To sum up: the misuse of knowledge by the pupil always reacts upon the initiator; nor do I believe you know yet, that in sharing his secrets with another the Adept, by an immutable Law, is delaying his own progress to the Eternal Rest. ... a PRICE must be paid for everything and every truth by SOMBODY, and in this case -- WE pay it. Fear not; I am willing to pay my share, and I told so those who put me the question.
-- Mahatma K.H., Letter No. 50, THE MAHATMA LETTERS TO A.P. SINNETT
By B.P. Wadia
[From LIVING THE LIFE, pages 75-78.]
In the ocean of worldly life man strives for happiness. His knowledge and experience of the past years of the present incarnation are consubstantial with the longings of his desires and ambitions, the urges of his senses and organs. Faith and religious feeling spring from and are subservient to the forces of his environment. Many men live in this state of waking life and their dream state is but an extension of their mundane strife and striving. Then death comes and the incarnation is over. Of such THE VOICE OF THE SILENCE says:
Behold the Hosts of Souls. Watch how they hover o'er the stormy sea of human life, and how, exhausted, bleeding, broken-winged, they drop one after other on the swelling waves. Tossed by the fierce winds, chased by the gale, they drift into the eddies and disappear within the first great vortex.
The real nature of life on earth is not sought after by millions; they are either lulled into the belief that the mysteries of god and gods are not to be questioned or they accept blindly the dictum of the modern agnostics -- "Not known so far."
In every age Gnostics have existed and in their dictionary the terms "unknown" and "unknowable" have no place.
The Gnosis is Theosophy; the Esoteric Philosophy is recondite, profound, vast, but man's mind and heart are fully capable of understanding its elementary principles. Those human souls who, hovering "o'er the stormy sea of human life," feel, as they grow "exhausted," that there must be a meaning to life, a purpose in the universe, a way out of this Cimmerian darkness, begin a search. Soon or late they come upon the teaching epitomized in ISIS UNVEILED that
1, everything existing, exists from natural causes; 2, that virtue brings its own reward and vice and sin their own punishment; and 3, that the state of man in this world is probationary.
-- ISIS UNVEILED, II, page 124
All life is probationary. The glimpsing of this truth is the beginning of wisdom. Study of and reflection on these three fundamental principles of human evolution test the enquirer's zeal, the seeker's persistency. If these three principles appeal to reason and the heart's instinct, what next? The notions of creeds, of customs, of scientific agnosticism and of materialistic psychology have to be abandoned. The seeker has to admit that he himself and no one else is responsible for the conditions of life, physical, mental, moral, in and through which he must struggle to emerge on the surface, where the sunlight is met. In this effort he will soon come upon the important truth given in THE VOICE OF THE SILENCE:
This earth, Disciple, is the Hall of Sorrow, wherein are set along the Path of dire probations, traps to ensnare thy EGO by the delusion called "Great Heresy."
Be it noted that the acceptance of the fact that all life, and therefore one's own, is probationary, and the resolve to learn more, bring one to that stage where one recognizes that he is a pupil, a learner, and that the Master is within himself. Says HPB:
The "great Master" is the term used by Lanoos or Chelas to indicate one's "HIGHER SELF." It is the equivalent of Avalokiteshvara, and the same as Adi-Budha with the Buddhist Occultists, ATMAN the "Self" (the Higher Self) with the Brahmans, and CHRISTOS with the ancient Gnostics.
The overcoming of the defects born of personal and environmental knowledge, and the development which brings perception of the traps which ensnare the Ego by a disregard of the true philosophy of Universal Brotherhood -- these cause the God in us to become our guide and friend. The Master within is patient to wait and watch for the awakening of the personal man; and compassionate to warn, to encourage and to guide him once that the personal man accepts the Master as the Inner Ruler. Study of and meditation on the nature of the Self bring the pupil and learner to the stage described thus in THE VOICE OF THE SILENCE:
The light from the ONE MASTER, the one unfading golden light of Spirit, shoots its effulgent beams on the Disciple from the very first. Its rays thread through the thick, dark clouds of matter.
Now here, now there, these rays illumine it, like sun-sparks light the earth through the thick foliage of the jungle growth. But, O Disciple, unless the flesh is passive, head cool, the Soul as firm and pure as flaming diamond, the radiance will not reach the chamber, its sunlight will not warm the heart, nor will the mystic sounds of the Akasic heights reach the ear, however eager, at the initial stage.
The personal man is enveloped by "the thick, dark clouds of matter"; through that envelope the Light penetrates because of loyalty to the truth perceived and faith in the Master within. However dim the rays which penetrate the jungle growth of animalism and the separative tendency of cold intellectualism, the pupil is appealed to undertake further exercises for his inner development. Flesh "passive," "head cool," Soul "firm and pure" the achieving of these calls for arduous effort and takes the practitioner a long time. The flesh represents the urges of the senses and the organs; they are active in the personal man; they are in command; they rule. They are positive; they have to become passive or receptive. When they are active they heat the head, and confuse the thinking principle and enslave it. Only a cool head, a calmed mind, a tranquil heart, can control the flesh and make it listen to truth, to reason, to righteousness. To develop a cool head we need "the gentle breezes of Soul-wisdom to brush away the dust of our illusions," i.e., appropriate study to learn how to make the head cool. The Soul within is firm and pure and the strength and steadfastness of that Soul must be appealed to. This necessary appeal, made with faith and conviction, brings the response to our lower mind and makes it cool and concentrated.
It is indispensable that the learning aspirant and practitioner apply the basic idea of Occultism, that true growth is an unfoldment from within without. We have to grow as the flower grows, from inwards outwardly.
This prolonged exercise constitutes the first step in its completeness. It may take many years; it may take a lifetime. In attempting to learn the full lesson implicit in the taking of the first step, we are also learning that time has to be conquered. Not past, present and future, but only that aspect of the present which is the Eternal Now, need be our concern.
By Henry S. Olcott
[From OLD DIARY LEAVES, III, pages 9-10.]
I have elsewhere mentioned HPB's inheritance of the fiery temper of the Dolgoroukis, and the terrible struggle it was to even measurably subdue her irritability. I will now tell a story which I had from her own lips, and the incidents of which had a most lasting effect upon her through life.
In childhood, her temper was practically unrestrained, her noble father petting and idolizing her after the loss of his wife. When, in her eleventh year, the time came for her to leave his regimen and pass under the management of her maternal grandmother (the wife of General Fadeyef, born Princess Dolgorouki), she was warned that such unrestrained liberty would no longer be allowed her, and she was more or less awed by the dignified character of her relative.
On one occasion, in a fit of temper at her nurse, a faithful old serf who had been brought up in the family, she struck her a blow in the face. This coming to her grandmother's knowledge, the child was summoned, questioned, and confessed her fault.
The grandmother at once had the castle bell rung to call in all the servants of the household of whom there were scores. When they were assembled in the great hall, she told her that she had acted as no lady should, in unjustly striking a helpless serf who would not dare defend herself; and she ordered her to beg her pardon and kiss her hand in token of sincerity.
The child at first, crimson with shame, was disposed to rebel, but the old lady told her that if she did not instantly obey she would send her from her house in disgrace. She added that no real noble lady would refuse to make amends for a wrong to a servant, especially one who by a lifetime of faithful service had earned the confidence and love of her superiors. Naturally generous and kind-hearted towards the people of the lower classes, the impetuous child burst into tears, kneeled before the old nurse, kissed her hand, and asked to be forgiven.
Needless to say, she was thenceforth fairly worshipped by the retainers of the family. She told me that that lesson was worth everything to her, and it had taught her the principle of doing justice to those whose social rank made them incapable of compelling aggressors to do rightly towards them.
By G. de Purucker
[From WIND OF THE SPIRIT, pages 199-201.]
The Real, the Reality, Sat, or more accurately Asat, Tat, is that which IS during cosmic Mahapralaya; and all the manifested universes are dreamed forth when Brahman falls asleep during what we call Manvantara.
Note that just here there is a divergence not of knowledge, but of expression, even among the occultists themselves. The more common way in ancient times was to speak -- and I will now use the Hindu terms -- of Brahman awaking, becoming both Brahma and the manifested universe with all in it. In other words, Brahman awakes when Manvantara begins, and falls asleep when Pralaya comes.
This is quite correct if you want to look at it from this standpoint. I might add, was a familiar notion to Greek and Latin philosophic thought, as in the statement attributed to the Stoic philosopher Cleanthes that has been rendered into Latin, although he was a Greek, in the following words, "Whatsoever thou mayest hear, whatsoever thou mayest see, is Jupiter." This is a thought very familiar in ancient Hindustan where Brahma is said to evolve forth the universe from itself, in other words, that Brahma is the universe and yet transcendent to it: the universe and all of it, and yet transcendent! This reminds one of Krishna in the Bhagavad-Gita: "I establish all this universe from a portion of myself, and yet remain transcendent."
But the other manner of viewing this matter and equally correct -- and I will frankly say that sometimes as I ponder the matter, perhaps more spiritual, perhaps more correct than the former, but more difficult of understanding by us men -- is to think that Brahman awakes when Mahapralaya begins; for then Reality, so to speak, recommences its flow of lives.
The phenomenal universes have been swept out of their existences until the next Manvantara and disappear like autumn leaves when the autumn ends and winter begins. Driven along, as it were, by the winds of Pralaya, all manifested life is swept out of existence AS MANIFESTED LIFE. Everything that is real is withdrawn inwards and upwards to its parent Reality, and then divinity is in its own. This is Paranirvana. It is then awake and dreams no more until the next Manvantara.
