June 1999

1999-06 Quote

By Magazine

The white Adept is not always at first of powerful intellect. In fact, HPB had known Adepts whose intellectual powers were originally below the average. It is the Adept's purity, his equal love to all, his working with Nature, with Karma, with his "Inner God," that give him his power. Intellect by itself alone will make the Black Magician. For intellect alone is accompanied with pride and selfishness: it is the intellect PLUS the spiritual that raises man. For spirituality prevents pride and vanity.

-- H.P. Blavatsky, THE INNER GROUP TEACHINGS, page 7.


The Living Web of Meaning

By Joy Mills

[Chapter Four 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.]

The theosophical world view postulates our rootedness in a realm of meaning. While contemporary science recognizes that there are levels, hierarchical levels of complexity in organization, it generally does not recognize that meaning is inherent in the system, that there is some energy or dynamism that provides the way in which the system unfolds. That, in other words, intelligence is present throughout the universe. And yet we have to ultimately come, I think, to that profound metaphysical position.

As I already have suggested, myth and metaphor provide the carriers of meaning in understanding ourselves and the world. The language of science gives us our present metaphors, but we are still moved by the ancient myths -- those myths that speak to a deeper knowing within us, that come to us from a distant past. And often they are reechoed in the formulae of today's scientific descriptions. Dr. Carl Jung, for example, talked about an unutterable longing. He called it in fact: the universal TANHA, the universal "thirst" for something that will make us conscious, that will establish relationships, that will give meaning -- something that we cannot know in the total, mutual absorption of absolute Unity. This is always spoken of as the longing for light. And in the creation myths of all peoples, the process of creation is equated with the coming of light. We find this in the mystical and poetic phrases of the Stanzas which HPB translated for us:


Now as one looks at the matter closely, light produces limitation. In a remarkable novel -- but based on fact -- that was published some years ago, Han Suyin, in her book THE MANY SPLENDORED THING, commented on an experience which she had during the war. She was walking across the completely black, dark airfield in Chong King, toward the airport building. And of course, because it was war, the airport building was completely shielded with black curtains. No light could escape. She tells of her experience of walking toward the brilliantly lighted airport building and she says that it was not that the light revealed so much more, but it limited one's vision to so much less. When you come to a dark room, if you are not familiar with that room, there can be anything in that room. There can be dragons and monsters. There can be angels and gods, furniture and people. Your imagination can see spiders and cockroaches! But when you put on the light, then you see that you are limited to what is there. So light is by its very nature a limiting condition.

There is a very beautiful myth, told by the Maori's in New Zealand. It is said that Rongi and Papa, the Heaven and the Earth, were regarded as the source of all things. There was darkness, for these two still clung together, not having been rent apart. And the children begotten by them were ever thinking: "What is the difference between darkness and light?" Now in myths one does not have to question how there were children. There were just children! In fact, there were seven children -- which of course is very appropriate, isn't it? One might ask, "How did they know that there is a difference between darkness and light?" You see, myth repeats age-old truths, some parts of which have been forgotten, but which also point to those forgotten bits. And so the myth tells us there was yet no bright world of light, but darkness only for the beings that then existed. And the story, the myth tells us of the efforts of the sons to separate their parents. And there is a beautiful phrase in the myth:

The light, the light! The searching, the seeking! In chaos, in chaos!

Until at last Heaven and Earth are thrust apart. Perhaps this is repeated in us, at times. This longing for light, this seeking, this searching for light.

One of the most magnificent passages which HPB gives us from the archaic Stanzas describes the entire form-building potential which is inherent in the underlying reality. It is a potential for building form that consists both of the medium necessary for forms, for forms to be manifest at any level, and of the energy by which the form-building is possible. And that passage occurs in Sloka Ten of Stanza Three:


It is a beautiful phrase, a beautiful statement, a myth which we can understand. It gives us the whole process of universe formation, which is a movement from darkness to light. And it involves what we can call a "polarization." It involves Space as the primordial Ground of our being and Motion as the primordial energy or potency. Now in the language of occultism as used by HPB in THE SECRET DOCTRINE, Space is often called AKASHA. And the primordial Motion in it, uniting what appears to be polar opposites -- polar opposites that we often can "spirit" and "matter," but which are not two things but two ends of one continuum -- that primordial motion she calls FOHAT, but we have to be very careful with that word. Occasionally HPB will say that it is a Tibetan term, but it is not a word which can be found in any Tibetan dictionary. Perhaps it was a word which she learned in her teacher's ASHRAM. It may be indeed a word which is only crudely translated from some other original. Or it may be a term indeed in the trans-Himalayan philosophy in which she was trained. It is a useful word because it encompasses all the laws of motion and energy at any level. The main thing is, don't go around saying it is a Tibetan term; her statement on that is a "blind" for a deeper occult understanding.

The point that we must look at is that HPB says: "Everything has come out of Akasha, in obedience to a law that is inherent in it." Because we separate substance from energy or motion -- or at least we have grown up trying to distinguish these two -- we often speak of the two aspects of the One. We know of course today that matter is energy, so we have available to us a validation or verification of HPB's thesis, which of course she did not have in her time. But we still have to try to look at each aspect of this One. So the imperishable Substance-Principle that is the universe -- and we are the universe, that is everything, she says, which includes ourselves -- when we speak of that universal Substance, it is Akasha. Now the root of that word is KASH, which means "to shine." It is literally "the shining substance," and we are told that esoterically it signifies the primordial light, which manifests through divine Ideation. Fohat then is the dynamic energy of cosmic Ideation, which reveals the lawfulness, the orderliness, the meaningfulness, the beauty, the beautiful which is the orderliness in cosmic Substance.

To put this another way, HPB is said to have replied to one of her questioners:

In the absolute or divine Thought everything exists, and there has been no time when it did not so exist. But divine Ideation is limited by the universal manvantaras. The realm of Akasha is the undifferentiated, noumenal and abstract Space, which will be occupied by CHIT-AKASHA, the field of primordial consciousness. It has several degrees however, in occult philosophy, in fact seven fields.

Now this may seem very abstract, and I admit that it is. My intention is to stretch your minds to the limit! But then I will try to focus them again on what is meaningful out of this for each one of us, because what we are looking at is ourselves. And there is only one consciousness.

But we have to look at this, I suggest, from the metaphysical point of view. There are three words that in a mystical sense refer to the one primordial Substance, or the Source from which everything proceeds. I have mentioned Akasha. The other two words are ALAYA and SWABHAVAT, which we already heard in the Sloka that I quoted. The terms are extremely interesting, because they help us understand both our own nature and the nature of the world about us. Akasha, as we just said or as HPB states, "is the undifferentiated noumenal and abstract Space." It is the fabric of consciousness, illuminating its own nature. And it holds within it all the ideation which will become form-producing. We may say it holds all the seeds which will ultimately flower into people, minerals, chairs, lights, the multiplicity of things -- what is it, "the one million, one thousand things?" Hence it is Alaya. That very term means "non-dissolvable." LAYA comes from the root-verb LI, "to dissolve," and A is "not," so A-LAYA is "the non-dissolvable." And this is why HPB can point to the occult doctrine that the entire process is "without imaginable or conceivable end." Just as each one of us in fact is the reappearance of all that he has ever been, the seeds of his past. So universes are the flowering of the seeds which are non-dissolvable.

These are, if you like, the "archetypal motifs," which give rise to all the images, all through the manifested system. But it is also a self-organizing system, which some scientists are even recognizing today. People like Erich Jaentsch for example, who has written a book called THE SELF-ORGANIZING UNIVERSE, and coupled with the work of Ilia Prigogine, who has shown that "dissipative structures" have a tendency to reorganize at other levels of complexity -- that order indeed is constantly reexpressed, if you like. So the entire manifested system or manifested universe is also Swabhavat, "the self-becoming." SWA means "self," BHAVAT is "being" or "becoming."

So it is the one Substance mystically known as "Father-Mother" which has to be rent apart, as the Maori myth informs us, if darkness is to give way to light. And hence for much of our total growth, we separate ourselves from the universe. The joy of the infant which is discovering its foot, and then that the foot is somehow "there," different, the separation of ourselves in which we project outwards this separate existence so that we do not confuse ourselves with chairs and tables -- and of course we have places to which we send people who do confuse themselves with chairs and tables ... But we have spent a great deal of time and energy separating ourselves, in order to come to a consciousness of "the other." But we begin to see, I hope, from what I say, that there emerges a profound ethic from this metaphysical position. So there is a self-becomingness, SWABHAVAT, to the system. And we can see how beautiful is the metaphor "Father-Mother spin a web ..."

If you like to visualize it: wherever two strands meet, in the web, there is a knot. And we are the "knots in Akasha." And consequently, one of the metaphors in one of the Upanishads is that we must learn "to untie the knots of the heart." This is the process of self-becoming, so YOGA indeed is that process. True YOGA is rooted in this metaphysical position. And on the yogic practices of DHARANA, DHYANA -- true YOGA, not the preliminary KRIYA-YOGA, those are steps -- is the movement of untying the knots through awareness, DHARANA, through the full concentration of energy, DHYANA, that condition which is SAMADHI, which is the totality of everything held in one, which is the nourishing of all. DHI is the holding, nourishing of SAMA, the totality of manifested existence. And this is why the great Buddhist teacher Nagarjuna could say that "samsara is nirvana, nirvana is samsara -- between the two there is no difference" because one holds the total universe in his consciousness. This is hinted at in that wonderful Sloka Seventeen in the second group of Stanzas. It is "acquiring a mind to embrace the universe."

Now the web that is emergent then from the polarized content, that web is a crystalline, living light, vibrating as it is spun between the two aspects of its nature which HPB calls "spirit" and "matter," but these are as present here as anywhere else. And that vibration of the web produces its chief characteristic which is sound or resonance. A Japanese geneticist has recently performed an interesting experiment, in which he has assigned musical notes to the four chemical constituents of DNA. He has assigned two notes to each of the four, therefore creating an octave. And he has already discovered or composed what he says is "the mouse-waltz!" This Japanese geneticist has, by assigning these notes and taking a portion of the DNA of a mouse, found a kind of musical pattern, a melody. Now just as we can say the strings of a harp create and sustain the sound waves of music but they are not themselves the sound, so the web is the medium and carrier of the vibrations we know as forms. But the entire universe is sound, "a living web of meaning."

