It is a profoundly erroneous truism ... that we should cultivate the habit of thinking what we are doing. The precise opposite is the case. Civilization advances by extending the number of important operations which we can perform without thinking about them. Operations of thought are like cavalry charges in a battle -- they are strictly limited in number, they require fresh horses, and must only be made at decisive moments.
-- Alfred North Whitehead, INTRODUCTION TO MATHEMATICS, 61
By B.P. Wadia
[From LIVING THE LIFE, pages 48-51.]
In our last article, we spoke of the Path of Woe that all must tread without exception, and indicated that it is a common and a universal experience. Why, oh why, a Path of Woe -- ask a hundred good friends. Why not share our joys and our lights and call it a Path of Weal?
It is the Path of Woe because what we have gathered in the past are seeds of anguish from which pleasure and peace do not sprout forth. The Path of Woe is the other half of the Path of Pursuit; to give up what we gathered with pain, labor, and mighty effort is a karmic retribution. Pain now comes back to us in proportion as we pained others in gaining our ends, in securing our possessions, and using what was gained and secured.
There is, however, another factor; our sincere desire for spiritual living, being an energy of the Occult World, where Life is eternal and immortal, forces into smaller fields of space and shorter spans of time the process of quick payment of debts incurred during generations of lives, all over the world. Spiritual birth is attended with its pangs, and inner growth has its pains of teething, walking, and all the rest. For the earnest and enthusiastic aspirant, these uncomfortable experiences are crowded together, and thus the sum total of previous karma shows the balance in the currency of woe on our debit side.
The method of the payment of past debts is mercifully devised by Wisdom; it enables us to transform woes into joys in the very process of payment. That method, to be pursued as we tread the Path of Woe, is living the life of self-expression. In fact, the debt in question cannot be met otherwise. Deliberate practice at living differently than we have hitherto done has to be undertaken. Leaving alone the life of the senses and the mind, refusing to be energized by feelings and emotions, ever watchful, continuously heedful, to live in terms of the soul is the high enterprise in which we are engaged.
To pursue that task by the old method of haphazard, ever-moving, and ever-changing existence is an error many of us commit. Self-collectedness is the watchword of the new method. To move in a deliberate manner from within, which is the region of the Soul, to the without, which is the sphere of sensuous existence, is the first necessary qualification. To collect the scattered forces, and to reflect on them by the aid of the Light of the Higher Self, so that they are animated and enlivened by it, is our dharma.
All of us understand this in some measure, but what most of us do not seem to grasp is the fact that this process has to be regular, persistent, and continuous. They are neither religious ceremonies to be performed periodically nor sacred festivals that fall on a few occasions in the year. They are not even like unto heroic acts that men perform to their glory and renown once, perhaps twice, in their lives. This watchfulness and this self-collectedness have to be observed and applied every hour of the day, fifty-two weeks in the year; they must manifest their power in all our labors undertaken for profit or pleasure, in work or recreation, in small activities or in important ones. All the while to energize our environment by the Power of Wisdom within us is the first step that aspirants have to take.
This no doubt is irksome, exhausting to the feelings, and fatiguing to the mind. To persist successfully is to pass the first great test that the Wardens of the Portals of the Occult World present to us; they do so because of our resolve, enthusiasm, earnestness, and sincerity -- because we ourselves put ourselves on the Path, and are attempting to "force" the Masters to accept us as their pupils and servants.
We should so live and act, so love and labor that every experience is perceived by our Inner Ruler and is forthwith assimilated by him. All our experiences ought to be flowers from which the bee sucks the honey of knowledge and stores it away for feeding in sweetness and in strength the hungry and the weak. Here is another factor to be noted. Aspirants miss assimilating their experiences. How many of us truly assimilate what we contact in the world? To assimilate in as full a measure as possible what we contact, is a necessity of the spiritual life; thus, the life of self-expression begins.
Then, welcome each rebuff That turns earth's smoothness rough, Each sting that bids nor sit nor stand but go! Be our joys three-parts pain! Strive, and hold cheap the strain; Learn, nor account the pang; dare, never grudge the throe!
For thence -- a paradox Which comforts while it mocks -- Shall life succeed in that it seems to fail: What I aspired to be, And was not, comforts me: A brute I might have been, but would not sink I the scale.
What is he but a brute Whose flesh hath soul to suit, Whose spirit works lest arms and legs want play? To man, propose this test -- Thy body at its best, How far can that project thy soul on its lone way?
Yet gifts should prove their use: I own the Past profuse Of power each side, perfection every turn: Eyes, ears, took in their dole; Brain treasured up the whole; Should not the heart beat once "How good to live and learn?"
In these lines from Robert Browning's "Rabbi Ben Ezra," we come across the gospel of self-expression that is a requisite of the spiritual life. Pondering them, we see how mistaken are the notions in people's minds who glibly talk of self-expression. It is not a matter of one of the fine arts. It is a matter of daily life, which people name drudgery, and desire to run away from. The life of self-expression is Drudgery made Divine.
By G. de Purucker
[From WIND OF THE SPIRIT, pages 111-15.]
The origin of the Theosophical Movement began not in arbitrary decisions by the powers that be, but because of conditions of cyclic necessity. Thus, when HPB came, she came because of a need to keep alive in men their spiritual intuitions, and by so keeping them alive, prevent men from falling under the sway of a world ruled by brute force, in which might was considered right and in which the only justice was the booty of the strongest. She knew that the will of brutal power would govern humanity unless checked and stayed by those innate rules of right residing in the souls of men.
How came about this situation in our world? Because of two things: A religion that had become thoroughly materialistic, thoroughly; so much so that men no longer believed that this universe was run by spiritual powers enforcing the rule of right; and therefore that men could act pretty much as they pleased if they but rendered lip-homage to an ecclesiastical setup. This idea coming from the religious side of man's knowledge, education, and social contacts, was more than strengthened by an equivalently evil power emanating from the ranks of modern scientists.
This latter power had incomparably more influence on men's minds than the former, the dicta of the Church and its Hierarchy. Why is this? Because men had begun to believe that the noble research into nature undertaken by science gave us truth; and men were justified in so believing, for that is the real work of scientists: the investigation of facts and the collating of them into a comprehensive philosophic mold. A great many scientists do work most earnestly and with energy and most praiseworthy perseverance to that noble end. It is different when men, having lost belief in spiritual control of the universe, began to theorize and lay down laws of theoretic speculation regarding the origin of the universe and the origin of man, the working of the universe and the continuation of man therein, and the future of the universe and man's future in it.
These were not scientific facts discovered by research. They were theories only, speculations only, hypotheses only, derived from the imagination of men who had lost a belief in a spiritual control of the universe. Sincere efforts these were, of course, but they were based on no spiritual belief, and therefore these scientists could not render into a comprehensive whole, a philosophic whole, the facts in nature that they had discovered.
Thus, examine those early days of complete materialism beginning about the time of Voltaire and others. I use Voltaire as an example, not because he was the originator of this era; but he was one of its earliest products and one of its noblest. He was a fighter against dogmatism of any kind. More glory to him! But his work likewise destroyed belief in a spiritual universe.
Thus, then, what were these scientific theories on the one hand and religious theories on the other hand? That this universe runs itself, that there is no spiritual power in it controlling it or guiding it, and that things happen by chance not by law. This was uttered out of one side of the mouth. Out of the other side of the mouth of scientists came the equally fervent statement: the universe is caused by the laws of nature. With one side of the mouth, they preached fortuity and chance, and with the other side, they preached laws. It never seemed to strike them that these two preachments were mutually destructive.
What were, then, the factors that Darwin stated made evolution, or what were the conditions under which evolution took place, or again what caused evolution? -- phrase it as you wish. It was a struggle -- it was a struggle in which the fittest or strongest survived, rather than the best or noblest. This was thought of as a law of nature. There was not a word in Darwin or in Lamarck or in Haeckel or in Huxley, or in any of these great men so called, of fifty or eighty years ago, about this world being ruled by intrinsic moral sanctions, not a hint of it. It was a rule of brute force in which the strongest survived, a struggle in which the fittest survived, and the fittest meant the most brutally strong, not the best. Thus, as I often point, should a conflict arise between a man and a shark in the ocean, which is more fit to survive? The shark will survive because it is in its element. He is the fitter in that element and he will kill the man. Yet the man is the nobler creature, the better, the more evolved.
That is what Darwinism is: chance action by nature in a desperate struggle to survive, wherein the weak perish and only brutal strength brings victory. These ideas are destructive of the soul-life of humanity, whether they are born from theology or science. Get these facts clear, and examine, as we Theosophists have for all these years, the lapses from logic in our scientific works, the lapses in the reasoning of our scientists.
It was into a world governed by a belief in brutality as nature's sole way of functioning that came the God-Wisdom through HPB, and, as she proclaimed, her first work was to keep alive in man his spiritual intuitions, so that he would react against this rule so called and miscalled, this accident in nature, this rule of brutal force. Look at the actions of the peoples of the earth during the last three or four hundred years. Look at the world today. See the result of soul-loss, of the stifling of the spiritual instincts of the human being. Indeed, we Theosophists have reacted with power against these teachings, whether from the theological or the scientific side. We have faced the scorn and the ridicule of a day when even to speak of the human soul meant loss of caste.
Look what HPB did. Almost alone and single-handedly, she challenged the thought-life of the world. By her courage and her teachings, she brought about the founding of the Theosophical Society, proclaiming that the world was ruled by moral law and that he who infringed that law whether under the hypocritical guise of virtue or whether openly and desperately as the criminal does -- that he who breaks that law shall pay. Today the world no longer believes that. It believes that the only way to make what they think is a criminal pay is to use greater brutal power than anyone else does. They no longer believe in the rule of spiritual law. They no longer believe that our universe is governed by moral sanctions. They take the law into their own hands.
