The teachings as promulgated by the Theosophical Society are in full accord with the ethics promulgated by Jesus the Christ, and not one of our Leaders and Teachers has failed to call attention to the sublimity of the ethical teachings contained in the Sermon on the Mount. As a matter of fact we maintain that Primitive Christianity was the Theosophy of its day; but we do not accept many of the ecclesiastic dogmas and forms with which the Primitive Christianity has been encrusted since the days of its Founder.
-- Iverson L. Harris, THEOSOPHY UNDER FIRE, page 112
By B.P. Wadia
[From LIVING THE LIFE, pages 146-56.]
O hapless race of men, when that they charged the gods with such acts and coupled with them bitter wrath! What groanings did they then beget for themselves, what wounds for us, what tears for our children's children! No act is it of piety to be often seen with veiled head to turn to a stone and approach every altar and fall prostrate on the ground and spread out the palms before the statues of the gods and sprinkle the altars with much blood of beasts and link vow onto vow, but rather to be able to look on all things with a mind at peace.
-- Lucretius: ON THE NATURE OF THINGS, Book V.
The great text called THE BHAGAVAD-GITA has a universal appeal to politician and poet, philosopher and mystic, aspirant and Adept. Mr. Judge has referred to it as the study of Adepts. To each mind, the Gita has something to offer; and what is more, its deeply profound teachings have their simple aspect that touches a person, however shortsighted or shallow-minded he may be. Among these teachings, there is one about the oft-cited triad of Dana-Tapas-Yagna. Charity; effort at pure living and noble thinking, which is conveyed by the almost untranslatable term Tapas; and Sacrifice, which stands generally for Yagna, are reiterated and recommended for practice.
We want to consider the value and importance of Yagna -- Sacrifice. The term has a hoary background and the original concept forms a grandiose Mystery Teaching. Today sacrifice is much extolled, but what prevails is a materialistic view that misleads people. The social aspect of sacrifice with money (the Dravya Yagna referred to in the Gita, IV, 28) is today more a veneer than a reality; the veneer strikes the eye of the populace but does not fool its heart. Sacrificing, out of one's abundance, a pittance of money, even with a good motive -- though often it is colored by selfishness and the desire for recognition and reward -- is not true sacrifice. Similarly, the religious aspect of Yagna is today a superstition, and sometimes a gross, degenerated superstition; e.g., animal sacrifice practiced by the orthodox followers of several religions.
Great Teachers like Krishna and Buddha, Pythagoras and Plato, and others in East and West alike, have ever attempted to bring men and women back to a rational understanding of Dana, Tapas, and Yagna, and to their clean and correct practice. It is part of the mission of Theosophy to rescue the grand concept embodied in these terms; in the writings of H.P. Blavatsky much about them is offered for the consideration of students and for the exercise of aspirants and devotees.
The prevailing notion of sacrifice that is respected in our civilization is epitomized as service. Hospitals for the sick in body, asylums for minds diseased, rescue houses for prostitutes, orphanages, homes for the aged and the infirm, and such like represent the services rendered by organized bodies sustained by donations that the wealthy take out of their purse, but which do not touch the quantity or the quality of their sumptuous breakfast, their well-stocked wardrobes, or their many forms of pleasures.
In his opening editorial in the very first number of THE PATH (April 1886), W.Q. Judge wrote:
Prisons, asylums for the outcast and the magdalen, can be filled much faster than it is possible to erect them. All this points unerringly to the existence of a vital error somewhere. It shows that merely healing the outside by hanging a murderer or providing asylums and prisons will never reduce the number of criminals nor the hordes of children born and growing up in hotbeds of vice. What is wanted is true knowledge of the spiritual condition of man, his aim and destiny.
Once a Master wrote to a good-hearted German lady:
You have offered yourself for the Red Cross; but, sister, there are sicknesses and wounds of the Soul that no Surgeon's art can cure. Shall you help us teach mankind that, that the soul-sick must heal themselves? Your action will be your response.
From one point of view, such social service and sacrifice is superior to the degrading forms of religious sacrifices -- from the burning of candles at the Roman Catholic altars to the killing of goats, etc., at Hindu temples. Jews, Muslims, and the followers of other sectarian creeds have similar superstitious "sacrificing," some more, some less objectionable in method.
The present-day degrading superstition of animal sacrifice was practiced as a rite of magic in an earlier epoch. W.Q. Judge in his NOTES ON THE BHAGAVAD-GITA refers to the sacrifices established for the Jews by Moses (page 87), and makes mention of the "peculiar explanation" that has been given of the same (page 88). That blood has certain occult properties, and that it has the power of absorption and assimilation, was known, and so was made use of in certain magic rites.
"Atonement through blood," says THE SECRET DOCTRINE, "has been too long in the way, and thus was universal truth sacrificed to the insane conceit of us little men." (II, 699)
The knowledge of the magic rite was forgotten, but the evil practice of killing doves and goats has persisted. Orthodox Jews may quote the example of Cain who brought to God "the fruit of the ground" as sacrifice, which did not please the deity; whereas Abel offered "the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the Lord had respect unto Abel and to his offering; but unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect." (Genesis, IV: 4-5) To understand this teaching literally is wrong, for to accept it literally means favoring the vice of cruelty. The allegorical and mystical interpretation should be sought. One such may be considered by the reader. It is in a conversation between the boy Jesus and a rabbi, in the story MARY by the well-known Jewish novelist Sholem Asch. (pages 260-61)
In India also, the magic rites of blood offerings were known and practiced; today the knowledge is gone but the practice continues -- a degradation that brings home forcefully the teaching of Lucretius, from which an extract is quoted at the beginning of this article.
Theosophy cannot but condemn every species of animal sacrifice. The great Buddha, too, condemned such irreligious action. We quote some beautiful verses of THE LIGHT OF ASIA:
Round about the pile A slow, thick, scarlet streamlet smoked and ran, Sucked by the sand, but ever rolling down, The blood of bleating victims. One such lay, A spotted goat, long-horned, its head bound back With munja grass; at its stretched throat the knife Pressed by a priest, who murmured, "This, dread gods, Of many yajnas cometh as the crown From Bimbisara: take ye joy to see The spirted blood, and pleasure in the scent Of rich flesh roasting 'mid the fragrant flames; Let the King's sins be laid upon this goat, And let the fire consume them burning it, For now I strike."
But Buddha softly said, "Let him not strike, great King!" and therewith loosed The victim's bonds, none staying him, so great His presence was. Then, craving leave, he spake Of life, which all can take but none can give, Life which all creatures love and strive to keep, Wonderful, dear, and pleasant unto each, Even to the meanest; yea, a boon to all Where pity is, for pity makes the world Soft to the weak and noble for the strong ... ... Still our Lord went on, teaching how fair This earth were if all living things be linked In friendliness and common use of foods, Bloodless and pure; the golden grain, bright fruits, Sweet herbs which grow for all, the waters wan, Sufficient drinks and meats. Which when these heard, The might of gentleness so conquered them, The priests themselves scattered their altar-flames And flung away the steel of sacrifice.
This was some 2,500 years ago, but even today India reeks with the blood of animals murdered for sacrifices or butchered for food. Cruelty is a sin against God and Nature. Of the many forms of this sin, the killing of beasts and birds is not difficult to stop. In the name of sport also the sin flourishes, and states and churches connive at it.
But go further back in India's history.
Tradition assigns Krishna a definite antiquity; he ends the cycle of the Dwapara Yuga and his death marks the beginning of the Kali Yuga, 5,000 years ago.
Whatever the mode and procedure of Yagnas -- rites of sacrifice -- in the previous cycle, what Krishna stressed in the Gita deserves most serious consideration. Should not Krishna be regarded as one of the highest Planetary Spirits? Theosophy teaches:
[The highest Planetary Spirits] appear on Earth but at the origin of every NEW human kind; at the junction of, and close of the two ends of the great cycle. And, they remain with man no longer than the time required for the eternal truths they teach to impress themselves so forcibly upon the plastic minds of the new races as to warrant them from being lost or entirely forgotten in ages hereafter, by the forthcoming generations. The mission of the Planetary Spirit is but to strike the KEY NOTE OF TRUTH. Once he has directed the vibration of the latter to run its course uninterruptedly along the catenation of that race and to the end of the cycle -- the denizen of the highest inhabited sphere disappears from the surface of our planet -- till the following "resurrection of flesh."
Let us see what Krishna has to say about Yagna -- Sacrifice.
In the Third Chapter, the instruction of Prajapati, the Lord of all peoples on earth, is quoted. The kinship of man to the other kingdoms, to the invisible forces and with spiritual intelligences, is stressed. According to what is said, most of us are "thieves," robbing Nature and hoping to go unpunished!
In the Fourth Chapter, many kinds and modes of sacrifices are referred to. Born of action are all sacrifices; to gods and godlings, to archangels and angels, to Ameshaspentas and Yazatas, to the Supreme Spirit under different names, objects are offered as sacrifices. Senses and organs and vitality of body are sacrificed by one mode or another. But it is taught that all such actions purified of their blemishes culminate in Wisdom. Men and women offer their belongings and possessions; such offerings of objects are not enough, so some religious practitioners offer their senses and organs and even breathing; all such ultimately, in one life or through many lives, come to see the value of study, discipline, and knowledge as objects of sacrifice; ultimately, they come to realize the basic verity:
The sacrifice through spiritual knowledge is superior to sacrifice made with material things; every action without exception is comprehended in spiritual knowledge.
-- THE BHAGAVAD-GITA, IV, 33
And then, the soul of all practices in spiritual living is proclaimed -- that through enquiry and search, humility and service, the disciple is taught by the Seers and Knowers of the Essence of things.
