May 1999

1999-05 Quote

By Magazine

There is something so inexpressibly comforting in the thought that the Masters ARE watching over us, and as your Master has said to me that EVERY INDIVIDUAL ACT TO HELP THE CAUSE IS NOTED AND RECORDED, so you may feel sure that every effort on your part meets with HIS APPROVAL and that you will surely some day get your reward.

-- Letter by C. Wachtmeister to A.P. Sinnett, THE LETTERS OF H.P. BLAVATSKY TO A.P. SINNETT, 296


Creation Myths and Occult Cosmogony

By Joy Mills

[Chapter Three 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.]

Not only may we read THE SECRET DOCTRINE to discover universal principles, those universal principles that govern all existence, but, I would like to suggest, we can look at THE SECRET DOCTRINE as the primary myth of our being. By looking at THE SECRET DOCTRINE as the great cosmological and anthropological myth, we may bring about a transformation of consciousness. MYTH does not mean that what is presented is not true, but myth gives us, or is expressed in, the language of allegory and metaphor -- therefore it concerns consciousness. As we know, in the esoteric philosophy consciousness is primary. It is the foundation of all existence, all appearances.

The entire manifested system is what we call a cosmos. That means that it is an appearance. The process is said to be from chaos to cosmos. Now, chaos is not confusion or disorder. We often speak of a chaotic condition, and we think that is a disordered condition. The original meaning of CHAOS is that it is an abyss, a void -- a void which is a plenum. In German the word CHAOS becomes GAHNEN. This is the Greek word CHAOS as it came into other European languages; in English it is YAWN. Now when you yawn, there is a breathing out and all sounds are possible. When those elements within the mechanism of the human body are brought to bear on that out-breathing, then sounds become articulated. That articulation is a formation of the breath into particularized sound, and so we have words. That however is always a limitation of the original out-breathing, and does not ever fully express the totality of the out-breathing.

So we may say that chaos is pre-order. It contains all the possibilities of ordering. The ordering is a limitation on the original Breath, and therefore that limitation is called COSMOS. The word COSMOS in Greek is related to the word "cosmetic." So when one applies, what most women do, cosmetics, one is covering the original face, so to speak, and perhaps revealing only certain features of the original face. And so it is an appearance that is presented, an appearance which is never the totality.

What we are going to look at are those principles -- or what we may call "archetypal motives" -- by which the original face expresses itself in manifestation. And that is the function of myth, the function that we, through myth, come to an appreciation of the original unity. It has been said that a myth has four primary functions. First, the RELIGIOUS function. That is, that myth evokes awe, a sense of wonder, what is called the "mysterium tremendum," the tremendous mystery of existence. It also has a SCIENTIFIC function, because it reads the cosmic image of the universe. Actually the language of science is our myth today! Because science is not reality, science is a mode of describing how reality works. And so, we must not confuse the map with the territory. We may think that science tells us what reality is, but we are so accustomed to this language of science that we mistake the purpose for which science exists. Science is merely a description of reality or the way reality works; it is not reality itself. Now a third function of myth is SOCIOLOGICAL. Myth helps to affirm the order created by man as the natural order. And so it maintains the social order. It helps us to see how we should relate to each other. And finally, myth has a psychological function. And I hope that in suggesting the primary archetypes, the patterns of creation myths, I will encourage in you the awakening of this PSYCHOLOGICAL function. For it shows how the individual can become the "hero." Actually each one of us is the hero of at least one story. You are the hero of your own story! You may at times appear the villain in someone else's story, but in your story you are the hero.

So I suggest that when we consider THE SECRET DOCTRINE as myth, it makes the presentation less frightening. For one does not really have to worry about what we may call its "facticity," whether it is a fact. Did this happen or did that happen? When did it occur? Is the report accurate in every detail? For here one is concerned with ARCHETYPES, with patterns, and with their images in human consciousness, so we may look at the fact that myth is a psychic reality, an interior reality, and it enables us to approach reality itself in an experiential manner. Remember, it is only one way of viewing reality, and there are other ways, equally valid. But because I am concerned with the central intent of THE SECRET DOCTRINE -- which, I repeat, is to transform consciousness from within, so that the cosmos will more accurately reflect the ordering principles of chaos -- I am concerned with how myth may awaken in us that aspect of reality which will enable us to become cocreators in that process. There are an increasing number of scientists today which speaks of "a cocreative universe," in which we play a central role.

Now let us look at some of the great principles in the creation myths. Creation myths are the deepest and most important of all mythological statements. You may not realize it, but our myths reflect what we think of ourselves. They shape our world view. And while many of the elements found in the creation myths may seem rather weird and abstract, sometimes even rather alien for us who are so proud of our rational minds, we can point to certain archetypal patterns that can be found in those myths. In suggest that there are twelve such patterns. Perhaps these correspond to that remarkable number twelve, that every astrologer will recognize.

First, creation myths always deal with the unknown, a MYSTERY in the true sense of the word. The word MYSTERY and the word MYTH come from the same Greek verb. The Greek verb is MUO and that means "to close eyes, ears, and lips." When these are closed to any external impact or movement, there is an interior silence. And it is in that sense too, that the doctrine is unknowable and secret. That is to say, it is both knowable inwardly, and unknowable from any external sense. And this unknowability seems to be fundamental. One of the great questions that science poses us today is: "When did the universe begin?" And as we know, this is an unanswerable question, because time was not, so there can be no "when." Space-time came into existence following what is called the "big bang." How this occurred is something unknowable. Hence, almost all creation myths begin with some words like this: "Once upon a time ..." Which could be anytime, no time, and all time! The great Jewish theologian Martin Buber suggested that the opening words of Genesis, "In the beginning," should really be translated as: "For the sake of a beginning." We have to start somewhere, but it does not really matter where that starting point is. There is always the unknown.

Now in nearly all creation myths, there is what we can only call a "mirror principle" at work. There is a repeatability at level after level. And what happens at the highest level, in universal Mind, MAHAT, is reflected in all subsequent stages of manifested existence. This mirror principle we may see in many external rituals. When one lays the foundation for a house or a building, one is re-creating the whole world. When a town or a city is established, we recreate the cosmogonical pattern. A center is established, which is the navel of the world around which everything is concentrated. And the town symbolizes a new cosmos. In have been interested to see some cities which have been artificially established as capitals of their countries. In my own country for example, Washington, D.C., in the District of Columbia, is the capital. It was a created city; it started from a center where the seat of the government is located, and it moves in circles with radial lines. In more recent years, Canberra in Australia was established as the capital city, and there was a lake, a body of water, which became the center of the city. And in the center of the lake is a fountain. A very symbolic structure, that is the constant return of water. It is a fluid movement, and there was the feeling of a need for that kind of center. And nearby, around this, are the government buildings. Some years ago I visited Brasilia, in the nation of Brazil. And Brasilia is also a "made" city. When I first visited there, I noticed that there was no center; there were rectangular blocks, each block contained apartments and stores, and these were self-contained units. When I visited Brasilia a few months ago on a tour of South America, I was interested to see that they have established now a center with a circular body of water with a fountain. And the government buildings are now brought together around that water. The need for a center became apparent. So in every culture, rituals or ceremonies are found which MIRROR the cosmic order. In every culture there is a New Year. It may occur at different times of the calendar year, but it is always a celebration in mirror form of the origin of the world itself. If you consider the matter, there is not much difference between December 31 and January 1. There may be the same kind of weather on both days. You eat the same number of meals on both days. There really is not a great difference. But you create a difference! You say, "We do not go to work on January 1." Sometimes you do not go to work on December 31 either. But there is a sense of a new beginning. When I lived in India, at Adyar, as the vice-president of the Society, I was responsible for coordinating the holidays of the various departments, because every department at our Headquarters is entitled to fifteen holidays a year. And I was always interested to see that they all began with a New Year. But the Tamil New Year is not the same as the Telegu New Year. And neither of those is the same as the New Year to which I was accustomed! And so it seemed to me that for several months, we were all celebrating different New Years. And I had to keep in mind which department is dosed on which New Year. So, the point is, that there is always a New Year, reflecting the concept of a new beginning.

Closely associated with this mirror-motif, is another kind of reflection-motif: creation FROM ABOVE DOWNWARDS is matched by creation FROM BELOW UPWARDS. Sometimes this is seen as a kind of opposition, but in many creation myths, everything is created in heaven and then images are projected on earth. One could give a number of such examples. Among certain North-American Indian groups, particularly the Navaho and the Hopi Indians, there are creation myths that say the entire process begins below and in moving upward, attracts forces from above. If you read the STANZAS or the SLOKAS of "Antropogenesis," you will note that the earth attempts to create forms. And a great deal is said about these forms that the earth attempts to create. There is the statement that the earth must work itself to a certain limit, as it were, and then it will attract, as it were, magnetically or by resonance, living, conscious, creative beings from above, that there is a certain point against which it must move in order to attract the greater energies that will bring about what we call "the human condition." You may recognize that there are times when you feel you have a problem to be solved and it appears that you do all in your power to bring about a solution, when suddenly you can let go, and it is as though the solution comes from another artisan, can be too hasty. In one of the great Islamic texts on the creation of Adam, it is said that when Adam was created he lay around as a lump of clay for eighty years. One of the leading theories among biologists today concerning the origin of life on earth is known as the "clay theory." Very interesting, you can read about this in some contemporary biological works, that in clay exist all the microorganisms that ultimately produce living organisms. In any event, according to this Islamic text, Allah gave this lump of clay human shape, but a soul was still lacking. So he lay around for another hundred and twenty years! After which Allah breathed the breath of life into him, but the breath did not completely fill the form so that when Adam wanted to stand up, there was not enough breath and he fell down again. There is a very interesting statement in the Koran: "Man was created in a hasty manner." And in a text in the sacred books of the Jews, the Midrash, there is a story that Isaac approached God on an occasion, and he said:

Look here [they were on good speaking terms, you see] when you created the firmament, you pronounced it good. And when you created all the creatures of the field, you said they were good. When you created the forests and the trees and the plants, you said they were good. But when you created man you did not say "this is good." Wherefore, 0 Lord?

