By G. de Purucker
[Reprinted from "The Theosophical Forum", April, 1946]
Narada: A Study in The Secret Doctrine
by G. de Purucker
Narada is here, there, and everywhere; and yet, none of the Puranas gives the true characteristics of this great enemy of physical procreation. Whatever those characteristics may be in Hindu Esotericism, Narada -- who is called in Cis-Himalayan Occultism Pesh-Hun, the 'Messenger,' or the Greek Angelos -- is the sole confidant and the executor of the universal decrees of Karma and Adi-Budh: a kind of active and ever incarnating logos, who leads and guides human affairs from the beginning to the end of the Kalpa.
'Pesh-Hun' is a general not a special Hindu possession. He is the mysterious guiding intelligent power, which gives the impulse to, and regulates the impetus of cycles, Kalpas and universal events. He is Karma's visible adjuster on a general scale; the inspirer and the leader of the greatest heroes of this Manvantara. In the exoteric works he is referred to by some very uncomplimentary names; such as 'Kali-Karaka,' strife-maker, 'Kapi-vaktra,' monkey-faced, and even 'Pisuna,' the spy, though elsewhere he is called Deva-Brahma.
-- The Secret Doctrine, II, 48.
Narada as the Hindus call him, Pesh-Hun as the Tibetans call him, is in the world. That agent of destiny whom Christians I suppose would call the agent of the vengeance of the Lord, is abroad in every land. His karmic work is proceeding: reaping in order that future crops may be sown. Terrible agent of what the Christians would call divine vengeance, and yet Narada or Pesh-Hun is man's greatest friend for the men who will recognize him. His work is not that of fate, it is that of destiny, which man himself weaves. If he is a disturber of man's ways in order that the mandates of divine justice shall be carried out, he is also the bringer of peace, and the restorer of harmony. To use a beautiful Jewish phrase, it is, ultimately speaking, Narada or Pesh-Hun who 'will wipe away all tears.'
Now then, I was asked especially to make a few comments this morning upon the question of the Hindu Rishi Narada about whom under the Atlantean name of Pesh- Hun I spoke two or three weeks ago from this platform. HPB speaks of Narada, as the Hindus call him, or Pesh-Hun as she calls his name from Atlantean times, (he is known by other names in other ages and lands), but she says very little about him indeed for the simple reason that his functions in nature are so difficult to explain to a world which is utterly unaccustomed to the spiritual and intellectual teachings of Theosophy, that she just pointed to certain facts and left the matter there. HPB not being here to answer questions that she herself had aroused, it falls upon me to do my best!
Who is Narada, who is this Pesh-Hun? In the first place he is a Rishi. He is also a Prajapati. You know what these names mean Prajapati means a parent of offspring, does not say what kind of offsprings, maybe mind-born children, it may be children born of the body, for Prajapati means either or both. He is also a Manu when his functions concerning the human races alone are involved. He is a Dhyani-Chohan or what the Christians would call an Archangel. Of course this reference does not mean much today because the Christians themselves today hardly know what they mean by the term. But I am giving a few names in different systems of thought. In Greek and Latin mythology he would be a god or perhaps one of the highest of the Daimones, cosmic spirits. Put it this way: Narada is a Dhyani-Chohan, also Prajapati because of certain functions he performs, also a Rishi or great spiritual teacher because of certain functions he performs. Also a Manu because of the intimate connection with the destinies of the human race. That is why these three names are used, each name being appropriate to different sections of his activity. He is a Dhyani-Chohan of the highest or the next to the highest class. I am not now referring merely to the three great classes of Dhyani-Chohans higher than the humans. I am referring to classes in a different category. Every possibility of Dhyani-Chohanic type considered, Narada belongs to the next to the highest type.
What are the functions of Narada? Typically those of carrying out karmic destiny. There you have a key to all his activities. What the Lipikas have written down, Narada as an individual agent or as an individuality, as an Archangel, sees are carried out. He is the agent of karmic destiny. The consequence is, just because destiny to us humans is often so unpleasant due to our own faults and failings in the past, Narada has been given very uncomplimentary titles by those who have seen his work in the world and in the world of men and who do not like it. When they do like it, when it is something that humans like, he is given very complimentary titles: the Benefactor, the Kindly Helper, the Warrior for Mankind, the bringer about of all the good things in destiny. But when as an impartial, impersonal agent of karmic destiny he brings about trouble on the human race, then he is given very uncomplimentary names by men, as for instance he is called Kali-Kara, the Strife-Producer, because in the course of human destiny it is his work to bring about war and peace, to bring about war and to bring about peace.
Now can you see why HPB has side-stepped this very function, duty, character of Narada? It is a ticklish thing because in the Occident we do not want to believe that the world is conducted by cosmic and spiritual laws, nor in the Occident do we want to believe that the horrible things that happen to us are infallibly and inevitably our own self-earned destiny. We prefer: it is his fault. That is the way we pass the buck, and yet show me anything that happens to you as far as you can see that is not the result of your own action. There is the law.
So the functions of Narada are to act as the agent of karma. How does he do this? Being a Dhyani-Chohan he cannot come amongst us and work as a human being does, because he belongs to a much higher kingdom, among the very highest of the three Dhyani-Chohanic kingdoms. He is an impersonal, impartial agent of destiny. His duty is to see that the world is protected, that karmic law, destiny, be carried out irrespective of consequences; for it is the only way to reestablish law, order, equilibrium, justice, and ultimate wisdom and peace. Otherwise there would be Nature piling up a vast accumulation of unexpended karma which sometime or in time might flood the human race and utterly destroy it. No wonder HPB side-stepped this question.
How does Narada therefore work? Sometimes he over-shadows men of the proper psychological, spiritual, intellectual, and even physical temperament and works through them. These men then are called by HPB Men of Destiny. They may not in themselves be even good men, which is another reason why Narada is often spoken of in uncomplimentary terms; but they may be good men, these Men of Destiny. But they are used as instruments and tools to carry out, to bring out, to bring to pass, certain things that are lying in the womb of time and must come out, and there must be a guiding spiritual power to see that the performing of these events shall take place without the complete wrecking of mankind. This is Narada's work: a protector of mankind and also an avenger.
The Occidental for centuries has been trained in a religious and philosophical system which is since early medieval times so utterly contrary to the facts of Nature that we have lost touch with how the world is ruled and governed. It is governed by spiritual and highly intellectual powers. For instance our own globe is, globe D of our chain. Not a thing takes place by chance, by hap, by hazard, or by fortuity. Everything that takes place on this globe or in the Solar System or in the Sun or in the galaxy takes place according to law; and it takes place according to law because the agents of law, the agents of karma, are there to hold it firm, to prevent as it were the earthquake or the tidal wave or the cyclone, from going crazy and destroying indiscriminately. Do you see what I am trying to say? Destiny is held firmly in the hands of the gods; or as the early Christians phrased it in their own phrasing, a phrasing which has lost sense today, the world is ruled by God Almighty through the hierarchy of angels, which is our Theosophical teaching taught in the Christian form. These Angels carry out the decrees of destiny, and you even have remnants in Christian teaching today of this old Theosophy of early Christianity, as for instance when they speak of the Angel of Death or the Angel of Destiny or the Angel of Disease -- or turning to the New Testament, the Four Angels of the Apocalypse. You might ask what are they now? War, disease or pestilence, starvation, and death. I remember a Spanish writer, Ibanez, wrote a famous book The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. So even in Christianity you have the same teaching.
Now it is Narada who is in charge of these karmic productions of destiny. No wonder he is called Kali-Kara, the Strife-Producer. He does not produce it out of nothing, out of a diabolic wish to injure mankind. He is simply the agent of karmic destiny bringing about for instance, the breaking up of old crystallized conditions which are becoming a spiritual opiate for mankind, or stopping things that are threatening to injure mankind. You see, a teaching like this also could be dangerous if it fell into the minds of irresponsible or weak men who would twist it to personal and selfish uses. Such men have no conception of the profundities and intricacies of theosophic truths, which are the archaic Wisdom-Religion of mankind; and through this ignorance even the uninstructed public could imagine that a Theosophist in speaking thus is saying something that he should not say.
Once more let me ask what or who is Narada? Narada is not only the agent of karmic destiny but is mankind's savior, the bringer about of man's evolutionary progress, the bringer about of change tending upwards to nobler things, and likewise paradoxically enough the bringer about or restorer of spiritual and intellectual stability. Because there can be no stability when an accumulated reservoir of karma is waiting and threatening to burst the dam and cause devastation, destruction indiscriminately.