This is the sublime goal, and every man without exception is provided a chance to realize it by bountiful Nature and by the merciful Law.
In the Seventeenth Chapter, sacrifices of three types are described, according to their characteristics, derived from the gunas, attributes of matter. Motives and methods are involved in any act of sacrifice; Theosophy or the Wisdom-Religion reiterates the teaching offered by the Knowers of Karma. In Verses 1 to 13, very definite words are used, and the aspirant to the Inner Life should perceive the superiority of sattvic sacrifices, in which both body and consciousness are involved. Dnyaneshwar points to this in his commentary on the Verse.
Orthodox Hindus have for long limited the term Yagna to religious sacrifices, with mantras and mudras that have become mummery and gestures. Yagna as a principle, as an institution to be used and applied in daily life to mental, moral, verbal, and bodily acts is completely forgotten. Krishna tried to restore its use by those who aspire to tread the Path that leads to the Temple of Initiation.
Therefore, we find that there is another teaching on the subject of sacrifice that the Gita puts forward in the Ninth Chapter that deals with the Secret Science of Raja Yoga, the Royal -- i.e., the Superior -- Way of Living the Inner Life. The prescription offered for the performance of sacrifices is simple and forthright. It is the way for those who aspire to rise above the three gunas. The Gita recommends in more than one place that we should rise above the effects of the gunas, including sattva guna. This sacrifice of the Ninth Chapter, described in Verses 26 to 28, follows a very telling piece of instruction in the preceding Verse; it is the fruition of the different sacrifices previously mentioned:
Those who devote themselves to the gods (Devas) go to the gods; the worshippers of the pitris go to the pitris; those who worship the evil spirits (Bhutas) go to them, and my worshippers come to me.
-- IX, 25
The highest kind of sacrifice is that offered to "Me," says Krishna. This "Me" has two recognized aspects: (a) Man's own Higher Self and (b) the real Guru, the embodiment of the Supreme Spirit, the Most High.
The Adhi Yagna, the Great Sacrifice, has a psychological or microcosmical aspect and also a Theogonic or Macrocosmic one; both can be better comprehended by the metaphysical and the purely spiritual aspect.
As students and practitioners of the Secret Science, the life and labor of all aspirants should be dedicated to rising above the three qualities of matter, using the sattvic quality as a stepping-stone to the higher state.
What state of consciousness should one have to observe the simple-sounding but profound injunctions of Verses 26 to 28 of the Ninth Chapter?
The striver for Supreme Renunciation should offer every thought, word, and deed to the Shining Self within. That Self is to receive, by the blessing of the Gracious Guru, the Light from "the star that is thy goal," says THE VOICE OF THE SILENCE; and HPB explains in a footnote "the star that burns overhead is the star of initiation.'" This initiation, it is said, reveals the Mystery of Compassion Absolute and its living expression in those who are the embodied Great Renouncers. Our one aspiration and only hope should be to attain to that vision by the Self of the True, the Real.
The effulgent end has a beginning. The first step is in front of us, to be taken with knowledge and daring now, today. Leaves of small and passing acts, flowers of beautiful acts and fruits of creative acts should become the offerings to the Ishwara in man. That Lord within is ever intent on purifying and elevating the many intelligences on whom he depends; they give him the opportunity to learn and to teach. All these living intelligences, the deities presiding over our own senses and organs, must be made pure by the baptismal water that transubstantiates the gross into the subtle, and makes each deed, each word, and each thought a vibrant sacrament.
Each aspirant has to perform daily actions in the natural course of his life, using his own free will and knowledge. He has to eat to build his body as a shrine of his soul. Again, he has to sacrifice himself to fulfill his obligations to his inner life and self-discipline. Further, he voluntarily gives of himself and his possessions as gifts -- all these are acts of austerity, of mortification, resulting from his Tapas-meditation, held out as silent, secret, and sacred oblations to the Inner Ruler, and to the Guru to whose bidding he has devoted his life and whose Hand is extended in protecting love over him.
By this process, the secular life is made holy; the performance of this continuous Yagna or sacrifice is the means whereby the good and pious soul who has hitherto undergone human evolution on the Path of Forthgoing, Pravritti Marga, enters the Nivritti Marga, the Path of Return. No more need he propitiate the Devas by rites and ceremonies, following the precedent of Daksha, the Archetypal Ritualist and procreator of the good but mortal man. He now comes under the regenerative power of the Egyptian Thoth, the "Thrice-Great Hermes," Shiva-Mahadeva, the Maha Yogi, the Patron Saint of all Yogis, the Archetypal Renouncer, the Teacher par excellence of Immortality. He is called "the first divine physician," "for he cures the disease called mortality," and so he is "the auspicious."
The highest aspect of Yagna-Vidya is described by HPB in ISIS UNVEILED (I, xliv):
"The Yajna" exists as an invisible thing at all times; it is like the latent power of electricity in an electrifying machine, requiring only the operation of a suitable apparatus in order to be elicited. It is supposed to extend from the Ahavaniya or sacrificial fire to the heavens, forming a bridge or ladder by means of which the sacrificer can communicate with the world of gods and spirits, and even ascend when alive to their abodes.
This Yajna is again one of the forms of the Akasha, and the mystic word calling it into existence and pronounced mentally by the initiated Priest is the Lost Word receiving impulse through WILL-POWER.
But THE SECRET DOCTRINE (I, 169) gives warning:
Without the help of Atma-Vidya, the other three [Yagna-Vidya, Maha-Vidya and Guhya-Vidya] remain no better than SURFACE sciences, geometrical magnitudes having length and breadth, but no thickness. They are like the soul, limbs, and mind of a sleeping man: capable of mechanical motions, of chaotic dreams and even sleep-walking, of producing visible effects, but stimulated by instinctual not intellectual causes, least of all by fully conscious spiritual impulses. A good deal can be given out and explained from the three first-named sciences. But unless the key to their teachings is furnished by Atma-Vidya, they will remain forever like the fragments of a mangled textbook, like the adumbrations of great truths, dimly perceived by the most spiritual, but distorted out of all proportion by those who would nail every shadow to the wall.
The good man who lives the good life to the best of his ability and practices sattvic sacrifices must in course of time understand the occult significance of the Yagna of Raja Yoga taught in the Ninth Chapter of the Gita, and thus begin his return journey. Whither will he turn? To the heavenly home of Pure Bliss -- Light, Peace, or Nirvana? Or to the mysterious retreat of some Great Renouncer of Nirvana itself, there to acquire the Secret of secrets, how to render endless Service to Humanity through many yugas, many kalpas? There, too, he will learn the hidden meaning and power of Yagna and also the right and righteous use of it. The Secret of Service is supreme and is the continuous living out of the Maha Yagna allegorized in THE VOICE OF THE SILENCE:
Self-doomed to live through future Kalpas, unthanked and unperceived by men; wedged as a stone with countless other stones that form the "Guardian Wall," such is thy future if the seventh Gate thou passest. Built by the hands of many Masters of Compassion, raised by their tortures, by their blood cemented, it shields mankind, since man is man, protecting it from further and far greater misery and sorrow.
By G. de Purucker
[From WIND OF THE SPIRIT, pages 6-10.]
The heritage of man is man himself. Each man is the builder of himself, and the destroyer maybe. Each man is his own regenerator and savior, and each man undoes the work upon himself which mayhap for eons in the past he had been building. This statement may sound recondite, difficult to understand, a dark saying; and yet I wonder that anyone could or might doubt so self-evident a truth. Is it not clear enough that what a man is, he is; and that what he is, is the result of his former lives, the resultant of his thoughts and his feelings, the resultant of his previous willing, thinking, and feeling? We make ourselves; we fashion our own characters.
This is one of the commonplaces of human experience. But just think what it means to grasp it in fullness. We make our lives shapely from day to day and year to year and from life to life; or we make them very ugly; and no one is to blame on the one hand, and no one is to be praised on the other hand, except the man himself. Think how just that this is. We have nobody, naught outside ourselves, to blame if we have made ourselves unshapely and ugly and full of sorrow and pain; and there is none to be praised when our lives become shapely and beautiful in symmetry through our own efforts, save we ourselves. A man by thinking may change his character, which means changing his soul, which means changing his destiny, which means changing everything that he is or becomes in the present and in the future.
Why blame the blameless gods for our own faults, for molding us in the patterns that we ourselves have shaped? It is the old idea of 'passing the buck' -- slang, but oh how expressive! -- throwing the blame on someone else. This is the surest way to go down instead of going up; for the recognition of truth and the recognition of justice and the cognizance of responsibility in a man, by a man of himself, is the first step to climbing the path higher; and what hope there is in this. Think of the mistakes we have made in the past, the wrongs that we have wrought on others and on ourselves. Only half the story is told when we say that we have made ourselves and are responsible for ourselves. The other half of the story is what we have done upon others: how we have helped to shape their lives in beauty, or to misshape their lives in ugliness.
This recognition of man's responsibility not only to himself, but to others, is the lost keynote of modern civilization, which seems to be infatuated with the idea that things will run themselves, and that all men have to do is to get what they can from the surrounding atmosphere. I think that is a hellish doctrine, and can but produce its harvest of misery. Let a man realize that he is a man and that what he sows he shall reap, and that what he is reaping he himself has sown, and see how the face of the world will be changed. Each man will become enormously observant not only of his acts which are the proofs of his thoughts and his feelings, firstly upon himself, but perhaps more important, what impact he makes upon others.
