Your experience, your training, your intellect, your knowledge of the exterior world, in short, all combine to aid you in the accomplishment of the task you have undertaken. For, they place you on an infinitely higher level than myself as regards the consideration of writing a book, after your Society's "own heart."
-- Mahatma KH, THE MAHATMA LETTERS TO A.P. SINNETT, Letter 8
By B.P. Wadia
[From LIVING THE LIFE, pages 13-16]
One, if not the greatest, of evils by which modern society is corrupted, is that of gossip. Injurious speech, or small talk ensouled by the spirit of competition, not only ruins other people's character, but also corrupts our own. This is not recognized. Small talk has become and is studied as an art, and the infamy of gossip has emerged as an institution of social amusement. Its infamous nature is forgotten, its dire effects fail to impart their lesson, and it has assumed for modern men and women the place of a necessity of life. Social avocations in cultured drawing rooms as also in abusive slums pursue the path of small talk and mean gossip.
The first requirement of the spiritual life is to learn the value of silence. The conservation of spiritual energy demands that the frittering away of soul-forces be stopped. There are few avenues through which man's divinity goes to waste as through sound and speech. The dirt and dregs of our kamic nature often find their outlet in useless or injurious speech.
There is a close connection and more than mere metaphorical analogy in the statement that refers to what is put in the mouth as food and what comes out of it as words. Through the process of eating, the assimilation of food and elimination of waste product take place. The health of the body improves or suffers with every morsel we take in. One of the main ways of determining the condition of the body is to examine the disposition of the process and product of elimination. Our psychic nature has its own ways of assimilation and elimination, of sustaining itself in good or ill health. One of the modes of elimination relates to the power of speech.
In spiritual growth, learning and listening go together. They precede teaching and speaking. In ancient India, the moment the seeker of the peace of wisdom resolved to follow in the footsteps of the guru, the pupil gained the name of Shravaka, a listener. The ancient Greeks named him Akoustikos. He was not even permitted to ask questions; bija-sutras, seed-thoughts, were given him to ponder over and understand to the best of his ability. These thoughts were intended as purificatory food that, if adequately assimilated, would cleanse his kamic nature; not only remove the accumulated poisons of the past but reveal to the pupil the correct alchemical process of transforming within his own constitution passion into compassion, lust into love, and antipathy into sympathy. Once started on this highway, he was ready to become an exerciser, a positive doer, Shramana, the Asketos of the Greeks.
Our modern Theosophical student has not fully recognized the occult significance of silence. A vow of silence does not mean to become mute and not to speak at all. It consists in: (1) self-imposition of periodic silence; (2) not indulging at any time in injurious and untruthful speech; (3) not giving way to useless speech; (4) not asking questions on philosophy or practice till what has already been taught or is before us is fully scanned and thoroughly looked into from the point of view of our particular questions; (5) not indulging in ahankaric speech, i.e., not making statements about the Divine Self or Ego in terms of our kamic or lower nature; (6) not indulging in injurious speech regarding our lower nature, our own faults and weaknesses, lest by speaking of them we lend them the strength that ensues from the power of speech; (7) not to speak even that that is true unless at proper times, to proper people, and under proper circumstances.
While this sevenfold exercise is practiced, secrecy has to he observed about it. To refer to or speak about the exercise we have undertaken and are practicing is to vitiate it altogether and make it worse than useless. Such an indulgence gives birth to conceit and enhances it where it already exists. We need secrecy and silence. Contemplation on their kinship should precede the sevenfold exercise.
There is a general desire "to sit for meditation and to practice yoga," but this first rule, this primary regulation, is found irksome and its desirability questioned. No doubt, it is difficult, well nigh impossible, for the moderns to attain this control over speech; but if not fully and wholly at least partly and partially it can be and should be practiced.
Deliberate speech will be the first result. It will not be rooted in Kama-passion, but in Buddhi-compassion. There are two types of criticism: one is faultfinding; the other is perception of virtue in meritorious expressions as also the perception of virtue behind vice, demerit, and weakness. The deceit of the dice is Sri Krishna, and the power to perceive that comes from the second type of criticism. The first is criticism by words of Kama; the second is by words of understanding. The first is on the plane of words; the second on the plane of ideas. The first is of head learning; the second of soul-wisdom. The first praises or condemns the lower nature; the second imports into it the strength of the higher, causing readjustment. The first has behind it the superior spirit of teaching; the second the sublime spirit of learning and propagating that which is learnt.
How different would be the world if even in some measure the power of this practice went into the doings of our civilization! Reviewers and critics would then not look for points to condemn, but for beauty, goodness, and worth in the books they review. In all affairs of thought, feeling, and action our tendency is to look for OUR thoughts repeated, OUR feelings reproduced, and OUR actions imitated. We regard ourselves as the model for all examination. We are the pattern whereby right and wrong is to be determined. Such an attitude is not blatantly expressed, but veils itself in a subtle form of humility, which is mock modesty.
There are a hundred who plunge into the waters of the ocean for pleasure or profit to only one who dives for the pearl of great price. The latter does his work in the secrecy of silence. His art in the ocean is of a different kind from that of the ordinary swimmer. Those who are in search of the pearl of wisdom must acquire the strength of muscle, the control of breath, and the finesse of stroke necessary against the stormy billows of this ocean of Samsara. These lie securely hidden in the Power of Silence. They must invoke that power, not by a pledge to some other being, but by a vow silently sung and silently registered in the sanctuary of the Heart. Thus, the path begins in silence and secrecy and ends in the hearing and the chanting of the Soundless Sound.
[From THE THEOSOPHICAL MOVEMENT, July 1975, pages 346-49.]
Even though ideas may sway large masses of men, they have a tendency to lose their hold and be lost to humanity if the latter through perversity and indifference ceases to give them life through a studied usage. Sri Krishna refers to this phenomenon in Chapter IV of THE BHAGAVAD GITA where he says that in the course of time, the once-prevalent mighty Art was lost. It is through disuse, neglect, and short memories that ideas start losing their power and ultimately cease to govern the actions of men. It is therefore necessary that ideas based on the true be constantly planted in the memory of successive generations and be continually charged with that vitality that conscious human usage can alone provide. The life-term of any idea is determined by the enthusiasm or indifference with which it is communicated and received.
The ideas that Theosophy puts forward are but a reiteration of those same ideas of the mighty Art that were promulgated by Krishna then lost in the wilderness of man's increasing materiality again. The Theosophical effort was to instruct the public in the doctrine that asserts the existence of an indissoluble link that prevails between man and man and between man and the universe. Once that the idea of Universal Brotherhood gets accepted in principle, the allied ideas of philanthropy, self-sacrifice, and charity are bound to be readily recognized as worthy of practice.
The Theosophical Movement was started to promote among men the idea of this great Oneness, and especially so among scientists and religionists who were parceling humanity into two camps, each hugging its own fantasy to its breast. The teachings on karma and reincarnation; states after death; the seven principles in man and nature; the birth and evolution of systems of worlds; the progression of man -- all these teachings were given out and shown as dovetailing one with the other and as forming part of one synthesizing whole where no part was in conflict with another. Theosophy shows all evolution as proceeding under a just and conscious LAW from the homogeneous to the heterogeneous, to reabsorb ultimately into the original Unity with all experience gathered therein.
All these Teachings were revealed in books, instructions, periodicals, and correspondence with the hope that those who benefited from them would in their turn pass on that benefit to others who were in need of it. The wheel of promulgation had thus been set revolving. It was expected that the realization of the truth of Universal Brotherhood with its applications in daily living would make man act in all things and always as his brother's keeper.
Since those far off days of 1875, the Movement has spread everywhere. The efforts at promulgation had necessarily to be directed towards the furthering of the original impulse and the giving of momentum and strength to the effort at weaning away men from paths of error. The present effort emphasizes the spreading broadcast of the ideas of an impersonal, all-pervasive god-principle, of a just and all-seeing Law, and of a human evolution that must run its cyclic rounds helped or hindered by the free will of man.
Societies and Lodges will always remain the ephemera of a day and their utility is judged by their adherence to the three fundamental propositions set out in THE SECRET DOCTRINE. (I, 14) If they have failed in this task, they can always pick themselves up and continue the work in the light of Truth and the Divine Paramitas. Whatever the record, the future holds vast potential for good that can be tapped by the promulgation of the True. There is no time limit to effort.
It is a fundamental duty of Theosophists to hold forth to the public that anyone who is searching for the Perennial Philosophy can have easy access to it at places centrally situated, and that even if these remain far removed for some, clarification, advice, and instruction can be readily available through correspondence. Once established, there must flow from such centers of force such information and instruction as would dissolve in men's minds the hard encrustations of superstition and bigotry with their attendant evils of fanaticism.
The pernicious, soul-destroying ideas that one need not fear the effects of wrong-doing because absolutions, gifts, and favors can be purchased by groveling before and fawning upon a god has to be shown to be the fabrication of the clergy in most religious systems. Old and decrepit edifices, built on crumbling foundations of half-truth and deceit, have to be pulled down and good ideas planted on clean places. In this task, Theosophy has to fight intolerance, prejudice, ignorance, and selfishness that hide under the mantle of faith in a personal god and behind the assumption of an air of piety.
To gather the strength necessary to do all this, the student has to clean his own Augean stables lest with soiling substances residing in him he become the center of a turbulent force that gathers strength at each occasion when he allows disharmony to prevail between word and act. In trying to introduce reforms and present a new orientation, care has to be taken that the public is not roused to useless criticism and that storms are not unnecessarily raised where complete calmness is essential to make minds receptive to new ideas.
