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THEOSOPHY WORLD ----------------------------------- October, 2002
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.)
"Contentment and Resignation," by B.P. Wadia
"Theosophy and Buddhism," Part I, by Richard Taylor
"Kundalini Rising and Spiritual Enlightenment," Part III
by Rick Nurrie-Stearns
"Speaking of Theosophy," by Robin Pratt
"At an Unknown Hour," by Steven Levy
"Death to Life," by Shrimati Lila Ray
"Meditation," by George William Russell
"Apollonius of Tyanna, Part II, by Phillip A Malpas
"Virgin Air," by James Neil Feinstein
"A Discussion on Rounds," Part II, by Boris de Zirkoff
> Personally it is a matter of small importance to me which one of
> the world's Great Teachers different men may think to be the
> greatest. To me the most important thing of all is to bring to
> suffering mankind and to our dark world the life-giving, light-
> giving, healing spirit of Theosophy, the sublime Wisdom of the
> G. de Purucker, STUDIES IN OCCULT PHILOSOPHY, page 691
CONTENTMENT AND RESIGNATION
by B.P. Wadia
[From THUS HAVE I HEARD, pages 260-62.]
Our civilization does not correctly appraise the great virtue of
contentment. In the name of progress, it allows the forces of
rivalry and competition to take possession of our consciousness.
Our educational institutions encourage, through the examination
system, a form of prize giving. They encourage the development
of competition and rivalry.
What the boy or the girl may acquire of the spirit of teamwork in
sports weakens in the classroom, where the top rank is the
coveted position. The seed of discontent enters in the heart of
the boy, who carries it forward into the field of business and
waters it to growth in the strength of rivalry. The girl
similarly fosters the sprout of competitiveness in the atmosphere
of home, club, and society. Even the realm of social service is
not free from the debasing power of competition and rivalry.
People sometimes are fooled into calling this lethal force
"divine discontent." Almost universally present, the ordinary
discontent has nothing of divinity in it. Grumbling, grouching,
lamenting, and bemoaning are marks of a discontent that is not
divine, but pertains to the subhuman nature. It pertains to the
animal which most carry within their consciousness.
Divine discontent shows itself in silent, intelligent
resignation. This resignation has no trace of fatalism or
kismet. On the contrary, it is positive and active. It spurs
the individual to clear his environment of the fleas, ants, and
mosquitoes of petty weaknesses and of the ferocious tigers and
angry bulls of pronounced vices. This is done in silence and
with a sense of humor.
True resignation always has within it the silence of knowledge
and understanding. This silence is not that of the frustrated
man who is morose. Similarly, true resignation evinces a sense
of humor -- that vital virtue which has insight into the
imbalance, the disproportion of what the ancient psychologists
named the four humors. Hilarity and loud laughter do not always
bespeak a sense of humor.
This higher or divine resignation carries with it the truly
divine discontent. This inner, dual, divine power does not
produce complaints of the environment with which man has to
contend, nor even of his bodily or mental limitations.
The man who has aroused this twofold divine force recognizes the
truth of ancient psychology that his outer environment -- be it
mud hut or palace -- his standard of living -- whether he eats
tasty viands or simple food -- are but reflections of his inner
and psychological environment.
He primarily works with his mind with its knowledge and
ignorance, its breadth of vision and depth of insight. His
emotions of fear and enmity, of egotism and vanity, or of love,
generosity, and harmony; and the energy to persevere in the
search for Self-Knowledge that is the progeny of righteous acts.
Men and women complain of the street and the town in which they
live, ignoring the great truth that the street of untidy thoughts
and the town of the mean heart are causal. The heat and cold
felt by the human body (and who is there who does not complain
about the weather?) is a reflection of the likes and dislikes
harbored in the brain and allowed to run their course in the
blood stream, and of the ambition for wealth, fame, and power
that becomes the energy or Prana valued as self and soul.
Each has the inner environment of thoughts and feelings that
manufacture words and deeds. This inner environment evaluates,
falsely indeed, our outer environment. Our standard of living is
not really dependent on minted gold and silver coins or on paper
money, but on the gold of Energy and the silver of Patience, on
Harmony of the mind and the Height of the heart.
In the light of the Wisdom of the Rishi or Sage-Seer, of the
singing thoughts of the Silent One, the Muni, how abject and
petty is the "philosophy" that millions of mortals hug to their
breasts. Such live in fear and compete in stealth, pretend to be
good and succeed in tarnishing and debasing their own
consciousness and the beautiful and bountiful Nature that
Within us is the Land of Content. Laboring thereon, we shall
reap a harvest undreamt of by worldly "planners" who are almost
wholly concerned with schemes and dreams of mere economic
THEOSOPHY AND BUDDHISM, Part I
By Richard Taylor
[This is based on the first part of a talk given August 10, 2002
at the Long Beach Theosophical Conference. The talk was
transcribed, edited, then sent to Richard Taylor for further
corrections and review.]
How many of you have a picture of enlightenment in your head? Do
you know what it looks like? I am not sure I do either! We spend
time intellectualizing it. Is it something that happens to you
in the distant future? Are you suddenly omniscient? Will you fly
through the air? Perhaps you are more down-to-earth in your
thinking about it. You see it as simple, as being kind to
people. You picture enlightened people as humble, compassionate,
I do not spend time thinking about enlightenment. Personally, I
feel caught up in the path. Feeling so far from enlightenment, I
find most of my energy is focused on getting there rather than
There is a big tradition in Buddhism that takes the opposite view
of enlightenment, seeing it as immanent in our being rather than
being vastly far away. Blavatsky takes that immanent view. What
is this school? I am not going to say yet. It is too dangerous!
We will get there. It sees enlightenment as where you are now.
This school of Buddhism holds that enlightenment is not something
that happens to you someday. It is what you have now but of
which you are not fully aware or actualized. It is not something
magical that will happen 30,000 lifetimes from now.
Some Buddhists are not even sure they believe in reincarnation.
They do not care about it. It is not important to them.
Enlightenment is important, not how far you are from it nor how
you get there. In the scheme of things, your problems of today
do not matter. What matters is enlightenment. Blavatsky will
help us get to this view.
Before going too far, I would like to hear what Blavatsky and her
teachers say about Buddhism. I am particularly interested in
Esoteric Buddhism. Consider what she says among the facts I
Some are unfamiliar with Buddhism. "Buddhism" comes from the
Sanskrit root "budh," meaning "to awaken." The teaching is that
we are actually asleep. We are asleep and dreaming. Our dreams
have good and bad in them. Over lifetime after lifetime, you may
dream, dream, and dream. As much as you do this, you are not
dealing with reality still. You are simply dreaming. The dreams
vary. One may be pleasant and another horrible. By earning all
the good karma you can, you merely accumulate the good karma of a
good dream. You are not awake. You are not enlightened.
Buddhism is about a path to Yoga. It is a system of effort. In
its kernel, it is not a religion. Many religions have grown out
of the Buddhaís teaching. Like many other teachers, he did not
come to found a religion. He came to awaken those that could be
awakened. He also came for those not ready to awaken yet, so
they might know there is such a thing. They may shoot for it at
some point. It is always available.
The word "Buddhism" comes from the Sanskrit root "budh," "to
awaken." The one who has awakened is a Buddha. That is a past
participle, meaning that he is one who has awakened.
We are talking about the system of effort promulgated by Gautama
Buddha in our current historical period. In the Buddhist
tradition, he is not the first Buddha. He will not be the last.
Like Blavatsky, he claims to have spoken from a long tradition of
awakening, one that has existed since humanity was
self-conscious. Who knows when that was?
Why do we care about Buddhism? Why talk about it today? I am
going to say to you that Blavatsky was a Buddhist herself. I
hope this is not too radical! If you do not believe me, consider
the facts that I shall present.
I do not want to get my facts wrong. If wrong, let me know. It
is a fact that on May 17, 1880, HPB and Colonel Olcott took
pansil, a form of Buddhist vows. They took refuge in the Triple
Jewel (Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha) before a large audience at the
Buddhist temple in Galle.
They took shelter under the Buddha. It is actually a formal
ritual where you repeat three times:
> BUDDHAM SARANAM GACCHAMI
> (I go to the Buddha for refuge),
> DHAMMAM SARANAM GACCHAMI
> (I go to the Dharma, the Dhamma, the Buddhist teaching), and
> SANGHAM SARANAM GACCHAMI
> (I go to the Buddhist community).
These are technical terms.
Blavatsky was not saying that she is going to take directions
from her friends and her loved ones. She is taking direction and
placing herself under the shelter or triple umbrella of the
Buddha, his teaching, and his Buddhist community. She did not
embrace the Hindu, Muslim, Christian, Jewish, or Spiritualists.
She gave herself to BUDDHISM.
Why embrace Buddhism? Theosophy is a non-sectarian movement. Why
would the two principal founders of the Theosophical Society take
public vows to be Buddhist, to go for refuge to the Buddha, his
teaching, and his community? They just set foot on the island a
few months ago. Now they are converting, very publicly, with
newspaper reporters, a bunch of Buddhist followers, and priests
from the local Buddhist temple.
They did this before a big audience including really angry
Christian missionaries. The missionaries felt these two were
undermining the white manís burden just to bring up these poor,
ignorant, dark-skinned natives that had not had the Gospel! Here
were brazen, hubris-laden westerners, they thought, that probably
do not even speak Singhalese!
The point of taking refuge is that you keep going at it until you
are enlightened. You do not leave. It is a laypersonís vow.
They took refuge in the Triple Jewel. I think that is a fact.
It is on record.
I do not know how many of you are familiar with THE MAHATMA
LETTERS TO A.P. SINNETT. Many share my opinion they were not
originally intended to be published. Nevertheless, they have
The next fact comes from something that the Master that we have
come to know as Morya wrote. (Putting the passage in context, at
the time that it was written, people were accusing Theosophy of
not being relevant and not pandering to their wishes.) The
> What have we, the disciples of the true Arhats [a technical
> Buddhist term], of esoteric Buddhism [with two dís] and of
> Sang-gyas [which is the Tibetan word for Buddha] to do with the
> Shastras [which are a Hindu group] and Orthodox Brahmanism? There
> are 100 of thousands of Fakirs, Sannyasis, or Sadhus, leading the
> most pure lives, and yet being as they are, on the path of error
> never having had an opportunity to meet, see, or even hear of us.