And it is recorded that God answered Isaac and said "Because when I created man, I gave him my laws by which he would perfect himself." Consequently, we become cocreators.

Now the seventh motif, the seventh archetype of creation, is that the creative act is a SACRIFICE. It is as though something has to die for the new to be created. Perhaps this is why Krishnamurti used to say that meditation is death -- because only when there is a death can there be a rebirth. In the Chinese mythology, creation is a kind of murder. And in the Norse mythology, we have the giant Emer, from whose body the world was shaped. In THE SECRET DOCTRINE we have the concept of the Heavenly Man. In Hindu mythology it is Purusha who must be in some manner divided up; he is cut up as a sacrificial act. Each part becomes a part of the universe. In certain Jewish traditions it is said that the first man reached from one end of the world to the other. We have the myth of Osiris, cut into fourteen parts which have to be reassembled. In Greek mythology, Dionysus is fragmented into fourteen parts. In Hindu mythology, Prajapati is cut into one hundred parts. And in the esoteric tradition of Christianity, the body and blood of Jesus become the sacrificial elements of the Mass. And in the Christian Mass we have the beautiful words "As oft as you partake of these elements, you do it in remembrance," putting together the members of that Christ consciousness. So it is a reassembling of that which has been scattered through the universe.

The eighth of the archetypal patterns has to do with the mood, thought, or emotion which leads to creation. It may be a DESIRE that is represented as a kind of sexual union. It is often spoken of as hunger, as thirst. And so we have the image as it is present in occult cosmogony. The concept of "tapas," which we find in the yogic tradition, and of course TAPAS really means "to brood, to give warmth to an inner seed or being," is a concentration of energy. We have this in many of the gnostic texts, as well as in the yogic texts. And perhaps it can even be seen as similar to the current scientific model of creation. There is an explosion from within outwards -- the "big bang" theory. And so that desire creates an intensity of focus.

So in connection with this motif of desire, there is another archetype of the germ or the EGG. In some of the Upanishads this is very clearly presented. Creation is a mighty concentration of thought that hatches the world-egg. And the egg, as we know, is a tremendous archetypal image that we found in all cultures. In the Chandogya Upanishad it says: "In the beginning this was nonexistent. It turned into an egg. The egg broke open." And so on -- one can read this in many Upanishads. In the Chinese text, the I CHING, hexagram 61 identifies the egg as the sign for inner truth. So that there is brooding, self-reflection, a bending back upon oneself. It is warming through the concentration of energy, which then bursts into truth. The truthfulness arises within us.

Now closely associated with this archetype of the egg or the germ is the tenth of our motifs, the motif of SEPARATION. It is a division in the primal unity. The egg is split open, usually into two parts with a space in between. Sometimes it becomes a fourfold division and we see this repeated at many, many levels. In biology, for example, we have the original union of ovum and sperm locked in a very close embrace, and then dividing and dividing again -- the process is known as "mitosis." Now this leads us to numeric symbolism; this is all part of the tenth of separation, numeric symbolism. And one has to be very careful in this matter of division or separation which involves numeric symbolism. HPB says number is a sacred science important in the study of occultism. And she adds "It is on the hierarchies and the correct number of these beings that the mystery of the whole universe is built." Now this is a very interesting statement, because there are different ways of counting. The way with which we are most familiar is the splitting of the original unit and adding other units, so that if I ask you to count, you would say "one," and the next person would say "two," and the next "three." But in the occult cosmogony, it is not addition but multiplication so that it is not one plus one plus one, but it is one times one times one times one. The answer is always one, and so there is a numeric symbolism that proceeds in a different manner: it is by reconstructing the original unit. You do not add a number but you recognize that all subsequent separations are indeed all aspects of the original One. There are indeed cultures in which it is said, that two is the "two-ness of one," three is the "three-ness of one," four is the "four-ness of one." So we have this wonderful concept, given to us by Sri Krishna in THE BHAGAVAD GITA: "With one portion of myself I pervade the universe, but I remain." There is a continuum in which we are rooted. The One always there, no matter what the division. So separation is only a "cosmetic" on cosmos.

But at the same time with that opening of the original Unity, the egg, the images of multiplicity arise, and with that, sequence or time becomes the mode of knowing. If you have ever had a profound experience in which consciousness seemed for a moment to be total, or a genuine mystical experience, you will know that there was a sense of the "all-at-one-ness" of being. And later one began to see its parts. And so the eleventh of the archetypal symbols we can call the motif of CHAINS or generations. For example, in our theosophical studies we often list in some kind of order the principles of the human constitution. We often diagram the field of existence which we refer to as the "planes." We see a kind of layer-cake formation, with the original Source as a kind of frosting around the cake, and we always want to eat the frosting first! So we picture the planetary chains as, you know, one globe after another. But if one is very careful in this matter of number, one recognizes that while there is sequence, that there is the all-at-one-ness that embraces the total. So numerous myths list lengthy chains of generations. In the Old Testament we have an endless list of "begets" -- you know, "Noah begets ..." all the way down.

In THE SECRET DOCTRINE, we come upon such terms as "the army of the voice", HPB speaking of "the host of the Logos," writes:

The esoteric cosmogony begins with the one, the one manifested, not eternal in its presence and being, if eternal in its essence. The number of the numbers and numbered.

And so she says that it is from the number ten or creative Nature, the Mother, that the whole universe proceeded. Now if you look for example at the complex nature of protoplasm, or the complex structure of the DNA-molecule, you know that in both cases the formula is a very long one. It is an extension of one primary substance in a number of permutations of the One. It is the fact that one has moved -- if one can use that term, and it is a movement -- from a condition of Be-ness to Becoming. And this is why the entire nature of consciousness must be changed from awareness of separate things to awareness of process. I have already mentioned that western thought has been so trained in the objective thing-ness of the universe that we have missed what a writer like Fritjof Capra has called "the dance of Shiva." This is why I suggest that language is always related to our world view. For example, in the Navaho language -- the Navaho's are a native American group in the southwestern part of the States -- there are a vast number of conjugations for the verb "to go." There are only three conjugations for the verb "to be." The Navaho never speak of anything without describing its movement. Isn't that incredible? We speak of things as being, their position, as static. In the Navaho language, nothing is static, hence this incredible number of conjugations of the verb "to go." So we must recognize that this archetype of chains or generations is a mode of perceiving that there is a kind of veil cast over the original face of reality. We have become accustomed to calling that veil MAYA, but MAYA is an energy that both conceal and reveals Reality. One could pursue this to great length.

Finally there is a motif, the twelfth one, which is found in many of the mythological texts and which, I think, cannot be overlooked. It is the archetype or principle of what I call the motif of FAILURE. There are abortive attempts at creation. We have this portrayed in THE SECRET DOCTRINE in "Anthropogenesis." There were many early attempts to produce man. You may remember some of them: "the water-men, terrible and bad," "the goat-men" and "the dog-headed men" and "the men with fishes-bodies." Now you may laugh at these but they are still present within us. One of the great stories of initiation -- a tremendous myth -- is written in the second century of our era by an initiate in the mysteries of Eleusis and Dionysius, Lucius Apuleius, and his work is known as "The Transformations of Lucius," otherwise known as "The Golden Ass." The story, very briefly -- and I will not go into it fully -- is of Lucius (whose very name means "light") who sets out to return to his mother's home. That is, he sets out to regain wisdom, Sophia, his mother. There are many adventures he meets on the way. If you can read English do read the story, it is translated by Robert Graves. It is available in a paperback in the English version. In any event, one of the major adventures is that he comes to a home of some people where he stays, in which the woman is named Panphila, which means "all love," "all embracing." And she is versed in the occult arts, but she knows how to use them, because she is love or compassion. But she has a servant-girl, whose name is Psyche -- the reflection, you see, on a lower level -- who has watched her mistress and thinks she knows all of these arts. Psyche assures Lucius that she knows the proper ointment to apply in order to gain him his goal quickly. However, by accident or through ignorance, she applies the wrong ointment, and he is instantly transformed into an ass. He is now a man with an ass's head and can only say "hee, haw!" Psyche does not know the remedy, and so poor Lucius is led off to the stables. Not only is there the failure of Psyche to recognize her own ignorance, but there is also the failure on the part of Lucius to know that a spiritual goal cannot be attained without effort. Lucius, now an ass, undergoes a number of adventures which cannot be recounted here, and which are not really relevant to our theme, the motif or archetype of failure. He is told, though, that to regain his human condition, he must eat of fresh roses, a powerful symbol of the suffering and sacrifice that must be endured when one has lost his humanity. We can only add that after many tests and trials, all very humbling, Lucius does eat of the roses, accepts the necessary sacrifice, and embraces a higher love which leads him onto initiation. Its love for Psyche, which led him to failure, was a love for the lower elements in his being, leading to his own failure; the higher love is represented in the story by another girl named Charity, symbol of the caring and compassion which must characterize the one who would succeed.

