because it is just such
individuals who can be most easily attracted and drawn into the
mediumistic vortex of the spiritualistic seance. Earthly is that
animal soul by nature, and earthly are the forces that attract to
the spiritualistic seance. And then that disincarnate animal --
almost devil -- seeks to satiate the animal passions, vicariously
as it were, through the human beings that he is brought into
contact with through the medium. Unfortunately many are the
cases of insanity, suicide, and obsession, that are caused by
such people. Not only do they damage the living, but through the
excesses that they commit they gradually build into themselves
worse and worse tendencies in that part of their nature than they
had actually done during earth life. So you get an ethical
implication there at once -- the condemnation as a practice of
getting in touch with these entities through the mediumistic
seance, and at the same time a tremendous incentive to leave
behind, to turn around from that kind of life while living on
earth, because after death it is too late. You cannot do
anything about it.
Now the third, and as I think, the most important application of
this far-reaching doctrine: what is it that really causes a man
to be reborn in the Heaven-world or Devachan? It is really a
state during life of spiritual ignorance, a state of
spirituality, of spiritual yearnings, spiritual imaginings and
striving, but without that deep understanding of the laws of
Nature which would enable the individual to translate that ideal
thinking into action in the living present, and therefore he has
to work them out in an ideal state instead of here in the
objective universe. That means that it is really a state of
illusion, although much nearer reality, than earth-life -- much
nearer; nevertheless, from the point of view of a really
spiritual self-conscious being such as any of the great Sages and
Seers, the great religious Teachers of the human race -- from
their point of view it is a state of ignorance, and it is
something that can be transcended by a certain process. What is
it? It is simply this. In the after-death state, the spiritual
nature, by its predominance, goes instantly into the higher
worlds and expresses itself there in a rebirth of the spirit by
transcending all the actions of the material, passionate, lower
nature. In order to extract the ethical implication, we have
simply to realize an idea. That idea is that it is possible for
us -- you and I -- at this moment, any time, from day to day,
from hour to hour, to die to everything that is of a character
that prevents the expression of our own high, divine, spiritual
nature and powers. Those things of a lower nature are keeping us
from a realization of the God Within, which are keeping us from
being incarnate Gods here in the temple of the body. To avoid
the illusory state -- necessary, beneficent and useful as it is
-- of the Heaven-world, we simply have to take a high ethical
standard of life and realize it in the body here and now. That
will mean to lose our personal lives completely from an ordinary
point of view. It will be to follow the advice of the Initiate
Paul: to die daily that he might be reborn in Christ. This is a
possibility for us, and it simply means translating ethics from
the realm of the ideal into the living present through action
here and now. That is one of the main implications of the whole
of the after-death teaching of Theosophy: the possibility first,
and then the necessity, the impelling necessity for those who
want to live in terms of the spiritual idea --to do the thing in
the only place that it can be done, which is on earth here where
we are. Here alone we can learn so to dominate the lower man by
the power of the spirit that we become actually reborn during
There is one last idea I want to draw your attention to: the plan
that our Paramatman, our own Father in Heaven, has for each one
of us; the plan that our own Inner God shows to us before we come
into this world, of the incarnation that we are about to embark
upon. That is something of tremendous importance, for deep down
in the spiritual nature of our own being there is that which
knows the justice of every single accident that will come to us
in the life that is opening: the justice of the rewards and the
retribution that we experience seemingly perhaps in some
automatic way once the incarnation has begun. For if there is
such a picture, such a plan of the ideal working out of our
destiny -- a destiny that we ourselves have created -- then it
rests with us so to live during life that we human, thinking
entities can reflect purely and perfectly that ideal plan for the
living of our lives that exists in the mind of the God Within.
And if we learn to do that in our daily meditation, as we listen
for the voice of the Inner Warrior, our Inner Deity, our Personal
Savior, we will have revealed before our own Inner Spiritual Eye,
step by step, the pathway which that Inner Divinity wants us to
follow if we only will. The price of it is simply the
willingness to live an entirely different sort of life. The
price is a willingness to translate into the living present those
simple ethical principles that all the great Teachers of the
human race have laid down as essential and necessary for the
saving of the souls of men.
A PSYCHOLOGICAL PROBLEM: (A TRUE STORY)
by Alice Copeland
"No," said the hospital surgeon, "he won't regain consciousness.
He may live two weeks, perhaps a month. But recovery is
impossible after such an accident."
"But he knew it was his sister speaking."
"That's strange! He didn't recognize his wife nor his father or
mother an hour ago," continued the surgeon.
"I saw that my brother was unconscious, nevertheless," I
explained. "He told me why he had called for me. Then he asked
me to attend to some important business. He also said that
Father and Mother had been here and had gone to his home with his
wife. He even gave me his new phone number, and said that if I
telephoned at once I might catch Father and Mother before they
left town. "
"I don't understand," answered the surgeon. "He hasn't spoken
since the accident. He is totally unconscious, and will probably
remain so. However, your parents are leaving for home on the
"How strange! He talked so intelligently!"
A look of amazement was the surgeon's only answer as he followed
a beckoning nurse.
I too was amazed and decidedly perplexed. If "totally
unconscious," how could a man talk intelligently? A man is
unconscious and yet conscious at the same time. This is
impossible, I thought. Yet something unusual was happening. Had
the impact of a head-on collision driven the consciousness
completely out of the body? If so, how could it function?
I took Charles's hand in mine. No response from the touch. The
brain was stunned beyond doubt, yet the tongue had given
utterance to intelligent reasoning. Could I call him back to his
body? This had been done in similar cases. I called his name and
he answered, again requesting me to attend to the business he had
already mentioned. And so I left him.
The unexpected happened. When I visited him the following day he
was fully conscious. His mind was brilliant, particularly when
discussing his business of commercial flying. However, a change
that seemed psychological had taken place. More recent events --
his marriage, wife and home -- now seemed but casual
relationships. Only his sister and earlier memories interested
him, and he begged repeatedly for me to take him to my home.
A few weeks later the truth of the surgeon's diagnosis became all
too real. The change, which we call death, was drawing near.
Finishing the dessert I had brought, he asked in a businesslike
way that I rearrange his pillows and straighten out his helpless
body. Then with a happy smile he said, "Now I'm ready. Get the
car and take me home with you."
That last happy smile! No, not even death could take it. "The
man that was, that is, and will be." He lives, here by my side!
Close the grave! Drive home, please!
Two months later a baby girl was born. When six weeks old, June
and her mother began visiting me regularly. Six months later the
mother said, "If this baby could walk I couldn't keep her from
running over here. She cries if I push her carriage in any other
This remark challenged my attention to the baby's joy at seeing
me. She would actually jump out of her mother's arms into mine.
This might have been a mere childish caprice but further remarks
from bath parents provoked further notice.
"She's not like any of my other children," said the mother.
"She's not like a baby girl at all," remarked the father, giving
voice to a thought of my own, for airplanes and mechanical toys
interested her far more than dolls. Her first utterance was her
own baby word for an airplane. Noting this I thought of
Charles's enthusiasm over flying and began to observe June's
other mannerisms. Yes, they were like my brother's in many ways.