> [Disciples of Arhats, Esoteric Buddhism, and Sang-gyas] Ö Which
> of them is ready to become a Buddhist, a Nastika [that is an
> atheist, a non-believer], as they call us? None. Those who have
> believed and have followed us have had their reward.
> -- THE MAHATMA LETTERS TO A.P. SINNETT, page 455
I do not know exactly who those are -- Damodar and others -- that
have left their caste and traditional Hindu upbringing, to go to
Note the spelling. We have "Buddhist," with two dís. There is a
ULT version of this letter in THE COLLECTED ARTICLES OF JUDGE
where the two dís have been changed to one d. I took the liberty
of going to the British Museum in London and looking at the
original Mahatma Letters. It has two dís. The Mahatmas say they
are Buddhist, followers of Buddha, Gautama Buddha. I think it is
Also in THE MAHATMA LETTERS TO A.P. SINNETT, the Mahatmas
frequently refer to themselves and their brothers as Arhats,
meaning "those who have killed the enemy." The enemy is the
internal opponent to enlightenment. (As to the reference to
brothers, I think that they are celibate Tibetan monks, which is
where the word "brothers" is translated from the Tibetan.)
The technical Buddhist word "Chutuktu" is Mongolian for "Arhat."
You will not find these words outside of Buddhism. They are
unique to Buddhist terminology. It is great that nobody in the
West knew Mongolian during Blavatskyís time. Here it is in
print. She was the only western woman that we know of who has
ever come in contact with people knowing technical Buddhist
Mongolian. I think it speaks to her credibility. She really was
there. She really talked to these people.
They called themselves "Bodhisattvas," a Sanskrit word meaning a
being (sattva) on a path to awakening (bodhi).
They called themselves "Khobligan," which is Mongolian for
"Bodhisattva," as if Mongolian for "Arhat" were not good enough.
They called themselves "Bjang-chub." Blavatsky sometimes used the
Russian spelling "Tchang-chub." It is a Tibetan term for
Bodhisattva. In Sanskrit, we have the term "Bodhisattva
Mahasattva," Enlightenment Being - Great Being, which is
"Bjang-chub sems-p'ai sems-pa chen-po." Again, in THE MAHATMA
LETTERS, we see they know that technical term. Apart from
Blavatsky, I do not think other westerners in her day knew it.
There was one dictionary by Soma de Koros, but Blavatsky's
spelling is phonetic, and THE MAHATMA LETTERS have phonetic
spellings of the Tibetan words.
They also use the word "Lha."
I give page numbers to the original edition. I think it is fact.
Look it up. The Mahatmas knew these words. They are not Hindu
words. They are not Muslim words. They are Buddhist words. I
do not ever see the Mahatmas using anything but Buddhist terms to
describe themselves. I think that is a fact. If I am wrong,
Finally, we have a passage from the 1880 letter from the
Mahachohan. He was the Great Teacher of the Masters that
Blavatsky claims to have worked with. He says,
> Buddhism [with two dís] is the surest path to lead men toward the
> one esoteric truth Ö No religion [it is pretty categorical] with
> the exception of Buddhism has hitherto taught a practical
> contempt for this earthly life, while each of them [other
> religions], always with that one solitary [Buddhist] exception,
> has through its hells and damnations inculcated the greatest
> dread of death Ö That we, the devoted followers of that spirit
> incarnate of absolute self-sacrifice, of philanthropy, and divine
> kindness, as of all of the highest virtues attainable on this
> earth of sorrow, the man of men, Gautama Buddha, should ever
> allow the Theosophical Society to represent the embodiment of
> selfishness, become the refuge of the few with no thought in them
> for the many, is a strange idea Ö And it is we, the humble
> disciples of the perfect Lamas [a technical Tibetan Buddhist word
> for "Guru"], who are expected to permit the Theosophical Society
> to drop its noblest title, that of the Brotherhood of Humanity,
> to become a simple school of psychology.
This was for the benefit of those westerners wanting a school of
magic tricks. "Teach us to levitate," they would say. "Teach us
to read minds. Teach us to do all the magical things that
Tibetan Buddhists were supposed to do at the enlightenment
stage." The Mahachohan explains that the Mahatmas do not care
about any of that. They care about basic Buddhist truths, the
program that produces as its graduate one such as Gautama Buddha.
That was their interest and not western occultist parlor tricks.
Try the math with this early date, 1880. The intent was to steer
the Theosophical Society away from western psychism into an
authentic traditional path. It does not say that other religions
are crap. It does not say that we do not care about Esoteric
Islam, Esoteric Christianity, or Esoteric Hinduism. What it says
is that we are followers of Buddha.
We have the Mahatmas, Blavatsky, and their collective teacher
(the Mahachohan) on record stating they are Buddhists. This was
an out-and-out public proclamation. It was "Buddhists" spelled
with two dís. Deal with it! They are out of the closet!
Some may not be aware of how public Blavatsky was about being
Buddhist. That is why I bring up these important facts from
theosophical history. It is important to know this. It is great
to see that most of us are aware of this. It is old news. I can
save my breath.
Does this mean that Blavatsky is behind everything called
"Buddhism," including burning incense, sitting on cushions,
visualizing the chakras, and whatever else the Buddhists do?
Absolutely not! Blavatsky knows what is exoteric and what is
Her Teachers are not saying, "Join a club of Buddhism! Let us all
be Buddhists!" The Theosophical Society was built for a reason.
I think the path that the Masters were on was not publicly
available, certainly not in the West. There were no Buddhist
monasteries. There were no Buddhist monks in the West. The
Dalai Lama was unknown to the public.
For all practical purposes, Tibet was a closed society to the
West. This was on purpose. Yes, they had trade with Mongolia,
China, and Nepal. To some degree, they traded with India and
Central Asia. But by and large, Tibet was inaccessible to the
The West was rapidly falling away from its traditional religious
paths into base, scientific materialism. There were those who
care about the destiny of mankind. They cared that the West was
about to fall off into a precipice from which there may be no
recovery in this Yuga. That is a long time, folks!
What can we do to attract the western thinkers? How can we do
some good for East Asians as well? What can we do that will draw
the highest minds in every land to a spiritual renaissance? It
needs to be non-sectarian if we are to get to westerners of
Christian, Jewish, and Islamic belief.
Under cover of non-sectarianism, we are going to teach this one
ancient path, one which has enlightened so many before us. It
does not matter what you call it. Before Gautama Buddha,
Buddhism probably was not known as we know it today. It was
something else. It was called whatever. We do not know. We do
not have records of much in India before 500 B.C.
Today, we know of Theosophy. What we know of Theosophy is
exoterically a public movement to direct our minds towards
spiritual reality. Esoterically, it is Tibetan Buddhist to its
core. We can start with those facts.
Briefly consider the history of Buddhism. What we call exoteric
or public Buddhism Blavatsky often called Hinayana. This is a
slam. Hinayana is a technical term which means "Lesser Vehicle,"
"the Small Vehicle." The Hinayana Buddhists do not call themselves
this. They do not say, "We follow the "Lesser Vehicle," we are
There were 18 schools of early exoteric Buddhism. The school
that has survived is Sthaviravadins. In Pali and other
languages, it is called Theravada. It means the ones that follow
the elders (Sthaviras). They take the view, path, way, and
perspective of the Sthaviras, the early or eldest Buddhists. As
Blavatsky would say in her characteristic subtlety, the Hinayana
or "Lesser Vehicle" is a gradual path. It is a safe path. Life
after life, one can practice morality, meditation, and study.
One can gradually purify the five skandhas.
In Theosophy, Blavatsky has seven principles exoterically.
Buddhism teaches five. I might go into detail about this, but
suffice it to say for now that all seven of Blavatskyís
principles are in the skandhas with the exception of Atman.
The exoteric Buddhists do not teach an imperishable principle
surviving from life to life. They teach a life stream, which is
how karma works. Every life you have produces another. The
deeds of this life affect the next. Even so, you are not really
"you." Life after life, you are your own spiritual child. I,
Richard Taylor, give birth to Jane Whoever in Africa in my next
life. She inherits my energy and characteristics.
In this school of Buddhism, nothing essential is passed on.
Blavatsky had very little use for these people, except that they
were the closest exoteric religion to the esoteric doctrine she
was interested in.
HPB characterizes these people as being opposed to the Mahayana
or Great Vehicle. ("Maha" means "great" in Sanskrit.) Why do we
call it great? Well, it is just GREAT, that is why! [At this
point in the talk, everyone laughs.] It is not for an exclusive
few wanting to practice spirituality life after life after life.
It aims at the great mass of humanity. It teaches the same
doctrines as the Sthaviravadins, but also adds an inner doctrine
not always accepted by the Hinayana.
The technical term for the words of the Buddha is "Sutra." With
the Mahayana, we have extra Sutras. What does the word mean?
Scholars are divided over its origination. It might refer to the
Hindu Sanskrit word "Sutra," which means "thread," the thread
that is teaching. More likely, I think, is that it comes from
"su-ukta," meaning well-uttered. The Sutras were the well-spoken
teachings of the Buddha.
The Mahayana School has massive scriptures teaching a more
elevated view of Buddhism. What does it say? You can be
enlightened in one lifetime. You can be enlightened even if you
are not a celibate monk. You can be enlightened even if you have
a day job. You can be enlightened even if you are a woman. (I
know we think that is obvious -- "Even if you are a woman!" -- but
back then it was pretty radical.) In all the ways that you can be
different as a human, you can be enlightened.
In the Sthaviravada tradition, you only can be enlightened if you
are a celibate monk. They are only allowed to be men. In the
early days, there were nuns, but that order died out eventually.
