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THEOSOPHY WORLD -------------------------------------- June, 2005
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
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be reposted or otherwise republished without prior permission.)
"True Self-Expression," by B.P. Wadia
"The Theosophical Society and the Lost Cause of Materialism,"
by G. de Purucker
"The Supreme Duty," by Annie Besant
"Christianity and Morality," by Henry Travers Edge
"Evidence of Nazi Occult Practices," by Leon Maurer
"The Buddhist View of Nirvana," by D.C. Law
"One Woman's Vision," by Jasper Niemand
"Can Children be Taught Occultism," by Madeline Clark
"The Yazidis," by Margaret Smith
> It is a profoundly erroneous truism ... that we should cultivate
> the habit of thinking what we are doing. The precise opposite is
> the case. Civilization advances by extending the number of
> important operations which we can perform without thinking about
> them. Operations of thought are like cavalry charges in a battle
> -- they are strictly limited in number, they require fresh
> horses, and must only be made at decisive moments.
> -- Alfred North Whitehead, INTRODUCTION TO MATHEMATICS, 61
By B.P. Wadia
[From LIVING THE LIFE, pages 48-51.]
In our last article, we spoke of the Path of Woe that all must
tread without exception, and indicated that it is a common and a
universal experience. Why, oh why, a Path of Woe -- ask a
hundred good friends. Why not share our joys and our lights and
call it a Path of Weal?
It is the Path of Woe because what we have gathered in the past
are seeds of anguish from which pleasure and peace do not sprout
forth. The Path of Woe is the other half of the Path of Pursuit;
to give up what we gathered with pain, labor, and mighty effort
is a karmic retribution. Pain now comes back to us in proportion
as we pained others in gaining our ends, in securing our
possessions, and using what was gained and secured.
There is, however, another factor; our sincere desire for
spiritual living, being an energy of the Occult World, where Life
is eternal and immortal, forces into smaller fields of space and
shorter spans of time the process of quick payment of debts
incurred during generations of lives, all over the world.
Spiritual birth is attended with its pangs, and inner growth has
its pains of teething, walking, and all the rest. For the
earnest and enthusiastic aspirant, these uncomfortable
experiences are crowded together, and thus the sum total of
previous karma shows the balance in the currency of woe on our
The method of the payment of past debts is mercifully devised by
Wisdom; it enables us to transform woes into joys in the very
process of payment. That method, to be pursued as we tread the
Path of Woe, is living the life of self-expression. In fact, the
debt in question cannot be met otherwise. Deliberate practice at
living differently than we have hitherto done has to be
undertaken. Leaving alone the life of the senses and the mind,
refusing to be energized by feelings and emotions, ever watchful,
continuously heedful, to live in terms of the soul is the high
enterprise in which we are engaged.
To pursue that task by the old method of haphazard, ever-moving,
and ever-changing existence is an error many of us commit.
Self-collectedness is the watchword of the new method. To move
in a deliberate manner from within, which is the region of the
Soul, to the without, which is the sphere of sensuous existence,
is the first necessary qualification. To collect the scattered
forces, and to reflect on them by the aid of the Light of the
Higher Self, so that they are animated and enlivened by it, is
All of us understand this in some measure, but what most of us do
not seem to grasp is the fact that this process has to be
regular, persistent, and continuous. They are neither religious
ceremonies to be performed periodically nor sacred festivals that
fall on a few occasions in the year. They are not even like unto
heroic acts that men perform to their glory and renown once,
perhaps twice, in their lives. This watchfulness and this
self-collectedness have to be observed and applied every hour of
the day, fifty-two weeks in the year; they must manifest their
power in all our labors undertaken for profit or pleasure, in
work or recreation, in small activities or in important ones.
All the while to energize our environment by the Power of Wisdom
within us is the first step that aspirants have to take.
This no doubt is irksome, exhausting to the feelings, and
fatiguing to the mind. To persist successfully is to pass the
first great test that the Wardens of the Portals of the Occult
World present to us; they do so because of our resolve,
enthusiasm, earnestness, and sincerity -- because we ourselves
put ourselves on the Path, and are attempting to "force" the
Masters to accept us as their pupils and servants.
We should so live and act, so love and labor that every
experience is perceived by our Inner Ruler and is forthwith
assimilated by him. All our experiences ought to be flowers from
which the bee sucks the honey of knowledge and stores it away for
feeding in sweetness and in strength the hungry and the weak.
Here is another factor to be noted. Aspirants miss assimilating
their experiences. How many of us truly assimilate what we
contact in the world? To assimilate in as full a measure as
possible what we contact, is a necessity of the spiritual life;
thus, the life of self-expression begins.
> Then, welcome each rebuff
> That turns earth's smoothness rough,
> Each sting that bids nor sit nor stand but go!
> Be our joys three-parts pain!
> Strive, and hold cheap the strain;
> Learn, nor account the pang; dare, never grudge the throe!
> For thence -- a paradox
> Which comforts while it mocks --
> Shall life succeed in that it seems to fail:
> What I aspired to be,
> And was not, comforts me:
> A brute I might have been, but would not sink I the scale.
> What is he but a brute
> Whose flesh hath soul to suit,
> Whose spirit works lest arms and legs want play?
> To man, propose this test --
> Thy body at its best,
> How far can that project thy soul on its lone way?
> Yet gifts should prove their use:
> I own the Past profuse
> Of power each side, perfection every turn:
> Eyes, ears, took in their dole;
> Brain treasured up the whole;
> Should not the heart beat once "How good to live and learn?"
In these lines from Robert Browning's "Rabbi Ben Ezra," we come
across the gospel of self-expression that is a requisite of the
spiritual life. Pondering them, we see how mistaken are the
notions in people's minds who glibly talk of self-expression. It
is not a matter of one of the fine arts. It is a matter of daily
life, which people name drudgery, and desire to run away from.
The life of self-expression is Drudgery made Divine.
THE THEOSOPHICAL SOCIETY AND THE LOST CAUSE OF MATERIALISM
By G. de Purucker
[From WIND OF THE SPIRIT, pages 111-15.]
The origin of the Theosophical Movement began not in arbitrary
decisions by the powers that be, but because of conditions of
cyclic necessity. Thus, when HPB came, she came because of a
need to keep alive in men their spiritual intuitions, and by so
keeping them alive, prevent men from falling under the sway of a
world ruled by brute force, in which might was considered right
and in which the only justice was the booty of the strongest.
She knew that the will of brutal power would govern humanity
unless checked and stayed by those innate rules of right residing
in the souls of men.
How came about this situation in our world? Because of two
things: A religion that had become thoroughly materialistic,
thoroughly; so much so that men no longer believed that this
universe was run by spiritual powers enforcing the rule of right;
and therefore that men could act pretty much as they pleased if
they but rendered lip-homage to an ecclesiastical setup. This
idea coming from the religious side of man's knowledge,
education, and social contacts, was more than strengthened by an
equivalently evil power emanating from the ranks of modern
This latter power had incomparably more influence on men's minds
than the former, the dicta of the Church and its Hierarchy. Why
is this? Because men had begun to believe that the noble research
into nature undertaken by science gave us truth; and men were
justified in so believing, for that is the real work of
scientists: the investigation of facts and the collating of them
into a comprehensive philosophic mold. A great many scientists
do work most earnestly and with energy and most praiseworthy
perseverance to that noble end. It is different when men, having
lost belief in spiritual control of the universe, began to
theorize and lay down laws of theoretic speculation regarding the
origin of the universe and the origin of man, the working of the
universe and the continuation of man therein, and the future of
the universe and man's future in it.
These were not scientific facts discovered by research. They
were theories only, speculations only, hypotheses only, derived
from the imagination of men who had lost a belief in a spiritual
control of the universe. Sincere efforts these were, of course,
but they were based on no spiritual belief, and therefore these
scientists could not render into a comprehensive whole, a
philosophic whole, the facts in nature that they had discovered.
Thus, examine those early days of complete materialism beginning
about the time of Voltaire and others. I use Voltaire as an
example, not because he was the originator of this era; but he
was one of its earliest products and one of its noblest. He was
a fighter against dogmatism of any kind. More glory to him! But
his work likewise destroyed belief in a spiritual universe.
Thus, then, what were these scientific theories on the one hand
and religious theories on the other hand? That this universe runs
itself, that there is no spiritual power in it controlling it or
guiding it, and that things happen by chance not by law. This
was uttered out of one side of the mouth. Out of the other side
of the mouth of scientists came the equally fervent statement:
the universe is caused by the laws of nature. With one side of
the mouth, they preached fortuity and chance, and with the other
side, they preached laws. It never seemed to strike them that
these two preachments were mutually destructive.
What were, then, the factors that Darwin stated made evolution,
or what were the conditions under which evolution took place, or
again what caused evolution? -- phrase it as you wish. It was a
struggle -- it was a struggle in which the fittest or strongest
survived, rather than the best or noblest. This was thought of
as a law of nature. There was not a word in Darwin or in Lamarck
or in Haeckel or in Huxley, or in any of these great men so
called, of fifty or eighty years ago, about this world being
ruled by intrinsic moral sanctions, not a hint of it. It was a
rule of brute force in which the strongest survived, a struggle
in which the fittest survived, and the fittest meant the most
brutally strong, not the best. Thus, as I often point, should a
conflict arise between a man and a shark in the ocean, which is
more fit to survive? The shark will survive because it is in its
element. He is the fitter in that element and he will kill the
man. Yet the man is the nobler creature, the better, the more
That is what Darwinism is: chance action by nature in a desperate
struggle to survive, wherein the weak perish and only brutal
strength brings victory. These ideas are destructive of the
soul-life of humanity, whether they are born from theology or
science. Get these facts clear, and examine, as we Theosophists
have for all these years, the lapses from logic in our scientific
works, the lapses in the reasoning of our scientists.
