That which giveth sustenance to the universe and to ourselves, From which, from which all doth proceed, Unto which all must return. That thou art.
In the golden vase of thine earthly body, May the true light of the spiritual sun shine forth, That thou mays't know the truth and do thy whole duty. On thy journey back to the Sacred Seat.
-- Theosophy School Song (The Gayatri)
By Eldon B. Tucker
[From THE THEOSOPHIST, Adyar, India, September 1975, 363-72.]
Within each of us -- and not only human beings but in every manifest entity, every consciousness -- there exist higher self beyond higher self reaching inward and upward without end. Looking within, we simply reach the point where our vision can penetrate no farther. There exist self upon higher self beyond the perceptive range of even the highest Dhyani-Chohans. And while realizing that this presence of our actual being or inner nature has a profound impact upon our outlook on life, we must never lose sight of where we stand in life at the present moment. We are subject to all the laws of nature, to the karmic bonds we have forged, to the cycles of nature as they exist. The value of realizing what is within ourselves lies in its power to throw the living of our lives into a new perspective. It is not a substitute for living one's present life, rather it acts as an aid to living that life. The understanding of the inner realities acts as an unconscious presence which lights up one's daily life.
The actual experiencing of the higher monads or egos comes in the appropriate cycle and time in one's evolution; for us this is something that in this globe and round cannot happen for extended periods of time. It is the human ego, Globe D, that is currently undergoing evolution. The human lifewave is focused on it and other spiritual realities and realms of experience -- thought equally real and valid and existing within each of us -- are for the moment dormant, unconscious, in obscuration or pralaya. These other states can still affect us, but only as an unconscious PRESENCE, as a REMEMBERING that lights us up but which cannot interfere with the living of the present life, the experiences in and evolution of the Globe-D fourth-Round human monad.
There is no reason why we human beings should not begin to use our heritage. All powers and qualities and attributes are in us, even now, but they are latent for the most part, because we have not yet learned to bring them forth. In reality, it is we ourselves in our ordinary lower mind and feelings who are 'sleeping,' whereas our higher nature is not dormant at all, but intensely active.
-- FOUNTAIN SOURCE OF OCCULTISM, 11
The whole process of our current evolution is the developing of the strength and courage and power of the human ego, of the self we presently know as ourself. And only as this self is developed can one shift upwards within one and center one's conscious center-of-gravity in a higher self, in the reembodying ego or monad. The lessons of life must be taken in hand and individually mastered by each person. No one can help another or go through any trial for him by proxy. Each person must face and master life's lessons, which is in effect to consciously take the spiritual rather than the material, restrictive, limiting choice open to him at each crossroad of life. And at every moment comes some crossroad, large or small, and one constantly chooses, though most people do not do so self-consciously.
Every human being contains within himself vast potentialities, and it is the duty of the adepts to surround the would-be chela with circumstances which shall enable him to take the "right-hand path," -- if he has the ability in him. We are no more at liberty to withhold the chance from a postulant than we are to guide and direct him into the proper course.
-- THE MAHATMA LETTERS, 311
As Koot Hoomi said, every would-be chela is surrounded with the circumstances necessary to him to tread the path. This is but a specific example of the general rule: We attract to ourselves opportunities to experience those things that we have thought about and desired. Any thought, any desire, any action calls out for its like. And so any longing we may have calls forth from the storehouse of nature opportunities and circumstances which allow us to expand upon it, to go into it, to live it and make it increasingly a part of our life. In chelaship, because one has become vastly more impersonal, this calling power upon the universe is much stronger. Millions of opportunities and possibilities are opened up, and one is engulfed in both temptations of earthly life and the wondrous possibilities of the spiritual. It is just because of the growth of a state of impersonality that this occurs. As we lose our personal self-centered consciousness the world expands, vast opportunities open up, the responsibility for alert self-conscious decisions at every point in life increases greatly. For many it is comfortable to be somewhat personal and selfish; much less self-awareness, decisiveness, intuition are required in going through life.
But there are two pathways in evolution, the ease way and the way of rapid evolution.
A chela under probation is allowed to think and do whatever he likes. He is warned and told beforehand: you will be tempted and deceived by appearances; two paths will be open before you, both leading to the goal you are trying to attain; one easy, and that will lead you more rapidly to the fulfillment of orders you may receive; the other -- more arduous, more long; a path full of stones and thorns that will make you stumble more than once on your way; and, at the end of which you may, perhaps, find failure after all and be unable to carry out the orders given for some particular small work -- but, whereas the later will cause the hardships you have undergone on it to be all carried to the side of your credit in the long run, the former, the easy path, can offer you but a momentary gratification, an easy fulfillment of the task.
-- THE MAHATMA LETTERS, 228
The easy pathway involves living life as it comes, without any stress, pain, hard work, or self-initiated evolution. It is as natural and easy as the growth and opening of a flower. There is no tension or pressure exerted because all is flowing with the natural drift of life. This is not what is called the Path in theosophical literature, thought it is spoken highly of by some metaphysical and occult schools. The Path proper involves the second, the hard way. The chela is no longer drifting with the stream, but is putting forth inner disciplines that thought they seem to bring suffering from the personal standpoint are actually felt as a joyous process from the higher view.
As a serious student of the Esoteric Philosophy, one often finds it hard to both hold fast to the ideal and at the same time to keep in touch with the reality of his present situation in life. To hold too closely to one's present situation would lead to losing the inspiration and upliftment of the wider perspective on life found in the vast theosophical teachings, which are in reality experiences and not word-concepts. The other extreme, too, is equally devastating. To become engulfed in the ideal to the extent of ignoring what and where a man really is, will pull him off into a world of self-delusion. A find balance must be kept between the two perceptions, of outer reality and inner possibilities. Truly, The Path can be as distinct, narrow, and clear-cut as a razor's edge!
One problem encountered by the newcomer to the teachings of life is called pledge-fever. The first few glimpses of the impersonal, spiritual life can so fill one with inspiration and enthusiasm that one rushes into the circle of occultism unprepared. To take on too much too quickly can be hazardous, if not deadly. All but one or two, for instance, of the many individuals provisionally accepted in the 1880's as lay-chelas by Koot Hoomi and Morya in the west completely failed within a short time.
As pointed out by HPB, as soon as anyone pledges himself to give his life in service to others, "certain occult effects ensue. Of these the first is the THROWING OUTWARD of everything latent in the nature of the man: his faults, habits, qualities, or subdued desires, whether good, bad, or indifferent. ... You all know your earthly pedigree, but who of you has ever traced all the links of heredity, astral, psychic, and spiritual, which go to make you what you are."
-- FOUNTAIN SOURCE OF OCCULTISM, 20
Speaking of pledge-fever, Dr. de Purucker explains:
The blank, hopeless chill and 'dead' feeling that sometimes is experienced is simply a reaction, a part of the pledge-fever cycle; precisely as a fever in the body leaves the patient for the time feeble, exhausted and cold. ... Whenever there is any feeling of ungoverned vaulting enthusiasm, or again of blank despair, the student should simply wait and do his utmost to regain the calm consciousness that he is a spiritual being in his inmost.
-- FOUNTAIN SOURCE OF OCCULTISM, 22-3
In spiritual matters, there must be progress with caution, with a calm, conservative reflection upon all experiences and possibilities. There are many karmic Pandora's Boxes within one that one could choose to open. But both good and bad possibilities exist in each Box. And if one has trouble self-consciously controlling everyday life, remaining master of all the demons and spirits and ghosts of consciousness locked up in some inner Pandora's Box could prove quite an ordeal. Failure on the Path simply means taking on more possibilities of consciousness than one can self-consciously remain master of, and results in insanity and sometimes even physical death.
The mass of human sin and frailty is distributed throughout the life of man who is content to remain an average mortal. It is gathered in and centered, so to say, within one period of the life of a chela -- the period of probation. That which is generally accumulating to find its legitimate issue only in the next rebirth of an ordinary man, is quickened and fanned into existence in the chela -- especially in the presumptuous and selfish candidate who rushes in without having calculated his forces.
-- THE MAHATMA LETTERS, 354
I even now (to put your thoughts in the right channel) remind you of the three cases of INSANITY within seven months among "lay chelas," not to mention one's turning a thief? ... Few men know their inherent capacities -- only the ordeal of crude chelaship develops them.
THE MAHATMA LETTERS, 365
The treading of the Path, the process of spiritual evolution, involves continued growth in conscious relation to all of life. But this growth is in self-conscious self-control. A man never over-extends himself or tries to take in more than he has mastered. This is why those in training in a genuine school of the Mysteries, a school linked with the Brotherhood of Adepts, are forbidden to develop psychic powers until they are advanced Initiates. In fact, chelas are ordered to give up any psychic powers they may have naturally had from birth.
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 facilities: vision, will-power, utter self-control, and a heart filled with love for all. Such is the law. Therefore not only is it forbidden for the beginner to win and use powers now latent, and to awaken faculties now yet in function within him, but those who may through past karma happen to be born with such awakening inner faculties have to abandon their use when starting their training.
-- FOUNTAIN SOURCE OF OCCULTISM, 30
Cutting back the psychic powers is necessary because of the unequal evolution of the reembodying Ego. For at this point in human evolution the physical, sensory side of life is far more developed than is the intellectual-intuitive-spiritual side. Having reached the middle of the fourth Round of Day 18, 001 of the 36, 000 Days in the life of Brahma, to put it in Hindu terminology, we are at the apex of material evolution. The material side of life is thoroughly evolved at the expense of the spiritual. The Pravritti or emanation of the material has reached its crest and is only beginning to recede, to be withdrawn, its Nirvritti. And the Pravritti or emanation of the spiritual is only feebly beginning to be felt, if at all. Psychic powers, as is true of all sensory and physical powers, are basically astral, belonging to our lowest principles or components or ingredients of consciousness, the Linga-Sarira, Prana, and perhaps the dregs of Kama. We have overdeveloped our power to manifest ourselves in the lower realms of consciousness, in our lower principles, in the Astral Light. Still to be developed is our ability to manifest consciousness in the higher realms, in Anima Mundi and Akasa.
