Occult philosophy divulges few of its most important vital mysteries. It drops them like precious pearls, one by one, far and wide apart, and only when forced to do so by the evolutionary tidal wave that carries humanity on, slowly, silently, but steadily toward the dawn of the Sixth-Race mankind. For once out of the safe custody of their legitimate heirs and keepers, those mysteries cease to be occult; they fall into the public domain and have to run the risk of becoming in the hands of the public domain and have to run the risk of becoming in the hands of the selfish -- of the CAINS of the human race -- curses more often than blessings.
-- H.P. Blavatsky, THE SECRET DOCTRINE, I, 558.
By B.P. Wadia
[From THUS HAVE I HEARD, pages 218-21.]
In every organized religion, the most striking phenomenon is the gap in the life of its votaries, between their beliefs and their deeds. Every Christian admits Jesus to be his Savior but how many endeavor to follow the Way taught in the Sermon on the Mount? Would there be rivalry and competition if all Christians tried to overcome their covetousness for money on the economic plane, for prestige and prominence on the social, or their pride and possessiveness on the political and national? Similarly, every Hindu believes in the immanence of Deity and the solidarity of man. How many act up to the great teaching that the Mleccha has the Light of Krishna within him? Would there be the degrading practice of untouchability if all Hindus understood and applied the truth of the Upanishad that the same Self shines in all, albeit It does not shine forth equally in all? Even they in whom the shining forth is meager yet carry the Light of all lights and therefore are deserving of respect and affection.
The most vital need of humanity today is to seek the way of return to Religion. The foundation of the Temple of Religion is the brotherhood of all, the service of all. The priest repeats the teachings, quoting what he calls, his Holy Writ; but in his personal interpretation, he murders the doctrine by disregarding its principle of universality. The man of real Faith cannot accept this priestly way. That man intuitively feels Divine Presence in all space, Divine Motion in all evolution, Divine Intelligence operating everywhere, God being omniscient. This forces him to conclude that true Religion is different from that religion which the Mandir, the Synagogue, the Church, and the Masjid represent.
Religious creeds beget sectarian charities, sectarian educational and social institutions, leading to sectarian exclusiveness, rivalry, and hatred. The extent of evil which creedal dogmatic religions perpetrate is not fully recognized. Very little thought is paid to religious sectarianism as an enemy to secular humanism. False loyalties are more potent for evil than rank disloyalties.
Where does sectarianism and false loyalties come from? They come from man himself. His personal feelings usurp, in priestly fashion, the control of his mind. This results in irreligious tendencies: creedalism in belief, unbrotherliness ness in social behavior, nationalistic patriotism inimical to internationalism. The GITA recommends the rendering of universal service joined to inquiry, search, and humility, for then only will the Sages communicate the truth "knowing which thou shalt never again fall into error."
Intellectually it is not very difficult to perceive that Deity is immanent and human solidarity is a fact. In addition, it is not hard for the mind to recognize the truth that the One shines in the many and that therefore there is order, rhythm, and law in the diversity and manifoldness not only in the human kingdom but also in the whole of nature. Such mental perception is not sufficient for the Inner Life. We have to learn to FEEL the reality of that perception. If mental recognition alone does not suffice, feelings also fail that are not vitalized and energized. Feelings that are not enlivened and enlightened by the higher mind also fail.
The outstanding practical questions for the leading of the life of true religion are: (1) how shall I extricate my mind from its thralldom to personal feelings, and (2) how shall I train the mind to elevate my feelings to manifest divine virtues in human personality.
The mind must be freed from personal feelings, especially of pride and self-regard. This freedom requires the process of transmutation. This is not the killing out of feelings but transmuting them. The mind flourishes in the world by the force of passion -- the personal mind is the passionate mind; it must seek and secure the Light of the Soul, the Dispassionate Thinker. That higher mind brings to the transmuted personality the supernal power of the Paramitas, the Divine Virtues. The person acquires the power to FEEL divinely or spiritually by the activating of devotion that has been latent.
To learn to feel as we learn to think, rightly and righteously, is a duty each person owes to his own soul. We must avoid the way of becoming unfeeling. We also must avoid falling prey to the lower type of devotion or BHAKTI, so common among the emotion-fraught minds of the religiously inclined.
For one who really desires to practice the dual truth of brotherhood and service, the following instruction of Mahayana Buddhism will prove most useful both for mind and for heart:
Live in the eternal. For this, thou hast to live and breathe in all, as all that thou perceivest breathes in thee; to feel thyself abiding in all things, all things in SELF.
Thou shalt not let thy senses make a playground of thy mind.
Thou shalt not separate thy being from BEING and the rest, but merge the Ocean in the drop, the drop within the Ocean.
So shalt thou be in full accord with all that lives; bear love to men as though they were thy brother pupils, disciples of one Teacher, the sons of one sweet mother.
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.
By Daniel H. Caldwell
The Blavatsky Archives (http://blavatskyarchives.com) continues to publish rare source material on Madame Blavatsky and the Mahatmas. At the end of December 2000, there are more than 227 documents on the website. Hundreds of other items are being processed for publication in 2001.
Some of the more important recently published items are as follows:
The Blavatsky Archives also contains never before published articles and letters of HPB
Also visit our "HPB Photo Gallery" at:
The collection of Blavatsky material is an ongoing process. We invite submissions and documents from Blavatsky students and scholars.
By Willy Schmit
[This comes from a talk given at the convention of the Theosophical Society, Rotterdam, The Netherlands, on September 10, 1994. It first appeared in the fall 1994 issue of the former THE ECLECTIC THEOSOPHIST.]
The Chinese artist who painted his landscapes with falls and rivers, rocks, trees, flowers, and animals -- perhaps with a tiny human figure to give a stronger impression of the landscape -- would probably be surprised when hearing the theme of this Convention, "Man in a Just and Orderly Universe." To him, every stone, every tree, every entity was ensouled, without exception.
We have to be reminded of our solidarity with nature. It is difficult to realize we do not play the only important role.
Cycles have their course. There are periods of spiritual flourishing alternating with periods of spiritual barrenness. Therefore, it is no chance that in the last century an endeavor was made to let flow the spiritual fountain once more. The molds of mind had to be broken down. It is difficult to visualize how strong the efforts must have been to bring about this spiritual awakening.
Centuries of misunderstood religious teachings had merged into a period of rigid materialism. The worldview had become increasingly restricted. We think of Descartes with his mechanical conception of nature. He saw a radical difference between matter and spirit (or consciousness). To him there was only one certainty. He thought and therefore he existed. In this way, he is responsible for the influence of this wholly erroneous conception held by scientists.
Kant and later Schopenhauer opposed this Cartesian division of things in matter and spirit. Schopenhauer said there is neither matter nor spirit. The tendency of attraction in a stone is just as inexplicable as thinking in the human brain. If matter can fall to the ground and "nobody knows why," then it can also think and "nobody knows why." As soon as we cross the border of the purely mathematical, we are confronted with phenomena that are just as mysterious for our senses as WILL and THOUGHT in man. Where is then that MATTER, he asks, of which you all pretend to know so much "and from which, being so well-acquainted with it" you derived all your explanations? That which can be realized fully by our reason and senses is superficial. It can never reach the real, inner substance of things.
If you consider that a form of SPIRIT is in a human head, then you must ascribe the same to a stone. If like electricity, your dead and wholly passive matter can attract, repulse, and send out sparks, then just like the brain, it can think. In short, each particle of so-called spirit we can substitute for an equivalent of matter, and each particle of matter by spirit.
Schopenhauer was acquainted with the Eastern philosophy. When he says: "There is no matter, there is no spirit," he indicates that matter and spirit are one. Matter is crystallized spirit. Spirit is etherealized matter. In other words, the one cannot exist without the other.
On the subject of Silence, we think first of THE VOICE OF THE SILENCE, derived from the same source as the Stanzas of Dzyan in THE SECRET DOCTRINE. The book could be named "The Voice in the Spiritual Sound," for continued study will reveal that silence does not exist. In THE SECRET DOCTRINE we read:
Where was silence? Where were the ears to sense it? No, there was neither Silence, nor Sound; naught save ceaseless eternal breath (Motion) which knows itself not.
-- THE SECRET DOCTRINE, I, 54
When we speak of the Power of Silence, we are thinking of OUR silence, be it the silence of our inner being and the silence of the outer senses or the silence of Nature, which we perceive only at certain places. There is also the sound of the planets, singing on their course. That sound must be tremendous, though WE cannot hear it.
In our literature, a "fifth" element is mentioned, of which the characteristic is sound. Besides Fire, Air, Earth, and Water, Akasha is the first element. (Keep in mind that the elements we speak of are not only the elements of our earth. That is only one aspect. What is meant is the noumenon, the "spirit" of the elements. In other spheres they will manifest in quite a different way.)
We quote from THE MAHATMA LETTERS TO A.P. SINNETT:
You will have to bear in mind (a) that we recognize but ONE element in Nature (whether spiritual or physical) outside which there can be no Nature since it is NATURE itself and which as the Akasha pervades our solar system, every atom being part of itself pervades throughout SPACE, and IS space in fact, which pulsates as in profound sleep during the Pralayas, and is the universal Proteus, the ever active Nature during the Manvantaras; (b) that consequently spirit and matter are ONE, being but a differentiation of states, not of ESSENCES ...