It was into a world governed by a belief in brutality as nature's
sole way of functioning that came the God-Wisdom through HPB,
and, as she proclaimed, her first work was to keep alive in man
his spiritual intuitions, so that he would react against this
rule so called and miscalled, this accident in nature, this rule
of brutal force. Look at the actions of the peoples of the earth
during the last three or four hundred years. Look at the world
today. See the result of soul-loss, of the stifling of the
spiritual instincts of the human being. Indeed, we Theosophists
have reacted with power against these teachings, whether from the
theological or the scientific side. We have faced the scorn and
the ridicule of a day when even to speak of the human soul meant
loss of caste.
Look what HPB did. Almost alone and single-handedly, she
challenged the thought-life of the world. By her courage and her
teachings, she brought about the founding of the Theosophical
Society, proclaiming that the world was ruled by moral law and
that he who infringed that law whether under the hypocritical
guise of virtue or whether openly and desperately as the criminal
does -- that he who breaks that law shall pay. Today the world
no longer believes that. It believes that the only way to make
what they think is a criminal pay is to use greater brutal power
than anyone else does. They no longer believe in the rule of
spiritual law. They no longer believe that our universe is
governed by moral sanctions. They take the law into their own
Is this the truth? Is this religion? Is this philosophy? Is this
science? It is not religion; it is not philosophy; it is not
science. All these three in their essence proclaim the rule of
law in nature; that this law is spiritual and therefore moral;
that there is cause and there is effect emanating from that
cause, and that these effects are ineluctable and cannot ever be
avoided. They should, can, and will haunt your footsteps as the
cart follows the foot of the ox that draws it -- a magnificent
old Buddhist statement of the Dhammapada written in a day when
men believed that the universe was ruled by spiritual and moral
Do an evil deed and as surely as the cart follows the foot of the
ox that draws it that evil deed will haunt you, finding you out
in this life or a future one. This is religion, this is
philosophy, this is science; especially science, teaching as this
last does its doctrine of cause and effect, its doctrine that
effect follows cause and is alike unto its parent cause. The
world no longer believes in these things. The peoples no longer
believe in them. Only those fine spirits whose intuition flames
brighter than in the majority of our fellow human beings have
disbelief in these teachings of materialism now dying: dying in
religion, dying in philosophy, dying in science, but whose
maleficent consequences afflict us like Atlantean karma even
today weighing heavily upon us.
It is important to support in the science of our time all those
elements that uphold the belief in a spiritual governance of the
world. It is important for us as Theosophists to support in
philosophy those elements, those philosophic elements, which
teach that the universe is controlled by intrinsically moral
sanctions. It is important for us Theosophists to support with
deepest sympathy and understanding those elements in religion
that, casting aside the materialism of the last 1800 years more
or less, teach that divinity filleth all vessels, whether vessels
of honor or vessels of dishonor; for to divinity neither the one
nor the other is dishonorable. That divinity is the spirit
universal out of the womb of which come all beings and things,
and back into which celestial haven in due course of the
revolving ages all things and all beings shall return one day.
Dear Brothers and Companions, I think that the most needed thing
today for us Theosophists is to do our utmost to bring about a
renascence, a rebirth, in the minds of men of the truth that this
universe of ours is under the most strict cosmic moral law or
harmony. What is harmony in the universe we call the ethical
instinct in the human soul.
Remember that the man who is sincerely convinced that his
thoughts and feelings are going to result in action and that he
is responsible for this action, will take thought and long and
searching thought before he acts. There you are. There is the
secret of the whole thing. It is just that simple law, a belief
by us men that this universe of ours is not the product of
chance, that it is infilled with moral power, and that this moral
force resides in the human soul and that this moral force in the
human soul should be our guide in our daily conduct. If men
followed just that simple rule, our life here on earth would be a
heaven when compared with what it now is. All too long has
thinking man been under the illusion or Maya that he could take
nature's laws into his own hands and in his feeble manner with
his weak and shaky intellect attempt to administer cosmic
How the gods must laugh at us! If they weep, as some say they do,
how at times their celestial eyes must be filled with the tears
of divine pity for man!
THE SUPREME DUTY
By Annie Besant
[From "The Report of Proceedings of The Theosophical Congress,
World's Fair of 1893," pages 186-90.]
I speak tonight on the supreme duty. I proclaim tonight the
universal law of life; for only by service is fullness of life
made possible, to the service of man the whole of the universe
today is yoked. For under the name of man, man past, present,
and future, man evolving up to the divine man, eternal, immortal,
indestructible, that is the service to which every individual
should be pledged, that the object of life, that the fashion of
evolution. I shall try to put for you tonight in few words
something of the elements of this service, something of its
meaning in daily life, as well as something of the heights
whereto the daily practice may at length conduct the human soul.
Poor indeed is that religion that cannot teach the men and the
women of the world the duty of daily life, and yield to them
inspiration that shall aid them in their upward climbing to the
Great is philosophy that molds the minds of men. Great is
science that gives light of knowledge to the world. Greater than
all is religion that teaches man his duty, and inspires man with
strength to accomplish it. Greatest of all is that knowledge of
the human soul that makes daily service the path of progress and
finds in the lowest work the steps that lead to the highest
According to the philosophy that we stand here to represent, we
have in the universe and in us various planes of being, sevenfold
in their full enumeration. A briefer classification will serve
me for the hints that alone I can throw out tonight. Let us take
the plane of the physical man and see what on that plane the
service of man may connote. First, the service of man implies
what was called by the Buddha right livelihood, that is, right
fashion of gaining ordinary life, honest way of gaining the means
of ordinary existence. Not a livelihood based on the compelled
service of others, not a livelihood that takes everything and
gives nothing back, not a livelihood that stretches out its hands
to grasp and closes its fists when gift is asked instead of gain.
Right livelihood implies honesty of living, and honesty implies
that you give as much as you take, that you render back more than
you receive, that you measure your work by your power of service,
not by your power of compulsion. That the stronger your brain
the greater your duty to help, that the higher your position the
more imperative the cry to bend that position to the service of
human need. Right livelihood is based on justice. Right
livelihood is made beautiful by love, and if there is to be a
reckoning between the giving and the taking, then let the scale
of giving weigh the heavier, and give to man far more than you
take from him.
On the material plane, more is asked of you than the discharge of
this duty of right livelihood that injures none and serves all.
You have also a duty of right living that touches on the plane of
the body, by which I include tonight the whole of the transitory
part of man, and right living means the recognition of the
influence that you bring to bear upon the world by the whole of
your lower nature as well as by the higher. It implies the
understanding of the duty that the body of each bears to the
bodies of all, for you cannot separate your bodies from the
bodies amidst which you live, since constant interchange is going
on between them. Tiny lives that build up you today help to
build up another tomorrow, and so the constant interaction and
interweaving of these physical molecules proceed.
What use do you make of your body? Do you say, "It is mine, and I
can do with it as I will. Shall not a man do as he will with his
own?" Even so, nothing a man has is his own. All belongs to that
greater man, the aggregate humanity. The fragments have no
rights that go against the claim of service to the whole.
You are responsible for the use that you make of your bodies.
Say that when these tiny lives come into your charge you poison
them with alcohol. Perchance you render them coarse and gross
with over-luxurious living. Then you send them out into the
community of which you form a part. You send them out to other
men, women, and children. Then they sow there the seeds of the
vices they have learned from you, of the gluttony, of the
intemperance, the impurity of living that you have stamped on
them while they remained as part of your own body. You have no
right to do it. No excuse can bear you guiltless of the crime.
There are drunkards amongst us. Granted they are responsible for
their crime, but also every human being is responsible for those
who help to spread the poison in a community that is focalized in
those miserable creatures. And so every atom that you send out
alcohol-poisoned from yourself helps to make drunkenness more
permanent, helps to make its grip tighter upon the victims
already in its grasp, and you are guilty of your brother's
degradation if you do not supply pure atoms of physical life to
build up others who in very truth are one with yourself.
You have something of what service of man means on this lowest
plane. There is another service of which you, the richer people
in this land, could set an example. Then others from your
voluntary action may learn to follow the same path. Just
simplify your physical life. Lessen your physical wants,
thinking less of luxury and more of the higher life. Waste less
labor ministering to the artificial wants of the body, and spend
more time helping the souls of men to grow less encumbered with
the anxieties of life.
If you take such teaching to the poor, true as the teaching is,
one hardly dares to put it to them on whom the iron yoke of
poverty presses, and who find in so much of physical suffering
one of the miseries of their life. You should set the example,
because with you it is voluntary action. You should set the
ideal of plain living and high thinking instead of the ideal of
senseless luxury, of gross materialistic living on every side.
Can you blame the poor that they think so much of earthly
pleasure, that they desire so passionately material ease? Can you
blame them if in every civilized country discontent is growing,
threats are filling the air, when you set the ideal that they
copy in their desire, and when you, by the material pleasure of
your lives, tell them that man's aim and object is but the joy of
the sense, is but the pleasure of the moment? This also is your
duty in the service of man on a material plane, so that,
lessening the wants of the body, he may learn to feed the soul,
and making the outer life more nobly simple may give his energies
rather to that which is permanent and enduring.
Not only on the physical, the lowest plane, is the service of man
to be sought. We rise to the mental plane, and there too must
man be served far more efficaciously than he can be served on the
physical plane. Do you say you cannot serve on the mental plane,
since it is for the great thinker publishing works that
revolutionizing thought or the speaker reaching thousands where
you reach but units?
It is not so. The great thinker, be he writer or be he speaker,
has not such enormous surplus of impulse as you, judging by the
outer appearance, may imagine. True, his work is great, but has
it never struck you in what lies the power of the speaker, whence
comes the strength with which he moves a crowd? It does not lie
in himself; it lies not in his own power, but in the power, he is
able to evoke from the men and women he addresses, from the human
hearts he wakes. It is their energy and not his in the tide of
The orator is but the tongue that syllables out the thoughts in
the hearts of the people; they are not able to speak them, they
are not able to articulate them. The thoughts are there, and
when some tongue puts them into speech, when the other
inarticulate sense takes the force of the spoken word, then they
think it is oratory. Their own hearts moves them. Inarticulate
in most, this speaker's voice makes the power ring from land to
That is not all. Every one of you in your daily thinking, every
one of you has thoughts that you pour out to the world. You are
making the possibilities of tomorrow; you are making or marring
the potencies of today. Even as you think, the thought burning
in your brain becomes a living force for good or for evil in the
mental atmosphere just as far as the vitality and the strength
that are in it may be able to carry it on in its work in this
world of mind.
