We shall exist throughout the entire duration of the cosmic or solar Manvantara, as individuals constantly growing greater and vaster, ever more sublime, until finally we shall reach the grand CONSUMMATUM EST, the final consummation of all things at the end of the solar Manvantara, and blossom out as full-blown gods. And when the cosmic Pralaya sets in ... then even the divinity of our being will fade into the fulness, into the indescriptible, unspeakable, ineffable fulness of quasi-infinity. The dewdrop has returned into the shining sea. ... The many have rebecome the one.
-- G. de Purucker, STUDIES IN OCCULT PHILOSOPHY, pgase 506-7.
By B.P. Wadia
[From THUS HAVE I HEARD, pages 13-15.]
Worship the Gods and the Gods will yield Thee grace.
Men of modern science know only a very little about what they themselves have called the correlation of forces. The imponderables of the invisible cosmos are substantial and produce results. Some of these effects have come under the notice of the great physicists, but even they do not suspect that these correlations of forces are effects and occur according to a law that the ancient Seers have called the Law of Transmutation among Forces.
The imponderables are the basis of the old Greek and the older Aryan classification of the material elements into Earth, Water, Fire, Air, and Ether. The visible counterparts of the invisible great Elements are effects of the working of intelligent forces called Elementals, which are described as the nerves of Nature. The Hindu Puranas speak of Devatas and Devas: Godlings or Elementals and the Devas or Gods presiding over them.
Still more obscure is the working of the imponderables in the mental and moral spheres of our being. The Law of Transmutation among Forces causes remarkable changes in a man's character and circumstances, quite beyond us at present. These play a real part in the precipitation of human destiny, of the individual or of nations.
Man lives not only on the surface of the Earth, nourished by Water, but affects and is affected by the atmosphere and by heat. Similarly, his emotions, his thoughts, and his volitions also affect and are affected by the subtler aspects of the great elements and the correlations of their forces. A man's thought, colliding with another man's thought, may cause a gale, a zephyr, or a tranquil light and a brightness of the air. A woman's anger or jealousy produces detrimental emotional reactions in more than one human being. A child's laughter may save an empire or avert a world war. Its screams may draw forth howls of mobs. All these instances may sound exaggerated as expressed, but a thoughtful examination of them will reveal a profound, stupendous underlying truth.
Our personal make-up is intimately connected with the Elements of the ancients: Earth, Water, Fire, Air, and Ether. It is through these that the embodied Spirit works, identifying itself with the material aspect of Nature, which Krishna calls his lower nature, apara-prakriti. (GITA, VII, 4) Dominated and guided by the constituents of this lower nature, it becomes the lower man.
Krishna has a higher nature, para-prakriti. (VII, 5) It constitutes in man the Thinker and the Knower. This higher man is the controller of the lower wandering mind, the drifting, prowling heart and the exploited will, swayed by the notion of the false egotistic "I" and its lethal tendency to the dire heresy of separateness.
This higher nature is the Light or the Wisdom of Krishna. While the lower nature is enveloped by avidya (ignorance), creating illusion that degenerates into delusion, the higher is energized by vidya (knowledge), creating Wisdom and rising to Compassion.
Because of his attraction and response to the outer darkness of the rigid material universe, man overlooks the Light side of the higher nature of the universe. Therefore, he fails to benefit from "the sweet smell in the earth," from the living "taste (rasa) in water," from "the brilliance in the fire," from "the sound in ether." The two Natures, Light and Darkness, conjointly working according to Law, benefit each other and the Supreme Spirit of which they are manifestations.
Man has been taught to live independently. In the struggle for existence, he has competed against his fellows and become selfish and violent. Has not the time come for man to learn that living need not be a struggle? Only the man of Love can possess that Liberty. Freedom and Hatred cannot live together.
Nature is the Great Totalitarian State, very unlike that which Stalin is trying to create. Nature is the Mighty Commonwealth whose riches are for the enjoyment of all. There are no foes to fear. All are friends to be loved. In the True Welfare State, all men, women, adolescents, and children flourish. The animals, vegetation, coal, oil, and minerals also flourish in their own right.
Many are the bodies of Gods that nourish us. Nourishing each other, all obtain the highest felicity. (III, 11) THE GITA promises us the enjoyment of our wishes if we observe the Law of Interdependence. (III, 12) He who practices the law of selfish independence exploits Nature and earns for himself the epithet of "thief." (III, 12) The World is One. The Universe is a Plenum. The grains of dust are akin to the myriad stars of the firmament. Man cannot live or evolve without either. How true it is that:
Back of the Bread is the Flour And back of the Flour is the Mill, Back of the Mill is the Sun and the Shower And the Wind and the Father's Will.
By John Gayner Banks
[From THE THEOSOPHICAL FORUM, January 1939, pages 36-51. It comes from a talk given at the Katherine Tingley Lodge of The Theosophical Society, San Diego, California in April 1938.]
1. One may be a convinced Christian and a good Theosophist. One may be an active member of the Christian Church without losing that broad perspective given by Theosophy.
2. The Christian Church has a vital contribution to make to the cumulative body of Truth commonly known as Theosophy.
The public has usually overlooked this contribution because it identifies Theosophy with Indian and other eastern Religions. The Theosophical Society has always affirmed that Theosophy is a synthesis and distillation of the great world religions. The religion of Jesus Christ would certainly not be excluded from such a category. Even in its present somewhat emasculated form (as exoterically taught in many Christian Churches), it forms a mental, moral, and spiritual background for the majority of the Anglo-Saxon race.
3. Widely distributed throughout the world -- but still within the membership of the great Christian Churches -- will be found a growing company of men and women who yearn for the deeper truths taught, demonstrated, and inculcated by the Master Jesus. They are convinced that these truths, when discovered and assimilated, will not be found at variance with the deeper teachings of other great Masters or as taught and practiced in other great world Religions.
4. The rank and file of sincere, thoughtful Christians will be more disposed to study Theosophy and so avail themselves of the rich treasures of its Esoteric Tradition if they can be assured that in so doing they are not called upon to repudiate or compromise their allegiance to the great Master of Nazareth. To give such an assurance is the main purpose of the present lecture.
Theosophy is a term that needs to be more accurately defined. In presenting any statement concerning the Theosophy of Jesus, one wants to be sure that the term is used at least approximately in the manner understood by the audience to which one speaks. If this is not immediately obvious, just pause to consider how the term is commonly employed. Jacob Boehme is spoken of as the great German Theosophist -- yet we should hardly regard his teaching as part of the system of Theosophy taught in the Theosophical Society today. Consider the expatriated Russian Nicholas Berdyaev, a contemporary thinker who is writing such wonderful books today. He uses the word "Theosophy" many times as a synonym for the accumulated treasures of Divine Wisdom. I doubt whether he would be regarded as representing the position of today's Theosophical Society. Let us therefore try to agree upon a working definition that will satisfy all of us on this occasion.
THEOSOPHY AS DIVINE NATURE
Writing in THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY, H.P. Blavatsky says:
Theosophy is divine nature, visible and invisible, and its Society humanity trying to ascend to its divine parent.
-- page 57
We who are Christians hold that in Jesus Christ that Divine Nature became manifest, audible, intelligible, and even tangible in some degree. Philip (disciple of Jesus) once said to his Master, "Lord, show us the Father, and it sufficeth us." Jesus replied, "Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip?" "He that hath seen me hath seen the Father ..."
So when HPB says not only that Theosophy is Divine Nature, but that its Society represents human nature trying to ascend to its Divine Parent, I claim that Jesus Christ made such an ascent possible for his followers and that his full teaching should be welcomed by all true Theosophists.
Again, HPB says:
The main, fundamental object of the Society is to sow germs in the hearts of men, which may in time sprout, and under more propitious circumstances lead to a healthy reform, conducive of more happiness TO THE MASSES than they have hitherto enjoyed.
-- page 257
Without apology, I would say that is precisely what Jesus Christ came to do. His revelation of The Kingdom of God is in itself a kind of "Seed" which when sown in hearts and minds that are fertile and sensitive do actually "sprout" (HPB's word) and lead to healthy reform and more happiness for the race.