To put it in another way, we may say that everything we call "material," on whatever plane or in whatever field of existence it may be, is Motion caused by the play of the Breath, what HPB calls "the Great Breath" and which in its ceaseless transformations appears to be stable. It gives the appearance of permanence and stability to the web, which is the universe -- but it is all the time a resonating possibility of stability. And just as this Japanese geneticist has discovered there is always a melody, that the melody of every creature is different, so within this universal Substance, each one of us is playing a different melody. As you may recall, in THE VOICE OF THE SILENCE HPB speaks of the seven sounds which correspond perfectly with the fields of our human constitution. So our process, or the process of YOGA if you like, is to attune ourselves with the sound of each level. Our process is to attune ourselves to the melody of the universe. It is said in THE TIBETAN BOOK OF THE DEAD that one must hear the sound of the Self "as the sound of one thousand rolling thunders ..." What sounds are we making in the universe today? Each one of us is "congealed sound." What is the symphony we are creating? We must consider this because of the appearance of stability, because of that appearance the universe and all within it is called MAYA, but MAYA is simply the energy, the SHAKTI, of the creative potency. It is the magic play, which both conceal and reveals reality.

To pursue this a bit further, three modes of motion can be traced. And again we can refer to the mystical and poetical language of the Stanzas to see these three modes of motion. In the fifth Stanza of "Cosmogenesis," which describes the third stage in the cosmic process, when the inner imaginal content of Universal Mind begins to be exteriorized as a universal form, we have the symbol of the fiery whirlwind, which describes the action of that primordial energy of Fohat. Sloka One of Stanza Five for example reads:


Now, think of this very clearly; it can be visualized. We may say that at the outset, and we have to use that term, a beginning -- it is an awakening; you remember one of the motifs is a kind of awakening from a slumber -- but keep in mind it is not a beginning EX NIHILO. There is a linear or unidirectional flow of the creative Breath, but it is as though this linear out-thrust calls out a circumgyratory response in the matrix. As you know, when you pluck a string of a violin, what happens? You get overtones and undertones, don't you? Depending on where you pluck that string, will be the frequencies. So there is a kind of circumgyratory movement around that directional flow, and that rotation of being about itself, if you want to call it that, gives rise to a polar tension between center and circumference. And incidentally that helps us to see why the two poles of being do not immediately rush together again, because in spite of the desire to reunite, that same movement which brings the two opposites into being also operates to hold them apart. A vortex is created, a circling about its own center of awareness, with the rim of the vortex becoming a limiting ring of the universe itself, of the manifest system. So in each system there is a "ring-pass-not." Do you see how this is created? It is not because somebody outside there is circumscribing a ring, but because the very out-thrust of the Breath brings this rotation, this circumgyratory motion which creates the ring and thrusts back the Breath as it were, thrusts back the energy. The circumference reflects the radiating consciousness back into itself and fills or seems to fill the revolving content of the circle with the archetypal images which are the first objectification of Universal Mind.

So we can say that around the primary outflow of the creative breath is generated the vortical movement of derivative energy which results in a self-relative awareness, the unitary blend of knowing, knower and known. This combination of three types of motion -- outflow, inflow, and gyration -- produces those alternations of stress which, if you like, written on the direct flows as vibrations or waves, make those vibrations perceptible as manifest phenomena. The whole universe resonates. And it is interesting that a biologist, who happens also to be a member of the Theosophical Society, has had the courage to postulate a theory of form-production by referring to "fields of resonance," that morphology is in a field of "morfic resonance." That is Rupert Sheldrake in his first book -- well he has brought his second book out now, but it is well presented in his first book, A NEW SCIENCE OF LIFE.

This gyratory motion, in giving rise to sequence, generates the sense of time. And so by virtue of the sequential nature of time which we experience as the linearity of time, the simultaneity of the unmanifest is spread out as a series of separate events or phenomena. And it is the rotation which sustains forms by integrating objective contents in unitary wholes. We may by analogy recognize this process repeated in us as the principles of the human constitution whirling around the central point which is the human MONAD, and thought and emotion whirling around our own psychic centers. There is a very interesting passage in the third chapter of THE BHAGAVAD GITA when Krishna is explaining to Arjuna the nature of the quality of matter, those qualities that are called the GUNAS; these are the features by which matter can be defined. One translation of Krishna's explanation is that the modes of objectivity -- that is the GUNAS: the modes of objectivity -- roll around within each other. It is the rolling around each other that gives the appearance of stability, and at the same time the sense of time, with its inevitable changes.

So it is quite possible, I suggest, to recognize that we can proceed, as HPB always advised her students to do, on the basis of the law of analogy. In our efforts to understand such concepts as AKASHA, in terms of the web that is the manifested universe and FOHAT which always serve as a bridge as it were -- a movement of bridging levels of complexity -- we can move from the universal process to the human process. I think we should seek in ourselves for that fundamental power or energy, which brings forth, holds in being, and again withdraws the numerous contents of our own psyches.

There is a very mysterious Sloka in the Stanzas which could be mentioned here; it is Sloka Two of Stanza Five. And it says: "THE DZYU BECOMES FOHAT." Then it goes on to say that Fohat is the steed, and thought is the rider. "HE LIFTS HIS VOICE, AND CALLS THE INNUMERABLE SPARKS AND JOINS THEM TOGETHER." Now that statement is extremely interesting, and its clue is found in a very interesting document from the Master, generally referred to as "The Cosmological Notes" which are published as an appendix to THE LETTERS OF H.P. BLAVATSKY TO A.P. SINNETT. It refers to the DZYU as wisdom as opposed to knowledge. And HPB states in THE SECRET DOCTRINE that "Fohat is one thing in an as yet unmanifested universe and another in the phenomenal and Cosmic World."

Now what does all this mean? To put it extremely simply, that inherent movement which is the resonance of the universe and of ourselves is indeed wisdom itself. That is to say, the untying of the knots, if you like, is the establishing of ourselves as wisdom. Not knowing, wisdom. Wisdom which, of course, is also compassion; which is love in its highest sense; which is the reunification of ourselves and all existent things; which indeed as Annie Besant put it in her beautiful invocation " ... is present in every atom." It is that hidden love, life, wisdom -- everywhere present. And so, when that potency lifts its voice and calls the innumerable sparks and joins them together, it is that dynamism which is forever latent, the true and ultimate power latent in man, obedient to what are indeed still unknown laws. Unknown, because we have not yet realized them; unknown laws which we have to reveal by our very presence in the universe as the carriers of consciousness, as the reflection of that one absolute Be-ness.

And so, that is why the third object of the Theosophical Society is given as it is. That is the ultimate power, latent within us. The Dzyn becomes Fohat, that is, the carrier of this energy throughout the system. Another way of saying it is: SOPHOS becomes THEOS. Or: THEOS becomes SOPHOS. And hence, we become theosophists ...

Finally, to emphasize this, HPB does equate Fohat with EROS, that power which pulls us outward in our experience of otherness. And it is interesting to note that whenever an inner pressure drives us to exteriorize our psychic content, in any creative activity, we seem quite literally to fall in love, either with that activity or with that individual which represents our own polarized other. And that movement is a kind of "luring out" of our own nature into expression. You see, we do not seem to be pushed out, but lured out. Something seems to stand out there, beyond ourselves -- whether it is the fascination of the opposite sex, the fascination of wealth and fame or it may be the absorbing passion for knowledge. But a kind of inner fever of desire arises, the divine Eros, the dynamism of the entire universe. And we are led out into that universe, into the world, by the promise of seeing more, knowing more, being more. Until we "eat" the universe, assimilate it; and recognize that we must "conscious" the universe, because the entire universe is bound together in one cosmic dance -- electrons answering to stars above, both reflected in the human soul -- the mighty interlinkedness of all that is, what the Rig Veda calls the RITA, the harmonious order of the universe. There is a Greek hymn that was sung in the mystery schools and was said to have come from Egypt:

Heaven above, heaven below. Stars above, stars below. All that is above, is also below. Understand this, and be happy.

And so Krishna told Arjuna:

He who knows this, he is the happy man.


The Doctrines Are Real

By Eldon B. Tucker

[based upon a July 12, 1996 posting to theos-talk@theosophy.com.]

The issue of there being theosophical doctrines is important, something that is being sometimes attacked, other times forgotten in the theosophical community.

There are a number of problems that we face. One is that there are people that do not believe there are definite doctrines, or perhaps believe that the doctrines are mere fodder for keeping junior seekers occupied until they've matured enough to renounce them!

Theosophy is a definite body of thought. It is possible to sit down and write an introductory book that knowledgable students would agree represents the basic ideas. When we get to the more advanced materials, it becomes more difficult to understand them, and we start to extrapolate or carry things farther with our own thinking. In this case, we need to take care to say "this is how I see it" rather than say "this is what Theosophy says".

Unfortunately, we have some that have read or said they've read the literature, and openly reject it. They may believe there's nothing to the doctrines, and say "the philosophy is wrong", the only thing that is real is one's personal spiritual exploration of life. Or they may say "there is no philosophy, everyone has their own personal ideas, including Blavatsky, Judge, myself, and Joe Sixpack."

While it may be good for there to be forums and organizations dedicated to engaging people of all beliefs, there are definite limitations to such an approach. One person may repeatedly state "There are no theosophical doctrines, it's simply a metaphor for psychological self-work." Another may state "the theosophical doctrines are merely another religion, yet another superstition to curse mankind!" A third may state "each of us has his own view on philosophy, and all are equally true; your HPB quotes count for nothing."

