They who maintain that no atheist, as such, can be a true friend, an affectionate relative, or a loyal subject, utter -- whether consciously or unconsciously -- the greatest calumny and lie. To say that a materialist grows hard-hearted as he grows older, that he cannot love as a believer does, is simply the greatest fallacy.
There may be such exceptional cases, it is true, but these are found only occasionally in men who are even more selfish than they are skeptical, or vulgarly worldly. But when a man who is kindly disposed in his nature, for no selfish motives but because of reason and love of truth, becomes what is called atheistical, he is only strengthened in his family affections, and in his sympathies with his fellow men. All his emotions, all the ardent aspirations towards the unseen and unreachable, all the love which he would otherwise have uselessly bestowed on a supposititional heaven and its God, become now centered with tenfold force upon his loved ones and mankind.
-- H.P. Blavatsky, "A Bewitched Life," in OCCULT TALES, page 34.
By B.P. Wadia
[From THUS HAVE I HEARD, pages 286-88.]
Janus am I; oldest of potentates Forward I look, and backward and below. I count as god of avenues and gates, The years that through my portals come and go.
We begin a new year; this magazine begins a new volume.
January naturally brings to mind Janus who was reverenced by the Romans as the God of Beginnings. He was the God of Gates and was worshipped even before Rome was built. Janus watched "the gate that openeth the year." So he is the presiding deity over the month of January.
He had two faces -- old and young, the former representing the past, the latter the future. He held a key in one hand, a staff in the other. With the key of garnered knowledge, he opens the New Year. With the aid of the staff, he moves forward to higher altitudes.
"Janus-faced" is a term of opprobrium, but is not each human being a striving and progressing Janus-like being? Punya-Purusha, the man of merit, and Papa-Purusha, the man of sin, are in each being, wrestling for victory. Man IS two faced. The two faces representing our two natures. They look in opposite directions. They tell us that life and death are still necessary, that the fight between the lower and the higher natures is still going on, and that the future and the past are separated in the present yet. They tell us that the old and the new continue to cast a glamour, one from the region of memory, the other from that of hope.
At every dawn, man begins his life anew -- and hopefully he looks forward to the pleasures of the day; how often does he come to the night with hopes frustrated, feeling old; and how dark things look on a sleepless bed! Hopes and fears, memories and anticipations keep human consciousness in a non-integrated state. Time produces birth, growth, decay, death -- the old face of Janus has become older. Time also produces the delights of Sukhavati, the land of happiness, of Swarga, Paradise, which exhaust themselves and bring to birth the new young face -- for a day, for a month, for a year, for a cycle, with the weight of old age still there. The spirit of youth and the spirit of age coalesce in the man who has made his personal nature but a channel of the Impersonal Self. Then he is no more two-faced.
Some of us are young and others of us are old; some look to the past, others dream of the future. Hope in affliction, fear in elation keep us votaries of the two-faced Janus whose Temple we visit expectant at dawn, repentant at night; so it has to remain open.
He who has resolved to live by the Voice of his Inner God will repeat his resolve as the New Year opens. He who has not is likely to come to such a resolution at this cycle when the psychic life of the earth is young. The making of such a resolve transforms the ordinary man into the warrior soul; he begins to feel within himself the power of the Rex Lucis, the Lord of Splendor and of Light. For such an one some words of Henry David Thoreau will bring inspiration and suggest a line of thought to be practiced. Let him do so when Janus of 1952 is young and vigorous. Says Thoreau:
Be a Columbus to completely new continents and worlds within you, opening new channels, not of trade, but of thought. Every man is the lord of a realm beside which the earthly empire of the Czar is but a petty state, a hummock left by the ice. Yet some can be patriotic who have no self-respect, and sacrifice the greater to the less. They love the soil that makes their graves, but have no sympathy, with the spirit that may still animate their clay. Patriotism is a maggot in their heads ... There are continents and seas in the moral world, to which every man is an isthmus or an inlet, yet unexplored by him.
By John M. Prentice
[This is a true sketch of a Theosophist written by the President of the Australian Section of the Theosophical Society (Pasadena), from THE THEOSOPHICAL FORUM, February 1945, pages 71-72.]
He was a paradox in every way. Coming from a Prussian military family, he was a complete pacifist, renouncing his country and patrimony rather than bearing arms. Having appealed for an exemption to the highest authority in Germany and been refused, he spent the evening listening to a Wagnerian music-drama, crossed into Holland the next day, and made his way to the new land that was to be his home from that time on. The only sign of nostalgia he ever displayed was when he named his eldest daughter, years later, after the Wagnerian heroine.
Splendidly educated and born to a life of ease, it was paradoxical that he had to toil at hard manual labor ceaselessly during adult life. He never expressed the slightest resentment at any time, although he recognized the heavy toll taken of his physical resources. His life was one of Spartan simplicity yet his family was never in need.
Paradoxically, having left Germany nearly thirty years before for pacifism, he was the target of attack by rancorous forces during the First World War, and suffered heavily thereby. Even so, he showed no resentment, casting no blame.
In 1894, he joined the Theosophical Society. This followed a protracted study of ISIS UNVEILED and THE SECRET DOCTRINE, in both of which he became deeply versed.
His English was picturesque rather than pedantic. Yet he was able to carry on a worldwide correspondence, profitable to himself and to those to whom he expressed his thoughts, in that language, his small, spidery writing freely embellished by capital letters of un-English origin. He assisted in translating a considerable portion of our literature into his mother tongue. His wrathfully humorous exposition of inaccuracies in a German translation of the Bhagavad-Gita was long remembered by those who heard it.
He married a woman born of Continental parents in the new land. She was a splendidly sympathetic student, almost as brilliant as he was, but possessed of intuition whereas he was coldly logical and analytic. Their marriage was a romance. He saw her in the street of the port where he had that day disembarked and was wedded to her within the year. A foreigner who was traveling incognito, who later turned out to be a Russian nobleman of the highest rank, had already sought her in marriage. Like her husband, she never showed by word or action the slightest regret for her hard life, although her presence in later critical years in Petrograd might have changed history.
He was a natural-born Esotericist. Without any suggestion of psychism, he knew the truth of the Teachings, having lived the life. With uncanny accuracy, he evaluated the writings of others. He was one of the first to see divergences of teaching that brought tragic consequences to the Society later on. Unswervingly loyal to HPB and the original, basic teachings, he dismissed with a few humorous words anything that was not on the true line. He debunked people and their writings thoroughly, leaving them completely deflated of authority and devoid of value.
His natural sense of humor was never vindictive or hurtful. Regarding the Universe as the Lila of Ishvara, he joined in life as in a game, playing it to the full. Frequently, he said that humor was the saving grace of every Theosophist and that the criterion of that humor was the ability to laugh WITH others and AT oneself. His slow smile started in his eyes and lost itself in his red whiskers. In certain lights and angles, he was startlingly like William Q. Judge, although with different coloring.
He died in poverty, yet lacking no adequate comfort, laughing to the end. Heard by his daughter of the Wagnerian name, his last words were a quotation from an ancient Mystery Drama. "God laughed seven times. At the fourth laugh, because of the bitterness, Mind was born." It is easy to believe that for him in whom there was no trace of bitterness but only a deep rooted scorn for all that was not best, devachan is one long, delighted chuckle of laughter, like the ripple of Eternity on the reefs and cliffs of Time.
By George William Russell
[From THE CANDLE OF VISION, pages 77-88]
I had discovered through such dreams as that of the satirical ape that there is One who is vigilant through the sleep of the body. I was led by other dreams to assume that in the heart of sleep there is an intellectual being moving in a world of its own and using transcendental energies.
Most of the dreams we remember are chaotic. These seem often to be determined in character by the accident which brings about our waking. Chaotic as these are, they are full of wonder and miracle. In the space of a second, almost before a voice has reached the ear of the sleeper or a hand has touched him, some magical engineer has flung a bridge of wild incident over which the spirit races from deep own-being unto outward being.
Never when awake could we pack into a second of vivid imagination the myriad incidents that the artificer of dream can create to bring us from the being we remember not back to the dream of life. This magical swiftness of creation in dream has been noted by many. Those who have had experience of even the most nightmare happenings before waking must be led to surmise that within that blankness we call sleep there is a consciousness in unsleeping vigilance. This being, unsleeping while the body sleeps, excites us to a curiosity as wild as ever led adventurer across uncharted seas.
The ancient seers made earth-world, mid-world, and heaven-world synonyms for three states of consciousness: waking, dreaming, and deep sleep. But the dream state of the soul moving in the mid-world of which they spoke is an intellectual state. Its character is not easily to be guessed from that chaos of fancies we ordinarily remember and call our dreams. These I think are not true dreams at all but rather a transitional state on the borderland, like to the froth on the ocean fringes, where there are buffetings of air, churnings of sand, water, and weed, while beyond is the pure deep.
I had but slight experience of that loftier life in dream which to others I know was truer life than waking. But none can speak truly of the dreams or imaginations of others, but only of what they have known. In most intense meditation, I think we encroach on that state which to the waking brain is veiled by sleep and is normally a blank.
In the highest dreams of which I retained memory, I was on a plane of being identical with that reached in the apex of meditation and had perceptions of a similar order of things. The black curtain of unconsciousness which drapes the chambers of the brain in sleep was magically lifted for me for one instant.
I had a glimpse of the high adventures of the unsleeping soul. I found myself floating on the luminous night in a body lighter than air and charged with power, buoyed up above a mountainous region. Beneath me was a wrinkled dusk like the crater of some huge volcano. There were others with me, people with airy glittering bodies. Like me, all were intent on a being mightier than our own.