Those in ancient times who grasped this other manner of viewing, of making Reality come into its own when manifested or phenomenal things pass away into Pralaya, have stated the matter after various tropes or figures of speech, the favorite one, however, being this: all the manifested worlds are but the dreams of Brahman. Brahman sleeps and dreams karmic dreams, dreams brought about by karma. These dreams are the worlds of manifestation and all that is in them. When the dreams end and the universes vanish, then Brahman awakes. It is coming into itself once more.
I think both views are correct. Yet I have often wondered in my own mind whether the second way of viewing it be not somewhat loftier, closer to the ineffable truth than is the more popular way because more easily understood. We have analogies in our own lives. When we awaken in the morning, we go about our daily duties, we do them, and they are karmic. But it is when we fall asleep at night and the things of physical matter and the lower mental plane vanish away, that we come closer to the divinity within us. We rise upwards, closer to the god within us, towards the abstract and away from the concrete.
I think the second view, though perhaps no more true than the first way of viewing -- I think perhaps the second way of viewing the matter, makes what they call Mahamaya, cosmic Maya, somewhat more understandable by us men.
At the end of Brahma's life, even the Days and Nights of Brahma pass away into the utterly Real, into the Reality at the heart of the Real. When all is swept out and away or indrawn and withdrawn upwards: I wonder if in this last thought we do not have as it were, a striking confirmation of the statement that perhaps the second way of viewing Brahma awake and Brahma asleep is not the more real. For at the end of Brahma's life, when Brahma rebecomes Brahman, not only do all manifested things pass out of existence as so much dissolving mist, but even Cosmic Mahat is indrawn or vanishes. Maha-Buddhi disappears and naught remains but Brahman.
For an infinity, as it would seem to us men, hundreds of trillions of years, Brahma is awake, itself, no longer dreaming dreams of karmic universes, but as we are forced to express it, sunken in Reality in the inexpressible deeps of Brahman's own essence. All has vanished except Brahman; the dreams are ended.
Then when the new life, when Brahma rather, embodies itself again, then the galaxy reawakens, but Brahman begins again to dream, dreaming the worlds, dreaming the universes into existence, dreaming the karmic dreams of destiny. Then the One becomes the Many. The armies, the hosts, the multitudes, begin to issue forth from the consciousness of the ineffable. Abstract space is once more filled with suns, solar systems, and whirling worlds.
We see therefore that Brahman and Brahma, the offspring of Brahman, may have reference not merely to a planetary chain, but to a solar system or to a galaxy, and on a still more magnificent scale to a super-galaxy including many galaxies in the womb of endless space. In other words, Brahman and its offspring Brahma, may apply to any one or to all of these different ranges on an increasing scale of grandeur. Brahman dreams karmic dreams of destiny and the universes flash into being; they appear like seeds of life or the spawn of Mother Space, and this we call Manvantara or Maha-Manvantara. Conversely, when Brahman's dreaming ends, the worlds are swept out of existence and Brahman awakens as Brahman's Self.
Let us also remember as a final thought, that when we speak of frontierless infinitude, or of the beginningless and endless or boundless, we call this Tat, from the Sanskrit word meaning THAT; and that innumerable Brahmans greater and smaller, in countless numbers, are comprised within the boundless Tat.
[From TEACHER'S MANUAL AND GUIDE TO "THE ETERNAL VERITIES," pages 48-59.]
It may already be surmised that the Socratic, or Platonic method of the West, and the method of all the great Aryan sages, is the true modulus of instruction in Theosophy School. The stories of Socrates provided in our text admirably illustrate it. It is distinctly NOT the method of catechism. That the original "VERITIES" offered questions and answers was the result of the discovery that few teachers know how to ask questions to draw out and give emphasis on fundamental ideas. Many need to be provided some points of departure, and even have indicated to them the line and scope of the answer. The revised edition of THE ETERNAL VERITIES provides questions without answers in the hope that these may be worked out between teacher and children. The teacher should try to stimulate the children's thinking -- not do it for them.
The stories and illustrations given are made as direct as possible, since it has been found that teachers are inclined to wander away from the point and becloud the value of their illustration. The best of those illustrations offered by several teachers have found their way into the book, and should help to set a standard for other stories to be added in the work of classes. It is best to use sparingly stories in which plants and animals talk like humans. Aesop's Fables are classics, but there is a plethora of mediocre stories to avoid. It is well for each teacher to have a file of usable material that has been gradually assembled by herself. Thus, she keeps her interest alert and the class alive. Every Theosophy School naturally has a Teachers' Library for help with illustration, in books and articles, and photographs, and other objects of interest, as well as with worthwhile educational books.
Illustration is an art, and very necessary in teaching both children and adults, since thus the practical application of the philosophy is DEMONSTRATED. Illustration is also a preventive of going "over the heads" of the class. Teachers should find ample illustrations in looking back to their own childhood. Where a real lesson was learned, the event stands out in clearest light, and the psychology of "the child that was" may not be adjudged "out of style." Care should be taken, however, to use such illustrations in the THIRD PERSON.
The impersonal idea so sedulously presented by all the work of the United Lodge of Theosophists is just as necessary and valuable here as elsewhere -- in fact, it may be even more necessary for the children. By using the impersonal "WE" also, instead of "you," of "OUR" instead of "your," one avoids the habit of "talking down" to a class. Children respond remarkably to the impersonal idea. Once, when requested by many that names of children reading from the platform be announced, this course was followed for a season. But the children asked that it should not be done next season. They said, "Seems as if you're doing it for yourself, instead of for Theosophy."
Too much illustration should be avoided. The mind should rest on the IDEA to be illustrated, rather than on following events in rapid succession. It is also important to avoid too MATERIAL an illustration. One teacher, happy to have interested small children into animated talk and questions by the ideas of the Third Truth at one session, thought to illustrate, on the following Sunday, growth through the kingdoms, realistically. She brought a pail of dirt for the purpose. But, with the dirt at hand, all wanted to make mud pies!
"Black side" illustrations such as afforded by the daily newspaper, are very poor psychology, for the reason especially, perhaps, that they are not in the child's experience. Why, for instance, describe what happens in a criminal court to children of nine years? Illustrations in their own terms of life stay by them. The pernicious habit of frequent "Movie" attendance inflicts great damage on the child through precocious or premature knowledge. If children bring up their OWN "dark" problems, that is another story. But for the teacher, it is better to show the TRUE and normal as a basis of comparison, rather than the bizarre and the false. Stanwood Cobb cites Dr. Arnold Hall, formerly president of the University of Oregon, as presenting to his class so clear a procedure of how graft works in state and city government that two of his students tried it out in fraternity stewardship to the tune of several hundred dollars!
Dwelling on the dark side may repel a child. For instance, in one class, a child asked, "Aren't any people happy?" The teacher replied, "Perhaps one out of a hundred." Then another child remarked, "Well, if there is only one out of a hundred, the happy ones would amount to a good many, when you consider how many people there are!" And it is to be remembered that unhappiness isn't necessarily chronic, even with those whose lot seems very hard to those more fortunate. There is always the swinging of the pendulum between happiness and misery.
Those who know TRUE gold easily detect the counterfeit. Nature analogies and illustrations are both interesting and informative. Nor should a teacher make light of children's falsehoods and "scrapes," but consider gravely the principles involved -- their moral significance. The child IS father of the man.
It is particularly urged that children's gossip and tale bearing be discouraged. They should be led away from telling what father, mother, and sister say and do, as also from commenting on other children in Theosophy School. If a reading calls for comment, it is not the child who made it, but the reading itself and its ideas that should be considered. Teachers themselves do well not to discuss the children of their class with other teachers. Bright sayings or misconstrued ideas go naturally into reports and may be dealt with impersonally at Teachers' Meetings.
FUNCTION OF SONGS
All the songs used in the School were written as embodiments of the Teaching, and most of them were set to music by Mr. Crosbie. The first song gives the purpose of Theosophy School, "We have come in search of Truth." "These two, Light and Darkness, are the world's eternal ways" belongs to the Second Truth, along with Masefield's poem on Reincarnation, and a beautiful "Chant" on the same theme. The Third Truth song takes the theme of Evolution, "in forms from stone to man, as up a ladder beings climb." The "Never was I not" song takes the theme of immortality. Whoever knows these songs has the philosophy in a nutshell and the memory of them may well remain throughout the life-term. Special songs for Christmas and Easter enlighten these festivals.
Not only children, but also adults have found inspiration in the songs. Some members of Theosophy School have had the very words on their lips, at death. It follows, then, that all these songs -- sung with a sense of their meaning -- and with enthusiasm, must carry out into the world to receptive minds an impress of the great ideas that they express. Well may it be regarded as a means of "bringing Theosophy home to every man and woman in the country." Therefore, teachers should give careful attention to discussion of the songs, in order to make clear their meaning, and function. Here also is to be noted the rightful and useful function of memory.
The revised "VERITIES" is made for direct reading by the children, and is intended to encourage intelligent and enjoyable reading in the whole field of good literature. In class, reading should be done aloud. Silent reading cannot be trusted. Some children know how to read at six, others not until nine, and others still cannot read accurately, even after leaving college. This is a distinct cultural barrier, and one that should not be allowed to exist in Theosophy School. Teachers, then, should be watchful to correct their own errors of pronunciation, as well as those of the children, and KNOW by frequent consultation of the dictionary what is correct. Children, also, may be helped in using the dictionary.
One should be able to make words LIVING by showing their derivation, as is demonstrated in the Lessons, and one should be careful to see that the child knows the MEANING of the words of the text. The teacher should not be afraid of the "long" words nor of the unusual words, which are used advisedly in our text. Children are more often than not intrigued by them. To foster an interest in words is to educate good readers -- those to whom the door of all good literature opens in invitation. There is no greater moral safeguard than the taste for and interest in good books. Often pre-class work may be concerned with an interesting well-written book, and with applying Theosophy to the problems it presents. In the list of Nature-books are several that are simple reading for very young children, and should be called to their attention. Their interest may be easily aroused by giving some illustration or incident from a particular book.