If we accept that the theosophical doctrines are part of a living Wisdom Tradition, disseminated in the West by HPB, it would be reasonable to at least accord it the same status and rights as any philosophical school of thought, like Platonism, etc.

In an organization or forum where anything goes, where there is no underlying assumption that Theosophy is a definite system of thought with doctrines that can be studied and discussed, we spend far too much time arguing over if Theosophy even exists. New students may be mislead as to the nature of Theosophy, and not end up learning much.

Hopefully there can be places where the theosophical doctrines, explored in an intellectually honest and frank manner, are considered the "reality check" or basis of study. In these places, Theosophy can be gone into in a much richer and comprehensive manner than places where personal psychic experiences or the relativism of personal opinion reigns.

Even more important, a civil and respectful approach is key to the study. Because the study is more than a intellectual game, more than a writing or reading exercise, it is a genuine spiritual process that stirs us in deep places within, that reminds us of distant yet real parts of ourselves that have been forgotten for too long!

We are not in a dog-eat-dog Darwinian evolution of ideas, with a bitter battle over every little point. Rather, we're learning to delve into new aspects of mind and of realization that let us experience life differently.

As we approach the Teachings in our thought, we are dealing with things sacred, and can sense ourselves approaching our sanctum santorum, our place of silence and inner radience within.

There's not much we can do about people that don't believe in Theosophy, except to share whatever we've learned that may benefit them. The only possible conflict would be with people that openly teach that the theosophical doctrines don't exist, or that they're simply fairy tales (e.g. metaphor for psychological or other purposes). We can't make headway in promoting the Philosophy if we're always saying "I say it is" to their "I say it isn't".

We need organizations, publications, books, forums where the basic assumption is that there is actually something true to Theosophy, and that's a definite subject of study. We need, at least for the basic philosophy, the most fundamental teachings, a definite yardstick (e.g. source-literature references) to judge materials, to keep our study from descending into relativism, a sea of opinions, and a tower of Babel.

How do we solve this problem? Perhaps the two kinds of groups and approaches can coexist, in equal but different places. In one place, there's the assumption that Theosophy is whatever you want it to be, and there's nothing to learn or believe. In the other place, there's the recognition and respect for the Guruparampara, the lineage of Teachers, the Wisdom Tradition which reaches us through the noble work of HPB and many that followed her. People can participate in one or the other, based upon feeling an affinity to what is going on, or due to their personal interests and karma.


Theosophical Students, Gather More Evidence

By Daniel H. Caldwell

[based upon an June 27, 1995 posting to theos-l@vnet.net.]

In discussing the validity of reincarnation, it's been said that a skeptic can easily come up with an alternative explanation. If this line of reasoning is used to justify that reincarnation cannot be proven, I suggest that this same line of reasoning can be used to claim that the paranormal and the metaphysical in general CANNOT be proved.

Skeptics belonging to the organization CSICOP constantly use the tactic of suggesting an alternative explanation as a possibility in order to show that there is no good proof even of ESP, telepathy, clairvoyance, etc.

In trying to explain any "phenomenon" -- including historical cases like Who killed Nicole Brown and Ron Goldman! -- there are many POSSIBLE alternative explanations.

In scientific studies, there are many alternative explanations of a "phenomenon." It is the job of the scientist to rule out and weed the number of competing possibilities and attempt to come up with the best explanation, i.e. the most probable explanation that can be found in light of all the known evidence.

If you see a man stumbling down the sidewalk as you drive by, from your armchair vantage point in the car, you can come up with many different explanations for his "behavior". (1) He is drunk; (2) he is injured; (3) he has a physical disability; (3) he is "crazy"; (4) he is pretending and hoping someone will come over to him so he can mug that person, etc.

All these alternative explanations are "possible," GIVEN THE RIGHT CIRCUMSTANCES. But you will never know the real explanation unless you are willing to get out of your car and "collect" more data, information, evidence to help you answer the question: "Why is the man 'stumbling' down the sidewalk?"

If anybody offers an "explanation," the burden of proof is on that person to submit evidence of some kind that shows that his explanation rules out the competing explanations. To simply offer an explanation as a possibility solves nothing.

For example, a number of people have tried to identify who the Master Koot Hoomi really was. Richard Hodgson said K.H. didn't exist! That's one "explanation".

Steve Richards in THE AMERICAN THEOSOPHIST (about 7 years ago) said K.H. was really a man by the name of Nisi Kanta Chattopadhyaya. Paul Johnson wants to identify Thakur Singh Sandhanwalia as the man behind the K.H. "prototype." Mary K. Neff suggested that K.H. was yet someone else.

In each and every "explanation", has the person putting forth the explanation really solved the problem concerning K.H. or have they only offered a "possibility" with some suggestive evidence while at the same time ignoring evidence to the contrary which would show their explanation is way off the base?

How do you prove anything? What is evidence? I have found that far too many writers (including Theosophical writers) dealing with Theosophical history don't even follow the simple rules of basic research and some have the vaguest understanding about "evidence", "proof", "possibilities" versus "probability", etc.

Dealing with the teachings of Theosophy, it seems that "Theosophists" -- at least many of them -- are even less concerned with attempting to find "facts" that would help to show the truthfulness or falsity of some of the basic ideas of Theosophy. Far too often I find them invoking "faith," "intuition," or "personal experience" to buttress their acceptance of Theosophical ideas. Are the Theosophists any more ahead of the "game" than, for example, orthodox Christians who also invoke "faith", "intuition", and "personal experience" to "prove" that the Bible is true?

I am not denying that "faith" or "intuition" or "personal experience" doesn't have its place in the scheme of things. But I dare say that their is not a belief system in the world that cannot be "validated" thereby.

If Theosophists claim Theosophy is something unique among all the competing ideologies of this world -- notice I said "IF"! -- what is it that Theosophists can present to seekers other than "faith", "intuition" or "personal experience"?

I take the perspective that Theosophy, as a body of knowledge, is a science, and would refer the reader to the writings of HPB and her Masters.


The Tree of Life

By Gertrude W. van Pelt

[From THE THEOSOPHICAL FORUM, June 1945, 257-61.]

What can be the meaning of the universality of the Tree Symbol, found, as it is, in every country, though modified by national thought and customs? Conventionalized trees, generally guarded on the right and left by strange figures, are placed on sacred monuments or buildings of importance of all the old nations. On an Assyrian cylinder, for example, was found such a tree, surmounted by the winged disc and guarded by two winged figures with birds' heads. (See THE SECRET DOCTRINE, II, 104.) From a capital of the Temple of Athena at Pryene is another, guarded by two animals, and again on a sculptured slab in the Treasury of St. Marks, Venice, is a tree guarded there by two huge birds. A tree symbol, similar in design to the ancient Chaldeans, has been found in Mexico, suggesting a pre-Columbian colonization of America. But the oldest examples of these designs come from Asia and the ancient countries. In India each Buddha had his own Bodhi-tree, and we are familiar with the story of Gautama Buddha gaining his enlightenment under the sacred Bodhi-tree, a poetical reference to his initiation. Gautama's tree was the pippala or FICUS RELIGIOSA.

In the folklore of every old nation was the idea that in every tree dwelt its spirit, sometimes a god, or in some trees an evil demon, and these tree legends form a rich part of the folklore of European countries also. Some of the Druid rites associated with the mistletoe are echoes of old tree-worship. Aside from and probably out of the religious idea of tree-worship have grown the ideas of tree-spirits, good and evil, who had to be propitiated or thanked by offerings or ceremonies. Certain trees became sacred to gods, as the laurel to Apollo, the olive to Athena, out of which grew the 'Olive Branch of Peace.' In Persia it was the cypress, the sacred tree of the god Mithra, and in Egypt, the tree of Osiris was the Acacia. Gifts were hung on these various sacred trees, or offering of fruits to the gods laid at their base. Wreaths were used in religious ceremonies in Greece and Rome from the tree of the god worshiped, branches or garlands in the hands of a chorus of maidens. Even the persecuted were safe under the branches of a sacred tree.

The medieval history of which we have records is surrounded with a halo of charm and mystery by the folklore, fairy tales and myths, growing out of tree legends. Hamadryads and elves peopled the forests. Children lived in an atmosphere of other worlds. The woods were full of friendly nooks. Spirits were in the wind. Everything was alive.

There were many legends representing mankind as born from trees. Hesychius said the Greeks believed that mankind was the fruit of the Ash. Similar legends to the effect that the human race originally sprang from a tree, exist in the mythology of widely separated races. The Damaras of South Africa believe that the universal progenitor was a tree, out of which grew everything that lives. According to a legend of the Sioux Indians of the Upper Missouri, our first parents were two trees, rooted to the ground until a monster snake gnawed at the roots and gave them independent motion, thus destroying their harmony and mutual trust. There is also an Iranian account that our first parents issued from the ground as the rhubarb plant, which divided into two. Ormazd endowed each with a human soul and they became our first parents. According to the Prose or Younger Edda, Odin and his brothers saw two trees on the seahorse, which they changed into two humans, male and female, which then became the parents of the human race. This idea of mankind issuing from two parents was also wide spread. Further there are many stories suggesting that heaven was in some way connected with trees. The Khasias of India have a legend that the stars are men who have climbed into heaven by a tree, and the Mbocobis of Paraguay believe that the souls of the dead go up "to the earth on high" by the tree which joins us to heaven. Here we have hints of the teaching on the after death journey of the human monad through the spheres, kept alive by myths. Such a hint is also given in THE SECRET DOCTRINE, I, 411 and 577. Quoting from the latter reference: "On its way to the Earth, as on its way back from the Earth, each soul ... had to pass through the seven planetary regions both ways" -- a teaching which has been more fully elaborated by G. de Purucker in his various writings.

When Zoroaster died, Ormazd had his soul translated into a lofty tree, and in his previous incarnations Gautama Buddha is said to have been a tree spirit forty-three times. These few examples indicating the universality of the Tree Symbol are taken from many to be found in an interesting, well-illustrated volume, THE SACRED TREE, by Mrs. J. H. Philpot.