Is this the truth? Is this religion? Is this philosophy? Is this science? It is not religion; it is not philosophy; it is not science. All these three in their essence proclaim the rule of law in nature; that this law is spiritual and therefore moral; that there is cause and there is effect emanating from that cause, and that these effects are ineluctable and cannot ever be avoided. They should, can, and will haunt your footsteps as the cart follows the foot of the ox that draws it -- a magnificent old Buddhist statement of the Dhammapada written in a day when men believed that the universe was ruled by spiritual and moral sanctions.
Do an evil deed and as surely as the cart follows the foot of the ox that draws it that evil deed will haunt you, finding you out in this life or a future one. This is religion, this is philosophy, this is science; especially science, teaching as this last does its doctrine of cause and effect, its doctrine that effect follows cause and is alike unto its parent cause. The world no longer believes in these things. The peoples no longer believe in them. Only those fine spirits whose intuition flames brighter than in the majority of our fellow human beings have disbelief in these teachings of materialism now dying: dying in religion, dying in philosophy, dying in science, but whose maleficent consequences afflict us like Atlantean karma even today weighing heavily upon us.
It is important to support in the science of our time all those elements that uphold the belief in a spiritual governance of the world. It is important for us as Theosophists to support in philosophy those elements, those philosophic elements, which teach that the universe is controlled by intrinsically moral sanctions. It is important for us Theosophists to support with deepest sympathy and understanding those elements in religion that, casting aside the materialism of the last 1800 years more or less, teach that divinity filleth all vessels, whether vessels of honor or vessels of dishonor; for to divinity neither the one nor the other is dishonorable. That divinity is the spirit universal out of the womb of which come all beings and things, and back into which celestial haven in due course of the revolving ages all things and all beings shall return one day.
Dear Brothers and Companions, I think that the most needed thing today for us Theosophists is to do our utmost to bring about a renascence, a rebirth, in the minds of men of the truth that this universe of ours is under the most strict cosmic moral law or harmony. What is harmony in the universe we call the ethical instinct in the human soul.
Remember that the man who is sincerely convinced that his thoughts and feelings are going to result in action and that he is responsible for this action, will take thought and long and searching thought before he acts. There you are. There is the secret of the whole thing. It is just that simple law, a belief by us men that this universe of ours is not the product of chance, that it is infilled with moral power, and that this moral force resides in the human soul and that this moral force in the human soul should be our guide in our daily conduct. If men followed just that simple rule, our life here on earth would be a heaven when compared with what it now is. All too long has thinking man been under the illusion or Maya that he could take nature's laws into his own hands and in his feeble manner with his weak and shaky intellect attempt to administer cosmic justice.
How the gods must laugh at us! If they weep, as some say they do, how at times their celestial eyes must be filled with the tears of divine pity for man!
By Annie Besant
[From "The Report of Proceedings of The Theosophical Congress, World's Fair of 1893," pages 186-90.]
I speak tonight on the supreme duty. I proclaim tonight the universal law of life; for only by service is fullness of life made possible, to the service of man the whole of the universe today is yoked. For under the name of man, man past, present, and future, man evolving up to the divine man, eternal, immortal, indestructible, that is the service to which every individual should be pledged, that the object of life, that the fashion of evolution. I shall try to put for you tonight in few words something of the elements of this service, something of its meaning in daily life, as well as something of the heights whereto the daily practice may at length conduct the human soul. Poor indeed is that religion that cannot teach the men and the women of the world the duty of daily life, and yield to them inspiration that shall aid them in their upward climbing to the light.
Great is philosophy that molds the minds of men. Great is science that gives light of knowledge to the world. Greater than all is religion that teaches man his duty, and inspires man with strength to accomplish it. Greatest of all is that knowledge of the human soul that makes daily service the path of progress and finds in the lowest work the steps that lead to the highest achievement.
According to the philosophy that we stand here to represent, we have in the universe and in us various planes of being, sevenfold in their full enumeration. A briefer classification will serve me for the hints that alone I can throw out tonight. Let us take the plane of the physical man and see what on that plane the service of man may connote. First, the service of man implies what was called by the Buddha right livelihood, that is, right fashion of gaining ordinary life, honest way of gaining the means of ordinary existence. Not a livelihood based on the compelled service of others, not a livelihood that takes everything and gives nothing back, not a livelihood that stretches out its hands to grasp and closes its fists when gift is asked instead of gain.
Right livelihood implies honesty of living, and honesty implies that you give as much as you take, that you render back more than you receive, that you measure your work by your power of service, not by your power of compulsion. That the stronger your brain the greater your duty to help, that the higher your position the more imperative the cry to bend that position to the service of human need. Right livelihood is based on justice. Right livelihood is made beautiful by love, and if there is to be a reckoning between the giving and the taking, then let the scale of giving weigh the heavier, and give to man far more than you take from him.
On the material plane, more is asked of you than the discharge of this duty of right livelihood that injures none and serves all. You have also a duty of right living that touches on the plane of the body, by which I include tonight the whole of the transitory part of man, and right living means the recognition of the influence that you bring to bear upon the world by the whole of your lower nature as well as by the higher. It implies the understanding of the duty that the body of each bears to the bodies of all, for you cannot separate your bodies from the bodies amidst which you live, since constant interchange is going on between them. Tiny lives that build up you today help to build up another tomorrow, and so the constant interaction and interweaving of these physical molecules proceed.
What use do you make of your body? Do you say, "It is mine, and I can do with it as I will. Shall not a man do as he will with his own?" Even so, nothing a man has is his own. All belongs to that greater man, the aggregate humanity. The fragments have no rights that go against the claim of service to the whole.
You are responsible for the use that you make of your bodies. Say that when these tiny lives come into your charge you poison them with alcohol. Perchance you render them coarse and gross with over-luxurious living. Then you send them out into the community of which you form a part. You send them out to other men, women, and children. Then they sow there the seeds of the vices they have learned from you, of the gluttony, of the intemperance, the impurity of living that you have stamped on them while they remained as part of your own body. You have no right to do it. No excuse can bear you guiltless of the crime.
There are drunkards amongst us. Granted they are responsible for their crime, but also every human being is responsible for those who help to spread the poison in a community that is focalized in those miserable creatures. And so every atom that you send out alcohol-poisoned from yourself helps to make drunkenness more permanent, helps to make its grip tighter upon the victims already in its grasp, and you are guilty of your brother's degradation if you do not supply pure atoms of physical life to build up others who in very truth are one with yourself.
You have something of what service of man means on this lowest plane. There is another service of which you, the richer people in this land, could set an example. Then others from your voluntary action may learn to follow the same path. Just simplify your physical life. Lessen your physical wants, thinking less of luxury and more of the higher life. Waste less labor ministering to the artificial wants of the body, and spend more time helping the souls of men to grow less encumbered with the anxieties of life.
If you take such teaching to the poor, true as the teaching is, one hardly dares to put it to them on whom the iron yoke of poverty presses, and who find in so much of physical suffering one of the miseries of their life. You should set the example, because with you it is voluntary action. You should set the ideal of plain living and high thinking instead of the ideal of senseless luxury, of gross materialistic living on every side.
Can you blame the poor that they think so much of earthly pleasure, that they desire so passionately material ease? Can you blame them if in every civilized country discontent is growing, threats are filling the air, when you set the ideal that they copy in their desire, and when you, by the material pleasure of your lives, tell them that man's aim and object is but the joy of the sense, is but the pleasure of the moment? This also is your duty in the service of man on a material plane, so that, lessening the wants of the body, he may learn to feed the soul, and making the outer life more nobly simple may give his energies rather to that which is permanent and enduring.
Not only on the physical, the lowest plane, is the service of man to be sought. We rise to the mental plane, and there too must man be served far more efficaciously than he can be served on the physical plane. Do you say you cannot serve on the mental plane, since it is for the great thinker publishing works that revolutionizing thought or the speaker reaching thousands where you reach but units?
It is not so. The great thinker, be he writer or be he speaker, has not such enormous surplus of impulse as you, judging by the outer appearance, may imagine. True, his work is great, but has it never struck you in what lies the power of the speaker, whence comes the strength with which he moves a crowd? It does not lie in himself; it lies not in his own power, but in the power, he is able to evoke from the men and women he addresses, from the human hearts he wakes. It is their energy and not his in the tide of his speech.
The orator is but the tongue that syllables out the thoughts in the hearts of the people; they are not able to speak them, they are not able to articulate them. The thoughts are there, and when some tongue puts them into speech, when the other inarticulate sense takes the force of the spoken word, then they think it is oratory. Their own hearts moves them. Inarticulate in most, this speaker's voice makes the power ring from land to land.
That is not all. Every one of you in your daily thinking, every one of you has thoughts that you pour out to the world. You are making the possibilities of tomorrow; you are making or marring the potencies of today. Even as you think, the thought burning in your brain becomes a living force for good or for evil in the mental atmosphere just as far as the vitality and the strength that are in it may be able to carry it on in its work in this world of mind.
There is no woman, however weak, there is no man, however obscure, who has not in the soul within him one of the creative forces of the world. As he thinks, thoughts from him go out to mould the thoughts and lives of other men. As he thinks thoughts of love and gentleness, the whole reservoir of love in the world is filled to overflowing; and as he contributes to them, so every day is formed that public opinion that is the molder of men's ideas more than sometimes we are apt to dream. In this, everyone has share, so that in this all men and women have their part. Your thought-power makes you creative Gods in the world, and it is thus that the future is built; it is thus that the race climbs upward to the divine.
