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THEOSOPHY WORLD ---------------------------------- February, 2003
An Internet Magazine Dedicated to the Theosophical Philosophy
And its Practical Application in the Modern World
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(Please note that the materials presented in THEOSOPHY WORLD are
the intellectual property of their respective authors and may not
be reposted or otherwise republished without prior permission.)
"The Moral Order of the Universe," by B.P. Wadia
"The Memory of Earth," by George William Russell
"Apollonius of Tyanna," Part VI, by Phillip A Malpas
"Is there a Personal God," by Steve Stubbs
"Art and the New Age," by Hazel Boyer Braun
"In Search of Zen," Part II, by Christmas Humphreys
"Thoughts on Terrorism," by Steven Levey
"My Dusty-Eyed Friend," by James Sterling
"A Study in Fundamentals," Part IV, by Boris de Zirkoff
> "With faith all things are possible." The sceptical laugh at
> faith and pride themselves on its absence from their own minds.
> The truth is that faith is a great engine, an enormous power,
> which in fact can accomplish all things. For it is the covenant
> or engagement between man's divine part and his lesser self.
> -- Mabel Collins, LIGHT ON THE PATH, pages 49-50.
THE MORAL ORDER OF THE UNIVERSE
By B.P. Wadia
[From THUS HAVE I HEARD, pages 280-82.]
It is an ancient teaching that mental laziness provides a fertile
soil for the germination and growth of many vices, among them
vanity, jealousy, avarice. It is not only that Satan
proverbially finds mischief for idle hands to do. To produce
idle hands, that constant enemy of man on earth must instill
indolence into the mind of man. If the mind moves aright, it
creates virtues and establishes itself on moral principles. This
the minds of men are not doing.
There is prodigious mental activity in the civilization of today.
That activity in action spells restlessness and discontent; it
deludes men and women into fancying that they are busy. People
are busy whirling like mad dervishes, hoping for ecstasy!
Ratiocination is mistaken for meditation and restlessness for
activity. The myriad motions of passions, prejudices, and prides
obscure mental laziness. When inordinate likes and dislikes move
men, the men mistakenly assume that they are mentally active,
whereas their minds are more or less inert.
Mental creativeness is rare. Imitation of the activity of the
few creative minds is rampant and often those imitations are
parodies -- pathetic when not ludicrous. In the solution of his
problems, man rarely proceeds in the right way. The calm and
dispassionate evaluation of one's own problems by the light of
one's own mind, aided by Right Ideas that have always ruled the
world, is not undertaken.
Our civilization is built upon false values. The ever-changing
nature of matter is pointed out by modern science, but for the
scientist himself and those for whom his word is law, the
immortal and never-changing nature of Spirit is an unproven,
vague generality. The masses of men ARE influenced by the
Divinity at the core of their own being which shapes ITS ends,
rough-hew them how they will.
Countless men who admire and worship science transfer their
intuitive loyalty from the stability of immortal Spirit to the
shifting sands of kaleidoscopically changing matter. Organized
religions, on the other hand, confuse the human reason by false
notions about god and gods, heaven and hell, and so lead men to a
hedonistic activity ruinous alike to mental calm and to a steady
To overcome difficulties, to live intelligently and to move
onward, one needs to hitch his wagon to some constellation of
Divine Ideas. Such cannot be found in the constantly shifting
sands called knowledge by the modern schools. There is that
Knowledge that changeth not, which, like the Spirit in man, is
constant. Its laws are thoroughly consistent.
Philosophical ideas and ethical ultimates are the basis on which
that knowledge is reared. Psychoanalysis and the so-called
science of psychiatry would do away with man's Divine Intuitions.
Biology, physiology, and chemistry have all but done away with
the philosophical principles of immortality, causality, and the
activity in the many of Spirit, which is One. Still those innate
ideas reveal themselves in the intuitive response to their
presentation. Even today, the moral ultimates command assent
from the consciousness of man.
Truth, Justice, Mercy, Harmlessness, mean ever the same.
Passionate Minds may argue about them and write volumes, but the
heart of the common man knows what is meant by and is implicit in
these Divine Virtues, these moral Principles.
Ethics are difficult to practice because their cosmic
counterparts are not glimpsed. The universe is moral. It is
just and merciful. Aye, it is even harmless, though it may not
> The pepper plant will not give birth to roses, or the sweet
> jasmine's Silver Star to thorn or thistle turn, for rigid Justice
> rules the world.
The moral order of the universe is a superb fact; the ancient
sages taught that truth in which the human mind today needs to be
trained. The moral universe and not only the material one is
governed by Law. Our mental laziness will disappear when we
perceive this truth and act upon its numerous implications.
THE MEMORY OF EARTH
By George William Russell
[From THE CANDLE OF VISION, pages 56-65.]
We experience the romance and delight of voyaging upon uncharted
seas when the imagination is released from the foolish notion
that the images seen in reverie and dream are merely the images
of memory refashioned. In tracking the forms seen in vision to
their originals, we discover a varied ancestry for them. Some
come from the minds of others. Of some, we cannot surmise
another origin than that they are portions of the memory of Earth
which is accessible to us. We soon grow to think our memory but
a portion of that eternal memory and think that in our lives we
are gathering an innumerable experience for a mightier being than
The more vividly we see with the inner eye the more swiftly we
come to this conviction. Those who see vaguely are satisfied
with explanations that those who see vividly reject at once as
inadequate. How do we explain what has happened unto many and
often to myself? How do we explain that when we sit amid ancient
ruins or in old houses they renew their life for us?
I waited for a friend inside a ruined chapel. While there, a
phantasm of its ancient uses came vividly before me. In front of
the altar, I saw a little crowd kneeling. Most prominent was a
woman in a red robe. All were pious and emotionally intent. A
man stood behind them leaning by the wall as if too proud to
kneel. An old man in ecclesiastical robes, abbot or bishop,
stood. There was a crosier in one hand while the other was
uplifted in blessing or in emphasis of his words. Behind the
cleric, a boy carried a vessel. The lad's face was vain with
I saw all this suddenly as if I was contemporary, elder in the
world by many centuries. Just as in a church today we feel the
varied mood of those present, I could surmise the emotional
abandon of the red-robed lady, the proud indifference of the man
who stood with his head but slightly bent, and the vanity of the
young boy as servitor in the ceremony.
Anything may cause such pictures to rise before us in vivid
illumination. It may be a sentence in a book, a word, or contact
with some object. I have brooded over the grassy mounds that are
all that remain of the dunes in which our Gaelic ancestors lived.
They built themselves up again for me so I looked on what seemed
an earlier civilization. I saw the people, noted their dresses,
the colors of natural wool, saffron or blue. How rough, how
homespun they were. Even such details were visible as men
cutting meat at a table with knives and passing it to the lips
with their fingers.
I am convinced this is not what people call imagination. It is
not an interior creation in response to a natural curiosity about
past ages. It is an act of vision, a perception of images
already existing. It is breathed on some ethereal medium that in
no way differs from the medium that holds our memories for us.
The perception anew of an image in memory which is personal to us
in no way differs as a psychical act from the perception of
images in the memory of Earth. The same power of seeing is
turned upon things of the same character and substance. It is
not only rocks and ruins that infect us with such visions. When
one is sensitive, a word in a book may do this also.
I sought in a classical dictionary for information about a myth.
What else on the page my eye caught I could not say, but
something there made two thousand years vanish. I was looking at
the garden of a house in some ancient city. Two girls fluttered
from the house into the garden. One was in purple and the other
in a green robe. In a dance of excitement, they ran to the
garden wall and looked beyond it to the right. There a street
raised high to a hill where there was a pillared building. I
could see through blinding sunlight a crowd swaying down the
street and drawing near the house. The two girls were as excited
as girls might be today if king or queen were entering their
This instant uprising of images following a glance at a page
cannot be explained as the refashioning of the pictures of
memory. The time that elapsed after the page was closed and the
apparition in the brain was a quarter of a minute or less. The
pictures were vividly colored and as full of motion and sparkle
as moving pictures in the theaters. One can only surmise that
they were not an instantaneous creation by some magical artist
within us. They were evoked out of a vaster memory than the
The Grecian names my eye had caught had the power of symbols that
evoke their affinities. The picture of the excited girls and the
shining procession was in some fashion connected with what I had
read. I know not how. We cannot pass by the uprising of these
images with some vague phrase about suggestion or imagination and
shirk further inquiry.
If with physical eye twenty-five years ago a man had seen a
winged airplane amid the clouds, it may have roused him to a
tumult of speculation and inquiry. But if the same picture had
been seen in the mind, it would speedily have been buried as mere
fancy. There would be no speculation, though what appears within
us might well be deemed more important than what appears without
Every tint, tone, shape, light, or shade in an interior image
must have intelligible cause as the wires, planes, engines, and
propellers of the airplane have. We must infer, when the image
is clear and precise, an original of which this is the
reflection. Whence or when were the originals of the pictures we
see in dream or reverie? There must be originals.
Could the pictures of our personal memory unconsciously be
reshaped into new pictures which appear in themselves authentic
copies of originals? Could they move, have light, color, form,
shade such as nature would bestow? If we are forced to dismiss as
unthinkable such a process, we are then led to believe that
memory is an attribute of all living creatures.
This is also true of Earth, the greatest living creature we know.
She carries with her all her long history and it is accessible to
us. This includes cities far gone behind time and empires which
are dust or buried with sunken continents beneath the waters.
The beauty for which men perished is still shining. Helen is
there in her Troy. Deirdre wears the beauty that blasted the Red
Branch. No ancient lore has perished. Earth retains for herself
and her children what her children might in passion have
destroyed. It is still in the realm of the Ever Living to be
seen by the mystic adventurer.
We argue that this memory must be universal. There is nowhere we
go where Earth does not breathe fragments from her ancient story
to the meditative spirit. These memories gild the desert air
where once the proud and golden races had been and then passed
away. They haunt the rocks and mountains where the Druids evoked
their sky-borne and subterranean deities. The laws by which this
history is made accessible to us seem to be the same as those
that make our own learning swift to our service.