The likeness was almost uncanny.
One day the mother called attention to the baby's left hand and
foot. "The osteopath says they're perfectly normal, but she
won't use them." It then flashed into my mind that during
Charles's last days he would not use his left hand or leg. The
doctor said there was nothing wrong with them. It was just a
notion that he couldn't use them. Then there was this unusual
affection for me, merely a neighbor!
A suggestion of reincarnation made me wonder if, by some chance,
the soul of my brother had slipped into this baby's body. Reason
told me such a thing was impossible, for each soul builds a body
of its own. But June's unusual development as the months passed
somehow demanded unusual attention.
One day June's mother left her with me. Before leaving she gave
me June's lunch saying: "You may have to sing to her before
she'll take a spoonful of anything. You know I'm having
difficulty weaning her." With these words she was off, and to my
surprise and great relief, the baby watched her departure without
even a whimper, although it was the first time the mother had
left her in anyone's care.
In due course it was lunchtime. Holding her in my lap, I began
to sing, coaxingly presenting the spoonful of milk, carrot juice,
and other good things. But no, June wasn't the slightest bit
interested in the menu. I coaxed and coaxed, and sang and sang.
(I was reminded of Charles's passion for music.) Finally she did
take a wee bit of milk, soon pushing the spoon away as she turned
her little face up to mine, a most amazing thing happened. This
baby, who had not yet even lisped "mamma" or "dadda," stood up in
my lap, put her little arms around my neck, and using my
brother's pronunciation of my name, "Alice," in unmistakable
words called: "Allie, Allie."
Shortly after this amazing happening, some friends dropped in.
June was naturally a little shy before strangers and, taking her
in my arms, I told them of the surprise the baby had given me.
With such interest and curiosity as might have been expected, one
of these friends, pointing to me and said: "June, who is this?"
Without a moment's hesitation the little one replied: "Allie,"
and then nestled closer in my arms.
So the day wore away. When the mother arrived, rushing in with
outstretched arms, the look of anxiety fading into one of joy,
the climax came. Then grief of grief! Who could have imagined
such a thing! The baby refused to go to her mother.
Naturally I was very much disturbed and resolved to fathom this
mystery of consciousness. A short time after these events June's
family moved to another country. When she was gone I tried to
separate her in my mind from any thought of my brother, but one
question after another would torment me. What is consciousness?
Where does it reside? If Charles could use his unconscious body
(or tongue) and speak to me as he did at the hospital, could he
not do the same thing with this unselfconscious child? Why had
she called me by name? She had never heard it spoken by anyone.
These were distressing questions, for my brother was a noble
character and could never have taken possession of another's
property, much less another's body! No, I would not! I could not
believe that his soul had incarnated in June's body. And yet,
something unusual had happened. "Is consciousness independent of
a physical body," I asked. Charles' presence somehow seemed as
distinct as a fragrance that fills the air.
Fifteen years have passed. In the meantime I have studied this
problem of consciousness. June's recognition of me -- or perhaps
I should say her calling me by name -- started this quest into
the powers which motivate all things visible. A biological
demonstration of the operations of one's body proves that
something apart from the man himself is governing the conduct of
every atom or blood corpuscle in his marvelous and mysterious
Now I am reasonably satisfied that there exist other bodies,
coadunated but not consubstantial, of more etheric material, but
BODIES none the less. In one such form DESIRE stimulated by WILL
clothes itself, and momentum follows.
I think of a stone thrown across a pond. It skips under and over
the surface of the waters as far as the impulse of the thrower
carries it. Then that momentum exhausted, it sinks to the
bottom. So it was with this desire body. It lasts, after the
death of the physical body, as long as the combined impulse of
will and desire which surcharged it lasts.
Using the above analogy let the stone stand for the desire body,
and let the thrower stand for the impulse that directs it.
Because of its qualities it endures after separation by death
from the physical body. Very much evidence is to be found in
substantiation of this fact in an ordinary seance room. It is
usually this desire body that a medium can and does bring into
materialization. If so used, a disintegrating desire body can be
made to act as an astral spook. But the departed soul of a
deceased person is quite apart from all these phenomena.
The human soul is sleeping. In due time, when freed from these
astral or desire bodies it ascends into Devachan or Heaven for a
period of assimilation and bliss.
What seemed to have happened in the case of my brother? His
desire to be at my home was so great during his last weeks on
earth, and particularly at the time of his death, that a certain
momentum was the consequence, the momentum that brought him to
me. Furthermore, this same desire body, which caused the
conversation at the hospital, must have been conscious of
Is it not reasonable to suppose -- yes, even to believe -- that
such an accomplishment might provoke the desire for repetition so
that the baby's unselfconscious brain could be used to call me by
name? Who knows? Let the reader take this as I give it, as a
possible explanation of a psychological problem.
I do not believe -- nor can I find any religious or philosophical
teachings that vary with this disbelief -- that my brother
arbitrarily took possession of the baby June's body. What seems
to me of vital importance, however, in view of these
psychological possibilities, is the need of guarding our children
with pure love - and not sentimental coddling -- and clean minds,
in order to protect them from such psychological influences as
seem to permeate the atmosphere in which we live. We have it in
our power to dispel evil influences by impersonal LOVE and not by
For further proof of my contention I must add that baby June is
now growing to young womanhood, a devoted daughter to a devoted
mother, her own sweet normal self.
As for my consciousness of my brother's presence, that has
passed. I know he sleeps! In time will incarnate in a body of
his very own.
SPIRITUAL TEACHERS AND AVATARAS, Part II
by Boris de Zirkoff
[From a tape recording of a private class held on September 1,
> I wonder about the discussion of the Teachers and Avataras
> and Messengers and what have you. Where do you fit in a mystic
> like Joseph Smith? He founded a rather recent religion. It seems
> to have a great power and has a great deal of sincerity within
> it. Or where do you fit in someone like Mary Baker Eddy? She
> probably wasn't the mystic that Joseph Smith is, but she also
> founded a great school of thought and a religion.
Yes. We also have a Movement that is now know today as Baha'i.
That's another one. There are a number of others. Some of them
are known in the Occident, some only in the Orient. In the
Orient, for instance, was Ram Mohan Roy [1774-1833], a very
remarkable individual of modern India, of the days of Blavatsky,
more or less, or a little later. We find others in
Muhammadanism, and in some of the Sufi leaders. They all fit the
same picture. They are simply modifications of the same
fundamental impulse fragmenting itself, an impulse in
fragmentation, rays of rays, subdivisions of subdivisions.
You realize that the farther away the subdivision is, the farther
away from actual truth it is, the more diluted it is with
relative error. You realize that. Everything has at least some
degree of error in it in our day and age, in our cycle of
illusion. The closer it is to actual truth the more pure it is.
The further away it is from it, from the source, the more mixed
it is with relative error.
