There are so many beautiful and holy and glorious things in human life, and they are a balm to the hearts of men. They should be cultivated, they should be sought for; not eagerly and selfishly for oneself, but only that by becoming ourselves beautiful inwardly, we can shed the light of our love with its softening and refining influence. Love is always beautiful, and therefore is always grand, especially the higher love, for it is universal.
I wonder sometimes if the great scientists, I mean those who devote their lives to the impersonal study of Nature, realize that they are cultivating within themselves an aspect of the beauty in Nature, because, by the fact of losing themselves in their study, they are becoming progressively more universal in their thoughts, less concentrated on self. A selfish love can even damn, and this is the inverse case of evil spirituality; but a beautiful love can raise.
-- G. de Purucker, WIND OF THE SPIRIT, page 34
By William Q. Judge
[From THE THEOSOPHIST, April 1886, pages 417-21, appearing later in ECHOES OF THE ORIENT, II, pages 100-105.]
Jacob Boehme (or as some say Behmen) was a German mystic [1575-1624] and spiritualist who began to write in the 17th century. In his work he inserted a picture of an angel blowing a trumpet, from which issued these words: "To all Christians, Jews, Turks and Heathens, to all the nations of the earth this Trumpet sounds for the last time." In truth it was a curious emblem, but he, the author, was a mystic, and as all experience shows, the path of the mystic is a strange one. It is, as Job V, 28:7 says, a path which the "vulture knoweth not."
Even as a bird cleaves the eternal ether, so the mystic advances on a path not ordinarily manifest, a way which must be followed with care, because like the Great Light, which flashes forth and leaves only traces when it returns again to its center, only indications are left for those who come after seeking the same spiritual wisdom. Yet by these "traces," for such they are called in the Kabala, the way can be discerned and the truth discovered.
Boehme was poor, of common birth, and totally devoid of ordinary education. He was only a shoemaker. Yet from the mind and out of the mouth of this unlettered man came mighty truths.
It would be idle to enquire into the complications of Karma which condemned him to such a life as his appeared to be. It must have been extremely curious, because though he had grasped the truth and was able to appreciate it, yet at the same time he could not give it out in its perfect form. But he performed his work, and there can be no manner of doubt about his succeeding incarnation. As Krishna says in THE BHAGAVAD GITA, he has been already or will shortly be "born into a family of wise devotees," and thence "he will attain the highest walk."
His life and writings furnish another proof that the great wisdom religion -- the Secret Doctrine -- has never been left without a witness. Born a Christian he nevertheless saw the esoteric truth lying under the moss and crust of centuries, and from the Christian Bible extracted for his purblind fellows those pearls which they refused to accept. But he did not get his knowledge from the Christian Scriptures only. Before his internal eye the panorama of real knowledge passed. His interior vision being open, he could see the things he had learned in a former life, and at first not knowing what they were, was stimulated by them to construe his only spiritual books in the esoteric fashion.
His brain took cognizance of the Book before him, but his spirit, aided by his past, and perchance by the living guardians of the shining lamp of truth, could not but read them aright.
His work was called THE DAWNING OF THE ETERNAL DAY. In this he endeavors to outline the great philosophy. He narrates the circumstances and reasons for the angelic creation, the fall of its chief three hierarchies, and the awful effects which thereupon fell upon Eternal Nature. Mark this, not upon man -- for he was not yet -- but upon the eternal Nature, that is BRAHMA. Then he says that these effects came about by reason of the UNBALANCING OF THE SEVEN EQUIPOISED POWERS or forces of the Eternal Nature or Brahma. That is to say, that so long as the seven principles of Brahma were in perfect poise, there was no corporeal or manifested universe. So in THE BHAGAVAD-GITA we find that Krishna tells Arjuna that "after the lapse of a thousand ages (or Night of Brahma) all objects of developed matter come forth from the non-developed principle. At the approach of that day, they emanate spontaneously." (THE BHAGAVAD GITA, Chap. 8.) Such is the teaching of the Secret Doctrine.
And again Boehme shows the duality of the Supreme Soul. For he says in his work PSYCHOLOGIA VERA CUM SUPPLEMENTO that these two eternal principles of positive and negative, the YEA and the NAY of the outspeaking SUPREME ONE, together constitute eternal nature -- not the dark world alone, which is termed the "root of nature," the two being as it were combined in PERFECT INDISSOLUBLE UNION.
This is nothing else but Purusha and Prakriti, or taken together, what is referred to in THE BHAGAVAD GITA where it is said: "But there is another invisible eternal existence, superior to this visible one, which does not perish when all things perish. It is called invisible and indivisible. This is my Supreme Abode."
Clearly the SUPREME ABODE could never be in Purusha alone, nor in Prakriti alone, but in both when INDISSOLUBLY UNITED.
This scheme is adhered to all through this great philosopher's works, no matter whether he is speaking of the great Universe or macrocosm, or of its antitype in man or microcosm. In DE TRIBUS PRINCIPIIS he treats of the three principles or worlds of Nature, describing its eternal birth, its seven properties, and the two coeternal principles; and furthermore in DE TRIPLICI VITA HOMINIS, he gives the threefold life of man from which the SEVEN is again deduced.
In DE ELECTIONE GRATIA, he goes into a subject that often proves a stumbling block to many, and that is the INEVITABLENESS OF EVIL as well as of good. From this it is easy to pass to a contemplation of one of the difficult points in occultism as shown in THE SECRET DOCTRINE, that nothing is evil, and that even if we admit evil or wickedness in man, it is the nature of the quality or guna that in THE BHAGAVAD-GITA is denominated rajas, foulness, or bad action. Even this is better than the indifferent action that only leads to death. Even from wickedness may and does come forth spiritual life, but from indifferent action comes only darkness and finally death.
Krishna says in THE BHAGAVAD GITA, Chap. XIV: "There are three kinds of action; first, that which is of the nature of Sattva, or true action; second, that which is of the nature of Rajas, or bad action; third, that which is the nature of Tamas, or indifferent action." He then says: "Although thou wert the greatest of all offenders, thou shalt be able to cross the gulf of sin in the bark of spiritual wisdom," and a little farther on "The ignorant and the man without faith, whose spirit is full of doubt, is lost and cannot enjoy either world." And in another chapter in describing Himself, he says that he is not only the Buddha but also is the most evil of mankind or the Asura.
This is one of the most mystical parts of the whole Secret Doctrine. While Boehme has touched on it sufficiently to show that he had a memory of it, he did not go into the most occult details. It has to be remembered that THE BHAGAVAD GITA and many other books treating on the Secret Doctrine must be regarded from seven points of view and that imperfect man is not able to look at it from the center, which would give the whole seven points at once.
Boehme wrote about thirty different treatises, all of them devoted to great subjects, portions of the Secret Doctrine.
Curiously enough the first treated of the "Dawn of the Eternal Day," and the second was devoted to an elucidation of "The Three Principles of Man." In the latter is really to be found a sevenfold classification similar to that which Mr. Sinnett propounded in ESOTERIC BUDDHISM.
He held that the greatest obstacle in the path of man is the astral or elementary power, which engenders and sustains this world.
Then he talks of "tinctures," which we may call principles. According to him, there are two principal ones, the watery and the igneous. These ought to be united in Man; and they ardently seek each other continually in order to be identified with Sophia or Divine Wisdom. Many Theosophists will see in this a clue not only to the two principles -- or tinctures -- which ought to be united in man, but also to a law which obtains in many of the phenomena of magic. But even if I were able, I should not speak on this more clearly.
For many inquirers the greatest interest in these works will he found in his hypothesis as to the birth of the material Universe. On the evolution of man from spirit into matter he has much more than I could hope to glance at. In nearly all of it, he was outlining and illustrating the Secret Doctrine. The books indicated are well worthy of study not only by Western but also by Eastern metaphysicians. Let us add a few sentences to support this hypothesis from Count Saint-Martin, who was a devoted student of these works.
Jacob Boehme took for granted the existence of an Universal Principle; he was persuaded that everything is connected in the immense chain of truths, and that the Eternal Nature reposed on seven principles or bases, which he sometimes calls powers, forms, spiritual wheels, sources, and fountains, and that those seven bases exist also in this disordered material nature, under constraint. His nomenclature, adopted for these fundamental relations, ran thus: The first ASTRINGENCY, the second GALL or bitterness, the third ANGUISH, the fourth FIRE, the fifth LIGHT, the sixth SOUND, and the seventh he called BEING or the THING ITSELF.
The reader may have begun to think the author did not rightly comprehend the first six but his definition of the seventh shows he was right throughout, and we may conclude the real meanings are concealed under these names.
The third principle, ANGUISH, attenuates the ASTRINGENT one, turns it into WATER, and allows a passage to FIRE, which was shut up in the astringent principle.
There are in this many suggestions and a pursuit of them will repay the student.
Now the Divine Sophia caused a new order to take birth in the center of our system, and there burned our sun; from that do come forth all kinds of qualities, forms, and powers. This center is the separator.
It is well known that from the sun was taken by the ancients all kinds of power; and if we mistake not, the Hindus claim that when the Fathers enter into Para-Nirvana, their accumulated goodness pours itself out on the world through the "Door of the Sun."
THE BHAGAVAD GITA says that the Lord of all dwells in the region of the heart, and again that this Lord is also the Sun of the world.
"The earth is a condensation of the seven primordial principles, and by the withdrawal of eternal light this became a dark valley." It is taught in the East that this world is a valley and that we are in it, our bodies reaching to the moon, being condensed to hardness at the point where we are on the earth, and thus becoming visible to the eye of man. There is a mystery in this statement, but not such an one as cannot be unraveled.