Not alone in the physical nor alone in the mental sphere is this constant service of man to be sought; but of the service of the spiritual sphere, no words of platform oratory can fitly describe its nature or its sacredness. That work is done in silence, without sound of spoken word, of clatter of human endeavor. That work lies above us and around us, and we must have learned the perfection of the service in the lower ere we dare aspire to climb where the spiritual work is done.
What, then, is the outcome of such suggestion, what the effect in life of such philosophy applied to the life of each as it is made or met in the world today? Surely, it is that we should think nobly. Surely, it is that our ideals should be lofty. Surely, it is that in our daily life we should ever strike the highest keynote, and then strive to attune the living to the keynote that at our noblest we have struck.
According to the ideal, the will is lifted. In the old phrase, the man becomes that which he worships. Let us see, then, that our ideals are lofty. Let us see that what we worship shall have in it the power that shall transform us into the image of the perfect man; that shall transmute us into the perfect gold of which humanity shall finally consist. If you would help in that evolution, if you would bear your share in that great labor, then let your ideal be truth; truth in every thought and act of life.
Think true, otherwise, you will act falsely. Let nothing of duplicity, nothing of insincerity, nothing of falsehood soil the inner sanctuary of your life, for if that were pure, your actions will be spotless, and the radiance of the eternal truth shall make your lives strong and noble.
Not only be true, but also be pure, for out of purity comes the vision of the divine, and only the pure in heart, as said the Christ, shall see God. That is true, in whatever words you describe it. Only the pure in heart shall have the beatific vision, for that which is itself absolute purity must be shared in by the worshipper ere it can be seen.
Add to these ideals of truth and of purity one that is lacking in our modern life, the ideal of reverence for what is noble, of adoration for that which is higher than one's self. Modern life is becoming petty because we are not strong enough to reverence. Modern life is becoming base, sordid, and vulgar because men fear that they will sink if they bow their heads to that which is greater than they are themselves.
You raise yourself in worship of that which is higher than you are; you are not degraded. That the feeling of reverence is a feeling that lifts you up, it does not take you down. We have talked so much about rights that we have forgotten that which is greater than a man's right with himself. It is the power of seeing what is nobler than he has dreamed of, and bowing in the very dust before it until it permeates his life and makes him like itself. Only those who are weak are afraid to obey; only those who are feeble are afraid of humility.
Democrats we are in our modern phrase, and with the world of today as we have it, democracy in the external world is the best fashion of carrying on the outer life. Say the very gods themselves wandered the earth as men. They trained the people in the higher truth as in the days of old in Egypt and India. If that were possible and they conveyed to people the higher knowledge, would we claim that we were their equals and would be degraded by sitting at their feet to learn?
If you could weave into your modern life that feeling of reverence for that which is purest, noblest, grandest; for wisdom, for strength, for purity, until the passion of your reverence should bring the qualities into your own life -- Oh, then your future as a nation would be secure. Then your future as a people would be glorious.
You men and women of America, creators of the future, will you not rise to the divine possibilities that every one of you has hidden in his own heart? Why go only to the lower when the stars are above you? Why go only to the dust when the sun sends down his beams that on those beams you may rise to his very heart? Yours is the future, for you are making it today, and as you build the temple of your nation, as you hope that in the days to come it shall rise nobly amongst the peoples of the earth and stand as pioneer of true life, of true greatness, lay you the foundations strong today. No building can stand whose foundations are rotten, and no nation can endure whose foundations are not divine.
You have the power. As you exercise your choice, the America of centuries to come will bless you for living or will condemn you for failure. You are the creators of the world, and as you will, so it shall be.
By Henry Travers Edge
[From a chapter in THEOSOPHY AND CHRISTIANITY.]
People may wonder if the abandonment of Christianity (as ordinarily understood) will mean a loss of the basis of moral conduct and a consequent general, if gradual, lapse into profligacy of various kinds. This question demands serious consideration and cannot be dismissed with a few bald assertions. Rationalists, Secularists, and others of that genus, say that the fount of good conduct is in the human intelligence and instincts, that religion is rather a hindrance than a help, and that this fount will suffice for needs. To this, it can be answered that perhaps these rationalists are living on the capital of good habits accumulated by centuries of religious influence, that this capital would soon become exhausted, and that the human intellect and instinct, as conceived by rationalism, would not suffice to renew the stock.
Here indeed is the weakness of the rationalist and humanist position. Their philosophy lacks foundations; and if pressed on this point, they are too ready to take refuge in agnosticism -- the view that these fundamental questions lie beyond the scope of inquiry, that they cannot be known, that it is needless to try to fathom them. We seem to detect here the scientific fallacy of confusing cause with effect: is morality a cause or an effect? Is it any use saying that morality is the effect of morality? To avoid such tautology, if we change the wording and say that morality is the effect of human intelligence and instinct, we have merely dodged the difficulty.
We need to know something about those mysterious powers in the human breast. What inspire them? Shall we define them as an enlightened self-interest? In that case, we commit ourselves to the proposition that morality is sustained by self-interest, and that self-interest is the foundation of human conduct. The forces that rule in matter must themselves be immaterial, outside of matter; otherwise, we are reasoning in a circle and have an engine generating its own steam, or a motor and a dynamo running each other. Therefore, with the present problem. Human social conduct cannot be represented as a mechanism perpetually running by its own momentum; it could never rise, and would be much more likely to fall. It is clear that the 'Unknowable' that the rationalists admit but scorn to inquire into, is the very mainspring.
Here is where religion comes in. The rationalists have thrown away the grain with the chaff. It is the spirit of religion, Religion itself, which keeps alive the eternal vitality of the human race, compelling obedience to the essential laws of moral health, and preventing an utter collapse into destruction by unrelieved selfishness.
This true Religion has its shrine in the human heart. A pious, devotional, emotional attitude will not suffice to keep the fire alive in an age where the intellect is so acute. This intellect has been enlisted on the side of self-interest, with the results that we so much dread. Unless the scope of the intellect can be expanded to inquire into and learn about those parts of human nature that lie below the surface, we shall become morally bankrupt. To live healthfully in a physical sense, we must know the laws of hygiene and sanitation; we cannot go by blind faith and guesswork. This deeper knowledge is what Religion can and should give us.
That Christianity has failed so much as it has in this respect is due to the great admixture of dross with the pure metal. We have sought in this book to bring out the essential truths in Christianity, and to explain them in a way that will be more vital and effectual in human life. We have not taken away from man anything needed for his support. Whatever can be said in favor of the influence of Christianity can be said with greater force with regard to the Theosophical interpretation of Christianity. We have expressly said that we have no wish to interfere with the faith of those who find in their religion what they need and who seek nothing further; and that our object is to help those for whom this is not sufficient, and who are earnestly seeking for the real basis of human welfare.
Religion that teaches man that he is essentially divine cannot be more immoral in its influence than religion that teaches him he is a miserable sinner. In the Theosophical interpretation of Christianity the moral law is the essential law of human conduct, by which alone man can achieve happiness, self-realization, and harmony of his life with that of his fellows. It is this interpretation alone which unifies life and brings into harmony intellect and heart, so that all our faculties may cooperate towards the end of perfection.
God is not a person standing outside the universe. Nor is he apart from man. God is everywhere. There is nothing that is not God. God is the ultimate fact, the root of all existence, the spiritual foundation of all that is. Many thinkers have arrived at this conception of God, and have realized that the theological God is an anthropomorphized ideal God, the universe, man, are not separate from each other, but form a unity. We can approach God only by sounding the depths of our own being; for man himself is a manifestation of Divinity, and there are no limits to what he can attain through self-knowledge.
The manifold objections to the idea of a personal and extra cosmic God are almost too well known to need mention. Such a God seems to manifest little interest in human affairs, and to be apart from Nature, which is a sort of secondary deity. Little wonder that so many have abandoned the idea of God altogether, though it passes comprehension to understand how these explain the meaning of things. To abandon the idea of God does not mean that we must represent the universe as a haphazard mechanism.
The doctrine of extreme materialism means nothing; agnosticism is a confession of ignorance and helplessness. We may call ourselves Humanists, and make man the center of things; but then what is man? Every man, studying the wonders of his own conscious being, knows that there is a profound mystery beyond the limits of thought. To suppose that mystery is insoluble is to turn the whole universe and human life into a horrible jest.
There have always been Christian mystics, who have taught that revelation comes through self-communion. This is the only way to knowledge of God; and, as we have shown, Jesus points the way to the attainment of such knowledge. There are faculties in man that transcend the intellect (as we know it now) -- not set it aside or abrogate it, but supplement it. Man little knows the sublimity of his own nature, though many of us have at rare moments obtained glimpses. Let us aspire to the highest we can attain, and forbear to limit our vision by giving it the form of a personal deity, which is in very truth creating a graven image.
Supplication to a personal deity for favors desired is looking for help in the wrong place. It is presuming to dictate to deity and is based on the idea that divine goodness and wisdom needs the help of our prayers. The climax of absurdity is reached when hostile armies pray for victory over each other. This brings out the truth that a personal God is usually partial, local, and tribal. There is some sense in such invocations if we believe that each nation has its own special deity, as some peoples believe; but it becomes nonsense when such contradictory prayers are addressed to the same God.
