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THEOSOPHY WORLD ---------------------------------- September, 2008

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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"Realism and Idealism," by Student
"Exact Science -- A Fiction," by Boris de Zirkoff
"The Gods," by Kenneth Morris
"The One-World Philosophy of K'ang Yu-Wei," by Shri O.K. Ghosh
"The Nature of the Buddhic Principle," by G. de Purucker
"About Killing Animals," by William Q. Judge
"I Will and I Will Not," by Talbot Mundy
"Individualism and the Wholly Ghost," by Jack Common
"Opening Lines of Genesis," by G. de Purucker
"The Mahatmas as Ideals and Facts," by William Q. Judge


> Please realize the fact that so long as men doubt there will be
> curiosity and enquiry, and that enquiry stimulates reflection
> which begets effort; but let our secret be once thoroughly
> vulgarized and not only will sceptical society derive no great
> good but our privacy would be constantly endangered and have to
> be continually guarded at an unreasonable cost of power.
> -- Mahatma Morya, THE MAHATMA LETTERS TO A.P. SINNETT, Letter
>    29, page 224.


By Student

[From THE THEOSOPHICAL PATH, October 1924, pages 361-63.]

One of the most misleading words in our vocabulary is surely the
very plain word REALISM, simply because we have no generally
acceptable standard of reality. Perhaps it would be more
accurate to say because our generally accepted standards are too
various. Of these the most popular no doubt would be that of the
senses: it being generally conceded that nothing is real that is
not perceptible to the senses.

But sight is a most important sense, and the air we breathe is
surely a reality; and yet it is not visible. Light and Darkness:
are they unrealities because neither audible nor sensible to
touch or taste? Are our emotions unrealities? If so we pass the
greater part of our existence in a world that is not real. And
if the world we live in is so largely made of unreality what is
to be our standard of reality?

Material objects are endowed with weight, which is not visible,
nor audible, nor can it be smelled nor tasted, no, nor even seen;
yet surely it is real. How can we say that the reality of things
depends upon the testimony of one or more of the senses, seeing
the general disagreement of these witnesses?

If we rely upon our dictionaries we shall say things that are
real are not imaginary, but actually exist quite independent of
the senses that perceive them. But how can we test their actual
existence except by use of the imagination? It is by the
imagination that we coordinate the experience of the senses and
then draw our conclusions. It is the mind that weighs the
evidence for or against the reality of things; and while that
reality may be entirely independent and self-supporting, yet it
can only be known to us by the assistance of our senses or our

So when we speak of realism we are talking about a mode of mind,
a system of thought, a manner of expression, and a literary or
artistic style that deals with concepts of reality not with
reality itself. All that we ever know about reality is an IDEA,
a mental concept; and so our realism after all is not so very far
removed from its apparent opposite IDEALISM.

The ordinary man conceives of idealism as dealing with
abstractions, fancies, fictions, or pure imagination; while
realism deals with facts. But the idealist thinks otherwise: to
him reality is not material; far from it. To him the ideal is
the revelation of the real. Ideas to him are concepts of
reality, and the entire universe is an expression of ideas
conceived in the eternal mind of Nature, the Great Mother.

The fact that we are all children of one universal mother is the
key to all the baffling problems presented by our social system,
which ignores this fact, and has for its foundation the popular
fallacy of materialism with its twin error "the great dire heresy
of separateness." From these two errors spring "all the ills that
flesh are heir to." From materialism comes the delusion of death
as the end of life, which is a practical denial of the
possibility of evolution or the continuity of consciousness. And
from the fallacy of separateness arises that justification of
human selfishness which finds its ultimate expression in war as
the crown of competition and the last word in the great nightmare
of our so-called civilization.

A civilization based on selfishness can be no better than a
nightmare. Peace cannot be maintained in a society that founds
its life and laws upon the perverted principle known as 'the
struggle for existence.' The Law of Life, the Law of Laws, is
BROTHERHOOD. That is the only possible foundation on which to
build a civilization worthy of the name. The 'struggle for
existence' is a fallacy, a theory invented to excuse the
selfishness of man's lower nature, which is the only troublemaker
in the world. The only struggle is that made by man in his
attempts to get for his own personal enjoyment a greater share of
this world's goods than other men receive. The struggle that
ensues makes life a veritable nightmare.

The world is dreaming a bad dream. Let man awake, and find the
SELF, and end the dream. This is the aim of the idealist, to
stand in presence of reality and know no fear; to see beyond the
illusive forms and appearances of the material world and
recognize the presence and power of spiritual principles at work
behind the veil of matter: to perceive the ideal as the soul of
things, and know that the ideal is the mental image of reality.

When a man understands how very fallible his senses are, how
easily deceived, how subject to suggestion, surely he must admit
that their report amounts to little more than partial evidence of
the external appearance of a reality which lies beyond, a
principle that escapes the clumsy grasp of these uncertain

Truly the materialist is utterly incapable of realism. The Real
must be approached through the Ideal. And no one is blinder to
the reality of things than is the self-styled realist who takes
appearance for reality; being deluded by the glamour of the
material plane on which he lives. The attitude of mind of a
materialist who pins his faith to sense-impressions and is
content to look no further for reality is quite unlike that of
the man caught in a fog, sees the fog, and knows that he is lost.
The materialist sees clearly and is quite sure of his position,
but, like a sleepwalker, he is deceived by his own mind and does
not understand that which he sees. So, like a lunatic, he is
convinced of his own sanity, and satisfied that what he sees is
real and what he cannot see nor measure with his senses has no
material existence, and must be therefore a product of
imagination, an unreality. Thus the materialist repudiates the
ideal as delusion or fantasy.

Not so the idealist, the seeker for reality. He would not dare
to call himself a realist, knowing that he as an individual would
lose his individuality if once he touched the flame of Truth and
was absorbed into Reality. He is content to bathe in the
sunshine and to see it everywhere reflected and to know that his
own spark of individuality is but a ray from that same spiritual
Sun. To the true Idealist life is intensely real in spite of its
delusions, for each delusion testifies according to its might to
the Reality that lies behind. THAT is the unspeakable. Only the
VOICE cries "Know thyself!" "Find thou but thyself; thou art I."


By Boris de Zirkoff

[From THE THEOSOPHICAL PATH, October 1924, pages 364-68.]

What are the fundamental conceptions upon which the whole
enormous edifice of science rests? They are clearly evident. Let
us review the different chapters of modern physics, and we shall
immediately find that its field could be divided up into two
quite different parts: one, including questions of mechanics, of
hydrostatics, etc. -- and a multitude of complements referring
to them; the second embracing the phenomena of heat, light, and
electricity; and acoustics, which, strictly speaking, could be
placed in almost any domain of physics.

The principal notions of the first section are: matter with which
we work, and energy which is represented to us as the cause of
the movements of matter.

The second section rests in the same way on the two
above-mentioned bases, but the explanation of these phenomena
necessitates further the introduction of a new conception which
rounds out the theories -- the ether. As a matter of fact, in
order to explain the transmission of undulatory (calorific,
luminous, electric, etc.,) vibrations, a carrier or support was
necessary; also, in order to fill up the interplanetary void with
something, it was necessary to imagine an imponderable agent with
which this void should be full, in order to transmit the luminous
vibrations at least, not to mention others. If we turn to
chemistry, matter and energy meet us everywhere; so that we are
able to say from now on that science is based upon three
fundamental conceptions: (1) Matter, (2) Energy, and (3) Ether.

Let us remember that scientists not satisfied with their
experiments in matter have tried to discover its innermost
structure, to find the laws which the innumerable atoms obey,
which constitute it; they have wished to see, observe, and
scrutinize to the very ultimate depths the secret of its
mysterious origin and the equilibriums which support its
marvelous structures. We shall not occupy ourselves here with
the hypotheses without number which have been raised in order to
solve this mystery; suffice it to say that the primordial atom
formerly held to be indivisible and indestructible during the
last century was divided, and transformed (as is generally known)
into a solar system with a central mass and very small particles
called electrons, which according to certain rules turn round a
central nucleus with a speed of the order of that of light.

The theory about the electron could not satisfy the indefatigable
spirit of the investigators, and hence we have new hypotheses
formulated regarding the structure of the electron itself; it is
conceived of as a whirlwind, a vortex, a cyclone of ether, -- of
this almost immaterial substance, which nevertheless is of a
rigidity greater than that of the hardest steel. All matter has
thus been brought back to this hypothetic ether which is more
indefinite than any other scientific conception.

What then is matter? A whirlwind of ether! It is marvelous! Is
matter then nothing but ether? Certainly, though condensed, it is
after all just ether.

Strange, indeed! In the attempt to prove the inner structure of
matter, which was thought to be the web of the universe, people
came to a quite different conclusion, namely, that matter does
not exist! The object of our reasoning has thus been shown to be
unreal, an illusion, deceptive in the highest degree.

What is matter? But it does not exist! But heavens, replies the
profane, everything that I see, you yourself, Mr. Investigator,
are you not yourself made of matter? I was told yesterday that
everything in the Universe was merely matter and atoms in
movement. -- No. We have just discovered that all is nothing
but condensed ether ruled by 'forces,' and since matter has lost
its individual existence, ether has inherited its attributes.

Marvelous! This is called the deductive method. The hypothesis
is clear and simple, and especially is its principal merit
EXPERIMENTALLY PROVED. Could a more negative conclusion than
this one be arrived at? Let us hear then what a scholar of the
first rank said of this same matter some years ago of this matter
which has just been so ignominiously driven from its throne.

> What is matter? In perfect strictness it is true that chemical
> investigation can tell us nothing directly of the composition of
> living matter, and it is also in strictness true that we know
> nothing about the composition of any material body whatever it
> is.

And now of late the tendency seems to be to disregard these most
true words of Huxley's. He answered that we did not have any
positive knowledge about matter, and today a thousand scientists
are telling us that it is nothing but condensed ether. Good! If
the thing is as simple as that, let them show us this primordial
substance which fills up everything, the interstellar void as
well as the interstices between the atoms of a body. Let us try
to get some information from men who are competent along these
lines, in order to have a more precise idea of this universally
known and respected agent.