Take into your minds some of the consequences of these thoughts. They will make you charitable, less inclined to hate and misjudge other human beings. You take Napoleon for instance, or Julius Caesar or Alexander -- three men who if you judge them in the balance of ordinary human justice are three evil-doers because they were all upsetters, all destroyers of convention and of established things. But the world lived through them, and yet who were they? Average men, each one with a peculiar cast, psychological and other, which Narada could work through to bring about the karmic changes. Do you get it? In other words Narada is a kind of Shiva, destroyer and regenerator, but his destructions are always beneficial, he is always on the side of liberty, absolute justice to all irrespective of anything, and on the side of progress. If there is one thing that Narada abhors it is cruelty, cruelty of any kind, cruelty to friend or cruelty to foe. You immediately put yourself under the watchful eye of Narada if you indulge in anything that is sub-human.
In passing, let me say that my reference to Alexander, Julius Caesar, and Napoleon, is not because I think these three men are patterns of human conduct, for I do not, very much to the contrary. But they are notable historical instances of men of destiny who were used almost as pawns precisely because of their weaknesses and distorted strength to bring about noble things despite these men themselves. I trust I make my meaning clear. Indeed, I personally do not like these three men, nor do I admire them in any sense.
It is a peculiar thing that if you will study the history of mankind you will find that the great plays of Narada, the great activities of Narada, are always accompanied by or followed very closely by great manifestation of moral and religious life. The greatest religions are always established at the time of the greatest human turn-overs. Narada's work both of them. Narada prepares the ground, guides the loosening of karmic destiny, and as it were beckons with his hand to the gods of teaching to come in along the pathway opens.
Some may wonder if Narada is the same as the Silent Watcher. No, the Silent Watcher is above all. You may perhaps at least figuratively say that Narada is the Shiva-aspect of the Silent Watcher. Narada is a kind of Logos for this globe throughout the entire kalpa. And what is the function of the Logoi, greater or smaller, higher or lower? Each one to guide all its children into the future of glorious achievement.
I can only hint at certain things. Let me point out one thing which I don't know that Occidentals will understand very well. Suppose there were a great religion in the world which had lost the original inspiration, the theosophic inspiration of its Master, of its Founder, and it had become ecclesiastical and theological instead of continuing to be living and vital, a mighty and spiritually controlling power in the life of its followers. Suppose this religion -- one of the noblest motors of human thought and conduct -- had become mere formalism and rites, and there were even disputes whether the teaching of the Founder was really meant to be taken as we have received it. What does Narada do? Narada breaks that shell, releases the imprisoned spirit once again. Of course there is lots of trouble. Men on religious points are almost fanatic; you break up their crystalized beliefs, they can even become almost demons at times. But Narada has a bigger work in view than the merely conventional feelings of numbers of these coryphaei and their millions of followers. Narada in such instance works to release and restore to its pristine power and influence the imprisoned and perhaps forgotten spirit of he Founder. Do you see? It may be done quickly in a crash, in disaster. Or it may be done through years and years and years of low expansion and breaking of the old shell. Narada works in various ways always according to destiny and always in the kindest way hat he can work, because he is a regenerator and a builder. That is the most important. Here you have an example. Religion had become a danger in a case like that. It had become a drug. People were going to sleep. The souls of men were so somnolent, so negative, as dominant factors in human life, that men actually were no longer truly ensouled by their souls. They were little more than bodies, blindly following merely conventional practices. But Narada reensouls these men. Their souls awaken. They begin to think and to question. They want the spirit. They burst the shell; overthrow the forms. And you have a great religious revival or regeneration in a case like that.
But of course it is a painful process. The coryphaei don't like it. Millions of their followers don't like it. Their quiet, comfortable, smug beliefs are overthrown. They don't know that they are exchanging old soiled clothing for the garments of life, of spirit, exchanging the body for the spirit. They have not realized it yet. It is only after Time, the magic agent, has softened the woes of adversity, of the bursting shell, and has brought even those who are hurt to see and to say: "Why, it is the very best thing to happen. Now we understand the Master's teaching. Now religion has become a vital moving thing in my heart. It guides my life. It is something to believe in and to live by." Do you see? The work of Narada! But during the time, what did Narada do? He was a Kali-Kara, Strife-Producer, he had to break the shell.
And that is the work of the Logos too, whichever Logos you mean, the Logos of our globe or of our chain or of the Solar System. But mark you, distinguish between the work of Narada and evil men. Evil men may be used by Narada for karmic purposes, and that is done constantly, just as Narada will use good men. And be careful lest you set yourselves up as judges. But the distinction between the work of a bad man who is not guided by Narada and Narada's work is this: that the bad man is always working for himself, egoistic selfishness, the root of all evil; whereas the work of Narada, no matter what the channel, is always for the world, even though his human instruments imagine they are working for their own ends. You may not always see it but it is there. For instance, when Narada smashes a great organization by regenerating it, the bursting of the shell and the tortures suffered by those involved is torture for them, and they think it is hell. But actually it is not, it is a salvation, and they grow to know it after a while; but the process is to them a hell. So we have to be very, very careful in judgment, very charitable and understanding.
Now can you see why HPB rather side-stepped all this matter of Narada and who he is and what he does? It is really extremely difficult even to attempt to explain Narada's work in the world.
Narada's functions therefore are so essentially spiritual and intellectual as well as psychic, that a preliminary study of the Wisdom-Religion is almost essential to prepare people to receive understandingly just who Narada is and what his functions in the world are. The main point to grasp first is that our universe is governed by law and by order emanating from intelligent and spiritual sources, and consequently that everything that happens in that universe is within that sway of law and under the sway of that order, and in consequence there is no chance, which is to us Theosophists a word utterly devoid of all substantial meaning; and therefore that whatever happens has been caused Karma. The first thing this teaches us is to stop sitting in the judgment-seat upon other men. It teaches us to stop arrogating to ourselves the all-capacity to condemn others. Judge not that ye be not judged. But keep it in mind that Narada so works, call him an Angel of Destiny, an Archangel of Destiny, or a Dhyani-Chohan whose work in the world is just that, guiding mankind and the other kingdoms too, guiding mankind's steps through tribulation and suffering from their own folly, towards freedom and wisdom and love, with his immensely strong hand of the friend, upwards and onwards through suffering and pain, through joy and peace, through war and disturbance, through attainment and progress, upwards and onwards forever.
By David Reigle
[Book of Dzyan Research Report from Eastern School Press, reprinted with permission]
Serious students of The Secret Doctrine, and especially those who are Theosophical teachers and lecturers, will wish to know what light current research can throw on the technical terms found in the "Book of Dzyan." During H.P. Blavatsky's time only a handful of books on Buddhism and a couple translations of Buddhist scriptures existed in any European language, and these were none too reliable. Today there are many hundreds of such books and translations, and the work of scholars in the earlier part of this century has in recent decades been corrected with the help of learned Tibetans. In H.P. Blavatsky's time there was little question of researching the original language Buddhist texts, as they were largely inaccessible. But since 1975 whole libraries of Sanskrit manuscripts and Tibetan blockprints have become available. It is this material that we have gathered for researching and one day annotating an original Sanskrit/Tibetan manuscript of the "Book of Dzyan," and it is from this material that the following is drawn.
There are six technical terms in the English translation of the first Stanza of the "Book of Dzyan" given in The Secret Doctrine by H.P. Blavatsky. As spelled in the first edition these are: Ah-hi, Paranishpanna, Dangma, Alaya, Paramartha, and Anupadaka. The first of these, Ah-hi, is from verse 3 of Stanza I: "Universal mind was not, for there were no Ah-hi to contain it." Ah-hi is given in H.P. Blavatsky's Theosophical Glossary as a Senzar word whose Sanskrit equivalent is Ahi, meaning "Serpents. Dhyan Chohans. 'Wise Serpents' or Dragons of Wisdom." Since the other five technical terms from Stanza I are all Buddhist terms, I have not attempted to research the Sanskrit term ahi in Hindu texts, where it is commonly used in the meaning of snake or serpent. In Buddhist texts I have not found any special uses of it other than the standard meaning in compounds such as ahi-tundika, "snake-charmer." But we may apply a rule for "ferreting out the deep significance of the ancient Sanskrit nomenclature" given by T. Subba Row in his article, "The Twelve Signs of the Zodiac," namely, to "find the synonyms of the word used which have other meanings." A widely used synonym of ahi is naga, as in the name Nagarjuna, famous for having received the Prajna-paramita or "Perfection of Wisdom" scriptures from the Nagas, the Serpents of Wisdom. The word naga has two primary meanings: serpent and elephant. The elephant has also been a symbol of wisdom, as depicted in Ganesa, the elephant-headed Hindu god of wisdom, and as depicted in the dream of Queen Maya, mother of the Buddha, where a white elephant entered her body just before she conceived. Most Buddhist Mahayana Sutras open with a stock formula giving some fourteen epithets of the group of arhats to whom the Buddha is about to give the teaching. The seventh of these epithets ( ravaka- gunas) is mahanagas, "great serpents" or "great elephants." This may be seen in the various Perfection of Wisdom Sutras, the Lotus Sutra, the Vimalakirti Sutra, the Sukhavati-vyuha or "Devachan" Sutra, etc. Thus this symbol is widely used to portray the recipients or receptacles of wisdom, as it also is in the Stanza, "Universal mind was not, for there were no Ah-hi to contain it."