A breath of power poured upward from below as from a fountain, or as if from here some sidereal river flowed out to the country of the stars. We hovered over the fountain from which came that invisible breath filling us with delight and power.
While we hung intent, there came the apparition of a vast and glowing orb of light like the radiance about a god. Of those glittering ones, some flung themselves into that sphere of light and were absorbed in it. It faded away, ebbing from us as if it had been a living galleon come to the hither side of being but for a moment, to carry with it those who might go to the heaven world to be partakers of the divine nature and live in their parent Flame.
I could not cross with that Charon. I remembered no more, for the curtain of darkness that was magically lifted was again dropped over the chambers of the brain. But when I woke, I was murmuring to myself as if in interpretation the words of the Apostle. "We all with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord are changed unto the same image from glory to glory." I knew there were many at that mystery that would wake up again outcasts of Heaven, and the God of this world would obliterate memory so that they would never know they had kept tryst with the Kabiri.
Once before, not in dream but in meditation, there had broken in upon me such a light from the secret places. I saw through earth as through a transparency to one of those centers of power, "fountains out of Hecate" as they are called in the Chaldaic oracles. They are in the being of earth, even as in ourselves there are fiery centers undiscovered by the anatomist where thought is born or the will leaps up in flame.
Then, and in the dream I have just told, and in that other vision of the heavenly city where I found myself among the shining ones, there seemed to be little of personal fantasy as there was in the dream of the ape. I seemed to myself to be moving in a real nature which others also have moved in. It was perhaps the sphere known also to that spiritual geographer who assured Socrates of a many-colored earth above this with temples wherein the gods do truly dwell.
I do not wish now to urge this but only to draw the deductions any psychologist analyzing dream might draw from dreams not mystical in character. I may liken myself in my perception of that dream to a man in a dark hall so utterly lightless, so soundless, that nothing reaches him. Then the door is suddenly flung open. He sees a crowd hurrying by. Then the door is closed and he is again in darkness.
Such a man seeing through the door a procession of people in the streets knows they had a life before they came near the door and after they passed the door. He is not foolish if he speculates on this and how they gathered and for what purpose. So I am justified, I think, in assuming that there was some psychic action in priority to my moment of consciousness.
I must seek intellectual causes for events that have logical structure and coherency. I cannot assume that that sudden consciousness of being in the air was absolutely the beginning of that episode any more than I can imagine a flower suddenly appearing without plant, root, or prior growth.
Nor can I think that blind motions of the brain, in blank unconsciousness of what they tend to, suddenly flame into a consciousness instinct with wild beauty. To assume that would be a freak in reasoning. I might with as much wisdom assume that if in the darkness I took my little son's box of alphabetical bricks, and scattered them about blindly, when the light was turned on I might find that the letters composed a noble sentence.
I can reasonably take either of two possibilities, one being that the dream was self-created fantasy only, and the other that it was the mirroring in the brain of an experience of soul in a real sphere of being. But whether we assume one or other we postulate an unsleeping consciousness within ourselves while the brain is asleep. That unsleeping creature was either the creator of the dream or the actor in a real event.
Who is that unsleeping creature? Is it the same being that daily inhabits the brain? Does it rise up when the body sinks on the couch? Has it a dual life as we have when waking, when half our consciousness is of an external nature and half of subjective emotions and thoughts? Are part of our dreams internal fantasy and part perceptions of an external sphere of being?
If I assume that the soul was an actor in a real event that was mirrored in the brain, why did I remember only one moment of the adventure? To see any being means that we are on the same plane. I see you who are physical because I also have bodily life. If I see an elemental being or a heavenly being it means that some part of me is on the same plane of being or substance.
Had I by meditation and concentration evolved in myself some element akin to that breathed upward from the mystic fountain, and when the soul inhaled this fiery essence a rapport began between free soul and slumbering body, the circuit was complete, and sleeping and unsleeping being became one? On that hypothesis there were journeys of the soul before and after the moment remembered, but the action in priority and in succession I could not remember because there was as yet no kinship in the brain to the mood of the unsleeping soul or to the deed it did.
If the soul is an actor in deep sleep, seeing, hearing, and moving in a world of real energies, then we are justified in assuming a psychic body within the physical. To see, hear, and to move are functions of an organism however ethereal.
Is it the shining of the Psyche we perceive within ourselves when through aspiration the body becomes filled with interior light and consciousness is steeped in a brilliance of many colors while the eyes are closed? Are we then like the half-evolved dragonfly that catches with the first cracking of its sheath a glimpse of its own gorgeous plumage? Was it this body the prophet spoke of when he said thus?
Thou hast been in Eden the Garden of God. Every precious stone was thy covering ... Thou wast upon the holy mountain of God. Thou hast walked up and down amid the stones of fire.
Was this spiritual life lost to man because his heart was lifted up because of his beauty? Was wisdom corrupted by reason of its own brightness?
If we brood over the alternative that the dream was self-begotten fantasy, no less must we make obeisance to the dreamer of dreams. Who is this who flashes on the inner eye landscapes as living as those we see in nature? The winds blow cool upon the body in dream. The dew is on the grass. The clouds fleet over the sky. We float in air and see all things from an angle of vision of which on waking we have no experience. We move in unknown cities and hurry on secret missions.
It matters not whether our dream is grotesque. The same marvelous faculty of swift creation is in it. We are astonished at nightmare happenings no less than at the lordliest vision. We divine in the creation of both the same magical power. I cannot but think the gnat to be as marvelous as the Bird of Paradise, and this twain no less marvelous than the seraphim.
The Master of Life is in all. I am as excited with wonder at the creative genius shown in the wildest dream as in the most exalted vision. Not by any power I understand are these images created. The power which creates them is, I surmise, a mightier self of ours, and yet our slave for purposes of its own. I feel its presence in all I do, think, or imagine. It waits on my will.
It is in the instant and marvelous marshalling of memories when I speak or write. Out of the myriad chambers of the soul where they lie in latency, an hundred or a thousand memories rise up. Words, deeds, happenings, trivial or mighty, the material for thought or speech is waiting in due order for use. They sink back silently and are again ready. At the least desire of the will, they fly up to consciousness more swiftly than iron filings to the magnet.
If I am wakened suddenly, I surmise again that it is that enchanter who builds miraculously a bridge of incident to carry me from deep being to outward being. When thought or imagination is present in me, ideas or images appear on the surface of consciousness. Though I call them my thoughts, my imaginations, they are already formed when I become aware of them.
The Indian sage Sankara says by reason of the presence of the highest Self in us, the mind in us is moved as if moved by another than ourselves. Upon its presence all motions of body and soul depend. Could I embrace even the outer infinitude with the eye of the body, if it did not preside over the sense of sight, infinitude interpreting infinitude?
It seems to wait on us as indifferently and as swiftly when the will in us is evil as when it is good. It will conjure up for us images of animalism and lust at the call of desire. It might speak of itself as the Lord spoke of Himself to the prophet: "From me spring forth good and evil."
If we evoke it for evil, it answers with fading power, and we soon are unable to evoke it for good. The evil we have called forth works for our feebleness and extinction. Or is there another and evil genie, a dark effigy of the higher also waiting on us as slave of our desires? I do not know.
Was it of the higher it was said, "Ask and ye shall receive. Seek and ye shall find. Knock and it shall be opened to you?" By searching, can we find out its ways? Can we come to an identity of ourselves with it? Again I do not know, but the more I ponder over this unsleeping being, the more do I feel astonished as Aladdin with lamp or ring, who had but to touch the talisman and a legion of genii were ready to work his will, to build up for him marvelous palaces in the twinkling of an eye, and to ransack for him the treasure-houses of eternity.
By Phillip A. Malpas
[The following comes from a series that appeared in THE THEOSOPHICAL PATH, under Katherine Tingley as Editor and published at the Point Loma Theosophical Community. It later appeared in book form under the title TRUE MESSIAH: THE STORY AND WISDOM OF APOLLONIUS OF TYANA 3 B.C. -- 96 A.D., published by Point Loma Publications.]
THE RAJA VISITS IARCHAS
Conversation was interrupted by a noise from the village, caused by the arrival of the king, who came with more than Median pomp and parade. Iarchas declared that had it been Phraotes, everything would have been as still as in the mysteries. Seeing no preparations, Apollonius asked where he was to be received. "Here in this very place," said Iarchas. "We live frugally, for we are content with little, though we have much. But the King will have a separate table richly supplied with all we have, except meat, which is not lawful, since it has life. His table will therefore be supplied with such things as are used in second courses, various vegetables and fruits and the like."
The Raja arrived accompanied by his brother and son, blazing with gold and gems. Apollonius was not allowed to rise to receive him, but the newcomer approached the philosophers like a suppliant approaching an oracle. The Raja's brother and son were treated as though they were mere domestics. The son was a very handsome youth.
After the reception of the Raja, he was bidden to take some refreshment. At which, exactly in the manner described by Homer, four tripods approached, as if they were alive, and offered wine, hot water, and cold.
Bread and fruits and vegetables came apparently of themselves in the order and prepared as though by the best cooks, and even better. Cupbearers of black bronze advanced, mixed wine and water for the company in goblets made of the richest gems, and acted as though they were living servants. The guests sat down wherever convenient. No special respect was shown to the Raja.
This Raja was somewhat of a pompous boor, acting without any sign of good manners. He treated Apollonius rudely, sneering at Phraotes and his friend in such a way that Iarchas was obliged to rebuke him, telling him that when he was a youth they made allowances for his extravagant manner, but now he should speak more modestly of philosophy and Phraotes.
Apollonius by the interpreter asked him what advantage he derived from not studying philosophy.