Prayer means self-communion accompanied by high aspiration, and should be in the spirit of 'Not my will, but thine be done.' Prayer for specific objects is not right, because we do not know what is best for us. Prayer is communing with the Father in Heaven through the Son; reaching towards our own highest and best. Personal wishes must be cast aside, and the unity of life realized as much as possible.
The Problem of Evil
People often vex themselves with the question how a good God can permit evil. Evil is imperfection, and this world is but an imperfect manifestation of Deity the All Good. Contrast and opposition are found everywhere; they are necessary conditions of growth and experience. Evil has been defined as the shadow of God. Attempts to define good and evil philosophically have not much bearing upon duty and conduct, and usually serve merely to bewilder people. In actual life good and evil are as distinct as a good egg and a bad egg. Every man is naturally endowed with the ability to distinguish them.
The words good and evil are very vague, and confusion arises from their being used in varying senses. They may be taken to mean pleasant and unpleasant; but this obviously refers to our tastes, which are unreliable as criterions. What is unpleasant may be good for us; what is pleasant, evil. They may be taken to mean right and wrong, and here again the reference may be to moral law, or social law, or civic law, etc.
As far as our own experiences are concerned, the true philosopher can arrive at a state where he recognize that no evil can befall him, because he accepts every event as a part of his equitable lot -- the Stoic philosophy. So we see that in this case the terms good and evil imply a contrast that we have made in our own minds, by classifying experiences as pleasant and unpleasant, and speaking of good and evil fortune.
As long as a man makes personal pleasure an object, he is bound to bring pain upon himself, by the same law that renders the glutton or the drunkard sick. Such pursuit of self-gratification upsets the moral balance, and Nature restores it by the complementary opposite experience. What about our conduct to other people? This ought surely to concern most a person of heart and conscience; and it might be better if people spoke more about this aspect of the question than about their own luck and ill luck and merit and demerit, which are utterly trivial to anybody but themselves.
Can it be denied that we have the power to work evil upon our fellows? If there is anyone whose mind has become so disordered that he can argue, "Whatever happens to a man is his Karma; therefore I cannot injure him," and use this as an excuse for misbehavior; then we can only pity such a man. To do mischief in the world and leave it to the universal laws of harmony to clean up the mess we have made, is but a sorry way of manifesting the divinity that is in us. So far as our conduct to others is concerned, there is an unmistakable difference between good and evil, and an inescapable obligation upon every man who is a man to choose the right. If he is a man, he will do the right despite all the religions and philosophies in the world.
As said above, in speaking of the Fall of Man, the making of Deity into a personal God has necessitated the making of a personal Satan as the adversary of God. But, as there stated, the Serpent of Eden was man's Teacher, who awoke in him the power of intelligence; and when this Serpent is called the Adversary, it means that he was opposed to the first God who created man as an unintelligent though sinless being.
Satan is also a personification of our passions, which seek to lead us to destruction; but it is by fighting them that we learn and progress, so that ultimately they become our savior. That is only on condition that we fight and overcome them; if we yield to them, we are lost. There is no Devil with horns and hoofs, haunting us during life and preparing to torment us after death. It is very true that our passions, allied to our intellect, can create a kind of secondary evil self, which is our enemy whom we must conquer. It is also true that the Astral Light is full of destructive powers engendered by the thoughts and passions of men; so that the Astral Light, in one of its aspects, has merited the title of Satan.
By Leon Maurer
[Based upon materials originally contributed to the theos-talk mailing list in October 2004.]
When I was in Europe during World War II as a Signal Corps specialist, I had Military Intelligence clearance (at the Top Secret level) and could go anywhere and photograph anything under my cover assignment as "Historical Photographer." Since my primary job required me to maintain telephone line security (detecting direct or induction line taps, magnetic interference, etc.), I was also required to listen in to strategic conferences between Washington, Eisenhower's Headquarters, and the four-star command generals in the field.
Were what I heard and who said it to come out, it would make another story that might shakeup the world. There was secret military and industrial planning that even included shadow governments of soon to be defeated enemies. They were making karma that affected everyone for years to come with perhaps more evil than good results. It was too bad that there were no digital recorders in those days!
What the hell! It was better that there were no recorders. I was and still remain an impartial observer with an oath of secrecy. At the time, I was not as wise about the ways of the mundane and inner worlds. Events had to be let alone to run their course, or prodded a bit from the inner sidelines. The old ways had to collapse under their own weight to make way for the new.
As the Buddha might say, it was better to help those innocently caught up and hurt by what was happening than to raise an army and try to stop them. In my younger days, though, I did not think like that. I just followed my inner guide in whatever circumstance in which I found myself. I stayed alert and did my best with whatever I faced with without much concern for the future. I unconsciously followed Krishna's advice to "Let the motive for action be in the action itself and not in its results."
During that time in Northern France and Germany, I had no requirement to report anything I saw, heard, or photographed, since I was not an official Military Intelligence Secret Agent. Therefore, the only direct evidence of Nazi occult practices I have is my personal experience.
This comes from when I, along with officially assigned Military Intelligence operatives, rummaged through abandoned SS headquarters after the Nazis had to run off, leaving much incriminating evidence behind. It also comes from my conversations with other military personnel at my clearance level, and from certain photographs that I gathered of concentration camps, SS and Gestapo headquarters, torture facilities, and ritual paraphernalia. All this gave me a good picture of the occult background of the Nazi hierarchy.
Since my father was a 33rd degree Free Mason, as well as an alchemist and collector of occult literature, I had early familiarity with much mystical symbolism and its interpretation. When I entered the ritual chambers in local SS headquarters, it was immediately evident to me that their entire organization and initiatory practices were along occult lines.
Some of the paraphernalia and arrangements were similar to those in the initiation chambers of Masons and other secret occult organizations. I knew this from photos and illustrations I had seen in my father's library and from a tour that I once took as a boy through the secret chambers of the Grand Masonic Lodge in New York.
The libraries and bookshelves in each SS headquarters I entered (ostensibly to check their communication systems) were packed with occult literature that I recognized from their cover designs and illustrations. I had little interest in the materials since I only could speak and read a smattering of German.
As a curious 12-year-old kid, I had gained a head full of such stuff, without much understanding, when I thumbed through every book in my father's vast occult and classic book library, and skim read all 24 books of his Encyclopedia Britannica. Born with prodigious artistic talent, I have a photographic memory for graphic images. As a balancing payment, I have almost no ability to remember words or numbers except for the visual concepts they bring forth.
After the United States Army crossed into Germany, I also gained access to a university photo lab in Darmstadt. I freely processed and printed photos taken by front line infantrymen, tankers, and some combat photographers when they liberated the concentration camps. I also processed and printed films they sent me from Russian soldiers they met where our lines merged around the perimeter of Berlin.
While in that lab, I made copies of interesting photos of Nazi atrocities whenever I came across them. Most, unfortunately, are now lost or with relatives and friends to whom I gave them after the war. Since all such photos were required to be turned over to the authorities, that material had been smuggled out of Germany in direct violation of military orders at the time. The turning over of photographs was likely to prevent premature release to the press of material to later use in prosecuting war criminals. I suspect there may have been other reasons, perhaps to suppress public knowledge of the full extent of German atrocities against concentration camp victims.
I had come across so many unbelievably gory and disgusting concentration camp pictures that I felt the American public should see them. I decided, against orders, to bring back prints with me. In my work, I would send negatives back to the photographers after I had made prints. For some pictures, I made 8x10 prints for myself, and brought them back with me when I shipped out of Europe for the States after the Japanese defeat. A sailor friend of mine on the ship helped me smuggle them through the debarkation contraband check when I arrived in Newport News, Virginia around November 1945.
Soon after, I gave The Federation of Jewish Charities most of my photographs of mass burials, cremation ovens, gas chambers, and torture equipment from concentration camps in Germany and occupied countries. This helped raise private money for guns and ships enabling a vast number of displaced concentration camp refugees to leave Cyprus and enter Palestine despite strong repressive British military interference.
When I arrived home in Florida, the photos were printed in a small booklet for fund raising purposes in Miami, and later turned over to the press and widely distributed, without attribution, in newspapers and magazines throughout the United States and Canada.
Were the full story of the acquisition and first exposure of the Holocaust atrocity photos made public, it would make an interesting movie. The government attempted to suppress them. Certain notorious public figures offered assistance. The photos and my connection with them, along with influential people my father knew, helped supply the Israeli army (Irgun) and guerrilla fighters (Stern Gang) with everything they needed to defeat the British, furnish transport ships, and open the door to Israel for the refugees.
The underlying theosophical line shows us how the threads of karma work in mysterious ways. There was a simple unplanned choice, possibly guided from a higher level, by one insignificant person. He was in a critical place at the right time and had the necessary connections. The results were unbelievably complex and unpredictable changes in world history. They were for good or bad depending on one's point of view.
There was a story of several hundred dead Tibetans in Berlin. I heard about it while working my photo Lab and maintaining the signal test station at the Technical University of Darmstadt. It came directly from Military Intelligence officers who came to investigate the university's research records. Some of them had close contact with Russian intelligence, which reported the Tibetans as suicides at about the time that Hitler and his cronies supposedly committed suicide.
The reports identified the Tibetans as belonging to the Nyingmapa Sect and apparently Dugpas as well. A Nyingmapa as well, my scientist and Lama colleague Dr. Perchion later confirmed this. Not long after the war, he inquired about their connections with the Nazis when he went to Nepal for his initiation. He discussed it with the Panchen Lama while he was his nurse just prior to his death. I recall seeing it mentioned in a book about the Occult Reich or a history of the Third Reich; I cannot remember when or where. More than one OSS or Military Intelligence agent in Europe at the time knew of the report.