This fifth element is AKASHA. The word is from the Sanskrit AKAS, meaning shining. Akasha is described in THE SECRET DOCTRINE as follows:
Akasha is the Universal Soul, the Matrix of the Universe, the "Mysterium Magnum" from which all that exists is born by separation of DIFFERENTIATION. It is the cause of existence. It fills all the infinite Space; IS SPACE ITSELF in one sense, or both its SIXTH and SEVENTH principles.
Gautama the Buddha considered only two things as eternal, Akasha and Nirvana. Akasha with Southern Buddhism is the Root of everything, from which everything in the universe came forth, obeying to the law of motion, which is inherent to it.
These few words about a profound subject as Akasha can only provide an introduction. The main thought is that there is EVERLASTING MOTION in the whole cosmos, caused by all the entities therein. EVERY entity, from sun to atom, is moving constantly.
Consider another thought. These countless hosts of beings together build up "nature." They bring about sound and motion, space, vibration, and color.
If we were asked to give a short definition of Theosophy, we could answer: "Theosophy is no theory about Life. It is Life itself." How clear, how profound is in this connection the statement about Deity in THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY:
Our Deity is the eternal, incessantly EVOLVING, not CREATING, builder of the universe, that universe itself unfolding out of its own essence, not being MADE.
Yes, there is the power of Silence. We say power because silence means harmony, equilibrium, and homogeneity. Mme. Blavatsky speaks of Silence as ALAYA, the "World soul, of which the essence is LOVE." It is homogenous sympathy, which is Harmony, or the Music of the Spheres. Alaya is another world for Akasha.
Man has to find again this feeling of oneness with everything in nature. Then the problems of humanity will be seen in a wider context. They will get their real place and dimensions. The inner background of our experiences during our life on earth will be understood. There will be peace in our inner being, because we thus follow the example of the majestic, silent processes of Nature.
Aurobindo, the wise one of India, says about silence:
It is on the Silence behind the cosmos that all the movement of the universe is supported. It is from the Silence that the peace comes. When the peace deepens and deepens, it becomes increasingly the Silence.
He further says:
It is not easy to get into the Silence. That is only possible by throwing out all mental-vital activities. It is easier to let the Silence descend into you, i.e., to open yourself and let it descend.
In THE WIND OF THE SPIRIT, G. de Purucker reminds us of the silent processes in nature.
It is not the crises, when things seem to crash, which govern the great functions of life, human and cosmic. It is not the horrific noise of the thunder or the crash of its bolt. Those slow, to us men, always quiet, unending silent processes build. They build when we wake, build when we sleep, and build all the time. Even in the human race, they carry it through folly after folly after folly into the future.
Let us keep our thoughts on these words.
By G. de Purucker
G. de Purucker was the head of the Theosophical Society from 1929 until his death in 1942. (When the original Theosophical Society split in the 1890's, one part had the International Headquarters at Adyar, India. The other part soon moved its International Headquarters to Point Loma, California. Purucker was the head of the Point Loma Theosophical Society.)
On September 23, 1937, while on a lecture tour of Europe, Purucker gave a talk on Radio AVRO, in Hilversum, The Netherlands. The 17 minute, 22 second talk, in English, was recorded, and is available online. It is a 3055K mp3 file which can be downloaded from:
Jan H. Venema, President of The Netherlands Section of The Theosophical Society, summarized the talk in Dutch. The 2 minute, 30 second talk is available as a 244K mp3 file at:
Purucker had given a talk at the radio station during two previous visits to Europe. The first talk was arranged by Hendrik Oosterink, President of the Bussum Lodge. It was on Sunday, September 20, 1931. [See THE THEOSOPHICAL FORUM, November 15, 1931 issue, pages 65-66.] The second talk was 4:00-4:30 PM Sunday June 11, 1933. [See THE THEOSOPHICAL FORUM, May 15, 1933 issue, page 326.] Jan Venema helped translate both talks.
For those who may want to listen to the online recordings, there are two things to keep in mind. (1) The files must be downloaded from the website to one's computer before they can be played. (2) One needs to have a mp3 player installed to listen to the files. One good player is at:
But there are many others that will work equally well.
-- Eldon Tucker
[The following transcript of the talk comes from THE THEOSOPHICAL FORUM, December 1937, pages 404-11.]
Brothers of Holland and Brothers and Fellow-thinkers in other European countries:
It is with a sense of deep happiness that, during the course of my present European tour, I find myself once more sitting before the transmitting instrument of the splendid radio-station in Hilversum, Holland, speaking to an audience comprising perhaps many hundreds of thousands, and certainly many thousands who take an interest in hearing the thoughts of a Theosophical representative.
I shall endeavor to speak to you this evening, at least briefly, on one important aspect of Theosophy -- which is the Ancient God-Wisdom of mankind, and which we may likewise call a philosophy complete, rich, and helpful, solving life's problems, and giving hope to the discouraged and heartbroken, and which we may therefore in very truth call a PHILOSOPHY OF LIFE for all men. For prince and for peasant, for rich and for poor, for the happy and for the discouraged, to all and to each, Theosophy has something to say of immense and lasting value.
Now, the particular aspect I shall briefly discuss this evening is what we may call the existence of inner and outer worlds, or systems of worlds, in the Universe, thus involving some of the most important problems of our life as men, and of our post-mortem existence when we have, as Shakespeare puts it, "shuffled off this mortal coil."
All the great religions have at least something to say about inner and outer worlds, of worlds visible and invisible, and of their relation to our existence here on this earth as human beings; but very few of these religions or religious philosophies go into any detail of just what the invisible worlds are, and into equally little detail as to the relation of mankind to them after that majestic but solemn event which we human beings call the death of man's body. The reason is that the teaching concerning these inner and invisible worlds especially was always held very secret and occult, as being a part of the doctrines of the initiatory schools; and the same remark applies to the teachings regarding man's destiny after death. Christianity in especial, although a noble system of ethics when we consider only the words of the Master Jesus, Christianity in especial, I repeat, is almost silent on these vastly interesting and highly important topics; and the reason is that very soon after the passing of the Christian Master, the teachings he gave to his disciples in secret were forgotten, or not faithfully passed on by them to the generations, two or three of them, which followed the era of Jesus the Christ himself.
The Theosophist claims that no one who understands the teaching concerning the interaction and interblending of the inner and invisible worlds with the visible world, can ever afterwards for a moment doubt that these invisible worlds exist, for the teachings of Theosophy on this point appeal strongly to the intellect, strongly move the higher emotions or sentiments of the heart, and thus make a quiet and subtle appeal to man's entire being, which appeal is infinitely persuasive.
Furthermore, anyone conversant with the most recent scientific teachings concerning the existence in the Universe of many octaves of invisible radiation, as given forth by such men as Eddington in England, Bohr in Denmark, Planck in Germany, de Sitter probably in Holland, and many others will realize that scientific teaching is daily approaching more and more closely in its most subtle and far-reaching researches and deductions to the frontiers of even the occult teaching of the Religion-Philosophy-Science, which we today call Theosophy.
It becomes a matter of simple analysis and deduction by the thoughtful mind of modern man, that this vast range of invisible radiating energies and substances which infill our entire visible Universe, and which modern science refers to under the general name of radiation -- it becomes obvious, I say, that these invisible forces, substances, elements, or what not, are just as real, just as actual, just as powerful, in their workings and interblending, as are the forces and substances and elements of the visible world in which we physically live and move and have our physical being. In fact, Theosophy teaches that our visible Universe around is but the outer veil or garment of this vast interacting and interblending body of cosmic energies and forces, most of them utterly invisible to us because our eyes have not been trained by evolution to perceive their existence; and as our entire Universe is one, is unitary, and is in fact a vast organism, we see from this great fact of ancient occult truth and of modern discovery that our visible Universe itself is but one phase, one side, one aspect, one portion, one part, of the cosmic Organism which we synthesize under the term, the visible and invisible Universe.
What man has ever seen an atom? What man has ever seen an electron? What man has ever seen electricity? What man has ever seen radiation per se, or indeed felt or heard or smelt or tasted these? All we know of this vast range of octaves of radiation visible and invisible, is what our senses report to us of them, and no more; and all that our senses tell of their existence is but their effects, the effects of their actions PRODUCED ON THE PHYSICAL WORLD, and which our very imperfect senses report to our minds.
The Ancient Wisdom, the God-Wisdom today called Theosophy, and all the great Seers and Sages of ancient times, I mean the great Ones, taught the same identic truths with regard to the invisible worlds, although of course these truths have been expressed among different peoples and in different ages by means of different languages and in different forms of speech; and what our greatest modern scientists are now discovering and telling us of are but the same old invisible and inner forces and energies and substances and powers explained to us in the different languages of these modern scientists themselves. In other words, modern science is but rediscovering the inner worlds which have been known to the great and wise of the human race since immemorial time in the past. Man possesses inner powers or faculties which, alas, all too often he ignores, or, indeed, he is utterly ignorant of the existence of these inner faculties and powers. By means of these faculties and powers, when they are properly trained, man's brain and other organs in his body become sensitized to receive radiations which to the UNTRAINED receiving apparatus by the proper organs in the human body are not cognized or recognized, and therefore are, as we say, "unknown."