There is no woman, however weak, there is no man, however
obscure, who has not in the soul within him one of the creative
forces of the world. As he thinks, thoughts from him go out to
mould the thoughts and lives of other men. As he thinks thoughts
of love and gentleness, the whole reservoir of love in the world
is filled to overflowing; and as he contributes to them, so every
day is formed that public opinion that is the molder of men's
ideas more than sometimes we are apt to dream. In this, everyone
has share, so that in this all men and women have their part.
Your thought-power makes you creative Gods in the world, and it
is thus that the future is built; it is thus that the race climbs
upward to the divine.
Not alone in the physical nor alone in the mental sphere is this
constant service of man to be sought; but of the service of the
spiritual sphere, no words of platform oratory can fitly describe
its nature or its sacredness. That work is done in silence,
without sound of spoken word, of clatter of human endeavor. That
work lies above us and around us, and we must have learned the
perfection of the service in the lower ere we dare aspire to
climb where the spiritual work is done.
What, then, is the outcome of such suggestion, what the effect in
life of such philosophy applied to the life of each as it is made
or met in the world today? Surely, it is that we should think
nobly. Surely, it is that our ideals should be lofty. Surely,
it is that in our daily life we should ever strike the highest
keynote, and then strive to attune the living to the keynote that
at our noblest we have struck.
According to the ideal, the will is lifted. In the old phrase,
the man becomes that which he worships. Let us see, then, that
our ideals are lofty. Let us see that what we worship shall have
in it the power that shall transform us into the image of the
perfect man; that shall transmute us into the perfect gold of
which humanity shall finally consist. If you would help in that
evolution, if you would bear your share in that great labor, then
let your ideal be truth; truth in every thought and act of life.
Think true, otherwise, you will act falsely. Let nothing of
duplicity, nothing of insincerity, nothing of falsehood soil the
inner sanctuary of your life, for if that were pure, your actions
will be spotless, and the radiance of the eternal truth shall
make your lives strong and noble.
Not only be true, but also be pure, for out of purity comes the
vision of the divine, and only the pure in heart, as said the
Christ, shall see God. That is true, in whatever words you
describe it. Only the pure in heart shall have the beatific
vision, for that which is itself absolute purity must be shared
in by the worshipper ere it can be seen.
Add to these ideals of truth and of purity one that is lacking in
our modern life, the ideal of reverence for what is noble, of
adoration for that which is higher than one's self. Modern life
is becoming petty because we are not strong enough to reverence.
Modern life is becoming base, sordid, and vulgar because men fear
that they will sink if they bow their heads to that which is
greater than they are themselves.
You raise yourself in worship of that which is higher than you
are; you are not degraded. That the feeling of reverence is a
feeling that lifts you up, it does not take you down. We have
talked so much about rights that we have forgotten that which is
greater than a man's right with himself. It is the power of
seeing what is nobler than he has dreamed of, and bowing in the
very dust before it until it permeates his life and makes him
like itself. Only those who are weak are afraid to obey; only
those who are feeble are afraid of humility.
Democrats we are in our modern phrase, and with the world of
today as we have it, democracy in the external world is the best
fashion of carrying on the outer life. Say the very gods
themselves wandered the earth as men. They trained the people in
the higher truth as in the days of old in Egypt and India. If
that were possible and they conveyed to people the higher
knowledge, would we claim that we were their equals and would be
degraded by sitting at their feet to learn?
If you could weave into your modern life that feeling of
reverence for that which is purest, noblest, grandest; for
wisdom, for strength, for purity, until the passion of your
reverence should bring the qualities into your own life -- Oh,
then your future as a nation would be secure. Then your future
as a people would be glorious.
You men and women of America, creators of the future, will you
not rise to the divine possibilities that every one of you has
hidden in his own heart? Why go only to the lower when the stars
are above you? Why go only to the dust when the sun sends down
his beams that on those beams you may rise to his very heart?
Yours is the future, for you are making it today, and as you
build the temple of your nation, as you hope that in the days to
come it shall rise nobly amongst the peoples of the earth and
stand as pioneer of true life, of true greatness, lay you the
foundations strong today. No building can stand whose
foundations are rotten, and no nation can endure whose
foundations are not divine.
You have the power. As you exercise your choice, the America of
centuries to come will bless you for living or will condemn you
for failure. You are the creators of the world, and as you will,
so it shall be.
CHRISTIANITY AND MORALITY
By Henry Travers Edge
[From a chapter in THEOSOPHY AND CHRISTIANITY.]
People may wonder if the abandonment of Christianity (as
ordinarily understood) will mean a loss of the basis of moral
conduct and a consequent general, if gradual, lapse into
profligacy of various kinds. This question demands serious
consideration and cannot be dismissed with a few bald assertions.
Rationalists, Secularists, and others of that genus, say that the
fount of good conduct is in the human intelligence and instincts,
that religion is rather a hindrance than a help, and that this
fount will suffice for needs. To this, it can be answered that
perhaps these rationalists are living on the capital of good
habits accumulated by centuries of religious influence, that this
capital would soon become exhausted, and that the human intellect
and instinct, as conceived by rationalism, would not suffice to
renew the stock.
Here indeed is the weakness of the rationalist and humanist
position. Their philosophy lacks foundations; and if pressed on
this point, they are too ready to take refuge in agnosticism --
the view that these fundamental questions lie beyond the scope of
inquiry, that they cannot be known, that it is needless to try to
fathom them. We seem to detect here the scientific fallacy of
confusing cause with effect: is morality a cause or an effect? Is
it any use saying that morality is the effect of morality? To
avoid such tautology, if we change the wording and say that
morality is the effect of human intelligence and instinct, we
have merely dodged the difficulty.
We need to know something about those mysterious powers in the
human breast. What inspire them? Shall we define them as an
enlightened self-interest? In that case, we commit ourselves to
the proposition that morality is sustained by self-interest, and
that self-interest is the foundation of human conduct. The
forces that rule in matter must themselves be immaterial, outside
of matter; otherwise, we are reasoning in a circle and have an
engine generating its own steam, or a motor and a dynamo running
each other. Therefore, with the present problem. Human social
conduct cannot be represented as a mechanism perpetually running
by its own momentum; it could never rise, and would be much more
likely to fall. It is clear that the 'Unknowable' that the
rationalists admit but scorn to inquire into, is the very
Here is where religion comes in. The rationalists have thrown
away the grain with the chaff. It is the spirit of religion,
Religion itself, which keeps alive the eternal vitality of the
human race, compelling obedience to the essential laws of moral
health, and preventing an utter collapse into destruction by
This true Religion has its shrine in the human heart. A pious,
devotional, emotional attitude will not suffice to keep the fire
alive in an age where the intellect is so acute. This intellect
has been enlisted on the side of self-interest, with the results
that we so much dread. Unless the scope of the intellect can be
expanded to inquire into and learn about those parts of human
nature that lie below the surface, we shall become morally
bankrupt. To live healthfully in a physical sense, we must know
the laws of hygiene and sanitation; we cannot go by blind faith
and guesswork. This deeper knowledge is what Religion can and
should give us.
That Christianity has failed so much as it has in this respect is
due to the great admixture of dross with the pure metal. We have
sought in this book to bring out the essential truths in
Christianity, and to explain them in a way that will be more
vital and effectual in human life. We have not taken away from
man anything needed for his support. Whatever can be said in
favor of the influence of Christianity can be said with greater
force with regard to the Theosophical interpretation of
Christianity. We have expressly said that we have no wish to
interfere with the faith of those who find in their religion what
they need and who seek nothing further; and that our object is to
help those for whom this is not sufficient, and who are earnestly
seeking for the real basis of human welfare.
Religion that teaches man that he is essentially divine cannot be
more immoral in its influence than religion that teaches him he
is a miserable sinner. In the Theosophical interpretation of
Christianity the moral law is the essential law of human conduct,
by which alone man can achieve happiness, self-realization, and
harmony of his life with that of his fellows. It is this
interpretation alone which unifies life and brings into harmony
intellect and heart, so that all our faculties may cooperate
towards the end of perfection.
God is not a person standing outside the universe. Nor is he
apart from man. God is everywhere. There is nothing that is not
God. God is the ultimate fact, the root of all existence, the
spiritual foundation of all that is. Many thinkers have arrived
at this conception of God, and have realized that the theological
God is an anthropomorphized ideal God, the universe, man, are not
separate from each other, but form a unity. We can approach God
only by sounding the depths of our own being; for man himself is
a manifestation of Divinity, and there are no limits to what he
can attain through self-knowledge.
The manifold objections to the idea of a personal and extra
cosmic God are almost too well known to need mention. Such a God
seems to manifest little interest in human affairs, and to be
apart from Nature, which is a sort of secondary deity. Little
wonder that so many have abandoned the idea of God altogether,
though it passes comprehension to understand how these explain
the meaning of things. To abandon the idea of God does not mean
that we must represent the universe as a haphazard mechanism.
The doctrine of extreme materialism means nothing; agnosticism is
a confession of ignorance and helplessness. We may call
ourselves Humanists, and make man the center of things; but then
what is man? Every man, studying the wonders of his own conscious
being, knows that there is a profound mystery beyond the limits
of thought. To suppose that mystery is insoluble is to turn the
whole universe and human life into a horrible jest.
There have always been Christian mystics, who have taught that
revelation comes through self-communion. This is the only way to
knowledge of God; and, as we have shown, Jesus points the way to
the attainment of such knowledge. There are faculties in man
that transcend the intellect (as we know it now) -- not set it
aside or abrogate it, but supplement it. Man little knows the
sublimity of his own nature, though many of us have at rare
moments obtained glimpses. Let us aspire to the highest we can
attain, and forbear to limit our vision by giving it the form of
a personal deity, which is in very truth creating a graven image.
