How can we ever TEACH or you LEARN if we have to maintain an attitude utterly foreign to us and our methods: -- that of two Society men? If you really want to be a CHELA, i.e. to become the recipient of our mysteries, YOU have to adapt yourself to OUR ways, not we to YOURS.
Mahatma KH, THE MAHATMA LETTERS TO A.P. SINNETT, 3rd ed, 232.
Students and friends of Theosophy are invited to attend the fifth annual gathering of students of Theosophy. Held in Brookings, Oregon and Smith River, California -- side-by-side costal communities -- the conference will run from Friday August 13 through Sunday the 15th.
There will be a potluck buffet at 4 PM Friday, at Willie's home, 14390 Ocean View Drive, Smith River, California. This will be followed by a public meeting, 7:30 to 9:30 pm, in the conference room of the Brookings Beachfront Inn.
The meeting, entitled "The Ancients and Science -- Today," will be held in the conference room of the Brookings Beachfront Inn. The panel discussion will be followed with a lively exchange of ideas with the audience.
Bruch will be served Saturday morning at the same address (on Ocean View Drive), followed by an informal discussion related to the topic "The Path of the Disciple." We expect many helpful ideas and suggestions will be shared.
There are numerous inns and motel in the area, as well as camping and R.V. accommodations at Harris Beach State Park. It is wise to make reservations early. (Call 1-800-452-5687 to make State Park Reservations.)
For more information, contact:
Brookings Theosophy Study Group 16217 West Hoffeldt Brookings, Oregon 91415 541-469-1825
or call Willie at 707-487-3063.
By Leo Tolstoy
[From Chapter 9 of Epilogue II to WAR AND PEACE. For the complete ebook and other writings of Tolstoy, see: http://www.tolstoy.org]
Religion, the common sense of mankind, the science of jurisprudence, and history itself understand alike this relation between necessity and freedom.
All cases without exception in which our conception of freedom and necessity is increased and diminished depend on three considerations:
(1) The relation to the external world of the man who commits the deeds.
(2) His relation to time.
(3) His relation to the causes leading to the action.
The first consideration is the clearness of our perception of the man's relation to the external world and the greater or lesser clearness of our understanding of the definite position occupied by the man in relation to everything coexisting with him. This is what makes it evident that a drowning man is less free and more subject to necessity than one standing on dry ground, and that makes the actions of a man closely connected with others in a thickly populated district, or of one bound by family, official, or business duties, seem certainly less free and more subject to necessity than those of a man living in solitude and seclusion.
If we consider a man alone, apart from his relation to everything around him, each action of his seems to us free. But if we see his relation to anything around him, if we see his connection with anything whatever -- with a man who speaks to him, a book he reads, the work on which he is engaged, even with the air he breathes or the light that falls on the things about him -- we see that each of these circumstances has an influence on him and controls at least some side of his activity. And the more we perceive of these influences the more our conception of his freedom diminishes and the more our conception of the necessity that weighs on him increases.
The second consideration is the more or less evident time relation of the man to the world and the clearness of our perception of the place the man's action occupies in time. That is the ground which makes the fall of the first man, resulting in the production of the human race, appear evidently less free than a man's entry into marriage today. It is the reason why the life and activity of people who lived centuries ago and are connected with me in time cannot seem to me as free as the life of a contemporary, the consequences of which are still unknown to me.
The degree of our conception of freedom or inevitability depends in this respect on the greater or lesser lapse of time between the performance of the action and our judgment of it.
If I examine an act I performed a moment ago in approximately the same circumstances as those I am in now, my action appears to me undoubtedly free. But if I examine an act performed a month ago, then being in different circumstances, I cannot help recognizing that if that act had not been committed much that resulted from it -- good, agreeable, and even essential -- would not have taken place. If I reflect on an action still more remote, ten years ago or more, then the consequences of my action are still plainer to me and I find it hard to imagine what would have happened had that action not been performed. The farther I go back in memory, or what is the same thing the farther I go forward in my judgment, the more doubtful becomes my belief in the freedom of my action.
In history we find a very similar progress of conviction concerning the part played by free will in the general affairs of humanity. A contemporary event seems to us to be indubitably the doing of all the known participants, but with a more remote event we already see its inevitable results which prevent our considering anything else possible. And the farther we go back in examining events the less arbitrary do they appear.
The Austro-Prussian war appears to us undoubtedly the result of the crafty conduct of Bismarck, and so on. The Napoleonic wars still seem to us, though already questionably, to be the outcome of their heroes' will. But in the Crusades we already see an event occupying its definite place in history and without which we cannot imagine the modern history of Europe, though to the chroniclers of the Crusades that event appeared as merely due to the will of certain people. In regard to the migration of the peoples it does not enter anyone's head today to suppose that the renovation of the European world depended on Attila's caprice. The farther back in history the object of our observation lies, the more doubtful does the free will of those concerned in the event become and the more manifest the law of inevitability.
The third consideration is the degree to which we apprehend that endless chain of causation inevitably demanded by reason, in which each phenomenon comprehended, and therefore man's every action, must have its definite place as a result of what has gone before and as a cause of what will follow.
The better we are acquainted with the physiological, psychological, and historical laws deduced by observation and by which man is controlled, and the more correctly we perceive the physiological, psychological, and historical causes of the action, and the simpler the action we are observing and the less complex the character and mind of the man in question, the more subject to inevitability and the less free do our actions and those of others appear.
When we do not at all understand the cause of an action, whether a crime, a good action, or even one that is simply nonmoral, we ascribe a greater amount of freedom to it. In the case of a crime we most urgently demand the punishment for such an act; in the case of a virtuous act we rate its merit most highly. In an indifferent case we recognize in it more individuality, originality, and independence. But if even one of the innumerable causes of the act is known to us we recognize a certain element of necessity and are less insistent on punishment for the crime, or the acknowledgment of the merit of the virtuous act, or the freedom of the apparently original action. That a criminal was reared among male factors mitigates his fault in our eyes. The self-sacrifice of a father or mother, or self-sacrifice with the possibility of a reward, is more comprehensible than gratuitous self-sacrifice, and therefore seems less deserving of sympathy and less the result of free will. The founder of a sect or party, or an inventor, impresses us less when we know how or by what the way was prepared for his activity. If we have a large range of examples, if our observation is constantly directed to seeking the correlation of cause and effect in people's actions, their actions appear to us more under compulsion and less free the more correctly we connect the effects with the causes. If we examined simple actions and had a vast number of such actions under observation, our conception of their inevitability would be still greater. The dishonest conduct of the son of a dishonest father, the misconduct of a woman who had fallen into bad company, a drunkard's relapse into drunkenness, and so on are actions that seem to us less free the better we understand their cause. If the man whose actions we are considering is on a very low stage of mental development, like a child, a madman, or a simpleton -- then, knowing the causes of the act and the simplicity of the character and intelligence in question, we see so large an element of necessity and so little free will that as soon as we know the cause prompting the action we can foretell the result.
On these three considerations alone is based the conception of irresponsibility for crimes and the extenuating circumstances admitted by all legislative codes. The responsibility appears greater or less according to our greater or lesser knowledge of the circumstances in which the man was placed whose action is being judged, and according to the greater or lesser interval of time between the commission of the action and its investigation, and according to the greater or lesser understanding of the causes that led to the action.
Thus our conception of free will and inevitability gradually diminishes or increases according to the greater or lesser connection with the external world, the greater or lesser remoteness of time, and the greater or lesser dependence on the causes in relation to which we contemplate a man's life.
So that if we examine the case of a man whose connection with the external world is well known, where the time between the action and its examination is great, and where the causes of the action are most accessible, we get the conception of a maximum of inevitability and a minimum of free will. If we examine a man little dependent on external conditions, whose action was performed very recently, and the causes of whose action are beyond our ken, we get the conception of a minimum of inevitability and a maximum of freedom.
In neither case -- however we may change our point of view, however plain we may make to ourselves the connection between the man and the external world, however inaccessible it may be to us, however long or short the period of time, however intelligible or incomprehensible the causes of the action may be -- can we ever conceive either complete freedom or complete necessity.
(1) To whatever degree we may imagine a man to be exempt from the influence of the external world, we never get a conception of freedom in space. Every human action is inevitably conditioned by what surrounds him and by his own body. I lift my arm and let it fall. My action seems to me free; but asking myself whether I could raise my arm in every direction, I see that I raised it in the direction in which there was least obstruction to that action either from things around me or from the construction of my own body. I chose one out of all the possible directions because in it there were fewest obstacles. For my action to be free it was necessary that it should encounter no obstacles. To conceive of a man being free we must imagine him outside space, which is evidently impossible.
(2) However much we approximate the time of judgment to the time of the deed, we never get a conception of freedom in time. For if I examine an action committed a second ago I must still recognize it as not being free, for it is irrevocably linked to the moment at which it was committed. Can I lift my arm? I lift it, but ask myself: could I have abstained from lifting my arm at the moment that has already passed? To convince myself of this I do not lift it the next moment. But I am not now abstaining from doing so at the first moment when I asked the question. Time has gone by which I could not detain, the arm I then lifted is no longer the same as the arm I now refrain from lifting, nor is the air in which I lifted it the same that now surrounds me. The moment in which the first movement was made is irrevocable, and at that moment I could make only one movement, and whatever movement I made would be the only one. That I did not lift my arm a moment later does not prove that I could have abstained from lifting it then. And since I could make only one movement at that single moment of time, it could not have been any other. To imagine it as free, it is necessary to imagine it in the present, on the boundary between the past and the future -- that is, outside time, which is impossible.
(3) However much the difficulty of understanding the causes may be increased, we never reach a conception of complete freedom, that is, an absence of cause. However inaccessible to us may be the cause of the expression of will in any action, our own or another's, the first demand of reason is the assumption of and search for a cause, for without a cause no phenomenon is conceivable. I raise my arm to perform an action independently of any cause, but my wish to perform an action without a cause is the cause of my action.