I think it is the lack of this feeling of individual responsibility and mass responsibility in the world today which is the cause of the many, many horrors which are growing worse instead of better. It fosters the belief that violence can right a wrong. It never can. Violence never has perished by adding violence unto it. No problem ever has been solved after that manner. It is against the laws of being, against the laws of things as they are. Think it out, and you will see it yourself.
What is a man's heritage? I say again, it is man himself. I am myself because I made me in other lives. And how ashamed I am of myself at times that I have not made me wiser and better and higher and nobler in every way; and how I bless the whispering intimations of divinity within my heart that I can say I am not worse than I am! You see, this is the first realization of my responsibility to all -- and the all includes me. And here is a wonder-thought: when a man does right, no matter at what cost to him, he strengthens himself and he strengthens all others. It is a work of wonderful magic.
When a man does evil, is it not obvious that he weakens himself? First there is the weakening of his will, then the soiling of his thoughts, and then the lessening of the strength of his genuine inner feelings. The very contact with such a man, provided he follow the downward path long enough, causes the self to be soiled. Even as one rotten apple, they say, will ruin a whole barrelful of sound fruit, so will an evil character adversely and evilly affect not only him, but all unfortunates who may be near him.
We can save ourselves from this very easily, because there are few things so revealing as evil. It has naught to stand upon except illusion. Leave it alone, and it will vanish like a mist. Do not strengthen it with pouring more evil into the illusion from your own energy. If it has naught to stand upon, no source of vital activity within itself, it falls, it goes to pieces. How different is good, which is health-giving and strengthening and cleansing. Such simple truths, and so profound! I suppose the simplest things are the most beautiful and the most profound.
So this doctrine of the heritage of a man which is himself is simply the doctrine of another chance for the man whose life has been spoiled by himself. No other man can spoil you unless you yourself cooperate in the spoiling. None other can make you evil unless you conjoin in the suggestion or in the doing. Blame not the other for your fall. It is you who fall, and you will never fall, you would never have fallen, unless you had preferred that which brought about the fall. Such simple truths, and yet they comprise a code of divine conduct for us men on this earth. A child may understand these things because they are so clear; they are so obvious.
The doctrine of another chance! Think of the man -- any one of us -- who has made a mess of his life and wonders why ill fortune and misfortune and unhappiness and misery and other terrible things come upon him, until sometimes in the agony of self-reproach he cries, "Lord, deliver me from this hell." It is the old weak appeal to something where no help lies; for help is here within; the divinity lies in your breast, the source of all strength and grandeur; and the more you appeal to it the more you exercise it, the more you strengthen your own self, advance in truth and wisdom, rise above all the planes of weakness and sorrow and pain brought about by evil-doing.
So you have made yourself; and in your next life, you will be just what you are now making yourself to be. You will be your own heritage. You are now writing, as it were, your last will and testament for yourself. When a man realizes this wonderful fact, he no longer blames others, no longer sits in judgment upon his brothers. He no longer says: I am holier than thou -- an attitude which is the sure mark of the weak and of the poor in spiritual life.
There is a wonderful French proverb which runs thus: Tout comprendre, c'est tout pardonner: To understand everything is to forgive all. To understand all the hid causes, the results, the past destiny, the present strength, the temptation, the virtue, whatever it may be -- to understand all this is to have divine knowledge, and it means to forgive. It is a wonderful proverb and must have been uttered, I venture to say, first by some human being who had a touch of illumination.
I know myself by my own experience that when I have been hurt, or am hurt and think I am unjustly treated, I say to myself, even when it seems to me that the wrong doing unto myself is obvious: If I could read the heart of my brother who has wronged me, read back into the distant past and see what mayhap I did to him to wrong him, perhaps I would realize that he now is as unconscious of the wrong he does me as I was then of the wrong I did to him. I shall not increase the treasury of virtue and happiness and peace in this world by taking up the gauge of battle and injecting more fury and hatred into a hatred-ridden world. But I can do my part in strengthening myself, do my part in getting some illumination from above-within, from the god within me, by doing what I myself have taught: practicing what I preach. Peace and happiness come from this, and the sense of increased self-respect and the growth of pity.
Do you know, I sometimes think that pity or compassion is one of the most celestial visitors to the temple of the human heart. The old sages used to say that naught but the gods really pay men exact justice or what they think is justice and flatter them that they are right. The gods upon their azure seats hear all, see all, feel all, understand all, and are filled with pity. Think, if any one of us human beings were weighed in the strictest scales of karmic justice untempered by pity and wisdom, what chance do you think any one of us would have to escape condemnation? Does any one of you think that you are so spotless in virtue and holy strength that the scales would not fall against you? If so, you are very, very happy -- or very, very blind! I think that if such spotless purity of past karma were yours, you would not be here as a man on this earth working out your own heritage -- yourself.
True it is that in the future the entire human race is going to be gods, and there is no reason on earth why we should not begin in the present instant of time to grow towards godhood. You win all, you gain all, and you lose naught. From driven slave of past karma, you become the orderer in time of your own destiny, for you are your own heritage. What a doctrine of comfort! What light it bestows on us!
By Bjorn Merker
[From THE ARYAN PATH, January 1965, pages 23-28.]
There is no more universal endeavor than Man's attempt to reconcile his longing for unity on one hand and the diversity of existence on the other. In one form or another, this is the substance of all religion, philosophy, and science. Non-violence in the Indian context, both historically and pragmatically, does not remain unaffected by this quest. Thus today a great deal of effort is spent in trying to determine the direction of nonviolent development so as to deepen and broaden its concepts. What results have been obtained so far? The general trend is indicated by the arrival of terms like "non-opposition," "non-violent assistance," and "spiritual non-violence." Let us look a little closer at what this indicates.
The idea seems to be to arrive at a "purified" form of non-violence, avoiding the "combatant" means of Direct Action and resistance, which are considered limited and crude. Thought goes to the kind of non-violence described in the religious literature of India, "in the face of which all evil vanishes." This has led to a process of "distillation," and the first stage has produced a concept of non-violence cleaned of the negative forms of action such as opposition, resistance, and negation. The constructive, affirmative, assisting attitude has become firmly established. This trend may be summed up in the phrase "through non-opposition to all."
This expression implies the notion that the earlier "resisting" forms of non-violence create barriers between the satyagrahi and his opponent and represents an attempt at avoiding such barriers. It must be noted here that Gandhi spared no efforts in explaining that only an imperfect application of the doctrine of resistance and non-violent non-cooperation built these barriers. The limitation is not in the principle, which indeed is a chief means of unity with the opponent, but in our weakness.
At present a second distillation seems to be in process, aiming at the elimination of physical action in favor of spiritual action. This is still embryonic, however.
It is important that we arrive at an understanding of these concepts and relate them to the quest for unity mentioned above. The future of non-violence depends on whether it fits into this larger concept or not, and on whether it is able to advance this development.
I will make no attempt to scrutinize these arguments scientifically or philosophically, but merely compare them with and relate them to other efforts in the same direction. Three concepts must be investigated in so doing:
1. The position of the Negative,
2. The Dualities of existence (good-evil and so on), and
3. The meaning of Unity.
To begin with the last one, the quest for unity seems to be a basic feature in the evolution of man's conception of existence. Every religion abounds in hints and visions of an ultimate, all-pervading unity. This unity is most easily seen at the beginning of creation:
There was then neither being nor non-being ... Without breath breathed by its own power That One.
-- Rig-Veda, 10. 129
But not only at the origin of things is unity seen, but also in existence:
Him who is the One existent, sages name variously.
-- Rig-Veda, 1. 164
Brahma, indeed, is this whole world, this widest extent.
-- Mundaka Upanishad, 2. 2. 11
Upon having stated this unity, however, the manifold, diverse, and contradictory elements of the world as we know it present themselves to challenge this unity, and thus:
He desired: "Would that I were many! Let me procreate myself!" He performed austerity. Having performed austerity, he created this whole world, whatever there is here.
-- Taittiriya Upanishad, 2. 6
We are thus thrown back into dichotomy from the postulated unity. In facing the outside world, man is disturbed at the lack of the basic unity envisioned in his spiritual efforts. He faces a multitude of diverse and conflicting elements and situations, and feels unable to cope with contradictions like good and evil, entities diametrically opposed and seemingly impossible healthily to unite. His universe is split and in the field of religion, this takes forms like God -- the abode of all good -- and Satan -- the total evil. History becomes the unending struggle between these powers. In a wider, existential sense, I call this the Basic Dichotomy.
Man cannot rest satisfied with this dichotomy. He struggles to overcome it. The developments in the field of non-violence must be seen as an attempt to take up the challenge of reaching Unity. Before we examine this, however, some earlier attempts throw a little light over the problem.
Hegel's philosophy tried to bridge the gap by means of dialectics. He postulated a dialectical series consisting of Thesis, Antithesis, and Synthesis. This Synthesis would represent Unity if it were not for the perceptible inexhaustible diversity experienced around us. This forced Hegel to introduce the emergence of a new antithesis responding to the established synthesis, leading to a further synthesis, and so on. Thus the primary dichotomy he sought to overcome is merely lifted to a higher, dialectical, plane, but does not vanish.
A simpler attempt at solution has been to turn towards philosophical relativism, saying that "things are not what they appear to be," good is not necessarily or really good, evil is not evil. Even though borrowing terminology from science, this school of thought has nothing to do with scientific relativism. The latter is concerned only with the relativity of relations. It investigates the objects in relation to each other but cannot say anything about the object's relation to itself. So the "nothing is certain" way of integrating existence tries for the impossible, pretending that the problem does not exist.