I doubt that any military records of that period are still available. At the United States Army Records Storage facility in St. Louis, a big fire destroyed much of the records of World War II of that time. This included my military records, as well as my Signal Battalion. I suspect it was an inside arson job. When I tried to obtain my records for medical purposes several years ago, the Defense Department told me that they were no longer available, due to an accidental fire that burned many records of military personnel and units in Europe during 1944-45. Could the ex-Nazis in America -- some of whom I have good reason to believe have infiltrated the CIA -- have engineered that?
Beyond this, everything else I know about the Occult Reich comes from what I overheard through conversations with other first hand observers and refugees I met during and after the war. This includes some of my distant relatives (as my grandfather was an Austrian). I also have read a number of books and historical material published during the ensuing years that confirms what I had observed and surmised when I was still in my early twenties.
There is much of the Nazis, including their infiltration into the United States and their influence in its shadow government after the war that remains unknown to the public. That is another story. Much of the Holocaust they initiated as the culmination of their occult beliefs and practices is yet unpublished.
There is evidence of black magic and that Hitler was a member of occult societies. There was ritualized slaughter of innocent victims, ritual suicide, along with psychically potent mind-control propaganda techniques, including written, audio, and visual symbolism used to induce blind sanction of such activities by the public. These are certainly valid evidence of black magical practices
All master politicians use such methods, consciously or unconsciously, but none was as obviously knowledgeable of occult black magical practices as Hitler. When he suddenly became the leader and speaker for the Nazi Party, he demonstrated the secret of turning on at will personal charisma. That is an old occult trick.
One can learn by a long study of occultism for which there is evidence judging from his writings. Ravenscort also reported that Hitler studied THE SECRET DOCTRINE. One can also learn it by training under the wing of a Master occultist. Hitler could have received training by a member of one of the German occult secret societies such as the OTA, Golden Dawn, Order of the New Templars, the Germanenorden, the Edda, the Vril Society, or other Thule connected occult groups.
One can directly observe evidence of such occult training and knowledge. It requires no questionable recorded confirmation of membership in some secret society. Any knowledgeable Theosophist, Cabbalist, or student of occultism might observe the Nazi organizations first hand. They could not help concluding that Nazi activities were based on black magic, on corruption of occult teachings and their fundamental principles and laws.
It is obvious from the writing, speech, and actions of Hitler that he was a willing student of one or more black-magician Masters of such practices. Therefore, either he had to be an initiated member of some Secret Society or a disciple of a member who gave him direct training.
Because such occult practices are based on secret teachings known to few, there would be no written record of such study or membership. Those who have eyes to see and ears to hear will know all this without recourse to second hand evidence.
In another sense, Hitler could have been, if not an initiated occultist himself, a mind controlled puppet of a behind the scenes black magician who operated him. We can only speculate as to who that might be. There were many powerful occultists surrounding Hitler and other leaders and founders of the Nazi party throughout their reign in Germany. It is interesting that most of them -- such as Himmler, Hesse, Heydrich, Haushoffer, Eckardt, and Rosenberg -- were mixed up with occult organizations or some sort of occult practices.
To further research the subject, one would need to find others (besides myself) with related first hand experience. One also needs to learn what exactly occultism or black magic is. One must know what occult practices are and how to recognize them through their symbols, metaphors, and allegories. It also helps to read the biographies of Hitler along with histories of the growth of Nazism in Germany. Then one can make his or her own judgments. Was Hitler an occultist? Did the Third Reich base itself on occult black magic knowledge related to German secret societies? Did the SS have a ritual initiatory practice with "Der Fuehrer" as their god-ikon? Was their a worship of "Blood and Honor" based on the same black magic occult practices that energized Hitler, his SS, and the entire Nazi Party hierarchy?
In my view, that entire affair was a conspiracy of black magicians, many of whom were also royalists, elitists, and military industrialists. Not all of them were Germans. They were related to the Dugpas spoken of by HPB, whose goal was to take over and dictatorially control the world for their selfish aims. They used Hitler as their front man. My observations while in Germany during and just after the war and my careful analysis of all the factors surrounding that incident in world history seem to confirm that view.
Be warned that positive research based on public information about an occult organization or society does not prove anything about the inner workings or membership of that group. We cannot take it as denial about anything carried out by it in secret. We can never expose the real activities of such occult groups using researched public information no matter how carefully and thoroughly we do it. We can only do it with direct inside experience and observation or by logical analysis of observed effects of such actions based on previously acquired occult knowledge. This knowledge includes correct interpretation of occult symbolism, metaphors, and allegories, as well as of the methods of psychic mind control that they use or teach others to use.
My direct experience is coupled with first hand knowledge from verifiably accurate observers trained in military espionage. Combined with my early training in occultism and symbolism by my occultist father, my observations are far more accurate than second hand opinion, hearsay, and documents that could easily be forged to throw up a smoke screen.
Of course, one could also question my reports since I have no documents to prove that I was there and did what I said during World War II. You will just have to take it or leave it, believe or not that I know exactly about what I am talking. Anyone advanced in THE SECRET DOCTRINE will give credence to these claims should they also be familiar with the inner workings of the Nazi government of the Third Reich, which is a matter of public record. My purpose is to inform others, to help them to better understand the occult nature of reality.
The external evidence, based on the actions of Hitler and the Third Reich leadership, as well as their friends and associates, coupled with my direct observations of the occult paraphernalia in many headquarters of the SS, Hitler's most loyal personal guard, are more than enough to convince me.
Despite someone's impressive erudition, no uninitiated researcher, no matter how scholarly or educated, could know anything about the memberships, inner activities, or secret teachings of societies like the Thule Gesellschaft. No one writes these things down except in the form of metaphors, symbols, or allegories.
By D.C. Law
[From THE ARYAN PATH, October 1953, pages 435-39.]
Nirvana is the summum bonum of Buddhism, the ultimate of all that the Buddha taught. Both the Buddhists and the Jains believe that it is the state of perfect beatitude. Sakyamuni preached the true law to lead his fellow creatures to Nirvana, which means blowing out or cooling. Some have translated it as weaving. It means the extinction of lust, hatred, delusion, and ignorance. It is the waning away of all evils and the elimination of the vicious and the weak in man.
It may also mean final deliverance or liberation from the fetters of worldly life. Moksa really means the attainment of the highest state of sanctification by the avoidance of pain and miseries of worldly life. Nirvana is another name for Moksa or liberation.
On one's realizing Nirvana, the sinful nature vanishes forever. One attains it by escaping the cycle of births and deaths. A perfected disciple (arahat) has reached a permanent state of peace, something absolute as opposed to the process of constant change; this state is Nirvana. In other words, it is nothing but the blowing out or extinction of craving with its three roots: passion, desire for becoming and ignorance.
Some think that Nirvana can be attained and is normally attained before the bodily death of a sage. It brings with it happiness of the highest order. It is accompanied by the consciousness of the destruction of existence and rebirth. As subjectively considered, Nirvana means mental illumination conceived as light, insight, a state of happiness, cool, calm and content (sitibhava, nibbuti, upasama), peace, safety, and self-mastery. Objectively considered, it means truth, the highest good, a supreme personality, a regulated life, and communion with the best, bringing congenial work. This characterization is based on the PSALMS OF THE EARLY BUDDHIST BROTHERS AND SISTERS, which bear evidence to the deep joy and thrilling hope with which they regarded Nirvana.
Nirvana is immortality and the bliss of emancipation. It is nothing but the tranquil state. Earnestness is the path of immortality. Those wise people who delight in earnestness and who are meditative and steady attain Nirvana. He who has knowledge and meditation is near unto it. A monk who delights in reflection, who looks with fear on thoughtlessness, is close upon it. One should strive after separation from the world, if he desires to win it. The Buddha calls patience the highest penance and long-suffering the highest Nirvana. Really speaking, it is the highest happiness.
If a person knows the fact that all created things perish and lead to grief and pain, that all faults are unreal, that one should be well restrained in mind, speech, and body, and that one should shake off lust and desire and should root out the love of self, he is sure to win Nirvana. Possessing strong determination, cherishing all good, taking to the refuge, and following the path leading to Nirvana, one is capable of destroying all ties by slow degrees. The attributes of Nirvana consist of the absence of passion, destruction of pride, thirst, and sensual pleasures, and freedom from attachment. It is the cessation of all sufferings; it is freedom from all sins and final release from the lower nature. The famous Buddhist commentator, Buddhaghosa, points out that a person obtains Nirvana by making himself free from the wilderness of misdeeds.
Some have described it as a void. Nirvana is so called because it is a departure from that craving that is called vana. It is realized through knowledge belonging to the four paths. It is the object of those paths and their fruition. It is supramundane or transcendental. It is excellent and uncreated. It is all bliss, pure and simple, and there is no pain mixed with it, though the process of seeking after it is painful. It makes all existences leading to pain subside. It is the eternal, unassailable, and noble salvation. It is that supreme state in which there is neither birth, decay, disease, death, nor contact with what is disagreeable, neither disappointment nor separation from what is agreeable.
Like the Buddhists, the Jains also hold this view. Nirvana is that state that is tranquil, final, and imperishable. Just as a lamp goes out forever from the exhaustion of oil and does not depart to the earth or the sky or any of the quarters, so the saint who has reached Nirvana does not come back to the earth. In his case, salvation means the exhaustion of corrupting factors. It is tranquility only.
