Just as in the past, the same general system of both exoteric and esoteric aspects of teaching the Occultism of the ages, in other words, the SAME SYSTEM OF MYSTERY-SCHOOLS, EXISTS EVEN TODAY. Only today, the exoteric form has been largely replaced by the different activities of the Theosophical Movement which itself is exoteric as a Movement.
The esoteric groups of Mystery-Schools are perhaps more numerous today than they have been for thousands of years, but they are more secretly conducted and more carefully hidden.
G. de Purucker, STUDIES IN OCCULT PHILOSOPHY, page 637.
By B.P. Wadia
[From THUS HAVE I HEARD, pages 188-91.]
Even sages have been deluded as to what is action and what inaction; therefore, I shall explain to thee what is action by a knowledge of which thou shalt be liberated from evil. One must learn well what is action to be performed, what is not to be, and what is inaction. The path of action is obscure. That man who sees inaction in action and action in inaction is wise among men. He is a true devotee and a perfect performer of all action.
-- THE BHAGAVAD GITA, IV, 16-18.
We need insight for the comprehension of the terms "Karma" and "Dharma." Among philosophical texts and treatises, THE BHAGAVAD GITA offers profound thoughts, and by its light different persons form their own concepts of the two words, which are archetypal in character and enshrine a compact and consistent philosophy which affects every aspect of man's being. Naturally, therefore, each tends to emphasize his interpretation. The monotheist, the polytheist, and the pantheist; the philologist, the man of literature, the philosopher and the mystic; and even the politician and the social reformer -- these and all others formulate contradictory philosophies of life in the light of their own partial understanding of the grand Poem, which expresses a sublime allegory and a profound practical philosophy.
The Occultist who tries to realize what he has heard from the Wisdom of the long line of illustrious Sages and Their Living Peers is humble and cautious in presenting his own understanding of the archetypal aspects of Karma and Dharma.
Here we are confining ourselves to a consideration of what is advanced in the above-quoted verses. They deal with the Path of Action, Karma-Marga; they offer the philosophy of what not to do as well as of what to do. The Path of Action remains obscure for most. One reason for this is the failure to see that for actions to be truly righteous and beneficent one must possess knowledge and devotion. The dire heresy of separateness has compartmentalized the much spoken of three paths -- Karma, Gnyana, and Bhakti. The result is that none of the three ways is correctly comprehended.
In examining the Religion of Works as it affects man's own routine life and his relationship with his fellow men, a few "do's" and "don't" have to be considered in the light of THE GITA teachings.
The first of the negative rules says to not be inactive. Bodily laziness, moral lethargy, and mental indolence are grave dangers, which touch the soul of man. Strong is the cosmic principle of perpetual motion, and so it is stated, "No one ever resteth a moment inactive." To loll about idly is a deed in itself.
What actions must we perform? First, do the duties that are ours by our birth. Dharma is the fulfillment of our destiny built by ourselves through a long past. It offers us opportunities for further unfoldment through the elimination of defects, for which the most suitable environment and conditions are provided as part of our destiny. To determine what are our congenital duties we have but to look at our own mental and moral capacities and limitations.
The second "don't" reiterated in THE GITA is to not attempt the duty of another. What is implicit in this? It is the Law of Necessity. Those deeds that it is not NECESSARY for us to do cannot be our obligatory duties. The Rule of Necessity helps us to avoid many a pitfall, and saves that most precious of possessions, time.
The third "don't" is to not be tempted by desire and lust. The universe is surrounded by compassion, a divine, gracious power. Human beings, listening to the urges and the inclinations of the senses, grab at compassion-power without knowledge, selfishly and egotistically, and find passion in their brains and blood. This tempts a man so often to abandon the path of duty that is righteous and good.
Let us turn to the positive aspects.
The first of these is to renounce the fruits of action, not action itself. Even when we have determined to fight our passions, we need the field of duty, Dharma-kshetra. Not looking for fruits or rewards implies laboring without being impelled by likes and dislikes. Are not our sense-impulses, our fleshly appetites, part of our destiny and Karma? Should we not allow them to function? No, says THE GITA. We built them in the past. They are to be overcome in the present. Our Karma is related to our Dharma. If our destiny points to a defect in us, our duty requires that we correct it. Therefore, the remedy is suggested.
There are three motives for right action. When the motor-power of wish and will is used to guide us aright in the daily routine of life, we walk fast on the Path of Good Works. Dana is Charity. Tapas is thoughtful Control. Yagna is enlightened Sacrifice. The three are called Krishna's own deeds. There are two main stages connected with the deeds that are Krishna's. First, we must establish the habit of performing acts of right charity, which hurts no one. We establish habits of right asceticism, which harms not body, mind, nor soul. We establish habits of sacrifice, which does not require special rites or elaborate ceremonials but endows certain small deeds with the purity of water, the humility of a leaf, the beauty of a flower, the nourishment of a fruit. Do each day a few acts that express Dana, Tapas, and Yagna. This will leads us to perform our duties for the Ray of the Supreme Spirit at the core of our consciousness. Acts of daily life, whether at home, at the office, or at the club should be pure in motive, humble in execution, orderly and tidy so that they are beautiful, and helpful to the soul of everyone. Thus, man becomes "a perfect performer of all action."
We must not be hasty. The art of performing Good Works, like true knowledge, is not acquired easily or speedily. Our aspirations should go hand in hand with ever-deepening devotion that makes the waters of wisdom spring up spontaneously. Good acts require knowledge. True assimilation of knowledge requires devotion. These three ever go together:
Thus only will the aspirant of Right Living realize in time the instruction of THE VOICE OF THE SILENCE.
Both action and inaction may find room in thee; thy body agitated, thy mind tranquil, thy Soul as limpid as a mountain lake.
By Hazel S. Minot
[From THE THEOSOPHICAL FORUM, October 1950, pages 601-07.]
Through some fourteen centuries, we have watched the pattern of the Ariadne Thread, held for the most part by those who were disciples of the Pythagorean, Platonic, and Neo-Platonic Schools of thought. With the first quarter of the seventh century AD, the pattern changed: a new World Religion was to find birth, and during some of the succeeding centuries which were barren periods for Europe, culturally, Mohammedan annals were filled with brilliant names in many fields of learning. Moreover, the conquest of Spain by the Arabs placed that country, during Moorish supremacy, far ahead of the rest of Europe in civilization. While this influence was still at work there were learned men, students of the symbolic Kabala, who were handing on the Ariadne Thread. H.P. Blavatsky tells us that
History catches glimpses of famous Kabalists ever since the eleventh century. The Mediaeval ages, and even our own times, have had an enormous number of the most learned and intellectual men who were students of the Kabala.
-- THE THEOSOPHICAL GLOSSARY
The Middle Ages were represented by two other distinctive groups: the Alchemists, and the Christian mystics. Of the former, HPB says:
Some people -- nay, the great majority -- have accused alchemists of charlatanry and false pretending. Surely such men as Roger Bacon, Agrippa, Henry Kunrath, and the Arabian Geber (the first to introduce into Europe some of the secrets of chemistry), can hardly be treated as impostors -- least of all as fools. Scientists, who are reforming the science of physics upon the basis of the atomic theory of Demokritus as restated by John Dalton, conveniently forget that Demokritus, of Abdera, was an alchemist. They forgot that the mind that was capable of penetrating so far into the secret operations of nature in one direction must have had good reasons to study and become a Hermetic philosopher.
-- ISIS UNVEILED, XXV
We continue, then, from the Seventh Century AD.
570-632 AD (Mohammed)
Mohammed referred to by William Q. Judge, as a minor, intermediate Avatara. Dr. de Purucker, answering a question on this statement writes:
A strong emphasis should be laid upon the word "minor," the truth being that Mohammed can be called an Avatara, but only by a great extension of the meaning of the word "Avatara." Mohammed did a certain racial work under the influence of a Ray from the Planetary Spirit, but was not conscious of his mission in this sense of the word, and was, in fact, but very little higher than any other noteworthy man who is made an instrument of karmic activity. In this sense only was Mohammed a minor Avatara, and he did indeed, as Judge says, belong to the "civil, military, and religious" type.
-- STUDIES IN OCCULT PHILOSOPHY, 697-98
700's to late 1400's AD (Sufism)
A form of Mohammedan mysticism, Sufism had "its home chiefly in Persia." Dr. de Purucker writes that
The Persian Sufi mystics ... were adherents of what may be called the Theosophy of Persian Mohammedanism." Quoting from Abu Yazid, "I am the wine I drink, and the cup-bearer of it," he adds, "The wine cup, for these mystical writers, symbolized in general the "Grace of God" as Christians might say, the influences and workings of the spiritual powers infilling the Universe.
-- THE ESOTERIC TRADITION, 76
800-91 AD (Johannes Scotus Erigena)
[He stated that] in the larger process of the world the primal causes descend into the elements, and the elements into bodies, then bodies are resolved into the elements again, and the elements into the primal causes.
-- THE DIVISION OF NATURE
Dr. de Purucker comments:
Thus, even in the writings of a mediaeval Neo-Platonist Christian theologian-philosopher may be found a clear echo of the archaic Wisdom-Religion and its teachings of the serial evolution or unfolding of the Universe, and its final return to its primordial divine source.
Yet it must be remembered that Erigena's work was formally condemned by the official church and put on the Index in the thirteenth century, though it had dominated all mediaeval Christian thought for more than two centuries.
-- THE ESOTERIC TRADITION, 566
The thread of mystical thought continued to be carried by various Sufi writers.