Mahayana! Blavatsky is really big on Mahayana. Read her THE
VOICE OF THE SILENCE. Published near the end of her life in
1889, it is chock-full of Buddhist terms. Get a nice
English-Sanskrit dictionary. Look up the terms in it. You will
find word-for-word translations from Mahayana Buddhist texts.
There are two primary means of progress on the path in Mahayana.
First is compassion (Karuna). It is compassion for all beings.
It is base or fundamental, without exception, absolutely
foundational. It is not merely caring for your family and
friends. It openly embraces the universe and its suffering and
it contains the will to end that suffering.
Second is wisdom (Prajna). Believe it or not, but in Buddhism
Karuna is masculine and Prajna feminine. Joined together in
symbolic sexual union, they produce the mind of enlightenment
(Bodhichitta), which is the preparation to fully actualize your
You cannot do without either wisdom or compassion. They are the
two foundational pillars of Mahayana Buddhism. Without wisdom,
you are doing good deeds that may actually harm. Your compassion
may lead you into error without wisdom. Wisdom without
compassion is sterile, bland, the intellectual arrogance we see
too much of in the world. Modern scholasticism can be the
pinnacle of Prajna without Karuna.
KUNDALINI RISING AND SPIRITUAL ENLIGHTENMENT, Part III
By Rick Nurrie-Stearns (firstname.lastname@example.org)
[This article first appeared on PERSONAL TRANSFORMATION magazine's
web site. For more information see:
The author is a long-time student of Theosophy and past publisher
of that magazine. He is also the editor of the book SOULFUL
LIVING and had published the magazines THEOSOPHICAL NETWORK and
LOTUS: JOURNAL FOR PERSONAL TRANSFORMATION.]
NOTES FROM MY JOURNAL (Written almost three years after the
Some months after the awakening, a spiritual friend suggested
that I take up meditation again. I started sitting each morning
for a couple of hours. Rather than taking the attitude that I
had arrived at the goal, I felt that I now had something into
which I could really sink my teeth. I started my meditation
practice with beginner's mind and a feeling I was beginning a
In the beginning, I had to learn to keep my eyes open during
meditation to keep from disappearing into nothingness. When I
would shut my eyes, I would drop into voidness. There was no "I"
and no others. I let go of all prior ideas of meditation. At
first, I had a challenging time letting go as I kept trying to do
something. All of my deeper movements in meditation came when I
let go, when I surrendered completely rather than trying to do
What little personal instruction I had previously received in
meditation was only vaguely useful in the first couple of minutes
of meditation. In particular, I found that watching the breath
kept my mind engaged and that it was far more useful to let the
attention rest on one pleasant sensation in the body. By letting
attention rest on one sensation, I found I was less likely to
activate thinking. After resting attention on the pleasant
sensation for a short time, I learned to let attention become
what it was resting on and I moved into deeper meditative states.
When I let go of preconceived ideas of meditation, a natural
meditation bubbled up from within me, one that suited my
temperament. One morning after some months of practicing my
meditation, I randomly picked a book from my library shelf for
inspirational reading. I was surprised to find that the natural
meditation I had let bubble up was actually a Buddhist meditation
detailed in that book by Ayya Khema, "Who is My Self."
After a couple of months of meditation practice, I found that I
was able to keep my eyes open and experience both the manifest
and the voidness at the same time. My experience became neither
one nor the other but both voidness and fullness simultaneously.
Seeing both as one and not two was a huge ah-ha for me.
Everything exists and does not exist at the same time.
Sometime after the awakening, I noticed that meditation had
become effortless. Deep meditative states happened spontaneously
day and night.
One hot afternoon after doing some yard work, I felt exhausted to
the point that I could not do any more physical work. I decided
to go inside to finish up on some computer accounting that had
long needed my attention.
As I sat in front of the computer, I noticed that the experience
of bliss energy was increasing in my body. I was finding it
increasingly difficult to shift my awareness into any other kind
of thinking, including thinking about accounting. Feeling
confined in the house, I went outside to sit in the shade on the
As I relaxed into the chair, I fell into a deep meditative state.
Everything seemed to slow down. I sensed my awareness expanding
beyond my body to include the surrounding environment.
Everything was vibrant and rich in color. The air seemed thick
and full of energy. The birds were singing. The leaves of the
trees gently rustled in the breeze as the dragoon flies flew in
circles around the water garden. I relaxed and sank deeply into
A horsefly flew around the corner of the house. It was flying as
horse flies do, so fast they appear as a blur. As it flew
nearer, I noticed the movements of its wings going slowly up and
down as if I was watching it fly through the lens of a high-speed
movie camera filming at many frames per second.
The point of my perception seemed to be an inch from the fly as
it made a wide arcing turn several feet away from my body.
During the arcing turn, I noticed its head cock to the left. I
saw the many reflections from its multi-lensed eye as though I
were looking at it through high magnification.
In another moment, it registered in awareness that there was only
fly and no other. The immediacy and intimacy of fly startled me
and I recoiled back into brain-mind consciousness. In that same
instant, the fly zoomed off in the familiar blur of speed.
These Samadhi states happen spontaneously. They represent a
total absorption in one object. I have had them in relation to
other objects and even in relation to individuals. When one
happens, I immediately and totally know that which I perceive.
Expressing what I perceive has been a challenge. It is like
trying to put words to a mountain of information.
Being the Sky
One morning, I worked in the yard building a water garden. I was
contemplating the nature of consciousness and the meditative
experiences I was having. Throughout much of the day, I wondered
what it would be like to live from my deepest awareness. Needing
some pipe fittings for the water garden pumping system, I decided
to go into town to pick up the needed parts.
I drove, pondering my question about what it would be like to
live from my deepest awareness. My awareness spontaneously
expanded, it was as if I was 1500 foot above the car, seeing
everything at once, all 360 degrees. I saw up, down, and all
around while still being aware of driving. I was seeing the road
from inside the car while also being 1500 or so foot above the
car with awareness of everything in all directions. I was aware
of the trees, wind, sky, the smell of the leaves, and gravel on
the road. Then, as quickly as the expansion had appeared, it
left me back in the car driving down the road.
Since the awakening, sleep has been one of the most perplexing
changes in my daily experience. For over a year and a half after
the awakening, I never lost consciousness. At night when I would
lie down to sleep, I remained consciously aware. I lay there,
meditating or watching the mind thinking or dreaming.
For months I was disturbed by this and realized how much
attachment I had for unconsciousness. In the mornings I always
felt rested and relaxed and very rarely did I feel tiredness
during the day.
One of the pleasant side effects of maintaining constant
consciousness was the near complete freedom from time. Since I
slept very little I was free to do as I wished during the night,
usually I went for walks with our dogs or sat and watched the
After injuring my lower back while working on the roof I found
lying down painful. A side effect of this pain was that I
learned how to go unconscious during sleep. Since that injury my
sleep has changed, sometimes Iím conscious and sometimes Iím not.
To explain what enlightenment is, I must tell you a story from my
childhood. When I was in the forth grade, my family moved to Big
Spring, Texas. My dad had a small company that specialized in
railroad construction. We traveled from town to town staying a
school semester or two.
Big Spring was a small town built up around an air force base out
in the middle of nowhere. One of the high points of living there
was the Saturday morning matinee at the local Movie Theater. A
local milk company sponsored the morning matinees. You could get
in free if you brought five empty milk cartons. Tommy (my friend
from down the block) and I used to meet in the alley behind my
house every Saturday morning at nine.
On our way to the theater, we used to walk down the alley. We
would go through garbage cans collecting milk cartons so we could
get into the movie free. Sometimes the theater would have some
cool monster movies. Most of the time, the movies were just
so-so. Neither Tommy nor I really cared what was playing. It
was just fun to go.
I remember watching a movie one morning. It was particularly
fascinating, and completely engrossing to me. About
three-quarters of the way through, the film suddenly slowed down.
The hero and heroine were about to divulge the secret that would
dramatically change the plot of the movie.
The film stopped a moment later. On the screen was a single
frame from the film, a picture of the image of the hero and
heroine. The next moment, the image slowly melted then caught
fire. In another instant, the film broke, leaving nothing but an
intense blinding bright light illumining a white screen.
I was temporary blinded by the light, only coming to my senses
moments later when hearing the ruckus of a theater full of
children yelling for the projectionist to fix the film.
I felt shock realizing I had just been watching a movie. A
moment before the film broke, I had been so engaged that I had
forgotten about my life.
It must have been ten minutes before they got the film going
again. Starting back up, it was not as captivating as before.
Now the characters seemed more like actors reading a script than
My experience of enlightenment was similar in many ways to my
experience as a child watching that Saturday morning movie.
We gradually construct our sense of self from life experiences
over time as we grow from child to adult. If you believe in
reincarnation, then we do this over successive live experiences.
It is as if we are participating in a movie plot as it develops.
We slowly come to believe that the drama of the movie is all
there really is.
We live only a fraction of what is possible.
Enlightenment is right here, right now. There is no need to look
outside of you for it. It is the very ground of our being.
One question I think most led to my awakening was, "What is life
calling of me?" This questioning directed me to listen from a
different place within myself, a place without regard for ego.
What do I recommend? Educate yourself. Take time doing nothing.
Sit with spiritual teachers. Do psychological work and therapy.
Watch your dreams. Take acupuncture. Keep a simple diet. Limit
your energy loss. Follow your heart rather than head.
> Whatever we give space to in life, we nurture.
> What we nurture in life is what we reap.
> Nurture awakening.
SPEAKING OF THEOSOPHY
By Robin Pratt
[From THE THEOSOPHICAL FORUM, July 1947, pages 434-37.]
Are we old Theosophists, fully informed about the intricate time
schedules of the peregrinations of the rounds and the races, the
complex interrelations of vast cosmic entifications and their
energizing principles? Are we are but mere fledglings, gasping in
full wonderment that here at last we find the Great Answer to It
All? Either way, we like to "talk Theosophy."
Who among us, having for the first time encountered Theosophy in
the questing years of life, but remembers the stunning,
light-breaking impact of these great truths upon our minds, the
thrill of new confidence within our hearts?