From the foregoing observations, it is easy for us to discern and make the deduction that the larger part of the endless life of man is passed or lived IN INVISIBLE THINGS, in the invisible worlds which mankind sometimes with vague perception speaks of as the worlds of thought, intuition, or as sensitiveness, instinctual perceptions of verities, etc., etc. Furthermore, and following this same line of thought, it should be obvious to every thinking man, that our sojourn in this visible world, as for instance our present incarnation on earth, is but like the passing of a day-night, or the passing of a night and a portion of a day, in one single part or portion or aspect of the cosmic organism; and this one portion we call our visible Universe. The greatest mistake ever made by man is to imagine, as all men in the Occident today mostly do imagine, that the invisible worlds and forces and powers and substances, etc., are different from and other than those powers and substances and forces which compose and build the world visible and perceptible to our five senses. Such reasoning is at best childish, and at its worst dogmatic foolishness, and is utterly contrary to all the teachings of the Occultism of the Theosophical philosophy, and in our day is becoming with increasing force a violation of even common sense.
Thus we see that that organic unit, that monadic entity, which we may briefly although perhaps somewhat imperfectly call the ego or spiritual soul of man, is as much at home in the invisible worlds as it is in the visible, and in fact is more at home in the invisible worlds, because the higher and more ethereal of these invisible worlds are really spiritual, and the higher essence of the human ego or monadic essence is of spiritual character and substance. See you not, then, what happens to men after death? This monadic essence, this monad, this human ego, simply casts off its tenement or vehicle of flesh and astral substance which we call our body, and after a short time is thereupon free for its experiences in the worlds invisible; and of these worlds invisible there are ranges upon ranges ascending from the least ethereal to the most spiritual; and it depends upon the character of the disembodied ego as to which one of these many ethereal worlds it will find its rest in after death. The man of noble life, of high spiritual and intellectual aspirations and fidelity, ascends to the higher realms or invisible worlds, and rests in peace and bliss therein, until the ego feels the urge to return to incarnation in the lower spheres, finally reaching our earth of gross elements and chemical substances; whereas the man of grosser instincts, of few or imperfect spiritual and intellectual powers, finds his post-mortem or after-death states in the less ethereal worlds, closer to this physical world; but nevertheless in a state of relative peace and happiness; while the grossest and worst man, after a short period of unpleasant experiences in what we Theosophists call the astral light, which is the surrounding ether of the earth, either has a period of complete unconsciousness because he has no spiritual and intellectual life of any importance fitting him for residence in the higher spheres, or he returns to embodiment very quickly.
The thoughtful man will at once see that these Theosophical teachings are but inevitable deductions of reason and logic from the premises already briefly stated in the opening part of my address, and which premises, as I there pointed out, are becoming with every year more and more confirmed by the latest discoveries of modern science in the different kinds of radiation and radioactivity, and therefore in the different sorts of radiating substances and energies which compose and build the inner and outer Universe. Hence, the most fatal mistake that a man hunting for Truth can possibly make, and a mistake which violates all the latest teachings of modern science and of ancient religion and philosophy, is to suppose that our physical world is different from or superior to the inner and invisible worlds, for in essence they are all one and cannot be separated, our physical world being but one phase, one octave, one gamut, so to say, of the radiating activity.
It is often said by those who do not understand anything of Theosophy or who have received distorted and utterly erroneous information about it, that it is an enemy of the different great religions of the world; but nothing could be more foolish than this utterly wrong idea. Indeed, Theosophy when properly understood is the greatest friend and supporter of true Religion, meaning here Religion per se, and not any merely theological dogmas that this or that or some other church during the course of ages may have adopted from the theological imaginations of men, good, bad, or indifferent. Theosophy is the greatest friend of Religion per se, because itself is Religion per se, not any one religion, but Religion per se; thus likewise it supports the grand archaic philosophies found in the noblest literatures of the human race, not of any one school of thought, but of all schools of thought; for Theosophy really is the source whence these schools originated, and therefore unifies them all, because it is Philosophy per se, not any one philosophy of this man or of that man, but all that department of human thinking and understanding which in various men produces that branch of human intellectual activity which men call philosophy. Just as it is in the case of religion which I have just spoken of, so it is in the case of philosophy.
Furthermore, no Theosophist is ever dogmatic or proclaims our majestic system of Religion-Philosophy-Science as something which must be accepted against the intellect or the tenderest feelings of the human heart; for one of our teachings is that no man should accept anything which is contrary to his conscience, contrary to his highest intellectual penetration, or contrary to the intuitive discernment of his noblest and tenderest feelings. Thus it is that in Theosophy we have neither dogma nor creed, neither church nor organization teaching a dogmatic system of thought, for the Theosophical Society, as the vehicle of the Theosophical Religion-Philosophy-Science, is a voluntary association of earnest men and women who study our God-Wisdom, and who accept of it what each one is capable of understanding. Thus we are a brotherhood of souls, and there are in consequence amongst us, Christian Theosophists, Buddhist Theosophists, Hindu Theosophists, Taoist Theosophists, or Theosophists who accept none of the great religions and philosophies of mankind; and perhaps this last class is the most numerous.
Every one of the Founders, without exception, of the greatest religions and philosophies -- and I repeat the word, the GREATEST of them, not the small schools which come and go with the changing times -- every one of these greatest men who are the Fine Flowers of the human race, has been an initiate in the School of the Mysteries. This School is timeless in origin, and has its greatest Masters or Teachers; and thus is explained the statement I made some time ago, that Theosophy is the Mother or the source whence these greatest religions or philosophies sprang, because each one was started by some great-souled and grand initiate of this School of the Mysteries, and therefore their teachings are fundamentally the same, though expressed in different ways to fit the needs of the mankinds of the different ages.
What philosophy of life for every man can be more sublime or grander therefore than this, teaching us the purpose of our life on earth, teaching us whence we came out of the invisible into the visible, and teaching us whither we journey after that solemn but very beautiful event which men call death, and which is but a passing into the invisible worlds for a sojourn there, longer or shorter according to the karma or merit or demerit of the one who passes on? Truly Theosophy therefore may be called the most complete, i.e., the fullest and most satisfying, of all known systems of human thinking, without any exception whatsoever, because, first, it is neither dogmatic nor creedal; second, because it appeals to our instincts, to our intuitions, to our religious and philosophic and scientific sense; because it offends no one on account of the widely generous platform from which its teachings are given; and because, furthermore, and in one phrase, it is founded on the laws of the Universe, and on nothing else. When I say the laws of the Universe, I mean what I have said before in the beginning of my address to you this evening, that is to say the laws of the invisible and of the visible Universe; for indeed the visible is but the invisible as we human beings cognize and recognize the invisible by means of our five senses.
Brothers of Holland, and Brothers and Friends of other European countries who may be hearing my voice today, I beg of you all not to take anything that I have said in this short address unless it appeal to your highest faculties of conscience, intellect, and ethical sense; but if anything I have said to you today appeals to you as being good and true and worthy, then hold to it and undertake a study of the Theosophical doctrines if only for your own satisfaction. Have the courage therefore of the convictions of your intellect and of the intuitions of your heart, and I promise you that you will enter into a wonderland of loftiest thought, familiar to the titan intellects and religious and philosophical sages of all the ages; and thus you will become familiar with their great minds, and you will walk hand in hand with these great men of the past, and indeed one may say with others who will come forth into human life but who wait in the womb of the future for their appearance amongst us.
Theosophy may be found explained in our Theosophical books, and in the various lodges and centers and groups of the Theosophical Society with General Offices at Point Loma, California, which Society I have the high responsibility of leading at the present time; and I lead with that true humility of the heart, and with the raising of my soul to the divine within me, for this responsibility is of a spiritual and intellectual and ethical kind, and is a heavy one.
I wish to add a few words of thanks to the noble Theosophical coworkers, thousands in number, who are making Theosophy and its teachings known in Holland and in other European countries; for their work is very beautiful and unselfish, and often calls for a good deal of self-sacrifice and self-abnegation, for from it they gain not one thing of this world's goods, but gain the sublime reward of the spiritual feeling of great happiness in passing on to others free, joyfully, and really beautifully, the blessings of feeling and thought that they themselves have received and will in future days receive in larger degree from their study in and work for our sublime God-Wisdom.
Please receive, dear Brothers and Friends, my heart's best wishes for peace and riches, both inner and outer, which are so greatly needed in these anxious and troubled times. I am your servant to give all that I can and that you will receive, and I am happy to use a beautiful phrase, truly occult and Theosophical in its inner meaning, which is known even to the Christian Church: I am happy to call myself SERVUS SERVORUM DEI -- the servant of the servants of God -- of the Divine!
By Allen J. Stover
[From THE THEOSOPHICAL FORUM, December 1946, pages 577-83.]
Seven times and seven score times on high All hail the golden wings unfurled The Druid of the Circled Sky -- The Flame-bright Dragon of the World!
-- Kenneth Morris
Symbols are an introduction to wordless thought, and form a language of analogy by which we may explore the inwardness of the universe. Each symbol has its inherent meaning, but it is a general meaning, and acquires a specific or limited significance only through association and use. It is sometimes said that a symbol has many interpretations; but this is because we are accustomed to look at everything from our word-bound mentality, and so fail to see the universal application of the symbol as an interpretation of nature's laws.
The mystical concept of the dragon is one of the oldest known to man. It was common to China, Japan, Tibet, Europe, and the Americas; and temples of the dragon as emblem of the Sun, life, and wisdom, once covered the globe. To this the mysterious monoliths of Stonehenge and Carnac, the Pyramid Temples in America, and many similar remains, bear silent witness.