"Only that of possessing every virtue and being one and the same with the sun," was the conceited reply. Apollonius gently rebuked this vanity.
"Well, what to you think of yourself, you who are so good a philosopher," asked the Raja.
"I think that I am only good whilst I apply myself to philosophy," said Apollonius.
"You are full of Phraotes," exclaimed the Raja, sneeringly.
"Then I have not traveled in vain," said Apollonius, as if he could not have received a greater compliment. "And if you ever meet him, you will say he is full of me. He said he would give me a letter of introduction to you; but when he told me you are a good man, I declined to trouble him, when I recollected that no one had written to him in my favor."
The effect of this little trap crowned all the philosophers' studied courtesy and mildness of temper. The Raja unexpectedly pleased, remarked in a low and quiet tone. "Welcome, excellent stranger!"
"Welcome to you also, O King," said Apollonius. "Now only can we say you have arrived!"
"Who brought you here," asked the Raja?
"These Gods, or these sages," answered Apollonius.
"Do the Greeks say much of me," asked the Raja again.
"As much as you say of them," replied Apollonius.
"I don't think there is any action of theirs worth speaking of," said the Indian, loftily.
"I will tell them so, and then they can honor you with a crown at the next Olympic Games," said Apollonius.
Apollonius turned to Iarchas and said, "Let us leave this unwise man to his folly." They spoke of various things. Iarchas told Apollonius that the King's brother and son were treated so entirely without respect that they might learn not to neglect others, if they came to the throne. The number of sages had no particular significance, as preference among them rested upon wisdom and virtue. The grandfather of Iarchas was elected a member of the college of the sages when they were 87 in number, and he was the youngest of them. He outlived them all, being 130 years old. Speaking of the election of the ten who preside at the Olympic Games, Iarchas declared that the principle was not sound. First they were chosen by chance, and then, even if that chance should fall on suitable men, they were limited to ten, no more and no less -- thereby either including some unsuitable men or omitting some who ought to be chosen. For this reason it would be better to consider virtue rather than number.
Meanwhile the Raja kept on trying to interrupt and asking what they were talking about. Apollonius declared that they were talking of matters very important to the Greeks, but not to him, since he despised the Greeks so much.
"That is true," said the Raja. "But I wish to learn, because I think you are talking of those Greeks who were formerly the slaves of Xerxes."
Apollonius gained an admission from him that slaves and only the lowest of them are runaways, not masters. Then he told how Xerxes had run away from the Greeks in a small boat. If he had fought and fallen, he would have been highly honored by the Greeks, but as it was, his memory was despised. Apollonius gave a splendid account of the Greeks.
The King burst into tears on hearing of this wonderful nobility of character of the Greeks. He had met only the Egyptians who had come to India from time to time; and they never lost an opportunity of describing the Greeks as a low mean race, saying that all that was good among them came from the Egyptians. Henceforth he would be careful of the Egyptians, and would favor the Greeks and help them whenever opportunity offered.
The sages lay down on the couches the earth afforded, of grass and soft herbs. At midnight they rose and celebrated the solar ray with hymns, in the same position as they assumed at noon. Then they attended to the King's business, probably some affairs of state at which Damis was not present.
After the morning sacrifices, the King gave way to a last indiscretion through going to the opposite extreme of the previous day's rudeness. He pressed Apollonius to visit his court that he might extend his hospitality to him, and send away an object of envy to the other Greeks. Apollonius declined politely, saying he was pleased with his courtesy and thanked him for his kindness, but they were so different one from the other that he hesitated to form any kind of bond with the King; and besides his friends in Greece would be expecting his return. The King was so persistent in his invitation that Iarchas intervened, saying that he treated their holy asylum with disrespect in seeking to withdraw a person from it in spite of himself.
"As he is conversant with the secrets of futurity, he knows any further intercourse with you will not benefit him and perhaps not you," declared Iarchas. When the King heard this, he returned to his village, as the rules of the sages did not permit him to remain more than one day with them.
DAMIS IS INITIATED
"Then Iarchas desired a messenger to go and invite Damis to attend, a man esteemed every way fit to be initiated into the arcana of our mysteries; and let the messenger see that proper attention be paid to his friends who remain at the village."
This is about all that Damis says of his own initiation; thereby showing that he had at least learned to maintain silence on private matters. But he tells some of the points of the Indian philosophy, brought out, as is their fashion, by question and answer. As soon as Damis had arrived and the sages had taken their seats as usual, they gave Apollonius permission to ask any question he pleased.
"Of what is the world made," he asked.
"It is made of elements."
"What," said Apollonius, "of four elements?"
"Not four but five," said Iarchas.
"What then is the fifth after earth, air, fire, and water?"
"Ether," said the Indian, "from which the Gods are said to have their origin. For whatever things breathe air are mortal, but whatever breathe ether are immortal and divine."
"What element first existed?"
"They all existed together and were coeval; for an animal is not produced by parts," replied Iarchas.
"What," said Apollonius "am I to consider the world as an animal?"
"Yes, if you consider it rightly, for it produces all living things."
"Shall we then say it is of the female sex, or of both, female and male together?"
"Both," said Iarchas, "for by an act of self-coalescence it performs the functions of both father and mother in the generation of animals, and is more ardently fond of it than other animals are of each other, inasmuch as it unites to and coalesces with itself, which coalescing self-union implies no absurdity. And as it is the part of the animal to move itself by hands and feet, and as it possesses a mind capable of exciting it to action, in the same manner we are to suppose the parts of the world, with the assistance of the mind, capable of accommodating themselves to all its different productions. Even the calamities which arise from the sun's excessive heat are all under the influence of the directing soul of the world and never take place except when justice is banished from among men. But this animal is directed not by one hand, but many, which are not to be expressed; and though from its magnitude it cannot be managed by means of a bridle, yet it is easily ruled and made obedient."
To illustrate the system, Iarchas takes the figure of a ship, such as the one merchant-ship allowed to the Egyptians in the Indian Sea by King Erythras when he had command of these waters, a law still extant in the time of Iarchas.
"To make the best of the prohibition, the Egyptians built a large ship equal to many ordinary ships, divided into many compartments. Several pilots were on board, all being under the control of a senior navigator of much experience. There were many subordinate officers and hands to work the sails. Part of the crew was armed against pirates."
"Now such is the world under the figure of a ship," said Iarchas. "The chief, and most conspicuous place, is to be assigned to God, the creator of the animal, and the next under him to the Deities who govern in its several parts. And herein we give full assent to what the poets say, when they tell us that there are many gods in heaven, and in the sea, and in the springs, and rivers, and likewise in the earth and under the earth. But that place under the earth, if such a place exists, described as dreary and gloomy, let us separate from our idea of the world."
Damis was delighted beyond measure as he listened, and could hardly keep silent. He could not understand how an Indian, even if he had learned it, could speak Greek so fluently and correctly. He remarks upon the cheerful dignified air with which Iarchas uttered doctrines as though under a divine influence, and adds that Apollonius, who spoke with such mildness and modesty, acquired so much the manner of Iarchas, that whenever he spoke sitting (as was his usual custom), he greatly resembled that master of philosophy.
Damis notes that all the sages spoke in Greek, and not only Iarchas, while he was present.
The sages by no means confined themselves to religious ceremonies and philosophical discussions. As we have seen, they assisted the King in the affairs of his kingdom when he sought their advice, and now Damis was witness of another of their activities on humanitarian lines. For, one after another, people in distress came to the philosophers and were helped by their superior knowledge of nature, men, and things, as they performed many actions which the most ignorant of nations are accustomed to call miracles. Preeminently, it seems, their help was sought in nervous and psychic troubles, which the ordinary physicians were unable to deal with satisfactorily, exactly as is the case in the world today.
But physical injuries were also healed, as that case of a valiant lion-hunter with a dislocated hipbone. A touch from the hand of the sage healed him and he walked upright. A blind man was given his sight. A man with a withered hand was healed. Advice was given in many cases, including the curious suggestion, probably in great part symbolical, that to cure a hereditary desire for wine, in a family where all the children had died from tasting it, the father should search for the eggs of the owl and give them to his next child soft boiled; as a consequence of which he would loathe the fatal liquor which was so disastrous in its consequences to a family thus nervously constituted.
Damis was permitted to be present only at dialectical conferences. The more practical religious sciences and mysteries were reserved for Apollonius alone. These included astrology and divination, futurity and sacrifices, evocations, and such things as please the gods. From this course of study, Apollonius afterwards wrote four books on astrology, quoted by Meragenes. He also wrote a treatise on the proper conduct of the sacrifices in regard to the rites of each god.
The wise Damis is writing the life of Apollonius and not his own attainments. Therefore we may appreciate his remarks on astrology and divination, remembering that he had passed through some degree of initiation.
"For my part I think the science of astrology and the art of divination are above human capacity, and I am doubtful whether they are possessed by anyone," says the Assyrian disciple. "His treatise on sacrifices I have met with in many temples, cities, and houses of the learned. But who can explain with becoming eloquence and truth a work composed by such a man."
According to Damis, Iarchas gave Apollonius seven rings, each bearing the name of one of the seven stars, which he wore alternately according to the particular name of the day. To this time the Arabians continue to call Apollonius "Thelesmatiki," on account of his knowledge of the talismanic art.