1091-1153 AD (Bernard of Clairvaux)
One of the mediaeval mystics, he wrote thus on union with the Divine:
To lose thyself as it were, as if thou thyself wert not, and to have no consciousness at all of thyself -- to empty out thyself almost to nothingness -- such is the heavenly intercourse ... To achieve this, is to become the Divine: God.
-- Quoted in THE ESOTERIC TRADITION, 1004
1135-1204 AD (Moses Maimonides)
[He was] the great Jewish theologian and historian, who at one time was almost deified by his countrymen and afterward treated as a heretic ... This learned man has successfully demonstrated that the Chaldean Magic, the science of Moses and other learned thaumaturgies was wholly based on an extensive knowledge of the various and now forgotten branches of natural science.
-- ISIS UNVEILED, I, 17
1214-94 AD (Roger Bacon)
[Bacon,] the friar, was laughed at as a quack, and is now generally numbered among 'pretenders' to magic art; but his discoveries were nevertheless accepted, and are now used by those who ridicule him the most. Roger Bacon belonged by right if not by fact to that Brotherhood which includes all those who study the occult sciences.
-- ISIS UNVEILED, I, 64-65
1265-1321 AD (Dante)
Dr. de Purucker gave the following as his own private conviction. He says:
I think there was sufficient spiritual life in the man to allow the entrance into his consciousness, if you understand me, of a divine ray, which touched his brain, so that when he wrote his immortal poem he mentally set forth, although in Christian phrasing and terms, a great deal of the teaching of the ancient doctrine. There are the nine stages, or the nine or ten hells; there is purgatory and the terrestrial paradise; there are the nine or ten heavens -- a typical mediaeval example of the Oriental teaching of the lokas and talas.
-- STUDIES IN OCCULT PHILOSOPHY, 504
1401-1464 AD (Nikolas de Cusa)
[His] extraordinary genius in investigation, and in what was then broad-minded and courageous exploration of the mysteries of the Nature surrounding him and of the inspirations of his own inner nature, brought upon him charges of heresy including that of pantheism. It is likely that only the personal friendship of three Popes, who seemed to stand in reverential awe of the genius of this great man, saved him from the fate which later befell Giordano Bruno, and still later, but in less degree, Galileo. Cardinal de Cusa has often been called a "Reformer before the Reformation."
-- THE ESOTERIC TRADITION, 356-57
1493-1541 AD (Paracelsus)
HPB termed him "the greatest occultist of the middle ages." She quotes from Pfaff as follows:
What man has ever taken more comprehensive views of nature than Paracelsus? He was the bold creator of chemical medicines; the founder of courageous parties; victorious in controversy, belonging to those spirits who have created amongst us a new mode of thinking on the natural existence of things.
-- ISIS UNVEILED, I, 52
HPB says of his doctrine: "His incomprehensible though lively style must be read like the biblio-rolls of Ezekiel, "within and without." Further, she asks:
How did Paracelsus come to learn anything of the composition of the stars, when, until a very recent period -- until the discovery of the spectroscope in fact -- the constituents of the heavenly bodies were utterly unknown to our learned academies?
-- ISIS UNVEILED, I, 167-8
1548-1600 AD (Giordano Bruno)
In common with the Alexandrian Platonists, and the later Kabalists, he held that Jesus was a magician. This was in the sense given to this appellation by Porphyry and Cicero, who call it the DIVINA SAPIENTIA (divine knowledge), and by Philo Judaeus, who described the Magi as the most wonderful inquirers into the hidden mysteries of nature, not in the degrading sense given to the word magic in our century. In his noble conception, the Magi were holy men, who, setting themselves apart from everything else on this earth, contemplated the divine virtues and understood the divine nature of the gods and spirits, the more clearly; and so, initiated others into the same mysteries.
-- ISIS UNVEILED, I, 94
A paragraph from Bruno's CONFESSION will give added light on his philosophy:
I hold, in brief, to an infinite universe, that is, an effect of infinite divine power, because I esteemed it a thing unworthy of divine goodness and power, that being able to produce besides this world another and infinite others, it should produce a finite world. Thus, I have declared that there are infinite particular worlds similar to this of the earth, which, with Pythagoras, I understand to be a star similar in nature with the moon, the other planets, and the other stars, which are infinite.
-- Quoted in ISIS UNVEILED, I, 96
1575-1624 AD (Jacob Boehme)
[He was] one of the most prominent Theosophists of the mediaeval ages ... He was a thorough born Mystic, and evidently of a constitution which is most rare; one of those fine natures whose material envelope impedes in no way the direct, even if only occasional, intercommunion between the intellectual and the spiritual Ego. Jacob Boehme, like so many other untrained mystics, mistook for God this Ego.
-- THEOSOPHICAL GLOSSARY
HPB Refers to Boehme as "the Prince of all the medieval Seers (THE SECRET DOCTRINE, II, 634) and as "the nursling of the genii (Nirmanakayas) (THE SECRET DOCTRINE, II, 494).
1614-1687 AD (Henry More)
His faith in immortality and able arguments in demonstration of the survival of man's spirit after death are all based on the Pythagorean system, adopted by Cardan, Van Helmont, and other mystics. The infinite and uncreated spirit that we usually call God, a substance of the highest virtue and excellence, produced everything else by emanative causality.
-- ISIS UNVEILED, I, 205-06
1632-1677 AD (Spinoza)
[This] Netherlandish Jewish Pantheist re-echoed the teaching of the Upanishads of ancient Hindustan in stating as the essence of his own philosophical doctrine that the Universe is but a manifestation or a reflection of the consciousness of the Kosmic Divinity.
-- THE ESOTERIC TRADITION, 150
HPB writes as follows:
It may be correctly stated that were Leibnitz' and Spinoza's systems reconciled, the essence and Spirit of esoteric philosophy would be made to appear. From the shock of the two -- as opposed to the Cartesian system -- emerge the truths of the Archaic doctrine.
-- THE SECRET DOCTRINE, I, 628-29
Of Leibnitz, she says
[He] came several times very near the truth, but defined monadic evolution incorrectly, which is not to be wondered at, since he was not an Initiate, nor even a Mystic, only a very intuitional philosopher."
-- THE SECRET DOCTRINE, I, 619-20
1700's AD (St. Germain)
He never laid claim to spiritual powers, but proved to have a right to such claim. ... As a matter of course, he had numerous enemies. Therefore, it is not to be wondered at if all the gossip invented about him is now attributed to his own confessions. ... If he said that "he had been born in Chaldea and professed to possess the secrets of the Egyptian magicians and sages," he may have spoken truth without making any miraculous claim. There are Initiates, and not the highest either, who are placed in a condition to remember more than one of their past lives ... However that may be, Count St. Germain was certainly the greatest Oriental Adept Europe has seen during the last centuries. Europe knew him not.
-- THEOSOPHICAL GLOSSARY
1743-1803 AD (Louis Claude de Saint-Martin)
He was an ardent disciple of Jacob Boehme, and studied under Martinez Paschalis, finally founding a mystical semi-Masonic Lodge, "the Rectified Rite of St. Martin," with seven degrees. He was a true Theosophist. At the present moment [1890-1], some ambitious charlatans in Paris are caricaturing him and passing themselves off as initiated Martinists, and thus dishonoring the name of the late Adept.
-- THEOSOPHICAL GLOSSARY
In the Foreword to THEOSOPHIC CORRESPONDENCE, A.L. Conger writes:
Louis Claude de Saint-Martin, Cagliostro, and the Count Saint Germain in their respective ways exerted a major influence on the thought of their time as did Jacob Bohme in an earlier period. Old and crystallized molds of dogmatism were broken through, at least in the field of the best-educated researchers. The courage of their followers, risking "burning at the stake" for their heresies, has given us, however, some fruits of their labor that we of the 20th century may benefit by their efforts.
1831-91 AD (Helena Petrovna Blavatsky)
The Theosophist says that all these great names represent members of the one single brotherhood, who all have a single doctrine. The extraordinary characters who now and again appear in western civilization, such as St. Germain, Jacob Boehme, Cagliostro, Paracelsus, Mesmer, Count St. Martin, and Madame H.P. Blavatsky, are agents for the doing of the work of the Great Lodge at the proper time. It is true they are generally reviled and classed as impostors. No one can find out why they are when they generally confer benefits and lay down propositions or make discoveries of great value to science after they have died ... Madame Blavatsky brought once more to the attention of the West the most important system, long known to the Lodge, respecting man, his nature, and destiny.
-- W.Q. Judge, THE OCEAN OF THEOSOPHY, 10-11
In a tribute to H.P. Blavatsky after her death, W.Q. Judge wrote:
Amid all the turmoil of her life, above the din produced by those who charged her with deceit and fraud and others who defended, while month after month, and year after year, witnessed men and women entering the theosophical movement only to leave it soon with malignant phrases for HPB, there stands a fact we all might imitate. It is devotion absolute to her Master. "It was He," she writes, "who told me to devote myself to this, and I will never disobey and never turn back."
In 1888 HPB wrote to William Q. Judge, whom she addressed as her "ONLY friend,"
Night before last I was shown a bird's-eye view of the Theosophical Societies. I saw a few earnest reliable Theosophists in a death struggle with the world in general, with other -- nominal but ambitious -- Theosophists. The former are greater in numbers than you may think, and they prevailed, as you in America will prevail, if you only remain staunch to the Master's program and true to yourselves ... The defending forces have to be judiciously -- so scanty they are -- distributed over the globe, wherever Theosophy is struggling against the powers of darkness.