The second technical term, "Paranishpanna," has a minor spelling error. The prefix para- should be pari-; thus it should be parinishpanna, or using standard diacriticals, parinispanna. This is possibly due to H.P. Blavatsky's known habit of consulting Hindu colleagues to correct the spelling of Sanskrit terms and the fact that this term is little known in Hindu texts. While the term "paranishpanna" is not known at all, in either Hindu or Buddhist texts, the prefix para- is common, and so the word would have been considered theoretically possible. Another spelling error like this in The Secret Doctrine is "Paranirvana," which should be parinirvana (parinirvana), as given correctly in The Mahatma Letters. Parinispanna is found in verse 6 of Stanza I: "The seven sublime lords and the seven truths had ceased to be, and the Universe, the son of Necessity, was immersed in Paranishpanna, to be outbreathed by that which is and yet is not. Naught was." It is defined in the "Commentaries" portion of The Secret Doctrine, I, 42, as "absolute perfection, Paranirvana [read: parinirvana], which is Yong-Grub [phonetic Tibetan, transliterated yongs grub or yons grub]." This meaning, "absolute perfection," is well enough attested in the Sanskrit Buddhist texts, but almost none of these were published when The Secret Doctrine was written. The only one I know of among those containing this term is F. Max Muller's 1883 edition of the Sukhavati-vyuha. Similarly, the standard Sanskrit dictionaries, such as Monier-Williams' and V.S. Apte's, were all compiled before the publication of any significant number of Buddhist texts. So for these Buddhist technical terms one must consult Franklin Edgerton's 1953 Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit Grammar and Dictionary, and even this is far from complete, since few texts of Buddhist Tantra, the "Books of Kiu-te," were then available. Edgerton gives for parinispanna the literal meaning as a past passive participle, "completely perfected." This agrees in sense with its use as a noun, "absolute perfection." It has a related application as one of the characteristic technical terms of the Yogacharya ( Yogacarya), or Yogachara ( Yogacara), school of Buddhism. It is in this context that it is found on page 48 of vol. I of The Secret Doctrine. Parinispanna is, along with paratantra, the "dependent," and parikalpita, the "illusory," one of the three svabhavas, "natures," or laksanas, "characteristics," taught by the Yogacara school. This cardinal Yogacara doctrine could not be studied authoritatively until the first publication of a primary Yogacara source book, which occurred in 1907. This was the Mahayana-s -- tralankara, "Ornament to the Mahayana Sutras." Although the Sanskrit edition was followed in 1911 by a French translation, it was not until 1992 that an English translation came out, by Surekha Vijay Limaye. This English translation, however, cannot be recommended, as it exemplifies the types of errors which students of even competent Indian Sanskritists fall into if not familiar with the special terminology of Buddhist texts. The Mahayana-s -- tralankara is one of five texts attributed by Tibetan tradition to Maitreya. The other primary Yogacara texts are by ryasanga and his younger brother Vasubandhu. The latter's brief Vijnapti-matrata-siddhi-trim ika in only thirty verses is the nearest thing to a Yogacara catechism. Vasubandhu has also written a small treatise specifically on these three terms, the Tri-svabhava-nirde a. The definitions found in these texts, however, have given rise to different opinions regarding their correct interpretation. Theosophical students when studying this material in English should know two things: (1) Translators and writers generally describe the Yogacara teachings as "Mind-Only," i.e., that the universe is nothing but mind, or consciousness. They are often unaware that there exists another and older tradition of interpretation, which holds that the Yogacara teachings are not a description of the universe as such, but rather, as the name implies, are an analysis of the universe in terms of consciousness for use in meditation practice. Both these traditions come to us through China, where Yogacara is still followed. The popular "Mind-Only" tradition comes from the late Indian commentator Dharmapala through the Chinese translator Hsuan-tsang, while the other tradition comes from the older Indian commentator Sthiramati through the Chinese translator Paramartha. (2) The majority of Tibetan exegetes also describe the Yogacara teachings as "Mind-Only," and then proceed to show that the Madhyamaka school gives the highest teachings and refutes the Yogacara school. They, too, are often unaware that there exists another tradition of interpretation in Tibet, the "Great Madhyamaka," which harmonizes the two schools. This tradition, brought out by the Jonangpa writer Dolpopa, teaches that the primary Yogacara authors Maitreya, Asanga, and Vasubandhu, as well as the primary Madhyamaka author Nagarjuna, were all of the "Golden Age Tradition," and hence in agreement with each other. But the later Buddhist commentators who were not in on the "Golden Age Tradition" did not understand these authors correctly, and considered them as rivals. This teaching which shows how Madhyamaka and Yogacara are not mutually contradictory is, in my opinion, essential for a correct understanding of the Stanzas of Dzyan.
The third term is a Tibetan word written phonetically, Dangma, which may be transliterated dwangs-ma or dwans-ma, as correctly given by Boris de Zirkoff in Blavatsky Collected Writings, VI, 113. It occurs first in verse 8 of Stanza I: "Alone the one form of existence stretched boundless, infinite, causeless, in dreamless sleep; and life pulsated unconscious in universal space, throughout that all-presence which is sensed by the opened eye of the Dangma." Dangma is defined in a footnote on page 46 of The Secret Doctrine, I: "Dangma means a purified soul, one who has become a Jivanmukta, the highest adept, or rather a Mahatma so-called." Dangma is not a very common word in known Tibetan writings. The standard Tibetan-English Dictionary by Sarat Chandra Das gives only an obscure unrelated meaning of "juice," etc. (page 617); but the earlier 1881 Tibetan-English Dictionary by H.A. Jaschke says this (page 249): "'the spirit; the soul', a signification not found hitherto in any book, but according to a Lama's statement the word denotes a soul, when purified from every sin, and to be compared to a clear and limpid fluid, in which every heterogeneous matter has been precipitated." The Tibetan-Sanskrit Dictionary by Lokesh Chandra does not give it as a noun, but only as an adjective (meaning "clear") in a compound with blo (page 1089) from the Bhadra- kalpika Sutra, Sanskrit prasanna-buddhi, so we cannot research it through its Sanskrit equivalent. The definitive new Tibetan-Tibetan Dictionary, the Tshig mdzod chen mo, gives two basic meanings: gtso-bo and gsal-ba. The first, gtso-bo, is defined by Das in English as: self, soul; chief, lord, master. The second, gsal-ba, means: pure; clear. Though I do not think these sources shed any new light on the term Dangma, they do at least confirm the meaning given in The Secret Doctrine, "purified soul," of a rather rare word.
The remaining three terms are all from verse 9 of Stanza I: "But where was the Dangma when the Alaya of the universe was in Paramartha and the great wheel was Anupadaka?" The word alaya, like parinispanna, is one of the characteristic technical terms of the Yogacara school of Buddhism. And similarly, the standard Sanskrit dictionaries do not record its meaning as a Buddhist technical term, because the Yogacara sourcebooks were not yet published when these dictionaries were compiled. This has led some to question whether the term in the Stanzas should be alaya or alaya, the former being taken as a-laya, or "non-dissolution." However, Blavatsky's comments on pages 48-49 of The Secret Doctrine, I, as well as in The Theosophical Glossary, "The name belongs to the Tibetan system of the contemplative Mahayana School," leave no doubt that alaya is meant. Blavatsky defines alaya as "Soul as the basis of all," "Anima Mundi," the "Soul of the World," the "Over-Soul" of Emerson, the "Universal Soul." As can be seen from the Buddhist texts now available, alaya is short for alaya-vijnana, which can be defined literally as the "storehouse consciousness." This is the eighth and highest consciousness posited by the Yogacara school, where it is indeed understood to be the universal consciousness, or "soul," as the basis of all. A primary Buddhist Sutra on alaya-vijnana is the Lankavatara Sutra, which has been translated into English in 1932 by D.T. Suzuki. The primary Yogacara sourcebook on alaya-vijnana is Asanga's Mahayana- samgraha. This has been translated into French by Entienne Lamotte in 1938-39, and into English by John P. Keenan in 1993 under the title, Summary of the Great Vehicle. In this translation all technical terms have been translated into English, but the original terms have not been retained in parentheses following their translation. Thus when reading about the container consciousness, one must know that it is the alaya-vijnana In Sanskrit, alaya-vijnana has a full range of connotations; in English, container consciousness has none, and practically no meaning. To me, this type of translation takes a lucid and incisive text by one of the greatest spiritual teachers of all time, and reduces it to pablum. A much superior type of translation is found in an important text on alaya- vijnana by Tsong-kha-pa, translated by Gareth Sparham in 1993 under the title, Ocean of Eloquence: Tsong-kha-pa's Commentary on the Yogacara Doctrine of Mind. A major two- volume study of alaya-vijnana by Lambert Schmithausen, one of the leading Yogacara scholars today, was published in 1987 as laya-vijnana: On the Origin and the Early Development of a Central Concept of Yogacara Philosophy. All these works may profitably be consulted by Theosophical students wishing to study further the alaya-vijnana, perhaps the most important and distinctive Yogacara doctrine.