What is the root basis behind all these tree legends? Plainly they have sprung from the teaching of 'The Tree of Life,' the mysterious and rich heritage of every race in every age. The frequent inclusion of two figures, one on each side of the tree, with the Serpent of Wisdom, suggests that this revealing symbol refers to the separation of the sexes and awakening of mind in the Third Root Race by the Dhyani Chohans, symbolized by the serpent. (THE SECRET DOCTRINE, II, 97-98) The Tree of the knowledge of good and evil, recorded in the Christian Scriptures familiar to the West is surrounded by a story which veils its meaning. (THE SECRET DOCTRINE, II, 215-16 and 354-55) That found in the Norse Mythology is more revealing. Here all life is figured as a tree. (ISIS UNVEILED, I, 152 and II, 412) In NORSE MYTHOLOGY by Rasmus B. Anderson, 205-9, is a description of Yggdrasil, The Tree of Life, extending its branches into the whole universe. It has its roots in the Kingdom of Hela or Death, where at its foot are the three Norns, past, present, and future. Their decrees are inviolable destiny (Karma). It is the Tree of Existence. Its boughs are histories of nations, every leaf a biography. Beneath the root of Yggdrasil is MIMER'S FOUNTAIN, in which wisdom and knowledge are concealed. (The Eternal Unknown Cause). This "Tree of the Norse Legend cannot wither and die until the last battle of life will be fought, while its roots are gnawed all the time by the dragon Nidhogg." (THE SECRET DOCTRINE, II, 211) But "the Norns sprinkle it daily with the waters from the fountain of Urd, that it may not wither." (THE SECRET DOCTRINE, II, 520)

We have a most perfect tree symbol in our oldest Aryan Race, viz. the Ashvattha, referred to in Chapter XV of THE BHAGAVAD GITA, where the roots are said to be above and the branches below. (THE SECRET DOCTRINE I, 406) Vishnu is said to have been born under this tree. Then there is the Mexican tree whose trunk is covered with ten fruits with a female figure on one side and a male on the other, while on the topmost branch is added a bird, signifying ATMAN. (THE SECRET DOCTRINE, II, 36) Again in THE POPUL VUH, the Third Race is represented by a tree. (THE SECRET DOCTRINE, II, 181 footnote)

No known race is without this symbol. Certainly there can be no chance or accident in a teaching which is so universal. Indeed it is not difficult to see behind it the strong force of the Guides of the human races, keeping alive this symbol through the ages as a picture of reality. It has been stated that the Great Ones remain with an opening race until certain vital trends are established with sufficient force to run their courses, and one can imagine that this revealing picture of "The Tree of Life" may be one which has been painted on the screen of the Astral Light in unfading colors and with intent. Why this might have been so is clear in the light of the deeper teachings of the Ancient Wisdom as they have been explained in our present cycle. (THE SECRET DOCTRINE, II, 128 footnote) We can see the Tree as a picture of the Universe itself, its roots buried in the depths of Space, the Reality, unknown, unfathomable; its branches spread into worlds within worlds. There too, we see an exact picture of the teaching of 'emanations.' Every new branch establishes a new hierarchy, growing out of a higher one, yet all have their life-force from the same root. The framework of 'The Tree of Life' is the BODY of the Universe in which exists all that is, from our atoms to the highest gods. "In IT we live and move and have our being" -- a brotherhood which is all inclusive -- UNIVERSAL. This symbol is so revealing that it might even be called a 'Textbook of Life.' Some legends hint that it may have been so used, for instance, those referring to men entering trees at death. It is also easy to see written in the structure of trees the teaching of the compound nature of man as united in consciousness with higher branching hierarchies, which we may call Manas, Buddhi, Atma, as well as with branches lower down. And further we can see how man, being a part of the whole and a free agent, may through effort climb in consciousness to higher levels in the hierarchy to which he belongs as man, thus enriching the life currents for all below him, or alas, through misuse of energies, generate poisons in his branch! The dominant teaching in this symbol is that of the unity of all lives from gods to atoms and hence, that of ever-enduring and reciprocal responsibilities.

Beyond the 'world of Brahma,' i.e., beyond Brahman, there are realms of consciousness and being still higher than this 'world of Brahma,' in which reside the roots, so to speak, of the Cosmic Tree and therefore the Root of every human being, the offspring of such mystic Cosmic Tree.



Time Is Running Out

By Eldon B. Tucker

[based upon a July 17, 1996 posting to theos-talk@theosophy.com.]

When we look forward to the work necessary to help the theosphical movement be a power for good in the world, we often have a skillful balancing act to perform. Often, for each thing that we need to do, we almost paradoxically need to do the opposite as well.

One problem before us, for instance, is the language, terminology, and manner of presentation of the theosophical philosophy. Consider some aspects of this (and related) problems:

1. Terms like "root races" bring some readers to quickly explode in anger -- thinking "racism!" -- even though the doctrine has nothing of the sort in it.

2. Books are written in language that is not politically correct, using personal pronouns like "he" more often than some readers would like.

3. There are comparisons to the science of the last century, which is now outdated, and nothing said with regard to the marvelous discoveries of the current century.

4. The approach in writing was directed toward people of the Victorian Age, with a certain temperament. A different slant would appeal to the more enlightened attitudes and new prejudices and fears of our current age, including a new individualism and distrust of authority and doctrine.

5. We need to clearly distinguishing between the CONTENT of the literature and the MANNER OF EXPRESSION. Putting the materials into new words is a TRANSLATION PROCESS not a REPLACEMENT PROCESS, although we may stress a different subset of them.

6. Lucid introductory (and perhaps intermediate) books can be a useful study aid, but are not a replacement for the deeper literature. It would take another HPB (with help from her Masters) to rewrite THE SECRET DOCTRINE.

7. The purpose of the writings is not just to inform the reader, but also to train the reader in how to discover the deeper ideas on one's own. A book that does not come out and state things plainly may be better than one than follows the style of western textbooks.

8. Not everything that is stated in the literature is intended for everyone. There are exoteric blinds to deeper truths. Who should decide when to plainly state things that some of our teachers have thought best to veil?

9. By staying with the source literature, like THE MAHATMA LETTERS and Blavatsky's writings, we're protected against confusion caused by "the revising of terminology and suppression of ideas found in the original teachings".

10. Certain ideas may not be possible to be more plainly stated than they have been. The use of Sanskrit is fine. Every discipline has its own technical terminology -- computers, psychology, mathematics, etc. -- and a layman needs to learn the language to tap into a particular line of thought.

11. More discussion is needed of ethics, morals, unselfishness, service, and other religious issues need to be raised, independent of any association with modern religious dogma and repressive modern religions. We need to BE RELIGIOUS without becoming a religion.

12. For the benefit of new students, more information and encouragement regarding the spiritual path should be provided. This includes talk about how a study of Theosophy CAN effect changes in one's life and be a form of treding the Path.

13. Professional organizations the the ACM (for computer professionals) have two tiers of publications. One is for the practioner, the other is popularized for the layman. We need "for the layman" books, without compromising the treasury in the deeper literature.

With more time, in writing this, even more items could come to mind and be listed ... but time is running out. (Time is also running out for Western Theosophy. What are we to do?)


1999-06 Blavatsky Net Update

By Reed Carson

This month we wish to first of all thank Janet Wellman. From her site at:


containing other Theosophical literature, she has allowed us to copy the full text of over 70 articles by William Q. Judge. Now with a total of 143 articles by Judge on this site, we have added a search engine just for those articles. As far as we know, this Judge-articles search engine is a first on the internet. So we are particularly grateful to Janet for helping make this possible. You can find the Judge-articles search engine by clicking on "study aids" on the home page. On the studyaids page itself we have also made more reference to the other complementary search engines available on the TS Pasadena site. The result is a very comprehensive search engine page.

For several years it has been a glimmer of a dream for me to place on this site a major collection of specific quotes principally from H. P. Blavatsky and also some others and organized by topic. For example, under the obvious topic of reincarnation, a collection of quotes could serve to introduce the newcommer and refresh the longtime student of Theosophy on exactly what HPB has to say. With these multiple objectives in mind we will be organizing the quotes carefully from "introductory" to "extended".

I am delighted to announce that Stella Heun has joined the active team at Blavatsky Net and has agreed to volunteer to work at achieving this goal. We have already begun -- though I might add -- just begun, what should become a long-term task. Since the online discussion study group, bn-study, has been currently studying reincarnation, we first put up the quotes we had available on reincarnation. You can see the results, quite interesting I think, by clicking on "quotes" on the homepage in the "topics" section. Over the course of time you might like to check it out again.

Stella's name has also added to the help desk.

I thought this month I would depart from the normal pattern of this newsletter -- that has been published regularly for a year now -- and comment on some other developments outside of this site.

Constantly the student of Theosophy finds a stream of evidence suggestive of the truth of Theosophy passing by his or her desk. An amusing one passed mine just recently. Theosophy asserts that a stream of "humanity" came to this earth from the body now known as the moon. We will call it "humanity" in a generous sense. This teaching, boldly and definitely asserted by Theosophy, has sometimes brought snickers and is not often mentioned by long time students. After all, what could you say to defend a propostion like that?

So it was a pleasure to read in passing in "Genesis Revisited", a book by Zecharia Sitchin:

"The hope of establishing the Moon's origin was a primary scientific rationale for the manned landings of the Appllo project in the 1960's," James Gleick wrote in June 1986 for The New York Times Science service. It was, however, "the great question that Apollo failed to answer." How could modern science read an uneroded "Rosetta stone" of the Solar System so close by, so much studied, landed upon six times -- and not come up with an answer to the basic question? The answer to the puzzle seems to be that the findings were applied to a set of preconceived notions; and because none of these notions is correct, the findings appear to leave the question unanswered.

-- pages 109-10

Sitchin then reviews why the various theories are each insufficient. He then describes a few planetary like properties of the moon, found by our recent studies, and concludes with this observation:

On the occasion of the last Apollo mission to the Moon, The Economist (Science and Technology, December 11, 1972) summed up the program's discoveries thus: "Perhaps the most important of all, exploration of the moon has shown that is is not a simple uncomplicated sphere but a true planetary body." "A true planetary body." Just as the Sumerians described millennia ago.

