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THEOSOPHY WORLD ------------------------------------ October, 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
the intellectual property of their respective authors and may not
be reposted or otherwise republished without prior permission.)
"Of Studying Theosophy," by W.Q. Judge
"The Case for the Philosophical Approach," by H.D. Bhattacharya
"The Golden Rule," by James A. Long
"Theosophy, The Basis of Religion," by H. Travers
"The Condemned," by Kenneth Morris
"Mysticism or 'Life Plus,'" by William Ewart Walker
"From Boundless Space Universes Come into Being,"
by G. de Purucker
"Too Much Faith," by Elizabeth Cross
"Buddhas and Bodhisattvas," by G. de Purucker
"The Fear of Death and the Hope of Life," by R. Machell
"The Cross of Initiation," by G. de Purucker
> We believe in no hell or paradise as localities; in no objective
> hell-fires and worms that never die, nor in any Jerusalems with
> streets paved with sapphires and diamonds. What we believe in is
> a POST-MORTEM STATE or mental condition, such as we are in
> during a vivid dream.
> -- H.P. Blavatsky, THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY, "On the Reward and
> Punishment ofy the Ego."
OF STUDYING THEOSOPHY
By William Q. Judge
[From THE PATH, January 1890, pages 319-21, under the pen name
William Brehon, reprinted in ECHOES OF THE ORIENT, I, pages
It is often asked: How should I or my friend study theosophy?
In beginning this study, a series of "don'ts" should first engage
the student's attention. Don't imagine that you know everything,
or that any man in scientific circles has uttered the last word
on any subject; don't suppose that the present day is the best,
or that the ancients were superstitious, with no knowledge of
Don't forget that arts, sciences, and metaphysics did not have
their rise with European civilization; and don't forget that the
influence of Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle of ancient Greece is
still imposed upon the modern mind. Don't think that our
astronomers would have made anything but a mess of the zodiac if
the old Chaldeans had not left us the one we use. Don't forget
that it is easy to prove that civilization of the highest order
has periodically rolled around this globe and left traces great
and small behind. Don't confuse Buddhism with Brahmanism, or
imagine that the Hindus are Buddhists; and don't take the word of
English or German Sanskrit scholars in explanation of the
writings and scriptures of eastern nations whose thoughts are as
foreign in their form to ours as our countries are to them. One
should first be prepared to examine with a clear and unbiased
But suppose the enquirer is disposed at the outset to take the
word of theosophical writers; then caution is just as necessary,
for theosophical literature does not bear the stamp of authority.
We should all be able to give a reason for the hope that is
within us, and we cannot do that if we have swallowed without
study the words of others.
But what is study? It is not the mere reading of books, but
rather long, earnest, careful thought upon that which we have
taken up. If a student accepts reincarnation and karma as true
doctrines, the work is but begun. Many theosophists accept
doctrines of that name, but are not able to say what it is they
have accepted. They do not pause to find out what reincarnates,
or how, when, or why karma has its effects, and often do not know
what the word means.
Some at first think that when they die they will reincarnate,
without reflecting that it is the lower personal I they mean,
which cannot be born again in a body. Others think that karma is
-- well, karma, with no clear idea of classes of karma, or
whether or not it is punishment or reward or both. Hence a
careful learning from one or two books of the statement of the
doctrines, and then a more careful study of them, are absolutely
There is too little of such right study among theosophists, and
too much reading of new books. No student can tell whether Mr.
Sinnett in ESOTERIC BUDDHISM, writes reasonably unless his book
is learned and not merely skimmed. Although his style is clear,
the matter treated is difficult, needing firm lodgment in the
mind, followed by careful thought. A proper use of this book, as
well as THE SECRET DOCTRINE, THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY, and all other
matter writer upon the constitution of man, leads to an
acquaintance with the doctrines as to the being most concerned,
and only when that acquaintance is obtained is one fitted to
understand the rest.
Another branch of study is that pursued by natural devotees,
those who desire to enter into the work itself for the good of
humanity. Those should study all branches of theosophical
literature all the harder, in order to be able to clearly explain
it to others, for a weak reasoner or an apparently credulous
believer has not much weight with others.
Western theosophists need patience, determination,
discrimination, and memory if they ever intend to seize and hold
the attention of the world for the doctrines they disseminate.
THE CASE FOR THE PHILOSOPHICAL APPROACH
By H.D. Bhattacharya
[From THE ARYAN PATH, June 1948, pages 242-47.]
It, would be idle to deny that Philosophy is still regarded in
many quarters as equivalent to obscurantism, undue optimism or
else calm resignation, flight from reality, impracticality
(sometimes to a ludicrous extent), and indifference to worldly
happenings. Coupled with these in the popular concept are the
ungainly features of intellectual conceit, social aloofness or
shyness, excessive introversion and incapacity to understand and
appreciate the beauties of nature and the values of social
With his head always in the clouds and dabbling in things unseen,
the philosopher has no eye for the events that constitute the
process of the universe or the elements that go to the making of
nature and its variegated show. Unnecessarily skeptical about
matters of fact and unduly dogmatic about things supersensible,
cautious and critical to a degree, raising a dust and then
complaining that he cannot see, a philosopher is an object of
pity, if not of scorn. Where a robust faith would have been a
blessing and enabled him to adjust himself to his physical and
social environment, the canker of doubt and disbelief saps his
strength of mind and makes him hesitant and ineffective.
All these limitations follow -- it is urged -- from a mistaken
sense of personal capacity. A wholesome conviction that there
are limits to human knowledge and even to human presumption would
have curbed much useless thinking and needless speculation. If
philosophers had possessed the humility of Socrates and taken
pride, not in their ability to know all things, but in their
knowledge that they did not know, they would have been spared
much futile thought and they would have concentrated more on the
practical side of human existence and devoted themselves to
To be an IGNORAMUS (not knowing) does not mean to be an
IGNORABIMUS (never to know). To try to gain the utmost knowledge
within permissible limits may involve a tacit belief that certain
spheres are beyond the boundaries of knowledge but it does not
necessarily betoken an attitude of despair regarding the
possibility of knowing anything at all. Just as a child knows
much less than an adult and yet knows something, so also we may
gain greater insight into the nature of things as we advance in
civilization; but to this we must tag on a proviso that human
capacity has its limits and omniscience is forever denied to man.
When, therefore, the philosopher claims to be the spectator of
all times and places and arrogates to himself absolute knowledge,
he is forgetting his own finitude. With that initial ignorance
he is attempting to pose as omniscient. A salutary sense of
human limitation is the only corrective of that supercilious
attitude which is responsible for the contempt into which
philosophy has been brought by its professors.
It is indeed true that a distinction can be drawn in this regard
between those who make extravagant claims on behalf of human
capacity and those who acknowledge its limitations. Those that
thought that men were only a little lower than the angels and
were made in the image of God naturally extolled their reasoning
capacity and believed that the gate of all knowledge was open to
the persistent knocker. According to them, mysteries existed
only to be solved.
The classic taste refused to admit that Reality was not
rationally articulated or that human reason was not governed by
the principles that ruled the articulations of Reality. Once,
therefore, we got an insight into the nature of the operation of
our own reason, we should know the nature of things absolutely,
for both were identical in their essential character. Man was
himself a sample of reality -- he could find within himself all
the information he wanted regarding the nature of reality.
No wonder, therefore, that some philosophers should have built up
a world-system by a close analysis of their own thought system.
Ignoring Bacon's warning that Nature was to be interpreted and
not anticipated, they laid down certain a priori rules which they
were confident Reality would follow in its evolution and
articulation. They thus went to the length of enunciating a
philosophy of nature based on a priori speculations in the fond
hope that since Reality was governed by rational principles, it
was bound to conform to the laws of human thinking.
Unfortunately for them, Reality refused to follow their neat
scheme, the contingent and the irrational claimed equal share
with the necessary and the rational in its operation, and the
obvious limitations of human knowledge were forcibly brought to
the cognizance of philosophers. Poetry has its own place in the
scheme of human learning, but it cannot take the place of science
which deals with hard facts. So also the philosophies of Plato
and Spinoza, Shankara and Hegel are delightful in their daring
characterization of the nature of the Ultimate; but to hope that
they would tally with facts as observed by us or enable us to
guide our lives in this stern world of facts would be fatuous.
The other class of philosophers, therefore, attempt to keep
closer to facts and start with the assumption that men are a
little above the beasts, and that just as in animals the element
of reason is very much at a discount, so also in men sense is far
more important than reason in determining the nature of things.
Woe unto him who forsakes the sensible in favor of the
supersensible! There would have been much less bickering and much
less bootless quest of truth if philosophers had been more modest
and recognized their affinity with the beasts which live by their
senses and are guided by their instincts and impulses. Let us
confess that the only essences of things are their
character-complexes -- the groups of qualities revealed to our
senses, and let us not pry into the hidden nature of things which
is forever beyond our gaze.
Plato complained of worldly people as only playing with shadows
-- let us confess that these shadows are the only substances that
we can know. Let us take pride in the fact that, starting as
animals, we are able to look before and after, to conserve our
past and to anticipate our future. That we have been able to go
beyond biological heredity and establish a social heritage is an
achievement of which we, as human beings, can be legitimately
By discovering laws, forming concepts, and planning ideals, man
has outstripped the entire animal creation and in a way conquered
the ravages of time. But in this he has not pretended to go
beyond experience in any true sense, nor has he claimed to have
reached the stage of finality or necessity in any of his
conclusions. Probability is still the guide of his conduct and
harmonious living the ideal of his existence. The adjustment of
internal relations to external ones is, as Spencer pointed out
long ago, the objective of all knowledge and action. It is
obvious that there is scope for relativity in this procedure, for
the environment may change and the animal may evolve new powers
-- in both cases a reorientation would be needed to regain the
lost harmony. Life has to be run on pragmatic considerations
though the instrument of adjustment will naturally vary according
to the stage of evolution and the kind of environment to which
adjustment is desired.
The Philosopher's case is that this admission is to be pushed
relentlessly to its end. Scientists have slavishly followed the
empirical or experiential method of enquiry. Even admitting that
things sensible form the touchstone of reality, scientists
themselves have been impelled by the necessities of their own
logical thinking to transcend the sensible and to discuss things
supersensible. Our astronomical beliefs are not in line with our
sense-experiences. The size, position, and date of the
luminaries of heaven are astronomically, not visibly, fixed.
