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THEOSOPHY WORLD --------------------------------- September, 2004
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 Living Power of Theosophy," by B.P. Wadia
"The Heresy of Separateness," by J.D. Beresford
"The Buddhist Void of Emptiness," by James Sterling
"Prophecies for the Twenty-First Century: The Hopi Indians,"
by Paul Rooke
"For Perfect Justice Rules the World," by KEM
"Insight into Reality According to the Japanese Shingon Teaching,"
by Beatrice Lane Suzuki
"A Call to Action: Individual Regeneration or World Chaos,"
by A. Trevor Barker
"Heaven of the Earthy Home," by Steven Levey
"The Bright Battle: Olympic Games," by Erica Letzerich
"The Weighing of the Soul," by G. de Purucker
> When people, either educated or uneducated, can look upon life
> as optimistically as do the Theosophists, then we may have some
> home for humanity. We must have such hope; we must believe in
> ourselves; we must believe in our god-like natures; we must
> believe that brotherhood is a fact in nature; and that the world
> that most of us live in, is a very small world in comparison
> with the great one that we have next to know.
> -- Katherine Tingley, THE TRAVAIL OF THE SOUL, page 183
THE LIVING POWER OF THEOSOPHY
By B.P. Wadia
[From LIVING THE LIFE, pages 3-6.]
One of the difficulties under which students of Theosophy labor
is the practical and therefore one-sided or distorted view they
take of the Wisdom Religion. Theosophy takes the place of an
outworn creed. It provides a better field for philosophic
speculation. It is a new science, instructing where modern
knowledge breaks down. Through the many theosophical
associations, it affords avenues of altruistic expression.
Few recognize the synthetic character of Theosophy. It is the
religion of the Spirit, free and immortal. It is the philosophy
of the Heart, for us to practice universally, all the time. The
Science of Life instructs us in self-devised methods of
never-dying energies moving in the direction of Universal
Self-Consciousness. It teaches the Higher Altruism, calling for
self-correction and growth from within. Done on the part of
every being, this results in the growth of all.
It is curious that we make the science of Self to be applicable
to everything but the Self. It is curious that we see its laws
operating in all beings but us. Everyone lives by a power
within, a power with an eclipsed, non-recognizable influence.
This takes place because in the sphere of deeds, other people's
will guides our organs of action. Similarly, on the plane of
feelings, other people's emotions energize our heart. We do our
thinking by proxy. Our heads are replete with thoughts of other
The student should recognize two fundamental principles fully.
Theosophy is a synthesis of religion, philosophy, and science.
As a synthesis, it primarily concerns itself, touches, and
affects the causal forces of the Self thereby producing myriad
forms as effects. Then, his task will become less difficult.
Such recognition inevitably leads him to study theosophic truths
from three points of view -- spirit, mind, and matter. It leads
him to apply truths in the three distinct spheres of heart, head,
and hands. Such study and practice convinces him that synthesis
proceeds from within his spiritual Being. Through his actions,
it affects the deeds of others. Through his likes and dislikes,
if affects the pleasures and pains of others. Through his
thoughts, it affects the minds of others. In turn, others affect
him in like manner. If in study Theosophy reveals itself as a
synthesis of religion, philosophy, and science in applying its
tenets and doctrines, we soon begin to sense that an additional
or fourth factor exists, a kind of oversoul, which is the Higher
Altruism is the Absolute whose three aspects are the religion to
live, in terms of the philosophy to learn, of the science to be
practice. To practice, to learn, to live -- for and as the ALL
-- is to manifest the Living Power of Theosophy.
This living power of Theosophy is latent, buried deep in the
heart of every man. Therefore, everyone not yet Theosophist is
Theosophist in embryo. It ought to be clear to an intelligent
student that his task, however difficult, is not complex.
Theosophy advocates the simple life by insistently pointing out
in a hundred ways that the power by which we live is of a simple
character, both in its origin and in its operations.
Men have strayed away from this simplicity and have assumed a
million complexes by looking for knowledge outside of the Self,
for divinity in other than the Self. Thus started on the
inclined plane of retrogression, we see division where solidarity
exists. It is division between science and religion, between
inanimate and animate, and between secular and sacred. In place
of "the immanence of God and solidarity of man," some proclaim
God in heaven and men to be the children of dust and worms on
This blunder and its correction that Theosophy puts forward have
to be understood and applied by each student in his own life.
Unless this is done, Theosophy will remain a religion, a
philosophy, a science, a mode of charity, and a method of
philanthropy in contradistinction to other religions,
philosophies, sciences, and methods of altruistic efforts.
H.P. Blavatsky has complained in more than one place that
solidarity in the ranks of Theosophists did not exist in spite of
the fact that they were able to preach religious truths and to
put before the scientific world wonderful information in an
instructive way. The religion of Universal Spirit fails to
inspire most of us when a fellow Theosophist hurts our feelings
or to give us courage to stand by him when he is unjustly
attacked. Our philosophy of the One and Undivided Self
evaporates into impracticality when we have to say that the moral
leper, the intellectual prostitute, and the psychically drunk are
our brothers. This will continue as long as we do not apply the
Synthesis of Theosophy to purify our lower nature and create a
higher perception of altruism.
The Living Power of Theosophy must become the power by which we
live. As we have a material instrument and an energizing mind
and as we are in being spiritual, we must live as spiritual
beings our Religion of Joyous Immortality that ensouls and
illumines the mind. Aided by the philosophy of Theosophy, we
must let that mind energize our house of flesh so that the latter
is no more a palace of pleasure, but rather a Temple of the
Living God, the Ruler who rules from within.
THE HERESY OF SEPARATENESS
By J.D. Beresford
[From THE ARYAN PATH, January 1936, pages 25-28.]
> If through the Hall of Wisdom, thou would'st reach the Vale of
> Bliss, Disciple, close fast thy senses against the great dire
> heresy of Separateness.
When of writing this quotation from THE VOICE OF THE SILENCE, the
whole world, as represented by its Rulers, its Statesmen, its
vocal public, and its Press is preaching and practicing this
"dire heresy of Separateness." In every country of Europe, in
America, and the Far East, we see men and women drawing together
in a common cause but that cause is, without exception, an ideal
of Nationalism. Men unite and find agreement among themselves
only to serve their personal ends in the name of the nation. In
Germany, to quote a single example, "the brotherhood of blood,"
the claim to be of one family, is to be used for the furtherance
of an ambition that must completely disregard the interests and
welfare of all other families of different blood.
In Nationalism, we see the Egotism of the individual exhibited on
an enlarged scale. Behind it lies the self-seeking of those
whose interests will be served by racial alliances against the
common enemy. Nietzsche spoke of the Christian ethic as a "slave
morality." In precisely the same sense, Nationalism may be
described as slave immorality, the practice of evil under the
shelter of the mass, which is a defense for the feebleness of the
Moreover, no church that has ever preached the commandment of
Christ, that we love one another, has yet been able to avoid that
heresy of Separateness, so clearly condemned by the great
fundamental tenet of Theosophy. The reason for this can be
deduced at once from the Nietzschean criticism just quoted. The
vice of Nationalism is inherent in the teaching of the Christian
Churches. The individual avoids personal responsibility by
alliance with the mass; and his personal vanity, his intolerance,
and his hatreds may all find vent in being directed against a
creed regarded as heterodox, even though such a creed be derived
from the teachings of the same Master he professes to serve.
The reverse of slave morality is individualism, though not of the
kind advocated by Nietzsche, which is a Western form of Hatha
Yoga, or Separatism. The individualism of Raja-Yoga, taught by
Theosophy, is also by way of renunciation but by another method
and with another object. "Tis from the bud of Renunciation of
the Self, that springeth the sweet fruit of final Liberation,"
but the way of renunciation is not by Separateness, nor by
isolation from the world. "Not by withholding from works does a
man reach freedom from works, nor through renunciation alone does
he win Supreme Success" (BHAGAVAD-GITA, III, 4), but by the
desire for spiritual union with all mankind.
Here is the plain direction of Theosophical teaching, as it is
clearly set forth in the Ancient Wisdom and repeated in other
forms by all the great Teachers and adepts, including notably the
Christ whose new commandment the churches have so pitiably failed
to keep. Yet it may well seem now that the world is falling into
a chaos of hate and insanity. Why, we must all be asking
ourselves, have so few been able to find the golden key to the
first of the Seven Portals, "Dana, the key of charity and love
immortal?" Why are so few able to "bear love to men as though
they were brother-pupils, disciples of one Teacher, the sons of
one sweet mother?"
There can be but one answer to that question. The fault is in
ourselves. We read great Truths such as those already cited in
this article; we believe that they are words of wisdom; but we
are unable to put them into practice in our own lives. We
profess to be Theosophists, but have not taken one true step
towards the attainment of its teaching. We concern ourselves
with the problems of esoteric knowledge, seek to understand the
mysteries, and forget the statement of that adept who said,
"Though I understand all mysteries and all knowledge ... and
have not love, I am nothing."
It is that the world trembles again on the verge of chaos, of
war, hatred, and insanity.
How then can we, earnest Theosophists, win this key to the first
portal? How is it possible for us, average men and women, to
acquire a selfless love of humanity, without distinction of race,
creed, or color? Let us first observe ourselves and then see if
we can interpret the direction of the Masters.
Now is it not true that there are very few who are capable of a
deep and selfless love even for those who are dearest to us --
husband, wife, son, or daughter? When we are put to the test, we
shall find an element of selfishness in our attitude towards
them. We expect some return, and if we do not receive it, we are
disappointed. Moreover, this kind of human affection nearly
always contains an element of criticism, based on the standard of
what we assume to be our own perfections. We desire to alter the
objects of our affection in some respect or another, so they may
be nearer this ideal of our heart's desire. We are not giving
freely but with an ultimate purpose. We love in order to win
some return. We are defending our own personalities.
Equally vain will be our efforts if we seek to love humankind as
an exercise in self-discipline. If we go about the world with a
determined smile, practicing self-control, seeking to cure
ourselves of the habit of criticism, endeavoring by a continual
mental effort to find good in everyone we meet, generously (as it
seems to us) trying to overlook in others the faults that we
cannot help observing, training ourselves to serve what is
intrinsically a selfish purpose, we may make better citizens, we
may even find a measure of happiness, but we shall never learn
the true nature of love. Moreover, we shall run the risk of
suffering a dangerous reaction, since all self-discipline
undertaken for purely intellectual reasons, is liable to provoke
rebellion in the personality.
> Kill out desire; but if thou killest it, take heed lest from the
> dead it should again arise.