In three or four of his parables, Jesus refers to this teaching as "Seed." The parable of the Sower is a conspicuous example. He says there "the Seed is the Word of God." Elsewhere he speaks of the "Seed growing secretly" -- "so is the Kingdom of God as if a man should cast seed into the ground." (Luke 8:11 and Mark 4:26) Where the followers of the Christ have truly sown this Seed, transmitting the Master's teaching in its integrity, the results have always uplifted mankind and have brought happiness to the masses not hitherto enjoyed.
Yet again, H.P. Blavatsky affirms:
A true Theosophist must put in practice the loftiest moral ideal; must strive to realize his unity with the whole of humanity and work ceaselessly for others.
I do not know any great Master who exemplifies this truth better than Jesus of Nazareth, in whom the Divine Christ was manifested. St. Luke testifies that:
God consecrated Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, and how he went about doing good and curing all who were harassed by the devil; for God was with him.
-- Acts 10:38 (Moffatt)
Even men outside the circle of the Christian Faith gladly concede that the moral teachings of Jesus (reaching a climax in the Sermon on The Mount) are as high (or higher) than those of any other world teacher.
THE QUALITY OF CHRIST'S ETHIC
It seems to me that the distinctive quality of Christ's ethic is that he offered something to his disciples (and still offers it) which makes it possible for them to achieve an ethical standard otherwise almost unattainable. This is no mere platitude.
Think of the effect of his personality and teaching upon some whom he contacted. Think of the effect upon Mary Magdalene, who is picturesquely described as (formerly) possessed of seven devils. Think of Zacchaeus, the tax gatherer (or Customs officer) whose first reaction to Jesus is purely moral. He put right what was wrong in his transactions with others and so instantly began to change his karma. He promised to restore fourfold, thereby making honorable amends for his previous dishonesty. Think of the instability of Simon Peter and compare his character when he first meets Jesus with that which he achieves later (as told in the Acts of the Apostles) when he is not afraid to face opposition and persecution for his new Master and his new Faith.
Jesus also exemplifies that wonderful attitude also contained in my last quotation from HPB. He made a "Way," a "Path," he plotted out a regime by which his disciples (of every age) could overcome barriers which separated them from each other and from the Divine Source from which their true power emanated. He thus realized that "unity with the whole of humanity" which HPB says is one of the loftiest ideals of Theosophy. With that humanity, he identifies himself irrevocably.
Few stop to realize that through incarnation in the Person of Jesus, the Eternal Christ of God did actually identify Himself utterly with our race, does continue to be so identified, and will not relinquish His cosmic task until mankind has found its way back to its Divine Origin. This is the very heart of the Christian Message. This leads to the very heart and core of the doctrine of Universal Brotherhood to which, as students of Theosophy, we are irrevocably pledged. To believe this and to become an integrated part of that cosmic process is to be a real Christian.
To achieve such a vocation requires true initiation, an understanding of the Divine Wisdom, and some degree of fellowship with all the Great Masters and Holy Ones of the Race. In the light of this statement, may not some of us claim the title of Christian Theosophists?
A Christian Theosophist is not just a nominal Christian who happens to find himself interested in the study of Theosophy. A Christian Theosophist is one who through the Mysteries unfolded by Jesus the Christ has reached some degree of the Ancient Wisdom that is the Ultimate Truth of God, or the Ultimate Truth of the Universe.
THE CHRISTIAN MYSTERIES
Now it is easy and pleasant to talk about the Mysteries. It suggests that we are conversant with Esoteric Teaching of some sort. Some evidence is needed to justify the use of that term. In THE ESOTERIC TRADITION, page 38, Dr. de Purucker reminds us that:
Every great Teacher or Seer who has publicly come into the outer world of men from the Brotherhood of the Sages has founded an inner circle, an inner school if you will: i.e., gathered together a select company of worthy disciples, and taught to these disciples of the inner school, in more open form than was given to the outer world, the solution of the riddles of the universe and of human life.
He then quotes that remarkable verse in Luke 8:10, "Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the Kingdom of God; but to others in parables; that seeing they might not see and hearing they might not understand." Continues Dr. de Purucker,
Yet, if the meaning were understood, it is readily seen that there is nothing cruel or selfishly restrictive in these words. One understands clearly that the phrasing is merely veiled language expressing some recondite truth ... an unveiled exposition of the full meaning would have amounted to a betrayal of the Mystery-teaching to those who had not been educated to understand it ... To the disciples of Jesus, who had been secretly taught by him, were given the Mysteries "of the Kingdom of God," as Jesus is alleged to have expressed it, but the same truth was given to the others in parables and metaphors, because they had not been educated to understand; and it is thus that though they saw, they did not see with the inner vision and understand, and although they heard the words and obtained some help therefrom, their relative lack of training in the mystical language brought them no esoteric understanding of the Secret Doctrine behind the words.
By Madeline Savage
[From THE THEOSOPHICAL FORUM, June 1936, pages 444-47.]
In an Appendix to H.P. Blavatsky's THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY, occurs the following:
The Theosophical Society was formed at New York, November 17, 1875. Its founders believed that the best interests of Religion and Science would be promoted by the revival of Sanskrit, Pali, Zend, and other ancient literature, in which the Sages and Initiates had preserved for the use of mankind truths of the highest value respecting man and nature. A Society of an absolutely non-sectarian character, whose work should be amicably prosecuted by the learned of all races, in a spirit of unselfish devotion to the research of truth, and with the purpose of disseminating it impartially, seemed likely to do much to check materialism, and strengthen the waning religious spirit. The simplest expression of the objects of the Society is the following:
First: -- To form the nucleus of a Universal Brotherhood of Humanity, without distinction of race, creed, sex, caste, or color.
Second: -- To promote the study of Aryan and other Eastern literatures, religions, and sciences, etc.
In the judgment of the Foundress herself, a large part of the success of the Theosophical Society was to depend upon newly forged links of learning and culture between East and West. The Society was to bring the Ancient Wisdom back to the Western peoples. The success also depended upon a greater measure of understanding by the West of the true nature of the Oriental peoples and nations. Mme. Blavatsky chose India for the main treasure house, as being the nation that had preserved the ancient knowledge in the form most suitable to be given to the West in this modern age.
Perhaps not least among the factors that have opened Western minds to the influences of Eastern thought has been the work of Rudyard Kipling. In the many obituary notices that have appeared on his recent death, he had been awarded the laurels due a literary genius, an architect of Empire, and a bold adventurer in the field of thought. One phase of his achievement of peculiar interest to Theosophists has not been greatly stressed. In bringing to the consciousness of the West even a tithe of the treasures of the mysterious East, Kipling indirectly and quite unconsciously served the cause of Theosophy.
His life coincided with the inception of the modern Theosophical Movement. The general trend of his work put him in touch with the currents that were beginning to stir in the East and to find their way westward. There was a cyclic timeliness in this westward movement of Eastern influences. Many and various are the agents that bring about such cyclic changes.
Kipling was born in 1865 in Bombay. He spent his early years in Lahore, went to England for his education, and returned to India. He traveled to and married in the States, and engaged in journalistic work that carried him round the globe. Kipling had many opportunities, if ever man had, to interpret the East to the West.
Unlike Lafcadio Hearn and the Fenellosas, Kipling can hardly be said to have interpreted the Oriental life and mind to the Western world. Perhaps revealed would be a better word, in a limited sense. Kipling was to the last an Occidental of the Occidentals. The predominant element in his work faithfully reflected the stiff-necked pride of race of the English in India. We say this with reservations, because there are other portions of his work that give us scattered gleams from the Ancient Wisdom.
Whatever may have been his perceptions of the soul of the East, there is not apparent in his writings more than a superficial understanding of the Oriental genius. This is superficial from the standpoint of Theosophy, which recognizes in the East the still pervading atmosphere, or the outworn fabric of a culture beside which the West seems puerile and inadequate.
We appreciate his genius that painted India with vivid life. As children, we followed Mowgli through the enchanted world of the JUNGLE BOOKS. The tales we read in mature years were written chiefly from the standpoint of a proudly conquering race: "Governors and Lieutenant-Governors, Commissioners and Deputy-Commissioners, Colonels and Captains and the Subalterns."