Thus -- the Ariadne Thread.
By Geoffrey A. Farthing
I have come to some conclusions about theosophical organizations. In my old age, I am prepared to be charitable. The officers of these organizations, whether officially known as such (or not as in the case of the ULT), do what they have to against their background thinking, their personal idiosyncrasies, and a sense of duty.
What one organization does for the theosophical cause may not meet with the approval of those in other organizations, but the show goes on. Organizations provide the means for this with their libraries, their promotional activities, their literature, and now their web sites.
When I was very young, there used to be a saying in the Adyar Society attributed to Dr George Arundale: "Together, differently." We can say this of any human society doing almost anything. It certainly applies to the theosophical organizations.
At a time when I was searching, unsure of what I was looking for, I happened to encounter the Adyar Theosophical Society headquarters in London "by accident." In those days, there were a number of august, highly respected members. In my view, they seemed so advanced along the theosophical path that they were High Initiates, well on the way to becoming Masters. I held them in great esteem and with a certain amount of awe.
I regarded them as such for many years. During that time, I became an ordinary member of a lodge in a provincial town and started to find my way into the world of Theosophy. Somehow, I knew that there was something for me to find, but it was undefined and indefinable. This was a view held at that time in the Adyar Society.
I worked hard. I raised questions. I sought answers. Very, very slowly, the light dawned. I experienced a series of enlightenments, which had a cumulative effect in my consciousness. While I was learning in the ordinary sense of the word, that learning at the same time modified my being. I realize that now, looking back over the process. I am not the same person now that I was when I started on the quest more than 60 years ago.
I have been through the mazes of the second-generation theosophical literature. I had to discover its incompatibility with the teachings of the Masters and HPB. I could not understand that there could be these inconsistencies and thought that the fault must lie in me. This was an uncomfortable situation until eventually I found that some of the pronouncements of the second-generation literature just did not check, either with facts in Nature or with the pronouncements of the Masters.
I had to decide which the better authority was. I chose the Masters. At the same time, I discovered that I was not necessarily wrong in my deductions as to the truth or authenticity of statements. I began to get some confidence, and in the course of time, that confidence grew.
The most significant thing that has come out of this personal confidence is that I somehow have become an established being, a partner so to speak in the world enterprise as opposed to a paid hand. The world enterprise of course is the process of Nature herself on her vast evolutionary journey. I see almost every phase of that applying most wonderfully to myself, both as far as I have traveled up to now and in prospect.
This establishment of beingness, or consciousness of one's own Self, is an unshakeable absolute, a kind of pivot around which everything revolves. The interesting thing is that "everything" in my experience includes all living creatures and one's fellow human beings. They also apparently possess this same central core of being which manifests as consciousness in them and me. It is in fact their 'Life."
This discovery seems to me to be the significant result (at our stage) of our attempts to discover and apply Theosophy.
This beingness must be realizable, regardless of one's theosophical organization. In the case of the Adyar Theosophical Society, all I have ever felt in it is total freedom. No one has interfered with me in my studies or in my efforts to understand things. Any work that I have done for the Society or any literary efforts that I have made have been received, even though I know that my views of Theosophy are very far from those acceptable by other members. What more can a student ask for but that his theosophical organization supply the literature, the lodge fellowship, and the opportunities for service that seem to be required by a struggling student?
I admit feeling a certain loyalty to the Adyar Society for having provided this background to my life for so many years. I have no doubt that there are dozens of other students around the world who are members of other organizations who feel the same gratitude, and even affection, for the organization to which they belong.
I am well aware of how all these different organizations came into being. It seems insignificant compared with the discovery of living Theosophy within one's self. Why argue at lower mind level about the merits or demerits of the organization provided, and this is an essential proviso, that within that organization one can enjoy unrestricted freedom?
By G. de Purucker
[From STUDIES IN OCCULT PHILOSOPHY, pages 517-27.]
(The following is a stenographic report of an informal gathering at Point Loma, in which a discussion arose regarding the use of the term, 'Absolute,' in FUNDAMENTALS OF THE ESOTERIC PHILOSOPHY.)
I would like to ask you a question. We Western minds think more analytically; and when you spoke, a little while ago, about the Infinite as being the only thing that was not relative, it also occurred to me that the center of consciousness which each one of us is, in the, from the, middle point of that consciousness, reaches out in opposite directions; that is, inwards and outwards -- inwards towards the infinite, and outwards towards the finite; and the two are equal at all times.
Yes, but I did not speak of the Infinite as "being the only thing that was not relative." Even this word 'Infinite,' if you analyze it, simply means 'not finite.' It does not mean anything in particular. It is man's confession of ignorance and of inability to penetrate deeper. It is a word exactly like Parabrahma; it simply means 'not finite,' meaning by that, that the human consciousness can no longer reach into what we call the frontiers of the finite, and seize, grasp, comprehend, what is there; and being unable to do so, it simply says, "That is beyond all we know; it is in-finite, not finite, the All." The very word 'Boundless' so often used in Theosophy is simply a counter, a verbal counter. This very 'Boundless' is filled full of, made up of, composed of, finite, bounded things individuals, beings.
Would you not say the same of 'Infinite'?
Absolutely the same, therefore just so. People use these terms that are pure abstractions as if they were concrete realities, and create thoughts about them, and thereby they cheat themselves. I repeat that these words are mere abstractions.
With your definition of Parabrahma we can no longer say that Parabrahma on the one hand and Mulaprakriti on the other, are two aspects of the same thing, which have produced the first Logos; because MULAPRAKRITI then is a definite noun, while Parabrahma is merely a descriptive adjective.
No, that is not the idea. Parabrahma and Mulaprakriti, simply meaning 'Boundless Space' with all its indwelling hosts of beings, at any one particular point of itself finds a Logos springing into manifestation from its pralaya. That may happen here, there, or anywhere: millions of these Logoi may contemporaneously be bursting forth into new Manvantaras; but millions of them contemporaneously may be passing into their respective Pralayas.
Now then, in order to describe cosmic evolution and its beginning, the Teacher -- whoever it may be, any great Sage -- says, "In the beginning was THAT"; and this beginning is not merely an absolute commencement of all infinitude, which is absurd, but one of any beginnings of a system in Boundless Duration. At its commencement of time, the Logos springs forth. The Logos merely means one of these innumerable monadic points in THAT. From this Logos -- one such Logos -- is evolved forth a Hierarchy -- whether it be a Cosmic Hierarchy, or a solar system, or a planetary chain, or a human being, or an atom. Do you understand the general idea?
I understand you; it is a wonderful conception,
These logoic points are numberless. Every mathematical point in Space is a potential Logos. Also there are many kinds of Logoi; some are much higher in evolution than others; but the doctrine as I have stated it is given in generalizing terms applicable to all.
I understand that perfectly well. It is a wonderful explanation. But when you said that Parabrahma really was not an entity, but merely everything beyond what the human mind can reach to, then Mulaprakriti must be an aspect of something else.
No, the other side or alter ego of Parabrahma, but more particularly the root-matter of any and therefore of every hierarchical system or cosmos.
The other side of something -- yes, but they must be the abstractions, nevertheless, of something else which is above them.
That is included in the conception of Parabrahma.
Yes, I understand; because being qualities, they have to qualify something.
I think I see your point. A universe is both. It is Mulaprakriti in its essence. It is also in its essence Parabrahma because it is formed of hosts of individual monads. The heart of a monad is boundless space; and boundless space has two aspects, life or energy, and substance or form. You cannot separate the one from the other. Life or energy is what we may call Parabrahma; the substance-side or vehicular side is the Mulaprakriti-side. Wipe out Mulaprakriti, if it were possible, which it is not, and you would have pure consciousness, pure energy; and that is not possible, because energy and matter are two sides of the same thing; force and substance are two sides of the same thing; electricity, for example, is both energetic and substantial; consciousness is both energy (or force) and substance.
What you have just said there has cleared away a few of the greatest difficulties in my mind.
Your body, my body, any body, is fundamentally Mulaprakriti, Root-substance, fundamental Essence, manifesting in form. So is everything else -- a star, a bit of wood, a stone, a beast, a bit of thistledown floating in the air. Its essence is Mulaprakriti; and out in the abysmal spaces, in the deepest deeps of Space, is Mulaprakriti, but also Parabrahma.
Even so, having said that in the deepest deeps there are Mulaprakriti and Parabrahma. As far as our imagination can penetrate, they are nevertheless mere words, because beyond 'That' there is again something.
Absolutely; but only because everything -- even what we call THAT -- is contained in something greater. The word THAT is nevertheless sufficient to include the entire range of this conception. The entire Galaxy is a Cosmic Cell; and what the modern astronomers call the Island-Universes, are other Cosmic Cells; and these Cosmic Cells are bathed in the inter-galactic ether -- using human words -- and these Cosmic Cells are united into some ultra-cosmic, incomprehensible BEING, just as the cells of a man's body, viewed only under the microscope and under the microscope apparently separate from each other, are united in a man's physical body; and a man's physical body lives in a world. Our Galaxy is therefore like a Cell in a Cosmic Body surrounded by the abstraction we call Infinitude.
May I ask you another question, following the other direction in thought: Let us take the atom or the very smallest possible form of an atom or molecule that we can think of -- an electron: is there no end, as it were, on the downward scale of smallness?