It is essential that one's attention be drawn away from the physical, sensory, earthy, solid, material side of life. Psychic powers are put aside in the chela in training because psychic powers represent a strong link to manifest sensory consciousness, Prana-Linga-Sarira.Attention must be drawn away from the sensory. It is the inner realms of spirit and intuition and higher intellect, Atman-Buddhi-Manas, that need increased attention and awareness. For sensory perception of whatever kind and on whatever plane represents the use of the lowest two of the seven principles of consciousness. And it is the higher principles that need awakening; though, paradoxically, they already are awake, and it is only the developing of the ability to become aware of one's consciousness in them while self-consciously existing in the human ego that is needed. And this process of becoming aware of them is simply one of expanding an inner AWARENESS while at all times remaining self-consciously focused on and in self-conscious control of the human ego. It is the expansion of inner awareness that is sometimes called the process of becoming self-less, of becoming impersonal. And as we go through life, we finally discover that the self as we know it is no longer the human ego or personality, it is the reembodying Ego. The transition is simply the opening up of a new point-of-view within, and it comes about as naturally and freely as does the golden orb of the sun arise each morning.
In becoming impersonal, selfless, unselfish, one finds oneself practicing certain rules of self-conduct, whether one had consciously formulated and applied them or but been living them unconsciously.
On such rule is never to strike back, never to retaliate; better to suffer injustice in silence. Another is never to justify oneself, to have patience, and leave the karma to the higher law to adjust. And still another, and perhaps the greatest rule of this discipline, is to learn to forgive and to love.
-- FOUNTAIN SOURCE OF OCCULTISM, 32
But to never stand up and fight for one's selfish, personal interests is not the same thing as refusing to stand by allowing evil to take place before one's eyes.
It may be a clear duty actively to stand up for a principle that is at stake, or to spring to the side of one unjustly attacked. There is a kindness in being rigidly firm, in refusing to participate in evil doing. The sentimental crime of allowing evil to take place before our eyes, and thus participating in it for fear of hurting someone's feelings, is a moral weakness which leads to spiritual degradation. However, when we ourselves are attacked, preferable it is to suffer in silence. Only rarely do we need to justify our own acts.
-- FOUNTAIN SOURCE OF OCCULTISM, 32-3
A continual danger to the student of Theosophy, mental self- pride can not only bring to a complete halt his spiritual progress, but can also actually bring about a retrogression. For such pride has a power in thickening the walls of personal selfhood far stronger than the power of mere sentimentality or ignorant thoughtlessness. Such pride indicates a poverty of inner life. Instead of being lit up with the fire of spiritual intuition, such a mind has become sluggish, slow, dull and filled with an array of molds of thought that have lost much of their inner contents. The word-formulative part of the mind could still be quite active, but the mental contents would be empty, lifeless, dried up. This need not, though, occur. And should it happen, the solution is simple enough. One merely need bring in fresh mental contents, full of the intuitive life, and gradually phase out the worn out and shabby mental furniture. As long as the turnover in mental contents continues, the mind will not stagnate. And in keeping the mind alive, fresh, vigorous, one is told not to make it the center of gravity. The mind or Kama-Manas is designed as an instrument to reflect and carry out the light and life within one's being, his higher principles. It does not perform its function properly when it is used as the instigator of perception and action. Its use is as a vehicle of the higher triad within, but until it is operating in its proper function one will not REMEMBER the unspeakably vast and stunning grace, beauty, wisdom, and light that is alive in one's higher principles awaiting but a change to manifest itself.
In summary, there are dangers both in becoming too smug in one's daily life and losing sight of the spiritual possibilities that life holds, and dangers in an extreme, irrational enthusiasm that often results in pledge-fever. The process of self-genesis, of getting one's feet on the hold path, is one of self-conscious SELF-EVOLUTION. And this is something that is best handled by paying attention to one's actual place in life, and in making the impersonal, unselfish choice at every crossroad in life, which occurs in reality every moment. We should remember that a study of the theosophical teachings is not so much a learning of terms and concepts as it is of learning through experience of the mysteries that life holds.
We should give up pet fantasies of personal gain, both in material and spiritual things. Life should be loved; we must not compare ourselves with others and feel either shame or pride. And most important of all, we must warm our hands at the fire of the Archetype of Wholeness, of Self-Genesis, but not thrust them directly into the flames and burn them. Life is ennobled and raised into the sun when warmed in the presence of the spiritual and divine; it is only electrocuted, burned out, torn apart when directly wired into the Archetype. Evolution is HERE, in one's human ego, and in working on this evolution one must remain HERE, self-conscious.
[from THE THEOSOPHICAL FORUM, September, 1929, 8-12]
Appointment of Dr. Gottfried de Purucker to succeed the late Madame Katherine Tingley as Leader and Official Head of the Universal Brotherhood and Theosophical Society was announced yesterday at the International Headquarters of the Society on Point Loma. Appointment of her successor had been made by Katherine Tingley before she died. Dr. de Purucker also assumes duties as Outer Head of the Esoteric Section established by Helena P. Blavatsky.
The new Leader of Theosophy is fifty-five years old, a native of the United States and a bachelor. He has been identified with Theosophy for many years and came to Point Loma to live in 1903. His acquaintance with the late Madame Tingley began in 1896 in Switzerland, where he was instrumental in selecting the present international headquarters of the Society he now heads.
Resident members of the International Headquarters were informed on July 26th of Dr. de Purucker's elevation to Leadership. The announcement was made by Joseph H. Fussell, general secretary.
Secretary Fussell stated that immediately upon receipt of the news of the passing of Katherine Tingley a meeting of her cabinet officers was held at the Point Loma Headquarters, at which meeting recognition of the appointment of Dr. de Purucker as the new Theosophical Leader was given, and with the full trust and confidence not alone of the cabinet officers and members of the executive committee, but also of the entire headquarters staff, he at once assumed general direction of the Society throughout the world.
Mr. Fussell added that the general administration of the Universal Brotherhood and Theosophical Society and all the work connected with the International Headquarters at Point Loma will be conducted with expanding energy, branching out into wider fields of activity made possible by the new resources that will be available to the Society in the near future. Plans for the progress and development of the Theosophical work, including additional activities at the International Headquarters, as outlined by the late Leader, Katherine Tingley, also will be put in operation very shortly, inaugurating the new Theosophical cycle just opening with unusual promise, Mr. Fussell said.
News of the elevation of Dr. de Purucker was given to reporters at a gathering of the Theosophical cabinet that preceded the private meeting of last night. The reporters were conducted in a body to the cabinet meeting, where Mr. Fussell handed to each reporter a plain envelop, saying that it contained the name of the new Leader, and his photograph and biography.
The newsmen were requested not to open the envelops until they had left the grounds and a Theosophical automobile carried them back to the gate.
It was stated that while Theosophists the world over had agreed to accept the Leader that Katherine Tingley named, his identity was known only to the cabinet and executive committee until yesterday afternoon. Cablegrams went out last night from Theosophical Headquarters giving the name of the new Leader.
The rest of this article is part of the statement prepared for the newspapers by Mr. Fussell:
Gottfried de Purucker, MA, D. LITT., the new Leader of the Theosophical Movement throughout the world, successor to Katherine Tingley, who herself succeeded Helena P. Blavatsky and William Q. Judge, is an American by birth, a German-American by parentage, and a cosmopolitan by education and sympathies. He was born at Suffern, Rockland County, New York, January 15, 1874. He has occupied the chair of Hebrew and Sanskrit at Theosophical University since its foundation by Katherine Tingley in 1919. He is now its President.
Dr. de Purucker is well known to Theosophists throughout the world. He has traveled extensively all over Europe and in South America, as well as in this country. In 1903-4 he accompanied Katherine Tingley on a Theosophical tour around the world. Their itinerary included Egypt and Japan, touching also many other oriental countries. In Egypt he and his late Teacher visited many of the temples of the upper and lower Nile.
Gottfried de Purucker's father came of a very old German family of social and official distinction. His mother belonged to an old and distinguished New England family allied with the noted Winthrops and descended from William Brewster of Mayflower fame. Both parents are dead. The father was ordained a clergyman of the Episcopal church in the United States and also served as clergyman for a time in England, and as American and English Chaplain on the continent. He was a man of liberal ecclesiastical sympathies and of broad human understanding, a profoundly learned scholar, widely read in Greek, Latin, and Hebrew, and throughout his whole life a devoted Christian.
Dr. de Purucker's mother was thus described by Katherine Tingley: "My ideal of a woman -- physically, mentally, and spiritually well rounded out ... The dearest and most beloved woman friend I ever had."
Gottfried de Purucker was one of a family of seven, of whom three sisters survive with him. The youngest of these, Miss Peggy, is a violinist of some European renown, a professor at the Academie de Musique in Geneva, Switzerland, and was one of Katherine Tingley's party in the automobile at the time of the accident near Osnabruck, Germany, on May 31, from which accident the late Theosophical Leader herself never fully recovered. Miss de Purucker is now completely recovered and expects to come to Point Loma early next month with the rest of the members of Mme. Tingley's party.
Dr. de Purucker himself has never married and has devoted all his time and energies since young manhood to his Theosophical labors and private studies. The new Theosophical Leader was educated mainly in Geneva, Switzerland, where his father at one time was a pastor of the American church. Before coming to Point Loma in 1903, Gottfried de Purucker was associated for a time with Norman Angell on the editorial staff of the Paris Daily Messenger, one of the oldest and most famous continental papers published in English, which attained its great reputation under the name of its founder, Galignani, and was at first called Galignani's Messenger.
Ever since he came to Point Loma, Dr. de Purucker has been Katherine Tingley's chief assistant in editing the official monthly organ of the Universal Brotherhood and Theosophical Society, THE THEOSOPHICAL PATH. In more recent years he has delivered a public lecture-course at Theosophical University on "Theosophy, Religion, Science, and Philosophy."
During Katherine Tingley's numerous and extended tours abroad within recent years, Dr. de Purucker has occupied a leading position in the executive committee appointed by her to administer the affairs of the Universal Brotherhood and Theosophical Society and its allied activities during her absence. He joined the Theosophical Society during the nineties of last century under Katherine Tingley's predecessor, William Quan Judge. It was Mr. Judge himself who spoke to Katherine Tingley about Gottfried de Purucker and of the importance of her meeting him, expressing to her also his complete trust and confidence in him.