But even if -- imagining a man quite exempt from all influences, examining only his momentary action in the present, unevoked by any cause -- we were to admit so infinitely small a remainder of inevitability as equaled zero, we should even then not have arrived at the conception of complete freedom in man, for a being uninfluenced by the external world, standing outside of time and independent of cause, is no longer a man.
In the same way we can never imagine the action of a man quite devoid of freedom and entirely subject to the law of inevitability.
(1) However we may increase our knowledge of the conditions of space in which man is situated, that knowledge can never be complete, for the number of those conditions is as infinite as the infinity of space. And therefore so long as not all the conditions influencing men are defined, there is no complete inevitability but a certain measure of freedom remains.
(2) However we may prolong the period of time between the action we are examining and the judgment upon it, that period will be finite, while time is infinite, and so in this respect too there can never be absolute inevitability.
(3) However accessible may be the chain of causation of any action, we shall never know the whole chain since it is endless, and so again we never reach absolute inevitability.
But besides this, even if, admitting the remaining minimum of freedom to equal zero, we assumed in some given case -- as for instance in that of a dying man, an unborn babe, or an idiot -- complete absence of freedom, by so doing we should destroy the very conception of man in the case we are examining, for as soon as there is no freedom there is also no man. And so the conception of the action of a man subject solely to the law of inevitability without any element of freedom is just as impossible as the conception of a man's completely free action.
And so to imagine the action of a man entirely subject to the law of inevitability without any freedom, we must assume the knowledge of an infinite number of space relations, an infinitely long period of time, and an infinite series of causes.
To imagine a man perfectly free and not subject to the law of inevitability, we must imagine him all alone, beyond space, beyond time, and free from dependence on cause.
In the first case, if inevitability were possible without freedom we should have reached a definition of inevitability by the laws of inevitability itself, that is, a mere form without content.
In the second case, if freedom were possible without inevitability we should have arrived at unconditioned freedom beyond space, time, and cause, which by the fact of its being unconditioned and unlimited would be nothing, or mere content without form.
We should in fact have reached those two fundamentals of which man's whole outlook on the universe is constructed -- the incomprehensible essence of life, and the laws defining that essence.
Reason says: (1) space with all the forms of matter that give it visibility is infinite, and cannot be imagined otherwise. (2) Time is infinite motion without a moment of rest and is unthinkable otherwise. (3) The connection between cause and effect has no beginning and can have no end.
Consciousness says: (1) I alone am, and all that exists is but me, consequently I include space. (2) I measure flowing time by the fixed moment of the present in which alone I am conscious of myself as living, consequently I am outside time. (3) I am beyond cause, for I feel myself to be the cause of every manifestation of my life.
Reason gives expression to the laws of inevitability. Consciousness gives expression to the essence of freedom.
Freedom not limited by anything is the essence of life, in man's consciousness. Inevitability without content is man's reason in its three forms.
Freedom is the thing examined. Inevitability is what examines. Freedom is the content. Inevitability is the form.
Only by separating the two sources of cognition, related to one another as form to content, do we get the mutually exclusive and separately incomprehensible conceptions of freedom and inevitability.
Only by uniting them do we get a clear conception of man's life.
Apart from these two concepts which in their union mutually define one another as form and content, no conception of life is possible.
All that we know of the life of man is merely a certain relation of free will to inevitability, that is, of consciousness to the laws of reason.
All that we know of the external world of nature is only a certain relation of the forces of nature to inevitability, or of the essence of life to the laws of reason.
The great natural forces lie outside us and we are not conscious of them; we call those forces gravitation, inertia, electricity, animal force, and so on, but we are conscious of the force of life in man and we call that freedom.
But just as the force of gravitation, incomprehensible in itself but felt by every man, is understood by us only to the extent to which we know the laws of inevitability to which it is subject (from the first knowledge that all bodies have weight, up to Newton's law), so too the force of free will, incomprehensible in itself but of which everyone is conscious, is intelligible to us only in as far as we know the laws of inevitability to which it is subject (from the fact that every man dies, up to the knowledge of the most complex economic and historic laws).
All knowledge is merely a bringing of this essence of life under the laws of reason.
Man's free will differs from every other force in that man is directly conscious of it, but in the eyes of reason it in no way differs from any other force. The forces of gravitation, electricity, or chemical affinity are only distinguished from one another in that they are differently defined by reason. Just so the force of man's free will is distinguished by reason from the other forces of nature only by the definition reason gives it. Freedom, apart from necessity, that is, apart from the laws of reason that define it, differs in no way from gravitation, or heat, or the force that makes things grow; for reason, it is only a momentary undefinable sensation of life.
And as the undefinable essence of the force moving the heavenly bodies, the undefinable essence of the forces of heat and electricity, or of chemical affinity, or of the vital force, forms the content of astronomy, physics, chemistry, botany, zoology, and so on, just in the same way does the force of free will form the content of history. But just as the subject of every science is the manifestation of this unknown essence of life while that essence itself can only be the subject of metaphysics, even the manifestation of the force of free will in human beings in space, in time, and in dependence on cause forms the subject of history, while free will itself is the subject of metaphysics.
In the experimental sciences what we know we call the laws of inevitability, what is unknown to us we call vital force. Vital force is only an expression for the unknown remainder over and above what we know of the essence of life.
So also in history what is known to us we call laws of inevitability, what is unknown we call free will. Free will is for history only an expression for the unknown remainder of what we know about the laws of human life.
By Reed Carson
This July there is only one item of progress to report, but I think it is quite important. Now the member "profile report" has been sorted geographically (instead of being listed apparently randomly). This makes an enormous difference.
At this point in time a total of 582 memberso from 57 different countries, have chosen to have some of their information to be listed, often including their self-description. The information is sorted first by country, then by state if in the United States, by city, and finally by name. This makes it very easy to find those in your geographical area. Of course we expect this list will continue to grow in size and in consequent usefulness to everyone. If you recommend this list to your friends who have interest in this site and in this subject, then it will help everyone.
[See http://www.blavatsky.net for more information.]
By Katherine Tingley
[From THE GODS AWAIT, 155-78, Woman's International Theosophical League, Point Loma, California, 1926.]
It is because we build our hopes, such as they are, not on knowledge but on faith -- on blind faith, and at that, faith in a personality, and powers outside of us -- that we have drifted away so pitiably from the inspiration and beautiful philosophy of Nature; who with her stars and all her hierarchies of beauty could reveal to us the wonderful doctrine, if we would turn and pay heed.
I remember very vividly the morning I met --, H.P. Blavatsky's Teacher, on the mountainside near Darjiling. He was dressed plainly in the Tibetan style, and had an English pocket-knife in his hand, and was whittling a piece of wood with it. In the field below, not far away, a young Hindu was plowing with a brace of oxen. The whittling, -- told me, was to make a little plug or peg which, inserted in the yoke, would make it easier for the beasts.
He drew my attention to the plowman, one of his own Chelas. The Teacher said:
Were a battery of guns to be firing, and the shells falling all around him, "he would not stir from his work. Indeed, he would hardly be aware of the noise or the peril, so absorbed would he be. Those two oxen, with anyone else, are most unmanageable creatures; with him they are always, as now, perfectly quiet. He does not control them with his will. His mind does not concern itself with them at all. But you see there for yourself proof that those dumb things can feel the atmosphere of purity of thought.
And when he goes upon a pilgrimage, he will travel more miles in a day than any of the others, and come in far ahead. You know how the women here in India lave and anoint the feet of the pilgrims? Well -- his feet, after the longest day's journey, have never been found hurt or damaged by the road. Why? Because he never dreads or even thinks of the distance, but goes on his way happily. It never occurs to him to be troubled as to whether or not he may have missed the road or taken the wrong turn or the like. His mind is so buoyant with the joy of the spiritual life that it actually lightens his body for him.
You know -- the atoms of the human body become weighed down as a rule with the burdens of the mind -- the irrelevant ideas, the preoccupations and anxieties. They go through series of changes moment by moment, affected by the thoughts of the brain-mind. The lack of trust, the lack of inspiration that people suffer from -- the hopelessness! -- bring these atoms down half way to death; but they can be quickened to a kind of immortality by the fire of the divine life, and attuned into universal harmony. Men anywhere could get rid of all that burden of unnecessities, and carry themselves like that young Chela does, if they had the mental balance.
If you had to go from here to America, you would not sit still and dream about the place you wanted to go to, and think that was enough. The trouble with some Theosophical aspirants is that they waste the strength of their lives looking at the goal ahead, rather than at the immediate moments and seconds of which the Path is composed, and so their better selves become exhausted. They should let the Beaming Thought pour itself into each arriving moment, and be indifferent to the morrow. One can find in every instant of time, if one has the desire, the door into worlds of golden opportunity, the gateway to a glorious path stretching out into the limitless Eternal ...
To move away from the material plane of effort and thought and personality -- that is what the Soul is urging us to do -- to move out into the hidden vast realities of life, and understand that within and above and around us, and in the very atmosphere in which our thoughts and feelings exist, Universal Life is pulsating continuously in response to our yearning and questioning. When people say that they are seeking happiness, they mean that they are aiming at that stage in their evolution where their present problems will be solved. To reach it, one must withdraw from the allurements of life and all its outward and discouraging aspects, and find himself in the solitude of his own being, in a silence unbreakable within his own heart and mind.
The outer life is transient. He must gain the inner power, and live in the Spirit which is eternal. He cannot step free-souled into that light without having learned concentration, which many, these days, advertise they can teach, and lecture on it, forming cults, holding classes, and taking dollars; but all they can do at last is to lead their victims away from reality, and farther and farther away from the True Self within themselves. For concentration is a power inherent in the Self and above and beyond the mind, it cannot be found in the objective world, for it is not there. The Kingdom of Heaven is on earth, and the gates of it are to be sought and discovered in the heart of man.