The Indian natives were described as one would describe a quaint race of indulgently regarded children. Enough of the charmed atmosphere seeped through to keep alive our sympathies and our imagination. When we came to read his LETTERS OF MARQUE and other journalistic correspondence to the ALLAHABAD PIONEER and the CIVIL AND MILITARY GAZETTE, we found revealed much more of Kipling's real feeling for the true India. Samples from these letters show this best.
Apropos of the transformation of Jeypore into a modern city with all conveniences, he writes: "It is difficult to write of a nickel-plated civilization set down under the immemorial Aravalis [mountains] in the first State of Rajputana."
Elsewhere he says: "It was my destiny to avenge India upon nothing less than three-quarters of the world."
His attitude is still more strongly attested in the later letters from America, in which he describes the blatancy of Western civilization, as experienced by him there, in contrast with the life of even some of the simple natives of India, who he avers knew far more about the real values of life than these frantic Westerners.
Then there is KIM. It is the best and most beloved of all his books. He portrays the old Lama with his serene philosophy of the Wheel of Things and the boy Kim's chelaship and beautiful relationship to the old man. Kipling shows us the inkling he had of the spiritual side of the old and fragrant habitude of the Orient, which surrounds like an untroubled sea the objective activities of the invading and conquering West.
It is unfortunate that Kipling is chiefly known in the West through what might be called the noisier of his works like the BARRACK-ROOM BALLADS, with Mulvaney and his crew, and the ever ubiquitous Subalterns. We must admit them to be products of genius. More important are his tales of the supernatural, including THE PHANTOM RICKSHAW and a score of others, which point significantly to the existence of worlds beyond the visible, worlds that can be perfectly well accounted for in the Theosophical teachings, echoing the ancient Eastern wisdom. In the delicate fancies of THE BRUSHWOOD BOY and in THEY, and in PUCK OF POOK'S HILL and its sequel, these worlds are again suggested with a touch of elfin magic as sure as Barrie's or Walter de la Mare's.
Kipling was not without his intuitions. THE FINEST STORY IN THE WORLD is the finest story in the world for overwhelming the reader with a conviction of the truth of reincarnation. The commonplace London clerk recaptured in snatches, in a sort of waking dream, the unrecorded details of what could have been nothing but his own former life as a galley-slave in the days of old Greece. What but reincarnation could he have meant in that L'ENVOI where we find the lines:
We shall rest, and, faith, we shall need it -- lie down for an eon or two, Till the Master of All Good Workmen shall put us to work anew!
Whatever his crudities, by the fire and vividness of his every written word, Kipling surely promoted that much-desired fellow feeling between the two worlds of this planet. He turned millions of Western minds eastward. Without doubt, he turned many Oriental minds westward as well. His work -- and that of others in the field -- had its fruition in greater understanding between East and West. Witness the steady stream of Oriental literature flowing into our libraries, through translation and from original sources. Witness our increasing interest in the study of Oriental languages, with most leading colleges in the Western nations having established Chairs of Sanskrit. Witness the ever-mounting number of Orientals gaining a hearing among inquiring Western minds.
There never was a more misleading slogan than the famous line:
Oh, East is East, and West is West, And never the twain shall meet.
It was the striking opening to the well-known BALLAD OF EAST AND WEST. Without context, the words have been used as an epigram wherever English is spoken, taken in their absolute meaning. They are utterly true in one sense. Kipling expressed his awareness of the gulf that separates East and West in quality of consciousness and consequent adjustment to life.
The Ballad shows how the finest traits of East and West are the same, and can blend the two into one. Both West and East have found that they can meet on common ground when the higher planes of thought, in science and philosophy, for example, are entered. The West is discovering that it is receiving from the East treasures not suspected before. It is simply the passing on to a younger and less developed civilization of the finest essence and fruitage of the old. That is ever the way of Nature.
By George William Russell
[From THE IRISH THEOSOPHIST, June 1896.]
When we were boys with what anxiety we watched for the rare smile on the master's face, ere we preferred a request for some favor, perhaps a holiday or early release There was wisdom in that. As we grow up, we act more or less consciously upon intuitions as to time and place.
My companion, I shall not invite you to merrymaking when a bitter moment befalls you and the flame of life sinks into ashes in your heart Nor yet, however true and trusted, will I confide to you what inward revelations of the mysteries I may have, not while I sense in you a momentary outwardness The gifts of the heart are too sacred to be laid before a closed door Your mood, I know, will pass, and tomorrow we shall have this bond between us I wait, for it can be said but once I cannot commune magically twice on the same theme with you.
I do not propose we should be opportunists, nor lay down a formula To be skillful in action, we must comprehend and work with the ebb and flow of power Mystery and gloom, dark blue and starshine, doubt and feebleness alternate with the clear and shining opal skies, sunglow, heroic ardor, and the exultation of power Ever varying, prismatic, and fleeting, the days go by and the secret of change eludes us here I bend the bow of thought at a mark and it is already gone I lay the shaft aside and while unprepared the quarry again fleets by We have to seek elsewhere for the source of that power that momentarily overflows into our world and transforms it with its enchantment.
We are told that all things here depend on the motions of an inner sphere Things depend on spheres of the less evanescent, which in their turn are enclosed in spheres of the real, whose solemn chariot movements again are guided by the inflexible will of Fire In all of these, we have part.
This dim consciousness which burns in my brain is not all of myself Behind me, it widens out and upward into God I feel in some other world it shines with purer light In some sphere more divine than this, it has a larger day and a deeper rest That day of the inner self illuminates many of our mortal days Its night leaves many of them dark.
The expanding One Ray lives in many vestures It is last of all the King-Self who wakes at the dawn of ages, whose day is the day of Brahma, whose rest is his rest Here is the clue to cyclic change, to the individual feebleness and power, the gloom of one epoch and the glory of another The Bright Fortnight, the Northern Sun, Light, and Flame name the days of other spheres. Wandering on from day to day, man may at last reach the end of his journey You would pass from rapidly revolving day and night to where the mystical sunlight streams The way lies through you The portals open as the inner day expands.
Who is there who has not felt the rhythmic recurrence of light within? We were weary of life, baffled, ready to forswear endeavor, when half insensibly a change comes over us We doubt no more but do joyfully our work We renew the sweet magical affinities with nature We think and act out of a heart more laden with love Our meditations prolong themselves into the shining wonderful life of soul We tremble on the verge of the vast halls of the gods where their mighty speech may be heard. Their message of radiant will be seen.
They speak a universal language not for themselves only but for all What is poetry but a mingling of some tone of theirs with the sounds that below we utter? What is love but a breath of their very being? Their every mood has colors beyond the rainbow. Every thought rings in far-heard melody The gods speak to each other across the expanses of ethereal light, breaking the divine silences with words that are deeds.
They speak to the soul too Mystics of all time have tried to express it, likening it to peals of fairy bells, the singing of enchanted birds, the clanging of silver cymbals, the organ voices of wind and water blend together -- but in vain, in vain. Perhaps there is a danger in this, for the true is realized in being and not in perception.
The gods are ourselves beyond the changes of time, which harass and vex us here They do not demand adoration but an equal will to bind us consciously in unity with them The heresy of separateness cuts us asunder in these enraptured moments When thrilled by the deepest breath, when the silent, unseen, uncomprehended takes possession of thee, think, "Thou art That," and something of thee will abide forever in It All thought not based on this is a weaving of new bonds, of illusions more difficult to break It begets only more passionate longing and pain.
Still we must learn to know the hidden ways, to use the luminous rivers for the commerce of thought Our Druid forefathers began their magical operations on the sixth day of the new moon, taking the Bright Fortnight at its flood-time In these hours of expansion, what we think has more force, more freedom, and more electric and penetrating power If we have coworkers, we find that we draw from a common fountain The same impulse visits them and us All become possessed of what one possesses The same unity and harmony arises between us here as exists for all time between us in the worlds above While the currents circulate, we see that they part from us no less pure than they came.
To this dawn of an inner day may in some measure be traced the sudden inspirations of movements, such as we lately feel It is not all due to the abrupt descent into our midst of a new messenger, for the Elder Brothers work with law and foresee when nature, time, and the awakening souls of men will aid them Much may now be done On whosoever accepts, acknowledges, and does the will of the Light in these awakenings, the die and image of divinity is more firmly set His thought grows more consciously into the being of the presiding god.