When we begin thought or discussion on some subject, we soon find
ourselves thronged with memories ready for use. Everything in us
seems to be mobilized that is related by affinity to the central
thought. We meditate. Those alien pictures we see are not the
pictures of memory. They are strange scenes, cities, beings, and
happenings. If we study them, we find all of them in some
relation to our mood. By powerful will, concentration, and
aspiration we may made the gloom in the brain glow, evoking
images of whatsoever we desire out of the memory of earth.
These earth memories come to us in various ways. There is an
ethereal medium which is the keeper of such images. Is it like
clear glass or calm water, not broken up by thought? When so and
we are passive, there is often a glowing of color and form upon
it. There is what may be a reflection from some earth memory
connected with the place we move in. We may have direct vision
of that memory. Meditation again evokes images and pictures akin
to its subject and our mood, serving to illustration it.
Once, when I was considering the play of arcane forces in the
body, a book appeared before me, a colored symbol on each page.
I saw the book was magical. While I looked on one symbol, it
vanished from the page. The outline of a human body appeared.
Then there came an interior revelation. There was a shining of
forces and a flashing of fires, rose, gold, azure, and silver
along the spinal column. These flowed up into the brain where
they struck upon a little ball that was like white sunfire for
brilliancy. They flashed out of that again in a pulsation as of
wings on each side of the head. Then the page darkened, and the
changing series closed with the Caduceus of Mercury and contained
only a symbol once more.
Such pictures come without conscious effort of will, but are
clearly evoked by it. Lastly, but more rarely with me, because
the electric intensity of will required was hard to attain, I was
able at times to evoke deliberately out of the memory of nature
pictures of persons or things long past in time, but of which I
I now regret that while I was young and my energies yet uncoiled
I did not practice this art of evocation more regarding knowledge
of spiritual value. I was like a child who discovers a whole set
of fresh toys and plays with one after the other. I was
interested in all that came to me, being too often content as the
servant of my vision and not its master.
For one born in a little country town in Ireland, it was an
excitement of spirit to find the circle of being widened. Life
seemed to dilate into a paradise of beautiful memories. It
reached past ages, mixing with the eternal consciousness of
Earth. When coming on the new, pause to contemplate it. Do not
hurry to the end of the journey.
In themselves, the instances of earth memories given here are
trivial. They are chosen not because being wonderful in any way,
but rather because they are like things many people see. People
may follow my argument more readily. The fact that Earth holds
such memories is itself important. Once we discover this
imperishable tablet, we are led to speculate. In the future,
might training in seership lead to a revolution in human
knowledge? It is a world where we may easily get lost, spending
hours in futile vision with no more gain than if one looked at
the dust for long hours.
These apparitions may arise for some during their spiritual
evolution. I would tell them to try to become the master of
their own vision. Seek for and evoke the greatest of earth
memories, not those which only satisfy curiosity. Seek those
that uplift, inspire, and give us a vision of our own greatness.
The noblest of all Earth's memories is the august ritual of the
ancient mysteries, where the mortal, amid scenes of unimaginable
grandeur, was disrobed of his mortality and made of the company
of the gods.
APOLLONIUS OF TYANNA, Part VI
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.]
APOLLONIUS IN INDIA
In passing over the Caucasus (Hindu Kush?), Apollonius by a
conversation with Damis declares the true road of philosophy. By
making his first questions seem absurd and then point by point
showing their inner meaning, he makes the lesson more easily
remembered. Discoursing on the beauty of the mountain landscape,
Apollonius asked Damis whether he thought that the previous day's
journey in the valley was really on a lower level than their
present lofty path.
"Of course it was, unless I have lost my reason," replied Damis.
"How do the two paths differ, then? In what lays the advantage of
today," asked the Master.
"Today's journey has been made by but few, while yesterday's was
through a country frequented by many travelers besides
"Yet one may live far from the noise of men and in places
frequented by few, even in a city," said Apollonius.
"I meant more than that," said Damis. "Yesterday we passed
through populous villages, but today through regions not yet
trodden by human foot; regions esteemed divine and holy. Even
the barbarians, says our guide, call them the dwellings of the
gods." Saying which, he lifted up his eyes to the lofty summit of
the mountain above them.
Apollonius asked him, "What knowledge of the divine nature have
you acquired by being nearer to heaven?"
"I have acquired none at all. What I knew yesterday of the
divine nature, I know today without any addition at all."
"Then you are still below and have learnt nothing by being above
and my question in not so absurd as it looked at first."
"I acknowledge I had some vague idea that I should be wiser than
when we ascended, on coming down," said Damis. "I have heard of
various philosophers who made their celestial observations on
eminences and lofty mountains, but I fear that I shall not know
more even if I ascend mountains higher than any of them."
"Nor did they so learn more," said Apollonius, "no more than any
goat keeper or shepherd who sees the heavens from the hilltops.
In what manner does a Supreme Being superintend the human race?
How would he be worshiped? What is the nature of virtue, justice,
and temperance? Mount Athos will show none of this to those who
climb its summit, nor hymned Olympus, if the soul does not make
such studies the object of its contemplation. But if it does
engage in such topics pure and undefiled, I tell you that it will
rise far above Caucasus itself."
So they traveled, Master and Disciple, over the mighty peaks and
passes of Caucasus, where the drama of the world and chained
Prometheus left so deep an impression on the unlearned dwellers
of the plain that they showed the bolts in the mountainside,
where the mighty titan had been held in bonds that humanity might
rise to heights above all the cloud-capped peaks of earth below,
while yet engaged in daily duty truly done. For that is true
When they met a tribe of wandering Arabs who received them with
pleasure and gave them wine, honey, and lion-meat, Apollonius
told Damis of the use of meat and wine drinking. They rejected
the meat, but Damis took the date-spirit and prepared to drink,
pouring out the usual libation to God the Savior, Jupiter
Damis was so unversed as yet in the spirit of his master's
teachings (he had not known him long) that he offered some of the
date-wine to Apollonius himself, saying it was not the product of
the vine, therefore need not be refused. Apollonius tried to
bring the Assyrian's mind to realize that the material was
nothing, but the spirit everything; that the love of money does
not cease to be love of money because the thing desired may be
coin of another metal or country than the Greek, or money's
worth; that the insult to the soul of intoxicating liquor is not
lessened because it comes from another tree than the vine.
"Besides, you do in reality look upon it as wine, for you have
made the usual libation to Jupiter. But what I say is in my own
defense and not a rebuke to you. I do not prohibit you or your
companions from drinking it. Even more! So little do I see that
you have profited by the abstention from eating meat, I give you
permission to eat it. I see the abstention from meat has
profited you nothing at all. As to myself, I find it suitable to
me in the practice of that philosophy to which I have devoted
myself from my youth."
So gently did the great philosopher declare the matter that
Damis, having not seen the grain within the husk, was pleased at
the permission given to eat and drink with his companions. He
had approached the mountain, but his mind was still below, far
The sight of elephants aroused much interest and discussion. The
work in life of Apollonius was to practice philosophy and to
teach it to those willing to learn. Therefore he draws moral
lessons from the natural history of these wonderful animals, so
gently as not to offend by seeming to preach to one who was not
strong enough of character to take his wisdom neat, as one may
The Master leads Damis to considering the wonder of an animal as
powerful as a living fortress being guided by a little Indian
child not big enough to bear a spear or shield. Damis confesses
it is so wonderful to him that he would buy the boy if he could,
for if he could rule an elephant, surely he could rule a large
household even better. Yes, he would put him in charge of
racehorses, but not a warhorse, because the little fellow could
not carry the armor. Not a doubt of it, the boy was one of the
most wonderful children in the world!
Not so, declared the Master. It is the elephant that is
wonderful, because he possess such self-control as to govern
himself, for love of the boy. "Of all creatures the elephant is
the most docile, and when once accustomed to submit to man he
bears all things from him; he conforms to his taste, and loves to
be fed out of his hand like a favorite dog. When his keeper
comes, you will see him fawning upon him with his trunk, and
letting him put his head into his mouth, which he keeps open as
long as is desired. This we saw practiced among the Nomads. Yet
at night he is said to bewail his servitude, not with a loud
noise, as at other times, but with a low and piteous murmur. And
if a man happens to surprise him in his situation, he restrains
his sorrow, as if he were ashamed. Therefore it is the elephant
which governs himself, and the best of his own docile nature,
which influences his conduct more than the boy on his back who
seems to manage him."
Damis records this conversation, and Philostratus publishes it.
The discourse of Apollonius is so full of wonderful lessons that
it seems a pity that there is no indication whether Damis saw the
application or not. However, as the teachings of the Indian
school of philosophy which Pythagoras practiced are not unknown,
we can see the drift of much that may have appeared to many
people to be little more than philosophic chatter. In this
simple talk about elephants, which it seems Apollonius knew
better than his disciple, though they had both seen them for the
first time on this journey, Apollonius is using an exoteric
illustration to portray the doctrines of universal brotherhood
including all that lives and breaths and not only mankind; also
the life of the philosopher who submits himself to the laws of
nature of his own free will, and not as a slave to a master,
doing his duty in his present position until he grows out of
those circumstances in course of time, the wiser for the
experience. So many of these conversations show the method; the
situation is put colorlessly before the pupil, and if he is wise,
his intuition will show him the application, to be followed or
not as he pleases; the Teacher never forces him at all, one way
or the other, and often conceals propositions of immense
importance beneath a seemingly trivial conversational exterior.
As Philostratus says, "Many philosophical discourses they had
together of this kind, most of which were taken from such
occurrences of the day as deserved to be noticed."
In the words of the Indian School of Philosophy, "Life is the
On arrival at the Indus, they asked their Babylonian guide if he
knew about the crossing. He said he had never passed over and
therefore did not know whether it was fordable or not.
"Then why did you not provide yourself with a guide," they asked
"Because I have one here that will direct you," he said as he
produced a letter written by Bardanes. This mark of kindly
thoughtfulness on the part of their host was much appreciated.
He reminded the Indian Governor of the Indus of former favors
which he had never desired should be recompensed; it was not his
custom to expect requital for favors done. But if he would treat
Apollonius well, and convey him wherever he desired, the debt
would not be forgotten. Also the guide had been given gold, that
there might be no necessity to apply for help to strangers.