The following is of interest because it gives in the new Theosophical Leader's own words, a brief statement about his early training. It is quoted from an address on the subject, "How I Became a Theosophist," delivered recently in the Temple of Peace on Point Loma:
I was destined for the church by my father, who was a clergyman of the Anglican communion, and pastor of the American church in Geneva. My father taught me Greek; he taught me Hebrew; he had teachers for me in other languages. Living in a French-speaking country, of course I spoke French; my mother being an Ameican, of course I spoke English; my father being a German, of course I spoke German. I was also taught Italian and Spanish. I was likewise taught Anglo-Saxon ... When I was about fourteen years old, I remember translating, as a Christmas gift for my father, the entire Greek New Testament, and he said it was very well done ... When I was seventeen I translated from the Hebrew the book of Genesis, as a birthday gift to my father.
Dr. de Purucker is a born mystic. When there first fell into his hands the translation of one of the noble Upanishads -- the Theosophy of ancient Hindustan -- this trait of his character, this inner urge for more light, impelled him -- to undertake the study of the original Sanskrit. As time passed, he perfected himself under tutors in this perhaps noblest of Aryan languages.
Continuing the report of his address on "How I Became a Theosophist":
The speaker then recounted how his studies had led him to choose a different career from that to which his parents had destined him; how a small book on Theosophy fell into his hands, and how he was startled.
I saw high thinking! I felt that there was more in this book than what an agnostic had seen. My years of study and reading of the literatures of the world -- ancient literatures especially -- had taught me to recognize ancient truth when I saw it. I was fascinated with something that I had always known in my heart. It was this that there has always existed, and that there exists today, a band, a company, a society, an association, of noble Sages, great Seers, "Wise Men of the East," as this book called them.
The lecturer then related how he came to San Diego thirty-five years ago, when it was a small town of fifteen or sixteen thousand inhabitants; how he had casually attended a Theosophical lecture here, and subsequently joined the Theosophical Society under the Leadership of William Q. Judge, Katherine Tingley's predecessor; had visited the Theosophical library following "the memorable night" of attendance at his first Theosophical lecture.
From that day to this I have studied Theosophy daily, meditated upon it in the silence of the night time; and the more I think and the more I reflect, the more I see in it. I have given to you a brief outline of what took one human being out of unhappiness into a happiness which passeth the understanding of any man or woman who has not experienced it as I have and as my fellows of the Theosophical Movement have.
Gottfried de Purucker's name will always be linked with the establishment by Katherine Tingley of the International Theosophical Headquarters on Point Loma. The story of his connection with this great event in the history of the Theosophical Movement and of his first meeting with Katherine Tingley reads like an old symbolic myth of the webs of destiny which control human events. Here it is in his own words
It was during the summer of 1896 that I first met Katherine Tingley in Geneva, Switzerland, where I was at the time living with my family. On the preceding day Katherine Tingley had arrived in Geneva in the course of her Theosophical tour around the world. She had despatched one member of her staff to insert in the newspapers a notice of a public Theosophical meeting to be held on the following day.
It so happened that the young man in charge of the advertising bureau was an old personal friend of mine, himself an Irish-Scot belonging to a family of high distinction. My friend immediately told Mme. Tingley's envoy that he knew me to be a member of her Society. It so happened that this envoy also was a Theosophical acquaintance of mine. He immediately called for a cab and drove around to my home. In a few moments after that we were speeding to meet Madame Tingley at the hotel.
I never will forget the effect that the great Theosophical Teacher produced on me -- an impression of strength, reserve power, compassion, and of a mind that looked through one. I was instantly and strongly drawn to her. Our conversation lasted for an hour or more, during the course of which she invited me to accompany her party on their tour. To my lasting regret, I felt obliged to refuse. I now wish that I had accepted her invitation. It would have meant my immediate union with the Theosophical forces.
It was also during the course of this conversation that Mme. Tingley asked me if I had ever been in America. I said, "Yes, certainly." "In what part of America?" "In California." "In what part of California?" "In San Diego."
Imagine my surprise when two of her party, who were present, jumped from their chairs and exclaimed: "My God!" Katherine Tingley then asked me if I knew the surroundings of San Diego. I said, "Certainly." She said, "Is there a promontory or headland near San Diego?" I said, "Yes, there is -- a very beautiful one called Point Loma."
She said, "Is there any land that can be purchased there?" I said, "Certainly, the southernmost tip is owned by the United States government, the rest, I believe, is held under private ownership." Thereupon I drew a pencil sketch of the outline of Point Loma and of San Diego bay and Coronado, and soon after left. I met her at her hotel the morning after, before she departed.
Some years later I came to the United States and within a few weeks was on my way to Point Loma to join the Theosophical Headquarters staff. There, some time afterwards, Mme. Tingley showed me, with eyes suffused with gladness, the very pencil sketch that I had made, and she told me that had it not been for that she might have lost the land which she had seen in her childhood dreams as the site to be for her headquarters -- or, as she then called it, her "White City in the Gold Land of the West."
The most interesting part of this story about my assistance to Katherine Tingley in the purchase of this land on Point Loma in 1896, was that she had been informed by her own agent, at that very moment in San Diego trying to find the land she had described to him, that no such land was procurable anywhere and she had just cablegraphed that most certainly there was and that he should continue the search. How such a cablegram could have been sent from San Diego I have never been able to understand, but there it was and she had it in her hand when I entered the room and as soon as I gave my information -- having been in San Diego only two or three years before this interview -- Madame Tingley the same evening, I understood, dispatched a long cablegram to her San Diego representative, giving the name of the promontory and a brief description of the land that could be procured. This is how the property, on which the International Theosophical Headquarters at Point Loma is now builded, was acquired.
-- THE SAN DIEGO UNION, July 27, 1929
By Richard Hiltner
There are few subjects that stimulate the fires of controversy as that of evolution. The best set of three lectures [1994 to 1996] which I have heard on the topic of evolution and creation was done by Will Thakara at the Library of the Theosophical Society in Altadena, California. Although this article is dealing primarily with the theme of human evolution, one cannot avoid speaking also of the concept of creation both human and otherwise.
Perhaps, it is best to sum up some of the essential propositions of the three Will Thakara talks before concentrating on the idea of Human evolution. If my understanding is correct, Will stated that both creation and evolution are appropriate in the proper context.
Namely, if creation is defined as more evolved, intelligent beings [or if one prefers the singular term] the COLLECTIVE Demiurgos or Third Logos or "God" designing the manifested consciousness-life-substances from earlier seeds of these beings, then we are on the right track -- As opposed to creating "some-thing" from "no-thing."
As far as evolution is concerned, Will explained very clearly and thoroughly a number of problems with the Darwinian theory. One of the most difficult gaps is between various organic substances [combinations between hydrogen, oxygen, carbon and nitrogen] and the formation of a simple cell.
The formation of DNA [ Deoxyribonucleic Acid], which is necessary for the replication of cells, has not been able to form spontaneously through laboratory experiments and is unlikely according to Dr. Robert Shapiro, Professor of Chemistry at New York University and author Origins, a Skeptic's Guide to the Creation of Life on Earth , to have been assimilated from the "rich pre-biotic soup" of early ages.
Michael Denton, MD, a researcher in biology and author Evolution: A Theory in Crisis , stated that the chance of a hundred functional proteins occurring spontaneously in one place to form a viable cell is about 10 -- 2000 or essentially impossible. This does not even take in consideration the need of nucleic acids, lipids, polysaccharides, etc.
Some highlights include the fact that over the last one hundred years there has still not been demonstrated finely graded "missing links" or fossils between major "Stocks" or Phyla of animals, such as reptiles and birds; whales and land mammals, etc. The theory of "Punctuated Equilibrium" offered by Stephen J. Gould and Eldridge basically proposes that the lack of documented evidence to fill the fissures between various Classes and/or Orders is due to the supposition that these "missing links" were flourishing in some other parts of the earth which has not been discovered; then they joined the well-known animals. But, of course, this is just another theory of missing links which have not been found.
Will Thakara read an extremely important quote from the late Dr. Pierre Paul Grassier, a zoologist and former President of the French Academy of Science, as stated in his 1973 book: Evolution of Living Organisms. Dr. Grassier related that to vary and evolve are two different things. Evolution and mutagensis are two independent phenomena. Mutation falls short of the evolutionary variations that give rise to Phyla, Classes and Orders, etc.
Will also mentioned similar thoughts by Dr. Paul Davies, an astrophysicist and author of the book: Cosmic Blueprint, who says that the impression of design in the universe is overwhelming; scientist are inching closer to the concept that the universe is pulsating with meaning and intention.
The concept of "Non-Locality," as expressed by Dr. Goswani, a Professor of Physics at the University of Oregon, relays a very similar idea in the Quantum theory which proposes a higher than physical, intelligence affecting the atomic level.
There is much more that can be said about the excellent series of lectures by Will Thakara and I strongly suggest that anyone who has not listen to them obtain the tapes or transcripts from the Altadena Theosophical Library. However, I would like to move on to a more specific aspect of evolution -- Human.
This article will concentrate on explicit anatomical structures which suggest that humans are more primitive than some other mammals or primates.
Let's pause for a moment to bring in some definitions. In WEBSTER'S NEW COLLEGE DICTIONARY, "mammalia" are defined as:
A class of Vertebrate animals of more than 4,000 living species, including humans, distinguished by self-regulating body temperature, hair, and in females, mammae.
And in WEBSTER'S NEW COLLEGE DICTIONARY, "primates" are defined as:
An Order of eutherian mammals including man, apes, monkeys, lemurs and living and extinct related froms that are all thought to be derived from generalized arboreal ancestors descended in turn from shrew-like precursors during the Paleocene and that are in general characterized by increasing perfection of binocular vision, specialization of the appendages for grasping and enlargement and differentiation of the brain.