-- page 129

So we thank Sitchin for his Summarian research and relating it to current findings -- and Theosophy is a beneficiary on this point.


How Can We Communicate With Our Loved Ones in Heaven?

By Cordelia Williamson

[From THE THEOSOPHICAL FORUM, November 1945, 506-11.]

Perhaps never in the long history of our race has death by violence to those in the prime of life been so tragically forced upon the attention of the world as in this day of crisis, when great hosts of men clash desperately in battle and millions give up their lives at the call of duty, for home and country.

With so many feeling the loss of dear ones, it is no wonder that the sense of bereavement is bringing sadness and mourning to countless families, who seek to make some sort of contact with their loved ones who have passed on; and many are thus drawn into the unwholesome and dangerous atmosphere of the seance room. In this critical hour, therefore, it is only fitting that we should turn our attention to these matters, of such intimate concern to each one of us, and ask ourselves what is the real meaning and significance of those familiar words -- Life and Death.

Happily the teachings of Theosophy throw a clear light upon this vital matter so imperfectly understood by many of our friends. "How can we communicate with our loved ones in Heaven?" In order that we may have a clearer picture of where and what Heaven is, let us consider a brief outline of the Theosophical teaching.

To begin with MAN is a compound being composed of seven bodies or principles. These seven may for convenience be divided into two parts. The higher, or the REAL, imperishable being, consisting of three bodies: and the lower, composed of FOUR impermanent or perishable bodies.

The FOUR lower, begin with the

(1) Gross Physical body.

(2) Next we have the Astral body, or etheric double which functions through the physical.

(3) Then the Prana, or life principle, and lastly

(4) The Kama, or desire principle, associated with the lower mental body.

These FOUR are our mortal, perishable bodies which disintegrate at death.

Now the THREE higher bodies, the real self, are as follows:

(1) Manas, the mental body, which functions (though as yet imperfectly) through the four lower bodies.

(2) The Buddhi, which is above Manas, but functions through it.

(3) Atma, Pure Spirit, which overshadows Buddhi-Manas.

These THREE are the higher self, or the REAL, immortal man. It is important to keep this outline in mind, for the clear understanding of our subject.

Theosophy recognizes seven planes in nature, and we have seven bodies, each attuned to, or suitable to function on a corresponding plane. On the physical plane, we have bodies suited to function on the physical plane, and not on any other plane. So too, the ASTRAL body functions on the Astral plane, and the mental body on the mental plane (which is the Devachanic or Heaven plane or world). Our Buddhic and spiritual bodies function on the spiritual planes.

Now all these planes and bodies, interpenetrate each other. Just as light, for example, which most people think of as being one color, or white light, we know from spectrum analysis, is really composed of seven colors, sometimes called rainbow colors. So much for our personal bodies, which are said to 'die' at the end of 'life'.

What then is DEATH? DEATH is a process which we all pass through on our way to the Devachanic or Heaven world. Death is really a sleep or a period of gestation, preparatory to being born into the Heaven world. Every night we slip out of our physical body for a period of rest, and return again in the morning. This we call sleep. The same thing happens at death, which is of the same nature as sleep, only more complete, so that we do not return to THIS physical body, from which we separate completely at so-called death.

After the separation from the physical body, there now remain the three other LOWER bodies, and the three HIGHER principles. Soon the three remaining lower principles commence to disintegrate.

When the higher Manas, the reincarnating ego, has drawn out all that is good from the Kama-Manas or lower mind, the second death takes place, and the real man, the spiritual immortal man (Atma-Buddhi-Manas) is set free, and now functions on the higher mental plane, and is unencumbered by the grosser physical and semi-physical bodies. For it now has bodies suitable to function on the planes on which it resides.

Let us take the butterfly and the chrysalis for an example of the release of the real man, from his mortal envelope or shell. At death, at the chrysalis stage, the beautiful little butterfly is encased in just such a shell. But when the shell breaks and falls apart, the butterfly, with all its wonderful coloring and beauty, floats off into space, an altogether more glorious creature than before. It has no vain regrets at leaving the empty shell and former forgotten life behind. And why should it? -- flying off into the air, among the birds and flowers, happy in the sunshine -- free. So will it be with us when we have joyously shed the shells of our lower Principles or bodies.

Quoting from a Theosophical Teacher:

The spiritual ego, will not think of the shell, any more than it will think of the last suit of clothes it wore; nor will it be conscious that the individuality is gone, since the only individuality and spiritual personality, it will then behold, is itself alone.


Devachan is allegorically described by our Lord Buddha himself:

Many thousand myriads of systems of worlds beyond this (ours) there is a region of bliss. This region is encircled with seven rows of railings, seven rows of vast curtains, seven rows of waving trees: this holy abode of Arahats is governed by the Dhyani Chohans and is possessed by the Bodhisattva. It has seven precious lakes, in the midst of which flow crystalline waters, having seven and one properties, or distinctive qualities (the seven principles emanating from the one). This is the Devachan. Its divine flower casts a root in the shadow of every earth, and blossoms for all those who reach it. 'Those born in the blessed region are truly felicitous, there are no more sorrows in that cycle for them.

Some people have a feeling that this Heaven world, is something unreal, when as a matter of fact it is much more real and tangible than this gross physical world of ours. I think that Dr. de Purucker has clarified some of this unreality for us:

Now let us here point out something very important, that is, that all the teaching of the ancient wisdom is given from our plane, so that when we say ARUPA or 'formless' it does not mean that in themselves, these higher planes or entities, are actually FORMLESS, which would be ABSURD. But to US they ARE formless, exactly as (Kosmic) ether is formless because it is not yet (for us) developed. We have as yet but a mere presentiment of it in this Fourth Round, and only because we are in the Fifth Root Race, corresponding in element to that fifth element ETHER. And as a corollary to that, and it is an important deduction, as regards the beings inhabiting each element, each principle of the universal Kosmos: their habitations, their countries, all that therein exists, to them are as real and palpable as are material things on our plane, to us. Do you realize that our most dense and rigid matter is FORCE to beings in the hierarchy below us?


From below looking up, matter is SUBJECTIVE. From above looking down, matter is objective. Spirit and matter are one. It is only a question of density. Our physical bodies are LESS dense than our finer, subtler bodies.

In view of the discoveries in electro-atomic physics, the statements of W. Q. Judge in 1893 are interesting. He says:

The astral body is made of very fine texture as compared with the visible body, and has great tensile strength, but at the same time possesses an elasticity permitting its extension to a considerable distance. It is flexible, plastic, extensible, and strong. The matter of which it is composed is electrical and magnetic in its essence.

Now then, the astral model forms the link between MIND and BODY. Its most characteristic property is its extreme adaptability, elasticity, and plasticity, which causes it to take any shape which is impressed upon it by thought. It is prior to PHYSICAL matter as MIND is prior to it. Everything in the physical world exists beforehand in the astral world, in plan. The acorn contains the future oak tree, modeled entire, in astral matter, and the life atoms merely build up the physical tree on the already existing model.

So as we go into the higher spheres our planes and bodies become correspondingly more real and more dense. From this physical plane the reincarnating ego passes on to the mental plane (the Heaven world) for a period of rest and refreshment. We are told that here all our unrealized hopes, aspirations, and dreams become fully realized. And the dreams of the objective become the realities of the subjective existence. (THE MAHATMA LETTERS, 197)

So when our loved ones are called first, let us not grieve and wish them back, or torture ourselves trying to communicate with their cast off shells through mediums in seance rooms.

But, you say, how ARE we to commune with them, when we are left behind, grieving and lonely? There is a way, but it is not by their coming back to us. When we go to sleep at night we slip out of our bodies and if we keep our waking consciousness on a high spiritual level, then when we fall asleep, our higher mental and spiritual self -- the real self -- passes to the Devachanic and spiritual plane and there we can commune with our friends who have passed on.

I wonder how many who have lost those dear to them, have at some time gone to sleep with a sad heart, but in the morning have awakened with a feeling of peace and happiness. They, as they described it, "had dreamed of their dear one." In the dream they had seen and been with them, and they awakened with a feeling that all was well. I personally have had such experiences.

But, you ask, if we can go to them, why do they not come to us? The reason is that at death, the higher self withdraws from the four lower bodies, leaving the vehicles with which it can contact the lower planes, and without which it will not be able to contact the lower planes again, until the time when it reincarnates in new physical bodies. But WE on earth still have all our seven principles, and so can function on the higher plane, the mental plane.

Devachan, or the Heaven world, is our future spiritual home between earth-lives. It is really something for us to LOOK FORWARD TO and not to fear. Death, the gateway to Devachan, the heaven world, is just a sleep.

An Eastern Mystical poet tells the same old story of Sleep and Death. He writes:

Yet for a while each night the Spirit's steed Is from the harness of the body freed: Sleep is Death's brother; Come this riddle rede. But lest at day break, they should lag behind, Each soul He doth with a long tether bind, That from those groves and plains, He may revoke Those errant spirits to their daily yoke.

It is when we wander free from the body at night that we soar to the higher spheres and commune with those who dwell there. It is very important that we should keep our thoughts on a high spiritual level just as we are going to sleep. I think this is where the custom of 'saying your prayers' at bedtime originated.

We live in a world of illusory phenomena which to us seem real, because we ourselves, our senses and our faculties, are attuned to that plane, or level of existence. We on this physical plane are really only reflections of the true reality, Spirit, above us. And in that spirit world, beautiful and inspiringly described in Theosophical literature, to which we shall be drawn after passing from this phase of life, we shall find everything much more vivid and tangible than it is here to our deceptive senses.


Our Platform: Remarks by the Chairman

By W. Emmett Small

[Issue Number One of THEOSOPHY AND CONTEMPORARY THOUGHT, San Diego, California, September 28, 1952.]