We find that many movements have been started by people who had
but a partial mystical insight. They were started by people who
had confused spirituality with psychism. They were started by
people who had not been trained in any occult school. These
people were mystically inclined from former incarnations. They
caught a certain truth, a part of an idea. They mixed it with a
certain amount of error and gave it out. Unquestionably they
were and are a part of the pattern. They do a certain amount of
good. They help in some respect, perhaps locally, perhaps in one
country, perhaps only one type of people in various countries,
but only one type of mind.
None of them can be rejected. None of them should be looked upon
as merely a den of error and iniquity. Of course not! These
lesser individuals are not occultists in the technical sense of
that word. They're not Initiates. In other words, they're
Some of them are psychic visionaries. You take Smith. He's a
psychic visionary. He got a vision. It was partially correct.
There was a tremendous ethical value in it, you see. He built up
something that was ethically very strong. It was by no means a
sideshow for his gratification. It had a moral and ethical and
spiritual value in the building up of a new country. Obviously
he was doing it under some guidance. I do not have the slightest
evidence to think that he realized where the guidance was from
and where the dividing line was between truth and error. Let's,
by all means, reckon them as part of an overall pattern, however
relatively mistaken they may have been in various lines.
Mary Baker Eddy is another one. She made a tremendous shift in
human consciousness from matter to mind. Beyond that, the effort
degenerated, beyond that. It had, though, a mission to perform.
It would be a great fallacy to imagine that the modern Christian
Science work is synonymous with Mary Baker Eddy. It is not. It
has rammed itself into a lot of bypaths and ended in building up
a church. The original effort was certainly part of a thought
current. It cannot be disregarded. The same applies to a
multiplicity of others.
> She was so close to Blavatsky in many of her ideas about
> matter and energy and mind. They were contemporary to one
These things are very interesting. We must use this general idea
to build in ourselves a greater appreciation of all movements.
We need to be sympathetic to all of them without shutting out any
of them. Somewhere in their core they all had a spiritual truth.
That does not mean for us to fall away from what we consider to
be a greater truth, a truth that satisfies us more than any
other. Let us not exclude the others from the overall picture,
one that builds thought, human understanding, and mutual
> Is it possible that with the various ideas that we've been
> given, that we are able to break down old thought currents, at
> least in America? Perhaps our work is not just so that they could
> accept the theosophical ideas.
Yes. It's quite possible.
The same would apply to Hindus working on their own Hindu field,
you see. They would have a greater chance than we. The effort
of the hierarchy of Adepts is not limited to religious and
philosophical movements. I hasten to say that they do not work
in politics, which divide people. They most certainly project
ideas which some enlightened and broadminded social workers,
whether in the political field or otherwise, might catch. You
see, for instance, the building of a new commonwealth of nations
on this continent. It was done as it was by high Masons and some
Rosicrucians back of them. That effort was definitely part of
the work of the hierarchy, but none of the violence that ensued
from it. That's our own human contribution.
Judge pointed out that that the conflict between science and
theology was part of the liberation process that went on for
several centuries in Europe. So we can't draw the line and say,
"This is it" and "This is not it." The same current runs through
all sorts of movements. Wherever thought has struggled to be
free under whatever sky or clime or nation, wherever thought has
struggled to be free, there was the influence of the hierarchy of
compassion and light. You can always tell it by whether the
struggle was for spiritual freedom. If it was, no matter what it
was, it had a modicum, a particle of the current from the same
> How eternal is the Lama of Tibet? Is that Lama related in
> some way to lesser Buddhas? Is he behind some of the rays of
> the lesser Buddhas?
You mean the Tashi Lama and the Dalai Lama? Yes, that was a
spiritual hierarchy, a successorship of Teachers whose inner self
was illumined at times by a ray from Gautama the Buddha. I say
it was so, because I think that it is not so any longer. That
isn't anything that I could prove or disprove. There was a
prophecy in Tibet that this successorship is going to end with
the fourteenth Lama. The present one is the fourteenth. It is
quite possible that he is not any longer what the others were.
Such things have happened in many parts of the world. A
successorship of Teachers will last a certain period of time.
The successorship then comes to an end. The mission of that
particular line is accomplished. Some other line will start
The Tashi Lama and the Dalai Lama, both of them, embodied through
the history of that successorship -- and that was from the days of
Tsong-ka-pa, the great reformer -- embodied a certain ray, a
certain spiritual influence. This overshadowing influence was
from Gautama the Buddha, from what might be called the Silent
Watcher of the globe. They transmitted that influence to lesser
individuals in the hierarchy.
All that is very difficult to understand. To some people it is
quite unbelievable. They have traveled or even been to Tibet or
read books, authentic books from Tibet, and have found that there
were thousands, and tens of thousands of ignorant, illiterate,
dirty, filthy monks in Lamaism who were just living on the fat of
Granted that it exactly so, but so is the case in Roman Catholic
countries. There are thousands and tens of thousands of priests
living on the fat of the land in their ignorance too. Somewhere
inside the Roman Catholic hierarchy there still is a nucleus of
spiritual life. There still is a center of true occultism even
if we can't put exactly our finger on it; otherwise it would have
collapsed long ago.
That may sound like a strange thing to you but the same thing is
in Tibet only far more so. There is a great deal of genuine
spiritual inspiration and knowledge in the Tibetan hierarchy. On
one side it is the ignorant lamaistic monks, lamas. Within,
there is a considerable spiritual light, which is kept there for
future generations. Buddhism will be purified. It will be
cleansed. Some great spiritual movement will come out of it.
The time isn't right for it yet. So the light has to be kept
within. The fire has to be fed, fueled until a more spiritual
era is at hand.
> Perhaps, in initiating spiritual movements, a Teacher may create
That is an important thought and we've sort of left it high and
dry. How can some spiritual movements breed confusion? Well,
they do and they don't. They do not create confusion as a direct
action, but it produces as an automatic reaction from elsewhere.
It's almost, almost like this story.
Look out on the seashore and sometimes on the mountains, in
caves. They're full of bats, owls and night things and moths and
this and that and the other. These things spend part of their
time there, mostly the daytime, because they hate the sunlight.
They hide in those dark and humid and rather unfriendly places.
You go in with a strong light. It may be a torch. It may be a
big flashlight. It may be anything else. What happens?
Everything that sits on those walls and columns and floor and
ceiling gets into a complete uproar. They have to get away from
the light you have brought in. They can't stand it! Some may
attack it. Some may try to get away from it. They live in the
darkness. That is what they prefer. It is their nature to be
You worked to introduce a great light. That light has not
personally confused you. The natural, automatic result has been
a complete uproar of every night thing, every darkness thing that
is in those caves.
By analogy, we aspire to something nobler, greater than what we
had so far. We strike some great truth, or a series of truths, a
new philosophy of life. To us, it opens tremendous vistas. It
broadens our horizons. For the first time in our life we have
struck something that explains a myriad of problems that were
Suppose we have discovered the Teachings of Theosophy as so many
people had. Suddenly things begin to make sense. Suddenly we
realize that there is a far greater life to be lived and far
nobler ideals that some people live by. We rush to it. We
embrace it wholeheartedly. We begin to apply it, at least to
some small extent, in our life. We introduce that spiritual
light into all sorts of dark nooks and corners and caverns in our
lower self, which was quite undisturbed before, before the
discovery of that light.
