Only those who do the will of the Masters are reckoned as deserving their notice; aspirations, desires, promises go for nothing. What is that will? Well, it is simply to free your mind from vain and earthly desires, and to work at the work before you always lending a helping hand to others. Get rid of anger, vanity, pride, resentfulness, ambition and REALLY LOSE THEM, and you have then made the first step towards the understanding of the occult; with these feelings latent in the heart it is not possible to make one single step in magic.
-- W.Q. Judge, PRACTICAL OCCULTISM, page 54
By B.P. Wadia
[From THUS HAVE I HEARD, pages 346-50.]
Pure-minded men and women ever remember and revere the Immortals of the race, like Gautama Buddha or Jesus Christ. Such Teachers and their Teachings are ever alive in the minds and hearts of mortals. They are Prophets even today. Their instructions are prophetic. Seekers find answers to modern problems, personal or racial, in their instructions.
These Prophets are a class apart. Perfect Sages, they speak infallible Wisdom. Profound Seers, the Book of Nature is open before their vision. Below them are Priests of Nature, men and women who have striven to free themselves from the influence of the so-called priests and learned religious men.
Today we need more than the Prophets whose light is like the Sun. We also need the radiance and warmth of the Fires that true Priests have lit for themselves. Those Fires help us if we approach with respect, kindling our wood in their Flames.
Wordsworth wanted Milton to be alive in 1802, for "England hath need of thee." Do we not feel in this year that we need the author of the Areopagitica and others that loved Liberty, authors that condemned legislation that coerced life, cramping free movement of body and speech? These thoughts led us to the great man who wrote the pioneering essay on "Civil Disobedience." Henry David Thoreau -- "the bachelor of thought and Nature" as Emerson called him -- should be with us today in the world that is groping for the Pattern of Freedom -- not the four or any other number of Freedoms, but Spiritual Liberty.
Thoreau's calling in life was comprehensive, "the art of living well." He was almost contemptuous of restrictive conventionalities and taboos. This month of July is appropriate for recalling to our hearts some of his ideas. He was born on July 12, 1817.
To what extent are his views useful and practicable for application in the world of today? He said:
To speak practically and as a citizen, unlike those who call themselves no-government men, I ask for, not at once no government, but at once a better government. Let every man make known what kind of government would command his respect, and that will be one step toward obtaining it.
Is there a truly Democratic State functioning anywhere today? Is every man capable of saying what government and which leaders command his respect? The very education which citizens are everywhere given accustoms them to slavish living. Thoreau wrote some strong words against the American Government of his day:
How does it become a man to behave toward this American government today? I answer that he cannot without disgrace be associated with it. I cannot for an instant recognize that political organization as my government which is the slave's government also.
The closing paragraphs of "Civil Disobedience" are scathing:
Our legislators have not yet learned the comparative value of free trade and of freedom, of union, and of rectitude, to a nation ... For eighteen hundred years, though perchance I have no right to say it, the New Testament has been written; yet where is the legislator who has wisdom and practical talent enough to avail himself of the light that it sheds on the science of legislation?
How far away the United States still is from the realization of Thoreau's vision! How far away India is from the pattern the Father of the Nation set for her to follow!
The closing words of the essay are dynamic and their truth creates fervor in the mind of an earnest reader:
Is a democracy, such as we know it, the last improvement possible in government? Is it not possible to take a step further towards recognizing and organizing the rights of man? There will never be a really free and enlightened State until the State comes to recognize the individual as a higher and independent power, from which all its own power and authority are derived, and treats him accordingly.
I please myself with imagining a State at last that can afford to be just to all men, and to treat the individual with respect as a neighbor; which even would not think it inconsistent with its own repose if a few were to live aloof from it, not meddling with it nor embraced by it, who fulfilled all the duties of neighbors and fellowmen. A State which bore this kind of fruit, and suffered it to drop off as fast as it ripened, would prepare the way for a still more perfect and glorious State, which also I have imagined, but not yet anywhere seen.
To appreciate truly Thoreau's vision, it is necessary to understand his philosophy of living. Emerson writes of his friend:
He interrogated every custom, and wished to settle all his practice on an ideal foundation. He was a protestant a l'outrance, and few lives contain so many renunciations. He was bred to no profession; he never married; he lived alone; he never went to church; he never voted; he refused to pay a tax to the State; he ate no flesh, he drank no wine, he never knew the use of tobacco; and, though a naturalist, he used neither trap nor gun.
Yet so much knowledge of Nature's secret and genius few others possessed; none in a more large and religious synthesis ... He was equally interested in every natural fact. The depth of his perception found likeness of law throughout Nature, and I know not any genius who so swiftly inferred universal law from the single fact.
He condemned sectarianism, but he was a truly religious philosopher. He never bothered about the churches; he worshipped at the Shrine of Nature. "He referred every minute fact to cosmic laws" and "he was a person of a rare, tender, and absolute religion," wrote Emerson.
Emerson, himself a poet and a mystic -- another Priest of Nature -- says that Thoreau's "biography is in his verses."
Thoreau is not a great poet, but there is truth in what Emerson says. We do catch a glimpse of his soul as he uses his imagination in "I Am a Parcel of Vain Strivings," "The Old Marlborough Road," "Great Friend," "Tall Ambrosia," "I Was Made Erect and Lone," and this:
I am thankful that my life doth not deceive Itself with a low loftiness, half height, And think it soars when still it dip its way Beneath the clouds on noiseless pinion Like the crow or owl, but it doth know The full extent of all its trivialness, Compared with the splendid heights above.
How truly applicable are the words of THE VOICE OF THE SILENCE:
Be humble, if thou would'st attain to Wisdom. Be humbler still, when Wisdom thou hast mastered.
By Lester A. Todd
[From THE THEOSOPHICAL FORUM, June 1939, pages 423-27.]
When a human being reaches that state of evolution where the material experiences of life no longer satisfy him, his subconscious Ego naturally creates such a tremendous urge within him that it necessarily must find an outlet in the thoughts and actions that dominate his personality. He becomes a Pilgrim, mentally wandering here and there, seeking that certain something that will satisfy this urge within him. He may try this or that, and may almost despair of the hope of finding what he subconsciously seeks so earnestly.
There may be among those that read these lines just such a person. We who have also groped about in the darkness of materialism, prodded by the spiritual urge within us, and who have finally found our way onto the true path of Life, welcome this possible opportunity to assisting him, our fellowman, to find that which he may be seeking.
I will tell you a little about Theosophy as briefly and simply in everyday language as I can. The operations of human consciousness are threefold. Men designate them as Religion, Philosophy, and Science. These three are not fundamentally different things. We may liken them to the three sides of an equilateral triangle. They are three views of looking at Truth. An attempted separation of Religion, Philosophy, and Science is unnatural. The Theosophist uses their unified vision to proclaim the hidden facts of being. We may then define Theosophy as a Scientific Religion, a Religious Science, and a Philosophy of Nature -- the Oneness of Man with the Universe.
The Teaching says that there is One Infinite Life without beginning or end. Everything is alive. There is no such thing as dead matter in Nature. The manifestation of Life in dualities of Spirit and Matter descends in cycles of Activity and Repose, whether applied to Cosmic, Solar World Periods, or to such common alternations as Sleeping and Waking, with which we are all familiar. Man on Earth is a Life-Atom of the Divine, immersed in matter, a Pilgrim seeking his way back to the Source.
An orthodox source may have taught you that you have a Soul. You know you have a body because you can see it. Theosophy teaches us that each of us is a Soul and that our body is nothing but the vehicle of our present evolution in this particular incarnation or life. You may liken your body to a house in which dwells the real man, the Inner Man, the man with the wee small voice, sometimes called Conscience.
Theosophy teaches that the real nature of Man is sevenfold, classified as:
(1) SPIRIT is the highest part of man, giving him and indeed every other Entity its sentient consciousness of Selfhood.
(2) SPIRITUAL SOUL, the Vehicle of Spirit, gives to Man Spiritual Consciousness.
(3) HUMAN SOUL, Mind, the essentially human element, is the center of Ego-consciousness in Man.
(4) OUR PASSIONS AND DESIRES are the driving or impelling force within us.
(5) VITALITY is our Life principle.
(6) ASTRAL BODY is the Model, Pattern, or framework around which the physical body is built.
(7) PHYSICAL BODY is the House, Man's carrier, no more an essential part of him than the clothes garmenting his body.