Here we have then the twelve great archetypal motifs found in all creation myths, and which we can see represented in our own lives. Each one tells us something about ourselves, for the cosmogonic processes are repeated in the anthropogonic, as we will see as we proceed in this series.


1999-05 Blavatsky Net Update

By Reed Carson

It is with pleasure that we have -- following the suggestions of Daniel Caldwell -- added eight more books on Madame Blavatsky to the bookstore, in addition to the two already there. They are biographies or reminiscences and collectively bring to life, with fullsome detail, her life and the events and people surrounding her. Inevitably, in reading these biographical details, one comes away with a better appreciation of Theosophy itself.

We might mention that we are pleased to include in that eight, Daniel's book, THE OCCULT WORLD OF MADAME BLAVATSKY, subtitled "Reminiscences and Impressions by Those Who Knew Her." This book gives more than fifty personal reminiscences by her contemporaries, giving in total, a vivid portrayal of Madame Blavatsky.

This month, from three more issues, we have added the "In the Light of Theosophy" section of the magazine THEOSOPHICAL MOVEMENT. This section of that magazine follows current developments in the world and relates them to Theosophy. For those who haven't noted it, you may like to see this relevant, high quality work coming out of Bombay. We now have a total of six back issues online and will presumably be adding them routinely hereafter.

I think the most significant change at BN during this month is a change at the bn-study group. It gives me great pleasure to announce that Peter Merriott has volunteered to assume the responsibility of "chief moderator" for the talk group. I think all of us on the talk group are very pleased with the result. The other two moderators, David Grossman and Dallas TenBroeck, will be continuing to offer their services as co-moderators.

For personal reasons I absolutely had to ask for another person to assume this responsibility in order for me to have adequate time to meet personal responsibilities. For the purposes of the site, the time required to manage the list had become so extensive that the Blavatsky Net site had not been able to move forward. Now I should have a little more chance at work in that direction.

I have greatly appreciated Peter's content and style at all times. So I think the list is fortunate. I am also pleased at this turn of events for Blavatsky Net as a whole. Peter adds yet more manpower to a growing team that appears to be making a difference in the Theosophical community. (The list is now at 265 participants, up from 210 on March 1.)

Peter's name has now been added to the help desk on the home page. He can be reached at A new address of is also directed to Peter. At all times please feel free to send thoughts, questions, or suggestions on the conduct of the course to Peter. He will welcome them.

Peter, David, and Dallas, are currently reconsidering the course syllabus to aim for the best possible course. So in particular if you have any thoughts on the course syllabus, they are extra appropriate to pass on to Peter at this time.

(For more information on Blavatsky Net, go to


The Guru-Chela Relationship

By Katinka Hesselink

I write this article, because I think the issue is highly important. The subject of secrecy should, in my opinion, not be viewed seperately from the Guru-Chela relationship.

In this article I will share some of the statements by HPB and Subba Row that I have found and also a statement by someone initiated in Tibetan Buddhism.

As most of you know, H.P. Blavatsky considered Subba Row to be equal to herself in insight and knowledge. I have two reasons for that: 1) the understanding of the Guru-chela relationship has implications (indirectly of course) for the E.S. and 2) this subject goes to the heart of the question of authority in spiritual life.

Anyone acquainted even superficially with Krishnamurti knows that he felt very strongly that there should be no authorities. This coincides with H.P. Blavatsky's idea's in so far as that she wrote:

It is this pernicious doctrine of ever relying upon extraneous help that leads to the collapse -- physical, mental, moral and spiritual -- of well-meaning, but weak and unbalanced minds.


and again in the same place:

Neither success nor safety can be found outside self-development.

So, we are told to think for ourselves and check everything we read against our common sense and intuition. This does not, as far as I am concerned, deny the fact that there are people in this world who know more than we do, who are more saintly than we are. These people can guide us, if they are willing and think us fit.

Why should we ignore the probability of them having capacities and knowledge that we do not? It is as though a child in kindergarten would ignore the knowledge of a mathematics professor, simply because the professor has no way of informing the child of his science.

To stay with this simile, to be able to learn mathematics to a high degree, we have to practice first arithmetic, later elementary mathematics and geometry, and if we would become mathematicians at a scientific level, we must not only practice, but ponder, be creative and be highly motivated. Understanding the theory of mathematics is directly linked to the ability to practice it. The same is true with occultism. What use is it to know that the law of karma exists, if we cannot point out its place in our lives? HPB in her writings repeatedly showed where she saw the law acting to her disadvantage.

HPB also pointed to a few facts she saw as having originated in the actions of the T.S. membership at large. She knew to a large extent how to observe the law of karma in daily life.

The next step is to learn how to work with that law. Once one tries that, one has to go beyond the superficial facts to causes of those facts. This also means, every once in a while that a chela acts contrary to what society expects from them. This also can be very clearly seen in HPB's life.

Spiritual life is like that, because it has to do not only with our mental development, but also with our moral development. And contrary to mathematics, the basics are not taught in every school. None the less a few of the basics were taught by H.P. Blavatsky and other teachers. In my opinion Krishnamurti was one of them. Both emphasized thinking for ourselves and observing.

In many discussions, I've seen people argue that spiritual experience comes from within and the knowledge attached to it, does likewise. That is probably true, but that does not, change the fact that

... the office of Guru or guide is to adjust the disciple in his progress, and not to drag or push him forward.


In fact, without a mentor we are left being mystics, with mystical experiences and perhaps a bit more self-knowledge and therefore wisdom than our neighbours.

Mystical experiences in themselves do not open the door to the kind of knowledge that helps us to help others more effectively. And that should be our goal, if we would follow in H.P. Blavatsky's footsteps.

The secrecy preserved by these sub-lodges, as well as by the one and supreme great lodge, has ever been proportionate to the activity of religious persecutions; and now, in the face of the growing materalism, their very existence is becoming a mystery.


This suggests that at least part of the secrecy is not needed in this century due to lack of religious persecution. On the other hand, with wars raging in Europe, Afrika and Asia, very often on religious grounds, perhaps this reason for secrecy is still relevant. As to growing materialism, this tendency has obviously not stopped.

Chelaship has nothing WHATEVER to do with means of subsistence or anything of the kind, for a man can isolate his mind entirely from his body and its surroundings. Chelaship is a STATE OF MIND, rather than a life according to hard and fast rules on the physical plane. This applies especially to the earlier probationary period ... It should never be forgotten that Occultism is concerned with the INNER MAN, who must be strengthened and freed from the dominion of the physical body and its surroundings, which must become his servants. Hence the FIRST and chief necessity of Chelaship is a spirit of absolute unselfishness and devotion to Truth; then follow self-knowledge and self-mastery. These are all-important; while outward observance of fixed rules of life is a matter of secondary moment.


The powers of Chelas vary with their progress; and every one should know that if a chela has any "powers," he is not permitted to use them save in rare and exceptional cases, and never may he boast of their possession. So it must follow that those who are only beginners have no more or greater power than an ordinary man.


There are various powers that are talked about abundantly in new age-circles in this century. Clairvoyance, i.e. aura reading has even its training schools. As is also known, these powers can be trained. Groups are formed here in the Netherlands at least, where people help each other to distinguish between their own projections and their clairvoyant sight. We must keep in mind that only a moral training involving every aspect of our life can safegaurd against unconscious misuse of powers. On the other hand: one who has eyes, has to learn how to see and know some of the difficulties and limitations that eyes have. It is often said that chelaship is a speeding up of natural evolution. About this, Subba Row has the following to say, explaining the philosophy of Southern India, which is an area known for its sages.

This philosophy recognizes two paths, both having the same end, a glorified immortality. The one is a steady natural path of progress through moral effort, and practice of the virtues. A natural, coherent and sure growth of the soul is the result, a position of firm equilibrium is reached and maintained, which cannot be overthrown or shaken by any unexpected assault. It is the normal method followed by the vast mass of humanity, and this is the course Sankaracharya recommended to all his Sanyasis and successors. The other road is the precipitous path of occultism, through a series of INITIATIONS. Only a few specially organized and peculiar natures are fit for this path.

Occult progress, growth along this path, is effected by the adept directing through the chela various occult forces, which enable him to obtain prematurely, so to speak, a knowledge of his spiritual nature: and to obtain powers to which he is not morally entitled by degree of his progress. Under these circumstances it may happen that the chela loses his moral balance, and falls into the dugpa path. From this it must not be concluded that the Southern Indian School of occultism regards adeptship and initiation as a mistake ...

-- ESOTERIC WRITINGS OF T. SUBBA ROW, 112-13, "Occultism in Southern India."

This is a very interesting article which throws light on other interesting issue's as well.

Again it is made clear that though not relevant for most people, there is a training for chela's and that this training is not accessible to just anybody. This automatically includes SECRETS. Subba Row goes on to explain the function of this school of occultism:

... the adept hierarchy ... has a definite and indispensible purpose and function in the development of the human race. This function is to keep open the upward path, through which descend the light and leading without which our race would require to make each step by the wearisome, never-ending method of trial and failure in every direction, until chance showed the right way. In fact the function of the adept hierarchy is to provide religious teachers for the stumbling masses of mankind.