Things in the gross seldom give an accurate idea of the ultimate
constitution of the universe; in any case they are not
Mathematics is playing an increasingly important role in the
determination of the nature of things, even though it has meant a
jettisoning of much in them that is of great human value. Sound,
color, taste, smell, temperature, and all the other secondary
qualities that make up the enjoyable aspects of nature disappear
in the process of mathematical treatment, and even touch has no
meaning in the subatomic, or even the atomic, world, though
extension is supposed to persist somehow as an assumption or a
Science is not interested in or capable of discussing what space
is in itself. That also leaves a case for philosophy. Time that
makes process possible and similarity of configuration, without
which no comparison or generalization could have been made and no
laws of any being established, are taken for granted, or as a
matter of course, by the scientist. The WHY of these things is
beyond the scope of his enquiry. Similarly, the WHENCE and the
WHITHER of things do not interest him. He is interested merely
in the HOW of the world process. As for the WHAT, he takes the
seeming of things at their face value until forced by the
necessities of thought to enquire into their being. To him
appearances and essences are identical and substantiality can be
reduced without remainder into its qualities, and qualities are
dependent upon relations; e.g., the rose appearing as red to the
eye, soft to the touch, fragrant to the nose, etc., of a being
endowed with sense-organs similar to those of men.
What relations are in themselves, how and why things get related
or whether they were always related and if so why, and whether
being related they become something other than themselves are
rather recondite questions. Similarly difficult is the problem
of the constant grouping of qualities which leads us to postulate
an underlying substance holding them together.
As usual, the scientist quietly assumes these facts without
caring to explain them. The fact of knowledge, for instance,
causes no headache to him although philosophers have been sorely
exercised over the problem as to how mind can know matter and
what exactly is revealed of matter when we have a sensation.
They have even gone to the length of suggesting that perhaps in
the last analysis mind and matter are not two opposed substances
facing each other but opposite poles into which an aboriginal
experience, which is neither mental nor physical, breaks itself.
The philosopher has attempted to establish an organic connection
between different types and orders of experience and to explain
The philosopher has done something more. Seeing that in every
field the sensible fails to be self-explanatory, the philosopher
has been obliged to assume the existence of the supersensible,
not in the sense in which scientists understand the term but in
the sense of some ultimate principle, which gives the sensible
its meaning and existence. If the botanist or the zoologist
feels that the physicochemical forces do not sufficiently explain
the phenomena of life, he has to assume that life is a different
category from matter. If he finds later that life at its higher
stages begins to be accompanied by mind, he admits the
independent character of mind.
But why matter should be transcended by life and life by mind and
whether matter without an impulse towards life and mind ever
existed in reality or whether an imminent or pervasive presence
is pushing things towards a better organized and more valuable
system the scientist, if he restricts himself to the domain of
science, does not feel impelled to ask. Is the world process an
aimless wandering of material elements in the course of which
integrations and disintegrations take place but no end is aimed
at or achieved? Or do all changes and movements imply an
imperfection in the world-order to be remedied in time by better
organization, surer guidance, and pursuit of an ultimate
It is obvious that these philosophic quests supervene upon
scientific endeavors and light upon unexpected problems. Why
being rather than non-being? Why becoming rather than mere being?
Why evolution rather than mere becoming or change? Who will
answer all these obstinate questionings of the soul? It is not
claimed that the answers that the philosophers have given to many
of the problems raised by them have been either uniform or
satisfactory; but in philosophy the raising of a problem where
none seemed possible or necessary is a greater achievement than
the finding of an answer.
Whether the world could be reduced to mere ideas or even to
illusions, or whether space, time, causality, substance, etc.
could be regarded as impositions of the human mind upon the
manifold of sensibility, or whether Space and Time could be
hyphenated into a single Space-Time, or whether the world could
be claimed to be necessary in the life of God as God in that of
the world -- these and kindred speculations certainly challenge
the complacent attitude of the ordinary man, and the scientist is
similarly startled to learn that "conservation of energy" is an a
priori category of thought depending upon the inability of the
mind to bring being and non-being into agreement by supposing
that being could cease to be and that non-being could pass into
being, or that no transmission of energy is possible from one
object to another, as that would involve keeping energy without a
support for an infinitesimal point of time as it jumps from one
object to another, which is impossible, or that the ultimates of
science are only fictions or postulates of the mind, and not
realities at all.
But there is not only an intellectual but also an emotional
significance in the philosophic approach to a problem. We are
more interested in individuals than in groups, more in groups
than in communities, more in communities than in humanity at
large, and more in mankind than in animal creation. The greater
the range of our sympathy the more dispassionate do we become in
our valuations of the immediate and the individual.
Things get valued against the background of the whole and against
the whole of space and time, and thus a revaluation or even a
trans-valuation of all values takes place in the philosophic
mind. As the emotional entropy reaches its maximum and all
things become equal to the philosopher, he becomes detached; thus
he gains equanimity and detachment through sameness of attitude
to all things. He is not elated by success or depressed by
failure; to him misery in one part of the world is equivalent to
that in any other part, including his immediate neighborhood.
The renunciation that the Yatis (wandering mendicants) practiced
was born of detachment from localities and personalities. The
stoical indifference to personal pleasure and pain, the endeavor
to go beyond good and evil and extreme sensitiveness to the
misery of any creature both proceed from the spirit of detachment
from and sameness with all creatures, including oneself.
The first person singular number has been the greatest obstacle
in the way of realizing impartiality and indifference -- to know
this self and its failings, to cultivate the art of
self-discipline, to practice self-expansion on a cosmic scale
through sympathy and service, and to make others, with whom the
self is identified, understand themselves through precept are
some of the objectives of a philosophic mind.
To discover and disseminate life's meaning and life's ideals in
the context of the whole and to present a blueprint of reality on
which men might plan their lives may be said to sum up the
philosophic approach to the universe.
THE GOLDEN RULE
By James A. Long
[From EXPANDING HORIZONS, pages 59-61.]
The strong souls coming to birth these days are storming the
barriers of doctrinal theology. Many of them will join the great
number of the "unchurched" who, while not adhering to any
denominational regimen, are yet not to be classed as "atheists,"
but rather as those who prefer to find their God in the quiet of
their own souls. For out of the heart come the issues of life,
and when men and women everywhere seriously try to penetrate to
the roots of spiritual issues, the quality of their faith will
outdistance the patterned 'faith' of creeds. Despite
diversities, we all share a common heritage, as instanced in the
universal expression of the Golden Rule -- a spiritual courtesy
whose guidance could greatly diminish the ills of our
Great Spirit, grant that I may not criticize my neighbor until I
have walked a mile in his moccasins.
In five ways should a clansman minister to his friends and
familiars -- by generosity, courtesy, benevolence, by treating
them as he treats himself, and by being as good as his word.
All things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye
even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.
"Is there any one word," asked Tzu Kung, "which could be adopted
as a lifelong rule of conduct?"
The Master replied: "Is not Sympathy the word? Do not do to
others what you would not like yourself."
Do not do to others what you would not wish to suffer yourself.
Treat your friends as you would want them to treat you.
One should not behave towards others in a way which is
disagreeable to oneself. This is the essence of duty (dharma).
All else results from selfish desire.
No one of you is a believer until he loves for his brother what
he loves for himself.
Thou shalt not hate thy brother in thine heart: . . . but thou
shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.
That nature only is good when it shall not do unto another
whatever is not good for its own self.
When a sufficient number of liberated thinkers give open
expression to their innermost beliefs, we shall find that the
brotherhood of thought now in process will provide such a bulwark
of spiritual strength that no storms of national differences will
prevail, and emancipation from separatism will be assured.
THEOSOPHY, THE BASIS OF RELIGION
By H. Travers
[From THE THEOSOPHICAL PATH, October 1920, pages 321-25.]
As to the derivation of the word 'religion,' two rival opinions
dispute the field, each claiming authority among both ancient and
modern scholars. According to one view, it comes from a verb
meaning to ponder or meditate; according to the other, from a
verb meaning to bind. But whether, in its origin, it signifies
meditation or obligation does not much matter, since there can be
but little doubt as to the present significance of the word.
When we come down to the precision of dictionary definitions, we
usually find that a single word has more than one meaning; a fact
not duly appreciated in the looseness of ordinary discourse. But
it will not require a great mental effort to distinguish the two
senses of the word 'religion' in which it means (1) religion in
general and in the abstract, and (2) some particular creed or
system of faith. In the latter sense it is usually preceded by
the indefinite article -- 'a religion.'
In this particular cyclic point in the world's history, we are
engaged in a general process of unification, of breaking down
barriers, and of seeking common factors between diverse
quantities; a process rendered necessary by the universal
facility of intercommunication and the widespread commingling of
human interests that has been brought about by the development of
applied science, travel, printing, etc. It would be easy to
enumerate instances: a common language is sought, to act as the
common instrument of intercourse between peoples of diverse
tongues; a common basis of self-government, to be employed
between sundered nations; a pooling of commercial interests; and
so on. And those engaged in speculative enterprise are likewise
occupied in seeking for common origins and roots in their several
fields of inquiry.
The question of a common religion, both in its speculative and
practical aspect, is therefore one that commands and deserves
Many earnest and intelligent people, perceiving the local and
temporary nature of creeds and formulas, disgusted with the
insincerities and futilities of conventional religious life, have
sought for some basis whereon to rest a common faith for all
mankind. They have pared away all definite articles of creed;
but unfortunately, in the process, they have removed so much and
left so little that the remainder seems devoid both of
definiteness and of vitality sufficient for the practical
purposes for which it was designed. Their new religion is vague
and forceless; it has no appeal.
The question, therefore, seems to be how we can get rid of dogma
and sect without impairing the quality and force of religion.
It would appear that the process should be one of addition rather
than subtraction. To use an illustration: the process known as
composite photography aims to secure a typical human face by the
method of superimposing a number of negatives of different faces
successively upon one piece of photographic printing paper. For
instance, the members of the President's cabinet might all be
photographed one over the other, thus producing a composite
portrait of the whole group. The result is, however, that all
the distinguishing features of each face are suppressed, while
only what is common to all remains; and we obtain a face without
character, a mere man in fact. This suggests what happens when
we try to find a common religion by shaking together, as it were,
various creeds and filtering off whatever is not precipitated.