Supplication to a personal deity for favors desired is looking
for help in the wrong place. It is presuming to dictate to deity
and is based on the idea that divine goodness and wisdom needs
the help of our prayers. The climax of absurdity is reached when
hostile armies pray for victory over each other. This brings out
the truth that a personal God is usually partial, local, and
tribal. There is some sense in such invocations if we believe
that each nation has its own special deity, as some peoples
believe; but it becomes nonsense when such contradictory prayers
are addressed to the same God.
Prayer means self-communion accompanied by high aspiration, and
should be in the spirit of 'Not my will, but thine be done.'
Prayer for specific objects is not right, because we do not know
what is best for us. Prayer is communing with the Father in
Heaven through the Son; reaching towards our own highest and
best. Personal wishes must be cast aside, and the unity of life
realized as much as possible.
The Problem of Evil
People often vex themselves with the question how a good God can
permit evil. Evil is imperfection, and this world is but an
imperfect manifestation of Deity the All Good. Contrast and
opposition are found everywhere; they are necessary conditions of
growth and experience. Evil has been defined as the shadow of
God. Attempts to define good and evil philosophically have not
much bearing upon duty and conduct, and usually serve merely to
bewilder people. In actual life good and evil are as distinct as
a good egg and a bad egg. Every man is naturally endowed with
the ability to distinguish them.
The words good and evil are very vague, and confusion arises from
their being used in varying senses. They may be taken to mean
pleasant and unpleasant; but this obviously refers to our tastes,
which are unreliable as criterions. What is unpleasant may be
good for us; what is pleasant, evil. They may be taken to mean
right and wrong, and here again the reference may be to moral
law, or social law, or civic law, etc.
As far as our own experiences are concerned, the true philosopher
can arrive at a state where he recognize that no evil can befall
him, because he accepts every event as a part of his equitable
lot -- the Stoic philosophy. So we see that in this case the
terms good and evil imply a contrast that we have made in our own
minds, by classifying experiences as pleasant and unpleasant, and
speaking of good and evil fortune.
As long as a man makes personal pleasure an object, he is bound
to bring pain upon himself, by the same law that renders the
glutton or the drunkard sick. Such pursuit of self-gratification
upsets the moral balance, and Nature restores it by the
complementary opposite experience. What about our conduct to
other people? This ought surely to concern most a person of heart
and conscience; and it might be better if people spoke more about
this aspect of the question than about their own luck and ill
luck and merit and demerit, which are utterly trivial to anybody
Can it be denied that we have the power to work evil upon our
fellows? If there is anyone whose mind has become so disordered
that he can argue, “Whatever happens to a man is his Karma;
therefore I cannot injure him,” and use this as an excuse for
misbehavior; then we can only pity such a man. To do mischief in
the world and leave it to the universal laws of harmony to clean
up the mess we have made, is but a sorry way of manifesting the
divinity that is in us. So far as our conduct to others is
concerned, there is an unmistakable difference between good and
evil, and an inescapable obligation upon every man who is a man
to choose the right. If he is a man, he will do the right
despite all the religions and philosophies in the world.
As said above, in speaking of the Fall of Man, the making of
Deity into a personal God has necessitated the making of a
personal Satan as the adversary of God. But, as there stated,
the Serpent of Eden was man's Teacher, who awoke in him the power
of intelligence; and when this Serpent is called the Adversary,
it means that he was opposed to the first God who created man as
an unintelligent though sinless being.
Satan is also a personification of our passions, which seek to
lead us to destruction; but it is by fighting them that we learn
and progress, so that ultimately they become our savior. That is
only on condition that we fight and overcome them; if we yield to
them, we are lost. There is no Devil with horns and hoofs,
haunting us during life and preparing to torment us after death.
It is very true that our passions, allied to our intellect, can
create a kind of secondary evil self, which is our enemy whom we
must conquer. It is also true that the Astral Light is full of
destructive powers engendered by the thoughts and passions of
men; so that the Astral Light, in one of its aspects, has merited
the title of Satan.
EVIDENCE OF NAZI OCCULT PRACTICES
By Leon Maurer
[Based upon materials originally contributed to the theos-talk
mailing list in October 2004.]
When I was in Europe during World War II as a Signal Corps
specialist, I had Military Intelligence clearance (at the Top
Secret level) and could go anywhere and photograph anything under
my cover assignment as "Historical Photographer." Since my
primary job required me to maintain telephone line security
(detecting direct or induction line taps, magnetic interference,
etc.), I was also required to listen in to strategic conferences
between Washington, Eisenhower's Headquarters, and the four-star
command generals in the field.
Were what I heard and who said it to come out, it would make
another story that might shakeup the world. There was secret
military and industrial planning that even included shadow
governments of soon to be defeated enemies. They were making
karma that affected everyone for years to come with perhaps more
evil than good results. It was too bad that there were no
digital recorders in those days!
What the hell! It was better that there were no recorders. I was
and still remain an impartial observer with an oath of secrecy.
At the time, I was not as wise about the ways of the mundane and
inner worlds. Events had to be let alone to run their course, or
prodded a bit from the inner sidelines. The old ways had to
collapse under their own weight to make way for the new.
As the Buddha might say, it was better to help those innocently
caught up and hurt by what was happening than to raise an army
and try to stop them. In my younger days, though, I did not
think like that. I just followed my inner guide in whatever
circumstance in which I found myself. I stayed alert and did my
best with whatever I faced with without much concern for the
future. I unconsciously followed Krishna's advice to "Let the
motive for action be in the action itself and not in its
During that time in Northern France and Germany, I had no
requirement to report anything I saw, heard, or photographed,
since I was not an official Military Intelligence Secret Agent.
Therefore, the only direct evidence of Nazi occult practices I
have is my personal experience.
This comes from when I, along with officially assigned Military
Intelligence operatives, rummaged through abandoned SS
headquarters after the Nazis had to run off, leaving much
incriminating evidence behind. It also comes from my
conversations with other military personnel at my clearance
level, and from certain photographs that I gathered of
concentration camps, SS and Gestapo headquarters, torture
facilities, and ritual paraphernalia. All this gave me a good
picture of the occult background of the Nazi hierarchy.
Since my father was a 33rd degree Free Mason, as well as an
alchemist and collector of occult literature, I had early
familiarity with much mystical symbolism and its interpretation.
When I entered the ritual chambers in local SS headquarters, it
was immediately evident to me that their entire organization and
initiatory practices were along occult lines.
Some of the paraphernalia and arrangements were similar to those
in the initiation chambers of Masons and other secret occult
organizations. I knew this from photos and illustrations I had
seen in my father's library and from a tour that I once took as a
boy through the secret chambers of the Grand Masonic Lodge in New
The libraries and bookshelves in each SS headquarters I entered
(ostensibly to check their communication systems) were packed
with occult literature that I recognized from their cover designs
and illustrations. I had little interest in the materials since
I only could speak and read a smattering of German.
As a curious 12-year-old kid, I had gained a head full of such
stuff, without much understanding, when I thumbed through every
book in my father's vast occult and classic book library, and
skim read all 24 books of his Encyclopedia Britannica. Born with
prodigious artistic talent, I have a photographic memory for
graphic images. As a balancing payment, I have almost no ability
to remember words or numbers except for the visual concepts they
After the United States Army crossed into Germany, I also gained
access to a university photo lab in Darmstadt. I freely
processed and printed photos taken by front line infantrymen,
tankers, and some combat photographers when they liberated the
concentration camps. I also processed and printed films they
sent me from Russian soldiers they met where our lines merged
around the perimeter of Berlin.
While in that lab, I made copies of interesting photos of Nazi
atrocities whenever I came across them. Most, unfortunately, are
now lost or with relatives and friends to whom I gave them after
the war. Since all such photos were required to be turned over
to the authorities, that material had been smuggled out of
Germany in direct violation of military orders at the time. The
turning over of photographs was likely to prevent premature
release to the press of material to later use in prosecuting war
criminals. I suspect there may have been other reasons, perhaps
to suppress public knowledge of the full extent of German
atrocities against concentration camp victims.
I had come across so many unbelievably gory and disgusting
concentration camp pictures that I felt the American public
should see them. I decided, against orders, to bring back prints
with me. In my work, I would send negatives back to the
photographers after I had made prints. For some pictures, I made
8x10 prints for myself, and brought them back with me when I
shipped out of Europe for the States after the Japanese defeat.
A sailor friend of mine on the ship helped me smuggle them
through the debarkation contraband check when I arrived in
Newport News, Virginia around November 1945.
Soon after, I gave The Federation of Jewish Charities most of my
photographs of mass burials, cremation ovens, gas chambers, and
torture equipment from concentration camps in Germany and
occupied countries. This helped raise private money for guns and
ships enabling a vast number of displaced concentration camp
refugees to leave Cyprus and enter Palestine despite strong
repressive British military interference.
When I arrived home in Florida, the photos were printed in a
small booklet for fund raising purposes in Miami, and later
turned over to the press and widely distributed, without
attribution, in newspapers and magazines throughout the United
States and Canada.
Were the full story of the acquisition and first exposure of the
Holocaust atrocity photos made public, it would make an
interesting movie. The government attempted to suppress them.
Certain notorious public figures offered assistance. The photos
and my connection with them, along with influential people my
father knew, helped supply the Israeli army (Irgun) and guerrilla
fighters (Stern Gang) with everything they needed to defeat the
British, furnish transport ships, and open the door to Israel for
The underlying theosophical line shows us how the threads of
karma work in mysterious ways. There was a simple unplanned
choice, possibly guided from a higher level, by one insignificant
person. He was in a critical place at the right time and had the
necessary connections. The results were unbelievably complex and
unpredictable changes in world history. They were for good or
bad depending on one's point of view.
There was a story of several hundred dead Tibetans in Berlin. I
heard about it while working my photo Lab and maintaining the
signal test station at the Technical University of Darmstadt. It
came directly from Military Intelligence officers who came to
investigate the university's research records. Some of them had
close contact with Russian intelligence, which reported the
Tibetans as suicides at about the time that Hitler and his
cronies supposedly committed suicide.