None. There cannot be an end; otherwise, you would have an ending, after which, what? Let me tell you that your difficulty is reasoning in forms familiar to our human conceptions. It is much easier to reason along the lines of energy. An electron, for instance, is but a bit of compacted electricity. Electricity is particular, that is, formed of particles; hence, the electron is particular, formed of particles. Consequently the electron is divisible and these divisions or sub-particles cannot be considered to be indivisible, because then we should reach an ending, which is absurd, because we should immediately have to ask ourselves what lies beyond or beneath.
Is it correct to think that on one of such electrons there are White and Black Masters, Sambhalas, and other things such as we know them in our world?
Think for yourself, my Friend: consciousness is not limited by space, because consciousness is an energy, one of the highest forms of energy, perhaps the highest, if indeed there be a 'highest.'
The 'small' or the 'great' depend only upon what measure one begins with.
Just so. We measure things by the human yardsticks of ideas which we in our consciousness are accustomed to.
You did answer one question in the Temple recently, to the effect that greatness of form does indeed represent a higher evolutionary development.
It does in a certain sense; but not necessarily so, and not so much from the standpoint of consciousness as from the standpoint of Prakriti -- evolving Nature. You have often heard me speak of the expansion of consciousness as one evolves to greater things. Consequently, the consciousness co-extensive with our Galaxy is more highly evolved than the consciousness co-extensive with an electron, for instance. Contrariwise, it is quite possible that an electron of a certain kind might contain a more evolved consciousness, individually speaking, than a being that functions in our Galaxy. We must free our minds absolutely from the limitations imposed by our conceptions of 'space' and 'time.'
It is the same thought here that I have elsewhere often tried to explain as the 'reach of consciousness' -- an idea deliberately chosen and suggesting a continuously increasing enlargement of the consciousness. Do you now understand me? A man can constrict, can shrink, his consciousness to the point of being suited for inhabiting an electron, and yet in still deeper profundities of his being be as free as the wild winds or the free bird, because consciousness is not and cannot ever be bounded by material space or extension. Space is Mulaprakriti; therefore in a sense limited, however vast; but sheer or pure consciousness is free, whether it be expanded to cosmic dimensions, or whether it be, as we humans say, shrunken to electronic magnitude.
On certain ones of the electrons composing even our physical matter, there actually are entities as conscious as we are, thinking divine thoughts, thinking about the Universe, just as we humans do. We humans are still imperfect in our evolutionary growth. There are beings on other planets of our solar system -- you would not call them humans, and yet they are actually more evolutionally advanced than we human beings are -- who think diviner thoughts than we do. There are also entities inhabiting the Sun, and consequently the Sun has inhabitants thinking godlike thoughts, having a godlike or solar consciousness. All these questions are relative, please remember, and not absolute, for there are no absolute absolutes in the grotesque Occidental sense of the word that I am opposing and arguing against.
Is there any reason why we may not consider ourselves as being on one such cosmic electron?
Certainly, there is no reason against that idea. Quite to the contrary. We are on such a cosmic electron, but on one of cosmic magnitude; nevertheless it is an electron, relatively speaking; and compared with one of the super-Galactic Entities that I have just spoken of, we on our tiny little Earth, whirling about our protonic aggregate, which we call the Sun, are inhabitants of such an electron, which is our Earth.
Now, such a vast Cosmic Entity of super-Galactic magnitude, might look upon us in his thought, and wonder and think, "Can such infinitesimals have thoughts as I have them? Is their consciousness free like mine? Can it reach into the abysmal bosom of things?" My answer is, of course, Yes, because consciousness is the very heart of things, the essence of things; and when you ally yourself with pure or sheer consciousness, you then enter the Heart of the Universe, the Heart which is nowhere in particular because it is everywhere; and the more you reach out in consciousness, the more you expand, following (as I said a little while ago) the mulaprakritic idea, the greater you become.
For instance, our human consciousness, limited to this Earth and possessing vague concepts and dreams of a solar life, enables us to look outwards through our telescopes into the Galaxy and towards the Island-Universes beyond the Galaxy, and have thoughts about them; but they are thoughts; they are not the actual becoming of our consciousness into those things -- i.e., actually becoming those things. But as our consciousness expands through evolution, it expands self-consciously to take in the solar system, and then still later in aeonic time to comprehend the Galaxy.
Can it not happen that an entity on an electron, say on one in our body, may evolve to such divine power that it gives to the whole human entity a saving divine impulse, because it is so spiritually mighty?
Yes; but do you know what that electron is? That electron is our individual spiritual Monad -- the very one of which you speak. My answer to your question is, "Yes." Our spiritual consciousness is the entity on the spiritual Monad that you speak of, for the Monad is itself, both the entity and its habitat.
You will remember how the Hindu Upanishads nobly express this thought: "Smaller than the smallest atom; vaster than the Universe." It is verily so; for this is consciousness. The Upanishads speak of Brahman, as you know, as being more minute than an atom, and yet comprehending the Universe. Oh how lofty is this conception to think about! Why our Theosophists do not ponder over it more, is amazing to me. Try to enter into the cosmic atom within you, the cosmic electron that is your own Monad. It is the very heart of you. You are the inhabitant of it. It is your habitat.
By G. de Purucker
[From OCCULT GLOSSARY]
A compound Greek word: theos, a "divine being," a "god"; sophia, "wisdom"; hence divine wisdom. Theosophy is the majestic wisdom-religion of the archaic ages and is as old as thinking man is. It was delivered to the first human protoplasts, the first thinking human beings on this earth, by highly intelligent spiritual entities from superior spheres. This ancient doctrine, this esoteric system, has been passed down from guardians to guardians to guardians through innumerable generations until our own time. Furthermore, portions of this original and majestic system have been given out at various periods of time to various races in various parts of the world by those guardians when humanity stood in need of such extension and elaboration of spiritual and intellectual thought.
Theosophy is not a syncretistic philosophy-religion-science, a system of thought or belief which has been put together piecemeal and consisting of parts or portions taken by some great mind from other various religions or philosophies. This idea is false. On the contrary, theosophy is that single system or systematic formulation of the facts of visible and invisible nature that, as expressed through the illuminated human mind, takes the apparently separate forms of science and of philosophy and of religion. We may likewise describe theosophy to be the formulation in human language of the nature, structure, origin, destiny, and operations of the kosmical universe and of the multitudes of beings which infill it.
It might be added that theosophy, in the language of H.P. Blavatsky, is "the sub-stratum and basis of all the world-religions and philosophies, taught and practiced by a few elect ever since man became a thinking being. In its practical bearing, Theosophy is purely divine ethics; the definitions in dictionaries are pure nonsense, based on religious prejudice and ignorance."
By M.G. Gowsell
[From THE THEOSOPHICAL PATH, December 1950, pages 753-54.]
In thought, I found myself going through the vast evergreen forests that clothe the Cascade Mountains. Moving over the forest floor, in the ever-changing lights, I found again the valley trails which, though dim and hard to find and to follow, were yet of some aid.
There was the same old silence, the same brooding and magic power of stillness. It seemed as though this mighty hush had wrought its spell upon even the wind and the water. No bird, nor beast, nor faintest breeze was astir, so that even the trees kept to themselves their secrets. Not the slightest murmur was heard from the running brooks, for the waters had sung their last songs to the foothills as they wound about on their way down to the sea.
Everywhere was the rich old forest fragrance. The air was damp, for the forest had been drenched by recent rains that had swept in from the Pacific Coast. In the limpid light, the sparkling drops that clung to the leaves were like clustered jewels gracing that pure virgin forest. It seemed as though the forest wept -- either from fear or joy.
Rambling over these faint old trails, greetings were extended to many a stately tree, as to dear old friends. In their home silence and sacred peace, a sweet calm flowed from their presence. Strewn about over the forest floor were grand old cedars, once the pride of former forests' days and nights. Robed in dainty mosses, but with hearts as sound as on the day they fell, they lay, as amidst pleasant dreams. While they slept and dreamed away the time, their huge trunks wrapped in brilliant green, the hemlock seeds found on them a fitting place to start a growth of baby trees, all with the hope of reaching the light that their elders had found. Near by, in the soft clear light, loomed grand and lofty Lowland Firs. Their calm, poise, and sacred beauty shed a mighty blessing over the place whereon they stood.
About halfway up the mountainside were groves of Noble Fir. On the mountain crest were found the White-barked Pines. The pines sheltered these groves of Noble Fir. The firs in their turn made shelter for the deep snows beneath them, just as loyal hosts would kindly welcome wandering knights of old.
Here and there, nestling along the summits, were Beauty's own lakes, all as clear as crystal. Round them, like sentinels to fairyland, were trees of witchlike grace and charm. Mirrored with the cloudless blue they stood, like heirlooms from a Golden Age, a beauteous sight with which to feast the eyes and calm the mind.
By Leon Maurer
Consider the assumption that matter and energy generate from nothing. Causally, this position is logically fallacious. Some argue it without explaining how it works. Mathematics does not decide the nature of universal truth. That is decided by the universe itself. As it is, the universe allows us to discover the mathematics that describes it.
All energy derives from motion. Such motion cannot come from non-motion (the zero-point-instant alone). The primal zero-point must accompany a surrounding abstract "angular motion." This can only be an inherent attribute, the spinning of the zero point itself. Since there is no friction or resistance of primal space to slow such spin motion, its angular velocity and frequency would potentially be infinite, as would be its information carrying capacity. Thus, its energy (as angular momentum) would also be infinite.