We now arrive at what I here will call "spiritual positivism." (Positivism should not be understood in the usual academic philosophical sense here.) It coincides more or less with the direction of the development in non-violence mentioned above. It proposes to bridge diversity by escalating on one of its components, that which is generally called the positive. By wholly and totally embracing the good and by directing all effort towards the positive, the constructive, and the affirmative, it claims to overcome evil, consequently establishing unity. In doing this, arguments like "resisting evil means to recognize and entrench it" are used. This approach tends to be accompanied, though not necessarily, by a tendency towards "spiritual" instead of physical action.
Here we are forced to investigate the position and meaning of the negative. The negative is the inevitable and necessary counterpart of the positive. The one implies the other. The presence of the one establishes the other. The Chinese philosopher Lao-tzu says: "If all the world agrees on good as being good, then evil is just as manifest." (Tao Te King, 2) This holds true for positive and negative as well. They are equal, impossible to separate, and interchangeable. They are the origin of all power: electricity is the utilization of positive and negative charges, steam of high and low pressure, and so on.
The only language which adequately conveys the equality of positive and negative is Chinese. Where we say "he is sure to come," the Chinese say "he cannot not come." Even more explicitly, to the question "Isn't he coming," the Chinese answer, "Yes," if they mean that he is not coming. The "not" has no private or seclusive meaning but merges with "coming" to form the concept "non-coming," an expression that can be treated as equal to any positive phrase, i.e., can be denied or affirmed.
Gandhiji had the same insight into this fundamental equality when he wrote:
In my humble opinion, rejection is as much an ideal as the acceptance of a thing. It is as necessary to reject untruth as it is to accept truth. Human endeavor consists of an eternal series of rejections and acceptances. Non-cooperation with evil is as much a duty as cooperation with good. Weeding is as necessary to agriculture as sowing. Indeed, even whilst the crops are growing, the weeding fork, as every husbandman knows, is an instrument of almost daily use.
Let me close this argument by drawing attention to the fact that the final word of the Upanishads (Brahma Vidya) is Not. Neti was the best description the authors of the Upanishads were able to find for Brahman.
We can and must never succeed in escaping the negative. Our very ideal has is embedded in its name, NON-violence, ahimsa. Resistance and non-cooperation are not inferior as ideals because they contain a negative element. As Truth and Love were the spiritual foundation of Gandhi's non-violence, so resistance to evil was the rock-bottom foundation in the realm of action. He said, "This deliberate refusal to cooperate is like the necessary weeding process that the cultivator has to resort to before sowing." And even the votaries of non-resistance do not escape the negative, resistance. "Let us not resist" implies resistance to resistance. We have to accept the negative. An ideal like detachment is not less attractive because it holds the negative element "de-." And, indeed, why should we try to escape this negative, why try to leave aside half of existence, why close one eye?
The argument, which says resistance means recognition of evil, stumbles over itself. Why should we not recognize something actually existing? And if resistance strengthens evil, it strengthens just those qualities that ultimately lead to the fall of evil. Resistance is a method of bringing evil out in the open, then confronting it with good, the antidote, and thus overcoming it, like the discharge of positive and negative electricity. Not-resisting evil actually means supporting it. The extermination of six million Jews in Hitler's gas-chambers was made possible because, as Eichmann testified, "No one protested, no one refused to cooperate." This is an urgent and weighty argument in favor of resistance. The ostrich does not escape the hunter through sticking its head in the sand!
Thus it seems that the ideal of positivism and non-resistance is not built on a very firm foundation, either philosophically or practically. It cannot accomplish the desired unity by exalting one side of the dichotomy; that is a unity as easily shattered as a dream on waking up. Then what is the solution?
There is no solution in the sense that we will ever be able to erase the fundamental diversity, the conflict between good and evil; but our relationship to it has to be understood and, if properly understood, may be termed a solution. We are encountering the same problem that the thinkers of the great Upanishads faced after having failed to reach the much-longed-for unity along the path of realism (early Vedas), on the path of grasping the outside world. They were unable to overcome the split between self and non-self, however deep the two were set in a monistic frame. Then, as the final release, the path of epistemological idealism opened the vista of unity. The final unity could not and would not be found outside of the Self, but in it. In truth, the Self was the unity they had been looking for all the time, because "therein all these things become one."
Through knowing the great Self, through realizing Atman, the Atman-knower transcends good and evil and all other pairs of opposites in attaining the higher state of self-realization. Without, the dichotomy reigns supreme; evil stands beside good, truth beside untruth, and each calls for its form of action; but within, they are united in consciousness, the very entity which once produced them. Transcendence of diversity and ascent to a higher state of consciousness in itself implies taking a stand on the whole of diversity, one leg on good and one leg on evil. Only then do we find stability enough to make the leap. Thus we arrive at, not a state of affirmation of any particular part of existence like truth or good, but a state void of all ethical distinctions, merging with all of existence in total liberation.
And this applies to the development of non-violence as well. In our self, "all these," that is, evil and good, resistance and assistance, Truth and untruth, acceptance and rejection, become one. It is our consciousness that relates us to the world. Man is placed in this world, squarely into the multitude of existence. With him he brings the power of Yes and No. How beautiful they are, how lovable, the Yes and the No, assistance and resistance, the positive and the negative, equal, both of brilliance, like our two hands! They are not contradictory, but complementary. The unity lies, not in embracing only one of the two, but in having both at our command. The non-violence of rejection and acceptance resolves the basic dichotomy by resisting evil and assisting good out of ONE motivation and meeting them with one force, Love. As Lao-tzu says:
To the Good I am good, and to the evil I am also good. To the truthful I am true, and to the untruthful I am also true.
-- Tao Te King, 49
"Being good to" certainly implies action of some form or other. The gap closes through meeting both sides with the same attitude. Non-violence faced with good means the strengthening of good, flowering creation; faced with evil, it means the latter's ultimate destruction through resistance, that is, through love. We will advance towards good only to the extent that we are able to generate a surplus of love and compassion, i.e., more than what is neutralized by evil. There are no shortcuts to perfection.
Thus it becomes clear that man is both the origin of the dichotomy (through perception) and its dissolution (through conscious activity). It is up to us to restore the balanced, transcending unity which we ourselves have shattered. It cannot be done through manipulating our relation to the outside world, but only by bringing our inner Self in accord with all existence.
Being and non-Being produce each other Heavy and light complete each other High and low maintain each other.
-- Tao Te King, 2
By G. de Purucker
[From GOLDEN PRECEPTS, pages 7-12.]
Beautiful are the pathways, sublime the goal, and quick the feet of those who follow the way of the still small voice within, which leads to the Heart of the Universe. This is the core of the messages of the great Mysteries of antiquity -- the union of the simple human being with his divine Source, with the root of himself, linked as that is with the all, for that core is a spark of the Central Fire, a spark of Divinity; and this spark is in everyone.
Divinity is at the heart of you. It is the root of you. It is the core of the core of your being; and you can ascend along the pathway of the spiritual self, passing veil after veil of obscuring selfhood, until you attain unity with that inner divinity. That is the most sublime Adventure known to man -- the study of the Self of man.
Thus you will climb the mountains not merely of Parnassus and of Olympus, but you will in time, by following this inner pathway of self-knowledge, grow so greatly in understanding and in inner vision, that your eyes will take in ranges and sweeps of inner light, unveiling to you the most awful, because the holiest and the most beautiful, mysteries of the boundless Universe.
The first step on the pathway to the Heart of the Universe is to recognize the truth that all comes from within. All the inspirations of genius, all the great thoughts that have made and unmade civilizations, all the wonderful messages that have been delivered by the Great Ones of the earth to their fellow human beings -- all these come forth from within. The battle of union, towards union, for union, with your own inner god, is more than half won when you recognize this truth.
And oh, how splendid is the pathway seen after that! How glorious it is! Leading ever more inward and inward, which is the same as saying upward and upward, ever higher and higher, till you become at one with your own kin -- the gods -- who are the governors and rulers of the Universe, and of whom men are the children.
The inmost of the inmost of you is a god, a living divinity; and from this divine source there flows downwards into your human mentality all the things that make men great, all the things that give rise to love and mighty hope and inspiration and aspiration and, noblest of all, self-sacrifice.
In yourself lie all the mysteries of the Universe. Through your inner self, your spiritual nature, you have a road reaching to the very Heart of the Universe. If you travel that road leading ever within, if you can go into yourself, go behind veil after veil of selfhood, deeper and deeper into yourself, you go deeper and deeper into the wondrous mysteries of Universal Nature.
Knowing yourself, you progress more quickly than the average running of the evolutionary course; and when this pace is quickened to the utmost, there are initiations, SHORT CUTS in fact, but only for those who are fit and ready to take these very difficult short cuts. Growth proceeds step by step.
This pathway is spoken of as a "road," but it is the unlocking of the heart of man -- not the physical heart, but the heart of his being, the essence of the man, in other words the unlocking and development of his spiritual and intellectual and psychical powers and faculties. This is the Doctrine of the Heart, the secret doctrine, the doctrine that is hid. The Eye Doctrine is that which can be seen and is more or less open.
Those whose inner faculties and powers have come more into actual operation and into conscious functioning, whose inner natures have been more developed, as they grow from childhood towards manhood, in any one life, are the fit, the neophytes, whose natures are opening, and who have the ears to hear and the eyes to see what is put before them.
Those who have the intuition of something greater within, of something splendid and grand, of something that is growing within the heart and within the mind, like the budding flower: these ones shall finally see more; these are the initiates developing into the great Seers and Sages.
There is no favoritism in Nature. The old, old rule is a true one. Man takes what he himself can get -- WHAT HE HIMSELF IS.