We obtain a weak and colorless fluid, neither acid nor alkaline.
It is harmless indeed but entirely without vigour.
If religion is in a bad way, it is clearly not enough to bleed
the patient for the purpose of removing the impure blood; new and
vital blood must be imported. If, instead of the temple, we find
only its ruins, it will not suffice to cart away the ruins; the
original temple must be rebuilt. Religion itself must be
reconstituted, recalled to life.
It is becoming a perfectly familiar idea that religion is not any
one creed, nor confined to any one creed, but is a state of the
mind and heart. It is faith in the eternal verities and in their
efficacy. It is an understanding of the inviolable laws of
super-nature, a trust in those laws, and a loyalty in conduct
thereto. In this sense any man is religious who believes that
truth, honor, compassion, purity, justice, and the like are
imperative obligations; and that a due loyalty to these ideals,
both in thought and deed, is the only condition on which he can
live a happy and worthy life.
Many earnest people cherish such ideas; but we feel that there is
some vital element yet lacking. It would seem that one essential
of religion is unity and coherence. It is for this reason that
creeds are formulated and churches organized. Obedient to the
same need, we find efforts being made to unite and coordinate
various non-sectarian movements into one body. But again we have
to say that the proposed bond of union is too often negative
rather than positive. The several bodies have more points of
difference than of unanimity. It is not a union of disbelief,
but a union of belief that is called for.
Beneath all true religion there must be knowledge and the
possibility of attaining knowledge. In the East there is a name
for an ancient and comprehensive science, Atma-Vidya, the supreme
Wisdom-Knowledge, the key to all the mysteries of life. This has
always been cherished as an object of possible attainment for
man. This supreme knowledge, under various names, has been
recognized in all ages, and has been an object of veneration and
quest among the wise and zealous in every land. Only in eras
when materialism becomes intensified do men turn aside from this
ideal to pursue lower aims; and thus, developing the lower side
of their nature, they lose faith in themselves and fall into
sectarian strife and unbelief.
It was the avowed purpose of H.P. Blavatsky, in founding the
Theosophical Society, to bring back to man's recollection the
fact of this supreme and eternal Wisdom-Knowledge, and to inspire
him with the enthusiasm to follow its noble precepts.
The important point here seems to be that the achievements of
humanity in the past are to be counted on. Instead of proceeding
as if we were the first who ever tried to find a common basis for
religions, we must recognize that the thing has been done before.
Or rather, it was not that separate religions were united, but
that (contrariwise) the separate religions have all sprung from
an original unity. It is this original unity that we have to
seek and to restore. There is, and always has been, a
fundamental Root-religion, the common parent of all religions;
and this is the Secret Doctrine, about which Theosophy teaches.
This constitutes a POSITIVE basis of unity, not a mere negative
one; and Theosophy is not a watery residue of religions, but
their very life-blood.
Thus Religion is indeed a state of mind and heart, but it is also
a great body of knowledge and wisdom; it includes all that is
understood by the word science in the widest sense of that word.
And when we say knowledge and science, we do not mean MERELY
knowledge of the mysteries of nature, but (what is so much more
important) an understanding of the laws of human life and
conduct, which is what the world so much needs today. If a great
Teacher happened to know all about how to liberate the colossal
forces locked within the atom, it would be his interest to keep
that knowledge back, rather than to make a free present of it to
the nations, so that they could destroy each other in the name of
liberty; or rather than to give it to criminals to use against
society. This shows what we mean by useful knowledge as
contrasted with mere learning.
We must reestablish RELIGIO in the hearts of men, both
individually and socially, all are agreed -- but how? We do this
by science by stating the laws of nature and familiarizing people
with them. Not by teaching them how many electrons there are in
an atom, but by explaining to them the composition of Nature, of
human nature and how they are governed. That is what we mean by
science. And for this we must revive the ancient
Wisdom-Religion. See what Theosophy has to say about the
sevenfold nature of beings, about Karma, and about Reincarnation.
Then you will have the basis of a new psychology, better than all
the complicated theories of "complexes" and "reflexes," of
"subconscious" and "unconscious," of "auto-suggestion" and so
forth. Existing psychology appears to deal exclusively with the
relation of the lower or animal man with the body; but WE NEED A
PSYCHOLOGY THAT SHALL REVEAL THE CONNECTION OF THE HIGHER OR
DIVINE MAN WITH THE LOWER MAN.
Theosophy has done much to restore forgotten ideals as to the
divine nature of man, the universal sway of the law of justice,
and the eternal life of the Soul throughout successive
incarnations. Yet even these ideals would remain valueless if
not put into practice. Therefore we shall find that the policy
of the Theosophical Society has always been to make conduct run
in equal steps with knowledge. Contrast with this policy the
doings of those who wish to make Theosophy a mere intellectual
pursuit; their efforts will merely add to the already too great
number of barren philosophies before the world. One who accepts
the belief that the Soul is the real man lays upon himself an
obligation to rule his conduct in accordance with his belief, or
otherwise his faith must be barren and at bottom insincere. How
much faith can a man have in a belief which he is not willing to
rely upon as a rule of conduct?
The Theosophical teachings, made real by practice, will afford
the definite basis of union required to unite people of various
creeds and races in one body. The Universal Brotherhood and
Theosophical Society can demonstrate that it is able to refashion
the lives of people in a way that nothing else can; and so people
will turn to its teachings as their best resource when other
things fail them.
By Kenneth Morris
[From THE THEOSOPHICAL PATH, October 1920, pages 325-26.]
Put him to death! -- He was but wrought
Through myriad years of upward strife,
And intermingling death and life,
Action and action, thought and thought.
What part hath pity here to play?
What part? -- 'Tis but the Voice Divine,
The Spirit's seal and countersign
That makes man Human. On and slay!
It is not meet you turn aside
To counsel with that human part
Which plays the angel in man's heart
Here in this hell of lust and pride.
It is not meet that you should heed
Aught but your stern and man-made law,
Which hath in it, perchance, no flaw
'Gainst which the God in man might plead.
Who sinned shall suffer? -- Yea, in sooth!
Go you, that know no sin nor shame,
Blot from the Book of Life his name;
Blot from your hearts the human ruth!
Do that you never can repair;
Undo the work that God hath done:
'Tis but some human mother's son,
Some human hope turned to despair.
You know not why he came to earth,
Commissioned whence, nor to fulfill
What fate, -- to meet what destined ill
Enambushed round the gates of birth.
You know not what fair hope might rise
Yet in his God-allotted time
To undo in him what wrought the crime,
And the unmanned thing re-humanize.
A human tiger? -- What! the clay
You kill, -- or that which dwells within?
Think you your hangman cures the sin
Purges the ill thing done away?
Is there no dignity in Man,
No beauty and power in love, in thought,
That you should suddenly bring to naught
One fragment of the Eternal Plan?
Think! he is human: somewhere deep
Within his being, all o'ercast,
The unremembered human past,
Its pathos and its splendors, sleep!
Human! O God, what pity and pride, --
What immemorial heights to win, --
What gods oblivioned o'er with sin, --
What Sons of Mary crucified, --
What Maid of Orleans' funeral flame, --
What Titan bound and vulture-torn, --
What proud and fallen Stars of Morn
Are symboled 'neath the human name!
But you -- let loose the source of ill:
The tiger hate that rends his soul
You set beyond your law's control;
'Tis but the human thing you kill.
That only! -- In yourselves, in us,
In all mankind, the Christ is slain
On this World-Golgotha again
When you insult the Eternal thus!
Because you mar the sacred plan
Of God and Time! Because you offend
That which is God till Time shall end, --
The holy Humanness of Man.
MYSTICISM OR "LIFE PLUS"
By William Ewart Walker
[From THE ARYAN PATH, May 1947, pages 207-11.]
> Man is a stream whose source is hidden. Always our being is
> descending into us from we know not whence.
> -- Ralph Waldo Emerson
There is that which men call mysticism but which the mystic
himself never so labels. Mysticism is unshackled by shibboleth
or doctrine. Its quality is interior and the utterance it
inspires is in affirmations only. It has therefore a surpassing
interest for those desirous of understanding the whole man.
Inasmuch as the mystic is the whole man, mysticism may be the
unconscious aim of everyone. But as conscious preoccupation, it
is the aim of very few. The conception of wholeness itself
requires elucidation. It is not merely wholeness of thought.
For, while thought is capable of anticipating a state of
wholeness, its realization is contingent upon many factors.
Neither is this wholeness merely the sound mind in the sound body
of the good life. Nor again is it experience of a mere general
kind; for experience in ordinary is but limited realization. It
is as the fulfillment of all experience that the mystic state
occurs; it is the summation of all possible achievement and
It is doubtless because of the summative nature of the mystic
state that very few writers concern themselves with it, and why,
in most incidental references to mysticism, ignorance of its
meaning is betrayed. Most critical writers have their
perceptions more or less rigidly harnessed to inhibiting
concepts. Hence, from much critical as well as from popular
writing and from one's immediate social contacts, one may receive
the impression that the mystic state is a pale, lifeless affair,
a delusive vanity or false piety, or a timorous running away from
reality; a rejection of the tasks demanded by social change and a
willful reaction from the main stream of events into some
backwater of yesterday.
This, however, is vitally to misconceive the truth, for it is
neither the inert man, nor the egoist, nor the reactionary, nor
the escapist who becomes the mystic. Of all these, he is the
opposite. The inert man is insensible to change; the mystic
apprehends all change. The egoist is arrogant as to his personal
identity; the mystic submerges or renounces his. The reactionary
turns his back on proved values; the mystic sublimates all value.
The escapist reduces his world to an island or a garden-fortress;
the mystic enlarges his into a universe.
Nor, it should be added, is the mystic state a pathological
condition. It is false to write down the mystic as a neurotic, a
mere solitary, or a victim of insanity. That the bias of his
nature is towards withdrawal is not denied. But this withdrawal
is not due to fear or to irresponsibility or to lack of sympathy
and understanding. It is a refusal to be mentally hedged about
by the petty and the ordinary; only, however, that the soul may
brace itself for the pursuit of the greatest of all enterprises
open to the human spirit.