I call this primal abstract angular motional energy circling the zero-point, "spinergy." It is the root of cycles, and of all subsequent energies linked to all phenomenal fields, from spiritual and mental energy-substance to physical mass-energy (ref: E=MC^2).
This is how (1) zero relates to infinity, and how manifest energy and linear motion comes from (2) "something." We must conclude these are the two orders of reality, existing abstractly (as noumenon) within the unity of (3) the eternal (timeless) primal "Space." These aspects of the "great unknown" (or primal monadic root) constitutes the fundamental "trinity" that ultimately resolves, upon manifestation, into the triune phenomenal universe. They are the first cause of all that was, is, or ever will be.
This verifies Blavatsky's statement that the unknown Absolute source, the one "reality" is "BOTH empty and full." It is "unknown," simply because finite mind-beings are unable to experience, observe, or measure it. That is, it is Empty at its "zero-point" and full in its surrounding infinite "spinergy." It is empty of form and phenomena, but full of infinite potentialities.>From this infinite potentiality, or "diversity within a unity,"
the whole universe involves and evolves. It forms the sevenfold
"coadunate but not consubstantial" field nature of all beings. It does this in accordance with the fundamental laws of cycles and periodicity that underlie the laws of electricity (from a scientific standpoint) as well as the laws of karma (from a mystical or theosophical standpoint).
By analogy, these laws are similar in governing the cause and effect chains:
action -> reaction -> action -> ...
The chains are governed within and between the various coadunate fields, their vibrational information-carrying processes, as well as the inductive-resonance process for transference of such information from one field to another.
On the material plane, science can only describe the working of these laws using a subtle and complex form of infinite set numerical mathematics that also requires symbolic multidimensional diagrams. This geometrical approach requires at least ten dimensional vector analysis and abstruse linear and nonlinear equations. This is unfortunate for many of us ignorant of higher mathematics.
Picture a fundamental "simplicity" that leads to an evolving "complexity." It follows fixed laws of information acquisition, storage, and transformation. It also follows physical particle and energy interactions and reactions. This is the only logical way to describe a singular universe that revolves (involves and evolves) cyclically and periodically from chaos to order and from order to chaos. Such a universe has constant change along the way, leading to higher and higher levels of gained and retained diversified experience, knowledge, and wisdom. This conclusion holds up in the courts of both intuitive theosophical and rational scientific inquiry.
As far as modern science goes, the latest multidimensional theories of Superstrings and Membranes are getting closer and closer to the theosophical truths. THE SECRET DOCTRINE has fully presaged those theories, as it has presaged relativity and quantum physics.
Aside from the complex mathematics, its underlying logical assumptions are similar to the metaphysical relationship of the zero-point with its surrounding "spinergy" or zero-point energy (ZPE).
In agreement with theosophical truths are the speculations of Superstring theorists, along with some theories of quantum cosmology, relativity, and quantum physics (by Einstein, Heisenberg, Bohm, Hawkings, Penrose, Sarfatti, and others). Apart from these, unfortunately, mainstream science still has not given up its materialistic bias.
Science ignores the gap between the primal source and the "Big Bang" (on the material plane). Along with my ABC holographic field theory, Theosophy has covered this gap relatively clearly. This is done using the apparently valid linkage between holistic- deductive theosophical or "metaphysical" science and reductive- inductive "physical" science at its most advanced stage. As a description of a complete and consistent causal system from zero to infinite diversity (and vice versa) I don't think it could be explained in any simpler or more logically valid terms.
I hope this clarifies things a bit. It indicates that the simple (as well as complex) scientific and logical explanation of the "Great Unknown" as well as its Cosmogenesis and Anthropogenesis, is already fully disclosed in THE SECRET DOCTRINE. The student can find it defined there -- should he or she be intuitive enough to read, "THROUGH the blinds, BETWEEN the lines, and IN the words," as HPB advised her students.
By Victor Endersby
[CHRONICLES ON THE PATH, Part XVI. This 18-part series appeared in THEOSOPHICAL NOTES from September 1951 through November 1954.]
Jekkara read it with a swelling joy. The great moment had come for the face-to-face meeting. He read it again:
Having served the wisdom faithfully according to your understanding for seven years, the time for testing is at hand. You will present yourself at sunrise tomorrow at the eastern gate of the Ashram.
-- Your Guru.
He was puzzled. He sat under Suryachakra, the High Priest, every day. Why write him a letter? The Great One could lead him into the Presence with due ceremony and observance upon his daily reporting for duty.
He was uneasy about the phrase, "according to your understanding." He had observed every rule, obeyed every order, even the least hint from those above. He had searched his heart for any trace of reluctance or unclean mind every day according to the rules. Why the qualifying phrase? It must be that howsoever he tried there were lapses his mind did not catch, serious enough to call for correction. He thought this was cause for joy rather than misgiving. Correction by the One he was to meet was more desirable than praise from the entire world.
At the appointed hour and place, he saw no one looking outward from the gate. There were the usual streaming inwards of disciples, intent upon their duties. He did not know what to anticipate. Might some messenger come to usher him within the building to some secret place, perhaps even the face of the Guru Himself?
He grew fearful as the minutes passed, trying to tell himself that this was the first test, a test of patience. Yet despite this thought, a nameless panic slowly filled him, until at last in fright, he fled into the temple and sought out its High Priest. The chela at the door graciously bowed him within, as was his wont. The High One was always gracious, even to the least of aspirants. Suryachakra gazed at him with kindly, questioning eyes. Jekkara was alarmed.
"The -- the letter?" He choked.
Suryachakra raised his eyebrows. "Letter?"
Jekkara extended it. Suryachakra read it with a strange expression. Jekkara thought him alarmed.
Quickly composing his features, Suryachakra looked up. "There is something to be seen to," he said. "If you will excuse me." Quickly, he swept out of the room. A long delay passed while Jekkara remained, becoming further frightened. At last, the Great One returned.
"My son," he said, "a scribe has made an error. I am sorry, but it is not your time. The letter was meant for another."
The world turned gray for Jekkara. "I thought I had done well. Is there no hope?"
"There is much hope, indeed, my boy. You have done well, but the Himavat was not raised within a day. You have more to overcome. With diligence, it shall not be long."
Jekkara resigned himself to the rejection, and went away submissively, taking comfort from the priest's manner. He hoped that in the next year he might come again for testing.
Years went by, one following another. Instead of the fulfillment he expected, it seemed the goal was farther than ever. Suryachakra's manner had changed. He was no longer easy to see in private. In instruction to the group, His tongue toward Jekkara grew sharper. Jekkara could find naught in himself to cause this.
Jekkara began to have moods of black despair. If one could not please the High Priest, what chance did one have of pleasing the Hidden Guru, so much greater and more critical?
One day on an errand, he passed a curtained doorway, hearing the voice of the High Priest speaking to one of the envied high chelas.
"What are we to do with that fool, Jekkara?" Suryachakra said impatiently.
Speaking to himself in shock, Jekkara said, "At least, I shall now discover what is amiss with me."
"He does not seem discouraged at all?"
"Discouraged he seems, yes, but he is tremendously stubborn. It is only a matter of time until he suspects. Meantime, the money left for his education and training by his doting parents has long been expended, and he is a useless mouth to feed. He cannot be made use of. He is too stupid, too stubbornly credulous of the impossible morals and promise of our so-called wisdom. He would furiously denounce us should he suspect."
"But then many have done that. Who believed them?"
"Such is the difficulty. There have been too many. The droplets of suspicion begin to wear away the stone of faith. This headlong honest idiocy of Jekkara's, reckoning not of his own hurts and hardships, has gone far abroad. There are some in whose minds even I might weigh along with him in the balance."
"Well then," said the chela, his voice falling to a whisper unheard, as the two departed in some other direction, leaving the shattered candidate to drag himself toward his quarters as best he might.
Among readers, some may have passed a night of red-and-black agony as Jekkara had. Only they know its full horror. Jekkara did not understand half that he had heard, but what he did understand was too much for him. That sodden raining morning, he rolled his few possessions into a cloth and fled without aim, direction, or purpose. He only wanted to forget that place, which had turned evil overnight for him.
Jekkara begged at times, and other times did poorly paid and unskilled work. There was little else to remember during the following months save cold, hunger, hard places to bed down, the scorn of others, and his sometimes getting kicked.
A dull, stubborn will to live emerged. He vigorously sought livelihood in many ways, trying to develop his skills. Save the lowliest tasks, all that he essayed encroached upon the jealously guarded rights of various castes. At last, he resigned himself to labor rejected by even the most destitute.
His numbed mind recovered the faculty of motion. He began to seek the causes of life. "Under karma," he thought. "But what do I know of this karma, save what I have been told by Suryachakra the False, and his cohorts? False in many things, why not false in all that they tell me? What now do I really know of the cycle of rebirth, or of the great sweeping wheel of time, its clearance and equalizing, from what I have been taught?"
The first thrust of his reawakened mind brought the most lancing pain of all. It brought doubt, adding new darkness to a night already seeming impenetrable. The dugpa in a high place had done a double work. Undiscovered, he subtly corrupted doctrine and practice, leading the student's conscience astray. Once he was discovered, the shock of betrayal turns in the student into a sour vomit of doubt. The student is left with undigested doctrine in his stomach from having followed the path of another, rather than light in his own heart.
The dugpa has a problem of his own. To corrupt the Wisdom, he must teach it. For some, he becomes an unwitting channel for knowledge, however delayed and restricted that knowledge may be. By its unremitting pressure, the Wisdom seeps slowly through all channels, foul and clean.