To sum it all up, I think there is plenty of evidence that the fact that we should all grow as independent upon outside authority as we can, does not at all exclude the fact that there are teachers and they do keep things secret. These teachers should perhaps be called guides or mentors, in order to not suggest to western minds the relationship that a traditional priest had to his congregation. I conclude that they existe, though obviously still very hard to find. I close with a quotation from a book on Tibetan Buddhism. Contrary to what has been suggested on the list in question the Dalai Lama still keeps secrets from us and leaves stuff till after initiation. I will quote from the book ESSENTIAL TIBETAN BUDDHISM by Robert A.F. Thurman, who is a student of Tibetan Buddhism and the Dalai Lama is a personal mentor of his. In theosophical wordings we would probably say that Robert is a chela to the Dalai Lama himself. Here goes from page 45 about chapter 7 and 8 of his book:

These materials are usually not for presentation to an uninitiated audience. I have nevertheless decided to present them in this case, following the green light given by my personal mentor, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, who has himself published initiation ceremonies, considering it now necessary to present at least the general outlines of these sublime visions and yogas in order to disarm those who, for various propaganda reasons, have misrepresented Tibetan Buddhism as corrupt. I have also left out enough detail so that a person who wanted to go beyond reading to actual meditation on the "Esoteric Communion" would have to seek a teacher, accomplish the prerequisites, and receive initiation to do so.

This makes it clear that the Dalai Lama has not given more than a general outline of the texts in his books. My conclusion from the above: initiation and the secrets that are kept are as real now as they have been since the beginning of Kali Yuga.


Man After Death

By George Cardinal LeGros

[A paper read at the Fifth International Inter-Theosophical Convention, held at Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada, June 14-15, 1937, and reprinted in THE THEOSOPHICAL FORUM, November 1937, pages 360-66.]

Let us begin this subject of Man after Death by remembering that he is a Divine being, an eternal pilgrim, now journeying Homeward through the labyrinths of matter, learning in pain and sorrow, and sometimes in joy, the truth about himself and the universe, learning to obey the Law of laws, Compassion, realizing that he must become a coworker with Nature's supreme laws.

I do not think that this can be repeated too often: man is in his heart of hearts a God, a Divine Being. This is his Rock, against which nothing in the universe can prevail, because it implies his own eternal oneness with the Heart of the universe, his oneness with Harmony, Compassion, and the imperishable Life of all things.

We may live in suffering and misfortune: -- "the Karmic progeny of all our former thoughts and deeds" -- but always with us is the fearless, mighty Inner God, whose Peace we can share. He is ever-present. In the deepest darkness he abides with us. Even in death he lives with us. What illusions are the so-called securities of the world compared to him! The wheel turns, and they are gone, and we wander, empty-handed; but indestructible and constant endures this Divinity in our hearts.

By impersonal love and forgiveness Man opens himself to the beneficent influences streaming from the Cosmic Heart, and thus steps into, partakes of, the Eternal Peace.

The Masters of Wisdom and Compassion are individuals who have become more at one with the Inner God than we, who have unfolded into vital manifestation the powers and faculties latent in us all. They feel keenly the pulsing of the great Universal Heart. They gave this wisdom we call Theosophy, a fragment of which will be considered in this paper.

The seven principles of man are seven aspects, expressions, reflections, manifestations, of the consciousness-life-substance which is, in its totality, the Boundless. The man whom we know at present is but a reflection -- a sorry one -- of his "only abiding principles," Atman and Buddhi. He is a stream of consciousness flowing down from above, a radiance, a ray of Spirit-Mind, incarnated in matter, pulled this way and that by conflicting desires.

But here let us pause and think. These seven principles are not the last word regarding the teaching of man's constitution. According to the Esoteric Wisdom, there are, besides these seven principles, three more, belonging to the higher, unmanifested planes of Nature. And moreover, since the part contains everything that the whole has, each of these seven principles, considering man as a sevenfold being, is itself septenary.

But here we will consider man in his sevenfold division because this is relatively simple, and because it harmonizes with the septenary manifestations that we observe throughout all Nature.

The seven principles that go to make up the constitution of man are as follows: the physical body or Sthula-Sharira, the astral, model-body or Linga-Sharira, the life principle or Prana, the element of desire or Kama, mind or Manas, the Spiritual Soul or Buddhi, and Spirit or Atman.

The physical body is a gross, dense form, itself without moral responsibility as an entity, serving man as a vehicle or garment on the terrestrial plane.

The astral body is composed of substance more attenuated than the physical, but still material. It is the pattern for the physical body, is formed before birth, and acts as a link of communication between the mind and physical body.

The life principle or Prana is physical vitality, drawn from the ocean of life for the specialized use of forms, after the disintegration of which it returns to the ocean of life.

The element of desire or Kama is the fourth principle, aspect, of the consciousness-life-substance. It is that in us which desires, moving into action the will. Without some kind of desire we should stagnate and cease to be. Desire is the driving power in life. It permeates the universe.

Mind or Manas is the thinking principle, a spark of the universal Mind, in the beginning unselfconscious, which to obtain self-consciousness must undergo experience in matter. Manas is the link between the god and animal in man because it has two aspects: the first is the Higher Manas, aspiring upward to its source, which is Buddhi the Spiritual Soul. The second aspect is the mortal, Lower Manas, a ray from the Higher Manas, "working through the physical brain and senses." This lower part of Manas, informing the perishable quaternary: physical body, astral body, life, and desire, constitutes the terrestrial personality enduring from birth to death. This personality is the mask of the Higher Self. This Lower Manas is really a false consciousness, an entity that goes to pieces, disintegrates, after the passing of the body, giving up to its source only that of it which is worthy of survival, its pure, self-conscious, spiritual essence or aroma: the high dreams of beauty and harmony, the aspirations lofty and sublime. But if during incarnation on earth it was gross, materialistic, and a denier of soul and immortality, it will then have nothing in it to rise, after death, to the spiritual plane from which it came. In such a case there will be no Devachan for it, and the Higher Nature will draw from it nothing at all.

Regarding the majestic themes of Buddhi and Atman, little can be said. However, in THE BHAGAVAD-GITA we read the following which is helpful:

The senses and organs are esteemed great, but the thinking self is greater than they. The discriminating principle is greater than the thinking self, and that which is greater than the discriminating principle is He.

He is Atman, the Supreme Spirit, the Divine Monad or Ego, the Inner God. The discriminating principle is Buddhi, the Spiritual Soul or Monad, the Inner Buddha. The thinking self is Manas or mind, the Reincarnating Ego, the Human Monad or Soul.

At death the physical body is deserted, and the life principle or Prana returns to the ocean of life from which it came. This reduces the number of man's principles from seven to five. They are: Atman, Buddhi, Manas, Kama, and the Linga-Sharira or astral body. The entity man is now in the region of Kamaloka, or place of desire, a locality in and about the earth, in a vehicle or vesture called the Kamarupa, or body of desire. Perhaps here we should consider what the Kamarupa is. On earth during incarnation man's desires fill his being; they are not independent of him; indeed he is their master because he decides what desires to encourage and follow. But after death and the abandonment of the physical body, the desires coalesce with the astral body, forming the Kamarupa, or body of desire.

This Kamarupa is made up of all the lower desires and selfish impulses that the liberated soul leaves behind, and is therefore wholly bad, being an evil influence to living persons who unwisely permit themselves to become mentally negative, thus making possible the invasion of astral forces. A good man, after death, leaves behind him a relatively weak Kamarupa which soon goes to pieces, and becomes no menace to the living. But a bad man will leave a strong, coherent Kamarupa which will hold together for a long time and cause untold trouble in the world. There is a great moral implication here, because the soul is always responsible for whatever evil its abandoned Kamarupa may do, even if the soul be in Devachan.

The separation of the heaven-bound soul from the Kamarupa is called the 'second death,' an event quite painless to the good man, but a period of great suffering for those who in life persistently identified themselves with the lower nature.

Devachan is not a place or location like Kamaloka, but a state of spiritual consciousness. And it is Karma -- spiritual Karma -- which leads the individual soul to Devachan. While on earth in the body man aspires to noble things, thinks sublime thoughts, and dreams lofty dreams, few of which can be realized here. But they have to come to fruition somewhere, because every cause must produce its effect. And that 'somewhere' is Devachan.

Each man's Devachan is of his own making: it is his own spiritual creation: an ideal world of happiness and peace wherein the tired soul takes rest and assimilates the purified aroma of mortal experience. Devachan is really a dream, but less of a dream than terrestrial life because it is closer to the Heart of Things.

Devachan is over when the spiritual causes which led the soul there are exhausted. The soul is brought back to reincarnation on earth by causes, initiated in past lives, which require earthly conditions in which to manifest.

At the time of death the soul sees the complete panorama of the incarnation just ended, and before birth the conditions that will have to be faced in the coming life are revealed to its inner sight.

To summarize: Devachan is a spiritual state, the efflorescence of spiritual forces engendered by the individual during incarnation. If there was in the life of a man much aspiration to the nobler side of things, hopes for the betterment of the world, efforts in the direction of the "Good, the True, the Beautiful," then the Devachan will be long, rich, and full. On the other hand, if he lived mostly for the material aspects of life, giving little attention to the Real, his Devachan will be brief and almost colorless. And in some cases, as mentioned before, there may be no Devachan at all.