Now that I have told you briefly of the seven principles of Man, let us consider the very ancient and worldwide doctrine of Reincarnation or Reimbodiment in flesh. It says that man lives as a human being many times on earth. The conditions of each incarnation are the natural result of the causes set in motion in former lives.
Think of the hope that our belief in Reincarnation gives us. We get another chance to make up for all the frustrations of this life, inequalities, and unfinished business. The failures are necessary experiences that are part of our evolution. Reincarnation answers the question that we hear so often, "Why did this have to happen?" It explains accidents, the deaths of little children and babies, and why men and women are cut down at the very threshold of their careers.
Reincarnation is a magnificent prospect. It makes of Man a God and gives to every part of Nature the possibility of rising on the Ladder of Life. For what does the Universe exist? For what final purpose is Man, the immortal thinker, here in evolution? It is for the experience and evolution of the soul. It is for the raising matter to the stature, nature, and dignity of conscious godhood. We can only carry on physical and spiritual evolution by Reincarnation.
You ask, "Why do we not remember our former lives?" The physical brain produces memory, which perishes with the body. The soul remembers its experience. In the too seldom flashes of intuition or hunches, we have the answer and the possibilities.
Reincarnation is the natural method by which the soul evolves. It logically implies that we experience the results of our thoughts and actions in past lives. These experiences, the adjustment of causes to effects, are the manifestation of the Law of Karma. Karmic Law is unerring. It is the natural Law of Justice, which wisely, intelligently, and equitably adjusts each effect to its cause. It is in no sense fatalism or chance, which have no place in Theosophy.
With this knowledge of Karmic Law, we have the comforting thought that our destiny is in our own hands. We not only can control such destiny, but we must do so. Bear in mind that every action, every thought that you have, is a force sent out from within you, that later on -- no matter how much later -- comes back to you as an effect, and the effect must produce equilibrium or harmony with its cause. Each one is therefore his own karma, and whatever happens to us is the natural harvest of former plantings. Our Leader beautifully expresses this principle in GOLDEN PRECEPTS OF ESOTERICISM:
Sow an act, and you will reap a habit. Sow a habit, and you will reap a destiny, because habits build character. This is the sequence: an act, a habit, a character, and a destiny. You are the creator of yourself. What you make yourself to be now, you will be in the future. What you are now, is precisely what you have made yourself to be in the past. What you sow, you shall reap.
Our evolution goes on and on according to the Law of Cycles, not like a train on a straight track, but rather along a spiral path, ever returning toward a past circuit of our experience, but always bounding the curve in another, broader sweep. There are cycles within cycles. We are familiar with the alternations of day and night, life and death, sleeping and waking, the ebb and flow of the tides, the four Seasons. Nature continually repeats itself and so do all manifestations of Nature including ourselves.
This simple exposition of the Theosophic teachings of the Seven Principles of Man, of Reincarnation, Karma, and Cyclic Law, may awaken in your consciousness the knowledge that you are not the helpless mortal that you may have thought you were, cringing in fear of divine wrath that might be visited on you because of your human frailties. Not at all. You are a definite part of the Divinity of all Nature. Below you in varying states of evolution are the Elementals, the Mineral Kingdom, the Vegetable Kingdom, and the Animals. Above you are the Mahatmas, those perfect men, relatively speaking, whom Theosophists call Teachers, Elder Brothers, Masters, Sages, and Seers. They are the Guardians of the Race and of the Records of past ages, portions of which they give out from time to time, when the world is ready to receive them, as fragments of a now long-forgotten Wisdom.
You are one class of young Gods incarnated in bodies of flesh at the present stage of your own particular evolutionary journey. The human stage of evolution is about halfway between the undeveloped life-atom and the fully developed Kosmic Spirit or God.
Recognize your Divinity and with such recognition realize your responsibilities to all Nature. Begin to acquire within that inherent sense of Universal Brotherhood, not in the sense of sentimental unity or political or social cooperation, but in the Spiritual Brotherhood of all Beings. Begin with your thoughts. Thoughts are powerful energies. Each is an embryo of your future karma.
If you understand and accept these few simple Theosophical truths, limitless possibilities of action within yourselves will open up. By the very impetus of your own efforts, you will go forward, unafraid, and with dignity to your inescapable destiny.
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 Emperor finished the morning's business and went to the hall of Adonis after he had completed the sacrifice. He had not taken off the fillet of green leaves from his head and was still thinking of the sacrifice when Apollonius was brought in, Damis having been thrust aside at the gates. Suddenly the Emperor looked up from the flowers made of shells that adorned the hall. For the moment, he was more amazed than the Tyanean's friends had ever expected. Aelian prepared himself for anything, especially the unexpected. How could anyone say what would happen where Apollonius was concerned?
"You have brought me a spirit," said Domitian to the Prefect, in amazement.
"Well now, I was just thinking you were like Diomed at Troy under the protection of Pallas, O Emperor," said Apollonius. This was a promising beginning, Aelian thought, for did not Domitian consider himself specially protected by Pallas?
Apollonius continued, "She purged his mortal sight and gave him the power to distinguish between Gods and men. Now you show me that the goddess has not removed that mist from your eyes, for you would not have ranked men among the demons, if it were so."
"How long have you had your eyes purged," asked Domitian.
"A good long while now, ever since I began to study philosophy."
"How is it you have come to consider the Gods as my greatest enemies," said the Emperor.
"Are you at war with Airchas and Phraotes the Indians, whom of all men I consider divine and deserving to be called gods," said the Tyanean.
"Do not change the subject to Indians," said Domitian. "Answer me as to Nerva, your intimate friend, and his accomplices!"
"Certainly! What is your command? Do you command me to plead his cause or not?"
"Yes, plead it," said the Emperor. "For he is already convicted of crime. Are you not in conspiracy with him? That is what I want to know!"
Aelian heard Apollonius adopt a confidential, gossipy sort of tone, as if he did not care how much he said, if he could only gain the favor of the Emperor by telling everything.
"Listen," he said, "and I will tell you how far I am concerned in the matter. Why should I conceal the truth?"
Things were going splendidly for the Emperor, but how could Aelian retain a glimmer of hope for Apollonius? Here was the old man going to give the whole case away. Oh, why had he not let some lawyer prime him with what to say! The Emperor leaned forward with his ears ready to catch every little secret, and some big ones, too, for were they not going to send Nerva, Orfitus, and Rufus to their deaths?
Apollonius began. Could Aelian believe his ears?
"I know Nerva is one of the most moderate and mild of men. I know that he is much attached to you. He is an excellent magistrate, so little disposed to meddle in affairs of state that he even shrinks from the honors attending them. Besides this, his friends, Rufus and Orfitus, are in my opinion moderate men and despisers of worldly wealth. They are, in short, as far as I know them, men too backward to interfere where they ought, and where it is lawful. These are not the kind of men seeking to cause revolutions or helping those who do."
Think of Aelian's feelings! He dare not show the slightest sign that he knew Apollonius and was secretly his friend. Now he dare not laugh. The Emperor was furious. He let go the vials of his wrath, saying anything and everything that came to mind and abusing Apollonius unmercifully, for recommending these disturbers of empire as good men.
"I know you all, you wicked ones! If I asked them about you, they would say you were neither an enchanter, nor hot-headed, nor a boaster, nor covetous, nor a despiser of the laws, because you are all in league together."
He had let out the whole arsenal of the accusation, and every arrow was blunt and every feather frayed. What a dossier! Still, what philosopher was ever accused otherwise? There was one shaft left in the quiver.
"I know as well as if I had been on the spot with you," thundered the Emperor, "the oath you took, the place where you met, and the cause of your conspiracy. I know the sacrifice you made."
That was a clincher. Apollonius was calm.
"It is not honest in you, O King, nor agreeable to law to enter into a judicial discussion of what you are already persuaded, nor to be persuaded of what has not been discussed. If such is your pleasure, permit me to begin my defense with saying that you are prejudiced against me, and are more unjust than the common informer. He at least promises to prove what you take for granted without proof."
Had anyone, could anyone, ever have spoken to Domitian like that before? There was no eluding the argument.
"Get your defense ready then," said the Emperor, "begin it in any way you like. As for me, I know where to begin and where to leave off."
Then his fury broke out afresh. He treated Apollonius like the worst of felons. His hair was to be cut off. The barber knew how to blunt his scissors and razors. If they would not cut, why what was to prevent those old locks being pulled out? He was loaded with fetters and cast among the worst criminals in the prison.
"I do not think you need fear my hair," said Apollonius. "It is not very dangerous. What is the good of binding me in chains if you think I am a magician, an enchanter?"