The fifth technical term is Paramartha. Like alaya is for the Yogacara school, so paramartha is for the Madhyamaka school, one of its most important and distinctive doctrines. And as stated in The Secret Doctrine, I, 48: "The two terms 'Alaya' and 'Paramartha' have been the causes of dividing schools and splitting the truth into more different aspects than any other mystic terms." Paramartha is there defined (page 47) as "Absolute Being and Consciousness which are Absolute Non-Being and Unconsciousness," and in The Theosophical Glossary as "absolute existence." The Madhyamaka school teaches two truths: the absolute truth, or paramartha-satya, and the conventional truth, or samvrti-satya. The reason for this is compassion. If the absolute truth is the ultimate emptiness ( -- nyata) of everything, if therefore nobody is ultimately real, what is the need for compassion? This is answered by the teaching of the conventional truth; and indeed the Tibetan Buddhists, who virtually all accept this teaching, are probably the most compassionate group of people on the planet. While Nagarjuna is the primary Madhyamaka author, he has no work specifically on the two truths. But a later Indian Madhyamaka writer does, and this has been translated by David Malcolm Eckel in 1987 under the title, Jnanagarbha's Commentary on the Distinction Between the Two Truths. A study drawing on Tibetan Gelugpa sources is Guy Newland's 1992 The Two Truths. This doctrine is as important to Theosophists as to Buddhists, because it provides modern rational humanity with an intellectually satisfying reason for compassion.
The sixth and last term is Anupadaka. Just as the previous two terms have been the causes of disputes in Buddhism, so this term has been the cause of dispute in Theosophy. The facts about to be presented should theoretically put this dispute to rest, but only time will tell; time and the discovery of a Sanskrit manuscript of the "Book of Dzyan." The story of this term is the story of error compounded on error. It all started around 1828 with the first access by westerners to Sanskrit Buddhist texts, thanks to the efforts of B.H. Hodgson in Nepal. Hodgson had made contact with one of the last Buddhist Sanskrit pandits in Nepal, and convinced him to provide abstracts as well as the original texts of Buddhism. He sent the texts to Paris, London, and Calcutta, and published articles based on the abstracts, which were later collected into a book, Essays on the Languages, Literature, and Religion of Nepal and Tibet. In one of his articles published in Asiatic Researches, vol. XVI, 1828, on page 440, appears the term anupapadaka. Research carried on in these Sanskrit Buddhist texts by Franklin Edgerton, culminating in his 1953 Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit Grammar and Dictionary, shows that no such term exists there, but only the two forms anupapaduka and upapaduka. So Hodgson's anupapadaka is apparently the result of either his misreading the abstracts of his pandit, or of a typesetter misreading Hodgson's handwriting. Then from here the incorrect anupapadaka was miscopied as anupadaka in Emil Schlagintweit's 1863 Buddhism in Tibet. This latter work was used extensively by H.P. Blavatsky, as it was the only book on Tibetan Buddhism then in existence. Many of her comments on verse 9 of Stanza I, and most of her spellings of Tibetan and Sanskrit Buddhist terms, are found in this book. May we here recall the "plagiarism" charges concerning Mahatma K.H., and his reply in The Mahatma Letters (3rd ed., page 358): "When you write upon some subject you surround yourself with books of references etc.: when we write upon something the Western opinion about which is unknown to us, we surround ourselves with hundreds of paras: upon this particular topic from dozens of different works impressed upon the Akasa. What wonder then, that not only a chela entrusted with the work and innocent of any knowledge of the meaning of plagiarism, but even myself should use occasionally a whole sentence already existent, applying it only to another our own idea? I have told you of this before and it is no fault of mine if your friends and enemies will not remain satisfied with the explanation." In this way the doubly erroneous anupadaka entered The Secret Doctrine. But the story is not over yet. M. Monier-Williams also copied the incorrect anupapadaka from Hodgson for use in his Sanskrit-English Dictionary, page 34, as may be seen from his definition which is taken straight from Hodgson, and the fact that no other sources for this term are given. Thus anupapadaka may now be found in an authoritative dictionary, though of course anupadaka (or anupadaka) is not. This, in conjunction with Blavatsky's listing in The Theosophical Glossary: "Anupadaka (Sk.). Anupapadaka, also Aupapaduka," has led some Theosophists to believe that anupapadaka is the correct form of anupadaka (or anupadaka). But as just shown, both these terms are the result of error. The last spelling given in The Theosophical Glossary, however, is one of the two forms found throughout the Sanskrit Buddhist texts (see the many references in Edgerton), aupapaduka and upapaduka. These are used interchangeably, and have the same meaning as that given by H.P. Blavatsky, "parentless." It is this spelling which should now be adopted by Theosophists: aupapaduka.
By Rodolfo Don
We all have read theosophical books and listened to theosophical lectures, and subsequently have formed an opinion on what is a valid theosophical tenet and what is not. We also have developped preferences for some writers and shunned others, taking the words and opinions of those preferred writers at full value. If "so and so" wrote this, then it must be true. At the same time if somebody else that we dislike is quoted, then this quote is not considered to have any value, because we are prejudiced against him or her. All this is very normal and it happens all the time with most of us. However, for the sake of honesty, we should be aware that it happens.
Nobody has a monopoly on Truth. We all have access to Truth by going within and contacting our True Self. The way we approach Truth is very important. It must be done in an altruistic way. We can have a theosophical article that contains a true theosophical statement, and that truth will mean nothing if we fail to 'recognize' it as true and decide to make it a part of our life. Truth is 'recognized' as such when we see it reflected within: reflected against our own Self. Before this can happen though, there must be some type of contact with our True Self. Even if this contact is just a 'glimpse', a fundamental change has taken place.
None of this is possible without ethics. The student of theosophy must develop an ethical existence before he or she starts treading the spiritual path. The ethics we are discussing here are not the 'world ethics', or the 'ethics of society', but the ethics that come from man's own spiritual nature. Any attempt to live theosophy, ignoring its ethical aspect, will probably end in tragic failure.
Annie Besant, in her lecture on "The Meaning and Method of Mysticism" referred to this transformative experience:
... never pretend to believe a truth which you are not willing to act out in the world ... for truth is only truth when you have learned to live it.
In "The Omnipresent Proteus" HPB writes:
Be what he may, once that a student abandons the old trodden highway of routine, and enters upon the solitary path of independent thought--Godward--he is a Theosophist, an original thinker, a seeker after the eternal truth, with 'an inspiration of his own' to solve the universal problems.
It is essential that we realize that the only Authority in matters of theosophy is our True Self. Nobody's signature on a statement makes it true. Only our own Self can do that. Truth is validated by our own True Self, the Self of All. Then, it is our responsibility to make it a part of our life by living it.
By Dara Eklund
In this scientific age we moderns assume we are free from superstition. Yet we hold an abiding trust in technology which amounts to blind faith in hedonistic experimentation. Is not this a current day Superstition? While genetic engineers are trying to develop unicorns from goats, have we not witnessed a deepening cleft in basic wisdom and perception? Our kids "mouse" around computer screens for pre-packaged information with not a clue in how to synthesize it. We have faith that more children will learn to read, blind to any of the supposed founts of values they unconsciously tap into!
One of the most pervading superstitions today is that man is all-powerful over nature. Until recently DDT and pesticides were designed to produce great harvests, with little thought as to the atmosphere or the table health of the consumer. Now scientists have genetically altered tomatoes and other produce for long- lasting and "attractive" market value. Aside from the obvious results of Alar poisoning and contamination of feed, we see the imbalance wrought from generations of such experimentation in the nemesis of devastating storms, droughts and newly detected viruses. Great forests have been denuded and scientists began warning a decade ago about earth's depleted ozone layer. Now we find skin cancer risk at all time highs in certain geographical zones.