The general does not think of strategy in the terms of the
private, since he must plan on the largest scale possible. It is
similarly with the mystic as compared with the rest. He peers
beyond the horizon and draws upon depths normally unplumbed, that
he may receive from beyond the larger gift. But in common
activity, he is as the average citizen, distinguished only by a
serenity which radiates from the inner equilibrium produced by
the deeper discipline. For the most part, the serenity is a
silent rapture, and when it finds voice in those mystics who
declare themselves, it often clothes itself in a language far
stranger than that used by the majority of writers. The reason
is the paradox that the mystic vision is at once universal and
Many there are who call the mystic mad, just as it is common to
say of the genius that he is mad. But the madness of either is
something outside the purview of the Commissioners in Lunacy,
True, on the way to genius or the mystic state, one might have to
go through readjustment of the system. Catharsis may be a
spiritual as well as a moral and physical necessity. And
disturbances of the physical man may be part of the tribulation
of the "dark night" of the mystic. One may, for instance,
imagine the cry as of one stricken, in Blake's outburst, "For
light doth seize my brain with magic pain." Yet the stricken one
is as a wounded angel. And the light which strikes is a fierce
shaft beating down directly from the zenith. But, again, the
fierceness of the light is in its inrush only, as if the creative
spirit were pouring the sacred fire too rapidly into its chosen
vessel. After that the fierceness passes and the light becomes
spread out into the evenness of a new revelation and communion.
Is it not thus with any baptism? First, is there a sensation of
arrest and next a sense of passing on to some new plane of
experience? How long or with what intermissions to remain so
transformed are not the present question.
But the fact of physical disturbance in the evolution of the
mystic might be no more than a possibility. It is from first to
last the way of light, not of power, and in this respect, Eastern
philosophy, so markedly appreciative of the mystic state, teaches
the gradualness of attainment through a long process of
enlightenment. Of Western interpreters, Dean Inge should be
heeded when he affirms that mysticism is the most scientific form
The fact of Being -- call it God -- looms large in our study.
Pure mysticism, says Von Hugel, is pantheism. For the mystic has
penetrated to the meaning and reality of PRESENCE as the
pervasive principle of all things.
All mystics make this grand discovery of Presence, this innerness
of life itself, because they are fully mature souls. They see
things in simultaneity, and therefore unity. To them, law is one
with life, thought with event, all history with the present, the
beginning with the end, and God with man. In one sense, theirs
is the antithesis of the dramatic view, in another, the inmost
core of it, for of this nature is Presence itself. In contact
with a commanding personality, one feels, coincidently,
sufficiency for one's need and an indication of infinite future
possibility. In such a condition, it is feeling which
predominates. One enjoys spiritual satisfaction.
Such is Presence. In it there is a transcendence of intellection
and mere rationalization, just as in the essentially divine there
is that which is beyond the limits of both human and demoniac
power. Hence there is the necessity to use the term "Divine
Presence" to denote that which is both deeper and broader than
the measure of our intellectual thinking and beyond the capacity
of our normal sensibility. Hence, also, there is the
justification for saying that the mystic consciousness is
pregnant with a sense of the divine. For it would be utterly
inadequate to say of the mystic that he believes in God. He is
ALIVE with God, absorbed in him. God is Life, its plenty and its
dynamism in one.
The mystic is not absorbed by God as is water by a sponge, vapor
by the atmosphere, or as humus by the soil. For all these
processes are divorced from the creative spirituality which
cannot be dissociated from the human personality realizing its
union with God. If, therefore, the mystic be consumed in God, it
is not as a thing destroyed but as one who is added to by an act
of perfect union. Not that out of such union other mystics may
be produced, as are children by procreation, because on the plane
of perfection the mystic remains a son, enjoying in childlike
rapture the indivisible life of the entire universe. Once more
it may be said: the mystic is absorbed into God as is a LIVING
HUMAN ENERGY into a greater, the greatest possible -- the
all-sufficient and the all-radiating. If thereby he may be said
to be annihilated, he is not extinguished, he does not enter into
death, but into more aliveness.
It was said that in the mystic state feeling predominates. The
condition of the mystic is the last in the psychological series,
and it is noteworthy that the first of the series is also one of
feeling. Man as creature originates in a world of feeling; he is
born of desire. And for the time that he remains the offspring
of desire, i.e., during childhood, he exists in the twilight
consciousness which reflects the felicity of the desire which
preceded it. Afterwards, with the coming of self-consciousness
and the parallel experience of social contacts, he realizes
himself as an individual in the worlds of action and of thought;
coming to rest meanwhile, as these fields prove from time to time
too exacting or insufficient for his need, in the world which
ever awaits him with some kind of compensation for his lack of
understanding or failure to achieve.
The waters of consolation flow through the life of every man and
people; without them the most ponderous intellectual as well as
the most task-ridden laborer would die of spiritual thirst. And
this world of compensations and consolation -- now vast like the
ocean, now fugitive and trickling like the mountain stream --
this indispensable, inalienable world, is in its essence feeling.
To say that this feeling is emotion would be inadequate. Emotion
can never be more than human, even when creative of man's highest
raptures. Feeling may be extra-human. It comprises the
positivity of emotion and the universal sentiency out of which
emotion springs and to which it returns. Man's thinking and
doing are not finally satisfying to him. There thus comes the
moment or the crisis when he needs the liquefaction, as it were,
of speculation, contention, and care, and this is brought about
in the feeling nature. Intellectual and manual interests alike
leave rough edges to our natures, which can only be resolved into
pattern by some solution. Such is feeling.
Feeling is the solvent of imperfection on whatever scale. And
this is why the major solvents of our imperfections -- art and
religion -- must be the outcome of feeling, and also the choicest
of vessels to contain it. It is also why the mystic, having
journeyed through all the worlds possible to man, beginning with
the first world of feeling, has finally succeeded in resolving
life's contraries and opposites in transcendent feeling -- love
or sublimated reason. From having been the child of desire, he
has become the child of election.
The mystic state is pulsant, vibrant, and even vivid. The
mystic, looking wholly upon God, surrenders himself to him. In
their union is consummated the grand, the almost unutterable
companionship. If it be correct to say of the idealist that he
is THE individual among men, then it must be said of the mystic
that he is THE individual PLUS. He is human and must always
remain so, yet touched with a supernormal humanness; he is not
out of the battle, yet above it; he is still an inhabitant of the
body, communicating with his fellow-men according to the bodily
senses, yet expansively free, expressing himself through a sixth
or even a seventh sense.
Somehow -- surely by a super-confidence in God as perceived
reality? -- He has gathered up the several natures in man into
one, resolved on their harmony; and for this he has received the
abundant reward not only for himself but for the rest of mankind
also. It is for others to see if unto him has been given the
seamless robe of divine understanding and affiliation wherein to
clothe himself. The mystic does not preach to them, or make
pretension that they are misguided or sinful in comparison with
himself. When he speaks, if speak he must, he directs their
thought to the absolute good, to that which is beyond limiting
interests and conceptions, beyond station and calling; to the
non-separative, indivisible something that for correspondence to
a term already used, we may call life PLUS.
The mystic may reveal the pettiness of human divisions, while
showing such incompleteness in the most human light possible,
enhancing to the fullest the virtue of tolerance. The mystic is
at war with none -- only with the impurity in himself and the
evil which would cast a shadow across the universal good. And
when, as the outcome of his conflict, he enters the borne of "the
Alone with the Alone," he is superbly happy above all other men.
That he does not endeavour to harden his vision into a mundane
system, or seek to be the organizer or dictator of his fellows,
is a sign at once of the purest humility and of the greatest
FROM BOUNDLESS SPACE UNIVERSES COME INTO BEING
By G. de Purucker
[From Supplement to KTMG Papers No. 33 reprinted in THE
DIALOGUES OF G. DE PURUCKER, III, pages 160-62.]
Hierarchies within Infinitude come and go like flashes like
sparks of light. Each such spark is an ending of itself as a
manifestation, but those manifestations continue forever
progressing. There are no absolute ends, but there are relative
Boundless Infinitude, however, has no attributes of change, nor
of time, nor of extension of Space. It simply is from eternity
unto eternity, and that is all that our minds can grasp of it.
But any manifested universe arising in the bosom of Infinity, be
this universe great, be it small, precisely because it is
delimited by individuality, because it is a being is by that same
token and by so much a limited part of the Boundless.
Now then, a universe is therefore obviously not Boundless
Infinitude which is not even One -- one being the beginning of
enumeration of manifestation -- but Boundless Infinitude we must
consider to be zero represented in symbol as a circle. The One
signifies the universe, any universe, our universe, all the
universes outside of our universe, which has a beginning, passes
through its various phases or stages of emanational evolution and
development, and after this is ended, retires again, as
Pythagoras said speaking of the Cosmic Monad, into the utter
Silence and Darkness of Infinitude -- Silence and Darkness TO US.
Following this line of thought, the Infinite, that is the
Boundless, the frontierless essence of all universal Being, has
no beginning, has no end, has no manifestation of itself, but
forever and forever is.
Consider for a moment in the fields of Boundless Space universes
arising here and there like sparks of light. As they arise and
begin their evolutionary unfolding, other universes are
disappearing, unfolding and vanishing, in due time to reappear.
Consider therefore, not one or two do this, but innumerable such
over the fields of Boundless Space, so that we have the picture
of Infinity, eternally as it is, evolving forth and evolving back
into its countless universes and systems of universes and
super-systems builded of systems.
But Infinity itself: you cannot speak of Infinity as the One.
You cannot speak of Infinity as manifesting. It is only beings
or things, monads, however small, however great, which undertake
these stages or periods of evolutionary unfolding, and then
involving or enfolding. Infinitude undergoes no modifications of
itself. If it did, it would not be Infinity. It is only
MANIFESTED beings and things which clothe themselves in the
garments or veils of Maya; and while some 'portions' of
Infinitude are in their progressive unfolding into veils of Maya,
other portions here and there scattered over the limitless fields
of space are involving and rising out of Maya back into the bosom
of the deep, only to come forth again in good time.
I wonder if you catch this thought. It is an exceedingly
important one. Infinitude does not evolve as Infinitude. If it
did, then Infinitude could change, and to speak of Infinity which
changes is to speak absurdity, because it is only things or
beings which undergo modifications of themselves, and hence are
subject to change.
The thought is important because out of misunderstanding of this
fact that the universe is forever and throughout Boundless
Duration in continual action and activity around us, through
misunderstanding this thought rose originally the idea of a God,
of a being who created and who acted and who did things. Now
Infinity does not create, nor does it act, nor does it do,
because all these are limited operations, and Infinity as
Infinity has no activity because no limitations. It forever is
itself. It is only things which are active. If Infinity acted,
it would have to have an enclosing space greater than infinity in
which to act, which is obviously absurd because then it no longer
would be infinity.