So the aspirant should not think about the cultivation of powers, but live in the light and strength of his own Higher Nature. The Divine Law is in every man and woman, and each must find it there for himself, and make it manifest in his life. No one can pour pure water into foul so that it will still retain its purity. Selflessness attains; selfishness defeats. Men's possibilities are in direct proportion to their ability to see beyond themselves and to feel for others ...
To throw the mind, on moving out of sleep into waking, directly upon the outward things, is to lose half the life of the day. One should awake in the morning with a beautiful thought, reminding himself that the battle for the day is before him, and that the God Within desires a moment's conference with the mind before the arduous duties of the morning begin.
He should find something in the silence and sunlight of the first hours, which should link itself with his own Higher Nature and bring forth the blossom and the fruit; he should free himself in the morning in the sweetness of the sunlight; beginning the day as gently as though he were waking a little child from its slumbers; bringing forward the truer and nobler side of himself -- I do not mean, working it out in words and language, but in thought approaching the richness and fullness of the Spirit, and letting the God Within blossom into each moment as it rises. Then, reaching out for the most difficult duty that one KNOWS TO BE ONE'S DUTY, and overcoming it, he will learn the secret of being on guard. In a little while he will have thrown away unawares all the burdens that obstructed him.
Many have been working hard and conscientiously to get rid of these burdens. There is no need to spend a moment on them. It is but to put aside the doubts and misgivings; to enter the chambers of the Soul; to bask in the sunlight and strength that are there.
The first three hours of the day are the great opportunity. He who does not rise with the sun loses an immense amount of power. He who rises before the sun, and by daybreak has finished with the duties of this plane and what may be necessary for the care of the body, and is ready to step out with the sunrise and work with the sun. He has the cooperation of a force he little knows of, the vibrant blue light behind the sun.
The trouble is with many of our aspirants that too often they begin with the letter and go backwards in search of the spirit. But let them hold to these things in the silence, and create a noble future in their hearts, going alone in the morning into the silence of Nature; freeing themselves there from their old trying memories and from all anticipations of trouble, let them make themselves at one with that Light in Nature. And it will not hurt them to look at the stars with wonder occasionally; or to listen with delight light to the music of the birds. Now will it hurt to spend whole days in silence, brooding on these sacred things whilst performing all the duties that come to them to do. ...
I think he placed a talisman in our hands, and gave us the real secret of life.
When the conquest of self is made, the whole aspect of the universe changes, we move with divine affection close to the Mighty Mother, and realize that all these years the silence and the stars in heaven have been pleading with us, and that for us the trees have put forth their leaves and all the flowers their blossoms, and that every bird that sang, sang for us, and that for our sake all beauty has been.
I recall how Carlyle after years of doubt came to a place in his life where the whole world seemed dead to him, and he could find no answer to his questions in books or in his Calvinistic religion; and then one morning, as hungering after truth he looked out over the hilltops, it came to him; and in the glory of the morning light above the mountains he realized the power and grandeur within Nature, whose secret beauty was reflected into his soul; and he found the Divinity within him, and the truth and message he afterwards wrote so brilliantly for the world. He wrote a message of perfect trust in the divineness of the Universe and Man.
And this revelation is awaiting us all, for the Infinite is in everything, and all things are expressions of the Spirit. The invisible forces lying behind external Nature are identical with the invisible forces working through ourselves. In both are many hidden things we have not discovered and do not understand.
The Spirit that shines through the beauty of dawns and sunset seeks equally to express its grandeur and dignity through our human lives; the spiritual will that urges us toward noble and righteous living is a part of the same great essence that breathes through all Nature, expressing itself in the hue and perfume of the flowers, in the whisper or crying of the wind, in all the music of the wild waters and the rolling billows of the sea.
In the search for freedom, in the quest for sublime perfection, there is eternal alliance between Man and nature. The waves and winds can shout for us the battle-cry or sing for us the song of our peace, or whisper to us their dreams of sunlit ages to be. Under the blue of heaven in the free air we can always find that which is akin and most intimate to ourselves, and a friendliness in every green and growing thing, and the New Life, which is the God-essence, everywhere. It is in the plan of evolution that we should enjoy this noble silent companion ship, and that all Nature should constantly appeal to and invoke that which is impersonal, and therefore godlike, in us.
Go into the secret chambers of your heart. Go out under the magnificence of the constellations. Arise to the viewpoint of the godhead you will find in both, and the stars themselves will bring forth new manifestations of wonder for you, and you will know certainly that where life is, in that place is the Divine, and that the glory of the sky and the sweet silence of the air, the wonder of music, the richness and vitality of color. All these things are but manifestations and permutations of Impersonal Deity.
You cannot think of a beautiful line of poetry without awakening in some degree that divine Inner Glory within yourself. You can read such a line again and again until after a while you have lost sight of your surroundings and are out in an ideal world all beauty and sublimity. The trouble with us is that we never remain there long enough to find out who we are. We do not catch the undertones of the silence there. We are in too much hurry to return.
Seek the upward and ennobling path, and you are no longer alone. Your own Divinity is on your side with you, and what you can encompass of what Universal Nature affords is with you to support you toward final victory.
For music you will have heard of the symphony of life, and the stars in their courses will sing to you. The trees will chant to you the hymn of their beautiful being. All Nature will greet you with the salutation of respect, because of the noble effort you are making.
The glory of Death will be made known to you. You will know the path you must travel though you may not foresee the goal, for the Soul will implant in your mind knowledge of its high possibilities.
But he who chooses the downward path and uses his energies on behalf of the evil in him, has at his elbow likewise the evil of the world.
I remember how the wonder and power of Theosophy were born in upon me on my first visit to Egypt. There the footsteps of the ancient times are visible. The truth that men lived and brooded of old, endures still and cannot die. In the clear motionless air, in the mountains and old temples, there is a silence and an impress of ages gone which awaken the imagination; one feels the presence and potency of the truths that shone through the Mysteries of old, and that the great hierophants and Teachers have left the touch of their inner lives in the atmosphere. Those silent hills, worn with age -- how they spoke to me! They were full of the mightiness of ancient times and the spiritual activities of the great Egyptians. The old Nile talked to me, and the moon above the Nile; until I knew that the greatest and most eloquent power in Nature as well as in human life is silence.
It was borne in upon me in the tombs of the Pharaohs. I remember the day when we rode from Luxor along the bank of the river, and up over hills and down through ravines, and then walked through a door in the hillside, and by galleries and galleries underground, and by flights of stairs carved in the rock, and into a room lit with electricity, the tomb of Seti I.
The mummy was there; the lid of the sarcophagus had been removed and the lights were disposed so that one could see the great king's features. I had never before understood why they mummified their dead; but as we went in there and looked at the face of that mighty monarch -- he was one of the greatest of the Pharaohs -- a silence seemed to descend upon the whole party. It was an inner and majestic silence, which was in itself a symphony of symphonies, as if we had been ushered into the presence of something that still remained, and was imperishable in its essence, of that long-dead ruler's greatness.
There were many periods, anciently, when the Soul was better understood than it is now, and when men fashioned their lives simply and beautifully in accordance with the magnificent aspirations of Nature; when they listened for and heard, as we do but very rarely, the melody of life, which is the voice of the Inner Divinity; when they talked with the stars, and had no fear written on their faces; when they knew no dogmas at all, nor fear of death, nor spiritual nor moral terror.
All that was best in the history of those early races is here now in the very atmosphere in which we live. It is not lost; it is in Nature; it has made itself a part of the harmony of universal life.
In such periods, wise Teachers instituted the festival of Easter in honor of the Mighty Mother. They knew that the depths and powers hidden in Nature and in Man are infinite, and paying tribute to the beauty and glory of the universe, invoked at the same time the infinite Divine Beauty in themselves and in the general human heart.
For there is that undertone in life. It is in all of us, and we are bound together by it unescapably, each his brother's keeper, though it is audible only to him who is great enough to hear it because he has found his true Self.
Knowing this, and that the Divine Essence is everywhere, those Wise Ones of old time knew that through our own efforts we may lift the veil and understand the mysteries of being and the whole meaning of the conflict within ourselves, and so work out our own salvation; that he who will crucify his earthly passions will find strength to roll back the stone from the doorway of his own inner being wherein the Divinity lies entombed, raising as it were the Christos from the dead; and that this is the resurrection and the life. And they instituted and ordained Easter in commemoration of it.
How joyful, how sublime, our existence in this world becomes when viewed from this standpoint, and with the key to all its mysteries -- which is knowledge of the essential divinity of man -- in one's possession! In the sunshine of that wisdom all the thoughts that we cling to and love because of their fineness will blossom. The small aims and prejudices of our minds, and the conventional opinions we accept without thought as to whether they bear any relation to truth or not -- how infinitely trivial they will seem!
We have limited Deity according to the measure of our own minds, and conceived of the Limitless as personal because we have been oblivious of all but the personal within ourselves.
Yet that self-knowledge for lack of which we suffer can be attained, and it is a consciousness of the regal powers of the Soul.
No man can make actual his own divine potentialities, until he has recognized the universality of the Divine, and asserted its presence within himself, aware that by will and conviction he can make manifest in his human life every quality and aspect of Godhead.
One has not to run away from present duty in order to find this knowledge; but in the inmost spaces of the heart is the throbbing life of the Divine wherein all wisdom is discoverable, because it is there that all wisdom inheres.
Let a man work with Nature, understanding the fundamental laws of her and living by them. Knowing what she demands of him and building his life on the knowledge, unsatisfied with the personal god idea, let him know that God is the Divine Life unfolding itself through the power of its own essence, the one Universal Law inspiring, flowing through, directing, the infinite interweaving of laws that express themselves through life and govern its manifestations.
And in the performance of every smallest duty, in the bearing of every sorrow, in the conduct of his severest and most discouraging struggles, that Divine Force, that Knowledge, seeking its expression in the transformations, will be at his hand.