By extinguishing the blazing fire of passion with the water of steadfastness, the saint comes to the highest happiness, like a man descending into a cool pool in the hot weather. For him there is no such thing as agreeable or disagreeable, liking or disliking; he feels joy because of the absence of these qualities. Like one who has obtained safety after great danger or deliverance from great oppression, light in darkness or the safe shore after a tempest; or like one who has gained health after serious illness, release from great debt, escape from a chasing enemy or plenty after scarcity, the saint comes to a supreme state of peace.
The form, figure, place, duration, etc., of Nirvana, the realization of Nirvana and Nirvana itself, which is all bliss, were the puzzles that troubled the mind of the Greek King Menander. According to his teacher Nagasena, Nirvana is bliss unalloyed. Those who are in quest of it afflict their minds and bodies, restrain themselves in food, and in four postures, keep their senses under control and abandon their body and life. Nirvana is untarnished by any evil disposition. It allays the thirst of craving after lusts, and the craving after worldly prosperity. It is all in blossom of purity, knowledge, and emancipation. It is the support of life, for it puts an end to old age and death. It puts a stop to sufferings in all beings. It overcomes in all beings the weakness arising from hunger and all sorts of pain. He who orders his life aright realizes it by his wisdom.
Purity is the main ethical term to express the nature of Buddhist Nirvana. By purity of heart, one reaches Nirvana according to the Jains. From the ethical point of view, to realize it is to attain the highest purity in one's own self and in one's own nature. Its realization involves a process of perfect self-examination, self-purification, self-restraint, and self-culture. The process of self-alienation involves a method of seeing things as they are. The twofold ethical end of Buddhism is negative: to do away with the hindrances and to put away the fetters or destroy the sinfulness that lies deep in our nature. Purity of conduct, purity of behavior, purity of livelihood, purity of motive, purity of morals, purity of character, purity of mind, purity of faith, and purity of knowledge and insight are all included in the rough scheme of self-culture through purity.
The vision of Nirvana dawns upon consciousness and its realization is possible in a state of trance, when outwardly the man who reaches it is as good as dead. The Buddha, on the eve of his passing away, remained lost in this state of trance. In this state, a plane of religious experience is reached where there is no longer any desire for this or that object of sense. This is the highest psychical state, where consciousness appears to be face to face with reality.
According to Nagarjuna, Samsara and Nirvana are two relative ideas and hence there can be a difference but no absolute distinction between the two. There cannot be any conception of a relation between the two even in apposition. The dependent origination in its samudpada (origin) aspect is samsara and the same in its nirodha (extinction) aspect is Nirvana. The Buddha sought to show that Nirvana cannot but be the last category of thought. Intellectual universality is inadequate to comprehend the whole of reality, which is constituted not only of cognition but also of volition and feeling; to comprehend all, another category is required, and it is Nirvana. It is not an experience, not something with which one may identify. One does not think that one is nirvana or is in nirvana or is from nirvana or nirvana is one's own.
Nirvana is of two kinds: (I) Anupadishesa Nirvana and (2) Sapadishesa Nirvana. The former means the extinguishing without any remainder of accessories (in contradistinction to extinction happening during the lifetime) and the latter means Nirvana with a remainder of accessories. Nirvana shows itself to be the eternal rest, eternal stillness, and the great peace. In it, one experiences the mighty triumph of the complete and eternal satisfaction of one's will, no longer having any will, and thereby the highest bliss.
The state of Nirvana is described as absolute freedom, inexpressible peace, and the purest bliss, in contradistinction to the complete lack of liberty, the continual unrest, and the endless suffering of a man. Nirvana is also called the state of health in contradistinction to the state of sickness. A perfected person's body, sensation, perception, mentations, and consciousness are entirely annihilated beyond all possibility of reappearing in future.
Nirvana has various designations. It is called uncompounded, endless, stainless, true, subtle, very difficult to see, unimpaired, immutable, not vanishing, invisible, not subject to ramification, tranquil, undying, safe, secure, attenuation of desire, wonderful, unimpeded, not risky, undisturbed, uncreated, uncomplicated, deep, without sorrow, difficult of perception, transcendental, unsurpassed, unequalled, supreme habitat, protection, spotless, freedom from attachment and possession, ultimate refuge, imperishable, the element of the absolute, liberation, blessedness, etc.
A layman, under exceptional circumstances, may attain saintship but to keep it, he must give up worldly life. It is distinctly mentioned in the questions of King Menander, put to his teacher Nagasena, that a layman who attains supreme insight will win his way to the excellent condition of saintship. All persons who, as laymen living at home and in the enjoyment of sensual pleasure, realize in themselves the condition of peace, win the supreme good, Nirvana.
The word Nirvana nowhere occurs in any of the Vedic or Brahmanic texts that may be definitely assigned to the pre-Buddhistic dates. An exception may be made in favor of Panini's Astadhyayi, which accounts for the formation of the word Nirvana by an aphoristic rule. With the Brahmans of all ages, Nirvana is Brahma Nirvana, whether the Brahman is saguna or nirguna. With the Hindu and Jain thinkers, the problem of Nirvana may be examined from the viewpoint of the Atman, while with the Buddha or the Buddhist thinkers it may be considered from the viewpoint of Anatman.
At the time of the rise of Buddhism, the people of India had a notion that the true salvation of a man consisted in evolving into an eternal personality, exhausting all possibilities of rebirth. To be subject to birth is to be subject to decay and death. The worldly life is so ordained that there is no escape from decay and death for a person who has been brought to existence by the natural process of creation. The very possibility of such an escape is denied by the daily experience of things or events happening around at all times. Even a perfected soul cannot escape it, in spite of his unrivalled and universally admitted greatness and perfection.
By Jasper Niemand
[From THE PATH, May 1891, pages 40-44.]
One who had read a legend somewhere repeated it to me thus from memory:
There was a Greek woman visited by spirits in the guise of two Chaldeans. She dowered by them with transcendent powers and super-human knowledge, and she was able to behold at once all the deeds that were done in all lands beneath the sun, and was raised high above all human woes and human frailties, save only Love and Death. The woman dwelt alone with the stars and the palms and the falling waters, and was tranquil and at peace, and she was equal to the gods in knowledge and in vision, and was content.
One day, a tired wanderer came and asked her for a draught of water to slake his thirst and lave his wounds, and she gave it, and, giving, touched his hand, and one by one, the magic gifts fell from her, and the Chaldeans came no more!
In all the vastness of the universe, she only hearkened for one voice; her eyes were blind to earth and heaven, for they only sought one face. She had power no more over the minds of men or the creatures of land and air, for she had cast her crown down in the dust and had become a slave, and her slavery was sweeter than had ever been her strength -- sweeter far -- for a space.
His wounds healed and his thirst slaked, the wanderer wearied. He arose and passed away. She was left alone in the silence of the desert. The Chaldeans came never more.
Thus ran the tale; it seems unfinished and I am moved to finish it.
When the woman had made fair progress and attained into power, it was her right to be tested by the gods. Now we are most tested by Love and by Death.
As the tale runs, she was left mourning in the desert. She called upon the Chaldeans and their power, which she had shared; but power comes not at call; we must seize it and make it our own. She cried then to death; but death comes not quickly to those to whom he comes as a friend. It is only as dread warrior and foeman that his approach is swift and terrible.
She could not die. In the entire world, there was left to her only her love; this she could not slay, though now she strove to cast the burden off, and then she clasped it to her burning heart. She could not lie forever thus in the desert. Her great love impelled her, and she arose, thirsting for one more sight of that distant face, determined to follow through the world that she might once more look upon it. She passed from the palms and limpid waters over the burning sands, and, all unseen, her guardian spirit and the spirit of her Ray went with her.
Thus, she came into the world, and seeking saw on every hand sin, misery, disease, death, shame, and bitterness, and all the wrong man heaps on man, and all the joys of sense and soul that are the wombs of future pain. Failing to find him whom she sought, she asked herself, "What if he is wretched as these?" And as her heart swelled with pity at the thought, she strove more and more to help the suffering, to clasp the imploring hands that clutched at her gown, -- all for his sake. Learning to love them so, she hoped to forget that master love for one, and hoped in vain, for human love is strong and tests us as a sword.
At last, she cried to all the gods, "Let me see him once, and die." So strong the cry, the inner heavens rang with her demand; on it she staked her all, and drew from Karmic powers, in that one gift, all that they held as treasure for her in many a life to come. Her guardian spirit hid its face and trembled, but the spirit of the Ray, the Watcher, saw unmoved.
She beheld her lover. The man had changed. The fret of life had worn him. His sphere was dimmed by a dark, pouring tide that colored all his deeds, impeded his higher aspirations, and mysteriously sapped his life, by him unseen, unknown.
"Call back that evil tide," she said. Then again, "What is it?"
Her guardian spirit could not answer for tears.
"It is thy love, whose strong barrier resists and impedes the law. Hark to the discord of his sphere," said the Watcher, the spirit of the Ray.
The woman uttered a moan of pity and of shame.
"He is changed. Dost thou love him still," asked her guardian spirit.
"Better than ever I love and long to comfort him," she answered.
"Behold," said her guardian to the Watcher, "how strong is this love, now purified by pain. Shalt thou not deliver the woman?"