Now it has been said that Atman and Buddhi are the "only abiding principles" in man; but although abiding, permanent, and imperishable, they are not changeless in an absolute sense. Everything is growing, evolving, changing: atoms and stones, worlds and men, universes and galaxies. The highest pinnacle of perfection that we can visualize is but one more horizon against the eternal skies. The farthest range of harmony and perfection attainable in this our present manvantara will be overreached in our next manvantara; and so on forever, "sublime ultimate after sublime ultimate" attained and surpassed, in Boundless Infinity, which is our Home.

Much has been omitted in this study of Man after Death, and all that has been said is very fragmentary. We should not permit our minds to crystallize around any aspect of these teachings because they are always subject to enlargement, and as we evolve intellectually, morally, spiritually, we will see and understand more than we do now. There is an old saying: "Stand ready to abandon all thou hast learned." And this is good advice to the Theosophist. Theosophy is the Eternal Truth of man and universe, but it has no final bourn, no absolute ultimate. How could it? Everything is growing, advancing, and as we follow the turning wheel of time, striving to realize more and more of our essential Divinity, we will come into the possession of greater powers and faculties, and an ever-widening perception. We will gradually become more at home in our universe, more familiar with its sublime mysteries, more serviceable to our fellows.

When we are studying these magnificent teachings and appreciating them with our intellects, let us not forget, even for an instant, the Source of them, the Eternal Foundation from which they spring! Let us not close our hearts for one moment to the ever-abiding Spirit that moves in the Silence, bringing peace to our hearts and illumination to our minds. For this is the great thing: the Spirit behind it all, and the glorious vision that we see when we hold to this Spirit. The Spirit it is that must stir and motivate us in our Theosophical life. For Spirit is the Heart of it all, the Essence, the Light, the Power, and the Guide. With the Spirit and the Vision within and before us we will follow the Ancient Path with certain feet. Indeed, there is no other way we can tread it, for the Path is the Spirit, and the Goal the Vision!

The aim of evolution is the bringing forth in man of his essential Divinity; that he may become it, that he may live and actually be the god that he is in his Inmost. The Messengers of the Great Ones have all brought one Message, which is: "Man, know Thyself. Know Thyself for what Thou truly art: A Divine Splendor, a Deathless God." Be this inner Glory, they have taught, and all that the boundless universe contains will be yours because you yourself will have awakened to the sublime realization that you are the universe, and the universe you! "As above so below."

The everlasting Divine Life flows through all things, holding all things in eternal keeping. The Divine Life is the same in one as it is in another. The selfsame identical Essence that makes us brothers verily makes us ONE. For the whole human race is one grand unit, an organism electrified and driven by Compassion which is, as THE VOICE OF THE SILENCE states: "no attribute" but the Law of laws, Eternal Harmony. We have only to open our hearts and minds to this holy verity, and let the Power that moves behind and within all things stream in, and we shall be transformed, lifted to heights where we shall breathe the air of the gods.

The destiny of the human race is to become a race of gods. It is a wonderful, glorious picture that rises in the mind when we think of this: when we gaze on through the centuries at those grand days when all men will be as brothers, each self-forgetful, each living and striving for the good of the rest, with selfishness dead, and pity and compassion filling the heart. I think that one of the finest things that we can do is to hold steadfastly in our minds this picture of Tomorrow.


Some Ideas and Thoughts on Devotion

By Dallas TenBroeck

In THE BHAGAVAD GITA, Krishna speaks of devotion at the beginning of the third chapter and of the two schools of philosophy that consider it. There is, he says, the Sankhya, the contemplative and speculative School; and, as a contrast, the Yoga School wherein devotion is performed through action.

Krishna states that no being in the Universe is ever totally inactive. Wisdom, or right thought, ought to govern and produce righteous acts. Such a wisdom would include the whole of Nature. Nature he holds is composed of three cooperative and interactive qualities, and, to be devoted, one has to understand and then control these. These three are truth or purity, action or desire, and indifference or inertia.

The Spirit of Life, Light, and Truth stands at one end, and matter, or a form animated by the power of desire is at the other. These two are united centrally by consciousness. This is also called intelligence or understanding, and has, by way of a contrast desire and passion. It may be noted that there is in us a power of perception which is always detached and separate from either of these extremes. It sees them both as objective to it, and although they are intimately associated, they can be separated intellectually.

In every human there is seen to reside a Perceiver, a Witness. It, detached, sees these contrasts, and remains as a Spectator, unmoved by the action of either of them. Devotion is the employment of right motive, which is based on a knowledge of Nature's laws and program. The wise individual is never hopeful of any specific result arising from his unselfish acts. Therefore devotion is that thought and action which is directed at providing for the needs of others. It is unselfishness and benevolence. It is also a knowledge of those laws that apply at that time and that place and to the specific individuals involved.

Mr. Judge states that the devotee to progress has "to become devoted." (p. 64, NOTES ON THE BHAGAVAD GITA) In his LETTERS THAT HAVE HELPED ME we find him writing:

Devotion and aspiration will ... help to bring about a proper attitude of mind, and to raise the student to a higher plane; also they secure ... help which is unseen by him, for devotion and aspiration put the student into a condition in which aid can be given to him, though he may, as yet, be unconscious of it.

-- WQJ LETTERS, 111, see also page 38 on devotion

This hints at a matter of attention, telling us to consider more carefully the events around us. In our lives is such aid already being received? Are others being helped? Are we able to help them?

In 1888, from Ostende, HPB sent to some of her students in London, a letter where she indicates that Adept influence and presence could be noticed by those attentive to unusual coincidences, and curious, or subtle events in the students' life and being.

Mr. Judge draws our attention to the relationship between heedlessness and attention in strong words. He says "I call freedom from heedlessness immortality." This attention can be developed so that we remain aware and attentive regardless of the condition of the physical body, whether it is awake, or asleep. It is a condition of continuous consciousness. (See NOTES ON THE BHAGAVAD GITA, 77.)

Later on (p.98-100), he uses the phrase "the One Consciousness." And, quoting from an ancient text, he adds "it pierces up and down through all the states or planes of Being, and serves to uphold the memory -- whether complete or incomplete -- of each state's experiences."

Bringing these two ideas together, we find from HPB in THE SECRET DOCTRINE:

... the evolution of Spirit into matter could never have been achieved; nor would it have received its first impulse, had not the bright Spirits sacrificed their own respective super-ethereal essences to animate the man of clay, by endowing each of his inner principles with a portion, or rather a reflection of that essence.

-- SD, II, 273 with additional references I, 210, II, 79-80, 281, TRANSACTIONS OF THE BLAVATSKY LODGE, 23-24, and BCW, X

These concepts may also serve as a key to understanding the Gayatri verse:

Unveil, O Pushan, the face of the True Sun, now concealed in a golden vase, that I may see my whole duty on my way back to the Sacred Seat.


Viewing these, we may perhaps, grasp with greater certainty the concept of the "god (Atman, the Higher Self) within."

It is but a step, to perceive that every one of our fellows, and in fact all beings have the same animating ray from the one spirit at the core of their being. They too, are innately bright Spirits. Thence, we may further extend our vision, to secure and exercise clear vision (true clairvoyance). This is shielded from our use at present by the gross matter of our physical bodies, and the focus of our waking consciousness being continually and voluntarily fixed on the separateness of our psycho-physical natures.

It may be for this reason that Mr. Judge indicates that the true Yogi acts on behalf of his brother when he sees in his mind the need for actions that are necessary to be done. True clairvoyance provides for this. The power of the need brings forth (under the laws of Karma) right assistance.

We are told that the Spirit -- Atman -- needs as vehicle, Buddhi -- wisdom -- in order to act through Manas -- Higher Mind. HPB states in THE SECRET DOCTRINE, II, p. 79-80, that some of the Egos now working through humanity are returning Nirvanees from earlier Manvantaras. These are exemplars of the higher, the moral Mind in action, that which lives and works with karma. It has elected, because of a vow it took to assist all beings, to live, work and view life's efforts through the agency of the embodied mind, the Lower Manas. Thus we have before us a key to the mystery of the two Egos in man. The immortal God, and the developing god. (See also SD, I, 225, 573-74, II.)

When operating through the psychic nature, this mind faculty is sometimes referred to as Kama-Manas, when it allows itself to become involved in the toils of passion and desire. It then becomes clear that for the perception of any spiritual truth, the lower Manas needs to thoroughly understand all motives, and be an honest interpreter.

In ISIS UNVEILED, I, 92-3, HPB speaks of the PTR or petroma as such an interpreter -- in the Mysteries -- between the Hierophant and the aspirant. There she indicates that this condition prevails everywhere in Nature where the more advanced serve the lesser as instructors, and assist them in their developing of their own self-consciousness. [See ISIS, I, xxxiii, II 92-3, 392.] This self-consciousness may be understood as the direct relationship in conscious communication between the purified Lower Mind and the resident HIGHER SELF within.

The Bhakti path of devotion is in the outer world pursued by many with a heart entirely devoted to righteousness. But some seem to have elected to do this without much thought. Such a pure inner urge will eventually lead to the great Goal. But the time can be shortened if, to right motive, knowledge is added and applied with diligence. This is the right use of the Mind.

In our way of life, we find that the use of the devotional Path to the Goal can abridge the time to reach the goal of perfection, as we add the active mental faculty of purified understanding and attention to our heart-devotion. Further, should these not be augmented by discrimination tutored by spiritual intuition? Is this not one of the reasons why a sincere student may spend some time daily, in examining his nature, his capacities, the action of the three qualities within himself; and finally, his own motives? Would this not be, possibly, an active daily time spent in communion with his Higher Self? Universal and spiritual ideas, as Krishna observes, can then be seen springing up spontaneously from within, when we act to quiet the lower mind and the thousand chords of desire.