For it is a power whose secret is in the heart and mind and soul working together. It is to be evoked only out of the hidden realms within ourselves where all the splendor at the Heart of Life is to be found.
He who finds it within himself, and knows it wonderfully to be himself and the sole reality in himself, lives absolutely for humanity; because to touch human nature at any point is to touch the whole of humanity, and to evoke the Godself within ourselves is to employ the power underlying all things.
And this is the reason why no one now is quite at ease within himself, or wholly satisfied. The ray of the Divine Nature in each of us is eager after self-expression in a larger life than any we have dreamed of.
We are not brought into existence by chance, nor thrown up into earth-life like wreckage cast along the shore; but we are here for infinitely noble purposes.
All humanity should know its heritage, constantly and constantly striving to become and overcome, yet never depending on forces outside of self.
Rising in the morning, we should be conscious of the Divinity within; retiring at night, we should be enfolded in the protection of the Law.
For none of us is overlooked, left out, or forgotten in this Scheme of Life of whose sweeping beneficence each is a part. In all situations from the most trivial to the most important, in all temptations from the smallest to the largest, a man can find in his own reflections and inner consciousness that which will convince him that he is more than he seems -- a knowledge that leads not to egoism or self-importance, but to great simplicity, impersonality, and balance.
For Man is the Soul, and there is no wisdom so divine that he cannot attain it. The Soul belongs to the beautiful eternities, and we are here to make all existence beautiful.
Life would have nothing in it for me. I could not live through a day of it, were it not for the consciousness within that this apologetic bit of myself is the temple of the Soul -- the shrine of a God ever pressing toward grander expressions of life.
The Soul can rest on nothing that is this side of infinity. It loses its vitality if it seeks to do so. All eternity awaits it; how should it be satisfied with the half-life we live and the many imperfections that mar us? The nature of the Soul is to be winging its flight forever toward the boundless; to be working, hoping, and conquering; to be going forward forever and ever.
It is therefore no question of our likes and dislikes. Advance we must, seeking within ourselves the secret of our God-selves, which sing to us eternally through the silence.
If the meaning and the music of the song are lost before it reaches our hearing, it is because our thoughts are too full of the things of death, because we are weighed down by needless burdens, and grow old in our youth with wrong thinking, filling our minds with desires that emanate from selfishness, and allowing them to accumulate until they, and not we, become the living force behind our actions.
So that it is not only the mind but the whole being that must be prepared for the search for truth. For this there are no rules that can be given, no precise directions nor yardstick receipts. But conceive, if but for a day, that you are greater than ever you dreamed you were, conceive that in the essence of your nature you are divine, and cannot suffer perdition.
And remember that you never could have walked if you had not tried; that you never could have spoken if you had not made the effort to speak; that you never could have sung if you had not felt within you the urge of the living God there.
Theosophy is as old as the hills, and all the World Religions are based on its teachings, although only a minority now is familiar with them. It is not superstition nor speculation; not dogmatism nor blind faith; nor the product of the brain-mind of any man; nor yet miraculous.
It comes to humanity like an old traveler who has trodden all the highways of experience, and having achieved, after long journeying, a full understanding of life, returns to the place from which he started, that he may bring to those who dwell there the saving knowledge he has acquired. It is knowledge of the God within Man, and of Man's power to advance and to overcome, which is what evolution means.
Superficial examination of its teachings will avail nothing. As none could become a musician by mere study of the theory of music, so none can come to an understanding of Theosophy by reading of it in books. In both cases, practice is needed. One must live the life if one would know the Law. An artist never attained excellence in his art, nor a musician in his music, who did not begin with the basic principles.
Where there is satisfaction with self, there look for danger; because there no growth can take place. A certain conflict within, of thought and feeling, must be going forward; until we arrive at some knowledge of our own, at some perception of life's meaning and purposes, of our origin and destiny, our duties, obligations, and responsibilities.
No man can really grow until he has trust in himself. The successful inventor is the one who realizes that there is something more to know, that new knowledge is always accessible and waiting for him, that tomorrow will add to what he has today. He was once a boy, playing with his tools clumsily and with no knowledge of mechanics; but after a time some inner whispering told him that he was to achieve something; and he kept on, because that which bade him keep on was above and beyond his mind, until he came to be aware that his mentality was but an aid to him in the working out of his problems; and that there is an Inside Something that uses it, discovering truth and acquiring knowledge; and that this is the Real Man, who may be inspired by illuminating ideas out of the Universal Mind, or may have brought them with him as memories out of ancient lives.
So he looks always for truth beyond his opinions, and goes out seeking into the broad spheres of thought. He frees his mind and advances, hoping and trusting; he visualizes his aims, and believes there are whole regions in his nature which he has not yet discovered; and, relying on that undeveloped side of himself, claims from it by trust the knowledge he seeks, and does not claim in vain.
So too the real artist, the lover of truth and beauty, is lifted in his moments of creation above all brain-mind limitations and carried onto a plane that transcends our normal thought-life, and feels there, throbbing and thrilling through his being, the poetry and inspiration of the Great Silence -- that divine light that is within and a part of us all and forever awaiting our recognition.
Such a one, artist or inventor, when he is in the quest of that which should do good to the world, sounding the deep resources of his nature, touches the fringe of worlds more wonderful, and strangely mysterious powers; whereas another man, with equal latent ability, approaching the same problems with doubt and hesitation, or again with presumptuous self-sufficiency, would be very sure not to succeed.
In proportion as a man worships the outer, he misses the inner truth.
By Charles J. Ryan
[From THE THEOSOPHICAL FORUM, April 1948, 208-214.]
Sing, Muse, the song of Odysseus, him of the hardy heart, bravest of all the brave who sailed in the hollow ships of the Grecians, ODYSSEUS, erstwhile King of Ithaca, now held by crafty Calypso, she of the braided tresses, in far Ogygia. Gone indeed is the day of his returning! Zeus, the cloud-gatherer, aids him not; Poseidon the earth-shaker sends ruinous winds upon him and dire engulfings in the wine-dark sea. Only Athena would aid thee -- grey-eyed Athena of the bronze-shod spear, a daughter of Zeus, the thunderer. See! From the azure seats of the gods, even from Olympus, comes she now glancing down.
The wise teachers of old knew that not only children but grown men and women are always ready to listen to an interesting story. In ancient times, when few people could read, bards and storytellers would travel about singing or reciting, as they still do in the East. Serious teachings about life and morals were put into the form of vivid and absorbing stories. Enshrined in imperishable forms, great truths were presented by the effective method of suggestion. Allegory was a recognized method of instruction, as it now is in the Orient.
The basis of many such legends was the experience and suffering of man, individually and as a race, in seeking a higher and nobler life, in the quest for enlightenment. The pilgrimage and tribulations of the awakening personality when it seriously commences to seek for purification, or in other words, union with its own higher nature, have been presented in various forms according to the varying conditions of the times, but the underlying principle or motif was always the same. At a certain stage man is no longer satisfied with the ordinary pleasures and ambitions of life; he begins to suspect that a greater life awaits him, and he becomes willing to endure with patience the experiences in store for him which are necessary for his purification, even though they take many lifetimes.
The vulgar Western belief of modern times that we live but once on earth, has deprived us of a right understanding of many of the greater truths concealed in the ancient allegories. Once comprehended in the light of reincarnation -- the mechanism of evolution -- human life no longer appears a meaningless frenzy, but something worthy and governed by justice.
The epics of the nations which tell the story of man's aspiration are built upon the trials, temptations, and victories that precede the union of the purified lower personality with the Higher Ego, its overshadowing Divinity, the Father that lives in 'heaven.' Remember that 'heaven' is said to be WITHIN man. The goal of attainment is symbolized in various ways. It may be the vision of the Holy Grail, or the winning of a treasure such as the Golden Apples of the Hesperides or the Golden Fleece; it is sometimes a marriage with a princess after rescuing her from a monster, as in the story of Perseus and Andromeda, or with a goddess. Perhaps a wife has to be regained. In India the subject of the semi-historical THE BHAGAVAD GITA -- included in the great epic of THE MAHABHARATA -- is Arjuna's battling for his rightful heritage. The Biblical story of the Israelites breaking out of bondage and passing through the Red Sea and then wandering for forty years in the Desert of Sinai on their way to the Promised Land is a very clear allegory.
In Ireland we find the legend of Bran seeking the mystic country of joy and peace, and of Art the son of Conn overcoming ordeals in his search for a princess of the Isle of Wonders, and many others. In Wales there are the legends of Pwyll and Manawyddan, and the adventurous journey of King Arthur to the Annwn, the Welsh Hades, to obtain a magic caldron -- a type of the Cup of the Holy Grail.
Thanks to Wagner, the Teutonic legends of Siegfried and Brunhilde, of Tannhauser and Parsifal, and the rest are now familiar. Greece has a wealth of myths founded on the drama of the soul; some are quite transparent to interpretation, such as Perseus and Andromeda, Orpheus and Eurydice, and Jason and the Golden Fleece; but as a secular and popular story, nothing has appeared of more enduring fame than the Wanderings of Odysseus as told in the ODYSSEY of Homer.
Odysseus is representative of the awakened mind of man seeking, after long years of battling with worldly things -- represented by the Trojans -- to find, or more accurately, to regain, the spiritual wisdom deep-buried within his soul, and symbolized by his faithful wife, Penelope. This spiritual Intuition stands in the dim background of the whole poem as a permeating influence, calm, and waiting patiently for him to find her. While Odysseus, as the active mentality, is fighting against obstacles and pushing onward in rapid movement, Penelope sits at home and weaves her patterns, creating and preserving. Odysseus is not only separated from his wife but is an exile from his hearth and country; not only has he to keep constantly in action BUT HE HAS TO FIND FOR HIMSELF the true Path which leads homeward, a very significant point.