When the light mastered the fire at the place of the sun, the terrible shock of the battle engendered an igneous eruption by which there shot forth from the sun a stormy and frightful flash of fire -- Mars. Taken captive by light, it assumed a place, and there it struggles furiously, a pricking goad, whose office is to agitate all nature, producing reaction. It is the gall of nature. The gracious, amiable Light, having enchained unerupted Mars, proceeded by its own power to the bottom or end of the rigidity of Nature, whence unable to proceed further, it stopped and became corporeal; remaining there, it warms that place, and although a valet in nature, it is the source of sweetness and the moderator of Mars.
Saturn does not originate from the sun, but was produced from the severe astringent anguish of the whole body of this Universe. Above Jupiter the sun could not mitigate the horror, and out of that arose Saturn, who is the opposite of meekness, and who produces whatever of rigidity there is in the creatures, including bones, and what in normal nature corresponds thereto.
This is all the highest astrology, from one who had no knowledge of it.
As in the Sun is THE HEART OF LIFE, so by Saturn commenceth all corporeal nature. Thus in these two resides the power of the whole universal body, and without their power, there could be no creation nor corporification.
Venus originates in EFFLUVIA from the Sun. She lights the unctuosity of the water of the Universe, penetrates hardness, and enkindles love.
Mercury is the chief worker in the planetary wheel; he is SOUND, and wakes up the germs in everything. His origin, the triumph of Light over Astringency (in which sound was shut up silent), set free the sound by the attenuation of the astringent power.
It is certain that if this peculiar statement regarding Mercury is understood, the student will have gained a high point of knowledge. Seductive bait is here held out to those striving disciples who so earnestly desire to hold converse with the elemental world. But there is no danger, for all the avenues are very secret and only the pure can prevail in the preliminary steps.
Boehme says again: "The Mercury is impregnated and fed continually by the solar substance; that in it is found the knowledge of what was in the order above, before Light had penetrated to the solar center."
As to the Moon, it is curious to note that he says: "She was produced from the sun itself, at the time of his becoming material, and that the moon is his spouse." Students of the story of Adam being made to sleep after his creation and before coats of skin were given, when Eve was produced from his side, will find in this a strong hint.
The above is not by any means a complete statement of Boehme's system. In order to do justice to it, a full analysis of all his works should be undertaken. However, it is sufficient if thoughtful minds who have not read Boehme shall turn to him after reading this or if but one earnest reader of his works or seeker after wisdom shall receive even a hint that may lead to a clearing up of doubts or to the acquisition of one new idea. Louis Claude de Saint-Martin continually read him: and the merest glance at THEOSOPHIC CORRESPONDENCE or MAN -- HIS NATURE, etc. of de Saint-Martin, will show that from that study he learned much. How much more then will the Western mind be aided by the light shed on both by the lamp of Theosophical teachings.
"Let the desire of the pious be fulfilled."
By G. de Purucker
[From WIND OF THE SPIRIT, pages 162-64.]
Pray not to the gods, for hearing they may not act; for the gods themselves are held within the bonds of cosmic law from which they may not vary. Our prayers spring from our ignorance and weakness: ignorance of our own most real needs, and weakness because we want others to do things for us that we lack courage or will to begin to do for ourselves.
I pity those poor hearts who in their simplicity think that by praying to Almighty God their prayers will be answered. Just think it over. What is the reason that so many people like to pray? They really know by experience that their prayers are unanswered. But this is why they like to pray: because it brings peace, because it brings a sense of throwing their burdens upon some other; likewise because it strengthens the ineradicable feeling of the human heart that there are spiritual powers of enormous constant activity in the world, and that by thinking towards these beings, we come in touch with them.
Yes, it is thus far true. Were every prayer to be a yearning to come into closer contact with these spiritual powers, it would be beautiful. But change the picture: Two armies meet for mutual slaughter, destruction, each side sending petitions to Almighty God for victory for its own army. Don't you see something horribly blasphemous in this, an utter lack of understanding of the divine character of the governance of the Universe?
It is the petitionary prayer that Theosophists disbelieve in: the asking God Almighty for physical and other benefits which the petitioner is either too lazy or too indifferent to his duties to endeavor to secure for himself. Such prayers are often downright immoral, secretly or even openly; as when one prays to God Almighty for selfish advantages over one's fellows.
But oh, how the human heart longs for compassion, for sympathy, for beauty, for the understanding handclasp of someone else; and we realize from our studies and our intuitions, we keenly realize the living reality of great spiritual powers in the universe, surrounding us constantly, and our infinitely faithful allies and helpers when we strive to raise ourselves spiritually and intellectually towards them. Thus we Theosophists have something so much more beautiful and noble than prayers to non-hearing divinities. We have something incomparably closer to our human hearts and souls, something wondrously beautiful, gentle, compassionate, always listening, always helping: the Brotherhood of Compassion and Wisdom.
This Brotherhood extends upwards from us men in an unbroken chain to the Chelas and the Masters, and on to the very heights of the ethery spaces. I know not how high the Hierarchy runs, certainly as high as the highest peaks of our own Galaxy; and it is along this stairway that the Chela, the disciple, climbs up, up, up forever more. And marvelous tale of occult meaning, he climbs most fast, most quickly, whose hand of compassion is extended backwards in help to those behind himself. Isn't that a strange marvel?
It is these Helpers of humanity, the Masters and their Chelas, and those above the Masters, who extend to us constantly the help of their always pitiful hearts, their strength, marvelous as it is, yet given to us freely. And they are very wise in their giving, for the help they give is rarely known. "Let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth." I could tell you some of the things that the Helpers do for men, unseen, unknown, even by the recipients of their compassionate bounty and benevolence: lives saved in many a way, disasters prevented in many a way; those disasters which cannot be prevented, because invoked by man's own egoism and evil-doing, softened so that their asperities and harshness hurt men less. Things like these are done constantly, and we men know little or naught of it. We simply see the results. This is why this Hierarchy of Compassion is called the Guardian Wall around men.
The selfish and lazy that make no efforts to regenerate their own lives do not climb the stairway leading to the Hierarchy of Compassion. Paradoxically, it is those asking the most who as a rule give the least. What gift is greater than a man's heart, than HIMSELF? Show me something nobler than that, something more practical, something that will bring about results more quickly. Why, do you know what the matter with the world is today? Men are distracted because of their own weaknesses; they have not will-power even to pursue a single path for a week at a time, or a month, still less a year. Their wills are asleep, their minds are weakened from lack of exercise and from depending upon help from without, their spirit within them has no chance to spread its wings and soar.
To say that Theosophists disbelieve in prayer is a misunderstanding of the Theosophical attitude. But most prayer, unfortunately, is petitionary, disguised or open, and prayer in this sense weakens the character. If I were the Christian God Almighty, I would say to the one who prays thus: "Son, you have the truth enshrined in your own heart. You have been taught it. Get upon your feet and BE." The most beautiful prayer is aspiration transmuted into action. Then you have the real man, the real woman. No Theosophists through the ages have ever objected to prayer if it consists in inner aspiration, the will towards self-regeneration to spiritual things, and the transmuting of this inner attitude of the soul into positive action on earth. Where you have this prayer-inaction then the whole life becomes filled with the prayer of the Avatara Jesus: "Not my will, but thine be done!"
By B.P. Wadia
[From THE BUILDING OF THE HOME, pages 28-37]
Regard only MORAL asceticism as necessary. It is as a means to an end, that end being the perfect equilibrium of the INNER nature of man, and the attainment of complete mastery over the body with all its passions and desires.
-- H.P. Blavatsky, THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY
Those who endure gory austerities contrary to Holy Writ, and who, wedded to hypocrisy and egotism, and endued with the strength of Kama and Raga, passion and anger, thoughtlessly torturing the Lives (assemblage of the Elements) which make the body and ME seated in the innermost Heart -- they are of infernal tendency.
-- THE BHAGAVAD GITA, XVII, 5-6
The law of family-life is love -- the motor-power without which a nucleus of Universal Brotherhood cannot be formed. The elders sacrifice in love for the younger members of the family; the children manifest love through gratitude and devotion to their elders; there must be sympathy and kindliness and affection between all, including the servants, who are described by Manu as "one's shadows." (IV. 185) The state of the family at home, as its honors abroad, are wholly dependent upon its morals -- the way in which its members behave towards each other, and that behavior almost wholly depends upon the yoga of self-respect. It is said in the Chinese book of ceremonials, the Li Chi:
The superior man commences with respect as the basis of love. To omit respect is to leave no foundation for affection. Without love there can be no union; without respect the love will be ignoble.
Each person, old or young, has to learn and has to be taught the art which we call the yoga of self-respect. Reincarnation implies that each human ego has lived in human bodies before, and Karma means that all the egos incarnating in a single family have had relationships with each other before. These may not have been blood-ties, they may be weak or strong in the present; but there they are -- opportunities to learn how to behave with others in the wider field of world activities.
The yoga of self-respect demands that a person cultivate some realization of his own divine and immortal nature; that he recognize that liberty of thought and speech and action for any one must be in accordance and in conformity with the laws of that superior divine nature; that none is free to do as he pleases without a proper consideration for the place others occupy in the scheme of things; and lastly that each must learn, or has to be taught, to endeavor to regard the body as the Temple in which the Divinity of the Superior Mind has to become manifest.
Some of these items are common phases of any good system of education. But in modern civilization much theorizing and speculating and experimenting is done at the cost of practical actions flowing from self-evident truths. One major difficulty is caused by the bifurcation of responsibility between home and school, parents and teachers. In the case of the adults, there is absence of knowledge; ethics, as a branch of psycho-philosophy, is not taught and everything is left to the person who has to do the best he can with whatever he has within himself. But the home-builder who is the student of pure Theosophy knows the truths of Reincarnation and Karma, and even a modicum of application of these to his own personality teaches him many important lessons.