The reports identified the Tibetans as belonging to the Nyingmapa
Sect and apparently Dugpas as well. A Nyingmapa as well, my
scientist and Lama colleague Dr. Perchion later confirmed this.
Not long after the war, he inquired about their connections with
the Nazis when he went to Nepal for his initiation. He discussed
it with the Panchen Lama while he was his nurse just prior to his
death. I recall seeing it mentioned in a book about the Occult
Reich or a history of the Third Reich; I cannot remember when or
where. More than one OSS or Military Intelligence agent in
Europe at the time knew of the report.
I doubt that any military records of that period are still
available. At the United States Army Records Storage facility in
St. Louis, a big fire destroyed much of the records of World War
II of that time. This included my military records, as well as
my Signal Battalion. I suspect it was an inside arson job. When
I tried to obtain my records for medical purposes several years
ago, the Defense Department told me that they were no longer
available, due to an accidental fire that burned many records of
military personnel and units in Europe during 1944-45. Could the
ex-Nazis in America -- some of whom I have good reason to believe
have infiltrated the CIA -- have engineered that?
Beyond this, everything else I know about the Occult Reich comes
from what I overheard through conversations with other first hand
observers and refugees I met during and after the war. This
includes some of my distant relatives (as my grandfather was an
Austrian). I also have read a number of books and historical
material published during the ensuing years that confirms what I
had observed and surmised when I was still in my early twenties.
There is much of the Nazis, including their infiltration into the
United States and their influence in its shadow government after
the war that remains unknown to the public. That is another
story. Much of the Holocaust they initiated as the culmination
of their occult beliefs and practices is yet unpublished.
There is evidence of black magic and that Hitler was a member of
occult societies. There was ritualized slaughter of innocent
victims, ritual suicide, along with psychically potent
mind-control propaganda techniques, including written, audio, and
visual symbolism used to induce blind sanction of such activities
by the public. These are certainly valid evidence of black
All master politicians use such methods, consciously or
unconsciously, but none was as obviously knowledgeable of occult
black magical practices as Hitler. When he suddenly became the
leader and speaker for the Nazi Party, he demonstrated the secret
of turning on at will personal charisma. That is an old occult
One can learn by a long study of occultism for which there is
evidence judging from his writings. Ravenscort also reported
that Hitler studied THE SECRET DOCTRINE. One can also learn it
by training under the wing of a Master occultist. Hitler could
have received training by a member of one of the German occult
secret societies such as the OTA, Golden Dawn, Order of the New
Templars, the Germanenorden, the Edda, the Vril Society, or other
Thule connected occult groups.
One can directly observe evidence of such occult training and
knowledge. It requires no questionable recorded confirmation of
membership in some secret society. Any knowledgeable
Theosophist, Cabbalist, or student of occultism might observe the
Nazi organizations first hand. They could not help concluding
that Nazi activities were based on black magic, on corruption of
occult teachings and their fundamental principles and laws.
It is obvious from the writing, speech, and actions of Hitler
that he was a willing student of one or more black-magician
Masters of such practices. Therefore, either he had to be an
initiated member of some Secret Society or a disciple of a member
who gave him direct training.
Because such occult practices are based on secret teachings known
to few, there would be no written record of such study or
membership. Those who have eyes to see and ears to hear will
know all this without recourse to second hand evidence.
In another sense, Hitler could have been, if not an initiated
occultist himself, a mind controlled puppet of a behind the
scenes black magician who operated him. We can only speculate as
to who that might be. There were many powerful occultists
surrounding Hitler and other leaders and founders of the Nazi
party throughout their reign in Germany. It is interesting that
most of them -- such as Himmler, Hesse, Heydrich, Haushoffer,
Eckardt, and Rosenberg -- were mixed up with occult organizations
or some sort of occult practices.
To further research the subject, one would need to find others
(besides myself) with related first hand experience. One also
needs to learn what exactly occultism or black magic is. One
must know what occult practices are and how to recognize them
through their symbols, metaphors, and allegories. It also helps
to read the biographies of Hitler along with histories of the
growth of Nazism in Germany. Then one can make his or her own
judgments. Was Hitler an occultist? Did the Third Reich base
itself on occult black magic knowledge related to German secret
societies? Did the SS have a ritual initiatory practice with "Der
Fuehrer" as their god-ikon? Was their a worship of "Blood and
Honor" based on the same black magic occult practices that
energized Hitler, his SS, and the entire Nazi Party hierarchy?
In my view, that entire affair was a conspiracy of black
magicians, many of whom were also royalists, elitists, and
military industrialists. Not all of them were Germans. They
were related to the Dugpas spoken of by HPB, whose goal was to
take over and dictatorially control the world for their selfish
aims. They used Hitler as their front man. My observations
while in Germany during and just after the war and my careful
analysis of all the factors surrounding that incident in world
history seem to confirm that view.
Be warned that positive research based on public information
about an occult organization or society does not prove anything
about the inner workings or membership of that group. We cannot
take it as denial about anything carried out by it in secret. We
can never expose the real activities of such occult groups using
researched public information no matter how carefully and
thoroughly we do it. We can only do it with direct inside
experience and observation or by logical analysis of observed
effects of such actions based on previously acquired occult
knowledge. This knowledge includes correct interpretation of
occult symbolism, metaphors, and allegories, as well as of the
methods of psychic mind control that they use or teach others to
My direct experience is coupled with first hand knowledge from
verifiably accurate observers trained in military espionage.
Combined with my early training in occultism and symbolism by my
occultist father, my observations are far more accurate than
second hand opinion, hearsay, and documents that could easily be
forged to throw up a smoke screen.
Of course, one could also question my reports since I have no
documents to prove that I was there and did what I said during
World War II. You will just have to take it or leave it, believe
or not that I know exactly about what I am talking. Anyone
advanced in THE SECRET DOCTRINE will give credence to these
claims should they also be familiar with the inner workings of
the Nazi government of the Third Reich, which is a matter of
public record. My purpose is to inform others, to help them to
better understand the occult nature of reality.
The external evidence, based on the actions of Hitler and the
Third Reich leadership, as well as their friends and associates,
coupled with my direct observations of the occult paraphernalia
in many headquarters of the SS, Hitler's most loyal personal
guard, are more than enough to convince me.
Despite someone's impressive erudition, no uninitiated
researcher, no matter how scholarly or educated, could know
anything about the memberships, inner activities, or secret
teachings of societies like the Thule Gesellschaft. No one
writes these things down except in the form of metaphors,
symbols, or allegories.
THE BUDDHIST VIEW OF NIRVANA
By D.C. Law
[From THE ARYAN PATH, October 1953, pages 435-39.]
Nirvana is the summum bonum of Buddhism, the ultimate of all that
the Buddha taught. Both the Buddhists and the Jains believe that
it is the state of perfect beatitude. Sakyamuni preached the
true law to lead his fellow creatures to Nirvana, which means
blowing out or cooling. Some have translated it as weaving. It
means the extinction of lust, hatred, delusion, and ignorance.
It is the waning away of all evils and the elimination of the
vicious and the weak in man.
It may also mean final deliverance or liberation from the fetters
of worldly life. Moksa really means the attainment of the
highest state of sanctification by the avoidance of pain and
miseries of worldly life. Nirvana is another name for Moksa or
On one's realizing Nirvana, the sinful nature vanishes forever.
One attains it by escaping the cycle of births and deaths. A
perfected disciple (arahat) has reached a permanent state of
peace, something absolute as opposed to the process of constant
change; this state is Nirvana. In other words, it is nothing but
the blowing out or extinction of craving with its three roots:
passion, desire for becoming and ignorance.
Some think that Nirvana can be attained and is normally attained
before the bodily death of a sage. It brings with it happiness
of the highest order. It is accompanied by the consciousness of
the destruction of existence and rebirth. As subjectively
considered, Nirvana means mental illumination conceived as light,
insight, a state of happiness, cool, calm and content (sitibhava,
nibbuti, upasama), peace, safety, and self-mastery. Objectively
considered, it means truth, the highest good, a supreme
personality, a regulated life, and communion with the best,
bringing congenial work. This characterization is based on the
PSALMS OF THE EARLY BUDDHIST BROTHERS AND SISTERS, which bear
evidence to the deep joy and thrilling hope with which they
Nirvana is immortality and the bliss of emancipation. It is
nothing but the tranquil state. Earnestness is the path of
immortality. Those wise people who delight in earnestness and
who are meditative and steady attain Nirvana. He who has
knowledge and meditation is near unto it. A monk who delights in
reflection, who looks with fear on thoughtlessness, is close upon
it. One should strive after separation from the world, if he
desires to win it. The Buddha calls patience the highest penance
and long-suffering the highest Nirvana. Really speaking, it is
the highest happiness.
If a person knows the fact that all created things perish and
lead to grief and pain, that all faults are unreal, that one
should be well restrained in mind, speech, and body, and that one
should shake off lust and desire and should root out the love of
self, he is sure to win Nirvana. Possessing strong
determination, cherishing all good, taking to the refuge, and
following the path leading to Nirvana, one is capable of
destroying all ties by slow degrees. The attributes of Nirvana
consist of the absence of passion, destruction of pride, thirst,
and sensual pleasures, and freedom from attachment. It is the
cessation of all sufferings; it is freedom from all sins and
final release from the lower nature. The famous Buddhist
commentator, Buddhaghosa, points out that a person obtains
Nirvana by making himself free from the wilderness of misdeeds.
Some have described it as a void. Nirvana is so called because
it is a departure from that craving that is called vana. It is
realized through knowledge belonging to the four paths. It is
the object of those paths and their fruition. It is supramundane
or transcendental. It is excellent and uncreated. It is all
bliss, pure and simple, and there is no pain mixed with it,
though the process of seeking after it is painful. It makes all
existences leading to pain subside. It is the eternal,
unassailable, and noble salvation. It is that supreme state in
which there is neither birth, decay, disease, death, nor contact
with what is disagreeable, neither disappointment nor separation
from what is agreeable.
Like the Buddhists, the Jains also hold this view. Nirvana is
that state that is tranquil, final, and imperishable. Just as a
lamp goes out forever from the exhaustion of oil and does not
depart to the earth or the sky or any of the quarters, so the
saint who has reached Nirvana does not come back to the earth.