Yet not while seeking for ourselves can we lay hold of final truths, for then what we perceive we retain but in thought and memory The Highest is a motion, a breath We become it only in the imparting It is in all, for all, and goes out to all It will not be restrained in a narrow basin, but through the free-giver, it freely flows.
There are throngs innumerable who await this gift This most ancient light returns to us Can we let it be felt by them only as a vague emotion, a little peace of uncertain duration, or a passing sweetness of the heart? Can we not do something to allay the sorrow of the world? My brothers, the time of opportunity has come One day in the long-marshaled line of endless days has dawned for our race, and the buried treasure houses in the bosom of the deep have been opened to endow it with more light, to fill it with more power.
The divine ascetics stand with torches lit before the temple of wisdom Those who are nigh them have caught the fire and offer to us in turn to light the torch, the blazing torch of soul Let us accept the gift and pass it on, pointing out the prime givers. We shall see in time the eager races of men starting on their pilgrimage of return and facing the light In the mystical past, the call of light was seen on the sacred hills The rays were spread and gathered Returning with them, the initiate children were buried in Father Flame.
By United Lodge of Theosophists
[A letter dated June 21-25, 2001, sent out to friends and associates of the ULT.]
Every year at this time, we pause to think about the work of the universal Theosophical Movement, and to rededicate ourselves to the task of promulgating the philosophy. This effort traditionally includes a letter written by independent students who feel the need to share an idea or two with others of like mine. It tries to draw upon the experience of the past year for encouragement and examples of how the work has spread. Upbeat and positive, this letter always seeks to put our best foot forward, modest as it might be.
Somewhere in the midst of every old cycle, a new one takes root and begins to grow. Imperceptible at first, it is masked by the activity of the previous cycle. Mistaken for part of the old form, it is not yet strong enough to survive in the world alone, so as it gradually gains strength, it waits for the opportunity to become the future.
The United Lodge of Theosophists began as a radical idea. It sought to provide a basis for students and inquirers to gather together to study and promulgate Theosophy, without having to worry about organization and structure, or elections and officers -- the "personality" of the world. It was an idea both simple and profound, as it left the initiative for work squarely in the hands of the students themselves. The term "member" was dropped, and "associate" substituted to indicate those who shared the vision of what this kind of relationship could mean. The ULT idea had merit, and the number of associates and Lodges gradually grew, several magazines were started and the original Theosophical literature brought back into print.
However, the natural growth of ULT slowed at about the mid-point of the Twentieth Century, and while the work and magazines were continued by capable and devoted people, fewer new associates became involved. This pattern was not unique to ULT, and has been reflected in the experience of other Theosophical groups; recognition of it provides an opportunity to reexamine methods of work useful at this time.
Evidence of new seeds of a new cycle for the Movement has begun to sprout. Fairly early in the Twentieth Century, the idea of urging students "back to Blavatsky" and toward "unification" became popular among those seeking to bring members of different Theosophical groups closer to their common purpose. Much later, in the Eighties, "Networking Conferences" were held, where for the first time students from different Theosophical "traditions" found they shared essential ties and basic principles. Joint conferences and workshops marked the centennial anniversaries of the lives and works of H.P. Blavatsky, William Q. Judge, and the publication of Madame Blavatsky's THE SECRET DOCTRINE. Today, one of the best signs of the health of the Movement is that most Theosophical groups get along well with each other, and respect their various roles in the work.
Promising and energetic work now often involves students of different Theosophical backgrounds, sometimes including those with no affiliation but who share an appreciation for the teachings and a desire to share them with others. In cyberspace, online discussion groups such as Blavatsky Net and Theosophy Talk continue to grow steadily, well beyond organizational boundaries and controls. A new monthly Internet magazine, THE AQUARIAN THEOSOPHIST, has subscribers on all continents. Collaboration between ULT associates and students of the Theosophical Society has resulted in a strong Theosophy Center in Long Beach, California. Continuing the energy that produced the annual gatherings at Brookings, Oregon, a similar meeting this year on August 11 and 12 in Cambria, California will consider "Theosophy -- Ancient Wisdom for Modern Times." (Inquiries can be directed to any of the Lodges on the West Coast for further information.)
ULT upholds a shared vision, composed of different perspectives, rather than a single point of view, and it welcomes each and every attempt to study the teachings. We are bound by a SIMILARITY, not an IDENTITY of "aim, purpose and teaching." The philosophy itself provides all that is necessary for a common ground among students. ULT could be regarded as a general outline for service to the Theosophical Movement, not a one-size-fits-all form to be protected and maintained for its own sake.
All true Theosophical work is based on the alchemy of the soul: while central authority may be appropriate in some endeavors, the work of studying and promulgating Theosophy is marked by the necessity of freedom which is the hallmark of all spiritual growth. Flexibility and the ability to adapt to change are essential to the development of inner discrimination in fulfilling the work of the Movement.
To mirror this, beginning next year, the "ULT Day Letter" will try a new format. We invite all Lodges, associates, and study groups to write to the Los Angeles Lodge about the work and the challenges, the successes and failures they face in the study and promulgation of Theosophy. These contributions will be shared at this time next year as a "bulletin" about the work of all Lodges and efforts. Submissions should reach Theosophy Hall in Los Angeles by the first of April 2002, to allow time for collation and distribution. A reminder notice will go out asking for contributions to next year's circular.
By Osvald Siren
[From THE THEOSOPHICAL FORUM, January 1939, pages 14-21. This is a condensed report of an address presented at the recent European Convention. Dr. Siren opened by expressing his thanks to Mr. Lindemans, who had preceded him, for his description of the Chela Path. Dr. Siren pointed out that it had served as a fitting introduction to his subject and that the former speaker had covered ground that otherwise, Dr. Siren himself would have touched on in order to make a complete picture.]
Heard melodies are sweet, but those unheard Are sweeter; therefore, ye soft pipes, play on; Not to the sensual ear, but, more endeared, Pipe to the spirit ditties of no tone: ...
To this I would like to add the words of Chuang-tzu, the expounder of Lao-tzu's philosophy, who said: "Those who speak do not know, while those who know do not speak." Now, if I speak to you about the subject allotted to me, Initiation, my attempts will indeed make you realize that I do not know, nor do I think that anybody could render justice to the subject in words.
We all know that the word "Initiation" can be used in various senses. An initiate is, according to the most general use of the term, a person who has attained a relative degree of perfection along certain lines. He may have passed through certain tests, and by this, he has entered into possession of a certain amount of deeper knowledge. He has to some extent become what he has tried to learn, and by becoming it, he has proved himself worthy of progressing along a certain path.
Such a man has also realized that he must not divulge the knowledge that he has acquired. Most of it may be beyond words and of a kind that cannot be transmitted, like the real Tao, which never can be expressed by words. Some of it has from time to time been given out in veiled form by means of images and myths. A myth, or mythos, is a term related to the root MU, which is derived from the sound made by murmuring through closed lips, and with which the words "mystery" and "mystical" are connected.
From the little that we know about the myths and the mysteries, it may be said that they revealed to men in a symbolic form the inner aspects of things, their deeper significance which never can be dissected by the brain-mind, or conveyed in terms of the intellect. As soon as we attempt to do this, it evaporates and leaves us wondering.
Buddhist writers and artists have illustrated this fact in their descriptions of monkeys trying to grasp the reflection of the moon in the quiet water. As they are stretching their long arms into the water hoping to catch the glittering form of the moon, they simply break the illusive reflection into pieces and stir up the water. The same is true of so many endeavors to give formal definitions of spiritual realities which are reflected on the surface of sensuous life, though their essence and meaning belong to a sphere to which the brain-mind can never reach.
One of the paths leading to the acquisition of these deeper truths, or knowledge about the spiritual realities, was the one opened in the Mysteries of Antiquity. The so-called Greater Mysteries, which formed the fountainhead of the deepest current of Greek philosophy, were institutions in which knowledge was made accessible to those who had proved themselves fitted for such knowledge by passing through certain tests. Those who were admitted into the Mysteries were the initiates, and a few of them have left records that reflect in a mythical form some of the wisdom they had received through initiation.