In tracing the plain Theosophical interpretation of the Odyssey, we need not follow the order of the poem as arranged by Homer or by whomever compiled the Homeric legends, but will take the simple narrative of the wanderings of Odysseus in their natural sequence of events. This paper is not an analysis of the poem from a literary standpoint in any way, nor shall we consider the archaeological problems aroused by sundry references to customs and the construction of buildings found in the text, interesting as these may be, particularly in view of the modern discoveries of early Mediterranean civilizations.
After leaving the battlefields of Troy, Odysseus embarks for his native isle, "Ithaca the Fair," expecting to arrive there quickly, but a tempest drives the fleet out of its course, and a great fight impedes his progress at the very outset. Many students know how true this is. The destruction of all his ships but one, and of many of the sailors, follows quickly. One of the most curious stories of this introductory part is that of Polyphemus, the Cyclopean giant with a single eye in the midst of his forehead. Madame Blavatsky, in her great work, THE SECRET DOCTRINE, gives considerable attention to the partly-hidden meaning of this grotesque incident. She reveals the clue by showing that it is based upon historical facts, however little they may be known in modern times. Urged by curiosity, Odysseus ventures too near the giant, and with his companions, falls into his hands. In order to escape, they destroy the single eye of Polyphemus and deceive him by the stratagem of the flocks of rams, a well-known esoteric symbol. The legend is based upon the disappearance from use of the 'third Eye' (the existing vestige of which is commonly known as the pineal gland in the brain) at a very early period in human evolution. H.P. Blavatsky says that Odysseus'
... adventure with the latter [the pastoral Cyclopes] -- a savage gigantic race, the antithesis of cultured civilization in the ODYSSEY -- is an allegorical record of the gradual passage from the Cyclopean civilization of stone and colossal buildings to the more sensual and physical culture of the Atlanteans, which finally caused the last of the Third Race to lose their all-penetrating SPIRITUAL eye.
-- THE SECRET DOCTRINE, II, 769 (See also ISIS UNVEILED, II, 423)
The story of the tribe of one-eyed Cyclops, which preserves the memory of the transformation in the human frame far more than a million years ago, is found in many countries in different forms. In China, the legends speak of men who had two faces and could see behind them; in Ireland the hero who blinds the Cyclops-eyed giant is called Finn. There is one living animal possessing the third eye in recognizable form today -- the New Zealand lizard HATTERIA PUNCTATA, a relic of long-vanished conditions on earth.
After their escape and some further perilous adventures, Odysseus and his companions soon reach the island of the enchantress Circe, which very clearly represents the fascination of sensual delights. Odysseus is unaffected by the gross temptations which overwhelm his companions, who are turned into swine by the goddess. He retains his human form and is helped by the Olympian god Hermes to frustrate the designs of Circe. Odysseus' boldness and "confidence in heaven" finally conquer the enchantress and compel her to serve him. She becomes transformed into a friend and counselor. She restores the men to human form and instructs Odysseus how to find the way to the Underworld. This episode reminds us of and illustrates the saying of Katherine Tingley "that after a certain stage of spiritual unfoldment, the action of Karma changes from penalty to tuition," and also of a striking passage in a well-known Theosophical book, THROUGH THE GATES OF GOLD:
Once force the animal into his rightful place, that of an inferior, and you find yourself in possession of a great force hitherto unsuspected and unknown. The god as a servant adds a thousandfold to the pleasures of the animal; the animal as a servant adds a thousandfold to the powers of the god ... The animal in man, elevated, is a thing unimaginable in its great powers of service and strength ... But this power can only be attained by giving the god the sovereignty. Make your animal ruler over yourself, and he will never rule others.
Now comes the ordeal of Terror, an emotion not familiar to Odysseus. Circe has warned him that, before he goes farther, he must gain some necessary information about the future from Tiresias, the ancient prophet who lives with the Shades in Hades, though he himself is not dead. The approach to this great seer and the initiation itself is surrounded by fearful dangers; safely to defy the multitudes of the vengeful shades of the dead calls forth the highest physical, and moral courage of Odysseus. Like all the heroes of the epics of the Soul, he has to pass through the Valley of the Shadow of Death in a very real sense; to meet and face and remain unappalled by the Shades, the lingering remains of past sins and errors; then to learn what is necessary for his further progress; and finally to return unharmed, though tried to the uttermost. This Descent into Hell, or the Underworld, or the 'Open Tomb' has more than one meaning, and it is always introduced in some form in the myths of initiation. For instance, in the legend of Perseus and Andromeda, the hero, aided by the gods, must fly to the hideous regions of cold and darkness and destroy the death-dealing monster Medusa and take her head, before he can rescue the princess of Ethiopia.
Not only Christ is said to have descended into the Underworld and "ministered to the spirits in prison" but Orpheus, Aeneas and many other Great Ones, and we are told that in the ceremonies conducted in the profound recesses of the Great Pyramid of Egypt the candidates had to descend into the subterranean chamber or symbolic Underworld, for trial, reascending the third day strengthened and illuminated. The descent into the shadows is an indispensable part of every complete story of the pilgrimage of the soul, for it represents a necessary experience. "No cross, no crown." It is not mere PHYSICAL death and resurrection or rebirth into a new body; that is but a natural incident, frequently recurring, in the far-stretching career of the soul, the close of a day in its life-story. When the true resurrection has been fully accomplished there then will be little necessity of reincarnation on earth, except by the deliberate choice of great souls who descend for the purpose of helping humanity.
The tone of the poem changes at this point; the lightness and gaiety with which Odysseus has related his adventures is replaced by a deep solemnity, and the horrid scenes in Hades are described with intense vividness, and many curious touches of realism, as. in the account of the blood-evocation -- a necromantic ceremony the contemporaries of Homer would firmly believe in. In his description of the Underworld, Homer shows a real knowledge of certain conditions of the POST MORTEM life, a knowledge more common then than now. He unveils only a partial glimpse of the lower states or planes, and, of course, he allegorizes everything for the popular understanding, but he gives a very striking picture of the weird and desolate sphere of restless phantoms, most of them merely "eidolons," i.e., soulless images or dregs of what once were men whose real higher nature or spirit has passed onward. Leaving the impure remains to fade out, often painfully, in the lower astral planes, Odysseus gets a passing view of "stern Minos," the judge of the Dead, the personification of the Law of Karma or Justice, rewarding the righteous and dooming the guilty, and he is privileged to gain a momentary glance into the heavenly world of Elysium or Devachan in which live in blessedness during the periods of rest between incarnations on earth, the higher immortal spirits of those whose fading shadows wander in Hades below. H.P. Blavatsky says:
... the Hades of the ancients [is] ... a LOCALITY only in a relative sense ... Still it exists, and it is there that the astral EIDOLONS of all the beings that have lived ... await their SECOND DEATH.
-- THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY, 143
Plato and Plutarch give more complete accounts of the Greek teachings on this mysterious subject; examined in the light of Theosophy they are seen to be practically identical with the Egyptian, Indian, and other ancient teachings on these states of existence. It is very significant that wherever we go among so-called 'primitive peoples' we find they are aware of the danger of intercourse with the lower and irresponsible remains of the dead, and though devoted to them in life will go to great pains to avoid the soulless relics of their departed friends.
Odysseus does not ask the shuddering phantoms to help him; he appeals to the prophet Tiresias, who, though shadowy himself, is fully human:
... the Theban bard, deprived of sight; Within, irradiate with prophetic light; To whom Persephone, entire and whole, Gave to retain the unseparated soul; The rest are forms, of empty ether made; Impassive semblance, and a flitting shade.
Tiresias sees what possibilities the future has for Odysseus, outlines his trials, and warns him against the rashness of his followers. Odysseus replies to the prophet:
... If this the gods prepare, What Heaven ordains the wise with courage bear.
Returning to Circe, who outlines in greater detail the dangers of his coming journey, and gives him good counsel, he once more collects his men and starts. Then comes the perilous passage of the Straits between Scylla and Charybdis, and the subtle temptation of the Sirens. The Sirens, whose outward appearance is exquisitely fair, offer the hero the satisfaction of the pride of knowledge. They tell him they know "Whate'er beneath the sun's bright journey lies," and they sing with all the charm of celestial music:
O stay, O pride of Greece! Ulysses stay! O cease thy course, and listen to our lay! Blest is the man ordain'd our voice to hear, The song instructs the soul, and charms the ear. Approach! thy soul shall into raptures rise! Approach! and learn new wisdom from the wise.
By Joy Mills
[Chapter Six 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.]
Our emphasis has been on THE SECRET DOCTRINE, simply because this year marks the centenary of its publication. But whether one thinks of one hundred years or one thousand years, these are mere numbers that have no intrinsic meaning. What is important is that we have considered together some of the fundamental principles that characterize that Wisdom Tradition. I have not intended that this would be a simple intellectual exercise. My emphasis has been on the central consideration, that what is called for is a transformation in human consciousness. This is not just a new way of thinking, although that is involved, but it is a new way of being in the world. And that means that it is not simply that we have been talking about abstractions, but about extremely practical matters.
We must look very deeply into what is the nature of our action. It sometimes appears to be easier to rearrange the furniture of the world, to shift things about a bit, than to deal with ourselves. We would like to reform everyone else and we fail to recognize that the reformation must take place within.
I think very often of the situation that is so well described in THE BHAGAVAD GITA. Arjuna represents every man, we are the modern Arjunas -- the whole universe is a kind of Kurukshetra. It is a field on which all existence takes place, the field of the KURUS. And we are engaged, I think, in this battle. Now THE BHAGAVAD GITA opens with a remarkable statement. And I think it is something of which we need to be aware. Arjuna is at first at just one side of the field and this is often where we are, you see, at one side. We look across the field and see what appears to be an army arrayed against us, and we have projected unto that army feelings of hostility. Now Arjuna recognized that in that army were friends and relatives -- that were elements in himself. And the armies that we face today are indeed the elements of our own nature. Arjuna had a charioteer, that is to say he recognized that there was an inner authority to whom he could turn. It is time that we recognize that in each one of us there is a similar interior authority and that if we listen closely, we will understand what is the nature of right action.