By Steven Levey
In a previous paper we drew connections between an article of William Q. Judge called "The Dweller on the Threshold" and terrorism as we know it in the world today. "The Dweller" is also a very important concept in a novel from the mid-eighteenth century by Sir Bulwar Lyntton called ZANONI. This is a most provocative historical novel, which takes place during the French Revolution. Aspects of the story seem to be intended to be metaphorical for what it means to attempt to deal with the "lower," although very powerful and greatly underestimated forces of the personal nature. Glyndon, a would be student to the powerful alchemist and philosopher Zanoni, suffers from an inability to control his curiosity, even after having been numerously warned, to leave mysterious things untouched around him until he has been trained to feel and understand. In a dark and foreboding room, he opens one particular container and is overwhelmed by the presence released. This presence is the "Dweller on the Threshold" or the pent up and unreleased energies connected to unresolved issues within ourselves. Mr. Judge's article goes on to say this "Dweller" is also latent within mankind in general and it will be encountered by anyone who has become determined to face that which needs to be worked out and transmuted into usefulness.
In the philosophy of Theosophy, this transmutation is called the awakening of the "The Higher Self." This Higher nature is naturally en rapport with the spiritual nature of all other beings and therefore incapable of the separateness and egotism, which marks the character of the personal man. The "Higher Self" is the source of the virtue the personal man may express and is concerned with universal welfare for all beings, human and otherwise. This has been called the Soul in other philosophical works as well as important religious testaments around the world. It has been called the "I" that witnesses each life and that is known to be immortal in nature. Conversely, what is called the "lower man" or personality is a "reflection" of the "Higher" in material nature. And because it is so natural for us to look with the eyes of a separate personality at the world, we are left with the task of learning about the differences of our bilateral nature, even though we intuit it at times.
H.P. Blavatsky's THE VOICE OF THE SILENCE alludes to this at the beginning of that text of Tibetan aphorisms when saying, "These instructions are for those ignorant of the dangers of the lower Iddhi." In a footnote at the bottom of the page she says that "Iddhi" refers to "the lower, course, psychic and mental energies". This is in contradistinction to the concept of "Siddhis" which are described as the beneficial powers latent in man, which can only be drawn out through the practice of a spiritual training or "Raja Yoga." This "Yoga" is essentially the training of the personality to look inwards and pay a greater attention to our intuitions while cultivating ethical behavior. Further in the same Tibetan text, we are told, "self knowledge is of loving deeds the child."
In a very real sense, this separateness, which determined individuals need to overcome within themselves, can be seen as a major problem within mankind at large. In the previous paper, we drew attention to the missing policy of inclusion on the part of the so-called civilized cultures of those who suffer from extreme cases of separatism. In other words, we tend to isolate further the already isolated. This policy of exclusion is a powerful deterrent against the obvious needs of all individuals to feel a part of the family of man. The result of this, even in the life of a child, can be seen as a passivity in which dullness towards the need of others can begin to occur. It is in the extreme when these children become adults and the often dangerous concepts such as religious fundamentalism and extreme forms of anarchy, which are at the basis for terrorism, can take root and then be acted out in the world.
Having said all of the above, we wanted to focus attention on the possible historical rather than internal causes of the DIS-ease called terrorism. This last century, the twentieth, was marked with a regular nearly metronome participation in war. Some authors have thought that each war has laid the basis of further wars rather than any kind of resolution. So that the encounters on the battlefield can be seen as the merely rehashing of what was never resolved previously. If this is seen as true, at least in theory, then the wars of the last century were merely outgrowths of the previous century and on and on. But why? From one point of view it seems obvious that the causal problems were only partially resolved, such that underlying tensions still being present to some degree ultimately surface. This is very much like seeing a disease as only congeries of symptoms and insisting on only curing the symptoms. This method would be based in the insistence that a whole is not greater than its parts. This is symptomatic of how science views many systems. So one need not be surprised if it applies to how we have treated our deadly differences. Therefore, what has not been included in discussions of the causes of war are overlooked for similar reasons with which we overlook the causes of internal strife within the individual. Even if we were to isolate that in us that, writ large, is the cause of the world's difficulties, we would still be facing the uphill climb of correcting our greatest difficulty towards accomplishing the instantiation of an abiding peace. But should what seems insurmountable at the outset remain unsurmounted?
I, for one, am convinced that any appearance, within any forum, of the true reasons, which lie at the basis for our difficulties, have been shied away from. Why? Well, it is clear that if a group of activists with the capacity to make a difference, upon choosing to keep there eyes open, would surly have done so. The eyes close because once any perceiver of the way to resolution, the only way, knows that the death of something essential to the present accepted state of affairs must occur if the truth perceived is acted upon. Therefore, one looks the world's situation in the eye, as it were, and sees the "Dweller on the Threshold" looking back. In this context, the "Dweller" is all of the knowing and the turning away of the past coupled to fear that roots one to the floor. It is inaction in the face of our duty, the highest and most sacred duty, which does us in. What will ever turn that around? How will we be motivated to take the first step in the direction of our own freedom from deadly inaction?
I think, initially, one and all shall have to begin to take the fact of sharing the space on this globe as not fortuitous but an abiding proof in itself of the need to share it. We should then seek to understand the best ways to assist the "have-nots" in all cultures. Of course, that flies in the face of today's thinking. The city governments of all cultures have waited to long to conjure up ways of feeding and clothing the poor or housing the homeless while using only half-baked, "cost effective" measures. The proofs of this are the heavily debilitating psychological tendencies so endemic to the run down areas such as gang mentality, paranoia, and insecurity, leaving people with little or no ability to look for a way out of their dilemma. Not to mention the very concept of terrorism, or gang mentality in the larger world community, which many feel to be the way to strike back at their oppressors.
Had Prime Ministers or Presidents, and City Fathers everywhere treated other human beings well in the past, there would never have been ghettos. Further, the Twin Towers would still be there. Instead, "This is not a welfare state, all must be made to carry their own weight," they have said while agreeing with others that the incurably homeless are so because they are mentally ill and who shall decide who goes to a shelter or a Psych Unit? Sure, not all will respond favorably but where there is the moral character to help, the funds, which may have otherwise gone to "Line Item" projects, will be put to humanitarian use. But how could our fellow elected human beings ignore this had they not elevated themselves in their own eyes, above, those who elected them and the lesser fortunate people of the world? And could they do THAT had they known that the fortunes they have were only theirs in this life to assist others, and not only for themselves? Would they behave like the monarchs of old had they known that their abuse of others is the same as the abuse of themselves in the eyes of The Great Natural Law of Reciprocity through which all shall be set right?
The "first step" may have to be the realization that much cannot possibly be corrected in a lifetime. And simply building housing and supplying food and clothing where it is necessary will only be a "Band-Aid" approach. Or will it? How does a humanitarian society work? Does it just give to the needy without concern for outcomes or appreciation? Shall we continue to justify spending $100 billion on war and not use a fraction of that to treat people as we would wish to be treated? How do you build trust where it isn't, and hasn't been for generations? Who needs to trust first, the haves or the have-nots?
This is seen on occasion by those who look sternly at themselves and others around a table. They have decided to get at the root of the cities' or the countries' difficulties, and upon looking, they, momentarily see that which they cannot fathom, but intuit the cause, the meaning, and the appropriate remedy. But will they do it?
Whatever the future brings regarding the treatment of the "unfortunate" by the "fortunate," individuals need to keep alive the myths of old. In these myths great fighters for freedom chose to free the oppressed through sacrifice. Something has always moved children to a natural sense of hero worship for those who save the kingdom and restore the rightful king to the throne. And as these stories go, this king was always a great benefactor whom all loved accept one who lacked or misunderstood love. Even that one, the cause of all of the trouble, comes to see his error through the self-sacrificial stance of the hero and finds himself accepted back into the family.
We can choose to be heroic and refuse to act on behalf of the old fears. We can take the required action towards that which looks back at us if we can admit to ourselves that we are "only outwardly creatures of a day" but that inwardly we are not bound except through egocentric ideology. Beyond that, we are not bound at all. In other words that in us, which seems temporary and in which the fear of death or natural entropy resides, is fearsome only so long as we think that that it is our only life. Some of this fear is based in our knowing that, when we look at ourselves clearly, we sense that we cannot "outrun" a reckoning.
If we decide to turn and "fight" we should not be in an emotional sense of defiance, rather, perhaps we might adopt that awareness, which comes from acceptance and the power of resignation in the face of a reality, which is our "Higher Self." For this is what will "look" back, rather than the "Dweller" if we so change. Doing this will mark the end of the Buddhist "Great Dire Heresy of Separateness" for such individuals, first within and then we shall be motivated to act on behalf of others. We can look around us with new eyes and ears, doing our duty and making the world into that which it needs to be.
By William Q. Judge
[From THE THEOSOPHICAL FORUM, April 1947, pages 248-56.]
Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy-laden
And I will give you rest.
Blistered are thy feet, oh pilgrim! Parched are thy lips with thirst! From what far-off climes hailest thou? Who put this heavy burden on thy stooping back? Across what trackless deserts hast thou come?
THE ETERNAL PILGRIM
Whosoever the Voice is, be thou my guide and light. So tired am I of my long journeying that I have well-nigh forgotten whence I set out. I have roamed over regions of whose features I have now no more recollection than the cuckoo has of its eggs. Times many and unnumbered have I passed with such heavy burdens, but none relieved me of my load. There is darkness behind. There is darkness before and darkness all around. Wherever I turn Despair stares me in the face.
When I think that help is at hand, and when I eagerly ply my steps forward, I find that my path though a little changed is always one of thorns, woes and fatigue. Oh Voice! Know that I am the twin brother of sorrow; but there is something within my innermost WITHIN that oft-times tells me that I am the heir of Eternal Bliss. Oh! For one to lead me to my HOME!