The universes in the Boundless fields of space are numberless.
They are literally and actually forever and forever appearing and
vanishing, some higher, some lower, and there is no ending to the
high nor ending to the low, because these very terms are terms of
Maya, terms of manifestation. But Infinity as Infinity is, we
can only describe as Motion itself, not anything which moves, but
Motion per se. Consciousness itself, not any one consciousness,
but consciousness as consciousness, Intelligence itself, not any
one intelligence, but intelligence as intelligence.
TOO MUCH FAITH?
By Elizabeth Cross
[From THE ARYAN PATH, March 1947, pages 111-13.]
Faith is a convenient commodity, from the ruler's point of view.
Sometimes it is necessary to have faith in one or other god,
sometimes in the leader, sometimes in a more abstract power.
Indeed, like the kind of obedience required from dogs and very
young children, to safeguard them from traffic perils, faith is
useful and efficient. But, as in the case of the growing child,
faith or obedience is not enough! We cannot always be with our
children to give them the correct, safeguarding orders, so we try
to teach them to use their own judgment and growing intelligence.
In the same way any democratic way of life requires each person
to develop his own judgment. Judgment and intelligence are, it
would seem, the enemies of faith.
"Have faith in the government," cry the firm party men. "Don't
criticize, don't question. They know best. All you need to do
is to work and obey."
The faithful heed the advice and the government goes ahead,
happily confident in its own ability. Sooner or later something
happens that is too obviously mistaken to be hidden and the
faithful get a nasty shock. Had they been a little less
faithful, a little more questioning and critical, things might,
possibly, have been managed better. Again they might not, for
the critics may have as little professional knowledge of complex
problems as the present rulers.
What is most serious, however, is the pathetic belief held in so
many countries, that a democracy has achieved a greater and more
reasonable wisdom than has been achieved by other systems. Or,
more accurately, that democracy has been achieved at all. What
is the fact, in most cases, is that an imitation democracy is at
work. Instead of an educated body of voters capable of forming
their own judgments, we have an emotional mass that can be worked
upon by cheap oratory. Such a mass is good material for appeals
What is needed today is not this type of blind faith in God or
the government but a determination to develop a more critical
attitude. This is not easy; it means work and study. What is
more, it means a farewell to day-dreaming and a more energetic
outlook in general. The faithful, of whatever religion, could
rest in the assurance that, whatever evils surrounded them in the
present would be bright if only they had a sufficiency of faith
This attitude seems to be dangerous in that it stifles effort,
gives an excuse for ignoring evils, and prevents real improvement
both of the self and of the environment. In fact, faith in some
outside power, spiritual or temporal, may destroy the necessary
faith in one's own abilities and capacity for effort.
It is an ironic fact that the Christian religion has developed
this "faithful" attitude, often requiring a completely
unquestioning belief on the part of church members, whereas the
fundamental teaching of Christ may well be that of effort
reinforced by faith in supernatural power. Possibly this idea is
too mystical and highly developed to appeal to the majority of
the conventionally religious and so they cling to the idea of
unquestioning faith and a consequent lessening of their own
Blind faith is, undoubtedly, a characteristic that has been
encouraged by all rulers. Witness the title of the King of
England as "Defender of the Faith" (and therefore of the
faithful), while Mohammedans have also the title of "The
Faithful," and Roman Catholics are also in possession of the
"true faith." Christianity suffers very considerably from
differences of opinion as to what IS the true faith, although
practically all religions have been fruitful of heresy.
What makes it so difficult to come to terms with those who cling
to a blind type of faith is that they find it impossible to
believe in the goodwill or morality of the "unfaithful." In spite
of ample evidence to the contrary, they cannot believe that those
who do not share their particular faith (either in religion or in
politics) can possibly do good works. The Christian is
convinced, deep in his unconscious mind, that other folk are all
potential thieves, robbers, liars and adulterers, while many an
earnest Communist has the same attitude towards those of a
different political theory. It would seem that unless ye do it
in the name of the Father (or Karl Marx), it shall not be counted
unto you for virtue.
The "faithful" number countless millions of well-intentioned
folk, and it is the greatest tragedy that their faith has brought
the sword rather than peace. To the normal, kindhearted skeptic,
it seems impossible to believe that the cruelties practiced in
the name of religion (and in religion we must include some of the
modern State-worship which has a religious, emotional tone) are
entirely due to the fact that the devotees believe that death is
the only way of saving souls. It would seem that some of this
faith is merely a convenient cover for the expression of less
respectable instinctive tendencies.
The crusades, sometimes led by genuine believers, attracted to
their prosecution hordes of self-seekers and sadists, as did the
Spanish Inquisition. We have had similar unhappy examples within
very recent times and, no doubt, will continue to do so while
faith and unreason are encouraged rather than a less emotional
Faith, properly, should belong to childhood, to the childhood of
the individual when he should be surrounded by those kinder,
wiser, and more capable than himself and so worthy of trust, and
also belong to the childhood of civilizations. As we grow up, we
must be led from the attitude of faith in persons and in powers
to an examination and critical appraisal of life in general so
that we may grow in judgment and self-reliance. Any appeal to
faith today seems a step backwards, unless this appeal is to a
faith in some body which is willing to give evidence and proof of
its value. In the same way no government or individual has any
right to ask or require a trusting attitude on the part of
followers except on similar terms. This need not be unpractical,
for, although it would be impossible to publish the expert
evidence collected for every action, yet certain frankness is
possible and should become still greater as education improves.
What is more, it is often possible to make many matters clear by
careful teaching or by the use of modern diagrammatic figures
that have, in the past, been obscured by vague, large-sounding
words and phrases.
We may not feel that the unquestioning faith of the old religious
times is any danger today, but may it not be that a similar
attitude is growing up in relation to present-day scientists? Are
we not in danger of accepting their dicta, merely because we have
not the specialized knowledge to question them? And may not the
last state be worse than the first?
BUDDHAS AND BODHISATTVAS
By G. de Purucker
[From STUDIES IN OCCULT PHILOSOPHY, pages 370-74.]
It may be at first very confusing to the mind of the student to
hear so much in our philosophy about so many Buddhas and
Bodhisattvas and Wondrous Watchers and what not. But this is
merely because the student is embarking upon what is for him a
new expansion of consciousness; he is entering into a new field
of intellectual and spiritual activity; and it is natural enough
that for the first steps upon this field he may be temporarily
bewildered. But the bewilderment soon passes when he discovers
that things fall into their proper places, as his studies
progress, with amazing quickness and mental ease.
It is all so simple if we remember the fundamental law of all
study in occultism -- the law of analogy. What takes place, as
Hermes so nobly said, in the interior and upper spheres, likewise
takes place here below in our material realm and in the world of
man. The only requisite for getting a proper understanding is
making the requisite changes, because of the transfer from plane
to plane of consciousness and the surrounding material, and
events pertaining to each. Conversely, what takes place here on
earth and in our world of men, takes place on a grander and more
subtle and spiritual scale in the higher and less material planes
where the gods abide.
Remove the old idea out of your minds that the gods are one
family of beings, and men are some other and quite distinct and
different family. We are children of the gods, literally. Each
man is, in his inmost being, a divinity, son of Father-Sun; and
the only reason we are not manifest gods now is because we have
not as yet evolved forth the god within. But this will come in
the future. We are embryo-gods; and the gods who now are, were
once men. What the Dhyani-Buddhas are in their relation with the
Dhyani-Bodhisattvas, that the human Buddhas are on this plane in
their relation with the human Bodhisattvas. The rule in both
cases is the same, on the law of analogical reasoning. To
understand it properly merely means a transfer of incidents and
facts and living beings from above downwards to our plane, or
Every Dhyani-Buddha or Buddha of Contemplation or Meditation has
his 'mind-born sons,' so to speak, his spiritual offspring if you
like, who are the Dhyani-Bodhisattvas. Let me illustrate: When a
Teacher arouses the soul in a man so that the man can then
understand what the Teacher says, and leads that now
understanding man to a greater, nobler life, so that he follow in
the footsteps of his Teacher, that man or pupil is then a
Bodhisattva of his Teacher; and that Teacher has transplanted
into that disciple's life a portion of his own life-essence, a
part of his own mind, thus awakening the Manasaputric spiritual
and intellectual fires within the disciple. This is what the
Dhyani-Buddhas do to other high entities on their own plane, thus
bringing about the coming into being of the Dhyani-Bodhisattvas,
and, later, the human or Manushya-Buddhas. These Dhyani-Buddhas
on their own plane have their pupils or disciples in whom they
arouse the Bodhisattvic faculty, the Buddhic Splendor.
On the human plane, it is similarly so. When the
Manushya-Buddhas find proper human disciples, they inspire them,
infill them with holy spiritual and intellectual fires, so that
thus these men-pupils, when themselves successful in the race and
relatively complete in spirituality, become
Manushya-Bodhisattvas, on their way to becoming Manushya-Buddhas;
and this is so because the Buddha-light is awakened within these
men-pupils: each one feels the inner god within himself; and from
that moment he knows neither pause nor rest until he himself
attains human Buddhahood.
Take the case of Gautama-Shakyamuni, a Manushya-Buddha. In him
as a man there were three or four different elements, and every
one functioning: the ordinary human being who was a great and
splendid man, but still a human being in the ordinary sense of
the word; inspiring this human being was the incarnate
Bodhisattva; yet the Manasaputric essence within the human being
-- which belonged to that human being as a monad per se -- had
not yet been fully awakened in that human being, although, as
said above, he was a grand man. And thirdly, inspiring and
over-enlightening this Bodhisattva within Gautama- Shakyamuni,
was the Buddha; and lastly over-inspiring and enlightening that
Buddha -- a spiritual flame working through the Bodhisattva in
the man -- was the Dhyani-Buddha of our Round, working of course
through the Dhyani-Bodhisattva of this Globe D.
Now all this seems very complicated at first glance; but it
really is not. We have, first, a spiritually evolved human being
in whom the native Manasaputric essence was awakening, or
partially awakened, thus providing a fit field of consciousness
for its individualization as the incarnate Bodhisattva. Then the
Monadic Essence working through this incarnate Bodhisattva was
individualized as the Buddha, these elements just specified
forming the various monadic centers mainly active in Shakyamuni.