In his case, salvation means the exhaustion of corrupting
factors. It is tranquility only.
By extinguishing the blazing fire of passion with the water of
steadfastness, the saint comes to the highest happiness, like a
man descending into a cool pool in the hot weather. For him
there is no such thing as agreeable or disagreeable, liking or
disliking; he feels joy because of the absence of these
qualities. Like one who has obtained safety after great danger
or deliverance from great oppression, light in darkness or the
safe shore after a tempest; or like one who has gained health
after serious illness, release from great debt, escape from a
chasing enemy or plenty after scarcity, the saint comes to a
supreme state of peace.
The form, figure, place, duration, etc., of Nirvana, the
realization of Nirvana and Nirvana itself, which is all bliss,
were the puzzles that troubled the mind of the Greek King
Menander. According to his teacher Nagasena, Nirvana is bliss
unalloyed. Those who are in quest of it afflict their minds and
bodies, restrain themselves in food, and in four postures, keep
their senses under control and abandon their body and life.
Nirvana is untarnished by any evil disposition. It allays the
thirst of craving after lusts, and the craving after worldly
prosperity. It is all in blossom of purity, knowledge, and
emancipation. It is the support of life, for it puts an end to
old age and death. It puts a stop to sufferings in all beings.
It overcomes in all beings the weakness arising from hunger and
all sorts of pain. He who orders his life aright realizes it by
Purity is the main ethical term to express the nature of Buddhist
Nirvana. By purity of heart, one reaches Nirvana according to
the Jains. From the ethical point of view, to realize it is to
attain the highest purity in one's own self and in one's own
nature. Its realization involves a process of perfect
self-examination, self-purification, self-restraint, and
self-culture. The process of self-alienation involves a method
of seeing things as they are. The twofold ethical end of
Buddhism is negative: to do away with the hindrances and to put
away the fetters or destroy the sinfulness that lies deep in our
nature. Purity of conduct, purity of behavior, purity of
livelihood, purity of motive, purity of morals, purity of
character, purity of mind, purity of faith, and purity of
knowledge and insight are all included in the rough scheme of
self-culture through purity.
The vision of Nirvana dawns upon consciousness and its
realization is possible in a state of trance, when outwardly the
man who reaches it is as good as dead. The Buddha, on the eve of
his passing away, remained lost in this state of trance. In this
state, a plane of religious experience is reached where there is
no longer any desire for this or that object of sense. This is
the highest psychical state, where consciousness appears to be
face to face with reality.
According to Nagarjuna, Samsara and Nirvana are two relative
ideas and hence there can be a difference but no absolute
distinction between the two. There cannot be any conception of a
relation between the two even in apposition. The dependent
origination in its samudpada (origin) aspect is samsara and the
same in its nirodha (extinction) aspect is Nirvana. The Buddha
sought to show that Nirvana cannot but be the last category of
thought. Intellectual universality is inadequate to comprehend
the whole of reality, which is constituted not only of cognition
but also of volition and feeling; to comprehend all, another
category is required, and it is Nirvana. It is not an
experience, not something with which one may identify. One does
not think that one is nirvana or is in nirvana or is from nirvana
or nirvana is one's own.
Nirvana is of two kinds: (I) Anupadishesa Nirvana and (2)
Sapadishesa Nirvana. The former means the extinguishing without
any remainder of accessories (in contradistinction to extinction
happening during the lifetime) and the latter means Nirvana with
a remainder of accessories. Nirvana shows itself to be the
eternal rest, eternal stillness, and the great peace. In it, one
experiences the mighty triumph of the complete and eternal
satisfaction of one's will, no longer having any will, and
thereby the highest bliss.
The state of Nirvana is described as absolute freedom,
inexpressible peace, and the purest bliss, in contradistinction
to the complete lack of liberty, the continual unrest, and the
endless suffering of a man. Nirvana is also called the state of
health in contradistinction to the state of sickness. A
perfected person's body, sensation, perception, mentations, and
consciousness are entirely annihilated beyond all possibility of
reappearing in future.
Nirvana has various designations. It is called uncompounded,
endless, stainless, true, subtle, very difficult to see,
unimpaired, immutable, not vanishing, invisible, not subject to
ramification, tranquil, undying, safe, secure, attenuation of
desire, wonderful, unimpeded, not risky, undisturbed, uncreated,
uncomplicated, deep, without sorrow, difficult of perception,
transcendental, unsurpassed, unequalled, supreme habitat,
protection, spotless, freedom from attachment and possession,
ultimate refuge, imperishable, the element of the absolute,
liberation, blessedness, etc.
A layman, under exceptional circumstances, may attain saintship
but to keep it, he must give up worldly life. It is distinctly
mentioned in the questions of King Menander, put to his teacher
Nagasena, that a layman who attains supreme insight will win his
way to the excellent condition of saintship. All persons who, as
laymen living at home and in the enjoyment of sensual pleasure,
realize in themselves the condition of peace, win the supreme
The word Nirvana nowhere occurs in any of the Vedic or Brahmanic
texts that may be definitely assigned to the pre-Buddhistic
dates. An exception may be made in favor of Panini's Astadhyayi,
which accounts for the formation of the word Nirvana by an
aphoristic rule. With the Brahmans of all ages, Nirvana is
Brahma Nirvana, whether the Brahman is saguna or nirguna. With
the Hindu and Jain thinkers, the problem of Nirvana may be
examined from the viewpoint of the Atman, while with the Buddha
or the Buddhist thinkers it may be considered from the viewpoint
At the time of the rise of Buddhism, the people of India had a
notion that the true salvation of a man consisted in evolving
into an eternal personality, exhausting all possibilities of
rebirth. To be subject to birth is to be subject to decay and
death. The worldly life is so ordained that there is no escape
from decay and death for a person who has been brought to
existence by the natural process of creation. The very
possibility of such an escape is denied by the daily experience
of things or events happening around at all times. Even a
perfected soul cannot escape it, in spite of his unrivalled and
universally admitted greatness and perfection.
ONE WOMAN'S VISION
By Jasper Niemand
[From THE PATH, May 1891, pages 40-44.]
One who had read a legend somewhere repeated it to me thus from
> There was a Greek woman visited by spirits in the guise of two
> Chaldeans. She dowered by them with transcendent powers and
> super-human knowledge, and she was able to behold at once all the
> deeds that were done in all lands beneath the sun, and was raised
> high above all human woes and human frailties, save only Love and
> Death. The woman dwelt alone with the stars and the palms and
> the falling waters, and was tranquil and at peace, and she was
> equal to the gods in knowledge and in vision, and was content.
> One day, a tired wanderer came and asked her for a draught of
> water to slake his thirst and lave his wounds, and she gave it,
> and, giving, touched his hand, and one by one, the magic gifts
> fell from her, and the Chaldeans came no more!
> In all the vastness of the universe, she only hearkened for one
> voice; her eyes were blind to earth and heaven, for they only
> sought one face. She had power no more over the minds of men or
> the creatures of land and air, for she had cast her crown down in
> the dust and had become a slave, and her slavery was sweeter than
> had ever been her strength -- sweeter far -- for a space.
> His wounds healed and his thirst slaked, the wanderer wearied.
> He arose and passed away. She was left alone in the silence of
> the desert. The Chaldeans came never more.
Thus ran the tale; it seems unfinished and I am moved to finish
When the woman had made fair progress and attained into power, it
was her right to be tested by the gods. Now we are most tested
by Love and by Death.
As the tale runs, she was left mourning in the desert. She
called upon the Chaldeans and their power, which she had shared;
but power comes not at call; we must seize it and make it our
own. She cried then to death; but death comes not quickly to
those to whom he comes as a friend. It is only as dread warrior
and foeman that his approach is swift and terrible.
She could not die. In the entire world, there was left to her
only her love; this she could not slay, though now she strove to
cast the burden off, and then she clasped it to her burning
heart. She could not lie forever thus in the desert. Her great
love impelled her, and she arose, thirsting for one more sight of
that distant face, determined to follow through the world that
she might once more look upon it. She passed from the palms and
limpid waters over the burning sands, and, all unseen, her
guardian spirit and the spirit of her Ray went with her.
Thus, she came into the world, and seeking saw on every hand sin,
misery, disease, death, shame, and bitterness, and all the wrong
man heaps on man, and all the joys of sense and soul that are the
wombs of future pain. Failing to find him whom she sought, she
asked herself, "What if he is wretched as these?" And as her
heart swelled with pity at the thought, she strove more and more
to help the suffering, to clasp the imploring hands that clutched
at her gown, -- all for his sake. Learning to love them so, she
hoped to forget that master love for one, and hoped in vain, for
human love is strong and tests us as a sword.
At last, she cried to all the gods, "Let me see him once, and
die." So strong the cry, the inner heavens rang with her demand;
on it she staked her all, and drew from Karmic powers, in that
one gift, all that they held as treasure for her in many a life
to come. Her guardian spirit hid its face and trembled, but the
spirit of the Ray, the Watcher, saw unmoved.
She beheld her lover. The man had changed. The fret of life had
worn him. His sphere was dimmed by a dark, pouring tide that
colored all his deeds, impeded his higher aspirations, and
mysteriously sapped his life, by him unseen, unknown.
"Call back that evil tide," she said. Then again, "What is it?"
Her guardian spirit could not answer for tears.
"It is thy love, whose strong barrier resists and impedes the
law. Hark to the discord of his sphere," said the Watcher, the
spirit of the Ray.
The woman uttered a moan of pity and of shame.
"He is changed. Dost thou love him still," asked her guardian
"Better than ever I love and long to comfort him," she answered.
"Behold," said her guardian to the Watcher, "how strong is this
love, now purified by pain. Shalt thou not deliver the woman?"