Fear not, pain-wedded wanderer, thou art not the only one who is in search of rest. Millions upon millions like thee are panting to reach their goal, now driven here, now whirled away there, lost and bewildered, not knowing where to go, upon what road to walk. Heir to the Kingdom of Heaven, rightfully and in the long run thine own, thy purity of mind and thy strong will shall carry thee safely on. There was a time when thou livedst with, nay thou wast the NITYA VASTU, that Thing-in-itself, unclogged with the many garments of flesh which thou hast now and again worn. Thy separation has cost thee dear, and thy habits, the consequence of thy past deeds, which have made of thee an exotic in strange lands, stand an insuperable barrier in thy upward path.
Teach me then, Oh Voice, My WHAT, My WHENCE, and My WHITHER.
Just say what is there before thine eyes?
I see nothing but bare Space.
Ah! That is thy illusion; it is not bare; it is the ever-living source from which flow forth the fleeting forms which times out of mind thou hast borne with thee. A time there was when thou wast one with it. So long wast thou safe. This is the soil divine from which spring forth trees big with sweet and bitter fruits. When the trees wither and are no more, new ones from the seeds let fall on the eager soil are but a question of time.
Turn thine eyes from north to south, from east to west, from the zenith to the nadir, from the sun to the stars, thou shalt see nothing but forms, name-bearing forms dotting what thou callest empty space all over. It is the body of the unknown X which human mind can never discern. Above Time, its greatest attribute is that IT is without Attribute.
I cannot name it otherwise than as expressing what each one has to realize within himself in his moments of deepest calm, in his self-oblivious SWANUBHAVA when the outward world sleeping gives full play to the Divinity within. It is the nirvanic sleep when the Limited merges into the Unlimited. In those moments, Oh Pilgrim, when thou enterest within thyself, then hast thou a chance of knowing who thou art.
Cease thy wanderings after the unreal, free thy mind from those baits which fetter thy Divine Self to finite things, shut thine ears to those siren voices which drag thy mind in a thousand and one directions, and thou shalt be one with HIM who fills all space. Thou halt a body, so weak and so easily preyed upon by what mortals call PAST, PRESENT, and FUTURE, a body which varies with Time, ever subject to appearance and disappearance, to Birth and Death, whilst this Space is the ever-living robe of the Eternal Self. This boundless, seeming Void is saturated with thought, invisible, ineffable wingless phoenixes, ever dying, ever living, of waves upon waves of Humanity that have come and gone from the Mayavic theater of Life.
Not a man came to sentient life, but asked himself for what purpose did he exist. From the beginning of Kosmos -- if ever it had a beginning -- man has been attempting to solve this knotty, all-absorbing, many-sided question. Its solutions seem as many and as numerous as there are human heads. The riddle is betwixt Man and his God, the Fathomable and the Unfathomable, the former with intellect beyond arithmetic unable to grasp the One mighty INTELLECT, which thrills through the stone, the tree, the insect, the animal, the man, the whole solar system, nay, through each and every atom so minute as the billionth part of an inch. ANORANYAN MAHTOMAHYAN.
Like the lotus which opens its great rose-colored petals on the tank to the golden sun at dawn, the minutest fraction of the Divine unbosoms itself to the First Integer. The Hidden and the Manifest, the Noumenon and the Phenomenon are but the two aspects of THE ONE. During the long process of purification which each undergoes in cyclic eons of TIME, the Divine AIM is unbroken Progress.
So long as the Phoenix Thought is used for noble super-sensuous purposes, the spark of the Undying Flame wafteth thee through the mazes of Life, subtle or gross. Every Progress has a beginning, its uninterrupted march upwards and onwards, the spiritual Himavats towering upon Himavats of still higher, purer altitudes, till Thought itself at such grand heights is dazed, and poor man holds his temples in his hands, shuts his eyes and banishes speech from his mouth, to reach the Final Goal. To scale such heights is then thy mission.
How can the Boundless be made to rest in the Confined? As the whole Universe has evolved from a single Parabrahmic Point into its present vastness, even so its present vastness will, after its period of activity, be involved to the same mysterious Point. Man, the phenomenal phase of the Universal Mind, has within him the essence of the same Point which is able to expand likewise to systems as many as the grains of sand on the seashore.
To man, to Humanity in the aggregate, is given the all-reaching privilege by retreating within his inmost INMOST to offer his homage to the steady Light, and by his most transcendental soaring and constant meditation, to become that Light. To know the Truth is to become Truth. Oh man, divine man, lord of the great and small, the real and unreal, the eternal and the fleeting, thou temple of Jerusalem, thou hast depths of consciousness within thee.
Here I do not mean the man of flesh who carries like a snail his house of clay upon him, but the Real Man, a Power, a Glory, a Divinity, aye, the truest Truth, the Supreme Self, itself. It only needs that the blind of Ignorance should be removed to be one with Nature and Nature's laws. A hooded hawk is powerless to seize its prey.
The human mind ever longs to know its origin and its destiny. In this arduous struggle man sometimes launches into the Sea of Despair, and for this very reason, Oh Wanderer of Worlds, benevolent hearts throbbing in sympathy with human miseries, once their own, are ever ready to extend fellowship to those who are anxious to advance. They are MERCY itself on earth. What shall I say of these MAN-GODS who, filled with universal love, are ever on the lookout to help weary pilgrims like thee, who, tired of the trials of life, the heritage of the Body, are ready to take a leap into the abysmal pit of Darkness and Death?
That there is the perishable man and that therefore there must be his counterpart, the imperishable ATMAN, can never be doubted, inasmuch as Nature, the most faithful and unswerving observer of Harmony in her Laws, has evolved all beings in pairs. Look, there are the dualities of light and darkness, happiness and woe, good and evil. In this two-fold rule of Nature, that which is good, that which is light, everything in short that has not the taint of the transitory upon it, will guide your barque of life safe into the haven of Nirvana.
MOKSHA is cessation from Birth and Death. It is the ladder which leads man heavenwards. Hence thy efforts should be devoted rather towards shaking off the trammels of the Flesh with a view to idealize the Real, realize the Ideal, than towards any motive which is founded in selfishness.
Do not question the existence of Life until thou art in the folds of thy Spirit. For regaining Self-consciousness, as the part and parcel of the Great Perfection; for the grander appreciation of the THAT; for thy higher advancement -- perfection wanting to be perfected --; for the realization of SAT -- CHIT -- ANANDA in the envelope of matter, as a demonstrable proof that Spirit has the power of endowing the former with its divinities; but above all for the Bliss of that Eternal Knowledge which no words and no thoughts can fitly describe, hast thou chosen this self-imposed task of Life. This MYSTERY is a "Beyond all Beyonds."
Each one's mission is best known to himself. He is the be-all and end-all of his own experiences, and is guided by his own Karmic foretastes. The one drawback to the regeneration of the world is that each man, having his own Eternal God within himself, goes to another to ask where his God is. How can the mirror reflect itself? He whose God is not within him cannot find Him WITHOUT him.
In the Karmic picture gallery there are philosophers and fools, the godly and the godless, a very medley of contraries, but, with self-reawakening, a diapason of the most seraphic music fills the vaults of heaven. The eternal SAT is ever the same in all phases of manifestation; good and bad alike to it are the same; each is so to his own weal or woe. Said the great Vaivasvata to Sri Shankaracharya:
The sun withholds not his rays from the Holy Ganga, nor from the foul cesspool. Bear in mind suffering purifies, as gold is refined by fire.
"Know, will, dare, and keep silence," for Silence is Heaven's own Virtue.
By Hazel Boyer Braun
[From THE THEOSOPHICAL FORUM, October 1945, pages 433-38, coming from a talk given at the Theosophical Headquarters, Point Loma, California, July 13, 1941.]
Perhaps every person here this afternoon has some conception of the beauty and profound spirituality of the Theosophical teachings. Intelligent, thinking men and women everywhere are beginning to recognize that the serenity and inner joyousness of students of Theosophy is based on that fundamental teaching that we are all Divine Beings. It says that all that lives is rooted in Godhood, forming a vast universal unity that makes Brotherhood a logical fact beyond question.
Our subject this afternoon takes us into some of the deeper reaches of this teaching. If you can take it into your hearts and truly consider it, you will soon realize the reverence and the sense of sacredness with which Theosophists view Life. The perspective it unfolds reveals the necessity of concentrated direction of one's faculties through countless lives toward an ever-wider expansion of consciousness, of understanding, as we grow into at-one-ment with the great souls who have gone before us in their own self-directed evolution.
These teachings have been formulated by Master Minds, by the Gods who descended at the opening of humanity's self-conscious drama. They taught the more advanced of humanity the Arts and Sciences and having laid the foundation for the grand ancient civilizations, they placed these teachings in the hands of the Flowers of humanity, the Masters who guard and watch over this heritage of all beings.
We are taught that we are linked through our own Divine, Spiritual nature with the chain of Great Teachers, and with the Planetary, Solar, and Galactic Beings which make up Manifested Universes. They are all titanic Spiritual Beings who have advanced from being men to become Gods with vastly enlarged responsibilities and, even then, a growing realization of Divine Reality.
Man, himself, is a Universe in Miniature. In order to live and learn on this planet, he uses countless lesser evolving beings in the makeup of his various sheaths of consciousness. His body is fabricated of life atoms for which he is responsible; the vital life of the Universe that flows through him enlarges his strict accounting for the influences he emanates. The thoughts that he contributes to the World Thought are a sacred charge, and beyond, guarding and guiding his human self, is the much more advanced Being, his Spiritual, Divine, Monadic Self -- which we cannot see with our eyes, but can sense with our intuition.
Love is the keynote of the whole hierarchical scheme -- Love, compassion, sympathy, and complete understanding, extended always to the lesser beings by those who have been through the tests and trials of lower spheres, and stand waiting on the threshold of a higher plane to help all below it move upward.
