This subject of Planetary Chains is a special case ... of the general Doctrine of the Spheres; this subject has always been one of the most carefully guarded, considered as one of the most sacred and occult, because it leads us, in its ultimate reaches, directly to the Heart of Being. In order to reach that Heart of Being, we have to pass through many secret chambers of Mother Nature, chambers which have been held secret from all but members of our own Order, from immemorial time; and the Arcana of which have been guarded as one of the most sacred possessions of the Chiefs, the Guardians, of this our hold Order.
-- G. de Purucker, FUNDAMENTALS OF THE ESOTERIC PHILOSOPHY, page 448
By B.P. Wadia
[From THUS HAVE I HEARD, pages 389-92.]
We specially remember and speak of Gandhiji. The roots of his life and the tree of his being bear the name Simplicity. How many among us are endeavoring sincerely to live a simple life of self-discipline? In this age, sensual pleasures and their continuous enjoyment are the be-all and end-all of life. It looks upon the artificial stimulation and multiplication of wants as the sign of progress. Its highest worship is of Mammon.
History shows that living the simple life in accordance with Truth and Love has been difficult in any cycle. It is more difficult today. It entails penance and suffering. In the Gandhian philosophy, the ideal man has definite moral and social principles of asceticism.
What kind of asceticism did Gandhiji practice and advocate? He was not a Hatha-yogi. He saw "no inherent merit in the mortification of the flesh."
Mortification of the flesh is necessary when the flesh rebels against one. It is a sin when the flesh has already come under subjection as an instrument of service.
He did not believe in running away from the disturbances of life. His asceticism consisted in the regulation of desire for the purposes of the soul, in disciplining the body and the mind in the light of reason and intuition. His principle of simplicity made him avoid the two extremes -- indulging the senses and forcefully suppressing them.
Objection has often been taken to Gandhiji's love and praise of poverty and suffering. Being voluntary, they are endowed with deep soul-significance. No one has fought more valiantly than Gandhiji against the enforced poverty and misery of the Indian masses. He pleaded for the deliberate and voluntary restriction of wants. This promotes inner contentment and happiness in one's environment and increases the capacity for service. His aim was to identify himself with the poorest and the lowliest and thus realize Brotherhood.
Non-possession is allied to non-stealing. A thing not originally stolen must nevertheless be classified stolen property if one possesses it without needing it. Possession implies provision for the future. A seeker after Truth, a follower of a Law of Love, cannot hold anything against tomorrow ... If each retained possession only of what he needed, no one would be in want, and all would live in contentment ... "Take no thought for the morrow" is an injunction that finds an echo in almost all the religious scriptures of the world.
Gandhiji held non-possession applicable not only to things but also to thoughts. He who harbors impure and selfish thoughts, and craves power or possession, violates simplicity. "A man is the product of his thoughts; what he thinks, he becomes." Throwing away possessions without the eradication of desires is not the way. Lust of every type is the womb of evil.
The conquest of lust is the highest endeavor of a man or woman's existence. Without overcoming lust, man cannot hope to rule over self. Without rule over self, there can be no Swaraj or Ram Raj ... No worker who has not overcome lust can hope to render any genuine service to the cause of Harijans, communal unity, Khadi, cow-protection, or village reconstruction ... Brahmacharya must be observed in thought, word, and deed ... Its root meaning may be given thus: that conduct that puts one in touch with God.
We can sum up Gandhiji's conception of real living as "That conduct that puts one in touch with God." He wrote in his AUTOBIOGRAPHY:
What I want to achieve -- what I have been striving and pining to achieve these thirty years -- is self-realization, to see God face to face, to attain Moksha. I live, move, and have my being in pursuit of this goal. All that I do by way of speaking and writing and all my ventures in the political field are directed to this same end.
He translated this devotion to God, to the Ishwara-Allah seated in the hearts of all, and zeal for union with Him into love and active service of his fellowmen. Service of the suppressed classes is the essence of the simple life according to Gandhiji. He describes his gospel of selfless action thus:
It is wrong to call me an ascetic. The ideals that regulate my life are presented for acceptance by mankind in general. I have arrived at them by gradual evolution. Every step was thought out, well considered, and taken with the greatest deliberation. Both my continence and non-violence were derived from personal experience and became necessary in response to the calls of public duty ... I have not the shadow of a doubt that any man or woman can achieve what I have, if he or she would make the same effort and cultivate the same hope and faith.
By Ken Small
Carmen Helena Small was born in a small house at the Point Loma Theosophical Community July 6, 1918. Her parents Axel and Gerda Fick had come from Sweden. Her mother and uncle were drawn to the United States to study naturopathic medicine and Theosophy and her father drawn to Point Loma's Theosophical practice and vision.
Carmen's birth was an auspicious event for the community as it was on Katherine Tingley's birthday, which was suitably delayed awaiting her afternoon arrival. A few years later, the Welsh fantasy-fiction writer, poet, and essayist Kenneth Morris who resided at the community would dedicate his 'Dragon Path' stone/garden pathway with exotic and native plants to Carmen.
She grew up through all the years of Raja Yoga schooling with its broad and all encompassing education, excelling in piano and chorus. Many years later, she would teach music as her vocation, working in the public elementary schools in San Diego for 25 years.
She attended high school in Sweden, quickly becoming fluent in Swedish. On tour in Europe in 1937, G. de Purucker advised her to "not wait too long" to return to Point Loma. She followed his prescient view of the coming European war and returning to the Point Loma Community, marrying Emmett Small in 1939.
The forties brought radical changes, the dispersal of the wondrous community from Point Loma and then further internal conflicts within the Theosophical Society that would by the early fifties bring Emmett, his Mother, Carmen, her Mother, and their three children to settle back in San Diego, entering the conventional working world.
Raising family and later elementary school teaching filled her years, followed by retirement and volunteer work with The San Diego Natural History Museum, The Point Loma Assembly, and many other groups.
With Emmett's advancing age, she became President of Point Loma Publications, managing all aspects of publishing and distributing during the nineties.
In her final year, she had the wonderful support of friends and family. She always enthusiastically shared her cheerful optimism and practical view with all. In the end, she was grateful to have hospice care. After five days of entering the San Diego Hospice, she passed away peacefully on April 21, 2004.
There will be a memorial gathering at Point Loma. Its date will be announced in the next few weeks.
Send donations in Carmen's name to Point Loma Publication, Inc. or to the San Diego Hospice.
Send all communications care of:
Point Loma Publications, Inc. Post Office Box 6507 San Diego, CA 92166
By Pedro Oliveira
I have read mention of something called "the Adyar view" in online theosophical discussions. Even so, the Theosophical Society with International Headquarters at Adyar does not hold corporate or official views.
Freedom of thought has been a long-standing policy of the Adyar Society for the past eighty years. Consider the resolution of the General Council of the Society in 1924:
As the Theosophical Society has spread far and wide over the world, and as members of all religions have become members of it without surrendering the special dogmas, teachings and beliefs of their respective faiths, it is thought desirable to emphasize the fact that there is no doctrine, no opinion, by whomsoever taught or held, that is in any way binding on any member of the Society, none which any member is not free to accept or reject. Approval of its three Objects is the sole condition of membership.
No teacher, or writer, from H.P. Blavatsky onwards, has any authority to impose his or her teachings or opinions on members. Every member has an equal right to follow any school of thought, but has no right to force the choice on any other. Neither a candidate for any office nor any voter can be rendered ineligible to stand or to vote, because of any opinion held, or because of membership in any school of thought. Opinions or beliefs neither bestow privileges nor inflict penalties.
The Members of the General Council earnestly request every member of the Theosophical Society to maintain, defend and act upon these fundamental principles of the Society, and also fearlessly to exercise the right of liberty of thought and of expression thereof, within the limits of courtesy and consideration for others.
As early as 1913, Annie Besant wrote along similar lines. See her 1913 article at
Obviously, neither the resolution nor her article prevented various disastrous statements like those about initiations at Ommen in August 1925.
The Adyar Theosophical Society lost approximately 15,000 out of its 45,000 members between August and December 1929. This followed the "Truth is a Pathless Land" speech by Krishnamurti in which he dissolved the Order of the Star. How did it survive the 1920's? It was because of the policy of freedom of thought and the courage of Krishmaurti of refusing to play a role that he had not determined.
In 1996, Geoffrey Farthing issued his Manifesto, calling for the Adyar Theosophical Society to recognize H.P. Blavatsky's writings and the Mahatma Letters as its foundational teachings. The General Council, in its 1996 Annual Report responded:
The consensus was that freedom of thought necessarily implies a wide horizon of thought and perception. Belief that the writings of HPB and the Mahatma Letters constitute the only source of the message the T.S. should promulgate cannot be imposed on the members, as such limitation goes against the grain of that freedom of thought. Each one must have the freedom to decide what best helps understanding of oneself and provides inspiration to work for the ideal of human progression and perfection.
There are views held by Adyar Theosophical Society members on many issues, but not to my knowledge any official Adyar view.
By Isabel Cooper-Oakley
[From LUCIFER, September 15, 1890, pages 62-65.]
Standing, as we do, at the junction of many varied lines of thought, let us for a short while travel mentally along the conservative line, and see what lessons may be learned on our path. For much stress having been laid on the social aspect of the Theosophical Society, i.e., the "Brotherhood" of Man, an idea seems taking root that our Society is mainly Socialistic in its teaching. As it is contrary to the Spirit of Theosophy to have any particular form emphasized, it may not be out of place to compare its other lines and aspects in order to understand rightly the real meaning of this term in Theosophy.
If Theosophy is, as we believe it to be, the unity underlying all outward forms of thought and religion, then must it necessarily have its conservative, as well as its liberal and socialistic aspect. Moreover Theosophy, as such, must of necessity be markedly conservative, or it could not fulfill its function, that of handing down to the "few" of each race and generation the same Truths and Principles, carefully guarded, and shielded from the knowledge and gaze of the "many."