On receiving the letter, the Indian Governor expressed himself as
valuing it highly, and promised to treat Apollonius as though he
had been recommended by no less a person than the king of the
Indians himself. The royal barge was placed at his disposal,
with ferries for the camels and guides for the country of the
Hydraotes. The Governor provided him in addition with a letter
to his own sovereign, entreating him to this Greek, this divine
man, with the same respect as he had been treated by Bardanes.
The king invited Apollonius to be his guest for three days, as
the laws of the country did not allow strangers to remain longer
than that time in the city. The Greek philosopher was then
conducted to the palace by the messengers and the interpreter
sent by the king.
No pomp or pageantry was visible in the palace; no spearmen or
lifeguards appeared; there were merely a few domestics, such as
are usual in any good house, and not more than three or four
persons in waiting who had constant access to the king.
Apollonius was more pleased with the simplicity that reigned
throughout the palace than with all the proud magnificence of
Babylon. He judged the king to be a philosopher.
Through the interpreter, Apollonius addressed the king. "I am
happy to see you study philosophy!"
"And I," replied the king, "am equally happy that you think so."
"Is the moderation I see established everywhere the effect of the
laws or is it produced by you," asked the Greek.
"The laws," said the king, "prescribed moderation. But I carry
my idea of it beyond the letter, and even the spirit of the laws.
I am rich, and I want little. Whatever I possess more than is
necessary for my own use, is considered as belonging to my
"Happy are you," said Apollonius, "in being possessed of such a
treasure, and in preferring friends from whom are derived so many
blessings, to gold and silver."
"But it is my enemies," replied the king, "on whom I bestow my
riches. By their means I keep the neighboring barbarians in
subjection. Formerly these used to infest my kingdom, but now,
instead of making raids on my territories, they keep others from
Apollonius asked, with reference to the great Indian King
conquered by Alexander nearly four hundred years before, if Porus
was accustomed to send them presents.
"Porus loved war, but I love peace," was the king's answer.
So delighted was Apollonius with this reply that when in later
times he rebuked one Euphrates for not behaving like a true
philosopher, he said "Let us reverence Phraotes."
A provincial governor was desirous to crown Phraotes with a rich
diadem in token of his great obligations towards his benefactor.
The king refused. "Even if I admired such things, I would cast
it from me in the presence of Apollonius," he said. "To wear
ornaments to which I am not accustomed would show an ignorance of
my guest and a forgetfulness of what is due to me."
As to diet, the king informed Apollonius that he drank no more
wine than he used in his libations to the sun. Satisfied with
the exercise alone, he gave all the game he killed in hunting to
his friends, and was himself well content with vegetables, the
pith and fruit of the palm tree, and the produce of a
well-watered garden. In addition, he had many dishes from trees
he cultivated with his own hands.
Never forgetful of his duty in preparing Damis for a life of true
philosophy, Apollonius cast many a glance at Damis while the king
spoke, showing his pleasure at the recital of such moderation of
life in eating and drinking, and doubtless hoping that his
disciple would appreciate the indirect lesson in the "Science of
life" which is true philosophy.
After settling everything relative to the journey to the
"Brachmanes" (Buddhist philosophers and adepts), seeing the
Babylonian guide well looked after, and the guide from the
Governor of the Indus on his homeward way, the king, taking
Apollonius by the hand, told the interpreter he might depart.
Then in Greek he asked Apollonius, "Will you make me your guest?"
"Why did you not speak to me in Greek at first," asked
Apollonius, in some astonishment.
"Because I might have appeared too presuming, either from not
knowing myself, or from not remembering that it has pleased
fortune to make me a non-Greek. But now, overcome by the love I
have for you and the pleasure you seem to take in my company, I
can no longer conceal myself. I will give you many proofs of my
acquaintance with the Greek tongue."
"Then why do you not invite me to be your guest, rather than ask
me to make you mine?"
"Because I regard you as my superior in virtue; for of all gifts
a prince can possess, I deem wisdom the brightest." When he had
said this, the king took Apollonius and his companion to his own
bath. This was a garden, about five hundred feet long, in the
middle of which was a tank fed by cool and refreshing streams.
Running-paths were on both sides of the pool, and here the king
often exercised with discus and javelin after the Greek fashion.
A young man of twenty-seven years, he was of a sound and robust
constitution, much given to physical exercise. Afterwards he
would plunge into the bath and amuse himself with swimming.
After the bath they went to the royal banquet, crowned with
flowers, as was the custom whenever the Indians were invited to
the feast in the king's palace.
The manner of dining is described: the king reclining with not
more than five of his relatives in his company, and the rest of
the party seated round the central large table, to which they go
and help themselves as they need. Jugglers amuse them, such as
the boy who leaps from a height at the moment that a very sharp
javelin is thrown upward from below. So well calculated is the
aim and the leap that he only misses falling on the point by a
somersault which appears to keep him suspended in the air, for a
moment almost touching the point of the spear. Then there was
the man who would hit a hair with the sling, so accurate was his
aim. Also the acrobat who would outline his son with javelins as
the son stood stiffly against a board, without wounding him.
Damis and his companions were vastly taken with the skill of the
acrobats, but Apollonius, who had a seat among the king's
relatives at his own table, took little notice of these circus
tricks. He asked the king how he had learnt the Greek language
and philosophy, as he supposed there would not be any teachers in
that part of the world.
The king smiled at the philosopher's persistence in questioning
all as to whether they were philosophers, just as his ancestors
used to ask every arrival by sea if he were a pirate, so common
was the practice of that great crime.
"I know with you Greeks the profession of philosophy is
considered a kind of piracy," said the king. "I am informed that
there is none like you, though there are many who, like common
robbers, put on the dress of a philosopher and strut about in
loose flowing garments which belong to other men. And as
pirates, with the sword of justice hanging over them, give way to
all manner of excess, so do these self-appointed philosophers
indulge in wine and love, and dress in the most effeminate way.
The cause is in the laws, which punish adulteration of the
current coin with death, and suitably punish the crime of
substituting a spurious child; but if the same man imposes on the
world a false philosophy, or adulterates it, no law restrains
him, and there is no magistrate appointed to take cognizance of
Evidently King Phraotes knew more about Greece and about
Apollonius in Greece than might be expected of any ordinary man.
His description of the candidature for the philosophical life in
India is in vast contrast to the state of affairs he speaks of in
Greece, yet he had, with a twinkle in his eye called himself a
"barbarian." This is what he says:
"With us there are but few who make philosophy their study; and
they who do are tried and examined in the following manner. A
young man, when he has reached his eighteenth year (which, I
suppose with you, is the age of puberty) must go beyond the river
Hyphasis, and see those men to whom you are going. When he comes
into their presence he must make a public declaration of studying
philosophy; and they have it in their power, if they think
proper, to refuse admitting him to their society, if he does not
come pure. What is meant by his coming pure is 'that there be no
blemish on either his father's or mother's side, nor on that of
any of his forefathers, even to the third generation; that none
of his ancestors be found to have been unjust, or incontinent, or
usurers.' And when no stigma or mark of reproach is discovered,
the youth's character is then examined into, and inquiry made
whether he has a good memory; whether his modesty is natural or
assumed; whether he is fond of wine and good living; whether he
is given to vain boasting, idle merriment, to passion or evil
speaking; and lastly, whether he be obedient to his father, and
mother and teachers; and above all, whether he makes a proper use
of his beauty. What information concerns his parents and
ancestors is collected from living testimony, and registered
tablets, which are hung up for public inspection. Whenever an
Indian dies, the magistrate appointed by the laws goes to the
house of the deceased and writes down an account of his life and
actions. If the magistrate so appointed is discovered to have
acted with duplicity, or suffered him to have been imposed on, he
is punished and forever after prohibited from holding any office,
as one who has falsified the life of a man. Such information as
relates to the candidates themselves individually is acquired by
a minute investigation of their looks. We know that much of
human disposition is learnt from the eyes, and much from
examining the eyebrows and cheeks; all which things being well
considered, wise men, and such as are deep read in nature, see
the temper and disposition of men just as they see objects in a
mirror. In this country, philosophy is esteemed of such high
price, and so honored by the Indians, that it is very necessary
to have all examined who approach her. In what manner the
teachers are to act and the pupils be examined, I think has been
now sufficiently detailed."
The story of Phraotes himself shows that he had been a pupil of
the philosophers. His grandfather was a Raja of the same name,
Phraotes. His father being left an orphan at any early age and
not used to official life, the kingdom was governed according to
law by two of his relatives as regents. They were so despotic
that they were murdered by the chiefs of the country, who seized
the kingdom. The young king was sent by his friends to the court
of another Raja over the river Hyphasis, who had a large and rich
kingdom. This Raja would have adopted the exiled king, but
Phraotes's father declined the honor. He requested that he might
be allowed to study philosophy with the wise men. When the
friendly Raja heard this, he attended the wise men in person and
highly recommended the fugitive, Phraotes's father, as a pupil.
The physiognomic examination proving satisfactory, as they found
something remarkable in his looks, he spent seven years with the
sages. Then the Raja, his friend, fell sick and sent for him,
making him joint heir of the kingdom with his son, besides
promising him his daughter in marriage.
This arrangement was short-lived, for the new Raja loved to
associate with flatterers, and was addicted to wine and other
vanities. So, asking only the Raja's consent to his marriage
with his sister, Phraotes's father left him in sole possession of
the kingdom and dwelt in one of the seven villages left by the
old Raja as a dowry for his daughter, near the dwelling of the
sages. Of this marriage, Phraotes was born, and his father
taught him Greek. There was an object in this since it was
regarded as a useful accomplishment for a candidate for the life
of philosophy. Phraotes was accepted by the sages as a pupil, a
chela, at the early age of twelve years, being brought up by them
as a son.
After seven years his parents died, and the sages, though he was
only nineteen, sent him to his mother's seven villages to attend
to his estate. But they had been taken by his uncle the reigning
Raja, and Phraotes had to live as best he could with only four
domestics, and a small pittance coming from his mother's
One day, while he was reading a Greek play -- THE HERACLIDAE of
Euripides, concerning the restoration of the sons of Hercules to
their country -- a messenger came from his father's friends to
say that if he passed the Hydraotes River without delay, there
was hope he might regain the kingdom from the usurpers.