Whatever be the form that the act of promulgation may take, the state of the inner man -- harmonious or disturbed -- is bound to percolate through to his audience. When a sage or saint writes or speaks, his message carries an inner atmosphere that has the quality of his wisdom, compassion, and piety. Common words and familiar ideas get invested with a new import and emphasis that seem to run with his message and remain potent for good across large periods of time. On the other hand, when the student becomes lethargic in the fight against his lower nature and starts preaching that standard of morality that he does not take the trouble to maintain himself, he sets up an inner turbulence that keeps him on the boil. His imbalance percolates through his speech, denuding it of its power to help, benefit, and protect.
Where promulgation is through the spoken word, the level of intelligence of the audience has to be taken into account and the speech adjusted to that level. The effort at dissemination should not resemble that of a condescending elder talking to children. Such an attitude is irksome and the hold on the audience is to that extent weakened. The exposition should not be over-simple, nor on the other hand should it go over the heads of the majority. The atmosphere of the meeting should not be that of a new prophet laying down the law to errant mortals, nor should it be apologetic because the enunciation of truths may offend the susceptibilities of some or clash head-on with their preconceived ideas. The exposition should be in such manner as to imply that the lecturer is but passing on that which he has heard and benefited by and that he now desires to make available for the good of the many.
Any disquisition, however lucid, on one or the other aspects of the Wisdom is bound to degenerate into mere oratory and fine talk unless the words carry a sincere desire to help. Such a desire carries the strength with which Nature endows him who is impersonal and altruistic. To invoke that benign strength, the promulgation must be of the True and therefore not tend to violate any law in Nature. A deviation prompted by personal or other pressing necessity or a dilution of the teachings to inflate one's ego or to suit local prejudices and loyalties carries the taint of falsity and therefore spreads no beneficence. A good speaker gone astray will at best touch only the emotional and psychic chords of his audience. In such case, there can be neither accretion of spirituality nor any appreciable enlightenment.
There are modes of promulgation other than the spoken or written word. Health may fix a man immobile to his bed and yet his promulgation may be effective for good. His noble thoughts directed by a purified will may roam free and carry his message of hope and cheer to those who may be in sore need of it. The power of human thought when directed by an altruistic will can create a floating storehouse of refined energy that can be tapped by those who can tune into the higher vibration. The image-making faculty can be used to visualize a sequence of scenarios picturing in action the triumph of right over wrong, of love over strife, and of sacrifice over slavery to the personal.
Such visualizations remain in the unseen atmosphere and if ensouled with a desire to serve can contribute valuable support to the movement for human amelioration. The typist at his machine can effect wonders if, instead of seeing his work as a drudgery, he approaches his desk all enthusiastic and eager to join in the grand experiment. Albeit unconsciously, he pours forth from eye and finger his enthusiastic message of hope and loving sacrifice, contributing that as his mite towards the recognition and establishment of Brotherhood. He can be sure that his message will go everywhere and be of help and comfort, for the power that he uses is of the awakening soul. Has he not read, "The soul of man is immortal and its future is the future of a thing whose growth and splendor has no limit?"
Where will practice, application, and promulgation lead to? What should be the ultimate aim of the aspirant? The Maha Chohan who was referred to by Madame Blavatsky as "the PARAGURU -- my Master's MASTER," wrote in the early days of the Theosophical Movement,
The incarnations of the Bodhisattva Padmapani or Avalokiteshvara, of Tsongkapa, and that of Amitabha relinquished at their death the attainment of Buddhahood, i.e., the SUMMUM BONUM of bliss, and of individual personal felicity, that they might be born repeatedly for the benefit of mankind. In other words, that they might be again and again subjected to misery, imprisonment in flesh, and all the sorrows of life provided that they, by such a self-sacrifice, repeated through long and weary centuries, might become the means of securing salvation and bliss in the hereafter for a handful of men chosen among but one of the many planetary races of mankind.
By H.P. Blavatsky
[From LUCIFER, June 15, 1890, pages 333-35.]
Ever since the publication of THE SECRET DOCTRINE, Students of Theosophy (outside the inner ring of Occult Sciences) have complained that the teachings contained in the work do not satisfy them. One, mentioning the lengthy and rabid abuse of it by an old, though really insignificant, if brutal, enemy, takes me to task for leaving a door open to such criticism by taking too little into account modern science and modern thought (!); another complains that my explanations are not complete; thus, he says,
For the last ten years, I have been a close reader of theosophical literature. I have read and re-read THE SECRET DOCTRINE and collated passages, and nothing is more disheartening than to find some of the best explanations on Occult points, just as they begin to grow a little lucid, marred by a reference to some exoteric philosophy or religion, which breaks up the train of reasoning and leaves the explanation unfinished ... We can understand parts, but we cannot get a succinct idea, particularly of the teachings as to Parabrahm (the Absolute) the 1st and 2nd Logos, Spirit, Matter, Fohat, etc., etc.
This is the direct and natural result of the very mistaken notion that the work I have called the "Secret Doctrine" had ever been intended by me to dovetail with modern Science, or to explain "occult points." I was and still am more concerned with FACTS than with scientific hypotheses. My chief and only object was to bring into prominence that the basic and fundamental principles of every exoteric religion and philosophy, old or new, were from first to last but the echoes of the primeval "Wisdom Religion." I sought to show that the TREE OF KNOWLEDGE, like Truth itself, was ONE; and that, however differing in form and color, the foliage of the twigs, the trunk and its main branches were still those of the same old Tree, in the shadow of which had developed and grown the (now) esoteric religious philosophy of the races that preceded our present mankind on earth.
This object, I believe I have carried out as far as it could be carried, in the first two volumes of THE SECRET DOCTRINE. It was not the occult philosophy of the esoteric teachings that I undertook to explain to the world at large, for then the qualification of "Secret" would have become like the SECRET of "Polichinelle" shouted in the manner of a stage a parte; but simply to give THAT WHICH COULD BE GIVEN OUT, and to parallel it with the beliefs and dogmas of the past and present nations, thus showing the original source of the latter and how disfigured they had become.
If my work is, at this day of materialistic assumptions and universal iconoclasm, too premature for the masses of the profane -- so much the worse for those masses. But it was not too premature for the earnest students of theosophy -- except those, perhaps, who had hoped that a treatise on such intricate correspondences as exist between the religions and philosophies of the almost forgotten Past, and those of the modern day, could be as simple as a shilling "shocker" from a railway stall.
Even one system of philosophy at a time, whether that of Kant or of Herbert Spencer, of Spinoza or of Hartmann, requires more than a study of several years. Does it not therefore, stand to reason that a work which compares several dozens of philosophies and over half-a-dozen of world-religions, a work which has to unveil the roots with the greatest precautions, as it can only HINT at the secret blossoms here and there -- cannot be comprehended at a first reading, nor even after several, unless the reader elaborates for himself a system for it?
That this can be done and IS done is shown by the "Two Students of the E. S." They are now synthesizing the "Secret Doctrine," and they do it in the most lucid and comprehensive way, in this magazine. No more than any one else have they understood that work immediately after reading it. But they went to work in dead earnest. They indexed it for themselves, classifying the contents in two portions -- the EXOTERIC and the ESOTERIC; and having achieved this preliminary labor, they now present the former portion to the readers at large, while storing the latter for their own practical instruction and benefit. Why should not every earnest theosophist do the same?
There are several ways of acquiring knowledge: (a) by accepting blindly the dicta of the church or modern science; (b) by rejecting both and starting to find the truth for oneself. The first method is easy and leads to social respectability and the praise of men; the other is difficult and requires more than ordinary devotion to truth, a disregard for direct personal benefits and an unwavering perseverance. Thus, it was in the days of old and so it is now, except perhaps, that such devotion to truth has been more rare in our own day than it was of yore. Indeed, the modern Eastern student's unwillingness to think for himself is now as great as Western exactions and criticism of other people's thoughts.
He demands and expects that his "Path" shall be engineered with all the selfish craft of modern comfort, macadamized, laid out with swift railways and telegraphs, and even telescopes, through which he may, while sitting at his ease, survey the works of other people; and while criticizing them, look out for the easiest, in order to play at the Occultist and Amateur Student of Theosophy.
The real "Path" to esoteric knowledge is very different. Its entrance is overgrown with the brambles of neglect, the travesties of truth during long ages block the way, and it is obscured by the proud contempt of self-sufficiency and with every verity distorted out of all focus. To push over the threshold alone, demands an incessant, often unrequited labor of years, and once on the other side of the entrance, the weary pilgrim has to toil up on foot, for the narrow way leads to forbidding mountain heights, unmeasured and unknown, save to those who have reached the cloud-capped summit before.
Thus must he mount, step by step, having to conquer every inch of ground before him by his own exertions; moving onward, guided by strange land marks the nature of which he can ascertain only by deciphering the weather-beaten, half-defaced inscriptions as he treads along, for woe to him, if, instead of studying them, he sits by coolly pronouncing them "indecipherable." The "Doctrine of the Eye" is Maya; that of the "Heart" alone, can make of hint an elect.
Is it to be wondered that so few reach the goal, that so many are called, but so few are chosen? Is not the reason for this explained in three lines on page 27 of THE VOICE OF THE SILENCE? These say that while "The first repeat in pride, 'Behold, I KNOW,' the last, they who in humbleness have garnered, low confess, 'thus have I heard'" and hence, become the only "chosen."