In addition to this and because the incarnate Bodhisattva allowed
the ray from the inner Buddha to manifest itself, there was the
reception even into the human consciousness of the still more
spiritual ray from the Round Dhyani-Buddha, in its turn traveling
to the human Buddha by means of the Globe Dhyani-Bodhisattva.
This Dhyani-Buddha working through the Globe Dhyani-Bodhisattva
might be described as the 'outside' spiritual influence working
through the human Buddha. The Buddha, Bodhisattva, and partially
awakened Manasaputric essence form the triad in the constitution
of Gautama-Shakyamuni acting to produce the Manushya-Buddha. One
should always remember, in studying these recondite and difficult
subjects of spiritual psychology, the basic fact that the human
constitution is a composite or compound thing.
When Gautama, whose personal name was Siddhartha, left his home,
according to the beautiful story so well known, and went out in
his search of light, i.e., for the attaining of human Buddhahood
for the sake of the 'salvation of gods and men,' in time he
brought first into relatively full activity the Bodhisattva
within himself. The ordinary man of him, the vehicle, grand as
that ordinary man was, was nevertheless utterly subordinated --
to be a perfect human instrument thenceforth through which the
Bodhisattva working within him could manifest itself and express
its noble faculties, over-enlightened by the Buddhic ray. Yet
this becoming at one with the Buddha himself, lofty as the state
was, was still not enough for the purpose in mind, because this
particular human incarnation -- that of the man called Siddhartha
-- was to be the vehicle of the minor Racial Buddha.
Thus it was that finally, after striving in self-imposed
discipline and spiritual yearning and inner conquest, and then
teaching, under the sacred Bodhi tree, the Tree of Wisdom, the
Manushya-Bodhisattva called Gautama-Shakyamuni, as the legend
runs, attained Buddhahood, which means that in its turn the
incarnate Bodhisattva became the willing and perfect
psycho-spiritual instrument through which the inner Buddha of him
could express itself.
Thus, then, when the Buddha-state HAD been attained, we find (1)
the Buddha, (2) working through the Bodhisattva, (3) working
through the awakened Man, thus exemplifying the activity in a
human constitution of the three higher monads thereof, to wit,
(1) the spiritual, (2) the Bodhisattva or Manasaputric, and (3)
the evolved human; and this is exactly what each one of us humans
someday will have the lofty privilege and the exquisite joy to
become -- always provided that we run the race successfully.
Everyone of you already is a feeble incarnation of an inner
Buddha -- and you know it not!
Now, here is another important point of thought that I must come
to. When the Buddha waxed in age, and the body which had served
him so well became feeble with the passing of the years so that
it was no longer so perfect an instrument as formerly -- a
formerly perfect instrument now becoming worn -- according to the
exoteric teaching the Buddha 'died' at the age of eighty years.
The truth of this matter was that in his eightieth year the
Buddha in Gautama-Shakyamuni entered Nirvana, i.e., entered into
the nirvanic state or condition, nevertheless leaving the
Bodhisattva still active and working through the then aged and
enfeebled physical frame. The Buddha-part of him in human
speech, had 'died' to, or passed out of, the world, i.e., had
done its work and had passed into the Nirvana, therein to await
its next task at the end of this Fifth Root-Race, at which time
that same Buddha-spirit, that same Buddha-element, would again
over-enlighten a new Bodhisattva-man.
Thus much for the Buddha-element in Shakyamuni; and it was
therefore truly stated that the Buddha 'died' at the age of
eighty years, simply because the Buddha-element had passed out of
direct concern in human affairs. Yet for twenty years more the
Bodhisattva, working through the noble man Gautama-Shakyamuni,
lived and taught his inner Group or School, as what we
Theosophists could and probably would call a Master. We do so
advisedly, because it is that composite constitution that still
remained and worked which is precisely what the Mahatmas or
Masters are: Bodhisattva-men, men of the 'essence of Buddha,'
i.e., of Wisdom and of Love -- just what in the West is often
intended by mystics in their usage of the word 'Christ.' Of
course it should be remembered that the Masters themselves exist
in differing grades of evolutionary perfection, there being
stages of advancement among them just as there are among all
other classes of beings.
Then finally in his hundredth year, the Lord Gautama laid down
his aged body; he cast it off, for it was finished with, since it
was too old to serve any more in the manner that was still
required of it. He cast it off, as Krishna says in the Gita, as
we cast aside 'a worn out garment,' and he who was known on earth
first as Siddhartha, Prince of Kapilavastu, then as Shakyamuni,
thenceforward lived as a Nirmanakaya, a complete man minus only
the physical body and the accompanying Linga-Sharira which goes
with the physical body.
How much more could be said about even this one theme of our
thought! What mysteries could one not point to that lie latent in
the constitution of every human being, offspring of heaven and
earth truly, child of the gods and of man? The human constitution
is a mystery of mysteries, a wonder of wonders. The ancient
statement of the Delphic Oracle: "Man, know thyself!" contains
almost infinitely more than the rather trite and platitudinous
significance that is usually given to this archaic Greek
injunction. Every great religious philosophy or philosophical
religion that the world has ever known has, through its teachings
pointed directly to man's constitution as containing not only all
the mysteries in the Universe, but as containing likewise the
master-key unlocking those mysteries themselves. In proportion,
I say, as man learns to know himself, does he become able to
unlock the mysteries of the Universe around him, which in his
ignorance and folly he imagines to be outside of himself.
One of the greatest objectives of the Theosophical Society, and
of our teaching, both esoteric and exoteric, is to awaken man to
know himself; what he is, what is in him, what his duty in the
world is, and how to live his life not merely nobly and grandly,
but how so to live it that he may bring out from within himself
the more than human qualities, i.e., the Buddhic Splendor,
meaning essential Wisdom and essential Love, humanly and feebly
spoken of as 'intellect' and 'heart'; yea, more than this, to
teach him to live so that his fellowmen will look upon him as a
helper, as a guide, rather than as a human scourge to his
fellows, which, alas, so many millions of human beings are!
THE FEAR OF DEATH AND THE HOPE OF LIFE
By R. Machell
[From THE THEOSOPHICAL PATH, October 1920, pages 314-21.]
It is probable that in all ages men have feared death, and have
protested against the imputation. Men speak perhaps scornfully
of death, as if they had no fear of it: but still they count it a
courageous act to brave its terrors. But if there is no fear to
overcome, where is the courage in the deed? Some people profess
to believe that the after-death state of the blessed is vastly
more desirable than this earth-life; and yet they take every
possible precaution to avoid the risk of prematurely entering
that state of bliss. A funeral will be carried out with every
evidence of woe, of mourning for the deceased, and lamentation
for the untimely ending of a life, and then the gravestone of the
defunct will bear some declaration of the superior bliss and
blessedness of the new life to which the lamented one has gone.
Can we believe that the woe and mourning were other than an
evidence of the fear of death?
In some countries the wailing and mourning for the dead is
carried to extraordinary lengths: and a study of history would
lead us to suppose that death has always been regarded with awe,
which is strangely akin to fear. Exceptions are to be found, no
doubt; but I think that they were exceptions distinguishing those
few who welcomed death joyfully from the general masses of
mankind, who frankly feared and hated death as much as they loved
and desired life.
I do not know if there is any historical record of a people on
this earth who were entirely free from the fear of death -- of
death as the enemy of life, if not as the enemy of man. So too
the conquering of death has been regarded as a superhuman
achievement, that has been accomplished only by beings of at
least a semi-divine nature.
But also it would appear from the fragmentary teachings of great
sages, as well as from the fully recorded doctrines of more
modern philosophers and religious teachers, that the fear of
death was considered by the wise as unworthy of enlightened men.
Nor did these sages regard death as an enemy: some even have
looked upon the messenger of release as a friend of man, who
comes to liberate him from a bad dream by awakening him to a true
state of spiritual life.
Even those who have looked on death as the enemy of life, have
taught that its advent should be accepted as inevitable, and
therefore not as a disaster to be feared.
Perhaps the strangest phenomenon of human thinking is the
attitude of mind that regards death, at any time, as a disaster,
as something that might have been avoided, and which seems to
assume that if it were not for accident or misfortune life in the
body, would be eternal -- although all know that they and others
will die. It is the one thing in life that they can count on
with certainty; yet the majority seems to look upon its advent as
the most appalling catastrophe that can befall a human being.
Those who are sensible enough to accept the inevitable, still
consider it a duty to maintain life in the body as long as
possible, and a crime to hasten the inevitable end.
Now the explanation of this fear of death is to be found in the
generally accepted idea that death ends life. A natural
supposition, certainly, to a mind that is wholly concerned with
affairs of the body, and that does not recognize its own
spiritual essence and origin. Of course this common error of the
materialist, or of the wholly unspiritual mind, is not shared by
those who are convinced that life is continuous, and eternal,
though death may destroy the connection between the spiritual
soul and its temporary body.
It is almost sure that certain enlightened people have been free
from this gross error in all ages; but it would seem that such
enlightenment was limited to a small minority. Historical
records of past ages are very scanty; and even the little that
remains is perforce only very imperfectly translated, and is
unavoidably colored in the translation by the preconceptions and
prejudices of our own time. So that it may well be that there
was a time when the world was more highly enlightened on
spiritual matters, and when men looked on death as but a gateway
in the house of life through which they passed willingly to a new
state of existence, by a natural process, as un-alarming as the
act of going to sleep is now.
There are traditions of immortal beings, who were by some
regarded as human gods and by others as divine men, who were
reputed to have lived on earth, but to have had access to the
regions inhabited by the immortals, who were their kin. These
legends occur in many lands; and they point to a belief in the
continuity of life that is hard to account for if there be no
fact in nature to support it, or to support the teaching from
which the legends sprang.
While the fear of death is naturally more intense among the
ignorant, the ignorance from which it springs is spread
throughout the most civilized countries of the world, and is
perhaps as deeply rooted in the wealthy classes as among the
poor. This results from the entirely materialistic character of
the education that passes current in the civilized world today.
The continuity of life is not taught: and the belief that death
is the end of life follows as a natural consequence.