The Memory Verses are axiomatic statements of the whole philosophy and should be accurately memorized as well as understood. The importance of younger children keeping the memory verses in proper form and ORDER should be always held in mind, and books or cards supplied for the purpose inspected by the teacher at certain intervals. The verses and songs should be thoroughly memorized before receiving the slips. The Dennison labels are satisfactory for use in this work. This latter suggestion, of course, applies to classes of children too young to read who may not intelligently use all the memory verses given in "THE VERITIES." Children treasure these books. One little boy named his, his "business book."
The work of the teacher is to present PRINCIPLES clearly, forcefully, and thoroughly; but "brilliant" teaching is not expected. The more the teacher keeps herself in the background with the idea of bringing out the children, the better the teaching will be. Draw out of the children their own APPLICATIONS as much as possible. Don't let a lesson go by without every child in the class having an opportunity to express himself. Let each one take his time to think; don't pass over the slow one; don't help him too much; don't let the others press their own answers instead of his -- not until they are asked. Children should be led to see that the facile answering of questions is not necessarily a sign of knowledge.
On one occasion, a teacher who observed that one boy could never be induced to answer a question, asked him why. He replied, "I'm afraid of making mistakes." "But," she asked, "can't we learn even by mistakes?" The boy said, "Yes, but fellows who get bad marks in school for mistakes are afraid to be wrong again." So, to make of learning a joyous adventure is one of the aims of Theosophy School.
Don't answer questions for the children until they have offered something themselves. Then they are ready for amplification. Don't ask "trick" questions. Irrelevant questions may be saved for next Sunday's pre-class. In retelling a story, let each child have a share, relay fashion.
Try to keep the devotional side of the teaching always fresh in the children's minds. Impress the importance of using the first Chant every morning on arising, every evening on retiring. With that idea on retiring, they come back to waking consciousness with the idea of service strengthened for the day. Keep reverting to the idea of the Path. Don't FORCE a point into a lesson. Thus, it will fail to carry. Theosophy is natural; teachers should be natural.
Don't be afraid of repetition and repetition, also of reviewing. Only, the children must be helped to get the ideas for THEMSELVES. They will rightly become rebellious to secondhand ideas and solutions to their problems. Fresh study on the part of the teacher in the writings of H.P. Blavatsky, W.Q. Judge, and Robert Crosbie is what gives the teacher a better grasp of the subject, and so the children take fresh hold. Repetition need never be "stale."
It is seldom wise to turn a class completely over to the children for teaching. Right participation does not demand it, nor are children equal to it. But a desired end is served, when a newcomer or visitor enters the class, by eliciting their help in going over the preceding lessons for that one's benefit. They have a taste of what it means to learn that they may help others. Such an event is always stimulating to a class, and, more often than not, is encouraging to the teachers, while at the same time, they learn where the weak spots are in the children's understanding.
Whenever possible, keep in touch with the parents of the children, finding out, after suitable time, if any difference is noted in their general attitude and behavior in "daily life." Encourage parents to present to you any problems they may have in regard to the children, so that applications may be made generally in the lessons, from which the child may get a cue.
There should be no trouble from disorderly conduct in Theosophy School, where the very basis is mental discipline. Yet, some children may, because of authoritarian training elsewhere, mistake the FREEDOM of the School for something else, so that they need to be EDUCATED for freedom. If there is difficulty, the teacher should ask herself where the trouble lies. Is she interesting the children as she should? Is she finding them where they live? Is she prejudging a particular child? Is she seeking the cooperation of the class, without "preaching" or "nagging?" Care should be exercised in proper seating of the class, so that two inclined to mischief are not put together.
Some difficult cases in the past have been successfully handled by the teacher's sending a child to sit far away by himself, until he is ready to come back and be a real member of the class. The "Student Government" idea can be adapted to the needs of individual classes. If the children make their own rules, they are more apt to keep them, and expect it of the others.
Some teachers find that a little routine duty -- like calling the roll of the class, or being made responsible for keeping a list of mispronounced words in the lesson -- will induce an interest in some inclined-to-be-refractory child. Sometimes a younger child may be put in a much older class, where the child is awed into good behavior; sometimes an older child is put with those much younger, which results in mutual helpfulness. But such changes are not to be regarded as either promotion or demotion. Theosophy School is not based on "promotions," rewards, and punishments. A certain discipline is necessary, such as makes for proper attention, and includes respect for the teacher. ATTENTIVENESS is a part of the application of what is learned.
Teachers alternate in providing the report, but the one reporting is a part of the class and does not exhibit a notebook, being always ready to enter into discussion. Each lesson of each class is reported. Teachers are advised to prepare them as early as possible, while the class activities are fresh in the mind. Promptness is a necessary discipline to the School, which serves to keep it well ordered and efficient.
By Helen Todd
[From pages 83-96 of REINCARNATION: A LOST CHORD IN MODERN THOUGHT, by Leoline L. Wright.]
H.P. Blavatsky's SECRET DOCTRINE is a priceless sourcebook of ancient wisdom. It tells the story of how worlds come into being, how they are nourished and kept alive, and what finally causes their death and dissolution -- and their rebirth. It contains a complete cosmogony and a complete cosmic philosophy, which includes, one need hardly add, the history of man's evolution through repetitive cycles of birth, growth, maturity, decline, and death -- and rebirth.
THE SECRET DOCTRINE is based on portions of certain archaic writings, the Stanzas of Dzyan, written in the sacred language called Senzar, unknown to western philologists. These Stanzas, H.P. Blavatsky tells us, are like an algebraic formula and must be interpreted by one who has the key in order to be comprehended. This she was able to do because of her training with occult Teachers; and in her voluminous Commentaries, she has gathered pages from the cosmogonies of all peoples, the philosophies of every age, and the researches of modern science as it was in her day.
In Theosophy, we use the word UNIVERSE in a somewhat more technical way than is usually done. We say that every living organism is a universe, however great it may be, however small. This is not meant merely as a poetical phrase but as a philosophical expression of a fact. An atom, a beast, a man, a planet, a solar system, a galaxy -- all these are universes. A universe is a unit through which one life flows, whose parts act in purposive and coherent functioning, obeying in their general action one central will and intelligence, yet in the details of their individual activity following the urge of whatever modicum of free will they have evolved from within themselves.
Further, it is the nature of every universe to be born, to come to maturity, grow old and finally 'die.' But death means only that the governing center of intelligence, a spiritual being always, withdraws into 'silence and mystery,' while the lower elements disintegrate. Every universe, likewise, is reborn. Periodically within that spiritual center, there arises the will to live an active existence in the worlds of substance. Then the universe, any universe, reproduces itself; and this repetitive reembodiment is the means by which evolution is carried on.
It is obvious that the greater and grander universes must have evolved more of their inherent powers. What is only adumbrated in the atom becomes a consummation in a solar system. Would it seem strange if we were to say that a solar system in some incalculable age in the past was indeed a mere atom? Yet that is the implication of the teaching, and it seems strange to us only because we are unaccustomed, once having accepted certain key ideas, to think these through to their logical conclusion.
Now science agrees that there are such things as living organisms, but it has not yet accepted the solar system as such, still less a larger universe. A scientist by the name of Lafleur, writing in a scientific journal some time ago, elaborated an interesting theory of the origin of life. He believed that, just as the seeds of plants are carried from place to place on our globe by the winds and by birds, sometimes falling upon barren soil, but sometimes upon fertile soil where they fructify and take root and grow: in a similar way, he believed, there are in the universe 'seeds of life,' that are carried, let us say, along the currents of the cosmic ethers; and that occasionally these 'seeds of life' alight upon planets such as our own that provide suitable conditions for their growth. This he believed to be the origin of life.
There is an intuition behind this thought. But we can push the idea much further and say, Yes, indeed there are 'seeds of life.' They are the UNIVERSES THEMSELVES. They are sown through the Fields of Space and are forever fructifying and taking root in the invisible and incomprehensible 'Mother-Deep,' blossoming out into full-blown systems of worlds -- the Flowers of Eternity. As they come into being they emanate from themselves their own hosts of lives that in turn help to inform the systems with their own vitality and build from the cosmic dust of their former 'selves' the substantial bodies therefore -- the suns and their satellites that are visible to our eyes.
While some systems are taking root and growing, others, having already passed their period of full maturity, are waning, reaching old age and passing out of visible life. And so the timeless process of birth-and-death continues in ever-recurring cycles. It is this intense activity that the astronomer watches and records so assiduously, but with all his knowledge he does not know what it is he is beholding -- the activity of gods.
Our sun is a god, and the bright orb that we see in the heavens is but his outer garment. To the Theosophist, the words, a 'living organism,' imply a divine hierarch, who builds his own world and 'creates' the host of lesser (potential) gods of his hierarchy. This appears to be an unscientific statement, but it is not really a very revolutionary idea when one studies the history of human thought and notes that the idea of a cosmos filled full with unensouled mechanisms is a comparatively recent idea -- a temporary aberration, one might call it, from a truth that is fundamental to human understanding.
Some astronomers have dared to take the at-present unpopular view, as for example Dr. Knut Lundmark of Upsala University, Sweden:
Maybe the stars are ensouled Super-Beings whose soul-life we lack the possibility of understanding. The only thing we can do with our gross senses and imperfect instruments is to try to follow the physical processes in the mighty laboratory, the universe.