Should this not be considered a further proof of the indivisible, fundamental and universal SELF within? If we have the capacity to examine our minds, our hearts, our feelings and desires, then we are none of those. We are the unmoved Spectator, the Perceiver, the Examiner, and all the rest are our perceptions and inclinations. We observe them and can decide to alter and change them. It is this individual spiritual power, the will, that enables us to progress.

Certain ceremonies, rites and rules were at one time designed and instituted to assist those who became aware of the nature and power of their inner spiritual selves. These were originally designed to take advantage of the power of the vow, of the devotional method, which kept the vision of the aspirant focused on the universal and Supreme Self of all creatures, the Krishna within his own heart, and the law of the cycles whereby the impressions of his previous thoughts and actions (karmic skandhas) returned to him.

Would the results produced not depend on the quality of the motive? Cyclic energies would seem to play a part in this. And, this is what organized, and authoritarian sects take advantage of, as they depend on most of their adherents not inquiring too closely into the real nature of their own being and inquiring into the timing of these facts.

If we view the Three Qualities [Sattva, Rajas and Tamas] and consider them to be each polarized, or dual, then we have the six vehicles + one Principle, the Atma, giving the seven principles of Nature. We see that the Real Man -- the One Consciousness -- being the seventh and the synthesis, unites all together (See GITA NOTES, 98-100).

The physical body is based on the astral body. In that astral form, circulates the individual Prana, the life principle. And this, in turn, serves as a basis for the continued residence of instinct, the Kamic nature, which in Man is transformed by contact with Manas, into a personal entity, the passions and desires.

We could say that all these are basically aspects of fields of force, each fulfilling their own function in that aggregate of the personality which we name the Man, or, our present embodied reality. And to this Theosophy gives the appellation: the Lower Self. Looking then at the Individuality, the permanent Man, we may see that the Manas serves as a base for wisdom: Buddhi. And Atman, the imperishable ray of, and impartite oneness with the SPIRIT, presides over all. In reality it is the only principle -- ATMA, and the rest are its various vehicles.

Over these 7, which constitute the actor in the field of matter, may we not see brooding the primal Trinity, the One-in-Three reflection of the ABSOLUTE ONE. The totality is thus 10, the perfect number of Pythagoras. [The 3 Qualities, are described and detailed in GITA, Chapters 14 and 18, pp 100-4, 115-118.] Applying the fact that the Real WE is able to refine every aspect of the lower nature, we find in the 18th Chapter (p. 129) that Krishna states:

... abandoning egotism, arrogance, violence, vanity, desire, anger, pride and possession, with calmness ever present, a man is fitted to be the Supreme Being.

Should we not understand from these words that Krishna means: a Mahatma, a purified individuality -- a Great Soul, which, as a being-unit, is for ever a conscious and responsible active part of the UNIVERSAL BEING? This implies that there are further stages of growth and responsibility for all Mahatmas in the general progressive and infinite scheme of development. Historically, HPB writes of the period when, from Central Asia the early Aryans invaded India (about a million years ago), and those became the pupils of the Raja-Rishis, the Kingly-Sages, individuals who ruled as wise, and spiritual Kshatriyas. Of these Janaka was one, and Krishna himself, belonged to this lineage.

Our present mind is not the ultimate We. The power of mind and the real meaning of meditation are to be understood (GITA, 65-6) and used if we are to rediscover the real root of [our] being. If we use the mind to meditate, we are other than the mind. Should we not say that we use as a primary correlation, the will? We set it in motion and direct it to work with the tools of this plane of living. This includes the brain-mind which is able to effect this work for and within its own nature -- that which we call our personality. This work seems ideally designed, to assist those tools of our psychic, mental and physical nature in widening and deepening their intelligence and perception. This sensitivity leads us to perceive the true nature of brotherhood. Mr. Judge gives us a wide and complete view of this in the Ocean of Theosophy, Chapter 8, beginning on p. 60.

Aspiring to improve our understanding, and approaching this from the point of view of embodied experience, the highest out-post of which is in our lower Manas (embodied mind), would this not be what Krishna means by asking Arjuna to invoke the "mysterious power of meditation" (GITA, Chapter 9, p. 66), which, when first seen in operation, is often assumed, passively, to be the power of the Karma of our past? Is it not this that we are to work in and on, so that we may adjust and purify it ? If we are able to direct and modify it, then we are on the path to become, eventually, a Master of Meditation and of Devotion.

This cannot be done without strain and reaction generated by the habits set up us in the past of this life and of earlier lives:

... for the whole load of ancient sin rushes to the front and the events succeed each other rapidly; the strain is terrific, and the whole life fabric groans and rocks.


This situation is that which enables us to clear up the old karma of unfinished business. It is natural that in our embodied mind consciousness we find we become fearful, and may seek to avoid the trials and changes needed. But if these are not met and mastered, it is only natural to anticipate that they may return later in a more terrible form. We cannot escape our choices and the effects we started. But we can balance and adjust them.

Most of this past Karma cannot be adjusted in one life, so there is a hold-over to the next, when the bodily apparatus is reformed in which much of that which has been lying in wait can be balanced. This involves for us, the need to develop and exercise patience, calmness and a willingness to accept all that comes with a minimum of strain or anxiety -- these are ideas Mr. Judge develops in many places in Letters That Have Helped Me.

To withstand this assault (which comes in the form of a battle from, and in, his own lower nature), Krishna advises Arjuna to practice dispassion, non-attachment, and never to be anxious, or hope for a reward. As we progress, have we not noticed that we have been helped by old companionships, and we often assist one another, or find ourselves assisted with ideas and views, sometimes in mysterious ways that evoke an increased appreciation of their worth ?

If abnegation (a surrender of self-interest) is difficult to understand, some thought and meditation on these concepts may make it easier. It is the embodied mind, us, as kama-manasic natures, that have by reasoning to assure ourselves of our continuity and base in immortality. We, alone, can immortalize our selves through altruism.

The next concept to grasp and hold is brotherhood. Every being in the universe around us, supports us -- our food, the air and water, the earth, our friends and the whole environment is part of this support, which, often unrecognized, is taken for granted, and whether we live lives of value, or the reverse.

Life and living are evidence of the cooperative nature of all Nature and Life. No one can be an island unto himself, since without this cooperation we could not exist in a body. Is this realization not part of our life's meditation ? This is universal brother-hood in action. This is the universal significance of devotion.

It is putting into practice in our personal lives the motto of the Theosophical Movement: There is no religion higher than Truth.


Why I'm Not Interested

By Perry Spiller

When I'm asked if I'm interested in online Theosophy, I find it to be a kind offer, but have to answer, "Thanks, but no thanks."

I used to be a Theosophical Society member, in Napier, New Zealand. I still live nearby, but have long since lapsed my membership, but not my interest. I even had John Coats at home for dinner with us, when he was T.S. president on a New Zealand tour. Then we later met up with his widow, Betsan (from Australia at that time) when we were on the soil reminerisation campaign.

At the risk of being overly forthright, I generally found Theosophy -- and theosophists -- too theosophically-minded to be of any earthly value. Well, more-or-less so. And mostly so. However, I did learn a lot from them before moving on.

My personal spiritual development finds little that's edifying in abstract and sometimes abstruse concepts. I have an urgent need for wisdom that deals with (and helps me deal with) the here-and-now.

I consider myself an exoteric heretic, a student of mystical and esoteric Christianity and spirituality, a bit of a pantheist, and sorely tired by the burden this all imposes on what I do today and tomorrow.

Among the changes wrought by this quest of mine, I became a vegetarian about 30 years ago, then an organic farmer (practical husbandry and stewardship) and I've been at it ever since.

More recently, after 15-20 years absence from academic pursuits, I'm gradually picking up on it again. But still with a very contemporary and boringly practical emphasis.

I looked through the posts and decided it was not for me, yet. A friend sent me your way. I do appreciate being welcome by online Theosophy, but it's just not for me.


Two Beloved Attributes

By Rose Winkler

[From THE THEOSOPHICAL FORUM, April 1936, pages 306-9.]

The condition which high friendship demands is the ability to do without it. To be capable of that high office requires great and sublime parts. There must be very two, before there can be very one.

-- Emerson, on "Friendship"

One cannot study Emerson's ESSAYS without becoming deeply impressed with the fact that two very essential attributes of his character were his profound conception of friendship and his lofty ideal of what the noblest expression of love should be. To him, evidently, they were spiritual, transmuting powers insulated against the revival of past weaknesses which, in the arduous labor of overcoming personality, had passed through fire-cleansing experiences. Having become alchemically purified, the truest and most sacred in the heart-life could venture to bare itself to them in faith, and absolute confidence.

How I have pondered over the following words: "the condition which high friendship demands is the ability to do without it." Is it not so, for truly, personal desire once transmuted into impersonal love, that noble attribute beneath which still lurk disparities, desires nothing for itself, but relatively contributes the stalwart ability to do without it. Verily, each must find himself before he can find the other! But longing to unfold this thought to a more satisfactory conclusion, I looked to Mother Nature to help and inspire me, as she did in my earlier years. Then, enwrapped in the gentle folds of her soothing harmony she would clarify my understanding, and thenceforth I never was quite able to deny myself her ready and unfailing response. Notwithstanding this, she and I appeared to be 'very two,' and yet, how was it when she and I at heart were 'very one'!