This information on human evolution was almost entirely derived from the book MAN IN EVOLUTION by Dr. Gottfried de Purucker [GdeP]. (2nd Edition, published by Theosophical University Press, Altadena, California, 1977.)
Dr. Purucker was the former Head of the International Theosophical Headquarters at Point Loma, Ca. from 1929 to 1942. One of the main premises of this book is that human evolution primarily emphasizes the development of the mind reflected physically in the Central Nervous System, i.e.. the brain and spinal cord. There is also reference to other anatomical structures which appear to be rather primitive, a term derived from "primus," a Latin term meaning "first." In other words, these anatomical configurations demonstrate evidence that the human is earlier in development in some key areas of anatomy than are the so-called earlier mammals and primates. Dr. de Purucker specifically delineates 12 areas of interest; almost all of these were taken from the book THE PROBLEM OF MAN'S ANCESTRY by Frederic Wood-Jones, Professor of Anatomy at the University of London, in 1918.
G de Purucker has also emphasized that the close examination of embryology and evolution could be quite enlightening on earlier humanity.
(The embroyonic period is considered the first eight weeks after conception; especially through the third to eight weeks. The beginnings of all major external and internal structures are established during this period.)
There is the famous aphorism touted by a major proponent of "Darwinian Evolution," Ernst Haeckel , which stated that "Ontogeny recapitulates Phylogeny." Ontogeny is the biological development or course of development of an INDIVIDUAL organism. Whereas Phylogeny is the evolution of a race or genetically related GROUP of organisms. Or that by studying the development of the embryo or earliest beginnings of an individual animal or human, one is able to determine the earlier or primitive forms of the Phyla or general group.
Defining Phyla [Phylum-singular]:
A major taxonomic unit comprising organisms sharing a fundamental pattern of organization and presumably acommon descent.
-- Webster's THIRD INTERNATIONAL DICTIONARY
Carolus Linnaenus developed a system of classification and nomenclature in 1758 in his book SYSTEMA NATURA that is still in use today. Taking as an example, consider the rhesus monkey, Macaca mulatta. The basic sequence of seven levels, going from the general to the specific, are:
Kingdom ... Animal Phylum ... Chordata Class ... Mammalia Order ... Primates Family ... Cercopithecidae Genus ... Macaca Species ... Mulatta
Following this line of thought, it is logical to induct that the earlier a structure occurs in the embryological formation, than the older or more primitive it is in the evolutionary scheme. For instance, Dr. Wood-Jones remarks that the premaxilla [a bone in the face above the upper lip] is not present in a human. It is present in all mammals and primates; as a matter of fact, it is present even in extinct fossil fishes dating some 200 to 300 million years ago.
(See Carroll, Robert L: VERTEBRATE PALEONTOLOGY AND EVOLUTION. New York, W.H.Freeman and Company, 1988, page 95. Dr. Carroll is a Professor of Biology at McGill University and describes a fossil fish, PALAEONISCOID.)
When examining the human embryo in the book, COLOR ATLAS OF CLINICAL EMBRYOLOGY, by Moore, et al, there is no mention by the authors of a premaxilla. --
(See Moore, Keith; Persuad, T V N; Shiota, Kohei: COLOR ATLAS OF CLINICAL EMBRYOLOGY, Philadelphia, London, Toronto, Montreal, Sydney, Tokyo. W.B. Saunders Company. 1994.)
-- However, Daris R. Swindler, Professor Emeritus of Anthropology at the University of Washington, declares that the premaxilla "does exist initially in the human embryo, but that it disappears early in embryological development ..."
(Swindler, Daris R: INTRODUCTION TO THE PRIMATES. Seattle & London, University of Washington Press, 1998, p. 85.)
Even if Dr. Swindler is correct, it still demonstrates that the premaxilla occurred very early in human evolution. The significance of this rather simple anatomical characteristic is emphasized by Dr. Swindler thusly:
If humans lacked the premaxillary element, it meant that they differed radically from other primates and this feature could be used to separate Homo sapiens from all other species.
-- INTRODUCTION TO THE PRIMATES, 85
Another point stressed by Dr. Wood-Jones is that of the human foot which he considered to be uniquely human. If one takes a close look at the human foot, one notices that the large toe is usually the longest toe; in some the second toe is somewhat longer. But it is quite rare, if occurring at all, that the third toe is longest. This third toe being longest is exactly the picture of all other primates. As a matter of fact the feet of all other primates look much more like hands. Observe the human hand; the third finger is the longest. Also, another important characteristic of the primate feet, including especially the anthropoid (having more of a human appearance) primates, is that the first digit, the large toe, is more like a thumb. Notice that it is able to move at right angles [90 degree] to the adjacent second toe. No human large toe could possibly do this. With these observations noted, it is quite logical draw the conclusion expressed by Johann Blumenbach in 1791 that man only should be called "Bimanus" (two-handed); while lemurs , monkeys and apes should be termed "Quadrumana" (four-handed). Nonetheless, since that time the common anatomical thought was to say that humans are the only bipedal (two feet) primate and all the other primates are quadrupedal (four footed).
To stress the uniqueness of the human foot, one should return to the embryonic period to see that by the eight week the foot is fully observable to be the typical structure. The extremely early appearance of this feature again emphasizes the very primitive development. At no time does the human foot have the appearance of a hand.
Another significant anatomical feature of the leg and foot which only occurs in humans is the muscle PERONEUS TERTIUS. (See THE PROBLEM OF MAN'S ANCESTRY, 38.) This muscle originates from the distal one-fourth of the fibula bone [leg] and inserts at the base of the fifth metatarsal, the lateral or outside aspect of the foot. This is a consequential muscle for being able to stand upright. Dr. Woods-Jones expressed that:
... this human muscle has the same astonishing history as the human foot in its early development ...
-- THE PROBLEM OF MAN'S ANCESTRY, 38
Another example cited by Dr. Woods-Jones demonstrating the primitiveness of humans is the structure of the great artery Aorta and its arch which exits the heart. The specific branch arteries originating from the human Aortic arch are seen in the most primitive mammal: the Duck-billed Platypus (Ornithorhynchus -- from the lowest Order of Mammals: Monotremata). No Primate has this characteristic Arch. This is confirmed by Dr. Alvin Davison in his book, Mammalian Anatomy, illustrating five different types of mammalian aortic arches.
(See Davison, Alvin, MAMMALIAN ANATOMY. York, PA. Maple Press Company. 7th Edition, 1947. p. 180.)
Dr. de Purucker highlights that human evolution is primarily dealing with the mind. This is reflected by the relative size of the human brain. Primates as a group have the largest brains of all the mammals. Stephan, in 1972, states that "only man has encephalization, which exceeds that of all animals. He is the only Primate with an outstanding brain size." (See Stephan, H. THE FUNCTIONAL AND EVOLUTIONARY BIOLOGY OF PRIMATES. Chicago. R. Tuttle, Aldine-Atherton. 1972. pp. 155-74.)
Indeed, Radinsky, in 1975, supported this claim when he pointed out that the human brain is some 3 to 3.5 times larger than might be expected in a higher primate with a human body weight. (See Radinsky, L. 1975. Primate brain evolution. AMERICAN SCIENCE 63:656-63.)
One can observe in a 4 to 6 week embryo that almost 25 to 30% consists of the Central Nervous System (the brain and spinal cord) illustrating the early development. (See COLOR ATLAS OF CLINICAL EMBRYOLOGY, 213.) Swindler expresses that the average size of a human brain is 1,430 cc; whereas the average size of a gorilla (which has the largest brain capacity of the apes) is 535 cc or about a third of a human's magnitude. (See INTRODUCTION TO PRIMATES, 130.)
The human hand and forearm display evidence of their primitiveness by illustrating their similarity to extinct reptiles. For example, skeletons of Saurosternon and Palaeagama from the Permian and lower Triassic periods, about 180 million years ago [MYA], reveal many common features with the human forearm and hand.
Purucker points out that "Transformists" say that the human stock ran through
quadrupedal mammals --> monkeys --> apes
(Note that the apes can be divided into two groups: the gibbons, or lesser apes and the great apes, the chimpanzees, gorillas, and orangutans. In contrast to most prosimiams ("before apes," lemurs, tarsiers, lorises) and all but two species of monkeys, the apes lack tails. See INTRODUCTION TO PRIMATES by Swindler.)
If so there should be evidence of the upper extremity being used as feet. No anatomist would say that the upper extremity was ever used as a supporting forelimb. Wood-Jones expressed:
It is enough to study the hand and forearm of man to note the astonishingly primitive arrangement of bones, muscles, and joints, to compare them with those of a primitive type of reptile, and to contrast them with those of a quadrupedal mammal, to be certain that at no period has man or his ancestors supported the body weight upon the fore-limb, resting upon the surface of the earth.
-- THE PROBLEM OF MAN'S ANCESTRY, p. 24.
Also the position of the human thumb and its fine prehensile or opposibility [the ability to pass the thumb acrosss the palm while rotating it around its longitudinal axis] or grasping quality is considerably better than, say, a gorilla or anthropoid ape. For instance, It is quite difficult for a gorilla to pick up a pin.
Dr. Wood-Jones states that the human appendix is very similar to various marsupials.
MARSUPIALIA: an Order of mammals ranking just above the lowest order or Monotremata [Duck-billed Platypus], containing kangaroos, opossums, and other related animals that with few exceptions have no placenta, have a pouch on the abdomen of the female, containing the teats and serving to carry the young.
-- WEBSTER'S THIRD INTERNATIONAL DICTIONARY
Darius Swindler illustrates in his book, AN ATLAS OF PRIMATE GROSS ANATOMY, [subtitled: a comparative anatomy of the Baboon, Chimpanzee and Man], that the appendix is present only in the lemur, the four anthropoid apes and man. The chimpanzee's appendix is much longer than it is in man and presents several coils. (See Swindler, Daris R. AN ATLAS OF PRIMATE GROSS ANATOMY. Seattle & London. University of Washington Press. 1973. p. 220.) This is another bit of evidence revealing the extremely early development of humans.