"I have bound you and will not let go until you change yourself to water, or a wild beast, or a tree."
"Supposing I could do even that, I would not, lest I should betray those men who run the risk of being put to death! What I am, that I will remain, subject to all you can inflict, till I have pleaded their cause."
"Who will defend your?" asked the Emperor.
"Time, the spirit of the gods, and the love of philosophy to which I have been devoted," said Apollonius.
There were secret enemies of Apollonius, and this kind of thing did not please them at all. They did what such secret enemies have ever done. They spread abroad the report that he had made his defense and was condemned and that is why he was shaved and put in irons.
This is obviously untrue, as Damis says, for if he was then condemned, why was a letter, a long prolix yarn spun in the Ionian dialect, which Apollonius never used except to make his will. In this, he is made out a suppliant, as though he had confessed himself guilty. Was there ever a philosopher who went through the eternal program without these things? Will there ever be one, or will the method of playing the game ever change? The hid hand behind was well known to Apollonius, as he showed when the next move on the board was made.
Two days later another visitor entered the prison and promised to help Apollonius. He was a Syracusan, a Sicilian, and he tried other tactics than the agent who had failed before. Apollonius knew he was an agent from the first and governed his conversation accordingly, giving the strangest and most unexpected philosophical replies to all the questions volleyed at him from the very beginning. That tack was no good.
"This time it is not a matter of Nerva and the others; as far as I understand, the Emperor pays no attention to those calumnies any more. The matter is much more serious, and the man who gave him the information about the present accusations of your treasonable language in Ionia is a man of no small reputation," went on this mind and tongue of Domitian, with subtle suggestion. "These things are so serious that the Emperor has forgotten the other things in his displeasure."
"I suppose the accuser you mean is someone who has won a crown at the Olympian Games and now wants to win another for his skill in calumny," said Apollonius. "I know who he is. Euphrates has libeled me. I am indebted to him for several kindnesses of the sort. He even went so far as to calumniate me to the gymnosophists of Egypt, and if I had not known about it beforehand I might have returned without ever seeing them!"
The Sicilian agent provocateur and spy was taken aback by this reasoning.
"What! Do you mean to say you think that was more serious than being accused by the Emperor -- just the possibility of being underrated by the gymnosophists?"
"Certainly I do, for I went to them to obtain knowledge, but now I am come to impart it."
This amazing man!
"What have you come to communicate," asked the informer.
"I have come to tell the Emperor I am honest and of good repute. He doesn't seem to know it yet!"
"I think it would be better to tell him now what you refused to tell him before if you are alive to your own interests," said the spy. "If you had only spoken when you had the chance, you would not now be in chains."
The cat was out of the bag. They were once more trying to get him to betray Nerva. The wily philosopher met this underhandedness in the way philosophers do, always with success. He was just straightforward.
"Well now, you see me in chains because I told the Emperor the truth," he said. "What do you think would be the result if I told him the contrary?"
The spy had had enough of it. He left Apollonius alone, saying as he went out, "This man is more than a philosopher!" He was right, as Damis found in a day or two.
They had many conversations, Damis sad and hopeless, Apollonius assuring him repeatedly that they would not be put to death. As well, argue with the hangman that nothing was really going to happen.
Damis asked, "If you are going to be set at liberty, tell me when?"
Apollonius said, "Tomorrow, if it depended on the judge. If it depended on me, this very minute!" So saying, he drew his leg out of its heavy fetters and said, "You see how free I am! So cheer up!"
THIS WAS NO VULGAR MAGIC
For the first time in all these long, long years of daily intercourse, a great light began to dawn on Damis. For this old man, of well nigh a century of mortal years to his present count, was acting in a manner above the human, in a way divine. Without any sacrifice or prayers, or saying a word, he could do what others do not do with all the help of the gods, making a mockery of his fetters. Then he put his leg back and continued to behave "like a man in chains!"
Philostratus, perhaps, belonged to the same school of philosophy, for he wrote just a little more than a century later in collaboration with others at the wish of the Empress Julia Domna, who was also a student. Therefore, to avoid foolishness, he digresses to assure the reader that this was no vulgar magic, and to warn all young people to have nothing to do with magic or magicians, and not to make them acquainted with their practices, even in merriment or sport. He knew the danger.
Then one day Apollonius was removed again to the larger room where, free of his fetters, he was able to meet the other prisoners again. They received him with joy, as children who receive their parents in love, after fearing they would never see him more. The Emperor in giving this concession gave out that he would be tried in five days' time. Apollonius never ceased advising and encouraging the prisoners, and though he knew it might not be needed, he wrote his defense; chiefly to have it on record what the accusations were and their refutation, it seems.
The next day, Apollonius called Damis and told him to go to Puteoli and salute Demetrius. "Better walk instead of going by boat," he said quietly, "you will find it the best way of traveling. Then when you have seen Demetrius, go down to the shore by Calypso's Isle and you will see me."
"What! Alive, or how," exclaimed Damis.
Apollonius laughed. "Alive, in my opinion, but as one raised from the dead in yours," he said cheerfully.
So Damis went. He had learned what those quiet little asides of the Tyanean meant, and though a three days' tramp was more irksome than going by boat, he walked. Between hope and fear, he went with torn emotions. Would his Master be saved? Would he be saved? The gods alone know.
Having arrived at Puteoli, he found there had been a fearful storm and many ships were wrecked. Then he knew why he had been bidden to walk.
By William Q. Judge
[From LETTERS THAT HAVE HELPED ME, pages 154-58]
The Professor sat, cigar in hand, watching the upward curl of its blue smoke-filament, his eyes darkened by the intensity of his thought. I knew he had just seen X, an "advanced" theosophist of the occult wing, and I lay in wait for any information that might percolate through upon my humble self. Presently the Professor remarked, dreamily, and as if speaking from cloudland:
"We had many a crisis, but assuredly this was the greatest."
"To what do you refer, Professor?"
"To the departure of HPB from her physical body. It might have been supposed, in advance, that this sudden taking-off would result to our disadvantage. But the fact is, disasters work upon the T. S. in inverse proportion. The greater the (apparent) disaster, the greater the resultant good. The stronger the blow, too, the stronger our reaction. All attacks, all so-called exposures and losses have merely cleared away the impediments of weak and uncertain followers. The apparent loss of our leader did not, for one instant even, paralyze the activities of the working staff in India, England, or America. Now, day by day, we have evidence of growth in every direction. The Press is opening its jealously-guarded doors. The Practical Work of the Theosophic League has won public sympathy for us. Everywhere there is a sudden outburst of energy and new life. X spoke of it today."
"What had he to say of it?"
"We were talking about HPB, and he said that, so far as he understood, she (the Adept) expended an immense amount of energy -- vis viva, you know -- in holding together a body whose every molecule tended to disruption. In effect, just think of the cohesive force thus employed, of the immense friction in brain-centers already worn by disease! X says they were so impaired that senility must soon have resulted, so that it seemed to her (?) better to let that body go to pieces as soon as a good opportunity should occur."
"That last phrase is very suggestive."
"It is. We believe that HPB will be for some time occupied in training a new instrument, and one not so young as to be useless at the present cyclic crisis. He does not pretend to speak with authority, but certain sayings of hers -- and perhaps what I might call post-mortem facts -- bear him out. Certainly, she left everything in order. All things were planned out, and evidence was abundantly had to the effect that she knew her departure was near. Moreover, X said that looking upon her as an Adept, whose chief work was done outside of the objective body, it was reasonable to suppose that she is now enabled to use, upon higher (or inner) planes of being, the power previously expended in the maintenance of that body."
"Did he think that the present theosophic increase should be attributed to that fact?"
"Only in part. You see, he believes her attentions to be largely engaged with the new instrument. But, from his point of view, her coadjutors and associates would naturally lend a helping hand in her absence, especially if the Theosophical Society, as a body, called down their help."
"What do you mean by calling down help?"
"I mean that the united impulse of a large body of truth seekers -- more especially if they work for Humanity -- attracts the help needed for its spiritual efforts. Imagine it as a great stream of energy going out into space and returning freighted with all that it had attracted to itself -- all similars -- on its passage. That in itself would be a source of power. Again, the increase is largely due to what HPB foresaw. Theosophists are now able to stand alone, are all the gainers by being left to do so. (Take the words 'alone' and 'left' in a relative sense, please.) In the same way an infant is benefited when left to learn to walk, even at the cost of its tumbles; it is the course of normal, healthy growth in every department of Nature."
"All that sounds rational enough."