By Sri J.M. Ganguli
[From THE ARYAN PATH, September 1953, pages 402-06.]
It was a small nest, high in a tree. The branch was slender and it waved in the breeze, though I did not know that, nor had I ever thought of it.
When I first opened my eyes inside the nest, I saw only a bright, slender figure bent over me, her eyes overflowing with tenderness.
I cried out in my first consciousness of a new and strange environment, but she took me up and warmed me under her covering wings. I looked around, this side and that, above and below, but she was all that I saw. The light streaming in from outside came to me reflected from her, but that outside light told me nothing about whence and how I had come there.
I could remember nothing. I strained my eyes; I struggled with my limbs; I shrieked, perhaps from a sense of being encaged in an unknown place. She rocked me on her breast and in many ways diverted me from my nervous and lonely thoughts until in fatigue I went to sleep.
Such was my coming here.
I was getting used to my world. She nursed me, fed me, played with me, and slept by me. My senses were awakening and my interest in my surroundings was growing; little things and trifles enchanted me. I forgot the problem of my past altogether, becoming merged in the present. If at times I felt lonely, she turned my thoughts away from the empty nooks and corners, away from the unspeaking, flat floors and ceilings, out into an expansive realm where, as she told me stories, I saw deities and angels, classical heroes and heroines, appearing and playing their thrilling and sparkling parts. Into such a world, my vision peered, in it my imagination roamed, and my thoughts dwelt.
She woke me at break of day with a sublime, deeply stirring hymn in praise of some Being, of whom I then could understand nothing, but the tune of that hymn is still in my ears. When the darkness of the night crept in, she cuddled me to her breast for warmth and cheer. Out to the horizon, she turned my eyes in the morning to the glow of the rising sun, and she tuned my ears to the morning songs of the birds, which were awake to receive the first rays when men were asleep and unconscious in the dark.
How vividly I recall those swiftly vanished young days when, away from the heat and roar of the world, I grew up! If I were sick, she would sit day and night by me and would look so fixedly into my eyes that no disease could stand it. She would read to me from THE RAMAYANA, THE MAHABHARATA, and many great books of different lands and ages. When I felt restless, she took me out for flights which gradually increased in radius and frequency till we started journeying through the country and saw cities, forests, and dens, traveling through winding valleys and across mountain ranges far and near. The more we wandered the more we loved to wander.
Thus, I met the outside world. Thus, I learnt to move shyly and weakly amidst cold things, strange beings, and men and women that did not understand. I learnt to learn; I got the impetus to stand and to work. The deep center of all interest was my mother, round whom my world of love and thought revolved. When I roved through villages and towns, passed through forests, climbed mountains or crossed the country, as I often did, I was never alone. She was with me at all places and at all times.
In all my journeying forth, however, there was an ever-recurring attraction homeward. Homeward to our little nest, a dwelling as simple as could be, unpainted, undecorated, and unnoticed by society, but one where the sun's glories were unobstructed, through which Nature's breath sang freely. Where two lonely, frail creatures sojourned in their passage through this world; where they looked to each other, in joy and sorrow, for inspiration and strength; where in the peacefulness of the night they talked and questioned the many why's and how's that stood rock-like behind their observations, their experiences, and their comprehension of things and happenings.
Days, months, and years passed. Thus, it went on, and thus I thought it would ever go on. I cared not to inquire if there was a boundary to the present, or to judge if the evenness of passing time was not sloping down to a different future. Who reflects, who stops to discriminate and to ponder when the ship is sailing smoothly under the blue sky, days following nights and nights following days in chronological sequence and our hopes and fears, joys and depressions, and measurements and calculations keep us blind to events in the offing? Whom does it strike then to strain the eye toward the distant horizon to see if there is any speck of cloud gathering gloom and danger to hurl down upon us!
One night the signal came. The earth shook; a storm blew, heralding the advent of Kal (Destiny) himself, who stood determined and inexorable at our little door. No wailing, no weeping, could halt his call, no argument could change even a dot in the terrible time-chart that he flung at his victim. My mother called me. What a voice that was! I shuddered. There were awful forebodings in the air. I looked up to Heaven; but I could feel that there was not the earnestness in my call that there had been at times before. My mind was unsteady, my concentration was gone; my tongue and body quivered. For one moment at least, all my vanity and egoistic confidence were gone; for one moment, my physical senses hid themselves in shame at their helplessness.
Thus, it all happened. Thus, the hand of the Inevitable struck and struck hard, as it sometimes does. Then the dark moments passed back into eternity, wherefrom they had emerged and whereto they reenter. My mother? Where was she? I closed my eyes in the chill of utter loneliness; I stretched out my hands to grasp hers, which had ever supported me. I moved in thought, as had been my instinctive habit as a child, to get into her warm lap.
Then an awakening came. The imaginary land wherein I had lived all this while, wherein I had been building nests, raising pillars of hope, weaving silken threads of love and affection, crumpled up and vanished as I opened my eyes. Tears rolled down, clearing the film from my sight, until a new light glowed in front of me that revealed little by little the chaotic vastness in which I had been foolishly drawing lines, picturing images, and molding shapes, ideas, and notions. Mother? Who was my mother here where none was and none could be? My nest, my belongings, my treasures? What could they have been and what could they mean in the streakless void that was all round? My sweet pleasures, high hopes, and freezing fears? How unreal they must have been! How queer the thought of them now struck me as being, in the Oneness enveloping all!
How I realized then that the personal sentiment linking my mother and me had prevented our "selves" from becoming untied, unfocused, all-sweeping souls! It is such attachment, such linking, which colors and blurs our vision, which produces the different illusions (vikaras), and which frustrates the inspiration that comes at times to lose and diffuse ourselves into the Common, the Wide, and the Universal. Such close concentration on the personal self excites and gives power to the physical senses and generates longings and intoxication (Moha).
The warm tears continued to roll down, clearing my vision increasingly and giving glimpses of a stupendous Reality. The chill of loneliness brought a momentary Realization that blew off all pain and sorrow, along with all joys and hopes.
Thus, I sat up, looked out, and gazed into the Beyond, into the Infinite Beyond.
I felt ever so light and free. I could fly on and across without a homeward pull, without a look back at a nest that had been but was no more. The thought that I had rested in peace and confidence in a tiny nest that could never stand a puff of wind made me laugh. That I could have labored to erect castles and storehouses on the crest of a volcano that could erupt any moment was amazing. Out of my senses, I must have been when I was forming bonds and relationships of love and affection with images and shadows that did not exist and had never existed.
The moment of utter self-forgetfulness and effacement that came that night and brought a transient realization of the infinity of Oneness does not come and stay at my bidding; but it has unfettered my soul's power to spread out and has largely freed my feelings and sentiments from their hovering round my imaginary self. At times when I look back and reflect, it seems that my mother-illusion, which had sustained me so long and so well since the opening of my tiny physical eyes, has now vanished to give an all-shaking realization that may sustain my soul better in its slow awakening and steady merging into the Absolute. If I was happy with my mother then, I should be grateful to her now for shocking me by her exit into a sense of the Real. Then, as now, her whole thought and interest must have been for my good and benefit.
I am beginning to feel happy, perhaps happier than ever before. If there is little now to be drunk with or to be elated by, there is also little to cut me and to make me smart. I have seen through the meaninglessness of it all. All those things were only lights and shadows cast by my own self, hallucinations keeping me spellbound. Hardly do they excite me any more. As I sit and muse, the current of life and events passes by, rippling and waving, splashing occasional spray on me. Wait! Is a current of life and events passing by me? Is it not my own mind evolving, creating, turning, and revolving its manufactures in an endless chain, in a moment of great stupefying self-forgetfulness?
When I see now someone laughing or weeping, I smile a little; for I see that there is nothing behind joys and sorrows. Those who are laughing or wailing today must, like me, have built and stored and counted their treasures and embraced their loved ones in an eternal chaos, the consciousness of which comes at the moment of a great crash. I comfort the weeping one no more by weeping with him, but by asking him to rejoice over his emancipation from an enthralling attachment to an illusory Nothing. Similar had been my own case, but I emphasize my newborn experience.
I too had love and affection that lifted me above the clouds at times and plunged me into dark depths at others. I too had objects that I treasured and adored, round which my vision circled. Without them now, I am calm and peaceful. My narrow, bound feelings and sentiments and my short sight are spreading out free and wide, bringing in a new, far-reaching realization that demolishes differences between thing and thing and cuts through the varieties and characteristics that generate likes and dislikes.
"This is mine" or "This has been mine" no longer holds significance when I glance over the wide perspective where all things are unpossessed because they are all the same and because there is none to claim and to take. The incentive to grab and to possess no longer survives.
Non-understanding and eyes fixed on the ground cause the feeling of want and the longing to acquire. When the soul spreads out, free from its bondage, it recoils from the thought of acquiring, possessing, and burdening itself again. On the field of universality, there is nothing to choose. When movement is unchecked, when freedom of action is not timed, there can be no impulse to stop. When the soul comes to itself, it sees through everything, it possesses everything, because it forgets the old "I" that had been building and labeling different pigeonholes in which to confine the same all-pervading air of the Eternal and the Universal. That is perhaps salvation, the mukti of the Soul that does not soar high into a heaven of angels or even of the great Architect, worshipped in temples and churches, but that plunges into its own fathomless depths; for nothing but its own Self, nothing but a Consciousness not perceivable by itself, now envelops it.