On the surface, the principle of "Universal Brotherhood," advocated by the Theosophical Society, would seem to be in contradiction with the idea of strict conservatism, if we examine a little more closely we find a fundamental difference between the idea of "Brotherhood," Theosophical and Occult, and the idea of Brotherhood as put forward by many leaders of Socialistic progress.
Brotherhood does not necessarily imply equality of position, nor equal division of property, but something more stable and unchanging, viz., equality, mental and spiritual. The former, while recognizing these differences, enforces kindliness and consideration to all men without distinction of race or sex; but it acknowledges as Brother, in the full sense of the term, only that man or woman whose mental and spiritual aspirations are the same; it postulates certain attributes, certain qualities, as an absolute necessity; without them, there can be no bond, but, given these qualities, there is perfect Brotherhood between prince and peasant, employer and employed, rich and poor.
By the latter, it is taught that Brotherhood will come when wages are high, property equally divided, and a general dead level of class is reached. We are distinctly told that until physical good and material comfort are within reach of all men and women, it is useless to talk of, or aim at, higher mental and spiritual developments. Therefore, we are face to face with a distinct incompatibility and contradiction of doctrine, and it is essential that for right action we should arrive at some clear definition of the term Brotherhood, as used from the Theosophical standpoint and as one of the objects of the Theosophical Society.
At present, we run some danger of the public labeling our Society as Socialistic in its tendencies. The term Brotherhood is often used for selfish ends, and though we know some few disinterested leaders of those principles, whose sole desire is to benefit humanity, still they are the "few" while the "many" seek only their own good and personal advancement. When the storm cloud breaks and the evil day of revolution is upon us with all its attendant horrors, the few disinterested leaders will be swept away in the flood-tide of men's selfish desires and passions that they, with the best and noblest intentions, have helped to stir.
The Brotherhood of Theosophy and that taught by Socialism connote totally different meanings, and as members of the Society, we must define clearly which Brotherhood is meant, whether that of this life and its material goods, or that of all the lives to come, and after thus discriminating we must take heed not to use the term lightly, so that the general political interpretation shall be dragged in, hut point out where, when, and how, for us, begins the Brotherhood.
A perfect equality of caste, birth, wealth, and even education might be reached, but the most complete socialistic system could never ensure mental and spiritual equality, and this alone would always cause many class distinctions. The elect in spirit must ever be far above those that are dull of mind, material and sensual in their tastes and desires.
This conservative element of distinction in spiritual classes is strongly marked in ancient religions and even in the teachings of Christ, which contain in some ways the most socialistic elements of any religion (except Buddhism) the world has known. Yet, this Christianity is markedly conservative as to whom the spiritual gifts and knowledge should be imparted. "To you," said Jesus to his disciples, "it is given to know the mysteries of the Kingdom of God, to them it is not given ... therefore speak I to them in parables (or allegories) because they seeing, see not; and hearing, they hear not; neither do they understand."
If this were the basis, not only of the Christian, but the Egyptian and many other ancient religions, and above all the Pythagorean philosophy, ought we, who stand, so to speak, as a nucleus of recipients of the Esoteric Truths of the Ancient Wisdom Religion, ought we, nay dare we, say that we can give all, share all? Is not it true to say that we are all Brothers, connoting in that term absolute equality and equal rights, knowing, as we Theosophists know, far better than many others, the reason why not all men are, nor in the ordinary sense will they ever be -- Brothers -- during our Manvantara?
From the Theosophical and above all the Occult standpoint, we find distinct limitations; for if our lives here are the outcome of our past lives, then are we reaping the fruits of our own deeds. Therefore, logically, it is not the grasping wickedness of all hereditary landowners, which has produced the present sad differences, but they must be the result of our past actions; and given that the slums do exist, would they be so thickly inhabited were there no Karmic tendencies and no beings forced to inhabit them?
We hold that we are reborn in exactly that set of conditions which we have ourselves produced; hence those who are poor and suffering have been so reborn for some Karmic purpose; and those who hold the responsible positions of landowners and governors are also working out a Karmic law. Therefore if all these fundamental existing distinctions and differences which range from pauper to prince. are the results of Karmic relations and arrangements, have we the right to judge them as all wrong, and tear them violently to pieces, trying by main force to share and share alike, when these very differences are the necessary accompaniments of slow growth and gradual evolution?
We are bound to ameliorate to the utmost of our power all sufferings and anomalies, entailed by the inevitable degradation of life under such conditions. We shall find that something equivalent to slums will surely exist for those whose Karma necessitates such conditions. If not, Karma cannot be the unfailing law we are taught it is; and in these fundamental teachings of Theosophy we find nothing Socialistic or revolutionary, but from first to last, all is law and all is order, arising out of inequality and diversity, the keynote of which was struck in those far-off ages when some beings were endowed with the full mind, and some had only a spark given to them. Looking along the uphill road that stretches before us, we see that these differences necessarily continue through the duration of our Manvantara.
May we not conclude that while every effort should be made to ameliorate and soften bad conditions, to help those who are suffering, and brighten all dark and sorrowful lives; yet, believing in Karma, it is impossible to accede to, or sympathize with, violent remedies, or sudden changes, for the sufferers are not struggling with blind Fate's cruel decree, but they are where they are, by the order of Nature's immutable laws; their sufferings being the resultant of their past lives. Let us take heed that our remedy not be worse than the disease, and that we do not start causes and become responsible for effects that may enhance the difficulties of subsequent evolution.
We are nearing an all-important era in our world's history, both exoterically and esoterically. The timepiece of the ages records the hour that reminds us it is the exact cycle since the French Revolution convulsed Europe with its horrors. It was a sad lesson to those who prematurely force the gradual change and growth of existing conditions and a warning that we may not lightly stir the passions of the masses without entailing terrible dangers. We set in motion forces with which we may not know how to deal or pacify, and what real benefit has accrued to the French nation by that awful upheaval? And again the lesser one of '71?
In each of these sad tragedies, we find the originators were the first martyrs, for they were devoured by that insatiable sphinx, a mob of howling bloodthirsty beings blind with their fury and passions, by whom more was wanted than their leaders could give, and failing to answer their insatiable demands, death was the penalty they paid for their temerity. What is the practical result to the French people of that terrible revolution in which they worked their will? We see before us a nation fast falling to pieces -- rotten to the core, immoral in life and literature, and their cycle will close, its page deeply marked with bloodshed, torture, and suffering; a page where the mass of the guilty went free and the innocent suffered. Are there not slums today in Paris that exceed in crime and horror any that London can produce? Truly, Whitechapel is a pale shadow beside Menilmontant and other environs of Paris.
Surely if those teachers, Gautama and Jesus, being aware of the great danger of furnishing an uncultivated populace with the double-edge weapon of KNOWLEDGE THAT GIVES POWER, if they, left the inner corner of the sanctuary in the profoundest shade, who that is acquainted with human nature, can blame them? Looking back at these two epochs, does it not make us feel sorrowful when we see a people rushing in all good faith to their doom, as in our England today?
Turn we to the esoteric cycle, one that to us as Theosophy is all-important, and surely, we shall understand that the utmost caution is necessary. Are we not taught that the present time is a crucial one for Humanity? Once in every century for us also a "Cactus flower blooms" and to some little nucleus of mankind a precious opportunity is offered of working with and for those, who, working ever for Humanity, yet keep themselves aloof from the sweeping currents engendered by the rush and maelstrom force of men's passions let loose. If we are submerged in those currents (living as Karma decrees in the very center of a coming battle) and let the precious time pass by, then against us also will the door of another century close, and we shall find ourselves stranded, scattered, and broken up, like the leaders of the French Revolution were wrecked in the storm of their own raising.
Let us learn this lesson from those whom we desire to serve. Let us stand, little band that we are, watchfully waiting the material course of events, ready to help and to serve -- but not to lead -- and not wasting the valuable time yet left us, careful only that we shall not let our work be swept away in the coming strife.
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.]
FREEDOM, "RESURRECTION," AND ON TO GREECE
After Apollonius had departed from the tribunal, the Emperor behaved like one under a divine influence, and in a way not easy to explain, because it was very different from the general expectation of those who were best acquainted with him. They expected him to burst out into violent exclamations, and to have issued orders throughout the whole empire to discover and prosecute Apollonius wherever found. Whatever the cause, the event was the very reverse and he did nothing in the matter.
He even heard another case the same day concerning a will. Domitian not only forgot the names of the parties but the arguments used in the case while it was proceeding. He asked meaningless questions and gave answers that had no bearing on the case. The flatterers around him made him believe that nothing had escaped his recollection.
All this happened before midday.
Damis had arrived at Puteoli the day before and had told Demetrius all that had happened to the moment of his leaving Rome. Damis ought not to have feared and it was unworthy of a philosopher such as Demetrius to have doubts, but both were uneasy about Apollonius. They wanted to do as he had told them, but they knew they would never see him again, for who ever escaped from Domitian?
They walked by the shore near Calypso's Isle as he had told them, but their hearts were heavy. They rested in a nymphaeum where statues of nymphs surrounded a pool bordered with white marble. They talked of the water that never overflowed and never diminished when drawn from. They failed to make any show of interest and got to talking of the last hours of Damis with the master.
Damis could hold his grief in no longer. He cried aloud in an agony of grief, "Oh Gods! Are we never more to see our good and valiant friend?"
"You shall see him, or rather you have seen him," said the beloved voice of their dear Teacher, the peerless philosopher of Tyana.
"What, alive," said Demetrius, carried out of himself. "If he is dead we shall never cease lamenting him."