Slowly, Jekkara learned to separate what he had heard from what he knew. He learned to part what he knew from Nature, from his own heart, and the hearts of others.
Through all this, he never forgot the letter. As time went on, it seemed unlikely to be the mistake that Suryachakra had claimed. A thought came to grow on him. Some at the Ashram were cognizant of its deception. They knew reality. They sent the letter, intending to intercept him at the gate. They planned to take him to a secret place where the truth might be revealed to him, where he might be delivered from the wiles of scoundrels.
He thought that if this were so, these friends had been weak, well meaning as they might have been. They had been prevented by some accident, or perhaps violent act. Moreover, had they been worthy to follow, they would made themselves known to him when he departed.
He thought that perhaps something had frightened them away. Nevertheless, he kept the letter. It was well bound in a skin envelope. He hoped some day to solve its mystery. A new purpose began to emerge to lighten his life. This was to share with the humble people the deep philosophy. He had finally sorted this philosophy out of the melange of Ashram teachings that he had absorbed for so many years. After all, he reflected, it did not need a great hall or fine raiment for one to talk to those who might listen. He would share a bit, whatever he could.
When he tried to share this philosophy, though, his speech was awkward and timid. He realized that his former lively flow of words, his former confidence in himself and the Wisdom that had caused hundreds to listen, did not come from within. It came from the praises and admiration of others, from the sense of security afforded by them, by the touch of comrades seemingly on the same path.
Alone, he was nothing. Those about him now knew naught of these scholarly words or their fine and subtle meanings. He could not put his thoughts -- any high thoughts at all -- in the speech of these humble people whom he now addressed.
Now that he was unprotected, he found the world selfish, dishonest, lustful, and greedy. Dolefully reflecting upon this, he had the blinding insight that the armor he wore could be used for something other than protection. It could keep out the dark. Within himself was a place where no evil may enter. The utmost price that he might pay for his effort was death, but it was ridiculous to fear death.
Thenceforth, to one who snatched half of his last crust, he gave the rest. If one despitefully turned him from the flapless door of his hut, he sat in that door through the chill of the night to ward off cold for the other. He came near to death doing this, but was no longer ignored. Some fled him as a madman. Some hastened to placate and feed him for the same reason.
Here and there, some humble man, mindful of the ancient legends, the half-forgotten Wisdom, saw him to be a holy man, and would have followed him had he so permitted. He did not allow this. He saw that it would mock holy things were any to become followers of him. He offered nothing. He gave to all as a gift of no worth. One who followed this could only come to harm and folly.
In time, from across many years and countless miles, news came of the black iniquities that were found behind the mask of his former Ashram. News came of the people from the town burning it and stoning its monks. He was not moved. He had known of the wrong that was there. The details mattered not. The retribution was to be expected. It was karma.
Finally, in the monsoon, Jekkara set upon a heart-breaking and backbreaking task amid a strange crew. A rich village lay on a plain. The village lie miles from a gorge in the mountains, where ran a path followed by wandering men from many lands.
The river was flooding. It threatened to top the bend in the dike near the village. The lowest spot of the dike was manned by men enticed by the floodmaster from the hungry wanderers along the path.
The flood rose inch by inch. The mud heaped upon the dike would cling to the wooden shovels. The men wearily carried back two-thirds of all they lifted. They slipped, stumbled, and fell in the mire. Upon each foot rode a ball of mud the size of a turban. The ever-rising water required backbreaking effort without rest.
These homeless men labored furiously, looking upon the peaceful village below, remembered that helpless women and children lay within these houses. Most remembered their past lives, and out of those arose a long-buried sense of duty. They found strength for the effort. Even so, they cursed bitterly at the oblivious tradesmen of that town.
Just before Jekkara joined them, they threatened the floodmaster with dropping their shovels. They had the floodmaster go into the village and demand that every man and youth come join them in working the dike. This fellow now rejoined them with bitter face.
"What said they?" cried the crowd.
"They said that they had the utmost confidence in my ability to do what is necessary with what is at hand. They said that I have never failed them yet, and they did not believe that I should now."
A groaning curse arose. Several threw down their shovels and departed. Shortly, they slackened their pace and returned shamefacedly.
"I, for one," said one, "do not propose to lose what I have left of manhood merely because those fat paunches are not men -- even in behalf of their women and children." The rest looked at him for a moment. These were men with many strange faces, including two yellow ones with slant eyes from distant Cathay.
Here was a huge man that none could place. He was a man with red hair and beard, skin lighter than the rest, a roaring voice, and overbearing manner. He was freakish, of monstrous birth. Even so, he was handy in that place, for whatever weight of mud that another might shift, he would shift double that. This monster stood erect and nodded, making loud and uncouth noises that seemed to signify approval.
The speaker was one they called the Joker. He was small and wizened, a man with a wry face and a laugh for every pain. Only he was second to the red-beard man in prowess with the mud-balled shovel. The crew had been held together as much from fear of his biting scorn as by anything they knew.
They turned to work again with renewed life, but the stoutest will must yield at last. The flood rose faster, within inches of topping the dyke. Some looked at the black cloud-swathed bulk of the merciless mountains, sending down the rolling, ever-rising waters. They saw that once the dike of soft mud was breached, every man would be sucked under with it. Seeing this, they threw away their shovels and fled.
The desertions became a stampede. At last, there were only three left on the dike: Jekkara, the Joker, and the red monster. The Joker's shovel came to rest at last. He leaned on it and silently watched. The giant followed suit. Jekkara realized that only minutes were left to look upon the things of this world. His only feeling was relief that the end of sorrow was at hand. Jekkara had followed a false path. He had failed as a chela. He had failed as a teacher. At the end, he had not failed as a man, though that end left him in swirling muddy waters.
The red man stood, his roaring muted, seemingly lost in silent thought, perhaps of the same kind, for all Jekkara could know. Strangely, the Joker still seemed like a living man. Though quiet, his eyes remained bright, alert, and watchful. He was deeply interested as he looked upon the waters, but unconcerned, like one who awaited the climax of a play in the marketplace.
A thin lip of water, edged with brown foam, ventured halfway across the dike. Another, thicker, followed it. A few drops trickled down on the village side. A third began a thin muddy stream that ate into the soft dike like a saw into wood. Then the overflowing trickle of water was no more. The Joker stooped and set a twig into the water's edge on the dike. Long minutes passed. At last, visible space showed between the water and a thin line of foam on the stick that marked the highest level. The air glowed. The Joker silently pointed to the sky, where a brilliant blue patch showed over the mountains. The others heaved great signs.
The Joker's gaze remained fixed quizzically on Jekkara's face.
"Does that letter still puzzle you?" he asked.
Jekkara jerked violently with astonishment.
"It is a wise man," continued the Joker, "who can discern the beginning of a test. Wiser still is the man whom can understand the manner of it. Wisest of all is one whom can tell when it has come to an end."
At that moment, the villagers, aroused simultaneously to their dreadful peril and the ending of it, came swarming on the dike with praises. Some even extended a few copper coins in appreciation.
Dully, lost in a mental spin, Jekkara heard arrangements being made for a feast of thanksgiving, to which all who had worked on the dike were bidden, regardless of caste and race, though under separate sheds of course.
The Joker spoke to Jekkara: "There is better work to do elsewhere."
He thrust his shovel into the mud and directed his soggy footsteps towards the mountains, not looking back. Jekkara followed. The red-beard man glanced after them, then toward the crowd bound for the feast. He glanced again. Then he followed the other two.
By George William Russell
[From IMAGINATION AND REVERIES, pages 161-66.]
Ananda rose from his seat under the banyan tree. He passed his hand unsteadily over his brow. Throughout the day, the young ascetic had been plunged in profound meditation. Now returning from heaven to earth, he was bewildered like one who awakens in darkness and knows not where he is.
All day long before his inner eye burned the light of the Lokas, until he was wearied and exhausted with their splendors. Space glowed like a diamond with intolerable luster, and there was no end to the dazzling procession of figures. He had seen the fiery dreams of the dead in heaven. He had been tormented by the music of celestial singers, whose choral song reflected in its ripples the rhythmic pulse of being. He saw how these orbs were held within luminous orbs of wider circuit. Vaster and vaster grew the vistas, until at last, a mere speck of life, he bore the burden of innumerable worlds. Seeking for Brahma, he found only the great illusion as infinite as Brahma's being.
If these things were shadows, the earth and the forests he returned to, viewed at evening, seemed still more unreal, the mere dusky flutter of a moth's wings in space, so filmy and evanescent that if he had sunk as through transparent ether into the void, it would not have been wonderful.
Ananda, still half entranced, turned homeward. As he treaded the dim alleys, he noticed not the flaming eyes that regarded him from the gloom. The serpents rusted amid the undergrowth. There were lizards, fireflies, insects, and the innumerable lives of which the Indian forest was rumored to have. They also were but shadows.
He paused near the village, hearing the sound of human voices, of children at play. He felt a pity for these tiny beings, which struggled and shouted, rolling over each other in ecstasies of joy. The great illusion had indeed devoured them, before whose spirits the Devas themselves once were worshippers.
Close beside him, he heard a voice, whose low tone of reverence soothed him. It was akin to his own nature, and it awakened him fully. A little crowd of five or six people listened silently to an old man who read from a palm leaf manuscript. Ananda knew by the orange-colored robes of the old man that here was a brother of the new faith, and he paused with the others. What was his illusion?