You who have known Theosophy from earliest memory, having been
born into it, are in a way fortunate. But you have, in this life
at least, missed that throb of sudden discovery after prolonged
searching, that coming into the sunlight after years of
tunneling, wrestling, and black conflict. Having missed that,
you do not perhaps quite fully evaluate the wisdom that is yours
nor sense how much others need it. One does not question or seek
to share what seems a native inheritance.
Some of us find Theosophy only after much searching. Like most
converts, we are slightly fanatic about it. We want to rush out
and tell others all about it willy-nilly. This exuberance is
reasonable enough if not allowed its head too long before it is
broken to the bit. Ask any old Theosophist why. He will
expatiate upon this swing of the pendulum in impressively couched
terms, redolent of the more abstruse portions of THE SECRET
DOCTRINE, touching upon the Law of Cycles with a dash, maybe, of
Sanskrit to give it just that touch or inkling of esotericism and
The point is that fanaticism, though excusable at first, is
reprehensible when perpetuated beyond the time when the scales
should be balanced and equilibrium restored. Fanaticism breeds
fixity. The essence of the Theosophic teaching is away from
crystallization of concepts toward the unfoldment of
consciousness. It is toward expansion, ever becoming,
adaptability, and change.
If we would have others listen to our teachings, we need to be
good and receptive listeners first. Some of the greatest
teachers of Theosophic Wisdom never preach at all nor even speak
of it. From the eloquent silence of their vital, integrated, and
luminous lives, and from their understanding hearts, they elicit
enquiry and inspire unsolicited emulation.
He who is not really seeking does not want to hear what we may
have to say. He will not listen. If our path crosses his,
nothing but lives as they are lived and our sincere compassion
for his problem will make any difference to him. Therefore,
conversationally speaking, one does not set out to talk
Theosophy. One knows it, lives it, and develops that special
awareness of the moment's need so no true inquirer goes away
The true inquirer for a reconciliation of life's seeming
anomalies asks everywhere. He asks within himself, seeks out his
pastor, teacher, and consults the man on the street. Mind you,
he is desperate. What is the reason for all the suffering? Why
must we live only to die? Why does not life, with its myriad
inequalities, add up better than it does?
He finds no answer within, and he is equally frustrated without.
His pastor pontificates. If the pastor were a kindly, simple
soul, he offers a well meant but unsatisfying blanket formula of
dogma and the enjoinder that the supplicant opens his heart to
the Lord and the Lord shall add all things unto him. The
professor, privately sharing his uncertainty, offers cynicism in
the guise of learning. The man on the street says, "Search me!
Let's have a drink."
The one on a quest does not give up, even though no light shines.
He is spiritually desperate. When the striving is great enough,
the answer is forthcoming. Hope is almost spent perhaps, and
then someone, somewhere, SAYS something. It may be but a word,
phrase, or lecture attended with a chance acquaintance. Is this
chance? It may be no spoken word at all but rather an encounter
with a life so tranquil and yet powerfully pervasive that it
bespeaks a motivation one longs to fathom.
One gets the hint and moves on to discover some of the many
sources of answers to one's questions. Usually it is new,
strange, and so absorbingly fascinating that the searcher yearns
for plenty of soul satisfying talk. One desires conversation
with someone informed of these ancient and eternal truths. Of
course, he begins reading voraciously, but he needs the outlet of
communication and clarification gained only through
conversational interchange, especially at the beginning.
As all who know will attest, there is recognition in the
experience of spiritual awakening. It is as if one were really
coming home after a long journey. It is like waking from a long
bad night of dreaming and seeing the sunshine streaming through
the familiar ruffled curtains of one's bedroom. For a little
while, give the novice the opportunity to talk it out. This is
at the expense, maybe, of his guide's leisure hours and precious
sleep. Usually the delight is mutual. The opportunity to help
is beyond price.
How do we who have found our truths meet the needs of the true
searcher? Do we open our hearts to his problem with compassion,
seeing life from his point of view, sensing where best to
commence, how little or how much to say, and in what language?
Have we clarified our thinking, cleansed our natures of emotional
coloration and pet prejudices, and familiarized ourselves with
the fundamentals so we can answer his need lucidly, simply, and
fully enough? Having the knowledge, perhaps a great fund of it,
have we the fine discrimination to say less rather than too much,
letting the neophyte articulate his newfound wonder and haltingly
express what this truth means to him?
The temptation of the teacher is to hold forth, dilate, and
submerge the pupil in a welter of verbiage. There is time for
teaching in small doses, administered only when he asks his
questions. These he surely will ask if Theosophy has sounded a
gong in his being. Whatever the degree of his enthusiasm, it is
not well to gorge him before digestion has a chance to do its
Depending on his background, the seeker needs a special intuitive
response from his mentor. Does his search stem from emotional
desperation or intellectual frustration? What are his prejudices?
To trample roughshod on his tender corns before he has oriented
himself can alienate and delay him.
Is his nature uncomplicated and well intentioned? Is his capacity
for intake limited to a few simple, practical ideas and their
working hypotheses? Is he one who needs to plumb the depths and
reach beyond the farthest star before his questing mind can find
It is no time for blundering on the part of him who attempts to
serve as guide. The moment is certainly not one for withdrawal
into taciturnity. He may even wisely let the wisdom pour forth
as one may that has the "gift of tongues." Even so, the general
emphasis should be on the side of discreet reticence. The
understanding heart in its compassion knows what help is needed.
Partly with its stillness and partly with what it is moved to
say, it aids the unfolding of a budding consciousness.
One whose privilege is to help will sense another's need and thus
help comes through him. His years of study and his life have
rendered him a suitable channel. If wise, he sternly checks the
temptation to air his erudition. He remembers his own long-ago
exquisite moment of discovery. He tunes his spirit to that of
the newcomer, finding the right rhythm. Joy, discovery, and the
wisdom of the heart blend in a true harmony of brotherhood.
Having accepted the intuitive appointment to serve in the early
awakening of another, responsibility looms large in other ways
than the mere imparting of the truth. Our lives and practices
come under scrutiny. How do we exemplify the fine truths that we
Though the eyes of the grateful pupil may be charitably blind to
the faults of the teacher for a time, disquieting disillusionment
sometimes mars the way of the neophyte. Therefore, disclaiming
perfection, we nonetheless mend our ways and deepen the
wellsprings of our hearts. The high wisdom of the heart channels
its crystalline stream to the thirsty heart of another.
AT AN UNKNOWN HOUR
By Steven Levy
There are many worlds.
All are filled with sound.
These are Resident within a greater one.
But, even it is relative to the ONE
Which is completely Unbound.
Within this relationship are found
Perfectly balanced hearts and minds.
However seemingly intangible this is,
Many intuit this unknown ground,
Dreaming of an all-inclusive freedom.
We have seen ourselves too small.
But, a few break through
Our poorly imagined limits,
Teaching us the truth,
With a vision meant for all.
The Wise care for the well being of others,
Consciously assisting as friends, then as brothers.
They awaken that wondrous human need,
Overcoming separateness and bringing us together
At first intangibly and then by degree.
The life deep within us is a mystery.
But the waters of compassion penetrate,
Sink in and fructifying that which sleeps
Awakened, it follows its natural tropism,
To the surface of the mind.
Replete with healing power,
An unsuspecting beauty will flower,
Arising in time out of seeming confusionr,
Having drawn together the constituent parts
In the stillness of some unknown hour.
DEATH TO LIFE
By Shrimati Lila Ray
[From THE ARYAN PATH, August 1954, pages 346-50.]
Bereavement is bitter. Death presents us with a dilemma.
Because it is so inescapable, we are ultimately compelled to
define our attitude toward it in thought or action. Actions
disclose attitudes. Death itself is as definitive as birth. "At
the hour of death," writes Gide in his DIARY, "We shall be
reflected in the past. Leaning over the mirror of our acts, our
souls will recognize what we are."
A time comes when death confronts us. It is inexorable,
inexplicable, baffling, and inevitable. How do we meet it? It
could be the crown or shame of our life. As it need not bring
shame with it, Diogenes did not consider it evil. Sophocles
warned us to see the end of life before we count anyone blest.
Does the wise man die like a fool? Both die certainly, but in
The death that brings shame truly brings double bereavement. We
bereave not only of the company of those we love but also of
their esteem. This is a double death. Bereavement is not bitter
where separation is not painful. Sometimes it even brings a
joyous sense of release and relief. When the bonds which
bereavement breaks are not bonds of love, where there is no
tenderness, and where there is a lack of affection or compassion,
death is welcome. Death may even be sought. It has no terror.
Death is not bereavement where there is no affection.
Death is terrible because it removes us from places and people
dear to us. Unavoidable, the separation is painful. Physical
pain is less unrelenting. It ends. The average person faces it
many times in life. Modern medical science has effective means
of relief. There are anesthetics for the fortunate. What relief
do we have from the emotional suffering from the loss of a
beloved person? The pain has no end. We only become habituated
to it. An orphaned child cries for its father. A mother grieves
for her child. Both are dumb with helpless sorrow. We fear
death because of the hardship it brings to the heart.
The possible attitudes toward death include rejection,
acceptance, or evasion. Rejection takes many forms, more often
unconscious. The blind, unreasoning terror of an animal is one
extreme. The eager adoption by sects like the Sufis of a
doctrine of death-in-life is the other. What is inevitable
cannot be rejected or evaded. There is no escape. This is why
the Stoic attitude includes an element of despair. Death is
accepted in desperation.
Psychological anesthetics have been sought down the ages.
Historically, the most widely used is the cultivation of an
aversion to the world. Have we not been taught that the day of
death is better than the day of birth? A deep disgust for
physical life, for life in the world, has been carefully
nurtured. This is fear therapy.
At the root of it and other devices is a threefold dread: (1) the
dread of the physical pain involved in death, (2) the dread of
the emotional pain of separation from persons and things we love,
and (3) the dread of the unknown to which we are dragged
willy-nilly. Deny it as much as we like, we all rejoice in light
and air, skies and waters, fruits and flowers, and birds and
creeping, walking, swimming, jumping, and running creatures.