A few words are fitting in explanation of the purposes of these meetings and our overall program.

There are here in San Diego a number of individuals who have been for years interested in the basic concepts of life: concepts which deal primarily with man, the intricate pattern of his nature, his far distant origin, the destiny toward which he gropes. These concepts which deal likewise with the universe, the cosmos, with the birth of its uncounted suns, the constitution of its multi-myriad galaxies. Above all, they are interested in the definite relationship between this microcosmic world of little Man and the macrocosmic Universe of infinite time and space.

Knowledge of these ideas has been always in existence, but new impetus and clarified vision have been given to them through the titanic genius of one of the world's great figures, H.P. Blavatsky, in her exposition of the Secret Doctrine, known also today as the Ancient Wisdom, God Wisdom, Theosophy. These individuals, above referred to, have been for the most part for many years members of the Theosophical Society, but because of present internal dissensions in the organizational framework of that Society, they now find their best channel of activity freed from those loyalties and restrictions. They are interested in presenting and forwarding the ideals and basic elements of this ancient wisdom, the source of enlightenment of the world's Sages and Saviors. To draw illumination from a study and application of the teachings emanating from this Source, and to share this vision and understanding, and the warmth and courage and hope gained from friendly association, are the objects of these gatherings. It is not an effort to win people away from associations to which they already belong and where they feel at home with fellow students. But it is an effort to create a center, an atmosphere shall we call it, where individuals from many and even widely diversified groups, who yet have the basic love of humanity as their motivating interest, may come, feel heartened, and periodically take back to their organizations what they may have felt and learned here.

Such work as this is fundamentally, of course, non-sectarian and non-denominational. It has no leader, but is composed of individuals who are earnest in their desire to further the objects of understanding and sympathy among men, to work toward basic universal brotherhood, to seek to understand the science and religion and philosophy inherent in the very fabric of being, to recognize law and order in the universe, to become more and more cognizant of these universal operations of nature, and therefore likewise to know more of man's own inner being -- in other words, to bring, through the expression of such a vital philosophy, more of light and joy to others, as well as a growing assurance and clarity to oneself of the basic purposes of life, which purposes, we may add, grow or deepen in accordance with our own expanding understanding and strength. "Light for the mind, love for the heart, understanding for the intellect: all three are necessary before man can find real peace."

We believe that the Esoteric Philosophy, the Wisdom of the Divine, can help each of you to greater light, greater love, and greater understanding. To this end, therefore, this platform is open to all original thinkers dedicated to high ideals. Letters explaining our purposes have been sent to Associates of the United Lodge of Theosophists in this city, to the Annie Besant Lodge of the Adyar Society, and to the Philosophical Society of San Diego. We hope soon they will join us in this work and that you may personally hear from them. Invitations have also been addressed to local members of the Pasadena Theosophical Society. And we hereby offer the hand of fellowship to members of the Masonic Fraternity, to members and groups belonging to various Churches, to scientific, religious, and philosophical associations. They are sincerely welcome. Common interest in the great issues of life, in the purposes and destiny of the human race, constitute the firm ground on which we meet.

But it should be made clear that this platform is not one consisting of a mere collection of lowest common denominators of the beliefs of varying religious and scientific groups, in a desire merely to please or placate; but it rests on a recognition of a living Root-Philosophy, based on the Workings of Nature, which is the Mother-Source and Fountain, the FONS ET ORIGO, of all Ideative Thought, and from which the various great religions have emerged and flowered.

Pointing to this Source, we yet must be free from dogmatic assertions. For dogma kills, but inquiry into the sources of Truth gives life. The tyrant, the charlatan, as well as the fool, thrive where dogma, with its contempt for reasoned thought, commands. But philosopher, statesman, and child alike may breathe and dare to think and dream and aspire where flows unhindered the sunlight of unobstructed Truth. And the wise man knows that his own understanding is subject to the revelation a greater light may give, and so is but a reverent lifting of a corner of the far-flung veil of Truth.

What is here said is said with genuine interest in the work of all individuals and groups, their welfare, their problems, and their successes. FROM NOTHING LESS THAN TRUTH can they all derive the unfailing inspiration they seek. Accept nothing, however, merely because an individual says it. Weigh, consider. Then reject what repels; seize and make your own what you find to be good and true. It is a golden rule. Thus alone may you gain that Freedom of the Spirit that comes first from complete honesty with yourself, and is nurtured and sustained by a growing Vision of Truth.

On the basis of the platform thus briefly outlined we welcome you as fellow travelers on the age-old path, the "still small path" that leads to the Heart of Universal Being.


On Reincarnation

By Dallas TenBroeck

[A collection of ideas derived from classic theosophical literature.]

All beings in all worlds are subject to rebirth again and again under the law of general evolution. Every atom is alive and has the germ of self-consciousness.

All humans have passed through many births. The wise remember the details of those experiences, the average man has to regain the faculty of doing this. The law of evolution and of relationships is just and universal: "Never to an evil places goes one who does good. Being born again, one comes in contact with the knowledge which belonged to him in his former body and striving with all his might, he obtains perfection because of efforts continued through many births." (B. Gita, p. 51)

The immortal thinker, man, has vast powers and possibilities because of his intimate connection with every part of Nature, from which he has been built up. He stands at the top of an immense and silent evolution.

Spirit is the Knower. It is never born, nor dies; nor is it from anywhere, nor did it become anything. Unborn, eternal, immemorial, this Ancient is not slain when the body dies. This Self is hidden in the heart of man.

Man is an immortal Soul, a Thinker. All nature is sentient, down to the smallest atom. All beings are intelligent. The whole is made up of Spirit, Soul (mind) and matter (form). Every being is constantly in evolution, ever progressing under the rule of law, which, deriving from Spirit, is inherent in the whole.

Nature exists for no other purpose than the Soul's experience. Our Earth, as well as the Universe, should be considered a vast School in which a great range of intelligent and immortal pupils are the students. Their consciousness ranges from that of the lowest mineral atom to that of the highest most divine of Sages or Prophets, even the Dhyani Buddhas. Since they are immortals, their experiences are recorded in every aspect of Nature, their memory and forms the basis of their advance. Nothing is unimportant.

This universe exists for the experience and emancipation of the soul-mind. The soul has the responsibility of raising the entire mass of manifested matter up to the stature, nature, and dignity of conscious god-hood. The great aim is to reach self-consciousness by and through the perfecting after transformation of the whole mass of matter as well as what we now call soul. The aim for present man is his initiation into complete knowledge. As to the whole mass of matter, the doctrine is that it will all be raised to man's estate when man has gone further on himself.

At every conceivable point in the Universe there are 'lives (Monads);' nowhere can be found a spot that is "dead;" and each 'life-atom' is forever hastening onward to higher evolution. Man's soul, or mind-consciousness is that of an individualized "life-atom" which has risen to the level of self-consciousness. He is, through his own power of independent choice, shaping, accelerating, or retarding his progress towards perfection.

Nature intends us to use the matter which comes into our bodies and astral body for the purpose, among others, of benefiting the matter by the impress it gets from association with the human Ego. All the matter retains the stamp or photographic impression of the human being who uses it; the material elements (life-atoms) transmigrate to the lower level when given an animal impress by the Ego. The units of what we now use as our organic or fleshy matter will change, by transformation through evolution, over a great period of time, into self-conscious thinkers.

We are not appearing for the first time when we come upon this planet; but have pursued a long, an immeasurable course of activity and intelligent perception on other systems on earlier globes. We only move to another when the work on this one is completed.

Man is a spiritual being. The Ego of each man is immortal, reappearing clothed in bodies, on each occasion different. It only appears to be mortal; it always remains the substratum and support for the personality which is the "actor" upon the stage of life.

Reincarnation is the pilgrimage of our own nature. The end to be reached is self-dependence with perfect calmness and clearness. Starting from the great ALL, radiating like sparks from the central fire, man gathers experience in all ages, under all rulers, civilizations and customs. Ever engaged in a pilgrimage to return to the shrine from which he came. He is now the ruler and now the slave; today at the pinnacle of wealth and power, to-morrow at the bottom of the ladder, perhaps in abject misery, but ever the same identity. The whole of life is a persistent pursuit of the fast-moving soul, which, although appearing to stand still, can outdistance the lightening.

Recognition (of loved ones) cannot depend, in the spiritual and mental life, on physical appearance. Those who are like unto each other, and love each other will be reincarnated together, whenever conditions permit. Recognition depends on inner sight, and not on outward appearance.

When we come again, we do not take up the body of someone else, nor another's deeds; but, we are like an actor who plays many parts. The great life of the soul is a drama, and each new life and rebirth is another act in which we assume another part.

The friends and relatives which are like unto each other must incarnate together, they cannot undo the law of attraction, or, depart to work elsewhere. Not unless and until they become different in character do they separate from each other. Those whom you help will help you in future lives. The very moment we come near to where they are, they at once extend assistance. Thus the members of the whole human family reciprocally act on one another.

The nature of each incarnation depends upon the balance, as struck, of the merit and demerit of the previous life or lives -- upon the way the man has lived and thought; and this law is inflexible and wholly just.

The powers of mind and the laws governing its motion, its attachments and its detachments, show that its re-embodiment must be here. To permit the involved entity to transfer itself to another scene before it had overcome all the causes drawing it here, and without having worked out its responsibilities to other entities would be contrary to the powerful forces and laws of nature which continually operate upon it.

One short human life gives no grounds for the entire refinement and perfection of the inner nature. There is a vast range of powers latent in man, which can be developed if opportunity is given. Knowledge, infinite in scope and diversity, lies before us. We have high aspirations with no time to reach up to their measure, while the passions and desires, selfish motives and ambitions, war with us and among themselves. All these have to be tried, conquered, used, subdued. The process continues until, after having developed character up to its possible limit, when every experience has been passed through, all knowledge and all potentiality is thoroughly grasped by the man.

Each feels he has an individuality of his own, a personal identity which bridges over gaps made by sleep, and temporary lesions in the brain. This identity never breaks from beginning to end of life in the normal person, and only the persistence and eternal character of the soul will account for it.