Those nooks and corners and caverns that are chuck-full with bats
and owls and night moths just as well. There comes about a great
uproar in the student. He has aroused into confusion, a welter
of confusion, a lot of forces and energies within himself. They
were quietly slumbering before he introduced that new spiritual
light in his mind. He hasn't done violence to himself, not at
all. It is a natural process, a part of his purification. He
has to drive all these night things out of himself and illumine
the dark corners of his own being.
The same applies on a larger scale in the world. The powers that
be are far greater and stronger and wiser than any individual
human being. They use the help of some of their workers. They
use some of us human beings as helpers. They introduce a great
thought, or a series of great, challenging, world-shaking ideas
into the thought-atmosphere of the world, which had forgotten
these ideas. They introduce them either through men, through
books, through events, in maybe in a half a dozen other ways.
There will be, metaphorically speaking, a great light. It will
be like striking a match, or opening a flashlight in the middle
of a relative darkness.
There will be the automatic reaction sooner or later of all the
dark elements in the world. These elements will be driven to
despair by the introduction of that light. They will realize
that their time has come, or is about to come. They will have to
yield. They don't want to. The natural result of the
introduction of a great spiritual thoughts or movement of
spiritual thought will be in due time a clash between that
current and the ugly, negative, selfish, ignorant, brutal things
that that light challenges. For the time being, but only for the
time being, there would be a welter of confusion in the world or
in part of the world, until it calms down. How is it ever going
to calm down? It will calm down by the gradual elimination of the
ugly stuff. It will calm down by the introduction of these
spiritual forces so that the nooks and corners are clean.
> In this same connection, is it not possible that some individual
> will appear who may demonstrate great powers and might be
> mistaken for a great sage too?
Yes. Oh, yes. Certainly there is the possibility of the
appearance from time to time of people with considerable power.
They may have psychic power, even physical if you like. I would
say they even might be halfway spiritual, or appearing to be
spiritual because we are so mistaken about these things.
Such a one will have a following. He will do a certain work. He
will mislead thousands of people who will sooner our later find
themselves with burned fingers. His work will eventually fall
apart, because again it is the current of evolution.
Our karmic record in the past is complex. Many of us have done
many evil things in the past. From time to time our own karma
will almost demand that we pay retribution. That payment may
come in the form of our being misled by false Teachers. At the
cemetery, as our lives have come to an end, we have a chastening
experience, a very hard one to go through. A lot of people seem
to have it in their own life for a pattern to be misled by false
Teachers who appear to be the real thing. Is that what you have
> The Theosophical Society is prey to seers and prophets. This is
> in connection with varieties of either Isaiah or Daniel. Just
> such an individual, as you described him, will appear and show
> the way for only a time, for only a time. It's written very,
> very tragically in some instances.
In either Isaiah or Daniel. Yes, I would imagine that these men,
who were certainly spiritual Teachers, would have pointed out
something like that. There seems to be this tragedy in the world
that every good thing has a counterpart. A real coin has a false
coin, a counterfeited coin. We don't balance each other in the
spiritual. The true is always stronger ultimately. Yet the
false coin turns up every now and then and misleads a lot of
people. It is heartbreaking to know, to see people mislead.
Heartbreaking. Yet they have something to learn by means of
being misled. That's another matter.
Take for instance Mohammed. He was not a bad man, not at all.
He was not an occultist. He was not an Adept. He was a sort of
a militant leader who was at the same time a mystic. He got a
glimpse of a vision that was primarily directed to his own
countrymen. His whole spiritual outlook was militant. He formed
a religious institution, a movement that was of a militant
nature, which was going to spread his own view of truth with a
There is no question that he had a place in history, no question.
He was karmically due to come because of the karma of millions of
people to whom he had a message.
We will never identify, the Theosophists will never identify
Mohamed, and the Muhammadist religion, with a great spiritual
movement, which it is not. It has a place. It has a message.
There are some very fine things in the Koran. There are
It is a militant outfit that has a political angle, also a social
angle, and is not reflecting, not showing the warm, the lofty,
spiritual warmth and inspiration of, let us say, Buddhism, and
the great prophets of Israel, or the Egyptian religion, or the
great philosophers of Greece and Rome. It doesn't have the same
keynote at all. Yet, for militant people as the Arabs were and
still are, it has a place in the economy of nature.
You must remember that nothing can take place in nature but has a
role to play. Nothing can happen by chance. That doesn't mean
for us to follow something that is less than what we feel is
> Islam and Moslems and Mohammed, that's all the same thing.
Yes, they are all the same thing. Islam is the usual name in
India, but Muhammadanism is another, and Muslim is another word
in India for that. They are growing in number. I'm not
surprised that they are, because we have so many militant people
in the world, in the Orient particularly. They are militant in
the sense that they prefer violence to the gentle ways, so it
would have an appeal today among non-Arabic nations
Mind you, the whole of Pakistan -- that's Hindu. They're
Muhammadans. They're Hindu as far as their race is concerned.
They're just as much Hindu as our friend here. They have
embraced Muhammadanism because of their militant attitude, a
constant running around with knives. Obviously their religious
views reflect this peculiar psychology.
We in the Occident are not without blame. We have had centuries
and centuries of militant Christians who exhibited exactly the
same militant psychology. They too were running around with
weapons and with stakes and other implements of torture,
spreading their so-called Gospel. They tried to outwit the
Muhammadans and to liberate by means of Crusades, which means
violence, the supposed tomb of their savior.
We've always had our share of centuries of militant Christianity
from which, fortunately, we have now departed. We haven't got
clean hand yet. We're not using those methods, neither Crusades,
nor stake, nor inquisition to achieve our end. That's an
improvement. If the Muhammadans in the Orient could achieve that
much they would become rather peaceful people compared to what
they are today. There's a long way to go to reach the gentleness
of The Sermon on the Mount.
The odd thing is that some of these people, not all of them, but
I think most of them, are very sincere. Sincerity is by no means
a synonym of wisdom, since they are fanatics. I'm sure Hitler
was perfectly sincere, and so were a few others. This type of
person is quite sincere. He really believes that this is the way
to do things. That is tragedy to the nth degree.
If somebody advocates an idea with not much sincerity, you can
either uncover the insincerity or convince him to the contrary.
But when a man advocates something with utmost sincerity, and his
entire mind and heart is in it, and it happens to be a wrong
thing, why there is nothing that you can appeal to. He's
Some people imagine that just because a person is sincere
therefore he is wonderful. Sincerity is not a synonym of wisdom.
As a matter of fact, a great deal of sincerity has gone in
history with a great deal of violence and iniquity by people who
are utterly sincere in what they believed. What they believed
was fundamentally wrong. It's a tragedy.