The Grihastha represents one great fact of evolution -- his the function to practice noblesse oblige. To him falls the duty of showing how the women should be honored in the home, how the young should be energized and the poor protected, how the law of the family should be extended to the sphere of citizenship. The Laws of Manu go far enough to state that "where women are not honored, sacred rites yield no reward." (III, 56) And his responsibility, as described, is terrifying to the Theosophical student:
Whatever be the qualities of the man with whom a woman is united according to the law, such qualities even she assumes, like a river which is united with the ocean. (IX, 22).
On the other hand, the woman represents the principle of Dependence, inasmuch as she is the vehicle, Vahan, who first receives and then carries the seed of life. The preserving, sustaining work of Vishnu is carried forward through the dependability of his Shakti. Manu states that "by the sacred tradition the woman is declared to be the Soil, the man is declared to be the Seed." (IX, 33) This dependability is often mistaken for graceless docility and blind obedience; a dependable daughter or a dependable wife or a dependable mother offers something more than obedience.
The muscular system is more largely developed in the male, while the glandular is more highly developed in the female. This difference is related to the different parts played by man and woman in the reproduction of the species. Again, Alexis Carrel in MAN, THE UNKNOWN states:
Sex is inevitably determined from the time of the union of the paternal and maternal cells. The egg of the future male possesses one chromosome less than that of the female, or an atrophied chromosome. In this manner all the cells of the body of the man differ from those of the body of the woman.
But these physical and physiological phenomena are reflections of inner psychological ones. According to Occult Teachings sex difference is due to the predominant mental habits of the incoming Ego; it becomes further crystallized as soon as the astral germ develops; and the physical body is only the outer casing. The latter ought to reflect faithfully the inner; but in our civilization, tampering from without, produces a phenomenon corresponding to the modern woman coming out in man's clothes. Some scientists are searching to discover how they can determine the sex of the children to be born -- a very dangerous line of investigation. Misfits along sex lines are psychically unhealthy. Women trying to act and to be like men are taking a wrong course; a bifurcation in their consciousness is likely to be engendered. To learn to lean on the physical and the intellectual strength of the male makes the woman morally and emotionally dependable (not dependent) -- a real helpmate and not a drag on man.
The Laws of Manu state: "By a girl, by a young woman, or even by an aged one, nothing must be done independently, even in her own house." (V, 147)
The same teaching is to be found in the Chinese Li Chi:
The woman follows the man. In her youth, she follows her father and elder brother; when married she follows her husband; when her husband is dead, she follows her son.
This sounds drastic to the Western woman and will be resented by her Indian sister "educated" along Western lines -- but Dependability is a high spiritual quality, more easily developed in the female body, and it is necessary for the future life of Chelaship. The obedience necessary in a disciple towards his Master, in a personality towards its Inner Ruler, is the type of obedience required in a woman towards father, husband or son.
Then, in modern days, the respect for elders in the home as in society has grown weak. The service of father, mother, teacher is insisted upon in the Laws of Manu -- "the service of these three is called the highest austerity." (II, 229) These three are types from archetypes: "The teacher is the image of Brahman, the father of Prajapati, the mother of Prithivi." (II, 226) There is a strange sounding statement in the same laws:
The vital airs (prana) of a young man mount upwards to leave his body when an elder approaches; but by rising to meet him and saluting he recovers them. He who habitually salutes and constantly pays reverence to the aged obtains an increase of four things, viz., length of life, knowledge, fame, strength.
-- (II, 120-21
The Chinese proverb with a fine sweep brings out the truth underlying the point we are considering: "Under Heaven no parent is ever wrong," and then there is another which advises with graphic humor: "Before fathers and mothers, uncles and aunts, itch as you may, you dare not scratch."
The Indian and the Chinese sages not only lay great emphasis on respecting the elders, they point to the importance of correct treatment of and behavior towards guests. In India uninvited guests are as welcome as invited ones; the former do not cause embarrassment to the old-fashioned housewife; but the system, as it has developed, does involve a considerable waste of cooked food. In these days of coffee shops and restaurants, the ways of guests and hosts are undergoing a change. Indians have a lesson to derive from the habit of the West where uninvited guests who share "potluck" are as rare as they are common in India -- and we are given to understand in China also. But, for all that, the institution of the host and the guest is of great value -- not only social, but also spiritual.
Adaptability and sat-sang are readily developed by the householder because of this institution. How not to refuse and whom to invite -- these are learnt by the host from the guest. Where not to go and whom to seek -- these are learnt by the guest from the host. There is a truth in the idea which Washington Irving gives that there should be "a tone of solemn and sacred feeling that blends with our conviviality."
The yoga of self-respect, which really means respecting other selves, must have a true spiritual foundation within one's self, We will not be able to pour out love-respect towards others till we discern the duality of our own nature -- the personal and the individual. We cannot respect our own foibles and follies, but we have to tolerate them, while we are eradicating them. Tolerance without the effort at eradication will develop psychic blindness in us; mere efforts at harsh eradication without due regard for the tanhaic elementals will fail, for we are dealing with living organisms which possess their own intelligence, and which WE have brought within the sphere of our thought-feeling, and to which we have given a home; this in the near or the distant past.
When we have, with justice and humility, seen the good and the strong powers of our own Individuality, we also have developed the mercy aspect of justice, and the courage aspect of humility, and then we are truly capable of becoming like "the ripe mango fruit; as soft and sweet as its bright golden pulp for others' woes, as hard as that fruit's stone for thine own throes and sorrows."
Moral expressions of love-respect towards elders, equals, and youngsters proceed from the psychic side of our being, and so do those of hate-contempt. Deformed morality bespeaks psychic disturbances, and the latter are the most potent cause of bodily illnesses. One of the major pillars of home-building is that of Health. Bodily health is a very important factor. At best, we have bodies of the race and the cycle, which have their own peculiar limitations; as Mr. Judge puts it, "a sound body is not expected, because our race is unsound everywhere," but he adds "a correct mental and moral position will at last bring a sound body." In another place Mr. Judge writes:
If you will rely upon the truth that your inner self is a part of the great Spirit, you will be able to conquer these things that annoy, and if you will add to that a proper care of your bodily health, you will get strength in every department.
A Theosophical Home-Builder must observe the rules of health which spring from the doctrines of his great philosophy. And the principal teaching about the building of the body must be understood.
Science, dimly perceiving the truth, may find Bacteria and other infinitesimals in the human body, and see in them but occasional and abnormal visitors to which diseases are attributed. Occultism -- which discerns a life in every atom and molecule, whether in a mineral or human body, in air, fire, or water -- affirms that our whole body is built of such lives, the smallest bacteria under the microscope being to them in comparative size like an elephant to the tiniest infusoria.
-- H.P. Blavatsky, THE SECRET DOCTRINE, I, 225
As to our outward physical bodies, the house of the tabernacle of the Soul, the Doctrine teaches a strange lesson.
-- H.P. Blavatsky, THE SECRET DOCTRINE, I, 248
Each particle -- whether you call it organic or inorganic -- IS A LIFE. Every atom and molecule in the Universe is both LIFE-GIVING and DEATH-GIVING to that form, inasmuch as it builds by aggregation universes and the ephemeral vehicles ready to receive the transmigrating soul, and as eternally destroys and changes the FORMS and expels those souls from their temporary abodes. It creates and kills; it is self-generating and self-destroying; it brings into being, and annihilates, that mystery of mysteries -- the LIVING BODY of man, animal, or plant, every second in time and space; and it generates equally life and death, beauty and ugliness, good and bad, and even the agreeable and disagreeable, the beneficent and maleficent sensations. It is that mysterious LIFE, represented collectively by countless myriads of lives, that follows in its own sporadic way, the hitherto incomprehensible law of Atavism; that copies family resemblances as well as those it finds impressed in the aura of the generators of every future human being.
-- H.P. Blavatsky, THE SECRET DOCTRINE, I, 261
We are taught that every physiological change, in addition to pathological phenomena; diseases -- nay, life itself -- or rather the objective phenomena of life, produced by certain conditions and changes in the tissues of the body which allow and force life to act in that body; that all this is due to those unseen CREATORS and DESTROYERS.
-- H.P. Blavatsky, THE SECRET DOCTRINE, I, 262
The most positive of materialistic philosophers agree that all that exists was evolved from ether; hence, air, water, earth, and fire, the four primordial elements must also proceed from ether and chaos the first DUAD; all the imponderables, whether now known or unknown, proceed from the same source. Now, if there is a spiritual essence in matter, and that essence forces it to shape itself into millions of individual forms, why is it illogical to assert that each of these spiritual kingdoms in nature is peopled with beings evolved out of its own material? Chemistry teaches us that in man's body there are air, water, earth, and heat, or fire -- AIR is present in its components; WATER in the secretions; EARTH in the inorganic constituents; and FIRE in the animal heat. The Kabalist knows by experience that an elemental spirit contains only one, and that each one of the four kingdoms has its own peculiar elemental spirits; man being higher than they, the law of evolution finds its illustration in the combination of all four in him.
-- H.P. Blavatsky, ISIS UNVEILED, I, 343
It is through these lives that we contact the invisible kingdoms of Devattas and Devas -- Elementals and Gods. A continuous exchange of lives belonging to our kingdom and theirs is taking place; and one of the principal means of creating a calm mind, an enlightened heart, and a healthy body is in the right use of this process of exchange. In the selection of food, in the taking of exercise, in regulating hours of sleep and waking, in amending bad habits and forming good ones, in the matter of bodily cleanliness with its psyche or magnetism, knowledge of this doctrine is very necessary. Details are not easily available, nor are they needed; necessary principles are to be found in Theosophical literature.