> -- H.P. Blavatsky, THE VOICE OF THE SILENCE, page 15
This method, admirable as it may be in some respects, strengthens
the natural tendency to objectify the personality, to build up a
mental conception of the Self that is no more than an
intellectual fantasy, a chimera that will not long survive
physical death. (Sakkayaditthi, the delusion of personality.
See THE VOICE OF THE SILENCE, page 4.) Those who have no hope of
finding the golden key, self-discipline of this order may serve
an excellent worldly purpose, but not by these means can we fit
ourselves to pass the first gate.
But having thus observed ourselves and agreed that not by this or
that way can we take our first step in the true path, whither
shall we go for a direction? The Masters tell us that each of us
must find a personal solution of his or her own problem, that in
this matter there can be no golden rule, no magic formula, no
dogma, by subscription to which we may walk in safety.
I am so deeply aware of these great difficulties that I must
preface any attempt to cope with them, by the acknowledgment that
I can give but one answer out of many. What follows must be
accepted as a personal interpretation of the Ancient Wisdom, and
there may well be other interpretations better fitted to those
who have already taken their first step on the Path.
For me, then, and I speak more particularly to those who may
happen to be in the same case, it seems that the preliminary
phase that must precede all efforts after initiation must be by
the realization of what Heine called the "divine homesickness,"
that consciousness of urgency in the true self, which Francis
Thompson described in "The Hound of Heaven" and is spoken of by
Jesus as the "hunger and thirst after righteousness." If we hear
that call of the inner voice and refuse to obey it, we shall sin
against our own Spirit, and must suffer for the sin in lives to
Yet many who hear that call and seek to answer it, make little
further progress. Very often, they are tempted by it to separate
themselves from their own kind, essay the difficult and sometimes
dangerous experiment of unguided meditation and suffer the
delusion of self-righteousness. (See paragraph 2 of page 4 in
THE VOICE OF THE SILENCE.) Others may fall into the same snare by
believing that they are called upon to preach to others the
truths they have not yet comprehended themselves. These are the
temptations of the mind that must now be mistrusted as a guide,
giving place to that Soul-Wisdom that alone has been responsible
for our "divine homesickness."
Throughout the ancient teaching, cropping up continually here and
there, we find that the advice given to the disciple in this, the
very first stage on the road to peace, is to seek humility
through obeisance. All our adult life has been guided by the
"Head-Wisdom" we call Reason; and our first surrender must be by
way of the realization that Reason, as we know it, is founded on
We have to acknowledge our complete ignorance of the true wisdom,
and learn that it can never arise from an intellectual source.
Intellectual and spiritual pride will shut us out from the inner
knowledge of what love is. For love necessitates a complete
surrender of what we believe to be the personality, the false
personality built up of pride in ourselves and critical judgments
of others. There can be no true love even of those dearest to
us, so long as we seek to change them in any degree. The
disciple who wishes to take this very first step on the Path must
remember always that he is a child in wisdom, the pupil and never
We have to learn the lesson of humility by patient degrees,
continually seeking within ourselves the seeds of that divine
compassion from which the holy plant will presently spring.
If we find it difficult to love thus, simply and wholly, those
whom we most deeply admire, how much greater is the task when we
seek to extend our compassion to mankind as a whole! We may, it
is true, conceive that attitude as an imaginative possibility,
but that, alone, is no more than a fantasy, another form of
self-delusion. We have to put our imaginings into daily
practice. Consider, for instance, deliberately and deeply, all
that is implied by the following text from THE VOICE OF THE
> Let each burning human tear drop on thy heart and there remain;
> nor ever brush it off, until the pain that caused it is removed.
How many of us can claim such abandonment of the self as is
necessary to reach the deeps of pity and sympathy implied by that
Truly this way of Raja-Yoga is the hardest of all paths to
follow, harder far for those of great will and intellect than the
way of asceticism and self-immolation, for we may not separate
ourselves from the world. We have to serve the way of the spirit
in daily contact with our fellows, by which means alone can we
realize that all men are one.
THE BUDDHIST VOID OF EMPTINESS
By James Sterling
Emptiness prevails throughout the universe;
My mind is like a blank slate,
Neither is there good to praise,
Nor evil to condemn.
I am like unto a void,
Existing between the pair of opposites:
Happiness and sorrow, good and evil,
Have little consequence on my
Translucent, transparent soul.
I am at my best in this void,
Feeling nothing within -- the clock
Ticks not, thirst for life is abated,
Emotions are like the receding tide
On an evanescent sea.
Purification washes away Personality;
My personality has vanished -- the birds
All flew south for the winter.
I am as empty as the mind of the
Newborn babe; I know not who
I am -- just a fleeting memory of
What I was -- a dark mystery to
Forget about and not care.
Emptiness -- detachment of the soul
Leaves knowledge and wisdom forgotten,
Quiescence perfected. A channel
Unveiled leaves destiny opening
Like an unwritten book.
To do my duty, to stay just empty and selfless,
Solitary in the Ineffable void, it's really
Just the same.
Merging my form with the formless leaves
Nothingness on this lowest plane.
Only my soul's scattered wanderings
Where Buddhist Emptiness of the Universe
Joins the I AM.
PROPHECIES FOR THE TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY: THE HOPI INDIANS
By Paul Rooke
[From THE AUSTRALIAN THEOSOPHICAL SOCIETY NEWSLETTER, August
2004, pages 5-7.]
The Hopi legends speak of a Great Spirit who created a pact with
Mankind. The four races -- red, yellow, black and white -- were
all parties to the pact. Each was given two stones tables and
told to hold and protect these. Each race had its own separate
responsibilities to the world and each was told to live in
harmony with each other. The racial responsibilities were
allocated as follows:
The red races were the American Indians, and they lived in the
east. Their role was the responsibility of the guardianship of
The yellow races were the Asians and lived in the south quarter
of the planet. Their role was the guardianship of the wind.
The black races were the Africans and lived in the west. Their
role was the guardianship of water.
The white races were the Europeans and lived in the north. Their
role was the guardianship of fire, as in power and energy.
These tablets apparently exist. They are protected and have been
observed by members of the Hopi tribe and others who have a
sympathetic interest in the sacred traditions of the North
American Indians. The Eastern tablets are kept by the Hopi
elders in Arizona, the Southern tablets by the Tibetans in Tibet,
the Western tablets by the Kikuyu tribe in Kenya in Africa, and
the Northern tablets are held by the Swiss in Switzerland. The
Hopi Indian who wrote the article that I read has seen the
American and African tablets.
The Hopi predictions are uncannily accurate and were made at
least ten thousand years ago. They concern the world that we are
living in now, and they start to take effect from the mid 1600's,
the time when the Spanish conquistadors came to America. The
Hopi tablets predict several stages in American history and the
outcomes for mankind associated with these are given.
The first stage is the coming of the turtles. This describes the
conquistadors marching across America with their armor on their
The Hopi then moved to the early twentieth century where they
said that there would be a black ribbon that would come to cover
America with bugs crawling all over it, and the ribbon would be
shaken and the bugs would take to the air. This would be at
about the time of the first great shaking of the earth that was
World War I in the earlier years of the last century.
The Hopi then go on to describe the crisscrossing of the world by
a cobweb upon which people would talk, the emergence of a tilted
sign of life, (the Nazi swastika), and the sun rising in the
west, not in the east. This was, perhaps, the Japanese rising
sun. At this time, there would be a second shaking of the earth,
which was World War II. Both shakings of the earth took place
because man had not learned to live with his fellow man in the
way that the Great Spirit required when the tablets were written,
tens of thousands of years ago.
They then say that the saga will speed up at this stage and
several other elements will be in it before the Great Outcome, a
third world war. They talk of a falling of a gourd of ashes. I
think this was the dropping of the A-bomb on Hiroshima in World
War II. They then go on to say further in their projections that
upon he who dropped the gourd of ashes, the gourd of ashes will
later fall. This is significant for what might happen in America
in the next ten or twenty years. After this there would be
established in the house of mica on the east coast of the land of
the turtles, which is obviously the U.N. Building. The Hopi
hoped to be involved with putting their beliefs before this
forum. They were not allowed to do so at this time (1950's).
They then decided that they would have to communicate what they
knew in English so that their beliefs would be conveyed to the
world because they could see what was going to happen. Their
traditions were later published in the 1960's as THE BOOK OF THE
They went on to predict genetic engineering and sex-change
surgery, to speak of an Eagle landing on the moon. Obviously,
they were referring here to the successful Apollo mission of
1969. They predicted this as a time of great racial unrest in
the United States. They went on to talk from here on of a
decline in family ties, the hastening of the pace of life, and of
families not having time for each other.
Then they came to their final prediction that was that a man-made
house would be thrown into the sky. This I think refers to the
join American-Russian space station that was launched in 1999.
They said this would mark the beginning of World War III and the
third great shaking of the earth if mankind did not wake up to
itself and listen to what they were saying. They said further
that at this stage, upon he who dropped the gourd of ashes the
gourd of ashes could fall. In particular, they suspected that
there would be a lot of heavy bombing of the American
agricultural regions of the north of the United States. There
would be a third world war. It would start gradually but would
ultimately involve all of mankind. Man would survive it but only
in much smaller numbers. The world would then go on to a more
harmonious existence where the wish of the Great Spirit that all
four races could live in harmony would finally be fulfilled.
FOR PERFECT JUSTICE RULES THE WORLD
[From LUCIFER, September 15, 1890, pages 19-24.]
On a mean bed, in a long, curtain-partitioned room, a child, with
a beautiful though pale and delicate face, was lying. Her eyes
had closed and a happy smile played around the well-formed,
A stranger, used only to the dwellings of the rich, might have
wondered at the contented, nay radiant, look upon the wan little
face. The old-fashioned, patch-worked, calico quilt, which
covered the thin form, did not hide the great fact that the child
was deformed. Signs of poverty showed those who made this room
their home had to struggle hard for daily bread. From the court
beneath came the shrill cries of children, the brawling voices of
angry mothers, and the rough voices of men. The air that made
its way in at the open window was heavy with the odors of the
stifling London slum. It crept up lazily to touch the cheek of
the sick girl as though weary with its burden.
The furniture of the room, though poor and scanty, showed the
presence of an active order-loving woman. All about was cleaned
and well arranged. Near the window, placed to catch the first
rays of the dawn and the last streaks of evening's waning light,
was a heavy sewing machine. It showed plainly enough the
employment of at least one of the occupants of the room. In the
opposite corner placed slightly behind the headline of the bed to
escape the notice of the invalid, some dozen empty fruit-baskets,
piled one above another. An old, well-washed coster's barrow
stood on end before them. [A coster is someone that sells fruit
or vegetables in the street from a barrow.] The mantelpiece was
ornamented with a bright tin teapot, the photograph of a man with
a weather-beaten face in a sailor's hat and blue jersey (the dead
father of the little girl), and a common yellow jug filled with
wild flowers and grasses tastefully arranged.