Lao-tze thus described water: "Water is the weakest and softest of all things, yet it overcomes the strongest and the hardest. It penetrates everywhere, subtly, without noise, without effort." It becomes typical of the spirit that is able to pass out into all other existences of the world and resume its own form in man; and associated with the power of fluidity, the dragon becomes the symbol of the infinite.
In its essence, the dragon in China, America, and Wales signified the divine spirit of the waters; and the waters were themselves the fluid aspect of any principle of nature. The dragon and water myth illustrates the relationship between spirit and matter in nature; it is the Yang of Chinese philosophy as opposed to the Yin; and as there are many grades of matter ranging from the physical to the divine, Chinese mythology divides the dragons into classes according to their nature and habitat.
It was not always so, for as explained in THE SECRET DOCTRINE (I, 408), the genii or four Maharajas of the cardinal points known to the Chinese as:
the Black warrior, White Tiger, Vermilion Bird, and Azure Dragon [are] called in the Secret Book the "Four Hidden Dragons of Wisdom" and the "Celestial Nagas." Now, as shown, the seven-headed or septenary DRAGON-LOGOS had been in course of time split up, so to speak, into FOUR heptanomic parts or twenty-eight portions.
The archaic dragons and serpents of antiquity were all seven-headed and typified the seven principles throughout man and nature. Later this symbol was broken up into separate classes, into good and evil dragons, and, in Europe during the Middle Ages, into an emblem of evil only.
In Central America, the Dragon is represented as two-poled, having a head at each end. When separated, the dragon becomes dual as are the good and evil serpents of the caduceus, or sometimes a dragon is opposed by a serpent.
In its earthy aspect, the dragon is the fiery essence in underground water, which attracts the divining rod. It is the OD of Baron Reichenbach, in his researches into the astral light.
In the air, it is the lightning of the storm cloud and the fertilizing power of the rain; in the hurricane, it is the noise and whirling vortex of the winds; for on every plane there is some aspect of the dragon power.
In the Orient, folklore, art, and poetry have woven a garment of fancy about the ancient myth, which, delightful as it is, obscures the deeper significance of the symbol. Yet, while it conceals it preserves truths that might otherwise be lost.
Like the Sphinx of Egypt, and like man himself, the dragon is composite, and represents the several kingdoms of nature. In China, the Imperial five-clawed dragon has the scales of a fish, the neck of a lizard, the paws of a tiger, the claws of an eagle, and the horns of a deer. In all, there are nine attributes to this strange creature, which as the embodiment of Yang, the spiritual principle, continually seeks to subdue the ninefold Yin inherent in matter.
According to Chinese Mythology, there are three classes of dragons. The lowest were the Li Lung or earth dragons, whose realm was the waters of the earth. The second class were the Chen Lung or spiritual dragons associated with storms and clouds. The highest class were the Tien Lung, the celestial or heavenly dragons who guarded the mansions of the gods, and were adopted as an emblem by the Chinese Emperors.
The domain of the Li Lung or earth dragon was the sea, the underground waters of the earth and the streams, lakes, and waterfalls on the surface. It was this earth dragon, living underground, that was supposed to guard precious metals and to cause earthquakes. It is also referred to as the golden dragon, and is the variety associated with the fossil bones of the dinosaurs. The Chinese say that these bones are strong in the principle of Yang, and so expel the evil Yin that is afflicting the body.
The second class of dragons, the Chen Lung, whose home is in the air, shows itself in the lightning and in the fertilizing and vivifying power of rain. Above these are the Tien Lung, which reside in the sky, guarding the mansions of the gods. Only those in the Imperial service use the Tien Lung symbol. It may be recognized by the horns and the five-clawed feet.
The figure ordinarily used in decoration has three claws, and is divided into a number of minor divisions by custom and fancy.
It is a strange fact that in both the Gobi Desert of China and the Badlands of the Dakotas in the United States, the native tribes gathered the bones of fossil dinosaurs and prepared them for medicine. In each case, they supposed they were gathering the remains of dragons, the Li Lung in China, the unk-ta-he in Dakota. In America the earth dragon is known to the Dakota Indians as the unk-ta-he (a word which defies analysis). This mythical being is the god of the water, and is said to fly through the air as a fiery meteor. He is the one whom tradition credits with bringing the first land forth from the water; and it is he also who conducts the soul of the deceased from the village of souls, down the river of life to the earth, where the soul reembodies as a man. The unk-ta-he lived in rivers and lakes. It also lived in underground waters, and is represented in picture writing as horned and composite in structure.
The Algonquins also had their fire dragon or light-thrower, which they believed flew from one deep lake or river to another.
In Southern California, there are many stories of Taquitz, the fiery monster supposed to live in the waters within Mount San Jacinto, and to fly through the sky as a low-flying meteor. To it, the Indians credit the strange sounds sometimes heard within the mountain.
The Great Dragon of Quirigua, in Guatemala, is a marvelously carved ovoid stone weighing twenty tons. It is placed North and South and has two mouths. In the northern mouth a beautifully carved divinity is seated, in the southern is a long-nosed demon of the underworld; while about the circumference are twelve eyes. The stone is covered with an intricate design which, without representing any definite form, suggests the potentiality of all life in a strange blending of human, reptilian, and avian elements. As a whole, it symbolized the primordial earth, the spiritual earth from which the earth emanated, upon which it depends.
W.H. Holmes of the National Museum says of this stone, "It conveys vividly the impression of a living thing -- a dragon out-dragoning all the composite monsters of the Orient. So virile are the forms, so tense the coiling, so strong the impression of life, that a thrill almost of apprehension steals over one, for there is a distinct suggestion that the bulging imprisoned inner monster might break its bonds, uncoil its length, and slide away into the deep shadows of the forest immediately at hand." (Smithsonian report for 1906: The Great Dragon of Quirigua, Guatemala.) As to its symbolism Mr. Holmes asks, "May it not be, as some have surmised, that this image impersonates the Earth Monster, The World God, and that from the wide-open jaws, facing the ceremonial plaza, issued the divinity of the world of man, that through the glyph-hidden jaws of the southern end peered the grotesque demon of the underworld?"
Whatever the date of the carving may be, the tradition followed is very old, and in occult significance, this image may well be the chief of dragon symbols.
Among the Aztecs, the earth was said to have emanated from the primordial Cicpactyl or earth dragon, which was also the first sign of their zodiac, and the first day of their calendar. The first day of creation, was called "I Cicpactyl."
The Mayas had the same system with Imix replacing Cicpactyl as the name of the primordial or spiritual earth. In their codices, Imix is shown as a dragon associated with waterfalls, and with the color green as indicating beginning or newness.
Truly, China, America, and the Land of the Druid all fall under the domain of the dragon, and it is by comparing the myths as found in these countries that we can better understand the development of the symbol.
The earliest Chinese account is the symbolic story of a dragon horse rising from the river Lo, and bringing the TRIGRAMS to Fu Hsi in the year 2853 B.C.
The eastern dragon is not the gruesome monster of medieval superstition, but the genius of goodness itself. He is the spirit of change, therefore of life itself. In Theosophical language he is the Wind of the Spirit, again rising from the depths to renew and revitalize the life of the world.
He may become the size of a silk worm, or enlarge to fill the space of heaven and earth.
In Japan, four classes of dragons are recognized and are said to represent the four dragons that rule the four seas that surround the earth. The myth has traveled a long way from its source when such a perversion of the symbol can arise as the notorious Black Dragon Society of recent years.
Ernest Ingersoll believes that the four classes of Nagas of India correspond to the Chinese division, and that this with the Mahayana conception of Buddhism, did much to shape Chinese Symbolism during the Han dynasty.
The four classes of Nagas are as follows:
1. Heavenly Nagas, who uphold and guard the heavenly palace,
2. Divine Nagas, who cause clouds to rise and rain to fall,
3. Earthly Nagas who clear out and drain rivers, and
4. Hidden Nagas, who are the guardians of treasure.
The last two classes appear to be combined in the later Chinese classification.
One of the most familiar designs in the Orient is that of two dragons contending for a flaming pearl, which is sometimes explained as two forces, positive and negative, producing rolling thunder during the formation of a storm. There is a much deeper explanation than the physical one.
According to tradition, the Tien Lung, which means literally Heaven Dragon, carries a pearl under its chin. This pearl is white or red with a golden aura, and has four three-forked flames rising from it. Suspended from the pearl is a comma-shaped pendant, dark in color, which probably represents the Yin portion of the Yang and Yin monad, separated yet still pendent from the radiant pearl, even as man is pendent from his spiritual nature. There are variations and simplifications of the design, and sometimes the pendant is omitted.
These strange comma-like objects, carved out of shell or bone, have been found in the mounds of the Ohio Mound Builders, and while no one knows their use or significance, one might suppose them linked in some way with the dragon myth, as it is in the Orient.
The precious pearl figures in many designs. Often two dragons are shown rushing through swirling clouds towards a pearl that floats between them.
An eighteenth century vase is:
decorated with nine dragons swirling through scrolled clouds enveloping parts of their serpentine bodies, in pursuit of jewels of omnipotence which appear in the midst of clouds as revolving discs emitting branched rays of effulgence.