Such vision beyond the earth, beyond the horizon, comes at times when I look backward and forward. In such tremendous mental swings, I lose hold of myself, and as an endless vista of the dissolution of everything stretches out before my far-seeing eyes, a mighty stillness comes over me that takes away the incentive to what we are used to call work. What shall I do when everything is lying done before me? How shall I work when there is nothing to work with? It is all One and the Same and my gaze can fix upon nothing.
I wake up. My senses pounce upon me. I vainly try to hold onto my dream of the great emancipation. The dream perhaps was not long. Flesh and blood goad me again and bring pain, excitement, and intoxication. I have had a taste of release from this earthly bondage brought before my tearful eyes by that night's havoc. I move, jump, run, laugh, and work, perhaps, as before, but that cannot keep me blind to the light that streams, even though only occasionally, through the now perforated cover on my soul.
That is where they part -- "Then" and "Now." Often I feel shaky and nervous as weakness comes again and physical cravings and old-time longings return to blow me down. No more can they keep me in their grip long, for I have heard the call from far beyond and have seen a flash that has exposed the nothingness of this, of that, and of all finite things.
By Violet Chambers
[From LUCIFER, July 15, 1890, pages 376-79.]
Who knows what a day may bring forth? Last night the rush of the tempest, today the sun with warm kiss swells the sleeping buds. The morrow may again bring the eternal bow shining in the Heavens. We sow our life in the spring. Now is the harvest. Let us haste to gather in; "the time is short," but "in due season we shall reap if we faint not." "Arise! This is not your rest," let Psyche stretch forth her wings and rise above transitory things. Let us sow beside waters where the dew of the spirit may fall; "be strong and of good courage." Do we not "desire a better country that is a Heavenly?" the fatherland.
Last night the wind was awake on the hills; a fitful, sighing wind, that rose and fell, and was hushed to sleep again with a weird melancholy, born of its own stillness, as a plaintive note struck on a long closed spinet. The sun went down like a low fire, burning at the verge of the world. Inside, the shutters rattled and shook, and down the wide chimney moaned the hollow voices of wandering spirits entreating to enter, some sobbing, some singing. "Whew-w-w!" whistled the wind through the empty keyholes, gradually louder and louder, until it died off in a soft chromatic cadence through the gloom of the passages. A handful of rain was flung against the window. The cloud, hurried by the wind, had no more rain in it.
In the dead of night, in the midst of sleep, a voice whispered softly in the ear, "Listen!" Again, the spirit of air was playing on the great Aeolian harp. The low plaint moaned in little gasps that ran round the room. Light footfalls passed and passed again. A hand seemed to be moving everything. All the orchestra again at work, with lips to the keyhole in a quick succession of airy touches. The sighing calmed the mind, and lulled to sleep again.
Towards dawn, awake again, the eerie voices hushed to whispers. A shaft of light through the closed blind threw a spray of ivy in a delicate grey shadow upon the pale green walls. The sky was still charged with wind and the silvery light of a planet lingering towards its setting. A thousand miles of cloudland, coming up from the horizon and passing overhead without a sound. The wind works with such powerful ease, laying on her colors broadly with such a ready brush. Masses of sunlit vapor bearing down the alchemy of the skies to the very breast of earth.
All things in nature bear a beautiful analogy to the powers deep-rooted in Humanity. Lie and listen to the whispering wind. What would one not give to have freedom such as that? Why may we not? Only perfect purity of life can attain to perfect freedom. "When the former things are passed away, and all things have become new." When sin shall be no more, "At evening time it shall be light." Then "give to the wind thy fears. Hope and be undismayed."
A time will come when the shadows fall apart, and the sweet west wind will play through the windows of the heart, which are opened to the day. "For the night is far spent, and the day is at hand." Then shall we find the philosopher's stone, the elixir of life that is within. It shall disclose to us the crystal well of purity, the only water worth drawing from. Humanity, like a tired child, will creep back to lie down by the quiet waters of the crystal stream of life. Then only will humanity turn towards Divinity. Can good be, yet no giver? The stream may flow on, yet whence its source? Surely from that deep well of hidden force flows the diviner stream in man.
"Peace!" let me sleep in thy shadow; be still." The din of sleepless Babylon moans on. The restless waves thunder without ceasing on the surf-beaten shore. Humanity's frail bark is ever dashed upon the shores of time, but deep down in the glassy depths no motion thrills through the ocean's bosom. To be still, to have that mental calm that is the ideal symbol of nature, which will help us to take the tempest with the sunbeam cheerfully.
How shall we get it? We must look within. It is the vestal fire burning ever on the altar of the soul. We must learn to walk through the world, living the internal mental life. To be calm like nature, without fear. To watch with equanimity the shadow creep over the sundial of life, this is reality, all the rest is but illusion. The life of the world is a stormy unrest, mental life is true happiness, the only thing that is so -- all the rest is old and grey and weariness.
The great mountains rear their crests into the filmy sky. Lying in solitary grandeur under the solemn hush of evening, one lonely peak towers far up until it seems to touch the starry vault. "We may not travel upwards side by side." The higher the mental scale, the deeper, the more profound the loneliness. It is like the solitude of death, which we must face alone. To be brave, above all things to be true, is isolation, for it fixes an impassable gulf betwixt the world and the heart, which must from thenceforth furnish its own guests. To dare to be single-hearted, to have one aim in living, and that purity of heart and brotherhood of spirit. To maintain virtue of mind as well as of body. To live on patiently, knowing that one day our "eyes shall behold the King in his beauty." To "pray without ceasing" in the inner sense, having the mind's high aspirations attuned to the spiritual life, soaring, reaching ever upwards.
As the towering mountain peak is capped with snow so shall we be crowned with the radiant coronal of life. "Take ye heed, watch and pray, for ye know not when the time is." When the long bright day dies slowly over the sea, watch by the light of the first lone star. Pray by the upward aspirations it draws into itself. Listen. When amongst the throng of hurrying footsteps in the din of a great city, the velvet footfall of peace may come! Let the door of the heart be ever on the latch, in the morning as in the evening.
The giant oak stretches forth his branches to the tireless voice of the storm. A tree is such a perfect thing, so complete its shape, structure, living breathing life, and the birds that shelter in its branches. If we would be strong and lasting as the oak, we must be patient and endure. Hold firm alike through the storm as through the sunshine, through adversity as through prosperity. Fix our heart roots deep down into the things that will endure. Which are not of this world, and therefore not EPHEMERAL.
The lotus lolls upon the heaving bosom of the stream. Emblem of spiritual and physical nature, containing in its closed cup the perfect flowers, which when evolved, they one day will become. Her long, lithe stalk reaches down through the water and embraces old mother earth. "I am the rose of Sharon and the lily of the valley," symbols of perfect purity. So sings Solomon to his higher self. Purer yet, and purer let us strive to grow in heart, until we too can sing "Lo! The winter is past, the rain is over and gone, the flowers appear upon the earth and the voice of the dove is heard in our land." Let us not tear the close-shut petals open, but trust to time to reveal the perfect calyces of gold. Strive to attain the higher self "until the dawn break and the shadows flee away." Then only can we sing with Solomon, "My beloved is mine and I am his; he feedeth among the lilies."
The light of the bright world dies with the setting sun. The lustrous rays from the young moon's golden shell pour upon the dark world beneath. "Reflect the sunshine and thou shalt be bright." The night hath a thousand eyes, and the day has but one. Learn of the gentle Queen of Night; she sways the tides and the heart of thee, the mystic sad capricious moon; her radiance is reflected from the King of day, the fire of life, the life-giving principle, the generator of vitality. "Truly the light is sweet and a pleasant thing it is for the eyes to behold the sun."
"He giveth his beloved sleep." Wearied eyelids droop o'er heavy eyes. Bruised feet, with sandals loosed, may rest at last. The wandering wind ceases his evensong, and folds close his filmy wings. All things are hushed. Lo, health, new powers to the sick and the weary, Rest! "He giveth his beloved sleep!" oft times or "ever the silver cord be loosed or the golden bowl be broken." Borne into dreamland "o'er moor and fen, o'er crag and torrent, till the night is gone; and with the morn those angel voices smile, which I have loved long since, and lost awhile."
[From a tape recording entitled "The Study of Inner Worlds," made of a private class on FUNDAMENTALS OF THE ESOTERIC PHILOSOPHY held on September 15, 1954. The first paragraph is Boris de Zirkoff speaking. The essay that follows is by Jay.]
Some time ago, I wanted one, two, or three of us to write little papers, and there was one written by Jay, or rather was not written at that time because she was sick, I think. Postponed for a while, and I asked her to bring it today. We will break this subject in a way, although I suppose any paper written by anybody will have many points in common with almost any subject we may be discussing.
"That which you sow, that shall you reap." From this phrase, I shall draw my own conclusions as to the meaning of Karma. This meaning has a great moral effect on one's future protection. Knowing one is responsible for action he sets in motion, good or evil, knowing he will not escape that which he has caused or set in motion, one should therefore be very careful not to injure his fellow beings, to love all things, and understand why.
If good deeds are set in motion, the character is bound to strengthen and improve, knowing that we have sown these little seeds of goodness and will reap eventually beauty, love, kindness, and understanding. On the other hand, the evil deeds will reap unkind thoughts and actions, selfishness, ugliness, and, consequently, a much distorted mind and body. Who wants the like of such an evil body?