The unmoved Watcher spoke. "When the man came to her in the
desert, did she speak to him of the starry Truths of the
darkness? Aye, I know that she spoke, but her words were forms
devoid of life while her voice -- their carrier -- cooed the
notes of love. Aye, I know that she taught and tended him in
tenderness and pity, but did she not ask reward, the reward of
his love? What gift asks a great gift in return? She only asked
to serve, sayest thou? Know, Spirit, that in heaven's high hosts
are thousands who wait through the passing of cycles for
permission to serve; and sometimes ask in vain. Accepted service
is the gift of gifts in the power of the Divine. Did she see his
soul-spark yearning for freedom from personality and separation?
Under that crust which is the outer man, did she see his inner
self, the radiant, imprisoned, enmeshed in the web of matter,
awaiting a deliverer? No. She saw but her own reflection, the
mirrored flame of her own desire. Her image she projected
towards him. Her glamour she cast about him; her own fond
yearning, it was that she loved. The imprint she stamped upon
him faded, for his guardian spirit stood near. Then the radiant
one within impelled him from her. Life bore him away. He passed
on to other scenes, dragging after him, unknown but felt, the
dark and ever-lengthening chain of her recalling thought. The
woman loved herself, so loving love; she to whom power was
entrusted by the gods cast it, for self, aside."
"Ah! Say not so," the guardian spirit cried. "Was no pure flame
behind the smoke; no living germ within the husks of love?"
"Look," answered the Watcher.
As the woman gazed, spellbound, she saw, above her lover, a shape
of superhuman beauty, glorious and full, one of a band of mighty
ones, filling the world, strong to aid and to save, interlinked,
interdependent, all in one and one in all, the immortal hosts,
the higher selves, the higher self of man. Seeing the loved one
thus transfigured, thus translated, a cry of joy broke from her
lips. "He is free," she cried.
Then the Watcher bent above her, while the guardian spirit held
"Shall he become as one of these and pass beyond thee?"
"Oh! Take him to that blessed place," the woman said.
"That place is one which men themselves attain. By fortitude,
duty, self-sacrifice, and entire acceptance of the law, he may
attain. Or wilt thou -- Oh caviler at the law, constructive of
thine own desire, destructive of the universal trend of things --
detain him on the way?"
"Why may he not go there with my love," she asked.
"With thy love, yes, for love makes free what it loves. But not
with thy desire. The law has parted you in the flesh. Who shall
withstand that law and not be broken? But love coheres, inheres,
and knows not space nor time."
The woman bent her head. From her heart, a wild complaint arose.
She had seen the glorious vision; she longed to see her beloved
on that way, the path of law. "Set him free," she said.
"But if thy desire recall him?"
"Hast thou forgotten, Stainless One, or hast thou never known
that true love loves the better self, the shining ideal? I was
blind, but now mine eyes are opened. I give him to his higher
life, that life which is the law. And I -- I bless that law,
though it deny me, because it sets him free."
As she spoke, something seemed to break in her heart. The great,
blinding, glorious vision of a freed humanity swept before her.
It was lifted upon the sorrows of such as she, lifted by force of
woe endured into that shining host. The world that suffered and
the world that conquered were one, and all, above, below, were
types of souls freeing and set free by higher Love.
"I love the world," she cried, "for all are one."
Upon the face of the guardian spirit, there shone a great joy.
"Thou hast conquered by love," he said. "There remains only
death for thee to meet and to subdue."
The Watcher spoke, "Nay; death is overcome. The only true death
is the death of self. She lives for all, her powers reclaimed,
restored, for the power of powers is universal love."
Thus runs the tale of truth. If woman knew her power to uplift,
before the eyes of man, the splendid ideal, knew her power to
nourish and sustain it, she, loving thus, would teach man how to
love, and, freeing him, retain him forever in the higher bonds
that knit all souls to Soul.
CAN CHILDREN BE TAUGHT OCCULTISM?
By Madeline Clark
[From THE THEOSOPHICAL FORUM, July 1948, Pages 398-400.]
A small group of middle-aged individuals scattered over the face
of the earth can now look back and reconstruct in memory the
earliest days of Katherine Tingley's school at Point Loma. A
segment of memory concerned with their early childhood is
interwoven with the story of the beginnings of the School that
made the name of Katherine Tingley famous as an educator.
In later years, Katherine Tingley often told about the days of
her own childhood at Newburyport in Massachusetts, when she would
go into the woods to play, and in a small clearing, with sticks
and twigs for people, she would "keep school" in the wonderful
"Gold Land of the West" of her prophetic imagination.
The School at Point Loma with its simple beginnings was the dawn
of the fulfillment of that dream. August 4, 1900 was the
founding day -- but this is not going to be a history. It is
simply some fugitive memories that are set down here as a tribute
to that great and dear Teacher: memories that leave an
ineffaceable impression that we children -- all of tender years
-- were taught the basic principles of practical occultism in
those early days. Little we knew of that at the time, of course,
but with the lapse of years and ripening of experience, that
wondrous episode of our childhood has
> ... orbed into the perfect star
> We saw not when we moved therein.
In those days, when the school was in its beginnings, we lived in
the very spirit and atmosphere of Katherine Tingley's creative
genius, for she gave personal attention to our day and its
doings; every detail of our training was carefully planned by
The motto of the school was the single word "Now" -- our talisman
against procrastination, which always breeds confusion in the
life: "Now" -- keeping us always in mind of "the sacredness of
the moment and the day."
She was always sending us little messages. One of these was the
motto: "Do well the smallest duty, and when the day is done,
there will be no regrets, no time wasted -- then joy will come."
Thereby, she taught us the simple means by which to avoid regret
or remorse, one of the greatest hindrances to the progress of the
student, however far he may have advanced.
The idea of being "on duty" and allowing nothing to distract us
from it was another principle we were given; and Silence while on
duty. Both rules were taken undoubtedly from the Mystery
But all this was a happy discipline, except for the inevitable
grief-storms that come into every child's life. And our periods
of duty were frequently relieved by agreeable interludes. There
were many ground-breaking and other outdoor ceremonies that we
attended, and weekly concerts of the finest music, all provided
by strictly Headquarters talent, for Katherine Tingley gathered
together at Point Loma a group of people of rare culture.
We loved her dearly. To us she was a being far out of the
ordinary. Her beautiful, radiant kindness was a thing never to
be forgotten. Often she would walk over from where she lived in
the big domed building to the "Lotus Home" where we were playing.
When she approached, the word would go round like magic; we would
cluster around her and walk along with her.
Looking back over the details of what Katherine Tingley planned
for us, it is plain to us how well she understood what children
like: the thrill of surprise, delightful suspense, beauty,
mystery, and fun. And no less well did she understand the
serious side of a child's nature: to emulate the ideal and become
like it. Every child had tuition in some musical instrument,
even from the beginning. She knew the value of collective
effort, and there were always plays, choruses, sports,
calisthenics, and drill.
Can children be taught occultism?
Many of us were mere six-year-olds, but we understood in a
measure the significance of these things, and the as yet
unmanifested Higher Ego understood and welcomed the opportunity
to begin early in the incarnation with the process of "getting on
with the job" -- the real work for which it had returned here.
Whether there is anything in that more than poetic fancy,
probably only a Teacher could tell us, but the Being has so
recently come from its solemn preview of the incarnation, and
moment of deep insight, that it might well still be bringing with
it some aroma of that experience. Katherine Tingley recognized
that Something behind, and appealed to it in speaking to us, with
complete seriousness. Well do we remember words of hers
addressing us in that way. The child listened and wondered,
vaguely realizing that the Teacher spoke to something beyond and
within and yet not foreign to himself: but the Soul knew. The
child never felt humiliated, but rather stimulated, quieted, and
Those who understood the true nature of Katherine Tingley's work
realized that this great humanitarian was indeed laying down
patterns for the distant future; working out new methods for
human betterment and education. She gave ideals embodiment in
action and in creative works. When she laid a cornerstone, it
might or might not eventuate in a Temple built with hands; but
the ceremony put into symbolic form what was actually happening
in the world of the Real. In the same way, many innovations in
education that she made were tokens of what was to be -- and many
of these details, such as music and art tuition in the schools,
brotherhood, and the love of all nations, and the rehabilitation
and training of men and women in the prisons really originated
By her system of training in true Yoga, not one of the upwards of
two thousand children who passed through the school at Point Loma
went out from its experiences without a more or less profound
impression remaining upon its inner nature. The inspiration
still lives in the young students of the new generation now
studying at Theosophical University.
G. de Purucker, whose Teacher she was, said that Katherine
Tingley was the greatest esotericist of all, and the most
misunderstood. But the new cycle of the children now inaugurated
will, we have every reason to hope, bring into play new types of
consciousness and activity that will vindicate her in the fullest
degree. The work she did for mankind has left its mark, and will
have its effect upon countless individuals for hundreds of lives
By Margaret Smith
[From THE ARYAN PATH, May 1946, pages 166-70.]
The Yazidis are a Kurdish people, numbering perhaps only sixty to
seventy thousand souls, who call themselves the worshippers of
God, but their religion includes very special customs and
observances. Although they are found in Persia, Russian Armenia,
and in Diyarbakr and Aleppo, they are chiefly in the Sinjar
Mountains, a hundred miles west of Mosul in the middle of the
desert. This district has been the center of their efforts for
freedom and independence. The language in general use among the
Yazidis is Kurdish, but Arabic is also used in their worship.
They are reported to be industrious by those who have visited
them and lived amongst them. The English were especially
welcome, having put a stop while in Iraq to the murders and
massacres they had so frequent experienced. The Yazidis exceeded
their neighbors in skill and activity. They are quiet and
orderly, gentle and courteous, and generous, showing an
open-handed friendliness and hospitality. To their guests, they
give of the best that they have, without looking for any return
in money or presents, and they are of a high level of morality.
Their women are neither secluded nor veiled nor are they expected
to do hard manual labor. Those of high degree marry only those
of their own rank so that these families are of ancient blood.
The Yazidis have been frequently persecuted for their religious
beliefs, but have never swerved from them and have shown
throughout their history a wonderful strength of character and
resolution. Though they have a record of hundreds of thousands
of martyrs, they have remained a separate group, holding fast to
Of their priesthood, there are four classes, represented by the
Shaykh, the Pir, the Qawwal, and the Faqir. The Shaykhs are
believed to be the lineal descendants of the companions of the
sect founded by the patron saint of the Yazidis, Shaykh 'Adi b.