-- Ernest Ingersoll
A popular explanation of the dual dragon contending for the pearl is that of bad luck and good luck trying to secure the prize.
Whether we speak of the Nagas of India, the unk-ta-he, Imix, Feathered Serpent or others of America, or the various dragons of China or the Druid lands: there is an esoteric current running through all these. They have too much in common not to have had a common source.
In all countries the dragon, because it is the symbol of embodied spiritual qualities, has been used as a title for great initiates and adepts, who are spoken of as Dragons of Wisdom, and as Nagas or Serpents. The Sun itself is often called the Cosmic Dragon in occult literature.
The sphinx, combining lion, eagle, man, and bull, signifies the four-fold nature of man and the universe according to a monadic classification. The seven-headed dragon or serpent symbolizes the seven principles in man and nature, while the dual or two-headed dragon suggests the dual nature everywhere existing.
G. de Purucker describes the Dragon as
the Demiurge, the establisher or former of our planet and of all that pertains thereto; neither good nor bad, but its differentiated aspects in Nature make it assume one or the other character.
And he adds:
Summarizing, therefore, the Dragon and the Serpent, whether high or low, were types of various events in cosmic or world history, or again of various good qualities whether in the World or in man, for either one can at different times signify Spiritual Immortality or Wisdom, or Reembodiment, which last in this sense is equivalent to Regeneration.
By Leoline L. Wright
[From THE THEOSOPHICAL FORUM, July 1947, pages 385-91. Note that the writings of Katherine Tingley can be found at the following address.]
The life and work of Katherine Tingley present such a diversity of brilliant facets that it seems impossible to fix upon one that will give a truly comprehensive picture. To the world-at-large she will be principally remembered first as an educator, then as an originator of uniquely beautiful Shakespearean drama, and the creator of Point Loma, where she appeared so often in another of her characteristic roles as an international hostess.
Yet in looking back after mature reflection it may seem that even these varied and rich achievements were, in a sense, 'by the way.' For to those who became her permanent pupils she will I believe be remembered most enduringly by her power to discover and develop the spiritual potentialities of those who accepted her as a Teacher.
Now what does a Theosophist mean by Occultism? The word OCCULT means of course concealed or invisible. Hence, an occultist is one who is able to perceive the hidden or invisible aspects of nature and of man. Occultism then is the science by a knowledge of which one masters these hidden aspects of life and puts them to work.
There was nothing either phenomenal or miraculous, in the popular meaning of those words, about the work of Katherine Tingley. She herself most often defined Occultism as "the art of living." Her methods might be technically described in her own celebrated phrase, "self-directed evolution"
No more creative idea has ever been presented to humanity than all that these words, SELF-DIRECTED EVOLUTION, imply. Even without Theosophy, they are full of power. But when backed by the teachings of the Wisdom Religion they have an actual potency of spiritual transmutation upon character and destiny.
At the Theosophical Headquarters at Point Loma, one was given not only this viewpoint. Madame Tingley also thoroughly understood how to surround her students with conditions that made the practice of self-directed evolution both workable and inspiring. Here perhaps was the highest achievement of her work -- the creation of an environment in which it became possible for the individual student to realize and embody lastingly the highest in himself.
The wider meaning of the application of Occultism to life, in relation that is to social and world problems, must also be stressed. Katherine Tingley's outlook was unswervingly international. For years, representatives of some seventeen nationalities were living at Point Loma, not only as pupils in her Raja Yoga School, but also among her adult students. Those of each nationality were encouraged to make contributions of their particular cultural gifts to the common life. Many were teachers in the School. It was one of her aims to demonstrate how easily -- given a real community of spiritual interests -- national differences could be blended into a practical and living harmony.
The social and economic meaning of life at Point Loma to the thousands of visitors who flowed through the grounds from all over the world was illustrated in many ways. One example will help to confirm the significance of her system to outsiders. It happened shortly after the end of the First World War when Europe was groaning under the travail of reconstruction.
A Belgian archeologist, well known at that time but whose name I unfortunately cannot recall, was visiting in San Diego. Evidently, he had never heard of Katherine Tingley or Point Loma. But happening to see an advertisement of a program of Greek dancing as presented under her direction by her Raja Yoga Players at her own Isis Theater -- and being himself a devotee of this classical art -- he attended the performance twice. Later, he went out to the Point Loma Headquarters in search of information, where the members of the staff in charge of visitors received him.
Almost the first thing he said was that he had never seen such superb Greek dancing. "And," he added, "I can judge because I am something of an expert myself. I have seen and studied all the different schools, including that of Isadora Duncan, but Madame Tingley's Raja Yoga Players are far ahead of them all."
He was of course taken to see the Greek Theater designed by Madame Tingley and the first of its kind to be built in America. He admired its matchless setting and its wonderful acoustics, saw also the beautiful Temple of Peace, and heard an account of the way of life there at the International Headquarters. His questions were intelligent and exhaustive. Repeatedly, as the way of life with its objectives was explained to him he would exclaim: "But it is wonderful! Here you have long solved all the problems that now confront us in Europe. When I get home I am going to make public these methods and solutions that you have brought to such perfection here." I remember that he bought a number of Theosophical books to take home to aid him in his explanations.
I fear that when he did make his report it was smiled at pityingly as too Utopian; for aside from the magnificent work being done then as always by our Theosophical lodges all over Europe, the world kept right on making the same, if not worse mistakes.
Katherine Tingley's Raja Yoga School, which was so dear to her heart, with its unique system of child development, is too important a part of her work to be treated here. But it too belonged essentially to her work as a Teacher of Occultism. Those who were trained in the School and remained faithful to her teachings are today the most valuable workers for the great cause of Theosophy.
One other reference to her public career is of the deepest interest -- her prophetic insight into those basic dangers that, even at the close of the First World War were preparing so fruitfully for the Second. Many, as I recall, often thoughtlessly condemned her for her championship of a fallen Germany. In most of her public speeches during that so-called reconstruction period, she urged a compassionate and understanding attitude towards the German people and their problems. She labored, by her writings and her talks all over the United States and Europe for the cause of Brotherhood and Peace. Had she been listened to by the powers that be, and had her call to humanity been acted upon, how different might the course of contemporary history have been. This is one of the most striking examples of her vision as a great Occultist.
SHE BEING DEAD YET SPEAKETH
Katherine Tingley's message, notwithstanding its worldwide applications, was intensely personal. That is, it spoke intimately to the individual in relation to all the problems of his familiar daily life. Though she spoke and wrote always of occult laws with their applications and fulfillment, it was emphatically to prove the beauty and necessity of normal and healthy living.
Her teachings have been enshrined in two ways. First and most important, it was enshrined in the hearts and lives of those who sincerely followed them. Secondly, in was enshrined in her books, in which are recorded the essentials of all that she taught. Two in especial should be studied by all who aspire to the Theosophical ideal of perfected living: THE WINE OF LIFE and THEOSOPHY: THE PATH OF THE MYSTIC.
She published several other books, but of them all, these two are easily the popular favorites. For both are peculiarly alive with her luminous optimism, the result of her power to look through the dark material husks into the radiant soul of things.
THE WINE OF LIFE
This book is a testament of beauty. Such themes as immortality, the divinity in Nature and Man, and the sacredness of marriage, parenthood, and the home are illumined with the insight of a poet and the wisdom of a sage.
There was something almost magical about the lucidity and balance of Katherine Tingley's literary style. I recall how seldom typographical errors occurred in the press proofs of her books. This I feel sure was owing to the lucidity and perfect rhythm of her sentences. It was impossible for a good typographer not to FEEL them into perfect reproduction.
She also had a remarkable power to express the essence of an idea in a beautiful or telling phrase. A striking example of this occurred one time when I was working at the Theosophical Bookstore in San Diego. An intelligent young sailor who was reading our literature came into the store one day and enthusiastically demanded: "Can you please condense for me into a single sentence the purpose of life as Theosophy teaches it?" I felt sure I could do this, particularly as I had been lecturing on Theosophy for a long time. But after considerable mental effort, the best I could do was to condense the answer into two paragraphs, telling the sailor that I at least was simply not able to do it. The next Sunday in her lecture in the Temple of Peace at Point Loma Katherine Tingley said, "The purpose of life is to raise the mortal into immortality."
THEOSOPHY: THE PATH OF THE MYSTIC
The majority of her students will be inclined to agree, I think, that THEOSOPHY: THE PATH OF THE MYSTIC is Katherine Tingley's greatest book. In many ways, it ranks alongside THE VOICE OF THE SILENCE expressing for the beginner the same truths in a more human and practicable form. For that is the great characteristic of her teaching, its luminous practical simplicity.
Another incident that occurred one day when I was serving in the Theosophical Bookstore illustrates this commonsense appeal of her writings to 'the man in the street' In the display window of the bookstore was an elevated stand where lay open always one of our books to attract the passerby. One morning when it happened to be THE PATH OF THE MYSTIC lying open there, I saw a burly, rather coarse looking man studying the pages intently. He walked away finally, not much to my surprise. But I was pleasantly taken aback when he returned later, looked at the book again, and entering the store said he would like to buy a copy. On a closer view I saw a rather hard-faced and forthright character but with a hint of kindliness in the firm corners of his lips. There was an air of rugged simplicity about him that interested me and I asked him if he would tell me what it was especially that had captured his interest in the book.