Now at the very opening therefore, Arjuna takes a dramatic step. He says to the charioteer: "'Take me to the center of the field, and there stays my chariot." It is only when one moves to the center that one may see the entire field. And we have to learn to come to the center. In fact, I would suggest that this is the fundamental principle enunciated in THE SECRET DOCTRINE -- that one must come to the center, to truly observe the field of existence. And then of course, his main question is: "What shall I do? How shall I handle the situation in which I find myself?"
Isn't this the question all of us ask at some point or other? Of course the charioteer, which is the interior guide or authority, introduces him to that field. Now we may become just as impatient as Arjuna did. Along about the sixth chapter of the Gita, Arjuna says, in effect -- this is my own Joy Mills translation -- "Look here Krishna, cut out all this philosophy. All I want to know is what is it that I am supposed to do!" And this is the situation in which many of us find us. I think some of you may have said: "Cut out all this metaphysical business you have been talking about! The world out there is burning and let's get out and do something to put out the fire!"
Krishna gives the only answer that the wise can ever give: "'You must be responsible for your own actions." In my own very rough translation of the Sanskrit, Krishna says to Arjuna: "My boy, you are on your own." Because we have created the situation in which we find ourselves today, we must know how to solve it. We become self-responsible. All that Krishna could do was to show the fundamental basic principles which govern all action. How we apply those principles is for each one of us to determine. The Gita ends in the eighteenth chapter with a remarkable statement of Krishna, and it is a statement we should all remember. In effect he says to Arjuna, "You will act because the very nature of your being is to act." That is, the very nature of being human is to act. Even inaction is an act! You cannot say "Stop the world. I want to get off!" You are the world and you must act. You must recognize that in a phenomenal universe, this Kurukshetra, this field, every action is clouded -- and he uses a marvelous analogy here -- by smoke. So the task before us is the same task that faced Arjuna, to know how to produce the least smoke. That is, to act in such a manner as to bring about the maximum benefit for all. It is neither to withdraw from action, which is actually impossible, nor to rush blindly, rashly into action, but to know what we are doing -- to be aware at every moment what we are doing.
Now we must realize that action is not only physical action. Action is a movement on whatever level of existence, and action moves from a certain condition of the mind. When that condition is obscured and colored by all that is perceived, then the action is inevitably obscured and colored. When the mind is swayed by desire and passion, then the action becomes indeed action that is colored by those desires and passions. Again it is a matter of the transformation of the mind so that consciousness is a clear field, so that it is in a condition of its own purity of nature. And for that alone we are responsible.
Truth is not a possession of the mind. It is not one possession among others, but a mind that is established in its own essential nature. A consciousness that is established, stable, in its own interior center of being, is a mind in which truth reveals itself. And that truth, that very nature of the truthfulness that is revealed recognizes that there is a rightness that is beauty everywhere, that everywhere there exists a natural order of existence. When one is in harmony with that natural order or beauty, then one acts to bring about the good. These indeed were the three characteristics of the stable individual in Plato's philosophy: the true, the beautiful, the good. So that when one is established in the truthfulness of existence, one perceives the beauty or order of existence recognizing that it is always what one may call a right proportion of things -- never fully expressing the Ultimate because the phenomenal can never fully express the noumenal. There is always a kind of cloud, but perceiving that right proportion, one performs the good.
So we may suggest that the simple story told in the Gita is the total story of our work. We are all aware of the grave crises that humanity faces today. These crises have been enumerated so often. Like Arjuna we may often wonder whether we are simply pawns in some gigantic cosmic game. But the theosophical worldview indicates that we can choose to act meaningfully to bring about a brotherhood of humanity. There are hopeful signs everywhere around us.
Let me tell you a story that may or may not be apocryphal. It concerns the writing or establishment of the constitution of my own country. We have just celebrated in the United States the bicentennial of the founding of my nation. There were many problems following the declaration of independence of thirteen states, and a constitutional conference was called to see if there could be some way in which unity among these very separate and diverse states could be achieved. George Washington was elected the president of that convention, and the meetings continued in a hot summer in the city of Philadelphia. Interestingly, that is the city whose very name means "brotherly love." That is why Philadelphia was so named; it was the city of brotherly love, you see. During that period of the constitutional convention there were quarrels and arguments over many, many matters. But finally out of it emerged the document that has guided my country during the past two hundred years. Among the participants was perhaps one of the wisest men that have ever lived, Benjamin Franklin. He was a member of the ILLUMINATI of that day, which was the theosophical organization of that time. And undoubtedly because he had been the ambassador in France, he had come into contact with certain great beings, adepts.
At the conclusion, when the document had finally been signed by all the participants, Benjamin Franklin pointed to the symbol that was carved on the back of the chair on which Washington had been seated throughout the convention. The symbol that had been carved on the back of the chair was of a half sun, with rays projecting out. And Franklin said to the assembled delegates of the convention: "There were times during this week when I looked at this symbol, and I thought it was a setting sun. But today I know it is a rising sun."
Now when you consider the matter, there is no difference in how one would paint a setting or a rising sun. But how you view it may make all the difference in the world ... We can face the burning ruins of an outworn social and economic order and we can say that our civilization, as we have known it, is a setting sun. Or we can recognize that out of that may be arising a global society and see that it is a rising sun. I suggest that our responsibility is to help to bring to birth such a global society, and to participate to the best of our ability in bringing about that new order -- which is brotherhood.
There is the beautiful myth of the Round Table. In one of the great myths of the Grail legend, it is said that the knights of King Arthur's Round Table were seated about that table in the usual order, when into the castle came Galahad, the voice of that realm of pure being, that would awaken those that were willing to leave the comfort at that table and proceed out into the forests of confusion and bewilderment of the world about them to seek for true wisdom, for that Grail whose very nature is wisdom and compassion and in which there is that healing presence that leads to wholeness. And so the call comes to each one of us today, to leave the established comfort and security of a past way of life -- to seek in the ways of the world, not by withdrawing in the mountain vastness of the Himalayas, but to seek among humanity on the streets and avenues of our modem cities in the midst in all of the clashing of arms and the misery of human sorrow for that which will heal all human wounds.
There is indeed I think a genuine call which we should hear, and again THE SECRET DOCTRINE points to the way in which we can search -- that we too, like Perceval, one day will reach that goal. And as one version of the legend, that of Wolfram von Eschenbach points out, we will then enter into the kingdom of priester John; that kingdom is the kingdom of adepts, this mighty brotherhood of "just men made perfect" whose very existence is the surety of humanity's own achievement.
This is our responsibility. We cannot evade it. We can take it up and pursue it with happiness and lightness. The knights of the Round Table are present in us -- like Galahad we can blunder our way through. Like Lancelot we can fall very frequently, and wander from the path that leads to the Grail. Like Boros we can plod steadily onwards; like Galahad we can ultimately achieve. When Galahad announced the quest to the knights gathered, it is recorded that each arose and went his own way into the forest, to that place where he saw the way to be the thickest. What a wonderful statement of the great truth, that the ways are many, that each one of us has to find his own way of service, his own path of the quest where he sees that the need may be the greatest. But King Arthur, representative of that supreme ATMAN, cautioned the knights as they departed: "Many will fall in the quest, and the end may not be achieved so quickly as you may think."
There are many today who are seeking shortcuts on this path or who get ensnared in the forest of psychic phenomena and are caught on the brambles of the thickets in that kind of region. Indeed there are those who fall -- failure is not to be dismissed however, for all we need to do is to pick ourselves up and disentangle ourselves from the briars of psychic glamors that have ensnared us -- and continue on the quest.
So the task is laid before us; it is a beautiful task. In the very beginning of THE SECRET DOCTRINE HPB wrote a statement that is probably as descriptive of the present situation as it was of her own time. She wrote:
The world of today, in its mad carrier toward the unknown, which it is too ready to confound with the unknowable, is rapidly progressing on the material plane of spirituality. It has now become a true valley of discord and strife. It is a necropolis, wherein lay buried the highest and the most holy aspirations of our spirit-soul.
A necropolis is of course a city of the dead. We may say that we walk in such cities today. The living dead or the sleepwalkers are all about us, and it is given to us -- we, incidentally, are the heirs to that great Wisdom Tradition, we who have been permitted even to glimpse a bit or fragment of this Wisdom Religion -- not to hold it to ourselves, not to be lost in arguments over details but rather to help awaken, or rather to reawaken those "highest and most holy aspirations of the human soul."
That is a task that is far more difficult, and far more urgently needed, than the simple tasks of rearranging the world's furniture. It is to sacrifice all that we think we are, to really sacrifice the personal self on the altar of wisdom and compassion. This is, I suggest, what we are called upon to do. To recognize that, as one of the adept-teachers wrote to Mr. Sinnett, "Since there is hope for man only in man, I would not let one cry whom I could save." And consequently he wrote further "It is our responsibility, it is the duty of every man who is capable of an unselfish impulse, to do something for its welfare." But what is it we are to do? It is not to eradicate the effects of wrong action, but to look for the causes, and the causes are in human consciousness. HPB wrote in THE SECRET DOCTRINE:
The only palliative to the evils of life, is union and harmony. A brotherhood in actuality, and ALTRUISM not simply in name. The suppression of one single bad cause will suppress not one but a variety of bad effects. And if a brotherhood, or even a number of brotherhoods, will not be able to prevent nations from occasionally cutting each others throat, still unity in thought and action, and philosophical research into the mystery of being will always prevent some from creating additional causes in a world already so full of woe and evil.