Moral character is akin to outer behavior, just as thought is akin to speech and words to action. The activity of the senses and the organs is dependent upon emotions and unless the mind is able to elevate them, they will degrade the mind, enslaving it. The connection between emotions and bodily health is recognized even by modern science. Thus Alexis Carrel writes in his MAN, THE UNKNOWN:
Emotions, as is well known, determine the dilation or the contraction of the small arteries, through the vasomotor nerves. They are, therefore, accompanied by changes in the circulation of the blood in tissues and organs. Pleasure causes the skin of the face to flush. Anger and fear turn it white. In certain individuals, bad news may bring about a spasm of the coronary arteries, anemia of the heart, and sudden death. The affective states act on all the glands by increasing or decreasing their circulation. They stimulate or stop the secretions, or modify their chemical constitution ...
Thus, envy, hate, and fear, when these sentiments are habitual, are capable of starting organic changes and genuine diseases. Moral suffering profoundly disturbs health ...
The instability of modern life, the ceaseless agitation, and the lack of security create states of consciousness which bring about nervous and organic disorders of the stomach and of the intestines, defective nutrition, and passage of intestinal microbes into the circulatory apparatus. Colitis and the accompanying infections of the kidneys and of the bladder are the remote results of mental and moral unbalance. Such diseases are almost unknown in social groups where life is simpler and not so agitated, where anxiety is less constant. In a like manner, those who keep the peace of their inner self in the midst of the tumult of the modern city are immune from nervous and organic disorders.
Tastes and habits are psychic manifestations. Between the seeing eye and the discerning intelligence there is a direct relation; between the listening ear and the discriminating mind also. Between heart aspirations and solar plexus desires a distinction must be drawn, as also between head-learning and soul-wisdom. If our mind food is faulty our body-food is likely to be wrong, also books, like physical foods, may be sattvic, rajasic, or tamasic. In the selection of both, Theosophical principles have to be used.
By Theosophical Students
[The materials that follow come from theosophical symposiums given at the Point Loma Theosophical Community in the early 1930's. It was read aloud by various participants. It was taken from various theosophical writings including those of Kenneth Morris and from THE VOICE OF THE SILENCE by H.P. Blavatsky. It was later reprinted in IN THE TEMPLE, pages 35-44.]
Beyond the misty space of twice a thousand years there lived an ancient race of Western Shepherd-Seers. The Cymry called them Druids, these Guardians of the Light who on cairn-crowned hills held their festivals at the four sacred seasons of the year.
These Druid-Bards were beings of a commanding and awe-inspiring character, invested with genuine spiritual power, and their mastery of the occult knowledge of Nature caused them to be regarded with feelings of deepest reverence. The truths they taught in their temples formed a secret and inward basis for all that was high and noble and true in the life of the Celtic peoples.
The sacred spirit of universal truth permeates their philosophy, and once their mystic symbols are unveiled we find the light of our own esoteric wisdom shining within.
Let us, therefore, refresh our minds this Spring Equinoctial time with the divine teachings of the Druids and reveal their unity with our own deeper mysteries.
Let us imagine we are all together in one of those ancient temples built by the Druid Guardians of the Light. We are surrounded by the beauties that Nature blesses us with at the time of the Spring Equinox, called by the Druids the Alban Eilir. See ye the huge stones, the two upright, the third across the top, the symbol of the upper triangle of Divinity whose source is the heart of the sun? See also the mighty circle of the temple, symbol of eternity, of the zodiac, of unity. Above, the mighty vault of immensity, the velvet blue of a cloudless night. Across the firmament shine the starry homes of our Greater Brothers who in their compassion give us light and inspiration.
Those Druids had been taught the mysteries of the spiritual world, of the stars, the sun, and the zodiac, and they placed these mighty stones of their temples in symbolic positions. In the temple of Stonehenge, where these great trilithons raise their heads, can be read the mysteries of the zodiac, the equinoctial and solstitial points of the sun's journey. These stones are so placed that the rays of the rising sun at the four sacred points of his journey shine directly upon them and the central altar stone of the temple. The middle stone marks the times of the Equinoxes, the two outer ones, the Summer and Winter Solstices. A line joining these three stones and the central altar formed for them the sacred unmentionable name of Divinity. Thus in stone and orientation is to be read the mystery by those who have the key.
Aye, and the temples reared upon these mighty foundation stones were likewise wrapped in mystery save to the chosen few. To the passer-by they might have appeared as huge and meaningless heaps of earth. But when the four sacred periods of the year drew near special artisans were instructed to open up the secret entrances and passageways leading into the interior, and within, preparation for very holy things proceeded silently and swiftly and all was made ready for the sacred hour. And when that time had passed, the secret entrances and passageways were again covered over and entirely concealed so that no trace might be left of the mighty things that had transpired within.
They built their temples sacred to the Dragon only because he was the symbol of the Sun, which in its turn was the symbol of the living Divinity abiding at its heart. They considered the sun as the essence of Divine Nature. The visible sun is the center of this our material life, it is but the reflection of the divine sun, the center of our spiritual life. To become such a shining one was one of their goals of evolution. Hence during the mysteries they called their Hierophants Sons of the Dragon.
They knew as we do, that the very Solar God, whose shining body we see, and all the other units of the stellar host, were once, in bygone ages, so far past in time that it is but a dreaming memory -- men such as we now are, or closely similar to what we are now. For as a man is but a fully-evolved life-atom, having attained self-consciousness, and already the beginning of a spiritual-divine consciousness, so will every life-atom evolve into becoming finally one of the stellar host. These gods themselves are life-atoms of a cosmic Hierarchy higher than the spiritual part of our own Hierarchy; and through that superior cosmic Hierarchy the gods will go upwards stage by stage -- and so on forever. What a magnificent picture!
Yes, men are in reality embryo suns. Even today, even as men are now, had we the eyes to see it -- we should realize it because we should see it -- each one of us is shining resplendently; every pore of our body is emanating light, and we see it not, because our physical optics are too gross; they have not been evolved as yet to sense these particular ranges of vibration and to interpret them through the brain to the mind. Yes, every flower on every bush, every blade of grass, every tree, every beast, every bird that flies, every crystal, and every sun is pouring forth a flood of light -- pouring forth energy, which is fundamentally the same thing. Consider the dignity with which we are clothed!
There are many other mysteries connected with the Sun. Had we the eyes to vision, to be able to trace the reach of the energies pouring forth from the sun and extending to the outermost bounds of its kingdom, which is the Solar System, and could we do this by rising to a higher plane, we should see what we call the empty spaces of our Solar System as one vast substantial body corresponding to our own body. We should see floods of energy, of life, vitality, of substance, pouring forth from the heart of the sun, and returning to it in regular cyclic intervals and byroads and pathways, which all entities follow in passing from planet to planet, and from planet to sun, and from sun on their returning journey to planet: a circulation truly of the life-blood, the life essence, of the Solar System.
The sun is the beating heart of our system, and the sunspot period including its maximum and its minimum phases is just like the expanding and contracting of the human heart, which is intimately connected with every organ and indeed every molecule of the body. So it is with the Solar System; every celestial body is intimately connected with the beating of the solar heart. The sunspots may be considered as windows through which we have the vaguest of glimpses into the temple-body of a living god. We may speak of them as the embrasures in a Fort or House of Life, through which we may cast -- provided indeed we can do so! -- our vision and see at least a little of what takes place within. We may also look upon them as channels, openings, vents, which serve for the passing into the Sun, and for the ejection from the Sun, of Rivers of Lives.
These Rivers of Lives are of many grades, high, low, and intermediate. Every Monad, every life, of all the countless myriads which infill the Solar System, must pass again and again and again at cyclic periods into and through the solar heart, and come out therefrom, just as every drop of blood must pass into and through the human heart, and come out from it again to pursue its destiny along the circulations of the human body.
As the sun is the center and source of light and truth, so the Druids symbolized their divine truth as coming forth from the center of the temple. They taught that the Temple of Truth is one. Many are the gateways to the Temple, for it is Boundless; Truth is everywhere. From the center flows Love. Love in the light of divine Truth gives birth to divine Wisdom, and from these three flow Will and Understanding. So therefore are these the divine essentials. It is therefore that the bard sings:
I will adore the Love-diffusing Lord of every kindred, the sovereign of hosts and powers round the Universe. Singing of this Love-diffusing Lord in the center of all things, the bard says:
I am the wind that blows over the sea; I am the wave of the ocean; I am the murmur of the billows; I am the oxen of the seven combats; I am the vulture upon the rocks; I am a tear of the sun; I am the fairest of plants; I am the wild boar in valor; I am the salmon in the water; I am a lake in the plain; I am a word of science; I am the spear-point that gives battle; I am the god who creates or forms in the head the fire; Who is it that enlightens the assembly upon the mountains if not I, Who telleth the age of the moon if not I, Who showeth the place where the sun goes to rest if not I?
So sing the poets, knowing full well that the divine spark within, that minute particle of spiritually subtle essence, ever seeks new forms through which it may continue its evolution in the effort to reach the Circle of Ceugant, the Circle of Infinity, the Absolute, or what we call the Divine Consciousness of the starry Divinities of the Galaxy. A man cannot attain the Circle of Infinity until he has traversed the Circle of Abred, the Circle of Necessity, of Evolution. He must return again and again to the Circle of Abred, or what we call our Solar System, until he has attained perfect knowledge and understanding of everything within this Circle, until Cythrual, the personification of Evil and Death, is mastered. Then is a man a god-man, ready to enter the Circle of Gwynfyd, the Circle of Wisdom, Bliss, and Liberation, the condition of the enlightened human being who is freed from earth and its attractions.