That is why Theosophy is a doctrine of such immense Hope and Beauty. We are growing toward ensoulment in our Greater Self, toward spiritual recognition of the marvelous manner in which we are rooted in the heart life of the successively grander beings.
The Buddhas, who are a line of the Hierarchy of Compassion, serve higher Teachers as they take their duties on the millions of planets -- in grades of responsibility. They inspire and urge forward the spiritual evolution of great cycles or rounds, of whole root races of advancement. They appear and teach this doctrine, then continue to live after their visible cycle in a body appropriate to Man's higher faculties. They direct the Masters and their Messengers in a continuous silent protection of our chance to grow into true humanhood. They form a Guardian Wall about us, keeping back cosmic forces that would annihilate us. They help us continuously and we never know it.
If we cherish every urge to unselfish living, to impersonal effort, we are recognizing our kinship and our loving Help from this background of Love and Compassion that makes life so wonderful.
Each planet that appears visibly has more-ethereal globes on inner planes where beings dwell in progressively more-material vestures until, in Nature's grand scheme, men are ready for the tests of the kind of gross planet we walk on now. Each globe is a living being, moving in obedience to Nature's Laws. Each has its invisible, spiritual, Divine Self. Each is the channel for Divine Life currents that sustain the beings that make up its body.
All sense of superficial thought about knowing what the Divine Reality is back of Universal Manifestation falls away when we try to imagine something of the Grandeur of the Wondrous Being that is the Higher Self of the entire constitution of even this Earth.
Reading from FUNDAMENTALS OF THE ESOTERIC PHILOSOPHY, by G. de Purucker:
As the Summit of our Hierarchy is One, the Root of our ENS, in which we "move and live and have our being," as the Christian Apostle Paul puts it; SO SIMILARLY IN THE SPIRITUAL-PSYCHOLOGICAL HIERARCHY THERE IS A ONE IN WHOM WE ARE ALL ROOTED, in whom PSYCHOLOGICALLY AND MYSTICALLY AND RELIGIOUSLY, YEA AND INSPIRATIONALLY, WE LIVE. This One is the Great Initiator, the Great Sacrifice, the Wondrous Being referred to by H.P. Blavatsky; the Supreme Head of the Hierarchy of the Teachers. From it originally come our noblest impulses through our Higher Selves; from it come the life and aspiration we feel, stirring oft in our minds and hearts; from it, through our higher natures, come the urge to betterment, the sense of loyalty and troth, all the things which make life holy and bright and high and well worth living.
-- page 182
Just stop and imagine yourself looking up at the evening sky -- seeing the flowing river of Suns that we call the Milky Way. We cannot look up at the Radiant Beings that be-gem the sky without marveling, if we know they are all gods in some stage of evolution.
What is the Sun? We see its radiant body. Do we stop to think that it is our giver of Life, our channel of the Divine Life of the Universe? It is the Heart and Brain of the whole Solar System. We could not live a moment without it. We are rooted in its soul life, from it we learn the spirit of giving, of serving in a grand scheme; for it is but a ray -- a child of that Raja Sun that is the heart of the Galaxy -- that Milky Way, made up of millions of such sun-children -- each the channel for its solar family.
As far as we wish to extend this analogy, we can envision still grander millions of galaxies, making up the constitution of grander beings until we stop before the immensity of such Truth. Our faculties reach their limit, yet we are taught that the grandest entity we can conceive of is but a speck in the Boundless Life. The analogy is correct also in this respect, turning again to Dr. de Purucker's FUNDAMENTALS:
That if we made it universal, kosmic, we would say that that Inexpressible ONE, which is the Utmost of the Utmost, and the Inmost of the Inmost, OF OUR KOSMICAL UNIVERSE, comprising the greatest boundaries of the Milky Way: corresponds to all within the Milky Way as our human ego corresponds to the infinitesimal atomic universes which compose its own physical body. The symbology is there: the correspondence is there; and it is by the correspondence that we are striving to explain somewhat of the Mystery, how the One becomes the Many; not because the One "descends into Matter" or becomes "many" materially and literally. Not at all. In the same way that the sun is an immense and exhaustless reservoir of vital, psychic, and spiritual rays, sending them out through billions of years, exhaustlessly; in the same way the Hierarchical Wondrous Being of Kosmic Magnitude, THROUGH ITS INFERIOR BUT HIGH WONDROUS BEINGS OF VARIOUS DEGREES, enlightens us and uplifts us and inspires us, and leads us onward and upward towards immortality, for aye doing its best, through Its own spiritual Ray within us, to illumine and lighten our material corruptibility, in order to make it incorruptible; that from Personality we may enter Individuality; "that from darkness, we may go forth in Light!" The time will come when we shall do this Work and become incorruptible CONSCIOUSLY, working with Nature and becoming one with her; for, just as this Wondrous Being is the foundation force back of and behind all that we call Nature, so that same Wondrous Being in far-gone former Manvantaras was then a Man, even as you and I now are. SUCH WE SHALL BECOME, IF WE RUN THE KOSMIC RACE SUCCESSFULLY! Wonderful, inspiring thought!
-- page 201
These ideas form the esoteric background of all great civilizations, of all great Literature and Art. They are the heart Teachings of every Messenger that ever came from the Hierarchy of Compassion.
The great and peaceful ones live regenerating the world like the coming of spring and after having themselves crossed the ocean of embodied existence, help those who try to do the same thing, without personal motives.
This is the theme of all Oriental Art -- of the Serene Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, and Kwan-Yins. At the Fine Arts Gallery, pause before that great old Kwan-Shai-Yin that was carved a thousand years ago from a great tree by some Chinese Initiate artist. Look at it. It is the Higher Self -- seen and realized! It is the Self of the Earth -- the Wondrous Being of the Cosmos.
This glorious truth is the reason Hymns to the Sun were the invocations of all Ancient peoples. Thus, in the Mahabharata, the great epic of old India, Yudhishthira said, "Thou art, Oh Sun, the eye of the Universe! Thou art the soul of all corporeal existence! Thou art the origin of all things! Thou art the embodiment of the acts of all religious men!"
This, dear friends, is the pathway of Initiation, the way for the strong of heart to become channels for the Inner Splendor -- going step by step into self-conscious at-one-ment with the Great Beings. From heart to heart may we go in the Sublime realization of True Compassion and Love.
By Henry Travers Edge
[From THE THEOSOPHICAL FORUM, October 1937, pages 246-55.]
In THE POWER OF WORDS, our poet illustrates views familiar to Theosophists as to the power of vibration, especially of the spoken word. It is a colloquy between two beings liberated from earth-life.
Agathos. "While I thus spoke, did there not cross your mind some thought of the PHYSICAL POWER OF WORDS? Is not every word an impulse on the air?"
Oinos. "Why, Agathos, do you weep -- and why, oh why do your wings droop as we hover above this fair star -- which is the greenest and yet most terrible of all we have encountered in our flight? Its brilliant flowers look like a fairy dream -- but its fierce volcanoes like the passions of a turbulent heart."
Agathos. "They are! They are! This wild star, it is now three centuries since, with clasped hands and with streaming eyes, at the feet of my beloved -- I spoke it -- with a few passionate sentences -- into birth. Its brilliant flowers ARE the dearest of all unfulfilled dreams, and its raging volcanoes ARE the passions of the most turbulent and unhallowed of hearts."
The universal sentience of Nature is expressed in "The Island of the Fay," from which we quote.
I love to regard the dark valleys, the gray rocks, the waters that silently smile, the forests that sigh in uneasy slumbers, and the proud watchful mountains that look down upon all. I love to regard these as themselves but the colossal members of one vast animate and sentient whole, a whole whose form (that of the sphere) is perfect and inclusive of all. Its path is among associate planets. Its meek handmaiden is the moon. Its mediate sovereign is the sun, whose life is eternity. Its thought is that of a God. Its enjoyment is knowledge. Its destinies are lost in immensity. Its cognizance of ourselves is akin with our own cognizance of the animalcula that infest the brain, a being that we in consequence regard as purely inanimate and material, much in the same manner as these animalcula must regard us.
As to the plurality of universes, we find in "Eureka:"
Have we any right to infer, let us rather say to imagine -- an interminable succession of the "clusters of clusters," or of "Universes" more or less similar? ... I myself feel impelled to FANCY -- without daring to call it more -- that there DOES exist a limitless succession of Universes, more or less similar to that of which we have cognizance -- to that of which ALONE we shall ever have cognizance -- at the very least until the return of our own particular Universe into Unity. IF such clusters of clusters exist, however -- AND THEY DO -- it is abundantly clear that, having had no part in our origin, they have no portion in our laws. They neither attract us nor we them. Their material, their spirit, is not ours -- is not that which obtains in any part of our Universe. They could not impress our senses or our souls. Among them and among us -- considering all, for the moment, collectively -- there are no influences in common. Each exists, apart and independently, IN THE BOSOM OF ITS PROPER AND PARTICULAR GOD.
A few miscellaneous quotations:
Each law of Nature is dependent at all points upon all other laws, and all are but consequences of one primary exercise of the Divine Volition.
The development of Repulsion (Electricity) must have commenced, of course, with the very earliest particular efforts at Unity, and must have proceeded constantly in the ratio of Coalescence -- that is to say, IN THAT OF CONDENSATION, or, again, of Heterogeneity. Thus, the two Principles Proper, ATTRACTION, and REPULSION -- the Material and the Spiritual -- accompany each other, in the strictest fellowship, forever. Thus, THE BODY AND THE SOUL WALK HAND IN HAND.
Space and Duration are one.