Accepting the omen, Phraotes returned to his father's kingdom and
found one of the usurpers dead, while the other was besieged in
the palace, inactive and helpless. Though, as a pupil of the
sages, Phraotes begged for the wretched man's life, he was
unsuccessful in saving him.
Apollonius heartily congratulates Phraotes on the omen given by
the gods, and later declares in a discussion that the use of wine
is antagonistic to any true oracles or visions, for which reason
one oracle well known in Greece would not give any information
except to those who had abstained at least for the day.
Speaking of Alexander's invasion, Phraotes declared that he had
not advanced against the mount of the sages, never having passed
the Hyphasis. If he had it would have been useless, for ten
thousand Achilleses and thirty thousand Ajaxes could not have
helped him to master the place. The sages make no war, but if
attacked, drive off the enemy with thunders and tempests, while
they themselves remain under the protection of the gods. The
Egyptian Hercules and Bacchus once attacked them, but they
remained absorbed in meditation until the actual advance on the
hill was made, as though they were unaware of the attack and
danger. Then, in a moment, fiery whirlwinds and thunders from
above fell on the heads of the attacking army and they fled,
Hercules even leaving his golden shield behind in the fight.
This, on account of its design and its origin, the philosophers
kept among their sacred treasures. The shield represented
Hercules fixing the boundaries of the earth at Cadiz and forming
two pillars of the corresponding mountains to shut out the ocean.
These are the Apes' hill in Africa and Gibraltar of today. The
symbolism is obvious.
A curious case was to be tried before Phraotes. A man sold a
field to another. The latter found in it a pot of gold. The
first claimed the gold, as he had sold only the field. The
second claimed that he had bought all that was in the field. The
Raja would not descend to so cheap a solution as dividing the
money, but decided to try the case. He asked what Apollonius
"Without a doubt the man who bought the field ought to have the
gold," said Apollonius. "If the seller had deserved it of the
gods, he would not have lost the field. If the buyer had not
been a good man who deserved well of them they would not have
given it to him. Examine their conduct and see if this is not
Next day the men came to plead, and it was found that the seller
was neglectful of the sacrifices, while the buyer was devout and
a worshiper of the gods. He went away satisfied that the gods
had favored him when the case was given in his favor. In this
way Apollonius taught his principles.
King Phraotes declared that as Apollonius had arrived in the
afternoon, that day did not count, and he was invited to stay
until the completion of the third complete day. "If on any
account a law should be dispensed with, it should be so in your
case," said Phraotes when Apollonius expressed his delight. He
insisted on supplying new camels in place of the worn-out
Babylonian ones, sending the latter back to Babylon. He provided
a guide and a letter of introduction to Iarchas, the eldest of
the Sages, requesting him to receive Apollonius as a man not
inferior to himself, treating his followers as philosophers and
his disciples. In addition, he ordered them gold and precious
stones and linen garments. Apollonius declined the gold because
Bardanes in Babylon had secretly supplied the guide with
sufficient; he accepted the linen; and taking one stone in his
hand, remarked, "O rare stone, how fortunate have I been in
finding you, not without the favor of the Gods!" -- seeing as I
suppose some secret virtue in it -- ingenuously adds the recorder
Philostratus, as if he did not perceive that Apollonius was
really referring to Phraotes himself in that symbolical way. A
diamond was ever regarded by the Indian philosophers as the
symbol of a true philosopher; some of their pupils have been
noted for the "art of making diamonds." After all, is not "the
philosopher's stone" the human heart made perfect?
Damis and his companions declined the gold, but took plentifully
of the precious stones that they might dedicate them to the gods
on their return to Greece.
This is the letter of introduction to Iarchas given by Phraotes:
> I offer health to King Phraotes, to Iarchas his master, and to
> the wise men with him.
> Apollonius, a man famed for wisdom, thinks you have more
> knowledge than him, and goes to be instructed in it. Send him
> away learned in all you know, and believe that nothing you teach
> him will be lost. His power of speaking is above that of mortals
> and his memory good. Let him see the throne on which I sat, when
> your father Iarchas gave me my kingdom. Moreover his followers
> are deserving of praise on account of their respect for the man.
Farewell and be happy!
IS THERE A PERSONAL GOD?
By Steve Stubbs
Consider the subject of God. What can we say, keeping our ideas
so elementary that I ask the reader not to feel insulted by their
simplicity? Not much. The subject is not simple. At times, I
find it too profound for me, even though I like to chew on it.
Nothing can DISPROVE the existence of a Supreme Personality.
There are some purely logical arguments that may lead to a wrong
conclusion. Nonetheless, these arguments make it clear that we
find a supreme impersonal reality at the end of our quest.
You are conscious, prima facie evidence of consciousness in the
universe. You are intelligent, prima facie evidence of
intelligence in the universe. Your consciousness and
intelligence are a manifestation of the principle of
consciousness and intelligence in the universe.
The argument is complex, but there is good reason to believe
consciousness is an integral component of being. If there is no
consciousness, there is no being. Thus, anything that exists
does so endowed with consciousness, however elementary it might
Empty space represents total unconsciousness. Sensible objects
(planets, stars, comets, and the residents thereof) possess some
consciousness. Theosophy refers to planetary spirits.
Logically, one would expect planetary consciousness to be more
elementary than that of man, but Theosophy asserts the opposite.
It could be so.
Space and matter exist in the universe. Leucippus described them
as Being and Not-Being. They are evidence that consciousness and
Theosophy tells us that unconsciousness came first and is the
supreme reality. (This is the Unconscious, in Eduard von
Hartmann's terminology.) Since consciousness is phenomenal and
unconsciousness is numinal, this makes perfect sense. One
interpretation of Einstein's equations is that what we experience
as matter is really a distortion of the space-time continuum,
which implies that there had to be a space-time continuum
(unconsciousness) before there could be matter (the continuum
distorted, resulting in consciousness).
Thus at the beginning of the Manvantara (the end of the
Mahapralaya), there was differentiation in space, resulting in
the appearance of atoms, which congregated to form planets, etc.
Suppose that there are personalities far superior to a man, ones
we would call godlike. This is not just possible, but likely.
Behind the superior personality, there must be some numinal
reality of unknown nature, just as something must underlie human
and animal personalities. Such a personality could exist, but
the supreme reality would be beyond it, and not be personal.
This is logical, but it could be wrong. Nature is not obliged to
follow logic -- not mine, anyway.
Is evolution blind and mechanical? Wallace showed the flaws in
that theory a century ago. According to Darwin, an Australian
aborigine should have just enough intelligence to function in a
pre-technological society. The fact that they have considerably
more than needed is a serious problem for classical Darwinian
evolution. (This is also true of dolphins and certain other
Schopenhauer made an important point. Given that evolving beings
are intelligent and have will and aspiration, it makes more sense
to assume there is an intelligent component to evolution. He
diverged from the Darwinists and the Creationists, suggesting THE
INTELLIGENCE GUIDING EVOLUTION IS IN THE EVOLVING BEING ITSELF.
One of his examples is of a deer having antlers because its
ancestors wanted them.
If some intelligence had evolved mice, that intelligence must
function separately from the intelligence that evolved the cats
destined to consume them. There are two intelligences operating
in parallel, one for the cats and another for mice. This makes
more sense than saying that a master intelligence evolved both.
It could be that the system is hierarchical, with the Great Cat
and the Great Mouse evolved by something higher in the hierarchy.
I suspect they evolved separately.
This suggests that evolution may be bottom-up rather than
top-down. It is also possible that it is a combination. There
is no way to know for sure, but that should give you a worthy
If this reasoning is correct, a devout Hindu's Vishnu could exist
and be exalted but not supreme. This would not present a problem
to a philosopher but could trouble a devotional mystic. In that
event, the supreme reality would be forever beyond us, something
also taught in Theosophy. The supreme reality, whatever it may
be, is beyond our comprehension or experience, whether we are
theists or not.
Historically, the idea of the Jewish deity as something Supreme
is relatively modern. In the time of Moses, Jehovah was a tribal
deity, one among many. Other tribes had their own Gods. For
devotional purposes, his status elevated over time as the
consciousness of his worshipers evolved.
ART AND THE NEW AGE
By Hazel Boyer Braun
[From THE THEOSPHICAL FORUM, August 1947, pages 468-74.]
Humanity finds itself moving rapidly into a new era, strikingly
different from the preceding one, and with certainty we may
expect marked changes in the forms of art expression. Much
confusion arises, however, when artists attempt to create a new
art based on supposedly new principles. A truly great art of the
future must employ universal ideas, as in all illustrious periods
of culture in the past, for the deepest intuitions of a people
are expressed in the distinct forms of their art.
In the understanding of this intuition lies the inspiration for
the art of the future, and we must reach the heart of these grand
ideas before we can grasp the fundamental basis underlying all
art principles. These truths, expressed in symbolic language,
need not be locked secrets for us today. Certainly there is no
more fascinating study than that of comparative symbology,
wherein is evidence that all the peoples of the earth once
understood the same universal teaching.
Symbolism and myth were not born of fear of nature's forces at
all, as has been stated by some researchers, but simply
constituted the language of those who had been taught some of the
secrets of the universe. Symbols are universal and express
reverence and understanding of nature. Today we are in touch
with the whole globe in an outer sense, can hear the voices of
those in remote lands and learn about their daily lives; but the
ancients based their kinship upon the teachings of the Mystery
Schools which provided an inner communion of thought.
In former times art and religion evolved side by side, as
parallel lines of expression of man's soul life. The classic
period of Greece for instance was absolutely responsive to the
needs of the spiritual development of the people. Their art
presented man in heroic or godlike form, whether the subject was
historic or mythological, only its quintessence was embodied in a
severe and conventionalized style. The ideal Greek statues were
not primarily illustrations of mythological stories, but
revelations. We know how the Zeus of Phidias was regarded. Dion
> So much light and godhood had the artist wrought into Zeus that
> at sight of the statue even the most miserable of mortals forgot
> his suffering.