The answer to our question will not keep us waiting; I can
already hear it: Ether is imponderable and cannot, as such, be
perceived by any means at our disposal; you want to see it?
Impossible! Nobody has seen it, nobody has felt it; it is an
invisible fluid, like air, by the way, which also is invisible;
the proofs of its existence are so many that no doubt is possible
as to its reality. -- Ah, yes, we reply with some regret; but
can you at least give the definitions of its physical properties,
its attributes, fix the mode of its exact vibration, and describe
it to us with at least some precision?

This is the answer of S. Laing, a writer of some years ago, in

> What is ether? Ether is not actually known to us by any test of
> which the senses can take cognizance, but it is a sort of
> mathematical substance which we are compelled to assume in order
> to account for the phenomena of light and heat.

Here we have the ether in all its simplicity: a pure abstraction
and nothing more. From now on we can employ a resume taken from
science itself: Matter is composed of atoms; the atom of the
vortex produced in the ether; hence matter is ether. Ether, on
the other hand, is nothing but a "mathematical substance,"
something on which to base calculations -- a pure abstraction;
hence matter is itself an abstraction. In order to explain the
structure of one fiction -- matter -- another is created a
thousand times more abstract -- ether; the result of which is
really marvelous: two abstractions which explain and complement
each other, and which, after all, certainly do not give us a
positive and experimentally proved answer to the question: What
is the primordial atom?

Science uses facts only and by no means merely abstract notions;
but is it perhaps an irony of the centuries that its deepest
base, its principle axis of rotation, is found to be precisely an
abstraction and one of the most abstract?

Thus the two hypostases of the scientific trinity are
established; their ultra-metaphysical appearance is too obvious
to necessitate any more profound analysis.

Let us turn to energy. Open any manual of physics, especially
one on mechanics, and read the ingenious definitions which you
will find of that mysterious entity called 'energy.' The
inevitable answer to our question, what is energy, is the same
monotonous phrase, which can only make a thinker smile -- that
energy is the cause of movement. Energy is known to us only by
its effects.

Cause or effect define with very little precision the idea of
energy; it is evident that the manuals cannot tell us anything
whatsoever about its essence, still less about its origin. Let
us then turn to the classics of contemporary science; we shall
perhaps there find some interesting passages. In order to quote
only one of them, let us take the course of physics by Ganot; we
shall find there on page 68:

> In mechanics there is actual and potential energy: work actually
> performed and the capacity of performing it. As to the nature of
> molecular energy or forces, the various phenomena which bodies
> present show that their molecules are under the influence of two
> contrary forces -- one which tends to bring them together, the
> other to separate them. The first is molecular attraction; the
> second force is due to the vis viva, or moving force.

Let us then try to find the definition of this vis viva, of which
Ganot speaks. Here we have the brave Huxley who once more pulls
us out of this swamp in which we find ourselves entangled. This
truth-loving man answers us with precision and clarity:

> What is this vis viva? It is an empty shadow, a product of my
> imagination.

And here we have the scientific trinity defined in a rather
original manner. It is true, attested by the most faithful sons
of science:

> I do not know what matter is.
> I do not know what the ether is.
> I have no notion whatsoever about energy.

And now we have the right to estimate the value of this theoretic
foundation, of this basis which resists all external attacks and
which the scientists of the time make it a point of honor to
defend. Contemplate then for a moment this strange metaphysic,
this absolute ignorance out of which they at any price want to
form a system and build a lasting edifice. These are the
refractory bricks with whose help they intend to shelter
themselves against the inclemency of ages to come.

What does this so-called solidity consist of? With its ephemeral
basis, might a sudden puff of wind carry it away? Who then can
show us, in these abstractions which are more abstract than any
others, more nescient than any doctrine previously formulated,
and an authority worthy of our worship?

Men swear all too often by the irrevocably demonstrated
postulates of science; but they fail to notice their fragility,
their artificial vitality, their nullity from the experimental
point of view; they do not see that they are founded on a pure
fiction, on a negation.

By what means do scientists try to explain the universe to us?
The idea of an organic life, or the conception of a living and
animated substance are far away; nothing exists but dead atoms,
material corpuscles which no breath animates, nor any thought
renders fertile, nor any spirit directs; nothing but myriads and
myriads of these mute and withered beings, condemned to turn, to
revolve during the eternity of the ages round an imaginary
center. No life, no soul, in these elements; nothing but matter
darker than ever, more dead than ever; matter governed by
fictitious forces, whose cause is unknown.

Would one say that the whole of the universe wells up from these
overheated alembics, from these tubes curved and re-curved in a
thousand ways, out of these putrefied solutions -- a universe
full of charm, youth, and hope for the future? Would one say that
this marvelous nature, temple of the Supreme Life, is organized
within the four walls of narrow laboratories, among fetid odors,
under the vigilant eye of a rusty chemist? Would one say that man
himself, like the homunculus of Faust, suddenly emerges out of
these colored salts, of these condensed liquids, of these clouds
of vapor, by the imperial gesture of the scientist? Is it dead
matter which creates life, activity, and progressive evolution?
Is it the logic of deductions, three-storied formulae, and
chemical reactions that create intuition? It seems as if
spontaneity itself ought to spring in full vigor from the bosom
of mathematical calculations!

They who prostrate themselves before the grandeur of exact
science, do they not see that they adore a holy trinity
consisting of dead matter, inanimate force, and pure chance?

Exact science, that science which denies the existence of
abstractions within the heart of its own being, that science,
finally, which does not and will not recognize anything but
certain and known quantities, is itself found to rest on such a
fantastic basis, such a legendary foundation. Very singular
indeed! Listen then to these few words, the truth of which is
only too evident:

> The whole structure of modern science is built on a kind of
> 'mathematical abstraction,' on a Protean substance which eludes
> the senses, and on EFFECTS, the shadows of a SOMETHING entirely
> unknown to and beyond the reach of science; self-moving atoms!
> Self-moving suns, planets, and stars!
> -- The Secret Doctrine, by H. P. Blavatsky

This is pure truth. Noble-minded scientific researchers yearn to
know and hope to know, but, what a prodigious distance yet
separates them from the final and sublime knowledge of the law of
Eternal Nature!

What an unnecessary postulate to start from, this 'mystery of
existence'! Why all this 'mystery'? There is none; all is there,
manifested and calculated.

However, in spite of the 'mystery' which surrounds it, in spite
of the incertitude which it seems to meet at every step, in spite
of the futility and the incoherence of most of its hypotheses,
the science of our days finds itself closer than ever to the
eternal truth, revealed in days of old by the wise men of
antiquity. The consistency with which it has constantly rejected
the idea of a living principle, pulsating in every atom, now ends
only in this: to show that MATTER, ENERGY, AND ETHER ARE ONLY

For science today tries to formulate Theosophical doctrines; it
whispers already the words of the Archaic Wisdom. Only a few
more steps and it will penetrate to the outer arcana of the
universe, where the breath of the spirit is felt; and then
endlessly step after step towards wider and deeper knowledge of
the Great ALL, origin and end of the stellar evolutions, in which
depths there hides the mystery of life.


By Kenneth Morris

[From THE THEOSOPHICAL PATH, October 1924, page 321, captioned
"International Theosophical Headquarters, Point Loma,

Whether proceeding from the luminance of the Evening Star,
Or arisen from the blossom of God's blue rose the Sea,
Innumerable and very noble the Princes of Beauty are,
In whose hearts we are held unfallen, in whose will we are free.

Some plumy willowy spirit, accustomed to thrill
Wingless from Canopus to the Dragon that guards the Pole,
Fluted thee into being, O my lady the daffodil, --
Or kindled the flame thy bloom with the star her Soul.

And there is no pansy, but Aeons aglow in the gloom
Of purple and ink-dark skies, and their wings on fire,
Sang: -- no iris, nor rose nor hyacinth bloom
But was born of a gust of song from the Starry Choir.

If I go up into the mountains, to the blue crags, I shall find
The ancient healing beauty in the ways untrod;
If I rise from the worn tracks of the heart and mind
Shall I not commune with the Dragon Hosts of God?


By Shri O.K. Ghosh

[From THE ARYAN PATH, September 1962, pages 391-97.]

Little is generally known in India of the intellectual effect of
the impact of the West on China in the nineteenth century. With
a sudden sharpness, the Chinese were forced to accept the fact,
as the noted Chinese philosopher Fung Yu-Lan has observed, that
their country was neither the whole world, nor even indeed the
center of the world, but simply one among many different nations.
The intellectual challenge was of a fundamental nature, and K'ang
Yu-Wei was one of the greatest of the Chinese men of thought to
respond to the challenge. He did it by trying to modify
Confucius to suit the needs of the time, and by using Western
ideas for new and daring speculations. This is best shown in his
TA T'UNG SHU or "One World Book." Let us, then, have a glimpse of
the man and of his ideas.

Our knowledge of K'ang Yu-Wei has been largely gleaned, at least
for his first forty years, from his autobiography SELF-COMPILED
on March 19, 1858 at a place slightly south-west of Canton. His
father was well-to-do, but he died when K'ang was eleven. K'ang
was brought up by his grandfather, a mandarin, and he spent his
early life mainly in studying. In this his work was facilitated
by his great-grandfather's huge library.

His early studies were in the classical Chinese tradition. At
the age of twenty-one, however, he had a great vision when he saw
that "the ten thousand creatures of Heaven and Earth" and he
himself "were all of the same body." He received great
enlightenment and laughed with joy; then he perceived the
sufferings of life and cried with melancholy.