When foresters in Sweden replaced native forests with quick- growing lodge-pole pines, diverse trees and their natural biomes were forever gone. Is it not superstition to ignore the insects and plants known to those climes and inject non-native plants into the environment indiscriminately? Is in not superstitious that poor beasts should be fattened by dead parts from their fellow- species, or any wonder when they die of "mad-cow disease"? Is not genetic engineering producing freaks of nature rather than rapidly evolved creatures? Are not those so-called "elevated" brains, those robots conjoined with living brain tissues now being experimented with, the zombies of the future that H.P. Blavatsky warned about? Indeed, what is a human with all organs replaced, other that a zombie!
We are sadly creating the very worlds we build in Science Fiction movies, time-warping man's destiny into "outer space". With great fascination we contemporaries observe plants and trees confined to outer space arboretums and solariums, while men are constantly "managing" space stations' sophisticated technology, or repairing the monstrous intestines thereof. About the only color we find other than the electronic screens they monitor, is in the weird and often grotesque masks entitling them to represent extraterrestrial beings, or in their entertaining holographic memory decks. The once healthy belief in the possibility of other worlds and timelessness has led only to a superstition that we can forever extend our exploitation to other worlds and galaxies. Fortunately enough in Science Fantasy, we at least have inter- galactic councillors to help maintain the justice; and the good guys still triumph (unlike in most T.V. thrillers)!
On the social scene we have seen the beauties of cultural diversity, accompanied by an upheaval of current superstitions and myths regarding so-called "body-language." To a Westerner it is honesty to look someone directly in the eyes. To an Easterner it is immodest and a sign of disrespect. Am American may wrongly accuse an Oriental of dissimulation by thinking his downcast eyes are hiding something. If a Vietnamese crosses his arms in front of his chest it is because he signifies his total attention and respect to a speaker. To the body-language specialist, folding the arms means "I don't care to listen to you," or "I'm blocking you out."
In a trade fair the director of a booth wondered why no one was buying his green hats. He learned that for Chinese male attendees wearing a green hat means your wife is cheating on you. American teachers are wise to refrain from writing a child's name or corrections in red on a Korean students report, for to see one's name in red means he is going to die.
We might sum up these several samples as an indication that what is politically correct for one group is not for another, and if we wish to make Brotherhood more than a superstition we have to gain wisdom as well as good-heartedness.
As parents we are good-hearted in wanting the best for our kids. Yet a major current superstition in the West is that we can create the American Dream for our children by giving them whatever they want! Fortunately, such child psychologists as Dr. James Dobson, are alerting moms and dads to the outcome of such unreasonable expectations and indulgences. Even though Theosophists are prone to the same tender sympathies and blind pride that their kids can do no wrong, at least they have the doctrine of Karma to guide them. They have the wonderful opportunity to nurture a sense of responsibility in kid's lives, instead of egotistic culture of "The American Dream" psychology.
An old superstition which crept into Theosophical lectures and literatures following second generation presentations, is that the God idea is a plank in Theosophy's platform. H.P. Blavatsky wrote constantly to downplay reliance on a personal Deity, and presented a philosophy of life in which man relies on the Divinity within. In a discussion of "Devachan" (BLAVATSKY COLLECTED WRITINGS, Vol. V, p.89) an Initiate wrote:
"A warp of anthropomorphism seems to run through the entire woof of European metaphysics. The heavy hand of a PERSONAL deity and his personal ministers seems to compress the brain of almost every Western thinker. If the influence does not show itself in one form, it does in another."
In certain segments of the Theosophical movement, rituals are still to be found. It matters not if these stem from Churchianity or Shamanism, or Sufism. The hunger for ritual still abounds. Perhaps present-day Theosophists are not content with devotional readings and meditations which involve aspiration and will-power (not prayer) to the "father-within."
Isn't it time to reassess our departure from the precepts which drew upon the ideas of Man's nature as Plato and Blavatsky presented them, rather than embrace the religious superstitions based on the idea of an anthropomorphic God? Can we say we are free from superstitions while still clinging to these?
By G. de Purucker
[extracts from "The Esoteric or Oriental School: Steps in the Initiatory Cycle" (San Diego, California: Point Loma Publication, 1987]
So it is with spiritual clairvoyance. What the physical eye sees, you must be perfectly assured is something quite other than spiritual clairvoyance. Spiritual clairvoyance is the faculty of vision, of seeing, with the inner eye; and it is not so much a seeing of forms and of things, as a getting of knowledge, and because this getting of knowledge comes in a way which has a close parallel to seeing with the physical eye, it is called spiritual 'clairvoyance'--direct vision.
The first step is to believe in your spiritual nature. This belief, if cultivated, this faith in it, will make your spiritual nature familiar to you. When it becomes familiar to you, you will become 'at one' with it. It will absorb you, and the littleness, the pettiness, of personality will fade away, and then you will have your freedom.
The first and lowest three of the grades of Initiation are those which are concerned with study, with continuous and unceasing aspiration to grow spiritually and intellectually, and to evolve, to become greater; and also with 'living the life.' These three are symbolic, or rather dramatic in form so far as the rites go.
Chelaship may be undertaken at any stage by anyone who can arouse the Buddhic Splendor or the Buddhic Light, called in your Occident the Christ-light, in his mind and heard. It matters little at what stage of human evolution he may stand.
Anyone at any time can be a chela. It matters not the stage of his progress. Whether he can remain a chela is another question entirely, ...
No chela is ever permitted to cultivate any psychical powers at any time, until the great foundation has been laid in the evocation of the spiritual and intellectual energies and faculties: vision, will-power, utter self-control, and a heart filled with love for all things that are, and with utter peace.
By B.P. Wadia
[From "Thus Have I Heard", pages 283-85.] Follow the advice of the Sages. Meditate on the anomalies and miseries of our civilization. Discover the root of its maladies. We find that the human mind has triumphed be neglecting and defying the moral forces which are at work in the universe. This is not generally perceived, and men and their leaders alike are deluded. Each presumes that he and his nation or class is following moral principles, while they are slaves of passions, prejudices and pelf.
Man, the thinker, has not been able to follow the teachings of a long line of Sages which state: allow not the force of vice to lead your mind, but so educate that mind that it follows the lead of the force of virtue. Knowledge bereft of love, of compassion, of charity, of harmony flourishes and mass thought-action stifles the voice of Spirit even in the good individual.
The Sages and Seers have warned against knowledge, reason and mind bereft of moral principles. They have always taught the superiority of moral ideas over mental thoughts. They have pointed to the truth of truths that Wisdom is Compassion, that Justice is Mercy. Our Divinity is not knowledge-formed but virtue-formed and our vices make us demoniac. Is there a better description of the modern man successful in our social order than that found in the 16th Discourse of the GITA?
Illuminated minds, like Gautama Buddha or the great Shankara, have pointed to moral principles as starting points to a life of peace, goodwill and wisdom. Jesus, the Jewish Prophets before Him, and those who followed his advice and instruction have emphasized the moral life as necessary for gaining true knowledge. St. Paul affirmed the superiority of Faith, Hope and Charity over all knowledge and in showing "a more excellent way" he exhorted us "to covet earnestly the best gifts."
Christendom knows Faith, Hope and Charity as theological virtues and there are four natural virtues -- making in all seven Cardinal Virtues, to which are opposed the Seven Deadly Sins. It was probably Augustine who attempted to Christianize the four Cardinal Virtues in the teachings of Socrates and Plato. They are Higher Wisdom, Courage, Temperance and Justice. The Neo-Platonists describe them as "purifications from the lower contagion."
In the ancient RIG-VEDA, virtue is given first place. In the famous hymn (X, 129) Kama-Love-Eros is said to be the first movement that arose in the One after it had come into life through the power of fervour-abstraction. In the ATHARVA-VEDA we find: "Kama-Deva was born the first. Him neither Devas, Pitris, nor men have equalled. Thou art superior to these and for ever great." The concept of Kama-Deva has become degraded in the course of centuries, like the Eros of Hesiod. With the Seers of the Vedas, Kama-Deva personifies, says H.P. Blavatsky, "the first conscious, ALL-EMBRACING DESIRE for universal good, love, and for all that lives and feels, needs help and kindness, the first feeling of infinite tender compassion and mercy that arose in the consciousness of the creative One Force, as soon as it came into life and being as a ray from the Absolute. There is no idea of SEXUAL love in the conception. Kama is pre-eminently the divine desire of creating happiness and love."