Democritus struck the keynote when he declared beauty to be
perfect measure, free from deficiency or excess: the ethical
ideal embodied in this esthetic formula. The Greek idea of the
fundamental principle of harmonious proportion and measure was
applied to their architecture, their entire art expression and
likewise their understanding of the building of worlds. They
never thought of themselves as separate from the universe.
As we survey the history of ancient peoples we are often
fascinated by their art, which like a flower springs from the
soil of esoteric wisdom. Today nearly every outstanding artist
has a deep regard for the art of ancient China, and every gallery
and studio has its precious treasures from the old masters of the
Far East. There is a significant promise in the present
enthusiastic interest in Chinese art, from artist to layman.
With the prevalent interest in oriental art, let us note a
parallel in the opening of a new epoch in our present cultural
life. The trend of art, among our nature loving people, has
something of that grand reverence for universal nature which
inspired the Chinese. Abstractions, surrealism, and many other
more or less short-lived art impulses are searching in the same
direction as the mystic who paints out-of-door themes as a hymn
of praise to the inner divinity that lies at the heart of all
things. The surfeit of sophistication and surface interests is
the keynote that emphasizes a growing hunger for spiritual values
in art and in life.
It is not difficult to recognize soul quality in art, and to see
that the rare simplicity found in the vital living rhythm of the
old dragon tiles made for Chinese tombs, or those Chimeras in
sculpture which suggest mystic ideas in living forms, is rooted
in life-giving truths of the ancient wisdom. We believe the
cruelty portrayed in the forms of some of the ancient bronzes was
inspired by a realization of the danger of the elemental forces
present in the cosmos, also found in the lower aspects of man's
nature: forces which may lead him into destruction if not curbed
by his higher nature. Another example is the Chinese dragon as
an emblem of the higher man released from his body.
We find the same penetrating understanding of cosmic truths in a
small stone sculpture of a three-faced deity, the Hindu Trimurti.
It is significant first because of its beauty, its innate
expressiveness of those qualities that we associate with the
thought of divinity: serene but vitally living Splendor, the
great Silence, the Sacred Flame, and the Radiant Presence. No
student of the ancient teachings would mistake this three-faced
figure to be a personalization of deity, but would recognize in
it a symbolic reminder of the primal, universal substance
manifest in three aspects -- Brahma, from the Sanskrit root, Brih
-- meaning to grow, to expand; and Vishnu from the root Vish --
to pervade, being infinite space of which the gods, the Rishis,
the Manus, and all in the universe are the simple potencies; and
then there is Shiva, the resolver, the regenerator. Modern
scientists might find a relationship to the three-faced deity in
their expanding and contracting universe.
It is very difficult to attain the fullest possible appreciation
of the art of old India and China without making a study of the
philosophy which inspired it. But the keys to an understanding
of the language of symbols are relatively simple and will carry
the student far. The over-ornate decoration often found in the
East is sometimes criticized, because the motive and symbolism of
the design is not understood by the westerner.
There exists today a highly decorated gateway to a Stupa which
must have stood at Stanci, India, in very ancient times. There
were four of these gates placed around a circular structure, the
whole of which was symbolic of the structure of the universe. At
the ends of the cross-pieces of this gateway we noted on each a
concentric circle with seven spirals. The gateway itself
suggests man's placing his feet upon the mystic pathway, and the
three crosspieces imply that only those of the third degree of
initiation were taught there.
The concentric circles are identical with those wrought on gold
disks which were found in the tombs of ancient Greece, and also
inscribed on the boulder blocking the entrance to a cave temple
in Ireland. The symbol of the concentric circles tells all who
may read it that within this temple were taught the structure of
the sevenfold universe, the nature of man, the races of humanity,
and the secret teaching concerning the planets.
The Greeks suggested the planes and hierarchies of existence by
the various characters in their myths, each character recalling
to those wise old students the fact that man may progress step by
step to the place where he blends his nature and understanding
with that of the cosmos and becomes godlike. The Babylonians
hinted of the cosmic planes in the structure of their temples
with their seven or ten steps; and sometimes many more.
Ancient Mayan artists carved a series of four faces, one above
the other, on the headdresses of their monolithic statues. These
heads represent the four monads or souls of man, and link with
the fourfold division known in Vedic India.
The Aztec calendar stone now in the National Museum of Mexico
City illustrates a tradition and calendar system of great
antiquity. In it we may find evidence that the Incas, Mayas, and
Aztecs have the roots of their culture, not in cave men and
crudity, but in an ancient wisdom and divine knowledge that links
their civilization with that of the Orient. They knew astronomy
and other sciences by a process of initiation into their Mystery
Schools. One noted American archaeologist says of the calendar
> It clearly determined, once and for all, the sequence of the
> days; the relation of all classes of the population to each other
> and to the whole, and set forth not only the place each group
> should occupy in the market place, but also the product or
> industry with which it was associated and the periods when its
> contribution to the commonwealth should be forthcoming to regular
> rotation. The stone was therefore not only the tablet but the
> wheel of the law of the state, and it can be conjectured that its
> full interpretation was more or less beyond the capacity of all
> but an initiated minority, consisting of the elders, chiefs and
The grades of social and political life were similar, according
to the old records, to the early civilizations of Hindustan in
the Vedic period. In both Central America and India the
population was divided into four grades: the agriculturist; the
commercial man; the administrator, warrior, king or prince -- in
short the world of officialdom; and the fourth grade the Brahmana
or the philosopher, sage or initiate.
The four grades or castes of humanity are said to have taken
their origin from the four paths which have been known in the
Orient from time immemorial -- the paths of consciousness by
which man works out his salvation through the circling years.
Some scholars consider Mayan art the greatest in America,
comparable with those monuments of the Orient which were reared
in the golden ages of the past, when entire nations glimpsed
something of the inner splendor of life and built magnificent
temples, pyramids, and towers. Karnak in Thebes, the sun-temples
of Mexico, the monuments of Peru, Java, Cambodia, Athens and down
the Nile, were all reared by peoples who paid humble tribute to
deity. Each is universal and impersonal in significance, without
the slightest trace of sentimentality.
With abounding vitality, the mysterious megalithic structures the
world over speak the same mystery language as these ancient
temples, yet in tones that often seem to echo from a far greater
antiquity. Wherever we find them they are so similar and so
amazing; the old Peruvian walls, of which the Sacahuaman fort is
typical, the stones often weighing 300 tons, yet so carefully
finished and put together that they have better withstood
earthquakes by their very irregularity than by a rigid wall.
Cut in intensely hard stone, the amazing statues found at
Akapana, Tiahuanaco and Lima are often twenty feet in height.
These stone statues of America lead one in thought to the great
platforms of Easter Island, the masonry of the Great Pyramid of
Egypt, the circle of Stonehenge, the Dolmens of Scotland, and the
carvings and paintings discovered in the caves of Spain. Many of
these belong to an antiquity greater than science is ready to
admit, but decade by decade the horizon is pushed back as our
The following quotation from the writings of the Old Emperor
Taitsong challenges us to widen our vision,
> By using a mirror of brass, one can see to adjust one's cap; by
> using antiquity as a mirror, one can learn to foretell the rise
> and fall of empires.
As we take stock of our present status with a breadth of vision
that encompasses prehistory and probes the future, we see in our
United States the development of a unique architecture,
architecture of the skyscraper erected to the god of commerce.
On the other hand, the formation of our state and national parks
embodies a tribute to nature that is noteworthy in a young
civilization, so buried in material living and thinking that, as
yet, it cannot compare in certain ways with older cultures this
same land has known.
Many of us love the art of the American Indian because of its
simplicity as an expression of children of nature who, having
learned from the mountains and trees and sky, love silence and
communion with nature above all else. Here is no brain-mind
fakery of childlike naïveté, but an intuitive sense of balance
and rhythm which is characteristic of the repetition, accent, and
dignified tempo of their music.
Indian arts are closely allied with the humble necessities of
life: pots of clay to cook with, baskets to gather acorns, rugs
to protect from cold, arrows to provide food and kill the
menacing enemy. The creative imagination is given full vent in
the elaboration of gay garments, headdresses, moccasins, deerskin
suits, and jewelry. It is in the decoration of these simple
necessities of life which they, even more than the white man,
love to have beautiful that the Indian outlook on life is
symbolized. In rugs, pottery, and baskets may be seen the
patterns of clouds, rain and lightning -- all those valued
associations with thunder storms that make the corn grow. The
colorful cubes built into stepped designs suggest the distant
mountains toward which their gaze is directed as they work.
Tassels on the corners of rugs represent the four mystic
directions, the four seasons of the year. The familiar squash
blossom design is the emblem of maidenly purity, wrought in a
silver necklace or in the embroidery of a dress. The Thunderbird
design is almost identical in significance with the Chinese
Dragon; both represent the spiritual power whose home is the
mists and clouds of heaven, both are the life giving power of the
Truly Indian art possesses its tranquil dignity because it is
above all intuitive.
Lawrence Binyon further completes our perspective and helps us to
understand where we stand in the scheme:
> In the East, not the glory of the proud human form, not the proud
> assertion of human personality, but instead of all these, all
> thoughts that lead us out from ourselves into universal life,
> hints of the infinite, whispers from secret sources -- mountains,
> waters, mists, flowering trees, whatever tells of powers and
> presences mightier than ourselves.
All this tells us plainly that since the Periclean age, since the
beginning of its decline, we, as a western people have, to use
the Chinese saying, "Lost the way to Heaven." We turn to the art
of the West and search in vain for magnificent monuments
comparable to those of antiquity. Cathedrals, yes, built under
the shadow of a dark and restricted understanding of life -- art
is there indeed, for now and then an artist broke through to a
universal point of view. But may we not hope for something
greater as we grow and learn?
There is hope in our being an out-of-door-loving people, for this
in itself may raise our eyes to a more penetrating understanding
of nature so that we may not be altogether submerged in a
borrowed sophistication. Nature, art, and civilization must ever
go hand in hand if we use the mirror of antiquity to make our
prophecy. In the landscape painting of America, we sometimes
catch the impersonal subtle mysticism of the great old Chinese
landscape painters, who are held by deep students to be the
greatest artists of all time, insofar as we can know today.