The Archdruids always warned their disciples that this Circle of Gwynfyd, the Circle of Bliss, Wisdom, and Liberation, could not be entered without full and perfect love of all things; that where there is perfect love there is perfect knowledge, and where there is perfect knowledge, there is perfect liberty. When all the mysteries of godliness were known then the Circle of Ceugant, or of Infinity was reached, that region in which dwelt the Highest of their Gods. Of this God, the Mighty One, Hu Gadarn, the Bard writes:
He is the smallest of the small, Hu, the Mighty as the world judges; He is the greatest of the great; He is the god of the Mysteries; Light is his course and swift; An atom of sunlight is his car. He is great on the lands and the seas. Greater than we can conceive, Greater than all the worlds. Let us beware of mean indignity To Hu Gadarn who deals in bounty.
How I love that line, "An atom of sunlight is his car," for atoms of light are the smallest of all small things, and yet the greatest of all great things. In every atom there is a place wholly commensurate with the Divine. The true name of Divinity is known only to the initiated, for it contains all science and poetry; it is the sound underlying all life and harmony and form and music and beauty. Could we but sense the sound by hearing, as we do its outward beauty of form by sight, then what symphonies should we hear from the bluebells in the woodland, and the daffodils on the hills; for are they not bluebells and daffodils by virtue of the wondrous strange music, the vibrations of which shape the atoms into loving cups and bells? What vibrations of music brought this great flower, the Universe, into bloom? What flaming harmonies were sounded forth to shake these gleaming galaxies into form and life and motion?
Yes, and what heights of evolution we must conceive of to imagine the builders of a Universe, those who could sing it into being. Even man, who is a little universe, have not gods of many grades builded him into a wondrous unity?
What are we told of our origin:
Out of the womb of Being I come, and with expanding consciousness through the ages I evolve. I am the Universe: The Universe is I. My spirit is a spark of the Central Fire; my mind is a reflection of the Cosmic Soul; the very atoms of my physical body are the same atoms which vibrate in symphonic harmonies in the celestial bodies which fill the velvet dome of night. I am what I am because I am a child of Space, a child of the gods, passing through this earth-stage on my long-evolutionary pilgrimage. I keenly feel my oneness with the All; I sense that the remotest god in remotest space, call such a god a Cosmic Spirit if you like, is my close kin, I am friendly with him and he is friendly with me. In consequence I am at home everywhere. I am at home in remotest Sirius, I am at home in the Polar-Star; I am at home in the most distant nebula, because I recognize my kin in them. I am a Son of the Sun, clothed in its splendor.
These words challenge us to advance step by step and thus climb to the sun-bathed peaks of the Mystic East, that Inner East where dwells the very source of wisdom and beauty and love and peace. Let us become Sons of the Serpent -- abandon the personal and work the spiritual marvel within us as did the Druids of old. They termed the candidate for Wisdom a Son of the Serpent, for, if he would succeed, dire and terrible struggles were in store for him -- that eternal struggle between himself and his personified human passions, when the inner enlightened man has either to slay them or fail. In the former case he became the Dragon-slayer, as having happily overcome all temptation; and as "Son of the Serpent" he became the serpent himself. Having cast off his old skin and being born in a new body he became a Son of Wisdom and Immortality in eternity. The serpent was the emblem of wisdom, eternity, infinitude, and regeneration.
To inspire their disciples to become Sons of the Serpent these ancient Druid-teachers clothed their precepts and philosophy in Triads, simple enough to be held in the memory like stars of thought to enlighten their path upward. They taught that in the long, long journey through the Circle of Abred or Evolution, there were three essentials and inevitable things: Suffering through the breaking of the Law in order to learn the Law; Temporary deliverance by death from the power of Cythrual, the Personification of Evil; and third, the growth of spiritual life.
There are three principal qualities to be acquired by man: wisdom, compassion, and strength of character. These can be acquired only by the exercise of free choice. These three are known as the three victories which attend a man all through the cycles of the Ages.
There are three essentials of good discipleship: keen observation, retentive memory, and sincere reverence for truth.
Three intentions are there to the Druidic instructions: the training of the mind, the cultivation of the heart, and the making of true manliness.
Three embellishing names of conscience: the Light of Heaven; the Eye of Heaven; and the Voice of the Divinity within.
Three aspects are there of the divine: beauty, love, and truth.
Three places where Divinity is to be found: where it is most sought for, where it is most loved, and where there is least of self.
There are three prime causes of evolution: the involution, or inspiration of divinity from within; the essential unity of all things with the divine; and harmonious action with the Divine.
We see that Druidism insists that all the forces of the Universe are working with us to help us to take up the fight against Cythrual, our Evil Nature, and make ourselves free.
To become such a Master of life one must understand the working of nature, of evolution and the structure of the Universe, and above all of one's own self. Thus we learn that the Archdruid would ask his disciples such questions as these:
Whence didst thou proceed? And what is thy beginning? How camest thou to where thou art in evolution? What wert thou before thou didst become a man in the circle of Abred? Through how many forms didst thou come? And what happened to thee in these forms? How many forms of existence are there and what is the use of them? What will happen to man at the end of life in the Circle of Abred?
Other profound examination questions given to seekers of wisdom were:
Who was the regulator between Heaven and Earth? Who carries the measuring line of the Lord of Causes? What scale was used when the heavens were reared aloft? Who supported the curtain from the earth to the skies? Knowest thou what thou art in the hour of sleep, a mere body, a mere soul, or a secret retreat of light? What supports the fabric of the habitable earth? Who is the illuminator of the soul? Who has seen him, who knows him?
But with knowledge came responsibility, so their beautiful Triadic precepts were an essential part of their training. How similar are their thoughts to those given to us today by our teachers. Have we not been told:
Of the highest mysteries we cannot have knowledge unless our hearts are filled with love and overflowing with it. Oh! If men only knew what they could have if they would but take it! Nothing would be of any value to them after that realization had enflamed the soul with its divine fire. No suffering, no pains, no personal agony of mind and heart would ever daunt them. Know, will, love, dare, achieve, and be silent. This is the way to the Sun.
It is along the pathway of forgiveness that you pass to the heart of the Sun.
Love will guide the wings of your soul to your Spiritual Sun.
Yes, the teacher has said: Forgive when forgiveness means calling forth the strength in you. Love when there is a mean and selfish impulse upon you to hate, because loving means strength and grandeur within you. The way of the spirit is the way of light, of peace. Practice love and forgiveness, and the holy presence will be in you every moment of life: with you day and night, the living companion of your silent hours, and the Warrior Invincible, always fighting within you and for you in your hours of activity.
The Chela-training comes with absorbing power into all the events of the everyday life ? In his great longing for us to come up higher, our Teacher once said to us:
Suppose that I were to ask of you, companions, for six months only, never to justify yourselves and never to answer back. I wonder how many of you could stand the strain of even that simple test which as you see would operate so strongly in the events of daily life. This is one of the very first rules in the Chela's course of training. Never indulge in self-justification in any circumstances, but when another is unjustly attacked then spring immediately to his defense, if you consider the attack to be unwarranted and unjust.
Conquest is the golden crown. Failure means trying again. Remember that the soul ripens in tears.
While you give out the treasures of your heart all the lower part of you dissolves away. Oh, how blessed is Nature's law!
[From THE ARYAN PATH, October 1937, pages 437-42.]
Familiar categories and classifications aside, every man should be aware that he lives in a dual, a triple, a quadruple world -- a world which is none the less one and indivisible.
There is, first, the world as pictured by the senses and the mind. Both these are eidolons, the phantom worlds of phenomena, one internal and the other external to the waking human being.
Next, these two worlds exist within a third which cannot be predicated in terms of either, because beyond both though permeating them, controlling both because independent of them -- the universe of law-and-order, of cause-and-effect, of attraction-and-repulsion. This world neither acts nor is affected by action, neither creates, preserves, nor destroys anything or anyone. It is as invisible, intangible, impartite, as space -- a world of spontaneity everywhere being born and dying at every instant of time, yet itself unborn, undying, a purely metaphysical absolute constant. It is to actions of every kind as substance is to form. In the one case we apply the abstract formula or symbol, "motion," and in the other, "matter".
Finally, there is the omnipresent inhabitant of the other three. Whether we use a religious symbol and call it the spirit, a philosophical and name it intelligence, a biological and speak of it as life, or express it scientifically as force or energy, it is all one -- the anima mundi, the world-soul, the abstract basis of Being and beings, as eternity is of time, as substance is of form, as motion is of action. Existence, small or great, conscious, semi-conscious, or unconscious, temporary or long-continued, is contingent upon all these four worlds. In the symbolism of all ancient peoples and cultures, so far as we have any record of them, the assumption of these four worlds and their containments is what is meant by and implicit in the theorem of "Orbs." So universal is this conception, so basic its nature, so indisputable when understood, that one is justified in calling it a theorem rather than a revelation, a theory or hypothesis, a belief or speculation.
Briefly stated, this theorem posits seven "azure transparent spheres," one "within" the other, all "in coadunition but not in consubstantiality," each and all the scene of CORRESPONDING manifestation, or interpenetrating "influences." Under this theorem, in each sphere, from highest to lowest or the reverse, a relative condensation and rarefaction goes on, so that a sort of "great circle" or plane of perception extends from an observer in any of the spheres to the corresponding degree of the "fixed, mutable, and volatile modifications" in all the other spheres. The intervening space is necessarily EITHER a "plenum" or a "void" according as the observer himself is in the higher or the lower spheres.
Whether we see physically, metaphysically, or spiritually as we designate perception, we are observing on different planes and focalize separately or in combinations. Thus there are, sentiently, five physical senses known to and used by men in varying degrees, five mental senses as more or less recognized, and seven spiritual senses. The "mind" stands between the highest and lowest "set" of senses and so is uniquely capable of double-refraction besides its own "characteristic property" -- the "sixth sense."