So to study THE SECRET DOCTRINE -- both the volumes by that name, and even more that ageless tradition that is the doctrine -- not simply to read books but to enquire, and to probe, to study in its genuine sense, is to engage us in that "philosophical research into the mysteries of being," and therefore to recognize our profound responsibility to resolve the causes of misery. It is, as one of the great thinkers of my own country, Henry David Thoreau, put it:
... to place the imprint of our immortality upon every passing incident of daily life.
I think that is the true commemoration of the centenary of THE SECRET DOCTRINE. That is an action that will change our world. That will make our setting sun into a rising sun ...
By Dallas TenBroeck
[The first part of a private paper dated November 16, 1998.]
In THE SECRET DOCTRINE, Vol II, page 179 Mme. Blavatsky refers to certain dates which She calls the "birthdays of the Dhyanis."
The reference to the "Birthdays of the Dhyanis" is on page 179 of SD, II, and on SD, I, 470, we have a reference to the mysterious "birthday of the World," which later on, in one of her articles HPB, identifies with the 4th of January, 14 days after the Winter equinox -- the "birthday" of the Sun. (HPB ARTICLES II 502.)
Midnight between February 17th and 18th is said by HPB to mark the commencement of the Kali Yuga, in the year 3,102 B.C. (SD, II, 435), and earlier in the book she identified this date right down to the second (SD, I, 662).
It is THE ONE DATE which could probably serve as a basis for true astrological calculations in this the Kali Yuga age. Many of the dates and astrological observations used and preserved by the Hindu Brahmins may belong to that earlier era.
HPB states in THE SECRET DOCTRINE that the Sun in its vast orbit is dragging the whole system, our Earth included, into new and different spatial conditions, where there are changes in the properties and nature of the material elements.
One might suppose that only the Mahatmas, who are fully "awake" know and perceive those differences. Does this foreshadow a change? Is she warning us that the records of the past may not always give us the exact conditions PHYSICALLY that we are now experiencing or are going to experience?
Astrology is very interesting to those who wish to peer, however dimly, into the future of this incarnation, whether theirs, or that of others now alive. This does not seem to have as much value, as the search for meaning and understanding in the philosophical and the moral tenets offered to us. It is quite possible that some of the Brahmins are in possession of those corrections, and use them in their calculations, and of course make them available annually through their almanacs (PANCHANGAMS).
Those who are wise, use such references when initiating a new activity. In 1909 the ULT was started on the 18th of February. The T S was inaugurated on November 17th in 1875.
One may wonder if under Karma, this is the reason why the ancient libraries of Babylon, Egypt, etc. have been "destroyed" insofar as the general public and scholars are concerned, (or the important MSS withdrawn), so that any confusion of times and dates would be removed from the prying eyes and the fevered imagination of those who would profit and mislead people if they used those figures.
In ISIS UNVEILED and THE SECRET DOCTRINE HPB has given hints from history on the antiquity of the records seen by historians in Egypt (Herodotus, Josephus), and in Babylon and Ur (Aristotle, Berosus). These go back almost 50-100,000 years or more. Those dates are still held to be incredible by modern archaeologists and paleontologists. Herodotus was dubbed (until recently) "The Father of Lies." Aristotle (Alexander's tutor, who accompanied him on his march of conquest to the East) held discussions with Berosus in Babylon and Chaldea -- but, those are not given much publicity.
THE DHYANIS -- THE WISE
The Dhyanis, the Wise, the "Great Souls," are the Rishis and the Mahatmas, of antiquity, and of the present. Being immortals They cannot have a "birthday" in the ordinary sense, since it is posited that all beings, in their essence, and we, ourselves, as immortals, are faced with the same quandary. Do we have a birthday? The answer is both "yes," and "no." "Yes," for this period of manifestation on our Earth. "No," for the "Eternal Pilgrim" that we are essentially. (SD, I, 175, 268, and 570-575; II, 79-80, 93-4, 103, 109-10, and 167.)
It could be surmised that the "Ray of the One Spirit" which is the human MONAD (Atma-Buddhi) would have its special "birthday" in the sequence of Cosmic development in the dim and formative past of the earlier Rounds.
So, neither They -- who are ALIVE, nor we, can have a "birthday" in the eternal sense -- only in the temporal sense when a "personality" is used for expression on this material plane, and, as a gift of service to those who need that help. Our Karma is focused in every such event.
In THE OCEAN OF THEOSOPHY, page 131, Mr. Judge defines the use of the word Dhyanis (also spelled Dzyanis, Gnyanis, Gnanis, etc.) calling them "creators, guides, Great Spirits." One may surmise that these special days, "birthdays," "festivals," etc ...are used by the wise at the junction of specific solar and lunar (perhaps also planetary) cycles for THE EDIFICATION (AND THE REINFORCING) IN THE MASSES OF THEIR SENSITIVITY TO REVERBERATIONS OF ANCIENT AND INNATE TRUTHS.
Perhaps as a result of their attending such ceremonies (those conducted by the MAHATMAS WHO WERE THOSE ACTUAL HISTORICAL PERSONAGES!) -- the minds and hearts of the masses being touched by that INFLUENCE, if ready, may then in part, awake from their lethargy, and started seeking for the "Wisdom.
Mr. Judge's narrated an interesting anecdote to J. Neimand for the book "In a Borrowed Body" -- It is about the consecration of the great temple in ancient Conjeevaram (KANCHIPURAM) in South India, about 50 miles from Madras (THEOSOPHICAL MOVEMENT [TM], page 256). [See also THEOSOPHICAL MOVEMENT, Vol. 45, page 121-2, Echoes, page 31-2.]
In TM, Vol. 11, pp 4-5 the names of the Holy Cities for pilgrimage in India are given; also TM, Vol. 7, pages 98; Vol. 9, pages 69, 110 makes reference to these.
CYCLIC RETURN OF IMPRESSIONS
Several days in each year mark the cyclic return of the impressions of those early beginnings in this Manvantara. The 17th of November, midnight between the 18th and 19th of February, and HPB states that these, and the 7th day of March are three of the "birthdays" of the Dhyanis. In this connection, we may recall the verse in THE VOICE, page 72, "Know if Amitabha, the "Boundless Age," thou would'st become co-worker, then must thou shed the light acquired, like to the Bodhisattvas twain, upon the span of all three worlds."
Does this statement give a clue as to why the three "birthdays" are referred to: these may be those of "Amitabha, and the two "Bodhisattvas." It is said that two of the Masters saw that it was possible to make an effort to re-establish the Theosophical Movement in the world. We are indebted to them and to HPB who agreed to act as their "Messenger."
They also refer to their superior, the Maha-Chohan before whom they stand in awe and to whose wishes they accede. Before him, they say in one place, the "book of Karma" stands open.
Perhaps the dates of other "birthdays," which may be scattered through the rest of the months of the year, relate to those Dhyanis who are the Regents of, and directors of other great and Universal Principles.
It may be useful to consider that in us our three-fold spiritual nature consists of Mind (manas -- the power to think), Wisdom (Buddhi -- accumulated experience), and Spirit (Atman -- the Spiritual Self). These form the Spiritual Man, the "Three-in-One" the "Monad." It is reasonable to conclude that the three Dhyanis whose birthdays we are given, represent the "regents" of those faculties on the spiritual planes of Universal as well as mundial being.
We may also consider our own birthday: is it only a date of birth for the body, then, what about another for the birth of the astral body, the mind, and another for the initiation of the Lower Manas of the personality into the knowledge and wisdom of the individuality its symbiotic "Father?" [see TRANSACTIONS pages 66-76]
The "birthday" usually is a memory date for the cycle that we (the MONAD) initiated in this present incarnation in this particular (physical) body when we emerged from our Mother's womb. The other birthdays (such as the date of conception, spiritual, mental and physical) are secret ones, and known only to our Higher Self, the Real MONADIC Ego within.
THE SEVEN "RAYS"
But it is said that all humans belong (in essential consciousness) to one or another of the seven great "Rays" (corresponding to the universal and human "principles") which constitute differentiations within the great Monadic Host. Which of these seven do we belong to as a Monad, (Higher Self) and is this not a matter for self-discovery? But, looking back, each division of this septenary "Host" must have had each their "birthday" in this sphere of manifestation as a "Host." That is still another cyclic beginning, most difficult to define.
Since the Dhyanis (see TRANSATIONS OF THE BLAVATSKY LODGE, page 23-24) have as their responsibility of guiding under Law, the forces that shape evolution in this World, their first appearance at the beginning of a new Manvantara, as a center of Energy and Force on the spiritual Globes and at a definite time in the earlier "Rounds," would have a specific time set for each by the great Cycle of Necessity (KARMA), that has caused the beginning of the whole period and assembled every one of the many "aggregates" or "skandhas" -- with which we are involved.
Every one of us, as Monads, belong to the entourage of one or another, or some combination, of these Great Beings who guide the World in its progress. And this is not to establish any exclusivity, since we are also within the area of influence of all the other Great Beings and of the Seven, whether in or out of manifestation, but some one pair of these are our "parents" spiritually. [see SD, I, 325-358]
Symbolically these Seven Great Beings have been represented as "rays" from the Central Spiritual Sun, [Sri Krishna personifies This, when he states in the Bhagavad Gita: "I am the EGO seated in the Heart of all beings."], which gives light and life to the Universe, as well as to all individual parts of it.
It is reasonable to suppose that the Adepts know these events as facts, and in their writings we find evidence that certain dates are respected by them for this reason. This memory is kept alive by Them for the benefit of the masses, and it seems reasonable, as They indicate in their letters to Mr. Sinnett, that because of necessity, they participate in such ceremonies. At such times, Their presence serves to reinforce the original impulse, and cause among the "masses" some to awaken when the brain-mind realizes that a "Path" to perfection exists for it.