This mystic vision had a great effect on him. He gave up his
classical studies, and retired to the mountains to study Buddhism
and Taoism. But he came back to the world, visited Hong Kong in
1879, and read works on foreign lands and foreign history. He
was deeply affected. He was convinced that the West had much to
teach China and that a reform of Chinese society was essential if
China was to take her place among the leading peoples of the

In 1883, when only 25, he founded an Anti-Footbinding Society in
his native place, soon to be followed by the South China
Anti-Footbinding Society. His studies also continued. And by
1885 he had prepared the first draft of TA T'UNG SHU. In 1889 he
became a mandarin. His studies, however, did not abate. In 1891
he brought out a book trying to prove that many works attributed
to Confucius were really forgeries. He was attacked and his book

In 1896 K'ang participated in politics. The Japanese had
defeated the Chinese and a humiliating treaty was being
negotiated. The officials in Peking were highly agitated. K'ang
and his disciple, Liang Ch'i-ch'ao, organized mass meetings which
resulted in a petition to the Emperor asking for the rejection of
the peace terms (which involved a loss of territory) and for a
general reform of the laws. But this came to nothing. K'ang
consoled himself by studying Western culture, largely through
translations from the Japanese made by his eldest daughter. He
also became concerned with the problem of over-population in
China and sponsored a scheme of emigration to Brazil.

His days of glory came in 1898. His writings had influenced many
young Chinese, including the heir to the throne, Kuang-hsu. In
1898 Kuang-hsu became Emperor, and K'ang became his chief mentor.
The result was the famous "Hundred Days of Reform" (June 11th --
September 20th, 1898). Kuang-hsu issued a series of decrees
aimed at modernizing (Westernizing) China militarily and
industrially while revitalizing Confucianism.

But the time was not yet ripe. The forces of reaction, led by
the old Dowager Empress, Tzu Hsi, struck back; Kuang-hsu was
deposed and imprisoned, and Tzu Hsi resumed her former position
as regent. Six of Kuang-hsu's chief counselors were executed.
K'ang, however, fled to Japan.

Thence, up to 1913, he led a wandering life; visiting many places
and countries including Hong Kong, Japan, United States, England,
Germany, Penang, Singapore, India, Burma, and Java. In 1912 he
was allowed to return to China. From then to 1927, his life
consisted of a series of private sorrows and constant failures
from attempts to reform and to modernize Chinese society. But
through all sufferings and sorrows, he remained constant to his
high principles and ideals, a "peak of peaks, deep and clear," as
one admirer put it.

His most important work, TA T'UNG SHU, was first thought out when
he was but a youth of twenty-six. Its main principles were
discussed with his students, including the famous Ch'en T'ung-fu
and Liang Ch'i-ch'ao, in his school: the "Thatched Hall in Ten
Thousand Trees," near Canton. But the draft was finally
completed only in 1902, when K'ang was in Darjeeling. K'ang was
now forty-four years old.

The influence of Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, and the West on
TA T'UNG SHU is clear. K'ang's starting point was the thesis of
Mencius that "men have compassionate natures." Mencius had
observed that if a child fell into a well the observers at once
felt alarm and distress. Why? Not because they wanted to gain
the favors of the child's parents, or the praises of their
neighbors and friends, or for any other ulterior reason; but
because, by nature, they had "compassionate feelings." And why?
K'ang traced this to the very origin of the universe.

K'ang postulated that in the beginning there was a vast primal
energy-stuff, the creator of Heaven and Earth. This
energy-stuff, essentially spiritual, is electricity possessed of
consciousness. It activates everything and to whoever possesses
consciousness it gives the power of attraction, like that of the
magnet. The inability of men to see, unmoved, the sufferings of
others is a manifestation of this force of attraction. The
existence of this spiritual substance in everyone is the reason
why both all-embracing love (jen) and wisdom are stored in the
mind. The doctrine of "brotherly love" or jen is an old Chinese
one and similar to such teachings elsewhere in the world. What
K'ang added was the speculation about electricity as the primal
matter-spirit energy.

But if the nature of man is compassionate and directed towards
jen, why is the world so imperfect? This is because of various
sufferings which form part and parcel of Life itself. K'ang here
is thoroughly Buddhist. He classifies and enumerates the

The sufferings associated with man's physical life are seven: (1)
being implanted in the womb, (2) suffering premature death, (3)
suffering loss of a limb, (4) being a barbarian, (5) living
outside China, (6) being a slave, and (7) being a woman.

The sufferings associated with natural disasters are eight: (1)
famine resulting from flood or drought, (2) epidemic, (3)
conflagration, (4) flood, (5) volcanic eruptions, (6) collapse of
buildings, (7) shipwreck, and (8) locust plagues.

The sufferings associated with the human relationship are five:
(1) to be a widower or widow, (2) to be orphaned or childless,
(3) to be ill and have no one to provide medical care, (4) to
suffer poverty, and (5) to have a low and mean station in life.

The sufferings associated with human institutions are seven: (1)
corporal punishment and imprisonment, (2) unjust taxation, (3)
military conscription, (4) social stratifications, (5) oppressive
institutions, (6) the existence of the state, and (7) the
existence of the family.

The human feelings which cause sufferings are six: (1) brutish
stupidity, (2) hatred, (3) fatigue, (4) lust, (5) attachment to
things, and (6) desire

The things which cause suffering because of the esteem in which
they are held by men are five: (1) wealth, (2) eminent position,
(3) longevity, (4) being a ruler, and (5) being a god, sage,
immortal, or Buddha.

How can mankind get out of this morass of suffering into a world
of jen? And what can this world of jen be? What is the ideal
world? K'ang here makes use of another concept about human
nature. The nerves of the brain react favorably to those objects
which suit it, unfavorably to those which do not. In more
popular terms, men try to get pleasure and avoid pain in all
their actions. Even the painful activities carried out by
ascetics or self-sacrificing heroes are for the purpose of
obtaining greater pleasure through lesser pain. This
pleasure-pain concept leads to the principle: "Whatever is
injurious (painful) to man is wrong; whatever is not injurious is
right." This gives us the objectives of a world ruled by jen. We
can now draw the picture of an ideal world and see how best it
can be attained.

We come back to the sufferings. According to K'ang they can be
classified into nine groups; and the world of jen can be
established by abolishing these nine groups of suffering, having
always in mind the underlying principle of "whatever is injurious
to man is wrong, whatever is not injurious is right," in working
out the detailed objectives. The first of the nine groups of
sufferings is that of the nation -- the political divisions
between lands and peoples; the second, that of class; the third,
of race; the fourth, of sex; the fifth, of family -- father, son,
husband, wife, etc.; the sixth, of occupation; the seventh, of
unjust institution; the eighth, of species -- the demarcation
between men, birds, beasts insects, and fish; the ninth is that
of the fact of suffering itself, the suffering which begets
further suffering!

K'ang finds the solution to the problem of human happiness in
abolishing the nine groups of suffering. First is the abolishing
of national boundaries and uniting the world. Second is the
abolition of class boundaries and equalization of all peoples.
Third are the elimination of racial boundaries and the
amalgamation of different races of mankind. Fourth are the
abolition of sex boundaries and the establishment of absolutely
equal rights between men and women. Fifth are the abolition of
family boundaries and the becoming of "Heaven's people." Sixth is
the abolition of livelihood boundaries and making occupations
public. Seventh is the abolition of political disorder and
administrative boundaries. Eighth is the elimination of
differing species or boundaries of kind and the extension of love
to all living things. And finally is the abolition of boundaries
of suffering and the attainment of utmost happiness.

K'ang was certain that the world of jen could be achieved. In
this belief he was fortified by his interpretation of Confucius,
especially of the Spring and Autumn Annals. In this book
Confucius preached the "Doctrine of the Three Ages." First there
is the Age of Disorder, then of Approaching Peace, and finally of
Universal Peace. Confucius himself lived, according to K'ang, in
the Age of Disorder. In K'ang's own time he saw Europe and
America, through vast changes, evolving towards the Age of
Approaching Peace. And he saw the vision of the Age of Universal
Peace, when there will be no longer any nation, no racial
distinction, and customs everywhere will be the same. K'ang did
not confine himself to vague dreams. He gave a concrete picture
of this world, a world to be brought about by following his
program of the abolition of the nine groups of sufferings.

What does the ideal world of K'ang look like? K'ang postulated
that in two hundred to three hundred years' time a world state
would emerge, the final result of a series of amalgamations of
states, themselves the outcome of wars and disarmament
conferences. There would be no "nation" then. The whole world
would be divided into 3,000 administrative squares or "degree
governments," each bounded by degrees of latitude and longitude.
The degree governments would have assemblies elected through
universal suffrage. These assemblies would rule the degree
regions but there would be no political parties or political
leaders. The actual local self-governing units would consist of
farms, factories, and stores. There would be a world parliament,
also elected by universal suffrage. The world parliament and the
degree parliaments would exist only to ensure equality and
efficient planning on a worldwide scale. Otherwise power would
be decentralized.

Anti-social behavior would be treated by "dishonoring the name."
Only if one plotted to revive the State, or military forces,
would there be punishment by imprisonment.

Throughout the world there would be a universal language, a
universal calendar, and a universal system of weights and

Through migration and intermarriage there would be only one race
throughout the world. Class distinctions would disappear. Women
would enjoy the same rights as men, perform the same tasks, and
even wear the same dress. Marriages would be for one-year
periods only initially, renewable for as long as the partners
choose to agree. The family will disappear. The functions of
the family would be performed by state-operated nurseries,
schools, hospitals, old-age homes, etc. People would live in
huge air-conditioned public apartments and eat in common dining
halls seating thousands of persons. K'ang is in favor of
vegetarianism. But at the same time he is not unsympathetic to
man-made synthetic foods.

Employment would be assured to everyone. All enterprises --
agriculture, industrial production, and commerce -- will be
"commonized." Honors will go to those who help to advance the
arts and the sciences and to those who are outstanding for their
jen (goodness) in every sphere of life. The competitive
instincts of man will be channelized into constructive action.

In this world the most important people will be the doctors.
This will be so as the maintenance of health and hygiene would be
the really weighty tasks. Everyone would be examined daily.

K'ang postulates that in a world full of jen, institutional
religions would wither away: first Christianity and Islam and
then Confucianism. K'ang was a Confucian but held that in his
world the historic work of Confucianism would have been
completed. Men would then turn to Taoism and after this to the
"higher wisdom" of Buddhism. This will also give place to a
state of things where minds will "roam in Heaven."

Such is the remarkable world of K'ang sketched in very bald
outline indeed. It is significant that K'ang used the same word,
Kung ch'an, for "common production" as the rulers of China today
do for "communism."