IN SEARCH OF ZEN, Part II
By Christmas Humphreys
[From THE THEOSOPHICAL FORUM, March 1949, pages 166-77.]
SEEING INTO ONE'S OWN NATURE
This nature is HSIN, the personal veil that hides from us the
Essence of Mind. It is everywhere and everything, and when
anything is suddenly seen for what it is, then HSIN is seen, and
Pointing to a stone in front of his temple, To-shi said, "All the
Buddhas of the past, the present, and the future are living
therein." This would not have stopped him using the stone as a
hammer to crack nuts.
When Tennyson plucked the flower from the crannied wall and held
it in hand, he realized, "But if I could understand what you are,
root and all, and all in all, I should know what God and man is."
As Blyth points out on page 68, a Zen master might take the
flower, crush it, and ask, "NOW do you know what God and man is?"
For the crushing of the flower is like the burning of the
textbook. It destroys the last veil, in this case of sentiment,
which hid from the poet the essence of the flower.
Things, in brief, are not symbols, but things, and the whole of
Samsara, the manifested Universe, is only the Essence of Mind in
reverse. See it "right," and it is One, though nonetheless a
rose, or a committee meeting, or a pint of beer. Such is the
nature of things.
> This Nature is the Mind, and the Mind is the Buddha, and the
> Buddha is the Way, and the Way is Zen. To see directly into
> one's original Nature, this is Zen.
> -- ESSAYS IN ZEN BUDDHISM, I, page 220
What are the symptoms of awakening Zen? They are many, and may be
better considered in the chapter relating to Satori. Yet here
There is, first, an increasing serenity, however disturbed at
times by the usual gusts of emotion or doubt. There is a sense
of certainty, not boastful or aggressive in manifestation, but
peaceful, as of a ship which, storm-tossed in a sea still
visible, now lies safe-harbored while the storm howls overhead.
Interest withdraws from the manifold means of escape from Reality
in which we pass our lives. We have an increasing intensity of
purpose and awareness that yet has lost largely the quality of
There is a sense of airiness, of the lightness which comes of
dropping the burden of self and its desires, of the health and
vigor of youth on the uplands of new thought in the dawn-light of
the world. There is a sense of returning, a feeling of having
recovered the natural simplicity of life which springs from the
rediscovery of our Essence of Mind. There is even a sense of
inconsequence, from understanding of the relative unimportance of
Yet at the same time, there is a growing awareness of the
significance of things and events, impersonal now, but immediate.
The humblest act is a sacrament, the humblest thing, mind-made
though it is, is now of absolute value.
There is, in brief, an increasing sense of balance, a refusal to
rest the mind in any of the pairs of opposites, a refusal,
indeed, to let the mind rest anywhere at all. This firm refusal
comes from a newborn sense of flow.
When asked, "What is Zen," a Master replied "Walk on!" For life
is like a river, filling each form and bursting its limitations
as it moves unceasing on. It is therefore useless to sit down in
achievement, or in any concept, even "Zen." HSIN, (in Japanese,
SHIN) becomes MU-SHIN, "no mind." Who shall confine the sunset or
the morning wind in a labeled box of thought, however splendid
its construction and design?
Speaking of Hui-neng, Dr. Suzuki writes,
> The Mind or Self-Nature was to be apprehended in the midst of its
> working or functioning. The object of Dhyana (Zen) was thus not
> to stop the working of Self-Nature but to make us plunge right
> into its stream and seize it in the very act. His intuitionalism
> was dynamic … [For] the truth of Zen is the truth of life, and
> life means to live, to move, to act, not merely to reflect. Is
> it not the most natural thing for Zen, therefore, that its
> development should be towards acting or rather living its truth
> instead of demonstrating or illustrating its truth in words, that
> is to say, with ideas? In the actual living of life there is no
> logic, for life is superior to logic … Zen is to be explained, if
> explained it should be, rather dynamically than statically. When
> I raise the hand thus, there is Zen. But when I assert that I
> have raised the hand, Zen is no more there.
> -- Suzuki, ESSAYS IN ZEN BUDDHISM, pages 207 and 283-4
"Be prepared," say the Boy Scouts. Hamlet echoes this when he
> If it be now, 'tis not to come; if it be not to come
> It will be now; if it be not now, yet it will come:
> The readiness is all.
Hence the value of what Geraldine Coster calls "sitting loose to
life," a fluid adaptability to unyielding circumstance, attached
to nothing, experiencing all.
> He who binds to himself a joy
> Doth the winged life destroy;
> But he who kisses the Joy as it flies,
> Lives in eternity's sunrise.
> -- William Blake
To many, the principal purpose of life is security. We see it as
undesirable as it is impossible of attainment. Emily Dickinson
> In insecurity to lie
> Is Joy's insuring quality.
In brief, without thought of security or achievement, or any
purpose, much less an ultimate goal, "Walk on!"
A third of the many symptoms of awakening Zen, the last mentioned
here, is a sense of "rightness."
"All that happens happens right," said the Emperor Marcus
"I know that the enterprise is worthy. I know that things work
well. I have heard no bad news," said Thoreau, and they are
brave and splendid words.
From the first experience of Zen is born a willingness to let
things happen, a diminishing desire to control the Universe, even
though the purpose is to "rebuild it, nearer to the heart's
desire." Action becomes increasingly "right action," done without
haste or delay, without thought of self, without thought of merit
> He who pursues learning will increase every day.
> He who pursues Tao will decrease every day.
> He will decrease and continue to decrease
> Till he comes to non-action;
> By non-action everything can be done.
> -- TAO TE CHING, Chapter 48
Yet herein we find the paradox of personality. As the self dies
out, the true self grows. Of the Tao or Zen, it is later said,
> When merits are accomplished, it does not lay claim to them.
> Because it does not lay claim to them, therefore it does not lose
> -- TAO TE CHING, Chapter 51
The secret lies in action in inaction, or inaction in action, as
explained at length in the Bhagavad-Gita. Deeds are done because
it is "right" to do them, regardless of consequence, and merit.
The results of right action that accrue to the doer as long as
there is a "doer" to receive them are a byproduct that comes,
like happiness, unsought.
The habit of right action is itself presumably the result of
previous lives of merit-producing action, by which the mind,
increasingly lightened of the weight of personal desire, slowly
enlarges by the deliberate expansion, in range and depth, of its
I found in THE WESTMINSTER PROBLEMS BOOK (1908), a delightful
quatrain by Philip Castle that puts this admirably.
> Merit acquired in incarnations past,
> And now by the unconscious self held fast;
> So the hand strikes the right chord, in the dark,
> And, codeless, runs the right flag to the mast.
For the law of Karma, action and reaction, operates unceasingly
as long as a self exists to receive the consequences, "good" or
"bad," of action. Hence the advice in THE VOICE OF THE SILENCE:
> Follow the wheel of life; follow the wheel of duty to race and
> kin, to friend and foe, and close thy mind to pleasures as to
> pain. Exhaust the law of karmic retribution.
The law can only be exhausted, as already set out, by exhausting
the SELF-ish desires that keep alive the separate, personal self.
People in the East know Buddhism as the Buddha-Dharma (Pali:
DHAMMA). The word Dharma has a vast variety of meaning, one of
which is "duty." Duty in English has the unpleasant connotation
of compulsion. It is something that ought to be done but which
we do not wish to do. Yet in the Buddhist sense, it is that
which is the next thing to be done, and the emotional labels of
dislike or like are not applied. One just does it. In a
memorable passage, Chuang Tzu says,
> To act by means of inaction is Tao. To speak by means of
> inaction is exemplification of Tao … To follow Tao is to be
> prepared. [Cf. "The readiness is all."] To not run counter to
> the natural bias of things is perfect.
> -- page 137
This "natural bias of things" is the rhythm of nature, the rhythm
of the Universe.
> It connotes acting in harmony with the swing of the Universe --
> whether spiritually, intellectually, or in the least movement of
> the body -- from the physical movements of the dance of happy
> youth to the dance of the planets about the sun and the systems
> about the infinite.
> -- Adams Beck, THE STORY OF ORIENTAL PHILOSOPHY, page 413
Alan Watts has much to say of this in THE MEANING OF HAPPINESS.
Talking of the Taoist conception of the significance of the
moment, he says that this implies that all things happening now
have a definite relation to one another just because they have
occurred together in time, if for no other reason.
> This is another way of saying the harmony called Tao blends all
> events in each moment of the Universe into a perfect chord. The
> whole situation in and around you at this instant is a harmony
> with which you have to find your own union if you are to be in
> accord with Tao.
The right life, therefore, is the natural life, and he who has
found and lives in Zen lives naturally. To what extent his
newfound harmony affects his outward life, to bring his outward
mode of living into accord with his inner awareness is a matter
of time and the individual. Just as the direct drive of an
engine is sweet and without discordant tension, so the right use
of action, direct action, is sweet and frictionless.
Only self, the desire of self for self intervenes and pulls the
machine out of alignment. Alignment becomes the operative word.
From the "power-house of the Universe" as Trine calls it, to the
individual self the power is direct, and the right means used in
the right way at the right time and place make up increasingly
the perfect act.
A sense of serenity, a sense of flow, and a sense of rightness in
all action are three of the symptoms of awakening Zen. The
number of men in whom such a state of awareness flowered in China
and Japan between the sixth and nineteenth centuries produced in
their outward influence what may be fairly called the visible
fruits of Zen, as manifest in Zen Buddhism.
THOUGHTS ON TERRORISM
By Steven Levey
We have heard of the phrase, "The Dweller on Threshold." We find
it in literature and hear it discussed rarely. It is not widely
known in the West. Those allusions to it that we find say
little. This is in the vein of the Chinese axiom, "Those who
know don't say and those who say don't know." The subject helps
us grasp the causes of terrorism, becoming less impotent in our
In his article "The Dweller on the Threshold," William Quan Judge
explains that the Dweller refers to the combined reservoir of our
negative thoughts, acts, and speech. Each of us originated and
now owns a fair share of that negativity.