Apollonius stretched out his hand and said, "Take it, and if I escape you, regard me as an apparition just arrived from the kingdom of Proserpine, like those which the terrestrial gods present to the eyes of afflicted mortals. If I bear being touched, I wish you would persuade Damis to think I am alive, and have not yet laid aside the body."
Demetrius and Damis, doubting no longer, ran to him and kissed him. After a while, they asked if he had made any defense. In their forlorn talk they had argued, anything to keep down the gnawing grief of their hearts. Demetrius had thought he had made no defense because he knew he must die, though innocent. Damis thought he had made one, but sooner than expected. Neither of them thought he had made it that very day, a few hours before, in Rome, at a distance of three days' journey!
"My friends, I have made a defense," he said. "I did so a few hours ago, and we are victorious. That was just on noon."
"How have you made so long a journey in so short a time," asked Demetrius.
"Think what you like about it," he replied. "Do not imagine I made use of the ram of Phryxus, nor the wings of Daedalus. Put it down to a God."
Damis remembered how Apollonius had said that he was going on a very strange journey. They had wondered if he meant to some far country on the arrow of Abaris the Hyperborean, who made the circuit of the earth on an arrow, without food. They wondered about any fanciful explanation but the right one, which was that he was going to Rome to face the Emperor.
Demetrius asked a hundred questions about the trial. He said he saw a God was interested in all Apollonius did or said and made his every action prosper. He wanted to hear every detail to tell Telesinus, who a fortnight before had dreamed he saw a river of fire overwhelming everything except Apollonius, who went through safely as it divided giving him passage. Telesinus knew it was a joyous omen.
"I am not surprised that Telesinus should think of me in his dream," said Apollonius, "for I know he has long thought of me when awake." Then on the way to the city, he told them all about the trial.
Then they were in despair once more. There was no doubt that the Emperor would send all over the Empire for him and capture him somehow. He calmed their fears. Even Damis said he was at last convinced there was something exceptional, something divine about him, and that it would be all right in the end if he said so.
He told Demetrius about the unfettered leg in the prison as the incident that had made him think there was something superior in the wisdom of Apollonius. So they agreed, since it was evening-time, to go to the nearest tavern and care for their beloved master. He said he needed nothing more than sleep, which he promptly took, after repeating some verses of Homer in place of his evening hymn. He insisted that they should have a good meal.
LEAVES FOR GREECE
In the morning, Demetrius went to ask what Apollonius was going to do. He could hear in imagination the hoof beats of the horses sent posthaste with swift riders to take the Tyanean. He hardly dared look out on the road to Rome. Apollonius again assured him that none should follow him where he went. The next thing was to go to Greece. Did Damis know of a vessel?
"We are at the sea," said Damis. "The crier is at the door, and I hear the shouting of the sailors and the noise of the anchor as they prepare to weigh."
"We will go in her to Sicily, and then to the Peloponnesus," said Apollonius.
Then they took leave of Demetrius, who was sorrowful at their going. They bid him be of good cheer and keep up his courage as a man who has the interests of his friends at heart. They set sail with a fair wind and came to Sicily. Oh! The sorrow of that day for the brave old Demetrius! The sorrow and sadness of farewell.
Rumor said in Greece that Apollonius had been burnt alive. He was alive, but had his back stuck full of little hooks. He was cast into a deep pit. He was drowned in a well. All might be true. The only thing humanly certain was that his end had come. Even the suggestion that he was alive under perpetual torture seemed extravagant. How was it possible that he or anyone else could escape the homicidal clutches of Domitian?
Then, a voice ran, a little undercurrent, a murmur, a rumor, a buzzing of tongues that grew to a torrent of passionate assertion passed through Greece that he was not only alive and well but also no farther away than the temple at Olympia! It was incredible, but it was true.
All Greece flocked to the Olympic Games. They were the world's festival, being unrivaled and unchallenged as an attraction. Now the whole country flocked to Olympia, from Elis, Sparta, and Corinth. Athens was not in their territory, but the flower and cream of Athens came to the temple for the chance of a sight or a word of Apollonius. The entire world went to Athens to college, Boeotians, Argives, Thessalians, people from Phocis, and undergraduates from the known world. These joined in the exodus to Olympia, whether they had seen him before or not. Those who had not heard him thought it shame not to have done so; those who had, wished to extend their knowledge, if even by a crumb, a golden word from his divine lips. Even the magicians came, those who degrade divine things for money.
They asked him how he escaped. The old man's reply was very modest.
"I pleaded my cause and came off safe." That was all he said.
This only made matters the more intense. For when those who now came from Italy told the truth and the wonder of that most wonderful trial at Rome, the people of Greece proceeded almost to the point of adoration. His modesty and refusal to exalt himself above others was a powerful proof of his divine quality.
The priests needed no proof. Had they not seen him in their holy of holies? It was not for them to explain their household affairs to the public, but one thing was certain, Apollonius never took one penny for his teachings. Still, there were personal funds ever at his disposition. All the treasures of Babylon he had rejected except a bit of bread and onion, "which make an excellent repast." All the treasures of Vespasian and Rome were naught to him. Damis found their funds mighty low. The purse he carried was no great burden on their journey.
He told his old Teacher and Master. "I will remedy it tomorrow," said the latter. Damis said no more. He had said it was all right, and so it would be.
The next day Apollonius entered the temple and asked the priest for a thousand drachmas out of the treasury, "if the God would not think such a sum displeasing."
"A thousand drachmas! It is a matter of no consequence to the God, but I fear he will be displeased that you ask for such a trifle instead of more!" The priest gave it to him.
Apollonius stayed forty days at Olympia after his "resurrection." (The people thought it was little less than that. He explained a variety of matters with great wisdom. Then he departed to converse with Trophonius, whose temple he had formerly visited, though without seeing the God. He promised to return and discourse in the towns, and assemblies, "in your sacred processions, mysteries, and sacrifices, and libations, for all these things require the assistance and advice of a good man." Thus, he left for Arcadia attended by his real admirers, of whom not one was left behind.
The oracle of Trophonius was a peculiar one. It was consulted by entering a narrow underground cave, much resembling the entrance to the Inferno of the later Dante. The priests refused to allow Apollonius to go down as it was only for the wicked and impure to consult the oracle, not such as he. This oracle was the only one that spoke direct to the suppliant without answers passing through any intermediary. This Trophonius was a son of Apollo.
Refused entrance by the priests, Apollonius sat down and discoursed of the oracle and the manner of consulting it. Those who entered the cave went down in a crouching position, clad in white garments and holding cakes of honey in the hand to appease the serpents that might be in the cave. After consulting the oracle they emerged, some in one place and some in another at a greater distance. The whole place and ceremony appeared like some labyrinthine mysteries of the afterlife of the dead. Apollonius had little use for such mysteries; rather it might be said, in modern terms, that he himself was capable of preaching to and instructing the dead.
At evening-time, he wrapped his cloak about him and prepared to descend. The God himself was so pleased with his conduct that he rebuked the priests for their treatment of Apollonius and ordered them to expect his reappearance at Aulis. Here they waited seven days. At the end of that time, Apollonius reappeared by a way untrodden by any before who had ever consulted the oracle. With him, he brought a little book, like the Sibylline oracles, "fitted for answering all questions." He had asked Trophonius what philosophy he considered most pure, and the book contained the opinions of Pythagoras, to which the oracle gave full approval.
"This book is kept at Antium, which on this account, is visited by the curious traveler," says Philostratus a hundred years later. "It was carried to the Emperor Hadrian along with some letters written by Apollonius (for all did not reach him), and was left in his palace at Antium."
All his followers, whom the Greeks named Apollonians, came to him out of Ionia, and with them the young men from the country round about, a vast multitude full of philosophical zeal and worthy of admiration. Great crowds went to hear the philosophy of Apollonius, which fell from his lips like the wealth of Gyges and Croesus, free to all who asked. He spoke from the heart and the Apollonians paid little or no attention to the professional rhetoricians.
He would not allow his young men to accept magisterial offices, nor would he let them have anything to do with lawyers, but drove away his flock when he saw them approach, "I do it through fear of the wolves coming and attacking the fold," he said, in the imagery of the prophet Enoch. Some thought this was because he had seen such bitter suffering, privations, and death in the Roman prisons arising out of the wrangling of the lawyers who fattened on the misfortunes of others.
Two years he stayed in Greece and then sailed into Ionia with his whole company. He philosophized at Smyrna and Ephesus, not overlooking other towns. Everywhere, he was received worthily.
By Erica Letzerich
If that is clear, the next point is, in observing there is always the observer. The observer who, with his prejudices, with his conditionings, with his fear and guilt and all the rest of it, he is the observer, the censor, and through his eyes he looks, and therefore he is really not looking at all, he is merely coming to conclusions based upon his past experiences and knowledge. The past experiences, conclusions, and knowledge prevent actually seeing.
The observer is the personality, the conjunction of our emotions and thoughts, and therefore cannot really see. Krishnamurti mentions that there is no observer or observed because the two are one. The Mahatma KH also describes this state of mind:
The Real Knowledge here spoken of is not a mental but a spiritual state, implying full union between the Knower and the Known.
-- THE MAHATMA LETTERS, Letter 69
No spirituality can be reached no awareness can be present into the mind of a person that is not able to investigate the depths of the soul. The process of self-knowledge based on deep inquires and inner changes are the most basic step into the path of theosophy and occultism. Jesus reminds us that too:
Truly, I tell you, unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever becomes humble like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.
-- Matthew 18:1-5
A mind not enlightened by Buddhi will not express wisdom but only intellect. It will lead, the aspirant, to face the great dragon, arrogance. If you refuse to face it, the dragon will trap you in the future. Should you believe you have won, it has already devoured you.
Humbleness is an inner state open to the possibility of mistakes in intellectual conclusions, always open for the new. The wise man knows how ignorant he is.