K'ang's philosophizing is remarkable for its mixture of Chinese
and Western Utopian thinking. He believes in Confucius' Three
Ages, in Mencius' view of human nature, in Taoism, etc. At the
same time he is a fervent believer in science, technology, and
universal progress. His TA T'UNG SHU differs from Plato's
REPUBLIC or More's UTOPIA or Butler's EREWHON by giving a much
more detailed blueprint of future human society.

Along with much astuteness and liberality of views, K'ang
combines strange naivete and pride of race. He seems to believe,
for instance, that the ultimate universal language will be
Chinese. He also seems to have a sense of color, lumping the
white and yellow races as superior to the brown and black ones.
He visualizes the latter two being swept away from the earth. He
seriously advocates the wholesale movement of black races to
Canada, Sweden, Norway, etc. -- so that they might become
fairer! His ideas about the removal of all distinctions between
men, birds, and beasts are obscure. So are his speculations
about the abolition of the very concept of suffering and the
"roaming in Heaven."

But after everything has been taken into account no unbiased
person will refuse to admit that the book TA T'UNG SHU is of
fundamental importance. Not only as an example of China's
intellectual response to the challenge of the West, but, much
more important, as a freeing and liberating work which widens our
horizons and makes us think on an altogether higher level of
historical consciousness than is common even today.


By G. de Purucker


> Once separated from the common influences of Society, NOTHING
> draws us to any outsider save his evolving spirituality. He may
> be a Bacon or an Aristotle in knowledge, and still not even make
> his current felt a feather's weight by us, if his power is
> confined to the Manas. The supreme energy resides in the Buddhi;
> latent -- when wedded to Atman alone, active and irresistible
> when galvanized by the essence of 'Manas' and when none of the
> dross of the latter commingles with that pure ESSENCE to weigh it
> down by its finite nature. Manas, pure and simple, is of a lower
> degree, and of the earth earthly: and so your greatest men count
> but as nonentities in the arena where greatness is measured by
> the standard of spiritual development.
> -- THE MAHATMA LETTERS TO A.P. Sinnett, Letter LXI, page 341

Passages out of these wonderful communications from our beloved
Teachers are so filled with not only truth but beauty, that one's
mind is held in the enchantment of the thoughts aroused by
reading these communications or by hearing them summarized. It
is amazing -- and yet why should it be so, but it is to us
inferior folk -- to sense how the majesty of truth and the
greatness of soul accompanying such majesty affect us so deeply
as to move the inmost core of our being. And I for one know no
experience more exalting, no experience more penetrating than
this. How vain some of the things of the world when we discern
the glory of Reality.

I venture to say that no man or woman living, no matter how
simple-minded he or she may be, is unsusceptible, is insensible,
to such feelings -- dare we call them that? -- at any rate to
such consequences of having received the touch of supernal
beauty. It is an experience which in itself is worth lifetimes
of ordinary garnering of life's impressions. I think that this
spiritual and intellectual consequence of having these teachings
in our inmost must be indeed almighty influences not only on our
own characters, but on our future destiny. I am assured from my
own observation and from what I feel within myself that a man's
whole future lives can be changed because of change occurring
here and now within him.

We see the compelling power of the beauty born within us when
studying these great Teachers' communications, for Truth indeed
is thus compelling when its exposition is directed by Master
Minds; and it is thus compelling not because it is enslaved, but
because it gives us freedom, the freedom of brotherhood, the
freedom of fellowship, fellowship in understanding, fellowship in

The statement has been made that Buddhi is negative unless it has
the Manas or mind to work through, and of course this is true.
But don't imagine for a moment that this means that the Buddhi is
negative on its own plane, quite the contrary. It is as active
on its own plane as the supreme truth within us, the atman, is
forever active on its own plane. The meaning is that the Buddhi
is negative on this our human plane of experience and action,
without the transmitting principle to step it down to us, which
is the mind and the psychical elements within us. Then, if the
mind be pellucid as the mountain lake, crystal clear, so that it
cannot transmit the non-divine, then we have indeed a man who for
the time being is like unto a god, for he speaks with power, with
the voice of authority; and none who listens unto him, in his
heart can say Nay.

Our minds are taken captive, mightily persuaded. And why?
Because the Buddhi in the Teacher speaks to the Buddhi within us.
Voice as it were calls to voice. Thought evokes correspondential
thought. Truth awakens, by its impact on our minds, the spark of
truth within us; and it compels us, compels us because our own
best is awakened, and we know thereafter that that is freedom,
that is truth, that is reality; and no man wants aught else than
freedom, truth, love, reality. That is why truth is so
compatible. That is why its authority over our hearts and minds
is supreme, for it awakens within us itself. Strange paradox and
yet so simple.

What is this Buddhic principle? It is so difficult in our awkward
European tongues to give to this almost mystical Sanskrit word a
proper translation. It is discrimination. It is intuition. It
is the organ of direct knowledge. It is the clothing of the
divine spark within us which instantly not only knows truth but
communicates it, if indeed the barriers be not too thick and
heavy between it and our receptive minds. Ay, reception, that is
the point. Can our minds receive? If not, it is our own fault
for we have enshrouded ourselves with the veils of the lower
selfhood so strongly that the light from above, or from the
Master mind, cannot reach our own higher mind and descend into
the physical brain and into the physical heart where truth abides
for all. For mystical fact it is, that although we know it not,
the truth is already within us, here in heart, and here in mind;
and we are like those spoken of by the Avatara Jesus in the
Christian Bible, having ears they hear not, having eyes they see
not, having minds they apprehend and comprehend not.

I want to point out one more thought, that the inner God works
within its own vehicle, and this vehicle is the Buddhi principle,
and it is just as easy to come into sympathetic relationship,
into companionship with the Buddhi as it is with the Kama-Manas
within us. In other words, it is just as easy to yearn for the
inspiration of the highest within you as it is to look for the
heat and fevers of the lower part of our being.

Now whereas in the old religions and philosophies the God within
has always been called a Divinity or God -- masculine; the
Consort, the Buddhi of the Atman, has always been looked upon as
feminine. The German poet Goethe meant more than mere poetry
when he uttered that remarkably telling phrase, Das
Ewig-Weibliche zieht uns hinan. The eternal feminine draweth us
ever onward and inward. It does not mean woman; it means that
part of our natures to which and in which the god within works.

Our own individual Buddhi is that which gives us intuition and
insight and sensitiveness and delicacy and the ability in quick
response to feel the suffering, the sorrow of others. It is the
god within which does this, but it is what in common language we
call the feminine side of us which receives it, the sensitized
part of us, and carries the thought to the place where dwelleth
the Atman. It has naught to do with physical woman or physical

There is a great and wonderful mystery here, and I may add in
closing that one more small and minor phase of this mystery is
alluded to by HPB in THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY where she speaks of the
Buddhi as being the root and the key itself of individuality.
There is the remote source why on this low physical plane some of
our lifetimes are passed as men and some as women. By each we
learn, if we have the wit.

It always vexes me when I hear people talk, as I sometimes hear,
about which is greater, man or woman. Which really is greater?
It is the uttermost poppycock. Where would you be without your
mothers? Where would you be without your fathers? Sex of course
is but a passing phase. It did not exist some 18 or 19 million
years ago, and some eight million years from now it will again
vanish. Its place will be taken by kriyasakti.

At present the most complete men are the men who have a healthy
dash of the feminine in them; and the most perfect women are they
who have a touch of the masculine. The most courageous man is
always the man who feels the tenderest towards the weak and
helpless. If a man has not a touch of the mother-instinct in
him, look out, you cannot trust him! If a woman has not a touch
of the father-instinct in her, in my judgment she is incomplete.


By William Q. Judge

[From THE PATH, March 1892, page 397, appearing later in ECHOES
OF THE ORIENT, I, pages 229-30.]

A correspondent asks: "Will you kindly explain why, if you think
it wrong to kill a water bug that you should consider it right to
slay larger animals for food?"

I do not remember having said it was wrong to kill a water bug;
hence there is no conclusion to be made from that to the question
of feeding on animals insofar as I am concerned.

The questions of right and wrong are somewhat mixed on this
subject. If one says it is morally wrong to kill a water bug
then it follows that it is wrong to live at all, inasmuch as in
the air we breathe and the water imbibed there are many millions
of animals in structure more complicated than bugs. Though these
are called infusoria and animalcule, yet they are living, moving
beings as much as are bugs. We draw them in and at once they are
destroyed, slain to the last one. Shall we therefore stop

The whole of life is a battle, destruction and a compromise as
long as we are on this material plane. As human beings we have
to keep on living, while in our destructive path millions of
beings are hourly put to death. Even by living and earning a
living each one of us is preventing someone else from doing the
same, who, if we were dead, might step into our shoes. But if we
abandoned the fight -- were we, indeed, able to so do -- then the
ends of evolution could not be attained. Hence we have to stay
and endure what Karma falls from the necessary death we occasion.

So the true position seems to me to be this, that in certain
environments, at certain stages of evolution, we have to do an
amount of injury to others that we cannot avoid. So while we
thus live we must eat, some of flesh and others of the vegetable.
Neither class is wholly right or wrong. It becomes a wrong when
we deliberately without actual need destroy the lives of animals
or insects. So the man who was born in a family and generation
of meat-eaters and eats the meat of slaughtered animals does less
wrong than the woman who, though a vegetarian, wears the feathers
of slaughtered birds in her hats, since it was not necessary to
her life that such decoration should be indulged in. So the
epicure who tickles his palate with many dishes of meats not
necessary for sustentation is in the same case as the woman who
wears bird's feathers.

Again as to shoes, saddles, bridles, pocketbooks, and what not,
of leather. These are all procured from the skins of slain
animals. Shall they be abolished? Are the users of them in the
wrong? Anyone can answer. Or did we live near the North Pole we
would be compelled to live on bears' and wolves' meat and fat.
Man, like all material beings, lives at the expense of some
others. Even our death is brought about by the defeat of one
party of microbes who are devoured by the others, who then
themselves turn round and devour each other.