The unmoved Watcher spoke. "When the man came to her in the desert, did she speak to him of the starry Truths of the darkness? Aye, I know that she spoke, but her words were forms devoid of life while her voice -- their carrier -- cooed the notes of love. Aye, I know that she taught and tended him in tenderness and pity, but did she not ask reward, the reward of his love? What gift asks a great gift in return? She only asked to serve, sayest thou? Know, Spirit, that in heaven's high hosts are thousands who wait through the passing of cycles for permission to serve; and sometimes ask in vain. Accepted service is the gift of gifts in the power of the Divine. Did she see his soul-spark yearning for freedom from personality and separation? Under that crust which is the outer man, did she see his inner self, the radiant, imprisoned, enmeshed in the web of matter, awaiting a deliverer? No. She saw but her own reflection, the mirrored flame of her own desire. Her image she projected towards him. Her glamour she cast about him; her own fond yearning, it was that she loved. The imprint she stamped upon him faded, for his guardian spirit stood near. Then the radiant one within impelled him from her. Life bore him away. He passed on to other scenes, dragging after him, unknown but felt, the dark and ever-lengthening chain of her recalling thought. The woman loved herself, so loving love; she to whom power was entrusted by the gods cast it, for self, aside."
"Ah! Say not so," the guardian spirit cried. "Was no pure flame behind the smoke; no living germ within the husks of love?"
"Look," answered the Watcher.
As the woman gazed, spellbound, she saw, above her lover, a shape of superhuman beauty, glorious and full, one of a band of mighty ones, filling the world, strong to aid and to save, interlinked, interdependent, all in one and one in all, the immortal hosts, the higher selves, the higher self of man. Seeing the loved one thus transfigured, thus translated, a cry of joy broke from her lips. "He is free," she cried.
Then the Watcher bent above her, while the guardian spirit held his breath.
"Shall he become as one of these and pass beyond thee?"
"Oh! Take him to that blessed place," the woman said.
"That place is one which men themselves attain. By fortitude, duty, self-sacrifice, and entire acceptance of the law, he may attain. Or wilt thou -- Oh caviler at the law, constructive of thine own desire, destructive of the universal trend of things -- detain him on the way?"
"Why may he not go there with my love," she asked.
"With thy love, yes, for love makes free what it loves. But not with thy desire. The law has parted you in the flesh. Who shall withstand that law and not be broken? But love coheres, inheres, and knows not space nor time."
The woman bent her head. From her heart, a wild complaint arose. She had seen the glorious vision; she longed to see her beloved on that way, the path of law. "Set him free," she said.
"But if thy desire recall him?"
"Hast thou forgotten, Stainless One, or hast thou never known that true love loves the better self, the shining ideal? I was blind, but now mine eyes are opened. I give him to his higher life, that life which is the law. And I -- I bless that law, though it deny me, because it sets him free."
As she spoke, something seemed to break in her heart. The great, blinding, glorious vision of a freed humanity swept before her. It was lifted upon the sorrows of such as she, lifted by force of woe endured into that shining host. The world that suffered and the world that conquered were one, and all, above, below, were types of souls freeing and set free by higher Love.
"I love the world," she cried, "for all are one."
Upon the face of the guardian spirit, there shone a great joy. "Thou hast conquered by love," he said. "There remains only death for thee to meet and to subdue."
The Watcher spoke, "Nay; death is overcome. The only true death is the death of self. She lives for all, her powers reclaimed, restored, for the power of powers is universal love."
Thus runs the tale of truth. If woman knew her power to uplift, before the eyes of man, the splendid ideal, knew her power to nourish and sustain it, she, loving thus, would teach man how to love, and, freeing him, retain him forever in the higher bonds that knit all souls to Soul.
By Madeline Clark
[From THE THEOSOPHICAL FORUM, July 1948, Pages 398-400.]
A small group of middle-aged individuals scattered over the face of the earth can now look back and reconstruct in memory the earliest days of Katherine Tingley's school at Point Loma. A segment of memory concerned with their early childhood is interwoven with the story of the beginnings of the School that made the name of Katherine Tingley famous as an educator.
In later years, Katherine Tingley often told about the days of her own childhood at Newburyport in Massachusetts, when she would go into the woods to play, and in a small clearing, with sticks and twigs for people, she would "keep school" in the wonderful "Gold Land of the West" of her prophetic imagination.
The School at Point Loma with its simple beginnings was the dawn of the fulfillment of that dream. August 4, 1900 was the founding day -- but this is not going to be a history. It is simply some fugitive memories that are set down here as a tribute to that great and dear Teacher: memories that leave an ineffaceable impression that we children -- all of tender years -- were taught the basic principles of practical occultism in those early days. Little we knew of that at the time, of course, but with the lapse of years and ripening of experience, that wondrous episode of our childhood has
... orbed into the perfect star We saw not when we moved therein.
In those days, when the school was in its beginnings, we lived in the very spirit and atmosphere of Katherine Tingley's creative genius, for she gave personal attention to our day and its doings; every detail of our training was carefully planned by her.
The motto of the school was the single word "Now" -- our talisman against procrastination, which always breeds confusion in the life: "Now" -- keeping us always in mind of "the sacredness of the moment and the day."
She was always sending us little messages. One of these was the motto: "Do well the smallest duty, and when the day is done, there will be no regrets, no time wasted -- then joy will come." Thereby, she taught us the simple means by which to avoid regret or remorse, one of the greatest hindrances to the progress of the student, however far he may have advanced.
The idea of being "on duty" and allowing nothing to distract us from it was another principle we were given; and Silence while on duty. Both rules were taken undoubtedly from the Mystery Schools.
But all this was a happy discipline, except for the inevitable grief-storms that come into every child's life. And our periods of duty were frequently relieved by agreeable interludes. There were many ground-breaking and other outdoor ceremonies that we attended, and weekly concerts of the finest music, all provided by strictly Headquarters talent, for Katherine Tingley gathered together at Point Loma a group of people of rare culture.
We loved her dearly. To us she was a being far out of the ordinary. Her beautiful, radiant kindness was a thing never to be forgotten. Often she would walk over from where she lived in the big domed building to the "Lotus Home" where we were playing. When she approached, the word would go round like magic; we would cluster around her and walk along with her.
Looking back over the details of what Katherine Tingley planned for us, it is plain to us how well she understood what children like: the thrill of surprise, delightful suspense, beauty, mystery, and fun. And no less well did she understand the serious side of a child's nature: to emulate the ideal and become like it. Every child had tuition in some musical instrument, even from the beginning. She knew the value of collective effort, and there were always plays, choruses, sports, calisthenics, and drill.
Can children be taught occultism?
Many of us were mere six-year-olds, but we understood in a measure the significance of these things, and the as yet unmanifested Higher Ego understood and welcomed the opportunity to begin early in the incarnation with the process of "getting on with the job" -- the real work for which it had returned here.
Whether there is anything in that more than poetic fancy, probably only a Teacher could tell us, but the Being has so recently come from its solemn preview of the incarnation, and moment of deep insight, that it might well still be bringing with it some aroma of that experience. Katherine Tingley recognized that Something behind, and appealed to it in speaking to us, with complete seriousness. Well do we remember words of hers addressing us in that way. The child listened and wondered, vaguely realizing that the Teacher spoke to something beyond and within and yet not foreign to himself: but the Soul knew. The child never felt humiliated, but rather stimulated, quieted, and mysteriously ennobled.
Those who understood the true nature of Katherine Tingley's work realized that this great humanitarian was indeed laying down patterns for the distant future; working out new methods for human betterment and education. She gave ideals embodiment in action and in creative works. When she laid a cornerstone, it might or might not eventuate in a Temple built with hands; but the ceremony put into symbolic form what was actually happening in the world of the Real. In the same way, many innovations in education that she made were tokens of what was to be -- and many of these details, such as music and art tuition in the schools, brotherhood, and the love of all nations, and the rehabilitation and training of men and women in the prisons really originated with her.
By her system of training in true Yoga, not one of the upwards of two thousand children who passed through the school at Point Loma went out from its experiences without a more or less profound impression remaining upon its inner nature. The inspiration still lives in the young students of the new generation now studying at Theosophical University.
G. de Purucker, whose Teacher she was, said that Katherine Tingley was the greatest esotericist of all, and the most misunderstood. But the new cycle of the children now inaugurated will, we have every reason to hope, bring into play new types of consciousness and activity that will vindicate her in the fullest degree. The work she did for mankind has left its mark, and will have its effect upon countless individuals for hundreds of lives to come.
By Margaret Smith
[From THE ARYAN PATH, May 1946, pages 166-70.]
The Yazidis are a Kurdish people, numbering perhaps only sixty to seventy thousand souls, who call themselves the worshippers of God, but their religion includes very special customs and observances. Although they are found in Persia, Russian Armenia, and in Diyarbakr and Aleppo, they are chiefly in the Sinjar Mountains, a hundred miles west of Mosul in the middle of the desert. This district has been the center of their efforts for freedom and independence. The language in general use among the Yazidis is Kurdish, but Arabic is also used in their worship.
They are reported to be industrious by those who have visited them and lived amongst them. The English were especially welcome, having put a stop while in Iraq to the murders and massacres they had so frequent experienced. The Yazidis exceeded their neighbors in skill and activity. They are quiet and orderly, gentle and courteous, and generous, showing an open-handed friendliness and hospitality. To their guests, they give of the best that they have, without looking for any return in money or presents, and they are of a high level of morality. Their women are neither secluded nor veiled nor are they expected to do hard manual labor. Those of high degree marry only those of their own rank so that these families are of ancient blood.
The Yazidis have been frequently persecuted for their religious beliefs, but have never swerved from them and have shown throughout their history a wonderful strength of character and resolution. Though they have a record of hundreds of thousands of martyrs, they have remained a separate group, holding fast to their faith.