Dr. Wood-Jones continues with another case of the primitive quality of humans is the muscle PECTORALIS MINOR. This muscle originates on the anterior aspect of the third, fourth and fifth ribs and inserts on the coracoid process of the scapula. In the anthropoid apes, it attaches in part to the process, and in part to a ligament which passes downwards to the humerus [upper arm]. In the monkeys it is still further down the ligament of the humerus. In many quadrupedal mammals it is attached altogether to the humerus. Dr. Wood-Jones, therefore, says that the coracoid process is the primitive attachment of this muscle, and man and some other exceedingly primitive animals retain this type of insertion.
Another instance of the earliness of human beginnings is the human tongue. It is not unlike that of the chimpanzee, but no monkey can show nearly so primitive a mammalian tongue as that typical of man.
The human kidney differs from that typical of the Old World monkeys and the anthropoid apes in its internal structure, but it is matched by the kidneys of some of the "lower" New World monkeys. (See THE PROBLEM OF MAN'S ANCESTRY, 33.)
Dr. Wood-Jones relates that one of the main ways in which a human differs from all the anthropoid apes and from the monkeys of the Old and New World is the lack of several features one may term as pithecoid or simian specializations. For instance, the "Simian sulcus" or Lunate sulcus or groove in the brain associated with the visual cortex of the occipital lobe, which is distinctive of Old World monkeys and apes, is absent in humans. Although Dr. Swindler feels this sulcus has been displaced posteriorly by the parietal lobe and is not always observable on the lateral surface. (See INTRODUCTION TO PRIMATES, 125.)
Dr. Wood-Jones continues:
Many simian types of muscle, artery, etc. are absent in man, and we need not discuss such features as the loss of the thumb, the development of cheek pouches and laryngeal sacs, the presence of ischial callosities, and those many other features which are so highly characteristic of certain groups of monkeys.
-- INTRODUCTION TO PRIMATES, 30-31
Again, in respect to the retention of remarkable primitive features, he continues:
The human skull shows a great number of features in which a condition of basal mammalian primitiveness is retained, and which offer a marked contrast to the same parts in all monkeys and apes. In the base of the human skull, and upon the sides of the brain case, the bones articulate in an order which is that characteristic of the primitive mammal. In these regions the human skull shows a condition exactly like that of the lemurs. But all the monkeys and anthropoid apes [with one exception] have lost this primitive arrangement and follow an utterly different plan. No monkey or anthropoid ape approaches near to man in the primitive simplicity of the nasal bones. The structure of the back wall of the orbit, the"metopic"suture, the form of the jugal bone, the condition of the internal pterygoid plate, the teeth, etc. all tell the same story -- that the human skull is built upon remarkably primitive mammalian lines, which have been departed from in some degree by all monkeys and apes. The human skeleton, especially in its variations, shows exactly the same condition. As for muscles, man is wonderfully distinguished by retention of primitive features lost in the rest of the primates.
-- THE PROBLEM OF MAN'S ANCESTRY, 31
Dr. Swindler confirms that the skeleton of mammals have evolved a number of specializations. However, the contemporary primates remain a rather conservative in their specializations of the skeleton.
Another set of perceptions that feel worthy of note consist of the sequence of embryos and there relationship to the evolution of humans through the lower animal echelons. It appears to me that embryo from 19 to 24 days has a strong resemblance to primitive extinct vertebrate fish dating 300+ MYA.
Starting at 26 days, the embryo displays an obvious tail and branchial arches [gills]. The upper and lower limb buds start to mature. The tail gradually diminishes and finally disappears by 56 days [the end of the embryonic period]. There is certainly a close similarity between the embryo at this tail stage with the ancient amphibians. It is of interest that by the end of the 56th day the tail is gone; this is very early in evolution.
Also of interest is the fact that the external genitalia start to develop at 7 weeks, but do not fully form until 12 weeks [one month after the embryonic period]. What relationship could one relatively draw to the early separation of the sexes to this fact? Especially in reference to times of races?
Another a territory of research which closely approximates the periods given by H. P. Blavatsky [whose time periods differ from conventional thought; usually shorter] is the fossil remnants of the monkeys and apes. According to Dr. Swindler the earliest anthropoid primates [monkeys] were found in the late Oligocene epoch [35 to 24 MYA]. Most of the monkeys were found in later period -- Miocene [24 to 25 MYA]. Blavatsky revealed that the monkeys originated approximately 18+ MYA. Considering some of the variables in time periods, this could be in the ball park with Dr. Swindler's estimations.
Dr. Swindler continues [please note, he estimates the Pliocene Epoch to be 5 -- 1.8 MYA; the Pleistocene about 1.8 to 1 MYA]:
The evolution of the living lesser apes and great apes remains a mystery ...A late Miocene form, Laccopithecus robustus, from Lufeng, China, is now acknowledged as a true gibbon [Pan Yuerong 1988]. The divergence of gibbons from the hominoid line has been variously estimated between 17 to 20 MYA or to 12 MYA by DNA and immunological studies. The Lufeng site has been dated at 8 to 7 MYA, which suggests that the gibbons separated from the hominoid line somewhat later than suggested by the DNA studies ...
The Asian orangutan is considered by most primatologists as being the descendant of the late Miocene genus sivapithecus of Pakistan [Kelley and Pilbeam 1986 and Kelly 1994]. There are also fossil orangutan teeth from the karst caves of south China and Java dating to the Pleistocene [Hooijer 1948 and Ho et al. 1995].
Fossils of the African great apes are unknown. The living chimpanzees and gorillas are not related to any of the known lineages of Miocene apes, but it should only be a matter of time before an ancestor is found in a late African Miocene or Pliocene site. The molecular evidence suggests between 6 to 10 MYA for the separation of the African great apes from the hominoid stem ...
-- INTRODUCTION TO THE PRIMATES, 242-43.
Mention should be made to DNA studies done especially on primates. Dr. Swindler points out that:
Such studies have provided information on the degree of genetic relationships among primates and have demonstrated that the DNA of chimpanzees, gorillas and humans differs only about 2%. This means that when strands of DNA from any two of these animals are combined about 98% of the bases match. Humans differ from orangutans by about 4% and from baboons by about 8%.
-- INTRODUCTION TO PRIMATES, 72
In conclusion, there is much evidence to show similarities between humans and especially the anthropoid apes. The question that has been placed is, which came first? A number of significant points have been raised demonstrating the primitive characteristics of humans which have been lost by monkeys and apes. There certainly are features which a human does not possess that we may term pithecoid or simian specializations. And finally humans have developed some distinctly human specializations, some of which are dependent upon his upright posture, but some distinctly independent of this factor.
If there is a consequential amount of evidence to make one have to consider that humans existed before the primates, is there any fossil remains of humans that could back up this theory? To my knowledge, the earliest human fossils are dated around 2.5 MYA to perhaps 3 to 4 MYA. This, in my opinion, is the biggest sticking point that needs to be explored.
By L. Gordon Plummer
[from THEOSOPHY AND CONTEMPORARY THOUGHT, No. 7, based upon a lecture given November 14, 1954 in San Diego, California.]
The purpose of this talk is to present if possible a Theosophical picture of the universe around us that will at once satisfy the mind of the student of the Ancient Wisdom and likewise have an appeal to the thoughtful person who is accustomed to present-day ideas but to whom the Theosophical viewpoint may be unfamiliar.
In this study I will try to show that although words are the carriers of ideas, a tendency toward carelessness in their use hampers us by the application of the very tools we need. Our thinking is largely influenced by inaccuracies in the use of words and their meanings. Ideas once rooted in the mind are not easily changed or expelled; nevertheless, if we are to arrive at any conclusions as to the nature of Man and the Universe as revealed in the Ancient Wisdom, it will be necessary for us to analyze the impressions that have been built up in our minds by what we see and hear; and if these impressions are found wanting we must strive for a clearer understanding.
Our purpose is to find out if possible what Nature actually is, rather than to build a hypothesis to our own liking and try to make facts fit into our own theories. After all, the universe is the only way that it could be. If it could have been built otherwise, it would have been something different from what it is now, and the whole framework and structure of its laws would have presented a different picture. So it is in the spirit of explorers and searchers after Truth that we will first of all analyze the impressions we receive from the title of this talk, "Atom, Man, Star."
The first such impression is that of a tremendous emptiness or gap between Atom and Man, and between Man and Star. The second impression might be that the atom and the star must be studied as something quite different from the mathematical framework in which man exists; whereas the behavior of the atom and the star may be predicted by means of reasonably well-understood laws of Nature. Man is essentially an unpredictable being whose thoughts and actions do not fit into a rigid pattern. No one has ever attempted to study an atom from a psychological standpoint, but how else can you study man? A further impression grows in our minds as we reflect that the general laws of Nature as postulated by Newton apply reasonably well to objects within the field of man's experience, to objects having reasonable size, and traveling at reasonable velocities. But once we step beyond the boundaries of man's experience a different framework of Nature's becomes necessary. For example, the general theory of Relativity is necessary to explain natural phenomena on the cosmic scale, whereas the Quantum Theory is required to describe the behavior of the infinitesimal world of the atom.
One might imagine, therefore, that there is a definite separation between the nature of the Atom, the nature of Man, and the nature of the universe as a whole. As soon as we reflect that the stars, no less than humans and other living beings, are made of atoms of all kinds, we discover that the whole system is a closed curve, or, pointing to an ancient symbol, it is the serpent biting its tail. Einstein has said that he is endeavoring to formulate a set of laws that will correlate the theory of Relativity with the Quantum Theory. If this can be done, it might be something like discovering the nature of a coin, on which we have the pattern of the head and the tail, but wherein we have as yet no information about the metal of which the coin is made!
It is time to extend our study along further lines, and ask ourselves: Why is it that Man, the subject of psychological study, lives in a mathematical universe? Are the two as widely separated as at first we thought they were? We will find that the two are very closely knit once we observe that certain basic phenomena of Nature impinge upon us all the time, and something deep and mysterious within our consciousness is able to interpret the impressions we receive, and we are thus able to live intelligently.