Last but not least, we rejoice in human companionship. The
thought of losing it all is frightening.
By eliminating affection and exiling love and delight from our
lives, can we eliminate this dread? Is this the premise that has
prompted monks and nuns to sever ties of home and family, leaving
the world? What is meant by the world, if not love?
To them, the ties of affection are fetters. They adopt and urge
upon others a policy of detachment. The contemporary ideal of a
man "completely disengaged and uncommitted" as envisioned by Gide
in his HOMME DISPONSIBLE and Robert Musil in his MANN OHNE
EIGENSCHAFTEN takes its rise in the same fear. Certain
intellectuals today preach non-commitment with the same fervor
with which mediaeval monks preached asceticism.
Asceticism has gone out of fashion but sex relationships have
tended to become casual. People evade responsibility for what
they do. The modern man is irresponsible, seeking pleasure for
selfish purposes. As the Bengali proverb suggests, it is like
trying to catch fish without touching water. The good he seeks
eludes him and he loses without knowing the loss. In his
frustration and ignorance, he decries the good and seeks
absolution in cynicism. He succeeds only in making the worst of
The egoist mistakes the selfish evasion of responsibility for
self-mastery. He is afraid to give. In the act of giving, we
surrender our hearts as hostages. To him, the pain of it is too
great. It is unbearable but also inescapable. By self-mastery
is meant something different from the egoist's definition. If
detachment means heartlessness then suffering is preferable.
Even fear is preferable. Life is animated by the fires of
affection. Nature is not detached, cold, nor mechanical. She
hovers anxiously over every blossoming flower bud, every star
bursting into light. Without warmth there can be no life.
How can fear of death be overcome? Fear of death is fear of pain.
Our attitude towards death depends upon our attitude towards
pain. If like an ascetic we are so afraid of pain that we kill
our sensibility because sensibility is the source of pain, we
lose more than we gain. Suffering terrifies the ascetic so he
does away the source of suffering rather than face that terror.
He forgets that the source is the marvelous and mysterious warmth
that, in the delicacy of its response to the stimuli of our
surroundings, is the proof and measure of our existence and its
Great strength of spirit and heroism are required to face and
accept pain. It is necessary and inevitable. In order to avoid
the necessity of suffering, to kill sensibility is cowardly and
the recourse of the weak in spirit. It is an act that precludes
the possibility of achieving a rekindling of life on any plane.
A fire that has been extinguished cannot warm. The loss of the
warmth is irreparable. That warmth is an indispensable
ingredient of all life.
We can overcome the fear of death by overcoming the fear of pain.
The fear is the same. Life is sentient and not to be sentient is
to deny life. Knowing this, we can learn to suffer gladly. Then
we can rejoice in our capacity for feeling both joy and sorrow.
In so doing, we set ourselves freer than any ascetic has ever
been. Gandhi taught us that the law of suffering is the one
indispensable condition of our being. He said that we can even
measure our progress by the amount of suffering we have
Suffering is related to the effort necessary to achievement
something of value. Like a pregnant woman, we may be trapped in
a painful situation from which there is no escape. We take our
captivity captive by welcoming it and seeming to bear it lightly.
"Turn your fetters into footholds," said Rumi.
St. Francis writes in the FIORETTI:
> Above all the Graces and all the Gifts of the Holy Spirit which
> Christ grants to His friends, is the grace of overcoming oneself,
> and accepting willingly, out of love to Christ, sufferings,
> injuries, discomforts, and contempt.
Out of love for her babe, the expectant mother accepts the
suffering of childbirth. The wise woman makes intelligent and
economic use of her pain to shorten the inevitable agony. Death
and birth are two parts of a single process which begins in agony
and ends in deliverance. The woman whose will and strength
enable her to control and utilize her reactions to set the new
life within her safely free is rewarded with a great and wondrous
joy. She realizes the joy of being a coworker of the divine in
the creative process, of being in partnership with God. It is
the proud privilege of woman to prove on her body the purpose of
pain. She knows its value.
The pain we fear is the means of our liberation and of others.
In setting us free, it brings new life into being. Our life is
in a new form. We are a new being. After learning the
extinction of death, life is reborn through the power of love.
Our progress lies through death, says Rilke. He adds that
renunciation is the price of vision. For only renunciation out
of love can give us the required endurance and strength.
Death, says Heidegger, is our salvation from bondage. It makes
us strip ourselves of all illusions, talk, curiosity, and
ambiguity. It reveals to us what constitutes our life. Through
it, we are forced to realize ourselves as individuals. In the
face of death, each is alone and unaided. Therefore, he says, we
pass through death from an unauthentic to an authentic existence.
Perhaps Goethe had this in mind, when he said:
> [Iphigenie was] one of those sweet creatures who have accumulated
> an infinite amount of moral energy, partly because, having
> touched death, they have received the Eternal into their hearts
> forever and are dead to the world, to the material and
> superficial world. Their lack of joy in life is alone capable of
> bringing back both joy and life to a languishing and disheartened
And Blake's Jesus replies to Albion:
> Would thou love one who never died for thee or ever die for one
> who had not lived for thee? And if God dieth not for Man and
> giveth not Himself eternally for Man, Man could not exist, for
> Man is love as God is love.
Like the mother, we must accept pain for the sake of love. Were
it not for love, there would be no pain.
The sage is immortal, unassailable, and endowed with the magical
power of creation. Like the mother, he remains in contact with
individual human life, responding to the call of creatures. The
greatest sacrifice an enlightened one makes is that of heaven
itself. He refuses to enter until the last, least, and weakest
of creatures has gone before him. In the cosmic refuge, one is
not alone. One cannot save oneself from adverse experience by
isolation. One's safety lies in union with the whole.
The Vimalakirti Sutra teaches that Samsara is Nirvana. Life is
suffering. It is suffering from which we cannot escape without
destroying life. Apart from it, there is no beauty, no bliss,
and no rest. "But from my heart," protests Dante, "Love does not
draw the thorn of pain that living I shall ever bear, though I
should live forever."
Here also we perceive the secret of the cross of Christ. Christ
crossed out suffering in his crucifixion. Nirvana is achieved if
we can accept suffering. In identifying ourselves with the pain
of all creatures, we see in this identification the heaven we
seek. Psychologically, it is just as important as joy, even as
the fact of death is as important as the fact of birth. Both are
integral parts of life.
The authentic man sees both life and death steadily and whole.
All men fear. The authentic man looks fear in its face and
asserts himself against it. Such was Rilke. Unauthentic men
hide from their fear and despair. They shrink from the
responsibility of overcoming it. The measure of a man like
Malraux is in his readiness to take on the burden of other
people's ills rather than in his failure to find a cure. The
greatest of Teachers is one receiving the gifts of the spirit but
not departing from earth, knowing how to knot the thread of
understanding. His usefulness exceeds that of all others.
Whenever and wherever it occurs, love is a miracle. It is a new
birth, wonderful in itself, the act of transformation through
which Nature continually renews herself maintaining her
immortality. To deny it is to deny God. To accept it is to
accept pain. Like the antinomy of evil, the antinomy of pain
finds its solution in spiritual experience. Like birth, death
can be life's crown. Death symbolizes renewal in the mystery
rituals. The real name of THE BOOK OF THE DEAD is COMING FORTH
IN THE NAME.
By George William Russell
[From THE CANDLE OF VISION, Chapter IV, pages 19-26.]
There is no personal virtue in me other than I follow a path all
may travel but few journey. It is a path within us where the
feet first falter in shadow and darkness but later heavenly light
makes it gay. I have traveled a little on that way and had some
far-off vision of the Many-Colored Land. There are those who
would fain believe in that world of which the seers spoke. Some
cannot understand the language written by those who had seen that
beauty of old and some might have thought the ancient scriptures
but a record of extravagant desires. If I tell what I know, and
how I came to see most clearly, I may give hope to them.
None needs special gifts or genius. Gifts! There are no gifts.
For all that is ours, we have paid the price. There is nothing
we aspire to for which we cannot barter some spiritual
merchandise of our own. Genius! There is no stinting of this by
the Keeper of the Treasure House. No one bestows it upon us. We
win it. If he willed, yon man of heavy soul might play on the
lyre of Apollo, the drunkard be god-intoxicated.
Nature does not bestow powers by caprice on any. Making
exposition before his students, the formulae the chemist
illustrates cannot be more certainly verified than the formulae
of that alchemy by which we may transmute what is gross in us
into ethereal fires.
Our religions promise that which they can only fulfilled beyond
the grave. They have no knowledge we can put to the test now.
The ancients spoke of a divine vision we might attain while yet
in the body. Mistrust the religion that does not cry out, "I am
today verifiable as that water wets or that fire burns. Test me
that ye can become as gods." Its messengers are prophets of
As we sink deeper into the Iron Age, we meet the mighty devils of
state and empire lurking in the abyss. They claim the soul for
their own, molding it to their image, to be verily their creature
and not heaven's. We need a power in ourselves that can confront
these mighty powers.
Though I am blind, I have had moments of sight. Though I have
sinned, I have been on the path. Though I am feeble, I have seen
the way to power. I sought out ways to make more securely my own
those magical lights that dawned and faded within me. I wished
to evoke them at will and be master of my vision. I learned to
do what is as old as human life.
Day after day when none might interfere through love or other
cause, I set myself to attain mastery over the will. I would
choose some mental object, an abstraction of form, and strive to
hold my mind fixed on it in unwavering concentration, so that not
for a moment, not for an instant, would the concentration
It is an exercise this, a training for higher adventures of the
soul. It is no light labor. Cleaving the furrows, the
ploughman's job is easier by far. Five minutes of this effort
will at first leave us trembling as at the close of a laborious
day. It is then we realize how little of life has been our own,
and how much was a response to sensation, a drifting on the tide
The spirit would escape its thralldom. The rumor of revolt runs
through the body. The mortal in us hurries along nerve, artery,
and every highway of the body to beset the soul. Empires do not
send legions so swiftly to frustrate revolt. More alluring than
life, the beautiful face of one we love glows before us to
enchant us from our task.