One may thus speak about a tradition of wisdom transmitted through the Mysteries of ancient Greece, but it must be remembered that similar institutions existed in many countries, both in the West as well as in the Far East, and they all transmitted something of the same inner teaching. They all had their ceremonies and degrees of initiation. It was a universal mode of developing the inner nature of the aspirant, leading him on towards reality, and towards a recollection of spiritual conditions that human beings may experience when to some extent freed from the limitations of their physical senses and brain-mind.
If we here are going to dwell largely on the Mystery traditions of ancient Greece, it is simply because they are better known in the West than those of other countries, and it is thus easier for us to realize how closely they harmonize with the teachings given out again through the Leaders of the present-day Theosophical Movement.
According to the Greek philosophers, the soul is enclosed in the body like the oyster in its shell. Only by freeing itself from this prison can it reach a wider vision and a deeper perception of its own destiny. The purpose of their philosophy, as well as that of the Mysteries, was to prepare the soul for this liberation. It was to lead it to the gates of the Unknown.
According to Plato, real philosophy should be a preparation for death, and least of all should the true philosopher have any fear of death. Plato, as well as other Greek thinkers, insisted on the fact that initiation into the Greater Mysteries was largely concerned with the significance of death. The initiate was made to pass through experiences corresponding to those that he was supposed to encounter during the passage from this material existence into a more spiritual form of life.
Proclus, the Neo-Platonic philosopher, says in his Commentary to TIMAEUS:
Is there anybody who does not know that the real import of the Mysteries is to liberate the soul from material mortal life, and to unite it with the gods? To dispel the darkness of the soul and to fill it with the divine light of truth.
Sallust, the Roman philosopher, says:
The purpose and meaning of all initiation is to awaken in man conscious knowledge of his essential unity with the universe and the gods.
A well-known Homeric hymn contains the following line:
Blessed are the men who during their life on earth have witnessed these things.
Other writers asserted that those who were not initiated in the Mysteries would never, even after death in the world of shadows, meet the same experiences as those who were initiated. Sophocles said:
Thrice blessed are those mortals who after they have taken part in the Mysteries descend into Hades. For them alone there is a possibility to continue their lives. For the others there is suffering.
Much more might indeed be quoted from Plato (PHAEDON) and the Neo-Platonic writers, but I am obliged to limit myself. It may, however, be worthwhile to remind you how Iamblichus, the great Neo-Platonist, speaks about the successive vestures of the human monad, the ethereal, celestial, and spiritual, in which it is clothed, and which it uses as vehicles in various worlds or states of existence.
Plutarch again points out the fundamental division of man into three main parts: the NOUS (spirit), PSYCHE (soul), and SOMA (body), which according to him, originate respectively in the sun, in the moon, and in the earth. The spiritual monad, or NOUS, illuminates PSYCHE, the soul, just as the sun gives light to the moon.
Death, according to him, consists of successive stages, the first being directed by Demeter who liberates PSYCHE from the body, which is a painful parting.
The second stage, which is directed by Persephone, consists in a gradual liberation of NOUS, the spirit, from PSYCHE, which is less painful. The souls have to remain for a certain period in Hades in order to be purified from the contaminations of the body.
Then they enter into a state of bliss and harmony, the same that also may be obtained through initiation into the Mysteries. From here, they proceed through the regions of the moon, where some of them pass through serious trials, as in the dark caves of Hecate, along different paths leading either upwards to the sun, or downwards towards the earth. It is only NOUS, the spiritual monad, which may proceed towards higher regions. Psyche remains in the region of the moon. Plutarch says in resuming: "Birth is a descent from, and death an ascent to, the spiritual home of man."
The vestures and conditions of the soul as it ascends and descends are further described by some of these philosophers, but we cannot dwell on these points today, as we are simply concerned with their views regarding initiation. Olympiodorus in his Commentaries on Plato's PHAEDON says:
The purpose of the TELETE (illumination attained through initiation) is to bring the souls to ascend again to the region from which they have descended in the very beginning when Dionysus first placed them on the throne of his father Zeus: the ethereal condition. The initiated thus remains in the realms of the gods under the guidance of the god through whom he was initiated. The initiations are of two kinds. There are those which are performed here below and which are preparatory. There are those that take place beyond, which also are double, pertaining to the TUNICA PNEUMATICA (the ethereal vesture), the liberating of the oyster from its material shell, and pertaining to the TUNICA LUMINOSA (the spiritual vesture of NOUS).
He who is not initiated remains far from his final goal. He is thrown into Borboros either in this life or after it, and he is chained to a birth in Tartaros.
By Margherita Siren
[From THE THEOSOPHICAL FORUM, January 1938, pages 11-16.]
The revived interest in HPB's ISIS UNVEILED, which has just been republished by Rider and Company in the series THE COMPLETE WORKS OF H.P. BLAVATSKY, makes of especial interest such articles as the following, the material for which was taken from its pages.
-- Editors of THE THEOSOPHICAL FORUM
Magic as one of the ancient sciences is scarcely known today, and by this word "Magic" I do not imply what is generally meant in using that word when referring to sorcery, witchcraft, etc., but rather to that which was practiced by graduates and adepts instructed in the mysterious sanctuaries of the ancient temples. They could perform wonders that would appear supernatural to us.
Magic is as old as man. It is as impossible to say when the art and science of magic began as to say on what day the first man was born. Various writers have tried to connect its foundation with some historical character, but research has proved their views groundless.
Magic has come down to us from the Magians who were the most wonderful inquirers into the hidden mysteries of Nature, who understood the divine nature of the gods and spirits and who initiated others into the same mysteries. It is based on the existence of a mixed world placed WITHOUT, not WITHIN us, but with which we can enter into communication by the use of certain arts and practices.
In the oldest documents in our possession, the Vedas for instance, we find many magical rites practiced and permitted by the Brahmanas. Maimonides, the great Jewish theologian and historian, has successfully demonstrated that Chaldaean Magic, the science of Moses, etc., was based on an extensive knowledge of the various and now forgotten branches of natural science. He remarks that the more absurd and void of sense the TALMUD seems to be, the more sublime is its secret meaning. The Jews placed the basis of all magic in the inner powers of man's soul. To them it was synonymous with religion and science. India, the fountain of religion, has always kept this knowledge alive in its heart. Greece in her turn, the later cradle of Arts and Sciences, also understood and practiced this art. Tibet, China, and Japan still teach in the present time, as they did of old, in their secret sanctuaries, what was taught by the oldest Chaldeans, and they endeavor to prove what they teach -- namely, that the practice of moral and physical purity and of certain austerities, develops the vital soul-power of self-illumination. A man's gaining control over his own spirit gives him truly magical powers over the elementary spirits inferior to himself. The Druids of Great Britain practiced magic in the silent crypts of their caves. The Druids of Gaul expounded the physical as well as the spiritual sciences. They taught the secrets of the Universe, the harmonious progress of the heavenly bodies, the formation of the earth, and so on. Magic was as highly developed with the Aztecs as with the Ancient Egyptians.
Nearly all the ancient books were written symbolically and in a language intelligible only to the initiated. H.P. Blavatsky gives the biographical sketch of Apollonius of Tyana as an example. It embraces the entire Hermetic philosophy and yet reads like a fairytale; but as so often happens, facts and historical events are presented under the color of fiction. The journey to India represents allegorically the trials of a neophyte. His long discourses with the Brahmanas, their sage advice, and the dialogs with the Corinthian Menippus would, if interpreted rightly, give the esoteric catechism. His visit to the empire of the wise men, and interview with their king Iarchas, the oracle of Amphiaraus, explain symbolically many of the secret dogmas of Hermes. In fact, it embraces the whole of the Hermetic philosophy, and if understood, it would disclose some of the most important secrets of Nature.
It is now admitted on all sides that the distant East was the land of knowledge, but when discussing magic one does not so readily connect India with this as Egypt and Greece and some other countries. The reason is that with the Hindus it was and still is more esoteric. In fact, it was considered so sacred that it was only half admitted; it was more than a religious matter to them; it was considered divine.
True magic has always been classed with the Mysteries, and as being of a double nature: Divine Magic and evil magic or the black art. In the former kind, man places himself EN RAPPORT with the world, to learn hidden things and to perform good and beneficial acts. In the latter, he endeavors to gain power over spirits, and to do all kinds of diabolical and unnatural deeds.