But the real man is a spirit-mind, neither destructible nor
destroying; and the kingdom of heaven is neither of meat nor of
drink: it cometh neither from eating nor refraining -- it cometh
of itself.


By Talbot Mundy

[From THE THEOSOPHICAL PATH, August 1924, pages 112-18.]

A certain sort of modern scientist is fond of describing the
human race as animals, and from his own point of view, which is
as circumscribed by material limitations as a frog's at the
bottom of a well, he may be right; but he might just as well, and
just as logically, describe animals as men. In fact, the animals
might be the better for it -- might receive a more intelligent
consideration and more mercy from homo sapiens, who is seldom as
wise as the pandits of materialism flatter themselves that he is.

From the viewpoint of the sheer materialist, who weighs a dying
man to prove that life has no weight whatever and therefore that
soul does not exist, there IS no soul and evolution is a blind,
mechanical procession of events that follows undiscoverable laws
with no comprehensible purpose except to develop what must
ultimately be destroyed. And if we accept that view there
remains but one mystery: why should anyone trouble himself to
continue living, or -- if we cannot quite force ourselves to such
flat depths of cynicism -- why not eat, drink, and be immoral
since tomorrow or the next day we must disintegrate into
unthinking atoms?

There are strange inconsistencies in human nature, and
particularly in scientific human nature, which are easy to
recognize but very difficult to understand. For instance, one
and the same intensely educated biologist will speak of the
'blind laws' of nature with as fanatical conviction as the
out-of-date enthusiast's who used to speak of everlasting
hell-fire; but almost in the same breath he will boast of his own
will that differentiates him from the common run of men and makes
it possible for him to force his tired brain and his exhausted
body in the search after new discoveries. He is willing to
divide his neighbors into classes and to publish statistics,
which are alleged to prove that about nine-tenths of the human
race are his mental inferiors; but he denies that there is any
spiritual basis for his theory, and he shuts his eyes
deliberately to that very "will" and "will not," which in
practice have made his life-work possible.

The average nature-lover, much better than the most expert
analytical naturalist, knows what an animal will or will not do
in given circumstances. The differences between the species and
genera are much more evident in their behavior than in
conformation or in structural anatomy; they have evolved up to a
certain point, and at that point they function, always in the
same way, always in obedience to the law of their kind. Their
will, -- which is their state of consciousness -- obliges them to
respond in certain ways to given circumstances. When one animal
-- as a dog, for instance, or an elephant -- evolves a
disposition to act differently from the rest, that individual's
state of consciousness is changing, usually to a slightly higher
level. Then, there being no exception possible to law, it
follows that exception must become law; the level to which one
member of the species has attained becomes possible to that
entire species, and evolution takes one step forward.
Thenceforward the "I will" and "I will not" of that entire
species has one less limitation. Example being more contagious
than disease, it is only a matter of time before the ability of
the one becomes the law -- the will -- the state of consciousness
of the entire species.

It is so with men, but with the difference that men have reached
the stage of evolution in which it is possible for them to become
aware of it and consciously to direct its progress. Animals
evolve unconsciously, the lower species hardly more aware of what
compels them than the trees are, or the rocks and rivers. The
higher mammals very often are aware of spiritual forces, although
only for short periods, amid surroundings and in circumstances
that provide the necessary stimulus; and although they give
evidence then to a discerning observer of being conscious of
unseen powers whose presence thrills them, they rarely, if ever,
appear to change in character in consequence.

My own observation suggests, in fact, the contrary. A lion is
never so much a lion as when he has stood for a few minutes
staring into infinity, motionless, absorbed in contemplation of
the unseen. At such moments his normally keen senses appear to
be in a state of suspended function; he can neither hear the
sounds that usually alarm him, smell the scents that normally
enrage him, nor see what should make him suspicious were his
purely animal consciousness alert. He is alert to something
else, and in another way. For a moment he seems aware of the
divinity of everything that lives and breathes and of his own
place in the universe.

On many such occasions, I have had the opportunity to watch lions
in the open, when the weather, his own vitality, and every other
circumstance was in the lion's favor, giving him nothing to think
about but the satisfaction of being alive. In such moments the
very spirit of pantheism seems expressed, and that wonderful old
psalm comes to mind in which the singer adjures: "O all ye
beasts, praise ye the Lord; praise him and magnify him forever."

The moment passes, and the lion always roars -- roars as if a
glimpse of the reality of things has thrilled him to the marrow
-- roars and roars -- and then reasserts the animal. He is
dangerous then. It is as if, in the words of the Bible, the
flesh lusteth against the spirit. He reverts to blind laws and
the lion's will, which is to go in search of what he may devour
and to slay because he can.

It is the same with wolves. Sometimes, particularly toward
evening in fine weather, when they have eaten and slept and
played so that they feel in the pink of condition and their
senses are in harmony, they seem to grow conscious of another
element. Usually one wolf feels it first and howls, but the howl
is an entirely different note from the hunting-call. Each wolf
in turn takes it up until they all howl in chorus, putting all
their heart into the music. No observer then, unless afraid, or
so prejudiced that he is incapable of recognizing anything except
what he has been told he should expect, could mistake that chorus
for the usual wolf-cry. It is more like an evening hymn. They
throw up their throats and take extraordinary pains to pitch on
exactly the right quarter-tone. They are doing something they
enjoy, and for the sake of doing it -- something that is neither
play nor work -- an ecstasy.

They are not wolves while they are doing that, but a conscious
part of Nature, one with all the rocks and trees and rivers, one
with the wind and the twilight, one with Life itself. But it is
only for short moments that they can hold to that realization;
then they are wolves again, and dangerous, asserting their
condition and the fang and claw with which they hold such sway in
the forest as is theirs by right of evolution.

It is only man who can explain to himself what such ecstatic
moments mean and can direct himself in order consciously to
profit by them. And that is why it is unfair and ignorant to
label man an animal, and why, the less a man regards himself as
animal, the swifter his advancement to the higher planes of
consciousness. We all are spiritual -- rocks and trees and
rivers, wind and weather, and stars, birds, reptiles, and beasts.
We all evolve. We all work out our destiny exactly from the
point at which we stand, but the dividing chasm between man and
animal is greater than that between animal and tree, because man
alone is able to be conscious of the Soul that guides him.

The animal's "I will" is obedience to the law of his existence
that he heeds but does not understand. He is a lion or a sheep,
a wolf or a hyena; evolution is directed for him and he spends
his life in being what he is, without a discernible trace of will
to become something higher. Unless compelled, as a few rare
individuals know how to compel, he shows no disposition to
imitate anything higher than himself, or even to recognize that
there is any higher condition than his own. His will is to be
wolf or sheep or lion and to make the most of that, adapting
himself as best he can to changing conditions. His "I will not"
is his unwillingness to change himself -- his inability to do it.

Man's "I will" is all too often no more than the animal's
expression of desire. His "I will not" descends too often, and
particularly when the individual surrenders to the mean massed
instinct of the mob, to the plane on which all consciousness of
self-direction ceases and, in common with the vegetables, he
exists within his senses and self-rooted to the earth. In such
moods, men are not superior to animals, but worse, and for this
reason: that whoever once has felt within himself and recognized
the working of the Higher Law, thereafter is responsible; and he
who lets that feeling of responsibility escape him or be crowded
out by swinishness and greed commits sin. It is impossible to
sin without a consciousness of what sin means.

Accordingly, a man's "I will," if he shall have the right to call
himself a man and to enjoy man's heritage, must entail some
higher object than the mere expression of his appetite or his
ambition to impose his own desires on others, As an animal, man
is a weakling so inferior in strength and obstinacy to the ass,
for instance, that no comparison is possible between them. Man's
intelligence, if set to perform the asses' labor in the asses'
way, still leaves him so inferior to the beast that mere economy
would give the ass a higher market value. It is in a Man's
unwillingness to be an ass, to be described as one, to be made to
work as one, that the hint of his way of salvation lies.

The meanest man, at intervals at any rate, is conscious of his
manhood and aware of a compelling force within himself (he calls
it 'conscience' oftener than not) that drives him to remorse, and
through remorse to self-improvement. Then his "I will" strikes a
nobler key, no longer flatted by disgusting appetite but
thrilling with authority. He has accepted man's responsibility
-- the privilege of self-direction. Self-control and
self-improvement follow, and the "I will not" falls like a sword
into his right hand -- a sword that points every way.

And "I will not" is equally important with "I will." The animal
within a man is stirred by evidence of strengthened will. The "I
will not" restrains it, and converts the animal emotion into
higher forms of energy. No latter-day condition is more
noticeable and productive of bewilderment than that increasing
education and intelligence bring with them an increasing
animality and cleverness in crime; but that is because "thou
shalt not" has been allowed to substitute for "I will not,"
paternalism (of a sad, short-sighted kind) stalking stupidly
where individual responsibility should be the first law of the
land and the first concern of educators.

Any man who has responded to the Soul-note in himself (his
conscience, if you will) and has deliberately set his face toward
the future and the light, has felt -- perhaps instantly -- in
some degree increasing influence upon his fellow-men. They begin
to regard his word and to accord him the beginnings of authority,
most often without knowing why they do it, because few men pause
to analyze and to dissect their own reasons for this and that
attitude. And if the truth could be set down in cold statistics
(we are fortunate, perhaps, to be spared that mathematical
indictment of a whole race!) we might be staggered by the
revelation of what follows; our belief in human nature would need
readjusting drastically before we could resume that buoyant
optimism that we need in daily life.