The most basic of these natural phenomena is light, and the velocity of light is used as the keystone of the arch on which the theory of Relativity and the space-time continuum is built. And think how important light is to all living things! Consider the magic of photosynthesis in plant growth. Consider the magic of seeing. And when we consider the astonishing extent of the radiation spectrum, of which light forms but one octave, it is all the more remarkable that all living things on the earth respond, so far as we can tell, to the one visible light octave in the total spectrum. If some of Nature's creatures can see just a trifle further into the infrared or into the ultraviolet than we can, this increased range of vision is so infinitesimally small as compared with the full spectrum as to be of no importance at all. This should point to an extremely close and important connection between Man and the Universe. And if we care to extend the meaning of the word 'Man' so that it will include, for the purposes of our study, ALL LIVING THINGS, as I believe we have a right to do, we are forced to the conclusion that life itself is one of the basic phenomena of the universe. In fact, it would seem to be in line with logical thinking to assume that wherever conditions permit, life can no more help manifesting then can an electric spark help appearing when we bring two charged wires together.
Returning to our question: Why is it that Man, the subject of psychological study, lives in a mathematical universe? Now that the two are seen to be so closely knit together, the answer becomes more obvious. Might it not be that this mathematical universe that we see is but one aspect of the total universe? Considered in this light, our answer transcends the realm of the purely scientific and enters the province that belongs to Religion, which has every right to be as unerring a guide as Science. Comparing a study of Nature to a study of Man, Science may be said to concern itself with the body of the universe, and Religion with its soul. Just as in the case of man wherein so little is understood about the nature of his 'soul', so it is with the Universe. So little is known about the nature of its soul that the best we can do is to call it God, about which there may be as many ideas as there are people who think. Religion itself can give us no clear picture of what God is like, and it is a fortunate thing that for the most part we can look back upon the old idea of a vengeful, punishing God as an evil dream of the past.
If we prefer to approach a religious study of the Universe with sanity and with reverence, we will discover that behind the visible manifestations of all life there is infinite beauty, and that the presence of Divine Intelligence is to be felt at every turn. In this highly complex study the Quantum Theory and Relativity become nothing more nor less than a description of the behavior of the ever-living garment of Divinity, and are therefore useful tools as far as they go, but they can never unravel the ultimate mystery. The only reason that we as humans can feel the presence of that mystery is that it is in us as well as in all of that is included in the vastness of space.
As to those great gaps that seem to exist between Atom and Man, and between Man and Star, they are apparent only because we are overpowered by the impression of size. It has been calculated that in respect to physical dimensions Man stands just about halfway between the size of the average atom and the size of the average star. But what does physical size actually mean as related to the problem in hand? Does it have any real importance? If we remember the symbol of the serpent biting its tail, representing the closed curve that is the Universe, who is to say just where Man is located on the curve? Why should he be located on one particular point in preference to all others? As a matter of fact the size of the average man has little bearing on the case, if, as we intend, we will broaden the meaning of the word to include with him all sentient life that we know.
One of the great doctrines from the East is that of the Sunyata, which could be briefly stated as the voidness of the seeming full, the fullness of the seeming void -- mere word-spinning to the mind unaccustomed to inner reflections, but full of meaning once we begin to open our eyes. Science has done much to assure us that so-called empty space is the playground of innumerable energies of widely different frequencies. The word EMPTY loses its significance, and in the final analysis could mean only nonexistence, which is of course completely impossible in a manifested universe.
I would like to try now to show how it is that our use of words has hindered us and fixed certain inaccurate ideas so firmly in our minds that we are reluctant to give them up. Let us first consider sound. The audible range for the human ear is from about sixteen vibrations per second to about 20,000. Beyond this, we speak of supersonic vibrations. When we say they are inaudible, we do not mean that the vibrations do not exist; we merely mean that we cannot hear them. Nonetheless we are making use of them.
The case is similar to that of light. There is but one octave of vibrations we call visible light, and it is up in the trillions of vibrations per second, Beyond either end of the visible light spectrum we speak of the infrared and the ultraviolet. When we speak of these frequencies as invisible we do not imply that they do not exist. We merely state that we cannot see them. There are frequencies both above and below the visible range that are very useful to us, and we utilize them by means of devices of our own making. The 'waves' that carry our radio and television programs are of vastly slower frequency than those of visible light, and the X-rays and the cosmic rays are much faster.
Now there is another spectrum that is of the greatest importance, and it is closely related to the spectrum of which light is a portion. This is the heat or temperature spectrum. Heat is the energy of the motion of atoms and molecules, and the scales on which we measure temperature are purely artificial, and have far less basic connection with the phenomena of nature then have the spectra of light and sound, which are actual measurements of wavelengths and of frequencies. Were we to establish a true scale of temperatures, zero temperature would have to mark that state of matter in which there is no molecular motion at all. Since such a state of matter cannot actually exist, this becomes a vanishing point, so to speak, and temperatures have been reached within a very small fraction of a degree of absolute cold.
However that may be, we must hold to the scale with which we are the most familiar, to wit, the Fahrenheit scale, and point out another serious inaccuracy which has done much to blur our vision. It is conceded that the conditions under which life as we know it can flourish are close controlled by temperature. The Earth seems to be the only planet in the Solar System wherein life is possible because the temperatures prevailing on its surface lie approximately within the habitable portion of the temperature spectrum. Man himself lives within a very small margin of safety. His normal bodily temperature is 98.6 degrees, and temperatures of only a very few degrees above or below this norm can prove fatal to him. But he can adept himself to conditions that vary considerably on either side of his normal bodily temperature. So we say that a world is habitable within a certain temperature range. Other factors which make for habitability, such as the composition of the atmospheres of other planets, are of course important, but it would seem that these factors hold second place because to a very large extent they are caused by prevailing temperatures.
The point of all this is that while in the use of the word INAUDIBLE we mean merely that WE cannot hear, there being no implication made that the frequencies do not exist, and whereas in the use of the word INVISIBLE we mean merely that WE cannot see, but do not imply that the frequencies do not exist, nonetheless, when we say UNINHABITABLE in respect to temperatures outside of the narrow band conducive to conditions that favor life, we mean exactly that life is impossible. There has been no effort as yet to consider seriously that living beings could exist in ways that may be vastly different from anything that we can observe, or that they could function and would be completely at home in their own particular media. Yet there is absolutely nothing in Nature that would disprove it, any more than there was anything in Nature that disproved the existence of radio waves before they were discovered and used by man. We have a tendency, however, sometimes to think that a thing has been disproved until it has been proved. AND THAT IS WHAT HAS MADE IT SO DIFFICULT FOR THE WESTERN WORLD TO ACCEPT THE TEACHINGS OF THE ANCIENT WISDOM in respect to invisible worlds, planes of consciousness, life waves, and so on and on. It is the age-old clamor for proof and more proof.
So a simple statement of the teachings of the Esoteric Philosophy would be as follows. Life is everywhere, and manifests however and wherever it can. Man is neither very high nor very low in the great scale of intelligent life. He represents but one rung in the evolutionary ladder that stretches endlessly above and below him. And all these manifestations of life operate throughout visible and invisible space, impelled by a great cosmic urge toward growth, progress and ultimate perfection. Perfection itself is only relative, and once a being has become perfect within its own sphere of life, it is ready to move onwards into new fields of experience. At the heart of every living entity, no matter where or what it may be, is a spark of Divinity, and the degree of evolution attained at any one time is but a measure of the degree of awakening that has been achieved. Thus there are limitless possibilities for us humans, and there is unbounded joy in growth. So the final thought would be: There is infinitude without; there is infinitude within. The inmost Self of man is a cosmic being whose secret home is the Heart of the Universe.
By Dallas TenBroeck
In THE SECRET DOCTRINE, HPB presents us with the teaching of the three intertwined lines of human evolution. These are:
1. The Spiritual or Monadic (the Dual-Monad: Atma-Buddhi),
2. The matter or evolution of monads that make up forms, and that are developing intelligence at that level, and,
3. The Monad as an independent creative Mind (the Triple Monad: Atma-Buddhi-Manas).
These distinctions may seemingly be the most baffling as the Monad is said to be the Ray from the One SPIRIT allied to its recorded experiences that are wise and which for it constitute what we call "Buddhi," or the spiritual Soul, the "Wise" Soul.
Mind is to be considered as a factor that is independently free and self-conscious. It is said to stand mid-way between "Spirit" (or Consciousness, in all its many degrees) on one hand, and "matter" (or all the many limitations of forms) on the other. It is necessary to inquire into the reason for this independence. Is the Mind-principle the essential link between "Spirit," and "matter?"
The position of the free Mind, or self-consciousness, as an intermediate between the pair of opposites (Spirit and Matter, or the two foci of the "Egg of Brahma"), enables it to perceive their interaction from a detached point of view. The Mind is the "Viewer of Karma." It learns as it develops its perceptive range to distinguish all causes. Because of this, it experiences, as well as views, the progress of their effects as the resulting inter-working of emotion in the field of the "personality" with which it has temporarily clothed itself. It alone, is able to understand (because of its capacity to be impersonal and detached) the "cause and effect reaction" of karma. Karma can be Universal (as in the manifesting of galaxies and the world on which the Mind is now living); or individual, as in a nation, as a member of a family, or in its own 'body,' as "personality." In all cases it can will itself to be detached, and it can make itself Observer and Perceiver, as it both watches and participates in the progress of "personal" Karma working in and on it.
And the mystery is, that it is no less than the Monad, that has just emanated from the 'monadic-essence' into an objectivity limited, by, say, an "atom." In terms of time this concept baffles us, but viewed as an eternal being, time has no relevance for it, or for the spiritual Self. All physical life is experience and learning. The mission of the "experienced Monad" is to encourage other Monads to raise themselves (as Monads of lesser experience) up to its level. This explains the reason why in Theosophy it is stated that there are two Egos in each human. The Superior is the experienced Monad that fulfils its function as a tutor, and the other is named "lower" because of its need for experience.
Theosophy views the progress of human evolution as the growth of intelligence, first through the "lower kingdoms," and then, its gradual specialization into the grades of self-consciousness of Mind. But the becoming of a "mind-Monad," does not bring evolution to a close, as the progress of the Mind-being involves experience in and through working with every aspect of Nature. Wherever it may be (under its Karma), it is an active agent which has for task the acquirement of Wisdom. And simultaneously, the voluntary and careful diffusion of that wisdom by means of self-chosen acts that harmonize and are necessary for the general benefit of all other Monads in the region of its setting.