Converted into a table by the help of an old board and a piece of
flowered chintz, a rough wooden box stood near the bed with a cup
of cold tea and two well-worn books upon it. Bright prints from
illustrated newspapers were fastened upon the blue-tinted walls.
The floor of the room shone with oak-stain and elbow grease. An
air of comfort, even of refinement, revealed itself amidst the
poverty of the place and sorted well with the presence of the
Bill, the coster, had learned from his father to keep things
about him "ship-shape." He took a delight in having all around
"The Queen," as he called his only, much loved sister, as neat
and pretty as the means at his disposal allowed. Bill was a
prosperous coster with a pony and cart of his own and a little
fund in the Savings Bank in case of need. Bill neither drank nor
swore. As for marrying, he always declared he had never seen the
girl that could hold a candle to his sister Polly.
The entrance of a respectable, middle-aged woman bearing a bundle
of tailoring was welcomed by the invalid with a glad smile and
the words, "Mother, dear, what a long time they have kept you
today. I'm afraid you may be very tired."
"Eh, child, tired enough; but they don't care how long they keep
you standing or how tired you be."
"Poor Widow Wilson was there before you, mother, and she was so
weak and ill. She was worrying about her three mites of
children. She locked them into her room before she started and
had no bread to leave with them until she got paid for her work."
Mrs. East paused, bonnet in hand, and turned round quickly.
"How do you know that," she said. "Have you been wandering
"I've been down to the workshop," laughed the child, "but I did
not wander. I was there sooner than you were. I looked into
Widow Wilson's place. The children were all right, making
patterns on the floor with a bit of burnt stick. I wanted to
tell her, but could not make her see me."
"You would have frightened her to death if you had. She would
have thought you were dead and that she had seen your ghost. I
cannot think how you do it. How can you lie here all the while
as still as a mouse and as white as a sheet? My people never had
"You get them from your father's folk. It came of living so
lonely like on that dull Cornish coast and staring at the sea.
Doctor says it is disease and you can see so far because your
body is weak. I do not hold with that now. Your poor father was
the strongest lad along the coast and the Cornish men ain't no
way like the London linen props. He had the Seeing Eye, now and
again, not that it did him any good as far as I could make out.
"His mother -- that is your Gran -- has the second sight. She
saw the ship go down in which your father sailed, as plain as
plain, and wrote to warn him not to go. The letter came too
late. I never got it until a week after they had left the docks.
She lost a good son and I lost a good husband. There ain't many
such. Gran is healthy, though she is but a bag of bones, as a
body need be. I wish Bill could save enough to take you down to
Cornwall. Maybe your back would get strong down there."
"And leave you all alone? I'm well enough and very happy here."
"Then it does not take much to make some folk happy. I wonder if
you would be happy if you had been standing in that hot shop for
three hours hearing the women grumble and curse at the loss of
time and the hardness of the loss."
"I was there, little mother. I will tell you what I saw before
Bill comes in while you get supper. Poor Bill does not like to
think I see more than others do. It makes him fear I am not long
for this world -- silly boy! I wish you had the 'seeing eye.' You
might be happy then, even at the workshop, for 'Perfect justice
rules the world.' Things look quite different when you can see
all round them. We are at school here, mother, and have to learn
a new lesson. It is a lesson that will help us further on the
road and make us happier in the end. Although it seems dull and
lonely as if deserted while we struggle with our hard task, we
are never left alone a minute.
"It is just the same with us as it was with Bill when he was at
school. You used to make him take his book to the other end of
the room and draw the curtain until he had learnt his lesson.
You said it took him off his work to see you moving round. To
him, when he had drawn the curtain, it seemed as though he were
shut off and alone. He has told me so lots of times. You were
here ready to help him just the same. You could have heard him,
mother, if anything had been the matter, and he had called out.
Bill goes behind the curtain now to please himself when he comes
in from the night school though he did not like it when he was
little. If people could lift the curtain and look behind when
they liked, they would never learn their lesson.
"Now, today, at the workshop, you were not alone. Standing close
beside you was a beautiful being, strong, pure, and good. It
supported you in your fatigue. It gave you thoughts of Bill and
me, to pass the time. It made you think of Gran in her pretty
cottage by the sea and the happy times you had there when you
were a housemaid at the hall. When you got vexed with the
foreman for keeping you so long and when you listened to the
girls cursing at their lot and agreed that what they said was
true, a grey shadow throws itself between you and your invisible
friend. It was quite plain to me that the thoughts of each
person in that workshop were making for each a different kind of
"Widow Wilson's mind was full of her children. She was silent
and patient, though somewhat anxious and troubled. She had a
thought in her head about some power that she kept saying was,
'An ever ready help in time of trouble,' and of One who was 'A
Father of the fatherless.' I saw a golden ray of light spread
itself about her so she could not hear the curses, or feel the
hot stifling air. One glittering ray flashed out like lightning
through the sky into the room where her children played. I
followed it. I saw the eldest girl jump up, look round, catch up
a broken mug half-full of water, and throw the water on the fire.
The children had kindled it anew, in pulling out sticks with
which to draw. The girl knew there was no wood but that left for
tomorrow. Then I looked again at Widow Wilson and saw that the
golden light of peace had wrapped her in.
"Near the workshop door stood Bullying Bess. She had come late
and was last in the row of waiting workers. She had been
drinking. Tongues of fire were darting round her. Her throat
was dry and parched. Her head was hot and felt like bursting.
She was in a rage at standing last. She did not care for the
work that was awaiting her so much as the money she had to take.
Her thirst was terrible.
"How I pity her. She had a terrible monster by her side, a
tyrant who hisses constantly in her ear, 'Drink! Drink! Drink!'
Hovering over her was her better Self, trying to beat off the
demon. It would catch the creature by the throat and try to
strangle him. It would call to Bess to rouse herself, come, and
help in the fight. It tried to wake recollections of her dead
mother and her own childhood, made miserable by a drunken father.
It asked if she wished to make the childhood of her baby as
miserable as drink had made her own. Though she listened, she
would not fight. The better Self was pushed away. The
drink-demon dragged her in its cruel clutches and now she is
soaking herself with gin."
"Polly, what you are saying is horrible. Why would not Bess
listen to you, months ago, when I brought her home that you might
warn her what would come if she broke the pledge her poor mother
persuaded her to take?"
"I cannot tell. Perhaps there is some lesson for her to learn
through drink as I am learning mine through helplessness and
pain. I only know what I see."
"Well, life is a mystery. It is hard for me to understand that
justice rules the world, as you say, when we slave and slave and
the master swallows all the profits and lives in grand style
while many a poor woman who has no good son like our Bill to help
her sits, sews, and starves."
"I do not think, mother, you would be willing to change homes
with the master if you could see what I have seen today."
"Bless the child! What have you seen?"
"Well, they are going to have a grand dinner party tonight at his
house and he went away early, didn't he?"
"Yes, that he did. I wondered what was up. Although he grinds
others, there's no denying that he don't spare himself either,
but he does it to please himself and that makes all the
"No, mother, he does not do it, altogether, to please himself.
He can scarcely help it now. He has chained himself to two
tyrants and they drive him sometimes almost against his will. He
has let the demon of Greed and the demon of Selfishness get hold
of him. They push and hurry him along until he cannot tell where
he is going. They have bandaged his eyes and made him live in
the dark until he has lost the use of his sight. He is quite
"As he passed the women and girls in the shop this afternoon, he
did not see how pale, tired, and anxious they looked. He FELT
their silent anger and hate. I saw how each black thought that
ran through the minds of the women, as he passed them, fed the
demons and gave them renewed power. The silent curses and the
hard thoughts went out like a dark damp cloud, settled upon him,
and hung about him, making it impossible for his guardian angel
to reach his heart.
"The cloud clung cold about him as he got into his one-horse
closed carriage. It made his voice sound gruff and surly, as he
said to the coachman, 'Home, and look sharp about it!' It sent a
thrill of hurt feeling through the man, who had looked for a
civil word, making him whip the horse when there was no
"The animal started with pain and dashed off nearly knocking down
a little child. This made the coachman draw up suddenly and gave
him a fright. He is a kind-hearted man and has children of his
own. The shock angered him afresh and he swore under his breath
and whipped the horse again. Another injustice formed additional
dark clouds until inside and outside, round carriage, horse, and
driver, a heavy pall of evil influence traveled.
"Wherever it passed, a deadly shiver ran through the air. It did
not once lift its cold weight all the way home. It met, and
drove through many clouds as black as or blacker than its own.
The crowded streets are often filled with mere moving masses of
varying darkness, lighted here and there by a ray of golden light
surrounding a pure loving heart. These shades are the evil,
selfish thoughts of men haunting the beings that gave them birth.
"When the master stepped from his carriage into the richly
furnished hall, it was horrible to the seeing eye. Evil thoughts
hung heavily in the air.
"The master is a rich man and his wife is a rich woman with money
of her own, but they want to seem even richer than they are.
Every two-shilling piece must do the work of half-a-crown. The
wife is killing her soul and destroying her body working with her
brain as unceasingly as does the hardest worked tailor at the
workshop with her fingers to accomplish her self-imposed task.
"Mother, her work kills more quickly than yours. It helps
humanity less. It feeds selfishness, pride, and ambition more.
The coat you make keeps some poor man warm. They will carry on
your good work for you long after they have passed from your
hands. The money you earn clothes and feeds our bodies, helping
us to stay here as long as we can to learn the lesson that life
must teach. Her work does no one any good and the miserable
creature knows it.
"Day after day, she plans and contrives new decorations for the
house, new toilettes for herself and children, new economics for
the household. Day after day, her guardian angel whispers
unceasingly, 'What is the good of it all? What is the good?' She
hears the voice and is sick and weary unto death. She dare not
stand, grumble, and swear as the girls at the workshop do. She
must keep a smile on her face and have a courteous answer ready
for everyone who speaks to her. For she wishes that others to
think her free from care, a lady.