POWER OF VIBRATION AND SOUND
THE SECRET DOCTRINE states a specific vibration or resonance is set up when Manvantara begins, in the world of effects called the material (HPB ARTICLES II, page 297, 417). This may serve to pierce through the veil of the materialism of the embodied, lower, kama-manasic brain-mind, to give access to the thought realm of analogy and correspondence which alone provides entrance to the immovable, central field of force which is the MONADIC core -- Atma-Buddhi -- in ourselves, and which every "Pilgrim," as an eternal, but presently "manifested being," whether atom, man or star shares in. It is the concept of universality on the Spiritual plane carried to its logical conclusion on our physical plane.
It would be futile for us, without direct reference to Them, to determine which calendar they use or refer to. No doubt, in the Senzar these cycles are recorded quite differently, as to base, from ours. And in the ancient systems of recording: Hindu, Chinese, Zoroastrian, Egyptian, Mayan, etc ... we see the remnants of those ancient systems -- and, whatever the form, the mathematical base would be a universal one.
"CREATION AND MANVANTARA"
In publishing THE SECRET DOCTRINE, HPB corrects the date used by the "Arya Magazine," and, she gives on SD, II, 68 the occult date for the beginning of cosmic evolution up to the year 1887. This is 1,995,884,687 years. On page 69 she indicates that the beginning of the human period, the Vaivasvata Manvantara up to 1887 is 18,618,728 years. This is when Manas was "lit up" in mankind.
On SD, II, 70, she indicates that a Kalpa (a "day" of Brahma) is a period of 4 billion, 320 million years (4,320,000,000). This was also made clear earlier in the pages of THE THEOSOPHIST. The Maha-Kalpa or "Life of Brahma" is said to be 311 Trillion, 40 billion years (311,040,000,000,000). [All these factors seem to be based on the 60 x 60 = 3,600 cycle -- see ISIS UNVEILED I, page 30 fn.]
The events They recorded and the "creations" initiated by the Great Dhyanis, for which the Adepts hold a veneration, are apparently those which continue to focus certain occult and potent forces in the world and on mankind. We are not aware of these, and we have not developed the means of gauging them yet.
The Dhyanis, the Adepts, the Mahatmas, with their far ranging wisdom have recognized this, and for those reasons they caused HPB to record those dates for us, to learn to use, if we can grasp their significance. Our age of materialism has prevented us from sensing those subtle influences around us. If we are wise, we will seek to open our consciousness to the spiritual afflatus that permeates the world, and which
At the time of HPB's writing, knowledge about the Tibetan calendars and the records of India and China was limited. More material has been brought to light since then, but if interpreted now they need an HPB, a WQJ or a Damodar to secure accuracy within the framework of the Perennial Philosophy.
On SD, II, 78-80, HPB refers to the spiritual Agnishwatta Pitris [also named the Solar Pitris] who are devoid of the grosser creative fire, and are unable to create physical man because they have no double (astral), and are formless. This function was the natural duty of another host of beings.
REASON FOR THE SEVEN HUMAN PRINCIPLES
HPB indicates that two central connecting principles of Manas and Kama are needed to cement the spiritual principles to the Bharishad Pitris [also called the Lunar Pitris] who had the creative fire [from the previous Manvantara] but were devoid of the higher Mahat-mic element, being "on the level" of the precursors of the personality -- Skandhas? -- and the Kamic elements.
HPB adds, in symbolic language, the explanation that the "Spiritual Fire" is in the possession of the Triangles and not the (perfect) Cubes, which symbolize the "Angelic Beings." In THE VOICE OF THE SILENCE, page 19, there might be a hint: " ...the light from the One Master, the one unfading golden light of Spirit, shoots its effulgent beams on the disciple from the very first. Its rays thread through the thick dark clouds of matter."
There is the danger of materializing concepts if one attempts to compare and make direct connections between symbolic phrases and anyone's personal guesses as to the 7 principles of man (given, let us say, in the KEY) [see Commander Bowen's report on his conversations with HPB, page 7-9, 10-11, pamphlet "MME. BLAVATSKY ON HOW TO STUDY THEOSOPHY."]
Each Manvantara is the "child" -- or reincarnation of the previous one. There is no "creation" out of "nothing." Always reincarnation, rebirth and reformation. When Manvantara, or manifestation re-begins, the elements that were arrested and stored, for the future, begin to awaken and take root in the several planes under development, where the aggregation of skandhas provided by the past Manvantara, are brought progressively into activity (over several Rounds) to form the basis for the present "evolution" using physical matter.
This provides, as a preliminary, the astral, vital, emotional (Kamic), lower Manasic, and physical basis for the eternal MONAD to live and develop in those "aggregates" an independent, but cooperative self-consciousness, wrapped in the life-principle (prana).
By analogy, in reincarnation, the assembly of the old skandhas at the focus for the rebirth of the Ego, which physically would be in the mother's womb, provides the old material in a new combination of form for that intelligence to enter and thereafter to reside in.
If we then look at the development of intelligence in a child body in its early years, one may see perhaps, a recapitulation of this series of "incarnations" or, aggregations of various forces represented poetically by the "ages of man." As the personal vehicle achieves greater stability, the incarnation of "higher" principles becomes progressively possible.
HPB says that the "central two principles" represented by Kama and the Lower Manas are those that "cement" the higher principles, the cubes to the earthly principles, the triangles; and the physical body as a fourth -- which is needed for the reflection of the spiritual element to become active on this plane.
The higher aspects of the astral are able to project such "privative limits" as to enable the spiritual atoms to inform their respective molecules and cells, and other structures are aggregated within limits set by the developing model for the divine astral.
This complexity benefits the developing intelligence of the evolving "little-lives." They, are like developing "children" in terms of consciousness and experience. If, through direct experience with more advanced Egos they can acquire a progressive independence of their own, they will take on some of the attributes, good or bad, of that "parent," (ourselves as the more advanced Ego), who is entrusted at present with their use and guidance.
Then, one may surmise, the "seeds" of the higher principles, may begin to find a dwelling place, or, possibly a reflecting place in them. Reflecting, as the "material side" becomes by purification able to "reflect" something of the spiritual. That purification is achieved by living a conscious life of harmony with all other beings and with the Law of Karma.
It is in this sense that "we" sacrifice our condition as "returning Nirvanees," who are wise, etc., by informing the aggregations, or "bundles," "skandhas," we call our personalities. Someone has to serve as the coordinator. The "returning Nirvanee," plays the part of a tutor, an advisor and has no enforcement powers over the "pupil." Eventually the "pupil," as it evolves, takes its self-development into its own hands and decides the direction and rate of progress it will maintain.
The "perfect Cubes" might represent the Tetraktis or the 4-fold [Atma-Buddhi-2 Manases] "four-square," as Pythagoras might call it [ISIS UNVEILED II 410], and the "Triangles," the lower principles, to which should be added the physical body. [The Diagram on SD, I, 200 shows this.] There is an interesting reference on SD, II, 592-3 which shows how the interlaced triangles yield the 4 or perfect square. Such are the wonderful powers of universal symbology and correspondence.
HPB adds that this produces the independence (or a "rebellious" condition) in the "saviors" [the Promethean] of man, raising him out of a state of "inane beatitude" into one of intelligent mental perception and of emotional demand and response on this plane, that reflects their nature. These spiritual beings, HPB says, are those who were destined to incarnate as Egos [Higher Manas-Antaskarana-Lower Manas-Kama] (see Divine Rebels: SD, I, 418 195, II, 489, 380, 94, 243-6, 103, 247fn.) In Hindu mythology, the stories that are connected with Narada -- the Rishi closely connected with karmic change -- who seems to throw confusion by his unwelcome appearance in some well settled situations, may resemble this process.
The teachings about the Antaskarana is one of the keys. It represents, the aspiring aspect of the lower Manas, raised in understanding towards the virtuous and eternal life of its "Parent" the Higher Manas. It makes of the embodied, Lower Manas, a dual principle, since on one side it is closely allied to kama and on the other, it reaches towards Higher Manas, the true Human Ego. When the Lower Manas and Kama are entirely purified (our lives, considered as a Pilgrimage are illustrative of this process) then the Antaskarana is "destroyed" as no longer needed.
The separation of kama-Manas ceases as it has transmuted itself into Buddhi-Manas. Those elements of "separation" -- the lower principles purified, now coincide with the elements of the "Heavenly Man" -- the perfect Cube consisting of the deathless memories of its many incarnations and experience therein; and its deathless principles in close unity with the Higher Self.
In THE VOICE OF THE SILENCE, page 21, it is said: "Thyself and mind, like twins upon a line, the star which is thy goal burns overhead. The three that dwell in glory and in bliss ineffable, now in the world of Maya have lost their names. They have become one star, the fire that burns, but scorches not, that fire which is the Upadhi of the Flame." That is suggestive of what is said here.
At the bottom of SD, II, 79, the "returning Nirvanees from earlier Manvantaras" are spoken of, and it is hinted, that our Egos may be some of such "returning Nirvanees." Again, in the VOICE, page 73, the statement: "Know that the stream of superhuman knowledge and the Deva-Wisdom thou hast won, must, from thyself, the channel of Alaya, be poured forth into another bed." And, VOICE, page 36: "To reach Nirvana's bliss, but to renounce it, is the supreme, the final step -- the highest on Renunciation's Path." VOICE, page 54, also offers: "Of Teachers there are many; the Master Soul is one, Alaya, the Universal Soul. Live in that Master as Its ray in thee. Live in thy fellows as they live in It." And on page 63:
All is impermanent in man except the pure bright essence of Alaya. Man is its crystal ray; a beam of light immaculate within, a form of clay material upon the lower surface. That beam is thy life-guide and thy true Self, the Watcher and the silent Thinker, the victim of thy lower Self. Thy Soul cannot be hurt but through thy erring body; control and master both, and thou art safe when crossing to the nearing "Gate of Balance."
Transactions, page 28, top has some suggestive statements, and on page 23-4 in that book, HPB, gives the line of "descent" of the Spiritual Beings into matter, and the change in designations that is used to denote this, as the Manvantara proceeds through several "Rounds," from tenuous, spiritual planes to more material ones.