In measure as a man reflects, meditates, concentrates, or otherwise uses his mind for withdrawal from any given plane of perception, he is inevitably at the same time in transit to another, whether above or below his point of departure. If completely in the other plane on the descending scale, he loses consciousness of the anterior in successive gradations or limitations. Conversely, on the ascending arc, he loses consciousness of the lower according to the degree of transfer of his power to perceive.
Between these planes of perception or states of consciousness are two inescapable facts to be considered by him who would learn to live and act consciously in either or to synthesize them all in one. First, there is a twilight zone, dusk on the one side coincident with dawn on the other as at the familiar sunrise and sunset; call it the "critical stage." Second, there is the actual "moment of occultation" on the one side of the horizon which separates one sphere from another, one "modification" from another within each sphere. This is "sleep" or "death" on the hither side, but on the other the "awakening" or "birth." This corresponds to the blind spot in the visual organ, or to what in aviati is already called the cone or silence in quite other than an auditory sense.
With these primary concepts in mind, the student or devotee of any philosophy, science, religion, or other system can soon begin to see for himself that they all represent "modifications" and will be able to detect the pervading or principal combination of elements in each general or particular scheme, his own or any other. In measure as he pursues this process or modulus he will be entering intelligently on the path of true Occultism. He will lose his own affinity or partiality for any one of these "modifications" -- that is, he will observe for himself that while they differ exoterically they have the same esoteric basis.
When the several considerations outlined are clothed by the student's own thought, reflection, and conduct, he will understand why it is HE does not "remember" in this body the cycle of necessity travelled in former bodies. And he will understand why it is that the "lives" (the cellular, crystalline, colloidal, molecular "beings" DO "remember", and KNOW what they are about in their own sphere far better than he knows his business here. On the other hand, his problems of life are manifold, more complicated than theirs. The analogy is to be found in every direction, but one will suffice as model: the new-born insect or animal is incomparably better equipped at the start in the struggle for life here than is the new-born child, but as existence continues, the animal or insect learns less and less, the child more and more.
When this is sufficiently pondered, one will be able to realize why it is that we can no more see ahead than in retrospect with the same clarity that we are enabled to visualize the "present" -- why our "imagination" is as mutable and volatile as our "memory." Perhaps he will begin to sense that thought, memory, and imagination are no more actual divisions in the mind than present, past, and future are actual divisions of time or "eternity." Memory and imagination are a "pair of opposites" whose nexus is thought, as past and future are the divergent lines from a common point (the observer) which enclose opposite angles of vision. We have no word in English to indicate the trinity of thought, memory, and imagination because the concept itself has long been absent from Western minds. Nor have we specific psychological terms for the other trinities in mental operations, as we have, say, in physics and mechanics.
This is not to be wondered at, nor many other unreckoned or unrecognized combinations of the elements of objective, the principles of subjective perception and action in man and in nature. Our science is only a few hundred years old, our psychology as a distinct pursuit barely half a century. These children have still "a lot to learn" from their parents, religion and philosophy, or by dearly-bought experience of their own. Religion and philosophy themselves, as we know them, were once children, as our civilization is the descendant of earlier, and for all we know far higher spheres and modifications.
Again, in this direction, the student of scriptures and philosophies far, far antedating our own or those of our parents, will soon find in them indubitable evidence that they all spring from one common Source -- sometimes called the "Mysteries," sometimes the "Hermetic philosophy," sometimes "Magic," and nowadays "Occultism." Such men as, say, the long line of Zoroasters, Buddhas, Avataras, along with the more recent individual or deified Incarnations such as those of Muhammad, Jesus, and others will be seen to be, one and all, great Beings from higher spheres who descended of their own will and wisdom to this one, but who, to reach us on our own level, had to take on such "modifications" as we do -- and then REGAIN their conscious contact, FROM THIS SIDE, with those higher "azure transparent Orbs."
Mankind, too, came originally from those higher worlds, but has not yet, except in rare individual cases, regained what, for comparative purposes, may be called the same waking consciousness of them that he has of this present "modification" which envelops him. All are cognizant that although all men are of one kingdom or species, as compared with the other partakers of the common nature, yet men differ greatly in "spiritual gifts" -- in what the Hindus have from time immemorial called the "four castes." There are, in fact, not four but six castes, so to say. For besides the four orthodox or main divisions, each with its many subdivisions, there are two classes of "outcastes," which, strange to say, represent the extremes of the "pairs of opposites" -- those above all caste distinctions, and those outside the pale. Westerners may smile or sneer at these distinctions.
Looked at dispassionately, who can doubt that moral, mental, psychical, and social castes and outcasts (of both kinds) exist and have always existed in the West as in the East? Two relatively moderate distinctions do, however, exist. In the East is greater honesty on the subject than in the West; in the West, because caste divisions are not rigidly enforced, it is easier for an individual to rise from one caste to another. Applying the theorem to human beings in general, as apart from racial and creedal "modifications," they will be found to come under more intelligible designations. One might express these in this fashion:
(1) Those men whose outlook on life and conduct is philosophical, irrespective of their particular philosophy.
(2) Those in who the religious nature or instinct predominates, regardless of their religion.
(3) Those whose natural tendency is not merely to take sides or fight on whichever side they may be, but who stand for law and order, as well as conquest, whether of nature or of self, whether in or out of any special uniform.
(4) Those whose highest conception is that of give and take, of live and let live no matter what business they may be engaged in.
(5) The great majority, "those whose natural disposition is to serve," as THE BHAGAVAD GITA puts it, apart from whom or what they serve.
(6) Those who lead parasitic lives, no matter how they prey or on whom they subsist, or what their "coloration."
Once attention is directed to the subject, "the confusion of castes" is everywhere observable, East and West, and more among the highly civilized than among aboriginal peoples. The psychological facts seen, two great and absorbing questions arise spontaneously. What caused them in general? WHAT CAUSED THEM IN PARTICULAR? To the first problem, there is no other solution than the theorem of Karma; to the second, no other solution than the theorem of Reincarnation.
Those who push their introspection thus far will need no one to tell them they are face to face with "human nature" stripped of all speciousness -- and the "likeness" is unmistakable. Will they fall back in the haste of affright, once more to clothe themselves in the habiliments of caste, or will they GO ON? With the first case, this chart has no concern, but is offered to every would-be adventurer into "the astral world."
The word "astral" is, fittingly, a dubious word in itself. It means an unknown light, dim, uncertain, easily obscured. It means a substance or state of substance that partakes more of the nature of forces than matter, as known to us, allergic rather than energic. It means a state or condition of consciousness that, if entered from one direction becomes the servant of the wise, but if entered from the opposite becomes the master of the ignorant -- and wisdom and ignorance in that region bear connotations of which the learned and the mighty of this world know no more than a child or a foolish man. In a word, it is the "critical" point between viability here and viability in either a higher or a lower "Orb," in higher or lower "modifications," than any known to this world as it is, or to human nature as at present constituted -- albeit an element in both, whether in the fixed, the mutable, or the volatile state of either. Men are awake to this sphere, asleep both to the ones above and ones below as INHABITED WORLDS. Interpose between waking and sleeping the intermediate two-way fluxation called dreaming, and you have the analogy and correspondence for the astral world.
Analogy and correspondence are the only intelligible means of description or direction possible to be employed to the men of this world by men of the higher worlds WHO KNOW WHAT THEY ARE TALKING ABOUT. Whatever the emblems, symbols, personifications, and parables employed, all are Occult, all esoteric as well as exoteric in meaning. Between what we know and what we do not know there is no hard and fast line, but only a fading out of sight or coming into it. Dream-state applies to this, too, and the language of metaphor is precisely the language of communication, the astral counterpart of the yea and nay of nature and of wisdom -- both ways.
A large and ever-growing class of men and minds is already loose from its moorings in one or another of the harbors of the established order of things here. They have no charts nor compass whether of past or future; they are actually helpless as a blind man is, or a dreaming man, whether as regards the astral world or what may lie above or below its treacherous vortices -- unless they reread the record of the book of life, reevaluate their own understanding of it in the zodiacal light of correspondence and analogy.
Who, among all those attracted by the phosphorescence of the Occult, ever seriously questions his own motives, his own moral, mental, and psychic stamina, for such a venture? Who takes into account the law of Karma, the process of Reincarnation, even as accessible in literature or visible in the life around him? Who among them is able to steer a true course HERE? Who has the "sixth sense" enough awake to tell true from false or erroneous HERE where contrast and comparison are, so to say, thrust upon him at every instant?
A modicum of observation of human nature at large and of self-examination will quickly show how rare a thing it is to find anyone intentionally engaged in self-study and self-discipline in their most ordinary meaning. Many men are capable of "meditation with a seed" and its corresponding "power of concentration," but that is INDUCED, not under the control of the will. Like a rich man who owns much wealth, the truth is that it possesses him. Like a man of power, the power possesses him. Wealth and power in our day as in ancestral eras, far more often than not are burdens or intoxicants to their possessors. In the Occult meaning of power and wealth, rare are those who are in CONTROL of their senses and their minds, sure of their motives. The best of them are able merely to set up certain conditions, external and internal, whereby certain results will ensue. This is the method of Western Science and of Eastern Yoga.
We observe only the successes, not the failures, whether in results or upon the individuals thus engaged. Yet everyone knows or can learn that the destiny of families, communities, nations, and civilizations is bound up, embodied, one might say, in the careers of the very, very small number of "leading spirits" good or bad, from generation to generation, from century to century. Is the outlook for Western civilization so charming that we should regard these leading spirits as authentic guides here on earth? Is the EXISTING condition of Eastern cultures so fascinating that we should become pupils of the hundred-and-one brands of yoga, in our thirst to enter "the land of the Occult?"