In this sense, a mind that inquires expectantly is not humble. It is not simple. It is subject to prior conditioning, unable to grasp truth, being unable to inquire truly. The very process of searching for the truth requires a mind free of conditioning. How else can the eternal express itself through the non-eternal? How else can the real express itself through the unreal? How else can the unreal even suspect the real exists?
What causes attachments to the personality, physical life, loved ones, and teachings or belief? They are all projections of a mind seeking answers to please the inner ego. They seek to comfort the fearful mind immersed in illusion and subterfuge. Such a mind cannot inquire about truth.
David Bohn says that scientific theories are only models of reality, a way to see and to interpret nature. The theories are not reality itself. He goes on to say experimental results are answers to questions formulated by scientists and the nature of such an answer bases itself upon the nature of the question. Because of this, a fragmented question will have a fragmented answer.
What is the greatest illusion, according to the light of Theosophy? It is separation or division. The greatest challenge of the real aspirant is not to merely realize Oneness theoretically, but also to do so practically. Consider it not necessarily a challenge but rather a step that one will climb eventually. This requires inner change, regeneration.
Our reflexes, reactions, and thoughts connect to every previous experience we have had. If inquiry does not raise the mind beyond its conditioning, one's expectations impose a filter and the inquiry is not be real.
Many philosophers, students, sages, and poets have undertaken the task to search for truth. The process of inquiry requires a mind that is completely free from expectation, the search for comfort, and answers to satisfy the ego. In this sense only when the mind is free of desire to achieve something to get a result, consequently free of fear can reach a state of awareness.
One finds the truth in following a path covered with stones, a course few can tread. It requires no hypocrisy, no attachments to religion, cult, creed, believe, or system. It is a process the starts from within.
Near the beginning of THE VOICE OF THE SILENCE, Blavatsky says:
Having become indifferent to objects of perception, the pupil must seek out the rajah of the senses, the Thought-Producer, he who awakes illusion.
This refers to the illusion of an individual existence, the illusion of the "me." Unfortunately, one cannot reach such a stage simply by a practice of some technique, say of meditation. If so, as a Mahatma mentioned, the whole of India would be enlightened by now.
For many, the journey within oneself starts with inner crisis and ego conflicts. For others, the soul can hear high tones of the eternal sound faintly, abruptly becoming aware of its miserable state. With that awareness, one's inner journey starts. It begins with some trigger, one of a million different causes. The neophyte will face his inner demons. Lost in the labyrinths of his soul, he will wander, seeking light in ultimate loneliness.
One can do nothing now. The inner battle has started and it is out of his control. This is the dark night of the soul, which can endure the entire lifetime for many. For others, it can end up in tragedy, in the loss of equilibrium and balance. For yet others, it results in enlightenment. Everybody will eventually face this step at the right point in his or her evolutionary path.
How do we become indifferent to the object of perception? How do we locate the thought producer when we identify with it? It is necessary to transcend the ego. It is necessary to break every inner barrier, every conditioning, and every belief. The sand castles built by thought and emotion must go down.
If we do not undertake the inner journey, every discussion, inquiry, and observation of ours will fragment and only express intellectual speculation. A real understanding follows real effort by a clean mind and a pure heart, untrammeled by chains of the ego.
By Phillip A. Malpas
[From THE THEOSOPHICAL FORUM, June 1948, pages 321-27.]
In the following pages, I give certain facts, information, and suggestions to enable the serious inquirer to form a better-balanced knowledge of the subject. Hitherto, all written about this great man is by Christians or anti-Christians with a few in between, none knowing the history with any accuracy. The literature of the early ages such as the Gospels was not intended to be history. It was written for a purpose that was not public. It was not a myth, but was and is a mythos, a story with definite symbolical meaning, an allegory that included many ethical and moral teachings.
One reason for such a manner of writing is that the teachings often cannot be fully expressed in terms of ordinary intellectual language. Another was that according to archaic tradition and experience, there was danger in teaching some high doctrines to people who had not been prepared by long training. If any are sufficiently unthinking to question this idea that knowledge without self-control is dangerous, we may point to hypnotism, atomic power, and germ warfare. If they cannot see that these are more dangerous to humanity than most dare admit, then they are hardly ready to learn more until they have learned to think. In any case, secret societies have studied such teachings for ages, observing the rule of privacy.
Insofar as the writer knows, not much stress has ever been laid upon the fact that the very earliest Christianity was the work of a secret society or societies in the Near East. It was so, and this accounts for much of the mystery and secrecy surrounding the life and work of the man known as Jesus. The question arises, "Do secret societies exist today that existed two thousand years ago?" The answer is undoubtedly yes.
We may name at least two of them. One is the Christian Church itself, which however changed and transformed is still a descendant of one or more of the secret societies of the Near East of those days. Another is the society of the man known as John the Baptist. Poor and seemingly unlearned, there is still reason to believe that some among them preserve their ancient records. They are said to be centered today in the district round Basra in Persia. It would be hopeless to expect them to talk about these things.
In the East, other societies of great antiquity are known. Among them are some who know who "Jesus" was, what really happened in connection with him, and why.
One who spent her life in investigating truth in its many forms was Madame H. P. Blavatsky. In so doing, she contacted many guardians of the old wisdom and keepers of the records. We may glean much from her colossal labors expressed in several well-known volumes. She died in 1891 and, as she said at the time, we would only begin to understand her work in this century. We were not ready for it then.
Since her time, the work has been expanded and explained by Dr. Gottfried de Purucker, who died in 1942. His works are also available. Among them is a very small book, small like a diamond, named "The Story of Jesus." He restricts himself so much to a few facts that it occurred to this writer to attempt, so to say, to frame the picture, or to use the former metaphor, to give the diamond a setting.
There is no pretension to fine writing. All we have endeavored to do is to give information and hints as to where information may be found by those who take an interest in the subject. Not a sentimental interest, not a political or partisan interest, nothing doctrinal, nothing dogmatic, just something for the everyday man who wants to know.
Strange as it may seem at first glance, the most just, the most fair and beautiful, and the most purposeful sketch of what is known of Jesus can only be given by one who is not orthodox Christian. If a man is so labeled, his spectacles are bound to be colored. On the other hand, realize that not all who are not members of the Christian community are antagonistic to Jesus. Quite the contrary.
It is not going too far to say that no man who has labeled himself a Christian has ever honored Jesus more than the sober genuine Theosophists have done. They and others like them have dedicated themselves to immense research and effort to find out the truth wherever it might lie hidden.
It is true that some rather superficial dogmatists from time to time have seemed to condemn the Christian Church as evil from the beginning. Certainly soon after the passing of Jesus and possibly even during his lifetime, there may have been some who could not stand the strain of self-control and who may have done things involving moral turpitude and yet called themselves Christians. Even the Gospel story tells in figurative language of one such, named Judas. The man who came to be called Paul also tells of questionable characters who attached themselves to his lodges, but that does not alter the fact that the Christian Church started with the most sublime objects in view. All down the ages there have been men and women in it whose unselfish lives were exemplary. Most would have been such under any form of outer observance.
Put shortly, the greatest honor possibly paid Jesus by Christian or not is to attempt to put his genuine teachings into practice in life. Even so, some teachings, given to an occult brotherhood, are beyond the capacities of the everyday man in an age like ours. They are points of training for occult students.
Do not forget that an enormous amount of corruption has crept into what we have received as the teachings of Jesus. This corruption goes so far back that even in the fourth century A.D. we find the Church Father Jerome completely puzzled by it. We have said a good deal about him to show how difficult it was for him to distinguish between fact and dogma. He does one thing that helps us. He shows that from the very first there was a secret and an open doctrine of the gospel, that there was an esoteric and an exoteric teaching.
The significance of this for the ordinary man who wants to know can hardly be overrated. Students may be perfectly aware of the fact, but the man in the street looks upon them as specialists and possibly theorists and is not always ready to accept what they have to say. In the case of experts -- those who have, in some degree, experienced the things related in symbolic form -- there is the extra difficulty that they are often unwilling to talk to others who have not been trained.
They wish neither to dogmatize nor to give advanced knowledge to amateurs. They are not sure that they would be welcomed if they gave details that are not orthodox. Nor, if they are genuine wise men, have they any desire to interfere with the beliefs of others, however erroneous, unless they are asked, and not always then. Ancient tradition may have taught them that there are times for giving out knowledge and other times for keeping silence or veiling it. Even more, there have been times when death was the penalty for revealing in plain language the secrets of the sanctuary. Socrates died for doing so, but since they were secrets, his executioners did not give that reason for killing him.
Nevertheless, for some reason unspecified, Jerome was given access at least to some part of the esoteric gospel that the original Jewish Christians, the Ebionites, the Poor Men on Mount Carmel and in Aleppo, had carefully preserved in the handwriting of "Matthew" himself. He plainly tells us so. Is it not natural therefore to suppose that there were a certain number, whether large or small, who knew both the exoteric and the esoteric tradition, either badly or well, either partially or wholly, and that these men freely taught the exoteric story while perfectly aware that the esoteric doctrine was different.
Even as late as the time of Irenaeus, the Bishop of Lyons in Gaul, about 180 A.D., we find the Gnostics, a very learned esoteric body, so tangling him up in his exoteric statements about Jesus that he is forced to say at least a little of the truth. He said that Jesus lived about fifty years and taught for the best part of twenty years. Not that the confession availed him much, because as some then pointed out, if Jesus at about the age of thirty in the fifteenth year of the Emperor "Tiberius" began to preach at Kafar-Num, and lived until he was over fifty, then "Pilate" had long ago left Palestine before his death.