"My dear Sir! Nothing is more rational, more sane than Theosophy. It is like the fairy wand that was used upon the ten billion feathers of ten thousand different kinds; all the facts of life fly out into well ordered heaps."
"Just fancy how the public would receive that statement!"
"The public is well described by Carlyle's estimate of population: so many 'millions -- mostly fools.' Yet tell me what truth, what invention, has not been rejected by their scorn. Let us not be trite. All the truths of Theosophy, all the axioms of occultism are, if I may so put it, the apotheosis of common sense. When you see a lack of that -- beware! You may be sure that their knowledge is defective, erratic, ill digested; every psychic, every seer, every hearer to the contrary. What are their gifts if not supplemented by an understanding of the thing heard or seen? 'My son, get knowledge; but, above all, get understanding.' That power to interpret must be supplied. How?"
"I cannot possibly say. Did you not ask X?"
"I did. His answer was, 'By study of the Ethics. The Bhagavad-Gita shows the way.' In this science, he declared, spirit and nature, or the pure and the true, or ethics and law, are the same thing. The inner man may be looked upon as a congeries of powers. Every power is 'the opener of the Door' to the plane from which it springs in Nature. A power of the lower astral, or psycho-physiological, plane opens the door to that plane alone. It does so partly through action and interaction in the cells and molecules of the body. It acts upon its corresponding principle in every cell."
"Can't you enlarge upon that, Professor?"
"Suppose I were able to induce in the optic nerve that vibratory ratio which enables it to perceive the yellow color. How do I do it? I act as Nature does. She presents a given numerical vibration to the nerves, and forthwith they telegraph to the brain the sense impression of yellow. Which do you call the real thing in itself, the sense impression or the vibratory ratio? I induce (if I can!) that same ratio in the nervous fluid and the brain again registers yellow. Soon, if I were to continue this action, that nerve aura of the inner man would be in synchronous action and interaction with a whole plane of being -- call it the lower plane of the yellow ray, and all the things of that plane that are related to that vibration are perceived. Those parts of specific things that are not in relation to the vibration are not seen, and thus partial knowledge arises. It is literally true that you see that which you are."
"I begin to understand."
"Again, note that every plane has its active and its passive aspects; its principles; its sub-divisions and theirs. It is only the higher plane forces that open the upper doors. What determines this difference in power?"
"Ah! That must be the crux."
"Thought determines it. Motive determines it, for motive determines the quality of Thought. Through motive, Thought becomes contractive or expansive. It is well known that Thought affects the assimilative processes of the body. It has always been a recognized factor in therapeutics. The introduction of the higher, more spiritualized vibrations into the secret brain centers not only opens them to the influence of higher spheres, but also it influences the selective action of the whole sphere. As the body exhales and inhales air, so the inner nervous body dilates and contracts with the motion of the etheric or astral Medium. Its vibration is quickened by the action of Thought, and this more rapid vibration prevents the entrance of the grosser particles of etheric substance, causing also a draught upon the infinitely finer currents of that World Soul. In this way the higher intelligence of every atom is opened, 'wooed from out the bud like leaves upon the branch.' Keely gives us a hint of one method in which this is done."
"You mean by his discovery that the production of the chord of any given mass ruptures the molecular association of that mass and liberates finer energies, which energies are infinitely more dynamic?"
"Precisely so. The lesson can be carried still further. You say he produces the chord of any given mass, a chord that represents the vibratory total of that mass. So, too, we must use that force that is harmonious to the plane that we desire to enter. It is easy to talk about it, but who amongst us can do it? And when the psychic does it fortuitously, he sees only partial results, only that which he is fitted to see, and no more. This is why it is so often said, 'A man must live what he knows.' Until he has lived it, he cannot know it; he must be that higher vibration; he himself must become that 'lost Word.' By long training in the production of forces within himself -- forces that must be absolutely pure if they are to reveal the pure -- the student may approximate an understanding of what he sees. Otherwise, psychic experiences are a great disadvantage. They preempt thought; they detain the mind, as thorns upon the bushes detain the sheep. This is why THE VOICE OF THE SILENCE advises the student to flee from that 'Hall of Learning' where, under every flower, the astral serpent coils."
"Then it is well to be able to show these things by the light of common sense."
"Certainly, if you wish to benefit the sensible. I always go to Nature for an explanation of occultism."
"In that case, drawing a parallel, we may say that the so-called death of Madame Blavatsky brought the theosophic minds to a common focus; that was, the determination to continue her work. This unity of effort on higher lines induced a great volume of energy, all pouring into and from a common center."
"Yes -- and results of this action are now seen in a two-fold manner: first, the increased activity we spoke of; second, the partial unclosing of the doors into higher planes."
"How do you infer that?"
"From what X went on to tell me. It appears that the Leaders of the Society have made themselves objectively felt. Say, for example, in the way of letters. It is affirmed that some such have been received, and that their burden is 'Work.' In one, a laborer is told to 'not ask for detailed commands, for HPB has the PATH hewed out. FOLLOW in WORK and leave us to manage results.' Again, work is referred to thus: 'You go on with other work in a field as wide as humanity.' The worker here referred to had been previously working in purely ethical ways. Another student is told, 'Be careful, then, so to act that your life shall not hurt the Society, now having so few. ... Make no profession a lie. Remember your responsibility and your oath.' The burden of all such letters is devotion to and work for the present organization, as a duly-created center through that work is to be done."
"It must be very encouraging to receive such letters."
"Precisely my remark to X, who gave me one of his sudden shrewd looks and then said quickly, 'My dear boy, when a plant is mildewed, devoured, broken, growing awry, the head gardener or some one of his authorized assistants comes to its aid, or some few especial plants, doing especial service in the garden, may receive especial stimulus, such as would injure others. When a plant is following all the natural laws of growth, it requires no readjustment; it does not hear from the gardener, who knows it is doing well. In the East, the Guru or Teacher is called the Re-adjuster. He may communicate with some sub-center already established, which sub-center is to give out the help thus extended to those working in the same line.'"
"Then those workers who do not hear in some specific manner may still feel that they are seen and are doing well?"
"That is what X said; also that with closer relations to The Lodge comes also a greater, a terrible responsibility."
"It often seems to me hard to know just how to work."
"That is so. The best advice I ever found was: first, use your predominant gifts to the best advantage; second, do not impede your fellow in so using his, and third, follow the methods of Nature. Find a current or a nucleus, and work in it. No matter whether it seems perfect to you or not. Leave results to the Law. But if no nucleus is found, become yourself a center. The Divine will enter and work through you."
By John McKenzie
[From THE ARYAN PATH, October 1953, pages 440-43]
There are not two Christs, one dwelling within and the other dwelling without. It cannot be too strongly emphasized that He who dwells in the hearts of His faithful people is the same Christ who has His place in history. We have the story in the Gospels of how He lived in Palestine 1900 years ago. We have the records of His teaching, of His works of healing, records of the lowly service that He rendered to those who were in need, above all the outcasts of society. We learn how His message of forgiveness came home to men and women sunk in sin and learn how these same sinful people had their relationships both to God and to their fellowmen revolutionized. Not least impressive in the Gospel story are the contrasted ways in which people responded to Christ's love. He drew to Himself, on the one hand, love, and loyalty and on the other drew hatred and opposition. Hatred seemed to have triumphed in the end when He faced the cruel and shameful death on the Cross.
Here in a few words is the historical Jesus, the only Jesus whom His friends and enemies knew up to the close of His earthly ministry. Who was He? Who did men take Him to be? There were those most deeply indebted to Him, who saw in Him the Christ, the Son of the living God. There were those who were not predisposed to welcome Him or His message but He drove to involuntary expressions of wonder and admiration nevertheless. A Pharisee said, "We know that Thou art a teacher come from God." There was Herod, whose guilty conscience led him to imagine that Jesus was John the Baptist returned from the dead. There was the thief on the cross, who in his dying hour prayed Him, "Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom." When all was over, there was the centurion that said, "Truly, this man was the Son of God." Against all these were those to whom religion was a complex of traditional observances, men who loved the letter and hated the life-giving Spirit. In Jesus, they saw the personification of what to them was above all hateful. They would not rest until they had destroyed Him. "Away," they cried, "with such a fellow from the earth."
When His enemies had achieved their end, it seemed to His disciples to be unmitigated disaster. "We trusted," said one of them, "that it had been he that should have redeemed Israel," but this had proved an idle dream. His death blighted their hopes, revived only by His later appearance to them alive. We find the evidence for His resurrection in the New Testament, most impressively in the fifteenth chapter of I Corinthians, where it is summarized in one of the earliest of the New Testament records to take its present form.