Kama-Deva, Eros, in their original pristine pure sense, personify the archetypal Virtue. The Sages do not reject the idea that the virtue-vices of the animal-man are relative. But those Sages teach that the relativity of conventional morality befogs the mind and keeps man tied to the kingdom of animal-man. To become truly human it is necessary to get hold of the important philosophical principle that Virtues and Virtue are as definite as metaphysical categories of Spirit, Matter, Mind; Light, Darkness, Sight; Space, Force, Motion, etc. The animal-man becomes human by discarding vicious tendencies and vices; and progresses to divinity by cultivating moods of virtue which become his vibhutis -- excellencies -- fixed and ever flashing their radiance of Compassion. This Compassion is the archetypal Virtue which manifests as a Trinity of the Good, the True, and the Beautiful: out of the first come the moral factors, out of the second the intellectual, and their joint action is regenerative Beauty which is Joy and Bliss.
Wisdom-Compassion is the Soul of all Virtues -- be they the Christian and Greek Cardinal ones, or virtues of the divine man of the GITA or the six and ten Paramitas of the Buddhistic Philosophy. In the Mahayana BOOK OF THE GOLDEN PRECEPTS this archetypal Virtue is thus described:
Compassion is no attribute.
It is the Law of Laws--
A shoreless universal essence,
The Light of everlasting right,
And Fitness of all things,
The Law of Love eternal.
By Eldon B. Tucker
Following are some stray thoughts on the subject of the transition of the kingdoms of nature on our earth, Globe D. In the article, the author is attempting to explore the subject. Much of the material comes from the source literature. How it is put together, though, is the author's exploration of the subject, and open to discussion and review.
By looking at the interaction of the kingdoms of nature, seeing what has gone on before, we can also look for signs of things to come. We can anticipate and cooperate with changes in our physical, Globe D earth.
First we need some background comments. The earth is composed of seven (or twelve) distinct places of objective existence. Each of these places is a world, on a different plane or subplane. These worlds are called "globes", and our earth as we know it is Globe D, the lowest.
The kingdoms of nature start with the elementals, with pre-physical begins that look-towards physical things but haven't yet become capable of animating a form of their own. After the elementals come the mineral kingdom, the vegetable, the animal, and the human. And there are three further kingdoms of demi-gods, the Dhyani-Chohans.
The bulk of each kingdom will embody and find existence on a particular globe, starting with Globe A, the first. After a period of time, it will move to occupy Globe B, then C, and onward through the Globes. That aggregate of beings is called a "lifewave", and there is a lifewave for each kingdom.
When a lifewave reaches the final Globe, it has completed a cycle of evolution. It has passed through experiences on earth in each of the places of objective existence, called "spheres of causes" in "The Mahatma Letters". The lifewave then starts another such cycle, beginning an existence on Globe A again. Each of these great evolutionary periods, a passage of existences on the various globes, taking perhaps 600 million years, is called a "round".
At the present time, here on our earth as we know it, Globe D, the human kingdom, the human lifewave, is supreme. That is, the human lifewave dominates. It rules the earth. It is master. Members of the lower kingdoms, like the animals, are rapidly decreasing their experience of the earth "in the wild", and an increasing percentage of those remaining are domesticated or subject to human influence.
Looking to the next globe, where the animal lifewave has moved, the population is likely on an increase, and there animals are not only "in the wild", but rule the earth. But this world, Globe E, is not on the physical plane, and not visible to our physical eyes or instruments. It is a world like ours must have been when dinosaurs ruled the earth.
The animals that have remained on our earth are really of a higher stock than those that were here before the appearance of humanity in this round. There are two events that contributed to this.
First, in the middle of each round, like the present, the fourth round, the lower kingdoms are an offshoot of the higher. How does this happen? Consider the situation in this round. The fourth- round animals ruled the earth. A new stock appeared, which was the precursor of modern humanity. Out of this stock, fifth-round animals descended, as well as lines of descend one of which was to be the future humanity.
The animals that were formed as an offshoot of humanity are or will be the only animal population of the world in the future. Those from the previous round have or will gradually disappear.
These newer psycho-astral-genetic forms given the animals are a benefit to their kingdom, although only the highest animals, those able to incarnate on earth at this time, can benefit from it. The bulk of animals are gone from the earth, moving with the animal lifewave. It is only some of the highest animals, the exceptions, that animate the forms on this earth.
These animals that stayed behind do so in different ways. (We might find better words to use than "stayed behind", though, like "ran ahead," since they occupy the forms now that the animal lifewave won't pick up until the animals make it back to earth in their fifth round.) They can be pets or domestic animals, in zoos, in man-made environments, or even exist as animal monads in the human kingdom, being the animal body-nature that we incarnate into -- although that is a different and much more difficult topic!
The second event that contributed to the animals being of a higher stock, and contributed to their disappearance, is the fact that at certain great evolutionary periods, the door to higher kingdoms closes. This "door" marks the point where the higher kingdoms begin to accelerate in their evolution, leaving the lower kingdoms rapidly behind, until it's no longer possible to catch up.
The door to the human kingdom closed in the middle of the fourth round, as the descent of the Manasputras happened, and humanity became truly awakened to the fire of mind for the first time. Humanity then began rapidly moving ahead of the animals, and the ability to enter the kingdom in this manvantara, this seven round period, was lost.
Now looking to the future on this earth, on Globe D, as the human kingdom approaches its final years here, the next kingdom may be readying itself for its turn to dominate the earth as the human lifewave begins its gradual exit.
Most of us will stop incarnating on the earth, and find ourselves reborn into an equally-objective world (another sphere of causes) on a higher plane, a world called "globe E".
As humanity loosens its control of life on earth, and the first of the demi-god kingdoms (the Dhyani-Chohans) starts to incarnate here, we'll find the human species as we know it disappearing, then dying out. There will be what appears to be a race of high human beings, which would be the first stock of the Dhyani-Chohans. From this stock will be evolved the future, fifth round humanity, a higher form of humans. Also from this stock will be evolved the future Dhyani-Chohans, the man- gods. The old humanity, as we know it, though, will gradually die out, going the way of the dinosaurs.
These future humans will have lost their dominant role in life, becoming under the tutelage and subordinate to the dictates of the higher kingdom that will rule the earth. Some will be akin to "pets" or domestic humans, others may actually be human monads in the Dhyani-Chohanic kingdom, humans enfilled with an inner god, overtaken with a controlling sense of divinity and subordinate to the dictates of an active and controlling "higher self" within. There will, after a time, be no more humans "in the wild" on our physical earth, because humanity in the wild will be existing on Globe E.
At this point of time, we're in perhaps a transition period. The animals have mostly departed our earth, and we've been playing a role with the remaining, higher animals, the animal sishtas (remainders or those left-behind). We will soon be readying ourselves for our departure, en masse, from the earth, and our extinction as a species. Some of us, the highest, may be preparing for a future life on earth in the new human species, the fifth-round human stock, to be created for us by the demi-gods, by the Dhyani-Chohans that will be coming into earth themselves.
As humans, our attitudes are undergoing change. Many are looking forward to rebirth into heaven realms (Globe E). A few are looking to continued existence on the earth (Globe D) as servants and students of the approaching gods (the incoming Dhyani-Chohanic Kingdom).
For most of us, we have no choice. We are general members of the lifewave, and will find our interests drawn toward finding rebirth on a higher plane. For a chosen few, though, there is a choice -- a choice to stay behind and help create and fashion a new species of humanity, a species that is inspired and directed by living gods on this earth. For the many, though, the choice is to follow orphan humanity onto the next world, the next place of objective existence.
The choice, then, is to become a servant of the Gods and a builder of a new humanity on this sorry physical world, or to become a leader of orphan humanity, working to support its difficult evolution, on the next world, where it will be moving soon. (Soon, that is, in terms of many million of years, not soon in the sense of a few lifetimes for any of us.)
How do we participate in this dual work? We can both look towards the Dhyani-Chohans and their future influences upon us, and participate in some little way in the work of helping them express themselves, helping them express their lifewave. And we can continue to look towards humanity and seek to support it in its efforts to complete it's lessons on physical earth and to ready itself for a future period of evolution on a higher plane.
In either case, though, for those of us staying behind on this earth, or those of us moving on with humanity, we still maintain our relationships with the kingdoms lower than the human. We deal with domestic animals, with animals that cooperate with the activity of our kingdom, and we stay out of the way of the animal lifewave proper, of animals "in the wild", always a bit ahead of us in the rounds, preparing things for our lifewave, which follows.