"Certainly, Madame," he replied earnestly. "I am a sheriff from the north on business here in San Diego and I was struck with these words in the book." He found me the page and I read them:
The wrong way is miscalled the 'easy way.' In reality, it is the hard way. The path of self-conquest, if only we travel as we can and as we should -- that is the 'easy way.'
"You see, lady," he went on, "that's what we're always trying to make these criminals see -- that the wrong way is the hard way, and the right way is the easy way. So I wanted a copy of this book."
He remained for a few moments chatting. He knew a great deal about Katherine Tingley's work for the men behind the bars. Also he was well acquainted with her magazine THE NEW WAY which she published especially for the prisoners and circulated free of charge in the prisons and jails of California and adjacent states.
This incident has always remained in my memory, lighting up as it so clearly does the practical humanity of her appeal to the so-called common man.
Turning the pregnant pages of this book the reader will be struck with the basic keynote of the great Leader's message -- a great AWAKENING CALL to the spiritual soul in man. This golden challenge rang through all she said and did in the thirty-three years of her spiritual Leadership of the Theosophical Society.
The following passages from THEOSOPHY: THE PATH OF THE MYSTIC sound in characteristic fashion this spiritual summons:
Fear nothing, for every renewed effort raises all former failures into lessons, all sins into experiences. Understand me when I say that in the light of renewed effort the Karma of all your past alters; it no longer threatens; it passes from the plane of penalty before the soul's eye, up to that of tuition ...
So, fear nothing for yourself. You are behind the shield of your reborn endeavor, though you have failed a hundred times.
Dare to be yourself -- your greater Self! Dare to leap forward and be something you never before knew it was in you to be. Dare to move out and upward in the strength of your soul and find something new in your makeup ... "The more one dares, the more he shall obtain."
-- From an address delivered to a native audience at Bombay, India, during the First Theosophical Crusade around the World (1896-97).
O ye men and women! Sons of the same Universal Mother as ourselves! Ye who were born as we were born, who must die as we must die, and whose souls like ours belong to the Eternal: I call upon you to arise from your dreamy state and to see within yourselves that a new and brighter day has dawned for the human race.
This need not remain an age of darkness, nor need you wait until another age arrives before you can work at your best. This is only an age of darkness to those who cannot see the Light. The Light itself has never faded and never will. It is yours if you will turn to it, live in it; yours today, this hour even, if you will hear what is said with ears that understand.
Arise then, fear nothing. Taking that which is your own and all men's, abide with it in peace for evermore.
By Victor Endersby
[CHRONICLES ON THE PATH, Part III. This 18-part series appeared in THEOSOPHICAL NOTES from September 1951 through November 1954.]
Mordag, the merchant, followed the Wisdom circumspectly, not speaking of it where laughter might arise; separating the Principles carefully from the established usages of profit; allowing not his gifts to cut into his commerce; congratulating himself that this was an enlightened age in which a man need not lose the world in order to cultivate his soul.
The time came when it was rumored about that the Assemblies had drawn too many worshipers from the temples, and that the priests sought the ear of the King against them. This king was heavy-handed and of quick temper. The priests were adept in pricking the vanities of the great. Mordag was therefore disturbed, and for many days was not seen at the Assemblies. He reasoned to himself that if peril were toward, the power and wealth of a man like himself had best be preserved against a day of reestablishment in more favorable times. Thus, as the trouble grew, he busied himself in concealing the traces of his adherence; but at a banquet, one night was accused, less than half in jest, of frequenting the Assemblies himself. Seeking hastily to turn this danger aside, he bethought himself of saying:
"There may be madmen among them, but there are also fair women among them!"
In the approving laugh that went up over this establishment of a seemly reason for being seen in such company, Mordag's fears were ameliorated; but he did not enjoy the banquet, for the taste of that answer remained in his mouth.
Upon the next day, MacMorhan the Preceptor appeared in Mordag's doorway. He stood wearily; his clothing was torn and there was blood on the path behind him. By this, Mordag knew that the wrath of the King had indeed fallen, and was sorely frightened, as MacMorhan looked into his eyes with a silent question. On the screen of Mordag's brain arose pictures of Mordag disgraced, perhaps hanged; of Mordag's treasures seized by the State; of Mordag's children ragged in the grounds of the common schools, laughed at. Pinned between those visions and the calm eyes of MacMorhan, Mordag quivered in anguish; but the cup of choice passed from his lips, for MacMorhan turned away, saying no word.
As he reached the gate, lance-heads crested the ridge, and shortly MacMorhan, like a tall oak before the woodsman's ax, unfearing, and unresisting, was ridden down in the road by the King's men, before the eyes of Mordag, sick in his doorway. For a long time Mordag gazed at the crumpled rags that were the remaining manifestation of the wisdom and benevolence of MacMorhan, and plucked at his lips. Recovering at last, he busied himself with secret disposal of the body of the Preceptor and with setting foundation of justification under the edifice of his non-doing.
"What gain," he reasoned, "in two dying where one would suffice; and what hope for revival, some day, of the Wisdom, if Preceptor and sustainer alike are vanished?"
Tossing upon his couch that night, Mordag at last reached complacence; but upon entering the corridors of sleep he found himself in a land strange and dark, wherein were rolling hills covered with pines whose summits were lost in wet darkness overhead. Slowly the mist gathered on the leaves; slowly dripped on the wet clay where no grass grew. Around about, there was silence and the labyrinth of trunks giving no direction.
Wearily, wearily, Mordag struggled and slid, by no light save the torch held high in his trembling hand. Wearily his mind fumbled to recover the meaning, the half-remembered meaning, of a land over-shadowed by trees under which no grass could grow. Worn beyond endurance, he slipped and fell; the torch, flung far, vanished. Mordag sat up amid the dark and drip, waiting the dawn; but after a timeless age, knew that in that place was never any dawn; no light forevermore save what a man carried in his hand; and the light was out.
Then Mordag, flinging his arms wide and his covering to the four walls, won back from this nightmare to the blessed morning dawn, and sobbed in joy and relief. Unknown to him, there lay under the rosy light reflected from his walls, darkness illimitable, and all encompassing.
For the Soul of Mordag had stood, invisible beside MacMorhan, to ask a question, and the dream that was no dream was the departing message of the Soul of Mordag.
By A. Trevor Barker
[From THE HILL OF DISCERNMENT, Theosophical University Press, 1941, pages 229-34 This was the closing address at the European Convention of the Theosophical Society, London, August 2-3, 1936.]
We come to the last moments of these happy two days together, and I offer you my sincere regrets for your sake that Brother Oosterink is unable to be here to speak to you tonight; but the subject that you would have heard him discuss I shall try to say a few words upon: "The Place of Devotion in the Life of Discipleship."
(Oosterink is the Chairman of the Committee of National Presidents of the European Sections of the Theosophical Society.)
This subject immediately calls to my mind that most inspiring passage in THE SECRET DOCTRINE, concerning the origin of devotion in human hearts; and if you will refer to it in the first volume (page 210), you will find the interesting statement that devotion actually arose in human breasts because of the age-old and eternal memory that we all have, that we owe our spiritual origin to those Lords of Wisdom who actually infused into us the spark of self-consciousness.
If we carry that thought forward when we think of the inspired doctrine of the lighting up of Manas by the Manasaputras in the Third Root Race, and remember the marvelous body of doctrine associated with that event; and reflect that all men -- savages and educated men, high and low, and of all races -- have this feeling, this yearning of devotion to some Being, stirring in the depths of their consciousness, the longing to find that Teacher, that Savior, however it may be formulated or expressed, we realize that it all comes from that far-off, Divine event which gave us birth to ourselves, and that we, in the higher parts of our being, are actually those Manasaputras ourselves.
We see the true origin of devotion as welling up from the Divine part of our own being, and yet as indissolubly associated with our devotion to those ancient Teachers of the Race that are symbolized for us under the name of the Great Lodge -- the Brotherhood of living men who, Theosophy and the message of HPB have taught us, actually exist in this world today.
The second thought that occurred to me was that wonderful and beautifully suggestive passage in LETTERS THAT HAVE HELPED ME, so full of beautiful thought; and I would suggest to any of you who are perhaps less acquainted with Theosophical literature, and who do not possess that book, immediately to obtain it You will find the short passage on pages 66-67 about what he describes as the Guruparampara Chain There we have another aspect of the origin of Devotion I am going to read you the passage:
The relation of Guru and Chela is nothing if it is not a spiritual one Whatever is merely outward, or formal, as the relation established by mere asking and acceptance, is not spiritual, but formal, and is that which arises between TEACHER and PUPIL Yet even this latter is not in any way despicable, because the teacher stands to his pupil, in so far forth as the relation permits, in the same way as the Guru to his Chela ...
Therefore, from earliest times, among all but the modern western people, the pupil gave the teacher great reverence, and the latter was taught from youth to look upon his preceptor as only second to his father and mother in dignity It was among these people a great sin To be disrespectful to ones teacher even in thought, one would do actual harm to his moral being The reason for this lay then, and no less today does also lie, in the fact that a long chain of influences extends from the highest spiritual guide who may belong to any man, down through vast numbers of spiritual chiefs, ending at last even in the mere teacher of our youth To restate it in modern reversion of thought, a chain extends up from our teacher or preceptors to the highest spiritual chief in whose ray or descending line one may happen to be It makes no difference whatever, in this occult relation, that neither pupil nor final guide may be aware, or admit, that this is the case.