"You would pity her, mother, as much as poor drunken Bess, if you
could see and hear what I have seen tonight. Her thought and
contrivances for show are bearing fruit. She has not toiled in
vain. Sighs and moans of pain come forth from the carpets on the
floor, the furniture in the rooms, the pictures on the walls, and
the books in the cases. The cries of disappointed hopes,
weariness, and suffering given forth by the men and women who
made them are echoed again in low solos that tremble through the
house. No health and happiness can abide there. It has no true
"The servants are overworked and the worst instead of the best of
their human nature is called forth. Though they wear pretty
dresses, smart caps, and embroidered aprons, though they put on
pleasant smiles, their aching limbs and rebellious hearts carry
anxiety and hopeless sorrow wherever they go. In the kitchen,
the cook is hot and worried, wasteful for want of time, and is
unjust and cross to her assistants. The gluttony that 'hurries
her off her feet' moves her soul in protest and she stirs disease
into every dainty dish.
"In the nursery, there is sickness begotten of maternal vanity.
Whooping cough has declared itself. The mother loves her babes,
but she must trust them to a nurse that she has hired for good
looks and low wages for the mother's presence is wanted in twenty
places at once. Death hovers over one little bed, but no one
"Tired, anxious, racked with neuralgia, and torn with fear, is
the mistress of that household as she meets the scowling master
on the doorstep with a forced and patient smile. If you could
lift the curtain, mother, you would see more beauty in our poor
home than in that grand house at Brixton.
"Here comes Bill with the harebells and the grasses he has
gathered for me on Tooting Beck."
INSIGHT INTO REALITY ACCORDING TO THE JAPANESE SHINGON TEACHING
By Beatrice Lane Suzuki
[From THE ARYAN PATH, May 1936, pages 217-20.]
There is a religious teaching in Japan that claims to be able to
open the mind to see Reality. This is the Shingon or "True Word"
school of Mahayana Buddhism. It is akin historically and
spiritually to certain teachings in India, but like much that the
Japanese have taken from others, it has been adapted to the
Japanese mind and transformed by the Japanese spirit.
Shingon is said to have originated with the great teacher
Nagarjuna, who discovered in a temple in South India the two
precious sutras, the Dainichikyo (Sanskrit: Mahavairochana) and
the Kongochokyo (Sanskrit: Vajrashekhara). But, according to
Shingon, Nagarjuna thought out and systematized Sakya's teaching,
Sakya was indeed his inspiration. Not all of Sakya's teaching is
contained in the Pali scriptures. Shingon like Zen claims a
secret transmission from the Buddha handed down orally and to a
certain extent preserved in Sanskrit manuscripts. Nagarjuna
handed down the sutras that he found through a series of
illustrious teachers in India and China, until they came to
Keikwa, the teacher of Kobo Daishi, the great
scholar-priest-saint of Japan.
Kobo Daishi was a most remarkable man whether we view him as
religionist, social worker, scholar, painter, sculptor, or
general man of affairs. So tremendous was his prestige --
spiritual, artistic, and human -- that the remembrance of it has
survived to this day, and almost all Japanese consider dim as one
of the greatest geniuses that Japan has ever produced.
Kobo Daishi, to call him by his official and posthumous title,
previously known as Kukai, was born in 774 A.D. He entered the
priesthood while young. He practiced austerities and read the
scriptures. When he found in an old temple the sutra of
Dainichi, all his doubts cleared up. He resolved to go to China
to learn the doctrine. He obtained Imperial permission and left
for China when he was thirty-two years old. There he studied at
the temple of Seiryuji in Choan under Keikwa and received Kwanjo.
Upon his return, he spread the teaching not only at the Imperial
Court among the aristocracy but also among all classes of people.
He opened up the mountain of Koya and established a group of
temples there. This collection of temples, still existing today,
is the chief headquarters for Shingon teaching. Here is the
college systematically teaching the Shingon doctrine and the
temples where daily practice is performed.
The main idea of Shingon is what cosmotheism. The universe is a
manifestation of the Supreme Buddha, Mahavairochana, and is
composed of six elements: earth, water, fire, air (wind), ether,
and consciousness, making up the body of Mahavairochana. His
thoughts, words, and actions make up the thoughts, words, and
actions of the universe and are called The Three Secrets. We, as
apparently imperfect reflections of him, are to try to make our
thoughts, words, and actions as much like his as possible. How
to do this is the teaching of the system of Shingon Buddhism.
The Shingon mandala is of great help, for to understand the
mandala is to understand oneself. The two chief mandala are
pictorial representations of the universe in symbolic
presentation, the Kongo (Sanskrit: Vajradhatu) representing the
wisdom side of the Eternal Buddha, and the Taizo (Sanskrit:
Garbhakosha), the side of Compassion; the Kongo also shows the
fulfilled enlightened aspect of the Buddha but the Taizo shows
the growing universe. Although these pictures depict many
Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, and others, remember that these many
Buddhas and Bodhisattvas are not separate personalities but are
simply the varied aspects of the one Eternal Buddha. In the
phenomenal world, they may be seen as personal, but in the
absolute world as the Dharmakaya.
All these holy figures and the symbology of their attitudes and
the objects they hold must be considered a device (upaya) for
opening the mind to see Reality. The method is different from
that of Zen, but it is a striving for the same end. The mandala
is to be regarded as the representation of the quality of the
Eternal Buddha, Mahavairochana, and it reveals the divine nature
of all beings. All appearances are contained in the mandala,
whether dog, tree, stone, man, or Bodhisattva, for the whole
universe is Mahavairochana. His substance is the Six Elements
and his activity the Three Secrets.
The Shingon calls enlightenment Sokushinjobutsu, which means to
become Buddha in this body, and the aim of all its practices is
to attain this even if only in a slight degree. It has a variety
of methods adapted to different classes of persons. For the more
ignorant, there are ceremonies and rituals of all kinds to put
them on the preparatory path. For the more enlightened, these
rituals assume deep meanings. Some of these rituals are
performances to symbolize the body, speech, and mind of the
Eternal Buddha by means of gestures (mudra), words (mantra), and
These mystical teachings and practices are taught to priests and
earnest laymen. Among them are the ceremonies of Kwanjo,
commonly translated as baptism but differing much from the usual
meaning of that word; rituals connected with the mandala and with
the fire ceremony. Ceremonies are considered helpful rather than
necessary. They make a path and are not goals in themselves.
There is a special meditation connected with every Buddha and
Bodhisattva aspect in the mandala. Besides these, there is the
moon meditation and perhaps the most important and significant of
all is meditation upon the letter "A" of the Sanskrit alphabet.
Through these practices, spiritual perception is gradually
cultivated and to some may come the summum bonum as in Zen, i.e.,
an insight into one's own nature and that of the Buddha, the One
The aim of the practice of the Three Secrets is to become one
with the Dharmakaya (the Absolute Buddha). As the gestures
represent his activity, we try to imitate them. As the sacred
words represent his speech, we try to speak them. With our
minds, we meditate on our oneness with him. If true
enlightenment is not obtained fully in this life, then perhaps a
glimpse will be given, and if not even this is vouchsafed, then
it serves as a preparation for the future life.
We are Buddhas now in essence because we have the Buddha nature
although phenomenally we seem far from it. The fundamental
essence of Shingon teaching is that Buddha and all beings are
one. This means not human beings only, for animals and plants
have the Buddha-nature also and are aspects of Mahavairochana.
Illusion surrounds us and obscures our vision of this truth.
Bodaishin (Bodhisattva) exists in all things animate and
inanimate and in both enlightened and unenlightened beings.
What is this Buddha-nature (Japanese: Bussho, that is,
Bodaishin)? In our hearts, we have innate Buddhahood and can
develop it. Sokushinjobutsu is to be obtained in this world, in
this body, not after death as is taught by Christianity and
certain Buddhist sects such as those that believe in Amida and
his Pure Land. In this respect, Shingon resembles Zen. Both
strive to realize that there is no birth and no death and that
Buddhahood is Here and Now. Sokushinjobutso may be described as
the opening of the Buddha's wisdom in us and the exercise of his
compassion whereby we acquire his virtues and powers.
Shingon lays much stress upon this acquiring the virtues and
powers of the Buddha and asserts that it is possible to do so.
It says that by the practice of the Three Secrets we can acquire
the powers and appropriate the virtues of the Buddha-well-being;
happiness, compassion, and wisdom. Wisdom and Compassion are the
two foundation posts of Mahayana Buddhism. The Shingon devotee
makes four great vows at the beginning of his practice:
> However innumerable sentient beings are, I vow to save them.
> However inexhaustible the passions are, I vow to extinguish them.
> However innumerable the Dharmas are, I vow to study them.
> However incomparable the Buddha-truth is, I vow to attain it.
Shingon systematic practice begins with the Kwanjo, which means
that the aspirant deliberately of his own free will starts upon
the career of the Bodhisattva. He then proceeds to learn the
rituals with the view of endeavoring to realize his oneness with
Mahavairochana. Practice must be united with Faith and by faith
is meant faith in the teachings of Non-duality and
Sokushinjobutsu. The two great sutras -- Dainichikyo and
Kongochokyo explain the doctrine of Funi isshin (one Mind, not
two), the former from the standpoint of Compassion and the latter
from that of Wisdom.
Shingon explains the true nature of the Dharmakaya Buddha.
According to Shingon, it is not empty and formless as in the
teaching of some schools of Buddhism, but of real substance with
which we can unite, substance that is true and permanent.
When we are enlightened, the Dharmakaya is found to be not
formless and empty but active, and we understand the meaning of
the Great Self and the true teaching of non-ego that is emptiness
of the small self but not of the Great Self that unites itself
According to Mahayana Buddhism, and especially Shingon, the
conception of Nirvana is different from that as generally
explained in Buddhism. Many writers on Buddhism consider Nirvana
to be extinction but Shingon conceives of it as the Absolute
Reality and equivalent to Enlightenment. In Nirvana, the self
enlarges to become one with all other selves in Mahavairochana.
In Nirvana, true individuality is not lost. Each individual is
the center of the universe, but he must realize that all other
beings are himself. This is anatta, which is different from the
Hinayana conception. Shingon says that we must not cling to the
small self but enlarge it to contain all others. This
constitutes the Real Self and the knowledge of it is Nirvana that
is full of Bliss.
The field of supreme enlightenment is Bodaishin. The great
enlightenment of Mahavairochana is tranquil, bright, and filled
with compassion for all beings. The sutra says that the Buddha
sees all over the universe and knows that all can realize
Buddhahood. The whole trouble with us unenlightened beings is
that we regard ourselves as separate when in reality we unite in
the Dharmakaya. This is the true meaning of non-ego.
What is Shingon?
It is the teaching of non-duality, of Buddha-nature, of
enlightenment, of union with the One that brings the Vision of
Truth and the Insight into Reality.
A CALL TO ACTION: INDIVIDUAL REGENERATION OR WORLD CHAOS?