[There is an] incomprehensible connection between each particular individual in the moon with some particular individual on the earth. It is analogous with and depending upon that of the orbs of the planet and the satellite, and by means of which the lives and destinies of the inhabitants of the one are interwoven with the lives and destinies of the inhabitants of the other.
-- ADVENTURE OF HANS PFAAL
Discarding now the two equivalent terms, "gravitation" and "electricity," let us adopt the more definite expressions: "attraction" and "repulsion." The former is the body; the latter the soul: the one is the material, the other the spiritual, principle of the Universe. NO OTHER PRINCIPLES EXIST. ALL phenomena are referable to one, or to the other, or to both combined. Rigorously is this the case -- so thoroughly demonstrable is it that attraction and repulsion are the SOLE properties through which we perceive the Universe -- in other words, by which Matter is manifested to Mind -- that, for all merely argumentative purposes, we are fully justified in assuming that matter EXISTS only as attraction and repulsion -- that attraction and repulsion ARE matter.
Poe defines his theory of aesthetics -- if this is the right word to use -- in the following passage:
Dividing the world of mind into its three most immediately obvious distinctions, we have the Pure Intellect, Taste, and the Moral Sense. I place Taste in the middle because it is just this position that in the mind it occupies. It holds intimate relations with either extreme; but from the Moral Sense is separated by so faint a difference that Aristotle has not hesitated to place some of its operations among the virtues themselves. Nevertheless, we find the OFFICES of the trio marked with a sufficient distinction. Just as the Intellect concerns itself with Truth, so Taste informs us of the Beautiful, while the Moral Sense is regardful of Duty. Of this latter, while Conscience teaches the obligation, and Reason the expediency, Taste contents herself with displaying the charms, waging war upon Vice solely because of her deformity, her disproportion, her animosity to the fitting, to the appropriate, to the harmonious, in a word, to Beauty.
-- THE POETIC PRINCIPLE
In the "Philosophy of Composition," he designates Beauty as the province of the poem, excluding didacticism of every sort. He sees Wordsworth's defects through a lens, ignoring the merits; he waxes enthusiastic over Coleridge; he would have had no use for Ruskin's doctrine. He is however here merely explaining his theory of art and composition, not laying down a rigid and exclusive dogma; and elsewhere, as we have seen, he gives abundant proof of his sense of the universal unity. The nameless goal presents itself under various forms to various minds -- Truth, Goodness, Beauty, Harmony, Love; but "by whatever name they worship Me, it is I alone who inspire them with constancy in that devotion."
On the subject of death, so interesting to Theosophists, we find various places where he enunciates views on which Theosophists would look with approval. "The Colloquy of Monos and Una" is a dialog between two souls in the after-life, in which one of them describes his experiences of death.
Though his consciousness and power of thought gradually die down, there is never a time when he is not sufficiently aware of existence to be able to remember it afterwards. He is dimly aware of the laying-out, the weeping, even the lowering into the tomb, nay even the tomb itself.
What is remarkable here is the fact that, when all else of sensory or conscious experience has faded out, there remains the sense of Time. Time, he says, is not a mental abstraction. It is a self-existent reality. It consists in a ceaseless rhythmic pulsation, so exact and inerrant that, as he lies on the bed of death, he is enabled by its means to detect the errors in the ticking of a watch. Time, then, is the ultimate essence of consciousness, the irreducible substratum. This is surely an idea that we might find in THE SECRET DOCTRINE. From this condition, the consciousness slowly rebuilds itself by gradations similar to those whereby it had dwindled down. The same idea is in "The Pit and the Pendulum."
I had swooned; but still will not say that all of consciousness was lost. What of it there remained, I will not attempt to define, or even to describe; yet not all was lost. In the deepest slumber -- no! In delirium -- no! In a swoon -- no! In death -- no! Even in the grave, not all IS lost, else there is no immortality for man.
Poe's ideas of Cosmogenesis will bear comparison with any system short of that of the Esoteric Philosophy. He of course finds it necessary, as is inevitable, to ASSUME something as a starting point; and he uses the terms God and Godhead without necessarily implying thereby the dogmatic errors that cause Theosophists to fight shy of them. His starting point is one of which nothing can be predicated except in negative terms; and he quotes a French writer to the effect that, to understand God, one must himself BE God. Assuming that this Being created out of nothing the universe that was to be his own self-expression -- what did he first create? Assuming the creator as Spirit, what he first created was, "Matter in its utmost conceivable state of -- what? -- of Simplicity."
ONENESS, then, is all that I predicate of the originally created Matter; but I propose to show that this ONENESS IS A PRINCIPLE ABUNDANTLY SUFFICIENT TO ACCOUNT FOR THE CONSTITUTION, THE EXISTING PHENOMENA AND THE PLAINLY INEVITABLE ANNIHILATION OF THAT LEAST THE MATERIAL UNIVERSE.
This last remark is summed up elsewhere in the words: "In the Original Unity of the First Thing lies the Secondary Cause of All Things, with the Germ of their Inevitable Annihilation."
The proving of this proposition occupies much space. We can hardly summarize it here. Unity is a condition that implies multiplicity in its very nature. It is a profound thought worth reflecting on.
As to preexistence, we find the following:
Herein was I born. It is mere idleness to say that I had not lived before -- that the soul has no previous existence. You deny it? -- Let us not argue the matter. Convinced myself, I seek not to convince. There is, however, a remembrance of aerial forms -- of spiritual and meaning eyes -- of sounds musical yet sad; a remembrance which will not be excluded; a memory like a shadow -- vague, variable, indefinite, unsteady; and like a shadow, too, in the impossibility of my getting rid of it while the sunlight of my reason shall exist. In that chamber was I born. Thus awaking from the long night of what seemed, but was not, nonentity ...
Here for the present we conclude a somewhat diffuse and sketchy survey, and one that might easily have been carried to greater length. The writer has found it a congenial task to do his little towards rehabilitating a slandered reputation. He hopes that his Theosophical readers will find themselves able to share his satisfaction. Poe, in his Preface to "Eureka," has the following:
What I here propound is true: -- therefore, it cannot die: -- or if by any means it was now trodden down so that it dies, it will "rise again to the Life Everlasting."
By James Sterling
Throughout eons of darkness, Throughout silent years, You stood as a pillar of stone, Solid and ready to defend this frozen world, In selfless devotion to mankind. For those on the path, narrow and true, The path virtually empty and quiet Except for a few solitary footsteps Tiptoeing toward harmony. If ignorance is the recipe for evil, Then ignorance must be served no more. For only in light shining on a black sea Can those sail in righteousness. This black age will feel a strengthening force, The force of those turning inward, Traveling on a path to discover Their true nature -- themselves. Seek within yourself, Toward the inner Self, And take steps toward altruism and purification. The rest with each step of spiritual development. Go and return no more. For as we travel onward, we won't be turning back. Trust your inner Self and let intuition be your guide.
By Boris de Zirkoff
[This talk comes from the second part of the tape recording on "Chapter XII of FUNDAMENTALS OF THE ESOTERIC PHILOSOPHY, Part II," made of a private class held on June 2, 1954.]
How does cyclic evolution relate to Swabhava? Swabhava appears to be against evolution, saying that something cannot become what it is not. An acorn can only become an oak tree. That lack of change appears to be against evolution. How do we reconcile the two? With another cycle, should not a seed take an impulse favored by the new cycle?
Essentially, there is no such thing as a cycle apart from the entities forming it. We might generalize, saying that an oak is always an oak and the seed of an oak is always the seed of an oak. If we watch the direct line of descent of oaks and their seeds, we would find that they gradually improve, unfold, become more complex, better, greater, and nobler. In time, something greater yet will come from its seed.
To become greater, a being has to transcend a condition of consciousness. The Monad that is working through a seed of oak will become a man at some future time. Going from stage to stage during successive Manvantaric cycles, the Monad will break through Ring-Pass-Not after Ring-Pass-Not. Eventually, it will have unfolded so completely that it reaches the stage of another kingdom of life.
These ideas are exceedingly difficult to put into words. One might think there is a contradiction. If a cat cannot become anything but a cat, how does one start evolution and work oneself up the ladder of life? The key is in the distinction between the evolving entity and the house that it builds for itself through the ages.
Upon incarnation, we attract to this house or body the material that formed it before. In any particular incarnation, though, we use only a portion of the material that belongs to us. We have used a great deal of material in various lives. At any moment, we have only a small portion of it.
From childhood to advanced old age, we use a considerable amount of life atoms. There is enough to build more than one body. Even if we brought together all the material of the whole incarnation, there is more upon which we could call. We do not use it in this life because it does not gear to that aspect of karma upon which we are currently working.
Our cells are evolving entities. How do they ever become human beings? If we keep gathering them as we evolve and never discard or throw them off, how do they get free and go their own way? Think for a moment. There is a long time in which they are free. Look at it this way. You live 90 years and then stay in subjective spheres for centuries.
Not spiritually awakened, one may have had beautiful ideas, feelings, and aspirations during life. With that consciousness, he may be away for a couple thousand years. Having an entirely different type of consciousness, another may be gone for five hundred years. While some spiritually minded people may come back sooner, most pass a long time in the subjective spheres.
During that time, the billions of lower entities of our bodies journey through other kingdoms of life. Undergoing their evolution, these life atoms are almost completely free from active ties with us until we come back.
This happens even while we live. Say that I had certain thousands of life atoms in me a week ago. They were my own. They passed through me. I have placed a further impress on them. Now they leave. Some emanate on this or other planes. Some rub off physically. Many I breathe out or expel by other physiological action. They do not come back for years or perhaps a future lifetime.