More significant than the detailed stories is what we know to have been the effect on the disciples of their experience of the risen Christ. These defeated and despairing men went out, filled with a new enthusiasm, to declare to the world what they had seen and heard. "God," said Simon Peter, "hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ."
All this meant a completely new relationship between themselves and Christ. Their minds began to turn back over things that He had said to them, things to which at the time they had given little attention, or which they had failed altogether to understand. These were notably the things that He had said about His coming death and resurrection, as for example, "that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day." There were His sayings about what lay beyond. Among others, He spoke about the Holy Spirit, who would dwell in them, inspiring and teaching them.
Now these anticipations, imperfectly grasped, were being realized. Their relations with Christ had been relations between persons, for He and they were distinct personalities. They were bound to Him by ties of love, trust, and hope. Let us not think of these as purely external relationships. Between ordinary finite individuals, such relations involve an inner sympathy, which amounts to a real interpenetration of personalities. We cannot fail to be aware of this in contemplating the intercourse of the disciples with their Lord during His earthly life.
With the resurrection, a real change took place. The occasional appearances of their risen Lord were not the same as the daily intercourse that they had with Him "in the flesh." During the interval between the resurrection and Pentecost, they knew that He was alive, and they experienced His presence and His grace. They came to realize that He had a place in the divine order far transcending what they had previously imagined. His appearances were occasional, and their association with Him was in consequence less continuous.
It certainly did not mean the end of their intercourse. Indeed, it meant the beginning of a fellowship deeper and richer than before. In the days of His flesh, Jesus, using a very bold figure, once said, "He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him." It was His way of characterizing the closeness of their communion with Him. They experienced this indwelling while he was still physically present with them. They knew Him as at the same time both without and within. When His physical presence was finally withdrawn, Christ became for them not a more and more distant memory, but an ever more vivid living presence, dwelling within them.
If this were a theological dissertation instead of an exposition of one aspect of religious life, I should find it necessary to consideration the distinction between the indwelling God, the indwelling Spirit, and the indwelling Christ. From the religious point of view, the distinction is not important. When Jesus before His death spoke to His disciples of the coming of the Spirit, He said, "He dwelleth with you and shall be in you." That is to say, Jesus Christ dwells with them now, and He, or His Spirit, shall be in them. Similarly, St. Paul equates the indwelling Spirit with the indwelling Christ when he writes to the Romans,
Ye are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man hath not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.
Prof. C.H. Dodd has said regarding this virtual identification of the experience of the indwelling Christ with that of the Spirit, that
It saved early Christian thought from falling into a non-moral, half-magical conception of the supernatural in human experience, and it brought all spiritual experience to the test of the historical revelation of God in Jesus Christ.
-- COMMENTARY ON THE EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS, page 124
Again, in the same connection, Professor Dodd quotes a remark of Prof. A.E. Taylor regarding the anxiety of Marcus Aurelius lest he might become like other Emperors who began well but ended as tyrants:
If Stoicism as a system is really answerable for his inability to rise above these fears, it is, I think, because the doctrine offers only a "god within," and no "God without" to whom one can look for grace against temptation.
-- COMMENTARY ON THE EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS, page 137
In the teaching of the New Testament, there is no danger of this, for in Jesus' own words, one of the functions of the Spirit is to "teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance whatsoever I have said unto you." The indwelling Spirit can never be dissociated from the historical Jesus, and all spiritual experience must be brought to the test of its congruence with what we know of Him.
Further, when Christ really dwells in one, every part of his life is penetrated by His influence. St. Paul wrote to the Galatians, "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me." He elaborated this in writing to the Romans, showing how they were not only crucified with Christ, but how in baptism, they were buried with Him, and raised up in the likeness of His resurrection to newness of life. Therefore, he was able to say, "For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain."
I cannot attempt to explain all that sayings such as these imply. When anyone shares the experience that they represent, his life undergoes a complete transformation. St. Paul expresses this in these words, "if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature." Something entirely new has come into being. It is not simply that a man has changed in this or that detail, but that his whole life is renewed. The springs of the renewal are within.
Jesus lived, taught, and worked in Galilee and Jerusalem. They crucified Him, but He died, rose again, and is alive for evermore. He is not only alive, but his life is such that St. Paul makes the claim, incredible to many people, that "in him dwelleth all the fullness of the God-head bodily." The new love and new reserves of power that have come into being within an individual whose life is continuously within the living presence of Him.
When he speaks of himself as being in Christ or of Christ as living in him, he is not using far-fetched figurative language to describe a deep inner sympathy with one that once lived and now is dead. He is claiming that the whole power of God is at work in his life.
Since the days of the Apostles, countless men and women have had comparable experiences. They have known themselves to be in the hands of One who was both infinite power and infinite love. They have known Him as the inspiration of their best thoughts, the director of their highest purposes, and their strength in times of trial and temptation. The Indwelling Christ means all this and more.
Those who have learned to know Him have learned that they have entered on an experience that must grow and develop. If we cannot say with the assurance of St. Paul, "For me to live is Christ," we can at least understand what he means. We can hope and pray that the fuller experience may yet be ours.
By Eldon B. Tucker
[Based upon an Oct 16, 2003 posting to email@example.com.]
When we take time to write out our thoughts, it helps us clarify them. Putting them in concrete form, we bring them into focus and better organize them. In sharing with others, we often get new insights.
If some writing is confused, rambling, or disorganized, it means that the writer in still struggling to bring clarity to his or her understanding of the subject. We all find ourselves in this position at times.
Clear writing in fiction takes you into the story. The writing becomes transparent as the story shines brilliantly in your mind's eye. Excellence in writing on philosophical themes acts similarly. The words take you swiftly to deep places within where you gaze upon eternal truths. High quality poetry or art draw you into a particular emotion or state of mind powerfully, intensely, and with passion.
Poor writing in fiction leaves you struggling to figure out what the story is about and making an effort to keep plodding through the book. Poor metaphysical writing leaves you puzzled over just what the author is trying to say, if anything. Baldy written poems do not strongly grip you, but leave you cold, wondering if the drunken songs coming from yonder tavern have more sense and meaning.
In all cases, words can convey brilliance, a numinous quality, a sense of magic and wonder and majesty -- or they can leave you cold. Just as fine music can come out of stereo speakers, or crackles, pops, and static hiss. Both are sound, but one conveys meaning that is absent from the other.
When writing, we are sharing something more that just the words. How well we share depends upon how well we craft our writing. Whether the words are beneficial or harmful depends upon our feelings, state of mind, and inner state when we sit down to write. (That is why it is not a good idea to respond in immediate anger to something we may see that we find offensive.)
What does this all mean on a mailing list? When writing, treat it as an opportunity to see things clearly, like in meditation, approaching the actual act of writing as one would work on a Zen koan. Consider other people on the list as volunteer teachers that grade your writing and give you immediate feedback. They act as a sounding board to your ideas and self-expression. They are not there as children to be educated nor sheep to be looked over and protected from the wolves.
Look at an idea as clearly as possible. Start without words, then taking the dive into writing, racing to capture rapidly the elusive insight. Stop when the excitement dies down and the words turn cold. Wrap it up, review it for obvious errors, and then make the posting. Perhaps no one will say a word about it. Someone may say that he or she likes what you say. Someone else may call it total nonsense and garbage. No matter. You know that it is good the whole time you work working on the posting. When it goes out, there is a sense of completion and closure and readiness for something new. You have given birth to something that has gone out into the world, and now it is time to move on.
By Inga Sjostedt
[From THE THEOSOPHICAL FORUM, March 1939, pages 214-19.]
As Pomona emerged from childhood, her senses became more active, her understanding expanded, and her innate love for beauty grew more acute. She stood looking at the setting sun one day and saw, as it were, for the first time that great heart of the sky beating, and its arteries of flame and gold pulsating through the frame of the world. The beauty of it evoked a response from her heart. She knew that she would never rest until she had found her way to the radiance, to the fountainhead of living light.
Gaily she commenced her pilgrimage. There was a road winding its way towards the West. With the descent of evening, it seemed to merge with the pathway of the sun. This road Pomona took lighthearted and with the confidence of youth. "It will surely lead me to the portals of the Light-Giver," she thought.