That means surely that the entire world has the opportunity of participating in this marvelous fount of the occult Universe, whether they know it or not.
Thus it happens that the child who holds his teacher in reverence and diligently applies himself accordingly with faith, does no violence to this intangible but mighty chain, and is benefited accordingly, whether he knows it or not Nor again does it matter that a child has a teacher who evidently gives him a bad system This is his Karma, and by his reverent and diligent attitude, he works it out, and transcends erstwhile that teacher.
This chain of influence is called the GURUPARAMPARA CHAIN.
The Guru is the GUIDE OR READJUSTER, and may not always combine the function of teacher with it.
There is a world of vital thought in that idea, and this leads me to the next thought that naturally arises out of it: how are we to find these Teachers -- to come in contact with them? Is it possible for us to do so? I would venture to suggest one or two ideas that I personally believe in If we study the evidence in our literature, in THE MAHATMA LETTERS and in many parts of HPB's teaching, and so on, we must come to the realization, if we are really honest with ourselves, that these Beings have a high probability of existence; and still we may be without what might be called internal evidence that they do exist as living men We may not have had the privilege of coming in contact with anybody who is in the position of being able to say he knows because he has experience.
What are we as individuals to do in order to gain this inner certainty for ourselves? This brings us back to this question of devotion Its place in our spiritual lives -- for has not the statement been made that the Masters are a symbol collectively of the Higher Self; and will you not find, if you turn to LIGHT ON THE PATH, that the way to gain some understanding of what is meant by the Masters of Wisdom, by the great Teachers of the Race, by the Mahatmas, is to fit ourselves to be instruments in their hands? That is the only condition wherefrom we may enter into any kind of relationship with these Teachers.
If we can find the way to become instruments in their hands, if we would make our voice heard, and make it possible to impress our thoughts upon their Akasha, then we must learn that that voice of ours will not be heard unless it is the voice of the Higher part of our being; and therefore we have to learn to rise up enough into the higher realms of our inner being, so that with the voice of the Higher Self we can make our call upon the Law. Then comes the response from "the Keepers of the Sacred Light," as Master K.H. phrases it in THE MAHATMA LETTERS May I read to you the passage from Letter LXIV, page 358, where Master K.H. deals with one of these problems?
Ah, how long shall the mysteries of chelaship overpower and lead astray from the path of truth the wise and perspicacious, as much as the foolish and the credulous! How few of the many pilgrims who have to start without chart or compass on that shoreless Ocean of Occultism reach the wished for land Believe me, faithful friend, that NOTHING short of full confidence in us, in our good motives if not in our wisdom, in our foresight, if not omniscience -- which is not to be found on this earth -- can help one to cross over from one's land of dream and fiction to our Truth land, the region of stern reality and fact Otherwise the ocean will prove shoreless indeed; its waves will carry one no longer on waters of hope, but will turn every ripple into doubt and suspicion; and bitter shall they prove to him who starts on that dismal, tossing sea of the Unknown, with a prejudiced mind!
Another thought occurred to me: if we seek to become instruments in Their hands, then once we have recognized by our own desperate need, the need that others must have (because we all more or less are in the same boat), our first and most obvious duty calls forth our effort to relieve the need that we know exists in the hearts of others This leads us to take the first step, and, having the literature in our hands as part of our tools of work, this course presents itself to each one of us The way is pointed out in THE MAHATMA LETTERS very clearly, but it is useless for us to sit still in our Lodge room and watch other people doing the work.
Each of us has the responsibility to find that creative piece of work which touches causes; and by that I mean that we shall seriously consider the problem as to what any one of us can do that will be a real, creative piece of work We can all do it in some way or another in the circumstances in which we are placed; and it is that kind of effort, combined with the aspiration that I was trying to express to you in relation to the Higher Self and its connection with the Masters: it is this kind of effort that will bring us the internal evidence that They do exist.
Thus having become instruments -- dedicated instruments -- in Their hands, all here who have tried the experiment will agree and know that the greatest happiness I suppose that any Theosophist has is when, being self-forgetful, he is able to give to others the message of Theosophy, however haltingly or however beautifully the ideas are expressed; for there we find an inexhaustible stream of happiness resulting from that kind of work in which we are all engaged Contrariwise, if through our own fault we are not living to our highest, if we in any way forfeit the capacity, or lose the opportunity, of acting in that way as instruments, then the corresponding pain and suffering can be very great.
Again I want to remind you of that passage that I have thought of so many times in these last two days, that you will find in LIGHT ON THE PATH, that in the life of the disciple he never knows until the entrance to the Pathway is found at what moment he will discover and hear the voice of the Beloved in the hearts of those around him It seemed to me such a marvelous expression of just that discovery that we have witnessed in these two days of the Convention: we have heard the voice of the Beloved speaking to us in the thoughts and words that have been so spontaneously uttered by all who have contributed here either as speakers or by their presence and sympathy The voice of the Spirit has sounded through our ranks We are all deeply sensible of it.
A last thought I want to put to you I am reminded of that wonderful story of one of the Bhikshus of the Buddha -- one of those who was called upon to preach the doctrine, and his situation was likened to a man who was digging a well for water in the desert, because the Bhikshu complained that he did not get the response from his hearers that he thought the teachings of Buddhism should evoke from his congregation, or from what we should call the public He had a feeling that they were not interested; and the Buddha drew his attention to the man who was digging the well in the desert, and asked the Bhikshu what he would do if, having dug to a great depth, as he thought, he did not find water He answered that he must dig deeper Being applied to the experience of the Bhikshu, it simply meant that if he did not get the response from the hearts of his hearers, then he had not dug deep enough into his own spiritual nature, and therefore he had to dig deeper and deeper, and then would come the response from the hearts of his hearers.
Now is it not just to that great work that we Theosophists are dedicated -- dedicated to the bringing forth of the spiritual and higher nature in the lives of all mankind? To bring forth the spiritual qualities in all men -- that is our great work!
By Boris de Zirkoff
[From a tape recording entitled "Awareness and Reverence," made of a private class held on December 5, 1954. Thanks are due Susan Leiderman. The first step in getting the talks ready for publication is their initial transcription. Her efforts have made the series possible.]
Boris often wraps up his talks in a way that is magically uplifting. This talk was no exception! He really brings the essence of his thought home in an inspiring way. It is beautiful to notice that in the beginning, he simply sets the tone and then encourages the group to find something to contribute. He does it with such patience! He never seems to stop anyone from speaking. He simply lets them exhaust what they have to say. Perhaps they sense that they have all the space in the world to have their say, so no one gets out of hand. What a blessing to be a part of that group!
-- Susan Leiderman, December 1, 2000
The gathering together of threads can solve certain types of conflicts. We gather until we finally have a picture. There will be other conflicts. For a particular one, we may finally gather enough threads to ease the problem, if not settle it.
Good. That is an interesting simile there, about the weaving and the gathering of threads. Exactly what is it? It is threads of consciousness, weaving them into a pattern. That is a good idea.
We create a habit of thought and meditation. We draw upon it to create that undercurrent all the time. We break through the habit of meditation. We do this not only at a special time, but constantly. The term "undercurrent" is not good. Call it an ABOVE current, an overtone. It is helpful for any student.
In this case, there is a special technique to emphasize. Meditation should be emphasized. It is helpful to consider the advantage of the moment. Have an uplifting picture. That would help the meditation. Instead of assuming some state of mind, keep one idea in mind. For instance, think of the initiations that are going to take place soon. Try to have a picture of initiation, of its importance, and of the transcendental thing that it means for every individual to have reached that state of evolution. Try to follow individuals, even if we do not know their names. Imagine people reaching that beautiful state of high evolution. Then imagine groups of people undergoing initiation. In that way, we have a seed of meditation. At the beginning, at the stage we are, that seed helps the meditation. The meditation is easier by that idea in mind.
This time of the year, it is desirable to have devotional books to read. That helps create the overtone. That helps us to evolve, to advance a little in the light.
Thank you. Yes, definitely so. Add a few words to this on the picturing in our minds, in our hearts, and in our consciousness of the qualities of perfected manhood. It is difficult to express my thoughts. I do not mean us to meditate upon the person of some great adept we may know of.
We should meditate upon those qualities of consciousness that constitute an advanced human being. Call them by any name you like. You have a perfected man. What is his courage? What is his fearlessness? What is his sympathy? What is his love? What is the quality of his peace and serenity? What is his encompassing consciousness? Which of these qualities do we know that we are lacking?
Picture to ourselves these qualities developed to the nth degree. Picture these qualities embodied in a human being, someone with no particular name, just a human being in the abstract. Meditate upon the ideal perfected human being, someone we hope someday to become like. Such men exist. Such men have always existed. They will always be in the vanguard of mankind. Fill our minds with a picture of a perfected humanhood. This is definitely related to the idea of initiations. It is definitely related to the idea of becoming such a human being from the lesser stages of advancement.
Do you have any other ideas, friends?
I find it helpful to keep my eyes on distant horizons, rather than picturing these things, except in moments of solitude. It is difficult to picture these things. I find I cannot do it. I just adopt a deep reverential attitude toward life. This is helpful to meet what one has to live in. Keep a deep reverence for life. This is not specifically for all little things. It is a tremendous gratitude and feeling of reverence for the entire manifested universe. That gives peace and calm under any circumstance. It may be difficult to focus your attention on an ideal in the midst of confusion, but if there is a deep enough reverence and it is always with you as an attitude of your mind, it buffers you from the vicissitudes of life and living.