Arcane knowledge misapplied is sorcery; beneficently used, it is true magic or Wisdom. Mediumship is the opposite of adeptship. A medium is one through whose astral spirit other spirits can manifest, making their presence known by various kinds of phenomena. Whatever these consist in, the medium is only a passive agent in their hands. He can neither command their presence nor will their absence. He can never compel the performance of any special act, nor direct its nature. The magician, or the adept, on the contrary, can summon and dismiss spirits at will; he can perform many feats of occult power through his own spirit; he can compel the presence and assistance of spirits of lower grades of beings than himself, and effect transformations in the realm of nature upon animate and inanimate bodies.
To acquire magical power two things are necessary: to disengage the will from all servitude, and to exercise it in control.
Formerly, magic was a universal science, entirely in the hands of the sacerdotal savant. Though the focus was guarded in the sanctuaries, its rays illuminated the whole of mankind. This is one way of accounting for the extraordinary identity in the superstitions, customs, and traditions, and even sentences repeated in popular and widely scattered proverbs of many nations which have no connection with each other whatever -- be they Tartars or Lapps, or Southern Europeans, inhabitants of the steppes of Russia, or of North or South America. Let us take for example the Pythagorean maxim, which H.P. Blavatsky mentions: "Do not stir the fire with a sword." A Tartar will not consent for any amount of money to stick a knife into the fire, or touch it with any sharp or pointed instrument, for fear of cutting "the head of the fire." The natives of Northeastern Asia consider it a great sin to do so. The Sioux Indians of North America dare not touch the fire with needle, knife, or any sharp instrument. The Kalmucks have the same fear, and an Abyssinian, we are told, would rather bury his bare arms to the elbows in blazing coals than use a knife or an axe near them.
Like every sentence of Pythagoras, as well as other ancient maxims, this has a dual meaning containing a moral precept. In this case Pythagoras conveys the warning not to oppose sharp words to a man full of fire and wrath -- in other words do not contend with him. For frequently by words you will agitate and disturb an ignorant man and you yourself will suffer.
Magic other than in its broad philosophy is nearly impracticable in Europe and America, because its acquisition is practically beyond the reach of the majority of white-skinned people. Probably not more than one in a million is fitted physically, morally, or psychologically to become a practical magician; and hardly one in ten million would be found endowed with these three qualifications required for the work. Civilized nations lack the phenomenal powers of endurance, both mental and physical, of the Easterners; the favoring temperamental idiosyncrasies of the Orientals are utterly wanting in them. Besides a very great difference in training, the Hindus, Arabians, and Tibetans have by inheritance an intuitive perception of the possibilities of occult natural forces in subjection to human will, and in them the physical senses as well as the spiritual are far more finely developed than in the Western races.
The theoretical study of magic is one thing, and the possibility of practising it quite another. One can learn by heart every line of the one hundred and eight volumes of the Buddhist great canon and still make but a poor practical magician. Such powers are not developed without cost. Magical practices in modern times have become still more esoteric and arcane. The caution of the adepts increases in proportion to the curiosity of travelers who seek to make it a professional business.
This long lost science of true Magic will undoubtedly return to our scientific world. Scientists will learn the real power of the human will. This will be just as so many discoveries of the last forty, fifty, seventy-five, and even one hundred years, which are now taken for granted and as a matter of course, were absolutely unheard of by the scientists of those days. Let us take as a pertinent example the science of photography, discovered by Louis Daguerre about a hundred years ago. His wife went in tears to one of the foremost medical men of the time, concerning her husband's mental condition, which she felt was leading to insanity. The greatest proof of this was that he had firmly declared he would succeed in nailing his own shadow to the wall or fixing it on magical metallic plates. The doctor, after quietly listening to her story, advised her to send her husband to a well-known lunatic asylum. Two months later profound interest was created in the world of Arts and Sciences by the exhibition of a number of pictures taken by this new process. The shadows were after all fixed upon metallic plates and the "lunatic" was proclaimed the father of photography!
Now, if the sensitized plate can so accurately seize upon the shadow of our faces, then this shadow or reflection, although we are unable yet to perceive it, must be something substantial. Science has also come to recognize that our thoughts are matter. Every output of energy produces more or less of a disturbance in the atmospheric waves.
The adepts and the savants of the secret art can to project their astral bodies electrically in an instant through thousands of miles of space. They leave their material shells with a certain amount of animal vital principle to keep the physical life going, and act within their spiritual ethereal bodies as safely and intelligently as when clothed with the covering of flesh.
Every man, as well as other living things, has an aura of his own emanations surrounding him. Why can it not appear to whom it likes, a faithful double of the original? A man is enabled by a trifling effort to transport himself in imagination wherever he likes. Why is it scientifically impossible that his thought regulated, intensified, and guided by that powerful magician, the educated Will, may not become corporeal for the time being?
To sum it all up in a few words: Magic is Spiritual WISDOM. Nature is the material ally, pupil, and servant of the magician. One common vital principle pervades all things, and this is controllable by the perfected human will.
There never was nor can there ever be more than one universal religion, for there can be but one TRUTH.
Man requires but one church -- the Temple of God within each of us, walled in by matter but penetrable by any one who can find the way.
THE TRINITY OF NATURE IS THE LOCK OF MAGIC, THE TRINITY OF MAN THE KEY THAT FITS IT. Within the solemn precincts of the sanctuary, the SUPREME had and has no name. It is unthinkable and unpronounceable; and yet every man finds in himself his god.
-- ISIS UNVEILED, II, page 63
The Arabian alchemist Abipili, speaks thus: "I admonish thee, whosoever thou art that desirest to dive into the inmost parts of nature; if that thou seekest thou findest not WITHIN THEE, thou wilt NEVER FIND IT WITHOUT THEE. If thou knowest not the Excellency of thine own house, why dost thou seek after the Excellency of other things? ... O MAN, KNOW THYSELF, IN THEE IS HID THE TREASURE OF TREASURES."
-- ISIS UNVEILED, II, pages 617-18
By Boris de Zirkoff
[From a tape recording entitled "Are the Teachings Scientific? Is There A Spiritual Science?" made of a private class held on April 13, 1955.]
Friends, are the Teachings of the Ancient Wisdom scientific, or are they only religious and philosophical? It may depend upon what you mean by "science." As we discussed this subject in length in San Diego a few days ago, I thought we might consider it today.
If we understand by "science" facts of physical nature related to subjects like chemistry, physics, astronomy, and genetics, we limit it. We cover more when we expand it to mean a search for knowledge or systematized knowledge.
After considering the physical sciences, ask if there is there is a spiritual science. Is there a systematized knowledge of that vast realm of human affairs dealing with the functioning of the human mind, the vast realm with no tangible link to physical science? Is there a scientific body of teachings on the consciousness of man, on the workings of the human mind, soul, and emotions?
The intricate correlations of chemistry are reducible to certain fundamental laws. Are the manifestations of human nature reducible to simple laws too, laws with intricate correlations, but simple in essence? Chemistry is the same in Asia, Europe, or America. Might the laws of spiritual science be the same throughout the world, or do they differ according to the races?
The Esoteric Philosophy answers yes. There is a spiritual science. It has many aspects, but does exist. It is not a spiritualized or sublimated chemistry, physics, astronomy, genetics, or psychology. Rather, it is a science in itself. It concerns the greater part of nature, far greater in extension and depth than any physical science.
There are questions to ask of intelligent people, those who have given some thought to these subjects. Can one control the energies of his nature? Can he control the interplay of emotion? Can he establish patterns of thought? Can his thinking be done by will, or is it independent of will? Are there methods to increase one's patience, courage, fearlessness, kindness, and ethical stability? Can one enlarge, deepen, and broaden his virtues? Likewise, can one lessen and finally make away with the various vices and vicious tendencies?
If the answers were yes, we could say there might be a scientific approach to spiritual science. The answers are yes. There are methods. They are little known in the Occidental. They pertain to Yoga.
The approach is not Hatha Yoga. The Occident practices that Yoga on small scale. Swamis mostly brought it from India. Some brought it from Persia. It teaches people ascetic practices, yogic postures, and breathing exercises. That is not the approach. Spiritual science is immeasurably higher than that.