In a much smaller scale of looking at things, we have a dual work in our lives at this time. We can both look to more advanced humans, the Mahatmas, and to a presentiment of the Dhyani- Chohans, allowing ourselves to come under their influence and become cultured or domesticated or raised out of the ordinary human condition. And in the other work, we can continue to do work to uplift and help advance the bulk of humanity, the humans that continue to feel the evolutionary need to exist in the wild. We have untold wonders to be revealed to us, as well as countless opportunities to work good in the world. Let's take the challenge and help build the best world possible for the entire family of sentient beings!
[reprinted with permission from Ergates, June, 1996]
HPB has been quite a newsmaker in recent years. Two major biographies have appeared, (Cranston's Extraordinary Life and Washington's Madame Blavatsky's Baboon) as well as historical investigations into HPB's "real" Masters (Johnson's several books, including The Masters Revealed), not to mention a spate of articles in Gnosis, Wired, The Smithsonian, and others.
Once again HPB has received some press, though this time in a largely favorable light. The most recent issue of the popular American Buddhist magazine Tricycle, under the heading "ancestors," carries a six-page review of HPB's life and work, touting her as a forerunner of the extraordinary development of Buddhism taking place now in the West.
In the article, entitled "The Mysterious Madame B.," author David Guy makes a few minor errors of fact, but certainly understands Blavatsky much better than the average columnist. Mr. Guy draws from both Cranston's and Washington's work, but appears to rely more heavily on Cranston's. While Guy mentions HPB's enemies and their suspicions as to her character, he knows a fact when he sees it:
... regardless of what doubts may linger about her, it is impossible to deny Blavatsky's influence on Buddhism, both in Asia and the West.
-- page 12
In the East itself, where science and Western colonialism were quickly diminishing the influence of traditional religious philosophies, Madame Blavatsky was at least partly responsible for reviving both Hinduism and Buddhism. In all her writing, with its wild speculations and elaborate mythologies, there is a core of truth that few others were proclaiming at the time. Even the basic tenets of the Theosophical Society, which seem commonplace now, were startling when she formulated them in the 1870's.
People who regard her as a kind of snake-oil salesman need to confront the fact that Madame Blavatsky never grew rich through her work or particularly tried to, and that her dedication was extraordinary.
-- pages 12-13
While Mr. Guy is clearly not a convert, he is not slow to marshal big names to HPB's defense, quoting famed Buddhist scholar D.T. Suzuki that "Undoubtedly Madame Blavatsky had in some way been initiated into the deeper side of Mahayana teaching." (page 14) Guy seriously considers the possibility that HPB had occult help in writing her massive books, and he quotes several authorities as to their erudition and insight, even giving the three fundamental propositions of the Proem of The Secret Doctrine.
Refreshingly, Guy doesn't get swept away in considering HPB's psychic phenomena, and points out that "Olcott's original interest was in spiritualism, but Madame Blavatsky let him know that the occult philosophy behind it was much more important." (page 15)
It is interesting how deeply Buddhist HPB appears when seen through the lens of modern American Buddhism. Guy mentions that HPB and Olcott took pansil (the five Buddhist precepts) in 1880 in Sri Lanka, and took refuge in the Buddha, the Dharma and the Sangha as well. HPB's Master, with his Tibetan location, certainly strikes one today as a classic Tibetan Buddhist lama, and the wealth of Buddhist terms which fill her works, like Madhyamaka, Yogacara, Paramartha and Samvritti, show HPB to be quite learned in Buddhist history and thought. This is all the more remarkable for her having lived a century ago when only a few scholars in the West had even seen a Buddhist text.
In any case, the Tricycle article portrays HPB as an eccentric but loyal Buddhist, paving the way for Buddhism in America and resuscitating it in the East. Mr. Guy writes in conclusion,
It is certainly easy to make fun of Madame Blavatsky ... Nevertheless, one can't escape the feeling that, however vague she was around the edges, Madame Blavatsky was a remarkable person who saw a deep truth, though she saw it in a complicated way.
-- page 17
Guy then ends with a quotation from the well-known Theosophist and Buddhist scholar, Christmas Humphreys:
What a woman! ... misunderstood, vilified, and abused, and yet with a brilliant, cultured, and deeply learned mind; the very soul of generosity; a woman of direct speech and action, refusing to talk the pious platitudes and nonsense that we chatter under the guise of socially good manners, but offering the truth for anyone who wanted it ... In 1920, when I came into the movement, I knew a number of people who had known her well, and on this they were agreed, that after meeting her nothing was quite the same again.
-- page 17
Readers wishing to get a copy of the article, or express their views to Tricycle magazine, can contact the editor:
Tricycle: The Buddhist Review; 92 Vandam Street; New York, NY 10013; fax: 212-645-1493; firstname.lastname@example.org
By Eldon B. Tucker
Following is some information and comments from an interesting article by David H. Freedman, "What Happens When Matter Snuggles up to Absolute Zero?" in DISCOVER, February, 1993.
Consider water. If we make it cold, it undergoes a state change and becomes icy. If we heat it, it becomes steam. These are observable state changes in our everyday-life world. There are more states of matter (some not yet proven to exist), along the temperature scale, than these. The temperature scale might be broken as follows, going from coldest to hottest:
1. water molecules in 'nirvana', molecules occupy entire space, unify into one
2. water molecules exist, in magical state of superconductivity, superfluity
3. water molecules exist, in solid state
4. water molecules exist, in liquid state
5. water molecules exist, in gas state
6. oxygen & hydrogen atoms exist, after breakdown of water molecules
7. electrons & atomic nuclei exist, in plasma state, after atoms breakdown
8. atomic nuclei break into protons and neutrons
9. protons break into quarks
10. quark matter exists, is everything
The article is about the scientific quest to prove state (1) above. The coldest natural spot in the universe is -454 degrees Fahrenheit, somewhere in intergalactic space. The coldest known spot in the universe is in Boulder, Colorado, a space of 1/4 inch inside a lipstick-size glass tube. It contains about one billionth the number of atoms as found in normal air. Its atoms do almost nothing; they lazily float about. This space has been cooled to one millionth a degree of absolute zero, -460 degrees.
At a yet colder temperature, a new, strange state of matter is predicted in the article, one that may otherwise not exist in the universe. It is expected that matter will lose ALL MOTION except for a residual buzz, a visible manifestation of quantum mechanics at work. Atoms are condense into a single entity, and all occupy the same place at the same time. There will be one big fuzzy atom. This change of state of matter is called the Bose-Einstein condensation. It represents a unified state where each Atom becomes "one with the All." (This state was experimentally verified about a year ago.)
In our studies, we drawn upon natural phenomena for analogies to understanding the mysteries of life. We have the concept, for instance, of fire, air, water, and earth, which correspond to plasma, gas, liquid, and solid. Or we have fire, air, water, earth, and wood, for which we could add, after the solid state, the state of superconductivity, of superfluity, wherein solid matter takes on magical properties.
Since there are more than these five states, we can extend our analogies further, and perhaps learn more about the inner structure of life than we previously knew. The distinction, though, is that after the fifth state, that of gas, we find that matter progressively, and irreverisbly breaks down. (This starts when water molecules break apart into oxygen and hydrogen. Should the two gases later be cooled, they won't rebecome the same water as before.)
To summarize: we have interchangeable states of matter, which could be called Unity, Magic, Crystal, Fluid, and Wind (to use more poetic terms).
These states are followed by the five states of the destruction of matter, which involve destruction of molecules (breakdown into atoms), loss of electrons (becoming plasma), destruction of atomic uclei (breaking apart into protons and neutrons), destructon of protons (breaking apart into quarks), and final destruction of matter (everything becoming "quark soup").
[reprinted with permission from Ergates, June, 1996]
In December of 1993 a remarkable Tibetan teacher visited the United States. Tulku Kalzang Rinpoche, a high lama in Eastern Tibet, suffered from a medical condition that was best addressed by physicians in Palo Alto, California. The Chinese government allowed him two months to seek treatment. Unfortunately, Kalzang Rinpoche had another mission which he could not complete in so short a time: he was looking for the reincarnation of H.P. Blavatsky. Her master, Kalzang Rinpoche claimed, was his uncle.
Kalzang Rinpoche is the abbot of Dzogchen monastery in Kham province, which is in Eastern Tibet. While in the U.S. he sent inquiries to the Theosophical Society in America and attempted to make contact with other Theosophists, but apparently no one at that time was able to help him. Recently, however, several Theosophists have learned of Kalzang Rinpoche's visit, and are attempting to get more information.