Theosophy posits the immortality of every unit of life, of every Monad, regardless of the stage of evolution it is involved in. In other words the progress of the Monad is an ever increasing awareness of the needs of Nature and the providing of those needs by itself offering assistance. Whenever this is denied to others, distorted by selfish and personal interests, the resulting deformation of Nature produces in the Monads so affected, the record of that event. This transforms them into "skandhas" or "little-lives" that are magnetically attached to the offending or negligent Monad. In this way the seeds of individual Karma are formed. All these will have to be set back into harmony before any Monad is able to reach personal "Perfection."
Wisdom, theosophically considered, is the acquirement by the independent and free-willed Mind of discrimination. This is a Buddhic faculty. Wisdom is said to be the attentive, and voluntarily correct application of knowledge. This is true, deliberate and discriminative "sharing." It is, broadly speaking, brotherhood in action.
To do this well implies that a knowledge of all departments of Nature has to be obtained. A compliance with the needs and dictates of Karma-the universal Law that ever adjusts motives to results is to be made one of the primary objectives in the life of the individual.
This may put the evolving Mind-principle into conflict with that principle of desire and passion (Kama), which was developed in its progression through the lower kingdoms of nature. "The stone becomes the plant, then an animal, then a Man, and finally a creative God. Never has change brought any lessening of responsibility." This is a paraphrase of an ancient Hermetic statement.
The highest manifestation of intelligence in the progression of the Monad through the "lower" kingdoms (non-self-conscious) of Nature is the instinct of the higher animals. This is the highest aspect of intelligence that the "form" side of Nature can develop without the assistance of a host of embodied Minds. How is this possible?
In the human being it is said that the Mind stands between passion (Kama) and compassion (Buddhi). The Mind is a special faculty that is first endowed or induced in those "forms" that are 'ready.' After that each finds itself like a little child, endowed with this marvelous creative capacity. It has to learn its powers and how to control them. It is this faculty of thinking, observing, learning, correlating, choosing and acting that is being developed during the human stage of its progress. It may be defined as an ethical sensitivity to its total environment. It has to become a sensitive and harmless agent of Nature in the universal process of assistance to the whole of development.
This may sound very strange, but if we consider that we are immortals, dealing at all times with other immortals, in what other form can we impress on ourselves the fact that we need to give those "others" the same consideration that we would desire to receive from them?
For most of us, the concept of individual immortality is strange. It is not a common concept that is taught. Further, the idea that we are responsible for all our actions, thoughts and feelings is frightening. If we consider all that we may have done in the way of errors in the past, we may desire to find a hiding place where we are secure from the effects we sense will be coming our way. Is it not curiously significant that we are able to review our lives and realize that we have neglected acting in the most responsible and ideal way that we might have? We suddenly realize that the inner voice of the Conscience (the Higher Self), which has been speaking to us, and which we usually neglect, has a reasonable and perhaps a very real validity.
Theosophy teaches that the Voice of Conscience is actually the voice of the Higher Self. The Wise Monad, acting as our friend and tutor speaks to us because it has access to the whole panorama of our past lives as immortals. When it sees we are about to choose to repeat a mistake, it warns, asking in effect, if we wish the trials and pains of a similar set of results to afflict us again.
This leads us to ask what is this Higher Self. If it is so lofty and experienced, why does it permit the embodied mind, "me," the inexperienced and wayward Monad, here and now, to commit errors and reap painful suffering as a result ? We have to learn to take the position of responsibility that all mind-beings have to assume. We need to graduate from irresponsible childhood and become careful and helpful adults. We are all in this position at this bend of the cycle.
The Higher Self is the Divine Tutor. It may warn, but cannot coerce the personality (the embodied mind). The evolutionary experience of the human stage of evolution is designed to show, through trial and example, the fact that Egoic Soul-independence, brings with it the responsibility of learning about the cooperative nature of our World and universe; and then, to live in it, with all other Monads, of whatever degree, in harmony and brotherhood.
In the doctrines opened to us from THE SECRET DOCTRINE, we find that ancient names of power were assigned to this inner Higher Self. It has been called: the Divine Soul -- the Atma. One of the titles assigned to the Atma is "Kumara," or the Virgin Youth - a title appropriate to an eternal and immortal Spirit that has acquired full self-consciousness and has become worthy (by self acquired and self devised purification and control of the "lower self") of direct commingling with the Universal Spirit.
It serves us as a symbol, as well as an ineradicable example, of our "goal." Once that the Ego-mind has taken itself in hand as an immortal and self-willed being, it seeks to learn the mysteries of Karma and Life. Finding that brotherhood and cooperation are the rule of all nature, it then seeks to make personal application of these and in so doing it begins to balance its old karmic debts.
Another title given to the Higher Self is that of the Agnishwatta (the "Fiery," the purified Pitri, (or "Father"). This is a well-developed mind that, having reached the ultimate perfection afforded in a world such as ours in the past, has sacrificed its opportunity for Nirvanic bliss to help other Monads that are still involved in their "personality" (Kama-Manas), get through the trials and proving ground of our many incarnations on Earth. This is done, not only for us as personalities, but also for the evolutionary assistance that is due to the "skandhas", the "little-lives," who deserve an opportunity to be improved, and brought back through our voluntary efforts, into harmony with the rest of the Universe. Again, we are the intermediaries in this process, we serve as their bridge to a higher condition. They will eventually reach the "human-stage" of independent Mind and undergo the processes we now undergo. Such is the enormous and all-encompassing scope of Evolution.
If, through bad choices in the past, we have distorted them, then, under Karma we have to straighten, both our own "lower natures" and them, out again. It is only fair to them. The Dhyanis (the Knowers), Agnishwatta Pitris, Kumaras, all participate voluntarily, as an act of self-sacrifice in this universal educative work. And we, as newly "lit-up" Manases, make mistakes and have to dig ourselves out of the "holes" we have created for ourselves, and in so doing we have to reverse our earlier abasing of them.
In several places, HPB states that the vast time that elapses between Manvantaras, or Kalpas, does not in any way affect the individual unity of any of the Monads which are in this cooperative evolution. They sleep through the rest period and certain subjective adjustments are made while in that state perhaps comparable to those that are made between lives in Devachan. Analogies could be similar to the state of "Sushupti" or 'deep-sleep.' The individuality of each Ego is never destroyed.
Thus in conclusion we may live in hope, hope that we too will learn the keys to success and use them, for ourselves and for the rest of the Universe.
By Reed Carson
In the first week of February we launched the online study group called bn-study. It has been quite an event.
As people began to speak up, it was a thrilling experience for one person after another to introduce themselves, each in their own way, and express their interest in this discussion. We found satisfaction in finding others in the world with our interests.
However chaos developed. The original plan of covering seven quotes a day led to many threads starting at once, and it became clear that a sustained focused study in Theosophical principles would be necessary in order for us to discuss effectively.
So after one week we adopted a "topic/course" oriented approach. The first week of the course the topic was the Absolute, the second week was the first logos. In the week just starting we will be discussing the second and third logos. In subsequent weeks we will be discussing the septenary principles according to Theosophy.
We started with 220 participants in the discussion group. During the initial chaos and introductions we lost one seventh of the participants (under very heavy emails). Since then we have lost some, gained others, and the number of participants has now been climbing slowly back up to 210. On net, I consider this indicates a high level of interest.
To help make this moderated discussion list possible, Dallas TenBroeck and David Grossman, two long time students of Theosophy, have voluteered to help with the moderating behind the scenes. Our considerable thanks to them for daily helping to make this wonderful list possible.
The value of the contributed emails has been amazing. So if you would like to engage in a very serious discussion on Theosophy (and perhaps learn a lot) please feel free to join us. To do so, click on "membership" on the upper left corner of BN homepage. After entering your userid and password, choose some form of participation in bn-study.
I am receiving in the mail some serious scholarship that will be very gratifying to get online at BN during March. We think it will hold much value for the Theosophical movement.
For more information on Blavatsky Net, go to:
By Joy Mills
[Chapter One in LIVING IN WISDOM: LECTURES ON "THE SECRET DOCTRINE," copyright 1989, Theosofische Vereniging in Nederland / Amsterdam. Reprinted with permission. The booklet was transcribed from a class given at the August 1988 Summer School of the Dutch Section of the Theosophical Society.]
We are -- all of us -- seeking to understand ourselves and the world in which we live. One of the fundamental principles of the theosophical world view would omit the "and" in that sentence. So when I say we are all seeking to understand ourselves and the world, the "and" is not present -- we are the world. Now this immediately introduces us to a point of view, to a manner of looking at the world which is very different from the customary way in which most people approach the subject. And I would like to introduce the subject of our study by suggesting that the entire purpose of H.P. Blavatsky's remarkable work was to awaken a new mode of thought.
In concluding the first part of her major work THE SECRET DOCTRINE, HPB wrote: "It is barely possible that the minds of the present generation are quite right for the reception of occult truth." Certainly the mind of the nineteenth century was NOT QUITE RIGHT, to use HPB's words, for the reception of the tremendous truths which she was presenting. Now we are this year commemorating the one hundredth anniversary since those volumes first appeared. And it is probably still possible to make such a general statement. Are our minds, and is the mind of this century capable of receiving or understanding the truths presented?
There can really be no question as to the influence of the ideas which HPB presented. Not only have outstanding thinkers, and particularly men of science as well as leaders in other fields, examined the postulates presented in THE SECRET DOCTRINE, but certainly countless thousands have received inspiration as well as deeper comprehension of life's mysteries from a reading of these volumes.
To describe what is in THE SECRET DOCTRINE is of course relatively easy. But to develop the kind of mind which is required for the comprehension of these principles is not perhaps so easy. We may say very simply that these volumes supply the metaphysics of the theosophical world view. Now there are of course many ways in which we could approach a kind of overview of the work.