Man is an inseparable part of the Universe in which he lives, moves, and has his being. There is no separation whatsoever between his roots and the roots of the Universe; there is no distance between them. The same Universal Life flows through all things that are. The same stream of consciousness that flows in the mighty Whole and through the mighty Whole of the Universe flows therefore through man, an inseparable portion of that Universe. This means there is a pathway by which you may come into intimate relation with the Heart of the Universe itself. That pathway is you, your own being, your own nature, your spiritual Self. Not the self of ordinary physical man, which self is just a poor reflection of the spiritual brilliance within, but that inner Self of pure consciousness, pure love for all that is, unstained by any earthly taint -- your spiritual being.
Following this pathway to your own inner god, your Higher Self, you will reach all the mysteries and wonders of boundless Infinitude, through infinite time; and such happiness, peace, bliss, beauty, love, and inspiration will fill your whole being that every breath will be a blessing, every thought a sublime inspiration.
By Henry Travers Edge
[From THE THEOSOPHICAL PATH, November 1915, pages 305-09.]
A God of some sort being considered necessary, and the traditional and sectarian Gods being at a discount, attempts are made to reconstruct God in a scientific or rational manner. As a starting-point, there is the dual nature of man, as manifested by the opposition of two wills in him: a personal and an impersonal one. To explain the latter, some people have postulated a sort of collective will -- the will of humanity as a whole -- and to this they have perhaps added a collective intelligence, which is that of humanity in general. Thus we obtain a simple philosophy, giving an explanation of morality and of the combat between selfishness and self-sacrifice.
The philosophy is far from complete. For one thing, it is very evident that the collective will of large masses of people may be a very evil thing; and it is notorious that the collective intelligence of crowds is a long way behind the intelligence of individuals. It would be tantamount to making God a kind of mob-spirit, or national ideal, or spirit of the times. And there are such Gods; but the trouble is that there are too many of them. Just now we see bitter emulation between such tribal deities, each of which is appealed to by its own votaries, just as the people in the Old Testament, with far more frankness, invoked their God to destroy the Gods of the other tribes. The collective will of humanity is a very vague phrase.
Perhaps in these philosophies there is a trace of the modern scientific idea of synthesis, whereby wholes are supposed to be merely the arithmetical sum of their parts. But before parts can make up anything better than a junk-heap, they must be organized; and we cannot make a man out of blood and bones alone. A number of separate human wills may unite so as to have a collective value, but speculation still remains open as to the precise nature of the mixture or compound that will be generated; and if we take analogies from chemistry, we may infer that the product might easily be either a balsam or a poison. However interestingly such philosophers may write, it is clear that a far deeper study of human nature and nature in general is necessary before the contents of their notebooks will be of much value in book form.
We have spoken of the idea of synthesis, by which great things are regarded as being made up of small. The analytical view represents small things as being parts of great things. There is a considerable practical difference between the two; for though we cannot make a man out of blood and bones, we can easily make blood and bones out of a man. Man is a great deal more than the arithmetical sum of his component parts. Before a house can be built, the idea of the house must have preexisted in the mind of the builder; otherwise nothing but a heap of bricks and mortar will mock the eye of the intending home-seeker.
It is more reasonable to say that man made his bones and blood than that the bones and blood made him. And it is more illuminating to say that the personal human will is a torn fragment of the real human will, than to regard the latter as being merely the sum of a great number of separate wills. Thus at least we shall find a means of distinguishing between wisdom and folly, and avoid identifying God with a popular hallucination or a national character. It is much more likely that a mere addition of selfish human wills would generate a Devil than generate the Deity.
Scientific analogies may always help if intelligently applied. We are told that decomposition is attended with dispersion or running-down of energy and that recombination can be effected only by supplying some more energy from an external source. Iron and oxygen reduce each other to a state of mutual inertness, wherein they will slumber throughout the geological ages in the bosom of the earth, until somebody brings the all-potent spirit of fire -- whether in the furnace or in the ardent acid -- and reproduces both elements in their pristine vivacity. The mere putting of things together will not suffice to produce anything of a higher order; an access of energy must come from somewhere -- from a source of latent energy within or from an outside source. Oxygen and hydrogen could never make water unless water itself was a preexistent reality; the invisible element of water (unknown to science) must enter to bless the union.
A single man contains within himself a vast number of separate lives, presiding over the various organs, cells, and even atoms, whereof he is compact. But it is a serious error to say that man's self-consciousness is nothing more than the sum-total of all these minor consciousnesses. Man is a being that is independent of the body, and he enters the body and controls it. When the man himself withdraws, the various lesser lives in him begin at once to fall apart. It is the same with humanity. A number of people merely makes a crowd or a nation or a race; if there is such a thing as a higher order of being, to which the name of "collective man" might be applied, that being must exist independently, and must be regarded as entering into and ensouling the race. Moreover it is evident that an evil influence might be regarded as entering into a race, as well as a good one.
Conscience is something more than a pooling of self-wills or a mutual adjustment of personal desires. How many wrong notions must be added together before the combination will result in the production of divine wisdom, we are not prepared to say. When a Master says, "Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them," he does not mean that he has not existence until that is done. In the same way, God does not owe his existence to the fact that a number of men have put their heads together.
Morality is often supposed to have "evolved" out of immoral or unmoral elements by a process akin to that which is believed to have evolved man out of the amoeba; and conscience is often defined as being merely recognition of other people's interests. This idea of the gradual building-up of the mind, conscience, sentiments, aspirations, etc., of human nature out of lesser elements is really absurd. The source of all human faculties must lie in something far vaster than any of them and comprehending them all and much more besides. A code of mutual agreement, such as might be supposed to exist among villains, is a poor substitute for morality.
The real source of morality is the essential Divine nature of man himself. The personal ego, which looms so largely in his life, is not really an important part of him. It is a blend of animal propensity with self-conscious mind. Animal propensity is that which drives the animals, and for them, it is the natural law of their lives. It acts within the narrow limits prescribed for it by the simple mind of the animal. But man brings his self-consciousness to bear on his propensities, thus turning them into potent and far-reaching forces; and out of this alliance is developed the thing known as the personal ego. But from whence comes man's self-consciousness? This mysterious faculty was never evolved from the animal mind, nor is it possible to imagine any intermediate steps between the unselfconscious mind of the animal and the self-consciousness of man. The faculty of self-consciousness is something original, and to trace its source, we must look up, not down. If, starting in the middle of man's nature, we can trace his lower faculties downwards towards the animal kingdom, so we must trace his higher faculties upwards towards the divine.
Man may be analyzed into three souls, as follows:
(1) The Animal Principle or Soul, called in Theosophical terminology Kama. This is the impelling force in animals, containing the instincts and propensities.
(2) The Human Soul, or Kama-Manas.
(3) The Spiritual Soul, or Buddhi-Manas.
In man, two lines of evolution converge: an evolution from above downwards, and an evolution from below upwards. Hence the Human Soul is the arena of conflicts between a higher and a lower law. Man oscillates between the laws of his lower and higher natures. Just as propensities spring from our animal nature, so higher aspirations spring from our Spiritual nature. The truth is generally found to be simpler than the theories which are offered as substitutes. God, then, is not merely the aggregate of a number of personal human wills, but is that boundless ocean of wisdom and power which animates all creation; and the highest manifestation (on this earth) of this universal deity is the Perfected Man. It is from this source that come the spiritual influences that make men's lives better; it is this that is the true source of morality. Cut off from this source of life, man would begin to wither like a plant cut off from its root; but it might take him several incarnations to die out altogether. We see around us people who seem to be thus withering, but under the merciful law of reincarnation, they have other chances in store.
Possibly some people do not think there is a God in man or anywhere else, so these remarks must be considered as applying to those who do think there is a God and who would like to know more on the subject. We have aspirations, and we fail to realize them because we make them too personal. We try to bring down the higher to the plane of the lower. This is the principal explanation of the frustration of geniuses. Geniuses, like Shakespeare, do not seem to have any personality; Shakespeare went back to his beloved Warwickshire, when he had finished his work; he did not stay in London and try to outdo himself. We love music, perhaps, and strive to fathom its meaning and to realize the message that it has for us; but to do that, we must soar out of our personal limitations. Thus perhaps a person with no technical knowledge of music may have more music in his life than a talented but discontented artist.
It is of course impossible to devise a consistent philosophy of life without taking into account Reincarnation. Wordsworth, realizing that his Soul came "from afar" and had lived before, was unable to complete his thought because he was limited by current dogmas; and so with many others. Reincarnation is a subject that needs to be pondered long, earnestly, and reverently, until the idea becomes so familiar that we unconsciously refer everything to it. In this way, knowledge and conviction may come. Once admit that one has a higher nature, and the path is opened for that higher nature to manifest itself.
We must not expect to see too far ahead of where we are standing; much of the path we have to tread is concealed by turnings in the way, at which we have not yet arrived. When we reason as to the nature of God, or other such problems, we do so from the standpoint of our present normal waking consciousness, which is very limited. We are not conscious of the link that unites us with fellow human beings, nor do we recollect the experiences of deep sleep; and death is an even greater mystery. So people discuss whether God is a personality or not, without knowing what a personality is, and they reflect on the relation of the deity to themselves, without understanding what the self is. Thus many people are impatient because they know so little, and are inclined to abandon the search because they cannot arrive at the goal in one bound.
When we study Theosophy we find how many things there are to be learned first and how much there is for us to do in the way of immediate practical work in remodeling our way of life in the light of Theosophy. By pursuing this path, we shall certainly arrive at a point of clearer vision and advance into a larger life wherein lies that peace which nothing can disturb.