Seating myself in one of her lovely sanctuaries, templed by the filtered shade of gleaming leafy boughs, the clear cool atmosphere reflected a rare mystical azure, a harmonious blend of the distant manasic-blue mountains, the smiling blue sky and the marine-blue auric veil floating over the sea, which seemed to palpitate with some consecrated message. The perfume-laden breeze, like honeyed sweetness, diffused the fragrance of aromatic herbs distilled in Nature's laboratory, linking her impersonal consciousness to mine for holier communion. Thereafter, portals opened into shining chambers beyond, and the glory glimmering in each human heart, reacting to a spark of the awakening spirit, burst into lovely flame. It was thus I learned that the higher never acts directly on the lower; it requires an intermediate transmitting agent to intervene everywhere, and the eye of the lower, as the spiritual soul or Buddhi-Manas does through the visualizing power of Manas, the Higher Ego or Thinker.

All our Leaders have taught that there is a mystic alliance between man and Nature, that man is a child of the universe, that the forces and powers that comprise the one are inseparable and identical with those that comprise and construct the other. Although we must learn to walk alone, the solitude imposing itself for further self-acquaintance is but a temporary necessity to spiritual growth. Again I learned, that although man and Nature appeared to be 'very two,' they were, indeed, 'very one.' When we realize that man in his dual nature is mortal and immortal, an animal man and a god-man within his corporeal body, we further learn that androgynous man in the Third Root-Race separated into sexes, one positive and the other negative. Each, like spirit and matter, knew itself not, both being the opposite aspects of Reality, and through incalculable ages each evolved the dual aspects of itself -- the spiritual and the corporeal.

Truly, in the spiritual sense, true friendship and impersonal love, ever expanding in the consciousness of oneness with the Universe, under the fire of heroic experiences, blossom forth to glorify true manhood and womanhood by their perennial beauty, strength, and lofty aspirations. In their higher unfoldment, each guards the other as his counterpart, and like progressive spiritual entities, gains the ability to do without the other, and in acquiring and recognizing these majestic attributes in the other, the rarified virtues forge a closer bond and each blends more intimately and becomes at one with the other. These two beloved attributes, like towering, glistening, snowy peaks, rise majestically heavenward out of the deep bosom of divine Compassion, and in their compelling mysterious power they pulsate rhythmically and elevate the ideals in the core of the inner god and in every human heart.

Their beauty, strength, and nobility, inspire and shield, and ever stimulated by loftier ideals, these expanding attributes soar onward with extending gold-tipped wings, flashing ever more brilliantly in the dazzling rays of the divine Monad or Higher Self. The happiest mortals are they who no longer crave the gratification of the desires and senses, for the unerring law brings evidence that true friends are self-elected. Besides, these loved qualities have a lustrous power to disperse the shadows of life and metamorphose the lower traits into the higher. Thus by irradiating their magnanimity to exalt the eager soul, it follows the magnetic channel and finds the way to open the portals to the Vision Sublime -- at-one-ment with the All. Therefore, all personal desires, like the stone of matter, must be banished, rolled away, not to hinder, but to aid the pursuit of the long-sought ideal of infinite beauty and universal compassion concealed in the heart of every human being. Dr. G. de Purucker says:

You yourself must awaken in your own soul the holy flame; and it is the same with every other step in spiritual and intellectual progress that you make. You yourself must experience the unspeakable delight of Compassion -- the ineffable feeling of being at one with the ALL. You yourself must be the vehicle of the inner light, must gain it. It is both in you and above you, invigorating you and inspiring you. Be it.


Since there are as many different orders of friendship and love as there are individuals, some general but brief definitions contrasting them might be helpful. Whereas friendship is tempered by reason it lacks the ardor of love, while ordinarily, love is more selfish and involved with the passional nature, so that, as commonly said, love is blind to the faults of the loved one. But not so with impersonal love. It seeks nothing for itself nor temporizes with the personal weaknesses, but if necessary, prefers gently, wisely, and patiently to transmute a fault into a virtue, thereby extinguishing the baser, in order to conserve the highest welfare of the beloved. True friendship and impersonal love act in harmony with the Voice of Divinity within, thrilling every motive to vibrate as unselfish action which draws souls to each other.

Neither stoops to affect a glamorous charm. Both seek virtue and wisdom, hence scorn to envy or supplant the well-merited position of either the loved one or the true and tried friend. With unfaltering confidence and trust, each unquestioningly supports the other through any failure or trial. When love is impersonal, it lacks the desire for self-advantage; and friendship, its twin sister, becomes its backbone, as it were, stimulating love's holy desire gladly to sacrifice life itself, if need be, for the welfare of the loved one. These beloved attributes, functioning as twin-sisters, have their root in the eternal god-spark or Monad, and operate as electromagnetic forces drawing all similar things to themselves like a magnet. Their standard may be gauged by the indissoluble strength of the links forged in the purifying trial of fire. The heart-force augmented by boundless sympathy distinguishes an exemplary character. May not the ideal relationship of Michael Angelo and Vittoria Colonna approximate more or less this latter type?

Love is peace; love is harmony; love is self-forgetfulness; love is strength; it is power; it is vision; it is evolution. Its power so expands the inner nature that slowly you become sympathetic, because you become at one with the entire home-universe in which you live and move and have your being; and you become at one with the divinity in the heart of all things.


The Messengers and Teachers, in their all-inclusive and Almighty Love, express the most inspiring, beautiful, and enduring friendships. I wonder whether anything in human life surpasses the beauty of such an ideal devotion. THEY never unclasp the hand of friendship and love with their disciples. The more changeless, loyal, and enduring is the unselfish devotion of the disciple, the more beautiful and unbreakable the bond. Through incarnations the golden link of spiritual brotherhood enlivens and glows in the endless acts of altruistic service evoked in the one and the other. Such a bond of love and friendship is an unspoken covenant with the Divine and makes of the 'very two,' the 'very one.' These great and sublime qualities distinguish the mighty and heroic characters of the highly evolved Messengers, inspiring by their all-permeant love all high-minded and spiritually inclined men and women for incarnations to come.

An endless trail of grades of evolving entities are attracted to them not only by their electromagnetic and spiritual power, but by their unfolding oneness with the All. Their energizing radiations help them to mount from height to height, and on reaching the human stage to advance from men to heroes, from quasi-divine beings to gods and supergods, progressively evolving to at-one-ment with the Boundless All. They, having passed through unspeakable trials and heart-searing experiences, are through their compassion cemented indissolubly in a mystical sense, through the very blood of their hearts, becoming 'very one' with the Guardian Wall which protects Humanity from yet greater suffering and despair!


The Sight of the Radiant Mind

By Eldon B. Tucker

[reprinted from THE QUEST, Spring 1996, 12-14.]

It is a warm, sunny afternoon. The young woman sits on the hilltop overlooking the pacific ocean. Sitting cross legged, with a handful of flowers in her lap, she gazes off into space. Occasionally a seagull flies by. She hears the distant sound of surf breaking on the rocks at the shoreline. She is enjoying life, yet somehow connected to things in a way that is not apparent.

In a makeshift wooden shack in a remote hillside in central Africa, the elderly gentleman sits at a table. He is reading a book on spiritual philosophy. His fingers trace the words across each line as he reads the page before him. The man is almost motionless, but there is a sense of excitement about him that is easily sensed upon approaching. The slight smile on his face is replaced by laughter as he reaches some words that he finds particularly appealing.

The librarian has put his family to bed for the night. Soon he too will have to go to sleep. There is a few minutes that he can have to himself. Connecting to the Internet, he checks his email, and finds several messages of interest. Pulling his favorite books off the shelves, he quickly locates some choice quotations, then sits down to start writing. As he starts typing on his computer keyboard, he finds himself almost in another world, and he is not just writing his ideas, but learning much as well.

Throughout life, we can see examples of where a special faculty of knowing makes itself known. This faculty could be called RADIANT MIND. It is more than intuition, more than imagination, more than the results of reason and logic. The faculty represents a different use of the mind for understanding life.

There is a story of a number of blind men that come across an elephant. One feels the trunk, and says the elephant is like a snake. Another feels a leg and says the elephant is like a tree. A third might feel a tusk, and say the elephant is like a curved spear. Each of them is accurately describing what they know BY PERSONAL EXPERIENCE of the elephant. But their experience is based upon the sense of touch; it is a certain kind of experience that has its particular limitations.

Theosophy teaches of another kind of experience, one that is analogous to the sense of sight. With this form of experience, we could see the entire elephant at a glance, and know more about it than we could by touching any part of the elephant.

With one type of experience, we learn things by doing them in a literal sense. We learn that fire burns by putting our hand in the flame and getting burned. We learn that it is wrong to lie to people by lying and suffering the painful consequences. We learn of the moon by looking at it in the sky. This form of experience corresponds to TOUCH, since we need to bring ourselves into direct contact with something in order to know it.

There is another type of experience that corresponds to the sense of sight. With it, we can comprehend experiences in life without actually having to go through them. We gaze upon something, and with a different power of mind, we UNDERSTAND BY EXPERIENCE, although this sense of EXPERIENCE is different from what is ordinarily understood by the term.

To KNOW BY SIGHT requires an unobstructed field of view. The farther removed from personal experience the SMALLER the object will appear. When we are far enough away from an experience, we can comprehend the big picture, seeing an entire situation at once, a perspective that we don't have if we are too-close to things, or simply in the midst of them.