The religions that have spread most widely during the last two
thousand years seem to have tried to combat the fear of death by
the promise of a future life more attractive than the present
one, but the greed for happiness that caused the acceptance of
this promise of an eternity of bliss as a compensation for a
temporary unpleasantness also aroused intellectual revolt against
an untenable proposition and brought about a deeper skepticism
and materialism than before. It is probable that millions of
nominal adherents of these religions actually have no real
conviction of a future life of any kind beyond the grave. It is
also certain that the doubtful prospect of an eternity of
compulsory beatitude does not appear to be sufficient
compensation for loss of the emotions and sensations of physical
life here on earth. For it is undeniable that the majority of
avowedly religious people cling to their present life with a
tenacity that denotes small faith in the promised bliss beyond
the grave, and the fear of death is manifestly common among the
professed devotees of all the great religions.
The natural conclusion is that these religious systems have not
so far succeeded in reconciling their adherents to the inevitable
calamity we call death. In what respect have they fallen short
The only reasonable remedy for this unreasonable distrust of
natural law is to be found in a serious conviction that the real
self of man is not deprived of life by the death of the body. So
long as the soul is regarded as an appurtenance or as an
appendage of the body, the individual may naturally enough feel
some doubts as to its future, and indeed as to its present
reality. Besides which, the individual is more interested in his
own immediate existence than in the salvation or damnation of a
soul which he habitually speaks of as his own, but which he does
not exactly identify with himself. One who believes that he HAS
a soul must necessarily feel that he himself, as owner of that
soul, is more or less separate: but, if he had learned to look
upon himself as a soul inhabiting a body, he would never have had
any doubt as to the continuity of his existence, and he would not
have come to look upon death as an end of life, a calamity to be
dreaded and delayed at any cost.
The Theosophic doctrine of reincarnation, which had almost
dropped out of the remembrance of the modern civilized western
world before the revival of the old Wisdom-Religion by H.P.
Blavatsky, affords such a rational explanation of the problem of
continued existence that it must almost of necessity remove one
great cause of the fear of death: for he who accepts the
Theosophic teaching on the subject feels an assurance that his
evolution will not be broken off at death, nor will be interfered
with by the loss of his physical body; because he will feel that
the end of a life is no more than the end of a day's work to be
taken up next lifetime after a long night's rest with a new body
and a new brain with a reserve fund of acquired experience that
has been converted into what we call character. That character
will be just what he has made it in past lives, and can be
further improved or damaged by his present mode of life; but it
cannot be arbitrarily taken from him by death. For death is but
a doorway in the house of life, and in that house are many
The acceptance of this doctrine is easy to one who knows that his
true self is not his perishable personality, but his spiritual
soul, which lives on eternally. This conviction comes to many,
who may not put word to their feelings in the terms I am using,
and who may not be professors of any particular religion; but who
FEEL that the self within is superior to all the events of life
and death, a spectator as it were of a drama in which body and
mind are actors on the stage of worldly life.
It is an undoubted fact that many people fear the darkness
without being able to explain why. But such fear may generally
be traced, I think, to bad teaching in childhood. It is probable
that the fear of the dark was in most cases deliberately put into
the child's mind as a means of punishing or disciplining the
infant. Bad education relies upon bribery and intimidation for
the establishment of authority. The result is destruction of
true morality and the loss of self-respect, as well as of
Fear is a degrading state of mind, which weakens the will and
destroys self-reliance. Deliberately to plant fear in a human
mind is to commit a grave sin against the indwelling soul, which
thereby is deprived of its rightful influence over the mind.
Fear confuses the sense of right and wrong, and substitutes an
instinct of self-defense for a calm assertion of conscious right
and a right contempt for self-interest. It is fear that makes
men cruel. It seems to justify cruelty. The fearless man is not
troubled about self-protection. The darkness is like death to
the ignorant; it represents the great unknown, which is furnished
and peopled by imagination. Fear creates terrors and peoples the
darkness with monsters.
The enlightened man finds light in his own heart. His
imagination peoples the darkness with beautiful visions, which
are but the natural expression of his own interior condition.
But few are the enlightened; and for the majority the darkness is
filled with horrors, or with unpleasantness, because it acts as a
screen on which the restless mind flashes moving pictures filmed
on the brain by the automatic memory recording the emotions,
passions, and desires of the lower nature as well as the
aspirations of the higher. So the dark may be terrible to many
who have not the courage to face their own thoughts and the
strength to conquer them.
Fear is the creative power of imagination distorted by moral
disease. It creates terrors and monsters, and the greatest
monster of its creation is the bogy called death. The
monstrosity is man-made: the reality is no terror. It is but the
passing through an open door, the entering upon a new day of life
or perhaps upon a dream that may fill the sleeping-time between
two lives. But a dream is in itself a miniature lifetime. While
it lasts, it is real to the dreamer, though it may be regarded as
a delusion when it is past. But, waking or sleeping, life goes
on continuously; and we may lie down to die as calmly as we lie
down to sleep, in the assurance of the continuity of our life.
This is the hope that Theosophy reveals to the student, for
without the continuity of the deeper consciousness, there could
be no true progress possible, no hope of happiness to compensate
for life's present woes; no release from the tyranny of fear; no
chance to redeem our past mistakes.
Life means all this and more if life is continuous; if not, it is
but a spasm of emotion or pain, meaningless, purposeless, and
useless. If our earth-life is the only life, it is a mockery
indeed. If it is not, then it must be but an incident in a great
scheme of life, in which the individuals may attain to full
self-consciousness, which would be equivalent to illumination of
the lower mind by the wisdom of the soul: it would mean that the
individual would eventually become aware of his true relation to
the Universal. It would mean escape from ignorance and egotism
to a state of universal consciousness, in which the meaning of
self would be revealed as a sense of oneness, or Universal
Brotherhood; which is the reflection in the mind of man of the
spiritual light of the Universal Soul.
That light must shine eternally, of course, but so does the sun:
yet the night may be dark and clouds may obscure the sunlight by
day. So too in life; emotions, passions, and desires may create
clouds that shut the sunlight of true life out from the mind.
And when the night of death has come, the spiritual sun still
shines, and the spiritual soul is not in darkness while the lower
soul sleeps and dreams its dream of heaven or hell. The night is
not eternal, but day and night alternate.
If we believed the sinking of the sun denoted the end of the last
and only day of life, then night would naturally be a terror.
But when night comes even the most timorous will lie down to
sleep with a hope of tomorrow's awakening that is so sure as to
resemble a conviction more than a hope. And I think that when
death actually comes, the dying realize the fact that they are
immortal, and the fear of death is gone.
But there is no need to wait for death to free us from our
foolish fear of the great release. The hope of life is natural
to man, because life is eternal, and the soul knows its
immortality even though the mind may be clouded by ignorance and
deformed by false training and false learning. The fear of death
is not natural, nor is the hope of life a fancy. Rather it is
the mental echo of a truth known to the soul.
Man's nature is so complex that his life is full of problems that
appear insoluble to him as long as he is ignorant of his own
complexity. When he can realize that there is a marked duality
in him, a higher and a lower nature, and that he fluctuates
between strange opposites all the time, then a great many
problems can be easily solved, and the path can be opened to a
fuller understanding of the mystery of life, which like all other
mysteries is only mysterious by reason of our ignorance.
The knowledge of Theosophy is like an open door in the wall of
human ignorance. The sunlight of Truth is shining all the time
outside, and that truth is what we call Theosophy, the Divine
Wisdom, according to one reading of the word. The knowledge of
the existence of this divine wisdom is alone enough to remove the
fear of death: and the hope of life must follow.
Without hope of some sort, life would be hardly bearable: it
would hardly be life, even though the body was not dead. Hope is
essential to human happiness, and indeed it is essential to
sanity. Without it man's pessimism would be no better than
madness. Without hope man becomes lower than an animal, in which
instinct provides a substitute for reason and imagination.
Without hope man is an irredeemable degenerate, and there are
many such: and our social system is continually engaged in making
more of them by taking away the hope of rehabilitation from the
convicted criminal. Of course this is not done intentionally.
It is done in self-defense, which is nearly always a blundering
expression of an unreasoning fear due to a black ignorance of
Theosophy gives a man hope, it shows him that no mistake is
final, that his inner and true self is not degraded by the
mistakes of the lower man, though the higher must suffer for it.
It teaches him that even if his present life seems utterly
wrecked, he can be working to improve his character for the next
life in which his past mistakes may be redeemed and past
disgraces be forgotten. The doctrine of Reincarnation is an
expression of the hope that life holds for all.
We cannot speak of it too often, for there are so many who have
lost hope, even among the most prosperous. Many who have
succeeded in business have beggared themselves of hope and faith
in human nature and know their lives have proved a failure in
spite of the wealth they have accumulated. For no wealth can
compensate for loss of hope, and when a man has grown thoroughly
cynical, he has lost hope, seeing alone the dark side of human
nature and not realizing that there is a bright side, which is
more real though it may seem a fancy to his deadened imagination.
The loss of hope is the greatest tragedy in life, and the
severest penalty for the sin against the soul that is called
selfishness. That sin is so common as to be almost universal,
and unhappiness is just as general for it follows inevitably.
Carried to its extreme limit, it is recognized as insanity. The
separation of self from the Universal is the abuse of self, the
denial of the true self, and the extinction of the light of the
Higher Self. To understand the mystery of self, man must forget
himself in work for others and so find his real relation to the
world in which he lives, as well as his relation to the spiritual
world from which he comes and to which he must return continually
for renewal of his spiritual vitality. The Universal Soul is
like the Sun which was invoked in the old formula known as the
> Oh thou, that givest light and sustenance unto the Universe,
> Thou, from whom all doth proceed, and to whom all must return:
> Unveil the face of the true Sun, now hidden by a veil of golden
> light; that we may know the truth, and do our whole duty, as we
> journey towards thy sacred seat!
The hope of life is life itself, true life, the life of the true
self in man, the active presence of the spiritual soul. In that
alone resides the power that can redeem man's ignorance and
dispel his doubts. Theosophy is the science of the Soul, the
revelation of the meaning of human life; profound as life itself,
and yet as simple and intelligible. For life's problems are
proportioned to the understanding of each individual. Each man
is the maker of his own mystery, and he must unravel the mystery
he has made.
The only death that man need fear is soul-death. The death of
the body is as certain as the death of any tree or plant; a
change of domicile for the soul, which may sometimes occur
inopportunely but which has nothing in it to inspire fear.