By A. Trevor Barker
[From THE HILL OF DISCERNMENT, pages 19-26.]
> For our doctrines to react practically on the so-called moral
> code or the ideas of truthfulness, purity, self-denial, charity,
> etc. we have to popularize knowledge of Theosophy. . . . For
> as everyone knows, total emancipation from authority of the one
> all-pervading power or law called God by the priests -- Buddha,
> Divine Wisdom, and enlightenment or Theosophy by the philosophers
> of all ages -- means also the emancipation from that of human
> law. Once unfettered and delivered from their dead weight of
> dogmatic interpretations, personal names, anthropomorphic
> conceptions, and salaried priests, the fundamental doctrines of
> all religions will be proved identical in their esoteric meaning.
> Osiris, Krishna, Buddha, and Christ will be shown as different
> names for the same royal highway to final bliss -- NIRVANA.
> Mystical Christianity, that is to say that Christianity that
> teaches self-redemption through our own seventh principle -- this
> liberated Para-Atma (Augoeides) called by some Christ, by others
> Buddha, and equivalent to regeneration or rebirth in spirit --
> will be found just the same truth as the Nirvana of Buddhism.
> All of us have to get rid of our own Ego, the illusory apparent
> SELF, to recognize our true self in a transcendental divine life.
> If we would not be selfish, we must strive to make other people
> see that truth, to recognize the reality of that transcendental
> self, the Buddh, the Christ or God of every preacher.
> -- LETTERS FROM THE MASTERS OF THE WISDOM
We recognize no higher authority than the writer of that letter
does and therefore at least all Theosophists will pay a good deal
of attention to these words that come from a great Master of
Wisdom, although it is from an abridged letter. The point that I
want to draw attention to is that it does not very much matter
what you call this universal Divine principle in nature --
something that the Christian is accustomed to call "God." In
older times in Egypt, they referred to it as Osiris. The
Buddhists look upon it as Nirvana. The Hindus look upon it as
Brahman, with the Teacher, the incarnate God, as Krishna.
(Many of you are probably familiar with Krishna through the Hindu
epic of THE MAHABHARATA where he appears as the Divine Teacher
speaking to Arjuna in very much the same way as the Jesus of the
Gospels is the God incarnate giving his Divine message to the
Theosophists of that age.)
I want to talk to you about the problem of how we are going to
contribute something -- to do our part in solving the crisis
towards which Europe and the Western peoples generally are
hurtling at breakneck speed. You and I know, if we have read the
signs aright, that something is on the way, and that something we
are going towards very, very fast; and unless there is a
universal Spiritual awakening immediately, particularly amongst
the Western peoples -- this civilization is in danger of
Can the Theosophical Movement contribute to the solution of that
problem in a dynamic and practical way that you and I as ordinary
men and women can apply? Otherwise, we are going to talk high
metaphysics and be generally and beautifully vague, not really
getting down to brass tacks in our own lives, and certainly not
bringing any real influence to bear upon the hearts and minds of
the people at large or the world in general.
One purpose of the Theosophical Movement is to change the hearts
and minds of the peoples of the world so that we can usher in a
new world order. We do not base our purpose upon selfish and
materialistic thinking and living, but rather upon the
realization by each individual man that he is literally the
Temple of an incarnate God. He IS an incarnate God. This Deity
is his very essence, the root of his being, which means, if you
understand it correctly, that we -- not as separate isolated
personalities, but as Spiritual beings -- are one with the heart
of the Universe.
Again not to be abstruse and metaphysical, but striving to find
words to express the sublimity of the idea, the Universal Self is
the same in any of us. It is that something in which we live and
move and have our being. It is nearer to us than hands and feet
and closer than breathing.
All men and women can, if they will, have at their command the
knowledge, the wisdom, and the power to solve the world problem
we are facing today, stopping this headlong rush along the broad
road to destruction. Do you believe that to be a practical
possibility? I do and that is why I am here tonight.
Every man and woman who seizes hold of the ideas that I am going
to lay before you can in proportion to their sincerity, their
determination, and self-abnegation become resolvers of chaos,
first in their own lives, then in their homes, and then in their
towns and nations. Thus by transforming and changing the lives
of individuals, they become instruments for the universal
splendor of Divine power, wisdom, and love to flow into the
world. Wherever we live, we shall be able to bring to bear that
resolving, ameliorating, inspiriting, purifying, energizing, and
dynamic force of the Supreme itself.
It is useless to talk about serving humanity in some vague way
and appealing to people in the mass. We cannot do it if we
cannot go to a single individual and meet his needs and problems.
Unless you and I as individual Theosophists are convinced from
having proved it in our own lives, from having conquered
ourselves, and are therefore able honestly and sincerely to
declare a victory where we previously had defeat, we cannot do
anything. It is useless to attempt to solve the world problem
until we have solved our own problem. Theosophy is there if you
If you do not want it, it has nothing to say to you. You may
have suffered. You may have struggled. You may have had to
register defeat in your moral and spiritual life. Show us the
man or woman who has not! If you see men, women, and children
around you that you want to help by bringing to them the saving
and regenerating power of Spiritual knowledge, you recognize that
you never can do it until learning the secret of regenerating
your own life and making of yourself a reborn, spiritual man.
Does this mean years and years and years of studying endless
books and a tremendously complex, metaphysical, and philosophical
system or is it something you can apply here and now? Again,
there is no time to teach men abstruse metaphysics and philosophy
in this hour of universal crisis. The World is on the brink of
collapse. It is not an economic collapse, but rather a spiritual
If a man collapses, it is because his spiritual life is at fault.
If our own nation and homes are in chaos, misery, or disharmony,
it is because the spiritual life of that home -- the spiritual
lives of the individuals concerned in it -- is wrong. It is the
mission of the Theosophical Movement at all times, but
particularly in these hours when we are hurtling to destruction,
to change this state of affairs and to change it rapidly -- but
this means you and me. You cannot leave it to somebody else.
The human race consists of individuals and you are one of them.
Perhaps by now you will be wondering how you can accomplish these
things. First, you will have to ask yourself the question, "Do I
believe that in my own inmost essence there is Divinity, Power,
Wisdom, and Knowledge?" If you believe in it because you have
experienced its strength and its peace then your problem is how
to incarnate it in your life so that you become a center of
conscious, dynamic, spiritual energy -- going out into the world
as ordinary men and women but capable spiritually of doing
extraordinary things. That is the first question you have to ask
yourself, "Do I believe in the Divinity and power of my own
innermost nature." If so, how are you to reach it and make it
effective so that it will not only transform your own life, but
also transform the environment around you?
Do you believe that the Sermon on the Mount is a practical
affair, a practical statement that can be lived in this modern
world by ordinary men and women? Do you regard it as a beautiful
ideal to be put on the shelf somewhere and worshiped from a
distance -- to dream about as a possibility for us in some
infinitely remote future? Do you think that that great mastermind
that lived and worked in Palestine meant what he said when he
commanded all men to be perfect as their Father in Heaven is
perfect? Many shrug their shoulders and say, "Stuff, platitudes,
impractical nonsense!" What do YOU think about it? I believe it
is not only practical, but also is sheer folly to ignore it.
Of course, it means if you are going to tackle it, you have to
begin with being honest with yourselves and with others. It
means sincerity; it means truth in daily living; it means love at
all times, circumstances, and situations. I do not mean personal
love. I mean Divine love, shining like the sun impersonally for
all men, whether you like them or whether you dislike them,
whether they are your friends or you think them your foes.
Therefore, it means unselfishness, real unselfishness, absolute
unselfishness, to the fullest extent and power of your being.
There are four keynotes: honesty, unselfishness, love, and purity
of life, of beauty of thought, heart, and mind. Is that an
impossible standard? If we are serious, it must not be an
impossible standard. It has to be the only standard that is
worth living by. It is the condition of our success. It is the
condition of our power to save the situation today.
You cannot change yourselves, make yourselves over in a day, or
conquer yourselves as you are with your feeble personal will.
You cannot do it. We differentiate now the personal man from his
Divine counterpart of which he is the child.
Somehow, you have to find the means of dropping that personal
self and losing your ego, of losing your life and finding it in a
spiritual regeneration and rebirth. You have to find the means
of uniting the scattered parts of your being, parts pulled hither
and thither in this direction and that. When they are unified,
you can conquer yourself and transform your life, affecting the
environment in which you live for good.
If you have reached the point where you have suffered enough,
when you really hate the rotten, weak side of your nature, with
its faults and weaknesses, and have within you that yearning of
your heart towards what you may call God or Deity, or Goodness or
Wisdom -- then you can do something.
Make no mistake about it, it means you have to exert every ounce
of physical, emotional, psychic, intellectual and spiritual
powers that you possess. You will have to go all out for it.
You will have to dedicate everything that you are and have.
Every day, surrender your personal will and your personal ego.
If you know how to pray in the real sense of the word, which
means the upward urge of your purified desire or aspiration to
the God within you, to the universal and supreme Spirit that
dwells within you and around you everywhere, it will flow into
you. It will make you a new being instinct with power to change
yourself and the world.
You cannot do it by yourself, but you need the power of the
Supreme itself -- God, Buddha, or Christ. It does not matter
what you call it. It is a Divine power, a Godlike power. Every
one of us is an incarnate God. We have only to learn how to lose
ourselves, forget ourselves, and make ourselves instruments
willing to go anywhere, to do anything dictated by that inward
power of Divinity to get a new direction in our lives, a
This is not an impossible dream, but minute-to-minute,
hour-to-hour, and day-to-day direct guidance and inspiration.
Every man and woman that lives can do that if he or she wants to.
Moreover, it is the ONLY thing making life worth living.
There is an old saying that one man and God is a majority, and
he, because one man dedicated, cleansed, purified, and filled
with the power of the spirit, can work what seem to the ordinary
man and woman miracles. They can change the lives of people and
help them to recognition of their own divine nature.
I have seen it work. I have seen men and women who have all
their lives registered spiritual and moral defeat transformed by
just these ideas. They are ordinary men and women. Their faces
reflect the splendor of a risen sun. They are able to bring into
the lives of others, into their businesses, into their factories
-- aye, into the very Parliaments -- the strength, peace, and
spiritual vision that is theirs.
That work is going on, but it is not going on fast enough. The
Theosophical Movement must wake up and do something about it.
Wherever there is a Theosophical Lodge, provided those who are
responsible for it have dedicated themselves strongly enough,
they will become centers of that holy and spiritual power that
will enable them to take the message of good news, glad tidings,
hope, and spiritual beneficence everywhere they go.