She ate the berries that grew around her. When she was thirsty, there was always a brook offering its crystalline abundance. Sometimes when she passed by a cottage, the kindly people who dwelt therein offered her food and drink. When night came, she lay down in the grass and placed her head on the moss-covered root of some tree, sleeping beneath the stars. Sometimes in the daytime, she made wreaths of the wild flowers that nodded to her from the roadside, crowning herself with colorful fragrance. It was a life of perpetual delight. The world grew fairer day by day in the eyes of Pomona.
One day, when she heard the larks singing with incomparable sweetness above her, she began to dance along the road, impelled by the sheer joy of living. Then she saw an old man sitting beside the road, completely exhausted. When he saw her, he raised his head and said in a feeble voice, "Dear child, bring me a drink of water from the stream in the copse behind me. I am so weary that I have not the strength to rise."
Pomona, without stopping, called back to him over her shoulder as she danced by, "Do you not see that I am dancing? I have no time to stop. You must help yourself."
She continued to pirouette down the road. Suddenly, her heart grew heavy and she ceased dancing. Her thoughts went back to the old man until she dismissed him from mind with effort. Her gaiety did not return to her that day.
She plucked some berries and wrapped them in her kerchief, intending to eat them that evening with a cake given her at a farm the previous day. Then another voice hailed her.
"Gentle lady, I am weak with hunger. In the name of mercy, if you have a morsel to spare, let me have it!"
It was a little, shriveled woman, sitting forlornly beside the road. For a moment, Pomona hesitated. Then she opened the kerchief and poured its contents into the old woman's apron.
"It is all I have," said Pomona. "May it satisfy your hunger!"
She left the old woman eating contentedly, but that night, although she had went without food, her mind was peaceful. Dreams of great beauty sang to her that night.
Walking along some days later, she gazed at the setting sun, her distant goal, with rapture. A youth came up to her.
"May I walk beside you," he asked. "It is pleasant to have company, but irksome to walk alone. Until a man learns the secret of solitude, his mind grows heavy with loneliness."
She agreed willingly. They found pleasure in each other's company and in their exchange of thoughts.
For many days, they walked side by side. The youth picked berries for her, brought her water from distant places, and watched over her at night when the wild beasts prowled in their vicinity. When she was sad, he told her his most intimate thoughts. (What human being could be more generous, for thoughts are particles of the mind that creates them?) When she was gay, he was gay with her. Together, they rejoiced in the beauty of the world.
One day, he said to her, "Pomona, my greatest wish is to protect and serve you devotedly. I will accompany you to the end of your pilgrimage."
Then she frowned, shook her head, and said lightly, "Such is not my wish. At first, you were gay and your company gave me pleasure, but now you are serious and I am a little weary of you. We have come to a crossroad. You take the left turning and I the right. If you come further with me, your devotion will claim my freedom. Farewell!"
However much he pleaded with her, she refused to allow him to accompany her. The last she heard was his cry, "Cruel Pomona!"
She laughed and ran away. From that moment, she saw him no more.
Days passed, then weeks and months. The years began to walk by in a stately procession. Still the radiant sun was as distant as ever. One day, as she leaned over a lake to quench her thirst, she saw the image of a wrinkled face and grey hair looking at her. She knew that old age had taken her unawares.
She walked slowly now. The joy and arrogant hope of youth had faded. One day, she came to a bridge suspended across a wide river and could not cross it. She knew that Death was calling her. Death came, freed her soul from the old body, and led her away to his palace of Dreams.
"Dream to your heart's content," he said.
When she awoke, she was again leaving childhood, learning judgment through thought, and finding within herself a yearning, a restless groping after something she could not name. One morning, she saw the sun rising, glorious in his power, dividing the measureless expanse of space with his rays, ascending the horizon. She knew then that she must reach the sun and become perfect in his light. Once more, she followed the road that pointed westward and rose towards Infinity through the portals of the setting sun.
Thoughtfully, she looked upon the houses, the fields, and the woods she passed by. A faint sense of recognition haunted her as though she had seen this road before, in some dream perchance or in some half-remembered vision beyond the precincts of a dream.
She saw a youth resting beside the road. As they looked at each other, both knew a moment's recollection, the youth with pain and Pomona with remorse. The moment passed and the youth said, "May I walk beside you?"
"Yes," said Pomona. "It is pleasant to have company but irksome to walk alone."
Together they continued to follow the road.
Many days they walked together. Pomona's heart went out to the youth for his gentleness, his kindly speech, and his ready smile. One day, she said to him, "Will you come with me to the portals of the sun? I desire no other company than yours, for you have become dearer to me than myself."
The youth answered thoughtfully, "No, Pomona, it may not be. It was not impossible for me to give you my devotion, but a strange distrust, stronger than myself, prompts me to reject you. Forgive me, but I crave a greater freedom than that of personal dependence."
When the road divided into two directions, he went one way and left her to the other. Then Pomona sank to the ground and cried, "Cruel youth!"
She remained until nightfall, weak with grief and constant weeping.
When she rose to continue her way, her weakness forced her down again. With joy, she saw a man approaching. "Kind stranger, have pity on me. Consumed with thirst, I am too weak to rise. I hear a brook purling near by. Bring me a cup of water there from, I implore you!"
The surly man answered, "I have no time with trifles. You see that I am in haste. If water is near, you can crawl to it unaided."
He passed on, but Pomona lay all night beside the road. She could not sleep for thirst nor rise to obtain water from the brook. Sorrow had rendered her weak.
When she recovered, she continued along the road. Now her face was bitter with disappointment. Her thoughts murmured, "How have I deserved such unhappiness?" The voice of her conscience said, "Endure, for it is just!" Although her spirit REMEMBERED, her body-mind remained in ignorance, for was it not a new casket created for her spirit by life?
One day, she sat beside the road, weary and hungry. The sun was setting and seemed as distant and unattainable as at the beginning of her journey.
"There is no justice in the world," she said bitterly, "nor any human being who would care if I starved or were unhappy."
"Poor child, if you are hungry, take my food. I will surely find more elsewhere," said a voice behind her. A little old woman came up to her and placed a bundle on her lap, and walked on. When Pomona opened the bundle, she saw food and drink there. Sending a grateful thought to the old woman, she ate. She not only appeased her hunger, but also regained her lost faith in human sympathy from the kindness of the stranger.
One day, she came to a wide river. Across the river was a bridge. She was weary she was, weary with years now. Life had not neglected to reap its seasons in the days of harvest. With a great effort, she set her foot on the bridge, and thus, slowly, crossed over to the other side. There she sank down and watched the sun setting.
"How near you seem, and yet how distant," she murmured. In that instant, Death came and raised her up gently.
"You have come a little nearer this time," he said. "Some day you will reach the Golden Portals. Now you are too tired. Come and dream in my palace. You will find new strength there for the pilgrimage of tomorrow!"
Obediently, she followed him.
By James Sterling
Withholding the shadow of a doubt Leaving the splendor of a shiny sun To illuminate the darkest recess of the mind; Leaving wisdom as its only domain. Left behind are boyish ways; A man strides steadily ahead, Leaving sad illusions behind; Lost in a maze of forgotten days. The lost eye, the golden eye of Atlantis, Is ready to emerge from its dormant place Beneath the frigid waves, frozen in time, And pulsating with renewed life. Set the stage for an evolving play; Dedicating harmony only to the right, Never the left; leaving black stones unturned. Darkness only reinforces the light. There is a quest for those possessing the wisdom, Patient in learning and careful to understand; They leave the initiated with intuition to plot Carefully. Boyhood traumas have all but melted Away, leaving the man to emerge and take his Place in the future that lies in the secret of His shining stars.
By G. de Purucker
[From THE HIERARCHY OF COMPASSION, pages 3-15.]
The Hierarchy of Compassion is a Cosmic Hierarchy divisible into almost innumerable Minor Hierarchies. It runs down the scale of the Ladder of Cosmic Being from the Supreme Hierarch of our Solar System through all intermediate stages, infilling every planet of the Solar System until finally its representatives on this our present physical plane are found on the Globes of the different Planetary Chains.
It is composed of Divinities, Demigods, Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, and great Men of varying degrees of individual splendor, serving as a living channel for the spiritual currents coming to every planet of our system from the Heart of the Solar Divinity. These beings shed glory, light, and peace upon that pathway from the compassionate deeps of their own being.
Little do men know, even those belonging to our Order, of the immense love and divine impulse of compassion that sways the Souls of those who form this Hierarchy of Light. They made the Great Renunciation, giving up hope of personal evolutionary progress. This may be for eons to come. They remain at their appointed tasks in service to the world. Unrecognized, unthanked, ever silent, ever compassionate, and ever filled with holy peace, they work steadily on, watching others go past them as the slowly moving River of Lives sweeps along in unending flow.