According to Kalzang Rinpoche, a Tibetan scholar, Gendro Zundap, deceased now some forty years, wrote about HPB's visit to Tibet. Gendro Zundap wrote that HPB was trained by a Lama, "Mora," received an important transmission, and that when Lama "Mora" died he was reincarnated in Tibet. Kalzang Rinpoche, relying on the work of this Tibetan scholar, hoped to find in the West the teachings which his uncle Mora gave to HPB, and to learn more about her life and work.
It is obvious that, if true, this information will have vast consequences for how Theosophy will be perceived by many in the West. Currently, most scholars believe that HPB invented the Stanzas of Dzyan, which form the basis of her Secret Doctrine. Most biographers of HPB doubt that she ever went to Tibet, and claim that either she made up her Masters, or that HPB was a trance medium who conjured Them spiritualistically.
If in fact there are historical records in the Tibetan language that HPB visited Tibet and received training by an important Tibetan Buddhist lama, scholars (and eventually the public) will be forced to take HPB much more seriously. Many people will also have to reconsider HPB's claim that there exists in fact a "brotherhood" of Adepts living beyond the Himalayas and preserving the Wisdom Religion. In short, this discovery could revolutionize the future course of Theosophy in the world.
Currently a small team of Theosophists from various traditions is working on bringing Kalzang Rinpoche back the United States (with Chinese permission), so that the Tibetan documents which he has may be translated into English and examined very carefully. Especially important would be Tibetan records of what exactly HPB was taught by Lama "Mora," using which texts, and whether the originals of the Stanzas of Dzyan exist in Tibet today.
"Dzyan," itself a Tibetan word, is apparently a transliteration the Sanskrit "Jnana," both of which mean "spiritual wisdom." It seems reasonable to hope that the complete text of the Stanzas of Dzyan, from which HPB made extracts, should turn up sooner or later in or around Tibet. In the meantime, Ergates will keep its readers updated as events unfold.
By Eldon B. Tucker
There are different models of karma. One is the "banker's model", where the sense of cause and effect is in karmic units. You save up bad and good karma and later have to pay your bills. We also have the "judicial model", where we are punished by someone for having done wrong. Both models are over simplifications, and it's easy to find fault with them.
Karma is a term for cause and effects, and it attempts to define what really happens in life, in both physical and metaphysical terms. When you do something, the effects of your action are inherent in the act. You and others have changed, so there is an immediate response. If you hurt someone, will they come back and later hurt you? If they choose to, because your act of hurting them has strengthened a certain bond between you and them -- but they don't have to. If everyone was compelled to exactly respond to your actions then they would have no free will; they would merely be your karmic puppets.
Someone might give the example of waiting a week to punish a dog. This would seem, to the dog, like a random infliction of pain, having no apparent, justifiable cause. It can result in abject terror and trauma. But we are different than animals in this regard. Our sense of memory gives meaning to current experiences. We may suffer now and realize that it was because we ate too much for dinner. Our suffering does not have to be meaningless.
Regarding karma of previous lifetimes, we don't generally remember and so there's no explanation for the karma in terms of previous events. But is there really an explanation possible?
If you kill someone in a previous lifetime, that person may have some unsettled business with you in this lifetime. He may come into contact with you in this life and there's a natural sense between the two of you of problems to be worked out. He's not your puppet, though, and is not compelled to kill you. And your act of killing him in a previous lifetime may be only one of hundreds of shared experiences. How that man treats you now was not caused by that single event in the past, it's caused by his choice in the present as to how he will treat you. So it doesn't matter if you remember the event. You have the living person before you, and in the INBETWEEN SPACE between you and the other, all the dynamics of your previous karma exists as a living presence.
Karma is not just valid within the context of it having been earned. I'd say that it's not "earned" since it's not a quantity of good or evil force external to yourself. It is rather the content of your relationships with other living beings. That content determines how life will treat you in both a general sense (because you are a certain kind of person) and in a particular sense (with the people you meet responding to you out of the dynamics of your relationships with them in the present and previous lifetimes).
[reprinted with permission from Ergates, June, 1996]
Over the last few years in northern California a remarkable Theosophic center has been gradually built up. Two long-time students of Theosophy, associating concurrently with ULT., the T.S. (Adyar) and the T.S. (Pasadena), settled in Turlock, California, a few years ago, bringing with them a sizable collection of Theosophical books and manuscripts. That collection has now become an archives of some 12,000 volumes and 50,000 pages of archival material, much of which has never been published.
Recently, this center announced that approximately 160 acres of land had been purchased near Coulterville, California, which will be the site of "Alexandria West Academy." Alexandria West will be a Theosophical study center for the use of all Theosophical students and inquirers regardless of organizational affiliation.
On April 12 and 13, 1996, several dozen Theosophists of varied backgrounds gathered at the historic Jeffrey Hotel in Coulterville for a conference commemorating William Q. Judge. On April 14, many conference attendees remained for a ceremony to dedicate the land for the future Academy. The rural landscape is beautiful and particularly conducive to meditation and study.
According to the owners, the Alexandria West archival collection is said to be the only world-class Theosophical archive open to all Theosophists regardless of creed, as well as to the public, completely free of charge.
The collection is quite remarkable for its rare book collection, its documentation of many important events in Theosophical history, and its comprehensive collection of nearly all Theosophical periodical literature.
Among the rare books of Alexandria West, one may find original editions of Olcott's People from the Other World, Sinnett's Esoteric Buddhism, and nearly every edition of every work of Blavatsky, not to mention every biography ever written on HPB.
There is also a remarkable collection of many of the books frequently referred to by HPB, including Max Muller's Chips from a German Workshop, the original 1825 edition of the Institutes of Menu (a.k.a. Manava Dharma Shastra), The Golden Bough in 13 volumes, Mackey's Revised History of Freemasonry, Maspero's History of Egypt (13 volumes) the Collected Works of Thomas Paine (10 volumes), the Zohar (5 volumes), the Babylonian Talmud (34 volumes), A. Franck's Kabbalah, Kenneth Mackenzie's Royal Masonic Cyclopedia, 24 volumes of Asiatic Researches, and a host of other rare works, not to mention an extensive selection on the Vedas, Upanishads, world mythology, magical and occult movements, spiritualism, Buddhism, and American religions.
The collection of Theosophical journals is perhaps more impressive. The center has complete runs on The Path, Theosophical Review, Theosophical Quarterly, The Adyar Thesophist, The Eclectic Theosophist, Hermes, Vidya, Lucifer, Sunrise, Theosophy magazine, Theosophical Forum, Theosophical History, The Aryan Path, Old English Library Critic, Franz Hartmann's Lotusbluten, The Word, The Temple Artisan, Le Lotus Bleu, The Spiritualist Newspaper, W.T. Stead's spiritualist Borderland, and many others. It also owns the first 50 volumes of the Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research.
There is also a collection of archival materials, running to about 50,000 pages, including rare and in some cases unpublished photos of important Theosophical figures. Several areas which the archives cover extensively are the "Judge case," events surrounding Annie Besant and Leadbeater, and a great collection of original pamphlets from all Theosophical organizations, especially in the 19th century.
Alexandria West is committed to an unsectarian approach to Theosophical study, and all are welcome to visit and use the collection. For more information, one may contact:
Alexandria West; 325 N. Broadway; Turlock, CA 95380; (209) 667-7486; email@example.com
By Philip Harris
Workers in all the theosophical organisations have long felt the need for a reference source to assist them in their work. At the present time we are all aware of the very large amount of information scattered throughout a vast array of literature, but the task of identifying sources and accessing them can be most time consuming and frustrating. As a National and International speaker for the TS Philip Harris recognised the crying need for a reference work and tried without success to have someone undertake the admittedly onerous task, so about ten years ago he reluctantly shouldered the burden himself. As General Editor Philip Harris brings to the work considerable experience as a writer and lecturer. He is the author of, "The Spiritual Path to Complete Fulfilment", a book on applied Raja Yoga (Distributed in US by Seven Hills Inc.) and many articles that have been published in both theosophical and non-theosophical journals. The encyclopaedia will be published in two volumes and currently there are about 1,400 articles that have either been written or are awaiting allocation. Philip is ably assisted in the editorial work by Vic Hao Chin, President of the TS in the Philippines, who is well known for his publishing activities, particularly the "Theosophical Digest" which has world-wide readership.
Apart from 'straight theosophy', the work includes articles on the major religions, biographies of eminent theosophists, data on theosophical work in various countries- all subjects relevant to the declared objects of the TS. At this time there are about two hundred writers contributing and about sixty per cent of the articles are in computer ready for final editing or have been allocated..
The editors are still is search of more contributors and will welcome any approach by interested persons. You can make contact with Philip on his E.mail address which is: "firstname.lastname@example.org".