Most of what the Occident has heard of Yoga pertains to the physical body and astral structure. These go to pieces at death. The net result of cultivating them is nil. The culture of the soul, though, even in small degree, stays into the next life. It adds to one. A higher degree is achieved. It accumulates.
"Yoga" sounds Oriental. In a way it is, simply because the knowledge of these things has not been forgotten in the Orient, like it has in the Occident. It is a universal word. In English, "yoke" comes from "Yoga," meaning a piece of wood that keeps horses or cows together in a harness. It just means to unify something, to conjoin them so they stay together and interact.
When applied to human nature, "Yoga" means the unification, conjunction, or harmonizing of the various faculties in man. Like all fundamental ideals, it is exceedingly simple. From these simple ideas are derived the many complexities of thought.
A Yogi unifies the parts of his constitution into a single stream of consciousness. He becomes proficient in certain mental, spiritual, intellectual, and psycho-mental exercises. He achieves this unity through genuine spiritual Yoga. The Yogi is not a center of constantly rioting energies. His emotions, moods, motives, thoughts, and sensations do not play havoc within.
In the average man, these energies crisscross each other, giving rise to complex currents of mutually contradictory forces so that the average man does not know his motives. He is at cross-purpose with himself. His emotions contradict his thinking. His beliefs contradict the little knowledge he may have. His superstitions contradict his experience in life.
As for his dumb physical body, trying to follow these contradictory currents, what can the poor thing do but manifest disease? You know, "disease" means simply "dis" and "ease," the natural ease of the situation being disturbed. It simply means disharmony. The body cannot be harmonized. The organs cannot work as a family because of conflicting inner currents of different intensities that impinge upon them.
Can an adept be sick? No! Up to a certain point, perhaps an initiate might become ill in clearing up some past-life karma. Beyond that point, he cannot be sick, because no psycho-magnetic pressure from within can produce a disharmony in his physical body. His inner principles have been harmonized. A single line of force operates from his spiritual self down through the physical. He is unified. All his forces run in parallel toward the same noble goals. He is high, noble, and spiritual. He is a Yogi, a man who is yoked together, inwardly unified. That is the result of many, many lives of work.
It may take many lives to achieve a great result. Ever so, we can achieve a beginning by self-directed efforts at conscious evolution, even in this life over the few years that we may have. This is the opposite of floating, of drifting with the tides. We begin to take ourselves in hand, making a self-directed effort at evolution. It can be done in small things.
Before this beginning might be made, one needs a nobler philosophy. An acquaintance with the fundamental teachings of Theosophy gives us a philosophical background. Against this background, we can project specific ethical, intellectual, and spiritual methods of self-conscious growth.
There is a great difference between growth and SELF-CONSCIOUS growth. A flower grows. The animal grows. Most people grow slowly, imperceptibly, while they drift. They drift in the general current of evolution, carrying them forward a little. None of this is self-conscious growth.
A constant effort results in self-conscious growth. One may relax the effort occasionally, but quickly resumes it. It has nothing to do with intensity. It is not from being set on anything. It is done with conviction and ease. None of us, for instance, is a great exemplar of peace. We are all striving, but we have not achieved much.
I can speak of a few things through personal experience, as an exponent of things I have achieved. Of many others, I can only speak philosophically, as a subject of useful discussion.
The experimental method of spiritual growth is a science. It is non-physical. It might be psycho-mental, purely mental, highly intellectual, or spiritual in various degrees, but it is non-physical. It is not a science of chemistry, physics, genetics, or even diets. The spiritual science does not come from our world of atoms and molecules. It is an internal science. It involves the unfolding of the qualities of consciousness called virtues. Most call them by various names, names vague and meaning little.
We should define terms, if interested in that science. I do not intend to define some tonight. That is for you to do. One approach is to put it in question form. Do we really know, for example, what kindness is? Is it never severe and firm, or can it sometimes be so? Do we know about love? What is it? I love a steak. I love my children. The other fellow says he loves God. It is the same word for three different things. Obviously, the word means nothing because it means too many things. We cannot love a steak, and God, and neighbor.
We should develop a terminology for the movements of our consciousness. These movements are vastly different from each other. They do not pertain to the same principles in the human constitution. They have neither the same origin nor the same result. In our example, we call all three movements "love," and a million other things as well.
We do not know how to distinguish between love as a thing in itself and the emotions of love. These two are completely different. They are different as "illumination," which we see, and "light," which produces illumination, but which we do not see. Light is an invisible electromagnetic energy. We cannot see light. It is a spiritual force. It results in illumination under certain circumstances. Likewise, something we have no word for, and call "love" at times, results in a batch of emotions that we also call "love."
It is hopeless! We do not have the words. The spiritual science has the words. Unquestionably, the terms exist, but they are not in English. They are mostly in Sanskrit, some in Greek, and a few in other languages. This is for the simple reason that the knowledge has been lost in the West, and with the knowledge went the terms. Our languages are poor. They cannot express the subtle ideas of to the spiritual science.
There is so little of the spiritual science that is suspected to exist! When you talk to people, they say, "Oh! Is that so? Well, that is a nice theory." They say this, but they do not believe you. They believe in atomic research, not because they have it, but because they trust the people who tell them about the wonders of the atom. It is tangible enough to their minds.
They disbelieve the spiritual science, although it pertains to the closest thing that they have, their own inner selves. It is not tangible. It is not spectacular. It takes an effort. You cannot touch it. You cannot smell it. You cannot see it. You have to do something about it before you get any results. There is no glamor in it. Without finding excitement, they leave it alone. The world could be revolutionized if we understood that genuine spiritual Yoga, if we understood how to achieve the qualities of consciousness we would like at play among the people of the world.
These people are striving for peace. What do they know about it? What do we know about it? Peace is not an idea. Peace is a condition of human consciousness. Peace is not an armistice, where weapons have been destroyed so there is nothing left to fight with. Peace is a spiritual power. There can be no genuine peace unless there is a changed condition of consciousness, where it is geared to that vibratory rate. Many suppose peace to be the absence of conflict or struggle, the absence of negative things. They assume that when there is no war there is peace. This is a negative idea. Tell them that peace is practically an ideological offensive! Tell them that it is a dynamic power coming from within a human heart that has been regenerated through genuine love. Try it, and they will say, "What are you talking about?" You cannot even convey the idea!
Just like with peace, the other virtues are positive qualities of spiritual consciousness. You cannot be patient if you are TRYING to be less impatient. That would be a negative approach. You cannot love if you are trying to feel less dislike for people. You cannot be courageous if you are telling yourself not to fear nor to be discouraged. These are all negative qualities. You build nothing at all. You are not getting any better. You are becoming colorless.
You may have no fear. You may have no discouragement. You may never feel despondent. You may never hate anybody. You may be without dislike for anyone. You may never show any impatience. You may refrain from unkindness. If you keep following that approach, you will become increasingly colorless, increasingly useless to yourselves and community until you finally stagnant.
The spiritual science, the genuine spiritual Yoga, has nothing to do with the negative qualities that are supposed to be changed. It has everything to do with the positive qualities that are to be built up. You have to positively love, to take into your heart that which you are trying to help. You have to be positively patient and positively courageous. You must show courage, fearlessness, and dynamic outgoing qualities. This might be in some great cause, but it is also in your personal life. Then you grow. The overcoming of so-called vices is not a matter of checking them, but a matter of building up the virtues, their opposites.
Some think that Yoga is for the few. I do not think so. We are practicing Yoga every time we engage in positively building up a virtue, giving it force and background, utilizing it, practicing it. Yoga in its higher reaches may be for the few, but not the elements of Yoga. With a dynamic will, we may follow exercises to overcome the lesser part of our nature. We can build up a strong fortress of spiritual strength within. The methods of doing so vary with each of us. The spiritual science is a set of positive, dynamic rules whereby our inner consciousness is brought into play.
What do I mean by inner consciousness? I do not mean the mind. You cannot become spiritual by exercising the mind. Since it is possible to have a tremendous intellect with no spirituality and no ethics, the inner consciousness is not the mind. The mind is a wonderful tool. A person may be regenerated, having aroused over many lives the sleeping energies of his spiritual self. He has geared his mind to a higher vibratory rate. He has attuned his psychological apparatus to that rate. This finally gave rise to physical and astral structures in harmony with the higher rate.