Judge mentions ZANONI, a novel by Sir Bulwar Lytton written late
in the Nineteenth century. In it, we find Glyndon left alone in
a room with containers of bottled up powerful energies.
Incapable of self-restraint, Glyndon begins opening the
containers, soon facing a negative presence that overpowers him.
This negativity shows itself in overly passive individuals.
Ignorant of the power of choice making, they let others move them
in an emotional fervor. Under duress, even the thoughtful and
restrained may give up, succumbing to negative impulses.
Judge writes for another sort of person, one having discovered
the Path on which Glyndon treads. That Path is the ages-old
Narrow and Thorny Way. It is one of self-sacrifice for the good
of others, whereon one sublimates the lower, earthy desires into
enthusiasm for the higher ethical life. In Buddhism, this
involves the practice of the Ten Virtues of the Holy Dharma,
including the Seven Paramitas.
At first in doing this, we become increasingly confident that our
actions involve genuine therapeutics, alleviating personal and
universal suffering. Realizing the Four Noble Truths of
Buddhism, we see suffering as common to all and entirely
self-caused. The importance to those following the Path of
responsibility to others becomes clear. As we understand the
cause of our suffering, it becomes second nature to set new
causes in motion tying us to the service of others. We quickly
see how different theory is from practice.
The backlash in outer life is proportional to one's strength of
aspiration. External life stands in the way. The personality
needs transmuting, an act of alchemy like turning lead into gold.
Judge says even a good person may encounter mud left uncleaned
from parts of one's self forgotten or otherwise hidden.
Distinct from the obstacles that frequently arise from within is
the larger and more-powerful negativity latent in collective
humanity, called by Judge "The Dweller on the Threshold." Take
yourself on, allowing a higher purpose to come through. Doing
so, you also take on that repository of "mud" left uncleaned in
How can it be otherwise? Our natures interconnect at all levels
of being. We live amidst others day and night. We owe them our
livelihood and subsistence. This is a positive aspect of the
Buddhist doctrine of Dependent Origination. Anything that we do
brings about good or ill for the greater whole. There is an
irony. Just as we awaken to a greater sense of
interconnectedness to humanity, we become aware of the Dweller.
Until but a moment before, we were blissfully unaware of it.
A seeker after truth will meet obstacles on the Path. Humanity
faces its own problems, including terrorism. Is there a
connection between the seeker's states and those of society? Do
we terrorize ourselves? Seeing ourselves as humanity, who else
could be terrorizing us?
The government finds it difficult to deal with terrorism. At the
personal level, we struggle to root out our separative, overly
egocentric natures. We perform alchemy, bringing about the
peaceful coexistence of the man of the world and his highest
inspiration or spiritual parent. Our success dealing with our
egocentric natures offers a key to the eradication of terrorism.
To this end, the great teachings provide useful tools for one on
the Quest, found in books such as H.P. Blavatsky's THE VOICE OF
THE SILENCE and in THE BHAGAVAD GITA. One turns that which is
separative and frustratingly egocentric in him to a more nearly
In this process, we practice inclusiveness, drawing together
individuals involved in separatist elements of society. We do
not pushed them away and further exclude them from the whole.
They are at odds with peaceful culture and need to make their
choice of self-inclusion. Who shall set an example for them to
follow freely? Who will take that Wisdom which is his or her
birth right, as H.P. Blavatsky says of the Ancient Wisdom,
actively putting it to use in our time as a model upon which
others, also suffering from its lack, may base their lives?
MY DUSTY-EYED FRIEND
By James Sterling
He sat in front of the liquor store,
Where I buy my Sunday paper;
His sad clown face stared out at the world
With dusty eyes like a wooden Indian;
He sat but did not move.
I saw him again last Sunday.
He watched me approach without emotion,
But did not offer me a greeting.
Inside, I went to buy the Sunday paper,
And fished out some coins on my way out
For my dusty-eyed friend.
"Take this," I urged him, handing him the silver.
He placed his leathery hands on mine,
Not ready to let go.
"Your quite welcome," I added hastily, pulling away.
I turned to leave but whirled around:
Our eyes met, and we seemed to understand one
Another, his sad fate and mine.
"I can't help you, my dusty-eyed friend.
I can barely help myself."
His wrinkled face crinkled up in a faded
"That's all right. Thanks just the same."
His body jerked playfully up and down as he waved.
"See you next Sunday."
A STUDY IN FUNDAMENTALS, Part VI
By Boris de Zirkoff
[This talk comes from second part of the tape recording on
"Chapter XII of FUNDAMENTALS OF THE ESOTERIC PHILOSOPHY, Part
I," made of a private class held on May 19, 1954.]
Look at this tape recorder! This gadget will immortalize our
class. Before you know it, a tape might go as far as Holland.
Our voices will travel there from lodge to lodge.
In man, there are seven manifest principles and five unmanifest.
We might say that Atma seems unmanifest as well. From our human
standpoint, even Buddhi and the higher mental principles are
remote. Many esoteric Hindu Schools like the Sankhya, Yoga, and
Vedanta would agree that Atma is hardly individualized. It is
difficult to picture it as manifest. As part of our higher
spiritual constitution, it bridges our manifested and wholly
We do not have terms for the unmanifested part of the human
constitution. We find little written on the subject. Sometimes
one draws a triangle above the seven principles. Other times, it
is a five-pointed star, indicating five higher principles. In
some mysterious way, this relates to the unmanifested principles
of the universe of which we are a part. We see this in both our
planetary chain and our solar system.
Atma is the ray of cosmic divinity in man. Everything above it
is completely unknown to us except by analogy and correspondence.
Even so, there exist in one these yet higher principles, linking
him with the corresponding realities in the universe.
Look at certain passages in THE MAHATMA LETTERS. It brings out
the general idea in guarded language. Even the greatest
spiritual seers and adepts know but the vegetative side of the
system in which they live and evolve. They have no knowledge of
the real, spiritual side of the system, its highest
An analogy exists in the human being. His vegetative side is the
personal mind and everything below it. It includes his
astral-vital-physical structure, emotions, psychological nature,
and a certain amount of mind. The lower-brain mentality is
included, but the higher mind is not. The highest seers have
cognizance of the corresponding vegetative part of the cosmic
system, its physical, emotional, psychological, and lower mental
element-principles. To the seers, the higher spiritual
principles of the system are as unknown as one's Manas, Buddhi,
and Atma are unknown to the average human being.
This is true even of the Dhyani-Chohans. So supernal, infinite,
and grand are those realities that even the gods of the solar
system are not cognizant of them. When telling us this, did the
Master mean the gods of the sun? I do not know. They may have
that cognizance. He spoke of the highest seers of this planet
and perhaps of its inner worlds. We can find that passage. For
many years, it remained obscure and incomprehensible. (The
Master was writing to Sinnett, a beginner at the time.) Not until
the appearance of Dr. de Purucker's works did it acquire
In Sinnett's time, the Masters just hinted at these profound
subjects. Our theme is hardly touched upon in THE SECRET
DOCTRINE. There are just hints and allusions. If you have the
key, the most outspoken passage in THE MAHATMA LETTERS addresses
it. When looked at superficially without the key, it means
We have looked forward far into the future. Now go back to the
previous globe chains, to and even before the elementals. There
are three main kingdoms of these elements. Going backward in
time or lower in this hierarchy, you reach them. With them, you
are at the bottommost level of this particular hierarchy. The
only thing below them is some link whereby this hierarchy is
connected with the one below. I could not tell you what that
There is always something above and always something below. The
higher realms connect by some super-spiritual link to a greater
hierarchy beyond it, to the lowest rung of that next ladder.
Below the elementals is a link connecting our hierarchy with the
highest reaches of the hierarchy immediately below it. I do not
think our literature describes what it is beyond a general
statement. We read that there is a linkage of individual and
contiguous hierarchies. These are one below the other, one above
the other, and links sidewise with hierarchical systems on the
Everything is interlocked. That applies to the planetary chains,
the various planets of the solar system. In the solar system,
there are planets belonging to various levels or hierarchical
structures. The primary idea we are bring out is that there is
infinity in all directions. The other ideas simply reinforce our
growing, budding understanding of it. It is not something that
we can draw on a blackboard. We cannot express it with ordinary
The mind of a great mathematician may contain some sequence of
symbols with which we could express such ideas. Mathematics is
symbolical. If interpreted along occult lines, there are
formulas that might indicate or hint at some of the Teachings.
To approach the subject of interlocking hierarchies and links
between them, we picture to ourselves just one thing if nothing
else. Picture our here-and-now hierarchy, the human being. We
have our Sthula-Sharira, Linga-Sharira, Prana, Kama, Manas,
Buddhi, and Atma. This is our individual hierarchy of
element-principles. Picking any one of the seven, we could draw
a line through it and picture it as a hierarchy in itself. Each
principle has its Sthula-Sharira, Linga-Sharira, Prana, Kama,
Manas, Buddhi, and Atma. The more you think of these things, the
more you realize the endless interlocking of universal
This covers just about enough. It is meaty. We will be on the
chapter for another two meetings. Reading it earlier today, I
thought we might proceed further, but the meeting has been
profound. There is no use overloading our minds. Considering
what the rest of the chapter holds, we have plenty for another
meeting. As I read it, practically every paragraph has key
thoughts that we should not just touched upon lightly.
We might as well record our classes. If we can make the
recordings and they sound all right, they might be of use in
other parts of the world. I have Holland particularly in mind.
They have such wonderful students. They have many young people.
They would be interested in knowing more about how we do our work
here. They have their own classes. I could not tell you how
they conduct them, but they are successful.
In Holland, they have exceedingly active people. They all work.
What they do is amazing. When I get their schedule, I see whole
pages filled with meeting and group notices. Practically no day
passes without some meeting in the evening at different places in
town and repeating from one town to another. They have public
meetings and conventions. Occasionally they rent a hall and have
two or three hundred people, turning away members to accommodate
Many understand English. I will ask friends there what kind of
machines they have, whether this sort of reel will be usable. If
they have the same sort of machine, we can make them copies.
They might be interested in hearing different voices, different
approaches, and our questions and answers. It is worth trying.