Let each man analyze himself. Let each discover for himself the
need for constant watchfulness. Our memories are not for
nothing. There are few of us who need to look back more than one
day down the line of zigzag and sporadic evolution to discover
that each time we have been conscious of a forward step, however
short, our lower nature instantly has sought to take advantage of
it, causing us, subtly perhaps, to use the opportunity for

I remember a black man -- ebony-black -- who set himself
deliberately to improve his moral status. The effort was easy to
recognize, and the result was obvious, although only he knew what
extremes of self-denial it had cost him. He had left his native
village, as he told me. (He was born in a village of thieves,
where murder was considered bravery, and it was a Sikh
skin-trader who first suggested to him higher standards of

In course of time he came to the attention of a high government
official, who employed him and, finding him diligent, caused him
to be enlisted in the police force, in which he began with such a
splendid record in his favor that he was placed in positions of
trust much sooner than was usual with recruits. His "I will" was
as ready as the knife he used to wield in the old days in his
native village; discipline seemed second nature to him, and his
influence among the raw recruits enlisted later than himself was
excellent. His "I will not," however, had not kept pace, and the
feel of the new-found influence went like wine to his head. He
became a bully, and from that went on to mutiny; and the last I
knew of him he was a member of the chain-gang, cleaning township

Now human nature varies only in degree. As long as we are
humans, we are subject to the laws that govern human life and
conduct. What is possible to one is possible to everyone, and
the degree of our advancement can be measured solely by the
strength or weakness of our individual self-control. Unlike the
animals, we have the power of self-direction; we may exercise our
will in the deliberate judgment of ourselves by spiritual
standards, steadfastly aspiring to new levels of discretion,
sturdily rejecting all inducements to descend again on to the
lower plane on which the animal controls us.

The secret of success is balance. We are all familiar with
characters that shine with a resplendent genius and lack,
nevertheless, that moral stamina that challenges respect. The
jails are full of them. The most of them lack balance -- lack
the "I will not" to serve as counterweight and regulator to "I
will." Without "I will" we never may attain to that
self-government that is our goal, nor ever may evolve into such
consciousness as can conceive self-government throughout a
universe. Without the "I will not" we never can escape from the
attraction of the lower nature, which provides us with an
infinite variety of opportunities to resubmerge ourselves into
its depths for every forward spiritual step we take.

The Middle Way -- Theosophy -- is found midway between animal
ambition and the subtler maze of spiritual pride. A man needs
balance more than any other faculty, if he would keep the true
course, and the surest aid to learning balance is a sense of
humor that enables one to laugh at his own erratic judgment and,
instead of pitying himself, to pity others whom his own mistakes
may have misled. There is no more certain prelude to a fall than
self-approval; self-condemnation and self-pity are such
dead-weights as the strongest cannot bear upward; but a sense of
humor is no burden. The ability to laugh at one's own
floundering, and above all to laugh at one's own claims to
superiority above his fellowmen, is a magic talisman that costs
nothing, weighs nothing, and occupies no space. Unlike those
patent medicines that they used to sell to travelers, it really
cures all ills and is available in every accident.

It is the lack of any sense of humor that has darkened all
religion until men fight and go to law about past participles and
the dull, dead letter of a printed creed. Paul the Apostle, who
did more than any man to compose and formulate the religion since
called Christianity, was no apostle of self-righteousness and
gloom. One can imagine how he laughed and how he tapped his own
breast when he voiced that famous phrase "the evil which I would
not, that I do!" And doubtless he would laugh (and at himself) if
he could hear the din of the debates over his phrases that have
kept men quarreling among themselves for nineteen hundred years.
Paul had sufficient sense of humor to preserve himself from
bishoprics and too much praise; he earned his own living as a
tentmaker; he laid no claim to be immune from limitations and
obsessions that beset the rest of us, and he foresaw the evil
that he might do while attempting the great benefit he would.

So, whether we agree with the Apostle Paul in all his teachings,
or agree to disagree with him, we may admire the manliness that
made him recognize his own humanity and saved him from the mire
of self-esteem into which too many of the world's would-be
reformers have slid headlong. Thus far we all may follow him,
conceding our intention to do well by all the world but laying no
claim to infallibility, our sense of humor coming to our aid to
save us from self-praise -- such heady stuff that, balance we
like Blondin, we should nevertheless lose footing if the least
whiff of it were allowed to poison the immediate air.

"I will" and "I will not" are grand assertions. They include the
whole of man's prerogatives; and neither is complete without the
other. The infinite immensity of will, forever broadening as man
ascends by purifying and controlling his own character, reveals
such realms to revel in as blind and dazzle or bewilder at the
first glimpse. Power not subject to restraint -- power even over
oneself, without the sanity that shall restrain and guide it --
is madness; it is self-destroying and destructive of all else
that meets it while its short-lived frenzy lasts.

Power over oneself can be attained, and must be, before progress
becomes possible. But it is power held in trust and the least
abuse of it is treason to the Soul -- rank sacrilege. "I will"
is an expression of the consciousness of power. "I will not" is
born of the determination never to betray the trust that power

So the two go hand in hand, the will to become one with our
Higher Nature and the Higher Law being balanced and restrained by
will not to offend or injure. Therein lies the difference
between man and animal -- man, if he is worthy of the name of
man, evolving character and race, and laying down his destiny, by
serving others first, himself last -- the animal unconsciously
obeying laws that seem to him to legalize the theory of self

Animals, in fact, are far from selfish, because their very
instinct to protect themselves is based on laws beyond their
comprehension that oblige them to protect their offspring and the
herd and, consequently, all their ways are suitably conditioned
to the state of consciousness at which they have arrived. Nature
guides them.

Man is his own guide. He has attained to spiritual consciousness
and may, and can, if he sees fit, take cognizance of spiritual
laws and by their aid advance to higher spiritual knowledge,
benefiting all humanity and all life less advanced than he is,
not by self-assertion but by vigilant self-government that
requires each thought and act to be unselfish and constructive.
Man, if he will be man, not a major animal, will -- must -- live,
and alone may live by spiritual service.


By Jack Common

[From THE ARYAN PATH, September 1937, pages 411-14]

Nowadays it has become the fashion in some circles to regard the
growth of Communism as a negation of Christianity, and in others,
as a fulfillment of the Christian vision. This situation is not
new. Western thinking has developed from a basis of Christian
belief, which has been its permanent background, and naturally
every development is apt to be compared to that background. Some
find the differences then seen as calamitous; to others the
resemblances are a reassurance. And the process is made
confusing because the people who are making the comparison are
using as a measure something they cannot be fully aware of:
Christianity is to them something half-buried in their
unconscious; they acquired it as children, and often give
enormous value to special parts of the creed simply because those
parts penetrated deepest and have the greatest emotional

In its first statement Christianity was a wholly anarchic faith.
It appealed to the individual man to take care of his soul's
salvation, and think little of his place in the world's affairs.
The State (or the World, as it was called) could go to ruin, and
all would be well if individual men had achieved grace. The
World duly went to ruin, and of all the civilized institutions of
that day the only one left standing was the Christian church.
Hence, willy-nilly and for its own preservation, it had to
develop a care for the traffic of a temporal world which by its
postulates it had declared fundamentally unreal and illusory.

The cynical Romans of the governing class who had struggled
against this anarchism when it first appeared might have had
their laugh now, if there were any of them alive to look on. For
essentially the hard material facts of the situation were not
very different from those the Empire had wrestled with. Still,
the most efficient method of wealth-production was slavery, and
slavery necessitates the organization of classes whose material
privileges must excite just that kind of ambition which
Christianity ceaselessly denounced. It was not possible to
recognize in the temporal world the spiritual principle of the
equal value of individual souls. Nor was it thinkable that that
principle could be abandoned. This was a dilemma which only a
compromise could solve. And the Church solved it by creating a
mystical hierarchy of rank, which allotted degrees of power to
different orders of men purposely for the organization of
material matters, while insisting that in the real world, the
world of spiritual reality, and every man had an equal chance of

This inevitably involved giving special emphasis to such parts of
the creed as condoned the compromise. Therefore, for many
centuries it was the Fatherhood of God which was celebrated in
every hierarchical institution; and that same aspect of God was
insisted on by artists who expressed its feminine mode, in the
splendid figure of the Madonna. The Church, which had been from
the beginning a free community of souls, now became in addition a
hierarchy of rank governed and guided through the temporal
pilgrimage by the beneficent Father-God, from whom all authority
derived. Secular organizations were made to the same plan and in
the same hope of achieving divine protection. Thus there could
be built up a State no less efficient than the Roman but avoiding
the Roman vices and ambitions.

In it every man had his rank, his place; he was honored for his
office, not for himself. Rank was much more than the
guinea-stamp molding the common gold of men. It was mystical, a
sign of God's governance on earth to be accepted and respected as
something 'given.' It appeared equally in religious and civil
institutions so that everyone took his place in a kind of
animated heraldry which seems very picturesque to us when we look
back on it from our tradesmen's streets and democratic

Now, once it was set up, no one expected this universal order of
Christendom to be seriously disturbed. It was not something
which could be added to or improved to any great extent. It was
merely designed as a temporal shelter for the millions of souls
in their difficult earthly pilgrimage between the Eternities. In
theory, at least, the efforts of every Christian were bent
heavenward. You were supposed to pursue grace, and if in the
course of it you happened to occupy many decorative and lucrative
offices they were not the prime object of ambition. In this way
the fine anarchy of early Christian principle was made to fit in
with the practical necessities of the day. You cared nothing for
earthly distinction; it was impossible to run cities or nations
without those distinctions; therefore they were given a
semi-divine sanction and kept as far as possible out of the lists
of ambition. So the whole system of rank was meant to stand as a
sort of incubator protecting the Christian virtues as they
evolved in the individual souls beneath.

But in time the fledgling grew. No one recognized him as virtue,
Christian or pagan. On the contrary Christendom seemed to be
faced with a general revolt of its members, an era of impious
anarchy. At first it was a negative, a negating, revolt; it
looked like sin, and was so denounced. Abbots and bishops, kings
and nobles, most of all merchants, began to act without respect
to the worthiness of their calling; it became less and less
important that a man had such-and-such a rank, and more and more
that he was so-and-so; it became less noticeable that people were
Christians and more that they were English, Dutch, or Spanish.
This looked like disintegration, and the wise men of that long
bad period were concerned to check the decay before it wrecked
Christendom. They could not check it, however, for it spread
with the speed of a general realization and came to all in some

Then other men of wisdom, who were also men of vision, discovered
that this negation of rank was powerful because it contained a
positive affirmation. It could upset the old Church and all the
derivative orders because it proclaimed a veritable God -- if not
God the Father, then God the Son. God was in the old hierarchies
as long as He was really reverenced there; no less is He in the
individual, and if He is properly reverenced THERE, individuals
can act with hitherto unknown freedom and come to no harm. That
was a fine consecrating vision. It turned a vast oppressive
disintegrating force into a freedom for a great many people,
though, of course, they paid for that freedom in the way you have
to by having to learn a personal discipline known as Puritanism
by which the individual is protected from his own excesses.