Inherent ideas, common to the whole race, are due to recollection of great and universal ideals and ideas implanted in the human mind at the very beginning of its evolutionary career by those Brothers and Sages who were perfected from among the mankind of former ages, long before the development of this globe began. Hence, they are called our "Elder Brothers."

The images made in the "Astral Light" (an imponderable, tenuous medium of an electro-magnetic nature, which inter-penetrates the entire globe, and in which the acts and thoughts of every man are felt and impressed, to be afterward reflected again) persist for centuries. Upon returning to earth-life we are affected for good or evil by the conduct, the doctrines and the aspirations of preceding nations and men, and of our previous incarnations.

Since we as personalities, are made up of a mass of lives, our thoughts and acts affect those atoms or lives, and impress them with a power of their own. Each man is seen as the fashioner of the fate for his next fleeting earth personality. In his own hand is the decree and the execution. No one but ourselves punishes or rewards in this or any life.

That which is known as 'I,' or 'you,' is the result of the continuous, unbroken existence of an Entity. Your present body and your soul (or the personality and its mind) are the results of a series of co-existences. The Individuality, or Spirit, is the cause for the Soul, and personality, or what is called 'you.' You are the manifestation of a Spiritual Entity and are the result of many appearances of that entity upon the stage of action -- our Earth -- in a series of various personalities.

Memory of a prior life does not prove we passed through that, nor is non-remembering an objection. We forget the greater part of the events of the years and days of this life. The entire effect on the character is kept and made a part of our immortal selves. The whole mass of detail is preserved in the inner man to be one day fully brought back when we are perfected. All of us are subject to the limitations imposed on the Ego by the new brain in each life. We are the ones who, in that past, as we are now in the present, creating by the use of the will our own future.

By living according to the dictates of the Soul, the brain may at last be made porous to the Soul's recollections. We should be very miserable if the deeds and scenes of our former lives were not hidden from our view until by discipline we became able to bear a knowledge of them.

The course of evolution is the drama of the soul. There are beings in the universe whose intelligence is as much beyond ours, as ours exceeds that of the black beetle. It is they, who, because of continued responsibility, and compassion, take an active part in the government of the natural order of things. The most intelligent being in the universe, man, has never been without a friend, but has a line of "elder brothers" who continually watch over the progress of the less progressed, preserve the knowledge gained, and continually seek for opportunities of drawing the developing intelligence of the race to consider the great truths concerning the destiny of soul.

The Elder Brothers of humanity are men who were perfected in former periods of evolution, when, out of the Great Unknown, there came forth the visible universes which are eternal in their coming and going. The object of these mighty waves is the production of perfect Man, the evolution, after the struggle to acquire piety, of the soul, which consists in knowing "God" and injuring none, such a soul becomes all intelligence. The process of evolution up to reunion with the Divine is, and includes, successive elevation from rank to rank of power and usefulness. The process of spiritual development includes the entire eradication of selfishness, the cultivation of broad, generous sympathy in, and effort for the good of others, cultivation of the inner, spiritual man by meditation, control of fleshly appetites and desires, and, the careful performance of every duty.

The impious soul, however, punishes itself. It cannot enter the body of an animal devoid of reason. Law preserves the human soul from such an infamy. Once a man, always a man. Evolution, having brought Manas, the Thinker and Immortal Person on to this plane, cannot send him back to the brute which has not Manas-mind.

When a being dies, he emits, as it were, a mass of force or energy, which goes to make up the new personality when he shall have reincarnated. In this energy is found the summation of the life just lived.

The passional parts of us coalesce with the astral body after death, and makes a seeming being, (called the Kama-Rupa, or, desire form) that has a short life to live while it is disintegrating. It disintegrates gradually as it is no longer sustained by the indwelling Spirit, which leaves for other experience in the "Heaven-world" or Devachan.

The man whose progress has been broken off by death goes to the "regions of the righteous" (Devachan, or "Heaven"). There he dwells for an immensity of years proportionate to the merit he has accumulated during the life last lived. When the store of merit he accumulated in the past life is exhausted as a subject for review, assimilation and meditation, he is born again on earth in a pure and fortunate family; or even among those who are spiritually illuminated. Being thus born again, he comes in contact with the knowledge which belonged to him in his former body, and resumes the struggle towards perfection. With that objective, recognizing the brotherhood of all beings, he assists all beings around him in their efforts to progress.

Devachan is the "land of reward," the domain of spiritual effects. It is the threshold to another life on earth. It is a state of prolonged subjective happiness after the death of the body. In Devachan we dream until we are reborn. It is a place or state were germinating aspirations, restricted by earth life, can have their full development. Altruistic and noble psychic energies also have their outlet in Devachan. It provides rest for the soul, opportunity for the development of its deepest desires, its highest needs, which are there enjoyed, and where every hope blooms out in full and glorious flower. By this method the character and the capacity of man's developing virtuous qualities are enhanced and progress.

Between adjacent incarnations, after grosser elements are purged away, comes a period of comparative refreshment called Devachan -- the soul being therein prepared for its next advent into material life. The state of spiritual but comparative rest known as Devachan is not an eternal one. Nor does 'hell' correspond to kama-loka. All such painful states are transitory and purificatory states.

Reincarnation is the law of nature. The complete trinity of Atma, Buddhi, Manas does not yet fully incarnate. They use and occupy the body by means of the entrance of Manas (mind), the lowest of the three, and the other two shine upon it from "above." The head, Atma and Buddhi, are yet in "heaven," and the feet, Manas, walk in "hell," which is the body and physical life.

The Spirit is the persisting individuality. It connects all reincarnations, as if it were the thread of a necklace; and has, hence, been called the Sutratma, the "thread-Soul." All is impermanent in man except that pure bright essence of the Universal SOUL. Man is its crystal ray -- a beam of light immaculate within; a form of clay material upon the lower surface. Man is to rely on the One Consciousness, which in him is that ray -- his Higher Self -- the Spirit. The one consciousness of each person is the Witness or Spectator of the actions and experiences of every state we are in or pass through.

Man is not yet fully conscious, and the experience of many reincarnations is needed to at last complete the incarnation of the whole spiritual trinity [Atma-Buddhi-Manas] in the body. When that has been accomplished the race will have become as gods, and as the godlike trinity being in full possession, the entire mass of matter will be perfected and raised up for the next step. It is said that this will occur at the end of the seventh Round for humanity as a whole.

Heredity in giving us a body in any family provides the appropriate environment for the Ego, which goes only in to the family which either completely answers to its whole nature, or which gives an opportunity for the working out of its evolution. Heredity provides the tenement, and also imposes those limitations of capacity of brain or body, which are often a punishment, and sometimes, a help; but it does not affect the Real Ego. The limitations of any family heredity are exact consequences of that Ego's prior lives.

Each human has a definite character, different from every other. These differences, both individual and national, are not due to education. Heredity furnishes the appropriate place for receiving reward and punishment, and is not the cause for the essential nature shown by everyone.

The Earth evolves just as man does. It is presently conditioned as the actual result of its past. It is born, grows old, dies, and is reincarnated. This goes on many times, and during those incarnations it suffers and enjoys in its own way for its previous evolutions.

Our Earth is one of a chain of planets, it alone being on the visible plane. Humanity passes from "globe" to "globe" in a series of 'rounds,' first circling about each globe, and reincarnating upon it a number of times. This incarnation is not single, but repeated; each individuality becomes re-embodied during numerous existences in successive races and planets of our chain, and accumulating the experiences of each incarnation towards its perfection.

So far as concerns this globe the number of Egos belonging to it is definite. The total is vast. Each Ego, for itself, varies the length of stay in the Post mortem states. Whenever there occurs a great number of deaths by war, pestilence, or famine, there is at once a rush of souls to incarnation, either in the same place or in some other place or race. A hall or stadium can, at each performance, be filled with differing quantities of participants. The over-all number of the city in which the facility is located remains the same.

Savagery remains because there are still Egos whose experience is so limited that they are still savage, or inexperienced. Races die out because the Egos had enough of the experience that sort of race gives, other souls who have had no higher life in the past enter into the bodies of the race to go on using them for the purpose of gaining such experience as the race body will give.

The universe is envisioned as an endless evolution and re-involution (or re-absorption) of the Kosmos; a process which is without a beginning, or an end. Our Kosmos and Nature will run down only to reappear on a more perfect plane after every pralaya (universal 'night' of dissolution and rest).

Man is in essence a spiritual soul-being, and this soul takes on different bodies from life to life on earth, in order, at last, to arrive at such perfect knowledge, through repeated experience, as to enable one to assume a body fit to be the dwelling place of a Mahatma or noble, perfected Soul.

We come back to earth because on it and with the beings upon it our deeds were performed; it is the only proper place where punishment and reward can be justly meted out; here is the only natural spot in which to continue the struggle toward perfection, development of the faculties we have, and the destruction of the wickedness in us.

No man can by any possibility, favor, edict, or belief escape the consequences of the causes he sets up, and each one who grasps this doctrine will be moved by conscience, and the whole power of nature, to do well in order that he may receive good and become happy. Reward and punishment must be the just desert for prior conduct. Nature's law of justice is not imperfect. In a prior life the doer was then quite aware of what he did, and, nature affixes consequences to his acts, being thus: just.

The law of Reincarnation drags us into life again and again, bringing with us uncounted times the various Egos whom we have known in prior births, in order that the causes generated in company with those Egos may be worked out and harmony restored. We are, in this life, responsible for the civilization in which we now appear.

No human body is formed without the union of the sexes, and the germ of such production must come from food, so it is obvious that foods have something to do with the reincarnation of the Ego.


William Q. Judge

By A. Trevor Barker

[From THE HILL OF DISCERNMENT, Theosophical University Press, 1941, pages 100-7.]