And Dr. F. R. Moulton more than once in his book CONSIDER THE HEAVENS breaks loose from his scientific tether and lets his spirit soar: where he speaks, for instance, of sub-electrons that may be molecules in infinitesimal beings who live millions of generations during one of our seconds; and on the other hand super-galaxies that may be molecules in the body of conscious, intelligent beings of super-cosmic magnitude.
We declare, then, repeating the wisdom teaching of all ages, that the sun is a cosmic divinity. How then does this cosmic divinity build for itself the world that we know of as the sun with its attendant planets? Whence the materials of which the system is built? In order to answer this question a word about nebulae is first necessary, for they may be said to be the stuff from that universes are made. We are all aware that astronomers study both dark and bright nebulae. The dark ones, says occult science, are, generally speaking, the dust of cosmic graveyards, disassociated matter left over when all higher essences have been withdrawn. Many of the bright ones, on the other hand, those known as irresolvable nebulae, are infant universes, systems that have made their first appearance on this plane.
Since the old idea of the conservation of matter is being abandoned in the light of the new atomic physics, it has become easier for the average mind to grasp the theosophical concept of the emergence of matter from an invisible plane onto this physical one. In fact, the very discoveries of the scientists are significant pointers leading in our direction. Sir James Jeans draws a natural conclusion from present-day scientific knowledge when he says in his book, ASTRONOMY AND COSMOGONY:
The type of conjecture that presents itself, somewhat insistently, is that the centers of the nebulae are of the nature of 'singular points' at which matter is poured into our universe from some other, and entirely extraneous, spatial dimension, so that, to a denizen of our universe, they appear as points at which matter is being continually created.
This eminent English scientist must have caught an intuition on the wing, for he has stated here, in scientific language, a profound occult teaching. His 'singular points' we might say closely approximate to the zero-points, neutral points or dissolving points of occult science. When a universe dies, and the spiritual entity has withdrawn, carrying with it all the higher essences of the system, the essential substance of the lower elements is drawn up, so to speak, into such a dissolving point. This is but another way of saying that the character of matter changes and it disappears from this plane.
A simple analogy is that of a cube of sugar dissolved in water. As a cube of sugar, visible to the eye, sensible to the touch, the sugar has disappeared, yet it still exists, but in another state, a state invisible to us. So, as a matter of fact, though we speak of zero-points we must not imagine them as points in space, or mathematical points -- remembering however that matter in any state has location -- but merely a change in the state of matter, what we would call matter disappearing onto another plane.
Let us imagine our sun about to be born again into this visible world. It has felt, long ages before, the divine thirst for active existence, and has been cycling down through inner and invisible planes, until it is ready to break through into this one. Here, in one of these neutral points, it contacts the sleeping substance that had belonged to it in a former embodiment; it revivifies this, reawakens it, breathes into it light and motion -- and once more we have a nebula in the heavens, shining, not by light reflected from nearby stars but by its own light. For light is life, all-permeant and all-pervasive, manifesting in its highest aspects as pure consciousness and, in the deeps of matter, as particles of electricity -- crystallized light, as matter has been called. And the nebula begins to whirl, not because of gravitational attraction from some outside body, but as an expression of its intrinsic life-energy.
The nebula thus emerging into visibility is not composed of matter as we know it, though the astronomer with the help of his spectroscope supposes he finds in the nebula gases he meets with on earth, such as hydrogen and oxygen. There are correspondences, to be sure, but the wispy ethereal substance of the nebula has not yet concreted and solidified even to the degree of our most rarefied gases on earth. It is, in fact, cosmic protoplasm, and only as the ages roll past and it 'cycles down' still further into matter, does it take on the habiliments of gross matter such as we know it.
The nebula that is to become our sun thus whirls through the impulse of its own inner vitality, gathering to itself cosmic matter as it rotates. At one stage of its development it sends out spiral arms that, after long ages of whirling, form rings of concentric circles. These rings condense in time into the nuclei of the planets, while the central core of the nebula becomes the sun, which in time becomes physical to some extent, though it is only its 'outer robe' that contains the chemical elements as known on earth. The nature of its center is as yet entirely unknown to science.
The procedure described above may sound merely like a modification of the Laplace Nebular Theory; and in some respects there is a resemblance. Yet the important point to note is that the mechanical laws upon which the Laplace theory, as such, is built are totally inadequate to account for the irregularities in the behavior and structure of the planets. Science itself has recognized this and that is why the Laplace theory has been abandoned.
We must remember that above and beyond any mechanical laws are the will and intelligence of the sun and the planets themselves. They follow one general pattern of action, to be sure; but ultimately they are individual entities, with a will of their own, with a life and a past of their own, and with a destiny built up from the 'karma' generated during these past ages. You cannot force the actions of celestial bodies into rigid mechanical laws. They simply cannot be regimented, even in theory!
Now the life of the sun itself is of such an enormous age that it would be profitless here to discuss the length of it. The planets on the other hand, so runs the teaching, live and die many times during the life of the sun, and in general their method of rebirth is the same as that of their central luminary. Details perforce must differ, and it is the bewildering details that often confuse and obscure the symmetry and consistent beauty of the general picture.
Let us imagine then, a planet, our earth for instance, ready to be reborn. It 'died,' let us say, eons ago; and now once again it is feeling within it the stirring of desire for active objective life. We shall not attempt here to describe the way in which it builds for itself substantial globes on each of the planes through which it cycles in its journey towards physical life. That would take us too deep into metaphysical concepts connected with what some are pleased to call other dimensions, but which Theosophy usually refers to as other planes of matter and consciousness, which have already been referred to.
Our planet-to-be has now reached the frontiers of this physical world. It is magnetically attracted to the sleeping matter waiting to be called into life in one of the neutral points previously mentioned. These lower elements of its former self now begin to stir in their sleep; they feel the force of the incoming life-impulse, and they know that their day of activity is about to begin. In time, a tiny nebula appears in the heavens. It whirls from within, and it glows from within; and from then on, a life of intense action is entered upon. Unprotected at first by the hard rocky shell it later acquires, the delicate wispy thing is at the mercy of hungry suns that will swallow it up if it comes too near their terrific magnetic field.
For ages, it follows an irresponsible course in the heavens. In cometary form, with streaming tail, it is pulled hither and yon, entirely unconscious of its former home in our solar system. Like a child, it does not yet recognize its own individuality and its responsibility, but as time goes on it reaches 'years of discretion' -- if indeed it is fortunate enough to escape being swallowed up by some celestial being greater and stronger than itself. Supposing that it escapes such a fate, it eventually settles down in an orderly elliptical orbit around the sun to which it formerly owed allegiance, and takes its appointed place in the solar family.
It is at this point that its life as a real planet begins. Its development as such not only takes place PARI PASSU with the incoming of the hosts of lives that formerly knew it as their home, but it is these very hosts of lives, what we call on our earth the various kingdoms of nature, which are the builders of the planet. The mineral kingdom, for instance, builds, upon the ethereal foundation-pattern, the rocky earth as we know it, the grossest encasement of the earth's planetary spirit. Comparatively unawakened as this kingdom is, it follows the will of this planetary spirit, is chained to a large degree into subservient immobility.
The plant kingdom, which clothes this rocky globe with the verdure of forests, shows a greater development in self-expression. Here we see the beginnings of the processes of palingenesis that characterize what is usually called organic life. This in its physical aspects is carried to perfection in the beast kingdom, which thus in its turn contributes to earth-life the consummation of one line of evolution -- the purely vehicular. But it is the human kingdom that raises the status of the earth beyond that of a mere satellite. With the gift of mind, man becomes master of the earth. He is the child of the sun as well as of the earth. He is the sun's representative on this earth. He is the testimony of the earth's spiritual link with the solar deity.
It is easy to recognize the sun, in its physical aspect, as the great heart of the solar system. Through the sun's expansion and contraction in the great sunspot cycle, cyclones of vital energy are pumped through all its arteries and veins. H.P. Blavatsky says that if we could make the human heart luminous and could project its action upon a screen we would see before us a miniature working model of the solar heart. There is a constant circulation of the solar life-fluid in unending cycles through all the planetary bodies and back to the sun again. Thus is the physical life of the system maintained.
Is it not then reasonable to recognize the sun also as the source of our spiritual vitality? Our souls must be nourished as well as our bodies. As man grows to a more complete self-consciousness he partakes of this spiritual solar energy CONSCIOUSLY. Then the most grandiose part of his evolution begins. He becomes the finest flower that this earth can produce, and in time passes beyond the need of earth-existence. Yet so finely adjusted are the compassionate workings of the spiritual laws that at a new embodiment of this planet he is able to be the transmitter of this same spark of solar consciousness to the nascent humanity of that future time -- the beast kingdom of today.
Thus is the intricate web of evolutionary development woven through the ages. Each age produces upon this earth its own flower of evolution; so that during the many embodiments of our planet, by the time the sun-god has completed his life-cycle, the grand project delineated in the morning of time has been carried out to completion. The hosts of lives emanated at the birth of the solar system, have become reunited with their solar parent, bringing with them to enrich the cosmic deity the full measure of their experience as free-willed individuals. Then it may be said that the sun has not lived in vain!
When this final spiritualization of earth-beings (as well as those of other planets) takes place, then the Solar System as a system of material spheres has fulfilled its destiny for this time-cycle, and the great Solar Pralaya takes place. The last moment before its disappearance into 'silence and mystery' is described by Dr. de Purucker in FUNDAMENTALS OF THE ESOTERIC PHILOSOPHY thus:
When the Solar Pralaya arrives in its grand fullness of Time, there comes a moment, a final instant that is the utter completion or consummation of all things in that system; and in the twinkling of an eye, literally, and instantly, all the planets and the sun itself are 'blown out,' as it were. The last one of all manifested beings has at that instant gone to higher planes; and there being nothing whatsoever left to hold physical matter together anywhere within the Solar System, that System immediately falls to pieces and vanishes away ... like an instantaneous shadow passing over a wall.