It should not be necessary to make the marginal notation that these remarks are intended neither to comment invidiously on any man or anything that he holds dear, nor to discourage any one's disposition to ask, to read, to learn, in the Occult sense. They are meant simply to put every such aspirant on his own voir dire, his own bona fides, his own competency to judge himself, his would-be teacher and instructions. Long ago H P. Blavatsky put in print a statement, the truth of which anyone can verify for himself merely by pausing to observe history and the flux of life today. She said:
Even the students of Occultism, though some of them have more archaic MSS. and direct teaching to rely upon, find it difficult to draw a line of demarcation between the Sodales of the Right Path and those of the Left.
Many good, able, sincere men will be found giving their devotion to some one or another of the hundreds of schools representing one and another of the modifications of one and another of the Occult arts and sciences. The Path of Occultism, the Path between "the seven azure transparent Orbs," is one and the same for the devotees of "White" Magic or "Black," but one should reflect that it can be travelled IN EITHER OF TWO OPPOSITE DIRECTIONS. Many devotees do not themselves know WHICH WAY THEY ARE HEADED.
By Grace F. Knoche
[From THE THEOSOPHICAL PATH, September 1920, pages 270-78.]
To be practical -- what does this mean? A cloak is practical if it fits the wearer and protects him from the cold. A practical mind is one that can grasp both sides and all angles of a question, not one side or one angle alone. A practical test is a test that marshals up all the qualities of a machine or a theory or a man, not merely part of them, and that can determine whether they meet the all-round, all-the-time demand or only fractions of it here and there. Similarly, Theosophy is practical if it fits the whole great human need, if it can bridge the yawning gulf between man's desires and his duty, and if it is protective to the whole of his nature, not merely to a part.
We call ourselves practical and point with pride to our thousands of mechanical inventions, our conquest of the earth and the air, the vast machinery we have erected for the administration and justice and the study of delinquency and disease, our labyrinthical religious and educational systems, our possession of vast slices of the earth's surface, and so on. We are practical -- if the word is used correctly. But is it? This boasted cloak of our making does not pretend to cover humanity except materially and intellectually, and in actual fact it does not cover even that. The barest material needs are still unmet; starvation and disease walk hand in hand in how many nations; the birth rate is steadily going down and the death rate as steadily climbing up; we cannot build jails and asylums fast enough to take care of the by-products of the enterprise called modern life. With every year this cloak of material benefits, which we believed when making it would so wonderfully suffice, shows up as more and more scanty and slack. We are not practical, after all.
But even if the case were otherwise: even were there not in the whole world a starving man, a deprived child, an uncaged bacillus, or an unconquered disease -- even then would this cloak of ours, so patiently woven and at such tremendous cost, cover human life in its wholeness? No! What is protection for the body or food for the brain-mind if there is no sustenance, no shelter-house, for the soul? Man is not one, but TWO.
When will we learn that truth? Part of his nature we may satisfy with 'red-topped boots and a dinner,' with mountains to climb or lions to stalk or laboratories to play in -- but there is another part not to be satisfied with any of these things. And that other part has to do with the Eternal Man, the man that lasts, the man that slips off and lives on and on without even a nod at the grave. It has to do with the affections, with the sense of devotion and of duty, with that flaming Spirit of Love in the heart that if not guided into right courses is so apt to drift into the wrong; in a word, with the Real Man, "who was and is and shall be, for whom the hour shall never strike." A cloak that is thoroughly practical will cover this part of the man too. It will wrap the whole vast human need -- not merely the negligible part of it -- in soft enveloping folds as a babe is wrapped, not to confine and restrict it, but to provide warmth and tender protection while giving the little limbs the utmost freedom to toss and play and grow strong.
Watching the world-tides come and go in their bed of suffering and of change, and the failure of the wisest statesmanship to stabilize their oscillating course, one can see that the crux of the difficulty is not in ways and means, or theories and ideas, or incapacity for sacrifice and effort; it is not in any outer or brain-mind thing, but lies in the nature of man himself. It is that which is the unsolved mystery, and before it the rulers of our nations, equally with the teacher in the humblest school and the mother in the simplest home, hesitate, falter, fail, and too often turn away. They dare not attack it.
Human nature! You would think it was a bomb, timed to explode but there was no way of finding out when. Nor can we wonder. We get some human engine safely on the proper track, perhaps after infinite sacrifice and labor, and presently we find it switched to another and headed straight for disaster. We level it down in one place and it bobs up like a volcanic island, all without warning, in another. We do not know how to handle it or what it is.
One thing we can count upon and one only: the certainty of being surprised. The man who does a godlike deed today, perhaps at the risk of his life, may turn on us in ingratitude and blacken our good name tomorrow. The unfortunate woman or the common thief may surprise us with acts of generosity and compassion of which our smug respectability is as incapable as an earthworm is of speech. Of course, it is equally true that they may not. But the point is, we never can tell, so that we hesitate to try the brotherly way because of the crass uncertainty of the thing.
Human nature is a mystery (to us), and it is the defeating sense of that fact which constantly checks us in our longing to do the brotherly thing, and which even stops the springs of our courage so that we cease to try. How many worthy reforms have been simply abandoned, because lust or ingratitude rewarded the first kindly efforts and faith in human nature was killed. We cannot get man's measure, somehow, try as we will, and yet without it, no cloak that we make for man will ever fit. In short, matters are at a deadlock, and unless something new comes in, some new element, some new light ...
But something new has come in: we have only to turn our eyes and change our position enough to see it. It is the eternal solvent, the great reconciler, Theosophy. Old as the ages, guiltless of dogma or any creed, it nevertheless has fundamental and very definite teachings on the nature of man -- human nature, in other words -- the nature of the universe and the destiny of the soul. For the soul is the fundamental postulate. Man is immortal, divine: the whole system rests upon that broad base like a tower upon a rock. Brotherhood is a fact in nature inevitably if man is divine, for he is one with Deity in essence, a Child of God in simple fact, within him a portion of God's pure light as the sun's ray holds the pure light of the sun.
But man, the deathless, the immortal one, dwells in a house of flesh. As we know him, therefore, he is not one but two: soul and body, god and animal, with a higher nature and a lower one -- these two natures ever in conflict until one or the other finally gains the day. And between the two is the mind, bridge and battlefield both. Out of the conflict that takes place there -- that conflict which in its last analysis is always between the higher and the lower impulses in man -- spring all the happenings, all the vicissitudes, all the anguish, all the horrors, and equally all the happiness and the spiritual conquests of life: its peace and its wars in the life of nations and the life of you and me. To write the story of that conflict, we have dedicated the noblest in our art, our literature, our philosophy, and even our music, all down the ages. It is not a new idea, but merely a long-forgotten one, and five minutes spent in quiet observing or in silent self-examination will prove its utter truth: man is not one, but TWO.
We are seeking new light and keys to conduct as we never sought them before, and because it can throw new light on the mystery of human nature, Theosophy can give us the keys. It says to us: There is really no mystery here. Man can be understood and the surprises of life lose their power to discourage or to alarm us. Human nature has its standard and its pattern, and its plan, a plan that has persisted through the ages, always the same, however the surface of it may be checkered or clouded or flecked by the play of light and dark, good and evil, black and white, as mood follows tendency and impulses come and go.
And that nature is not one, nor any indefinite collection of ones -- devotees of the 'multiple personality' theory notwithstanding -- nor is it amenable to categorical divisions, nor can it be pigeonholed or labeled and shelved like jellies or bacon or cheese. Write it upon the tablets of your heart that man is not one but two -- two natures, two beings, if you will, two selves: one of the essence of truth and love and light, the other clamped to earth, coarse, material, trending downward just as far as it is allowed. And between these two selves, the daily waking consciousness flutters anxiously, too often blindly and fearfully, now following the higher trend, now the lower, without a light, without any safe guide, like a frightened bird seeking foothold in the dark.
How pitiful it all is, yet how true! Once perceive for yourself this picture, once grasp this mighty philosophic truth, and the whole earth, all our institutions, our literature, the record of human mistakes and human successes all down the centuries, will loom up like silent advocates to prove it to you, while the secret intuitions of your innermost heart will write the confirmation. MAN IS NOT ONE, BUT TWO. It is one of the great truths of Theosophy. Shall we dismiss it as a theory, a clever and artistic idea, or keep it, hold it, treasure it, and make it a practical guide?
For the teachings of Theosophy on paper merely, or the end of one's tongue, are a mockery pure and simple. Unless they are practically applied, they only bolster one in insincerity, hypocrisy, or dead indifference to one's fellowmen. But to apply them practically, so that they are really a guide to conduct, is a serious matter because of the fact that human nature is dual -- though by 'serious' we do not mean gruesome or desert-like but simply that Theosophy calls out and challenges the deeper and more earnest side of the nature.
You cannot honestly object to that, and if you are genuine and sincere, with a real desire to make your life count for good if only the way can be shown, Theosophy will say to you: Wake up! Stop this shifty oscillation and make up your mind which way you want to go: whether with your lower tendencies down to materialism, selfishness, decay, and spiritual death, or with your higher ones to the wide and lofty places of the soul where real peace is waiting for you. For be sure you cannot go with both. You cannot travel east and west at the same time, nor down and also up, and this constant oscillation, this childish fluttering back and forth from one path to the other, is no better than standing still: it will bring you nowhere. You must choose.
But in this matter of choice, you are uncoerced and free. Whichever of these two paths appeals to you is yours for the traveling, only you MUST choose one or the other, or else drop your aspirations and desires both and be nothing but flotsam on the tide, neither cold nor hot but lukewarm, whose only right is the classic right of lukewarm and repudiated things.