All sorts of things could be brought forward to escape from the dilemma, the easiest being that Jesus taught twenty years after his resurrection, in which case much of the force of that event AS HISTORY would be lost. At the same time, as in so many of these things, there was a grain of sense even in this idea, because that is exactly what happened to Gautama the Buddha in one way of looking at it. AS THE BUDDHA, he "died" and then continued teaching as the Bodhisattva for just twenty years, in a lower degree, so to say. There is quite a history yet to know about this incident of Irenaeus. It is doubtless preserved in the occult records, but is unknown to official history of either church or state. Irenaeus is one of the first great heresy-hunters and dogmatists of the long list of those who gradually crystallized the whole thing into a fixed system.
It may be an interesting hint to note that he appears on the stage at much the same time as the great Ammonius Saccas, the founder of the Neo-Platonist philosophy, as it came to be called. This Ammonius Saccas was the agent for his time of the unknown custodians of the esoteric tradition, just as Jesus was for his time, and Plato and others were for their time. In other words, just as Jesus was for his day the founder and head of his Theosophical Society, so was Ammonius Saccas, towards the end of the second century A.D., about 186, the founder and head for his day.
Insofar as the writer knows, there is nothing new, there is no new theory in what he has written, and if there is anything incorrect, it is due to his being an ordinary research student. On the other hand, what H. P. Blavatsky and G. de Purucker say is reliable. Neither of them can be called students. They were learned experts. Unfortunately, HPB was forced to work under terrific difficulties and it is perfectly possible that here and there misprints may have crept into her printed work as certainly did happen in her first great work, ISIS UNVEILED. This applies especially to figures and therefore it is just possible that a date she gives for the birth of Jesus may be a few years out, but nothing like so much as the whole of Christian history, which is no less than one hundred years out. We mention this because several interesting details depend upon the point that at times, small details point to big conclusions, as exemplified in the question of the personal appearance of Jesus that we have discussed in its own place.
A question is likely to be asked. "What is this story of Jesus, if it is not that of a historical man?" The answer is simple if one can understand. It is the story, symbolically expressed, of MAN in his evolution from the human to the divine, the human that he is actually, to the divine that he is potentially, the divine that he is but does not express. Jesus, the historical man, was taken as a good example of such a man who had attained such expression even when living in a body. The name is convenient because, with a negligible alteration, the word "Jesus" in the Hebrew simply means "Man" and not any one man in particular.
Such a story was suitable enough for the appropriate lodge, secret society, or occult group of students but had little to do with the outside public, not even trained in the first shadow of a degree leading to the understanding of the whole. When misguided half-trained members made it public as far as they knew how, it was well that the language was disguised. On the other hand, there seems to have come a time when some who were better aware of what they were doing decided to make the system public for the sake of the little or great good it might do in the approaching dark ages of Europe. The line between legitimate and illegitimate publication is difficult to draw. Although those who wrote the gospels were using age-old materials, they were men of extraordinary intellect, which explains the astonishingly ingenious symbolism they often used.
Here is one instance that gave rise to much confusion among the first users of the gospels. One system of symbology used for the gospel story of Jesus is purely solar, blending with many others. As describing the birth, rise, decline, death, and rebirth of the human being, the path of the Sun through the annual sky is used. Whatever other explanations there may be, this is one of the suggestions contained in the quotation "to preach the acceptable year of the Lord (the Sun)."
The purely exoteric interpreters mixed this up with the story of the preaching of the historical Jesus in such a way as to assert that he lived only one year after he began his mission. Others found this too short a time and said three years based on other symbolic statements that looked historical and are not. Then, as said, we have Irenaeus calling for twenty years.
This example shows the confusion that comes from taking symbolism literally. It is one of many.
From the information on the Avataras, it must be clear that those good folk who cannot rise above personality and expect the personal Jesus to come again, just as did hundreds and thousands of "early Christians," have not interpreted the story correctly. They need to interpret it in a spiritual, not physical, sense. This seems to have been indicated by the warnings given in the gospels themselves against looking for a personal Jesus.
Though Jesus himself cannot come again bodily, others can and will. Unfortunately, there have been and are many illusioned claimants. To those who are puzzled it may be well to quote the Theosophical teaching that the best way to understand the gods is to be like them.
By Margaret Smith
Iamblichus (Jamblichus), the chief representative of Syrian Neo-Platonism, was born about 280, at Chalcis, in Coele-Syria and died about 330. He belonged to a wealthy and illustrious family and studied under Anatolus, and afterwards under Porphyry, the pupil and editor of Plotinus, at Rome. He then settled down as a teacher at Chalcis and gathered round him a considerable group of disciples drawn from different countries and nationalities, who were attracted by his reputation for sanctity and for knowledge of the Divine mysteries. Of him, one of his biographers writes:
Iamblichus shared in an eminent degree the Divine favor, because of his cultivation of justice, and he obtained a numerous multitude of associates and disciples, who came from all parts of the world, for participating in the streams of wisdom, which so plentifully flowed from the sacred fountain of his wonderful mind.
He was a man of genial disposition, socially accessible and living on familiar terms with his many disciples, in whose company he used to pay an annual visit to the baths of Gadara.
He lived the life of an ascetic, contenting himself with a diet of extreme frugality and simplicity, but during his repast, we are told, he "exhilarated those who were present by his behavior and filled them, as with nectar, by the sweetness of his discourse." In his lifetime, he was accredited with miraculous powers, though he himself repudiated the suggestion.
His disciples included men who afterwards became famous as teachers of Neo-Platonism -- Sopater of Syria, who succeeded Plotinus in his school of philosophy, Aedisius, Eustathius the Cappadocian, the Greeks Theodore and Euphrasius, Priscus, and Sallust. His influence upon those who came after him was great. Such writers as Chrysanthius and Maximus, as well as Proclus (412-485), regarded him with the greatest respect. Of Proclus, it was written:
He was illustrious as a mathematician and as an astronomer. He was the first among existing philologers. He had so comprehended all religions in his mind and paid them such equal reverence, that he was as it were the priest of the whole universe: nor was it wonderful that a man possessing such a high knowledge of nature and science should have this initiation into all sacred mysteries. Such a man was Proclus in whom are combined and from whom shine forth in no irregular and uncertain rays all the philosophical lights which have illustrated Greece in various times; to wit, Orpheus, Pythagoras, Plato, Aristotle, Zeno, Plotinus, Porphyry, and Iamblichus.
-- F.D. Maurice, MORAL AND METAPHYSICAL PHILOSOPHY, I, 117
The famous Bulialdus speaks of Iamblichus as a man of the greatest genius, while the Platonists who succeeded him gave him the epithet of "divine." The Emperor Julian, who reigned from 361 to 363, went so far as to say of Iamblichus that "he was posterior indeed in time, but not in genius, to Plato."
Iamblichus was, in fact, a learned scholar and a considerable philosopher, though his bent lay rather in the direction of speculative and mystical theology than of philosophy proper, and he evolved theosophy of the Gnostic type. He was the exponent of Platonic and Aristotelian conceptions, and his doctrines, in addition, show plainly the influence of Oriental ideas.
He was a copious writer, his works including commentaries on the PARMENIDES, TIMAEUS, and PHAEDO of Plato, and the ANALYTICA of Aristotle, a treatise on the Chaldean theology, and treatises on the Soul and on Nature, all of which have been lost. Those of his writings that are extant originally formed part of a great work entitled, "Treatise on the Pythagorean Philosophy," and include a life of Pythagoras, an exhortation to the study of Philosophy (the PROTREPTICUS) and three mathematical treatises.
To Iamblichus also was ascribed the celebrated book DE MYSTERIIS, the Mysteries of the Egyptians, Chaldeans, and Assyrians, which is the refutation by "Abammon" the Master, of the arguments contained in an epistle of Porphyry to the Egyptian priest Anebo. It is unlikely that this BOOK OF MYSTERIES is the actual work of Iamblichus, though Proclus held it to be his, but it certainly emanated from his school, representing the views and aims that his disciples had derived from him. It may therefore be taken to represent the teaching and doctrine of Iamblichus.
The teaching of Iamblichus and his school on the nature of the Ultimate Reality is based on that of Plotinus. That Reality is the One, transcendent and incommunicable, unmoved and immutable, alone in His Unicity, supremely perfect, Absolute Goodness, the Primordial Cause, and the Sole Source of all things. Though God is thus transcendent and Absolute, and no limitations or divisions are consistent with the Divine Nature, yet He is also immanent. All things, says "Abammon" are full of divinity, for "God illuminates heaven and earth, holy cities and places, divine shrines, just as the sun illuminates all the corners of the universe which he looks upon."
-- BOOK OF MYSTERIES, I, 8
The One is the Godhead, unlimited, infinite, above all principles of being and intelligence. Between the One and the many, Iamblichus places a second super-existent unity, God manifest in action, the Demiurge or world-creating potency, the light communicating itself, "a monad from the One," which is prior to essence and the principle of essence, a Mediator between the Absolute Reality and the universe. From this God of gods, the King, entity and essence are derived, and He is the principle of intelligibles; below him, again, are many gods, intellectual, supramundane, and mundane, and various orders of archangels, angels, demons, and heroes, distinguished in nature, power, and activity.
The human soul, in the teaching of Iamblichus, stands midway between the supernatural and the natural and has a twofold relation, one to God and one to the body. It is possessed of reason, a Divine attribute not possessed by the lower creatures, and it can therefore behold the Divine Beauty, and has within itself a consciousness of God and a desire to ascend unto Him.
The soul in itself is ingenerable and incorruptible; and though, when it joins to a body, it must be involved in the suffering of existence, being "complicated with the indefiniteness and diversity of matter," yet the soul itself is immutable and essentially more excellent than that which suffers. The soul is the real Self, and therefore knowledge of the soul is knowledge of oneself. The highest part of the soul and the best is the intellectual principle, that part which is Divine and "for the sake of this and of the thoughts which it energizes, all else exists." Knowledge of the Self will enable man to make use of the good things in life that, without the wisdom to know how to use them, are not goods but evils. So the body is to be cared for and controlled for the sake of the soul and its ruling powers.