The world problem is the individual problem. Once we change
ourselves, and what is more, invoke the Holy Spirit within us to
bring about that alchemical transmutation and change that can
only take place in a dedicated life, then we will begin really to
When we can live with others and ourselves a life of purity,
selflessness, and love in terms of absolute honesty and
sincerity, we have taken the first step. This is the first step
on the small, ancient, and narrow way that leads to Life. Even
in that short time, we shall have done enough to make a profound
impression upon the collective state of the world's misery.
Just imagine if all the Theosophical and religious communities
throughout the world were filled with regenerated, vital,
spiritual, and purposeful men and women. Is there any limit to
the possibilities? None. There would be no universal chaos under
those conditions. We have to work a spiritual revolution and we
cannot do it unless we work a spiritual revolution in OURSELVES.
That we can do if we want to. Every man and woman of us has the
responsibility to be up and doing in this hour.
HEAVEN OF THE EARTHY HOME
By Steven Levey
Home is amongst the highest cause.
It is the world of our lives
And contains all of the Universal laws.
The outer is only four walls
But in our heart
Lies the home of trust, so called.
Therefore, whatever confusion
Might pass before us
Needs ever to be swept away,
As a wind scatters whatever was
Not tied down yesterday.
There is beauty in this, because,
Our neighbors may know,
As a by-product of our love,
Increased light in their lives.
They may not know how or why
But an uncommon peace may thrive.
The wisdom of this
Comes from toilsome practice.
So let no one think
That this practical knowledge
Comes along by accident.
And let us live without
Expectation, but as those
Who know, that compassion
And right motive alone
Can make of heaven
The Earthy home.
THE BRIGHT BATTLE: OLYMPIC GAMES
By Erica Letzerich
(Erica Letzerich is an active worker for Theosophy in the Athens,
Greece area. For more information on local theosophical work,
write Theosophical Society in Greece; 25A, Voukourestiou Str.;
Athens 10671; GREECE; +30 210-362-0702 [phone]; +30 210-361-0961
[fax]; or see their website at
Mens Sana in Corpore Sano (A Health Mind in a Health Body)
All over the world, two billion people watched the opening of The
Olympic Games. Here in Greece, as a natural consequence of the
terrorist attacks that afflicted United States and most recently
Spain, there was great tension in the air. As the countdown
started, the heartbeat of Greeks accelerated. That was natural
since after 108 years the Olympic Games have returned to its
spiritual home. Would be everything be all right? Would Greece
have the ability to make a great and safe opening?
The opening ceremony started. Soon we watched the ancient God
Eros enter the Olympic stadium, hovering over the procession
representing the different Hellenistic periods. The ceremony had
moments of strong emotion. The crowd received the Iraqi
delegation with great applause, whereas it did not receive the
great American delegation so well. This was a natural
consequence of the anti-American protests resulting from
international resentment of the American invasion of Iraqi.
Today the Olympic Games are not only a world celebration for
peace but also a practice of the ideals of the Universal
Brotherhood using an organized system overtaking barriers
including color, sex, nationality, and religion. Unfortunately,
the effort could not trespass the barriers of the capitalistic
premises so deeply rooted in our society, clearly an impediment
for the practical ideals of Universal Brotherhood. With all the
preparation for the Olympics here in Greece, debts face the
government, certain to affect the lives of every member of
society. We do not consider the poor, victims of our unjust
system, seeing with their eyes the pomposity of the opening of
the games while not having a loaf of bread to eat. Ironically,
Eros seems to have forgotten the millions inhabiting of our
planet that are victims of an unjust system, to be floating
upon the pomposity of human hypocrisy.
Even so, the Olympic Games are of great importance for the world.
They represent the ancient ideals of human perfection. Seeking
to understand the deep meaning of the Games, let us make a short
journey into its roots and symbolic meaning.
SETTING THE STAGE
What was the meaning of the Olympic Games in ancient times? We
begin our search for an answer by analyzing the myth and
etymology of "Olympus." The word "Olympia" is an adjective of
"Olympus" from the Greek verb "labo" (shiny), so "Olympus" means
shining or brilliant.
According to the writer Homer, Poseidon rules the sea, Hades the
dead, Zeus the heavens, and Olympus is common to all three. The
entrance to Olympus was a great gate of clouds, kept by the
Seasons. It was where the twelve great gods lived, slept, and
held court. In its great halls, they feasted on ambrosia and
nectar while being entertained by Apollo's lyre.
Olympus is also the highest Greek mountain. Some say that on the
great rocks of the mountain's peak, they can see the throne of
Zeus. Such an association is profane.
In the ancient Greek Mysteries, Olympus was the residence of the
twelve immortal Gods. The spiritual planetary hierarchy resided
in Olympus; spiritual light comes to earth from this special
place. Only the immortal gods could live there. In spite of
their immortality, such Gods had human feeling and thought. They
had the full complexity of emotional life including feeling
jealousy and anger as they plotted and betrayed each other.
Blavatsky refers to the gods of Olympus as sevenfold.
> (1) Of the NOUMENA of the intelligent Powers of nature;
> (2) of Cosmic Forces;
> (3) of celestial bodies;
> (4) of gods or Dhyan Chohans;
> (5) of psychic and spiritual powers;
> (6) of divine kings on earth (or the incarnations of the gods);
> (7) of terrestrial heroes or men.
> -- H.P. Blavatsky, THE SECRET DOCTRINE, II, page 765
The Olympic gods symbolize the full spectrum of manifestation
from the most transitory everyday expressions to the most sublime
aspects of life. Such forces reside in Olympus, universal space,
the place where all phenomena of manifested life takes place, the
unwrapped invisible robes of the eternal mother. This includes
the very place where we now move and breath, reaching up to the
most refined and sublime levels. Olympus also symbolizes the bridge
that connects our lowers principles with the higher, that is
Manas, which blends the transitory human nature with the divine.
That is why the very word "Olympus" means shiny, symbolizing the
intelligent active mind in the world of form.
The Greek word for Games is "agonas" (agony), meaning earnest
endeavor, striving, anguish, or battle. It is also
"psychomahito" (soul battle), a definition I found in the
Dictionary of X.V. Giovanis. Therefore, we could translate
"Olympic Games" as "the bright battle of the soul in the manifest
world." The Games are the great battle or agony that takes place
in Olympus, the universal space. There is no nobler and more
challenging battle than the one that takes place within the self,
in the heart and mind of humanity whose victory crowns one with
THE ORIGIN OF THE OLYMPIC GAMES
It is impossible to trace the origin of the Olympic Games, lost
in the sands of time. Early Egyptians had their own games, with
many sports mentioned in their ancient hieroglyphs. The Egyptian
culture may have influenced the development of the Greek Games.
In Greek poetry and epics, we find different mythical sources
ascribed to the origin of the games. In her "Theogony of the
Creative Gods," Blavatsky tells us that:
> For a myth . . . means oral tradition, passed from mouth to mouth
> from one generation to the other; and even in the modern
> etymology the term stands for a FABULOUS statement conveying some
> important truth; a tale of some extraordinary personage whose
> biography has become overgrown, owing to the veneration of
> successive generations, with rich popular fancy, but which is no
> WHOLESALE fable.
> -- H.P. Blavatsky, THE SECRET DOCTRINE, I, 425
ZEUS AND KRONOS
We read of the battle over the world between Zeus, the Great god,
and his father, the titan Kronos. Zeus won and become the king
of the Gods. To celebrate his victory, he established the
Olympic Games. Apollo competed against Hermes in a foot race and
with Ares in boxing. He won both. Note that Kronos also relates
to the planet Saturn and is considered the god of cycles and
Legend says that King Iphitos lived around 900 BC. Upset because
civil war and plague were destroying Greece, he asked the oracle
at Delphi what he could do to avoid catastrophe. The oracle
suggested that he should hold the Olympic Games and insist on
peace while they were going on.
Oenomaus, king of Pisa (a town near Olympia), had been told by an
oracle that he would be killed by the husband of his beautiful
daughter, Hippodameia. Trying to avoid this, he declared that
whoever wished to marry Hippodameia must beat him in a chariot
race. If the challenger lost, though, he would pay for his
failure with his life. It was impossible to beat Oenomaus,
because he used the chariot of this father, the god Ares, with
immortal horses. Many young men that aspired to marry his
daughter instead found death in the challenge of the chariot
Pelops and Hippodameia felt crazily in love. To marry her,
Pelops had to win the race, so he bribed the King's driver,
Myrtilus, promising him half of the kingdom. The driver replaced
the linchpins of the chariot of Oenomaus with wax pegs, which
melted when the axles heated up during the race, causing the
wheels to fall off and the King's death. Winning the race,
Pelops married Hippodameia and became King of Pisa. Instead of
giving Myrtilus, the chariot driver, his reward, Pelops threw him
into the sea, killing him. The sea west of Peloponnesus, where
Pelops threw his body, yet bears his name, the Myrtoan Sea.
HERACLES -- HERCULES
Myth also considers the great hero Heracles responsible for
founding the Games. One of his twelve tasks was to clean out the
massive stables of King Augeas. Heracles diverted the river
Alpheios so that it flowed through the stables. When finished
with his heroic task, Heracles celebrated. He made a clearing in
the sacred grove at Olympia and established the games there to
History tells us is that the games started in Greece in 776 BC
when Koberos won a race. (He was a young man from the city of
Elis, the capital of the state in which the Games were held.)
People lauded the winning athletes as heroes for life, often
elevating them to the status of royalty in their hometowns.
People erected statues in their honor around the extraordinary
Temple of Zeus, near the Sacred Grove of Altis and the stadium at
Olympia. The games endured for twelve centuries until by the
Roman Emperor Theodosius abolished them, considering them but a
REVIVAL AND SYMBOLS OF THE GAMES
In 1896 with great glamour, the first contemporary Games took
place in Athens in the Panathenaic Stadium. Historians consider
Baron de Coubertin responsible for its revival. He conceived the
Olympic Games to be a new civic religion, with its own symbols,
traditions, rites, and ceremonies. In fact, an entire religious
ritualism was included into the Olympic ceremonies. There were
the Olympic oath, the parade-procession of countries, the
lighting of the Olympic flame (by vestal virgins in the ancient
altar to Hera in Olympia), and the symbol of the dove and
THE INTERLOCKING RINGS
The most known symbol of the Olympic Games is the five
interlocking rings. They represent the five continents. We find
the five colors of the rings on most flags of the world. The
plain white background of the Olympic flag is symbolic of the
peace in the world throughout the games.