This faculty of knowing is not more real than the other. It is just different. It is not more perfect. All faculties of consciousness are finite, limited, and subject to error. We can make mistakes and misunderstand things with either manner of knowing, by direct experience or the experience that arises from the directed action of the mind.

What is a type of problem that can arise? For objects that are FAR AWAY, or distant from our immediate personal experience, we lose a depth of field to our vision. Visual cues disappear that help us distinguish the big and far away objects from the small and close-to-one objects. We can confuse small experiences and insights that are close to our lives with far away, cosmic experiences. It is possible to confuse personal and divine experiences and lose a sense of perspective on life.

This second mode of experience and knowing life is open to anyone with the proper preparation. It is not reserved for the elect of humanity. Having and using the faculty is not a rare, exceptional thing, that should appeal to our vanity. It is just something that we can do, if we would become aware of it and simply try.

The panoramic views of life are breathtaking. They represent a form of spiritual experience that may not be possible to talk about to those who do not see. But the faculty is fallible, it is subject to mistake and to error like any other type of perception. We cannot take anything we arrive at as unerring truth.

As we read, study, and contemplate deep spiritual truths -- as found in such great works as THE SECRET DOCTRINE by H.P. Blavatsky -- we eventually reach a point where it all falls in place, and we feel connected in a special way. This feeling is similar to when learning to touch type, we suddenly find that we can stop thinking about the individual letters that our fingers are reaching for, and concentrate on the words that we are trying to type. We have moved to a new form of study and understanding.

At this point, we are connected to the materials in a special way. We almost know what will be said on the next page of the book, before turning the page and reading it. We are connected to the THOUGHT-CURRENT behind the book, and in touch with the source of the ideas that the book attempted to express. Exploring this source is a form of learning, discovery, and teaching for us that is as real in its own right as the study of the printed page.

This is somewhat akin to brainstorming, or writing in a receptive state of mind when new ideas almost magically appear in our minds. It is not a dialog with ANOTHER, with a different being or complex in our psyche, but more akin to tapping a source of understanding.

What we are in touch with could be called an inner teacher, but it is not a being, not an entity external to ourselves. Rather, it is a fount of ideas, insights, inspirations, and EXPERIENCES! What we arrive at through this inner source is not authoritative and not without error, not more so than what we arrive at from reading a book. We can err in anything that we do.

Our inner teacher is a form of perception, a form of knowing. With it, we can look and learn. We can gaze onto the ocean, read a book, or be writing email, and tapping this fount of knowledge and experience.

This faculty does not represent disconnecting from the external world, just another way to relate to it. There is still a need for constant reality checks, to keep our beliefs, ideas, and behavior in harmony with the external world. We need all forms of experience, both inner and outer, in order to be firmly rooted in life. Neglect any aspect of our nature, and we get out of harmony with life.

One aspect of the theosophical movement in the world is to provide a spiritual practice where this inner awakening can occur. The practice is not spelled out nor explained to the student of Theosophy. It is simply the result or effect of a deep study of the Esoteric Philosophy.

For the student of Theosophy, there is not just value in study of the deepest literature for the intellect, for the acquisition of specific metaphysical facts and information. There is also the proper setting for a spiritual awakening. As we study the content of the theosophical books, we are also engaged in a process, engaged in a form of training that naturally leads to spiritual awakenings. This does not need to be told to us in advance. In fact, it might be counterproductive to talk too much about it to the new student, because we don't want to encourage the desire for personal acquisition, which would get in the way of the unfolding spiritual process.

We study the theosophical books for the value of the content, certainly, but also for the PROCESS, a special form of training. There is a definite path to spiritual development in that study, even though it may not be apparent in the initial stages, and may be flatly denied by some who have not experienced it. The books are studied like a Zen koan, a puzzle with a paradox that forces new, different, and direct insights to arise. We GO BEYOND THE WORDS, and arrive at their source. The intellectual study and use of reason are a necessary foundation for this, but are not in themselves sufficient. Without an intellectual basis for our GOING BEYOND, we are not awakening a new power of mind, but only having a mystical experience that stands apart from our understanding of life.

Will this process work with any book? Could we go into a bookstore and take any work of religion or philosophy and engage this practice? We could try, but are not guaranteed results for our efforts. The process requires both PROCESS and CONTENT, and the key theosophical books contain CONTENT derived from the Mahatmas, from spiritually advanced souls that have far exceeded us in knowledge, wisdom, and spiritual unfoldment. Their words and ideas heavily tie in with our higher faculties. Behind their words is a THOUGHT-CURRENT that links the student to their wisdom. The words of more common writers do not have this connection, or the connection is weak and tenuous. Anyone can think up an idea. What makes theirs special? Because the ideas have been tried and proven by countless generations of adepts, and have over time become more accurate in pointing to the living realities of life than other ideas.

Some ideas are deeply rooted in nature, in life itself. We hear that over countless generations, the Masters have learned and studied the deepest secrets of life. They pass on their knowledge to their peers, generation to generation, as a living tradition. The knowledge is passed on by teaching and training, since it far transcends the power of the written word to preserve Truth.

Over time, they have arrived at various key concepts, central ideas that contain a wealth of wisdom. These truths, we find, in our studies, are like onions. They have level after level of meaning, each level taking us a bit deeper in our understanding, like peeling one skin after another off that onion. The ideas include reincarnation and karma. In our study, we don't bounce back and forth, with the first insight accepting karma, with the next rejecting it, and with the following insight accepting it again. Rather with each deeper insight that we have, we find a new, fuller, more comprehensive appreciation of the essential truth of karma.

The faculty of directly knowing things is something that we DO, and no one should feel that it implies a claim for being special. It does not require special occult or spiritual status to engage the process. Any of us can take the necessary steps to open it up. It is useful to teach and encourage the practice of opening up in this way, as long as we are careful about when and how we talk about it to others.

For those of us unfamiliar with this faculty of understanding, it is possible to come to Theosophy and study the books without having to "believe in it." It is not spoken of plainly nor stressed as important in the literature. It is easy to confuse the imagination with it, when we haven't actually done it. It is, though, more than imagination, because it as an element of direct knowledge and ACTUAL EXPERIENCE that is not readily apparent at first. And we don't have to be particularly aware of it as we study the great literature, since it will open up of its own accord, in due time.

In our study of the great philosophies of the world, we are taught to keep our minds plastic, fluidic, ever-renewing. As we revisit great truths, we rethink them freshly each time, rather than simply repeating the same old words. And with each revisitation, we keep ourselves totally open, at-risk, vulnerable to rethinking things in a different way than before. This fluidity and flexibility of mind are necessary in order to express the higher understanding.

As we gaze on the vast panoramas of life, with our mind's eye, life is beheld as radiant, luminous. There is the glow of the spiritual behind all things. We are filled with a sense of excitement, of a living, solid connection with an inner reality that ennobles and warms our experience of outer life.

There is no need to validate our insights and experiences through convincing others and winning converts to our viewpoint. We are in a sense self-contained and self-sufficient, although definitely not self-centered! What we are filled with is treasured and felt to be so valuable that we must express it tangibly in the world in some manner, and often the spoken or written word is the only means afforded us for that expression. We communicate TO SHARE, not TO CONVERT, since we realized that the words which we speak are only expressive of what we enjoy, and are not that joy itself.

The experience is mystical in a sense, since we may grasp things that cannot readily be put into words. And it is occult in the sense that it deals directly with the living reality of things, though they often are hidden from the untrained eye. What we learn may seem impractical in the sense of not directly relating to the external needs of food, clothing, shelter, companionship, but immensely practical in our appreciation of life. Our living awareness of life is awakened, and transcends the filtering done by mental images, the filtering through words and concepts, that now become expressive rather than attempting to describe before-the-fact what we perceive.

We have a reverence, a feeling that we are holding, in the presence of, or in interaction with something precious, tremendously valuable, even divine in nature. This sense of specialness is not related to how powerful, strong, or better we may be or act than another. It is as illusive and immeasurable as a baby's smile, yet tangible, real, powerful enough to affect whole worlds.

There is a living presence in our lives that is not a person or being, and is not exactly outside or inside oneself. It is just that TO US life is different now, we are, in a way, operating on a higher spiritual plane, while yet alive on earth.

We may sit down to a book, or to think about a subject, and will find answers to our questions, just as though we were consulting a book or talking to a teacher. But we are now engaging an INTERNAL PROCESS rather than consulting an external source of knowledge. Does this preclude external teachers and learning? No. It is in addition to the external, and really needs a strong intellectual foundation of learning and study to remain a faculty of mind, rather than simply a mystical appreciation of life.

Attempts to describe the EXPERIENCES BY SIGHT faculty of mind may be made in many different words. This article is one such attempt, but cannot be considered to be authoritative, nor considered as more than just an attempt to explain the elephant by how it feels to the touch. Much is lost in putting a description into words. Many different ways of writing about the spiritual awakening could be taken.

Perhaps we could just say: Look within. Let's approach that inner voice that speaks wisdom. Search out that sense of fundamental reality that is deep in our hearts, a connection to life that is never lost, however long we may have forgotten it. Loosen up the rigid hold of the mind, and bring a freshness of insight to it by rethinking things anew each time. Fill our hearts with loving kindness, with a calm, gentle appreciation of the joy of being alive! And most important, honor our divine impulses, give tangible expression in the world to the beauties that we behold with our inner eye, beauties that long for expression in the world!


Theosophy World: Dedicated to the Theosophical Philosophy and its Practical Application