In the BOOK OF MYSTERIES, the Master Abammon asserts that man has fallen from the Vision of God, that he can only be blessed by returning to that Vision, and therefore in this book he wishes to show the gradual steps by which man can be led onward and upward until the soul, freed from the complications and hindrances of matter, can enter into communion with the Divine. "The perfect good is God Himself: the good of man is unity with Him." That which is merely natural is determined, "bound by the indissoluble chains of necessity which men call Fate," as distinguished from the supernatural, the Divine, which is bound by no such laws. Yet even the natural, which has itself been ultimately derived from the supernatural, can be affected by it. So that Iamblichus maintains that from the supernatural "a continual stream of elevating influence flows" to the natural, interfering with the laws of necessity, and turning to good ends what is imperfect and evil. Evil he holds to have been generated accidentally, by a misdirected will.
The soul, in its unregenerate state, is subject to the law of necessity, by which it descends periodically into a body and reascends; and until it has reached complete purification, it is subject to rebirth in a new body, and descends wholly, becoming a composite nature once more. Being immortal, it can find no escape from ills and no salvation except by acquiring as much goodness and insight as possible, until it shall at last ascend in purity and escape from the necessity of rebirth.
The Way of Salvation, then, which leads to that union with the Divine that is the goal of the soul, is to be found in the soul's surrender to that which is Divine within itself. This can be attained by a twofold purification, that of discipline, which purifies from outward evil, and knowledge, that philosophy which purifies from the evil within. Iamblichus writes:
A temple, indeed, should be adorned with gifts, but the soul with discipline and as the lesser mysteries are to be delivered before the greater, thus also discipline must precede philosophy.
Pythagoras had said, "It is proper to sacrifice and to adore, unshod," and this exhortation Iamblichus holds is to be interpreted symbolically.
Sacrifice and adoration should be performed not only in the body, but also in the energies of the soul: so that these energies may be detained neither by passion, nor by the imbecility of the body, nor by generation, with which we are externally surrounded. Everything pertaining to us should be properly liberated and prepared for our participation in the Divine.
-- PROPTREPTICUS, 21
This is liberation from the oppressive power of Nature, for by this purification the soul withdraws from connection with the sensuous world and dependence on Nature and Destiny.
In addition to the discipline of body and its activities, there is also the discipline of mind and spirit that comes through philosophy, for philosophy has for its aim that insight which is gnosis, and enables the soul to attain to its final good. Philosophizing, says Iamblichus, is a kind of dying, in order to live, death being nothing but the separation of the soul from the body in order that it may live a life by itself. The soul can never perceive truth in all its purity until it has attained to this release.
In order that the soul may be prepared for that perfect knowledge -- when it shall know as it is known -- and be prepared to approach as near as possible to that knowledge here and now, it must be purified from all that arises from the body, from common desires and fears, from all anxiety about earthly needs, from the hindrances to progress which arise from what is external and natural. It is by the insight reached through philosophic purification that the soul acquires the virtues of courage, temperance, and justice.
Philosophy not only purifies the soul from the evils within, replacing the vices by virtues, but it thereby purifies its relations with other souls, for justice implies the giving to others of what is their due. Of all kinds of knowledge, Iamblichus holds, philosophy alone is free from envy and does not rejoice in the ills of others, for it shows that men are all akin and of like affections and all are subject alike to unforeseen changes of fortune. Therefore, philosophy exhorts men to human fellowship and mutual love. (See PROPTREPTICUS, 21.)
Those who are truly "initiated" when they reascend, so that they are no longer under the law of necessity and rebirth, are those who have become purified thus, through philosophy. The special function, then, of philosophy, is to set the soul free from the evil accretions which are the result of birth and rebirth, and to liberate that energy within it which is Divine, that principle which is superior to all nature and generation, "through which we are capable of being united to God, of transcending the mundane order and of participating in eternal life, and the energy of that which is super-celestial."
Through this principle, therefore, we are able to liberate ourselves from Fate. For when the more excellent parts of us energize and the soul is elevated to that which is better than itself, then it is entirely separated from things that detain it in generation, departs from subordinate natures, exchanges the present for another life, and gives itself to another order of things, entirely abandoning the former order with which it was connected.
-- BOOK OF MYSTERIES, VIII
This indwelling of God imparts health of body, virtue of soul, purity of intellect, and elevates everything to its proper principle. It annihilates that within the soul that is cold and destructive; that which is hot, it increases and renders more powerful and predominant, and it causes all things to accord with soul and intellect and gives light and "intelligible harmony."
-- BOOK OF MYSTERIES, II, 6
In connection with this latter idea, the Master Abammon holds that sounds as such can have no influence in bringing about a state that is so entirely Divine, but the soul, before it was combined with the body, was an auditor of divine harmony. The sounds of music indicate the inner harmony between the soul and God. In them, it recognizes this harmony and recollects that heavenly music, and so by earthly music may be enabled to ascend towards that harmony and be prepared to receive full inspiration.
Consider al-Ghazali speaking of those who live the unitive life in God.
If sweet music breaks upon their ears, they pass from it to (the thought of) the Beloved -- for from Him is all that they hear and He hath made them deaf to all words save His.
-- BOOK OF MYSTERIES, III, 9
In this ascent towards its Source, the soul is helped by prayer, not the prayer of supplication, but the prayer of contemplation. Of this, the writer of the BOOK OF MYSTERIES states:
The continual exercise of prayer nourishes the vigor of our intellect and renders the receptacles of the soul far more capacious for the communications of God. It likewise is the divine key, which opens to men the Holy of Holies; accustoms us to the splendid rivers of supernal light: in a short time perfects our inmost selves and disposes them for the ineffable embrace and contact of the Divine: and does not desist until it raises us to the summit of all. It also gradually and silently draws up all that is within our soul, by divesting it of everything that is foreign to a Divine nature, and clothes it with the perfections of the Supremely Perfect. Besides this, it produces an indissoluble communion and friendship with the Divine, nourishes a Divine love, and inflames the divine part of the soul. It expiates and purifies whatever is of an opposing and contrary nature in the soul. It expels whatever is prone to generation and retains anything of mortality in its ethereal and splendid spirit. It perfects a good hope and faith concerning the reception of Divine light.
So this contemplative prayer becomes the seal of that ineffable union with God, whereby the soul is irradiated with the Divine Fire. (BOOK OF MYSTERIES, V, 26)
Only thus can the soul attain to felicity, to salvation and release from the bonds of necessity and fate, to the essence and perfection of all good that is found only in God. Only so can the human soul hope to participate in the Divine life and become united with God, the Giver of all good. "There is a time," writes Abammon, "when we become wholly soul, are out of the body and sublimely revolve on high, in union with the immaterial Divinity." Such a soul has obtained the Divine life instead of a human life: it is wholly possessed by God. It has entered the ranks of the "initiated," those released from the law of Necessity, who are no more subject to rebirth. This is the end of the Path, of the ascent of the soul to God.
So the writer of the BOOK OF MYSTERIES closes with the prayer that he and those for whom he writes may hold fast all right thoughts, that they may ever be granted a knowledge of the truth, may be vouchsafed a more perfect participation in that Divine gnosis wherein consists the blessed attainment of all good, and finally may be granted the enjoyment of sympathy and fellowship one with another.
The mode of thought represented by Iamblichus and his immediate disciples dominated Neo-Platonism from this time onwards and, after his death, his school dispersed itself over the whole Roman Empire. His followers were the associates and teachers of the Roman Emperors. Under the two of them, Maximus and Chrysanthius, the Emperor Julian pursued his philosophical studies, and some of his disciples committed their teaching to writing, notably Sallust and Theodore.
In the revival of Neo-Platonism in the fifth century at the Alexandrian School, of which the authorized exponent was Hypatia, it was the tradition of Iamblichus that she followed and expounded, until her brilliant career was brought to an end by the fanaticism of the Alexandrian mob in 415. It was by means of the teaching of Iamblichus and its dissemination in such a Christian center as Alexandria, as well as in his own native land of Syria, that the Christian church became indoctrinated with Neo-Platonic mysticism. This was conspicuously so in the writings of the famous mystic of the end of the fifth century, Dionysius, the pseudo-Areopagite, probably a monk of Syria. His works contain a doctrine of gnosis based on the teachings of Iamblichus and Proclus, so that through him Iamblichus may be said to have had a profound influence on later Christian thought in the direction of mysticism and pantheism.
By J.S. Collis
The countryside dies in the winter. When autumn is over and before spring has begun to approach, during December and January, everything really does die; there is no life, all is dreary and forlorn.
We human beings do not die every year in this manner, and in order that we shall not feel the deadly hand, we have made cities into which we can escape and thus defeat the rhythm and deny the wheel.
Sometimes, walking outside my cottage in the winter, cast down by the casting down of life around, chilled by the cold unsmiling bitterness of so much lifelessness, I have thought that perhaps we likewise should die in some sense every year -- so that we also might rise again.
We do not do so. We refuse the natural. We turn our back on the rhythm of life, even declining to recognize when the new year starts, and fixing it for January instead of April. When it really does begin, when the whiff of spring which is the odor of resurrection rises from deep down in the earth, when that which was dead is alive again, and that which was lost is found -- there are few of us who are so joined with Nature as to rise also with renewed vitality in the radiance of another birth.
It is a pity. For we pay dearly for losing touch with Nature. We thus lose touch with reality. We see no meaning in life. We go mad. I use words carefully. There is no genuine health or sanity in the man who, given brain, eye, and common sensation, employs only the first of those instruments when attempting to answer the fundamental questions that vex his soul. Yet that is the approved method. We do not EXPERIENCE the world. We puzzle over it by lamplight. But experience must come first, otherwise our thoughts are without value, they have no validity, no foundation. Thought, we must have -- certainly. There is no anti-thought movement. We can never have enough good Reason. There is a vast difference between Reason and REASONING in the void.