But is this the end? Is this annihilation? There are no final endings. Some day, in some future age, the Life that informed our Solar System will be drawn back into the fields of space where it had lived before. And perhaps at that time, on some other planetary system, astronomer-seers, noting a delicate wisp of starry substance newly appearing in the heavens, will say, "Look, a sun-god is wakening again into life!"
By James H. Connelly
[From THE PATH, October 1894, pages 220-24.]
Theosophy affirms the existence of super-sensuous planes in the Macrocosm, each of which bears its part in the composition of the Microcosm (man), and occultism -- or, in other words, advanced science -- demonstrates beyond question the intimate relations between them and the material one that is the field of our mundane experiences.
Evidence of their existence is also found in a proper understanding of the operations of the mind. These may be broadly classed as imagination, perception, reception, retention, recollection, ratiocination, and impulsion. That this classification is crudely general may be admitted, but it is sufficiently definite for present purposes, which do not include a brain, in which it is not unreasonable to suppose they inhere as unconsciously cherished remainders from the exceptionally strong range of impressions naturally resultant from preceding existences, subject to the needs and desires of the corporeal form.
Those who affirm the capacity of gross matter to generate thought assume to find support for their hypotheses in the waste, by mental energy, of the gray tissue of the corporeal brain, but they might as well ascribe to flowing blood the cutting of the vein from which it issues. The waste is an effect, not a cause. All energy is destructive, or, to speak more accurately, is reconstructive, and "the power that builds, unbuilds, and builds again" is ceaselessly at work.
Molecular disintegration is hastened by all activity in every sort of tissue, and, if a proper balance is maintained, the work of molecular rearrangement is proportionately hastened by nutrition. Some scientists now affirm that cholesterin -- a fatty salt found in the bile, lungs, and brain, and for which until very recently nobody saw any particular use -- is the especial nutriment of the grey matter of the brain. Will the corporealists affirm that it is the cholesterin that does the thinking; that an heroic impulse or poetic thought is flattened crystals, insoluble in water but solvable in alcohol and ether, having well defined angles of crystallization and obtainable in quantity from gallstones?
The gentlemen who study mind from the standpoint of matter know a little about the physical brain, but not all, by any means, even of that. Is there one of them who knows the use of the pineal gland -- which Descartes affirmed to be "the seat of the soul" -- or can account for the gray sand found in it, not present in idiots or infants, scant in old age, and most abundant in middle-age brains of notable mental vigor ?
The primitive forces already spoken of manifest themselves in the earliest moments of an infant's existence and do not cease while life lasts. They all tend towards experience of and repletion with external stimuli that correspond to their nature. All experiences of sensation thus perceived are recorded in the plastic substance of the molecular brain as vestiges that may be stirred from latency to manifestation either by repetition of the stimuli primarily causing them, by contrasting stimuli, or by a strenuous effort of the mind, consciously or unconsciously applied, as vibrations through the astral medium.
Evidently, the depth of such latent impressions must be proportioned to the strength and frequency of the experiences of like stimuli of which the vestiges are resultants. Hence, it is but natural that the larger number of vestiges accumulated from the lower, or animal, senses exhaustive analysis of the infinitely complex functions of the mind, a work in which even so close and careful a reasoner as Raue found himself hampered by the limitations of a volume of almost six hundred pages.
Ultra-materialists -- whom it would be better perhaps to call corporealists -- affirm that all thought is a produce of molecular modes of motion, mere expression of activity in brain-tissue cells, and point to the discernible effects of mental action upon the gray matter of the brain as evidence in support of their hypothesis. This is as correct as it would be to say that the copper of the etcher's plate originates the picture that, in lines and dots, is bitten into its surface by the acid skillfully applied by the artist in conformity to the requirements of the ideal in his mind.
The fact of the matter is that the gross matter of which the brain is composed, whether gray or white, great or small in quantity, and much or little convoluted, is of itself as little capable of originating thought, or even sensing an impression, as a stone would be, or the brain itself if the life-principle were separated from it. But within that brain, present in every molecule and even atom of it -- yet as far beyond the corporealist's discovery as the conditions of life on Sirius -- is the astral brain, which is also matter, but of such slenderness in its atomic constitution that it may not be, in any way, apprehended by our gross senses.
The functions of that astral brain are perception of sensations and their translation to the mind, and the application of the forces resultant from such mental cognition to the direction, through the gross brain, of subservient physical impulse. What, then, is the gross brain? It is simply a cellular aggregation of molecular matter having such specialized differentiation as enables it to store up as impressions the vibrations conveyed to it by the astral brain, hold them as latent vestiges of sensation, and translate them, when required, to the lower rate of vibrations appreciable by the denser molecular matter of the body, so becoming the immediate motor force for action.
The capacity for development with which it came into being was a matter of Karmic award, being prescribed by its environment, the hereditary influences upon it, and various other circumstances that it is not necessary now to particularize. All have their effect in determining its quality -- as the sun, air, soil, and moisture govern the growing plant -- but nothing endowing it, in any degree, with the power of starting vibrations, or -- in other words -- originating thought. Even the primitive forces, the capacity for mere sensory perceptions, do not belong to the gross brain but rather to the astral -- which are most productive of experiences in corporeal life -- should eventually predominate in strength over those of the higher or intellectual range.
This affords an explanation of the power of Kama -- or animal desire -- in controlling our lives, so that a pessimistic good man has been moved to declare, "Man is born to evil as the sparks fly upward." It also, if we reflect upon the extensions of this influence, enables us to comprehend the seeming mystery of the formation, during life, of the Kama-rupa, the wholly animal soul that becomes perceptible after death as an objective entity. And it makes apparent why and how men's characters are so often stamped upon their bodily features and forms. All the sensualities and vices that stain men's souls stamp themselves first in deep impressions upon the plastic brain, and thence find expression in the outward form to every part of which that brain extends its influence.
It is erroneous to suppose that the brain is all lodged in the cavity of the skull. It is in the spine and the nerve ganglions, and practically throughout all the extensions of the nervous system. Virchow characterized the newborn child as "an almost purely spinal being," and Pfluger's experiments upon frogs demonstrated that consciousness of sensations, capacity to locate them, and power to direct corporeal action were all retained by the unfortunate batrachians upon which he experimented, after their skulls had been emptied of brain matter.
The transference of consciousness of a still higher range from the brain to the solar plexus, under certain abnormal nervous conditions, may also be cited as an additional evidence of the diffusion of the specialized matter responsive to astral vibrations. So throughout the entire man runs his gross brain, and coextensive with it his astral brain, energizing it, directing its formative work of giving outward demonstration, in all his physical being, of what he has made of his soul.
Perception of sensations and their retention as vestiges for stimulation of force at the command of recollection -- which is a mandatory vibration in the mind -- may then be said to be powers located in the astral brain and its tool, the gross organ. But beyond these is the higher range of faculties, ratiocination, reception of purely mental impressions (either from purely subjective concepts or by reflection from the mentality of another), and finally the power of impulsion of mental force upon others. To be made potential, all these must necessarily find translation through the lower rate of the astral medium to the still further diminished rate of the gross brain, if eventual manifestation on the material plane is sought, but not otherwise.
That sensory perception is an attribute of the astral brain and not of the corporeal is sufficiently evidenced by its highest manifestation in the experience of the many who possess the power of "seeing on the astral plane" either normally or under the abnormal stimulus of some phase of hypnotic control. The entities seen by so-called "spiritualistic mediums," and that they mistake for spirits of the dead, are on the astral plane.
Charcot, Binet Freres, James, and many other investigators have shown the ability of a hypnotic subject to become a witness of things that were not within the range of physical perception and, being outside the knowledge of any person whose mentality could have reached the subject, could only have been sensed through perception of astral vibrations. And the state of artificial somnambulism or self-induced trance is simply an excitation of the astral percipiency to an abnormal degree.
These phenomena must not be confused with others, very closely related yet altogether different, in which the compelling force of one mentality exerted upon another is very clearly demonstrated. The mind of every human being, in proportion to its development, possesses individual capacity in ability to reason, to draw deductions from vestiges of perceptions at its command, or impressions of a higher range, and thus to elect for itself between good and evil. This constitutes its moral responsibility and determines its evolutionary progress, whether downward under the domination of its Kamic control or upward to spiritual life.
It is likewise susceptible, in greater or lesser degree, to the vibrations projected upon its plane by other minds, affecting and in some cases even paralyzing that power of ratiocination. This is the case when it is subjected to the will of another mentality exercising upon it hypnotic control, when it is rendered mentally -- and it would justly seem -- morally irresponsible. It may, on the other hand, if sufficiently forceful to impel such vibrations on the mental plane, in the same way take from others their mentality temporarily and even, to some extent, permanently. Herein we find the awful danger attendant upon the practice of hypnotism, for both the "hypnotist" and the "sensitive."
By Alexander Fullerton
[From THE PATH, December 1892, pages 283-86.]
When things are palpably going wrong in any department of life, and it is known that men deeply interested therein have both the power and the skill to effete correction, they are naturally expected to apply them. To abstain seems a denial of either the interest or the ability. And so when the bitter sorrows of a vast humanity, or calamitous mismanagement in national affairs, or the ills of a locality pain a philanthropic heart, and when it ejaculates a wish that it was mighty enough to arrest the whole evil and dry away the tears from every face, instinctively it wonders why Those who are do not.