Friends: We are met together here tonight to do honor to the memory of William Q. Judge, to whom we owe it that we have the privilege of meeting together here week after week. It was owing to William Q. Judge that the American Section of the Society remained in being. It has been said, and said very truly, that the present state of the Theosophical Movement cannot be understood correctly unless one understands the significance and place of Judge's work. For a few minutes we want to go over the facts of his life as they are recorded for us, to see why he holds such a high place in our hearts.

Judge was born in 1851 in Ireland, and he died in 1896, so that he was still in his forties -- he was a young man. It was as a young man of only twenty-one years of age that he came into contact with HPB. He met her in New York just before 1875 and he was associated with her at the founding of the Society.

There is one wonderful thing that each of us individually, as students of the great philosophy, ought to think of, and that is the amazing difficulties and personal struggles that Judge had to overcome in his own life. We are apt to remember only the splendor of the achievement of his later years, forgetting perhaps that, although it is on record that he took up his work in the body of William Q. Judge with a long history and record of devoted service to his credit, in spite of that and his great innate inherent knowledge, he passed through trials and tribulations and suffered in the Cause to which he was pledged more than any other with the exception of HPB.

HPB herself said that Judge suffered more than any other chela at that time -- and still he asked the least. That is one of the many things that she said about him; and there are on record many of his letters that go to show that, although HPB's great mission was brought home to him personally, by daily contact, throughout those early years before she left for India in 1878, the Masters, through her, became a reality to him, and as a result one might expect to find that Judge had that wonderful sense, that inner sense of contact with the blessed Masters throughout the whole of his Theosophical career. But Brothers, it was not so.

In spite of the fact that in 1888 we find HPB writing of Judge that he was an accepted chela of thirteen years' standing, which meant that his past service had entitled him to become a chela from the very commencement of his contact with HPB; in spite of that, he has placed it on record that after HPB left for India he felt almost completely isolated, almost completely alone. He complains bitterly in his letters to Colonel Olcott writing to HPB begging for some news, some word through HPB that he was not altogether forgotten. He was left to fight his battle and conquer himself and he had to win that battle alone, and yet we know that during those years when he seemed even to himself to be left very much alone, the Masters themselves gave him the name of the "Resuscitator of Theosophy in America," during those years in which he slowly built the foundation of the Movement in that country.

Because he was a married man and had a child, we realize that he passed through all the experiences of humanity. It must be that fact -- added to his struggles against poverty and all the difficulties that we know that every aspirant to Theosophical knowledge has to pass through -- it was those facts undoubtedly that gave him his tremendous breadth, his great sympathy, and his wonderful understanding and compassion.

Finally the clouds lifted in 1886, the hour of Judge's mission struck, and then he started that wonderful beacon of light -- THE PATH. HPB herself, then the editor of LUCIFER said: "Judge, your magazine is pure Buddhi, and poor old LUCIFER is nothing but the fighting, combating Manas." That is what she said of her pupil and his work, and there is no more delightful task for a student of Theosophy than to turn over the early pages of this magazine, in fact all the volumes of THE PATH, and see the inspiration that was in the articles that Mr. Judge put there. They are an absolute revelation to those in this day who are not familiar with his writings.

To anyone who would understand Theosophy I would earnestly recommend the study of those magazine writings, because in them Theosophy is simplified, expounded and applied, made comprehensible to us. He was the first to bring it to the understanding, so to speak, of the man in the street.

Judge always did that. They said that he was not a good speaker. He had hardly any gifts of 'personality,' and yet, so those who heard him have told me, there was something in Judge's talks that always appealed to the very hearts of his listeners -- because he had that profound knowledge and that profound understanding, he was able to strike fire into the hearts of all that heard him. It was a very wonderful quality. More than once, to those of his pupils who complained to him personally that the clouds were coming and the light was blotted out he said: "I know, I know that place. SIT DOWN till the clouds roll by, because certainly they will," and that is what he did himself.

The place of Judge in the Theosophical Movement, his important place, is that which he held after HPB died, for he it was alone who maintained the esoteric tradition in the Theosophical Movement. By that I mean something very definitely. Judge, throughout all his writings, throughout everything that he ever said, never wavered once in his loyalty to his first teacher, HPB. There was never any evidence that he wrote even a fraction off the line that she laid down. In that I suppose he gives us one of the most wonderful examples of constancy that any Theosophical student could possibly wish to have, and I draw your attention to it for this reason -- that Judge died a martyr, and he died accused of having tampered with various communications from the Masters of whom he was the agent. If there were any truth in those accusations, there is not the slightest doubt that they would have found a reflection in his public writings. At least, if there were a fraction of truth in them, he would have reacted by condemning his accusers, but he did not do it.

Judge, throughout the whole of those last two bitter years of his life, when he stood accused by those whom he had helped the most, and by some who should have known him best, simply bent his head. He denied the truth of the accusations. He could not offer any complete explanation, for the simple reason that he was bound by the esoteric rule of silence under which he was forced to work, and under which HPB was also forced to work.

To try to understand the apparent inconsistencies in the life of H.P. Blavatsky and William Q. Judge demands far greater knowledge, a far greater understanding of the laws of the occult universe than most of us have; but you will find the explanation of many of those apparent inconsistencies in the first letter of the section called 'Probation and Chelaship' in THE MAHATMA LETTERS TO A. P. SINNETT. It deals with HPB and there is a statement there that no messenger of the great Lodge is allowed to go out into the world "in his integral whole" unless he be an initiate of the fifth circle.

HPB, who taught William Q. Judge, had not passed that point, and therefore she was actually a psychological cripple in a peculiar way, because a certain portion of the constitution of the Messenger is actually missing, as the phrase in that letter goes. It is something which has never been publicly explained; but nevertheless the Master says that many apparent inconsistencies of conduct were due to the fact that the Messengers had not the power to fight and defend themselves. They had become, friends, literally in many respects, as regards their consciousness, as little children, and they had no more power to either offend or defend themselves in many ways than little children. Therefore those of us who can look over the history of the last fifty years, if we have not already as students, become convinced of the integrity of William Quan Judge, let us pause, let us hesitate before in our remotest thought we condemn one of the great Messengers that have come to us from the Lodge of Masters. It is a dangerous thing at any time to condemn others, but it is still more dangerous in the case of those who have come to bring us the light and the teachings that the great Messengers do bring.

I am irresistibly reminded of something that the present Leader of this Society, Dr. G. de Purucker, said recently at Point Loma in connection with another great and misunderstood Messenger of the Great Lodge, Cagliostro. He was explaining something about the life of that individual. Having shown that the different names that he bore could all be explained esoterically and rendered in a particularly interesting manner, he goes on to say how strange it is that Cagliostro was called "an orphan, the unhappy child of nature." Friends, I just want to say that I am reading this to you because it does throw light on this question of William Q. Judge:

... every initiate is an 'orphan' without a father, without a mother, because mystically speaking every initiate is SELF-BORN. How strange it is that other names under which Cagliostro is stated to have lived at various times have in each instance a singular esoteric signification! Study these names. They are very interesting.

Perhaps I might go one shade of thought farther: to every Cagliostro who appears there is always a Balsamo. Closely accompanying and indeed inseparable from every Messenger there is his 'Shadow.' With every Christ appears a Judas. And as regards what you, my brothers, have so admirably set forth this evening concerning the reason, as given by our beloved H.P. Blavatsky, of Cagliostro's 'failure,' let me point this out: that Cagliostro's failure was not one of merely vulgar human passion, nor was it one of vulgar human ambition, as ordinary men understand these terms. When Julian the Apostate -- called 'apostate' because he refused to be an apostate from the ancient religion of his forefathers -- led his army against Shapur, King of Persia, he did so well knowing that he was acting against the esoteric law. Yet in one sense he could not do otherwise, for his individual karma compelled him to the act. I tell you that there are at times more tragedies in the life of a Messenger than you could easily understand, for a Messenger is sworn to obedience in both directions -- obedience to the general law of his karma from which he may not turn aside a single step, and obedience equally strict to the Law of those who sent him forth. There are in such cases problems to solve sometimes which break the heart, but which nevertheless must be solved.

Be, therefore, charitable in your judgment of that great and unhappy man, Cagliostro!

-- LUCIFER: THE LIGHT-BRINGER, January-February, 1931, 21-2

That is what Dr. de Purucker said about him, and it is something that I think we would do well to reflect upon, because with every Messenger, I do not care who he is, there will be inexplicable acts, but, friends, there will never be criminal acts. There will be things we do not understand, and they spring from that childlikeness (not childishness) of mind and heart that make them appear as nothing in the eyes of men -- and that all the great Teachers have while they live and work among us.

Now the results of that campaign against Judge were very successful. They split the Society, and it has resulted in -- i.e., the Karma of the whole thing is -- the many different Theosophical Societies that exist today. But its main result was to blind the great majority of Theosophists by blackening the memory of Judge, and to blind modern students to the great light that lies enshrined in his writing and teaching. It had another effect in that many Theosophical students are unaware that it was Judge who fulfilled HPB's last hope, which was to keep the link unbroken with the blessed Lodge of Masters.

Friends, he did this, and he died a broken man; but he died with complete forgiveness in his heart, and it was a wonderful thing that was placed on record by his own students: that throughout those last two years of his life, when those who still worked with him outwardly were constantly plotting against him, he worked with them WELL KNOWING IT. He 'carried on,' and his last message to the sections of his own Society, and to the thousands of his own students who remained true to him and the work he did, was to "Hold fast, go slow." He said:

Whatever you do, stand ready for the time when the great injustice and the great wrong that has been done will be recognized by those members of other Societies. Then be ready to hold out the hand of friendship, to hold out the hand of brotherly cooperation, that the wounds of the past may be healed.

It is not too much to say that those who honor the memory of William Q. Judge by living and practicing the truths that he taught are actually walking in the footsteps of their predecessors, the footsteps of those predecessors who have gone before them in the age-old path that leads to the feet of the Masters of Wisdom and Compassion and Peace.

Let us close our meeting tonight by invoking the aid of those same Masters through the divinity that exists in the heart of each one of us:



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