Karma is not a man-made law. It is a habit of universal and eternal nature. It is a chain of causation, going back into the infinity of the past, and stretching into the infinity of the future. A result follows an act inescapably. The reaction eventually will be felt by the one who produced it, many times affecting others as well.
We are the creators of our own karma. We suffer or benefit from it, according to our own previous actions. We have no control over the actions of all our past lives. That is true. Sure enough, we can have control of the present ones if we so wish. Having control of our actions, knowing the good or evil effects that will in time be caused, one should dwell exclusively to the fullest extent of one's power, concentrating on all good and lofty ideas and thoughts, in order to prepare ourselves for the future karma and, perhaps, compensate a little for our bad or evil past deeds.
With these thoughts in mind, knowing we have the power within us to shape our destiny or karma, we should be able to improve in every way possible, bringing about peace of mind, tranquility, love, and understanding in our lives. Knowing that the divine spark is always within all of us, all things are possible if we so wish and desire.
[From TEACHER'S MANUAL AND GUIDE TO THE ETERNAL VERITIES, pages 65-73.]
Parents will notice that the teachers of Theosophy School keep in touch with them so they may both work in definite and sympathetic cooperation. In class, teachers are parents for the time. Likewise, parents do well to regard themselves as teachers during the whole term of their responsibility for the child.
It is not necessary for teachers to be parents in this incarnation. One imbued with love for and interest in children has doubtless known successful parenthood in other lives. Many, however, have to learn how to be wiser parents in this incarnation. Parents should avail themselves of suggestions made for teachers, finding their way simpler and clearer with the help of Theosophy School. The parents of Pathfinders have their special duties and responsibilities in that connection. Theosophical education helps parents and child build a relationship of ever-expanding mutual interests, ideals, and devotion to Theosophy through the years of their common life.
In the education of children, and especially in the relation of parenthood, responsibility assumes its most natural guise. Who does not willingly assume it for those helpless in their ignorance and in their tender years? Who would not be an altruist where there is a babe concerned? Yet, as the tender years give way to those in which the child must for himself learn the meaning of responsibility and duty, the parents' patience and understanding for the Egos at this stage often lessens. Then friction between stronger and weaker natures comes, when parents should recognize the need for mutual respect and helpfulness.
At this time, many parents are inclined to let schools supply the place of parent. Well behaved at school, the child is unmanageable at home. Parents want their own pleasure and convenience. They are all too ready to turn the child over to a servant, friend, or even an acquaintance whose way of life is little known to them, when comes the prospect of some jaunt without the child. The Theosophical parent can well understand the possible damage done at such a period, when the child most needs parental help, because Theosophy is the doctrine of responsibility, and parents have no wish to evade theirs. Parenthood means settling down to the task with unremitting faith and faithfulness.
Theosophy School does not aspire to be a reform school, although it has witnessed many miraculous changes in the natures of boys and girls. It DOES ask cooperation from the parents, for the sake of both parent and child, as well as because it is not equipped to deal with the abnormal. Theosophical children are usually above average, albeit endowed with ordinary tendencies. Theosophy does not make them saints, but beings who THINK from a basis of principle.
Parents must realize they deal with timeless souls and that the timeless doctrines of Theosophy provide the greatest possible bond of union and understanding between them and their children. For when were not children misunderstood, especially by exacting and coercing parents, who break the fine filaments of love by not recognizing the Ego's status, by breaking of the will?
It would be folly for any parent to think his knowledge of Theosophy is complete and sure. Parents may find the child their own greatest teacher in the mysteries of human consciousness. Before their child was born, wise parents sensed the sacredness of the event and of the task before them in welcoming of a soul back to earth life. The parents' real task begins when great Nature claims responsibility for thought and act from the embodied Ego at seven years. Then the parents test themselves as never before. Children taught duty, responsibility, and service -- the law of Karma -- in younger years are far more easily reached by reason, by appeal to their real selves, in the difficult adolescent time, than are those whose thoughts and feelings have been unguided, undisciplined by philosophy.
Wise parents give recognition to the law of soul and duty when they provide their children with simple household and garden tasks for regular performance. Distaste and neglect of those duties, however, means that the child has not been led to see the place and part of that duty in the fundamental Whole. He has not been led to see his place and part in the family life. A mistake is made by PAYING for such duties performed. To encourage earning is fitting, but not from those who are continuously affording the child service. For them, he should be helped to plan pleasures, sweet surprises, and just little thoughtfulness. If there are several children in the family, their sharing of tasks breeds fraternity. They should find it a privilege to help their elders in the more responsible tasks. No task should be considered menial or beneath one. It is better for parents to work out each one's share or allowance however small, than for the child to be paid for family services. The allowance should be forfeit if there is neglect of duty that shows non-cooperation.
Whether boy or girl, each one should be educated to take care of himself as to what and how he shall eat, as to how he shall be clothed and mended. Even eating should not be haphazard, but neither too much, nor too little. Each should be taught to take care of his clothes, to have them in order, to recognize that they are provided by someone's service and money, and to be able to make minor repairs, like sewing on buttons and darning socks. Each one should be able to make his own bed and to sweep, dust, and make the bathroom facilities tidy after him.
Too many parents feel it is easier to do things themselves than to have the child do it. What of it? It is not a case of making it easier for ME, but of educating the child. Help the child to find and enjoy the simple pleasures that all can share without money and without price -- the beauty of the spring morning, the glory of the sunset, the sweet odors after rain, the sharp tang of winter cold, the color on the mountains, and the power of the breaking waves. Help him to observe the artistry of simple gardens and the noble design of big bridges and parkways. Let him see pictures and designs in hills, woods, rocks, and streams so that he may find for himself the beauty of great pictures made by men. Encourage gratitude for these universal gifts.
Punishments are sometimes necessary. Let them be recognized as JUST. If something is not done and a punishment has been promised, CARRY THROUGH with it. Thus, the child meets the consequences of his own acts, and the parent is consistent. Nothing puzzles children more than inconsistency. If one is allowed today what yesterday he was refused, and no reason exists for either the refusal or the permission, that child will himself easily drift into being unreliable. After a child has reached the age of four, and knows something of the law of cause and effect, he should not be corporeally punished. He has enough of reason to go upon to make this unnecessary. The parent should be watchful that his own zeal for truthfulness makes allowance for imagination. These should be WATCHED and guided lest they may lead to dire results, but be sure that the untruth is not mere imagination. If deliberate, too much importance cannot be given the untruth.
It may be seen from the above that punishment in the Theosophical sense means CORRECTIVE MEASURES AND ADJUSTMENT. Parents should watch their own attitude and realize that whatever course they take, when they themselves are angry or even impatient, will not bring the right results. They should always consider the effect on the child. Are they arousing a sense of injustice? Will this tend to make the child fear or resent and later on make deceit the easier way? More often than not, the mere sending of the child to his room to think it over will result in right adjustment. One does not need to forego signs of disapproval. Sometimes the severe expression on the face of the parent is the awakener of the child's conscience, after which talking over things is simple. Nor is it good psychology to follow such an occasion with extra attentions and rewards. Karma is an exact adjuster, and calls no more for pampering than punishment. Understanding is the true aim, and with it come respect and appreciation on both sides.
Above all, gain the child's confidence by discussing problems with him, and helping him to resolve them in the light of the Theosophy both know, but do not know so well how to apply. This can be very simply brought about in connection with Theosophy School. Parents may ask what the lesson was in Theosophy School each Sunday. They can tell what their own class was studying, and no doubt will be surprised to find how close their mind is to that of the child. They go to school together. They have a common basis of thought and action. The parents' example of faithful attendance on their classes makes an indelible imprint. The parents' gratitude for what they learn helps arouse that noblest of human sentiments in the child. Parents living the life afford the best possible preventive of skepticism, which is all too common among young people and even children.
Just as there should be cooperation between child and teacher and between teachers and parents, parents should also stand by each other. They should constantly take up their problems with each other, talk them over, and agree on a course of action. No parent should allow a child to wheedle him into a course or permission denied by the other parent. Whatever differences of opinion there may be between them, let them be resolved in private, and not in the child's presence.
Parents, perhaps more than the children, need to gain the ever-present realization that the home life, the family life, IS the life of Theosophy. The family is the foundation of civilization, and the Theosophist does a duty by humanity in making family life a science, striving to set an example that others may follow. The principles are set forth for each one, but each one must apply them as his heart and mind and will dictate. Whatever, then, the results, he may know he has done his best, and the rest is for the adjustment of Karma.
Some parents wait to bring their children to Theosophy School until they are problem children. To understand children brought up without devoted parental guidance, peruse YOUTH IN CONFLICT, by Miriam Van Waters. While the author deals with her work as referee in the Los Angeles Juvenile Court, she has gone into the nature of the child with sympathy and intelligence that brings her close to the psychology of Theosophy. She lacks knowledge of reincarnation. Thus, she looks to science to bring the cure for all errors in child training.
Much has been done by such workers to restore children to their rightful place in the community, when they have violated their duty to it, but it will be Theosophy only in the end that can make that restoration complete. Parents and teachers, both, should be acquainted with this book. Much can be learned from it, and one's sympathy and appreciation should be generous for such a devoted philanthropist as its author clearly is.
The children who grow up in Theosophy School need only reminders for them to make adjustment themselves, when they reach the adolescent age. They will have their problems and their tests. Their development has been natural, not forced, nor constrained. It is natural that they meet in their own lives the problems of the race. Now is the time when the very knowledge of the common ground they hold with their parents is strength to them. They know they have a foundation they can trust. They may make mistakes of judgment, no doubt, as all do, but they will not go far wrong.