Old sins, enmities, vanities, and desires beleaguer and beseech
us. If we do not heed them, they change. They seem to be with
us. They open up vistas of all that they and we will do when we
attain the new power for which we strive. If tempted down that
vista, we find with shame after an hour of vain musing that it
had lured us away. We had deserted our task and forgotten that
stern fixity of will we set out to achieve.
Let us persevere in our daily ritual and the turmoil increases.
Our whole being becomes vitalized, the bad as well as the good.
The heat of this fervent concentration acts like fire under a
pot. Everything in our being boils up madly. We learn our own
hitherto unknown character. We did not know we could feel such
fierce desires. We never imagined such passionate enmities as
We have created in ourselves a center of power. It is dangerous,
for we have flung ourselves into the eternal conflict between
spirit and matter. We find ourselves where the battle is
hottest, where the foemen lock in a death struggle. We are in
grips with mightier powers than we had before conceived of.
What man is there who thinks he has self-control? He stands in
shallow waters. He has not gone into the great deep nor been
tossed at the mercy of the waves. Let him rouse the arcane
powers in himself, and he will feel like one who has let loose
None would live through the turmoil if the will were the only
power in ourselves that we could invoke. The will is neither
good nor bad but is power only. It vitalizes good or bad
indifferently. If all our labor would bring us was the rousing
of the arcane powers and the increased turmoil, we would not be
closer to divine being. We would only have a dilation of the
The ancients taught us to gain this intensity. They taught it as
preliminary to an unwavering, powerful meditation. Some explain
the meditation they urged on us as, "the inexpressible yearning
of the inner man to go out into the infinite." The Infinite that
we would enter is living. It is our ultimate being.
Meditation is a fiery brooding on that majestic Self. We imagine
ourselves in Its vastness. We conceive ourselves mirroring Its
infinitudes, moving in all things, and living in all beings of
earth, water, air, fire, ether. We try to know as It knows, to
live as It lives, and to be compassionate as It is compassionate.
We picture ourselves as It that we may understand It and become
We do not kneel to It as slaves. As Children of the King, we
lift ourselves up to that Glory. We affirm to ourselves that we
are what we imagine. The wise said, "What a man thinks, that he
is. That is the old secret." We have imagined ourselves into
this pitiful dream of life. By imagination and will, we reenter
true being, becoming that of which we conceive.
On that path of fiery brooding, I entered. At first, all was
stupor. I felt as one who steps out of day into the colorless
night of a cavern. That was because I had suddenly reversed the
habitual motions of life.
Normally, we live seeing through the eyes, hearing through the
ears, stirred by the senses, moved by bodily powers, and
receiving only such spiritual knowledge as may pass through a
momentary purity of our being. On the mystic path, we create our
own light. At first, we struggle blind and baffled, unable to
see, hear, think, or imagine. We seem deserted by dream, vision,
or inspiration, and our meditation is altogether barren.
Persist through weeks or months, and eventually that stupor
disappears. Our faculties readjust themselves and do the work we
will them to do. Never did they do their work so well. The dark
caverns of the brain begin to grow luminous. We are creating our
own light. By heat of will and aspiration, we are transmuting
what is gross in the subtle ethers through which the mind works.
The dark bar of metal begins to glow, at first red and then as
white heat. Ice melts and is fluid, vapor or gas, and a radiant
energy at last. Likewise, these ethers purify and alchemically
change into luminous essences. They make new vestures for our
souls, linking us heavenward where they have their true home.
How quick the mind is now! How vivid is the imagination! We lift
above the tumult of the body. The heat of the blood disappears
below us. We draw ourselves to humility. The heart longs for
the hour of meditation and hurries to it. When it comes, we rise
within ourselves as a diver rises to breathe the air or see the
light when under seas too long. We have invoked the God. The
answer comes according to old promise.
As we aspire, so we are inspired. We imagine It as Love and what
a love enfolds us! We conceive of It as Might and we take power
from that Majesty. We dream of It as Beauty and the Magician of
the Beautiful appears everywhere at Its miraculous art. The
multitudinous lovely creatures of Its thought are busy molding
nature and life in their image. All are hurrying, hurrying to
the Golden World.
This vision brings its own proof to the spirit. Words cannot
declare or explain it. We must go back to lower levels and turn
to that which has form from that which is bodiless.
APOLLONIUS OF TYANNA, Part II
By Phillip A Malpas
[The following comes from a series that appeared in THE
THEOSOPHICAL PATH, under Katherine Tingley as Editor and
published at the Point Loma Theosophical Community. It later
appeared in book form under the title TRUE MESSIAH: THE STORY AND
WISDOM OF APOLLONIUS OF TYANA 3 B.C. -- 96 A.D., published by
Point Loma Publications.]
THE EARLY YEARS
The pages which follow are largely based on the statements and
remarks of Philostratus.
Our author begins with a note on Pythagoras and his rule of life,
which was strictly followed by Apollonius.
"Though engaged in like pursuits and studies, Apollonius devoted
himself to philosophy with a more divine enthusiasm, than
Pythagoras," Philostratus declares, and continues:
"They that commend Pythagoras as the Samian, say of him, that
before his birth in Ionia, he was Euphorbus at Troy; and that
after his death at that place, which is recorded by Homer, he
returned again to life."
"Pythagoras rejected the use of all clothing made from the skins
of animals, and abstained both from eating and sacrificing them.
He never polluted with blood the altars of the gods, to whom he
offered cakes of honey, and frankincense, and hymns; for such
oblations he knew were more acceptable to them than whole
large-scale sacrifices (hecatombs) with the sacrificial knife."
("Honey, frankincense, and hymns," symbolize the essence and
aroma of nature, besides having special significance in regard to
the teachings of the philosophical schools. They were and are
typical of a far higher spiritual education than the coarse and
degrading bloodshed of lesser spiritual systems.)
"He conversed with the gods, and learnt from them, how men may do
what is pleasing to them, and how the contrary. Hence he spoke
of the nature of things as a man inspired: for he said that other
men guessed only of the divine will, but that Apollo had visited
him and declared his Godhead. Pallas and the Muses, he also
said, had conversed with him, without declaring who they were, as
did other deities whose names and aspects were not as yet known
"Whatever was taught by Pythagoras, was observed as a law by his
disciples, who reverenced him as a man come from Jove; and the
silence he enjoined was most vigilantly adhered to by them, with
a zeal which a doctrine so sublime merited; for whilst it
continued, they heard many things of a divine and mysterious
nature, which would have been difficult for them to retain and
comprehend, had they not first learnt that silence itself was the
beginning and rudiment of wisdom."
There was a disciple of Apollonius, Damis the Ninevite, who wrote
a diary and an account of his travels, carefully noting the
opinions, discourses, and predictions of his Teacher. A person
belonging to the family of Damis called the attention of the
Empress Julia to these writings of the Assyrian, which until that
time had not been made public.
Also, Maximus the Aegean wrote of the actions of Apollonius at
Aegae. These were the books used by Philostratus. The
commentaries of Damis were plain, but not eloquent, and paid no
attention to style. At the bidding of the Empress, the work of
the philosopher Philostratus was to put the information in a more
literary form and style.
Apollonius was born in or about the year 3 B.C. at Tyana, a town
of Cappadocia, founded by Greeks. He was named after his father,
who belonged to an ancient family, which might be traced back to
the original settlers. He was wealthy, as were many of his
Shortly before his birth, the Egyptian god Proteus appeared to
the mother of Apollonius and announced that he himself would be
her son. Proteus is the god who had a wonderful power of
avoiding apprehension by transforming himself at will into
anything he wished. He seemed to have foreknowledge of all
Apollonius was said to have been born in a meadow, near which
there stood a temple dedicated to him. His mother was told in a
dream to go and gather flowers in the meadow. Her young
companions amused themselves in various ways, dispersed about the
place, while she fell asleep. A flock of swans, feeding in the
meadow, formed a chorus round her as she slept, and beating their
wings, sang in unison, while a gentle breeze fanned the air. The
song of the swans awakened her suddenly and the boy was born.
The people of the place said that at that instant a thunderbolt
which was ready to fall on the ground rose aloft and suddenly
When the boy grew to an age suitable for instruction, his father
took him to Tarsus and left him as a pupil of Euthydemus the
Phoenician, a celebrated rhetorician. Apollonius became attached
to his tutor, with whom, by his father's permission, he retired
to Aegae, a neighboring town, not as noisy as Tarsus, and more
suitable for the study of philosophy. Here he had opportunities
for meeting students of the philosophy of Plato, Chrysippus, and
Aristotle. He also listened to the opinions of Epicurus without
condemning them. The teachings of Pythagoras were embraced by
Apollonius with the utmost zeal and enthusiasm, though his tutor
knew little of that philosopher and was not particularly addicted
to study of any kind. This tutor was named Euxenus, a native of
Heraclea. He knew some of the sayings of Pythagoras, precisely
in the manner of birds that utter phrases they are taught without
understanding a word of what they say.
Apollonius in no way despised this tutor, and kept faithfully to
him while in his charge, though at times he would, like the young
eagle that sometimes essays a flight above its parents without
seeking to leave them altogether, explore regions of philosophy
beyond his tutor's reach, while submitting to his authority, and
being guided by him in the ways of knowledge.
DISCIPLE OF PYTHAGORAS
But at the age of sixteen, about the year Tiberius became
Emperor, Apollonius became an enthusiastic disciple of Pythagoras
and a zealous admirer of his doctrine, winged thereto by a
superior intelligence. None the less did he continue to respect
Euxenus, and as a proof of his regard, gave him a house which his
father purchased for him, with a garden and fountains belonging
to it, at the same time saying, "live you in what manner you
please, but for myself, I shall live after the manner of
Euxenus supposed, from this declaration, that his pupil had some
lofty aim in view. He asked what beginning Apollonius proposed
to make for his system of life. Apollonius replied that he would
begin as the physicians do, for by purifying the body they
prevent disease in some and cure others.