Musafir and their chief is the "Baba Shaykh" or mir-i-shaykhan,
who holds the supreme spiritual power and takes precedence of
everyone else. He has the power of excommunicating a Yazidi, and
exclusion from his people is the fate most feared in the group,
because it also settles the fate of the soul.
Only the Shaykhs are instructed in the inner doctrines of the
faith. They exercise a great authority over the laity and enjoy
great respect and reverence. The Shaykhs and Pirs have the duty
of teaching their people what is good and restraining them from
evil. The orders of the priesthood are hereditary, and can
descend to the women, who are then treated with the same respect
and consideration as the men.
A boy who is to become a Faqir must be born into that rank, but
he becomes one voluntarily. After instruction, initiation, and
then three days of fasting, he is invested with the khirqa, a
tunic made of pure lamb's wool, which is fastened round the waist
by a sacred girdle. This recalls the initiation into the Sufi
(Islamic mystic) brotherhood.
Each family of the laity is attached to some shaykhly family, and
the Yazidis have a custom by which each boy or girl chooses an
"other brother" or "other sister" from a shaykhly family, not
necessarily the one to which his or her family is attached, and
there is henceforth a close tie between the two. The "other" has
duties to perform at marriage, and at death, while the lay sister
or brother has to make the "other" a yearly present, serve, and
help him or her always. The Yazidis hold that this link between
the two has existed before this life and that the two will be
linked in future lives.
There is also a temporal chief, the Prince of the Yazidis, with
authority, in temporal matters, over the whole community, and he
can deal with any unruly member of it. The Mir represents the
Yazidis in their dealings with the outer world.
The Yazidis have been defamed and accused of evil practices, and
some who had no knowledge of their real religion have described
them as devil-worshippers, but these accusations have been proved
entirely false. Their religion seems to include some old pagan
elements, including perhaps their reverence for the sun and for
running water, but there is no worship of the sun and moon
included in their faith. There are perhaps some relics of
Persian dualism; something is taken from Judaism and
Christianity, and taken from Islam and the Sabaeans.
They believe in a Supreme Being, God, and that the Divine Will is
carried out by an agent known as the Peacock Angel, Malak Ta'us,
with whom the patron saint, Shaykh 'Adi, seems to be identified.
The Peacock Angel is not to be regarded as the principle of evil,
as some have held, but rather as a Spirit of Light. He is called
"Lord of the Moon and of the Darkness" and "Lord of the Sun and
Light." He is the active aspect of God and inseparably bound up
with Him. The main prayer of the Yazidis is addressed to him.
The problem of the origin and nature of the worship of Malak
Ta'us is not yet solved. He is regarded as the chief of Seven
Angels and one who visited Shaykh 'Adi's shrine was told by the
priest in charge that God had given the complete control of the
world for 10,000 years to the Bright Spirit, Malak Ta'us, and
therefore he was worshipped. He was the Spirit of Power (not of
evil as some said), and the ruler of this world. At the end of
the 10,000 years of his reign, he would reenter Paradise as the
chief of the Seven Bright Spirits and all his true worshippers
would enter Paradise with him. So Malak Ta'us is regarded as God
manifest in the world. It is to be noted that the peacock,
regarded as a symbol of the sun and of immortality, from the
legend that its flesh never becomes corrupt, plays a part in
early Christianity and other faiths.
The Yazidis hold that evil comes from man himself and from his
errors, but that by rebirth he can gradually attain to
purification, or else, if he is irretrievably linked with what is
evil, he will perish as illusion. An evil man may be
reincarnated as an animal, but most will be reborn as men and
those who are good as Yazidis. At the end of all things when
purification is complete, they are freed from the body and this
world, and will be united with the Supreme Being. Attaining to
beatitude, they return no more. It is possible that Buddhist
missionaries, passing through Persia and the Middle East, gained
some adherents to the doctrines of reincarnation, or that they
were derived from the Sabaeans.
The Yazidis practice baptismal rites, which are held to confer
purity, sanctity and a blessing, but are not regarded as securing
admission to the sect or as necessary to salvation. This rite is
perhaps taken from Christianity, for which faith the Yazidis have
a high regard. They make use of the sign of the cross and when
they enter a Christian church, they put off their shoes and kiss
There is a sacrificial festival in the spring, which in time and
in circumstance links them with the Jews, for scarlet ranunculus
is then hung in bunches over the doorways and some households
sprinkle the lintel and doorpost with blood from the lamb
sacrificed the night before. At this feast, too, everybody makes
and receives gifts of colored hard-boiled eggs, which links it
with the Christian Easter also. From the Jews, too, they have
learnt reverence for the Old Testament, which they consider to
have equal authority with the New Testament and the Qur'an, which
they also respect. Texts from the Qur'an are engraved on the
walls of their temple. They regard Muhammad as a prophet and
Mecca as a holy place. They are a people who show religious
The Yazidis themselves possess two sacred books, KITAB AL-ASWAD
(The Book of Blackness) dating from the tenth century and KITAB
AL-JILWA (The Book of Revelation) dating from the thirteenth.
These are in Arabic. There is also a hymn of Shaykh 'Adi, which
is regarded as a sacred book.
The patron saint of the Yazidis, Shaykh 'Adi b. Musafir, was
born at Baalbek in Syria. Of his life there, one writes:
> Often must he have passed beneath a portal of the temple of
> Bacchus at Baalbek upon which the poppies and wheat are
> sculptured with such tender and gracious skill, preaching the
> silent text that death is but a sleep and a forgetting, and that
> the life that is dormant must again, like the corn, press forward
> to the light.
> -- E.S. Drower, PEACOCK ANGEL, page 152.
When he traveled to Iraq, no doubt he took these memories with
Shaykh 'Adi was a Sufi who founded the order of the 'Adawiya, and
he was famed for the holiness of his life, a fame that spread to
distant countries, so that he gathered together a great number of
disciples, who gave him great reverence. He traveled to Iraq,
retired from the world, and settled in the mountains of the
Hakkari Kurds, where he built a monastery for his followers. He
died there around 1160. His tomb is in a valley there and is a
place of pilgrimage.
In his hymn, he declares:
> I am the Shaykh, the one, the only one;
> I am he that by myself revealeth things;
> I am he to whom the book of glad tidings came down
> From my Lord who cleaveth the mountains ....
> I am he that brought from the fountain water
> Limpid and sweeter than all waters;
> I am he that disclosed it in my mercy,
> And in my might I called it the white fountain.
> I am he to whom the Lord of Heaven said:
> Thou art the ruler and governor of the universe.
> I am he to whom the flinty mountains bow,
> They are under me, and ask to do my pleasure.
> I am he before whose majesty the wild beasts wept;
> They came and worshipped and kissed my feet.
> I have made known to you, Oh congregation, some of my ways.
> Who desireth me must forsake the world.
> I sought out truth and became the establisher of truth; And with
> a similar truth shall they attain to the highest like me.
> -- G.P. Badger, THE NESTORIANS AND THEIR RITUALS, I, page 113.
His shrine is a place of great peace, built on rock terraces hewn
from the cliffs of the mountainside. It lies in a silent valley,
a lovely and holy place. White-clad nuns keep it. Vowed to
celibacy, they spend their lives serving the shrines of Shaykh
'Adi. At sundown, each night, little lamps are lighted
everywhere among the shrines and burn but a short time before
they die down. "Perhaps," writes one who saw this,
> The mystics who once dwelt here saw in these flames a symbol of
> human life, a sixth of an hour of life and then black extinction
> until the Divine Servitor again pours in the oil of life from His
> inexhaustible store.
> -- E.S. Drower, PEACOCK ANGEL, page 166.
An annual pilgrimage to this holy shrine is strictly enjoined on
the Yazidis and the Feast of Assembly takes place in the autumn
and lasts for eight days, being attended by all the faithful who
can come. This pilgrimage is an expression of the national and
religious isolation of the Yazidis. The feast includes
purification, a procession, chants, dances (like the dhikrs of
the Sufis), the kindling of lamps, the offering of special foods,
and a sacrifice. Men and women from the Sin-jar and from the
northern districts of Kurdistan leave their tents and pastures in
order to attend. All, before they come into the holy valley,
purify themselves, both their garments and their persons, in the
stream flowing from it. The entire hillside is covered with
stone huts, built to house the pilgrims.
When twilight fades, the Faqirs come out from the shrine, each
with a light in one hand and a pot of oil and wicks in the other.
Then the lamps are filled, trimmed, and set in niches in the
walls of the courtyard and in all the shrines. There are many
little chapels on the sides of the valley, and lights are even
placed on rocks or in the hollow trunks of trees. Thousands of
lights are seen everywhere, reflected in the streams and
fountains, and shining among the leaves of the trees. Then the
voices of men and women are raised, singing in chants, in Arabic,
in harmony with the notes of many flutes.
The Yazidis are pantheistic mystics. God, to them, is
omnipresent but reverenced especially in the sun, the planets,
the pure mountain spring, the green trees, and even in the
stones, in which some of the Divine mystery is held to lie
hidden. The sun, that great Light, one of the most potent means
by which the Divine power and goodness are manifested, is looked
upon by them as the purest symbol of Godhead and honored as such.
At its rising, the Yazidis kiss the ground, with their faces
turned to the East and do likewise at its setting, with faces
turned to the West. Fire and light are also held by the Yazidis
to be symbols of the Deity, and reverenced accordingly.
Water, too, is regarded by the Yazidis as a visible sign of God,
the Giver through its means of so many blessings to mankind, and
every fountain or spring is held to be sacred and a lamp is left
burning nightly in some adjacent niche or cave. Beside most of
these sacred springs and streams is to be found a sacred tree or
trees, which are usually fruit bearing, fig or mulberry or olive.
The Yazidis feel that God is present in His gifts and to be
reverenced in them. The Yazidis worship God after their own
manner, a faithful worship by those who see the Invisible in the
Dedicated to the Theosophical Philosophy and its Practical Application