> Jesus, who was a Christ, is given greater recognition in the
> world than any man in history.
Do you mean in the religious field? Yes, yes, that is possible.
It might appear so from our standpoint, I think. If we lived in
the Orient we would find that the Buddha is given greater
recognition. It could be only a toss-up you might say between
the two. As far as the Occident is concerned, and even portions
of the Orient, the individual known as Jesus the Christ seems to
have been given a particularly high recognition. This was
probably justly so. He must have been a very great individual.
His Teachings -- whatever their actual wording -- must have
impressed the people of his age with especially great spiritual
momentum. Unfortunately, they have been greatly misunderstood
and twisted. In fact, within 200 years to 300 years of his
lifetime, a powerfully organized church took over and from that
time on Christianity has never been tried.
Suppose we were to be able by waving some magic wand to make away
with all the distortions, all the twisting, and all the wrong
things that have gone on or are going yet in organized
Christianity. Suppose we were able by some magical way to fill
the existing churches and Christian communities with the
Teachings out of the Gospel, The Sermon on the Mount, if nothing
else? Obviously, we would have a revival, a resurrection of a
tremendous spiritual force throughout Christendom.
That force potentially exists in the Christian Teachings. A
resurrecting, rejuvenating, reinvigorating ethical and spiritual
force potentially exists in the Teachings. Anybody can find it
by reading the Gospels, if nothing else, of the New Testament.
It hasn't got power to do its work because it's saddled with
man-made theology and warring sects. There are conflicting
currents fragmenting themselves into little pieces and
sub-pieces, and divisions and sub-divisions, until the whole
spiritual momentum is lost. It has been lost for centuries.
That does not mean that within the actual message which can be
written on a very few pages of a book, just a few pages, for the
gist of the message. There is in that message a tremendous
revitalizing force, a force that could make out of our churches
and our Christian communities fountainheads of great inspiration.
Is it ever going to take place? I don't know. I don't know. It
may or it may not. I hope it does. If it does, it will save the
Occidental world from stagnation. If it does not, the churches
will simply disintegrate and some new individual is going to turn
up with a new message appropriate to the age. I would hate to
see all these Christian communities and all the Christian work go
to pieces because there is a potential great spiritual power in
it that can be used for good.
> What to my mind communicates the real greatness of the man is
> that in all of his writings and in all of his works, no one has
> found a flaw. They have shown a greatness of spirit, a great
> power. That's most amazing. In no one utterance can be found
> fault with. Simple world have been used and the responses have
> been whole volumes. This is what amazes me about this particular
> man. That's why I can understand why he is believed to be by so
> many the Avatara.
Yes. That is true. As long as an individual is the real thing,
you will not find any flaw in his utterances, even without full
translation, even without full translation. Some people have
tried to find flaws and contradictions. Yes, there are seemingly
contradictions. They are contradictions in translation only.
You go to the original, not the actual language that he used,
which would have been Aramaic. We don't have any originals in
Aramaic. If we go to the Greek original, it's close enough, from
which the translations were made. You will not find the
contradictions that exist in the translations.
Take for instance, in the translated Gospel, a statement like "My
father and I are one" and a little further on, "My father is
greater than I." These contradictions are very distressing to
some students. But if you go to the original of the same, the
contradictions are easily eliminated.
The Gospels should still be re-translated by some student of the
occult knowing Greek well. They would show meaning that many
people, most people, do not even suspect, a greater meaning, a
still nobler meaning.
> Today I was thinking about these words and how a
> misinterpretation might be attached to them. On the cross, it
> was said to one of the men that was crucified, "thou be with me
> in paradise." That's the way that I have heard it. "Thou be with
> me in paradise." That's a promise. On the other hand it seems
> that Jesus was asking this man if he wished to go.
Is that a question?
> That's a question. This day, will thou be with me? Otherwise, if
> the individual did not have that feeling, it was this choice as a
> free man or a free soul to reject. It would seem to me the more
> logical to suppose that he asked this man the question rather
> than make a statement.
That is possible. I don't think I could say one way or another
without looking up what the Greek text was. It sounds logical.
> Here are these words that may be interpreted either way.
Yes. There are many things like that in the Gospels. The
misinterpretation of a saying has given rise to all sorts of
sects. The misinterpretation of certain passages has given rise
to the Inquisition.
You know how many things can be drawn out of wrong deductions.
You've heard about the habit, the custom in India, which today is
practically dead, about widows being thrown into the flame and
the pyre that consumes the body of their husband. Well, that
grew out on a basis of a misinterpretation of a verse in the old
scriptures of India. Tragic what the human mind can do on the
basis of a twist of truth.
Yes, that is an important subject by itself. The subject is the
extent to which we grasp truth, relative truth, for all truth is
relative. It is relatively greater and greater as we grow in
understanding of the facts of nature. I think we should pay
close attention and watch ourselves in our reactions to certain
truths and facts of nature. We often twist them. We often
confuse them. We often deceive ourselves and delude ourselves
into believing that so-and-so is so-and-so, but it isn't.
The human mind, in its higher potencies, is spiritually
clairvoyant. In its lower portions it is highly psychical and
therefore greatly tainted with emotionalism. Emotions are very
necessary as a driving power in all our actions, but they
certainly have to be purified from all dross, accumulated dross,
and illumined by spiritual insight, before we can trust them.
Go back to where we started our evening's discussion. This
subject of Teachers, seers, sages, and guides -- because that's
what they are -- is encouraging. It is a subject that lifts us
up. It gives us a sense of the true value of things, a sense of
guidance, a sense of protection, an underlying realization that
we are not alone. We realize that somebody is watching, watching
all the time, registering our efforts for good and counting, we
might say, every action and thought and feeling in our hearts
that is on the right side of the karmic ledger.
I do not mean by that guidance any kind of a set thing. It is
rather that we can become aware as time progresses. We become
aware of the fact that there is a constant, gentle or stronger
push from the individuals ahead of us. We have a push and a pull
The human race is constantly being led, whether it recognizes it
or not. That is immaterial, whether it recognizes it or not. It
is nevertheless being constantly shown the way. Through the
pages of history there are signposts, direction posts, which
enlighten the human race. These signposts show it where the road
lies to the achievement of greater spiritual knowledge.
These signposts are not just soulless posts. They are
individuals. It is these individuals who are the signposts.
They are symbols. They are the embodiment of certain ideals.
They appear. They stand. They hold something. They might not
say a word. Here is a book they write. Here is something they
show. Here is a direction they point to. They stand as witness
to the existence of a greater knowledge, to the existence of a
greater world. They are living testimonies that every human
being can achieve something far, immeasurably far greater, than
what he is at any one moment.
The appearance of these witnesses to truth is a tremendous
inspiration, an enthusiasm to many people, an encouragement to
others. It is an actual power to some. It enables them to make
an effort within their own lives. They can become identified
with that particular movement which that individual symbolizes at
any one stage of history.