Once the choice has been made on the side of the higher nature, however, there need be no slipping back. From the moment of that choice, the man is more than man; he is a god, an awakened soul, a spiritual warrior, and in his hand is the warrior's supreme weapon, the Spiritual Will. But this, be it understood, has nothing to do with the kind of 'will' mooted in popular advertisements -- the ' will' that you may be shown how to develop in exchange for so many dollars, and that will make you rich or famous or able to annex your friend's position or his wife or almost anything you may happen to desire.
The Spiritual Will has nothing to do with passion or selfish desire. Moreover, it is not a faculty of the mind nor dependent upon the mind. It is one of the infinite creative powers belonging to the soul of man, that "flyeth like light, cutteth obstacles like a sharp sword," and indeed it is commonly symbolized by a sword. With its help, you can make Theosophy a practical guide and a protective cloak of love and wisdom and peace to no telling how many of earth's children.
This is the ancient method, but it meets the modern need, for human nature is ever the same, EVER THE SAME. When the fires flashed over Gomorrah; when Pompeii squandered and sinned; when Rahab let down the scarlet thread and the searchers passed her by; when Rahula wept for his inheritance and found it greater than he guessed; when Job trusted and protested and held on, and when the great Solomon judged; when Hector battled and Patroclus fell to be battled over again; when Penelope wove in the daytime and raveled her web at night; when Louis said "I am the State," and the people brought forth another state to spell chaos; when Sant Angelo smothered its victims and the Bastile could still lock its doors; when the Telesterion was a-building at Eleusis and when it was razed to earth; when the Fayum held its vast Halls of the Mysteries and when jealousy blotted even the memory of them out; when the tinder was piling up in Europe, and when it went suddenly afire; when you and I and millions no better and no worse were choosing to drift and play rather than consciously live and serve -- when all these things were happening and countless things besides, human nature was the crux of every problem, the explanation of every catastrophe, every triumph, every surprise.
In its hands were ever two keys, the key to Bluebeard's Chamber and equally to the vast golden Treasury of Spiritual Wisdom and Life. And we were free to choose which key to take. We, mankind, you and I, with so much power as that! Was ever any teaching or any truth fuller of inspiration? It would electrify a stone. If some giant hand were to wrest from us every spiritual teaching that we possess, every single ray of guiding light, and yet leave us the one great teaching of the Duality of Human Nature, we still could escape the deluge and make port; we still could change this disheveled world into a pattern of law and order, we still could make it a Paradise.
Of what other single philosophic principle can so much as this be said? With one hand it touches every material interest, every material need in the Universe; with the other, it lifts man up to God. Like the protective cloak of a mother, it covers the whole man, divine and human, and does not, like so many boasted 'philosophies,' leave the soul shivering and exposed.
Those who perceive this fact do not have to be argued into a conviction that Theosophy, to be of any value at all, must be made a practical guide. What could it amount to, left solely between the covers of neat books? What does anything amount to -- on paper? Do the Teachers of Theosophy dare and suffer and slave, simply to leave a new weapon of power for hypocrites, a few dainty and marvelous morsels for pseudo-philosophers and empty-souled litturateurs? By no means, and they have said so in plain words. For humanity's protection as well as for its inspiration, these Teachers insisted from the beginning of their work -- I refer to Helena P. Blavatsky, William Q. Judge, and Katherine Tingley -- that Theosophy must be made practical: its principles a living power and its precepts honestly carried out.
Yet paradoxically, though to make Theosophy practical is an exceedingly easy matter, it is not easily achieved except in instances so rare as to be negligible, because of the obstacles that exist within ourselves. Those who accompanied Mme. Katherine Tingley on her recent visit to the Government Indian Reservation at Pala, California, will remember -- with a little mist in the eyes, perhaps the swarms of Indian children who came to her with such affection and climbed and clustered about her knee. Among them was a rather frail child of some five years who had charge of an overgrown, enormous toddler nearly as large as she. Going down the porch steps after the visit one day, she picked him up -- a near miracle, so tiny was she herself.
One of the Theosophical students involuntarily exclaimed, "Be careful, dear! He's too heavy; you will hurt yourself!"
An older child who stood near piped up promptly, "Oh, no she won't; HE'S HER BROTHER!"
Oddly enough, within a week after the party returned from Pala, the writer noticed in one of the reviews an account of the 'little mothers' of China, one of whom a traveler saw staggering under the weight of a baby nearly as large as herself.
"Isn't he too heavy for you?" was the query, and the answer flashed back (as reported) was this: "Why, no! HE'S MY BROTHER!"
She had one point of view, the traveler another; and much depends upon the point of view. When the feeling of real Brotherhood is burning in the heart, everything is easy, simple, supremely natural, even just. Not only these replies but the strange coincidence of them -- one in America and the other in the Far East -- constitutes a sermon on Brotherhood that would repay examination and reflection.
But they were only children, says a skeptic. True: only children, which proves our case better still. How the wisdom shines now of that ancient Teacher, whoever He may have been, to whom we owe this precept, dear to all Students of Theosophy: "The pupil must regain THE CHILD-STATE HE HAS LOST ere the first sound can fall upon his ear," or the injunction of the Man of Galilee: "Except ye become AS LITTLE CHILDREN ye cannot enter the Kingdom of Heaven" -- the kingdom which He is at pains to tell us is WITHIN. Everything is easy, everything is possible, if we have the child-heart in our bosom and not some imitation of it, and if only we can come to our duties disburdened and free instead of spiritually sick from the mental diseasement bequeathed to us by ages of wrong thought.
Exposure even to malignant disease is a negligible matter to one whose blood-stream is pure, whose functions are stable and vigorous, whose vitality is undepleted, and whose powers of resistance represent nature at her best. The result in such a case would be innocuous if not nil. But what is usually the situation? A has a heart out of kilter, and B a liver out of tune; C has an alcoholic heredity, and D a neurotic one; E has "wasted his substance in riotous living" until resistance is gone, and F has a debit account made up of a little of them all. Exposure or strain in such cases might be very serious indeed, perhaps fatal. And thus with the man who pits a devitalized moral nature against life's problems or its tasks. Already poisoned with jealousy, selfishness, unbrotherliness, greed or fear, he succumbs. What else could be expected? But the trouble is not with life, nor with its problems or duties or laws: it is with the man himself. Equally, there is nothing the matter with Brotherhood or Theosophy. Both are practical, easily lived, and true. The difficulty lies in ourselves: we carry too many impurities in our mental blood. Once this is understood, the way is plain; there is only one thing to be done, and the student who is serious-minded and sincere wastes no time in setting about it.
We are living in a day of vast issues, and we cannot shirk our task. To make Theosophy practical means to widen the viewpoint and broaden out the life. The nation, all nations, the world itself, are no longer hazily foreign but are part of our immediate concern, and, oddly enough, the first result of making this so is that the immediate duty, far from being neglected, is much more faithfully done. A law too little reverenced broods in the background of it all.
To illustrate: every student of art is familiar with the injunction: "Don't become so wrapped up in that eye or ear or bit of drapery that you lose sight of the figure as a whole. Keep the whole before you constantly; never lose the ENSEMBLE!" How true! The most perfectly studied details are absurdities, abortions, and blots if out of relation to the whole. Set an ear a bit too high, and the head becomes animal if not grotesque, and so with all details, with every part.
The teacher is asking nothing difficult. It may take conscious effort at first -- but so did our babyhood efforts to walk or our first drink from a cup -- but it soon becomes unconscious habit, and then how the work takes on vitality and how the art broadens and expands! Every student of music hears the same. The diagnostician observes it habitually. It is a principle of statesmanship.
Theosophy would make it a living power in the simplest thought or act. And all so easily! There need be no strain or revolution. You have merely to extend a bit the path you take ordinarily. For instance: you consider the convenience of mother, the opinion of an employer, or your duty to your own finer nature when tempted to lie abed in the morning, and such considerations determine your course. If there is garbage to be disposed of, the laws of the city must be considered: it cannot be dumped into your neighbor's frontyard or even into your own. Such considerations do not feel like chains upon you, and they are indeed so natural, so habitual, that it is a surprise when someone drags them out before you for inspection.
All that Theosophy would have is merely an extension of the sense of obligation that you feel already in this limited way -- in a word, a broadening and deepening of the nature, until, back of the immediate thought or task there rises, strong and singing in its strength, a flood-tide of unconscious, self-forgetting love for all humanity; a realization that the spiritual life-stream pulsing through you is part of one great conscious stream of Divine Life, feeding the nations and the world.
The bare notion that this MAY be true, once taken into the mind to be considered, seems to open a new door; a conviction of it pulls you up into the tonic atmosphere of world-issues before you know what has come about. You cannot be small and insular now if you try to be; your shell is broken and you are a living, moving, growing, pulsating something outside of it, with no bounds set to your new life. There is no such thing as being content with a little personal dark-room after that. There is no more whining about 'Karma,' either; no more petitioning advertisers or the whimsical gods for receipts: how to make money, how to 'develop your will,' how to make your children mind you. No! You have your hand on principles and can make your own receipts.
To summarize: Theosophy is a practical guide because (1) it solves life's greatest problem, the mystery of human nature, (2) it meets the great human need, which is protection for the whole, twofold, mystical nature of man, not merely the brain-mind part of it, and (3) it keeps the fire of Love and Brotherhood burning in the heart. Theosophy, once admitted as "the servant in the house," serves faithfully the whole man, human and divine, keeping each part, god and animal, at its task and in its place. It loosens the interest in material things and clamps it to spiritual realities; it bids us discriminate between the true and the false and shows us how to do it; it links us with the mighty and misunderstood past of ourself and of the nations and the world; it augments our little life with the expansive urge and energy of the whole; it gives the power to translate principles into creative fire and precepts into the daily bread of life; it infuses the commonest duty with the majestic, genial fire of the heart; it is Justice and Love in action, than which there is no higher path to go. it is the 'small, old path' of the sages.