The old man lifted his head for a moment as the ascetic came closer, and then continued as before. He was reading "The Legend of the Great King of Glory," and Ananda listened while the story was told of the Wonderful Wheel, the Elephant Treasure, the Lake, and Palace of Righteousness, and of the meditation, how:
The Great King of Glory entered the golden chamber, and set himself down on the silver couch, and be let his mind pervade one quarter of the world with thoughts of love; and so the second quarter, and so the third, and so the fourth. Thus throughout the whole world -- above, below, around, and everywhere -- did he continue to pervade with heart of Love, far reaching, grown great, and beyond measure.
When the old man had ended, Ananda went back into the forest. He had found the secret of the true, how the Vision could be left behind and the Being entered. Another legend rose in his mind, a fairy legend of righteousness expanding and filling the universe, a vision beautiful and full of old enchantment, and his heart sang within him.
Ananda seated himself again under the banyan tree. He rose up in soul. He saw before him images long forgotten of those who suffer in the sorrowful earth. He saw the desolation and loneliness of old age, the insults of the captive, the misery of the leper and outcast, the chill horror and darkness of life in a dungeon. He drank in all their sorrow. From his heart, he went out to them. Love, a fierce and tender flame, arose; pity, a breath from the vast; sympathy, born of unity. This triple fire sent forth its rays. They surrounded those dark souls. They pervaded them. They beat down oppression.
While Ananda, with spiritual magic, sent forth the healing powers through the four quarters of the world, far away at that moment a king sat enthroned in his hall. A captive was bound before him -- bound, but proud, defiant, unconquerable of soul. There was silence in the hall until the king spake the doom and torture for this ancient enemy.
The king spoke. "I had thought to do some fierce thing to thee and so end thy days, my enemy. I remember now, with sorrow, the great wrongs we have done to each other, and the hearts made sore by our hatred. I shall do no more wrong to thee. Thou art free to depart. Do what thou wilt. I will make restitution to thee as far as may be for thy ruined state."
Then the soul which no might power could conquer was conquered utterly -- the knees of the captive were bowed and his pride was overcome. "My brother," he said, and could say no more.
To watch for years a little narrow slit high up in a dark cell, so high that he could not reach up and look out, and there to see daily the change from blue to dark in the sky, had withered a prisoner's soul. The bitter tears came no more, hardly even sorrow, only a dull, dead feeling.
That day a great groan burst from him. He heard outside the laugh of a child who was playing and gathering flowers under the high, gray walls. Then it all came over him -- the divine things that he had missed, the light, the glory, and the beauty that the earth puts forth for her children. The narrow slit was darkened, and half of a little bronze face appeared.
"Who are you down there in the darkness who sigh so? Are you all alone there? For so many years! Ah, poor man! I would come down to you if I could, but I will sit here and talk to you for a while. Here are flowers for you," and a little arm showered them in by handfuls until the room was full of the intoxicating fragrance of summer. Day after day, the child came, and the dull heart entered once more into the great human love.
At twilight, by a deep and wide river, an old woman sat alone, dreamy, and full of memories. The lights of the swift passing boats and the light of the stars were just as in childhood and the old love-time. Old, feeble, it was time for her to hurry away from the place that changed not with her sorrow.
"Do you see our old neighbor there?" said Ayesha to her lover. "They say she was once as beautiful as you would make me think I now am. How lonely she must be! Let us come near and speak to her," and the lover went gladly. Though they spoke to each other rather than to her, yet something of the past, which never dies when love, the immortal, has pervaded it, rose up again as she heard their voices. She smiled, thinking of years of burning beauty.
A teacher, accompanied by his disciples, was passing by the wayside where a leper sat.
The teacher said, "Here is our brother, whom we may not touch, but he need not be shut out from truth. We may sit down where he can listen."
He sat on the wayside near the leper, and his disciples stood around him. He spoke words full of love, kindliness, and pity -- the eternal truths that make the soul grow full of sweetness and youth. A small, old spot began to glow in the heart of the leper, and the tears ran down his blighted face.
All these were the deeds of Ananda the ascetic, and the Watcher who was over him from all eternity made a great stride towards that soul.
By Boris de Zirkoff
[From the first part of a tape recording entitled "Death and After-Death States, Part II" made of a private class held on November 10, 1954.]
There is more to rain than people realize. Poets speak of the mating of sky and earth. The expression hides a profound occult fact. The weather deals with the circulations of the universe. All kinds of living entities circulate from sphere to sphere and plane to plane. They circulate through the inner and outer realms of the universe.
With keen intuition and deep perception, we can catch many of the mysteries of nature's own moods, its own realm of natural feeling. Nature manifests them in the rains, winds, and clouds. We understand Nature using analogy, the key to the universal structure of being.
In our studies of the journey of man in the after-death conditions, we find him in some subdivision of the astral world. He is gradually disentangling himself from his lower passionate elements. These substances and forces pertain to personal, human, terrestrial desires. Each person has a mixture of these elements, some gross, some ethereal.
The human Ego has freed itself from the physical and grosser astral bodies. Before it can completely leave this sphere of Earth, it must free itself again. During life, it encased itself with desire and a lower form of thought allied to that desire. We call this process the Second Death.
This happens in the Kamaloka, a particular realm of the astral light. The person is in a cocoon that has to disintegrate, just as the physical body had. The aggregate of substances has to break up. From the cracking up envelope of desire elements and substances, the real human Ego issues forth. It gradually enters Devachan. In many cases, this process begins even before physical death.
Everything in Nature is progressive. There are no jumping-off places and no set barriers. Conditions and states always overlap. The man dies while still alive and becomes an adult while still in infancy. While young, he goes into old age. Energies and forces tend to foreshadow future events. When events happen, they foreshadow events yet to come. Cycles constantly overlap.
Consider the composite human constitution. It consists of principles and elements, which we might call wavelengths. They have their own rates of motion, development, and unfoldment. During the Second Death, one's the astral components die. For the human Ego, the Second Death is a birth into the world of devachanic sleep.
Be careful in using words. In Western languages, we do not have terms to describe these conditions. The East has. If we were to speak to new students about the after-death states using the term "bardo," they would not understand us. Why be misunderstood? We speak about sleep. Using that word, people misunderstand us again. Some would say that we consider the after-death as nothing but another sleep! Yes, we do by analogy. No, we do not, if meaning sleep literally. There is a perfect analogy between everyday sleep on Earth and Devachan. There is a perfect analogy but not an identity.
In the waking condition, we see as unreal everything of last night's sleep and dreams. We call the waking state real. Our sleep and dreams are unreal relative to it. Occasionally, we wake up and tell friends how a dream seemed more real than anything in the waking state seems.
The devachanic sleep is immeasurably more real to the human Ego than the waking state on Earth. Experiencing devachanic sleep, the human soul has no physical body. It has neither physical brain nor nervous system. It does not have its lower desire elements. It lacks every physical and practically all of its lower astral constitution.
Take care when using these words. The devachanic entity does not think the same way that one thinks with his brain. We cannot speak about feeling. The devachanee has feeling, but not in the sense in which we have. In the devachanic world, one objectifies, exteriorizes, and produces thought and feeling from within. One produces ones own world at that time, which is one's reality.
Devachan is semi-spiritual but not spiritually real. It is a spiritual illusion. It is devoid of the experience of suffering, pain, anxiety, and worry. The devachanic entity has no thought of these and is for the time unaware that they even exist. The fundamental keynote of its consciousness is unalloyed bliss and happiness supreme. To the average human being, this condition is automatic.
The unevolved, average human soul needs Devachan for two reasons. It needs a complete change of vibratory rate. It has experienced too much sorrow, disappointment, and pain. To recuperate, it must be plunged into utter peace and happiness.
We may not be proud of the average human being of the present era, including ourselves. Even so, he has many beautiful aspirations, beautiful desires, and noble yearnings during life. They may be momentary but they are noble. He cannot realize most, as they give way to selfishness. He has no karmic circumstances to realize the yearnings. With few exceptions, they are frustrated, sometimes from birth to death.
In the world of devachanic consciousness, the human Ego imagines itself realizing these yearnings. This is the second reason it needs the Devachan. Call it a fool's paradise if you like. It is so, relatively speaking.
Even so, the human Ego does more than realize its spiritual yearnings for beauty and goodness. The Ego also expands upon the original themes, building grander achievements. Devachan is a dream, but do not let the word catch you. Many things in life seemingly real and tangible are but a dream.
The human incarnate existence is not real. The temporary after-death Kamaloka is not. The beautiful spiritual dream of Devachan is not either. None is reality. All are below the real realms, the spiritual realms above illusion.
As we speak of Devachan as a dream, remember that things here and
now are dreamlike too. Today, you are a six-foot man in perfect
After the second death, the entity gradually enters its Devachan. With modifications, this will last until its next birth. Strictly speaking, it lasts through the early years of infancy. There is still some devachanic consciousness. As everything else, the devachanic cycle has its beginning, its full efflorescence, and its ending, as it wanes away in the future birth.
The Devachan is not a land or country nor a plane or sphere. It is a state of consciousness. In order to experience it, the human entity does not have to be at some definite place. Devachan can be experienced in many places.
In one's extreme old age, Devachan might begin. It would be partial, because the individual is not dead yet. It will increase in intensity until it is real. Then it will last many years. Then it will begin to end.