It took some seeing, that did, and it was worth the effort. An
authentic glimpse of God this awareness of the worth of the
individual. But never let us believe that such a vision can be
final: in their nature they are fragmentary, and because of what
they exclude, the element of denial in them soon begins to bulk
larger than the initial revelation. So it is now with this
Protestant proclamation of God-in-the-Individual. God is not in
the individual now, not in any meaningful way. We should
recognize that easily but for the still lingering habits of the
last revelation. So, though the social landscape is plainly
littered with empty shrines, there are many who go on quarrying
into themselves hoping to turn up something if they dig deep
enough. And many too, who realize the barrenness of that but are
apt to think, if not here, nowhere; or if not nowhere, then back
in some dream of the past which is the poetic equivalent of

That despair is simply a failure to apprehend the multiform
nature of divinity. If God is not in man-as-individual perhaps
He is in the common humanity of man; if He is not in us, then
perhaps He is in the other fellow, especially in all the other
fellows taken together. The Protestant worship of Jesus the Son
of God vividly revealed a quality which had become overlaid in
the formalized medieval societies. Yet finally it insists on one
aspect, one revelation, and to do that for too long is to lose
the vision altogether in the end. So it happens now that the
great majority of our people cease to exist in the social
consciousness as individuals: they are 'mass,' the 'masses.' You
and I are individuals to our friends still, but when we walk in
the street, or buy in the shops, or read in newspapers, we are
'masses' -- a new and horrible aspect for us.

Probably if we could look back on this period from some distance
in time, we should see that practically all the efforts of our
statesmen and ideologues were bent towards accommodating the
alien growth in the confines of an individualist economy,
handling it, you see, without sympathy or understanding. We are
all unwilling servants of these masses, and what we give them we
grudge. They must have clothes and houses and fun. It is an
accursed necessity. So the houses and fun and clothes they get
do not publish anybody's joy in the giving: they are ugly and
unblessed. Look how contemptuous of its readers the mass
newspaper is, for instance! It is compiled by captured
individualists who think they shame themselves in this service,
because they serve no God that they can discern.

The masses are men too; men in a new, though up till now, a
negative unity. Suppose now, that they suddenly see a
consecration in that, and are glad they are no longer English,
Dutch, Spanish, quaintly divided under geographical totems, nor
that they are any longer little-gents-to-be; suppose that they
begin to rejoice in their common humanity, which may yet prove
the richest thing; that they see how their united host has
possibilities before it which could never exist for the petty
insecure fractions which previously have stood as symbol of the
human destinies. Such a discovery would be a genuine revelation
of God -- of God the Wholly Ghost, the third phase of the
Christian Trinity, the one which is most universal and least
likely to be coffined up in the worship of a sect.

Somehow, by some such miracle of response, we have to learn to
value men even when they don't look like men, when they are a mob
or a headline in a newspaper. If we fail in this, it is
destruction. Consider how terribly easy it is to deal slaughter
from the air on the crowds beneath. We cannot defend them --
why? Because it is possible to defend only what you hold
precious, and we value these people only as individuals, not as
the mass they look from above. That is the most obvious symbol
of the problem by which we are faced. We have to become vitally
aware of the human masses into which the bulk of every population
has now been turned.

So far the necessity for that awareness has been stated chiefly
in the terms of various challenging political creeds, and is
therefore often diminished in narrow debates. These obscure our
judgment of the greatness of the issue. We see it mixed up with
material interests and ambitions, more often as a negative and
destructive phenomenon. That is how these things come. They put
the fear of death into us first, before we realize that here is a
challenge calling upon us to have more life. We are asked to
live so vividly in our common humanity that common humanity
everywhere becomes fully human -- that is the challenge which in
the next few lifetimes perhaps, must be accepted or refused.


By G. de Purucker


I have listened with deep interest to the remarks on the Jewish
Christian Bible made this evening. Let me say first that I have
been astonished at the remarkable way in which much light has
been thrown upon some of the meanings of the Hebrew Scripture
called 'The Book of the Beginnings.'

It is true that the original word translated as 'God' in the
English version, used in the opening verses of the BOOK OF
GENESIS, is Elohim. It is a Hebrew plural meaning 'gods,'
'divine beings.' The monotheistic Hebrews, and the monotheistic
Christians who took over the scriptures, in other words the
Hebrew Bible, of the Jews, say that this Hebrew plural is a
'plural of majesty,' used in somewhat the same sense in which
crowned heads sometimes will speak of themselves: 'We, by the
Grace of God,' so-and-so -- John, Peter, James, William, or what
not. But there is no proof whatsoever in the writings themselves
that the word Elohim is merely a 'plural of majesty.'
Grammatically speaking it is a distinct, clear, Hebrew plural.

In a moment or two I shall recite to you a few verses, at least
the first two verses, of the original Hebrew, and will then tell
you a little something about it; but before doing so, I want to
call your attention to one or two interesting facts. You speak
of the Hebrew Bible as the Old Testament or Old Covenant. Do you
realize that this last phrase is an original Jewish expression,
simply meaning that certain writings, some of them religious,
some of them quasi-historic, some of them poetic, which were the
property of a small Semitic people, were supposed to evidence an
ancient covenant made between this people and their tribal deity?
Other peoples in the world have similar writings, similar
scriptures, which are just as sacred and true to these other
peoples, just as highly cherished, and considered by these other
peoples of as great worth to themselves, as these particular
writings were to the Hebrews. In other words, the Hebrew
writings are not the only sacred scriptures of the world
cherished by the people among whom they arose.

In the second place, the only scripture of the Hebrew Old
Testament which, from our Theosophical standpoint, is truly
occult, esoteric, is the first book, as these books now stand in
their printed order -- 'the Book of the Beginnings;' and indeed,
only a few chapters in the beginning of this first book, are
fully esoteric. This does not mean that some of the other books
have no mystical meaning, such as the BOOK OF JOB. That
exclusive idea is not what I mean. The PSALMS of David, so
called, for instance, were written by a poet-heart; and every
poet-heart is a seer more or less. But the true universal wisdom
of the 'Oriental Qabbalah' is found most fully only in the first
few chapters of the BOOK OF GENESIS.

Now, the phrase 'Oriental Qabbalah' means the 'Oriental
Tradition,' because this word 'Qabbalah' is a noun derived from
the Hebrew verbal root qabal, which means 'to receive,' 'to
take,' 'to hand down.' Thus the 'Oriental Qabbalah' means the
universal 'Oriental Tradition'; and the Hebrew Qabbalah is the
Hebrew form of this body of the Oriental doctrine often called
Traditional Wisdom, handed down from generation to generation of
human Seers. In other words, the Jewish Qabbalah is the
Theosophy of the Jews; and it is one rather restricted phase, or
rather one minor national representation, of the Universal
Qabbalah or universal Tradition of the World.

Here is the Hebrew as the original Hebrew text has been in modern
times divided into words, and so printed:

(1) Bereshith barei' 'Elohim 'eth hash-shamayim we-'eth

(2) We-ha-'arets hayethah thohu wa-bohu we-hhoshech 'al-pnei
thehom we-ruahh 'Elohim merahhepheth 'al pnei ham-mayim.

In the very first word you are confronted with a difficulty: How
is this word to be divided? Let me explain what I mean. In
writing ancient Hebrew, the letters of the words followed each
other without break, precisely as if you were to take a paragraph
in a modern newspaper, remove all the spaces or divisions between
the words, remove all the marks of punctuation, and thus have the
letters run along in a solid line or file, one after the other.

Furthermore -- and this is very important -- there are no
characters for vowels in the Hebrew alphabet, so in order to make
our illustration clear and exact, all the vowels in the modern
newspaper paragraph would have to be removed, and only the
consonants following each other in a solid, steady file would
remain. This is the picture of how ancient Hebrew was written.

Obviously then, having this series of solid lines before you, you
can divide, perhaps successfully, a single such line into
different and differing words; and these first two words in the
Hebrew that I have quoted for you, to wit: bere'shithbara', can
be divided differently from the manner commonly used, for
instance: Bere'sh yithbare', which translated, gives an entirely
different meaning.

The common division: Bereshith bara' 'Elohim means: "In the
beginning 'Elohim carved (or cut or shaped)" -- the two heavens
and the earth. The other division of the Hebrew letters: Bere'sh
yithbare', changes the meaning entirely. Re'sh or ro'sh means
head, wisdom, knowledge, the higher part, the first in a series;
and the word yithbare' is a reflexive form of the verb bara',
thus signifying 'making itself' or 'making themselves' -- to be
the two heavens and the earth. In other words, the meaning with
the two first words thus divided is that the gods or cosmic
spirits, through wisdom, through knowledge, through being the
chief or first formative forces, made themselves to become the
heavens and the material sphere.

'Heavens' -- shamayim -- dual, plural, not one, a series; 'erets
or 'arets -- the 'world,' translated 'earth' which Christians
think is this little earth of ours, and later extended to the
universe when they learned that the stars were no longer little
points of light caught up there, but dazzling glorious suns, many
of them larger than ours. 'Arets means the body-sphere, the
material sphere.

You see what an utterly different interpretation can be gained by
dividing the file or row of Hebrew letters in this second way.

Furthermore, the English translation called the Authorized
Version, while it is dear to English people on account of the
religious memories of childhood, and because also perhaps the
English language of King James's day seems to Englishmen of today
more virile than the current English of our own era, yet lacks
entirely the proper spirit of the mystical Hebrew original; and
the very fact that Englishmen love their King James's version so
much distracts their attention away from the original mystical
sense of the Hebrew scripture. Go then to the original tongue
and ask those who really know just what the essential meaning of
the Hebrew is.