What is the use of prerogative if it lies motionless when most needed; of what real value are superior knowledge and power if they do not avert catastrophe and abate suffering? And, indeed, what are we to think of the claim that They are tender and sympathetic and beneficent, if on the face of things They appear wholly indifferent and inactive? Masters would seem a superfluity in Nature if, while able to cure evil and establish good, They let each work itself out untouched.
We shall never solve this anomaly unless through the principle of analogy. Do we instantaneously rectify every evil where we have the power? Every parent and employer can answer this question, every teacher and guardian. All intelligent education is based on the doctrine that truth is real to a mind only as it is realized, and that the realization comes through experience. Guidance, suggestion, warning may be proffered, but, if defied, no amount of coercive restraint can vindicate their wisdom to the recipient: he must learn it only through the results of defiance.
A muscular father could always hold back a son from games or projects involving risk, but only at the sacrifice of his own time and the boy's experience. A teacher could always interpose when a pupil was at bay over a problem in mathematics or translation, but what would become of the patience, the resolution, the persistence, the mental dexterity that are the fruit only of self-effort? And what, too, of the healthy glow from conquest that is sweeter far than a relief conferred?
It is by undergoing all the processes that lead from inexperience to maturity that a mind becomes developed in its own powers, and that it sees the reason for things and the reality underlying form. This never arrives through the dictum of another, or his enforcement of counsel however wise. The governments known as "paternal" are fatal to self-reliance, and foster a childishness of spirit and judgment that results in national decay. It is as men and nations work out their own problems that they reach wise and enduring issues.
Nor is this the only reason why Adepts are not interposing powers. Ordinary men, being less enlightened, must necessarily have other convictions, and the less the enlightenment the more positive the adherence to them. Any different course would therefore have to be secured through sheer coercion, and the violent subjection of another's will is a thing repugnant to the universal Law, to Justice, Right, and the initial principles of Occult training. An Adept's nature would preclude the wish for any pressure beyond currents of intelligence and good feeling, and, if it could so far reverse itself, it would be held in check by Law.
Then there is the deep conviction of the sacredness of Karma. To wrest forces from their natural course would do much more than introduce confusion and disorder into the moral world: it would be to create new forces to react on their authors. Thus, the two-fold result would follow, that the normal order would be disarranged and its ordained good is lost, and the created forces would rebound into the sphere that, because of its occultly acquired harmony with Law, has surpassed the range of Karmic influence. Illegal interference by Adepts would therefore not only make things worse for men, it would put an end to Adeptship.
But how, then, it may be asked, can Adepts act at all? Why is not suggestion, influence, thought-impression as much an interference as restraint? Simply because it is in accordance with Law and not in contravention of Law. Here again analogy illustrates. We point out to a less experienced person a better way than his own; we suggest to our fellowmen more sagacious plans and easier methods. The bringing of more light is ever a gracious and worthy act. It proffers, it does not insist; it aids, it does not coerce. The choice, and therefore the responsibility, still rest on the one approached. There is no subversion of will, no restraint of freedom. No counter forces are aroused, and no Karmic reaction excited. The gentle influences of a kind cooperation steal peacefully over the mind addressed, and what would be resentment at dictation is gratitude for assistance. There is health in help; there would be palsy in prescription.
Therefore, it would seem, the policy of Adepts finds its vindication in our own. When we wish to change the course of a neighbor or a nation, we know that it can effectively be done only as the conviction prompting to that course is changed, and so we expound the contrary considerations and suggest such facts as may operate on reason.
Absence of dogmatic method is the first requisite to tact. The plastic material of the human mind is molded by manipulation, not by blows. Thus the Adepts work. On the flowing currents, They let loose a thought that shall be borne along to a harbor where it will be welcomed; They put a motive within the attractive range of a vigorous soul; They gently feed an aspiration that is weakening or a force that has declined. Ever alert for that beneficence of which They are the embodiment, They see with eagerness every glance towards higher possibilities, every motion to a loftier plane.
Then They aid it. They know how They were aided as They struggled on to Their present sphere, and They pay the debt by passing on that given strength. It may not be possible to obliterate human misery, for nothing can do that save obliteration of the human ignorance and folly that produce misery, but it is possible to prompt a wish for its obliteration, and then to help each philanthropist attempting it.
However silent the Masters may seem, and however remote and listless, no man who deeply feels the call to altruistic effort need doubt that it comes from that hidden Brotherhood, and no man who responds to it need imagine that They who have reached him with Their voice will not reach him with Their help.
By M.A. Moyal
[From THE ARYAN PATH, October 1952, pages 450-54.]
In the early Middle Ages, it was the expectation of many that the thousandeth anniversary of Jesus' birth would witness the end of the world. All over Christendom, to work their passage to Paradise, thousands of people donated their earthly belongings to the Holy See. Such an accumulation of wealth, and the previous territorial acquisition of "St. Peter's Patrimony," over which the Popes ruled as temporal rulers, confirmed them in their authoritarian and centralizing tendencies. This authoritarianism accounts for the Great Schism of 1054, which divided Christendom into the Roman Catholic or Western and the Greek Orthodox or Eastern Churches.
As the great wealth and power of the Roman Catholic clergy did not go without a certain element of corruption, many free minds in Western Europe began to question the need for a privileged caste of priests. Such were soon to advocate the liberty of every believer to interpret Holy Writ according to his own conscience so as to return to the humility of the first Christians. Among these champions of freedom of mind, in the face of temporal rulers and priests alike, were Peter de Bruys, who did his most important work at Toulouse; Henry de Cluny, from Le Mans; Arnold, from Brescia, and Pierre Waldo from Lyons. The first three began their preaching in the first half of the twelfth century. Pierre Waldo, who began his work in 1173, was the founder of the Waldensian sect, which eventually absorbed the followings of the three previous reformers and took on most of their teachings. Most of the medieval anti-Catholic sects are extinct, but the Waldensian sect is still in existence. It preceded the establishment of the Protestant Churches by three and a half centuries.
Pierre Waldo was an intensely religious merchant from Lyons. As he was too untutored to understand Latin, he got the New Testament translated into the local vernacular. Striving to live in the spirit of Jesus, he shared all his great wealth among the poor and began teaching in public the need for voluntary poverty. He soon wondered whether man-made laws had any value before God and reached the conclusion that no man had the right to take life, which is God-given. He seems to have forbidden swearing oaths under any circumstances and rejected as valueless prayers and alms on behalf of the souls of the dead.
Pierre Waldo soon gathered a large following and sent lay preachers, both men and women, of humble birth and untutored like himself, to spread his teachings far and wide, holding that there was no need for a preacher to be consecrated a priest by a Bishop, so long as he was moved to preach by a deep faith.
The Archbishop of Lyons wanted to restrain him from interpreting the Gospels and preaching. Pierre Waldo made light of the interdiction, on the strength of two texts, "Go ye therefore and teach all nations" and "We ought to obey God rather than men." The Waldenses were expelled from Lyons and excommunicated in 1184 at the Council of Verona. Pierre Waldo took the position that he was not to obey a man (the Pope) who was forbidding what Jesus had commanded to be done. He complained that he and his followers were treated by the clergy in exactly the same way as the Apostles had been treated by the Scribes and the Pharisees when the former were expelled from the synagogues for spreading Jesus' teachings.
Pierre Waldo held that it was not that his sect was seceding from Catholicism, but Catholicism from his sect. He termed his followers "the only Primitive Christians, heirs to the original Church" and meant to preserve them from the "successive alterations introduced by Rome in the Evangelical cult."
Nevertheless, the organization of the Waldensian Church, which superseded the simple system of Waldo's lifetime, with its annually elected MINISTRI, retained many Roman Catholic features as the Anglican Church did.
(Quite a few of these features were to be jettisoned under the influence of Calvin, who was to have, four centuries later, considerable influence on the doctrines of the then much persecuted and decimated Waldenses.)
Thus, later Waldensian priests made vows of obedience, chastity, and poverty. The community had Bishops, priests or Barbes and Deacons, in charge of the material administration of the Church's affairs. Many of the Barbes were trained at the religious centre at Milan.
The community was thus divided into laymen or "Believers" and priests or Barbes (as all Waldensian priests were subsequently called). Hence the popular nickname attached to the followers of the sect, Barbets (water-spaniels). As the only distinctive sign of their office, priests wore sandals perforated in the shape of a cross.
Every community had a Hospice offering hospitality to itinerant missionaries, where the "Believers" assembled to hear them preach. The service consisted of readings of selected chapters from the New Testament, followed by a sermon, after which the kneeling congregation prayed. After the service, the Barbes would hear the voluntary confessions of "Believers," but were not entitled to absolve them, as the sect held that only God could do so. Sinners were made to fast and to pray. Children were baptized by sprinkling.
The tenets held by the Waldenses include the following:
No good works wrought by man can make amends for his sins, or acquire merit. (This is tantamount to Calvin's dogma of Predestination, though the Waldenses thought of it only as God's foreknowledge.) There is no purgatory.
No priest, no man, can turn the Host into the body of Jesus. (This is a denial of Transubstantiation.)
The sacrifice of the Mass is an abomination.
God's grace does not depend on sacraments; these are only symbolical.
Jesus is the only intercessor; one ought to imitate the Saints, but not invoke them. Their cult is tantamount to idolatry and their images ought to be removed from churches.
Baptism is only a symbol of regeneration; actual regeneration takes place only if and when there is a living faith.
The ordination of the priest is not founded upon Holy Writ.
Confession of sins is only to God; anybody, even a layman, can hear a confession.
Matrimony is dissolved ipso facto by adultery.
Every Christian is a Prophet and a King and can make sure through the Holy Scriptures whether he is really taught the Word of God, and he ought to make all the efforts that he can to propagate it. As Prophets and Kings, all Christians are entitled to take part in the government of the Church.