Anything that is in line with the spread of the Teachings, more
mutual interconnecting, more friendly ties, and knowing what
another part of the world is doing is useful for our work.
Svabhavat is a deep subject. We have gone into it to already.
It comes up again for the whole page. We have spent time on it.
We will spend more. It is a highly metaphysical concept. The
key thought is extremely practical.
Dr. de Purucker teaches using the old method. He touches
lightly upon a Teaching, branches out to something else, and in
the next chapter comes back again to say something more. Then he
expands our understanding in another chapter, coming at it the
third time, broadening our further. It is the old method of
Every evolving being can unfold from within itself only that
which it is within itself and nothing else. That mere idea is
sufficient upon which to base a whole concept of ethical Teaching
and conduct. We realize that we can unfold from within ourselves
only that which is within us already. It is impossible for us to
unfold something from the inner nature of another human being.
We cannot do so no more than an acorn could bring out a daisy or
strawberry. It will invariably bring out an oak. An oak will
never change to a birch, or a strawberry to a tulip. Like any
entity in a hierarchy, a human being is going forever to unfold
from within himself only that which is already within his
consciousness in potential.
We will unfold in many ways. Our inner possibilities are
practically infinite. At this time, we can only develop what is
presently here. For the future, the possibilities are infinite.
The other aspect is of self-becoming. We could express one
aspect of the Teaching as self-becoming, with an accent on the
word "becoming." The other aspect is with the accent on the word
"self." This is in the sense that our selves do the becoming or
unfolding. Nobody else does it.
At each moment of time, you are becoming yourself further. From
within yourself comes this desire for grow and self-unfoldment.
You can only become what you are inwardly. You can never become
greater nor attain inner knowledge by the efforts of another. In
many ways, another can help you, but his effort will not make you
Consider a mother helping her child to walk. No amount of effort
on the part of the mother is going to make it happen. Much help,
example, kindness, and guidance by the mother will help the child
to learn. This is not a contradiction. The child is the only
one who will ever learn how to walk by his own internal urge.
The inner self becomes and unfolds itself into manifestation by
its own inherent power. There is an abstruse aspect of the
Teaching that we can make into a practical power in our lives.
It is a metaphysical point. I do not know if I can put it
simple-enough language. It says that whatever unfolds or grows
will constantly bring out from within itself.
The divinity of a universe unfolds the universe from within. The
whole universe is the manifestation of that divinity. Every
fiber, atom, and electron therein reflects part of the divinity
from which it has unfolded.
That is applicable to a man as well. Everyone sitting in this
room is an unfoldment of the powers latent within them. Every
particle of us manifests what we are inwardly to a degree. No
part of us belongs to another. We evolve within our own sphere
forever. That means a lot!
Living in a particular house, a man fills it with his atmosphere.
Entering the house, you find you have entered that man literally.
Everything therein radiates what he is: his art, genius, and
kindness or his hatred, revenge, and criminal tendencies. What
kind of a man he is oozes out of everything in his house. He has
filled his place. He has built it out of himself. I do not mean
the bricks in the wall. It is the subtle forces, fluids, and
emanations of the world of consciousness that he has built out of
himself and in which he dwells.
What a tremendous power we find in that Teaching! We build a
universe of thought. It reflects upon our decency and spiritual
nobility. Even more, it brings help, courage, and an elevating
power into the lives of others. We contact others with nothing
but what we are.
We are the partial manifestation of what we inwardly have become.
The greater the degree of our unfoldment, the nobler our universe
is. We live in our personal universe. By means of it, we
contact and influence other centers of consciousness evolving
alongside along their own hierarchical lines.
Our karma relates to cycles. We unfold within the limitations of
minor and major cycles. In each cycle, part of our karma
manifests or unfolds. The process of self-becoming has its
karmic limitations according to the cycle in which we happen to
be evolving. We cannot do everything that we might decide to do
irrespective of existing limitations.
Perhaps we decide to unfold a far greater type of consciousness
from within. We set our minds on our becoming great spiritual
seers. There will be many karmic limitations to overcome. Many
cycles will militate against us. They are the result of our own
making. The seeds of past karma have postponed our excellent
purpose. We do not realize its fruition until they have worked
themselves out. At all times, the only thing we are completely
free to do is decide. That is the first step. To carry out that
resolution is an entirely different thing.
We have passed the rounding out of the lowest point in the
evolutionary history of our earth, its bottom-most point,
dividing the Descending Arc from the Ascending Arc. At this
time, it will take Manvantaras for an animal to become a man. A
man, though, does not need to go through another Manvantara to
Individuals beyond the human stage do not have to use physical
bodies. That applies to the elemental kingdoms too. Some
kingdoms (the vegetable, animal, and human) are so engrossed in
the physical world that their dynamic evolution requires physical
forms in which to take place. The elemental kingdoms do not have
physical forms, although they might take on some at times.
Beyond human, the Dhyani-Chohans are completely devoid of
physical form or shape. They are not dependant upon the
physical. This shows us how relative and temporary these forms
The time will come inevitably when each of us will have the
choice to work through a physical body or without one. At that
time, we will have become a certain type of Adept that can make
that choice. Later we will pass beyond that point. Then it will
be impossible for us to work through a physical body because of
its limitations. At our current stage, it is necessary to have a
physical body in order to evolve. The various kingdoms have not
fully developed their physical bodies yet. They will perfect
their bodies in succeeding Rounds.
Understand that the Sthula-Sharira or physical Prakriti has
various stages of perfectibility. Today we know physical
vehicles of the Fifth Root Race of the Fourth Round. We will
know physical bodies of the Sixth and Seventh Root Races of this
Our physical part has the Fifth, Sixth, and Seventh Rounds to
evolve in still. There are much higher stages to the development
of physical matter. Those higher stages are imperceptible. They
are invisible to our present senses.
We can truthfully speak of a human Root Race in the Fifth or
Sixth Round inhabiting physical bodies. These bodies will be
immensely closer to perfect. Only by courtesy can we call them
physical, since they are made of such tenuous substance of such
high evolutionary degree. They will be made of light and
magnetic energy, which is the Fifth, Sixth, or Seventh Round
development of physical matter.
The physical embodiment of elementals is more material than
matter of which we know. They are invisible to us. We cannot
perceive them with our senses. That is a paradox. We center our
conceptions on what our senses perceive. It is difficult to
imagine that matter occupies the space before us, matter that is
denser and more material than anything of which we know. We
could walk through it easily because it is unrelated to our
senses. To us, it does not exist.
The same is true of kingdoms that are at other levels of
consciousness. A being of such a kingdom may exist here and not
cognize the existence of this house we are in, standing in no
relation to it. We know definitely that there are
interpenetrating worlds that coexists in the same space with what
we call matter.
Consider the example of electromagnetic energy. There are radios
and television electromagnetic waves filling this room. Although
nobody can see them, they fill all the houses of Los Angeles
without getting in our way. We do not bump into them. We do not
skin our shins on electromagnetic waves. They exist at the same
time and place, but are non-existent to us unless we have some
gadget with which we can tune into them. Even then, we cannot
Even with great inner wisdom, it can be hard to motivate the
outer person. We have not grown as fast as we could have in past
lives. By mistakes committed, we have built around ourselves
heavy sheaths of consciousness and substance that prevent the
inner energies from manifesting as fully as they would. We have
many mistaken creations, many material attractions. Mostly with
emotions, our channels clog, hiding from active participation the
inner energies of our spiritual self.
We have subjected us to these limitations. Nobody else has.
They are a temporary condition. In a way, we step out of them
temporarily in the world of sleep. In greater degree, we step
out of them temporarily again after we die. We have to win the
battle here in waking incarnate existence.
We must thin out, purify, raise, and transform our lower sheaths
of consciousness and substance. We do this to such an extent
that they become transparent to the inner light. They become
unclogged, purified enough to transmit the light, power,
guidance, and influence of the inner self. Then these material
things of the outer, emotional world cease to attract us. They
cease to be important except as means to some noble and lofty
That purification takes many lives. We have sunken into matter
more deeply than should have happened. We are fallen angels. We
have tripped and fallen badly. Many have done so with us. This
applies even to spiritually great men who may be in our world
temporarily. They are here, having made mistakes in their higher
We have branched out into many things. Go back to the start.
Bear in mind that THE SECRET DOCTRINE is not merely the words in
its individual passages. There are many great ideas between the
lines. More are contained in separate passages that yield a new
idea when put together, an idea not obvious before. There is in
HPB's writings more that mere words will imply.
There are things not in individual passages of THE SECRET
DOCTRINE. Even so, bring different passages together and ponder
the ways certain ideas are set. You will find there are further
points there after all. This works if you have the right key to
unlocking the inner nature of the passages. That in itself is a
life study. In the century to come, many students will uncover
in the depths of THE SECRET DOCTRINE and ISIS UNVEILED truths
that we have not even suspected were there.
The beauty of this study is in its elevating influence upon
students. However abstruse, abstract, and metaphysical the
Teachings may be, they have redeeming power. We fill our minds
with lofty thought and they begin to soar over petty things in
life after awhile. We dwell on these Teachings inwardly and soon
raise the vibratory rate of our minds. Many of the fears,
anxieties, shortcomings, and peculiarities of our personal selves
have become less prominent, loosening their hold upon our
consciousnesses. That in itself is a marvelous effect. Anything
that can achieve this is of a spiritual nature, be it a printed
Teaching or even our contemplation of a sunset.
Essentially, an urge to identify with a greater consciousness
within moves us. It draws us to contemplate, concentrate, or
even engage in an intellectual study that is not mere dry,
brain-mind activity. We are attracted to any method of training
intended to raise the human consciousness from the personal to
the impersonal, from the well known to the relatively unknown,
and from the relatively dark to the relatively light and
spiritual. In the study of these things, we open the doors of
our consciousness. We open them onto great wide fields of
thought that raise the human mind into the contemplation of
spiritual realities. It is like opening a window and getting the
spring air into the room. It is like opening a portal and
walking through into a wide, great, rolling field of flowers in
Dedicated to the Theosophical Philosophy and its Practical Application