That effort might be a religion. It might be a philosophy. It
might simply be a non-religious thought, of a great spiritual
ideal, or an ethical realization, something that people can
It is not a complex theology, not at all. These men who come
have a great depth of knowledge. Yet, they adapt their message
to the simplicity of the average human mind, while leaving deeper
depths of knowledge to those who can receive them.
All these men have their exoteric work for the world at large.
Their esoteric work is for pledged disciples, who are always very
few. These disciples are the only ones who are able mentally,
emotionally, and spiritually to grasp the profundities of the
technical Teachings, something which the popular mind cannot
The popular mind needs certain ethical ideals, simple thoughts
that will feed their starving souls. It is primarily to them
that is addressed the exoteric work and message of the great
These Teachers, as said before, succeed each other in rightful
succession from age to age, sometimes in one part of the world,
sometimes in another. They are like heralders, whom bring a
message, and then retire. They are like individuals who come and
strike some mystic gong. That gong reverberates for a certain
time and then gradually is heard no more. Then another comes and
strikes the same gong again with the same fundamental keynote, or
one of its vibratory variations.
Life acquires a deeper meaning when we can realize inwardly that
there is that succession of Teachers from immemorial ages in the
past. That succession of Teachers stretches through the present
moment into the immensity of the untapped and unmanifested
future. We students somehow or other are part of that body. We
are connected in some mystical way with the passing on of that
light. Every one of us is part of a succession of his own, in
the sense that each one of us can pass on the light to somebody
else and play the part of a Teacher to somebody. When we realize
these things, life acquires a deeper meaning.
What at first may have been felt as a great emptiness in a world
of selfishness and arrogance and ignorance, becomes enfilled with
a greater companionship in which we can all partake because we
are all intimately and intrinsically one. We are individual
parts or atoms, all men, all of us individual particles and atoms
of a body corporate, which we call the mankind of this planet.
That body corporate or that great pilgrimage of evolving souls,
is indeed under its guidance and is never left alone, but is led
from age to age into ever increasing and widening horizons of
TALKS WITH MYSELF
by Julia W.L. Keightley
All things are Symbols; each is, at core, a truth. Not an event
but has a spiritual significance. Not a moment but is informed
by the Voice of the Soul. The actual occurrences, which are
hereafter given as examples of this silent teaching, may help my
other selves as they helped me, by drawing attention to the
spiritual heart of things.
[From THE THEOSOPHIC ISIS, September 15, 1896, pages 257-58.]
THE DIVINE REPROACH
In a Church at Lubeck is an inscription, of which the following
is a translation:
You call me the Master, and you do not ask of me.
You call me the Light, and you do not see me.
You call me the Path, and you do not follow me.
You call me the Life, and you do not desire me.
You call me the Sage, and you do not imitate me.
You call me the Good, and you do not love me.
You call me the Rich, and you ask nothing of me.
You call me the Eternal, and you do not seek me.
You call me the Merciful, and you do not confide in me.
You call me the Lord, and you do not serve me.
You call me the All-Powerful, and you do not know me.
You call me the Just, and you do not fear me.
If I condemn you, accuse yourselves only.
I read the Inscription. Said Myself to Me:
"It is the Divine Reproach.
"These thoughts are addressed to man in many tongues and
throughout all ages by the Good Law. If thou hearest them with
the heart, thou knowest them to be a Divine Reproach.
"In the silence the inner voice makes itself heard. Herald of
the Soul, it asks: 'If I be for thee, who shall be against thee;
and if I condemn thee, whither shalt thou flee?'
"To hear, and not to do, is to have heard with the ear only. To
understand and not to obey, is to have sinned against the Holy
One. He who has not heard, and who has not understood, of him no
account is demanded. But he who knows and follows not, to him is
addressed the Divine Reproach which is the judgment of the
"Ye who are that Law embodied, Will ye incur the Divine
THE STORM CURTAIN
[From THE THEOSOPHIC ISIS, October 15, 1896, pages 281-83.]
In the house of a friend, a peculiar curtain attracted my
attention. Often as I had stopped there, I had not seen this
curtain before. We sat in an entrance hall of noble proportions,
whose exterior wall formed the Northern end of the building,
jutting out over a shallow lawn that ended in a bluff. The hall
was a most harmonious oval in form; the curtain of which I speak
hung from the cornice of its outer end, reaching from that high
point to the ground, upon which it trailed a foot or more. The
front entrance was thus quite concealed by this drapery of a dark
blue color, very soft and thick in texture and embroidered along
the borders with Egyptian hieroglyphs done in gold threads. Its
great size, its even, pleasing sweep no less than its complete
envelopment of the entrance, conveyed a most agreeable
impression. It held my attention and gave me a soothing mental
sensation, as though a gentle oblivion flowed from its folds.
The meaning of one of the hieroglyphs read:
"This also shall pass by."
Contemplating it, I felt that here was something new, yet
familiar -- strangely familiar to some hidden part of me that I
could not fathom, which yet claimed kinship with this mysterious
curtain, this sight that relayed the tension of nerve and brain.
My first impulse to speak of it was checked by this mild
satisfaction; I preferred rather to make contented observation of
those interior impressions to which the curtain gave rise, as
though it were the symbol of some living Truth. There was some
urgency to speak, but I resisted it.
Abruptly, then, my hostess spoke. (How humiliating are those
moments when another obeys the instinct whose monition we have
disregarded!) "I see," said she, "that you notice my curtain, and
though I make it a rule of awaiting questions about it, I feel
really impelled to hope aloud that you like it."
"That curtain," I replied, "has such an individuality that one
feels some discourtesy in discussing it to its face."
She laughed. "It certainly has a distinctive mission. It is a
Storm-Curtain ... I see you are little wiser. Exposed as we are
to the sweep of storms upon this bluff, the rain, the hail and
snow, the all-pervading winds are driven through the crevices of
the entrance doors, solid oak and closely fitted though they be;
the very keyhole is an avenue of attack; nothing avails to keep
out these chill afflictions when the north wind drives them home.
So I have made this curtain. In fair weather it lies rolled up
and unnoticed under yonder cornice, but in uproarious weather it
secures the warmth and quiet of this hall. Listen!"
Stepping to the heavy curtain she drew the heavy folds aside.
The simple action, as if by magic, admitted all the clamorous
voices of the night. A cold blast drove fine particles of snow,
like needle points, eddying through the joints of the doors:
laughing at my involuntary shiver, the lady let the draperies
fall again into place, and again the firelight flickered
undisturbed across the quiet hall.
Said myself to me:
"Of a truth, it IS a symbol. Man, the Thinker and the Soul, fast
rooted in Spirit, is projected into the Material. His mind hath
contact with both; it is the universal avenue of communication
with the interior and exterior alike; it is the threshold of a
diviner Sanctuary. Guard well the hall of the mind."
"How then shall I guard it," I asked myself.