The following are some of the early Waldensian texts:
LA BARCA, a poem of 56 stanzas representing man's life as a boat sailing towards the heavenly haven, and the seafarers will reach the goal only if they take Jesus as the pilot and His merits as their only treasure;
LE NOVEL SERMON sets out to expose the error of the ways of a mundane world and the need for serving God;
LE NOVEL COMFORT, in 75 stanzas, seeks to hearten the Believer in his rejection of a mundane life and encourages him to work at his salvation through the Gospels;
LA NOBLE LEYCZON is a poem on the three laws -- of Nature, Moses, and the Gospels;
Another poem paraphrases the Parable of the Sower, etc.
Besides their great historic and religious interest, the Waldensian books are claimed to have been composed about the end of the twelfth century and so to possess a unique philosophical interest, for they were written in the Southern Romance language spoken at that time in the region about Lyons. Nearly all the important texts of the Middle Ages were written in Latin, and, to find an equivalent of the Waldensiar texts, the scholar has to go back to the ninth century "Oath of Strasbourg," a mutual security pact made between Charles the Bald of France and Louis the German against then brother and rival, Lothair of Lotharingia. In order that the soldiers of both rulers might understand what it was all about, this pact was couched in the spoken language of both countries.
Waldensian literature, including, besides these books, many sermons of preachers and the voluminous correspondence exchanged between the sect and Luther and Calvin, all written in this vernacular, contains some of the earliest Romance texts. In order to study these, scholars are drawn to the so-called Waldensian Valleys, high and bleak valleys in the heart of the lofty Alps, to which the persecuted sect took about the fourteenth century. The Waldenses today, perhaps 50,000 strong, form a compact community, still passionately devoted to their forefathers' tenets and speaking both a Romance PATOIS and French as well as Italian, though they are Italians by nationality.
This highland community is about all that is left of the many followers the Waldenses boasted in the Middle Ages. Some of the first disciples of Pierre Waldo were itinerant hawkers and weavers and this fact goes to explain how his teachings soon spread like wildfire over Europe, from Bulgaria to Spain. As early as 1197, King Pierre II of Aragon ordered all his Waldensian subjects beheaded.
These champions of the freedom of conscience in the face of Rome's absolutism were butchered like wild beasts and burnt at the stake in gigantic autos-da-fe ("acts of faith" -- what irony!). Their pitiless persecution at the hands of the Inquisition constitutes one of the darkest blots on the record of the Roman Catholic Church.
When, in 1209, Pope Innocent III instituted a crusade against both Waldenses and Albigenses, mainly concentrated in the south of France, hundreds of thousands of Northern adventurers, caring far less about the salvation of their souls (which was promised by the Pope) than for the prospect of plundering one of the richest and most civilized regions in Europe, rushed to attack Count Raymond of Toulouse, protector of both these sects. The Crusaders put to the sword whole populations of cities taken by storm. The Crusade lasted for 20 years and cost hundreds of thousands of lives.
(There is a tendency to lump both Waldenses and Albigenses together because they were allied against Rome and suffered from the same persecutions, but the Waldenses did not profess the Manichaean tenets of the Albigenses.)
The Waldenses' joining hands with the various proponents of the Reformation touched off a second wave of persecutions. The troops of King Francis I of France slaughtered, in 1545, the whole populations of Merindol and Cabries, two Waldensian towns in Provence. The accession to the throne of the once Protestant King Henry IV of France brought a respite to the French Waldenses. Like all Protestants in France, under the terms of the Edict of Nantes, they were granted freedom of worship and certain guarantees against the renewal of persecutions.
But their co-religionists in the Duchy of Savoy were to fare far worse. In 1655, the troops of the Duke of Savoy tried to butcher the Waldenses wholesale. They put three Waldensian valleys to the sword; some fortunately were forewarned and escaped. The Protestant states in Europe intervened and secured for the survivors leave to emigrate to Switzerland, Holland, Wurttemberg, and Brandenburg. The Waldenses had to undertake not to seek to return to the Alpine valleys.
But the exile proved too hard on the highlanders who passionately cherished their bleak mountains. They were so homesick that in 1689 they resolved to fight their way back, if need be. Under the leadership of Pastor Arnaud and a French officer, Turel, 800 mountaineers from all over Europe gathered on the borders of Switzerland and Savoy. In one of the most daring and moving feats in history, cutting across the Alps in daily stretches of 40 kilometers, through mountain passes eight to ten thousand feet high, they got back to their valleys. Both King Louis XIV of France, who had revoked the Edict of Nantes and Duke Victor Amadeus of Savoy sent their best troops against them. Incredibly enough, that handful of mountaineers, with scant military training, time and again cut to pieces the forces sent against them under the best generals.
Those Waldenses gave to mankind a great and noble lesson, for they proved that there is something stronger than brute strength: the indomitable spirit of free men fighting against hopeless odds for their homes and the spiritual values they held dearer even than life. Their courage eventually earned for them the right to be left at peace in their high valleys, to follow their own ways of life, and to worship as they saw fit.
By G. de Purucker
[From IN THE TEMPLE, pages 23-31.]
The Mystic Birth
Companions, tonight I would like to say a few things to you that may explain a little at least of what takes place in certain parts of the world at the Winter Solstice. You know that there are four turning points of the year, so to speak: respectively the Solstices of Winter and Summer and the two Equinoxes of the Spring and of the Autumn.
The cycle of the year among the ancient peoples was always considered a symbol of the life of man, or, indeed, of the life of the Universe. Birth at the Winter Solstice, Adolescence at the Spring Equinox, Adulthood, full-blown strength and power, at the Summer Solstice, and then at the Autumnal Equinox the time of the Great Passing. Birth at the beginning of the year; Adolescence -- trials and their conquest -- at the Spring Equinox; then the Summer Solstice representing the period of initiation when the Great Renunciation is made; and the cycle closing with the time of the Autumnal Equinox, the period of the Great Passing. This cycle of the year likewise symbolizes the training in Chelaship.
At the time of the Winter Solstice -- that which even now is taking place -- two are the main Degrees that neophytes or Initiants must pass through, to wit, the Fourth Degree and the Seventh or last: the Fourth for less great men although they are great men none the less; and the last or Seventh Initiation, coming but at rare intervals as the ages cycle by, being the birth of the Buddhas, of the "Christs" as they are called in your Occidental lands.
During the initiation of the less great men, men of less grandiose spiritual and intellectual capacity than is the human material out of which the Buddhas are born, during this Fourth Initiation, the postulant is taught to free himself from all the trammels of mind and from the lower four principles of his constitution; and being thus set free, he passes along the magnetic Channels or Circulations of the Universe, even to the portals of the Sun, but there and then he stops and returns. Three days usually are the time required for this, and then the man arises a full Initiate indeed, but with a realization that ahead of him are still loftier peaks to scale on that lonely Path, that still Path, that small Path, leading to divinity.
As regards the Seventh Initiation, this occurs in a cycle lasting some 2160 human years, i.e., the zodiacal time that it takes for a zodiacal Sign to pass through a constellation backwards into the next constellation: in other words, what is called among mystics in the Occident the Messianic Cycle. When indeed the planets Mercury and Venus, and the Sun and the Moon and the Earth, are situated in syzygy, then the freed Monad of the lofty neophyte can pass along the magnetic pathway through these bodies and continue direct to the heart of the Sun.
For fourteen days, the man left on earth is as in a trance, or walks about in a daze, in a quasi-stupor; for the inner part of him, the real part of him, is peregrinating through the spheres. Two weeks later, during the light half of the lunar cycle -- of the month -- i.e., when the moon stands full, his peregrinating Monad returns rapidly as flashing thought along the same pathway by which he ascended to Father-Sun, retaking to himself the habiliments that he dropped on each planet as he passed through it: the habiliments of Mercury, the habiliments of Venus, the habiliments of the Moon -- of the lunar body: of the lunar orb -- and from the Moon the Monad returns to the entranced body left behind.
Then for a while, shorter or longer according to circumstances, his whole being is irradiated with the solar spiritual splendor, and he is a Buddha just "born." All his body is in flaming glory as it were; and from his head, and from back of his head in especial, as an aureole, there spring forth rays, rays of glory like a crown. It is because of this that crowns in the Occident and diadems in the Hither East were formerly worn by those who had passed through this Degree, for verily they are Sons of the Sun, crowned with the solar splendor.
In these initiations, the man dies. Initiation is death, death of the lower part of the man; and in fact, the body dies but is nevertheless held alive not by the spirit-soul that has flown from it, as a butterfly frees itself from its chrysalis, but kept alive by those who are watching and waiting and guarding. It is due to this holding of the bodily triad alive that the peregrinating spirit-soul is enabled finally to return as a bird to its nest, where it recognizes its former bodily home, and is "reborn," but in this case reborn into the same body.
During the period of time when the peregrinating Monad is absent, whether it be for three days or for fourteen, the excarnate Monad has followed the pathways of death literally, but has done so quickly and within the fortnight. In actual fact, the process is virtually identical with that followed in the case of excarnation and reincarnation, for it returns to the entranced body along the pathways of rebirth, of reembodiment, and is, as it were, reborn into the old body instead of into a new one; and thus was it said of such a man in India that he is a Dwija, as the Brahmans of Aryavarta put it -- a "twice-born" Initiate.
This phrase also has one meaning more: One who is reborn from the ashes of the old life, which life is now burnt out and dead. But it has also the deeper significance of which I have spoken. These Seventh-Degree Initiations that occur once during the so-called Messianic Cycle just spoken of, and that produce the spiritual fruit of a minor Buddha, called a Bodhisattva, must not be confused with one of the greatest of initiations known to the human race, i.e., those belonging solely to the racial Buddhas. There are in any Root-Race but two racial Buddhas. But the Bodhisattvas of differing degrees of evolutionary grandeur are very numerous. The cyclical Bodhisattvas as above hinted come one each in every Messianic Cycle of 2160 years and are usually of an Avataric character.