By A. Trevor Barker
[From THE HILL OF DISCERNMENT, pages 328-35.]
Friends, You heard tonight that the Theosophical Movement, of which this Society is an integral part, is an ethical and spiritual one; that it has existed all down the ages; and also that it has nothing but a feeling of friendliness, a feeling of brotherhood and fraternal sympathy, for all movements that strive according to their own methods and ways for the elevation, even to the smallest extent, of humanity. Therefore I want to say right at the beginning to those of our Spiritualistic brothers -- some of them I see here tonight -- who may or may not have come in contact with Theosophical teachings before: I want to say to them that we have much sympathy for them; but that we have furthermore the feeling that for them Theosophy has a very real message -- something of vital importance to them as individuals.
The first object of this Theosophical Society is to promulgate knowledge of the laws inherent in the Universe. That means, of course, a statement of that knowledge of the inner constituents of Nature and man that exists in the keeping and in the knowledge of those who are called the Elect among mankind, those who have always preserved it, and who from time to time come to restate it in language comprehensible to the age in which it is particularly given. This being one of our main purposes, we have to study the problem of psychic phenomena in the light of that Ancient Teaching.
Psychic phenomena have always existed, and the fact that they play a very large part in the lives of an increasing number among an interested public means that the teachings that Theosophy has to give on this subject should fill some vital need in that public. One of the first statements is that there is no such thing as miracle; that that which looks to us like a marvelous and extraordinary and otherwise inexplicable happening or phenomenon is actually explainable in terms, if not of the physical Universe then of the unseen and occult Universe, provided that you understand the laws involved.
Many of the phenomena that we know of, from the New Testament down to our own age, especially those that are the constant happenings in Spiritualistic circles, do arouse in very many people a sense of wonder, if not of awe, and, friends, even of reverence for the powers that produce these mysterious phenomena.
If we understand this, the great element of wonder is largely reduced as we look at the problems sincerely and say: "Well, now, there must be an explanation of this phenomenon." The Universe is a Universe of Law. Things do not happen fortuitously; and if we do not understand them, well then, the Theosophical Society provides another object amongst those that you have heard tonight, whereby in studying the laws and the powers innate in man; we seek by an unfolding of those powers to understand what those hidden forces and hidden laws may be.
According to the Theosophical philosophy, the Universe is guided or evolved under the direction of conscious and intelligent beings. The teaching is that every part of boundless Space is instinct with the life of the One Great Reality, the Great Breath of all existence, which pulses eternally throughout the heart of things, and throughout every living creature. Every one of the forces of Nature is actually the expression of the life-force of some group of beings that inhabit the inner spheres of Nature. The fact that we cannot see them matters not at all.
That man is not the only conscious thinking being in this Universe does not need a great deal of substantiation possibly; but the Theosophical teaching is that beyond man, in an endless series of progression, are rank after rank, hierarchy after hierarchy, of still more exalted beings. Descending also in a progressive scale into the depths of matter, you get different types of entities even lower than man, who still act as some of the unseen but intelligent agents and forces of Nature.
Man himself is built upon the same plan as Nature. Just as Nature is not only the external appearance that we all see in all its phases -- some beautiful, some terrible -- so also has man within himself a thinking, conscious, intelligent, directing influence: that which we call Soul in man -- the real man as apart from his body. Man is not made up of merely that which we see. We have only to look inside ourselves to observe that we are made up, for example, of emotions, of passions, of thoughts, of a more or less material nature. Understand that to be the constitution of what you might call the animal-soul in man. Then you have what we call the Human Soul -- that which makes a man a human being. It is in the Human Soul that repose the capacities of man to think, to know himself as a god. It is in that capacity that he is distinguished from the beast creation. Over and above those three principles -- if you will and like to look upon them as such -- you will find a fourth, that over-brooding and divine immortal principle in man, with which it is possible for the Human Soul to identify itself.
With that fourfold division, you have sufficient for our evening's study as regards man, and you will find that the great community of the Spiritualistic movement do believe (I think I am right in saying this) that the inner realms of the Universe are guided by unseen and intelligent forces. It is that really which gives them the right to be termed 'Spiritualists' in contradistinction to that other section of the community (which happily is far less strong than it used to be in the early days of the last century, or shall we say in the middle of the last century?) the Materialists. Really the two words are the opposite of each other: one believes in the spiritual, energizing principles in Nature that we do not see but believe in, so to speak, if we cannot observe them. The other believes there is nothing beyond that which we can see and feel and touch.
The second great -- shall we say belief? -- that distinguishes those who come under the category of Spiritualists from other thinking people, is the belief or conviction that it is possible to communicate, or have communication, between the living such as ourselves, and those who have passed over into the Great Beyond. It is their belief; and therefore arising out of that you get their own activities, which result in what we call 'psychic phenomena.' You have only to examine the daily newspapers towards the weekend, principally the Sunday papers, to discover that even in one city like London, there is a great, a large, body of people who call themselves the Spiritualistic Community. There are a tremendous number of them. It is estimated that there are something like twenty million in all the world, and I think that is probably a conservative estimate. There are twenty million people who to some extent believe in the possibility of communication with the dead, and who no doubt practice the various methods that they believe in to that end.
There is an enormous variety, an almost endless variety, of psychic phenomena that could be described and discussed; but so vast is the field that it would take not one lecture but many, any volumes -- days and weeks of time -- to describe all the possibilities of variety in psychic phenomena. They are indeed endless, and therefore tonight we shall have quite enough to do to examine that sphere or field of psychic phenomena that is possible for us all to examine somewhat; and I refer therefore principally to the field that has been brought to the notice of the world through the activities of these same Spiritualistic communities.
That is the subject that we want to consider for a little while; and we want to understand, if we can, in the light of the Ancient Teachings, what is the real nature of these phenomena. We want to see whether the interpretation that is usually put upon them can possibly give place to a better interpretation -- to a different one, if you will -- and so let us consider really what are the purpose and the possible use of psychism and psychic phenomena today.
I will tell you that from the Theosophical point of view they have two possible uses, both of which are somewhat qualified by results. But two things this interest in phenomena has done. One is that many people have become convinced -- as we think, on quite insufficient evidence, but nevertheless convinced, in themselves -- that the survival of man's individuality, his Soul (call it what you will) is a fact. Now for those people no doubt it is useful if it has, as it were, raised their thoughts at any rate to the extent of believing or discovering that the material existence is not the only one. Probably that is the best that can be said of psychic phenomena. It is the object with which most people investigate, and I think that many Spiritualistic communities would tell you that their main purpose in carrying on their meetings and activities is to give a demonstration, as they call it, of the facts of survival.
You have a corollary of that, which is that many people who have lost those that are dear to them have sought comfort, if they were able to find it, in the revelations of the seance-room; and we are told on excellent authority that these people have felt comfort, that they have derived a great deal of satisfaction from the various messages and supposed communications that they have received from those who have passed on,
That is one aspect of it, and we want to go rather more deeply into these questions, and examine them, and discover their real nature, and to see whether in reality these people have received something by means of those psychic experiments that has led to nobler living; which has taught them, as they used to say, to die grandly; which has given them a philosophy of life that embraces the whole of Nature, leaving out no part of it; which has given them a strength for their inner spiritual needs that can only be regarded as the Bread of Life. Now we want to see. I mentioned those few words simply because if those experiments do not bring that result, well then, really, they are empty shells, husks, which do not feed the inner Spiritual Being in man at all.
Therefore let us first of all examine what is the nature of mediumship. There are no psychic phenomena, as we understand the term today, without mediums, and you will find the principal characteristic of mediums is that they make no bones about the fact that they have a peculiar, abnormal, and unusual faculty of, shall we say, stepping aside, paralyzing their mechanism of consciousness, their body and normal faculties, and that they are then taken possession of, or controlled by, some force or entity outside themselves.
They speak of this familiarly as their 'guide' or their 'control.' This for them is a fact of considerable importance, and they consider that by the mere fact that they are being controlled and guided by this mysterious unseen entity, therefore the results of that activity will be more useful to their fellows than if they were doing it in some way by their own conscious direction. A medium, in other words, is a passive instrument of forces that control and guide him.
That is the definition of mediumship, and I want to show you for just a minute (I believe you will agree with me) how it is a misunderstanding of a very wonderful truth in Nature. There is always a light and a dark side to everything. If you see one side of a medal you can also see the other side. The medium has got something in his idea. He has got the notion that if he were to step aside, so to speak, and let something motivate him that he is going to be useful in some way.
Let us turn to what we Theosophists call the Light, the Wisdom-side of that picture, and what do we find? We find that the definition of the Adept in Arcane Knowledge is as different from the definition of a medium as light is from darkness. The Adept in Arcane Wisdom is one who is able, by the self-conscious powers of his own spirit, to do under the direction and control of his will every single one of the phenomena -- and an infinitely greater series -- that the mediums do unconsciously to themselves. He knows how he does it and why he does it; he merely makes use of certain occult laws in Nature with which he has learned to cooperate by the understanding of the powers of his own being.
Take another further development of that idea, and you will find that those Adepts of Knowledge work in the world by means of certain disciples -- if you like to use the term -- certain individuals who are connected with them, under their instruction, and who at certain times are able to transmit to their fellows ideas of spiritual value. Possibly, if one had had a great acquaintance with Spiritualistic views and teachings, it might be thought when such Adepts in knowledge work through one of those individuals in the world who are their disciples, that they do it in a similar way to the medium and his guide or control; but, friends, it is not so; and this is where I am going to suggest to you that there is, so to speak, a shadow of truth in the idea that has perhaps given rise to the idea of the value of mediumship.