The study Aromatherapy and other alternative forms of healing are recognized and made more famous daily. The use of Essential oils in Aromatherapy refers to a powerful way to resolve problems, accomplish goals and to achieve a balanced and centered state of body, mind, and spirit. In essence, to reach toward the kind of environment that feels best and is best for you.
As you share the energy of our planets bounty with the flowers and herbs that she nourishes and grows, you share the divine power that is embedded in her soil, water, and air. The energies derived from essential oils are powerful in that each essence contains genuine secrets to achieve enhanced health, happiness, success, and prosperity. One of the amazing methods for tuning into this power is using essential oils in an aromatherapy setting.
These sacred secrets have been passed on by word of mouth down through centuries repeatedly. Such energies emitted by essential oils are a positive force in nature for when using the oils one can participate actively as the essential oil with its original essence that reincarnates in ways that usually only the soil, the water and the flowers or herbs can produce themselves. What an exciting thought to bring something back to life and to benefit from its new life as well. In a way you are blessing the life of the flower, the plants and planet over and over an over again as you experience and re-experience these essences as you use Aromatherapy.
To truly focus within the energy field of the flower or plant when using aromatherapy simply direct your focus to images of the living plant, flower or herb as it grows from the soil and its blossoms and as it exudes its fragrances or aromas for that particular essential oil or oils that your are using. This is the most ancient of earth magic in which, a human being may attune through the fragrance to understand the planet to view and experience its multitude of growing wonders. Today it is so simple to attune to such natures joys because wherever you turn you may find essential oils accessible even at the neighborhood drug store or department store.
Your perceptions are finely tuned through careful examination of every facet within aromas in nature, from their physical beginning to their essential ending. Such is the spirit of Aromatherapy.
By G. de Purucker
[From WIND OF THE SPIRIT, pages 165-67]
The holy mysteries are never publicized -- never, never, never! You have to earn them and fit yourselves for them. It is obvious that if you are not fit to receive them, they never come to you. It would be a crime to attempt to do otherwise. It is the easiest thing in the world for a man or a woman to incur loss of the soul by following any other method of occult training than that of the Masters, taught as they themselves in their turn are by the Dhyani-Chohans, the bright and blessed gods. I mean it.
If you want truth, you must come to the Temple for it. You must come in the proper spirit. You must work upon yourself so that you will train yourself to be fit to learn, to be receptive. Otherwise, you just cannot receive it. You will not take it in. You cannot take it in until you make an opening in which to put it -- to use very plain, simple language. If your mind is set against it, like a closed door, it does not open to receive. You must train yourselves first. If you do train yourselves and live the life, absolutely no barrier can prevent your going indefinitely forwards.
It is exactly like a growing child. He cannot take in the world's wisdom even, even the wisdom of this world, until his mind has developed to the point where it can receive it and retain it until it is trained to do it. Simple! It is exactly the same thing with occultism, with esotericism, with the mysteries. They are indeed in the Theosophical Movement, both the Greater and the Less. They can be had by anyone, but such a one must prepare himself, train himself, must be in deadly earnest. Then he can receive them.
The chief or fundamental rule of this training or discipline is the becoming receptive to the inner and higher part of one's own constitution, whose whisperings of truth and intimations of cosmic verities find no lodgment in minds willfully or ignorantly closed against their entrance. There is the whole, or at least the fundamental, rule of occult teaching and learning concisely, and the reason for all the safeguards thrown around it.
I have myself known hapless students of Theosophy who have literally gone crazy, temporarily at least. They have gone crazy from an unwise and unguided study of some of the more recondite teachings. It is pathetic. The pathos lies in their yearning to learn and to become greater than their lower selves are. The pathos likewise lies in the fact that they tried to scale the peaks before they had disciplined themselves to traverse the foothills of morals, of learning and self-control. The Masters, HPB, and the Theosophical Leaders have had to watch out for and contend with this peril. It is a very difficult situation.
I have known men and women barely escaping the loss of health in excessive brain-mind study without the healing, saving power of selfless devotion: a most beautiful thing in a way; one's heart warms to them in admiration for their courage, for their insistence on getting truth; but it has been unwisely done. That is why we insist upon the all-round, balanced growth, a wise, shapely growing into knowledge and wisdom, instead of the distortions and ungainly malformations, mentally and even psychically, that come from unwise study of occult things.
It is for this reason that in our own Theosophical Society the inner, the secret, the occult, and the esoteric are so very carefully guarded and watched over and NEVER publicized. Our Masters have no desire to have their students incur risks of soul-loss, or mind-loss, or even of physical deterioration, or any other human tragedy. Otherwise, having stated these things, just remember how beautiful and simple the rules of occultism are.
Nothing in our deeper and more occult studies will ever interfere with your family duties, never; for those duties are duties; and it is one of the first obligations of a Theosophist to fulfill every duty. He is no occultist if he neglects one, no matter what his temptations are. No matter if he tries to grasp the sun, if he neglects a duty he is a coward by that much. Being a coward and a weakling, he is no occultist.
One should never injure another. If you do it you are beginning to descend, and you may walk into black magic. There is a way and a chance to rescue yourself and to return to the strait and beautiful path. For it is a truly glorious path, and it brings a sense of the realization that man is akin to the gods and that the gods are present amongst us. Yes, I mean it. The gods even now walk the earth. Few are the sons of men who have trained themselves to realize it.
Now, the gods will associate with us, self-consciously to us, when we shall have learned first to know that they are there; then to make their approach to us mutually desirable. Let it suffice, however, for the main thought to carry home that the gods walk amongst us even now, as they did in far past ages, in the childhood of man, when he was still innocent and not so sophisticated that he thought he contained all the knowledge of the universe in his puny, little brain.
Let us then, make ourselves presentable, and let us make our lives so attractive and interesting to the divinities, that they in their turn may be glad and happy to associate with us, self-consciously. I will go this far and then stop. There is a place, a geographical place on this earth, where not only is it common for the highest men that the race has produced to associate with the gods companionably, freely, friendly; but where the same relations of teachers and taught exist between gods and men, that exist today in our schools of learning. I wonder if you grasp what that means.
At the heart -- like this omphalos, or navel, or center, in the Temple, this little pillar in the center of this auditorium -- in the holiest place there, what we call the sanctum sanctorum, there is an invisible presence, the highest spiritual presence of this earth. Make of it what you can.
By Boris de Zirkoff
[This talk comes from the second part of the tape recording entitled "The Study of Inner Worlds," made of a private class on FUNDAMENTALS OF THE ESOTERIC PHILOSOPHY held on September 15, 1954.]
You might ask that since man extends into the infinite, why is Svabhava necessary? There should be no difficulty. The individual center of the evolving entity, such as man, manifests what it has within itself. Strictly speaking, it has infinity within itself.
In this class on FUNDAMENTALS OF THE ESOTERIC PHILOSOPHY, we have covered a general picture of Svabhava so far. We have spoken and the book speaks of it in just one general sense. It does not mention, for instance, that our various principles each have its own Svabhava, because each has a Monad at its core.
Although each principle in us has a Monad, we have an overshadowing Monad. That Monad has under its supervision, we might say, a group of others, each the center of our various principles. There are subsidiary Monads. Saying that man has his Svabhava, we are talking about the highest spiritual-divine center in him, the Monad at his core. There are other Monads with their individual Svabhavas, subsidiary to the most important one. Remember, man is a composite being. He is composed of all the energies and the substances of the universe, hierarchically.
Man has infinity within. That does not mitigate the idea of Swabhava, which is that infinity within expressing itself in the world, the infinity without. Where are words to capture this when our finite minds cannot grasp it? I fail to find adequate English words to express it.
When you study, these things may make sense. Then try to keep what you have arrived at. Try not to lose it, because you can use it for further ideas on the Teachings. Something clicked now, so be sure to remember. These ideas slip away and we grasp them again. Something else clicks and we see more. It slips away again. Life's outer conditions and our emotions bring clouds, overshadowing these things so we lose them again. We understand them then we do not understand anymore. Then we understand better. Then we lose them again. It is an invariable phenomenon.
We have inherently weak brain structure, a psychic resistance in our nervous system, and various toxic substances with which both our physical and astral structures are loaded. They prevent us from holding before our mental eye a clear picture, grasping ideas without losing them. That is where we fail. We grasp ideas temporarily. After losing them, as long as we grasp them again later, we have gained something. Although our inherent weaknesses prevent us from coordinating the Teachings into a mosaic that stays with us, they will eventually. It is a matter of a lifetime, if not more.
How do we retain the Teachings? With one-pointed undisturbed attention, we concentrate and develop adequate and powerful thinking, acquiring a firm grasp over ideas, ethical precepts, ideals, and convictions. It is momentous for us students to bear down with a gentle pressure in the direction of self-purification constantly. That is a vast order.
Not one of us is expert at this. We are all beginners. For heavens sake, let us work where we are, and in due time we will become something more. We apply a constant pressure at the business of self-purification -- physically, psychically, emotionally, and mentally. We purify ourselves intellectually and spiritually as well. There are many intellectual and semi-spiritual ideas that are sheer superstition. In due course, we have to throw them away too, particularly the lower.
We purify our bodies by decent, simple diet, correct breathing, and correct sleeping. We tend to the needs of the physical body and the elimination out of it of everything that is a poison to it, eliminating that which clogs the system, disrupts the nervous system, and saturate various glands and the ganglia of the nervous system with various forces that prevent us from thinking right. We purify our psychic nature of the various moods and tempers and wrong types of feelings. That is a big order. We purify our emotional selfhood of the lower type of feelings and sensations.