On our Earth, there is a Minor Hierarchy of Light. Working in this sphere, there are lofty intelligences, Human Souls, having their respective places in the hierarchical degrees. Our own Masters, the Mahatmas, are in this Hierarchy of Light appurtenant to Mother-Earth.
Does the intense reality of this fact come to us as frequently as it should? We are participants in and co-laborers with the agents of the mightiest spiritual forces that guide our globe as far as such can be done. This is done insofar as our human family is concerned, as much so as humans allow it to be done. Let us think of the Masters as living realities in our lives, for that is exactly what they are for those who realize it. Let us try to understand that they are no mere shadowy figures in a vague and far-away background of distance. They are real, living forces in the spiritual life of the world. At times, awakened minds and intuitive human hearts sense their presence.
Consider the wonderful work in which labor those who have preceded us in our Order. They are Revealers in the sense of Unveilers, for they are the Initiators. These unveilers or revealers hand off the Light from age to age. Those of the Order of the Buddhic Splendor, of the Order of Wisdom and Compassion, which is our own holy Order, labor incessantly for others. They are the Bringers of Light, the Revealers, because they reveal in the sense of unveiling. This is lofty; it is sublime.
Do you know that they merely copy among us on Earth what takes place in spheres supernal? There are revealers, unveilers, among the gods themselves. With the immortals, as we human beings conceive them to be, there is likewise what we call a training school, and a passing on of Light from Manvantara to Manvantara.
The old Hermetists were right. "What is above is the same as that which is here below, and what is here below is but a shadow, a reflection, of what is above."
At the summit of the Hierarchy of Compassion is the Silent Watcher. He has renounced all. In utter self-sacrifice, he waits and watches with infinite pity, reaching downwards into our own sphere, helping and inspiring in the silences of spiritual compassion. This does not mean that the Silent Watcher is silent in the human sense, because obviously the Silent Watcher does not speak with human tongue. It has reference to his spiritual qualities as seen from the human standpoint. The Silent Watcher remains at his post from the beginning to the ending of the Manvantaric life cycle, a self-sacrificing Cosmic Martyr. He will not move from his post of cosmic compassion until the last thread of destiny of that Hierarchy is spun. He is also called the Silent Watcher because he watches and guards through the age-long Manvantara in what to us humans seem to be a divine silence.
This Wondrous Being is the spiritual bond that links the various Bodhisattvas and Buddhas of the Hierarchy of Compassion both with superior worlds and with us and the lower beings of our Round. He is the Chief, Master-Initiate, Head, and Leader of the spiritual-psychological Hierarchy of which our Masters form a part. He is the Ever-Living-Human-Banyan Tree, from which they hang as leaves and fruit, spiritually speaking. In like manner, we are leaves and fruit of this Ever-Living-Human Banyan. From this Wondrous Being originally come our noblest impulses through our own Higher Selves. From it come the life and aspiration we feel, stirring oft in our minds and hearts. From it, through our higher natures, comes the urge to betterment, the sense of loyalty and troth, and all the things that make life holy, bright, high, and well worth living.
The teaching is that as far as the great spiritual seers know, the same exists on every globe and every man-bearing planet of every sun in the infinitudes of Space. There is over each one a Master-Teacher. In each case, he merits the term that HPB takes from her Teachers, "The Great Sacrifice." From boundless compassion for those lower in the scale of evolution, he has renounced all opportunity to going higher in this Manvantara. He can learn nothing more of this Hierarchy, for all knowledge possible in it is his already. He remains behind for eons as the Great Inspirer and Teacher. He has sacrificed himself for all below him.
The Hierarchies in the Universe are countless in number and of all kinds. There are the highest. Although strictly speaking, none can be highest, we use a human expression. There are intermediate. There are the lowest, although strictly speaking there is no lowest, this also being a human expression. Each Hierarchy has its individuality, its own type of lives, existences, and things.
As the Hierarchies in the Universe are virtually infinite in number, the Wondrous Beings, therefore, are also virtually infinite in number, because every such Wondrous Being is such only for the series of lives beneath it in its Hierarchy. There is the Wondrous Being who is the supreme spiritual Chief, the Silent Watcher, for the Holy Order or Brotherhood of Compassion. There is the Wondrous Being for our Globe, who is identical in this case with the Hierarch of the Brotherhood of Compassion. There is a Wondrous Being or Silent Watcher for our planetary chain, and there is one for each of the globes thereof. There is a Wondrous Being or Silent Watcher for our solar system, whose habitat is the Sun. There is a Silent Watcher for our own Home Universe, and so forth forever.
Each Silent Watcher is the Fountain or the Parent of a Hierarchy of the Buddhas of Compassion. They are really the ones from who flow forth into the Universe those majestic operations of consecutive and never-failingly accurate action that human beings call the laws of nature. The movement of their will and consciousness expresses itself thusly. They are engaged in a perpetual battle with the forces of pure matter, which is another human phrase, a human metaphor. They battle the 'Ma-mo,' a general term covering the dark spirits and operations of Nature.
These sinister operations are merely the workings and operations of hosts of Monads of the Cosmic Life climbing slowly upward, but still plunged in the deep spiritual sleep of material existence. Oh, sublime mystery! The battle of these Silent Watchers is the holding of the Laws of Life in consistent and orderly consequence so that all go well and the Light does not die out from the Universe.
Following the same rule of invariable repetitive action in Nature, there is a Silent Watcher or Wondrous Being for every atom. Companions, there is a Silent Watcher or Wondrous Being for every man or woman, for every human entity, man's own inner god -- the Buddha within him -- that is the core of his being.
The entire framework of Kosmos or Nature is built in scalar fashion throughout, built on correspondence and repetition. There are no absolutes anywhere. Everything is strictly relative to everything else. The divine of one Hierarchy is grossest matter to another far superior Hierarchy, but within one and the other, the repetitive rules apply strictly. Kosmos or Nature follows one General Course and One Law, and has one general and throughout-repeated course of action.
There are, as you know, vast hierarchies on invisible planes (that is, planes that are invisible to us human beings) and hierarchies likewise that exist on that cross-section of the Universe that we call our physical Universe or sphere. They have existed from eternity and will last throughout endless duration, for the Kosmos is without frontiers. This is not only in its outward aspect as we conceive it, but more particularly so in the invisible realms. These hierarchies not merely infill it, but are it. Hence, you see that the Silent Watchers are as numerous as are the hierarchies of Cosmic Space. Indeed, they are as numerous as the stars that glitter in the night skies. They are as numerous as are the infinite hosts of atoms that make the twelve-fold Universe on all its planes.
Our Home-Universe is a self-contained Being. It reaches from its divine Root through many intermediate grades of consciousnesses, substances, and forces to its lowest extent, the bottom of that Kosmic Hierarchy and likewise its matter. The Divine Root is its Divine Hierarch, the Divine Heart of Things. The worlds visible and invisible combine to form the body of this indwelling Divinity.
Moreover, each entity within that Kosmic Hierarchy is itself a minor and therefore subordinate hierarchy. It is a self-contained entity or closed system having its own highest, lowest, and intermediate grades of matters and forces. It faithfully copies its pattern from the Kosmic Hierarchy in which it moves, lives, and has its being. A man is such an instance. He is a being with a highest, a lowest (his physical body), and intermediate grades of consciousness and substance that together comprise his spiritual, psychical, passional, emotional, and vital activities. Throughout all of it and in all of it, there works, lives, and dwells the Dominant Self, the Overlord of all, the highest of man, his own Spiritual Wondrous Being who is the supreme Chief, the fountain and origin of the fundamental law or consciousness of his hierarchy that is an aggregate of his constitutional structure in itself.
These Silent Watchers are of many grades, of many kinds. There are Silent Watchers or Wondrous Beings, for instance, who stand only slightly higher than do the Mahatmas themselves. There are others again who stand still higher as well as others again who stand higher but are still human.
The Silent Watcher for our Globe D of the Earth Chain is still human. Although he is the farthest advanced of Humanity, he has not yet advanced out of the human stage into the god-stage. There are Planetary Spirits, Silent Watchers, who are beings occupying a grade intermediate between divinities and men. There are even Silent Watchers among the gods. Some manifest themselves as suns. This is not only as the Heart of a sun, as the god behind the glorious star that is its garment, but likewise in a sense as that garment. This is in the same way that a man is not only the spirit and the soul of himself, but also his vehicle; he being thus a human physical man, psychical man, spiritual man, and divine man.