Actually a great Master of Wisdom will not permit himself to interfere with the conscious control of any individual who may be under his instruction. On the contrary, when such an individual is performing a task under the direction of a Master of Wisdom, what happens? Why, the inner spiritual nature of the disciple is so energized that the actual connection between the inner spiritual real man and the body he works through is ten times, a hundredfold, stronger than in the ordinary man and woman of the world.
Adeptship is in every way the opposite of mediumship. Such an individual is ten times more positive and non-mediumistic than his psychic brother. What he is taught is not to get out of his body, if he can, and give it up to some extraneous entity. On the contrary, he is taught to forget himself in the service of the race to which he belongs; and as he lays aside the personal idea of himself and raises his consciousness to the realization that the Great Soul -- the Great World-Soul as it is called in this philosophy -- is actually that of which he himself is an integral part; as he begins to manifest in his daily life the powers of that infinite Universe by forgetting himself. Why, as he forgets himself, all power and knowledge and the infinite love and wisdom and compassion that lie at the heart of Nature itself, because of his self-forgetfulness, begin to manifest through him.
Do you see what a different picture it is; how entirely different that conception is from the idea of the medium who is negative and who allows some other entity to disinherit him of his divine potentialities?
By L. Gordon Plummer
[From THEOSOPHIA, Fall 1977]
He who does his best does enough for us.
-- Master K.H. in THE MAHATMA LETTERS
It is probable that most people at one time or another feel that they have reached the limits of their endurance. At such times, it may be that some will wonder if it is worth the struggle. Can they cope with life? Most of us do, and we learn eventually to accept the fact that so long as we have put our best efforts into the solution of our problems, we can put our anxieties behind us, and we can move on to the next thing with renewed confidence.
This preamble is leading to a consideration of one aspect of this subject that may be of interest to all who are seriously striving toward spiritual development along the lines that have been enunciated by the Mahatmas through their most prominent agent H. P. Blavatsky. She set forth certain ideals and goals in a number of her writings, such as "Occultism and the Occult Arts" and in shorter articles. The trials and dangers confronting those who aspire to tread the path of Occultism are clearly set forth, and one may be sure that she did so in order to deter all who do not have within themselves the elements of success in these matters. We have no reason to take issue with any of her warnings.
It seems nonetheless that we should not overlook the other side of the coin. In the words related to us by G. de Purucker, "I am a servant of the servants of the Law," we have a hint of the immense joy or service. This joy is not fleeting. It grows with the progress of the student who attains to some awareness of his place at the heart of the work to which he is dedicated. Why are there warnings then? Well, we can draw many lessons from Nature, and for this one, we might turn to astronomy.
Now much interest has been aroused by the discovery of rings around the planet Uranus similar to those of Saturn. This is held to be one of the most important discoveries of the century. The existence of rings associated with any planet will provide a lesson that might be applied to the matter in hand.
Why do we observe rings associated with Saturn, and now Uranus? Here is one explanation as given by modern astronomy.
Every heavenly body has a gravitational field. In the case of out own moon, its gravitational field is about one sixth that of the Earth. This is because the Moon is only one sixth as massive as is the Earth. The Moon, at a distance of approximately 240,000 miles, is likewise affected by the Earth's gravitational field, just as we are affected by the moon's gravitation. Hence, we have the tides. At the distance of the Moon from the Earth, our gravitation is far greater than is the pull of the Moon. If it were not so, things would be very different on our planet from what they are today. It has been calculated that at the time when the Earth was young, the moon was much closer to us, so close in fact, that the tides rose to a height of a mile instead of a few feet as they do today! It is equally true that the Moon feels the gravitational pull of the Earth, but to a less degree than the strength of its own gravitational field.
Now, there is a critical distance between any planet and its satellite known as the Roche Limit. At this distance, the gravitation on the satellite would be equaled by the gravitational pull of the planet, and if the satellite were to come any closer, matters would become very serious indeed. The greater pull of the planet's gravitation could tear the moon apart. It is believed by some astronomers that this is what happened in the cases of three of Saturn's moons. They were so close to the planet that they broke into small pieces that continued to orbit the planet in the form of rings.
Now, what has all of this to do with the subject at hand? For the sake of clarifying our thinking, we might say that each of us has his "Roche Limit." In the case of our problems with living, this would be the point at which our own vitality and endurance are in danger of being overcome by life's pressures. We can avoid being crushed by stopping short of our own individual "Roche Limit," and keep ourselves from being swept off our feet by taking a more relaxed attitude of mind, knowing that when we have done our best, even though we fall short of our goals, we need the time to pause and reflect. We cannot change the world; we can only change ourselves; since the world is made up of individuals with their own karmic destinies, it changes very slowly.
Turning now to the more specific subject of this article, in the treading of the path of genuine Occultism, each student has his own "Roche Limit" as it were. In this case, we are not referring to gravitational fields, obviously. We are now speaking of spirituality. The path of Occultism cannot be disassociated from those who exemplify it in their own lives and work. Their existence is no secret. We have only to study The Mahatma Letters in order to come to some understanding of the Hierarchy of Compassion. Since the very nature of this Hierarchy is spirituality to a vastly greater degree than is exemplified in any individual student, any of us has his own "Roche Limit." As we are in our present state of inner development, we could not tolerate the full force of the spiritual energy that we would inevitably feel were we to come too close to the real heart of the work that is being accomplished. Such close proximity might well disrupt our psychological natures, and none of the Teachers would allow this to happen. If it seems that we are kept at a distance, regardless of our aspirations, we may rest assured that it is for our own protection.
However, let us not think that we have been abandoned. Far from it. Each one receives all the light that he can safely use. Fortunately, this "Roche Limit" is not a fixed irrevocable thing. It changes with our growth, and it is only ourselves who set up a seeming barrier. Actually, there is really none, and in the final analysis, it is all a matter of growth. This comes about in its time and is fostered by our own dedication to the high principles that have been so amply given to us. Only work in the Cause that we love will hasten the growth of those spiritual qualities that we have already in potency, and in time, the "Roche Limit" will disappear altogether.
It would appear then that undue striving is not the answer. We have no reason to worry about it. As we learn to give of our best, we discover that these things are not as remote as we had thought. The spiritual life is with us always, and as we grow, we find new opportunities for service. That is all that matters.
By Reginald W. Machell
[From THE THEOSOPHICAL PATH, December 1920, pages 560-66.]
One of the first things that a student of Theosophy learns is the duality of human nature; and the learning of this lesson brings about a complete change in his position with regard to enemies and friends: for the duality in nature must be taken into account in every case, including his own personality. In fact, it necessitates a complete change in his estimate of those he considers to be his enemies or his friends.
Later he will come to realize that his worst enemies are precisely those that have crept into his own household in the guise of friends, and he will in time perhaps decide that his real household is within his own personality. He may then come to understand that it is only the enemies in his own character that can really injure him or allow him to be hurt. Truly, a man's worst enemies are they of his own household.
Opposition calls out strength and develops the most desirable qualities in one who is struggling against a host of supposed enemies. Even in the midst of the battle, the fighter may learn that defeat can only come to him by the treachery of some of his own. It has been well said, "Protect me from my friends, and I will defend myself against my enemies."
"Love your enemies!" is an injunction that is seldom understood when first heard. It is an impossibility to love one's enemies, without, in the act, changing the attitude of mind that saw enmity in the opposition that in fact is necessary to one's growth. Opposition is not really enmity. Perhaps the injunction to love one's enemies should be changed in form, and the word 'understand' should be substituted for 'love.' There is a French saying: "Tout comprendre c'est tout pardonner," "to understand is to forgive." When a man understands his own nature and that of other people, he becomes strangely tolerant of their opposition and strangely bitter against the treachery of false friends, those of his own household. To understand one's own nature fully is perhaps the last word of human wisdom. The first step in that direction is to recognize that it is at least a duality, and probably a complexity of a sevenfold character, but the duality is enough to begin with.
To realize that there is the possibility of untold good and undreamed of evil in one's own heart is to take a big step towards the understanding of life and its problems. Then the determined identification of self with the good side of this complexity, which we call ourselves, enables one to see the possibility of good in another, who may be for the moment wholly under the influence of his lower nature. Such a person becomes at once an object of pity rather than of aversion. And when one sees the beauty of a soul peeping out through a veil of iniquity, one can no longer hate the victim of delusion who acts like an enemy.
This kind of tolerance is not the same as temporizing with recognized evil. On the contrary, it is the clear distinction between the two natures. To be in a state of enmity is to be deluded by one's own lower nature. To meet attacks strongly and determinedly does not entail looking on one's opponents with hatred or enmity nor does a fight with one's own lower nature require one to assume an attitude of self-contempt or of self-condemnation.
To confess oneself to be a miserable sinner is to identify one's self with the deluded lower nature, which asks nothing better than to be mistaken for the real self. The confident assertion of one's own divinity, even when one is fully aware of the as yet unconquered strength of the lower nature, is an assumption of an attitude that goes far to secure the victorious realization of what may at first seem but an empty boast.
To see clearly, one must open one's eyes; to go forward one must stand up; to grovel in the dust of self-abasement is to stay down with a fair chance of being run over where one lies in the mud of a false humility. I think that true humility is only possible to one who has a clear comprehension of his own essential divinity, and a full realization of the essential divinity of every other human soul. For the ordinary mortal, humility is merely hypocrisy, an attempt of pride to escape detection. It is an accentuation of egotism. The true humility is simply self-forgetfulness, which is of very rare occurrence.