When I hear some of these dear good people who talk so much about
'numerology,' as they imagine it to exist in the Hebrew
scriptures, and who think that by counting the number of words in
the English translation and the number of chapters in one of the
scriptures, or the number of phrases in a chapter, or the number
of words in a phrase, they can arrive at solutions of wonderful
mysteries or discover the secret of occult truths, I always feel
impelled and compelled to say that they forget that they are
using a translation, and a very imperfect translation at that, of
what is something quite different from their supposition in the
original tongue: for there were no chapters, and no verses, and
no marks of punctuation such as commas, periods, semi-colons, or
capital letters -- in the body of the original Hebrew -- naught
but solid lines or files of letters crossing the pages of the
original books.

Now, which translation do you prefer, the usual and I may say
mistaken version of the English translation: "In the beginning
God made the heaven and the earth," or the other translation
equally authorized by the original Hebrew, and which has the
further advantage of being on all fours with the Universal
Tradition, to wit: "In wisdom (or in multitude, in company, as a
host) the gods carved (or shaped, or formed)" out of already
preexistent material (for the original Hebrew verbal root bara'
means 'to cut,' 'to carve,' not 'to create') "the heavens and the
material sphere;" which, when understood, means the following:
"In the beginning of the Manvantara the gods became the spiritual
realms and the material."

The meaning, therefore, very briefly given, of the Hebrew account
of Creation so-called is rather an account of evolving forth from
seeds, cosmic seeds, preexistent in space, by the power of the
indwelling spiritual fires. You have a strict analogy of that in
the way a human being is born from a microscopic human seed, a
cell, and grows into a six-foot man by powers derived from within

That is the way worlds came into being. I wonder why so many
have never realized what must have been before, according to
their theory, God Almighty created the universe, the world. God
is not a carpenter, or, as the Greeks put it, a Demiurge, a
Builder. Divinity is the indwelling spirit of fire and love and
intelligence and consciousness -- the fountain of everything:
atom and man, sun and beast, flower and stone. All can be traced
back to the divine source, to their growth from within.

Thus it was that according to the Hebrew account of Creation, the
gods, the spiritual beings, the children of the divine, were
embryo-gods, not yet grown up, baby-gods as it were, unevolved;
but the gods of our world, or our galaxy for instance, were the
guiding, inspiriting fire of life and intelligence that brought
our galaxy into being, our earth into being. There is the whole
story, and the Hebrew does not say one word about an extra-cosmic
god creating the world. This word, mistranslated 'god' in the
Hebrew, let me emphasize, is plural: 'Elohim, which means gods,
divine beings, spiritual beings, creatures of love and flaming
thought, children of the Incomprehensible Divine, which is the
fountain of the universe out of which they come, and, after their
evolutionary course is run, into the immeasurable deeps of which
they again sink into unutterable peace, later to reissue again
and to become through evolving eons first men, then gods, and
then super-gods, to be followed by another period of divine rest,
after which a new issuing forth into cosmic activity; but ever
growing endlessly.

In the two or three first chapters of 'the Book of the
Beginnings,' commonly spoken of in European countries as the BOOK
OF GENESIS (a Greek word meaning Beginning or Becoming), you will
find the Ancient Wisdom of the human race. All the rest of the
Bible, all the other parts of the Hebrew Old Testament, are
simply local, national, traditional, records, without much or any
esoteric meaning whatsoever.

The Christian New Testament, which is the second part of the
Christian Bible, read literally, with its thirty-six thousand and
some odd hundreds of mistranslations from the Greek original, as
existing in the King James's or Authorized Version, contains no
more of the ancient and esoteric wisdom than do the books of the
Old Testament. What it does contain of the Ancient
Wisdom-Religion of Mankind is the story, when esoterically
understood, of a cycle of initiation, with the great Syrian
Initiate, Jesus, as the central type-figure.


By William Q. Judge

[From THE PATH, March 1893, pages 374-77, reprinted in ECHOES OF
THE ORIENT, I, pages 318-21.]

A visitor from one of the other planets of the solar system who
might learn the term Mahatma after arriving here would certainly
suppose that the etymology of the word undoubtedly inspired the
believers in Mahatmas with the devotion, fearlessness, hope, and
energy which such an ideal should arouse in those who have the
welfare of the human race at heart. Such a supposition would be
correct in respect to some, but the heavenly visitor after
examining all the members of the Theosophical Society could not
fail to meet disappointment when the fact was clear to him that
many of the believers were afraid of their own ideals, hesitated
to proclaim them, were slothful in finding arguments to give
reasons for their hope, and all because the wicked and scoffing
materialistic world might laugh at such a belief.

The whole sweep, meaning, and possibility of evolution are
contained in the word Mahatma. Maha is "great," Atma is "soul,"
and both compounded into one mean those great souls who have
triumphed before us not because they are made of different stuff
and are of some strange family, but just because they are of the
human race. Reincarnation, karma, the sevenfold division,
retribution, reward, struggle, failure, success, illumination,
power, and a vast embracing love for man, all these lie in that
single word.

The soul emerges from the unknown, begins to work in and with
matter, is reborn again and again, makes karma, developer the six
vehicles for itself, meets retribution for sin and punishment for
mistake, grows strong by suffering, succeeds in bursting through
the gloom, is enlightened by the true illumination, grasps power,
retains charity, expands with love for orphaned humanity, and
thenceforth helps all others who remain in darkness until all may
be raised up to the place with the "Father in Heaven" who is the
Higher Self. This would be the argument of the visitor from the
distant planet, and he in it would describe a great ideal for all
members of a Society such as ours which had its first impulse
from some of these very Mahatmas.

Without going into any argument further than to say that
evolution demands that such beings should exist or there is a gap
in the chain -- and this position is even held by a man of
science like Prof. Huxley, who in his latest essays puts it in
almost as definite language as mine -- this article is meant for
those who believe in the existence of the Mahatmas, whether that
faith has arisen of itself or is the result of argument. It is
meant also for all classes of the believers, for they are of
several varieties. Some believe without wavering; others believe
unwaveringly but are afraid to tell of their belief; a few
believe, yet are always thinking that they must be able to say
they have set eyes on an Adept before they can infuse their
belief into others; and a certain number deliberately hide the
belief as a sort of individual possession which separates them
from the profane mortals who have never heard of the Adepts or
who having heard scoff at the notion. To all these I wish to
speak. Those unfortunate persons who are ever trying to measure
exalted men and sages by the conventional rules of a transition
civilization, or who are seemingly afraid of a vast possibility
for man and therefore deny, may be well left to themselves and to
time, for it is more than likely they will fall into the general
belief when it is formed, as it surely will be in the course of
no long time. For a belief in Mahatmas -- whatever name you give
the idea -- is a common property of the whole race, and all the
efforts of all the men of empirical science and dogmatic religion
can never kill out the soul's own memory of its past.

We should declare our belief in the Adepts, while at the same
time we demand no one's adherence. It is not necessary to give
the names of any of the Adepts, for a name is an invention of a
family, and but few persons ever think of themselves by name but
by the phrase "I am myself." To name these beings, then, is no
proof, and to seek for mystery names is to invite condemnation
for profanation. The ideal without the name is large and grand
enough for all purposes.

Some years ago the Adepts wrote and said to HPB and to several
persons that more help could be given to the movement in America
because the fact of their existence was not concealed from
motives of either fear or doubt. This statement of course
carries with it by contradistinction the conclusion that where,
from fear of schools of science or of religion, the members had
not referred much to the belief in Mahatmas, the power to help
was for some reason inhibited. This is the interesting point,
and brings up the question "Can the power to help of the Mahatmas
be for any cause inhibited?" The answer is that it can -- but

All effects on every plane are the result of forces set in
motion, and cannot be the result of nothing, but must ever flow
from causes in which they are wrapped up. If the channel through
which water is meant to flow is stopped up, the water will not
run there, but if a clear channel is provided the current will
pass forward. Occult help from Masters requires a channel just
as much as any other help does, and the fact that the currents to
be used are occult makes the need for a channel greater. The
persons to be acted on must take part in making the channel or
line for the force to act, for if we will not have it, they
cannot give.

Now as we are dealing with the mind and nature of man, we have to
throw out the words which will arouse the ideas connected with
the forces we desire to have employed. In this case the words
are those which bring up the doctrine of the existence of Adepts,
Mahatmas, and Masters of Wisdom and hence the value of the
declaration of our belief. It arouses dormant ideas in others;
it opens up a channel in the mind; it serves to make the
conducting lines for the forces to use which the Mahatmas wish to
give out. Many a young man who could never hope to see great
modern professors of science like Huxley and Tyndall and Darwin
has been excited to action, moved to self-help, and impelled to
seek for knowledge by having heard that such men actually exist
and are human beings. Without stopping to ask if the proof of
their living in Europe is complete, men have sought to follow
their example. Shall we not take advantage of the same law of
the human mind and let the vast power of the Lodge work with our
assistance and not against our opposition or doubt or fear? Those
who are devoted know how they have had unseen help which showed
itself in results. Those who fear may take courage, for they
will find that not all their fellow beings are devoid of an
underlying belief in the possibilities outlined by the doctrine
of the existence of the Adepts.

And if we look over the work of the Society, we find wherever the
members boldly avow their belief and are not afraid to speak of
this high ideal that the interest in Theosophy is awake, the work
goes on, and the people are benefited. To the contrary, where
there are constant doubt, ceaseless asking for material proof,
incessant fear of what the world or science or friends will
think, there the work is dead, the field is not cultivated, and
the town or city receives no benefit from the efforts of those
who while formally in a universal brotherhood are not living out
the great ideal.

Very wisely and as an occultist, Jesus said his followers must
give up all and follow him. We must give up the desire to save
ourselves and acquire the opposite, the wish to save others. Let
us remember the story in ancient writ of Yudhishthira, who --
entering heaven and finding that his dog was not admitted and
some of his friends in hell -- refused to remain and said that
while one creature was out of heaven he would not enter it. This
is true devotion, and this joined to an intelligent declaration
of belief in the great initiation of the human race will lead to
results of magnitude, will call out the forces that are now
behind, will prevail against hell itself and all the minions of
hell striving to retard the progress of the human soul.


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