There are cases, my Brothers, where neophytes fail, but, as you heard last night, those who fail have another chance in other lives; but the penalty for failure in this life is either death or madness, and the penalty is very just. Solemn indeed are the warnings given to those who would fly like the birds into the ethers of the inner worlds and follow the tracks of those who have preceded them along the Circulations of the Universe.
I would try to make one more thing clear. When you look up at the violet dome of night, or, during the daytime raise your eyes and look at the splendor of Father-Sun shining in the blue vault of midday, how empty the spacial expanse seems to you to be -- how seeming vacuous, how seeming void! Your western, your Occidental, astronomers will tell you that the earth is a sphere poised in the void, in the ether, free except for the gravitational attraction of the Sun, and that the Earth is following its pathway, its orbit, around the Sun not otherwise than gravitationally attached thereto: in short, that Space is emptiness. Ay, indeed, SPACE, mystically speaking, is Sunyata, emptiness in the sense of our own esoteric significance, but by no means "emptiness" as your Occidental astronomers understand it; for verily the space that you look at, which your physical eyes think they see -- or don't see -- is substance so dense, so concrete, that no human conception can give any clear idea thereof to the brain-mind otherwise than by mathematics.
One of your Occidental physicist-astronomers, J.J. Thompson, some years ago calculated that the ether of space was two thousand million times denser than lead. This revoices an old doctrine; but remember this, Brothers, that the proper manner of expressing this fact all depends upon the way in which we look at it. We have eyes evolved to sense, to pierce, the matter of our sphere, and we see what seems to us to be vacuity, emptiness; but actually that seeming vacuity or emptiness is absolutely full, is, in fact, a plenum, a pleroma, full of worlds and spheres and planes, full of hierarchies, of evolving entities on these worlds and spheres and planes.
Please try clearly to grasp this idea. Our entire Surya-system, our entire Solar System in other words, called the Egg of Brahma, may be looked at from one very true standpoint as an enormous ovoid aggregate body poised in space; and were some astronomer on some distant in the stellar deeps to see our Egg of Brahma, and were he to see it from the proper superior plane or world, our entire Solar System would appear to him as an ovoid body of light -- as an egg-shaped irresolvable nebula. This would include all the EMPTINESS that we see, or think we see, the emptiness so called, and therefore would include all our solar world of the Egg of Brahma, from the very heart of Father-Sun to beyond the confines of what your astronomers call the farthermost planets.
Hearken well to this: The Egg of Brahma is composed of concentric spheres centered in the Sun, and each one of these spheres is a cosmic world. Its heart -- the heart of each one of them -- is the Sun. The world or sphere of our Earth is one such, and surrounds the Sun as a sphere of dense substance; and the nucleus in this sphere or Egg, for such it is, is what you men call our Earth. Yes, and of Uranus too; but remember that Uranus belongs not to our own system of Sacred Worlds, although it belongs to our Egg of Brahma.
In this connection, note well that although any such concentric sphere such as our Earth, or that of Jupiter, or that of Mercury, is, de facto, such an Egg or Sphere of Brahma, yet the nucleus of each such sphere, or what men call a planet, if seen in motion from another plane, would appear to be a wave or ripple advancing steadily in and around a solid or semi-solid zone or belt; this zone or belt actually being what we call on our plane the locus of the orbit of such planetary body as of Earth, or of Jupiter, or of Mercury.
The meaning of this again is that a planetary orbit such as that of Earth and seen from another plane, is an actual belt or zone surrounding the Sun, being the pathway so to speak, of the nucleus that in this zone can be considered in movement as a ripple or wave moving steadily around this belt, zone, or ring.
From what has just been said, it becomes immediately obvious that what we call a planet can be properly viewed from three different planes of vision, as three different things: first as a globe such as we men on this plane see it; from another plane as a wave or ripple, circularly advancing in and following the course of an annular zone or belt surrounding the Sun; and third, as a concentric sphere, or rather spheroid, or egg, with its center at the heart of the Sun.
These concentric worlds or spheres are in constant circular movement of revolution around the heart of the Sun, the spheres within each other, somewhat like the skins of an onion, and yet each one is formed of different matters, in a sense, i.e., of matters in a different state from the matters of the other spheres, and hence they pass through each other as easily as if the others did not exist. Hence it is that our eye can see some of the stellar bodies lying beyond the orbits of Mars and of Jupiter and of Saturn.
All we see of the stellar host outside of our Egg of Brahma happens to be those particular stars or suns that because of their having attained the same degree of material evolution whereon we ourselves now stand and where our physical sun is, therefore are visible to our organs of sight. Were we living on another plane, our vision could not penetrate the respective matters, otherwise the orbits or spheres, of Mars, Jupiter, or Saturn.
These three planets alone hide billions and billions and billions of suns that we during our present Manvantara cannot ever see. Some day in the far distant future, as evolution works on the matter of our world-sphere, we shall see some of the Raja-Suns now hid by these three planets -- by the spheres of these three planets, for the planets and their respective spheres are really the same. It is precisely because the Egg of Brahma is substantial throughout, and that interplanetary space is therefore substantial throughout, that light belonging to this fourth cosmic plane can pass from stars to us.
In speaking of these concentric spheres, please remember also that a proper conception of the structure and characteristics of the Egg of Brahma must include a realization of the grandiose fact that there are many more planetary concentric spheres than those of the eight, or nine, or ten planets known to Occidental astronomy.
There are scores of planets in the Solar System that are utterly invisible by means of any Occidental astronomical instrument or apparatus, and furthermore, and still more important, there are numbers of these concentric spheres that belong to entirely other planes of the cosmos, and each one of these invisible concentric spheres, which are in some cases superior, and in some cases inferior, to our plane, is as fully inhabited with its multifarious hosts of beings as our own plane is. Each plane has its own hierarchies of inhabitants, its own inhabited worlds with their dwellers, with their countries, with their mountains, and seas, and lakes, and dwellings, and what not, even as our Earth has.
These concentric world-spheres considered as a whole were the Crystalline Spheres of the ancients, which your Occidental astronomers have so grossly misunderstood, and therefore have so much derided.
What indeed did these words mean: Crystalline Spheres? The meaning was, spheres of which the center was the Sun and that were transparent to our eyesight. Just as glass is very dense and yet is transparent to our eyesight, so are the ethers of our fourth cosmic plane very dense and yet transparent to our eyesight.
To the inhabitants of Earth viewing the phenomena of the Solar System from the Earth, the entire system of concentric spheres, due to the Earth's rotation, seems to revolve around the Earth, and hence arises the geocentric way of looking at the apparent movements of the planets and the Sun and the Moon and the stars. All things in Universal Nature are repetitive in structure and in action. The small mirrors the Great, and the Great reproduces itself in the small, for verily the twain are one.
Furthermore, because of the magnetic structure and action of the twelve globes of our Planetary Chain, our Earth has magnetic bipolar action of twelve different kinds; one such polar pair is known to your scientists, the others unknown. Our Egg of Brahma, our Solar System, as a whole, likewise has twelve magnetic bipolar courses or what in short are called magnetic poles, and each one of these twelve poles has its locus in one of the twelve constellations of the Zodiac -- or rather the twelve constellations of the Zodiac are the loci of the twelve poles of the zodiacal period. The Wheel of Life with its twelve spokes runs on forever.
Thus it is that a man, a human being, can be a Son of the Sun. Thus it is that a human being can ascend along the magnetic pathways from Earth to Moon, from Moon to Venus, from Venus to Mercury, from Mercury to the heart of Father-Sun -- and return. On the journey outward, certain sheaths or integuments of the peregrinating Monad are dropped at each planetary station. Dust to dust on Earth. The lunar body cast off and abandoned in the valleys of the Moon. In Venus, habiliments of Venusian character are cast aside also; and so is it likewise in Mercury. Then the solar portion of us is ingathered into its own heart.
The peregrinating Monad on its return journey leaves the Sun after reassuming its own solar sheath. It enters the sphere of Mercury, gathers up there the garments that it previously had cast aside, assumes these, and then passes to Venus, reclothes itself with what it had there previously laid down, then enters the unholy sphere of the Moon, and in its dark valleys picks up its former lunar body, and thence is borne to Earth on the lunar rays when the Moon is full. Dust to dust, Moon to Moon, Venus to Venus, Mercury to Mercury, Sun to Sun!
As you have often been told, Initiation is the becoming, by self-conscious experience, temporarily at one with other worlds and planes, and the various degrees of Initiation mark the various stages of advancement or of ability to do this. As the Initiations progress in grandeur, so does the spirit-soul of the Initiant penetrate deeper and deeper into the invisible worlds and spheres. One must become fully cognizant of all the secrets of the solar egg before one can become a divinity in that solar egg, taking a part, self-conscious and deliberate, in the cosmic labor.
Brothers, prepare yourselves continually, for every day is a new chance, is a new doorway, a new opportunity. Lose not the days of your lives, for the time will come, fatally come, when it will be your turn to undertake this most sublime of Adventures. Glorious beyond words to express will be the reward if you succeed.
Therefore practice, practice continuously your will. Open your heart more and more. Remember the divinity at your inmost, the inmost divinity of you, the heart of you, and the core of you. Love others, for these others are yourself. Forgive them, for in so doing you forgive yourself. Help them, for in so doing you strengthen yourself. Hate them, and in so doing you prepare your own feet to travel to the Pit, for in so doing you hate yourself. Turn your backs on the Pit, and turn your faces to the Sun!