But how are we to know the enemies of our own household? How can we distinguish friends from enemies when both are so near?
Theosophy teaches that man is divine in essence; but it is evident that there are very many self-styled Theosophists whose essential divinity is completely masked by a very earthly lower nature, which latter in some cases attains to almost unearthly ugliness. And it is such as these that are often loud in their talk of brotherly love and in their profession of wide tolerance for the most abominable abuses. Such as these are indeed enemies in the Theosophical household, and they must be treated as such or they will mislead others more ignorant than themselves. No wise man fears opposition; what he dreads is treachery. The real enemy of Theosophy knows this and works accordingly.
Theosophy is spiritual wisdom; and the enemy is the monster egotism. It is pride, ambition, selfishness; and it works by subtle insinuation, by argument and criticism in order to destroy faith, and to foster suspicion.
It has been said that self is the enemy of Self, and in that lies the difficulty of dealing with the danger. Without the knowledge of the duality in human nature, the problem would be eternally insoluble. It was to meet this difficulty no doubt that the churches or their founders invented a devil and a personal God that might serve as symbols of the internal duality in man but that soon came to be looked upon as external realities.
How can we distinguish our enemies from our friends in the strange confusion that exists in the human heart at this stage of man's evolution?
We must first learn to distinguish the two forces constantly at work in our own nature before we can recognize either friend or enemy outside with any degree of certainty. Yet we have been given instruction in such works as THE VOICE OF THE SILENCE and LIGHT ON THE PATH from which we can fashion a simple test. The touchstone of right action is purpose, and this can be tested by the selfishness or the selflessness of the life or by the general trend and bearing of the teaching and counsel offered by those who pose as teachers, guides, or critics. To apply such a test safely, a man must first have proved its value as a test for his own conduct.
All the troubles of man come from this one cause, the delusion of self, which causes us to mistake the false self or the personality for the true Self, which is universal. This mistake leads to the struggle for self-aggrandizement, which is the effort of each particular self to get for itself more of the things desired than naturally falls to his lot, or to protect his possessions from the greed of others.
All modern civilizations have been built up on some such basis of personal competition. The 'struggle for existence' has been used as an excuse for the struggle for possessions; and this struggle is now destroying civilization before our eyes. It is the glorification of the false self, the attempt to put the illusive personal self in the place of the universal spiritual and selfless self for whom we now can hardly find a name, so utterly has it been forgotten in the world. Therefore we preach brotherhood and practice it. The life of the Theosophist who is on the right path is a path of progress towards the elimination of all merely selfish motives and the substitution of the ideal of service for that of self-aggrandizement.
One illustration of the rightness of this line of self-development is the happiness that results from working with nature instead of against her laws. The constitution of our organization declares that brotherhood is a fact in nature and asserts as the first object of the Society the demonstration that it is a fact in nature and the making of it a living power in the life of humanity. The need of this teaching has been widely recognized, but many men seem to believe that brotherhood can be established by violence, which is a manifest delusion. The reason why nations are willing to go to war in the interest of peace is that 'the enemy in the household' has played upon the love of power and the desire for authority in the hearts of the people to lead them on to self-destruction, deluding them with the lure of self-aggrandizement, which is spiritual suicide or the triumph of the lower self.
A man who is completely under the domination of his lower nature is insane whether he be declared mad or not, and a nation is as surely insane when selfish motives control its policy. It is on the path of self-destruction. We have only to read the events of history to see the truth of this. And we can see clearly that fine phrases are no protection against the evils that spring naturally from wrong action.
We have seen that the enemy of our own household is always ready to wave the flag of altruism, or patriotism, or even of peace while stirring up trouble that must end in war. We must search our own hearts to find the real motives for our own acts, and having learned to recognize the enemy there, we may know him again when we meet him in the wider field of national life. When we meet him, we must not temporize with him out of respect for his fine clothing or his venerable appearance. The path of progress is the path of effort and of obstacles to be overcome, but the real enemy is not the opponent who openly challenges the pioneer or the reformer. The real enemy is rather the false friend who seeks to stand well with both sides hoping to draw profit from both or aspiring, perhaps, to rise to power by playing one party against another.
Theosophy has been openly attacked by sincere opponents who in their attempts to shake its foundations have actually done good service to the cause of truth by spreading knowledge of its fundamental principles and by the very arguments they have used to refute the ancient teachings. Such opponents are the friends of truth and will find their place in the ranks of true Theosophists some day.
But very different are the attacks that come in the guise of devotion to principles while insinuating criticism of the Theosophical teachers who have led the movement. Such enemies nearly wrecked the Society during Madame Blavatsky's lifetime, and the most venomous of the attacks against her leadership were made under cover of a professed devotion to the principles of Theosophy or to those who were her teachers.
Similar attacks shortened the life of her successor William Q. Judge, but failed to disintegrate the Society. And when Mr. Judge appointed Katherine Tingley as his successor, he bequeathed to her a legacy of the same kind. The enemies who first attacked her were of the Theosophical household, and they professed the deepest devotion to the principles of Theosophy, merely seeking to destroy the outer and visible head of the Movement in order to replace her by another of their own selection. But Katherine Tingley did not temporize with these enemies; she forced them to declare themselves thus putting them where they belonged in the ranks of open opponents whose open attacks could only serve to strengthen the Movement.
She has constantly worked to force secret enemies out into the open where they may have an opportunity to see themselves in a true light and where they will be powerless for evil. In doing this, she is helping them to find themselves, and is not seeking to punish them. The idea of punishment is one that is foreign to Theosophy: for the law of Karma takes care of all readjustments in human affairs. It leaves the Theosophist free to forgive the enemy and ready to help him again to find the path when the time comes for his return to sanity in this life or in a later one.
Insanity is invariably characterized by an accentuation of vanity, egotism, pompous pride, or abject self-contempt. Self in some exaggerated form fills the whole field of consciousness -- self-exaltation, self-indulgence, self-mortification, and self-destruction. And as egotism is the dominant note of human character at this stage of man's evolution on earth, this kind of general insanity has led many a philosopher to speak of this earth as a vast lunatic asylum. In the same way, many of the ancients looked upon the Sun as the home of man's spiritual consciousness and as the source of spiritual illumination. But they were careful to explain that the true Sun is not the visible solar disk or orb nor was the moon that we see the real source of the disturbing influence supposed to emanate from the true moon. Duality was recognized in these forces also.
If we study, life we are bound to find evidence of the duality in everything. And nowhere is it more marked than in our own human nature, for man is at a turning point in evolution and seems to be vacillating continually between opposing forces as if he had lost his bearings and had forgotten the object of his existence. And this general kind of insanity has been aggravated by the horrors of the last few years so that there is an enormous increase of insanity that has not yet been officially recognized as such because it is so general. It is called by many polite names and is attributed to many causes, but it shows itself in a loss of mental balance that incapacitates a man for right thinking and clear judgment.
In such a condition, a man is peculiarly open to suggestion and is liable to be seriously influenced by his supposed friends, 'they of his own household,' who have their own desires to serve. These suggestions, coming from such a source as that of a trusted friend or relative, may be accepted unconsciously and adopted without question until the man's whole nature has been perverted from its original honesty. Vanity may help to blind him and to convince him that he is thinking for himself all the time, while in reality he is being ' led by the nose' in ignominious slavery because of his failure to recognize the duality in himself and in his intimate associates.
Some one of these otherwise lovable friends may have allowed the lower nature to get control and under this influence may have developed characteristics entirely unworthy of the higher side of the nature thus becoming an enemy while still holding the position of trusted friend and counselor. Such a one should be brought face to face with this false self and given the chance to recover self-control so as to paralyze the evil influence. But who shall do this if the one most concerned refuses to see the facts and fails to realize that the true self of the trusted friend is temporarily at the mercy of a lunatic, an egotist -- crafty, cunning, ambitious, and malignant?
It takes courage and determination to face such a situation, and a weak man will probably temporize and excuse and will end by submitting to the evil influence, which he should have immediately recognized and challenged as the enemy in disguise.
These tragedies are of constant occurrence and cause utter bewilderment to those who have no sufficient philosophy of life to help them.
It must also be remembered that weak-willed people are liable to be unaccountably and suddenly invaded by impulses to commit actual crimes that would horrify the normal mind of the one to whom they come perhaps as messages from some spiritual source, being in fact but the floating thoughts of vicious natures thrown off in moments of passion, like moral disease germs, that fasten on a weak-willed victim and make him their tool. Such things are not mere fancies, but rather are the common facts of daily experience.
It was to make men and women strong and clean and self-reliant and proof against such suggestions that Katherine Tingley created the Raja-Yoga School in which children are taught the duality of their own nature and are trained to combine all their faculties in one harmonious whole and to place this beautiful human instrument at the disposal of the spiritual self or the real self. To accomplish the complete mastery of the lower by the higher is the aim of Raja-Yoga. One who has attained to this perfection is a god-like being in comparison with the helpless hysterical creatures that are to be met on every side today in ever-increasing proportions.
True Raja-Yoga does not temporize with the enemies of its own household, but rather challenges them to come out and show their true character. Raja-Yoga is uncompromising in dealing with enemies of this kind but is also compassionate in resisting the evil without retaliation or desire to punish. In the pure atmosphere of Raja-Yoga, justice and mercy are seen as but two aspects of the one harmony that is perhaps beyond the reach of ordinary terms to express. And Raja-Yoga, as practiced at Point Loma, is no dream, but rather a rule of life that makes life worth living, a thing of joy and beauty. In Raja-Yoga, there is no temporizing with the enemies of our own household. The enemies are challenged.