With some people, the attempt to purify one's mental sphere is paramount. This lower mentality is everything that we are. We have filled it with wrong ideas, superstitions, biased judgments, injustices, envies, and pride. There are false ideas about life and all sorts of twisted mental and emotional relations to people. We must deal with it before we can be creative thinkers and disciples of the spiritual life. We must purify and raise this entire world inside of us before we can actually hold our mind upon anything we choose and use the forces of our inner nature dynamically to achieve spiritual ends.
In this process of self-purification, one takes his or her first steps toward practical occultism. The average student does not realize one exceedingly important factor in that self-purification. An individual makes a serious attempt in the study of occultism. He or she is already devoting some time and energy -- perhaps not much, but some -- to occult work. The important factor is that such a person cannot indulge in the same things that other people do with impunity.
The average person may have peculiar feelings about some race or nation. Not knowing better, it may seem right because it is part of his or her life. It is different for a student of Theosophy that has not purified his or her nature of such. A student of occultism sends out of his being these negative energies on a much higher frequency than the average person does.
Suppose a student somewhere knows much of THE SECRET DOCTRINE. He is an interested student whom can talk glibly about Theosophy and has done good work for the Movement. Even so, he drinks and runs around with women. Although we cannot condemn him for human weakness, he cannot do it in the same sense as does the man of the world. Everything he does -- good or bad -- superimposes itself upon a higher wavelength, because that is the wavelength of a nature interested in the occult. Therefore, both the good he does and the wrong in which he indulges are more potent.
His kindly word and self-sacrificing deed are more potent than are the same by the man of the world. The wrong, evil, and negative thought or action on the part of that man is powerful because it superimposes a higher energy. This is an exceedingly important point. It is why a small group of devoted Theosophists can leaven a whole town and sometimes country. We do not need millions. Do you remember the story in the Bible? They found seven righteous men in Sodom. They were enough. The good that these people can do depends upon the quality of their consciousness. This idea makes sense. We should be careful of our thoughts and actions, keeping on alert all the time.
I remember a fine Theosophist in a business office here in Los Angeles. This young fellow said, "Well, I have joined the Theosophical Society." That was many years ago. Another Theosophist turned to him and said, "Well, that is fine. I am glad that you assumed a great responsibility in life when you had the thought." That was a good answer. He did not tell him, "Oh, how nice, that shows you are serious in developing an interest in Theosophy," because that means absolutely nothing. Hundreds are increasingly interested in Theosophy but mostly want to warming the same chair at lodge meetings and have someone else do all the work. Well, that is no good to anybody. As far as I am concerned, they might as well join The Salvation Army.
A man joins something for the love of humanity understanding it is a great responsibility. It matters not if it be an unorganized group of workers or the actual Theosophical Society. That man is a worker. That is what HPB meant when she made the distinction between members of the Theosophical Society and drones in it.
With people having nothing to do with Theosophy, the best approach to dealing with racism is scientific. I have a collection of about two pages of mimeographed quotations from various scientists throughout the world, each denying validity to the idea of race. The idea is a strictly unscientific. No genuine anthropologist ever talks about race. There is no such thing. It is a political idea. Bring up science to the non-theosophist and offer some quotes showing that they are being unscientific. Will this make a difference? Probably not, since they are emotionally set. Strictly speaking, they are not born to understand that thought. What are you going to do? You cannot hurry up their evolution. They have to grow. It is distressing.
I have been asked if the earth is the youngest of the planets in our solar system. Obviously, I cannot say from personal knowledge, but rather share from works like THE SECRET DOCTRINE and THE MAHATMA LETTERS by those who know. Young in evolution though not the youngest, it does not have much spiritual history back of it yet. Planets like Venus and Mercury are far ahead in evolution; they are in their Seventh Rounds. Mars is not far from the Earth, although temporarily in a latent condition between Rounds with little happening on it. Jupiter and Saturn are spiritually ahead of Earth but younger in body. This is as if I had a son always younger than I in body but whom might be ahead of me spiritually. The Earth is a younger and less-spiritual planet.
Not just individuals have auric emanations. The earth has its own. The two influence each other. The planet influences the human and other kingdoms of life that it bears; by their own thoughts and emotions, they influence it back. Nobody put some kingdoms of life -- vegetables, animals, and men -- on a planet. From the beginning, the kingdoms evolved out of the planet's structure. True, there have been influences from other planets and spheres. Even so, we are part of its structure. Even the fallen angels are part of the picture.
When men disagree with each other, they unbalance the natural surrounding of the earth. The mineral, vegetable, animal, and elemental kingdoms gear to the evolution of the planet harmoniously because they have not yet unfolded freewill. They lack strong personal desire. In its Third, Fourth, and Fifth Root Races, the human kingdom builds a selfish personal consciousness, running away with things and beginning to interfere with the harmony of nature. The human kingdom's influence is powerful, at times creating havoc on the natural correlations of the planet.
As the human kingdom unfolds into the higher Root Races, it will harmoniously integrate with the planet, much as the other kingdoms integrate today. It will unfold into unselfish spiritual consciousness, transcending our personal, selfish knot of consciousness. Ours is a temporary stage. For some millions of years while it lasts, it acts upon weather, magnetic, and psychic conditions powerfully. It acts upon the well-being of other kingdoms, such as animals and plants. We see destruction of vegetation, hunting of wild beasts, and a misuse of metals and other ores. This human selfishness and greed causes havoc temporarily but not permanently since the drive for betterment is stronger than any interference.
Thought influences weather conditions and even earthquakes more powerfully than we realize. Someday science will prove that the evil passions of men have a powerful effect upon them too. From one angle, man is puny and feeble, whereas from another, man is the most important power among the kingdoms living on the Earth. This comes from the power of thought, incomparably greater than atomic energy.
A man expresses an idea, which produces an effect. An idea expressed by a man of the world carries a different vibratory rate than the same one expressed by a student of occultism.
Someone comes to a distressed man who has lost faith. He tells the man that he has a god-like, immortal soul in him. The man looks at him and says, "You are crazy!" Another comes to the man and tells him exactly the same thing, that he has a divine self within him, an immortal soul. Something happens. The man pays attention, but is puzzled and does not understand. The statement produced a momentary impression on him.
In similar circumstances, another man has the same loss of faith. An occultist comes to him and says he has a divine self in him, producing a complete and total revolution in the man. A veil is torn, the man realizes that he is his divine self within, and his whole life has changed.
Some try to help a man but nothing happens. Others try and a little happens. Another comes along, says something, and it draws fire. Why is this? Was the man readier? Yes, he was getting increasingly ready. That is true, but not all there is to it. The last one expressed the thought at a higher vibratory rate. He knew how to say it. He may have known a little of the secret of intonation, the secret of sound.
According to the type of sound and rhythm you use in speech, you may penetrate into the deeper recesses of human consciousness. If you know how, you might touch that center from which fire is drawn. That is the permanent way to help people. The rest is not worth a tinker's dam. You can give books to people and take them to meetings. Undeniably, there will be some good achieved. Even so, the only permanent way to help them is to help them help themselves. You introduce into them soul force which unites with their own soul force.
This is akin to the incarnation of the Sons of Mind, higher gods, into the infant humanity of the Third Root Race. They awakened our minds so that we became conscious human beings. There is no difference between what they did and what each of us can do for others. We can take them up the ladder a few rungs. Do you understand? You or I can do it to others. Each of us has some people to whom we can do it if we know how.
Those who are far ahead of us, our own Teachers, are experts at this. They do not have to be with the people they influence; they can do it at a distance. In fact, the Masters of Wisdom and Compassion primarily work to introduce currents of thought into the subtle auric levels of the earth so that those who are responsive may catch them. They are not interested in anyone unresponsive because unready. Those who are responsive catch the ideas, assimilate them, and declare them their own. There is no copyright law there! Then they go ahead to do things with the ideas.
Perhaps at times, too many forces fight our attempts to be better. Something in us feels sad and lonely. It is an imperfect, weak, vacillating, and shaky part. It wants something or someone else to uphold and sustain us. It seeks companionship because it feels inadequate and imperfect. It feels up against impinging forces. It lacks vision, not understanding that by giving up its attachments, it gains the world. There is nothing to blame. It prefers its little two-by-four cell, wherein it feels at home. Anything that tries to help it break free appears to be enemy, because it cannot see beyond the little cell to the surrounding great fields full of sunshine, flowers, and fresh air.
Does it seem that there are impinging forces at every turn and every moment? Does it seem that anything you gain is only by struggle? Yes, but is it ever possible for you to build strength without struggle? Can you drive a nail into the wall if the wall were made of putty? The wall must be solid to resist the nail, allowing you to drive it in with a hammer, planting it firmly. Likewise, you need resistance between your shoe and the earth to walk. You could not walk on butter.
A part of us does not like struggle. It feels uneasy, left out, and despondent. We can rise above those feelings, transcending our little self by a powerful movement of the will. For an instant, which is all for which we can hope, we peek above the fence. What a sight!
All seekers, searchers, and students are one. They sustain one another, holding hands the world over. They understand one another's struggles, weaknesses, and shortcomings. They unite with inner bonds of spiritual kinship with guidance in their midst. They journey on a common road, working as they go.