The loftiest ideal symbolized by the interlocking rings is that
diversity coexists within the essential unity of life. This is
the main concept found in the ancient wisdom: the essential unity
of life. The five links symbolize our five continents,
harmonically organized upon the system of interlocking rings.
Therein, diversity expresses itself in the different colors of
the ring, where harmonic interaction results in peace.
Such a Symbol reminds us of the foremost object of the
Theosophical Society, Universal Brotherhood. In THE KEY TO
THEOSOPHY, the inquirer asks:
> How, then, should Theosophical principles be applied so that
> social cooperation may be promoted and true efforts for social
> amelioration be carried on?
The Theosophist answers,
> Let me briefly remind you what these principles are -- universal
> Unity and Causation; Human Solidarity; the Law of Karma;
> Reincarnation. These are the four links of the golden chain
> which should bind humanity into one family, one universal
> -- H.P. Blavatsky, THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY, in Section 12, "The
> Relation of the Theosophical Society to Political Reforms."
> The dove and very blessed spirit of peace.
> -- William Shakespeare, King Henry the Fourth, Part II
> (Westmoreland at IX, i)
In many different traditions, the dove symbolized peace and
innocence. In ancient Greek mythology, it was the sacred symbol
of Aphrodite, representing love and life. In ancient Japan, it
carried a sword but symbolized the end of war. In Europe, one
tradition said that if a dove flew around a house where someone
was dying, his or her soul would be at peace. In addition, there
are legends that say the devil can turn himself into any bird
except a dove. In Christian art, the dove symbolizes the Holy
Ghost, often painted above Christ's head. Blavatsky refers to it
as the symbol of the Higher Manas with the glory of Buddhi.
THE OLYMPIC FLAME AND THE TORCH RELAY
> It is but the Occultist, the Eastern Adept, who stands a Free Man,
> omnipotent through his own Divine Spirit as much as man can
> be on earth. He has rid himself of all human conceptions and
> religious side issues. He is at one and the same time a Chaldean
> Sage, a Persian Magi, a Greek Theurgist, an Egyptian Hermetist, a
> Buddhist Arhat, and an Indian Yogi. He has collected into one
> bundle all the separate fractions of Truth widely scattered over
> the nations, and holds in his hands the One Truth, a torch of
> light that no adverse wind can bend, blow out, or even cause to
> waver. Not he the Prometheus who robs but a portion of the
> Sacred Fire, and therefore finds himself chained to Mount
> Caucasus for his intestines to be devoured by vultures, for he
> has secured God within himself, and depends no more on the whim
> and caprice of either good or evil deities.
> -- H.P. Blavatsky, COLLECTED WRITINGS, III, 267, "The Himalayan
> Brothers," in "The Spiritualist," London, August 12, 1881
The relay of the Olympic flame recalls a Greek race with torches,
considered of profound liturgical value. It symbolized the fire
that Prometheus stole from the Greek god Zeus. A fire was kept
burning throughout the celebration of the ancient Olympics.
Originally lit at Olympia during the opening ceremony, a relay
carried the fire to the host city of the games. That fire rite
is present in many ancient traditions. Blavatsky mentions that
> Phrygia, Phoenicia, the Troad, Thrace, Egypt, Lemnos or Sicily,
> their cult was always connected with fire; their temples ever
> built in the most volcanic localities, and in exoteric worship
> they belonged to Chthonian divinities.
In ancient Egypt mythology, we find the Lion Goddess Sekhmet
(worshiped in Memphis) as the wife of Pthah. Legend says Ra
created her from the fire of his eyes to be a creature of
vengeance to punish humanity for its sins. In ancient Greece,
rituals to Aphrodite's husband, the Great god Hephaestus
(Vulcan), expressed the cult of fire. Persians also worshiped
the great Hindu god Agni. He had three forms: the sun,
lightening, and fire. That great god is connected to everything
that burns and is aflame, such as the sun, heat, and lust and
Ancient civilizations had a universal belief that fire was a
divine element related to the most elevated expressions of human
nature but also paradoxically to human lust and passion. The
fire of one's passions could damn him or her whereas the fire of
purification could liberate one. In his first ennead, Plotinus
> We may think of the Divine as a fire whose outgoing warmth
> pervades the Universe or upon whatsoever is transmitted by the
> one Soul (the divine first Soul) to the other.
The Olympic flame symbolizes the immortal principle within human
nature, Atman. The torch relay reminds us of the help Elder
Brothers provide in awakening the spiritual principles in
THE BRIGHT BATTLE
Today, the Olympic Games -- or Bright Battle -- keep alive in the
modern world ancient ideals. Not generally understood by
athletes nor society, these ideals do not base themselves upon
competition, but rather upon the belief that mastery of the
physical body went hand-in-hand with mastery of mind. In the
Ancient Wisdom, this mastery was fundamental to being able to
reach an elevated human condition or tread the inner path. In
many scriptures of quite ancient religions, we find how important
to a flourishing nobler character was physical development and
discipline. It went alongside the cultivation of virtue.
Seneca mentions many individual and competitive sports in his
philosophical writing. He advices, "Forget about 'the burn' and
don't worry about 'the pain,' because the object shouldn't be 'to
gain' hulking." He believed that moderate exercise would help the
development of character, so according to him, one should
exercise to obtain (1) a good mind, (2) good spiritual health,
and (3) health of the body.
In THE VOICE OF THE SILENCE, Blavatsky also reminds us of the
importance for spiritual development of keeping a balance between
body and mind:
> Thy Soul cannot be hurt but through thy erring body; control and
> master both, and thou art safe when crossing to the nearing "Gate
> of Balance."
Ancient civilizations considered a divine ability to achieve the
elements required to be a good Athlete, including a physical
level of perfect concentration, self-control, and discipline. In
reality, the discipline of an athlete is akin to the discipline
of the secret science, which includes self-denial, devotion to the
Master, pure diet, and abstinence from alcohol. Unfortunately,
society has lost such ideals and the purpose of many athletes is
to win without cultivating Arete (virtue, esoteric excellence,
and doing one's best.)
In his Golden Sayings, the Greek philosopher Epictetus relates how
austere the discipline was that an athlete should follow. We can
see the similarity between his thought and the first steps of
self-discipline that one undertakes to follow the Path.
> You must live by rule, submit to diet, abstain from dainty meats,
> exercise your body perforce at stated hours, in heat or in cold;
> drink no cold water, nor, it may be, wine. In a word, you must
> surrender yourself wholly to your trainer, as though to a
Of course, Epictetus emphasized the body. His discourse was to
athletes. Even so, he is similar to the esoteric rules of
Blavatsky's Practical Occultism. In ancient cultures, obtaining
perfection of the physical body was a necessary stage in
spiritual development. Not without reason, the ancient games
held by Egyptians, Hindus, and Greeks were dedicated to some
In many of his Odes, Pindar attributes three reasons to the
athlete's victory. First was a god's favor, which we may
consider reverence towards archetypal symbols of perfection.
Second was the athlete's lineage. Third was his Virtue or Arete.
The ideal of virtue or excellence went deep in ancient Greek
society. We find it in the poetry of Homer, expressing a
mythological description of the Heroic age.
In Hinduism, human perfection is closely associated with the
mastery of the physical body along with that of the emotions and
mind. One means of self-realization is Dehvada (the body way).
In the Hatha yoga tradition, one conquers and achieves liberation
or salvation through Kaya Sadhana (physical perfection). In the
Raja Yoga tradition, we find precepts in THE YOGA SUTRAS OF
PATANJALI that also emphasize the need to develop a perfect
condition in the physical body:
> 3.45 Perfection of the body consists in beauty, grace, strength,
> and adamantine hardness.
Domination of the physical body is intrinsic to the path of
self-realization. Techniques such as pranayama (breathing
exercises), asanas (body postures), and pratyahara (withdrawal of
the senses) are closely associated with the functioning of the
physical body whose mastery is fundamental to reaching a more
elevated awareness. In this sense, sports are a way to control
the body and consequently progress with control of the emotions
Heroes of the Ramayana and Mahabharata were versed in chariot,
racing, archery, military stratagems, swimming, and wrestling.
We hear that Gautama Buddha himself was great in archery,
chariot, racing, horsemanship, and hammer throwing.
In the martial arts, we trace the origin of kung fu (not present
into the Olympic Games) in the legend of the monk Bodhidharma
(also known as Ta Mo) who traveled from India to China around 500
AD. Some say he visited Shaolin monks in the Hunan Province.
While there, Bodhidharma awed the resident Chinese monks with his
mastery of meditation. The secret was his physical discipline,
something Bodhidharma saw lacking in the monks. He trained them
in exercises designed to strengthen body and thus endurance.
According to legend, Bodhidharma attained such control that could
bore a hole through a wall simply by staring at it in meditation
for a number of years. The monks used these exercises, evolving
them into kung fu. We credit Bodhidharma with spreading Zen
Buddhism to China and forming the groundwork for modern kung fu,
from which stemmed most rules and precepts governing today's
martial art forms. For example, pranayama is a yoga technique
that is greatly important in Tae Kwan Do, Karate, Judo, Sumo, and
wrestling. It was one of the many techniques promoted by
Buddhists in the Far East.
We find in many sports techniques closely related to the ancient
science of yoga. Of course, when used to simply develop the
physical body and disassociated from Arete (excellence, virtue,
being one's best), such techniques do not help one to evolve a
more elevated state of consciousness.
In Section 13 of THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY, H.P. Blavatsky has the
> I see, you regard only MORAL asceticism as necessary. It is as a
> means to an end, that end being the perfect equilibrium of the
> INNER nature of man, and the attainment of complete mastery over
> the body with all its passions and desires?
The Theosophist replies,
> Just so. But these means must be used intelligently and wisely,
> not blindly and foolishly; like an athlete who is training and
> preparing for a great contest, not like the miser who starves
> himself into illness that he may gratify his passion for gold.
When dissociated from any virtue exercising the mind and
emotions, the simple training of the physical body leads to
ambition and narcissism. The athletic world in ancient times had
elevated ideals, especially in ancient Greece, which deeply
esteemed virtue and excellence. An athlete should develop his
virtues to as high level as his physical skills. Those aspiring
to tread the esoteric path are athletes of the soul. Teachers of
all ages seriously recommend that they do not neglect their
physical bodies. This balance between tending to the inner and outer
nature we apply in everyday life so that we may develop into more
harmonic beings. If mind and body act as one, united and controlled,
one's possibilities are limitless.
Each of us is an athlete in the battle of life. Do not neglect
the physical body, the very temple of your soul! Especially if
you be a professional athlete, may the Olympic flame that shines
into your soul illuminate that temple, the physical body! This
place you find yourself in life is the great Olympic Games, the
bright battle of the soul.