Try to get this subtle point. After someone's death, we only call him or her "human" by courtesy. It is not a correct term. The term "man" means something definite. A human entity is someone incarnate. We mean someone with inner and intermediate principles embodied in an astral form and these embodied in a physical form. We mean a sevenfold, complete individual in our present state of evolution.
That aggregate or compound constitution breaks up naturally through the process of so-called death. It has left the physical body in one realm and the astral body in another realm. In a third realm, it has left all its desire elements. What we used to call a sevenfold-incarnated man no longer exists. We do not have what we specifically understand as "man" on earth.
Within the consciousness of the Atma-Buddhi or Spiritual Monad, the human soul or human Ego is in devachanic sleep. It is not a man. It used to be one on Earth. It will be one in its next incarnation. The Orientals are more logical in calling them devas. Deva simply means a shining one.
Now dead, my father, grandfather, and mother are not human beings anymore. They are devas. The term "human" does not describe their current characteristics. Some may have been ordinary on Earth and others advanced occultists or adepts. The natural process of death has completely broken up part of their constitution. The Orient Esotericists tell us that they are not men, but shining ones. They are spiritual entities between two lives in some condition of consciousness for a time. That is a more logical view.
To be understood and not pedantic, we speak of the human entity. We call it the human Ego in its devachanic sleep. We say it is sleeping and dreaming that condition in the encircling consciousness of the Monad. It lives within the sphere, fabric, or structure of the consciousness of that greater entity of which it is a ray. This is not the bosom of one's own personal Monad, but of something greater, one's Atman-Buddhi. For brevity, we call it the Spiritual Monad.
The Spiritual Monad has its own journey, moving from planet to planet through the circle of the sacred planets of the ancients. By this, they meant Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Moon (standing as symbol for a mystery planet), and Sun (also standing as symbol for a mystery planet). The seven planets were sacred to Earth because they are instrumental in building up the Earth.
The Spiritual Monad moves around the circle of these planets, carrying within its consciousness the human Ego in its devachanic sleep. This is hard to describe clearly. The ancient teaching is specific but our words are limited. We say it moves, travels, journeys, or peregrinates. Picture a train moving on the railway from point A to point B, or an airplane taking off and flying to a place a thousand miles away. Physical distances are an earthly conception. So is clock time.
For brevity, we say the Spiritual Monad passes from the sphere of one planet to the sphere of the next around the circle of the sacred planets, constituting an Outer Round. We have spoken about Inner Rounds, along the globes of one planetary chain. In the Outer Rounds, we circle from one planetary chain to another, through the seven sacred planets of the solar system. There is a perfect analogy in this idea, but a different scale of magnitude.
The Spiritual Monad moves to the next planet, leaving Earth behind. It has brief evolutionary experiences, and then moves onto the next planet. It has brief evolutionary experiences there, and then moves to the next. Why brief? In the present Manvantara, that Spiritual Monad belongs to planet Earth, the Earth Chain. This is where it centers for long ages.
Sometimes the same Spiritual Monad centers on another planet of the solar system. Its embodiments there will be as long as or longer than our embodiment on the Earth Chain. Presently, our particular Spiritual Monads have their home on this chain. All of their experiences in other chains are brief, until they return and the human Ego issues from its devachanic sleep for another embodiment on earth.
In an Outer Round, the Spiritual Monad goes through the planets to the sun, the center of all life. It passes rapidly through the various sacred planets. These planets are sacred to the Earth because of their karmic relation to it. Reaching the Sun is the height of its journey, the climax. Reaching the Sun is not the final point on the journey. Sometime during the Outer Rounds, the Spiritual Monad will go as far as the Sun, but then will return through other planetary chains to the earth.
There is constant motion. The Spiritual Monad constantly moves in a circle called the Outer Rounds. In the present Manvantara, its sojourn on Earth is longer than on other chains. With that exception, it has experiences on all the chains. Meanwhile, the human Ego is unaware of that journey. That Ego is you or I. It is the higher part of our "I Am I" consciousness. It is in its own devachanic sleep.
As the Spiritual Monad touches the other planetary chains, it issues forth from within itself a portion of its consciousness belonging to those chains. The particular ray seeking experience on one of those chains is not the human Ego that lived on Earth. It is the ray within the Spiritual Monad belonging to that particular chain. Depending upon how you put it, the overall system is either sevenfold or twelvefold. Within the Spiritual Monad are the twelve potentialities. Each gathers experience from its respective planetary chain. The main station for the Spiritual Monad is the Earth Chain presently.
Sleeping its devachanic sleep, the human Ego requires time for rest. The Spiritual Monad journeys through the planetary chains carrying that Ego within its consciousness. It comes back to Earth at about the same time. It is marvelous that the laws of nature adjust so harmoniously. Just as the Spiritual Monad returns to the Earth Chain, the human Ego is ending its Devachan. These two things gear to one another.
When the Spiritual Monad returns to our chain, the human Ego begins to feel something difficult to explain. Meditating on it, we catch a faint realization. The human Ego feels the faint memories of earthly experience passing through the field of its consciousness. It begins to feel the stirring of memories of what it used to love.
This is not memories of what it used to be. Rather, it is memories of the conditions of consciousness that it experienced and loved. These produce a magnetic attraction. The rising magnetic potential drags the consciousness of the Ego back into the lower spheres of embodiment on Earth. There is the magnetic attraction generated within and the magnetic attraction of the life-atoms that it had left in this chain before it departed at the previous death. These attractions pull the human Ego down from its devachanic sleep into the intermediate states prior to physical birth. We skip many things there. This is only an outline.
The human Ego leaves the Earth Chain only by ascending through the globes of the Ascending Arc. Likewise, it must come down through the globes of the Descending Arc to reach Globe D, the lowest. This is where it incarnates now, picking up the aggregates of life-atoms that it has left behind.
This is a long and complex process. In the final stage, the Ego establishes a magnetic connection with the most active life-atom on the physical plane bearing a karmic relation to a set of parents. Then, it will pour itself through the channel established, as it sinks itself into incarnation. It pours its life energies and fluids into the cellular structure, beginning with one cell and continuing until a human being is born. It does this with the help of two parents who are the field of operation. Karmically connected with the entity, they provide little more than a field of operation.
A mother does not build the body of the child. She provides a matrix or field of operation. The Ego builds the human body by infusing into it astral, mental, and spiritual energies from within.
The fundamental point is that there is no connection between the blood circulation of the embryo and the blood circulation of the mother. With that point, physiology strongly supports occult teachings. Even if she wanted to, the mother cannot feed the baby embryo. There is no connection. As it grows into the fetus, the embryo is a distinct entity hanging from the matrix in which it grows.
The embryo is as independent as it can be. Independent, though, is always a relative term. Nothing is independent. The individual grows within the aura of the mother. That counts for something. The entity is by itself, largely independent of anything else, much more so than ordinary science imagines.
The human Ego is not completely out of Devachan by the time it has been born as a physical child. The devachanic condition continues through infancy. The infant gets out of it gradually. Until several years have passed, it lives more in the devachanic world than in incarnated existence on Earth.
The beautiful dreams and realizations of childhood continue the devachanic dream. Sometimes gradually and sometimes with a thud, the growing child realizes the stark reality of incarnated existence. This is painful. The dreams of childhood begin to disappear. The growing child becomes cynical and skeptical, often laughing at the funny things it had thought or felt. That is wrong. It should not be so. Better to cherish the connecting links with devachanic existence, links that can influence the whole life. We should not laugh at childhood dreams.
The human entity continues to progress during the journey of the Spiritual Monad through the inner spheres. In this context, we interpret the terms growth, development, and experience differently. We do not have self-conscious experiences. What happens has a powerful influence upon us. It reflects itself in the personality that we build in the next incarnation. This includes the after-death process of recuperation and spiritual assimilation. It also includes the influence upon us of our journey through spiritual spheres, not self-consciously aware but still present in them.
We can answer many things with both yes and no. It depends upon what we mean, upon the shading of our thought, and upon the interpretation of our terms. After our physical death, there are no self-conscious experiences to teach us lessons. We have no experiences as we did when alive, using the brain and nervous system. We have no emotional experiences, being happy and joyful or suffering with pain and sorrow. There is no such thing. For the time being, the personality has gone to pieces in a natural way. There are other types of experience for the spiritual entity devoid of that personality. We can answer many questions by yes and no. It depends upon what angle of thought we take and what we mean by the terms we employ.
It is better to draw a general picture and fill it in later than to go into details right away. Look at the after-death condition as an adventure. It is a tremendous adventure for every part of the man, from life-atoms up to the Spiritual Monad itself.
Death is not the dark shadow that man-made theologies have made. There is nothing to fear in it. It is a great adventure. Death consists of spiritual conditions of consciousness and a type of realization that one cannot otherwise attain except through initiation.
The more we think of these things, the more adventurous the picture becomes. It opens up tremendous vistas of possibility for the human soul as it passes from one sphere to the next, including the sphere of incarnated existence on earth.
As the Spiritual Monad goes through the seven sacred planets, it sows seeds. These seeds form the groundwork for fuller visits in Initiation and for its eventual incarnations on those planets. It leaves behind something to pick up when the time comes.
The Spiritual Monad is a god, a divine being. The Intellectual Monad or Reembodying Ego is its ray. At home is the entire solar system, the Spiritual Monad has as many Intellectual Monads as there are planets in the solar system, one for each planet. There are Reembodying Egos for the Earth Chain, the Mars Chain, the Venus Chain, the Jupiter Chain, and all the rest. The range of consciousness of each is the twelve globes of its respective planetary chain.