The more you grow the lonely you become. At least, your personality feels that way. The more you grow the more united you become with all that is. Your personality does not like that feeling, because it dislikes loss of personal control. What are you going to do? You cannot gain the infinite without losing the finite. You cannot enter the sunlit fields of spiritual life without giving up the moonlight-illumined valleys. You cannot discover the star-studded vault of heaven without turning out the artificial lights made by man. Who in his right mind would exchange the starlit sky for electric lighting?
At times, we feel that these Teachings -- ideals, precepts, and truths -- set us apart. We no longer feel the former joy and pleasure we had in the company of others. We have moved away from both their pleasures and their sorrow. We are not like them and cannot feel as they do, yet we feel a more intense unity with them.
At times, these Teachings set us apart as observers of life. We experience waves of sadness, loneliness, and apprehension sweeping over our hearts. Other times, loftier moods sweep over our souls letting us transcend the loneliness of our personalities. We briefly feel a sweeping kinship with ALL life from atoms to the stars.
Beyond our little personal selfhood, which sets us apart, we feel the thrall of universal life. We feel our utter unity with all that lives and evolves, as it moves, feels, thinks, and creates. Our personal consciousness will identify with the greater spiritual consciousness within. It is inevitable. When we finally lift the life of our personality into the greater life of the spiritual manhood within, we forge a permanent link between our lesser self and our divine self. We then walks among others as potential gods, servants of others, and impersonal powers for good.
By Eldon B. Tucker
The 100th issue of THEOSOPHY WORLD was a special issue on the topic of what Theosophy is and where it is going in today's world. Nearly everything in that issue was written in September by many theosophical friends throughout the world. They represent a broad spectrum of backgrounds and views.
People were asked if they would write something short, perhaps a few paragraphs to a page or so. Contributions were to be in the writer's own words, without quotes by Blavatsky, the Masters, Judge, Purucker, Tingley, Leadbeater, Besant, Krishnamurti, or anyone else.
Each contribution is a personal viewpoint, where someone is writing down their thoughts in their own words. They were told not to bother with citations since the viewpoints they present would be their own, and not an official statement that others, especially new students, have to accept as authoritative.
As editor, I might say that the views expressed do not all match what I think of Theosophy. Even so, I find it valuable to show what is going on in the Movement, since our future grows out of the present, and we theosophical students are that present.
A few additional viewpoints missed the October issue of THEOSOPHY WORLD, and are included below. Refer back to the October issue and read the viewpoints from both issues over. See what you think. Then ponder.
Come up with your own perspective on Theosophy and its future. What is it really? Where is it actually going? It's really up to all of us, including you, what happens next.
By Christine M. Hanson
I do not pretend to be an expert on Theosophy. It has held a special place in my heart, however, for at least 20 years. For some time, I corresponded with my grandmother, the beloved (now passed) theosophist Virginia G. Hanson, about various spiritual and mystical topics, and she sent me some books, magazines, and wisdom. I always felt a great sense of peace when reading these. Theosophy addressed issues that I did not feel received adequate attention in modern mainstream religions, and that experience -- combined with the shining example of two people who seemed to have found their niche in life, my grandmother and her longtime friend, Joy Mills -- led me to become a member. I felt at home with the idea that not only humans but also other creatures were all part of one interrelated Whole, something I had always instinctively felt but that had not been reinforced. I heard later that my grandmother had said she knew I was a theosophist and wondered how long it would take me to realize it. In my last letter to her, which Joy read at her bedside, I told her I had joined. The reply, "Tell Christine I am thrilled." That was the last time I heard from her.
At this disturbing time in world history, an approach like Theosophy has much to give us. Its own history is a story of pioneering spirits who broke new ground in realizing and illustrating the ways in which various mythologies around the globe share a common essence and goal -- that of uniting us with Spirit. I believe that philosophies such as Theosophy, Unitarian Universalism, and the human rights movement represent the earliest dawn of what I think of as "Global Man." This is the natural result of the evolution of human consciousness in a shrinking world, as we bump into the Other more and more and the thinkers among us begin to realize how much he or she, though different, is like us in so many ways. In former times, it made sense in terms of sheer survival for tribes to draw a bright line in the sand and say, "No further." The small world in which we now find ourselves no longer fully supports such an approach. Self-defense is sometimes required, of course, but surely, the Spirit from which we emanate would not want Its creations to kill and maim each other in Its name -- the logical end result of an arrogant certitude.
The only philosophies that can save us from mutual annihilation (or at least constant threat of it) are those that support mutual respect. We can be proud that Theosophy has always stood tall in this regard, and we can rededicate ourselves to carrying into an uncertain future the torch of understanding and humility in the face of the mysteries of the Divine. The effort will be a long road that will stretch many centuries into the future. Our work is just beginning.
By James Santucci
Theosophy refers to a special knowledge of both the material (the cosmos) and the non-material (the divine) realms. This special knowledge reveals not only a connectivity between the two realms but also a special power to transform the individual. However one wishes to explain the origins of the Theosophical Society, it must be concluded that many, if not all of the founders of the society expected to acquire not merely theoretical Theosophical knowledge but also a practical result of leading to individuals' existential transcendence.
By Linda Rollison
The Theosophical Society was founded at a crisis in the evolution of humanity. Several cycles, some very large, had come to a conjunction that made it possible for the Masters of Wisdom to bring together on the plane of manifestation a small handful of people who had earned the right to try to bring to earth the force that could raise the vibration of all humanity to the next higher level, to the level of the consciousness of Brotherhood, the Unity of all Life.
The evolution of humanity is the evolution of consciousness. "In the last analysis, Consciousness is everything," said William Quan Judge. Let's not forget it. We are what we think. The mind of humanity is a tremendously powerful force, capable of creating any reality it can imagine.
All of which tends to separate human beings belongs to the dark. All of which tends to unite us belongs to the Light. That is quite a useful yardstick to use to measure our own private behavior. Do we seek by our thoughts, words, and deeds to separate and divide, or to unify? It's sometimes a pretty uncomfortable question. However, it offers a promise. This is the best of all possible worlds because it presents us with the opportunities to redress past errors and mistakes, to recreate the past in the present, and to create a more positive harmonious future.
Why is the consciousness of Unity important? Each individual human being is a tiny universe, complete with all the elements in miniature that comprise the Universal Man, the Christos, the Watcher on the Threshold who sacrificed himself that we may live and learn to Love. All life comes from the unnamable One and to that Source it returns, bringing with it the fruits of its eons of labor, the increased consciousness that enables it to evolve along the eternal path from ignorance to cosmic consciousness.
We tread this path alone, and yet we are never alone. Our brothers and sisters of fire, earth, air and water surround us, indeed compose our very bodies, and the Father Sun shines down on us daily, renewing our will to carry on, to keep on trying, as the Mother Earth supplies us with all our needs. We are not separate, not on any level.
Here we are, at a crossroads in history, living in "interesting times," poised on the brink of something, we hardly dare imagine what. We can see that there is much that needs fixing, adjusting, realigning. The task is immense, beyond our comprehension really, let alone our capacity to control. And we are so small. Or are we? Every one of us was born here and now because we have some particular task to perform. We belong to this time. We may feel small and helpless, but we have the infinite power of destiny behind us. We are perfectly suited to make a difference. It doesn't matter that corrupt powers and principalities seem to dominate the structure of our world. It doesn't matter that we are invisible, that nobody knows or cares what we think or say or do. It doesn't even matter that we are imperfect and flawed, even tragically so. All that matters is that we try to keep trying to live according to our own highest ideals. It doesn't even matter what those ideals are. As long as we sincerely search our hearts, find the place of peace therein, devote our lives to trying to live according to what our heart counsels us to do, we are serving the cause for which we were born.
If we begin to doubt our ability to make a difference, we have only to remember that all Life is One. Nothing we do is without effect. Nothing. Everything affects everything else. We don't have to figure out what should happen. We just have to keep on trying to do the right thing. It's all geometry. If one tangled line is straightened out, others are straighter too. And we may as well accept and embrace the world we find ourselves in with joy and gratitude. As a student of the mysteries has recently been heard to say, "You can't be unhappy when you are grateful."
By James Colbert
Theosophy offers FUNDAMENTAL PRINCIPLES that enable us to approach an understanding of the universe and ourselves. These principles open an inclusive connection and UNITY WITH LIFE; they reveal a HARMONY of physical and moral law and affirm meaning; they give recognition to the CONTINUOUS JOURNEY of each being through greater levels of awareness. With this philosophy, we embrace life and LOSE FEAR OF DEATH. Its vision of time and space are so great we release all feelings of limits. Our essential task is the TRANSFORMATION of the material to the spiritual, the lower sense of separateness to a higher sense of oneness, a SHIFT OF OUR IDENTITY from the personal to an individuality that rests on that which is truly indivisible. The tool of this transition is "the law of laws" -- COMPASSION. These fundamental principles of theosophy have now taken their place and are demanding attention on the world stage. They are in the form of ENVIRONMENTALISM as our home is truly threatened. They point to a common bond and esoteric BASIS FOR ALL RELIGIONS even as followers of several Western religions begin to engage in mortal combat. They have and are providing an open portal for the spiritual ideas of the East in the form of Buddhism and Hinduism to arouse a latent Western mysticism. They offer and provide a link of PHYSICS TO METAPHYSICS. They are connected to the best of Western psychology as exemplified in HUMANISTIC AND TRANSPERSONAL SCHOOLS. The stimulus for the NEW AGE MOVEMENT can be directly traced to the philosophy of theosophy. The very survival and inspiration for our world rests on these principles.