Will you give an illustration? Please do, even if it not out of your life, but a theoretical illustration or observed in someone else.
Suddenly, problems do not matter to you. The sense of reverence seems to assuage problems, if it can be constantly an attitude of mind. It is not anything like gratitude or sympathy. It is a deep reverence for the Absolute, the knowledge that there are laws, and a reverence to these laws. There is no feeling of any relation to these laws, but just knowledge. I cannot explain it. It is difficult.
No, that is clear enough to get what you mean.
Understanding may come from many sources in our everyday lives. Many lessons can be learned from Mother Nature herself. I have likened life to an experience that I have going through the woods. I cannot be angry at a tree because it is in my path. The same goes for humans, frogs, snakes, and beasts. There are those that bother you and those that do not. You appreciate and are aware of some and bypass others. The same thing is true within modern society. We have examples showing one how to conduct themselves. Our civilization is like a jungle. If we think back, we can find examples in our own lives. People we meet can be in our paths too.
Live within with the full realization that the sun, the wind or atmosphere, the universe -- that all things in existence are mine. They are not mine personally, but nonetheless mine personally, if you follow me. I realize I am a part of a thing too big for any man to take away. I realize this in spite of anything that happens. I personally know this to be a fact. It has helped keep me stand straight. That is all I am going to say.
That is a mouthful. As usual, you come up with something that strikes at the heart of things. I have seen you do that before.
Your idea links up with your sense of reverence. Add to this your idea that that sun radiates alike upon the good and bad. It radiates upon the saint and wicked making no distinction between the two in giving. Likewise, do the wind and rain and all the other blessings that are part of the life-current of this universe give without distinction. It should inspire us to be the same in whatever we give. Each can give more than we realize. This should inspire us to give the same to all. We may not achieve that ideal. We may not become in this life great embodiments of it. We can strive towards it.
Do not make a distinction between people. In their hearts, IN EVERY CASE, there are both depths of evil and heights of great spiritual light. If we realize that among the people that we like least, and among the people that we fear because they are criminals, there is the same sun in all. There is the same spiritual sun trying to shine.
We make distinctions between people because our personality is inadequate for these supreme ideals. Nevertheless, we have a salutary and chastening thought. We may dwell upon the picture of the sun shining constantly on all, making no distinctions.
From childhood, I loved to go outside, sit by a bush, and read. I never paid attention to it. Now when I am in the house doing chores, I become annoyed and bored. I will go outside to burn trash. I become conscious of the bushes and the trees, of everything that is out there. If it is cold, I am conscious of that. If it is warm, I am conscious of the rays of the sun. That changes my complete day, just by being outside those few moments.
Some years ago, Katherine Tingley was alive in Point Loma. Many years before that in her time, before I ever came there, she used to suggest to students to rise early, about one or more hours before the sun. The time would differ at different times of year. She said that in the early hours the student would attune himself to the blue light behind the sun by meditating upon its rising. Curiously enough, astronomy speaks of our sun as a blue star. It is one of the divisions of the various stars by the quality of their light. There is probably a great deal more to that than astronomy knows.
Katherine Tingley suggested that the student's mind and heart of consciousness became attuned to that spiritual force behind the physical emanation of the sun. She never fully explained this, but that is probably what she meant. She suggested that people go out quietly on the hills. There were plenty of grounds to go out on. They were to see the sun come up. They could go either in small groups or alone. They were told to look straight at the sun as it came up. It was quite a sight to see that sun jump from behind the Mexican mountains in the east, and southeast, and a little bit northeast, according to the time of the year.
She said that it would carry right through the day and the following night to the next sunrise hours. It would carry the intense concentrated power of the sun and reflect it in one's actions. The student must remain silent, must not speak aloud for a few hours. This was particularly for those writing for our magazine. She suggested they not speak until noon, if possible, to not open their mouths at all, doing their writing and not speaking to anybody. Many put it into practice.
If everybody knew of these things, there would be no surprise about it. They would respect each other's wishes. To some, these things meant more. To others, they did not mean much. We all have a different quality of consciousness. To those to whom that meant a great deal, they practiced and grew faster.
You can get in touch with Nature's spiritual vibratory forces. It is much easier to do it in the wild. It is not excluded in city life, because one can become abstracted from the outer world and makes a momentary connection. Sometimes that momentary connection is sufficient for one's daily needs. It can grow from day to day and year to year. Most do not give it enough time. We do not give it enough thought.
Have you any other ideas, friends?
A brother-in-law, quite intelligent, is good at mathematics. He said that whenever he had an unsolvable problem he set it aside. He just forgets about it. It may be that when we are someplace else, the solution will come just like that. You do not force it. If you get to a stalemate, lay the problem aside.
It works. Sometimes we make our problem even more unsolvable by trying to force a solution by the activities of our uninspired brain-mind. Whereas when we place the problem at a distance from us and acquire perspective, we suddenly see a solution.
We have covered much ground, in a different direction than usual. Little needs said in winding up our discussion. I think it has been mutually helpful.
Of the ideas expressed, there is a constructive trend towards attunement to higher things and reverence towards life. Think it over. Ponder it carefully, somewhat lovingly. Consider the idea of that awareness which can be aroused in our consciousness towards the spiritual realities of life. Now is an excellent time for this, right through the Winter Solstice season.
The reverence for life is not an empty expression. To revere something is not to adore it. It has nothing to do with religious worship, adulation, or hero worship. Reverence is the attunement of our consciousness to the spiritual pulsation of life.
There is a tie between Nature and us. Our realization of that tie becomes stronger as we become aware of that spiritual pulsation. Our realization becomes stronger the more we recognize the vibrant force that is filling all. It courses through every atom, every star, and us. Strictly speaking, that tie cannot become stronger, because it IS. It cannot be made. What becomes stronger is our realization of it. We strengthen our realization of its nature, of its quality, and of what we can do based on that intimate tie with Nature. We cannot create it, fashion it, or make it. We can only recognize it and become individuals of growing awareness that it exists.
These subjects can be but little expressed in words. The greater part is in the silence. Some things can be said about them, yes. There are spiritual realities and the devotional aspect of the teachings. The realization of them lies deep in the silence of things. You can feel them. You can experience them. You cannot vicariously experience them for others. Often, you cannot convey any of it to others. If they are not attuned to these ideas, it is almost sacrilege to force these subjects upon them. They are not ready.
The realization of the sacredness of life comes with spiritual growth. It cannot be forced. When it has dawned upon us that life is sacred in all manifestations, everything in Nature changes its aspect for us. In time, we recognize even the shady, so-called evil side of life as an aspect of imperfection.
On their way upwards, there is a stage through which monads pass. Life to the occultist is an evolutionary procession. What is evil for us today is a standard that was bearable for us, if not normal, ages ago. Such an evil may be unavoidable to some entities now. It is not to be condoned, oh no. It has to be recognized as a stage.
That which to us is the greatest and noblest ideals will sometime be reached. Then the ideals are passed over, left behind, and will appear inadequate, possibly even evil. This is because we will have gone on to greater feats on the rising Himalayas of our consciousness. We will be able to look back upon our past ideals as stages grown out of, stages no longer adequate.
Today's ideals of others may seem to us inadequate, imperfect, and useless. If in their lives, something is an ideal to which they strive, do not take it away from them. Do not break their idols. Do not break their idols! Having these idols may be the only thing that keeps them straight. It may be funny to you. It may be funny to me, curious and funny. If it is an ideal in a person's life, he or she clings to it, and it holds them straight, or makes their life worth living, leave it to them!
It is good for them, but not good for you, oh no! Do not go down to their level. Beckon them to come higher. Do not break their idols. It is better for them to some day discover the emptiness of their idols. They can come higher to where you are. Those of us here have our many things that we still worship or adore. We may eventually find their emptiness and come higher to still greater levels. Today we may have ideals that are almost unattainable, but which in time will attain and even surpass.
This philosophy builds patience, toleration, and endurance. It breeds sympathy. It breeds understanding. It makes us realize that nothing is small or great in the cosmic economy, that every human being is just as worthwhile as any other. That means every human being without exception. It is so with every atom. It is so with every star.
You cannot take anything away from life because the whole thing would crumble, in even taking away but one atom. You cannot take it away because there is nowhere else to put it. It is forever an integral part of the Boundless All. Where are you going to take it? Everything has its own rightful place, even if we do not see it.
Everything takes place according to law and orderliness. What seems to be chaos may be in the greater picture but a peculiar dissonance that sometimes forms part of a marvelous symphony. How do we know? Do we have such a great spiritual ear that we can say that this chaotic condition has no place? It would not be here if it did not have a place. We do not know its meaning. Some monads ascend to a greater knowledge through it. From the vantage point of the Great Ones, our orderliness, goodness, and harmony may appear as a welter of ignorant confusion. They are not concerned with our occasional superiority of feeling and our manifestations of self-righteousness.
As we grow, order comes out of relative confusion. A greater order and a nobler ideal come. We pass through an everlasting and unbreakable procession. This procession contains incomputable hosts of living entities. They strive, yearn, and aspire from the lesser light to the greater, from darkness towards radiant Father-Sun.