The busy voice whispered into the brain:
"When outer tempests rave, when outer darkness spreads, make fast
the door of the mind, suffer not the entrance of material
delusion. Against these insidious presences, let fall a
curtaining peacefulness before thine inner shrine. Aye let it
fall, this protective silence, this veil of harmonious
acquiescence in the Law. Every man possesses and may control it:
few discern and use it. In the heaven of the mind it rests, its
nearness all unknown until some dread convulsion of nature rends
the heart. Then help becomes an instant need. In that moment of
necessity the mental curtain may be by the Thinker perceived.
Can he but see, but grasp the use and meaning. Lo! He draws that
curtain and shuts his mind to all the warfare of the senses and
"A deep stillness is thy true Being. Of that Silence I am the
"In the hall of the mind seek then that calm protection. It is
the Ever-Present, failing never. It exists in all alike, that
power to dismiss the tempest, to enfold the mind with the
restfulness of the heart of Trust.
"Ah! When the storm rack lowers, when tempests toss thy world,
say then that these shall pass; shall return and come again,
again to go with Time, the constant servant and revealer. When
friends seem changed to foes, say then that this shall pass, that
other lives shall bring thy foes to friends, thy friends to foes,
while yet Thyself, the one, the constant friend, abideth ever.
When trust of years is shaken, that also shall pass by. When
thou, by Love betrayed, hast in thy turn betrayed Thyself, weep
not, but rising, call to all the winds that this shall pass, is
past, and shall not be the future. When all belief is
undermined, when doubts and fears shall rive the pinnacles of
hope -- fall, fall kindly curtain; in deep compassion shut the
jarring world away. Enfold the hall of the fires with those
sweet silences, the guides, the conductors to the inner shrine of
the Rapt, the Lonely, the Assured Peace."
A CHILD AMONG SHADOWS
[From THE THEOSOPHIC ISIS, November 1896, pages 316-19.]
Upon the sands I saw a small child at play. He was building a
fort to resist the incoming tide, and at this plan worked
ardently enough, were it not for some annoyance whose source I
could not see, but which interrupted the work. The child would
stop, looking about it, would now lay down its wooden spade, or
now with the tool upraised would pursue with much vehemence some
object I could not see, and would then pursue its sand building,
but warily and on the alert for fresh intrusion. Irritation so
great and so spasmodic in so small a creature challenged my
interest; I went nearer, and with a singular result.
The day was one of high wind and brilliant sunshine. Fleecy
clouds hung low, scudding swiftly over the sky and casting as
they passed their shadows, swift as themselves, upon the sands.
These dark shades, chasing one another across the light sand
surface, threw themselves, shade after shade, upon the child and
his fort. They rushed on him like material presences, to be as
such resented. Shrieking with anger at their suddenness, he
would charge these unexpected intruders, would give chase as they
charged down upon him, stamping upon and striking at them as he
and they raced side by side. One after another the shadows ran
at him; he grew bewildered, raged and fought, ran to and fro,
could keep count no longer, and then, with swift change of mood,
cast himself into their midst and fell to dancing.
Even as he passed thus from wrath to joy, from battle to dance, a
cloud swallowed up the sun, the shadows vanished, the dancing
child was left to dance alone. Vexed for a moment, he turned,
pouting, to resume his fort building; the stealthy sea had stolen
in and rippled gaily where his fort had stood. Then he turned a
face of upbraiding towards sea and sky, cast himself upon the
sand, and wept. A nursemaid hurried up to console the small
creature, but it would have none of her, save with kicks and
screams. I went to her assistance, and said to the child:
"Do you not see those were only shadows?"
He said: "That's what everybody says; they are so stupid. I
don't care what the fings are; I want them to go away."
"But they are not real."
He replied: "Yes, they is. I SEE them."
"And what if you do," said I. "They do you no harm."
"They does, they does; they int'rupts my play. I can't play with
them fings about."
"But," said I again, "they are shadows of the clouds; the sun
makes them. You love the sun, you know. Look up and see how
pretty the sun and clouds are up there."
He turned his curly pate upward upon my knee, stared, gave a big
sigh, and remarked:
"It's pretty up there, but I'm playing down HERE, with them nasty
black fings runnin' over my fort and chasin' me, and then the sea
it came in just to spite me." And the small but unexhausted
creature fell to kicking and screaming again, as shadow after
shadow once more scurried over his little prostrate form.
"You foolish, naughty child" I began, sternly; his screams
drowned the sound of my voice.
Another Voice said quietly, somewhere, "Why not take your own
I stood, astonished and silent. Again I heard the low
"Thou poor, poor child! Hast THOU never fought with shadows? Hast
never danced with shades or embraced a dream? Thy grief, thy
joys, thine interrupted work, thy plans laid low, hast thou never
for these arraigned the whole of Nature; never willed, for these,
to turn aside her course? Oh, child, child, child!
"What, then, were these checks, these trials? Shadows all;
shadows cast by the events of Life as the true sun shone upon
them. And were those shadows never cast, so hadst thou never
known the actualities from which they sprang; the truths whose
passing images they were; the truths which cast their shades upon
thine earthly consciousness, bidding it look upward, upward to
behold the true source of shadows, and to see, behind the clouds
of material Nature, the true Sun in its shining. Viewed from
below, those shades were dark indeed. Knowest thou not that the
Bright One has dark messengers?
"Yea; dark were the shadows, and of surpassing swiftness. The
upward gaze alone descries the truth. Hadst thou looked to see
whence they came and what their source, then hadst thou seen the
glories of the Law; then, then that Sun, the heavens' azure hope,
and in their midst the necessary features of great Nature. Are
not her clouds the refreshment of earth? By them bedewed, is not
her hardness broken up into fit receptacles for the most tender
shoot, the most precarious blossom? Wide is the power of blessing
possessed by a single attribute of Nature under the shining of
the inner, spiritual Sun. Whilst thou art still in Nature, seek
to understand her; so shalt thou find her clouds draw down a
benediction upon the parched and arid soil beneath; that soil,
thy slowly hardening heart.
"But thou, child, lookest down, not upward. Thou hast bemoaned,
threatened, loved these shadows, contending and adoring turn
about. When day was done, and interrupted work was swallowed up
by tides of Time, hast thou not blamed the courses of thy stars;
blamed Nature, the shadows cast by what? By thine own clouds
filling all thine earth and sky. Who cast those shades? Thyself!
What are yon clouds? Thyself! Who can dispel them? THE SELF!
"Turn, then, thy gaze behind the veil of Nature. 'The soul
attracts a moist spirit when it continually endeavors to
associate with Nature . . . When, however, the soul earnestly
endeavors to depart from Nature, it becomes a dry splendor,
without a shadow and without a cloud.'
"Fighters of shadows! It is yourselves you contend against,
fleeting images of that Self, sunlike beyond the darkness. Let
pass these films of Nature, and, smiling on their mirage, look
steadfastly above, behind the veil. And I -- when thus you
contended -- was I harsh with thee, child?"
Its music ceased.
I went where the child lay, and raised him in my arms.
"Kiss me," I said. "Love me, for I have been naughty too, and I
feel - oh! -- so badly."