You know all this. I am preaching to the converted. The point of this essay is not to make abstract truisms, but to witness concretely to their practice, on however humble a scale. There is a flower called the bluebell. It has done much for me -- more than any reasoning IN VACUO, and more even than books or articles on the danger and futility of such reasoning. It has provided me over and over again with the most far-reaching experiences; there have been occasions when, standing amongst the bells, I have felt the walls of the imprisoning intellectual consciousness cracking, fields of vision opening before me, and waves of sanity passing through.
I live close to a bluebell wood that is likely to remain as the most remarkable I have ever known (specialist though I am in this matter), owing not only to its oceanic dimensions but to the number of angles at which a fresh surprise is possible. There are not only lakes of bluebells, but also a few rivers as broad as the Avon, and some streams with high banks and overhanging branches.
On a May morning last year, rising at six, I went into the wood. The gate, as usual, opened upon a path that led immediately to where heaven had been established upon earth. Then I made for one of the narrow streams, waiting for a special corner. On arriving, I stood still -- with the authentic spell. I will not call it a long thin stream of blue water, for it was so much more exciting than water, being composed only of bells. Besides there was a GREEN footpath in the center -- and the whole was arched by greenery. The sun was rising, and chanced at that moment to throw down some pink and vermilion tinted rays upon an open space of blue, at the far end of the tunnel. And many birds sang.
Then straightway Shakespeare's phrase rose before me, "Ripeness is all." It is all. Life has no other goal. There is no other aim in life save that each separate thing may unfold itself perfectly. As I stood there in the bluebell wood, I SAW that so clearly. I knew that Creation was perfect and that it could never be more perfect at one time than at another time. As I stood there, I was absolved from the idea of Evolution Upwards. I was liberated from the problem of progress. The goal of life was not going to be attained tomorrow -- for lo! -- it had been attained already here. It would be attained again.
When anything unfolds and ripens completely, perfection has been achieved. Never can there be any more potentiality of perfection at one time than at another. The Flame of life burns at the same temperature forever, and evolution only means that God fulfils Himself in many ways. Today is not a preparation for tomorrow, nor this for that. Each thing IS in its own right, and not subject to comparison. It should not be the conscious goal of anything to evolve slowly throughout centuries from something LOW into something HIGH. Rather it should seek to unfold perfectly in the life permitted -- each in its own way, each in its own time.
There may be a certain mystic evolution beyond our understanding, but we should not intellectualize the idea and cast our present-unloving eyes into the beaming future; but strive for immediate perfection. Beauty does not evolve, joy does not evolve. This was clear to me as I gazed at this piece of perfection, this complete unfolding, where to conceive anything better along those lines would be fantastic. As I stood there, I could feel how the potentialities of life at the moment were exactly the same as they were in the Middle or Dark Ages when the sun also shone and the flowers also unfolded.
I had realized this before in the same dynamic way, but I am always grateful when a fresh revelation comes; it is the kind of capital that I like to replenish. It is a particular realization that needs constant restating, and will always return because it is a truth and not a concept. It is the ancient vision of Heraclitus who saw life as the sustained upleaping of a Fountain of Fire -- "the Ever-living Flame, kindled in due measure, and in like measure extinguished."
That was in May. During the following August, I was sitting in the wood one day. The bluebells had dried into seeds. Every stalk was now hung with a rattling belfry of seed-pouches. Those green stalks were now dry, yellow, and weightless. Each bell was a hard-closed pouch of seeds. I plucked a whole stalk and opened up one of these pouches. I found an average of fifty seeds in each. (I must check that again this year.) On each stalk, there was an average of eight pouches. 8 x 50 = 400. There were 10 stalks in every area of, say, my shoe's width and length: that is, room for 4,000 seeds.
I looked round at the ocean of seeds; and, I like Eddington who has to invent a new word when he gets past trillions in his astronomical calculations, I tried to think of a numeral that would do justice to such a mass of possible new bluebells. And I thought of the trillions that were already rooted and waiting for the next spring. I wondered how many of the new ones would be successful in their battle to be born.
And as I sat there examining these things carefully, I was as happy in this analysis as earlier in my synthesis. In whatever way one regarded it, the spectacle was equally inspiring. I felt the sweep of nature's vitality. The idea of death could receive no emphasis -- for everlasting creation and not destruction was what I plainly saw. It was as much a revelation to me as the earlier garment of blue; it was as truly a sign of righteousness; there was in it as great a promise.
"I love to see that Nature is so rife with life that myriads can be afforded to be sacrificed and suffered to prey on one another," said Thoreau. "The impression made on a wise man is that of universal innocence." In that same mood, in that "blessed mood" as Wordsworth called it, I felt no need to RECONCILE myself to the scene. I was in the presence of Nature, experiencing it in the simplest manner, and therefore not puzzling over it in a study, nor trying to "work out" the problem of evil and reconcile science with religion. My thoughts followed in the wake of my experience -- and I still do not see what other validity thoughts can have.
Then I thought of Man. I saw so clearly his nobility. He alone in Nature tried to lessen the destructive element, incessantly endeavoring to minimize the cruelty of life, to succor the unfortunate, to heal the sick, to raise up those who fall. I thought of his mistakes and backward slidings, but they seemed little compared with the new idea of goodness that he had brought into the world. I thought of his endless inventions and how in spite of his inevitable command over destruction he used those weapons for scarcely more than four years of strife out of every fifty.
Some may think that had I not been sitting in that spot, surrounded by the realities of life, in the midst of holy dying and holy living, hemmed in on every side by the signs of ceaseless preparation for everlasting resurrection from the dead -- that I might have failed to achieve so just a perspective.
That is true. Nothing can ever really take the place of contact with Nature. We may conquer her, as we say. We may fly from her. We do both those things. But hers is always the ultimate conquest. For without her guidance, we cannot see, we cannot understand -- that is, we have no philosophy or religion built upon truth. Again, the city man may say that does not matter, for just as we have said goodbye to Nature, so we have learnt to do quite well without religion or philosophy. That is true.
The mob can do without philosophy and without religion. But a whole nation cannot -- unless the people are joined in some great crusade. There must be a nucleus of those who have faith in life. There must be a central core of wise men in a nation from whom the mob may take its counsel and pursue its course. Otherwise, the nation cannot hold together, and degenerates. So let us try to keep in touch with Nature even in the winter. She never did betray the hand that loved her -- nor the mind and soul.
By Arland Ussher
[From THE ARYAN PATH, February 1952, pages 51-54.]
What is the real significance of the Stepmother, that ever-recurring personage in folktales, always depicted as fair without and foul within? There is evidently more here than the natural dislike of the interloper, the rival in the father's affections. The position of real stepmothers is delicate, but they are not necessarily beautiful or wicked. Moreover, a man making a second marriage is generally at an age of mature judgment, and presumably not without some care for providing a good mother for his children. Into the Sophoclean dooms of the Freudian incest-patterns, one forbears from entering beyond suggesting that we see and dislike in the Stepmother the image of the Parent cut loose from custom and consanguinity and (as it were) objectified. We vent upon her the resentment of the Undivided Principle in us against this world of division and suffering into which we are flung.
It will be preferable to follow tracks less trodden by the dismal psychological determinism of today. Is there perhaps danger and fallacy lurking in that "mature and considered choice" of the father? Does not human "freewill" begin by oppressing and tormenting the children-instincts? That rational will is a portion of the eternal order inserted in the temporal. Until it has learned a divine acceptance, it can only be a demoniacal destroyer, a literal thorn in the living flesh.
Is the Stepmother the archetypal example of the Second Thought, often fallaciously held to be the best? Is it the Second Chance, supposed to correct the first, the esprit de l'escalier, usually too perfect to be "right"? Adam, according to the Cabbalistic tradition, had two wives. There was Eve, who ate of the Forbidden Fruit and became a human sinner, and Lilith, who did NOT eat of it, refusing childbearing, and becoming a demon. Though Lilith in the legend was Adam's FIRST wife, the pattern is the same.
Every man who comes into the world is wived by these two women, the productive and the sterile one, the sinner through love and the sinner through pride, the body and the brain. They are the pair that reappears in the figures of Martha and Mary, raised to a new innocence, with the order of higher and lower inverted.
This lengthy preamble was necessary if we are to understand the story of SNEEWITTCHEN, pursued by the unrelenting hate of the Stepmother-Queen, as was Virgil's Aeneas by that of the Queen of the Gods. At the outset, we see two contrasting pictures. There is a Mother who looks out of a window, and a little later, a Stepmother who looks into a mirror. The Mother pricked her finger in sewing, the usual THREE blood-drops fall on the snow, and she wishes for a daughter as white as the snow, as red as the blood, as black as the window-frame. These are the very colors of a new Dawn on the margin of Night and Day.
Her wish is granted, but as generally happens with wishes, it is at a price. The Mother loses her life, and the Stepmother soon after reigns in her stead. The spirit of Night continues to make itself felt, but now banefully, as it were on the other side of reality, like a mental image from which vital meaning has departed. The King, in remarrying, calls on the Past, which was a true mother to the Present. Like all who attempt to fix what should be fugitive, he succeeds only in calling up a vampire-like semblance.
The Princess reaches that climacteric of childhood, the seventh year, and is "fair as the day" when the Stepmother, who has the habit of asking questions of her mirror (as if to suggest that her existence is only a mental or an "ideal" one) receives the disturbing reply that Snow-White is a thousand times fairer than she. The Queen orders a huntsman to take the child away and destroy her, but to bring back the lungs and the liver. The huntsman, however, being smitten with pity, lets her go free in the forest, hoodwinking the Queen by bringing her the liver and lungs of a beast, which the wicked woman greedily devours.