The fear of death is artificial and is wholly unnecessary. The
hope of life is an intuitive perception of the fact that the real
inmost self of man is undying, and that life is continuous
through birth and death; the soul of man evolving through all
experience of life on earth to full self-conscious spirituality,
in which the individual attains to conscious union with the
Universal. For life and consciousness are co-eternal; and death
is but the passing through a doorway in the house of life.
THE CROSS OF INITIATION
By G. de Purucker
[From Supplement to KTMG Papers No. 33, reprinted in THE
DIALOGUES OF G. DE PURUCKER, III, pages 261-67.]
The matter of the TRAINED human ego's having to go through
initiation unaided and unprotected by its higher parts is one of
great importance, and in the atmosphere of the thought that has
been aroused by the various observations made, I want to add
something of my own.
It is perfectly true that we can receive help from others, for
love is always permissible, and it is the sustaining power
because it is like health and like fresh air. But when the test
comes, we have to take it alone. The initiate is in the
universe, a part of it, the pulses of the universe are pulsing
through him. He has the help of the universe precisely because
it is a part of him.
But no one helps him by holding him up, or wiping the sweat or
dew from his forehead, or giving him injections, etc. The soul
must stand naked before the test, and conquer by its own inner
powers. If it succeeds, it succeeds, and we have an adept. If
it fails, there are other chances, BUT HE GETS NO HELP IN A
DIRECT WAY WHATSOEVER. If he did, it would be no test.
He must learn to fit himself to be one of the stones in the
Guardian Wall. The position is one of such heavy responsibility,
one involving so much, that there can be no weak links. There is
not only no favoritism, there is absolutely no pity shown for the
naked soul. If pity were shown, and the soul were helped over
and allowed to succeed by supporting hands, the result would be a
weak vessel, incapable of holding its own against the terrific
impact of cosmic forces outside. The Guardian Wall is composed
of human and spiritual 'Stones' which are strong in every fiber
and have proved themselves to be such before they can be builded
into the wall.
Several weighty and momentous matters are involved here, and I
want to drive it home into your minds that it is the unprotected,
unshielded, trained ego, the human ego, which must 'make good' or
fail. Now if it is helped, if it is shielded, what is the use of
undergoing the test? The test becomes a mere play, a farce, a
cheating. In a school, who is it that learns? Is it the divine
entity living in the heart, in the soul, of each child? Obviously
not. It is the child which must learn or fail. If the child
learns, it graduates. In an honest school, if it does not learn,
it does not graduate, though out of compassion it may be allowed
to slip out with some degree of honor, especially if the child is
Just so is it with initiation, which is intensification and
hastening of the evolutionary process. It is THAT part of the
human being which is tried, not a part superior to the trial, but
that part which is tried and tested which must succeed or fail.
And if somebody helps it, or suffers for it, or answers its
questions, or casts a shield of protection around it, wherein can
be found the virtue in the trial out of which it comes
successfully? It is no trial, it is a weakening process. It is
like a man in the water. He either must swim or drown. Now
suppose we take the man in the water as a test to learn whether
he can swim. If someone stands in the water and holds him up,
that is no test of the question: can the man swim?
It is precisely thus with initiation, because upon that man's
success lies the soul's weal, the soul's safety, the safety of
the souls of human beings. He must be tested to be pure gold
throughout, without a streak of weakness, not a single point, not
an atom can fail under stress. That is why initiation is
fearful. And only those are allowed to attempt it that the
teachers believe to be capable of passing through the fire of
trial and coming out purified.
What is it that undergoes initiation, so far as we humans are
concerned? It is not the divine part of us. It is not the
spiritual part of us. It is not the Manasaputric part of us.
All these are beyond the initiations that we humans go through.
It is we, failing, fallible, weak, struggling, aspiring, and
sometimes succeeding human egos who have the chance when the time
comes in initiation to rise from the initiatory trance, a
spiritual being -- or to fail. It is a testing and a searching
out and purification in the fire of suffering. The poppycock
that is talked about initiation by the quasi-mystics and would-be
occultists today is awful, and it is right and needful that you
should know these things.
I have told you a million times, it seems to me, that the human
constitution is composite. There is a world of occultism in that
one statement. "Oh yes, composite. We know. It has a divine
soul, and a spiritual sou,l and a human soul, and an astral body,
a Linga-Sharira, and a physical body. It is composite, yes. Oh,
we understand." I have not yet, my beloved Companions, found an
adequate understanding among you of that simple statement that
the human being is a composite being.
I have attempted by both direct and devious ways and round-about
manners to awaken the intuition in your minds as to the meaning
of this statement. I have called to your attention the fact that
in addition to our usual exoteric enumeration of the seven
principles, there are different monads in man, and that not only
is every principle septenary or duodenary, but likewise that
these different monads in man, while they form his constitution
as we are now constituted, are nevertheless not all of them what
I call 'I,' and each one of you calls 'I.' That is the human
monad. That human monad is as septenary as our present
constitution is. This means that the human monad alone, singling
it out of the other monads in our present constitution, has a
divine part, a spiritual part, a mental or intellectual part, a
psychical, an astral, and a physical.
Now it is this human monad, the human ego part of that monad,
which is 'I,' which is 'you,' and it is this portion of the
constitution which must be so to say temporarily wrenched apart
from all the other elements in the human constitution and must
stand alone. It has its own inner god, its own human monad's god
-- not the atman of the usually understood septenary, but its own
atman or inner god. And all initiation, which means all testing,
all trial, all purification, of any monad or ego is for the
purpose of bringing out the particular divinity of that ego which
is being tested.
Along this same line of thought, you now perhaps will see the
reason of H.P. Blavatsky's statement which has intrigued so many
of you, that the Manasaputra, the Manasaputric influence within
us and above us, is like a plank of salvation thrown down to us.
When the Manasaputras incarnated within the early human
protoplasts, they awakened the manasic portions in the human egos
-- they themselves were manasic Devas -- and they still hover
over us inspiring, aiding, helping, and guiding. But it is not
the Manasaputra of me and of you, because this I and this you
belong to the one we call the HUMAN monad.
You can picture the situation for yourselves if you like after
the manner of a cross. Marvelous symbol again! The upright of
the cross we can say is the line of the ordinary human
constitution as given in our exoteric books: Atman, Buddhi,
Manas, kama, and so forth. The transverse or horizontal where it
joins the upright on its line of junction we may call the human
ego. We put it there because we are but humans. Now that line
of juncture, where the general, the upright, traverses and
crosses and therefore aids and lifts the horizontal, or the
individual I or you, is, as HPB says, our plank of salvation, our
contact with the universe in the upright sense.
But we must learn to find that universe through the divinity of
our own monadic ego, within and above our own HUMAN monad, in
other words to find the Atman belonging to our HUMAN ego, that is
the 'horizontal,' as well as the general Atman of the human
constitution in and of the 'vertical.' To use this figure of
speech again, we must learn to find the divinity of the
horizontal as well as of the vertical. Now the perfect god, and
in a smaller degree the perfect man, is he who has learned to
make the upright and the horizontal coalesce in his constitution
and to blend in unity. Do you catch the mystical thought that I
am trying to give -- to see the divinity within his own essence
and essay to be it? And at the same time to see and essay to be
the cosmic divinity which is likewise in him and of him -- the
Thus in initiation it is not the divine monad which is tested.
That would be folly. It is not the father or the mother who
learns the alphabet for their little child of four. It is the
little child. It is not the spiritual monad which is tested and
tried and purified in these human initiations; nor is it the
Manasaputra inspiring us, but it is the HUMAN ego, which during
initiation must become, essay to become, and finally become, the
human monad, the divinity WITHIN THE HEART OR CENTER of the
You see the reason for the statement that the soul which cannot
stand the burning fire returns either a madman or returns but to
die -- that or success. It is infinitely just. The whole
initiatory scheme would be a preposterous fake and farce, a
cheating of the human soul, if the initiant went into the trials
so protected and shielded that no trial could touch him, that no
test could reach him, and that no fire could burn out the evil
within him. Each new initiation -- and fasten this thought in
your minds -- means coming a step nearer to that inner divinity
which is not the ordinary Atman of us, of the upright of the
cosmic cross, but that divinity which is the very heart of the
heart of the core of the core of the human monad, as yet a feebly
manifesting evolutionary pilgrim.
That is why the mystic teaching was given in the Christian
scriptures: My divinity, my divinity, how thou dost glorify me.
No longer am I dependent upon the Manasaputra above me. From
within my own cosmic essence, from within the god of my own HUMAN
monad, I have BECOME, and THROUGH MYSELF, my own godhood. How
thou dost glorify me, thou divine part of me! Notice the
peculiarly apt and aphoristic Greek: "Ho theos mou," "ho theos
mou," the god of me. The Greek is emphatic in its grammatical
construction. Not merely my god, but the god of me.
And mark you, this can only come in initiation after the other
cry comes: O god of me, why hast thou forsaken me? Yes. The god
of the upright, because now the child must learn to walk, to find
himself. The god, his god, himself, his divine self, not his
'outer' god of the ordinary human constitution commonly called
Atma-Buddhi-Manas, but he finds the Atma-Buddhi-Manas of the
horizontal so to speak, of the individual, of the human monadic
Thus, every monad within the human constitution is septenary or
duodenary, according to the way of counting, and every initiation
that takes place, as far as I know, as far as I have been taught,
in cosmic time or cosmic space, whether of man or of god or of
being of the Underworld, is just the same thing in principle.
Details may change; places, individuals, may vary. But the
fundamental idea and rule are the same.
his is why it is that death and initiation are identical. So is
sleep. I have said these things a score of times. Sleep,
initiation, and death are all one. Sleep is the same thing, but
happily veiled from our unwitting vision, from our ignorance and
stupidity because we are too sunk in desires of this world to
see, to realize. Initiation is a conscious awakening to the
verities. And death is exactly the same thing in even greater
degree than initiation, but because it is not undertaken with
one's own will for the specific purpose of quickening our
evolution, it is an automatic function of the portions of our
constitution. Perhaps I am wandering a little too far afield,
but these are hints for you. Your intuition may work upon them.
I repeat that sleep and death and initiation are all essentially
the same thing.
I hope all the dear Companions will forgive me if I have spoken
with too great emphasis tonight. I thought the opportunity was
too good to miss.
Dedicated to the Theosophical Philosophy and its Practical Application