We must recognize first of all that the principles enunciated in these volumes were given not in some final form of revelation, but as testable verities. In this of course, the study differs remarkably from the study of ordinary textbooks. When we read an ordinary textbook we may become absorbed, or interested at least, in the principles being presented. If, for example, you read a contemporary physics book, a textbook on physics, you may accept many of the initial premises without going through the elaborate process of testing them. To put it in a phrase that we often use: it is not necessary for every generation to reinvent the wheel. We are satisfied that the wheel has been invented. In my office I have a computer and although I thought at first that I might be too old to learn how to use it, and perhaps could safely finish the incarnation by having mastered an electric typewriter, I soon found out that I could really use the computer to my great advantage. And now I am very attached to the word-processing possibilities of a computer. But I haven't the vaguest notion how it really operates. And I assume that there are those who really know what is going on behind that flashing screen.
But our study of THE SECRET DOCTRINE is an altogether different kind of study. The testability, the verifiability of the principles therein presented does not lie in external situations. The testability, the proof of it, must lie in the internal transformation that may be brought about. Now of course, if one were given sufficient time, if one had the energy and the interest and everything else that is demanded, one could collect the supporting evidence from all the world religions, philosophies, sciences, arts, cults, and mythologies, and from that great mass of evidence might be able to deduce that there are certain fundamental principles operative in ourselves and the universe.
THE SECRET DOCTRINE points to new mode of thinking, which is not simply a collection of facts. In fact, HPB states very clearly that the comprehension of the occult doctrine is based on the seven sciences. We have to deal with modes of thought of seven entirely different planes of ideality. She then names only three of these planes and says that every text relates to and has to be rendered from the following standpoints: the first she names the REALISTIC plane of thought; the second she calls the IDEALISTIC; and the third the purely divine, or SPIRITUAL. And then she says that the other planes too far transcend the average consciousness, especially of the materialistic mind, to admit of their being even symbolized in terms of ordinary phraseology. She in fact gives us in the second volume of the original edition the means by which the interpretation and understanding may be gained and indicates that no one who is not initiated or awakened to a new mode of thought will really come to the wisdom.
I should like to propose for your consideration that these three modes of thought relate to the faculties which are indeed latent within us, and that because these faculties are not fully awakened, the doctrine is necessarily "secret." That is to say that until we awaken a mode of thought beyond the normal ways of our thinking, we will not come to the doctrine. For those who may be familiar with the customary theosophical terminology as to the principles of man, of the human constitution, I would suggest that the three modes to which she refer are MANAS in its purity, BUDDHI in its essential nature, and ATMAN as that Universal Principle in which we are rooted. So the realistic plane of thought is indeed pure MANAS -- that is to say MANAS as the reflection of universal Consciousness. The idealistic plane is that illumination that is BUDDHI, which is all too often simply translated with "intuition." I don't know how your word compares, but the word "intuition" in English has been overused. And as I often say to English-speaking audiences: with intuition, the emphasis seems to be on the wishing aspect. It becomes a kind of desire, but what is suggested by the word "idealistic," as HPB uses it, has to do with an interior illumination which is brought about by a transformation of consciousness. And the third mode to which she referred, the purely divine or spiritual, must then refer to that original Unity. That is to say, to ATMAN in its original condition of non-differentiation -- that universal Source in which each one of us is a point, if you like. And so, these modes of thought which are to be awakened within us -- and which I would suggest are indicated by the third object of the Theosophical Society, indicated as that which is to be investigated, looked into, attempted to be understood -- are indeed the powers latent within us. And they are therefore to be made active.
Now it is because of this way of thinking that the method employed in the writing of THE SECRET DOCTRINE gives us a certain direction. If I may put it this way, we have to read this work in the spirit of the book itself. To understand a rational, orderly, manifested universe, is not the final object of THE SECRET DOCTRINE. Now obviously, anyone who has studied THE SECRET DOCTRINE will recognize that we are given a pattern and I will be referring to this pattern later on. It is a pattern that presents us with the rationality, the orderliness of the manifested universe. So that is what is present in THE SECRET DOCTRINE.
In fact, everything is given to us to create our own universe, if you like. And if you know the pattern, you should be able to create a manifested universe to your liking! But of course the condition of the world today would indicate that we have not yet learned how to create a world to our liking. Or perhaps it was that we created it to our liking, only to discover that it was not what we wanted. That we did indeed want to have motorcars and computers, we wanted to have comfort, and we did not much care if we destroyed forest for it or that we poisoned our atmosphere. So we have now to decide if we want to create another kind of world, but that decision can only be made when there is a different kind of mind operating within us. Consequently, the ultimate intent, if I may put it this way, is that we have to appreciate the causal, intelligible, real source of that apparent, or visible universe; that we would discover that indeed there is a new mode of thinking that must take place.
Two immediate problems are inherent in our customary western mode of thinking and these of course must be faced, in order to understand how we must study THE SECRET DOCTRINE. Already some change is taking place; however because attention in western thought is given to objective phenomena, we have become incapable of analyzing subjective movements. As a consequence we have learned to define categories to such an extent that we assign "thingness" to process, and we like to identify "things." We want to see everything outside us and everything takes on objectivity. Psychologically we project on the world our own feelings and thoughts. We project on other people our own attachments, our own desires, our own weaknesses. We live a life of projection and we fail to recognize that we have engaged in this process, and that we must now transform our own consciousness in order to bring about what we feel is better, or more peaceful, or more harmonious.
To overcome these problems that have been inherent in western thought, THE SECRET DOCTRINE employs a method of exposition that is characteristic of all the occult or esoteric texts. And thus we must note that although HPB and her teachers used a language that was available to them a century ago, the method of exposition still pointed to a transformation of consciousness. The method is known in the East as the SUTRA-method: the use of an aphoristic text with commentaries, to bring about a transformation of consciousness. The message that is embedded in that method of exposition is a strange one for most westerners. It has led to some of the very real difficulties that have been faced by students, particularly students that would use what we often think of as the rational mind.
Very briefly the message is a clear one: "Live the life, if you would come to the wisdom." Now this is very strange for most westerners because to understand the rational processes of bringing a universe into being does not depend on living a certain kind of life! And yet if one reads very closely, one sees that this is precisely what HPB tells us.
It was even more explicitly stated by her teachers in their correspondence with two of the early members of the Theosophical Society. In the published collection of the letters known as THE MAHATMA LETTERS TO A. P. SINNETT, there is a very clear statement. One of the English gentlemen, Mr. A. O. Hume, felt that, as a very-well-educated Englishman, he could put in order the teachings of the occult doctrine and in fact he evidently wrote to one of the adept-teachers: "Why don't you just tell us what the occult doctrine is and I will put it in terms that are reasonable and rational and meaningful for the western mind?" And the adept-teacher replies that "it would seem from your western point of view that all we need to do is to write a manual of occultism." "But," he said, "it is not that way in our schools [that is, in the esoteric tradition] that until and unless the student is prepared to receive or understand the truth, it is simply not present." There is no one withholding it. He simply cannot understand it!
And then the very important statement is given: "The illumination must come from within." That method then, of exposition that is designed to awaken that mode of thinking that permits the illumination to come, that method of exposition is given in THE SECRET DOCTRINE. Now this is why I say the message really embedded in this work is simply, "Live the life, if you would come to the wisdom."
Now wisdom is obviously different from knowledge. Wisdom is of a total, of complete knowingness, in which one's whole life now is the exhibition of one's knowing. It is very easy to simply read THE SECRET DOCTRINE -- it may not be so easy, but is really very easy -- as a collection of different facts -- at times, of course, very bewildering facts! And at times it is using language that may seem to be very strange to us. It is very easy to approach it from the point of view of the literal mind, let us say. When we come to the second volume dealing with man's origin and development, we take quite literally these developmental stages of evolution, whether or not they fit in with contemporary science. But if THE SECRET DOCTRINE is to have a really deep significance for us, we are called on to go beyond the literal interpretation. All oil 'these stages for example are still present within us: we are "Atlanteans," we are "Lemurians," we are our own past.
I would suggest that we lay aside all preconceived ideas about the teachings in THE SECRET DOCTRINE and that we attempt at least to some degree to awaken another way of looking at this work. What we are ultimately enjoined to do is to test these principles in our own lives. Hints and clues are given to us throughout these two volumes; clues that will awaken the intuition of the student, clues that will stimulate deeper thought and new insight. It is really not possible to teach sensitivity to truth, to teach sensitivity to order or to beauty, but the very exposure to universal principles can awaken this sensitivity. It is those principles that are presented to us, and thus we are left to work out both the concepts that derive from the principles and their applications in our lives.
It was perhaps the first great philosopher of the western world, the one that gave us the very word PHILOSOPHY, Pythagoras, who had a school at Krotona in Italy, after which the school in Ojai, California -- our theosophical center in California -- is called. Pythagoras referred to two different kinds of ideas. He referred to ideas that have within them a certain dynamic quality that moves us. These were "first truths," universal truths. They are self-evident, when they are understood. They have their own dynamic energy, which changes us. And then he referred to "concepts," or "mental constructs," that may derive from those. We can call them "the technologies of the lower mind." They are simply theories of interest, so we have to look behind those to the universal truth. And this is why he called this mode "philosophy," which was distinguished from the earlier theorizing which was "science." It was concerned with what was the fundamental substance of the universe.
One can look at the word PHILOSOPHY. SOPHOS, of course, is WISDOM. It is the feminine principle of knowing which embraces, and has always been seen as that feminine aspect that nurtures and gives birth to all understanding. It is also compassion. In the Buddhist tradition, it is both wisdom and compassion. This is also true of the Greek SOPHOS. And PHILOS defined a relationship with that SOPHOS. We translate that often with "love," but in Greek there are at least three words for love, and PHILOS defined a relationship in which there was equality. We have it in our English word PHILIA. It is also the root of brotherhood. So there is a relationship in which one is equal to that wisdom, in which one becomes that wisdom; the wisdom is one's brother, so to speak. It is that which is awakened in our own being as our equal, and it is this mode of thought therefore that we have to come into. If we could approach THE SECRET DOCTRINE as we would a well-loved brother, we would come to a new insight, because we share the same parentage. We derive from the same Source.