This reply was very appropriate, since the meeting-place of young
philosophers in the town of Aegae was a temple of Aesculapius,
the god of medicine, who occasionally revealed himself to his
Apollonius after this ceased to eat anything that had life,
declaring it to be impure and weakening to the understanding. He
lived on fruits and vegetables, saying that the products of the
soil alone were pure. Wine, he admitted was pure since the vine
is a tree not injurious to man. Doubtless he would say this of
unfermented wine, but avoided controversy as to the fermented
juice of the grape by saying that he considered it adverse to a
composed state of mind by reason of the power it possessed of
disturbing the divine particle of spirit of which it is formed,
and therefore he abstained.
("The divine particle of air of which the mind is formed," is
equivalent to the "divine particle of spirit." The Greek word for
air and spirit is the same. The "Holy Ghost" is the "Holy Air"
in Greek pneuma.)
So restricting his diet, Apollonius next changed his mode of
dress. He went barefoot, dressed in linen, and would have
nothing to do with garments made from living creatures. He
allowed his hair to grow, and spent the greater part of his time
in the temple of Aesculapius.
Those who officiated in the temple were astonished at these
practical applications of his philosophy, and even the God
himself sometimes appeared to the priest in charge and declared
that he had pleasure in performing his cures in the presence of
such a witness as Apollonius.
The fame of Apollonius spread near and far, so that the Cilicians
and all the residents in and about the country came to visit him.
There is a proverbial saying of the Cilicians which had its
origin in this circumstance, for when they see one in great
haste, they say, "Whither do you run so fast? Is it to see the
Of the work of Apollonius in the temple, a story is told in
regard to a young Assyrian of luxurious habits who suffered from
dropsy. This young man took pleasure in intoxicating liquor in
spite of his sickness, and thus neglected the remedies he knew to
be necessary. He slept on the couch provided for such patients,
but the god gave him no dream indicating a cure. Upon the young
man complaining of this, the god finally appeared to him and
directed him to apply to Apollonius for advice that should make
He asked Apollonius what he could do for him, and the latter
replied that he could restore him to health and that he was not
to be blamed.
"The god," said he "bestows health on all who are willing to
receive it but you on the contrary, feed your disease. You live
in total subjection to your appetite, and overload with
delicacies a weak and dropsical constitution, adding clay to
Thus declaring clearly his opinion, Apollonius restored the
Assyrian to health.
Another instance is given, also an illustration of the philosophy
that lay behind the cures of Aesculapius, showing that the divine
law of compensation could not be escaped, but must be fulfilled
by the lawbreaker himself, neither vicarious atonement nor money
being accepted from the man who remained impure at heart.
Apollonius saw one day in the temple much blood sprinkled on the
altars, many sacrifices laid thereon, and several Egyptian oxen
and huge swine slain; in addition, there were two golden bowls
filled with most precious Indian gems.
"What is the meaning of all this," he asked the priest. "I
suppose some great man is paying his respects to the deity?"
"You will be surprised to hear, I think," said the priest, "that
the man has not yet even presented his petition nor has he dwelt
the proper time in the temple nor has he received any benefit
from the god. He has as yet received nothing; in fact, he only
came yesterday, I believe, and yet he sacrifices with this
extraordinary generosity. But he has promised to make more
splendid and richer presents, if Aesculapius grants his petition.
I hear that he is rich, and has greater possessions in Cilicia
than all the rest of the Cilicians. His petition is that the god
will restore him the eye he has lost."
Apollonius fixed his eyes on the ground, as was his custom, also
in his old age, and asked what the name of the man was. When he
heard it, he said, "I think he should not be admitted to the
temple, for he is unclean, and met with the accident in a bad
cause. I am of opinion that the mere circumstance of his making
such costly sacrifices before the granting of his petition,
proves not so much the honest maker of sacrifice, as one who
wishes to deprecate the wrath of Heaven for some enormous
Aesculapius appeared by night to the priest and said, "Let both
him and his offerings depart together, for he is not deserving of
the eye which remains."
When the priest made inquiries concerning the supplicant, he
learned that he was living scandalously. His wife had put out
both the eyes of her daughter by a former husband with a needle,
and one of those of her present husband, who now sought to have
In this way, Apollonius showed the propriety of offering such
sacrifices, and making such presents, as should not exceed the
bounds of moderation. Many people flocked to the temple.
Apollonius conversed with the priest and said, "Seeing that the
gods know all things, I think he who approaches them with a good
conscience should pray after this wise, 'O ye Gods, grant what is
convenient for me!'"
"Consequently," he declared, "good things are due to the good,
and the contrary to the wicked. Hence the gods, who always act
rightly, send him away whom they find to be of a sound mind and
free from sin, crowned not with crowns of gold, but with all
manner of good things; and him whom they discover to be corrupt
and polluted by vice, they give over to punishment, being the
more offended with him for presuming to approach their temples
conscious of his own unworthiness."
Then Apollonius turned towards Aesculapius and said, "You,
Aesculapius, exercise a philosophy at once ineffable and becoming
yourself, not suffering the wicked to come near the shrines, even
though they bring with them the treasures of India and Sardis;
and this prohibition is given from knowing that such applicants
do not sacrifice and burn incense from reverence to the gods, but
from the selfish motive of making atonement for their own sins,
to which you will never consent, from the love you bear to
Many other philosophical discourses of this kind were uttered by
Apollonius whilst he was still but a youth.
IN HIS TWENTIETH YEAR
In the year 17 A.D., Apollonius being in his twentieth year, and
therefore still a minor, returned to Tyana to bury his father by
the side of his mother, who had died sometime before. The
fortune left was large, and Apollonius divided it with his elder
brother, who was very dissipated and given to wine, though only
twenty-three years of age; the latter had been independent of
guardians since the age of twenty-one, as the law provided.
After this, Apollonius returned to Aegae and changed the Temple
of Aesculapius into a Lyceum and Academy, in which resounded all
manner of philosophical disputation.
When he became of age and his own master, he went again to Tyana,
where a friend suggested that he should endeavor to reform his
elder brother. Apollonius showed a delicate modesty in
recognizing the presumption of such an attempt, but declared his
willingness to try, as far as lay in his power.
Very tactfully he commenced his task. First he told his brother
that he himself needed little and therefore was willing to give
half of his inheritance to the elder brother who needed much. In
this way he secured his brother's confidence without any
appearance of presuming. Gradually he led his brother to the
point where he would be willing to take advice.
"Our father who used to advise us is dead," he said. "It now
remains for us to consult each other's interest and happiness.
If I do wrong in any way, I ask you to advise me, and I will
correct myself; and if you should do anything wrong, I hope you
will listen to my advice."
By this gentle treatment, Apollonius first made his brother
willing to listen to advice, and then by degrees prevailed on him
to abandon his vices, which were common enough and fashionable at
the time, such as gambling, drinking, a swaggering manner, and
also a foolish admiration for his hair, which he used to dye.
After this success with his brother, Apollonius tactfully did the
same with his other relatives. He did not hesitate to give those
that most needed it the remainder of his fortune, with the
exception of what his own small needs demanded.
As for himself, he declared that the saying of Pythagoras that a
man should have but one wife was not for him, since he had
determined never to marry. By this, says Philostratus, he showed
himself superior to Sophocles the Athenian, who, when old, said
he had got rid of a furious master, whereas Apollonius "subdued
the wild beast in his youth and triumphed over the tyrant in the
vigor of his young manhood."
By James Neil Feinstein
How often have I wondered
About the mind of this tragic city:
Figure eight freeways
And littered gutters of broken glass.
I'm breathing brown haze
Instead of fresh, virgin air.
Cool cascade air of an autumn breeze
On a lonely mountain;
Just you and I
And thoughts that transcend the wind.
The forest knows nature's secrets
As the cold brook babbles;
I know not its sublime language.
Do I deserve to breathe this fresh, virgin air?
Or am I a lonely visitor tolerated by
The icy, belittling wind?
I listen not to the voice of the city,
Of its screeching tires and sirens,
Harbingers of quiet death.
I see no emptiness painted
On the faces of the street.
My place is neither on the mountain
Nor the city.
It's somewhere in between the beauty
And waste of this Abraxas earth;
Breathing virgin and harlot air
At the same delicious time.
A DISCUSSION ON ROUNDS, Part II
By Boris de Zirkoff
[This talk comes from the second part of a tape recording
entitled "A Discussion on Rounds" made of a private class held on
June 8, 1955.]
Consider the coming back to life on Globe D Earth. Looking at
the diagram of the Globes, you see that we go counterclockwise
along Globes A, B, C, D, E, F, and G in order. There is much to
Everything is in motion. There is nothing static in the
universe. The Greek philosopher Heraclites, a great Initiate,
would say, "Panta Rei," which means everything flows. Things
move in cycles. They constantly come back upon themselves, but
not like a treadmill. The cyclic motion is repeated on slightly
Today we are in June. If the Earth comes to the same position
with regard to the sun next June, it will not be in the same part
of space. The whole solar system will have moved millions of
miles. The sun moves with the solar system so every June the
Earth is in a different place.
Keep in mind that everything moves. Do not fail to apply this
knowledge to even to the Globes of the planetary chain. They do
not remain exactly where they were. They move too. They have
their own circulations. That is why the overall picture can be
both simple and greatly complex.
Picture the Earth moving around the sun. That simple picture
disregards the motion of the sun. Consider the sun's motion and
the motion of the Earth becomes a complicated spiral. Consider
the motion of the galaxy and then the motion of the Earth become
vastly more complicated. Higher mathematics is required to
describe the motions, even when just dealing with the motions on
the physical plane.
The same principle applies to spiritual teachings. Take certain
things for granted. Explain them according to a certain scale.
They are simple. Then bring other things into the picture and it
gets complicated. If you bring in enough things it will become
so complicated that only the highest minds can grasp it.