It is likewise true that a greater Silent Watcher is the Head of the minor Silent Watchers that he leads, just as the Silent Watcher of our Globe, who is a grand Man, a human demigod indeed, but yet is a Man, is the Silent Watcher of our Humanity. It is in this Being that our individual consciousness is rooted much as the banyan-tree roots its various offshoots in itself. They are children-trees, yet all deriving their primal origin from the parent-trunk. That parent-tree now lives with its children as an equal, yet is prima inter pares -- first among equals.
The Ever-Living-Human Banyan alluded to by HPB in THE SECRET DOCTRINE is not an incarnated man. He is the Maha-Chohan of this Earth, an entity that was a man in far past ages, in former Manvantaras in fact. He is the Leader, the Supreme Guide, and the loftiest Teacher of the Hierarchy of the Great Ones now. He is the supreme head of our holy Order. We call him the Maha-Chohan, the Great Lord or Chief. He is the channel through who pass the sublime inspiration and life flowing from the Silent Watcher of Humanity.
A Maha-Chohan, remember, is simply a human being who has evolved to that lofty stage. Secondly, a Chohan, a Maha-Chohan, a Dhyani-Chohan, is a man, or has been a man of either Earth in this Planetary Chain or in some past Manvantara. It is inaccurate to speak of the Maha-Chohan as having been, in some far past Manvantara, a divine being who came to Earth in order to help mankind. The Maha-Chohan is an evolving entity who has passed through the human stage but is still human. We are passing through lower degrees of the human stage now. In far distant eons of the future, yes, even before this Planetary Chain shall have reached its Manvantaric end, we too, as a human host, shall become Dhyani-Chohans. Before that, we shall occupy the lofty stage that our own Great Teacher, our Maha-Chohan, now occupies. In past eons, he was a man like us.
"Maha-Chohan" is a title just as "Buddha" is. It is a title like "Christ." It is a title like "god." There are great Maha-Chohans, also Maha-Chohans of inferior degree. The Maha-Chohan of which we speak is our Supreme Chief. He is the Lord and Teacher of our Masters and through them of us as well.
Nothing exists that Earth can teach the Maha-Chohan in this Round. He has learned it all. We may call him the Heart of the Masters. He is an entity, self-conscious, the loftiest and most sublime of the Buddhas of Compassion.
Consider a thought derivative from this that some of you may know. To some of you, it may come as a strange deduction. The Higher Self of each one of you is such an Ever-Living-Human Banyan. The Higher Self of each of you is the source of a multitude of human souls of which you as a human being are one. Your Higher Self has sent out the human souls as branches or rays that take root in the material world as you do as human souls. In their turn, these human souls grow through eons-long evolution to become spiritual banyans. Each one when becoming such a banyan will send out new roots, new branches, and new shoots itself. Even so, all are derivative from the Parent-Tree. Therefore, I say that this Ever-Living-Human Banyan may be called the Parent-Heart, the Heart-Parent, of the Masters.
When we call this Hierarchical Wondrous Being our Highest Self, our Paramatman, we mean that it is the Primeval or Originating Seed from which we grow and develop into composite entities. From it, we spiritually spring. During a Manvantara, this sheaf of Divine Light separates into innumerable entities (Monads and Monadic Rays). When the Pralaya comes, it withdraws and draws back into itself. The individualizing experience gained by its countless Hosts of Manifested Monads and Monadic Rays enriches and ennobles it. The innumerably various individual consciousnesses increase in power, glory, and self-cognition by means of the lives through which they have passed within the life of the Greater Being.
Some speak of our inner god as if that were the divine ending of us. Yet the realms of the inner god are but the beginning of other realms still more divine, reaching ever deeper and deeper into the womb of infinitude. They reach deep within. They reach ever higher and higher, and still ever more high. The Ladder of Life extends endlessly. Do you not therefore see that the very heart of the Universe is you? It is you in your inmost!
Let me try to illustrate again. I speak first of the Divine Plane. If I make the race successfully, my spiritual selfhood shall in future ages have become a cosmic divinity, say a solar divinity. I shall then be a Silent Watcher of that solar system. I will be its apex, its head, its heart, and its brain, ruling all the hosts of entities that infill that solar system, of whatever kind they may be. High, low, intermediate, they will all be my children; yet now they are life-atoms in my physical body, linga-sarira, kama-rupa, manasic parts, and spiritual part.
As an individual, I shall then have no more to learn in that solar system, which will compose my being then. (By solar system, remember that I mean not only the then physical planets and the atoms that compose them, but everything within that Egg of Brahma or Brahmanda.) It will have become me, but greatly expanded. In other words, all the beings that now compose me, that help me to express myself on all my planes of expression, will then themselves likewise have grown into many kinds of beings. They will have become atoms, vegetables, animals, men, demigods, quasi-gods, etc. You can call them angels, archangels, powers, principalities, or what not. The name does not matter much.
Then I will be the Silent Watcher. I will be one who cannot learn anything more in the solar system that is my lower parts, and yet there I shall stand glittering in my entire solar divine splendor throughout innumerable eons, learning no more in the world that then will be my body, my self-expression. I live for the sake of the lives that had sprung forth from me, as sparks spring from a central fire. This is an example of a divine Silent Watcher.
Of course, in my still higher parts, I shall be learning on planes correspondingly higher. Even so, half of my attention, life, intelligence, and possibilities for individual growth as a god will be devoted to the hosts that compose my lower parts, behind me in an evolutionary sense. Then I cannot and will not advance a single step, leaving a single life-atom behind me abandoned on the long, long evolutionary trail. This would be obviously impossible. This condition clearly is partly karma or destiny and partly pure divine compassion. Such is the sublime destiny of us all.
Now a second example of what a Silent Watcher is. Take our Planetary Chain. When our Solar System began, our Planetary Chain was there among "the Sons of God," to use the old familiar Christian speech. The God was Father-Sun, and the Sons of the God were the divinities on, in, and around it. The highest being of our Planetary Chain was the most progressed planetary spirit of that Planetary Chain from the previous Solar Manvantara. Embodying in the new Solar Egg or Brahmanda, that is, our Planetary Chain, this most-progressed spirit becomes its leader or coryphaeus.
Furthermore, throughout the repetitive reimbodiments of our Planetary Chain during the Solar Manvantara, that one Being -- the apex, the head, of our Planetary Chain -- will be our Silent Watcher. It has to drag, so to speak, the heavy weight of all of the Planetary Chain hanging like a multiple pendant from it. It throws not off this weight. It carries the weight, and lives, rises, and guides, progressing itself. Never for an instant does it wish to free itself from the dead weight, from the drag, of the armies of creatures making the multitudinous hosts of the Planetary Chain -- among them our own humanity, we ourselves.
Now consider a third example of a Silent Watcher on the human plane. It is my upper triad, Atman-Buddhi-Manas. Call it the Christ-Monad if you will; call it the inner Buddha if you will. It is my own individual Silent Watcher, that is, of me as a man.
As the Pythagoreans phrased it, the highest triad remains in "silence and darkness," and verily is the root of all our being. It is silence to us. It is darkness to us. In actuality, our human life is the darkness. In its own being, this higher triad is supernal light, unspeakable glory, and its silence is silence only because we have not trained our ears to hear what takes place there.
My upper triad is myself and yet it is not I. Do you understand that thought? If you do, then you have the true idea of the significance of a Silent Watcher or Wondrous Being. The solitary spiritual entity will not go higher alone. He reproduces as from a Source that entity of my constitution called the human soul, the intermediate part of every new reimbodiment of mine. The Ray from my Silent Watcher within brings about this reproduction. It sends me forth anew to learn in reimbodiment.
Another instance of a human Silent Watcher is most difficult to explain because the teaching is so particular. He is the Spiritual Head of all the Adepts who have ever lived on this Globe, who now live, or who will live in the future. He is the Spiritual Head of this long line of great Sages and Seers, the one whom they all recognize as their spiritual Father. He is a Man and yet a demigod, because he is a god embodied in a highly advanced man's soul. The Silent Watcher of the Globe is an actual embodied being, but this does not necessarily mean possessing a sthula-sarira, a flesh body.
This embodied being is most likely a Nirmanakaya. That is a complete man minus the lower gross triad. In the past, present, and future, all the Adepts on Earth owe allegiance to and obey him without question. He is an embodied god or demigod, the Silent Watcher of the Humanity of this Globe. He is on Earth on this present Globe D of our Chain.