Where have the life atoms gone? They have gone into minerals, vegetables, animals, and other humans. This happens during your incarnate life. What is our own does not necessarily stay with us the entire 90 years. We may use it at but one time of life. The life atoms that we use in early childhood are not the same as those we use when 40 or 50 years old. They are another set. They constantly come in from our reservoir. When we die, there is a final and complete disintegration of the lower principles. All the life atoms in our lower quaternary start their peregrinations through the other kingdoms of nature, perhaps for hundreds or even thousands of years. That is their period of evolution free of us.
When we return, the life atoms are a bit higher on the ladder of being. The exceptions are those we had impressed with such criminal thought or low impulse that they sunk into the lowest forms of nature while we were away. The next time we meet them, they are anything but higher. With each reincarnation, we attract a portion of the same atoms back. Throughout our evolution, our life atoms are always with us.
We read in the current chapter:
The habit, or, if you like the word, the "law" ... of Swabhava can work only in that which is itself, because only its own vehicle, its own self, is appropriate for the manifestation of itself!
-- FUNDAMENTALS, page 122
We constantly evolve within our creation or world. The cells or life atoms are always with us. Might they branch off in another Round or Planetary Chain, evolving onwards and becoming independent of us eventually? No, they do not leave us. We evolve and expand. They do too, but do so within us. As we evolve, we eventually become Planetary Chains and they the creatures existing within us.
The topic is difficult. I would not assume everybody understands. All of us have our uncertainties.
A life atom branches off, evolving on its own while still part of us. One, a cell, might go into the mineral kingdom and became mineral. When we call it back, it gathers its experience. The next time we are here, we attract it again. Say we draw it back from some mineral, plant, or animal this time. Regardless of from where we drew it, it is nothing more than the same life atom. It is the same entity, possibly a little higher than before, taking its rightful place in us as a building brick for a time.
Do not confuse a life atom with a human being. A life atom that is in us is not human. It has come from one of the lower kingdoms of life. It simply evolves within our constitution for a time because it belongs to us. It is of our own family.
From where did that life atom originally come? It came as an emanation of the Monad that is the heart of us. That life atom has its own Monad. This is high metaphysics. The Monad emanates from itself rays that are Monads themselves. The one becomes the many. All words become useless when dealing with the mystery of the one becoming the many. Even now, the Monad in you and me emanates other rays of itself. Where do they come from? They arise out of the inner recesses of the Monad. How does this happen? We do not know. It is like the sun, constantly radiating. The Monad is our inner sun.
When a man becomes higher than human, the life atoms of his lower principles become something more. Each of us is a human soul or human Ego now. When you or I become the Hierarch of a Planetary Chain and therefore a god, the life atoms within our constitution will have become higher entities as well.
In due course, when today's human has become the Logos of a system, some life atoms of his principles will have become the human kingdoms of its various spheres. It works the other way. Long ago, the human being of today was a life atom in some entity that today is immensely higher. I cannot be too specific about what the stage of our development is in which the cells and life atoms within us will come to the human stage. It will happen as we enter one of the higher kingdoms, certainly one beyond the Dhyani-Chohans, the planetary spirits of this Earth. It is higher still.
Curiously, there was a time in the Second, Third, and beginning of the Fourth Rounds of this Chain when the human entity had not yet impressed its psycho-magnetic force upon its huge family of life atoms. It did not have as strong a control over its little world as it does now.
At that time, a great percentage of the life atoms leaving the human constitution were not impressed strongly enough to come back. In those days, they branched out on their own, developing various forms from their individual Swabhava. What are those forms? They are the lower kingdoms of life: the animals, vegetables, and even minerals. They are offshoots of the main human trunk at a stage when we could not recall them by the stronger psycho-magnetic impress that we have established since then. Today if you peel off and throw away part of you, it dies. At that time, it was vital enough to start an evolutionary line. It was not much under the stamp of the human consciousness. This is a tremendous subject.
On a continuous basis, we throw off cells and receive anew ones that were ours once before. They bear the same relationship to us as we do to the Earth. Coming back to the Earth, we are born. Eventually we die, leaving it. We are just cells in the Earth. The same is true with the cells in our bodies. What type of cells might we be? We human beings are mental entities. We have reached a certain type of mental self-consciousness. We are part of the Manas of the Earth on which we live.
As self-conscious human beings, we move from place to place of our own free will, having no fixed abode. Our evolution is self-dependent. Before we might exist in it, the high entity to which we belong would have to gather us.
As we go through life, is the higher entity to which we belong in a state of quietude? No, this would only be true if we "human cells" were not within the structure of that entity today. If it had gone onto higher spheres then we could say that we were not in it. Then we would be peregrinating. Are we? No, we are life atoms in an organized constitution within the structure of a fully embodied superior entity. During incarnation, our journeys throughout the Earth are within the structure of that greater entity. It has not gone on anywhere, being fully alive and embodied.
Everything ceases at the end of the Manvantara. Then we wander as our cells do between our physical incarnations. That analogy is correct. As THE SECRET DOCTRINE says, the scroll rolls up. We have reached the end of the Planetary Chain. We have gone through seven Rounds. All the kingdoms have. The billions and billions of Monads in various stages of evolution have reached their final stage. They divide into the ten classes. Some have gone further ahead than have others.
The planetary spirit, Hierarch of the entire Planetary Chain, has disembodied now. Too advanced for the devachan that a disembodying human might enter, it enters nirvana. Just like the life atoms of a human being, the myriads of Monads of the Chain will peregrinate through all sorts of spheres for eons. This continues until that planetary spirit embodies into a new planetary universe again. In larger scale, the same applies to the Solar Logos.
When we go into our devachanic condition between lives, the life atoms of our lower quaternaries, including the physical and astral bodies, scatter all over creation in different kingdoms for their own evolutionary purposes. Our higher portions, including the higher Ego, peregrinate through other Planetary Chains of the solar system. We are not static in our devachanic sleep. We are not in any one location during that period. While in that sleep-like condition, we peregrinate through other spheres. This has many complications that I do not want to go into now.
There are analogies throughout that differ but in degree. The more you dwell on these things, the more analogies you discover. It is good to dwell on them. You will discover that analogy, as HPB puts it in THE SECRET DOCTRINE, is the fundamental key to understanding the entire system of thought. From the highest to the lowest of things, all build on the same pattern. There is only one pattern with modification, only one pattern. The blueprint is the same. The differences are of scale or degree.
The hierarchy that we are in will depart at the end of the Manvantara. It shall reimbody eventually a little higher than before. When it returns, we will be with it. Another hierarchy will not head us. We stay with it. It is like a family moving together. We carry our own with us. The planetary spirit carries its own. We are his family.
While there are bridges between the hierarchies of the universe, each is self-contained. Each evolves its own auric envelope or auric egg from within. Even so, it is not so watertight that there are no interconnections between the hierarchies. Obviously, the connections exist because everything is interrelated, although these hierarchies are self-contained enough to evolve and unfold as a unified family.
A Monad issues rays from within. It emanates. Like the sun, it radiates. Those rays remain its own, part of its world forever. The Monad secretes or oozes out its world. It is present in every one of its life atoms forever, no matter what their state of evolution. Consider the supreme Logos and ruler of the solar system. This Logos of the Sun has an efflux or influence present in even the last little life atom of its system.
Most of these subjects open up tremendous vistas. They offer enormous possibilities of study. The more we consider them, the more we realize the infinite complexity that arises out of a few simple principles of thought. The laws of the universe are exceedingly simple. Even so, in the descending scale of planes, the complexity to which they give rise is completely beyond the comprehension of any mind. This is true of not only human but also super-human thought. The exception is that in due course of time, each can understand the complexities of his own sphere of life, when standing on the threshold of graduation into something higher still. Even the highest gods cannot understand the infinite whole, of which a god is but a cell.
One wonderful thought arises from our studies. We repeat it to our individual and collective benefit. By placing our minds on Teachings almost completely unrelated to daily life, our everyday routines come to make sense. They acquire meaning. As we dwell on abstract thought, we arouse a spiritual strength with which we meet the harassing problems of life understandingly and patiently. Harassments become less. Fears peter out. Unpleasantness fades. Doing the routine things of life under the guiding light of great thought, the personality becomes increasingly patient. Strength comes as the individual mind -- not the personal, the individual mind -- dwells deep within.
During these discussions and later thinking about them, we obtain power of a higher plane. With it, we illumine the darkness of our less attractive routines, personal entanglements, and problems facing us. The shallow and blind man says students of the Esoteric Philosophy dwell on things behind the clouds. He just loves to identify himself with the small things of life completely. He has forgotten to look up and see that in spite of anything there are stars in heaven. He is self-blind. His Ring-Pass-Not has so crystallized that he does not know how to break through it.
Take a man or woman in whose background of though there are ideas about Inner Rounds, Outer Rounds, and Planetary Chains. Perhaps one dwells on ordinary astronomy or reflects on ideas out of theosophical books about long periods of evolution and the magnificent possibilities of man. Invariably, that one has more adequately fitted himself to attack the daily problems of life. He is not as this silly man imagines, an abstract fellow with his head behind the clouds. Yes, there are such, but they are the exceptions. He has established a contact between the great inner things and an outer that he is making to reflect the inner.
We become greater by dwelling upon greatness. By dwelling upon cosmic themes, we become less personal. By looking at the stars, physically and metaphorically speaking, we see less of the mud. That mud has its place in life as well. We cannot transcend overnight.
We look up instead of down. We train ourselves to think in abstract thought, in ideas rather than forms. We train ourselves to think. We exercise our truly human faculties. Doing all this, we can face almost anything that may come to us in our individual lives, rising above it triumphant.