Might this be done in our busy outer world? Herein, we attend to outside obligations, avocations, and duties. Yes, it can be done. We are not asking for something easy. Self-conquest and self-knowledge are hard. It is better we make the effort in the outer world than alone in the middle of a forest. There are enough obstacles in the world to test our earnestness. There are enough opposing forces for us to sharpen our energies in battle, to see if we will grow. A hermit in the forest does not have these opportunities.
Would an advanced ascetic, a hermit, succeed if placed here in the outer world? He would eventually collapse. It is better that we attempt a start in self-directed evolution while living in the world. Those who try achieve results, causing them to pause and ask, "If this can be done, perhaps something else can be done too?" The results achieved are an incentive themselves.
There is nothing spectacular about it. Nobody can tell you whether you grow or not. You are your only judge. Your inner fortress is impregnable. There is no access from outside. That applies to everyone. There is no access from outside to the inner man. They can put you in prison, but they cannot have access to your soul.
This has nothing to do with place, location, time, nation, or political order. It is holy. It regards your own inner self and its hidden life.
Would you say there is a difference between trying to avoid being unkind and trying to be kind, that these are two different things?
Yes, there is a vast difference. You could insult someone that has done wrong, or say something nice and undo the wrong. One approach is negative. The other is positive. It takes self-control if you tend to be unkind. It takes an outgoing, positive, and dynamic energy to be kind towards unkindness.
Suppose somebody has hurt you. You may have not let yourself feel the hurt. You may not have a thought of unkindness towards them. You do not get disturbed. You easily forgive the unkindness and forget it. This is fine, but it is nobler to help one whom has hurt you. You would be surprised at the extraordinary results that follow. There are scientific laws for these results, but of a forgotten science.
We have few words to defining that science. It deals with which emotions produce certain results. Few can say something about it. I do not claim to know much. Specific emotions produce specific results, and only those results. Another set of emotions can counteract them, and only that set of emotions. It is possible to utilize emotional energies in others and ourselves for constructive purposes. We could utilize these forces just as we use rakes, spades, hoes, and other machinery to produce physical results.
A housewife knows the laws of the stove. The results are tangible. There is a well-cooked dinner. Without knowing about cooking, one either does not cook or gets poisoned trying. We realize that there are basic laws of food and stove. Likewise, there are fundamental laws of the interchange of emotion.
Most expect impossible results. Perhaps they engaged in emotions that cannot bring the desired results. Perhaps they expect the opposite results. They may wonder why it does not happen. Well, water is not going to boil on a piece of ice. We have been ignorant of the laws of spiritual science. The results are patent all over the world. There is ignorance of these laws. What can we do? What can be undone or left undone? We find this ignorance both in the East and in the West, in the Orient and the Occident. While the yogic knowledge exists in the Orient, few have practiced it.
Does Yoga have to do with control? I think of control with it because some use it to control muscles.
That is Hatha Yoga. It is physical control. It is not control of emotions. Hatha Yoga exercises deal with control of physical organs, such as the heart, lungs, digestion, and sex functions. It is a low type of Yoga. Its results do not go beyond this life. You only deal with the body. You may achieve some physical purification. That is all. You might run into trouble. Genuine Yoga teaches control of the emotional and mental self.
Yes, it is control. It is not trying to divert feelings from being unkind. It is from being kind. You must control your emotions when you want to blow your stack. You use control to use the other force. If you have to control yourself, you have already had the negative thought of being angry.
Yes, you control the negative side and build the positive simultaneously.
If someone has been unkind to you, you want to defend yourself and say something unkind in return. That is the first thing that comes to mind. You think of the unkind thing that you want to say, or you think unkindly of them because they have hurt you. By controlling yourself, you do something kind in return, although you have had the thought.
Certainly, and you are going to have the thought and urge for a long time. At first, you strive to not do something wrong. When you control your action, you can gradually control the thought back of it. The two things go together.
When faced with something bad, begin to think and feel in the opposite direction. You may feel like defending yourself automatically. You built up that reaction over many lives. You can build up another automatism in its stead. Every time something evokes self-protection, change it into outgoing sympathy and compassion. It is reversing the automatism. This is not difficult, and it is a more natural thing too.
It is very difficult. I am kind. I expect too much of people. That is my problem. I expect them to do things, and I am disappointed when they will not. I do not expect them to do something that I cannot do myself. I put myself in their place and know I would not have done things the way they did.
Is it better than the reverse, to avoid expecting anything? Force them to your level. Expect a great deal. Force them up a peg each time.
How can you force them?
You cannot. You can be miserable trying to put them somewhere when they are not ready. Maybe they do not see it your way. They may not understand.
Many are pessimistic, but there is an optimistic, rosy-colored view of things too. Some expect little of humanity, but if they demanded it, they would get more. This is not giving incentives. It is forcing others. It does not come from within them, but you have to have a starting point. This has to start with force, but not physical force. Perhaps it is the force of example. You would have to be unkind, but then you are being kind. That is your severity of kindness. Instead of saying something good, you would speak the truth.
You could speak the truth, or you could tell them that this is not what you expected of them. You could turn around and be kind to them even though they have hurt you.
Be severe. Then you are kinder and truer a friend than the other way, which seems pitiful. It is difficult to be kind when they have hurt you. I would rather ignore the whole thing and not lower myself to their level. I would rather let it take care of itself than bake a cake for a damned fool. In all sincerity, it would be better to drop the whole thing and let the other know you are above it. The heck with it! You may say this builds resentment, but they wonder why I do not lash back, since they did not get the response they expected.
I have come across this approach before. They say, "You think you are better than I am!" That builds resentment. Is that the right approach?
Well, let them think it. If you have a theosophical background, you probably are better. It is a hard problem. You say to turn around and do a generous thing. You can be hurt. You have to do something generous. Both of these show that you have had the negative thought. If you were a noble human being, you could not be hurt. How could lashing out in words or other nonsense hurt an Adept?
We are talking about people, not Adepts -- people like you, noble human beings.
In many ways, I am ignoble.
You have warned me! No! Those sitting in this room are neither ignoble nor Adepts. They are noble. I wonder if Leo has any light to throw on this. You have experience. You cannot work with bricks without having somebody throw one at you!
I do not know why something bad happens, so I put it aside. I drop it gently. There is a difference if you do it that way.
Therefore, you just let it drop. It drops like a proverbial ton of bricks.
We know this, but have difficulty finding the words. At times, it may be right to disregard a hurt, to leave people whom hurt you temporarily. It may be all you can do then. After a while, do something nice to them. They do not expect it. They expect your usual reaction. They do not understand. They wonder what you are made of. Your reaction was different. It is good for you. It is good for them. This does not have to be done right away. It may be okay to leave them alone for a while, to let them stew in their own juice a little bit, but not too much. Come out of your shell and be nice in the direction from which you have been hurt.
We spoke of bettering oneself. You have also told us about people enjoying what they do and relishing themselves as they are. People may delight in their worries and complaints. We enjoy our weaknesses and do not intend to getting rid of them. We would be lost without selfishness, emotions, and desires at this stage of the game, until we can replace them with something else.
Yes, do not get rid of something until you can replace it with something positive. You might be lost if you got out of a rut, but there is no excuse to not seek the positive. We may not want to grow, and are cozy with weaknesses. We made them. We enjoy them. When the push from within grows strong, we get out of the rut. What seem to be outer circumstances conspire so that we cannot remain. That is when we hurt. What hurts in us? It is the lower self, accustomed to a warm spot and not wanting to be exposed to the wind of the spirit.
That warm spot typifies what a person thinks of himself. It depends on his values. One that worries about what happens to himself feels insult more keenly than one that feels impersonal. Take things like water running off a duck's back or like a firmly rooted tree that takes sun, rain, hail, or storm as a matter of course. There is no protesting. It is just a natural course of events. These things strengthen the sapling, building up resistance. It is good. We feel slighted without reason sometimes. After patient observation, we find the slight due to another cause. I have been forced to observe that myself. Many think it weak to show kindness. Aware of what they feel, we can offset their attitude, but we allow our kindness to continue! We do the kind work in other ways, showing them that it is not a sign of weakness.
Yes, a different attitude towards those people is called for. Circumstances differ, and you cannot apply the same rules to all.