Of their priesthood, there are four classes, represented by the Shaykh, the Pir, the Qawwal, and the Faqir. The Shaykhs are believed to be the lineal descendants of the companions of the sect founded by the patron saint of the Yazidis, Shaykh 'Adi b. Musafir and their chief is the "Baba Shaykh" or mir-i-shaykhan, who holds the supreme spiritual power and takes precedence of everyone else. He has the power of excommunicating a Yazidi, and exclusion from his people is the fate most feared in the group, because it also settles the fate of the soul.
Only the Shaykhs are instructed in the inner doctrines of the faith. They exercise a great authority over the laity and enjoy great respect and reverence. The Shaykhs and Pirs have the duty of teaching their people what is good and restraining them from evil. The orders of the priesthood are hereditary, and can descend to the women, who are then treated with the same respect and consideration as the men.
A boy who is to become a Faqir must be born into that rank, but he becomes one voluntarily. After instruction, initiation, and then three days of fasting, he is invested with the khirqa, a tunic made of pure lamb's wool, which is fastened round the waist by a sacred girdle. This recalls the initiation into the Sufi (Islamic mystic) brotherhood.
Each family of the laity is attached to some shaykhly family, and the Yazidis have a custom by which each boy or girl chooses an "other brother" or "other sister" from a shaykhly family, not necessarily the one to which his or her family is attached, and there is henceforth a close tie between the two. The "other" has duties to perform at marriage, and at death, while the lay sister or brother has to make the "other" a yearly present, serve, and help him or her always. The Yazidis hold that this link between the two has existed before this life and that the two will be linked in future lives.
There is also a temporal chief, the Prince of the Yazidis, with authority, in temporal matters, over the whole community, and he can deal with any unruly member of it. The Mir represents the Yazidis in their dealings with the outer world.
The Yazidis have been defamed and accused of evil practices, and some who had no knowledge of their real religion have described them as devil-worshippers, but these accusations have been proved entirely false. Their religion seems to include some old pagan elements, including perhaps their reverence for the sun and for running water, but there is no worship of the sun and moon included in their faith. There are perhaps some relics of Persian dualism; something is taken from Judaism and Christianity, and taken from Islam and the Sabaeans.
They believe in a Supreme Being, God, and that the Divine Will is carried out by an agent known as the Peacock Angel, Malak Ta'us, with whom the patron saint, Shaykh 'Adi, seems to be identified. The Peacock Angel is not to be regarded as the principle of evil, as some have held, but rather as a Spirit of Light. He is called "Lord of the Moon and of the Darkness" and "Lord of the Sun and Light." He is the active aspect of God and inseparably bound up with Him. The main prayer of the Yazidis is addressed to him.
The problem of the origin and nature of the worship of Malak Ta'us is not yet solved. He is regarded as the chief of Seven Angels and one who visited Shaykh 'Adi's shrine was told by the priest in charge that God had given the complete control of the world for 10,000 years to the Bright Spirit, Malak Ta'us, and therefore he was worshipped. He was the Spirit of Power (not of evil as some said), and the ruler of this world. At the end of the 10,000 years of his reign, he would reenter Paradise as the chief of the Seven Bright Spirits and all his true worshippers would enter Paradise with him. So Malak Ta'us is regarded as God manifest in the world. It is to be noted that the peacock, regarded as a symbol of the sun and of immortality, from the legend that its flesh never becomes corrupt, plays a part in early Christianity and other faiths.
The Yazidis hold that evil comes from man himself and from his errors, but that by rebirth he can gradually attain to purification, or else, if he is irretrievably linked with what is evil, he will perish as illusion. An evil man may be reincarnated as an animal, but most will be reborn as men and those who are good as Yazidis. At the end of all things when purification is complete, they are freed from the body and this world, and will be united with the Supreme Being. Attaining to beatitude, they return no more. It is possible that Buddhist missionaries, passing through Persia and the Middle East, gained some adherents to the doctrines of reincarnation, or that they were derived from the Sabaeans.
The Yazidis practice baptismal rites, which are held to confer purity, sanctity and a blessing, but are not regarded as securing admission to the sect or as necessary to salvation. This rite is perhaps taken from Christianity, for which faith the Yazidis have a high regard. They make use of the sign of the cross and when they enter a Christian church, they put off their shoes and kiss the threshold.
There is a sacrificial festival in the spring, which in time and in circumstance links them with the Jews, for scarlet ranunculus is then hung in bunches over the doorways and some households sprinkle the lintel and doorpost with blood from the lamb sacrificed the night before. At this feast, too, everybody makes and receives gifts of colored hard-boiled eggs, which links it with the Christian Easter also. From the Jews, too, they have learnt reverence for the Old Testament, which they consider to have equal authority with the New Testament and the Qur'an, which they also respect. Texts from the Qur'an are engraved on the walls of their temple. They regard Muhammad as a prophet and Mecca as a holy place. They are a people who show religious toleration.
The Yazidis themselves possess two sacred books, KITAB AL-ASWAD (The Book of Blackness) dating from the tenth century and KITAB AL-JILWA (The Book of Revelation) dating from the thirteenth. These are in Arabic. There is also a hymn of Shaykh 'Adi, which is regarded as a sacred book.
The patron saint of the Yazidis, Shaykh 'Adi b. Musafir, was born at Baalbek in Syria. Of his life there, one writes:
Often must he have passed beneath a portal of the temple of Bacchus at Baalbek upon which the poppies and wheat are sculptured with such tender and gracious skill, preaching the silent text that death is but a sleep and a forgetting, and that the life that is dormant must again, like the corn, press forward to the light.
-- E.S. Drower, PEACOCK ANGEL, page 152.
When he traveled to Iraq, no doubt he took these memories with him.
Shaykh 'Adi was a Sufi who founded the order of the 'Adawiya, and he was famed for the holiness of his life, a fame that spread to distant countries, so that he gathered together a great number of disciples, who gave him great reverence. He traveled to Iraq, retired from the world, and settled in the mountains of the Hakkari Kurds, where he built a monastery for his followers. He died there around 1160. His tomb is in a valley there and is a place of pilgrimage.
In his hymn, he declares:
I am the Shaykh, the one, the only one; I am he that by myself revealeth things; I am he to whom the book of glad tidings came down From my Lord who cleaveth the mountains .... I am he that brought from the fountain water Limpid and sweeter than all waters; I am he that disclosed it in my mercy, And in my might I called it the white fountain. I am he to whom the Lord of Heaven said: Thou art the ruler and governor of the universe. I am he to whom the flinty mountains bow, They are under me, and ask to do my pleasure. I am he before whose majesty the wild beasts wept; They came and worshipped and kissed my feet. I have made known to you, Oh congregation, some of my ways. Who desireth me must forsake the world.
I sought out truth and became the establisher of truth; And with a similar truth shall they attain to the highest like me.
-- G.P. Badger, THE NESTORIANS AND THEIR RITUALS, I, page 113.
His shrine is a place of great peace, built on rock terraces hewn from the cliffs of the mountainside. It lies in a silent valley, a lovely and holy place. White-clad nuns keep it. Vowed to celibacy, they spend their lives serving the shrines of Shaykh 'Adi. At sundown, each night, little lamps are lighted everywhere among the shrines and burn but a short time before they die down. "Perhaps," writes one who saw this,
The mystics who once dwelt here saw in these flames a symbol of human life, a sixth of an hour of life and then black extinction until the Divine Servitor again pours in the oil of life from His inexhaustible store.
-- E.S. Drower, PEACOCK ANGEL, page 166.
An annual pilgrimage to this holy shrine is strictly enjoined on the Yazidis and the Feast of Assembly takes place in the autumn and lasts for eight days, being attended by all the faithful who can come. This pilgrimage is an expression of the national and religious isolation of the Yazidis. The feast includes purification, a procession, chants, dances (like the dhikrs of the Sufis), the kindling of lamps, the offering of special foods, and a sacrifice. Men and women from the Sin-jar and from the northern districts of Kurdistan leave their tents and pastures in order to attend. All, before they come into the holy valley, purify themselves, both their garments and their persons, in the stream flowing from it. The entire hillside is covered with stone huts, built to house the pilgrims.
When twilight fades, the Faqirs come out from the shrine, each with a light in one hand and a pot of oil and wicks in the other. Then the lamps are filled, trimmed, and set in niches in the walls of the courtyard and in all the shrines. There are many little chapels on the sides of the valley, and lights are even placed on rocks or in the hollow trunks of trees. Thousands of lights are seen everywhere, reflected in the streams and fountains, and shining among the leaves of the trees. Then the voices of men and women are raised, singing in chants, in Arabic, in harmony with the notes of many flutes.
The Yazidis are pantheistic mystics. God, to them, is omnipresent but reverenced especially in the sun, the planets, the pure mountain spring, the green trees, and even in the stones, in which some of the Divine mystery is held to lie hidden. The sun, that great Light, one of the most potent means by which the Divine power and goodness are manifested, is looked upon by them as the purest symbol of Godhead and honored as such. At its rising, the Yazidis kiss the ground, with their faces turned to the East and do likewise at its setting, with faces turned to the West. Fire and light are also held by the Yazidis to be symbols of the Deity, and reverenced accordingly.
Water, too, is regarded by the Yazidis as a visible sign of God, the Giver through its means of so many blessings to mankind, and every fountain or spring is held to be sacred and a lamp is left burning nightly in some adjacent niche or cave. Beside most of these sacred springs and streams is to be found a sacred tree or trees, which are usually fruit bearing, fig or mulberry or olive.
The Yazidis feel that God is present in His gifts and to be reverenced in them. The Yazidis worship God after their own manner, a faithful worship by those who see the Invisible in the visible.