This suggests that in trying to draw posthumous life from the Present, the forms of the Past can only absorb bestial and bestializing elements, as we see in various regressive or reactionary movements of our time. Their communion, or community-spirit, is that of the Black Mass, always parodying the White, often doing so in "good faith."
Snow-White, wandering in the labyrinthine ways of her threatened but growing life, happens upon a hut owned by seven dwarfs. These diggers for gold and metals receive her kindly. It is the Flight into Egypt, that land of mystery and gold, where all treasures are delved after and guarded for the future. Now begins a series of renewed attempts on her life by the wicked Queen. The mirror of the rational self -- of the abstract mind's "speculation" -- reveals to the Queen that the young Princess is alive and where she hides. With the patience of blind and narrow wills, the Queen comes to the door of the hut in the garb of a peddler three times.
The first time, she comes selling laces. Offering to lace Snow-White's bodice for her, she tightens it until the girl falls as if dead. On the second occasion, she sells her a poisoned comb. The Queen insists on combing her hair. The poison works upon the Princess, who again falls in a deep swoon. After both attempts, the seven dwarfs, who return like the seven planets in the sky at every sundown, revive Snow-White. The Queen, whose malice is as persistent as the Princess's simplicity, comes a third time. Now she sells her an apple of which one-half is poisoned. Being tempted, with the rosy half, the girl eats and falls dead.
Note the manner of the three temptations. The Princess's emotional self is assaulted through the constriction of the ribbon, her cerebral self through the comb, and her volitional self -- traditionally seated in the belly -- through the apple. Only the apple is fatal, as it was to Eve. Only the falsification of instinct and will can work deep change or injury in the human being.
Now, indeed, the ministrations of the good dwarfs are unavailing. The kindly genii of Nature cannot help one in whom the poison of the "Stepmother" has entered, one in whom self-will has been planted. Because they are loath to consign her body to the earth, they preserve it in a glass coffin on the hillside. Thereon they watch by SNEEWITTCHEN in turn. The owl, the raven, and the dove -- the symbolic birds of antiquity -- mourn her.
A king's son, passing by, espies the fair tenant of the glass coffin, instantly falls in love, and by his entreaties obtains it from the dwarfs. The same crystal of mental consciousness that betrayed the Beauty of the Present to the false Stepmother, the ghost of the Past, now reveals her to the true lover, the genius of the Future. The coffin is transported to the palace. En route, the fatal apple's core is jolted from Snow-White's throat. Miracle -- she returns to life! It is the Redemption and Resurrection of the Spring. The winter-curse of the eaten Eden-apple is lifted.
The wedding follows with the customary celerity. The wicked Queen, "forgetting nothing and learning nothing," cannot keep away. She comes to the festivity to meet her doom. She must dance in red-hot slippers till she falls, for so-called "free agency" cannot escape from Action's own pitiless logic.
The seven good dwarfs seem to have been forgotten in the general rejoicing, but it could not be otherwise, for the seven-day round of the week must continue, though it carries all man's holidays. In the pride of the mature culture, when the Mind has found and espoused its Image, the rude ancestral shapes that piety saw around the cradle fade from sight. Beauty, however, remains eternally disquieting, like a temptation, like a Second Marriage of the World that cannot be thought of without the magic glass. The kindly shadows of unselfconscious things have but retreated a little from human glare and heat, to return at sundown.
By G. de Purucker
[From HIERARCHIES AND THE DOCTRINE OF EMANATION, pages 83-86.]
How true is the statement, so frequently made in our Theosophical writings, that man is more than microcosm or a copy in the small of the Macrocosm or Universe itself! Because man is an integral and inseparable part of his Great Mother, the Universe, we have in him an infallible key, a true master key, by which we may unlock the most secret, the most hid, the utmost recondite mysteries of Space and Time! This rule can apply in reverse. Once we understand the nature, characteristics, and structure of the Universe, we have the cosmic master key to unlock the mysteries in Man himself.
If we relate the teaching concerning these two fundamental hierarchies to the seven or twelve Classes of Monads, we see that seven of the twelve make man, build him, and complete him. Leave aside for the present the uppermost five classes. These seven consist of two kinds of Monads. The lower four are Builders, Masons, or Workers. The three higher classes are Architects and Planners, the Evolvers of the Idea that the Builders follow. These two divisions of the seven, as they work within the human being, give him the two main divisions of his constitution. The three highest of the seven give his spiritual and intellectual principles, while the psychical, vital, astral, and physical parts come to him from the four corporeal classes of Pitris, commonly called the Lunar Pitris.
The three higher classes are spiritual and intellectual. They are Divine Architects, Evolvers of the Ideas. The four lower classes, under the general name of Barhishad Pitris or Barhishad Fathers, work in the more material realms of existence, following automatically the life-plans or the ideas that the spiritual or higher classes have cast upon them in vital waves.
At the birth of a planetary chain, these world-builders build the different globes thereof. They are those who had attained their spiritual and intellectual development in the preceding Chain-Manvantara.
The inner god is the architect of the building of the human vehicles through which it works. From another aspect, these world-builders are of two general classes. First, there are the inner gods, looked upon collectively as a host of ten classes of monads at work in building a planetary chain. Second, there are the spiritual influences coming to build this planetary chain from the other planets and the sun.
Higher than the world-builders, there is what the ancients called the architects, the thinkers, the planners, the designers, they who scheme the things to be. In so scheming, they use thoughts, and these thoughts are the spiritual elemental energies and hence are workmen. These thoughts comprise the hierarchies of the lower deities or gods and comprise the hierarchies of those beneath the gods such as the demigods, human beings, animals, the vegetable world, the mineral world, and so forth.
Thus, the building of a planetary chain is like the building by ants of an ant-heap such as one sees in certain countries -- partly built of mud, partly built of their own excreta, partly built of their own dead bodies -- in short partly built of their own lives. So is even the physical body built, compact of life and similar infinitesimal entities flowing forth from the reincarnating ego, from the Auric Egg of the individual. Just so, mutatis mutandis, is a planetary chain built, or any globe, sun, or star. Just so does the oak build itself from its seed, the acorn. First, there is the tiny green blade. The next step is the stalk with its leaves. Then there is the tender young plant. The latter grows, increasing in size, until it becomes adult or mature. In turn, it gives birth to other acorns that produce other oak-trees. What a picture for your meditative hours, for your hours of quiet thought and reflection!
It will be obvious, therefore, that the Dhyani-Chohans make the workshops from themselves, much as the snail lives in its own shell, the product of its own being. This is much as a human being lives in his physical body, largely the product or flowing forth of the energies and substances within. The inner astral entity of the human constitution fills the physical human body, and this astral entity is the ultimate flowing forth from the spiritual body of the Dhyani-Chohan, being composed of the streams of life-atoms. It is the matters and energies that flow forth from within, which build the worlds or indeed build any globe.
There are many classes of these builders, of these world-builders. There are many classes of the architects, of the world-architects. Above the architects, there are other entities still higher, still more evolved, still more fully expressing the inexhaustible energies, powers, faculties, of the inner god.
Space is boundless. Duration has neither beginning nor end. Time is but a fantasy of the human imagination cast on the background of eternal duration. In endless time and through endless space -- inner and outer -- passes the vast and endless procession of the worlds and gods, demigods, spirits, men, beasts, and what not. There is movement always, with occasional breaks when sections of the procession vanish as it were for a rest. They drop out to the side, repose, and when the repose is ended, they take their place in the procession again, now behind.
I trust you understand the teaching. The mind of man evolves an idea, forms a plan, and makes a picture. Then he uses his will to corporealize this picture in certain material creations, such as a building. In like manner, the life forces, the will powers, and the spiritual and intellectual energies of the three higher classes permeate, penetrate, and stimulate the four inferior classes of the Pitris, setting them to work.
Automatically, instinctively, they begin to work according to the general cosmic plan. Thus, you see strange phenomena that puzzle scientists. Why, for instance, does an ant or bee follow its own line marvelously, building so symmetrically? What are these marvelous instincts in lower creatures? Undoubtedly, they spring forth from within the lower creature. What is that wonderful intelligence that guides the instinct itself? It is the dominant thought of the spiritual Planner as contrasted with the activity of the vital Builder.
Remember that the four lower classes are evolving forwards. In due time, they will become members of the three higher classes. They will have left the schoolroom of Building, and will have become Architects and Planners in their turn. We humans are now Builders, Masons, and Laborers.
In another sense of the word, the three higher classes are Builders, receiving in turn a Plan from entities still higher than they are. This exemplifies the Mercurial Chain or Golden Chain, which stretches from the most Sublime Architect of the Universe, the Cosmic Hierarch, to reach as a vital flame down through inferior entities to the lowest range of a Hierarchical system. There is One Cosmic Plan, one Cosmic Life, one Cosmic Direction, and one Cosmic Law.
Reflect, however, in conclusion, that such Universes are numberless in Infinitude. There is always a greater scheme that includes the great one, which includes the smaller. This greater cosmic scheme is itself included in one still greater, and so forth infinitely.
Finally, I repeat what I have hereinbefore said. The Light-side, spiritual side, or divine side of Nature is composed of the Hierarchies of Light and Compassion. These Hierarchies are Monads that have unfolded through evolution into expressing more and more latent power, faculty, and attribute so that they have become the self-conscious Architects or true Gods of the Universe. Whereas, the countless hosts and armies forming the matter-side of the Universe, the vehicular side, or the Class of the Builders, in all the various ranges of this latter, are Monads less awakened than are the other general Class of the Gods or Architects. By comparison with these last, the Monads forming the Matter-side of the Universe are asleep, although "asleep" covers ranges of consciousness from the highest of the Builders, who are almost Architects, running downwards through all the ranges of the Builders to the relatively completely spiritually dormant life-atoms and atoms of the Universe.