No matter how complex the picture is, if you grasp the pattern,
you will not get lost. The fundamental principle is the same
THE SECRET DOCTRINE definitely states there is one law working
throughout the cosmos. There is just one fundamental law.
Einstein wanted to formulate it mathematically. He approached
its threshold, but died without reaching it. That law could have
a mathematical formulation, but it embraces much more than
The principle of constant motion makes one think deeply,
stretching one's mind. After stretching it for a while, even the
best among us falls to the ground exhausted. It is wonderful how
one is strengthened in trying to understand these things. Go on
considering it, even though it may be confusing or misunderstood
at first. It keeps one from becoming crystallized or getting
Acting under a delusion, some people struggle to keep things the
same, not wanting any change. They do not realize that the only
permanent thing in the universe is change. This idea is
fundamental. Not for a fleeting moment are things the same.
While people try to stay the same, everything changes, including
What is that thing that we call a human being? Consider but the
physical body. Every minute that one breathes, there is a stream
of hundreds of millions of incoming and outgoing life-atoms. It
is not the same for two consecutive seconds. With but few
exceptions, nothing stays in the physical body more than a
fleeting second. It is the same with everything else. The
change is too rapid for us to observe. Our senses are too slow.
Say you could accelerate on the screen the changes your body
underwent from birth to death. If you played the whole thing out
in five minutes, anybody in the audience would see. This analogy
is misleading, since our senses do not work that way. If I have
not seen you in five years, I still recognize you.
Consider the experience of meeting someone who has aged
considerably. We may unsure if it is the same person. There was
a man whom I had not seen in five years. I knew him well. I met
someone recently. I did not see him head on, but rather from the
side. I saw him taking his meal in a restaurant for about ten
minutes. I was not sure whether this person was him. If it was,
it shows how the change is rapid enough at times to throw our
senses off guard.
It is remarkable that what we recognize in others is not the
physical body. The body has changed every minute of our life.
What is that thing in us that stays relatively the same? What is
it that remains so you can recognize an individual after not
seeing him in thirty years? We see in others something beyond the
physical. We think we only look at the physical body but also
see something else. That inner, deeper level does not change as
rapidly as the outer.
Consider another illustration. When I left Russia, I left behind
two or three of my mother's sisters, aunts to whom I was much
attached. Two died. The third came out of Russia five years
later. With great delight, I looked forward to being able to
meet her at the railway station in Germany.
I was horrified upon meeting her. She looked different. She has
aged terribly. I thought, "Oh, no! This is not the individual to
whom I loved so much. I certainly know how she looked! This is
an entirely different individual!" It was a shock. The
strangeness disappeared in the next few days. I again saw the
same individual I had known ever since childhood, unchanged from
what she was when I left Russia. I never forgot her true look.
She never became the aged one again.
Ask yourself what it is that we see in people. The first
recognition is of the body. I first saw my Aunt's body, which
had been through hell those last five years, terrible experiences
including the murder of her husband. The body had aged
unquestionably. Why did the appearance of her being a different
person disappear in the next few days? I thought about in, and
came to realize that we see in others far more than just their
body. Someday science will realize that there is more to us.
Perhaps they will even be able to photograph something of our
From another standpoint, we might say the reverse of this. Upon
meeting someone of the same age level, someone not seen for
years, you might see them and think they have not changed a bit.
Nancy's husband just met a woman he had not seen in 20 years.
Her husband is getting gray and fat and the woman is now around
40, but they looked the same to each other. As I heard it, they
would have recognized one another anywhere.
There is a fundamental keynote which does not change rapidly. It
gradually changes from one incarnation to another. For practical
purposes, it remains the same throughout a life. There are
subordinate keynotes that change at a certain time in life. At
one time in life, the personality is one way. It is considerably
changed later on. In the next ten years, it is considerably
changed again. At the end of life, it is possibly vastly
There is a faster change in the coloring of the person and the
more fundamental, less-changeable reality back of the person. It
is like one is superimposed on top of the other, like changing
shades of color superimposed upon a fundamental color that hardly
changes. Various similitudes could be used to imperfectly
The exception is when the karmic pattern of an individual
requires dramatic changes. Sometimes an individual has
one-or-more times where one's keynote is drastically changed.
There are many cases of this. We see a sudden and complete
change of the entire personal characteristics of someone. It
simply shows that he has outlived a certain karmic setup. He is
almost entering a new incarnation without changing the body.
That is what it amounts to. An entirely different karmic trend
asserts itself from another incarnation and changes him so much
that his friends do not recognize him. Sometimes the change is
for the worse. Many times it is for the better.
When you see it happen to someone, like to Nancy's father, it is
well worth studying. Can you explain it to others? You may be
completely misunderstood. Others do not know what has taken
place. They have not the philosophy of life. They have no way
of explaining it. What are you going to do about it? Sometimes
the individual is unaware. Generally speaking, changes do not
take place with such rapidity. These cases are exceptions to the
QUESTION ON THE RACES
Let us come back to the question of the Races now. There are
seven Root Races on each Globe. That means there are seven Root
Races on Globes A, B, C, D, E, F and G. That is one Chain Round.
It is repeated seven times. Wherever the lifewave goes, there is
a rising tide. When it departs, the tide falls. When it has
gone through all seven Globes, there is a temporary obscuration.
The chain exists but is obscured. It has a period of latency and
rest, after which it begins the passage of the tide for the
second time throughout the entire global structure.
That is the Second Round and there are seven of them. We are in
the fourth. We have been around the chain three and one-half
times. After seven Rounds, the Globes of the chain disintegrate.
That is the end of their lifespan.
A SLEEPING BUDDHA
There are cases of advanced Initiates that pass their current
incarnation completely unaware of their status. This is an
obscure subject. For some reason, they missed some particular
experience of life in the distant past. They come to complete
that knowledge, taking take up an incarnation in which their
spiritual greatness is completely eclipsed. That enables them to
go live out what they had missed. These are experiences that are
required for them to complete their schooling in this particular
It might be the case with Jacob Boeme and with others we have
read about or known by name. This may be the case of a
Bodhisattva that had to go through the hardships of a simple life
for some reason. He was illiterate yet able to author profound
mystical treatises (through dictation to another individual).
Boeme did not know who he was. He did not see himself as a great
teacher working in order make a living. He was the shoemaker
Jacob Boeme and that is all there was to it. According to
Blavatsky, Judge, and either Master KH or M, he must have been a
Bodhisattva or a Nirmanakaya.
It might be the case with other types of people as well. This
might also happen with the Buddha, who is immensely higher. Just
at the verge of leaving the planet on some other errands, he
might take such an embodiment. He may do so to gather the
experience of one little set of circumstances that he missed in
the record of past lives. At his stage, that record is
completely open to his examination. As far as his brain goes, he
might become completely unaware of whom he really is during that
On a lesser scale, there could be quite a few such individuals.
There are many Initiates on earth. Perhaps they are not advanced
ones. Nevertheless, these individuals have actually been through
one or more Initiations in other lives but are unaware of it now.
They go through hard experiences in this particular incarnation.
Maybe at the end of life, they become fully aware of what they
Consider the wonderful portrayal of the mother in John
Steinbeck's THE GRAPES OF WRATH. She is ignorant,
poverty-stricken, but of depth, selfless, and has a homespun
philosophy of life. Uneducated and without material advantages,
she displays a beauty of character that makes her stand head and
shoulders above the rest. Could she be an example of someone
greater that is taking such an incarnation? There are many more
such individuals than we realize.
When everything is said and done, we are at no time alone. It
would be utterly wrong, illogical, and untrue to imagine that at
any time we are alone, deserted, and without help. The truth of
it is that the teachers invariably are watching over those whose
hearts and minds are aspiring to nobler things. I believe we
should carry this thought in our minds. We should remind
ourselves of this fact every now and then, drawing from it added
The teachers of spiritual life, those great ones towards whom we
aspire, are always looking for places and individuals where the
need exists. Without exception, they invariably answer the call.
The call for genuine spiritual help is answered wherever there is
a need and one makes the call with a noble wish in one's heart.
This happens because the teachers are constantly on the lookout
The call for help must be impersonal. It must not be for
escaping the results of one's misdoings. Then there is no
answer. If there is a genuine spiritual call for help in order
to grow, reach out to wider horizons, and be of service to
others, that call is forwarded by those power currents that we
call the Akasha. It is registered in proper quarters and
How is it answered? The answer is different in every case. The
teachers cannot change your life. You are the only one who can
change it. They can give you opportunities to use or disregard.
Along inner lines, they suggest opportunities for growth. They
can place books in your way or send people that might be of help
to you. They can manipulate certain forces, currents, and
circumstances. This is providing that your personal karmic
ledger allows it, because they cannot tamper with your karma, nor
can they interfere with your freedom of will. You must make your
own personal decisions in any matter.
There are many ways they can help with their wisdom without the
slightest interference. It is up to us if we recognize the
extended hand along inner lines, seeing the influence in
circumstances that we meet. It is up to us to build within
ourselves upon the strength of true manhood. It is up to us to
be intuitive enough to recognize the help, perhaps coming from
strange quarters and in circumstances which tax our intuition.
It is not self-evident.
Whenever a genuine call that is made, neither distance nor time
have anything to do with it. There is a constant connection
between the aspiring soul in need and those perfected men towards
whose status we as students aspire. They simply show us what we
will become if we persevere.
At no time are we alone, no matter how dreary the circumstances
surrounding us are or how difficult the problem facing us may be.
The least quiver of our spiritual consciousness or the least
little light of the Buddhic Splendor within us is at once
recognized. The invisible hands that uphold the spiritual
evolution of the world are ready at any time to extend whatever
help we are ready to receive. There is no question about the
help. There is only a question as to if we may recognize and
In the study of this ancient Esoteric Philosophy, we encounter
nothing that is given us as a gift. There is nothing that we can
beg for. The man with his strong hand takes knowledge. If he
has the power to take the knowledge then he has knowledge. That
is why from the ancient Mystery Schools has come the injunction,
"To know, to will, to dare, and to keep silent."
Dedicated to the Theosophical Philosophy and its Practical Application