"Was you naughty to God," he solemnly asked. "Sometimes it hurts
He laid one little hand upon his breast, and patted me with the
"Never mind," Said he: "God soon forgets."
He kissed me, and we went home reconciled.
FINDING THE SELF: A STUDY FROM "THE SECRET DOCTRINE," Part I
by Herbert Coryn
[From THE THEOSOPHIC ISIS, May 15, 1896, pages 123-27.]
Throughout the history of the Theosophical Society, and in the
history of each individual member, there are times when outer
manifested growth is at a standstill, when energy is hidden, is
working within rather than without. These periods alternate with
others in which the accumulated head of energy bursts out in all
directions, and some new phase of inner growth forces itself
vividly upon our attention.
All growth, however really continuous, is cyclic in its
manifestation. The rhythm of the "ages," the races, the
centuries is epitomized in the lesser systole and diastole of our
daily and yearly life. So with every individual there are times
when, after a long period of uneventful work and inner growth he
becomes suddenly aware that he has greatly changed since last the
search-light of his own self-vision fell upon him. And indeed, a
very essential part of the growth is that sudden fall of our own
light upon us. It is more than a mere vision; it is an actual
happening of something. An eye within us has observed something,
and also an "I" -- and has emitted something, a formation ray
into Chaos. But we are the Chaos, the eye, the "I," and the ray.
What is the Chaos? Is it really blind and chaotic, mere raw
informed confusion? When "absolute rest," "Pralaya" and similar
terms are used, it seems to me that they apply to the manifested
and the manifestation only, to the outwardly active, to the, in
some degree, comprehensible. Such terms can but convey one
aspect of the truth. When the heart has performed a powerful
systolic effort there follows an apparent rest or Pralaya. There
is outwardly and apparently nothing doing. Is that really the
case? Activity has only gone inward. Preparation is a-making for
the next beat. The heart is silently filling up with blood. Its
cells, outwardly resting and inactive, are internally active,
building themselves up, looking after their own inner nutrition.
Sleep too is a Pralaya, an outer rest, but only so far as the
body is concerned. The hours of outwardly motionless sleep are
really spent by the bodily cells in internal recuperative
activity. The inner man, freed by bodily sleep, is engaged in
his own action, in assimilation of high energy, in learning.
It is the same in Devachan. To it, certainly, the term "rest" is
applied, but it is filled with states of consciousness far keener
than any that obtain on earth. By analogy, it would seen that
the same must be true of Nirvana, of Paranirvana, and of all such
processes of consciousness to which we apply the term "rest" or
The higher up we go -- up to the highest, if there were a highest
-- the Pralaya only applies to the outer manifestation. We find
consciousness and activity retreating further and further inward.
They become at the same time more and more active in inner
energy. At last there is nothing whatever in activity to which
the term "manifested" could be applied, so we call it "absolute
rest," "sleep of the worlds," even "dreamless sleep."
But what of the hinder side of that picture whose forward face is
now a perfect blank? There must be there an activity to which our
word "activity" cannot properly be applied. There must be a
consciousness so supreme as to be in our conception
unconsciousness, a light so intense as to be for us blankness,
just as sound passes in amplitude and intensity into silence. We
should not be deceived by words that relate only to the outer,
even if that outer be now so far in that we must think of it as
When a Universe is to come into being, Chaos, primordial
substance, passive ideativity, personalized as the "Mother." This
is energized by Light, actively conscious formativity,
personalized as the "Father." What is this substance, Egg, Germ,
and what is Light? What is fertilization? What relation has these
terms to our own progression now? If the processes of the Worlds
are those of our consciousness, let us examine that latter.
It often happens to us all, that without any noticed warning, a
complete and active plan as to something to be done falls, or
seems to fall, suddenly into our consciousness. It may be of
something important, it may be of something trifling. For
example, in former years the question of the ways and whereabouts
of a summer holiday was much discussed. Suddenly this year,
without apparent previous thought, the question rapidly and
instantly decides itself. All the solved details and methods
easily and at once present themselves, already worked out,
complete. There is nothing more to say, nothing to think about.
That is what we shall do. It is a rounded plan, containing in
itself the necessary energy for its fulfillment. In this process
it is easy to see two not bindingly related elements: the plan
and the energy infused into it. We often have complete plans,
but like the opium-eater, no energy to carry them through. Then
we are called procrastinators. Often, too, we have much energy
but no plans or pictures of action into which to inject it. From
this arises much human foolishness.
If we call the passive pictured plan the Mother, the energy the
Father, and the act the Son, we have a rough example, in the
complete mechanism of our summer holiday, of the usual Trinity of
elements in all intelligent process, from the formation of a
system of worlds downward.
Thinking this out fully, much difficulty in our metaphysical
conceptions may disappear. Each element must be more fully
considered. The energy comes from the root of I-MYSELF. The
plan arises from the wide domain of consciousness that is not
I-MYSELF. That latter is Spirit. The plan is Substance,
semi-objective, though within consciousness. The energy of
Spirit as it travels toward that plan to energize it, is Fohat.
The resulting objective action is the objective universe in its
continuously active motion and becoming. But the energy of
Spirit is the Spirit itself. That ray of energy in the moving
picture is the Spirit itself residing in the Universe.
So Krishna is in and also apart from the Universe. Krishna is
the human soul as its indwelling Ego and energy, and also apart
from it. Though I mold a plan, though I energize and am its
energy, though I self-consciously reside in that plan and carry
it out, though it is for the time my universe and the form of my
out-breathing, yet at the very moment when I am engaged in
carrying it out, from another standpoint I am apart from it and
from every individual plan, residing in their totality as
expressing my present manifestations. I am also apart, because
in far greater measure at present unmanifest. Whilst carrying
out one, another is being constructed, many others being
simultaneously carried out.
In fact no plan is a thing to itself. It is the sum and
resultant of all similar and former plans, and founded on their
experience. Each of us is a different Ego in each of his plans,
or each shows a new and special facet of him. No man but is the
result of his past. Every plan, which seems a thing to itself,
is yet a total or partial expression of the planner at that point
of his evolution, and his plan is what it is because of the plans
of the past, and contains their traces. There is ALMOST nothing,
but not QUITE nothing, quite new in it.
Each of us is as many men as he has plans in hand, and also one
man in and beyond them all. In his aspect as carrying out a
summer holiday he is one man. As conversing with his friend the
while, he is a distinct man within the former. Interrupting that
to send off a business telegram he is a third man, or a third
aspect of him is functioning, and so on indefinitely.
Thus the Great Self exists in each of us, and is carrying out
through each of us a special aspect of the total plan. It
presents a different aspect through each of us. For the soul is
substance, the plan of a man. It is energized into a man by the
ray of energic Spirit. And that ray, the Spirit itself, is also
the man himself, who is also the plan in act. Thus we have the
symbol of the tree with the roots above. Let each of us find
himself, the Spirit, within the plan that he thinks to be
HIMSELF. That alone is true self-consciousness.
Dedicated to the Theosophical Philosophy and its Practical Application