THE WEIGHING OF THE SOUL
By G. de Purucker
[From WIND OF THE SPIRIT, pages 87-92.]
Our lives, our human destinies, are not the flotsam and jetsam of
an arbitrary fate, but, as symbolized in the wonderful Egyptian
ceremony or rite of the Weighing of the Heart of the Defunct, the
scales of destiny weigh all that we think and all that we feel
and all that we do. These scales weigh two things, as this
wonderful Egyptian ritual so ably demonstrates. In one pan of
the balance is the life-center, the human heart of the man who
lived but now is dead. In the other pan of the balance is the
Feather of Truth, of Reality, that naught can bribe, that naught
can sway, that naught may persuade or induce.
We see in this symbolic ritual a wonderful exemplification of
what we Theosophists call the doctrine of karma, inescapable
destiny that none and naught in infinity may change, for it is
divine law itself, which we call retribution when our evil-doings
receive it, and call compensation when our goodness or good works
receive it. Under the majestic atmosphere around all this
ritual, the man attends no judge or sentence nor is there any
pardon. He depends on naught but the very laws of being
themselves. Utter true the balance weighs, naught sways it,
naught causes it to rise, naught to fall. Think now. He is
weighed against Truth itself. Have you ever heard of Truth
bribed, swayed, persuaded, changed, modified, or influenced?
This is our Theosophical doctrine of compensation and of
retribution that we call karma: that what a man sows, that he
reaps, not something else. He cannot escape the reaping of it,
for he himself, symbolized by his heart in the pan of the scales,
is weighed against Truth. When the heart and the feather of
Truth have an even balance, the heart is of the lightness and
spirituality of truth itself, akin to truth. When evil doing and
attraction to the lower things of earth weigh down the heart, it
falls. The rising feather in the other scale is the witness, the
testimony, against the earth-charged heart that cannot rise to
make an even balance.
There is something truly majestic about this symbolic ritual. It
is full of wonderful meanings. I think the noblest is its effect
on us as human beings in our daily lives. What ye sow, that
shall ye reap. There is not a word about pardon, and if there
were any pardon in the Universe, it would throw the Universe out
of the gear of infinite justice. No mere man can commit an
infinite sin, for neither his spirit nor his soul nor again is
his strength infinite in compass. His sins are human and
therefore the weighing in the balance is human. The retribution
is human in magnitude and the compensation is likewise human in
magnitude. This is the infinite justice of Mother Nature -- of
Nature that is Spirit or Divinity and nature that is around us,
for they are one.
When a man realizes this greatest of facts in human life, his
whole life as a man is thereafter changed. He begins to feel
concern for his acts. He begins to feel concern as to what his
thoughts may be. He feels concern over how he allow his feelings
to run; for he, before his passing and what men call death, is
himself the holder of the scales, the balance. Into his heart by
his thoughts, and into his heart by his feelings, and into his
heart by the action, by the consequent actions, following upon
thought and feeling, he burdens his heart with these weights.
After death, the scales weigh him. This is not a theatrical
weighing as in the symbolic picture. He is weighed in the scales
of destiny, those very same scales that bring me or you into this
body or that, into this country or into this land or that,
strictly according to what each man in former lives has built
into himself in thought and feeling and aspiration and all the
other human feelings and emotions. These things are not chance
Now then, is it not clear that when a man realizes these things,
and they begin to flow into his heart and work upon him, his
conduct thereby is of necessity changed? Precisely as the child
who puts in his infantile innocence the finger into the candle
flame -- does it not learn? It has learned. See the immense
moral import of this wonderful symbolic representation of a man's
heart, which is his selfhood, being weighed in the scales of
cosmic justice, which no prayers can sway, which is utterly true,
for the Feather of Truth is in the other pan of the balance. No
man is unjustly condemned ever, nor suffers a hair-weight that he
himself has not merited. No man is unduly compensated for what
he has not earned, for this would be ridiculous. The universe is
incomparably sane and beautiful.
The weighing of the heart, which is the man's own self, in the
scale of destiny likewise shows us that we build our lives to
grandeur or to debasement strictly in accordance with our own
wish and will and aspiration. Our destiny lies in our own hands.
One man is not credited with the x power to succeed and the next
man credited with a y power to fail. No. We are all sparks of
the divine Heart, we all have an equal chance, and eternally have
an equal chance. If we fail, it is we who fail and pay the
penalty; but once the penalty is paid, we begin anew with a new
hope, another chance: I have paid my debt, I am now free, I begin
again. See how manly this doctrine is, and what encouragement it
gives to us. It is a doctrine of hope. There is no human
destiny so low or base that one cannot alter oneself to be
marvelously better beginning this instant. When you wish to
order for the better, the heart begins to work and to work upon
you, and to fill your mind with ideas nobler than those do that
have lived there, and feelings that are higher and sweeter and
purer by far than those you have passed through.
This is a wonderful symbolic picture of reality. What are these
scales, and how does Nature do her work? Why, we see it around us
all the time. How did I come into this body and incarnation? I
came through many chambers of the Father, as the Avatara Jesus
would phrase it. I came from the heaven-world, from the
devachan, into this world through many planes of being, dropping
downwards to this material world because I am attracted here.
Who is my guide and leader? Horus, the divine Spirit, the chief
guide of my footsteps, when I allow it -- following the Egyptian
The same forces that prevail in these material spheres do it all.
These forces cause the suns to radiate and the celestial orbs
like our earth to rotate, and cause all with confluent motion to
pass from one sphere of the cosmic planes of destiny to some
other plane. It all happens because it is all within the laws of
Thus, how do I find my way through this life? I find it by
attraction. What I have made myself to be. I am attracted here,
and that attraction will not allow me to go elsewhere. I myself
have carved my own destiny, and I am carving it now, and in the
next life I shall carve it anew; and let us hope more
symmetrically than in the last life I carved this one.
What are these halls or chambers through which Anu, Everyman of
the Egyptian ritual, has to pass before his heart is weighed
against the Feather of Truth -- light as a feather, yet holding
the universe in bonds that are never broken? What are these
chambers and halls through which the divine soul passes? They are
the various planes, the various worlds through which men after
death find their way.
How does the defunct soul, when it comes to a portal and knocks
for entrance, know the proper word? It knows by exactly the same
instinctive knowledge and attraction that the incarnate soul
coming from the devachan finds its way into its present family
and into its present body. It cannot lose its way.
What is represented by the knock of the defunct -- a beautiful
symbol again? It is simply, as it were, its approach to a new
plane, a new world, a new stage of its way on its peregrination
or pilgrimage, and it knows instinctively how to approach it, how
to enter, according to the Egyptian ritual, how to say the words
of power. They are in the soul itself.
It is experience, intuition, knowledge, the same thing we are
using here now in understanding each other, and speaking to each
other and reading together and studying together. Although we
understand each other, how do we explain understanding to someone
who does not understand what understanding is? When I say words
that knock at your mind, when a speaker knocks at your heart, it
is done with a thought, it is done with feeling, it is done with
knowledge. The portals of understanding fly open wide, and ideas
and thoughts enter into your minds, into your souls. You have
given the right knock.
That is what is meant by the chambers or halls through which the
soul passes, comes to the different portals, gives the knock of
power, and when challenged, gives the words of power that allow
him to pass. When you have built these words of power into
yourself, you pass unchallenged. If you have not evolved to the
point or are unworthy, if you have not built them into your soul,
you find yourself challenged, stopped, and sent back.
It is an old truism of our god-wisdom that from the human heart
come all the greatest issues of the world. They do not reside in
the brain-mind, for the brain-mind is the great separator of men,
the great deceiver. The heart is the unifier of men. Why is
this? It is because the heart speaks a universal language that
needs no words whereas the brain-mind speaks a language of words
that have to be interpreted from mind to mind. The heart is so
much the greater.
You know as well as I do. Out of the heart come the great issues
of life. In the heart are love, intuition, discrimination,
understanding, self-sacrifice, pity, compassion, purity,
goodness, truth, troth, and honor. Out of the mind of man come
disputes, wrangling, quarreling, an disinclination to understand
the other man, hatreds, and all the other foul brood of man's
lower nature, because it is about things out of the brain that
men are continually quarreling. They never quarrel about the
issues of the heart, for they are things of our common humanity.
For example, I love truth, and so does every human being in this
room. That is a statement directly from the heart. The mind
immediately says what kind of truth, what do you mean by truth?
Do you mean Tim's truth or Charles' truth? You see, it flops
right down and begins to argue and quarrel and spread around and
to dispute about mere details; but the heart simply says, I
worship truth, and every other human heart in the audience
The heart says I love it. The brain-mind immediately begins to
argue about it. All kinds of men and all kinds of women have
different ideas about what love is and how far you should go and
how far you should not go, how much you should trust and how much
you should not trust, what kind of person I love and what kind I
do not love.
The heart is infinitely beyond this. It simply says I love.
Every human being understands this universal language. You do
not need to argue about it. You accept it. The brain-mind is
the former of arguments. The heart says troth is one of the most
beautiful of actions in human conduct, to be full of troth.
Where do we love this and admire it? With what part of us do we
give allegiance, pay homage? We do so with the heart. It speaks
a tongue universal; therefore, we say, out of the human heart
come all the great issues in human life.
I will go a little farther. I will tell you that the human heart
is the temple, dwelling, or tabernacle of a divinity; it is the
dwelling of Horus, to follow the Egyptian ritual. Let me tell
you something. Every time a man gives you his word and keeps it,
especially at loss to him, that man is by so much acting as an
ensouled man. Every time a man gives you his word and breaks it
because it is convenient to him to break it, that man for the
time being is unensouled. His soul is asleep. Every time a man
takes advantage of a fellow human being, by so much his soul is
asleep within him, it is not working. He is unensouled. Every
time a man does some deed or thinks some grand thought that is of
help to others, he is a man, for he is ensouled. When a man is
fully ensouled, as all men on this earth shall some day be, when
a man is free of soul we no longer have a man, we have a god
living amongst us.
I think the most beautiful sight that we human beings can
perceive ever is the light of ensoulment that dawns in the eyes
of a fellow human being. If you have never seen that and never
understood it, it is because your own soul is asleep, for in
these things spirit calls to spirit, the spirit recognizes
spirit, divinity recognizes divinity, the man in me recognizes
the man in you, and this is ensouling. Oh that all men and all
women so lived that they might manifest the divinity within them,
and by so doing acknowledge the divine source of their own inner
Dedicated to the Theosophical Philosophy and its Practical Application